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Curse the things that made me sad for so long (I'm happy now. Are you happy now?)

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It’s only after Scott picks him up, whatever shell of a person he is, settles him into the passenger’s side of the car and takes him away- exactly where doesn’t matter (just away is enough for now), that Mike has time to think. His thoughts are jumbled at first, the heat from the car, the tiredness, the fact he could reach over and touch Scott, kiss him, touch his fingers, is enough to keep him from thinking straight. Scott looks over at him in glances, his fingers twitching from their place on the steering wheel, from being buried in his hair. Mike tries not to look back, tries not to let everything overwhelm him too much too soon and give in, tried not to forgive Scott so easily. But it’s hard. He’s been fighting for far too long and it would be so easy to just give in, to just let someone take care of him.

 

“You okay?” Scott asks, a rhetorical question really because how the fuck is he supposed to answer that?

 

 

***

 

 

The night the plane landed he was back on the street, Scott’s money mostly gone, snorted in powder form up his nose.The guy who picks him up notices his shaking hands, tells him to press them between his knees to stop them trembling. He does this. Sniffs. Coughs. The guy looks him over.  

 

“You look rough,” he says bluntly, words biting and Mike can only laugh harshly. Thinks he deserves to look like this because wouldn’t anyone when their best friend (maybe love of their life) abandons them on some farm in Italy? He could cry, and maybe a few stray tears do sneak down his cheeks which he doesn’t even think to wipe away since his hands are trapped. He sniffs again and laughs.

 

 

*

 

 

The guy doesn’t bother with the hotel room, instead pulls over a few minutes from his home and pushes Mike down against his dick. He fists a hand in Mike’s hair and holds him down until he comes. Mike jerks away as soon as he can, gasping breaths. The guy looks him over.

 

“You won’t be pretty forever with the way you’re going. Better clean yourself up.” He tosses the money over and inclines with his head that this is over.

 

“What, is that all? Where are we?” Mike stammers, his fingers trembling worse now, his head pounding. “Can’t you at least take me back to town?” the guy just scoffs and starts the car.

 

 

*

 

 

Mike sits with his back pressed against the wall of some back alley wherever the heck he is. The guy drove off despite his protests that it wasn’t even worth his time coming. He stares at his hands raised at eye level and his fingers won’t stop trembling. He slides them into the sleeves of his jacket so he doesn’t have to see. Mike doesn’t really want to go back home, not without Scott, because what will the place be like without him there?

 

“Fuck.” He leans his head back, feeling the blackness creeping into the edges of his vision. Not now, not here. He tries to stand but where would he go? He can’t cope with anyone else tonight but he doesn’t want to be alone in his room when he knows Scott won’t come in half way through the night to check on him, to slide into the bed next to him and be there when he wakes up. Dark hair splayed on the pillow, where Mike can pretend for a moment that it’s more than simple friendship.

 

“Fuck.” He swears again, eyes blurring, tears staining his cheeks. The blackness edges closer and he lets it take him.

 

 

***

 

 

When Mike wakes it’s dark and the car is still moving. He pulls himself into a sitting position, alert, scared he drifted off somewhere and someone random picked him up. Scott looks over, notices his tense breathing and risks touching a hand to his arm.

 

“Hey, you just fell asleep.” It’s the first real words he’s spoken in hours and his voice is rough from lack of use. Mike looks over and sees Scott. Scott, here, driving him somewhere. Close enough to touch. The sound of his voice buries itself in Mike’s head and he shakes it away with a shudder. Not yet, not forgiveness yet.

 

“Nothing new there,” he replies softly. The words slip out too easily. He shouldn’t want to forgive Scott, doesn’t want to forgive him (but that’s lies really), not like this, not when Scott left him and picked him up right where he first found him. Right where he belongs, on some nameless, faceless road somewhere meaningless.

 

*

 

 

The first time someone picks them both up Mike doesn’t know how to feel. He senses more than feels Scott’s fingers on the small of his back, urging him forwards. They all take notice of Mike first anyway, his pretty face and soft hair. It’s better that way anyway Scott thinks, at least then they’ll hopefully want him, Scott, to take the lead.

 

“Should we have some fun boys?”

