Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://download.archiveofourown.org/works/4862024.

Rating:
Mature
Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Category:
F/M
Fandom:
Bates Motel (2013)
Relationship:
Norma Bates/Alex Romero
Character:
Alex Romero, Norma Bates
Additional Tags:
Love, Oral Sex, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, Angst
Stats:
Published: 2015-09-24 Words: 2714

Sweet

by

Summary

Heretofore, Alex Romero always hated his birthday. Rated M for sexual content.

Seven was waking up to my mother's arms snaked around me. A gust of her perfume, powdery and delicate, as she leaned down to kiss my check and usher me into the morning. I felt her nails against my ribcage, teasing and tickling, rousing me from persistent dreams. But it was the promise of pancakes and blueberry syrup that sent me clamoring out of bed and down the stairs, her delighted laugh trailing after me.

Nine was a single cupcake—chocolate, with almond frosting—adorned with a flimsy blue candle sitting on my desk when I got home from school. The candle was lit, barely any wax dripping down the shaft; she must've watched for me from my bedroom window, match in hand, waiting for the perfect moment to torch the wick. I found her hiding in her bedroom, peering around the door, waiting for me to fetch her. Her smile sweeter than every bite of sugar we shared mere moments later.

Fourteen was a baseball glove and a new bike. We couldn't afford it, I knew that much. My father pissed away whatever he earned or stole: entire nights in which he was missing, only to return the next morning, the stench and sweat and alcohol and cheap perfume clinging to his clothing and his hair. I wondered how she managed to purchase them, but knew better than to ask. Instead, I wrapped my arms around her waist and thanked her again and again. She'd signed the card Love, Dad. My father never told me he loved me, and her elaborate script was impossible to mistake for another's, but I looked up at her loving, tired face—the face which had for so long tried to be both my mother and father—and feigned obliviousness. I did as she bade me, and thanked my father for the gifts. I pretended to ignore his confusion.

Nineteen was the mad dash to the grocery store, wandering through aisle after aisle in search of cake mix. Something with clear directions; I'd never baked anything before. A brief weekend away from college to visit the family, and my father was off in Vegas with his latest mistress while my mother sobbed on the couch, nigh unmoving. I settled on vanilla, with pink frosting and silver sprinkles, something I thought would please her, and blatantly ignored the cashier's amused smirk. I kissed my mother's cheeks when I got home, begged her not to be sad. And I baked that goddamned cake, which was an absolute disaster, and she refused to eat a bite no matter how much I pleaded. I speared a tiny piece and held in front of her pinched mouth, hopeful and expectant. But she just shook her head through the tears.

Twenty-three was a prison parking lot. She'd asked me to drive her. We'd visit like a proper family, she said, no matter the circumstances. She was sorry she hadn't brought a cake; I wasn't upset, was I? My reassurances didn't seem to offer much in the way of comfort. We left after thirty minutes, never having set foot inside.

Twenty-five was my mother's funeral. Open-casket. I couldn't bear to look at her face.


 

Forty-eight was a stack of paperwork and a bottle of whiskey.

I'd made it a point to work late—and, perhaps most importantly, alone—on my birthday for twenty-three years. It was, I frequently reminded myself, nothing more than a day, no different than any other. I'd never been prone to sentimentality, and I sure as Hell wasn't about to give in to it over an occasion only valid to mothers, children and greeting card companies.

Still, when I allowed myself to relax, when I felt the edges of my thoughts blurring into deeper parts of myself I'd so often kept tightly locked away, I was aware of a certain emptiness I didn't necessarily have the vocabulary to articulate. An amorphous emotion, foreign and unwelcome, an invader from a past and a life I'd tried my damnedest to forget.

My deputies spent the entire day avoiding me. Not the most patient boss in the best of times, I'd been an unholy ass through the majority of the workday. The evening was easier, the bustle of afternoon winding down, shift change bringing calmer priorities and fewer calls. A welcome relief, one that allowed me to shut myself in my office and tend to the tedium I generally avoided but, today, found myself courting.

I packed it in shortly after midnight, pleased to have outrun the clock.

Just past one when I arrived home. I'd driven slowly, and stopped at the all-night market for something to eat and two bottles of wine. The street was dark, and quiet: the beauty of a residential neighborhood filled with children. Exhausted families slept while I drank, comfortable in my solitude.

