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There's No Place Like _______

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"What do you think?"

Ryan stands in Simon's new living room--one of the new living rooms, anyway--and considers. "It's gaudy, ostentatious, obnoxious, over the top, and the neighbors are way too close." He shrugs. "I love it."

Simon starts to laugh. "You love it because it's gaudy and ostentatious?"

"Because it means you're staying." Ryan looks down and then away. "Here. In L.A."

Simon's face goes exasperated. "Ryan," he says, like explaining some simple thing to a child, patient and affectionate. "You know I wouldn't even consider moving back permanently. Not full-time. What are you worried about?"

"I'm not worried," Ryan protests.

"You're worried," Simon teases. "Are you afraid of me leaving you?"

"I should be so lucky," Ryan says, staring out one of the enormous bay windows at the smooth, unbroken surface of the new pool.

"I'm rather taken with you, you know," Simon muses. "If I did move back, I'd want to bring you with me. Put you to work for me in England."

"Which I would never do."

"Which you would never do," Simon agrees, coming up behind Ryan and wrapping his arms around Ryan's middle. "So I suppose I'm stuck here, aren't I?"

Ryan leans back, letting his head rest on Simon's shoulder and then making a face as Simon nips at his ear. "Still," he says.

"What?" Simon tugs on Ryan's earlobe with his teeth.

"Mmph," Ryan says. "Still, it's nice to have some kind of … insurance."

"Insurance?" Simon murmurs.

Ryan makes a soft noise, not quite a moan but not far off target. "Yeah." He turns around in Simon's arms and kisses him. "Now shut up and remind me why I should be glad you're sticking around."