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Do We Need This Madness? (Yes, yes we do)

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(Pyramids Centre, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, 25 June 2002)
 
“Where the fuck is Chris?” Guy asks, frowning as they hear the chatter and growing excitement from the audience. “He’s usually never this late when the show is about to start.”
 
Jonny shrugs. “Last I saw him was when Phil said that someone has come to see him.”
 
“Ah, that someone might be Matty. His boyfriend of almost a year now,” Will explains with a knowing smirk and nod.
 
“So who’s going to find him and tell him that we’re about to go on stage?” Jonny asks. When the bassist and drummer turned silent and pretended to look at other things that suddenly seemed interesting, Jonny rolls his eyes. “Fine, I’ll drag him back, you twats.”
 
Once Jonny is gone, Will lets out a sigh of relief. “Thank god we don’t have to go.”
 
“Why didn’t you volunteer to go?”
 
“Why didn’t you?” the drummer counters back.
 
“...Touché,” Guy concedes. “So why don’t you want to go anyways?”
 
“If I can guess it, I know what happens when the two of them meet when it’s been awhile since they last seen each other,” Will says in a stiff voice, fiddling with a stray string on his shirt.
 
Guy scoffs. “What would they be doing? It’s not like it’s going to be what we think it is--”
 
There is a loud scream and swearing from down the hallway, someone sounding awfully like Jonny.
 
“Yeah, I think they’re doing exactly what we’re thinking,” Will deadpans. Jonny returns to them looking shaken and unable to erase of what he had witnessed.
 
“Chris… Matt… Toilet stall…” Jonny shakily says, then shudders with a shiver running up his body.
 
“Say no more, Jonny, we understand it,” Guy says, patting the guitarist’s back sympathetically. Jonny takes a few breaths and then gulps.
 
“He’ll be out in a few minutes,” he says.
 
When Chris finally appears a few minutes later, his clothes and hair looking disheveled and hastily cleaned up, he actually has the decency to appear embarrassed to be caught with his pants down with Matt. Matt, on the other hand, looks like the proverbial kitten that got the cream, with a satisfied look on his face.
 
He stays behind backstage to watch them perform. If they spotted Chris looking at the right side of the stage a few times with a silly looking grin on his face during the whole show, they said nothing.
 
….
 
(Midtfyns Festival, Ringe, Denmark, 4 July 2002)
 
“Where the fuck is Matt?” Dom asks, tapping his drumsticks to his knees and the low table in the tour bus.
 
“I think I last saw him when Chris Martin came by the one of the tents,” Chris Wolstenholme replies, sipping his can of beer. Both men have only just returned to the tour bus when Matt ditched them after signing some autographs in favour of leaving with Coldplay’s singer a while ago.
 
“And it’s by some coincidence that Coldplay is touring around in Europe at the same time as we are? And they’ve just performed yesterday for the festival?” Dom muses, a knowing grin crooking his lips upwards.
 
“Oh come off it, Dom. You know how hard it is for Matt to see him when both he and Martin have crazy schedules as is,” Chris points out. “And I understand what he’s going through because of Kelly and the kids for me. Let him be.”
 
Dom rolls his eyes, mutters something under his breath, and continues tapping his knees and the table.
 
“Hey, Tom. Found where the two lovebirds are?” Dom calls out to the media manager upon Tom’s return to the bus.
 
“They’re most likely spending some ‘quality time’ together,” Tom answers, his fingers air quoting ‘quality time’. “The problem is that I don’t know where they are. I’ve checked everywhere that they might be at.”
 
Thump.
 
“What was that?” Tom asks, looking around to search for that sound.
 
There is another thump. And then some shufflings noises of fabric. And then a muffled moan from the bunks that sounds awfully familiar to the three of them.
 
Dom drops one of his sticks, his face pale. “I think we now know where they are.”
 
Right after he said that, they can hear Matt moaning Chris’ name out loud.
 
“Are they having sex by the door?” Tom asks in a low voice, horrified.

Thump. Thump. Oh Chris...

"Yeah, they are," Dom deadpans.

Wisely, they choose to vacate the bus and wait outside.
 
Even as they are outside, however, they can still partially hear them still going at it. It’s not as if they can easily ignore the noises from the inside. Thank god the tour bus that they have has an actual door to the sleeping area. But now, they have second thoughts of having a door there in the first place.
 
“Well, it’s a good thing that Kelly isn’t here in Denmark with us,” Dom comments, breaking the ice.
 
Chris nods heavily, agreeing wholeheartedly.
 
The noises coming from the bus continue.
 
“Don’t you think that it sort of feels weird to hear Matt calling the name ‘Chris’ out loud when you’re right here?” Dom says it out loud.
 
Chris’ face turns red. “Dom, shut it.”
 
“I don’t want to think about it,” Tom groans, rubbing the temples of his head.
 
“It’s really awkward when he’s dating someone who shares the same name as you, you know, Chris.”
 
“Dom, why don’t we bury this subject right away and never speak of it ever again?” Chris spoke in equal parts as a threat and a definitiveness that the drummer must end the conversation right now.
 
They said nothing more until they hear a scream and the thumping noises stopped, and wait for the lovebirds to clean up before they can reenter the bus.
 
“Really like you and Kelly, huh?”

Chris glares at Dom.

Chapter Text

When Matt and Chris started dating, both of them knew that their relationship is going to need adjustments. Although they have their respective places to live in London, at the same time, with a hectic schedule of touring and recording, and that when one of them returns home to England, the other might not be there at all, seeing each other face to face can be difficult when one has distance to account for it.
 
Yet it is this that made their time spent together all the more precious and not to be wasted, especially when they can’t see each other for weeks or months.
 
So the first thing when they meet each other again is that they not only miss each other, they’re also horny, and willing to jump the other and enjoy the moment while it lasts.
 
This is what Chris gets when he opens the door to welcome his lover back from tour life and he has a Matt Bellamy latched onto him like a limpet, already kissing him into a stupor.
 
“So we’re having takeout tonight then?” Chris asks through muffled lips. He gets a humming noise from Matt, too busy snogging him, which Chris takes it as a yes and mentally notes down that it might be Chinese for dinner again.
 
When they end up on the bed, Matt is lying on top of Chris, pulling his shirt off to be delighted at the sight of his hairy chest.
 
“God, I miss you and having a bed to fuck on,” Matt groans, licking and nibbling at his lover’s jawline and neck. He strokes the hairs on Chris’ chest gently with fondness.
 
Chris is lying down on his back with Matt sitting on his abdomen, teasing his lover’s nipples by pinching and flicking them. The sounds that Matt makes is both cute and hot.
 
Then Matt sits up and leans over to take the condom and lube from the bedside drawer. For this evening, they will be using the riding position. The thought of Matt riding him like a cowboy is already exciting him and making his jeans feel tighter than usual.
 
When Matt makes an interested noise from what he found in the drawer, Chris has a feeling that something that Matt found that doesn’t sound what’s usually in the drawer has intruded into their plan.
 
“Well, well, what do we have here?” Matt asks, sounding very amused, which gets Chris worried. When he hears metal clinking with metal, he gets more worried as he realises what the brunette has found. He’d thought that it was stored under the bed, away from Matt and his prying eyes. So why is it in his bedside drawer?
 
Then his mind recall who his last visitor was and he grits his teeth. Jonny.
 
Matt smirks at him, twirling a pair of handcuffs on his fingers and holding a bullet vibrator on the other hand. “Why, Christopher, you’ve been holding back on me. Care to explain why?”
 
“I wasn’t holding back… It was a gift joke from Jonny that he bought in Europe last year,” Chris grimaces. “I was supposed to throw it away.”
 
“What?! Why would you want to throw it away?!” Matt looks at him, aghast, the handcuffs stopped spinning on his fingers. “It would be such a waste!”
 
“I don’t see the point of these… toys in the bedroom,” Chris says, embarrassed and looking away from Matt.
 
“They make sex fun! And exciting with it! You don’t know what you’re missing out here, Chris!” Matt’s face softened up at Chris’s reaction. “It’s not that bad, Chris. I actually like this kind of stuff. You wouldn’t believe the fun that I had with these toys.”
 
Chris has a contemplative face. Matt is really excited by something that irked him because Jonny gave it to him and has placed it in his bedside drawer.
 
“Please, Chris?” Matt pleads, looking down at him in a similar manner. Chris caves in from that. He’s horny and wants to fuck.
 
“Okay, if it’s what you want--” Click.
 
Chris stares at Matt wide-eyed, then to his right hand locked in place to the side of the headboard. How did he do that so fast?
 
Matt shakes his head, grinning as he takes the second handcuffs from the drawer and locks Chris’ left hand to other side. “You, my love, need some education in the uses of them and the pleasure and fun you can get off from it.
 
“I’ll show you what it’s like first, but I’ll go nice and easy on you. After we’re done, then you can think about it.”
 
….
 
“So how was it?” Matt asks, feeling very satisfied after one hell of a ride on top of Chris.
 
“Fuck,” is the only coherent word that Matt manages to hear from his boyfriend under him. He takes it as a good sign that Chris now has second thoughts on throwing these lovely toys away. He’ll have to send his thanks to Jonny some time later for this gift to Chris.
 
Matt leaves to clean himself up in the bathroom, giving Chris some time to wind down. After all, experience taught Matt that the first time can be pretty intense. When he returns with a wet towel, he releases Chris from the handcuffs and gets the taller man to sit up to wipe him clean.
 
After that is done, Matt gently massages his hands and wrists to bring blood circulating back there, while the taller man keeps his arms wrapped around the small brunette.
 
“If you like them that much, then I guess we can keep them,” Chris mumbles, feeling exhausted yet refreshed by this new experience for sex, and enjoying the treatment that Matt is giving to him.
 
“Want to know something?” Matt holds Chris’ hand, getting a firm grip in return. “I love your hands. Your fingers are so talented that I swear that I can just come from them alone. Maybe next time, you can try it with these stuff that Jonny gave to you too.”
 
“Is it a good idea to tell me this so soon?” Chris muses with a lopsided grin.
 
“Don’t know for sure yet. But I wanted to let you know in case you got some interesting ideas to try out the next time,” Matt giggles, picking up a mobile phone and handing it to Chris. “Come on, I’m starving and I don’t want to be bothered to see what’s in the fridge to eat.”
 
Next time, Chris thinks as he presses the speed dial to the Chinese takeout that he likes, he will get to Matt first and then tie him down to bed. Maybe use what Matt has suggested to him and try it out.

And maybe also the next time he sees Jonny, he’ll have to grudgingly thank the guitarist and his… very useful gift.

Chapter Text

When Chris learns that Muse have weekly poker night tournaments on Saturdays, he’s surprised that he never knew that they have weekly poker night tournaments on Saturdays.
 
He only learns of this when he was dragged by Matt on a Saturday evening to the flat that the brunette still shares with Dom and Tom, where there is a dedicated poker table set up and ready. Chris Wolstenholme is there too, looking ready for the game.
 
From what Chris observed while Tom dealt the cards out, it seems like something that they have built up into a tradition to spend time with each other and have fun. And if Matt has brought him here to play it, it feels like an honour for him to be here with Matt and his friends.
 
So Chris decides to join in their poker tournament, thinking that it won’t be harmful and will be fun. After all, it’s only money and it’s actually something that he doesn’t mind losing. And he’s fairly good at poker.
 
He soon learns his mistake in such an assumption when money was no longer betted on the table, and in upping and changing the stakes, he loses not only his money, but also his shoes, bracelets, scarf, jacket, and all of his hair care products that he left in the flat whenever he stays by. All of it.
 
“I thought you guys played with money only!” Chris says, stunned at his own loss.
 
“That’s all in your head, mate. You’re just mad that you’ve lost,” Dom smirks, raking Chris’ prized hair care products towards him and now the proud new owner to said products and the bracelets that he’d won off the table the previous round.
 
“And you could’ve folded your cards and stopped playing when we stopped playing with money,” Chris Wolstenholme says, now wearing a pair of comfortable track shoes that once belonged to the other Chris and not feeling an ounce of guilt of taking them.
 
Meanwhile, Tom has his scarf wrapped around his neck, pretending to be some model and flicking the scarf to his back. Chris fumes inwardly. That was his favourite scarf.
 
Matt is the giddiest one of the group, wearing Chris’ jacket that is a few sizes too large for him, taking a sniff at it and smiling at being able to smell his boyfriend from the clothing.
 
“Dude, that’s gross,” Dom grimaces, noticing what Matt was doing and wrinkles his nose.
 
“You’re just jealous that you don’t have your girlfriend’s shirt to sniff at.” Matt says smugly, wrapping the jacket around him tightly.
 
Strangely, Chris never says a word or have a look of protest about Matt wearing his jacket at all.
 
Matt keeps the jacket with him for weeks until he makes Chris wear it again to get his scent back on the clothing. Chris quietly complies to it, wearing it long enough until the scent of his body and the cologne that he uses are stuck to it, and he notices the jacket is gone from his wardrobe and Matt seems giddy again.

Chris still finds himself losing more often than winning from the poker tournaments that he goes to with Matt.

Chapter Text

When a black Lotus Elise is parked by the street of the building where his flat is located, Chris knows who has come to visit him last night and crawled into his bed.

This time, Matt is staying with him in London rather than go back to Brighton to rest after touring, bringing with him a few clothes that can barely last through a week. That is the least of Matt’s concerns since he has some clothes left in Chris’ flat from staying over constantly.

The second reason is that he has been pilfering through Chris’ wardrobe for clothes, wearing the taller man’s t-shirts and sweatpants around whenever the brunette can’t be bothered to wash his dirty clothes up in the washing machine.

Chris has seen Matt wearing Dom’s clothes before, considering that they more or less have the same body size, so they rarely fuss over the sharing of their clothes. Well, that’s what Matt says, and Dom once told him the opposite of it.

With Matt wearing his clothes, however, it makes Matt look hilariously small in it and at the same time look comfortable in it.

Chris never stops him from doing it. Ever since the first time that Matt stayed over in his place and wore one of his shirts while having tea and toast for breakfast, there is something within his mind that compels him to let it naturally happen. And it was the best decision ever.

Although he has noticed for some time that some of his shirts and hoodies have gone missing in his home.

Watching Matt moving around his flat while wearing his clothes is the hottest sight for Chris to see. There’s a certain allure to it. It is to such an alluring sight that Chris gets distracted away from the television as Matt, who has finished showering, approaches towards him and sits on his lap.

“Good evening,” Matt greets him, getting a kiss to his lips as a response.

“What’s underneath that shirt?” Chris teases, now kissing the bare neck and his hands sliding down from Matt’s chest to his hips.

“Nothing,” Matt answers, giggling. And true to his words, he is wearing nothing else other than the shirt. Chris shivers in delight at the thought of it.

Just as he is about to slide his hand under said shirt, Matt stops his hand and gets Chris’ attention.

“Before we get there, Chris, I got something to talk to you about,” Matt says.

“What is it that you want to talk about, Matt?” Chris pulls his hand away, slightly disappointed to be stopped.

“You know about how I have this idea of moving around every six month or else I get restless?”

“Yeah…?” Chris nods, though unsure where Matt is leading them is going to be pleasant or not based on the start of the conversation.

“Well, the lease that I share with my mates for the flat in Brighton is expiring soon,” Matt explains. “Me, Dom, and Tom have agreed to move back to London but we’ll have separate flats for once rather than live together. But we’re still going to live very close to each other.”

Matt finds it hard to read Chris’ face, his expression still stuck in curiosity, but nevertheless continues.

“Since I’ve seen that we’re going to live nearby around your neighbourhood, and a lot of my stuff is in your flat already, I was wondering if I could… move the rest of my stuff into your flat,” Matt says.

Chris blinks, then blinks again.

“You... want to live with me?” Chris asks, jaw dropped.

“Well, that’s the proposition. I wanted to ask like, weeks before. You weren’t around, but I did check on any flats for rent nearby just in case--” Matt never finished his rambling as he is kissed deeply by a very happy Chris.

“I wouldn’t say no. I think it’s a brilliant idea,” Chris laughs, kissing Matt’s face here and there. “I’ll even help you move your stuff in as soon as possible.”

“Would you like to do it sometime this week?” Matt giggles, enjoying the affection given to him and elated that Chris has accepted his request to move in with him.

“Sure,” Chris nods. “But if you don’t mind me asking… why move back to London?”

“Well, we think that we spent enough time out of London to have some songs and demos and ideas running in my mind for the next album already, so we need to come back and jam around for a bit to solidify them. And I do miss London with all the perks of having good studios here,” Matt explains.

“So how soon will that lease run out?” Chris asks.

“A couple of weeks from now.”

“Perfect,” Chris grins, one free hand sliding back under the shirt to touch Matt’s stomach and stays there. Matt takes the remote control away from him and switches the channel to watch a snooker tournament, content to stay on Chris’ lap.

Chris doesn’t know what will happen with his life in the future with Matt having decided to live with him on what might be a more permanent basis. Will they eventually find a better place to move to? Will London eventually bore Matt once more to seek out greener pastures? Will something happen six months later and Matt gets restless again? Who knows?

For now, he watches the snooker tournament with Matt, the thought that the concept of what home means to him have changed for the better and glad of his lover’s decision.

….

On the day that Matt is moving into Chris’ flat, Dom puts a cardboard box in front of Chris. There’s even his name written on the box.

“Umm… what’s inside here?” Chris asks, perplexed. When he opens it, his eyebrows shoot up to his hairline.

“These are all of your clothes,” Dom answers bluntly. “They migrated down to Brighton one by one.”

Well, that explains why his wardrobe has less clothes than before, and it’s not because of accidentally or intentionally losing them on tour. What he didn’t account for is how many have disappeared from his wardrobe thanks to Matt.

Chris pulls out the first item in the box.

Huh. He was wondering where his UCL hoodie disappeared to.

Chapter Text

When Matt walks into the kitchen, wondering what the ruckus Chris was causing in there, he witnesses something that made him think how lucky that what he walked into didn’t escalate to be a worse situation.
 
Smoke and the smell of something burnt permeates the whole room even with the window opened and the fan working its best to suck it out of the kitchen.
 
It is by a fortunate chance that Matt knew that the fire alarm in the kitchen ran out of battery power a few days ago or else it would have been noisy as well. And get the neighbours and fire brigade alarmed.
 
Matt watches as Chris tries to scrape pasta that are burnt and stuck at the bottom of the pan with a fork before he speaks.
 
“What happened here?”
 
“I wanted to make dinner for the two of us for once rather than have takeaways,” Chris explains, flustered and ashamed by his failure.
 
Matt raises an eyebrow. “You wanted to do this, even though I’ve seen before that you can’t cook?”
 
“I wanted to try,” Chris grimaces, giving up on the ruined pot. “I was planning to make a homemade dinner for the two of us. So I thought that spaghetti would be easy enough.”
 
Taking a second look at the kitchen, Matt notices a batch of spaghetti that is half wet, half burnt. Judging by the sight, that one might’ve been the first attempt, and from the ruined pot, they are more than likely out of dried pasta. The good news is that this means that Chris can stop attempting to ruin any more good pasta, the bad news is that they no longer have dried pasta unless they go down to the grocery shop.
 
Matt sighs.
 
“Well, I guess we’re going to have fresh pasta for dinner tonight then,” Matt says. Chris looks at Matt in surprise.
 
“What?”
 
“We can make pasta by ourselves,” Matt says, going to the pantry to pull some items out. “I got the flour, eggs, and the works. Don’t have to be so dramatic over some ruined spaghetti. We can make our own homemade pasta. I wager that what we make will taste better than the dried kinds.”
 
Matt then goes to the cupboard to pull something out and puts it down on the table a machine that Chris has never remembered owning before: a pasta machine.
 
“If I’m moving in to stay with you, the least that I want is a pasta machine in the kitchen,” Matt says, smirking after noticing the astonished look on Chris’ face. “Making pasta is a lot easier than you think.”
 
“You don’t mind me helping, Matt? I was the one who wanted to make dinner for us,” Chris requested.
 
“As long as you don’t touch the stove,” Matt teases, opening the top of the flour bag. “Now, you bought sauce for the pasta, didn't you?” Chris nods and pulls a tub out of the fridge, showing it to be Tesco brand carbonara sauce.
 
Matt makes an approving noise. “At least we don’t need to make the sauce from scratch.”
 
An hour later, they have dinner on the table. Over a dinner of fresh pasta with carbonara sauce paired with a bottle of pinot grigio, Chris is happy that for once, he didn’t ruin the food, or have the fire brigade to come pay them a visit. And he is happy that Matt didn’t mind joining in and helped him make this dinner for the evening happen.

