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Town Hall is humid and his brain is still buzzing from the downright majestic performance he just witnessed. Despite what Alexis said, he’s not sure he wants to unsee that. 

Patrick hears him before he sees him, a hissed “Oh fuck” echoing even across the crowded room. He’s a vision in head to toe Givenchy, which Patrick only knows because Alexis told him, and he grins as he turns to find David bobbing and weaving his way through the crowd, head down, as if his ironed hair could hide the crimson blush on his face. 

“You weren’t supposed to be here,” he says in lieu of a greeting. 

Patrick continues grinning, crossing his arms over his chest because he’s a little shit. “Alexis saved me a seat.” 

“Well Alexis can take a long walk off a short pier.” 

“You were very good.” His habit is to tease him further, but he can tell that David has been through enough and all for his mother. Because he’s a good person, yes, but sometimes a nice one too.

David huffs in that put-upon way, but then his shoulders drop, the bag in his right hand weighing him down. “Get me out of here please?” It’s small and sad, and Patrick’s heart constricts because he doesn’t like that one bit. 

“Okay, David,” he says, grin still in place but tone softer. He gets a hand around David’s elbow and gently tugs him towards the door, sliding his palm down his forearm to lace their fingers together as they breathe the cool evening air. 

David finally looks up when they’re under the cover of night and his eyes widen. “You wore your blazer.” 

Patrick looks down at himself. “An evening with television’s Moira Rose? How could I not?” He grins again, but David is looking at him like - Patrick doesn’t know what. It’s a look he’s never seen on his face before, so Patrick clears his throat and shoves his free hand in his pocket. David is still holding tight to his other. “Want me to take you to the motel?” 

David bites his lip and remains silent. 

“Want to come home with me?” 

“Do you want me to? Even like this? Even after that?” 

He tilts his head up and presses a lingering kiss to David’s still-burning cheek. “I always want you to come home with me. Especially like this. Especially after that.” 

David hums like he doesn’t believe him, but allows himself to be pulled towards Patrick’s car anyway. 

If public embarrassment makes him compliant, Patrick isn't about to pass up the opportunity. 

xxxxxx

The drive to the house is short - he really could have walked - but he had gotten Alexis’ text demanding to know where he was, and he didn’t want to waste precious time on an evening stroll. He barely made it as is. 

Ray is thankfully heading from Asbestos Fest to a bingo tournament in Elm Valley. Apparently his fellow real estate agents have a league and it gets… cutthroat. Patrick isn’t complaining as he turns the kitchen lights on in the blessedly empty house. 

“Are these yours or Ray’s?” David asks, dropping his bag by the table and pointing at the bowl of cherries on the counter.

“Mine. Well, ours I guess. Sarah gave us a little bag when she dropped off the apples. Wanted to know if we wanted to carry them, too.” 

“So you just - stole them,” David states, and Patrick feels the grin pulling at his lips again. 

“Let me guess, incorrect?” 

“Mm, I’ll let it slide, but if they’re all gone within the next ten minutes, I cannot be held responsible.” 

“I see,” Patrick whispers, leaning forward on the counter so he can press a quick kiss to David’s lips. “Didn’t want to leave them at the store. Those klepto youths could have made off with them.” 

“Mkay, am I ever going to live that down?” 

“Probably not. But you do look very nice today.” He pulls away and looks David up and down, running his hands over his flowered sleeves. David rolls his eyes and flicks his straightened hair out of his face.

“Yeah, now I know you’re lying.” 

Patrick hums again as he leans in for another kiss, pinching David’s ass through his fancy pants. 

“I’m going to get comfortable. Pizza and a movie?” he asks, but David is already tossing a cherry in his mouth. 

“Uh huh. I need to shower that evening off,” he says around the pit. “And thoroughly condition my hair.”

Patrick dials the pizza place as David takes his bag (and the bowl of cherries) upstairs. “Don’t ruin your dinner!” he calls after him, and David bends down enough to peek at him through the stair’s railings. 

“Wow, it’s like you don’t know me at all.” 

