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Stripped Down to the Bone

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Miles enjoyed being wealthy. Admittedly, his lifestyle was provided to him by his father, rather than he himself working for it, but he never felt any guilt over burning through the vast amount of money offered to him. Why would he? This was all he'd ever known, and so he embraced it. He'd spend it on the most frivolous of items; the latest high tech gadgets, trips, cars, nights out at the bar with his mates. Although there was one place in particular that he fancied the most, somewhere he attended in private. A local strip club, to be exact.

Normally, this wouldn't really be an issue, of course hormonal young men would flock to such places. However, the one Miles preferred was an all male strip club, one advertised mainly towards other men. No one knew about his sexuality, He realized it when he was around fifteen and kept it to himself out of fear of what others would say. He hated the fact that he felt the need to hide something like that about himself from all his loved ones, but he couldn't bring himself to take the risk.

So, Miles found himself once again in the strip joint that Friday night, lounging in one of the back booths and sipping on a drink. The place was a bit seedy, the lights always low and the building itself being fairly rundown; and the patrons were the kind Miles would rather not have any type of brawl with. Still, he smiled politely at those who walked by, but made sure to never divert his eyes from the front for long, as he only ever watched the main stage. Or, to be more specific, he only ever watched one certain boy usually found on the main stage.

The man wasn't like all the others who danced in the club. He had a smaller build, and wasn't incredibly muscular, though Miles was convinced that he possessed the loveliest arms and thighs he'd ever seen. He was wonderfully toned, but still appeared almost dainty, a bit feminine in nature. That may have had more to do with the long, brown, shoulder length curls that framed his delicate face. A face Miles was sure had been carved by angels, although he often wondered if the boy himself actually was one. He wouldn't doubt it for a moment.

The man's jawline and cheekbones were so prominent that Miles believed it'd be possible to cut himself on them, if he'd ever be privileged with the honor of touching him. His lips were pink and full, with a slight natural pout, and Miles wanted nothing more than to press his own lips against them. But the man's eyes were what really had Miles swooning. They were large and lidded, and reminded him of the sort of eyes you'd find on a young fawn. The irises were a richly colored dark brown, intense and mysterious. The sort of eyes that could see straight into the deepest depths of your soul, cutting right through without you ever knowing it. Miles was much too shy to approach the man, and so would resort to observing him from the shadows in the back.

He drummed his fingers on the tabletop to the beat of the song playing as he waited for the man to appear. He made sure to arrive long after the club had it's “show”, where the dancers would dress in ridiculous costumes and parade around on stage. He had no interest in that ordeal, although he did find himself frequently pondering if his boy participated in it, but something told him he most likely wasn't involved in that.

When Miles watched him on the pole, he definitely radiated confidence, but he wasn't anywhere near as flamboyant as some of the other dancers were. He'd flirt, he often saw the man licking his lips and giving little winks, but nothing much more than that. He never got completely nude, despite the fact that the club permitted it. He'd get down to his briefs and leave the rest to the imagination, though Miles had seen him flash a few teasing peeks at what was underneath the fabric to those who paid enough.

Miles had zoned out completely and was staring at the wall to his left, consumed in his thoughts of the doe eyed beauty. He almost jumped right out of his skin when he heard a smooth, drawling voice from beside him.

“You alright? You're looking a bit lonely.”

Miles whipped his head around to find himself face to face with the object of his previous daydreams. His mind went blank as he gazed at the man, taking in his attire of only some well fitted jeans and black boots. Miles' inability to speak appeared to amuse the long haired boy, if the impish little smile on his face was anything to go by.

“Would you like some company, perhaps?” he questioned, raking his fingers through his hair as he blatantly gave Miles a once over.

Miles blinked a few times as he processed the words spoken. He was aware that this was simply the man's job, and that maybe he could tell Miles had money, since he was dressed well in a fine charcoal grey suit. The notion didn't bother him, not really, but he still felt completely tongue tied, which in turn frustrated him. He was normally quite smooth and calm when it came to these situations, but being acknowledged by this man after fantasizing about him for weeks rendered him speechless. Unsure of what to say, Miles slowly nodded his head and slid further into his booth to make room for him. He slipped inside and turned his body so he was facing Miles.

“I see you in here a lot. Always alone, and in this exact spot.” he commented, his brow arched, his mouth forming a tiny smirk.
Miles was surprised that the man had noticed him before, he couldn't think of when they had ever made any sort of eye contact.

“Yeah... I see you in here a lot too.” Miles shakily replied, before promptly wanting to punch himself in the face for saying something so stupid. Although he quickly forgot the incident when the boy grinned at the remark, and he swore he could feel the breath being taken right out of him at the sight.

“Well yeah, I do work here you know.” he teased, eying Miles once more before adding, “Any particular reason you're here so much? I never see you up front or anything.”

Miles laughed nervously as his eyes briefly scanned over the room. He decided it wouldn't hurt to be honest and tell the man why he came here so often, surely he's heard worse. “I like watching you... You're beautiful and you move well.” Miles informed him, feeling proud that he was able to gain back a little shred of confidence in admitting that to him.

The man's eyebrows quirked up in surprise. “Is that right? I'm flattered.” he responded, sounding entirely genuine. He licked his lips and rested a hand on Miles' shoulder. “Well, if you like me so much, I could always dance for you.” he suggested.

For the second time that night Miles forgot how to speak. Of course he knew this happened at strip clubs, but the idea had never crossed his mind. He definitely was more than eager to take the man up on his offer. “Sounds lovely. Lead the way.” he agreed. The man smiled and slid back out of the booth, Miles following right behind him. He took Miles by the wrist and guided him to the back area where lap dances were performed. Miles tried not to melt at the feeling of the dancer's hand around his wrist. He didn't have a clue why he was acting the way he was around the boy, he felt similar to what he imagined a giggling school girl with a crush would feel like.

When they reached their destination, the man directed Miles to an empty chair, and he settled himself into it. He looked around the room and noticed two other men getting lap dances, and for a brief second he felt odd about doing such a thing so publicly, but quickly dismissed it when he realized they were paying no attention. Miles looked back towards the man standing in front of him, and held his breath as he leaned forward and whispered into Miles' ear. “It's twenty pounds per song, just so you know.”

Miles nodded and waited for him to start. When the boy began to move, he felt like he almost went into a trance. His eyes followed every movement, each sway of the man's hips and shake of his hair, causing Miles to fall deeper under his spell.

He had barely noticed the dancer ridding himself of his trousers after a moment, and before Miles knew it, he was sat in his lap, his hands gripping onto the back of the chair for support. He gazed into those beautiful eyes, noting that under the dull lighting they appeared to almost be black. He suddenly got a desperate urge to know what the boy's name was.

“Could you tell me your name?” Miles softly inquired. The man smirked and rotated his hips slightly, and suddenly Miles become hyper aware of every touch.

“It's Allen.” he divulged as he inched a bit closer to Miles' body. “And what's yours?”
“Miles...” he absentmindedly replied, his eyes transfixed on the man's hips. He snapped out of it when the dancer suddenly stopped. Miles threw him a questioning glance and the man laughed. “Want more?” he guessed.
Miles cocked his head and furrowed his brow before realizing a new song had started playing, making him aware of what the boy had meant.

“Yes, please.” Miles rushed out, unwilling to cut his time short just yet. Allen hummed in acknowledgment and continued his teasing movements. Before Miles could stop himself, he muttered “You're so beautiful” to the man. Miles' nervous gaze flickered over his face, unsure of how he'd react. He was surprised when he saw what he thought was a soft blush forming on his cheeks. However, he abruptly turned around so that he was facing away before Miles could tell for sure.

“Thank you.” Allen spoke, his voice soft. He pulled all of his curls over to the left side of his neck and glanced back at Miles. “You really come here just to watch me?” he asked as he gently bucked against Miles' thigh.

Miles clutched onto the sides of the chair to stop himself from grabbing the man. “Yes, I do. You're lovely and I've wanted to talk to you for awhile, but I hadn't had the guts.” Allen bit down on his lip as Miles continued. “It's not even really your body... I mean, well, not that I don't enjoy that, I certainly do. There's just something about you that draws me in. You fascinate me.” Miles laughed and shook his head. “I know I'm mad for saying that and it sounds incredibly creepy, I apologize.”

Allen stopped his movements and quickly turned back so he was fully facing Miles, resting his hands on his shoulders. “No, actually I don't think it's creepy. I'm just shocked someone thinks that way about me. A good kind of shocked, mind you.”
The pair's eyes locked and held each others gaze for what felt like hours, neither wanting to be the first to look away.

“Would you be willing to spend the night with me? I'll pay you for it if you wish.” Miles blurted out, the words escaping his mouth before he could refrain himself.

The dancer's eyes widened as his brows shot up in surprise. “You want to pay me to spend the night with you? You do realize I'm not a prostitute, right?” he questioned, completely bewildered.

In that moment Miles wished he could have a time machine so he could prevent himself from saying such an idiotic thing. But, he had to try his best to smooth it over. “Yes! Absolutely, I know you're not a prostitute! I... I just really want to spend a bit of time with you is all. I'm not asking for sexual favors, I want your company. I know how desperate and pathetic that sounds, and I completely understand if you refuse.” Miles assured him.

The man twirled a strand of hair around his finger as he contemplated the proposition, and Miles was perplexed when he gave his answer.
“Alright, I'll go. Just don't murder me or anything, yeah?” he joked, his eyes flickering with amusement.
Miles grinned and rolled his eyes. “Yes, I promise not to murder you. What time is your shift over?”
Allen chuckled and glanced behind him at the clock on the wall. “In about an hour and a half. You want to hang around till I'm finished?”
Miles shook his head. “Nah, not in here anyway. I'll go wait in the car, and you can meet me when you're done. It's a silver Audi A5.”
The man climbed off of Miles and slipped his pants back on. “Ooh, how fancy. That sounds good.”
Miles laughed and reached into his pocket to grab his wallet, pulling out a hundred pound note and handing it over to Allen.
The dancer gaped at Miles before spluttering, “Oh, no no, it's only forty pounds, I gave you two dances.”
“I know, just take this and give whatever amount you owe the club and keep the rest.” Miles insisted before pressing the note into the man's palm. “I'll see you in a bit.” he added, flashing him a quick smile before heading out to his car.

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Miles lost track of time as he chain smoked in the car and contemplated the various outcomes of where the night could go. He was being honest when he said Allen's company was enough for him, but he definitely wouldn't be opposed to something more if the opportunity arose. Miles almost dropped his cigarette onto his pants when he heard a tapping on the opposite window. He whipped his head around to see the man smiling and waving at him through the glass, now donning a t-shirt and jean jacket with his snug jeans. He hit the unlock button and motioned for him to get in.

Allen pulled the door open and quickly scooted into the passenger seat, slamming the door behind him and buckling himself in. He glanced around the interior before whistling lowly. “I was right, this is definitely very fancy.” he concluded. Miles laughed as he turned on the ignition and began the drive back to his flat. “Yeah, I suppose it is.” he agreed.

“You must be someone important, I know this type of car isn't cheap.” Allen pressed on.
Miles shrugged and shook his head slightly. “Eh, not me, my dad is though. Owns some successful businesses and whatnot. Dunno for sure, I've never paid it much attention.” Miles informed him before going on. “What about you? How'd you get into stripping, if I may ask?”
Allen gazed out the window at the city lights flashing by, never looking away as he responded. “Well, I dropped out of uni after my first semester, it just wasn't my thing. Money was tight and I needed a job, I saw the club was hiring and so that's where I ended up. It's not the flashiest thing, but the money is pretty good.”

For the rest of the drive Miles wondered what life was like for the man, to have limited means and not have everything handed to him. It seemed awful to Miles, but yet the man seemed alright, from what he could tell. He shook the thoughts off as they pulled into the parking garage. The pair didn't speak as they got out and made their way towards the building, although Miles kept sneaking quick glances at the boy, taking in the wonder that filled his face. He seemed mesmerized by his surroundings, particularly so once they stepped into the building and over into the elevators.

“This is so nice, wow. Very posh indeed.” the man muttered under his breath, but Miles was still able to catch the remark. He pressed the button to his floor and tried to hold back his laughter. He found the boy's astonishment over his current surroundings to be utterly adorable.
Miles laid a gentle hand on Allen's back when they reached their floor, leading him down the corridor to his flat. He unlocked the door and gestured for Allen to enter first. Miles quickly shut the door behind him and watched as the man practically raced around the place, pointing out all the different things he saw and chattering on about “how bloody spoiled” Miles was. He felt nothing but fond amusement towards the sight.

He walked into the kitchen and asked if his visitor would like a drink. He waited and heard no response, and so he went to investigate. He wandered around the place looking for any indication on where the man was. “Allen?” he called out, once again getting ignored. Just as he was about to yell out his name again, he noticed his bedroom door open a bit. He quickly pushed the door open to find the man sitting on the edge of the bed and patting the mattress, his shoes and jacket strewn across the floor.

“This is the comfiest bed I've ever felt!” he exclaimed, a childish grin spread across his face. Miles burst out laughing and shook his head. He kicked off his shoes and shrugged out of his suit jacket before pacing over to his side of the bed and sitting down, closing his eyes and rubbing at his temples. He felt jittery, not having any idea what to expect from the night. He jumped when he felt a pair of hands slowly beginning to caress his shoulders. He felt the man lean in closer, his warm breath hitting Miles' ear as he whispered, “Is everything alright?”

Miles turned his head to get a look at the man, their faces in such close proximity that if either were to lean forward a couple inches, their lips would touch. He sighed and shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah, I'm alright. I'm just very nervous.”
Allen's bottom lip stuck out slightly as he listened to Miles speak. “How come you're so nervous?” he asked, his voice hinting concern.
Miles blew out the breath he didn't know he was holding and smiled meekly. “Er... Well. It's just that I've never done this before. Not that I'm implying we'll be doing anything of that nature, but I'm still nervous about it.” Miles confessed.
Allen crawled forward until he was sat in the empty space beside Miles. “Wait, so you're a virgin?” he asked.

“Oh! Well, I was with a bird once, I just meant I've never been with a bloke before. I've wanted to, for quite a long time. But I keep it to myself because I get too concerned about how others would perceive me if I came out. My family could disown me, perhaps my friends would be disgusted... It's terrifying.” Miles revealed, exposing his deepest fears to a man he hardly knew. Still, it seemed appropriate for a reason he couldn't quite place. He quietly gasped when he felt the man reach for Miles' hand, interlocking their fingers and beginning to trace over Miles' thumb with his own.

“I know how you feel. I had the same fears before I came out... People are scared of what they don't understand, and when we're scared, we sometimes say or do things that are completely irrational. It doesn't necessarily make them bad people, just misguided ones, I think. Yes, you'll come across a few who are just downright nasty, but there's so many others who will love and accept you for who you are, and they will overshadow the bad ones. You should never have to feel guilty for who you love, and you need to remember that there's nothing wrong with it or you.” he reasoned with Miles, doing everything he could to show comfort.

Miles squeezed his hand before whispering a soft “thank you.” They turned their heads so that they faced each other, and Miles caught Allen's eyes flickering down to his lips a number of times. Miles smiled and gave a quick nod to him, showing him that it was okay. The man laughed softly and leaned in close, his hand wrapping around the back of Miles' neck as he gently pulled him forward into a kiss.

The boy's lips were soft, although somewhat chapped, and Miles swore he was getting a taste of heaven. He felt a tongue lightly rubbing along his bottom lip, seeking permission to deepen the kiss. Miles twisted his fingers into the man's locks as he parted his lips. He groaned softly at the feeling of their tongues pressing together, and in response the hand on Miles' nape tightened. They kissed until they both felt a burning in their lungs, desperate for a gulp of fresh air. They slowly pulled apart, and Miles pressed another small peck onto the man's lips before they separated completely.

He smiled at Miles and came in close once more, his lips trailing down Miles' neck, delivering sweet little kisses and occasional nips of his teeth to his skin. Miles couldn't hold back when he felt the man bite down on the spot right underneath his ear. “Oh God, Allen.” he moaned out. The man pulled away abruptly and shook his head at Miles before whispering, “Alex.”

Miles narrowed his eyes, his head tilting as he asked, “What?”
“My real name is Alex. Allen is the name I use at the club, just to be safe.” he repeated as he pushed the hair out of his face.
“I see, and do you feel safe here?” Miles inquired.

Alex smiled shyly and shrugged halfheartedly. “Suppose I do, yeah. You couldn't murder me here, everything is white, you'd never get away with it.” he teased as he wiggled his eyebrows. “And besides-” he started, slowly moving over until he was straddling Miles, pressing their foreheads together before murmuring against his lips, “-I wanna hear you moaning my actual name, not a fake one.”

Miles sighed and reunited their lips, snaking his arms around Alex's waist and pulling him tight against his body. Alex moaned and pressed his palms against Miles' shoulders and pushed in an attempt to get him to lay back. Miles caught on and lowered himself down onto the mattress, his grip around Alex tightening further as he pulled the boy down with him. Alex pulled away once more and continued his previous attack on Miles' neck, biting bruises into the skin and soothing the marks with his tongue. He sat up and began popping open the buttons to Miles' shirt, rolling his hips down onto Miles' own, making him groan.

Miles pushed himself up onto his elbows to help Alex get his shirt off, one arm at a time, the man grunting in approval as soon as Miles was completely rid of the garment.

Alex suddenly stopped, placing his hands on top of Miles' chest and gazing down at him before softly reminding him, “If you need me to stop at any time, just tell me, alright? No matter what, you say stop and we will.”

Miles highly doubted he'd ever want Alex to stop, but he found comfort in the fact that he wanted to ensure Miles was comfortable at all times. “I know, and thank you. Now, please continue.” he urged, causing the man above him to laugh, the sound of it echoing throughout the room. Alex slowly reached for the hem of his t-shirt, rolling his hips against Miles' as he pulled the shirt off and tossed it aside. Both men moaned at the contact between them, which only encouraged Alex to move faster. Miles gasped and squeezed Alex's sides, his thumbs circling over his hipbones as he watched the way their bodies moved with each other.

“Alex.. I want more. I... I want more.” he panted, his overwhelming sense of need overtaking him, and Alex was more than happy to oblige. He wasted no time in undoing Miles' dress pants, quickly popping open the button and tugging down the zipper. He slid off of Miles until he was standing up at the edge of the bed. His fingers hooked into the waistband of Miles' trousers and pulled the clothing down and off, his boxers soon following suit, causing his hardened cock to lay against his stomach. Alex smirked and bent down, making a trail of kisses from Miles' knee and up to his inner thigh, before turning his head and repeating the process on his other leg. Miles softly moaned and sighed at the feeling, at how tender Alex was being.

“Alex, I can't wait anymore, I want you.” Miles groaned, desperate for the feeling of Alex surrounding him.
Alex's eyes raked over Miles' body as he stood back up. He licked his lips and kept his focus right on Miles as he removed his own pants and briefs. His eyes were dark and lust blown, and the moonlight pouring in from the window illuminated the man, giving him a makeshift angelic glow. Miles smiled at the thought.

“What?” Alex questioned, a small smile playing on his lips as he slowly crawled back on top of Miles.
Miles simply blinked up at him. “Just admiring your beauty.” he purred, making Alex blush at the statement.

“Yeah, yeah. So, how do you want to go about this?” Alex questioned, a hint of amusement in his tone.
Miles' eyes shifted back and forth as he tried to grasp what Alex had meant, until it suddenly hit him. “Oh! Well. How do you usually do it?”
Alex laughed and ran his fingertips up and down Miles' arm, making him shiver. “Well, normally I'm the one er.. taking it, if you know what I mean.” he murmured with a wink.

Miles nodded and pointed towards his bedside table. “There's condoms and lube in there.” he mumbled.

He watched the way Alex moved as he reached over to dig through the drawer. At the tightening of his muscles and the way his hair fell into his face. Alex tossed the items onto the bed and took his place back on Miles' thighs, reaching over to grab the foil packet and remove the condom from it's wrapping before rolling it down Miles' length. He snatched up the small bottle of lube and generously spread the liquid over Miles' shaft, before spreading out his legs and repeating the process on his entrance.

“Hold your cock up for me, yeah?” Alex directed Miles, the urgency in his voice seeping through as he tossed the bottle onto the bedside table.
Miles reached down in order to meet Alex's demands when a thought stopped him short. “Wait, aren't I supposed to... You know, warm you up a bit first?” he interjected, feeling embarrassed by his lack of experience and having the need to ask such a thing.

Alex didn't ridicule him in the slightest, he only reached out and gently stroked the top of Miles' head before reassuring him, “I'll be alright, love. I just want you in me; I need to feel you.”

Miles let out a shaky breath as he reached down once more, but Alex suddenly stopped him by clutching onto his wrist.
“You're sure, right? You can always say stop.” Alex reminded him, his thumb gently rubbing along Miles' inner wrist, soothing him.
Miles grinned up at Alex before nodding. “I'm sure; come on now.” he encouraged, wrapping a hand around his shaft and placing his other on Alex's hip, guiding the man towards him. Alex gripped onto Miles' shoulders as he slowly took in Miles' length. He let out a low groan, his nails digging deep into Miles' skin. Alex panted when Miles' cock was completely sheathed inside of him, holding still for a moment as he adjusted to the full feeling. Miles watched on in nothing but adoration for the man above him, his hand lightly running across Alex's lower stomach as he waited patiently.

“I'm ready, it's okay.” Alex croaked as he gently rolled his hips forward, making both men moan at the sensation. Alex repeated the movement on loop, picking up the pace at each roll of his hips, until they were simultaneously moaning out for one another. Miles squeezed Alex's hips and helped guide him up and down his cock, bucking into the boy every time he moved back down his shaft.

“Fuck, Miles. Oh God you feel so fucking good, so incredible, fuck!” Alex whimpered as his eyes fluttered shut. Miles panted and writhed beneath him, taking in the gorgeous sight above him. The way Alex's thighs flexed with each bounce on Miles' cock, his long, sweat dampened hair falling into his face as his mouth hung open in pleasure. His nails scratched down Miles' chest as he whined, grinding harder down Miles' length, making Miles arch his back and moan at the feeling.

“Alex... Fuck, do you have any idea how gorgeous you look right now; fucking yourself on my cock like this? Hm?” Miles groaned as he wrapped a hand around Alex's length, rubbing his thumb over the tip and spreading out the beads of precome he found there. Alex gasped and leaned forward until he was lying on Miles, their fronts pressed together tightly, and Alex's cock lying between their stomachs.

Alex dropped his face into the crook of Miles' neck and sucked on every inch of skin his mouth could reach. Miles wrapped his arms around Alex's waist before drawing his knees up, his feet flat on the bed in order to steady them. Alex slid his arms underneath Miles' back and held onto his shoulders as Miles pounded into him. Alex yelped when Miles hit that sweet spot deep within him, his teeth scraping against the skin of Miles' throat.

“Right there Miles, fuck please don't stop, don't ever stop, fuck Miles!” Alex babbled, his words slurring together as Miles grunted and picked up the pace. Alex rolled his hips back and met Miles thrust for thrust. The feeling of Miles moving inside of him combined with the friction on his cock from their stomachs brought Alex to the edge. With one last cry of Miles' name, he came, hot liquid spilling out onto their chests. Feeling the tight spasms around his cock as Alex came brought Miles to his own climax, his moans filling the room as he slowly thrust into Alex before coming to a stop.

For a moment they didn't move at all, still clutching onto each other as they tried to catch their breath. Alex tilted his head upwards and pressed a trail of kisses along Miles' jawline before gently rolling off of him and laying back onto the bed. Miles grabbed Alex's hand and kissed his knuckles before sitting up and disposing of the condom in the nearby trash. He grabbed a handful of tissues and turned back towards Alex, cleaning him off slowly and delicately before wiping his own chest clean. He threw the tissues away and stood up so he could pull back the covers. He crawled underneath and gestured for Alex to do the same.

Alex faced away from Miles once he got under the covers, sleep wanting to appear much sooner than he would've like. Miles snaked an arm around Alex's waist and pulled the boy towards him, till his back was flush against Miles' front. Alex hummed and placed his hand over top Miles', lacing their fingers together as their legs tangled beneath the sheets. The room was silent for a moment, and Miles assumed Alex had fallen asleep until he suddenly spoke up.

“I don't want you to pay me, by the way. Not with money at least.” he mumbled.
Miles reached up with his free hand and pulled Alex's hair away from his neck. He nuzzled into him and planted soft kisses along his nape before asking, “Oh? What exactly did you have in mind then?”
“A date.” Alex whispered as he squeezed Miles' hand.

Miles lifted his head, his eyes flickering over Alex's face. “Really? You want to go on a date with me?”
Alex shifted slightly so he could look at Miles, smiling shyly up at the man as he nodded. “Yes. I've watched you in the club too, you know. I'm not sure how we've never caught each other.” he laughed before continuing. “That thing you said earlier, about how I fascinate you, I feel that way about you too. That's why I agreed to come back with you. Despite what people may think, especially regarding my current profession, I have no interest in your money; but I do have quite an interest in you, as a person... I'd love nothing more than to get to know you better.” he spilled out, his cheeks turning a bright pink at his confession.

Miles positively beamed at Alex's words, and leaned down to give him a sweet but chaste kiss. His lips brushed over Alex's temple before laying his head back down and quietly responding to the request.

“Yes, love; nothing would make me happier than going on a date with you.”

Chapter Text

Miles sat on his couch while he stared down at his phone. It had been four days since Alex had been there, and he couldn't decide if it had been an appropriate amount of time since then to give him a call. He didn't want to appear too desperate, but he was also tired of waiting.

He then wondered if perhaps he had waited too long. Wasn't the wait time two days? Three? He hoped he wasn't too late; he'd be absolutely crushed if he missed his chance. He groaned and finally settled on calling, not wanting to waste anymore time. His thumb had been hovering over Alex's contact, and so he pressed the call button, raking his free hand through his hair as he pushed himself up and began to pace around the room.

Miles grew more anxious each time the call tone sounded, and sighed in relief when he heard the phone being picked up. There was a clashing down the line, as if the phone on the other end had been dropped, before he finally had Alex's melodious voice in his ear.

“Hello?” he said, and Miles thought he sounded much huskier than he remembered. He checked the time and noticed it was ten a.m, and he assumed he had woken the other man up.

“Um... Hi, Alex. This is Miles, from the other night. Is this a bad time? I'm so sorry if I woke you up, I'll-” He heard Alex cough and begin to speak again, sounding much more awake this time around.

“Miles?! No no, it's alright! I should get me lazy arse out of bed anyway... I'm really happy you rang, I was starting to think you weren't ever going to.”
Miles shut his eyes tightly and smacked himself on the forehead, dropping back down onto the couch. “I'm so sorry about that, I thought I was supposed to wait a certain amount of days before I contacted you. I wanted to ring the second you stepped out the door, if I'm honest.”

Alex laughed softly, and Miles' stomach filled with butterflies at the sound. “I wouldn't have minded that. Those rules are stupid anyway.”
“They are, and I'm sorry for making you think I didn't want to see you... It's quite the opposite.” Miles admitted, and he beamed when he heard another giggle.

“So, am I right in assuming that you're calling to ask me out?” Alex questioned, his voice like honey in Miles' ear.
Miles wiped his sweaty palm onto the armrest, his nerves getting the better of him. “You are, yes... Are you free at all this week?” Miles asked, blushing when his voice cracked at the end of his sentence.

“I am Thursday night. Does that work for you?” Alex answered.
Miles briefly wondered why they wouldn't just go out on the weekend until he remembered that Alex most likely worked. He propped his head up with his free hand and smiled. “That's just fine, yeah. So do you want me to text you the day of to get your address?”

Alex made a quiet gasping sound, and Miles pursed his lips. “You don't need to worry about all that, we can just meet somewhere for you to pick me up. Less hassle that way.” Alex rushed out, sounding nervous.

“I don't mind coming to get you, it's no hassle for me. You also probably shouldn't just leave your car behind like that.” Miles mentioned. He could hear the other man quickly tapping his finger against something.

Alex cleared his throat. “I... I don't have a car anyway. But I don't mind walking. There's a bus stop around my house that you can meet me at.”
Miles' brows knitted as he pushed himself off the couch, walking into the kitchen and leaning on the counter. “That seems a little silly, I really don't mind just picking you up. I don't want you out walking at night anyway... I promise, it's okay.” he assured him, though slightly confused by the situation.

Alex sighed. “Okay...” he mumbled. “I'll just give you the address now, if that's alright...”
“Sure, laa. Hold on.” Miles said as he dug around in a junk drawer. He swore he had a pad of paper and pen in there somewhere.

“Aha!” he exclaimed once he found what he was looking for. He quickly pulled the cap off of the pen and opened the notebook to a fresh page. “Sorry about that. Anyway, go ahead.”

“Erm, it's at 115 Astbury...” Alex muttered, so quietly Miles almost didn't understand him. He jotted down the address and smiled.
“Okay, is it alright if I come at seven?”
Alex hummed. “That would be great, yeah.”

