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Days post-wedding: 1

It’s past eleven before Adam stirs.

It starts with a wrinkle of his nose, a furrow in his brow, a twitch in his cheek. It’s almost like he’s buffering, and Ronan grins, trailing his fingers down Adam’s arm.

His husband—husband—smiles, gorgeous and slow and without opening his eyes. Well, half-smiles at least; one half of his face is still squished into the enormous soft pillow. Finally, Adam starts to stretch, and rolls over onto his back. He stifles a yawn into his hand and blinks his eyes open at last.

He still looks tired, but in the best way. Ronan can’t get enough of him.

“How long have you been watching me sleep?”

Ronan shrugs. “I dunno. An hour?”

Adam snorts. “Creep.”

“Fuck you.” There’s no bite to it. How could there be? “Anyway, it’s not my fault you slept like the dead.”

Adam smothers laughter into Ronan’s shoulder. “It is a little bit.”

“...Alright, fair enough.” Lightning quick, Ronan leans down and blows a raspberry into Adam’s stomach, because Adam’s ticklish and Ronan’s an asshole.

Spluttered laughter and a shove at his shoulder later, Ronan springs out of bed. “Right. Breakfast.”

Adam slumps back down into the bed. “But it’s so comfy.”

Ronan raises an eyebrow. “You’re not hungry then?”

“Nope.”

Adam’s stomach chooses that moment to rumble and Ronan laughs sharply. “You sure about that?”

“...Okay, maybe a little. But I also don’t want to get out of this bed unless absolutely necessary today, or maybe ever.”

Ronan launches back at the bed, making Adam bounce with the force of it. “Well we have to check out by midday tomorrow, but staying in bed all day today is something we can do.” He picks up the phone and calls room-service and orders a veritable feast.

“Oh, and can we get extra waffles, too?” he adds. “…Yeah, all to the honeymoon suite. Thanks.”

He hangs up and Adam is watching him, eyes wide. “Holy shit, Ronan. We got married yesterday.” His tone is hushed, like he thinks saying it too loud will make it untrue somehow.

Ronan’s waited long enough. He kisses Adam, slow and searching, fingers caressing bare skin until Adam shivers slightly. “Fuck yes we did,” he murmurs against Adam’s lips, in between kisses.

He pulls back with a grin. “No take-backs. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.”

Adam smiles back, sweeter than Ronan deserves. “I’m happy with my choices.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 5

“Where’s the camera. Have you seen my camera?”

Ronan is a whirlwind through the living room, picking things up and then putting them down. He sighs every time he comes up empty and starts looking under the sofa cushions. Well, most of them; Adam is sitting on one and won’t move.

Ronan looks down at him expectantly, and Adam looks back evenly, taking a long slurp of his coffee.

“I’m not sitting on your camera, Ronan.”

Ronan throws his hands up in frustration and stomps out into the hall. “Well where the fuck is it?”

“Where were you when you last had it?” Adam calls.

“If I knew that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Adam shakes his head fondly, drains the rest of his coffee, and gets up. He trails Ronan through the hallway, the kitchen, upstairs. They end up in their bedroom, where Adam’s bag sits neatly packed by the door. Ronan’s is open on the bed, half-full. The rest of the room looks like a tornado’s blown through, clothes strewn here, there and everywhere.

Adam checks his watch. They have to leave for the airport in less than an hour to go on their honeymoon. (A month city-hopping through Europe, finishing with a little under a week in Ireland; Adam is excited about all the sight-seeing, and Ronan is looking forward to renting a car in Ireland so he can drive on the ‘wrong side of the road’ for the first time).

He watches Ronan upend a few more drawers in his increasingly agitated frenzy. He could say something about how Ronan could have avoided this last minute panic if he’d packed the night before like Adam had suggested (and done himself), but that seems counterproductive and also like a dick move.

Then again, Adam’s not always opposed to pulling a dick move.

“You know,” he starts conversationally, and Ronan whirls on him with a comically murderous glare.

“Don’t say it.”

Adam grins. “Say what?”

“You know what. I’m an idiot, I get it.”

Adam relents, stepping up to Ronan and wrapping his arms around him from behind. He perches his chin on Ronan’s shoulder; Ronan slouches to make it easier. “You’re not an idiot. You just get the most done in a last minute sort of situation.”

Ronan turns his head so that Adam can reach to kiss him on the cheek. “It’s true, I am fucking great at procrastinating right until the very last second. But even that won’t help me find my camera.”

The camera is an integral part of Ronan’s favourite hobby. Henry had taken a photography class in college, and had got Ronan interested after showing off his very impressive photographs. He’d taught Ronan the basics on an old camera of Niall’s that had been lying around the farmhouse, and Ronan had taken it from there. He’d even picked up a secondhand film camera and built himself a dark room in one of the barns so that he could develop his own stuff.

Adam had spent months saving up, and then (with considerable help from Henry) he finally managed to get Ronan a brand new camera of his own. It was the most expensive thing Adam had ever bought for another person, but the look on Ronan’s face when he’d opened it had been utterly priceless.

And now, Ronan never goes anywhere without it.

Adam peers into Ronan’s bag. “Any chance you’ve already packed it?”

Ronan scoffs. “I wouldn’t put it in here, it’d probably get smashed in transit. I’m keeping it with me.”

“What are you using as your carry on, then?”

“My backpack.”

“And where’s that?”

“It’s right here,” Ronan says, lifting up one pile of clothes and revealing an open backpack underneath. Ronan looks inside, and all expression drops off his face. “Ah. Found it.”

He pulls out his camera case, which had already been neatly packed into Ronan’s hand luggage.

Adam smiles cheerily. “Well it’s a good job you didn’t panic.”

Ronan’s too relieved to let Adam’s sass touch him. He smirks, then grabs Adam’s hand and tugs him close, kissing him so quickly that it takes him off-guard, and he laughs delightedly into Ronan’s mouth.

They tumble back onto the bed, and the kissing gets heated and urgent. It’s so, so easy to get carried away. Adam reaches for Ronan’s shirt at the same time as Ronan reaches for his, and when their hands clumsily bump into each other, Adam remembers that he has a to-do list for today and Ronan had already been ticked off earlier that morning.

He pulls back, gasping. “Ronan, you haven’t finished packing and we have to leave in...fuck, forty-five minutes.”

“What’s your point?” Ronan says, but he’s a little out of breath which betrays his lack of nonchalance.

“My point is that we absolutely do not have time to have sex right now.”

