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take on the colors

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Even including all the spending and excess David's indulged in in his former lifestyle, this is undeniably the best purchase he's ever made.

It fits neatly nestled against the wall by the fireplace, the style meshing beautifully with the warm wood tones and cozy, mid-century vibes of Patrick's apartment. It was a gift to Patrick, but also to himself. To them, together, as a whole. Celebrating them and their nuptials. An investment in the joys of their future, of the things they both share a love of.

Patrick is awed when he sees it and David looks on as he slides his fingers along the smooth angles of it, his eyes following the lines down the tapered legs. Patrick turns to David with a lip-splitting smile, eyes lit up as he thanks him, throwing his arms around David's neck.

It's played relatively frequently, mostly by Patrick, sometimes working on something new, sometimes just playing, for himself or for David. Occasionally David would sit at it and press at the keys, not knowing what he was doing but enjoying himself nonetheless. Patrick often would join him then, and give an impromptu lesson, his hands over David's, always leading to warm, giggling kisses on the short bench.

Today, David finds Patrick at the spinet piano with a troubled look, playing an unfamiliar but beautiful melody.

"That's beautiful."

Patrick looks up, apparently not having noticed David had come over from where he'd been spread along the bed, wedding magazines surrounding him like a protective circle. David sits on the couch, angled to face Patrick and Patrick looks back at him, his voice soft when he answers. "I haven't played or even thought about this one in a long time."

"Did you write it?"

"I did." David can see there are more words, perched and waiting for Patrick to let them out. He nods in encouragement.

"We were talking about Rachel earlier," he says. They had been; David had asked, after a half day of oscillating on whether to bring it up, how Patrick felt about inviting Rachel to the wedding. Patrick had responded that he'd been thinking about it too, and although he really would like to have her there, he'd much rather issue the invitation personally than formally, with which David sincerely agreed. "And I've just been thinking about the person I was with her, and how...foreign that person is to me now." He shakes his head, trying to loosen up the tightness in his brow. "Do you...can I play it for you?"

David smiles softly and nods.

Patrick's lips twitch in a grateful smile and he turns back to the keys. He takes a deep breath, subtly, and plays. It's melancholic, and when Patrick starts singing, his voice trembles slightly before finding its footing.

Well it takes so long, and you wait so much longer
If you paint it on and you take on the colors
And the race goes on and you hate one another
All failing strong, like waves in the water,
Like waves in the water

And all I see falling tomorrow
Is these apologies, all of 'em hollow
And when the autumn leaves fall on Chicago
You can follow me and I'll be Apollo.

There's a delicacy to his voice that David's heard before, from when he was on one knee in front of him, when they sat on this couch and he held Patrick on his birthday, when he told him David had just given him the kind of moment that you dream about.

Patrick continues, humming and singing and playing, more and more fervently.

Stay, don't leave, 'cause I got a couple
Of memories that float into bubble
And they've stayed with me through oceans and puddles
So faithfully just waiting for trouble,
Just waiting and waiting and, oh-

I don't wanna know why you do it,
I don't wanna know, I don't wanna know, I don't wanna know
And if you gotta go, then just do it, but I don't wanna know
I don't wanna know, I don't wanna know

David can see it, he can see the person that could've written this, a confused, unsettled Patrick, disappointed in himself, disappointed in his inability to make his relationship work and make everyone around him happy or make even just himself happy. It cuts him deep, and he stubbornly fights his watering eyes.

'Cause all I see falling tomorrow
Is these apologies, all of 'em hollow
And when the autumn leaves fall on Toronto
You can follow me
You can follow me
You can fall...

Patrick finishes, the notes lingering, before he peeks at David.

"Patrick, honey," David can't help it if his voice breaks on his name.

Patrick turns around fully, and David stretches a hand out to him, inviting him to join him on the couch. Patrick lets out a breath and goes to him, tucking himself under David's arm.

"That," David says into his hair, "was stunning."

"I started it forever ago," Patrick mumbles into David's shoulder. "I was finally finished with it not long before Rachel and I got engaged. I spent so much time apologizing back then and sometimes they really were hollow, only because I couldn't understand why I couldn't get things right, couldn't be what people expected of me. I wrote it to myself. From some piece of me deep down that knew I was playing a part that didn't fit and couldn't figure out why I kept at it."

David doesn't know what to say to that, so he stays silent, smoothing a hand down his fiance's back comfortingly.

"Anyway," Patrick says, shifting down to lay his head in David's lap, eyes closed. David's hand moves instantly to Patrick's hair, sifting gently through the small barely coiled curls that had begun to grow. "We're supposed to be wedding planning."

"We are. You're sharing very personal emotional experiences with your partner. That sounds like it might be an important facet of a marriage."

Patrick grins, "A marriage, not necessarily a wedding."

"So we're marriage planning. Equally, if not more important than wedding planning," David says cheekily.

Patrick opens his eyes at that, knowing just how much planning their wedding means to him. David watches warmth and tenderness bloom in them. "I love you."

David smiles, and it's the soft one, the one that relaxes his entire face, the one that seems almost wholly unconscious. Patrick's favorite. "And I love you," David bends down to brush his lips with Patrick's. "Very much."

"Thank you for the piano, David," Patrick says softly against David's lips.

"You've already thanked me multiple times, love." David says, stopping to press a kiss to Patrick's forehead as he rights himself. Patrick warms at his choice of pet name. "Which I've already told you is unnecessary, since it's for both of us." Patrick takes the hand not carding through his hair, lacing their fingers and resting them on his chest. "Thank you, for playing that for me."

Patrick looks up at his future husband, eyes wide and warm. If eliminating a single hardship from his life meant he ended up anywhere but right here, in the lap of the man he loves more than anything, he wouldn't dare unlive a single low point. He regrets the hurt he caused Rachel, the distress he caused his parents, but he can't regret where it's all brought him.

He turns on his side, pressing his cheek against David's belly. "I've never enjoyed playing for anyone like I enjoy doing it for you."

David smiles down at him, shaking his head in a handless articulation. "Why?"

Patrick peeks up at him, and then levers himself up, leaning on his arm, hand planted on the other side of David's hips. "You know me," he says, eyes flicking across David's face. "And I trust you."

David takes a deep breath, love expanding in his chest until he can feel it seeping out his pores. He presses a hand to Patrick's jaw, smoothing his thumb across his cheekbone. Both pairs of lips tease at smiles. Patrick lifts their still clasped hands to his chest, pressing the back of David's to his heart.

"I'm very glad," David says, finally. "I love hearing you."