Miles stood straight and traced his finger along the marble counter. “Good... So, um. I suppose I should let you go now, so maybe you can go back to sleep.” he joked. Alex laughed and Miles felt like he was floating.

“I probably will, I told you I were lazy.” Alex agreed, pausing before adding, “I can't wait to see you.”
Miles' heart raced as a wide grin spread across his face. “I can't either.”
Alex sucked his breath in quietly. “Bye, Miles.” he murmured.
“Bye, Alex.”

He hung up the phone and punched the air before dancing around the room, thrilled that he was actually going to go out with Alex. He had never felt more lucky in his entire life.

-------------

Miles was filled with nerves as he drove to Alex's home that Thursday night. He didn't date much, and this was also his first one with another man. He knew it didn't make much of a difference, but it was Alex he was going with. Miles wanted everything to go perfectly. He could hardly believe it was happening at all, and his head spun when he thought of the fact that Alex had been the one to initially ask for a date in the first place.

As he got closer to the others home, he realized that he lived in Peckham, which he knew was definitely far from the safest place in London. He began to wonder if perhaps this was why Alex had resisted giving Miles his address as much as he had. He turned down his road, driving a short distance down the street before arriving. He parked, quickly stepping out and checking to make sure he looked alright from his reflection in the car door. Satisfied with his appearance, he walked up to the front door and took a deep breath as he knocked.

Miles could hear a series of thuds coming from inside, as if someone was running. The door was flung open seconds later, and there stood Alex with a huge grin across his face.

“Hey, Miles.” he greeted before leaning forward and quickly pecking Miles' cheek. He gestured towards his outfit and said, “I hope I look alright, I wasn't sure what I should wear... I can change if you prefer.”

Miles scanned his eyes over him and saw that he was wearing a white button up shirt, black jeans, and a grey suit jacket. He met Alex's eye and shook his head. “Of course not. You look gorgeous.” Miles reassured him as he reached out and gently ruffled his hair. Alex's face flushed, biting his lip and turning away so he could shut and lock his door.

“Ready?” he asked.
“You're very eager.” Miles laughed as he nodded, following Alex to his car.
Alex shrugged. “I haven't been on a date in a long time.”

Miles scoffed. “I highly doubt that. I bet you've got blokes practically banging down your door and begging to take you out left and right.” Alex rolled his eyes and gently swatted at Miles' arm just as he reached the car. Miles ran over to the passenger's side and opened the door for the other man. Alex giggled and climbed in, smiling as he buckled up and waited for Miles to do the same. Once they started the drive to the restaurant, Miles could see Alex repeatedly sneaking glances at him out of the corner of his eye.

“Do I have something on my face?” he questioned, amusement in his tone.
Alex shook his head. “No, I just like looking at you.”
Miles' eyes darted over to the other man, flashing him a quick smile before looking back at the road.
“So... How is this going to work?” Alex asked suddenly.
“What do you mean?”

Alex turned and faced Miles. “Well, I mean... You haven't come out. And isn't your dad someone important around here? What if someone sees you out with me?”

“Oh. Right. I haven't lived here long anyway, I doubt people really know who I am... Why do you say that as though it's bad if I'm seen with you specifically?” Miles inquired, quickly glancing over to see the other staring out of the window.

Alex pushed his hair out of his face and shrugged. “Well, it's not exactly reputable to be seen with a stripper. A male one at that.”
Miles furrowed his brows and pursed his lips. “How would anyone even know that's what you do? It's not like you have some flashing neon sign above your head that says it.”

“You'd be surprised who comes into the club... I can't tell you who specifically for confidentiality reasons, but trust me, it's very plausible that I could be recognized.” Alex told him, making Miles arch a brow.

“You're a popular one over there, aren't you?” Miles asked teasingly, goosebumps raising on his skin when Alex laughed.
“Dunno about that, but I do get my fair share of customers.”
The corners of Miles' mouth quirked up. “Customers? Is that how you think of it?”
“Yeah, that's how it is, isn't it? They come in and pay for something that I give, and then they leave. Like a grocer shop” he responded.

Miles chuckled. “So you're an item in a shop, then?” he asked, and Alex hummed in agreement. “Well, if that's so, you're one of those delicious cakes in the little bakery part.”

“What?! Those cakes are gross!” Alex exclaimed through a fit of laughter.
Miles pouted his lips slightly. “I think they taste fine.”
“You've obviously never had a good home made one, then.” Alex countered with a grin.

Miles paused. “No, I don't think I've ever had a home made one actually... My mum doesn't do stuff like that, and I can't remember any of our cooks doing it either.”

Alex tilted his head and frowned. “Not even on your birthday?”
Miles shook his head. “No, I always just had those bakery ones... Well, when I was older my mum ordered them from those fancier places that you see on telly, but I'm sure when I was a kid I had the grocery shop ones.”

They were silent for a moment until Miles spoke up. “I don't care at all that you're a stripper, by the way. I'm not ashamed of it, or of you... I don't think anything is wrong with what you do, it doesn't matter to me. I just wanted you to know that, in case you thought maybe I did mind.”

Alex reached out for Miles' hand that was placed on his thigh, intertwining their fingers together and squeezing gently. “I was worried a bit, yeah... So thank you for reassuring me.”

Miles lifted Alex's hand to his lips, giving it a light kiss before dropping their hands back onto his leg.

---------------

Seeing the way Alex reacted to his surroundings was something Miles' thoroughly enjoyed. As soon as they had stepped into the restaurant, Alex's mouth dropped open.

“Miles, this is so beautiful! There's flowers everywhere, even on the ceiling!” he gushed as they were seated, his eyes wide with excitement.
Miles grinned and picked up the wine menu. “It is lovely... Do you prefer red or white wine?”
“Whatever you think is good.” Alex said with a shrug.

Miles nodded. “We'll have the ninety-seven Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru.” he told the waiter, and he nodded and went off. “I like white wine.” he added.

Alex smiled and glanced at the wine menu. His eyes almost bulged out of his head when he noticed the price on what had been ordered. “Miles! This is four hundred and eighty-five pounds a bottle!” he said frantically.

Miles waved his hand briefly. “That's okay, it's worth it, I promise.”
Alex sat back in his chair and gaped at the man in front of him. “That's an absolutely absurd amount of money to pay for something that we're just gonna piss out later.”

Miles burst out laughing. “I suppose you're right, but it does taste good.” He pushed a menu across the table. “Pick out whatever you'd like to eat, laa.” He watched as Alex opened the menu and scanned his options, his brow arching in curiosity when Alex pursed his lips.

“Miles, what's fo-ee grass?” Alex questioned, his brows knitted in confusion.
“What? Show me.” He tilted his head as Alex turned his menu and pointed at what he meant. “Oh, foie gras! It's quite good, would you like some?”

Alex looked up at Miles and bit his lip. “I don't know what it is.”

“Oh, right. Sorry. It's fattened duck liver.” Miles answered, smiling at the way Alex scrunched up his nose and shook his head. Just then the waiter reappeared and poured them their wine.

“No thanks.” Alex said as he looked back down at his menu. “What are you getting?”
Miles clucked his tongue, running his finger along his jaw as he read through his own menu. “The Wagyu beef, I think. Do you like steak?”
Alex hummed and glanced at the fireplace beside him. “Sure, I like it. I'll have it too.” he answered absentmindedly.

Miles ordered their food as Alex glanced up at the ceiling and smiled faintly, the strings of lights decorating the restaurant glowing around him. Miles slipped his phone out of his pocket and snapped a quick photo as the waiter walked away.

“Did you just take a picture of me?” Alex asked as he pushed his hair behind his ears.
Miles grinned. “I did. You just look so lovely, I couldn't resist.”
Alex propped his head up with his hand, his palm covering his mouth, though Miles could still see the smile on his face. He slid his hand to the side of his face and commented, “You sure do like to lay the charm on nice and thick, don't you?”

Miles took a sip of his wine, blushing as he looked at the walls. “Only with you.” he softly replied. He flicked his gaze over to the other man, seeing that he was starry eyed and beaming.

The pair chatted about their likes and dislikes, and they appeared to have quite a bit in common. Alex's face lit up when he learned that Miles could play the guitar.

“I've always wanted to learn how to play that! I can play a little keyboard, but guitar is much better.” he said just as their food was brought out to them.

“Thank you” Miles said to the waiter before turning back towards Alex. “I'll teach you how to play, if you'd like.”
Alex smiled as he cut into his steak. “I'd love that... I always wanted a hot guitar teacher.”
“Is that right?” Miles asked as Alex took a bite of his food. He nodded and widened his eyes, swallowing before commenting, “God this is so good. What's this sauce called?”

Miles watched Alex in amusement as he cut up his own food. “Béarnaise, I think.” he answered as he ate a piece.

Alex took another bite and moaned quietly, causing Miles' eyebrows to shoot up. Alex licked his lips and laughed, taking a sip of his wine. “Sorry... It just tastes amazing. I want to figure out how to make it.”

Miles nodded and swallowed. “Do you cook often?”
Alex shrugged and pushed a chip around on his plate. “I try to. Mum taught me some things and I think it's fun to do sometimes.”
“Well, maybe next time I'll teach you a bit of guitar, and you can teach me how to cook a proper meal.” Miles mentioned, trying to sound as casual as possible. He already wanted a second date despite the fact that they weren't yet finished with the first.

Alex swallowed his mouthful of food and smiled shyly. “That sounds perfect. I'm already looking forward to it.”

They couldn't stop grinning at each other from across their sides of the table for the rest of their time there.

-----------------

When they pulled up in front of Alex's flat, Miles rushed out of the car so he could once more open up the door for his date. He held out his hand so he could help the other man. Alex laughed under his breath as he grabbed onto Miles' hand and got out of the vehicle. Miles shut the door behind him, smiling to himself over the fact that Alex continued to hold his hand for the entire walk to his front door. He turned so that they were facing each other, and he placed his other hand on Miles' shoulder.

“Thank you so much for tonight... I had a great time; definitely the best date I've ever been on.” Alex said as his gaze flickered between Miles' eyes and lips.

Miles smiled and leaned in a bit closer. “Me too.” he agreed, his hand twisting into Alex's curls.
Alex licked his lips and closed the distance between them. Miles hummed sweetly, squeezing the others hand as they kissed. Alex barely pulled away once their lips separated, eying Miles up and down as he let go of his hand. He grabbed Miles' face and tugged him back into another kiss, one much more heated than the previous. Miles wrapped his arms around Alex's waist as the other slipped his own around Miles' neck, lightly pressing their bodies together and making Miles groan.

Alex deepened the kiss, his tongue sliding along Miles' as he was pushed up against his front door. Alex moaned and tightened his grip around his neck. Miles ripped away, panting as he pressed their foreheads together. “Maybe we should take this inside?” he suggested between heavy breaths, his thumbs rubbing circles into Alex's back.

Alex giggled and scattered a trail of kisses along Miles' jaw before whispering into his ear. “Sorry, baby, I don't fuck on the first date.”

Miles leaned back and stared at the man in front of him. “But we've already...” he started to gently protest, trailing off as Alex merely smirked and shrugged his shoulders. He shook his head and sighed. “You're such a tease.”

Alex carded his fingers through Miles' hair, muttering a soft, “Mhm, I am.” before kissing his cheek.
“Alright.” Miles conceded, kissing Alex's temple. “I'll call you about that second date, then.”
Alex nodded and embraced him, laying his head on his shoulder as he mumbled, “Promise me you won't wait so long this time... I'm clearly into you and want you to call me soon.”

Miles chuckled and stroked Alex's hair. “I promise, sweetheart.”

“Good.” Alex said, pressing a quick kiss to Miles' lips before pulling away. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his keys. He unlocked the door and stepped inside, turning around and smiling sweetly. “Goodnight, Miles.” he murmured, his head laying against the door frame.

Miles smiled back as he reached out and tucked the others hair behind his ear. “Goodnight, Alex.” he replied, his voice dreamy. He took one last glance and turned away, walking to his car and getting in. He looked back towards Alex's door and saw him still standing in the doorway, watching Miles with a small grin across his face. He waved when he noticed Miles looking back at him. Miles laughed and waved back, and Alex finally stepped inside his home completely and shut the door.

He laid his head onto the headrest and smiled to himself. He quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, unlocking it and scrolling down his contacts until he got to Alex's name. He pressed the call button and waited.

“Already missing me?” Alex answered after the second ring.
“Mhm, definitely. I also wanted to ask about that second date.”
Alex laughed. “Have you even left yet?” he asked, and suddenly Miles saw him pull back his curtain and look at him through his window. Miles waved at him and Alex giggled into the phone. “Nope, you haven't, you stalker.” he joked, making Miles join him in his laughter.

“Yeah yeah. So, when are you free next?” he questioned as they both continued to stare at one another.
“Hmm. Monday, I think. Are you busy?” Alex replied.
Miles shook his head, forgetting that he was on the phone. Alex must have been able to see it, as he said, “Good, Monday it is, then.” before sighing gently.

“Yes, wonderful. Same time?” he asked, and Alex nodded, making Miles laugh. “Have a good night, Alex.” he spoke, his voice low.
“You too, Miles.” Alex whispered, ending the call after. He blew Miles a kiss through the window before closing his curtain.

Miles slipped his phone back into his pocket and put the keys in the ignition, unable to wipe the grin off of his face as he finally drove away.

Chapter Text

Miles couldn't get enough of Alex Turner. They had dated exclusively for the past two months, and Miles couldn't have been any happier. The two of them had taken to spending most of their time together in Miles' flat, and had never once stayed at Alex's. He knew it was because the other man was embarrassed about where he lived, though Miles couldn't care less. He never wanted to pressure Alex, and so the issue was never brought up.

He wandered around his home aimlessly, trying to kill the couple of hours he had until he picked Alex up at the club. Miles knew he didn't have a car, and he hated the idea of the other man walking home alone in the middle of the night, and so had taken it upon himself to drive Alex home after work. Some nights, that is, since Alex would usually insist that he wanted to stay with Miles rather than go to his own place.

He tapped his fingers against the edge of the couch as he looked around the room. He felt incredibly restless that night, and soon decided he'd leave early. He hadn't been inside the club since the first night he spent with Alex, and he wondered if it'd be strange of him to go in now that they were seeing each other. He quickly pulled on his coat and shoes before stuffing his keys and wallet into his pockets, shrugging off any doubts as he took off for his car.

-----

He stood leaned up against the wall of the front of the club as he smoked a cigarette. His ears were ringing from the thumping of the song playing at top volume inside. He stopped as he witnessed what he was almost certain to be a drug deal happening across the street between an unidentified man and someone Miles recognized as another dancer. He shook his head and tossed his cigarette to the ground and walked inside. He always knew this place was shady.

He paid the fee needed to enter the main dance floor and slowly wandered in. His eyes searched the room for Alex, but didn't find him. He noticed his favored booth was empty, and so proceeded to seat himself inside of it. He glanced on stage and noticed the man he saw buying drugs about to walk on, evidently riding his high with the way he kept vigorously rubbing his nose. Miles rubbed at his eyes and placed his head into his hands, a sudden wave of exhaustion hitting him.

He wasn't sure how long he sat like that, and he faintly heard a man near him calling over one of the dancers. He remained motionless until he heard a very familiar voice drawling nearby, “You looking for some company?”

Miles' head shot up just as Alex was lowering himself down onto a man's lap, his back facing Miles. He froze as he watched Alex's routine; his flirty remarks, forced giggles, and shaking the curls out of his face. He licked his lips as Alex ran his hands up and down the man's arms, clearly trying to get him to agree to a lap dance. Miles arched a brow as he observed the scene play out in front of him. He figured he should probably feel jealous seeing this, even though it was Alex's job, but he didn't. Instead, he found the whole scenario incredibly erotic.

Alex stood up, his hand trailing down the man's shoulders as he whispered into his ear. The man smirked and gave Alex's ass a squeeze, making Miles purse his lips. He knew the action wasn't something allowed in the club, and he wondered if Alex would say anything about it. Although he looked uncomfortable, he chose not to mention it. The man leaned in closer and began speaking into Alex's ear, and at that moment he raised his gaze upwards and was met with Miles' own looking back at him. He jumped slightly, his brows furrowing as he curiously eyed Miles. He bit his lip and straightened up before walking over towards Miles, the other man completely forgotten.

“What are you doing here? My shift's over at three, you're over an hour early.” Alex mumbled into Miles' ear, his warm breath making the hairs on his arms stand up.
Miles shrugged and grinned. “I was bored so I decided to come early... Besides, I miss watching you dance.”

Alex smirked and ran his hand up and down Miles' thigh. “Do you now?” he asked, to which Miles nodded. He smiled and went on, “You want me to dance for you, baby? We can go in one of the private rooms. Just you and me.” he suggested, his voice low and already dripping with lust. Miles sucked his breath in and stood up, eager to see what Alex had in store for him. Alex took hold of Miles' hand as they walked towards the back rooms, his thumb lightly tracing over Miles'.

“You're gonna have to pay before we get in there, though. I'm sorry.” Alex warned him as they approached the bouncer. Miles dug out his wallet and handed over a hundred pound note to the man, and Alex squeezed his hand.

“It's only sixty.” he whispered as the bouncer took the money and went to make change. Miles shook his head and tugged Alex along, leaving the man behind them in a confused state. Alex giggled and pulled Miles towards a private room.

“There are cameras in here, so be careful, alright?” Alex said as he pulled the curtains back. He dragged Miles inside and quickly fixed the curtains behind them. The room was lit fairly well with soft pink lighting, giving the room a glowing effect. A small stage (that looked more like a table in Miles' opinion) with a pole was in the center of the small room, with a wrap around leather couch placed in front of it. Miles looked up and spotted the camera in the corner, facing the stage area.

“Go sit down, love. I'll take care of you.” Alex murmured as he pointed over at the couch. Miles immediately went and sat himself right in the center of the couch. He licked his lips in anticipation as Alex pulled himself up onto the top of the stage, puckering his lips and giving a flirtatious wink as he stood up. Miles watched as Alex began his routine, his hips slowly swaying to the beat of an unidentifiable hip hop song playing over the speakers. Much like the first time Alex had done this for him, Miles instantly felt himself become hypnotized by the way Alex moved.

“You like what you see?” Alex asked as he reached back and held onto the metal pole. He slowly slid his body downwards, his hips continuing to slip from side to side as he held himself up by the hand gripping onto the bar. Miles felt his mouth water, and briefly wondered if he was noticeably drooling at the sight in front of him. Alex bit his lip and smiled. “Yeah, you like it.” he concluded before twisting his body to the side and pushing himself up, the new angle giving Miles a lovely view of the arch of his back, and the tightness of his bum.

“Alex...” Miles muttered under his breath, his eyes never straying from the other man's body. Miles knew he could see him getting hard, and noticed Alex in a similar state. “Seems you like it too, eh?” Miles said as he gave a pointed glance towards Alex's growing bulge.

Alex said nothing, only smiled as he shook the hair out of his face and removed his jeans. He dropped down onto his knees and crawled up to the edge of the stage, his eyes blazing as he looked up. Miles patted his thighs and silently begged for more contact. Alex laughed and got up and onto the floor. He placed one leg up on the couch beside Miles, while continuing to stand up with the other, giving Miles a clear view between Alex's legs.

Miles sucked his breath in and adjusted so he was sitting on his hands. He couldn't trust himself not to reach out and touch Alex. He soon decided to ask him to do this in the privacy of his flat where he'd be free to let his hands roam at another time. He felt his mouth go dry as Alex slid his fingers into Miles' hair and brought his face closer to his groin, until there was nothing more but an inch between the two.

“Fuck, Al.” Miles whispered as both his cock and hands twitched; both aching for more.

“You wanna suck on it, don't you?” Alex asked, his hand petting at the soft mop of Miles' hair. He got no response other than a string of curses, and so moved until he was sat on his knees and straddling the other man. Alex held the back of Miles' neck as he gently rubbed his hardened cock against his lover's stomach.

“God, Alex... Are you allowed to do that?” Miles gasped, his voice already spent.
Alex grinned and bucked his hips harder, making Miles groan. “Of course, love. I'm allowed to be as much of a cock tease as I want to be.”
Miles laid his head back onto the couch, his breath coming in short gasps as he kept watching every move Alex made. It became even more torturous as Alex shifted so that his legs spread further apart; until he was able to focus on grinding their hardened cocks together.

“Fuck, I would have done this a long time ago if I knew this is what happens back here.” Miles commented as he tried to keep his voice from shaking.
Alex laughed and turned around so that he was facing forward. “Trust me, you're getting a way better show than any other bloke has ever gotten.”
Miles hummed and attempted not to moan out at the way Alex moved his bum against his cock. “Am I the only one you've gotten hard for while you do this?”

Alex laid his back against Miles' chest and reached behind him to wrap a hand around his neck. “It's happened a small amount of times. I only get a hard on for the sexy ones... Although you are the sexiest, if it makes you feel better.”

“Mhm. And have you fucked any of them?” Miles asked as he desperately tried not to suck on the other man's neck. He wasn't asking out of jealousy, he was able to admit he found it to be a turn on hearing such things, rather than a threat.

Alex shook his head and squeezed Miles' thigh. “You're the only one I've ever blurred the lines of business and pleasure with.”

Miles wouldn't have minded hearing a story about a past sexual encounter of Alex's, though he was much more satisfied with the answer he had instead received. His happiness was soon turned into blinding lust as Alex hooked his thumbs into his briefs and slowly pulled down, showing Miles what was underneath the fabric. He didn't pull far enough for his cock to spring out and lay flat on his stomach, choosing instead to stick to being a downright tease.

Just when Miles thought he'd lose all sense of self control and pounce on Alex, there was a knock against the wall by the entry way, followed by someone asking if the room was occupied.

“Be out in a minute.” Alex called out and, much to Miles' dismay, stood back up. He quickly pulled both his boxers and jeans completely back on and gazed down at Miles. He arched a brow and held out his hand for Miles, and he gladly accepted. The pair quickly shuffled out of the room, and Alex dragged Miles over to a dark corner in the hall way.

“Go out and move your car behind the club building and wait for me, alright?” Alex murmured into Miles ear before gently sucking on the lobe as he pressed his cock into Miles' thigh.

“Why-y move to the ba-ack?” Miles stuttered out, falling more and more under Alex's spell as he held onto his hips.
“Because as soon as my shift is over you're gonna fuck me into oblivion in the backseat of your car. Got it?” Alex growled as his mouth slid down to suck underneath Miles' ear.

“Fuck, yes.” Miles hissed as he squeezed the smaller man's hips. Despite Alex being the bottom in bed, he still would usually take complete control of the situation, which was something Miles loved.

“Good. Now, go and wait for me, baby. And don't even think about laying a finger on yourself.” Alex instructed him, giving his ass a squeeze and his lips a quick peck before pulling away from him entirely. He blew Miles a kiss as he walked away and back out into the main area.

Miles stood and rapidly blinked for a moment as he tried to process what had happened. That was typical of Alex, to get him wound up and then leave him hanging. He couldn't be angry about it, however, as he enjoyed it as much as the other man did. He smoothed out the front of his shirt and hustled towards the entrance. He managed to catch Alex's eyes before he made it out of the door, and saw a hunger in them that made Miles' stomach flip. One side of his mouth went up into a half smile as he stared at Miles through his lashes. He quickly bolted out of the door before he jumped Alex right then and there.

------

Miles must have dozed off in the driver's seat, because before he knew it, he heard the backdoor opening and slamming shut, followed by hands tugging at his upper arm.

“Get back here.” Alex demanded as he continued to pull on his bicep. He managed to start dragging Miles backwards, and so he used his feet to help him out, muttering a series of, “Christ, Al.” under his breath.

“You should've already been back here.” he told him once Miles had settled into the backseat. Miles let out a strangled moan as Alex began palming him and pressing searing kisses onto his neck.

“Did you do what I told you to?” Alex breathed into his ear as he rubbed faster.
Miles groaned and nodded. “The car's back here, isn't it?”

“No, did you touch yourself at all?” Alex corrected him, his teeth scraping against Miles' neck. He moaned out in delight as he felt Miles shake his head no. “Hm. You should be good and ready for me, then.” he decided before pulling back, making Miles huff in protest. He shushed him as he quickly discarded both his jeans and briefs and laid back in the seat, letting his slender legs fall open and putting himself out on display for Miles.

“Well? What are you waiting for?” Alex asked as he reached down and slowly stroked himself. Miles moaned and pushed his pants and boxers down to his mid thigh in record time.

“You got anything, laa?” Miles questioned as he reached for Alex's trousers. He shivered as he listened to Alex's whimpering and barely audible whispers of Miles' name. He found a tiny bottle of lube in Alex's pockets, and dropped the clothing back down onto the floor.

A few moments later and Miles was pushing his middle and index fingers into Alex, the smaller man insisting he wanted two straightaway. Miles loved the way Alex felt, and how he repeatedly clenched around him. He could feel Alex trying to open himself up further, making Miles grin. He cursed when Alex asked for a third finger, his eagerness a quality that Miles adored and cherished.

“How about I take care of you now, hm? Since you treated me so well in there.” Miles spoke, and Alex licked his lips and smiled. “Were you planning this all out? Is that why you had lube in your pocket?” Miles asked as he prepped them both with more of the cold substance.

Alex laughed and raised an arm above his head, his hand pressing into the fogging glass. “No, this is a pleasant surprise. I asked one of the other lads for some.”
“Oh? And how did that conversation play out?”

Alex sighed contently as Miles teased his entrance with the swollen head of his cock, making him squirm beneath him. “Told him my boyfriend was out back waiting to shag me.” he answered, and Miles' mouth dropped open at the fact that Alex referred to him as his boyfriend. They hadn't talked about what exactly they were before, and the revelation made his heart swell in adoration. Alex's laughter rang out once more as he ran a hand over Miles' torso. “What? You think we're the only ones who has ever came back here for a quickie?”

Miles shook his head, deciding not to correct Alex on why he looked so surprised. He rolled his eyes as Alex dug his fingernails into Miles' stomach and demanded he get on with it. Miles pushed inside of Alex with a grunt, and with a drawn out moan from the man underneath him. Alex wouldn't even allow himself time to adjust, instead begging Miles to give him everything he had as he dragged his nails down Miles' back. He followed Alex's orders, he always did, and rocked his hips into him, back and forth as Alex panted.

“Fuck, you always make me feel so good, Mi.” Alex purred as he pulled his leg up closer to his stomach. Miles wrapped his arm around Alex's thigh and pressed his calve into his chest, thankful for the other man's flexibility. He grabbed onto the ledge of the door to help steady himself as he picked up speed. Alex's head banged into the door as Miles fucked him harder, though he didn't appear to care, or even notice for that matter. Miles glanced out of the window and saw someone standing in the lot, though on the opposite side.

“Al, someone's outside.” Miles whispered, his pace beginning to slow down, despite Alex's cries of protest.
“Who the fuck cares, Miles? Keep going.” Alex responded, the agitation in his voice apparent.
Miles sighed and squeezed Alex's thigh. “Well, what if they watch us?”
Alex smiled and ran his hands through Miles' hair. “Better put on a good show for them then, yeah? Let them watch.”

Miles chuckled and thrust deep into Alex, and Miles knew he hit his sweet spot by the way Alex moaned. “Fuck, Miles. That's it, baby, show them how good you fuck me. I want them to seethe with jealousy because they can't have you. Make them want what's mine.” Alex groaned out, his curls sticking to his face as he shut his eyes.

Miles wasn't put off by Alex's words, instead fueled by them, and his pace quickened as he gasped and dropped his head onto Alex's shoulder. He turned towards his neck and sucked on the damp skin, his tongue licking away the salt and soothing the bruise from his bite. Alex whined and wrapped his arms around Miles' neck, drawing him in closer as he rolled his hips up.

“You're so close love, I can feel it. I feel how tight you're getting around me.” Miles growled as he reached down to wrap a hand around Alex's cock. He tugged on his length and Alex moaned for him, his arms tightening and fingernails clawing at Miles' shoulders.

“Oh god Mi come with me, please come with me, baby. Fill me up, give me what I want.” Alex panted, his eyes rolling back as his head continued to smack against the door with each thrust. Miles wasn't one to disappoint Alex, and so quickly found himself on the edge as well. With a shout of Alex's name, he was there, rutting desperately into his lover as Alex praised and encouraged him. Miles felt Alex's orgasm before he saw it, his fingers getting slippery as he watched him arch his back and body shudder.

“You're so fucking gorgeous when you come, Alex.” Miles mumbled in awe, still unable to believe he was the cause for that beautiful sight. Alex gasped for breath and pulled Miles down into a kiss; teeth colliding and tongues clashing in a fight for dominance, a fight that Alex normally won, and tonight was no exception.

The kiss turned sweeter before Miles pulled away, needing a moment to reclaim his breath. He lowered himself down and laid his head onto Alex's shoulder, his lips pressed into his collarbone. It was cramped, yet cozy all the same.

