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Soft Touch

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In a world coloured by shades of grey, floristry was tricky. It had taken you a while to get your business together and quietly successful, and while you made the occasional mistake colour-wise, you thought you did pretty well.

Labels helped. Labels, and your two part-timers, who were always happy to let you know when your bouquets turned out great and when you were close to a monumental fuck-up.

Your days were mostly spent in the store, sorting inventories and occasionally running deliveries, ensuring your customers were always satisfied and keeping the place tidy. When you had to work late, going home was never hard as you lived above the shop, in a cosy little apartment complete with its own balcony.

Life was good, if not rather monochromatic.

When your first delivery of the day took you to the precinct, you were floored when you looked around the bullpen. It had been a while since you had been here, and colours were streaked all over; from boot prints on the ground to masses of handprints over walls, desks, and chairs.

The shock had you nearly dropping your flowers, and you were saved only by a passing stranger who was able to steady the falling vase in time. You found yourself both cursing and thanking your lucky stars at how close you finally were to your soulmate.

You looked up, intending to thank the man who saved your bouquet, and gasped when you saw his face.

More colours. Little streaks on the right side of his face, a smear on his shoulder, and countless other little spots. Whoever your soulmate was, they knew this man well.

“Are you alright?”

“I can see you.”

He looked around, seemingly searching for someone. His partner, perhaps? “I can see you, too.” Beautiful bright lines moved across his skin as his attention shifted back to you, and you couldn’t stop yourself from staring. “Do you need help?”

“No, I can see you.” You peered around the stranger, unable to stop yourself from staring in wonder at all the colors surrounding you. “They’re here somewhere… they have to be.”

“Ah, you’re referring to your soulmate. You have yet to meet them?”

“I get a little closer every day and it’s…comforting…knowing I’m close. Timing just isn’t right for us yet, I suppose, but we’ll meet soon.”

Embarrassment washed over you when you realised you were still standing in the middle of the bullpen, baring your soul to a complete stranger while officers moved around you. “Oh, geez, I’m so sorry! I’ve taken up far too much of your time with my prattling. Thank you for helping me, and I do hope to see you again…”

“Dorian.” He took your proffered hand and shook it gently, smiling like he knew something you didn’t.

“Y/F/N Y/L/N. Pleased to meet you, Dorian.” You glanced around the bullpen which had, while you were conversing, filled considerably. “I’ll let you get back to work. You must be quite busy up here.”

“Usually, but I’m just waiting for my partner to arrive.”

“Ahh, I know that feeling well. Thank you again for the help, I usually only run into MX’s, and I must say you’re certainly a better conversationalist.” You adjusted your grip on the vase, ensuring it wouldn’t slip again if you encountered more colours, and smiled a goodbye, leaving Dorian behind as you made your way to the Captain’s office.

Sandra greeted you happily, laughing as you passed her the vase full of sunflowers. “You never forget my birthday, but I’m always surprised.”

“What are friends for? Besides, deliveries give me a chance to escape for a bit.” You noted new colours in here, too. Handprints and swipes of colour scattered around on the desk and door.

“Where are you?”

You looked up at the sound of Sandra’s soft whisper, unable to hide your excitement any longer. Looking back down at the desk, you lined up your hand with one of your soulmates handprints, noting the difference in size. “There are colours here. Scattered about, both in here and out there. They’re so…beautiful. Like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

Sandra’s hand came to rest beside yours. “Are you scared? Worried at all?”

“No, not even a little bit.” Your smile grew, and you couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out, slightly verging on hysterical as giddiness threatened to overtake you. “My impatience grows a little with each new colour I see, but I’m okay. Just…order some more flowers soon, free of charge, so that I can see more the next time I’m here.” You traced a finger over a sunflower; around the dark seeds in the centre, then gently over the lighter grey petals. “I so badly want to see my flowers. To describe their colours myself instead of having to rely on someone else.”

“It’ll happen when it happens, so don’t worry.” Narrowing her eyes in thought as she watched you trace your fingers over her desk, Sandra smiled as she remembered who had been in her office only yesterday, placing his hands about where you were staring. “I’ll call you this afternoon with an order. I think my house could use a few more bouquets.”

