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It’s not quite home that Drew’s returning to now that this leg of the tour is over, but it feels like it is, even if he has to knock to get inside rather than let himself in with a key. He lets his fist rap out a rhythm on the door and waits.

He doesn’t have to wait for long: a few moments later and the door’s opening, and Alberto’s appearing from behind it, and for the first time since the journey back started this morning, Drew’s smile is real.

Alberto’s is just as genuine.

“Welcome back,” he says, and Drew wants to wrap an arm around him, wants to kiss him right here on the doorstep, but he can’t. It will have to wait. Alberto helps him get his bags inside, and once the door is closed behind them and the bags are down, there’s a hand reaching out to take one of Drew’s and squeezing tight.

Drew’s about to step in even closer, about to pull Alberto in towards him for a kiss, but he’s stopped before he can even prise his hand free from Alberto’s.

“Let me look at you,” Alberto says, his hands on Drew’s shoulders now, preventing him from coming any closer as he looks Drew up and down. “It has been a whole month, after all.”

“Another month and I’ll be off again.” Drew can’t help but let it slip out, even though he doesn’t really want to think about it. It’s not that he doesn’t want to go back on tour, because of course he does: it’s been one of the best experiences of his life, it always is, but he’s only just got back. He hasn’t seen Alberto in weeks and he wants to savour every last second they have to spend together.

“I don’t want you to think about that.” Alberto’s practically reading his mind. “Not yet, at least.” He cocks his head in the direction of the doorway to the lounge. “Shall we?”

Drew follows him through to the living room, bags left in the hallway. Those can be taken upstairs tomorrow, providing that he’s staying for at least a couple of days. He hopes he is. Hopes Alberto will let him. His own apartment’s a little more modest than this. Drew could go ahead and buy the kind of house that was the rock star home of his dreams when he first picked up an instrument: the new album’s doing really well and he’s sure he could afford it. What he’d really like, though, is to move in here. Alberto’s house is big, but it doesn’t feel too big, doesn’t feel unfriendly and cold and like it’s all purely for show rather than living. It still manages to be warm and welcoming, somewhere Drew feels comfortable. After all, he has to have somewhere he feels comfortable that isn’t just his own home where he lives alone: his family’s an ocean away.

His family’s an ocean away, but he’s got Alberto beside him, smiling at him, happy he’s here. It’s more than he ever expected.

“Here,” says Alberto, a hand light on Drew’s back. “Sit down, get your jacket off. You’ve had a long journey, yes? You need to rest, need to relax.”

Drew collapses beside Alberto on the couch once he’s got his shoes and jacket off, lying so his head’s in Alberto’s lap.

“Sit up,” Alberto tells him, though his tone is fond and he’s got a hand in Drew’s hair.

“You just said that I need to relax.” Drew tilts his head to look up at Alberto, narrowing his eyes.

“Hey, don’t play smart with me. Can’t give you a welcome home kiss from here, can I?”

That gets Drew’s attention – gets him sitting right up and taking Alberto’s face in his hand and letting their mouths meet. The kiss is deep, desperate, every bit the product of a month spent away from each other.

“I’ve missed you,” Alberto says when they break apart, his face still so close to Drew’s, foreheads pressed together.

“Well.” Drew smirks, leans in for another kiss, just quick and light this time. “I’ve missed you, too.”

“You know you’ll have to tell me everything. All the wild stories of tour.”

Drew hums, considering.

“Got plenty of those,” he says. “Not now, though. Now, I just want to…” He doesn’t finish the sentence, just shifts around on the sofa again, head back in Alberto’s lap.

“See, I knew you’d be tired, coming back from halfway across the country. You want to go to bed?”

Drew shakes his head. He is hoping that that’s where they’ll end up tonight, but… before it’s time to go to sleep.

“No, I’m good. I’ve got you, aye? Don’t need to go to bed.”

“All right, then.” Both of Alberto’s hands are in Drew’s hair now, gentle, just stroking through. Drew wants to close his eyes and relax to it, but his head’s heavy with unease.

