spaces in between

Belle Vista 

The drive back to Frank's house was thankfully not too terrible. People were still out partying in the city, and most of the traffic was coming in toward Cordova. They made it home by one thirty, and despite the late hour Mathis felt energized. A current of excitement and anticipation for whatever was next, whatever this meant. He found himself unable to stop smiling, especially on the occasions that he had reached to take Frank's hand in his as they drove. When they pulled into the drive, Mathis sat back in his seat and looked to Frank with a warm smile, unsure of if the man would just rather go in and head to bed, or if... well, he would just wait for him to define how the night would go. The idea of leaving now was disheartening, but he would. But, he would also spend as much time in Frank's company as the man would allow.

2019 had rolled in in a way he hadn’t even hoped or expected. It still felt surreal in a way that if not for the occasional hand in his, it wouldn’t be believed. It felt relieving as much as it was exciting.

For the warmth of the car and general easement in someplace in his chest, Frank found himself in a lull towards the end of the trip, body catching up to a long day. The pull up to his house was enough of a change in pace and noise that he woke from a doze that’d finally taken hold a few minutes prior. Blinking heavily while rubbing at his face, Frank realized where they were at with a sinking feeling, not wanting to leave his company so soon.

Looking at the smiling face, he sent one back as he felt his stomach do another flip flop for what seemed the billionth time that night. How to word this in a way that wasn’t implying anything was a task in and of itself. Being half asleep didn’t really help matters, but he still tried. ”You can come in if you’d like.”

He hadn't entirely noticed Frank's dosing on account of driving through rough weather and being cautious about wild drivers out. But seeing Frank start and rub at his face had his brows furrowing. At the offer, he frowned some. "I don't want to keep you up, if you're tired." He said. It was late, and Frank likely had worked the day before.

He couldn’t help but frown at himself and the look Mathis was giving him.

”I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me. It was just the car ride.” He patted an arm reassuringly. Frank wouldn’t be able to fall asleep like this anyways as he’d just end up laying there for hours, exhausted but mind racing. There was a lot to process starting with whatever this was. ”I just would like to talk some more, if you want to.” Parting ways now didn’t seem that great. He wasn’t looking for anything else besides time, just some company that he wished to extend as long as was possible.

He had been preparing for the inevitable agreement that yes, it was probably a good idea for Frank to get to bed. But Frank reassured him, and voiced the same sentiment that Mathis had been thinking. His lips turned up into a fond smile as he chuckled some through his nose. "Alright." He agreed after a moment, and turned the car off to head inside. The brief trip from the car to the warm house was cold, but Mathis was aware of the heat on his cheeks and the back of his neck. It was incredibly hard not to feel some sort of anxious excitement. A bizarre combination of feelings, which he hadn't felt in some time. Once inside, he would strip himself of his coat and scarf, offer to grab Frank's, and hang them as he slid his shoes off. Once comfortable, he would follow Frank toward the living room. "I'm going to be sore in the morning. I don't think the cat can help that much." He said conversationally as he rubbed at his leg and settled into the couch.

The response was relieving and he’d leave the car as well. Picking their way to the house through the cold night air helped further beat back the residual drowsiness, but it was more so the presence of the other that had him more awake than without. Once at the door, he unlocked it, allowing Mathis to enter first, following behind. The warmth welcomed them in as he moved to flip on the lights. After shrugging off his coat he let Mathis hang it up with a thanks as shoes were kicked free of frosty dew and put off to the side.

Making the way towards the living room, cool wood underfoot as they went, he chuckled a bit at the comment, sitting down on the couch’s other end. Leaning against the side of the arm a bit, he looked towards Mathis. He was already feeling the bruises mentioned. ”But, it was fun and worth it. I’m glad you thought of it,” he smiled. It had been something new and different to do on nye, an evening not to be traded for anything.

