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Some Kind of Magic

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1.

Mike doesn’t know what to make of the scene in his backyard. It’s not like he hasn’t hallucinated before – he’s toured with Gabe, it’s kind of a given – but for the first time in a good long while he’d spent the night pointedly not drinking, proving to himself and Bill and Chiz that he’s completely fine. He’s even sipping at his second cup of coffee; he’s pretty sure he’s awake and lucid.

Which means there’s actually a naked guy in the maple behind his house. Awesome.

He’s tired. Deep tissue tired. Bone tired. All his limbs are aching, and he doesn’t feel like dealing with this shit.

He could ignore it and go back to sleep, but he’s afraid he’s a little too wired for that. Like he’ll just stare at his ceiling for a while and then decide JD is totally the way to go again. He feels like he should dry out for a while. Maybe then Bill will stop making sad-eyes at him and petting his hair.

Mike sighs and slides open his glass door. The stone patio is already warm from the morning sun, and it feels good on his bare feet. He cups his mug between both hands and stares up at his tree.

He’s always liked that tree.

Now, there’s a naked guy sleeping in it, and a little black and white cat sitting at its base, yowling.

The cat is not Mike’s cat. Rachel took the cat when she left – no big loss, it never really liked Mike anyway. Mike’s not really a cat person.

He’s seen this cat around before, though, a pretty innocuous, loner stray, but now it’s crying, and the dude in Mike’s tree doesn’t even twitch. He’s just lounging on a branch, one leg curled up, the other dangling a little, head pillowed on folded arms. Mike’s actually impressed he hasn’t fallen.

And then Mike says, “Hey,” and the guy jerks and makes a sound like a strangled yip and topples backwards, before catching the backs of his legs around a limb.

Mike sees then that he’s not really naked. He’s wearing a loincloth or what-the-fuck-ever, only now that he’s hanging upside down it doesn’t really cover anything anymore.

Mike pinches the bridge of his nose and totally regrets ever getting sober.

*

Mike calls Bill. He immediately wishes he hadn’t, since Bill just laughs his ass off and hangs up on him. He isn’t naive enough to think that’ll be the end of it.

And now the mostly-naked guy is in Mike’s kitchen, playing with a spatula.

“Do you have any milk?” he asks. He sounds normal, like a normal person, even if he’s kind of—glittering.

“No,” Mike says, folding his arms over his chest, fighting back the fucking ridiculous urge to just, like, spread his fingers out over that skin, see if the shimmer rubs off. “I don’t have any fucking milk.”

“Oh,” the guy says, and Mike doesn’t think a lack of milk deserves that tragic of a pout, Jesus.

Mike grabs his car keys from the counter and says, “I’ll be back.”

*

“So you just left him there,” Siska says, nodding. “Rad idea, dude.”

“Oh, fuck you,” Mike says, slumping further down into the couch cushions. He’s not drunk, but he kind of wants to be. Instead, he’s got an open bag of Oreos perched on his stomach.

Butcher’s sitting on the windowsill, one foot outside on the fire escape, cigarette hanging from his smirking mouth. He’s radiating pure fucking amusement at Mike’s expense. Mike isn’t going to punch him, but only because he’s eaten so many cookies he thinks he’ll throw up if he moves.

“And he glittered at you?” Butcher says, stubbing his cigarette out on the brick and swinging his leg back inside.

“Look, fuck—it’s not like I have anything worth stealing,” Mike says, ignoring Butcher and the way Butcher’s laughing without actually laughing.

Siska bobs his head some more. “Right.”

“Did you tell Bill about the glitter?” Butcher says, and Mike spares a moment to flip him off.

*

Mike comes home five hours later with a gallon of milk, but the house seems to be empty except for Bill. Bill, who’s in his kitchen, yellow rubber gloves pulled up to his elbows, scrubbing at his sink.

“Bill, what the fuck?” The kitchen smells like lemon and chocolate. There’s a trash bag full of liquor bottles by the back door and Mike’s hands clench into fists, because, fuck, he’s not a fucking alcoholic here. He’s not gonna fucking binge again, not unless Rachel comes back to grind her dagger-like heels further into his heart. He doesn’t need Bill mother-henning him to death – he never should have called him about the naked guy.

“I made brownies,” Bill says, waving a sponge, “but your fairy ate them all.”

Mike opens and closes his mouth dumbly. Finally, he says, “My—what?”

