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Aren't You a Thing

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Adam wakes up from a dream about Sauli installing a snow dome in the backyard to find that the world is ending.

He’s awake, for a start, and deeply does not want to be. His head is pounding, his mouth tastes like Burning Man died in it, his stomach is doing anxious somersaults for no reason, and to make matters worse, there’s nobody in bed with him. There is seriously no point in a boyfriend if he isn’t there for Adam to bitch at when he wakes up with the End of Days happening in his head.

He open his mouth to yell for Sauli, but apparently this apocalypse comes complete with a rain of toads, and one of them has cut out Adam’s vocal chords and taken up residence in their place. Adam rolls over, battling furiously with the comforter that has suddenly decided to stage a mutiny after months of faithful service, and reaches for the water on his nightstand.

There are some painkillers next to the water; Adam downs those and drains the bottle while he checks the time. Fuck. It’s so late. He’s sure he made Sauli promise to wake him, he hates sleeping away his days off. Sauli knows that.

He puts the water bottle down: for some reason that triggers a memory, a vague impression of a conversation the night before. His head aches and it’s hard to think, but he squints at his feet for a bit and eventually dredges up a recollection of Sauli pouring Adam into bed after one too many (okay, way too many) glasses of wine, and urging him to drink some water, and Adam...not drinking it. He also seems to remember insisting that they were going to go jogging this morning, and Sauli patting his shoulder and saying that Adam should wait and see how he felt, and Adam being completely mystified that Sauli thought he was going to be too hungover.

Well. Score one for Sauli.

Next to the water bottle is one of Adam’s energy drinks. He eyes it dubiously – he really feels like what he needs is more sleep, not caffeine, but next to it is a note in Sauli’s handwriting that says will make you feel better :) xxx. Adam reaches out a trembling hand, grabs the bottle and dutifully drinks it down.

Standing up is kind of a swoopy, graceless affair, but he manages it. His robe is folded neatly at the foot of the bed, and the ugly (but insanely comfortable) slippers Danielle bought him as a joke last year are lined up on the floor. Adam struggles manfully into both, and staggers to the bathroom.

While he’s brushing his teeth he has another memory: this one is from this morning, he thinks, when Sauli was...showering? And singing as he dried off, that’s right, and Adam groaned at him to shut the fuck up, and Sauli came over to the bed and stroked his hair and teased him that it was time to go jogging.

Adam shies away from the memory then, because he’s pretty sure he told Sauli to shut up again. He winces at himself in the mirror. Not his best boyfriend moment ever. And now Sauli had to go and show him up with the water and the slippers and the note and everything...Adam feels shitty enough already without the side-order of guilt that’s just arrived at his table.

Nothing to do but apologize, then. He’s not sure he can call out for Sauli without making one or both of his eyeballs pop right out of his pounding head, so after splashing water on his face and making a half-hearted attempt at wrangling the fright wig he’s sporting, he gingerly makes his way out of the bedroom, and towards the sound of Sauli’s voice that he can hear coming from the living room.

He’s talking in his own language, and Adam can hear someone else’s voice too, a girl – fuck, does he have a friend over? Did Adam know about this? Was he supposed to remember? He’s really not in any state to receive visitors who aren’t related to him. Despite this, his feet keep carrying him closer, until he’s in the doorway staring at Sauli’s back, and the computer propped up on the coffee table with Sauli’s fancy new microphone and everything, and on the screen is Katri, who sees Adam and laughs and says something that makes Sauli turn around and say, “Oh no.”

“You’re talking,” Adam says, belting his robe tighter. “Sorry, I’m interrupting.”

“We’re recording,” Sauli corrects him. “We have to do a bit of Tutka, remember? I told you.”

“No you didn’t,” Adam says automatically, then stops and stares into space for a moment. Now Sauli mentions it, he does seem to recall a conversation about time zones and windows and how Sauli would do his best to keep it really quiet. “Oh yeah.”

“Sorry we wake you, Adam,” Katri calls from the screen.

Adam waves at her. “You didn’t, honey.” Then he has a horrible thought. “Uhhhh. This isn’t live, right?”

Katri cracks up, shaking her head. Sauli says something to Katri and she replies, still laughing, and then disappears.

“You don’t have to stop,” Adam protests as Sauli gets up and comes over to him.

“Just for one minute,” Sauli says. “Unless you decide you want to be in Tutka suddenly.” He reaches up and takes Adam’s face in his hands, examining him. “How you feel now?”

“Terrible,” Adam complains. Sauli clicks his tongue and draws Adam down into a hug. Adam wraps his arms tight around Sauli’s waist, buries his face in Sauli’s shoulder, and sighs. “Sorry I was such an asshole.”

Sauli only laughs and rocks Adam back and forth. “It’s okay. Remember it when next time I am the asshole, okay?”

“Okay.” Adam gives Sauli a last squeeze and straightens up with a sigh. “Why are you recording in the living room?”

“Because today this is where there is the best light, and the strongest internet, and also nothing behind me.”

“Oh.” Adam sucks his lower lip into his mouth. “Do you want me to go away?”

“Never,” Sauli says, earning a smile that Adam can tell is goofy beyond belief because of how Sauli smiles back. “But you’ll be bored.”

“I’ll be bored by myself too,” Adam whines. “And lonely.”

Sauli rolls his eyes and tells Adam to sit down somewhere out of sight. “And stay quiet,” he says sternly, as if that’s something Adam has trouble with. “Do you want something? You drank your water?”

