The dreams Maxxie had that night were a far cry from sugarplum fairies and candy canes. In fact, there wasn't all that much time for sleeping, and when he finally did manage to lay his head down; he snuggled against Tony, soaking up his warmth, mind not daring to stray from what had just happened.
He dozed for several hours before he realised that his companion hadn't caught even one wink of sleep and instead, had sat up the entire night, simply watching him sleep instead.
Sighing into the pillows, Maxxie instinctively edged closer to Tony upon waking, nuzzling into the crook of his neck and searching for his hand. Surprisingly, the dark-haired man beside him obliged and sleep soon washed over both of them once again.
In Maxxie's opinion, this was quite possibly the best way to spend Christmas Day, not exactly expected, but perfect all the same.
It was nearing 7am when he stirred again; the sound of children squealing excitedly upstairs had disturbed him. A herd of elephants jumping around and banging across the floorboards did that to a person. Immediately he moved to rest his chin on Tony's chest, peering up at him through a mess of matted, blonde hair.
'Tony?' he murmured into the silence.
Disappointingly a grunt was his only response and Tony turned his head away, bringing a hand up to cover his face and hide it from view.
Maxxie frowned and then crawled further up the bed so that they were face-to-face; making sure that Tony couldn't avoid his gaze when he spoke again. 'Does this mean you missed me, then?' he queried, an eyebrow arching in curiosity and a smirk playing on his lips.
Silence followed for another minute or so, tense yet comfortable, and then came the muffled reply, 'I don't know, I haven't decided yet.'
Pressing his lips together tightly, Maxxie turned his gaze away, instead watching his own hand as he tiptoed his fingers slowly across Tony's chest. He laid his head back down onto the pillow, fingertips leading a trail downwards, tracing the lightly defined muscles of Tony's stomach, gradually moving lower and lower and-
'Yes, all right, I fucking missed you!'
Grinning disdainfully, Maxxie continued the actions he'd put a stop to when Tony had interrupted him, speaking leisurely as he did so, 'How much?'
There was a very brief silence as Tony relaxed against the mattress and then as Maxxie's hand found its desired destination, the room became anything but silent. He couldn't help but laugh softly to himself as he kept his eyes on his companions face, watching his reactions to the practised movements of his hand.
It took mere seconds for Tony to tire of having no control and his hand tangled into Maxxie's hair, pulling his face to his and kissing him hungrily. No hesitation went into returning the kiss and Maxxie soon found himself moaning enthusiastically, giving as good as he got, his earlier activities forgotten.
Naturally, this didn't go unnoticed by Tony and he soon mumbled, 'I never said you could stop.'
Typical Tony, and Maxxie didn't really want to obey, but he couldn't help himself, his fingers itching to touch, lips desperate to taste, to know that this was actually real.
Although, things never did go exactly how Tony planned them to and just as he cried out – probably louder than intended – the shadow of his little sister burst through the bedroom door, holding a jingling mobile phone out in front of her. All earlier plans were forgotten as Tony's moan transformed into an enraged shout of her name.
She held her hand out further, sapphire eyes anxious, clearly wanting to be rid of the tiny flip phone.
It took Maxxie several more rings to realise the article in her hand was actually his and he quickly moved to sit up, holding his hands out as she tossed it across the room. He caught it easily, staring down at the caller ID blankly before connecting the call and pressing the handset to his ear.
'Fucks sake Maxxie, I've called four times, what the hell are you doing?' came Rob's distinct cockney accent.
He chose not to answer that question, his eyes on Effy who was still stood in the doorway and it was then he noticed her very obvious state of undress. She didn't appear bothered by it, leaning against the doorframe; her gaze fixed firmly upon them both lying there in bed. It was unnerving all in honesty. Did she always wander around Tony's flat like that?
Sighing in frustration, Maxxie forced himself to ignore it. 'Is everything OK?' he queried, speaking softly into the phone.
'No, everything is not OK,' said Rob, sounding agitated. 'Emma's gone into labour and you're supposed to be here and you're fucking well not.'
He blinked. His best friend was having a baby and was too busy shagging his ex-boyfriend, well, ex-fuck buddy, to even answer his phone. He couldn't help the feeling of disgust settling over him. It only heightened as he felt Tony sit up behind him and begin to rub his shoulders.
'Rob, I'm in Bristol, it's Christmas Day, I can't get there,' he explained, feeling gradually worse with each word. 'There's no way.'