Patrick laughs and watches him head up, this ridiculous man that he is rapidly feeling a lot of intense things for. He orders their usual (because they have a usual) and sorts through the mail, throwing out the junk and pocketing the bills. 

By the time he gets to his bedroom, he can hear the shower running in the bathroom down the hall. He’s thoroughly tempted to jump in and join him, but he knows they’d get sidetracked and would probably miss the pizza delivery. Besides, they haven’t done joint showers yet. He’s super excited by the prospect, but perhaps not without David’s prior approval. 

The bowl of cherries (of which about half are missing) is on the dresser and David’s bag is open on the bed. Patrick hangs up his blazer and shucks his jeans, pulling on a pair of sweatpants and leaving the white tee he has beneath his button-down on, tossing the blue shirt in the hamper. 

“Patrick?” 

“Yeah?” 

David stands in the doorway, nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. It’s not a look Patrick has seen David in before, and he’s gotta say, he’s a fan. 

David has an odd look on his face, though. Patrick tilts his head and frowns. 

“You okay?” He honestly didn’t expect him to be out of the bathroom for another twenty minutes at least. 

“I think something’s wrong.” And it sounds like it is. His S’s are weird. 

“Wrong how?” He takes a step forward, surprised when David meets him halfway and grabs onto his arms, panic beginning to brew in his eyes. 

“My mouth itches? Which I didn’t think was a thing that could happen?” 

Patrick catches sight of the cherries on the dresser. “David, I think you’re having an allergic reaction. When was the last time you ate a pitted fruit?” 

“What the fuck is a pitted fruit?” Now his tongue sounds like it’s too big for his mouth. 

“Okay,” Patrick breathes, “we’re going to the hospital.”

“The hospital?” His voice has risen several octaves, so Patrick grabs his already trembling hands. 

“Normally, I’d just give you a Benadryl and put you to bed, but I don’t have any and your lips are swelling, babe, and I don’t want your throat to as well.” 

“What?” 

‘Babe.’ Where the hell did that come from? He can worry about it later, because David is starting to hyperventilate. 

“Breathe, David,” he urges as he guides David over to the bed and pushes him to sitting, immediately rooting around in his bag for his favorite black joggers. 

“My throat is going to swell and I’m going to die.” 

Grabbing the underwear David had taken off, Patrick gets down on his knees and slides them up his legs. “You’re not going to die. Up,” he says and David lifts off the bed. “They’re going to give you meds so your throat won’t do that.” He follows shortly after with his sweats, before grabbing David’s sleep shirt and one of his own hoodies and pulling them both over his head. He knows David is out of it when he doesn’t even comment on the state of his still-drying hair.

“You’ll think of me fondly?” 

Patrick smiles and presses a kiss to his temple. “I’ll think of you always. Now, can you get your shoes on?” 

David is a grown man, but Patrick also knows that when David panics, he likes to be taken care of, which Patrick would happily do for all of his days if he didn’t also have to get ready to leave. 

David nods and fumbles with his high-tops as Patrick throws on a zip-up hoodie and pulls on his running shoes. 

“You’re going to be fine,” he murmurs, gently cupping David’s face in his hands. His lower lip is swelling and his eyes are watering and Patrick still thinks he’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. “But let’s go.” 

Worry is pricking at his calm facade, but they can’t both panic. They have to take turns, because that’s apparently how being in a relationship works. 

He’s realizing now that he and Rachel never quite got the hang of that. 

xxxxxx

The 34 kilometers between Schitt’s Creek and the Elmdale Hospital are the longest kilometers of Patrick’s life. 

“Still with me?” he murmurs, and he sees David nod out of the corner of his eye. He grips Patrick’s hand over the console, making odd noises every few minutes as if to make sure he still can. 

Patrick is speeding as much as he dares, though he’s pretty sure if a cop pulled him over, he’d have a strong case. Thankfully, the glass and brick building appears a few minutes later, and he pulls into the parking lot, throws the car in park, and hurries over to David’s side. It’s not that he needs help, but every moment he’s not touching him physically hurts. 

His lower lip is slightly more swollen, and he whimpers when Patrick presses a kiss to his shoulder as he leads him into the hospital. 

“Almost there.” 

“I don’t like hospitals.” 