He was a bit unsure of how to approach things. Frank just knew it still felt very unreal and he didn’t want to mess things up before they could start. But they needed to figure it out. They both agreed they had feelings for each other and hopefully they were in line, but maybe not. So-

”It’ll be hard to think of something up to par for our next date.” That’d do it. He lifted a brow some and forced himself to keep his gaze on Mathis instead of away, which was what everything screamed at him to do minus the cat. Frank was usually so sure of what he said, but these kinds of things made him second guess repeatedly. Might as well jump in and see if he’d sink or float.

It was indeed that. He would take a few bruises in exchange for how the night had turned out. He might have said as much, before Frank's words sunk in. Mathis blinked, surprised some at their forwardness, but a smile did creep along his lips. His cheeks betrayed him by flushing, and he laughed a somewhat sheepish chuckle. Had that been a date? Well, it had certainly... not not been one.

"You'll have to think of something better, then." He said after a moment. He fixed Frank with something of an expectant raise of his brows, but his resolve broke pretty quickly. The grin was impossible to keep off his face, and he was left feeling rather stupid. A hand came up to rub at his chin as he glanced away. There were a lot of feelings that he couldn't begin to voice without feeling incredibly cheesy, so he settled on trying to reel it back. He was smitten.

The response Frank got had broth his brows going up as a smile grew on Mathis’ face. The blush and laugh were more than enough for his own face to switch to one of amusement that just grew at the broken seriousness there.

“I’ll try my best,” he said, chuckling a bit. It would be hard to beat and was a certain kind of thrilling to note that that was wanted. Not just spending time, but dates too.

He didn’t really have any leads ups from there as his eyes danced in delight watching Mathis. Frank found his own grin hard to ease up too, permanently fixing there for now.

Then that's what it would be. A date. It made him feel giddy and childish, but he didn't entirely think that was a bad thing. With a small hum as he settled himself, he glanced back to Frank. There was a beat of silence, in which Mathis studied the distance between them, and decided that he preferred none at all. So, he moved to stand some, closed the distance of one cushion, and settled back down. The inner arm rested between them, his hand coming to settle on Frank's knee. But the other arm moved to reach and press his fingers to the side of Frank's neck, his thumb moving briefly along the edge of his jaw. There was scruff there, but he was willing to bet Frank had shaved this morning. Shifter hair was annoying like that.

Mathis sighed some as he rested his head on the back of the couch, deciding against initiating anything else in favor of taking in Franks' face from this proximity. He caught his gaze for a moment, but in interest of it not getting creepy, he moved to glance along the lines around his eyes, the stubble on his chin, the shape of his lips. It was nice to be able to appreciate for longer than a stolen glance.

Finally, that Mathis was back to looking over. There seemed to be some thoughts going on, and he waited, pleasantly surprised when Mathis got up a bit and plopped down right next to him. He kept his eyes up, but was very aware of the hand as it went to his leg. Frank laid his hand on the one there ina light, but sure hold. It was the movement of the other arm that had him stilling, stopping from anything he might’ve said, as the hand pressed to his neck, and a thumb played along the jawline. The way the fingers caught and tugged on the hair there paired with the roving gaze left him feeling scrutinized. Frank’s gaze never left Mathis’ face, soaking it in at this angle and the way the light played off everything. Eye contact was caught for just a moment before it continued on and Frank immediately wanted it back. There was a sigh that drew attention to lips and then towards Mathis’ gaze again as it rattled something inside.

That was enough to spurn him on after a moment. Frank sat forward, the hand letting go of Mathis’ to come up and brush at a cheek softly before sliding further on and in between locks of hair, gripping softly at them behind an ear before letting go to just hold his head. His free hand went up to reach a shoulder and then pulled lightly in an effort to get Mathis to shift towards him even more as he began to lean back again into the cushion. He wanted him closer, please.

It was an incredibly intimate moment that he hadn't ever thought would happen. If he had been asked hours earlier, he would have said he never did want it to happen. Not that he did not crave this, did not enjoy every moment. But ruining a friendship he cherished over something selfish as a desire to be close was not worth it. He did not think he would ever stop feeling the relief that Frank shared the same feelings. Which... they had not shared. Not aloud. Some of them didn't need it, but he supposed some did.

