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rules for lovers

Chapter Text


the sound, the size
of truth, of lies

a kick, a word
unsaid, unheard

who decides
the rules
for lovers?



The shape of him is the most familiar one you know. You know him inside and out and upside-down and backwards, with your hands and your eyes, lips and tongue and heart. You know every one of his smiles and the lines etched into his face and the freckles dotted like stars across his skin.

He lays himself bare for the whole world to see but when he’s pressed against your skin he whispers it’s always been you like a sacred promise.

(And you believe him, you’ve always believed him.)


Today, here is what you know:

You know that red is for the life you built together, years and years all piling on top of one another until you began measuring time in decades instead of minutes. Red is his pulse thrumming under his skin where his body touches yours, where you forget your own ending in his beginning. The spines of the photobooks are soft and stretched and marked red with loving hands, marked with stories told tandem in two voices.  Red is the beating of your own heart in your chest, thump-thump, thump-thump, steady and slow under the press of his palm while you sleep.

You know that he is alive, and he is yours.


You know that orange is for all the shattered parts, for the way you held out tape and glue and string for him to piece himself back together. Orange is the way you tried to take the sharpest thorns for yourself, would bleed any colour for him if it meant he’d sleep easier at night.

(But he can’t stand to watch you bleed, either.)

You were made to be whole together, the universe made you each half a man and then sent you into its depths to find your other part. He pushed while you pulled, the sea against the moon, and the whole world marveled at the way he created radiance out of blackness.

You know that he is healing, and he is yours.


Oh god, how you know him in every possible shade of yellow! You know him drenched in golden summer sun, you’ve lost yourself tracing constellations into his skin while his laughter fills every hollow of your heart. He tastes like sweat and expensive sun cream, his pulse races fast and strong under your tongue and you - you love him, desperate and unashamed.   

You know him in the pale, daffodil-toned morning, know the curve of his body against yours while he sleeps and the gentle sounds he makes while he wakes. You know the way the sheets, the flat, the whole of your existence is warmed because of him. You’ve forgotten how to not wake up next to him and now there’s nothing else except that you love him, quietly and peacefully.

You know him in yellow so bright that it’s hard to look at him, but you couldn’t look away even if you wanted to. He’s got flowers in his hair and paint in his cuticles and you have known him through all the days where being yellow was nothing more than a distant illusion. You love him, you love him, you love him. This is what you know.


You know that green is for your future, for a home and a life that is just within your reach. You know this because you’ve glimpsed it in the dark of night, your dreams show you the lush, thick grass and the leaves in the spring and the life clawing its way up out of the dirt. Life that you poured your own being into, your hands turned the earth while he played Chopin for you through the open window.

It’s a sad song, you tell him, leaning on the windowsill and sipping spiked Ribena while the sweat gathers at the nape of your neck.

It’s not, he says, it’s about coming home, and the A-flats follow you into your waking hours.

Your entire universe spins around him. This is what you know.


You know that blue is forty-five minutes and twenty-nine seconds long.

You know the way he clings to you, fully clothed and too-warm under the weight of the duvet, the fan on high to drown out the buzzing in both your heads as well as the incessant notifications locked on the other side of the bedroom door. Blue is the way he cries against your chest, happy and overwhelmed and terrified. Blue is his ragged voice saying you’re crushing me when it’s the forty-fourth minute, almost time to go. You try to loosen your grip but you just can’t, you want to crawl into his skin and protect his baby bird heart along with all the pieces of yourself that he keeps there.

Blue is the forty-sixth minute, walking hand-in-hand up the stairs on shaky legs to face a new world.

He stands tall with the bravery of millions, and he is yours.


Violet is the colour he wears when you marry him. You know this, you’ve got the namesake flower pinned above your heart but the sight of him draped in it still takes your breath away. He is bright and open and wearing the smile that you’ve come to think of as your smile, the one he doesn’t give away to anyone but you. Your hands shake terribly but he steadies them against his own, steadies your entire being with the way he looks at you under the April sun.

Violet is the colour of the vows you say, the paraphrased and ad-libbed version of the ones you wrote down because you couldn’t bear to let go of him long enough to pull the paper out of your jacket pocket. You remember the important parts though, the four thousand yellow mornings and another twenty thousand or so green ones stretched out in front of you. Two red strings entwined throughout an entire lifetime, stitched and mended with threads of orange in the places where they were thin and torn. The cloak of blue you both wear proudly, you’ve wrapped your entire life in the colour and let it propel you here, to this exact moment.

This is what you know: it’s right. You love him in every iteration and every timeline and every lifetime, you have a soul painted in streaks of colour and there is no version of you that exists without him.

It’s right.

It’s right.

It’s right.



the hand, the heart
an end, a start

who decides
the rules
for lovers?

(you and i)
(we choose each other)