"Three weeks?" Alec curled a hand around the ropes of scarf around his neck. "That's it?"
The tattoo guy in Logan's list shrugged. He seemed nice enough. Didn't even bat an eye when Alec showed him the bar code nor did he appear to care (or convinced) about Alec's sob story about a childhood indiscretion. The money he quoted was surprisingly reasonable. In a way. And he wasn't scanning Alec up and down thinking bonus.
"The way your skin doesn't want to callus or to leave any discoloration, I doubt it'll even be three weeks. Especially if you had this done before." He scratched his shaven head tattooed in Chinese proverbs that went all down his arms. "Much as I like to take your money, I got to be honest with you. I owe your friend a few favors."
Alec sighed. "Great."
The guy hesitated.
"You know someone," Alec guessed.
"I heard of someone," the guy corrected. "He uses a new method, more to remove the government prison tags for those who came out of Super Max. As long you don't care about scarring—"
"I don't," Alec interrupted.
The tattoo artist fidgeted. His grey eyes had darted left and right then back to Alec. "Listen, from what I hear, Steelheads go to him to get some deep work done. Stuff that hurts."
Alec lifted his shoulders. "I have a high tolerance."
The guy, for whatever reason, was having second thoughts. "Look, why don't I just give you a better rate instead? Let's stick with the three weeks and—"
"I'll give you five hundred," Alec cut off his cajoling. "For his name."
The guy stared at Alec. After a beat, his shoulders slumped.
"Ah hell, keep your money. I'll give you his name."
The breeze was cool, but it felt like icicles digging into bone, even through the gauze.
Alec swallowed. The guy wasn't kidding when he warned it would sting. It did, still is, enough so it seemed to claw down his back, burrowing pinpricks deep into his marrow. The pain thrummed down his spine, all the way to his tailbone.
Six weeks though.
The guy only went by name Lee. He had promised Alec it would last six weeks, more if the wound didn't heal properly. Whereas Logan's recommended guy seemed all right, this one had a fevered gleam in his brown eyes.
The Steelheads didn't always pay him in cash.
Lee's pasty limbs trembled, but his hands were rock steady when he pulled out his tools and what smelled like floor cleaning solution.
Things were a little hazy after that.
Alec's first clear memory was waking up face-down in that orange tinged room, the straps on the stretcher torn during his struggles, the smell of vomit on the cement floor. Whether it was his or Lee's, it wasn't clear; Lee stood back looking gray-faced and a prime candidate for some upchuck. He slapped on some gauze on Alec's neck—damn, that burned—and stuffed Alec's money into his grimy cargo pants. He pressed some black market antibiotics into Alec's clammy hands and pretty much shoved him out the door.
The alleys all blurred to look the same. Alec shouldered past a few leers. By the time his feet stopped stumbling to what was determined to be a safe distance, he found himself blinking bleary-eyed at a very familiar looking building.
Getting to the roof by way of the fire stairs took longer than usual. Alec forgot where he had stashed his gear at first and spent a few minutes standing on the roof, debating if he could manage a free climb and why the hell did he wanted to climb down there anyway? He made it clear the last time Alec should stay away. Fuck him and fuck the high horse he rode on and damn him for being stupid enough to think a gun was enough to ward off assholes while he's spinning around Seattle in all hours of the night for the name of truth, justice and goddamn—
A stronger breeze zipped by and Alec stumbled a step, thankfully away from the ledge he balanced tippy-toed on. And damn it, the backup line he held slithered through his numb fingers and zipped past over the edge.
The loss of his line decided it. Alec wasn't going to risk climbing down the side of the building without at least his backup. He could imagine Logan's "I told you so" if his main line snares and he pummels past Logan's stupid window with his stupid ass defective stupid alarm—
A spike of ice rammed in between his eyes. They watered immediately. Alec had to step off the edge immediately because now everything has a hazy, wavering feel to it. His feet stumbled over each other. He dropped on his ass.
Breathing harshly, Alec fisted his hair.
The colors felt wrong—no, wait, they looked wrong, they tasted wrong...
Alec's breathing hitched; he needed to hold his breath, his record was, no, wait, different time, different shit, god damn it, get out of the pool, his stopwatch was ticking away, carving out shards of bone, tick tick tick—
The roof door groaned open as the bottom edge scraped against the gravel. Alec started. He slammed back into the short wall that bordered the roof. He snarled as the jolt raced up to the base of his skull.