Frank's movements distracted him from that. His skin prickled pleasantly at the tug of his hair, and he complied to Frank's coaxing. His feet moved to tuck some, and he let himself settle more against Frank's side. His head moved to rest on his shoulder, but he moved first to tuck his nose into the crook of his neck and place a kiss similar to the one he'd received earlier. The hand that had been on Frank's cheek slid along his neck, then fell to drape across his torso. The cat, for its part, purred and brushed along the bars of its proverbial cage, accepting and eager of the touch despite its inability to truly reach its companion. Mathis was thankful he was not in the same position as the cat.

As Mathis complied, he drew up his own legs. He let out a sigh that hitched at the unexpected kiss to his neck, getting goosebumps. Turning to look at Mathis, Frank wrapped both arms around him tightly. He squeezed, scrunching his face amusingly, before letting the furthest arm fall to lay on the arm across him, the other still safely wrapped around.

There were a few moments of silence, just content and comforted in the close company, and how it felt to have Mathis so close. He could feel the breaths taken, appreciated being about to run his hand up and down slowly every once an awhile on the arm across his torso, and a relieving lack of cat as it just leaned as close as it could to the cheetah.

Frank knitted his brow as the need to say something played in his mind. Opening his mouth nothing came out and instead he ended up just taking a breath. Another try. ”I-,” he swallowed, face beginning to tint. ”I really like you,” he exhaled which ended with a bit of light laugh, looking over with a dopey grin on his face.

This was good. He could have stayed like this for hours... days. It was a purgatory in which everything that weighed on him daily melted away. A genuine state of contentedness. He let his eyes fall shut, not to sleep, but just to exist in the moment. They fluttered open after a moment of silence, when Frank took in a breath as if to speak. When he didn't Mathis lifted his head some, his brows knitted expectantly. What came next had him smiling, a soft hum of a chuckle shaking his chest. They were simple words, but they reflected what he felt. There was a moment in which he glanced over Frank's face once more, the smile.

"And I like you." He mirrored. He moved a bit into him in a playful sort of nudge. After a moment, he pressed his lips together and cleared his throat with a hum. "You do mean a great deal to me." The hand across Frank's torso moved to press into his hip some. "You have for some time."

The answering laugh had his chest thrumming. A mirroring answer with a nudge was given, causing his grin to grow wider, eyes crinkling. There seemed to be even something more and he waited, rubbing a thumb reassuringly across Mathis’ side where he held. The words that finally came out had him stalling the motion. And the squeeze to his hip paired with the next statement left Frank without words once more. How far back was that for Mathis, he wondered. How far back had they mutually felt similar without knowing? How far back had he unknowingly been without this, where things actually felt right for one of the first times in months?

Letting go of the arm slowly, he cupped Mathis’ face with the hand, fingers brushing across his nose, under an eye and cheek, before just holding it tenderly. Frank’s gaze looked up from what he was doing in hopes there’d be eye contact. ”You as well. Thank you for taking the leap,” he breathed and then leaned forward to kiss at the tip of his nose teasingly before pulling away with a playful gaze.

The touch to his face had his eyes fluttering some, a soft smile pressing into the corners of his lips as he leaned into the touch. He watched Frank as moved his fingers along his cheek, and met his gaze when his was sought after. It was warming to hear his words repeated back to him. A settling, full feeling in his chest. The kiss to his nose startled him briefly, but he chuckled as Frank pulled away. His gaze flickered across his playful expression, and Mathis' brows raised some. After a brief moment to pick a target, he shifted upward some to place a retaliatory kiss against the corner of his lips.

The look of surprise had him breathing out a laugh, finding Mathis’ reaction what he’d been hoping for. He tried to mimic the eyebrow raise, but they went higher as Mathis leaned in and kissed the corner of his lips. It left the area tingly and there was a want to shift his head and meet them for real. But, he could play this game. Dropping his hand to lightly grip Mathis’ arm again, he leaned forward once more and ghosted one between his brows before dipping for lips. At the last moment he toyingly diverted to find residence at his chin instead.

