This scene takes place during Home Free.

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From Home Free:

“I fainted. On our honeymoon. First time in, what, six months? After it got bad, when we came back.”

Got bad. There’s a euphemism for you. Sure, it got bad. Roar had mentioned, eyes fucking big round pits in his face, that he might have to be hospitalized, if he kept fainting. But Geo talked to his therapist or something, and neither one of them were willing to do that. Plus, Roar didn’t want to, he just didn’t want to be a burden.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You’d think it’d be because he tied me down or something, you know? Like it’d be something that reminded me of something bad, but it wasn’t. We’d had dinner, we were about to eat dessert, I’d had like three sips of wine all night, because I can’t drink, like at all. I stood up to get something and bam, everything went brown, then black.”

D knew every side street and back alley surrounding Teddy’s house, but they’d never taken a walk out here, from Geo’s new place. It was quieter, striking out toward the suburbs, away from downtown. She could hear their footsteps before anything else.

“So I woke up and you know, I didn’t handle it well, like usual. I was so disgusted with myself, like it was my fault. I probably would have ruined our whole night, you know? Feeling like a fool, like I’d, I don’t know, dared to be too happy, and this was a punishment.”

“That’s not how I feel.”

“No. You don’t dare to be happy at all, D.”

“Fuck you.”

“I don’t mean it like that. But you’re talking like this is an earth-shattering event, and it isn’t, D. It’s a hiccup. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not your fucking fault.”

“Well, it’s a little my fault, because I told a goddamn parent of a goddamn kid ‘fuck you,’ and I was a stupid idiot in front of Teddy, and I ran away, and I turned off my phone so I don’t have to see him calling, and—”

“So then I was lying in this bed, at the resort where we were staying, and I was looking up at the ceiling, and I could tell Geo was trying to figure out how to fix it, you know? Not how to fix me fainting, because he knew I had this thing when he―when he met me. He always knew. And no doctor was ever worried about it, so Geo never worried about it. But he worries about me, so he wanted to make it better. And I couldn’t turn it off because we’re married now. It’s like, he has a right to worry about me and I don’t get to tell him off for it.”

“It’s not like he owns you.”

“No. Because when he owned me, he worried about me like I wasn’t a whole person, like he was responsible for me like I was a plant he was tending. But now? We stood there and told everyone we know that we were gonna take care of each other for the rest of our lives. So I can’t tell him to get lost just because I don’t want him to feel bad when I feel bad.”

Rory woke up.

No. No, no, no. I’m not doing this again. I’m not living like this again. I’m not. I won’t.

When Geo’s touch came—fingertips resting against his cheek—expected, and even anticipated, he grimaced.

“I’m sorry.” He knew he sounded petulant, whiny. He couldn’t help it. “Fuck.”

Staring at the ceiling was good. Really good. The ceiling didn’t feel sorry for him. The ceiling didn’t want to fix him. The ceiling didn’t care that he’d just fainted, for the first time in months, for no fucking reason at all.

This was the worst. Fainting because he was terrified, or because he was running from something, okay. Or even because his body thought he needed to run from something. He’d talked about it with Lauren in therapy. He understood that sometimes his body panicked, and he fainted even though there wasn’t actual danger.

But right now? They were eating dessert, the first night on their honeymoon, hardly even able to remember that yesterday morning he’d woken up not-married, and yesterday night they’d fallen to sleep with each other, exhausted emotionally and physically.

Tonight. Tonight was supposed to be perfect. He’d arranged everything. Dinner had been brought up to the room at a pre-arranged time, dessert had been designed to wait on their pleasure (chocolates and tiny pastries and coffee he could make in the room), and every single one of the candles had lit from the same match, which was a weird little superstition of Rory’s that he’d never even shared with Geo.

And then he fucking fainted. Again.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—obviously I didn’t mean to—” The fingers shifted to his lips, silencing him. He clenched his jaw. Not an order. He could keep talking. Though he’d just keep talking nonsense, which was probably why Geo had suggested without words that he stop. The only person annoyed with Rory right now was Rory.

Geo moved away, taking his reassuring presence with him.

Dammit. He wasn’t going to cry. Fuck that. No crying. Not on his honeymoon.

