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Stephen grabs the small hand towel and wipes over his head, his breathing is rough, his legs ache and he eyes his husband suspiciously. "Enough!" he blows out and backs up. They've been home a week now, and this is the third training session he's done with Antony. Unlike the 'training' he does with Kim, this is much less about cardio, or weights, but so much more about how to fight, with his hands, feet, with guns and knives - though they've yet to get so far.

It's been tough - Stephen's not nearly as fit as he'd like, the weeks after the incident had seen him lose weight and muscle mass, as well as stamina.

"I've had enough."

Antony shakes his head. "Once more. C'mon. Then you can call it," he says, knowing there's no opponent in the real world who's going to give you a break when you think you need it.

Stephen bites down hard on his irritation, and instead of snapping at Antony he tries to funnel that energy into something a little more productive. With an audible sigh he tosses aside the towel and steps up, bracing himself, his eyes fixed on Antony, watching for that first move, a hint of where the attack might come from.

Antony would never telegraph his moves in real life, but here, now, with Stephen, he does. So Stephen, while learning, can have a fucking chance. Here, now, he lets him see that split second decision to dart in and land a blow to Stephen's upper chest.

He sees it, just, and only because he knows his husband so very well, Stephen brings up an arm to try and block the move, and lean back, attempting to twist out of the way.

Good. Antony follows up with a quick punch to the other side, still avoiding Stephen's ribs at this point.

Stephen trips, overbalancing, cursing he stumbles backwards. "Fuck!" he growls. "FUCK!"

Antony shakes his head. "Don't let the anger and frustration out. Channel it. Throw it back at me."

Given how he's feeling, tired, pissed and entirely done with this shit for the day, Stephen is only too grateful to 'throw it back' at Antony. He shakes out his hands, takes a breath, makes it look like he's gathering himself, when actually he's summoning up all of his anger and irritation, and moments later he launches himself at his husband with a growl.

It's a good move. One of Stephen's best yet. And Antony goes with it, letting himself hit the mat.

Stephen takes a half step back when Antony goes down, his eyes narrowing. "Are you humouring me?" he demands.

"Only the tiniest bit," Antony says, sitting up straighter. "That was a really good move. You didn't telegraph, you hit hard, it would have taken just about anybody down."

Still not entirely mollified, Stephen grunts, trying back to the towel and his near-empty water bottle. "Are we done now?" he asks, somewhat sulkily. He's not in the greatest of moods today, and it's obvious, and to his credit, Antony seems able to just roll with these new mood swings without taking too much to heart.

"Sure." Antony knows better than to push any more than he already has, at least at this point. "We can shower, grab something to eat and then go see the house if you want?"

Stephen nods, they've only been over to the new house once, and it was right after the previous owner had moved out. Since then Christos has had a team of people in cleaning the place from top to bottom before collating an impressive list of renovation, decoration and modifications that need to be attended to before they can move in.

"I'd like that, thank you." He may be in a mood, but he's not entirely forgotten his manners.

Antony picks up his towel, draping around his neck. "Do you want to eat in the caf or grab something from that new salad place?" he asks, already leading the way to the showers. His stomach's actually grumbling for a burger but he knows Stephen's working hard to get back into his old regimen and he's doing his best to support his husband.

Stephen is thankful they not only have their own private space to train in but that it also comes with its own shower and change room. He's tugging off his tee and toeing out of his trainers the moment they step inside. "I want something more than salad," Stephen shoves his shorts down, pausing as he bends to inspect the outside of his ankle. "But less than doughnuts," he adds with a decent attempt at a smile.

Antony grins. He thinks about that for a moment, watching Stephen with his ankle. They've got an appointment next week to have it looked at again. "What about that jerk chicken shawarma place? The meal comes with rice and beans and veggies." Of course there's gravy too but compared to a lot of other options it's practically health food.

"Sounds good," Stephen nods, straightening up, he grabs a large towel and moves to the shower, reaching in to turn it on, the towel hung up within reach.

