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Breaking The Rules

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“Oh come on,” Prax is sure Amos is bullshitting him but he’s grinning anyway.

“I swear.“ Amos smiles from where he’s leaning against the side of his bunk, eyes much too innocent. “I swear - Shed sold Gathani a whole gram before he realised he’d confused the Fibolax for speed. It was that powdered shit you wash down with water. Shed was pissed about having to give a refund but I say he was just lucky no one was bunged up that night.” Amos takes a triumphant gulp from his glass, some cheap stuff Drummer had given them on Tycho. “Don’t you trust me Doc?”

Prax rolls his eyes at Amos’s pout, downs the rest of his drink. It tastes sour but goes down smooth, warm right down to the toes. Not half bad. Prax doesn’t feel half bad either. Lets his gaze drag over Amos’s growing scruff, the distracting line of his throat. Prax’s head is empty and the evening’s crawling agitation has fizzled to a low worry, which is good. He might even be feeling sleepy, which is even better. That’s the whole reason he’s here in the first place.

Prax hasn’t slept properly since the monster and it’s starting to show. Catches himself drifting and hopes no one noticed. Pretty sure Amos has by the faces he makes. Making sure Prax actually eats more than a protein pack, turning up suddenly in need of assistance. Tonight Prax never even made it to bed, refused to get in his bunk on the pretense that he wanted to “feel tired first”. Except he can’t remember the last time he didn’t. Scrolled through newsfeeds, washed his face twice, made tea he didn’t drink and couldn’t bring himself to go back to that damned cabin. Ended up at Amos’s door instead.

It’s become almost routine now, seeking Amos out like this. Amos tells stories, they chat and at some point Prax falls asleep on the crash couch, wakes up under the spare blanket. Amos doesn’t seem to mind, started leaving his door ajar. If the door is closed, Amos is asleep or needs space and that’s only fair.

But tonight Amos had a bottle ready like he knew Prax would need it. Prax wonders when the mechanic learnt to read him so well. He lets his head tip back against the wall, eyes closed.

His head is warm and buzzy and Prax just, he doesn’t hurt. Nothing’s changed and everything is still objectively terrible but right here in this moment he feels safe, good. Prax opens his eyes to find Amos gazing at him, smile lopsided. Prax can’t help but smile back. He wants to stay in this moment, stay here with his body happy, his mind free and Amos looking at him like that. Doesn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Prax, Prax, c’mon wake up.” Prax cracks one eye open, wondering why the hell anyone is waking him up. Amos is leaning over him, hand warm on his shoulder. He’s still grinning but it’s softer now. “C’mon you mook, come sleep in the damn bunk.” Prax isn’t awake enough to question it, takes Amos’s hand like it’ll show him the way. Amos wouldn’t lead him anywhere bad.

Amos tugs him across the room and Prax goes easy as anything. Sets his glass down and gets in the bunk. They end up on their sides, curled towards each other under the blanket. Amos reaches up for the bunk light and Prax lets his breathing come slow, yeah ok this is good, Amos is good. Doesn’t even start when Amos cups his cheek, kisses him soft. “G’night Doc.” It’s gentle and sweet and Prax just glows with it. Falls asleep with a smile on his face.

Prax opens his eyes slowly, confused by the weight on him until he realises that it’s Amos. That he’s in Amos’s bunk, with Amos, because Amos told him to get in. Because Amos kissed him goodnight. Okay, ok. Prax closes his eyes and shushes the bubbling thoughts. Lays there and Does Not Panic. Because the truth is, it feels good. Like he actually slept and Amos fits just right in his arms. They’ve both rolled in the same direction, Prax onto his back and Amos half on top of him, arm across his hip and breath tickling his neck. Prax wraps his arms properly around Amos, splays his fingers across the firm muscle of Amos’s back and gives into the urge, presses a kiss into the sleeping man’s hair.

After a while Amos starts to stir and Prax steels himself, waits for Amos to roll off and mutter about the effects Belter liquor. But Amos stays where he is. Makes a happy grunting noise and nuzzles further into his shoulder. Prax lets out the breath he was holding, strokes the length of Amos’s side to show that he’s awake.

