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Slow Morning

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The alarm was sounding diligently through the room while the lights gently went up. Paul groaned and buried his head deeper into his pillow. Hugh sighed happily and stretched, and briefly rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He turned onto his side to watch Paul, smiling.

“Hey, love. Good morning!” He kissed what he could reach of Paul’s cheek, mostly just catching his ear.

“Mrmmm,” came a grouchy sound out of the pillow.

“Come on,” Hugh said softly into his ear. “We’ve got plans for today, remember? Let’s get up and have breakfast.”

Paul slowly, laboriously raised his head a few millimeters, just enough so he could turn it and face Hugh, who took in the sight: Paul’s eyes squinting at the soft, artificial lighting, looking a little puffy, crinkles between his brows indicating his disapproval of having been woken so early (not really that early, but Hugh wasn’t gonna mention that), imprints of the wrinkles in his pillowcase still visible on his cheek, the freckles on his bare shoulders almost glowing as he was hugging his pillow, and his hair a delicious, soft, blond mess. Hugh’s heart threatened to spill over with love and fondness at the sight.

“How dare you look this fucking perfect and gorgeous right after waking up?” Paul slurred, and despite his grumpy tone, Hugh took the compliment for what it was, and repeated his kiss, this time managing to reach Paul’s lips. A content hum was his reward. “You know, it’s really hard not to feel inadequate compared to that.”

“Why would you?” Hugh said softly, smiling. Unable to resist any longer, he started running his hand through Paul’s hair, fully aware that he was only messing it up further this way. Paul all but started purring at the unexpected scalp massage, relishing the sensation of Hugh firmly brushing through the thick blond hair and the way his nails lightly scratched over his skin, as well as the goosebumps that came with it.

He sighed blissfully. “You know you’re only messing it up even further with this, right?” His voice was getting muffled by the pillow, his eyes had fallen shut again. Hugh could tell he was on the verge of going back to sleep, if he didn’t do anything about it.

“The messier, the better,” he cheerfully replied. “You know,” he continued, after a moment of thinking, his hand continuing to move gently through Paul’s hair, “this is my favorite thing about living together. Waking up next to you. Seeing you like this.”

“Grumpy and squinty?” Paul asked sceptically.

Hugh smiled. “I wish you could see how gorgeous and perfect you are to me.”

Paul opened one eye at that, giving him a disbelieving look. “I wish you could understand how ridiculous that sounds, coming from you.”

“You know, most of the time I think you’re absolutely brilliant. But then sometimes you say nonsense like this.”

Finally Paul shuffled, turning onto his side and tucking one arm under his head, to look at Hugh directly. “I still have to pinch myself sometimes, you know. Because I can’t quite believe you really love me, of all people.”

Hugh’s smile widened, blindingly radiant. His hand trailed down from Paul’s head, along his neck and to his chest. “How about a little reminder of just how much I love you?”

Paul returned the smile, unknowingly mirroring its brightness and warmth. “That sounds like an acceptable incentive for getting up this early.”