Hollowstone With You, I am Home

Rory's Attire for the Afternoon

A whirlwind of weeks.

That's what it had been for Rory and Thomas, for at least the last month, if not two. But as far as the gregarious gardener was concerned, he wouldn't hesitate, not even for a moment, to do it all again. There had been new friends made, a pair of four-legged floofs added to the family, new abilities unlocked for both of them, and enough art presented, commissioned, and, best of all, sold, to deck out a modest museum. Yet, the psychic knew well enough, mostly for Thomas' sake, that now was the right time for them to take a brief, social breather, to settle down and settle in, you know, right after they got the young psychic officially moved!

Eager to make the transition a smooth one, from campus-life to Caledonia, Rory had taken it upon himself to prepare for the all important day, well in advance.

He had made sure that they had the proper size moving van, along with all of the supplies needed to box up and safely move Thomas' belongings without a single hitch. Back on the home front, he had made plenty of room not only in the pantry, so that the artist could fill the shelves with his favorite snacks, treats, and teas - which, of course, Rory gleefully did on his behalf! - but he had cleared out an entire walk-in closet in the master suite. In the mud room, Thomas now had an official cubby with his name printed on it, where he could stash his keys, shoes, and coat, and in the master bath he would find more than enough storage and counter space for his grooming supplies and toiletries, which he had been toting back and forth, even after Rory had told him it was okay to leave a few things.

Up until today, Thomas had been behaving like the most gracious of guests, always being mindful of just how comfortable he had made himself, especially when it came to many of the spaces found beyond the studio, his studio. Well, little did he know, Rory had quite the surprise in store for him, one that he hoped would really make the place feel not just like a home, but their home, together, and a safe and secure one at that, even when the gardener was off at work or wherever else life took him, on those rare occasions when they couldn't be together.

"Just a few more trips and then we can take a break for lunch," Rory stated now, as they were both standing at the rear of the open van, which was still littered with just enough stuff to warrant some sort of meal break before they could finish up. "You have quite the collection of canvases," he would remark, as he eyed up the sizeable stack, just before taking a good dozen into his arms as carefully as he could. "Who knew your tidy little room could hold this much stuff?"

Tom's moving day outfit

Tiring ...

It had been a tiring, slog of a month. Not so much a slog of bad things. Most had been good but there had been a lot of things and they'd call come at once. Tom felt like he hadn't stopped since march. First, there had been his brother coming back, all the stuff that came with his brother coming back, Then there had been comic con and all the work and stress that went into that, delivering the commissions and spending the money he earned, Getting Puppies (Presently penned safely while he and Rory were in and out), then there had been more art to finish up for his final exhibition (HE was trying not to think about that until next month when grades came back) and finally, to top it all off he was moving out of the dorm.

That was good of course he was escaping the bustle and stress of the dorm for the quiet safety of Caledonia and he would have his rock in Rory just a few rooms at most away instead of several districts but ...

It was a lot of work and stress to move house. Moving in with Rory was a big step. Calling such a large and luxurious house home was a big step. In the back of his mind were the niggles of his past. Whispering to him that this was more than he deserved, that he hadn't earned it, that he was getting ideas above his station and their worst whisper of all that much as he loved Rory the man might one day leave him or grow tired of him.

Tom knew he was a lot to handle, he was high maintenance and he knew it. He couldn't change it but he did know and he knew that he required a lot more of Rory than a boyfriend should. In many ways, Tom was still childlike. He needed comfort and reassurance, protection and support and he could be dangerous to have around. He knew for a fact that Rory had to replace at least one thing due to fire damage. He was doing his best to bring the figure under control though.

The day had come for the move and Rory had succeeded in making it as smooth as possible given Tom's ... Gesture to everything. Then there had been the touches he had made to make the place feel like Toms home too. Not only had he put up photos of the two of them and made some spaces for Tom to put up some personal photos, but he'd also made other spaces for Tom's things and labelled spaces for him. It helped things feel permanent. Putting his toothbrush in the ensuite had felt weighty. He'd put it in there before of course but always knowing that he had to take it out again. It was the same with most of his personal effects. Rory had insisted he could leave things behind while he was back at college but ... Tom didn't have many things, he didn't have two sets of toothpaste or a spare toothbrush. Such trivial things but Tom lived frugally.

Now though everything Tom owned was here and hopefully it was here to stay. A van full of meticulously packaged boxes. Each one packed exclusively by Tom. Rory had tried to help but ... he did not do it right. Tom's organisation was as much an art form as his painting and he was quite particular on where things should be. Tom had eventually snapped and asked Rory to do other things. He'd packed the boxes, Rory had loaded the van and done the initial cleaning. Tom had apologised once the van was loaded.

Tom owed Rory another apology, he just ... needed things in the right place. especially at times of stress

Tom frowned as he squinted at the back of the van which still had boxes to be removed. Tom was tired. His sunglasses had been lost somewhere in the move and he wanted to lie down with Rory. His boyfriend was right though. It had to get done and now was as good a time as any.

"Aye aye my love" he replied, he was speaking very carefully after snapping earlier. He did not want to make Rory feel henpecked or upset and he was pretty sure he'd offended Rory ... Tom felt terrible about it. Rubbing the small of his back and shifting from foot to foot Tom eyed the canvases as Rory referred to them and took a dozen up in his muscular arms "Well before the exhibition they were mostly held at college but they made us clear out ... before I got the patronage of a mighty Scottish warrior I never had this issue ... now I have lots of materials and a pretty healthy order book ... Thank you for everything you do for me" He replied cycling from plain explanation to joviality and into sincerity.

Then he'd clambered into the van to grab another box to carry inside, he had not shirked all morning and he wouldn't start now. In fact he was trying to atone for his earlier ill temperateness by doing the bulk of the heavy lifting for Rory. "I love you, Rory, Thank you for all your help ... I'm sorry I've been short with you, it's stressful but that isn't your fault and I shouldn't have made you take the brunt of it"
Thomas had indeed been rather short with Rory, earlier on in the day, and while it had certainly stung in the moment, he had actually already moved on from the minor outburst. The younger psychic had been stressing out, which was only natural given the move and all, but what he needed to remember was that this was just as stressful for him, if not even more so, since it was his home that was being opened up; however, even with that being said, the older psychic knew that he was much better at dealing with change.

"I love you, too, Tommie," Rory made certain to state, as they now stood on the walkway between the van and the front door. "I know this isn't always going to be easy," he then added, as he took a few steps towards the already open door, "but as long as we stick together and continue to look out for each other, we'll be fine."

Rory had full faith that they could make this work, no matter what bumps they stumbled over along the way. They had already been tested, more than a couple of times, but instead of being pulled apart, their bond had only grown stronger. If the occasional snap was the worst of their worries, they could certainly handle that. Right? Right!

"Where would you like these?" the gardener would ask, once they were standing inside. "I think we're starting to run out of room in the studio," he would remind the artist, as he now hovered in the foyer. "There's storage space both upstairs and down, along with the garage, but I want to make sure you have easy access to whatever it is you need."

Rory did truly want Thomas to feel right at home, as if it were his own, and if it meant making additional moves within the walls of said home, so be it. The psychic's happiness and well-being was his number one priority. Why else would he have gone to all of the trouble to create him a secret space that he could use as his own private sanctuary?
Absolution was so freeing. Tom had felt horrible since snapping at Rory. Rory didn't shout back but he did look ... stung, betrayed, may be defeated by Tom's words. Whatever he was he didn't look happy and it made Tom feel guilty. The guilt mixed with the stress of the move and his permanent state of unease to knot his entire being up. Even when Rory perked up again Tom still worried.

Rory's expression of love and reassurance ... well made him feel loved and well reassured and he felt better now.

"Team Thory" He smiled as he climbed out of the truck.

It was good to know he had someone in his corner who he could reciprocate for. He'd always had Nate but they were big brother and little brother so Nate there was duty involved and Nate always resisted Tom doing anything for him. Rory did too to an extent but then he did let Tom look after him sometimes.

When they were inside Tom was faced with his first big decision. Where to store his canvases and by implication all his other new art supplies. "Erm" he hummed as he pondered that issue "I need to organise everything ... Not today though ..." Tom was tired and Sore he wanted to get his stuff moved in and the essentials unpacked so he could rest. His tools could wait. "I think just fill the studio and upstairs storage for now and I'll organise tomorrow" Tom needed to find a proper place for everything. He did not like his things to be stored without strict organisation.

