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Roses Are Red

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It was, admittedly, not the cleverest or most novel approach. A bouquet of roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day was probably about as clichéd as anyone could get. Maybe if you added a black velvet box with a ring inside it’d be worse, but other than that? Barclay was ticking pretty much all the boxes.

But Tom liked chocolate and they pretty much only sold the good ones in heart-shaped boxes at this time of year. And he liked flowers. And the roses were pretty – white ones with long stems that turned red at the edges of the petals. Barclay had no idea if they just grew like that or if they’d been bred to do it or what it was, but he liked it. The florist had told him that white roses traditionally symbolized new beginnings (or marriage, but Barclay wasn’t about to get ahead of himself) and red roses symbolized love. Which sort of made these red-and-white ones perfect to give to someone when telling them you were in love with them and wanted to go out with them, right?

Right.

Barclay smiled to himself a bit as he pushed the button the lift that’d take him up to the flat he shared with Tom, Reece and Casey. It wasn’t that he wasn’t nervous about this or unaware that it could all go spectacularly tits up, but… there was also the matter of how wonderful it could be if it went well. If Barclay had not been misreading Tom’s smiles and gestures and low-voiced-comments and the whole let’s-just-sleep-in-one-bed-all-the-time-thing. Or that thing where Tom had looked him directly in the eyes and told him that he’d broken up with his long-time-practically-engaged-girlfriend because he’d recently realised she wasn’t what he wanted after all with this heaviness in his voice like that should mean more to Barclay than just words.

So, yes. Barclay was nervous. His palms were getting really, really clammy around the cellophane wrapped around the roses. But he couldn’t quite keep the smile off his face either.

Casey was out with Betsy, of course and Reece had decided to go and visit Charlie last night so he knew for a fact that the flat would be empty safe for Tom and himself. Which was a good thing either way. If it did end up not going as Barclay hoped, they’d have peace and quiet to talk through what to do. And if it did end up going well… then they would have peace and quiet to… not talk.

Barclay caught his own face in the metal wall of the lift and saw the warm flush in his cheeks. He let out a little giggle, since no one was around to witness it, and rubbed at his cheek with the back of his hand. This was ridiculous. He wasn’t a little boy anymore. A crush shouldn’t get him this giddy, probably. But around Tom he couldn’t help it.

He had to balance the box of chocolates and roses in one hand precariously to dig his keys out of his pocket and open the door, all the while wondering whether he should get the roses out of the garish cellophane wrap and into a pretty vase or hand them to Tom first. He wasn’t much of a fan of the plastic, but people tended to hand over flowers without vases attached, didn’t they. There was also that small matter where Barclay wasn't even sure if they owned a vase in the first place.

In the end he didn’t have to decide, because as soon as he stepped out of his shoes and further into the flat he almost literally bumped into Tom.

“Oh, hi,” Barclay said. “You’re home. Didn’t you say you’d be…?”

“Yeah. Got done early,” Tom said, shrugging. He frowned at the flowers and chocolate, then at Barclay.

“Are those for me?” he asked.

Barclay, a little overwhelmed, nodded.

“Uh, yeah,” he said.

Tom nodded his head decisively – exactly one sharp down down-up motion – before turning tail and making a beeline for the kitchen.

So was that… bad?

The water in the kitchen came on and Barclay decided to follow after Tom. If anything, the flowers needed water and he wasn’t going to carry the box of chocolates around any longer. Reece and Casey would eat them tomorrow, if nothing else.

Shit buggering hell, had he really misread everything so entirely?

The water shut off just as Barclay stepped into the kitchen. He was about to say something – apologise, maybe – when Tom turned around with a vase filled with water and all that came out of Barclay’s mouth was, “We have a vase?”

“Yeah,” Tom said, setting it down on the breakfast bar and tearing open the cellophane before arranging the flowers in the transparent glass vase. “Casey’s mum brought it over with the flowers when we moved in, remember?”

“Right,” Barclay said, remembering the colourful bouquet she had brought with her the first time she’d visited them after she had moved in. Casey had been so confused by the flowers, it had been hilarious.

Having apparently arranged the roses to his satisfaction, Tom lowered his hands and stared at them, drumming his fingers against the countertop a few times. Barclay still wasn’t sure if he was supposed to apologise or proceed to telling Tom about his humongous crush and asking him out for a date.

Then Tom turned to him, grabbed him by his upper arms and pulled him into a kiss.

Barclay startled, made to pull back, but Tom followed. The second time their lips met Barclay let his eyes fall shut and leaned into the contact. Tom had his head tilted up a bit and the pressure of his lips against Barclay’s was so soft and so sweet, Barclay wasn’t really sure what to do with it. Not apologise, probably.

“Go on a date with me,” he pulled back to murmur right against the heat of Tom’s face so close to his instead. He could feel Tom nod where his forehead was pressed to his own.

Tom kissed him again, still short and chaste and sweet.

“I like you so much,” he said.

Barclay grinned brightly, the flush on his cheeks coming back.

“I like you just as much,” he replied.

Tom chuckled a little and let Barclay capture his lips in another kiss.

This time Tom brought up his hands to cradle the line of Barclay’s jaw, and Barclay finally lifted his to come around Tom’s waist, pulling him in and up a little against the firm line of his own body. He fit there just as nicely as into all the other spaces of Barclay’s life Barclay had found Tom settling into. When Tom opened his mouth to Barclay’s tongue, Barclay hummed a pleased little noise and Tom pushed up onto his toes.

Yes. Tom fit very, very nicely.

The End