Work Header


Work Text:

players only. takes place a few days after this text exchange.

Matt pulls his car into the first parking space he can find, he's about fifteen minutes late due to a detour on the way to the airport. Climbing out of the car he slams the door shut and sets off at a light jog toward the terminal.

Chris is just entering the other side of the building, having had to wait for his bags on the tarmac. Completely exhausted, he still breaks into a huge smile the moment he catches sight of Matt, heading straight for his lover, his bags dropped and his arms wrapped around Matt in an instant, without a single care as to who might be watching. Breathing him in. "God I missed you," he murmurs.

The way Chris's face lights up when he spies Matt, the intense 'eyes only for you' focus and then an unexpectedly effusive hug, have Matt's heart hammering. "Cowboy," Matt murmurs in response, nuzzling back. "You're home."

"I am, and we're getting married," Chris says, unable to stop smiling as he draws back a bit. "No little guy today?"

Matt shakes his head. "No, he was off-color, he might be coming down with something, or he's overtired and I didn't think you'd want to be greeted by a tearful, angry Lulu so I left him curled up with Kate watching some TV."

"Aww... I'm sorry to hear that," Chris says, giving Matt another hug just because. "It's so hard when they're that age and not feeling well." He picks up his bags and motions for Matt to lead the way, tamping down hard on the urge to kiss him. "I picked him up a couple of things. Do you think it would brighten his mood or should I hold off until he's feeling better?"

"We'll see how he is when we get back, he might be up and tearing around the place like normal, they bounce back so quickly," Matt offers a hand to take a bag. "He's excited about seeing you though, it's all been 'Is Daddy Kis coming home today?' for the last four days."

Chris laughs, handing over the smaller of his bags. "Was it driving you nuts?"

"Well the sentiment was lovely, but the repetitive nature of the questions got annoying, yeah," Matt admits with a soft laugh, "didn't help that I was missing you too."

"Yeah?" Chris grins and nudges his shoulder against Matt's as they head to the car. "How much?" Obviously teasing.

"Probably about as much as you missed me?" Matt returns, glancing up at Chris. He's found this absence hard, given the proximity to their wedding and his own gnawing insecurities about their relationship.

"Then we were both in a bad way, weren't we?" Chris says softly, definitely not teasing now. He puts his bag in the trunk and pulls Matt in again, kissing him this time. "I am so glad to be home."

The kiss is so unexpected that Matt takes a moment to respond; his lips part and he presses closer, reveling in the feel of Chris's arms around him. It is only as they break away that he realises what they just did, the risk they’ve just taken.

"I know," Chris says, still smiling. "I should behave myself, but I can't help it. I'm getting antsy. I want to be out and done with it. Let everyone know we're together and how incredibly proud I am." Even though they both know he needs to wait. At least until he finds out about Joe and whether he got the role.

Chris's devil may care attitude doesn't quite strike the right note with Matt. They may have been together only a short time but he's well aware of the lengths Chris has gone to hide his sexuality up to this point, denying himself intimacy, hiding from his family, and now this; this careless 'fuck it' behavior. "Get in the car, you big idiot," Matt teases, now is not the time or place to broach the subject, but broach he knows he must.

His bags stowed in the trunk, Chris climbs in the passenger side, too jet lagged to even think about driving. Besides, this way he can watch Matt. "You look good," he says, unable to stop smiling, so incredibly happy to be home and with a good chunk of time together ahead of them.

"I do?" Matt glances over as he fires up the car and pulls out of the parking bay. "I've been busy, I've managed to get a lot of writing done as well as finishing up the wedding plans," he's glad he's been busy, it's meant he's managed to keep his mind off his anxieties.

"Yeah, you do," Chris nods, loving the way Matt's eyes crinkle when he smiles. "Want to tell me about your writing?"

"Like what? I'm not going to tell you the plot, it would ruin the book for you," Matt points out with a laugh.

"You don't need to tell me the plot," Chris says, laughing too. "You can tell me whether it's been easygoing or tell me more about your writing process. What's it look like when it's going well?"

"Well it looks a lot different now than it did before Luca, now I take breaks and make sure I stop to have family dinner and put the boy to bed, but otherwise it's lots of coffee, pacing my office, post it notes and furious typing."

"Are you one of those guys who pounds on the keyboard?" Chris teases, smiling, half-turned in his seat, his eyes locked on Matt.

"Pounds? If you mean types like hacker dude stereotypes in movies do, fingers flying over the keyboard then yes, I do," Matt reaches out to playfully punch his lover.