Tom set off upstairs without delay then, he wanted to get this over with.
"Ha!" Rory suddenly found himself blurting, as he followed Thomas upstairs. "Team Thory! I love it!" he would openly and, well, belatedly admit, without an ounce of shame, as he arrived on the wide, second-floor landing. "You're so creative," he would add, with a shake of his head. "I could never be that imaginative. At least not as spontaneously as you are."

While Rory did have more than a few artistic bones in his body, it usually took him ages to come up with something original. He often had to plot and plan his course, well in advance, and, even then, he would typically find himself brainstorming a bit more, just when he thought he had everything figured out. Even when he was working in the garden, there was rarely a time when he could just throw something together and have it turn out just right. He was most certainly a planner, and he liked to get every detail just so.

"Would you like to do lunch after we finish here?" he would ask, as they now stood outside of the storage closet that thankfully had plenty of room for everything they had brought up. "We can stack this stuff away and then go stuff our faces. I picked us up some cold cuts, and I even got a loaf of that bread that you really like. Fresh baked, too! How does that sound?"

About to make a move inside the small space, Rory would stop himself short. Even though they were just tucking stuff away for a short while, since Thomas had already made mention of sorting things out tomorrow, the psychic had to refrain from taking the lead here. These were the artist's things, to do with as he wished, and it would be his call to place them as he saw fit. While Rory could be slow on the uptake, every now and again, he didn't usually need to be told something twice, especially when it came to Thomas and his needs.
Tom almost jumped when Rory blurted his amusement. He was on edge given all that was going on. There was no fire though, all was well. Especially as Rory continued. The gushing made him smile fondly. Not just because he was staring at Rory's butt. Such a nice butt "I think the bar you set for assessing my imagination and creativity is very low" He chuckled "I just smushed our names together like play dough"

He didn't say it because he knew that Rory didn't like gushing praise and it would feel hollow just to echo Rory but Tom was inspired by his love's creativity. The gardens and plants yes but also just the way Rory was, the way he posed, the way he lived. Was his creativity slightly more restrained than Toms yes. Rory was calmer and more ordered than Tom. Did Rory need to think? Yes, but in his thinking, he never made a mistake or had to second guess. Tom's life was strewn with failed ideas and backtracking. Rory was a beautiful planner and Tom was an erratic hurricane.

Instead, Tom just smiled fondly and said "I love you my Muse, My Rock, My partner"

That hopefully encompassed enough of what Tom felt in something that Rory could hear.

The last few steps were the toughest, he was glad that this was the last of the stuff. His legs hurt, his back hurt and so did his feet. Rory's idea seemed perfect a break for lunch and then ... Tom yawned. He'd opened his mouth to speak but first, he yawned because he was tired and the morning of hustling to do all the hard work he could to keep Rory from doing it had caught up with him. "break sounds good" He agreed. His rumbling stomach echoed him.

He appreciated Rory backing up, he was glad that in all the shortness and ill-temper Tom had packaged it in Rory had heard the need beneath. Tom needed order and predictability to ground himself. Knowing in his head exactly where his possessions were helped him feel safe. It was probably something about the fire. Tom stepped into the store cupboard and carefully stowed his items then once he was satisfied he carefully stowed the ones Rory was holding.

"Okay all in ... go and sit down my Lion, I'll make the sandwiches," He said, calling over his shoulder as he hurried to the kitchen. He was getting away before Rory could tell him not to. He would make the sandwiches and that would earn him the break he was sure they were going to take. It would earn him the tiger bread from the small bakery he was getting a taste for now that he lived in a place where he knew there would always be food in the fridge.
Rory was glad that Thomas was ready to take a break, because he knew he was certainly ready for one himself; however, he had a sneaky suspicion that once he sat down, he wouldn't want to get back up until much, much later. So instead of heading off to the great room, as he had just been directed to, he followed the swiftly fleeing artist into the kitchen.

"I know! I know! I'm suppose to be sitting down!" he playfully cried, as he circled around the oversized island, keeping it between himself and Thomas, so that the younger psychic couldn't swat him out of his, er, their kitchen, "but the pups need to be watered and fed, too!"

Darting the rest of the way out of the kitchen and into the nook that would've typically been used for less formal seating, Rory soon found himself, well, actually, mostly just his feet and ankles being attacked by a pair of playful fluffballs who were way too happy to see him. Yipping and yapping away, since they hadn't exactly found their official barks yet, Puddle and Takka were all over him the second he stepped over the baby gate that he had put in place to keep them contained in the sunny space.

"Hello! Hello! I know! I knoooow! It's been sooooo long," Rory dramatically sang out, as he carefully made his way across the squeak-toy littered room so he could fetch the rambunctious pairs nearly empty bowls. "It's break time, boys, which means fresh kibble for you and samiches for us! I'll be right back!" he then promised, as he skillfully jumped the gate once more, which caused the two to whimper and whine, upon seeing him depart so swiftly.

"You would think they hadn't been fed in weeks," he remarked, with a laugh, as he made his way back through the kitchen, only to disappear through the laundry room door. "Oh, by the way," he continued to speak, in a much louder voice so that Thomas could still hear him, "the storage closest out here is now puppy supply central! Everything, and I mean everything, they'll ever want, need or desire will go out here."

"Or, should I say, out there?" Rory joked, with a tilt of his head back towards the space he was just in, as he now once again stood inside the kitchen with two very full bowls in his hands. "They're going to eat us out of house and home," would be one of his final clear remarks, just before the air was filled with even louder yips and yaps, as the two excitable canines caught wind of their approaching feast. "If I'm not back in ten, send for reinforcements!"
Tom glared playfully at Rory as he came in and sheltered at the other side of the island. "So disobedient" he teased grinning "If you knew you would be lay on the couch by now", though the explanation Rory gave made him frown slightly "I would have sorted out their food and water too" he confessed sincerely. He was trying to take care of everything so Rory would forgive him. He didn't want to lose Rory.

Tom watched Rory hurry away, he knew it would be fruitless to try to talk him into going to the couch without helping the puppies out and saving Tom the job. Tom just wanted to do everything today. He wanted to prove that he was worthy of Rory, that Rory didn't need to regret letting Tom into his life and now his home. Their home? No his home. It was still Rory's home. It would take time for Tom to settle fully.

The noise of yipping puppies and a cooing Rory put a wan smile on Tom's face as he buttered bread. He was very fond of Rory and their fur babies but he was balancing that with a now all-consuming fear of losing it all the next time he couldn't manage his temper. He hoped that there wouldn't be any reasons for him to lose his temper but there were a lot of things that stressed out Tom and now that they lived together Rory would probably catch the brunt of it. Tom had to give him enough reasons to resist the urge to end things.

He looked up and smiled more convincingly as Rory joked "We abandoned them it must have been a day at least in dog years, we are bad people" he joked as Rory flitted in. Then the smile faded again as Rory flitted out. Forcing happier, broader smiles through stormy emotions was hard. There was a small ray of light to focus on. The organisation of the puppy store cupboard. Something he and Rory could sort together. "Perfect, ordered cupboards make happy Toms" He chuckled as he stacked up their sandwiches.

Tom reached a free hand out to Rory, aiming to lay it softly on Rory's arm "Darling ... please let me do it" he pleaded "I need you to go and relax ... I need you to let me do it for you" He said hoping that Rory would give in and go somewhere comfortable. If he could do this he might feel like he'd made up for his shortness. He probably wouldn't but he could live in hope. Whether Rory gave in or not Tom would finish up the chores in the kitchen. Whether that involved a quest through the territory of two wild animals depended upon Rory.

Two plates of sandwiches prepared Tom then shuffled out to find Rory so they could take their break and relax before Tom got back to work.
Torn between making the pups happy and making Thomas happy, the psychic was always going to win that battle in the end. So instead of continuing on his merry way with the filled bowls, Rory placed them on the island and proceeded to make his way towards the dining room door; however, before departing, he would grab the artist up, into his strong arms, and plant no less than a dozen quick kisses all over his sweaty face and even sweatier neck. Satisfied with his handiwork, which hopefully left Thomas feeling nothing but loved and adored, he would then move on towards his final destination of the great room.