Chapter Text

“Matt, can you coach me on becoming better at poker?” Chris asks one day when both he and Matt have a break that allows them to spend time together for more than a month.
 
“Why?” Matt frowns, his attention ripped away from the television. “I thought I’d helped you in winning all your stuff back from my friends.”
 
“Yeah, and I appreciate that. But honestly? I’m tired of losing,” Chris admits.
 
“What happened to you to have brought this up?” Matt asks.
 
“For one, I already mentioned that I’m tired of losing. Two, you guys are really advanced at the game and I need someone who can teach me to be on par with your level. And three, it would be nice to win a few times to show them that I can be a serious threat.”
 
When Chris says it like that, Matt can’t fault his lover on this, for he understands the dilemma. When one thinks about it, Chris does try to play, but he isn’t as good at poker as they are. It’s a wonder that he still wants to play it with them at all when he loses more than he wins.
 
“What will you offer me in return then?” Matt asks. Although he can help, he expects something out of this or else he’ll be giving his secrets out, something that he isn’t willing to part with, not even to his boyfriend.
 
Chris leans in and whispers it to his ear. Matt’s face perked up in surprise, then contemplation, and finally grinning ear to ear.
 
“Now that’s an offer that I can’t pass up. Alright then, I’ll be your coach until you reached our level of skills.”
 
….
 
“Is strip poker really necessary for learning?” Chris complains, pulling his socks off and throwing it to a pile of clothes that are mostly his.
 
“Well, the point of poker and any sort of competitive games is the incentive to win, Chris,” Matt grins, his eyes glued shamelessly to the sight of an almost naked Chris. Almost, for there’s one last article of clothing on him before the man is truly naked. Those white boxers are sexy. “That incentive provides the drive to improve on your skills. Strip poker is one of the examples.”
 
“You could’ve told me that it was going to be something like this and I could’ve turned up the heater beforehand,” Chris grumbles, the cold starting to bother him with the lack of clothes keeping him warm.
 
“I admit, that you haven’t had a good start. But you did quite well,” Matt says, and it was true. His jumper and socks are already on the pile. Depending on who loses in the next round, the next one to go are his trousers.
 
Matt quickly collects the cards up and starts shuffling the deck. The longer he stares at an almost naked Chris, the less interested he is to keep on playing, for he is now interested in playing something else.
 
When he looks back up at Chris, he is almost surprised at the intensity of those smouldering blue eyes looking at him. It’s as though Chris wants to burn Matt’s clothes down through his stare alone or tear it down with his hands when he remembers that he hasn’t gained superpowers to attempt the former.
 
Well, if Chris’ thoughts is about at the same wavelength with his...
 
Matt clears his throat. “Since you’re down to your boxers, we can either keep playing or we can--”
 
Matt is not able to insinuate anything further when he is pulled towards the taller man, and his mind inwardly squeals in delight at not having to finish the game to do this instead. It’s much more fun, and warms Chris up from the cold.
 
….
 
“You can’t kiss your opponent and render them vulnerable for the next round,” Matt pants, his lips swollen and his mind still reeling at a very good kiss.
 
“Not if they’re cute,” Chris grins, his lips kissing along Matt’s jawline.
 
“I can consider that cheating by kissing me so good that you won twice in a row,” Matt grumbles, trying to pull his head away from those damned temptatious lips.
 
“I’ll gladly take that,” Chris says, rubbing his nose against Matt’s.
 
“And no flirting for the next round.”
 
“Not even on the tournaments?” Chris pouts.
 
Matt’s glare effectively gets Chris to shut up and not use his flirting tactics for those weekly tournaments.
 
When Chris leans closer to him, Matt knows what he is about to do and gently pushes him away.
 
“One more kiss before the next round?” Chris pleads out loud.
 
Again, Matt glares at Chris. Chris gives him the look of a pleading puppy, silently asking for more from their owners and make them give in to compliance when they know that they shouldn’t or become stricter to curb away from the temptation of giving in.
 
Unfortunately, Chris nails the puppy face look really well, and Matt’s glare gets softened the longer Chris does it.
 
He rolls his eyes. “Fine, just one more kiss before we start again.”
 
Chris grins and leans in to capture his lips, intending to make out as long as possible as a result of that little victory.
 
….
 
Matt checks to make sure that he got any touch smudges scrubbed off before he washes the soap suds off its surface. Another plate is now washed and put on the drying rack.
 
He hums a tune to himself as he picks up a dirty mug and scrub it up.
 
From the bedroom, he can hear the noise of the vacuum cleaner that Chris is using to clean the room up. Using house chores to bet and divide it between the two of them makes it surprisingly effective to get them to clean the flat up. It lets Matt’s arse to rest up, and it keeps Chris from becoming a pavlovian dog during poker.
 
Matt admits to himself that despite Chris showing that he’s becoming good at poker, using sex as the conditions of a prize is having another effect. The problem is namely that every time the two of them play, Chris tends to become… rather excited.
 
He is pretty sure that what Chris wanted is to become good enough to not lose too many times for the weekly poker tournaments, rather than becoming horny because of associating the game to lead towards sex. This was the only other way that Matt has thought of to not use foreplay and sex for poker.
 
Then again, it would be funny if Chris does pop a boner in the middle of the game, as Matt thinks about it for the second time and puts the mug to the drying rack.
 
….
 
“You won his faff bag!” Matt is still laughing once they’re in the car, holding up said bag that Chris won off the table. “You won Dom’s fucking faff bag!”
 
“Technically I only won the bag, Matt,” Chris tries to correct him. While he did won the bag that Dom uses to store his hair and skin care products, the blond was smart to have emptied out its contents before he put the bag on the table. Last he heard from the drummer, he was going to buy a new one anyways, but Chris can keep the bag.
 
“Still, it’s proof that you’re getting good at poker,” Matt says, grinning ear to ear and proud that Chris won something significant from Dom despite its mundane use.
 
Chris only smiles back at that, and keeps his eyes on the road as he drives them home.
 
….
 
It’s one of those nights where they don’t have much to do, and the immediate solution against the impending boredom was to pick up the deck of cards to play a single round or a few. By now, it’s less of a training and more of a casual game to test how far Chris’ prowess in poker has has come since he started getting mentored by Matt.
 
“So what are the conditions if you win this time around?” Chris asks, used to the knowledge and habit that there needs to be something to bet on.
 
Matt ponders for a moment before he smirks. “You give me foot rubs whenever I want for the next three months.”
 
“What?! That’s unfair!” Chris protests. “Why three months?”
 
Matt merely raises an eyebrow and points at the calendar where their schedules are noted out in highlight.
 
“Alright,” Chris sighs, the calendar reminding him how few times that they can see each other thanks to touring and recording. So the three months of giving massages to Matt’s feet is not as bad as it sounds since it’s not as though he will do it every day. “But you better wash your feet beforehand. They smell worse than death.”
 
“I can’t guarantee that, but you have to give me foot rubs when I demand for it,” Matt says, grinning. “Now, what’s your condition if you win?”
 
Now it’s Chris’ turn to have a smirk on his face, and then he pulls something out behind his back that has Matt stare in silent horror.
 
“There are rules for this,” he says, and Matt gets more horrified as Chris explains it.
 
Matt finds himself in a hard spot, whether to win because of his superior skills or to intentionally lose. Damn! He should’ve thought of something else rather than three months of foot rubs. He never expected Chris to be so… so devious.
 
A vibrator in his arse for a whole day tomorrow? And no touching or release an orgasm for the duration of it? Tomorrow when he’s joining Dom and Chris to jam out at their rented studio and his boyfriend might pay them a visit?
 
Chris is evil and a magnificent bastard to boot.
 
….
 
(Weeks later)
 
“Bloody hell, Chris, how did you get this good at poker?” Will asks, glancing at the singer as he folds his cards. The rest of them eventually get flushed out by Chris when he reveals a full deck that makes him the winner again.
 
Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. The third time becomes a pattern that is more than obvious for them to notice. And their wallets are hauntingly empty of cash.
 
Previously, Chris was decent at the game but keeps making faces that they could easily exploit. Now, he’s great at the game and he has a blank face and an undecipherable body language that makes it almost impossible to find a tell on him. Even better than Phil’s, who is considered the second best in poker among the five of them.
 
The only time during the whole game when he breaks the blank look on his face is when he rakes in his winnings from his bandmates with a smile. And the occasional shifting of his legs which they conclude doesn’t seem to have anything to do with whether he got a good deck of cards in his hands or not.
 
“Come on, spill it out, Chris. You’ve practically took all of our money today,” Jonny grumbles.
 
Chris eyes his bandmates blankly, keeping silent for a while, until he finally speaks.

“Did you know,” he begins slowly, “that Muse have weekly poker night tournaments on Saturdays?”

Chapter Text

Chris is roused up by daylight, feeling tired yet unable to go back to sleep. He stares at the ceiling for some time before he turns to his right to a familiar sight that brings up a smile on his face.
 
He recollects the memories of Christmas Day yesterday spent with their bandmates, their friends and girlfriends. A strange family that they have, yet a strong bond that they formed from years together as two distinctive bands that are now brothers to one another.
 
It’s Boxing Day today, a day where there’s not much else do as a public holiday, and not many shops are open nor some public transportations are in service, so he rather stay in bed to while away time before he does anything else. Like sex. Right now, he’s staring at a sleeping Matt, and Chris has a look of fondness at him.
 
He doesn’t want to disturb and wake Matt up. Not when the brunette looks so peaceful while asleep, and Chris indulges in one of his guilty pleasures of being able to watch him.
 
Unfortunately, something else has decided otherwise.
 
Chris almost groans, the moment that he is enjoying ruined by the sound of the doorbell ringing and the door rapping loudly. He carefully leaves the bed, making sure not to disturb his lover, put some clothes on, and grumbles in annoyance as he walks out and wonder who would come at this time to come knocking at the door. It’s a public holiday, for god’s sake. Who and why would anyone come bother them--
 
“Mom! Dad!” Chris greets them upon opening the door a little too cheerfully and with a strained smile. “What are you doing here?”
 
“We’d thought to pay you a visit, Chris, since you wanted to stay in London for the holidays!” Anthony hugs and pats his son on the shoulder.
 
“It wouldn’t hurt for us to come and see how you are,” Alison, his mother, approaches Chris with a hug and kiss. “And to see if you're up for shopping with us.”
 
“Great,” Chris says through gritted teeth, but still maintaining a smile at his parents. Today is the day where he never thought that they would come pay him a surprise visit, and surprise visits are the least wanted events that Chris ever wants. Not with who else is in his flat with him.
 
The last one is what concerns him since both Mr and Mrs Martin are unaware of Matt. While Matt’s mother knew about Chris when he was introduced to her indirectly via Matt’s older brother Paul, Chris’ family barely know about the fact that he is in a relationship with another man.
 
“So how have you been lately, Chris? Had a good Christmas?” Anthony asks once they’ve sat down in the living room.
 
“Yeah, just celebrated it with my friends who couldn’t leave the city.”
 
“Even snagged a fetching lady?” Anthony wiggles his eyebrow, which suddenly reminds Chris of the hickey on his neck that was done last night.
 
“Tony, don’t do that to him,” Alison chastises to a smirking Anthony.
 
“Yeah, you can say that…” Chris chuckles nervously, his hand quickly covering the hickey spot. What his father said was partially true, just not on the correct gender.
 
It’s not that Chris never dared tell his parents of the realisation of his sexuality before, but that… he chose to never tell them about it in the first place, which is a lot easier to do. That, and he has a boyfriend to prove that who is sleeping in the bedroom.
 
At any time, Matt will wake up soon from the commotion or his parents will get nosey and look into the bedroom, whichever one comes first.
 
If Chris can get through this fast enough, then they’ll be on their way home after a day spending time with him in London. Hopefully Matt is still blissfully asleep and ignorant of what is happening or awake but knows not to go out and check the commotion. Either way, it means that Matt will be by himself the whole day while Chris spends his time around with his parents.
 
Chris thought of the devil too soon, and both assumptions that he made were wrong.
 
They can hear a door opening and closing loudly in the flat, and Matt walks into the open living area.
 
He yawns loudly, rubbing his sleepy eyes and walking from the bedroom to the bathroom. Once his business in there is done, he walks out and goes straight to the kitchen, opening cupboards and pulling mugs and teabags out.
 
All the while Chris and his parents are staring gawked at the whole procession.
 
At any given time under normal circumstances, Chris would think the sight of Matt wearing his clothes while going about his routine is hot and cute, and he wouldn’t mind ravishing him right then and there.
 
At the moment, with his parents sitting right across him on the sofa, staring at Matt who seems unperturbed by the sudden attention given to him or doesn’t notice it, Chris wishes that he could’ve just gone with the old plan of going down to Exeter instead of having his parents come pay a sudden and surprising visit to him in London.
 
The look on his mom and dad’s face that they’re seeing Matt is wearing Chris’ clothes has already got the gears in their minds turning and quickly figure things out.
 
“Son,” Anthony looks at Chris, his face set into a hard stony look. “Would you care to explain?”
 
Chris gulps, and quickly turns to where Matt is and clears his throat loudly. “Matt?”
 
“Hmmm?” Matt’s face sticks out of the door, now seemingly awake enough to notice that the flat has visitors rather than just the two of them.
 
“I thought I should let you meet my parents who came to visit today,” Chris says, his eyes flicking back and forth at Matt and his parents with uncertainty. “Mom, dad, this is Matt. My boyfriend.”
 
The word ‘boyfriend’ turned the room so quiet that the only sound that they can hear is the water boiling in the electric kettle. Then Matt breaks the silence with a toothy smile.
 
“Oh hello, Mr and Mrs Martin,” Matt greets them. “Do the three of you want some tea? I can make some while I’m still in the kitchen.”
 
Even though Chris’ ‘yes’ was overruled by his parents’ ‘no’ in a majority vote, Matt still brings the tea into the living room and served it all in mugs.
 
“How long have the two of you been together?” Alison asks in a polite yet stiff tone after having some tea that she’d refused beforehand.
 
“Oh, more than a year,” Matt answers in an offhanded manner, settling down by sitting on Chris’ lap since there’s no available space for the brunette to sit on… had he picked up a chair from the kitchen instead of sitting on his lap. Matt is either playing coy or deliberately doing this. Chris doesn’t want to aggregate and cause more tension than is already possible in the room.
 
“Christopher, why didn’t we know about this last Christmas?” she asks to her son.
 
Even with Matt holding his hand and squeezing it in what is in an assuring way, it doesn’t alleviate Chris’ nerves that well. Being interrogated by his mom when he just woke up might as well make this the worst Boxing Day holiday to put down in memory.
 
“Because no one asked about it when I came down to Devon last year,” Chris answers truthfully. “And Matt was staying in London for the holidays and didn’t want to join.”
 
“Really.” That really, really didn’t sound good to hear from his mom.
 
This is the time where Chris prays to God to either save him or smite him. Both are no different really. Not when his parents of Roman Catholic faith are now challenged by the fact that their eldest son is not dating a woman, or entirely straight. Or have been entirely honest with them about himself for the past year and a half.
 
“Christopher Anthony John Martin, you made me a very upset mother,” Alison says slowly. Chris draws a deep breath, preparing for the worst to come upon him. His time with his parents were good while it lasted. “...And I cannot believe that you never told us what an adorable and lovely boyfriend that you have!”
 
Chris blinks, then blinks again, and then stares at his mom in stupor as she stands up and walks overs the few steps to squeeze Matt’s cheek.
 
“Look at him! He’s so thin! What he needs is to pack some weight on his body!” Alison exclaims, busy fussing over his giggling boyfriend as though that is completely natural for her to do so.
 
His parents being shocked by the discovery that he slept with a man who is his boyfriend? Chris expected that when Matt walked out of the bedroom and set the gears of the event moving.
 
His parents getting upset then angry and then potentially disown him? Chris might not like it but is prepared for it nonetheless, even if it will hurt.
 
Watching his mother being affectionate over Matt while his father appears bemused by the whole thing? It takes a few reboots for Chris’ brain to function and finally talk again.
 
“Wait, you’re not mad at me for being bisexual or have a boyfriend?” Chris blurts out, the shock going away and has to remind himself that Matt is still sitting on his lap and getting some motherly love from his mom right now.
 
“I’m not mad at you for those reasons, Chris,” Alison turns her attention away from Matt to look at Chris. “I’m mad at you for not telling us that you have a boyfriend for more than a year!”
 
Then his father laughs, starting as a chuckle before it progressed into a bellowing throaty laugh.
 
“You should’ve seen your own face, son!” Anthony chortles, smacking his knee several times. “You haven’t had that look on your face since you were sixteen! Were you expecting something worse?”
 
“I would have to say yes,” Chris grimaces, admitting the truth.
 
“You underestimate us as parents, Christopher,” Anthony shakes his head. “We understand why you might be so scared of telling us this. But to us, you’re still our child, whether if you’re queer or not. God never made you or Matt any more challenging than all of his children, and we accept that while raising you up. We both like Matty here as soon as he started talking to us.
 
“Speaking of which,” Anthony turns his attention to Matt, “you don’t mind me calling you Matty, do you?”
 
“Not at all, Mr Martin,” Matt beams at him.
 
“There’s so many times that we missed out on getting to know Matthew here!” Alison says. She then turns to Matt, who is now standing, with a hopeful look. “Would you like to join us out for lunch today, Matthew? Tony and I certainly want to know more about you.”
 
“I would be delighted and honoured to join you, Mr and Mrs Martin,” Matt answers, smiling brightly.
 
“Wonderful! Now you two go and get changed. We’ll be waiting for you right here,” Alison sits back down next to her husband and waves them off.
 
Once they’re back inside the bedroom, Matt starts to giggle.
 
“Well, that went well,” he says, going to the wardrobe to select some clothing. “Didn’t expect a visit from your parents today, though.”
 
Chris, who was staring at the window turns to Matt with an incredulous look.
 
“You did that whole coming out of the bedroom and then sitting on my lap thing on purpose, didn’t you?” Chris narrows his eyes at Matt, still somewhat in disbelief at what just happened. The worst case scenarios that he had thought of didn’t happen at all, and he still has his hide.
 
Matt’s cackling pretty much confirmed Chris’ suspicions.
 
“I can’t leave you out to face the storm by yourself there, Chris. If there are challenges for us to face, we face it together. What can I say? Women love to take care of me,” Matt snickers, giving Chris a peck on his cheek. “And I’m really good around parents, contrary to the belief others have of me.”

Chris is exasperated, but is smiling now, now no longer in shock and his spirits lifted higher than he’d imagined after what they have gone through. “Yeah, you are.”

Chapter Text

Simon likes parties. Not hosting the parties, mind you, as that takes time and effort and having to greet each incoming guest and God knows what else that can be better spent for something else. Being invited to a party hosted by a close friend of his for the New Year's Eve easily got him to say yes to the invitation because he won’t have to do any of the previously mentioned tasks above.
 
It is a small and intimate party, where everyone knows everyone, so the atmosphere of it is raucous and noisy. Simon is finding some friends that he can talk with that doesn’t involve certain topics that he wants to talk about and certain topics that can go out of hand and still be funny to themselves. The party is nothing out of the ordinary for a New Year’s Eve party until he spots them, and gets curious by what he sees.
 
He doesn’t say anything at first as he observes their interactions with other guests and their movements through the house. He only knew that the host mentioned to him before that Chris arrived earlier with someone in his tow, who is shorter than Chris, has hair coloured like a raven’s, and eyes as blue as Chris’.
 
The strangest thing is that whenever the short brunette by Chris’ side leaves, he eventually returns to the taller blond by his side. So mostly, the shorter man that Chris had invited along to this party stays by his side. It’s only when he is sure that Maureen is free from any guests talking to her that he goes to his girlfriend and ask.
 
“Maureen, who is with Chris there?” Simon asks, jutting his chin at where he is seeing them right now.
 
“That’s Matt Bellamy from Muse. Don’t you already know about the band?” Maureen says, glancing at the two men and then looking at him as though he had been blind and deaf about the music industry and her job in general.
 
“Well, yes I know that that is Matt Bellamy from Muse,” Simon scoffs, trying to pretend that he actually remembers the face of the band of Muse, which he does. Partially. “I’m referring to why he and Chris seem to throw looks at each other so often, even when they’re at separate ends of the room.”
 
“That’s because they’re a couple, Simon. That’s what couples do,” she chided.
 
