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Catching Gold

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The smell of bacon wakes Michael from a deep slumber, where all of his nightmares were true: zombies had taken over the world and he had to kill Gavin to stop him from becoming one. He shakes off the fear and terror itching at the back of his mind and stands from their shared bed, stretching his arms above his head. He wonders towards the warm kitchen, the scent of bacon and fresh brewed coffee filling his nose. He stops and pauses at the sight gracing their kitchen.

Gavin, shirtless, is humming a Bayside song under his breath, holding a spatula in one hand and reaching for some butter with the other. He’s shaking his hips in time with the song playing in his mind and, in the early morning sunlight, the golden band on Gavin’s left hand catches those soft rays and fills Michael’s heart with so much joy he can hardly breathe.

His fiancé is beautiful.

“Oh!” Gavin chirps as he turns around, multi-colored eyes sparkling with happiness. He quickly crosses the distance and presses a kiss to Michael’s lips, cupping his left hand on Michael’s cheek, the ring a blessed cool. “Morning! Didn’t see you there; gave me quite a fright.”

Michael presses his lips back before Gavin flits off to flip the bacon. “What’s with the fancy breakfast?”

“Wellllll,” Gavin starts, “I figured since we’re going to be married soon, might as well get used to living the house-husband life.”

Michael snorts before crossing their little kitchen and curling his arms around Gavin’s waist, resting his head on Gavin’s thin shoulder. He tips his head against Gavin’s, rubbing their cheeks together. “What, you want to be a kept man?”

“Do you see these hands, Michael?” Gavin places the last perfectly crisp piece of bacon on a paper plate then holds his hands in front of himself. “Look at these hands and tell me that they’re not made for housework?”

“That’s the exact opposite of a kept man, stupid,” Michael chuckles, splaying his hands across Gavin’s thin stomach.

“Well, I just want to be a good husband to you,” Gavin mutters quietly, dropping his hands to his sides. Michael gently turns the other man around and presses him tight against the counter.

“You’ll be a great husband. We’re going to be great together,” Michael promises, leaning in to press a deep kiss to Gavin’s lips.

Gavin’s hands come up and frame Michael’s face and no matter how long that goddamn ring sits on his finger, Michael’s stomach will always flip at the feeling of the metal against his skin. At the sign that they’re something great, something wonderful, something meant to be.

Gavin jumps up on to the counter, shoving everything to the side as Michael slips in between the V of his legs. He licks into Gavin’s mouth and the other man opens without hesitation, teasingly licking back. Their kisses are light and playful, even with their growing erections pressing against cotton boxers. Gavin presses his hips forward and grips Michael’s shoulders, sliding one hand up his neck and into his hair. Michael presses back just as hard, causing Gavin to hit his shoulder on the cabinet.

“Shit, fuck, I’m sorry,” he cries, taking a step back as Gavin shakes his head, locking his legs around Michael’s waist and bringing him back in.

“No, no, it’s fine. I’m fine, c’mere,” Gavin whispers, pressing his lips softly to the corner of Michael’s mouth. The hand in Michael’s hair catches a curl on the golden ring and it causes a thump in his chest and a growl from his throat.

Michael practically attacks Gavin’s lips and Gavin hums in agreement. Michael feels himself losing it – he always has when it comes to Gavin – and grips the hem of Gavin’s shirt in his fists, trying to ground himself. Gavin understands (always has) and soothingly caresses Michael’s cheek, letting the soft touches contrast the roughness of their lips. They part long enough to catch their breath before Gavin smirks devilishly and bucks his hips against Michael’s, letting the other man feel his hardness through the thin cotton of his boxers.

Their eyes meet and Michael cocks an eyebrow, purposefully reaching forward and gripping Gavin’s hips, rolling his own up slowly. Gavin’s eyes flutter close and he throws his head back, his neck a long line of tanned skin that Michael can’t help but lean forward and lick. Gavin bites his lip to keep his groan in and Michael starts to nip at the skin under his lips. Every time they do this, Michael’s main goal is never to make Gavin come, but to get him to make some sort of noise.

