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The day starts the way it normally does. 

They’ve developed a long-standing routine that fits both their strengths. Lucas isn’t a fan of mornings, Eliott can stand them. So, when Eliott isn’t deep in a chaotic pit of his own mind’s creation, when it has him seeking nothing but the comfort of their bedsheets, he’s awake first. Gives Lucas a kiss that he gets a mumbly reply from, and makes the trip into the kitchen to make breakfast and tea.

There’s been a fair bit of “practice makes perfect” when it comes to Eliott making breakfast, but through several teaching sessions, they found Eliott can in fact make scrambled eggs without anyone needing to spit it out. Eliott’s also learned to mash up avocado and only use pepper and salt to do so, instead of the time Lucas was rudely startled into overdrive by chilli powder on his toast. Depending on how busy their day is, Eliott leaves that morning’s concoction prepared on their small dining room table and goes back to coax Lucas out of bed with soft quick kisses, or brings it all on a tray into the room.

Given there’s no rush to start their day, and despite the nerves building in Eliott’s chest that tells him otherwise, it calls for breakfast in bed. Eliott brings the tray back into the room, putting it on the bedside table and climbing under the sheets to wrap around Lucas.

“I made breakfast,” Eliott whispers, nuzzling his nose against the back of Lucas’s neck, breathing him in.

“My hero.” Lucas breathes out against his pillow, unmoving.

Something so mundane shouldn’t make Eliott’s heart swell, but it does. Lucas’s unconditional appreciation for Eliott doing things, no matter how many times he has, makes Eliott feel loved in ways he didn’t know were possible. Even in the mornings he can’t make it out of bed, and Lucas makes breakfast instead, there’s no guilt. They alternate responsibilities, and if there are days Eliott can’t do anything at all, there’s no shame. He’ll feel bad about it, he always does, he never wants to burden Lucas because of his illness, but Lucas tells him the same thing every time.

‘You are not a burden, you are just you. I love you yesterday, I love you today, I love you tomorrow. We work through this minute by minute.’

Eliott has found unlimited variations of happiness with Lucas, the moments of firsts he thought were banal and couldn’t possibly be as fulfilling as they are, end up being some of the most magical periods of Eliott’s life.

“You said you had plans for us today?” Lucas mumbles, eyes still closed and seemingly more content to have Eliott wrapped around him than to turn around just yet.

“Yes.”

“Are you going to tell me?”

“Nope.” Eliott raises a hand to run his fingers through Lucas’s unruly hair. 

Eliott didn’t know what inner peace meant before Lucas. The moments when his brain is spiralling into oblivion, with no end in sight, he only needs Lucas to enter his peripheral, or wrap his arms around him and everything goes quiet. It’s how scenarios, usually of the public sort that involve crowds, used to provoke enough anxiousness in Eliott he’d find it was better to stay at home, but Lucas being present and as comforting as he is, eased so much of everything that built itself loud in his mind. Complete and utter peace.

For this and many other reasons, it only made sense that today he’d ask Lucas to marry him.

He can feel the nerves bubbling more and more in his chest, he’s tried to be subtle about hiding the box at the bottom of his camera bag. He’s plotted out the moment, but he’s still unsure of the steps along the way. Anything could go awry.
 
Lucas yawns and finally turns against him, Eliott thinks for a second maybe he’ll go for the food, but Lucas presses his face to Eliott’s chest instead and wraps an arm around his waist, pulling him impossibly closer.

“We could just stay in bed all day,” Lucas propositions. “I’ve missed you the last few weeks.”

It’s a wonderful suggestion, and they really haven’t had enough time together as of late, but Eliott has had this planned to a T since they were teens and can’t go back on it now. However, they don’t need to get up all that soon for the aforementioned plan to go into motion, so remaining snuggled in bed for at least a couple more hours doesn’t sound all that bad.

It just so happens Eliott needs more sleep anyway.

*

Eliott has a tendency to say he is primarily moulded by broken parts that although they make one whole entity, were frequent to fractured states. The parts of Eliott he kept close to the chest were usually the ones that made him vulnerable. Lucas makes him vulnerable, but not in the anxiety-inducing type of vulnerability you worry you’ll lose yourself in, but in the way that made Eliott want to be the best version of himself, could see that better version as attainable rather than hiding behind a two-way mirror, where he was allowed to be himself even while cohabitating with someone else. He knew he was lucky for this, to have found someone so early on that made him thrive at all stages and facets of life.

Being Eliott had always felt like an internal roller coaster, the peaks and valleys that came with uncertain drops and pivots, as well as the occasional rush of colour and heightened senses and inhibitions, were in the larger framework of things, just a part of being Eliott.