“Never would have guessed,” he mutters, pressing another kiss, this time to his cheek, to soften the blow. 

They get to the waiting room, and Patrick settles David into one of the brown leather chairs before going to check him in at the front desk behind the glass partition.

“Hi, he’s having an allergic reaction to some fruit and I’m worried his airway is going to close. His lips are swelling and his mouth itches,” he rambles at the tired-looking woman behind the front desk. 

“Have him fill this out and take a seat.” 

Patrick takes the clipboard she hands him and heads back over to David, grabbing the pen that’s attached to it by a string. 

“Do you want me to fill this out for you?” he asks and David nods, so Patrick gets to work, writing in what he knows. “What’s your middle name?”

“No fucking idea,” he replies, and Patrick raises an eyebrow at that, but doesn’t comment. He leaves the section blank. 

“Okay, I know you don’t want to talk about this, but I need to know.” He looks at David seriously. “What year were you born?” 

David rolls his eyes and groans, and Patrick can’t hold back his laughter any longer. 

“Come on. You can tell me. I’ll take it to my grave.” 

David glares at him with red, watery eyes, but concedes defeat. “1983.” 

“See?” he says, kissing his cheek again. “That wasn’t so bad.” 

He ignores David’s resulting grumblings and finishes filling out David’s insurance information, glad he had thought to grab his wallet and shove it into his own hoodie before they left the house. 

“Who’s your emergency contact?” he asks, pen tapping on the final section. “Your dad? I assume not your mom, but don’t tell her I said that.” 

David remains silent so Patrick looks over at him, brow creasing. David blinks at him. “You?”

Patrick refuses to let what’s happening in his chest show on his face. “Me?” 

“Is that… okay?”

“Of course it’s okay, babe,” he whispers, clearing his throat and filling in his own information, fighting a losing battle against the smile threatening to take over his face.  

He brings the clipboard to the desk when he’s finished, before sitting back down and allowing David to drop his head to his shoulder. He leans his head on top, pulling their clasped hands into his lap as he inhales the scent of David’s lavender cedarwood shampoo.  

“How’s your breathing?” 

“So far so good,” he replies. His S’s are still thick, though, so it sounds like ‘tho far tho good,’ and Patrick can only be glad that David can’t see his fond expression. 

The waiting room is quiet, for which Patrick is grateful. David’s initial panic has receded into a baseline level of unease. He’s a little more tactile than usual (not that Patrick is complaining), but had there been crying babies and screaming children and head wounds, this would not be as smooth as it currently is. 

“Will you mourn me when I’m gone? I expect you to wear black for at least three months.” 

Patrick snorts. “Will I have access to your wardrobe? That might be the only way I pull off proper mourning attire.” 

“I’ll bequeath it to you.” 

One of the white double doors swings back, and a nurse in pale blue scrubs stands there, holding the clipboard Patrick had turned in. “David Rose?” 

“Here,” Patrick says, pointing to David with his free hand.

“He needs to follow me,” the older woman says, no-nonsense written into every crease of her severe features. 

“Can’t he come?” David asks, voice tight and high. 

She looks over her glasses at Patrick. “Your relationship to the patient?” 

“Um…” oh God, they haven’t had this talk yet, “... business partner.” He holds his breath, but David doesn’t correct him. 

The nurse looks at their clasped hands and sleepwear and raises an eyebrow. “Right.” She turns on her heel and exits, but Patrick isn’t sure if that means he’s supposed to follow or not. 

“Come on, baby,” he murmurs, pressing a kiss to David’s hair as they stand, because apparently all the pet names are coming out tonight. He’ll stay with him until they kick him out. David seems to be of the same mind, given that his silver rings are all but carving indentations into Patrick’s fingers with how hard they’re gripping them. 

No-nonsense Nurse leads them to a room and tells David to sit on the bed, which he does without argument or a thorough inspection of the sheets which is saying something. Patrick stands at the foot, and David finds his fingers in the sheets as the nurse uses a tongue depressor and a flashlight to inspect David’s mouth. She does a cursory examination, feeling his glands, listening to his heart, checking his pupil dilation and blood pressure, before hooking him up to an oximeter. 

