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Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces

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Why are you ignoring me?

The simple text stares back at Steven from the backlit screen of his phone, and in his head, he can almost hear himself screaming those words at Michael. Well, he likes to think that's what he might be doing if Michael were standing in front of him, but the truth is a lot less dramatic. The truth would probably involve Steven being rendered utterly speechless, just as he always was when he looked at Michael. The second Steven would gaze into Michael's eyes, deep pools of everything he wants and nothing he fears, he'd probably forget all about the fact that Michael hadn't called him since the night they shared in New York.

Oh yeah, that night in New York. Steven hasn't forgotten, and really, how can he? All he can think about since the team got back from New York, almost exactly a week prior, is the night he had walked into a bar after their game against the Rangers, looking to forget about the world of troubles weighing on his shoulders, and ended up in Michael's apartment. Steven would like to say he was drunk that night, but really, he wasn't. Maybe if he was, he could chalk the entire experience up to an alcohol-induced bad decision. But even that would be a lie. Following Michael up to his apartment that night isn't something Steven would put on the list entitled 'bad decisions.' Giving his best friend front row tickets to the stress induced breakdown that followed doesn't necessarily belong on that list, either. Steven is pretty sure Michael's seen just about every side of him there is to see, and just being around Michael helped to calm him. 

Everything that happened afterwards falls onto an ambiguous list, one that Steven isn't quiet sure what to call. Kissing Michael? Definitely not bad. Good, even. Begging Michael to sleep with him? Probably not his finest moment, but Steven doesn't care. The resulting sex, which was some of the best he's ever had? There isn't even a list that could explain that one. There is one small part that Steven has to admit belongs on the 'bad decisions' list, though. Ok, maybe not so small, pretty big, actually. Five foot eleven, one hundred ninety one pounds of 'big.' 

Despite everything, Steven was still involved with Steve, even though something in him knew it was over the second Steve was traded to the Avalanche two seasons ago. There's still a part of Steven that desperately wanted things to work between them, and there's a part of him that would always belong to Steve, but that night in New York had only solidified in Steven's mind the hold Michael had on him. He knew from the very beginning that being with Michael wasn't going to be just a one time thing. If he had to be honest, he knew it from the very first time Michael's lips had touched his, at least half a decade ago.  Michael was his first, and last, but in between, there was Steve Downie, comfortable in the middle, unaware he'd been replaced. And that's where things got complicated. 

Steven had wanted to be with Michael that night, he had wanted to eschew expectations, and be the one to fall apart for a change. He wanted to give in to Michael completely, and with everything he had. Steven ached to watch the dark storm of passion that would play in Michael's rich, brown eyes every time he fell apart. He needed it. 

He needed it to take him back to the first time they were together, shortly after the draft, when life was a lot less complicated. It had worked, too, even if only for a couple of hours. With the next morning's sun came the reality that Steven would have to board the team's plane back to Tampa and step foot back into the real world. It was a world where he was still expected to simultaneously be the best and only- depending on who you talked to- member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a world where he still had Steve, waiting in Colorado, despite the distance and fact they hardly ever spoke anymore. Yeah, none of that had magically changed over night. There are some things, however, that had seemed to change since Steven arrived back from New York, and not for the better. 

As long as Steven could remember, he'd gotten at least three texts a week from Michael, more during the offseason. Steven's phone hadn't chirped once with a text notification all week. He tried to brush it off. After all, it wasn't like the Rangers were sitting around doing nothing, and some teams still had at least a possibility of making the playoffs. And yeah, 'tried' really was the operative word here. He couldn't ignore the repeated texts that went unanswered, or the phone calls that got sent to voicemail. After a few days of not hearing from Michael, Steven found himself anxiously awaiting the upcoming game against the Rangers. Then Michael could no longer ignore him. They would be in the same city, in the same building, and there was no 'ignore' button for real life. 

Except for the fact there actually seemed to be one, and Michael seemed to have found it. Steven sent him a quick text when he awoke earlier in the morning, one that simply said 'catch me after skate', and even as he sent it, he knew it wasn't going to fetch a reply. He was right, and he wasn't surprised, at least not yet. That part would come later, after morning skate, when he was slowly making his way down the barren hallway leading to the parking lot. Steven had been scuffing along, barely enough energy to pick up his feet with each step, when he happened to look up at just the right moment. Even from the end of the hallway, Steven could see the stiffness set in Michael's posture as he strode towards him, flanked by Brad Richards. As the two men walked closer to him, Steven noticed Michael's gaze fixate everywhere but on him. In the space of a few seconds that seemed to drag out into hours, Michael was brushing past Steven without so much as a glance, leaving Steven standing there with words dying on his lips and shock setting in his mind. 

