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Love From The First Time (I Pressed My Lips Against Yours)

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In the soft light of the morning sun, Alex slowly comes awake. He's pressed tight against Michael's side, an arm over him, as if holding him in place as they slept. For fifteen years he's gotten used to sleeping alone. He's tried a couple times, to see what it's like to fall asleep with someone else. Hook ups that he wondered if they could evolve into something more. 

Forrest had been the closest he'd come to it.

The place where the gash on Michael's side had been is healed as if it had never happened. Alex didn't pretend to understand the abilities he knew Michael and Max and Isobel possessed - there was a lot about them that boggled his mind. He was still trying to wrap his mind around Michael's explanation that the Lockhart Machine had felt familiar to him, and how that worked. Maybe it was a mystery of Michael Guerin he'd never fully understand, and he was okay with that.

Alex runs his fingertips over where he remembers the wound being. Pushes himself down Michael's body to press a kiss to the skin. 

How close he'd come to losing Michael, and he hadn't even known. Michael's breathing had been labored during their phone call, his skin ashen later as Alex had handed over the machine. He'd wanted to help, wanted to go down in the lab with everyone else. But he hadn't been able to get Michael's pleading voice out of his head, the look in his eyes when they'd seen each other. He knows who you are to me. And I need you safe

He'd been doing the same thing for so long, trying to protect Michael from his own father. Make sure that what happened in that shed that day never happened again.

Walking down Main Street, holding hands, was not something Alex ever thought he'd look at as some relationship milestone. But last night, standing in front of his father's statue, sliding the bandana off Michael's hand, and interlocking their fingers together - it had felt like maybe they were closing that chapter in their lives for good. Michael hadn't been completely wrong about the past fifteen years, and Alex knew his own insecurities had helped contribute to their issues. But he'd meant what he said too - they weren't those same kids they were in high school. They're even different from the people they were a year ago. A year ago he'd just been starting to understand how maybe he and Michael could start to move forward, to stop focusing on that past that seemed to cause nothing but pain between them.

Alex keeps his cheek pressed to Michael's chest, listening to his heart beat. Kyle had explained once, back when they were all working towards saving Max with Noah's heart, that the alien's were a little different from how human hearts functioned. But Alex has never been able to tell. In fact, in all their years together, Alex hasn't been able to find anything, at least on the outside, that separates alien from human . And he likes to think that he has explored every inch of Michael's body to the point he knows it as well as he knows his own.

They'd walked Main Street together, holding hands and just enjoying each other's company. Every once in a while, Alex would catch Michael staring at him, and he knew that feeling. Sometimes he never wanted to look away from Michael either. Eventually, they'd ended up in front of Planet 7, and Michael had looked content to just leave. Continue on with their walk. But Alex had tugged his hand, and they'd gone inside.

He'd always avoided the only gay bar in town because of his father. Because he could never trust that it wouldn't get back to him, that he wouldn't try and use it against him somehow. And at the time there had been his career to consider - DADT might have been a thing of the past, but the bigoted attitudes that led to it and supported it didn't just disappear overnight. It had always been better to take the safe route and stick to the Wild Pony.

They'd sat at the bar, they'd ordered drinks, and watched the couples out on the dance floor. It all felt so new and exciting to him. And that's what tonight was all about. I want to try something we've never done before , he'd told Michael, and this certainly qualified.

Let's dance , he'd said in Michael's ear. Michael had looked back at him, clearly surprised by the request, not expecting it. But tonight wasn't about focusing on the things they hadn't done together, it was about being able to do these things together because they can. And standing on the dance floor, Michael's arms wrapped around him, Alex finally started to understand that feeling of being free. His own arms were wrapped around Michael's neck, his fingers playing with the hair at the nape, their foreheads pressed together as they swayed to the beat of the song blasting through the speakers.

He'd never gotten to do this before. With anyone.

I did mean it , Michael's had said at one point during a lull in the music. I know you didn't want to hear it then, but I do.

