“The voice was calling her Katie Kat.”
Carlos says it like it’s some big obvious piece he’s been missing this whole time but with the way the sun is shining directly into his eyes and the fact that he was just startled awake, TK is having a hard time following his frantic movements or his words.
“Okay,” TK says, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, not really understanding what Carlos is getting at yet.
“Her old nanny called her that, the same nanny that just moved back to Austin a couple months ago.” He elaborates, packing up all his notes. The stack is far more plentiful than when TK first got here and he wonders if his boyfriend got any sleep at all.
Carlos remains two steps ahead of him, heading to the bedroom before TK’s mind catches up on the conversation.
“I have to go tell Detective Washington,” he says more to himself than anything.
“Carlos, wait,” TK scrambles off the couch to follow him. He’s already rushing around the room, pulling out his uniform as he scrambles to get ready to leave. “You can’t go to work like this, you hardly slept.”
“I got a couple hours and I’ll grab some coffee at the station.” Carlos notices that his explanation doesn’t erase the frown on TK’s face. “I’m good, TK. Promise.”
“Are you sure?”
Carlos nods. “I’m not even tired, which is probably just adrenaline speaking but,” he shrugs.
Definitely adrenaline. TK doesn’t know exactly when he left the bed last night but when TK woke up it was to sheets that had long since gone cold, so he must’ve been gone awhile before he found him.
“I can’t wait around. Every minute counts in a situation like this.”
It’s hard to argue with that.
He’s still not thrilled with his sleep deprived boyfriend going to track down a kidnapper, but he knows that Carlos has to do this. If there’s someone in danger and he can help, he’s going to. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to worry, though.
“I know,” TK sighs. “Just please be careful.”
Carlos’ shoulders sag as he drops his uniform shirt on the bed. All of his frantic energy that has been ever present since TK woke up quiets, and he slows down for a moment to come stand in front of him.
“I will,” he promises. “I didn’t mean to worry you.”
“I’m always going to be worried about you.”
Carlos hums, he knows the feeling. “Thank you for staying up with me. Or trying to, at least.”
“Sorry I couldn’t be of much help.”
“Your moral support was good enough,” he laughs, pressing a kiss to TK’s cheek before pulling away to locate the rest of his uniform.
Once he’s got the shirt pulled over his shoulder, TK moves back over to him, batting his hands out of the way to do the buttons.
“I don’t know how you fell asleep while watching that,” Carlos muses.
TK smiles back at him. “I grew up in firehouses, I can sleep anywhere. You should know that by now.” TK doesn’t mention that wasn’t exactly true when they were apart. He thinks it goes without saying that neither of them were getting the best sleep then. “Plus you were there. That alone is enough to make me feel safe, even in the case of Mr. Whispers.”
Despite the way Carlos chuckles, TK can tell his words hit him in his core. “You can’t say things like that to me when I have to leave.”
TK finishes the top button, smoothing his hands down his chest to get rid of the invisible wrinkles. “Incentive to get home quickly, then.”
“Like I need a reason.”
Falling back into their familiar routine has been one of TK’s favorites parts of coming home. Waking up and going through their mornings together, no matter how lazy or rushed. Having someone to come home to at night and knowing there’s someone that can’t wait to come home to him.
Maybe they’re back in the honeymoon stage and that’s the reason even the smallest things make him giddy, but it’s hard to imagine ever not being excited about sharing a home and a future with Carlos.
“Okay, I really do have to go.” Carlos says regretfully as he pulls away.
“I’m going back to bed,” TK announces. The new couch might be more comfortable than their last one, but the sun has just barely risen and there’s no reason TK needs to be awake after Carlos leaves.
Carlos rolls his eyes with a smile. “I’ll remember that next time you have an early shift and I don’t.”
TK knows an empty threat when he hears one. Carlos is a morning person, and whenever TK is up early, he’s right there with him.
“Yeah, okay,” he says and then the lighthearted mood settles. “I hope you find her.”
Carlos nods. “Me too.” And then he’s gone.
TK can tell Carlos is in a good mood the moment he steps through the door.
He’s been fighting to stay awake on the couch while he waits for Carlos to get home and when he does, TK takes one look at the soft grin on his face and is immediately on his feet.
“So?” He prompts, making his way over to meet Carlos who’s toeing his shoes off and setting them in their usual spot.
“Katie is back with her parents,” Carlos confirms.
“You figured it out?”
Carlos shrugs. “It wasn’t just me.”
TK shakes his head with a smile and taps his finger into his chest. “You figured it out. That was some pretty good detective work, Officer.”
Carlos looks at him with an expression that TK can’t quite decipher, but he’s moving on before he’s able to question it. “Your dad was the one to actually stop her,” Carlos mentions as he moves into the bedroom and starts to take off his uniform, the exact opposite of their routine from this morning.
TK huffs a laugh. “Why am I not surprised?”
“I think he was on a date.” TK watches as he undoes the buttons of his shirt, exposing inch after inch of his undershirt that stretches thin across his chest. He pulls his eyes back to Carlos’ face.
TK quirks a brow. “Really? Like an actual date? In public?”
Carlos looks up at him from where he was digging through the drawer for a pair of sweats. “Yeah?”
“I’m just surprised, is all. The uh, the firehouse has been calling him ‘One Night Strand’,” he says.
Carlos’ expression when he hears that mirrors TK’s own thoughts about that situation, like he couldn’t be happier they’re no longer living with him, for more than the obvious reasons.
