tumblr prompt from thetucc: "Matthew/Alice + #12 things you said when you thought I was asleep."
Alice liked to talk when she thought him asleep; where normally she'd hold back, she voiced her fears, wishes, and opinions in the dark where it was safe as her fingers trailed over his skin. The first time he'd heard her voice at night, he'd tensed in her bed and she'd stopped. He learned, in the following weeks, to let her speak without interruption.
Some nights, her musings were mundane - thoughts as nonsensical as the designs she traced on the back of his hand, his arm, his shoulder. Other nights - the nights when her voice wavered, her hands shook, and he felt her body tremble in his arms - Matthew pulled her in close and nuzzled her hair until she relaxed.
It was a game they played: Matthew feigning sleep, Alice babbling whatever thought that came to her complex mind - both dancing around actual conversation as they fell into bed together again and again.
Out there, in Ballarat, not much had changed between them. Alice worked in the morgue alongside Lucien, occasionally visiting the police station to deliver test results. Matthew solved crimes in between the bureaucratic paperwork of his position. They dined together with the Blakes often, both aware of their mutual friends' plans to match them together - both loving the game of hiding their... liaisons from their friends until Alice and Matthew figured it out for themselves.
In here, in Alice's darkened bedroom, tucked away from the prying eyes of the town they were allowed to simply be. They could bring each other to new heights of passion and seek out the physical affection both craved without worrying what others thought of the arrangement. Matthew had to admit, he found himself enjoying his nights in her bed far more than he did his nights at the Blake household.
He loved all of Alice's little nuances; the way she curled up under his chin, the way she scrunched her nose when thinking, the way she snuffled (not quite a snore) in her sleep, and the way her mind worked as she talked aloud. He loved the way she kissed, still unsure at first - as though she were giving him an out - before she gave it her all, the way her hands cradled his face, neck, and grasped his shoulders as she rode him. He loved how she pouted in her sleep whenever he had to leave in the early morning - her hands seeking his warmth even as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.
He loved her.
He just had no idea how to tell her.
"Matthew," Alice pressed a kiss to his chest, followed by another to his chin. "Matthew, I know you're not sleeping."
He smiled and kept his eyes closed, "You do, do you?"
Alice's body shook with silent laughter as she kissed his jaw, "I can hear you thinking."
"Is that so?"
"What are you going to do about it?" He smoothed his hands up and down the soft skin of her back as Alice buried her fingers in his hair and tugged him to her for a kiss.
"I was going to reprimand you for not paying attention when I spoke, but I suppose that would go against our little game, wouldn't it?"
Matthew nodded, pulling Alice in for another kiss - his tongue lazily meeting hers as she sighed into it. "It would, but what did you want me to hear?"
"Well, Superintendent," Alice hummed (she liked to call him by his rank to tease him - another thing he loved about her), her fingers trailing from his hair to trace his jaw with featherlight touches. "I was going to propose a change."
"Mm... more like a shift in our current relationship."
Matthew opened his eyes and saw Alice watching him intently in the dark. His hands continued their circuit up and down her back and he nodded. "Okay... what's your proposal, Doctor Harvey?"
Alice continued to watch him, her light eyes seemingly seeing right through him (she'd always had an intense gaze, he'd noted that even before they'd started sleeping together), as her hands cupped his jaw.
Matthew pressed a kiss to the pad of her thumb as she traced his bottom lip with it and he smiled when she shivered in his embrace.
"I'd... I'd like, Matthew, if... maybe we could go out some time... together."
"You'd like to go out on a date?"
Alice nodded, "I love what we have here, Matthew, I love our little sanctuary here in my bedroom, but... I don't want to hide anymore. I think I love you too much to keep that hidden from everyone."
Matthew's eyebrows rose and he could faintly make out a blush on Alice's cheeks, but he simply pulled her in for another kiss - smiling at Alice's noise of surprise as he rolled her underneath him on the bed.
"Oh, sweetheart," He kissed her deeply, and felt her arms wind around his neck and shoulders as he settled his weight on top of her. "Sweetheart, I thought you'd never ask."
"You're okay with this?" she whispered - her eyes wide and nervous.
"More than okay, sweetheart," Matthew dropped a quick kiss to her lips. "I love you too, and I'd love to be seen on your arm."
Alice's giddy laughter was music to his ears. Matthew loved hearing her talk when she thought him sleeping, but this, oh this was much better.