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Morning

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"You shouldn't – romanticize things," Curt says. "You know?"

He doesn't mean to bring up the past, but it's one of those days - one of those dreary mornings that are just made for wallowing in self-pity, when he has woken up groggy from dark dreams and hasn't yet forced them from his mind. There I go, he thinks. He's the last person who should be philosophizing now, like he had anything worthwhile to say, or any useful advice to offer. Hell, he hasn't even had coffee yet.

He sees Arthur raise one eyebrow. Arthur is half-dressed, and looks so calm and so cool that Curt just wants to grab him and drag him back to bed. To be honest, though, he's still too sore from last night to do much right now. Arthur too, probably.

"Romanticize what?" Arthur asks.

He looks so fascinated, even by Curt's ranting. It's sweet. Curt hasn't done sweet in a long time. It's a nice change.

Curt sighs. "The past. People. Whatever."

"What?" Arthur says. "Like meaningless sex on a rooftop ten years ago?"

Curt looks away. He can't quite read the expression on Arthur's face, though he remembers – rather late – that Arthur had once told him those were the happiest few hours of his life. Poor kid.

This is a shit start to the morning, bringing up the most awkward thing between them, in the stupidest way possible. Fuck. The worst thing is that wasn't even what Curt was thinking. What he'd had with Arthur wasn't meaningless, not exactly. Of course he'd had a hard enough time recognizing Arthur's face when they met again, but still. He remembers that night well enough. He remembers Arthur's eyes, remembers Arthur looking nervous and so attractive, if a bit ridiculous in too much makeup and bad drag. (But it was 1974. Who wasn't looking ridiculous in too much makeup and bad drag?)

Curt had been desperate that night – desperate for a warm body to fuck and hang onto afterward, a person to talk to, a hand to hold. He'd gotten all that. Maybe he is romanticizing things; after all, there had been plenty of other nights with other warm bodies and other people to talk to. And yet, sometimes, he thinks that Arthur might just have saved his life.

Either way, it's too weird to get into that stuff now. He could kick himself for having said anything.

"Not you," he says, quietly. "That’s not what I meant."

Arthur smiles – a little shy, a little hesitant, but enough to make the morning seem suddenly brighter. Curt lets out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He reaches for a cigarette.

"Thanks," Arthur murmurs. "Anyway, we should have some coffee or breakfast..."

He always does know how to change the subject and put Curt at ease when things get too intense.

"Got nothing in the house," Curt says, groping for his lighter. "But we can go out. My treat."

Arthur makes a face. They've had this conversation three, four times at least over the last couple months; Curt could practically recite it by now.

"You don't have to keep taking me out," Arthur says. "I'll, um, run down and get something..."

Curt shakes his head and puts one hand on Arthur's arm.

"Bullshit," he mutters. "You don't have to buy my groceries for me."

Arthur shrugs, as Curt knows he will. Curt continues, "I gotta get more cigarettes anyway."

This is becoming routine for them. They'll eventually get dressed and walk together to the nearest store, snickering like kids at how boring, how pathetically domestic they are. It is pathetically domestic, but not boring. If they find themselves on a quiet block Curt will reach for Arthur's hand or press him against a wall for a quick and teasing kiss. Even Arthur's alright with that – not scared or shy, not hiding himself away. Curt will smile at that, pleased with his own influence on the younger man.

"I'll come with you," Arthur says.

Curt laughs. So predictable – and so, so welcome.

"Great," he says.

He stretches his cramped muscles and slides off the bed. Arthur waits for him by the window, the cold, thin sun of a New York morning lighting his dark features.