There was a sharp intake of breath. The door whined as it opened further. Alec flinched. He tensed as he heard gravel crunch. As soon as it came closer, close enough he could feel the heat of a presence looming over him, he lashed out where he thought the attack might come.
Alec's fingers struck the cool metal of a cattle prod. It was curvier than what he recognized, but metal rang just as hollow against his knuckles. He heard more gravel crunch. He heard a gasp and he knew in another second he would hear them hollering to 494 to stand down. He won't fucking stand down because he stood down and Rachel died and he stood down when her car blew, Lydecker hissing into his ear "Good job, 494. Time to come back in"—no, he won't stand down, damn it!
His fist ached when Alec swung, somehow catching a shin instead of a jaw, which he clamped onto immediately. He yanked hard and felt a body crash against him. He heard shouting. He heard his heart pounding, drowning out what was sure to be reinforcements.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. He snapped back an elbow. He missed. Damn it.
He rolled until he was on top of the guard, crushing him to the gravel. He slammed a double fist to the chest. A choked grunt. One more. The body under him bucked. Hands scrabbled for his chin, uselessly trying to push his head back.
Alec snarled. He lashed out, blindly grabbing for anything and felt a finger break.
Someone gasped out a name instead of the designation.
Alec held up his fists over his head, tears streaming down his burning, blinded eyes.
One more blow. Hard enough to stop the heart, vault over the perimeter fence behind him and he would be home free—
A hand slapped down hard over the back of his neck. His skin at the point of contact boiled, burning and licking flames on nerves all the way down his back. His legs spasmed. His head seemed to swell from the inside and pushed out against his eyes.
Alec couldn't stop himself. He screamed.
Face to the gravel, his ragged breathing pushing dust around him, Alec came back to himself when the fire stopped burning him from the inside out. He found himself curled on his side, vomit sour and acrid by his face and bare feet at the edge of his perception.
And a voice.
"...wha'?" Alec rasped. Judging by the gumminess on his tongue, he figured out where the vomit came from. He started to lift his head up and away because Eau de Barf was not one of his favorite scents.
Alec threw up again. He pressed his fists to his tearing eyes. He felt a whine sawing out of the base of his throat.
"Sh..." A hand, warm and familiar hand, settled between his shoulder blades. "Breathe in and out."
His skin felt raw wherever the air touched. He wished he hadn't stuffed the scarf in his pack. Alec shivered. The hand on his back was now the only warm spot on his body and wasn't that a joke when he was on fire just a moment before?
"Alec? You with me?"
Alec blinked swollen eyes. He didn't dare move his head. He kept staring at the bare feet he could see just on the fringes. There were bloody scratches on the heels; the toes looked faintly blue from the cold.
"'ogan?" Alec croaked.
"Alec," Logan said, more sighed really. "Thank God."
"What are you doing on the..." Alec blinked, trying to access the scattered bits in his head. He squeezed his eyes shut.
"I was looking out the window when your line go by. I heard you had gone to Lee instead. I heard it...didn't go too well."
The words registered. Sort of. Alec stared at the bare feet. They were at the wrong angle somehow, turned as if to the side. Then he realized he could see the upturned wheelchair beyond that. He swallowed.
"I hurt you." Alec's throat worked.
"You were having a rough time." Logan forgave too easily.
A choked scream echoed in his ears. Alec squeezed his eyes shut.
"I hurt you."
Logan's hand rubbed his back. "Well, I hurt you back. Remember?"
The vague burning on his nape reminded him. Alec cautiously nodded. Oh shit, fuck, hell no, he was not doing that again.
"Yeah," Alec managed then added, "You bitch."
Logan coughed out a laugh that was only a little hysterical. Alec wanted to join him, but would two semi-not-too-hysterical-laughs equal to one hundred percent freak out?
Alec lay there, watching, listening as Logan dragged himself across the gravel with his elbows, grunting, swearing until he righted his wheelchair and hauled himself back into it. Alec should help him. He did, after all, dropped Logan's cute ass out of it, but damn it, it hurt to think right now.
Scratched, blue-tinged feet rolled up next to him.
"Where's your shoes?" Alec slurred.
"Back in the penthouse. I was in a bit of a rush."
"You have ugly feet," Alec garbled because a breeze flitted back and scraped against his raw nape. "Should have worn shoes. Gross."