Ronan sits up, pulling Adam closer on his lap. “Never heard of a quickie, Parrish?”

“It’s pronounced ‘quiche’,” Adam retorts with the razor-sharp wit he knows his husband loves so much, and he uses Ronan’s sudden laughter to shift back and stand up.

“Aw man, you distracted me with a meme,” Ronan accuses, but jovially. He hops up and starts throwing clothes into his bag, not seeming to care that it’s all going to get horribly wrinkled.

“Ah well,” he says, “there’s always the bathroom on the plane.”

Adam looks up sharply. “Absolutely not.”

“It’s a great day to join the mile-high club, Adam.”

“It is not.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 26

They did not join the mile-high club, because airplane bathrooms are gross, and also there was almost always someone waiting outside to go in and even Ronan didn’t know how people had the bottle to waltz out together like nothing had happened.

But that was three weeks ago on their flight to Italy. Now, they’re on their second day in London before getting the train down to Liverpool in the morning, where they’ll catch the ferry to Belfast.

It’s raining, because of course it is.

Currently, they’re taking shelter in a Pizza Express, and Adam is devouring dough balls with garlic butter at unparalleled speed.

Ronan can’t quite keep his eyes off him.

“Anyway,” Adam is saying in between bites, “where do you wanna go after this?”

Ronan shrugs casually. “I hear Cirque du Soleil is in town.”

“What gives you that idea,” Adam replies sarcastically, as there’s banners all over every bus they’ve seen advertising it. There’s also garlic butter dribbling off the bottom of his chin; Ronan reaches across the table and swipes it off with his thumb. Adam smiles and wipes his mouth with a napkin. The dough balls have been decimated, and Ronan doubts he’ll have room for his pizza. “So what, you wanna walk up and down the West End and see if anyone’s fencing tickets?”

Ronan unzips the front pocket of his backpack and pulls out an envelope. “As fun as that sounds, we could always just use these actual tickets that I bought?”

“Holy shit, Ronan.” Adam snatches up the envelope and opens it, peeking inside. “These are real tickets!”

“I should fucking hope so, they cost a fortune.” Something eases in Ronan’s chest. He’d got the tickets as a surprise, and he hadn’t been sure how they would be received. He didn’t know if it would really be Adam’s thing (much like he’s not really sure if it’s his). But now, seeing Adam’s delighted expression, Ronan’s glad he took the plunge.

“Where are the seats? I’ve heard there’s audience interactions in this.”

“Fuck that, we’re on the second level in one of them little alcoves. Well out of the way.”

Adam grins. “You thought this through.”

“What can I say, Parrish, I’m more than just a pretty face.”

“Hey, no arguments here.”

Their pizzas arrive then, and Adam miraculously manages to finish his despite all the dough balls he’s just put away.

It’s stopped raining by the time they finish and pay, and they still have an hour or so before they need to head to the theatre, so they take a walk to kill the time.

Ronan’s been to London once before, when they made a short stop on their way back from Ireland after visiting his grandparents. He was young, only four or five, so isn’t any good as a tour-guide. He vaguely remembers going to the London Dungeon, because Declan told him he was going to get murdered by Jack the Ripper and it made him cry. He also knows they went to see Cats the musical, because Aurora bought the soundtrack afterward and played it all the time when they got home. Her favourite song was Memory, and Ronan can’t listen to it anymore.

He’s glad in a way, that he can’t quite remember that first trip. He’s here with Adam now, and he’s on his honeymoon, and he can make new memories that won’t hurt to look back on. Adam slips his hand into Ronan’s as they cross the road, and Ronan gives it a squeeze without meaning to.

“Hey,” Adam says as they approach the theatre. “What made you think of doing this?”

Ronan’s not quite sure. It was an impulse, more than anything. “I don’t know. I mean, it’s London, it’s the West End. Who knows when we’ll next be back here?”

Adam nods, and then he smiles. “Well, thanks. And also I can’t believe I’m seeing a show on the West End before seeing one on Broadway.”

“Alright then, next year I’ll take you to a Broadway show.”

Adam shrugs. “Or maybe I’ll take you.”

Ronan grins. “I’ll hold you to that.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 52

The apartment Adam rents is modest and functional. Ronan had been splitting his time between there and the Barns, but since they’ve been married, he’s there all the time. Which is everything Adam has ever wanted, but Ronan comes with a lot of stuff, and now Adam can’t move without tripping over miscellaneous crap.

“This place is too small,” he grumbles, sinking into the sofa next to Ronan and rubbing the toe he just stubbed on a picture frame that was leaning against the wall.

“I’ve been saying that for two fucking years,” Ronan replies without looking up from his laptop. He’s on Ebay, bidding on a lens for his camera. Adam had suggested that Ronan just dream one up himself, but Ronan had shaken his head. (“It’s more fun to outbid people.”)

“Well, maybe we should look at getting a bigger place?”

Ronan looks up at that. “Yeah?”

Adam shrugs. “Yeah. We could buy a place even.”

He’s been thinking about this. Buying property would officially be the most expensive purchase he has ever made and as such the idea makes him intensely anxious, but he wouldn’t be doing it alone. He and Ronan are a team, and they’re married, and of the two of them, Adam is actually the one who earns (considerably) more money.

Of course, buying a place means settling down somewhere new, means putting down new roots. What if Ronan doesn’t want to put down new roots?

Adam chews at his lip, anxiety gnawing at him.

But Ronan brightens immediately. “I could paint the rooms whatever colour I wanted,” he says. “I could—I could fucking...knock down walls and shit. I could—”

Adam cups Ronan’s face in his hands and leans in so they’re practically nose to nose, interrupting before Ronan gets too carried away. “We could do anything we wanted to do, providing it’s structurally sound for us to do so. Please don’t knock down any weight bearing walls. And remember that things like planning permission exist.” Belatedly, Adam realises they’re talking about the idea of a house, rather than an actual house that exists. This is something that we could have.

“Alright, college boy,” Ronan scoffs, but he’s grinning, and he uses the close proximity of Adam’s face to his to lean in and give him a kiss. “Are we really doing this then? Are we going to start looking?”

The earnestness in his expression makes Adam blush. “Yeah? I mean, I want to if you want to.”

“I fucking want to.”

That seems to be that, and Adam spends the rest of the afternoon making a list of essentials so that they have some kind of a basis on what to look for. When he’s relatively happy with it, he takes it to show Ronan, who stops in his preparation of dinner to read through it.

