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Perfect Nights

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Perfection, for most, is difficult to describe.

Some might say it’s more a state of mind where others might say it, like many other things such as angels and working clocks, doesn’t exist.

For Cecil, perfection is very simple: it’s Carlos.

Everything about Carlos is perfect. Right from his beautiful, beautiful hair, to his oddly immaculate lab coats to the way he can talk for literal hours about whatever science he’d been recently investigating. Everything that made Carlos, Carlos was magical and comforting and never failed to bring a smile to Cecil’s face.

And after such a long and strenuous and extremely imperfect day at the station, Cecil is seriously in need of some comforting perfection. Just to prove that it does exist and to reassure himself that life isn’t all as bad as today would make it out to seem.

“Carlos?” Cecil calls as he unlocks the door to their house.

“I’m here, honey, just in a bit of a situation…” Carlos calls back, his voice a tad strained but still full of a love that warms Cecil’s heart.

Frowning slightly, Cecil closes the door - even though everyone knows there’s no such thing as true privacy in Night Vale, only the mandatory illusion of it - and goes straight to the kitchen, knowing that’s where Carlos would be.

He blinks.

Carlos seems to be wrestling what looks like sentient soup with a ceramic bowl.

“Carlos, my love, what kind of science is this?” Cecil asks, too bewildered to try and figure it out himself.

“It’s not science,” Carlos replies with a rueful smile, “it’s just my attempt at making dinner.”

A soft smile breaks out on Cecil’s face as he realises that Carlos hadn’t been trying to conduct another potentially life-threatening experiment despite their agreement that those wouldn’t occur in the kitchen anymore, but rather, he’d been proving how perfect he really is.

“Oh, Carlos…” Cecil trails off, simply wrapping an arm around Carlos’ waist and using the other to throw a sponge at the soup because everyone knows soup is like a moth to the flame of a sponge.

“I’m sorry, Cece, you sounded a little down on the radio and I thought I’d cheer you up with your favourite soup but it turns out that making soup is much harder than you make it look.” Carlos’ voice is full of guilt and confusion but in the nicest way possible, it’s the kind of guilt and confusion that come from truly wanting to help the ones you love.

Cecil laughs a little. “Most things are harder than I make them look.”

Carlos ponders this for a moment before turning and placing his arms on Cecil’s shoulders, looking into his beautiful, purple eyes with appreciation and concern. Before either of them can spontaneously start listing features of the other that they love, which is a surprisingly common habit of theirs, Carlos speaks up:

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asks.

Sighing, Cecil shakes his head. “I’d rather not, if that’s alright? I know how you love investigating every possibility of things, and I love that about you! But I’m not sure I’m ready to discuss this…”

Nodding quickly, Carlos plants a fleeting kiss on Cecil’s nose and takes his hand, pulling him towards their new, almost obnoxiously fluffy couch.

“You know, I found this really interesting documentary about how to use spices without literally or figuratively setting your mouth on fire. I was going to watch it soon anyway so I could learn to cook more than my science experiments, why don’t we watch it together?” Carlos suggests, speaking far too fast for an ordinary person to understand.

As it is, Cecil is far from ordinary and understands him as perfectly as Carlos’ hair is styled.

“That sounds wonderful,” Cecil agrees, settling curled into Carlos’ side.

Carlos throws a cushion at the TV, which then switches on to the right recording because, of course, it had been listening to their entire conversation.

Cecil lets his head fall onto Carlos’ chest so he can listen to what must be the most perfect heartbeat in the entire universe and closes his eyes. He’s more than aware of Carlos dimly tracing his tattoos with one hand and making notes about the documentary with his other - Cecil doesn’t have the energy or the heart to tell him that writing utensils are strictly prohibited but he makes a mental note to talk about that again later.

Speaking of, it’s pretty late by the time they’ve become theoretical experts on spice usage and, as soon as the TV yawns itself into standby mode, Carlos kisses Cecil’s forehead.

“Are you still awake, Cece?”

Cecil hums in reply, tilting his head so he can look into Carlos’ perfect eyes. Carlos grins down at him and Cecil instantly falls in love with him all over again, just as he does every time he sees that genuine grin.

“Scientifically speaking, I think you need an early night,” Carlos declares kindly.

“What makes a night early?” Cecil asks, and Carlos can’t tell if he’s being serious or not.

Since Cecil rarely jokes about anything that might have to do with science out of respect for Carlos’ profession, something that is extremely endearing and the gratitude for which is simply ineffable, Carlos fondly shakes his head.

“It’s just one those phrases people use. It means that you should go to sleep earlier than you usually would because you seem tired and like a few extra hours of rest will do you good.”

Cecil blinks at him. “Is that your way of telling me to go to bed?”

Unable to help it, Carlos laughs. He ends up accidentally hitting his head on Cecil’s in the process and starts to apologise but Cecil cuts him off by twisting around and pulling him into a hug.

“Thank you, Carlos,” he murmurs sincerely.

“Not yet, you can thank me after you’re tucked up in bed and blankets,” Carlos replies, then pulls back so he can stand and offer Cecil his hand.

Taking it, Cecil pulls himself up and lets himself be lead to their bedroom, which seems to always smell like lavender and smoke no matter how many scented candles they use.

Neither of them says anything else until they’re both changed and Cecil is wrapped up in a blanket, Carlos awkwardly staring at him from the end of the bed. At that point, Cecil raises an eyebrow. “Aren’t you joining me?”

Carlos blinks, clearing his throat. “I, uh, wasn’t sure if you wanted a night alone or not…”

“Carlos, perfect Carlos, why would I miss the chance of spending time with you?” Cecil asks so innocently and lovingly that Carlos wastes no time in slipping under the blankets with him, wrapping an arm around him and smiling happily.

“Will you tell me about the clocks again?” Cecil asks sleepily, even though he hadn’t been even the least bit sleepy a minute ago. Funny what a perfect arm around your shoulders and warm blankets lovingly draped over you can do.

Carlos nods, placing yet another kiss on Cecil’s temple before snuggling closer and starting to talk. His voice is, by Night Vale standards, not quite as perfect as Cecil’s and not one that everyone would want to hear on the radio, but it explains science well enough to make him forget about the troubles of the day and that’s all that Cecil needs.

The night grows louder and darker before it settles into a calm indifference of void and stars.

Not that Cecil and Carlos are aware of this beyond their constant, subconscious knowledge, of course; they’re too busy wrapped up in each other and their love. Strange happenings continue outside their little house but neither of them mind because they’re at home with each other and, even if most things cannot be, their moments together are perfect.

When Cecil finally, finally starts to drift off, following in perfect Carlos’ lead, he decides that finding the good in every bad day is overrated and quite often, it’s much easier to counter a bad day with a good night - and a perfect scientist.