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Ted was slow at catching on to patterns sometimes, especially when he was really happy. Being in a new relationship was like that. Even though it had been decades since his last start to a real relationship, he still remembered the blinding happiness and excitement that coasted him through the first few months. Everything seemed small in comparison to something so good, so it took a while for him to pick up on a… strange habit of Trent’s.

He noticed it a few weeks in when, once again, Trent let him choose dinner.

“Wherever you’d like to get takeaway is fine with me, Ted.”

It was that sentiment that repeated, Trent always deferring to Ted’s preferences on everything from where to eat to what to watch on TV. It had been going on for weeks, for as long as they’d run into each other one too many times the summer after Trent’s career change and Richmond’s promotion, and Ted asked him out for a proper meal. 

Looking back, at first it all just felt real polite, but Ted was getting a little rankled at the idea that Trent either didn’t care, or didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell Ted what he wanted. It could just be an unconscious sort of people-pleasing thing, of course, but Trent wasn’t a people pleaser. In fact he took great pride in displeasing people around him; he said it made him better at his former job. 

So Ted tracked it for a few more days, noticing that Trent let him choose the music in his car, the places they went, the things they did. Even who spent the night at whose flat when. Ted would ask for Trent’s input, and Trent would volley the question right back into Ted’s side of the court. 

Maybe it was time to say something. 

Ted had to work up his courage to do so. He wasn’t one for confrontation, especially about a problem that was maybe not a problem at all. He could be overreacting, or not seeing the whole picture. But the next date night they had together, with just the two of them and no kids, Trent basically made Ted choose dinner, the movie they put on, and what they were going to do with their weekend together. And he didn’t say a word about any of the choices Ted made. 

When Trent let Ted decide whether or not they were going to indulge in ice cream for dessert, Ted decided to say something. 

“You do that a lot.”

Trent was fiddling with the blanket draped over them on the couch until it was to his preference.
“Do what?”

Ted hated this already. He didn’t want to fight: they hadn’t ever fought about anything. Maybe that’s why Trent kept letting him choose things, so he wouldn’t fight, but Ted wanted to do the stuff that Trent wanted too. It felt like he was hogging their relationship, which was just ridiculous.

“Well, like you say whatever I want to do is fine, and you always let me choose what we eat and watch and listen to.” Ted shrugged off the discomfort of asking as much as he could, cuddling a little closer to Trent under their blanket. “Feels like you’re in a hostage situation or somethin’.”

Trent was a line of tension against his side, and Ted felt him forcibly relax before he spoke. “I apologize if I’ve made you feel that way. I’ll rephrase in the future. Now what do you say to some strawberry ice cream?”

Trent was halfway out of his seat at the question and Ted let it slide, choosing the admittedly easier route of compliance in the face of strawberry ice cream.

-

But, the thing is, it kept happening. 

It isn’t as obvious as it used to be as Trent really did change the way he phrased things. Instead of turning the question back to Ted, Trent made sure to either ask first or find out what Ted wanted another way.

When are you free? What would you like to do this weekend? Is it okay if Izzy comes along? If not I can try to fix things around for you.

Fixing things was Trent’s new deal, along with doing things that didn’t need to be fixed. His deferment and acts of service were a type of love language that Ted could respect - he’d been reading up on the different ones at Beard’s suggestion - but it was constant

Trent always did the dishes. Trent changed the sheets and did laundry at either home. Trent took out the trash before Ted noticed it was full. Trent always opened doors for him. Trent even deferred to Ted’s conversation and tangents, letting his own hang unfinished without fight.

Ted chose their bedtime. Ted chose their activities. Ted chose the mood they were in. It was constant and becoming exhausting. 

Trent was also quiet around him in a way he’d never been as a reporter and friend. He didn’t interrupt Ted, even when he was going on and on about nothing like he does sometimes. He always used headphones when listening to music, and he never yelled for Ted from another room: he always came to him instead.

The more Ted noticed, the more it felt like he was trampling all over Trent’s life, and Trent was willingly letting it happen - inviting it, even. It made him feel beyond uncomfortable every time he noticed. He made an effort for a while to do some of the chores himself, nearly having to sneak in a load of laundry while Trent was in the shower. But every time Trent noticed, he looked disappointed and jumped in to help.