He expected it this time, at least. Not exactly where, but there was preparation for a sudden peck somewhere. Between his eyebrows was an odd choice, and it had him chuckling through his nose as he knitted his brows when Frank moved away, scrunching that space. He froze when Frank moved lower, his lips parting some as Frank's just barely brushed his before psyching him out and planting a kiss against the scruff of his chin. It was frustrating, but endearing. Still, he only had so much patience. With with a small huff, Mathis moved the arm from Frank's chest to grip the back of his neck, a bit firmer than any previous touch, but surely not enough to be painful.

There was a beat in which he pulled back some to glance over Frank's face, eyeing his lips, then moving down to his neck. Fingers moved to wrap beneath one ear so that he could tug Frank's head away from him, allowing him to nestle his head into to crook of his neck and shoulder. One, two, three pecks, each a bit more firm than the next as he worked his way up toward Frank's jaw.

He smiled teasingly through the huff of air he felt on his face. There was a shift in the arm across him and his soft hold on it let go so as not to hinder. It traveled to his neck and held firmly, as Mathis pulled back. That gaze was roving and he just waggled his brows a bit, shit eating smile plastered there. Perhaps, he’d gotten under his skin, but it was worth it.

But then the gaze dropped to his neck, fingers from the hand that had held him pushed his head away as Mathis leaned in again and there was a sense it was more serious. As firm kisses went up towards his jaw, he let out a shaky breath, feeling heat travel up arms towards his face. His free hand found the side of Mathis' neck, while the arm that had been wrapped around shifted slowly down, grasping tightly to the waist it ended up at. This was entirely unfair position to retaliate with. Frank shifted his body some so he could be turned completely towards Mathis, watching him carefully from the poor vantage point he had.

He wasn’t stopped, which he was thankful for in the moment. Frank shifted some to turn more toward him, and he moved in time with the repositioning to keep his pattern. The proximity, the warmth of his skin, the smell of his cologne, the shake of his breath. It was a lot in combination with all of the other things that swam around his head, and it let him feeling flushed and slightly dizzy as he reached the curve of Frank’s jaw.

When he did, he pulled away to gather Frank’s expression with slightly darker, more amber tinged eyes. The cat was present, enjoying it, needy for the touch and attention. It was difficult to keep at least that feature of the cat at bay when he felt so similarly. There was the urge to continue, to lean in for an actual kiss, but he kept himself back. Some private test to see if Frank would initiate. A small attempt to feel out their respective roles in the tentative beginning stages of whatever this was or would become in the future

Mathis continuing the trail of the last few kisses to his jaw while shifting positions with him was maddening. As he pulled away, Frank looked at him a bit dazed, the path where lips had been feeling white hot. He tried to feign being upset with furrowed brows without much luck. It was hard to keep up the ploy as all shared thoughts that he and the cat had were to get closer and soak up anything they could, something further riled up by it seeing that amber gaze on him.

Frank’s gaze shifted from eyes to lips and then back up before leaning in once more, grip on his hip shifting. This time he didn’t tease or divert. Instead, he set a soft kiss to lips finally, drew back a minuscule bit while breathing in, before placing another more firmer one as his eyes changed to the dark blue of his cat.

There was a beat in which it looked like Frank was upset, or perhaps confused. It was difficult to read on account of it not lasting long, and the haze through which Mathis was peering at him. Still, he feared for a second that he'd gone too far. Which, he reminded himself, was not something he wanted to do. At any point in time, he would right himself and send them back another direction. But that train of thought was snuffed when Frank moved in once more.

Mathis hummed against the kiss, and breathed in as it deepened. His hand moved from the back of Frank's neck, and down along the curve of it. His thumb brushed the underside of his jaw as he drank in the kiss and the warmth that it flooded him with. When it ended, he found himself moving back for more. Once, twice, the third was when he pulled away with a shallow breath. Mathis tucked his head to press his forehead against Frank’s a smile spreading across his still parted lips as he released a small, breathless chuckle.