Adam nods, curling up in the big chair. “And my energy drink. Thank you.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Christ, no,” Adam shudders, just the thought of food sending his stomach into a panic. “I’m fine, baby, I’ll just sit here and watch.”

It’s okay at first: Adam doesn’t mind not knowing what Sauli’s saying, content to just listen to his voice and watch him model the unbelievably horrible jacket he found God knows where. It’s this hooded, quilted monstrosity, nipped in at the waist with gigantic shoulder pads, and the back has an American flag picked out in rhinestones. For absolutely no reason at all, there is a fox or a wolf or a dog or something walking along the top of the flag, and its head is kind of raised up and padded, like it’s going to jump out of the jacket and bite you for lack of patriotism.

Adam has to bite his lip while Sauli and Katri giggle over the jacket, and when Sauli starts in on the padded animal head everything about him, his voice, face and body language, is so completely incredulous that Adam loses it and starts to laugh. He immediately grabs a pillow to shove over his face, but he can still hear Sauli’s shrill tone of disbelief, and he has to put his hands over his ears until he gets himself under control.

When he looks up, Sauli is smirking at him. “You’re very bad at quiet.”

“Sorry,” Adam grimaces. “You’re just so funny and cute. I can’t help it.”

Sauli rolls his eyes, grinning. “You don’t even know what I’m saying.”

“Did I ruin it?” Adam asks.

“No.” Sauli shakes his head. “Katri couldn’t hear you so I think it’s okay.”

Adam always wonders if he should feel bad about the whole Invisible Boyfriend deal. Well, whatever. It’s Sauli’s show, he’ll decide if he wants Adam in it. “Are you done now?”

“We just have some more talking.”

Adam pouts at him. “I miss you.”

“I’m here.”

“You’re far awaaaaaaaaaay,” Adam complains, really dragging it out. “And my head hurts and I’m cold.”

“There’s a blanket behind you,” Sauli points out. “I told you we’re recording today, Adam. I try to do it when you’re out but not always it’s possible.”

“I know,” Adam says, reaching around to grab the blanket. He huddles under it, feeling awkward and guilty and severely unloved.

Voi Luoja, olet sinäkin sellainen,” Sauli says, exasperated, and makes an impatient come here gesture with his hand. “If you lie down maybe it’s okay.”

So Adam settles down on the couch, curled up with his head in Sauli’s lap. “You’re sure I’m not on camera? I really don’t need people to see me like this.”

“No,” Sauli says, patting his hair, “and really they don’t need to see you right now either.”

“Hey!” Adam turns his head enough to bite Sauli’s thigh through his pants. “I am a heartbreaking work of staggering beauty.”

“You are,” Sauli agrees. “Now you must be a quiet beauty, okay?”

“Okay,” Adam yawns, snuggling further under his blanket. Sauli clicks around and starts talking again after a few minutes, and Adam has a vague thought about how weird it’s going to sound if he starts snoring, and then the next thing he knows the laptop is closed and off to the side, and Adam is blinking awake with Sauli peering down at him.

“Feel better?” he wants to know.

Adam thinks about it. “Yeah.” He pushes and pulls until Sauli’s lying down too, wrapping them both up in the blanket. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Even when I’m cranky and awful?”

“Yes,” Sauli says, and kisses him. “Do you love me even when my attention is on something else?”

Adam hides his sheepish grin against Sauli’s neck. “Shut up. Yes. Oh, god, I’m a horrible person.”

Sauli laughs, stroking Adam’s shoulders. “It’s okay. I only like you for pretty face anyway.”

“Liar,” Adam says, eyes closed. “You love me all the way down.”

“Yep,” Sauli says. “All the way down to the shower.”

“Nooooo.” Adam clings when Sauli tries to push him up.

“It’ll make you feel better. In Finland-”

“In Finland you have saunas,” Adam cuts him off. “Sitting down in the steam is not the same as standing up and letting running water punch me in the face.”

Sauli sighs. “I miss my sauna. It’s not the same going to spa.”

“We should build one,” Adam muses, playing with Sauli’s hair. “When we buy a place, I mean.”

Sauli doesn’t say anything. He kind of blinks.

“Uh,” Adam says. Wow, that was a conversational left turn he really didn’t mean to make at this exact moment. “I mean. You know. Shower?”

“Shower,” Sauli says briskly, sitting up way too fast.

They should have a sauna, though, Adam thinks as he follows Sauli to the bathroom. And a little studio they could both use. And a bigger office so Sauli has a proper workspace of his own. And a better garden. Sauli loves the garden, and unlike Adam he actually knows what he’s doing out there. And –

Okay. Adam needs to get off this train of thought before the snow dome dream starts to seem like a good idea. He distracts himself by getting into the shower and letting Sauli wash his hair.

“After this I will make you some food,” Sauli says. Adam hums his agreement. “Then we will go to walk for a bit.”

“Ew,” says Adam. “Seriously?”

“”It’s good for a hangover.” Sauli kisses his shoulder. “And then we can come home, and go back to bed.”

“Now that I can get behind.”

“I hope so,” Sauli says slyly. His soapy hands slide over Adam’s skin.

“This is so much better than being by myself,” Adam tells him. He means having a hangover, but when Sauli says again, “I hope so,” Adam realizes he meant the rest of it too. He closes his eyes, tips his head back, and lets Sauli care for him, promising himself that the next time Sauli needs a little coddling, Adam’s going to pay him back and how.

There’s going to be plenty of time for the sauna and the garden and the snow dome and all that, later. For now he’s got a gorgeous naked man in the shower with him, his head doesn’t even really hurt anymore, and all in all, it’s shaping up to be a pretty good day.