Abel came awake slow, his heartbeat loud in his ears.
Not his heartbeat. Cain's.
Cain's? Abel stretched his stiff neck just a little, opened his eyes just a little, trying to adjust the angle of his head against Cain's chest without waking him up. He'd gotten used to waking up alone, just the way things were. Didn't ask where Cain went so early every morning or why he had to leave every time. Just the way things were.
He wondered if he should wake Cain up, but couldn't see the clock without taking his ear off Cain's chest, who probably wouldn't appreciate being woken up if it was still the middle of the night. Cain's problem if he was late getting somewhere.
Abel curled one hand against Cain's chest, listening to the lazy shush-shush of his heart. Maybe this was why Cain left so early every morning, to avoid thinking about the awkward intimacy of lying here together.
His fingers trailed over the dark muscle of Cain's chest, over his ribs and down his side. Smooth and cool. Falling asleep together afterwards was different, when Abel at least could pretend exhaustion to avoid the embarrassment of being cuddled, of having to admit to someone besides himself that he missed the company, of wondering where Cain had been and if he thought about it. Cain had pulled Abel back the few times he'd rolled away too soon after, which Abel put down to being a possessive jerk even in his sleep. Even if sex was fast and distant lately, Cain distracted and annoyed when Abel managed to stay awake late enough to see him come in.
Cain heaved a sigh and Abel's hand stopped, guiltily tangled in the sheet over Cain's sharp hip. Cain turned his head a little on the pillow and Abel took his hand away, ready to pretend he was asleep to avoid Cain's anger or mocking or both. Cain sighed again and pressed his nose in Abel's hair.
Abel put his hand back on Cain's hip tentatively.
He shifted a little, hard from waking up, trying to ignore Cain getting hard in his sleep. Didn't mean anything. He should go back to sleep. Cain's arm around his shoulder tightened reflexively to keep him from moving away.
At least they weren't spooning. Cain had growled and rolled over to pin him down the one time Abel had curled around him, and was smotheringly possessive when he wrapped around Abel. This was better, with Cain on his back, quiet and still even if he did take up most of the little bed. Abel's hand brushed down his thigh and back to his hip. During sex Cain was all angles and bony pelvis, sharp as he rocked into Abel, but asleep he was—not soft, definitely not soft, but maybe sculptural, hard and beautiful without the danger.
Abel sighed, putting his hand back up on Cain's shoulder. Took a couple of deep breaths. Didn't help; Cain's smell, sharp and almost floral like gin, cut under the fake smell of Fleet's standard detergent. Abel slid his fingers up Cain's neck, his thumb catching on that sharp black earring. If he nudged his thumb under it, touching the soft juncture of ear and neck, he could pretend that sharpness wasn't there.
He should go back to sleep. Whatever he'd expected, from Fleet, from Cain, from himself, it wasn't this.
Maybe he should get up, take a shower and catch up on his paperwork. Abel peeked up at him, nudging Cain's face away from his hair just a little. All he could see was chin and parted lips. He angled his head further back on Cain's shoulder.
Cain's breathing was deep and even in the warm confines of the room. Abel reached up to brush a piece of hair away from Cain's eyes, messy and rumpled against the pillow and his face. His fingertips grazed Cain's parted lips.
Abel yelped as his hand was jerked away across Cain's chest, caught by the wrist.
"What do you think you're doing?" Cain growled, sharp and suddenly awake. One hand pulling Abel across his chest by the wrist, the other tangling in his hair as he tried to pull away. He was pinned against Cain, nose and mouth pressed up against his neck.
"Nothing, I was just—" Abel stopped, distracted by Cain's lips on the inside of his wrist.
"Doesn't feel like nothing, princess," Cain said, flicking Abel's hand away suddenly. He pushed Abel away, rolling them both to their sides. Abel pressed back into him, hoping Cain was sleepy enough to take it slow for once, but needy and hard either way.
Cain pressed Abel down onto his stomach, hand rough and hard on his shoulder. Abel adjusted himself as Cain leveraged his arm out from under them, fine with being pressed into the mattress if it meant attention.
"Go back to sleep," Cain ordered, settling against Abel's back with one arm across him and one knee hooked over Abel's legs. Abel held his breath a little, waiting for Cain's hands to move.
He reached behind him to brush Cain's hair. "Don't you want to—?"
Cain pulled his hand away and held his wrist to the mattress. "It's the middle of the fucking night. Go to sleep."
Abel lay there, pinned again, trying not to think about Cain's mouth pressed to his shoulder. When Cain's alarm went off a few hours later, Abel watched him get dressed and leave, neither of them speaking.