“Has he taken anything yet?” 

“No. I didn’t have Benadryl.” 

She nods. “Any issue with needles?” she asks David and he pulls a face, though whether that’s because he doesn’t like them or because of his history with them, Patrick isn’t sure.  

She draws some blood with minimal protestation from the patient, though he does turn and bury his face in Patrick’s shoulder so he doesn’t have to watch. Patrick, however, can’t seem to tear his eyes away from the tiny vials in her hand, filling up with the most precious of substances. 

“We’ll run some tests on these, and I’ll get you started on a basic antihistamine,” she says. “The doctor will be in shortly to make sure you don’t need anything stronger.” 

“Thank you,” Patrick responds on their behalf, running his thumb over David’s knuckles and watching as the nurse sets up an IV drip of a medicine that Patrick doesn’t remember the name of. He thinks it begins with D. 

“He’ll get sleepy, so don’t be surprised if he conks out,” she warns and Patrick nods. 

David tilts sideways, and Patrick helps haul his legs up on the bed, untying his high-tops as he gets situated against the pillows. 

“You okay?” 

“I’m really uncomfortable.” 

“I know you are, baby.” 

He looks up to find the nurse watching them keenly, but she looks less… no-nonsense. “Hit the call button if you need anything,” she instructs, and then she winks

He smiles and ducks his head, ears burning. “Yes, ma’am.” 

“Patrick,” David whines, reaching out with his hand and making grabby motions with his fingers until Patrick steps within what David deems to be an acceptable distance. He hums contentedly as he gets a hold of Patrick’s sleeve, tugging him down until he sits on the edge of the bed. 

“Drugs kicking in?” he laughs and David nods with a sleepy smile. 

“Feel better.” 

“Good.” Never underestimate the power of an intravenous medication. 

He maybe should have brought a book along with David’s wallet, but he didn’t have enough pockets. Pulling out his phone, he checks the scores of various baseball games, before scrolling through the news and then getting too depressed and opening up his defunct Instagram page, which honestly isn’t much better. 

His cousins Jake and Emma threw a barbecue over the weekend, one Patrick probably would have gone to had he still been home. His best friend Ben is at their local, watching the game whose score Patrick just checked. Rachel is having a girls night with Abby and Claire complete with romantic comedies, wine, and face masks shaped like pandas. 

A doctor comes in eventually, thankfully interrupting Patrick’s morose trip down memory lane. She looks vaguely familiar, but he can’t place her. He offers her a small smile as she pulls out some lab results from a folder in her hand. 

“To the surprise of absolutely no one, we have a pitted fruit allergy,” she announces and his smile gets a little wider. She pauses as she looks at the bed, where David still lies prone. “Is he conscious?” 

Patrick glances down and laughs as David lets out a rather undignified snore. His fear of retaliation is the only thing keeping him from filming him. “I think that’s a no. I’m Patrick.” 

“Brewer, right?” She’s continuing on before he can respond, “Dr. Webster. I’m a fan of your store. Great bath bombs.” She shakes his hand before turning her attention back to the bed with a wry smile. “Rise and shine, Mr. Rose. I know we gave you the good stuff, but I do need to examine you.” 

“C’mon, babe,” Patrick murmurs, gently nudging him with his shoulder. 

David grunts and mumbles something that might be “five more minutes,” but they manage to cajole him into sitting up once more, socked feet dangling over the side of the bed as more tongue depressors are used in his mouth. 

Dr. Webster hums as she clicks off her flashlight, feeling his neck for a moment, before making a notation on her chart. “Your throat is a little more irritated than I’d like it to be. I want you to hang here for another hour or two so we can monitor it, but I don’t think we need to dose you with anything else.” 

Patrick nods even as his mood sinks. He was hoping to be able to take David home and let him rest there, but allergic reactions are no joke. He once watched Ben nearly die because of a bee sting. To this day, it’s still one of the most terrifying things he’s ever witnessed. 

“Mkay,” David says sleepily, ready to acquiesce to anything as long as it means he gets to be horizontal once more. 

Dr. Webster smiles at him, before turning her gaze to Patrick. “Do you have any questions for me?” 