Taking a seat in his favorite chair, which afforded him one of thee best views of the stunning, rolling landscape, that he would never grow tired of seeing, the gardener finally allowed himself to emit a sigh of relief.

This day was finally here. The one he'd been looking forward to for weeks. The one that he'd been planning on since the second they got off the phone on Earth Day.

As soon as it was decided, the wheels began to turn. Rory was determined to not only make Thomas feel right at home, but he wanted him to feel safe in the large space, which he knew could be a little overwhelming at times, regardless of how warm and inviting it all felt. He was certain that he had created a space perfectly suited for someone who occasionally needed to be tucked away from the chaos of the world. He couldn't wait to share it with him, but first...

"Oh. Wow. This looks delicious," he would note, with a bright smile, as Thomas suddenly came at him with a tray filled with overstuffed, deli-style sandwiches. "You didn't have to go to so much trouble. I know it's been a long day," he added, as he eagerly took one of the plates, along with a napkin. "But my stomach certainly thanks you in advance!" he still stated, with much enthusiasm, just before taking the largest of bites!

"Thomas, please, sit, relax," he would then encourage the artist who was still standing, poised and ready to dash off for whatever Rory would want, need or desire. "We've both earned a break!"
Tom smiled and relaxed as Rory surrendered the food bowls and made to leave. The pups would not be kept waiting but it would be him and not Rory who would put in all the hard work. Tom would not let this afternoon get any more difficult for Rory. Not having had to suffer Tom's ill-temper. Only before he could go about feeding the puppies he was wrapped into a tight cuddle and plastered with kisses. Tom was overcome and could not kiss back, Rory moved to fast and swiftly reduced him to jelly before hurrying away. Tom held Rory's hands a moment longer and squeeze as he moved "I love you"

Once Tom was alone again he took up the bowls and ventured into the den of wild puppies "Hello, hello, My sweet darlings " he cooed as he too was attacked and pounced. Puppies weaving around his feet as he placed down his bowls "Food". That drew the attention of the pups and Tom took the respite to confirm they had plenty of water before escaping the pen. Mindful of letting them out before he knew that he and Rory were finished moving things around. He'd hate for an accident to occur.

With the dogs contented and furnished with food Tom returned his attention to his own lunch and that of Rory's. It was not much longer before he had a tray of hearty sandwiches. Fuel for anything else they needed to do. He hoped eating would shift the tiredness he presently felt. He did not think it would take much to make him sleep.

Tom returned Rory's smile "Thank you, my darling," he said as he lay the tray in reaching distance of Rory "It has but I wanted to make things up to you, for earlier" he said quiet and guilty. Rory was so kind and forgiving but Tom felt a dire need to repent by working hard. It seemed he had now done so. Any further would risk pushing Rory into feeling obliged to push himself too. So when Rory had taken his bite and urged Tom into a chair. His chair now. Tom went willingly

"Thank you my Lion" He smiled and settled into the armchair then took a bite of his own. Watching Rory behind lidded eyes as he ate carefully. He ate his first serving and shifted in his chair and yawned again. "It has been a long day my Rory" He mumbled and lay in closer to the chair back still looking upon Rory.
Initially content to just sit in silence, as they nibbled away on their mutual meals, Rory found himself compelled to speak, ever so softy, once they were well on their way to being well-rested and well-fed.

"This feels right, doesn't it?" he would ask, as his gaze drifted away from the spectacular view outside to the heartwarming one that was sitting just a foot or so away from him. "You, being here. Us, being together," he would continue to muse, with a gentle smile, as one of his log arms would come to lazily rest on the side of his chair, so that his hand could float in the air, not so far from the artist.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to have you here, with me," he went on, as his smile grew wider. "Weekends weren't enough, even when we added Fridays. Having to wait those four days, until we could be back together again was pure torture," he confessed, with a nod of his head. "But now you're here, really here, so I won't have to wait to see your smiling face, to hold your gentle hand or to embrace you as firmly and as fiercely as I want, whenever, wherever, within the walls of our home."

Beaming, Rory was beaming at this point, and had he not felt as tired as Thomas looked, he probably would've jumped up from his seat so he could kiss and cuddle the artist into oblivion. But, alas, he was indeed knackered. So instead of making even a single move out of his seat, he simply settled for holding his hand, ever so gently and lovingly.
Tom liked silence a lot of the time. He liked that there was nothing assaulting his head. That he could just relax and focus on one or two things. Silences with Rory were even better though. Rory's presence made them feel intimate. Like they were transcending a need to speak to communicate.

The breaking of the silence got a groggy nod from Tom. It did feel right. It felt safe too. Rewarding. Thrilling. All things Tom couldn't say. The trip from his brain to his mouth too arduous for all but a few thoughts. "Luv 'oo" he mumbled. His eyes felt so heavy. His hands too, the arm not trapped under his heavy head sprawled over the arm of his own chair. fringers sprawled out as if too exhausted to resist the pull of gravity "F'l Safe" he mumbled again

His heavy eyes were closing as Rory carried on. Expressing sentiments that Tom shared. the four days of no physical contact between weekends had been rough. The weekly Wednesday phone calls the only thing making it even slightly survivable and more often than not even they weren't enough and Rory had to save him from some public breakdown. No more though now this was home. Their home ... Sleep pulled at him. Establishing a home was hard. Tom's feet hurt in his shoes ... His back complained too but his feet felt more urgent. Shoes needed to go, they were mean but as he tried to push one foot over the other to kick them off he found his leaden feet just slid uselessly over each other or across his bare ankles adding grazing to the aching and making everything worse.

He whined exhausted and pressed his head harder to the chair back as if that might help. It didn't and before he knew it he'd slipped. He never did hear Rory finish. Even as his hand was grabbed he barely moved at all. The only sign of recognition the instinctual closing of his grip in Rory's. Even unconscious Tom would not squander an opportunity to latch to Rory.
Typically, when Thomas fell asleep like this, Rory would gather him up in his arms and carry him off to bed, being as quiet and as gentle as he could be so that he didn't wake him. Today, however, the gardener had other plans for the artist who had taken quite a large leap into the next phase of his life, a phase that would merge their two worlds in ways they expected, but also in ways that they had yet to fully grasp. And it was because of this uncertainty, this element of the unknown, that Rory took it upon himself to create the safest of havens for Thomas.

He wanted him to have a place he could go to that felt stable, and certain, and secure, when all other things did not, and he wanted him to have somewhere he could go to when things became too challenging, or tiring, or worrisome, be it emotionally, physically or both.

He wanted him to have a sanctuary.

Taking him there now, instead of to the master bedroom, Rory took extra care to settle the sleeping psychic into a gently swaying hammock, which was filled with plenty of plush pillows, along with an assortment of comfortable fleece and faux-fur coverings, many of which were done up in a woodland theme, a theme that the young psychic would come to find filled the entirety of the space, all in an effort to remind him of his rock, his Scottish prince, his nature-loving lion Rory.

Moving away from the slumbering psychic, Rory would proceed to not only fill the space with soothing scents - such as lavender and sage with just a touch of citrus, which would come mostly from a glowing, oil diffuser - but also soothing sounds - such as bubbling, running water, which would come from a candle-lit, ceramic fountain that the crafty gardener had a hand in creating.

And once this was all set, the gardener would continue to work his magic by lighting dozens of twinkling and flickering lights, some of which hung from delicate branches above and some of which sat within ornate lanterns below, but many of which were tucked away inside frosted glass jars, scattered across the secluded, loft-like space, each with their own woodland sprite keeping a protective eye on the one who mattered the most, Rory's one, his only...

Sweet, sweet Tommie, he would think to himself, with the warmest of smiles, as he finally took a seat in a nearby comfy chair, so he could sit and wait for his sleeping beauty to awake, just so he could introduce him to this whole new world, a world that would hopefully keep him both safe and sound for many, many years to come.
This was not the first time Tom had fallen asleep in his chair beside Rory. No doubt it would not be the last time either. As such Rory had been given several opportunities in which to master the art of transporting his sleeping Artist, opportunities he'd made good use of. Tom didn't so much as flutter an eye as he was lifted into Rory's gentle hold, Nor did he stir as he was laid out amongst faux fur and pillows in the swaying hammock, even the removal of his shoes prompted only a small reaction as tender toes stretched out in response to freedom.

