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Sex and Stardust

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A hot breath heaves through Michael’s lips. His entire body vibrates as he holds himself back from the edge. The lights above burn down onto his skin and sweat drips down onto the person below him. His hands roughly map over soft, velvet terrain. Breathy moans fill the air as Michael rears back, his neck straining with a low moan. He fights his orgasm as the woman beneath him ramps up her own responses to him. His gaze drops to trace over her gentle crests and smooth dips. He pushes a hand up her chest as he angles his hips up. He knows all the tricks, but he plays it up, really gets into the moment because he can feel it coming to an end. His hands skim down her slender body and he grips her waist and pushes her down into the bed. He shuffles back up onto his knees so he can finally take the fall. He draws on every single trick in the book as he pushes himself over. He squeezes his eyes shut as he cums. His lips open on a low, gravely moan, the woman below him adding her own accompaniment to the chorus he sings.

The dark hair on his chest is plastered against his skin with sweat, the lights hanging above burn uncomfortably so he pulls himself free and falls over into the huge bed next to the woman. His chest heaves as he fights to catch his breath. The woman…Sienna he remembers, shifts away from him and calls out for a bottled water. Michael inhales one more steadying breath as he pushes up and pulls the condom off and tosses it somewhere. By the time he’s on his feet and in his robe, Sienna is gone. He doesn’t care to talk with her, their scenes are done and he has a lunch date to make with his sister.

“Fantastic take everyone!” the director announces as he rounds the camera man who abandons his post for the craft foods table. Michael smirks. When he first started in the Adult Entertainment Industry, he was afraid the appeal of sex would wear off, but where else would he be paid to fuck gorgeous women for other people to get off to. He figured it was truly the dream, but after two years the spark was starting to dim. Dating for one was near impossible. He tried dating within the industry, but that made things almost more complicated, and he quickly learned dating outside the industry was next to useless. He could never seem to convince his partner that the sex he made for the videos he stared in had no impact on how he treated them and it never entered the bedroom when he was with someone he cared about. It was a job, granted an unconventional one, but it still put food on his table and paid his bills…until recently.

He scrubbed a hand through his hair as he picked his way through the studio and back towards the shower block so he could get cleaned up before he met up with Isobel for lunch. He was beyond grateful for her. She’d picked up her life five years ago and followed him out to Los Angeles to chase some approximation of the American Dream. He had no clue what he was going to do on the west coast, but he needed to leave Roswell before it killed him. He never knew he’d end up making pornos, but it was easy work and really fast money. Isobel constantly prattles at him about what he does and tries, on a daily basis, to make him quit, but he’s got his sights set on a goal and he needs to keep pushing until he reaches it.

He wants to go to school, and since he’d gotten mixed up in some trouble the summer after he graduated high school, he lost his UNM scholarship. Isobel offered to “help” him convince the Dean to award it back, but he declined her offer and instead spiraled downwards for a couple years before Max and Isobel sat him down and Isobel agreed to go with him and help him find whatever it is he thinks he’s looking for.

Five years in LA and Michael is no closer to finding what he set out to find, and these days he can’t truly remember what he was looking for. His head hangs against his chest as warm water sluices over him, washing away the afternoon. His movements are lazy and slow as he cleans his skin and hair. He replays the last conversation he had with Sanders a couple weeks ago and bites back a frown as he recalls the old man’s forlorn tone as he talked about closing the junkyard and the shop. Michael didn’t tell him, but he made himself a new goal that evening. He was going to pay off the old man’s debts. Sanders was the closest thing to a parent Michael had growing up. He was in and out of foster care and group homes his entire life. No adult, save for Sanders, showed him even an ounce of kindness. If he hadn’t been dropped back in Roswell he shudders to think where he could have ended up without Max and Isobel.

The water starts to feel cold as he pulls himself from his mind. He blindly reaches for the dials and turns the shower off. He uses an overly fluffy towel to dry off in the stall before he goes into his dressing room. He eyes his clothes warily as he picks out an outfit, opting for his usual look, dirty cowboy. He grins at his own reflection before he grabs his keys and phone. He knows if he’s even a second late Isobel will be calling him. He turns off the light as he leaves. Various sounds hit him as he picks his way through the studio. He’s nearly free when he’s caught by a small blonde woman who is all smiles and large breasts. Michael plasters on the most sure of himself grin he can as he drags his gaze over her.

“Afternoon darlin’,” he drawls and reaches up to tip his hat at her. His smile grows warmer as a blush works across her cheeks.

“Oh my God, you’re so much hotter in person. I’m Andy! We’re shooting together tomorrow and I just couldn’t wait that long to meet you,” she purrs as she shifts closer to him.

Michael chuckles, “Well I really hope to not disappoint tomorrow then,” he winks.

Andy sighs, “Trust me, I have watched a lot of your work and I can’t wait,” she gushes and makes a show of fanning herself.

Michael’s grin grows. He leans down and presses a lingering kiss to her cheek, “I’m flattered, I promise not to bite too hard,” he teases again as he moves to slip by her, “forgive me though, I have a lunch date I can’t miss,” he excuses himself with a wave.

The girl…Andy, shoots him a wink before she goes back to whatever it was, she had set off to do before they had run into each other. Michael takes a moment to appreciate the way she moves before he focuses again and pushes the heavy metal door open into the back-parking lot. He squints as the sun hits his eyes. His arm moves up to shield himself as he hops down the concrete steps. He doesn’t miss the fact he’s not as excited or amped up for tomorrow with Andy, but he chalks it up to having had a busy day with scenes and redoing various shots on some past scenes that’s weighing him down.

His truck stands out like a sore thumb in the lot. He could never bring himself to part with the old thing. He loves her and she’s been good to him in kind. There are rust spots and sun faded patches of paint over her body, but she still purrs when he starts her up. She’s carried him through so many dark places of his life, she deserves a good life in LA with him. Isobel also admonishes him for not driving something nicer or living somewhere bigger and fancier. He finds himself constantly reminding her what his goal is, work hard, save up, pay his way through college. It’s simple, except in Isobel Evans' world, nothing is ever that simple.

The drive downtown takes fifteen minutes. He knows he turns heads with his truck, but he answers with his own sneer as he expertly parks her curbside. He drags his palm over her rough metal work as he rounds to the sidewalk. He spots Isobel right away looking like a dream at an outside table. The weather is gorgeous and he’s happy to take advantage. He hops over the iron fencing and surprises her when his boots slap against the concrete.

“Real mature Michael,” she intones as she peeks over the menu. Her sunglasses glint in the light and though they hide her eyes he can feel her scanning him.

“What, it was faster than going through the whole café just to reach you,” he argues back as he slouches in the chair.

Isobel makes an offended noise. She fits into the LA lifestyle so much more than Michael does, and she made the city her bitch in a matter of months. She’s created a name for herself and quickly succeeded in her business as an events and party planner. Michael is often in awe of the way she can just seem to get her life to work out just right. Sometimes he’s jealous, but mostly he’s just proud of her and glad he doesn’t have to worry about her.

“I assume work went well?” she asks and he can hear the small hint of disapproval in her tone. Even after two years Isobel still hasn’t gotten used to his chosen profession.

A slow smile curls Michael’s lips as he picks up his own menu, “Of course it did Izzy, you know my co-workers just love me,” he teases and flinches when she kicks him with the sharp point of her heel.

“That’s just gross Michael. I can’t even believe you still do all that. You know, you could be going to real auditions where you don’t have to take your clothes off,” she states as she falls into one of her usual rants.

Michael rolls his eyes, “I don’t want to be an actor Izzy, you know all of this. Why can’t you just let it go. I make decent money very quickly doing something I am really, really good at and I really love doing,” he sighs as he sinks even deeper into the chair he occupies.

Isobel tips her chin and her sunglasses slip down the bridge of her nose, “You know…I learned something interesting the other day. Did you know something like 60% or whatever of men in gay porn are actually straight? They work in the industry because apparently the money is much better than straight porn. I think they make something like double or triple what you make for a single shoot,” she stated as she closed her menu.

Michael furrowed his brows as he looked across the table at her, “Are you encouraging my line of work?” he teased, but he couldn’t stop himself from making note of what she said. He’d make sure to actually look into the validity of her statement later.

Isobel rolled her eyes as she plucked her sunglasses off, “Oh please Michael. If anything, I’m trying to turn you off the matter. I don’t know how many times I need to tell you, I am happy to give you whatever sum of money it is you need to actually put that genius brain of yours to better use,” she implored him more seriously as she nestled her chin in the palm of her hand.

Michael turned away from her pitying look, “Iz, I’m fine. My job is fine. I’m making the money and before you know it, I’ll be heading back to New Mexico for school…show UNM I’m worth it…maybe even look into other schools and scholarships. Right now, though I want to just focus on work and take each day as it comes,” he pleads with her.

Isobel sighs, her shoulders fall as she gives up her fight for another day, “I just want you to be safe and happy Michael. I noticed you’re not like you used to be…it’s like something is starting to dim,” she whispers as their waiter heads for them.

Michael forces a soft smile as he reaches across the table to gently squeeze her arm, “I swear Iz, I’m fine. It’s just been a really busy week, okay?” he comforts, and though she doesn’t quite believe him, she nods and Michael is thankful that she drops it then. He’d been afraid that if she kept poking, he’d have broken down and asked to go back home because truthfully, he was getting tired of the same thing day in and day out.

________

The morning buzzed by in a whir for Alex. He'd spent most of the time prepping for his shoot later in the day. He preferred the comforts of home over the studio and being surrounded by familiar things helped him reach a better headspace. He worked quickly and quietly so as to not wake Maria who slept in the her room at the end of the hall. She'd finally made it home around 5A. Alex knew she loved her work as a bartender for on of LA's most exclusive clubs, but he constantly worried after her safety. He made her something to eat for when she got up just before he left with his messenger bag slung across his chest. He still had a slight limp when he walked, but it was a good day and he left his crutch at home next to his bed. He caught a bus headed towards the city center and hopped off a few blocks ahead of the studio. He liked the time to sort through the corners of his head where he found and boxed up his demons. He slipped in his earbuds and hit shuffle on a nostalgic playlist, getting lost in the familiar beats of his high school days.

It was a short walk to the studio, but Alex managed to compartmentalize everything he needed to as he pulled the door open. A wall of noise greeted him as people hurried around getting various sets ready for the day. A couple people looked up and greeted him as he moved over cords and other detritus on the floor. Low moans of pleasure hit his ears as he pulled his earbuds free and wrapped them around his phone. He forced a smile for the people who greeted him in passing. He just needed his dressing room and a couple minutes to root himself to the present day and figure out how to tackle his schedule for the afternoon.

Finally, he rounded a dimly lit hall and pushed open the door with his name. The lights in the room were already on which confused him. He narrowed his gaze and a familiar head of blue hair poked out of his closet. Alex frowned as he settled his bag on the settee, “Forrest,” he greeted as he shrugged out of the tan jacket that he wore over a simple black tee shirt.

The other actor finally emerged and grinned as he approached Alex, “Hey! I know your alone time is sacred to you, but Hailey wants us to come up with an alternative scene for our shoot today. I decided to amuse myself by going through your closet while I waited for you,” he defended as he lifted his hands to settle on Alex’s shoulders. He squeezed and worked his fingers to loosen the tight muscles there.

Alex frowned at Forrest’s words as he shrugged free of his hands, “What do you mean? How does she want us to rework it? I’ve read the script multiple times, I think it all works,” he stated as he turned to face Forrest and frowned at how close they were.

Forrest shrugged, “I dunno, she just wants to make sure we make the audience believe two male roommates could have such a passion between them and one day it just snaps. We’ll be fulfilling so many middle-class wives’ fantasies with it and even some guys who tragically live with their hot, but rigidly straight best friends or whatever,” he states and flaps his hand around at the statement.

Alex sighs and turns to let the script fall next to his bag as he pushes past Forrest to grab a water from the small fridge next to his makeup table, “I think we can ad-lib it in the moment Forrest. We’ve worked together enough to be able to do that, feed off one another,” he states with an artfully raised brow.

Forrest groans as he seems to drag himself back over to Alex, this time he doesn’t hold back from invading his space as he wraps his arms around his waist, “I can do anything when I have you under me Alex, you’re so fucking hot,” he sighs as he bends to nuzzle his face into Alex’s neck, sighing hotly as his hands start to rove over his back.

Alex’s face falls as he wiggles free of Forrest, “Save it for the camera Forrest, wait….” He whispers and narrows his gaze as he studies Forrest. The other male starts to fidget with it. “You’re fucking high right now aren’t you! Shit Forrest! You could be fired! Devon was so pissed last time he caught you,” he hisses as if anyone else could hear him in the room.

A cold fury sweeps over Forrest’s face as he stands tall and rigid, “Fuck you Alex, I’m not going to jeopardize my job like that…I only took enough to take the edge off,” he declares as if any amount of whatever drugs he takes is okay.

Alex shakes his head and moves to open his door, “Out Forrest, I have an hour before I meet you on set, go take some time to sober up and I won’t say anything,” he concedes as he watches Forrest slowly move towards the door.

“You really know how to spoil the fun Alex,” Forrest sighs as he leans against the door jamb. Alex frowns at him but doesn’t move any closer to him.

“This is a job Forrest. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I don’t mix my personal life with my professional life. I need the boundaries. I’m sorry if that’s not what you want to hear, but you showing up in my dressing room and…and trying to push for something I don’t want…that’s not okay. Now, go back to your own room and get into a better headspace, you need to sober up a little,” Alex stated again, his tone steely as his left hand curled into a tight fist. He inhaled a deep breath through is nose to center himself.

Forrest’s shoulders sagged as his gaze raked over Alex, “I’m sorry Alex, you’re right. I’m going to clear my head and we’ll get through our shoot and maybe we can grab some beers after work? No other intentions than some co-workers grabbing a drink after a hard day at the office,” and with that Alex’s rigid posture cracked and he shook his head.

“Fuck you Forrest, that wasn’t a good pun and I think after that you owe me a beer,” he sighs as he sags into the chair next to him. The door of his dressing room closes against the fading sound of Forrest’s laugh. The tension that had wrapped around his spine starts to slip away as Alex concentrates on his breathing. Forrest had latched onto Alex after their first shoot together and the company liked to pair them up because they’d garnered a number of views and supporters. There was an intense sort of energy that crackled between them. Currently Forrest and Alex’s videos are the top earning on the website, but a year ago when Alex first walked into the studio the casting directors were immediately taken by his looks, and at the time Alex just needed the money and something easy to focus on so he rolled with everything they had asked of him.

Alex turned towards the mirror at the desk and stared at himself. He picked out the bags under his eyes, testaments to the nightmares that kept him up at night. He plucked at his hair where it lay against his forehead, feathered and almost too long for his taste. Forrest liked to pull it during their takes, Alex was starting to hate it. He needed to talk with Devon and put a stop to filming with Forrest. They needed a break; Forrest was starting to lose sight of the boundaries Alex tried hard to maintain and it was starting to actually scare him a little. He felt small when he acknowledged the fear because Forrest was inconsequential and Alex could handle him, but he just kept pushing harder each time Alex put his foot down and reminded him of where exactly he stood.

The door banging open pulled Alex from his reverie as Alicia, one of the studio techs, stuck her head in, “Ten minutes to makeup Alex,” she trilled with a warm smile. Alex willed his heart back down into his chest as he turned to smile at her in return.

“Got it Alicia, I’ll be out soon,” he replied as he started to systemically pack away all the boxes in his head and prepare himself for the scene he was about to shoot. He could do it; he could get through the day and Forrest wouldn’t be more than an annoyance. He’d text Maria to meet at their favorite place for drinks and he’d lose himself in her chatter. They’d invite Kyle, and Alex would manage to make it for one more night carried on the waves of his friends and their well put together lives.

Chapter Text

Dust motes danced across Michael’s vision. It was a rare day off for him so he’d slept in as long as his body would allow, but it wasn't his alarm or even his bladder that woke him, it was a giant paw to his face. Mars, is seemed, didn’t care what Michael’s plans were, she was up and she needed a trip outside. By the third whump of her paw Michael was groaning as he pushed himself to a seated position at the edge of his bed. He grinned at the mutt whose woeful eyes stared up at him. She chuffed before pointedly trotting to the door of his bedroom. A rough hand scrapped across his face as he yawned wide and loud. He glanced over at the clock next to his bed and noted it wasn’t actually too terribly late in the morning yet, so he was at least satisfied with how long he was able to sleep in before Mars demanded his attention.

A mug of stale water sat on his bedside table so he snagged it as he stood and downed it in one go as he moved into the main living area of his small apartment. Mars was sat at the front door and Michael couldn’t help but grin at her. He’d found her rummaging in the dumpster that belonged to the complex, but a few years ago she was much smaller than her lumbering eighty-pound frame now. He dropped his empty mug into his sink as he took stock of what he was currently wearing and whether it was appropriate for heading outdoors for now. He glanced down his body and noted his shirt had less holes than most others and his basketball shorts were still wholly intact. He shrugged as he moved towards the door where Mars’ tail began to thump against the linoleum with his approach.

“I know girl, I know,” he muttered as he pushed his feet into a pair of old sneakers while he plucked Mars’ leash from a peg next to the door. He clipped the lead to her collar and let Mars lead the way through the halls and staircase to the main floor. He used the back door that opened onto a mostly quiet and spacious patch of grass so she could explore and do her business. Michael let up on the leash to give her room to roam while he squinted against the sunlight. Isobel’s voice haunted him in the back of his head just as she had the last few days since their lunch date where she’d been so blasé about the gay porn industry. The spark and the excitement had been lacking lately for Michael and he wanted to do more with his life, but money had always been hard for him to come by.

When he had first started in the adult entertainment industry, he didn’t believe his co-workers when they had warned him about the difference between his personal sex life and doing it for work. Michael was just excited that he could screw a plethora of gorgeous women and be paid rather well to do it. He didn’t care that other people would be watching it, he didn’t care what his family might have to say, all he had cared about was the money and the women. He wished he could go back and talk to his younger self, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. He was thankful for the experience and that he now had a solid dream he wanted to chase and the fact he was actually in the right mindset to finally look at colleges again. Isobel was right when she’d admonish him for wasting his genius brain, he was just sad it took him so long to figure it out for himself. He also missed the desert, but not only the sand and the stars, but the weather. Back home there were seasons, in California is was summer almost year-round. At first the novelty excited him, but now he missed everything he’d taken for granted.

Mars had finished her business while Michael stood rooted in his head, but the press of her cold nose against his hand jolted him back to reality. He grinned down at her as he lowered onto a knee and scratched his fingers over her ears, “What do you think girl? You think I could suck it up and sleep with a guy if it netted me more money?” he asked her, to which her response was to allow her tongue to loll out of the side of her mouth.

Michael grinned at her as he leaned forward to press a soft kiss to her forehead, “I think I could do it; it’d get us out of here faster. You’d love Roswell and all the open space to roam and new smells to explore. There’s no city smog there, just nature and all of God’s other critters,” he mused as he rocked back onto his own two feet. He moved further from the door of his complex and headed towards the sidewalk. He figured he and Mars could both use a walk around the block, mostly so he could really think on the career change and what it would mean for him. He wasn’t gay, but could he truly sleep with a man? He’d never so much as pecked a man’s lips before, but he knew, objectively, when other men were attractive. Isobel had assured him a long time ago that largely meant nothing, it was like when other girls knew how attractive other females were. He’d always been with women and had always loved their soft curves and plush lips. He had no true idea if he could make himself be with another man and actually act like he was enjoying it.

By the time he’d circled back around to his front door Michael felt even more lost then when he’d started the walk. A confused scowl twisted his lips as he pulled the door open and pushed himself inside with Mars dutifully trotting next to him. He pushed an unsteady hand through his curls as he made his way back up to his apartment. A part of him was ready to jump in and take the chance while the other part of him was struggling with the fact he’d be acting with other men. Once he’d reached his apartment a brilliant idea sparked to fruition and he promptly dug his phone out of the deep pockets of the shorts he’s wearing. It only rings three times before Isobel’s succinct tone greets him.

“I haven’t heard from you in two days Michael, and you feel the need to call me in the middle of a meeting with a new client,” she chides, but Michael can hear the teasing under all the pomp and fare.

“Let’s go to a gay bar tonight,” he states right away as he unclips Mars who heads towards her bed and drops down with a sigh.

There is a long silence on the other end of the line, “Excuse me, I thought I was speaking to my brother Michael, the straight male who screws numerous women for a career,” she snaps back, though Michael can hear the interest in her tone. Isobel had always owned who she was which meant at sixteen she’d come out as bisexual and Michael and Max supported her and whole-heartedly accepted her.

Michael huffs at her as he sheds his clothing piece by piece as he moves through the apartment and towards the bathroom, “It is me Iz, but…that thing you shared at lunch the other day won’t get out of my head. I figured if I went to a gay bar and maybe…I’unno…explored or something I’d make up my mind about wanting to be in gay pornos,” he muttered as he threw his socks into a corner of his bathroom.

He could practically hear her nose wrinkling at his admission, “First of all, I did not share that information with you so you could just jump into a whole new gambit of sex, secondly, that’s not what gay bars are for Michael! Have you ever thought about even so much as kissing another dude? The majority of the men at gay bars know who they are and what they’re after. You can’t just use them as some sort of experiment,” she chided down the line at him.

Michael rolled his eyes. He’d heard her various speeches through the years as she fought to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, but one truth he had reached on his walk was that he couldn’t 100% say he might never actually want to truly be with a man. The thought didn’t gross him out, and he had, ages ago, imagined what it might be like to have a man touch him or even touch one in return. He’d figured those were innocent thoughts that everyone had at least a few times in their life. He sighed as he turned on the taps in his shower, “What if I promise I’ll be totally upfront with any dude at the club about my intentions that way they know exactly what they’re getting into?” he asked as he leaned back against his bathroom sink to wait for the water to warm.

Isobel’s end of the phone was silent for so long he had to pull it back from his ear to make sure she hadn’t hung up on him. Once it was cradled between his shoulder and ear again he heard a rush of breath as Isobel deflated, “I swear to God Michael, if this blows up in your face not only will I gloat and scream I told you so, but you will promise to stop being a porn God and find work somewhere else,” she finally muttered as she waved the proverbial white flag.

Michael huffed out a chuckle as he shook his head at her terms, “Alright Iz, you win, if I am not totally repulsed by kissing a man then I’m going ahead with my career change, but if I end up being totally repulsed then I’ll quit porn altogether and find something else to do,” he promised, though he doubted she could see the fingers he crossed behind his back.

A tense silence followed in which Michael was actually starting to get nervous that Isobel’s Mind-Melding powers had grown and she was doing it over the phone with him. Eventually a soft breath had emitted on her end while a gleeful grin spread across Michael’s lips, “Fine, it’s a deal, I hope this doesn’t massively backfire in your face because as much as I really love to gloat, I also don’t want you getting hurt,” she uttered in a softer tone.

Michael smiled softly and hung his head, “Don’t worry Iz, I promise I’ll behave and hey…maybe you won’t be the only bisexual and we could end up having a real bisexual alien blast,” he teased with a cheeky grin. He could hear her eye roll before she hung up on him. He snickered to himself for a moment before he set his phone on the counter and eased into the shower under the warm spray. It was odd, but for some reason he felt lighter as he let himself relax in the hot spray of the shower.

By the time evening rolled around Michael had become a bag of nerves as he paced the length of his apartment while he waited on Isobel to pick him up. He chewed nervously at his thumb nails before he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. Mars whined as she pressed her head against his leg, sensing his unease, “Hey girl, I’m sorry it’s just…I don’t know how I feel about tonight,” he muttered to her as if she could understand. In a bid to be comforting Mars huffed as she stretched her neck to lick his hand. Michael sighed softly and rubbed his fingers across her head, “Well, whatever happens at least I have you yeah? My best girl,” he grinned as he bent down to press a kiss against the top of her head. As he stood back up his phone pinged with a message from Iz letting him know she was outside waiting for him.

Just before he stepped over his threshold, he shook off the last of his nerves and steeled himself as he hurried down the various flights of stairs to meet Isobel’s car at the curb. He still felt weird being a passenger given Isobel actually had drivers, but he figured it was much better than trusting some stranger with their lives. Isobel quirked a brow as soon as he slid into the backseat. He frowned at her as he looked down at himself. He’d pulled on his cleanest pair of jeans which he knew hugged his ass just right and a loose-fitting flannel with the top four buttons undone, showing off a smattering of hair across his broad chest. To finish out the look he had on a silver belt buckle and scuffed dark brown leather boots.

“Well, I guess you almost look like a gay cowboy,” she uttered as she settled back on her own side of the seat. She let the driver know they were ready and he eased out into the light LA traffic.

Isobel herself looked like a dream in black leather with her hair piled artfully on top of her head while glitter adorned different areas of the skin, she did have exposed. Michael grinned, it wasn’t often Iz let herself have fun, so he was glad she could actually enjoy a night out and maybe even get lucky herself. “I bet LA boys have a cowboy kink, I mean Brokeback Mountain was pretty damn popular,” he defended his fashion choice.

Isobel huffed as she rolled her eyes, “You’re a mess Michael, but don’t bite off more than you can chew tonight okay? We can go any time you feel overwhelmed or like you really aren’t feeling it. I promise I won’t be upset,” she stated as she reached over to gently squeeze his forearm.

He turned a warm smile towards her as he laced their fingers together, “I’ll be okay Iz, I promise. You stop worrying about me and have some fun yourself too alright? You look amazing tonight,” he added with a cocked brow.

Isobel grinned, “Of course I look amazing,” she tsked at him with a smirk on her dark painted lips. Michael could only shake his head at her while the lights of LA passed by them in blurs.

It didn’t take long to reach the club. Michael let himself out of the car while Isobel waited on her driver to release her. He shot her a look as he rounded the back of the car and stepped up on the curb. Isobel shot him a glare as they both skirted around the long line to slip into the front doors. Michael still wasn’t used to the different sort of special treatment Isobel was given simply because she was highly successful. He nodded at the doorman as he slipped in just behind Isobel. The lights and sound assaulted him as soon as the door snicked shut behind them. He wasn’t much for clubs for the very reason they were too loud and offered little chance for anyone to really talk to each other. Michael had a very tried and true method for hitting on women and the club scene was harder to work in.

“I’m going to make myself scarce, but if you find you need to leave at any point just text Johnson and he’ll be right outside to take you home, if something more serious happens find me and we’ll leave together,” Isobel yelled into his ear as she leaned in close against his shoulder. Michael shot her a look with a soft smile.

“I’ll be fine Izzy, go have fun! I’m a big boy, I can take care of myself,” he assured her as he gently pushed her forward and into the press of bodies milling about. He watched her give him one last look before she turned to fully immerse herself in the crowds.

Michael had a moment of panic once Isobel was gone. He looked around at all of the men and women that crowded the place. He felt like an intruder as he swallowed thickly. Everyone was gorgeous and radiant. The energy of the club itself was accepting in a way Michael had never felt before, but then again, he loved to frequent dive bars where most men spoke with their fists. He nodded to a couple of men who made eye contact and decided he wasn’t nearly loose enough to put himself out there. He eased his way towards an empty corner of the bar close to the main dancefloor. He slipped onto the vacant stool and ordered two glasses of whiskey which he shot back as soon as they were set in front of him. The fiery burn of the alcohol eased some of his nerves as his eyes danced around the club. He watched the way the men interacted with each other while it seemed most threw all inhibitions to the wind. It was fascinating how different everyone in the club was. It was packed, people bumped into each other and drinks were spilled, however everyone seemed to he able to laugh it off. The club itself felt like a whole different planet for Michael.

An hour had passed before Michael was feeling loose enough to even think about approaching someone on the dace floor. A couple of men had approached him and offered to take him for a spin, but he artfully declined, though his heart did ratchet up a beat or two with the offers, it felt kind of nice to be noticed. There was no shortage of attractive people, that much was clear, but what had surprised Michael the most was how he’d started to pick out the different parts of men he did find attractive. He was studying his male counterparts and had started to piece together, in his mind anyway, the perfect male. He scrubbed a hand over his face before he got too deep into it and turned back to the bar.

“You look a little lost,” a low voice suddenly yelled into his ear making him jerk to the side. The other male who had slipped in next to Michael at the bar lifted his hands in surrender, a small grin on his lips as his dark eyes twinkled under the spray of multicolored lights. His hair looked to be dyed some sort of color, but with the myriad of colors that flicked over the club Michael wasn’t quite sure what color it was.

He offered the male a slow smile, “Sorry, sorry, you just uh…caught me off guard,” he excused as he re-situated himself on his stool. He took in the other male. He had broad shoulders and a wide chest that tapered down into narrow hips. Michael could see the beginnings of well-defined muscles just above the waistband of his jeans where his black tee shirt had ridden up. He licked his lips as he drug his gaze back to the man’s face.

“I’m Forrest, and as an apology I’d love to buy you a drink,” he offered with an arched brow.

Michael was speechless for a moment before a cool smile spread over his mouth and he nodded, “That sounds like a fair trade, I’m Michael,” he replied and extended his hand towards Forrest.

“So, this must be your first time in a gay club huh? Don’t worry I won’t out you, so did your girlfriend drag you here?” he asked as he leaned against the bar and waved the bartender over.

Michael chuckled and shook his head, “Ah, no, actually I’m here with my sister, who I assume has broken most of the women’s hearts already,” he stated easily as he relaxed against the bar.

Forrest chuckled and nodded along with the answer, “Well aren’t you a good brother out here supporting her, so then are you also open to persuasion or are you a boring heterosexual?”

Michael was taken aback for a moment by the question. He thought about lying right off the bat, but this seemed like the opening he was looking for. He could feel heat in his cheeks as he rubbed his palms along his jeans, “Honestly, I’m kind of testing the waters. I’ve never so much as kissed by a dude before and up until recently I’ve identified as very heterosexual so…maybe I’m just looking for my bisexual awakening,” he answered, evading the truth artfully.

Forrest hummed as he studied Michael from the tips of his boots to the top of his curly head. He smirked and stepped closer, his hand coming up slowly to cup Michael’s cheek, “Well, it seems you’re in luck then,” he uttered as he slipped closer to slot himself between Michael’s legs.

Michael’s heart started to hammer against his ribs. He settled his hands against the sharp angles of Forrest’s hips for lack of anything better to do with them. He tipped his head back to meet the other man’s gaze. Everything outside of their bubble was reduced to a low hum as Michael tried to mentally prepare himself to be kissed by another man. For a fleeting moment he wanted it, the anticipation was wearing on him, but then Forrest’s lips slotted over his own and his eyes fluttered shut. It was chaste, at first, but then Forrest shifted and pressed closer, his hand moving along Michael’s neck to fist in his curls, and oh, that was new. He gasped softly at the sharp point of pain that raced down his spine. Forrest took advantage of the moment and nipped Michael’s lower lip, drawing out another small gasp. The kiss grew in intensity from there as Michael opened up and Forrest swept in to taste him. Not to be outdone, Michael flicked his tongue into Forrest’s mouth and was shocked at how much the kiss felt the same as with a woman and how different it all felt at the same time. Forrest wasn’t afraid to touch him, grab him, bite at him, and Michael had no idea those were things he was missing. He curled his fingers into the fabric of Forrest’s shirt to pull him closer as he slanted his head to kiss him deeper, enjoying the needy sounds he was eliciting from him.