I changed out of my uniform, settling on jeans and a black shirt. Stretched out on the living room floor, the wood cool beneath me, soothing to the tense muscles in my back. The clock above the mantel ticking down the seconds, the closest thing to music I'd heard for years, and I was halfway into the second bottle of wine by the time I felt the alcohol hit my bloodstream, blurring everything into a pleasant numbness. Vision black on the edges, closing in quickly, urging me into what I hoped was a dreamless sleep.

A sleep without memories.


 

Once, twice, three times. Louder and louder with each blow. Startled by the sudden racket, I jerked awake, head a blur of confusion and alcohol. A fourth knock, my door rattling with the force of it. I glanced up at the clock; 3:14 am. Few people had my address; even fewer had reason to visit, let alone in the middle of the night.

I pulled myself to my feet, groaning with the strain of it, felt myself sway; ached for my gun, for the weight of it, but didn't risk it. Too drunk, and still haunted by memories of my father and his bourbon-fueled rants, the way he gestured with a loaded gun still in hand. But it didn't matter. By the time I managed to stumble to the door I caught a telltale glimpse of blond hair, and fought back a sigh.

"Norma," I said, as I threw the door open, "I don't know why you're here but it's late and I—"

Flames. Candles, I realized. A dozen or so carefully placed in swirls of white frosting. Norma Bates standing on my porch, holding a cake artfully perched atop a glass plate. Her hair in wild curls around her face, full little mouth puckering into a pouty smile.

"Happy birthday, Alex."

I stared for a long moment, unmoving, my vision slightly blurred. Trying to make sense of it. Trying to think of something to say.

"It's not my birthday," I said. The only thing that came to mind.

"Okay," Norma said with an exaggerated sigh. "Happy just-slightly-belated birthday. It would've been on time, you know, but I called the station a dozen times and they said you were there until after midnight." She rolled her eyes, shifted her weight. "Is it my fault you keep the hours of a Victorian spinster?" When I didn't say anything, she gave up on subtly and took a step forward, shoving the plate into my chest. "Are you going to invite me in, or what?"

Wordlessly, I moved to the side, held the door open for her. She stalked past me, and I was vaguely aware of her legs and the flash of skin beneath her skirt, bits and pieces of the image slowly forming in my mind. Wine and sleep dulling my senses, turning everything into molasses; slow, heavy, the world around me flowing together in something of a haze.

By the time I shut the door she was in my kitchen, humming to herself and searching the cabinets for plates and cutlery. I settled back down on the floor, folding my legs under me. Didn't feel like sitting on the couch. Didn't feel like indulging her. And I pointedly ignored her dissatisfied cluck when she returned, shoving a slice of cake under my nose.

"I'm not hungry."

"Jesus, Alex." She sat on my couch, watched me while I reached for the wine bottle, knocked back the half that remained with three large swallows. Finally, she said, "you look like Hell." Softly. Almost sweetly.

"Mm."

"Really, Alex." She stood and walked towards me, knelt beside me. I felt her fingertips brush my shoulder, gentle, hesitant. "What's wrong?"

I didn't want to look at her. It hurt to look at her, truth be told. Her eyes hurt me; the endless blue that I lost myself in, and the delicate curve of her chin, and her plump little mouth. She reminded me of everything I wanted, everything I'd never have, everything that had been taken from me.

She pointed to the cake in front of me, untouched. "You don't want it?" I shook my head, and she sighed, a low sound in the otherwise quiet room, but it lacked her usual reactive annoyance. "I baked it just for you," she said, and I was surprised by the evenness of her tone, how gently she was treating this. It made me turn my head just slightly, meet her eyes. "I come all the way over here at three in the morning, and you won't even take a bite?"

"It's lovely, Norma." My voice was rougher than I expected; alcohol's parting gift. "But like I said, I'm not hungry."

"Bullshit."

"What?"

"I've never seen you like this." Her fingers slid along my jaw, startling me just slightly, and turned my face flush to hers. "I've seen you drunk, I've seen you angry, but I've never seen you sad. Not like this."

"I'm not sad." But her eyes traveled over my face, flicking over every line, crease and shadow, down to my neck and the empty bottle in my hand.

"What's wrong?"

"I told you," I said. My voice was slow, heavy. I wanted to sleep; wanted to forget, and her presence was disrupting that, her questions stirring up memories I didn't want to deal with. "I'm fine, Norma. And I appreciate the gesture, but you should probably lea—"

She pressed her lips to my neck, a sudden movement that silenced me, surprised me. When she pulled away, mouth hovering a mere inch from jaw, I felt the moisture of her lipstick on my skin.

