Early One Morning

With thanks to my beta reader Roa1

Richard lay on his side and studied Craig's face. How cute he looks when he's asleep, Richard thought. Not that Craig would appreciate that description of course; he'd prefer something along the lines of 'incredibly sexy'. But he did look cute, very cute – and desirable. Richard smiled to himself as he considered sharing his opinion with Craig. He pictured how the conversation would go,

"You look so cute when you're asleep," he'd say mischievously, and Craig would get that look in his eye that meant only one thing and reply,

"Cute! I do not look cute. I look sexy." And he would proceed to show Richard just how sexy he could be.

Moments like that, when Craig would totally dominate, were relatively rare. When they'd first become lovers Richard had assumed that Craig would always want to take the lead in bed, just as he preferred to take command when they were on missions together. He'd been pleasantly surprised to find that he'd been mistaken and that Craig preferred a more equal relationship and even enjoyed completely relinquishing control sometimes. Richard was the more adventurous and inventive of the two of them when it came to love making; Craig acknowledged this and so was more than happy to follow Richard's lead at times.

Richard thought back to the night when his suspicions had finally been confirmed that Craig really loved and wanted him. Craig had been scared that he'd lose Richard's friendship if he confessed his feelings and they'd spent the better part of the afternoon and evening lurching from one misunderstanding to the next. When Craig finally managed to tell his friend how he felt Richard had hurried to take him in his arms and reassure him that everything was going to be all right and that the feeling was mutual. Craig had been so very fragile at that moment and seemed to find it difficult to believe that Richard really felt the same way. So Richard had abandoned trying to tell him in words, taken him to bed, and shown him instead. Afterwards he and Craig had just held one another for hours, neither saying a word, just being together. It was one of the most poignant moments of Richard's life and he'd wanted it to go on forever.

All too soon they'd had to fly home, see Tremayne and hand over their reports. Their boss had said he was going to keep them on stand-by because, as he put it,

"Something big is about to happen, we have everything organised and I want you two available. In the meantime you can both go home and await my call."

They'd gone back to Richard's flat to make the most of their unexpected free time. They'd met Sharron in the doorway and greeted her a little sheepishly. She'd immediately dispelled any fears they had by hugging them each in turn. Then she'd surprised them by saying,

"It's about time!"

Apparently she'd known for quite a while how they felt about one another but had decided it was better for them to discover it for themselves. She'd said that she had been watching, waiting and hoping for the moment when the realisation would finally sink in with them.

He and Craig had discussed the possibility of moving in together but decided that, at least for the time being, they should each retain their own flat. One reason for this was the fact that relationships like theirs had only recently been legalised in Richard's native country and were still outside the law in almost all of the USA, where Craig hailed from. Both of them were very aware that there was still a lot of opposition to overcome. They were concerned that if they made their liaison public it might create awkwardness when they had to work with other agents. The job was difficult and dangerous enough already and they decided it was prudent to minimise any additional risks by keeping quiet about their relationship.

The other reason for continuing to live separately was Richard's ongoing need for personal space. While Craig was easy going enough to have no problems living alongside someone else, Richard had times when he needed to be by himself. Much as he loved Craig he still felt the need to shut himself away and just be by himself to regroup now and again. He was eternally grateful to Craig for his understanding and acceptance of this. Craig never took it personally when Richard requested that he back off for a little while. He would do what his friend asked and wait patiently, without pressuring him in any way, until he was ready to re-engage. The occurrences of this had decreased considerably over the time they had been together, and it was now quite rare that Richard would feel overwhelmed by their closeness and need to be alone for a while. The majority of their time was spent together, both inside and outside of work, and Richard never ceased to marvel that he could be so happy spending so much time in someone else's company.

As Richard thought about how much happiness their relationship had brought them both Craig stirred and opened his eyes. Richard smiled inwardly as he said with a perfectly straight face,

"You look so cute when you're asleep."

Craig fell straight into the trap.

"Cute! I do not look cute. I look sexy," he replied.

Richard laughed and then he sighed with pleasure as Craig proceeded to do just what Richard had known he would.