"Hey, what'd I do to deserve that?" Chris asks, grinning widely, hands in the air. "Can you write with other people in the room or do you need complete silence?"

"You mean will I let you sit with me while I'm working?" Matt rolls his eyes. "I don't need silence, but some days I cope with distractions better than others."

"I would never ask," Chris says, crossing his heart. "I was just curious for the future. If we were travelling together."

"Why wouldn't you ask?" Matt asks, curious as to Chris's reticence.

"I was mostly joking," Chris clarifies, "but I guess it seems like something you'd need a quiet space for."

"I need some quiet yeah, or rather I need a lack of chaos," Matt pauses for a moment as he negotiates a junction. "But if you wanted to come in and lounge, use your laptop or read then that would be fine. If you were up in my face asking questions then we'd have a problem." Matt grins.

Chris matches that grin with one of his own. He's exhausted but he likes hearing Matt's voice and they haven't lived together for long enough for him to know these things. "What about coming up - do you need writing time over Christmas or on our honeymoon? Can you write on the go?"

"Oh, I take my laptop with me wherever I go, sometimes I just need to make a note or two, but sometimes yeah I get the urge and it'd be ridiculous not to take advantage of that. I've a feeling however that I'll be distracted in other ways on our honeymoon." Matt subconsciously glances down at Chris's lap before he brings his attention back to the road.

"Speaking of which, we should book your flights soon," Chris says, having noticed the glance, his body responding with a flash of arousal. "How long are you okay with being away from Luca? A week, two..."

"A week," Matt replies. "We can holiday as a family later in the year when you have time." Matt experiences another surge of discomfort, a feeling he's been putting down to nerves each time it's made itself known in recent weeks.

"I'd like that," Chris nods. "And a week's great." Noticing the sudden tightening around Matt's eyes, he asks, "You okay?"

Fuck. Matt doesn't reply straight away, pausing to weigh up if now is the best time and place to bring up his concerns. "I've struggled the last couple of weeks," he admits softly. "With you not being here to reassure me."

"About us or about getting married so soon?" Chris asks, shifting in his seat so he can reach over and put his hand on Matt's leg. Give it a squeeze.

"The enormity of what we're doing after knowing each other for such a short time," Matt's grateful for the touch, that small connection. "Everything seems so perfect, how quickly we've clicked, how easily you've slotted into our family, it's almost too good, too perfect for being so new to us both. I know that's not really logical... but fuck Chris. We've known each other just weeks..."

"I know, but think how much further ahead we are then we first came up with the idea," Chris points out. "We're in love, I love Luca and he adores me, Kate too. We've settled living arrangements, we've had our first fight. I'm not trying to brush off your concerns, but I do think we've talked more about important things than lots of couples who have been dating for years, and I firmly believe we'll be able to work through anything that does come up."

Matt blows out a breath. "I needed to hear that from you," he admits. "It's been difficult juggling your absence with wedding plans and writing when I've been so unsettled. I know all the things you've just said, but I guess... I guess I know that even when you think you have everything you ever wished for it can still be taken from you."

Chris nods. "And I hate that you know that," he says honestly. "But I'm not him. I'm not going anywhere, I'm not having second thoughts. My biggest goals in life right now are to make you my husband and spend time with our family. I still want Joe, I still want my career, but I want those things on my terms, and only if they fit in with being the best dad and husband I can be."

"And back to the 'this is all so fast and so perfect' anxieties again," Matt replies. "I want what you're offering, I want it all, but I can't help feeling there will be a cost."

Chris rubs a hand over the back of his neck. "Look, I want to get married like we planned over Christmas, but if you're really having worries, we can postpone. We can still have our holiday in Canada, you can still come with me in January, I can still come out... we'd just wait on the wedding until you're ready."

Matt shakes his head, "No, no I don't want to postpone any more than you do," he reassures his lover. "Seriously Chris, it's just me being a dick. I didn't want to hide it from you, that's all. Stupid prewedding nerves or something."

"All of which is normal, or so I've heard," Chris says with a smile, giving Matt's leg another squeeze. "What's still left to do? Has Aaron been any help?"

"He's been great, and I think we're pretty much sorted, apart from deciding what we want to eat at the wedding and you need to pick a shirt to go with your suit," Matt's grateful for the redirection. "And we need to get Luca's Christmas presents," he adds.

