in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (2024)

Being with his ex-wife at a New Year’s Eve party feels nostalgic in the weirdest way, considering he proposed to her at one 10 years ago. This isn’t the Balls Out Bananza he knew; it’s a more low key thing, comparatively speaking at least.

They’re at a bar in DC Alex likes to frequent after a long day. Nora’s visiting because June’s in town and the former White House Trio were “overdue for a reunion.” The three of them didn’t fit into Alex’s one bedroom apartment, so when they go back later, he’ll end up on the couch while the girls share a bed, but he’s glad they’re all together.

He’s back by the bar while Nora and June dance, and he absently fiddles with his finger, forgetting the weight that used to sit has been gone for 5 years now. He doesn’t miss it.

He and Nora knew they were going to fall apart for a while, but both of them delayed the inevitable for as long as possible. When they were married, the relationship was easy, platonic, and sometimes when they were both bored, they fell into bed.

There was no connection; they existed in the same space and it was fine. Nothing more, nothing less. He still doesn’t remember why they tried to stick it out, but the relief they both felt after the papers were signed was…it just was.

The divorce was finalized around the same time as the end of his mom’s second term in office. They tried to keep the divorce down to a whisper, but tabloids screamed over ringless fingers and dark rings under the eyes.

The media tried to create a narrative, but there wasn’t anything to say. They were barely adults when they started dating and their joint statement when things ended was: ‘We love each other, but we aren’t in love. We will always support each other and be friends. Please respect our privacy at this time.’

Over time, people listened, and even though they’ll never fade into obscurity, people are more bored with Alex as a straight-laced Senator from Texas with well pressed suits and tamed curls vs. the well crafted persona from a decade ago with too many opinions and not enough time.

Alex shakes his head to remove the cloud of nostalgia that washes over him. He shakes his hand out, and takes a sip of whiskey. Being alone makes him think too much, and that’s kind of his perpetual state these days.

It’s not like he wants to be alone, but he has a hard time finding someone who can keep up with him. There are plenty of attractive people he can have for a night, but there hasn’t been anyone he wants to have more with. He doesn’t know if it’s him or them.

It’s not like he doesn’t have options; in the middle of their marriage, he and Nora came out as bi together. There were plenty of offers for a third in their bed after the news, but the logistics would’ve been a nightmare, and neither of them wanted to figure it out.

He’s been with men and women, but nothing long-term has come from it. He’s accepted being a perpetual bachelor, even when his parents ask if he’s going to get married again someday.

He’s disrupted from his semi-maudlin thoughts when a man leans into his space, right next to him. A gentle, but masculine voice curls around the words gin and tonic , towards the bartender in an accent that is distinctly non-American. Alex tries to give the other person space. He didn’t catch the amount of people that had gathered around the bar area while he was lost in thought.

His attempt to be polite backfires as he nudges into the other person who grunts at the intrusion. Alex apologizes, turning to the stranger, who turns out to be… you’ve got to be kidding me, Alex thinks to himself as he’s staring up into the face of an ex-Prince.

He hasn’t seen Henry in…Alex can’t remember the last time. There were definitely summits or conferences they’ve crossed paths at, but they never really talked. There was the one New Years where Alex saved him from the Kansas Senator’s daughter, but that was, ironically enough, ten years ago—the night he proposed to Nora.

Alex has nothing against him; hell, he has a f*ck ton of respect for how he came out after his Grandmother, the Queen, died and opened up about how he was essentially under an unofficial gag order about his sexuality.

Alex doesn’t follow him too closely, but he knows Henry is working on his second book, and is heavily involved in outreach for the youth shelters Percy Okonjo is championing for on an international scale.

Okay, he definitely knows more than he should for someone he isn’t following closely, but over time and conversations with Nora, Liam, June, Raf, and the online group he joined anonymously, he realized he had a pretty big, bisexual crush on the other man going back to the time he was 12, when he found a candid photo in June’s stupid teen magazine.

Seeing the man here, ordering a drink as if he was an anonymous person who does it every day makes Alex feel something he can’t exactly put a name on.

He’s about to open his mouth to say something—anything, but Henry speaks first.

“Oh, hello.” Henry appears a bit flustered, even though it’s definitely Alex’s fault they collided.

“Hey. I’m sorry I was a jackass, I didn’t mean to knock into you,” Alex says. He’s speaking a bit loudly, making sure Henry can hear him over the music.

“It’s alright. It’s getting a bit tight in here. I was grabbing a drink and trying to find somewhere quiet,” Henry responds.

Alex shakes his head, laughing a bit. “It's a packed bar on New Year’s Eve. The chances of finding somewhere quiet are slim to none.”

The bar is a small place, really. He’s surprised they’re even doing something for New Year’s, especially since it isn’t the normal vibe. This is typically a place people stop at on their way home from the Hill, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t even make sense why Henry is here. He says as much.

“Why are you here? I figured you’d be at the White House with a f*ck ton of security detail.”

Although Alex has learned to have a filter, sometimes things slip.

Henry smiles conspiratorially. “My detail is over there,” he says, nodding his head over at two large men in plain clothes. They’re calm, but clearly scrutinizing the interaction. “As for what I’m doing here, in this particular bar? Pez is here with the business partner they were working with on Foundation business who recommended the place. It was either this or stay in the hotel by my lonesome. I chose the former.”

Alex nods in understanding. “Makes sense, I guess.”

“So what are you doing by the bar, on your own?” Henry returns.

“Taking a break from the festivities. My knees aren’t what they used to be. I can still dance with the best of ‘em, but I wanted to hang back to give it a rest.”

The smile he provides hangs with the slightest touch of self-deprecation. He f*cked his knee up two years ago while training for a marathon. He was running in the rain and he tripped and fell straight on it. Surgery was miserable, recovery was worse, but it’s fine now. It still twinges on cold days and he needs to be aware of it, but it’s fine.

Henry winces in sympathy. “It’s good to know when to take a rest. Any plans to get back out there?”

Alex shakes his head. “Nah. I’ll hang here until the girls are done having fun. We’ll go home, and I’ll sleep on the couch so they can share the bed.”

Henry looks at him, and Alex feels like he’s being inspected under the gaze. Alex speaks first.

“As friendly as we are, it feels weird to share a bed with my ex-wife. The couch is a pull out so it isn’t technically hell on my back,” he explains easily.

Henry raises a perfectly groomed eyebrow. “I didn’t ask, Alex. If you want a more comfortable arrangement, you can come back with me. I have a king sized bed at The Willard in a too-large suite for one person.”

Alex shivers at the mention of the Willard. That’s where Cornbread and Stuffing were supposed to go before he decided that he’d take them as overnight roommates. Nora laughed at him over the phone at his calamity, and laughed even harder when he fell asleep during Thanksgiving dinner.

He’s removed from his memory when he really hears what Henry is saying. “What are you actually asking me?”

Henry smiles, brushing some of the hair that falls into his eyes. “I’m asking if you wanted a New Year’s kiss tonight, and maybe a little bit more, if you’re up for it.”

Alex hears what Henry is saying, but he isn’t understanding . He doesn’t know why the former Prince of England’s Heart is propositioning him .

He’s seen the tabloids, he and June still look when they’re together, and he knows Henry isn’t tied down to anyone at the moment. He also knows from the tabloids, if they can be believed, that since Henry came out, he’s been a hot commodity. Henry is selective about his partners, understandably, and all of his relationships have been short lived and incredibly private—which makes sense.

Alex’s tongue feels too big for his mouth when he responds a bit dumbly. “Why?”

Henry shakes his head. “Why not? Are you doing anything more productive with your evening?”

Alex flinches back, he’s glad the whiskey is down to the last third of the tumbler or it might have splashed. “Well, no, but still. Why?”

He doesn’t understand, and he needs to understand. He isn’t opposed. Henry is f*cking gorgeous. Anyone could see it, but he doesn’t know why, which is why he’s asked twice now. Alex knows he’s attractive and unattached, but this feels almost random. He knows it can’t be, because anyone in their positions has to be intentional with their choices.

Maybe it’s because it has been a long time since he’s been with anyone. He’s taken a bit of a break from hook-ups; things have been busy and he hasn’t found anyone he can connect with. So the fact Henry, of all people, is being so open is sending his head spinning.

Henry shakes his head. “Maybe it’s a bit of an impulsive choice on my end, but I’d rather not be alone tonight, and you’re not the worst person I can imagine spending the night with.”

Alex snorts a laugh into his drink. "Well damn, Henry. You sure know how to flatter a guy. Put that in my Google review: not the worst way to spend a night."

Henry crowds in on him, and Alex can feel that he’s radiating warmth. “Well, I don’t know what it’s like to spend the night with you, so I can’t provide a proper review until we’re together. So what do you say, Senator? Are you amenable?”

Alex feels like being impulsive. He’s been so calculating about everything to get to where he is right now. He’s hit every mile marker, even with roadblocks, but he can’t remember the last time he did something selfish.

He draws himself up, trying to exude co*ckiness. “I’m amenable , Your Royal Highness. Let me tell June and Nora so they don’t think I got kidnapped,” he smirks at Henry and moves towards the girls.

It irks him sometimes how much June worries about him when she has her own life and he has his. He knows it’s because they went their separate ways after he moved in with Nora, and she left D.C. to pursue her own dreams. He encouraged it, and she didn’t love being pushed away, but she also acknowledged her limits if she stayed. She was definitely worried after the split, but he was able to show he was fine enough .