“I wasn’t previously aware of this,” Bill says, grinning at him, “but apparently fairies subsist solely on sugar and milk. I put a bowl of ice cream out for his brothers; they’re all sort of adorable. I’m thinking about adopting Nick.”

Mike closes his eyes and rubs two fingers in between his eyebrows. “I am not drunk.”

“No. No, you’re not.” Bill pats his shoulder. “Now, Christine made you lasagna, all you have to do is heat it up.”

*

Mike is fine. Mike is handling everything great. Mike’s been through break-ups before, this isn’t anything new.

It’s just. This time, Mike had kind of thought he’d maybe been in love.

*

“Okay,” Bill says, tugging off the rubber gloves with a snap, “before you lose yet another day to your couch and the timeless chick-flick classic, Somewhere in Time—”

“Bill—”

“Don’t think I didn’t notice your tragic DVD rentals, Michael, you are in dire need of some manly companionship.”

Mike stifles a groan. “Bill.”

“And while I’ve become surprisingly fond of those weird boys in your garden over this lazy afternoon, I wouldn’t exactly call their presence in any way manly, so here’s what we’re going to do.”

Bill pauses, and Mike arches an eyebrow at him. This oughta be good.

“We, you and I, and perhaps Chislett, though we both know how utterly useless Siska and Butcher can be.” Bill takes a deep breath, grinning wide. “But we, Mike, are digging a pool in your backyard.”


2.

The thing is – Mike hasn’t had enough caffeine, or any, to deal with this shit so early in the morning.

“Hi.”

Mike groans and rolls over, burying his head in his pillow, trying to ignore the kid sitting at the end of his bed. “Sleep,” he says, maybe this is all a fucked-up dream, but he hears the guy say, “Okay,” and then the bed dips and Mike finds himself tucked up against a half-naked dude who has – okay, he’s got really soft skin and he’s warm, and Mike fights the sudden urge to snuggle – which is unnecessary, it turns out, because the guy curls right up tight along his side, and Mike doesn’t know whether to curse the fact or thank god that he wore a t-shirt and boxers to bed.

He turns his head and peeks one eye out. “Kid—”

“Kevin.”

“Kevin,” Mike says, and Kevin is smiling at him, pink-cheeked, with this riot of soft-looking, dark curls which Mike absolutely does not want to touch, “what are you doing?”

Kevin looks slightly bewildered. “Sleeping?”

“No, you’re—you know what? Fuck it, I’m getting up.”

Kevin pouts a little, but shifts away to let Mike climb out of the bed. He’s sprawled out, up on his elbows, bare chest still freaking shimmering, like he’s covered in cinnamon and sugar. He looks—he looks like something Mike really wants to lick, actually.

Mike sighs and runs a hand through his hair and asks, “Does your weirdo milk fetish involve cereal?”

*

Downstairs, there’s another guy – family resemblance noted – sitting on Mike’s counter and eating out of a tub of vanilla fudge swirl ice cream. The black and white tuxedo cat is perched next to him, pawing at his arm.

“Hey,” he says around a mouthful of ice cream.

“How did you even get in?” Mike asks.

He bobs his head. “Bill showed Kev where you keep the extra key.”

*

Mike sits at his kitchen island and watches Kevin and his brother, Joe, eat ice cream and spoon-battle over the veins of chocolate, and he wonders if Bill has lost his fucking mind and, like, hired actors to pretend to be naked homeless men intent on taking over Mike’s house and life. That is exactly something Bill would do.

Also, Bill would want it taped. Mike starts searching for nanny cams.

All he finds, though, is a single silver hoop earring, a dried-out piece of hot dog and a book on fairy gardens.


3.

Rachel had been kind of a pagan. Like, she called herself a pagan and bought shit for the garden – those big-ass reflective balls, weird blank-eyed statues, sparkly tree things, and these ugly wooden caves or something. Mike thinks his garden looks like a five-year-old designed it, but whatever.

“So we’re acting out Encino Man, then,” Chiz says, leaning on a shovel handle and smirking at Bill.

Bill ignores him and purses his lips and walks out the length of the yard before walking out a much smaller length and declaring, “Okay, we’re digging a hot tub. Hot tubs are more my thing, anyway.”

“Just dig up the garden,” Mike says, and Bill gives him his best I-am-deeply-offended look, complete with a hand pressed to his chest.

“We can’t just dig up the garden, Michael,” Bill says. “Where would the fairies go?”

