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Mikey was sitting in bed, reading, when Gabe got out of the shower. Gabe walked into their room at the same time as Pete did from out of the room, and both of their hearts shattered when they saw him.

The mother had bags under his eyes, with his shirt off and a blanket around his stomach. He so rarely had no shirt, and he never let anyone look at his abdomen. His voice was only just now becoming smoother, and softer, like it always had been before... Mikey also hadn't been interested in much contact for the past year.

But now, right next to him on the side table, was a box of condoms.

Gabe wanted to cry, knowing what it felt like to feel so hopeless as Mikey was. Mikey was trying, really trying, to bridge gaps now. He had finally been able to talk to his children, been able to leave the house.

"Mikes?" Pete asked softly, closing the door and stepping forward.

"Yeah?" he replied, voice so close to what it would sound like shortly after giving birth, when his throat was sore from screaming. It hurt them to hear it.

"You doing okay?"

Mikey looked up at them, nodding a little. "I'm good." His eyes were filled with a heartbreak, and the tiniest glimmer of hope and trust. "I'm just fine. The best I've been in... In ages."

Gabe went over to him, hugging him softly and kissing his cheek, squeezing him softly. Mikey leaned on him, setting his book down. Pete marked the page and set it on the side table, then joined in on the cuddling. Mikey closed his eyes, grabbing Gabe and Pete's hands and holding them close to his chest. They never used condoms- the last time they had, before the twins were conceived. After many, many babies together. He'd birthed nine children. Gabe had given them two. Now, Mikey was upset, and very rightfully so. It wasn't any of their fault.

It took a week for them to act on it. A week for Gabe to accept what was on the table, literally and figuratively. A week for Pete to come to terms with what it had meant.

"Mikey, are you sure you want to?" Gabe asked, gently rubbing his husband's side.

"Y-Yes," he whispered quietly, voice almost unrecognizable to anyone who he hadn't spoken to in the past year.

Gabe sighed, then kissed him sweetly. "Do you... Do you want to top me?"

"Um..." Mikey took a moment, holding Gabe's shoulders, then nodded. "If it's okay with you..."

Gabe nodded, then locked their lips and gently rolled them so that Mikey was on top of him. Mikey deepened the kiss slowly, cautiously, unwilling to hurt him. Unwilling to feel or cause anymore pain. Mikey's kiss was like rare, hand-collected honey. It was rich and deep, and though it felt tainted by what it cost to taste as delicious as it did, Gabe savored it. The spun sugar of Mikey's careful touch made Gabe shiver, and he hated that he wasn't the one taking care of Mikey after what he'd gone through, but he was selfish enough to let Mikey do it instead.

Mikey broke the kiss and looked him in the eyes. Mikey had a dark shadow behind his eyes, and it sent a slight shock of fear through Gabe before he realized it was probably sadness. Mikey didn't let it control him, and he dipped down for another meeting of the lips. Gabe kissed back, rubbing a hand over Mikey's back as they melted into one another. Mikey's kisses were firm and sweet, and Gabe suddenly needed them, aching like an addict playing it up for a fix. He moaned softly as the sweetness dissolved into his mouth.

Mikey drank the noises Gabe was making like when he had been on the road, like when he had needed the alcohol that had first drafted him into the same circles as Gabe that weren't the symphony they had been experiencing from both ends for years. He drank them like they were the only taste of heaven he would ever get. He felt like it was and he took it greedily before he grabbed the lube.

He set it off to the side as Gabe left a small hickey on his throat, biting him hard enough for Mikey to moan. Hard enough for the moan to get sharply cut of by a gentle yelp as Gabe drew a tiny bit of blood. Gabe pushed Mikey's shirt off as Mikey pulled at Gabe's pants. Mikey's fingers were soon soaked in the water-based lube Pete had picked up, and one digit circled Gabe's hole while Mikey licked his chest. Gabe shuddered at the touch, with Mikey's tongue working far too similarly to the way it used to circle his cock for Gabe not to thrust up and down in chase for his fingers.

"Are you sure?" Mikey asked, pressing his hips into him to prevent him from bucking.

"Yes, please. Mikey, please," Gabe begged lightly, and he let out a moan as he was rewarded with Mikey's finger sliding up inside of him.

Mikey prepped him slowly, too slowly, but Gabe knew it was out of fear of hurting him because he sounded more worried than upset when he asked him to please stop moving. Gabe spread his legs, clenching and unclenching as Mikey worked. It felt like too soon to Mikey as he pushed in another finger, but it wasn't soon enough for Gabe. He was horny. Mikey was being so careful. It felt good.

After a while, Mikey pulled his fingers out and slid off his pants, grabbing a condom and opening it. He rolled it onto his cock, then slicked up before prepping to push in. Gabe grabbed at Mikey's shoulders, arching his back as Mikey entered him. The girth was unfamiliar, but felt good. He didn't remember the feeling of a condom, because it had been nearly twenty years since he slept with anyone that wasn't now his husband and neither of them had ever used protection topping him. It hurt deep in his chest, and he tried to ignore it, but he knew why Mikey insisted on the condom. He knew that he might never have sex with Mikey unprotected again.

Gabe groaned as Mikey thrust, swiveling his hips to add to the sensation they both felt. Mikey moved inside of him, hitting the most private parts of Gabe's body as he did so. Their eyes squeezed shut, and Mikey lowered his forehead to touch Gabe's. It was loving and sweet in most situations, but here... Here, their hearts shattered as they fucked. Here, they were filled with the worst remembrance, too subtle for either of them to actually think of why they felt so wrong. Why their eyes and cheeks were wet.

Even when they came, they were filled with a melancholy that overruled the pleasure they got. They cleaned up, but said nothing of the fact that neither of them were happy or satisfied. In the shower that night, Mikey got onto his knees and sucked off their other husband, but again, the somber feeling took over.

Months after the saddest sex they had ever had, Pete had Mikey's darkness chased away long enough to let Mikey feel real pleasure again. Mikey couldn't remember for a while, he couldn't think of anything other than the intense sensation that Pete was filling him with. It lasted nearly half an hour before Mikey was cracked out of his shell of unstable happiness, and after that Pete waited until Mikey was begging to give him release. That orgasm was the first Mikey had without his heart breaking, and it took a good ten minutes for his mind to unfog enough to remember.

Pete and Gabe both were there to calm those tears.

"I'm keeping him. As long as I possibly can." Mikey's eyes weren't quite free of the darkness that had held them captive, but Gabe and Pete both agreed when they spoke that night that there was something there they hadn't seen since before they had come home to that god forsaken bloodstained tub.

The tiniest glimmer of hope.