He leans against the kitchen counter, holding the list in one hand. His eyebrows are practically knitted together as he reads, and his free hand plays about his lower lip, an unconscious gesture. He’s a little bit unbearably sexy, but then again Adam’s pretty much always found Ronan to be a little bit unbearably sexy.

When he’s done, Ronan holds the list up and shoots Adam a quizzical look. “Is this it?”

“Uhh, yeah? I think so.” He steps closer to look. “Did I miss something?”

Ronan shrugs then looks back down at the list. “I mean, that depends.” He reads a couple of things off out loud. “‘Needs to have off-road parking and/or be in close proximity to public transport for work’, ‘Plenty of storage space’, ‘Not too far from work’...” Ronan glances back up. “Adam, these are all sensible things to be looking out for and everything, but there’s nothing specific here about what features of a house you want.”

Adam looks around the tiny apartment kitchen somewhat uncomfortably. “Like what?”

He sounds defensive and he knows Ronan can hear it because he steps closer and kisses the top of Adam’s head then wraps his arms around him.

Adam hugs him back, tight, pressing his face into Ronan’s chest.

“Like, for instance,” Ronan starts, and it helps that he’s saying this without Adam having to make eye contact, “I’d like somewhere that has space I can put a dark room, like in the basement if it has one. I’d also like a decent sized kitchen. And at least three bedrooms.” He loosens his arms so that he can pull back and see Adam’s face but he doesn’t let go of him. “Now you go.”

Adam never used to be able to have the luxury of a proper wishlist when it came to his living arrangements. He always had to be about practicality and affordability. Whatever the actual state a place was, he could make do, because he was used to making do.

Even their current apartment was chosen by Adam because it was cheap and convenient for work, and there was just enough room for two. It was more his than it was Ronan’s, purely because Ronan had been predominantly based at the Barns when Adam first moved in.

He’s not anymore, because wherever either of them are based, they’re based together. Adam knows that Ronan never would have moved away from the Barns on a near permanent basis unless he was ready and comfortable to do so, and he’s grateful—so grateful—that they didn’t have to start married life living apart.

And now they’re doing a Very Big Married Thing together in contemplating buying a house, so it’s okay, Adam thinks, for him to consider what he wants that house to look like.

“I think I’d like a small room where I can put a home office. Because sometimes I have to bring work home with me, and when I do, I'd rather have that somewhere separate so I can leave it in there and not think about it in the rest of the house.”

Ronan nods and grabs a pen, adding to the list. “Home...office,” he says as he writes, and then scrawls his own wish list items underneath. “Anything else?”

Adam looks out of the kitchen window, at the grand view of another apartment building. “Some outside space?” he suggests. “It doesn’t have to be much, just somewhere I can grow things.”

“Oh yeah, good one, ” Ronan says, starting to write it down.

“And I want a big comfy bed,” Adam adds, on a roll now.

Ronan laughs. “I mean, that’s furniture so we can get that no matter what.”

“Write it down.”

Ronan mock salutes. “Got it. Big. Ass. Bed.” He jots it down in all-caps and underlines it three times, because he’s a shit like that, then raises an eyebrow at Adam. “You got anymore, or is that it?”

Adam hesitates. “I know you already said a decent sized kitchen, but I’d kinda like it if it has one of those island counters in the middle. Or enough room to put an island in there if there isn’t already one.”

Ronan looks adorably confused. “Okay? But why does it matter, you barely do any cooking at all now that I’m here full-time. You burnt your fucking toast this morning.”

This is all true, but Adam has an image in his head now, of what Sunday mornings might look like at some point in the not too distant future. “Because,” he says, frustrated at having to explain, “I want to sit on the island.”

“...You want to sit on the island.”

“Yes. I want to sit there and watch you make pancakes and I absolutely don’t want to help.”

There’s a pause, and then Ronan half smiles, and Adam knows he gets it. It’s about existing in the same place, integrating themselves into each other’s hobbies. Just...living together, in a place they chose together.

Ronan puts a dash next to the point about the kitchen and writes island counter. Then he sticks the list on the fridge with a cowboy hat magnet, which is when Adam notices that he’s written ADAM AND RONAN’S PALACE OF DREAMS at the top.

There’s nothing tangible about it yet, but Adam already wants it so much he can practically taste it. Then again, maybe that’s whatever Ronan has in the oven.

“What are you making by the way? It smells amazing.”

“Chicken Pot Pie,” Ronan says. “Why, you hungry?”

“Starving.” Adam smiles and presses a kiss to the corner of Ronan’s mouth. “I knew I married you for a reason.”

“Asshole.”

“You love me.”

“I do. You’re still an asshole.”

“Love you, too.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 183

It’s been one week exactly since Ronan and Adam moved into their new house.

Objectively speaking, Ronan’s aware that the whole process went very smoothly and very quickly for them compared to some of the nightmare experiences he’s heard other people talk about. He and Adam had found their house early on in their search; it was only the second house they looked at, in fact. Something about the place had clicked with both of them, so much so that after they’d finished looking around, they wordlessly looked at each other and nodded: This is the one.

Following that, there were the headaches of putting an offer in, and waiting to see if it’d be accepted, and once it had, all the other little legal things that absolutely had to be done or the whole thing could fall through.

Ronan didn’t get a decent night’s sleep until they had the keys in hand.

The first morning in the house, Adam had to go to work, and Ronan had come downstairs and walked into the living room which was stacked with boxes. He’d had no idea where to start; he lifted one box off a chair and put it on the floor, walked in a circle with his hands on his head, and then didn’t know where to go from there.

Now a week in, most of the boxes are unpacked. They still need to get a few more pieces of furniture, but they have the essentials. Adam has the big comfy bed of his dreams and his kitchen island (which he did sit on to watch Ronan make pancakes this past Sunday, without lifting a single finger to help. Ronan likes it; it puts Adam in easy reach to toss over his shoulder and take him upstairs). Once everything else is in, they can finally start adding the personal touches that will make it a home; their home.

Today, though, Ronan’s been doing other things. Around the corner from their house is an animal shelter. It’s one they were already familiar with before they moved, as Adam volunteers there when he can; he likes to walk the dogs. As for Ronan, his time is more flexible given that he’s now working from home, as well as freelance. It turns out his photographs are quite in demand as prints. Henry, in his position as social media guru, set Ronan up with an Instagram account to share his stuff, and it got more interest than he thought it would. Enough for him to open his own online shop. It’s small earnings, but Ronan likes it. (He absolutely refuses to get a Twitter, but Henry keeps telling him he really needs to: “You have to grow your brand, Lynch!”)