Chiz snorts a laugh.

Mike has had enough of this shit.

*

“So you left Bill and Chiz alone with shovels,” Siska says. He gives Mike a finger gun. “I like your style.”

Mike crunches down on a two-inch stack of Pringles. Crumbs go everywhere, and Butcher reaches over with a dustbuster and vacuums his shirt.

“This thing is awesome, man,” Butcher says. He stares down the barrel of it and Siska says, “Careful, it’ll suck your face off,” and Butcher says, “Twenty-five volts of sucking power!” while Siska cracks up, and Mike doesn’t know why he bothers.

*

Chislett is sunbathing in his underwear on his patio when Mike gets back.

Bill has his shirt tied around his head, rocking out to En Vogue, knee deep in an approximately five-by-five hole.

“Givin’ him something he can fe-eeeel,” Bill sings, and the way he’s flinging his shovel around, Mike can’t blame Chiz for giving up and keeping a safe distance.

“How’s it going?” Mike says to Chiz, hands in his pockets.

Chislett squints up at him and says, “Just swell.”


4.

Given the way his week has been going so far, Mike is not surprised at all to walk into his den the next morning and find Kevin curled up on his couch, Joe sprawled out on the floor, and another half-naked dude in his armchair. The tuxedo cat has his face buried in an empty bowl, and a fat mourning dove is balanced precariously on top of his precious fifty-two inch flat panel TV.

“Mike,” Kevin says, and grins up at him.

Mike pinches the bridge of his nose.

“Dude,” Joe says, “you’re out of milk.”

*

Because Mike has to ask, the cat’s name is Sticky, and Nick’s bird is Mortimer, and apparently there’s a butterfly somewhere around named Alyosha that belongs to Joe, but Joe’s, “Totally a free spirit, man, and Al goes where he pleases.” He waggles his fingers up in the air.

“He’s really pretty,” Kevin says, and Sticky narrows his eyes and head butts Kevin’s hand and meows.

Mike is still not convinced this isn’t all just an elaborate prank.

*

“Wee lads, who are not so wee,” Bill says grandly, shouldering open Mike’s front door. He’s got a grocery bag in each hand. “I’d ask how, but I’m pretty sure the answer is magic.”

Mike says, “Why are you here so early?” Bill’s still set on digging up his backyard, but it’s barely past nine in the morning.

“I’m making breakfast,” Bill says. “Fairies totally need pancakes, I even brought extra syrup.”

Mike does not say that Kevin and his brothers aren’t fairies, because he’s seriously not so fucking sure about anything anymore.

“Why is there a bird shitting on your TV?” Bill asks.

“Son of a bitch.”

*

Bill hums Toxic and waves his spatula and shakes his hips and then Kevin starts spreading his fingers out all over his empty plate and licks syrup off them and Mike is a saint – a giant fucking saint - for settling on just staring. He even sits on his hands, what the fuck.

“Mmmm,” Kevin says, sucking on his forefinger, and pieces of Mike’s soul just flop over in a dead fucking swoon, and he curses the day he met Bill for even knowing that fucking word.

“This is what hell is,” Mike says.

Bill slides another plate of pancakes onto the table.


5.

Bill has brochures. Chislett looks amused, Mike’s backyard – except for the fucking fairy garden – is a complete shit-heap mess, and Bill has brochures.

“Above ground spas are the way to go,” Bill says, fanning them out on Mike’s coffee table. “Look at this one. It seats twelve, and you can swim a little in the middle. Hot tub party!”

“You fucking ruined my yard, and now you want me to buy a hot tub?” Mike says. He’s not really mad. He kind of expected this from the beginning.

Bill says, “Christine won’t let me have one,” and he gives Mike puppy eyes, which is fine, because Mike’s been immune to Bill’s puppy eyes since their folk battle days. Back then he’d been all skinny limbs, elbows and knees, like a strangely adorable praying mantis. Now he’s like a giant girl.

“You’re a giant girl,” Mike says, and Bill flips him off.

*

“Bill’s making me buy a hot tub,” Mike says.

Butcher says, “Your life, so hard.”

It looks like Siska and Butcher haven’t moved very much since Mike was last there, there’s a pile of pizza boxes on the floor, topped off with the dustbuster.

Siska curses when Butcher goes too fast up the cliff wall in Contra and his own character crashes and burns. “You fucking suck, Mrotek,” he says, then steals one of Butcher’s lives.

