saga/title/fandom: Don't Wake Up chapter one
rating/genre: (adult) - romance
warnings: slash, language, heated sexual content
summary: X comes home to Los Angeles to square things with a friend.
comments/disclaimers: Standard Disclaimers apply.
The sound of the motorcycle’s engine cycling down as he held the clutch in was the only noise he could hear. Squeezing the brakes suddenly, he turned onto the small paved square that served as a driveway for the building nearby. Several battered ramps were an unmistakable clue to what was normally done on the smooth expanse of concrete.
Xander set the brake and knocked the kickstand down before he swung his leg gracefully over the bike. There wasn’t much light. A streetlamp on each corner of the street cast matching shadows of him and reflected off the polished chrome of his bike. He stood motionless, seeming to stare at the vandalized concrete wall before him.
“What am I doing here?” His whispered words wouldn’t have been heard even a few feet away.
He turned his head slightly so he could see the car parked at the curb nearby. His heart rate picked up at just the sight of the familiar vehicle.
A door around the corner of the wall before him would lead to a well-used and very familiar room. He had entered this same room more times than could be numbered. It was a safe place, a fun place. It was just a hangout for a bunch of guys who all shared a love of anything extreme. Where there was always cold beer and friends to bullshit with. Where you would go at the end of a day filled with more failed attempts than triumphs, and where you felt at home.
He couldn’t remember ever hesitating before kicking the door open and striding in as if he owned the place. Why would he? It was a communal place, a place for friends. So why was he scared shitless to open the door?
He knew who was inside. Knew that there was only one person. A person he had spent more time with than he could remember. Good times. Skated vert with him, snowboarded mountains with, cruised the city with, got falling down drunk with, and any other innumerable typical guy stuff. They were friends. Best friends. And X was scared. And he hated himself for it.
He took a deep breath, his leather jacket creaking ever so softly as his chest filled with air. He closed his eyes, his hands closing into fists of determination. What the hell is wrong? Just fucking go in!
He crossed to the corner and approached the door slowly. His jaw clenched painfully as he cursed himself for his stupid fear. Why is tonight different? Just cuz ya haven’t seen him in months don’t mean things have changed! But it was. Something was different.
He hadn’t been particularly surprised to get a call from one of his closet friends at ten o’clock at night. That’s what friends were for, right? But after he had agreed to join him here and hung up the phone he realized that he’d never been invited to come here.
He pushed the door open slowly, hating his own anxiety. Nothing looked different. He hadn’t been there in months, yet everything was exactly the same. The place was always kept neat but was obviously well used. Concrete floors had tire marks permanently etched onto it. Walls were covered with posters and stickers and graffiti. A single bare bulb lighted the small kitchen, which was just two abused fridges, two even-more-abused microwaves, and a scarred countertop. A picnic table nearby literally had chunks taken out of it from being tricked off of so much. Farther back a large-screen TV was as far from the main action of the room as possible. Two multi-colored couches faced the TV, and worked to protect it and the game systems from out of control riders.
His ‘host’ was sitting before the TV, with his back to him. He was playing a skateboard game featuring him on one of the several game systems. Xander had always wondered how weird that was, to play a game where you could play yourself.
After removing his jacket and hanging it on a hook beside the door, he stood watching, not wanting to hurry this meeting along at all. The skater playing the skater was moving the controller in his hands as if the movement could keep the animated copy of his self from falling. It had never worked before, and it didn’t work now. He smiled at the cursing that prompted a new game. Ironic, Xander thought. He skates better in real life than he could on that children’s game.
He had been friends with Matthew Lade for longer than he could honestly remember. They were two forms from the same mold, their interests and talents and personalities nearly mirrored each other’s. They were both hard, aggressive, opinionated men who loved to do what they did.
They had become closer over the years, X spending even more time with him when Matt’s wife left him with their son. There was nothing they couldn’t talk about or work through, from Matt’s first diaper-changing attempt to how best to go about tricking off a new obstacle. Xander spent more time with Matt than any other person, and since about puberty he had been fighting a growing urge to get even closer to his friend.
Xander had been mortified when he realized that he was attracted to his best friend. He enjoyed women. He had a steady and seemingly endless string of girls to be with. He was not gay! Yet, despite his wishes, he could not change the fact that he was sexually attracted to Matt. Finally he had just accepted it. Their friendship was just special, different. But Xander would kill himself before letting Matt know of his feelings. He had no doubt that if his friend knew he woke up sweating from dreams of them together he would be disgusted and embarrassed.
During the time he had been gone he had missed Matt more than was expected. His struggles to keep his feelings hidden hadn’t made the feelings go away. He still cared for Matt, and hated having to keep his new secrets from him.
