Patrick is so fucking tired, it’s a miracle he doesn’t drive off the road. He’s tired from the drive up, and back, less than a day apart, but also from a relentless twenty-four hours of socializing, pressing palms and making small talk about the relative success of Rose Apothecary as a small business. Which was, thanks to David’s genius artistic vision, a relatively large success at that. But Patrick’s skin feels like it’s covered in a thin layer of recycled motel air and price projections, and all he wants to do is get home and get to bed.
He unlocks the door with a gentle click and steps inside to the immediate cedar-and-smoke smell of the Amish cologne David has been wearing since they started stocking it. It mixes with the salt smell of miso, and the slightly bitter tang of garlic, the leftovers of whatever obviously delicious dinner David had picked up in Elmdale for his customary night in. What Patrick wasn’t expecting to see was David, sprawled out on his bed, tucked beneath the duvet so that only the tip of his hair pointed out. Or, Patrick noticed with a bit of surprise, curled out.
He’d extended the offer to crash at his place, even when he’s out of town, as the cherry on their olive branch sundae, but David had been reluctant to really take him up on it. He had no problem staying in Patrick’s apartment for the evening, inviting Stevie with him to drink wine and watch bad movies and put some space between himself and the rest of the Rose family. But he’d never actually stayed, cleaning up his dishes and straightening his mess until all that’s left is an apparition of his boyfriend.
Patrick sets his bag down gently, wincing as the zippers rattle against each other and sound impressively loud in the small apartment. David stirs, and the duvet falls until it’s below his chin, and Patrick has to press his lips together to keep from making a sound. Because David is always beautiful, but right now, he’s transcendent. Patrick hasn’t ever seen his hair like this, wild and unkempt, and he’d thought he’d seen all the ways David wears his hair, including the unfortunate straightening. Clothes, he’s learning, he’ll probably never learn completely, but the hair? This is a new, soft thing, and Patrick’s heart skips a beat at what each of those little curls says about how David feels. David’s body has always been better at speaking than his words — his face, his hands, and now his hair.
The faintest moonlight filters through the windows, and the lamp on his desk is still flipped on, so Patrick has enough light to take his time in the look. David’s skin looks dewey, slightly flushed, his dark brows relaxed and his forehead smooth in that dreamless, peaceful way that makes David look younger. His hair shoots out from his head in a little riot of curls, the ends criss-crossing over one another in a riotous mass that Patrick wants to reach out and dig his fingers into. He sinks onto the edge of the bed and waits, his hands still held in his lap, his breathing even until he knows if David is going to wake up. He wouldn’t mind — he’s missed David, holy fuck has he missed David, sometimes he thinks he can get to an almost normal level of infatuation with this beautiful man, until he sees him again and realizes how foolish that is — but, there’s something intimate about David, asleep for the first time in Patrick’s apartment, completely undone just for Patrick.
Patrick reaches out a finger and traces the line of one curl against the pillow. He places it gently out of the way, curling the one beneath it around his finger. He rearranges some of the tips until they’re sticking straight up, others so that they almost braid off David’s temple. He moves as slowly as he can, touching David with the reverence he deserves but doesn’t always get because when David is awake they’re starving for each other. He runs his fingertips lightly along David’s temple, traces his hairline, allows his fingers to roam the shape of David’s hair as he watches his face, carves this memory into the deepest parts of himself, the part that time and age and the combined powers of the universe won’t ever be able to take from him.
He feels it welling up in his chest, that tender, almost painful feeling that lodges in the center of his chest, a vine with tendrils that snake along his collarbone to his heart, along the length of his spine to the muscles in his lower back, a living thing that pokes at all of Patrick’s softest parts until he wants it to stop but never wants it to stop because it’s the feeling of loving David.
He leans down and presses a kiss right between David’s eyebrows, and that does the trick. David stirs, his eyes opening gently, an unguarded, liquid smile filling his face as his eyes focus on Patrick and clear out just enough sleep to know where he’s at.
“Hey,” Patrick says quietly, following it with another kiss, this time to David’s lips. He squirms and when he speaks his voice comes out in a whisper.
“Impossible. It’s not morning yet.” And just to prove his point, he kisses David again, a little firmer, the softest graze of tongue across his bottom lip. Not enough to start anything they’re both too tired to finish, but enough to say, I missed you, I’m so glad I’m home.
“‘S okay I’m here?” David nuzzles deeper into the pillow like it’s not going to matter what Patrick’s answer is.
“Always, David. I always want you here.”
“Nice. You’re nice.” His eyes are closed again and his big grin has shrunk to something protective and precious and small just at the corners of his mouth.
“You’re beautiful, David Rose.”
He presses a kiss to David’s temple as David makes a little humming sound in the back of his throat. Patrick stands and stretches, hands to his lower back, his eyes still trained on David’s face, and feels the floor fall out beneath him. Because he knows. He knows in the core of his bones, the center of his heart, the outer edges of every muscle in his body, that he’s going to ask David to marry him.
And then he’ll spend forever spelling the shapes of dreams into David’s hair as he sleeps.