Simon does a double take. “Wait, they’re dating?”
 
“Yeah, and have been for more than a year now. Didn’t you know that?” Maureen answers, giving her partner an incredulous look.
 
With the circumstances that he only just found out, of course he doesn’t know! That’s why he is asking her about them in the first place.
 
When he thinks about it, however, he doesn’t meet with Chris and his bandmates that often what with how busy he is and how busy Coldplay are. Even when he does meet up with the singer to hang out, he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Then again, that’s how ordinary life can be cleverly deceiving to Simon to have him never notice it until now.
 
Maybe it’s because his face is showing what he is thinking but not saying it out loud that Maureen picks up the hint and explains it to him.
 
“You’re not the first one who asked me this, Simon. You wouldn’t believe how few do know it first hand,” she says. “Even I had a hard time believing the rumours about them when I met up with Chris at his home for an interview. It’s only when Matt’s there and you look at how Chris looks at him that it hits you in the face.”
 
“So it’s like an open secret that no one talks about, but at the same time, not many people are sure whether it’s a rumour or not until they see it for themselves?” Simon elaborates.
 
“More or less.” Maureen’s answer brought it to its conclusion.
 
Still, Simon thinks, it’s pretty impressive that Chris and Matt have managed to keep their relationship under wraps so well that not even he, as one of the close friends to Coldplay, knew anything about it until now. Another impressive feat is how the network of people that have intimate knowledge and truth to it, such as Maureen, have never said anything either.
 
But then, it’s not as though Chris is dating some famous actor or actress from Hollywood, so the fact that he’s with Matt may have put the both of them low on the radar for many to have noticed anything out of the ordinary.
 
They watch as Chris and Matt laugh at something a producer there is talking about, and Matt casually wraps his arm around Chris’ while sipping his wine.
 
“They look lovely together, don’t they?” Maureen sighs.
 
Simon is unable to answer that as staring at Chris and Matt for too long can be considerably creepy to do so. What he does do is to occupy himself with food and drinks and friends while observing them once in a while to check when the right time to confront them both about it.
 
Now at the party, it is glaringly obvious of what is between the two of them when there is nothing to stop them looking and touching each other far too much in an intimate and familiar manner… as couples wont to do. Perhaps because it’s a small party consisted of friends and family, that they are a lot more comfortable in such a presence and not be concerned by anything as frivolous as maintaining a façade.
 
Or maybe, the more Simon thinks about it, maybe it’s exactly because of the open secret of the nature of their relationship that they don’t have to explain it. Everyone in the party are friends and familiar faces that can see it in plain sight, figure it out like he did (with Maureen’s assistance), and don’t have to ask them questions about it.
 
Still, it doesn’t hurt to go and ask them and not be out of the loop about something that Simon wants to know. So he does that when they’re free from the other guests, with the slight difference in that it’s Chris and Matt who approaches them to chat with him and Maureen. Which is fine by him.
 
When Simon asked, they smiled and gave him the answer yes.
 
So they tell the story of how they met, how Chris felt around Matt at first, how their relationship is like for the past year so far, how they first had sex before Chris actually asked Matt out. The last part leaves Chris red faced and let out an embarrassed laugh while Matt cackles in delight as he regales the whole event to Simon and Maureen. The toned down version, of course.
 
It was funny how time and familiarity of friends can reveal a person so much, that people think they’ve changed when in fact it just is there for them to see. A year or two ago, if someone tells Simon that Chris Martin has identified himself as bisexual and is dating Matt Bellamy, Simon would’ve thought that they were pulling his leg, after seeing his reaction to such a statement. Standing in front of the two, however, now makes Simon see for the first time, how utterly happy and in love Chris is to Matt and vice versa.
 
Their conversation was cut short by someone shouting that the countdown has started. They decided to end the conversation there in favour of joining along the countdown to the end of 2002 and ushering in the New Year.
 
When the countdown went down to “One!” loud cheering and fireworks from the distant came with couples kissing, Simon joining the festivities with Maureen no less. He keeps an eye open, however, and he spots Chris and Matt are the doing the very same thing, only longer than expected. When they break away from the kiss and look at each other, something within Simon was… genuinely happy for them.
 
Just like how he sees that Coldplay is destined for greatness, Simon can see that destiny had already done part of its work well for Chris and Matt, and still not done yet in its mission. These two men have found love for each other, complementing to one another, and when together… well, it certainly describes what Maureen had said.
 
And on the start of the new year of 2003, Simon is more than sure that he will be a witness to their relationship throughout the years ahead of him.

Chapter Text

He is tense, but calming down. He can feel sweat clinging to his body and slowly evaporating off of it. He is feeling everything that came after such sensations that are still pulsing through his body.
 
It feels like satisfaction and relief intertwined together to be able to no longer feel any stress whatsoever. Bliss.
 
He wants to close his eyes and drift away, welcoming the darkness and the void in exchange of letting his waking consciousness to take a rest. Sleep. Sleep away...
 
“Oh god, I didn’t hurt you, did I? Was I too harsh this time, Matt? Matt?”
 
And there goes the mood.
 
Matt peeks an eye open to see a very worried face looking down at him, and he remembers where he is.
 
“No, you didn’t. And no, it was really good... and you’ve been really careful,” Matt answers, letting out a quiet sigh, the satisfaction that he had is now replaced with awareness that his body feeling sore and now prefer a wash or a long soak in the bath than to stay sweaty and dirty before sleeping.
 
An overly worried boyfriend is not at the top of list that he wants to deal with after something as intense as BDSM, but he has to deal with it no matter what. The first is to reassure Chris that he’s fine.
 
“I didn’t overdid it, did I?” Chris murmurs, still worried.
 
“No Chris, you didn’t,” said Matt. “But my body is sore, either way. And sweaty.”
 
“I’ll run the bath for you,” Chris says hurriedly before he remembers something. “Oh…  Err, right, I should open the cuffs first.”
 
Once he frees his hands from the headboard, massage them and kissing each wrist, Chris is off to the bathroom. This gives Matt time to wind down and think once more.
 
This territory that they’re going to indulge him is familiar, yet still not so at the same time. Especially for Chris.
 
The irony of it all for Matt is that this isn’t the first time that they’ve done this.
 
Chris can be rough during sex. He can be naughty. He can say words that makes Matt feel dirty and slutty and absolutely love it. He can be a magnificent bastard in what he thought up.
 
What never changes is how after every time they do something that gets them involved more into a territory like BDSM, Chris gets worked over with worry of how he treated him during the session, especially if it involves invoking pain over Matt and controlling him. It downright scares Chris on thoughts that he may have went overboard.
 
If Matt were to have the energy to do it every time, he would assure to Chris that he’s one of the most careful people who does think about the safety and pleasure of his partner in bed. That they know their safeword. And if he were that scared of doing these things, then how else would he not have his own fetishes and kinks fulfilled by Matt too?
 
His musing thoughts are interrupted when Chris returns to the room.
 
“Bath’s ready,” he says softly, leaning down to kiss Matt softly.
 
“Lift me up?” Matt asks.
 
Chris does that and more. He lifts him up and carries him bridal style from the bedroom to the bathroom, where the taller man has prepared and set a warm bath for Matt to soak into.
 
“Is that lavender?” Matt asks, taking a sniff at the aromatic soap water once he’s in the bathtub and surrounded by warm water. Chris nods.
 
“It took a while to get the tub filled before I picked you up,” Chris says, with a smile and a blush on his face. Carefully, he steps in and sits down right behind of Matt. He picks up a loofah, get it nice and soapy, and starts scrubbing Matt’s body.
 
“I remember how you did really well for the first go at it,” Matt says, lifting his arms up to allow Chris easier passage to scrub some hard to reach parts.
 
“No, I didn’t do well. I messed up a few times and even locked the cuffs too tightly,” Chris insists.
 
“And you were really good at talking dirty to me,” Matt reminds him. “Why are you talking down at yourself when I’m complimenting you on being really amazing in bed?”
 
“Sorry, it just… scares me when we do this that I may have not noticed anything wrong until I see the bruises after what we’ve done,” Chris bites his lips. “And I try every time to make sure that you’re not hurt--”
 
Matt stops his rambling with a kiss.
 
“Chris, you are careful. You have been careful,” Matt explains it to him slowly. “But you have to remember that no matter what when we do something like this, bruises can and will appear. When I say that I’m fine, I really mean it. If it isn’t, I tell it straight to your face that it isn’t.”
 
Chris nods in understanding.
 
Matt gives him a grin. “Besides, that’s what having aftercare is here for, Chris, and how important it is. We wind down, we take a bath or watch a movie, and we talk about it.”
 
“Okay, I understand,” Chris says, trusting Matt’s words but still slightly unsure.
 
Matt sighs, lying against Chris’ chest and settle down to a relaxing bath once the taller man has finished cleaning him up. But not before saying this:
 
“Thank you, Chris.”
 
“For what?” Chris asked, looking perplexed.
 
“Thank you, for doing all of this for me,” Matt says, turning to Chris with a lazy smile.
 
“I do my best to provide,” Chris says, pulling him in and sealing their lips together.
 
After a long snog, they stay in water as long as possible, enjoying the warmth before it will turn cool. Matt thinks through his thoughts once more in what he concludes from a culmination of everything so far.
 
Getting Chris to do and take a dominant role in BDSM? That will still take time and practice for them to learn each other’s limits and preferences. Getting pampered like this? Matt can’t hide that he enjoys it about every time they do this. Aftercare treatment is certainly one thing that Chris is very good at providing.

Chapter Text

The luggage are packed and locked up. The refrigerator has been cleaned of any leftover food and other perishable food and drinks that would go bad and smell. The rubbish has been thrown out. The flat is clean as far as he can tell.
 
Matt doesn’t take one last look at the flat as he closes the door and locks it up. He’s going to be back in a few months anyways, not leaving this place forever. That is a silly thought to have ever conjured itself up.
 
The only item that he brought with him to remind him of home is a large hoodie that belongs to Chris, with the taller man’s cologne on it as a nice touch. There was no kiss goodbye that was shared before Matt takes his leave for the plane with Dom and Chris. His boyfriend is in America already, no doubt working hard almost every night in an arena or stadium or even to some record label executives.
 
They have long planned to record their third album in a quality studio somewhere away from London, and Grouse Lodge Studios, which is located in Ireland, was the answer to their needs. Everything needed for a musician, with luxurious accommodations to boot.
 
Two weeks into the recording, Matt runs into the swimming pool, pulling Dom down along with him. Chris jumps right in next like a cannonball, causing a mess with the waters splashed out of the pool.
 
So going to Ireland to record does have its setbacks. For one, the location that Grouse Lodge Studios is at may be a good idea in terms of keeping any more outside influences from messing with the music. On the other hand, the isolation from living in rural area with bouts of boredom in between their activities can eventually drive them mad.
 
The indoor swimming pool was the catalyst to their stir-craziness.
 
After all, what is the point of coming this far out to record an album if they don’t use the facilities provided to musicians that come here to their hearts’ content?
 
Once they’ve settled down again and started trying to record for some weeks is also around the same time when the packages started arriving to Matt.
 
….
 
“Package for one Mister Matthew Bellamy?” a receptionist asked after knocking the door. When they opened the door, the receptionist entered alongside with a deliveryman. After signing off, Matt has two envelopes in his hands, one in a standard white, and the other is a large yellow one.
 
“Wonder who sent it to you if they know you’re here,” Chris comments. They have their main suspect, but otherwise there’s nothing to indicate who the sender was.
 
“It could be a serial stalker,” Dom points out. It could be that too.
 
“Would a serial stalker send something that is from Canada?” Matt shoots back, staring down at the stamp that pretty much puts down Dom’s theory. The theory is not completely down yet until he opens them.
 
Matt opens the white envelope first to find a postcard from Ottawa, with a kitschy line saying “Wish you were here!” over a photo of a canal. The back of the postcard was a short message from his boyfriend wishing him good luck over the album recording and telling him that he bought a gift from Canada for him.
 
“See? Not a stalker,” Matt says, recognising Chris’ handwriting. Mentally, he is relieved that it is from Chris rather than some psycho stalker.
 
After finishing reading that, he pulls out the item within the yellow envelope.
 
It’s a dream catcher. It’s beautifully crafted in a tear-shaped and the strings are weaved in a symmetrical design that is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
 
Matt hung the dream catcher in the bedroom that evening.
 
A couple of days after the first package, a second package arrived, bearing another postcard and souvenir. It was from Montreal this time and Chris gifted to him a pair of maple syrup scented candles.
 
When the third package came a few days later from Connecticut, bearing with it yet another postcard and a large mug with the state’s name on it, something tells them that this won’t be the last of it as long as they’re staying in this lodge.
 
The souvenirs keep coming every few days, each came from a different country or from different states within a country. In the weeks of monotony of recording, the packages and postcards became something of a highlight for them, even if most of them are addressed to Matt. There are often wild guesses of what is inside the box before the wrappings are opened, with Dom and Matt trying to figure it out from the addresses that was sent from and what those places were known for.
 
The postcards gives Matt a sense of connection to wherever Chris went to, the messages encouraging and sometimes pulling Matt’s heartstrings at how much he misses his boyfriend. It also gives them all the encouragement to try and do their best for the album, to ignite the ideas of where they want to perform at in the Americas.
 
The gifts ranged from ridiculous and tacky to looking far too much worth its value to be even called a souvenir. Matt’s favourite one so far isn’t some souvenir that denotes its local fame of where it came from, but just a couple of paperback books of his favourite authors.
 
“Are you trying to get broke from sending me these gifts or have you done something that I shouldn’t know about?” Matt jokingly asked Chris one day when Chris called him from an international line.
 
“Or maybe I bought those souvenirs because I thought of you and how you might like it, love,” Chris answers.
 
“They’re lovely, Chris. I like most of them,” Matt says, smiling. And he is sincere and true about it. Most of the gifts that Chris sent to Matt are lovely in each of their own way. It’s the thought that counts, as they say.
 
“Most of them?”
 
Well… There is this one gift that stands out as an exception, and not a positive one at that to the brunette.
 
“The last one that you sent to me was not something that I liked though,” Matt confesses.
 
“Is it the one from Indiana?” Chris guesses as the most recent arrival at Matt’s hands. He wasn’t sure, however, since there were a couple more that have since been shipped off to Britain and probably still making its way to the studio.
 
“Is it from there that you sent to me the one that has the creepy masks in it?”
 
“If that’s what you mean by it, then yeah. That’s the one.” Although Chris doesn’t seem to think those masks that he brought were creepy. More fascinating than creepy when he first saw it in a stall run by a small old lady at a rest stop.
 
“The masks are not my thing, but Tom and Dom took a liking to it,” Matt says, furrowing his eyebrows. “They’ve taken claim of the masks, so I don’t know whether that’s a lot better or worse for me. At least they’ve taken it anyways.”
 
“Well, I can buy you something else to make up for it if those kind of masks are not your thing,” Chris chuckles. “Still, you should’ve kept them. They’re authentic.”
 
“Authentically creepy, you mean, because Dom has been using it to scare m-- HOLY FUCK DOM DON’T CREEP UP ON ME LIKE THAT!”
 
Dom runs away from a pissed off Matt, laughing as he goes. Chris’ breathless laughter is almost audible to hear through the phone even as Matt chases his drummer down the hallway in fury.

Chapter Text

After finishing up a show in London at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Chris packed up, hailed a cab to go to the airport, flew to Ireland, got another cab, and went straight to Grouse Studios.

One week of no media appearances like interviews or photoshoots. One week to spend in Ireland with Matt rather than cooped up in London is something of a true holiday to Chris. Even if said true holiday meant sporadic meetings with Matt because he’s not the producer to their album (there is no way that he dares to produce nor touch a Muse album in its infancy) and he’s largely relegated to listening to some tracks that are allowed and spending his time in the Irish countryside.

But seeing Matt in the flesh for the first time in two months is what reminds Chris the worth of coming over to Ireland to spend his time off. Most of all, the kisses that he’d received from Matt after the brunette dragged him away from the rest of the guys have showed him that Matt misses him very much too.

Perhaps the sweetest surprise for Chris is to meet Kelly once more, only this time she is the newly declared wife to Chris Wolstenholme.

“Kelly, it’s great to meet you here!” Chris greets her.

“It’s nice to see you again, Chris,” Kelly hugs the taller man. When they hug, it reminds Chris of how small Kelly is that he can easily envelop her in his arms, almost much like he does it to Matt. It’s a nice feeling.

“And to you, the lovely Mrs Wolstenholme,” Chris greets back with a kiss on the back of her hand once they pull out of the hug. He looks down at the stroller and his grin gets even wider.

“And this must be little Alfie and Ava!” he coos at the two giggling toddlers. “It would be nice to babysit for them.”

“Me and Chris are already planning for a family night out, so while your gesture is really nice and sweet, you don’t have to,” Kelly informs him while he plays with her children. “Meanwhile, I suspect that Matt has been really looking forward to your visit, so don’t let your man left hanging.”

“Well, I was gone for two months in America,” Chris grins.

“I know, he showed me the postcards and the gifts that you sent to him, you sweet man,” Kelly giggles.

Chris spends his time playing with Alfie and Ava until the Wolstenholmes picked their children up and leave by taxi for a restaurant and a family night out. His biggest achievement so far is to get Alfie and Ava to call him ‘Uncle Chris’ to a certain degree of coherency.

Dinner happened with the rest of the band only because Dom had to drag Matt out of the recording room and declared a break after spending four hours in there. The other reason is that with their bassist gone for the evening with his family, it is pointless to continue on without the other half of their rhythmic section.

Thereafter during a movie, Matt himself declares that he is going for a bath then bed, even making a show of it with a yawn and stretch. Chris only follows him an hour later, after finishing watching Back to the Future with Dom.

When he enters the bedroom, one look on the bed and he can tell that Matt has something he is trying to surprise Chris with. It confirms Kelly’s words to him, and the fact that Matt is bad at hiding something from him when excited.

“I thought you’ve gotten to bed too early to settle down,” Chris smirks, closing the door behind him. Matt’s giggling gets louder.

“I took a very long bath,” Matt answers from under the duvet, unable to muffle his laughter.

“And why would you do that--” Chris’ mouth stops working when Matt slides a leg out of the duvet.

Now normally, a bare leg that Matt shows out is but a tease for Chris. This… This is just...

“I…” Chris gawks, staring down at something unbelievable, something that his mind had never occurred that Matt would do it. Matt’s grin only stretches out wider.

From how Chris is staring down at him, Matt shivers and looks away. He is barely wearing anything with the stockings and lace underwear, yet it feels as though those eyes staring at his body are stripping him down. Taking a stab of courage, Matt looks back up at Chris and how he is looking at him.

There is something unfamiliar about the way Chris looks at him. It looks more focused, hungered in bodily desires. A predatory look has now settled on Chris face, and Matt is nothing but a lamb on a cushioned altar.

“Is this a gift? For me?” Chris asks, and hell, even his voice sounds different. He didn’t stutter when he asked that. His voice is deeper, husky, and downright sexy.

“If you want it, consider it a fine one.” And it is a fine one presented by Matt. Whatever is happening, the stockings are having an effect on Chris that Matt has never seen before. He wants to see what happens next.

“Why don’t you come closer and appreciate my gift to you?” Matt teasingly suggests. Chris jumps onto the bed without any verbal response other than a growl.

In his haste, Chris didn’t even noticed that Matt had washed his feet to make it smell pleasant.

….

Matt taps his pen to a notebook, observing what his bandmates are doing. He and Chris are watching Dom inside the session room.

The producer asks for Dom to do another take. After take after take after bloody take, Matt wants to slam his head to the mixing table in front of him to prove to them of what he's feeling so far. Rich Costey may be the right producer to work for them with this album, but damn if his perfectionism results in tedious repetition.

If he’d been told to spend his early afternoon sitting and watching Dom doing take after take of the same beats until both producer and drummer are satisfied, he could’ve put in a leave and stay in bed with his lover. Or maybe even joined him for a trip to a nearby town or city.

Matt smiles to himself, remembering and feeling elated by what happened last night.

Last night was not just amazing in his opinion, it was extraordinary. He was fucked twice by Chris. Twice. The first round was animalistic. Chris used one of the stockings that he pulled off of Matt’s leg to tie his wrists up. Matt isn’t sure whether if they or the bed made more and louder noises. The most important part is that he had a very satisfying fuck for the first time in a couple of months.