“Got some cigs, laa?” Alex asked, and Miles wordlessly reached into his pocket and pulled the packet out for him. Alex took it and lit one up, deeply inhaling the fumes as his other hand lightly stroked Miles' hair. He exhaled and tickled his fingers against Miles' nape.

“Lift your head up and open your mouth.” he said, and Miles did as he was told. Alex took another hit and quickly pressed their lips together, blowing his cigarette smoke into Miles' mouth. Alex hummed as he pulled away with a light suck to the other's bottom lip.

Miles ran his thumb along Alex's cheekbone and smiled. “I didn't realize you were an exhibitionist.”
Alex laughed, a sweet little giggle that Miles couldn't get enough of. “Of course I am. I take off my clothes in front of complete strangers for a living. You have to be at least a little bit.”

“Suppose you're right... I wouldn't be able to do it.” Miles muttered before kissing Alex's jutting collarbone.
“Ooh, yes. I'd love to watch you strip for me sometime.” Alex teased.

Miles scoffed and said nothing, choosing to instead curl further into the other man. They were quiet as Alex finished off his cigarette, the only sound Miles could hear was Alex smoking and the beating of his heart. Miles ran his fingers along his soft skin, shining with cooled sweat. He noticed Alex's forearm flexing slightly, and looked up to find him pressing his fingers into the love bite on his neck. He caught Miles staring and smiled, though didn't stop his prodding.

“I'm not supposed to have these, you know.” Alex spoke, his voice low.
Miles raised his brows. “Why do you let me cover you in them all the time, then?”

Alex stopped his touching and laid his hand on Miles' shoulder, his thumb rubbing back and forth. “Because I like having them. I like people knowing I belong to you... Well, that I belong to someone. I know people can't find out it's you specifically.” Alex corrected himself, and Miles was able to detect the sadness in his voice as he said the last bit. It made his heart clench in a terribly painful way, and he couldn't begin to imagine how Alex must feel. He had been thinking of finally telling his parents the truth about his sexuality, and decided now was the time to bring it up to Alex.

“I'm ready now, Al... I'm sick of sneaking around and not being able to kiss you whenever I want to, or hold your hand on the occasions we are in public together. I'm sick of lying. And you don't deserve to be treated like that.” he told him, and Alex's eyes widened.

“Mi, I don't want you to do something if you're not ready just for my sake. I'll wait for as long as you need.” Alex whispered, though the hopefulness in his tone was evident.

Miles lifted his head and smiled, his eyes looking over every detail of Alex's face. “I'm not pushing myself into it, I've been thinking about it for awhile. I want to tell them, and I want you to be there with me. Preferably holding my hand... I want them to meet my boyfriend.”

Miles knew he took a risk calling him that, unsure if Alex had said it earlier only because it was an easy explanation, or if he truly felt that way. Miles knew he said the right thing, however, as Alex's face broke out into the most breath taking smile he'd ever seen while he nodded furiously.

As Miles leaned in to kiss Alex, he thought of the way the other man had actually taken his breath away much sooner than at that moment; right along with his heart.

Chapter Text

“You look absolutely gorgeous, love, no need to worry about it, alright?” Miles tried reassuring Alex for the fifth time that day. They were going to his parent's house for dinner that night, and he planned to reveal his sexuality to them, along with officially introducing them to Alex as his boyfriend. He swore that Alex was more nervous about the evening than he was.

“I just want everything to be perfect, Mi. I want them to like me as much as you do.” Alex said as he raced back over to the mirror.
Miles grinned and walked up behind him. He pulled Alex's hair to the side with one hand and gave his bum a light squeeze with the other. “Are you sure you want them to like you as much as I do?” he teased, his mouth ghosting over Alex's ear.

Alex laughed and rolled his eyes. “Okay, I guess I don't want them to like me that much. But you know what I mean, Miles. They're your family, it would kill me if they hated me.”

Miles kissed Alex's ear and shook his head. “They won't hate you, sweetheart, no one could ever be that daft. It's gonna be okay, I promise you.”
Alex sighed and ruffled his hair. “I hope you're right.”
“Of course I'm right, when have I ever been wrong?”

Alex turned around to face him. “Miles, you thought you could bake cookies in the microwave. Did you forget that? Remember the mess?”
“You can! I saw it in a magazine! You cook them in a cup.” Miles insisted, his eyes wide.

Alex reached out and carded his fingers through Miles' hair. “Yes, but you're not supposed to fill the cup all the way to the brim with store bought cookie dough; you use actual ingredients from home and, you know, not fill it to the very top.”

Miles rolled his eyes. “That was forever ago, and I've gotten much better at it, thank you very much. I made some very nice pasta the other night; which you called 'delicious', might I add.”

Alex tapped the tip of his nose with his finger. “You're cute when you're pouting.”
“Am I not cute all the time?” Miles asked in mock offense.
Alex grinned and kissed him; short and sweet. He ran his thumbs along Miles' jawline and murmured, “You're bloody gorgeous; I'm a lucky man.”

Miles laughed and pushed Alex's hair out of his eyes. “Such a sap.”
“I won't even try and deny that.” Alex mumbled against Miles' lips; pressing them together gently in a series of tiny pecks. “God, Miles. I...” Alex started, pulling back and staring at Miles through his lashes. He bit his lip and shook his head. “We should probably be leaving soon, yeah?”

Miles slipped his arms around Alex's waist; his thumbs circling over his lower back. “Well, if you keep looking at me like that, I don't think we'll be leaving at all.”

Alex pursed his lips and tried to hold back his smile, though failed miserably. “Keep it in your pants, Kane. We're going; I'm hungry and I don't feel like cooking.”

“We can order out. Pizza is always better after sex.” Miles suggested with a sly grin.
“Oh? And who exactly have you been out shagging then ordering pizza for?” Alex asked as he put his hands on his hips.
Miles wrapped his arms around Alex's shoulders. “Now look who's pouting... We did that before, love. We were pretty pissed though, so maybe you don't remember. That night when I think we each had a bottle of wine to ourselves.”

Alex smiled, his face lighting up with recognition. “Mm, and then we split another. I forgot that.”
“You tried to kiss me with a mouthful of wine, but right as you were about to; you laughed about god knows what and spit it out all over my face. So, I can't really forget it myself, even if I wanted to.” Miles told him, making Alex's face flush.

“Fucking lovely... No wonder I didn't remember, I must have been so mortified that I blocked it out.” Alex mumbled, his head bowing lower. “I read it in a book once, it seemed romantic so I wanted to try it with you. But I guess it didn't go the way I planned.”

Miles chuckled and slid his arms down to Alex's hips. “Nothing says romance quite like wine mixed with another person's saliva. Ick.”
Alex swatted Miles' backside and rolled his eyes. “Piss off! Guess you can't snog me anymore then, can you? Since it's too icky and all.”

“Oh, Al, I were only teasing you! I can't give up your kisses.”
Alex smirked and twisted his fingers into Miles' hair. “I know you can't; I'm irresistible. And a damn good kisser.”
“And so modest, too!” Miles exclaimed. He rested his forehead against the other man's and sighed. “You're brilliant in every way. I'm the lucky one here.”

Alex beamed and cradled Miles' face. “I guess we're both pretty sappy, eh?” Miles hummed in agreement, and Alex kissed the corner of his mouth. They stood holding each other in a comfortable silence for a moment until Alex murmured, “I hate to ruin the moment, but we really ought to get going, darling.”

Miles sighed, pressing a quick kiss to Alex's temple before pulling away. “Yeah, you're right. Let's go, stop wasting time!”
Alex scoffed and rolled his eyes. “I believe you were the one wasting time telling embarrassing stories.”

“Yeah yeah yeah. Come on, Bambi.”
“I am not Bambi!” Alex cried as he started walking out of the room.
Miles laughed and followed him out. “Sure you are, it would've made a great stripper name. You really missed an amazing opportunity there.” He came up behind Alex and tossed him over his shoulder.

“Stop, Miles! Put me down, you wanker!” Alex shrieked between a fit of giggles as Miles lugged him out to his car.

---------------

Miles took a deep breath as he rang the doorbell; glancing over at Alex and rubbing his arm. “It's gonna be fine, honey.” he whispered; and Alex give him a nervous smile. Before he could respond, the door opened, revealing a middle aged man in an impeccable grey suit. He looked back and forth between the couple with a raised brow.

“Hello, Miles. Good to see you. Your mum thought you were bringing a bird home and instead you brought a mate.” he remarked.
“Oh, well, this is Alex. Alex, this is my dad.” Miles said, and the two of them shook hands. Miles' father lead them inside as Miles leaned in to whisper in Alex's ear. “I wanna tell them both at the same time, so I will before we eat.”

Alex nodded and quickly squeezed Miles' hand, seeking reassurance. His eyes were wide as he looked around the place. If he thought Miles' flat was large and extravagant; it didn't come close to his parent's home. Alex almost was worried to breathe the wrong way and break something. His stomach twisted as he was once again reminded of Miles' immense wealth; having grown up quite poor, the whole situation made him a bit uneasy. Still, he plastered on a smile as he entered a large sitting room, where a woman was sat reading a paper.

“Miles, so lovely that you could come. Oh, and you brought a friend, a bit unexpected...” she trailed off, though still with a small smile intact. Alex decided right then that Miles' parents were the most frigid people he had ever met. He gently shook her hand and smiled politely. “Hello, Mrs. Kane. I'm Alex.” he spoke softly, and she gave him a clipped off smile in return. Alex knew this most likely would not go down well.

“Good evening, Alex. Quite the hair you have. Very hippie reminiscent.” she commented, and Alex looked to Miles for guidance. He stepped forward and patted Alex's shoulder. “Leave him alone, mum.”

She pressed her lips together and gestured towards the couches. “Hm. Sit down, then.” The two of them sat side by side on one, while Miles' parents sat across from them on the other.

Miles' father cleared his throat before beginning to speak. “So, Miles. Have you thought more on what we discussed over the phone? Now's the time to get your foot in the door, and I'll help you of course; show you the ropes. You're a smart lad, I'd hate to see your potential go to waste. I fully believe in your capability to make wise business decisions.”

Miles shifted and folded his hands together in his lap. “I'm not sure about it, dad. I don't know if I wanna be an entrepreneur. I'm interested in other things, you know?”

Mr. Kane scoffed and straightened the lapels of his jacket. “You're not still living in some fantasy world where you think you're going to be a rock star, are you? I thought you would have grown out of that by now. It's not practical.”

“Well, I still play... But, I've actually been thinking about enrolling into a culinary program. Alex has been teaching me how to cook, and I really enjoy it.” Miles answered, throwing Alex a small smile.

Mrs. Kane laughed and waved a dismissive hand. “You? Cook? I'd be surprised if you knew how to fix yourself a bowl of cereal. Be reasonable, your father is offering you a great opportunity here. It would be in your best interest if you took him up on it.”

Alex's blood boiled from the way Miles' parents completely shut him down. He couldn't help but feel a bit infuriated by it, which only magnified once he caught a glimpse of the dejection on Miles' face. Without giving it a second thought, he reached out and gently took Miles' hand into his own and gave it a squeeze. He then froze as he remembered where they were, and looked over at the confused expressions on the faces of Miles' parents. He tried to pull his hand away, though was unable to from Miles tightening his grip.

“Miles, who exactly is Alex?” his mother asked; her voice slightly shrill.
Alex's eyes darted to meet Miles'. He shrugged and scratched at the back of his head. “Well, that's sort of why I wanted to come over this evening. There's something I've been needing to tell you for awhile now. Years, even.” Miles began. Alex knew he was nervous, but he still managed to appear calm and collected.

“Mum; dad. I'm, er... Well. I'm gay. I've known it for a long time now. That's... what I wanted to tell you. Alex is my boyfriend, we've been seeing each other for a few months now.” he finished, smiling weakly as he pulled his and Alex's hands into his lap.

His parents gave them blank stares as they tried to process the information. Miles' father was the first to speak, announcing that he needed a drink before standing up and leaving the room. His mother still sat there, though now was shaking her head.

“You're not gay, Miles. Stop trying to draw attention to yourself. You're just confused, and I'm sure the pressure from your little... friend here doesn't help.”

Alex looked as though he had been slapped, while Miles started seething. “Yes mother, I am gay! I'm not confused, this isn't a phase, it's a genuine part of me. Alex has been nothing but supportive towards me since we met, and I'm not going to let you say nasty things about him. I care about him a great deal, please give him the kindness that he deserves.”

She pressed her hand to her forehead before quickly pushing herself up and storming out of the room, leaving the two boys behind. They sat in a brief, awkward silence until Miles said, “Well, that went fantastic, wouldn't you say?”

Alex dropped his head into his hands. “That was a fucking disaster. This was a bad idea, especially bringing me along with you.”
Miles sighed and wrapped his arm around Alex's shoulder. “Look, I know my parents. They're not being hateful, they're just shocked and confused. It's going to blow over once they get used to it.”

“I just really wanted them to like me.” Alex mumbled, the sadness in his voice making Miles' heart clench.
“They will, love. Just give them time, alright? Once they get over the surprise, they'll be much better with you.” Miles reassured him, making Alex lay his head onto Miles' shoulder.

“I know... It's just a bit disheartening, is all. And honestly I wanted to scream at the way they were speaking to you. I think it's wonderful that you've found something you're interested in and want to pursue it. Why can't they see that?!” Alex asked incredulously.

Miles shrugged and pressed feather-light kisses onto Alex's temple. “That's just how they've always been. They're desperate to get me doing the same shit as my dad, even though I have no interest in it. I never have. I think my dad is under the impression that I'll 'take over the family business', so to speak. He doesn't want to recognize the fact that it's not for me.”

Alex sighed and lightly rubbed his hand up and down Miles' arm. “Dinner is going to be awkward as fuck. Do you think we should just leave and pick up that pizza you mentioned earlier?”

Miles laughed and held Alex tighter. “Nah, why pass on free food?”
“What's this? Miles Kane being stingy?! I thought I'd never see the day!” Alex teased, his soft laughter igniting in Miles' veins. He couldn't help but feel a bit intoxicated by him.

As if on cue, they heard Miles' father bellowing for them to come sit down, and the pair held hands as they trudged down the hall and into the dining area. They said nothing to each other as the boys sat across from Miles' parents. His mother looked deathly pale, while his father's eyes shifted nervously between the two of them. They fixed their plates and began to eat in silence, the only sounds emitting in the room coming from the silverware clanking against china.

After a few minutes, Miles' father cleared his throat and gestured between the two of them. “So, erm... How did you two meet?”
Alex nearly choked on his beef wellington, while Miles tried not to spit out his wine. They'd foolishly come into this without thinking of a proper answer to that question. They gave each other panicked glances before Miles shakily replied, “I met him at his work.”

His father nodded and smiled slightly. “Oh, where do you work, Alex?”
Alex stared at him, unsure of how to answer. He looked to Miles for guidance, who shrugged and twisted his mouth. “Alex is a performer.” he answered for him, hoping that they wouldn't press the matter further.

He should have known better than to think they wouldn't ask more, almost cringing when he heard the dreaded words coming out of his father's mouth, “What kind of performer?”

Miles sighed and took a swig of wine, smiling slightly at the feeling of Alex gripping his knee under the table. He placed his hand over top and said, “A dancer...”

Miles' mother raised her brows as she eyed Alex. “Really? What sort of productions do you work on? I'm a fan of plays, I wonder if I've seen one you've worked on.”

Alex's eyes almost bulged out, and Miles couldn't hold in a choked back laugh. “No, no. He doesn't work on plays. He does a different thing.” He felt Alex's fingers dig deeper as she asked, “Oh? What sort of dancing do you do, then?”

Miles took a quick peek at Alex, who was already hiding his face in his hair. He gently rubbed his thumb over his as he softly replied, “An exotic dancer.”

His parents stared at them blankly, both sets of eyes blinking rapidly as they tried to grasp what exactly he meant. Miles scratched the back of his neck and took a deep breath. “A stripper.”

He heard Alex make a small squeaking sound as Miles' parents gaped at the two of them. He nearly laughed from the naivety in his mother's next sentence. “A stripper?! But you said you met him at work! He's a man, how can he even do that?!”

Miles rubbed his temples and nodded. “Yes, I did meet him at work. At the gay strip club he dances in.”
Her fork clattered against her plate as she dropped it, shaking her head as she stood and muttered, “I'm taking a bath.” before storming out of the room. His father watched her leave, then turned back to them.

He folded his hands under his chin as he looked back and forth between the two of them. Alex shivered as his stare settled onto him in particular. He gave a quick smile, unsure of what else to do under his surveillance. However, neither of them were expecting what came out of his mouth, “Do you make my son happy, Alex?”

Alex's mouth opened slightly as he furrowed his brows. He thought he was going to get a lecture, or a rant about how disgusting his profession was. He glanced over at Miles and tapped his finger against his glass.

“Well... I like to think that I do, yeah.” he responded, smiling as Miles intertwined their fingers.
“He makes me incredibly happy.” Miles clarified, and his father gave a satisfied nod. He stood up and smoothed out his jacket.
“Okay then. Now, I need to go and attend to your mother, I apologize for having to cut things short.” He shook their hands before wandering out of the room, calling out, “Have a good one, boys!” as he exited; leaving both men completely bewildered behind him.

-------------------

Later that evening found them both tangled around each other and in the bed sheets; their clothes scattered about the room. (Miles' underwear somehow even wound up on top of a lamp when Alex tossed them away in the midst of their fervor.) An empty pizza box laid next to the bed side table, holding only Miles' discarded crusts. He had left the window open that day, and a warm summer breeze now filled the room. Loose strands of Alex's curls blew around slightly, and Miles' fingers traced over the goosebumps rising on his back.

“Three.” he murmured, causing Alex to shift his head so he could look up at him.
“What?” Alex slurred, his eyes drooping as he stared up at him.

Miles pushed back the hair sticking to Alex's forehead and curled his hand under his ear; his thumb skimming over his cheekbone. “You have three freckles on your back. One on your face, four scattered over your ribs and stomach; and then one more on your left inner thigh, which is my personal favorite.”

Alex smiled and pressed his face further into Miles' chest. He kissed across his collarbone as he ran a finger up and down the center of Miles' chest; his finger tickling against the patch of hair found there. Miles laughed softly and wrapped an arm around Alex's waist.

“Would you make fun of me if I waxed my chest?” he asked, setting the other boy off into a fit of giggles.
“Sorry, that just made me think of that Steve Carell movie where he does that... But, no, I wouldn't make fun of you, but I'd be sad.”
Miles slid his hand from Alex's face down to his shoulder as he looked at him. “Oh? Why would you be sad?”
Alex kissed the spot in question and inched his body closer, as if it was even possible. “I like your chest hair. It's very... Manly; and sexy.”

Miles snorted. “I didn't know you had a thing for that.”
“Mm, it's not like a requirement or anything, but yeah, I think it's attractive.” Alex mumbled; followed by a long yawn.

The conversation dwindled to a peaceful silence, until Miles spoke up once more. “It's gonna be okay, you know. The thing with my parents. My mum will warm up to you, and... I don't even know about dad, he seems to be okay with it. At least somewhat. That was a bit shocking.”

Alex hummed and gave a small shrug. “It were a lot to take in at once. And your dad loves you, even though he is quite overbearing with the work thing. Sometimes people can surprise you.”

Miles nodded and kissed the top of his head. “I'm quite fond of you, Alexander David Turner.” He grinned as he heard Alex's quiet laugh, the sound vibrating against his chest.

“Why are you using my full name?”Alex asked, his voice thick with exhaustion.
Miles ran his fingers through Alex's hair and gently sighed. “Everything is always more serious if you use the person's full name.”

Alex smiled and lightly kissed Miles' throat. “Well, in that case, I'm quite fond of you too; Miles Peter Kane. More than I ever have been with anyone else.”

Chapter Text

“So last night a bloke came in that had a massive tattoo of Kramer from Seinfeld on his forearm. It was quite strange.”

Miles laughed into the phone receiver as he stirred the sauce he had simmering on the stove. “He must have been greatly influenced by the character; his life was changed forever.” Miles grinned to himself as he heard Alex's giggle, a sound he still couldn't get over.

“Absolutely, you called it. The world's biggest Seinfeld fan... So... I was wondering if perhaps you'd like to come over to mine for dinner tomorrow? I'll make you something nice.”

Miles paused briefly, taking a second to fully grasp what Alex was asking. He knew that for most, a dinner invitation at someone's house was nothing special, but ever since the beginning of their relationship, Alex had always been very closed off about his home life. Miles knew he was embarrassed about where he lived, especially in comparison to where Miles resided, though Alex would never admit it. Miles couldn't help but feel a rush of blood in his veins, he was certain that Alex was finally going to start letting the walls fall down.

“Of course, Al. That would be wonderful... I'll like anything you make, no need to go all out.” Miles answered, trying to not let his excitement show too much. He didn't want the Northerner to get cold feet about it.

Alex chuckled softly. “Well, you are Sir Fancy Pants, I know you're more accustomed to high end, gourmet foods.”

Miles scoffed and pulled the saucepan off of the burner before shutting it off. “Really, Alex? What are you, six?” he asked, Alex's laughter filling his ear as he continued. “Sir Fancy Pants... Just because I'm used to those sorts of things doesn't mean I have to have them. I want something you like. Something simple.”

Alex hummed, going over the request out loud. “How about some fish and chips? Mum's got a boss recipe for it.”

“That sounds perfect. I can't even remember the last time I had some of that.” Miles said, leaning against the kitchen counter and taking in the sound of Alex's voice as he rattled off what time to be there.

“Well, I hate to end this conversation so soon, but I need to get ready for work, unfortunately.” Alex lamented, making Miles' heart beat faster. He sometimes still had difficulty understanding how in the world he managed to land someone like Alex.

“It's alright, love. I'll see you tomorrow night though, yeah?”
“Mm, yeah. I can't wait.”
Miles laughed as he scratched at the back of his head. “You say that every single time.”

“I do, but that's only because I mean it every single time.” Alex told him, and Miles had to remind himself to breathe.
“Have I ever mentioned how sappy you are?” Miles teased, though he was absolutely thrilled by it.
Alex giggled, quickly inhaling before answering, “Once or twice, I believe. You like it, though.”

“I do... Well, I'll let you get going, I know you need to get around and that.”

Alex sighed and made a noise of acknowledgment. “Don't want to... But yeah. I'll see you tomorrow.”
Miles straightened out his back and moved to the center of the kitchen. “See you tomorrow.”

“Bye, Miles.”
“Goodbye, Al.”

Miles stared at the phone momentarily after the line went dead, his thoughts all consumed by Alex. He was in way over his head, that he was sure of. Still, he couldn't think of a single thing that could be better than that.

--------------

Miles glanced at himself in the rear view mirror, fixing his hair and making sure his clothes were as wrinkle free as possible. He wasn't sure why he was so nervous, it was only Alex's house, after all. He figured that he only felt anxious because this seemed to be a big step within their relationship, at least to him. He gave himself a quick spritz of cologne before getting out of the car and walking up to the front door. He could already smell a faint scent of grease, as you'd expect when you were frying something. He knocked on the door twice, taking a step back as he smoothed out the front of his shirt. His head snapped up when he heard the sound of the door being opened.

“Hey, sweetheart. Come on in.” Alex said, sounding a bit breathless as he stepped aside so Miles could walk in. Miles smiled at him as he walked over the threshold, shrugging out of his jacket and draping it over his arm, since he had no clue where to put it. He turned to face Alex, eying him up and down as the long haired man closed the door. He was wearing a pair of dark jeans, an oversized grey t-shirt that was a bit more low cut and showed off his collarbones; along with a white cardigan over top of that. Alex looked a bit nervous, his smile not quite reaching his eyes as he pulled Miles' coat off of his arm and tossed it over a nearby chair.

“You look beautiful, love.” Miles complimented, wanting to try and break the sudden tension between the two of them.

Alex twisted the hem of his t-shirt around one of his fists, his eyes darting around the room before settling on Miles. “Thanks; so do you... Erm, would you like to sit down? I'm about to start making the fish.”

“I'll sit with you in the kitchen, yeah. I always like watching you cook.”

“Oh... Well, there's, uh.. not really anywhere to sit in there. It's not like your place.” Alex mumbled, gnawing on his bottom lip as he looked at Miles through his lashes.

Miles shrugged his shoulders and took a step closer. “No problem there, I'll just hop up onto the counter.”

Alex slowly nodded, casting his eyes downwards as he reached over to take Miles' hand into his own. He led the way, walking them through his small, yet cozy living room. Miles noted a few random posters on the walls, of The Beatles and David Bowie; along with a handful of photographs.

The couch was red, and made of cracked leather. It was worn, but he didn't think anything of it, in his mind all it meant was that it was put to good use. A scratched up coffee table with an ashtray placed on top of it was in front of the settee, both facing a small, box television set. A small stack of records sat on the floor, next to a record player with outerwear damage.

From what Miles could see, the whole house had a tan shag carpet on the floor, and he could see a few stains and areas where something might have gotten snagged on it. Alex pulled him along behind him, past the felt sitting chair where his coat was placed, around the corner, and into a cramped, shoe box of a kitchen.

The walls were covered in yellow wallpaper that was beginning to peel, and also contained the appearance of smoke stains. The appliances were worn and mismatched, with the refrigerator being black and the oven white. The cabinets were made of flimsy, scuffed up wood, along with white, linoleum counter tops. There was a small window, with a radio sitting on the sill.

Alex let go of Miles' hand and gestured towards the counter directly behind where he was preparing dinner, smiling weakly at him before pushing the sleeves of his cardigan up his arms. Miles wandered over to the radio and flipped it on, cringing from the static that greeted him. He quickly started turning the dial, looking for anything to help lighten up the mood.

He felt bad, he knew what was upsetting Alex, and despite wanting to breach the topic and let Alex know that he didn't care what his apartment looked like, he didn't even attempt to bring it up. He knew all that would happen was either Alex would feel even more uncomfortable, or would become offended. Miles knew it'd be safer to keep quiet on the subject for now.

Miles sighed in frustration over his inability to find anything remotely interesting to listen to, and so decided to settle on a standard pop music station. He didn't have anything against that type of music, it just definitely wasn't what he preferred. He readjusted the volume, and felt a prickling sensation, as though he was being watched.

He turned around and met Alex's wide, curious eyes; the corners of his lips raised slightly. Miles smiled brightly at him, striding over and gently cupping Alex's cheek in the palm of his hand. He leaned in and pressed his lips to the Northerner's forehead, and he swore he could feel all the previous tension melting away. Alex let out a tiny laugh, the slight darkness that was clouding in his eyes disappearing. Miles ran his thumb over Alex's cheekbone before stepping away and pulling himself up onto the counter.

“Alright then, work your magic, Bambi.” Miles teased, winking at Alex as he rolled his eyes and turned away.

“Are you ever going to stop calling me that, or are you going to continue to repeat it until I'm in my grave?” Alex asked, his voice filled with exasperation as he started to batter the fish.

“Oh I'll still be saying it well after my death. I'll somehow make my spirit find yours just so I can. I'm sure you'll be frolicking in a meadow somewhere with Hopper... And erm... The skunk; I forgot it's name.”

Alex sighed and shook his head. “Someday I'm going to come up with an equally annoying nickname for you.”
Miles tilted his head and smiled, watching as Alex carefully laid out each fish fillet onto a plate. “Do you really hate it that much? I'll stop if you do.”

Alex turned his head, catching Miles' eye and shaking the hair out of his face. “Nah, it's not that bad. I just like giving you shit.”

“I can see that.” Miles said, grinning at the way Alex grew more and more frustrated with his cardigan. The sleeves kept slipping down Alex's arms, and the northerner repeatedly tried to push them back up and get them to stay. After a moment, he appeared satisfied enough, and so gently dropped the batch of fish into the hot skillet Alex had on the stove. They sat relatively quietly at first, Miles silently watching Alex work, while the elder kept looking back and sneaking glances at him as he washed his hands off.

Miles opened his mouth to try and say something, though stopped short when he noticed Alex beginning to slowly shake his hips in time with the song playing. He couldn't help but freeze up and stare, his eyes fixated on him as he danced in his spot. Miles was quite certain that Alex wasn't trying to tease him, that he was only doing it unconsciously, though it was still impossible for Miles to ignore it.

It managed to get even better as Alex also began to sing along with the words, his backside swaying back and forth as he sang, “Loosen up my buttons, baby; but you keep frontin'...”

Miles raised a brow, smirking as Alex turned to face him. “I didn't realize this was a favorite of yours.”

Alex laughed and pushed his hair back, as Miles inched closer to the edge of the counter. “It plays at the club sometimes, I wouldn't call it a favorite though.”

“Well... It's one of mine now, if I get to watch you dance like that as it plays.”
Alex threw his head back in laughter, the bob of his throat capturing all of Miles' attention. "I'm not surprised to hear you say that."