Just as quickly as it had started Forrest was pulling back and looking far too smug for Michael. He could only stare at the other man for a moment, lost to the wild racing of his heart. Forrest smirked as he shrugged a shoulder, “Well, guess you’re not completely repulsed by kissing another dude, so there’s that,” he stated as their drinks were set down at his elbow. He grabbed one and held it up in a cheers motion towards Michael.

It took Michael another second before his brain clicked online and he grinned himself as he grabbed his glass to clink against Forrest’s, “To growing as a human,” he stated with a chuckle. They both downed their drinks in one go before Forrest was backing way with an arched brow.

“How about we see how good you can move on the dance floor next?” he asked, and Michael actually felt comfortable with him. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to kiss him again or not, but he certainly didn’t want to fuck him just yet, so there was that. Maybe he could work into it since the kiss itself didn’t make him want to push Forrest away. He slipped off his stool and was surprised at just how much he was feeling all the drinks he’d downed. He reached out and gripped Forrest’s arm and giggled, “Just so you know, I’ll dance with you, but I ain’t sleeping with you…not tonight anyways, no matter how good that kiss was,” he stated with a sharp nod.

Forrest chuckled and shook his head fondly, “Don’t worry cowboy, your virtue is safe with me, I’m not interested in hooking up with you or even kissing you again, I’m just looking for a dance, and sharing that with someone who’s not interested in getting into my pants is actually more attractive than you think,” he assured Michael with a wink. He grabbed the cowboy’s hand and led him towards the dance floor.

Heat and bodies surrounded Michael on all sides which forced him to press close to Forrest. He grinned at the other male who had about an inch on him. He felt good, felt free, and happy for the first time in a long time. That realization alone almost knocked him on his ass, but it was the final step to just letting himself be in the moment. He allowed the crowd to dictate his movements. He reached for Forrest and used him as an anchor within the mass of people dancing. He hoped Isobel was having as good a time as he was, and he was sure about his decision to try something new with his career. He had a two-year plan and thanks to Forrest, he was actually excited for what the future would bring him. He was already working on a mental to-do list for the following day, but the beat changed and Forrest knocked his hips just right and Michael was drawn back into the moment where he just decided to simply let himself live.

Chapter Text

It took another three days of mulling things over before Michael actually researched the gay porn industry. He viewed a number of videos just to see what he might be in for, and his biggest discovery was the fact that he’d actually been turned on by some. It wasn’t often, certainly not often enough for him to truly question his sexuality, but there was a small spark which only cemented the fact that he could do it. He could fake it until he made it, and soon he’d be leaving California in the rear-view just like he did Roswell so many years ago. Only this time around Michael wouldn’t be running from a jagged past, he’d be running to a future where he could see himself thriving. He itched to be back in Roswell, he wanted to be close to Max again even though he traveled a lot to promote his novels, but the desert never truly left Michael’s blood, and it had taken him years to understand where he was meant to be. Sometimes standing on the outside was all it took to see things more clearly, or maybe it was because California is where he exorcised all his demons so he’d be going back home with a clean slate.

It was another week before Michael worked up the nerve to actually attend a casting in one of the more prominent and well-respected agencies, Blue Skies. They had one of the highest ratings online and a lot of the posts people made touted how they took the time to create true art…as much as anyone could call porn art, and they seemed to be one of the most exclusive agencies to work for. Everything pointed to a hefty paycheck for Michael so he shoved all of his insecurities and the voices telling him to stop to the very back of his mind and situated himself in line with all sorts of other men. He had no idea what the casting would be like, and he just hoped he had a tight enough hold on his anxiety so he could perform to their specifications and blow their expectations.

All in all, the audition took about thirty minutes. A good portion of it was simply him answering all manner of questions about himself, his sexuality, which didn’t seem to be an issue when he’d responded heterosexual, and only about ten minutes was spent with him really diving into the more intimate details about himself and what he was working with. He was surprised that he didn’t have to take any clothes off. He was escorted into a smaller room where only a couple other men had settled into chairs or started talking with one another. He chose a seat a bit back from the others and hoped he didn’t attract any company. He lifted his leg to rest his ankle over his knee to keep himself from tapping nervously and he tipped his head down as he wondered what could possibly happen next.

It took another forty-five minutes and a couple other additions into the room before an assistant came in and asked for everyone to follow her into yet another room with tables and various papers. Michel furrowed his brows as he slumped down into a metal chair. He pulled the papers closer and started to read what looked like some sort of contract. The assistant didn’t stick around before a taller woman in gray entered and congratulated them on their new jobs, and honestly Michael didn’t think he’d actually land a spot within the agency. His heart hammered erratically as he flipped through the papers and read over the details and the clauses. The woman talked about policies, benefits, expectations, and other technical things Michael hoped he could recall later.

Once silence had settled over the room, the only sound truly being the other men scribbling their life away, he chanced a glance up. At some point, while he’d been lost in legal terms and company mottos, he’d missed another man entering the room. They were having a quiet conversation at the front while Michael scribbled in the last remaining line. He let out a swift breath and pushed the papers up to the edge of the table. He drummed his fingers against his thigh as the others slowly followed suit. The woman smiled as she noted everyone looking up once more, and Michael knew she’d rival Isobel in her scary seriousness.

“Welcome to Blue Skies everyone. It will be a pleasure working with you all and getting to know you through this process. Before we can continue, you will all head over to our medical facility to undergo testing to ensure you’re free of disease as the health of our employees and actors is of utmost importance. Jennifer will take you all there from here. I’m genuinely pleased you all came by today, I think you’re going to really enjoy it here,” she stated with a sharpness to her smile that caused Michael to shiver. He shoved his hands into his pockets and filed out with the others. He was used to the testing; it was a requirement where he once was as well so he knew he had nothing to worry about.

Considering the bundle of nerves Michael was at the start of the day, after spending a couple hours in the studios he was starting to feel a bit relaxed, so it was a surprise when a familiar voice shouted at him as he made his way through a series of hallways with a couple of the other guys from the morning.

“Hey, club guy!” Forrest shouted when he spotted Michael as he’d stepped out of a dressing room.

Michael nearly spat out his heart as he spun around to see Forrest, “Hey, martini guy,” he greeted with a grin, a hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck as he moved closer.

Forrest chuckled as he arched a brow at him, “Of all the places in the world, I never would have imagined seeing you here, I mean…that kiss was pretty epic,” he teased as he clapped Michael on his upper arm.

All the tension he’d been carrying around with being in a new and unfamiliar environment melted out of him as he chuckled, “Yeah, well, I guess you could say it pushed me in...a direction of sorts,” he admitted, headless to the other guys he’d been lumped with staring in awe at him and Forrest.

Forrest, however, noticed and waved at them before he grabbed Michael’s arm and pulled him into the room he had just stepped out of, “Come on, we can chat in here and away from the nosey Nancys,” he whispered and shut the door behind Michael. Once they were in the room Forrest took a step back and dropped gracefully down into the chair at his desk, “So, what the hell are you even doing here? I never imagined I’d actually get to see you again,” he asked as he slowly moved his gaze over Michael’s body.

Michael eyed the couch and moved to settle on it as he grinned at Forrest, “The short of it is, I’ve actually been in the adult entertainment industry for a couple years and I have a goal I want to achieve within the next year or two, among other things. My sister told me, statistically, more heterosexual men make gay porn because of the pay so…I’m here to shoot my shot,” he shared as he settled back into the plush backing of the couch.

Forest seemed to contemplate the reply for a moment before he shook his head with a grin, “Your sister isn’t wrong, and I totally understand the appeal of a decent paycheck. Hopefully we don’t scare you off. Now that you’re finished with all the boring stuff, I can show you around and answer whatever questions you might have,” he offered as he slapped his palms against his thighs and stood up.

Michael let out a breath he wasn’t even aware he was holding as he stood to follow Forrest, “That would be awesome, thanks man,” he stated as he followed the blue haired man out into the hall. The group he was with had long since disappeared, likely pulled away by the need to see who else they could spot around the studio. Michael had listened to a number of them gushing about who they might run into and who they could faun over. Michael hadn’t actually been paying a lot of attention to them so he failed to really hear any names.

“It’s kind of nice you already sort of know the business; I mean obviously working here is going to be extremely different. Have you thought about if you’d top or bottom?” Forrest asked as they turned down another hall that looked like it opened into some studio spaces. Michael could hear the faint sounds of more voices ahead.

Something about Forrest seemingly swooping in to rescue him had Michael feeling at ease, so he chuckled at the question and shrugged, “Honestly, the thought of anyone going near my asshole kind of freaks me out, so definitely a top,” he stated confidently.

Forrest nodded; a smirk lit up at the corner of his mouth as he led Michael into the larger open space of the studio. He moved towards the craft service table, “Well, look at it this way, now you have a safe outlet to explore your sexuality in. Either you’re going to come out of this whole thing even more affirmed as a hetero, or you’re going to find parts of yourself you never imagined existed,” he challenged with an arched brow as he stopped at the coffee to make himself a cup.

Michael snorted as he shook his head, “I guess we’ll see how it goes, I’ve just never been attracted to men before, who knows, this career change can’t be any more harmful to my dating life than my last was,” he teased as he poured himself a cup of coffee once Forrest had finished with his own.

Forrest had opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off as his eyes landed on something behind Michael. Michael furrowed his brows in confusion and turned to see just what had arrested Forrest’s attention. It took him a moment, given various people were shuffling about, but eventually a man with impossibly soft looking brown hair stepped through. He had his shoulder pressed against his ear while he talked with someone on a cellphone. His cheekbones seemed to shimmer with just how sharp that were and his lips looked soft as they moved over whatever he was saying. He seemed distracted by the conversation he was having, but the other person must have said something humorous because the man suddenly barked out a short laugh which ended in a dazzling smile. His skin was tan, but it was his eyes that stole Michael’s breath. He finally glanced in their direction, Michael knew he was looking at Forrest, but his warm chocolate gaze had stopped his brain for a split second. He was also surprised to see a flash of annoyance in his gaze before he turned a questioning look onto Michael himself.

As he came closer Michael could finally hear what he was saying, “Sorry Kyle, I just got to work. Tonight sounds good, I’ll meet you at eight, yes I’ll make sure Maria comes too, God forbid she spend her one night off relaxing at home,” he uttered with an eye roll. There was silence on the guy’s end for a beat until he smiled softly and nodded, “Yeah, okay, see you tonight,” he stated and ended the call. He blinked at Michael and tipped his head before flicking his gaze over Michael’s shoulder.

“Hey Alex, this is Michael. He’s new here and he’s a straight boy,” Forrest announced as he smacked Michael’s shoulder and stepped around him to bring himself closer to the other guy…Alex.

“Oh, uh, hey,” Alex uttered and held out a hand, “Alex Manes, nice to meet you…sorry you had to spend time with this asshole,” he uttered and tipped his head towards Forrest who shot him a pained look.

Michael finally found his voice and he forced a soft chuckle and shook his head, “Uh no, Forrest has been uh…helpful,” he finally replied before he grabbed Alex’s hand to shake, “And uh, I’m Michael…Michael Guerin. It’s nice to meet you,” he stated and was in shock by how flustered this man…Alex suddenly made him. He was also pretty sure he’d never met anyone else as beautiful, which was a shocking realization given the fact Alex was a male.

Forrest’s eyes narrowed as he looked between them, almost like he knew exactly what Michael was thinking. He shifted subtly closer to Alex almost like he was staking a claim, “I am a delight Alex, just because you seem to be annoyed with me most of the time, which I forgive, doesn’t mean everyone else will react that way,” he faux pouted as he tried to wrap his arm around Alex’s, but the other man subtly shifted away to reach for a bottle of water.

Michael watched him curl his fingers around the plastic bottle, “Yeah, Forrest has actually been pretty cool with all of this and telling me about what to expect,” Michael defended, but the look that quickly washed through Alex’s eyes made him suddenly want to pull the words back out of the air and shove them in the trash.

Alex covered the look with a warm smile, though it didn’t quite reach his eyes. There was definitely some sort of history between Alex and Forrest, and for some odd reason Michael felt inclined to take Alex’s side, whatever it might be, to defend and protect him. That thought sent a shock through him. He shook his head and took a long pull of the hot coffee to center himself again. By the time he surfaced it was evident there was some sort of conversation happening between Alex and Forrest that he missed, because the tension ratcheted up a couple more notches before Forrest turned to walk away.

“Oh, uh, should I go after him?” Michael wondered as he blinked at Alex.

Alex’s features softened, and Michael wanted to see that look on his face always, “No, it’s fine. He has a scene to shoot so he’ll be preoccupied for the rest of the day. I hate to leave you hanging though so uh, you can follow me back to my room if you want and I can help with any other questions you might have? I don’t have to be to set for another hour or so,” Alex stated as he started to head back towards the hall Michael had come from with Forrest.

Michael nodded and turned to follow. He noted the way Alex walked with a small limp. He made a mental note to look into Alex more when he was home again. He was curious to know what had happened between he and Forrest, but he knew better than to ask that one his first day. He combed his hand through his curls as his gaze skated over Alex’s back, “So uh, how long have you worked here?” he asked to try and start up any sort of conversation.

Alex turned to glance at Michael over his shoulder before he headed down a different hall, “Two years, I think. It’s not exactly my dream job, but it’s helped distract me from life,” he replied as he unlocked a door and flipped on a light. Alex’s dressing room was roomier than Forrest’s and Michael, again, made himself at home on the plush sofa pushed along the far wall.

Michael huffed out a sardonic laugh as he threw his arm across the top of the couch, “Believe me, I understand that. I’m actually not new to adult entertainment. I worked for Golden Arches before coming here. I’m looking for a heftier paycheck so I can get my ass back home and go to college,” he found himself sharing easily.

Alex had deposited his messenger bag on the table before he took his own seat and turned to face Michael while he spoke. There seemed to be some unspoken connection between them and Michael felt compelled to share things with him. Maybe it was the soft look on his face, but he felt comfortable in Alex’s presence. Looking at him again Michael was taken aback once again by how unassumingly gorgeous he was. He forced himself to breathe as Alex’s tongue poked out to wet his lips.

“College huh? What would you go for?” he asked with an arched brow, and really, Michael scowled because it was unfair how perfect even his eyebrows were.

“Mechanical engineering actually. I had a full ride scholarship after I graduated high school, but I managed to piss it away in the summer after graduation. I made a lot of stupid decisions,” he shared with a soft breath.

Alex hummed in understanding as his hand fell to massage the thigh of his right leg, “Yeah, I can understand that. I lost sight of my own dreams after graduating too and chose the path I swore I never would and ended up almost dying for it,” he huffed with a humorless laugh.

Michael blinked in surprise at the admission. He looked Alex over and finally noted the worn insignia on the tee shirt he wore, “Military?” he asked because he couldn’t quite make out what branch from where he was siting.

Alex smirked, “Yeah, Air Force, took about six years of my life before I almost repaid with my own. Lost part of me over in Iraq,” he huffed and bent down to knock at his prosthetic.

Michael sucked in a breath, “Ah, I’m sorry to hear that man, but uh…I’m glad you’re here,” he stated and blushed. He had no idea how to respond as the mood shifted into something heavy.

Alex studied Michael for a moment before laughing and shaking his head, “It’s fine, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten so serious. It’s in the past and I’m pushing forward. I actually came here a few years ago with a couple of my friends. It’s nice, but I miss home every once in a while,” he confessed as he relaxed into the back of his chair.

Michael nodded in understanding, “Yeah, I can understand that. New Mexico may not be as exciting and vibrant as California, but nothing beats the way the stars shine at night and the desert can stretch for miles without single human in your sight-line,” he stated as he melted back into the couch.

Alex’s eyes widened and blinked in surprise, “You’re from New Mexico? That’s kind of creepy because I’m also from New Mexico. I grew up in Santa Fe, what area are you from?” he asks, his interest in Michael renewed.

Michael was struck dumb for a moment to think that Alex grew up only a few hours away from him makes his heart thump. He licks his lips before he smiles, “Well not Santa Fe, that’s for sure. I actually grew up in Roswell. I spent some time in some other towns around there…foster care, until I was finally able to stick it out in Roswell,” he admitted.

Alex grinned and shook his head, “Oh wow, that’s insane. I was there a couple times, hit all the cheesy tourist trap places, but what a small world. I’m glad I ran into you, it’s nice to have someone I can really relate to outside of Maria and Kyle,” he stated as his shoulders sagged even more.

Suddenly Michael was excited to see what his future held. He hoped that Alex would be a prominent part of it, which is something he’d explore in more depth when he was home alone. Just what was it about this guy in particular that seemed to strike something deep and well hidden inside of Michael?

Chapter Text

Eighth grade was the first time Michael Guerin had learned what porn was. He was in the basement of one of his friends’ homes huddled around a battered desktop with two other guys from school. His first foray into porn was a still image of a naked woman that took twenty minutes to download. It would be another couple weeks before his friends would show him a website on where to find videos. From there Michael was able to discreetly navigate the world of free porn from his own fingertips. Largely he only ever watched straight porn or girl on girl, but there were a couple curious times when he dipped his toe into gay porn when he was in high school, but it never seemed to do the trick, though it left him with more questions than anything. He wasn’t curious enough to do any research on what it meant for two men to be together, so it was something he never spared a thought for beyond writing it off as simple adolescent curiosity and overwhelming hormones.

He is, however, pretty sure that had Alex ever stared in any of the gay porn he’d tested years ago, he may have come out as bisexual back in high school. Alex is one of the most beautiful people Michael had ever met in his life. It’s easy to see why he’s so popular within the gay community as well as the most popular actor for Blue Skies. The videos he stars in seem to be more artful than just purely fueled by sex and erotica. Michael isn’t even turned on by the few he watches, but he does find himself wondering what it could be like to have the full force of Alex’s focus on him, the way he always makes sure his partner feels good and the undivided attention he lavishes on them. Michael is purely fascinated by the work Alex does and knowing they both hail from New Mexico makes him feel a certain sort of kinship towards him.

In the days that followed his new employment Michael artfully dodged the questions from Isobel and fervently denied a change in sexuality. He is still solely interested in his paychecks and getting them into his savings account so he can finally bid LA farewell. Ever since the promise of school and a future seemed within his grasp, the yearning to go back home weighed heavy on his heart. He had tentative plans with Isobel to fly back for a week in a few months since Max was due back from his latest book signing tour at that time. He was excited to be back in the desert, to see Sanders, hopefully by then he had some cash to give the man to help him out.

Blue Skies is a lot closer to Michael's apartment than his last gig so he enjoys the walk to the bus stop that gets him closest and relishes the fact his favorite coffee shop is on the route. He and Forrest had become better acquainted over the last week, even meeting up a couple times for drinks in the evenings, though they hadn’t kissed again since the night they met in the club. Michael appreciated that the guy never pushed or harassed him about it or his choices as a heterosexual male in the gay porn industry. If anything, Forrest seemed to really love that fact about Michael and seemed to use it as a shield more than Michael himself did.

The first week of employment was spent mostly completing administrative tasks and various testing and trainings. It was all simple enough, but on the final day Michael was finally given his first gig. It had been explained to him as a way to ease into what he’d eventually be doing they were going to start with photo-shoots. It was much more laid back than actually shooting videos and served as a means to get Michael comfortable being with another man. It sounded innocuous to him at the time, but when the day of the shoot rolled around, he felt like an entire swarm of butterflies had been unleashed in his stomach. He had yet to meet the person he’d be shooting with, but feared that now he was being asked to put his money where his mouth was, he might falter.

He was sat in one of the chairs located along the edge of where the shoot would be conducted. It was set up to look like a tack room, they wanted to cash in on his natural cowboy swagger, something Forrest had mentioned in jest when one of the studio assistants had joined them for lunch. His foot moved in an erratic rhythm as he watched the set designers, assistants, photographer, and other hands move around making last minute changes. He mentally critiqued their setup, but kept this mouth shut as he took in the atrocious layout. He almost snorted, but a heavy hand landed on his shoulder that caused him to jump and yelp.

“Whoa there tiger, I wanted to stop by and see how you were doing. Today is the big day!” Forrest announced with a grin as he rounded the chair where Michael sat.

“Jesus Forrest, are you trying to kill me before I even have a chance to make a couple bucks?” he chuckled and shook his head as he relaxed once more.

Forrest grinned as he drug a chair closer to drop down into next to Michael, “I highly doubt the studio would want to dip their toes in necrophilia,” he shot back as he turned to regard Michael with an easy grin.

Michael scoffed as he shook his head, “Gross, and I really hope not,” he uttered as he lifted a hand to rub at the back of his neck.

Forrest cocked his head, his grin softening as he took in Michael's countenance, “Ah, you’re nervous, do you…so you think you can actually do this?” he asked a but quieter as he leaned closer to Michael.

A soft breath escaped Michael’s lips as he wiped his palms along his jean clad thighs, “I dunno, but I can’t back out now. I met a couple of the other guys the other day who are like me…straight,” he clarified before he cleared his throat, “they all said it gets a lot easier after this first round. I’ve only ever kissed one dude before…don’t even give me that look you ass,” he grinned as he noted the amusement that crossed Forrest’s face.

“Well, I can definitely attest that you’re an amazing kisser, but also, they’ll give you something to help your little guy perform, even if you’re not into it…it will look like you are. I’ve had to use it a time or two,” he added with a wink.

A blush slowly colored Michael’s cheeks as he looked away from the other male, “That’s kind of insulting, but I get it. I watched some of your work and hot as it was…I couldn’t get little Mikey into it…guess Isobel won’t be welcoming me to her camp after all,” he huffed with a slow grin.

Forrest chuckled, “Pity, but you can’t help who you are or what you find attractive. Just means more men for me,” he teased back as he kicked out a foot to bump Michael’s ankle.

Before either male could continue the conversation, Alex appeared, his eyes set on Forrest with a tight frown on his lips. He stopped in front of them, his gaze focused on the blue haired male who seemed to preen under the attention. Michael looked between the two for a moment before Alex broke the silence.

“First I can’t get you to leave me alone and now I can’t find you when I need you. They moved up our shoot, we go on in an hour,” he huffed, though he didn’t sound nearly as excited as Forrest looked.

Michael blinked as he looked to Alex, a slow smile pulling at his lips as he waved, “Hi Alex, nice to see you again, lovely weather huh?” he asked him loudly. His grin widened when he watched Alex shake himself out of whatever fog he was in and turn his chocolate gaze towards him. A very faint blush crossed his cheeks as he actually smiled apologetically to Michael.

“Oh, hey Guerin, sorry, I have a lot going on this afternoon so I want to stick to schedule. Uh, how are you holding up? I haven’t had a chance to find you again since we last spoke. How are your nerves?” he asked kindly, content to ignore Forrest.

Forrest frowned as soon as Alex’s attention was pulled away from him. He slipped free from the chair and sidled up to him, “You just scolded me for wasting time chatting and now you want to talk to Michael,” he pouted as he wrapped his arms around Alex’s arm in a bid to regain his attention.

Michael raised a curious brow at the display. Alex’s frown returned as he tried to free himself from Forrest’s grasp, but the other male had latched onto him with both of his arms which made it difficult for Alex to wiggle free without looking like a complete ass. Forrest seemed to know exactly what he’d done as he batted his lashes at Alex, his grip tightening in some sort of possessive display. If Michael hadn’t known better, he’d swear they were dating from the way Forrest was acting.

He cleared his throat, feeling like he was intruding on something, “My nerves? I’d be lying if I said I was fine, but it’s my first time doing anything with a guy so…I’m kind of worried,” he admitted.

The smile that graced Alex’s lips was the softest thing Michael had ever seen, his eyes seemed to melt in response to the fond look, “I’ve been told, numerous times, it’s not all that different than being with a woman. Most of the other heteros around here just keep saying a hole is a hole. The only thing they seem to miss are breasts. I’d visit with some of them again when you have a chance. They should have a lot of tips…no pun intended,” he grinned.

Michael tried hard not to watch as he wet his bottom lip with his tongue, but something about Alex always pulled him in so he noticed all the small details. He smiled in response and flicked his gaze back up to meet Alex’s, “Yeah, they all said that going down on a guy was the hardest for them, at least with a photo-shoot it should be easier to fake until I’ve worked myself up to actually being filmed. I’m still surprised at how many of the guys who work here are…straight and adamantly so,” he shared softly as he raked his hand back through his curls.

Both Forrest and Alex huffed at the statement, “That’s what happens when studios opt to pay what they do to film or get shots of man on man action. It’s just a job like anything else, but there’s a lot more to it since you see your co-workers naked or even regularly sleep with them, it’s why I have a very firm no dating co-workers policy. It’s too messy,” he states as he shrugs the shoulder of his free arm.

Forrest groans from where he hangs on Alex’s arm, but he lets go and turns to look at Michael, his face turned down in the saddest approximation of a puppy who had just been kicked, “I hate that rule, I keep trying to get him to make an exception, but he’s so steadfast. It’s all that military training. I’ll break you yet Manes,” Forrest hums as his gaze turns back to the other male.

A dark look passes through Alex’s eyes in a matter of a nanosecond, but Michael catches it. He’s almost sure that Alex actually doesn’t like Forrest at all, but like he’d said, he gets paid to work and sometimes that includes working with Forrest. They’re the top most wanted according to the website so it makes sense for them to regularly work together.

“That’s a good rule to go by. I made that mistake a couple times before, but I’ve spent the last year or so painfully single. Turns out women outside the business don’t take kindly to their boyfriend sleeping with multiple women just to make a living,” he huffed with a forced chuckle.

Alex’s features softened as he gave Michael a once over, “Sorry to hear that, anyways, we need to get going. Maybe we’ll catch you after and we can get a drink to celebrate your cherry being popped?” he asked with an elegantly arched brow.

Michael felt like the air was sucked from the room as Alex’s smile widened. He felt himself nod before he forced himself to speak, “Yeah, that sounds awesome actually. It’d be nice to unwind afterwards,” he stated, “we can trade numbers so I can text you when I’m done and we can figure out a place to meet?” he asked as he handed his phone over to Alex.

Forrest’s face seemed to darken as he watched the whole exchange, “Who knew you actually mad time for your co-works Alex.” he muttered before he continued, “I’m also assuming since I’m standing right here that I’m invited too?”

Alex sighed as he handed Michael’s phone back, open to his message screen where he noticed Alex had sent himself a text so he could save Michael’s number later. Alex turned towards Forrest, “You can join us, but it’s only for Michael’s sake,” he grit out before he turned to head back the way he’d come from.

Forrest frowned, “Jesus Alex, why is it so hard for you to just let me be your friend?” he grumbled before he gave Michael one last grin, “you got this Michael, we’ll see you afterwards…first drink is on me,” he promised with a wink before he hurried to catch up with Alex.

There was something Michael was missing between Alex and Forrest. The way they interacted with each other was awkward and almost painful to watch. He hoped that getting drinks with them wasn’t going to be too awkward later. It was obvious Forrest wanted more from Alex, but Alex wasn’t willing to give it. They made an odd pairing off screen, but on-screen Michael recalled how smoothly they worked together and how hot their videos were. Seeing the two of them together was the closest Michael had gotten to even feeling a little turned on, but again, even though Forrest was beautiful, Michael’s focus had been on Alex the whole time.

All too soon he was pulled from his musings as a makeup assistant was calling him over to get ready for the shoot. As he moved into the offered chair, he met his co-star, a little twig of a boy, likely no more then twenty. He seemed happy enough to be there and he engaged Michael in conversation easy enough. Apparently, it wasn’t his first photo shoot nor the first time he worked with a straight man. His name was Jared, and the ease with which he conversed with Michael helped ease his nerves, even when a stage hand gave him a magic little pill to take after versing him on what to expect and how long it would take to work.

--------

On the other side of the studio Alex was studiously ignoring the looks Forrest was shooting him as well as the attitude he’d decided to dredge up since he was pulled away from Michael. He sighed for the umpteenth time as he turned to glare at the blue haired male, “What, Forrest? Please don’t tell me you’re jealous I invited Guerin out for drinks after he’s done because you know he’s straight and there is no chance I would date him, or that he’d even want me. I don’t know how many times I need to tell you; I am not and will not be interested in a relationship with you. We have a job that sometimes requires us to sleep together, do not confuse that for feelings,” Alex stated, a cold edge to his words. They weren’t words Forrest hadn’t already heard multiple times before. He pushed his hand roughly though his hair, pulling at some strands to keep himself grounded.

Forrest scoffed as he rolled his eyes, “You never invite anyone for drinks after work Alex. How am I not supposed to be jealous that this new…not to mention heterosexual guy gets your phone number and an invitation to drinks the second time he’d ever talked to you? It took months for me to get your number and you never even text me back,” he pouted as he shrugged out of his hoodie.

Alex frowned as he started to unbutton his flannel, “Do you even hear yourself? You sound like a creeper Forrest, and Guerin is different, he’s chill. Also, he grew up not far from me so we actually have some common ground. You have no say in my social life nor who I can and cannot have drinks with. I only invited you as a courtesy, don’t read into it,” he uttered as he pulled his white undershirt over his head.

Forrest’s eyes moved to take in the sight before him, his mouth going dry as he raked his gaze over Alex’s firm body. A dusting of hair covered his chest while a neat little trail led down towards his cock. Forrest swallowed thickly. His fingers itched to touch. They hadn’t shot scenes together in a couple weeks and he missed the ex-military man. Forrest tugged at his own tee shirt and draped it over his chair as he moved closer to Alex.

“Look, I’m sorry for how I reacted, it’s just…God, you know I’ve had a thing for you for so long, and I know Michael is straight and has no chance with you but…I still get jealous. I swear I’m working on it though,” he utters softly as he looks up at Alex through his lashes. He knows exactly how to put Alex as ease. A slow smile warms across his lips as he watched the tension leave the other male slowly. He knows he’s won when Alex’s shoulders finally fall.

“It’s been years Forrest; you need to find someone to move on with. You’re an amazing guy, just not for me. I’m sorry if that hurts, but I’m not going to lie to you,” Alex whispers softly as he moves towards his mark.

