Michael stared into the refrigerator and sighed in frustration. They were out of leftovers which meant if he wanted dinner, he was going to have to cook, and that was about the last thing he wanted to do. He knew they had ground beef in the freezer downstairs so he could probably make chili easily enough, maybe throw some cornbread in the oven while it simmered.
He started gathering the ingredients, setting the cans down heavily on the counter and closing the cupboards just shy of slamming them. He knew he was being dramatic, but it had been a shitty week and so far this night wasn’t making it any better.
Michael’s ongoing argument with Sanders about increasing their prices had heated up this week. Sanders insisted the low prices kept them busy,and while Michael appreciated the business, it would be nice to not work a ridiculous number of hours just to make ends meet. And sure, he and Alex shared expenses now, but Michael knew how lopsided it was even if Alex would never say anything. He didn’t know how to make Sanders understand charging half of their competitors’ prices was taking reasonable a bit too far.
Then Isobel had pissed him off by siding with Max in a stupid argument about the type of grass she should plant once the patio at her new house was finished. He was less annoyed with Max for thinking whatever worked for his lawn was the answer for everyone than he was at Isobel for assuming Max knew what he was talking about. He knew she would be better off choosing zoysiagrass over the bermudagrass Max had since it was likely to take over all the flowerbeds she had planned, but unless he wanted to admit he’d been studying New Mexico agriculture in his spare time for the last ten years, he couldn’t give her a good reason to take his advice. And somehow admitting that seemed more pathetic than letting them both think he gave up on all his dreams.
Normally just being at home was enough to relax him, but one the monitoring programs Alex ran had alerted him to a mention of Project Sheppard, and he’d spent the last few nights in front of his laptop trying to track it down. Michael wanted him to forget it. His mother was dead, Jones was dead, Noah was dead. He was resigned to the fact that it was highly unlikely there was anyone left on Earth who remembered his home planet. Nothing Alex found was going to give him the answers he wanted. But Alex was convinced the only way he could make up for everything his family had done was to find out whatever he could for Michael and nothing Michael said ever changed his mind. And just like it always did, looking into Project Sheppard had set off Alex’s nightmares so neither of them were sleeping.
All Michael wanted was for one thing in his life to go right, to be easy. So he was going to make dinner and convince Alex to stop working long enough to eat with him. And then he couldn’t find the damn can opener. “Fucking Alex,” he grumbled under his breath. No matter how meticulous he was in every other aspect of his life, Alex never paid attention to where things belonged in the kitchen.
As he searched, each drawer was shut a little harder. With each misplaced item he found, the knife in the spatula drawer, the storage container shoved in with the kitchen towels, his muttering got a little louder. Just as he found the can opener in the emergency drawer between the flashlight and the matches, he heard Alex enter the kitchen.
He turned to find Alex standing just inside the doorway, looking at Michael in confusion. “What’s wrong?”
“Do you know where I found this?” he held up the can opener.
“No?” Alex answered looking no less confused.
“Here,” he pointed to the emergency drawer before kicking it shut. “Instead of here,” he pointed again. “Would it kill you to just put things back where they belong. Is that too much to ask?”
Alex sounded hesitant, and he hadn’t moved any further into the kitchen. Both these things set off alarm bells in Michael’s head. The loudest, the ones he should have listened to, told him he’ was overreacting and taking his bad mood out on Alex. But the ones that grabbed his attention, berated him for making Alex uncomfortable in his own home and told him he was always going to be an asshole so there was no point in trying to salvage the situation.
“Whatever, it’s not like you’ll remember next time.”
He watched as Alex opened his mouth, but closed it without saying anything. He turned to leave the kitchen, and that set Michael off again.
“Leaving anytime you fuck up or I piss you off? I don’t need that from you.”
Alex turned back toward him, and Michael braced himself for the fight he’d been asking for. Denied the chance to walk away, he fully expected Alex to come out swinging.
Instead Alex looked at him, searching for something, then cocked his head and asked, “What do you need from me?”
“I don’t know,” Michael admitted, the question deflated some of his anger. He rubbed his eyes then put his hands on his hips and paced in a small circle. “It’s just I have all this noise in my head, all this bullshit that just won’t stop, and I need you to love me loud enough to block it out.”
As soon as Michael said it, he wanted to take the words back. It was too needy, too vague. Even Michael didn’t know what he wanted Alex to do. Asking Alex to figure out what that meant felt like he’d just set them both up for failure. He looked cautiously at Alex to see his reaction, but Alex’s expression hadn’t changed.
He studied Michael for a long moment before saying, “Come here.”
When Michael approached, he pulled him into a tight hug, arms snug around him and Michael’s face tucked into Alex’s neck. It was nice. Michael was still thinking too much, but he could feel the sharp edges of his frustration fading away. As soon as he felt like he could go back to cooking without destroying the kitchen, he tried to step back, but Alex stopped him.
“No,” Alex held him tighter. “Listen.”
Michael tensed slightly. He knew what was coming; Alex was going to tell him why he loved him, list all the things he thought made Michael special. But with everything still going through his head, with the weight of knowing all this was happening because he made Alex the target for his bad mood, Michael didn’t know if he could stand to hear it. He’d asked for it though, so he nodded against Alex’s shoulder.
Alex smoothed a hand over Michael’s hair and tilted his head up. “Listen,” he said again with a sweet smile. But he didn’t say anything else, instead he held Michael’s face in his hands and kissed him.