Things came to a head once again after a lazy morning spent sprawled in Ted’s bed. They were both engrossed in their respective books, having slept in and taken their tea (and coffee) in bed. It was a peaceful morning, the kind that renews the hope of a peaceful life where everything was set and you had the whole day to look forward to. 

Ted was nearly finished with a chapter when Trent started to squirm, little restless movements. He glanced up from his page and noticed that Trent was staring at his own book, not reading. Ted put a finger between his pages and turned slightly toward Trent. 

“What’s up, wiggle worm?”

Trent’s eyebrow raised, as it usually does when Ted invents a new thing to call him. “Nothing, just reading.”

“No you aren’t,” Ted said. “You’re starin’. That ain’t readin’.”

Trent shook his head slightly. “Sorry.” He kept looking at his book for another second before giving it up as a lost cause. “My mind is just wandering.”

“No apologies necessary,” Ted said, officially giving up on his own book and putting it pages down on the bedside table. Trent took a more neat approach, placing his bookmark carefully before setting the book down on his side of the bed. “What do you want to do with our beautifully free Saturday?”

Trent shrugged in an automatic way. “Whatever you’d like.”

There it was again. Ted decided to try and play it cool, see if he could wrestle up an opinion out of his independent man. “Alright, twenty questions it is! Do you wanna stay in all day or go out?”

Trent hummed. “You usually like to stay in when we have the opportunity to be… lazy,” he said, smirking lightly at the adjective. “That would be fine with me.”

Ted huffed a little at the non-answer, but moved on. “Movies? Reading more? Want me to finally show you how to bake those lemon bars from the other week?”

Trent shrugged and turned more fully to Ted so they lay facing each other. “Any and all of the above.”

Ted had a flash vision of Beard clapping at him and he tried to harness a fraction of Led Tasso’s power. “Dangit Trent! Why won’t you be honest with me?” Trent’s eyes flew open and he tensed visibly, making Ted feel instantly horrible.

“I am honest! I promise I’m not lying,” Trent said quickly, his gaze shooting straight past Ted to the wall.

Ted tempered his tone, reaching out a hand to clasp over Trent’s tense shoulder. “You either have no opinions about anything, which I do not believe, or you just don’t wanna tell me for some reason. It’s makin’ me confused, Trent.” He watched an array of emotions play on Trent’s face, leaving him looking guarded

“Are you mad that I’m too… nice?”

Ted shook his head into the pillow. “You’re not nice. Well, you are, real nice I think, but Trent you are actin’ like a rug! I half expect that, were we to come to a big puddle on the sidewalk, you’d throw yourself in the mud for me to walk over you, then ask if I wanted to do it again.”

Trent pursed his lips, silent, but Ted was reassured that he was still there and hadn’t fled the bed.

“I don’t want that from you, Trent. If anything, I want us to figure out a way around that metaphorical puddle together.” Ted searched for words for a moment. “I don’t know if I’ve done anything to make you feel like I have to be in charge, or that you gotta treat me like what I want is more important, but I’m sorry if I have.”

Trent was still. “You don’t want me to do what you want.” His voice was monotone.

“No, I want us to be equal. Have discussions. Hell, even get into petty little arguments about where to eat or what to watch.” Ted searched his eyes. “I’m really sorry if I’ve somehow overstepped here, or insulted you, but it just ain’t right. I want the real you, not the you that’s so… passive, like ya have been.”

Trent was quiet for a long moment and Ted forced himself to be quiet as well and wait. Maybe a whole minute passed with Trent quiet and Ted waiting, rubbing his thumb back and forth over Trent’s still tense shoulder. 

“I need some space,” Trent said, getting up in one quick motion. Ted watched from the bed as Trent ran his hands through his hair, hesitating for a second. “Just. I’ll be in the other room for a moment. Give me a few minutes.”

Nearly before he finished his sentence, Trent was out of the bedroom like a shot, leaving Ted to gape after him. 

Ted collapsed back into the sheets, wondering where this day was going to go. 

-

Ted gave Trent a solid fifteen to do what he needed to do. From his position in the bed he could only see the hallway wall, but he could hear Trent’s movements in the other rooms. He tracked his sounds from the bathroom to the living room, where Ted is assuming he paced for a little while. 

He hadn’t seen many people genuinely pace, but Trent was a pacer for sure. He had to move around to think. After a little while of that, he heard the unmistakable sounds of Trent filling the kettle and, eventually, it boiling for tea. 