"Sorry." Logan's hand came to view. It was just as scratched up as his feet; the index finger was purple at the middle joint. "Can you get up?"
Alec blanched. To his horror, a pathetic sound escaped like a writhing thing.
Logan made a sound of his own. "You can't stay up here and I can't..." He hesitated. "Can you kneel up at least; get into the chair with me?"
Why on the shittiest day of his life did Logan have to offer now? Alec pressed his mouth thin.
"Stay here," Alec mumbled. "Comfy."
"No, it's not."
"Spoiled rich guy."
"Maybe. Come on. I have a bed downstairs."
"Uh...if you can get up, sure."
Tempting, but...Alec pulled his knees closer to his chest. Even that seemed to pull the skin on his neck.
"Alec..." Logan sounded distressed. Shit, Heather wasn't going to cry, was he? "Come on. Just a little bit. We got to take care of your neck, get you off this roof."
"Come on. If you come with me, I'll...I'll..."
"Kiss?" Alec dared him half-heartedly.
"Sure. Sure," Logan practically babbled. "Whatever you say."
Alec blinked at the bare feet. "Your bed and a kiss?"
"Alec, I'll give you my penthouse if you'll get up."
Hands steadied him as Alec carefully lifted his body, first the shoulders then the hips. Logan cradled his head with both hands to keep it steady. He kept a grip, immobilizing the head as Alec shakily climbed onto his lap. Logan moved his hands to grab a fist of the back of his shirt. Alec returned the favor by grabbing the front of his.
Everything was still spinning, all stemming from the back of his neck, whipping out like a sail.
"Hold on," Logan murmured. He grunted as he turned the chair with the combined weight.
Alec mumbled. He could feel Logan's shoulders trembling with the effort.
"Just out to the elevator and to the penthouse," Logan promised. His voice rumbled by his ear. The vibrations seeped into Alec's body. Muscles loosened. It was easier to breathe. A little bit.
Alec found his head couldn't move from the crook of Logan's neck. His stubble was an odd, scratchy feel on his forehead. He stared at the vulnerable patch of pale skin under the chin.
"Hey," Alec whispered into the throat. He could feel the slide of warm breath against his temple as Logan glanced down.
"I lied," Alec mumbled. "You don't really have ugly feet."
Logan huffed out a laugh against his ear.
There were fractured images that floated in front of Alec. Weird random points of hot and cold and itch and burn assailed him. Alec lashed out a fist at them. Sometimes, it felt like he struck something. Sometimes, it felt like he didn't.
Between the points when it felt like he was tossed in a fire, then drowned in an ice bath, there was a constant set of sensations. There was always someone talking; to him, over him, he wasn't sure. It was always low though, even, deep tones that rippled into him like a low heat wave. And there was always a hand either on top of his head, between his shoulders or rubbing his cramping stomach.
There was a third feeling; one Alec couldn't identify in this weird haze of his. It felt...it was just...there. It felt like something he could wrap his arms around, yet not have to fight it to the ground. It felt like it stood next to him yet surrounded him. It felt like something he knew, like something he should know like an image flipped behind his eyelids over and over. A target to acquire, to get close to, yet non-threatening.
The three braided and wound around him like rope. No, more like a worn, familiar blanket. Like a fleece blanket; a blue one that smelled like coffee and paper.
Coolness sat over his nape, pacifying the heat tearing at the edges of his bar code. For a brief moment, Alec feared it would quell the fire completely, heal the skin, and that damn tattoo would gleam through the layers of damaged flesh once more.
Alec screwed up his face and pressed into the solid heat underneath him. He thought he could hear a quiet thumping against his cheek.
"It's all right..."
But it wasn't. Not really because even though it was six weeks, it was only six weeks, and it'll be like nothing came across its hated black lines. It'll look like a scalpel never dug into each line, digging into epidermal after epidermal layer. It'll look like nothing poured into the wounds, ripping apart nerve endings in hopes of shocking his healing enough to dull the cycle.
Six weeks. In six weeks, it'll be like he did nothing. Nothing.
It keeps coming back. It keeps coming back.
There was that voice again, low and familiar enough to strike a cord in his chest. Alec found himself sinking to the sensation of a hand. It was empty of tasers, syringes and stopwatches, stroking down his back and ironing out the pins stabbing his spine up and down. The churning in his twisted gut unraveled. The urge to vomit, the urge to scream was dwindling.
