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Like Lovers Do

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It’s their first day off since the swap...and the subsequent age reversal. Rome moves to get up, to start on breakfast, but Pick pulls him in close.

“P’Pick, let go.”

Pick, eyes still closed, shakes his head, wrapping both arms around Rome and burying his face in Rome’s hair. He groans as Rome tries to wriggle free once more.

“P’Pick,” Rome whines, struggling against the hold but not too seriously.

“Rome.” Pick opens one eye to look at Rome. “I can make breakfast.”

Rome gives him a look. “You can?”

“Mm.” Pick nods, places a kiss on Rome’s forehead. “I want to.”

“But P’Pick, you never make breakfast. Or get up first. Or--”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, I know.” Pick smiles. “But I want to today. Let me take care of you.”

Rome’s expression suddenly drops, turning far too serious. “P’Pick, you always take care of me. At least I can do this…”

Pick’s face falls, too. “Rome. Do you want to go back to school?”

Rome doesn’t answer and Pick doesn’t press just now. Instead, he kisses Rome and squeezes him until Rome’s back cracks, then extricates himself and tucks Rome back into the covers.

“What the hell?” But Rome sounds confused and pleased, so Pick knows he’s made the right choice.

Pick walks a few steps out, peeks back. “Stay!” Then, he goes to the kitchen and stares at the cupboards. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but he can figure something. There was some novel a friend talked to him about, where someone made five kinds of ramen and steeped ramen with coffee… That sounds...inventive. But he should probably stick to something more sensible.

He stares up at the cupboard and remembers his time spent in Rome’s body, too short to see or reach effectively. And yet Rome continues to store things he likes up there. Pick shakes his head, smiling without meaning to.

Cereal seems too basic...but it’s fast and there’s no way he can screw it up. Maybe he can make Rome coffee? But Rome’s job is making coffee… Well. He learned something in that time of being Rome. It’s nothing fancy, but the coffee he makes should be decent and the cereal will be fine no matter.

“P’Pick!”

“Just a minute!”

It takes him another minute to decide whether or not he should do more, but ultimately he decides he’s going to have to spoil Rome in other ways. Cooking really isn’t his thing. He sets their little table and returns to the bedroom, grinning.

“Nong Rome.”

Rome is already freeing himself from the covers. “What?”

Awkwardly, Pick scoops him up off the bed, stumbles, nearly crashes them both against the wall, before he manages to carry Rome out of the room, Rome screaming to be put down the whole way, happy and scared and excited all at once. Pick isn’t exactly athletic, but he gets Rome to the kitchen. Then, just as clumsily as he had lifted him up, puts Rome back down and gestures to his seat at the table.

It looks far too simple, but Pick sees the flush rise on Rome’s cheeks at being treated, and smiles dopily in response.

Pick takes a seat across from Rome. “I know it’s not special and I know you make coffee better than me--”

“P’Pick,” Rome interrupts. “Thank you.” He hesitates, spoon in hand. “But...you didn’t have to do this. I could’ve made you breakfast. I don’t work today.”

Pick waves him off. “I know.” He straightens his back. “Can’t I treat my boyfriend sometimes?”

“P’!”

Pick should probably feel bad about how shocked Rome is at such a simple phrase, but mostly he just sees how cute Rome is. He grabs Rome’s hand across the table, turning on the charm.

Rome turns shy. “What’s wrong with you today?”

“Rooome,” Pick calls sweetly. “I love you.”

Again, Rome seems more taken aback than anything else. “Seriously. Are you okay?”

Pick nods, grin never faltering. He takes Rome’s hand in both of his now. “You know I’ll take care of you, right?” His silliness fades, but he tries not to falter. “The reason I work so hard so often. You know now, don’t you? I want to make a future. For us.”

Rome’s eyes go wide, then he stares down at the table, nods in acknowledgement.

Pick squeezes his hand. “Look at me, Rome.”

Blinking, obviously struggling, Rome complies.

“And I don’t want you to work at the coffee shop cuddling up to P’Good--”

P’Pick,” Rome warns. They’ve gone over this.

Pick sucks in a breath. “Sorry.” He smiles again. “I just mean...I want you to finish school. And I don’t want you to worry about supporting yourself. I want you to graduate.”

Rome is distinctly uncomfortable, shifting in his seat, refusing to make eye contact. “P’Pick, I don’t have the money.”

“I’ll pay.”

Rome goggles at him.

“We’re going to be together a long time. I… I think we’ll be together the rest of our lives.” He swallows. “I want us to be together the rest of our lives. Let me help you. It’s just for now.”

“P’Pick--”

“Rome.” Pick takes Rome’s hand in his own and, once again, Rome turns shy, turns shocked, over a display of affection even in their own home. “If I needed help, what would you do?”

“Help you.”

“We’ve been together for three years, I’ve been in your body--” Rome turns pink and Pick realizes what he’s said, starts to say, “No, no.” Then he raises an eyebrow at Rome. “Well. That, too.” He smirks and his foot finds Rome’s under the table. This isn’t supposed to be about flirting though. It takes him a minute to school his features, especially when Rome’s lips quirk up and he’s blushing so hard and-- Focus. “Let me take care of you. Isn’t that what boyfriends do? Take care of each other?”

Hesitantly, Rome jerks his head in some semblance of a nod. “Mm.”

Pick smiles, catching Rome’s gaze with his own. “‘Mm’?”

Rome rolls his eyes at Pick and pulls his hand from Pick’s, concentrating instead on the cereal in front of him.

For a few minutes, Pick just watches Rome eat, chin resting on his fist.

“What?” Rome asks finally.

“So you’ll let me do it?” Pick presses.

“Do what?” Rome side-eyes him over the mediocre cup of coffee that Pick had so lovingly made for him.

“You go back to school and I’ll take care of you.”

Rome looks like he’s about to fight it again but Pick puts a finger to his lips.

“Nong Rome,” he says in his sweetest voice, hand moving to ruffle Rome’s hair. “P’Pick wants to take care of his boyfriend. Can’t he?”

Rome doesn’t respond and Pick grins. Suddenly, Rome’s eyes flash. “I’m not quitting the coffee shop.”

Pick’s face immediately falls but he sucks in a deep breath. “Fine, fine.” He glares. “But I’m going to come by and give P’Good a piece of my mind.”

“P’Pick!” Rome protests.

“What? Ashamed of me?” Pick’s playful grin softens into something else as he looks at Rome, and really looks at him.

Rome swallows, shy once again, and shakes his head.

“Good,” Pick tells him. He leans over the table and presses a kiss to Rome’s lips, speaking earnestly, “Because I’m not ashamed either.”