He shakes the thought away as he moves to the center of the floor where the girls are dancing to a remix of a song they definitely danced to 10 years ago. Alex grabs June by the shoulder and shifts his head to signal that she moves off the floor so they can chat. Nora follows along. He pulls them to a quiet spot, and June chimes in first.

“What’s going on, Alex? Is everything okay?” June asks quickly. Nora stands at her side, waiting for him to answer. June’s brows furrow in the way they do whenever she looks at him. He wishes she wouldn’t, but he knows this is the way it’ll always be.

Alex nods, making sure to show that he’s calm. “Yeah, things are fine. I just wanted to let you know that you guys will have the place to yourselves tonight.”

Nora raises an eyebrow, and June’s eyes widen. Nora speaks up first, smiling in the way she always does. “Way to go, Alejandro. You’re overdue for a good lay.”

Alex scoffs. She isn’t wrong though.

June glares at her and Nora shrugs. “What? I was with you for 8 years. I know what you’re like when you’re pent up.”

Alex flushes, and June is still lost for words. Nora was, and is, the most blunt person he knows. It’s refreshing most of the time, but right now he wants to sink through the floor.

June looks at him-really looks at him. “Alex, who are you going with?”

Alex bites his lip-he wants to tell them, but he assumes he can’t. “There’s an NDA involved. I’ll text you when I’m on my way back, though.”

June looks even more shocked, and looks through the crowd to see if she can spot anyone who looks high profile, but the crowd is hiding Henry well. Not only that, Henry made himself look very low profile.

“Be safe, okay?”

“Always. I’ll let you know when I’m coming back. You have a key, right? And I’ll grab brunch in the morning.”

June nods, pulling him into a hug. Alex squeezes her and kisses her and Nora on the cheek. He runs back through the crowd to make sure Henry is still there.

Henry raises an eyebrow at the way Alex stumbles back in. “Welcome back, Alex. That didn’t take long.”

“I tried to make it brief. I’m 31, so I didn’t technically need to tell them, but they’d worry if I didn’t.”

“Good. I don’t want to make headlines for kidnapping the former son of the President. That would be hell for international relations.”

Alex laughs. “Yeah. It might be a cause for concern, but I think we’re gonna be alright.”

“More than. Now let’s get out of here.”

Henry holds out his hand and Alex grabs it. Henry’s team of two watches him move and go in to flank them. It doesn’t seem to matter because everyone is lost in their own world.

They move into the sharp, bitter December cold. Alex shivers a bit. There’s a nondescript SUV waiting for them. Henry slides in first, holding a hand out for Alex.

Alex grabs it and hoists himself up. “What a gentleman. I’ll have to put that on your Google review.” He comments easily, sliding in after. He notices Henry hasn’t pulled his hand away.

Henry’s eyes roll dramatically, grasping incrementally tighter. “If that’s what you consider gentlemanly, then I feel awful for you. The bar for chivalry is on the floor.”

Alex laughs. “I’m joking. All of my bed partners have been exceedingly polite, unless we consented to another arrangement.”

Henry laughs. “Well, I’ll be gentle with you.”

Alex raises an eyebrow. “Very presumptive, aren’t you? We might just kiss and fall asleep before midnight like the old men we are.”

“I didn’t realize the early 30’s would be considered geriatric, but I learn something new every day,” Henry squeezes Alex’s hand and Alex flushes.

It’s silly, really, but the warmth emanating from Henry is what really gets to him. Now that they’re quiet, Alex also gets to really see Henry for the first time. The light of the moon moves through the car window. It reflects off Henry’s hair, which is darker than he recalls. It’s a softer shade of brown; it suits him. He looks young for 32, but Alex isn’t sure if that’s fact or perception.

He’s also dressed in a loose silk shirt and dark wash jeans. The outfit might be why he didn’t clock him at first. Henry looks so casual and comfortable. He’s at ease with himself, and it’s really nice to see.

Alex, for all his growth, still feels like he’s too big for his skin sometimes. He feels like he has something to prove; he worries that he’s only where he is because of his parents and not his own merit. He knows it isn’t true, especially in Texas of all places, but it gnaws at him, especially now when he’s going to, presumably, hook up with Henry.

They’ll have a fun romp, maybe have room service in the morning, and go their separate ways. It’ll be fun, and Alex needs some fun in his life. He doesn’t know why he’s overthinking it right now.

Henry squeezes his hand again , and Alex realizes he didn’t respond. He settles back into his confidence and winks. “I wouldn’t say geriatric , but my back and knee would.”

Henry shrugs. “Well, if that’s the case, then my back has been geriatric since I was 16. The growing pains were not kind, but I think we can manage it well enough.”

Alex can’t think of a response, so he sits quietly - a feat for him - playing idly with Henry’s hand until they get to the Willard. The door opens for them, and Alex gets out first, holding a hand out for Henry who takes it with a smile. His stupidly long legs allow him to leave gracefully, and Alex looks up as Henry looks down at him; there’s a look in his eyes Alex can’t parse out.

He almost jumps when Henry places a hand on the small of his back, but is able to play it off as he’s escorted into the lobby. Alex has never stayed in the Willard, but he’s been here for plenty of galas and fundraising events. It’s a beautiful space with a rich history that Alex can appreciate.

They take an elevator up to the top floor and Henry separates from his PPOs with a nod. Alex watches them take the elevator down. Henry pulls out his key card and slides it in and out. Alex is wide eyed when they walk into a suite that’s the same size as his apartment—and it mimics an apartment space, but much more luxurious.

The linens are understandably top grade; he can imagine the thread count by looking. The carpet is a deep, royal blue with a subtle pattern and the walls are a delicate cream that compliments the space. He can assume he’ll get a more comprehensive tour once they get comfortable.

Henry leads him by his hand over to the couch and urges him to get comfortable. Alex nods and pulls off his gray suit jacket and throws it over the arm of the couch. He unbuttons his burgundy shirt another two buttons, revealing his chest hair, and kicks off his shoes, revealing the socks with Boba Fett’s helmet in an argyle pattern.

“Star Wars fan?” Henry asks, a grin on his face.

“Empire is the best movie, I will not be taking questions at this time,” Alex responds automatically.

“Oh, this might be over before it starts then. Return of the Jedi is superior. The happy ending is…it’s nice.”

Nice? That’s a grand argument, but thematic complexity and introductions to some of the best characters beats out Ewoks.” His argument has no heat to it, but he’s enjoying watching Henry’s eyes scrunch together as he thinks of a comeback.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it’s fundamentally wrong,” Henry argues, clearly looking to move towards something different. Alex can tell he’s staring.

“What are you looking at?”

“Your lips. They’re lovely, and I want to get my mouth of them, and the rest of you, if you aren’t opposed.”

Alex exhales, a soft sigh, and he can’t believe this is happening. Henry is surprising him at every turn, and his skin is humming with electricity, even if the only contact they’ve had thus far is hand holding and a push on the small of his back.

Alex feels entranced, and he doesn’t know why this is affecting him so much. Henry hasn’t even said much beyond innuendo and flirtatious comments, which he’s returned with enthusiasm.

Alex leans towards him, ensuring that they’re lips are touching. He isn’t closing the distance, but he speaks against Henry’s lips. “So, where are we doing this?”

Henry closes the distance between them and pulls away just as quickly, leaving Alex leaning forward, eyes wide. His voice is soft, “Bed?”

Alex nods, closing the space between the couch and the bed in a few strides. Henry follows him, laying to face him, pressing their foreheads together. It feels way too intimate for a one night stand, but Alex doesn’t hate it.

“You’re very tender for someone you’re only having for a night,” he says with a laugh.

Henry raises an eyebrow, again. Alex is starting to hate the eyebrow. It means curiosity and conversation. Alex keeps opening the door, even though he doesn’t mean to do it.

“Well, we might as well make the most of it. I’m going to treat you with respect at the very least. I want to earn my five star Google review, sweetheart.”

Henry is tongue in cheek and Alex laughs loudly. Okay, he needs to get out of his head and do what he does best.

“Can I earn mine by sucking you off, Your Highness? I saw you in that Vogue shoot last year and it did things to my brain that I didn’t want to say in polite company.”

Henry grins on the right side of predatory. “Your mouth is dangerous. I’m not going to say no to your mouth on me. As I said before, I want to get my mouth on you. So can we please stop talking now?”

He doesn’t give Alex time to respond before pressing their lips together. It isn’t soft. It’s hard, with just the right amount of teeth. Henry immediately presses into him, hands sliding to his hips. Alex can feel the pads of his fingers on his hip bones, gripping tightly and he can smell bergamot floating from Henry’s skin.

He moans when Henry’s hands slip from his hips to his ass, pressing him closer. He feels himself getting aroused, and it’s a quicker build up than he’s had in ages. He feels hands sliding from his ass to under his shirt, nails scratching on his skin. Alex whimpers into Henry’s mouth, breaking away to catch his breath.

“f*ck, you’re good at that,” he says breathily, laughing. “I didn’t expect that from you.”

Henry is the epitome of calm, the only hint that he’s affected is the flush on his face and the bulge of his jeans. “I’m full of surprises,” he says with a grin. “Now, please, stop talking and take your clothes off.”

Alex nods. “You too. I meant what I said about sucking you off.” He’s unbuttoning his shirt, throwing it off to the side, and moving to his pants. He leaves himself in his boxers, but kicks off his socks, because doing anything sexual in socks is weird.