Oh. This is what it means to be someone’s emergency contact. He had gone to the hospital with Rachel once when she’d burst an ovarian cyst, but her parents had arrived shortly thereafter. He wasn’t expected to ask questions and remember the answers. 

“Um, I don’t think so.” 

She offers him a supportive smile and turns to go. 

“Wait, Doctor? Am I - are visiting hours ending soon? Will I get kicked out?” 

She shakes her head and glances at the bed, where David has gone back to snoring. “Wouldn’t dream of it.” 

He huffs out a laugh and nods his thanks, taking his place once more at David’s side, in the space left by the curve of his body. He’s about to close his eyes and start to make a mental list of everything he’ll need to do at the store in the morning since there’s no way in hell David is making it in before lunch, if at all, but then his phone vibrates in his pocket and he pulls it out, finding Stevie’s name on the screen. 

[Stevie]
🍷?

He smirks before texting back a picture of David’s hospital bracelet. 

[Stevie]
Holy shit, is he okay? 

He’s okay. Minor allergic reaction. 

He probably should have let her know. She’s his friend after all. Oh God, does he have to call David’s family? He cannot imagine Moira Rose in this situation. 

I’m sorry I didn’t let you know. We just got settled. They want to keep him for a couple of hours and make sure it doesn’t progress. 

[Stevie]
Should I bring 🍷to you? 

He laughs. Which had probably been her goal. 

I think they’d frown on that. But the offer is appreciated. 

He knows David is going to be fine, he knows that. But the visceral fear that seems to take up every available space in his body at the thought of something happening to him is not a feeling he was prepared for when he took a seat next to Alexis and watched his - his person - participate in an off-key medley of Christmas songs in July. 

He rests his hand on David’s hip before bending down and pressing a kiss to his temple, then another to his shoulder. 

He’s in so far deep. 

He doesn’t care in the slightest. 

xxxxxx

No-Nonsense Nurse, who is rapidly becoming Tough-As-Nails-But-Has-A-Soft-Spot-For-Them Nurse, comes back to check on David after an hour, taking his blood pressure and ignoring his sleepy mutterings about synthetic fabrics. 

“Oh good, you’re alive,” a voice says and he looks up to find Stevie standing in the doorway. 

“Me or him?” he asks and she snorts. 

“Either. Mainly you, though. I’ve taken him to the doctor before. It wasn’t pretty.” 

He chuckles before sobering. “You didn’t have to come.” 

“Thought you could use the company,” she replies, nodding hello to the nurse and pulling over the chair that hasn’t gotten any use since David tugged Patrick down to sit on the bed beside him. 

“Thanks,” he murmurs, feeling more grateful than he would ever dare show Stevie. She’d probably break out into hives and end up in the next bed. 

The nurse clears her throat and adjusts her glasses, leveling Patrick with a look. “I’ll come back and check on him one more time in a bit. If all still looks good, you can take your… business partner home.” 

He flushes and murmurs, “Thanks,” avoiding Stevie’s penetrating gaze. At least she waits until the nurse leaves before opening her mouth. 

“Business partner, huh?” 

He clears his throat and shifts, wincing when David snuffles in his sleep. “We haven’t had that conversation yet.” 

She looks at the bed where David is curled in and around Patrick, their fingers still tangled together. 

“Doesn’t seem like you need to.” 

He hums and tries not to scoff. 

“I mean, you had orgasms in my bed.” 

“Ugh, Stevie!” He runs his hand over his bright red face as she cackles. 

“Am I wrong?” 

He glares at her, cheeks positively on fire. “No,” he retorts. “But there’s more to a relationship like that than orgasms.” 

“You drove him to the hospital!” 

“So did you!” 

“I drove him to the vet!” 

They stare at each other for a moment before doubling over in laughter. The noise does nothing to stir David from his medically induced sleep, and Patrick is wiping his eyes as he adjusts the sheet on David’s shoulder. They settle down and Stevie watches her friend thoughtfully. 

“Patrick, he’s your boyfriend.” 

I know that,” he murmurs.  

“And you’re his.” 