 

 

 

The guy settles himself in the chair by the desk, looks at himself in the mirror before removing his dinner jacket and pulling a cigarette from his pocket. He gestures them towards the bed and gives no further instructions than “I want you to give the blonde everything you’ve got.”

 

Mike mutters a soft swear under his breath and looks across at Scott- his pale eyelashes brushing his cheeks. Scott doesn’t love Mike like that but sometimes he makes his heart stammer. He takes Mike’s hand, his thumb brushing the bone of his wrist and Mike nods, lets out a soft but decided breath.

 

“Okay.”

 

 

 

It’s nothing he hasn’t done before is the thing. He’s used to people wanting him like this, splayed out, soft, delicate, submissive. But with Scott taking him it feels like more. Scott knows how to touch his body, his fingers light- teasing even, which makes his eyelashes flutter and his breaths gasps. He’d be embarrassed if he could think straight. Because he knows this is all a game, an act for the guy so he’ll give them an extra note and they can snort some extra coke.

 

Scott fingers him open gently, presses into him slowly. Pretending like Mike is a doll he might break if he’s too rough. He forgets, Mike thinks, that he does this with other people, that Scott doesn’t see half of what he does. The guy urges them on and with a raise of an eyebrow Scott pushes into him fully.

 

“Fuck.” Mike hisses, a hand buried in his hair, one tugging on the edge of the duvet.

 

“Just relax. Pretend.” Scott murmurs against his skin but the words don’t take root because Mike is gone. No thoughts able to get past the feel of Scott inside him, his breath on his skin and his hands tugging his hair.

 

“Come on Mike, please.” Scott urges, his tongue brushing Mike’s ear. The guy is making too much of a noise himself to really notice their private words but Scott is ever cautious. Mike nods and focuses as much as he can to play his part. He groans when Scott pushes back into him, pressing against him so perfectly …  Scott pinches his arm and Mike whines when Scott presses against him just so before everything is black.

 

 

*

 

 

He wakes to a faint chill; the room is dark but the neon lights outside outline Scott by the open window. Cigarette between his lips.

 

“What happened?” Mike manages to whisper.

 

“Mike.” Scott moves from the window back to the bed, pushing a hand through Mike’s hair and looking at him too closely. Mike pushes him away with a laugh.

 

“What happened?” he repeats, “Did something happen?”

 

“No. Well, you blacked out and the guy wanted me to fuck you again but I told him where to get off. He paid and left. You were out pretty hard though.” Mike’s cheeks blush.

 

“You’re far too good at this sex thing.”

 

“I’d better be.” Scott scoffs and nudges Mike before settling back on the mattress next to him.

 

“Guy paid for the night, you want to stay here?”

 

“Sure.” Mike nudges closer to Scott’s warmth, his sweater smelling slightly of cold air. Scott slides an arm around his waist to pull him closer.

 

“You did well tonight Mike.” Scott says sometime later, his words carrying in the dark, “I almost believed you myself.”  

 

(And if that isn’t enough to make Mike want to cry and offer up his broken heart he isn’t sure what else would.)

 

 

***

 

 

The day after Scott leaves home for what he hopes (but inevitably isn’t) the last time is the day he meets Mike. He’s perched on the side of a bench beside the road, empty coffee cup on the seat next to him and pale fingers cupped around a cigarette which won’t light. He makes Scott pause.

 

“You need help?” Scott asks and the guy looks up, unsure. He looks Scott over, takes in his slightly rumpled but expensive looking clothes and nods.

 

“Sure.” He offers Scott the cigarette who slides it between his own lips and lights in, taking a drag before handing it back. His fingers brush the guy’s and he shudders lightly. Scott takes a seat when he doesn’t say anything. “You know the time?”

 

“Just after 12.” Scott answers, checking his watch. The guy nods, offers the cigarette again, closes a hand around the coffee cup and sets it on the ground at his side. The guy looks across at him, a hand threading itself through his hair before he rests it on the seat between them. He’s pretty in a hungry, thin, dirty kind of way. His hair is rumpled and his clothes almost shabby. Scott stubs the end of the cigarette out. “So, what are you doing?”

 

“Hmm?” the guy looks across at him, tongue poking out to wet his lips slightly, considering him. Scott’s heart races.