He watches Henry as he strips. It’s less frenetic than Alex, but he’s still eager. He watches Alex while he pulls off his shirt, and Alex watches closely as he slips off his pants. His eyes go to Henry’s dick, and it’s honestly the nicest one he’s ever seen. It’s uncut, and a length that’ll give him a challenge without being too much. It’s almost pretty, just like the rest of Henry.

Alex pushes Henry back against the pillows and kisses down his torso, nipping in places that he knows won’t show up on camera. Henry’s breath hitches as he sucks marks into his pale skin.

Alex pulls off for a second. “Sorry, should’ve asked before biting, is this okay?”

Henry throws his head back. “Yes, it’s fine, please keep going.”

Henry’s body is sinuous, moving up into each press of Alex’s lips. It spurns Alex on, and motivates him to ease noises from Henry. Alex can feel tense shakes and breathy sighs and curses.

Before he goes further, he remembers something important. He knows it isn’t a sexy question to ask, but he speaks quickly. “Condom?”

Henry nods and moves onto his hip to go into the bedside table. He rifles through the drawer to grab one. He throws it towards Alex, and eases himself back onto his elbows, bending his legs. Alex looks at Henry, smirking before opening the condom wrapper. He takes it into his mouth, and moves over to Henry, rolling it down his length with his lips.

Henry throws his head back. Alex is happy he learned that trick once he started sleeping with men. It’s always an easy way to impress someone, and Henry seems to enjoy it. Alex wraps his hand around the base of Henry’s co*ck and takes him halfway down before moving to the tip, running his tongue through the slit. It’s a bit awkward with the condom, but Henry doesn’t seem to care.

Alex feels a hand drift into his curls and he moves his tongue in a pattern that he likes on himself. Alex breaks off for a second and asks Henry to pull his hair before moving towards his single minded focus of getting Henry off.

He hears Henry praise him, curses and compliments rolling off his tongue in spades. Alex is dripping from the tip of his own dick from words alone. He reaches a hand down and starts using pre-cum as lube, jacking himself off in time with bringing Henry all the way into his mouth.

“S-stop,” Henry hisses, and Alex pulls off immediately. He feels terrified, wondering if he hurt Henry in his enthusiasm. Henry quells his fear immediately. “Sorry,” he exhales, “just wanted to touch you too.”

Henry rolls over to the bedside table to grab another condom to roll on Alex; he also flicks open a bottle of lube to squirt some into his hand. Alex moves himself into Henry’s space, and Henry kisses him deeply, grabbing onto his curls. Alex moans into his mouth as Henry tugs, and his moan fades into a whimper when Henry wraps his other hand around both of them, moving his hand over both of them.

Alex grinds into Henry’s hand and against Henry’s dick, and he’s never had a handjob like this. He can’t remember the last time he’s felt this good with someone else.

“f*ck, H-Hen,” he moans against Henry’s lips, kissing him again and again and again.

“Alex, I-I’m close,” Henry murmurs, breath hitching as he continues to move their hips together.

Alex is too and he nods, moving his forehead to Henry’s shoulder. He feels his balls draw up and he c*ms into the condom with a shaky breath and Henry tumbles over after him, shaking.

They both tremble in the comedown. It feels so intense for a hook-up. Alex feels bereft when Henry separates from him, and he wants to reach out and pull the other man back in, but that’s too much.

He pulls off his own condom and ties it off, rolling onto his back, breathing heavily. Henry takes the tied off condom and moves back into his space after throwing it away.

Alex wants to move closer, but he doesn’t know if he should. Henry answers his question with a question of his own. “Are you open to post-f*ck cuddling?”

Alex is shocked at how weird that sounds coming from Henry’s posh accent, but it doesn’t bother him. He inches closer. “Yeah, is that okay?”

“I asked you. Yes, it’s alright. Come here.” Henry pulls him close and Alex leans into the warmth. The smell of bergamot is now mixed with sweat, latex, and lube, and him .

Alex looks over at the bedside clock. It’s almost midnight, and he smiles. “Hey, wanna be my New Year’s kiss?”

Henry laughs brightly. “Well, we’re in bed together, naked and we’ve kissed several times already. I think I can manage being your midnight kiss.”

When they’re lips touch at midnight, they hear the whistle of fireworks in the background and laugh when they break apart.

When he delivers breakfast to Nora and June on New Year’s Day, looking as put together as possible, they grill him endlessly. He remains tight-lipped and discreet, because “a gentleman never kisses and tells.”

They roll his eyes at him, and he smirks into a bite of French toast; the sweet flavor of powdered sugar and cinnamon bringing him back to the late night coffee Henry made him in addition to the tea he made for himself.

While he talks with the girls about everything but his start to the new year, his cell phone burns a hole in his pocket. He still hears the tapping of Henry’s fingers as he diligently entered his number while Alex told him to, “text me anytime. Booty calls are on the table,” into their goodbye kiss.

in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (1)

Alex thought he was done with representing his mother at events as he moves around the room, greeting people as he passes. She’s here somewhere, but she’s talking to big ticket donors, so he has to be the face for the evening in terms of socialization. He’s putting on a good face, but he’s secretly exhausted.

There’s a glass of champagne in hand and he’s already denied three servers when they offer him hors d'oeuvres. His appetite is shot for reasons unbeknownst to him, even though the short rib sliders look incredible.

He adjusts his bow tie for the 10th time tonight while glancing around the room. So many faces are familiar, and he’s made the rounds already, but someone grabs him before he’s able to go back to his table. He’s about to internally groan, but he’s pleasantly surprised by a flash of light brown hair and a smile framed by plush lips.

“It’s good to see you again, Senator,” Henry says smoothly, the epitome of grace.

Alex eyes Henry, and he looks stunning. His hair is the light brown that Alex still needs to get used to, and a starched black tuxedo with silk lapels and subtle floral embroidery around his waist. He’s wearing a crisp white button up and a skinny tie, and in one of his lapels, is a rainbow flag pin.

Alex smiles back, mimicking the neutral smile on Henry’s face, even though he’s trying to send a completely different message with his eyes.

“The feeling is mutual. Not to be rude, but what are you doing in Austin, Texas at my mother’s Foundation dinner?”

Henry smiles, “After I gave up my titles, I started openly putting my money where my mouth is. I support a lot of your mother’s initiatives, specifically in regards to LGBTQ+ rights, for obvious reasons, and there are a few other things I support.”

Alex nods. “I see. Well thank you for the support. I’m sure Ma appreciates it,” he says, speaking to Henry with the generic charm he has with everyone else here.”

He has so much he wants to say, but none of them are things he can say in polite company. He pulls out his phone and sends a quick text.

U n me later? My apartment, if yes, will text address

Henry feels the vibration in his pocket and pulls it out, reading the text. He types back a response in record time.

It’d be easier if you came to the hotel. Thank you for the invite to your apartment, though. I bet it’s lovely.

Alex nods with a soft smile and bright eyes.

charmer what hotel?

Four Seasons.

lap of luxury, huh. i’ll text you when i’m out of here. ma will probably want to check in

Noted. I’ll see you later. Perhaps we can pick up where we left off last month. Or, even better, we can celebrate our birthdays. Thoughts?

are you a March baby too?

March 12th. You’re the…27th?

do you have a file on me?

No, I’m just good with dates I’ve seen before.

got it. wish i knew, would’ve gotten you a gift

You can be the gift. Now stop texting me. This probably looks odd.

Alex looks down at the text, blushes, and looks up at Henry who’s staring right at him. Alex shoves his phone away, because having it out at a function could look bad if someone caught it on camera.

He looks over and notices his mother looking right at him. “This isn’t an excuse. I’m pretty sure my mother needs to speak to me. I’ll see you later, okay?”

Henry looks over and notices the former President staring at both of them. He holds out his hand to shake. “I’ll see you later, Alex. Have a good rest of your evening.”

Alex takes Henry’s hand and feels the warmth of his palm and a firm, familiar grip. He looks forward to how it’ll feel later, and finds that he missed it from their last encounter, but no one needs to know that but him.

He smiles and wishes Henry a good evening, content that he’ll be part of it, as he walks over to his mother. She’s the only person he can’t read on sight. He can tell when she needs something from him, but he can never tell what she needs. It’s always thrown him off balance.

He meets her at the front of the room, looking to the edge of the crowd. The person she was talking to, who Alex is fairly certain they’re the new CEO of a start up his mother is helping with, is long gone.

“Hey, Ma,” he greets, tilting his half empty glass of champagne at her, “this event turned out amazing.”

“Thank you, sugar. I’m glad you were able to make it. I don’t see you much, even when you’re home.”

It isn’t a dig. Alex knows it isn’t a dig, but it sure as f*ck feels like a dig.

“Well, I learned from someone I really admire that I have to dig my heels in and do the work, even when it means I can’t always do what I want,” he offers with a smile.

That might have been a dig.

She laughs, and it’s a signal of that part of the conversation being over, and then she gets straight to the point.

“So when did you and Henry Fox start getting so friendly?” It’s a simple question in theory, but Alex can’t really tell his mother that they’ve been each other’s booty calls for the past two months, when they end up in the same places.

“We have a lot of the same interests and we’ve gotten to talking. We both believe in a lot of the same things,” he says, and it isn’t a lie. He and Henry have a lot of the same belief systems, even though they’ve come from different walks of life.

While it isn’t usually their preferred pillow talk, it’s usually how they talk to each other at actual events, finding out small facts in between shop talk. It’s a subtle dance; they make sure to spend just enough time together before going their separate ways and then they meet up in whatever luxurious hotel Henry is staying at and have wonderful sex and go their separate ways with a promise to meet again whenever they’re in the same spot.