Ted got up with a groan, stretching out the little aches that laying in bed so long caused, and changed his sleep shirt into a soft hoodie for warmth. He took a few seconds to breathe deeply, just to make sure he was steady. Then he went into the other room, making quick eye contact with Trent from across the kitchen to make sure it was okay. Trent nodded, turning back to tea, and Ted saw that he’d made a hot chocolate for him as well. 

Trent gestured to the kitchen table and they sat, mirroring each other with curled hands around warm mugs. He didn’t know if he should talk or not, so he left it up to Trent. 

“I want to apologize to you, Ted,” Trent said, taking a fortifying sip of tea and waving off his response. “No, you were right to point it out weeks ago. It seems I’ve rather fallen into old habits.”

“I accept your apology,” Ted said after a second. “Though I’d like you to elaborate about those habits of yours, because they don’t sound real healthy.”

Trent sighed and rubbed his face with both hands, leaning back in the chair. Ted tried not to tense up, but Trent was obviously about to tell him a story that didn’t have a happy beginning or middle, with only a little hope for the end. 

“My ex was a right bastard, and he really fucked me up.”

Oh, right to the point then. Trent continued. 

“I don’t think I had a say in any decision we made for two years before I snapped out of it and finally told him to fuck off, which was only after I found out he’d been cheating on me.” Trent drank more of his tea, string off to the side as he spoke. “He was… mean. Anything I wanted to do, or anything I liked, he found a way to hate it. He knocked down every opinion I had, every little joy I had in my life that was separate from him and what he wanted to do. So I learned to just… do what he wanted. It was easier to just, well. Submit.”

“Oh, Trent,” Ted let out, halfway to tears and a quarter of the way to pure protective rage. 

Trent shook his head, still looking away. “After I broke it off I got my life back. It was rough for a while, but better, then infinitely so when I decided to follow my dream of having a child. I found a surrogate and Isabel came a year later.” He finished his tea. “He never wanted children.”

Ted frowned, blinking away his emotions as best he could. “I couldn’t imagine you not bein’ a dad.”

Trent relaxed his tense shoulders a little and smiled briefly. “And I thank you for it. But it seems you were right this morning, and it brought it all back. I hadn’t thought about him in years, not seriously, and yet here I am still… suffering the effects.”

“Trent,” Ted cleared his throat, “it sounds like that fella didn’t treat you good and conditioned you to act a certain way around him. That doesn’t just disappear.”

Trent made fleeting eye contact with him. “I still want to apologize.”

Ted felt himself give puppy dog eyes at the sentiment, not needing or wanting an apology any longer. “If anything it should be me sayin’ sorry. I shouldn’t’ve yelled this morning, that wasn’t alright.”

Trent huffed. “You call that yelling? You barely raised your voice and, Ted, it’s nothing you’ve done. I haven’t been in any serious relationship since, and much longer since a proper one.” He stood and took his empty mug to the sink, running water in it and then turning to lean against the counter.

Nodding and wanting to reach out, gather Trent into his arms, and never let go, Ted took a gulp of his hot chocolate instead. “What can I do to help?”

“It’s my problem; I don’t expect you to do anything. I’ll work on it.” Trent crossed his arms where he stood.

Ted cut him off with a shake of his head. “Relationship implies two, Trent. Or more, depending on preferences, but that’s beside the point. I’m here for us both, so just tell me what you need.”

“Ted…”

“Reassurance? You got it.” Ted rose, putting his own mug in the sink behind Trent, which had the intended side effect of closeness. He put his hands on Trent’s shoulders and made good eye contact. “I’m not gonna leave you if you wanna watch QI instead of Bake Off , or if the dishes sit out overnight.”

“Thank you,” Trent said quietly, smiling. “I’m just… well I suppose I’m not used to making decisions in a relationship. At least not ones I don’t second guess or feel selfish about.”

Ted pursed his lips, tense again for a moment. “I’m madder than hell at that ex of yours. But that’s not your problem, or mine right now. Let’s just start small. What would you actually like to do right now?”

“Kiss you.” 

The reply was automatic and honest, and it brought a flush to Ted’s neck. “That can be arranged.” Ted leaned in and kissed Trent, lingering with a press of lips, gently kissing each of Trent’s before leaning back, his hands still on Trent’s shoulders. 

“Now,” he asked lowly. “What do you want to do today?”