Ronan had offered his services (for free) to take pictures of the animals at the shelter to try and get them rehomed, and so has been slowly making his way through them all over the weeks, whenever he has time.

Several of the animals he’s photographed have since already been adopted, so he likes to think he had something to do with that.

He spends this particular afternoon with two dogs, Pepper and Pringle, pitbull mixes who are bonded and need to be rehomed together. It’s a fun afternoon, and Ronan gets some great shots before walking the short way back home.

He sees Adam pull into their driveway just ahead of him and step out of the car. He smiles at Ronan and kisses him hello, all casual.

“Who was it today?” Adam asks, gesturing at the camera. He takes Ronan’s hand as they climb the porch steps up to their front door.

“Those two pitties.”

Adam gasps. “Pepper and Pringle?”

“Yeah. Who named them by the way?”

“The shelter. They have to call them something for the vet records.”

“Yeah, I understand that, but Pepper and Pringle? Poor bastards.”

Adam grins. “I think they’re cute names. Why, what would you call them? Torque Wrench and Nail Gun?”

Ronan gets the door open and hangs his keys up inside. “Huh. Not bad, Parrish.”

“I was joking.”

They kick off shoes and make their way through to the living room where they tumble onto the sofa. It’s a squeeze, but they make it work, tangling legs together, Ronan’s arm safely round Adam’s waist so he doesn’t fall off.

“D’you think the shelter would let me name all the incomings from now on?” Ronan asks, nosing at Adam’s neck. He smells like his shower gel and also something else that’s unnameable and yet distinctly Adam. Ronan breathes it in.

“I mean, probably. You should.”

Ronan grins. “Honestly that sounds like my dream job.”

“Fuck you, that’s my dream job.”

“Nah, you’ve gotta stay earning the big bucks so you can keep me in the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to.”

Adam grabs a cushion and shoves it in Ronan’s face, which evolves into a half-hearted pillow fight, as neither of them seem too eager to put much space between them.

Eventually, they both drop their respective cushions on the floor, and Adam snuggles closer, his head resting on Ronan’s chest.

“Show me the photos,” he murmurs. His eyes have drifted shut. “Of the dogs.”

Ronan smiles. “How about I show you later when you’re not seconds away from falling asleep.”

Adam sighs. “‘Kay.”

His arm dangerously close to going numb, Ronan carefully adjusts, trying not to move Adam too much. When he’s comfortable, he gives Adam a little squeeze.

“Adam?”

There’s a pause, but then Adam hums in response. Not asleep, then.

“We could get a dog. If you want. That’s...that’s something we can do.”

Adam lifts his head a little and opens his eyes. “I do want a dog,” he says, and Ronan senses the ‘but’ before it gets said, “but I’m not home enough for one at the moment. It wouldn’t be fair. I’d want to go on walks and stuff but I wouldn’t have time in the week.”

Ronan frowns. “Okay, but I’d be here. I’d walk it.”

“I know, but that’s my point. I’d want to go too, and I think I’d be resentful of not being able to, y’know?”

“Ah,” Ronan says, and he smiles. “So when you say ‘it wouldn’t be fair’, you mean it wouldn’t be fair on you.”

“Exactly,” Adam says. He kisses Ronan’s chin as he can’t reach his lips from his position. “I’d be jealous. But with all the hours I’m putting in at the moment, I’m due for a promotion in the next year or so, and then I’ll be able to work a lot from home. So maybe then.”

Ronan can picture it: Adam getting to lie in on a weekday because he doesn’t need to drive through rush hour traffic to get to work on time; leisurely getting out of bed; feeding the dog, then layering up to go for a walk (because in this fantasy it’s winter for some reason); pulling Adam’s hat down so it covers his ears; gloved fingers intertwined, and throwing a stick for the dog with a free hand.

And who’s to say it’s a fantasy? They can have this. They’re Adam and Ronan, magician and dreamer, and they can have whatever they want. They’ve earnt happiness, and they’ve earnt peace.

“Maybe then,” Ronan agrees, and he kisses Adam’s forehead. Adam drops his head back down onto Ronan’s chest.

Ronan runs his fingers through Adam’s hair, earning a satisfied hum as his husband settles in to nap. He thinks about what to make for dinner, and settles on pasta of some description, because you really can’t go wrong with pasta. He mentally thinks through the photos he took, trying to remember which ones he thinks would work best for an adoption ad. Then he remembers the new arrivals at the shelter; two tiny kittens who’d been found in someone’s backyard, no sign of a mother or any siblings.

“Hey. What about a cat?” he whispers.

“...Huh?” Adam says groggily.

“A kitten or two. Is that manageable?”

The silence is long enough for Ronan to suspect Adam’s fallen asleep, but then he shrugs in Ronan’s arms.

“Sure,” he says around a yawn. “We could get a cat.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 366

Adam is woken up to breakfast in bed and a black cat sharing his pillow, purring noisily.

Adam maintains that Ronan tricked him into getting the cats, by broaching the subject when Adam was half-asleep and barely aware of what he was saying, but that doesn’t change the fact that he now can’t imagine life without them.

They’d brought them home at eight weeks old, two brothers, one black and white and the other completely black. Finding names that they agreed on was a uniquely frustrating experience, but in the end they landed on Thing and Lurch after rewatching The Addam’s Family.

Thing is the cat currently lounging on Adam’s pillow. He sits up with a yawn, then scratches Thing behind the ears.

“Morning, buddy,” he says, then looks up at Ronan, who’s standing at the side of the bed with a tray in his hands and a rose between his teeth.

Adam grins up at his ridiculous husband. “You’re gonna cut your mouth on that rose.”

Ronan spits it out gracefully. “Dream rose. No thorns,” he says cheerfully. He puts the tray down on Adam’s lap. “Anyway, congrats on being married to me for one whole year. I made waffles.”

“And a happy anniversary to you too,” Adam says, kissing Ronan on the cheek when he sits down beside him. “What time did you get up to make all this?”

“Like half an hour ago? It’s waffles, babe, it’s not that hard.”

That’s easy for Ronan to say; last time Adam attempted waffles they got stuck to the waffle iron and it had taken an eternity to scrape burnt batter out of it. He’s given up trying to be good in the kitchen; Ronan’s good enough for the both of them.

“Yeah, okay,” Adam says, rolling his eyes. He stabs up a forkful of syrupy waffles and holds it up to Ronan’s mouth. “Put a waffle in it.”

