Shao is engrossed into the most mundane of tasks, going to the grocery store. He can’t live off take out and pizza all the time, he’s gotta eat healthy food sometimes. He’s walking towards the frozen section, intent on getting some ice cream, when he passes the cut flower display. The bright colors tug him to a stop, blooming with potential and promise.
Shao fidgets as he stares at the plants. He’s not a sappy person, and he may be a lady killing romantic, but that doesn’t mean he’s ever bought anyone flowers before. Buying flowers is something you do in rom coms, something you do with your soulmate, something you do for the one.
Buying Books flowers would sure be something.
A grand statement, inescapable, of his love. He steps forwards and runs his fingers over the petals of the dozen red roses, imagining them sitting in a vase on the kitchen table in the temple. Except Shao doesn’t own a vase, so he moves over to the potted plants instead. They’re just as beautiful as the cut flowers, and they’ll last much longer.
Shao’s never taken care of plants. He has no idea how. As he ponders that, an employee comes by and asks:
“Do you need help, sir?”
Shao shuffles, embarrassed, but doesn’t back down.
“Uh, yeah. Which of these is the easiest to take care of?”
The woman pulls out a plant with dark green shiny leaves and small star shaped orange flowers. She explains:
“This one is a succulent, requires very little water. You only need to water it once every week. The only thing easier is a cactus!”
Shao looks at the plant, imagines Books’s poetry spilling out, talking about the sunset orange and new life green and he knows it’s the right one.
“It’s perfect, thank you.”
The friendly employee bustles off and Shao carefully places the plant in his basket, trying not to feel nervous about the gift.
Shao enters the temple, holding the door open with his door, both arms full of groceries. He shouts:
“I’m back, Books!”
Zeke looks up from the couch, putting his little poetry book down and standing. He walks over and grabs a pair of bags, helping carry them into the kitchen. As he unpacks then, placing cans of soup in the cupboards, Shao holds the plant in his hands and steels himself.
“I got you something, books.”
Zeke doesn’t turn away from his work but asks
With wonder in his voice.
Shao feels his throat goes all tight with how much he loves his wordsmith and he finds himself speaking:
“Yeah, man. Cause I’m a romantic and you deserve all the best things, books.”
Finally Zeke turns and looks, seeing the plant waiting in Shao’s hands. His eyes light up, beautiful and shining like sea water reflecting sunlight. He steps forwards and places careful hands over Shao’s, so they’re both holding the plant.
Shao feels himself blushing and he fidgets.
“Didn’t know if you liked plants, just knew you deserve all the beautiful things.”
Zeke looks up, practically glowing with love, and says:
“Thank you Shao. I’ll treasure her.”
Carefully Zeke takes her and moves over to the sink, running some water over the dirt in the pot. Shao feels his nervousness fade away and walks over to join him, hugging him from behind, pressing their bodies together and wrapping his arms around Zeke's midriff.
He nuzzles into Zeke's neck for a moment before whispering into his ear:
“I love you, Books.”
Zeke grins and turns around, remaining in Shao’s arms, until they’re face to face. Then he leans down and kisses Shao, sweet and slow. Shao melts into him, feeling like his whole world is right as long as Books is by his side. Zeke pulls away to whisper back:
“Love you too, Shao.”