"I'm a sexy mama; who knows just how to..." Alex trailed off, interrupting himself with a fit of laughter. Miles couldn't help but laugh as well, the sound of Alex going off was too infectious to ignore.

Alex pouted his lips in an exaggerated way, his hips swaying back and forth over zealously as he began pulling off his cardigan. "Baby can't you see; these clothes aren't fittin' on me." he sang, tossing the clothing at Miles as he pushed his hands into his hair.

"I don't know if I should be laughing or drooling." Miles muttered to himself, though was still able to be heard by the Northerner.

Alex winked and turned back to his counter. "You can laugh, love; that was no where near my best."
"Oh trust me, I'm well aware of what your best is. I'm questioning how I'm actually still living."
Alex snorted in laughter as he flipped over the fish. "Hush; I'm not that good."

Miles scoffed as his eyes got wider. "Al, you've come back from work with over a thousand quid in tips before. You're the belle of the ball."

Alex cackled, his body shaking as he choked out, "The sleaziest ball I've ever seen!"

"It's not sleazy... It takes a lot of strength and talent to do what you're doing! I mean Christ, you can hold your whole body up in midair by just holding onto a pole! It's fucking brilliant what you do; amazing." Miles exclaimed, making Alex thankful that he was turned away so that the Scouser couldn't see his growing blush.

"Well... Thanks..." Alex mumbled, pushing his hair back behind his ears as he pulled out the fish and started the chips.

The pair continued their banter as Alex finished cooking dinner, going back and forth between funny anecdotes, random thoughts, and flirtatious remarks. There was a glow about Alex that night, and Miles was determined to find out why. It must have been something good, he couldn't stop smiling. Once dinner was made, Alex dished the food out onto two plates, then opened the fridge and stuck his head in.

"Water or beer?" he asked, rummaging around as he fought to keep his hair out of his eyes.

"Beer would be great, love." Miles answered, grabbing the plates and walking out towards the living room. He looked around for a table, though was unable to find one.

"No table, I just normally sit on the settee." Alex said, answering Miles' unspoken question as he came up behind him. Miles nodded and walked over to the area, setting the plates on the coffee table and dropping down onto the couch. He watched with a small smile on his face as Alex sat down beside him, their legs pressing together as the elder handed Miles an already opened beer.

Miles reached forward and grabbed a plate for Alex, serving it to him before taking his own. He took a quick sip of beer then sat it on the table as he looked down at his food.
"Looks and smells delicious, your mum definitely must have a good recipe. Did you grab any knives or forks?" He asked, furrowing his brows when Alex began staring at him as though he had three heads.

"It's fish and chips, you eat it with your bloody hands. Get 'em good and greasy." Alex said, his voice filled with disbelief.

Miles held his hands up in mock offense, trying to hide his smile. "Well I am so sorry that I don't know proper fish and chips etiquette!"

Alex wriggled his brows as he grabbed a few chips off of Miles' plate. "I expected nothing less from Sir Fancy Pants." he said before stuffing the chips into his mouth.

Miles shook his head, feigning annoyance as he grabbed a piece of fish. "You're a goddamn chip thief."
"Mm." Alex hummed, nodding his head as he chewed and swallowed. "Food always tastes better off of someone else's plate."
Miles reached over and snatched up a couple of Alex's chips for himself, grinning before saying, "If you say so, laa."

-------

After their food was eaten and the kitchen cleaned up, they found themselves lounging on the couch together; Miles lying on his back while Alex lie on his stomach on top of Miles. The temperature had dropped considerably since Miles had first arrived, and so Alex had grabbed the comforter off of his bed and thrown it over the two of them. Alex had chosen to play a record by The Horrors; a band Miles was unfamiliar with, much to Alex's disapproval. The needle had lifted off of the album a half hour ago, but neither of them wanted to get up and flip it over to side b.

Alex had his head tucked under Miles' chin, his hair fanned out across the Scouser's chest as he lightly rubbed his hand up and down Miles' arm. Their legs were intertwined, and Miles had an arm tightly wrapped around Alex's waist, while he gently stroked Alex's hair with the other.

Miles smiled to himself as Alex started rubbing his foot over one of his own. They remained quiet for a short while, taking the time to enjoy each other's company without filling it up with meaningless conversation. Still, there was something Miles couldn't get off of his mind, no matter how much he attempted to.

“Al?” Miles asked, cutting through the silence as he glanced down at the long haired boy.

Alex tilted his head up so that they could meet each other's gaze; his eyes seemingly more warm than what Miles had been used to. Miles gave a brief half smile before saying, “You've been acting a bit different tonight. Not in a bad way, it's just that you seem so much more... open. Just more like... emotional, I guess.”

Alex's eyes widened, his teeth sinking down into his bottom lip as he stared at Miles. “I didn't realize I was acting any different, or that I haven't been emotional before.”

Miles shook his head and pulled Alex closer to him. “No, that's not what I meant! I suppose I mean... I see a different emotion that I'm not familiar with. I think... Fuck it, I don't even know what I'm saying anymore.”

“I suppose I have been acting a bit differently. But, it's nothing bad, I assure you.” Alex insisted, his index finger tracing over a prominent vein in Miles' arm.

Miles shifted slightly as his fingers curled around strands of Alex's hair. “I didn't really think so, you just seem so... free. I think that's the word I'm looking for. Like a weight's been lifted off of you.”

The corner's of Alex's mouth lifted up into a small smile, a shine in his eyes coming into Miles' view. “I'm just really goddamn happy, Miles. That's all. I'm happier than I ever have been.”

Miles felt his blood rush, and felt a tingling in his body as a slow smile spread across his face. Still, he couldn't help but ask, “Yeah? Why's that?”

Alex rolled his eyes and scoffed, lightly pushing Miles' arm as he tried to get their bodies a little bit closer. “Because of you, you muppet! Isn't it obvious that I'm fucking mad for you?”

“Well I didn't want to assume!” Miles said, unable to hide his elated smile from the confirmation. “But... I could really say the same thing, honestly. I'm not sure I knew what actual happiness was before you.”

Alex grinned, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he lifted his head and pressed his lips to Miles'. They both continued to smile as they kissed, eventually leading to small giggles in the backs of their throats as Miles slid his hand from Alex's waist and down to his bum. Alex wiggled around a fraction, until Miles' leg was between both of his own. Miles nipped at Alex's bottom lip, making him groan and allowing Miles' tongue to slip in. Miles pushed Alex's hair out of his face, his fingers tangling around loose curls as Alex pulled away.

“Miles, baby; I-” he started, suddenly getting cut off by the sound of a loud knock on the door.

Miles gave him q questioning look, to which Alex shrugged and sighed. He pushed himself up and off of the couch, untangling himself from the blanket before letting it fall to the floor. Miles followed his lead, standing up and walking behind him as they reached the front door. There was no peep hole, and so Alex unlocked it and slowly opened the door up.

A blonde, frail woman was stood on the porch, her hair ratty and unkempt, with mascara smeared around her eyes and clothes much too large for her frame. She looked like hell, for lack of better words, and Miles glanced at Alex to gauge his reaction to the mystery woman. Alex appeared to be calm; confused, even, though Miles was able to catch the brief flicker of fear that flashed in his eyes from seeing this woman. The blonde snorted and rubbed her nose with the back of her hand before taking a step closer to Alex and Miles. On instinct, Miles attempted to reach out and wrap a protective arm around the Northerner, but ended up disappointed as Alex shrugged him off.

“Lex; hey. Where's it at? I need more.” the woman said, sounding spacey and not quite with it. Miles whipped his head around to see Alex's reaction, unsure whether or not Alex actually knew this person or not. The woman leaned against the door frame, coughing and once more rubbing the back of her hand against her nose.

Alex wrung his hands together in front of himself, his breathing rapidly speeding up as he shrugged and flashed a fake smile. “I'm sorry, I haven't any idea what you're on about.”

The blonde woman looked vaguely agitated by the response, and waved her hand in the air as she said, “I don't wanna play any fucking games, come on.”

“Look, miss; I dunno who you are, but you need to leave now.” Alex rushed out, a slight twinge of panic in his voice as he nervously glanced at Miles.

She laughed, the sound of it slightly bitter as she smacked Alex's arm. “Seriously, I want the shit.”

Alex looked to Miles, his face unreadable before turning back to the stranger. “It's not like that anymore, it's been months since I've had anything to do with it. You know that.”
This seemed to infuriate the blonde, her eyes filled with fury as she swung her fist in Alex's direction. “Fucking give me what you promised, you dickhead! I need it!” she screeched, attempting to hit Alex a second time as Miles stepped between the two of them.

“You need to leave right now or I'm calling the cops, got it? Leave!” Miles shouted, his blood boiling from the attempt to hurt Alex. He still hadn't a clue what was happening, all he knew was that he felt an overwhelming urge to keep Alex safe. God knows what sort of danger this intruder could be, particularly with Miles' growing concern over the possibility of her being armed.

Miles stepping in to control the situation seemed to do the trick as the woman stumbled backwards, almost falling completely as she stepped off of the porch. She glared at the two of them while she slowly walked away, still facing the pair as she began shouting, “You fucking owe me, Lex!! You fucking faggots better give it to me next time!”

With a final glare and raising of her middle finger at them, she walked away, moving from side to side as she worked to get down the street. Alex let out a small squeak from behind Miles, capturing his attention and causing him to turn around. He quickly slammed the door shut, locking it behind them as Miles started his questioning.

“Who the fuck was that, Alex?! What was she asking for??” Miles bellowed, unable to contain both his fear and confusion over the situation.
Alex stared at the floor as he shifted his weight from foot to foot, his hair covering his face from the way he hung his head. “I don't know.”

Miles shook his head and stepped closer. “Bullshit! She knew you by name, or at least a form of it, and you spoke to her like you have some sort of history with her. Don't lie to me, Alex.”

Alex whimpered quietly, peering up at Miles through his hair as he twisted the hem of his t-shirt around his fists. “It doesn't matter.”

“Yes it does! She tried to hurt you, she seemed incredibly unstable, what the fuck??” Miles pressed, pushing his hands through his hair and beginning to pace back and forth from his growing frustration.

Alex winced as his eyes shot back down to the floor. “We used to... hang out. But we haven't in a long time, I don't know why she showed up here.”

Miles nodded as he rubbed the back of his neck, halting his movement as he began asking for more details. “Okay... What was she asking you to give her? Did you help her out monetary wise or something?”

“Not exactly...” Alex mumbled, trailing off as his face became guilt stricken.

Miles took a step closer, cocking his head to the side. “Sex?! I mean, I don't care if you did, love; I just thought you were gay.”
Alex sighed heavily, rubbing his temples as he slowly shook his head. “No, we never slept together; fucking hell. I... I'm scared to tell you.”

Miles paused at the confession, his eyes softening as he walked over in front of Alex. “Oh, don't be. You have no reason to be scared, I'll still love you.”

Alex's head shot up as he stared at Miles, his eyes wide and his mouth agape. “What?”

“I'll still love you... I love you. And you're the muppet if you haven't been able to see it.” Miles repeated, smiling slightly as he pushed his hands into Alex's hair.

Alex leaned into the touch, and Miles was able to catch the growing smile on his face before he lowered his head and laid it against Miles' chest. Alex threw his arms around Miles' waist, clinging to him like a frightened child as he mumbled, “You promise?”

“Of course I do. I wanna know everything about you; both the good and the bad.” Miles reassured him, wrapping his arms around Alex's shoulders and pressing his face into the Northerner's hair.

Alex nodded and squeezed Miles tighter, clearing his throat and raising his head up. “Her name's Alison, and she wanted drugs. Cocaine, to be exact. We erm... We used to do lines together. At first she was getting it, but then one of the boys from the club hooked me up with a bloke who sold better shit, so then I was the one providing. I told her that I quit, I don't know why the fuck she just came here like that. I mean, she was out of her fucking head, I could tell. But she knows I stopped doing it.”

Miles swallowed hard, blinking rapidly as he took everything in. He could feel the tension radiating off of Alex as he waited for Miles to respond. His body stiffened in Miles' arms, and he pulled his head back in order for them to see each others' faces clearly.

“Okay...” Miles started, scratching the top of his head before dropping his hand back down to Alex's shoulder. “When did you quit?”

“Six months ago.” Alex responded, his voice shaking as he searched Miles' eyes.

Miles nodded his head slowly, gently petting at Alex's hair as he leaned in and pressed a quick kiss to his temple. “Alright... I don't mind, Alex. It's in your past, right? It doesn't matter to me.” Miles said, the wheels in his head turning as he considered something. “Wait... We met about six months ago.”

Alex bit his lip and nodded his head once, his body relaxing as he slid his hands up Miles' back. “I had just gotten out of rehab when we met. Like, a week prior.”

Miles inhaled deeply, looking Alex up and down as he thought on it. “Do you ever, I don't know, go to meetings or anything? Like alcoholics do?”

“I try to when I can, yeah. I've been slacking more recently, though. Some gorgeous bastard has been occupying all my free time lately.” Alex said, his lips raising into a half smile as he pressed his body closer to the Scouser's.

Miles grinned and kissed Alex's hair, his lips trailing down the side of Alex's face as he murmured, “I'm proud of you.”

Alex dug his fingers into Miles' shoulders, his head falling backwards as Miles kissed and nibbled over his neck. “You give me a better high than that shit ever did. Don't ever wanna come back down, if I'm honest.”

Miles hummed against Alex's skin, his teeth sinking into the flush of the Northerner's throat and making Alex gasp. “A bit of an unconventional compliment... But I quite like it.”

“Mm, we're quite an unconventional couple though, don't you think?” Alex countered, laughing as Miles dragged him back over to the couch and fell down onto it; pulling Alex along with him. Alex straddled him as they began kissing frantically, as though they weren't able to satisfy their hunger for each other fast enough. They separated briefly while Alex tugged his shirt up and over his head, throwing it to the side and reuniting their lips. He started pushing on Miles' side as he readjusted his body, hinting for Miles to lay flat on the cushions. Miles obliged, and seconds later was lying on his back with Alex sitting up on his lap.

Alex pushed Miles' shirt up his chest as he moved down his body, giggling as one of Miles' legs slipped off of the couch. He propped himself up on his elbows as he dipped his head down, kissing across Miles' stomach as he stared up at him. Miles pushed Alex's hair back and out of his face, taking some of it into his hand and closing his fist around it. Alex bit down onto the slack of Miles' belt and tugged, winking at the Scouser as his fingers grazed the zipper of Miles' trousers.

He let go soon after, laying his head down on Miles' stomach and smiling up at him. “I love you too, you know.”

A wide grin overtook Miles' face, his heart racing as he nodded and said, “I know, baby.”

Alex beamed, tilting his head a scant inch in order to kiss Miles' bellybutton. He lifted his head back up seconds later, his smile shifting into something more seductive as he slowly pulled down Miles' zipper.

Chapter Text

Miles pressed his back against the cold porcelain of Alex's bathtub, trying to accommodate for the latter from where he sat between Miles' legs. His arms were draped over Alex's shoulders, with his right leg bent in at the knee. Alex played with Miles' fingers, interlocking them at random as his other arm hung over the edge of the tub; a cigarette firmly planted between his middle and index fingers. He took a drag and flicked the ashes onto the floor, not caring about cleanliness as he pressed his back further into Miles' chest.

He too had a leg bent at the knee, poking out of the water with his opposite leg crossed over it, tapping his foot in midair to the beat of the Richard Hawley album playing from the living room. He mouthed along to the words between hits off of his cigarette, and Miles simply watched in awe from behind him. He lowered his head and kissed across Alex's shoulder before moving to kiss the smaller man's scalp.

Alex puffed on his cigarette and turned back to look at Miles, smiling before twisting his mouth to the side and exhaling. “You want any of this?”

Miles grinned back a bit crookedly as he quirked up a brow. “Of you? Always.”
Alex licked his lips and smirked. “Well yeah, I know that. But I actually meant the cig.”
“Nah, love; have at it. I like watching you blow all the smoke out anyway.”

Alex chuckled and shifted slightly, so that he was on his side against Miles' chest. “Did I ever tell you that I can make smoke rings?”

“No, but I'd prefer it if you showed me, rather than just talk about it.” Miles replied, shivering as Alex's arm skimmed across his own. Alex took a quick hit off of his smoke, winking at Miles before forming an 'O' shape with his lips and blowing perfect rings from his mouth. Miles laid his head against the wall and watched silently, his arm sliding off of Alex's shoulder and dropping down to his leg. He rubbed circles over Alex's thigh with his thumb, and the Northerner ended up laughing from the touch; making the rest of the smoke in his mouth blow out at once.

“See? Told you.” Alex said, leaning in and kissing Miles' jaw before sitting up so that he could toss his cigarette into the nearby toilet. Miles grinned as Alex whispered, “Yes!” to himself when he made the shot, turning back towards Miles with a look of triumph on his face.

“Just a regular old basketball star, aren't you?” Miles teased, though ended up getting a surprise when Alex confirmed it.

“I was, yeah! Played for a couple years, but then I broke my arm and ended up losing interest.”
Miles raised a brow as his lips curled upwards. “I never would have guessed that. I mean, you are quite... small. A short stack.”

Alex huffed and turned himself around so that they were face to face, ignoring the water that sloshed out of the side of the tub. “Like you have any room to talk! You've got maybe two inches on me, tops. And that's me being generous combined with you wearing lifts.”

“Oh, pipe down; I was only kidding! I would've actually liked seeing you play.”

“Yeah? Well, I would have worn extra short shorts for you to admire, babe.” Alex said, wriggling his brows and trying to hold back his smile. Miles shook his head as he slipped his arms around Alex's waist, pulling him in so that they were flush chest to chest.

“You're such a pervert.” Miles muttered, pressing his face into Alex's hair as the latter wrapped his arms around Miles' neck.
Alex popped his mouth open in mock surprise and rolled his eyes. “Me!? Need I repeat some of the filthy things you were saying to me earlier?”

“That won't be necessary, no.” Miles quickly answered, wanting to stop him before he got started. Alex smiled in what Miles detected to be adoration as he leaned in and kissed the tip of Miles' nose, making it scrunch up as he squinted his eyes. Alex laughed and settled in closer, adjusting his arms so that he could lay his head in the crook of Miles' neck. Miles lowered his leg and held Alex in his lap sideways, so that his knees pressed into the edge of the bathtub. Miles ran his fingertips up and down the bumps of Alex's spine; and they were quiet for a moment, until Alex suddenly spoke up.

“So, I've been meaning to talk to you about something.” he mumbled, not bothering to lift his head up so that his voice was clearer.

Miles tilted his head so that he could see Alex, watching the way his lashes fluttered, and feeling slight concern when he noticed the other boy gnawing on his bottom lip. “Go on, then.”

Alex heaved a deep sigh, his arms tightening around Miles' neck. “Mum called yesterday morning, she wants me to come visit on Saturday. I was hoping you'd go with me and, you know, meet her and that.”

Miles pushed the hair out of Alex's face before gently massaging his shoulder. “Of course, I suppose I'm due for a 'meet the parents' venture.” He watched as Alex gave a quick nod and continued to bite his lip, prompting Miles to go on. “What's wrong, love? I can tell that something is bothering you.”

“It's just... Dad and I aren't on the best of terms. There's also a lot of unpleasant memories associated with him, and with home.”
Miles nodded his head and gently pressed for more. “Why's that?”

Alex pushed his face in closer, rubbing his thumb up and down the back of Miles' neck. “Well, there's a lot dad and I don't agree on. He was pretty angry when he found out that I'm gay, that's when things started to get really tense between us... Lot's of fights, he made it clear what he thought of me and my sexuality, and that he didn't approve. A bit cruelly, in the way he spoke to me. Then as soon as I was done with secondary school, I took off for here to be with a man ten years older than me. We met when he came to Sheffield for some conference thing; he was a professor. Erm... I left him around a year later when I dropped out of uni, and that was another thing dad was pissed about...” Alex trailed off, pausing as he shifted in Miles' arms.

He blew out his breath, his fingers sliding into the Scouser's hair as he continued. “Well, I slept on a few different people's settees for a couple months while I tried figuring out what to do. I didn't wanna deal with dad harassing me about leaving school, so going back home wasn't an option, in my mind. That's when I found the stripping gig. I was a wreck about it, I didn't think I'd be good at all. But the owner liked me because he didn't have anyone else with a body built like mine; and because I was young and could play into any clientele’s fantasies about shagging a naughty little school boy, or whatever.”

Miles hummed in acknowledgment, encouraging Alex to go on as he laid his head on top of the Northerner's. He could feel Alex smile against his skin, and goosebumps raised up all over his body as he felt warm, chapped lips kissing his shoulder. Alex cleared his throat and picked back up on his story.

“I was a disaster for the first couple of months. The owner had faith in me and kept me on, but I wasn't making sweet fuck all tip wise. I don't blame those blokes, I looked like a fish out of water, trying to dance on their laps. But one night I was at a party with my old mate Arielle, she was an American studying abroad, I met her when I was still in school. Anyway, we were both pissed, and I was whining about not being good at it; how I watched the other dancers and did it just like them, but still didn't make any money. She pointed out that I have a more feminine body than a masculine one, and that I should try moving as a woman would, rather than a man. She showed me what to do, and taught me different tricks; even explained how to work my facial expressions... And, yeah. That's how I became the exotic dancer you liked watching so much.”

Miles snorted in laughter. “I'm not sure why you're saying that in the past tense; I still like watching you. If anything, I enjoy it even more, since I get special treats that nobody else gets.”

Alex giggled and slipped an arm from around Miles' neck down to his chest. “What treats?”

“Well, you take all your clothes off, for one. You always leave your underwear on at the club. You say shamefully dirty things, and I don't have to keep my hands to myself, either.” Miles answered, pausing before he murmured into Alex's ear, “But the best part is, I get to fuck that naughty little boy they can only dream about having; and he's even still in my bed when I wake up in the morning.”

Alex shivered, a small whimper escaping his mouth as Miles nipped at his earlobe. He snapped out of it soon enough and shook his head. “You're throwing me off topic!” he whined, making Miles laugh and kiss his forehead. “I've never told anyone else a lot of this stuff, I'm ready to finally get it off my chest, you know? So stop saying and doing distractingly sexy things.”

Miles nodded and gave Alex a squeeze. “Yes, I'm sorry, darling. Go ahead.”

“Erm, well. Anyway, dad was horrified when he found out what I was doing. They wanted to know how I was making money, especially when they were trying to get me to go back. It was constant, the bloody harassment. So finally I snapped and I told them the truth. Mum was shocked, of course, and although she certainly doesn't fancy the idea, she's at least made peace with it. Dad thinks it's trashy and disgusting; both the stripping and the fact that I do it for other men's pleasure. He gave me an earful, that day. It all mainly boiled down to him telling me what a colossal disappointment I turned out to be; that I was an embarrassment to our whole family... That... was a really low point for me.”

Miles sucked his breath in as he held Alex to his chest, cradling him as though he were a precious, delicate thing; able to potentially shatter at any second. In a way, Miles thought that was exactly it. All of Miles' past suspicions were coming to light; that underneath the 'vixen bursting with confidence' facade that Alex liked to portray lied an overwhelmingly fragile little boy. He swore he could feel his heart snap into two at the realization.

“It was right after that when I started the coke.” Alex went on. “I figured I had nothing to lose anyway. I already felt so fucking dead on the inside, and Christ, Miles; for awhile there I genuinely wanted to be. I felt so betrayed and alone, I didn't really know what to do with myself anymore. I've always struggled with... my self esteem, I suppose; and this was just too much for me. I needed something to help me feel alive again, if only for a short while. So I snorted a line one of the boys offered me before a show one night, and didn't look back for almost two years.”

Miles was practically holding his breath, his heart sinking into the pit of his stomach as Alex revealed more and more to him. “Looking back on it, you did seem a little off when I first started coming to the club. But I thought maybe you were really exuberant. Then you were gone for a little while, which I know now was the... you know, rehab. You were calmer then, too. When you came back.”

“Yeah...” Alex said softly, becoming silent for a few seconds before Miles spoke up again.

“I always assumed you got on with both your parents, especially with what you were saying to me the night we met. I thought they accepted everything...” Miles quietly admitted, nearly wincing from the saddened smile on Alex's face.

“I didn't want you to hold back, so yes, I might have gave the implication that it worked out well for me. But, I wanted you to come out when you were ready. Hiding it is a burden I didn't want you to carry, and I only hoped you would get the positivity you deserved once the time came.”

Miles shook his head in disbelief. “You hardly knew me... Actually, you didn't. Not really. Why did you care so much, or at all? Not to sound ungrateful, I just... I'm amazed.”

Alex shrugged as he reached down and laced their fingers together. “I had a feeling that I'd be seeing you again after that first night. Or maybe I was just doing a bit of wishful thinking.”

“Clearly you weren't.” Miles countered, lifting his hand and gesturing towards the two of them holding one another. Alex gave a small smile, nodding in agreement as he kissed Miles' nape.

Miles twisted his mouth, gently caressing the Northerner as he attempted to reassure him. “You're not a disappointment, Alex; please don't believe that. You... you're fucking otherworldly. I mean that in a good way, promise. You're like no one else I've ever met before. I've not ever come across a heart as kind and caring as yours. You're so... Fuck! I wish I could properly describe just how incredible you are. I don't think there are any existing words or phrases I could say.” Miles paused, grunting in frustration as he tried to sort out the tidal wave of both his thoughts and feelings.

“You're beautiful, every little piece of you; both inside and out. I'm so bloody proud of you it's unreal. I wanna show you off to the whole fucking world and tell every poor soul still hopelessly waiting around for the perfect lover that they're out of luck; I've already got him. Of course, the girls never had a chance with you anyway.”

Alex smiled brightly then, his eyes shining with what Miles thought looked like unshed tears. He wasn't able to think on it too much, as seconds later Alex tugged his face in for a kiss, and their teeth accidentally collided from the sheer force of it. “Ow!” Alex shrieked, both men laughing as they attempted it again, though much gentler the second time around. Alex hummed happily into the contact, and as Miles pulled him in closer, he couldn't help but wonder how anyone could ever write off someone that shined as bright as Alex did.

-----------------

“Sweetheart, we can't just sit in the car forever. You ready to go in now?”

Alex sighed heavily before burying his face into Miles' side. “No.” he mumbled, making Miles pinch the bridge of his nose.

“Come on, we've been sitting here for ten minutes. I'll be here with you the whole time, right? We'll get through it together.” Miles said, reaching out and rubbing his hand up and down Alex's back. He had been dreading going home to see his parents for the entire week, and Miles wasn't surprised by his reluctance to go inside now that they were here. Alex had stalled as much as he possibly could for the entire day, causing them to arrive at five, rather than two as they had originally intended. Miles only hoped that they weren't about to barge in on their dinner.

Alex sat up, throwing his head back and letting out a loud, frustrated groan before he reached over to unbuckle his seat belt. “Alright, fine. But you have to hold my hand the entire time.”

Miles grinned as he reached down to grasp Alex's hand; quickly lifting it up and scattering kisses over his knuckles before placing it back into the long haired boy's lap. “Of course, love. I'll take any opportunity I can get to touch you.”

Alex rolled his eyes, though smiled fondly as he opened his car door and stepped outside; slamming the door shut behind himself. Miles followed his lead and the two of them met at the hood of the car, where Alex quickly slipped his hand back into Miles' before slowly leading the way to the front door.

“Just to warn you, it's nothing fancy.” Alex mumbled as they trudged up the stairs, and Miles sighed as they reached the door.

“You know I don't give a shit about things like that, Al. You could've grown up in a shack for all I care, I still wouldn't give a damn. I'm not a judgmental prick.” Miles snarkily replied as he tried to pull his hand back.

Alex gripped onto Miles as though his life depended on it, and stepped in front of him. “I never once said anything of the sort! I know you aren't like that.”

“Then stop apologizing for things like this! It makes me feel like you really do think those things about me.” Miles snapped.

“I'm fucking ashamed of it, okay!? When you brought me home to your family, it was goddamn mansion, while here I am bringing you to a single story place that could probably fit into your parent's foyer. It makes me-” Alex started, stopping himself in mid sentence as he shook his head. His eyes dropped to the ground as he reached over with his free hand and started playing with the ring on Miles' pinky finger.

“It makes me feel like I'm not worthy of you. That I'm not good enough.” he finally admitted, his voice getting quieter with each word.

Miles pressed his lips together as his eyes softened, feeling immeasurable guilt for attacking Alex. “Sweetheart, you're good enough.. Shit, I'm so sorry for snapping at you like that, I'm just nervous and concerned for you and I cracked. But honey, you are not lower than me in any way. Fuck money, and status, and materialistic things. None of that makes me better than you, or makes you unworthy to have me. Hell, it's not even mine, it's my father's. If anything, I'm the one unworthy to have you. You're so extraordinary, love.”