He thinks a lot about how much he would like to do more than that with Henry, but he shakes himself out of it whenever the thought starts. He doesn’t want to commit to someone only to have it turn to dust between his fingers again. He made himself a promise when he got married that it wouldn’t end the same way his parents’ marriage did, and it didn’t. There were no blowout arguments or screaming matches; it just quietly fizzled.

His parents might have been luckier because at least they were in love at one point, at least according to his dad. Nora—he loved her, still loves her as a friend, but neither of them wanted to be alone and that’s what kept them going for as long as it did. He thinks he might be enforcing his own solitude at this point, but he doesn’t know how to climb out of the hole he dug for himself. He thinks if someone threw him a ladder, he wouldn’t be sure how to climb out.

He blinks out of his overthinking with his mother snapping her manicured fingers under his nose.

“There you are. I’m pretty sure I lost you there, sugar? Did you hear what I said?” Her voice is sharp, but concerned.

“Sorry, Ma. I think I spaced out for a sec. What were you saying?” He shakes himself out of it.

“I was saying, I’m glad you’re making a friend. I’ve been worried about you. Since the divorce, you’ve been…quiet.”

Alex wants to roll his eyes so far back he can see the inside of his skull, but he won’t, because he’s polite, and a 30 year old man. “It’s been five years since me and Nora split, and I’m fine . I…I’ve been working; you know that more than anyone. Starting in congress, freshman Senator, trying not to live in the shadow of President Mom and Senator Dad. I’m carving my own name out, and it doesn’t leave me too much time for socialization outside of work functions.”

“I know. And I’m ridiculously proud of you, sweetheart. I just want you to be happy. Divorce doesn’t mean the end of the road. Look at me and Leo,” she offers.

Alex has so much he wants to say, but he doesn’t want to run his mouth. He thinks it’s an interesting segue from asking about Henry becoming a friend to implying that he needs to find a new partner. If he was in a better mood, he might try and make a joke.

He sighs, fidgeting. “Ma, I’m fine. I’m happy with my friendships and I’m good with being single. Maybe I’ll find someone else, maybe I won’t, but being married isn’t the be all, end all. Didn’t you tell me that when I told you I planned to propose?”

His mother’s mouth purses, and she clearly wants to say something else, but he relaxes slightly when she doesn’t say anything else.

“Okay, sugar. Have a good rest of your night. You’re welcome over for breakfast tomorrow.”

Alex nods. “I’ll be there, Ma. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He kisses her on the cheek and walks away.

The conversation leaves him feeling a little bit cold.

He texts Henry in his Uber to the Four Seasons, and Henry tells him that Carson, one of his security detail, will be waiting for him in the lobby to escort him up. Henry describes the man’s appearance so Alex knows who to look for. He sends back a thumbs up emoji in response.

He finds the other man easily with Henry’s apt description and is led to the elevator and given the room number to Henry’s suite. Alex nods his thanks to the other man and hitches his overnight bag over his shoulder.

He knocks three times, and the door opens to Henry looking relaxed in a loose fitting t-shirt and flannel pajama bottoms. Henry pulls him in by his forearm and backs him up against the door, allowing it to shut behind them. Alex grunts from the collision.

“Hey, there,” Alex says smoothly.

“Hello,” Henry responds, and presses a firm kiss against his lips.

Alex doesn’t really have the leverage to kiss back, but lets himself be kissed, reveling in the attention.

Henry lets him go, and Alex moves past him to strip out of his suit. He pulls off the bow tie first, then the shirt, and the undershirt, pulling his belt off with ease. He kicks off his shoes and socks in clumsy succession, only leaving him in his slacks. Henry eyes him hungrily, and Alex is completely okay with being eaten alive.

Henry pulls him onto the bed, and Alex falls into his arms. For all of Henry’s hunger, they make out lazily, and Alex likes this just as much as the hot and heavy that Henry greeted him with.

Somewhere along the way, Henry stripped Alex of his slacks, and while they’re catching their breath and breathing in each other, Alex gets a look at Henry. The pajama bottoms are slung low on his hips, revealing the line of his boxers, and his loose fitting shirt is thin and sheer, showing his hardened nipples. The shirt is clearly well-worn, exposing a collarbone that Alex wishes he could mark.

“How are you real?” Alex sighs into Henry’s mouth.

Henry kisses him firmly, firmly gripping his ass. “I have to ask the same of you. You’re gorgeous.”

“Flatterer,” Alex says, grinding his hips forward.

Henry groans at the friction, shutting his eyes for a moment. When he opens them, Alex sees a thin rim of blue around his pupil.

Alex moves from looking at Henry, because it feels like too much, and kisses down his torso, lifting Henry’s threadbare t-shirt as he goes. He kisses Henry’s hardened nipples, taking them between his teeth, reveling in the hiss of breath.

“Someone’s sensitive,” he sing-songs, grinning as Henry throws his head back, groaning.

“You’re a demon,” Henry’s breath hitches as Alex presses tender kisses along Henry’s hip bones as he drags the flannel pants down and boxers down in one swoop, exposing the blonde pubic hair and Henry’s hard co*ck.

Alex doesn’t respond; he has a single minded focus on driving Henry wild. He loves knowing he’s able to do this, loves how reactive Henry is, loves being able to figure out what makes him tick.

He presses kisses along Henry’s length, moving to his balls and taking one in his mouth, and suckling before releasing it. Henry’s hips buck and Alex presses them down.

Alex knows what he wants to do, but he wants to make sure Henry’s good with it before he makes his move.

“Wanna get my mouth on you,” he groans, pressing more kisses into Henry’s skin.

“Haven’t you, f*ck, already?” Henry says with a breathy laugh that Alex wants to bottle on all of his bad days.

“Not what I mean,” Alex says. “Wanna eat your pretty hole out,” he grins and watches Henry throw his head back with a groan.


“Hands and knees,” and that’s all he needs to say before Henry is there, ready and waiting for Alex.

Alex smooths his hands along Henry’s lower back, memorizing the ridges of his spine and the birthmarks he wants to draw constellations in. He takes his time, sliding his hands over the curves of Henry’s ass before spreading his cheeks apart and teasing the tip of his tongue around Henry’s hole.

Henry thrusts his hips back as Alex grabs, and his hands feel like they fit perfectly. He removes a hand to brush at Henry’s taint, just to see the reaction and it’s perfect. He thrusts his tongue further into the tight ring of muscle and he can feel Henry shaking and hear him cursing. He wraps a hand around Henry’s co*ck, and that’s what sends Henry over the edge with a moan of Alex’s name.

He goes to check on Henry and he’s surprised when Henry pulls him down. “You didn’t get off yet, did you, darling?”

Alex shakes his head, shocked at how easy it is for Henry to come out of his org*sm. Henry doesn’t say anything else before shimmying down and pulling Alex’s boxers down his hips. Alex gasps when Henry doesn’t even tease, and takes him down to the root.

“f*ck,” Alex cries, throwing his head back.

Henry moves one of Alex’s hands to his hair without a word, and Alex holds Henry in place, as Henry tightens his throat around Alex’s co*ck.

“Holy sh*t- I’m gonna—”

And that’s all the warning he can give Henry before he comes down his throat. Henry swallows it, and comes off of Alex’s softening co*ck with a pop.

Alex falls back into the too comfortable pillows and Henry crawls up to him, kissing him hotly. He breaks it off, and they stare at each other for a moment.

“You’re the f*cking best,” Alex mutters with a laugh.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Henry grins back.

in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (2)

Alex keeps bumping into Henry at events and after events, and they either go out to breakfast in the morning, or indulge in room service and talk about everything and nothing. When Alex is with Henry, he feels normal. The pressure of being himself is lifted, and he’s just a 32 year old with a guy his age, and they have something good.

They do get photographed at the events they’re at, because they’re both high profile, good looking, and they are always talking when one of them doesn’t have to do something for said event.

Alex is still always busy with work, but beyond events, they’re texting or calling or FaceTiming. Alex meets David, Henry’s old, faithful companion. He makes comments about his name while complimenting him on his distinguished appearance in one breath, which takes Henry from irritated to ecstatic.

They talk about more than surface level things too. Alex recalls one conversation where he really opened up about his insecurities.

He brought up being the son of the president, in the public eye before he even graduated high school, being with Nora, how their relationship was doomed to fail even though Alex willed it to work with all his heart and soul. He waxed tales about how he was always too much, but never enough, about how he dulled himself down to a blunted edge to be the person he is now.

Alex and Henry are building something, and Alex doesn’t know what it is, but he’s content for once. He feels something settle in him, even if what they’re doing feels a bit juvenile. It’s fun though, and mischievous, and it makes Alex feel more like himself for the first time in…he can’t tell how long.

Of course, as subtle as he tries to be, his best friend/ex-wife is smarter than he could ever hope to be. She calls him one night, while he’s getting a glasses induced headache from a bill he’s poring over.

It takes three rings for him to pick up, and he rubs his temples, as if the pressure will get the headache to vanish.

“Hey, Nora. I’m kind of busy, can we make this quick?”

He realizes immediately how sharp and nasty he sounds, and she calls him on it before he can apologize.

“No, we can’t, because you need to take a break from whatever the hell you’re doing and start telling me when you decided to live out your pre-pubescent fantasy of planting one on Henry f*cking Fox.”

Alex feels the record scratch go off in his head. He knows they’re careful, and discreet, and all the pictures of them together are platonic. There can’t be pictures of them kissing, because they do it in private; not that it means anything because the tabloids are scum, but he knows he’d hear about it if he got caught, but that isn’t the point right now.