And now Geo was Doing Things. Important Things. Like make coffee and set out dessert. The kinds of Things Rory liked to do for him, which he knew, but Geo’s problem with Rory fainting was that Rory made such a big fucking deal out of it. (If D was here, she’d tell him to quit making such a big fucking deal out of it. God, she’d laugh if he told her he fainted on his damn honeymoon. Well. She’d laugh and look at him seriously at the same time, in that way she had, and not that Rory wished his friends were here, too, except they always snapped him out of this mood, and god knew they’d had enough practice after that whole fucking kidnapping thing, when he was dropping all the time, because every loud noise made him think someone was coming to get him and fuck, fuck, now he was freaking out again—)


Pause, while Rory shut his eyes and tried to control his breaths.

“Open your mouth.”

Open your mouth? When he didn’t react fast enough (obey fast enough), Geo pressed something to his lips. Something cool.

He allowed his mouth to open just a little, and Geo pushed it inside.

Oh. Chocolate.

“Do you taste?”

He did. He smelled, as well. Lauren had told him he should focus on his senses when the things he knew weren’t true became too real. “Let familiar scents and tastes pull you back into yourself,” she’d said, while he blubbered on her sofa.

“Chew, honey. Let it fill you.”

I want you to fill me. Now he was blushing.

Geo chuckled, warmly, and stretched out beside him. “Don’t think I’m not already planning other things I can do with these chocolates, Rory. If I put one in just the right place, it would be delicious fun to retrieve it.”

“Geo! They’re very high quality truffles! We paid a mint for them, and I got them special for tonight—”

“Like I said.” Another pressed to his lips and he accepted it, willing to be silenced. “I hate it when you feel bad, Rory. I wish I could take every bad feeling from you, that you’d never feel sadness.” A shift of weight, and that, that was Geo, hard in his shorts, pushing insistently into Rory’s thigh. “But it’s the only time you allow me to take care of you, the only time you allow me to serve you. I may have to mandate a period of rest for you each time you faint, just so I have the opportunity to do this.”

This time it was a spear of strawberry, blissfully cool, cleansing his mouth, slipping down his throat. Rory opened his eyes, and he meant to speak, he meant to explain, but no words rose to his lips when he saw his husband looking back at him.

“I have a question,” Geo said. “It’s a little weird, the timing. But sometimes, even now, I can’t read you. I guess I’m taking advantage, a little, that your defenses are down.”

Defenses are down. Therapy speak for “you’re so screwed up you can’t pretend you aren’t”.

“What is it?” Rory asked, and he hadn’t meant to keep his voice low, he hadn’t meant to sound so forgiving about it, but there it was.

“You said—a long time ago—you said you’d thought about children. Having a child of your own, I mean. And I just—I keep not bringing it up, which is foolish, but do you still? Want children?”

“I always assumed I’d raise your children.” Rory winced. “I don’t mean no, I only mean that in the past, I assumed that’s the role I’d have. That you and I would be—two halves, I guess. You would be their father and I would make them the best food and ensure they had the best education. That I would serve your children as I served you.” No, no, stop, don’t do this, lungs, don’t fucking do this right now, not again—

“I want us to be two wholes, Rory.”

With great effort, Rory focused, and the pounding tightness in his chest began to release. “Are you saying—Geo, do you want kids?”

“Only if you—if that’s something you want. I want it, but it terrifies me, Rory. You would be an incredible father. I can’t even imagine what that would be like, for me.”

“Oh. Well. I can imagine it. I mean, I have. Since we decided to get married. Not seriously, just kind of as a fantasy future.”

“But how? You think we should adopt?”

Rory shrugged. “I think we should be open to everything. Maybe an opportunity will just kind of land in our laps. Maybe it won’t, and then we’ll talk about it more. But not right away. Half the time I still don’t feel quite right, Geo. I mean, obviously I’m not quite right.”

“Are you talking about fainting?”

“I can’t be in charge of a baby if I keep doing this,” Rory said, trying to sound rational and not frantic.

“Honey, there is nothing wrong with you. There has never been anything wrong with you. Yes, you occasionally faint. So do many, many other people. You have been to every doctor appointment I’ve been to; do you remember something I don’t remember? When did any of them say you shouldn’t have children?”

“They didn’t. But that doesn’t mean I should.”

Geo rolled over the top of him, staring down. “Is this what we’re arguing about right now?”

Damn therapy.

“Because I don’t have a problem convincing you we should have kids. But if we’re talking about something else, I could use a hint.”