“Am I?” It’s out before he can bite it back, but the fear of coming on too strong, of saying something that will send David running in the other direction, is ever-present at this point. 

Stevie leans forward in the chair, resting her elbows on her knees. “Patrick, David is skittish because he loves hard and he loves fast.” 

His eyes widen at the casual use of the L word, but he’s not as scared as he thinks he should be. Because the idea of being in love with David is terrifying, but also possibly the easiest thing he’s ever done. 

“He’ll deny it until his dying day,” she continues, “but it’s true. And he’s had too many people take advantage of that quality in the past.” 

Patrick knows this. David’s alluded to enough of his history for him to know that people haven’t deserved all he’s had to offer. Patrick strives to. He’ll make it his life’s mission if need be. 

“Do you?” she asks, interrupting his thoughts, her dark eyes watching him carefully. “Love him?” 

The denial is on the tip of his tongue, but when he opens his mouth, it doesn’t come. He thinks of investing in the store, the riskiest venture this Dean’s List business major had ever taken, and the calm that washed over him with every grant form he filled out. He thinks of tucking the receipt from the first sale in the drawer under the cash, pressed between the pages of the book he’d been reading so it wouldn’t crease. He remembers the two hours it took him to pick out the appropriate frame and then the additional hour on gift-wrapping alone. He thinks of the press of David’s rings on the back of his neck and the feel of his lips breathing life into Patrick he didn’t know he was missing. He remembers waking up in Stevie’s bed with David wrapped around him and feeling complete for the first time in thirty years. 

He thinks of the Asbestos Fest performance earlier that evening, and squirming in his seat on David’s behalf, but knowing irrevocably that he could not feel more for the man putting himself out there like that for his family. 

Oh God. He inhales.

He loves him so much.

He blinks Stevie back into focus and, going by the smug look on her face, his silence is answer enough. 

“Our secret,” she says, just as Nurse-Now-Looking-At-Them-Like-They’re-Her-Favorite-Patients returns to tell them David can go home. 

Stevie helps Patrick maneuver their sleepy-cuddly patient into his car and, true to her word, they never speak of it again. 

He does, however, catch the look she gives him three days later when, “These mountaineering shoes that my boyfriend is wearing…” leaves David’s mouth mid-rant. 

And when she replies, “I think my work here is done,” he knows exactly what she means. 

Even if David doesn’t.

xxxxxx

A few days later, an EpiPen appears in the drawer beneath the cash.

It doesn’t take David long to notice it, frowning as he holds up the yellow auto-injector.  

“Patrick?” David asks. “What’s this?” 

He glances over and gives a little shrug, before returning his focus to the bath salts that don’t actually need reorganizing. “Just in case.” 

“I think that’s a little extreme - ” David starts, but then Patrick thinks of Ben and the bees and David’s swollen lips and how much he feels for this man and his knees nearly buckle. 

“David, please,” he’s blurting out more forcefully than he means to. He sighs and puts his hands on his hips, turning but refusing to meet his eyes. “For my own peace of mind.” 

“Okay, honey,” David replies, the first time he’s ever used that kind of nickname. Patrick hasn’t used one since that night, and he wonders if David remembers how easily they fell from his lips. 

David places the EpiPen back in the drawer and walks over, his fingers dancing up Patrick’s arms to his shoulders, lightly rubbing at the tense muscles there. 

Patrick finally lets his gaze drift up to meet David’s, who looks like he, too, is feeling more than he knows what to do with. 

Patrick can only hope. 

“Maybe we should tell Sarah to hold off on the cherries, though.”

David nods, rubbing their noses together. 

“I think we both know my self-control only goes so far.” 

xxxxxx

A week after that, they host an open mic night, and Patrick sings all the words he so desperately wants to say. 

He so desperately wants to say to his boyfriend, who may or may not feel the same way. 

To his boyfriend, David Rose, who's pretty perfect in Patrick's eyes, despite his allergy to pitted fruits, which doesn't always stop him from eating things he shouldn't. 

It makes Patrick very glad for the EpiPen.

And for their favorite nurse at Elmdale Hospital who no longer asks what Patrick's relationship is to the patient.