“I never had a teenage crush on Henry. We’re friends.” He talks smoothly.

“Alex, we were together for 8 years, and you told me about all of your crushes,” he winces when she starts listing them off, “Han Solo, Rafael Luna, Liam, and definitely Hen—”

He cuts her off. “I told you about the magazine thing in confidence, and I got over it!”

She snorts down the line. “Sure, Alex. That’s why you two are making bedroom eyes at each other at that fundraiser last month. The way he looked at you in that clip is more than friendly. I can show you the GIFs if you want.”

Alex tugs at his hair, groaning into the bill that he’s going to abandon for tonight, because he clearly has other things to worry about. He doesn’t need to see the GIFs. He knows how he and Henry look at each other in private. He tries to tone it down, but he can’t help it.

“Nora, I-,” he starts.

“Nora, you-,” she contends, and continues, “Alex, there’s no shame in getting laid. You’re allowed to get your rocks off with anyone you want as long as it’s safe and consensual from all parties involved.”

She pauses for a minute, and Alex thinks she’s done, but then she continues.

“Wait. This isn’t just friends with benefits, is it?”

Alex wants to sink into the floor. He wants to melt through the Earth and leave this conversation as it’s happening. He wants to be friends with benefits. He wants to have platonic sexual relations with the ex-Prince, but he’s a wonderful liar, but awful at lying to himself. And Nora. But he’ll try.

“It’s only that. We have a lot in common and we get along well and we have sex when we’re in the same place. That’s all it is.”

Nora snort-laughs, and Alex knows he’s in trouble.

“Alejandro…please don’t insult my intelligence. I beg of you. And don’t insult your own either, for that matter. It’s okay if you have feelings for Henry. More than. Since being with him, you’re the happiest I’ve seen you in—”

Alex drifts out of the conversation there. So many people have told him ‘ you look happier’ lately, and he doesn’t know what that means. Has he been that bad at putting on a front lately? Was he really that miserable before? He thought he was doing fine. No one ever has a complaint, but that phrase keeps coming; at least from the people who know him well. It twists something in his gut.

He comes back to himself when Nora keeps calling his name. Over and over. She’s trying to get his attention, but he’s spiraling. He doesn’t even know why. This isn’t even a huge revelation. He’s known he feels more for Henry than he’s let on for months , and the idea terrifies him, but he doesn’t want to give it up. He just has to…keep doing what he’s doing, and it’ll be fine.

Alex,” Nora says sharply.

He apologizes. “Sorry, spaced out. Like I said, I’m busy, and I’m tired. I’ll think about what you said about me and Henry.”

More like overthink and analyze it into oblivion.

“I don’t think you heard half of what I said, but I’ll let you go, Alejandro. Take care of yourself. Alright?”

“Yeah, Nora. I will. G’night.”

If Alex falls asleep at his desk, glasses askew, still fully clothed after staying up for longer than he should because he can’t get his mind to rest; that’s his burden to bear alone.

He ignores the voice in his head every time he’s with Henry to make a move, to have a conversation, to make it more than what it currently is. The other side of his brain is telling him not to fix what isn’t broken. His brain tells him that if Henry has a problem with what they’re doing then he can break it off.

He tries to ignore it every time Henry looks like a kicked puppy whenever Alex kisses him goodbye. If Alex was being really honest with himself, he feels the same.

The thing is, he doesn’t want to offer Henry more than he can give him. He knows he likes Henry as more than a friend, and more than someone to sleep with, but he also doesn’t know if he can commit to romance again.

The idea of falling for someone completely again, the potential of a future and the nebulous more, and then watch it either a) fall apart or b) recognize they’re forcing something that might not be there isn’t a risk he thinks he can take again. He knows he feels more for Henry than he ever felt for Nora.

He knows it from the ability to share things he doesn’t even share with June. He knows it in the way his heart flutters every time Henry gives him a pet name. He knows it in the way Henry talks about everything and everyone he cares about, and panics internally at the idea that he , the last person who deserves it, might be added to the list.

They’re sitting in a bed after an event in Manhattan. Alex is curled into Henry’s shoulder, taking all of it in. They’re pleasantly tipsy from wine; Alex forgets often that his tolerance isn’t what it used to be, and Henry is very much the same.

They’re kissing softly in between Henry telling Alex a story of him and Pez on a sailboat in their college days. He weaves a tale from days of old (16 years ago), and talks fondly about the freedom he had in those days, and how he wishes he could tell the boy from back then who he is now—open and proud and giving back to the community he’s part of in all the ways he only dreamed about.

Alex’s eyes are full of pride. “I wish you had all of that sooner. You always deserved this, Henry.”

Henry blushes, and Alex is stunned by how gorgeous he is, but doesn’t respond. He just grabs Alex’s hand.

“When you and Nora came out…I remember how much of a stir it caused, and I was so angry for the both of you, because people thought they had a right to the two of you and an in to enter your relationship. I almost said something on social media, but…it was before Gran died, so it would’ve been too “controversial”.

He removes his hand to do finger quotes before sliding their fingers back together.

Alex remembers coming out with Nora. It was a simple social media post during Pride, but they broke the f*cking Internet for it. People had things to say, and he still cringes at the offers they received, but he doesn’t regret it for an instant. He loves being bisexual. It took him longer than he would’ve liked to figure it out, and he sent Liam a fruit basket as an apology in the aftermath, but he’s happy he isn’t hiding that part of himself.

Henry yawns into Alex’s collarbone, and Alex laughs.

“We should go to sleep, baby.”

“One more thing before we sleep. I know you’re going to the charity event in London next month. I know you’ll be talking to my family in the formal sense, but would you like to meet them?”

Alex’s eyes widen. He’s trying to figure out what Henry’s asking. When Alex doesn’t say anything, Henry continues.

“I really like you, Alex. And I like what we’re doing, and I was hoping…we could potentially do a “soft launch” of sorts? Meeting my family, and then we could talk about…going on dates? I know it’s a bit of a reverse order, but the circ*mstances were unusual. What do you say?”

Alex bites his lip, and he’s so torn. He wants to say yes. He wants it desperately. He spends more time than he should thinking about dating Henry, but he also thinks about their inevitable collapse, because he’s never been able to keep a good thing going. But he wants it, and he loves the look on Henry’s face, so he swallows his anxiety to say what Henry wants to hear.

“Yeah, Hen. I’d love to meet your family.”

The smile on Henry’s face makes the twist in his stomach worth it.

in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (3)

Of course, as soon as he agrees to something he wants wholeheartedly, something has to turn it on its head. It starts with a headline on some tabloids he sees on his way to the Dirksen:

Secret Sleepovers?: Henry Fox and ACD Late Night Meetings

What Are They Hiding?: Ex-Prince and Texas Senator’s Rumored Romance

His eyes widen and he swallows down the feeling of his tongue swelling in his throat. They were careful and quiet, and he’s worked so hard for so long to not be too much. He speaks out for what he believes in, but he knows when to reign it in. He’s passionate without being obnoxious. He doesn’t draw attention to himself unless it’s to support something bigger than him. This can’t be happening.

He doesn’t know how long it will take for the news to spread. Doesn’t know how long it’ll take for his phone to start blowing up with questions. The only people who know are Nora, Henry, Henry’s team, Pez, and Henry’s sister. Alex normally wouldn’t keep this from June, but he did, because she doesn’t worry about him anymore and he didn’t want to give her a reason to start.

He has to go to work. He can’t hide away, but he also doesn’t want questions and scrutiny. He doesn’t want judgment. He doesn’t know if the news is spreading like wildfire, or if it’s a slow burn.

A text comes in. June. It reads Call me. Another one from his mother and father that read the same thing. Then one from Henry rolls in, and that’s when he decides to turn off his phone.

No one says anything when he comes in. No one asks him questions. He’s waiting to field them, waiting to argue with his internal instinct to deny, but nothing comes.

He still hasn’t turned his phone back on, but he knows he has to. He can’t avoid this forever. Once he unlocks his phone, he’s bombarded. It makes him want to shut it down all over again. The top text is from Henry, and it tells him there are another 10 just like it. The one that shows up on his lock screen is: are you alright, love? please call me

He doesn’t. He mutes everyone so he can’t see when notifications come in. He has to figure out what to do. The first thing he should probably do is tell Henry he isn’t coming, at least not until he gets this under control.

Alex is a planner, and he didn’t anticipate this. He should have, because things always have their way of crawling into the light eventually. He’s a f*cking hypocrite, because for all his talk of being out and proud, he’s hiding something important to him because he’s selfish and scared. He’s an antithesis—terrified of being alone and putting himself in situations where he’ll never be truly close to anyone. He wants to find the punchline to the joke, but it never comes.

He texts Henry: I’m sorry. You deserve so much better than this.

He shuts his phone off after that.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Over and over and over. He groans, rolling over. He puts a pillow over his head, willing the noise to go away. It needs to stop. He doesn’t know who it could be. June’s on an assignment, Mom’s in Texas, Dad’s in California, and Henry…Henry doesn’t know where he lives, and after what he just did, Henry would sooner burn him where he stands than come to him.

The knocking isn’t stopping, so he has no choice but to get up and see who’s darkening his doorstep. He throws on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and puts his contacts in without making sure the prescription is right in each eye.

When he opens the door he’s shocked to see his Dad. He thought he was in California and says as much. “What are you doing here?”

“That’s not really the way you should greet your Dad, Alex. Also, you really shouldn’t be unreachable. It tends to scare the sh*t out of people.”