Alex inhaled sharply and leaned into Miles, pressing their cheeks together as he spoke into his ear. “I'm sorry, I get really fucked up when I'm here. I think all the bad memories and negative thoughts and feelings are hitting me at once and making me act like a child. I've never meant to make you feel like I thought you were a snob, I know you aren't.”

“It's alright, baby. Just remember that I'm right here with you, okay? I'm not gonna let anything bad happen.” Miles murmured, reaching up with his unoccupied hand and sliding it against the side of Alex's neck.

Their gazes met for a few seconds, seeking comfort within one another. Alex leaned forward and pressed his lips to Miles', squeezing the Scouser's hand between both of his own as they poured out any unsaid words into each others mouths. For the first time in a long time, Alex truly did feel safe being at his childhood home. The pair became so absorbed in each other that they failed to notice the front door being opened until they heard a cough from behind them.

They pulled apart instantly, whipping their heads around and being met with a middle aged woman. She had a slight smile on her face, though there appeared to be a small hint of what Miles thought might be fear in her eyes. His stomach twisted as he began to wonder just how much Alex and his father didn't get along.

“Hey, mum.” Alex said, stepping away from Miles and walking into his mother's open arms. He laid his head on her shoulder, and she began to sniffle into his jacket as she clutched onto him so tight her knuckles went white. “I missed you.” Alex mumbled, and his mother began to weep quietly.

“It's been so long, dear. I never want to go four years without holding my son ever again.” she choked out, hitting Miles with the realization that this was the first time Alex had been home since he left at eighteen. It made his whole body ache.

They held each other for a minute more; Alex's mother crying as he tried to comfort her. He gently pulled away, looking back at Miles and reaching for his hand. “Mum, this is my boyfriend, Miles. Mi, this is my mum.”

Miles stepped forward and shook her outstretched hand. “Hello, Mrs. Turner. I'm happy to finally be meeting you.”

She smiled at Miles, much to his surprise; her eyes crinkling around the edges in the same way that Alex's did. “Please, call me Penny. Alex raved about you over the phone the other day, I don't think he talked much about anything else.”

Miles glanced over at Alex, just in time to watch his cheeks become tinted with pink. “Glad to see you still know just what to say to embarrass the hell out of me.” Alex muttered, and Penny laughed as she stepped aside for the two of them to enter the house.

“It's my job as your mother, love.” She responded as the two boys walked inside, removing their jackets and hanging them up on the nearby coat rack.

“You go sit at the table, I'll get some tea going and pull out some biscuits.” Penny said, directing them into the kitchen as she trailed along behind them. The pair sat down beside each other, their hands still clasped together under the table as Alex's mother moved around the kitchen. Miles caught Alex looking around nervously from the corner of his eye, and gave his hand a quick squeeze. He could already sense what was going through the Northerner's mind, this being confirmed when he spoke his next words.

“Where's dad at?” he asked, his eyes darting around the room.

Penny turned to look back at them briefly before her eyes shifted towards the doorway. “Taking a nap. You know how he is, always has to have one in the afternoon. This one's been a bit later than usual, though.”

Miles chuckled from the remark, and in an attempt to smooth over the rapidly rising tension, he nodded his head in agreement as he motioned towards Alex. “This one's a napper as well. Usually if we're watching a film. God, how many times have we tried to watch that one there, Garden State? Three times? Four? And you always fall asleep in the middle of it.”

Alex smiled and leaned into Miles as Penny came to the table with a tray holding their tea and biscuits. “I'm always so tired from work! I like naps quite a bit, too.”

“I can't even finish the film myself, I did that once with a different one, and Al was so mad at me for watching it without him. So now I'm stuck viewing half of films.” Miles added, jerking his thumb in Alex's direction and making the other man giggle softly.

Penny smiled as she sat down herself, tapping her fingers against the tabletop as she looked between the two of them. She pursed her lips, as though she was deep in thought. Finally, she opened her mouth to speak. “It's good to see you happy, Alex. It really is.”

Alex's eyes widened, his smile broadening as he pushed his hair back behind his ear. “It means so much to me to hear you say that.” he quietly responded, prompting Penny to reach across the table for his free hand.

“That's all I've ever wanted for you, dear. I just want you to be happy.” she paused, glancing over at Miles before finishing. “No matter what it is that brings it to you. I'm glad to see you smiling. ...I've never cared, love, about your preferences. I hope you know that.”

Alex bit down on his bottom lip, his eyes glistening as he opened his mouth to respond, though whatever it was would remain unsaid as who Miles assumed to be Alex's father stepped into the room. Alex's mouth snapped shut, shifting around in his seat as the spark in his eye disappeared. “Hey, dad.” he greeted, his voice soft and filled with nerves. The two boys squeezed each others hands in the same moment Alex's father's eyes landed on Miles.

“Who's this, then?” he asked, his voice low and bone rattling as he skipped saying hello. Miles gulped as he waited for Alex to reply, feeling slightly uncomfortable from the intensity of Alex's father's stare.

Alex looked over at him, his hair falling into his face as he lowered his head a scant inch. “This is Miles, my erm... My boyfriend. We've been together for a little over six months. Miles, this is my dad, David.” he mumbled, not meeting his father's eye as he held Miles' hand under the table so tightly Miles was concerned it might break.

David's lips pressed down into a thin line, his eyes clouding over as his facial expression twisted into what appeared to be disgust. “I see. Well, I'm sorry to disappoint, but if it's not a nice young lady you're bringing home; than I'm not interested.”

Alex sighed and shook his head. “Dad, you know that I'm not attracted to women...”
“Well you seem more than willing to make yourself look like one, so why can't you date one too?”

“David, stop it!” Penny scolded, though her words were ignored as Alex's father brushed them off and stepped closer.

“Get a haircut, lad; I don't want everyone to know my blood is a damned poof just by looking at him.” David sneered, his brows furrowing as he glared at the two boys.

Alex physically recoiled from the remark, pressing back into his seat as his gaze dropped to his lap. He remained silent, and his mother once again attempted to end the dispute.
“We haven't seen him in years, please be nice? He's your son.” she tried, though David only snorted.

“I don't have a son anymore, that much is clear. I have a daughter, if anything, My son vanished the day he told me he was a queer.” he berated, his face filled with resentment as he added, “If I had known this is how things would turn out...” he trailed off, his words left unfinished as Penny shrieked for him to stop. It didn't matter, they all could guess what he was implying anyway.

Miles had never felt more physically ill, his guts churning as Alex's grip on his hand loosened, a silent admit of defeat. He could see Alex visibly shaking, his bottom lip quivering as he continued to stare downwards; having completely shut down. Miles could hear David ignore Alex's mother and continue his verbal assault, though the words never registered in the Scouser's mind. All he knew was that he needed to get Alex out of there as soon as he could. Without another thought, he stood up, making Alex finally lift his head and look at Miles in confusion.

“Follow me, love.” he murmured, pulling on Alex's hand until he took the hint and stood up.
“What are you doing?” Alex asked, his voice sounding devoid of all life.
Miles smoothed out the front of Alex's shirt as he took a step backward. “Not letting anything bad happened to you, just like I promised.”

Alex bit his lip, nodding slowly as they started to walk forward. Miles refused to let go of Alex, despite David's scornful remarks at the sight. Alex shuffled over to his mother, leaning down and kissing her forehead. “I love you, mum; I'm sorry for leaving so soon.” he whispered, and she choked out a cry as Miles let go of Alex's hand and wrapped a protective arm around his waist. He kept them moving, though halted as Alex froze and looked at his father. “And I still love you, dad; even if you hate me now.”

He said nothing in response, only watched as Alex turned away and led Miles out of the room. They could hear David and Penny arguing in the kitchen, though neither of them bothered to figure out what they were saying. Miles held Alex's coat open, helping him put it on before grabbing his own and quickly getting into it. He reached for the door knob and pulled the door open, escorting Alex out and shutting it behind him. They strode over to Miles' car, both of them seemingly anxious to get out of there as fast as possible.

Alex remained quiet as they got into the vehicle and Miles started it, the silence almost deafening as he backed out of the driveway. He couldn't help but keep darting his eyes over in Alex's direction, waiting for any type of reaction from him. He finally got it in the form of an apology. “I'm sorry you drove all this way for that. I'll pay you back for the gas.”

Miles scoffed and shook his head. “Al, that is literally the last thing in the world I care about right now. I won't accept you paying me back anyway; I wanted to do this for you. I'm just... Are you okay??”

He waited silently for a reply, his brows furrowing when he glanced at the clock and realized a whole minute had gone by from when he had initially asked. Just as he opened his mouth so that he could repeat his question, he suddenly heard a loud sob from beside him. He quickly whipped his head around and looked at Alex; whose head was hanging low as his whole body shuddered from crying so hard.

Miles scanned the area around them to try and locate somewhere to pull over, soon finding a small playground. He pulled into the empty lot and shut off the ignition; his heart aching as the sounds of Alex's loud, hollowed cries echoed in his ears. He unbuckled his seat belt and reached down for the lever that adjusted his seat, wrapping his fingers around it and pushing it as far back as possible. He then lifted the middle console that was left separating them. Miles said nothing at first, he only reached over and wrapped his arms around Alex's mid-section before attempting to drag him closer.

“Come here, sweetheart. Oh, my poor baby...” Miles muttered, unsure of what exactly was coming out of his mouth; focusing more on Alex's current state instead. Another sob racketed through Alex's body as he crawled across the seat and into Miles' lap. He straddled the Scouser before burying his face against his shoulder; not considering the tears and mucus from his nose that would wind up all over his shirt. Miles slipped his arms around Alex, holding him as close as he could manage and whispering into his ear.

“I've got you, laa; you're safe now. I'm here, and you can cry as much as you need to, darling. Take as long as you need, I'm never gonna let you go.”

Miles continued to speak softly to Alex, wanting to ensure that he was aware of how much he was loved; and of how irreplaceable he was. He couldn't let Alex feel as though he wasn't worthy any longer. He rubbed a hand up and down the Northerner's back, while he gently carded his fingers through his long hair with the opposite hand.

He wasn't sure how long they sat there, nor did he care; he couldn't be bothered to keep track of the time, especially now. The couple clung to each other as Alex wept in Miles' arms, occasionally sharing a random thought in his trembling voice. Miles waited patiently for Alex's crying to subside; until the only noise he made was a small stutter for breath every now and then.

“You alright, honey?” Miles asked, concern apparent in his tone as he kissed Alex's scalp.

Alex shifted his body slightly, sniffling and fidgeting with a bracelet around Miles' wrist. “Better, yeah. I haven't let it all out like that in a long time.”

“You can always talk to me whenever you need it, you know that, right?” Miles told him, wanting to be there for Alex in any way that he possibly could.

“I know, I just don't really like talking about it. I feel so happy when we're together, the last thing I wanna do is ruin it with this shit... There's a lot of things you make me feel that I'm not used to.”

Miles pushed the hair out of Alex's face in order to get a better look at his face. Alex blinked up at him, suddenly looking quite sleepy as he smiled faintly. “I also look terrible after I cry, so; sorry for not looking up to par with my usual level of attractiveness.”

The teasing nature of his voice brought immense joy to Miles' heart, particularly after having seen Alex look so full of despair a short while prior. Miles scanned over Alex's face, mapping out every detail into the back of his mind. He noted that Alex's eyes were puffy and rimmed red, his nose running while his lips were bitten raw. Miles pulled his hand from Alex's hair and cupped the side of his face, rubbing his thumb over Alex's cheek as he said, “You're still the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. You always will be.”

Alex smiled for real then; a wide, toothy grin that reminded Miles of a small boy. From what Miles could tell, it was a smile that only he ever had the pleasure of seeing; a special one reserved only for him. He could feel his heart skipping beats as he leaned in and pressed a quick, chaste kiss to Alex's lips. “How about we rent a room at that hotel we passed a little ways back, order some takeaway, and watch the absolute worst looking movies we can find on pay per view? I'm not feeling much up for driving, and I can tell that you're worn out. We can hold off on the three hour drive back to London until the morning.”

Alex laughed and nuzzled Miles' neck, kissing every inch his lips could reach before saying, “Sounds absolutely divine, if I'm honest.” He pressed a final kiss to the hollow of Miles' throat and lifted his head up; gazing at the Scouser for a moment until saying,“What did I ever do to deserve someone as wonderful as you?”

Miles' lips quirked up, pushing his hands into Alex's hair as he shrugged his shoulders. “I ask myself the same question about you every single day.”

Chapter Text

The next few weeks seemed to fly by as Christmas came and gone, both Miles and Alex spending the holiday with Miles' parents. They seemed to be warming up to their relationship, his father always greeting the Northerner with a clap to the back and an enthusiastic smile; and though his mother wasn't exactly welcoming Alex with open arms, she wasn't rejecting him either. Miles thought she was still a bit shocked, he suspected that the last thing on earth she ever thought she'd have to deal with was having a gay son who was dating a stripper. At least she was able to make small talk.

They rang in the New Year together at a party thrown by one of Miles' friends, and despite making fun of it the evening before, Alex insisted they go through with the cliché of kissing at midnight. One kiss turned into four; and ended with Miles dragging Alex away to have a quickie in an empty hallway, after which the latter declared that this was going to be a fantastic year. Miles was very much inclined to agree.

It all led up to New Year's day; where they woke up in Alex's flat at three in the afternoon with head splitting hangovers. Alex had cried out in agony when he realized that he forgot to close the curtains the night before, while Miles reacted much the same way from the volume of said cry. Although they had a rough start, they managed to sort themselves out once they took some aspirin and showered.

Once nine o'clock rolled around, the couple were already back in bed; Miles in his underwear and Alex only in a Vines t-shirt that left absolutely nothing to the imagination, though the Scouser certainly wasn't going to complain about that. Miles was sitting partially upright, his back against a pile of pillows as he played an acoustic guitar. Alex was lying on his front, his head resting on Miles' stomach with his lower legs crossed at the ankle and up in the air. He watched contently as Miles hummed and plucked at the guitar chords, eventually becoming mesmerized by the way his long fingers moved up and down the fretboard.

“Next thing, we're touching. You look at me; it's like you hit me with lightning.” Miles sang, his brows furrowing in concentration as he strummed.

Alex giggled as his legs bounced in midair to the beat, pushing his hair behind his ear as he said, “I didn't know you were an Ellie Goulding fan.”

Miles looked up at Alex through his lashes and grinned. “It's an alright tune, but I'm playing it because it's stuck in my head more than anything.”

Alex nodded and bit his lip, remaining silent until he joined in with Miles at the chorus. “An' everybody's starry eyed...” he softly sang, always being careful to keep his voice low; as though he didn't want to actually be heard.

Miles stopped playing once the chorus ended, giving Alex a once over before saying, “You have a beautiful singing voice. People would pay good money to hear it, I reckon.”

An embarrassed smile quickly bloomed across Alex's face, his cheeks turning a lovely shade of pink as he shook his head. “Shut up.”

Miles chuckled and ruffled Alex's hair, sliding his hand down and patting his bare bottom. He could feel long lashes fluttering against his stomach whenever the Northerner blinked, and the gesture had a soothing effect. He cleared his throat, and just as he was getting ready to speak, Alex beat him to it.

“Have you ever written any songs yourself?” he asked, his eyes hazy and lidded.
Miles froze briefly, and soon he became the one with rosy cheeks. “Erm... Yeah. I've tried to, at least.”

Alex raised his brows, a slow smile spreading across his face. He suddenly turned to his side and sat up halfway, so that he was holding himself up on one arm, with the other nestled between his thighs. “Have you ever written any songs about me?”

Miles sighed and rubbed his forehead, ignoring the question completely as he set the guitar down on the floor next to the bed. Alex crawled up Miles' legs, bending forward so that he was on his elbows and knees over top of the Scouser's body; his shirt riding up and exposing his arse and lower back. His hair acted like a tent, cocooning around their faces as he pressed their foreheads together, and their lips brushed as he repeated himself. “Tell me baby; have you written anything for me?”

Miles squirmed underneath Alex, not wanting to give an answer and trying to think of a way to get out of it. Unfortunately, he knew that the subject wouldn't be dropped no matter how hard he tried for it, and so finally gave in. “Yes, I have. You're a prominent muse of mine.”

Alex let out a delighted coo at the admission, pecking Miles' lips before asking, “Will you play it for me?” His grin soon turned into a pout as Miles shook his head.

“I can't, it's not any good.” he insisted, sliding his hands up the backs of Alex's thighs as the latter huffed and protested.
“Miles! Come on now, I highly doubt that's true! I really wanna hear it.”

“Maybe another time, alright? Just not tonight.” Miles suggested, to which Alex grumbled in agreement. He dropped down onto his side and threw his leg over the other man's hips; laying his head on Miles' chest as he closed his eyes. Miles slipped an arm around Alex's waist, while he used his unoccupied hand to gently rub up and down the leg Alex had wrapped around him. He kissed the top of the Northerner's head before breaking the silence.

“You need to take Tuesday through Thursday off from work next week. I would ask you to just take the whole week, but I know you can't do that.”

Alex tilted his head upwards and eyed Miles suspiciously. “Why do I need to do that?”
Miles brushed the hair out of Alex's eyes and traced his fingers down his cheekbone. “We're going away for your birthday.”
“What? Why? We don't have to do that, I'm perfectly happy having it here.” Alex said, his eyes wide as he propped himself up onto his elbow.

“I know, love; but I wanna do something special for you. I also already bought the tickets, so there's that.” Miles sheepishly admitted, promptly earning an eye roll from Alex.

“So where are we going, then?” Alex asked, arching a brow as he waited for a response.
Miles slid his fingers against the back of Alex's knee and hoped for the best. “Paris.”

Alex gaped at him, his mouth hanging open as he blinked a few times. “Paris. As in, France? That Paris!?”
“No, the one over in the states...” Miles replied sarcastically, cringing as Alex slapped his stomach. “Yes, love; the one in France! Of course.”
Alex once again sat up, on his knees as he pressed his hands into Miles' chest. “I've been wanting to go there since I was eight years old.”

Miles grinned and slid his hands on top of Alex's. “I know, that's why I chose it.”

Alex stared back at him, his chest rising and falling rapidly as his fingers gently dug into Miles' skin. He began to panic internally, thinking he made a horrible mistake in assuming this would be a good idea. He opened his mouth so that he could begin to apologize, though stopped short as Alex suddenly beamed down at him. He climbed on top of the Scouser and bent down, peppering Miles' face in kisses as he laughed softly.

Miles chuckled and grabbed Alex by the hips. “So you like it, then?”

Alex pulled his hair over to one side and nodded his head, all while still smiling down at Miles. “I can't even tell you how how much I love it! I mean... Miles! We're going to Paris!” he squealed, sitting up and grabbing Miles by the hands.

“We're going to Paris! We're going to Paris!” he continued to shout repeatedly, his grin wide as he bounced up and down on Miles' stomach in excitement.

Miles laughed and squeezed Alex's hands. “Although I'm beyond thrilled to see you so enthusiastic about this, you're going to need to stop moving around like that, especially when you have hardly anything on.”

Alex rolled his eyes playfully, though did as Miles asked; sliding his hands up Miles' forearms as he said, “Bloody pervert. Although... You're definitely going to be getting some as a thank you.”

Miles smirked, though it quickly faded away as he reached up and pushed Alex's curls behind his ears, his fingers lingering on the Northerner's jawline. “You don't need to thank me, darling. I'm more than happy to be doing this, and I'm honored that I get to share it with you.”

Alex smiled shyly and grabbed a lock of his hair; pulling it over his face as he looked away. He bit his lip as he continued to smile, readjusting his body so that he could lay over Miles, who instinctively wrapped his arms around Alex's waist. “You're so good to me. Spoiling me absolutely rotten.” he mumbled into the crook of Miles' neck.

“You deserve to be treated good, Al. More than anyone else I know. And I love 'spoiling you', as you put it. I wanna give you everything you could ever want.”

Alex lifted his head up, a look of pure tenderness in his eyes as he pushed the hair on Miles' forehead back. “I already do have everything I want; I have you.” he said softly; leaning in and kissing Miles before he could respond. There really was no need for it anyway; for the first time in Alex's life, he knew for certain that his feelings were not only returned, but were also felt with the same level of intensity and permanency.

--------------

The morning of Alex's birthday was spent holding hands on top of the table in a corner cafe whilst giggling over café au laits and croissants; most of which stemmed from Miles' incessant teasing of the maroon beret Alex was wearing. He picked it up at the gift shop in the airport the day before, having decided it was a necessity for his big Parisian adventure. The couple ended up wandering around the city hand in hand and exploring; going anywhere from tiny bookstores to a Chanel boutique. Alex refused to let Miles buy him anything, though whenever the Scouser happened to notice him showing particular interest in something, he'd sneak away to the register and purchase it when Alex had his back turned. Alex caught on fairly quickly, and although he was slightly irritated, he still showed gratitude accepting it all.

When dusk began to fall, they strolled off to the Eiffel tower, deciding that they couldn't visit Paris and not go there. Alex had wound up digging through their various shopping bags until he found a Polaroid camera that had been purchased, using the first picture to capture them standing in front of the Eiffel. Miles had his arms around Alex's chest, while the Northerner had one arm draped over Miles' neck. The sides of their faces had initially been pressed together, though at the last second Alex turned and kissed Miles' cheek, causing Miles to close his eyes and have a genuine smile on his face. Alex was smiling too, and had his own eyes closed in the shot.

As the night grew longer, the couple opted to have a few drinks in the bar of their hotel, neither wanting to deal with the hassle of finding their way back if they happened to have a bit too much. They chatted up a few other guests for an hour or so, though eventually found themselves at a table in the back corner. Another hour passed, and Miles could see that the effects from the alcohol were definitely hitting Alex; the latter dancing in his seat to the music playing and becoming overtly flirtatious. At one point Alex moved his chair from where it was across from Miles so that they were side by side. He hooked their legs together at the ankle underneath the table and kept running his fingers through Miles' hair.

“I think you're quite tipsy, darling.” Miles pointed out, watching as Alex slurped up the rest of the fruity drink he had in front of him through a straw.

“Suppose I am, aren't I?” Alex replied as he reached down into the bottom of his glass for the cherry in there. He looked at Miles through his lashes as he pulled the stem off, saying, “You're gonna like this, babe.” before putting it into his mouth. Miles watched on in amusement as Alex's jaw moved around, and it couldn't have been more than thirty seconds later when Alex opened his mouth and showed Miles the stem sitting on his tongue, which had been turned into a knot. Alex let it fall away and onto the floor, smirking over at Miles as he said, “That means I'm a good kisser.”

Miles laughed softly, taking a sip of his brandy and Coke before responding, “Mhm, seems you've got quite the talented mouth.”

Alex's eyes darkened as he leaned in closer. “Kissing's not the only thing my mouth is talented at.” he said, winking and dropping the cherry into his mouth. He sucked on it a few times, staring at Miles as he held it between his front teeth. He smiled and bit down, making the fruit burst. He giggled as juice began to dribble down his chin, chewing on it lightly as he said, “Oops; I popped my cherry.”

Miles' eyes widened as Alex used his finger to swipe the juice off of his chin, licking his lips as he held the finger up to the Scouser's mouth. Miles quickly darted out his tongue to lap up the sweet liquid, and Alex began rubbing the inside of Miles' thigh.

“You know baby, it is my birthday, and there's still something you haven't given me yet...” Alex murmured, raising his eyebrow suggestively as his fingers skimmed over Miles' zipper.

Miles groaned in the back of his throat, gripping onto Alex's hand in an attempt to stop him before things got too carried away. “Well, how about we take care of that, hm?”

Alex led the way back to the bar, holding Miles from the side and pressing kisses onto his nape as he paid the tab. Making it over to the elevators proved to be a struggle, as the couple repeatedly stopped in order to give each other kisses. Once they finally had made it, they were lucky enough to get the lift all to themselves; resulting in Alex being pinned against the wall the moment the doors were closed. Their hands were up above their heads as the kisses they shared became more sloppy and frantic.

Miles slipped his hand into the hair on the back of Alex's head, giving a rough tug and pulling Alex's head back. Alex gasped and hooked a leg around Miles' waist, rolling his hips against the Scouser's groin as Miles leaned in and began to suck at Alex's exposed neck. He knew that the spot that made Alex writhe the most was the hollow of his throat, and so was sure to suck and bite on the area until it was bright red.

“Fuck, Mi; touch me, baby...” Alex groaned, the rise and fall of his chest quickening as his mouth hung open. He let his arms drop down onto Miles' shoulders, squeezing and digging his nails in deep. Alex gasped as he started to grind against Miles, the leg he was standing on beginning to tremble as he pressed their bodies together.

Miles moaned and pushed his hand underneath Alex's shirt, his fingers running back and forth across the Northerner's abdomen just as the elevator dinged, alerting them that they had reached their floor. The doors opened before they were able to pull apart from each other, and the pair were met with an older couple waiting to enter. They shot them looks of disapproval as the two boys stumbled out of the lift, breaking into a giggling fit as they grabbed onto each other for support. Alex held Miles' shoulders, his hand slipping up to the back of his neck and tugging him forward into another kiss. He laughed into it as the woman began an angry sounding rant in French, though was soon cut off by the elevator doors shutting.

Alex gently bit down and pulled back on Miles' bottom lip as they separated, his fingers dipping down past the Scouser's waistband as Miles gripped onto the front of Alex's shirt. Miles walked backwards to their hotel room, letting Alex lead the way and guide them both. They continued to kiss and grope each other as they inched down the hallway, though stopped when they almost knocked over a small table holding a vase. Alex then slipped his hand into Miles' and began running the rest of the way, dragging Miles along behind him as they laughed hysterically. They slowed down as they got to their room, and Miles reached into his pocket for his wallet as Alex threw his arm around Miles' neck; his laughter still echoing throughout the empty hallway.

“Shh, you're gonna wake the whole floor up if you don't quiet down.” Miles joked as he pulled the key out of his wallet.

Alex laughed, leaning in and flicking his tongue against Miles' earlobe before replying, “Oh sweetheart, as soon as you get me on that bed I'm gonna end up waking them all up anyway.”

Miles swallowed hard as he slid the key into the card reader, quickly opening the door and pulling the key out of the slot. They stepped inside hurriedly, and Miles shoved the door shut behind them before stuffing the card back into his wallet and tossing it to the floor carelessly. He figured he'd probably regret that in the morning, though couldn't be bothered to worry about it in the heat of the moment. He pulled his jacket off and let it fall to the ground as well, watching as Alex sashayed over to the iPhone dock sitting on a desk.

He slipped his shoes off as Alex fiddled with the item, smiling to himself as he grunted in frustration as he tried to figure it out. Just as Miles opened his mouth to try and help him, he heard music starting to play, and so stood up straight as Alex grabbed the accompanying remote and walked back over to Miles. Alex ran his fingers up and down the exposed bit of Miles' chest where his shirt was unbuttoned, leaning in and kissing his cheek before saying, “I want you to strip for me.”

Miles blinked rapidly, his eyes widening as he shook his head. “I can't do that, Alex!”
“Why not?” Alex asked, smiling as he pushed the bangs across Miles' forehead around.

“I just can't do things like that! It's sexy when you do it, but I'd look fucking ridiculous.”

“Aw, it's not that hard, love... Here, I'll show you how.” Alex said, turning and pointing the remote at his iPhone and skipping through his songs until he landed on one he liked. A vaguely familiar female voice began to croon softly, a hip hop beat kicking in soon after as Alex reached for his hand and pulled him out into the middle of the room. Alex tossed the remote onto a nearby armchair before turning back to Miles.

“Okay, so you just move to the beat. This one's a little more fast paced, so you wanna make sure you keep up with it. Sway your hips, Miles; like this.” Alex instructed, encouraging Miles to follow his lead as he moved his hips. Miles sighed and began to awkwardly move his body from side to side, attempting to replicate exactly what Alex did. He must have been alright enough, because Alex began to nod and smile at him as he continued his lesson.

“Uh-huh, you're getting it. You also can sort of act out the song, if you know the words. Play with your hair a lot too; men love that.” Alex teased, winking as he stepped closer and danced in front of Miles. He illustrated his point by pushing his hands into his hair, twirling it around his fingers as he softly sang along.

“And it's just like honey; when your love comes over me.” he sang, sliding his hands slowly down the front of his body as he watched Miles attempt to mimic him. He held back his laughter as he grabbed onto Miles' tie with both hands, their lower bodies moving together as he went on. “Ooh baby, I've got a dependency...” he started, smirking at Miles before turning away and pressing his back into Miles' front. He still held onto the tie, pulling it over his shoulder as he rolled his hips back. “...always strung out for another taste of your honey.”

Miles sucked his breath in as he grabbed Alex's hips, his nose pressing into the Northener's hair as he said, “See? It's not so hard to do. Just throw in the whole taking off your clothes part and you'll be fine.”

“Alex this song is fucking ludicrous; I can't strip to something like this. I already look like a twat and I've hardly done anything.” Miles protested as he began to focus on simply watching Alex, rather than learning from him.

