Make It Okay: Part 1
DISCLAIMER: Most characters belong to Marvel not me, and since I'm not only doing this for nothing I'm broke as well, there isn't much point in suing me. Matina and the plot/situation are my babies, though.
NOTE: For my own sanity... To all those who whined to me about this pairing: If these two as any kind of sexual couple bothers you, don't read it. I'm not making you, if you think it's strange and perverse you're obviously in the wrong place. Ditto for Havok-haters. _I_ like him, and I have no burning need to hear about it if you don't.
WARNING: Bad language, M/M themes all over the place and rampant bisexual behaviour (including some determined foreplay). With a PLOT! I kid thee not! Admittedly it's a rather soppy plot, but it's what I could find. :)
It was one of those annoyingly rare occasions when both of them had time on their hands, so Sam and Alex were making the most of it. Well, they had been and now they were resting. Usually one of them had to run off somewhere, so resting was an indulgence that was enjoyable for its own sake.
So were the cookies.
Feeling too lazy to move from his cozy spot but hungry too, Alex compromised. He lifted his head off Sam's stomach and reached upwards, waving his hand meaningfully. "Oreo."
Sam lifted the box out of his lover's reach and shook it thoughtfully, comparing the weight to his own needs chocolate-wise. "Depends."
"I said 'Oreo'," Alex repeated firmly.
"And Ah said 'depends'. You still off the angst?" He grinned.
"Cold turkey. Now give me the damn cookie."
Sam graciously passed down an Oreo, but kept the box for himself.
Predictably, one cookie wasn't enough. Another was sacrificed, without conditions this time. "Since you're not angsting, Ah assume mainstream higher education is still going well?"
"I'm liking it." Alex grinned teasingly. "Much more slacking off and a wider variety of pretty women than at Xavier's."
Sam resisted the bait to restart their continuing argument about diversity vs. average quality. "Pretty women are always a good thing." He settled back against the pillows and contemplated the rapidly emptying blue box. "Come on, details. Let me live vicariously through your social life."
Alex frowned slightly. Sam's tone was light, but although they'd never committed to anything even vaguely resembling a relationship, the casual affair they did have had been working on a don't-ask-don't-tell basis. Or he thought it had. "Not much of one, sadly enough. Made a few friends, went out with a few people." _Women_, his conscience added. "Nothing that fascinating." _No... got lucky a few times, but nothing important._ Of course, he wasn't about to say that out loud.
It had been reassuring, really. Women were still attractive, still fun, and definitely still available. But nice as they were, none of the associations had been more than brief mutual entertainment, let alone something he thought Sam should know about. Anyway, as far as mutual entertainment went the sex with Sam was better.
For his part, Sam was testing himself. He knew that he'd been gently put off, and apparently that nasty, crawling feeling was indeed jealousy. And he had no idea what he was going to do about it. _Damn._
"Hi Matt." Alex sat down on the other side of her desk without waiting for an invitation and smiled charmingly. Matina was a favourite of his new acquaintances, mostly because she took nothing except her beloved archaeology seriously, and even that only occasionally. The fact that she was one of those people you just love to look at didn't hurt either.
"Hello Alex." She returned the smile a little less brightly than usual, and pushed away the book she was reading with firmness that spoke volumes of aggravation.
"Anything important?" It looked like a book that took itself very seriously.
"Nope. Just one self-important windbag. Takes three pages to say a paragraph's worth, and it wasn't even a good paragraph. I've had quite enough." She sighed and looked up. "Lets go have lunch and act silly until I feel better."
They went off in search of food and silliness commenced. In fact, it was the third time they'd followed that little sequence in a week. Spending time with Matina's wicked little self was getting to be addictive. It was probably that unusual joy in companionship that prompted him to ask her out to dinner.
The reaction certainly wasn't what he'd expected.
Matt looked at him assessingly for a moment. "Y'know, you had that 'not exactly friends' look happening when you said that."
"Is that a problem?"
She sighed and reached out to pat his hand. "I'm very flattered, but it just wouldn't be right."
Alex had the distinct feeling that there was a large part of this conversation that he was missing. "Why?"
"Don't give me the kicked puppy look, I'll feel guilty." Matt calmly drank some of his Coke. "Hey, I'd even be tempted if it wasn't so obvious that you're just in denial about your relationship with whoever Sam is." She grinned. "Actually, I'd like to meet him. He sounds adorable."