"We've got a chef for the whole time we're there, right? And they're doing the menu for the wedding?" Chris says. "Do you want chicken, beef or seafood? We could do a combo - steak and shrimp or salmon."

"I must admit to being very fond of a really good Beef Wellington." Smiling Matt glances over again, "What do you think?"

"That sounds amazing," Chris says, his stomach rumbling softly with hunger. "Will Luca eat that or should we have something kid-friendly for him?"

"He might try it, but I think he'd prefer chicken," Matt replies, he didn't miss the noise emanating from Chris's belly. "Are you hungry, Cowboy?"

"A little," Chris admits. "I chose sleep over food on the way home."

"Oh?" Now they're on a clear road Matt puts his foot down, eager to get home. "Trying to reset your body clock?"

"Yeah," Chris nods, leaning his head back, his eyes still on Matt. "That and just give my body time to heal. It was a hard shoot. Which reminds me - I'm covered in cuts and bruises."

Matt's brow wrinkles in concern. "Nothing serious though?" he asks, covering the hand Chris has resting on his thigh with his own for a gentle squeeze.

Chris shakes his head. "It's all minor. I would've already let you know if there was something more," he promises.

"So you'll be after a hot bath when we get home then?" The thought of naked, wet Chris makes his dick flex.

"Food followed by a hot bath, yeah, that sounds amazing," Chris says with a smile. "Are you going to join me?"

"In the bath?" Matt chuckles shrugging his shoulders. "Maybe, but I'll definitely wash your back for you."

"I think my front might need washing too," Chris offers, completely deadpan, only his eyes giving him away.

"You think?" Matt snorts his amusement. "I'll be sure to make certain every inch of you is clean, Cowboy," he promises. "Though depending on how Lulu is feeling when we get back any naughty stuff may have to wait."

"That's fine. I want to see him and we can have a cuddle, maybe while I eat," Chris says, covering a yawn with his hand. "Sorry. I brought you guys presents too. You and Kate."

"You're spoiling us," Matt slows the car a little as they drive through a small collection of houses before picking up speed again. "I was thinking," he throws out after a moment of comfortable silence. "When we head to LA for this shopping trip, I'd like to go out on a date, have dinner somewhere, are you game?"

"Dressed up or casual?" Chris asks with a grin.

"Oh dressed up for sure," Matt is very clear on that. "The kind of place we'd need to drop your name to get in," he adds. "I want to see what that side of Hollywood is like."

"We can definitely do that," Chris nods. It's almost guaranteed to get the rumour mill going but he's fine with that. It's only a matter of time before he comes out anyway.

"Thank you." Having expected some reticence Matt is more than pleased at his lover's agreement. "We can make it our own personal engagement party," he teases.

"Does that mean I should order us up a bottle of the most expensive champagne?" Chris asks with a grin.

"I think you should order us up a bottle of something we'll really enjoy," Matt counters laughing. "Expensive doesn't always equate to the best, does it?"

"No, it doesn't," Chris agrees easily. "I like being able to buy whatever I want, but it doesn't mean I do. I still cringe when I see the price on some things."

"It's one of the reasons I love you," Matt reaches out to grab Chris's hand and bring it to his mouth to press a kiss to his lover's knuckles. "You're down to earth, not afraid to crawl around on the floor with Luca, or get dirty in the garden, or plan on doing all the work on our hideaway."

The kiss and the mention of their hideaway puts a smile on Chris's face. As does Matt's 'I love you'. "I like doing all of that stuff," Chris says. "Acting in Hollywood hasn't changed that. Plus I still think of Australia as home. There and then your place. People around here are a lot more laidback and like they are in Australia."

"Even so, most people get sucked into the bullshit when they get famous, don't they?" Matt thinks Chris is being too generous to those movie stars who start to think their shit doesn't stink once they get famous. "I'm not sure you'd have swept me off my feet so easily if you hadn't been so chill and BS free."

"Yeah, a lot of people do," Chris admits, nodding, "and especially if they've come to fame early. Some of them, it's like they're from another planet, they're so out of touch."

They're finally on the home stretch, and Matt can't wait to get home and hold and kiss Chris properly. "I'm assuming Liam is still as down to earth?" he asks, especially given who he's married to.

"He is," Chris nods. "And believe or not, so's Miley. She does a lot of really out there stuff at times but one on one she's really easy to talk to and she and Liam spend most of their time hiking and watching Netflix."

"I'm looking forward to meeting them." Matt turns onto the road that leads up to their house and blows out a breath. "Nearly home."