Forrest inhales a sharp breath. He offers Alex a small nod and smile. He knows he can change his mind; he just needs to get Alex away from work and show him exactly what he could have and just how happy he can make him. He follows Alex to his own mark. The set-hands and cameramen mill about and the director shouts out various cues and orders, but Forrest only has eyes for Alex. He reaches out to settle his hands against his bare waist, savoring the warm skin. He slides his thumbs along Alex’s ribs as he tips his chin to gaze up at him. It’s so easy to fall into his feelings for the man standing in front of him. He barely hears the shout of action as Alex is leaning towards him, his feathery lashes fluttering and curling against his cheek as he closes his eyes. Forrest groans as their lips meet. He’s plunged into fantasy where Alex is his and his alone. His hands tighten against his ribs as he spins the man around to shove him against the wall. He enters an entirely new headspace as he drags his lips down Alex’s throat. He tells himself the exaggerated groans that Alex makes are only for him. It’s so easy to fool himself, to make himself think that Alex cares about him when they’re acting together. The sharp points of Alex’s nails against his back draw a gasping breath from his lips. He surges up in retaliation to pull on Alex’s ear lobe. He notes the hitch it causes in his breathing. Forrest smirks as he nuzzles into Alex’s cheek.

“You’re all mine baby, no one else gets you like this,” he whispers quietly enough that the mics can’t pick it up, but he knows Alex heard him by the way he stiffens and pushes off the wall to shove Forrest back towards the bed. He watches with a hungry expression as Alex stalks towards him, looking like thunder, which fits for his character in the scene. Forrest flutters his lashes at him before he’s covered by Alex's long, hard body. He’s glad that the script calls for Alex to start off riding him because Forrest wants to watch him for as long as he can, to see just what he does to Alex to further convince himself that he is all Alex will ever need.

Chapter Text

The dark strands of Alex’s hair still dripped as he sat in his chair. He stared at his reflection without truly seeing himself. His focus had blurred his reflection into obscurity, which seemed to fit his mood for the day. He shifted slightly in his chair, a sharp ache from his bottom reminded of the scene he’d just shot. He knew he needed to stop working so closely with Forrest, he was letting his feelings get the better of him and as much as it annoyed Alex, he truly didn’t want to lose the man as a friend. He blinked at himself, this time his face came back into view. He blinked once more and this time when he opened his eyes again his mirror was suddenly filled with black smoke curling into the air and miles of desert on either side. Acrid, burning flesh hit Alex next. He gasped and slammed his eyes closed as he leaned forward to push his palms into the sockets, white noise filling his head as he worked to breathe steadily.

His phone vibrated on the table next to his elbow, filling the room with the jarring sound of plastic hitting wood. He jumped; his heart slammed against his ribs as he reached for the offending electronic. He furrowed his brow as he flipped it over to see the screen and noticed a message from Michael.

Michael: Well, I survived the shoot. I felt like I was gonna break the poor kid they partnered with me, but we both made it. He was pretty cool about everything. It was still kind of weird and I can’t bring myself to look at the proofs, but…I SURVIVED!

A soft huff of laughter bursts from Alex’s lips. He grins easily as he types out his own response to Michael.

Alex: Congrats! I promise it will get easier. I can introduce you to some of the other straights around set. They can help you with some things you might feel the longer you stick around with us. You ready for a drink?

Alex didn’t have to wait long for Michael’s response, again he found himself grinning at the message as he read over it.

Michael: Hell, yes, I still need a drink. You better have a good place to take me Manes, otherwise I might judge you more harshly. Meet up at the south exit in like 20 minutes?

Alex: That works, and I think you’ll like the place I have in mind. See you soon.

After he sent the last message Alex set his phone back on the table with the screen facing down. He glanced quickly in the mirror to make sure the image from earlier had disappeared. All the stared back at him were vacant brown eyes. He frowned at the image before he looked away. He was sick of staring at himself. No matter how long he stared at his own image he still couldn’t seem to see himself, not in any way that mattered to him. He sighed as he pushed to his feet and went through the motions of getting dressed. At least he could look forward to having Michael as a buffer to Forrest and he’d be visiting Maria in her workplace which would help ease all the other stress he felt. Suddenly he was looking forward to leaving his day behind and getting lost in a good Scotch with his best friend. He left his chair and the mirror behind as he sorted through is clothes and got dressed.

Thankfully Forrest didn’t seem to be around once he left his room. He made sure the door was locked as he navigated through the various halls towards the exit, he’d agreed to meet Michael at. He wasn’t surprised to find Forrest already there with Michael, the two chatting easily. Alex watched a soft smile pull across Michael’s lips and an almost unfamiliar dip swooped in his gut. He frowned to himself, his hand moving to gently rub over his stomach to ease the odd sensation. He furrowed his brows and continued forward until they both heard his approach. He plastered on a smile as he looked from one to the other.

“Hey, thanks for this man, it’s cool to have met some chill guys here,” Michael greeted with another soft grin. Alex had to clear his throat as he shot him his own, quick little grin.

“Yeah, some of the other actors can be dicks, but almost all of us are here for the same reasons, and there can be a lot of issues with guys and other guys’ sexuality,” Forrest stated as he moved to stand next to Alex.

Alex shifted slightly away from him as he nodded towards the door, “Let’s get going before the bar fills up, I already let Maria know we were on our way,” he shares with them as he heads out the door and towards the street.

“I already ordered an Uber, figured you’d wanna take Guerin to your safe spot,” Forrest jests as he follows after Alex to wait for their ride.

Michael’s brows arch at the name, “Maria? Where does she work?” he asks as he comes to stand on Alex’s other side, his thumbs easily slung through his belt loops.

Alex grins at the question. He could easily wax poetic about his childhood best friend who’s closer to him than any of his actual family members. He clears his throat, “She’s actually my childhood best friend and roommate. She kind of followed me out here when I left Santa Fe behind a few years ago. She’s been my rock through all the shit that’s happened in my life. Her mom owns a bar back home called The Wild Pony. One day she hopes to take over so Mimi can actually retire and enjoy some free time. Anyways, she’s a bartender at a quiet little bar downtown. I like it because it’s small and not so busy for the most part,” he shares easily.

Michael grins as he listens, he feels oddly thankful that Alex has someone like that here for him. He barely knows the guy, but he can already sense a sort of darkness shadowing him. He understands demons and that everyone has their own to face, but Alex already seems so nice. He’s looking forward to meeting someone so important to him, “She sounds pretty cool then, even better that she’s got a hook up for alcohol,” he teases with a light jab of his elbow.

Alex huffs, but the arrival of their ride silences anything else he might have had to add. He climbs into the back seat of the SUV that pulls up and scoots towards the driver side window. Michael climbs in after him meaning Forrest is left to press against the passenger side. As the driver pulls away from the curb Forrest starts talking about inane subjects that Michael easily follows along with while Alex uses the time to just sort out everything in his head.

The drive passes quickly, filled with nonsensical chatter. Alex spills out of the car first, thanking the man who had picked them up. He waits for Michael and Forrest on the curb before he heads into the bar. It’s still rather early on a weeknight, just after 7:00 PM so only a handful of people sit scattered through the bar. It’s nothing like the numerous clubs up and down the strip. It’s quiet, bright, and music drifts down from the speakers at a much more tolerable level. As soon as he steps over the threshold Alex’s gaze moves behind the bar to find Maria. An easy, soft smile hits him as he picks his way over to her. Her soft bohemian style fits her and she is truly one of the most gorgeous people Alex has ever met.

“Alex! Hey, you don’t get enough of me at home so you need to come bug me at work?” she teases with an arched brow as her gaze shifts over his shoulder. She’s met Forrest before and she is more than aware of Alex’s issues with him, so he doesn’t miss the sharp edge to her smile as she spots him.

“What can I say, you’re the best bartender I know and I’d be doing Michael here a disservice if I brought him anywhere else,” he states as he steps up and pushes across the bar to kiss her cheek. He slides easily onto a stool, Forrest on his left and Michael on his right.

Maria cocks a brow at Michael, her gaze skating over him as her lips quirk into a small smirk, “And how do you know Alex? What are your intentions with him? Just so you know, I have no problem cutting off a certain part of your anatomy if you hurt him,” she easily tells him as she places three glasses onto the counter.

Alex gapes at her for a moment while Michael looks almost terrified with a mix of amused. It’s Forrest, however, that decides to pipe in as he leans closer to Alex, “Oh no Maria, Michael here is actually painfully straight. He just started work with us so Alex offered to buy him a drink after his first time…you know,” he supplies with a suggestive waggle of his brows.

Were Michael any lesser of a man he’d have blushed at the revelation from Forrest, but instead he plasters on a cocky grin, “I’ll speak for myself now, anyways, I’m Michael Guerin and Forrest is right, I do work with them but don’t quite share in their attraction to men,” he states, his head cocked as he grins easily.

Maria, long used to men flirting with her only shoots him an unimpressed look before snorting, “Well, welcome Michael, my threat still stands. Alex could use some good friends too,” she adds with a final, pointed look. Michael swallows thickly, but is grateful that Alex seems to have someone in his life the genuinely cares about him.

“I promise to only ever do right by Alex,” he assures and holds his hand up with the Boy Scout salute.

Alex groans, “You guys, I am sitting right here and am a perfectly capable adult. Stop talking like I’m some child,” he mutters with a frown.

Forrest chuckles as he takes the moment to slip his hand on Alex’s thigh to squeeze it reassuringly, “Trust me Alex, no one here thinks of you as a child,” he all but purrs into his ear. He only leans back when Maria snaps the bottle of Scotch down next to his glass. He shoots her a sugary sweet grin as he slips his hand off of Alex and settles it instead on top of the bar.

The rest of the evening passes easily for Alex. Maria isn’t too busy that she comes back to them often to visit. She and Michael seem to settle into some sort of easy, flirting banter. Forrest continually tries to slip into Alex’s space at every opportunity he can, and by some miracle Michael notices Alex’s growing discomfort and invites them to play some pool. Alex all but jumps at the chance. Michael shows off some very impressive pool skills, but Alex still manages to win a couple games out of the handful they play. As the end of the night rolls around for him he’s feeling much lighter than he had in weeks. He’s smiling much easier and Maria often shoots him proud little smiles that make him duck and blush. He opts to head home just as he starts to feel the warm fuzz of the alcohol cocoon him. He bids Michael and Forrest a goodnight, declining numerous times when Forrest offers to get them both a ride home.

The apartment is blessedly still and quiet when Alex falls through the door. He is exhausted down to his bones. It’s been a long time since he’d done much outside of work. His right leg just begins to smart as he falls into his bed. He shifts around until he’s seated at the edge to work his prosthesis off and set it against the dresser. He sheds the rest of his clothes as he burrows down deep into his sheets. Usually his sleep is interrupted by the fires of war or the blows of his childhood, but tonight it seems, he’s haunted by eyes of liquid amber and honey color curls.

Chapter Text

Getting used to such a dramatic career change had been challenging for Michael, but what surprised him the most was how he could separate the work from his personal life. There was no shortage of Isobel continually trying to get him to admit he wasn’t so straight while he continued to tell her he honestly wasn’t sure. In the three months he’d worked for the company he’d thought about his sexuality and still felt like identifying as a heterosexual male fit him. He wasn’t often turning his head for men, but there were times he’d stop and appreciate something about a man he saw in passing, in photos, or in various other places, especially since the company had graduated him from photo shoots to actual video shoots. In a matter of weeks Michael’s popularity skyrocketed on the site and he was quickly moving up the ranks, so much so that his next shoot was actually scheduled with Alex Manes.

He’d never been nervous for a shoot before. As he’d always adamantly maintained, it was work and nothing more, but still, Alex Manes remained one of the most attractive people he had ever met. They had established an amazing friendship with one another over the last couple of months and Michael liked him. He knew he always wanted to keep Alex in his life, somehow, even when he would ultimately quit the business sometime in the future. He’d never clicked with any other human like he did Alex. They shared similar backgrounds, something that had made it easier for Michael to open up to the other man about things he’d not really shared with anyone else. Alex settled something inside his generally chaotic head that he just craved.

He was pulled from such musings by a gentle hand on his shoulder. He pulled one of his earbuds free to glance up at who had wanted his attention. A grin broke out across his lips when he saw Alex standing over him, “Oh, hey! Uh, they’re not calling us on set yet, are they? I thought we had like another two hours,” he asked as he started to rise from his chair.

Alex’s smile was soft as he shook his head, “No, I was actually hoping I could borrow you first, can you come with me?” he asked as he shifted back to wait for Michael to get up from where he was sitting.

Michael flashed him a quick smile and wiped his suddenly sweaty palms against his worn jeans. He simply nodded as he motioned for Alex to proceed him. They moved through the maze of halls before Michael realized they were actually headed towards Alex’s private rooms. He let out a soft sigh and worried if he’d done something to upset the other man. His heart thudded against his ribs as he followed Alex into the softly lit room. The door snicked shut behind him and he looked to Alex for direction.

“Guerin, you look like I’m about to sell your family pet or something, come sit down,” he motioned as he sunk down onto the couch along the far wall.

Michael swallowed thickly and forced a smile as he joined Alex, “Sorry, sorry it’s just…I know we’ve gotten to be decent friends and now to be doing a shoot with you…I guess I’m kind of nervous and I don’t want to disappoint you,” he muttered gently as he perched on the edge of the couch.

Alex’s smile was painfully fond as he studied the other man, “I was kind of worried you’d get too nervous, that’s why I wanted to talk to you, hopefully ease your nerves. Nothing is going to change between us, we’ll still be friends, this is just work. You, at least, understand that more than most and…I feel safe with you,” he said softly and leaned forward to lay his hand against Michael’s knee.

A nervous chuckle escaped Michael’s lips, “Wow, they should have you talk to all the newbies. You’re really good at relieving stress,” he teased as he relaxed slowly.

Alex chuckled, his hand leaving Michael’s legs as he lifted his left leg onto the sofa so he could more fully face the other man, “Anyways, I did see some of your previous shoots and you do good work. I’m actually excited to have this opportunity. We could do the usual drinks afterwards, make sure nothing is awkward once the cameras stop rolling?” he asked with an arched brow, something Michael was quickly finding extremely endearing.

“Yeah, so you can’t wait to have this dick in your ass?” he teased back, he own attempt to waylay his nerves as he leaned forward with a cocky grin.

Alex only huffed, shaking his head, “You are terrible, we’ll see how well you do under the lights, but at least your nerves seem to be settled now. Have you had enough time to go over the script and understand the…admittedly, atrocious tropey storyline?” he asked, his nose curled up in distaste.

At this Michael couldn’t stop his bark of laughter, “God, you know, I thought I was so used to all the tropes porn can have, but this one is so predictable and I kind of feel like someone wanted to take a dig at me. ‘Cowboy and City Boy,’ please, I don’t look that much like a cowboy, do I?” he asked, an amused indignant tone to his voice as he pressed his hand against his chest.

“You do look pretty cowboy, what, your tight jeans, button downs, worn boots, and that Stetson I’ve seen you come out with…come on,” Alex teased right back, his features softening further as they settled into an easy banter with each other.

A knock on the door pulled the two men from their conversation as a set hand poked his head in to let them know they had fifteen minutes to report to makeup. Once the set hand had left the room Alex leaned close to Michael again, his features softening once more as he pushed himself to stand. He offered his hand to Michael and pulled him up to his feet, a grin on his face as he took a half step back.

“See you again soon, don’t disappoint me cowboy,” he teased with a wink.

Michael couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out. He shook his head as he left Alex room, “You’re awful, we’ll see if you live up to all the hype,” he snarked back just before the door could close and swallow whatever reply Alex tried to shoot back.

Going through makeup both felt like an eternity and only a moment all at once. He found it hilarious they made him shed his usual clothes to don their collection of Wrangler jeans and checkered button-down shirts. He stood at the edge of the set; his shirt billowed softly around him as he looked over the script again. Most of it would be ad-lib, which he was used to, but he filed away some of the directional cues to make the process smooth and so he couldn’t seem like such a newbie while he filed with Alex. Once Alex made his way to set Michael placed his sides on the dresser of the room, they were in. He grinned at the other male and couldn’t deny how great he looked dressed up in a soft looking grey Henley, expensive looking jeans, black rimmed glasses, and his hair neatly styled. Michael felt a jolt of something arc down his spine as his breath stuttered for a second. Alex smiled warmly at him as he moved to his mark. He arched a brow at the cowboy as he waited for Michael to catch up. Michael jumped into action, his cheeks warming slightly with embarrassment as he moved to his own mark.

“Just breathe,” Alex whispered, a lopsided grin on his lips as he slowly took in Michael’s appearance from the tip of his toes to the very top of the worn cowboy hat they had placed on his head.

Michael nodded and inhaled a deep breath. He felt it expand all the way through his lungs. Alex shifted his weight some as his face morphed before Michael’s eyes into something that looked like a mixture of arousal and apprehension, befitting of the character he was about to play. Michael closed his own eyes to get into the read headspace. As soon as he opened them, he could feel the shift in his body. He was ready, the gaze he had fixed on Alex was hungry. As soon as they called ‘Action,’ a soft growl emitted from his lips and he advanced on the man in front of him.

Alex shuttered a breath as he moved back, his back pressed against the door behind him. Michael shot him a cocky smirk as he boxed him in with his hips and shoulders. Alex’s chest rose and fell with exaggerated breathes as he rooted around for the right words to say. Michael took his moment of surprise to play with the hem of the long-sleeved shirt he wore. Finally Alex seemed to find his words as he weakly pushed at Michael’s hands.

“What do you think you’re doing? This was not part of the deal,” he stated shakily as he blinked large brown eyes up at Michael.

A slow and hungry grin pulled at Michael’s lips as he moved an arm to curl above Alex’s head. He leaned in close, the tip of his nose grazed softly across Alex’s cheek, “Darlin’, the deal was void the moment you stepped on my property. You know it, and I know it. Now I’m sick of all the looks we keep havin’. It’s time to do something about it,” he rumbled with a slightly more exaggerated accent. He moved his other hand under Alex’s shirt to flatten against his stomach. The muscles there were firm and vibrated against his touch.

“I-I…that’s not true,” he tried to argue, but his voice had lost any sort of edge and his eyes fluttered shut as his own hands moved to grip Michael’s hips.

A jolt of simmering heat settled in Michael’s gut as he scraped his nails every so softly through the soft hair below Alex’s navel. His eye lids fluttered as he bent closer to the other man and trailed his lips along the side of his neck. He felt more than heard Alex’s shuttering breath. He grinned at the way his fingers twitched and tightened against his own hips so he took another step closer. He breathes against Alex’s neck before he leaned close enough to nip just under his ear, the hand above Alex’s head moved to cradle the opposite side of his face.

“It’s alright sweetheart, just let me do all the work,” he growled in a low purr as he shifts to place a thigh between Alex’s leg. He could feel the press of his hardening cock against his thigh and he shifted it slowly back and forth, teasing the other man.

A soft groan escaped Alex’s lips as he dropped his chin to watch the way Michael’s thigh moved against him. He arched his hips down, pressing even closer for more friction and to exaggerate his desperation. He blinked up at Michael, his own eyes half-lidded as he stared at the cowboy’s lips. He licked his own in response, “We…we can still stop here,” he breathed, though his hands belied his lips as they moved up to pull Michael’s undershirt free to grasp the small of his back.

Michael smirked as he reached back to grab Alex’s hands. He uncurled them from around his hips and pinned them above the other man’s head. He held both wrists in one hand as he leaned close, their chests pressed together as he skimmed his nose along Alex’s, “Baby, I think it’s time we put that mouth of yours to work,” he uttered as he cocked his head and moved closer.

Alex’s breath caught as he watched Michael lean in. He groaned against the electricity lighting up all of his nerve endings and pushed forward to crash his lips against Michael’s. Emboldened by the sudden kiss Michael pushed Alex hard back against the door and hitched his hips against Alex’s. He groaned as he arched and ground into Alex. The other man gasped before flying back in to kiss Michael harder. Tongues tangled and tasted each other as the kiss deepened. Michael eventually let go of Alex’s hands so he could sink his fingers into the man’s silky strands of hair. He gripped and combed through the soft, flaxen locks. He was not prepared for Alex’s own fingers in his curls. He distantly heard the soft thud of his hat hitting the floor, but couldn’t care less about it. His body shivered at the way Alex worked his fingers against his scalp and tugged at his curls. Soft gasps of pleasure escaped between their lips as they pulled and pushed in a fight for dominance until Alex finally pushed off the door at his back and caused Michael to stumble back a step.

“You still lookin’ to stop city boy?” Michael asked, his voice dripping with all the sexy cowboy swagger he could muster.

A very brief, blink and you miss it, smirk ticked up the corner of Alex’s mouth as his character blinked rapidly. He worked his gaze over Michael’s form, his mouth opening and closing as he tried to form some sort of coherent thought. Michael, on the other hand, took advantage of the situation and started to slowly unbutton the buttons that held his shirt closed. The fabric fluttered down to pool at his feet. He arched a brow at the other man whose glasses had gone askew with their intense makeout session.

Alex’s Adam’s apple bobbed gently as he swallowed. His character looked as if he wanted to say no, but his lips told a different story as a very soft plea to continue was emitted. Michael smirked at the tenor of desperation as he stepped forward and hooked his index fingers into the belt loops of the jeans Alex wore. He was mindful of the man’s prosthetic as he urged him closer only to slowly turn his back towards the bed. Alex fell down with a soft thump, his chin tipped up so he could stare up at the cowboy. His hands found their way to the other man’s hips where his grip flexed nervously, but pulled him closer into the vee of his legs. Michael’s hands settled on Alex’s shoulders for a moment before he curled his fingers into the fabric of his Henley and started to pull it up an off. As soon as Alex’s perfectly tanned skin was bared to him, he pushed him back against the bed and crawled over him, caging him in on all fours.

“Sweetheart, don’t look so scared, I’ve got you,” Michael breathed as he san down to drag his lips tantalizingly over the exposed chords of Alex’s neck. He felt the shiver that wracked Alex’s body and grinned.

Alex struggled to form words as his hands moved to grip at the back of Michael’s white tank. He pulled on the fabric as his eyes slammed shut, a groan rumbling from deep in his throat as he arched off the bed. His eyes fluttered as he struggled to remain coherent, “I-I’ve watched the way you handle livestock…I-I want those hands on me,” he murmured, his teeth closing over his bottom lip as a blush flourished over his cheeks.

For a singular moment Michael was struck by how amazingly Alex could remain in character and how amazing he was to work with. It made everything melt away and thus far the director hadn’t had to yell cut or interrupt with directions. It was so easy to focus on the body below him, but the fissure of heat low in his stomach was new. He brushed it aside, attributed it to the fact Alex was a seasoned pro, he knew exactly how to make a scene hot and real, which is why he was the most popular actor for the studio. Michael was brought back to the moment by the feeling of movement below him. He smirked down at Alex as he struggled to pull at his tight undershirt.

“Baby, these hands were made to feel you,” he breathed as he leaned in once more to close his teeth around Michael’s ear lobe. He pulled back, gently gripping the spongy flesh as it slipped through his teeth. He moved off of Alex to stand back up and divest himself of the undershirt he wore. He cocked his head as he slowly pushed the button of his jeans free. He raised his brows and nodded towards Alex, urging him to catch up.

Alex inhaled a sharp breath as he pushed himself to stand, swaying into Michael’s space for a moment as he was thrown off balance. Michael steadied him and leaned in to steal a searing kiss, stocking the fire between them as he slowly pulled his zipper down. His jeans fell open and hung loosely off his hips as he focused on Alex. Alex stopped his own ministrations to reach out and curl his fingers through the coarse hairs of Michael’s chest, emboldened by the sharp breath the cowboy inhaled, Alex drug his nails down to scrape over the sensitive skin of his stomach. He watched, in satisfaction, as the muscles quivered under his touch. He licked his lips as he sank down to his knees. Michael’s chest heaved as he tipped his chin down to watch Alex.

“You call me a city slicker like it’s something to be ashamed of, but I too, have learned a thing or two…cowboy,” he challenged, a new heat to his voice as he slowly pulled the tight jeans down along Michael’s thighs. He let the briefs intact and leaned forward to slowly ghost the tip of his nose along the rigid line of Michael’s cock. Michael shivered at the barely there touches. His hands moved to rest against Alex’s scalp to steady himself.

“So far you’ve been all talk and no action city slicker,” he teased, his grin cocky as he subtly shifted his hips towards Alex, “why don’t you wrap those pretty lips around my cock and show me what you’re made of?” he challenged, his nails gently scraping through Alex’s hair as he coaxed the other man closer, desperate for any kind of friction.

Alex growled lowly in his throat as he opened his mouth to lave his tongue over the rapidly hardening shaft. He shimmied the hem of the briefs so that the very tip of Michael’s cock popped free. He shifted into a more comfortable position on his knees and wrapped his lips around the sensitive glans. His eyes fluttered shut as he suckled and lapped at the bulbous point. Michael sighed, his hips bucking gently, wanting to feel more of Alex around him. Alex hummed in approval as he slowly drug Michael’s briefs down, his mouth swallowing each inch that was exposed.

“Shit, darlin’,” Michael sighed as he pushed forward into Alex’s mouth, satisfied by the choked noise he made before he pulled back out. Alex reached up to wrap his hand around the bottom part of Michael’s cock as he bobbed his head along the length. He flicked his gaze up to meet Michael’s as he cupped his tongue around the underside of his cock and slowly drug it up to flick off the tip. He licked at the leaking precum, a smirk moving over his lips as he pushed Michael’s jeans and briefs all the way down. He waited for the cowboy to step free of them before he moved back and this time swallowed the other man whole.

Michael tossed his head back, his grip on Alex’s hair tightening as he fought to stay upright. He didn’t have to fake the moans coming from his throat as Alex expertly worked him over. He didn’t choke and gag like some of the other guys, but occasionally he’d hit the back of his throat or swallow around Michael and he would see stars. Hell, even some of the females he’d been with in the past couldn’t suck dick like Alex Manes. He shivered as he forced himself to look down at Alex. He watched as the other man pulled back slowly, a glistening thread of saliva kept them locked together before Alex licked his lips. He grinned as he pushed Michael’s cock up against his stomach and worked his hand slowly over the silky flesh. He licked the tight skin between his cock and his balls before he drew one into his mouth. He smoothed his tongue over the rough flesh and sucked hard as he pulled back so the sac popped free of his lips. He licked one last drop of precum from Michael’s cock before he pushed himself to the edge of the bed.

“Fuck,” Michael breathed as he stroked himself. He moved away from Alex to walk around to the other side of the bed. This move was intended to give Alex time to rid himself of his own jeans and his prosthetic to allow for the more acrobatic moves in bed and to prevent him from being injured. Michael readied the lube and condom while Alex tended to his needs. Soon enough he felt the bed dip at his back and he turned to capture the other man in a kiss. He weaved his fingers into Alex’s hair and tugged to give the kiss a heated level of desperation, igniting the heat once more as he moved to kneel between Alex’s legs.

“I need you in me, please,” Alex keened, the heel of his left foot digging into the bed so he could buck his hips into the air, his own engorged cock bounced against his stomach. He lifted a hand to wrap around himself in lazy strokes as he hungrily watched Michael.

“I’ve got you baby, just lie back for now and let me see that pretty face,” he grinned as he popped the cap on the lube. He liberally coated the fingers of both hands so he could wrap one around Alex’s cock as he traced the tip of a finger between his cheeks and teased at his entrance.

Alex’s chest heaved in an effort to keep himself from begging as he watched the way Michael’s hand moved over him. He exhaled loudly each time he watched the tip of his cock get swallowed in Michael’s hand. He was so distracted by the stroking he hadn’t realized Michael was teasing him until he felt the first breach of the cowboy’s finger in him. He cried out, his back arching off the bed as he squeezed around the digit inside. Michael’s grin spoke volumes as he eased in a second finger. Alex’s lips parted as he panted, his hips canting downwards to urge more of Michael into him. The cowboy spread his fingers, stretching the tight muscle as he pushed deeper, crooking them over the small bud. He pressed against the sensitive bundle and watched Alex buck against the bed, his hands shot up to grip the headboard as his body undulated downwards, swallowing up as much of Michael’s fingers as he could.

“Oh god, that feels so good, more, please, I need more,” he begged, a while to his tone that zinged along Michael’s nerve endings. He worked in a third finger just as he squeezed the tips of Alex’s cock. He pressed the pad of his thumb over the glans as he fluttered his fingers against his prostate. Alex cried out, but Michael squeezed the base of his cock hard, staving off an orgasm just to be sure. Alex weakly lifted his head, looking completely wrecked.

“See, I’ve got you sweetheart,” Michael assured as he pulled his fingers free. His gaze traveled along Alex’s flushed body, a soft groan escaping him as he appreciated the raw beauty of the man lying prone before him. He reached up and smoothed a large palm down his chest, pressing his palm into Alex’s nipple before he sat back to roll the condom over his cock. He shivered as he applied more lube to ease his entrance into Alex. He leaned up; one hand settled next to Alex’s breast as he guided himself forward. He teased at Alex’s entrance, working needy little whines from the other man before he finally gave in and slowly sank into Alex.

“Oh fuck…oh God yes,” Alex moaned, his arms flying up to grip Michael’s waist as the cowboy sinks in to the hilt. Both men take a moment to get used to the feeling before Michael is easing out. He nearly slips free before he snaps his hips forward, skin slapping skin as he fucks into Alex.

“Shit, damn you’re so fucking tight,” Michael praises as he falls forward. He blindly kisses and bites at and of Alex’s skin that comes beneath his lips. His hands traverse the terrain of Alex’s body for leverage as he sets a slowly building pace. Alex moans and arches to meet Michael’s thrusts as he sinks into the moment. Their lips finally crash together in a heated kiss. Teeth clang at some intervals as the men give in to their more animalistic needs.

Michael’s hips soon start a pace of their own as he starts to chase his on pleasure. Alex makes tortured little noises that Michael feels settle at the base of his spine. He ducks down to suck a nipple into his mouth as he scrambles to wrap a hand around Alex’s flushed, needy, and leaking cock. He twists and squeezes as he slaps his hips forward. He angles up so that he is relentlessly hitting that bundle of nerves. Alex is lost to panting whines and groans, his nails sinking into the skin of Michael’s back as he too starts to chase after his own pleasure.

“Please, of fuck, so close,” he groans and whines, his neck arching as sounds just pour free of his mouth. Michael is so lost in the noise and the sensations he doesn’t pay attention anymore, focused on the edge and falling over. He readily snaps his hips forward, each thrust hard and seeking before he crests. There’s a gorgeous moment where every single thing ceases to exist and then his world in an explosion of light as he cums, hard. He vaguely feels the wetness of Alex’s own release against his hand as his hips stutter and the drag in and out of Alex becomes too much overstimulation.

Both men glisten with sweat as Michael pulls free and falls onto his back next to Alex. The real world comes back to him in small snatches. He’s vaguely aware of the crew around them talking and calling out directions. Someone lays a wet, warm clothe on Michael’s stomach, but it’s another minute or two before he’s back in his head. His breathing is still a bit stuttered as he slowly starts to clean the different fluids from his hands and body. He turns to look at Alex and tosses him the towel next.

Alex, as soon as he’s back, grins and turns to meet Michael’s gaze, “I think you’re buying the first round tonight,” he hums as he sits up a little to clean himself.

