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LA arrival

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players only. takes place a few days after this.

It's not a long flight to LA and Luca proves a happy flyer for the distance, looking around the plane and chattering away to the attendants, Kate and his dads for most of it. A couple books cover the rest of the time and soon enough they're setting down at LAX. It's the first time they've had security with them, Greg having taken the flight up to meet them and make friends with Luca before they have his services for their time in LA, both as driver and bodyguard. He's a huge hulking guy in his late thirties with twin boys roughly the same age as Luca and his willingness to get down on the floor and make all sorts of animal noises easily wins him Luca's friendship.

When they're landed and at the baggage carousel, he quickly reviews the guidelines he'd given them earlier: once they have their luggage, let him walk on the outside, acting as a buffer between them and the paps, ignore any comments, head straight for the car which will be waiting outside without stopping. "Any questions?"

"No, I don't think so," Matt glances at Kate before settling his gaze on Chris, until now he'd not really given much thought to the realities of potential press intrusion. But Greg's switch from easy-going guy to serious professional as they'd disembarked has made Matt reassess what they're walking into. He has Luca balanced on one hip, his son's face tucked into his neck.

"They'll mostly just be trying to get our attention so they can take pictures but sometimes they can be major jerks doing it," Chris reassures them, censoring his speech for Luca's ears as he pulls everyone's bags off the carousel and stacks them on a cart. "Are you okay?" he asks Kate, checking in with her.

"I can hold my own, Chris," Kate assures him, her back straightening her demeanor giving off 'don't fuck with me' vibes. Taking a step closer to Matt she offers her long-time friend a reassuring smile and a hand on his shoulder. "He'll be fine," she says softly. "We have to get used to this."

Chris offers them both a smile, checking with Matt that he's ready and then nodding at Greg. "We're good to go," he says, walking behind the bodyguard, helping him to keep Matt, Luca and Kate to the inside. Sometimes it's quieter once they leave the baggage claim and this isn't one of the worst days but it's still a fucking gauntlet with way too many paps waiting, straining against the barrier put up to keep them back. It must be a slow news day.

"Chris! Chris! Over here!" they yell. "What are you working on? Give us a smile. C'mon. Can you tell us about your latest project?"

The sudden eruption of noise makes Luca start and Matt reaches up to rub his back. "Hey s'okay," he coos softly into his son's ear. "Just silly people with cameras," keeping pace behind Chris, aware Kate is right beside him. His gaze scans the crowd, unconsciously looking for signs of threat as Luca's fingers tighten around his neck.

It's the same old routine until one of the photographers figures out they're all together. "Hey, Chris," he calls. "Who's this with you? Who's the kid?"

"Friends," Chris says, flashing the guy a smile, hoping a picture of him will appease the guy.

"Are they actors too?" the guy calls, snapping away, his attention suddenly focused on the man beside Chris, carrying the toddler. "Hey, cutie. Give us a smile."

"Leave him alone," Chris says, his protective nature rising to the fore even as Greg drops back a little and herds Matt and Kate forward. "They're not actors. They're friends."

When the press attention is directed at them Matt's hold tightens around his son, his hand cupping the back of Luca's head to stop his face being seen. Luca senses the new tension and starts to cry, his feet kicking at Matt. "Shhhh," Matt nuzzles him, "s'okay Lulu." He quickens his pace, his attention now fixed on Greg and not Chris, knowing the large man will see them safe.

Beyond the barrier, the paps crowd in on them further but between Chris and Greg they keep them away from Matt and Kate, Chris using the luggage cart to nudge a few out of the way. Finally they're outside though, another bodyguard from AJS having brought the car around and stepping forward to take the cart from Chris while Greg ushers them into the car, blocking the last of the paps with his body. It's quiet and cool inside the car, a few cameras pushed up against the windows but they're tinted and the attempts are in vain. Seated in the front seat, Kate, Matt and Luca in the back, Chris turns, watching Matt try to soothe Luca. "I'm sorry," he says. "It's not always this bad."

"C'mon, buddy, in your seat." Matt busies himself and Luca with practicalities, he lifts Luca into the car seat and adjusts the restraints to the correct tension. "You'll love Chris's house," he chatters away, knowing distraction is his greatest tool. "It sits right on the beach, maybe we can watch for pirate ships?" He widens his eyes. "What do you think?"