Fuck. Antony stares for a moment, longing to touch, longing for a time when things were easier between them.

Stephen becomes aware of the silence and lack of movement behind him, he turns his head to look over his shoulder to find Antony looking at him... and the expression is one that used to send a thrill through him, used to have him itching to have his knees hit the floor. Not anymore. Now that looks brings with it a complex mix of want and uneasiness, he still wants and needs Antony's touch, but he also fears that he will slip back into his too passive role of Antony's submissive.

"What do you need?" he asks softly, turning into the water so he's facing his husband.

"You," Antony says, before taking a step forward, heart and body aching. "I want to touch you."

There's a moment as Stephen considers that, then he holds out his hand, and takes a step back in the cubicle to make space, all the while he's holding Antony's heated gaze.

Antony drops his clothes and joins Stephen in the shower, taking his hand and letting Stephen draw him in, his mouth pressed to the curve of his husband's jaw and then his mouth. "God, the things you do to me..." he breathes.

Sliding his arms around Antony's waist, Stephen tilts his head to one side to allow Antony all the access he wants. "Tell me, tell me what I do to you..."

"You make me ache," Antony murmurs, biting at Stephen's throat, body pressed close, their cocks rubbing together. "You make me forget everything else, make me so fucking hard..."

Stephen moans at that rub of flesh against flesh, his own cock hardening to match Antony's. Antony's words, the gruff sincerity in them making his insides flip. "I want you," he whispers. "I want you."

"Like this?" Antony asks, shifting for just the right angle to get their cocks perfectly lined up, thrusting them together. "Or do you want me to grab some lube?"

"Like this," Stephen smears the words against the corner of Antony's jaw as he goes to bite at his husband's earlobe. "You can fuck me later..."

Antony groans, a slight shudder running through his frame at the bite. "Christ, you feel so good..." he breathes, hands running over Stephen now, shoulders, back, ass, cupping his cheeks and grinding a little more roughly. His mouth on Stephen's throat in turn, teeth scraping over skin.

Antony's teeth feel so good that Stephen feels it only right he should return the favour some more. They move against each other in an erotic dance, skin to skin, mouths kissing, licking, biting at as the intensity increases, Stephen reaches between them to grasp as much of their cocks in his hand to start stroking. "C'mon, Tony," he encourages before closing his mouth around the meat and muscle of his husband's shoulder.

"You too," Antony grits out, biting and thrusting harder before he comes with a rough groan, Stephen's teeth and that nickname shoving him over.

"Oh fuck..." Stephen growls the words out as he feels Antony's cock throbbing against his own. It takes him a moment longer then he too orgasms, his hold on his husband tightening as his legs weaken for a moment.

Shuddering through the aftershocks, Antony wraps his arms around Stephen and hugs him close. Losing himself in this moment, this intimacy.

As their breathing evens out, and Stephen finds his legs again, he nips playfully at Antony's chin. "After all this exercise, you'd better feed me soon, before I go rabid," he teases softly.

Antony chuckles. "I will," he promises. "Right after I clean you up," reaching for the soap dispenser.

*******

When they climb out of Antony's car Stephen shoves sunglasses on and closes the door behind him. They've stopped off for food, and he's fucking ravenous. "If there's a line in there..." he rumbles, having complained most of the drive about how much he needs to eat, and what he wants to eat.

"There will be but it moves fast," Antony promises, sending Stephen to grab a table for them while he orders two jerk shawarma meals with hot sauce on the side. "What do you want to drink?" he asks Stephen over his shoulder, the cashier waiting for him to complete their order.

"Water, or milk," Stephen replies, his fingers drumming on the table top. His gaze moving around the small space, weighing up the other people in there. The smell of the cooking food is driving him mad, and he tries to distract himself with the observation exercise Antony had explained to him a couple of days ago; look each person over, weigh up their threat potential and check for anything out of place.