Everything after the morning seemed like a blur, and it slowly dragged on in to the night. Steven couldn't seem to shake the fog of...whatever this whole thing was...from his brain. Not even when the game started, and not even when the Rangers scored two goals against them. As a matter of fact, Steven didn't really snap out of his haze until he was being crushed between the boards and one Michael Del Zotto. The hit was bone jarring, and hard, but clean. Steven wasn't naive enough to think Michael would spare him a check simply because they were friends- and sometimes more- from what seemed like birth. But, he had caught the look Michael had shot his way as he skated away at full speed, and there was something simmering under the depths of Michael's eyes. He was angry.

 

By the time the game was over, and they had sufficiently lost, Steven was ready to crawl into bed and forget the whole day had ever happened. He managed to make it out of the Forum without running into Michael, and Steven thought that was probably for the best. He hadn't tried to contact Michael any further, and he had completely ignored the various texts from teammates, begging him to go out. Steven simply drove home in silence, no radio to distract his reeling mind.

He couldn't shake the feeling that Michael's ire had something to do with their most recent venture into the land of 'sometimes more.' If he had to be honest with himself, Steven could say he knew it all along. Begging Michael to be with him when he was still with someone else wasn't ideal, and Steven knew this from the start, but....but what? Steven wasn't even really sure. He had to stop and put himself in Michael's place for a second, and try to understand where all this was coming from. Did Michael think Steven was only using him for a one night stand? There wasn't one single thing about Michael that Steven could confine to a single night, and surely Michael knew this...right? If only they could talk, but the game was over, the Rangers were God knows where, and the opportunity had passed.

Steven was still mad, maybe furious, even, but he knew the blame was solely his. Michael had tried to stop things before they went too far, several times, but all Steven could hear that night was Michael's raspy voice, calling to him through the chasm of time. He could still hear Michael's words, even as he slid from the front seat of his car, and the memories of Michael's ragged breathing roared through Steven's mind as he jammed the key into the front door of his condo. The noises of that night, playing through Steven's mind on a constant loop, were making it hard for him to think straight.

Perhaps that's why he had lost all track of time, and had become immobilized for what seemed like hours, standing by the front door of his condo. Steven worked out that he had managed in get inside, though he didn't remember unlocking the door and stepping over the threshold. A quick look told Steven he had locked the door behind him, but he didn't remember that either. In fact, Steven couldn't work out any of the details between the time he left the Forum, and the second he found himself standing in his front hallway, typing out a message to Michael on his phone.

 


Why are you ignoring me?

Even as Steven's fingers made quick work of typing out the accusatory text, he couldn't get that night out of his mind. His thumb hovered, trembling, over the 'send' button as he slowly closed his eyes, and swayed a little on his feet. He couldn't help but let his thoughts play on the long, broken string of curse words that escaped Michael through gritted teeth and spilled into the charged air of his small room. Michael's words that night continued to play in Steven's mind long after he had closed his eyes, following him into the darkness. 

Fuck. Jesus. Please, Steven. Fuck....don't....fuck.

As much as Steven wanted to say those words escaped Michael under the grip of passion, that simply wasn't the truth. That part would come later, after Steven had incessantly begged Micheal to 'make him forget', about obligations, expectations, and the entire world. No, the raspy whispers Steven couldn't shake from his memory were uttered by Michael in a fit of frustration, and fueled by his need to do the right thing.

 

But, things hadn't really gone the way either of them might consider 'right.' Steven knows he complicated things, to say the very least, but Michael's avoidance of him now was a vice around his chest. He couldn't bear the thought of possibly losing Michael over something they had both wanted. Or maybe that's it? Maybe Michael hadn't really wanted Steven that night, and maybe they weren't on the same page, as Steven originally thought. Perhaps Michael was several chapters behind, or in a different book all together. 

Suddenly, Steven didn't know if what happened that night was real, or if Michael was just humoring him. That thought caused a sick, twisting feeling in the pit of Steven's stomach, one so sharp it almost stole the air from his lungs. He knew he couldn't just let things be, they couldn't stay the way they were. His eyes flew open, and focused against the dim hall light. With his heart nearly pounding out of his chest, Steven glanced again at the message he had typed out to Michael, and tapped the 'send' button before he could change his mind.

Why are you ignoring me?

