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Beyond the Gate - Part I - Need

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He woke in a moment of disorientation and the urgent need to pee. He rolled on his back and rubbed sleep from his eyes. When he realized where he was, he also noticed the lack of Richard in the bed. But the empty space beside him was still warm.

Michael yawned and crawled out from under the cozy duvet. He was hit by the chilliness immediately and groaned, wondering how Rick's kid dealt with having to live in an icebox. California was hot most of the year. Rick's air conditioning was probably put to 40 degrees or something all the damn time.

He was focused on relieving himself quickly and didn't notice a new day was dawning until he returned from the bathroom. Rick stood at the large floor-to-ceiling window in the living room, holding a cup of coffee as he watched the sunrise over the distant skyline of the city.

Michael noticed it was considerably warmer in here than the bedroom.

Rick raised his cup in a silent greeting and Michael's ears picked up the splutter and rattle of a coffee maker. He let his eyes stray across the room and spotted it on the desk. White china, a can of cream and small bags of sugar sat on a small tray beside it. He sauntered over and filled one of the cups, added cream and sugar and stirred with one of the silver spoons.

Carefully blowing over the hot beverage, Michael returned to stand beside Rick. Two naked men gazing out a hotel window in companionable silence.

No awkwardness.

Michael took a sip and felt his mouth twitch into a smile.

He saw Rick raise his left eyebrow in the reflection on the glass. “What?”

“Nothing. Just... there are a couple of thousand people in this hotel. How many of them do you think would give their soul to know you and I spent the night together?”

“Like that guy who asked about affairs last night?” Rick snorted.

“We should thank him. If his question actually pushed you into action,” Michael mused.

Rick didn't reply and so they finished their coffee while the sun crept a little higher into the sky. Finally Michael couldn't draw this out any longer. He placed his cup on the coffee table by the couch and stretched. “I'll grab a shower before I leave.”

“Been thinking about calling you since Calgary,” Rick said out of the blue, eyes still fixed on the skyline.

“You... you were?”

“Yeah. Listen...” Rick turned to face him, a lopsided grin on his face. “I know I kind of cheated last night and didn't give you what you really wanted.”

“That's okay. I had fun,” Michael said lightly. And he had. Even now he felt the arousal slowly returning just thinking back to last night. Except he had wanted to go the whole nine yards. For the first time in years he'd had the opportunity to get laid with a guy and it hadn't happened the way he'd been imagining it since he'd entered this room last night. Sure, he loved Rick's fingers, had savored every moment of feeling them inside him. Hell, Rick's hands were a wealth of creativity and bliss. Yet...

Rick put his cup down on the wide, bulky armrest of the leather couch and was suddenly right there in Michael's personal space, hands tenderly framing his head, thumbs tracing his eyebrows and the outlines of his face. “Let me make it up to you.”

“Tonight?” Michael blurted out, unable to focus on anything but those bottomless brown eyes right in front of him.

“Yeah.” One thumb brushed over his mouth, lingering on Michael's bottom lip for a moment.

“If we’re doing this... we only have this one night left,” Michael replied.

“I know. And there's something else.”

Rick pressed warm, dry lips to his and Michael let out a content sigh. “Mhh?”

“Do you trust me?” Rick pulled back and their eyes met.


“I haven't been with anyone in years. And I've seen enough doctors and done enough testing for all kinds of crap over the last ten years to tell you, with a clear conscience, there's nothing to worry about.”

“I promised Lexa to keep it safe and clean,” he said quietly.

“I am as safe and clean as it can get.”





“R...” He stepped away, rolling his eyes. “I can't believe we're doing this.”

Richard gave him a crooked grin. “Old habits and all those clichés...”

“At least we still remember our real names,” Michael muttered, pulling a face.

“Yeah... Look, I'm sorry. Just forget it. Condoms it is,” Rick steered the conversation back on topic.

Michael nodded, but his mouth had other ideas. “You'd be taking the same risk. I could have cheated on my wife for all you know.”

“You could be lying to me right now when you're saying she knows we're doing... what we're doing,” Rick agreed.

“I could be.”

“But you're not. I've met her and I saw you together. You'd never do anything to hurt her,” Rick said softly. “Besides, she's a real gem. You'd be a fool to cheat on her.”