"Thank goodness, although I've enjoyed this time alone together," Chris says with a cheeky grin.

"Of course you have been confined to your seat and unable to molest me," Matt observes drily as they make their way up the long drive to the house.

"Okay, that part's not as good," Chris admits, "but at least it means I've had to act like a civilized human being instead of just throwing you over my shoulder," he teases, eyes sparkling.

"Now is that a reference to the macho, take-no-shit role you've been immersed in or to my BBA?" Laughing, Matt parks the car up in the open garage and turns off the engine.

"Bit of both probably or the fact we've been separated for two weeks," Chris says, leaning across the front seat, his seatbelt off in an instant. "Kiss me."

It sounds like a demand, there's an edge to Chris's words and Matt responds with alacrity. Cupping Chris's face he presses his mouth to his lover's, his lips parted, his tongue eager, Matt makes a soft grunt of need as his senses fill with all that is Chris.

It's probably a stupid thing to do right before they go inside to see Luca and Kate but Chris can't help it. He needs to feel and touch Matt, hands roaming wherever he can reach as he licks into his mouth, exploring deeply, making himself at home once more. Christ.

Matt is hard in moments, his skin flushes as he tries to press as close as possible, his hunger for Chris seems to have increased during their separation and he's struggling to control himself.

"Daddy!!" A shriek from behind them pulls Matt up short and he jerks back out of Chris's embrace. "Shit."

"It's okay. Take a minute," Chris says, turning from Matt to open the door and slip from the car. "Lulu!" He picks up the toddler, carrying him a few steps from the car and giving him a hug. "I missed you." A kiss to the forehead. "How're you feeling, little guy?"

Slumping back in his seat Matt closes his eyes and rubs over his face with one trembling hand. In just a few moments Chris has him completely undone, he's both aroused and disorientated. Taking a few deep calming breaths he makes sure to get himself back under control before he too climbs out of the car.

"Feeling better?" he asks, stepping up to slide an arm around Chris's waist. One look at his son and he can see he's recovered from whatever was ailing him earlier.

"Have you been a good boy? No more shoes down the toilet?" Chris asks, smiling at Matt.

Luca pouts at that, giving Matt a look as if to suggest he'd been ratted out. Matt laughs at that and leans in to press a kiss to his son's cheek. "Don't look at me like that," he admonishes softly. "C'mon, let's go inside so Chris can say hi to Kate,"

Nodding Luca tightens his arms around Chris's neck. "See Bunny," he declares. "We made cookies," he adds, "for Daddy."

"You did?" Chris says as he carries the toddler inside, loving the way Luca holds onto him. "What kind did you make?"

"Chocolate chip and some almond ones for Daddy," Kate calls out from the kitchen. "Welcome home Chris," she appears, smiling, her long hair caught back in a loose, messy bun. "We all missed you." She steps up to give him a half hug and kiss.

"I missed you guys too. So much," Chris says, hugging and kissing back, his heart swelling with sheer happiness. "And I am so glad to be home. It was a great shoot but a rough one."

"Yeah," Kate nods, reaching up to brush a thumb over a small graze high on his cheek. "Looks like you need some TLC there," she notes before turning to wink at Matt. "It'll be a tough job but I'm assuming you're up to that task?" she smirks.

Chris grins and winks at Matt. I love you, he mouths. "So... I brought everyone p-r-e-s-e-n-t-s. Is now a good time to bring them out or should I wait?" His hunger forgotten for the moment in the face of simply being home.

"Shall we sort some drinks out and sit at the table for cookies and then maybe you can hand them out?" Kate suggests, not missing the silent interaction between Chris and Matt for one moment. "C'mon." Scooping Luca out of Chris's arms she sets him on her hip. "Daddy and Chris need to go wash up before they can eat cookies, so shall we lay the table, hmm?" she asks Luca as she turns toward the kitchen. "Five minutes, guys," she calls over her shoulder, her tone warm with impish humour.

"Thanks. Let me grab my bags," Chris tells Matt, disappearing for a minute to fetch his luggage from the car. He brings them back in and follows Matt down the hall, his eyes on his soon-to-be husband's ass.

Matt pushes open the bedroom door and steps aside to let Chris in. As his lover sets his bag down Matt closes the door and turns the newly fitted lock.

Chris turns at the sound of the lock, eyebrow raised, lips curving into a grin. "When did that happen?" he asks, nodding at the lock as he moves towards Matt.

