Harry had been rather elusive the last days and Perry found himself frowning more than usual because of it. Normally, they at least called each other when a job kept them, or rather, Perry had imposed the rule that Harry was to call whenever he was late or out or some place unknown to Perry. The official reason for this was that Perry demanded it and what Perry demanded was to be done, while the unofficial reason was that Harry's knack for getting in trouble was giving him a migraine and he'd rather not lie down with a cold cloth on his forehead.
Perry called Harry's cell, leaving a mildly frustrated message on the voice mail, three sentences containing exactly as many fucks, and after hanging up, he called Harry again, to leave a more sheepish message about where he was planning to spend his afternoon (at Mrs Daughtry's, who would possibly flirt with him again, but she was nice about it and Perry always had a genuine smile for her, albeit it was tinged with sadness at her daughter's disappearance.).
Harry did not return his call, and Perry was getting, well, not worried, he was not getting worried about Harry, except that he was. Even Mrs Daughtry could sense it and she graciously sent him off early, under the pretense that she needed to dust her immaculate living room. Just as Perry said his goodbyes, kissing Mrs Daughtry on the cheek and then leaving with a grateful nod, his phone rang.
“Harry, where the fuck are you? I was... what? No, moron. I wasn't getting worried.”
Perry got in the car, buckling in, and then just sitting there, realizing that Harry was quiet too.
“So,” Harry asked.
“Can you pick it up for me? The, uh, order from the deli?”
“You ordered something from the deli?”
“Just. Perry. Can you pick it up, please? I'm kinda tied up here.”
“Fine. But I'm getting the money back from you. Not like the last time you ordered pizza and hid until I paid the delivery guy.”
“It's already paid.”
That was new, Perry thought. He promised to pick it up, but only because Harry sounded almost gleeful about it, in that over-excited way he sometimes had. Which might have been one of the reasons why Perry had offered him the job in the first place. Harry even sounded excited about paper work.
He picked up two bags from the deli and then drove straight home, setting them onto the counter in the messy kitchen, and what the fuck had Harry been up to? Perry went to the office, which was empty, and then into their living room, which was remarkably clean but also empty.
Harry came sprinting from upstairs, and was that flour caught in a few strands of his hair?
“Don't go into the kitchen,” Harry shouted.
“I just came from there. What are you up to, Harry? What's going on?”
“Nothing,” Harry said, but he did that thing where he would not look Perry in the eye and then scratched his neck.
“You're the worst liar ever,” Perry said.
“Yeah, well, just don't go into the kitchen. Again. Just ten minutes, alright?”
“Yeah, whatever. Fine. I'll be in the office.”
“Office? Yeah, that's good. I'll come and get you in a few. Is that ok?”
“Stop being so tense. Yes, it is.”
Perry sat down at his desk, itching to follow Harry into the kitchen but deciding against it and writing up a few notes about their last two cases. He hoped he was allowed into the kitchen again soon, because his stomach was slightly rumbling and Perry just prayed that Harry would clean up the mess he had made because he would not prepare dinner between spilled sugar and stains of God knows what.
When Harry came into the office fifteen minutes later, cleaned up and in a different shirt, he looked as nervous as before.
“Are you done,” he asked and actually waited for Perry to nod. Harry never waited for an answer and most days, it was hard enough to get the odd word in, so Perry raised an eyebrow.
“Alright. What is it? Did you break something?”
Harry shook his head.
“Spilt something in my car?”
Another shake, but this time, Harry tried to hide a tiny smile.
“Come on,” he said, “You must be starving.”
Perry got up and followed Harry into the dining section of the living room.
“You made dinner? That's what this is all about? You made dinner?”
“It was supposed to be a surprise, so I had to keep quiet about it. But yeah, I just hope you're not mad now. It would have gone well, but then I burned the icing and had to get it replaced and...”
“You burned the icing? How do you burn icing?” Perry interrupted, “And why would you need icing for dinner?”
Harry motioned to the set table and the cake.
“Happy birthday, Perry.”
Perry sat down heavily in his usual chair. There even was a lit candle.
“How did you know?”
“Stole your driver's license.”
“I put it back?”
Perry blinked a few times but then threw his head back and laughed.
“It's that vanilla flavored icing you like so much. I thought. I know you didn't want to celebrate, but what's a birthday without cake, right? So...”
“You did this. Stole my license and went out of your way to hold me in the dark.”
“You kinda make it sound like a bad thing.”
“Harry, come here.”
“Promise you won't hit me.”
When Harry was close enough, Perry grabbed him by the arm and pulled him closer, close enough to bury his face in the cotton shirt Harry wore and wrap his arms around Harry's waist. Harry's hands came to rest on his shoulders and Harry tentatively ran one hand through Perry's hair, very carefully, as if testing the waters.
“I love you,” Perry mumbled into the fabric, very quietly, not wanting Harry to hear, but wanting to say it nevertheless. He looked up. “Let's have cake now.”
Harry laughed. “Sweet tooth, yeah, I know.”
“Shut up and cut the cake.”
Harry grinned that little boy grin, pleased with his surprise, and cut off a huge slice of the slightly crooked cake. Perry accepted the plate from him but held on to Harry's wrist.
“Pff,” Harry said, “It's nothing.”
But they had matching smiles and Harry sat close while they ate the cake that actually wasn't half bad, and Perry thought that this was one of the best surprises he had ever gotten. Even though he had to load the dishwasher himself afterwards.