After breakfast they sit out on the porch, drinking coffee. Ronan’s in the process of building a catio for Thing and Lurch, but for now they’re inside, glaring out the window at Chainsaw who is happily frolicking in the fallen leaves. (They remain highly suspicious of Chainsaw; it’s a work-in-progress.)

Ronan has his legs flung over Adam’s lap and his head is tipped back, eyes closed, basking in the sunlight.

Adam loves mornings like this.

Special occasion aside, they don’t really have any plans. Nothing they’ve discussed with each other, at least. It’s enough to just be together.

It’s always been enough.

“Hey,” Adam says. Ronan opens his eyes and tilts his head to the side, smiling, and Adam is hit again, for the umpteenth time, with how much he loves Ronan Lynch. “Will you go somewhere with me?”

Ronan’s smile widens. “Anywhere.”

Adam drives, seeing as he knows where they’re going.

It’s not far; just into town, and he parks on the street outside a row of shops. His heart is in his throat.

“Saturday shopping?” Ronan asks, eyebrows sky high as they get out of the car.

“I want to show you something,” is all Adam says.

“You know you’re being cryptic as fuck, right?”

“Just wait.”

Ronan mimes zipping his mouth up sarcastically and falls into step beside him. Adam should have remembered that Ronan doesn’t really care for surprises.

A while ago, late at night in the drowsy state between sleep and awake, Ronan had mentioned the idea of opening up a physical gallery for his photographs, and also as a space for local artists to showcase and sell their own stuff.

He hadn’t mentioned it again, but Adam had thought about it, often.

He stops outside an empty store, a sign in the window reading TO LET followed by a telephone number. Ronan walks past a few steps before he realises Adam’s stopped, and he doubles back. He looks from the store to Adam, confusion written all over his face.

“It’s empty, Parrish. Where are we going?”

“Here,” Adam says. “I talked to the landlady earlier in the week. You can come and meet her here on Wednesday at noon and she’ll show you around and it’s yours if you want it.”

“Hang on, what’s going on?”

“It’s a gallery. Or it can be. For your photos, for art. For you.”

Adam’s babbling, he knows, and his hands are sweating; he wipes them on his jeans. Ronan still looks confused, and so he continues, a little desperately, “Remember what you said, Ronan? It was months ago.”

“I remember,” Ronan says, and he looks a little lost. “Adam, it was a half-baked, middle of the night idea. I wouldn’t know the first thing—”

“I know,” Adam says quickly. “I’d help you. We’ll figure it out, if you want to. If not, I’ll call and cancel, no harm done.”

Ronan nods, biting his lip. He steps right up to the shop window and peers inside. He looks for a long, long time, saying nothing. Adam’s not sure if that’s a good sign or a bad sign.

Finally, he steps back, and when he does, his expression is clear. “When did you do this?”

“I saw the sign when I was driving past last week. I didn’t know how long it would be available for so I called, and she said she’d hold it for me and...I don’t know, Ronan, it felt like a sign.”

“A sign?”

“Hey,” Adam says a little reproachfully, “I am psychic.”

“Right. Why didn’t you just check your tarot cards?”

“It doesn’t work like that, you know that.” Adam shrugs helplessly. “And even if it did...sometimes life just has to happen, don’t you think?”

Ronan’s face softens. “Yeah.” He steps closer and wraps his arms around Adam as they huddle together just outside the shop window.

“And also, it’s our anniversary, and I wanted to do something for you.”

Adam feels a kiss pressed to his head. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Ronan pulls away. “You really think I can do this?”

“Ronan,” Adam cups his cheek, “I know you can. You can do anything.”

He grins, sharp. “Okay. Wednesday, you said?”

“Wednesday at noon. Don’t be late.”

From there, they meander slowly through the park, enjoying the cool autumn air and the crunch of leaves under their feet and each other’s company. It’s lunchtime when they get back to the car, and Adam drives them out to their favourite diner where they order burgers and milkshakes.

As they wait, Ronan starts sketching up gallery designs on a napkin and chattering away about ideas, and Adam’s heart swells. He loves all versions of Ronan, even the not so pretty ones, just like Ronan loves Adam, edges and all. But Ronan when he has a project is a definite favourite. He’s all childlike wonder and boundless confidence and anything is possible; he just needs a little nudge sometimes.

Adam did that. He put that excitement there today.

Ronan stalls in his napkin drawing and looks up, thoughtfully. “Which anniversary is this?”

“Jesus, Ronan, our first one.”

Ronan laughs. “No, no, I know that. But you know how twenty-five years is silver and fifty is gold? What’s one year?”

“...Paper,” Adam says after some thought. He can’t remember how he knows that. “I’m pretty sure it’s paper.”

“Huh.” Ronan takes a sip of his milkshake, humming around the straw and staring off into space. “Oh,” he says, and grins, reaching across the table.

He takes Adam’s paper napkin and carefully rips a strip off of it before gesturing for Adam’s left hand.

Adam thinks he knows where this is going and he’s helplessly endeared, and he offers up his hand.

Just in front of Adam’s wedding ring, Ronan delicately ties the paper around his finger with a bow that’s more elegant than it has any right to be. Ronan’s lucky he didn’t tear it. But then again, maybe not; Ronan’s always been careful with the things he loves.

“There,” Ronan says, and brings Adam’s knuckles to his lips in the gentlest of kisses.

“You’re a fucking sap.”

“I’m the fucking sap you married, so joke’s on you.”

“And I’d marry you again,” Adam says. “Now give me your hand. If I have to wear a paper ring, so do you.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 454

It’s almost four in the morning on New Year’s Eve when Ronan gives up any hope that he’s going to get any sleep.

He’s careful not to disturb Adam as he gets out of bed. Just because they’re in a fight, doesn’t mean he wants Adam to lose any sleep. Currently, Adam is curled up into a ball, and his back is to Ronan. He hasn’t moved from that position all night, and that alone makes Ronan wonder if Adam is also awake and stewing in silence. Usually he’s limbs all over the place. Usually he’s touching Ronan in some capacity.

But neither of them said a word, and so Ronan doesn’t now; he doesn’t reach over and push some of the hair back out of Adam’s face like he so desperately wants to do. He doesn’t get back into bed and pull Adam close and whisper that he’s sorry.

He’s not sure he is sorry. Or, he is, but he’s not sure he’s ready to say it. And doesn’t Adam owe him an apology out of all this as well? Aren’t they both in the wrong, just a little bit?