Chris didn’t need much time to recuperate before he pounced onto him that very second time. The second time was slower, much more passionate, they savoured each other like fine wine. They made love. To say that Matt was babbling and clinging onto Chris like a koala to a tree is an understatement.

The fact that no one gave him the stink eye today after what happened made yesterday night a fucking incredible one to remember.

Matt can still remember where Chris’ hands and lips have touched him, a shiver up his spine from the feeling alone. He feels tingly between his legs where Chris’ mouth and scruff has spent a lot of time down there.

He shifts his legs, careful not to cause any sudden movements that can trigger any soreness from his bottom. But it’s hard to do so when it feels nice to feel the smooth sliding of the stockings underneath his jeans, which is something that absolutely no one knows about yet.

It’s no wonder why Chris has told him why he had such a fetish for women in stockings before, and it works just as well on men wearing them as well. If he’d known earlier in their relationship about Chris’ stocking fetish, it would’ve made Chris’ transition into trying out more daring types of kinks and fetishes a whole lot easier.

Matt squirms in his seat, suddenly finding that remembering and thinking about such filthy things he’d done with Chris is doing nothing to help him think about music and doing more towards thoughts on fulfilling the carnal desires that he hungers for once more. It wouldn’t be difficult to ask Chris for a quickie in the toilet, or bend him over a table and relive last night’s whole experience again.

All he has to do is to sneak out and find wherever Chris has gone off to in the lodge, preferably that he is still in the lodge. With how long Dom’s takes are going to be, no one will pay attention or care of his temporary disappearance.

Chapter Text

Chris has find his stay at the lodge for the past few days to be relaxing, fun, and refreshing. Relaxing because of the sunny days and the greenery around him. Fun because he gets to hang with Muse and even participate on one of their recordings by clapping his hands and stomping his feet with them in this small dingy room that is only accessible from the outside of the lodge. And refreshing because watching and listening to the band recording something new and different once more for their album. Something hard yet also orchestral.

The owner of the studio is also more than willing to act as a guide to lead Chris and show him around the building. The studio is quite a majesty in itself. Touring through the facilities itself gave him a chance to see a place that is designed specifically to cater to musicians.

The work on the album was more than productive, Matt enthusiastically tells him. Enough that they can move from Grouse Studios in Ireland to AIR Studios in London in at least a couple of months to polish it up and let Rich finish the rest for the final mixing before putting it into mass production.

Matt is excited about it. Especially when they can bring it out in full force on the upcoming tour that they’re planning up. He looks, talks, and feels it even though Dom has told Chris that they’re not even half done on the most of the tracks they’ve selected to record.

Today, however, Matt is absent with them due to vocal sessions. Since recording Matt’s vocals meant absolutely no one but him and the producer are allowed to be in the recording room, Chris has opted to join the drummer, bassist, and media manager in the sauna room, chatting and sweating themselves out.

The discussion has been various: of Dom’s girlfriend in America, how Wolstenholme’s kids are growing up far too quickly for the bassist, the latest camera that Tom has acquired, about where Coldplay has performed so far, the venues and stadiums that they’ve played at, and where Muse would like to play when their tour comes up.

Without a pause, of course Dom answers, “Everywhere.”

Then the discussion seems to veer towards a new direction.

“So the plan is to go to America for next year then?” Chris asks.

“Yeah, this time around, we’ll be sure to be back in America properly again ever since that fiasco,” Dom answers.

“What fiasco?” Chris raises an eyebrow.

“Oh, we had label disputes with the American label, Maverick, about our last album, and couldn’t release it there as a result,” Dom explains, then scoffs, wiping sweat off his eyebrows. “A setback to be able to play there is what it is.”

“It was that bad?” Chris asks, concerned.

“If they haven’t asked us to change an album that is well-received by everyone else, you would’ve been listening to songs from the album in radio stations all around America already,” Dom says bitterly, crossing his arms and leaning back against the wall. “What’d you think that we haven’t been in America ever since Origin got released?”

“Oh, I never thought of that,” Chris murmurs, looking down at his hands.

Here he is travelling worldwide to play in arenas and stadiums and on main stage festivals, while his boyfriend and his bandmates are still largely relegated to venues and other stages in festivals. Granted it’s a big step up from playing the toilet circuits like most bands do in the beginning stages, but the point still stands. His guilt is picked up by the rest of them.

“Hey, it’s not your fault, Martin. You shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You guys picked out the longer stick in the first place,” Wolstenholme says. “Our style of music doesn’t have much exposure to the radio stations over there. Genre preferences and all that.”

“Without Origin in the US, it just means that it’s only the Americans that won’t be hearing our second album for the next few years. But with the internet and file sharing, they probably will find out and listen to it someday,” Dom quips, patting Chris on his sweaty back.

Despite their reassurances, those words didn’t elevate his guilt.

Sleep that very night didn’t come easy for him, as his wakefulness testifies that.

Maybe it was how he is shifting around, or perhaps his heart beating loudly, or just the fact that there is so much unease in his mind that it woke Matt up to see him still awake at this hour of the night.

“Chris, what's the matter?” Matt asks, blinking.

“Just thinking,” Chris mumbles the answer out.

“Tell it to me, love. I’m curious to know what you are thinking in there,” Matt shifts around before he ends up plopping himself on top of Chris. “And you better spill it out than bottle it in any longer, because I can tell that you really want to say it out lou--”

“I don’t get it,” Chris blurts out.

“Don’t get what? The movie we watched?” Matt looks at him in confusion.

“No, not that,” Chris shakes his head. “It’s your band.”

“What’s wrong with my band?” Matt frowns.

“There’s nothing wrong with it,” Chris quickly says, trying to rectify his mistake. “I was thinking about how because of that American record label, Maverick, you couldn’t release your second album Origin in America.”

“And?” Matt raises an eyebrow, wondering why something from more than a year ago is surfacing up in Chris’ mind.

“It’s not bad, but… I feel as though Muse deserves just as much as Coldplay does. Probably more, in my opinion. I thought that you do could really well in America after Origin. It’s an amazing album. And then Dom told me that the label dropped you guys off without even releasing it.”

Matt snorts and rolls his eyes. “I thought that Maverick was a good label too, but knew what to expect when we were signed with them. It was a good thing that it was a two album contract. They’re a bunch of corporate cunts that wanted to force us to change our music to suit their needs because they think they can do that, which is something that we disagreed on and we left the label. It’s as simple as that.”

“I know…” Chris says, stroking Matt’s hair and staring at him. “And you couldn’t break into America because of it.”

Matt’s face softened, now seeing why Chris has been troubled for a while now. “Chris, answer me this honestly. Would you have changed an album that you worked so hard over just because one label thought that it wasn’t good enough to them?”

“I would honestly rather say fuck them,” Chris gives a soft smile, kissing Matt’s forehead. “Though I think that everybody else would do worse than me.”

“Imagine if Guy reacts and does it worse than everybody,” Matt giggles.

“He definitely would. Don’t underestimate the handsome ones,” Chris warns before he joins in laughing.

Once they calmed down from laughing and the thought of Guy doing something unspeakable, Matt turns to Chris and pecks his cheek.

“Chris, I honestly don’t care that we lose that contract and couldn’t release Origin in America,” Matt says, cuddling up to Chris. “As much as the effect of leaving the label behind have caused to us, it’s mainly their loss, not ours. I’m already living my dream, to have a band, make music, and touring with my best friends. Not many people are as lucky as us to achieve our dreams and getting more out of it.”

Chris nods in agreement, sharing the same sentimentality. “But I think that if they hadn’t done that to you and Chris and Dom, you would’ve been touring the world right now.”

“So? We’ll just work hard and we’ll eventually do get to perform in the US again and around the world,” Matt shrugs. “Muse is our band. It belongs to me, Chris, Dom, and hell, even to Tom. No one can tell us what to do with our band or change it but ourselves. Do you understand that?”

“I guess I understand it,” Chris concedes.

Matt yawns before says to his lover this. “Chris, if some men in suits tell you and your bandmates what to do and to say, will Coldplay still be the band that belongs to you and your friends or to some corporate label? Is the band Coldplay created to make music and have fun playing with your friends or just to get fame and fortune in the first place?”

Those questions are like anvils that are dropped on top of Chris’ head, leaving him speechless and unable to answer them.

Matt eventually goes back to sleep, content to be where he is and have Chris’ arms wrapped around his body. Chris stays awake, thinking long and hard over those words, and looking at his lover with not a new light, but a light that shines brighter than the moonlight outside.

When Chris travels off for the next leg of A Rush of Blood to the Head Tour, this time around he never stops mentioning about Muse. His bandmates understood his actions after listening to him telling them of his conversation between him and Matt, and agreed of the same thing.

For every reporter or journalist or fans that are willing to listen, he tells them of his admiration of their music and the respect he holds for them in standing up against those who try to change them against their beliefs. Determined that Muse will get the recognition that they deserved.

Chapter Text

Matt has been busy with Chris and Dom, spending time in meetings to come up with a schedule for the upcoming tour planned out to promote Absolution. This time, after a mostly European tour for the previous album, they’re going all out, spreading the net as far and wide as possible.

There are venues to book, television and radio and magazine appearances to do, and in contrast to the previous tour, they want the interviews and shows to put into certain time slots that will allow them time to have a holiday or to visit their loved ones in between. There are a whole lot of logistics for their new tour manager and tour crew to not turn it into a nightmare.

There is another plan in the making that they have been discussing about. Instead of finding a supporting act, they’re looking to do a short collaborate tour with another band. This requires getting in contact with other bands who may be interested and pulling a few strings in favour, but otherwise from what they have been informed of, the other bands are having positive responses in wanting to do it.

So far, the whole meeting is nothing out of the ordinary, aside from what the band wants the upcoming tour to be like.

It is when Matt is about to leave the meeting that Dom Anderson, their new tour manager, calls his name out.

“Matt, can you stay behind so that I can ask you something?”

“Sure,” Matt shrugs, thinking that Anderson has something that he wants to question him privately.

Once the rest of the people have left the room, Anderson gives him the first question.

“Did you go and see Coldplay in Earls Court on April?”

Well, that’s an odd first question to ask. It was more than a month ago that he went there, watching and enjoying the show with the crowd.

“Yeah, I did,” he answers simply.

“So I’ve been hearing rumours around. They say that… Well… That you’re dating the singer from Coldplay,” Anderson clears his throat, blatantly looking away from Matt as he said that.

“And what if I say yes on that too?” Matt raises an eyebrow, taking a sip of water from a bottle but keeping an eye on the new tour manager.

It’s times like this that Matt misses having Glen around as their tour manager, for Glen suspected and then knew about his relationship with Chris and the man never batted an eyelid. For this upcoming tour, Glen couldn’t return to their team because of commitments with another band to tour with.

Dom Anderson is new and unfamiliar to a certain level of intimate information while also doing his best to provide for them the best that he is capable of. There’s no doubt that word eventually reached him, but to come up and ask Matt about it? This is new, but better to let him know the truth straight away rather than eventually let it fester in Anderson’s mind and become a problem.

“Well, Matt… I’m happy that you’re with Chris Martin. Supportive of it, really. I just hope you’ll be careful with what you’re doing,” Anderson says, acting far too suspicious.

“What are you talking about, Anderson?” Matt asks, frowning.

Anderson sighs, and admits the truth to Matt. “There are photos of you and Chris Martin on the Internet and the media. I’ve seen it myself. I’m saying to you to be careful or else something might blow over your face.”

“I’ll be fine, Anderson,” Matt says, waving it off. “I’ve been with him for nearly two years now. We don’t act out in public for them see it right away.”

The look of doubt and concern that Anderson shot at him leaves a bad taste on Matt.

On the evening, he decides to call Chris. He times it around the time that it’s between noon and the afternoon in America when the taller man picks up the phone. The start of the conversation is easy enough. Him asking Chris how he has been in touring, and Chris asking him about the album and singles going out soon. Those are easy to talk about, with the banter between them making Matt smile.

Eventually, however, it isn’t easy to hold back on what he wants to tell to Chris. Maybe Chris knows his tics or maybe he is bad at hiding it even on the phone, but Chris picks up that Matt has something he wants to tell him badly but is holding back.

“Talk to me, Matt. I’m not a mind reader, and I’m on the other side of the world, so I can’t see your face to guess what you’re thinking either,” Chris chuckles.

So he tells Chris everything that has happened so far, of the conversation that he had with Dom Anderson, of the words that he said that got Matt irate, and of the information of the rumours that are leaking to the tabloids and the Internet. Truthfully, he is more pissed off at Anderson’s words than anything else.

Chris is surprisingly logical in thought as he speaks. “His words does hold merit, Matt. It makes you wonder if people have noticed lately about us.”

“Do you think so?”

“Well, I mean, while we have agreed to keep it discreet from the public and only we let those close to us to know of it, even we can't keep up with how many might have started to notice and suspect something going on between the two of us.”

“Are you worried about it, Chris?” Matt asks, his voice obvious in concern. “That someone will just put our relationship out on the media like dirty laundry?”

“To tell the truth, I’m not sure which one should we be concerned about: how people will react to us or if we have been so complacent that this is happening. I think the tabloids shouldn’t drag our relationship out, but I feel helpless to it since I know they’ll do it anyways and are still probably doing so. If we warn them to stay away from us, that might make them more eager to find out.”

Chris is silent for a moment before he continues. “Matt, should I not have been talking about being supportive of your band? Was it why your new tour manager had told you to be careful in public and fuelling the rumours about us?”

“No, no. You’re supporting us out of your own choice. Lots of other musicians and bands have said their praise and support to us before. It’s not like whatever you said has linked it to us dating,” Matt says. “But between Muse and Coldplay, we may have fuelled a fire that’s already there.”

“Don’t worry too much about it, love,” Chris assures him. “I don’t think it will get that bad, Matt.”

The phone call with his boyfriend only leaves Matt troubled in his thoughts.

During a walk down to the corner shop for a cigarette run, he decides to do an experiment. He pays attention to anyone seen carrying a camera, mentally counting how many there are. He counts two when he got home.

This makes him worried for two reasons. One, is that they found out where he lives. And two, there are actual paparazzi and/or fans stalking him.

The next time he goes out of the flat to go to Tesco for grocery shopping, he counts again. This time, there are three.

The biggest evidence that stalking fans and paparazzi are onto them was on a day that he is with Chris, who was recently back from America after another lengthy tour. When he walks out of a pub with Chris and Tom after dinner, his eyes honed in on his targets and is staggered to have found the number of people with cameras on them have doubled to seven.

If seven are visible for him to spot them, Matt thinks, then there are likely more that he didn’t see.

This pushed him to check a place that he rarely likes to touch: fan forums. Sure enough, the fans have been talking about it. The combination of stalking and rumours made them argue back and forth, of the wrongness of stalking their idols and sceptical of the rumours of Matt’s relationship. But there is one thing that they all seem to agree on; that Matt is in a relationship with a man for a while now.

Although this is not the first time for him to experience it, this is however the first time that Matt is worried about the consequences of something that he couldn’t control in his life. People have been noticing, and they’re digging deeper into things that they shouldn’t disturb, especially the eager ones. All he can do is grit his teeth, keep going, and prepare for the worst.

But how do you prepare for something like this? Just tell it to the world? But in what type of manner? Do celebrities even make conference interviews to declare their sexuality and who they date?

They have been elusive to the fans and the media for almost the past two years because of their lifestyle and occupations as musicians from different bands. But somehow, at some point in the past, some fans may have noticed them together for a few times to see it as a pattern, and then piece a few puzzle pieces together to have an idea of the big picture that they’ve seen.

Matt shudders to think of what fan forums on Coldplay’s website are thinking. Probability is that it’s the same topic, but the proportions of their reactions to the rumours are unknown in quantity.

As Matt lies down on the bed and prepares for sleep with his lover right next to him, his thoughts are on Chris, and whether or not if he is going through this same feelings of dread and worry that Matt is having and has the preparations to face the proverbial storm that will eventually come to them.

Chapter Text

“I fucked up, didn't I?”

“Yeah, you did.”

“Fuck.”

“…”

“You done going over the regret of your actions?”

“...Yes.”

“Good. Now call him or else he will drive us all up the wall.”

….

Matt paces around the room. Of all things that he woke up to, it was to the news from friends and on the Internet that Chris got arrested. Worse was when Chris didn’t pick up his phone and he had to dial to the others instead to confirm it.

He sits back down on the sofa. His free hand shows signs of restlessness as his fingers drummed up on the table. He is mentally pleading Chris to pick up the phone right now or else there will be hell to pay.

When Chris finally receives his call, Matt has all but forgotten his threat in favour of relief to be able to hear his boyfriend’s voice.

“Thank god you finally picked up the phone.”

“Judging by your reaction, I’m guessing you know what happened to me in Australia.”

“Well, no shit.” Matt replies, a sense of relief washing over him as he smiles softly at hearing Chris’ voice.

“I’m fine now,” Chris says. “They bailed me out. So I’m no longer in a holding cell and am back at the safety of the hotel. At least I didn't do anything worse than to smash a car.”

“I could’ve done worse than smashing a car window and letting out the tires,” Matt chuckles, wanting to keep the mood light and easy for the both of them. “Maybe break their cameras just to spite them even more.”

“Should’ve thought of that. That actually sounds a whole lot better than ruining that prick’s car,” Chris says, returning that sentiment with a laugh.

“Chris, I already know why they arrested you, I want to know from you for why you attacked them in the first place,” Matt says. While he is aware that he doesn’t completely know Chris, he knows more than enough that Chris doesn’t act like that. When people did such actions like Chris did, there’s usually a reason behind it.

He hears Chris take some deep breaths, which meant that there’s something big that he’s going to spill to Matt.

“Matt... they found out.”

“About what?”

“They found out. About us. That was why the paps were harassing me here and why I ruined one of their cars. I tried to ignore them at first, but then they got more aggressive and throwing me those questions and some slurs to get my attention. I got so angry when they said something bad about you and then… I couldn’t control myself. I was just soangry, Matt.”

Matt tries to decipher on what Chris has told him. “What did we do to have them figured it out?”

“Whatever it was, it was before we even arrived here,” Chris states.

Matt’s mind scrambled through various memories, trying to pinpoint down on what recent thing had he done with Chris that got the paparazzi’s attention. They barely spent a week with each other in England before Chris left for Australia.

“Hold on a sec,” Matt says, standing up.

“I’m not in a holding cell anymore, I can wait as long you need it.” Matt huffs at Chris’ lame attempt of a joke, but hearing Chris’ humour alleviates some of his worry. He couldn’t search for a newspaper or magazine, knowing that right now if he goes outside there are probably people out there wanting to get into his personal space and hound him with unwanted questions.

So he chose the next best thing: the Internet.

It is only when he went onto HELLO! Magazine’s website, did he take a pause and stared at the front line news. It features the two of them, kissing out in public, and headlines written along the lines of ‘Singers from Coldplay and Muse are discovered as a couple’. Opening into the directed page, he finds that there are several pictures, actually, taken from when they walked out of a restaurant after dinner, holding hands and kissing. The article is basically describing what rumours have been said and confirmed, and reports of what they did while people were stalking them.

At least compared to other sensationalist media companies, Matt thinks with some grudging respect, HELLO! Magazine chose to take their discovery in a more respectable manner by only stating the facts rather than slander them.

Still, those paps were smart. They didn’t take pictures of them while in the restaurant. They waited like hunters until their targeted preys are in their field of vision.

“It’s from the restaurant,” Matt murmurs.

“What?”

“Chris, it was when you and me went to that restaurant in Bermondsey. That’s how they finally caught us.” Matt leans back on the chair, using his now free hand to rub his face and hair.

“Matt, are you feeling alright?” Chris asks, concerned.

Hearing that question, something bubbles inside of Matt and he lets out a forced laugh. “No. Ever since what Dom A said to me, I’ve been paranoid about this coming day.”

“Well, I still can’t wrap my head around that of all the places in the world where I could be mobbed by paparazzi and get arrested, it has to be from the Down Under,” Chris jokes. He then sighs. “But, what’s happened has happened. Can't go back in time to fix what I've done. At least that's one thing you no longer need to worry about.”

Matt bites his cheeks as he listens to that. The thought of Chris, who had never done anything that bad in his life, to be arrested and end up rightfully scared of what will happen to himself before he was freed is horrifying.

“Chris, just come back to me when the tour is over. Be strong for me. I’ll wait for you,” Matt says softly.

“I will be fine, Matt. The band and crew won't be letting me out of their sight this time after what happened,” Chris assures him. “I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Do you still want to pick me up as you said or should I get a cab instead to minimise our exposure?”