“Mornin’ Doc,” Amos finally lifts his head and his eyes are very green. He looks just as loose as Prax feels and when Amos licks his lips Prax wants to kiss him so bad. Instead he just says “Morning” and Amos lays back down, smoothes down Prax’s t-shirt and leaves his hand there. They lie there for a little longer, basking in the warm hazy feeling and the lack of anywhere they need to be.

All Prax knows is that he has no desire to move. He’s aware of just how gone he is on the mechanic but he never considered the possibility of his feelings being returned. But it’s not like Amos is just out there randomly hugging anyone else. And yeah, Amos has his rule and Prax doesn’t want to push. Except this feels right and Prax can’t remember the last time he wanted to just be with someone like this. Not that he’s really given anyone a chance. Made sure his few hookups were on the far side of the station, told himself he’s too busy. But now Mei’s absence is a raw gap in his heart, absolutely nothing is normal and he’s not going to resist something that feels so good.

Eventually Prax starts to lose feeling in his arm and nudges Amos off, watches him end up on his side. Amos tucks an arm under his head, lays his hand back on Prax’s chest. He looks tired but younger than ever and Prax’s chest is tight with all the things he can’t put into words. It feels like the simplest thing to skate his fingers up Amos’s arm and it pulls at him the way Amos’s eyes go liquid dark. Wide open, defenceless and Prax sees it then. Sees it so clearly how Amos wants to kiss him, but he’s afraid to. Amos is right there in front of him and when it doesn’t happen Prax figures maybe it’s his turn to be brave. Slides his hand to Amos’s shoulder and does it. He kisses Amos softly and for one terrible moment Amos stays completely still. Prax is just on the edge of fear and then Amos is kissing him back. It starts out sweet but then Amos is licking into his mouth, hands on his throat and up under his shirt and. Fuck. By the time they come apart Prax is breathing hard and Amos’s eyes shine with a kind of wild joy that sets him alight.

“Thank fuck.” Amos ducks his head, pants there for a moment and Prax feels like he might die from the sweetness of it. Amos lifts his face and then there’s just relief and laughter spilling out of him. “Thank fuck Doc. Thought it was just me and I’d have to blame last night on the fucking drink.” Kisses Prax full on the mouth and then they’re both laughing before they’re kissing again.

This time it’s less frantic but just as deep and Prax actually remembers to touch Amos, warm and good under his hands. Amos wastes no time pressing up against him, slots a thigh in between Prax’s legs and grins at the sound he makes. The mechanic traces soft up his stomach, palms flat over his scars and Prax arches into it, knows he would give Amos anything, everything, whatever he fucking wants. Prax’s fingers are just dipping under Amos’s waistband when a tritone chirps from somewhere above them. Prax can’t think what it is until Amos turns for the bunk display, thankfully audio only.

“Need you up here Amos, got a situation.” Alex’s voice is clipped, usual twang dialled back to signal Captain’s Orders.

“Copy that Alex.” Amos keeps his eyes on the panel as he squeezes Prax’s ass through his shorts. Prax grins and pokes his hip.

“You know where Prax is? He’s not answering his quarters and Cap wants everyone up here.”

“Oh don’t worry, I’m sure I can track him down.” Amos bites down on his lip and fuck, has he always been this beautiful?

“Thanks partner.” The channel shuts off and Amos turns back to Prax, mischievous and so lovely it hurts. Brings a hand up to Prax’s cheek and he’s so suddenly tender that Prax doesn’t feel like laughing anymore. Leans into the touch and kisses back gently.

“You ok? With this, everything?”

“I think I am Doc.” Amos slips his hand out from under Prax’s shirt and sits up. “C’mon, we better get up there.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

They get up and it’s weird now normal it feels. To get out of bed and hunt for his terminal while Amos pulls on his clothes. Prax hovers by the door for a second, not sure how to leave and not wanting to. Amos saves him by coming in for a hug, squeezing him tight. Prax kisses him once, twice, starts to move away and gets pulled back in. Then they’re grinning like idiots and it’s all ok.

“Ok, time to let go.” Amos just looks at him, hands still on Prax’s hips. “Come on, I have to go get dressed.”

“Nah, think you look fine like this Doc.” Prax rolls his eyes and Amos makes a show of stepping back, palms up. And when Prax finally slips out the door that smile is back on his face again.