Alex purses his lips and shuts his eyes. He knows he doesn’t really have a leg to stand on. He doesn’t have any excuses. “Not trying to scare anyone. I’m alive. Clearly.”

He gestures to himself. He hasn’t looked in the mirror since he woke up so he doesn’t know how he looks. It’s probably not great based on the way his Dad is staring him down.

“Would’ve been nice to hear it from you rather than slamming on your door. Your sister was ready to start calling hospitals.”

Alex shuts his eyes, guilt swirling in his veins. “No need to do that.”

“Yes. Now can you let me in? I’d really like to talk to my kid who’s clearly dealing with something.”

Alex wants to block the doorway-wants to keep his father out, but he knows if he does it won’t actually get him anywhere.

He steps to the side and watches as the older man steps through the doorway, shutting it behind him. Alex is glad the rot is isolated to his bedroom so the rest of the apartment looks somewhat normal.

“So I guess you saw the news, huh?” Alex starts it this way; calm and casual.

“I’ve known you were bisexual since you came out, Alex. It isn’t news.”

Alex blinks. Once. Twice. Three times.

“Mijo,” his dad says, voice coming out soft, “what do you think the news is saying?”

Alex doesn’t know. He hasn’t looked. He doesn’t know how many missed calls he has. It’s apparently bad enough for Oscar Diaz to come knocking on his door to do a wellness check.

“Is it bad?” He chokes out.

“I mean the tabloids are saying some choice words, but you and Henry are high profile adults in your early 30’s, so that’s to be expected. What did you think they were saying?”

Once again, Alex takes a pause. He’s always had to be aware of how he presents himself. The word optics haunts him constantly. He remembers the campaign trail, the court of public opinion, and the reminders when he stepped a toe out of line. It’s been 7 years since his mother has been President, but he feels like he can’t leave the shadow, even though he has his own life now.

“I…I thought it would be a sh*t storm. I thought people would really go at us,” Alex admits quietly. He can’t look at his Dad right now. He feels too much like a scolded child right now.

“Alex, I say this in the most loving way possible, but people have more important things to worry about than a sitting Senator and an ex-Prince’s private affairs. It’ll float around the rumor mill, and people will be louder because you’re both well known, but it’s not going to affect your campaign, if that’s what you’re worried about. You’ve been out as bi forever, and who you date or don’t date is no one’s business but your own. What’s really going on, kid?”

“I don’t give a f*ck about the campaign, Pa! I...I f*cked up. And I don’t know how to unf*ck it up. I got scared. I stopped at the edge of the cliff, because I got tossed back to shore the last time I jumped off.”

The last part is said softly, full of shame. Sometimes he wishes things with Nora had been different. He thinks how much easier it would be if they could have the easy harmony they had when Alex was still in high school and she just started at MIT, transferring to be in on the action; when she had affection in her eyes.

He thinks of their inside jokes and late night talks–they still have them, but it would be so much easier if she loved him the way he wanted to be loved. But she didn’t, and Henry does, even if Alex didn’t give him the chance, and now those chances are shot to hell because the fearless and impulsive Alex who took what he wanted whenever he had the chance left the chat when he realized he was repeating the wrong kind of history.


“Yeah?” He blurts out, throat suddenly too dry, and eyes suddenly too wet.

“I would call your sister. She’s worried about you. I’ll run interference with your mother, who’s also worried about you, but you know as well as I do how she gets.”

He’s trying to make a joke, trying to lighten the mood, and it’s such an Oscar Diaz thing to do.

He exhales a shaky breath. “Yeah. I’ll do that. Um, thanks for listening, Pa.”

“It’s part of being a parent. It doesn’t stop when my kids are in their thirties.”

He pulls Alex into a tight hug, pressing a warm hand to his back. As he’s leaving, he tells Alex he’ll see him at work, which is still surreal to him even though it’s been a thing since he started in Congress.

He takes in the silence, knowing he has to break it again, moving towards his bedroom because he knows he’ll want to be comfortable for the verbal flogging he’s about to receive.

Alex prays to all that is holy that June is kind to him. He knows he doesn’t deserve it, but he feels too fragile to deal with cruelty. He dials in her number without looking, flopping backwards on the bed. He scrapes a hand over the points of his stubble as she picks up on the first ring.

“Oh, he’s finally done with scaring everyone half to death.”

Okay, she’s going to be mean.

“Hey, Bug,” he says, quietly. Embarrassed.

“No. You don’t get to call me ‘Bug’ right now, Alex. Not when you go radio silent and scare the crap out of everyone,” she starts. Alex is about to respond, but he pauses when she continues. “Not when you don’t trust me enough to tell me important things.”

He feels a twist in his gut. He swallows the bile that starts to rise in his throat. “I’m sorry,” he offers weakly.

“For what, Alex? What exactly are you sorry for here? Because if we’re being really honest with ourselves, I’m not the one you should be apologizing to.”

“I’m sorry for ghosting you when I freaked out. And…for not telling you about Henry. You shouldn’t have had to find out from the tabloids.”

She groans. “You ghosting me is nothing new; it’s annoying and concerning, but not new. And you’re right. Why didn’t you?”

And why didn’t he? He tells June everything. Always has. Probably always will.

“I just…”

“That isn’t an answer, Alex. Please, tell me what’s going on.”

It should be so easy to say it, but his tongue feels too big for his mouth. He tries to swallow down the nervousness because this is June.

“Henry and I started sleeping together and became friends with benefits. Then we became friends, and I definitely like him as more than that. Then the tabloid stuff came out and I freaked out. I was supposed to go to London and meet his family, but because I panicked I didn’t go. And I haven’t really looked at my phone since.”

He has about 10 missed calls and 40 texts from Henry. He doesn’t want to read them.

June makes a strangled noise and Alex hasn’t heard something like that leave her lips since they were teenagers. “I love you, Alex, but you’re an idiot. In every sense of the word. You are so smart, but so stupid at the same time and I don’t understand how you do this to yourself.”


“No, let me finish. You…you have so much love to give and it’s so clear you want to be loved, but you don’t let yourself have it. You have self-sabotaged every time you’ve gotten close to someone since Nora. Now that you’ve found someone on your level, you decided that you don’t deserve to have it. I don’t know Henry besides our interactions over the years, but since you and him have been doing whatever it is you’re doing, you’ve seemed so happy. I haven’t seen you this way in a long time.”

Alex lets out a strangled noise. He doesn’t even know how to respond.

June takes the noise as a sign to keep going. “You aren’t mom and dad, Alex. I know you and Nora got divorced, but that situation was so different from them. Divorce doesn't mean ‘alone forever’. I hate saying it, but mom found Leo. You don’t have to intentionally isolate yourself because you’re scared.”

“I—f*ck.” Eloquent. Well-spoken.

“Look, I’m never going to tell you what to do. That was never my job, and I’m way too old for it now, but I think you need to put the fear away and find the old Alex, the one who cared a little bit less. Rekindling the flame won’t burn you out, baby brother.”

Alex isn’t going to cry. He doesn’t sniffle. “I’m 32, June. I’m not a baby.”

“You’ll always be my baby brother, Alex. Now, get off the phone with me, buy the plane ticket, and let me know how it goes. I love you, okay?”

Alex laughs wetly. “I love you too, June. Thank you.”

in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (4)

He gets the first flight out of Dulles to Heathrow, reusing his tried and true habit of taking a red eye when he wants to be ignored. He texts Henry before the plane takes off to let him know he’s on the way. He doubts he’ll get a response, but he doesn’t want to blindside him. If there’s a text telling him to go home when he gets off the plane on the other side of the Atlantic, he’ll tuck tail and leave.

He’s restless on the flight—the queued movies and podcasts don’t do anything to relieve the noise clattering through his mind. He buys in-flight WiFi in the hopes of receiving anything , but it’s wasted money aside from periodically updating the group chat he keeps with June and Nora. They send him encouragement and memes and he’ll take anything he can get.

He doesn’t drink anything besides water, picks at the offered meals and snacks even though it makes him nauseous and counts the hours on the flight tracker. He doesn’t know when, but there’s a point where he finally does doze off. He’s woken up by a flight attendant, jumping at the voice. He hates that her eyes are blue, almost but not quite Henry’s unique shade, and nods when he shuffles out of his seat, making sure to grab his backpack.

He makes his way through Customs easily, turning his phone off airplane mode. No new texts. He pulls up Uber and puts in the address Henry gave him before he decided to be a coward, and hops in the car. He puts in his headphones to avoid conversation, and does the only thing he can do: sit and wait.

When he makes his way up to the deep red door of the brownstone Henry lives in, he stops before he gets his fingertip to the door bell. He gulps down a breath before pressing, and he waits. And waits. And waits. He listens for any indication of noise, and when he hears footsteps he stands stock still. He hears the click of two locks, and when the door opens he deflates when it isn’t Henry he sees.

An imposing figure stands in the doorway, dressed in an intricately patterned shirt and linen pants, closely shorn hair a neon green. Their face is considering Alex, who takes a step back in instinct, clutching the railing when he realizes he might fall on his ass.

“Now come on, Alexander, I’m not that scary,” Pez comments breezily, as if he isn’t a barrier between him and Henry.

“Hi, Pez.”

“Right now, it’s Percy. Pez is for people in my good graces, and you aren’t,” his bright smile betrays his tone.

“Right, Percy,” he corrects. “I guess you know why I’m here, then.”

Pez, Percy, Alex internally corrects, nods. “I’m assuming you’re here to apologize and try to rectify the situation you’ve created.”