The hum reverberated through him and Frank moved his hand from where it had been holding on Mathis’ neck to glide up and against his head and through hair just to have reassurance this was real and try to push him closer. Frank melted into the kiss and the several others after, following greedily as Mathis kept pulling away, warmth seeming to crash through him. His other hand finally let go of the hip, lightly coming up to hold onto his neck. He could do this all night and never get bored of those lips on his or the way it made him feel.

But eventually, Mathis shifted away so their foreheads pressed to each other. Frank slowly blinked up at him, lips feeling hot. Shifting both hands to hold his face, he stroked with thumbs up and down cheeks. A wide smile broke out on Frank’s face accompanied with a quiet breathy laugh to pair with Mathis’ own, still feeling his heart racing, before ending in a contented sigh.

There was a large part of his brain and body that told him to keep going. There were, of course, natural reactions to the intimacy that could not be entirely ignored. But pulling away to breathe and slow the momentum gave him the edge of control back on certain feelings, and he swallowed them down as hands found his flushed cheeks. He breathed shakily, but mirrored Frank's grin despite not being able to see it on account of letting his eyes close. After a moment, his hand felt to Frank's thigh, and his thumb made a small circle there as he made to speak. "This... is the best I have felt in some time. Months, maybe longer." His voice was hardly above a murmur. "But I do not want to ruin anything by rushing. There is a lot to catch up on, things that went unaddressed. But we can take it slowly." It was not to say that he thought this was too much, and he hoped Frank understood that. But he felt it was best to determine both of their intentions now, map out boundaries, determine how to approaching this and whatever was to come.

Feeling that Mathis was about to say something, he let his hands drop slowly to to find a place holding wrists lightly, not wanting to cease contact if he didn’t have to, his mind still racing.

The hand to his thigh had Frank’s attention before eyes flicked to Mathis’ lips, hearing soft words, but the meaning lagged a bit after each was said until it slammed into sync again at the second sentence. Concern roped in seeming to dose some of the emotions playing through him. It was a relatable feeling and his gaze went up to fully look at him again. This was by far the best he had felt in almost half a year too so he understood in some way, but he hated that Mathis had to go even one day of feeling anything other than this. The light grip he had tightened to a reassuring hold.

Frank furrowed his brows and they went up a tad, wrinkling his forehead as more was said. It was an effort to pump the brakes in a good way, to slow down just in case, and his chest seized up at the thoughtfulness and care. Based on just a minute ago, it would be too easy and tempting to rush, to see if he could push Mathis back into the couch and continue where they left off, see how far it went. Batting away those thoughts as best as possible, he cleared his throat. No, he didn’t want that, not really if he delved into it. He wanted something that mattered and this did so much and he didn’t want to fuck it up now that it was a tangible thing. He wanted to build this up the right way together. ”I want to do this right,” he said firmly, but softly, shaking the arms in his hold lightly. ”I’d really like that, taking it slow.” He didn’t want to make the same mistakes he regrettably could see now away from his last relationship. Mathis deserved that and so much more and that started with setting down the right foundation.

The hands moved, and he was privately glad they did, as the cat was still riled and giddy but feeling crowded. Overstimulated, was a better word. Mathis shifted some to rest his head more on the back of the couch, but still turned to look at Frank. There was a few moment's pause, and he considered if he had made a mistake here. Had he come to some senses now that the moment had settled? Was he regretting anything? Or maybe offended that Mathis would stop things. Eventually, Frank spoke up and it was, again, in agreement with him. Mathis would have to work on not assuming the worst. Maybe with time, when this was not so new and tentative, he would not be so terrified of taking one wrong step and having it all crumble beneath him.

It was reassuring to hear, that Frank was interested in this becoming more than just... making out on his couch on New Years Eve. If they had been drinking, Mathis would have been concerned it was just the booze. But this was real, sober, and in living color. A lot to take in at once, but ultimately something Mathis was certain he wanted, too. With a soft breath through his nose, he smiled, then moved to snuggle a bit closer into Frank, bent of eliminating as much space as he could between them. "We can still do this." He said, in reference to laying in one another's company. He did, reluctantly, glance to his watch. The time showed 1:50. "But it's late." He lamented. The idea of pulling himself up and driving home sounded like an impossible feat.

