Simon grunts in response, keeping his face buried in his hands.
“It’s not so bad, come on.”
Baz nudges his shoulder with his hand, and when Simon doesn’t protest, he starts working at the knots in his shoulders until he loosens up minutely.
Simon groans and mumbles something into the pillow, letting his hand come up to blindly search for Baz.
“Can’t hear you love,” he says, leaning forward until Simon’s fingers meet his cheek, gently stroking along the skin there.
“It is that bad,” Simon repeats, finally turning his head to the side. Baz takes the opportunity to move his hands up into Simon’s hair, fingers working gently against his scalp to soothe all the irritation from when he’d been tugging at his own curls in frustration.
“It’s not,” Baz reassures, letting his hand fall to his flushed face to smooth out the creases of his frown. It’s rare that Simon seeks out affection, but he’s leaning into it now, melting into Baz’s hands with exhaustion and relief. Simon nearly tore the flat apart when he started the semester, panicking at the thought of online classes when he’d been so ready to get on campus. It seems that his energy’s worn down now, as he goes pliant against Baz’s hands and sighs happily.
Baz had thought it might end up in more arguments, being trapped inside with the nightmare that is his anxious boyfriend. Mostly, it’s a lot of embarrassment. Waking up at four a.m. to Simon making a cup of tea in his sleep and nearly pouring scalding water on his hands. Stumbling into him on the kitchen counter at ten p.m., rummaging through the biscuit tin and searching for the stashed candy Baz had been hoarding since Halloween.
And now, comforting him about what happened earlier.
“It’s not bad that the professor emailed me asking me not to cuss so much during exams?”
Baz had been there when he opened the email – it absolutely was that bad, especially since she’d taken the time to attach the video of Simon swearing at the camera for a straight minute while he pulled at his hair in frustration.
Simon had flushed down to his neck, crawled into bed and buried his head in his hands. Baz had come in only after stifling his laughter (and saving the video), to Simon stubbornly hidden in his nest of blankets.
“To be fair, you didn't know the camera was recording," he'd said, which was met with a vague groan.
"You passed with flying colors, at least,” Baz says, and Simon snorts. “And you’re done with exams now,” he adds, letting his mouth curve up into a small smile. Simon rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling softly too now, jagged frustration all falling away as Baz tugs him up gently to face him.
“Don’t use my name against me, you prick, it makes me soft.”
“That’s what I was hoping for, love.”
Simon shoves his face into Baz’s neck, hiding his grin with a kiss. He wraps his arms around him and pushes Baz over so that he’s lying on top of him.
“Alright darling,” he quips back, and Baz can barely contain his grin when Simon moves in to kiss him. It’s always the same exhilarating rush when their lips meet, always a hard push like he’s not sure when he’ll get this again. It’s what he expects from Simon, a push and pull kind of thing that he’s grown to adore.
But Simon’s been taking tests all week and his pace slows considerably after a moment, his entire body pressing Baz’s deeper into the mattress as he relaxes more and more.
“You on top?” Simon mumbles, more suggestion than question, since he knows that Baz will agree anyway. His eyes flutter closed as Baz rolls them over, a sleepy grin taking over his features. He presses a kiss into Simon’s cheek, then along his forehead. Simon’s hands come up to wrap around his back, just for to smooth his palms along the length of Baz’s back.
He’s not familiar enough with this version of Simon to know exactly why he slips into these soft moods. It happens after particularly bad nightmares, with sleepless nights and early morning tears. But it also happens when he’s glowing, some good news restoring him to the golden optimist he used to be, with all his endless idealism and belief in the world. Baz is beginning to think it may just come out anytime he’s sleepy.
He tells Simon his theory, moving in to kiss the laugh from his mouth. He doesn’t quite manage it, so he dips his head and kisses the soft curve of his jaw, the long expanse of his neck, the spot just under his ear. His laughs turn into this soft, syrupy sigh as he turns his head to welcome Baz’s lips.
“Admit it. I’m just melatonin to you. My kisses put you to sleep and that’s why you’re keeping me around.”
Some days it isn’t as much joke as he wishes it was. Some days, doubt douses his words and he believes himself more than he should. Today, with Simon’s soft smile beneath him, and his hands holding him close, it’s playful.
“I would have already been asleep had you not come in here to kiss me,” Simon reminds him, always picking up on that insecurity, always eager to erase it. He brings his hand up to Baz’s head and tilts him forward so he can press a chaste kiss to his forehead.
Each time he does that, Baz's chest aches, just a bit. It’s something he’d never say out loud, just in case Simon misunderstands and stops doing it to save him the pain. One thing he’s learned about him over the years is that to Simon, ache is ache, and never enjoyable. Baz has never tried to explain what a good ache is, the kind you feel when your heart squeezes because you’re happy.
His heart aches badly at the thought, and Simon must see it in his face because he frowns and taps Baz’s temples.
“None of that, sweetheart. Not now,” he whispers, eyes creasing. A sad look crosses his face, and Baz’s heart constricts again.
“Just sleepy,” he says, but his eyes are welling up, tears making the blue of his irises bloom bright, like flowers blossoming.
“What’s the matter love?”
He shakes his head, sniffling as quiet tears spill over. Baz worries, of course he does, but Simon shakes his head again, laughing weakly. Simon's eyes search his face, smiling when they settle on something.
“Just. My chest hurts,” he mumbles, and Baz kisses away his tears, pressing his hand against Simon’s heart, still beating steadily.
“Are you okay?” He asks, not daring to be sarcastic in a moment like this, fragile and all too breakable.
“I’m okay, just.” He pauses now, taking a breath. “I’m okay. It’s a good hurt, I think. ‘m just really happy,” he huffs, pulling a sigh from Baz’s chest.
Maybe he should have tried to explain good ache to him.
Relief swells up in his chest and gets eclipsed by adoration. He won’t name it, he wouldn’t dare say the word love, not when Simon’s so content and still teary. It’d pressure him to say it back, and that’s the last thing Baz wants.
He’ll wait until Simon’s ready, even if that takes forever. He does love him, so much that it hurts, and he'll wait as long as it takes for Simon to get there too.
“That’s alright, my love, come here,” he says, voice soft as he pulls Simon up into him. Baz pushes his curls off his forehead gently, holding him tighter when Simon starts hiccupping softly, laughing shallowly at his own tears.
“I’m not sure that I like this,” he mutters, and Baz understands, nodding wordlessly. The moments where he’s been so happy that he ached were frozen in time, brief memories that preceded more pain.
To burn so bright with happiness, only for it to burn away. He knows that, knows the fear that shadows it.
“You’re okay, though?”
Simon sniffles, cupping Baz’s face in gentle hands. He stares at him for so long that Baz feels worry creep up on him all over again, that stupid protective instinct running rampant.
“I’m okay,” he says, nodding firmly and smiling a little. His eyes are slipping closed now, so Baz shifts off of him and tucks the blanket up over his face.
It’s ridiculous how seeing the fabric curve up with Simon’s smile underneath blooms happiness in his chest, sends his pulse careening so fast that he’ll have to feed much more tonight just to make up for the blood that's pounding through his heart.
“Stay?” Simon asks, voice muffled by the blanket. He turns over on his side, humming happily when Baz slots in behind him.
“Take a nap?”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Simon mumbles, giggling at Baz’s startled laugh.
Baz isn’t quite asleep yet when Simon tugs his hand up, pressing a kiss to his open palm. He holds his breath when Simon says something into his hand, smiling at the whispery feeling of his lips moving against Baz’s skin.