Something pulls him from sleep and he slowly opens his eyes to see daybreak is just barely adding a bit of light to his bedroom. A shuffle behind him has him rolling onto his back, finding David shrugging on Patrick’s discarded baby blue button down over his bare chest as he tiptoes out the bedroom door. He’s still in just his black boxer briefs, so Patrick isn’t afraid he’s sneaking out to go home. Not that he’s actually worried about that, not anymore.
The sight of David wearing his shirt, with the sleeves just barely reaching his hands and the front unable to pull completely closed, it’s managed to speed up Patrick’s breathing and wake the swarm of butterflies who have found a permanent home in his belly since meeting David Rose. It’s a moment he’s seen played out in romantic comedies, with the petite leading lady prancing around her love interest’s bedroom in his over-sized shirt after a night of sex. But somehow, the opposite of that, with David, a man, bigger and broader, taking up every available inch of the fabric, it’s feeling monumental somehow. He stops and admits to himself that he’s been maybe putting too many moments in this monumental basket of late, but everything about his life and his relationship with David just feels too big and life-changing that he can’t find another category that fits.
David steps back into the room and moves to take off the shirt, but Patrick sits up and reaches out a hand to stop him.
“Wait, come here,” he whispers, not wanting to wake Ray just across the hall.
David pauses, eyes quizzical in the dim light as he lets his hands drop to his sides and shuffles a bit at the end of the bed. Patrick motions for him with a wave of his fingers, smile soft and pleading. When David’s knee hits the mattress, Patrick’s pulse quickens, reaching a near fever pitch by the time David has crawled up and over him until he’s sitting right atop Patrick’s thighs. His eyes are full of mischief, obviously having caught on to what has peaked Patrick’s interest, as his hands are gripping at the tails of Patrick’s shirt, knuckles just brushing Patrick’s bare belly in what can only be described as delicious torture.
“See something you like?” David punctuates the question with a pull on the shirt tails, making the cotton stretch in glorious ways over the lean muscle of his biceps.
Patrick’s ability to speak has taken leave, so he reaches up and grabs David’s neck to pull him down towards his mouth to do other things. David’s peppermint flavored lips slide against Patrick’s, obviously freshly lip-balmed in the bathroom, and Patrick groans into his mouth at the contact. They welcome the sun that morning pressed skin to skin, Patrick’s hands gripping at the back of his shirt stretched across David’s back as heated declarations whisper among the morning songs of the early birds.
He lets himself into the apartment as quietly as he can manage, juggling hot chicken soup from the cafe and two boxes of tissues under his arm. The only light is coming from the sun forcing its way past the blinds, obviously uncaring about the sick man trying to hide under the covers on the bed. David empties his arms on the counter, peeking a quick look at Patrick to make sure he hasn’t woken up. His body is rising slowly, but steadily, the sound of his breath louder than normal thanks to the clogged sinuses forcing him to breathe from his mouth. It’s only the knowledge that David inevitably already has whatever cold bug Patrick has contracted that’s allowing him to be here, normally not one to get within the quarantine zone of others in the past while similarly afflicted. But, this is Patrick, and he’d like to think that even if he wasn’t already a carrier, he’d want to be here. To take care of him. Because that’s what you do when the man you love is sick.
Patrick shuffles and shoves his arms out from under the blankets, probably over-warm thanks to the heavy sweatshirt he’s apparently wearing. As David steps closer, his breath catches, suddenly feeling warm himself as he realizes he recognizes those sleeves. Patrick has put on one of David’s sweatshirts, the gray Givenchy with the baseball and skull design on the front. The one David had been wearing that day, the day Patrick walked into his store for the first time, all eager to help with his too brown eyes and dangerous smile. And now, he’s cuddled up in that sweatshirt, in the bed that they share, in the apartment they came home to the night after Patrick asked David to marry him, under the same covers they’d laid upon as they’d pressed promises of forever into each other’s skin.
His eyes sting from unshed tears, and not from the fact that the Givenchy is worth more than the rent of this apartment, but at the realization that he’d sacrifice every last thing he owns if it meant he could provide Patrick with even an ounce of comfort. He’s struck suddenly with the depth of his own capacity to love, feeling maybe for the first time that he isn’t as selfish as he sometimes feels. Patrick coughs in his sleep, his body slightly curling in on itself as he rolls to his side and slowly blinks himself awake. David is by his side immediately, sitting on the mattress by Patrick’s hip so he can push the sweaty hair back off his temple and test the temperature of his forehead.
“Feeling any better?”
Patrick presses his face into the pillow to stifle a cough and David feels his heart clench in his chest, hand reaching out to soothe down Patrick’s back. The plush cotton is soft and he hopes it feels good against Patrick’s overheated skin.
“Sorry, I got cold,” Patrick mumbles, “and this looked so comfy…”
“It’s yours,” David interrupts, “all of it, whenever you need it.” He has to turn away as his face scrunches with emotion and he doesn’t want to give Patrick any reason to be concerned. Not about him. “Are you hungry?”
When he looks back at Patrick, he sees him shake his head. “Too tired...later though,” he yawns, “but...thank you.”
“Sleep, sweetheart.” David cups Patrick’s cheek with his palm, running his thumb lightly over the puffy circles under his eyes as Patrick begins to drift back to sleep. When he goes to stand, Patrick grumbles, hand sneaking out from under the blankets to grab at David’s sleeve.
Patrick’s eyes are still closed, so he doesn’t see David biting down on the inside of his lips to stop them from shaking, suddenly overcome at just this simple act of being needed. He kicks out of his shoes and slides under the covers, the inferno of Patrick’s body almost too much as the man he loves curls into him, head tucking in under his chin and arm settling low around the small of his back. But David doesn’t care if he sweats through his clothes, he’s going to hold Patrick just as tight. Eventually, he falls asleep too, Patrick’s heavy breathing and occasional cough the only sounds as the sun goes down and the crickets begin to chirp.