“Says the guy who told me she was nothing but a cover up and I'm a fool for hiding behind a woman.” It was out before Michael could stop himself. Years ago when those words had been slapped into his face he had lost his cool and almost punched Rick's lights out. After all this time and because they had mended the fences long ago, the issue didn't raise his temper any longer and he hadn't intended for to rear its ugly head again.

However, he wasn't going to say 'sorry' either.

Rick winced visibly. “Ouch.”

“I never got your point seeing that you did exactly that back then. You and Apryl were never going for happily ever after. It was all fake,” Michael said, driven by either curiosity or insanity – he wasn't sure.

“I’m not discussing that. And it didn’t work out as you know,” Rick countered, a sudden sharp edge to his voice.

“Doesn't mean you had any right needling me about my wife.”

“Oh, come on, she wasn't even your wife back then,” Rick spat. “You were just dating.”

“And you were doing what? Protecting me? Or were you just pissed because I was actually able to make my relationship work?” Again, the words were out before he could swallow them. He had the strange feeling of standing next to himself, watching a train wreck.

“Oh, yeah?! Wasn't me who left the show because of,” Rick made air quotations, “'artistically disagreements with some of the writers'. You made your relationship work back then because you cut your ties and ran.”

What? Michael felt his jaw drop and quickly closed his mouth, only to erupt two seconds later. “It WAS one of the reasons why I left. But I never told YOU I was only leaving because of fucking artistic disagreements. Besides, you said it was for the best!”

“Well, it was!”

“Good! Stop being a dick!”

Rick threw up his hands. “Fine!”

“Fine!” Michael threw up his own hands. “Are you done?!”

“What? Where's the damn problem anyway!”

Michael blinked. “I... I don't know!” There was no point. They had made peace with all of this a long time ago.

Or so he’d thought.

They glared at one another, two naked men in a hotel room, and if that wasn't bad enough, the adrenaline rush of their argument had gone straight to Michael's dick. He dropped his gaze to Rick's and couldn't help but smirk.

Irritated, Rick barked, “What!”

“You're still happy to see me.”

“Yelling at you gets me hard, you know that,” Rick growled. “And as far as I know that's pretty mutual.”

“Boundaries,” Michael said thoughtfully.


“Most of our arguments, our issues, used to be about boundaries. We made them up, we broke them, we yelled at each other...”

“...we had sex,” Rick finished the thought. “That's a pattern if there ever was one.”

Michael nodded. “Yeah. Of course we had a lot of sex when we weren't fighting, sooo...”

“Mutual attraction.”

“Simple and fun?”

“Not all the time, but... the overall tone...” Rick closed in again, reaching down, and Michael felt his breath hitch as he was taken in hand and fondled.

“You're changing the subject... whatever that was...”

“Go with the flow? As you just pointed out we only have one night left,” Rick whispered.

Quickly Michael's fingers found Rick's straining erection and they settled into a leisurely but steady rhythm, their joined speeding breaths the only sound in the room, their moving hands on each other the only thing that mattered.

“Tonight... what do you want?” Rick moaned finally, staggering slightly in his knees.

“I want you to... fuck me,” Michael panted, trying to sound like he wasn't overly excited. “At least once. Your... back a...and knees up for that?”

“I can be h...ere 'round 20:00 without raising any suspicion. I'll text you if...”

“...there's a change of plan.”


Michael gasped. “Shower.”

“Oh, yeah, c'mon.”

They tried not to let go, but it was nearly impossible to lead each other by their cocks so they finally just hurried into the bathroom and finished what they had started and then spent some quality time soaping each other up and getting clean.

Michael Shanks left Richard Dean Anderson's room at 6:30 on Saturday morning.

At 7:30 he walked into the hotel's restaurant and found Rick, Amanda and Paul chatting over breakfast. He kissed Amanda on the cheek, clapped shoulders with Paul and asked Rick if he'd slept well.

“You do know I'm insomniac, right?” Rick asked with a smirk.

“But you look well rested,” Paul observed.

“Yeah, well, I might have slept an hour here and there.”

Michael rolled his eyes. “Insomniac my ass. I bet you slept like a baby and just can't remember.” Then he went to get scrambled eggs and toast.

“Get me some of that oatmeal while you're at it,” Rick called after him. “I'm kinda starved.”


TBC with "Window of Opportunity"