Trent squeezed his hands where they rested on Ted’s hips and tilted his head to reply. “I really, really want to do nothing at all, but I'm tired of reading. I want to laze on the couch in our pajamas. I want to poke at some drafts. I want to order in for dinner, Thai if you’re amenable, and then I want to ravish you.”

Ted blinked at the list and smiled wide. “Oh I’m real amenable to all of that, especially the last bit.”

Trent matched his smile, and they got to work doing nothing at all.

-

The day was excellent. Ted felt more relaxed around Trent than he’d been in a while. All that stuff had been making him tense, especially trying to keep it in. He didn’t like raising his voice, but he was happy they had a good chat after and a great day because of it. 

He missed having little Izzy around, but they had called her that afternoon and she was having a blast at her grandparents’ house. She was a peach and a terror, and Ted was wrapped around her little finger. She made him miss Henry in a way that ached a little harder than what it did all the time.

Ted kept a close but hopefully subtle eye on Trent the whole day. He seemed comfortable, but Ted caught him adrift in thought a few times, tensing slightly before refocusing on his laptop or whatever they had on TV. He didn’t seem to want to talk, so Ted let him be, knowing he had a lot to talk through. 

They ate Thai and, just for giggles, watched a few reruns of QI with Trent’s ever-present goal to get Ted more into British humor. Ted generally just thought it was really interesting, then he nodded off during the boring parts. 

They worked together to clear their plates, Ted washing the dishes while Trent put away the leftovers. They made idle chatter, talking about what they could do on Sunday and when they should pick up Izzy. Trent told him about the time he’d picked her up from her grandparent’s and she was completely white, covered head to toe in flour as she’d wanted to help them with cookies. Ted was mid-laugh when Trent dropped the plate he was drying and shards went everywhere. 

“Oh, shoot.” Ted froze, only wearing socks, turned off the sink and dried his hands. He bent down to retrieve the dust pan from under the sink without moving his feet so he didn’t get cut. 

When he straightened up he saw Trent frozen too, stiff as a board, and shaking. 

“I’m sorry,” Trent forced out, eyes glued to the floor. “I’m so sorry, I - don’t be mad, I’ll clean it up I’m sorry.”

“Whoa, hold on, I’m not mad!” Ted held his hands out as if he was approaching a scared animal and scooted closer, avoiding the debris. “Would you be mad if I broke a plate?”

Trent trembled, still stuck, and said in the same clipped tone: “Of course not.”

Ted reached out his free hand to place it on Trent’s shoulder but was stopped by Trent’s sudden flinch back from him. 

Ted dropped his hands and stepped back so fast he barely had time to think, but that flinch confirmed his secret fear from this morning’s confession. No one flinched like that unless they were used to someone hurting them. 

Trent’s trembling increased and Ted was at a loss. It looked like Trent was having a flashback or was about to go into a panic attack. He glanced down and figured that his first priority was moving them away from the sharp pieces of broken plate around them. No one needed to bleed because of this. 

Trent had bare feet, and he was stiff and starting to breathe wrong; one of his hands clutched at his chest, and Ted had to do something. He thought about what he needed to hear when he was panicking. 

“Trent?” he said softly. “Trent you’re safe, you’re in my kitchen and you’re safe. You’re gonna be alright.” He moved closer again, stepping softly around the mess as well as he could. “It’s me, it’s Ted, alright? You’re gonna feel real better in a minute, I promise. Let’s go to the living room, we’ll sit on the couch, alright? Nice and cozy over there.”

Trent nodded, gaze somewhere in the middle distance, and Ted took the chance of reaching out again. Trent immediately leaned in to his touch on his shoulder, and Ted extended the movement to turn them, leading them toward the living room. 

“You’re doin’ just fine, just startled and all. You’re safe here, just you and me and bad British TV,” he said, keeping up a commentary. His own hands shook a little, but it was more out of nerves than anything and he pushed it aside. “Come on now, sit down for me, you’re alright.” 

He guided Trent to sit on the couch, sitting right next to him and accepting Trent’s weight when he leaned into his chest at an awkward angle. “That’s right, you’re okay here and this’ll pass in a little bit, just breathe with me alright?” He wrapped his arms around Trent gently, hugging closer when Trent gripped his arms.

Ted took deep breaths, counting mentally like Dr. Sharon taught him, and after a minute he felt Trent start to breathe with him. “Alright, there we go,” he said, holding Trent through a shudder. “Open those eyes for me, let’s get grounded. You don’t have to talk, but look and name five things you can see, okay?”