He shouldn’t be thinking like this, he knows he shouldn’t, but he just can’t help it. This has been on his mind for most of the journey back, as much as he tried to shut it out. He worries that he hasn’t actually got Alberto, that it will all come to a sudden end and he won’t be able to do anything to even try to stop it. He worries that Alberto’s more bothered than he lets on about Drew being away for weeks on end, that he secretly hates that they have an open relationship for that time and only agreed to it for Drew’s sake, that he’d much rather just settle down with someone who’d actually be around all the time or at least for most of it, someone who isn’t reckless and rash and who definitely isn’t a goddamn rock star.

Drew frowns, and inadvertently lets out a discontented sounding hum.

“Drew?” Alberto’s hand stills in Drew’s hair. “What is it?”

“I’m fine,” Drew blurts out, maybe a little too quick of a response for just fine. “Just thinking.”

He thinks Alberto’s going to drop it, but – “Thinking? About what?”

“About… how lucky I am to have you?” is the best Drew can come up with, because that’s part of it, isn’t it? He’s lucky Alberto still wants him when there’s all of this to consider, when it could all be so much simpler if he was someone else.

“I appreciate the sentiment, but that isn’t it, is it?” Alberto isn’t fooled at all. “Sit back up and tell me what’s on your mind. If you really feel that uncomfortable, then you don’t have to, but it’s best to get things off your chest, yes?”

Drew supposes that it is. It’s what he usually does if there’s an issue, but it’s either that or the other extreme with no in between. The other times are him keeping everything locked up inside of himself, behind a double bolted door and inside a safe with a passcode that no-one could ever guess.

Alberto’s one of the only few people who’s ever done a good job at cracking the combination of that safe.

“Come on,” he says, gently tugging at Drew’s hair as if it’s going to coax it out of him. “Sit up and look at me.”

It takes a moment, but Drew does as he says all the same.

“So? What is it?”

With Alberto’s eyes on his, concerned, sincere, it’s difficult for Drew not to just burst out with everything he’s feeling.

“How can you still want me?” is what comes out, and Alberto’s face falls immediately.

What?” He looks hurt, mortally wounded by just six words. “How can I…? What does that even mean?”

Drew has to look away to answer.

“Because of all the bullshit surrounding us. Well. Not us, but – me. Me being away, me being like, semi-famous, me imposing an open relationship on you because I can’t seem to keep my hands to myself when I’m on the road.”

Alberto’s frowning when Drew looks back at him.

“You didn’t… you didn’t impose anything on me. I agreed to that. I am absolutely fine with all of it. Why do you think otherwise?”

“Well. A lot can happen in a month, can’t it?”

Another frown.

“What’s happened, then? In this past month you’ve been away?”

“Nothing’s happened, I just thought–”

“That things had changed for me? Did I ever give any indication that they had in any of the phone calls?”

Drew shakes his head. You can’t tell from a phone call, though. Can’t see somebody’s face.

“No, I didn’t,” Alberto continues. “What on earth has made you come to that conclusion, then?”

The question is met with a shrug.

“Just been thinking. A lot. Too much.” Drew swallows, closing his eyes for a breath. He doesn’t quite know where to start. There’s just so much – but it all ends up slipping out anyway. “I mean, I can’t – I can’t come out, can I? And even though it’s not as if you’re out, like at work or anything, I have to be even more careful because there’s a chance that people might know who I am. So you can’t even make your relationship known to everyone you might want to because of me. Then there’s the press, aye? What would all the music journalists who have been singing my praises do if they knew? And not just them, either, but the ultra-uptight conservative ones who like to talk shit about anything that’s remotely different to what they see as normal. It’s not like they pay much attention to us or to music in general, but when they do… it’s the worst. Jinder already has to deal with that whole breed of racist fucks. I can stand up for him, but standing up for myself is – I don’t know, different. More difficult. But even if they don’t focus on us at all, finding out about me would mean they would. What would they be saying then, huh? Oh, that band – first they play their evil hard rock music, and the next thing you know the bassist loves getting fucked in the ass by men just as much as he likes women, and then he’ll be infecting us all with AIDS, and–”

“Drew.” A hand covers one of Drew’s, and Alberto’s looking into his eyes, just as earnestly as before. “That is not going to happen. You know that it won’t. Unless you come out yourself, them saying those things isn’t going to happen, and the things they’d say about you won’t happen, either. It’s not like you’re HIV positive, for one, so nothing they’d say would stand any chance at being true.”