As he watched the game ended, the words flashing on the screen to prompt a continuation. The controller clattered to the floor accompanied by a soft curse from Matt. “You gonna fucking stand there all night?”
Xander’s lip quirked in a small grin. Matt had known he was there without turning. “I was watching you take the dive,” he taunted as he walked forward, his nervousness hidden behind his nonchalant façade. His stride was long and he reached the couch quickly. Seating himself as far away from his friend as possible, he slouched against the arm of the couch and laid his thick tattoo covered arm on the back of the couch.
“How ya been?”
A scowl met his question, dark brows coming together over narrowing eyes. The wide mouth thinned as he met X’s gaze. “How I been?” Matt snorted softly and shook his head. “You get taken off in the middle of the night, don’t hear a word from you for months, show up again like nothing happened, and you wanna know how I’ve been?”
“Hey, man, I was just—“
“Fuck, X! What the hell happened to you?”
Xander smiled, his shoulder lifting in a show of helplessness as he stared at his friend. “I can’t really tell you.”
Not the best thing to say.
Matthew Lade was not a small person. When he stood, growling with frustration and anger, he literally towered over X sitting before him.
“You can’t tell me?”
The quiet growled question was worse than a shout. Xander rose to stand before him, not wishing to confront his pissed-off friend sitting down. Their nearly equal heights made the score a little more even, though Xander was obviously the bigger man.
“No, Matt, I can’t. Had some serious shit happen that you wouldn’t wanna believe, but I’m really not supposed to talk to you about it.”
“Damn, X, I thought you were dead or somethin. Nobody heard anything.”
Xander shrugged again, “I’m sorry, man. I woulda told you if I could’ve.”
Matt looked away, then turned partially away. His rather full lips were twisted nearly into a sneer. “Whatever, X. I just wanted to see if you were still alive or whatever.”
Xander grinned. If he didn’t know better he’d think ol’ Matt had been worried about him. He forced down an inappropriate chuckle at the thought. Xander threw a solid arm across his friend’s shoulders and pulled him closer. “I’m sorry. I was kinda busy and it never occurred to me to call and let everyone know I was okay.”
Matt turned to face him, a smile briefly appearing, though Xander could see he was still upset. Before either of them realized the intent they were embracing, hard arms wrapped around each other.
“Shit, X. I shouldn’t’ve been worried. I just thought they finally threw your sorry ass in prison or something.”
Suddenly Xander couldn’t breathe. Time seemed to come to a halt. Matt was saying something, this just being a friendly gesture between two friends. Xander tried to stop himself from hugging his friend tighter, but was unable to. His arms tightened around Matt’s lean frame, loving the feel of their bodies pressing together. With his hands spread on Matt’s back he could feel the play of muscles beneath the soft cotton of his tee.
“I’m just glad you’re not dead, X. Really stupid to be worried about your big dumb ass.”
Xander felt Matt begin to release him and instinctively held him tighter. Feeling Matt’s arms around him, their hard bodies pressed intimately together, was too good to let go. He breathed in the familiar salty scent of his friend’s skin, and then nearly gasped as he felt his body respond.
Xander felt Matt tense. He closed his eyes, his head dropping in shame as Matt slowly pulled back to look at him.
Xander refused to meet his gaze. His hands dropped to his sides, clenching in frustrated fists. He wondered if Matt would just kick him out or would he make fun of him first?
Matt’s hands were warm where they still pressed against Xander’s bare shoulders.
Xander just wanted to run. How fucking stupid! “Shit, Matt, I--.” He ran a hand across his rough scalp, breaking the contact of Matt’s hand on his arm.
“Are you serious?” Matt asked, still only inches away.
“Matt, I-I… Damn! I’m gonna go.” His face formed the lines of a scowl as he turned away. It wasn’t lost on him that this would probably be the last time he saw his friend. Why would he want to be remains friends with a fag like you, you idiot!
Xander stopped at the end of the couch. He took a deep breath and slowly turned back to the man who had been his closest friend for the latter half of his life. He faced him and met his eyes, not wishing to run like the coward he was without facing him one last time.
“I’m sorry, Matt.”
Matt frowned, his eyes scanning X’s tense frame briefly as he stepped forward. “Are you serious?”
Xander didn’t see or hear the disgust that he had guessed would be there. He hoped he wasn’t simply imagining that Matt just looked curious.
“Matt, I--.” He rubbed his hand over his scalp again, looking away awkwardly. “What do you want me to say?”
Matt shook his head, “You gotta be kidding me.” Xander winced at the words, but then Matt shocked him by smiling and stepping forward.
Xander almost backed away, unsure of what was to happen. His best friend was chuckling as he came at him. Was he going to kick his ass for being the queer he knew he was, or…
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