Trent nodded against his chest, gripping Ted’s forearms where they wrapped around him. After a moment he squeezed them, and Ted gave the next prompt. 

“Four things you can feel now, you’re doing good.” Ted kept up the breathing, not needing to be as dramatic with his movements as Trent started to relax. Trent squeezed again. “Three things you can hear.”

Trent managed a full, deep breath and they both relaxed a little more into the couch. “Okay,” Trent said under his breath. 

“Two things you can smell,” Ted said, trusting the process that helped him calm down from panic attacks, nightmares, and the occasional build up of anxiety he catches.

“Dish soap,” Trent said, “Thai food.”

“Good, good. One thing you can taste now.”

“Tea,” Trent breathed in and out, long and slow. “I still taste tea.”

“Good, good, you’re alright. You’re doin’ just fine now,” Ted said, rubbing one of his hands along Trent’s side. “You know, usually when I get to the taste part I stick out my tongue and lick my arm or something, always makes me laugh a little.”

Trent huffed against him and Ted smiled, knowing Trent was feeling more stable. He loosened his grip and let Trent rearrange himself to a more comfortable position against his chest. Ted knew viscerally the kind of exhaustion that sank in after an attack. The feeling of wrongness lingers. “I don’t know if you’re used to those or not,” he said, “but you’re not going to feel great for a little while. But you’ll get through it.”

“Thank you Ted,” Trent replied, voice still quiet but steady. “It’s been a long time.”

“I understand,” Ted said. “I’m here if you want me to be here, or I can go if you need some time.”

Trent thought for a moment. “Stay for a bit, would you?”

“Of course.” Ted settled back into the cushions and gave Trent a squeeze, glad to keep him safe in his arms. “I’m here. Want the TV or anything?”

“Just you,” Trent said, tucking his face into Ted’s neck. “Thank you.”

Ted just hugged him closer again, happy to be there for Trent. He took that time to check in with himself, make sure he was still steady, and so far he felt alright. That didn’t mean something couldn’t come up later, but right now he was okay, he was safe, and so was Trent. 

-

Trent fell asleep not long after and Ted held him for nearly an hour until he started to cramp up. As gently as he could manage, he extracted himself and helped Trent stretch out on the couch, throwing a blanket over him as he relaxed into the cushions. 

Quiet as a mouse, Ted slipped into the kitchen and swept up the mess they’d left behind, making sure to get all the little crevices where sharp pieces could hide. The last dirty mug could wait for a while. He filled a glass of water and placed it on the coffee table by Trent, then he took the used dishcloth to the hamper and straightened up the bedroom as he went, picking up their dirty laundry and making the bed. 

There wasn’t enough to start a load of laundry, and they’d cleaned the apartment the day before, so Ted was at a loss to physically do anything. He felt antsy being away from Trent, so he picked up his book from that morning and went back to the living room. He put on some soft music just to have something play in the background and settled in one of the armchairs near Trent who was still fast asleep. 

A few chapters later, Trent woke from his evening nap with a big stretch and a small groan. Ted looked over his book as Trent sat up and ran a hand through his hair and waited for him to see Ted so he didn’t startle him. 

“Hey,” Trent croaked. He noticed the water and took a few sips, elbows on his knees.

“Hey there yourself, Trent Crimm,” Ted said. He put his book down and gave his attention to Trent. 

“I suppose I should feel embarrassed by that, but really I’m just tired.”

“I get it, those always knock me out for a while.”

Trent hummed and looked down at his water glass. “I know you don’t want me to apologize, but I am sorry about that.”

Ted shook his head but let it slide. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

Trent pursed his lips. “I think it’s been building for a while,” he said to the glass. “Subconsciously, when you mentioned something a few weeks ago, then this morning sort of shoved it all to the forefront. Then the plate broke and I just -” he cut himself off and put his head in his hand. 

“It triggered something, and you reacted. That’s natural, Trent. Even if it’s unpleasant as hell.”

“Yeah, well,” Trent laughed, a bitter little noise. “That last bit sums up that relationship.”

Ted pressed his lips in a line again, not wanting to dredge up anything Trent didn’t want to offer. “You don’t have to tell me about any of it, but just know I’m here if you want to talk. Now or later, or both.”

