Pairings/: Kevin/Mike
Disclaimer/: Don't own it.
Warnings/: Angst, mentions of a previous abusive relationship
Author's Notes/: This is a prequel to Staying Mad, because it was awful and not what I wanted at all. . So I decided to explore the backstory for Mike that just sort of ... happened in that one, and ended up with this. Surprisingly it was a lot easier to write.

Written for PunkPinkPower, because She Has A Problem. I hope you like it, sweetie. ^.^;;

The first time Mike tried to sneak into his room in the middle of the night, Kevin almost stabbed him.


He squinted in the dark, groggy and annoyed and not entirely awake. "Why are you doing trying to crawl into my bed?" he demanded.

Mike stared up at him from where he'd been pinned to the floor, looking far too indignant for someone who was sneaking around in the middle of the night. "What are you doing sleeping with a knife under your pillow?!"

"Wakazashi," he corrected automatically.

It was too dark to see, but he suspected Mike was rolling his eyes. "Whatever. Can I get up now, since I'm not here to kill you?"

Kevin frowned, but moved off him anyway. "You still haven't answered the question."

Mike muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "Paranoid freak." as he got up, pausing to rub the shoulder he'd been thrown by. "I ... " He mumbled something only Jayden and small dogs would hear.

Kevin sighed. "What was that?"

"I had a nightmare, okay?!" Mike snapped defensively.

"And you came to *me*?" he asked skeptically. They'd known each other barely more than a month and it was already no secret that he and Mike didn't get along.

Mike huffed and folded his arms. "I just wanna go back to sleep. Mia would have fussed over me and fed me hot chocolate and made me bond with her or something. And Jayden ... I'm not going to Jayden because I had a nightmare. So, here I am."

He stared at him. Part of him wanted to ask why *him*, why he didn't go to Emily, or what had even made him think he was welcome in the first place. But it was late, he was tired, and Mike was clearly uncomfortable as it was.

He sighed again. "Fine."

Mike paused. "What?"

"Get in." He lifted the blankets pointedly, because he wasn't offering a second time.

Mike practically dove in, scooting over toward the wall. He lay down again, pulling the blankets up and closing his eyes. He tried to ignore the body suddenly pressed against his side, almost clutching his arm, and the soft mumble of "Thanks."

Sleep was a long time in coming.

The second time Mike snuck in, he woke up enough to remember not to attack him, but not enough to hold in the groan.

Mike froze, one hand in the process of lifting the blankets. "I'll go," he said hurriedly. "I can - I'm sorry. I'll go."

There was an odd catch to his voice that made Kevin automatically reach out to grab his arm. "Just get in." Mike hesitated, and he gave a light tug because it was late and cold and he wanted to go back to sleep. "Now," he added when it still looked like Mike might bolt.

Falling back asleep took longer than it should have this time, but only because he was trying to pretend he couldn't hear the muffled sobbing next to him.

The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth times, he didn't even wake up; just noted the extra lump in the bed when he got up in the morning and went about his usual routine.

By the seventh time Mike came to sleep in his bed, he was actually awake enough to wonder about it.

He waited though, because he hadn't forgotten that asking questions or showing any sign of hesitation tended to upset him. And he didn't look like he'd been sleeping much lately. So he waited.

But he did roll over to throw an arm over him. Just in case.

He'd lost count of how many times it happened by the morning he finally decided that he wanted to know what was going on. Even though the very idea made him feel lazy, he skipped his starting routine to stay in bed and waited for Mike to wake up. If Mike wasn't willing to talk about it in the middle of the night, maybe he'd talk about it after he'd gotten some sleep.

After two hours of reading quietly, he finally felt Mike shift. He glanced over just in time to watch his nose wrinkle slightly and tried not to smile. It was oddly cute.

" ... Are you seriously watching me sleep?" Mike muttered without opening his eyes. "Because that's kind of creepy, dude."

He snorted. "It's seven already. How long are you planning to sleep for?"

"In the *morning*?" Mike groaned and rolled over, trying to bury his face against the sheets. "What is wrong with everyone in this house? Being awake before noon is a *crime*."

