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A Measure of Peace

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When the studio assistant tells them to take a break, James is supremely grateful. The beginning of a headache is buzzing around his skull and he feels a bit numb from having to answer the same questions over and over again. He's been trying his best to vary his answer about whether or not he's read comic books when he was younger or which superpower he'd like to have, but there's only so much you can come up with. And when he runs out of things to say, he apparently starts calling Michael "darling" in front of the entire world.

The assistant disappears with the promise of procuring coffee. Michael nods toward the back of the studio and James follows, eager to get out of his chair and away from the bright lights. They stumble into the half-light behind the little set, weave between boxes and equipment until they find a wall. The solid brick is cool against James' back. He feels Michael settle in next to him, close, but barely touching. It's almost entirely dark where they are, and the only sound is the hum emanating from the studio equipment. James allows his eyes to slide shut.

Michael's fingertips touch his wrist, soft and light, and James gives in to the temptation of letting his head rest against Michael's shoulder. He feels more than hears Michael exhale and knows he's also glad to soak up this brief moment when it's just the two of them without any need to be particularly charming or witty.

Too soon the door to the studio creaks open and the assistant's voice calls out to them.

"Be right there," Michael replies. The sigh that pushes past his lips is barely audible.

James means to push up from Michael's shoulder to stand up straight, but he miscalculates the move and ends up falling flush against Michael's body. Might as well, he thinks, and leans up to brush his lips against Michael's. James only meant it as quick reassurance—Almost half-way through the day, We can do this, I'm glad you're here with me—but Michael curls a hand around his nape and kisses back. There's nothing slow about it, and before James knows, his hands are fisted into Michael's shirt and he feels a tongue push into his mouth, filthy and perfect.

When James can no longer hold back a moan, Michael pulls back. "When you start making noises, McAvoy, it's time to stop. Unless you want to give whoever's interviewing us next some really mixed signals. And believe me, those jeans you're wearing leave nothing to the imagination."

James huffs a laugh and leans his forehead against Michael's chest, hands resting against his hips. He's so utterly fucked. They've been sleeping together for months and it still takes only the right look or a casual touch to get his heart racing. At least he knows Michael has it equally bad.

He doesn't realise he's started rubbing Michael's sides until two hands curl around his wrists.

"Jesus fuck, leave off," Michael whispers with fond exasperation.

"Shit, sorry," James mumbles and actually steps away to get a hold of himself. He rubs a hand across his face and takes a deep breath.

There's a delicate cough from across the studio and a reminder that their coffees are getting cold.

As they settle into their chairs, the assistant takes one look at them and barely fights back a smile, but is professional enough to simply hand over the coffee without making any sort of comment. James thanks his lucky stars and wonders for the umpteenth time how this thing he's got going with Michael hasn't been splashed across the tabloids yet. He can think of at least half a dozen instances when it would have only taken someone opening a door half a minute too soon to witness something that James isn't ready to see on Gawker. At least not yet. Or maybe never.


The last interview of the day is with and it's blessedly short. By this point, they've both lost their jackets and James can barely sit up straight in his chair. The reporter asks them which power they'd like to have for dating. It's a topic that he and Michael have actually talked about, except that their interest wasn't so much in dating as in sex and in all the kinky things that telepathy and bending metal could lead to in bed. Michael checks with the reporter whether this is for a teen show, which it is, and then pauses, obviously trying to find something to say that would be rated PG.

James rubs Michael's shoulder and tells him to settle down, grateful that he isn't the one who has to field that question. When Michael replies that he'd like the power to make someone feel comfortable, James thinks you arse and then bursts out laughing because he knows exactly what Michael means when he talks about making someone feel comfortable. Michael catches his eye with a shit-eating grin that asks, Did you see what I did there? and James can't help but smile back, warmth creeping into his cheeks. Michael has honed the fine art of double-entendres to the point where he can have a seemingly innocent conversation with James over dinner and still plant the most obscene ideas into his mind. James will never be able to think about getting comfortable as anything other than a thinly veiled invitation for a shag.

