Author: Bennie
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell.
Character Focus: Alex POV, Max/Alex
Spoilers: Nope.
Author's Note: Part 4/4 in the "Friends and Lovers" series. I wrote this after Tart and Turnabout and as usual is more of a companion piece, or spin-off, than a sequel. I envision it happening some time between Max's initial seduction of Alex and their consequent closeness in the epilogue of Possession/Repossession. I figure that's when Alex would have started to understand that Max really could want him, sincerely and intensely and in my happy little lustful AU, he could admit what he wants from Max. Again, expect something slightly different in tone and style from earlier parts, because hey, author's prerogative! (Come on, laugh with me ) And a big thanks to Debbie, who bore my angst and anxiety with remarkable patience and goodwill.

Alex had always loved the desert at sunset.

The warmth of the setting sun, some trick of physics giving the illusion of a great, molten ball of liquid fire settling into and beyond the darkness of the horizon.

The colours, their intensity and clarity, the way the smallest detail stood out in relief, eased something inside of him.

Now, standing at his window, he smiled wryly. When had he become so whimsical? So pensive? When had he discovered within himself this need for reflection, for introspection? For He thought for a minute, trying to put into words the ache suffusing his entire being.

He wanted fulfillment, completion, enchantment. He wanted the poetry of a soul, mind and body at peace with itself.

He wanted to connect with Max Evans.

Of course, the questions were rhetorical; he could pinpoint exactly when this new yearning was born and trace its development into full-fledged obsession. He had tapped into it the very first day he met Isabel Evans, as he touched her arm in passing and felt a jolt of electricity. Felt an immediate sense of want and need and excitement, all wrapped up in confusion and uncertainty and unnamed desires. At the time, he'd believed the emotions were his; now, he suspected that they had in fact been hers. That somehow they had connected slightly at that moment, and a hunger for a deeper bond had blossomed in his innocent mind, so that nothing and no one stood a chance against it, could compete with such perfection for his attention.

Until he came to know Max Evans. It had taken longer to recognize and acknowledge the rightness within, to understand how everything changed when he was in the room. Hell, when he stood on the same ground, shared the same air, stared up at the same night sky.

But then Max became involved with Alex's closest and dearest friend, Liz. And soon after, Isabel had shown an interest in exploring her tenuous, incidental bond with Alex, in strengthening it, nourishing it with love and intimacy. He soon understood that everything he'd felt for years was real. Was true. And one fateful night it all came together in a moment of absolute clarity when Liz and Isabel found their passion for and in each other, and Max touched him.

Touched him.

Alex laughed, amused at the deceptive simplicity of the phrase. Max had touched him healed him, joined with him in some profound way that even now he couldn't name. And then looked at him with wonder and desire, letting him know that he wasn't alone. That the world became a better place when they were together. The four of them.

And sometimes, the two of them.

He smiled gently at the memory of stolen kisses, of indulgent, approving smiles on the faces of similarly dishevelled female partners, of close body contact in the anonymous crowded darkness of unfamiliar dance floors in unfamiliar cities.

But his smile faded as the sun dipped below the edge of the Earth and he shivered with the abrupt chill. The window become a mirror as the outside darkened, allowing him to study the features he knew as his own but suddenly seemed as alien as the people he loved. And as he watched, they blended into sculpted features and equally thoughtful eyes that pulled him into their soulful depths.

As if from a great distance, he reached out to open the window and helped Max Evans into his room.

They stood for some time, just studying each other, sensing a new tension, something that needed to be said.

Max spoke first. "You're okay," he said, both relieved and puzzled. "Liz and Isabel got worried when you didn't show up."

"I changed my mind," Alex replied. "I just didn't feel like doing the group thing."

Taken aback, Max took a moment to search Alex's face for some clue to what he was feeling, to explain his uncharacteristically brusque tone. "What do you mean? You don't want to be with us anymore?" he asked, paling at the thought.

Alex felt irritated at his inability to express himself clearly. "It's not that."

Max looked at Alex in bewilderment and not a little alarm. "Is it me? You don't want to be with me?"

