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“Well, that was one hell of a day,” Alex murmured, sitting down next to Guerin at the bar.

“Welcome back,” Michael snickered, raising his beer in a mock toast before gulping a third of it down. Alex scoffed in amusement and downed his own beer, shaking his head at every swallow.

They were each three beers deep already, which was several less than all of their friends who were finally starting to filter out of the Wild Pony. They had all spent the last several hours debriefing from the latest tragedy before trying to forget it and thanking their lucky stars they were all still alive. For now.

“I was only gone for two days. I still don’t know how you all managed to get into all… this.” Alex waved his arms around halfheartedly before wrapping his hands around his pint and closing his eyes in clear exhaustion.

“And you’ve only been back less than a week.”

Alex choked out half a laugh. It felt like a year since he returned to Roswell. So much changed and yet nothing had.

“You know I saw you,” Alex said, tired of skirting around Michael and tired of the secrets, of not saying what they needed to say. After everyone laid everything out tonight, what was one more thing?

“What?” Michael stammered, his eyes flying to Alex’s face but not quite meeting his eyes.

“At the bus stop.”

Alex couldn’t help but chuckle as Michael stared at him with a look that said he wasn’t sure if he should act dumb or he should play along.

“I- I… what?” Alex could practically see the thoughts running through Michael’s mind.

“Buses have windows, Guerin.”

“Your curls were perfectly fluffed, looking very good under that cowboy hat of yours,” Alex added with a smile. Michael groaned and slid the beer to the side so he could bring his head to bar and lightly bang it a few times. Alex nearly howled with laughter at the dramatics, and when Michael lifted his head the laughs spilled from him too.

“So why did you come?” Alex asked, a bit of vulnerability evident in his voice.

Michael shrugged nonchalantly. “You told me when you were getting in.”

“Not even Valenti’s shiny new hubcaps on that fancy ass new car kept you from that bus stop?”

Michael’s eyes shot to Alex’s. A mix of hurt, embarrassment and realization flooded Michael’s face, but a shield of armor quickly rose.

“Didn’t feel like getting arrested and spending the night with Max at the police station.”

Alex snickered, nodding his head in agreement. “Good decision.”

“But my curls looked good?” Michael said with a smile, some cockiness purposefully poking through.

“Absolutely gorgeous,” Alex mocked.

“I wasn’t sure… wish you had told me then. Would’ve helped my self-esteem and confidence,” Michael smirked. “But you got distracted I saw.”

Alex’s smile faltered. “I wasn’t expecting him to be there. He threw me off.”

“So you just forgot about me? Nice,” Michael said, though there was no bite to his words, perhaps due to the hopefulness and alcohol coursing through his system.

“I could never forget about you,” Alex nearly whispered sincerely. “But by the time I looked back you were gone.”

Michael nodded, understanding. “I wouldn’t have blamed you, that kiss probably would have made me forget everything, too.”

Alex laughed at Michael’s immediate deflection from the serious. They both had an incredible talent for that, and sarcasm was their weapon of choice. But the fact that they could talk about this, sarcasm and all… it was good.

“And a man has needs,” Alex winked. Michael coughed, nearly spitting out his beer, and wrinkled his nose in disgust before laughing.

“Yes, men do,” Michael drawled. “But sounds like you’ll have to find another approach to fill your next need. The pickings are slim at Planet 7 though…”

“I already have an idea.” Alex leaned into Michael, their shoulders bumping together and sending a bolt of electricity through both men.  

“You have very good ideas, Alex Manes.”