“But people would think that, if they knew.”

“Unfortunately, yes. A lot of people would think things like that. It pains me to say it. You know what’s true, though. And no-one can take that away from you.”

That’s – that’s true. No-one can. The only people who can have any say in their relationship are themselves. Drew nods, fierce.

“I know who I am. Other people like to think they do. And if they knew this, they’d think they knew me in a different way. They still wouldn’t, though.”

“That’s right,” Alberto says, firm. “They wouldn’t. They might like to think so, but they wouldn’t.” He pauses. “What has gotten into you? Usually you’re not bothered about any of this. At least, you don’t show it. Not as much as you are now, anyway.”

Drew shrugs.

“I just – I just get scared, sometimes. That everything’s going to fall apart. That I’m going to make it fall apart. The guys don’t want it to be this way, but it has to be. I don’t want to fuck things up for us just because I dared to love men.”

“You aren’t going to fuck anything up. It’s not an either-or decision. It’s not me or the band. There’s no choice to make in the first place. No-one’s forcing you or even just asking you to decide on anything. There might be parts of this that are hard for both of us, but it’s you that I love, Drew. You might be away for months at a time and you might not be able to come out so we can’t be that in public in case you’re recognised, but I love you.”

At that – at those three words – Drew can’t help but smile.

“I love you, too,” he says, and he thinks it’s the truest thing he’s said all night, all day. “This – this isn’t really what I wanted to talk about the moment I got back. Didn’t want to talk about it at all, really. I’m sorry, I–”

“Do not apologise for how you feel. We’re all going to feel insecure sometimes, yes? As I said, it’s been a month, after all. Here, take some deep breaths.”

Drew does, Alberto’s hand solid on his shoulder now. He feels better. Alberto makes him feel better. God, it’s unfair that Alberto has to put up with all his crap when he gets enough shit as it is, even without being in the public eye. To be a queer Mexican man in the United States in the eighties, Alberto had once said with a sad sigh and a shake of his head. Drew’s attempt at comfort had been a squeeze of Alberto’s hand, but he knew he could never truly understand.

“Hey.” This time, it’s Alberto squeezing his hand. “You feel better now that’s… out of the way? No-one is going find out anything unless you want them to. I won’t let them.”

Drew smiles. He’s going to let go of this for tonight, going to try to lighten the mood. To get to what he was hoping to get out of his first night back here – provided that Alberto wants it too, of course.

“Don’t think they would somehow, anyway. They’ve painted me to be quite the ladies’ man,” he says, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh?” Alberto sounds vaguely amused.

“Aye. And I suppose that may be true, but…” Drew pauses, pokes a finger at Alberto’s chest. “I’m your man first.”

“Really?” Alberto wonders, sly, and Drew nods. “Show me.”

That’s as much of an incentive as Drew needs. He grins and leans in for a kiss, and this time there’s fire, not just flickering flames but roaring, one of Alberto’s hands tangling in Drew’s hair. Alberto switches to pressing kisses along Drew’s jaw, down to his neck, and Drew shivers under his touch.

“Upstairs?” Alberto murmurs into Drew’s neck between kisses.

“Upstairs?” Drew echoes. “Why not right here?”

“It’s easier, is it not? Besides, everything we need is up there – condoms, lube – so one of us would have to go upstairs anyway. It’s your first night back, and I’d rather be on the bed. I’d get your clothes off and get you laid out on the mattress for me, and–”

Drew interrupts him with a kiss.

“You already have me convinced,” he says, voice low, quiet, and Alberto smirks.

He stands, pulling on Drew’s hand to lead him up the stairs and into the master bedroom. It’s just as Drew remembers it being a month ago aside from the different duvet cover on the bed. The sheets smell clean, too. Not that they often don’t, but Alberto must have changed them so they’d be fresh for Drew’s return – fresh for whichever way they’re going to soak the sheets with sweat.