"Wait, wait, back up there." Alex pressed his hands flat on the table and tried to track down the point that sentence has started to get scary. "We're... it's not like that."
"Answer me a few questions, then. And _don't_ expect me to buy that you two are going at it like rabbits in heat, that part's incredibly obvious." She waited three seconds and took silence for consent. "Does he have keys to your apartment?"
Still dazed, Alex answered honestly. "Well, yeah, but that's just because I-"
"Does he buy groceries?"
Oreos sprang to mind instantly, but so did a few other essentials, such as milk and bread... just for convenience, of course. "Sometimes..."
"And given the number of times you talk about him without noticing? Congratulations, Alex, you have a boyfriend."
"But...." He couldn't think of what should come after that. He LIKED Sam. More than he liked most people. He was starting to think of his behaviour in terms of how many cookies he'd earn as rewards. But there was still a but! The two of them were just... well, he didn't know exactly what they were. But that wasn't it.
From behind her lunch, Matina grinned. "River in Egypt."
"Just shut up."
Sam didn't need anybody to tell him that he'd taken several rather large steps past the borders of 'casual'. That was why he was playing minesweeper. The repeating patterns always seemed to help him get in the right frame of mind to think... although he didn't know how much thinking would help in this one. He knew what the 'problem' was, there wasn't much else to analyze.
He was as jealous as hell and it was making him miserable.
Jealous because what he'd been perfectly content with a month ago wasn't enough anymore, and Alex was avoiding the issue. That admitted, he just needed to decide what to do about it. Which wasn't as easy as it sounded, of course.
The little smiley face promptly turned unhappily dead as he made yet another stupid mistake, and Sam turned away from the screen. Leaning back he spun the chair in slow circles, not seeing the room turn gently past.
_Time to think selfishly... am Ah willing to put up with feeling lousy from time to time?_ He thought about that carefully, it was something he was prone to. Putting up with feeling bad for the rarer times of feeling good. But it was only a few short steps from always being accommodating to being a doormat. _No, Ah'm not. We both deserve better than that._
So that was decided. Now he had to figure out how to say it... That was the hard part. There just wasn't a way to tell someone you were having a firmly casual relationship with that you were more than half in love with them without risking getting hurt. If there were, things would be much easier for a large part of the human race. But there wasn't. Maybe God had a point with that.
_If you're not strong enough to say it, you'll never manage to actually do it._ But based on the fact that he _did_ know Alex, he decided to err on the side of caution and keep the L word to himself until he was absolutely one hundred and fifty percent sure. _Maybe that's the other thing that makes Summerses so irresistible... whole family of birds with broken wings. And they'll chew the damn wing right off before they'll turn to each other._
By this point, Sam knew Alex's preferred timetable well. Thursday afternoons were reserved for lazing around and doing laundry, which for some reason tended to inspire an uncharacteristic think-before-speak reaction. It seemed like a good time to ambush him for a serious talk.
Through practiced good timing, Sam arrived only a few minutes after his lover had put the first load on and sprawled on the couch to wait. That was the advantage of coming in through the window, he got to spend a moment admiring Alex before he was noticed. Just a moment, more would be rude.
Like most people, Alex looked different when he didn't think anybody was watching. The hardness he'd acquired as Havok slipped away, taking several years with it and letting the not-so-mild-mannered secret identity resurface. But Sam wouldn't mention that expression any more than he'd ignore it. Both would be denying it the respect it deserved.
_In winter probably Ah'll have to start coming in the door and miss it... If we survive this conversation as a 'we' and GET to winter, of course._ Not an incredibly optimistic observation, but blind optimism tended to cause more problems than it solved. _But no backing out,_ he reminded himself forcefully as he climbed inside.
Sometimes he tried to sneak up on Alex, simply because it annoyed him, but Sam was trying to be adult today. "Hey."
Alex looked up from his book and smiled. "Wondered if you'd turn up. Then again, actually just doing laundry is really boring, so I'm glad I never have to."
Well, that was a start. Sliding onto the couch, Sam managed not to resist being hugged. Saying 'no, don't do that, you're going to be mad at me in a minute!' probably wouldn't be a good move. "Alex... not that Ah don't enjoy distracting you from your laundry, but this time's gonna be a bit different."
"Oh?" The shutters were back up with a vengeance, but the voice was still casual. "Why?"
"We need to talk. Not in a bad, way, just..."
