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Tide Me With Love

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It catches his eye on the way to the checkout, the display of tiny bottles sitting on the shelf with a bright yellow tag plastered on it.

30% Off! the tag proclaims, and Mike finds himself slowing as he passes the display, gazing over the colorful bottles. Before he can think much of it, he swipes a bottle and drops it in his basket, atop the lube and condoms and jumbo-sized pack of chips that are already in it. 

When he sets his items down to checkout, it’s that tiny bottle that stupidly, has heat rising to his cheeks, but the cashier gives it no second glance, just the same as the lube and condoms, and berates himself mentally for caring so much.

Nonetheless, it feels like it’s burning a hole through the bottom of the bag as he walks home. He tries, briefly, to convince himself that he’s bought it as a gift for Pear, but as shitty of a boyfriend he was, three years of dating means he knows his ex-girlfriend prefers shades of dark purple or maroon when she ever does paint her nails.

He unlocks the door to the apartment, debating if he should just hide the bottle and forget about it as he slips off his shoes and hangs his keys on the hooks beside the door.

But before he can decide, Peem’s voice comes calling from upstairs. “Mike?”

“Yeah,” Mike replies, tugging the bag of chips out of the bag and sticking it in their pantry.

“Do you want to shower together?”

Oh hell yeah. Mike grins, clutching the bag in hand and rushes towards the stairs to find Peem at the top, giving him a wry smile.

Mike bounds up them quickly and drops the bag on the ground at the top of the stairs, dilemma forgotten in favor grabbing Peem by the waist and giving him a peck. Peem melts into it as usual, hand coming up to curl around Mike’s elbow, but pulls away before it gets too heated. He grins at Mike’s noise of protest and tugs him towards the bathroom.

There aren’t many words exchanged between them in the shower, with Mike more preoccupied with other things, and they emerge from it flushed for reasons other than just the hot water.

Sated and languid, Mike follows Peem out the bathroom leisurely, focused on tucking his towel in at the waist until he hears the rustle of plastic.

He whips his head up at the noise, the word “wait” at the tip of his tongue, but Peem is already peering inside the bag and making a confused noise as he plucks the bottle of red nail polish out of the bag.

Mike watches, breath caught in his throat, as Peem inspects the bottle and then looks up at him. His gaze softens when he sees the panic on Mike’s face.

“Me or you?” Peem asks, with all the patience and love that let Mike figure himself out after breaking up with Pear, that let Mike take months to admit that yes, he was gay, that let Mike stay by Peem’s side even when Peem probably should’ve deservedly tossed him out on his ass.

There are a lot of things Mike wouldn’t have been able to do without that patience and love and this is just another one of those things in that long list. So he doesn’t lie, though he knows Peem wouldn’t push, and takes a deep breath instead, scrubbing a hand through his damp hair. “Me.”

Peem nods, turning the bottle over in his hands. “It’s a nice color,” he says quietly, “I used to paint my sister’s—I can do yours after dinner?”

Mike swallows and dips his chin jerkily in agreement before walking closer and wrapping his arms around Peem, who embraces him back quickly, the bottle still in his hand and pressing coolly against Mike’s spine. 

“Thank you,” he whispers, and Peem presses a kiss to his temple.