Drew pulls his shirt off the moment the door’s closed behind them, tossing it to the floor without a care.

“Eager,” Alberto teases, the one word coming out so smooth.

“Oh, like you’re not.” Drew pulls Alberto into him by the waist so they’re almost chest to chest. “You want me just as badly.”

Alberto hums, smirk on his face.

“Very true,” he says, and he lets their mouths meet. His hand slides down Drew’s bare chest, gripping tightly at his side, and it suddenly dawns on Drew that it’s very, very unfair that Alberto doesn’t at least have his shirt off too.

“How about we get rid of this?” Drew murmurs when Alberto stops kissing him, and that gets the smirk that was there before back on Alberto’s face.

“Be my guest.”

Drew’s hands are quick to undo the buttons on the shirt, pushing the garment off of Alberto’s shoulders once he’s done. It joins Drew’s on the floor soon enough.

“I’ve missed this far too much,” says Drew, hands stroking down Alberto’s chest now, and he leans in so he can press his lips to Alberto’s neck, his collarbone, his shoulder.

“I’ve – mm – missed it too.” Alberto’s unable to keep from gasping. “I’ve also missed…” A hand winds around, gliding down Drew’s back to cup his ass. “… this…” Alberto’s other hand works its way down Drew’s chest instead, reaching into his pants to grab at his cock. “… and this.”

Drew groans when Alberto’s hand moves on his dick. It’s just the heel of his palm and yet Drew’s hard even from just this, and he’s only going to get harder still.

“Well.” Drew speaks slowly, trying not to shudder as he pushes against Alberto’s hand. “I’ve missed your bed.”

Alberto turns his head to look at the bed behind him. When he focuses back on Drew, there’s a glimmer in his eyes that could almost be called mischievous.

“Why don’t we get to it, then?” he asks.

There’s only one answer to that.

Mere seconds after all clothes are off and on the floor, Drew finds himself with his back to the mattress and Alberto on top of him. They’re skin against skin and it’s perfect, everything Drew’s been waiting for.

Alberto’s kissing him again – can’t ever seem to stop kissing him – and Drew lets himself be taken over by it, lets himself melt to it. It’s so easy to: there’s a hand in his hair and one cupping his face and Alberto’s so fucking passionate, just like always, but even more so tonight because of the time spent apart. Drew moans into the kiss, dazed when Alberto pulls back, feeling like he just woke from some incredible dream he never actually wanted to end.

Except, it had to end: they’re just getting started.

“What do you want?” Alberto asks, moving back and kneeling up.

Drew sits up, trying to collect himself. He’ll be falling apart all over again starting in just a few minutes, but it doesn’t hurt to have some composure beforehand.

“I want this,” he says, and he wraps a hand around Alberto’s cock.

“Hm?” Alberto just raises an eyebrow in response, but he still thrusts his hips forward, pushing more of his cock into Drew’s hand.

“Aye. Want it in me. Want you in me.”

“Well. You had better let go of me and turn over, then,” Alberto tells him, and Drew does, onto his elbows and knees. Alberto leans over him, kissing down Drew’s back until he reaches his tailbone, and he squeezes Drew’s ass before drawing away from him, off the bed for a moment to retrieve the lubricant.

Drew closes his eyes and waits, and then there’s one slick finger inside him, knowing exactly where to touch and feel to make him gasp and shiver.

After a while, one becomes two, and quick, clever fingers open Drew up. Alberto knows how he likes it, how to tease, how to make sure Drew’s the best prepared for him that he can be. For a few moments there’s even a third finger joining the other two, but soon after that, Drew’s empty again, and he whines at the loss.

“Do you feel ready enough?” Alberto asks, ever attentive.

Drew nods hastily.

“Need you,” he says.

“Then it’s me that you’ll get.”

From behind Drew, there’s the sound of a condom wrapper being ripped open and then it’s Alberto’s cock that’s pushing into him, slow. He relaxes to it just as he did to the feeling of Alberto’s fingers inside him, groaning out when Alberto thrusts just that bit deeper. He’s missed this so much, this feeling of being full, of getting to have something inside him, of Alberto inside him.