The afternoon turned into the evening without Tom seeing.

He woke undisturbed and slow, entering a blissful half-sleep state first in which his eyes stayed shut but he was aware of the smell of lavender and citrus, warmth from both the scented air and the brush of fleece and fur on his bare skin. His body was aware that he had moved, though his mind was yet to follow the realisation through. It didn't matter there a pillow under his head which was no longer an impossible weight to bear, his legs too were cushioned and much less angry with him.

He was still swaying gently as if being rocked and it was almost enough to break him from the process of rousing and put him back to sleep but something in him knew that he had kept Rory waiting long enough. After all the hand he'd sensed in his in the early stages of sleep was gone.

His Hearing came next. In the distance, he could hear evening bird song. closer though was the sound of babbling water flowing over ceramic. if he had to guess it was coming from a small fountain. Not something he remembered seeing in Rory's house but no great surprise. With every second he grew closer to a state of awakeness and before long he opened his eyes. Just a crack at first to reveal a branch-like light fitting holding lots of flickering lights. Enchanting but like nothing Tom recognised as part of Rory's decor. Beyond that was the soft glow of candlelight on the roof.

St=itting up slightly and very slowly to keep from tipping out Tom looked around, rubbing his eyes with one hand. It was like he was in some secret forest hideaway. More than secret, magically secret. It made him smile. It was like he was in the sort of place his character in their commission would live. He hummed happily and lay back again. Sprawling himself out in a marginally relaxed regal position before turning his head to where he could feel his Rory.

"Hello, my lion" He yawned blissfully, "Where are we ? It looks like a forest hideaway" He smiled "Did we get sucked into the triptych?" He teased, finally reaching to urge Rory over to him.
Seeing Thomas so well-rested and content warmed Rory's heart. That was exactly how he wanted the sometimes anxious artist to feel in this special space. Him asking if they had been whisked away to some magical realm caused the gardener's pride to flutter and swell, more than just a little, since that had been yet another goal of his upon pulling this all together. He wanted Thomas to feel as if he were in another place and even another time, where all was right and good in the world, the world that they had created and, hopefully, would continue to create together.

"Hello, my little lamb," he would reply, as he eagerly came to sit by Thomas' side, upon being called to do that with just a single gesture. "We're in your sanctuary," he would add, with the broadest of smiles, as his free hand motioned to the rest of the cozy, candle-lit chamber. "This is all yours to have and explore, in good times and in bad, whether you're feeling loved or even just the slightest bit lost," he explained, as he returned his excited gaze to the reclining artist.

"Now, you have a choice to make," he then continued to explain, as he reached out to stroke a runaway lock of Thomas' wavy hair. "You may continue to slumber as you are, leaving the rest for another day or we can take a tour, starting with whichever portion appeals to you the most. There is no need to rush, nor overthink this, for, like me, none of it is going anywhere anytime soon."

"If anything, over time, you'll only come to discover new and unexpected surprises as I add even more!" he tacked on, with a cheeky grin, which certainly spoke of additional plans already in the works.
Little lamb, That made Tom smile. He felt very little and lamb-like right now. Like he wanted and needed protection. He was confused at first by the talk of being in his sanctuary. He didn't have a sanctuary, that seemed like the sort of thing he'd know about if he had one. He would have spent lots of time there ... unless ... unless Rory had built this place for him. As a sort of surprise moving in gift. Tom didn't like surprises normally but this one. This one was wonderful. He beamed softly "You built this all for me?" He asked redundantly "It's ... It ... Oh Rory" He was tearing up "I love you" He felt so full of Love.

He felt safe too, in this bubble separated from everything else. Everything but Rory.

He watched Rory with wide loving eyes, glistening with moisture. No doubt in the candlelight it was quite a sight. He hardly moved as Rory spoke focused on his every syllable. The way Rory's mouth moved was ... enrapturing. The idea of slumbering was very tempting but he knew it was a bad idea "If I sleep again now I won't sleep tonight and that will be no good" he mumbled, "But your little lamb has been on his feet all day ... such a long day ... " he added looking down at the floor "You're a strong lion" he teased laying a hand on Rory's arm squeezing the muscle.

"I'd like a tour but I think I need carrying ... everything is achy and tired" he whined dramatically "We can start here and work our way around then we can rest again" he suggested "Please" He pleaded "Please can my Lion look after his lamb?"
Letting slip a soft chuckle as the dramatic artist pleaded with both his soft voice and wide eyes, Rory nodded in agreement before leaning in to give his lamb a kiss on the cheek.

"Yes, my sweet Tommie, I will most certainly take care of you, and I will even carry you when it's time to take that tour. For now, however, lay right where you are and let me bring a thing or two to you!" he instructed, as he drew himself up from his spot on the carpet-covered, wooden floor and made his way towards a bookcase that held a number of treasures both old and new.

Where to begin? Where to...? Ah-ha!

Snatching up a leather journal, along with a fountain pen, Rory also piled on three small, leather-bound books that each contained the information the young psychic would need to interpret his...

"Dreams!" he then announced, rather gleefully, as he came and set the items on a nearby, three-legged stool, before motioning to a rainbow-colored dreamcatcher that dangled from the angled ceiling, just behind the artist's head. "I keep a journal myself," he shared, as he pointed to the blank one that now sat on top of the small pile. "My aunt was the one who got me started, back in my teens," he continued, with a soft smile, as his thoughts went to her. "Anyway. Log them, don't, do with the journal as you see fit. I tend to have some of my best ideas, late at night, right before I'm falling asleep. So if nothing else, maybe you can use it for that!"

Taking a step away, the gardener then brought the artist's attention to what should've been a vaguely familiar case, which sat just off to the side of the small library. Carefully opening it, he angled it just so so that Thomas could see that it was a record player, very similar to the one that he had in his studio; however, this one was a true antique, one that they had seen together, several weeks ago, during one of their Sunday outings.

"Have you been to Disc Go Round lately?" he then asked, with a bit of a sheepish grin, as he motioned to a large, wooden crate that sat beside the portable player, "because, well, I may have put a rather large dent in their classical collection. Anyway. You clearly needed both this player and a larger assortment of music to inspire you. So said my own muse. Okay? Okay!"

"Would you like me to put one on?" he then asked, as he moved towards the artist's expanded collection. "There's all the big names, like Verdi and...and Domingo," he beamed, as his fingers played over the cardboard-encased edges of the vinyl records.
A purr met the kiss on his cheek as Rory chuckled against his skin. It was amazing how flexible Rory was, to be so strong and yet still be able to wrap around Tom's little finger. But then angels could do most anything they wanted so Tom figured he ought not to be suprised.

"Thank you my angel" Tom smiled before obediently settling himself back in his nest of pillows to await Rory and his thing or two. Whilst he waited he pondered his new place. watching the twinkling branches and wondering how his life had turned into something so wonderful. Clearly, he had done something very right. What though he couldn't say. He wished he had his camera at that moment to capture something of this for the memory book.

Hmm, he did have his phone, less aesthetically pleasing than a polaroid but there were photo editors and such to at least make it look akin to the rest of the book. For now, he at least had a document of what Rory had done and how he looked. Tom did not want either of them to forget this night or the care with which Rory was spoiling him.

For once in his life, Tom felt no guilt about being spoiled. He could see woven into the very fabric of this room Rory's desire to make him feel like there was one place in which he could have all the power and reward of his artistic headspace without the obligations. He lived to fulfil Rory's desires and if one of those was that he got treated like a king then Tom would let himself be a king.

The phone almost went out of the window as Rory loudly ... by contrast to his earlier tone ... announced dreams. Tom chuckled as he regained his composure. Well, he felt less sleepy now at least. Rory very often announced random words. The tail ends of his internal thought processes so Tom was used to it. Didn't stop him jumping but it did mean no nasty accidents with fire. Tom soon managed to piece together why Rory had announced dreams and it made him smile. Oh to get his hands on one of Rory's dream diaries ... maybe some of his lost memories were trapped in there. Maybe just artistic inspiration. Rory was his muse after all.