"No!" Alex insisted forcefully. "That's just it!"

Max just shook his head. "I don't understand."

"I do want to be with you! It's just " Struggling for words, he calmed himself, breathed deeply, and changed his approach. "I love them both, you know that?" Alex said, and the other boy simply nodded. He knew. "But if this is just about them, for them, then I'm not playing along tonight. Not tonight."

He didn't know what was so significant about tonight. He couldn't recall anything to make it special, he just felt as though there should be. Something.

But now Max seemed to understand, and with two steps he was in front of Alex, head tilted ever so slightly upwards, hands grasping arms above elbows, anxious to bridge the distance between them.

"Alex," he whispered, looking intently into expressive brown eyes, "this isn't just about them, or the four of us. It's about us, you and me, too."

"Is it?" Alex persisted, and Max winced to see such naked pain. Without another word he pulled Alex into a tight embrace, feeling their bodies fit together, trying to convey in his touch what words seemed inadequate to express.

When they kissed Alex could believe him, could believe in his blunt and obvious sincerity. He could lose himself in the touch that thrilled and unnerved him with its intensity and ardour.

He gloried in the feel of Max's smooth skin, spearing long fingers through smooth hair even as he duelled for mastery with his tongue.

Alex loved the taste of Max's mouth, the gentle roughness of his tongue, the smoothness of his teeth, the hollow of his cheeks, the softness of his lips. Eyes closed, he alternately delved into its warmth and sucked back, allowing his own to be explored in kind. A rhythm developed, heads bobbing slightly to accommodate this back-and-forth, moving together and apart and then together again, as if the space between them hurt.

He opened his eyes to a tantalizing span of skin along one cheekbone, and with an adroit kiss to the corner of Max's mouth he travelled along its subtle planes as Max arched his neck and sighed. With a smile playing around his own swollen lips, Alex flicked Max's right earlobe with the tip of his tongue, sensing rather than seeing Max flush hotly. He knew that Max was sometimes embarrassed that his ears stuck out slightly, but it suddenly occurred to him that maybe they were a sensitive issue in more ways than one.

Simultaneously pulling on and leaning into Max, he pulled the lobe between his teeth and teased it with his tongue, wetting it thoroughly and then sucking his own moisture away. He couldn't help but grin as Max shivered against him, and drew back to enjoy the sight of glazed eyes and utterly sexy dishevellment. With renewed confidence he dove back in, energetically devouring the soft skin along a firm jaw and following a lightly pulsing line down Max's neck.

He hummed in pleasure as Max returned the favour, both of them revelling in the sheer pleasure of contact and marked skin, tugging at collars to reach the hidden skin below. Finally, tantalized beyond restraint, Alex impatiently reached down and pulled Max's shirt up and over his head, the better to see and feel heated skin and hard muscle. For some time he enjoyed the taste and texture of Max, thrilled to raise pebbly nipples to attention with his tongue and fingers, fascinated by the expanse and beauty of the body before him.

He didn't resist when Max pulled his head up for another passionate kiss, but instinctively he reached down to cup and massage Max where he was most responsive. After a moment Max groaned and moved back slightly and Alex just stood there, trying desperately not to feel hurt or rejected. Then he met Max's eyes, and immediately read the silent question in them.

Max was asking for his trust. A brief flare of panic stabbed at him, but he breathed carefully and deliberately, and after a moment he nodded. Once.

He was pushed backwards, allowed to fall back onto the bed behind him.

Alex closed his eyes as Max climbed up and straddled his legs. He listened to the steady thumping of his heartbeat as tender lips brushed his in fleeting kisses that wandered, anointing his forehead and cheeks and jaw and neck.

He sighed as nimble fingers freed the buttons on his shirt from their captivity, releasing the material and revealing his naked chest. He felt the weight atop him shift as Max leaned down to breathe hotly and then blow cool air over sensitive skin, pausing only to worship two hardening points of flesh with his tongue, to suck them against the roof of his mouth until Alex hissed with tension.