But even as those sensations faded away, his stomach settling, he knew something else would still remain.
Alec flinched, his throat working, a growl clawing up his throat as he thought about it. Six weeks. Only six weeks.
"Relax...it'll be fine..."
But it'll never be fine. It'll never be okay.
It's just only six weeks.
A saltless tear dropped into his mouth.
Alec blinked. When another tear didn't trickle free, he realized it came from the damp towel on his forehead. When he lifted a hand for it, his bed snored.
Twitching, Alec cautiously turned his head and found himself staring at the scruffy underside of Logan's chin. His eyes followed the square jaw, up the angular cheekbones to the thin wire spectacles sitting crookedly across the bridge of his nose.
Logan slept on.
Carefully, Alec lifted the arm around his middle, the other arm around his back. He slowly swung his legs up and off Logan's lap. Freed (unfortunately, hm, maybe he should reconsider) of Octopus Logan, Alec now sat next to him instead on the right side of the bed.
Alec peeled the damp towel from his brow. It was lukewarm and kind of gross feeling. He stared at it, his gaze drifting to the end table and the basin of what must have been full of ice. Tiny icebergs floated in the shallow container, another face towel folded in the ready.
Memories stitched together. The haze that seemed to cling to his skin abruptly vanished when his eyes landed on the cut lip and bruised jaw.
Alec's throat worked. His gaze wandered down to Logan's hands, specifically the left one with the splinted pointer finger.
The ache in his chest almost rivaled with the one on the back of his neck.
The sting pulsed to the beat of his heart. It burned with a vague sense of pain; a phantom of what it was before. Curious, Alec drew his hand back but before he could peel off the oddly shaped bulky bandage he could feel there, a hand drifted over and caught his wrist.
"Don't." Logan yawned. One hazel eye cracked open. He adjusted his glasses with a finger to the frame as he struggled to sit higher. "It only stopped bleeding an hour ago."
Tentatively, Alec felt it with a couple of pats. Rolled up pieces of gauze framed the wound; a pad was taped over it. Nothing touched the wound yet it still felt raw.
"I'm thinking another few hours and your healing would take care of the pus too." At Alec's face, Logan's mouth wearily ticked up.
"I hope you weren't too attached to that shirt. I uh...there was too much...it was a lost cause."
Logan looked faintly ill.
Thinking quickly, Alec dropped his voice into a whine. "You stripped me and I wasn't awake to enjoy it? Aw, man." He elbowed Logan in the closest arm. "You made a pretty comfy bed too, you know."
The pink that tipped Logan's ears almost made up for the throbbing on his neck. "You kept trying to roll on your back. I tried to keep you sitting up but then you rolled, ah, onto me." Logan shrugged as his ears burned brighter. "At least this way, I can be sure your wound stayed clean and your fever down."
Fever? Alec lifted a hand to his brow. He rubbed the face towel in his grip.
"It got pretty high," Logan said, sobering despite the flush on his face. "I think your body didn't like what Lee did."
"Hell," Alec grumbled as he balled up the face towel, remembering. "I didn't like what Lee did."
"So why did you let him?"
Alec flattened out the towel against his thigh. He swept a palm over it.
"He said my bar code would stay away for six weeks," Alec said finally.
Logan didn't visibly react. He wordlessly handed him a water bottle, which Alec drained quickly. He did the same with the second bottle.
"Damn, I was thirsty," Alec blurted as he refolded the face towel. "Great, I'm gonna need to take a piss in about five—"
"You kept asking me if it was gone."
Logan sat back, hazel eyes up to the ceiling. "Kept trying to take the bandage off, kept fighting me when I tried to stop you from scratching it. You kept asking me if it was gone."
"Oh." The towel was still damp, limp as Alec wound it around his wrist. His fingers stilled. "Is..."
"Yes, Alec, it's still gone."
But for only six weeks, Alec almost said.
It must have shown on his face though because Logan audibly sucked in his breath.
"Are we doing this again in six weeks?"
"You mean with you ripping my clothes off and us cuddling in your bed?" Alec tried for a leer but when it failed, he dropped his eyes.
"Probably not. We're made to adapt so I'll probably shake this off a hell of a lot faster the next try. The scar won't even last six weeks after a few more times." Alec started to shrug his shoulder, but he grimaced, aborting the move when his skin stretched around the shoulders. "And don't say there's gotta be a better way because I told you, if I could think of it, I would have tried it. Twice."