Tom didn't dream much himself and when he did it had normally been nightmares. He had no desire to write them down but the random hits of inspiration. Those could go in it or candid sketches of Rory at rest. He would find uses and the dream catcher was pretty even if he didn't dream anything. "Thank you my Muse, I'll find something to fill it with I'm sure"

There was more though, his eyes were guided to a case ... he knew it but from where? He smiled when he realised it was a record player. No more than that it was The Record player. He remembered now. Early in their relationship, they were wandering through downtown lauder hill. It was raining and they were huddled under an umbrella. That record player had been in the window of a tucked-away antique shop. A classic, with a price tag to match. He'd told Rory it was beautiful.

"Rory ... is that? ... darling it was .... Thank you" He stumbled over his words, filled with the urge to latch to Rory and kiss him ever so firmly but he stayed where he was relaxed and supported, swaying gently.

"I have not, it's been a busy month ... I had planned a trip soon since somebody turned me into a commercially successful artist," He said with a playful grin and wink "Maybe I should hold off a few more weeks though, we might be on some banned list ... Don't let them in they clean us out" He was laughing. What a turn around he felt so full of joy now and things felt alright again. The stress if not the aches melted away. "They aren't to know just how much music I need to capture you on canvas" he smiled "This is more than okay ... This is, inexplicable"

"Yes put on the first record in the box" The box made him smile too, all of this made him smile "Then come back over here my mighty lion," He said, "I have something for you" His eyes flashed orange and a slightly rugged-looking box appeared in his hand, not too big and the wear seemed intentional. "I was going to give you this on your birthday but ... I want you to wear it now" He explained opening the box to reveal a Leather bracelet on the fastenings inside face was engraved an 'A' "Your artist" Tom explained and an 'M' "My muse" He added as he got it out.

"It should fit ..." Tom had measured ... "Shall I put it on?" He asked "Then you can carry on"

Inspirational Music

Plucking the first record from the crate, Rory took extra care sliding the disc out of its well-worn sleeve. Like the player itself, the recording had many years under its belt, but it appeared to be in mint condition just the same. Not a scratch to be seen anywhere.

"It's the full opera, spread across two albums," he announced, as Puccini's Madame Butterfly began soaring through the acoustically sound space, upon speakers that were cleverly tucked away. "I'll keep it low, for now," he explained, as he fussed with the nobs, just before crossing the room so that he could be by Thomas' side once more.

"You...you didn't have to," he replied, as the psychic willed a box into his hands. "But I'm thankful that you did!" he then exclaimed, with a tooth-filled smile, as his eyes caught sight of the handsome bracelet with its lion pendant. "A and M, just like our initials," he added, after the artist explained his take on the engravings. "It's beautiful. I won't ever take it off," he then gushed, as he spun the accessory around so that the mighty lion faced forward. "Thank you."

Giving the psychic yet another kiss, Rory was soon off again!

There was so much more that he wanted to share, so many secret treasures to unearth in the other parts of the sanctuary, but before they began that whirlwind tour, the gardener had one more thing he wanted to share before they moved on. Plucking a number of tiny, colorfully capped jars from a shelf, he brought them over and presented them to Thomas; however, instead of remaining by his side, he dashed off once more, just so he could grab another item.

"You whisper your wishes inside and then seal it up tight," he explained, as he returned with yet another glass container; however, unlike the others, this one not only had a tag hanging from it, but it contained some sort of dew-covered plant life. "This one is for me to make wishes for you. I already added two."

"And, no, you cannot share yours with me and I will not share mine with you, otherwise they won't come true," he then stated, in a playfully firm voice, with a very stern expression...that lasted for less than thirty seconds!

"Okay! What's next? Where does my lamb wish to go from here?" he asked, as he crouched next to the hammock, with his strong arms outstretched, which basically meant the Rory Express was leaving the station in the next minute or so. "All aboard!"
Tom loved watching the care with which Rory approached everything whether that was a well-worn opera vinyl or a worn-out artist. Everything he did was with such protectiveness and care. His self-control was masterful.

The orchestral music thundered out at first. Filling the room and Tom's ears from several sides. It was too loud but before Tom could get that thought from his mind to his mouth Rory had turned it down. Ever aware of Tom's needs. The music was reduced to a low background level. from a gale to a cooling breeze. Relaxing atmosphere restored "Yes my love, Thank you"

"I know my Rory" he whispered back as Rory approached "I wanted to" More than wanted truthfully. Needed to. He was bright with joy as Rory took in the gift and brightened himself even more. The applicability of A and M as their initials had escaped him and at first, he thought Rory was teasing him. He wasn't sure if he liked being teased like that tonight ... only to realise with a start that it wasn't teasing it was true. He looked surprised then guilty for just a moment but then smiled again. The duel meaning enhancing the reason for the bracelet. "It is isn't it?" he said softly as he fastened the leather around Rory's wrist ever so cautiously, brushing Rory only lightly as he did so. "Please don't take it off except when you absolutely have to ..."

Until they had wedding bands it was the physical expression of his share of Rory. They would get wedding bands one day right?

The gift given Rory was off again. No doubt eager to return to his plan. Tom had come to find that none withstanding his forgetfulness and better capacity to adapt to changes and diversions Rory was a planner too. It aided them in meshing together. Tom put the box aside and settled back into his role of little lamb royalty. The next gift was as beguiling as the first. small jars, empty and colourful ... Tom didn't know what he was meant to do beyond look at them. To his shame, he could find no special significance in them. was he forgetting some jar based memory?

Before he could get an explanation Rory was off again to fetch more. Perhaps that would explain things he thought and true enough it did. The explanation made Tom smile. He didn't believe in the potency of wishes. He'd wished for his parents or at least memories of them so many times ... too many times, it hurt his heart to remember the many nights of wishing and pleading. He supposed that he had been given Rory though. Maybe it was decided he needed Rory more than his parents or their memory. Still, whether wishes were real or not the gesture was beautiful and his eyes were wetted again. A mix of joy and sadness from the duel reactions the jars evoked.

"secret wishes it is" he replied with a smile in the face of Rory's solemnity. He took the first jar and whispered very softly into it in slow, careful, cobbled together high school Spanish "Desearía que siempre pudiera ser así " He wasn't sure he'd got it totally right but he was pretty sure Rory didn't speak Spanish and he knew what he'd desired anyway. Then as instructed he sealed the jar tight.

He carefully put the jars aside and sat up to drape his legs over the hammock's edge. Pondering the question as he rubbed the blue shirt Rory was wearing between his fingers before shifting into Rory's arms and clinging tight to keep his feet from touching the floor. "Hmm Unless there is anything in this part of the room you want to show me let's go a little deeper" he declared carefully pointing to the rooms middle section. Was that a sink? very intriguing.
Taking Thomas up into his arms, Rory carried him away from the safety of the swinging hammock and into the heart of his special place. If the artist glanced around, he would come to see that there were two distinct sides to the center space. To his left, he would see an area dedicated to play - which they would explore a little later on - along with what appeared to be the top of a stair, but to his right, he would see both a kitchenette and a doorway leading out.

The kitchenette would be their first stop.

"I wanted to make sure you could take care of yourself, without having to go very far," he explained, as they stood before the fully stocked prep area that housed not only a sink and mini fridge, but a tea maker. "I made all of the ceramic canisters," he shared, as he motioned to the series of four jars. "They're filled with your favorite teas," he added, before nodding towards the fridge. "I found this imported apple juice I think you'll like and also this awesome new line of aloe-infused drinks!" he then informed the artist, with great enthusiasm. "Anyway. Besides all that, you'll find jars filled with your favorite candies, including Starbursts, along with a number of new oils and gels, some of which work in the diffuser, but all of which should sooth you to your core."

"Oh! And when the weather permits, you can always pack yourself a picnic and take a bit of your sanctuary with you into the great outdoors," he added, as he nodded towards a wicker basket that sat to the side of the kitchenette, along with a pair of matching lanterns. "But, like, only if you take me with you. Deal?" he teased, as he nuzzled along the side of Thomas' neck, before giving his lobe a quick nibble-kiss.