Michael’s hips keep up a steady rhythm that Gavin meets, thrust for thrust. It’s easy and unhurried, their lips meeting every few moments. Michael’s grip on Gavin’s hips never falter and Gavin’s fingers are wrapped in curls that Michael has grown out for this specific reason. Michael thrusts harder and Gavin tugs on his hair, ripping a groan from the back of Michael’s throat. Gavin leans forward and bites on the exposed curve of Michael’s shoulder and he feels himself creep closer to the edge.

He squeezes Gavin’s slim hips and ruts faster; Gavin answers each movement flawlessly. His hands drops to Michael’s back and dull nails rake up his overheating skin, no doubt leaving red welts in their wake. Michael groans Gavin’s name, low in his throat – almost a growl – and Gavin replies with a hushed version of Michael’s name and – and that’s it. Michael presses forward, holding Gavin close to his chest, as he comes in his boxers like a teen.

He doesn’t stop his movements for very long though, keeps up the rhythm the best he can, and guiding Gavin to the edge, where he finally plummets moments after his fiancé, the only sound he lets out is a breathless sigh against Michael’s lips.

Michael finally relents his grip on Gavin’s hips, smirking a little at the bruises he left. He will never let Gavin know but he loves when he leaves a marker, a sign that Gavin is his and no one else’s. Loves knowing that Gavin is claimed. Gavin sighs happily, bringing up his arms and laying them across Michael’s shoulders, crossing them at the wrist behind his head. His eyes are closed and Michael takes the opportunity to just stare at the face of the man he was lucky enough to love him back. Times like this, it seems almost impossible – improbable – for someone as wonderful as Gavin to love someone as terrible as Michael. Michael, with his anger issues, his insurmountable guilt, his possessiveness, and his fear of commitment.

“You’re thinking too loud,” Gavin whispers, fingers creeping up the back of his neck before they come around to the front of his face, holding his cheeks in his hands.

“I just don’t know how I got you to love me,” Michael whispers, closing his eyes and leaning against Gavin’s forehead. Gavin huffs a laugh and presses his lips to Michael’s.

“It was easy. You were you and I…” Gavin trails off, something he has a tendency to do when he’s thinking about saying something unbelievably cheesy. “And I was made to love you.”

Michael laughs once, not disappointed in the amount of cheese in that sentence. He presses his forehead harder against Gavin’s before muttering, “Yeah, maybe the same goes for me.”

They share one more kiss before Gavin pulls back, Michael putting a little bit of breathing room between the two of them. He slowly opens his eyes, only to scream out in terror. There’s a gaping wound in the middle of Gavin’s forehead, blood sluggishly dripping out of it. Gavin tips his head to the side, eyes slowly fading to a dead white. “What is it, love?”

Michael pushes away, tripping over his own feet, falling to the ground in terror. Gavin drops to the floor and slowly approaches, his dead eyes looking concerned, even as blood slowly drips into them. “Michael, love, what is it?”

“Stay away from me!!” Michael screams.

Gavin huffs a humorless laugh as the color begins to drain from his face, leaving him ashen white. His limbs drag and Michael can literally see the life beginning to drain away from them. “What? Can’t bear to look at your own handy work, Mi-cool?”

“Wh-What are you talking about?”

Suddenly, the mess in his pants is gone along with his boxers, suddenly covered by dark, dirty jeans and a worn faded tank top, covered in mud and something darker – covered in blood, Michael realizes, swallowing bile – along with a jacket. There’s something heavy on his hip but he’s too terrified to look at it. His fingertips brush it as he struggles to his feet, the dying form of Gavin still creeping forward: it’s a gun. Something lurches in his chest as the cool metal of his diamond pendant hits his clavicle and the matching creeper is dangling from Gavin’s ashen neck.

Michael blinks once and in that short span of time, Gavin’s suddenly dressed as well. He’s wearing a pair of dark skinny jeans with a gaping hole torn in the side of one of the calves, a bloody wound exposed, dripping sluggishly down the denim. He’s in a faded and wrecked Tower of Pimps tee shirt and the creeper is a stark green against the darkness of the shirt. There’s a twisted smile on his face and Michael throws himself against the far wall.