Those words stare back at Steven now, a burning reminder of just how fucked up things really were. His legs ache, both from the game, and from standing in place for so long, the weight of his own body straining every muscle. Steven's cell phone is all too heavy in his hand, and he almost lacks the strength to hold it out in front of him. He has the frame of mind to wearily sag against the wall behind him, taking some of the pressure from his body, but not enough sense to slide down the wall and rest completely. Steven isn't really sure what's holding him in place, or what's keeping him from going the rest of the way into the condo, taking a much needed shower, and getting some much needed sleep. He doesn't want to move, the need to stand guard by the front door is overwhelming, same as it had been since the second he stepped through it. It's almost like he's waiting for something to happen. Perhaps a light knock on the door, and the awkward shuffling of dress shoes on the other side.

So really, Steven is waiting for someone. Someone he isn't even sure is going to show, and certainly not any time soon, given that he had only sent the text about five minutes ago. Which is exactly why he's surprised when he hears a knock on the door. It's a lot harder, and more insistent than Steven had pictured in his mind, and it takes his body a few seconds to catch up to his brain, and then a few more seconds for him to get his tired muscles moving. He pushes off the wall behind him, making no attempt to stifle the noise that pushes out of his throat. 

Steven flicks open the lock, and every noise seems amplified, everything from the metallic grinding of the lock to the slow creaking of the door as it opens. A million emotions flood Steven as soon as he sees Michael, but he says nothing. In any other time and place, Steven would drag his gaze over Michael's body, taking in the way nearly every button of his dress shirt is undone, and then drag him inside before either of them has time for so much as a second thought. But, Michael's posture and Steven's apprehension tells him this isn't that time or place.

Michael has all his weight resting on the hand that's propped against the door jamb, and he's shifted completely onto one foot, the other quietly tapping a rhythm into the concrete doorstep. His head is down, and Steven can see the slender fingers of his free hand working over the back of his neck. It's an uneasy stance, and Steven's seen it all before. Every movement, and every muscle twitch. Sometimes, Michael would take the same stance as he stood in the doorway of a crowded room, or make the same anxious movements while seated on the bench. What he's doing now, allowing his body to speak volumes without having to actually say a word, was something that always came about when Michael was nervous. 

Steven can't help but feel bad at the uneasiness that's radiating off Michael in waves, and he silently slides to his left, motioning for Michael to enter. Michael slowly walks through the door, but doesn't say anything, and doesn't meet Steven's gaze. After a few seconds pass in silence, Steven wonders if Michael really came all this way just to say nothing. He wearily sinks against the wall, breath escaping him in a loud sigh as his eyes slide closed and he steels himself to break the silence.

"Didn't expect you so soon." Steven hates the way the idle chatter tastes on his tongue, metallic and fake. Has it really come to this, exchanging awkward pleasantries like strangers on an elevator? 

Michael finally shifts, scuffing the toe of his shoe over the tile floor, and looks up, locking eyes with Steven. Even in the dim light of the entryway, Michael can see the granite blue of Steven's eyes, and the light catches his wheat colored strands, turning them a shade of gold. It takes Michael's breath away, and he almost forgets what Steven had just said, and what he was planning on saying in response. Oh, yeah. How he got there so quickly.

"I was already out, hanging with Richie. He had the cab drop me here, and said he'd cover for me."

Steven isn't sure he likes the idea of Brad being privy to their business, and Michael must have seen him tense at the thought.

"Relax. I told him you just wanted to catch up," Micheal says, a slight lilt of amusement in his voice, and a small smile on his lips. Micheal then sets his lips in a thin frown and shifts again, because yeah, Steven isn't laughing. 

"Oh, so you didn't tell him that you're suddenly acting like you have no idea who I even am?" Steven winces a little, and bites at his bottom lip, because damn it, that sounded a lot harsher than he intended.

Michael scoffs and turns his head towards the front door. A few more seconds pass, and Michael doesn't move, only lightly scratches his fingers along his jaw line. Another nervous habit Steven knows so well.    

"I guess I kinda derserve that," Michael finally gets out. He lets his hand fall to his side, and turns to look at Steven. "I'm sorry, really. I'm just...."

"Mad at me," Steven finishes, and it isn't really a question as much as a statement. 

"No," Micheal says through a heavy sigh. He runs a slightly shaky hand through his dark curls, hoping Steven doesn't notice the trembling. With his eyes fixated on the floor, Michael nods his head a few times, as if he's going through his next words in his mind, and trying to decide if he really believes them. Finally, he breaks the silence without looking up to meet Steven's gaze. "I was mad at myself."