"Where to next?" he would then ask, once his lips had their fill.
Tom kept a tight hold as he adjusted to accommodate Rory standing up with him in his arms. Crossing his ankles together over the small of Rory's back and laying his head on his lion's shoulder so he could still look around the space without getting in the way. It would be terrible if his neediness got Rory hurt. Their journey deeper revealed more of the world Rory had constructed for him. He only got a proper look at the kitchenette and the mysterious door as he was reluctant to switch sides and cause a fuss but that was plenty to take in for now.

Rory had clearly put a lot of thought into this space. He almost felt like crying he was so touched. But he didn't he knew tears would make Rory stop and Tom was hungry for the full tour. he could cry later when he and Rory were spooned together in bed.

"Oh my Rory" he cooed "You are thinking of everything" he sighed utterly contented. He felt so cherished and understood. His eyes poured over the ceramics first the containers which although simple were especially meaningful because Rory had made them by hand "You are so talented, such clever hands you have" he replied snuggling tighter for a moment. then he took in the ornate tea set. He already knew that would only come out for special occasions. Rory had stocked the space with all the snacks and drinks Tom could want especially when he felt scared or unwell. He didn't know what to say. "I erm ... Thank you , Thank you my Rory, my wonderful Rory ..." He gushed sitting up in Rory's arms to kiss him deeply after the kiss nuzzle his ear "I don't know what I did to deserve this place or you but ... my god, I feel so cherished"

He slumped back to snuggle to Rory's shoulder then "It's a deal" he replied belatedly to Rory "My man, Your Tommie" he promised. Other than Nate and Kaly there weren't many others he'd want to picnic with. Zelda too, he needed to catch up with her soon. For now though he was keeping his headspace in this dreamland Rory had made.

HE was eager to try out the teas and drinks but that would mean leaving Rory's arms and tom needed contact at the moment so he'd wait on that. When Rory asked where he wanted to go next Tom hummed "wherever Rory wants to take his lamb next, I want to see it all but I don't mind what order ... Soon can you soothe me with one of the oils that aren't for the diffuser though, it doesn't need to be now we can finish the tour first, I just ..." He said cutting off when he couldn't find the right word. He was being demanding but he knew by now that Rory delighted in letting him be high maintenance.

It seemed like Rory wanted him in a state of bliss, wanted to treat him like a fragile being who needed to be coddled and tended to.
Naturally it pleased Rory to no end to hear Thomas gush about how thankful he was for everything and, more importantly, for him. And he hadn't even seen everything yet! By the end of their tour, he was certain there would be lots of cuddling and kissing to be had, along with a healthy dose of the far more intimate stuff, but, for now, they or, more specifically, Rory was going to quite literally carry on.

"There will come a time for that," the ever-nurturing gardener reassured the wanting artist, as he made his way towards the nearby door, "but for now, let's finish what we started."

Managing to maintain a firm hold on the young psychic, as he proceeded to undo the rustic, wooden door and then carry him through the ornately-carved opening, the two would soon find themselves standing on a private balcony that overlooked the meandering stream and lush wood, both of which could be heard from their vantage point. And along with the soothing sounds of rushing water and rustling branches, there would also be the delicate song of sturdy, glass shards, as the evening wind swept through a clutch of colorful chimes.

"May I?" Rory would then ask, as he nodded towards the plush, floor-based lounge, which looked ridiculously comfortable, with the hopes of setting Thomas down just for a moment. When the artist didn't protest too much, he did so, but only long enough for him to quickly light a fire in an ornate pit that sat on the other end of the tidy space, along with several frosted lanterns and whimsical, fairy-themed planters.

Returning to the spot where he sat the artist, Rory beamed as he took in the heartwarming image of his reclining lamb who was now bathed in both lamp and fire light.

"The seating is meant for one, but I'm sure we could squeeze both of ourselves in," he teased, as he came to sit upon the cushy edge, not pressing further just yet, for fear of not being able to or, more likely, not wanting to get back up. "You'll find a little something tucked away, back in the corner there," he then shared, as he motioned to the artist's right. "One jar of bubbles and another filled with magical wands," he explained, once both items were discovered.

"By the way, I meant to mention this earlier, but all of the cloth and all of the wood used in the space and out here has been treated with a fire retardant," he disclosed, on a slightly more serious note, since it was always a pressing concern for both of them, especially when Thomas was all worked up, which he would more than likely be when he came to his safe space seeking comfort. "It doesn't make everything fire proof, but it'll certainly cut down on the amount of things that could potentially go up in smoke in an instant," the psychic continued to reassure, with a soft smile, as he reached out and gently stroked one of Thomas' half-curled legs.

"We can continue whenever you're ready to, my lounging lamb."
Tom just nodded as Rory indicated that the time for soothing Tom with oil and who knows what else would come later. Tom wanted to leave it in Rory's hands "Yessir" he tittered. Finishing the tour was definitely the best decision. Tom was dangerously on the edge of sleep but the tour might give him the boost he needed to stay awake till bedtime even if Rory made him feel like a puddle before then.

Being carried like this was a very secure feeling. Though tom was holding tight he had every faith that even if he slackened his grip Rory wouldn't let him slip at all. Rory's had kept at least one hand supporting him all the way through their tour. most of the time he had his free hand wrapped across Tom's back with his thumb caressing a line between Tom's shoulders. It was like he had a bubble of support. Stepping from the warmth of the sanctuary into the late evening air, lifted goosebumps over toms bared skin but it was refreshing. Woke him up a tiny bit too which was a relief because Tom was so very tempted to forget that he would pay for sleeping again at bedtime and just let the cards fall as they may.

A sleepless night would have equalled a very grouchy Tommie the next day and no one wanted that.

There was some small protest to being put down, in the form of a slight whimper but he went willingly, after all, Rory was so careful to settle him straight into a comfortable reclined position and he found that the lounger on the balcony gave the hammock a run for its money. He was spoiled for choice when it came to napping spots, Though this lounger and the balcony were probably a slightly better spot for sketching. especially when Rory was gardening. He let his heavy head settle in the plentiful pillows and sprawled his legs out, digging his toes under the blanket as he watched Rory. The sounds were similar to those near the hammock when he'd woke up but they were more tilted to the branches instead with the water sounding further away. A slight variation was good another thing to vary the spots.

Watching Rory light the fire pit Tom realised his vision was a little blurry and his eyes felt tired and slightly sore. He needed his glasses. It was not the first time Rory would have seen them but whether he remembered was another matter. Certainly, Tom had only ever worn them right before bed.

He didn't have a chance to summon them before Rory returned and revealed more for him to find. The glasses could wait, he could see Rory well enough to bask in that warm pearly smile. Rory looked wonderful in the fire light. The grey streak in his hair which made Tom's heart leap glowed and his eyes sparkled. The most beautiful thing in existance. At the urging, Tom sat up a little and probed around until he found both jars. From there he immediately blew a few bubbles into the air and watched them with a small smile as they floated then landed and popped. It felt wonderfully childish.

He put them away again after that to focus himself wholly on Rory. The consideration of having the whole place treated was a relief. "Yes that was a good decision my love" he agreed. He doubted that there would be much risk of fire in this place. It seemed perfectly prepared to be immediately soothing, quite soothing enough to immediately put a stopper on Toms fire he was sure but it was good to know there was provision if the worst happened. He hummed as Rory stroked his leg and slowly lifted it from under the blanket to lay one and then both across Rory's lap.

"Just a few minutes longer my lion, feels nice" he mumbled nodding dumbly at Rory's caressing hands.

In the break from new and enticing features of the space, Rory had made Tom took the time to settle back again and relax before summoning his glasses and slipping them on. That was better. Then as he said he would he took a few minutes to just breathe and enjoy the wind and Rory's skin on his own. He could feel sleep pulling at him helped by the soft melody of their surroundings and he knew it was time they continued.

He playfully nudged Rory with his foot and opened his eyes "Can I get back on the Rory express now?" He smirked "I'm ready to continue, that spot is comfy ... too comfy if I don't leave it now we may never get away"
Bending down so he could scoop his now sleepy little, spectacle-wearing lamb back up, Rory then returned them to the inner sanctum, which was both warmer and cozier than the breezy outdoors that the balcony gave them easy access to. Hopefully, by enveloping him in this warmth, it wouldn't cause Thomas to doze off before they finished the tour, but if that happened, so be it. It wasn't like they didn't have all the days, weeks, months, and years ahead of them to do with as they wished.