“Don’t you remember, love?” Gavin – or what was once was Gavin – asks, cocking his head sickeningly quick and far, until it’s near parallel with the floor. Michael shakes his head vigorously. “I begged you. And you did it anyway.”

“I didn’t do anything!” he shouts back, hand automatically reaching for the gun at his hip. He has no idea what to do with it – has only fired guns with button combos – but it’s like his body is moving on auto-pilot.

“You killed me!” the monster impersonating Gavin shouts, as his head wound pours more aggressively, pouring down his face, leaving little rivers of crimson in its wake.

Memories fly back and hit Michael in the face until he’s crumpling under the weight of his own guilt and he’s lying on the ground near sobs. “No. No,” he mutters denials weakly, shaking his head continuously. “No.”

“Yes,” dead Gavin hisses, bending at his wounded knee, leaving the wound that was all Michael’s fault on display for him to see. Michael whimpers at the sight. “You didn’t save me. You promised you would protect me and in the end, you killed me yourself!”

“Stop, please,” Michael begs, tears beginning to flow down his cheeks. Dead Gavin sneers, lifting Michael up by the back of his head, fingers tight in the curls.

“How many times did I ask the same thing to you?” Dead Gavin wonders, tightening his fist until Michael’s instinctively grabbing for the fingers, trying to loosen them in vain. “How much did I beg before you decided to kill me?”

“Gavin, please. You – ” Michael stops though because he has no idea how to end that sentence. Because Gavin did beg, but not in the way the doppelganger is implying. “Gavin, I loved you.”

Dead Gavin snickers before dropping Michael back to the ground, his palms coming out to brace himself as he lands. “Hell of a way of showing it.”

Michael glances up and, through his tears, he watches as the ghost of his lover pulls the gold band from his finger and drops it to the ground in front of him.

“I never loved you and I would have never married you,” Dead Gavin whispers before he turns away and vanishes, leaving Michael a screaming, sobbing mess.

--

Michael wakes up screaming, hand automatically reaching for the knife under his pillow. The dark of the warehouse is familiar but in no way comforting. He lies there for several long moments, holding the hilt of his bowie knife firmly, and tries to breathe. There’s this weight pressing down on his chest so hard and it feels like the weight of a gold band.

He tilts his head to the left and squeezes his eyes shut, his face screwing up in his unshed tears. He tries to hold the floodgates back as long as he can but the wound is still so fresh. It hasn’t even been a month and the night terrors keep getting worse and worse. The dampness of his pillow (of Gavin’s pillow) is the evidence of that; it’s nearly soaked through and smells more of the salty bitterness of his tears rather than the sweet scent that was Gavin.

Ray’s a comforting presence next to him, his deep breathing a soothing reminder that he still has something, even if it’s not what he wants. He listens to Ray’s even breaths and thinks of the terrible things dead Gavin had said to him. Michael knows that it was just his own subconscious making Gavin say those things but there’s a glimmer of possibility that there could have been truth in those words that leaves a sour taste in his mouth.

“Stop,” he whispers to himself, pressing the heels of his hands into his eyes. “Just. Stop it.”

He sniffles once and steels his face. All he has to do is stop thinking about all the bad shit and think of the good. He rolls over on to his back and gently lays his hands on his chest. He thinks of the way Gavin’s hand had looked with the gold band wrapped around his left ring finger. He thinks of the gentle sway of Gavin’s hips as he hummed to himself. If he takes a deep enough breath, he can still smell the scent of sex and coffee in the air.

They were going to be married and it takes his breath away.

Silently, he pushes himself to his feet and steals a glance at Ray’s sleeping form. His mouth is wide open, a little bit of drool slipping from the corner of his mouth, and Michael rolls his eyes at the image. He’s a little resentful that Ray can sleep so easily when all he has is nightmares to comfort him. Michael sneers at himself; Ray has woken up screaming just as many times as he has. He feels it; the bitterness is starting to consume him.

He stalks away from their little sleeping den and ducks around one of the corners of the warehouse. He leans against the cool wall and closes his eyes, trying so hard to recall the good memories of the dream. When he inhales through his nose, the scent of Gavin fills his sinuses and he swears he can feel the phantom fingers in his hair. He lays his palm flat on his stomach, scratching lightly, letting the fake memories fill his head.