“Every house could use a few more bouquets, and not just because I like being able to pay the rent.” You rose, grabbing your bag from the back of the chair, and accepted Sandra’s hug gratefully.

Your were almost out the door when Sandra called you back, a sly smile on her lips.

“Have you got a card with you? One of your business ones?” Her smile grew as you slipped one from your pocket with a sceptical look.

“You know something.”

“Suspect.” She held her hands up in front of her when you opened your mouth to respond. “No. I’m not telling you a thing until I know for sure. Now go, I’m sure you’ve got lots to do today.”

One last frown and you were out the door, moving past officers with ease as you made your way through the bullpen. Just before leaving, you spotted Dorian in conversation with someone just out of sight, and waved a quick goodbye to him.

-

After you’d returned from the precinct you really hadn’t gotten much work done. The prospect of meeting your soulmate any day now had a thrill running through you, and you felt far too restless to sit still. You’d swept and mopped the floors, polished the counters until they gleamed, and set to work on tomorrow’s arrangements, hoping to calm yourself by starting early.

It worked for a few hours, and though the repetitious stripping of stems allowed your mind to wander, you tried to stay grounded. Tried to plan your dinners for the week instead of focusing on what you’d seen, tried to think about what you’d need to start ordering instead of remembering the incredible lines you’d seen on Dorian’s face as he’d looked at you.

You were so lost in thought that the light tinkling of the entrance bells had you jerking your hand harder than necessary, ruining the rose in your hands. Muttering curses all the while, you dropped the rose into one of your many vases; ruined as it was, it still smelled lovely, and you hated to waste that.

“Excuse me, would you be the owner?”

The voice that called out was deep and had you self-consciously patting your hair down as you ducked out of view, backing towards the sinks so you could wash your hands and make yourself presentable.

“Be with you in a moment!”

Yelling across the floor, though inevitable in situations such as these, was never something you were entirely comfortable with, so you fixed what you could before heading out onto the floor, eyes on your hands as you rubbed in a few spots of moisturiser.

“Do you need a hand picking out a bouquet? I’ve got some by the register ready to go, or if you’d rather, and have the time, you can pick out what you like here. Bouquets don’t take too long to put together, and they’re a lovely gift to receive.”

He waved you off as he searched his pocket, turning towards you as he began to speak. “I’m looking for Y/F/N Y/L/N. Would that be you?”

“That’s me, how can I- oh!”  Upon finally looking up, you were taken completely by surprise. You took a quick step back and bumped into a flower display. “You! It’s you!” You wanted to jump for joy, to dance your way over to him, anything, but damn it your legs weren’t cooperating.

The moment his eyes met yours, that he took you in, saw you in all your coloured glory, he seemed equally -if not more so- dumbstruck.

“You’re…beautiful,” he breathed, the card in his hand fluttering to the floor as he reached out to you tentatively. You moved forward without hesitation, stopping just short of him, and reached up with your opposite hand to twine your fingers with his.

He moved closer, pressing your clasped hands to his chest, allowing you to feel the wild beating of his heart as he smiled brilliantly. “I’ve been wondering where you were, sweetheart.”

Your laugh turned into a sob, emotions quickly overwhelming you, and you brought your hand up to the back of his neck, pulling him down so that you could rest your forehead against his. “I’ve been here, dreaming about you. How did you find me?”

“Our mutual friend left a trail of breadcrumbs, and I had a rather interesting conversation with my partner this morning.”

“Would that be Dorian? He had the most amazing colours on his face.”

“I was more interested in the colour of his hand.”

“We were so close this morning! I waved to him on my way out; it had to be you I saw him talking to, but you were just out of view.”

“Dorian did say something about the timing not being right. Had a smug look on his face when he said it, too.”

The clamor of traffic outside brought you back to your senses, and with a pang of vexation at the loss of contact, you gave John’s hand a final light squeeze before stepping back. “My apartment is just upstairs, would you like to come up? I’m due to close now, and I’d just hate for us to be interrupted before I lock the doors.”