“Fuck you,” Butcher says absently.

“Oh, oh,” Siska says, pausing the Nintendo. He looks over at Mike. “Dude, get the twelve-seater, it’s like a pool party, only for adults!”


6.

It takes another week and a half for Mike to realize that Kevin, Joe and Nick are essentially living with him, and that they’re all wearing his clothes.

“Those pants don’t even fit you,” Mike says to Kevin.

Kevin’s folded up on the couch in Mike’s well-worn green and yellow striped pajama bottoms, ankles showing. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s an inch or so taller and that he has some serious thighs, testing the strength of those ten-year-old seams. Mike has great legs, but Bill’s called him petite before – and gotten a punch to the groin for his troubles.

“I like them,” Kevin says, and then he shifts and pats the kind of small space of cushion next to him and grins at Mike and Mike is totally not a snuggler – he’s never ever been any sort of cuddle-muffin, no matter what Bill says – but he squeezes in anyway. He squeezes in and lets Kevin hook their arms together and press his head up against Mike’s shoulder and curl his leg to rest half over Mike’s lap.

He’s not fucking happy about it, though.

*

“You look happy,” Bill says. He leans close and peers into Mike’s eyes.

Mike lets him.

After a minute, Bill says, “Have you been debauching a certain impressionable fairy?”

“No,” Mike says, scowling. He’d probably be pissed off more if he didn’t actually want to debauch a certain impressionable fairy. Kevin is seriously testing his patience and restraint with his refusal to wear shirts. He says they make his shoulder blades itch.

No one’s throwing around the word wings yet, but Mike figures it’s just a matter of time.

“Well,” Bill huffs, “I’m a little disappointed in you, then.”

“You would be,” Mike says. Mike does not debauch—fuck, damn it - sometimes he hates Bill - innocents. He really, really doesn’t. Even when he catches them licking all the glaze off a jelly donut. Seriously. For real.

Bill taps a finger against his lower lip, cocks a hip into his kitchen counter. “He’s here for you, you know.”

“He’s here because my ex put out fucking fairy mousetraps in my garden,” Mike says, and he can’t believe he just said that sentence out loud; his life is so fucking strange.

“Fairy houses, not traps,” Bill says. Then he grins and flicks the end of Mike’s nose – which Mike seriously hates, Bill needs to keep his freakishly long spider-fingers to himself – and says, “He’s here because he loooooves you.”

“Bill—”

“No, really, he doesn’t like to see you sad.” Bill gets his serious face on. It’s mainly the same as his whimsical face, only his eyes are sharper and smarter – this is the Bill that’s solved Rubik’s Cube over a dozen times, and can recite all the state capitals in alphabetical order. “You were fucked up for a while, Mike,” he says, “I think it really scared him.”

Mike feels a weird pressure in his chest. “Whatever.” He’s always been a heavy drinker – they all have, it’s not really a problem, it’s their life - but he’s never been a mean drunk. Rachel had made him bitter, though. There’s about a month where he doesn’t remember much of anything, it still leaves a bad taste in his mouth, and he thinks maybe he scared himself a little, too.

*

There’s a hideous thing in the middle of his den. A hideous wooden thing sitting on his coffee table, like a gnarly, lopsided log cabin only on the small side and lined with enough twigs to gag a robin.

Bill looks extremely proud of himself, standing over it.

“I thought you didn’t want to destroy the garden,” Mike says.

“Well, they mostly live in here anyway now,” Bill says. “It’s like Jeannie’s bottle.” He frowns down at the fairy house. “Only I don’t think you can rub this, you’ll probably just get large, painful splinters, and that’s no fun.”

Sticky rubs his face along the side of the opening, pulls his lips back and catches his teeth on a stray branch – he’s purring like crazy.

Mike sighs. He’s not up to fighting Bill on this – he’s really not sure he wants to fight about it, anyway. “Fine,” he says.

Bill beams at him. He dances off towards the kitchen, singing about lollipops and bonbons.

*

“I’m baking cookies,” Bill says, rifling through Mike’s cabinets. Mike’s never had this much food in the house before, he thinks Bill has some problems. “The boys’ metabolisms are amazing, you know, if I ate this much sugar I’d be five hundred pounds.”


Mike thinks it would be impossible for Bill to be five hundred pounds. Bill never gains any weight; he doesn’t think Bill should be talking about crazy, unreal metabolisms here. Kevin, Nick and Joe are extra weird, though, because they live on sugar. Nick tried to eat a roast beef sandwich two days ago and threw up all over Mike’s armchair.