"We can't all be as lazy as you," Kevin retorted. He reached out to run a hand over Mike's back, then paused when he realized what he was doing.

" ... This is the part when you make me talk about what's wrong, isn't it?"

The corner of his mouth quirked. "I've gotta admit that I'm a bit curious why you keep crawling into my bed."

"If I say it's because I've got the hots for you, can we drop it?" Mike sounded distinctly hopeful.

He stiffened. "That's not funny, Mike."

There was a long silence, and finally Mike turned slightly to peek out at him with one eye. "On the risk of getting beaten up, is it not funny because you don't like gays, or is it not funny because it's me?" he asked warily.

Kevin clenched his jaw. "I have nothing against people who are homosexual," he said flatly, feeling distinctly offended . "And I don't appreciate jokes about being attracted to me just because you don't want to talk about something."

Mike rolled over onto his side, revealing the other eye and regarding him thoughtfully. "I don't want to talk about it, but I wasn't totally joking. And that doesn't answer the other question."

Kevin leveled him with a look. "I'll answer that when you tell me why you can't sleep at night unless you're in my bed."

Mike's eyes narrowed. "That's blackmail."

He stared back at him, unmoved.

Mike groaned rolling over onto his back and pressing the heels of both hands against his eyes. "You're either gonna go all overprotective on me or look at me weird. Everyone always does, and it's annoying."

He frowned. That didn't sound good. "Overprotective?" he repeated.

Mike let out a long, drawn-out sigh. "About a year ago, I was in a relationship with this guy. Things got out of hand, he put me in hospital and I broke up with him. Sometimes I have nightmares about it. There, end of story."


"See?" Mike pointed at him without looking, his other hand still over his face. "Overprotective. Totally called it."

"Mike - "

He groaned again. "Look, don't blow it out of proportion. I'm not some battered housewife or something, okay? It's really not as bad as it sounds. He had a bad temper, and he hit me a few times. I hit him back."

Kevin sputtered. "But - *hospital*?"

Mike sat up with a sigh, shrugging slightly. "Yeah. Things got kinda rough one day, and he nailed me upside the head with a two-by-four. Spent a week in the hospital, most of it unconscious. No lasting damage though; I've got a hard head."

He put a hand to his face, trying to calm down. Part of him wanted to hunt the guy down and put *him* in the hospital - permanently. Another part wanted to grab Mike by the shoulders and shake him for being so blasé about the whole thing.

A small, well-hidden part wanted to wrap him in a hug and keep him safe.

"And ... this guy - "

"Long gone," Mike promised. "Dad took care of him." He sounded smug.

Kevin let out a long, slow breath. "And the nightmares?"

Mike picked at a piece of lint on the comforter, shrugging. "Just that last night. Sometimes I get flashbacks when things get too close to my face."

He nodded slowly, finally letting his hand drop. "So why me? I get why not Mia and Jayden, but why not Emily?"

Another shrug. "She's so sweet. Kinda innocent, you know? If I went to her, she'd want to know why, and then if I told her she'd start crying, and ... " He trailed off, looking uncomfortable again. "I figured if I here, you'd either kick me out without asking or just leave it alone." He shot him what looked suspiciously like a pout. "I thought you would, anyway."

Kevin frowned at him again. "Why would I leave it alone when you were obviously upset about something?" he demanded, feeling slightly hurt. He may not be as sensitive as the girls or as controlled as Jayden, but he wasn't unfeeling.

Mike bit his lip and finally shrugged again. "'Cause I thought you didn't like me," he admitted quietly. "I mean, we work together and all, but ... We're like toothpaste and orange juice, you know?"

It took him a moment to place the reference, and when he finally did he wasn't sure whether to be amused or annoyed. "I never said I didn't like you." he said finally.

Mike looked genuinely surprised. "You mean you do?"

There were a lot of ways to answer that. Most of them were friendly, even kind. Most of them used words.

Which is why he wasn't entirely sure what made him decide to lean forward and kiss him.

It was kind of worth it though, when Mike blushed as he pulled away.

"I *like* orange juice," he added in afterthought, and Mike grinned at him.