Alex sat up and pulled away, somehow still managing to look casual. "Is this an 'it's not you, it's me' speech coming on?"
"No!" Sam shook his head emphatically. "Ah mean... that Ah'm getting tired of just flyin' over when one of us gets bored. You know, the other day..."
"...with the Oreos..."
"Yeah, then. That was nice. Maybe we could do that sometime without having sex first." He paused. "Not that there's anything wrong with the sex, except maybe that there's not enough of it. But there should be more of the other bits too." Silence stretched out, and Sam looked away.
Finally Alex spoke. "That smug little bitch."
Sam frowned. "What?"
"Nevermind." Alex closed his eyes and sat back with a sigh. "I suppose you expect me to be honest and everything too."
"No, you think?" Sam didn't even attempt to tone down the sarcasm. Getting to this point was hard enough without Alex trying to stall.
"Don't get angry with ME, you're the one that brought it up. I was perfectly happy with things the way we were."
"_Ah wasn't_. Not anymore." After all the worrying and uncertainly, Sam's usually even temper had been frayed. And nobody can piss you off quite as quickly as the people you care about. "Or does that not matter? Should Ah just have not said anything so Ah didn't interrupt your happy little quickfuck rut?"
"Of course not!" Alex glared. "I had more than enough martyred moping from Lorna, thank you VERY much!"
"Oh, THERE'S a flattering comparison! Sorry, but Ah'm not a martyr for anythin'. Ah'm not gonna stick around and hope things get better just because Ah think happy thoughts, that's not fair on EITHER of us. If that's what you want, go _back_ to Lorna and keep wallowing in Summers relationship angst, but Ah've seen more than enough of it from Cable and Domino over the years and Ah'm _not_ gonna be a part of it!"
"Well, THAT was definitely honest." Alex took a deep breath. "Okay, can we stop fighting for a minute? Its seems a bit counter-productive."
Sam's eyes remained narrowed suspiciously. "Fine."
"Just give me a second to think. Without getting stuck in old-relationship angst." Alex slapped himself hard on the back of the arm. "BAD Summers."
"No cookie," Sam finished automatically.
_No cookie. No SAM._ Suddenly Alex felt his stomach drop into the apartment below, and his palms started to sweat. He'd still been running mostly on Lorna-habits, where a rousing fight just meant more aggressive make-up sex. But Sam was nothing like Lorna, and this was serious. Sam would only fight if it really meant something, and he was genuinely upset.
_So I either admit Matina was right and get into a more serious relationship, which is a scary thought, or... not, and give up on Sam altogether. Which is a HORRIBLE thought._ In the cold light of fear, everything snapped into clear focus. There was absolutely no advantage of a non-committed state that was worth losing Sam over.
And to be quite honest, there wasn't much about the committed state that didn't look enjoyable. About all he could think of was Sam's tendency to hog the bed. And having to tell people about it, which was going to be rather nerve-wracking. Especially Scott... _Them later. Sam now._ "Okay... rational talking time. What _do_ you want, Sam?"
For a moment, Sam's mind went blank. Totally. He didn't even know how old he was. But even as that began to wear off, he realized that he absolutely no idea what to say. He'd had enough trouble getting this far, he certainly hadn't planned how to answer that. "You," he finally blurted. "And.. something that's REAL, not just rain or flying or random horniness. Call me selfish, but... Ah want more of you than that. And Ah care about _you_ more than that. It's pretty obvious when Ah get jealous of the San Andreas _fault_ as well as all the women who share your strange fascination with it."
Alex blinked. "You got jealous?" That was the only part that he felt unshaken enough to comment on, but the rest of it was giving him (if he was honest with himself) what Madelyne tended to call 'warm gooshy feelings'.
"Of the San Andreas fault?" Nobody had EVER been jealous of an accident of geology over him before. And not really for lack of opportunity...
"You pay more attention to it. But mostly just the women part."
"Oh." Alex looked up and sighed with annoyance. But annoyance that didn't seem to be directed at Sam. "You know what one of those women said to me yesterday? It was a very strange conversation, but essentially she told me that you and I were already much more than I thought and I was just in denial. It's really going to be terrible for my ego telling her that she was right." He looked back, meeting Sam's eyes uncertainly. "She _was_ right. I'm... I'm not always good at noticing these things, but I'm REALLY good at hiding them from myself. I guess I had got myself into a comfortable rut, and figured I could stay there as long as I didn't admit that anything had changed. And the idea of us turning into... well, an _us_, that scares me utterly shitless. But it's worth it." He shook his head angrily. "No, that's wrong. _You're_ worth it. And saying it probably makes me sound like a total moron, and I might have to deny saying it later, but I still mean it. Even if I won't admit it."