It’s only polite, really, to tell your current partner that they’re the best you’ve had in bed, but Drew would be lying if he said that Alberto wasn’t actually the best he’s ever had. He’s somehow both so rough and tender at the same time, so in tune with Drew’s needs, so damn good that Drew could write whole albums’ worth of songs about it and it still wouldn’t do Alberto justice.

Drew only hopes that Alberto would say the same about him, and – well. That’s exactly what he’s taking the time to do.

“I’ve been thinking about this all month,” he says, hand skimming down Drew’s side as he drives himself into Drew a little harder, starting to find a rhythm now. “What it would be like having you back in my arms, back in this bed again. I play that last night over and over in my head, you know – the night before you left for tour. Do you remember that, Drew?”

Drew remembers. He nods, and when he opens his mouth to give a spoken answer, it’s only a moan that comes out. That night, Alberto fucked him so hard and so well that he could feel it the next morning, that he could feel it all through the day. Drew just counts himself lucky that he didn’t have to play a show that evening. It may have been the best kind of sore, a reminder that he has Alberto waiting for him, but he’d been sore nonetheless. He hopes he’ll be feeling that way again afterwards: this time, a reminder that he’s right back where he wants to be the most.

“What a night that was,” Alberto continues. “Let’s make this one even better, yes?”

Fuck, yes,” Drew agrees, and on a particularly fierce thrust, he really can’t help the noise he makes, almost a mewl. “I know you will. You’re always so fucking good to me. Always… always so good at fucking me, too.”

There’s a chuckle from behind him.                                                                                         

“Is that so?”

“You – you know it is.” It’s getting increasingly more difficult for Drew to form coherent sentences.

“But you know I like to hear you say it,” Alberto tells him, and it’s supposed to be light and teasing, but Drew can hear the arousal, the way the fucking’s taking its hold on Alberto’s voice, too. It has his voice deeper, darker, makes his accent just that bit thicker. “You know how… you know how I like to hear you anyway,” he adds, and really, that’s Drew’s cue to let loose.

It’s not difficult to be loud, not when he’s – well – when he’s him, and definitely not when Alberto’s inside him like this, fucking him so perfectly. When one push of Alberto’s cock catches his prostate dead on, making him cry out, it only encourages Alberto to make it even harder, even better.

“F-fuck.” Drew grips at the sheets, and Alberto’s hands tighten on his hips. “Alberto, that’s – that’s it.”

He lets his head hang loose instead of holding it up, which results in his face being pressed into the pillows. Behind him, Alberto’s telling him he’s so tight and so good and spilling out a stream of Spanish phrases that Drew hasn’t picked up on the meanings of yet. He’d like to learn, though, even if Alberto has to fight not to laugh almost every time Drew attempts to speak it because of how ridiculous the Spanish apparently sounds in his accent.

Drew relaxes, doing his best to keep his breathing even, and yes, this is it – exactly what he wants and what he’s been craving for the last month. It might be part of their agreement that he gets to have sex when he’s off on tour, but he doesn’t get to have this, doesn’t get to be fucked, doesn’t get to have Alberto.

He stops talking now, just listens: to the sounds that come from Alberto and from himself, moans that spill from lips and the slap of skin. Alberto’s leaning over him again, blanketing his back, pushing Drew’s hair over one of his shoulders to get at his neck to kiss it.

“On your back now?” Alberto asks, the words a purr in Drew’s ear. “Want to see you.”

Drew wants that, too, wants to watch and to be watched.

“Yes,” he says, shuddering when a kiss is pressed to his shoulder. “Please.”

A moment later, Alberto’s pulling out, and then his hands are on Drew’s hips to twist him around onto his back. Drew glances up so his eyes meet Alberto’s, and – fuck. That’s everything. That’s love and lust and care and everything Drew needs from him.

“Please,” Drew says again, suddenly needing it more than ever. “Back inside me. Alberto, please.”