“You think maybe something more rock 'n' roll would work better for you?” Alex asked, letting go of Miles' tie as he turned around to face him.

Miles bit his lip, considering it before slowly nodding his head. “That might help, yeah. I feel too awkward with this stuff.”

“That's alright, darling. Let me just find you something here.” Alex reassured him as he walked over to the armchair. He snatched up the remote and began flicking through songs, listening to each for around five seconds before skipping to the next. Eventually a song with a static like sound came on, followed by the screech of a guitar over an industrial beat. Alex licked his lips and slowly sunk down into the chair, crossing one leg over the other as he dropped the remote onto his lap. He laid his arms out on the armrests as he nodded in the direction of the stereo.

“This one work for you?” he asked, and Miles nodded and scratched at the back of his head. Alex smiled and motioned for Miles to come closer with his index finger. “Well then come over here, baby; I wanna see what you can do.”

Miles took a deep breath and walked over, forcing himself to hold Alex's gaze as he positioned himself in front of him. He started to move his hips back and forth, watching as Alex nodded at him encouragingly. Miles tried to focus on the music, on making sure he kept the right pace going as he began to slowly unbutton his shirt. He popped them open one by one, looking up and seeing Alex lick his lips and arch a brow. He took it as validation that what he was doing wasn't quite as ridiculous as he assumed it would be. He didn't know the words to the song, and so had to resort to simply doing whatever he felt was right for the current mood. Once he got the last button opened, he reached up and held onto either side of his shirt, stopping and glancing up at Alex before working to get it off entirely. He pushed the garment off of his shoulders, letting it slide down his arms and onto the floor as Alex shifted in his seat and leaned forward.

Miles slid a finger down the center of his chest, his eyes never straying from Alex's as his hips swayed back and forth. He remembered what Alex said about hair, and so lifted a hand up to his head and slowly pushed his fingers into his dark brown locks; flashing Alex a quick wink as he smirked. Alex chuckled and shook his own hair out of his eyes, his gaze dropping down to where Miles had a hand on his belt buckle.

The music got more intense as Miles began unbuckling his belt; the beat amplifying as the singer practically screamed out the lyrics. He took it as his cue to subtly speed up the movement of his lower body. As he got his belt open, he grabbed onto the buckle and attempted to pull it out of the loops quickly; in hopes of replicating the way a whip cracking would look. It was something he'd seen done before, though when he tried to do it, all that happened was him wincing as he smacked his own leg with the leather strap.

Alex burst out laughing, and normally Miles would be humiliated; the only thing keeping him from not feeling that way was the knowledge that Alex usually fared better sexually if he got a good laugh first. Miles didn't fret too much over his fumble once he remembered that. Instead, he grinned and joined in himself.

Miles dropped the belt to the floor and started working to get his trousers off. Alex let his head fall back against the chair, his tongue sliding between his lips as he gripped onto the armrests. Miles could see Alex clenching his thighs together where they were crossed, and he suspected it was to put a bit of pressure onto his obvious erection. The sight did nothing but thrill Miles, and gave him the boost of confidence he needed to keep his 'show' going.

He looked up at Alex's through his lashes, smiling and ruffling his hair before tugging the zipper to his pants down. The button opened soon after, and Miles puckered up his lips in an attempt at being flirtatious as he pushed the fabric down his thighs. The gesture appeared to work, as it made Alex whimper softly and bite down on his bottom lip as he eyed Miles hungrily.

Miles felt his heart racing as he kicked his trousers off, excited to find that he was doing things right. He ran his hand over his lower stomach, hesitating briefly before sliding it further down and cupping his bulge through his underwear. Alex groaned and mirrored Miles' actions; his palm rubbing against his arousal as he uncrossed his legs and rolled his hips up. Miles hooked his thumbs into the waistband of his briefs, pulling them down an inch before letting them snap back up into place. Alex cursed and palmed himself faster; slouching in his chair as he lifted up his right leg and draped it over the armrest.

“Unbutton your shirt, love.” Miles said, his eyes glued to Alex as the Northerner reached up and began quickly working his buttons open, almost ripping them off of his royal blue shirt from how fast his fingers were moving. Once he had the last one undone, he pushed the shirt open and let it hang off of his frame; the fabric beginning to sag down past his shoulder blades. He got his trousers open next without even having to be asked, staring over at Miles as he pushed his hand into his underwear.

The whole scenario became too much for Miles to bear, and so he moved forward until he was directly in front of Alex. “Bed; now.”

Alex hummed and nodded his head, reluctantly pulling his hand out of his briefs before standing up. Miles placed his hand on Alex's lower back and urged him forward, reaching up and tugging the other man's shirt down and off once they made it to the edge of the bed. He tossed it to the floor before pushing Alex's upper half down, making him be bent over the side of the bed.

Alex moaned as Miles shoved his fingers into the sides of both his pants and underwear, grabbing onto them and tugging them halfway down his slim, shaking thighs. Miles slid his hands up the backs of them, until he reached Alex's bum; squeezing and rubbing as Alex pushed up into the contact. Miles wasn't sure what came over him, but before he knew it, he was raising his open palm and slapping it down against Alex's ass, making the latter groan and rut against the bed.

“Giving me some birthday spankings, are you?” Alex asked, biting his lip and looking back at Miles over his shoulder.
Miles laughed nervously and shook his head, instinctively retracting his hands from Alex's backside. “Sorry, I don't know why I did that...”

Alex giggled and propped his head up in the palm of his hand. “I definitely wasn't complaining, love. You're welcome to continue, just make sure you give me twenty-three.”

Miles slowly lowered his hands back down to Alex's bum, gently kneading as he tilted his head. “You like getting spanked?” he questioned, raising his eyebrows as Alex nodded.

“Mm, yeah. There's lots of things that I like.” Alex answered, smirking at the surprised look on the Scouser's face.

Miles blinked a few times, his head swimming as he pressed for more. “Like what?”

Alex laughed; dropping his arm back onto the bed and pushing himself onto his elbows. “Well, that. Hm... Bit of voyeurism, as you knew already... Biting, hair pulling, scratching; being bossy and telling you what to do...” he started, hesitating slightly as his voice got softer. “Choking... Among a few other things.”

Miles eyes became so wide it was a miracle that they didn't pop right out of their sockets. “Choking!? In what context? Do you like being choked, or...?” Miles trailed off.

“I like it being done to me, yeah.” Alex replied hastily, which led Miles into his next question.

“Does it scare you?”

Alex smiled faintly and shook his head. “No, it's... exhilarating, being completely helpless like that. Having that much trust and love for another person... But don't worry sweetheart, we don't need to do anything like that. I just want you; no frills needed.”

Miles remained silent for a moment, his brain working to process everything he had just learned. He didn't think there was anything wrong with it, he was just shocked more than anything else. He couldn't help but feel a little sheltered and childish for not ever thinking of things like this himself. He'd spent so long trying to repress his sexuality, in every sense of the word, that he never really took any time to truly explore it. With that, he pulled his hands off of Alex and moved to sit beside him.

Alex shot him a questioning look and opened his mouth to speak, though Miles stopped him before he could. “I want you to lay across my lap; face down.”

Alex quirked up a brow, looking Miles up and down before getting onto the bed entirely. He held himself up on his hands and knees as he crawled over Miles; stopping once his stomach lined up with Miles' lap. He lowered himself down until he was lying flat, turning his head to the side and watching Miles out of the corner of his eye. He gasped softly as Miles began rubbing his bum, though soon was moaning loudly as Miles once again struck his ass.

“Oh god, Miles...” Alex whispered, his breath coming to him in short gasps as he wiggled his body in the other man's lap. He clawed at the sheets as Miles' hand came down again; grinding his throbbing cock against the Scouser as he said, “Harder, baby. I wanna be reminded of this for days every time I sit down.”

Miles groaned and obeyed Alex, just as he always did; ensuring that the next spank was delivered with a loud crack that echoed throughout the room. Alex cried out and arched his back in response, and Miles could feel precum from Alex's cock smearing against his thigh. “Fuck, Miles! Yes; just like that. Again, fucking give it to me again!”

Miles wasn't sure how many more times he repeated the action, becoming entranced by the way Alex writhed and begged for more each time. He stopped once Alex's ass turned a bright red, his skin warm to the touch. Alex sighed and buried his face into the sheets, whimpering quietly as Miles rubbed his bum to help soothe him.

Alex lifted his head up then, looking back at Miles and smiling before slowly sitting up on his knees. “Fuck, that was sexy. Never been taken over the knee like that before..” Alex revealed, giggling as he reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind Miles' ear. “I'm horny as hell and wanna get fucked, so take your underwear off and finish me, yeah?”

Miles immediately slid off the bed and pulled his underwear down without a word. He bent down and unzipped Alex's boots for him, pulling them off one by one before waiting for the Northerner to stretch out his legs so that he could remove his trousers as well. Once they had been, Alex batted his lashes and crawled backwards into the center of the bed; laying back and smiling up at Miles before slowly spreading his legs open and murmuring, “Come and get it.”

Miles cursed under his breath as he got onto the bed, unable to control the urge to give his cock a few rough tugs from the sight. Alex didn't mind, however, he only licked his lips and stretched his arms up above his head. Miles lowered himself so that he was on his elbows and knees between Alex's parted legs, turning his head and beginning to kiss over the elder's inner thighs.

Alex sighed and closed his eyes, the corners of his mouth turning upwards as Miles decorated his smooth, pale skin with a trail of hickeys. Miles couldn't help but think of all the different men who would see the marks once Alex returned to work, and the thought of it made him groan and suck harder. Once he was satisfied with his handiwork, he pulled his mouth away and looked up at Alex, delighted to find him already staring back.

“Your body is absolutely sinful, you know that?” Miles asked, not bothering to wait for an answer as he squeezed Alex's hips. “Your thighs were fucking made for cheeks to graze, baby.”

Alex whispered a barely audible “fuck” as Miles' tongue traced over the V lines in his lower stomach, pushing his hands into the younger man's hair as he continued to mutter incoherently. Miles nipped at his hipbone, sucking lightly as the hold Alex had on Miles' hair tightened considerably. He pressed his fingers into Alex's hips to try and hold the Northerner in place, dragging his lips across Alex's lower stomach before laying his head against Alex's thigh.

“Where do you want me, darling? Name anything you want and it's yours.”

Alex smiled down at Miles and stroked his fingers through his hair. “Normally I would've already had you sucking me off by now; but I'm afraid I'm a bit too impatient for that tonight.”

Miles tilted his head and kissed the back of Alex's knee. “And?”
Alex rolled his eyes playfully and gently tugged on Miles' hair. “And; I want you in me, so get up here.”

“Yes, Sir.” Miles said as he slowly crawled up Alex's body, licking up the center of his chest until he was completely above the other man. Alex slid his hands up Miles' arms; gently massaging his biceps as they gazed at one another. Miles held himself up with one arm, reaching out with the other to slowly skim his thumb over Alex's pouted lips.

As Miles pulled his hand away, Alex looked up at him with heavy lidded eyes and hoarsely whispered, “Kiss me.” He lifted his leg and rubbed it against Miles' side; licking his lips and adding, “Please”, a twinge of urgency in his voice. Miles didn't hesitate to oblige him, leaning down and pressing their mouths together as he lowered his body on top of the elder's. Alex melted into it, slipping a hand into Miles' hair as he caressed the back of the Scouser's shoulders with the other.

Alex rolled his hips up as Miles reached over towards the side table, blindly feeling around for the bottle of lubricant he knew was there. He snatched it up once he found it, and used his thumb to pop the lid open as he slowly pulled their lips apart. He quickly hushed Alex's resulting whine from the loss of contact; gently patting the other's thigh and asking him to turn over.

Miles sat up so Alex could flip onto his stomach, smiling from the sound of Alex's enthralled sigh as he readied his fingers and pressed two of them to the Northerner's entrance. Alex raised his backside up a scant inch as Miles' fingers delved deeper inside of him, pushing his face into the pillows as he twisted the sheets around his fists. He let out a string of quiet moans, moving back against Miles' hand to try and get some relief. Miles watched as Alex fucked himself on his fingers, the sounds he made getting louder and more frequent with each passing moment.

“Now, Miles. Don't keep me waiting anymore.” Alex eventually demanded, turning his head to the side so that he could see what was happening behind him. Miles laughed quietly and pulled his fingers out, applying more lube to both himself and Alex as the latter settled back down onto his stomach. Miles wiped his hand on the sheets and tossed the bottle aside, holding Alex by the hips as he pressed into him.

Alex groaned and stretched his arms out in front of himself, until they knocked against the headboard. Miles watched the way the muscles in Alex's back tensed as he pushed in further, his body slowly dropping down on top of Alex's as he interlocked their fingers. He kissed the back of Alex's neck, not minding the bits of hair he got in his mouth from it as he filled the Yorkshire man.

“Christ, I'll never get over how good you feel, Miles.” Alex mumbled, though not quietly enough to make it go unheard. It made Miles' breath get heavier, and he squeezed Alex's hands as he slowly started moving. Their current position made his thrusts shallow, he was hardly pulling out at all, and so it became more like the pair simply rocking their bodies back and forth. Neither of them complained, the tight feeling around Miles' cock was mind blowing, and Alex loved the constant friction it provided to his own arousal.

Miles buried his face into the crook of Alex's neck, whispering his name repeatedly as he quickened his pace as best as he could manage. Alex panted and arched his back, trying to take Miles impossibly deeper as he attempted to roll his hips backwards. Miles slipped his arm underneath Alex, crossing it over his chest and squeezing his shoulder. Alex whined and lifted his head up, throwing it back as far as he could. Miles glanced over at Alex's exposed neck, and an idea suddenly popped into his head.

“Do you trust me, sweetheart?” he asked, the movements his hips made causing his voice to shake.
“Of course I do, Mi; more than anyone else.” Alex answered immediately, turning his head and kissing the younger's cheek.

Miles didn't verbally respond, only bit down on his own bottom lip. He slowly slid his hand away from Alex's shoulder and up towards his throat; lightly wrapping his fingers around it. Alex hissed through his teeth and gripped Miles' hands so tight they went slightly numb. He nodded in order to show his consent, and pulled a hand out of Miles' grasp so that he could hold onto the Scouser's wrist.

“Harder Miles; squeeze it tight.” Alex instructed, licking his lips as he let his mouth hang open. Miles pushed aside his nerves and slowly tightened his grip, though still didn't apply enough pressure to give much of an effect. Alex hummed and laid his hand over top of Miles', pressing his palm harder as he said, “It's alright, show me how strong you are, yeah? Take my breath away, baby.”

Miles laughed softly, though Alex's reassurance and encouragement was exactly what he needed. He furrowed his brows in concentration as he squeezed the sides of Alex's throat, goosebumps raising on his skin as Alex's high pitched moans were slowly cut off completely. He watched Alex's face anxiously, wanting to be certain that he didn't do any damage to the other man. Alex had his eyes rolled back, his mouth having gone slack as beads of sweat began to roll down his face. Miles knew his worry was all for nothing, the pure pleasure on Alex's face was unmistakable.

He pushed up onto his knees so that he could move faster, reaching up and pulling the hair back out of Alex's face and holding it in his fist. He twisted the strands around his fingers and tugged, making Alex dig his nails into Miles' hand; dragging them down so that he was left with bright red marks on his arms. He eased up on the hold he had on Alex's throat, kissing the side of the Northerner's face as he gasped for air.

“That's so fucking perfect, Mi; oh god please do it again.” he rasped between short breaths.

Miles removed his hand and pulled out, making Alex let out a frustrated groan. He sat up and grabbed Alex by the hips, voicing his intentions before Alex could protest. “Get on your back; I wanna be able to see your pretty face.”

Alex swiftly flipped over so that he was lying on his back, his face flushed and lips pouted as his chest heaved. Miles grabbed Alex by the thighs and pushed them back towards the elder's chest as he thrust himself inside of him all at once. Alex yelped and let Miles fold him in half, wanting to be his entirely. He reached down and wrapped his hands around his ankles, pulling his legs up and over Miles' shoulders.

Miles returned his hand to Alex's throat, leaning in and kissing his forehead before squeezing. The new angle made it easier for him, and he watched Alex's reactions to make sure nothing was too intense. Alex smiled faintly and closed his eyes, the tendons in his neck bulging out against Miles' hand. He sped up his pace, and Alex wrapped both of his hands around the arm Miles was using to choke him. Alex's hair was sticking to his face and neck, and Miles groaned from the way Alex clenched around his length.

“You're so beautiful, Al; no matter what state you're in.” Miles said, loosening his grip on Alex's throat and hitting his sweet spot. “Especially when I'm looking up at you from between your legs; I'd stay there for hours if I could.”

“Oh, fuck...” Alex whispered, quickly sucking in as much air as he could before Miles once again squeezed his neck.

Miles pulled Alex's right hand away from his arm and dragged it down between them, pressing it to Alex's erection as he grunted and pumped his hips. “But I think my favorite is when you're coming; you roll your eyes back and make the most gorgeous noises I've ever heard. I wanna see it, baby; I wanna see you come. Show me.” he said, giving Alex a few seconds to breathe before tightening his grip.

Alex stroked himself as quickly as he could, his body overflowing with a burning sensation; feeling it in his groin, his throat, the pit of his stomach. Miles coaxed him into his orgasm, praising him and telling Alex how much he loved him as he continued to give and take his ability to breathe. Alex sucked as much air in as he could one final time before he was coming, almost on the verge of blacking out as he rolled his eyes back in ecstasy.

Seeing Alex so beautifully debauched was enough to bring Miles into his own orgasm, and he let go of the Northerner's throat as he dropped his head down beside Alex's. He rut into the other man helplessly as he felt his stomach churn, the sounds of Alex's gasping pairing up with his own labored breathing. He came inside Alex with a loud cry, bucking his hips as he himself almost saw black as well. Alex slid his legs off of Miles' shoulders and let them fall back down to the bed, and Miles collapsed on top of Alex seconds later.

They laid there silently for a few moments, catching their breath before Miles rolled off of Alex and onto his back. Miles stared up at the ceiling as Alex curled against his side, and Miles enveloped him in his arms on instinct. Alex nuzzled Miles' neck and splayed his hand out on his chest, his eyes already beginning to droop as Miles rubbed his back. However, they soon shot back open as Miles started to softly sing.

“When I'm falling apart and I'm lost in a world on my own; I know that there's a place in your heart that I can call home.”

Alex tilted his head up and eyed Miles curiously. “What song is that?”
“The one that I wrote for you. That's just a random part of it, but... That's what it is.”
Alex beamed up at Miles, his heart racing as he asked, “May I hear all of it?” his voice quiet and hopeful.
Miles couldn't help but grin right back, his lips brushing over Alex's temple as he held the other man a little tighter. “Of course you can, love.”

“If I dream about the end of our story, we'll see our names carved into stone. You're taking me on a journey into the unknown...”

Chapter Text

“Chocolate's your favorite, right babe?” Alex called from Miles' kitchen, his voice echoing throughout the large flat as he dropped his various grocery bags onto the counter. He could hear the other man's footsteps coming up behind him, though still gasped as Miles tugged him backwards into his arms.

“I am a fan of chocolate, yes.” Miles replied, his lips brushing past Alex's ear as he tightened his arms around the slighter man's torso. “Even though I already told you that you didn't need to make a cake, I like the bakery ones.”

Alex scoffed, turning his head and glaring at Miles. “Those are awful! How could you want one of them over my delicious, homemade-with love, might I add- cake. My mum's recipe, Miles! Passed down from my nan, and from her-”

“Alright! Alright! It was foolish of me to ever suggest such a monstrosity that is a store bought cake! I only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me!” Miles cried melodramatically, trying not to let his voice waver as he held in his laughter.

Alex was already laughing hysterically, his body doubling over Miles' arms, and he took the opportunity to swing the long haired man around a bit. Alex shrieked and kicked his legs out, the black sweater he was wearing beginning to ride up as Miles cackled and finally let him go. Alex whacked Miles' arm, giving an indignant huff before turning back towards the counter. “Kane, you better sit your arse down now and let me do my prepping!” he growled, giving a pointed glance towards the counter top. Although he was trying his hardest to look menacing, Miles could still see the playful edge in his eyes. He stuck his tongue out at the Northerner before turning around and pulling himself up onto the counter.

Alex rolled his eyes at the childish gesture, though seconds later looked back up and smiled. He went to push his hair behind his ears, and stopped before he did, his face brightening up as though he remembered something. He pushed his fingers into the sleeve of his sweater, and soon a hair tie came into view. He removed it from his wrist and pulled his hair back, working his fingers swiftly as he tied his hair into a messy bun; though a few strands soon slipped out.

“Oh, don't you look absolutely adorable.” Miles said with a grin, though quickly lifted his hands up in surrender as Alex reached over to try and smack his arm.

“Shut up, you don't want any hair in your cake, do you!?” Alex cried, sounding exasperated as he leaned over to turn on the oven.

Miles chuckled and tucked one of Alex's loose strands behind his ear. “Not particularly, no. But I meant what I said; you're such a cute little thing. I quite like your hair pulled back like that.”

Alex huffed and didn't respond, though Miles was still able to see the pink tint spreading in his cheeks. He sat silently and watched Alex work his magic, carefully measuring out ingredients and dumping them into two separate bowls. Although Miles found a lot of enjoyment in cooking, he didn't have enough patience to give baking much of a chance. It was a bit too technical for his liking, but luckily Alex was quite good at it.

It took a lot of insistence on Miles' part to convince Alex that he didn't want to do anything fancy for his birthday, he only wanted a quiet evening at home with the Northerner. He'd done the wild night out scenario many times before, and it absolutely bored him to death. The second option was spending it with his parents, who were much too obnoxious, and so the choice was obvious for him. He observed Alex finishing things up, pouring the cake batter into two round pans before sticking them in the oven and setting a timer. Alex blew his breath out and moved back over by Miles, glancing up and smiling mischievously as he picked up the spoon he used and licked up the side of it.

“Hey! It's my birthday, that means I get to lick the spoon!” Miles protested, feigning mock annoyance as he glared at the other man.

Alex smirked and licked the spoon again as he slowly gave Miles a once over. “I noticed you're wearing jeans today. Sinfully tight, white jeans. I don't think I've ever seen you wearing any before, which is such a shame; you look dead sexy in them.” he remarked, his voice husky as he licked his lips and batted his eyelashes.

“Stop distracting me and give me my damn spoon.” Miles said, raising a brow and holding out his hand expectantly.

Alex continued to ignore Miles, instead winking and devouring all the remnants of the batter by himself. Miles sighed in defeat just as Alex gave a final lick and dropped the spoon back into the bowl, cleaning up his lips with his tongue as he pushed himself between the younger man's legs. Miles noticed a bit of missed batter on the corner of Alex's mouth, and so leaned in closer, pulling Alex's face in before darting his tongue out to lick up the sweetness. Alex squeezed Miles' thighs and hummed quietly, his lips parting as he greedily tried to persuade the other man to slip that wandering tongue into his mouth.

Miles grinned and pulled away, denying the Northerner and making him groan out of frustration. Alex sighed and slumped against Miles' chest, his arms sliding around the Scouser's waist as he pressed his face into his shirt. Miles curled the loose strands of Alex's hair around his fingers as they sat in silence, though that was soon broken by Alex.

“Did I tell you that I finally bought a frame for that picture of us in Paris?” he asked, and Miles smiled to himself as he relayed that he hadn't. Alex nodded and tightened his grip, humming softly before going on. “Yeah, got a nice silver one for it. I put it on my bedside table, so I can fall asleep looking at your face... On the nights when you're not laying next to me. Rare, those nights. Thankfully.”

Miles lifted up Alex's head, their gazes meeting as Miles ran his thumbs across the other's cheeks, making Alex visibly shiver as he smiled. “I think you should just move in with me, so that way those nights don't exist at all, and we can always fall asleep next to each other.” he suggested, gently pulling on one of Alex's loose curls as he waited for an answer.

Alex's smile faded slightly, though not enough to cause Miles much worry, and nodded his head slowly. “Mmm.” was all he said, his eyes darting over to the timer on the oven before glancing back at Miles. “Fifteen minutes before the cake is done. Think we can fit a quickie in? I'll ride you on the counter.”

Miles didn't have enough time to really question Alex's response, or lack thereof, to be more precise. The elder soon had his mouth pressed against Miles' in a heated kiss; nudging the Scouser so that he would make room. Miles melted in the affection, groaning quietly as he laid back on the counter and watched Alex climb on top of him, his fingers digging into Alex's hips as Alex smiled at Miles coquettishly. He reached back and removed the hair tie, shaking his dark locks out before bending down lower and making Miles lose himself completely in Alex.

--------------

Later on in the evening, the couple laid together on the sofa; Miles with his back pressed against one side, his head propped up with a pillow as Alex resided between his legs. Miles had his arms around Alex's chest, and the Northerner overlapped Miles' hands with his own, cuddling into him as they remained in a comfortable silence. A Paul Weller record played on the turntable, and Miles slowly turned his hands so that his palms were upwards, taking Alex's hands into his own and squeezing gently.

“I've been thinking of getting a cat.” Miles said suddenly, glancing down at the other man as he spoke.
Alex tilted his head and met Miles' gaze, a delighted smile on his face. “Yeah? I love cats. That'd be nice, to have one around.”

Miles slipped a hand free and carded his fingers through Alex's hair. “Glad you agree, it'd be yours too. You can help me pick it out and name it, all that stuff.”

“We would have to have shared custody, I get to keep it when I'm at my flat, you can have it when we're both here. I grow very attached, you see.” Alex decided, his eyes glimmering as he reached back and poked the tip of Miles' nose with his index finger.

“That hardly seems fair.” Miles countered, giving a pout as Alex wiggled around slightly.
“Guess that means you have to stay over with me more often. Though to be fair, I'm usually over here anyway.”

Miles nodded in agreement, watching as Alex's mouth slowly closed, his eyes glazing over as he became lost in thought. Alex did this often, becoming a bit trapped in his own mind. It was both endearing and frustrating for Miles, the Scouser always wanted to know what the other man was thinking about. Lucky for him, Alex expressed it himself as he gazed out of the large, ceiling to floor window in Miles' apartment.

“I love the way it looks here... The city is quite pretty at night, isn't it? And you've got the most gorgeous view of it.” he said absentmindedly, his eyes wide as they darted back and forth; trying to take everything in. Miles gently scrapped his fingers against Alex's scalp; scratching and making the latter hum and lean into the touch. Miles cleared his throat and decided to try and broach the topic he had brought up earlier, hoping for a more encouraging response the second time around.

“You know, you could just live here... You'd get to look out the window all the time, and the future cat could stay in one place.”

Alex's body tensed up slightly, turning his head and glancing at Miles before looking away once more. “Suppose so...” he trailed off, his voice sounding distant.

“I mean, it's just a suggestion, and; well, an offer. It's been close to a year we've been together, and I personally would love to take that next step. If you were too, that is.” Miles rambled, his last thought sounding more like a question as he held his breath and waited.

It didn't appear to be promising as Miles watched Alex grimace, refusing to make eye contact as he twisted his hands in his lap. “That's... not really what I had in mind. I just can't see myself living here.”

Miles flinched as though he had been burned, and he sat up straighter as he fought to meet Alex's reluctant eyes. “What do you mean 'you can't live here?' Of course you can, I'd love for you to be here, you're more than welcome. I already consider it your home too, if I'm honest.”

Alex sat up and adjusted his body so that the two men were face to face. “Look, honey; I know I'm welcome here. It's just... I can't. Not now.”

Miles felt a stabbing in his heart before it sank into the pit of his stomach. “But why? Give me a reason other than just saying you can't. I understand if you aren't ready, but I want you to be honest about it.”

“It's not about being ready, I'm... I have been ready. But, I just can't. I'm sorry Miles, but I can't bring myself to do that.” Alex quietly said, staring at the Scouser with what looked like pity in his eyes.

Miles shook his head and let out a frustrated noise. “Stop talking in goddamn circles and just be upfront!”

Alex's demeanor shifted as a result of the outburst, his face turning cold as he pushed himself up off the couch. “I don't want to. There.”

“But you just said you were ready for it and have been for awhile, and you keep coming up with this 'I can't' shit. Be fucking honest, Alex!” Miles burst out, his voice raising in both pitch and volume as he followed Alex's example and got off of the couch. Alex started to storm away into the kitchen, though Miles wasn't willing to let the argument go yet.

“Answer me!” he bellowed, feeling a mixture of hurt, frustration, and confusion over the matter.

Alex whirled around, his eyes blazing as he shouted, “Because I'll be a fucking joke if I do! I can't help provide if I live here, maybe buy some groceries, but even that could be too much, considering what you get. I can't contribute financially, and I'll be the pathetic, money sucking low life that I've been trying to avoid being for our entire relationship. That's why!”