 

“I mean like, what are you doing here? Like, just sitting here? It’s late and . . .”

 

“Oh.” The guy rests his head in his hands then. “Shit, I thought you wanted something”

 

“Listen, I’m sorry …” Scott stands.

 

“No, please,” the guy raises his head and reaches out a hand, pulls it back, settles it under his thigh. “You can stay, in fact please do.”

 

“Okay.” The air is quiet around them apart from the faint noises from some cars ahead and the guy’s slow breathing. His head is back in his hands and his dirty cuffs slide down to reveal his bony wrists.

 

“What are you doing here?” the guy asks after a while, his voice soft. Scott sighs.

 

“I’ve just left home.”

 

“What do you mean ‘left’?”

 

“I mean I couldn’t handle my father being who he is anymore so I left.”

 

“What is he?”

 

“A rich bastard.”

 

“Oh.” The guy’s voice goes quieter, his body shrinking in on itself. Their silence hangs for a moment and Scott lights another cigarette, offers it.

 

“Are you a whore?” Scott asks quietly after a time while the guy stubs out the cigarette and scoffs.

 

“If you want to call me that, sure. You want something?” Scott doesn’t miss the hopeful way his eyes light up and his chest tightens. He shakes his head.

 

“Nothing like that, although I could do with some food if you want some? Nothing needed in return. My father can pay for this one.” He stands and offers the guy his hand, he looks it over, his eyes flicking up to Scott’s face before a tentative hand accepts his. Scott pulls him to his feet far too easily.

 

“Come on then, I know a place.”

 

 

***

 

 

The car turns into a gated driveway and Mike sits up the best he can with his aching limbs. A perfect family home stands at the end of the drive, windows lit and the grounds well cared for. He lets out a low whistle.

 

“This is yours?”

 

“Every part of it.” Scott answers stopping the car as close to the front door as he can.

 

Almost as if they were waiting (heck they probably were), the front door is opened by some staff member or another. Scott pushes the car door open and comes around to help Mike. Mike almost wants to push Scott off, to yell at him that this isn’t right, that he can’t just bring him to his new perfect family home and hope to impress him. (Not that he isn’t impressed.) That his heart isn’t so easily fixed and certainly not like this.

 

Still, his body is tired and he isn’t sure he could stomach anyone taking him tonight. Scott helps him to the door, pushes it closed behind him with some finality. Mike takes everything in while Scott says something to the woman who had opened the door. She walks away and Scott pulls Mike’s hand lightly to indicate they should move.

 

“You fit in so well here.” Mike mutters, “Almost like you were born for it.”

 

“I was. At least, my father trained me so I could become a part of this.” Mike nods and his vision blurs and he stumbles. Scott slides his hands under his arms to steady him.

 

“Easy now, come on Mike. I’ll let you settle.”

 

 

***

 

 

Scott follows Mike home the evening they meet. Mike ushers him upstairs amidst people whistling and calling after them. Shows him where he sleeps.

 

“If you’re sure about this I don’t mind you staying here.” Scott nods, looks the room over, looks Mike over and smiles.

 

“Yeah I’ll stay here.”

 

 

*

 

 

It’s nearly 3 years since they met and Mike, sitting on the opposite side of the table to Scott in some café, is far too thankful for that night. Scott’s drinking yet another black coffee, leans back elegantly in his now slightly worn shirt and waistcoat. Mike always wondered what made him leave home dressed like that until Scott explained he was at one of his father’s parties when he made the decision.

 

“I think people like this though, makes me look ‘respectable.’”

 

“Why do people like me then?” Mike had asked, looking down at his own outfit, not quite as ‘respectable.’

 

“Mikey, people love you for this.” Scott had replied, cupping Mike’s jaw and running a hand through his hair and across his cheeks. “Pretty.”

 

 

***

 

 

It’s tough when he gets back from Italy and people have moved on. The rooms are quieter without everyone there, without Scott there, and Mike isn’t sure how to fill the time.

 

In quiet moments between the sex and the drugs he finds himself lying face up on some rooftop overlooking the city but only looking towards the sky above. He’s small and meaningless in all of this, he thinks. His hands shake and he can’t light his cigarette and he shivers in a thin shirt because he lost his jacket somewhere and if only the drugs would stop eating up all his money and he could buy a new one … the tears come before he can stop them and some nights he really doesn’t think they will stop.