They share a look that lasts longer than it probably should but fuck if James can look away when Michael's grin fades into something more sober and fond. There's their running joke about "getting comfortable", but then there's being comforted, and they've been there, too, when they lived in each other's pockets during those interminable days filming on that beach. It was only caravans, no hotels, and a grueling schedule with emotions running high as they were getting near the end of a shoot that had packed too many things into too short an amount of time already. There was that one time after they finally wrapped when Michael fucked him against the door of his caravan and his PA asked James later if he'd been upset about something, what with all the smashing noise coming from within. But it had just been James' shoulders knocking into the door repeatedly when Michael drove into him hard and fast until they both unravelled at the seams, breathless and a bit stunned and the world narrowing down to the tight tight squeeze of their entwined fingers.

When the reporter advances a hesitant "James? Would you like to add something?" he snaps back to reality, acutely aware that he's probably stared at Michael for god knows how long. He tries to get his bearings, but as soon as he muses about getting comfortable, his mind starts to drift again and he has to pull himself back. It's all for nought because he can't come up with anything that would be remotely appropriate, so he rambles a bit about having the power to always say the right thing—fuck, did that even make sense?—and the reporter has the good grace to realise that they're at the end of their rope.


It's already dark outside when they climb into the car waiting for them. James pulls out his phone to check the time. Almost ten o'clock already. They have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to do more interviews, and perhaps a talk show or two. Or three. He slides down the seat with a groan.

"All right?" Michael asks, leaning close enough that James can feel his breath against his skin.

"Yeah. Just tired." James doesn't have any words left, feels talked out and utterly exhausted. He relaxes against Michael and watches streetlights and tall buildings blur past the car window.


"I only want two things," James announces when they finally make it to their room. "To clean my teeth and go to sleep."

"What, no sex?" Michael teases.

"Fuck off," James mutters. He flops down on the bed, wanting just a moment of rest until he can muster the energy to head to the bathroom.

Technically, Michael has his own room, but he hasn't set foot in it since they arrived two days ago. It's a bit of a waste, really, but he can hardly tell his agent that they only need one room. With one bed.

Michael bumps James' shin with his foot. "Hey, no falling asleep on top of the covers. You're a dead weight when you're out and I'm not throwing out my back again hauling you around."

"It was that one time!"

"One time too many. You didn't get all the odd looks on set when I couldn't bend over for three days."

James holds up two fingers to show Michael exactly how much he cared about that.

"Nice, McAvoy, I see how it is. I'm going to take a shower."

"Wait, let me clean my teeth first." James pushes himself upright and wobbles a little as he tries to stand up.

Michael catches his arm. "Turn the water on, yeah?"

James nods and tries not to stumble over his own feet during the three steps it takes to get to the bathroom. He dutifully turns on the shower and reaches for his toothbrush.

One look into the mirror confirms that he looks like shit, which is just as well. It's not like Michael really cares. Living in close quarters for months pushes you past those details. As he cleans his teeth, James watches Michael strip, unselfconscious as always. When Michael walks past him to get to the shower, James smacks his arse.

"Oh, yeah, darling, harder," Michael teases. "You're so sexy with that toothpaste drool. Totally turns me on."

James snorts, then coughs, which makes him gag when said toothpaste threatens to go down his throat. A full-body laugh takes hold of Michael, who has to grab the towel rack to prevent himself from falling down.

James ignores him in favour of rinsing his mouth, but steals another glance at Michael's arse as he disappears behind the shower curtain.


James curses the fact that Michael takes the longest showers of anyone he's ever known. And yeah, he knows that it's Michael's way of unwinding after a long day, but James is fighting to stay awake because he doesn't want to fall asleep before Michael comes to bed. He's got Anderson Cooper on, turned low enough so he doesn't have to endure the banal chatter of cable news, but not even Anderson can hold his attention tonight.

When Michael finally slides into bed, James surfaces from the doze he'd fallen into. The TV and all lights are turned off, leaving the room as dark as it can get in the middle of the city.

"Hey," Michael murmurs as he fits himself against James' back. He slips a hand under James' T-shirt and lightly rakes his nails across the bare skin he finds there.