"Oh! I almost forgot to introduce you to two of your newest fine finned friends," the gardener announced, as they began to pass by the kitchenette, only to stop mid-stride. "I haven't given them names yet," he disclosed, as he presented the tea cup-shaped bowl, which sat above the sink, with a stylish tin of fish food set by its side, "but I'm sure we'll come up with something to rival the likes of Puddle and Takka."

Now satisfied that he had covered all of the important bits in this part of the suite, Rory made his way over to the area he had already deemed a play zone, for this was where Thomas could nurture his inner child, just as he had on the balcony with the bubbles.

"Initially I had plans to include a massage table in this part of the room, but that just seemed too cold, too clinical, not to mention, it required someone skilled to invade your private space," the psychic explained, as they approached a tall, steamer-style trunk, which was cracked open just far enough to reveal a treasure trove of adult-size costumes. "So instead, I went to the other end of the spectrum and decided to make this portion as fun and as carefree as I could!" he exclaimed, as he began to point at various metal tins and wooden crates that contained things like modeling clay, chalkboards and chalk, coloring books and colored pencils, and Pop Art-themed jigsaw puzzles.

"Rainy day or not, there should be enough creative activities here to keep you busy for a good number of hours, but without any of that stress you may feel of having to complete your next big commission," he stated, with a smile, before he once again nuzzled Thomas' neck, but this time instead of going for an ear - since they were both currently holding his rather fetching eyewear in place - he went right for the artist's lips.

"Where to, Clark, I mean, Mr. Kent?" he would then playfully ask, before giving Thomas the coyest of smoldering glances.
There wasn't a word in response to his request. No laugh, just a calm careful grip and a gentle pull back into the arms of his lion. His arms and legs folded around Rory and he settled into what he was sure was the exact same position. comfortable secure and after a second or two warm and cosy. It raised goose flesh on him again. He wriggled a little and then settled. He was in a content almost sleepy state. battling a constant urge to slip into sleep but it was a battle of velvet gloves.

No sleeping, Tonight was Toms night to be a needy little lamb. To have himself tended to by Rory. Waited on hand and foot like he was something precious. He was beginning to feel worthy of being considered precious. Because of Rory.

They stopped somewhat unexpectedly by the kitchenette again and he had to sit back in Rory's arms to look. The shape of the bowl made him smile though it was a soft sleepy sort of smile. "A challenge to be sure Puddle and Takka are high-level names" he replied playfully "But I think we can manage, maybe I'll name one for an opera and you can name one for a clay sculptor" He suggested, "Have they been fed?"

If not they would be before Tom agreed to move on.

Tom settled his head back on Rory's shoulder as he turned to look at the playful area. He hummed at the talk of the massage table "True enough, but you are more than expert enough to soothe my aches ... you don't need the table though and I suppose if we hire a masseuse they'll bring their own table and can set up in the great room" It was still mad to think tom now lived in a place with a great room. He hummed and nuzzled Rory "I like when you massage me, makes me feel important and fragile ... feel fragile now" he mumbled as he looked up "I like the idea of a playful area better than just a table anyway" His eyes lit up as he looked at the costumes "Someone was busy at the con" he teased there was all manner of nerdy costumes ... one notable absence but then he supposed that one was more special and not a mere toy.

"I can't wait to spend a rainy day with a nice glass of wine and a jigsaw, me and you" he smiled "Because I want you to join me here too, not just for me ... none of this, it needs your input to be perfect," He said soft and sincere as he groaned and turned into the nuzzle only to have his lips caught. He latched on to Rory's bottom lip to suckle and nip. Another little energy boost.

The teasing made him smile "I'm no superman Mr Anderson" he whispered "I won't object to you being formal though if you want to be" He didn't answer where next he just hummed and nosed at Rory.

He'd Told Rory to manage everything. Rory had carried on and done perfectly. "Little lamb isn't interfering, Lion knows what he needs"
"Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir," Rory would reply, with the cheekiest of grins, as they began to make their way along the last leg of their journey, towards their final destination, which was the rear of the room that was bathed mostly in warm, lantern light.

From a certain point of view, they had come full circle, which seemed entirely appropriate given the fact that the gardener had wanted to create a sort of bubble around the artist so he could feel safe and secure within his new home. While the rest of the welcoming residence was for them to enjoy together, this special space was for Thomas alone, unless he requested Rory's presence and then, and only then, would he step foot within its angled walls.

Stepping inside the final alcove now, which basically mirrored the space that they had started in, Rory continued to bestow gifts upon Thomas, starting with a handsome, hand-made chess set, which had once belonged to his father.

"I can teach you, just like my dearly departed da taught me and my siblings, that is, if you don't already know how to play," he explained, as he plucked a king piece from the board and rolled it between his fingers. "I think it's a game well-suited for someone who desires a lot of structure in their life," he would note, rather thoughtfully, before placing the piece back down. "There's also checkers, in that tin over there, just in case we want to give our overly-strategized minds a rest."

Moving deeper into the space, Rory then motioned to an oversized chest, which currently had its lid thrown open. Spilling out from the top was more than one enormous, fluffy comforter, along with a pile of cushions, all done up in a theme that spoke of the woods, but at night, under the light of the moon, just like it was right now. Added to the mix were also a jumble of plush pillows, in varying shapes and sizes, covered in glowing stars and billowing nebulas.

"At some point, you can make a blanket fort, if you'd like," he initially suggested, with a nod towards the substantial throws. "But it's all meant to be spread out beneath the window, so that we, I mean, you can enjoy the spectacular evening view," he would clarify, with a not so subtle verbal stumble, as he suspiciously glanced from the trunk to the window and back, before shifting his gaze to meet Thomas' own.

"So? Whaddya think, my little lamb?" he then asked his rather open-ended question, seeing that it could pertain to any number of things, from how the psychic was feeling about the entire experience to what he wanted to do in the very next moment.

The choice was his to make, but either way, Rory was ready to fully relax, side by side, with his friend, his lover, his one and only Tommie.
"That's Mr Sir to you" Tom retorted playfully into Rory's shoulder as he carefully moved one hand into the back of Rory's hair to play with it affectionately. Partly in an exercise of confirmation that this was indeed real life. It felt too wonderful to be. Everything he felt he might need in a crisis was here and even some things that he hadn't thought of were laid out for him.

The final portion of this plain of relaxation had a pleasing symmetry both with the other end of the room but also with itself. This side was obviously set out for relaxation by distraction over relaxation by stillness. That was as valuable though sometimes Tom felt so worked up that he couldn't just lie still and listen, read or sketch. Sometimes he needed to put his mind through the wringer so that whatever thoughts were upsetting him were banished. This side of the room also felt distinctly Roryesq especially with the telescope in prime position by the window.

Seeing the radio on the side of the chair made him smile. It would be a crime to make Tom trudge all the way across the room for music when he was in this portion after all.

Of course, the majority of their time in this section was spent with Tom focused on the ornate chess set. Tom listened quietly to the explanation. Tom knew how to play chess, not to any exceptional level but he knew the basics. Still, something in the way Rory offered to teach him made him think that Rory would find some solace and healing in teaching him. Was it not toms duty to give some small amount of healing back to Rory after all this? Tom decided it was "I know a few basics my lion," he said, downplaying his knowledge and summoning the opposing king into his hand to carefully tap it against the one in Rory's like they were kissing. "But I want to be taught properly please, not tonight because I am too tired but soon," He added.

The checkers got a cursory look as the chess pieces were returned but already they were moving on. Tom could sometimes play checkers well. Most of the time though he was too rash. A proper look at all the details could come later.

From there they moved further into the room and to a bit of relaxation by cosiness that had permeated the otherwise logical space. There was a nod to the telescope too though in the form of the slowing stars on the fabric.

Then Rory suggested building a fort, a way to tie in the slice of the room devoted to their inner children ... or more accurately just Toms. Rory had been using a lot of singular words. Tom was just picking that up. The chess set was the first time he'd said we, not just you. Well in the sense of the future anyway, he'd said we about present things. Tom wondered if he was overthinking, it would not be the first time. Then it happened again although this time Rory intentionally corrected a 'we' to a 'you'. As if to suggest Rory would not be joining him. Tom had to query that.