They lived in that little house a few miles from the office he saw before it burned to the ground. It was a little blue thing that Gavin had once made a passing comment about (“Isn’t that a lovely little house, Mi-cool? We should rent that house together!”) and Michael wants to imagine his life there. He thinks of all the wonderful things he would do there, like drink beers and play video games with Gavin. He would fill the house with ugly little trinkets that would make him think of Gavin when he was out and about. He would stock the cupboards with Gavin’s favorite things, make him all his favorite meals, spoil the Brit absolutely rotten to make up for all the times he has been genuinely rotten to him.

He would make love to Gavin on every surface; fuck him face first into the couch, pressed tight against the kitchen wall, gently in the shower to ensure that they didn’t face plant on the porcelain. Lay Gavin out flat on his back on their shared bed, worship his body in every way, until Gavin was silently begging to be taken. He would blow him under the dining room table, jack him off in the closet while Geoff, Ray and Jack were in the other room. He would even let Gavin hold him down by the wrists and let him push in slowly, so slowly that Michael was sure he wouldn’t be able to breathe again. He would tease him with low slung jeans and a little peek of boxers, drive Gavin wild until he could no longer restrain himself and fucked Michael right there in the office supply closet.

“Shit,” Michael hisses when he realizes that he’s worked himself up, straining against the thin material of Gavin’s sweats. He casts a glance over his shoulder, ensuring that everyone’s still out cold, and turns back. He takes a deep breath and slides his hand down his flat stomach.

When he reaches past the band and wraps around his firm dick, he squeezes his eyes tight and tries to pretend that it’s Gavin. He starts to stroke slowly, twisting a little at the tip, squeezing gently at the base. He fills his mind with the images he thought of earlier and more. As he shoves the band below his balls, he thinks of the way Gavin’s breath would feel on his face if he were here, if he were doing this instead of Michael. He conjures the image until he swears he’s no longer touching himself, but it’s Gavin’s thin fingers and thinner wrist brushing against his overheating skin. He thinks of the warmth of the palm and the coolness of the metal wrapped around his finger under it too is warm from the heat of his cock. He wonders how that metal, that commitment, would feel against the smoothness of skin and Michael has to bite his lip to keep his moan in.

He strokes faster and faster, imagining hushed little nothings that Gavin would say into his ear as he comes closer and closer, the burn in his arm a bitter reminder that Gavin’s not here. That this isn’t Gavin. He snarls at himself, shaking his head once, before imaging Gavin’s soft voice in his ear.

He gasps when his mind plays a horrible trick on him and says to him in Gavin’s accent, “Come for me, love.”

And he has never been able to deny Gavin a fucking thing, so he does – hard – groaning, “Gavin,” as he spills over his hand. He’s panting as he lowers his arm, dropping it to his side, giving it a quick wipe against his thigh. His eyes are still closed but as his skin cools, he remembers that Gavin’s not here. Gavin’s dead, at his own hand. With his left hand, he presses the heel of his hand to his leaking eyes and wonders if he cried through his whole orgasm.

He stands there for a few more moments, before tucking himself back into pants that are a little too long for him and returning towards Team Lads’ den.

Well, his and Ray’s den. There’s no more Team Lads.

He lies back down in his nest of blankets and holds the one that still smells of Gavin close to his chest, breathes in deep.

This is the last moment. There will be no more happy thoughts or stolen self-moments. From this moment on, there’s nothing for Michael but revenge. He’ll close himself off from everything and everyone and just do the best he can for Gavin.

He swallows hard and closes his eyes. No more thoughts of “maybe”s or “could have been”s. From this moment on, there will no more thoughts of marriage or of love. The only lust he’ll let himself experience is the lust of blood.

Tomorrow, Michael will be a new man.

But tonight?

Tonight, he’s gonna cry one last time.

And he does, until he’s back at that little blue house, with Gavin haloed by the setting sun, those fading rays catching gold that makes Michael’s heart fill with so much grief that he’s not sure if he can even breathe.