Being with Eliott had been a realm of its own, Lucas knows he has his own mildly tamer roller coaster, but the fact he gets to join Eliott on his leaves him warm and grateful to be a part of his life at all.

Eliott felt known with Lucas. He’d met so many people so far in his lifetime and no one could come close to how Lucas understood him, related to him, made him always feel heard and appreciated.

Eliott had lost himself in people before, found himself becoming who they wanted him to be, instead of who he wanted to be, it was something he’d once thought was a standard of living. With time, this changed, because the more time passed with Lucas, the more he found he was loved for all he was. With Lucas, he’d realized he had no clue who he was at his core, other than what he found enjoyment in. Music, creating, exploring every hidden nook and cranny in Paris to find the best spots for inspiration. Lucas found adoration in parts of himself Eliott hated, things he wished he could change but realized they were too deeply ingrained or had already been a permanent part of his brain chemistry. There were pieces of himself already given away he couldn’t give back, but Lucas loved him through it. Eliott had tried to throw out the parts of himself in the present he hated, the unresolved anger, the debilitating fear of failure and abandonment, the need to split on life just… because, and Lucas would pick them up and bring them back and nurture his fears, nurture these elements of himself he thought were ugly, too broken, and too much. He gave him reason and meaning, and was a light amongst the rubble. 

 

Once they’ve dressed and left the apartment, Eliott immediately interlocks his fingers with Lucas’s, and gives him a smile as he shuffles the bag on his other shoulder.

Their first stop is Père Lachaise Cemetery, at least for a couple of hours of some sort of peace amongst the bustle of Paris, as well as Eliott needing to scout shooting locations for an upcoming film project. They’ve been here before, even if Lucas still gets nervous from the energies, but Paris’s cemeteries and parks are some of the easiest places to seek quiet. 

Lucas has admitted many times how much he enjoys watching Eliott work, whatever that happens to mean for the occasion. Whether it’s checking up on him when Eliott is hyper-focusing on a script or a new plot idea, to just watching him work behind a camera, all of it was—

“Endearing,” Lucas says, lowering his own phone camera after stealing a shot of Eliott in action, as Eliott finishes taking another picture of a cobblestone path lined by tombs.

Eliott smiles to himself, looking down at the preview of the shot he just took. Lucas steps towards him, shoulder brushing against Eliott's, glancing at the picture as well. 

“As are you, my love,” Eliott replies, using the angle to press a kiss to Lucas’s temple.

There is a sharp chill to the air that has Lucas bringing his scarf up a little higher, and the weather is calling for some rain, but Eliott is hoping for it. They meander through the cemetery with no other aim in mind other than sneaking kisses and taking photos. They take the road less travelled through narrow paths and slightly hidden staircases and admire the beauty that houses the dead.

They share chuckling kisses with periodic shudders.

“Did you know in some beliefs, ghosts mostly spend their time in the afterlife partying?” Eliott asks against Lucas’s mouth, pressing him against one of the tombs, out of sight from onlookers.

“So, you’re saying they’re probably very happy people come here to make out rather than cry?”

Eliott nods, cupping Lucas’s face and planting another kiss on his lips, and then his cheeks, and then really just wherever he can reach skin.

*

Their next stop is dinner, since the hours from breakfast to sleeping in and trying to get to the cemetery while there’s still daylight have made them skip lunch entirely. They take the metro to a stop near Notre-Dame, Lucas’s squeezes Eliott’s hand, knowing how the chaos of one of Paris’s biggest tourist attraction causes crowds the size of concerts and makes Eliott’s anxiety soar. 

They turn the corner away from the crowds, making it to Le Grenier De Notre Dame.

Eliott spends more time admiring Lucas through tea, shared appetizers, pasta, and an assorted main dish than actually eating. Eliott considers what a life without Lucas would’ve looked like, even if it is an impossibility, he wonders anyway. For all the moments Eliott’s been confused, about his place in this life, his impact, the direction he’s headed, his lack of confidence or belief in his capabilities, Lucas has been there, steadfast, to hold his head up when it hangs severely low. And even if Lucas knows he can’t fix and fill every crack that threatens his composure, he always tries anyway. 

A life without Lucas would’ve been lonely. Eliott had felt the sting of that level of loneliness before, felt it even in a relationship that wasn’t terrible by any means, just made him feel small and borderlined toxic. And even if he’d been with her as long as he had, Eliott had only ever felt alone. With his thoughts, his wants, his beliefs. Everything.

That wasn’t the case now, nor would it ever be again.

