Grizz tightened his arms around his boyfriend, cuddling a little bit closer to his warmth. They'd been inside for a while and the windows were closed and the heating was on, so it wasn't really cold in his room, but the window was directly in front of his feet and that general area always seemed a bit colder than the rest of the room. It was an issue he'd had as far back as he could remember. His house wasn't as fancy as most other houses in town were, so the insulation was pretty shit. But Sam was always warm. It evened out.
This is nice, Grizz thought, and it really was. It had been a while since they last had some time to themselves that wouldn't be interrupted by wailing babies or general town intrigue. Don't get him wrong: he adored Eden, loved that precious baby girl just as much as he would if she were his own child. But even dedicated parents needed a respite every once in a while, and Sam and Becca definitely agreed with him on that.
Kelly, who had proven to be a very enthusiastic babysitter, offered to take Eden for the night, and Becca had jumped at the chance to have one night where she could take a long bath, put on her comfiest pajamas, and get a full night's sleep for once. Sam and Grizz, on the other hand, had absconded to Grizz's house for some alone time. Sure, having no curfew in a town fully populated by horny and selfish teenagers where riots and murders had already occurred was probably a really, really bad idea, but if there was a silver lining to it, it was that it made it really easy for him and his boyfriend to sneak around at night without anybody butting in.
They could've stayed at Allie's, he figured. Becca, who was the one person Sam would've been nervous to tell about their relationship, already knew. Point of fact, when Sam finally couldn't hide the pain of being apart from Grizz any longer and finally told her, she'd launched on an epic rant about dumb gay boys being dumb and had immediately released Sam from his promise of secrecy regarding Eden's true parentage so he could "go get his man." Or, well, Grizz hadn't been there, but Becca swore the rant had been epic. He wished he could've heard it.
As for the rest of the inhabitants of the Pressman house, they hadn't exactly told them outright, but Grizz could tell they'd put two and two together. Now that Campbell was in charge of the town, there was no need for there to be a steady rotation of Guard members at Allie's place. Grizz wasn't about to let Eden unprotected, however— Campbell would take advantage of any weak spot he could find in order to hurt people, and a baby was a pretty fucking big weak spot for any parent. Grizz wasn't about to let that fucking psycho use her to get to Sam. She had to be protected at all costs.
So, shortly after Grizz came back from the expedition and they rekindled their relationship, Grizz had moved in. He wasn't in the Guard anymore, and he was working with Gordie and Bean on figuring out the whole "learning to farm so we don't starve" thing, so the move wasn't immediately suspicious. They weren't advertising their relationship outside the four walls of the Pressman house— again, no need to give Campbell any ammunition— but among their friends, they didn't really care who knew. They trusted everyone in that house. They weren't really into PDA, but it was inevitable that some level of affection would seep out. Not to mention their sleeping arrangements: technically, Grizz had a room of his own, but in practice he spent most nights with Sam, and he was pretty sure the others knew that. If they thought it was weird that the guy everyone in town knew as gay had a baby with Becca and then immediately jumped right into a relationship with a football jock everyone had assumed was straight as an arrow, no one said a thing. They all knew it wasn't any of their business, as long as everyone involved was happy. And they were, shitty sociopolitical situation notwithstanding.
So they could've stayed at Allie's and gone to bed early as Becca had, but there was something to be said about being completely alone— no one to awkwardly pass by in the hallway on the way to the bathroom, no one to knock on the door when some random emergency came up. Plus, things were still a little awkward with Becca. Not awkward in the sense that she disapproved of their relationship (if anything, she was their biggest cheerleader), but more awkward in the sense that three people parenting one baby was awkward. It had been just a few weeks since Eden's birth, and they hadn't quite found their groove yet, but they would. It just took some stumbling.
With barely one shared look, Grizz and Sam had decided they were heading out to Grizz's place for the night. His house was too small and too far away from the town center to be effective communal lodging, so it was empty. Grizz often went back there when he needed time to himself— he'd work on his maps on his own, re-read his favorite books, browse through his mother's photo albums. It still felt like sacred solitude even when he was there with Sam. Even more, perhaps. Because, sure, they spent nearly every night together, but it was different out here, almost like they were in a bubble all of their own, completely isolated from the goings-on in the town at large.