"For now," Logan said quietly, "we got six weeks to think of something else."
"What do you mean 'something else'?"
"Alec, you're not going back there." Logan set his jaw. "You didn't see what I saw. If your fever hadn't gone away like it had, I was taking you to the hospital." He gestured towards Alec, his motions jerky. "Any deeper and you could have gotten permanent nerve damage and don't tell me you're a fast healer," he added when Alec opened his mouth. "You're not that fast."
"And you're going to stop me?" Alec scoffed before he could stop himself.
Logan gave a self-disparaging laugh. He smiled faintly. "I could try."
Unbidden, Alec's eyes drifted up to the bruises and cut lip. The greenish tinge of damaged flesh marked the left side of Logan's jaw, angry purple tendrils of burst capillaries spreading up to collide with the smudges under his eyes. The splinted finger in Logan's left hand was white; it flared like an accusation.
Alec's stomach twisted. He tried to smile, but it seemed like everything he did pull at his skin wrong, the tightness stretched him thin. Any minute, it felt like he would tear.
"Damn," Alec rasped. The words hurt to force out. "You need to learn to duck, Heather."
Logan's mouth moved to smile but immediately twisted to a grimace. He cupped his jaw.
"Well, you certainly don't pull your punches, Dean."
Alec smirked. "Who said I didn't? You're my favorite."
"Oh," Logan drawled, playing along. "I'm flattered."
"You should be. You're, like, my favorite this week."
"That's not saying much considering today's Monday." Logan waved towards his bed. "Rest a bit more. Let me get you some more—"
"Whoa!" Alec lunged forward to catch Logan by the shoulders when he started to pitch forward. "What the hell?"
"Head rush," Logan muttered. He shook his head. "Sat up way too fast."
"Uh huh." Alec tugged him to lie back on the bed fully. "When's the last time you ate?"
Logan looked annoyed under his ashen pallor. "What does that got to do with anything? It hasn't been a day yet."
Alec didn't like that answer, but he said nothing as he helped Logan swing his legs back up on the mattress. It was then Alec realized the leg he left his hand on was cold. Too cold. Shit. He drew up Logan's pants legs.
"What are you—"
"Lie back," Alec ordered. He shoved Logan's head none too gently to a pillow. He swore as he ran a hand up from shin to knee on Logan's left leg then right. They were pasty to the touch, cold to his hands.
"Oh," Logan said wanly when he got a good look.
"Oh?" Alec snapped. His neck ached when he reached past Logan to grab the extra pillows and tucked them under Logan's legs. "Keep them elevated. Jesus, how long was I on top of you?"
"It's not like I felt it," Logan defended and that pissed Alec off. "I don't have a lot of circulation left down there."
"No, but having me on top of you didn't help either." Alec briskly started rubbing the left calf, the heels of his hands digging into the muscles and pushing up. "Cutting off your oxygen supply is going to kill what's left in that stupid brain of yours." Alec muttered under his breath. Shit, Logan's legs were chilled, his ankles the color of a corpse. He slouched forward to get better leverage.
Logan's shout came at the same time pain flared up on the base of his neck the moment Alec lowered his head. His eyes watered. He hissed, reaching up to clamp down on the agony when Logan snatched his hand inches from his neck.
"Don't," panted Logan. "You really don't want to do that right now."
"No shit," Alec bit out. He breathed harshly between his teeth. He found himself slumped over Logan's lap again.
Head spinning, Alec knocked Logan's hands away trying to keep him still. He crawled, on fours, over Logan's legs and bellyflopped onto a spot next to him. Logan tried to sit up but too dizzy, he sagged into the pillows.
The two lay there on the bed, their breaths ragged, limbs flopped to their sides, one staring blankly ceiling ward, the other blinking red-rimmed at a bazillion count thread sheets.
"Man," Alec bitched out of the blue, "We sound like a porno but we didn't have any fun."
Logan gasped out a laugh. "What kind of porn have you been watching? There's usually less clothing involved."
"That can be arranged."
Alec feebly flopped an arm towards his direction, his fingers wiggling.
"Great job undressing the air around me."
"Shut up." Alec dropped his arm across Logan's thighs. "Are you keeping your legs elevated?"
"Any higher and it'll be obscene."