“ I could always wave my badge about, kick them out.”

“You will not! I’ll have you know I have a stellar reputation and I intend to keep it so,” you smiled coyly as you moved away to lock the doors. “But I have rush-closes down to a fine art, so it won’t take me long. You’re welcome to sit in the back room while I finish up.”

John chose instead to follow you to the counter, leaning against it as you balanced the till, ready for open tomorrow. His hands wandered idly over the counter, tracing the colours you had left everywhere, stopping once he reached the ready-made bouquets.

“Have you got a favourite flower?”

John’s voiced jolted you out of your thoughts, and you took a moment to consider. “Sunflowers. Such a beautiful, happy flower. I’ve always longed to see their colour; descriptions are helpful but they don’t really amount to much when I have no idea what the comparison looks like.” You gathered your paperwork and slipped it into a drawer beneath the register before smiling up at John. “I’m all done here. Ready to go up?”

After climbing the stairs to your small apartment, John hung behind, quietly closing your door and locking it securely while you went about putting your bag away and opening the doors to the balcony. When you turned back to him you couldn’t help a surprised laugh at the sight of him twirling a sunflower in his hands.

“I hope you don’t mind that I took this. I thought you might like it to be the first flower you saw.”

Your chest fluttered, and it felt like your heart was skipping a few beats at a time. He had kept from touching the petals, their pale grey looking odd against the vivid green hue of the leaves and stalk. He stepped closer to you, eyes on you as he traced a finger over the petals, one by one, and the colour that spread under his touch had you weak at the knees. He offered it to you when he was finished, and you noticed when you reached for it that your hands were shaking.

While you attempted to gather your thoughts and form a coherent response, you followed his movements with the flower, doing for him what he had done for you. No sooner had you finished than his hands were gently covering yours, taking the sunflower from you and lightly tossing it onto the couch behind him.

His hands moved up your arms to your shoulders, and you damn near swooned when he dropped his head and pressed close, nuzzling your neck, your jaw, your hair, as he pulled you ever closer. His hands seemed as though they’d never stop moving, almost like he was trying to memorise your body, to commit every soft curve to memory, and you’d be lying if you said you weren’t trying to do the same to him.

Every now and then he’d tilt his head back, just enough to see what he’d uncovered, stare in wonder for a moment, and then return to you once more, fingers caressing their way across your body as his lips moved closer to yours.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity of sweet bliss, his lips touched yours.

The second they did, the very second you closed your eyes and gave yourself over to the sheer pleasure of it, heat lanced through you; the shock had you crying out in surprise, knees buckling.

John, his arms around you, gently brought the both of you to your knees, and you felt a hand cup your cheek. “Y/N…look at me. Look at me!”

Your whole life you’d heard stories, heard descriptions, of the moment your vision would really come to you, but nothing quite prepared you for this, for the explosion of colours you opened your eyes to. Tears slipped down your cheeks as you stared into the eyes of your soulmate; eyes the most stunning, breathtaking combination of colours you had ever seen, and you knew you’d remember this moment for the rest of your life.

His lips found yours again with an urgency not present before. Gentle passion was quickly replaced with life affirming need, and you trembled under his touch. It was a hazy few minutes before you realised he was talking, whispering sweet nothings as he peppered your skin with kisses, and you wept at the rush of feelings coursing through you.

He smiled down at you as his hands came to your cheeks, thumbs brushing away your tears. “You doin’ alright?”

“Feel a little like I’m being swept away, you know?” You covered his hands with yours, and leaned into his touch.

“I know exactly what you mean,” he brought your hand to his mouth, pressing gentle kisses to each finger, keeping his eyes on yours, and the heat that rushed through you had you feeling grateful that you were already on the floor.

His forehead tipped forward until it rested against yours once more, and you both took a moment to breathe each other in, smiling tremulously.

“Stay,” you whispered. You didn’t think he would object, but you couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive at the thought of him leaving any time soon; not when you had only just found each other.

“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”