"Well, I was lying in bed one morning giving some serious consideration to jerking off when his Lordship burst in unannounced, which got me thinking about what we get up to, so I thought it better safe than sorry," Matt explains with a wry smile.

Chris chuckles. "I think it's an awesome idea," he murmurs, pulling Matt in close and kissing him. "So, what can we get up to in five minutes?" Obviously teasing.

"Not as much as I'd like," Matt whispers against Chris's mouth. "Not nearly as much as I'd like..."

Chris slides his hands up under Matt's shirt and over his back, stroking over warm skin with a low groan as he kisses him again. "I'm guessing you're all healed up?"

There's a soft rumble of laughter, "Healed up, or healed over?" He bites at Chris's lower lip, wanting to give in to the hunger that's been building all day.

"Either way," Chris murmurs, head too clouded with arousal to argue the difference. "I want inside you," he growls softly, biting back.

"Oh fuck..." Matt tips his head back and presses closer. "And I want you inside me, so much."

Chris kisses his way down Matt's throat, his fingers dipping under the back of his waistband, pulling him in closer, his cock already achingly hard.

"Are you going to?" Matt stutters out, clinging on to Chris as if he's concerned his legs will give out. "Are you going to fuck me?"

Chris pauses for a second, thinking, glancing at his watch. Certain Kate'll give them some leeway. "Turn around," he orders. "Brace your hands against the end of the bed."

Matt blinks at the tone, and if he wasn't quite so aroused he might comment, but he's desperate to feel Chris's skin against his own. He undoes his jeans as he takes the few steps to the bed, wrapping his hands around the oak frame.

Chris grabs the lube from the bedside table and moves back behind Matt, unfastening his lover's jeans and pushing them and his underwear down over his hips before doing the same for himself. He slicks his fingers, rubbing two over Matt's hole with a low groan as he pressed a kiss to his shoulder through his shirt. "I was been dreaming about this the whole time we were apart," he murmurs. "Getting to touch you again."

Matt shivers at the words, at the feel of Chris behind him, probing fingers have his dick flexing, precum spilling from the tip. "Fuck..." he growls. "Chris... can you use a condom? I don't want to sit in a puddle of spunk." It's a practicality he'd rather not have to think about, but he has Kate and Luca to consider.

"Yeah, of course," Chris says, moving away to grab a condom and roll it on before picking up where he'd left off, his fingers rubbing over Matt's hole, pushing inside him, stretching him open for his cock. He'd rather not have the latex between them but making Matt uncomfortable is the last thing he wants. "You feel so good, so hot, tight..." he whispers, two fingers turning to three, hopefully not too fast, the fact they're on the clock kept in mind.

Reaching back Matt pulls at Chris's hip, "C'mon Cowboy, that'll do, I need you." Matt's voice is low, gruff his accent slightly heavier than usual.

Chris eases his fingers from Matt's body and lines up, blunt head nudging against Matt's hole before he pushes inside.

Finding Chris's free hand Matt pulls it across his front, settling his lover's forearm around his waist. Wanting to be held tight, snug against Chris as they fuck.

Pushing deep, his groin pressed against Matt's ass, Chris wraps both arms around him and starts thrusting, the tight heat making his head swim, his cock throb.

His head tipped back into the curve of Chris's throat, Matt closes his eyes and lets his lover take control. He wants to feel needed, desired, and he's craved Chris's touch in his absence. "Hmmm," he hums, "So good..."

"Incredible," Chris breathes, sheathing himself in Matt's body again and again, his orgasm building, tamping down on the urge to fuck Matt even harder. Mindful that they still have to go back out and spend time with Luca and Kate. "I love you so much."

Chris's hot damp breath tickles the fine hairs on Matt's neck, raising goosebumps all over his body, he shivers in erotic delight at the sensation and moves in rhythm with each of his lover's thrusts. "Hurry, do it," he urges, well aware Chris is close to the peak of his orgasm.

Do it. Chris groans at the words, his thrusts picking up speed, only a few more needed before he comes and comes hard, his teeth gritted against sound, flooding the latex between them.

Matt savours the strangled sound Chris makes as he lets his pleasure consume him, his lover's arms tighten around his waist just a little more until the crisis passes. Turning his head, Matt nuzzles into the corner of Chris's jaw. "Love you, Cowboy," he murmurs.

"I love you," Chris murmurs back, hugging Matt even harder for a moment. "And I owe you one," he grins. "Tonight, after someone else is in bed."

"Yes, yes you do, with interest," Matt chuckles. "Now step away and let's get our pants back on before Luca comes hammering at the door."