'Listen, I know all that, but if you don't get here I'm afraid there's going to be a murder and I don't mean…' his words trailed off and for a moment Maxxie could hear him talking to someone quietly in the background. He couldn't quite make out what was being said, but pressed the phone harder to his ear and tried anyway.
A minute passed before anyone spoke again and this time he recognised the voice as Emma's immediately and it was surprisingly calm considering the circumstances. 'Max?' she started. 'I need you; you have to get here… now!' He swallowed, guilt consuming him rather quickly. 'If you don't get here, Rob may end up dead, so I advise it.'
The line went dead and it took Maxxie a second to realise he was biting down so hard on his lip that he'd actually broken the skin beneath. He licked the spot with a small sigh, feeling the bitter taste of iron in his mouth and then tossed the phone aside, muttering a string of obscenities under his breath. Finally shrugging Tony's hands off his shoulders, he raked a hand uneasily into his hair and looked back at him.
'Fuck,' he managed eventually. 'I gotta go home.'
Moving to the edge of the bed, he was about to throw the covers aside when he realised Effy was still stood motionless, almost statue like, in the doorway of the room. He didn't really feel much like exposing himself to those watchful eyes of hers, so stopped mid action, a breath catching in his throat.
Tony was the one to get her to leave, simply shooting her a pointed look and saying, 'Ef, get out!'
Once the door had slammed closed and Maxxie leapt up from the bed, beginning to throw his clothes back on, Tony cleared his throat, making his presence known once again. 'So, what's going on then?' he asked, genuinely curious.
Maxxie paused midway through doing his jeans up and looked towards Tony, his hands falling limply at his sides. He'd really gone and screwed things up this time, and if Emma ever found out where he was, Rob wouldn't be the only one lined up for the executioners block later today. Fuck, he really had made a mess of things.
'Emma's having the baby and I promised I'd be there for her,' he explained half-heartedly, turning his attention away from Tony and back to buttoning his fly.
Tony stared blankly for a moment and then, 'Why? Is it yours?' he asked, his eyes inquisitive.
'No it's not fucking mine, you twat!' Maxxie shot back, picking up his hoodie from the foot of the bed and yanking it over his head. 'Rupert doesn't want kids; I'm hardly going to go doing it behind his back, am I?'
'You might.' Tony shrugged, carefree, sliding from beneath the duvet and wandering to the bathroom. 'I want kids,' he added, casually bigging himself up, and then pulled the door closed behind him.
Maxxie tripped over his own feet, falling flat on his face as the comment hit home. He growled to himself in annoyance and then threw the socks he'd been trying to put on across the room. He realised it was immature immediately, but didn't have the strength in him to care. Tony was doing this on purpose, he was sure of it; acting all perfect just to spite him.
By the time Tony stepped out of the bathroom, thankfully now wearing a towel around his waist, he was clutching a toothbrush in his hand.
'Thought you could use this, because no offence Max, but you look like shit,' he said, smirking and clearly enjoying the moment.
Maxxie scowled and then leapt to his feet, snatching the toothbrush from Tony's outstretched hand and stomping his way into the bathroom to clean himself up. His maturity levels were now on par with a fifteen-year-old, any moment now he would throw the door open and scream, 'I hate you!' at the top of his voice. Well, perhaps not. So he had the maturity levels of a nineteen-year-old then.
By the time he considered himself presentable enough to face the world and stepped out into the living room, he found a fully clothed Tony stood near the front door, his jacket clutched in one hand and a set of car keys in the other.
'Ready?' he asked with a magnificent grin.
Maxxie faltered in the alcove that led to the bedroom and stopped walking right then, confusion flooding his features. 'What are you doing?' he shot back.
Tony raised an eyebrow in response, and then said, 'I'm driving you there, what the fuck do you think I'm doing?'
Shaking his head, he continued on into the main room and then snatched his jacket from Tony, tugging it on with a small sigh. 'You can't drive me. How's that going to look if you turn up at the hospital?' he murmured. 'Emma'll have a fit.'
'Your friend Emma will be too drugged up to know shit, don't worry about it.' Tony shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and then looked over to the couch where Effy was sat munching her way through a bowl of Coco Pops. 'Don't wreck the place while we're gone,' he told her firmly.
Maxxie risked a weak smile in her direction and she simply smirked at him before popping another spoonful of cereal into her mouth.
For the next couple of hours he found himself incapable of speech and instead tuned the radio in Tony's car to a station he found playing Christmas songs, choosing to sing along to Last Christmas in full voice, while Tony just sat and laughed at him. There was something annoyingly familiar about it all and Maxxie couldn't shift the sense of déjà vu lurking in the back of his mind.
