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both of them were happy. their chests were warm, hearts alive. their cheeks hurt from smiling so god damn much. they're sure they're both red in the face from all the laughing they've done. five hours had flown by so quickly, so suddenly, but neither minded. not when they were together on the bed, barney's head in gordon's lap, eyes lazily focused up at gordon. not when they were talking and laughing and discussing and mock arguing, in a way that was so perfectly homey. 

 

barney talked. said something dumb that would make gordon bark into a wheezy laugh and sign something just as dumb back. barney would start howling too, then respond, which would make gordon sign faster with more heavy chuckles. sometimes they laughed so hard they couldn't communicate at all for five minutes straight, instead waiting out their waves, only for it to start up again from one or the others comment. when that happened, gordon would run his fingers through barney's hair, idly scratching his scalp in just the perfect way.

 

they'd pause, briefly, to change the music. sometimes it would be left on repeat for half an hour, other times, it would only play once and be forgotten, looping them into background silence until one of them remembered to start it up again. they didn't mind either option.

 

their topics would change wildly. it would start out with their days, like it always did. then it would switch to the nature of why old people acted the way they did. then it would switch to be about how the world worked, which slowly switched to something else, and then something else, something else, something else. it was easy, natural, comforting. there was no rush. they talked about everything and nothing at their own paces, encouraging each other, adding their opinions, bouncing off each other. it was nice, to be listened to, to be respected. 

 

there came a point when their laughter died, and they just gazed at each other. their faces were soft; soft with smiles and laugh lines and red cheeks. music - some form of old 1940's song, barney's choice this time - filled the ambience of their secluded little world, and it was wonderful. it was always wonderful when they were together. it was very easy for the atmosphere to be wonderful, in all the years they'd known each other, and that in itself was wonderful. even after being in each others company for years, they still found happiness within one another. 

 

'y'know, i really am the luckiest dog in the entire world to know you.' barney said, his tired eyes twinkling with earnest and love, the entire universe held in those eyes. and it struck something in gordon; it hit a cord in his chest in a bolt of lightning, like it always did when barney called him a pet name, or reminded him he loved him, or when he made him happy. these days, that lightning bolt hit that cord whenever the two spoke, which just so happened to be every day.

 

gordon's smile spread to a grin - a drunk, joyful grin, and he was sure tears were bubbling to the corners of his eyes. he didn't know why he always got emotional over words like those, considering how many times their moments turned so achingly sappy and their words became full of meaning, but he did. he gazed down at barney, completely struck with affection.

 

'i am too.' he signed. 

 

'i mean it.' barney added, a lot more seriously this time, but still somehow retaining the softness. a hand reached up to gently poke at gordon's cheek, and gordon moved his head out of the way with a giggle. once gordon looked down at him again, barney's hand moved to cup his face. it was awkward, with the angle, his palm splayed out on gordon's upper throat rather than his face, but the meaning behind it remained crystal clear all the same. 'i really. ... i'm real lucky to know you, gord. and i mean it. i love you, so much.' and hey, look at that, they were both crying now. what utter saps.

 

'gay ass.' gordon signed after a solid second, huffing with teary laughter, which makes barney giggle too. barney's hand lingers on gordon's neck before dropping it back into his own lap, and he does a half hearted shrug. their faces are pure crimson.

 

'hey man, can't help it. you're too much of a silly dork not to love.' gordon did a weak pffft noise at that.

 

'not as much as you.'

 

'naaaah doc, pretty sure you're like, waaaaaaay up there on the list of silly, dorky, lovable nerds that have captured my heart.'

 

'was not aware there was a chart.'

 

'oh yeah, there sure is bud. and you're right at the diggity darn top.'

 

gordon nods with an exasperated, infatuated kind of expression. 'sure, coming from the guy who would make tea inside of a kettle.'

 

they wipe their faces clean, and just as quickly as the tender moment came, it passed. before they knew it, they launched into an argument over making tea inside of a kettle instead of in a cup vs making tea inside of a pan. music continued to play in the background, the sun setting into a pretty painting of purples and blues and yellows.

 

another while of discussions flew by. very slowly, they settled into a comfortable silence, their eyes closed, bodies relaxed. one of gordon's hands found a nest in barney's hair, the other reached out to be held in barney's. music, looped over twenty times, kept playing.

 

and the moment was so, so wonderful.