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rough on the surface, but you cut through like a knife

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Before 

“Michael!” Alex laughs and Michael loves him. “What are you doing?”

“Filming you, darlin.” Michael holds the camera closer to show Alex and Alex smiles at him.

“Why?” Alex asks, exasperated.

“So I can teach our kids someday!”

“Kids, huh?”

Michael just shrugs unrepentantly, knowing one day, when they have the money, when they’re in a house, and not their tiny Airstream, that kids are definitely something he wants. That they want. 

“Fine, go ahead,” Alex relents. 

“Thank you.”

“You are not putting this on YouTube,” Alex says sternly. 

Michael just smiles serenely. 

First Viral Video 

“I need you to film me.”

Michael looks up from his coursework and raises an eyebrow at Alex. 

“Why?”

“Because these, these assholes on YouTube are going to hurt children.”

“Oh, okay.” Michael nods and grabs their second hand camera. “Tell me what to do.”

Alex helps him set up the camera and Michael moves it around to get the best angles. 

Michael watches as Alex busies himself with the ingredients and their old hand mixer that Michael didn’t even know they owned. And really, where does Alex even store this stuff in their tiny Airstream kitchen?

Once Alex is happy with the setup he starts explaining what he’s cooking, why he’s cooking, and how he’s never done this before. 

“Hi, I’m Alex. This isn’t my first video, but it is my first baking video. Which I’m only doing because I saw some people showing kids how to bake all wrong! I mean, it was so unsafe. Making melted caramel art with a hand mixer. I can’t make this shit up. 

Anyways, I’m here I guess to show you some safe ways to bake. So bare with me.” 

Michael watches Alex, he’s nervous but oddly in his element in front of the camera. Maybe it’s because of their music videos or maybe it’s because Alex has always shined and Michael is biased. 

Michael plays the video back for Alex and once he’s satisfied he powers up his old laptop and uploads the video. The title, something neither of them are very good at figuring out, makes Michael laugh.

“Pouring Hot Caramel on Beaters is DANGEROUS w/surprise bf appearance and mean impromptu song” 

Their channel is small, so Michael doesn’t really have much hope for the video beyond their meager following but Alex seems happy it’s out there. 

They leave it for a couple of days, both busy with school and work and when Michael logs into their YouTube channel he nearly screams in shock. 

Five million views. 

10,000 Subscribers 

“Babe! Come look,” Michael shouts, even though he’s sitting against the counter and Alex is on their bed.

“Just tell me.”

“No, you have to come look.”

“Fine,” Alex grumbles and Michael scoots over on the counter so Alex can sit. 

“Well?” Alex asks and Michael shoves their old laptop in his face. 

“Ten thousand, Alex. Ten. Thousand.”

Alex’s breath catches and he looks between the screen and Michael. 

“Really?” Alex breathes out and Michael nods. 

“Yep.”

“I can’t believe it.” 

“Well, your video was pretty great.” Michael smiles, truly amazed. 

“We have to make another one.”

“Okay,” Michael agrees easily as Alex scrolls through the comments. 

“Oh my god, Michael,” Alex says as he laughs. 

“What?” 

“They want to see you.”

“Me?” Michael asks, confused. He didn’t do anything. 

“Yeah, look.” 

@winged-fool: omg who’s the one filming. Alex’s smile when he looks at the camera is so beautiful! 

@insidiousintent: That’s a head full of curls!!!

@aliencowboyswagger: show us your face mystery person! 

@bestillmyslashyheart: please tell me we get to meet the person behind the camera! 

@themoonwhenimlost: its unfair that we cant see the person with the curls!

“Oh, wow, do you think I should film with you?” Michael looks at Alex and he can almost instantly see that he has an idea. 

“No, I think we should make it a mystery.”

“A mystery?” Michael asks. 

“Yeah, like maybe we reveal a little about you each video I post and then when we get more followers we can show your face.”