"Or Kate," Chris kids, easing out, glancing at his watch as he quickly disposes of the condom. He rights his clothes, reels Matt in for another kiss and then grins. "Cookie time."

"Wash your hands, Cowboy, they'll smell of my ass," Matt laughs against Chris's mouth as he holds up his own jeans with one hand. "I need to use the bathroom too."

"Give me a minute," Chris says, stepping into the ensuite just long enough to wash his hands and splash some water over his face. "All yours."

Matt spends a minute washing up enough to be decent, reappearing in the doorway as he tugs up his zipper and refastens the button on his pants. "Do I look like I've just been fucked?" he asks running a hand through his hair.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" Chris teases, before holding his hands up in self-defence. "No, you look good. Gorgeous."

Rolling his eyes Matt shakes his head. "That was a ridiculous question to ask you." Cocking his head at the door he quirks a brow. "Ready?"

Chris is still chuckling as they head back down the hall to join Kate and Luca. "Sorry, I'm moving a little slower than usual," he tells Kate, deliberately taking the blame for their tardiness. "Jet lag."

"What's jet lag, Daddy?" Luca pipes up before Kate can say anything. He looks up from his seat at the kitchen table, a cup of milk clutched in one hand.

"You know how when you and Daddy call me when I'm away working, sometimes it's night where I am while it's still morning here, or I'm having breakfast when you guys are eating dinner?" Chris glances at Matt and waits until he gets a nod from Luca. "Well, my body gets used to it being weird times where I am and it starts thinking that's normal, and when I come home, it still thinks it's the time it is there. So it might be day here but my body still thinks it's night and wants to go to sleep."

"Did you sleep just?" Luca asks, reaching out to grab a cookie and offer it to Matt. Kate snorts, just about covering it with a cough as she turns away from the table for the coffee pot.

"Is it your bedtime now?" he asks before giving Chris a chance to reply to his first question.

Chris grins, taking a seat beside Luca. "Not yet. I have to stay up and remind my body what time it is here and maybe by tomorrow, it'll remember." He shrugs at Matt, not really sure whether that's a decent explanation or not for a toddler.

"Your body is silly," Luca declares, grabbing another cookie, this time he thrusts it at Chris. "Eat it," he demands.

Chris takes the cookie. "You're right. It is silly," he says with a smile, amused by the order. He takes a bite. "Delicious."

Matt takes a seat next to Chris and reaches for the coffee pot "Thanks," he smiles at Kate as he pours each of them a mug. "Do you have plans for dinner yet?" he asks her. "Or shall we order in?" They don't do that very often given how far out of town they are, but they have an arrangement with the local Chinese restaurant that if they give enough notice and pay an additional delivery fee they're happy to accommodate.

Chris smiles at Kate, listening to the conversation, more than happy to let everyone else make the choices for tonight. He holds his hand out to Luca for another cookie, giving him a grin. He hadn't been lying. The jet lag really is starting to hit him hard now.

"No more!" Luca frowns, waving a hand at Chris. "Your body is naughty."

Glancing over Matt raises his brows at that, and decides he's going to keep quiet and see how Chris handles this display. Meanwhile Kate sits, her mug bought up to her face, she watches over the rim as she sips.

Chris glances at Matt and Kate, suddenly aware they expect him to deal with this. Something he's held back on so far, feeling a little awkward still as the new member of the family. "Luca," he says firmly. "We don't talk to people that way. My body is being silly, not naughty, because of the jet lag, but it's also important that I give it food as that's part of getting my system back to normal."

Luca blinks at that, his lower lip slides out and his face contorts as he starts to cry, upset that his new friend has told him off. Matt pushes up out of his seat and gives Chris a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. "Luca, Chris is right, you don't talk to people like that. I'm sure if you said sorry Chris will give you a big hug."

Luca cries some more but chokes out an 'I'm sorry' and Chris gathers him up into his arms and snuggles him close. "It's okay. We're good," he says, kissing the toddler on the back of his head. "You want to sit on my lap or go back in your chair?"

"Lap," Luca hiccups, scrubbing at his eyes. He picks up another cookie and holds it up for Chris. "For your silly body."

Chris heart swells so hard it feels like it might burst. "Thank you," he says, shifting Luca in his lap so he can see everyone else, his arm wrapped tight around him. Another kiss pressed to their son's head. The possessive deliberately thought. "Love you, Lulu," he whispers against the back of the boy's head.

[feedback welcome. comments screened.]