Title: Thinking About You
Pairing: Michael Cutter/Ryan O'Halloran
Fandom: Law & Order/Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
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.
***"Aren't you glad you're not down there with all of those people?" Ryan asked with a laugh, gesturing towards the sight on the television screen. Thousands of people, all jammed into Times Square, waiting for the ball to come down the spire and announce the new year.
"I've been there before, too many times to count!" Mike answered, shaking his head. "It got old for me about ten years ago. I went when I was in high school, and a few times in my twenties, but now I'm too old to want to brave the cold just to see the ball drop in person."
"I'd rather watch it from the comfort of my living room, myself," Ryan agreed, sliding an arm around Mike's slim waist and pulling the other man against him. "And what do you mean, you're too old? Take that back right now, Mike Cutter! You're not old at all!"
"I'm thirty-five!" Mike told him, unable to hold back his laughter at the outraged expression on his boyfriend's face. "I'm five years older than you, Ryan. And you look even younger than you are. I was surprised to find out that you're thirty."
"I'm not that much younger than you," Ryan protested, his smile wry. "But age doesn't matter when two people care about each other, does it? I've never thought age was anythng more than a number -- and not one that I've ever paid a lot of attention to."
"That's good to know," Mike said softly, resting his head on Ryan's shoulder and snuggling closer to his boyfriend. "If you hadn't said that, I might have been worried that you'd start thinking I'm too old for you. It wouldn't be the first time someone's made that decision."
"Anybody who calls you 'too old' for any reason is a prick," Ryan murmured, brushing a gentle kiss against Mike's cheek. "But I've got to say -- I think we're both too old to be out in the freezing cold in Times Square. I'm glad we're not."
"I'm happy right where I am," Mike told him, sighing contentedly. "We'll have to go back to work in a couple of days, and we won't have all this time with each other -- so I'm going to enjoy every second of it while I have the chance to do it."
"Mike, you're talking like we live on opposite sides of the planet!" Ryan said, laughing again. "We only live four blocks away from each other -- and the new lab I'll be working in starting Monday is only a block from your office building. We'll be able to see each other a lot more than you think."
"Okay, okay!" Mike admitted, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "You're right, I know. I give in. I guess I'm still thinking of how it would have been if you were still working in that other lab. The place is halfway across the city from where I work."
"It's a good ways from where I live," Ryan said, making a face. "I always hated that. I'd have to get up two hours before I had to be at work just to get there on time, even though I live in the city. Now I can have more time to sleep in the morning."
"And you'll have someone beside you when you're sleeping -- at least part of the time," Mike whispered, reaching out to place his palm against Ryan's cheek. "Or you can sleep over at my place. I hope neither of us is going to be spending a lot of nights alone any more."
"Well, we won't always be able to spend the night making love, especially if one or both of us is going to have a full schedule the next day," Ryan sighed. "But I'm pretty sure we'll be able to make time for each other, even if it's just falling into bed to sleep."
"I wouldn't mind that," Mike said softly, his gaze not leaving Ryan's face. "Just being in the same bed with you and knowing that I'll wake up next to you in the morning is enough for me. I hate sleeping alone. I think that's one reason I've always worked so hard."
"So you'll be tired when you go to bed and you'll fall asleep quickly?" Ryan asked, a note of sympathy in his voice. "Boy, do I ever know that feeling. There's nothing worse than tossing and turning in an empty bed and wishing you had someone in your arms to calm you down."
"Now you do," Mike told him, leaning into the other man's embrace. "And you will for a long time to come," he added, sighing in contentment as Ryan's arms tightened around his waist. "I can't see a future without you, Ryan. I don't think I want to consider that."
"You won't have to," Ryan whispered, feeling a lump forming in his throat. "Don't think about it, Mike. You and me are going to be together for a long time. It took me long enough to find you, and I'm not going to let you go any time soon."
Mike nodded, resting his head on Ryan's shoulder and letting himself relax. "This past year has been good to us, hasn't it? In spite of the fact that you nearly got killed by a psychopath. Hey, at least you didn't have a gun pointed in your face in the bathroom with your pants down."
Ryan nodded, almost wanting to smile at Mike's words, but not finding them funny enough to do so. He'd been horrified when Mike had told him about that experience; he was only glad that the man who'd tried to kill his beloved was now behind bars for life.
What would he have done if he'd never found Mike -- or never even known him? Ryan could feel tears rising behind his eyes at the thought. He would probably have spent his life roaming from one relationship to another, all of them meaningless because he'd never have known one particular man.
"What are you thinking about?" Mike asked softly, his voice pulling Ryan back to the present moment. He didn't need to think of things that would never happen, he told himself sternly. He needed to concentrate on the here and now, on the beautiful man here in his embrace.
"I was thinking about you," he whispered, brushing his lips across Mike's in a kiss as gentle as a summer breeze. "About us. About what my life would've been like if I'd never met you. And that's something I don't ever need to think about again. Not now, and not ever."
"Damn right you don't!" Mike told him with a soft laugh. "Because you're not ever going to have to be without me. We did meet, and it's been the best thing that could have happened to either of us. At least, that's what I'd like to think."
"That's definitely what I think," Ryan said, leaning back against the couch cushions and getting a little more comfortable. "Hey, look -- it's only a few more minutes until the ball drops. It's almost a new year. I'm looking forward to it, even though this last one has been pretty good to me."
"Even though you almost got killed by a psychopath?" Mike asked, smiling to let Ryan know that there was no intended bite in his words. "It's been a great year for me, too. Especially the last few weeks of it -- ever since I met you and fell head over heels."
"You did? I thought it took you a while to fall in love," Ryan teased, feeling a blush steal into his cheeks at Mike's words. It was hard to imagine that this gorgeous man would use the word "love" in relation to him, and he wanted to savor the sound of that syllable on Mike's lips.
"It usually does -- but things were different with you," Mike told him, his voice serious now, all playfulness gone from his tone. "I think that I might have fallen in love with you the first time we met -- even though you were flat on your back in a hospital bed."
"I know that's when I fell in love with you," Ryan murmured, blinking to hold back the sudden onrush of tears at Mike's words. What was wrong with him? He wasn't usually this emotional -- but hearing those words from this man opened the floodgates of his heart.
Mike leaned forward to press a kiss to his lips, then both men looked at the television set. There was less than a minute to go; they looked at each other and smiled, twining their fingers together tightly as they counted down the last seconds of the year.
It had been an amazing year, Ryan thought, his eyes on the screen. He'd nearly been killed, yes -- but because of that, he'd found a love that he'd never dreamed he would ever have. That made what he'd been through more than worth it.
"Ten .... nine .... eight ...." Mike was counting under his breath. As the ball dropped to the bottom of the pole and lit up, they turned to each other, smiling, each man feeling a little nostalgic for the year that had just passed, but looking forward to what the next one would bring.
Without a word, they leaned towards each other, their lips meeting in a kiss that was less passionate than romantic, a kiss that neither of them wanted to end. A kiss that held promises for a bright future that the two of them would share for a long time to come.