Title: Can't Stay Away From You
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Michael Cutter/Ryan O'Halloran
Fandom: Law & Order/Law & Order: SVU
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Michael Cutter or Ryan O'Halloran, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


Taking a deep breath, Mike made his way down the hall to Ryan's hospital room for the second time that day. The younger man had assured him that no one would be there that night; he was sure that they'd be able to spend a quiet evening.

Several of the things that Ryan had said earlier in the day had made Mike want to come back and talk more about what had happened, but he was going to leave that for another time. Tonight, he wanted to get to know this young man on a more personal basis.

He was still bemused by how forward Ryan had been when he'd first introduced himself earlier; no one had ever approached him that boldly before, or shown such a marked interest in him. But instead of making him back away, that boldness had attracted Mike even more.

It wasn't just that Ryan was incredibly handsome, Mike told himself as he paused outside the door of the young man's room. There was something about him, some indefinable quality that Mike couldn't quite put his finger on, that intrigued him more than anyone else ever had.

He pushed the door open, his eyes immediately going to the young man in the bed. Ryan was propped up against the pillows, obviously waiting for him. He held out a hand to Mike, smiling and indicating the chair that had been pulled close to the bed.

"Hey," he said by way of greeting. "I thought you'd never get here!" There was an exuberance in his voice that made Mike smile; it was incredible that after what Ryan had so recently been through, he could still sound so cheerful and upbeat.

"Hey yourself," Mike said softly, sitting down in the chair and pulling his coat off. "Sorry I'm later than I thought I'd be. I had a case cross my desk at the last minute, and I had to stay a little later than I had planned to talk with Jack about it."

Ryan nodded, a look of understanding on his face. "I know how that can be. I can't count the times I've had to stay late in the lab because something needed a rush analysis. Having jobs like ours can make dating kind of a sticky situation, can't it?"

"Yeah, it sure can," Mike said, his voice betraying more frustration than he'd intended it to. He threw Ryan an apologetic look, spreading his hands in front of him. "Sorry. I've just been .... well, spending some time lately thinking that there has to be more to life than my work."

"I've been thinking the same thing," Ryan said softly, his gaze not leaving Mike's face. "I just don't have a lot of time to go out and meet anybody, you know? So when I find somebody I'm interested in, I tend to come on kind of strong. I'm sorry about that."

"You don't have anything to be sorry for," Mike told him, reaching out to take the young man's hand in his. "If you hadn't come on so strong, then I might not have had the guts to come back here tonight. I wouldn't have thought you were interested."

"I've wanted to meet you for a while," Ryan told him, his voice slightly husky. "People kept telling me that you're a pretty amazing guy, that you're smart and great looking. They definitely didn't lie about either one. You're everything they said."

"You don't know that yet," Mike cautioned him, though he couldn't help smiling -- and also blushing a bit -- at the young man's compliments. "Wait until you get to know me. You might find out that the way I look is the only thing you like about me."

Ryan shook his head, laughing softly. "No, I figured out this afternoon that there's a lot more about you I like than just the fact that you're gorgeous," he said, his gaze still locked with Mike's. "I knew when you walked in the room that I wanted to know you."

"Know me?" Mike inquired, raising a brow in question. "Do you mean in the biblical sense, or am I going completely off the rails here?" If Ryan could be straightforward, then so could he. In fact, he saw no reason not to be, at this point.

"Definitely the biblical sense," Ryan answered, his tone slipping from husky into seductive. "If I wasn't stuck in this bed, I'd be all over you. I'm not usually like that when I first meet somebody, but I can't keep myself away from you."

"I can't stay away from you, either," Mike murmured, his cheeks coloring even more at Ryan's words. He had expected that they might talk about something along these lines, but he hadn't expected it to be so soon -- or for Ryan to be so blunt.

"I'm sorry if I'm freaking you out," Ryan told him, sounding regretful. "I haven't scared you away already, have I?" His gaze anxiously searched Mike's face, as though he was afraid that the man sitting in the chair by his bedside might disappear in a puff of smoke.

Mike shook his head, a slight smile curving his lips. "I'll admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with hearing all these compliments, but you're not scaring me away," he said, his own voice warm. "You're just making me wish you weren't in a hospital bed."

"We don't have to stay away from each other, you know," Ryan told him, the husky note back in his tone. "I guess we do until this case is over, but after that, we'll be free to see each other, won't we?" His brow furrowed, a frown shadowing his face.

"It's not going to take that long to put him away," Mike said, hoping that his words would soothe Ryan. "I think the trial starts next week, and I"ll make sure it's over quickly. But yeah -- it's not a good idea for us to start a personal relationship while you're a witness."

Ryan looked disappointed, and Mike had to admit that he felt the same. But he wasn't going to jeopardize the case against the man who had tried to kill Ryan -- and had come dangerously close to succeeding. He already felt protective towards this young man.

"Once he's behind bars, it isn't going to matter if we're involved," Ryan told him, squeezing his hand. "I just hope it happens quickly. I'm not looking forward to seeing him in that courtroom again. I have nightmares about that night. Pretty bad ones."

"I don't blame you," Mike said sympathetically, returning the gentle squeeze. He couldn't imagine what it must have been like for Ryan to lie there on that cold floor, watching his life seep away from him, wondering if he was going to survive to tell the tale.

And one of their cops had left him for dead, preferring to focus on her partner instead of someone who was wounded and needed help more urgently. Mike had some choice things to say to and about Detective Benson, none of them good.

But that wasn't what he wanted to concentrate on at the moment. He was sitting here with Ryan, the man he hadn't been able to stop thinking about since he'd left the hospital this afternoon. He wasn't going to waste this time by concentrating on a bad situation.

"So .... now that I'm here, what do you want to talk about?" he said with a soft smile, his gaze focusing on Ryan's lips. He wanted nothing so much as to lean forward and kiss those lips with a long, satisfying pressure that would take their breath away.

No, he couldn't do that. Not now. Not yet. Ryan was still in the hospital, and he'd feel far too guilty if he kissed a man who had just recently gone through a great deal of physical trauma. But he could savor the thought, and dream about what that first kiss would be like.

"How about starting with the basics?" Ryan told him, laughter in his voice. "Like, what's your favorite color? Your favorite hiding place when you were a kid? When did you find out you were gay? You know, stuff like that," he added, his eyes sparkling.

Mike couldn't help laughing, wishing more than ever that he could kiss this beautiful man. But that would come later -- after the trial, when they got to know each other better and could do so with no guilt or stigma attached to any relationship that might develop.

"You first," he said, keeping his voice light and playful, not taking his eyes from Ryan's face. He wanted to drink in this young man, to take in every expression on his face, every word he said, so that he could carry them home with him and dream of Ryan tonight.

Mike knew that he wouldn't be able to stay away from this young man for long; the attraction was too strong -- on both sides. He just hoped that the trial would be over quickly, and that they could put the circumstances of their meeting behind them and get on with their lives. Together.