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A Reason For Waking

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Mornings in New York were fundamentally different from the ones in Paris, easily beating out the aimless hustle of the French town he'd left a year ago.

Tino rolled over, smiling when his eyes fell upon the still-sleeping Mike. He was lying on his stomach, arms bundled under the pillow. A couple of stray curls fell across his forehead, making Tino's fingers move of their own volition. No sooner had he brushed the hair back than it fell forward again.

"Hey, Mike," he whispered. "Time to wake up."

He let his roaming hand move lower upon receiving no reply. Tracing the lines of his partner's strong shoulders, Tino reveled in the feel of the warm skin. Unable to resist, he leaned over and pressed a couple of kisses to the freckled shoulder blades.

A pair of blue eyes were sleepily regarding him when he pulled back. "Nn," Mike greeted.

"Good morning to you too."

An arm snaked out, wrapping itself around Tino's neck to pull him down into a crushing hug. "Morning," Mike offered, slightly more eloquent.

It only took a slight angling of his head to capture Mike's lips. The kiss was tranquil, comfortable — another point in New York's favor. The stolen kisses in Paris had all been frantic; filled with to the brim with desperation and uncertainty.

"Not that I mind this," Mike groaned as Tino's lips began trailing along his jaw and down his neck, "but if you think this'll make me forget that it's your turn to make breakfast-"

The words were cut off with a yelp, as Tino bit his collarbone. "Sunny side up, dear?" he mocked.

Not wanting to give Mike a chance to retaliate, he somersaulted off the bed and walked towards the kitchen, blindly grabbing a pair of pants on the way.

He'd just cracked open the eggs when Mike joined him. The kitchen was small, especially with two grown men in it at the same time. Tino didn't mind, however, as Mike pressed up against his back.

"Those are my pants you're wearing," he chuckled, warm puffs of air fanning Tino's ear.

"Mm," Tino replied noncommittally.

Mike's arms went around his waist, squeezing slightly. "Smells good."

"Are you that hungry? It's just bacon and eggs."

"I guess." The arms holding Tino tightened.

"Trying to squeeze juice outta me? Go get some from the fridge instead."

"I wasn't expecting to ever return to New York," Mike mumbled. "Hell, I didn't even want to."

Frowning, Tino put down the spatula and tried to turn around. But, with the same strength he used to catch his partner on a daily basis, Mike hindered the movement.

"To be here again, like this..." he trailed off, head slumping onto Tino's shoulder.

Deciding to use some of his own strength, Tino broke the hold and twisted his body in order to face Mike. "Hey," he began before falling silent, momentarily stunned by the brilliant smile he was being given.

"I really should thank you for being the stubborn brat you are, Tino."

He opened his mouth to reply, but Mike just shook his head. "In all seriousness, thank you. I'm glad I'm here, doing what I love — but most of all I'm glad that I'm with you."

Deciding that breakfast could wait till later, Tino reached back and moved the frying pan away from the heat.

"Help me get out of your pants?"