Rory sighed and reached up, touching his face. “I wanted tonight to be perfect, and it isn’t.”

“You saying you don’t like the way I make coffee?”

“I wanted it to be—you know how I wanted it to be. The way both of us like it. I wanted to serve you, as your husband. I’ve been dreaming of that since—” He almost didn’t say it. It felt pathetic, even now, to admit. But Geo looked so strong and sure, so he took courage. “Forever. I dreamed of that always. And I didn’t let myself think about it when I was awake, but the only thing that turned me on more than being your slave was being your husband and serving you still. I’d have these—these dreams about it.”

“Tell me more about the dreams, Roar.” Geo’s hand stole down to caress his stomach.

“They always started at the end of some big party, like you used to throw.”

You threw them. I just showed up.”

“You threw them, Geo, but in my dreams it was both of us, and I’d walk everyone out at the end, I’d be the one shaking hands and kissing cheeks, and I’d find you in the kitchen, trying to keep it together for me. And then I’d be the one who took care of you.”

Geo smiled and kissed him. “We have the exact same fantasy. I’m not sure what it says about us that we both get off on being the guy who cleans up after everything goes to hell.”

“You really think we could have a child? Because I—sometimes I’m not sure I could live without—you know. Without kneeling. Without serving you. I know I’m not your slave, but sometimes when we pretend I am, I breathe more deeply, Geo.”

“I actually talked to Erik about this, and he said people make it work. People kind of like us.”

“No one’s kind of like us.”

“Roar. I think a lot of people are. At least, that’s what it sounds like. Ask Teddy. He’s played around in a lot of different circles, I think. And he, um, offered to babysit once in a while.”

“You talked to Teddy about us having kids?”

“Not exactly. I talked to him when I was freaking out about other things. That was just a sideline. But I don’t know, Roar, I think Teddy understands stuff a lot better than most people. Anyway, he said he likes kids, so he’d be happy to babysit.”

“Yeah, but—” Rory slid up until he was sitting, but Geo was still over him, kneeling up. “I mean, Geo, once in a while? I think I’d shrivel up and die if we only did it once in a while.”

“I think it might—well, I don’t think it would make it better, because that’s crazy. But I think if we knew that we’d be able to do it on one night, and it was days away, that would just be a different kind of game, Roar. You know? The anticipation would build, and I think I could play with that. That could become part of it.”

They’d done that kind of thing before, but this felt different. Before, he’d been at Geo’s mercy, always knowing Geo could decide, at any second, to let him go. Waiting for a specific day, for a moment, because there were children around and they literally couldn’t do anything else—Rory shuddered.

“That sounds impossible,” he whispered.

“Guess you’ll have to trust me, Roar.”

“I can do that.” He reached up for a kiss and Geo gave it to him, ten times over. “I love you, Geo. I love being your husband.”

“I fucking love being your husband,” Geo replied, pressing him back down to the bed. “It was strange, not being your anything. I know it’s different, but it feels better, to be your husband than to be your nothing.”

“You were never my nothing.”

“To other people. And I’m not saying it wasn’t good for us, to stand on our own, to be—to be individuals, while we figured all that shit in our heads out, but god, Roar, this feels so much more right.”

It did. And it was part of what Rory hadn’t been able to articulate before. “That’s kind of why I freaked out. I thought once we were married everything would slide into place. That it would be so right I wouldn’t have to think about anything else. And then I fainted.”

“You fainting has been part of every stage of our relationship, honey.” Geo kissed his forehead, his eyelids, his cheeks, his lips. “And I would not have you any other way, not ever.”

“You don’t want me to be perfect?”

“You already are perfect. If you were more perfect, Rory Fairbanks, I wouldn’t be fit to shine your shoes.”

Rory relaxed back against the pillows. “No offense, Geo, but you’re a terrible shoe-shiner. Please don’t shine my shoes. Or yours.”

“Mm hm.” Geo, mind clearly elsewhere, kept kissing him, his chin, his neck, his chest, tongue swirling over nipples.

“Promise me you won’t shine any shoes,” Rory said, going for stern.

“Promise,” Geo mumbled into his clavicle. “Close your eyes, my husband. Let me serve you.”

“Oh god.” Rory closed his eyes and breathed deeply into this moment, while his husband slid lower over him.

This was not how he imagined tonight. But he turned himself over to it anyway, hard-pressed to say it wasn’t better than he’d imagined.