Steven blinks, and suddenly Michael is crossing the small space between them. His hand comes to a rest on the wall besides Steven's head, and his dark, brown eyes are boring into Steven with burning intensity. 

Steven swallows hard, and blinks, trying to clear his thoughts. His voice squeaks out of him, and it's only one word, but he's embarrassed at it's betrayal. "For?"

"Allowing that night to happen. Opening myself up to fall for someone who isn't mine." 

"Jesus, DZ," Steven grinds out, and slightly pushes Michael away, but not that forcibly, and definitely not that far. He still needs Michael, and that need is pulling at him like the tides. Still, he lets his anger show through his harsh tone. "I get enough of that shit in my professional life, everybody vying to hold the contract to nearly every part of me. Don't do it to me here. I'm not a possession, and Steve Downie doesn't own me."

Michael reaches up with his free hand, and starts to gently trail his fingers over Steven's jaw line. He silently mouths the word 'relax', and lets his hand trail lower on Steven's body until it's resting on his chest. Steven closes his eyes, places his hand over Michael's, and silently wills his world to stop spinning out of control. He finally opens his eyes and forces out a hard, deflating breath, because he knows there's no chance in hell of that happening.

"Have you broken things off with him yet?" Michael asks, perhaps in a tone much softer than the words actually warranted.

"...No. We haven't talked in weeks."

"Seems to be a lot of that going around," Michael says through a small, sideways smile. The entire atmosphere has changed, and all the uneasiness has bleed from Michael's body. There is no more uncertainty swirling around them, and they're finally back to where they were before. 

"So. Now what?" Steven searches Michael's face for an answer, and perhaps some sign that everything will be alright. And for a brief moment, he thinks maybe it will be when Michael closes the small distance between them, and met Steven's lips with his own. Steven melts at the very sensation, and the taste of Michael dancing on his tongue. It's a kiss he never wants to end, but Michael pulls away, leaving Steven flushed and slightly out of breath.

 

"I can't tell you what to do," Michael says in a breathy whisper, and leans forward to rest his forehead against Steven's. He can feel Steven's heart pounding against his palm, and Steven's warm breath as it sweeps over his cheeks. 

"I kinda wish you would," Steven finally admits, a slight laugh coloring the edges of his voice.

"You should know things would never be that easy."

"Did I hear you say you were falling for me?" Steven can't help but smile, because, yeah, maybe he wanted to tease Michael a little bit, but he also wanted to hear him say the words.

Michael swallows hard, and prepares himself to utter the words he came there to say. 

"Not falling. Fell. I'm done." Michael thinks about how good it feels to finally say it out loud, and he lets a smile curl around the corners of his lips. "You got me."

Michael says nothing else, but snakes his hand around the back of Steven's neck, his palm warm against Steven's skin. He can feel the burning of Steven's touch as it slides down his arm, and finally loops itself around his wrists, pulling him gently.

"C'mon," Steven says, his voice a husky whisper that goes straight to Michael's core.

"What, last time wasn't enough?" Michael asks, laughter dancing in his eyes.

"It never is with you."

 

                                                                                              >><< 

 

Steven's head is spinning as they push into the bedroom, and Michael's hands are brushing over his skin, seemingly everywhere all at once. He loses track of all the places Micheal's lips have traveled during just those few short minutes; his lips, face, jaw, and now his neck. It's dizzying, and in the best way possible. Steven isn't even sure how they manage to shed their clothing without falling over one another, and it seems all muscle memory as his fingers dispatch of the few remaining buttons on Michael's dress shirt, all while fighting against his rough denim jeans as Michael slides them down past his hips. Steven's thin cotton shirt, along with Michael's black dress pants, are the next to go, discarded on the floor by their trembling hands.

Steven's fingers skate over Michael's hips as he pulls them towards the bed, only stopping when the back of his knees hit the bed frame. He's never felt so exposed, yet so comfortable at the same time. Standing there, completely stripped in every way possible, takes Steven back to the first time they were together, when it felt as if he were laying his life in Michael's hands, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Steven sits down hard on the edge of the bed, half falling, half pushed by Michael's strong hands, and he's held breathless at the sight of Michael before him.

His eyes drag over Michael's naked form, taking in everything from the sheen of perspiration clinging to his smooth skin, to the dark strands of hair falling carelessly into his face, and finally, the unbridled look settling in Michael's dark eyes. Steven suddenly aches with the need to gently run his fingers along the scar marring Michael's side, evidence of an old hockey injury, and perhaps the only thing reminding him this is all real, and not the best kind of dream.

