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A Last Shadow Snippet

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We get off the stage in a whirlwind of excited chatter from the band and crew, the audience still cheering in the background. I feel both alive and abslutely drained, and somehow, it's the best bloody feeling there is. We were brilliant. I'm not even exaggerating. We walk shoulder to shoulder, Al and I, and when he glances at me, he gives me a tired smile. He’s charming even now, sweaty and exhausted after a day of travelling and giving his all during the gig just now. Scratch that, he’s charming especially now. My cheek still tingles where his lips were only minutes ago. I wrap my arm around his shoulder and hug him to my side. He melts right into it. Doesn’t he always? His forehead’s still sweaty when he rests it against my temple for a moment and smiles against my cheek, his long hair hiding his face from me altogether. His hand comes up to run long fingers through my hair. It’s pleasant. I shiver, and he laughs; breaks away and squeezes my shoulder playfully.

We go up to his room together. We spent last night in Amsterdam in my hotel room, but he has the bigger bed tonight, so the choice was easily made. He props the pillows up against the headboard before resting his back against it, looking at me expectantly as I follow him inside and close the door behind us. We both know what’s coming. Soon enough, he’s on his knees on the edge of the bed, pulling me in close, practiced fingers undoing my shirt buttons. I lean in to claim the first proper kiss of the evening, drawing a gasp from his lips. His hands wander over my body, pushing my shirt off my shoulders and onto the floor. I always wonder what he sees when he takes off my clothes. I work out as often as I can and I’m proud of how I look, but somehow with him all that seems irrelevant. He doesn’t seem to care either way. His lips and fingers were just as enthusiastic years ago, when my skin was soft rather than pulled taut over the pronounced muscles in my arms and abdomen. It seems to all be the same to him as long as it’s still me.

We end up in this strange situation where we’re somewhere between being friends and lovers every single time we’re on the road together. When it ends, we ease back into our respective lives – we return to our girlfriends, to being bezzies – without much difficulty. There’s been the odd jealous phone call, the odd angry text from both sides, but I like to think we’ve worked it all out. I like to think that in the end, it’s really just us. Regardless of girlfriends, solo projects and the Monkeys.

I mean, it’s true, isn’t it? We always find each other again in the end. After gigs, after pub nights, after we've spent a day in the studio together. We just always do. Al tugs at my wrist, pulling me closer and onto the bed with him, and I stumble a little, making him laugh. His fingers reach under the waistband of my shorts, and cup my arse with a teasing squeeze. I tut quietly, straddling him unceremoniously and pushing his shoulders into the soft mattress. He stares up at me with dark eyes, expectant. But I’m really not feeling that creative today. I just want him. That’s all. I want him naked under me. I want to touch.

I strip him off his T-shirt, revealing pale skin and a torso that is toned, but still soft around the edges. I love that about him. He’s wiry and there’s a sinewy strength in those arms that I’ve very much become acquainted with after years of being pushed against walls and desks and doors, but he still looks soft. His lips are, too, and they create a delicious contrast with the stubble on his chin. He huffs out an offended mutter when I press our bodies flush against each other, effectively trapping him under me, heat radiating off both our chests.

“So now what?” he asks, and grins.

I shrug my shoulders. “Now nothing. You’re trapped. I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay here for the rest of our lives.”

Alex’ eyes light up, and he shakes his head. “You’d do good to think twice before challenging me, Kane.” He wrestles his wrists out of my grip, as if it takes him no effort at all. Lean fingers wrap around my wrists and he fights against me until I feel myself lose the upper hand. Later on, I’ll tell him that I let him win, but really, I don’t. I let out an inevitable little ‘oomph’ as he switches our positions out of the blue, using all his strength to flip us over. A triumphant grin lights up his features, and I fight against his grip so I can move my head upwards, just to get to kiss him on the lips. Just to feel the short hairs on his chin and cheeks rub against my skin. I’m a sucker for everything Alex. For those plush lips, his plump arse, his wiry frame, his melancholic voice and boyish laughter. I’ve known him to be worried and I’ve known him to feel down, but he never loses that fire that I adore so much; that fire that makes me wrap my legs around his waist and snog him senseless.