Antony returns to the table with a tray, their food in styrofoam clamshells, drinks on the side. Each clamshell weighs a good pound or more, rice and beans on the bottom, jerk chicken shawarma on one side, carrots, broccoli and cabbage on the other, a good helping of gravy and topped with fried plantains. Fuck. His stomach's already growling. He hands over a clamshell and cutlery to Stephen and grins. "Dig in."

Stephen doesn't wait to be told twice, he manages a swift 'thank you' as he readies his fork and then he's all about eating. He's not been this hungry for many weeks, and he hopes it's a sign his body is starting to pick up and respond to the exercise he's doing, and maybe, just maybe, he'll begin to see some positive results.

Antony grins, eyes crinkling at their corners, as he watches Stephen actually dig right in. It feels so good to see his husband's appetite revived that he almost forgets about his own food for a moment. But only a moment. The kind of training and working out they've been doing, this is why he can pretty much get away with eating anything without worry. "Good, isn't it?"

Stephen makes an unintelligible noise as he spears a broccoli stem and pops it in his mouth, he manages a quick smile before he continues to eat. It tastes so good that he has to try and pace himself so as not to get indigestion.

Even as hungry as he is, the whole clamshell's too much food and Antony finally sits back when he's still got a small pile of rice and beans left. Drains the last of his ginger beer and covers a soft belch with his hand. "Excuse me."

Stephen all but finishes his food, pausing to suck a drop of gravy from his thumb before wiping his mouth with a paper napkin. "I no longer feel homicidal," he announces, tossing the scrunched up paper into the empty food container.

Antony laughs. "That's good, especially since we're going over to the house," he adds with a grin.

"Who's going to be there?" Stephen asks, picking up his own drink. "Is Christos still cracking the whip on that team he had sent in?"

"He is," Antony says with a grin. "He'll be there, the general contractor Nick, his guys, my guys who are working on our security assessment. That's pretty much it. The place is clean, repainted, I think they're working on refacing the living room fireplace today and we're supposed to go over cabinet, countertop and backsplash choices for the kitchen. Oh, and decide whether we want to change those windows in the kitchen into French doors opening to the grounds."

"Cool," Stephen nods. "Just gimme a couple more minutes to digest and then let's go." He pats his belly. "If I try standing now, I may fall over."

Antony laughs. "I'm not in any rush," he assures Stephen and while the restaurant has tables, most of their business is takeout so there's no pressure to vacate their seats. "I was thinking maybe we'd spent some time at the gun range tomorrow if you think you're ready. Go over the different models. Have you try them out."

"Maybe," Stephen nods, before adding. "I have to go see my people in the next couple of days, about my plans going forward, about Arrow and about us." He takes a drink before setting it down. "So... if you need to do any prep work on your side in regard to me coming out, you should get on that right away."

"Can you wait until next week?" Antony asks. "Until the meeting's out of the way and everything handed over?"

"Yes of course. They won't do anything until I say so, so you just give me the nod when you're sorted."

That's good. Antony's sure Frank's been less than discreet already but the fewer distractions from their common goal for everyone, the better. "Do you want me to come with you?" he asks. "Just as support."

Stephen's shaking his head before he answers. "No, I need to do this. I'll have Christos with me anyway, as my PA, so I'll be fine."

Antony nods. "So once you've told them, that's that? We can start being open, hold hands in public?"

"Once I've told them, you've given me the okay, and I've made my own personal statement on my facebook page, then yeah, I'm all done with hiding." Stephen smiles.

Antony smiles back. "I'm really looking forward to this," he admits.

"Yeah?" It kind of surprises Stephen that Antony had an issue with it. Afterall he's not the one having to dodge questions about his private life in interviews, or at fan meets etc. To a point, Antony has had control over his own visibility as a not-exactly-straight man.

"I get to hold your hand in public, give you a kiss, have people know you're my husband," Antony explains. "I didn't have a problem with keeping us a secret but now that you're coming out, I'm looking forward to not having to... censor how I feel about you, who you are to me."