Miles stood motionless as he stared at the Northerner. “Alex, that's not true whatsoever. You wouldn't be a burden, or less of a man, if that's what you're worried about. I mean... You live in a horrifically dangerous part of the city anyway, and I'm always so concerned for you when you're left alone there. You always go on about how much you love being here, so come stay permanently. You can be here and not be so stressed, and I'll take care of you, baby.”

Alex groaned and began massaging his temples. “I don't need you to take care of me, I've done just fine on my own. And I especially don't need to become someone's sugar baby, or a charity case.”

Miles' jaw dropped as Alex again tried to go into the kitchen. “Really, Alex!? You know it's not like that at all! Fine, fine! You know what, you can come live here, and I'll insist that you pay half the bills and rent that I know you can't come close to affording! How about that? Feel equal now, babe!?”

Alex glared at Miles from where he stood beside the stove, his nostrils flaring as he said, “At least I fucking pay my own bills and rent and don't rely on my daddy's money to do it for me!”

Miles cocked his jaw as his brows furrowed, taking a step forward and balling his hands up into fists. “Who the fuck cares!? He offered, I accepted! Don't even act like you haven't enjoyed the benefits of his money yourself.”

“Never said I was, and there's a difference between you forcing me to accept ridiculous, frivolous gifts that you insisted on giving me, and you treating your father as your own personal ATM.” Alex seethed, bounding over to the other man and digging an accusing finger into his chest.

Miles laughed bitterly as he jerked away from Alex's touch. “Fuck you, stop acting like you're some goddamn saint who can do no wrong. You and I both know that's far from the truth. So I take my dad's money? So what? What else am I supposed to do!?”

“You're now twenty-three years old, Miles! Get a fucking job! Stop being so bloody lazy and do something with your life! It's embarrassing, I feel like I'm dating a child half the time. Take some fucking responsibility for yourself!” Alex roared, practically yelling in Miles' face as he stepped closer and closer, despite the Scouser's resistance of it.

“Incredible, you're the one losing your fucking head just because I suggested you move in, and the one throwing insults left and right; yet I'm the child here! Absolutely hysterical! Tell me, baby; how's everything look up there on your fucking high horse??” Miles countered, his voice taking on a mocking tone as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“Oh fuck off, you know I don't think I'm better than you, or anyone else! You fucking know that. All I'm doing is pointing out what is already blatantly obvious. You need to grow up, and clearly you need a kick in the bollocks in order to do it, so here it is. Your parents should be thanking me for doing what they should have done.” Alex started, pushing the hair out of his face before going on. “Again, I'm the only one here who has a job and actual adult responsibilities. So yes, Miles; you are the childish one. And I'd rather live in my shit flat knowing I worked to pay for it all myself, instead of sitting around here and letting your fucking father pay for everything, while you give this illusion that it's actually you doing it.”

Alex straightened up his back and looked over at the clock on the oven. “Speaking of which, I need to leave so I can get ready for that job. You know, the thing that grown ups do in order to live. Unfamiliar concept for you, I'm sure.”

Miles scoffed as Alex started to walk past him, turning his body around and letting the words spill out before he could stop himself. “Yeah, taking your clothes off like a slag for pathetic strange men; what a fucking job, darling. So reputable.”

His mouth snapped shut as his eyes widened, already regretting his words and wishing he could shove them all back into his mouth as Alex whipped around and gaped at him, a look of utter disbelief on his face. Miles could see the hurt in Alex's eyes on second glance, and he instinctively reached out for the Northerner. Alex slapped his hand away as his eyes bored into Miles, almost cutting into him.

“So that's what you really think of me!? A slag?? I did what I had to do in order to support myself, and I continue to do just that. And how fucking dare you throw it back in my face like that?? It's a low blow, and you're a fucking bastard for it.” Alex raged, his voice trembling as he once more jabbed his finger into Miles' chest. “And don't you fucking forget the fact that you were once one of those pathetic, strange men. The only difference is that I apparently made the mistake of believing you were something better than that.”

Miles took a step backwards, shaking his head furiously as Alex turned away and bounded over for the door. He didn't hesitate to follow, calling out to him as he stayed on Alex's heels. “Baby, oh god; I'm so fucking sorry! I didn't mean that at all, I-”

“Save your fucking breath, I don't wanna hear it. The fact that you even thought it at all speaks volumes to me.” Alex hissed as he snatched his denim jacket off of the coat rack.

“No, come on, Al! I wasn't thinking at all, of course you aren't a slag, and there's nothing wrong with your job. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry baby...” Miles tried again, his voice cracking as Alex quickly put his jacket on.

“Stop calling me baby, that's fucking done and over with. And so are we.” Alex snarled, though the moisture welling up in his eyes was unmistakable, despite the viciousness in his tone.

Miles ran his hands through his hair in the midst of his desperation, his eyes wild as he shook his head repeatedly. “You don't mean that...” he finally settled on saying, though cringed from the way Alex flung his front door open.

“Like hell I do. I can't forgive you for what you said, especially when you know that it's one of my biggest insecurities.” Alex responded, stepping out into the hallway before turning around to look at the Scouser one last time. “It's clear we aren't as good for each other as we thought we were.” he lamented, and with that, he closed the door behind him without so much as a proper goodbye.

Miles stepped over to the door, peering out through the peep hole and watching as Alex got into the elevator, and he clenched his fist and hit the wall next to him.

“Fuck!” he screamed, looking over at the nearby table that held a vase with some roses in it. Without a single thought, he kicked it over, the vase crashing to the floor and smashing into tiny pieces as water pooled around his feet.

“God dammit!” he raved, continuing his rant as he stomped into the kitchen, deciding to take his anger with himself and his imminent heartbreak out on the dirty dishes. With another loud curse, he shoved them all to the floor, the sounds of them breaking ringing in his ears as he turned to the cake Alex had made for him. He raised his hand up in order to push that over as well, though the way his heart clenched made him stop short. He stared down at the dessert, sighing pitifully as he dropped his hand onto the counter and groaned in frustration.

Instead, he reached into his silverware drawer and grabbed a fork, then carelessly dug into the cake, shoveling a few forkfuls into his mouth as he began to wallow in his self inflicted misery. “It does taste good.” he mumbled to himself, his mouth still full of food as he looked to the nearby wine bottle that they had drank with dinner. He dropped the fork onto the counter, swallowing the sweetness down as he snatched up the bottle. It was only a little under half gone, and so he wasted no time in taking a few rather large gulps of it straight from the bottle.

He let out a series of unintelligible noises as he took the plate that held the cake into one hand, the wine bottle into the other, and slid down onto the kitchen floor. He mentally berated himself for being so horrid to Alex as he continued to stuff himself on cake and wine. He knew the tears hadn't started falling yet because he was still in shock, and also a bit in denial. A part of him was hoping this could all blow over and he and Alex would reconcile in a few days, though he knew that chance was most likely very slim. Alex was right in calling him a bastard, and he knew he deserved much worse that that.

“Happy fucking birthday to me.” he said weakly, pushing his plate away as he dropped his head into his hands; his tears coming much sooner than he expected.

-------------

It was around two a.m when Miles started to call Alex, even though he knew what an absolutely terrible idea that was. He couldn't talk himself out of it, and so he hit the call button as he rubbed a hand over his face. He was sprawled out on the couch where they had been a few short hours ago, still happy and still together. Miles sighed as the call went straight to voicemail, he knew it was the likeliest outcome given the fact that Alex was at work. He hung up and stared at his phone as though it had betrayed him, dropping it onto his stomach and pressing his face into the side of the couch.

Five minutes later and he was calling again, and he knew now it was only happening just to hear the other man's voice. Normally Alex left his phone on during work, though kept it on silent. Miles assumed he shut it off completely this time because of this exact situation, and the thought of it made him slip further into despair. He hung up and pushed the call button for a third time, he needed the sound of the Northerner's honeyed voice more than anything at the moment.

The pattern continued on for an entire hour, and he knew Alex would be leaving work any second now. He figured he looked like a psycho, ringing him so many times, but he felt an uncontrollable desire to do it over and over. He dialed again and once more got Alex's voicemail, and so this time he chose to leave one for him.

“Hey, Alex... Look, I'm so sorry about what happened. I know you're livid with me and I don't blame you, I'm pissed at myself. I just... I don't wanna give up on us. You mean everything to me, and I can't imagine ever losing you. I'll do anything it takes to make things right. And you don't have to move in, I don't care. I'll happily sell this place and go to your flat; I just wanna be with you, baby. I know you don't want me to call you that... I love you, Alex. I love you. And I'm so sorry. Please ring me, once you feel you're able to. Please... Bye, Al.”

Miles ended the call and sighed, laying the phone on his stomach as he threw his arm over his eyes. The effects of his alcohol consumption combined with his heavy eyes from the crying he did caused him to slowly drift into a hazy dozed off state. He had no idea how long he laid there like that, and he had just managed to start to feel himself fall asleep completely as his phone began to ring. His eyes shot open, and he scrambled to pick up his cell phone and look at the caller I.D; though all his hopes of it being Alex were soon crushed when he saw a random number on the screen. Miles huffed and went to toss the device onto the nearby coffee table, though for reasons left unknown, he chose to answer it anyway.

“Hello!?” he blurted out, trying not to let his voice slur too much.
“Hello, my name is Katie and I work for Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich. Is this a Mr. Miles Kane?”

Miles sat up as his brows furrowed, an uneasy feeling beginning to creep up his spine. “Yes, this is. What's going on?? Is one of my parents hurt??” he asked, wondering why he wasn't contacted by one of them as the woman responded.

“Oh, no Sir. I need to confirm whether or not you know a Mr. Alexander Turner, and if so, what is your relationship with him?”

Miles froze from the question, and his heart began pounding rapidly. “Yes, he's my boyfriend.” he said, ignoring the fact that the information was now inaccurate as he started to get a bit more hysterical. “Why?? Oh god, what's happened to him? Is he alright??”

“I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, Mr. Kane; but Mr. Turner has been shot.”

Chapter Text

Miles burst through the emergency room doors of the hospital, George running along behind him as he bounded through the lobby. Miles had called his friend up and cried hysterically about needing a ride into the receiver, then hung up before he gave any real explanation for what was going on. He didn't want to risk driving after all he had to drink, though the bombshell dropped onto him had sobered him up within seconds.

Luckily, George had found the whole situation to be alarming enough to come investigate, and was filled in as Miles flew down the ten flights of stairs it took to get to the main level of his apartment building. The entire drive over had consisted of Miles hyperventilating as George tried to calm him down, which didn't appear to have worked as Miles started shouting at the receptionist before he had even reached her desk.

“Alex Turner!? How is he; is he gonna be okay??” he asked, not caring that he was practically yelling in the woman's face. He glanced down at the nameplate on her desk; seeing that her name was Katie and leading him to assume it was the same woman he spoke to on the phone. “I'm Miles Kane, please tell me what's going on with Alex!”

Miles was correct in his assumption, her small, sympathetic smile fading as she nodded her head solemnly. “Yes, hello, Mr. Kane. I spoke to you over the telephone. Unfortunately, I can't give you any information on Mr. Turner, you'll have to take a seat and wait for the doctor.”

He furiously shook his head and without thinking, slammed his hands onto the desktop. “What do you mean?? He could be seriously injured, or even dying, and yet you're not gonna tell me anything!?”

Katie sighed and shrugged her shoulders helplessly. “I really can't tell you anything, Mr. Kane. Not only is it against the rules for me to do so, I'm not even sure on what his condition is myself. I'm so sorry.”

Miles huffed and opened his mouth to retaliate, though stopped when he noticed that she genuinely did seem sincere. He turned and looked out into the waiting area, spotting only George and another man who looked to be around the same age as him sitting there. He walked away from Katie without a word, his mind too preoccupied to remember to be courteous. He figured she was most likely used to it at this point anyway.

He dragged his feet over to the area, throwing himself down into a chair between the two other men before dropping his face into his hands. From the corner of his eye, he could see the unknown man shifting in his seat as though he was uncomfortable, and Miles couldn't help but look up at him completely. He looked vaguely familiar, with spiky gelled up hair at the top of his head and closely shaved at the sides, blue eyes, and a stocky build. The two of them made eye contact, which prompted the man to speak.

“Hello, I couldn't help but overhear. You're Miles Kane?” he asked as he rubbed the back of his neck.
Miles squinted his eyes in suspicion, nodding his head up and down slowly before verbally confirming. “Yes, why do you ask?”
The man moved a seat closer and held out his hand. “I'm Matt, I'm the bartender at the club Alex works in.”

Miles' face lit up in recognition as he shook Matt's hand. “I thought I had seen you somewhere before!” he started, pushing back his hair in a fit of nerves as he went on. “I hate to be offensive, but I have to ask, why are you here? I didn't know you and Al were friends.”

Matt shook his head and patted Miles' hand. “No offense taken, mate. I wouldn't say we're friends, exactly; but we've had a few chats over the years. Erm... I'm here because I was the one who found him.”

Miles inhaled sharply and leaned in closer. “Christ, please tell me how he is, or at least as much as you know? I fucking hate not knowing any details about how he's doing.”

Matt grimaced and scratched at the back of his head. “I found him behind the club, he was laying back there sort of twitching and groaning... I could see the blood all over him and the pavement, so I called 999 right then. I can't be certain, but it looked like he got hit in the stomach; that's where it seemed like the blood was coming from. I sat with him until the ambulance got there. Um...” Matt trailed off, looking over at Miles nervously.

“What is it?” Miles prompted, his voice wavering as he tried to hold back the tears threatening to spill from his eyes. He couldn't believe his Alex had been put in a situation so awful, and his body filled with a dull ache from the thought of it.

Matt bit his lip and shook his head; propping his elbow up on the back of his chair and holding his head up in the palm of his hand. “He just didn't look very good, mate. He kept saying how cold he felt. An' he said your name a couple of times too, asking for you. I didn't know it was your name at the time, I honestly thought he was just saying random things, but then you came in here asking about him and your name is Miles, so. I assume he was talking about you.”

Miles couldn't hold anything back then, and he let the tears run as he dug his nails into his skin. He felt so frustrated, and he also felt more scared than he ever had in his entire life. He tensed as he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he looked over to see that it was George trying to comfort him.

He couldn't help but shrug off the affection in the midst of his despair, his shoulders sagging as he sobbed quietly. Although he didn't verbally express it at the time, having the two other men there was something he was tremendously grateful for. He couldn't imagine how much harder this situation would be if he had been there to bear through it alone.

They sat together for what could have been minutes or hours, none of it seemed real to Miles anymore. The only thing he could process was the sound of another male voice entering the room, one calling out his name. His head shot up as he saw a man with dark hair dressed in surgeon's gear standing there. “Miles Kane?” he asked, to which Miles bolted out of his seat and over to the man.

“Yes, I'm Miles Kane.” he confirmed, causing the doctor to nod and step closer.
“I'm doctor O'Malley, I'll be performing Mr. Turner's surgery.” he said, and Miles gaped at him as he shook his head in confusion.
“Wait, Alex needs surgery!? Why??” Miles quickly blurted out, his voice rising as the panic in his voice made him sound slightly shrill.

Dr. O'Malley glanced down at the papers he was holding before looking back up at Miles. “Well, Mr. Turner was initially shot in the torso, and the bullet went through and punctured his liver. We need to get the bullet out and stop the internal bleeding he's been experiencing, along with draining out the blood and bile from his abdomen. He's being prepped for surgery right now.”

Miles felt his mouth go dry, his bottom lip quivering as he asked the question he desperately wanted to know, yet was terrified to hear the answer to. “Is he going to be okay?”

The doctor shuffled his feet and peeked over at the clock on the wall. “I really can't give you a definite answer for that right now, Mr. Kane. He did make it here in a good amount of time, but he's still wounded in a major organ, and anything involving internal bleeding is a risk. I can't guarantee what his outcome will be at this point. All I can say is that we're going to do everything we can to save him.”

Miles tried to ignore the sinking feeling in his chest as he nodded his head. The doctor assured Miles that he would be kept updated as he started to walk away, having to go back into the room so that he could perform the surgery. Miles waved him off as he stared blankly at the wall in front of him. The entire world could come crashing down at that moment, and Miles wouldn't even notice. He'd still be standing in the exact same spot by the end of it. He hated how helpless he was, the fact that there was nothing he could do. The whole situation was driving Miles insane, the chaos of it all. He only could hope that the doctor truly would do everything he could to save Alex.

-----------

Miles paced around the waiting room, growing more and more frustrated and frantic as he waited for the doctor's return. All had been quiet since the first meeting, and a little over an hour had passed since then. He sighed and pulled his phone out of his pocket, standing out in the middle of the room as he checked through all of his messages. He wasn't sure what compelled him to do so, but he typed out a quick text to his father informing him of his whereabouts and why; the device dying right after.

Afterward, he began to wonder whether or not he should take the plunge and contact Alex's parents. He knew that they had a right to know, the only thing holding him back was the fear that they wouldn't even care. He felt a pang in his heart at the thought, remembering Penny's declaration of acceptance, and knowing that despite everything, she genuinely loved her child. Miles would surely crumble under the weight of his guilt if he didn't at least attempt to let them know, and so stood up and excused himself from George and Matt.

Miles walked back over to the receptionist's desk, wringing his hands together as he heaved a deep sigh. Katie looked up at him and smiled weakly, stopping what she was doing so that she could face Miles fully. “Still no word, Mr. Kane; I'm sorry.” she said, to which Miles shook his head.

“I was wondering if I could see Alex's phone? I need to ring his parents and let them know what's going, but I don't have their number.” he asked, biting his lip anxiously as Katie gave him a look of hesitance.

“Well, I'm really not supposed to let you have his personal property...” She started, glancing over at a drawer before darting her eyes around the room. “But, we don't have any information on his family, and I suppose the news would be better heard from you rather than a stranger.” she decided, reaching over and opening the drawer she had been looking at before pulling out a bag containing Alex's phone, wallet, cigarettes, and keys. She opened the bag and grabbed the cell phone, looking around once more as she handed it over to Miles.

“Thank you, Miss; I promise to give it back as soon as I'm done.” he whispered, gently patting her hand in gratitude as he slipped away. He trudged down the hallway, pushing his hands through his hair as he walked towards the payphones; since his own cellphone had died. He tried to think of what he could say to Alex's parents, he barely knew them, and the one time when he did meet them was an absolute disaster. Miles sighed and unlocked Alex's phone, thankful in that moment that he didn't have a pass code on it.

Miles stopped in front of the phone, thankful to find that it was a newer model and accepted credit cards. He scrolled down Alex's contacts until he found one named 'mum and dad', and lifted the phone off of the receiver before punching the numbers into the keypad. He shoved both his wallet and Alex's cell phone into his pockets before tapping his fingers anxiously against the wall in front of him.

He stood and waited for someone to pick up, though the phone did nothing but continue to ring. He knew that he should have been expecting that, it was pushing five in the morning, after all. Just when he was about to put the phone back into place, he heard the line finally being picked up. He heard shuffling on the other end, followed by a deep cough, sending Miles a warning as to who exactly he was about to be speaking with.

“Hello?” David said, his voice groggy and distant.

Miles cleared his throat as he scratched at the back of his neck. “Um. Hello, Mr. Turner. This is Miles Kane, we met a few months ago, I don't know if you remember; but-”

“Of course I remember, even if I don't want to.” David gruffed, cutting the other man off as he suddenly sounded much more awake. “What in the bloody hell do you want!?”

“Well, it's about Alex, Sir. I'm sorry to have to-” Miles began, though was unable to finish his sentence as he was once again interrupted by Alex's father.

“I don't want to hear it; I'm not giving him or you any money. Probably would end up wasting it all on drugs anyway.”

Miles sighed and shook his head, even though he knew it was impossible for David to see him doing so. “No, that's not what it is at all, Alex has been-”

David's voice boomed down the line before the Scouser could finish his sentence. “I already said that I don't want to hear it! It's extremely late and I don't appreciate being rung up like this. Do not call here again; goodbye.”

Miles cried out for Alex's father to wait, but the line went dead before he was able to, the dull ringing of the dial tone blaring in his ear seconds later. He hung up the phone and groaned in frustration, his blood beginning to boil as he played the conversation over in his mind. He knew he shouldn't be surprised by the reaction he had gotten, but he couldn't let it go.

Without thinking about it, he lifted the receiver off the hook once more, pushing the redial button and dropping his arm back down to his side, his hand balling up into a fist as he tried to contain the fury he started to feel. The anger in him was only fueled by the fact that the Turners were not picking up, despite Miles knowing that they were there. He gripped onto the phone tighter as he got their answering machine, David's voice once again filling his ear. As soon as the beep indicated that he could leave a message, he opened his mouth and let the words pour out of himself without giving any of it a single thought.

“Listen here, asshole; I was not ringing you at this hour to ask you for drug money, and you would have known that if you had let me actually finish my goddamn sentence!” Miles yelled, completely ignoring the fact that he was in the middle of a public area surrounded by other people who could hear him.

“Alex is in the fucking hospital! He was shot at work earlier, and now he's in the middle of having surgery. They don't even know if he's going to make it, and yet you hang up the fucking phone when I try to tell you! If you honest to god don't even care, then you're a despicable man... He's your son!! He's your fucking son, you heartless bastard!! He's your son; he's your goddamn son!!” Miles roared into the phone, and in the midst of his anger, he repeatedly slammed the receiver against the hook before finally hanging it up for good.

He whipped his head around as George and Matt ran over to him, a nurse and two doctors following close behind them. They all looked both confused and panicked as they tried to assess what exactly was going on. Miles broke down then, leaning his back against the wall as he slid down it. He dropped his head into his lap and started to wail, his whole body shuddering as he felt someone touch his shoulder. He didn't bother looking up at them, he only leaned into their touch as he continued to sob into his hands.

Eventually he looked up and was met with one of the doctors crouching down in front of him, a look of worry on his face, along with George kneeling at his side. Miles attempted to smile weakly, though he knew he failed miserably at it. He nodded his head up towards the payphone and said, “Sorry about all that. I'll cover the costs for any damage done.”

The doctor waved it off, shaking his head as he gently placed a hand on Miles' shoulder. “I just wanted to be sure everything was alright.”

Miles glanced down at his name tag, noting that he was named 'Dr. Cook.' He looked back up at him and slowly nodded his head. “Yeah, I'm just.. I'm so scared for my boyfriend.” he mumbled, trying to will the fresh tears threatening to spill from his eyes away before they came. “And his dad is a complete knobhead!” he added scornfully, causing Dr. Cook to laugh quietly.

His anger washed away as he sat there, and he ran his hand across his stomach, imagining how scared Alex himself must have been laying on the pavement. Miles took comfort in at least knowing that he wasn't alone. He took the hand that Dr. Cook offered to him, allowing himself to be pulled into a standing position. He brushed off the back of his pants and sighed, feeling nothing but dread over being able to do nothing but continue to wait and hope for the best.

--------------

It was quarter to six in the morning when Dr. O'Malley finally reappeared, Miles was sat in a plastic chair and staring off at nothing, biting down on the fingers in his mouth as Matt and George talked to each other quietly. Matt noticed the doctor first, and he nudged Miles so that his attention could be redirected towards him. Miles snapped his head up and met the doctor's eyes, pushing himself up and shuffling over to the man on autopilot. He tried to gauge what O'Malley was thinking, but ultimately failed. The man had one hell of a poker face.

“How is he?? Did it go well?” Miles blurted out before the doctor could speak, his eyes wide and filled with worry. He tried to prepare himself for the absolute worst case scenario, even though the mere thought of it caused him to feel an overwhelming amount of pain. Dr. O'Malley blinked a few times, smoothing out the front of his scrubs as he answered Miles' questions.

“He's pulled through the surgery, yes; and he's gotten a necessary blood transfusion. He's under surveillance, and he'll need to be for the next twenty-four hours, as there's still a possibility of him going into exsanguination as a result from hemorrhaging, which is most likely fatal.”

Miles let out a small whimper, reaching up and rubbing his forehead as he became further distressed. He thought he'd have a definite answer on Alex's condition by now. He tried not to let his temper flare up, he knew there wasn't a single thing anyone could do. He nodded his head and blew out his breath. “But there's a good chance that he'll be okay, right? He made it through the surgery. And he's so strong! Tough as nails, Al's a fighter.”

Dr. O'Malley gave a small smile. “I really can't say for sure, Mr. Kane. But yes, the surgery went well, we were able to stop the bleeding fairly quickly, and that alone gives him better odds of surviving. We just need to be cautious, we can't be too hasty and assume anything.”

“And what about afterward? How will his treatment go once he makes it through this?” Miles asked, deciding to ignore the fact that there was a chance Alex might not make it at all. He refused to allow himself to even consider it a possibility.

“So long as everything goes well, the only thing we'll really need to be concerned with is the risk of infection. But we'll all discuss that later. He's currently resting in the recovery unit.”

Miles bit his worrying lip, pushing the hair on his forehead back as he asked another question. “Can I see him?”

The doctor rubbed his hand up and down his arm and nodded. “The anesthesia hasn't worn off yet, so he isn't awake right now. But yes, you can go back and visit him. It could be another hour before he's alert and responsive, though.”

“I don't care.” Miles said quickly, apologizing soon after for sounding so brash. The doctor smiled and waved it off before beckoning Miles to follow him. He led the way in silence, leaving Miles to his own thoughts. He had no idea if Alex would even want to see him, and he couldn't help but start to panic over the thought. The fight they had almost seemed surreal now, he was having difficulty grasping the fact that it even happened. It already felt like a different life now.

Dr. O'Malley stopped in front of a short corridor, gesturing towards it as he turned back to Miles and said, “Down here, room two-hundred and ten.”

Miles muttered a quick thank you before taking off down the hall, reading each door sign until he got to the very last door on the left. He sucked all his breath in as he twisted the doorknob and stepped inside. He gently shut the door behind him, the sounds of machines beeping filling his ears as he faced forward and walked towards Alex's bed. There was a curtain circled around the area, and it was partially drawn, making it so that Miles couldn't see the other man until he walked past it.

Miles let out a quiet sob the second his eyes landed on Alex, the sight of him bruised and bandaged with IVs hooked into him was almost unbearable. He was indeed asleep, and Miles stood at the end of the hospital bed and watched the slow rise and fall of Alex's chest. He seemed even smaller than normal, appearing almost fragile, along with being frighteningly pale.

He sniffed as he walked to the side of the bed, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his shirt before reaching over and dragging a chair up. He dropped down into it and sighed, scratching at the back of his head as he looked up at the heart rate monitor. All seemed to be well, Alex's pulse was steady. He knew he was being paranoid, but he didn't try and stop himself, he knew it wouldn't work anyway.

Miles reached out and gently took Alex's hand into both of his own, being careful not to disturb him as he did so. He wasn't sure if he even could, he knew the Northerner was essentially in a deep sleep. Still, he didn't want to risk it, and made sure his caresses along the back of Alex's hand were feather light. He watched intently as Alex rested, every little twitch of his eyelids and stutter of breath sending Miles into a mild state of panic.

Dawn eventually crept up on him, and his lack of sleep combined with the absolute hell of the night caused his eyelids to begin drooping. Miles tried to fight it, though ultimately lost the battle as he dropped his head onto Alex's thigh, squeezing the elder's hand lightly as he was lulled to sleep.

The Scouser didn't get to sleep for very long, however, as Alex stirred a mere twenty minutes later, and was fully awake within twenty-five. Alex blinked rapidly, trying to figure out where exactly he was as he turned his head from side to side. He groaned softly, the shooting pain all throughout his body coming to his attention now that he was completely alert. He reached down to touch his stomach where the feeling was most intense, flinching and flinging his hand back when he pressed down on the tender skin. Doing so made the events leading up to now come flooding back into his memory, and he grimaced as he rubbed his hand down his face. He decided that it must not be that bad, since he clearly managed to live through it.

He finally noticed the warmth around his right hand, and the pressure he felt on his thigh. The anesthesia made him feel as though he had too much to drink, and he lolled his head to the side so that he could get a glimpse of what was going on. He let out a small squeak when he realized that it was Miles, fast asleep on his leg while still clutching onto his hand. Tears pricked at his eyes as he gently squeezed Miles' hand, the emotional roller-coaster that he had been on for the past twenty-four hours finally taking a toll on him.

Alex continued to grip Miles' hand as he wept, and he reached over with his unoccupied one and began stroking Miles' hair. The affection along with Alex's cries were enough to jolt Miles out of his sleep, and he sat upright as he whirled his head around into the other man's direction. The second he noticed that Alex was crying, he quickly hauled himself up onto the bed, sitting at the edge of it as he pushed his hand into Alex's hair.

“Al, honey; why are you crying? You're okay, you're safe now.” Miles said softly, the hold he had on Alex's hand getting tighter as he waited for a response.

“I'm just... Miles, I'm so thankful to see you.” he replied between gasps for breath, the tears flowing heavily now as he wailed, “I'm so sorry! I'm an awful person, and I'm so angry that we fought. I didn't mean any of it; I don't wanna break up with you!”