People have a tendency to talk about love in categories. They talk about the love they have, the love they lost, and the love they wished they had. Sometimes the first and last coincide at the same time. Eliott’s learned that part through conversations with friends he’s made in college. People who talk about how they’re comfortable in a relationship but don’t feel anything anymore, their honeymoon period passed after a month and everything just teetered off and this seemed normal to them.

Eliott didn’t understand it, through the years he’s been with Lucas, what he’s had has stayed the same. The emotional and physical intimacy, remaining vulnerable and being friends with one another too had never wavered. Every aspect of the definition of a companion Lucas filled.

The thought that anyone settled for comfort instead of seeking out what could make them feel fulfilled for a lifetime instead hurt Eliott on an empathetic level, but it also made him cherish Lucas even more, as it gave him a new level of understanding that what they had was rare. Sometimes people never find it at all.

Eliott can feel his hands shaking again, even though he’s been trying to keep his nerves mostly contained. Lucas reaches across the table, putting a hand over his and rubbing his thumb back and forth on the top of Eliott’s hand. Grounding, as always, even when Lucas doesn’t realize how much so.

“Are you sure you want to go to the Manoir, maybe we could go back home instead?” Lucas asks.

“No, we’ve looked forward to this for a while and they just changed the show to something new.”

“Alright,” Lucas nods, squeezing his hand three times.

They’ve visited the Manoir de Paris at least once a year since they got together, although they alternate which season to go year over year. Halloween was always the most entertaining and elaborate time of year to go, but no matter what there was always something new to see. Today’s line up of customers still featured at least one person dropping out before they could even get inside, one of the staff pulling a crying patron aside to wait for their friends at the end of the show.

Lucas feigned an air of zero fear but Eliott knew once they were inside, he’d be hanging onto Eliott’s arm for dear life. Eliott muses and interacts with the actors as he usually does, enjoying the unscripted responses he gets that are pure improvisation. They make it to the end after getting stuck behind a few smaller groups of slow-moving folks, letting them continue and relishing in the few extra moments to sneak several kisses in dimly lit corners. They stop at the gift shop before they leave, and for once Lucas has found a sweater he quite likes, so they buy two to match.

Once they make it back to their apartment, it’s relatively late but Eliott uses the opportunity to drop off the merchandise from the store, as well as put away his camera and double-check he has the ring boxes. He’s bought a set, one for Lucas and one for himself. Lucas manages to come around the corner as he’s checking the bag they are in, and he hurriedly closes it, attempting to raise as little suspicion as possible. 

Lucas gives him a look that has him nearly questioning it, but he shrugs it off, asking instead, “where are we going next?”

“Somewhere we’ve been before,” Eliott replies, zipping his bag closed.

Lucas’s lip quirks into a smile, “alright maestro, lead the way.”

Fingers interlaced again, they make it out of the apartment complex to get back to the metro for the millionth time that day. While waiting for the next arrival, Eliott snakes his arms around Lucas’s waist from behind, pulling him close. He peppers Lucas’s neck with kisses until Lucas twists around to pull Eliott in with his hands in Eliott’s hair, and Eliott feels like he’s melting immediately with the recognition that kisses with Lucas were always an entirely ethereal experience that compares to nothing else. They were on a world of their own. It makes everything entirely quiet around them other than the immediate space they both occupy and Eliott never feels like he has enough time to spend on all those kisses, he simply wants more. An entire lifetime’s worth might be enough, but Eliott still feels greedy for wanting their lips to never part. 

They take the nine up to the Jasmin stop, and as they take the stairs up, Lucas asks if they’re going to La Petite Ceinture. 

“Yes,” Eliott replies softly.

“Just cause?”

“Just cause.”

The walk to the bridge feels familiar yet entirely new, and Eliott feels like his bag suddenly weighs fifty pounds heavier than it actually is. The rain is still very light, but misty enough to make them both damp. They turn at a street that puts the bridge in view and Eliott’s heart starts to race with anticipation. He can feel his palms sweat that could easily be explained away by the rain, but he still doesn’t let go of Lucas’s hand.

At some point over the years, they’ve replaced the lock Eliott’s used to get into the area, but he’s found a different way in via the shorter fencing attached to the bridge where they can easily climb over. They wait until the cars and people pass, leaving the spot entirely vacant. Eliott jumps first, and waits on the other side for Lucas.

The steep slope has both of them slipping a little on the way down but once they’re there, it feels like they’re teenagers again, laughing as they make the short distance under the bridge and the sound of rain stops.