Stephen beams at that. "I don't think it's really sunk in how much I'll be able to relax," he admits, slowly pushing up out of his chair. "Hey, next time I get to do an industry thing, you want to come?"

"I'd love to," Antony says without hesitation, piling their clamshells and empty drink containers back onto the tray. It's going to be really strange being in the limelight beside his husband after all these years of being so fucking secretive and under the radar but he can make sure no one digs anything up and his legit business side will hold up to scrutiny.

///

It's a 30 minute drive over to the new house, and Stephen revels in the excitement of seeing their new home. It had felt even bigger in person than it had when they had viewed it online, big, but not too big. Antony had already staked a claim to the study cum office, and Stephen has his eye on one of the bedrooms, that has a corner balcony and a great view, space of his own, something he's sure he's going to need going forward.

The old gate security is in place until Antony gets the go-ahead from Stephen to change everything over. He enters the new PIN they chose and the gate slides open, taking its own sweet time. He parks in front of the house, happy to see there's also room for Christos's car and several other trucks without running out of space. Getting out, he takes Stephen's hand and kisses the back of it with a smile, eyes crinkling. "I'm so glad we bought this place."

"Me too," Stephen grins, leaning in to bump shoulders. "It's the perfect fresh start for us."

Antony grins back, the bump making him stupidly happy. Christ. Nick's in the foyer, giving orders to some of his guys. "Hey. Good timing. The kitchen samples just arrived." He shakes Antony's hand and then Stephen's. "Christos is out back somewhere. You can go see him after we've decided on things so I can put in the order."

Amused at having Antony bossed about by this man, Stephen watches as Antony is handed a pile of brochures and samples before being directed to sit and peruse them. "Looks like it's all go," he remarks as two workmen move past him with cans of paint and a ladder, he steps out of the way and then takes a seat beside his husband as Antony lays out the samples.

"I'm okay with some white - I like the current countertops - but I want colour, some warmth, in the kitchen," Antony says, starting to push away the two white very traditional cabinet samples before checking with Stephen. "What do you think?"

"I do not want to walk in here and have my retinas burnt out with too much white and chrome," Stephen agrees, reaching over to pick up a wood sample and a clip of paint chips. "Something contemporary, clean lines, with wood for warmth."

Antony nods. "I actually really like this," he says, pointing to a clean modern dark grey cabinet door. "We could do the island in the wood, tie them both together with the countertops."

Nodding Stephen takes the cabinet sample to check it out. "Yeah I like that... also, can we get rid of this fixed seating? I'd really like a long, narrow refectory table in solid wood that can be moved around, with some chairs and some benches."

"Yeah, and French doors wouldn't go with any of that," Antony tells Nick who's watching them closely. "Can we do sliders instead? Fold-back ones? So we can open up the space completely to the grounds."

Nick nods. "Definitely. And I've got a wood guy if you want to go see him. He could do your table, benches, chairs, everything custom, exactly what you want. He does beautiful stuff."

"Sounds perfect," Stephen grins. "I've a pretty clear idea of what I think would work." He hands the sample back to Antony. "Beyond that? It's your call in here,Tony."

"Thanks." Antony grins, eyes crinkling. He settles on the dark grey for the back cabinets, the light wood for some accents as well as the island, a lighter metallic grey glass backsplash and white quartz countertops with a nice thick edge. Making sure he has Stephen's approval despite his husband's words. He takes a picture of the chosen samples and hands them over to Nick. "And while we're at it, let's do something about the vent hood. I was thinking a downdraft vent to open up the room more."

Nick nods. "Yeah, we can do that. We'll have to patch up the ceiling but it won't add any time to the job."

"All done?" Stephen asks, looking at both men. He's keen to have a wander around the house again, let it sink in this is his new home.

"That's it for me," Nick says with a smile. "I've sent Antony the contact info for my wood guy and I've made notes of everything else. I'll get the orders in today."

