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.
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