Michael thinks about it for a moment, liking the idea more and more. Of course, he’s in some of their older videos but he likes the idea of keeping himself hidden from the camera, at least for now.

“We’re really doing this?” Michael asks excitedly. 

“Yeah, I think so.” Alex looks at him for a moment. “Okay, we’ll need to go to the store.” 

Michael chuckles and starts to make a list. Not for the first time, he wishes they could be in a bigger place with a real kitchen, but maybe if this YouTube thing works out they can, someday. 

“Welcome back everyone, and holy shit, ten thousand subscribers. I really can’t believe it. Who would’ve thought one video of me ranting on the internet would bring us here, but it has. 

I did notice that a lot of comments seem to be wondering about the person behind the camera. 

Well, his name is Michael, and he’s my boyfriend. Say hi Michael.”

Michael puts his hand in front of the camera and waves. Alex chuckles. 

“I think that’s all you’re getting today, folks. Okay, let’s get mixing!” 

@winged-fool: omg!!!! MICHAEL! 

@insidiousintent: you can’t just leave us hanging like that!!!

@aliencowboyswagger: we need to see the face sir.

@bestillmyslashyheart: stoppppp why are they so cute! 

@marloreads: SIRS

100,000 Subscribers 

Every time they post a video Michael laughs at the comments. Well and truly laughs. 

They still haven’t shown more than the back of his head since the first video and the subscribers keep asking to see him. 

He didn’t realize they’d have so much fun with this little mystery they created but it’s one of the best parts of uploading the videos. 

Alex had set a goal of a hundred thousand subscribers for Michael to get in front of the camera but now that it’s here he doesn’t know if he wants to yet. 

And also, one hundred thousand subscribers. Alex is going to lose his mind. 

“Alex!”

“What?” Alex comes to sit next to him. Michael really didn’t have to yell, as Alex was standing in the kitchen and Michael was on their bed but still. 

“Look.” Michael turns the computer toward Alex from where it’s sitting on the dinner tray table. 

“What?” Alex asks as he scans their YouTube page. 

“Alex, look.” 

Alex’s breath catches and Michael knows the moment he realizes it. 

“Is that real?”

“Yeah, babe, it’s real.” Michael smiles as Alex leans into him. 

Not only is he going to get one of those silver plaques with the YouTube button on it but their channel will pick up more ad cents now. 

“We have to film.”

“Okay.”

“No, right now.” Alex gets up and grabs the camera. 

“Are you ready to film?” Michael asks as he turns in the camera and gets ready to film Alex. 

“I’ll think of something. Okay, turn it on.” 

“Holy shit! I’m sorry but I just saw the subscriber count and I’m freaking out. One hundred thousand! I can’t even begin to describe what this feels like. 

Okay, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has liked, subscribed, and commented, it means the world to me. 

And I really want to thank Michael, who films all of these videos and goes to the store for me ten minutes before filming when I realize I forgot something.” 

“Love you, baby,” Michael whispers even though he’s holding the camera, so he knows the audience will hear it. 

“Love you, too.” 

“Okay, enough of me. Let’s get mixing!” 

@winged-fool: BABY!!!!!! 

@insidiousintent: baby!!!! 

@aliencowboyswagger: show us your face Michael, I just want to talk 

@bestillmyslashyheart: okay but Alex is definitely blushing, right?

200,000 Subscribers

“Should we show them my face this time?” Michael asks and Alex prepares for the next video.

“No. I like the guessing.”

“Of course you do.” 

Alex just shrugs and Michael laughs, moving up behind him to kiss behind his ear.

“If you start that we’ll never film this video.”

“Not mad about that.”

“Michael,” Alex chastises and Michael sighs and steps back so Alex can finish. 

“One of these days we’re going to end up filming something we shouldn’t,” Alex says after a moment and Michael snorts.

“That’s why you never go live.” 

“This feels a little bit like a fever dream. Two hundred thousand. I’m in shock. Shock.”