Michael chuckles as he turns his gaze up towards the ceiling, “Yeah…yeah that sounds right,” he utters, still feeling wrecked, but in one of the best ways. He blinks a few times, shoving his inner thoughts back into their neat little boxes for another day. He resolves to find a woman to take home for the night, but he keeps that to himself as he finally gets up, taking the robe offered to him by one of the crew members.

Alex follows suit, “Meet up in a half hour?” he asks so casually no one would know he’d literally just orgasmed around Michael’s dick.

Michael nods, “Yeah, that sounds good, I’ll see you then,” he calls as they end up going their separate ways. Surely things will get easier, right? Just because he had maybe the best sex of his life, doesn’t mean anything, especially since it was with a dude…right?

Chapter Text

Stale air settles around Alex as he settles into a corner booth at the very back of the greasy diner he was summoned to by one of his older brothers. He blinks slowly as he takes in the gaunt face before him, eyes sunken in against dark blotches that frame dead eyes. Flint had looked much better in the past; no doubt their father’s sins are hanging heavy on him as he fidgets across from Alex. A soft sigh escapes Alex’s lips as he closes his eyes and tries to will himself out of the entire situation. He’s not entirely sure what made him agree to meet up with Flint when they hadn’t actually spoken in a handful of months. Their last meeting had ended in screaming and deadly barbs tossed from each side. They had never really apologized for anything, but that had always been the Manes way. You take it like a man and suck it up and bury it down without letting it fester. Alex had only gotten good at that when he’d convinced himself he’s far better off without the weight of his family hanging on him. He waits for Flint to break the silence since he was the one to call for the meeting. Alex picks apart the napkin that had been wrapped around his silverware as he watches people on the street outside the diner.

Finally, Flint clears his throat as he pushes his palms down along the table, “Look, I know you haven’t talked to dad in a few years and I’m not about to make you start now, but he’s not doing so good. I’m the only one that still talks to him and checks in on him, but he’s…he’s gotten a lot worse than the last time I came to you for help,” he starts off. Alex knows he’s trying to appeal to his goodness, and there is a soft pang in his chest at the mention of his father suffering, but his dad doesn’t deserve his pity. He keeps his face neutral.

Flint frowns at the lack of response from his brother and pushes forward, “I got the money you sent home. I didn’t tell dad it came from you, but he’s back on this obsession and he keeps going missing for weeks at a time. He finally told me he’s been in Roswell a lot and I have no idea what he’s got going on there, but he’s been murmuring about aliens or some shit and I think he’s referencing the Roswell crash from 1947. I know he took us there a lot as kids, but he never seemed like a weird conspiracy theorist back then. He’s been drinking a lot more lately and talking about all this weird stuff that makes no sense,” he rambled on again as he dropped his eyes from Alex to stare at his hands on the table.

Thick clouds rolled over the sun and cast shadows over the table as Alex analyzed what his brother had to say. His shoulders fell and rolled as he folded his fingers together, “What part of that is any of my problem Flint? You came to me a few years ago and begged for me to help bail you guys out after dad spent all his money and all his family’s money on something you couldn’t even tell me about and Clay and Greg turned you down. I’ve been sending you money for that and I planned to wipe my hands of everything and figure out what I want to do with my life once I can be done with dad. You don’t have to keep taking responsibility for him either Flint, you can live your own life without him,” Alex urged again, like a broken record.

Flint’s brows furrowed and he looked away from Alex to stare out the window as the clouds rolled through the sky, “He wouldn’t have anyone then and I know how shitty he was but…I can’t just let him rot,” he muttered as he fidgeted with his fingers and refused to meet Alex’s gaze.

Alex frowned and pushed his thumb through the condensation on his water glass, “I get it, but I also hope you know that whatever does happen to him isn’t on you. You did what you thought was right for him Flint, but at the end of the day you’re still your own person and you can walk away. You know I’ll support you,” he offered as an olive branch that he knew Flint wouldn’t accept. Flint had always been on their father’s side no matter what happened. Alex never thought it meant that Flint was a bad person, he was just the one child Jesse had that hoped he could change his father, make him better, make him the man they could be proud of. Alex just didn’t have the heart to persuade him otherwise. Clay and Greg just left, but Alex wanted to pull Flint along too and he told himself that if he just took care of the debts their father incurred, he could free Flint of the chains he’d wrapped around himself and attached to Jesse.

Flint breathed for a few seconds as he watched the world outside the window. Alex wondered if he was considering anything he had just said, or if he was trying to piece together another argument to get Alex to reach out to Jesse. Finally, Flint turned away from the window and studied Alex for a second, “I get that you have no reason to help him and you really have no reason to help me. You’ve already done a lot for me, but I’m asking you to come home for a couple days, see him, try to get him to give up his obsession…do something,” he pleaded, his hand moving to wrap around the lukewarm coffee mug in front of him.

Alex frowned, his fingers going limp from where they had been shredding the napkin, “I haven’t been back home since I flew home from overseas missing part of my leg. What makes you think I can do anything? He hates me Flint. I’m an abomination to him. I’ll keep giving you money until the debts are paid, then I’m done. I suggest you get out while you can before he does something stupid and you end up going down with him. Giving you money is my way of helping you…I don’t care what happens to him, but I want to give you a chance,” Alex tries to plead once more, imploring his brother to wash his hands of the sins of their father.

Flint frowns as he pushes the coffee cup away. A stormy look washes over his face and Alex knows that he’s done and won’t hear anything else. A weary sigh escapes from Alex’s lips as he tears his eyes away to look at the world outside. He doesn’t speak again. He waits for Flint’s cutting words, but all he’s met with is a tense silence before his brother is shifting and getting to his feet. Alex blinks up at him and watches him for a moment.

Flint’s stony expression falls into something akin to despair as he punches his arms through his jacket, “I wish I could walk away from my family as easily as you can Alex, I guess I’ll talk to you later,” he mutters as he throws a few bills down on the table to cover his coffee before he turns to leave.

Alex watches him, his lips twisted in concern before he finally exhales. He leans his head back against the hard, cracked vinyl of the bench seat he sits in. He only has a moment to try and collect his racing thoughts and tamp down the urge to give in to Flint’s pleas before his phone chimes with an incoming text message. He allows himself just a few more minutes of reprieve before he fishes the gadget from his pocket and swipes to read the text from Kyle.

Kyle: Hey Manes! I hope you’re awake and dressed because I have the day off and I need to get out of my place and do something to destress. You free?

Alex smirks down at his phone as he quickly types out a response stating he’d meet Kyle at his place and they could decide from there on something to do for the afternoon. He briefly entertains the idea of seeing if Michael might want to join, but then he remembers him saying something about seeing his sister before she killed him. He grabs his own jacket and leaves a few dollars on the table to cover his own coffee and a tip for the waitress. He waves goodbye as he exits the diner and turns to head towards the bus stop. He settles on the bench under the plastic awning to wait for the bus to come and his phone chimes again with another text. Alex pulls his phone from his pocket and smirks when he sees it’s from Michael.

Michael: If I never show up for work again you can assume Iz killed me. She is PISSED!

Alex chuckles to himself as he quickly taps out a response.

Alex: What the hell did you do Guerin?
Michael: Nothing! I might have skipped a couple lunch dates with her, but she’s been unbearable since I changed careers. I need you to meet her and get her off my back.
Alex: Me? What can I do with her?
Michael: You’ve got like that natural charm, plus you seem just like the type she’d love to drag around with her on her shopping trips and venue exploring. Save me Alex, please!

Alex shakes his head to himself as he reads Michael’s messages. He knows just how much Michael loves his sister so he can only imagine what he might be going through at her mercy. He settles a little more comfortably in the bench as he continues to type out quick responses to the other man.

Alex: Sorry Guerin, you’re on your own today. I see you enough at work, I don’t need you to cramp my style on my day off. I’m going out to meet Kyle anyways. Iz will have to wait.
Michael: Oh, ouch Manes. Don’t make me jealous. I’m about to be drug to some loft where Iz either plans to murder me or she’s going to be hosting a fundraiser. Remember me fondly.
Alex: You’re so dramatic. I’ll be sure to lead the candlelight vigil for you.
Michael: Hey, for real, if you and Kyle get bored and want some company for like a late lunch or something, let me know. Iz has me captive for the rest of the day. Maybe if you bring Kyle we can talk them into drinks tonight?

Alex considers Michael’s offer. He doesn’t make it a habit of hanging out with anyone from work. It always seemed to end up messy and he’s still dealing with the ramifications of Forrest and his misplaced adoration. Alex hums to himself as he types and erases multiple responses to decline the offer. He swallows thickly as he ignores the way his nerves sparked when he’d initially read the message. But, Michael is different. He’s straight and there’s no chance of muddying the waters if they hung out outside of work and became friends. Lord knows Kyle and Maria are always pushing Alex to expand his social groups to help him get out of his shell. He exhales a deep breath as he taps out a response and hits send.

Alex: I’ll talk to Kyle, I’ll see if Maria wants to meet up later too since she’s got the night off. If this colliding of worlds creates a nuclear reaction, I will fully blame you.

It takes Michael a few minutes to respond and, in that time, Alex had convinced himself his joke had been in poor taste. He jumps when his phone chimes with an incoming text. As he opens the message, he can hear the faint rumblings of the city bus approaching.

Michael: Hell yes! I’ll talk to Iz and force her to meet up with you guys as a way to pay me back for spending the day with her. See you later Manes!

If anyone else was around Alex might actually be embarrassed by the blush he can feel on his cheeks. He makes an excuse in his head and blames the late autumn chill, though California’s temperatures don’t come close to Santa Fe’s. He pockets his phone as the bus settles to a stop in front of him. He climbs on and finds a seat towards the front where he settles in for the ride to the stop near Kyle’s place. On the drive he closes his eyes and rests his temple against the window as he plays through his meeting with Flint and he starts to question himself for the way he’d dismissed his brother. It had been a long hard road to get away from Jesse’s grasp and Alex was not interested in going anywhere near his monster of a father. He didn’t want to give the man a reason to try and hurt him anymore than he already had. He desperately wanted Flint to be free of him too, but there was only so much Alex could do to help until Flint decided on his own to walk away.

Twenty minutes later Alex stepped off the bus and walked a couple blocks up the road to Kyle’s apartment. He buzzed his friend and waited for the click that would allow him to open the front door. Alex easily navigated the halls to find Kyle’s apartment where the door opened before he could even knock. He grinned at his friend as he playfully checked him out, “Someone is eager,” he teased.

“Thank God you’re here. I need to get out and do something! I have been working doubles and triples for the last few weeks and I need to go do anything,” Kyle hurriedly stated as he shoved past Alex to get into the hall.

Alex cocked a brow as he followed in Kyle’s wake, “I would think you’d be dead tired after working that much, what did you have in mind?” he asked as they descended the stairs.

Kyle patted himself down as he hit the main floor to ensure he had his keys, “I don’t care what we do, anything at this point would be welcome. What were you going to do today?” he asked as he led Alex around to the parking lot where his jeep was parked.

“I really didn’t have any plans. I saw Flint today,” he shared easily enough. He watched Kyle process the statement and smirked when the doctor whirled around the face him, his eyes comically huge on his face.

“What? What the hell did he want? Was he begging for some more money?” he spat at he pulled the driver’s side door open.

Alex huffed as he climbed into the passenger seat, “No, he came to see if I’d go visit my dad. I guess he’s not doing so good and kind of going off the rails or something,” he stated offhand as he buckled himself in.

Kyle sat for a moment and blinked at the windshield before he turned to look at Alex with a critical and analyzing gaze. Alex fidgeted in his seat and frowned. He felt exposed whenever Kyle did that to him. “I obviously turned him down and told him I have no desire to ever see our father again,” he finally uttered when he felt like he needed to say something to fill the silence.

Kyle hummed for a second before he started the vehicle, “Good, you’ve already done more than enough for them. Are you still sending them money every month?” he asked, and Alex really didn’t want to get into it. It became like a broken record between them whenever the subject was brought up. Instead Alex just sank back into his seat and stared out the window.

“Where are we going?” he asked finally as Kyle navigated down the street and through a few residential neighborhoods.

Kyle sighed, but accepted the subject change to keep the mood more even keeled before he looked at Alex with a grin, “I thought we could do some hiking in Hollywood for a little while before we made any other plans for the day,” he suggested as he turned down another street.

“Speaking of, Michael texted me earlier and wanted to know if we could meet up with him and his sister later for some drinks. I said it would be alright, Maria is free tonight too so she could even join us,” Alex shared as he watched the colors pass by through his window.

Kyle hummed, “The sounds fun, but I thought you didn’t hang out with anyone from work,” he teased with an arched brow.

Alex huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, “Michael’s straight so there’s no way it can get messy, plus he’s…different and I just like spending time with him,” he defended and turned his head away from Kyle to hide the blush he could feel once again burning his cheeks.

Kyle chuckled, “Like spending time with him, huh? I never imagined cowboys would be your type,” he poked again as he merged into traffic.

Alex grumbled under his breath and sank a little deeper into the seat.

Kyle smiled warmly and took pity on his friend, “Sorry Alex, but you know you don’t have to keep isolating yourself from people. I like Michael, he seemed cool the one time I met him, I don’t mind hanging out with him. It’ll be nice to just have a night with friends and no responsibilities,” he agreed as he slowed to a stop at a stoplight.

Alex didn’t feel like he needed to reply so he let a comfortable silence fall over them until they reached their destination. They’d hiked the trail plenty of times before, but it was always good to exercise his prosthetic and push his own limits. He let Kyle chat mindlessly as they hiked, just happy to spend time with him. There had been a time that Alex thought he’d never have his best friend back again, but after college and war, both men met up and repaired the bridge between them. Alex would be forever thankful for it because Kyle was one of the few people that knew Alex almost better than he knew himself and he’d been devastated in high school when Kyle had been consumed by popularity and being a jock and started to bully him.

The day seemed to fly by as Kyle took Alex all over the city to check out the usual tourist traps and grab some lunch. They ended up back at Alex and Maria’s place to relax before they would meet up with Michael and Isobel at some club across town that was a known LGBTQ hangout. Alex was almost ready to beg off feeling too worn out and in pain from the hike and the walking Kyle had forced him to do earlier in the day, but Maria had pulled out her puppy dog eyes and made him promise to go for a few drinks.

Kyle scheduled an Uber to pick them up so Alex really couldn’t refuse. He showered and dressed casually before he followed Kyle and Maria down to the waiting Uber. He opted to take the front seat on the ride across town to the club Michael had sent them the address to. He watched the city lights zoom past his window like fireflies. He rested his forehead against the cool glass and let the inane conversation Maria and Kyle were engaged in wash over him. In no time at all they were pulling up to the club.

“God, it’s so nice to be on this side of the bar for a change,” Maria sighed as she wrapped herself around Alex’s arm.

He smiled down at her as they walked towards the entrance, bypassing the line along the right side of the building, “You need to start taking more time off love,” he murmured into her hair as he bent down to kiss her temple.

Maria preened up at him, “Pot meet kettle,” she challenged as she pulled him through the door, Kyle chuckling ahead of them as they stood and scanned the open area for familiar faces.

It took Alex three minutes to zero in on a familiar mop of curls. He grinned despite himself as he led Maria and Kyle towards the corner table Isobel and Michael had snagged. From the looks of it, it was a VIP table and a couple of bottles already decorated the surface. Michael looked up as they approached and smiled. Alex ignored the skipping beat of his heart as he slid into the booth first to sit next to Michael.

“Hey! Thank you guys for coming, I thought I might have to suffer all night with only my sister for company,” he sighed dramatically as he passed champagne flutes around the table.

The gorgeous blonde woman across from Alex glared daggers at Michael, “Rude,” she huffed before her sharp gaze turned to Alex and then skipped down the line over Maria and Kyle. Alex squirmed a little as he felt like he was being analyzed and judged based on the friends he had. He glanced over to find Maria glaring back at Isobel and sighed internally. Finally Isobel smirked as she met Alex’s eyes.

“So, you’re the one and only Alex Manes huh? It’s nice to finally meet you. I looked you up and I gotta say, you do some really good work,” she purred with a wicked grin.

Alex cleared his throat, “Ah, thanks, it’s nice to finally meet you Isobel,” he offered despite her barbed words, though his own grin was challenging as he held his hand across the table for her.

Isobel grinned even wider and slipped her hand into his, “Oh, I like you already Alex,” she teased before turning her gaze to Maria and Kyle, “you have some very gorgeous friends. Michael failed to mention that little fact,” she stated as she nestled her chin into the palm of her hand.

Michael sighed and rolled his eyes as he poured them all drinks, “Iz, settle down, jeez, you’re going to scare them away,” he muttered.

Maria smirked and cocked her head as she wrapped her fingers around the stem of her glass, “Oh don’t worry about me Guerin, I can most certainly hold my own,” she stated, her eyes not leaving Isobel as she issued her challenge.

Kyle cleared his throat as the energy around the table seemed to crackle, “Right, so, how about some shots?” he offered as soon as he’d downed his glass of champagne.

Isobel’s glittering gaze skipped over to him, “Yes, that is an amazing idea, let me help you with that,” she offered in a sultry tone as she slipped along the booth to wrap an arm around Kyle’s and head towards the bar.

Alex sighed as he relaxed into the booth, “She can be scary,” he finally stated with a grin as he looked over at Michael.

Michael grinned in response and shrugged, “She also cries every single time she watches The Notebook so she’s not as intimidating as she likes to seem,” he revealed with a wink.

Maria snorted, “That means nothing Guerin, anyone with a heart cries at the end of that movie,” she shot back as she leaned around Alex to shoot Michael a pointed look.

Michael chuckled, “Either way, Iz is mostly harmless. Thank you, guys, for meeting up with us though, you have no idea how much of a lifesaver it was,” he sighed as he looked out across the club to where Isobel and Kyle seemed engaged in some sort of conversation at the bar where they waited for their round of shots to be ready.

 

The rest of the night passed a lot more smoothly as the group became plied by the continuous rounds of shots and drinks everyone took turns buying. Alex was in the comfortable floaty stage as he allowed Maria and Kyle to drag him out to the dancefloor where he moved between his friends and a couple guys before eventually sticking with his friends. He laughed and swayed along with the music and even lost track of the beat and just let himself be. He hadn’t had such a good night in a long time. His day had started tense and dark, but now, surrounded by his friends all he felt was love and support. Occasionally he’d look up and meet Michael’s gaze, only to blush and look away. He hadn’t felt such a connection or a warmth for another human in such a long time so he blamed it on the alcohol. He felt his body ignite in every place that Michael’s hands managed to grab or slide as they danced. There was even a very brief moment where the world seemed to stop as Michael and Alex were pushed together by the crowd. Alex had even stopped dancing. He had even started to lean in for a kiss when a sharp elbow to his ribs pulled him out of the bubble.

He didn’t dwell on the moment because it only promised to lead nowhere so he turned away and focused on Maria who had been flitting all over the dancefloor between anyone who would allow her into their space. He grinned as she twirled a stunning redhead around the floor before she kissed her cheek and came to fall against Alex’s side, sweaty and happy as she hugged his waist, “This is exactly what we needed,” she breathed.

Alex hummed in agreement. Against his will he looked up to find Michael grinning at him. Alex couldn’t help the way he melted and smiled back before Maria started to groan and pulled his attention away. He knew the noise intimately and quickly jumped into party-mom mode as he cleared a path for her towards the bathroom. Shortly after helping her, Kyle found him to let him know he’d ordered Ubers for them all to get home. Leaving the club was like a slap to the face as the cool night air slipped over all of the exposed parts of Alex. Maria huddled close to him for warmth as they crowded together to wait for their rides.

“Hey, thanks again for coming out, it was a lot of fun,” Michael whispered as he sidled up to Alex’s free side.

Alex smiled at him, the floaty feeling from before coming back as he looked over Michael’s sweat drenched body. A flash from their shoot together came to mind before he shoved it down, hard, “Yeah, of course, it was a lot of fun,” he stated.

Michael hummed, his eyes a little unfocused as he swayed forward and kissed Alex’s temple, “Get home safe Manes,” he uttered a little drunkenly as he stepped away when Isobel had called for him.

Alex blinked as he watched them both get into a car, “Yeah,” he breathed, though no one could hear him.

Kyle suddenly appeared in his field of view with a stupid smirk on his face. Alex frowned at him, “Shut up,” he mumbled and pulled Maria closer as she seemed to sway away from him.

Kyle shrugged, “I didn’t even say anything,” he defended, though the grin didn’t leave his mouth as he stumbled towards their own ride.

Alex only hummed and passed Maria over once Kyle was situated in the backseat of the car, “Just for that you’re sleeping on the couch tonight Valenti,” he muttered before he got into the front seat.

He tuned out the whine Kyle had emitted and instead focused on keeping himself centered on the ride back to his apartment building. Michael was just an affectionate person. The alcohol in his system made him entirely too flirty. There was absolutely nothing there to make Alex get excited. Michael was straight, they slept together for work only and were friends outside of the studio. There would be absolutely nothing else that would transpire between them…right?

Chapter Text

Bodies milled around the set while the scene was getting prepped for Michael and Alex to start filming, but Michael’s gaze kept being drawn to the patches of tanned skin exposed where Alex’s robe had drooped. Curlicues of dark hair scattered across Alex’s chest and led down towards his pelvis; these were some of the part of Alex’s body that Michael had become intimately familiar with over the last few months. Alex had a solid body, his muscles hard and unforgiving when he needed them to be, yet soft and pliable when he lost himself in his work. It was almost too easy to forget what they did with each other was simply a job, a means to an end for both of them with no feelings to clutter up the friendship they’d come to appreciate with each other. At least Michael had to remind himself of this fact more and more of late, and he’d been too scared to address the most recent shift in their friendship, something that seemed to happen so subtly neither of them had noticed at first.

The first indication of changes between them had come only a couple of week ago when they had been invited to a work function in one of LA’s most exclusive gay clubs. The company had rented out a private room where the alcohol flowed freely. It was also the first time he’d ever witnessed Alex indulge himself too much. Forrest, was, of course eating it up and took advantage to drag Alex onto the dance-floor multiple times to press close to him. Michael reasoned that the low simmer in his gut was because he knew how rocky the relationship between Alex and Forrest was and had witnessed multiple times just how low-handed Forrest could be in his pursuit of Alex. So, he stepped in to keep Forrest away from him for the rest of the night. He surprised himself by remaining mostly sober to look after Alex who was a completely different person under the influence. He heard Alex’s deep belly laugh and felt his warmth when he’d sling his arms around Michael, and then the zing along his nerves when Alex cuddled into his side as soon as he’d maneuvered them into a booth seat to wait for their ride.

Following that night Michael had a lot weighing on his mind, things he shoved into tiny little boxes to deal with…never. He declined a couple different invites from Alex and Forrest in favor of his old watering holes where he charmed gorgeous women back to his apartment to use to sort out some of his frustrations and confusion. The sex only soothed his itch for a short time. Those nice little boxes in the back of his head kept rattling around, demanding his attention, but he kept shoving them back harder and harder each time, still not fully prepared to address the elephant in the room. He felt like a ticking time bomb the longer he ignored all the flags and the attraction he was feeling towards Alex, but truth be told, the biggest reason he fought so hard was because of how clear Alex had made it that he was not and never would be interested in pursuing a real relationship with someone he worked with. Alex was so much more comfortable with Michael because of his self-proclaimed straightness that Michael truly did not want to lose what closeness he did have with the former airman. Isobel, ever the voice of reason in his life, argued that denying something that was part of him would end up hurting him even more in the long run. In true Michael fashion, he knocked back fingers of whiskey until the world turned into blurred lines and feelings didn’t matter.

A mug shattering against the floor yanked Michael out of his reverie with a start. He felt more than noticed Alex’s concerned gaze on him. Michael hated the soothing smile on the other man’s lips as he glanced over at him.

“Deep in thought Guerin?” Alex asked softly as he readjusted his robe, tightening the cinch at his waist.

Michael forced a crooked smile as he combed through his curls, “Sorry, the last few weeks have been busy so sleep hasn’t been the best,” he uttered as he straightened himself in his chair.

Alex blew out a soft laugh, “Yeah, I can imagine. You’ve been a hard one to pin down lately,” he teased, a humorous lilt to his tone as he leaned close to gently elbow Michael.

Michael huffed and brushed him off as he watched a stagehand materialize out of nowhere with a broom and dustpan to clean up the shattered mug, “Yeah, sorry, just, family stuff and personal things that needed some attention,” he excused with a flippant wave of his hand.

Alex hummed in agreement, but turned a little more serious as he leaned closer to Michael, “Is there anything I could help you with? If you ever need a shoulder or just a chill night let me know,” he offered.

The warmth of his breath caressed Michael's cheek, which caused a tremor along his spine and goosebumps to erupt over his arms and chest. He fought to keep from squirming as he flashed a quick smile and nodded, “Yeah, I mean it’s all pretty much settled now so I should be back to the same old Michael you know and love,” he teased, hoping that Alex would take his statement as truth and drop the subject.

Either Alex bought it, or was sympathetic to the fact Michael wanted to change the subject, “Good, I’m glad for that,” he stated just before hair and makeup showed up to steal them both away for final touches before they started filming.

Michael was grateful for the distraction. To date, this would be the hardest scene for him to film with Alex because it called for utter, domestic bliss. They were playing a couple deep in their relationship together where attraction and love oozed from their pores. The script called for soft, drawn out lovemaking where the watcher could feel their own heart palpitations as they watched the reverent ways Alex and Michael were written to sink into one another. All those boxes were about to be tossed around unceremoniously as Michael feared there might not be a lot of acting on his part. He was equal parts fearful and excited to get to take his time with Alex and his body, to hear the noises he could rip from the airman’s gorgeous mouth. He exercised some breathing techniques as hair and makeup flitted around him, making him look like the perfect picture of someone who had just rolled out of bed and walked in to to find the love of his life already up and puttering around the kitchen.

All too soon the director was calling for Alex and him to take their places. Michael thanked the women for their work and ambled around the set to his mark just off camera so he could be shot as he entered the kitchen. While he stood off in the shadows, he practiced his patented, lopsided, just woke up very much in love with my partner, grin. He’d finally felt one slip into place when action was called. He inhaled a deep breath through his nose as he pushed forward into a lazy, foot dragging lope into the generic kitchen set.

As Michael rounded the doorway, it was easy for a dopey smile to befall his lips as his eyes were drawn right to Alex who had his back to him. He slowly approached the other man, smile growing as he leaned into Alex’s space and wrapped his arms around him from behind. He turned his head, his nose buried in the warmth of Alex’s neck where his scent was strong. It eased Michael’s tension and he gave himself over to his character, using it as a shield to imagine this being part of his life with Alex. He knows he’s screwed, but he’s going to milk it for as long as he possibly can, until he either causes everything to explode, or takes the chance.

Alex’s chest rumbled as he hummed, leaning back into Michael’s embrace. His eyes fluttered shut as his fingers wrapped around Michael’s arms at his waist, “Mmmm, mornin’” he hummed as he rolled his neck to the side to allow Michael room to trail his lips over the sensitive skin there.

Michael tightened his hold against Alex, his own eyes fluttering shut as he slowly drags his lips against Alex’s neck without tasting him and without true intent. His fingers inch along Alex’s partially open robe to find the opening so he can skate his finger tips against Alex’s stomach that quivers at the hint of skin on skin. Michael doesn’t feel the need to break their silence with words as he just barely parts his lips as he drags them back up Alex’s neck, this time he lifts his head a little higher so that his rough stubble scraps at the baby soft skin behind Alex's ear. His chin fits perfectly in that space as his nose ruts around in the chestnut locks. He inhales Alex, feels him spread through his system as his fingers stretch and seek to map every bit of skin they can feel.

Alex sighs hotly as his body turns to putty, yielding completely to Michael’s whims. His grip on Michael’s arms falls away so that he can steady himself against the countertop. His breath hitches while his skin ignites at every whisperer touch Michael delivers. Without even being touched, Alex’s lips throb and beg to be ravished by Michael’s as his breath wafts over them. They grow shiny and plump as he wordlessly begs for Michael to ravish him. Even the hairs that coat his legs stand on end, brought to attention by the nearly worshipful way Michael teases him with barely there touches. He wants so much more, but words escape him as he rolls his neck to give Michael new territory to explore.

The kitchen is filled with small noises of want, of hunger, with an undercurrent of need. The fingers against Alex’s stomach bend and press as Michael shifts closer, his hips pressing into Alex’s from behind. His cock is slowly coming to attention as he breathes hotly against the very back of Alex’s neck. Michael lays his lips at the baseline of Alex’s hair as one of his palms smooths up the middle of Alex’s chest. He opens his lips as his finger tips brush over a nipple. His teeth close as he pinches a pert nipple. Alex can’t help the moan that fights free of his lips and he leans his whole body against the countertop, his arms quiver with the effort to keep himself upright.

Michael soothes the spot he teased on Alex’s neck while he gently scrapes his nail over Alex’s nipple, an apology of the electric pain he’d caused. It’s an apology both men know is not sincere. Alex sighs hotly as he curls his hands into fists, determined to keep himself on his feet as Michael continues to torture him slowly. Michael moves close again to take Alex’s ear lobe into his mouth. He bites down as he rakes his nails down Alex’s chest, the fingers of each hand scrape over both of his nipples. Michael has to shift closer to help hold Alex up with his own body. He pushes a leg between the airman’s legs to give him something to support himself and to press into the hard length trapped there.

“You ruined my plans, I fully intended on spoiling you with breakfast in bed,” Alex breathes while Michael skims his fingers along the waistband of his black briefs.

Michael hums in response as he raises his hands to finally pull the loose knot that is holding Alex’s robe up, undone. He leans back to let the fabric slip down Alex’s body. For a moment he’s jealous of all the places the robe touches as it falls. He reclaims Alex’s body with his own hands as he moves them over firm muscle and bone. He trails a pattern of kisses along Alex’s shoulders while his hands glide back up Alex’s chest, moving to track over his clavicle, circling the dip between both bones. He moves to press one hand into Alex’s stomach, a steadying embrace as he leans over Alex’s shoulder, his breath hot against Alex’s cheek as he moves his other hand up Alex’s neck until he finds his lips.

“That’s okay, I like what we’re doing right now just fine,” he murmurs as his eyes track the movement of his index finger over Alex’s lips. His own throb with want. His body shudders when Alex flicks his tongue out to wet the tip of Michael’s finger. A racy grin pulls at Alex’s lips as he turns his head so that he can nip the finger Michael is teasing him with.

Michael turns his head so that he can kiss along Alex’s neck like he’s placing markers for treasure seekers. His eyes watch as he applies pressure to Alex’s bottom lip and pulls it down a little only to watch it jump once his finger is free of it. He rotates his hand so that his thumb teases the seam of Alex’s lips, pushing a little until he’s allowed access to the wet, hot cavern of Alex’s mouth. He bites down where Alex’s shoulder and neck meet as he feels Alex’s tongue swirl around his thumb. His hips jerk in memory of what those lips feel like on his most intimate parts. He soothes his bite with his tongue as Alex hollows his cheeks and sucks, his eyes closing in ecstasy as he grinds himself against Michael’s clothed cock.