“I’ll pick you up,” Matt says with absolution. “I said that I’ll do it, and I’m not gonna let some idiots with cameras and loud mouths to stop me.”

“Love you, Matt.” Matt can picture that Chris is smiling when he said that, so there's a smile on his face as well.

“Love you too. And see you in a couple of weeks.”

When Dom comes by later to his flat, he smells the red wine off of Matt. Instead of chastising the brunette, he went to the cupboard and poured a glass for himself as well. He didn’t come here empty handed, for he procured out of his pocket a bag of weed.

The weed did a lot better to calm Matt’s nerves down. Dom’s companionship is sorely needed in this time of need.

“Life of a rockstar, eh?” Dom says after hearing the whole story told to him.

Matt takes a puff from his spliff before he speaks. “It’s fucking shite.”

….

Matt keeps an eye on the glass doors as people walk out. Chris has told him that he will come to Matt to the car rather than Matt waiting by the arrival hall.

So far, none of the paparazzi or fans have noticed him in his car yet, given that he’s hidden from their view. Ironic, even, given that they have been stalking him for the past few weeks and want to spot if Matt is around some of his haunting grounds.

It’s still scary to think, though, that somehow these people found out when Coldplay is returning to England, and have split out on different exits that the band, especially Chris, might take to leave the airport.

He spots Chris ducking away from the men with cameras, with guards keeping away the paps enough for the taller man to quickly walk out and towards the car. Ignoring the trunk altogether, Chris opts to just toss his luggage at the backseat and quickly get in on the passenger seat next to Matt.

Without saying a word, Matt has gotten them out of Heathrow Airport and onto the motorway, far away from the paparazzi and what has to have been a nightmare for Chris to go through.

“You alright?” Matt asks, if hesitantly. Taking his eyes off of the road briefly to a look at Chris, he can see bags under his eyes. He just looks plain tired, more than usual whenever he returns from a tour.

“Stayed nice and behaved for everyone. The guys went above and beyond their call of duty to make sure that I’m not hounded by any more paps. The beefed up security helped too,” Chris smiles, fatigue evident on his body posture.

“Take some rest,” Matt says quietly. “It’ll be a while before we’re back home.”

When Chris hold his hand out, Matt lets one of his hands off the wheel to let Chris hold it.

“Matt, love. We’ll be alright. I believe that we’ll be alright. Do you?”

Matt nods. He keeps an eye on the road as Chris dozes off.

Chapter Text

If Chris is asked to admit what one of his favourite things to do is, he can list out a lot of things easily but of a few that he doesn’t want to tell to the public. Or even to his own bandmates.

One reason is that, admittedly, it doesn’t sound very interesting, so it’s much of the same thing with the ones that he does say out loud.

The second reason is that to some people who hear it, they will think of what he enjoys sounds weird and close to creepy. This is the very reason why it’s never said out loud.

This is one of them.

One of his indulgence is to watch Matt sleep.

It’s not common that he can wake up before the brunette does. When he does manage it, like this very morning for example, unless he has something to do at such a time, he doesn’t leave the bed, not wanting to disturb Matt and is rather content to stay in bed.

Whether if he woke up before Matt does in the morning or Matt is taking a nap, there’s something soothing about such a sight for him.

Whether if it’s summer or winter, Matt likes to bundle up in a duvet. Especially on particularly colder days, he wraps himself up until there’s a lump on the bed vaguely shaped like a burrito. That is why on colder days, there is an extra duvet that is solely for Chris.

His face looks relaxed, with no wrinkles, so youthful and almost angelic like in appearance. His hair is fluffy and sticks to somewhere on the pillow. Sometimes his mouth is left open, sometimes not.

When his breaths become even, his chest rise and fall in a repetitive motion. Sometimes Matt snores while asleep.

Then there times when Chris manages to catch Matt when he is dreaming. At times, there are dreams that are strong enough to show in the sounds that he makes and how his face and body moves.

Watching Matt asleep right now reminds him of peacefulness. It makes him feel grounded to reality. It helps to put him back to sleep when he wakes up while the sky is still dark.

It is one of those things that makes him look forward to when he returns home.

It’s also quite adorable.

This is what he loves when he is at home with Matt. For just a moment of time, there’s nothing to worry about. No past to regret about and no future to worry for. There’s just him and Matt in the present.

Then a pair of blue eyes blink open and stare at him.

With Matt awakened, whether he has bad breath or not, Chris kisses him and cuddles up to him.

“Hello,” Chris greets.

“Hello to you too,” Matt giggles, returning another kiss. “You know you could’ve woke me up when you did.”

“I know, but you don’t like it when I do it.”

“Hmm, true,” Matt stretches his body. “Want breakfast at home or outside? Don’t feel like making one right now, if I’m honest.”

“Going out sounds like a good idea. Do you want pancakes or a Full English?”

“There’s a cafe nearby I know of that does both.”

Chris grins. “Wicked.”

When he steps out of the flat with Matt, he holds his hand with Matt’s and they walk towards the cafe. Whether if there are any paps following them or not, he doesn’t care. And neither does Matt. In the chaotic whirlwind that is his life, with Matt by his side, this is his oasis.

Chapter Text

Whoever suggested the idea that Coldplay and Muse should do a European tour together was a genius and a godsend for fans of both bands.

The six week tour may stretch them to their limits in touring for more than a year, yet it gives Coldplay and their fans a chance to enjoy themselves in venues that makes them feel once again that intimate atmosphere between each other rather than feeling untouchable on the stage of an arena or amphitheatre.

Although the announcement for when tickets will be on sale has been made to excite the fans, unfortunately weeks later the news of Chris and Matt dating broke out, followed by news of Chris getting arrested in Australia. While their management labels were fine and ‘accepting’ of their relationship, as far as they can tell, they’ve warned them that those news might affect their professional career.

But when tickets finally went on sale, to the surprise of both bands and their management, they hear that ticket sales in all the venues booked for the collaborate tour were sold out within days, some even within hours. They had to book extra nights in certain venues just to keep up with the demand.

After that, their management labels treated them far better than usual. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity, especially for the start of a sold out tour.

Whoever suggested the idea for Coldplay to join Muse on their weekly poker night tournaments, on the other hand, was insane. After beating everyone in poker and then telling them the secret on how he got so much better at it, they have been pestering Chris to be able to gain access to that poker tournament Muse has. The tour has given the chance to test their skills between the two bands.

Playing poker with Muse during their poker tournaments can be fun, until money bores them and they advanced the stakes into something way more valuable and riskier than money to put on the table. That’s when Chris, who has played with them long enough, knows when to fold his cards and bail out of the game while he can. Phil has picked up the hint earlier on when they started shifting the bets away from currency and did the same.

Unfortunately for his bandmates, none of them know that. It was too late and they are in for a horrible lesson.

So it doesn’t come to a surprise by the end of the tournament, his bandmates have lost some of their accessories, clothes and even some personal belongings. Guy got the worst of it as he lost everything that he wore that night but his wallet, underwear and socks.

For some reason, it didn’t scare them off to joining the next poker tournament.

The biggest event happened was during the third week of touring, when Matt wins the last round with a straight flush, and in that result there are bound to be emotional reactions to it. Even Jonny throwing his cards down to the table barely made Chris flinched. He’s seen people act worse in the game, even he himself no less.

Then again, he never warned his bandmates to beware of Matt’s unpredictable body language and giggling, which has thrown most but the smartest (Matt’s own friends and himself) off their guard, and they haven’t figured out Matt’s tell yet.

“This is bullshit!” Jonny shouts, standing up and glaring down at the small singer.

“No, it isn’t. I won and you better accept it,” Matt sniggers, unconcerned by the sight of a pissed off Jonny. He’s used to such reactions when it comes to poker night, especially when he takes the winnings. He holds his hands out and smirks at the guitarist. “Now, my prize.”

Jonny grips on to his Fender guitar, refusing to let it go without a fight. He turns his face to Chris, who has been sitting by the sidelines for the whole time during the round.

Chris shrugs helplessly. “My hands are tied. Sorry, mate.”

Jonny glares at Chris before he looks down at his guitar sadly and swears a promise to it with an emotional voice. “I’ll get you back soon, baby. I swear it.”

He reluctantly hands his walnut-coloured guitar over to the overly smug and gleeful Matt.

“I love it when I have a new guitar,” Matt giggles, stroking the neck of the Fender Telecaster ‘72.

On the next evening during the show, the audience, Chris, and a fuming Jonny are surprised to see Matt pull the Telecaster out to play ‘Sunburn’. He cheekily tells the crowd that it was a ‘gift’ from another band. Chris wisely stays a few steps away from his guitarist after that announcement. He suspects that a few others sensed the dangerous aura that Jonny emitted and did the same.

At least the good thing is that Matt has not destroyed Jonny’s guitar during the week that he ‘owned’ it and played Sunburn with it every time.

When the next poker tournament came on the following week, Jonny swept the tables several times over with a vengeance. His bandmates have never seen the guitarist like this before, being serious on poker and very determined to win. When he finally wins and has his beloved Telecaster back, there is a touching reunion between guitarist and electric guitar that came with a smooching kiss.

As a result of his hard earned victory, he takes away what Matt has put on the table with a demented grin. Chris has never seen Matt terrified before. To add insult to injury, Jonny takes away not one, but three Manson guitars from Matt.

The Delorean, the Laser, and the latest guitar commissioned by Hugh Manson, the Bomber.

Chris is surprised that he is able to share the same hotel bed that night with a very upset Matt after what happened. He does what he can as a good boyfriend, consoling his lover with reassurances that all is not lost, and he’ll get his guitars back. He even promises that he’ll help.

The problem for Chris that troubles him after Matt falls asleep, with Matt reassured that he will do as he swears, is figuring out how to retrieve his lover’s guitars back without getting caught and killed by his own guitarist.

This six week tour with Muse is a tour that will be put down into history as a good tour, but crazy and a lot of highlight stories to be told in the coming years for sure, backstage shenanigans notwithstanding.

Chapter Text

Chris sits uncomfortably on the comfortably cushioned stool, eyes flitting about in search of something, anything, to keep his mind preoccupied. Matt has gone off somewhere around the club to party hard and get wasted with his best friends. He’s here in Birmingham after having watched his boyfriend performed -it was amazing as Muse standards go- and is now in an afterparty.
 
Only, the choice of where the band wanted to have their afterparty is a bit unusual, considering that rather than have it in a club nearest to the NEC Arena, they decided to have it in one of the clubs in the gay village.
 
The club that they picked didn’t mind since they have a part of the club reserved upstairs for such events, and that they have people among their troupe who are identified either as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender -or still in the closet, you may never know- and that the band is paying generously for the use of the club’s private room.
 
Chris looks around at the party. He recalls the times when he plays the piano in a number of bars to earn money as a Uni student, including a place like this. There were certainly quite a few clients and strangers flirting with him and sometimes offer to buy him drinks after getting down the stage, but he often tells them that he’s straight and has a girlfriend.
 
Those were the days indeed, Chris thinks with a wry sense of humour. Back when he thought he was straight and the girlfriend excuse was but a ruse to keep the predatory ones from pursuing him.
 
Though on the other hand, to be with one of their kind is a bit of a stretch. All the touring and recording barely gave him time to think about whatever party he was dragged into to blow off some steam after the show. Discounting those who are open about their sexuality or still unsure, he hasn’t met that many people outside of the heterosexual norm. He is more than on what his sexual orientation is, but meeting another bisexual is few and far between in his life. Hence, it explains his discomfort to be here.
 
Funny how the world can simultaneously be so big and small for him.
 
“I spy on my little eye a hot stud sitting next to us.”
 
“What?” Chris looks up in confusion, turning his head to the source of the voice. He sees a couple of men in their forties looking at him interestedly.
 
“Nah, he looks more of a cub to me,” another man sitting next to the first one says, taking a drink from his pint of beer.
 
“Excuse me, are you referring to me? What are you talking about?” Chris asks, interrupting them from their banter.
 
“Yep, we are. And I think he's definitely bi, yet he doesn't understand the slang?” the first man looks at Chris weirdly then back at the second man.
 
“Cut some slack off for the cub, Freddie. He already doesn’t look familiar with it,” the second man shoves ‘Freddie’s’ before he turns to Chris. “Sorry for my idiotic friend here. My name is George. He’s Freddie. We’re regulars here.”
 
“Chris,” he introduces himself, thinking that it wouldn’t hurt to introduce each other.
 
“How old are you, young man?” Freddie asks.
 
“Twenty-six.”
 
“So a cub then,” Freddie smiles smugly at George before he turns back to Chris.
 
“What does it mean to refer me as a cub?” Chris asks. From the looks of it, Chris would not be hard pressed to see that they’re definitely gay. From the way they share a banter between each other, they seem more likely to be friends than a couple.
 
“It tends to refer to a man in their twenties with body hair, muscular, broad shoulders, and a bit rough in their looks. And you, my friend, fit all I said in my description,” Freddie explains, grinning. “When you reach thirty, you’re no longer a cub but will be referred to as a wolf. A wolf means a cross between a stud and a bear, since there tends to be men like you who fit in between the lines of both terms.”
 
“That can be an interesting fact to act as an icebreaker in parties,” Chris notes. “I also want to ask as to how you get up here in a private party if you’re regulars here.”
 
Freddie laughs. “Why, we’re so beloved in this institution that of course Ben the bouncer’s a bit more lenient to let us through and see what all the hullabaloo is about here upstairs! It’s a great party up here!”
 
“It is,” Chris agrees.
 
They talked for a bit, getting to know each other and their professions. Freddie is a furniture seller, whilst George teaches chemistry at a local secondary school. All Chris says is that he is a musician.
 
“So, did you come here by yourself?” George asks interestedly.
 
This time, unlike the younger version of himself, Chris need not to worry about being approached by someone interested in him.
 
“I came here with my boyfriend,” Chris replies. To show proof, Chris scans the crowd until he spots Matt, and points to the two men at his direction. From the looks of the two men, they don’t seem to recognise who they are, or the fact that Matt is one of those who is responsible for having this afterparty happen.
 
It doesn’t stop the fact that they’re admiring the sight of Matt having the time of his life.
 
“That’s a cute twink,” George whistles.
 
“Always after the young ones,” Freddie shakes his head. He smacks George by the arm. “His boyfriend is right here, George. Someday that mouth of yours will get you in trouble.”
 
“I don’t do that,” George snaps back. “I’m a sensible gay man, not a manipulative one that make others cheat on their spouses.”
 
Freddie rolls his eyes, gives George a good shove, and turns back to Chris. “So what are you two doing around here?”
 
“I’m just here with my boyfriend to enjoy our time out and were invited here,” Chris says in a cryptic way, hoping that they won’t pick up his discomfort that they might find out who he is. Unfortunately, they picked up his discomfort. Fortunately, they didn’t recognise him and miscalculated on why he is like this.
 
“You don’t have to worry about anything you want to tell us, Chris. In a club specifically catered to the LGBT, you are in a sanctuary,” Freddie pats Chris’ shoulder in reassurance. “Your secrets are safe with us.”
 
Well, no harm done in telling them the truth on why he’s here. The partial truth.
 
“Well... it’s the first time me and my boyfriend actually come to a gay club to celebrate after a show,” Chris confesses.
 
“So you just recently came out of the closet with your relationship?” Freddie asks, curious.
 
“The both of us did,” Chris says. Then he adds, “Although it’s not by our own volition.”
 
George and Freddie both made a sound of acknowledgement and sympathy, as though they have either been through such a scenario or met people with a similar case.
 
“Was it bad when you two were found out?” George asks.
 
“It wasn’t to my friends and family who already knew. But at the same time, it was because not many people around us knew it. Almost landed me into trouble even,” Chris says with a grimacing smile, careful not to mention the Australian incident.
 
The tabloids got the whole thing blown out of proportions for weeks, even when they went on tour. Chris is not sure whether if their relationship or his arrest was the bigger news, but he's pretty sure that almost everyone in Britain now knows his and Matt’s faces. Except for Freddie and George.
 
“You two still got your jobs, don’t you?” Freddie asks.
 
“Yeah, why?” Chris looks at the two of them, confused.
 
“Lucky you,” Freddie whistles, taking a sip of his cocktail. “Even a decade ago it wasn’t worth the risk getting your sexuality exposed, what with all the scare of AIDS and HIV and the pure bigotry that people were displaying. Lost a couple of jobs I worked with that way.”
 
Chris suddenly finds himself thirsty and drinking down his beer as much as possible. His confidence was there before everything went to shit, but the more they say it, the more he doubts whether it was worth it or not. “Everything sounds worse than it already is. Now I’m not sure whether if me and Matt coming out was worth it.”
 
Maybe he is showing some sign of panic or something, for then George puts his hand on Chris’ shoulder and gives him a reassuring look. “Now Chris, what we say may seem bad now, to be known of who and what you are. But now… now it’s not as bad as it used to be when we’re your age. Believe me, we lived through that.
 
“And I believe that in the long run, if you keep your head up high, ignore the bullies, and you treat your boyfriend with love, it’s a blessing in disguise. Some day when you look up, you might be surprised at how good things are coming your way and have been doing so. Keep these words as a little something good to know of.”
 
Listening to what George says, it sounds like a sagely advice.
 
“Considering the fact that you and your boyfriend are taking it so well, I would say that I’m impressed that the two of you are dealing well with it,” Freddie says. “How long have the two of you been together now?”
 
“I’ve been with him for about two years now. He’s the best of my life,” Chris says with a fond smile, all doubts that he had have simmered down. He finishes his drink and gets off his seat. “I should go and see him now. Thank you for the advice, George.”
 
As he leaves, he hears George shout at him from behind.
 
“You have fun with your boyfriend tonight, Chris Martin!”
 
Chris balks, turning his head back to stare at the two of them. The rest of the bar seemed to ignore it or they didn't hear that due to the loud music. Freddie and George only have friendly smiles on their faces as they wave at him.
 
Eventually, he approaches Matt, who looks more than a bit tipsy, and more than happy to cling onto Chris like a koala bear.
 
“Hiiiiii,” Matt slurs out a greeting, staring up to his face.
 
“Hello,” Chris greets back, smiling.
 
“I didn’t see you until now. Had fun while I was going the rounds?” Matt asks, grinning.
 
“Yeah, I met a couple of friendly people.”
 
“Oh, how were they? They probably are enjoying this party.”
 
“I learned a thing or two from listening to their advice when I talked to them,” Chris says, kissing Matt’s cheek. “And yeah, they’re enjoying it.”
 
“Good,” Matt grins. “Now gimme a proper kiss this time.”

And he does. Chris holds onto those words that were given to him today, believing George’s words that good things will come his way, and a lot of it already did, with the most important one wrapped in his arms.

Chapter Text

Every celebrity has at least one nightmarish story with their encounters with the paparazzi, or worse, stalkers. It’s part of the consequences for having fame and fortune as something in their career.

Chris hasn’t found anyone being borderline obsessed to stalk them, and he’s thankful that he hasn’t encountered one yet. Paparazzi stories on the other hand… let’s just say that he prefers to keep those numbers counted in one hand. For the really bad ones.

Management has told him that several media companies want a coming out story from him. From what Matt told him, apparently he’s getting the same treatment as well. They had a talk about it and both decided that if the public wants a coming out story, they rather have the interview done together through a reputable magazine or newspaper and with a journalist that they can respect.

Until then, tabloids are stuck with what they can scramble to get.

These tabloids are why Chris currently finds Matt in the living room, cackling at what he is reading from The Guardian.

“We’re called ‘Britain’s boring celebrity gay couple’!” Matt says, wheezing on the sofa. Seeing the scene in front of him, Chris can’t help but smile and join along with a chuckle, sitting down next to Matt.

In the meantime while their labels secure the time and place and the right person to sit down for a proper interview together, there are some who are more impatient and want to get the juicy news now. Even if that meant writing something that sounds utterly silly.

The funny thing is that once the excitement of finding them dating together was over, the tabloids were disappointed to find out that they weren’t exciting as they thought. Or at least have not found evidence of what they do in their lives.

They’ve tried their luck on Chris. Once they found out how utterly unexciting Chris is in terms of asking his interests and the like and how he prefers to be privy about his life which makes it difficult for anything scandalous to come out of his lips, they tried to turned their attention to Matt.

It was an even worse idea to the tabloids.

Matt may say some things here and there that causes him trouble, but he isn’t adverse from staying very quiet to give them nothing either. Give him the chance, however, and he will give them one hell of a dressing-down.