Michael laughs as Alex shakes his head again, both of them still unable to believe they really have two hundred thousand subscribers. 

“Okay, I can’t keep talking about this insanity, let’s give y’all what you came for. Sugar! Let’s get mixing!”

The ad cents upgrade doesn’t hurt either and they’re finally able to stock up on some things that Michael actually had to build shelves for. 

He longs for the day where he can actually build Alex the kitchen of his dreams. The kitchen he deserves. 

One day. 

@winged-fool: stop his blush is too cute 

@insidiousintent: Michael share your hair care routine

@aliencowboyswagger: we came for Michael

@bestillmyslashyheart: 100% for the sugar! Look at him. 

300,000 Subscribers 

“Michael!” 

“What?” Michael runs into the airstream and sees Alex staring at their hand mixer, an old one Michael had left over from his Ma.

“The mixer broke, and I’m supposed to film today.”

“Oh, god. I thought something was wrong.”

“Something is wrong.” 

“Alex, baby, I’ll fix it,” Michael wipes his hands and grabs the mixer. “Why don’t you start editing the last video while I work on this.” 

“Okay.” 

Michael nods and gets to work, realizing what is wrong pretty quickly. He grabs his tools and has just taken the mixer apart when he hears Alex’s shout.

“Michael!”

“What? What now?”

“You didn’t tell me you have a fan club,” Alex smirks and Michael can feel the blush creeping up his neck.

“I don’t.”

Alex raises an eyebrow at him and Michael sighs, knowing full well what Alex is reading. The comments. 

“Michael, they’re obsessed.”

“They’re hyper fixated because I won’t show my face.”

“Maybe we should?”

“No, no,” Michael says quickly. “You’re the one who said it should remain a mystery, and it should. For now.”

“I don’t know.”

“C’mon, it’s great engagement and you know it,” Michael reminds Alex gently as he screws the last bit of the mixer back in place. “Here, all fixed.”

“You’re a lifesaver,” Alex breathes out as he stands and Michael kisses him as he hands over the mixer. 

“I don’t know about that,” Michael mumbles.

“I do.” 

“Alright, c’mon. Let’s film this before we really don’t do any work today,” Michael jokes and Alex levels him with a look. 

Michael turns on the camera and Alex smiles at him. 

“Hey everyone, welcome back to the channel. Or really, welcome back to Michael’s Curl Club.”

Michael groans and Alex gives him a lopsided smile. 

“Yeah, I saw the comments. But, no worries, I get it, trust me. 

Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you for supporting us, as always, I still can’t believe we made it to three hundred thousand. Okay, enough talking. Let’s get mixing!” 

@winged-fool: called out! 

@insidiousintent: show us your face Michael! 

@aliencowboyswagger: proud card carrying member of michael’s curl club 

@themoonwhenimlost: MICHAEL!

@bestillmyslashyheart: embarrassing. so embarrassing. 

400,000 Subscribers 

“So I’ve got some news and you are not gonna believe this! Okay, but first, four hundred thousand. Incredible, truly. And second, Food Network has invited me to be on the Holiday Baking Championship. So, I guess you’ll be seeing me on there during the holidays.” 

Alex smiles and Michael chuckles. 

“Congrats, darlin’.” 

“Thank you, Michael. What do you think I should make?”

“Today?”

“No, on the show.” Alex laughs and it lights up his face. 

“Hmm, definitely something with licorice, they always have licorice right?”

“Michael…”

“Okay, okay. Gingerbread houses?”

Alex just shakes his head and glares at Michael. It’s cute even though it’s meant to be menacing. 

“Anyways, enough talking for today. Let’s get mixing!” 

@winged-fool: stomach full, head empty 

@insidiousintent: Dead. Dead. 

@aliencowboyswagger: ahhhhhh, food network! I knew it! 

@marloreads: congrats!

@bestillmyslashyheart: Darlin. I called it. 