“Fuck, you look so good right now,” Michael praises, his voice gone rough with want as he pushes his thumb deeper into Alex’s mouth. Saliva catches at the corners of Alex’s mouth and gleam in the light of the kitchen. Lewd sounds fill the air as Alex groans around the digit in his mouth, his cheeks red from exertion. He shifts his weight so that he can trust his legs as he lifts one hand from the counter. He reaches back and grab’s Michael’s hip, pulling him closer as his hips grind down against the thigh between his legs.

Slowly Alex opens his mouth and turns his head, looking for Michael. His pupils are blown and nearly unseeing as he pants hot breathes out of his spit shined lips. Michael doesn’t make him wait long as he grabs his hips and roughly turns him around. With Alex properly facing him Michael pushes him hard against the counter as he leans in to steal Alex’s lips in a blazing kiss. Alex’s saliva has already made him slick, but the taste is nectar sweet as Michael devours him. He feels like he could crawl inside Alex and never want to be free again as their tongues meet and slide over one another. There is just the barest hints of teeth as they lose themselves entirely to the heat igniting between them. Michael captures Alex’s full bottom lip between his teeth and sucks before closing his teeth very gently over the sensitive body part. He groans as he pulls his head back, Alex’s bottom lips sliding between his teeth until it finally falls free.

They both stand panting and staring at one another, almost like they’re in a stalemate with one another, both waiting, watching, and calculating. Finally, it’s Alex who moves first. His eye contact with Michael doesn’t waiver as he grips the hem of Michael shirt and pulls up, wanting nothing more than to bare Michael to the world. As soon as the shirt is off, Michael shivers. He licks his lips as he watches Alex take stock of what’s his. He’s almost embarrassed when he feels his nipples harden simply from the hungry gaze that Alex casts upon them. He makes a tiny, needy noise and his fingers curl into Alex’s hips as his breath shudders.

“I’ll take you over coffee any day,” Alex teases cheekily as he reels Michael close again, this time into a much softer kiss. Their lips meet softly as they start a whole new dance, this one more intimate, building slowly towards the crescendo. Their lips stick and scrape as they both slowly begin to open to each other. Their tongues move and seek, cautious now as they taste and explore. Noises are emitted, but neither know or care who makes which sounds, both just know they are lost against the tidal wave of heat that crashes over them. Slowly, emboldened by the sensual kiss, hands and fingers start to explore again, following familiar trails and breaking off into new ones as they tease at skin, making promises that have yet to be carried out.

The heat between them is almost too much to bear so Michael breaks their kiss with a gasp, his lungs screaming for air as his lips tingle from over stimulation. He pants as he stares at Alex, his mouth parted as he tries to draw in enough oxygen to keep himself upright. His moment of reprieve is broken when Alex pushes their covered cocks against each other. Michael shivers violently at the jolt of electricity. He holds onto the moment and lifts Alex up to set him on the counter, a cocky grin curling over his lips as he inserts himself between the other man’s parted thighs. He rakes his nails along the well-toned thighs, loving when the muscles twitch and quiver against his touch.

“Sure seems like I woke you up,” he teases right back as his knuckles just barely graze the length of Alex through the briefs he is wearing. Alex shudders while his knuckles turn white where he grips the edge of the counter. He does his best to lift his hips as they search for pressure to relieve the want coursing through him. Precum already wets the tip of his cock and it sticks uncomfortably to his underwear.

He wants to scream and beg for Michael to just touch him, do anything to him so that he can feel relief from the heat that’s coursing through his entire body, but the best he can do is utter a completely wrecked moan. His brows crease as his eyes darken, he wonders very briefly if he looks as absolutely wrecked as he feels and all without Michael even truly touching him where it counts. Emboldened by the entirely devastated state Alex is in, Michael continues to tease him with the barest hints of touches against his cock. He leans close and only breathes against Alex’s lips, pulling back when he leans forward to crush them together. He is absolutely taking advantage of having the upper hand as he lazily drags the tip of his index finger down the throbbing length of Alex’s needy cock. He’s not even touching the other man’s skin, but he can feel the fire licking at him through the briefs.

“Michael, please,” Alex finally manages to spit out on the tail end of a particularly delicious moan. He starts to shift his thighs in a last-ditch attempt to give himself some pressure, something to get the flames of his arousal under control so he doesn’t end up exploding on the spot. Michael tracks his gaze over Alex’s body. He takes in the sweat that has begun to bead and shimmer all over Alex, creating a glow about him as he quivers on the countertop.

“I love how needy you get,” he whispers as he leans against Alex’s shoulder to tease his earlobe again. He pushes his palm down against Alex’s cock and just leaves it there. He makes Alex work for his relief, sighing hotly as the feeling of rock hard, heated flesh pushing against and sliding along the length of his palm. He loves the power he has over this man, how easily he can work him down into the most primal state.

Alex keens as he finds relief in Michael’s hand. It’s no where near what he needs, but it’s enough to keep the edge off. His arms strain as he lifts his ass from the counter to take full advantage of the hand pressed against him. He manages a few good ruts before his energy depletes and he collapses back onto the counter. He leans back against the cupboard, hissing when his overheated skin touches cool wood. His chest heaves as he tries to keep from succumbing to the unadulterated want flooding his system. He lifts his legs and wraps his thighs around Michael’s hips to pull him close. The simmer of desire that had been between them starts to boil as a dark look passes through Alex’s eyes. Michael swallows thickly, and before he knows what’s happening, Alex’s skilled fingers are in his curls pulling him into an explosive kiss. Their teeth and tongues clash as Alex fights for the upper hand. He twists and pulls at Michael’s curls, knowing just where to pull and scratch to make the cowboy’s knees quiver. Alex scoots as close to the edge as he dares just so he can grind against Michael’s pelvis as he plunders his mouth. He stakes his claim in every inch his tongue can reach before they both tear away from each other. Oxygen becomes a need as they both stare heatedly as each other. Alex drops his gaze and his hands to rake through the hair peppered over Michael’s chest.

“I need you,” he urges, his head falling forward to rest against Michael’s as he watches the paths his hands trace across Michael’s chest. He gently circles the pad of his thumbs over Michael’s nipples, his breath catching as he feels then harden into peaks from his stimulation.

Michael shivers, his eyes closed as he breathes in the heat from having Alex so close to him. He wants so much more, but in order to have what he wants he needs to break away from Alex so that they can finally shed themselves of the last vestiges of the clothes they wear. He lays his hands against the outside of Alex’s thighs and pushes them up until the tips of his fingers wiggle under the edges of his briefs. He squeezes the meat of the man’s legs before he finally tears himself away. He keeps his gaze on Alex’s as he skims up to curl his fingers into the waistband of Alex’s underwear and starts to pull. Alex hold onto Michael’s shoulders as he shifts his hips so that he can finally be free of the confines of his briefs.

A hiss of air passes through Alex’s teeth as his ass comes into contact with the cool vinyl of the counter. The change in temperature serves to keep him from boiling over as he regains in some of his senses. He feels exposed by the way Michael’s eyes rove over and drink him in. He fidgets a little under the heated gaze. His cock jumps, looking for the heat and pressure he needs to feel like he’s not about to jump out of his own skin. He reaches for Michael and pulls him close by his hips. He tilts his head to lave his lips and tongue over his neck while he pushes at the waistband of the sweats Michael wears.

“Michael, I need these off,” he whines as he nibbles at the pulse point in Michael’s neck. Michael loves to hear him whine, that note of being contrary in his tone zings down Michael’s spine.

He smirks at the request as his runs his fingernails along Alex’s bare arms, “Patience,” he murmurs as he drops a hand to Alex’s cock. The bulbous head glistens with precum. The head is engorged and a deep purple as Alex teeters on the edge. Michael circles his thumb around the spongy tip, collecting precum as he teases Alex towards the edge. He watches all the nuances of Alex’s body so he knows when to stop. He watches Alex’s stomach clench and flex. He lowers his head to tease a nipple with his tongue as he grips the length of Alex in his hand and tortuously moves over his thick length. He watches tears leak from the corner of Alex’s eyes. Before they can slip too far down his cheeks Michael moves to lick them up which seems to be part of the undoing for Alex so Michael lets go and steps back.

Alex’s entire body shudders as he cries out, desperate for Michael to touch him again, his breathes back to panting as he looks up, his heated gaze unfocused as his lips twist into a frown, “Michael,” he whines, his hips rocking desperately as he fights to keep his hands on the counter.

Michael can’t take it any longer. He strips himself of his sweatpants and boxers in one flourish of movement. He approaches Alex again and curls an arm around his hips to pull him to perch precariously on the very edge of the counter. Michael crouches down so that he’s eye level with Alex’s weeping cock. He grips the base of it so that he can guide the tip of it towards his mouth. He lets the air from his nose wash over the turgid length. Alex makes a desperate noise above him while one of his hands buries itself in his curls. Michael chances a glance up at Alex and the absolute look of brokenness on his face urges him on as he opens his lips to slowly take Alex into his mouth. Alex cries out wantonly as Michael’s lips close over his head. He curls his nails into Michael’s scalp as he pushes forward, urging Michael to swallow him down and give him the reprieve he is so, so desperately seeking.

“Oh fuck, yes Michael…yes,” he urges as he sinks even deeper into Michael’s mouth. Michael still works Alex’s cock carefully as he still gags on occasion, but he swirls his tongue along the length and applies pressure against the underside as he works on pleasuring Alex. He moves along the shaft, his lips sealing around the tip as his tongue teases at the underside of the head before flicking against the slited opening. The salty tang coats his tongue as he hollows his cheeks. He slips down the shaft again, taking as much of Alex’s length as he dares. Saliva escapes the seal of his lips and slips down to settle at the base.

The hand that’s not holding Alex on the counter moves to cup his balls. He presses his thumb between them as he gently tugs the sac. The little bit of saliva that’s escaped works as lube while he fondles Alex. He pops off the tip with a loud, wet sound. Strings of spit keep them connected as he pumps his hand along Alex’s shaft. He’s mesmerized by the way Alex strains in his grip. He can feel just how badly the other man wants to cum, but Michael isn’t done with him yet. He wants to feel Alex’s orgasm when he’s inside of him.

“Shit baby, you look so fucking hot right now,” he murmurs as he leans in for a biting kiss. His own, neglected cock throbs between them. Alex pulls back from the kiss as he looks down between them. He scoots back a little for more stability on the counter and lifts one of his hands towards his face. He grins at Michael as he opens his mouth and laves his tongue over his palm, wetting it with his own saliva. He keeps his gaze locked with Michael’s as he leans forward to wrap his fingers around him. A sigh of relief pushes through Michael’s lips as his eyes flutter shut. He hums low in his chest as Alex expertly works his hand over his cock. The ministrations serve to take a little of the edge off, just as Michael had done for Alex with his mouth.

Alex moved his gaze lower to where Michael moved within his hand. He squeezed his fingers around the shaft as he moved up under the head of his cock. He squeezed droplets of opaque precum free and swirled it around the tip with the pad of his thumb. The lack of actual lubricant caused the precum to get sticky quickly, but Alex pumped out some more droplets and used his fingers to spread it over Michael’s cock. The slide of flesh over flesh was hot and slick. Alex panted between them as he watched the play of his fingers over Michael’s length. Eventually the saliva and precum dried up and pulled at the skin so Michael freed himself from Alex’s grasp. He leaned over to open a drawer where he extracted a bottle of lube. Alex grinned, his cheeks becoming red as he pushed himself off the counter. He stepped into Michael’s space and wrapped his arms around his neck to draw him in for a slow kiss, stoking the fires back into a raging inferno as their tongues twisted and tasted.

“Turn around for me baby,” Michael whispered as Alex slowly pulled out of their heated kiss. His eyes were hooded as he gave a slight nod. He turned and used the counter as leverage to turn himself around to present his back to Michael. He bit his bottom lip as he jutted his hips up and out, exposing his ass to the other man.

Michael groaned low in his throat as he popped the cap of the lube bottle. He squeezed a moderate amount onto his hands and rubbed them together to warm the gel. He stepped towards Alex and pushed on his lower back to make him bend even closer to the counter. He used his clean hand to knead Alex’s ass cheeks, relishing in the feel of the muscle under his fingers as he squeezed and manipulated it. He gripped one cheek and pushed at it until Alex’s puckered entrance was exposed. Michael circled one of his lubed digits around the furrowed muscle until he felt it relax enough to push inside. Alex’s heated walls squeezed at him, urging him deeper. Michael pushed forward and draped himself over Alex’s back to lay biting kisses across his shoulders as he slowly worked in a second finger.

He took his time working against Alex’s naturally tight muscles. He scissored and flexed his fingers, massaging Alex’s inner walls to urge his body to relax and accept the intrusion. He pushed up until the heel of his hand met Alex’s rim. He slowly turned his hand around so that he could probe at the sensitive bundle of nerves. Alex started to writhe and gasp as Michael finger fucked him. His legs shook as he leaned more fully on his chest and arms to keep himself from crumbling to the floor. He sent a silent prayer up to whatever God was responsible for his prosthetic keeping up with the activities. He knew he’d pay for it tomorrow, but right now he couldn’t think past his own fulfillment.

“More, God Michael, please, I need more,” he begged as his forehead fell against his arm. His own hands dug into his flesh as he pushed back, needing more of Michael inside of him, to fuck him senseless until he didn’t even know his own name anymore.

Michael kissed his shoulder blade as he worked a third finger past the ring of muscle, “I have you baby, trust me,” he urged as he twisted his fingers, eliciting a sharp cry from Alex who had turned his head. Sweat slipped down Alex’s back creating tracks over his dark, tanned skin. Michael, emboldened by the things he could do to Alex, licked up a couple tracks of the salty sweat that was made purely of Alex.

As soon as Alex’s entrance gave no resistance whatsoever to the fingers Michael was fucking in and out of him, he withdrew. He relished the mewling complaint from Alex as he rummaged for a condom in the drawer that had the lube. He watched Alex writhe into nothing as he slowly rolled the condom over his cock. Alex’s body still reacted as if there was something there for him to fuck and it was stunning. Michael applied a generous amount of lube to his cock before he gripped Alex’s hips and lined himself up with his hole. He leaned forward, his lips against the shell of Alex’s ear.

“I can’t wait to fuck you so good Alex,” he growled as he pushed himself to the hilt into Alex.

Alex’s back arched sharply as a loud cry of pleasure tore from his lips. He almost collapsed from the implosion of pleasure and pain mixed together, but Michael’s strong arm around his waist kept him on his feet, if only barely.

“Oh, fuck Michael,” he moaned, his nails digging into his flesh as the sensation of Michael pulling back turned him into an incomprehensible mess. He tightened around Michael’s length, wanting to keep him buried, but Michael pushed forward sharply. Alex stretched his torso over the counter as a way to keep himself standing while Michael took his time fucking him. The delicious pull and push against his most intimate spot made him lose all sense of decency. He didn’t care what sorts of noises fell from his lips, he just needed Michael to move.

“God you feel so good baby, so tight on my cock,” Michael breathed in encouragement as he snapped his hips in and out of Alex. He kept himself from hitting Alex’s prostate, wanting to truly torture the other man and make him a mess of incoherent babblings. Michael’s grip slipped through the sweat that coated Alex’s body, but the slip and slide was delicious as he slammed himself into Alex, the sharp noises of their skin slapping against each other filling the space.

Alex sighed and moaned as Michael fucked him. Once he felt like he had even a little bit of strength he pushed up from the counter so he could reach back to snag Michael by his neck and drag him forward for a biting kiss. He pushed his tongue into the other man’s mouth, taking what he wanted as the new position forced Michael’s cock up into his prostate. He shuddered and gasped against Michael’s mouth, keeping himself pressed close as he breathed through the waves of pleasure washing over him.

Michael growled and pulled completely free of Alex. Before the other man could even form a coherent thought, he bent and wrapped his arms around Alex’s hips and lifted him up, forcing him to wrap his thighs around Michael’s hips as he was spun around towards a table littered with kitchen utensils. Michael swept his free arm out and knocked everything unceremoniously to the floor as he laid Alex against the top of it. He pushed Alex’s legs up to expose his entrance. Michael lined himself up again and pushed all the way in as he leaned over Alex to wrap his lips around one of his nipples.

Alex’s fingers sank into Michael sweat damp curls as his back arched against the table. His head arched back as he groaned, his knees pulled up against his waist as Michael fucked him harder. The legs of the table squeaked and jumped as Michael moved against him. All he could see was white as Michael tortured him every so slowly. It was evident just how desperate Alex was to get off, but Michael refrained from touching him until he started to edge into his own desperation. He could feel the storm building low against his spine. He slammed his hips harder into Alex as he let the clouds build up inside of him. Once he could feel the fringes of electricity lighting along his nerves did he reach for Alex and take him into the tunnel of his hand.

Sharp, hot breathes escaped them both as Michael set the pace of his hand to match the snapping of his hips in and out of Alex. He squeezed and twisted so deliciously, working Alex expertly until he curtailed his own orgasm. Michael kept him there, teetering in the state of desperation and climax as his own storm started to rumble. Although it started building as the base of his spine, he felt the first waves of it rising from his toes. He squeezed just under the head of Alex’s cock as his hips lost their control in a selfish search of pleasure. Michael let himself fall into his carnal desires as he fucked Alex over the edge. He moved his hand to the base of Alex’s cock and as soon as Michael felt him cumming he squeezed and pumped him, milking him as he arched violently off the table and streams of cum arced through the air, painting both of their chests and stomachs.

That sight is what finally opened up the thunderous clouds inside of Michael and had him shouting with his own release. He fucked himself into Alex as his cock throbbed and exploded with his own release. He pulled Alex flush against his hips as he collapsed on top of him, his cock still twitching as he came. He groaned against the feeling, his breath hot where it hit Alex’s chest and came back to wash over his lips and cheeks. He allowed himself to float for a few minutes, both of them taking the time to come back into their own bodies.

All too soon the rest of the world came rushing back and Michael was transported back to the set as the people working came back into focus. He pushed himself up from Alex’s slick chest, cringing as the movement caused him to slip free of the other man. He gripped the base of his cock as he pulled the dirtied condom free, tied it off and threw it away. He didn’t have time to explore just how into the scene he’d been when a robe was wrapped around his shoulders. He was thankful for the armor as he moved on shaky legs to offer Alex a hand up.

The other man simply picked up his head, a small grin on his lips, “Damn Guerin, where the hell did all of that come from?” he teased as he pushed himself to sit up on the table, his arms quivering like jello. His own robe was tossed over his shoulders by another stagehand.

Michael huffed and self-consciously rubbed the back of his neck, “I take a lot of pride in the characters I’m asked to play; I think it’s safe to say we nailed that whole scene,” he stated as he finally took Alex’s hand and helped him to his feet. He allowed the airman to find his strength before they both moved towards their chairs to take a little more time to come down from their shared high.

Alex groaned as he fell into the chair, “Shit, I think that’s some of the hottest sex I’ve had on or off camera,” he nettled as he accepted a bottle of water offered to him.

Michael forced a chuckle and hid his reply behind his own bottle of water. He didn’t have the brain power to unpack those boxes that had fallen to the forefront of his mind while he’d been filming the scene with Alex. Luckily, he was saved even further from any awkward truths when Alex got to his feet.

“I need a shower and a coma after all of that, I’ll talk to you later Michael, get yourself cleaned up and rest, you earned it,” he stated with a warm smile as he moved slowly towards the dressing rooms.

Michael flashed him a quick smile as he waved him away, but far too quiet for Alex to hear he murmured, “What the hell have you done to me Manes?”

Chapter Text

Midday sun shone bright across the vast expanse of greens and browns that rippled lazily in the breeze. The day was still young and nothing pressing needed to be done, so Michael relaxed even further into the bench as he tipped his head back to soak in the sun. He hummed lazily as voices and yips of excitement floated around him. For a few blissful seconds his mind was blessedly blank. He had no worries, no plans, and no schedule to adhere to until he was back at work in a couple days. He wasn’t even thinking of the script sitting on his bedside table, one that would prove tricky to navigate because it would require outside of work meetings with Alex to negotiate and figure out if they were both comfortable enough with shooting the scene at any point in the future. No, none of that bothered him right now, the California sun was bright and warm against his skin, the air was fresh and scented lightly with the ocean only a few miles away; absolutely nothing could ruin his day.

Or so he thought, because suddenly a hand was slapped against his stomach, forcing a gush of air from his lips as he shot forward. He scowled and glanced over at the woman seated next to him. “What the hell Izzy?” he grumbled.

“I was saying, Michael, that since you have nothing else to do today I have a some items that could use your expertise…and I don’t mean…that expertise,” she deadpanned while cutting him off before he could make some sort of smartass comment she could see coming in the arch of his brows.

Michael huffed as he leaned forward, his elbows coming to rest against his knees, “You need to just buy some updated equipment Iz, there will be a point where not even my magic fingers can fix them,” he teased with a crocked smile as he waggled said phalanges in her face.

Isobel frowned, “You are a child,” she muttered as she tore her glare away from him to watch the various dogs bounding across the open park.

Michael laughed next to her as he settled back against the bench. He searched the various groups of dogs for Mars and grinned as soon as he spotted her. She was running alongside a gorgeous cream-colored golden retriever who was playing fetch with its owner. Mars was trying desperately to engage the larger dog in a game of chase, but it didn’t seem to be happening. Despite not being able to play chase, Mars still looked utterly besotted with the dog and happily ran along side it as it continuously fetched the tennis ball.

“Ugh, I have no idea why I even agreed to come with you today, there isn’t even any good eye-candy today,” she pouted as she pulled out her phone to scroll through emails.

Michael snorted, “And here I thought you wanted to spend some quality time with your dear brother and your most lovely niece,” he teased back as he closed his eyes against the sun.

Isobel rolled her eyes, though there was a fondness behind it as she did. Once she replied to a couple email inquiries a wicked smile stole across her lips as she turned to regard Michael again, amusement clear in the shine of her eyes. “So, how’s work been going for you?”

Michael frowned as he pushed a rush of air from his nose. He didn’t even bother opening his eyes as he turned his head towards her, “It’s fine, but I sense an underlying tone of some sort,” he uttered as he cracked one eye open to regard her.

Isobel hummed in response, a thoughtful look crossing her face as she turned more fully towards him, one leg elegantly tossed over the other. She used the toe of the foot closest to Michael to tap at his knee, “You know I would never actually watch the products of your work because…ew, but I did a little digging into the things Alex has done,” she baited him.

At this Michael couldn’t help himself as he sat up, his eyes open now as he blinked across the bench at her. He tried to read her expression, but found Isobel looking contrite; he frowned. He did not want to talk about this with her, “No, please…just no,” he stated as he turned to look out across the park again, intending to call for Mars so he could end the conversation with Isobel.

“Oh, but come on Michael! I can understand why he’s so popular in the industry, he’s…he has a way of doing…certain things,” she purred as she leaned closer in a conspiring manner.

Michael glared at her, “I swear to God Isobel, it's weird to know you looked up porn, I don’t want to know about those sort of things you do,” he stated and made a faux gagging face.

Isobel grinned and shrugged, “Oh please Michael, you knew I’d get curious and I really wanted to see what you had to work with. Alex is also quite impressive…did my advice for…you know,” at this she waggled her brows at him, her lips curling into a quirky grin.

Michael felt his cheeks light up at her suggestion. He looked away as he wiped a hand across his mouth. He wondered if he just ignored her and walked away if it would stop, but on the other hand he knew his sister well enough that she would never stop with this sort of thing. He groaned as he slumped back against the bench, “I honestly don’t want to answer that, but if you need to know then…yes, yeah, they did help,” he muttered without looking at Isobel.

Silence settled between them for a moment. Michael looked over at Isobel when he felt her hand on his upper arm. The soft smile disarmed him for a moment before he arched a curious brow, “Oh God, what now Iz?” he groaned.

“What? Nothing! I didn’t say anything that time! I was just…it’s been a while since you asked me about sexuality and I was just wondering how you’re doing with it all?” she asked, her tone gentle as she squeezed his arm.

Michael blinked at her for a moment before he turned away, his gaze flitting over the park. He shrugged a shoulder, not really in the mood to talk about anything too deep with her in their current, and very public location. He wanted to enjoy his day off. He started to squirm a little as he felt Isobel’s eyes all but burning a hole through his flannel shirt. He frowned to himself before combing a hand through his curls.

“I don’t know Iz, sometimes I think maybe I could be with a man, and then there are times when I’m also sure that I could never be with a man, but then I spend time with Alex and…and then I’m confused again,” he confessed before he looked over at her, almost pleading for her to just tell him exactly what he’s feeling and who he's meant to be. “I’m almost thirty years old, why the hell do I suddenly feel like I’m back in high school confused about all this attraction and feelings shit?”

“There’s honestly no age limit on sexuality and discovering yourself Michael. There are people who don’t know themselves until they’re in their eighties, and sometimes people know who they are at a super young age. There are no rules, and I can only really speak from my own experiences. It’s definitely not black and white, but I can try to answer your questions or help you in any way I can,” she offered, her tone softer than before as her face morphed into something softer and more open.

Michael flashed her a smile before he looked away, his hand going to nervously rake through his curls again, “Thanks Iz, but I’d rather not talk about this here…” he uttered as he looked around at all the loners and small groups of people milling about the dog park.

Isobel followed his gaze before she reached over to squeeze his hand, “Alright, how about you take me back to your place, make us some lunch and we can talk about some of those tough things you like to try and keep bottled up,” she suggested with a grin.

Michael couldn’t help his own answering grin as he squeezed her hand back. He nodded his ascent as he pushed himself to his feet, “Thanks Iz, sometimes I’m actually glad you followed me out here,” he teased with a wink before he walked away from the bench emitting a sharp whistle. Mars looked up from where she’d joined another dog in digging a hole.

“Ugh, dogs are disgusting,” she intoned as she followed Michael. She watched Mars run full tilt towards them, and as soon as the dog reached them, she bent down to scratch her fingers over her head, “except for you my sweet little lady,” she cooed before bestowing a kiss on the dog’s snout.

Michael huffed as he lifted the leash from around his neck to clip to Mars’ collar, “Damn straight,” he agreed as they made their way towards the parking lot. Mars easily leapt up onto the seat followed by Isobel. Mars knew well enough to keep her paws to herself or on her master while Isobel rode shotgun, so she leaned heavily against Michael’s side as he settled behind the wheel. He ruffled his hand over her head and grinned as he started the truck. Mars’ tongue lolled out of her mouth as she panted, her nose twitching as the window rolled down and he pulled out of the lot.

____

Steam wafted up from the stove as a large pot of water began to boil. Michael dumped a box of pasta into the rolling water along with a generous pinch of salt. He stirred the pasta around to keep it from sticking before he lowered the sauce to a simmer to keep it from burning while the pasta cooked. He wiped his hands on the towel next to the stove and turned to regard Isobel who had made herself at home on his sofa, Mars, the traitor she is, napping against her legs. Michael smiled at the sight as he rounded to sit in a bar stool at his counter.

Isobel pushed her phone back into her pocket and settled her steely gaze on Michael, “Okay, we’re alone and you can’t hide at the stove right now, so spill it. What has you questioning your sexuality?” she asked him, her hand slowly moving along Mars’ pliant body.

Michael frowned, his lower lip disappearing under his teeth as his eyes moved around the room, “I don’t know exactly. I feel like I keep waxing over Alex every single time we talk about this. Maybe doing the things I did with him like, shifted something in me," he shared, sounding almost helpless as he spoke. "The thought of kissing him isn’t repulsive and it’s almost…there are times when I just catch myself thinking about it…about us, and it’s not just kissing. I think about what might happen if we had a life outside of work, the things we’d do together. And no, not the sex because obviously that’s already mind-blowing, but like…movies, hiking, or just the two of us hanging out,” he shared, his fingers twining together nervously in his lap.

Isobel smiled softly at him, “Oh Michael, that’s actually really cute. You know I would obviously support you in whatever you decide to do, Alex or no Alex. But, I do like Alex, he’s so sassy and he’s super hot,” she teased to try and lighten the mood a little.

Michael rolled his eyes, but smiled nonetheless, “Shut-up Iz, I’m being serious and I’m kind of freaking out inside because one, Alex does not date his co-workers, and two, I’m not sure if this an actual bisexual awakening or if I’m just Alex-sexual,” he admitted, his shoulders slumping as the weight started to slide off.

Isobel frowned thoughtfully as she picked her next words carefully, “Well, I like to think being aliens puts us far above the humans and their constructs of sexuality and gender, but I can’t make that determination for you. I will be here for you, obviously, but have you found yourself attracted to any other men since being exposed to Alex, or even before?”

Michael had opened his mouth to answer her right away, but stopped as he thought about her question. His mouth slowly closed as he turned his gaze inwards. He thought through every questionable moment of his life and all the different places he found himself through the different stages of his life. He analyzed various encounters of past and present. He blinked as he settled his gaze back on Isobel and frowned thoughtfully, “I think I found men attractive before, but I never considered it more than objectively thinking some dude looked good. I guess I thought about what it might be like to be with a man before, but again I figured that was just me being curious when I was struggling with my hormones. Before this new job, I never did anything with a man before, and I get some of my co-workers are 100% totally straight, but I don’t…I feel like that’s not how I would define myself right now. I’m not saying my sexuality revolves exclusively around Alex, but he’s the one that really pushed me to question myself,” he shared in a moment of true honesty.

The room was quiet for a few minutes, too long for Michael who started to squirm on the stool as he waited for…something he couldn’t quite put a name to. He watched Isobel for a second before he had to tear his gaze away because he felt the silence like an oppressive weight against his shoulders. He picked at the loose threads of his flannel before he jumped to his feet and rounded the counter to stir the sauce still bubbling away on his stove. He fell deep into his own head, so when Isobel slid up behind him, he cursed and jumped, the spoon clattering to the stovetop.

“Sorry, sorry, I thought you heard me say your name,” she defended as she scooted back a step to avoid being hit by the sauce that arched through the air when the spoon was dropped.

“Shit Isobel, I almost had a heart attack,” he wheezed, a hand pressed against his chest where his heart beat erratically.

“I said sorry, jeez, anyways, it kind of sounds like you have a crush on Alex and you’re not quite as straight as you thought you were, but that’s just my take as a firmly comfortable bisexual alien woman in the twenty first century,” she touted with a grin.

Michael frowned as he stared forlornly down at the sauce bubbling in the pan. It was thick, the tomatoes bursting and turning it into a soft pink color as he turned his wooden spoon through it. He reached over for the chiffonade basil leaves on the cutting board and sprinkled them in before he reached up to turn off the burner. He stirred the noodles again, picking one from the pot to test the doneness before shutting the burner off too. He used the motions of draining the pasta and tossing it in the vodka cream sauce to keep from acknowledging Isobel’s assessment of his feelings. He prolonged the silence by plating their dishes and playing around with the decoration before walking them to the counter where Isobel had relocated.