Ronan leaves the bedroom and goes downstairs to the kitchen. They have guests arriving in the afternoon; Gansey, Blue, and Henry are stopping over for New Year’s. Ronan has cooking preparations to do, and as he’s already up, he may as well get started.

The fridge opening immediately brings both cats sprinting into the kitchen, because they’re firmly in the belief that everything in there is food for them and them alone.

Ronan would normally be amused by their pitiful mews as they act as if they have never been fed in their entire lives, like they’re not the most spoiled cats in the whole fucking country. But not today; today, there’s just a heavy feeling in his chest.

It’s a fight, and that’s all it is. They’ve fought before and they’ll fight again; it’s how they’re wired at this point. They’ll get past it because they always do, because they love each other and above all things they fight for that.

Right now, however, Ronan’s too in it to let that comfort him. He’s too angry, too hurt, too damn protective of Adam to let this go.

Thing and Lurch finally realise they are not getting fed any treats. Lurch sulkily retreats to the kitchen table where he can watch Ronan from an elevated position, and Thing disappears upstairs. Ronan hopes he’s going to cuddle up to Adam.

He starts by making up chocolate fondant mixture for dessert, because they’re easy and yet people are always monumentally impressed by them. It’s good to have something else to occupy his mind with; weighing out ingredients, melting butter, greasing ramekins, combining the mixture.

There’s something calming about baking, especially this early in the morning when there’s no one else around. Ronan concentrates on this and nothing else, and it’s not until he’s pouring batter into the last ramekin that he hears soft footsteps pad into the kitchen.

He takes a steadying breath and turns. Adam is standing there, wrapped in a blanket with his hair sticking up on one side and his eyes looking tight and tired. He looks like he hasn’t had a wink of sleep, which makes two of them.

For a moment they just watch each other, waiting. A lot of their fights boil down to this: a mutual stubbornness. They take turns in who’s going to back down first.

Adam takes a concillitary step forward.

“I should have told you sooner,” he says.

“Yep.”

“But I knew you’d be upset.”

“Yep.”

“...So really there was no winning.”

Ronan sighs. “Guess not.”

Flashback to a couple of days earlier when they were driving back after spending Christmas at the Barns with Matthew and Declan, when Adam casually let slip that he’d run into his mother after paying a visit to Boyd, and they’d gone for a coffee.

Adam shrugs expansively. “Or maybe I just shouldn’t have told you at all.”

That makes Ronan narrow his eyes. “You should always tell me.”

“Really? Even if it makes you not talk to me for two days?”

Ronan crosses his arms; he feels like he’s losing his moral high ground. “I’ve talked to you.”

“Please, Ronan, it’s been like a cold war in here,” Adam snaps. “You overreacted.”

And maybe that's true, but there are few things that lead Ronan as quick to anger as the mention of Adam’s parents.

“Whatever, Adam, you still should have told me.”

“Okay, fine! But you still would have been mad, and it’s not like I bumped into her on purpose!”

“No, but you didn’t have to go with her for coffee. That was a choice.”

Ronan’s hit upon the crux of the issue now and some of the righteous anger fades from Adam’s face.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” he says, and Ronan hates how small his voice has gone.

“Just...just the truth, Adam,” Ronan says, as gently as he can.

He makes tea; Apple Cinnamon for Adam, English Breakfast for him. They sit down on opposite sides of the table, and Lurch immediately hops into Ronan’s lap, a comforting, warm weight.

Adam fiddles with his wedding ring for a minute, and Ronan’s seen him do this before. It’s like he’s centering himself, and he likes that this ring, this symbol of their marriage, is something that Adam finds so grounding.

“I left Boyd’s, and I remembered we needed milk, so I went across the street to the convenience store to grab some. And there she was, at the check-out counter next to mine.” His eyes meet Ronan’s now. “I hadn’t seen her so long.”

Ronan can only imagine the gut-punch that must have been. He knows that Adam writes to his mother very, very occasionally. Once a year, or even less than that. He knows Adam told his mom about the wedding but his parents had obviously not been invited.

“She looked at me, and she did a double take, and I couldn’t even move. But then the cashier gave me my change so I took my milk and walked out of the shop, and I just...I waited.” He looks down when he says this, like he’s ashamed, like he should have been strong enough to leave without looking back.

But this runs deeper than Ronan could ever understand. His family dysfunction is of a different breed entirely; it’s easy for him to think he would’ve left if he was in Adam’s shoes. But would he? Would he really?

It’s impossible to know.

“She came out and seemed surprised that I was still there. So I said, ‘I thought I should say hi. So hi.’ And then she sort of nodded at me, and she didn’t say anything, and I was about to leave and then she just blurted out, ‘Would you like to grab some coffee?’” Adam shakes his head. “I don’t know, I just found myself saying yes and all of a sudden we were there and sitting down and I don’t even remember how. I kept thinking that you would hate this.”

Ronan takes a sip of his tea. “We’re past that now. What did you talk about?”

Adam shrugs. “Not much, really. There were a lot of awkward silences. She didn’t ask about the wedding so I made a point of mentioning we’d been married over a year now. She asked about my job, and I said it was going well. I said that we’d moved and had the cats, and that you had a gallery downtown and that it was shaping up to be really nice. She just…” Adam sighs and runs a hand down his face. “She just nodded a lot. She didn’t smile, or ask if I was happy, or anything about you or our friends. In the end I just asked her if she was okay, and she said yes. And I said, ‘Good,’ and then I left.”

Ronan’s not sure he wants the answer to his next question, but he asks it anyway. “Did you ask about your dad?”

Adam shakes his head. He looks exhausted. “No. And she didn’t mention him. I didn’t want to know, and I guess she knew better than to bring him up.”

That makes Ronan feel a little bit better at least; he doesn’t want to think about the alternative, about Adam running into his father instead. But he’s also painfully aware that this isn’t about him. He knows he didn’t really have any right to get angry, but he can’t help that he did anyway.

Adam didn’t tell him right away because he knew how Ronan would react, and he needed to process it on his own first. Adam has always worked this way, and Ronan knows that. And now it’s all out in the open, and Adam is okay, and maybe next time Ronan will go with him when he heads to Henrietta to visit Boyd. Just in case.

So nothing’s really better, but nothing’s really worse, either.

“How did she look?” Ronan finally asks.

“Old,” Adam says grimly. “Tired.”

Good, Ronan thinks, but he doesn’t say it out loud. It’s time to let it go now.