One time he was savvy enough to notice that one of the journalists interviewing the band was obviously not interested in the band and music and more into pestering him in his relationship with Chris, so he let a rip on the poor man; for the next hour, he was talking faster than his normal speed, putting in way too much references from various conspiracy theories that are way out of hand even for Matt’s tastes, and ended it on a note that a Messiah is amongst the animal kingdom (badgers) and that the Queen is a biscuit.

It resulted in a waste of a good recording, and smaller than average published article at just one page. Everyone but the magazine that had to publish it had a good laugh.

That interview also acts as a warning to the tabloids: Unless the two of them agreed to it, there will be nothing worth it for the tabloids and paparazzi to take from them.

“It’s like a bloody crisis to them on how to sell us in the media,” Matt says as he reads out on the whole silly article. He says this in a dramatic tone, “Oh, how daring of us to be in such a healthy and loving relationship that it leaves so little for the gossiping circles, Mr. Martin!”

If Chris was chuckling a while ago, he’s laughing out loud right now.

“Can’t believe I’m saying this, but calling us boring is a good thing for us,” Chris commented when he stops laughing. “Maybe that might push them off from wanting to bother us.”

“Maybe. But to them, we’re so new that they would be willing to overlook us being boring to keep on digging some dirt out.”

“Fair point,” Chris says. “But they have to dig really deep to even strike gold.”

“Imagine it, Chris. Us, a boring gay couple,” Matt says, then cackles at the thought of it.

“I doubt you’re finding this boring now.”

“Me? Finding you wearing nothing but a football jersey, white underwear, and socks right now? How much more boring would that be?” Matt says, pretending to be shocked, but failed when his eyes keep looking down at Chris’ Y-fronts.

“How about now?” Chris suggests, stripping the jersey off.

That did the trick to Matt into putting the newspapers down and crawl towards him like a cat.

“Mr. Martin, are you trying to incite the masses?” Matt purrs close to his face, letting his hands slide down from the taller man’s chest to stomach.

“Only you, darling,” Chris murmurs, leaning in to kiss Matt. “Nobody else.”

They’ll let the media think of whatever they want to think of them as. If they’re boring to them, then so much the better.

Chapter Text

 

Chris is, for lack of a better description, miserable and depressed on Christmas Eve. To be more accurate, he has been miserable and depressed for the past week.

He’s been exuding so much negativity that even he himself is recoiled by how depressed he is feeling. Maybe that’s why the manager for the soup kitchen that he was going to volunteer for Christmas when his plans fell apart took one look at him and immediately told him that he was better off to spend his holidays with his family, which was his original plan that Matt was supposed to be there with.

Even then, his family are helpless to it and his siblings have been avoiding him like the plague, unable and not sure how to help him.

The only people who dare to be near him and outright not bothered by his depression is his lovely mother and father. They did the best that they can to help him through, and trying to pry something out of Chris to explain his depression and why Matt hasn’t come to Exeter to celebrate Christmas with them as promised.

However, their patience has a limit and they can't stand watching their son in such a sad state any longer. The decorations and purpose of the holiday coupled with his current mood makes it quite a dissonant celebration.

Knowing what must be done, Alison gets a nod from her husband as she steels herself up and walks into the kitchen. She finds her son sitting by the breakfast bar, nursing himself with a cup of tea.

“Chris, are you alright there?”

“Yes, mum.”

Alison sits across him. Judging by the cup in his hands, Chris must have been nursing the tea long enough for the beverage to have cooled down considerably.

“Talk to me, Christopher. I’m your mother, and I know a problem with someone’s relationship when I see one.”

“Maybe I want to talk to dad about it,” Chris says distractedly.

Alison tutted. “Your father is not as reliable for that.”

“Hey! I heard that!” Anthony shouts from the living room.

Alison pointedly ignores that and keeps going. “Something happened between you and Matthew. And I want an explanation behind why he isn’t here with you ever since you arrived here as a mess. We want to know so that we can help you.”

Chris fidgets and looks away from his mum at first, until he caves in under his mother’s stare and starts talking.

“I was invited to a class reunion at a club in London. I got to meet some of my old mates from Sherborne, and I brought Matt along. It was all okay at first, getting to meet some old classmates and doing the rounds of introduction. And then there were some people...”

Alison doesn’t need long to add two and two together to figure out that something bad happened.

“And then there were some people there that said some nasty things to the two of you, didn’t they?” she asked quietly.

Homophobic,” Chris replies, stressing that word. Alison winces at that. “And they also said things about how he was from a community college and from being in Teignmouth. Like it wasn’t bad enough that I’m dating a man. It was all insulting and condescending.”

Alison mentally scowls at those young men. Sherborne may not be Eton or Harrow, but some people never learn to get off their high horses.

“What did you do when they did it?” she asks.

“I told them to fuck off, and when they kept on with it we left the club to avoid any further incident.”

Well that is a mature and appropriate way that Chris handled with the situation, Alison thinks. But something doesn’t add up to it, and that is what Matt’s responses to those actions was when she asked.

“Matt wanted to jump in and fight them when they taunted him,” Chris says. “He started shouting at them when I quickly got us to leave. I tried to keep it under control, but then he turns his anger onto me and keeps shouting at me for not fighting back… and I snapped. I yelled back at him and called him with those… those nasty words that I’d never wanted to throw at him.”

The sound of Chris taking deep breaths to hold back a torrent of emotions is audible in the silence.

After hearing what has happened, Alison couldn’t put fault on Matt either. What he was doing was to essentially fight back against bullying, ignorant men who can’t shut their bigoted mouths up.

“And why didn’t you fight back at those men?”

Chris grimaces. “Because I didn’t want us to cause more trouble and get the police involved.”

Alison feels a pang of sympathy. Even months later, he still doesn’t take to the police well.

“So where is he now?” Alison quietly asks.

“He’s in Teignmouth. I called Dom and Chris today to confirm that he’s still there.”

Alison takes a look at her eldest son. Slumped shoulders, a dull sheen over his eyes, an unshaven and unkempt appearance, and a face stricken by guilt. Chris looks every bit of a broken man, burdened by the consequences of his actions and still beating himself over it.

But enough is enough with that.

“Do you want to know what I think of this?”

Chris looks up. “What?”

“You both did the right decisions, just with different methods to deal with it. But sometimes, two rights can make a wrong.

“I’m your mother, Christopher, and I am already thinking that both of your methods in trying to deal with a problem clashed with one another, and it’s silly to be quarreling over it,” Alison says. Her face then softened into a calm and sad look. “But... I’ve seen that you regret it and beating yourself over because of what you’ve done.”

“I can’t help it, mom,” Chris answers, his voice so low it almost becomes a whisper. “I hurt him, and I want to do anything to fix this.”

“So go and see him.” When Chris looks up at her like that’s an incredibly scandalous thing to do, she explains, “You gave him some space and time away for each other, and that’s good. But eventually you have to see him again, apologise, and acknowledge that the damage is done.”

Chris nods.

“Christopher,” Alison looks at her son with a steady eye. “Are you afraid to go and see Matt?”

“I am-- I mean, I was,” he rectifies himself. “Now I think I know what I have to do.”

“Whatever it is, it’s best that you do so as soon as possible. It’s idiotic enough to see you mope at home without actually doing something.”

Chris nods to his mother, kisses her cheek, and goes up to his old bedroom to pack up some clothes into an empty backpack, now knowing what to do. He shaves off his beard after he looks at the wardrobe mirror and sees how much of a mess he is. He goes to pick up his scarf, jacket, and car keys. As he is about to quietly sneak out to the front door, he is stopped.

“Where are you going at this time, Chris?” Anthony calls out to his son. Chris freezes, his hand gripping on the car keys a little too tight.

“Mom, dad, you don’t mind me going down to Teignmouth, do you?” Chris asks casually, not mentioning that this meant that he has to skip Christmas dinner with his family in favour of going to Matt’s.

“Of course you can, dear! But can you wait for a bit before you leave?” Alison says.

“Why?”

“Well, the turkey and some of the food needs to be covered and wrapped up before we leave together.”

Chris pauses. “Together?”

“And your brothers and sisters will have to get ready too,” his dad piped up. “A family trip for Christmas in Teignmouth! It’s a brilliant idea, son!”

“...Family trip?” he squeaks.

 

….


Chris is shivering, the cold having seeped in from his clothes from how long he is standing out here.

He’d noticed the curtains on the front window moving a few times, and human shadows behind them. Chris has been waiting outside for almost an hour now. The sky is already so dark and the lights from the house seems to beckon to him of the warmth it could provide in there.

He’d told his family to stay from a distance while he meets Matt. If he wants to apologise to Matt, the least that he wants at the moment is to have an audience consisted of his whole family to witness how this will go down. But if he knows his family well, they’re probably within a watching distance to see how all this will unroll.

He had phoned to Dom beforehand to be sure that Matt is at home. Once he had arrived there, he knocked first to be received by Matt’s brother, who gave him a glare that tells him that he isn’t welcomed here. But he asked -begged- to see Matt, and was told to wait outside. He waited and waited until this moment came.

“My mom said that I was an idiot,” is the first thing Chris says when Matt opens the door after waiting outside long until his teeth started chattering. “And I agree that I am an idiot.”

Matt simply crosses his arms and look at him. Chris cannot tell from his stony face as to whether he is still upset and mad at him or missing him after the fight, but he perseveres and continues, “Matt, the fight that we had, the argument… I should’ve defended you when they did that to you. I shouldn’t have said those hurtful words at you. Hell, I wish I never said it.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t defend you when they bullied us and just walked out of there. And I’m sorry that I hurt you with what I said, Matt,” Chris apologises sincerely. “I don’t know whether you’ll forgive me or not, but I hurt you. And because of that, I don’t think that I can ever forgive myself for saying all those horrible things that I’ve said to you.”

They look at each other. Blue eyes to blue eyes. One seems contemplative while the other is genuinely sorry and regretful.

Finally, what seems like a long time, Matt breaks the mask that held his emotions and lets Chris see for the first time for how distraught and sad the brunette is; has been from the result of their fight. Matt wraps his arms around his waist and speaks to him.

“I don’t forgive what you’ve said to me, but I’ll accept your apology,” Matt says, hugging him as tight as he possibly can with his wiry strength. Matt’s eyes are watery as he continues. “I was an idiot too, and I should be the one at fault. I was the one who wanted to fight them because they were homophobic arseholes. Then I started yelling at you because you got in my way, and you only reacted.”

“But I made the horrible choice of saying those things at you,” Chris murmurs, kissing his forehead. Part of himself tells him that that was a bad move, that Matt would have been even more upset by something as natural as that. But when Matt doesn’t react to it, he lets it slide.

“I can’t forget what we have done to each other,” said Matt, feeling how cold Chris is from standing outside for too long. “But fuck it, I missed you so much. It hurt not to have you around, Chris.”

“I missed you too, Matt,” Chris chokes, sorrowful of what he’d done and hugs Matt even tighter.

For the moment, all he wants to do is to hold Matt in his arms, feeling warm and a sense of peace that he hasn’t felt for the past weeks. To allow their tears fall and everything that held them down and back away from each other to crumble down.

“Oh, it’s so good that the two of you have finally made up!” someone gushes. They both pulled away in shock to see Chris’ mother more than elated to see their relationship mended up in front of her and Anthony.

“Care to let us meet your family, Matty?” Anthony asks bemusedly, seeing Matt’s mum Marilyn eying them by the door, possibly wondering the same thing as they are. Matt mumbles out a ‘sure’, and before long, he is suddenly greeted by the rest of the Martin family as they each carry something into the house.

“So… care to explain to me why it seems like your whole family have arrived here?” Matt looks at the whole procession with confusion.        

“My parents decided to come down here to celebrate Christmas and brought the food, my siblings and their spouses along. I guess we now have a compromise for our previous dilemma,” Chris explains awkwardly. “So we’re going to celebrate Christmas at your hometown, and our families get to meet each other.”

“They were that confident that we would reconcile?”

“My parents really like you so much that they’re willing to drag the whole family down here to make sure that I mean it when I was caught trying to sneak out and come down here by myself to see you,” Chris says, looking flustered as he said that.

“Your family is crazy,” Matt says. Then he stands a bit taller to give Chris a chaste kiss.

“I thought you said that our relationship will need time to mend,” Chris says, surprised.

“This should be the starting point then,” Matt says, smirking. “Want to take a walk with me? I’m somewhat useless around preparing Christmas dinners with that many people around.”

“I would love to,” Chris’ lips pulled up into a smile. He holds his arm out. “Would you kindly lead the way?”

“It’ll be my pleasure,” Matt grins, dragging Chris down the driveway and forcing the taller man to throw a hasty wave at his family entering the house to join his boyfriend’s family.

By the time that they returned at late evening, dinner is ready. The Bellamy household dining room table was too small to hold such a large variety of food, that in the end, tables had to be carried into the dining room to put the extra food on.

The Martins brought their own roasted turkey down to the seaside town. The dinner tables is filled to the brim with food galore. Matt giggles at the silly paper hats that he stacks up on top of Chris’ head, courtesy of having boxes of Christmas crackers brought along the trip. The women from the Martin side of the family all adore their eldest son/brother’s boyfriend.

Despite the festivities and the joyous mood and the forgiveness and love, they’ve never forgotten their first fight.

Chapter Text

Observer: Paul Bellamy

 

Paul had never been the kind of brother to have to care for his little brother in that way. There is their half-sister, but that’s it. All Paul had growing up in their family was mom, dad, and his little brother Matt. So how was he to know that growing up meant knowing how to deal with having a… bisexual for a little brother?
 
He didn’t even know that Matt swings that way until he told him over the phone a couple of years ago along with how he's bringing his boyfriend down to visit the family.
 
He still hasn’t worked out on why Matt is so insisted on that terminology when gay works just as well. He is clever enough to know that calling him a fag might as well see their Nan hit him hard with her walking cane and single-handedly get him kicked out of the house.
 
He was all well and fine when Matt came out to the rest of the family and also revealed his boyfriend. As long as his little brother is happy, there wasn't much to worry about. Hell, his little brother looked happier than he’d ever been than in his teenage years. And that Chris bloke looked fine in his book.
 
That was his thought before he found out the big fight that Matt and Chris had before Matt suddenly came down to Teignmouth alone. Miserable.
 
He told them before that he wasn’t going to celebrate Christmas with them. When he abruptly arrived the week before Christmas, looking sad and distraught and just downright not being… Matt, a part of Paul had to instinctively go all protective over him.
 
He may not have been the model of a good older brother to Matt when they were younger, but when you see your sibling actually be happy in their lives you want that happiness to stay with them, not break them. Gay or bi or queer or whatever, no one ought to break his little brother’s heart out like that.
 
It wasn’t hard to pinpoint that the fault laid in that bastard excuse of a boyfriend. He’d spotted the bastard who made his little brother cry waiting outside the driveway, and when he answered the door with a pissed off look on his face, that bastard had the gall to ask to meet Matt after what he’d done to him.
 
Paul does let some relent though, as Chris looked genuinely regretful and sorry about it, even begging to him to at least let him meet and apologise to Matt. Paul promises that he will tell Matt. What he didn’t say was that he took about a third quarter of an hour of waiting before he informed Matt that his boyfriend was standing outside at the cold. It was not that harmful. He just wanted to see if that guy is worth more than breaking Matt’s heart.
 
What happened after felt like the worst anticlimactic ending he'd ever witnessed after such a tense week. It looks like the kind of scene that film or TV script writers would doubt that it would give a strong enough impact.
 
His little brother has never looked so happy when he came down to Teignmouth until that boyfriend of his appeared on Christmas Eve and waited outside, and they reconciled their feelings within less than half an hour. And a big family from Chris’ side also came along with food to celebrate in the Bellamy household.
 
Paul finds himself in a dilemma. The only good thing that he did was to not punch Chris in the face beforehand or else a very crossed and heartbroken little brother would have made Chris be the least of his worries. His worry lies on whether or not if Chris will hurt Matt like that again. No, not if. But when.
 
Evidently, he and Chris need to talk. Man to man. Older brother to older brother.
 
He had to wait until the Martins have packed up and drove back home with the exception of Chris. Chris has brought his necessities in a backpack, having decided to spend tonight and the subsequent days with Matt to mend their relationship. So that goes well with Paul’s plans. It takes some timing before Paul can meet Chris alone to do what he needs to do.
 
And that opportunity came by a couple of nights later. It’s late by the evening where mum and Nan have retired into their bedrooms, the three men are watching a film on the television when Matt excused himself to go for a piss.
 
“So, Chris,” Paul starts, once Matt is gone.
 
“Yes?” Chris peels his eyes away from the screen to look at him.
 
“‘S been a hectic week for you and Matt to have gone through.”
 
“Yeah, it was…” Chris’ eyes glazed over, the incident still fresh in his mind. Then as quick as it had appeared, Chris gives a smile. “But we finally face up to it and apologised to each other. Now we want to make up with each other from our mistakes.”
 
Paul nods. He knew the story already and how that one choice gave such a hell of a consequence. Doesn’t mean that he is as ready to forgive as anyone else. “It’s good that the two of you have made up the other day, couldn’t believe how Matt just tumbled down the stairs to see you. I see you as a pretty good bloke to my brother. Might make Matt an honest man someday.”
 
To that, Chris’ cheeks turn pink.
 
“Why, um, thanks Paul.” Then, he quickly adds, “Though, we haven't talked about something like that yet.”
 
“Well, makes sense to me. That kind of discussion needs time to see whether you're ready for it or not.”
 
“I think we’ll know it along the way. If it happens, we’ll tell our family and friends,” Chris says.
 
Paul gives a mirth chuckle. “Heh. Mom would be over the moon if one day she hears you two have proposed. Couldn't be any easier to receive my approval if that day of reckoning comes.”
 
Chris blinks, a surprised look coming with a smile. “Wow, just… Thank you, Paul—“
 
“Yet.”
 
The cold way that he delivered that single word puts Chris into a stop, the happiness dying away. Paul turns his body so that he is facing Chris, letting the other be aware that he has his full attention.
 
“Everybody else can forgive you, but I still haven’t over what you’ve done to my brother,” Paul gives a grin that does not look friendly in any way. The kind that lets others know that if they so much as move, he will pounce on them with his teeth on their throat. “Hard to ignore it when you see how he was at home for around a week, really.”
 
To that, Chris stays silent. Paul can see the fear in his eyes and the apple on his throat bobbed when he gulped. Good, the intimidation factor is working in well.
 
“Now, I’m going to give you a warning, Chris. A simple to understand one. Are you listening to me?”
 
Chris nods, his face pale.
 
“If you hurt my little brother like that again, letting me see him cry because of you... Well... you know what I would do as his big brother. You’re the oldest brother in your side of the family, so you know it too right?”
 
He doesn’t know what Paul threatened he will do to him, but the effect worked. Chris can only nod, eyes wide in fear.
 
By the time Matt returns, Paul is back to where he was before Matt left the room, looking innocent and definitely did not give his brother’s boyfriend ‘The Talk’. The younger man sits next to Chris and leans his head on his shoulder, and after some hesitation, Chris puts his arm over Matt’s shoulders. Either to give comfort to Matt or himself. Or both.

Now knowing that he has given his word to Matt’s boyfriend, Paul kicks back and relax. Intimidation and using his assertion aside, he likes the bloke, that Chris. He’s been good to his little brother in a healthy way. Maybe when they put this behind them, they can get along well someday. Maybe.

Chapter Text

-----
2004
-----
 
Chris takes a break from what he is doing to get some energy back on himself. Even in the cold winter month of January, he can feel himself building up a sweat from walking back and forth, lifting, dropping, and opening boxes in the house. A house that both he and Matt bought.
 
The move from a flat to a house has been a long time plan coming to reality. With the combination of both of their wealth, they had a large swathe of choices in their hands. After several visits, they found one in North London to their liking, negotiate the price with the estate agent, signed the papers, and the keys were handed over to them.
 
It’s a big improvement from the small flat that Chris had lived by himself before Matt moved in with him.
 
A house compared to a flat meant more space for various uses. Moving to a house means having new furniture bought and installed in it. And a lot of work to do when moving to places are involved. Matt is putting the clothes in the closet and setting up their master bedroom while Chris focuses on setting up one of the rooms. Some of their personal belongings that aren’t here would be arriving by late afternoon.
 
Matt has lived with him for over a year, but this house gives Chris a clear look of how much there is to the practical and beneficial side of living together. And of course, the thoughts of what their future would look like.
 