Finally, he looked up at her, his mouth drawn down in a thoughtful frown as he sighed softly, “What it really sounds like is that I’m fucked,” he muttered as he fell onto the stool next to his sister.

Isobel cooed gently as she slid a hand along his back, “You can’t say that for sure, but you definitely have some things to think about now, plus I wouldn’t think Alex is that strict with his ‘no dating co-workers’ rule as you think,” she shared with a small, knowing smile.

Michael arched a brow at her, “What? What does that mean? Did he say something to you?” he asked too quickly to register what exactly came out of his mouth. His face fell into something akin to horror and embarrassment as he quickly turned away from her and concentrated on his pasta, “Nope, just kidding, please don’t answer that,” he muttered.

Isobel grinned, “Fine, I won’t, it’s your free pass for today since you opened up with me, but you’re not getting out of getting your hands dirty for me. I have a gala in three days and I need my equipment in tiptop shape for it,” she stated primly as she pierced some pasta and a small tomato with her fork.

Michael sighed, his lips quirking into a small, thankful grin, “Thanks Iz, you’re the best,” he murmured as he leaned over to knock their shoulders together.

Isobel grinned, “Yeah, I know, I’m a pretty big deal,” she teased and dodged the foot he kicked out towards her.

“Keep going Iz,” he dared in a low tone, though it was colored with amusement as he noisily slurped sauce off his fork.

Isobel stuck out her tongue and gaged at his antics, “You’re a disgusting child and Alex will never love you,” she huffed back, her brows furrowed in irritation as she scooted further away from Michael.

He chuckled to himself before setting his fork down and turning back to face her. This time his face had softened, “Hey, but seriously Izzy, thanks for today…it uh, means a lot, more than you know,” he uttered softly.

Isobel looked up at him and smiled softly as she reached over to cover his hand with her own, “Anytime Michael, I love you and I always want the best for you. I hope you never doubt that,” she assured him, her smile wavering into something watery as she studied him.

“Yeah, I love you too Iz,” he murmured back in response, his smile soft and small, meant only for her. He wasn’t exactly sure what his future held, but he hoped he could finally settle into the man he was always meant to be and that Alex would be there with him.

Chapter Text

The scent of coffee hung heavy in the air. Hipsters and wannabe screenwriters sat scattered through the café, the tip-tap of their keyboards a comforting background noise as Alex tried to sink as far back as he could in the ghastly lime green couch. He artfully avoided the gleeful look on Kyle’s face who sat across from him in a high-backed red velvet chair. Steam curled up from the pale amber liquid that splashed precariously against the edge of the mug as Alex shifts his weight. He hated feeling like something that was being studied. Finally, he tore his gaze away from a couple seated near the window to glare at Kyle.

“You’re wrong you know, I don’t like him, not like that at least,” he finally muttered, his tone petulant which only made Kyle snort.

“Oh, come on Alex, you seriously never talked about any other co-worker like you do Michael and you never voluntarily introduced me to anyone else you worked with, let alone invited them to the majority of our nights out. You can’t tell me that you don’t like him at least a little bit,” Kyle pushed, the grin on his lips self-satisfied as he held up his hand with his index finger and thumb help only a millimeter from each other.

Alex snorted, one brow shooting up into the fringes of the hair that fell across his forehead, “Why are you showing me how big your dick is?” he teased, hoping to steer the topic away from the crush he did not have on Michael.

Kyle frowned, but looked down at his hand before he sighed and wrapped his fingers around the glass his smoothie was in, “Oh fuck you, plus you wish it was that small,” he muttered back with a frown as he turned his gaze away from Alex and out the tall windows.

Alex laughed, his head shaking from side to side as he shifted around on the sofa into a more comfortable position, taking the pressure off of his right leg, “Michael is just different, that’s all. Just because I finally found someone else that I can click with doesn’t mean I want to propose to him and spend the rest of my life with him. Plus, he’s extremely straight, like painfully so,” Alex stated with an eye roll as he leveled his gaze back on Kyle, hoping once again to stop his poking.

Kyle’s shoulders fell as he studied Alex, “But how straight can you be if you make gay porn, like for real Alex, are the other men you work with who claim to be straight…honestly straight?” he asked, his face scrunched into something very unattractive.

Alex pinched the bridge of his nose. He’d lost count of how many times he’d gone over this exact topic with Kyle, “I’m not doing this again with you. It’s a job, it’s full of actors, the majority of the heterosexual males are in it solely for the money. Not everyone can be a doctor like you,” he retorted as he lifted his mug to sip carefully at the steaming liquid within.

Kyle rolled his eyes, “Yeah? Tell me that when I’m not paying back over $100k in student loans, anyways, I love what I’m doing with the people I get to see every day, it’s really humbling,” he defended as he lifted his leg to rest his ankle across his knee.

Alex smiled softly. He was genuinely proud of the man Kyle grew up to be. Honestly, he never pegged him as one to enter a human service field, but then again, they had lost touch with each other in high school while Kyle was busy caring about his reputation and Alex was just trying to survive. He certainly never imagined they’d ever reconnect in California of all places where statistically speaking they never should have run into each other, but serendipity was a prankster. He flicked his dark gaze up to the man he considered a best friend, his face morphing into something softer and more sincere.

“Your dad would be proud of who you are today. It was all he could talk about when you left, his son going to school to be a doctor. I think he always knew you’d go on to do something great,” he shared softly.

Kyle looked away once Alex was done talking. He inhaled a deep breath and held it for a few beats before he shakily expelled it, “Thanks Alex,” he uttered, his words barely perceptible as he turned his face into his shoulder to wipe at the tears Alex could see sparkling in his gaze.

Feeling a little responsible, Alex leaned forward and gently squeezed Kyle’s ankle, “I’m being honest and I’m proud of you and what you’ve done with your life. Ever since we ran into each other at that farmer’s market a couple years ago I’ve been so happy to have you back in my life. Honestly, if I didn’t have you and Maria here with me, I’m not sure where I’d be,” he shared sincerely with another squeeze to Kyle’s ankle before he leaned back on the couch.

To dispel the suddenly heavy atmosphere Kyle inhaled a deep breath while his lips spread into a wide grin, his eyes skipped away from Alex’s face to watch something over his shoulder, “Anyways, it looks like it’s time for me to head out so you can the man you swear you don’t have a crush on is coming around the corner,” he announced. Alex’s eyes widened as he twisted on the sofa to confirm Kyle’s words.

Sure enough, Michael was just rounding the corner and entered Alex’s line of sight. He tore his gaze away and leveled Kyle with an unimpressed look as he reached for a magazine on the coffee table to toss at his head, “Get the hell out of here you asshole,” but his words were belied by the mirth in his tone and grin on his lips.

Kyle full on belly laughed as he snagged his smoothie and rose to his feet. He winked at Alex as he turned to head out of the coffee shop. His grin only widened when Michael finally stepped over the threshold. Kyle raised his cup in greeting when Michael had stopped to look around. Alex had to look away when recognition hit Michael and his entire face brightened.

“Hey Valenti, I didn’t know you’d be here,” Michael greeted as he picked his way through a maze of tables and chairs to reach them. He wore a beat-up denim jacket over equally beaten jeans with a teal and green plaid button up underneath. It looked like he tried to button in the dark because he’d only managed to slip three into their holes. He looked rugged; he looked good.

Alex swallowed the lump in his throat as Kyle darted his gaze between them before settling on Michael again, his hand clapping down on his shoulder as he shuffled past him. “I was just on my way out actually, I have to hit the gym before my shift later tonight,” he excused as he executed a jaunty little salute for Alex.

Alex glared after him, but quickly schooled his features as Michael dropped down into the chair Kyle had been occupying. He smiled warmly at Michael, “Thanks for meeting me here, however, I thought we could head back to my place to hash out all the details? Maria is helping with inventory this afternoon so we’ll be relatively alone until she comes back to rest before her shift tonight. I’m only a few blocks away,” he hurried to add as he pulled his messenger bag over his shoulder.

Michael smirked and shrugged a shoulder as he pushed himself back to his feet, “Oh, I finally get invited back to the mysterious apartment of Alex Manes?” he teased with a waggle of his brows as he let Alex proceed him.

Alex snorted, “It’s not that mysterious, I just don’t make it a habit of letting co-workers know where I live,” he reasoned as he headed towards the front of the café.

Michael nodded along, “I get it and I totally understand, but we could have met at mine if you wanted,” he offered as he broke away to settle at the end of the small line.

Alex bit at his lower lip before he nodded slowly, “I’m sorry, I just prefer being somewhere familiar and comfortable to discuss what kind of shoot we have coming up in a couple weeks,” he admitted, his voice hushed as he shifted his weight.

Michael frowned gently as he turned a little more towards Alex to keep their conversation as private as possible, “I’m sorry, I mean I get it, it seems like it’s something new for you. Honestly, I don’t mind Alex, I was just offering, if you ever want to, you’re always welcome at my place too,” he reiterated this time with a soft grin that did not have Alex’s insides squirming.

Alex flashed him a quick smile with a nod, “Thanks Guerin, I’ll keep that in mind,” he promised, but by then they had reached the counter so Alex took a step back. He finished the last dredges of his drink so he could leave his cup and saucer behind while Michael ordered his to go.

Coffee and pastry in hand, Michael gently leaned his shoulder into Alex’s to get his attention. He grinned when the other man jumped a little, the light dusting of a blush over his cheeks an adorable touch. He held up his paper cup and small brown bag, his brows raised in mirth, “I’m all set, you ready? I’m parked just around the corner,” he announced as he moved to lead Alex out of the café and down the block towards his truck.

Alex huffed as he followed, his hands wrapped nervously around the leather strap of his bag. He twisted and picked at the worn material as he fell into step next to Michael, “So you’ve done this sort of scene before? In your old work?” Alex asked as his nerves began to flair. It wasn’t that he was ever against BDSM, he just had certain triggers and not a lot of partners wanted to work around them, he also never felt comfortable enough with anyone else or trusted anyone else enough to want to try to work around his misgivings.

Michael split away from him as they came upon his truck, his smile easy, comforting as he glanced over at Alex, “Sure, it’s fun, adds a bit of spice though it’s not something I generally do with relationships outside of work,” he stated before he climbed behind the wheel.

Alex slowed his steps so he could have a minute to process what Michael said and the easy, almost flippant way he did. It was comforting knowing that he didn’t have any malicious intent. He pulled open the passenger side door and tossed his bag in first so he could easily pull himself up into the truck. For a moment he could imagine taking the truck out into the desert, the sunsetting against the horizon with nothing but sand and desert creatures to see them. It’s like a dream from childhood, laying the back of an old truck, a boy next to him causing his heart to palpitate as they snuck touches, their eyes on the stars.

He’s shaken from his revere as Michael turns the engine over and his voice breaks through the fog. Alex shakes himself as he turns to meet Michael’s gaze, his cheeks heated with embarrassment as one of his hands moves to rub at the back of his neck, “Sorry, I kind of zoned out for a second, what were you saying?” he asked as he pulled his bag into his lap.

Michael grinned again as he smoothly pulled out into the flow of traffic, trusting Alex to point him in the direction he needed to go, “I asked if you’d ever done anything remotely close to BDSM before?”

Again, Alex chews at his bottom lip before he answers, “Not really, it’s something I always had in the back of my mind to explore one of these days and when I started in the industry, I knew it would probably only be a matter of time before I was asked to shoot it so I made it clear I wasn’t going to just jump into it until I found someone I meshed well with and that I could trust. Then you came along, and I don’t know what it is about you, but since the day we met you just…you just make me feel calm. It’s like the world is full of all this noise, I tend to tune in to the noise more than most, but when you’re around it’s like the noise becomes something softer…something more manageable and comfortable,” he admits, glad for the privacy of the truck as his mouth seems to just vomit up everything, he’d been holding so close to his heart. He quickly flicks his gaze towards Michael and away to gauge his reaction.

The silence stretches, only broken when Alex warns Michael of a needed turn that’s coming up. He curses himself for muddling things between them so he casts his gaze out the window. He fishes around his head to come up with a gentle excuse to not discuss their scene, but by the time he thinks he’s got something figured out Michael opens his mouth, his words soft.

“I didn’t know what to say right away because I feel the same way and I didn’t know how to put it into words. I know what you mean about the noise, for me it’s been there for as along as I can remember and I think that I reacted negatively to it all the time. I’ve had issues with my temper before and growing up it drove me crazy sometimes that I made it hard for people to get close, but then again jumping from foster home to foster home made me weary of everyone else. I don’t trust easy and I don’t let anyone in, not unless they can prove themselves somehow. Max and Isobel are the closest I have to a family; I mean they are my brother and sister for all intents and purposes. I love them, and even with them I don’t let them in all the way. I don’t have a lot of friends and until I met you, I thought I was okay with that, that I really didn’t need anyone else, but then you quiet all the noise when I’m with you. Out of everything we might do together, I need you to know that I value your friendship more than I could ever tell you,” he shares, his voice so fragile that Alex is afraid if he breathes wrong, he will shatter something to integral to them.

“Thank you, Michael,” he finally murmurs softly, his lips stretched into a soft, warm smile as he looks over to briefly meet the other man’s gaze. He resolutely ignores the way his heart pounds against his ribs and reasons away the ache he feels knowing that Michael will only ever be a close friend to him and nothing more.

A loud laugh bursts from Michael’s mouth as he bodily shakes himself, “Shit, that was heavy, sorry,” he grins, and soon both men are breaking down into rolling laughter, their bond stronger than ever as Alex instructs him on pulling into the parking lot of his building.

As the moment and the truths they shared wash over them, Alex pulls his bag back over his shoulder like armor as he slips out of the truck ready to face down an entirely different issue as he meets Michael on the other side. The nerves he’d felt earlier in the day have disappeared, soothed by what Michael admitted to him. Their walk through the halls and up two flights of stairs is shared in comfortable silence. Alex unlocks his door and pushes it open to let Michael proceed him.

“The only rule I have is that Forrest never knows I let you come over, if he finds out he will be intolerable,” Alex sighed as he bypassed Michael to head into the kitchen.

Thanks to Maria the apartment reflects their New Mexican roots as well as their collective cultural roots. The whole apartment is done in muted tones with different knick-knacks scattered through and a few band and concert posters framed to hang on the walls. Alex’s guitar and keyboard occupy a small alcove in the living room caddy corner from the plush sofa. Michael wanders close to the instruments as Alex grabs them some beers despite the fact Michael still has his coffee drink.

“You good?” Michael asks when Alex falls back onto the sofa. He nods towards the guitar and keyboard, and upon closer inspections he spies a set of bongos and a tambourine hidden behind them.

Alex huffs as he pops the top off his beer, “I think I do alright. When I was in high school, I had dreams of being a singer, playing music and pouring my emo heart out for all the world to hear,” he grinned as he tipped the bottle against his lips.

Michael arched a brow as he made himself comfortable on the cushion opposite to Alex, “Yeah? You still want to share your music with the world?”

Alex hums in thought as he looks over at his instruments, “Sometimes I do, but most of the time it’s still something I like to keep to myself. Forrest found out about my playing and harassed me for a few weeks trying to push me to play or sing at these different open mic nights. I haven’t done a lot since then,” he reveals, his lips turning down into a frown as his fingers stretch and curl against his thighs.

Michael frowns, “That’s shitty of him, I hope I get the honor of hearing you play sometime, maybe you can teach me chords and shit again. I used to play a long time ago, an old timer taught me when I’d bug him for work when I was a kid,” he murmured, his tone laced with good memories as he tears his eyes away from the gleaming instrument to settle back on Alex.

Alex smiles, his body lose as Michael talks about them possibly playing together one day, “I wouldn’t mind that, I think I still have my brother’s old guitar in storage. You could have it,” he offers easily as he stretches out his limbs.

Michael smiles, “Maybe one day, first we need to figure out our do’s and don’ts with this scene. I know they left a lot of it up to us, but at the end of the day if it’s really something you don’t want to do, no harm done,” he clarified, his eyes serious as he met Alex’s gaze.

Alex nodded, his lips ticked up in a soft smirk, “Don’t worry Guerin, I’m a capable adult, I can negotiate kinks and things I’m okay with, I won’t break,” he assured as he pulled the script from his bag.

Michael nodded, “Okay, safe words, we both need one. Mine is, and don’t laugh, radiator,” he shared and narrowed his gaze as Alex sputtered for a second. “I’m good with my hands and I can fix anything, cars happen to be my favorite, okay?” he shot at the other man, his tone petulant as he stared into the middle-distance.

“No, no, I’m so sorry, I just…I honestly was not prepared to hear that,” he grinned, but quickly schooled his features as he leaned over to squeeze Michael’s thigh, “I swear, no more laughing,” he swore, his face smoothing into a serious mask as he watched Michael trust him.

Michael gave him a nearly imperceptible nod to encourage him to go on, “Safe word…I’ve never really thought about it before but what about…campo?” he asked, his teeth moving to chew on his cheek, another nervous habit he had.

Michael ticked up a brow, “If that’s something you’ll remember and use when you need it, then that works. Your safe word is unique to you, you have to decide it will work,” he advised.

Alex nodded in understanding, “Right, okay, capo it is,” he decided, a small smile of satisfaction on his lips as he settled back into the couch once more.

Michael nodded and seemed to file what Alex said away, “Alright cool, now time to get into the do’s, don’ts, and other things we need to know to make sure this scene goes smoothly and we both feel comfortable and safe with each other. It’s good that we already established a mutual trust in each other, but things that are hard noes for me is anything with bodily fluids over than cum and spit. I’m not super into pain play, but a little bit like some pinching or spanking is fine. I don’t like broken skin, no blood, no choking, and not electricity,” he listed off easily enough.

Alex furrowed his brows as he listened, honestly, he hadn’t known that so many of the things Michael listed were things people did with each other, “Okay, well I think I feel the same way about everything you listed except I don’t want to be restrained at all, I don’t mind being gagged, and I know that I can’t be blindfolded,” he shared, his gaze turned inwards as he thought about his triggers and the things that just plain didn’t sound or seem sexy.

Michael nodded along, “That still leaves us with a lot of options and routes we could take, do you have a laptop so I can show you somethings and maybe a couple pens so we can take notes?” he asked as he leaned closer to Alex to snag his script to flip through the pages, making mental notes as he did.

“Yeah, of course, I’ll be right back,” he replied as he wiggled to his feet and headed into the kitchen to fish for a couple pens and a notepad. He handed Michael the items as he headed down the hall towards his bedroom for his laptop. By the time he came back into the living room Michael looked like he was hip deep in making notes on the script. He looked up and smiled when Alex reappeared.

“Hey, how jealous do you think Forrest is gonna be when he sees what we get to do?” he teased, recognizing that Alex needed something light to focus on.

Alex huffed out a laugh as he fell onto the couch, this time next to Michael, their shoulders brushed as he opened his laptop, “He might actually start to hate you,” Alex teased as he slipped his computer over to Michael and used it as an excuse to settle even closer to the other man, his senses overcome with heat and a faint scent of rain, something that was so uniquely Michael.

Alex tamped down on the desire to imagine Michael and him snuggled up on the sofa watching movies and tangled together under a soft throw, their fingers mapping trails over one another. He made himself focus on Michael deep voice as he walked him through different sites and explained the different videos and images he pulled up. Honestly, Alex was content to just sit and listen to Michael talk about anything for as long as he wanted. It was so easy to just get lost in the timbre of his voice. The noise that plagues Alex settled into a soft din as he soaked in everything Michael had to share with him.

Chapter Text

2005

The air was heavy with the smell of years old sweat mixed with something that was so purely the desert, that for a moment, Alex felt comforted. He pulled his knees closer to his chest, the joints protesting the cramped space as he started another countdown in his head backwards from one hundred. Honestly, if he wasn’t so concerned with figuring out how to conceal the bruising he could feel beginning on his upper arm and along the small of his back, he might find his current situation humorous. He’d made the decision to come out of the closet only for his father to toss him right back in. Granted, the coat closet was tiny, cramped, and very dark, but at least it meant that his father’s hands were off of him. Alex had never had an issue with the dark before, but with the heavy hunting jackets hanging like a curtain in front of him, he could feel it like a weight against his chest. He had to count between breathes to keep from falling into an anxiety attack while he thought about the consequences of his actions.

It was at times like this when Alex found himself missing his mother more and more. He buried his head deeper into the arms wrapped around his legs, his breathes turning into small gasps as he fought back the tears he could feel threatening to fall. He knew that, once he was pulled from the closet, if he hadn’t faced his punishment like a man, it would only be worse for him. Faint sounds of footsteps beyond the small closet door caused him to flinch every few minutes as he anticipated his father wrenching the door open any second to grab him again. Sharp sparks of pain ignited where the rough denim of his jeans pressed into his forehead as he fought off the tears and the self-loathing. It was so very easy for him to get wrapped up in the black hole his father had created.

All too soon the door was opened, the light from the kitchen poured in over Alex, seemingly exposing every raw part of him to the wrathful gaze of his father. Beyond the tall, imposing figure, Alex spied his older brothers, heads low and gazes averted so they could deny knowing just what their monster of a father did to him. His gaze flicked away from them and up into the dark gaze of his father.

“Out, now,” a voice Alex barely even recognized rumbled.

The teenager scrambled to do as commanded, lest he be punished even more for the sins of his heart. He swallowed thickly as he stood under the burning light in the kitchen. Tantalizing aromas swirled around him as his siblings pushed food around on their plates. Alex didn’t miss that the table only had four settings. He flinched as the door behind him snapped shut. He remained standing tall, his hands behind his back as he clocked his father’s movement until he was stood before Alex again.

“Go to your room. I’m sick of seeing your face,” he hissed sharply, his glare searing as Alex jumped to do as ordered. He didn’t need to be told twice.
From that point on Jesse Manes made it a sport of finding new ways to punish his youngest and most disappointing son. Alex endeared everything his father would throw his way because at eighteen he knew he’d finally get away. He had dreams and he had plans, and everything pointed towards leaving New Mexico, that is, until he learned just how far Jesse Manes will go to ensure all of his sons follow in his footsteps.

2009

Basic Training was a nightmare for Alex, and even being well past those grueling months, his life in the Air Force hadn't fared much better. There are a handful of his fellow service men that seem to make it a point of making his life a living hell. He has his suspicions that Jesse Manes divulged his secret to them, but without proof and without a commanding officer that will take him seriously, Alex has no choice other than to endure and overcome lest he go AWOL. Every morning he vows to keep his head down and get through the next few years as quickly as he can so he can leave the hellish parts of his life firmly behind him. Every day he tells himself it will be worth it, his existence and perseverance alone must eat as his father like nothing else, and some days that’s all that keeps Alex from taking his own life. He wants to prove that no matter what, his father won’t win.

And then there are days where Alex just wants to quit, like when Leister and his goons rip him from his cot well past midnight. A pair of briefs are shoved into his mouth to muffle his cries while his hands are wretched behind his back and secured with zip ties. Alex tries to fight them off, alert the other members of his squad, but they all turn away from him. He goes limp to make it harder for them to drag him down the middle aisle of the dorm.

A door squeaks open, and before Alex knows what’s going on, he’s tossed down a set of old, wooden steps. He lands in the dust, his eyes stinging as the particles assault him. He can hear the men above him laughing before the door snaps shut and darkness falls over him. He tries desperately to free himself of the bonds. The briefs are easy enough to spit out, but there’s no use in trying to yell for help, everyone would ignore him, and his CO would just punish him. A low growl emits from his throat as he pulls at his wrists, the skin chaffing and staring to bleed as he struggles to be free. Time seems to move slowly as he works at removing the bonds on his wrists, and only when he’s finally free does he realize his face is covered in bitter tears. He tosses the zip tie into the corner, blood drips from his shaking fingers as he turns to ascend the stairs. He moves quietly, not wanting to alert anyone to his newfound freedom. He cleans himself the best he can in the bathroom before he slips back into his cot, furious with himself and the other men in his squad. He turns his back to the room and vows to beat his father at his own game. He’d come so far and endured far too much to let some cowards get the best of him.

2013

Being back in Afghanistan stirs something deep in Alex’s gut. He’s almost afraid to put a name to it for fear of never wanting to stop, of never wanting to leave the military for the taste of adrenaline and the feeling of being alive he gets anytime he's on the battlefield. He’s found a good team of men and women this time around. He trusts them with his life, and he values the trust they have in him. He’s gone through different training classes to find something that fits best with him, and once his current tour is done, he’s enrolled in computer courses and codebreaking courses – something his family had been part of generations ago, something he wants to reclaim for himself. But, before he makes it back stateside for the training programs, he needs to survive this tour first, which is seeming like an impossible feat.

An hour ago, Alex’s team had been kidnapped while on routine patrol. He can’t stop kicking himself for letting it happen, he had been in charge, had been looking out for anything that would set off his internal alarm bells, but he’d gotten comfortable in the weeks of traveling the same path. He knows that he should never get comfortable, not while he’s in such a war torn and blood-soaked country, but he’d grown complacent. There’s a heavy cloth over his eyes while his arms are tied tightly behind his back. His ankles are also bound together. He can vaguely make out the words of their captors in another room, but his Dari and Pashto are rather rusty after nearly two years away from the sandy country. He can hear his two other teammates breathing as they all seem to await their fates.

Alex’s heart hammers against his rib-cage as he wracks his brain for an idea of any kind. He knows they’re being used as leverage, and the chances of them making it out are slim to none. He shifts to his left some until his leg meets resistance. He swallows before he tries to speak, his voice calm and quiet in an attempt to keep his teammates calm.

“Roberts, report,” he orders softly. He’s not even sure who he’s leaned against at the moment, but wants to check in on both of them. Silence hangs heavy in the air as Roberts debates answering Alex knowing their captors are in the next room. The airman clears his throat, ready to give an account of any injuries he may have sustained, when the door to the room they’re in slams open. Alex’s back stiffens, the darkness surrounding him makes it feel like he’s caged in somewhere, but he works hard to keep his breathing slow and even. He’s not about to let these men know he’s absolutely terrified.

Before any demands are made or orders given, a high-pitched scream cuts through the air. Unable to help himself, Alex yells for Roberts which is answered by a loud, cracking gunshot. Alex sucks in a breath. He can feel the other member of his party, Allen, stiffen next to him.

“No, no, no, Manes, I don’t want to die like this,” the younger man whispers, his voice thick with tears. Alex works at his bindings, trying to loosen them, but he had no plans. They’re outnumbered and out gunned, even if he got free, he’d be dead within a second.

Before Alex can offer any sort of platitudes he feels when Allen is ripped away from his side. Instead of screaming, Allen starts to hurl slurs and curse words at their captors. Before silence settles again, Alex hears the telltale sound of fists against flesh as Allen is taken into the other room. Alex shifts his position as he works harder at his bindings, sweat dripping from his forehead onto the blindfold tied tightly over his eyes. His skin rips against the rough ropes and a soft whimper escapes his lips. He’s so close to being free when something hard connects with his temple and his world turns into an even deeper black. His last thought is about what sort of funeral his father would throw for him.

2017

Despite surviving a hostage situation, Alex is still not used to the terrors of the Afghani desert. He’s risen in the ranks and now he outranks even his father. He’s dedicated himself to his trade and has proven to be an invaluable asset to his squad. He’s revered for his skills and often sought out for special projects as well as put onto specialized teams that dive into the thick of the war. He’s seen and done a lot of things his mind will forever use to haunt him, so why does he keep re-enlisting? He hates being in the military with a passion, but it has become such an integral part of himself, he’s afraid of what would come beyond. His very identity is so closely crafted with being an airman, he’s not even sure who he is anymore.

In the very blackest depths of night, when he can’t sleep because the walls seem to close in on him, he wonders if it means that his father won. Alex Manes, the fag, has become a high-ranking officer in the Air Force, it’s become his entire life, exactly like Jesse Manes had always wanted. The thought leaves a bitter taste on Alex’s tongue. He shoves the thought to the very depths of his mind where he vows to never touch it, but like a little kid with a scab he can’t help picking at it when he is lost to the machinations of his own mind.

And finally, when his squad is ambushed and he runs out of ammo and can no longer feel any of his limbs, the stars shimmer in his watery vision he wonders again, now that he’s at the end of his life, does this mean his father has won? Has Alex become the very thing he swore he’d never be? Has he sold his life to Uncle Sam just as his father wanted? Has he finally made Jesse Manes proud?

Alex gathers enough strength to snort at the thought. Nothing he could ever do, even if he married a woman and had 2.5 children with a picket fence and a dog, would ever make his father proud of him. The desert is still around him as black begins to encroach on his vision. As the blood flows from his various wounds, he can trick himself into thinking he’s back home in the New Mexican desert in the back of some beautiful boy’s truck, plans of their future on their tongues. A life that Alex had always wanted, but in the end let the fear of his father steer him away from. He supposes it’s fitting, for what was he truly doing other than chasing death when he kept signing up for deployments. It’s not like he has anyone waiting back home for him. Shunned throughout his life and abused for having a heart unlike anyone else in his family or his friends.

Blood bubbles up against his lips as his eyes grow heavier and heavier. He’s surprised at the lack of pain he feels because he caught a glimpse of the devastation wrought upon his body. He knows there’s no surviving. Fifteen feet to his left one of his fellow airman stares at him with an empty gaze, his hazel eyes long gone dead along with everyone else in the unit. Alex begins to count backwards from one hundred, a trick he’d used many times when he’d been trapped in the dark and his heart had threatened to beat a hole in his chest, but this time it’s different. This time Alex won’t be back in the light.

Present Day

Steam curls lazily into the shadow dappled living room. Alex sits on one end of the sofa while Maria’s tiny frame occupies the other end. They both hold warm cups of tea, each one hoping to ease into sleep soon. Maria is recently home from a shift at the bar and Alex is awake after being plagued by nightmares, likely triggered by the discussion he’d had earlier with Michael. He carefully lifts the mug to sip at the liquid.

Maria hums on the other end of the sofa, her eyes soft as she watched Alex, “You promise you trust Michael not to hurt you or push you to do something you don’t like with this scene?” she finally asks. The question surprises Alex. They’d discussed the issue earlier when Maria was getting ready for work so he didn’t think she’d bring it up again.

Maria shoots him a look as she extends a leg to gently push her toes against his thigh, “We have lived together long enough for me to know when you’re awake because you just can’t sleep and when you’re awake because the nightmares feel too real,” she shares gently, treading lightly because Alex is still uncomfortable burdening his friends with his traumas.

Alex shoots her a small grin as he tries to hide behind the mug in his hands, “Of course I trust him and I trust my studio to never push me past my limits. I mean, when you think about it I don’t have that many limitations,” he tries to tease, his own legs moving to unfold from under him to tangle with Maria’s across the length of the sofa.