Three words, eight letters. 

He wants to hear them. He wants Michael to say those words to him, and he wants to say them back. And he knows they will some day. But in that moment, standing in Michael's bunker before the inevitable, it hadn't been right. Michael saying them because he'd felt like there had been no other choice was not how it should go between them. Alex wants them to say those words to each other free of worry and fear. He wants them to say those words when they're nothing but incandescently happy.

I know you do… Alex had replied, pressing a kiss to Michael's lips. And you know I do too.

He'd felt Michael nod, returning the kiss before he was reaching up and taking Alex's hands, interlocking the fingers again and smiling back at him.

They'd driven Michael's truck back here. Alex had been content to just watch Michael, admire him from where he sat in the passenger seat. To remember how much he loves Michael, the fire inside him, that snarky attitude hiding a heart of gold. And he loves how much Michael loves, how fiercely protective Michael is of Max and Isobel. It is something they have in common, he knows. Protecting the people who matter.

Michael had taken him apart, piece by piece last night. Clothes tossed carelessly to the floor of the house, and Alex knew if he looked, they mark a path from the front door to the bedroom. But sex has never been the issue for them. That has always worked in a way that transcended words. And he can't deny that there is something more now between them. A lightness to every kiss, every laugh, every touch. That he can look at Michael and not focus on the past, on who they used to be to each other, in that way Michael made him feel at seventeen. That he can look at Michael and fall deeper in love with him now, for who he is today.

They're not those same kids, they're older and harder and maybe a little wiser. But they know each other better now, there's a foundation they're building to something bigger. Something everlasting.

Michael shifts underneath him, his breathing changing and alerting Alex he's awake. Chin on Michael's chest, Alex watches as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. He's only seen Michael wake up once before, a memory of a time before. When he'd thought he could do it, they could try, before reality had crashed down around him. A soft morning he's thought of at times when he's wondered if that's the closest they'd ever come.

He knows now that's not true. Not now when he falls asleep next to Michael and wakes up next to him, and can't help the smile that appears each time his name appears on the Caller ID when they're not together. Or how Michael has gone from respecting his space and not wanting to use his abilities to unlock the front door, to believing when Alex tells him he wants him here, he wants him here as often as possible. How happy it makes him the mornings he wakes up alone that Michael will soon be walking through the front door, coffee and breakfast in hand for them to eat together.

"You're awake," Michael yawns, a hand digging into his hair, and Alex leans into it, closing his eyes, savoring the touch.

Alex ducks his face into Michael's chest, hiding his smile. Today isn't a day he has to head into the office, and he's pretty sure he remembers Michael mentioning he's got the day off. "I like waking up next to you."

A year ago, he can't imagine ever admitting something like that out loud. But he's realized, albeit rather slowly, that Michael needs to hear these sort of things. How important it is to Michael to not only say what he's feeling, but to hear it back. Alex had relied too long on gestures, letting the miscommunication and doubt grow as a result. He'd been terrified in those moments, that he'd say something and it would still be wrong, that it would just make it all worse. And he finds he's still wobbly when he speaks, but now - now when he does, Michael looks back at him with those big, beautiful brown eyes, and there is nothing but love in them. There is nothing but understanding and calm, and Alex wants to get lost in them forever.

Maybe thinking about forever with Michael is terrifying, but he's tried to imagine it with someone else and can't. And maybe that's why cosmic seems to be the word they both keep landing on. Like the universe in all it's unknowns, there is an absolute certainty it exists. 

If someone were to ask him why he loves Michael, Alex isn't sure he'd be able to fully verbalize it. To quantify the feeling that is such an innate part of his being. As though the two of them were meant to find each other and fall in love. The sci fi nerd in him wonders if alternate universes exist, and if within those the same holds true. That no matter where in time or space, they will find each other.

Michael is still watching him, eyes never leaving his own. "I like having you in my arms, Alexander Manes."