Alec hummed. "But you'll look so pretty."
Logan tapped the back of his head with a careful fist.
Logan's fist relaxed into gentle fingers in his hair.
Alec blinked suddenly burning eyes into the bed sheets.
"I'll think of something else, Alec." Logan sounded hoarse. "Just...keep this as a final option. Okay? Give me a chance to fix this."
"You can't fix everything," Alec mumbled into Logan's pillow. He blinked sleepily.
Fingers dug into his scalp, pressing massaging circles.
"I have to try," Logan rasped. "Otherwise I have nothing else."
"That's not true," Alec grunted. "You have lots of things. You have a kickass place. You have a cute ass. You have m—" His throat squeezed.
"You have money," Alec finished awkwardly.
"That's not what makes a man whole," Logan murmured. His fingers gently massaged Alec's head; the splint on his finger occasionally bumped against his cheek. "I can't buy what I need."
"What do you need?" Alec mumbled drowsily. "I could probably get past the security systems."
Alec wanted to say something more, what, he wasn't sure, but Logan's fingers were ironing out the headache he didn't realize he carried between his shoulders. And as the headache faded, so did Alec.
If he dreamed, for once, Alec couldn't remember.
Alec woke up to the sensation of bobbing.
Smacking his dry lips, Alec blinked languidly as he felt himself sway up and down. He squinted then opened his eyes wider when he realized his cheek was on Logan's shoulder. He could feel the worn fabric of his sweatshirt against him. He could feel the warmth of Logan's stomach under his hand as it gently moved with each breath. He could feel the hair on his head disturbed by soft, steady exhales above him.
Alec didn't want to move.
Hell, his neck practically told him not to. It still throbbed like a hand that got too close to an open flame. His head pounded, pushing against his eyes. The rest of him though, no longer ached at the joints or coil with nausea.
He could move; if he wanted to. He just...didn't.
Logan slept with his face turned away from Alec; his legs slipped off the pillows. He had one arm around Alec's shoulders, one folded over his stomach. Alec had turned towards Logan, head on his shoulder, one hand sandwiched between his body and Logan's hip. During his nap, delirium, sleep, whatever, Alec somehow managed to throw a leg over Logan's, his feet tangled with the other's.
Would explain why Logan's feet no longer felt like ice blocks.
Would explain Alec's hard on lazily grinding against Logan's hip.
Here. Right now, Alec should be jumping out of the bed, all shit, crap, oops or jump Logan because, hell, since they were already in bed...
Stirring, Logan gave a sleepy snort.
"Um, okay?" Logan murmured drowsily. A hand reached down and curled over Alec's forehead.
Alec blinked under Logan's hand.
Sleep-glazed eyes peered down at him.
"No fever." Logan exhaled slowly. He lifted up his head and stilled, probably finally taking in Alec half draped over him.
"How are you feeling?" Logan asked, hesitantly.
Alec mumbled. He wasn't sure. He rolled his eyes up to Logan. Reluctantly, he tensed his shoulders, bracing to move.
Logan cupped the back of his head.
"Better not," Logan said quietly. "I think you should give it some more time to heal." He paused when Alec stiffened. "I meant healed enough to move. Your bar code is still gone."
"For now," Alec muttered into the soft cotton of Logan's shirt.
"We'll figure something out."
"We will." Logan's hand drifted and gave him an absent scratch between the shoulders.
"I should get up," Alec grumbled. He stayed where he was though while Logan's fingers lightly danced on the small of his back. Little sparks ignited on contact.
"You need to rest."
"Normal's probably shitting over his mountain of hot runs, wondering where 'the firetruck' I am."
"Thank you for the graphic image."
Alec had flapped a hand in the air before he tucked it back in the warm cocoon their bodies created.
Cool air teased the raw edges of Alec's neck when Logan peeled back a corner of the bandage.
"No pus." Logan carefully smoothed out the bandage. Alec shivered. "I think a few more hours should do it."
"Can we stop talking about pus?" Alec grumbled. "You're grossing me out."
Logan patted Alec's shoulder.
Under Alec's cheek, Logan seemed to sag deeper into the mattress. Alec brushed a hand down Logan's leg. He tugged up Logan's pants leg to check. He scowled.
"They're always colder," Logan murmured. His eyes were elsewhere though. "Don't worry about them."
Alec's hand retreated. "I should get off you. You make a rotten pillow."