They reached the hospital just under two hours later and Maxxie leapt out of the car with urgency and practically went flying across the car park when Tony grabbed hold of his sleeve to stop him. He span back ready to start shouting but instead found himself silenced as Tony's lips met his in a tender kiss. 'I'm not going anywhere,' he whispered, actions so unlike him.
Maxxie didn't know what to do with himself, Tony's little display had thrown him completely, and for a minute, he simply stared, fixed to the spot by his pure stupidity.
'Didn't you have somewhere to be?'
Blinking slowly, Maxxie nodded and then threaded his fingers through Tony's, pulling him into the hospital with him.
It didn't take long to track down Emma, they could hear her screaming from the other side of the hospital and upon reaching maternity ward realise what she was screaming wasn't so polite. They found Rob sat in the waiting room, head in his hands and looking a whiter shade of pale. One of the nurses was hovering not far from him, clutching a cup of water in her hand anxiously.
'You didn't throw up again did you, Rob?' asked Maxxie playfully.
'Shut up, don't know what you mean,' was the garbled reply and the nurse leapt forward, hands outstretched as if preparing herself for the worst.
There had been an incident when Emma had Luke in which Rob had spent the majority of the birth with his head stuck down the toilet. He'd finally emerged an hour after she'd had the baby, appearing considerably green around the gills and drenched in sweat. Emma however, had looked radiant, all rosy cheeks and mesmerising smiles.
Loosing Tony's hand, Maxxie walked over to join his friend, sitting down beside him and taking the water from the nurse with a timid smile. He offered it to Rob and then cautiously wrapped an arm around him; rubbing his back in what he hoped was a comforting manner.
'How's she doing?' he asked after a moment or two, his eyes on Tony as he paced back and forth in front of the windows.
Rob mumbled something incoherent and then finally said, 'She's already threatened to cut off certain parts of my anatomy, so I'd say pretty well on the whole, thanks.'
Maxxie laughed shortly only to be cut off by a scream that brought them all back to their senses and Rob quickly glanced back over his shoulder, suddenly alarmed, his eyes wide as saucers.
'Better get back in there, mate,' Tony commented from his spot, his expression oddly curious.
'Oh God, I can't…'
They both turned back to Rob and moment later he was up and out of his seat, racing to the toilets on the other side of the waiting room instead of the obvious place. Not quite the reaction anyone expected of the father to be.
Tony perked an eyebrow, his hands now shoved into his back pockets and a whimsical smile planted firmly in place. 'Strong stomach, that one,' he said.
Maxxie ignored him, attention elsewhere, and then without warning got to his feet, declaring, 'I'm going in.'
Well, Emma needed someone, didn't she?
'She's so tiny… and she has such little fingers and toes, it's like… God, Tony, you should see her!' He was well aware he was gushing and in return Tony was looking at him like he'd grown a second head. 'She's got these massive brown eyes and… and…' he trailed off, sighing happily, as he felt Tony's fingers tangle into his hair.
'You're so cute,' said Tony, the beginnings of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. 'I don't know how he can deny you anything.'
It was the biggest turnaround Maxxie had ever witnessed, but he couldn't help love where it was heading. Why couldn't Tony have behaved this way a few years ago, when he had really needed him to? All that fucking around had just created a big mess that would now need sorting out and it wouldn't be easy for anyone.
'Where is he anyway? Your oh so perfect boyfriend?'
Maxxie moved his gaze over to Tony, frowning at his acidic words. 'Rob said they couldn't get hold of him,' he answered. 'So I've no idea. He's never been the most reliable of people, not recently anyway at least.'
Nodding, Tony tightened the grip he had on Maxxie's hair and then brought their faces closer together. 'Oh well, the longer he's not around, the longer I get you all to myself for,' he said, his eyes twinkling mischievously. 'Coming back to mine tonight? You were visiting your family in Bristol after all, wouldn't want to cut it short, that wouldn't be fair to them.'
'You're hardly family, Tone,' he scoffed, holding back a dry laugh.
'No, I'm not,' Tony replied thoughtfully, his words gentle. 'But, who knows, maybe someday I could be… if that's OK with you that is.'
Rendered temporarily speechless, Maxxie brought his gaze to Tony's and then pressed their lips together in a tentative kiss, murmuring, 'Fine by me.'
Another grin flickered across Tony's face, and then he got to his feet, brushing down his trouser legs before finally holding his hand out towards Maxxie, who accepted it graciously. 'Have they thought of any names for her yet?' he questioned, starting back into the hospital. 'Personally, I like Isis…'