“Don’t you have your own kitchen?” Mike asks.

“No.” Bill gets down several bowls and a ceramic canister of sugar that Mike has never seen before. He spreads wax paper out over the kitchen table, pulls a rolling pin practically out of thin air.

“Bill,” Mike says, in a voice that lets Bill know that Mike knows that something’s going on.

“Never get married, Michael,” Bill says, flopping his arms across the table next to his supplies, rolling his forehead on the hard wood. “Never do it. They’ll only tell you to stop baking delicious crème brûlée and the richest chocolate cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, Mike, seriously, and then they won’t let you get a hot tub.”

Mike sees where this is going now. “My bachelor pad is not your bachelor pad,” Mike says. He can’t honestly think why Christine would want Bill to stop making his desserts, but Mike is admittedly bewildered by most girls – Rachel, case in point. He’d thought she’d been happy.

Bill looks up and clasps his hands together under his chin, expression pleading. “She’s upset that she isn’t back to her fighting weight yet after the baby, it’s ridiculous, she’s gorgeous, extra squishy parts or no. I am dying, Mike, let me bake strawberry tarts and chocolate chip cookies and coconut cream pies for your fairies, pretty please?”

Mike is surely going to regret this, probably when he starts weighing in around two-hundred and seventy pounds – he’s petite, and he’ll stab Bill with his mixing spoon if he ever calls him that again, but he honestly can’t hold that kind of weight.

“All right,” Mike says, resigned, “bake away.”


7.

Alyosha is really pretty, Kevin had been right. He’s like nothing Mike’s seen before, a swirl of bright, electric blue and snow white on his wings, rimmed in velvety black, and Mike will kill anyone who calls him on it, but he smiles a tiny, secretly pleased smile when he lands on the side of his hand and fucking preens. That’s the only word for it. He never realized butterflies could do that.

He’s like a smug little beautiful insect, and something about him warms Mike’s insides, like when he runs a hand down Sticky’s back or, yes, when he hears Mort coo, even though he still fucking hates that bird. He mainly makes Nick leave him on the patio. Shitting in the house is not cool.

Alyosha rubs his tiny feet together, antennae flicking back and forth, and then he flutters off when Joe starts laughing in the other room.

*

“So what’s the deal with your animal friends,” Mike says to Kevin. He mainly asks it to get Kevin to stop eating all the icing off the Chocolate Intrigue cake; he’s got it all over his hands, Mike’s not even sure how, but the palm licking is making tiny, white explosions go off in Mike’s brain.

Kevin shrugs. “They were there when we were born,” he says.

Which brings up another thing – “How old are you?”

“Twenty-two.”

Mike blinks. Kevin looks younger than him, yeah, but he still figured maybe fairies aged differently, like Kevin was really hundreds of years old or something. “Huh.”

Kevin stares at him and licks his hand again and if his eyes weren’t so fucking crystal clear, Mike would really think he was fucking with him, Jesus.

*

Sticky sleeps in Mike’s bed.

Mike absolutely does not like the fact that Sticky sleeps in his bed.

He doesn’t like waking up with Sticky’s tail in his face, or the way he’ll knead his stomach and curl up on his chest. He doesn’t like the really loud purring in his ear and the way he’ll lick salt off his skin with his rough, sand-paper tongue. He doesn’t like sharing his pillow, and he doesn’t like giving him tummy rubs in the middle of the night.

Honestly.

*

It’s raining, and Mortimer can just cut the pathetic look crap, because Mike is totally not letting him inside. Birds are fine the rain. Birds belong outside. Mike didn’t even know birds could look that sad, fuck.

He opens the sliding glass door and crooks a finger at him.

“You stay in the kitchen,” he tells Mort. “You stay in the kitchen and you shit on newspaper and maybe I won’t roast and eat you.”

Mort, the bastard, perches on his shoulder and coos.


8.

It’s not really a big revelation or anything, but one day Mike just realizes he likes having Kevin and his brothers around. He likes having other bodies in the house; he likes teaching them board games, and how to trick Bill into saying stupid shit.

Nick proves himself to be a card sharp, and Mike is almost entirely certain Mort helps him cheat.

“New rule,” Mike says, folding his hand, “no familiars at the poker table.”