James feels the tension drain from his body. He's been waiting for this. He loves these moments just before they fall asleep when it's all quiet breaths and sleepy gestures. As much as the press junket aggravates him, he cherishes the fact that those endless days end with Michael next to him, which doesn't happen nearly often enough.

"Did you set the alarm?"

"No." James fumbles for his iPhone. He presses it into Michael's hand, too tired to deal with the fickle touchscreen.

Michael props his chin on James' shoulder. "Pick-up is at seven, so half-six?"


"What, why? How much time do you need in the morning?"

"Twenty minutes for a shag, ten for breakfast. Plus a quick shower."

Michael chuckles. "So you're scheduling when we fuck now? That's new."

"I've been with you long enough to know that you're a very needy man in the morning, Fassbender. Besides, I don't want a repeat of last week."

Last week, they'd been scheduled to give brief interviews to morning shows around the country. They'd both been so addled from shagging their brains out in the shower and rushing to the studio afterward that they'd come off as pathetically stupid in the first few interviews.

"Good point," Michael concedes. He taps numbers into the phone and pushes it back onto the bedside table.

Fingers lightly press against James' cheek, beckoning to turn his head so Michael can kiss him. James smiles into the kiss, aware of the mumbled night that Michael will offer after and the whispered sweet dreams he'll say in response. When had that started? How did they even get to the point where they had a routine for falling asleep? He honestly can't recall.


The alarm blares for far too long before James finally hits his phone in the right fashion to make it shut up. It cannot possibly be morning yet. He cracks open an eye and is disappointed to find pale rays of sun coming in through the window.

Michael stirs besides him. "'s too early."

"Hmm. C'mere." He tugs Michael closer, worries about morning breath for a split second, then thinks, oh, fuck it, and kisses him. Michael is pliant in his hands, shifts his weight on top of James, slotting between his legs when they fall open.

The weight pressing James into the mattress is nice, but the friction that builds between their bodies is even better. Michael noses along James' cheek and mouths along his neck, his lips barely grazing the skin there. James mumbles encouragement as he reaches across the bed and under the piled-up pillows there. The lube is there, as it always is. Housekeeping might arrange the sheets with precision, but the lube never gets moved an inch, for which James is rather grateful.

He pushes the tube into Michael's hand. Want surges through James as he watches clear liquid drip down Michael's fingers and he can't get out of his T-shirt and pyjama bottoms fast enough. As soon as he's settled back down, Michael stretches out on top of him again, leaving just enough room to reach down and press two fingers inside of James. His eyes are intent on James' face, and James knows it's one of those times when Michael's gaze won't break away, when he'll savour each reaction James gives to him.

A flush spreads up James' neck when Michael's fingers really get to work. He hooks a leg across the small of Michael's back and feels those fingers press deeper.


Michael's question is utterly superfluous considering James is arching into every twist and turn of his fingers, but he likes some verbal affirmation when they shag, so James presses out a hasty Shit, yes.

Michael grins at him, a bit self-satisfied but also utterly fond. When his thumb starts tracing the taut skin around James' hole, he knows he's done for. Which Michael should well and truly know by now considering that James has always had an easier time coming on his fingers than his cock.

"I'm—" James starts, but Michael cuts in with a whispered I know and pulls his fingers free. The heel of Michael's hand pushes down at the base of James' cock, then up in one swift movement. By the time Michael twists his hand around the tip, James is coming hard and fast.

Michael kisses him as he's coming down, soft and slow, and James wraps both of his arms around Michael's shoulders to keep him close.

"Morning." Michael's voice is still rough with sleep.


They lie still, listening to the city wake up around them. Sirens in the distance mingle with shutters being pulled up somewhere down the street. James trails a hand up and down Michael's back. The hot press of his hard cock is difficult to ignore even though Michael's not made any move to do anything about it.

"Will you fuck me?" James whispers.

Michael looks at him with surprise; it usually takes James a good long while after he's come until he can stand to have anything near his arse again.

James continues, "Yeah. Give me a few more minutes, but yeah." He holds Michael's gaze to let him see that he's certain about this.

A shudder runs through Michael's body and he tenses for a moment before he relaxes against James again. Or as relaxed as he can be considering what must be on his mind.

"What's the first thing we're signed up for today?" No better distraction than shop talk.