He takes a look at what will soon be an important room for the both of them. The house that they have purchased has several rooms, with some planned as guest rooms. One room has a different purpose, and it's more than just to store their instruments in it.
 
It was previously a playroom, but it is being renovated and converted into a private studio and as a place to store their instruments. And boy, do they have a lot of them. These musical instruments, the proof of the love and passion for their livelihood, all share the same room now.
 
In their previous place, they barely had enough room to fit in the stuff that they bought or were given to them that most of the items were put away into storage. Now, while some of them are still stored in a rented storage room, they now have a place to be used for their work, and a select number of them are put onto specially designed racks for display when not in use.
 
In the studio room that they share, there is an upright Yamaha piano by the wall, a few keyboards stack onto one another, guitars both electric and acoustic still in their cases, and speakers and cables in their respective boxes. Matt’s Kawai baby grand is still being moved by the workers from the lorry. There is a large number of guitars compared to most other musical instruments, the consequence of their respective preferences.
 
Chris had just opened another box when Matt enters the room. He takes a look around, whistling in amazement at just how many guitars and pianos and keyboards and miscellaneous musical instruments do they own.
 
“This is a lot of instruments that we have,” he says. “I could barely see the floor.”
 
“This is what we get for different endorsements,” Chris chuckles, abandoning his work to stand up. “And different preferences.”
 
“I can still convince you of the superiority of Kawai pianos,” Matt says seriously.
 
“I’m fine with my lot.”
 
Grinning to each other and saying nothing more for that conversation, Matt sits down by the window sill. The room that they’d picked to be their studio looks out to the street, where the moving lorry is parked outside.

“My baby grand would take up too much space in here,” he commented, looking out from the window where the piano is still outside with several movers milling around. “I think it needs to be put in the back of the house where there’s more space there.”
 
Matt lets out a chuckle, turning to Chris. “Look at me here, talking about where my piano is best placed at in the house.”
 
Chris wraps his arms around Matt, pressing a kiss to his forehead.
 
“Hard to believe it, isn’t it? We now have moved into a house. A place that we bought together and can call it as our own.”
 
“I’m missing the old flat already,” Matt gives a sigh. “We had such lively neighbours who would come to our door and have a chat with us.”
 
“By that you mean when they see us and politely tell us to keep it down when we’re fucking?” Chris delivers the question in a deadpan manner. Matt giggles.
 
“I miss them all,” he says. “Everyone except Grace.” Matt’s face turned stony and his blue eyes frosty upon uttering that name.
 
Chris smiles, mildly exasperated. “Of course you do.”
 
“Grace was such a cockblocker. She singled us out because we’re a gay couple. I don’t have to bet on that. Even you know it!”
 
Chris chuckles, lightly shaking his head. He has to admit, though, that Matt is right. He wasn’t that fond of the middle-aged bigoted lady either. It was a good thing that she is a tenant rather than the landlady there.
 
“But now that we’ve moved here, there’s no one who’s going to complain about what we do in our own property,” Chris says suggestively, his hands slipping downwards until Matt caught him.
 
“Hands above the waist for now,” Matt smirks. “I’m tempted to, believe me Chris, but not until the movers leave and we have the house to ourselves.”
 
Although deflated, Chris gives an apologetic smile. “Sorry, almost forgot that we’re not alone.”
 
“We’ll do it after they’re gone, I promise,” Matt swears with a kiss. “Now, I believe that you still have a lot of work to do to set up our studio here, Chris. Back to work!”
 
When Matt left the room, Chris takes a look at the guitars still in their cases and the boxes littered around the floor, and sighs as he goes back to work.
 

….

 
By the evening, everything has been moved in. It will take a few days of arranging and cleaning before it will have the resemblance of home. After a dinner that consisted of Indian takeaway and a bottle of red wine, the mood had turned just right for them for Matt to make his move.
 
“God, I’ve been waiting long enough,” Matt gasps, sitting on Chris’ lap while kissing and grinding their hips. He purrs, “Now, I believe that there’s a room that we must christen our homecoming first, Chris.”
 
Chris growls, all but carrying his lover up the stairs and into the bedroom and collapsing on top of the new mattress, already covered in bedsheets and a duvet.
 
“I could fuck you right now, Matt,” he groans, licking and biting Matt’s earlobe.
 
“What’s stopping you, tiger?” Matt asks teasingly.
 
Abruptly, Chris stops, pulling away to look down at Matt.
 
“Lube and condoms.”
 
Matt looks at him before he groans in disappointment.
 
“What the fuck, are you kidding me?!” Matt exclaims, trying not to sound like he’s whining. “We can still have sex without them.”
 
Chris grins, not looking sorry even when he says it.
 
“Sorry, love. I’ll only continue if you can find them.”
 
Matt has a pinched look on his face, but Chris stands his ground until the brunet rolls his eyes and goes away to find the items.
 
“Do you know which box did you put them into?” Chris calls out.
 
“Yes!”

It took ten minutes before Matt returns to their new bedroom with the lube and condoms, naked, and they can finally break the new mattress of their new home.

Chapter Text

On the rare combinations of having their time together at home and not wanting to eat takeaways for dinner, Matt tends to be the one that does the cooking, as he knows how to make a wider variety of dishes than Chris does and not cause a disaster where fire is involved.
 
That said, what he cooks depends on the limitations of what they have for availability and the current status of the kitchen environment.
 
The cooking stove from the old flat has been there before Chris had even moved into it, it was white coloured and, well, filthy. And that’s even after several times of intense scrubbing to get rid of the accumulated grease. The oven under the stove had on and off periods of when it decides to work, especially on the times when he wanted to roast or bake something.
 
But with a new year and a new living place, and a new, working stainless steel stove and oven in the kitchen, everything feels new enough that it gives a good reason to start the day for Matt to teach Chris how to cook breakfast.
 
Chris is cooking sausages, under the watchful eye and guidance from Matt as they prepare their breakfast together. It’s a lot easier than say, eggs, which Matt is in charge of cooking right now. Sausages, much like eggs, can be cooked through a lot of methods, with boiling and frying being the most basic of methods. The only way for things to go wrong in the easiest of cooking methods is if Chris strays his attention away from it and left the sausages over-boiled or into charred beyond edibility, respectively.
 
“Remember to turn them over or else you’ll leave one side charred too much,” Matt says as a reminder to both Chris and himself to pay attention.
 
“Is it time yet?” Chris asks a short while later.
 
Matt takes his eyes away from the eggs to take a look at Chris’ pan before he gives a nod.
 
“Yeah, flip ‘em.”
 
Following Matt’s command, Chris does so. Much to his relief, rather than a charred black, the parts of the sausage that touched the oil and hot pan are coloured at a golden brown.
 
A few minutes later, Matt says, “The sausages are done now.”
 
“How do you know that they’re done?”
 
“I can hear it.”
 
Despite how exaggerated that sounds, Chris trusts Matt’s instincts, and he turns off the stove and puts the sausages into two plates.
 
Matt has already laid the eggs onto the plates. Scrambled for himself, and sunny side ups for Chris to dip his toast into the yolks. Eggs, toast, sausages, bacon, mushrooms, and Heinz baked beans. A proper English breakfast with coffee and tea.
 
Around the time that they are going to start eating is when a third person enters the kitchen.
 
“You two look disgustingly domestic,” he commented at the scene.
 
“Morning to you too, Tom,” Matt greets him. “There’s some food left on the stove for you to pick up.”
 
“Had a good night’s sleep?” Chris asks while buttering up a piece of toast.
 
Tom collapses down on a chair after filling up his plate and gives the two of them a glowering eye.
 
“The bags under my eyes should tell you how much, or actually, or how little sleep I managed to get due to the noise last night. Proof that your walls need better insulations.”
 
Both Matt and Chris give Tom a look.
 
“Wow, Tom. We let you stay at our house after the party, even made breakfast for you, and what we get in return are complaints?” Matt says incredulously.
 
“Oh no. I’m not complaining about your hospitality,” Tom replies, feigning shock. “I’m complaining about being put into the guest room that was right next to your bedroom and having to put up hearing the two of you having very loud sex through the walls.”
 
In a response to that, Chris goes quiet with his face going red while Matt lets out a huff before he stabs at a piece of mushroom.
 
“And where’s your proof that we fucked last night?”
 
“Matt, you have a pillow cushion on your chair and your bum is sitting on it.”
 
The brunet takes the comment with a roll of his eyes.
 
“So we should have put you in another room before we fuck. Lesson learned.”
 
“You should feel some sense of shame.”
 
“Your complaint is easier to take in than the neighbours in the flat where we used to live complaining about it,” Matt waves it off before he remembers something and smiles brightly at Chris. “Well what do you know, Chris, it’s our first complaint of the new year about us fucking at home!”
 
“It is,” Chris replies, nodding and drinking his mug of tea.
 
“And it’s in a house, no less!” Matt exclaims, laughing. “This should be considered as a fucking impressive feat!”
 
Chris can only give a mirth smile. He gives a resigned shrug when he briefly turns to look at Tom, giving him the look that reminds the other that he’s used to the level of weirdness that Matt displays and just goes along with it.
 
“That is the last time I’m drinking that much from a party and asking the two of you for help to get home,” Tom mutters, most likely to himself, finding it a lost cause to force humility onto Matt, especially when the topic is about sex.

Tom only stops bitching about it so much once he has some coffee in him, tuning Matt’s voice out and just enjoy the black nectar and free breakfast.

Chapter Text


Where is it? He knows it’s in here somewhere. Matt’s eyebrows furrow into a scowl as his scavenging has yet to find what he seeks and fears that time will not stay on his side any longer.
 
Although the both of them are slobs, what Matt is doing in the bedroom would have made Chris put his foot down and have him clean up the room by himself. But he isn’t here, and Matt is free to terrorize the room to find what he seeks before he’ll clean up the evidence. With the dresser now messy and vomiting out clothes, the frustration mounts up on the brunet. He was sure it was here because it’s where Chris puts it in!
 
He knows he can sleep fine without it, but at the same time, a part of his mind insists that he’ll sleep better if it is brought with him and that he will regret not bringing it with him. The irrational part of his mind is pretty absurd at times, that Matt is aware of. Yet he’s stupid enough to fall for the quest that he put himself into. By this stage, stupid or not however, he’s gone too far to simply give up right here and now.
 
Briefly, Matt wonders if it is because of Chris and his scent that it changed his mind on wearing clothes before bed. Then he questions to himself if what he is doing, pilfering clothes from his boyfriend and sometimes from Dom, is showing him the signs that he might be a kleptomaniac.
 
He shrugs off the latter thought. Him? A kleptomaniac? He isn’t a thief. He usually gives back what he borrows… eventually. The two of them somehow find their clothes again without asking for his help or interrogate him anyways.
 
He is about to move to the closet when something tossed onto the bed caught his sight.
 
It’s the football jersey that he’d been looking for. Specifically, Chris’ football jersey.
 
Matt turns around to see Chris standing by the doorway with a soft smile on his face.
 
“Just got it out of the dryer when I came home,” Chris says, walking towards the brunet. “I knew you were ferreting around the room and making a mess out of it for a reason.”
 
“I'm not stealing your clothes,” Matt replies, perhaps a little too quickly to say that as it got Chris’ face creasing in trying not to laugh.
 
“What I’m seeing right now is that it’s you causing a hell of a mess. At least I know the only things that you nick off from me are my clothes whenever you’ve gone on tour.”
 
“Maybe I’m not doing that and rather am finding what we’ve got stolen,” Matt quips, making his lie sound as smooth as possible even as he is aware that he is just digging the hole deeper into the ground. “Maybe it’s a thief who aims to steal unconventional things like clothes, selling it out of a charity shop that they own.”
 
If there are cameras and microphones nearby, Matt’s quote and Chris’ face would have been considered a classic in sitcoms. If there is a laughing track added as well, the scene alone would make the laughing last longer than the average type.
 
“Regardless of whether or not there’s such a thief that owns a charity shop to sell their stolen wares,” Chris says slowly and carefully to maintain his composure, “you still have to clean up since I did saw you turned our bedroom into a war zone.”
 
Matt gives an annoyed pout. He’ll do the cleaning because he knows he did caused the mess, but it doesn’t mean that he has to like it. “I was just trying to find what I needed,” he says lamely.
 
Chris places his lips on his forehead, giving him a gentle kiss and wrapping Matt in a gentle hug.
 
“Hey, I know you’ll miss me on the road and get homesick, especially while in America. So it’s best to prepare you for a long time away from home, right?” he asks softly.
 
“It feels like we switched places now,” Matt says. “You, back in the studio. Me, back on the road.”
 
Gently stroking Matt’s hair, Chris says, “I know you’ll do great. I’ve seen it. When you get out there on the stage, give it your best shot and let them experience what they missed out on you.”
 
Hearing that, Matt can’t help but smile. He has been hearing a compliment like that over the years in its many variations, but it feels especially nice to have it come from someone who matters to him. It carries more sincerity to his ears, the weight of the words giving more meaning to him.
 
“Plus,” he adds, “I can join you on the road when we have a break from recording the album.”
 
“You’re spoiling me here,” Matt giggles before he jabs his finger on Chris’ chest. “And you better not do that if that’s going to affect the quality and time to do your recordings.”
 
“I won’t unless I explicitly say that we’re taking a break. Scout’s honour,” Chris promises.
 
The taller man then pulls away from Matt to pick up something and hand over to his boyfriend.
 
“Here, have a spare whenever laundry day comes up.”
 
It’s a hoodie that Matt knows belongs to Chris, the one with the UCL’s logo on it.
 
“Now you’re really spoiling me.”
 
Chris kisses his cheek. “Only for my darling.”

Later, when the bus drives on its way to wherever part of Australia that Muse is going to perform in, Matt sleeps on comfortably without a care in the world in his bunk bed, wearing a football jersey a few sizes too large for him.

Chapter Text

One of the perks of fame that one can appreciate is getting better hotels when you’re rising up the ladder. Sometimes you hit the jackpot of getting both a high-rated hotel and a killer view from your room. But the latter can be forgotten at times when it’s nighttime and you’re too exhausted to admire the scenic view.

Muse is in Tokyo. At its current time it is long after giving a successful show for the second night in a different venue, and the band’s back in the hotel they’re staying in before checking out tomorrow.

Exhaustion should have long made its appearance before he took a shower, but hearing Chris’ cheerful and exuberant voice through the phone is what is keeping Matt’s energy up.

After all, it’s not everyday you hear the kind of news that only becomes a footnote when one looks back at history. There’s no way he wants to go to sleep yet without hearing all the details.

Even if Muse and Coldplay are quickly getting famous and well known, there’s always that ecstatic and fanboying moment to not only be acknowledged by older musicians that they admired, but also be given trust without doubt in their abilities by the veterans of the industry when it comes to being given permission to sample their music.

Chris helps to jog Matt’s memory up of his phone talks with his lawyer and Kraftwerk’s lawyers, doing their research and finding out an effective and polite method to get in contact with the German musicians, with Chris even penning a written letter to the band with what he knows as much from a rudimentary level of German. The waiting and hoping that they will reply has finally borne fruit.

“So we finally got a letter from them today, and they said yes to let us use a sample of their music!”

“Did they put down anything else in the letter?” Matt asks, infected by the excitement and positivity that his boyfriend exudes naturally.

“Well, um… Nothing else. They just wrote yes.”

Matt takes a pause.

“You mean that’s it?” he asks in disbelief. Surely there should be more told to them, like what they can and cannot do with the sample.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Matt can picture the shrug that follow those words. “They sent a yellow legal letter to us, and it’s just a typewritten one word answer of ‘yes.’ Right in the middle of the paper.”

Hearing that, there’s a look of incredulous shock pasted on Matt’s face. He’s witnessed weirdness before, he’s done some as well, but this takes the cake. So the stories surrounded around how absurdly difficult it is in contacting the German band and the absurd methods in which they do reply to you aren’t just mythical stories that sounds like a joke, even if the start of the story does sound like one.

“I don’t know what to say about that one,” Matt admits. “But it’s already pretty fucking extraordinary that they said yes to you guys.”

“Everyone around me has been saying that to me. Still, it means that they have given us permission to use a sample of their music for our recording!” Chris then proceeds to explain to him what the song that they’re going to sample is, what Guy’s idea of what the recording should sound like, the riff that Jonny played to him of the synthesizer part, and even giving Matt a small preview of what the lyrics are so far by singing to him. He is talking so fast that it’s hard to keep up the pace.

“Slow down there, Chris,” Matt laughs. “I can’t pick up what you’re saying and that’s something coming from me.”

“I know. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it, Matt. It’s Kraftwerk!”

“You’re just excited by it all. It’s not as if the letter they sent to you is important enough to get it framed and hang on a wall at home.”

There is a sudden pause, and then a muffled, nervous laughing that Matt picks up through the receiver, and he pieces the few puzzles together.

“You actually went ahead and framed the letter, didn’t you?”

“We can claim it’s a post-modern artwork.”

Inwardly, Matt thinks that the post-modern artwork excuse would sound more ridiculous to explain to house guests than his boyfriend having got Kraftwerk to allow Coldplay to use a sample of their song be considered such an important accomplishment that he framed their one-word reply letter.

Chapter Text

“Matt, are you alright? What happened?” are the first words that come out of Chris’ mouth.
 
Matt can’t calculate precisely what time it is back in England right now. The best he can tell is that it’s around the afternoon where Chris is right now.
 
“Had to cancel the show midway last night. There were technical difficulties that couldn’t be recovered.”
 
“Matt banged his face to his guitar and we had to cancel last night’s show along with another one as a result.”
 
When Matt turns to the drummer with a glare, he sees Dom on the phone too, obviously talking to someone on and telling them the events of the evening the other day.
 
“Who are you talking to?” Matt asks, his eyes in a leer.
 
“Oh, just Jonny. He’s hanging out with your boyfriend right now, which is nothing to worry about,” Dom answers.
 
“Matt, why didn’t you tell me that straight away?”
 
Matt quickly turns his focus back to his boyfriend. “I just played too hard and didn’t do it right. I split my lip from the strings and had blood on my face, so we had to cancel the rest of the show. It’s nothing to worry about.”
 
“No, it very much is,” Dom cuts in again. “It wasn’t a pretty sight to see for everyone.”
 
Matt glares at Dom once more.
 
“Matt, please don’t lie to me when something is not alright. You had me worried sick thinking that it was something worse that happened to you. I was going to just leg it to the airport for the first flight to America to get to you before the guys stopped me.”
 
Matt furrows his face, now feeling bad at what he'd done that got Chris to worry over him. “It’s not as bad as it looks. It was just a lot of blood and that caused a lot of panic.”
 
“Too late to say that,” Dom cuts in with an evil grin. “I sent a photo before they patched you up.”
 
There’s a commotion on Chris’ side heard through the phone. It sounds as though Chris had dropped his phone, which he did as the first thing he does is to apologise.
 
“Fuck, Matt. That’s a lot of fucking blood there,” Chris swears.
 
“I’m really fine now,” Matt quickly reassures him. “The doctor stitched me up and told me to get a few day’s rest to get it healed up before I can sing again.”
 
“Please be safe, Matt.”
 
“I will. I promise,” Matt answers softly. He lets out a slight chuckle. “First show in American soil and I already made a hell of an impression.”
 
“It was a cockup.”
 
Matt pointedly ignores Dom’s insult.
 
“Well, I’ll pray that you’ll have better chances of success for the rest of the tour.”
 
“That’s a tall order there. Can’t pray human clumsiness away permanently.”
 
He manages to get his boyfriend somewhat cheered up before he puts down the phone. Part of Matt feels guilty that he made Chris that worried over him. The other part of him is pissed off at Dom for not exactly helping him in every way. A small part of that annoyance also extends to Phil for helping too.
 
He throws a glare at Dom. “You’re an asshole.”

“Not the one with stitches on his lip. Serves you right for that,” Dom smirks. He knows he’s being a dick, but it feels nice to not be on the receiving end of stage related injuries for once in a while.

Chapter Text

Matt is finding the task ahead of him being one of difficulty and requiring huge patience on his end. It’s not as easy as it looks, picking what kind of souvenir to buy. It isn’t as easy as just popping into a store with something already in your mind as a suitable gift and then leave with said suitable gift in a bag. The sheer variety of it is what has Matt stop on his feet and stare.

How can his boyfriend make picking these stuffs seem not so much of a hassle? To be fair, it must’ve not been much of a feat for Chris to know what he likes best and just go from there. That, or he had just as much trouble in deciding what would be the appropriate gift and was mulling over it much like what Matt is going through right now.