Alex swallows, feels sweat rolling down his neck, even though the weather is chilly. He squeezes his fists to ground himself. “Yeah, that’s why I’m here. Please, let me try and make it right. I really, really monumentally f*cked up. I know you don’t have any reason to trust me, but please.”

“You’re a politician. And a lawyer. No one should trust you.”

Alex frowns. He’s done his best to be one of the good ones in terms of politics. He feels like he’s succeeded, so he knows Percy’s comment is meant to be cruel.

A second set of footsteps comes in, and a lighter voice comes in. She pokes under Pez’s armpit, light brown hair tied in a messy bun and a graphic t-shirt over sweats.

“Stop torturing him, Pez. Haz said he could come up. Not only that, it’s cold. If he’s going to die, I’d rather it not be from that.” Alex gets a distinct feeling that if he’s going to die, it’s going to be via homicide.

Alex can only assume the smaller woman is Bea, Henry’s sister. They were supposed to meet under brighter circ*mstances and he knows of her—from the trash media and Henry’s stories that painted a vivid picture of her. She looks up at him, and if looks could kill, he’d be six feet under.

“He’s the one who said he wanted to hear you out. If he asks you to leave, you go and don’t return. Do you understand? He’s been through too much, and he’s too kind for his own good to be twisted around this way. You’re either all in, or you’re gone. Do you understand?”

Alex nods. “I know. And I will. I’m here to apologize and I’ll let him take the lead. Even if I can’t fix this, I want him to know how I feel.”

Bea nods, eyes sharp. “He’s upstairs. Go.”

Alex climbs the stairs two at a time, eager to see Henry, even if it feels like he’s walking towards his ruin. He has so much to make up for, and he knows this is the only chance he has to maybe make it right.

When he gets to the top step, he looks around at the living room, and all of it is so Henry. The multiple bookshelves filled to the top with books, the exposed brick walls, the warm lighting…it feels homey and comfortable.

The couch that’s the focal point of the sitting area holds 6’0 of man, curled up with a book with a beagle curled into his side. He’s wearing a well worn sweater and joggers. His hair looks disheveled, but not on purpose, and it’s clear that he’s tired. Alex hurts, knowing that he did that.

He clears his throat, drawing attention to himself. It hurts worse when Henry looks up, exhausted and miserable looking. Knowing he’s the one that caused this makes his chest squeeze painfully.

“Alex,” he breathes out, and for a second Alex is hopeful, before he watches Henry school his expression into neutrality-years and years of training being put to use. “You’re here.”

“Yeah, I am,” he says, rooted to the spot, unsure if he should move closer. “I told you I was coming.”

“I know. I saw your texts. I suppose you didn’t see mine. Or the phone calls.”

“I did, I just…after I turned my phone back on. And then I didn’t answer because I panicked.”

“I was worried sick, you know. I thought something had happened. Your phone went straight to voicemail after the tabloid headlines came out. I didn’t know if you were injured, dead, or if I was blocked. And then I get a text telling me I deserve better. Then it’s continued radio silence, and then a text telling me you’re on your way here. What’s going on? Why are you here?”

“I came to apologize.”

Henry laughs, and stands up, putting the book down, and startling David. “This deserves more than an apology. We were heading somewhere, or so I thought? We were going to stop hooking up like teenagers and put ourselves out there. I thought that’s what you wanted.”

Alex flinches. Like teenagers. All of his behavior is incredibly childish. He knows. “It is what I wanted! It’s what I still want. I want to be with you. I want this. I want us.”

Henry laughs. “You sure have a funny way of showing it.”

Alex bites his lip, thinking about what he wants to say. “I panicked. I—I’ve had a really hard time since the divorce. The idea of being with someone who I actually care about and having that, knowing I could destroy it—it’s hard.”

Henry’s eyes soften for a moment, but harden again. “Relationships are hard! Being in the public eye is hard. We both know that. We’ve both been through it for most of our lives, and if you don’t think you can do it, then that’s…it isn’t fine, but I’ll manage,” he breathes, and it’s clear he has more to say. He stands, waiting.

“If I’m being incredibly honest, Pez would have shut the door in your face if I didn’t tell him not to. If I was more angry, I would have told you to go back to America and let anyone but me warm your bed at night. I don’t forgive you, but I don’t want you to leave.”

He moves a hand to his hair and yanks it. Alex wants to pull it away, but he knows he needs to give Henry space.

“I’m a lovesick fool who had a chance with the person I’ve been dreaming about for 14 years, and I don’t want it to pass me by because I might never have it again. But if we do this, it’s all or nothing. I spent too much time hiding myself away to do it again. So it’s on you, Alex. Should you want me, you have me. But only if you intend to keep me.”

Alex blinks. Repeatedly. Awestruck. There are a few things that hit him. 14 years. Lovesick fool.

“You’ve loved me for…?” He asks softly.

“Since Rio...before you were even the President’s son. I knew I never had a chance because you were so besotted with Nora. Obviously we’ve run into each other over the years, and there was the year you rescued me, but I never thought I’d have a chance at a friendship with you, let alone…this. And then I had it, or the idea of it. And I was fine with having it for myself, but there was a long period of time I couldn’t have what I wanted, and I’m admittedly selfish and—”

Alex cuts him off, keeping the distance, but putting his index finger to Henry’s lips. “You aren’t selfish. I meant every word each time I said you deserve to have everything. You had to keep a secret for so long, and it’s bullsh*t, and you’re so…amazing, even when you were in the sh*ttiest circ*mstances, and I’m the selfish one, not you. I was a f*cking coward, and you’re so f*cking brave. Always have been. H, I don’t expect you to forgive me, and I don’t understand how you could want me after this, but if you want me to keep you, you’re stuck with me.”

Henry laughs. Actually laughs, and the sound is a siren’s call to close the distance between them. Alex moves into Henry’s space, and Henry actually welcomes him into his arms.

“I want you. And I want everything with you. And I’m not stuck with you, you imbecile. I’m happy to be with you. We have a lot to talk about, and I’m still furious with you, and I’d rather let that dust settle before we make decisions about our future, but I’m so, so happy you’re here, Alex.”

Alex sighs in relief, content to have Henry’s weight against him in an embrace. “Me too. Thank you for letting me say my piece. I would’ve understood if you sent me back across the Atlantic with my tail between my legs, but thank you for listening to me.”

“When, in the time we’ve been doing this have I not hung on every word, meaningful or inconsequential that left your wonderful mouth?”

The question is fair. Henry is a wonderful listener, and has always given a sh*t about what Alex had to say, even when it’s outlandish.

“Point,” he breathes, taking in Henry’s scent. Henry pulls away suddenly.

“Please don’t. I smell rank. Depression does not bode well with showering.”

Alex shakes his head. “I’m surprised you didn’t shove me away. I smell like airplane and Uber and too many hours of running around.”

He sniffs at himself and cringes.

“We can fix that. Shower together and take a nap? Then we can talk?”

“Yeah. That. That sounds nice.”

Henry nods decisively. “I’m going to shoot a text off to Bea and Pez to let them know they can stand down, then we can rest.”

Alex nods again, frowning when Henry pulls away from him to grab his phone. Now that he has the other man back, he doesn’t want to let him go.

Once the text is sent, Henry pockets his phone and intertwines his fingers with Alex’s. Alex holds on tighter. Henry leads him down the hallway to the main bedroom. The theming of exposed brick and bookshelves follows, and the bed that is the centerpiece of the room looks palatial-king sized, with neutral colored bedding that looks hotel grade.

Alex is silent as Henry grabs his backpack from his shoulders, and remains quiet as he’s stripped down to his boxers. Henry strips as well and moves to the shower to turn up the water. He pulls out towels from the linen closet, and while the water is warming up, Alex can’t help but look.

Henry is always beautiful, but here, in a place he clearly feels comfortable, it’s intensified. He moves so easily, because it’s his space, one he wants to share with Alex, and Alex feels privileged to still have a chance at something with Henry.

Henry pulls him towards the glass shower door as it starts steaming, and they step under the rainfall shower head together. Henry immediately pulls Alex into the crevice where his neck and shoulder meet, and Alex melts into it, trying his best to hold onto this moment.

They exchange a few words in the shower, but it’s clear both of them are exhausted, so the primary purpose is getting clean. Henry’s soap feels like an embrace as it’s massaged into his skin, and he settles into the warmth of the water and Henry‘s presence.

Alex shivers when the water gets turned off, but he’s immediately met with a fluffy towel. He laughs when Henry rubs the towel into his hair, quietly complaining that his curls will look like sh*t, and Henry hushes him.

Alex pulls out a new pair of boxers from his backpack when they settle into the bedroom and Henry throws a t-shirt and flannel PJ bottoms at him. Alex takes them and changes, frowning at how long the pants are. He suddenly doesn’t give a f*ck when Henry laughs.

They fall into each other and Henry tucks them in. Alex rests his head on Henry’s chest, dozing to the rhythm of another man’s heart.

The passage of time is hazy when Alex wakes up, but when his eyes flutter open, Henry is awake, another book in hand, looking settled. He seems to pick up on the fact Alex is coming back to consciousness.

“Well hello there, darling. Welcome back.”

Alex shuts his eyes, and opens them again. His eyes burn because he forgot to take out his contacts before he fell asleep. He tries to blink the burn away, but squints in frustration.

“Hey, baby. I have to take my contacts out. Gimme a sec.”