Sam believed him. He was obviously trying to be restrained, still paranoid about opening up even a bit... but the way his hands were glowing and he hadn't noticed was a dead giveaway. "Okay." His powers weren't entirely under control either, if it wasn't the combined evil-blue-deathglares of Magneto and Cable in his past he wouldn't even have managed to stay inside.
Trying to work of a little of the jumpiness, he stood up and walked a few steps before turning back. Not because he didn't like being closer, but he just couldn't stay still. "You know, if one of us doesn't make a really bad joke soon then we'll be declared officially gay and we won't be allowed to check out women anymore."
"Really? Um... hear the one about the Catholic priest and Snow White?"
"You can have sex with a man but I can't tell Catholic jokes?"
"No. God made me the way that Ah am, but that doesn't mean you get to make fun of His servants." The shaking shoulders undermined the prissiness of that statement severely.
"And He must have invented Catholic jokes too. So, this priest is walking through the woods and-"
Sam took a step back, grabbed a cushion from the chair and threw it at Alex. It was, he noted, a great release of tension. So he didn't take too much offence when it got thrown back, and was followed by two of its siblings. Throwing things at each other seemed to be a suitably masculine revenge for the deep-and-meaningful-ness of the previous few minutes, and both of them were quite enthusiastic about it.
Falling back on habits from a long childhood (and some adulthood, X-Force liked to be superherodom's Lost Boys as far as adult behaviour was concerned), Sam stockpiled the pillows for a few seconds. Alex, thinking he had the advantage for a moment, threw his remaining ammunition as hard as he could.
Then promptly realized that Sam had all of the cushions. This was a problem. He was suddenly unarmed, and from the way Sam was grinning it was about to get embarrassing... But the best defense was a good offense, right? And Alex had less than no problems with taking a more hands-on approach to the fight. And Sam and the cushions, of course.
Sam struggled valiantly to keep control of his precious booty, but although they were nearly the same height Alex had the advantage of weight and build. He did, however, have ticklish spots, and Sam knew exactly where all of them were.
Unfortunately, that particular escalation of the conflict resulted in Alex trying to curl up mid-wrestle, and they both fell onto the floor with a very loud thump. "Hey, that's not fair!" Alex wheezed, grabbing both wandering hands firmly.
"You're admitting that you're ticklish, then?"
"No." In spite of the evidence, he still insisted on that.
"Then let go of mah hands."
"Why not? If you're so utterly not at all ticklish..."
"Because I can think of better things your hands could be doing than trying to tickle me when it so obviously has no effect."
"And Ah can think of better things your mouth could be doin' than lyin' to me about how you're not ticklish."
"I'm not lying. It's true." But Alex kissed him anyway. And for all his resistance to deepening their relationship, the open affection of it was nice. More than nice, it was wonderful on levels he'd forgotten he had. _How did I not notice how I felt about him?_ Gently breaking the kiss, he leaned back a little to admire the man now snuggled half-underneath him. _And he really is beautiful..._ Alex brushed the rumpled strands of blonde hair off Sam's forehead, replacing them with a soft kiss.
"What was that for?"
Not fooled a bit, Alex grinned. Sam knew exactly what it was for, he was just fishing for reassurance. How cute. "Just being incredibly superficial and thinking about how gorgeous you look."
"Well of course Ah do. Goes without sayin'. Not that you can't say it whenever you like, or possibly more often if Ah'm having a bad day..." Sam smiled winsomely and tried not to laugh.
"I'll bear that in mind." But not right now. Not while Sam was pressed up against him and close enough to smell. Instead he leaned in for another kiss, harder this time.
Sam quite happily let that go on for a breath-snatching minute or two, then without any warning at all flipped them over, causing another loud thud. Grinning, he straddled Alex's stomach and trapped his hands against the floor before the irritation at losing the kiss was replaced by coherent thought. "Hah, gotcha," he muttered, leaning forward so that his lips hovered just out of reach.
Alex glared, ignoring the faint yell from his downstairs neighbours concerning the noise they were making. "That's cheating."
"Not the way Ah play." He wriggled back a little until they were pelvis to pelvis. "See? When you only play with girls you never learn the _fun_ rules."