“I’m sorry I blew up like I did. I just don’t like that you were dealing with it on your own. I guess...I guess I get why you waited before you mentioned it, so thank you for telling me at all.”

Adam tangles his legs with Ronan’s under the table. “I’m sorry too. I could’ve just explained properly but I got mad back and let it escalate. I think we both could have handled the whole thing better.”

Ronan manages to smile at that. “Yeah, but when do we ever take that option?”

He’s rewarded by a returned smile. It’s small and tired, but it’s there.

“Are you okay?” he asks. This is always, always the most important thing.

“Yeah,” Adam says, and he shrugs. “She gave me exactly what I expect from her, which is nothing.”

Ronan can’t stand that this is a sadness that Adam is so used to, but there’s nothing he can do about that. He can’t fix any of it. He can only take charge of his own behaviour; his own reactions.

“Do you want me to cancel the party?”

Adam looks up sharply. “No way, I’m excited to see everyone.”

“Even though we haven’t slept?”

“We’ll go and get a few hours now, I could probably sleep now. And then our friends are gonna arrive and we’re gonna eat and drink and have fun, and when it hits midnight, you’re gonna kiss me like you mean it.”

Ronan huffs a laugh. “I always mean it.”

Adam juts his chin out, as much of a prove it as Ronan’s ever seen.

He’s never met a challenge he’s backed away from. He’s on his feet (Lurch leaps to the floor and out of the way) and across to Adam in a heartbeat, capturing his lips in a searing kiss.

Adam responds in kind. They know each other so well like this; Ronan knows every inch of Adam’s face, his skin. He knows where to put his hands, he knows exactly how to tilt his head to get the angle just right. He knows how Adam likes to be kissed, and fuck, Adam is nice to kiss.

He wrenches his face away, gasping. Adam is pink across his cheeks, but a smirk plays around his lips.

Ronan glares at him, then noisily shoves his chocolate fondants into the fridge, ready for later when they need to be cooked.

He grabs Adam’s hand and drags him upstairs to bed, where they might sleep, if they have time.

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: 604

The dog’s name is Battle-Axe, which Adam loves in theory, until it’s read out in the waiting room at the veterinary clinic.

(“Did Ronan name her?” Gansey had asked with a sigh when Adam told him.

“What makes you think that?”

“Call it a hunch.”)

She’s a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, brown and white, and she has one eye missing because a cat scratched it so severely when she was a puppy that it had to be removed. Brought to the animal shelter because the previous owner couldn’t handle how boisterous she was, Adam had fallen in love immediately.

It’s a mutual love. She follows him everywhere; every time he leaves a room she’s at his heel, every time he’s out, she’s waiting for him to get back, every time he works from home, she lies at his feet.

They’d been worried she wouldn’t take to the cats, or vice-versa, especially given her history. But they introduced them gradually, and although the cats took a little longer to come around, Battle-Axe wanted to be best friends almost immediately.

She’s the happiest dog Adam has ever met.

Currently, they’re out in the garden. Ronan’s testing out yet another new lens with Battle-Axe as his eager and energetic subject, and Adam is watering his vegetable plots. Training Battle-Axe not to dig up all of his potatoes is a work-in-progress, but Adam remains optimistic.

He finishes watering the last row and turns back towards the house. It’s early evening and the garden is mostly cast in shadow now, but there’s a sliver of sunlight in the patch of grass Ronan and Battle-Axe are currently occupying.

Adam points his hose towards them, and the water turns into a rainbow where the light hits it.

The water pressure is low but Ronan still leaps back as if he’s been shot.

“Fuck me, that’s freezing,” he says, ever the dramatic. He shields his camera close to his chest. “And watch the goods, babe, this is my livelihood.”

“I didn’t touch your camera you giant baby.”

Battle-Axe loves the water. She keeps trying to catch it in her mouth, then running around Adam’s legs in an excited circle.

He switches off the hose, and Battle-Axe sits down right on his feet, her tongue out as she pants happily. Adam bends down to her, patting her head, and she lifts her face towards his, looking at him with utter adoration in her one eye.

A shutter snaps, and Adam looks up.

Ronan lowers the camera from his face. “I couldn’t help myself, you guys are so fucking cute.”

Adam smiles and looks away. Battle-Axe in the frame would make any picture cute. He jerks his head at Ronan’s camera. “How’s the lens?”

“Good. I still need to fiddle with the settings to make the most out of it, but I’ll have a play around. I wanna take it out somewhere this weekend, really take it for a test-run. You game?”

Adam’s always game. “Yes. Provided I don’t have to get up at ass o’ clock in the morning.”

Ronan grins. “I promise.”

Adam wants to get out of his gardening clothes, so starts to head back to the house. He hears Ronan behind him say, “Come on, Bats, let’s go inside.”

The ‘Bats’ is killing Adam. “Isn’t that what the Joker calls Batman?”

“You would know, nerd.”

This makes Adam laugh, because out of the two of them, he is definitely not the one who’s ever read a Batman comic.

“Battle-Axe is a mouthful, okay?” Ronan says, hip-checking Adam as they go in through the back door.

“You named her!”

The playful argument carries on the whole way upstairs as Adam sheds his clothes into the laundry basket and finally ends it by shutting the bathroom door in Ronan’s face.

When he comes down, clean and content, Ronan’s sitting sidelong on the sofa, his laptop in his lap. Both cats are lounging on the back of the sofa behind him, and Battle-Axe is lying on the rug in front. She looks up and wags her tail when Adam enters the room.

He lifts up Ronan’s legs and slips under them, resting them back down across his lap. There’s a specific kind of concentrated look on Ronan’s face that only ever appears when he’s on the computer, so Adam doesn’t interrupt him.

Ronan’s gallery has taken off in a huge way; his own prints are selling well and there’s a waiting list for local artists to display and sell their own work there. Ronan doesn’t take a cut of what they earn, just charges a very small hosting fee to help him cover the cost of the lease. It was in the local newspaper on a list of must see places in the area.

Adam is monumentally proud.

While he waits for Ronan to finish up emails or editing or whatever else he’s doing, Adam pulls up Instagram on his phone. There’s a recent upload from Henry that shows an ocean view and the back of Blue’s head in the foreground. It’s noticeably Blue, because a lot of things have changed over the years, but the sheer volume of clips Blue shoves into her hair is not one of them.

Adam smiles and gives it a like.

He idly scrolls for a while, but soon gets bored and scrolls back to the top. He’s about to go into a different app when he gets a notification. When he clicks it, it tells him that Ronan Lynch has tagged him in a picture.