Maria hums in thought, though her eyes never leave Alex. She is beautiful in that moment, their string of fairy lights in the living room cast a glow about her that makes her look ethereal, like she comes from another realm. Alex had often thought of her as a fairy or pixie. He smiles at the memories, glad for her in his life as his rock. She’s the major reason he’s alive and as well as can be today. She understands him in a way not many can and she’s endlessly patient with him. He knows that he could never repay her kindness or friendship within this lifetime.

“Well, all I know is that if Guerin does do anything to make you feel hinky or hurts you, I will kill him and get Valenti to help me hide his body and all the evidence,” she huffs as she shifts around to snuggle against Alex.

Alex easily wraps an arm around her and buries his nose in her soft hair, his smile light as the last claws of his nightmare seem to ease up and slip away from him, “I know you will, you’ve threatened that on any guy I’m even remotely interested in,” he teases as his eyes flutter. He reaches over to set his mug on the end table so he can more securely hold Maria.

“You know I would support it if you liked him and dated him. I like him and I know he’d be good to you…for you,” she adds, her own voice growing heavy with weariness as the very first rays of sun kiss the horizon.

Alex rolls his eyes as he takes Maria’s mug to join his on the table, “I have told you, he’s straight and has absolutely no interest in dating me or any other guy on this planet,” he sighs, yet again.

Maria makes a noncommittal noise as she turns over to snuggle into Alex’s bicep, “Yeah, but you don’t see the way he looks at you when he thinks no one is watching him, mark my words Alex, that boy is going to love you,” she shares as her voice dies at the end as sleep finally seems to catch up to her.

Alex kisses the top of her head, his smile small and sad, “You’re wrong Maria, that boy was born to love someone great…not someone who’s broken,” he whispers into the stillness of the apartment. He ignores the pang in his chest as he pulls the afghan from the back of the sofa down and over them. He watches the horizon change from pink to orange with heavy eyelids as he soon follows Maria into sleep.

Chapter Text

Michael startled awake, his wide whiskey-colored eyes staring into the deep depths of milk chocolate eyes accompanied with warm, panting breath against his neck. He frowned as he pushed the body off his chest.

“Ugh, Mars, really?” he whined as he looked around his room, the faint blue glow of his alarm clock on his dresser cast a ghostly glow over the piles of laundry he’d been ignoring for a couple weeks. He sighed even deeper when he noted the time, exactly one hour before his alarm was set to go off.

Undisturbed by her master’s dismissal, Mars started to dig at the duvet, pulling it further down Michael’s body as she urged him to get up. The man in questioned curled his fingers into the material and tugged helplessly as he tried to turn back over and burrow into his pillow. “Five more minutes, please, I am begging you,” he groaned again, trying to bury his head beneath pillow and blanket.

Without a blanket to catch, Mars laid down on her stomach and crawled up the bed to where a sliver of Michael’s forehead peeked through the blanket. A long, wet tongue laved across the exposed flesh. A low whine emitted from below and Mars barely had a second to bolt out of the way as Michael threw the blanket off to the side. Defeated, the alien moved to sit at the edge of his bed. Excited, Mars leapt off the end of the bed and wiggled between his legs, a large smile on her snout as she nosed at his arms, begging for pets.

“For a dog that lived off dumpster diving, you sure are needy,” he muttered as he pushed himself to his feet. He obliged her with a few head scritches and even a kiss on her forehead before he shuffled out into the hallway. He arched his back as he walked, the satisfying feeling of his spine popping, and cracking caused him to shiver as he groped for the light switch in the bathroom. Mars may have gotten him up, but she still had to wait for him to complete his own morning rituals before she’d be taken for a jaunt around the block.

It was a rare day off for Michael and for once he didn’t have any plans, in fact, he made it a point to be plan free so he could work on a few things around his apartment and go over some of the forms he’d gotten in the mail from Sanders back home. He needed to figure out just how deep in debt the old man was so he could come up with a plan to help him out. Michael owed his life to Sanders, the only one brave enough to take a chance on a boy whose name was often followed by whispers on how troubled he was. Michael isn’t quite sure where he would be without Sanders, he owes him so much more than he could ever hope to repay in this lifetime.

Michael’s reverie is broken, however, by a cold, wet nose that pressed into the back of his knee. He’s not proud of the noise that gurgles from his throat as the jolt of surprise sparked up along his spine. His heart had even kicked up a couple of notches while Mars sat with her tongue lolled out of the side of her mouth, watching him.

“You think you’re so cute, huh?” he mumbled while he wet his toothbrush. He went back to getting ready for the day, his mind blessedly blank as he moved through his routine. Mars had spent her morning one step behind him, not straying too far least he forget the entire reason for his existence was merely to serve her.

As he stood at his stove watching over some eggs and sausage, Mars happily ate up the kibble he poured into her bowl. Just as she finished eating, Michael poured the eggs and sausage out onto his plate. He dropped a couple extra patties in Mars’ dish and winked at her as he slid into a stool at his counter. Both man and dog ate in silence, Michael thumbing lazily through some Engineering article and TechTalks he subscribed to. He ignored the emails from a handful of universities, knowing he wasn’t about to head down that road until he felt good about setting Sanders straight with his books.

“Alright girl, what do you say we get out and get our steps in,” he announced as he dropped his plate into the sink, his body arching again in an inelegant stretch while his mouth opened wide on a yawn.

Mars yipped up at him before she turned away and dashed towards her leash. She nosed at the pink material that hung from the hook next to the door, her tail wagged so hard it nearly slapped both sides of her body. Michael grinned as he moved closer and hooked his index finger under the lead to pull it from the hook. It took a minute, as Mars had started to dance around in her excitement, but he managed to get her secured before he left his apartment.

The morning air was still cool from the night, a lazy breeze curled along the back of Michael’s neck as he started down the block, Mars moving at a sedate pace, her head low to the ground as the picked up different scents. They only had to stop twice for her to relieve herself, but it always felt like magic, being out on the city streets as the sun was rising, watching as people and things started to wake up for the day. Instead of cutting back down the street he continued forward, taking advantage of the nearly bare streets and sidewalks before the sun rose too high.

Without truly thinking of a destination, Michael had walked them five blocks from the apartment building where the sounds of traffic started drift through the air, even the sweet beckoning scent of coffee came wafting from some café likely nearby. By now the sun had almost fully risen so he turned back around to head towards his apartment. This time, Michael’s mind didn’t quite stay as blank as when he’d initially set out to get some exercise, instead he found himself thinking over the conversation he’d had with Alex only a few short nights ago.

He hadn’t really let himself think about it too much, whenever his mind wandered towards one Alex Manes, suddenly he found himself asking more questions than answering them. If he thought on the matter too long, he’d find that the last time he even hooked up with a woman had been months ago – right around the time he’d started shooting his initial scenes with Alex. He refused to try and correlate the two incidents – he still firmly thought of himself as a heterosexual man, didn’t he? Then again, he’d still never met anyone as beautiful as Alex in his life, male, or female. Maybe there was something to what Isobel had discussed with him. Maybe sexuality wasn’t such a straight heh, and narrow line, maybe it was a collection of curving and bending roads. He’d never considered being with a man before the opportunity to cash in more substantial paychecks had arisen, and even then, he’d felt comfortable still identifying as heterosexual because, as Isobel had stated, there were a lot of men like him in the industry, hell, he’d met a handful in his own studio who had wives and girlfriends.

Thankfully, Mars had led them home, because Michael suddenly had the urge to hide away in his apartment for the rest of the day and try not to think about what could potentially end up redefining who he is, or maybe he’s finally realizing something that has always been part of himself – something he’d been afraid to name over the years since life had always been so unkind to him. He pushed a hand through his thick mop of curls as he sucked in a deep breath. In the moment where he stood, just outside the doors to his apartment building, it felt like an entire lifetime was on loop, playing back in his mind. The first time he’d ever noticed the way a boy looked, or when he had found himself more focused on the man in the scene rather than the woman, or the first time he had a dream about what it might feel like to be pressed up against a chest built of solid muscle instead of the soft curves of a woman. All of these instances he bottled up, hide away because life had already burdened him with one shitty family after another, he didn’t need to lose the little support network he’d managed to attract while he was in school.

Even when Isobel came out as an adult, fully embracing who she was and how she felt about her sexuality as something more fluid than solid – though she found it easiest to label herself bisexual – how Michael had envied her then but swallowed it down. Maybe it was because he’d wanted to say the same thing, but then he worried he’d be accused of trying to ride her wave, steal her attention. It had always been easier for him to stay quiet, to ignore the parts of himself that he always felt bubbling just beneath the surface of his skin, sure he’d done amazing in school, but he was still stuck with a stigma, and it was so very easy to just fall into what his peers and their parents had labeled him.

“Holy shit Mars, I think Isobel might be right…I might actually be bisexual,” he uttered quietly to his dog. The realization, the truth of it hit him hard in that moment. He didn’t feel any different, but did he really expect to? It wasn’t like he was wearing a new skin, in fact, he felt a bit lighter – more relieved as he started to really think about it – but then his stomach dropped down to the soles of his shoes as he stepped into the lobby of his building. Mars whined as she sensed a shift in his attitude. She thumped her tail against his calves a couple of times as she looked up at him, worried.

“What the fuck do I do with this now?” he uttered even as he slipped his phone from his pocket – seemingly on autopilot as his thumb danced across the screen typing an urgent message for Isobel to call him. It seemed that his day was about to get a helluva lot more complicated. He needed booze, all of it because not only did this realization rock him to his core, but it seemed to come hand in hand with images of Alex throughout their entire working career and friendship that had flourished all based around the notion of Michael being straight and thus unable to ever fall for Alex.

Although his head was pounding and little tics of telekinetic powers prickled through the air around him, only one thought seemed to break through it all and plaster itself like a colorful birthday banner at the forefront of his mind – Alex could never find out about this.

---

“Look at that, the old duo back at it again,” Forrest purred as he rounded Alex’s chair, a smirk firmly planted on his lips as he settled into his own seat across from Alex.

Alex didn’t bother to hide his eye roll or sigh from Forrest as he looked up from the book in his lap. His lips spread into a cordial smile as he placed his bookmark between the pages and slowly closed the book. He had hoped Forrest wouldn’t make their shoot weird, but it seemed the other man couldn’t help himself. Alex missed Michael in that moment, surely he’d have swooped out of nowhere and distracted Forrest to keep him from being a pest.

“And here I thought you were going to be mature about this,” he deadpanned as he leaned over to set his book on the small table next to him.

Forrest rolled his eyes as he slouched a little lower in his chair, “Oh come on Alex, ever since Guerin came around everyone has been frothing at the mouth to set you two up in these domestic, feels laden scenes. Honestly, I was getting sick of it,” he murmured, his gaze skipped all over the studio as he avoided making eye contact with Alex.

In response Alex snorted, the noise indelicate and surprising even him as he shook his head, “Oh my God, you’re jealous of him…are you being serious Forrest? How many times does he, or really anyone have to tell you, he’s straight as a fucking two by four or whatever. He just makes me feel safe and I trust him,” he admitted with a shrug, his eyes moved to settle in his lap as he picked at a fray in his tee shirt.

Forrest groaned, his whole body seemingly going limp as he rolled his neck back, “Straight, not straight, either way I’m just sick if him being all anyone can talk about. I mean, I like him, he’s cool shit, but he’s just…I just don’t like that they keep pairing you guys up…I’ve missed you,” he admitted, affecting a soft tone, his grin warm around the edges as he tried to catch Alex’s eye.

Alex narrowed his gaze at the other man and leaned forward in his chair, “Forrest, please tell me you didn’t set this up in some misguided hope it would change the relationship we have,” Alex inwardly shuddered at the word relationship, but despite Forrest’s obvious advances and jealousy, they were friends and Alex always hoped Forrest would get some sense knocked into him one of these days.

Forrest cleared his throat and looked away as the rest of the crew started to filter in, “Of course not Alex, you have made it more than clear where I stand with you, this was just a happy accident,” he stated as he shifted around in his chair so he didn’t outright face Alex.

A bright overhead light flared to life. Alex flinched back from the brightness, but took the cue and pulled his shirt over his head to hang on the arm of his chair. He slid to his feet, moving to stand next to Forrest, “Good because this is work, it may be intimate and you may have idea in your head about us, but I need to make sure you know, this is my job and I do take it seriously,” he reiterated as he edged closer to the set to fiddle with the props to ensure their placement for the scene.

Forrest scrubbed a hand over his face as he slipped from his own chair to follow behind Alex. One of the techs ran over to straighten his tie before he found his mark. He used the moment to appreciate the swell of Alex’s ass in the small swim trunks the studio seemingly poured him into. He could already feel his cock coming to life as he completed a mental run through of their cues and lines. They were shooting a very tried and true pool boy episode wherein Alex played a coy pool boy whose mission it was to get into the very uptight businessman’s pants. It was simple and it put Alex in a place of power, making him the one to chase Forrest this time rather than the other way around.

Alex settled on his own mark behind a set of French doors. Forrest watched as he shook out his nerves, bouncing from one foot to the other, the sharp contrast of the steel leg against his tanned skin worked wonders. Forrest couldn’t wait to get a taste of Alex again; it had been so long and he craved him like flowers craved the sun. A calm settled over the set as anyone not needed left the room giving the actors minimal distraction as they both went through their own mental routine to drop down into the headspaces of their characters, except for Forrest, he wasn’t playing anyone, he was simply himself – a man desperate for relief.

Alex glanced over towards the cameraman and nodded to show he was ready. The director called for action so Alex reached forward to push the doors open as he fell into the role he was set to play. His dark gaze picked over the sun dappled room, his lips moving into a flirty smirk as he found Forrest leaned against a Kitchen Island. Forrest hadn’t looked up from where he was sorting through mail, not until the door snicked shut.

“Afternoon sir, I uh…wasn’t expecting you to be home so early,” he hedged as he moved closer to the other man, his gaze dipping down to take in the tie wrapped around his neck.

Seemingly startled, Forrest jumped and looked up at Alex, his chin bobbed with a sharp nod, “Yeah? Did you plan on thrashing the place before I got home from work?” he challenged, his tone sharp as he watched Alex’s slow advance on him.

Alex coyly bit at his bottom lip, a blush flourished on his cheeks as he shook his head, “No, nothing like that…I’m actually glad you’re here right now,” he breathed as he came to a stop mere inches from where Forrest stood, trapping the other man between the counter and his body.

Forrest furrowed his brows, his gaze pointedly taking in the lack of space between them. He tried to backup, but there wasn’t much further to go with the counter at his back. He set the mail down and cleared his throat, “Yeah? Why is that? Have you finished with the pool?” he asked, his voice cracked and betrayed the way his nerves seemed to frazzle with having the pool boy so close to him.

Alex pushed air through his nose as he reached out to gently take Forrest’s tied into his hand, the silk slipped over his palm easily as he tested its softness, “Oh, I finished alright, but I was missing you,” he purred, his gaze had firmly fallen to hungrily watch Forrest’s mouth.

The other man cleared his throat and side stepped to break the contact Alex had with his tie. Despite the way his hear threatened to beat right out of his ribcage, Forrest managed to affect an angry look, “Look, I have no idea what you think you’re doing here, but I can assure you my wife will be home soon,” he uttered, his voice shook with nerves as he tried to back out of the kitchen.

Alex only smirked in response, his firm body moved gracefully as he stalked Forrest, following him into the living room, “She’s not coming home any time soon, you told me yesterday she’s way on a business trip…or should I say, she’s out getting boned by her boss,” he grinned, the tip of his tongue emerged from his lips to wet them as he back Forrest right down onto the couch.

Forrest’s chest heaved as he tried to think of a way to escape, “I-I…I was wrong. Her trip is tomorrow,” he tried again, lamely hoping to scare Alex off.

“Oh, come on, I’ve seen the way you watch me when I’m bent over your pool, sweat running slick down my back,” he purred as he easily slipped into Forrest’s lap, his hands gripping his shoulders as he wiggled to get comfortable, mindful of his prosthetic. He moaned as he tipped his hips down to drag their half hard cocks against each other through the layers they still wore.

“What? I would never I-I’m a married man,” Forrest exclaimed, trying to defend himself, but his hands moved to tightly grip Alex’s hips, his original want to shove the boy off, but instead pulled him closer.

Alex grinned in triumph as he wound the silk tie around his finger, “It’s okay, I won’t tell if you don’t,” he murmured as he leaned down to capture Forrest’s lips in a filthy kiss. Both men moaned at the contact, their bodies coming alive as they moved against each other. Forrest’s hands climbed up Alex’s back to tangle in the longer hair at the back of his head so he could try and control the kiss, but Alex had a mind of his own. A sharp cry echoed around the den when Alex bit down sharply on Forrest’s bottom lip.

“Oh fuck,” Forrest groaned, but before he could pull Alex back into the other man had slipped from his lap and settled on the floor at his feet. Alex grinned up at him watching him through his lashes as he gently rubbed his palm along Forrest’s length through his pants.

“Fuck, you feel so huge. I can’t wait to have you in me,” he sighed as he leaned forward, his mouth open and dripped as he sucked Forrest through the rough material. He closed his eyes as he concentrated on tracing the shape of him, his lips closing around his tip before he pulled back.

Forrest’s chest heaved as he watched Alex, his eyes wide with surprise as his brain seemed to have gone offline. It was almost like watching from outside of his body. Slowly, so painfully slowly, Alex began to undo the buttons on his pants. Without thought, Forrest lifted his hips so that his pants and briefs could be tossed across the room. He could feel nothing and everything the moment Alex wrapped his mouth around him. His eyes slammed shut while his hands immediately buried themselves in Alex’s dark hair. He didn’t even recognize the noises coming from his mouth as his cock was swallowed and expertly worked over.

“Oh fuck, oh yes, fuck, just like that,” Forrest growled as he began to come back to himself in tiny pieces, his nails scrapped over Alex’s scalp. The other man shot him a sharp look, but quickly hid it as he wrapped a hand around the base of Forrest’s cock. Forrest’s hips stuttered as he chased after Alex’s retreating mouth. He looked down, his mouth open as he panted, but nothing could prepare him for the sight of Alex on his knees, his lips red and puffy from sucking on his cock. It took everything in him to remain in character and not pick Alex up and toss him down on the sofa.

“You get worked up so fast, maybe your wife isn’t doing such a great job,” he teased as he slowly got to his feet. He shuffled forward between Forrest’s legs and raked his hands through his now dark brown hair, pulling back to expose his neck. “What do you want to do to me?” he asked, his voice low and gravely as bent down to nip at the exposed flesh.

“Fuck I-I don’t know,” Forrest stammered as he tried to swallow, but there was so much happening to him and he couldn’t focus.

Alex tsked against his neck. A whimper sounded when he pulled back to meet Forrest’s eyes again, “You can do better than that, if you don’t tell me what you want then I’m going to find some other rich asshole to fuck me,” he challenged, his gaze sharp as he reached down to pump Forrest’s cock a couple of times.

Suddenly, as if he’d grabbed a live-wire, Forrest was on his feet and Alex was down on the couch, his legs splayed from the sudden change in position, “You mind your place,” Forrest growled suddenly as he moved to crawl over the top of Alex. He lowered himself down and into a hungry kiss of tongues, teeth, and lips. Again, they moved against one another. Forrest chased the rough friction of his cock over the velvety material of Alex’s swimming trunks.

“Oh fuck, yes, more,” Alex moaned as Forrest moved down his chest to give his nipples attention. While he worked one with his mouth, he tortured the other between his fingers until they were both puffy red peaks. Alex’s chest heaved as he watched Forrest work down his body.

“Off, these need to be off now,” Forrest ordered as he sat back, his fingers hooked around the waistband of Alex’s trunks. Alex obliged him and lifted his hips so he could be freed from the only article of clothing he was wearing.

“Take yours off too,” he commanded, his gaze hungry as he watched Forrest hurry to do as instructed, his suit jacket, tie, and button up shirt disappeared over the back of the sofa. Alex’s hands moved, as if magnetized to grope along the firm lines and planes of Forrest’s chest and stomach. He teased the other man’s cock again before he was pushed up the couch.

“You’re mouthy,” Forrest murmured as he settled between Alex’s legs, his lips moving slowly over Alex’s powerful thighs, groaning as he inhaled the most primal of Alex’s scent, his mouth watering as he began nipping a trail up Alex’s thigh. He curled his arms under Alex’s hips to lift them from the sofa so he could nose between his cheeks.

“Oh fuck, yes, fucking eat me out,” he cooed, his back arching as Forrest laved his tongue over his quivering hole. Alex moaned, his arms moving up and behind his head to grip the arm of the sofa as he pushed himself closer to Forrest’s talented tongue. Soft gasps and groans poured from him as Forrest’s tongue lapped at him, entered him, tasted the most intimate part of himself. He turned his face into his arm while the other one he trailed down his chest to grasp his cock.

Forrest hummed as he pushed his tongue as far as possible into Alex, sighing in want at the salty, tangy taste of him. He could easily do this for hours, but the way Alex was writhing and moaning meant he was getting close to the edge, and Forrest wanted to be inside of him when he jumped. He pulled back from Alex, a line of saliva still connected them. He shifts up onto his knees and pressed his index finger into Alex, watching the way his chest moved, mesmerized by the sharp jut of his hips as he arched his back. “Jesus Christ you’re so fucking gorgeous,” Forrest breathed.

Alex faltered for a moment, that wasn’t Forrest’s line. He waited to see if they would be called to cut, but no one said anything so Alex flashed him a cocky smirk, “Yeah? I have something for you in the pocket of my shorts,” he stated, his chin jutted in the direction of where Forrest had tossed them.

An elegant brow ticked up Forrest’s forehead as he scrambled off the couch to grope around Alex’s pockets. He grinned when his fingers wrapped around a small bottle of lube and a condom, “Confident little shit, huh?” he uttered as he rejoined Alex on the sofa.

Alex merely shrugged, “I’m good at what I do,” he asserted, his legs falling wide open. His long, lean cock twitched against the planes of his stomach. Forrest nearly forgot himself as he simply took in the picture Alex painted, spread out and eager for him.

“I’m going to fuck you so hard,” Forrest growled as he squirted a decent dollop of lube into the palm of his head. He warmed the viscous liquid between his hands and teased Alex’s hole as he kissed across his clavicle. Alex hummed and buried his hands in Forrest’s hair as he moved his hips, hoping to make Forrest enter him and fuck him with his fingers.

“Fucking do it already,” he whined after more teasing, but he swallowed back a moan as Forrest pushed two fingers into him. A long, low moan ripped free of his lips as his back arched up off the sofa. He wiggled his hips, hoping for more. Forrest let him suffer for a few more moments until he crooked his fingers against Alex’s prostate, pushing into the sensitive bundle of nerves as he bit one of Alex’s nipples.

“I’ve got you,” he murmured as he worked in a third finger. He used his other hand to slowly jerk Alex off along with the movements of his fingers inside of him. He teased at his balls and taint, experimenting to see what kind of noises he could make the other man give up for him. He was lost in the beauty of Alex, that he almost forgot the whole point of the shoot.

“Please, I need you in me, now,” Alex begged, the cocky attitude from before gone, washed away in a sea of ecstasy.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Forrest assured as he dropped feather light kisses over Alex’s chest. He rolled the condom over his heated, turgid length. He shuffled forward to line himself up with Alex and pressed himself into him.

“Ah, fuck yes, more, please, I need it,” Alex hummed, his hips moving in an attempt to fuck himself while Forrest tortured him by remaining still.

Forrest grinned down at him and moved to grip his hips. He pulled his hips back, making Alex even more desperate before he slammed himself forward, his entire body shuddered at the tight, slick heat of Alex wrapped around him. Being with Alex again woke something almost feral inside of Forrest. A possessive need to remind Alex of what he could do took over him and he started to fuck Alex, bouncing him up the couch, drawing out short gasps of pleasure ripped free of his lips as he held fast to the couch’s arm.

“Oh shit,” he groaned, precum leaked from his cock, staining his stomach. He clenched himself around Forrest’s length each time he arched his back. He whined when Forrest had batted his hand away to keep him from jerking himself off while he had Forrest’s dick buried in him. He shot the other man a petulant look, but returned his hand to the arm of the sofa.

“God, you take this cock so well,” Forrest huffed, his own pleasure building steadily as he arched his hips, driving himself as deep as possible into Alex. He moaned as he started a rhythm of sharp, short thrusts. “Oh fuck, God you feel so good,” he hummed. His end was so close so he slid a hand up from Alex’s hip to wrap around his neglected cock.

Alex hissed in pleasure, his legs falling even more open as Forrest started to jerk him off. Forrest’s fingers wrapped tightly around his length, milking as much precum as he could to ease the friction. Alex licked his lips as he moved to watch the other man. The head of his cock, shiny with precum, was red and engorged as Forrest teased and fucked him. It felt so fucking good, and after a short while he could feel his balls start to draw closer to his body, preparing for the crescendo of their fucking.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, I’m about to cum,” Alex warned, but by the time his warning was given he was shooting hot ropes of cum up his torso, some even splashing onto Forrest’s chest. He cried out and clenched down on Forrest who had slammed into him. He could feel the hot pulses of Forrest’s cock as he followed Alex down into the free-fall of pleasure.

Eventually the world started to come back to them both as they laid together getting sticky. Both men took a few minutes to catch their breath. Forrest had wrapped his arms around Alex in an attempt to stay close, his slowly softening cock still inside of the other man. “Shit Alex, that was really fucking good,” he hummed.

Alex frowned as he looked down at the head on his chest. He tapped at Forrest’s shoulder, “Up now, I feel gross and need a shower,” he uttered, ignoring Forrest’s comment on what they had just done.

Forrest sighed as he moved to sit up, both men hissed as he fell free of Alex. He divested himself of the condom and watched Alex check his leg before getting up and grabbing his shorts. He remained on the sofa while Alex moved off set, taking a robe offered by some twink. Forrest’s gaze narrowed as he watched the other man move towards the exit. Everyone else milled about and cleaned the different areas and reset them for future scenes. It took him a few more minutes to push himself up and off the sofa. He accepted his own robe and cinched it around his waist. He should be celebrating his reunion with Alex, but instead he was annoyed by Alex easy dismissal of him. It had to mean he wasn’t trying hard enough. He just hoped Alex wouldn’t find out how much he had to pay the writers to give them a scene together.

Chapter Text

Reality starts to filter through the darkness as Alex’s lashes flutter. His arms ache, which is the first odd bit that hits him. He tries to shift around his weight as his lower calves begin to prickle with sleep. The world begins to light up at the edges of his vision, and as awareness seeps in further and further, he realizes his arms are somehow bound and held above his head. His brows furrow as he blinks away the sleep that had crusted around his lashes. The room he’s in isn’t his own, this one is darker, more ornate and bathed in a soft, flickering amber glow. He swallows thickly as he tests the strength of his bonds, though the loops are soft and giving, there isn’t enough give to slip his wrists free. Where he should be feeling anxious, a soft voice in his head assures him he isn’t in danger, in fact it is quite the opposite.

The bed beneath him is covered in the softest silk sheets he’d ever had the pleasure of resting on. The sheets are a deep crimson color, nearly dark as blood, a sharp contrast so his tanned legs. He notes that he is only clad in a pair of tight, black boxer-briefs with an already half hard cock. He has no idea how he’d ended up in such a situation, but the way his heart thunders in anticipation tells him he doesn’t have to worry about who had wrapped him up like some sort of offering. He eases up his muscles a bit, his breathing evening out as he looks around for his partner. As his gaze roves around the room, he notes the myriad of candles scattered over the flat surfaces of the room, their flames flickering and casting shadows up and down the walls. The furniture of the room looks to be ornate and all are a deep mahogany color, their surfaces glittered, giving the room a regal feel.

Before Alex could dwell any longer on who could own such amazing things, a door he hadn’t noticed creaked open. He cut his eyes over to the sound, his heart kicked up a few notches as he waited to see who it was that had managed to get him in such a state. He shifts his weight a little to keep it from his bad leg. His fingers curled around the silken bonds above his head while his tongue poked out to wet his lips.

“Well, well, well, look at you all tied up with nowhere to go,” a whiskey smooth voice rumbled from the shadows as Michael Guerin sauntered into the flickering light.

A low sound of want rumbles deep from his throat as Michael is revealed. For a moment he is envious of the way the light from the flames licks and dances across Michael’s naked chest. It was almost as if the flames mocked Alex as they slid over every inch of Michael’s glorious skin. Another noise of protest flitters from Alex’s throat as he swallows. Michael smirks at him while he raised a hand to comb back through his curls, creating a chaotic mess to halo around his head. He wore a pair of tight, faded jeans that accentuated his thick thigh muscles, but what had Alex’s mouth watering was the sharp jut of Michael’s hips down into the waist band of his jeans. He wanted to taste there, flatten his tongue against the salty sweet tang of Michael’s skin and absorb him into his bloodstream.

“You look so wrecked and I haven’t even had a chance to touch you, private,” Michael teased as he came around the edge of the bed. He tossed some sort of bottle down that rolled to a stop against Alex’s bare calf. The shock of cold glass caused goosebumps to rise in waves over his body. He was still lost for words as he tracked Michael’s movements.

Words held no meaning for Alex as he concentrated on drawing air in through his lips and expelling it. He wanted so badly for Michael to touch him, to take the edge off, but at the same time, he loved not knowing what could happen next. All he truly knew in the moment was that he trusted Michael, despite being restrained, he knew Michael wouldn’t hurt him. A shiver wracked his spine as he watched the other man move closer to the bed. As soon as their eyes met, the rest of the world fell away, pulled away at the edges as he focused on the golden flecks shimmering in Michael’s gaze. Without thought, Alex sucked in a shaky breath, and as he exhaled, he murmured, “Kiss me.”

Michael smirked as he crawled closer to where Alex knelt at the center of the bed. The mattress was firm enough that Alex’s knees didn’t fall into the dip when Michael came to a stop in front of him, though he doubted he’d notice or care. His heart hammered against his ribs while his tongue licked across his dried lips. A warm palm curled around Alex’s cheek as he leaned in close, “You never have to ask,” he breathed as he slid his lips over Alex’s.

Heat pooled in Alex’s gut as their lips connected. A needy noise rippled up Alex’s throat as he leaned into Michael, desperate for more of him. He wanted to be completely surrounded by the other man, soaked into his chest to be kept safe from the world. He wasn’t even aware of the tears that had leaked from his eyes until Michael had pulled back, concern in his own gaze as he studied Alex.

“Please don’t stop,” Alex breathed, his lips trembled as he pulled against the silken rope around his arms. The candles around the room flickered in that moment, as if Alex’s wave of longing was a tangible thing.

“Don’t worry darlin’, nothing could pull me away,” Michael purred, his voice like gravel as he slotted himself against Alex, their chests brushing against each other as he played with Alex’s bottom lip.

Just as Alex was opening for Michael, needing to feel them pressed against one another, something slammed into his forehead and the entire room and Michael himself disappeared into a fine mist. Alex groaned as he lifted his fingers to probe around his forehead where something had hit him. “What the hell?” he groaned as he forced his eyes open against the harsh light from his window.