"Fantastic," Stephen pushes up out of his seat and offers Nick his hand. "We'll pop back before we leave, but I want to drag Antony around the house," he grins at his husband.

Antony grins back. "It all looks great so far. Good job," he says to Nick, shaking his hand as well before reaching for Stephen's. "Drag away."

Stephen laughs, tugging Antony behind him as aims for the stairs, "C'mon..." Up on to the large landing he surveys the different doors before pushing open the one that leads to a corner bedroom, that overlooks the gardens below the house. It has windows on two sides and a balcony.

"Nice light," Antony comments, taking note of the windows and how much of a difference getting rid of the godawful heavy drapes has made to the room.

"I really like this room..." Stephen says, moving to open one of the doors to the balcony. "And I wondered if I might have it for myself?" he asks, turning to look at his husband.

"For an office?" Antony asks.

Stephen pauses before shaking his head. "No," he says quietly, "as personal space, where I can go to be alone." He sighs. "I think I need to learn to be more emotionally self-reliant, what this whole situation has shown me is that I shouldn't be so immersed in you because it's simply not healthy. I need to stand on my own, and when I do, I can then meet you equally as my life partner. Does that make sense?"

"I don't know," Antony answers honestly, wondering if there's something wrong with him because he doesn't think there's anything wrong with being immersed in his husband. "I don't know how you having personal space works. Is this where you'd read or hang out? Would I be allowed in here at all? Are we still spending evenings together? Sharing the master bedroom? Tell me more about what it means to you."

"Oh fuck," Stephen realises at Antony's questions just how shitty his explanation has been, he runs a hand over his head before he blows out a breath. "Of course you'd be allowed in here, and yes, we absolutely will be spending most of our evenings together and I fully intend on sharing our bed with you, it's not like I've not done that every night since I got out of the hospital, is it?" He glances around the room. "When I met you, I was so blown away by the chemistry we have, the sex, your dominance. I lost myself in that. Which I think is why I had that issue before the wedding, why should I care what some asshole thinks of me and my relationship to you? But it mattered because it was all I was defining myself by. Being your submissive, then being your slave... it was all about you. Not us, but you. And then this shit went down, and it ripped away the thing that I had built myself into, my trust was shattered, the lies I'd told myself were revealed, the truth, not just of what you have been but what you were capable of were laid bare. I had nothing to hold on to. No sense anymore of Stephen Amell and who he was. If I had had a healthy sense of self I think I would have handled it better in the immediate aftermath. So... here we are. Rebuilding." He moves toward his husband. "And I am so glad we are, but it's not just 'us' that needs to be on a firmer foundation, so do I."

"Okay." Antony nods, relieved, any concerns he might have had settled by Stephen's words. "I keep struggling with the fact things weren't as good for you as they were for me but I knew you were having issues, that you were dealing with baggage from before you even met me. So whatever it takes to make things as good as they can be for both of us. You have my support, you know that," he adds, closing the distance between them.

Raising his hand, Stephen settles it against Antony's cheek, his husband's stubble rough against his palm. "The problems I had before were mine. My insecurity, my inability to communicate properly, my fuck ups. It wasn't you. The only thing between us was your work, and we were both guilty of dancing around that. You just need to know, I am going to be pushing myself to be a little more independent, more assertive, and I'll want your help there. I think it'll make me a better husband, and, maybe, once I'm confident in myself, I'll be able to think about kneeling again."

"I'll do my best to help," Antony promises, leaning into the caress. "You'll need to let me know if I'm not doing enough or if there's something different or specific you need."

"And I am, hence me asking for this space," Stephen smiles and leans in to kiss Antony, it's a tender press of lips, and Stephen pauses for a moment to savour the intimacy.

"I meant aside from this," Antony murmurs, smiling too, stealing another soft kiss. "What are you going to put in here?"

"Um, a large day bed in case my lover decides to pay me a visit," Stephen teases, nipping at Antony's lower lip. "A desk, computer, and display space for my Arrow junk, fan gifts and pictures, all that kinda shit."