Luca hiccups, rubbing at his face. "There are pirates?" he asks, his suspicion obvious. "Real pirates, Daddy?"

"There might be," Matt winks, pleased his distraction has worked.

"If we get a sunny day, we can also make a sand castle and look for starfish," Chris adds, hoping the nice weather holds. "Have you ever held a starfish?"

Luca blinks and shakes his head. "No..." he glances between Matt and Chris. "Is Daddy's sea house our house?" he asks, his toddler brain hopping from one subject to another.

"It's our house to visit sometimes," Chris nods. "We all live at your house and that's our main house but this one is where we can come for vacations." Glancing at Matt to see if the explanation is acceptable. He's still learning to speak toddler.

"I have a sea house?" Luca claps his hands. "With fish and pirates and whales!" he shouts, immensely pleased with the idea. "We go now?" He turns to look at Matt.

"Yeah Lulu, we go now," Matt chuckles, leaning in to kiss the top of his son's head.

It's an uneventful drive to the beach house, the paps knowing better than to follow a car with a child in it. Luca happily chatters away and Chris has him laughing with a game of peekaboo and funny faces over the back of his seat. "I'm not sure what our plans are," he tells Greg as he pulls into the driveway. "We'll want a quiet day tomorrow, but after that we want to do some shopping and Matt and I have a date night planned for the following night. Do you want us to make up an itinerary or...?"

"I'm at your beck and call," Greg says easily. "I live about twenty minutes from here so just text or I'll be right over."

Chris unlocks the house and Greg helps him move their luggage inside. "Are you sure you won't need me again today?"

"Positive," Chris says, watching Luca tentatively explore the front of the house. "My PA stocked the fridge and we'll order in if we don't feel like cooking."

Matt thanks Greg before following Luca and Kate inside the house, watching them both look around. He glances back at Chris, thankful they're here and Luca seems largely unaffected by the chaos at the airport.

When Greg leaves and Chris shuts the door he reaches out, his palm upturned, "C'mere and kiss me, Cowboy," he invites softly.

"Gladly," Chris says, having been worried Matt would be upset with him after the scene at the airport. He takes Matt's hand, lets his lover reel him in and kisses him thoroughly. "I love you," he whispers, the words brushed across Matt's lips.

"Hmmmm," Matt hums his pleasure into Chris's mouth, his hand sliding around his lover's neck to keep him in place until Matt has had his fill.

"We should get everyone settled," Chris murmurs when they finally break for breath, Luca standing close by, watching them.

"I guess," Matt sighs dramatically as he steps away. He looks down at Luca and smiles. "You okay, buddy?"

Luca nods slowly before coming forward to hug their legs. Chris laughs and picks him up, wrapping his free arm around Matt and pressing a kiss to Luca's temple. "Family hug," he says to both of them. "You too," he adds with a smile at Kate, motioning her in.

With his son and lover, his best friend all pressed against him, Matt closes his eyes and breathes in, it's a perfect moment of completeness, of rightness.

A moment which lasts until Luca starts squirming, done with being hugged. "Down!" he insists, pushing with hands and feet.

Matt rolls his eyes and steps back, giving Chris room to set Luca back on his feet. "Next time, I'd like you to use a please," he ruffles his son's hair as he gently admonishes him. "Let me show you your room," he smiles at Kate, offering her his hand.

"What about you?" Chris asks Luca. "Do you want to see your room?" He's made some changes since he and Matt were last here and he hopes his lover (and their son) approve.

Matt glances back at that, a small frown, creasing his brow, he'd assumed they'd put Luca in one of the guest rooms. "He has his own room?"

"Well, it was the second guestroom," Chris says. "The one I had done as a den? I don't really need the space for that."

"Oh, okay," Matt nods, he grabs Kate's bag and pulls her along down to the guest room.

"Did you not know about that?" Kate asks as they move along a brightly lit hallway.

"No, we talked about toddler proofing the place, especially having some better safety barriers around the outdoor deck but I'd no idea that he'd had a room redone just for Lulu." Matt offers a light shrug as he pushes open the guest room door. "This is you."