Michael frowns. "Hmm, The Today Show? Maybe? With everyone else. And then—what's it called again—Good Morning America."

"More press after?"

"Yeah, but I can't remember if it's back at the studio, or here at the hotel, or—"

"Mark'll tell us." Mark has been doing a fabulous job of keeping their entire crazy press tour schedule under control. James already has elaborate plans for thanking him for preserving at least a bit of their sanity.

He stretches his arms above his head until his bones crack in the most satisfying way and yawns. Michael's looking at him curiously.


Michael ducks his head and mumbles something into his chest.

A quick twist of Michael's hair brings his eyes back up. "What?" James presses.

Michael bites his lip, his gaze darting off to the left. He's lost in thought for a moment, and James is about to slap his shoulder and hurl a What the fuck, mate? at Michael when those blue eyes focus on him again.

"You're—" Michael begins. "You're crazy and I wouldn't have it any other way." The words all tumble out in a rush, which James finds utterly endearing.

They don't really do any sorts of declarations about each other or their relationship unless they're asked to in an interview, and even then, it doesn't feel entirely real because it's part of a performance. The closest they've come to defining this whole thing was the moment when a runner came up to James on the set and shoved an envelope at him, biting out a harried "From Mr Fassbender."

Curious, James had opened the letter to find a bunch of medical forms with a sticky note in Michael's handwriting on top. It said I want to fuck you bare. James had flubbed most of his lines for the rest of the day. When he received his own clean bill of health two weeks later, he'd been tempted to tape it to Michael's trailer in retribution. But it had been a lot more fun to slip those pages into Michael's script early in the morning and to watch him squirm until that evening. And that had been that, a declaration of intention and commitment via their medical histories. James isn't sure if that makes them emotionally stunted or merely direct.

Michael whispers his name against his neck, low and urgent. James mumbles a hasty yes, yes and hitches his legs up until his thighs frame Michael's hips. A hand curls into the back of his knee to hold him in place and James is more than willing to hand himself over. His fingers fall away from Michael's body; one arm comes to rest outstretched against the length of the bed and he tucks the other one behind his head.

Michael sucks in a sharp breath and is obviously trying to go slow as he pushes into James. They're both panting by the time Michael is buried to the hilt. James rolls his hips in encouragement, one long languid movement that breaks all hesitation in Michael: he clasps James' shoulder and uses the leverage to fuck him with deep strokes.

It doesn't take long for Michael to reach the point when he buries his face in James' neck, trying to muffle the helpless sounds he can't keep inside. James is usually so focused on his own need to come that he's only peripherally aware of anything else, but now he's marvelling at the desperation pouring off Michael.

"Come on, come on," he urges, a hand on Michael's hip to guide him through those last desperate stutters. And then Michael's entire body seizes up for long moments before he slumps onto James. His hand trembles against James' side and James scoops it up, kisses palm and knuckles and holds it until Michael's breathing evens out.

They shift a bit until they lie side by side, James on his back and Michael on his stomach. James wishes they could go back to sleep, no alarm this time, and wake up when they want.

"Bless those twenty minutes," Michael says.

Not long enough, James thinks, It's never long enough. But there's no point in dwelling when the day is already pressing in on them. "See, you should always listen to me." James reaches for his phone. "And it was more like thirty minutes, which means we've just shagged through breakfast, so cheers for that, mate."

"Breakfast is entirely overrated."

"We'll talk about that again when you're falling asleep in your seat during that Today Show interview." He sits up.

"One word: catering."

Michael has a point, but James isn't going to concede that. He's about to get out of bed when Michael holds him back. "One more minute."

It's a minute they really don't have, but James knows that this is their last bit of free time until the late evening. He allows himself to be drawn back into Michael's arms and pushes the day out of his mind for as long as they kiss.

"I was thinking," Michael offers afterward.


"After all of this is over, we should take some time. To, I don't know, go somewhere. Together."

The words tingle over James' skin. "Go on holiday, you mean?" He's not even trying to keep his smile in check.

Michael smiles back at him with unguarded affection. "That's the general idea."

James laughs, joy bubbling up inside. "I'm in."