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Twenty-Three Nineteen

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“Uncle Sid.”

Sid wakes up and opens his eyes.

In the dark room all he sees is the pale skin of Geno’s neck in front of him.

But there are little hands poking at his back and pulling at his shirt where the comforter has slipped down.

“Uncle Sid,” the voice says again and Sid rolls over.

Alex Letang is standing beside the bed. One hand is reaching out for Sid and the other is clutching his stuffed teddy bear.

“What’s the matter,” Sid says, his voice a slurred whisper as he tries to shake the sleep from the corners of his mind.

“Something’s under my bed. I heard it.”

Sid yawns and puts his hand on the top of Alex’s head. “There’s nothing under there, bud.”

“There is. I heard it. I think it’s a monster.”

“There are no monsters in this house. When I had it built I told the contractors make it impossible for monsters to get in. I paid extra.”

“But I heard it.”

Sid blinks at him and Alex just stares with wide eyes. It’s adorable and heartbreaking and Sid throws the covers off his body.

“Okay,” he says and behind him Geno rolls over and puts a hand on the middle of his back.

“What’s going on?”

“It’s nothing,” Sid says lightly at the same time Alex declares “monsters!”

“Monsters,” Geno asks and Sid twist around to look at him while Alex leans across Sid’s lap. Geno’s eyes are still closed and his face is pressed into the pillow. “Don’t worry, Sid will chase away. He’s very brave. Very strong.”

Sid snorts and shuffles his feet along the floor to find his slippers while Alex gets antsy and starts to bounce up and down by the doorway.

“Sid, want me to go?”

“No,” Sid says as he leans down and kisses the side of Geno’s head. “I got it. Go back to sleep.”

Babysitting had been Sid’s idea, anyways.

The two of them were supposed to have a rare, quiet weekend together but when Tanger mentioned that he wanted to take Cath away for a relaxing weekend before the baby was due, Sid jumped at the chance to watch Alex.

Geno didn’t blink at the change of plans.

He helped Sid set up the guest room with clean sheets and followed Sid around the grocery store while he picked up some of Alex’s favorite snacks.

Geno even bought Alex a new nightlight so he wouldn’t be nervous about sleeping in a new bedroom.

It was a sweet thought but obviously it didn’t work.

Alex leads him down the hall but then loops around and hides behind Sid when they get within five feet of the door.

Sid flicks the light on and steps into the room.

“Under the bed,” Alex tells him from the hallway. He’s halfway hidden by the doorframe and he’s holding his bear in front of him like a shield.

There’s nothing under the bed besides some dust and one of Alex’s sneakers that accidentally got kicked beneath it.

From the doorway Alex inhales sharply when Sid sticks his arm beneath the bed to grab it and then sighs in relief when he sees that it’s only a shoe.

Sid lines the sneaker up next to its mate and sits back on his heels.

“No monster.”

Alex takes one small step into the room. “Can you check the closet?”

The closet is empty except for a few spare winter coats Sid keeps in there and a some extra blankets on the top shelf.

Still, he makes a show of sliding the hangers back and forth on the rail and picking up the blankets to show Alex there couldn’t possibly be a monster hiding out.

“Maybe you scared it off,” Alex says as he takes a couple more steps into the room. “But it might come back.”

Sid closes the door and sits down on the edge of the bed. Alex scurries over and climbs up, tucking his feet beneath him like he’s afraid something is going to reach out and grab them if he lets them dangle over.

“You’ve seen Monsters Inc, haven’t you,” Sid asks and Alex nods. When Sid used to watch Duper’s kids they went through a phase where that was all they wanted to watch. All these years later he still feels like he knows every line forwards and backwards. “Well then you know those monsters weren’t actually scary, right? They were funny. In the end they just wanted to make the kids laugh. Maybe that’s what this monster was trying to do.”

Alex looks deeply skeptical but nods anyways.

“I think for tonight he’s probably moved on to another room. All the monsters are so busy trying to meet their quota and there are so many doors they have to get to.”

“Yeah,” Alex says as he lists into Sid’s side.

“You want to maybe try going back to sleep now? We’ve got a lot of fun things to do tomorrow.”

Alex climbs up the bed and yawns. “Geno said he’s going to take us skating.”

Sid hums and tucks the covers around him, making sure that the bears head is sticking out from the blankets. “After that we’re going to go to the museum.”

“Are there fossils there?”

“I think there are.”