He roved his face for a sign and was given movement in answer instead. Mathis shifted closer to him and Frank wrapped an arm around his waist. The offer to still be close was taken up immediately. ”Please,” he agreed happily. He moved a tad to put his back to the couch again before leaning more comfortably against him.

The mention of time was a grounding thought of reality, but he didn’t want him to go, to say goodbye to tonight. But, it was indeed late and they both needed sleep eventually. Where he’d been feeling wide awake before, were some pulls of tiredness even with his cat sitting close enough to be mildly uncomfortable.

There was some implication to what he wanted to ask, some forwardness not intended, but it needed to be offered. Frank would rather he stay safely here, but if Mathis wanted to go home in the end, it wouldn’t be pressed further. ”You can stay the night, if you’re tired,” he said after a moment. ”To actually sleep,” an added addition said kindly and with a bit of amusement and squeeze to his waist, in hopes it didn’t come out like he was trying to mislead.

Frank was incredibly comfortable and incredibly warm. It likely had something to do with the fact that now that he had acknowledged the hour, his body was realizing that it was indeed exhausted. His eyes fell shut, and he bit back a yawn as Frank offered him to stay the night. There was a part of him that urged him to say no, he possibly couldn't, it would be overstaying his welcome! But leaving felt impossible right now, for more reasons than just being tired. The addition had him smirking some, a soft chuckle as he realized the implications. There was a distant chill along his spine as he realized that doing more than 'actually sleeping' was something that was a very real possibility, in the future. It was a weird mix of excitement and anxiety that he pushed away in favor of nestling his cheek into Frank's shoulder. "Alright." He agreed. "I'll take the guest room." Even now, it felt wrong to think of sleeping anywhere else. Not that he would not have liked to stay like this all night, but something about moving to Frank's bed felt presumptuous to assume.

A warm smile played at the reply and chuckle while laying onto his shoulder, glad he’d taken the offer and that no fault had been found in it. There was some self indulgent comfort in knowing that Mathis would be here now and in the morning. “Good.” He looked down at him, closing eyes and planting a small kiss to the top of his forehead, before settling to partially leaning against Mathis and the cushions behind them. For now, Frank was content with them just staying like this, not wanting to move when it felt warm and safe as he found it increasingly hard to keep eyes open as time went on. Eventually, he let them fall as he lightly ran fingers slowly up and down the waist and wrist he held.

Less than a week ago he’d been right here, but alone and scared of shifting, wondering if he should even bother anyone, unable to quiet his mind. This was such a stark difference from that and it seemed to open a floodgate for exhaustion to burst out and finally making him succumb. There was a slackening into Mathis as his consciousness dipped briefly after a few minutes.

Good. Mathis smiled, exhaling heavily as Frank kissed at his forehead then settled in. The stroking was soothing, and as the comfortable silence settled over them, he let his eyes fall shut. His mind was still a whirlwind, despite the heaviness of sleep threatening to overtake him. They lay for minutes, and Mathis listened to the rhythmic sound of Frank's heartbeat and breathing. Eventually, both slowed, and the stroking trailed off as Frank relaxed beneath him. A smirk pulled at the corners of his lips as he peeled his eyes open. The idea of getting up felt a lot like having to crawl out of a six foot hole. But they couldn't sleep here.

So he would push himself up gently, carefully moving Frank's arms aside. He would stand first, stretching his arms and back before turning to peer down at the snoozing Frank. Leaning forward, he gripped the arm of the couch so that he could place a kiss atop Frank's head, before moving his hands to either of his upper arms to tug lightly, just enough pressure to jostle him awake. If he stirred, he'd slide his hands down toward Frank's elbows and help to hoist him off the couch. "Come, to bed." He instructed softly.