 

The air in the room seems stifling, yet somehow Steven is freezing, and the air whooshes around him as he falls back against the soft sheets, grabbing Michael's wrist and dragging him down with him. He scrambles towards the head of the bed, bringing his knee up as he does so, and accidentally brushing it over the inside of Michael's thigh. Micheal lets out a low moan at the contact, and Steven immediately thinks how it was the best kind of mistake, but really, that's true of their entire situation. The most wonderful, and beautiful mistake.

Before he can so much as blink, Micheal is moving over Steven, and lowering his head to bite at just the right spot on his neck. Steven could get absolutely high off the sounds of Micheal's ragged breathing in his ear, or driven nearly out of his damn mind by the feeling of Michael's teeth grazing over his skin. Steven swallows hard as the sensations course through him, like a current of electricity, and his pulse is thrumming so loud in his ears, that he's absolutely certain Michael can hear it too. Or, at the very least, feel it against his lips. 

Michael's kisses and gentle bites move from Steven's neck, trailing across his collarbone, slowly down his chest and stomach, until Michael's nipping at Steven's hip bone. Every movement, every ounce of friction created between them, sends jolts through Steven's entire body, and he can't help but let out a small whine, and buck his hips when Michael begins biting at his inner thigh. It's all starting to become too much, and Steven feels his world starting to spiral out of control, but he can't let that happen. Not yet. 

Steven reaches down, and rakes his fingers through Michael's curls before whispering his name, and it's a sound that's full of want, and loaded with need. "Michael. C'ere."

Steven can barely get the last word out as anything intelligible, but all Michael needed to hear was his name, falling from Steven's lips in a whispered plea. He deftly moves to hover his body over Steven's, bracketing Steven's hips with his knees. Steven's heart is nearly pounding out of his chest as Michael leans down, presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth, and twines his fingers through Steven's hair. 

"Anything you want. Anything," Michael whispers with his lips against Steven's, and it was everything Steven didn't know he needed to hear.

He reaches out and trails his fingers along Michael's jawline, before letting his hand fall away to rest on Michael's side. 'You. All I want is you.' Steven means to say it out loud, but for some reason, he can't get the words to make the short journey from his mind to his lips. The words echo, building in intensity, until Steven can't even think straight. Not that he'd be able to anyways, with Michael kissing and biting at his neck, and Michael's hard cock brushing against his with every movement.

Steven moves his hand from Michael's side, and raises his hips again, grinding against Michael and causing a fresh string of broken words to fall from Michael's lips. Steven probably would've cried out too, if he wasn't busy curling his tongue around his index finger, wetting it as Micheal watched, eyes fixed with a dark intensity. Steven's fingers are skating over Michael's heated skin seconds later, brushing over his opening as he gasps against Steven's neck. Michael takes in a sharp breath, and nearly bites his bottom lip in two as Steven slowly slips a finger inside him. 

Steven works his fingers in a way that has Michael trembling against him, and the small whimpering noises that Michael makes with each movement go straight to Steven's core. Steven thinks maybe he would be perfectly content to leave Michael a begging, quivering mess in his arms, but then there's a need underneath it all. A need for something more. 

 

Steven turns his head to the side, catching Michael's mouth with his own, and swallowing up all the delicious noises Michael makes as Steven slowly works another finger inside. When Steven is absolutely certain neither of them could take anymore, he takes Michael's bottom lip in between his teeth, biting gently as he slides his fingers out. The loss of Steven's touch sends a shock through Michael's system, and he sits upright. It's clear Steven wants more, but....

"I don't...I didn't bring...." Michael's eyes shift over Steven's face, his pupils dilated, leaving just a hint of the chocolate colored irises. Steven's caught a little off guard by just how open, and raw Michael's eyes look in the moment. 

It's as if Steven can see everything he wants, mirrored back at him through the rich, dark depths of Michael's eyes. He almost gets lost, and surprises himself by letting a short, cut off laugh escape his throat. "I think we're a little past that."

Micheal doesn't say anything else, just moves to slide down onto Steven's rigid flesh, inch by inch, at a maddeningly slow pace. Michael's breath is hot against Steven's neck, and each ragged breath he takes echos in Steven's ears as he pushes deeper. Steven can't help but think how the whole thing was like being thrust into some sort of lucid dream, the kind where you fight desperately to regain control, despite wanting to lose it. He hears his own voice, but it doesn't sound like him, and it seems to be coming from a million directions all at once. 