However his first thought was to answer Rory's question. Tom would not question Rory before that it would be rude and appear ungrateful. "It is so wonderful Rory" he replied sitting back in Rory's hold so he could make eye contact "I don't have adequate words, I can't believe you did all this for me, I have been blessed with the very best of partners ... " he welled up again and pressed back to Rory's shoulder "I love you so much" he half sobbed kissing at his lover's neck. Sobs of joy and overwhelming gratitude. He felt so treasured.

Hiding away for a moment or two he was all he needed to be able to speak softly again, though he still didn't tell Rory what to do next. He was yielded to Rory's plan and he'd had his one request confirmed as something for later so he was confident that it was slotted into the plan and did not, therefore, need bringing up again. Instead, he addressed his query.

"Rory, you corrected yourself from saying 'we' to 'you' before and you've said 'you' a lot ... will you not be joining me in here? what will you do when I'm watching the stars or playing and your not at work or busy?" he asked. There were very few instances where Rory's presence would not make this room feel safe and even more relaxing. Rory could relax him in even the most terrifying of situations. He didn't want the default position to be that Rory was excluded from this space. If Tom needed alone time he would and could say so just as he did before the sanctuary was revealed.
"Oh. No. I'll be here, as often as you'd like, but that will be your call to make, not mine. I will never invade your space without your permission, because this is all about you having a safe haven to call your own," he began to explain, as he gently set Thomas down. "Besides, if you haven't already noticed, there's a lot of me already here. So even when I can't be by your side, I'll always be here in spirit, right?" he then added, as he began to move towards the trunk with the overabundance of blankets and cushions. "I only corrected myself, because I want to make it clear to you that this is your domain where you call all the shots. However..."

"There is one more thing I want to show you, before I officially hand things off!" he then stated, with a sheepish grin, as he began to set out one of the large blankets, spreading it across the floor before the expansive rear-window. "Oh. Wait. You know what? There's actually two things... No. Wait again. Three things left to reveal," he announced, as he scrambled to his feet so he could come to stand with Thomas.

"I know how important your family is to you, your birth family that is," he started, as he directed the psychic's attention to a nearby space that currently sat mostly in shadow. "So I wanted to give you the resources you would need to find out who they were and where they came from, where you came from," he then continued, as he reached forward and turned on a light that wasn't just any light but an illuminated globe. "Sure, you could do things the fancy new way, by surfing the net and all, which you can certainly still do, but wouldn't it be fun to do a bit of tracking, a bit of cataloging the old fashioned way?" he then asked, as he motioned to the globe, before pointing to a bin filled with dozens of maps. "I figure as you find out more, as you narrow things down, you can bring out a map and start sticking it with pins," he explained, as he picked up a cup filled with colorful tacks and shook it a bit. "I'm also thinking that you can start to pin places you'd like for us to explore together, both locally and abroad. Deal?

"Anyway. There's also a bunch of books here about researching your ancestry and about making a proper family tree," he then stated, as he crouched before the bookcase, only to draw himself back up as quickly as he went down. "But that's for another time. For now, we have our final show!"

Taking Thomas by the hand, he brought him back towards the blanket. Gesturing for him to take a seat, Rory was quick to playfully toss more than a few pillows at him just before dashing off yet again!

Soon enough, the artist would find himself sitting mostly in the dark, as the gardener proceeded to extinguish every warm light and lamp; however, as his eyes would begin to adjust to the change, he would start to see what appeared to be jars that were glowing as if filled with fireflies. Then he would see little lights twinkle on, some of which were shaped like dragonflies, while others looked like festive lanterns. But the light show that came at the very end, just as Rory returned to Thomas' side, was the one that the older psychic truly hoped would surprise and delight the younger the most!

With a flick of a switch, a portable projector would transform the entire space into a field of floating stars. Taking Thomas by the hand, Rory would encourage him to lay back upon the blanket and pillows so that the two of them could rest side-by-side, partially entwined, as a galaxy of glowing orbs floated above and around them. It wouldn't take much effort to suddenly feel as if they were floating through space, yet not alone, never alone, but always together.

Two souls who had somehow found each other among the millions and millions out there.

"Welcome home, my Tommie," Rory would whisper, as he pressed a new key - a key to this private kingdom, this secret sanctuary - into one of Thomas' hands. "Welcome home," he would repeat, before bringing that same hand up to his lips so he could give it the firmest of kisses.

"I love you."
Tom nodded Rory's explanation sounded reasonable and Tom did suppose that there might be times that he just wanted to be completely alone. He didn't think that would be common though. Rory seemed to have a knack for making things better just by being there. He thought on Rory's answer as he was placed back down to stand on his own two feet in the sanctuary. "Right but I can't snuggle the spirit of you" He chuckled softly as he watched "I want you to know the default is that you are always welcome here unless I tell you I need to be alone ... I'll put a signal at the entrance" He declared "Where ever that is ... " he added with a mumble and smile as he looked around "Coloured ribbon or something, Red for when I need to be totally alone and yellow for when I need you to be quiet and look after me," He said before gasping and hurrying to correct himself "... Not that your loud ... I meant like ... you know, like whispering or something when I need coddling"

Tom looked down and shuffled on the spot. He couldn't articulate it properly but Rory had seen Tom's I need calm and order state before and it was that he was provisioning for.

Tom was surprisingly fond of the idea of having his own domain to control. Probably because it was so secret, safe and magical. It felt so much like his art and his art made him feel powerful.

He watched from the spot he'd been placed as Rory buzzed around to clear a space and layout a large blanket. Smiling slightly as he flitted "Calm my Lion" he urged gently as Rory catapulted back to his feet. Tiptoeing Tom ran a hand over his lion's stubble with one hand and held the leather braceleted wrist with the other as Rory came to stand beside him "Nuzzle my shoulder then tell me the three things mighty warrior" he whispered gently but with the confident edge, he got when he was composing a painting.

The next gift had an emotional ... Sting in the tail was the expression but that wasn't fair, it wasn't a sting, what the accurate description was he didn't know but it shone a light on another part of Tom that he'd smushed down deep. It brought him pain that he didn't really know his own history. Still, it was something it seemed he would be supported in remedying. He couldn't get his parents back but maybe he would recover their memories and learn about his heritage, He released Rory from the hold to go and show the globe which made him smile "We can do it together" he smiled "I like the old fashioned way" He added in a near whisper. He would start with the internet if only to get a start on his parent's details but from there he liked the idea of books and maps and handmade family trees. He nodded again at the other use for the maps. Telling Rory about places he wanted to explore. Exploring was hard but he knew they could start slow.

"Thank you for all this my lion, I can't believe how much thought you put into everything ... I don't deserve you," He said lowering himself slightly to kiss Rory's hand as it was taken. Then he obediently lay on the blanket. Not least because he was worn out and standing was not helping. Being pelted with pillows shifted him from the soft vulnerable state of feeling unworthy back into his charged confident headspace.

"Naughty Warrior" He chided "The first rule for being in here no pelting the little lamb" he teased before making himself a nest and relaxing again.

He watched Rory pad about the space putting out all the lights. Tom made no move to help he knew if Rory had meant for him to lift a linger he would have said. At first, darkness took over the room and Tom thought maybe Rory proposed to have Tom go to sleep but then lights began to ignite. first orbs like fireflies then full-fledged dragonflies and finally the stary night sky. He gasped softly again at the beauty of the twinkling light dancing on the roof.

Then Rory was beside him, his hand was once again clasped in Rory's and he was adjusted to wrap up with Rory and rest on the pillows. His eyes were heavy again as his free hand wrapped around Rory under his shirt. attention flitting between Rory and the lights. His Rory, His Lion, His protector, His devoted servant and merciful prince. Everything Tom could ever need any time he needed it.

He felt metal pressed against the hand Rory had clasped in his. He didn't look at it. He didn't need to whatever it was could wait but he imagined it was a key. That hand was more engaged with the feelings of his lion's lips on his skin. Tom loved having his hands kissed. "I love you too My Rory, My perfect unimaginable Rory" He cooed "To the stars and back again forever" he sighed.

"More kisses for your little lamb?" he asked sleepily before bringing his hand to Rory's mouth again. Content to stay lay on his Rory until his guardian was ready to move.
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)