Ronan’s Instagram is still predominantly used for work related purposes, but these days he is known to occasionally throw in the odd personal photograph. He rarely captions any of his Instagram pictures, unless they’re taken in a specific place he wants to highlight, but this one is.

It’s the one from outside, of Adam and Battle-Axe, and it’s captioned: i’m the luckiest bastard alive

Adam can feel Ronan’s eyes on him now, and he smiles. He presses ‘like’ and he comments with a simple heart emoji, then he puts his phone down.

He turns to Ronan. “I love you, you know that?”

Ronan shrugs. “I had a feeling.”

“Put the laptop down, you dick.”

Ronan laughs and obliges, and as soon as his lap’s free, Adam crawls into it. He throws his arms around Ronan’s neck and feels Ronan’s close around his waist, and he’s so, so thankful that he gets this every day. That he married the fucking dork who named their dog Battle-Axe for crying out loud.

He kisses Ronan’s head, and all over his face, peppering them everywhere he can reach until Ronan laughs and hugs him tighter.

A dip on the sofa catches both of their attention and they turn their heads at the same time, getting an eyeful of Battle-Axe’s delighted face as she perches her two front paws on the sofa and noses at both of them. Always eager to be at the centre of everything.

She lifts one back paw up as if she’s about to jump up, but then second-guesses herself and lowers it back down.

Adam shifts back a little. “Get him, Battle-Axe!” he encourages, and she jumps up without any hesitation as both she and Adam wrestle Ronan into submission.

“I yield, I yield!” Ronan yells, hands up in surrender.

Adam relents, letting Ronan sit back up, and Battle-Axe hops off the sofa but rests her head on Ronan’s knee.

Adam takes Ronan’s hand and pulls his arm around his shoulder, snuggling into him. “Still think you’re the luckiest bastard alive?”

Ronan drops a kiss onto his head and strokes Battle-Axe with his free hand. “Fuck you. Yes.”

 


 

 

Days post-wedding: too many to count

It’s been a hellish day.

A printing error meant all Ronan’s orders got backed up and as a result will all be late to be delivered. He’s organising an art show and not one but two of the artists due to be featured dropped out within hours of each other, and he’s been calling around all day trying to find last minute replacements. Battle-Axe destroyed his favourite pair of boots so he’s having to wear his shitty ancient Converse. And to top it all off, he had to leave Adam—warm and pliant and so, so inviting—alone in bed this morning so he could get to the shop to try and solve all the aforementioned problems.

Oh, and it starts raining as soon as he leaves work for the day, leaving him having to sit in the car on the driveway for ten minutes until it stops enough for him to get into the house without getting soaked to the skin.

At last, he gets inside.

He takes his shoes off at the door but just leaves them there; Battle-Axe can rip them to shreds for all he cares.

Speaking of, it’s odd that she didn’t come running up to greet him, but then Ronan notices that the kitchen door is closed, he can hear the extractor fan above the oven running, and also he can smell something cooking.

He frowns. It smells...not terrible, and that’s odd, because Adam’s the only one here with opposable thumbs and as such must be the culprit.

Warily, Ronan opens the door.

It’s certainly a family affair in there. Lurch is lounging on the windowsill behind the sink and Thing has made himself at home in Battle-Axe’s bed. The daft dog is sitting at Adam’s feet, doting as always. And Adam himself is standing at the stove, stirring something vigorously in a pan.

He doesn’t seem to have noticed Ronan’s arrival.

“Hi honey, I’m home?” he offers, because coming home to Adam cooking does somewhat feel like he’s stepped into Bizarro World.

“Oh!” Adam turns and smiles, looking flushed. “Hey. I’m making mac and cheese.”

“Are you?”

“I’m trying.”

Battle-Axe ambles over for a fuss and Ronan kneels down and pats her head. “You ate my boots, you asshole,” he tells her, but she licks his face and it’s impossible to stay mad. “Fine. Keep ‘em. I’ll dream new ones. You-proof ones.”

He stands and goes over to Adam. He wraps his arms around him and kisses his cheek. Adam sinks back into him a little bit but does not turn around and does not stop stirring his cheese sauce.

“Why are you cooking?” he asks, his lips on Adam’s neck.

“Because,” Adam replies primly, “I’ve been working from home today so had more time, and you’ve had a shitty day and I didn’t think you’d want to have to come home and make dinner on top of everything else.”

“I don’t mind,” Ronan says, and it’s true, he doesn’t, but he still appreciates the gesture. “But thanks. Can I do anything?”

“Set the table?” Adam suggests.

“Hm, I see your setting the table and I raise you vegging out in front of the TV.”

“I mean...yeah, that sounds better. Drain the pasta then.”

That, Ronan can do. He puts the colander in the sink and pours in the pasta. Adam brings his pan of sauce over to the sink and carefully adds the pasta to it. He loses a couple of pieces in the sink and Ronan’s sure there must be a more efficient way to do this, but fuck it, it works in a pinch.

He hunts down a couple of bowls while Adam stirs it all together and then grabs them a couple of drinks from the fridge. By the time he turns around, Adam has dished out the mac and cheese between the two bowls.

“Holy fuck, that’s a lot of pasta,” Ronan feels the need to point out. There’s a veritable mountain in each bowl. He and Adam both have healthy appetites, but he has a feeling this might be pushing it to the limit.

“Yeah, it turns out measuring macaroni by eye is a totally shit idea,” Adam shrugs. “Who knew?”

“I knew,” Ronan says smugly, because he’s an asshole. But he’s Adam’s asshole, and it earns him an exasperatedly fond smile and a kiss for good measure.

“Eat your fucking pasta.”

In the living room, Ronan throws Bob’s Burgers on in the background as he and Adam eat their dinner. Chainsaw’s in there, kicking one of the cat’s crinkle ball toys across the floor.

It’s not the best mac and cheese Ronan’s ever had, but it’s not the worst either, and it tastes better with the knowledge that Adam made it so that Ronan could relax.

He’d never imagined married life would be like this.

His parents marriage had seem idyllic in his childhood but it’s all tainted in retrospect. Not to mention that his father was hardly ever there.

Then again, he thinks that marriages probably always look different to the ones inside them.

He’s more than happy with how his looks.

Adam laughs at the TV, and Ronan nudges him in the thigh with his foot to get Adam to look at him.

“What?” Adam asks.

“Have I told you I love you today?”

“Yes,” Adam says with a smile. “Tell me again.”