"Apparently not." If Sam wasn't going to play fair, neither was he. And by following his natural inclinations as an atrocious tease, Sam had spread his weight out too far. Instead of trying to push up against that weight, Alex suddenly pushed his hands out above his head instead.
Surprised, Sam fell forwards, letting go of Alex's wrists a few moments too late. The newly-released hands came up behind head and hips, pressing both down hard. His control broke and he moaned softly, rubbing heat against heat and becoming increasingly annoyed at all the clothes that were in his way.
Sitting up quickly Sam managed to struggle out of his own shirt, then ignored the way his example was being followed and went straight for Alex's jeans.
"I think you mentioned something about being in a rut?" Alex managed to gasp out.
"This is different." Sam began pressing a light kiss against overheated skin to punctuate each word. "Although it's a good idea..."
"I see. Now you want to fuck my brains out because you CARE about me."
Sam smiled. "Exactly. Now shut up."
It remained an unusual Thursday. They usually made it at least as far as the couch.
"Sam? I just thought of something important."
"Me too. The carpet burn on mah shoulderblade..."
"Ah really think Ah'll live. Stings a bit, though."
"I'm sorry about the carpet burn. But that's not what I was talking about." He gave Sam an exasperated look and sighed. "If we're going to be all public and relationshippy about this.. well, I need to tell Scott first."
Sam frowned. "Why?"
"Not that Scott. Little Scott. You know, the son that isn't really mine..."
"Oh. That sounds fair... when do you see him next?"
"He's coming for a visit next week." Alex looked expectant.
"You want me to come and meet him, don't you."
"Well, not until after I've had a chance to talk to him and spoil him rotten and bond, but if he's okay with it it seems like a good idea."
"Ah can totally see the logic in that." Sam nodded. "Doesn't mean Ah won't try to weasel out of it, though. And you're gonna have to work really hard at convincin' me _right now_..."
Cable glanced up as Sam breezed happily in the door. "Sam?"
One eyebrow raised, and the older man looked questioningly over his coffee mug. "Just how stupid do you think I am?"
Sam paused for a moment, thinking, then smiled warmly. "Actually, Ah think you're very smart." And he hurried out of the room before Cable had time to do more than snort in reply.
Domino didn't look up as Cable slid onto the bed next to her and proceeded to give his oh so subtle 'I want attention now' stare. She was nearly finished the chapter, and if it was urgent he would have been ranting as soon as he was in the door. So she finished and carefully inserted the bookmark before turning. "What?"
He paused for a second, then took her hand and looked appealing. "Let's run away and join the circus."
"You're no fun."
"I'm lots of fun." She winked. "So what's the real problem?"
"Sam essentially admitted that he's got something going on with Ha- Alex."
"Yes, but now I know instead of just suspecting, and he knows that I know. So I can't pretend that I don't know."
"Help me follow the Nate-logic. Why do you care?"
"My student is sleeping with my uncle, and I have no idea which one I'm supposed to be protective at first."
Domino blinked. Then laughed, and couldn't seem to stop. "How on earth did you manage to say that with a straight face?" she gasped out between giggles.
"Don't laugh, I'm utterly serious." But he grinned. #That'll teach you to ignore me.#
_I wasn't ignoring you. I was just honouring a prior commitment first._ She dropped the book on the bedside table and rolled onto her side, head cradled in one hand as she looked down at her longtime partner. "So you really feel like you should say something?"
"You want me to pass up an opportunity like that? No, I'm definitely going to have to make sure that they realize they'd better behave themselves, because if either one does something nasty to the other I'll be obligated to do something about it. Well, if I'm in the mood. And Alex especially." While his facial expression remained firmly stern and serious, his hand was tracing swirling patterns up the inside of her arm.
"What would you do?"
"Given how close him and Maddie still are... I'd probably just tell my mother on him."
"Ooh, that _is_ nasty." Domino grinned and trapped his fingers against her shoulder with her free hand.
"You have something against my mother?"
"She's a bitch and you know it. But so am I, so I can't really point fingers." Instead she intertwined them with his and placed an absent kiss on the back of his hand.
"Mm. You're just lucky it looks cute on you." Cable snuggled closer and rested his head against her. "Wake me up in time to ambush Sam before dinner."
"The old man needs his afternoon nap?"
"Shh. The old man's got his head next to the nubile bitch's chest, and her talking is keeping him awake."
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