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from the moment we began

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The house creaks and moans in the silence between their breathing. Alex absentmindedly runs his fingers through Michael’s curls, waiting for him to say something. It’s been at least an hour now since their heart rates had returned to normal, but neither of them has been able to drift off to sleep despite the near-total darkness of the moonless night. Every so often, Michael sighs into his chest softly and drags a finger up and down his inner thigh, mind churning with something unsaid. And Alex smiles to himself, waiting patiently.

He's a touch over warm where Michael is stuck to him, but he’d never dare move. If sleeping next to Michael means burning alive each night, he will happily strike the match and watch himself burn. After years of sleeping alone in cold, hard places, melting beneath Michael feels holy, feels like salvation.

“I can’t sleep.” It’s spoken into Alex’s ribcage, vibrating hot throughout his chest. His body responds immediately, blood soaring through his veins, not caring how bone-tired he is after nearly two weeks of nonstop bullshit.

“Me either.” He lets his hand travel down to the nape of Michael’s neck, squeezing not at all lightly. Michael arches into the touch, the corner of his mouth dragging purposefully over Alex’s nipple.

“I’m trying to pinpoint what’s changed. What’s different now.” His fingers are now drawing circles around Alex’s belly button, larger and larger, lower and lower. He stops just shy of where Alex wants him most, scratching his fingertips teasingly into the hair at the base of Alex’s cock.

Alex wiggles his hips eagerly, willing Michael lower. “I think maybe it’s that we want things to be different. So we’re trying harder.”

“Yeah. Talking and listening helps, huh?” Michael asks quietly, whispering into the hollow of Alex’s throat. They both laugh, and it feels good to let the old hurt go even if they’re not entirely where they need to be yet.

Alex knows there will be bumps; he knows he’s going to fuck up more often than he cares to admit, but he’s also not going anywhere this time. He’ll stay and fight for them, fight even himself if he has to.

Michael’s hand finally wraps around him, and Alex involuntarily raises his hips, seeking more which Michael is always so happy to give to him. Leaving him with a sweet, lingering kiss, Michael slides down his body, stringing together a loose trail of wet bite marks on his way.

It’s too dark to watch Michael’s mouth work, so he closes his eyes and lets himself drown in sensation, in the building pressure at the base of his spine. This is nothing new – Michael has sucked him off countless times over the years. But something about Michael’s lack of urgency, the easy, slow teasing sends him somewhere new, somewhere he’s never even been able to imagine before. Somewhere so much better than the frantic rush of teenage desire, somewhere so much better than the desperate, frustrated release of the years survived since. Now, Alex simply gets to lose himself in the uncomplicated pleasure Michael offers him without worrying about what comes next.

“That feels so good.” He punctuates each breathless word with a sharp tug on Michael’s curls, needing him to understand exactly how good.

Michael hums around him, causing every nerve ending in Alex’s body to explode. He doesn’t bother fighting his orgasm, just arches his back and lets go of control, handing his body over to Michael in the way that’s always felt most natural, all his senses shrinking to one single point of sensation.

It’s indisputably the best feeling in the world. And maybe when he’s less overwhelmed by everything, he’ll take a moment to be angry at how long he’s willfully starved himself of so much joy.

Maybe he’ll do that. But maybe he won’t.

Once he’s able to speak again, Alex grins and pulls Michael back to his mouth, kissing him silly and sloppy around his smile. “As happy I am that things have changed, there are some things I’m glad never will. You and that fucking mouth of yours being one of them.”

Michael laughs, returning his kiss playfully, pressing his erection into Alex’s hip. “I want to climb into that giant bed of yours. Join me?”

When Alex sits up, he’s lightheaded, damn near giddy. Michael pushes off the couch and reaches for his hand, eyes softly beckoning him. And something deep inside Alex shatters, something tough and thick and calcified over the years. Tears burn at the corners of his eyes, but he’s not sad, he’s not hurt or upset or scared. He’s just…free. Maybe for the first time ever in his life, he’s simply free.