And boy, did Grizz need that bubble these days. He'd come back from the expedition in high spirits, only to find the whole town gone to hell on a flaming handbasket. It made him want to pull all his hair out in frustration. He'd only been gone for one week! One week, for fuck's sake, and somehow his former classmates had managed to screw up everything they'd worked so hard to build over the past six months. Un-fucking-believable.
Things had settled down a bit after the coup, or at least as "settled" as this all-encompassing, suffocating tension that hovered over New Ham would allow. Nothing huge had happened in the past few weeks— no one had died, no buildings had caught on fire— but important things that affected everyone weren't getting done, and the reality that every new policy instituted by their new "leaders" (what a joke!) just chipped away at their chances of survival was ever-present, and the dread was palpable among those in the know. They had to get Allie and Will back before Campbell and his merry band of morons led them down the road to chaos.
They had a plan. They had found where Will and Allie were being held, and they had a plan to set them free and hopefully get things back to normal. But this strategy could only be executed at a very specific time if they had any hope of it working without earning each of them a bullet to the head, so for the moment there was nothing to do but wait.
So wait they did. And if in the interim their lives had become almost unrealistically domestic, Grizz for one was glad for it, especially these stolen nights with Sam. Because when they were like this, he could disconnect his mind from everything that was going on outside the walls of his bedroom, every worry, every fear. Pretend nothing was wrong, like Browning's Pippa, and just revel in the warm feeling of holding his favorite person in the world in his arms. As far as Grizz was concerned, this was Heaven. Not that he'd mind if they were doing something else— the sex was always great, and let's be real, he was fully hoping to get laid at some point before they went to sleep that night— but he lived for these quiet moments.
And it was a quiet moment, indeed, almost literally. Apart from the low murmur of the movie playing on Sam's laptop, there were no other sounds, as neither really needed it. Grizz was holding his boyfriend close, his front to Sam's back, one arm propping up Sam's head and the other slung around his torso, legs hopelessly intertwined. The only movement was Sam absentmindedly caressing Grizz's hand where it rested against his cotton-covered tummy, and when Grizz would every once in a while lean forward and drop a quick kiss on Sam's shoulder, his neck, his head— anywhere he could reach without having to move too much. He was just too comfortable.
And while he was lost in his thoughts (what else was new?), Sam was entranced. They'd chosen The Revenant because it was one of the few movies Sam had downloaded to his computer (God bless Netflix) that they both loved, although they loved it for completely different reasons. Grizz enjoyed it because of the survivalist aspect of it all. Sam, because he had a huge celebrity crush on Leonardo DiCaprio— which, frankly, Grizz just did not get. At all. But oh well.
Halfway through the bear scene, Sam stretched out a hand and hit the space bar on his keyboard to stop the movie, effectively snapping Grizz out of his introspective state. Still within the confines of Grizz's arms, Sam turned around so he could look at his boyfriend directly and properly read his lips if needed. "You're not like that," he said, and Grizz, who hadn't been paying attention to the movie even a little bit, scrambled to try and figure out what he meant.
"Like Leo?" he asked with a grimace, assuming the question referred to the figure currently frozen on the screen. "Hell no. Haven't you seen how much younger his girlfriends keep getting each time? It's fucking creepy, I'm just saying."
Sam laughed but did not offer any arguments to the contrary— because, really, there were none. Instead, he added, "I meant the bear," doing the corresponding ASL sign along with the last word as well as he could in the confined space between their bodies: crossed arms in front of his chest and scratching his shoulders as if he had claws. Bear. It was similar to the name sign he'd given Grizz, except for his name sign he only used one hand, and it was always preceded by the letter g. Still, it made sense that the signs were related; it was an easy connection to make.
Although perhaps not when his namesake was mauling a person on screen, though, which he figured was Sam's original point. "Yeah, I'm not like that at all," he said with a chuckle. Though who knew how he'd react if someone hurt the people he loved most— but he didn't even want to think about that. "That's not why I got the nickname, anyway," he added almost offhandedly.
That prompted Sam to frown at him curiously, an expression that Grizz had always secretly found absolutely adorable. "How?" he asked, prompting him to explain.
Grizz grinned. "I never told you this?" Sam shook his head. "Hmm, okay. Well, when I turned— I dunno, ten or something? Luke and I went camping for my birthday. We didn't actually come across a grizzly," he clarified before Sam could ask, because he was obviously going to. "It all came about because we had to share a tent, and in the morning Luke wouldn't shut up about how I snore like a hibernating grizzly bear."