“You’re really into it tonight,” Al observes when I finally pull back, and I huff out a laugh that sounds much more like a moan as we move together.

“You haven’t been paying attention. I’m always into it when it’s you, baby,” I grin. And I am. No matter how long or short his hair is, no matter whether he wears leather jackets and jeans that are much too tight, or button-ups and trousers that are ten sizes too big; no matter what persona he decides to take on for the tour, for an album, for the month, or week. He’s always Al underneath all those layers, underneath all those characters he plays. In fact, I’m convinced that those layers are what makes him Al. That doesn’t make me any less grateful that I’m the one who gets to strip them all away. He was a dream on stage today, all hip movements and flirtations and those godawful pouts that make my knees go weak. But right now, there’s none of that. We’re both very sober, and we’re both very tired. He’s real and raw and honest, and even in all that honesty, it’s me he wants.

He takes his sweet time to let his fingers travel paths over my skin that they’ve travelled dozens of times before, and yet he seems to still be interested. The fascinated glint in his eyes feeds my ego like only he can, and I squirm under him. I forget that we were fighting for dominance just now, and arch up into his touches to my nipples, my chest, my abdomen. His hands travel lower, and as much as I want them there, I’m not done with him. Wrapping my fingers around the back of his neck, I pull him in close for a selfish, open-mouthed snog that leaves us both gasping for air. I grin, reaching out to brush my fingers over his jaw, down over his neck, taking my time. I’m never in a rush with him. We find ourselves in a hotel bed together every single night these days; I know his body like the back of my hand, and he does mine. All I’m interested in is to watch him come apart under my hands, and to let him do whatever he pleases with me. It’s utterly indulgent and that’s why I love it so much. I’ve never been in a situation where it’s all just good fun and unconditional love. We’ve known each other for over a decade and we simply don’t have to prove anything anymore. There are no expectations, no insecurities, no nothing. Just me and Al. Just the laughter and the comfort and his hair falling in front of his eyes as he moves above me. I really fucking like it that way. I know we’ll both go back to our respective girlfriends after this, but maybe that’s what makes this special. It’s like coming home, and I just know it’ll be like this again next time. Al turns me into a sap, he really does. For now however, we still have a couple of weeks to go together and I’d be an idiot to not enjoy every single minute of it.

He rolls his hips, his cock sliding against mine wetly, smearing precum over our skin. I’m not sure what he’s planning, but I couldn’t care less. It’ll be good, whatever it is. I gasp out his name, my fingers flexing as he presses my wrists into the mattress with a smug little smile.

“Mi? Mi.” My name’s but a breath on his lips. The mere sound makes me shiver. My cock twitches against his, and I arch my back, letting out a shaky breath that turns into a smile halfway. I wrap my legs around him, urging him to come closer.

“Mi,” he repeats, and I remember that I’m supposed to say something.

“Hm?” It’s close enough.

“I – Jesus.” His breath hitches in his throat as I reach down to wrap my hand around his cock. I watch him arch his back above me. He throws his head back and swears under his breath, and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all day. I happily tease him some more, touching the head of his cock with my thumb, smearing the wetness down his shaft and squeezing gently. I feel him tremble above me with the effort to keep himself from coming.

“What was that, laa?” I whisper. “What was it you wanted to tell me?”

“I was going to ask – ” He swears as I drag my fingers through the wetness, “I was going to – hell, just let me fuck you, Mi. Stop being a tease already.”