 

 

*

 

 

He fucks more guys to get more money, lets them take things further as long as they promise to pay. He’s bone tired, eyes lifeless and skin cold but as long as they call him pretty and he’s able to do what they want and act the part and the drugs find a way into his body everything is fine. At least he tells himself that as he sits shivering on some bench he finds familiar thinking if only Scott were there to hold his wrist and tell him enough is enough and take him back to their room and hold him until he falls asleep. (Instead it’s only himself, here, a hand around his paper thin waist to hold himself together.)

 

 

*

 

 

Months later Mike notices Ben, one of the guys who used to work on the street with him and would sometimes come to Jane’s place in the window of a café with a nametag and uniform on. Mike checks his own appearance in an empty shop window next door. His hair is rumbled and he rubs a hand through it to flatten it somewhat. His dirt stained jacket there isn’t much he can do about but he licks a finger and rubs it across his nose to rid some dirt there.

 

The café is warm when he enters, smells of coffee and baking and Mike is forced to remember how little he’s been focusing on eating recently. He steps up to the counter and Ben looks up.

 

“Jeez Mike!” Ben says taking his appearance in, “You alright?”

 

“Yeah, good man. Well, you know … holding up.” He nods, sniffs, pulls his sleeve down to hide his hands.

 

“You want something?”

 

“Erm …” Mike scans the menu- fancy coffees at high prices and pastries he isn’t even sure what they are. “You choose for me, yeah, surprise me.” Mike nods, smiles, relieved.

 

“Okay, take a seat.” Ben nods to indicate a table near the counter. He pauses. “You … you do have money right?”

 

“Money?” Mike blinks, “What’s that?” Ben looks at him. “Fuck, come on man. You think I’d walk in here, this fancy place if I didn’t?” Ben looks far too relieved and Mike sits down before he just runs out of the place. (Still, when he’s sat he does check he has enough to cover this.)

 

Ben brings him over a coffee with a perfect star shaped chocolate dusting on top and some form of fancy pastry. Mike thanks him and then they’re silent for a moment.

 

“How have you been holding up?” Ben asks.

 

“Yeah, you know. Okay.” Mike mutters the last part and Ben looks at him closely. Mike busies himself with the coffee.

 

“I haven’t seen Scott around for a while. Kind of thought you two were a package deal.”

 

“Didn’t we all?” Mike asks, voice barely there, a lump he doesn’t appreciate forming in his throat.

 

“Where is he then?”

 

“Off spending his inheritance money on some girl we met in Italy.”

 

“Italy?” Mike nods and the look on his face is enough for Ben to realise he shouldn’t say anything else.

 

“How long … how long have you been working here?” Mike asks to fill the silence.

 

“A month or so, it’s nice you know? Nice to have a proper job, regular hours, regular wage.”

 

“Yeah.” Mike nods, smiles. “Sounds great.”

 

“Yeah, much better than … well you know … the other stuff.” Mike nods. “I take it you’re ..?”

 

“Yeah.” Mike nods again. “Still going strong.” He laughs but it’s hollow even to his own ears.

 

“If you ever want a change, I could help? Just let me know, yeah?” Mike mumbles something incoherent which may be a yeah sure. He stands. Coffee finished and food untouched.

 

“I’ve got to go man, see you around soon yeah?”

 

“Course.” Ben smiles and touches a hand to Mike’s. Mike tosses some money down on the table and leaves.

 

 

*

 

 

Sometime later a guy stops his car on the corner and Mike heads over. The guy looks him over and Mike’s glad he changed into something a little nicer.

 

“Get in, yeah?”

 

 

 

The guy, Peter he later introduces himself as, takes him back to his place. It’s nice, not overbearing, not too intimidating, just a regular suburban house. The guy tugs on his hand to get him to hurry inside, perhaps before the neighbours can see him.

 

“Nice.” Mike breaths out once they’re standing in the hallway. Peter, looks Mike over before pulling him close. A hand threading through Mike’s hair, gently, before pulling none too lightly, Mike winces.