Yet he has his mind set on doing this. Chris had done it while he’s on tour with his band and Muse were recording their third album, so it’s only fair that he try and get something to be gifted to his boyfriend.

“Dude, it doesn’t even take that long to decide,” Dom says, bringing Matt out of his thoughts.

Matt grimaces, browsing through of all things, kitchen magnets. “I don’t want to give him some crappy looking souvenir.”

Dom merely raises an eyebrow. “There’s crappy looking souvenirs literally surrounding us.”

“Yeah, but it’s like, I want to give him something nice, Dom. The stuff that he gave to me were pretty nice, with some of the more meaningful ones having permanent places that I put it in our home.”

“But not the creepy mask that you threw away.”

“If I recall, you took it just when I was going to throw it away and claimed it.”

“Because you’re an uncultured coward who’s scared of a handmade craft.”

“And you’re an arsehole who used it to scare me.”

“Pleb.”

“Fairy.”

Dom rolls his eyes, deciding to switch the bickering to something else. “Is picking a souvenir for him really that important for you? He did this several times over.”

“He did it for me, that’s what matters,” Matt says. “And I want to do the same in return, even if I can’t match it to the amount he sent to me back when we were recording Absolution.”

“Ahhhhhhh so that’s why you dragged me along,” Dom smirks, now figuring out why he was dragged to the souvenir shop in the first place. “You needed my help and expertise for picking the right gift for your boyfriend.”

“I just needed someone to tag me along to buy some souvenirs before sending it to England,” Matt answers him dismissively.

“No, you needed me to help you, which is why you need me along. Alright then, I’m going to help you in your souvenir hunting and in making sure to stop you from sending something to him that might be illegal.”

“That was one time. And it was a fan that gave it to me.”

….


“Okay, now that we’ve eliminated the rest, we now have the top three left. Personally,” Dom points at one. “I think this is best one out of the three that we have left.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“No? What do you mean no? These are of the best ones! I helped you pick them and vouched for it!”

“It’s all tacky,” Matt says, making a face.

“That’s what souvenirs are supposed to be like at this price range,” Dom snarks back.

“Still could have found better ones.”

“Look, there’s nothing here that is fit for the higher price range that you want. So it’s either ceramic statues that are bound to break even with lots of protection or kitschy kitchen magnets that wouldn’t be allowed through customs. Or you can just go for postcards.”

Matt fidgets and glares at Dom, who stares back at him until the brunet concedes, snatching one of the three items off of the drummer’s hand and stomps off to a direction.

“Knew you’d picked that one,” Dom says with a smugly smirk.

“Shut up and help me pick the rest of it.”

….


Will is at Chris’ home and trying to figure out what to do with the rhythm section of one of their recordings when Chris went to answer the door. When he returned, he is holding a small, rectangular box in his hands.

“What you got there, Chris?” Will asks.

“A parcel from Matt, coming from America.”

After cutting off the tape, he pulls out a T-shirt from the box. Unfurling it, the print on the shirt caught his attention.

“I went to see the Niagara Falls and all I got is this... crappy T-shirt?” Chris reads out loud, staring at the blue T-shirt with some bemusement.

Will chuckles, looking at the T-shirt and then looks down at the rest of the contents in the parcel.

“Well, there’s several more shirts in there if this particular one isn’t to your liking.”

Chris chooses to keep all of them. Later, he calls to Matt, happily telling him that he got Matt’s souvenir gifts for him and loving the various T-shirts with amusing quotes printed on it.

Chapter Text

Chris, Dom, and Tom can all remember respectively their first times in walking in on Chris and Matt having sex. The first time in the Midtfyns Festival didn’t count as they didn’t walk into them so much as they heard them through the door separating the lounge area and the bunks, but it does count as a first time as a group to suffer from it.

They all agree that it is a mortifying experience. Individually, they had their own first time encounters.

Dom was the first before the two of them even became an official couple. Then came Chris when he wanted to find anyone for extra cigarettes to share. And then there was Tom when he wanted to do a little behind the scenes with his video camera and had to wipe the entire tape as a result of what he had encountered.

The thing is, Chris and Matt fuck. A lot. Almost anyone can get struck by such a first time encounter to their sex lives. When anyone outside of the band speak of their woes in walking into the couple while the two are going about it, they take pity and understand.

But when anyone bitches about how disgusting it is of what the two are doing as men, they curtly remind them that they don’t tolerate bigots, warn them to never, ever be near their group, and get security to escort them out.

The problem, as they have unfortunately found out, lies in the fact that Matt has an almost insatiable appetite for sex. As a result of it, Chris’ sex drive had increased to be able to keep up and keep Matt thoroughly fucked and satisfied.

They weren’t the only ones to suffer from it, as testified from Jonny, Guy, Will, and even Phil. And then further testified by several people.

....

“Congratulations, Anderson.”

“What is there to congratulate for, Dom?! I feel like I need bleach for my eyes and my brain for walking in on them before you pulled me out of there!”

“I’m congratulating you because you’ve now experienced first hand of what we’ve gone through. Think of it like baptism through fire.”

“You mean to tell me you guys have been through this before and never tell me?!” Anderson says, sounding melodramatic.

“Didn’t the scarf tied on the doorknob warned you?” Dom looks at Anderson, befuddled then contemplative, twirling an unlit cigarette that he had just pulled out of his packet. “Hmm, guess we didn’t update that memo to exactly everyone in the crew.”

“You should’ve warned me.”

“Again, memo. And trust me, Anderson. That scarf is the biggest marked improvement to avoid that many incident. And it was only possible after the Dave Grohl incident,” Anderson doesn’t dare ask what the ‘Dave Grohl incident’ is. “Before that, we had to be wingmen, staying outside by the door to prevent accidental entrances and warn anyone nearby from walking into them.”

Anderson’s face turn white, his eyes looking at Dom with sheer horror.

“Oh god.”

Dom gives a nod as he lights his cigarette.

“Now you understand why we’re so thankful that they actually remember to put scarves on the doorknobs now.”

....

Chris is excited for this event for weeks now. Having Kelly around for the tour, even for a few days, is both a joy and a relief for him. He misses her, especially as the tour is longer than the previous ones the band had done. She didn’t bring the kids this time around, and he knows exactly why.

It’s been awhile since he and Kelly last had sex, especially in a hotel, so he’s taking any chances to enjoy the sex and making his wife a very happy woman.

They are already starting early with the foreplay, with the two of them making out as soon as they got out of the elevator to their intended floor. And more than impatient when Chris pushes Kelly against the wall by the hallway and kisses her once more.

“Someone’s an eager beaver right now,” Kelly giggles as Chris nibbles at her neck. “I like it.”

“We’re not going to have much sleep tonight.”

“That a challenge, Chris?”

“I aim to please.”

They both jumped when they hear a loud bang on the door right next to them.

“What was that?” Kelly asks.

Turning to where the noise is coming from, they noticed that the door isn’t locked, the latch keeping it from fully closed. From the door, they can clearly hear the voices of two men. The sounds have Chris’ mind freeze, a move all too familiar in reaction with those familiar sounds. The number on the door plate are but confirms whose room the sex noises are coming from.

He turns his face back to see Kelly with eyes wide open.

She can hear it as well.

“Oh no…” he mutters under his breath, his head lowered.

“Is it… is it the two of them? Chris and Matt?” she whispered.

Chris nods morosely. “Yeah. Let’s get a move on before it gets awkward.”

He pulls away from the wall to get a move on to get away from Chris and Matt’s room as soon as possible. But then Kelly started to move the opposite direction, towards where the sex noises are coming from. It was by his fast hands that Chris manages to stop her from going back there.

“Love, are you doing what I think you're doing?” Chris asks, an eyebrow raised.

“Just wanted a little peek. It’s not like I was going to disturb them!”

Of all the things that he and Kelly shared talks with before, he’d never thought he had to say this to his wife. “Don’t be a perv, Kelly.”

As they move away and distanced themselves from the noise, Chris isn’t sure what is worse. That their intimate moment got ruined by his best friends having sex, or that Kelly wanted to go and watch them like a voyeur.

....

Tom is showing off to Paul of the area set up for the cameras and recording that he will be directing over for the band’s performance. In effect, it is his own personal stage, one that is important in making a band of three people able to wow people in arenas and convention centres to compensate for what little three men can provide for entertainment.

Paul is quite impressed by how his skills have grown alongside with his best friends. While Tom thanks him humbly, it does feel nice to appreciated for doing something that many people other than the musicians themselves take for granted, even if it’s Matt’s brother complimenting him.

Then Paul tells him that he wants to go see Matt to see his little brother off before the show and Tom is more than happy to lead the way.

While chatting amicably with Paul, Tom spots a scarf tied to the doorknob to the dressing room–

And then Tom forces them to change directions and go to another room reserved for family and friends. Paul might complain now, but it is best that he doesn’t have to thank him in the first place. It’s a lot better that it’s the brother here rather than Matt’s mother.

....

“Matt?”

“Yes, Chris?”

“Aren’t you worried that we’re doing too much of this?”

“Too much of what? Sex?” Matt frowns. “No way.”

“I’m concerned though. It’s one thing that we were found out to be a couple, but another thing entirely that involves our sex lives. Aren’t you worried that this will leak out to the media and the fans eventually if we’re not careful?”

“I get where you’re going with this, but so far none of the latter has happened yet.”

“But we are causing more attention towards what we do. It’s no longer might be situation, but a will be situation. Maybe we should do this somewhere else with more privacy. Like in a hotel room.”

“Like where we are right now?” Matt purrs, kissing up Chris’ neck.

“Mmm… yeah.”

Matt giggles before he shares a soft kiss with Chris.

“Relax, love. We’re covered by our friends and the crew and legally bound contracts. Even had to promise to put on a scarf on the doorknob whenever we’re going to fuck.”

“Didn’t we had to sign a letter to do it or else they will no longer help us?”

“Yes,” Matt rolls his eyes. “I can’t believe that we needed eyewitnesses to sign it too.”

“It is to make sure that we follow the agreements.”

“Back to regards of your concern, I understand that you want us to be careful, and we will. But we’ll discuss it later, after this,” Matt purrs, hands sliding down from Chris’ chest.

Chris can’t help but smile and kiss him, and soon they were both too busy with each other to have any discussions.

Chapter Text

If there is one thing that Chris misses but would never want to admit it out loud, it’s the poker tournaments that he plays with Matt and his mates. It’s been months since he had joined them for it, and his wandering mind is thinking about it due to the slowness of creating the third album so far.

Since it no longer became a secret of what Chris does with Matt on their Saturday evenings together and how he got good at poker, he has even seen his own bandmates join in for some of it. The last time he played with Muse for their Saturday night poker tournaments, Phil and Jonny were there.

Chris sees Jonny from time to time whenever poker night occurs with Muse and he has the time to come and attend it. Fortunately by now, the guitarist no longer has any murderous intentions and ideas from the time Matt took his guitar as a prize. Shockingly enough, they still put their guitars and even amplifiers on the table and twice on occasion Chris sees Matt bring back home a guitar that he recognises as Jonny’s.

From what he had witnessed, Jonny and Matt now trade jibes of how their different playing style affects how their guitars function as, much like how they have different tells while playing poker. The gears from Matt’s side that Jonny once won over before he bought them himself have been helpful in their recording in finding the sound that they lacked.

So far, aside from how extreme it can get at times, he hasn’t seen any negative consequences caused by them playing poker.

Until now.

“Wait, wait, wait--Can you elaborate again on how you almost got poker to be banned while on tour?”

Matt lets out a huff through the phone before he explains.

“Some band that was touring with us as support somehow got us into trouble for it when we let them play poker with us during one of our usual Saturday tournaments,” he says.

“Are you serious?” Chris asks in disbelief.

“Pretty serious. I mean, we got complaints about our poker tournaments before, but never on the grounds of being accused that it’s underground and illegal. It’s the first time somebody used that on us and dragged a lawyer in for it.”

Hearing that, even Chris is concerned over it. He knows that the members of Muse don’t play like the serious ones do as a professional career, but their skills might make a few run for their money. While Chris cannot be sure on how good they are, he can attest that what he had learned from them made him a few thousand dollars richer when Coldplay stopped by in one of the casinos in Las Vegas once.

“Was it the supporting band that got upset by it to do this?”

“No, the band was okay with it, luckily. It was their manager who was pissed off at us and tried to sue us. Got all overdramatic before the band themselves put their manager in their place. I heard that they were planning to fire him after they’ve finished touring with us.”

“I’m glad that they dealt with it on their end. Although suing for playing poker just seems a tad bit… I don’t know, disproportionate.”

“It’s not like it’s our fault that some of their gear belonged to us after winning it off the table,” Matt says, then he quickly adds, “Temporarily.”

Ah. “Then perhaps that might have been what gave their manager the grounds to argue in the first place.”

“They were the ones who agreed to it when they saw us started to up the stakes on the table, not that guy. Their manager can’t ban us from playing it just because we’re good at it,” Matt snorts. “That’s like making Chris and Kelly abstain from having sex because the local vicar found out about it through their GP.”

Inwardly, Chris thinks that using themselves as a comparison is far more accurate yet refrains from saying it out loud. Even then, Matt’s choice of comparison isn’t too far off the mark.

“So is there a compromise after what happened?”

“Yeah. Anderson and our lawyers got that manager to back down and have something hashed out to prevent such a case from happening again. From now on, we have an extra clause in the contracts for any artists that support us for the tour to be warned of about our poker nights. If they want to play with us, it’s under their own risk and we have to be responsible to warn them about how we play.”

The way Matt tells it to him seems to sound as if it’s been drilled into Matt’s head by the lawyers and management enough times for him to be able to recite it without pausing to remember the whole specifics.

“Honestly, I don’t like having our poker nights be regulated. Where’s the fun in having our tournament weeks being under supervision by a bunch of suits with sticks up in their arses?”

“Play responsibly, love. Both on stage and on the table. That’s all I can say for it.”

Chris can’t help but smile when he hears Matt’s laughter ringing through the phone. God, he misses him.

“At least when we’re back home after this leg of the tour, there’s no oversight on our games. Hey Chris, do you reckon your band is up for the usual poker night for Saturday?”

“Yeah, I’ll tell them once I get back to the studio.”

It would be a good thing to let them look forward to as well, since it means that there’s something for them to play that allows them aside from music to have fun with.

Chapter Text

Touring has always been an exhaustive job for a musician. Recording may have its way of getting fatigue on you, yet it can’t compare to the level of physical and mental exhaustion getting on the road and performing for hundreds and thousands of people almost each night does to a person’s psyche. 

The physical exertion required for touring and the food they eat on the road that many can describe as junk food may be imbalanced for their health, and it is true, but playing to an audience in so many places, even with shitty lights and sounds provided and other incidents that are out of their control, is what makes creating an album and touring so worth it, knowing that the actual proof of whether or not fans will love the new songs is physically right in front of them when they play.

While touring in Europe is still as hard as they have remembered, they’re used to it because of the ever close proximity to their home and having done their tours in it since they started out. It’s an experience that Matt and the rest of the band is all too familiar with. 

Touring in America, on the other hand, is a whole other beast in itself. Even with some given time for rest and day trips and the small luxuries to enjoy in between waking up and playing on stage, they are still just as rushed in finishing in one venue and then getting into the bus or train or airplane for the next one. They have almost forgotten how that felt like. That’s when the stories of touring on the road that seem to border on surrealism becomes truer and stranger than fiction.

The days and journeys are stretched infinitely longer, especially when on the road in a bus; the journey is stretched out long enough that one can feel as though they have stepped into an alternate reality whenever they stop by a truck stop or a diner in the middle of nowhere, especially at night; noise is such a constant presence in that period of their lives that hearing white noise in the silence can feel odd at times. 

They barely have time for rest. And it makes for an unforgettable experience.

Matt is having fun, really, having the time of his life with his best friends on the road, yet something from back home has been bothering him, even though it shouldn’t and it doesn’t have anything to do with his own band. Even though Chris has been insisting over the phone that he’s fine and that he himself should focus on and enjoy the tour.

In recording their third album, Matt looks back at it and sees that despite some problems along the way, what he had with Chris and Dom was smooth sailing during production, a contrast against what he heard Coldplay is going through.

He knows that Coldplay are back into the recording studio to do their third album, and have been since January. At the same time, he heard the signs of frustration early on from Chris of how slow progress is for them. They have lots of recordings created over the years to pick from, sure, but it’s outside interference that has been bothering them. Namely, men in suits from the label.

It already sounds like a bad sign to Matt if something as instinctual as picking and recording the tracks down are considered tedious and micromanaged by people who should have no involvement with the studio recording. Fortunately, from what he hears from Chris, there are silver linings in the cloud to keep them working together and focused on the recordings to a functional degree. At least he hopes so.

That’s what Matt keeps thinking about when he’s back in London for the short break. He isn’t exactly the kind of person to think things in a positive manner when it comes to circumstances stacked against him, but he does want to be sure that his boyfriend is alright. Anything can make a band break apart, whether it be out of spectacular or mundane reasons. 

“I’m home!” he calls out. He expects that Chris would be at home by now at this late hour. What he did not expect is what he sees when his boyfriend comes to greet him.

He hears him before he sees him. Matt hears an enthusiastic ‘Woo!’, causing an eyebrow to be raised, before Chris slides -literally slides- on his socked feet into the hallway, finger guns pointing at him and a big grin on his face.

“Heeeeeey babe! Welcome home!”

All Matt can do is stare at first. He looks… he looks absurd in appearance. It looks as if he’s done a lame attempt of trying to be some kind of white rapper, with ‘tattoos’ that Matt can see is obviously drawn on him using a black marker pen. The wig pretty much made sure that Matt never wants to see Chris ever grow a real mullet. And the red-rimmed glasses. What the hell. It’s just…

Chris is still sporting the same grin while taking at the sight of Matt collapsed to the floor, laughing on until he can see tears running down the brunet’s face.

“How do I look?” he finally asks.

“Ridiculous,” Matt manages to spit a one word answer out before continuing to laugh at Chris’ utterly ridiculous look. He’s laughing so hard, that he’d forgotten the previously sombre mood that had clouded his head on his return home.

Once he had calmed down and is standing again, Matt starts to speak.

“What the hell, Chris. Is this what you were doing the whole time instead of recording? Becoming a rapper?”

“Me and my mates did a song and had a music video for it done in the span of a day,” Chris boasts. “I’d say that we’ve had a very productive time in the studio.”

“So now you’ve become a hip-hop band?” Matt asks, far too bemused now to believe that they have done so. If they did, that would be a hell of a shift in the genre from when they started out with the band.

“Coldplay’s the original rock band. And we’re not hip-hop, we’re a completely different one!” That causes Matt to laugh again.

“I’m not gonna lie, Chris, I was honestly worried over how you have been back here,” Matt says after he stops laughing. “I didn’t expect to come home to this.”

“We don’t always good days when we’re recording, but we did found ways to have fun, Matt,” Chris says, reverting back to his sweet and lovely self.

Holding both of Matt’s hands, Chris leans in to share a kiss with Matt. And there it is, the man that Matt fell in love with, the sweet and gentle giant who looks at him as though Matt was the one who put the moon and the stars up in the dark skies for him to look at with awe and to write songs of it.

“I do want to hear how the tour has been so far, but that will be for later,” he says with a grin on his face. “Right now, I feel like I need to treat you to something good.”

“Is this the treat? I get to have a white rapper for the day?” Matt asks, giving him a look-over. Chris may have a ridiculous set up right now, but he’s still his boyfriend and an eye candy for Matt, especially for the fact that he’s shirtless right now.

“I’m not a rapper, I’m an MC, on par with Jay-Z and Ice Cube!”

“What’s your group’s name then?”

Chris does a twirl before making finger guns to point at Matt, cocking his hands and making clicking noises.

“You ever heard of The Nappies?” he asks.

“The Nappies?” Matt looks at him wide-eyed in surprise, settling into his role as a fan very quickly. “Why, I’m a big fan of them after hearing their demos!”

“Well I heard that after this little single, they’re gonna drop the hottest album of the year soon!”

“How are you that sure of it? Care to elaborate further?” Matt asks, already settling into a seductive tone and pose.

“Why, I would love to,” Chris flirts back.

It isn’t much of a surprise all that laughing made sex all the more enjoyable. And Matt is happy that he is home after touring far longer than he had stayed at home with Chris. It’s good to be back.