“Can we have waffles in the morning?” Sid’s waffle iron is god only knows where but Alex’s eyes are getting heavy and he looks so sweet tucked beneath the covers like this. It’s impossible to say no to.

“I think we can work something out.”

Alex mumbles something about maple syrup and whipped cream before he finally drifts off and after taking a moment to make sure that he’s really asleep Sid turns the light off and goes back to his room.

Geno grumbles when he gets back into bed but he lifts his arm for Sid to slip under anyways.

He holds Sid tight around the waist and his lips brush against Sid’s forehead when he says “gone for so long, think maybe a monster got you.”

“No monsters but we do have to find the waffle iron before he wakes up tomorrow. Last place I saw it was in the garage.”

Geno grunts. “Should just get up now. Going to take hours to find.”

Sid pinches his hip. “It is not that bad out there.”

Geno just breathes a laugh into his hair and holds him a little closer. “You’re very good with him.”

“Alex is a sweet kid.”

“We should get one.”

It takes Sid a few seconds to piece together what he’s talking about but when he figures it out he pulls away just enough to see Geno’s face.

Geno looks as peaceful as ever, like he didn’t just suggest that they completely change the course of their lives.

“You mean get a kid?”

“Mmmhmmm,” he hums.

“You would want to do that?”

Sid has known that Geno is it for him for awhile now but when he thinks about the spending his future with him it’s just that. The future.

Marriage and babies and retirement. Those are all things that are going to happen years down the line. They don’t actually talk about any of them.

“Know you love,” Geno says. “Always so good with every kid you see. Always know I want a big family. Maybe we have a couple. We have plenty of room here.”

“Here?” “You have a better backyard.”

“Right.” Sid clears his throat. “Just so we’re on the same page here you’re talking about years from now, right?”

“Years is a long time,” Geno whispers. “Already been together for years. Probably get married before we adopt.”

“Oh.”

Everything's happening so fast and Sid’s heart feels like it’s going to beat right out of his chest.

But Geno is still lying there next to him with a serene look on his face.

Suddenly his nose scrunches up and he shifts forward to bury his face into the crook of Sid’s neck. “Tired now. Talk in the morning?”

“Yeah,” Sid says back as he rubs his hand across Geno’s shoulder blades. “Go to sleep.”

-

“Never going to find it.”

“Yes we will. I know it’s out here. Somewhere.”

“Waffle iron should be in kitchen, not in garage.”

“I never use it. Why would I keep something I never use in the kitchen? It just takes up space.”

“Should just go out and get waffles.”

“Let’s just look for five more minutes. It’s here. I know it is.”

Geno mumbles something under his breath but keeps looking. Sid turns around and does the same.

They haven’t talked about last night's conversation yet. It’s not like Sid expected them to talk the minute they woke up but he would like to have some kind of idea when it’s going to come up again.

They’re going to be so busy today looking after Alex. Watching him and Geno together is going to be some kind of sweet torture now that he knows Geno has all these plans.

Sid’s eyes sweep to the left and there’s the box between some old board games he hasn’t played since he had his concussion and had to stay away from screens.

“I found it,” he says. Geno is silent behind him. “I knew I would. Told you I would.”

He slides the iron free and he’s just about to say “I told you so,” when he turns around to see Geno down on one knee.

He has a ring box in his hand.

“Oh,” is all Sid can say.

“Know we said we’d talk today but…” He shrugs and Sid laughs breathlessly. “I love you,” Geno continues. “Don’t want to wait any longer.” He shifts a little and winces. “Can you say yes please, on bad knee and the floor is hard.”

“Oh my god, yes,” Sid rushes out. He drops the waffle iron, crosses the distance and slams into Geno when he tries to hug him. Geno loses his balance and ends up on his back with Sid sitting across his lap. “You think I would ever say no to you?”

“Didn’t say anything. Was getting nervous.” He sits up and pulls the ring out of the box. “Got one for me too,” he says as Sid holds his finger out. “Wear it around our necks when we have games.”

Sid looks down at the ring and isn’t at all surprised to feel tears pricking his eyes. “It’s perfect,” he says. “You’re perfect.”

Geno puts his hand gently on the side of his face and kisses him.

Sid grips his shoulders and kisses him back until he hears Alex call them from the kitchen.

“He wants his waffles,” Sid says and Geno taps his thighs.

“Come on, we can kiss later. Right now we have to feed Little Tanger.” He gets to his feet then holds his hand out to help Sid up. He kisses his temple. “Good practice for when we have our own.”