Still, he kept his eyes closed.

Max moved his way down Alex's slim torso, tracing taut muscles and sucking on what skin he could pull into his mouth. Alex rolled his head back as Max continued downwards, biting his lip to keep silent as he felt his waistband loosen and peel back, allowing Max more and more sensitive skin to torment.

Then, Max backed off of him entirely, and all Alex could feel were fingers tugging shoes and socks off his feet, pausing to flex and massage his arches gently before travelling along long denim-clad legs to his waist. Lifting his hips slightly, he concentrated on the feel of cool air replacing the warmth of his pants and boxers as Max slid them down together and pulled them off. He listened for the soft thud as they fell to the floor in an unceremonious heap.

He refused to open his eyes. He had promised to trust, and that was what he would do.

The bed bounced as Max climbed back on to straddle muscled thighs, and this time the rough softness of stiff cotton rubbed against Alex's nakedness and his body reacted to the stimulation in a forthright manner. But Max ignored that to resume a pattern along Alex's lips and face and chest, nipping and pleasuring him until he could take no more and arched his back, desperate to make contact. He tensed as Max's weight shifted downwards, expecting to feel the warm and lightly calloused hands he knew as well as his own on his most sensitive flesh.

Instead he shuddered as hot breath descended upon him, and trembled in anticipation. His mouth opened in a silent cry as moist flesh touched and then enveloped him at an agonizing pace, so slowly that his hips bucked reflexively until strong hands anchored him to the mattress.

Gradually Max moved faster, and Alex's mind was unable to handle the mental image so he opened his eyes and looked down along his own nakedness to meet the solemn gaze of his lover. This was new to both of them, and he watched in fascination as Max stroked and squeezed and sucked and released, and felt himself grow harder and slicker with each new pressure.

"Max," he whispered hoarsely in warning. But Max just looked at him, lifting his eyebrows as if to remind Alex of his tacit promise. All Alex could do was watch in stunned amazement as part of his body was drawn into and then pushed out of the sweet torture that was Max Evans' mouth. He could see and feel himself tense and bead with sweat, occasionally jerking his head slightly to shake the salty perspiration out of his eyes but loath to break eye contact. Finally, unable to hold out any longer, he let go, straining with every muscle in his body to meet Max's liquid warmth with his own.

Max swallowed carefully as Alex climaxed, elated and fascinated as always by the sight of him losing control, and insanely proud that it happened at his touch.

For Alex, it was as if the bottom of the world had dropped out from beneath him. He was disoriented, could not focus, could form no coherent thought or concentrate on anything but the electricity running through his body, overwhelming every higher sense, leaving him shaking and weak from its power. He felt himself reaching to make the connection he craved and knew, intuitively, was possible.

Reaching reaching but in the end he gave up, bitter disappointment battling intense feelings of ecstasy and gratification.

Finally his body could take no more and began to shut down in sheer self-defence. The last image he took with him down into the welcoming darkness was of Max above him, reaching down to pull him into his soothing and protective embrace.

~ ~ ~

Alex awoke to the sound of Max's soft breathing, smiling weakly at the occasional snore. He was sorry that he had succumbed before he could return the gift he had been given, but he was glad to have these few minutes to himself. To think.

He watched the shadows glide across his ceiling in numb detachment, absentmindedly noting the gradual change in the quality of the night, a lightening of the dimness.

Slowly he turned and rose, moving carefully so as not to disturb the other occupant of the bed. As quietly as he could, he walked to a window opposite yesterday's window, standing in the remains of yesterday's shirt to wait for today.

Max opened his eyes to see Alex walk away from the bed. Curious and a little concerned, he watched as Alex's body darkened in contrast to the light around it, letting the light of a new dawn create a silhouette of his lean figure, a tableau of his stillness.

"Alex?" he asked, softly.

Without shifting his gaze, Alex spoke, and his bleak tone was painful to hear.

"We'll never be able to connect. Not the way you will with Liz."

His tone was neutral, not one of condemnation or jealousy but of sadness and, worst of all, acceptance. Max grew angry, hating and unwilling to watch Alex give up.