“Thank you Ted. You’ve been wonderful today.”

“Was all I did alright when you were panicking earlier? With the talking and touching and everything?”

“You want to compare notes?” Trent said with a small smile, leaning back against the couch again. 

“Yeah I do! If it happens again I can help you how you need it. I don’t wanna do anything that’ll make it worse. I just did the stuff that I’d want too.”

“Pressure, talking, breathing, and that grounding method you used?” Trent asked. “It’s a little blurry, but I think I remember everything from when we were on the couch.”

“Yep, all of the above.”

“I honestly don’t get panic attacks often. It’s been years, and I’d almost forgotten about them. But everything you did was helpful, so that, then. Heaven forbid I have another.”

“In complete agreement with you there,” Ted said, shifting in his chair, knowing a little more about the care behind the article Trent wrote. “It’s hell to go through, but it’s not much better watching someone you love go through it either.”

Trent’s face went soft at the admission, even as Ted’s face flushed at his wording. “I will endeavor to do the same if you ever panic like that as well, Ted. You helped a lot.”

“Yeah, well, ya know,” he said, still a little flustered. “Just FYI, I’m a runner if I start to panic so you might have to chase me down.”

“And, in this scenario, you would want to be chased after? By me?” The question left Trent’s face open. 

“I can’t believe this is romantic, but yes,” Ted smiled, “if I have a panic attack and start wandering off, you’re just about the only person I’d want to follow.”

“Glad to hear it.”

They shared a little smile and Ted watched Trent take in the darkness of the windows behind them. “It’s late. You wanna shower or hit the bed first?” 

“I think I’ll shower.” Trent stood and stretched, briefly unveiling a lovely strip of skin at the bottom of his shirt. “Did you -?” he pointed to the kitchen. 

“All cleaned up, no worries there.”

“Alright.” Trent stood for a moment, then placed the empty water glass back on the table instead of rushing to clean it and put it away. Ted felt weirdly proud of him. “I’ll be just a mo’ in the shower, then,” he said, then went over to Ted and kissed him soundly. 

Ted hummed into it and watched him walk away. 

He was happy that Trent felt comfortable in his home, now more than before. He was excited to see what a relationship with the real Trent would look like. He was anxious about working through the issues his ex had caused. He was proud of himself for how he handled someone else going through a panic attack. He was in love with Trent Crimm, the kind of love that didn’t need all the high romance and red hearts and sweeping declarations: no, it was the domestic kind of love that smoothed over rough edges and made someone feel sure of themselves.

He was feeling a lot, all at once, so he took a few deep breaths to gather himself, then took Trent’s glass into the kitchen and washed it and the mug from earlier. He made a plan to talk to Trent about seeing a counselor tomorrow. As happy as he was to listen to anything Trent wanted to share, he wasn’t a professional and he knew the benefits of talking to one. Maybe Dr. Sharon had some good recommendations for Trent, he’d have to see. 

Ted followed the faint sounds of the shower through the apartment, turning off lights and the music as he went. His hoodie and sleep pants went into the hamper and he changed into fresh pajamas, then collapsed back on the bed to wait on Trent. 

He drifted, listening to domestic sounds, and was roused by Trent murmuring and pushing him up. Half asleep, he wandered to the bathroom, brushed his teeth and washed his face, and wandered back to the bedroom. Ted turned off the bedside light and slid under the covers, moving in tandem with Trent as they got into their usual positions, Trent’s head on Ted’s chest, a leg between his. 

Once settled, Trent spoke into the dark quiet of the room. “I believe I promised to ravish you tonight.”

“I’m happy to take a rain check on that,” Ted rumbled, wiggling to sink further into the mattress.

Trent hummed into Ted’s chest, shifting just enough to press a kiss to his shirt. “I’ll be happy to fulfill it.”

A moment passed where they both sighed and stretched and fell back into each other, more and more relaxed with every adjustment. 

“I do love you, you know,” Trent said as they settled again. 

Ted smiled so wide his face hurt, eyes still closed in the dark room. “I love you too Trent.”

“Good. Now that’s settled, sweet dreams darling.”

Ted fell asleep not long after Trent did, thinking happily that he’d gladly do whatever Trent would like for the rest of his life, looking forward to picking up Izzy the next day and seeing Trent’s parents again. Maybe he’d make them some shortbread in the morning; finally teach Trent the secret recipe. Spoiler alert: it was love.