 

“We’ll do a deal, you do everything I tell you and afterwards I’ll give you some money and some nice coke to snort.” He presses a finger against Mike’s nose roughly. “Sound good?” he prompts.

 

“Sure.” Peter smiles.

 

 

 

He’s had weird clients before. There are the ones who want to do weird non-sex things and pay him for it which is fine. There are the ones who want to do weird sex things and Mike has to set the rules straight and make sure they don’t take things too far. It’s usually fine, mostly.

 

This guy though, he’s a little worried about. He follows Peter up the stairs, the walls lined with questionable charcoal drawings. The content is more than a little unnerving and Mike pauses.

 

“I draw them myself.” The guy says with a faint smile when he sees Mike looking closely at one. “Couldn’t get into art school so I just draw for myself now. It’s better this way anyway. I don’t think anyone would like to see these.” Mike nods, unsure how to answer and the guy slides a hand to his and pulls him to get him moving again. “Come on, we’re so excited.”

 

“We?” Mike stills. They’re at the top of the stairs now, a half dozen doors are closed and Mike feels incredibly uneasy.

 

“Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, my … friend is here for the night as well. You don’t mind do you? You said you’d do anything I asked and I would pay you. And get you something to take, you want something now, before we start?”

 

“No.” Mike pulls away from the guy, “I think I should go.” Something about this seems off and his vision is starting to blur slightly, his chest tightening.

 

“No, you can’t. Not when I drove all the way to the city to pick you up and my friend drove all the way here. He wouldn’t be happy and neither would I.” The guy looks at him closely. “Besides, you need the money and the drugs. Plus, how else are you going to get home?” It’s all Mike can do but nod. The guy smiles.

 

“Perfect.”

 

 

 

The other guy in the room is some tall guy, his hands rest delicately against his knee but when he stands he’s so self-assured and Mike once again is stilled by dread and a wish he hadn’t come. The tall guy comes closer, touches his cheek, his hair, his prominent collar bone.

 

“Pretty.” He says with a smirk, “You ready for some fun?”

 

 

 

Mike knows how to play this role well enough- the slightly meek, submissive whore who can’t get enough. It’s fine, usually, a role he’s used to. But not like this, not when it hurts so much he can’t think straight.

 

“Fuck, please …” he whines, wrists aching. The tall guy laughs softly (Mike either never finds out or never remembers his name.)  

 

“Give him something.” There’s faint shuffling in the background and the tall guy leans down over Mike, runs a hand gently through his hair, strokes a hand across his cheek before resting his thumb in his mouth. “It’ll be over soon baby; we’ll get you something nice to take the edge off.”

 

Mike almost says no, that he never uses when with someone. And especially not someone like these guys where fuck knows what will happen if he does. It’s too painful though not to though. Peter comes back to the bed and sits on the edge, he smiles gently at Mike and slides something under his tongue. It melts slowly and leaves a grainy texture in his mouth but by now he’s not bothered.

 

“Can we continue now baby?”

 

 

*

 

 

When Mike leaves it’s just past dawn. A few people are out early: jogging, walking dogs, heading off for an early commute. Mike envies them and their normal lives. He pulls his jacket closed around himself, runs a hand through his hair to flatten it somewhat and hopes he looks at least half like a regular person.

 

 

*

 

 

Later, when he’s lying on the bed Scott used to share with him when he asked and his body aches more than ever before he takes the packet the guy gave him out of his pocket. He’s left the light off so he doesn’t have to see himself. Still, the curtain-less windows let in enough light for him to see the bruises at his wrists. He’s not too sure what it is but whatever they gave him last night made his thoughts light and his brain perfectly fuzzy so without too much thought he slides one of the tablets between his lips.

 

 

*

 

 

The light from the moon streams through the window directly onto the bed. Mike rolls over with some effort, tucking his knees to his chest and wraps his arms around them. Lonely. He thinks. That’s how he feels without Scott there. He was never as close to any of the others, especially not since some of them have left this life. He imagines Scott now, with his hair slicked back and in a suit costing more than Mike’s ever had in his pocket, drinking something posh at some bar, his hand resting lightly on her hand before smiling and kissing her cheek, her lips. Before he really realises the tears have started and once they do he’s not sure how to make them stop. He presses his hand to his mouth to quieten himself somewhat. Pathetic really, he thinks. As if Scott is thinking about him at all, as if he’s given him one thought since leaving him like that, like he ever really cared at all.