Alberto obliges, lifting Drew’s legs up so he can push back in. Like this, it feels so much more intimate. Alberto’s above him rather than behind him, and he’s leaning in as close as he can. Sure, it was amazing before, being fucked from behind, and though that never feels impersonal, not with Alberto, this is somehow so much more. It’s more than any empty fuck on the road could ever be, more than anyone else has ever given him.

Any insecurity from earlier on in the evening is now forgotten. Drew can see it now, can see that even if some of his concerns were valid, he had no real need to worry about Alberto. Alberto is here and his through everything, Drew knows that now. Unless he royally fucks everything up, he’ll always, always have his Alberto.

And Alberto’s always got him. Drew hopes that he knows that.

“I love you,” Drew tells him, reaching for one of Alberto’s hands and linking their fingers. “I – I really, really fucking love you.”

Alberto smiles above him, slowing his thrusts a little now.

“I love you, too,” he says, and he squeezes Drew’s hand hard. “You don’t need to prove anything, Drew. You won’t lose me. I can promise you that you won’t ever lose me.”

Drew believes him. It’s the truth, after all. It’s the truth, and no-one can change it. No-one can take it away.

“Touch me,” he says, bucking his hips up towards Alberto. “I want to–”

Alberto’s hand moves straight to Drew’s cock, strong and sure, matching the rhythm to that of his own cock inside Drew. He’s slowed down now, and he isn’t fucking into Drew quite so hard, but the hand on Drew’s dick means it’s still enough. The way Alberto’s looking at him – awe and love and wonder – is definitely enough. Drew’s sure his own expression is just the same.

It doesn’t take more than another few minutes for Drew to be gasping, hands digging into Alberto’s back, and there’s static under his skin, come shooting across his stomach. Alberto fucks him through it, enhancing the way it feels, the way everything feels. It hasn’t been this good since the last time he was here, since the last time with Alberto.

“Should I–?” Alberto wonders, and Drew can tell that he’s contemplating pulling out, but Drew’s hands are quick to reach for Alberto’s sides, holding on tight to keep him there.

“Don’t stop,” Drew tells him, and he’s fucking whimpering but he doesn’t care, just wants Alberto to keep going, keep on fucking him. He might have already come but it’s still so good, and he wants Alberto to feel this good, too. “Don’t stop, don’t fucking stop.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” says Alberto, his eyes right on Drew’s. “Not unless you told me to, unless it was what you wanted.” For one brief, teasing moment, he pauses. “Is it what you want?”

“N-no,” is all Drew manages, shaking his head.

“What do you want, then? Tell me, Drew. Tell me what you want.”

Drew whines in lieu of words before he can actually find any.

“I want you to come for me,” he says, panting in between words. “Like this. Inside me. Want to see you. Want to hear you.”

Alberto nods, back to harder and faster now, and Drew knows he’s close.

He’s loud and vocal when he comes, a low groan and some more Spanish that Drew can’t quite place. There’s one word he definitely understands, though, and that’s his own name.

Drew watches, spent and breathless, and Alberto leans in even closer, close enough for a kiss. He’s still inside Drew, still stretching him so perfectly and still his. They’re each other’s. They’ll always be each other’s.

When they pull away from each other, Alberto moves back and pulls out of Drew. He rolls the condom off his dick and tosses it across the room to the bin. Somewhat miraculously, it’s a perfect shot.

“Oh, look at you,” Drew teases, shuffling in close to Alberto when he lies back down beside Drew on the bed.

They should shower, really – Drew’s hair is sweaty and tangled and his own come is drying on his stomach – but he wants to stay wrapped up in the afterglow for at least a little longer.

He rolls onto his side so they can be facing each other properly and Alberto follows, shifting so he’s facing Drew. Drew takes one of Alberto’s hands in his own, such a simple gesture and yet meaning so much at the same time. The last time he was here wasn’t the last time he had sex, but it was the last time he felt this close to someone, and he’s missed this kind of intimacy, real intimacy with someone he loves and who he knows loves him back just as much.

“You glad to have me back?” he asks, and he can’t help but smirk, because really, he already knows the answer.

Alberto smiles, a little tired looking, and he lifts Drew’s hand up to kiss it.

“I always am.”