"Your lover?" Antony teases back, eyebrow raised.

"Hmmm, my lover, he has beautiful icy blue eyes that crinkle all up in the corners when he smiles... and his cock... oh his cock..." Stephen slips a hand down between them to cup Antony's junk.

Breath hitching, Antony bites back a groan, his body responding instantly, eagerly. Christ. "Sounds like a catch..."

"Oh he is, that's why I'm intending on keeping him," Stephen's smile turns a little wicked as he squeezes before slowly stepping back. "I told you already... later, when we're home..."

"Not where workmen could walk in on us at any moment?" Antony kids, the groan slipping out.

"Where there is plenty of lube," Stephen retorts with a laugh. "And a bed, and scotch."

Antony grins. "Fair enough," he agrees. "Want to check out the rest of the rooms before we go find Christos?" That should give him enough time for his half-erection to subside.

"Sure," Stephen nods, well aware of the effect he's had on his husband. "Do you want to look over the master suite? Talk over what we want in there?"

"And the ensuite," Antony nods. "Are we moving anything over from the penthouse or leaving it as is for now?"

"Leave it as is, we might as well go all out," Stephen steps through the door to the hall behind Antony.

"So we need a bed, nightstands, furniture for the sitting area... Do you want a tv?" Antony asks, taking a quick look into the guest bedrooms and bathrooms.

"Not really," Stephen shakes his head as he moves into the large bedroom. "Though a decent sound system might be good." He looks around the space, empty of objects, but full of promise.

"We can have the whole house wired if you want," Antony offers, watching Stephen check out the room, which is huge, roughly twice as big as their current master bedroom.

"No, I don't think we need that. If we have in here done and my room, that'll be fine." Moving to one of the large windows Stephen looks out over the garden to the pool. "I'll start getting some ideas together over the weekend while you're busy. Check out some magazines and brochures, put together, what was it? A mood board," he chuckles. "Yeah, some mood boards for the rooms."

"Do you want to try and do one for my office too?" Antony asks, joining Stephen at the window. "You know what I like and that way there'd be some cohesiveness between the rooms."

"Sure," he nods, leaning against the frame. "Am I okay to start ordering some things? And if I am, I'm assuming 'fuck the budget'?" Not that he's an extravagant person himself, but he knows Antony has a taste for the best of things.

Antony laughs. "Definitely assume fuck the budget," he says with a grin. "And order whatever you want. I'd like us in here within the month like we talked about and I don't want to be moving into a place half-empty."

"I'm not going to get everything, especially without your input, but I will make sure we have a few rooms sorted, like our bedroom, the kitchen, one of the lounges and your office. Otherwise we're going from the penthouse where it's all your choices, to here where it'd be all mine."

"That's a good point," Antony says, although he doesn't really think he'd mind. But part of the fun of this is supposed to be them choosing things together, building their home. "I have some stuff in storage if you want a take a look and see if any of it appeals."

"You do? I thought you didn't have anywhere before home?" Stephen turns to watch as a bird flies past to settle in a tree nearby.

"It's just random pieces I've collected over the years, things that couldn't fit in the penthouse," Antony points out. "Mostly decoration, maybe a few pieces of furniture."

"I'll take Christos and take a look and see if you can get me the details on how to get in," Stephen turns to look back into the room. "Do you want a bigger bed than we have now?"

Antony smiles. They already have a king but... "If you can get us something bigger, sure. We just have to be able to get sheets for it."

"Not afraid you might lose me in the night then?" Stephen teases, he reaches out to take Antony's fingers in his own.

"You'll know I'll find my way onto your side of the bed," Antony grins, giving Stephen's fingers a squeeze. "Wrap myself around you."

"I know," Stephen glances up from beneath his lashes, "there's no escaping, is there?"

"Nope, never, you're mine," Antony responds, eyes crinkling, before checking himself with a softly added, "Just like I'm yours."