Sam burst into peals of laughter, which he had expected. "Though honestly, that's such a stretch, because how would Luke even know what a hibernating grizzly bear sounds like, anyway?" he protested, but it was mainly just in principle. As annoying as his pre-pubescent self had found it back then, he'd grown to see the humor in the story... and he was glad to have made Sam laugh, anyway.
"You do snore," Sam said, his shoulders still shaking with mirth.
Grizz scoffed. "How would you know? You can't hear it," he countered.
Now smirking, Sam patted Grizz's chest twice, signaling that he might not be able to hear it, but he could definitely feel it when they slept. Grizz rolled his eyes. "Fine, fine," he conceded to his giggling boyfriend. "Anyway, it got back to the rest of the guys and, well, you know how it goes with dumb jocks. They started calling me 'Gareth the Grizzly' as a nickname for football games, and eventually that mutated into just Grizz." He shrugged. "By that point I didn't even mind. It's better than Gareth, really."
"I like Gareth," Sam said with an unconcerned shrug.
Grizz had to smile. "Yeah?" One of the things he loved most about Sam was how nonchalant he was about admitting the things he liked about him. Like it was the easiest thing in the world. Grizz wished he could be like that; there were so many things he wanted to say to Sam, but he just couldn't seem to get the words out.
Sam nodded. "I like everything about you," he said with a soft smile, blue eyes darkened in the low light of the room. He lifted a hand to cradle Grizz's cheek delicately, then leaned forward to press a kiss against his lips, slow and warm in a way that never failed to send shivers down Grizz's spine, just as it had the first time, on Thanksgiving night.
When Sam pulled back, though, he was smirking. "Probably because I can't hear your snoring."
That immediately drew a groan out of Grizz. Sam laughed. "Why you..." Grizz's hands went to Sam's sides and started tickling, and the whole thing promptly devolved into squirming and squealing and breathless giggling from both of them, and only ended with Grizz pinning his boyfriend to the bed and kissing him into submission. Well, that was one way to punish him for being mischievous, Grizz figured. A particularly enjoyable one.
Things got more involved after that— so much so that at one point they almost knocked Sam's laptop off the bed. "Whoa!" Grizz said, pulling back from the kiss just to barely manage to catch the corner of the screen before the thing fell. Glad those football reflexes were still hardwired in him.
"Close it and put it on the floor," Sam said, grabbing hold of the fabric of Grizz's sweater and tugging at it as if to signal for him to come back and resume their previous activities.
Grizz hesitated. "I kinda wanted to keep watching the movie," he admitted, which wasn't entirely true. He liked The Revenant just fine, but what he really wanted was to go back to the bubble of comfort and solitude they'd been ensconced in before. At least for a while longer.
Sam wasn't buying it, though. "More than sex?" he asked, an eyebrow arched high as if to emphasize his utter incredulity.
Grizz chortled. "We literally have all night. Just let me hold you for a little bit, okay?" he countered with a grin, amused at Sam's pouting. Eventually his boyfriend did concede with a shrug, though he signed something really fast without speaking. Grizz only caught some of it, but he recognized the signs for you, girl, and this relationship well enough to put together what Sam was trying to say.
(The GSA back at West Ham High might have objected to that comment, calling it out as stereotyping or something, Grizz felt. Then again, the GSA back at West Ham High was pretty much just Sam and Becca, so maybe not. Now? It just made him laugh.)
It took a bit of shuffling for them to resume their earlier position, but soon enough they were spooning again, Sam carefully arranging his laptop in front of them with the screen at the correct angle so that both of them could see the movie properly. He turned his head to look at Grizz over his shoulder. Comfortable? he signed, and Grizz nodded. Sam smiled at him and pressed a kiss to his cheek. Grizz felt his heart skip a beat.
He held his breath as Sam turned his head back toward the front, stretching out a hand to hit the space key on his computer. As the movie resumed playing, Grizz released the breath out in a sigh. "I love you," he whispered, knowing full well that the boy in his arms couldn't hear him. He'd tell him soon, though— he didn't think he could hold the feelings in for much longer. Mustering up the courage to actually say the words where Sam could read his lips was proving to be difficult, but maybe he could say it in Sam's language instead. At this point, he knew the sign by heart.
Smiling to himself, he buried his face in the crook between Sam's neck and shoulder, breathing in his familiar scent. He closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the closeness, the pure intimacy of the moment. Oh yes, this was Heaven, all right.