"I don't believe that. There has to be a way. We'll try again."

"I appreciate the offer, Max, and believe me, I look forward to, uh, trying again, I promise you," and Max felt his spirits rise to hear a little of the familiar Whitman humour return. But his next words were a dash of cold water. "I think there's a physical aspect to this that we're missing. Maybe you can only connect with Liz because she's special. Or maybe because she's a ... well, a 'she'."

"What about Isabel?" Max thought to ask, a little belatedly. "Have you connected with her that way?"

Alex darted a quick look at Max, immediately reassured that there wasn't going to be any 'big-brother' posturing to work through. Max was honestly concerned, and wanted the people the loved to be happy.

"Why do you think I was so eager to connect with you? Liz tells me that there's nothing more incredible than double-connection." His lips twitched in amusement as Max perked up at this little tidbit.

"'Double-connection'?" Max asked, unable to resist a little smirk in appreciation of Alex's phrasing.

"Well, I'm assuming that she wasn't referring to having both you and Isabel at once," Alex gibed, and Max ducked in embarrassment when Alex caught the speculative expression on his face. He couldn't help it; it was such an intriguing scenario.

"Don't worry, Alex, we wouldn't dream of leaving you out of the orgy," he retorted, and they laughed together.

But soon their smiles faded.

"You meant that she was able to connect with both of us, didn't you?" Max persisted gently.

Alex nodded, blinking back the tears that burned at his eyes. "I thought that if she could connect with Isabel, then I should be able to connect with you too. It only seems fair!" he said defensively, but Max was nodding in agreement. He didn't think Alex was being petty.

"Did you ask how?" he asked instead, honestly curious. Aside from their regular sessions of togetherness as a foursome, he rarely discussed the details of his visits with Alex with either of the girls, and never asked about what they did privately. He worried that it was all too precious, too young, to risk such close and potentially harmful scrutiny.

And now, Max desperately wanted to regain his previous sense of equanimity, of balance.

"No," Alex admitted, and turned back towards the window, watching the moisture from his breath cloud the cool glass.

Behind him, the bed creaked slightly as Max sat up suddenly. "Maybe " Alex heard, but then Max's voice trailed off. His silence seemed significant, though, and Alex just waited patiently. Hopefully.

Voice cracking, Max finished his thought. "Maybe we could try something more intimate if you want."

Alex contemplated the pale sliver of sky hovering over the horizon, resisting the urge to run, or shout, to find some immediate physical outlet for the adrenaline that rushed through him at those words. Instead, he braced himself against the window frame in one deliberate and graceful movement, grasping the old and grooved wood until his knuckles whightened with the effort. Without turning he breathed deeply and nodded. And waited.

But not for long. On the bed, Max stared in wonder and then in excitement. Nervously he rose from the bed and walked slowly across the floor, shedding the rest of his clothes and coming to a halt behind Alex.

He watched Alex's shoulder and back muscles tense, and knew that before they could go any further, he needed to make Alex - to make both of them, he admitted to himself - more comfortable.

The warmth of Max's hands and mouth chased away the chill of a desert asleep, and Alex leaned back slightly, luxuriating in the solace of his lover's arms, relaxing as he felt waves of love and desire and desperate emotions crash over him and wondering if they might be Max's. He thrilled to think that soon, very soon, he might know for sure.

Blindly Alex reached back to touch Max, first running his fingers lightly along his naked side and then rounding his palm to embrace eager flesh, not quite ready but hardening quickly. Smiling wryly, he squeezed it, visualizing the tip reaching towards him but inhaling sharply when he felt it against his hip.

"Alex," Max breathed, pausing from his exploration of Alex's neck from this new position.

Alex sighed; Max said his name like a blessing, with respect, with reverence.

"Don't stop, Max," he said, turning his head to meet him in a quick, reassuring kiss before facing the window once again and widening his stance. "I want this."