 

 

***

 

 

Scott hands him some clean clothes and shows him to the bathroom to change. There Mike strips off his own clothes and quickly puts on Scott’s, trying not to look at himself in the mirror. He knows how much he’s let himself go, how much his bones push to break free of his skin and how the dirt clings under his fingernails- matching the dark smudges under his eyes. His breathing is shaky and his chest hurts and Mike forces himself to go back to the bedroom before he passes out.

 

He pushes the door to the bedroom open gently, pads softly in. He’s desperate for a cigarette but seeing Scott sitting in the chair by the window, his hair lightly messy, makes him pause. Even after everything his body still aches for Scott.

 

“Do you have a cigarette?” he asks, voice faltering slightly, suddenly struck with the thought that maybe Scott quit, that maybe he doesn’t want Mike to mess up his perfect home with dirty cigarette smoke. He’s gasping for breaths before he knows it and Scott touches him gently, guides him to sit in the chair he just got out of. Mike leans his head in his hands and chokes in breaths.

 

“You’re fine Mike. Everything is fine.” Mike nods, sucks in a deep breath and holds it.

 

“Here.” Scott says after some time. Mike looks up and Scott passes him a cigarette, lights it.

 

“Thanks.” Having something to do with his hands settles Mike somewhat and they’re quiet for a moment. “You want some?” Mike thinks to offer. To his surprise Scott takes the cigarette, inhales deeply. With his hands empty again Mike isn’t quite sure what to do.

 

“What happened there?” Scott asks suddenly. Mike looks across at him and Scott nods towards his still bruised wrists.

 

“Oh.” Mike ducks his head, cheeks flushed again, he covers the worse wrist with his hand. “Some guy.” Scott breathes out a low breath, stands, stubs the cigarette out against the window sill.

 

“Someone did this?” he asks, taking hold of Mike’s wrist gently, his thumb brushing the pale, soft skin there. “Why?” Mike shrugs, pulls his hands back from Scott and tucks them underneath his legs, out of sight.

 

“Because they could, because they were paying.”

 

“Still …” Scott shakes his head, “You should have told them you have boundaries …”

 

“I couldn’t.” Mike says, voice rising, “Some of us have to get through life the best we can and the only way we can. We don’t all have money just sitting around waiting for us for when we decide we’re done playing poor. Besides, I can’t even remember much about the night, I was too gone to notice.” It’s a lie told to try and shock Scott, so he can remember what it was like before all of this.

 

“I’m sorry Mike …”

 

“No.” Mike stands, stumbles on unsteady legs, “You don’t get to feel sorry for me. You don’t get to pity me. I want to go to sleep now.”

 

 

***

 

 

He hitches a lift out of town. Fucks some guy in his van on the way in exchange for the ride and a packet of cigarettes, sucks someone off in the bathroom of some gas station in the middle of nowhere because they call him pretty and because he needs to feel something. He gets another ride with some guy to the middle of nowhere because the guy won’t stop touching him like he has the right to and Mike’s tired of feeling like property rather than a person. The guy grasps his wrists in one hand and forces them above his head.

 

“Come on baby, play nicely and I’ll take you where you want. Or I can just drop you off here.”

 

“Get off me.”

 

“What?”

 

“I said get off me, please.” Mike adds, his words carefully cold. The guy lets go.

 

“You want out?” Mike nods.

 

“Fine, some fucking whore you are. Not worth my time.” He slows the truck to a stop and Mike gets out, watches him drive away. And just like that he’s back where he started this whole journey when he left the home, alone.

 

 

***

 

 

When Mike wakes his head is sore but he’s warm and comfortable which is enough to make him jerk himself upright in confusion. Scott instantly moves to the bed and sits next to him, sliding a comforting hand down his arm.

 

“Hey, you’re okay. You’ve just been sleeping for too long.”

 

“Scott?” Mike blinks, runs a hand across his eyes. Scott is still there, sad smile on his lips.

 

“Yeah, it’s me. I’m still here.” He pulls the pillows up and settles Mike back against them more comfortably. “You’ve been sleeping for like 14 hours.”