Miles felt his own tears starting to fall as he twirled Alex's hair around his fingers. “You're not awful, I was the one who was way out of line. I'm not mad at you, love. It's alright. I didn't mean a word of it.”

Alex shook his head furiously as he tried to wipe his tears away. “I am, Miles. It's my own fault that I'm here right now, and that we had that argument.”

“How is it your fault that you're here? No it isn't. Something terrible happened to you, that's why you're here.” Miles said, and Alex only shook his head sadly.

“You're gonna be so disappointed... But, this is all because I tried to get drugs. I... God, I'm so ashamed, Miles. I was so upset and hurt and mad about what happened at your flat, and I couldn't help myself. I wasn't thinking, and I asked my old dealer to meet me after work.”

Miles inhaled sharply, closing his eyes briefly as he tried to collect his thoughts. “That still doesn't explain why you got shot.”

Alex shuddered and readjusted his body slightly. “At the last second I changed my mind, told him I didn't want it and asked him to leave. He was pissed that I backed out, and we had a bit of a row there. I guess it just got too heated... It happened so fast, Mi; I didn't even realize what happened until I noticed the blood and the pain. He took off running and left me there. Matt, the club bartender, he found me and called for an ambulance. It still hurts, Miles; oh fuck it hurts so bad...”

Miles leaned down and kissed Alex's forehead as the latter once again burst into tears. “Let me call a nurse for you, yeah? Get you some morphine or something.”

Alex shook his head and whimpered, lifting his arm up and weakly throwing it over the back of Miles' neck. “I'm so sorry; I love you. I'm sorry, Mi. I hope you aren't too upset with me.”

“Of course not, I'm not upset at all. You had a moment of weakness, that's alright. It happens to the best of us... And the most important thing is that you didn't actually go through with it. You stopped yourself, baby. You should be proud of that, it goes to show how strong you are.”

“Yeah and look where I ended up!” Alex cried, pulling Miles in closer so that he could be comforted.

Miles pressed his forehead against the Northerner's, letting go of his hand and skimming his thumb down Alex's cheekbone. “Do you regret that?”

Alex sniffled, letting out a shaky breath as he shook his head. “No... But I regret our fight.”

“I do too. But it's over and done with now. We've both apologized, let's forget about it, alright?” Miles whispered, brushing his lips over Alex's before gently pressing them together. The kiss didn't last long, but it was still enough for the both of them. When it ended, Miles pulled back a scant inch so that he could kiss the tip of Alex's nose. “And I love you too, so very much. I was so scared that I was gonna lose you.”

The admission sent Alex into yet another wave of tears, and Miles began softly humming as he carded his fingers through the other man's hair in an attempt to soothe him. “What a spot in a storm; to cuddle up and stay nice and warm. Away from harm in my baby's arms; a wondrous place.” he gently sang, his heart racing from the way Alex actually started to smile.

Miles wiped away Alex's tears, kissing his cheek as Alex piped in with the next lines. “Man, I'm nowhere when I'm anywhere else. But I don't care; everything's right when you hold me tight.” he croaked out, his voice spent. He poked the tip of Miles' nose as he sang the word, 'you', and giggled quietly when Miles scrunched it up in response.

Miles didn't mind the slight lyric change, he only grinned and decided to keep it up himself. “Your tender hands on my face; I'm in heaven in your embrace. I wanna stay and never go away...” he sang, his smile growing wider as Alex joined him for the last part. “... a wondrous place.”

Alex curled his fingers around the back of Miles' neck, sighing sweetly as he pulled him in for another kiss. It lasted a bit longer the second time around, though ended much sooner than Miles would have liked as Alex pulled away. “Will you lay down with me?” he asked, making Miles raise his eyebrows as he glanced around the room.

“I don't think I'm allowed to do that, baby.” Miles said, smiling sadly as he pushed a strand of hair out of Alex's face.
“I don't care, I want you to hold me, Miles. I'd feel so much better...” he trailed off, giving Miles his best puppy dog eyes.

Miles rolled his eyes, though looked over at the door as he kicked his shoes off. Alex hummed happily as Miles pulled his legs up onto the bed, turning on his side and facing Alex. They weren't facing each other for very long, as Alex soon turned so that his back was pressed against Miles' front. The Scouser very slowly pulled Alex into his arms, being extremely careful not to hurt him in any way. He nearly panicked when Alex suddenly winced, though the other man shook it off as he slid his fingers between Miles'.

“Thank you, for always being so good to me. I love you.” Alex murmured, his voice already thick with exhaustion; though Miles wasn't faring any better.

“I love you too, Al... I absolutely adore you, actually. My little diamond.”

Chapter Text

“He always complains about how much I sleep, but he's just as guilty as I am.”

“Isn't that how most men are? Always complaining about things they themselves do?”

“Mm, true. I do it myself. But, he deserves some rest. Poor thing stayed up all night just for me.”

It was when Miles felt lips brushing over his temple and pressing down softly that he finally fluttered his eyes open, having slipped in and out of full consciousness for the past few minutes. He was met with Alex's loving gaze, along with the sweetest little smile he had ever seen. Alex had rolled onto his back at some point, and Miles now had his head on Alex's chest. He blinked slowly and yawned, nuzzling his face into the Northerner's neck before mumbling, “I need at least ten more hours of sleep, this just won't do.”

Alex laughed and kissed Miles' scalp. “Oh, come on sleepyhead, we're in a bit of trouble for sharing the bed anyway.”

Miles joined in on the other man's giggling and leaned in to kiss him, though stopped when he glanced over at the tall, blonde nurse standing there. He coughed and went to sit up, though was unable to as Alex groaned in protest and pulled Miles back to his chest. “Not yet though, I wanna give my love bug some cuddles first.” Alex whined, making Miles blush as he looked the other man over curiously.

“You're gonna give me a toothache from all that sugar coming out of your mouth.” Miles teased, looking over at the nurse before going on. “He's not normally this sappy. Well, not this bad at least. Love bug is a new one.”

The woman smiled and pressed the clipboard she was holding to her chest. “I just gave him his morning dose of morphine, so I'm sure that has something to do with it.”

Miles was a bit taken aback once she had began speaking, he wasn't expecting the nurse to be American. Still, he nodded his head in understanding, shooting Alex a grin as he said, “Ah, you're drugged up. That explains the interesting pet name.”

Alex pouted his lips and furrowed his brows, his expression going from positively lovestruck to resembling a scowling child within a matter of seconds. “Can't even make up cute little nicknames for my boyfriend without being made fun of for it!”

“Oh, Al; stop that. You know I love them.”

“Well make a special one for me, then. I want one too.” Alex said, waiting with wide eyes for Miles to offer up his own pet name.

“Erm...” Miles trailed off, looking to the nurse and back to Alex as he tried to think of something in order to humor him. “My honey bear.” He finally decided, fully aware of how sickeningly sweet he sounded. The pleased little coo Alex emitted along with his elated grin was enough to make Miles forget all that, however. The nurse shifted from foot to foot, though didn't appear to be annoyed.

“The doctor will be here to speak with you in about an hour, Alex. Also, out of the bed, Mr. Kane, I personally don't mind it, but my shift is almost over and I can't say that my colleagues will think the same way.” she said, giving the pair a knowing look as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Of course, Miss, my apologies.” Miles relented, crawling out of the bed despite Alex's resistance to let him go.

The nurse laughed and waved her hand in dismissal. “Please, call me Taylor. I'm not particularly formal myself, so no need to address me as such.”

Miles nodded and smiled at her. “Well, same applies to you. I'm Miles.” He leaned forward and shook her hand before sitting down in the chair beside Alex's bed, clasping onto the other man's hand tightly as he settled in. Taylor gave one last smile and left the room, quietly closing the door behind herself.

“She seemed to like you, she even called you by your first name without having to be told to do so.” Miles commented, wiggling his brows and smirking over at the Northerner.

Alex rolled his eyes and squeezed Miles' hand. “Ooh, I think somebody's jealous.” he teased, winking and puckering his lips in an attempt to blow Miles a kiss. “I've only got eyes for you, baby.”

“Alex, you're gay; I'm not worried about it.” Miles said, making the couple burst out laughing for a few moments. As their giggling died down, Alex laid his head back against the pillow and hummed softly, his eyes flickering over Miles' features. “Still, just wanted you to know that... Love bug.” he murmured, grinning cheekily when Miles shook his head at the return of that nickname.

“What am I gonna do with you?” Miles asked, quirking a brow as Alex's face suddenly became serious.

“Well, I was reconsidering a certain idea you had...” he started, glancing over at Miles nervously as he bit down on his lip. “So long as you haven't changed your mind about it.”

Miles leaned in closer, his heart beginning to pound faster. “What exactly might that idea be?” he asked, despite already having a pretty likely theory of what the answer was.

Alex cleared his throat and smiled. “Moving in together.”

Miles nodded slowly, his mind running wild as he considered Alex's words. “Are you sure? You were very adamantly against it before, and I don't want you to change simply for me. I don't have a problem keeping things the way they are now.”

“This whole experience kinda slapped me in the face, you know? And I'm starting to realize that the things I was worrying about before really don't matter. They don't. I meant it when I said I've been ready for awhile, I've just been holding back. I don't wanna turn down something so wonderful just because I'm worried about what others might think of it.”

Miles pushed his hand through his hair and watched Alex for a moment, reaching out and gently running a fingertip over Alex's knuckles. “I just don't want to force you into doing something you don't want to do, love.” he mumbled, feeling insecure as Alex turned his hand palm side up and clutched onto Miles'.

“I promise, Mi; no one's forcing me into it. When I was laying out there, I thought I was gonna die, and I felt so heartbroken over the fact that I would leave you thinking that I didn't love you anymore. I was wishing I had said yes to moving in, that I kissed you before I left, that we were laughing together in those last moments instead of fighting. But I didn't die, and I still have a chance to do things right with you. That's all I want. I might've lived yesterday, but I could still die tomorrow, or a month from now; who knows? I just don't want to leave with a regret like that.”

Miles' eyes widened, and a small smile spread across his face as he said, “You act like you'd be moving to the states or something. It's just across town.”

Alex rolled his eyes and slapped the Scouser's arm. “Shut up, you dickhead. I'm trying to explain the extent of my feelings for you and yet you just take the piss out of me.”

“Oh, you know I'm only kidding! Don't give me that pout, I wasn't at all serious. You know that, doll.”

Although the Northerner did know that it was a joke, he still continued to scowl at his lover in hopes of looking intimidating. It didn't work, as he really only managed to look like a disgruntled puppy and ended up making Miles chuckle quietly instead. Alex huffed and looked away, crossing his arms over his chest and refusing to glance back over at the other man. Miles smiled fondly and tucked a few stray strands of Alex's hair back behind his ear.

“I'm sorry, Al. I think I'm just trying to make jokes because I don't even wanna think about the fact that you might not have made it, let alone talk about it. But, putting all that aside, I do recognize the significance behind this, and of you deciding to live with me. I can't begin to describe how much that means to me, darling. You're my everything, and I want to share a home and a life with you.” Miles rambled on, turning rosy cheeked from his confession. It was enough to make Alex turn back to Miles, a sweet little smile replacing his previously scorned expression.

“I do too, I want it all, Miles. But only with you.” Alex said, his voice soft and warm as he slipped his hand back into Miles' where he knew it belonged. He tugged on it in order to pull Miles closer, and the other man got up and sat back down on the bed. Alex's eyes began to droop, an effect from the morphine he was given, though he still reached out and curled his hand around the back of Miles' neck.

Before either of them could say anything, Alex was pulling the Scouser's face down towards his and pressing their lips together. Miles quickly pushed his hands into Alex's hair, not caring that it was dirty and matted from the previous night. Alex slid a hand up Miles' chest, grabbing onto his shirt and twisting the fabric around his knuckles. He whimpered softly when he felt the tip of the other man's tongue flicking against his bottom lip, and eagerly parted his lips so that the kiss could deepen.

Just as their kissing became faster and Alex started breathing hard through his nose, they heard a sudden clearing of a throat from across the room. Miles quickly pulled away from the Northerner and turned his head into the direction of the noise; finding that it was the same doctor who had performed the operation. Alex's cheeks flushed as he giggled quietly, looking back and forth between the two other men as he gave them a sheepish grin. He looked like a little boy who got caught with his hands in the cookie jar, though didn't feel too particularly guilty about it.

The doctor cleared his throat again as he looked down at the clipboard he was holding. “Sorry to err... interrupt, but I just need to check on how you're recovering, Mr. Turner.”

Alex nodded his head as Miles moved back into the plastic chair beside the bed. “Of course.” he conceded, smiling politely as he gestured over in the Scouser's direction. “This is my boyfriend, Miles... But I suppose you might've guessed that.”

The doctor chuckled as he walked towards the opposite side of Alex's bed. “Indeed. We've met already, though; in the waiting room last night.”

Alex looked over at Miles adoringly as he reached out and ruffled his hair. “He's such a little darling, isn't he?” he said to Dr. O'Malley, running his thumb over Miles' cheekbone before turning back towards the doctor. “We've decided that we're moving in together, that's why we were making out.”

Miles coughed abruptly as he grabbed Alex's hand and squeezed tightly; a silent plea for the other man to not go any further. “Please ignore Al right now, Dr. O'Malley; he's high as a bloody kite from his pain medication.”

“Oh I could tell, trust me.” the doctor said, laughing briefly before his face turned serious once more. “Well, I need to get a look at the wounded area and see how things are progressing.” he said as he put on a pair of gloves.

Alex nodded his head, shifting to one side as he pushed his hands under the covers. He rolled up his hospital gown until the doctor could see his lower stomach, and Miles sucked his breath in as Dr. O'Malley peeled the bandage back and exposed the skin underneath. It was horribly bruised and reddened, with a couple of multi-inch stitches running across his abdomen. Miles willed himself not to cry, the sight of Alex so badly hurt causing him to feel a stabbing in his heart and his guts to twist.

Dr. O'Malley gently skimmed his fingers over the tender flesh, occasionally stopping to jot down a note or two as he inspected the area. Alex winced as the doctor poked and prodded at him, and Miles felt the grip on his hand tighten during the times when it hurt the most. Miles gave the Northerner a reassuring smile each time he flinched, and rubbed his thumb across Alex's in an attempt to soothe him.

“It looks like you're doing quite well, Alex; considering the situation. It doesn't appear like you'll need another round of drainage, and from what I can tell, you're healing as normal. Of course, it's still very early, but I see no signs of distress in the wounded area.” the doctor informed them, and Miles breathed a quiet sigh of relief, while the tension Alex felt visible left his body.

Alex looked more than excited over the news, which in turn caused Miles to beam as he looked in Dr. O'Malley's direction. “I told you he was a fighter.”

The doctor seemed to be confused momentarily, until a smile of recognition spread across his face. “You called it.” he said, glancing back and forth between the two other men before going on. “Well, I suppose we should discuss long term care, then. You'll be put on a small variety of medications to help the healing process, and to ensure you don't acquire an infection. That's always the number one worry when it comes to gunshot wounds to the liver. However, so far it looks as though you're recovering quite well.”

Miles bit his lip as he listened intently, not wanting to miss a single piece of information. He was going to make sure Alex got all the proper care he needed, and so wanted to ensure that he knew exactly how the process would go. He felt an overwhelming desire to care for the other man, though he knew it was fairly likely that Alex would reject the idea. The older of the two was fiercely independent, and Miles was aware that it would take a bit of wearing Alex down in order to allow Miles to watch over him in the way he wanted to.

“You'll obviously need to come in for routine check ups so we can keep track of your progress.” The doctor went on, tucking his clipboard under his arm so he could pull his gloves off. “Getting a lot of rest is important as well; I recommended taking at least a week off from work, though two or even three is much more preferable. If you work in an environment that requires heavy lifting, then you're looking at around six weeks leave. You need to be very cautious about overworking yourself during this stage.”

Alex nodded slowly as he pulled his hospital gown back down under the covers. “What about scarring? Like... Will I always have a visible scar on my stomach?” he asked, and Miles gently patted his hand.

He hadn't even considered the fact that Alex might not be allowed to go back to work at all, given the type of profession it was. There was a strong possibility that the Northerner might be fired for the inevitable scarring, and that his body would suddenly be thought of as damaged and no good. The idea of it irritated Miles, in his mind, Alex was the most beautiful person in the entire world, and that wasn't going to change simply because of this. He almost wished everyone else felt the same way.

Dr. O'Malley's mouth twisted slightly, and he gave a small, apologetic smile. “I'm afraid there will be, yes. It'll fade with time, but there always will be a scar, unfortunately. There was no way to avoid that.”

Alex bit down on the inside of his cheek, his eyes shifting to the floor as he processed the information. Miles opened his mouth to try and say something that might make the other man feel better, but before he could, Taylor suddenly reentered the room.

“I'm so sorry to interrupt, but there's an older couple here wanting to see you, Alex. They're quite hysterical, they're saying that you're their son?” she said, turning the statement more into a question and she looked around at the three of them.

Alex furrowed his brows in confusion at the same time that Miles' eyes widened considerably. The couple looked at each other briefly before Alex turned back to the nurse. “My parents? That's impossible, they don't know I'm here, I haven't even spoken to them in months.”

Miles coughed loudly, which drew Alex's attention back to him. He knew how guilty he must have looked in that moment, and Alex's eyes narrowed in response. He took a deep breath and blurted out, “I got their number out of your phone and rang them last night to tell them what had happened. Your dad and I got into a bit of an argument. I didn't say what hospital you were in, though, so I'm not exactly sure how they managed to find you. I just thought maybe they'd want to know, especially since we weren't sure...” Miles trailed off, his voice wavering as he shook off the plague of dark thoughts he had the previous night from returning. “Weren't sure what would happen.”

Alex looked panicked as he stared at Miles, his eyes starting to fill with tears as he whispered, “I don't want him to start screaming at me, I can't take it.”

“You know I'd never let that happen, baby. And there's people everywhere, he'd be forced to leave if he tried anything.” Miles reminded him, his heart breaking when Alex's bottom lip wobbled as he nodded his head.

“I can ask them to go if you're uncomfortable seeing them, Alex.” Taylor said softly, giving him a sympathetic smile as she clasped her hands together.

Alex was silent for a few seconds, and Miles could tell he was mulling it all over. Finally, he sniffled and shook his head. “That won't be necessary, no. You can send them in.”

Taylor nodded and walked back out of the room, and Dr. O'Malley gathered his things up. “I have a few other patients to check on anyway, and you're doing well. I'll swing by again before I leave. I hope you enjoy the time with your family.” he said, though sounded a bit uneasy. He said goodbye and walked out, leaving the couple alone briefly before Alex's parents arrived.

“I'm scared, Miles. They already hate me and once they find out how this happened it'll be even worse.”

Miles sighed and held Alex's hand between both of his own. “Your mother certainly doesn't hate you, you know that, darling. She loves you, she's just in an awkward situation. As for your father; I really don't know. I have a hard time believing he genuinely hates his own child.” he started, remembering something Alex had said to him the night they met.
“He's only misguided... A lovely lad I know once told me that people are afraid of what they don't understand, and that fear makes us do and say irrational things. I believe that applies to your dad.”

Alex laughed, though his voice broke slightly as he did. “Really? Quoting me now, eh?”
Miles grinned and nodded his head. “I am; brilliant words, they are.”

There never was a response, as that was the moment that Alex's parents burst into the room. The couple whirled their heads around into the direction of the sounds, and Alex pressed back against the bed as his mother let out a loud sob, his father trailing along behind with a look of what appeared to be worry on his face. Penny bounded over to Alex's side, saying nothing as she tugged Alex into a crushing embrace. He whimpered quietly as she put pressure on his wound, though once she realized her mistake, she backed off immediately.

“Alex! Oh honey, we got here as soon as we could, we didn't know which hospital you were in and so had to track it down. Your uncle John was able to go online and find out from the area code what hospital it was.”

Miles glanced over nervously at David, holding his breath as he waited for the inevitable explosion over the voice mail he left on their answering machine. He was slightly taken aback as he noticed the way Mr. Turner watched Alex, he looked both hesitant and relieved. Miles thought his mind was playing tricks on him when he saw a bit of liquid pooled in David's eyes. He quickly looked to Alex, finding the Northerner with a similar curious look on his face.

“What happened to you?! Oh god, my poor baby!” Penny continued to wail, weeping as she frantically tried to comfort her son. Alex looked away from his father and smiled weakly up at her.

“I'm fine, mum. I'm gonna be okay. There was just an accident behind where I work is all... I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up getting shot.” he lied, hoping he was able to pull off his deceit as he quickly took a peek over at Miles. The Scouser nodded his head in order to back up Alex's claims, knowing it would probably be better for everyone involved if Alex's parents didn't know the exact story of what happened to their son.

They both appeared to accept the fib, and Penny breathed a noticeable sigh of relief as she gripped Alex's hand. “I was so worried, dear; we both were. Now you're certain that you're going to be alright? I'd like to see a doctor and hear what he has to say about your condition.”

“He was just in here, mum; and he himself said that I'm right on track. As long as I follow all his orders during the healing process, I'll be just fine.” Alex cut in, hoping to stop her rambling before she got carried away.

Penny opened her mouth in order to speak, but was unable to as David suddenly said, “I'm proud of you, Alexander. You're... Holding up well. Very brave, I can't say I'd act the same in a similar situation.”

All three of the room's other occupants stared at him in wide eyed shock, none able to fully comprehend what they had just heard. Alex looked the most doubtful of all, as though a practical joke was being played on him. He lowered his head so that his hair shielded his face, though soon peered out through it as he asked, “You mean that?”

David took a few steps forward, so that he was right in between Miles and Alex. He rubbed his chin out of what seemed to be nerves as he slowly nodded his head. “I do, and I'm sorry about how long it's taken me to realize just how special you are. How important. I've been a bit of a bastard for a good number of years.”

Alex blinked dumbly as he gaped at his father. “Why... What made you change your mind?”

“You're my only child, Alex; and I almost lost you. It shook me up once I found out. Miles here... He knocked some sense into me, so to speak. As did your injury. When it all started sinking in, I began to wonder if all of my petty grievances with you were really worth it. I decided that no, they weren't. I'm sorry for the pain I know I've caused you over the years. I truly am. You're my boy, and I'm disappointed in myself that it took almost losing you in order for me to just accept you for who you are. I may not understand why exactly you would prefer to be with other men, but I'm not going to risk not having you in my life anymore because of it. I love you, and I hope we can start over.”

Alex let out a quiet sob, and though Miles felt an urge to reach out and comfort his boyfriend, he instead sat back and watched as David leaned forward and gently pulled his son into his arms. Penny also began to cry, though they were clearly tears of joy. He heard whispered exchanges of “I'm sorry”, “I forgive you”, and “I love you” between Alex and David, and suddenly he felt as though he was intruding on something private. He stood up and began to move over towards the door, wanting to give the family a few moments alone, though was stopped by Alex's soft voice.

“Miles! Don't leave, love.” he called out, making Miles turn around and shuffle back into the room. David straightened back up and looked over at the Scouser; which wracked his nerves and caused him to reach down and fidget with the hem of his shirt. He involuntarily let out a squeak as Mr. Turner stepped over to him, the small, yet warm smile on his face relaxing Miles slightly.

“Just wanted to thank you, lad. I'm also sorry for hanging up on you and refusing to listen to what you were trying to tell me.”

Miles glanced over at Alex, who was watching the scene with a sweet smile on his face; his mother in a similar state. He looked back to David and cleared his throat. “Erm... You're welcome. I apologize for the name calling though, I was probably a bit too harsh. I was so worked up about Alex, I wasn't thinking.”

David shook his head and patted Miles' shoulder. “Nonsense, everything you said was dead on. I also hope you're willing to forgive me, and perhaps we can start fresh as well.”

Miles was pleasantly surprised by this turn of events, and so smiled at the other man and nodded his head. “I think that would be good, yeah.”

“Wonderful.” David said, looking towards his wife and son before leaning in closer to Miles and lowering his voice. “You take care of him, alright? He's tough as nails on the outside, but he's so sensitive and soft underneath that, always has been. I know you've been good to him, and I appreciate that... He needed it, especially after what I put him through. Thank you.”

Miles tried to fight back the choked up feeling that was welling up inside of him, though managed a smile as he mumbled, “I love him.”; the only thing he could think to say in the moment.

“I know you do, it's clear that you're a couple of lovesick fools over each other. So were his mother and I.” David responded, his smile broadening as the two men turned to the others in the room.

Alex grinned as Miles walked back over to his previous spot by the bed, reaching out and taking Alex's hand into both of his own as he lowered himself into the seat. He sat back and quietly watched as Alex became reacquainted with his parents, the smile on Alex's face never faltering. Miles knew they all had a long way to go, but this was certainly a start in the right direction.

------------------

“Miles, do you think I should go with the grey suit or the black one?” Alex asked as he stood in front of their floor length mirror in his underwear. He had moved in with Miles a little over five months ago, almost immediately after he had been released from the hospital. He lost his job at the club, just as he had feared, and also much to the owner's reluctance.

It was a bit devastating to him at first, and he took his frustrations out with a pen and a sheet of paper. He found that he had quite a knack for writing, and so continued to pursue it; having spent the last few months creating a number of short stories and poems. He submitted one of his stories to a regional magazine, where it was printed and subsequently discovered by a publishing company that was interested in adding Alex to their line-up of writers. His first meeting with them was that day, and he was a nervous wreck as he tried to decide how he should present himself.

Miles walked up behind Alex and tucked his chin into the crook of the Northerner's neck, his arms wrapping around the other man's torso as their eyes met in the mirror. “The black one, I think. You look very dashing in it. Your meeting isn't for another two hours, though.”

Alex squirmed in Miles' embrace, though couldn't hide his smile as he turned and kissed his lover's cheek. “Stop flattering me. And I know, I'm just nervous.”

“I'm doing no such thing, you look fantastic in that suit. You'll also be brilliant today.” Miles countered, pressing his nose into Alex's hair as he gently traced his fingertips over the scar on his lower stomach. Alex cringed slightly and tried to push Miles' hand away, sighing exasperatedly as he was unable to stop the younger's touch.

“It's ugly, stop touching it.” Alex whined, making Miles freeze, though he still lightly tapped his fingers against the mark.

“It's a battle scar. There's nothing ugly about it, or about you. It just shows that you're a survivor. If anything, I think it makes you even more beautiful.”

Alex didn't respond, only looked to the floor as a blush slowly crept onto his cheeks. He twisted his body around until they were face to face, and he draped his arms over Miles' shoulders as he smiled up at him. “Well... Thank you.” he finally said, sounding embarrassed before quickly changing the subject. “So, two more weeks and you start your first day of university. My baby's growing up.”

Miles rolled his eyes and gave a playful shove to Alex's shoulder, making him throw his head back in laughter. “I'm only teasing!” Alex exclaimed, giggling as Miles picked him up and dropped him down onto the bed. He laid back as Miles crawled up beside him, both turning to lie on their sides so that they could face each other. They slid their arms around one another as Alex nuzzled his face against Miles' neck. “One day you're gonna be the best chef in London; you'll be world renowned and have a bunch of those stars, and you'll have a cooking show, too. Everyone will forget about Gordon Ramsay and instead will be praising you, as they should.”

Miles chuckled and ran his fingers through Alex's hair. “I doubt that, but I'm happy you have such faith in me, love.”
“Of course I do, I know the amazing things you're capable of. You're bloody terrific, and I'm thrilled that you found your passion.”

Miles hummed softly and kissed the crown of Alex's head, his grip tightening around the slighter man's waist. “I can say the exact same about you. I'm so proud of you, love.”

Alex pressed himself further into Miles' embrace as they remained silent for a moment, though it was broken as Miles said, “You and I are gonna take over the world one day. You'll be a famous writer, I'll cook, and then later on we can travel around and see everything. We'll move to Paris and live in a little cottage out in the countryside and take bike rides and the like.”

“Mm, sounds perfect, darling. You've got it all planned out.” Alex mumbled, and Miles could feel the long haired man's smile against his throat.

“Well, it doesn't have to go exactly like that... I just wanna be with you; whatever it is you end up doing.”

Alex didn't say anything in response, only kissed over any bit of Miles' skin his lips could reach. Miles sighed in contentment, twisting the strands of Alex's hair around his fingers as he rubbed the latter's back. “I never would have imagined that we'd be like this a year ago. Sort of... Starting a new life together. Or just being together in general. A life with you was nothing more than a dream back then. Now it's reality, and I couldn't be happier, if I'm honest.”

Alex beamed, shifting his body and propping himself up on his elbow. He reached out and pushed the hair on Miles' forehead back, his thumb running across the other man's hairline. “Me too, Mi. I wouldn't change a single thing.”

Miles cupped Alex's jaw and pulled his face lower, giving him a quick and gentle kiss. Their mouths still touched even after it ended, and Miles inhaled before he softly murmured against Alex's lips, “Neither would I. I'm exactly where I want to be for a long time.”