“Familiars are for witches, not fairies,” Bill says absently, shuffling through his cards. “I see your jelly bean, and raise you a Reese’s pieces.”

Mike points a finger at Mort. “Kitchen,” he says, and he swears Mort gives him an annoyed little huff before flying off.

“What about Sticky?” Joe says.

Mike says, “What about him?” and pets the cat curled up warm in his lap and dares anyone to say anything else about it.

*

Bill says, “Your hot tub arrives tomorrow, we’re having a barbeque.”

“What’s a barbeque?” Kevin asks. He’s sitting cross-legged on the patio, wearing just a pair of baggy basketball shorts. He’s got one hand up, fingers spread, and Alyosha’s making a game of landing on the tips. Mike doesn’t know what the game actually is, but it’s making Kevin laugh.

“You don’t want to know,” Mike says. After the whole Nick throwing up roast beef thing, they’ve all been a little squeamish about even just the mention of meat.

“I’ll teach you how to make s’mores,” Bill tells Kevin. “It’ll be awesome, you’ll love it.”

Kevin didn’t used to have a skeptical look - Mike thinks he’s been spending too much time with Chiz. “Okay,” he says.

There’s a sunbeam cutting through the leafy branches of Mike’s maple tree – it’s hitting Kevin over his shoulder, down the bump of his collarbone, and his skin almost looks normal in the bright light, no glow, no sparkle. He’s smiling up at Mike, and Alyosha settles in his hair, like a bow, and he should look freaking ridiculous, but he doesn’t. It makes Mike’s teeth hurt, like something too sweet, and Mike chases the imaginary taste over the enamel with his tongue and thinks he’s probably in a whole lot of trouble here.

*

Siska hands Mike a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider because he’s an ass, and Butcher says, “Check this out, they really do glitter,” and pokes Nick in the chest.

Kevin looks up from where he’s devouring a bag of circus peanuts. “It’s like sugar,” he says, and holy fuck, it’s sugar, why the fuck did Kevin have to volunteer that info now?

Mike clenches his hands into fists, nails digging into palms, and tries not to imagine sucking on Kevin’s neck, wrist, god, his dick, but he’s really not all that successful. He’s been an angel this past month, on his very best behavior, but this sugar thing is too fucking much, there are only so many temptations Mike can take and still figure out how to tie his shoes in the morning.

He’s pretty goddamn sure now that this whole living together situation is going to end up with him and Kevin having sex, screw the debauched innocent thing. There’s going to be lots of sweaty, delicious sex, and if that doesn’t happen, he’s maybe going to go insane and take out the neighborhood with a machete. Bill’s gonna do a whole lot of I-told-you-so crowing, but fuck it.

Kevin tilts his head and looks at him questioning, half a circus peanut caught between his lips.

Mike wants. Mike wants a lot, but he has guests, so it’s just going to have to wait.


9.

Kevin doesn’t seem to think it’s weird that Mike’s sucking on the thick mound at the base of his thumb, and he makes a little choked-off noise in the back of his throat when Mike’s teeth scrape over his wrist.

“You really do taste like sugar,” Mike murmurs. He flicks his gaze up to Kevin’s face, notices the high flush on his cheeks, the slightly dazed look in his eyes. A strange calm settles in Mike’s bones. Kevin’s been teasing him for weeks, however unwittingly. Mike can afford to take his time with this.

He follows a delicate tendon down the inside of Kevin’s arm with his tongue, grins into the skin of his elbow when he hears Kevin’s breath hitch.

This is going to be fun.

*

“Um.” Kevin squirms against him, but Mike just keeps worrying his nipple with gentle teeth, feeling the press of Kevin’s erection on his stomach as he arches up.

He says, “Mike,” in a voice that sounds slaughtered, like he’s been yelling for hours, and Mike cups his hands over Kevin’s hips and holds him down, makes him strain for any kind of pressure.

“Wait,” Mike says, and licks the nub he’s been working on before switching sides, ignoring Kevin’s helpless, drawn out whine.

*

Kevin kisses like he’s never done it before, but like it’s the best thing in the entire world. Mike has to thumb his jaw and cradle his face in both hands to slow him down, to urge him back, show him what to do with his tongue and teeth and upper lip.

Kevin kisses with his whole body, and Mike doesn’t stop the rub of their thighs, hips slotted into hips, the grind matching the rhythm of his sweeping tongue.