They sit up on the wooden beam across from where Lucas had found him curled up all those years ago, where Eliott finally understood a little bit of how he’d never be alone again.

Lucas asks him if he remembers the first time they came here, how it rained then too. Eliott feels an overwhelming flash of the memory. Lucas continues to talk, since Eliott’s not, and Eliott relishes in the sound of his voice, using it to calm his own nerves. Lucas tilts Eliott's chin towards him at some point, eyes searching Eliott’s face.

“Are we just here to reminisce?” Lucas asks, thumb at the edge of Eliott’s lip.

Eliott turns his head enough to plant a kiss on the warm skin of Lucas’s palm. He fights the butterflies in his chest, and the nerves swallowing his words whole. “Yes, sort of.. maybe, not really.”

Lucas drops his hand as Eliott shrugs off his bag, bringing it into his lap and pulling out a sheet of paper. He turns it out of Lucas’s view as he tries to sneak a peek.

“I don’t know if I can read this,” Eliott says, looking it over.

“Why did you write it out? What did you write out?” Lucas asks, and seeing the distress on Eliott’s features quickly adds, “please read it?”

“You know how much better I am at typing things out beforehand,” Eliott sighs heavily, skimming his words. “This was too much to keep inside.”

Lucas nods knowingly, folding the paper down to make Eliott look at him again. “Please read it to me.”

Eliott feels the immediate calm rush over him, and sucks in a breath, unfolding the paper again. He starts, and he knows Lucas is listening intently, can feel his eyes on him. It’s comforting.

“Lucas, you are my best friend, my companion, a permanent resident in my soul. The impact you’ve had on my life is insurmountable, there was a before me that felt entirely misshapen and incapable of having someone so important around, and then there is the me now. I never expected a threshold like this, something entirely limitless, a love that reaches no bounds and teaches only kindness and compassion and care. You’ve touched every inch of my heart and soul and occupied the dark spaces I could never imagine could be lit up the way you have managed to do. 

There was a point in my life I thought I was unworthy of love, whether it be because of my illness, or because I’d been told it. I grew up under the impression that I could never deserve something as long-lasting as what I have with you. You make every day something worth getting up in the morning for. You help everyone around you without worrying about how it wears down on you and learn from mistakes. 

You inspire me daily, you keep me afloat. You make everything easier. You make a lifetime seem like nothing more than a day gone by. Every second I spend with you goes impossibly too slow and too fast at the same time. Even if we happened to be young when we met, it still stands that I thought everything you make me feel was not probable. I thought I’d go my entire life feeling as if I was too much or not enough. But you’ve taught me over time that I can be this human that you love so much, and you still want to hear about my every day. You still want to know who I am without assuming you know it all. You still find worth in me when I can’t find any in myself at all. 

You make me believe in what I can accomplish, while simultaneously seeking out your own accomplishments and striving for what you want in life. Somehow, you’ve ended up wanting me, and I want to give you the best possible life I can because that’s exactly what you’ve done for me. I chose you a long time ago, when I thought I had very little control in my life at all until I knew how much I wanted you, and you’ve been the best decision since. You are the most incredibly loving, generous, selfless, beautiful person to ever walk into my life, and you make me asking this the most nerve-wracking but also exhilarating opportunity in my life. Lucas, will you please—”

“Yes, of course, yes,” Lucas interrupts quickly and reaches forward pulling Eliott by his collar to press his lips urgently against Eliott’s. He nearly immediately let’s go, realizing Eliott hasn’t finished the question, apologizes and leans back, although his expression gives off pure impatience.

Eliott chuckles softly, leaning forward to put his forehead to Lucas’s, sneaking the box out of his bag, letting the bag drop to the ground, and opening the ring box and placing it delicately in Lucas’s hands, “will you spend your life with me?”

“Yes, in every universe, I will always say yes. You are my whole world, Eliott. You are more than worthy of love and everything you could ever possibly want out of this life and all others.”

Eliott spends a lot of time smiling around Lucas, to the point of understanding what it’s like to have your face hurt from it. With tears at the edges of his eyes, he feels the tightness in his chest dissipate from all the weeks leading up to this. The only thing that matters now are Lucas’s lips against his, the ring on his finger, the sound of rain around them.

He breaks apart for a second to pull Lucas up to his feet and drag him out from under the bridge, into the rain.

“Really?” Lucas smiles widely.

Eliott replies by yanking him flush against him, arms around Lucas’s neck, letting the rain wash over them as he kisses Lucas, the same exhilarating, fluttering feeling of kissing Lucas for the first time from all those years ago remaining unchanged even now.

Yes, this life is the only one Eliott could ever want.