After - 700,000 Subscribers 

Michael smiles at Alex and bumps their shoulders together.. 

“Ready for this?” Michael asks.

“No.”

“C’mon, it won’t be that bad. They’ve already seen me and you won, so…”

“I know. It’s just - ”

“Change.”

“Yeah.” Alex breathes out and Michael grabs his hand.

“We don’t have to. They’ve seen me, I don’t need to be on the channel.”

“I want you to be on the channel.”

“Okay, then let’s film this thing babe.” Michael chuckles, way more excited about this than Alex. 

Alex smiles and Michael goes to turn on their camera. An upgraded one now that Alex won that prize money. 

“Hey everyone. Welcome back to my channel. And welcome to all the new subscribers. Seven hundred thousand! I can’t believe it! 

Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for the baking competition, and thank you to everyone who freaked out in the comments about finally meeting Michael. 

Since he was on the show we figured he could join me in front of the camera for a little bit so you could meet him properly.” 

Michael walks in front of the camera, next to Alex and laughs when they both forget to speak. 

“Everyone, this is my husband Michael, who is not wearing a ridiculous Christmas sweater this time.”

“Hey, that came in handy I might add.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Alex chuckles and Michael lights up and kisses him on the cheek. 

“So, since Michael’s going to be my sous-chef today I figured we could recreate the pie that was a little bit of a disaster on the show.”

“We’re making Ma’s pie?” Michael asks quietly and Alex smiles at him. 

“Yeah, babe, we’re making Ma’s pie.” Alex turns back toward the camera. “Okay, let’s get mixing!”

@winged-fool: I. Am. Dead. 

@insidiousintent: Did you see them?! Did you see them?!!!

@aliencowboyswagger: omg theyre even sweeter at home! 

@bestillmyslashyheart: ma’s pie!!! my heart! 

1M Subscribers 

“Hi, everyone. Welcome back to my channel. I know we’ve been a little MIA lately, and you’ve been watching some pre-recorded videos. Sorry about that by the way, I know my hands aren’t the best company.”

“They’re great company!” 

“Michael.” 

“Whaaaaat?”

“As I was saying, we’ve been keeping a couple of secrets, but for a good reason!” 

Michael chuckles off screen and finally takes the camera away from Alex to film him.

“The first, I think you can guess is...we built a house, and I got my dream kitchen.” 

Michael clears his throat and pans the camera the entire length of the kitchen.

“Sorry, sorry. Michael built us a house and built our dream kitchen because as everyone knows, I do not cook.” 

Michael laughs and shakes his head at his husband's antics.

“And the second one is...we’ve added to our family.”

Little Roman toddles over to his dad after some prompting from his papa and Alex scoops him up. 

Michael will never stop being in love with them. 

“Everyone, this is Roman.” Alex looks at Roman who has hidden his face in Alex’s neck. “Can you say hi?”

Roman looks straight to Michael and waves and then goes back to hiding his face. Michael laughs, again. 

“We probably won’t have him in many videos but we’ve pre-filmed a couple of videos in our new kitchen and his little hands and curly hair do make an appearance so we wanted to introduce him.” 

Roman squirms to be put down and Michael puts the camera back on its tripod as he picks Roman up himself as Alex finishes his intro. 

“We just wanted to say thank you, because without you, we wouldn’t be here, with one million subscribers and a beautiful house to bake and live in. Who would’ve thought an angry video I made to keep kids safe in the kitchen would land us here? Not me. But I’m grateful. We’re grateful.” 

Alex claps his hands and spreads them out to show the set up for today’s video. 

“Okay, that’s clearly enough talking from me. Let’s get mixing.” 

@winged-fool: omg omg omg 

@insidiousintent: Look at Roman!!! More curls!!!

@aliencowboyswagger: swoon, that kitchen!! those curls!!! we need to see michael’s reaction! 

@bestillmyslashyheart: so happy for them!