The kiss was slow and deep. Alex slid one of his hands into Michael’s hair and massaged his scalp as they kissed. The other rested on the side of his face, his thumb stroking along Michael’s cheekbone. Michael lost himself in the kiss. The house was silent around them so all he could hear were the sounds of their lips meeting again and again along with the muffled sounds of their breathing.
“Come with me,” Alex whispered against his ear once he finally stopped kissing him.
Michael followed him to the bedroom, thoughts of dinner long gone from his mind.
“Go ahead and get undressed,” Alex directed him as he started taking off his own clothes. He led Michael to the bed once they were both undressed. Alex sat next to Michael and urged him to lie down. “I want you to relax and listen, ok. Unless you want me to stop or I do something you don’t want.”
Michael nodded, confident there is nothing Alex could do that he would object to.
Alex straddled Michael and kissed him again, wetter and messier this time. He pushed his tongue into Michael’s mouth, moaning against his lips. He kissed along Michael’s jaw, nipping lightly at his ear. Michael heard the way Alex’s breathing had already sped up, how it betrayed his arousal.
When Alex ran his hands down Michael’s chest before following with his mouth, Michael rested his head back on the pillow and closed his eyes. He gave himself over to the desire that built with every touch. In the silence of their bedroom, every small sound was magnified. Michael could hear the gentle rasp of Alex’s palms stroking through the hair on his chest and stomach; he could hear the wet sounds of Alex sucking on his nipple, his own quiet gasp when Alex’s teeth replaced his tongue.
Alex continued to move down his body, and Michael’s desire grew with each caress, each kiss. Alex’s hands settled in the groove of his hips, and he pushed Michael’s legs apart. Michael listened as Alex shifted around in the bed, tried to picture what he was doing, but it was still a surprise when Alex’s lips closed around his cock.
Michael bit his lip so he could hear every noise Alex made when he sucked his cock. He loved the sloppy sound of Alex’s mouth sliding down his cock before he sucked hard on the head, loved the gentle humming he heard as Alex took him as deep as he could. He caught the barely audible chuckle Alex let out when the sound of the lube opening had Michael’s hips twitching up.
He gave up any attempt to keep quiet, when Alex rubbed lube over his hole before pressing two fingers inside him. Michael moaned as Alex added a third finger, stretching him quickly. He was barely doing more than holding Michael’s cock in his mouth, but every now and then, he’d pull his fingers almost completely out, his fingertips just inside his rim and hold them there while he licked all around his cock.
Michael didn’t know what sensation to chase, what he wanted more, Alex’s mouth or his fingers. He was just shy of begging when Alex released his cock and pulled his fingers out. Michael’s whine shattered the quiet.
“Shh,” Alex soothed as he pushed Michael’s legs up to his chest, leaning forward and kissing him softly. When Michael opened his eyes, Alex sat back, still holding Michael’s legs in place and smiled. “I want to fuck you now. Is that what you want?”
Michael nodded eagerly, not trusting his voice. He met Alex’s eyes and flushed when he saw the desire and heat in them. Alex held his gaze and Michael saw the love and tenderness there as well. Neither of them looked away as Alex entered his with one long, steady thrust.
They both moaned loudly when Michael pushed his hips up, finding the perfect angle for Alex to hit his prostate. Alex kissed his knee before letting go of Michael's legs and letting them fall back to the bed. Michael immediately wrapped them around Alex’s waist, urging him to move. Alex grabbed his hips, pulling him as far as he could onto his cock, and Michael lost the battle to keep his eyes open.
The sound of Alex fucking him, the slick slide of his cock as he thrust in and out of Michael’s body, the harsh sound of their breathing filled the room. Michael let it all wash over him until the sound of his own heartbeat almost drowned it all out. He wanted it to last forever, to live in that moment, but as soon as Alex’s hand closed around his cock, it was over.
There was nothing but silence as his orgasm hit, pleasure peaking and cresting, filling him completely leaving no room for anything else.
He floated through the next moments, not bothering to open his eyes as Alex pulled out and cleaned them both up. He roused himself when Alex joined him in the bed and stroked his hair, pushing it off his face.
When he opened his eyes, Alex smiled at him, but Michael could see the concern in his eyes. “Better?” he asked quietly.
“So much. God, Alex, you have no idea. That was perfect.” Michael had never felt anything like that, had never been taken so completely out of his own head.
“Good,” Alex looked relieved. “I wasn’t sure.”
Alex doesn’t say anything else, and Michael let a little doubt seep in. Maybe it was too much to ask for. “Hey, I know it was a lot to throw at you. I’m sorry”
“No,” Alex cut him off quickly. “I’m glad you told me. I want you to tell me what you need, and I’ll always do my best to give it to you. Just maybe” Alex’s voice trailed off. He bit his lip and looked away.
Any other night that hesitation would have set Michael off. He would have imagined a hundred bad things Alex might say and rushed to beat him to it. But right now, he wasn’t worried. He knew whatever Alex said, even if it wasn't something he wanted to hear, wasn’t meant to hurt him. He tapped Alex’s shoulder to get his attention back, “Tell me.”
Alex huffed out a breath before answering, “Maybe you can ask quieter next time.”
Michael laughed and pulled Alex down into his arms. He held him against his chest and rubbed his back. They were constantly battling to balance their desire to protect and care for each other while learning to care for themselves, and this felt like a victory. Michael blinked back tears as Alex relaxed in his embrace. “Yeah, I can do that,” he whispered into Alex’s hair.