 

“14? What time is it? Fuck I had a date lined up …” Scott shakes his head.

 

“No Mike, nothing like that for you anymore. You don’t need to.”

 

“What do you mean?” Mike demands, his voice louder than usual. “You think you can what, just pick me up? Like any other guy would. Let me have some of your nice clothes, sleep in your nice bed in your fancy house and everything will be okay? That I’ll fall back into your open arms willingly? Fuck you Scott because that is not what’s going to happen.” He pushes Scott away to stand on legs which threaten to collapse underneath him.

 

“Mike, please …”

 

“No, don’t you dare ‘Mike, please’ me. You left me! You met that girl and fucked off and left me, in Italy, alone. And when I get back you’ve taken your inheritance money and fucked us all off, instead you’re running with some slick bastards who a few months ago would have been disgusted with who you were, with me. You can’t expect me to come running back to you after that.” Mike can’t help but let himself fall to the floor, his eyes blurry with tears he angrily wipes away.

 

“Fuck, Mike I know, I know. I was stupid and wasn’t thinking. I’m sorry.” Scott gets off the bed and sits in front of Mike, a little distance away, his knee barely brushing Mike’s. Mike shakes his head.

 

“It’s not enough Scott, I know you’re sorry, you wouldn’t have brought me here if you weren’t. I hardly fit in with your new friends.” He covers his face with a hand to still the tears. His breathing has sped up, little shaky bursts of breath and Scott knows what comes next.

 

“Come on Mike, calm down for me yeah? Just breathe.” Mike nods, “That’s right …” after sometime Scott reaches out and touches a hand to Mike’s knee.

 

“Mike, I honestly am sorry. More than I could ever really find the words to explain properly. I ran away when you needed me, when we’d gone all that way and you didn’t even find your own mother, when you told me how you felt …” the tears do fall then and Mike sniffs.

 

“Yeah well, that’s in the past now.”

 

“Is it? Because I don’t want it to be.”

 

“What?” Mike looks across at Scott, Scott’s hand curling itself in his hair.

 

“I realised I do love you Mike, as a best friend and more. After I left all I could think of was how you were doing, how you were coping and how I wasn’t there for you. I hate to think of you in that place, going home there after doing whatever you had to do.” He shakes his head and reaches out for Mike before deciding against it and tucking his hands between his thighs. “Fuck.” Scott blinks away his own light tears before looking over at Mike. He’s pale skin and dark circles and too thin limbs and shaking hands and Scott’s never been more sure that he really does love someone in his life. He sits up on his knees, shuffles closer to Mike who watches him carefully.

 

“Mike, I’m so, so sorry. You know that right? And I’d kiss you if you’d let me.” Gently he touches a hand to Mike’s shoulder, sliding it lightly down his arm to rest on his hand. Mike looks down at their hands, at Scott’s covering his, protecting him like he always has. His eyelashes are wet with tears and he swears gently under his breath before he leans across and kisses Scott.

 

It’s not exactly how Mike imagined it might be the night he told Scott. He was expecting something soft, then something more. Instead Scott kisses him like he might break him if he moves too fast, as if Mike might pull away and leave him this time. Mike puts his hands around Scott’s neck to pull him close and opens his mouth to allow Scott access. Scott is receptive, has always known Mike more than he knows himself really and takes the lead as Mike wants. He runs his hands through Mike’s hair, still soft despite everything, and pulls him impossibly closer.

 

They stay like that for a while before Mike’s head starts to ache and he feels the sleep creeping in on the corners and he has to pull away.

 

“Sorry.” He breaths, shy almost. Scott smiles gently and takes his hand, lacing their fingers together.

 

“There will be plenty of time for other stuff- if you want it.” Mike almost blushes which Scott notices. “Come on Mikey, you’ve been whoring yourself out for years now, I’m sure you know some good stuff.” He teases, throwing an arm around his shoulder and pulling Mike close again. “This is good for now though.”

 

“Yeah.” Mike says from where he’s pressed up against Scott. “Promise me though, not to leave me again.”

 

“Fuck, no Mike. Not again.” Mike nods as Scott’s fingers lace their way through his hair. And while things are far from perfect, and they both have their own things to work through, for now this is enough.