“Well, I think he stole her car to chase the suspect down, so I don’t know if she’s going to want a second date,” Carlos says as he pulls on the pants and drops his uniform in the hamper.
TK hums, plenty ready to table the conversation about his dad’s sex life, especially when he hasn’t even properly kissed his boyfriend hello yet. “C’mere.”
Carlos comes to him easily, cradling TK’s face and kissing him like he could read his mind. TK hums into it, curling his fingers into the side of Carlos’ shirt.
“Hi,” he whispers when he pulls back.
Carlos kisses him once more, lightly trailing his fingers through his hair like he’s done so many times before. “Hi.”
The grin that’s been on his face since he got home has yet to leave and TK thinks there might be more to the story that Carlos has yet to share.
“Do you want to tell me the real reason you’ve been smiling like that now?” He prods.
Carlos slides his hands down to wrap around TK’s waist, pulling him in closer. “Catching a kidnapper and safely returning a little girl back to her family isn’t a good enough reason?” He teases.
TK rolls his eyes. “Of course it is, but this isn’t your ‘I had a good day at work’ smile. This is something more.”
“I have different types of smiles?”
TK hums. “There’s the one you give my dad when you’re trying to earn brownie points.” Carlos tries to protest but TK cuts him off with a kiss. “Don’t even try to argue with me, you do that. And then there’s the polite smile you give to strangers. The one when we’re with our friends, the bright one that brings out your dimples.”
“What else?” Carlos fishes.
“You have the quieter one that you give me when I say something sweet.” TK’s words bring that exact smile right out and TK brushes his thumb over the corner of Carlos’ mouth. “Yeah, that one,” he whispers.
Carlos turns his head to press a kiss to TK’s palm. “Since you apparently have a definition for every look of mine, what did that other smile say then?”
TK purses his lips and tilts his head. “It looked hopeful and maybe a bit like you were surprised, but in a good way.”
Carlos thinks his words over. “That’s a pretty good observation.” TK waits for him to elaborate. “Detective Washington asked me if I’ve ever considered taking the detective’s exam.”
TK pulls back a little so he can see Carlos more clearly. His boyfriend’s hands are sure and steady on his waist but he can tell there’s a bit of restlessness hidden in his eyes. “Have you?” He asks.
Carlos shrugs. “Not really.”
“Is that something you want?” TK is careful not to try and sway Carlos’ opinion one way or the other. While he’s glad to talk about this with him, TK wants him to do what he wants to do, not what he thinks TK wants him to do. Not that TK cares too much either way, he’s an excellent cop and he has no doubt that he would make an excellent detective, too.
As long as he’s happy, TK’s happy.
“I guess I never really thought about it before, but now that it’s been suggested to me, maybe? And the fact that the suggestion came from Detective Washington means,” he bites his lip before letting out a profound exhale. “A lot. She’s not an easy one to please.”
TK hums. He remembers listening to Carlos talk about her when they first started, about Michelle’s frustration with her, how Carlos wished he could do more, and how eventually she was a big part of the reason they found Iris again.
He knows having a full circle moment like this means a lot to Carlos.
“There’s a lot to think about. Being a detective would mean different hours and a lot more desk work than I’m used to, but it would be rewarding, in a different way than my job is now.”
TK smiles at him. He can tell that despite his words of uncertainty, he’s leaning more towards making that change than not. His expression is filled with hope and pride in his work.
“Whatever you decide, I’m here for you,” he says. “And I’m so proud of you either way. That your hard work paid off and that you’re being recognized for it. You deserve it, so much Carlos.”
Carlos swallows hard, blinking a few times, and that’s how TK knows his words have that much of an impact on him. “Thank you, TK.”
“And you’ve already proven to me that you’d make a good detective, I have no doubt about it.” Carlos makes a questioning hum. “You put together that we were at Sun and Salt from one brief conversation you had. That’s pretty impressive, babe.”
Carlos gives him a sad smile. “Yeah, well I had a pretty good reason to want to solve that.” He kisses his hairline, right over the spot where the scar is barely visible.
“Still, you show the same amount of compassion and care for every case. It’s one of the things I love most about you.”
Carlos kisses him, reverently and fiercely. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?”
TK’s eyes gleam. “Once or twice.”
Carlos kisses him again, backing him up until the backs of his legs are hitting the mattress and he’s tumbling down onto it. Their promises from this morning haven’t evaded his mind and despite Carlos’ eagerness, he didn’t miss the bags under his eyes or forget about the fact that he’s been awake for almost 24 hours.
He lightly pushes Carlos off him. “You need to sleep.”
Carlos hums. “I wish I could argue, but I don’t even think I have the energy to.”
TK laughs lightly. “My point exactly.”
He waits until they’re both settled under the blankets to flick the lamp off but even after Carlos’ mumbled ‘goodnight’, TK keeps his eyes open, watching the rise and fall of his boyfriend’s chest.
It seems like their life has been filled with nothing but life changing moments lately. First the fire, then the break up, then the coma. But now it seems like their big moments have become ultimately good ones. Getting back together, coming home, and now the opportunity for Carlos to expand his career.
Everything’s perfect again, maybe even more so than it was when he ran, but there’s no fear anymore. No panic that’s whispering in his ear, telling him to burn things before he can get burned.
Now there’s just serenity in the form of the sounds of their breathing, the curl of Carlos’ fingers over his arm, the warmth of blankets and body heat, and the promise of a million more nights just like this.