Chris shows Luca his room, on the other side of the jack and jill ensuite, with its tent bed and tree bookcase, the room repainted to be more bright and cheerful. There's some books and a few toys but Chris hasn't gone overboard and he's kept the toys and colours non-gender specific. "What do you think?" he asks, Luca already climbing into the bed with a happy squeal.

"Is this my bed?" Luca asks as he rolls around on the mattress. "Is it, Daddy?" He looks up at Chris with a huge smile.

"It is," Chris nods, grinning back. "Do you like it?"

"I LOVE IT!" Luca yells laughing.

"What is all this noise?" Matt pokes his head around the door to the room and glances around it, taking in all the changes. "Wow Lulu, is this your room?"

Chris grins at Matt. "Aaron helped me put it together before I came up," he says. "Paint, the bed, the tree, a few toys... I tried not to go overboard but I want everyone to feel comfortable here."

"Well, Kate is certainly impressed with the fresh flowers, the beautifully folded towels, and high-end toiletries, which, I should point out, is a more than I was offered when I first came to stay," Matt teases as he moves into the room to look it over properly. "It's lovely Chris, I hope Luca has said thank you?" Matt turns his gaze on his son.

"You got other things," Chris teases, eyes glinting with mischief. "And not yet, but he's been busy taking it in."

"I'm going to get our bags, make sure you get a thank you," Matt brushes a kiss along Chris's jaw as he passes. "You're the best."

Chris smiles at the kiss, watching Matt for a moment before he turns back to Luca. He settles on the bed beside him, Luca suddenly kneeling up and wrapping his arms around Chris's neck.

"Thank you, Daddy Chris," he says, kissing Chris's cheek. "You sleep here too?"

"I bet that would be fun but this bed's just the right size for you, and Daddy and I have our own bed just down the hall," Chris explains, pulling Luca into his lap and hugging him tight.

Matt had paused just outside the bedroom door to hear the conversation between his lover and his son. He is still struggling to get his head around how he got so lucky to find a man who has swept him off his feet but who also appears to be the perfect co-parent for Luca.

"I sleep there too?" Luca tries again, offering Chris his very best puppy dog eyes.

Chris grins. "No. You're going to sleep here but when you wake up in the morning, if the sun is up too, you can come and crawl in with us."

Matt chuckles at that, shaking his head as he makes his way down the hall to their room. He'd been pretty clear with Chris early on that he needed to be firm with Luca and not let himself become the soft option and that he needed to follow Matt's lead in regards to discipline and it looks like Chris has taken his words to heart. Setting the bags beside the bed Matt kicks off his shoes and drops back against the bed, his arms flung over his head.

Done checking out his own room, Luca decides he wants to visit Kate and he and Chris walk over to her room where she says he can stay for a bit while Chris checks on Matt.

"Hey sexy," Chris murmurs, climbing onto the bed - and up Matt's body - to drop a kiss on his lover's mouth. He grins at Matt. "How're you doing?"

"Tired," Matt admits smiling. "Happy," he adds reaching up to brush the pad of his thumb over Chris's lower lip.

"Good. Me too," Chris says, pressing a kiss to Matt's thumb. "Any requests for dinner?" he asks, very deliberately trying to behave himself and keep from accosting his lover when Kate and Luca are just down the hall.

"How about we go out for burgers? I know Luca would like that, something local and low key."

"Do you want me to get Greg back or should we take our chances?" Chris asks. It's one thing when it's just him and Matt but with Kate and Luca... Still. "There's a place down by the fish shack that should be pretty quiet."

"I think we'll be fine," Matt smiles. "Shove a cap and some sunnies on and no one will recognise you," he teases.

"I can drop my accent too," Chris says, doing just that, a definite glint of mischief in his eyes. "That should do it."

"That will freak the boy out," Matt laughs. "We've got to get used to it I guess and I don't see why we should miss out on family time because the big bossy Australian waves a hammer around in a couple of movies,"

"Exactly," Chris says, smiling, back to his normal voice. "Besides, in all the years I've lived here, I've never used security except for events and occasionally the airport. I've had a couple weird encounters but nothing I've ever felt was dangerous."

"I think with Thor, Mama Bear and me, Luca will be safe enough," Matt grins. "Now, are you going to kiss me?"

"Did I not already do that?" Chris teases before dropping down again, his mouth warm and firm.

[feedback welcome. comments screened.]