Max closed his eyes and just leaned his forehead against Alex's shoulder for a moment, shaken by the trust and love in Alex's voice. Then, trying to move with confidence, he fought feelings of insecurity at his inexperience and focused on making this as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Rubbing himself, he spread his own fluid on his fingers and lightly slicked his member before lowering his hand along Alex's lower back. There, he delved gently into previously unexplored territory, to prepare them both as best he could.

Alex made an effort not to move at the unfamiliar sensations, not to jerk away at the feel of a moist finger probing within him, opening the tight ring of muscle and stretching the flesh beyond it. He closed his eyes for a moment and silently reaffirmed his promise of the night before, to trust Max, to trust in him. In both of them.

Only then was he able to fully relax, to absorb himself in the pleasurable prospect of their bodies coming together, to take first one and then more of Max's fingers into himself without pain or anxiety, just anticipation.

He opened his eyes again to watch the sky lighten further. And slowly, slowly he felt slippery hardness meet his own soft flesh, and nudge within.

Max held his breath as he pushed, every sense attuned to the needs and vulnerabilities of the warmth he knew awaited him, forcing himself to move carefully, struggling against the excitement that always possessed him around Alex, resisting the desire to plunge within his alluring tightness.

Then he heard a strangled breath, and felt Alex clench in panic. Without thinking he thrust quickly and concentrated. Hard.

Both staggered under the onslaught of images and sensations.

With some experience of what to look for, Max recovered first. He thrilled to see himself through Alex's eyes, to feel Alex's emotions, and instantly forged an enduring and unbreakable bond between them.

Alex was overwhelmed by the slideshow flashing through his mind, so he just rode the waves of fierce pleasure that he felt, no, knew as proof of their mutual connection. He welcomed urgent flesh into himself by rocking his hips to match Max's thrusts.

As his own joy met and merged with Max's, Alex felt their heartbeats synchronize, pumping blood wildly through his own veins and causing him to harden in response. There was also something he had not anticipated, something inside that sent a little jolt of ecstasy through him when Max rubbed against it, that evoked soft moans of excitement from deep within him.

Max was delirious with sensation, now moving easily within and against Alex's warm flesh, and he lowered one hand between them, to guide himself and to feel the arousal he sensed in Alex. As his hand brushed against the thrumming skin separating their erections, he felt Alex quiver and gasp, so he stroked the smooth skin again before cupping Alex's tender sacs briefly.

Alex was lost. He didn't know where he ended and Max began, and he didn't care. He had never felt so light and so grounded at the same time, and he closed his eyes to concentrate on the sensations he felt building in both of them.

Max threw himself against Alex's back, nuzzling and sucking on the soft flesh below his neck, thrusting desperately, almost sobbing with the intensity.

Suddenly Alex felt an incredible glow, a tingling that warmed him from head to toe, and spasmed violently even as he felt Max convulse.

The universe flashed before him then, in all its grace and majestic beauty.

Finally their bodies stilled from their frantic release, and reality reasserted itself. Reluctantly, Max eased his softening flesh from Alex's warmth, and each felt their incredible, amazing, soul-searing connection diminish.

Alex fell back into Max's ready embrace, mourning its loss. And he sighed as he felt Max mourn it too.

Realizing, his eyes snapped open and he turned his head slightly to meet Max's questioning gaze. "It's still there," he whispered in awe. "Can you feel it?" Max concentrated for a moment and his face lit up with a brilliant and wild joy.

In that second Alex had a revelation. It was then that he knew, knew without any doubt whatsoever, that he was in the presence of power and a breathtaking nobility of spirit. It was all the more humbling because the boy - the king - holding him was so clearly unaware of it.

Max looked at his friend and lover in awe and gratitude. "Thank you, Alex," he murmured, and kissed him as passionately as he had in the beginning. He had known confusion before, confusion and doubt, but they withered before the enormity of their shared experience. Of the bond they continued to share beyond. He kissed Alex again and was kissed back, in total accord. In affirmation.

Neither noticed as the sun rose regally above the desert horizon and a new day was born.

The End

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Authors Ros. Hetero Ros. Slash Ros. Other DC Slash Main