There was just a weightless, but simple comfort feeling the enveloped him. A grip finally registered after it moved him some. Frank opened bleary eyes, blinking heavily against sleep and the light, a bit confused. There was support being given further down his arms, and he looked up slowly at the words. Bed. Okay. He nodded. Letting feet drop back down to the floor, he leaned his weight into the support offered after clasping arms and got up slowly, everything feeling heavy, eyelids occasionally shutting for long pauses when he blinked. Yawning, he stayed close and dropped his hold minus one that slipped to try to find a hand to grasp, taking a step wherever Mathis led.

There was no better way to describe him other than a sleepy house cat. Frank was sluggish and bleary. Mathis chuckled some as Frank attempted to keep himself standing, watching for a moment to be sure he was roused enough to move. He let their grip move to one hand, but he shifted so that he was walking somewhat behind Frank. One hand pressing to the small of his back, whilst the other held a grip on Frank’s as he moved toward the bedroom.

It was a short walk, and Mathis was thankful there were no stairs involved. They reached the bedroom, and Mathis hesitated in letting Frank just lay in his clothes on the bed. But having him change seemed like a bigger ordeal than was needed, so he would pause to tug the blanket aside before letting the man slump down. It would only be after Frank got comfortable before he ducked to brush a small kiss to his cheek, then begin to pull away. ”Goodnight, Frank.” He murmured.

He rubbed at his face and made the way to the bedroom at the prompt, the touch behind keeping him going. Knowing the layout of the house it was easy to give in a bit to keeping eyes shut for the most part and he had full faith that if he was about to hit a wall Mathis wasn’t going to let him.

Once in the bedroom, Frank made his way to the bed and rolled onto it in relief, settling. There was some vestiges of a question that floated up with the kiss to his cheek and goodnight. Pinching his brow, he pulled the hand still in his grasp towards him, not wanting Mathis to leave just yet. “Wait,” he mumbled back thickly. Words were hard when he kept wanting to drift off. But, he wanted him here. So, forcing eyes open with a long hard blink, he looked up at Mathis who was still hovering close. “Sleep in here,” came out as more of a question and he’d respect whatever answer was given, but he’d really like it if Mathis stayed.

He moved to step away, but the grip on his hand suddenly tightened. A huffed a small chuckle, his brows knitting some as he looked into the barely-conscious face. They raised at the half-request half-question, and he glanced to the bed. The idea was, ultimately, appealing. Mathis gave Frank's hand a squeeze, then nodded. "Alright." He agreed. He had been wanting to at least take his pants off. Sleeping in jeans wasn't ideal. But it felt inappropriate, so he resigned himself to mild discomfort in exchange for extreme comfort. With a low sigh, he moved toward the end of the bed so that he could ease over Frank without risking knocking into him as he climbed in. It took a few moments of adjusting and wiggling beneath blankets before he was able to lay with his chest to Frank's back. And arm moved to drape over and grab for a hand to tuck his over, then pulled backward to press Frank into a firm hug. He relaxed with an exhale, and his eyes fluttered shut as he found a place to settle his cheek. Eventually, they would get too warm to be comfortable at this proximity, but for now this felt right.

There were three confirmations in some way and that had his tired mind content. If Mathis had chosen to say no, his presence would’ve been missed. This was so much better. Frank let go of the hand and shifted over to give Mathis more room while he shut his eyes again, listening to the rustling of fabric and feeling the way the bed dipped nearby as Mathis got comfortable. An unexpected light weight came across to grab a hand before pulling his back up against Mathis’ chest, bringing a smile to his lips. Frank’s moved his hand out from under a pillow to hold the hand. Another wave of tiredness washed over him, that when paired with the close proximity, made him slip off again before long, feeling warm and happy in a way he hadn’t felt in what seemed forever. He was still not entirely sure how this could be real, how he’d gotten lucky after months of everything seeming to crumble around him instead. If he hadn’t been so tired, his mind would’ve been buzzing with excitement. For now, contentment washed over him as he looked forward to what would come next.

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