Kevin digs his fingers into Mike’s lower back, the dip of his spine, and Mike lets him, thinks about catching his wrists later, shackling them above his head, pressing his legs apart with his thighs. Kevin will let him. Mike thinks Kevin’ll let him do anything, and Mike never got off on trust before, but now it’s enough to make his hands shake, to make him grip Kevin tighter and moan into his mouth.

*

He’d thought, when they’d gotten right down to it, everything would feel wrong. There’s something incredibly young about Kevin, something shiny and new, like every morning he’s born again into this skin, fresh.

It doesn’t feel wrong, though.

It feels awesome. Kevin’s tight, and Mike growls, “Motherfucker,” into his throat and tries not to lose it; it’s possible that nothing in the world has ever been this good, Kevin’s sweating glitter, it’s slick and sweet on Mike’s lips.

Kevin keens on his next thrust, and Mike’s so close it hurts to rein it back, and then he thinks why the fuck is he still holding back, and he snakes a hand down between their bodies to curl around Kevin’s cock.

*

Kevin idly plays with the mess on his stomach, and that should be gross, but it’s not. He licks at his fingers, no hesitation, and Mike catches his hand with a groan and says, “Please,” because Kevin’s killing him, but there’s nothing coy in Kevin’s answering smile.

Mike cleans them off, and then Kevin moves into him, a heavy weight that Mike’ll probably regret in the morning, but he falls asleep with a hand buried in Kevin’s hair.


10.

Mike’s hot tub is a monstrosity, but at least it covers all the dirt where Bill had dug up his sod. Of course, along with Bill, now the other guys are at his house almost every day, too.

“I’m living here now,” Siska says, treading water in the middle of it.

Mike shakes his head. “No room at the inn.” He leans into the cedar side of the tub, and Sticky winds himself around his legs. He flicks some water at Kevin, who’s got his eyes at half mast, boneless, with a goofy smile on his face.

“This is great,” Kevin says, and Mike really hopes he doesn’t say anything about being sore, because Siska and Bill are good friends, and Mike would really hate to kill them for saying anything inappropriate to his—fairy. Mike is probably never going to get used to that.

“This is the best idea I’ve ever had,” Bill says. He’s got his hair piled up on top of his head, lounging next to Chislett, who Mike is pretty sure has fallen asleep. Or he’s pretending to sleep; he sometimes does that when he thinks everyone around him is being stupid.

Joe and Nick are pouting in the den – they got kicked out for rough-housing, and for flooding the surrounding grounds with a fourth of the tub’s water, and Bill had pointed out how Mike’s getting closer and closer to turning into his dad, which Mike charitably ignored, because he doesn’t feel like breaking Bill’s face today.

He’s in too good a mood.

*

Mike’s in the laundry room getting more towels when he finds another earring, not even the match of the one he’d found the month before, and he doesn’t really think about it, just drops it into the trashcan next to the washer.

There isn’t even a twinge, and if he thinks about Rachel at all, he thinks about how Bill had always hated her, and how Butcher has this dead-on impression of her fussily eating Chinese food, and how she’d always called Siska The One With The Hair, even when he was bald.

He can smile a little about her now, and he doesn’t wish her to a fiery pit of hell anymore, so that’s something.

*

Joe is fascinated with bubble gum, but he always accidentally swallows it.

Nick is the first to taste any and all of Bill’s cakes.

Kevin crumbles up cookies in his ice cream.

They all eat butterscotch out of the jar, and think marshmallow fluff belongs on everything from Snack Packs to Blow Pops to candy corn.

Mike’s grocery bill is ridiculous; the check-out clerks are probably all betting on when he gets diabetes.

When Butcher shows up with Pixy Stix, they fall on him like rabid dogs, and Mike thinks his normal is pretty fucked up.

He doesn’t really care.

*

“This,” Butcher says, “is one trippy looking butterfly.”

Alyosha, from what Mike can figure, is teasing Butcher, fluttering up to his nose time and again and then flying away. Mike thinks he’s laughing at them all, really, and he wonders when he got so good at reading fairies and the beasts who love them.

Kevin has light fingers on his thigh, sitting next to him on the couch, and he has color on his cheeks and a small smile, and Mike has that warmth layering through him again, like this is all he needs. It’s scary, and the world tilts and rights itself again in a moment, and then Kevin hooks his chin over Mike’s shoulder and asks, something so close to earnest, “Are you happy?”

If he isn’t, Mike thinks, he’s certainly getting there.