"Norma, I…"

"Shh." Already I could feel my heart hammering against my ribcage as she kissed the tender skin just beneath my ear, the tip of her tongue darting out to wet the skin, hot and slick. "No one should be sad on their birthday." My eyes drifted close of their own accord when I felt her teeth scrape over my earlobe. "Least of all you."

I felt her hand on mine, prying my fingers lose from the bottle, heard the clink of glass on wood as she set it aside. And then her palms on my chest, drifting down to my waist. The teasing tickle of her nails on my skin when she slipped her fingers under the hem of my shirt, began to slide it up and over my head, tracing my shoulders and arms as she went.

"Lie back," she whispered, pushing gently on my chest. But I resisted; eyes still closed, heart pounding, my own labored breathing giving away my desire—merely her nearness was enough to get me hard, her hands on my skin and the feel of her mouth and the scent of her hair. And the alcohol pressing in, my blood thick with it, making her intoxicating presence nigh impossible to deny. "Alex," she whispered again, and her lips were on mine, a fleeting brush, silently urging me to yield to her. "Lie back."

And I did. I felt my back hit the floor, and before I could say anything, before I could even form a coherent thought, her tongue found the hollow of my throat as she fussed with the button on my jeans, slowly unzipped my fly. She murmured unintelligible endearments to me while the room swam; not a dizzy spin but the pleasant rotation of a carousel, and the quiet of my house served to emphasize the sound of her breathing and her cheerful humming.

Dimly aware of my jeans being pulled down over my hips, I was lost in the haze of her. She kissed her way down my chest, fingertips occasionally joining her mouth to trace patterns in the skin, and she whispered to me, things I couldn't make out, couldn't hear, only snippets of words breaking through: "trust me," and "just relax," but none of it mattered.

When the tip of her tongue dipped into my belly button and smoothed out over the base of my stomach, I groaned.

And then nothing. The loss of her warmth and her skin; silence. I waited for the telltale sound of fabric on skin, something to signal that she was merely shifting positions, but there was only the ticking of the clock and my own heavy breathing.

"Norma?" Nothing. "Norma," I said again, and just as I cracked my eyes open and tilted my chin down to look at her I felt her lips press against the head of my cock, flush against the skin, the sweetest, most unexpected kiss I could've imagined, and I hissed in a breath, let my head fall back against the floor. Ignored the ache in my skull from the impact. "Christ," I whispered when I felt the wet flick of her tongue, teasing and tasting, and my hands flexed, reached instinctively for her, fingers tangling in her hair.

"Shh," she said quietly, the sound of it vibrating against my skin, forcing me to moan despite my best efforts to control myself. "Just relax."

I stopped breathing the moment her mouth slid over me; the world ceased to exist when the rough pad of her tongue began slithering in a unique pattern against me. She sought out every curve, every hidden cluster of nerves, every trigger I didn't know I had, until my hips were moving of their own accord, her hands pressed into the hollow of the bone, trying to hold me still, anchor me into place.

I wrapped her hair tightly around my fingers, pulled perhaps a bit too roughly, and she mewled around me, the vibration in her throat sending a shiver up my spine. I threw my head back, vaguely aware that I was making quiet, rough noises I couldn't control or identify, and I heard rather than felt her gag slightly against the thrust of my hips, though she made no effort to stop or pull back.

This, I realized, was her magic; even alcohol couldn't induce me to lose myself so completely. Only her; the scent of her, the feel of her, her private, extraordinary magic, something inherent in her, wild and utterly fucking beautiful.

"Norma," I whispered, and I forced myself to release her hair, afraid I'd hurt her as the pressure built, as I began to lose whatever little rhythm I'd managed to maintain. And when she moaned my name—mouth full, the word nothing but an inarticulate string of syllables, only the pleased tone cluing me in to what she meant—my hands clenched into fists and I spilled into her mouth, whispering her name over and over, body pumping helplessly, until the well was dry and she pulled away only to kiss my thighs and the base of my stomach and coax me, soothe me, as my chest rose and I gasped for air, ruined by alcohol and pleasure and need.

It was only when I felt the weight of her against me, perched carefully above me, that I opened my eyes to meet hers, now level with mine. Her lips were full and flush and bruised from accommodating me, but she pressed them to mine anyway, not hungry but eager, sweet, and then leaned up to kiss my forehead, her perfume a ghost on the air and her voice the last thing I heard before slipping into something resembling unconsciousness:

"Happy birthday."

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