He rolls out of bed, pulling up the pajama bottoms as he goes. As he makes it to the ensuite and washes his hands before pulling his contacts out, he takes a look at himself in the mirror. He looks exhausted, even after getting rest. He also knows they’re about to have a conversation; one that’s going to make them or break them. If it falls apart, he’s the only one to blame, but he has to steel himself. He pulls the contacts out, wincing at the change in his vision. Things are blurry; he can still make his way around just fine, but he hates it when it’s like this. He walks back to the bedroom, moving to his backpack to pull out his glasses case, throwing them on.

“Sorry. I didn’t want to rush off, but my eyes were bothering me.”

Henry leans in, brushing a stray curl from his forehead. “Never apologize; you know how I feel about you in glasses.”

Alex smiles lightly; he’s hyper aware of Henry’s little glasses kink, and has made fun of it several times (and reaped the rewards of it many more times), but it isn’t the time for that.

The conversation is harrowing. They each have something to say, and Alex uses his well learned skill of shutting the f*ck up to let Henry have the floor first. Henry talks in detail about the feelings Alex’s stunt brought up for him, and Alex wants to apologize, but he knows it isn’t about that–not right now. He knows some of the things Henry is telling him, but hearing it again causes something in Alex to fracture. Knowing he had a part in Henry’s pain after working to build himself into something so wonderful makes him feel like dirt. Henry explains what he needs for this to be realistic. Alex knows he can give him those things.

It’s Alex’s turn to speak, and Alex does his best not to grovel at Henry’s feet. He addresses the years of insecurity that he usually tries to hide behind a shell of bravado and explains how he doesn’t want to repeat any mistakes. (“But in doing so, I f*ck up even worse on my own.”) Henry tells him to stop after that self-deprecating comment. Alex asks Henry to be patient with him, and Henry agrees. They talk about doing things the “traditional” way–going on dates, then meeting the family versus the reverse Henry originally suggested. Alex assures him he was completely fine with it before the tabloids decided to rear their ugly head. (“I really was excited to meet everyone, baby. It wasn’t them. It was me.”)

They talk about how they are going to handle the media. Alex has media training, and so does Henry. It isn’t going to be difficult, and Alex still can’t fully explain why he lost it so spectacularly. He thinks about calling Evangeline; his therapist after the divorce. They worked well together, and he did all the work he wanted, but he thinks there’s a lot more work to do, but that can be another thing to add to the list. After the conversation is done, things feel a bit easier, a bit safer. There’s still a lot to do, but one door is closed, and there’s a new one to open together.

After their tentative reconciliation, Bea and Pez are actually kind to him, which allows Alex to settle in. There are still several thinly veiled threats that are quelled with Henry’s powerful gaze, but Alex is actually glad for it. He knows that June and Nora would be the same for him in a heartbeat. He’s glad Henry has people in his corner that are so willing to protect him. They leave, hugging Henry goodbye. Pez shakes Alex’s hand a touch too firm, and then pulls him in. They say something vaguely threatening. Bea hugs him; her threat is less thinly veiled.

When the door shuts, it’s only the two of them. The silence is comfortable rather than oppressive.

“I have to go back to the States tomorrow,” Alex says quietly. He doesn’t really want to leave Henry, but he also has things he left unfinished that he really needs to work on. There are a few bills he’s part of that he needs to look over, and the Senate will be back in session within the next week. He unfortunately can’t stay back in England with his…boyfriend? He and Henry haven’t developed a label for who they are, but that isn’t his main concern.

“I do as well, actually. Pez and I are going back to the shelter in Brooklyn. We only came over for the event.”

Alex frowns; he was supposed to be at that event, aside from meeting Henry’s family. That reminds him he needs to make an apology to the organizer and submit a bigger donation as an apology for a wasted plate.

“Right. I’ll be in Washington. The Senate's back in session next week, and I have some things I need to do around that. Maybe we can figure something out over the weekend? D.C. and Brooklyn aren’t that far. It’s only 4 hours.”

Henry steps into his space. “The fact that you consider 4 hours “not that far” astounds me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing you. In fact, I would love it very much.”

Alex kisses him. “We’ll plan something once we get over the jet lag. Now, can we go to bed?”

Henry kisses him back. “Do you want to go to bed, or do you want to get in bed and do other things?” He says, with a perfectly raised eyebrow.

Alex nods, smiling softly at how well Henry can read him. “Yeah, I really want to make up for the time I didn’t get to have with you, baby. Wanna treat you the way you deserve.”

He presses warm kisses to Henry’s cheek, moving down his chin, to the pulse point of his neck. Henry leans into the touch of Alex’s lips.

“Please, love.”

“Anything. Everything. I’d give all of it to you.”

They fall into bed, facing each other. They strip each other down, slowly. The kisses are soft, full of longing and adoration. Alex worships Henry’s body with his teeth and tongue, leaving marks in places only for them. He brushes lips from the top of Henry’s head to his ankle bone.

“I’m gonna open you up now, sweetheart. Okay?”

Henry swallows. “Please.” He rolls over to throw the lube at Alex and Alex catches it deftly, giving himself a pat on the back.

He flicks the cap open and squirts the lube on his fingers, rolling them to warm it within his hand. He rests his head on Henry’s thigh as he pulls in the scent of sweat and Henry, reveling in it as he gently pushes the tip of his index finger in. Henry leans into it, and Alex presses a kiss into his thigh as he fingers him open slowly, gently.

Henry urges him to rush and Alex denies him.

“I want to take my time with you, cariño. I want to take care of you,” Alex murmurs and Henry groans, moaning Alex’s name.

Alex loves the sound and wants to bottle it on all of his bad days. He continues to work Henry open slowly, pausing only to make sure Henry’s co*ck isn’t neglected in his focus.

“I’m ready,” Henry hisses, and Alex pulls his fingers out, wiping them on the sheets.

“Condom?” Alex says in a rush.

“No, I want to feel you,” Henry murmurs.

Alex nods, and leans over Henry, moving his leg so he can fit into his space. He presses the tip of his co*ck to Henry’s entrance, pressing in slowly. They groan together; Henry’s so tight, even after being stretched, and he’s so warm, heat radiating from his skin. Alex wants to melt into him. Henry’s watching him, making sure he doesn’t disappear, and Alex wants to show Henry that he’s here, he’s real, and he isn’t going anywhere ever again.

They move together, almost in perfect synchronicity, and when Alex wraps a hand around Henry’s length, lubing him with Henry’s pre-come, the sound of the gorgeous noises leaving Henry’s lips and the wet slide of Alex’s hand are a sound he wants to commit to memory.

“So good, Alex–ah,” Henry whines, and the word good sends Alex’s brain on overdrive, even if it isn’t directly referring to him. Knowing he’s making Henry feel good sends warmth through all of him.

Alex is close, but he wants to make this last. He doesn’t want to rush through it, or miss a minute. He wants to frame Henry’s bared neck, the hair brushing his cheeks, the tautness of his muscles–all of it. He wants to put it in his personal museum so he can always look.

“Baby, ‘m gonna–” he warns.

The world is narrowed down to the two of them, and Alex feels Henry go first, and he tumbles down soon after. They shake through it together, laughing and Alex is surprised when Henry brushes a tear from his cheek.

“We’re okay, love. We’re good.”

Alex laughs weakly and pulls out, resting his head on Henry’s chest, listening for the rapid beat of his heart. He’s pretty sure his is doing the same.

Alex has to leave first because his flight is at the ass crack of dawn. Henry is frustrated when Alex declines Henry coming along for the ride. Alex provides perfectly logical reasons for Henry to stay that he can’t argue with. Alex promises to purchase in-flight WiFi again to provide a play-by-play of the trip from take-off to landing to when Alex finally settles into his apartment. Henry laughs and tells him “that’s a bit excessive”, but lingers into their goodbye kiss before Alex unfortunately has to break away first.

He actually manages to sleep on the flight home and keeps his promise to Henry about consistent updates. He provides less detailed updates to his parents, June, and Nora. They’re all happy to hear he has good news.

When he gets back to his apartment, he curls up into his bed, fully clothed, sending a selfie to Henry letting him know he made it safely. Henry sends one back, hair a mess, and smile bright, and Alex feels incredible, even though he knows the jet lag is going to send him through the ringer.

Life reverts to normalcy after they both go back to their respective home bases, except for the new normal. Alex intentionally visits Henry (it’s easier for him to go back and forth) and while they don’t pose for tabloids, they don’t avoid photos either. They don’t say anything about the headlines, even though most of them are pretty tame. (Some are a bit more inflammatory, but it’s even easier to ignore those).

People tend to mind their business at work, even though there is some water cooler talk that Alex skillfully avoids. Henry talks about some questions he’s fielding, but doesn’t seem bothered by any of it.

It takes another month or two before they dive in together. The timing feels right, and nothing major is going on for either of them that would get overshadowed by their announcement.

On a random Tuesday in April, Alex posts a picture on his public, personal Instagram account. It’s a picture of the two of them holding hands, with David’s paw over top of it.

The caption reads: holding hands with my boyfriend and our bestie decided to join in. love you @henryfox @davidthebeagle

Henry calls him to talk about the response, and he gets texts and calls in congratulations from friends and family.

On the phone, Henry comments. “Well, that went well.”

Alex laughs. “I think we broke Instagram, baby.”

“It’s broken for worse things,” Henry quips. “Also, more importantly. I’m proud of you, love. I’m glad we get to do this together.”

“There isn’t anyone else I’d want to do this with. You’ve got me, baby.”

Henry corrects him. “No, Alex. We have each other.”

in any universe - acheinmybones - Red White & Royal Blue (2024)
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