Logan scoffed. His hand, however, splayed between Alec's shoulders.
"You kept trying to roll onto your back before. You seem fine like this."
"Of course I'm fine. Hell, this is an awesome place to be. But aren't you worried I'm going to ravish you?"
"I'm pretty sure I'm not in any ravishing condition," Logan said, droll.
Alec pressed his frown into Logan's stomach. He ought to straddle the idiot and kiss the hell out of him to prove him wrong.
"I hate it when you do that," Alec muttered.
"Talk like you..." Alec started to lift his head to glower at him.
Logan's hand pressed down on his shoulders.
"You shouldn't move," Logan said. "It'll only hurt."
Alec settled back over Logan. Alec wondered if Logan realized he was shaking. He wondered if Logan knew whom he referred to about getting hurt.
Exhaling over the sweatshirt under Alec's cheek, he rubbed Logan's abdomen. He felt the muscles tense in response.
Logan fidgeted under him.
Logan's voice faded to a hoarse rasp. "A little." He dropped into a silence Alec wouldn't call comfortable. He wouldn't call it awkward either. It hung over them, a storm cloud ready to burst over their heads.
Against Alec's feet, Logan's legs still felt too cool to his liking. The heat his touch left behind pink blooms on Logan's skin. It left Logan looking splotchy.
"Want me to put your legs back up?"
"No. It's fine. You shouldn't move."
Alec's hand curled over Logan's abdomen. He idly massaged a spot by his face. Logan's breath stuttered. Alec smoothed his thumb over one threadbare patch on the sweatshirt.
"I wish you hadn't gone to Lee."
Alec cautiously shrugged a shoulder. "Six weeks."
Logan sighed. "Was that how it was for you?"
"Living your life on a timeline based on how long you can keep that bar code off?"
Alec grunted. "At least I'm living one out there. Better than a robot for Manticore." He experimentally moved his shoulders. Just a little, because he wanted to look Logan in the eye and asked who was living his: Logan or Eyes Only. But, ouch. His neck was an exposed nerve, raw and burning.
"Besides porn, how are you living your life? What do you do?" Alec held his breath, waiting.
"More porn," Logan said dryly.
Sighing, Alec stared down the length of Logan's body.
Alec breathed out through his nose. "It's such a damn waste."
Logan stiffened underneath him.
Thinking quickly, Alec added, "I finally got you in bed again and I have a headache."
Logan vibrated under Alec.
"Poor you," Logan chuckled. He swept his hand up and down Alec's back. Alec wanted to arch into that hand; he wanted to roll on top of Logan and rocked the increasingly painful erection against him.
"Don't get any ideas," Logan warned lightly.
Alec swallowed. He glanced down at his crotch, at the bulge still grinding against Logan's hip. Logan never reacted; he didn't feel Alec humping him like—He could feel the fizzle of heat pop. His stomach dropped. God, he could be such a shit sometimes. He carefully fidgeted back a fraction.
"Nah," Alec choked out a laugh, "I meant it when I said I have a headache. Not tonight, honey."
A hand tentatively cupped the back of his head, fingers gingerly massaging into his scalp.
Suddenly lightheaded, Alec was grateful his erection was gone, but the ruched up folds of Logan's sweatpants glared back accusingly.
Carefully, Alec tugged the waistband up and smoothed it out.
Throat tight, Alec pressed his mouth together. What the hell was he doing?
"Seriously," Alec said, subdued, "If you want me to move, I will."
"Are you uncomfortable?"
No, and that was the problem.
"Too lazy to move." Alec yawned as loud as he could without aggravating his neck and jaw. It felt like blinking would hurt.
"Then take a few minutes," Logan murmured. "It should be okay to move later."
Alec draped an arm over Logan's middle. The hand in his hair paused then continued pressing tiny circles into his scalp, sending ripples that loosened the vise around his head and down his spine.
"Don't get any ideas," Alec mumbled. He smirked sleepily at the snort above him.
Alec rubbed his face over Logan's chest. His erection was thankfully gone. There was still a curl of heat lingering in his belly though. He felt perfectly fine to lay here, both with their clothes on, warm, sleepy and doing nothing. He didn't feel like getting the hell out of here. He didn't feel like reaching up and kissing Logan awake, kissing his body awake. He just felt like lying there, on top of Logan, warm despite the fact the blanket had pooled to the floor and listen to Logan breathe.