As promised, today was the day.
Caius had specifically made time out of his schedule for the latest project of redecorating their shared bedroom.
They already discussed earlier what Kouichi liked and disliked about the room, and it came down to a few changes plus some rearrangement.
Namely, he thought the massive chandelier was too flashy to light up constantly, especially if he was trying to see in the middle of the night. He wanted some kind of lamp by their bedside that he could use when he needed to see in the dark.
Then, there was the issue of their bed.
While the mattress itself was comfortable and spacious, the real problem was with the pillows and blanket. His neck couldn't handle the strain of how wide the pillows were, he needed something at least half the size. Not to mention, because of how huge Caius' body was, he usually ended up accidentally hogging the blanket at night, leaving him cold and shivering on the side. So, he made a request for a separate blanket too.
Kouichi leans against the door, arms crossed in amusement as he watches his lover pick up and move giant furniture like it didn't weigh a thing.
If that were him...he wouldn't even be able to lift a drawer an inch off the ground, let alone make it budge. That's why all the heavy-lifting has been designated to mister 'strongest titan in Tildant' as he likes to remind him.
He already did his part with making their bed with the new additions to it, so now he gets a chance to watch Caius work.
Earlier, he wanted to help with cleaning, but Caius took it upon himself to tidy the room top to bottom all on his own, saying that he can handle it just fine. It was strange...but he let it slide.
Currently he just brought in what looks like a large nightstand, sharing a grin with him when Kouichi meets his gaze.
They could have asked for help from the servants that are more than happy to oblige to their prince's needs, however...Caius insisted that it would just be the two of them, since it was a personal project. After all, he wanted to own up to what he promised Kouichi.
Which was that this will be a space he can feel comfortable and secure in. Where he'll be loved and belonged.
It was going to be a process, and there will be trials and errors...but this was the first small step to making things better.
So that's why they find themselves in here this afternoon, sun streaming through the open window and the nearby bustle of the city making it's way up to them on a soft breeze. Along with the view of his partner showing off his strength, how can this be any more picturesque?
It's the kind of atmosphere you can get lost in, and Kouichi nearly does.
He's abruptly taken out of that charming atmosphere by something crashing onto the floor heavily.
His soul almost leaves his body at the sound of the impact, legs failing on him for a moment. He manages to hold onto the door handle for support as he shrieks his concern, "Caius!"
It looks as though he dropped the giant nightstand he was carrying...right onto his own foot.
Caius is bent over it, visibly wincing as he lifts it back up off the floor.
"Ah...my apologies. Did I scare you? It must have slipped out of my hands and fallen".
"Of course you scared me! That was so loud!" Kouichi stumbles towards him, worriedly looking up and down to check the severity of the impact. "Are you okay? That must've hurt like hell..."
"Thank you for worrying, but...I will be fine. The pain will go away soon, I can keep going". Caius offers him a smile, but he can tell he's gritting his teeth when he says that.
His foot looks like a bruise might be forming.
Kouichi huffs, not buying it. He makes him set the nightstand down, then pulls him onto the bed to sit, which Caius reluctantly complies to.
"I am fine, really-" He starts.
"You can tell me if you're having a hard time". Kouichi is quick to cut him off, brows furrowing in concern.
"You know, you don't have to do everything all by yourself. Are you sure you don't want to ask the servants for help? It seems like you're not really used to doing this..."
He's met with silence, Caius won't look at him directly.
It makes him wrack his brain for what could be wrong. Come to think of it...he's never seen him do things like make a bed, rearrange furniture, or clean the room himself before today. Could it be that it's his first time trying to?
With this newfound realization, he's about to ask when he hears Caius speak up first.
"I don't want their help for this". His expression is complicated, fist clenched on his lap. "Usually it is their responsibility to bring in new furniture and to look after the bedroom...but I wanted to try for you".
Kouichi's face starts to soften at his words.
"I know I am not very good at it, but I wanted to do this together to make it more special. This is supposed to be our space where we can feel relaxed and go at our own pace. So how can I not want to put in more effort?" He lets out a sigh, brows creased in slight frustration.
Of course...that's why all his actions today make sense. All Caius wanted to do was show him that he's capable of simple tasks like redecorating and cleaning.
From wanting to do the cleaning all alone, to not accepting any outside help with moving things around...it was all for both of them.
He can't be upset with him about that.
Kouichi places a hand over his, squeezing it comfortingly. "Hey, it's okay if you're not good at it yet. This is the first time you've tried it, right? What matters to me is that you're doing as much as you can".
Caius slowly lifts his head to meet his gaze, "Do you really not think any less of me?"
As if needing more assurance, he takes his hand in both of his own, squeezing back.
"How could I ever think less of you? You're my strongest titan, but that doesn't mean you can't make mistakes or have troubles. I can see how hard you're working every day to learn and better yourself for my sake..." Kouichi gives him a fond smile, "Thank you for that".
"Practice makes perfect, as they say, but that doesn't mean you have to hurt yourself in the process either". He glances towards Caius' foot, to see that the bruise isn't as bad as it was initially.
It gives him an idea. If he won't ask for help from the servants...then why not him?
Caius finally seems to look at ease, his knitted brows and frown gone. He sighs again, but this one is accompanied by a soft smile of his own, "Kouichi, my beloved...you always know what to say to still my frantic heart. You're right as always, I needn't rush and hurt myself to make us happy".
Kouichi grins, a look in his eyes. "Exactly! So, if you really want this to be just the two of us redecorating...why don't I help you with the heavy-lifting? I may not have the same strength as you, but hey, I've got some muscle!"
To emphasize his words, he flexes his arm and slaps it a few times for good measure.
Caius blinks back at him, before breaking out into a resounding laugh. "That you do, my love! So, you're saying we will do this together? I like the sound of that".
"Perfect, I'm glad you're on board". Kouichi leans over to press a kiss to his cheek, before standing up. "Let's go!"
His kiss seems to have energized his giant lover, because he's quickly on his feet again as if they didn't hurt anymore. The big grin on his face says he's quite happy about it.
Kouichi takes one side of the nightstand, while Caius grabs onto the other. They give each other a look before lifting it up at once.
Immediately, Kouichi can feel that the support on either ends isn't equal, just as he thought it would be. The side he's holding onto is significantly lower...just what is this thing made out of?!
"Hurry, hurry, I feel like my arms are gonna fall off!"
At his words, Caius quickly helps maneuver them over to the empty area beside the bed, setting it down in its proper place at last.
Once he can let go of it, Kouichi is shaking his hands with an exasperated look. "Jeez...that was harder than it looks! How were you lifting it up all alone earlier? I was barely able to keep up!"
On the other hand, Caius seems rather thrilled.
"What are you talking about? Just having you with me gives me my strength. Don't be discouraged, your help means everything to me".
He gives Caius his strength? Now that makes his chest tighten and feel warm. It's funny how easily he gets like this these days, with just a few sweet words...
The best part? He knows that they're true. He means it, if that loving expression on his face is anything to go by.
"Now, let us keep going. We need to bring in that lamp and move this dresser there...no, what about here? Then we should take these outside..." Caius is already two steps ahead of him, moving onto the next task.
It's endearing seeing him so eager.
Kouichi is quick to join him by his side, unable to keep from mirroring Caius' bright smile.
This originally foreign room was finally feeling a lot more like home with him in it.