“Wake up Romeo, you promised to be mine for the day and we’re starting now!” Maria called from where she stood in Alex’s doorway, a knowing eyebrow arched as she pointedly kept her eyes above his waist.

Understanding Maria’s hesitation took only a few seconds. Red bloomed over his cheeks while he bunched his sheets in his lap to try and hide the evidence, “Could I get some privacy please?” he grumbled as the last vestiges of his dream dissipated into the ether.

Maria arched a heavily unimpressed brow at him, “You have thirty minutes before I come back in here and drag you out, dressed or not,” she shot back at him, her arms crossed over her chest as she stared him down.

The incident in Alex’s lap took care of itself with the ice in Maria’s tone, “Alright, alright, please close the door behind you,” he uttered as he combed a hand through his hair, tousling it even more as he threw his duvet to the side.

Maria made a noise of assent as she turned and pushed the door closed behind her, “Thirty minutes Alexander!” she called out again, her voice fading as she walked away.

Alex groaned as he rolled to sit at the edge of his bed. A large yawn over took his mouth as he stretched his limbs out, letting his joints pop and crack all over his body. He grabbed the crutch next to his bed to stager onto his foot. He pushed his dream into the corner of his head to be examined later when he was sure he’d have more privacy. It was interesting that in his dream he didn’t mind being restrained with Michael in charge…he felt comfortable even…safe.

-----

True to his word, Alex emerged from the bathroom thirty minutes later dressed in a black tee shirt and faded skinny jeans. He grinned at Maria as he rounded into the kitchen to pour himself a mug of coffee, “What’s on our agenda for the day?” he asked as he settled against the counter, his mug cupped between his palms. He hummed in pleasure as the acrid liquid filled his mouth.

Maria snapped her laptop shut to spring effortlessly up from their couch, “First you’re buying me breakfast so I can forget about what I walked in on, and then we have a hot yoga session, some time being beach bums, then a nice dinner with some drinks and finally rounding out the night with some of our favorite movies and wine,” she ticked off as she slipped a bag over her shoulder.

Alex huffed, “Sounds busy…but relaxing,” he agreed as he downed the rest of his coffee. It had been well over a month since Maria and he had any time to spend together. It used to be them against the world when they had first moved to California, just two small town adults with dreams of finding something within the surf. Alex honestly knows he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Maria leaving everything behind to follow him, to support him, and help him pick up all of his broken pieces. She and her mom were the only people in his life that had given any sort of damn about him. He owed her his life, so spending a day with her was no hardship…no matter how steamy his dream may have been.

-----

Hours later, as the sun begins to sink below the horizon, Alex is spread out over his sofa, full and slightly tipsy after his third glass of wine. Maria too is feeling the effects of their day as she cozies into Alex’s side, a content hum emitting from her throat as she nuzzles into his chest, “Remind me why I don’t just become a trophy wife and spend all my days like this,” she uttered, the glow of the TV washing over her features.

Alex chuckled, his fingers idly playing with the silken strands of her hair, “You’d die of boredom. You’re far too independent to be kept by any man…you’re the one that will do the keeping,” he teased as he tipped his chin down to bury his lips against her scalp.

Maria hummed in assent, “Speaking of being a kept man…what did I walk in on this morning?” she asked, her tone knowing as she pushed up to look down at Alex’s face.

Alex huffed and averted his gaze, “I don’t even remember,” he lied as he reached for the remote to change the movie they were watching.

Maria scoffed and slapped a hand down against his chest, “That is such a lie…was it about Michael?” she asked, her brows raised in amusement as she watched Alex’s face.

Alex pointedly ignored her question, but the silence as well as the hint of a blush on his cheeks gave away the answer. Maria grinned, pleased with herself, but before she could say anything more, Alex’s chest deflated, “It was just a dream, there’s nothing to be excited about,” he murmured.

Maria frowned. She cupped his cheeks and gently turned his face to meet his gaze, “Hey, I didn’t mean to make you upset I just…when you’re with him it’s like I’m seeing the old Alex again, the one we lost after high school,” she shared, her tone careful.

Alex smiled sadly, “I miss that Alex too,” he sighed softly. He reached up to gently play with the strands of her hair, “Guerin is a good guy and he…I don’t know, he’s just always made me feel safe. He’s one of the first genuine people I’ve met here,” he admits and averts his gaze.

Sensing the downward shift in the mood, Maria grinned, “Plus he’s really hot,” she teased as she brushed Alex’s bangs from his forehead.

Alex couldn’t help it, a burst of laughter rumbled up from his chest. He wrapped his arms around Maria and tackled her down onto the sofa. They wrestled for a moment before they ended up tangled together again, Alex’s front curled protectively around Maria’s back, “Yeah, there’s that too…also fuck him for being so hot and caring and straight,” he chuckled.

Maria hummed in assent, her fingers curling with Alex’s as she settled back into his heat, “Straight men suck, except Michael Guerin who…I really don’t think is as straight as he claims to be, and before you jump to defend him, I know it’s an age-old argument and you don’t date co-workers anyways. But I am telling you Alex, the way that boy looks at you, the way you look at him…I can feel there’s something there,” she whispered softly.

Alex huffed and settled his chin atop her head, “Leave the psychic business to your mom, besides, if Guerin turned out to not be as straight as he says…who says he’d even pick me. Queer people can just be friends with each other you know,” he muttered, trying to keep himself from thinking about the shoot coming in the next few days. He and Michael had a handful of other meetings to discuss they dynamics where each of them feel comfortable with what the shoot will entail. The producers are also setting a lot by the shoot and if it all works out, Michael and Alex should see a pretty decent paycheck. There are even rumors that this could push them both into AVN nominations.

“Well, no matter what happens in the future, no boy better dream of breaking your heart or I will break their face,” she asserted while she snuggled back against his chest, “I just want you to be happy Alex,” she murmured and pulled his hand up to press a kiss to his knuckles.

Alex hid his face in her neck, “We’ll get there Maria…just one day at a time,” he assured them both, though he couldn’t quite push back the hope Maria’s words had dredged up and he knew that it would likely end in heartbreak and first and foremost he strived to protect himself.

Chapter Text

Nerves buzzed erratically under Michael’s skin. He’d been working up to this moment for over a month. He’d spent a lot of one-on-one time with Alex just to make sure they were both comfortable with what was being asked of them, not to mention the extra pressure from the studio whispering about AVN nominations. Even without the pressure and the nerves, Michael felt like this shoot would be more than just lights, camera, action. The last meeting, he had with Alex had felt like something in their foundation had shifted. There was a layer of shyness added between them, and for the life of him, Michael had no idea why. He’d been left speechless when he’d reached for his coffee table to pick up after they had wrapped up their meeting, Alex had leaned in to do the same and their hands had brushed. A jolt had skittered down Michael’s spine while a blush colored Alex’s cheeks. Michael had to tear his gaze away while he fumbled through a quick apology.

This had only happened a few nights back, so Michael avoided Alex on the set for as long as possible, but they had a job and an extremely detrimental scene to shoot, he couldn’t let his feelings get in the way, even if he hadn’t fully parsed what those feelings were. He had been pacing along the edge of the set when a familiar voice startled him out of his head.

“You look a bit nervous Mikey, anything I can help with?” Forrest offered, a genial smile on his lips as he stood before Michael.

The cowboy frowned. For all the sudden awkwardness between Alex and him, there was something even more volatile between Alex and Forrest. Michael narrowed his gaze at the other actor while he shook his head, “No, no, just trying to shake off these last-minute nerves,” he stated, trying to make his tone lighthearted.

Forrest didn’t look convinced, but flashed him a grin as he shoved his hands into his jean pockets, “Well I just stopped over to wish you luck, hopefully your scene with Alex is as hot as the one we did a couple weeks ago,” he stated, though a cold look flashed through his gaze just before he turned on his heel.

Michael frowned as he watched the other man retreat. He didn’t have time to dissect what he said or wonder why he felt the need to mention such a thing. Instead, he had an important shoot and a chance to create something meaningful, something that could give him the extra push to finally retire from the adult film world. He hadn’t shared that last bit with Alex yet, too afraid of what it could do with the relationship they’d formed with each other.

Once more Michael was pulled from his musings by new arrivals just across the set. He smiled softly to see Alex walking in alongside a PA. The ex-airman wore a push white robe, and is he felt Michael’s eyes on him he looked up, a hesitant smile on his own lips.

“Hey, so, are you ready for this?” Alex asked as soon as he came to stand with Michael. There was a very faint tremor in the undertone of his voice, but Michael shrugged it off.

“As ready as I’ll ever be, got to admit, I’ve never had anyone tie me up before,” he teased with a wink, hoping to dispel the last of both of their nerves.

Alex chuckled softly, “Thank you for trusting me with this, I think we’re going to create something pretty good today,” he breathed as if the last of his nerves were releasing and he could relax.

Michael nodded next to him, his gaze flicking over the bits of him free of his robe, “I’m not sure I could trust anyone else with something this important to a company. We’ve got some magic to create Alex, let’s get out there and break a leg,” he enthused with a gentle slap to Alex’s back.

That action effectively broke both men from their nerves and both fell into a quick fit of giggles before the director arrived and demanded everyone take their places. Both Michael and Alex took a moment to get into the headspaces needed for the scene, to draw upon the characters that were created for them. Both had no idea the other would have trouble separating fact from fiction as the shoot would go on, but both had vowed to give the shoot everything they could.

The lights around the faux room dimmed, embedded lights around the room lit up to cast an amber glow against the dark colors of the bed set. A couple of candles flickered on the various surfaces in the room while expertly placed ring lights would bring out the natural beauty of both Alex and Michael. Both men shed their armor as they approach the closed door to the set. They’re both in just jeans. Makeup quickly dishevels both of their hair to make it look as if hurried kisses and bites had been exchanged just before they are scripted to burst into the room.

The set starts to fade away as both Michael and Alex look into each other’s’ eyes. Something seems to shift and settle between them. Alex is the first to reach up and wrap his hand around the back of Michael’s neck. He shoots him a cocky little smirk while the tips of his fingers play in the downy soft curls at the back of Michael’s head.

“Ready?” Michael whispered; his heart kicked up a couple of notches as he met the inky depths of Alex’s gaze. The other man gave a short nod while his lips quirked up into a soft smirk. Before Alex could reply, the count down to actions had started so he shifts his stance and tightened his hold on Michael’s hair.

With no more room to overthink, Alex and Michael’s lips met in a searing kiss. It took Michael a moment to get into the right mindset for the shoot, separating his feelings and all that, but he surged forward and his character met Alex’s with the same fervor. His back slammed against the door to the bedroom, behind him Alex fumbled around to push it open. Flickering amber lights washed over both of them, adding an ethereal glow to their already tanned skin. Alex looked like something mythical from a fairytale. Michael had to swallow thickly to keep himself from saying anything too off script.

“You treated me to an amazing meal, I think it’s time I treat you to something equally as delicious,” Alex purred, his tone low as he pushed Michael back a step, putting a little bit of distance between them.

There was no acting involved as Michael watched Alex move around the bedroom, his chest heaved as he fought to get his heart under control. He had to push a palm against his cock to ease the discomfort of it pressing against the tight seam in his jeans. Alex pulled open different drawers as he collected the items he wanted for the rest of the night. The one item Michael kept his gaze on was a thick band of royal purple rope. His skin prickled with goosebumps as he imagined the silken strands tight against his skin, trussing him up tight. This was a different scene altogether than they usually shot together where Alex was the one in charge this time around, so Michael had to swallow thickly when the other man turned to face him, a salacious grin on his pretty lips.

“How come you’re not naked yet? I deliberately took my time so you’d strip for me,” Alex purred as he moved towards the foot of the bed. He laid out all of the items he’d collected and set them out in a perfect line before he approached Michael again.

During the entire process Michael had been lost for words until Alex came to stand before him. He tried hard not to stare into his eyes, the harsh brown color of his irises was lightened with the dancing flames around the room. Before Michael could make a fool of himself on camera, a playful grin unfurled across his mouth as he flicked his gaze up and down Alex’s body, “I was waiting on you,” he growled as he hooked his index finger into the waistband of Alex’s jeans. He skillfully used his thumb and his grip on the jeans to push the button through its hole.

Alex tipped his chin down to watch Michael's fingers rake slowly through the coarse hair on his pelvis leading down to where his cock throbbed. A breath was punched from his lungs while his hips pushed closer to Michael, yearning for more of his touch. His mouth dropped open as he drug his gaze up Michael’s chest, his hands soon joining the fray to comb through the forest of hair Michael wore with such pride. “Kiss me,” Alex whispered, his voice dripped with pure sex. A flash of pink drew Michael’s gaze to his mouth as Alex whetted them.

“As you wish,” Michael breathed as he pulled Alex against him. He pushed his hands down the back of Alex’s jeans as he pushed into his space to claim his mouth in a loud and needy kiss. He grabbed the globes of Alex’s ass and squeezed each cheek as he pulled him close, their hips grinding together as they both tasted one another. Michael savored the feel of Alex’s firm cheeks in his palms. He took advantage of having Alex distracted with the kiss to massage and knead to his heart’s content. As the need to breathe started to pull at them both, Michael took the chance to suck on Alex’s bottom lip before letting it slip free. Saliva shimmered in the low light, ensnaring Michael as Alex groaned, his lashes fluttering as he drug his cock along Michael’s hip.

Finally, Alex broke himself out of the trance and pushed at Michael’s shoulders, “Stop being so distracting, get naked and sit in the middle of the bed,” he ordered, his tone sharp as he shed his own jeans, but remained in a pair of small, tight burgundy-colored briefs.

Michael let out a huff of air as he watched Alex, but moved fluidly to finally peel himself out of his jeans and briefs. He kicked the articles of clothing out of the way and as tactfully as possible he climbed up onto the bed. He settled at the center of the large bed, the duvet cool under his heated flesh. He knew what was coming, but his cock still throbbed as he watched Alex pick up the rope. Hot air passed over his dry lips as he tracked Alex’s movements along the edge of the bed.

“You know, I picked this color just for you, to compliment the deep tan of your skin,” Alex stated almost conversationally as he trailed the rope over his long, dexterous fingers. He looked up and met Michael’s gaze, a flicker of something wicked flashed deep within Alex’s hungry gaze as he traced patterns over Michael’s flesh.

Words escaped Michael as he watched the way Alex’s fingers played with the rope. He could feel the other man’s gaze on him as if it was a physical touch. He swallowed thickly before a cocksure smirk curled the corner of his lip, “Oh yeah? You do a lot of that? Thinking about me, my skin, the things you wanna to do to me?” he teased, pushing Alex towards some unknown ledge.

Something sharp passed through Alex’s gaze as he narrowed his eyes. Michael watched raptly as Alex skillfully crawled up onto the bed and settled himself on his knees before Michael. Between one breath and the next Alex had firmly grasped Michael’s chin in his hand, “Tonight I get to make the fantasy into a reality and there’s nothing you can do to stop me,” he whispered harshly before capturing Michael’s lips in a fevered kiss.

Michael groaned into Alex’s mouth, his arms moved of their own accord to wrap around Alex’s neck to keep himself from falling backwards with the intensity of the kiss, but as soon as he felt Secure Alex had pulled back. A draft of cool air slithered down Michael’s chest where Alex had been only a moment ago. Dazed he blinked up and found Alex had scooted back a little, the rope that was neatly put together in his hands was no loose and trailed over the duvet. Once Michael raised his gaze, he met Alex’s challenging one, and swallowed thickly once more, his Adam’s apple bobbing.

“Hands behind your back,” Alex ordered, the thick silence between them finally broken. Michael moved slowly, his limbs felt like they were encased in molasses, but he did as Alex asked, mesmerized by the command in his tone, something he’d never really heard before, something his cock was very much interested in as it throbbed between his legs, impossibly hard and neglected.

Alex moved like a panther despite having a prosthetic leg. His movements were nearly silent as he slipped behind Michael. Soft lips trailed kisses over the back of Michael’s shoulders while the silky rope brushed over his skin as Alex started to truss him up like some sort of Thanksgiving turkey. Through the process Alex made sure to check in and make sure he was comfortable and there was no circulation cut off within the confines of the rope. Michael couldn’t see that artful work of the rope, but he could picture it in his mind after weeks of Alex practicing on him. Somehow the knowledge of actually being tied up to be used by Alex for real cause him to shiver while a small stream or precum dribbled from the tip of his cock.

There was still a good few feet of rope left after binding Michael’s arms so Alex laid it over his thigh for the next bit. He didn’t want to complete the picture quite yet. He still had a couple other plans for Michael first. He moved back around to face Michael and became transfixed by the sweat glimmering over his chest and stomach. Alex surged forward and laid his tongue flat against Michael’s sternum and lapped up as much of his salty sweat as he could before closing his lips over a nipple. Michael groaned, his neck collapsing as his head fell back against his shoulders.

“Shit,” he hissed ineloquently as Alex started to nip and lave his nipple, causing it to tighten up and stand erect. Michael gasped when Alex suckled the flesh, a smacking noise sounding as he pulled all the way off. Red surrounded the abused flesh as Alex smeared his saliva over the sensitive appendage. The sensation almost became too much, but as if he could read Michael’s mind, Alex moved his attention to the other nipple and abused it in kind. Michael hadn’t had many lovers in the past pay such mind to his pecs so he had no idea just how sensitive they actually were until Alex got his mouth and expert fingers on them. His thighs vibrated with the need to buck up and find some sort of friction for his cock, but helpless sounds poured from his lips as he was met over and over again with nothing to ease the fire raging inside.

“I’ve barely touched you and you’re already so very desperate,” Alex purred as he laved his tongue up and off Michael’s nipple before he leaned back with a wicked smirk. Michael had the sudden urge to tackle him and wipe the smirk from his lips, but as he strained, rope bit into his skin to remind him of his limited movement.

“I’m pretty sure this trumps the dinner I set up for us tonight,” Michael teased, trying to desperately hold onto some sort of control over the situation, not quite wanting to completely hand himself over to Alex – not trusting his heart completely if he did.

Alex grinned as he lifted a hand to gently cup Michael’s cheek, his thumb smoothing along the stubble rough crest just below his eye, “I’m only just getting started, I know you can hold on for a little bit longer,” he whispered as he drug his lips, a feather light touch, from the top of Michael’s cheek to tease his lips until they were tingling with the urge to kiss and take everything Alex was offering him up on a silver platter.

“You’re walking a fine line sweetheart,” Michael quipped again as he shifted his weight, clenching and unclenching his hands as he continued to strain against the desire to reach for Alex and pull him close, to absorb him right into his bloodstream.

“I think you forget who has the control here,” Alex challenged with an elegant arch of his brow as he turned to gather up a couple other supplies he’d laid out. He smoothed his fingers over a blood red swatch of silken cloth before he lifted it. He met Michael’s eyes for a moment before he took each end in a hand and lifted it towards Michael’s face, “You know, they say that when one sense is taken away or dampened, your other senses work harder to compensate. Let’s see how well we can make that work to our advantage,” Alex sighed as he leaned close to tie the cloth tightly over Michael’s eyes. He dropped a kiss to his forehead as his fingertips smoothed over Michael’s shoulders.

“Fuck, just, please touch me, just…please,” came the utterly broken and breathless plea from Michael’s lips. Alex grinned at the utterly wrecked tone. To help ease some of the strain on Michael’s body he gently closed his fingers around his aching cock. The tip of which was a deep purple color from the strain to be touched.

“You’re so gorgeous,” Alex whispered into Michael’s ear before he licked across the shell and nipped the lobe. He continued to nose alone Michael’s ear, planting soft, nipping kisses from the crown of his head and onto his neck. He inhaled deep, pulling the ever-present scent of petrichor into the depths of his lungs.

Small needy sounds fell from Michael’s lips, peppered among the noises were raw, broken noises of want as he strained to buck into Alex’s grip, desperate for something tighter and more fulfilling. His head fell forward, his chin against his clavicle as dew began to form on his lips with his breathes panting hot from his mouth. The muscles in his thighs began to quiver as he fought to keep himself in a kneeling position. He hoped Alex could see just how much Michael had surrendered to him in this moment, and honestly, he was frightened by the fact that he wasn’t even sure he was acting anymore.

“Look at you, you’re such a good boy, a gorgeous boy,” Alex praised, his tone low as he squeezed at just the head of Michael’s cock. A sharp jolt of electricity shot through Michael at the action and he cried out as more precum splashed onto Alex’s fist. Alex made a tsking noise, but Michael couldn’t see what he was doing, though his ears picked up the sounds of skin sliding over the duvet.

Michael didn’t even have a chance to catch his breath before hot, wet heat enveloped his cock. He cried out, his body bowing forward over Alex, his bound arms lifting up at the odd angle before he collapsed back against the pillows. His chest heaved and his legs finally unfurled to frame Alex’s body. Despite having a blindfold on, Michael squeezed his eyes shut and shook against the want to shove his cock down Alex’s throat. He tried to relax, to enjoy the sensation of Alex lavishing his cock with perfectly timed sucking and licking, but he wanted to hear him choke, wanted him to gag on his cock as retribution for taking away his ability to touch and to see.

Feeling cheeky, Michael made the choice and as Alex started to pull up his shaft, he heaved his hips up and his cock pushed into the back of Alex’s throat. The other man gurgles and spluttered as he pulled off Michael. The saliva coating his prick made him shiver, and he knew he’d sealed his fate with that action. He could sense the annoyance rolling off Alex like dark clouds, but he couldn’t help the shit-eating grin on his lips.

“That wasn’t very smart,” Alex growled as he moved into a kneeling position. He grabbed the loose rope from Michael’s side and started to wrap it around the base of Michael’s cock, threading the rope to create a raised line, almost like the vein on the underside of Michael’s cock. The binding of the rope squeezed and bit into the sensitive flesh of Michael’s cock, though it wasn’t too tight to keep him from coming, just tight enough with promises of what was to come.

“You’ve been teasing me for so long, I just, fuck, I need something,” he uttered, his voice wrecked with desperation. Alex gripped the rope around Michael’s cock and tugged, the silken bond moving over heated flesh, giving just the right amount of friction to stave off Michael’s urge to come.

“This should help you for a bit,” Alex purred. There was more shifting until Alex’s lips pressed over the head of Michael’s cock and slowly opened, dragging over the heated flesh to envelop the very tip of the other man. He lapped eagerly at the bitter, salty taste of Michael’s precum, groaning at the purely earthy taste of him, somehow just as rugged as he was. Alex tortured him further by squeezing the rope around the shaft and twisting, dragging the silky, but rough bond against the flesh.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” fell as a litany from Michael’s lips. His toes flexed and curled down into the bottom of his feet as his leg strained against the urge to fuck Alex’s mouth so he could finally come unglued. He was near desperate to jump over the edge, but as if he could read Michael’s mind Alex backed off, pulling off of Michael’s cock completely. “Shit, goddamnit,” Michael wheezed, his entire body sagging in frustration as he was pulled back from the precipice.

“We’re almost there,” Alex assured him as he nipped at the small bulge of sensitive skin under Michael’s navel. He flicked his tongue against the opening before he pushed himself up and nosed up Michael’s neck to find his lips. Michael easily opened to him, surrendering everything he had to Alex, entrusting him with his wellbeing as he pushed against the other man. Soft, heated noises squeaked free of their mouths as the each took what they needed and gave exactly what the other needed. Michael was the one to break the connection, a sharp sound of surprise emitting from him as cool steel pinched both of his nipple. He jerked again as cold metal fell against his overheated chest. He didn’t even recall seeing Alex lay out nipple clamps.

“I didn’t think you could get any more gorgeous, but look at you…you belong to me,” Alex sighed, his tone heavy with something undistinguishable. In that moment Michael would give almost anything to see what kind of look Alex wore as he spoke, but again his mind was jerked out of the thought as a lid popping open sounded. He didn’t have to wonder for long what was opened, soon he felt one of Alex’s hands covered in lube close over his cock. The lube saturated the rope still binding his cock which caused the homemade cage to become all that more slick against his skin.

“Please, fuck…please I need…I need to be in you,” Michael begged, his arms straining even more against their binding as Michael’s body fought to just grab Alex and fuck him into the mattress.

There was some more shifting before Alex’s weight completely left the bed. Michael’s not proud of the wrecked noise he made at the realization Alex had moved even farther away from him. All he needed, all he wanted was to feel surrounded by the glorious heat of Alex, to have every one of his senses completely filled by the airman. He was glad for the blindfold in that moment because he was no longer acting, this was no longer a scene with a co-worker, this was trust and longing with an undertone of sadness and dread for what would come as soon as the light came up.

Michael shook the thoughts from his head. The sounds of his breathing surrounded him. He strained to hear Alex, but before he could ascertain where the other man was, the bed dipped once more and Michael could feel the ghost of Alex’s heat around him. He could only imagine Alex was knelt between his legs. Soft breathes puffed over his cheeks and lips as Alex breathed, and again Michael imagined Alex on all fours before him. He tilted his head, his nostrils flared as he inhaled the heady scents of Alex, sharp bergamot and something woody that always just seemed to be Alex’s own scent. “Please…t-tell me what you’re doing,” Michael asked, his lips parted as he strained forward, rewarded when Alex wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him to nuzzle in against his neck. He could feel Alex’s lips right next to his ear. Every single nerve in Michael’s body sang.

Above the smells and the taste of Alex, he could hear slick flesh on flesh. He groaned once he realized it was Alex prepping himself for Michael’s cock, whose girth was increased with the confines of the rope. He buried his nose and mouth deeper into Alex’s shoulder, wanting to live only off of the oxygen from Alex’s body. He could hear the small, sweet noises Alex made. He only had to wait another moment for Alex’s voice, heavy with sex when he spoke, “I’ve got two fingers buried deep inside of me, stretching myself for you,” he crooned, his lips dragging over Michael’s ear as he spoke.

“Oh fuck, Christ,” Michael swore. He curled his fists tightly, the crescent moons of his nails dug into sensitive flesh to keep him from falling off the edge. He opened his mouth to suck Alex’s flesh between his lips, focusing on this point of contact, his salvation as he waited to be granted pleasure at Alex’s alter.

“Now…now I’m working in a third finger,” Alex rasped, his voice reedy as he pushed into himself. His fingers worked against his fluttering hole, easing the ache and tightness to take Michael into him. He pushed his hand as close as possible to probe at his own prostate, an ‘ah’ of pleasure dropping right into Michael’s ear as he shivered against the feeling. “I’m imagining my fingers are yours, working me open, making sure I’m ready for your cock. Fuck, I can’t wait to fuck you,” he hummed.

Michael groaned into Alex’s neck as he pulled off the flesh he surely abused. He laved his tongue over what he assumed was the spot he’d been sucking and biting. He had no words left, or he just didn’t know how to properly give voice to the absolute, soul-wrecking need to feel Alex on his cock. He wasn’t even sure such words existed in any universe to eloquently state just how much he needed Alex. His heart thudded at the realization. He swallowed thickly, burying everything down deep as he wordlessly begged for Alex’s salvation.

“Just one more finger and then I’m yours,” Alex sighed. There was slight resistance when Alex started to work in a fourth finger, assurance that he would be able to easily take all of Michael in with the added girth of the rope binding him. He lost this balance and fell into Michael, his eyes screwed shut as he pushed himself to the limit. He’d never felt so raw before, so exposed to someone who couldn’t even see him. He focused on the tight ring of muscles at his opening, the urge to feel Michael as impossibly close as possible blocked out all the rest.

Before Alex could get lost in the machinations of his own head, he pulled his hand away from his entrance. Immediately his body mourned the loss so he moved to hold himself up with his knees on either side of Michael’s hips. He reached back to hold Michael’s cock steady as he slowly lowered himself. He hissed just as soon as the tip if Michael’s cock breached him. He swallowed Michael easily until the edge of the rope pushed at his entrance. He had to stop for a moment. He squeezed himself around as much of Michael as he could before he relaxed and lowered over the bumps of the ropes.

“Oh, fucking Christ, fuck,” Michael groaned, his words low and drawn out with pleasure as they both adjusted to the feelings. For Michael it was almost impossibly tight and hot as Alex surrounded him. For Alex he felt full to bursting. He shifted a little and the mushroomed tip of Michael’s cock knocked against his prostate. Alex whimpered at the overly full feeling. It took him a few seconds to start moving. He slowly pulled up Michael’s cock and held himself just at the very top before he let himself fall back down. Both men cried out at the speed and friction of the move, and whatever spell they were under suddenly snapped.

Alex lifted his hands to Michael’s chest where he twisted and pulled the nipple clamps as he moved faster over Michael’s cock. The way the rope and head of Michael’s cock moved against his muscles and pushed roughly at his prostate had him seeing stars. For a moment he imagined he was sailing through other universes, as if on some cosmic journey. He’d never felt so hot and cold and oversensitive in his life. Sweat dripped and slipped between their bodies. Alex’s engorged cock slapped against Michael’s stomach as he fucked himself with abandon.

“Please, please, please,” Alex uttered. He wasn’t sure what he was pleading for, but it was the only word he knew, the only word he could possibly conjure up as he moved, his hips slamming down over and over against Michael’s lap. He took what he needed from the man below him, fucking himself as hard and fast as he needed, not caring for what Michael may want or need.

Michael pumped his hips up as much as his could. He didn’t have much leverage and he couldn’t fuck up into Alex as much as he wanted, but the way Alex rode him and took from him was beyond exquisite. He did everything he could to even remember to just breathe. He couldn’t be sure, but he figured at one point he’d completely left his body, the pleasure filling him beyond capacity. His eyes were squeezed so tightly shut that he was seeing stars, or maybe he truly was in space, dipping and spinning through cosmic stardust.

Alex gathered what strength he had and pushed up onto his knees and wrapped a hand around his cock. He squeezed his muscles around Michael as he lifted his hips. He could tell they were both toes the edges of their climaxes. Alex handed over control to his body as it fought to slip over the edge, the need to come overwhelming. Michael’s chest glittered with sweat, his forest of hair dark against his chest, weighed down by the entire mood of the room. Alex splayed his free hand against the hairs, reveling at the coarse feeling against his palm, the near inhuman heat made him hiss. He pulled his hand up Michael’s chest. He pushed it against his throat for a moment, the gasp and gurgled noise Michael made caused him to squeeze himself tightly to stave off coming in that moment. Acting on pure instinct, Alex sloppily reached out and pulled the blindfold off of Michael’s face.

Their gazes locked, and in that moment both men saw each other. They saw truth, flayed open and raw in each of their gazes, shrouded in the dark, once hidden. Both men gasped, but couldn’t stop looking, couldn’t stop falling as they both fell over the edge. Just as each of them plunged headfirst over the edge with cries of pleasure, fear started to claw at the very edges of their beings. Each of them felt exposed, like their secrets had been ripped from their cores and written across their foreheads for the other to read. In that moment, in that moment of utter honesty, something told Michael he’d never see Alex again, and that thought alone nearly caused him to tear free of the rope binding his arms behind his back, a sick metaphor fire something he’s sure he can’t stop no matter how badly he wants to.