 

"Michael...Michael...Michael." Each breathy whisper of Michael's name is born into the air with each time Steven raises his hips, thrusting himself deeper into the best dream he's ever known. Through his haze, Steven registers the fluid movements of Michael stroking his hand over himself, the pulling and stretching of every muscle is mesmerizing. He's in full sensory overload, he's absolutely consumed by Michael. He can feel his skin, smell his cologne, taste him on his tongue, hear the ragged sounds of Michael's breathing, and pleading with him in a voice that's raw.

"Fuck, Steven, please. I'm-"

Michael doesn't get much else out. He falls forward, catching his teeth on Steven's collarbone. The sensations course through him like lightning, and he comes, spilling hot over his hand and onto Steven's stomach, his choked moans muffled against Steven's shoulder. The feeling of Michael's release nearly pushes Steven over the edge, and the heat builds in the pit of Steven's stomach, winding tighter and tighter until he's arching his back, grasping at the sheets, slamming his eyes shut, and breathing harshly through gritted teeth. The waves of his release crash over him like a tidal wave, and it's all he can do not to be swept away. 

Steven's eyelids slowly flutter open, and he fights his eyes to focus. His breathing slows, and it takes all his strength to slowly trail his fingers up and down Michael's spine, chasing the tremors from his body. As good as everything was, Steven thinks maybe the part that comes after is the best. It's the part that involves holding Michael as he catches his breath, and feeling Michael's pulse race as his fingertips graze over Michael's wrists. 

 

For what seems like hours, the only movement or sound in the room comes from the ceiling fan overhead. Steven thinks perhaps Michael has fallen asleep, and was just about resign himself to the same fate, but then Michael shifts, propping himself up on his elbows, and locking his gaze with Steven's. His eyes are dark and assessing, and Steven can almost see all the words he's about to say bubbling to the surface. 

"I know I said I couldn't tell you what to do, but..." Michael lets his words trail off, and bites at his lower lip in hesitation. 

"But?" Steven tries to sit up slightly, and it's nearly impossible under Michael's weight. Sensing this, Michael shifts to the side, only half laying on Steven, but he never breaks the intense gaze.

"If we're gonna keep doing this, I can't have you half here, half in Colorado."

Steven falls back to the bed, letting out a sigh of frustration. Part of him knew he couldn't go on forever living in two worlds, but Steven thought he would be allowed the luxury of staying in this one a little while longer. "Fuck, DZ. We're really doing this now?"

Michael's voice filters into the air not even a second later, without missing a beat. It's almost as if he had the whole conversation planned out, and knew exactly what Steven's reactions would be. "When would you rather? In the morning, when my team leaves for Sunrise? Or after the game, when I'm on a plane back to New York?"

The dim light of the room does nothing to hide the emotions playing over Michael's face, and Steven has to shift his eyes to the bright display of the digital clock next to the bed, because for the first time in his life, he can't look at Michael. He can't look into Michael's eyes, see the hurt dwelling there, and know he caused it. 

 

Steven lets out a hard, sharp exhale, and wearily runs a hand through his flaxen strands."Fine. Point taken. What do you want me to do?"

"Well," Micheal says, suddenly wishing he had kept his mouth shut, but knowing it was too late to take the words back. "You can't have it both ways."

Michael could feel Steven's body tense, and damn it, this is not how he wanted to spend the few short hours they had together. He swallows hard, and watches Steven's ice blue eyes as they shift about the room. The tense silence hangs between them, and Michael wonders if maybe Steven was right. Was now really the best time? Probably not. Ok, definitely not, but there really is no other time, just as Michael said before, and just the thought of having to share Steven with someone else causes his stomach to turn. At least it does until he remembers that he's actually the 'someone else.' 

It's in that second that Michael isn't sure which is worse; knowing he doesn't have Steven all to himself, or knowing that he's taking Steven away from someone else. Someone else who Michael even considers a friend. He pulls Steven closer to him, never wanting to let go, not even for a second. Something inside him is screaming that if he lets go now, he'll never regain his hold.

"Alright, alright. Calm down and enjoy the moment. Who knows when we'll get another one," Michael whispers, his lips brushing over Steven's neck.

A few moments tick off slowly and silently before Michael slides next to Steven, stretching his body and intertwining their limbs. He lets out a small, content sigh as his head rests on Steven's chest, and his hand finds Steven's, lacing their fingers together. It isn't long before Michael dozes off, and Steven wishes he could only be so lucky. 

He has a feeling sleep won't find him tonight.