So that’s where this has been going. I murmur something that’s supposed to be in between ‘gladly’ and ‘please’, but comes out like a strangled moan as he leans forward and presses his lips to mine, trapping our cocks between our bodies. Heat pools in the pit of my stomach. Alex watches me with wide eyes. His fingers find my entrance, open me up expertly, those dark eyes pinning me down and in place. He pushes my knees up to my chest unceremoniously, resting one hand on my shin and using the other to guide his cock inside. I really don’t fucking care what I look like at this point, but Al laughs gently when my head falls back and my eyes close, my eyelids suddenly heavy. He presses my legs back further as he moves, and I find myself moving with him, my hips mimicking the sensuous movements that Al’s make when he’s on stage. I almost laugh at the thought and reach down to touch myself, but he bats my hand away.

“Patience is a virtue,” he tuts, and I shake my head incredulously. He doesn’t look particularly virtuous himself, his hair sticking to his forehead and sweat glistening on his brow. He looks like a gorgeous mess of a man and I keep watching him. I can’t help it, I just do. The heat that pooled in my stomach is now speading up my body, down my legs, consuming me, making me shiver, making my skin tingle. Al rolls his hips playfully and wriggles his eyebrows at me, which would be utterly ridiculous if he wasn’t Al and if I wasn’t feeling as if I’m about to explode. I’m not about to bloody wait for him either, the tease. So when he finally wraps his fingers around my cock, sending sparks flying through my body, I take it upon myself to thrust into his hand. His eyes darken as he watches me, and he leans forward, forward, until his lips are almost touching mine.

“You look so good, Mi,” he breathes. “Let go, yeah? Let go.” He underlines the last two words with two hard thrusts, both hitting the exact right spot within my body, and I come all over his hand, crying out in a pitch that I wasn’t aware I had in me. I use what strength I have left to squeeze around him, flinching at the overstimulation as my orgasm still has me writhing under him. I takes him only a few more thrusts until he topples over the edge, too, crying out so loudly that I’m sure we’ll be teased mercilessly all day tomorrow by whichever band member is in the room next to ours. I protest quietly when he pulls out, but he shakes his head and carefully helps me stretch my legs again. Only once I’m comfortable he lies down next to me, claiming the spot as his own. I use a handful of tissues to wipe us both clean before rolling onto my side and pulling him in close. I can’t remember when either of us last bothered to go back to our own room after a shag and quite frankly, I’m not sure what was wrong with us back then for doing so, because it’s so much better this way. I haven’t slept alone since the very start of the tour and I don’t intend on doing so until the last night.

In a few minutes, once we’ve come down from our high, we’ll be sharing lazy kisses. We might even share a few fingers of whiskey as I run lazy fingers through Al’s hair. I usually tangle our legs together, quite comfortable with being the one out of the two of us who craves closeness afterwards, and he’ll wrap an arm around my waist, seeking out the darkness he prefers to sleep in by hiding his face in the crook of my neck. And just like that both the rockstar I saw on stage and the blissed out gorgeous mess of a man straddling me earlier will melt away as Al calms down and dozes off. It’s always like that and he always falls asleep first. Just like I always do, I’ll stroke his hair and hold him close until sleep takes the best of me as well. Our days are hectic, but the nights make up for it.

But we’re not quite there yet. It’s still early, and I’m enjoying the aftermath too much to simply go to sleep. We kiss on and off for a bit, our noses brushing against each other each time one of us pulls away, and later, Al gets up and opens the minibar, returning with a cheeky grin and a bottle of champagne, still naked as the day he was born. I arch my eyebrows, and he shrugs. He uncorks the bottle, fills two glasses to the brim, and sets them down on my bedside table before rounding the bed and pressing himself against my right side. He reaches over me to pick up one of the glasses, and I do the same.

“What’s the occasion?” I want to know, and he smiles tiredly.

 “This,” he says. “This is the occasion. Every night of this tour is.”

I nod. Damn right it is. I clink my glass against his, and we settle under the duvet together, sipping our drinks in silence. And this might be a strange situation to be in, but we'll be in it for a while longer, and that's more than enough of a reason to celebrate. It's not as if this won't repeat itself by the next tour, or the next time we meet after this tour. Because in the end, it'll always really just be us.