I've been missing my favorite pair so I wrote this little slice-of-life mini-story. Beware, there is a lot of mushiness and fluffliness. You have been warned. Enjoy!
Yours and Mine
"You didn't tell me that you had so many things, Emerson," Chandler commented as he brought the last of Kent's belongings from his former flat. "Please tell me that's the last box."
Kent smiled while he was putting away some of his clothes in the bedroom. Correction. Their bedroom now. After dating for a year, Chandler had surprised Kent on their anniversary by asking him to move in with him. Needless to say, Kent didn't have to think about his answer.
"That's the last one. I promise."
"Thank goodness. I think my back is going to be sore for the next few days."
"I think I said that as well the first time we spent the night together," Kent replied cheekily, making the older man blush slightly. "I thought you could keep up with me, Joe. You're much older than I thought you were."
"Hush, you. I'm not that much older than you," Chandler replied holding his lower back as he massaged his sore muscles. "But I'm not as young either."
"Well, if you don't think you can keep up me…" Kent teased.
Chandler went over to him and planted a long deep kiss on Kent's lips, leaving them both gasping for air.
"I can still perform quite competently, you know," he replied huskily.
"You don't have to tell me that twice."
Chandler linked his arms around Kent's waist as he brought the younger man closely to him. Kent responded by wrapping his arms around Chandler's neck fondly. There was a comfortable familiarity between them now that had not come easily at first, especially for Chandler. He had fought so hard to deny that he had any romantic feelings for his younger DC; so much that he almost drove Kent away. Fortunately, he had seen the light before it was too late and was now able to have a stable, intimate relationship for the first time in his life with someone who meant more to him than anything in this world.
"I'm glad you're finally here, Emerson."
"Me too. But it's not like it's the first time I've spent the night here with you."
"True. But it's our first night together as a live-in couple. Sometimes I wonder how you ever fell in love with me."
"I often wonder myself," Kent joked teasingly.
In one fell swoop, Chandler easily picked up Kent in his arms and walked over to the large bed, dropping the younger man unceremoniously onto the mattress as if he were a sack of potatoes. Chandler then smiled as he crawled on top of the bed, pausing as he hovered over Kent with a purposeful gleam in his eyes to which Kent had become accustomed to seeing when Chandler wanted, well…that. The DI had every intention of teaching his DC a lesson for his facetiousness.
"Joe, we don't have time for this. I have a ton of stuff to sort through and unpack," Kent protested as he put a hand up against the larger man's muscled chest in a vain attempt to stop him. In response, Chandler bent low to nibble at the base of Kent's slender neck which was one of his sensitive areas. "And what about the mess? Don't you want to clean it up?"
"Eventually," Chandler murmured as he began to deftly release the buttons on Kent's shirt and pressed warm kisses over the soft pale skin he had just exposed. Kent's breathing became ragged as his heart raced with familiar desire.
"I mean it Joe. This is no time for…ahh," Kent's voice trailed off as his body reacted in response to his lover's familiar touch, especially when he felt Chandler's lips pay particular attention to another one of his sensitive areas. Finally, Kent gave up protesting and wrapped his arms around Chandler bringing him against his chest, locking lips with his. Unpacking could wait. There were much more urgent matters to attend to.
"Mmm, it feels so much nicer not to have to rush back to my old place like I did before," Kent murmured as he snuggled his cheek against Chandler's bare chest. "I like it much better this way."
"If memory serves me correctly, you weren't in any hurry to leave me all those previous times either. I can't say that I blame you."
Kent pulled back in protest. "Why, you egotistical self-important…"
Chandler immediately silenced him with a sound kiss. "Careful now. That's no way to talk to your superior."
"You may be my boss at work, but you are in no way my superior. And you can't give me orders at home."
"I love it when you're feisty. Shall we put that energy to good use?" Chandler asked, putting a possessive hand on Kent's thigh, caressing it softly and making him squirm in delight. Kent loved the fact that he alone got to see this playful side of Chandler's personality.
"Can't you think of anything else?"
"Not with you on top of me like this."
"As much as I'd love to oblige you, we'd better get up before breakfast becomes lunch. I only have so much energy, you know."
"NOW who's the one that can't keep up?"
"Very funny. Anyway, we can't stay in bed all day. I still have to unpack and sort out my things since I was delayed, thanks to a certain person who wouldn't leave me alone."
"But you're just so adorable. I can't help myself sometimes."
Kent leaned over and kissed Chandler slowly and deeply. "Don't ever change Joe," the younger man replied, smiling happily.
"Joe, do you love me?" Kent asked during dinner one night out of the blue.
"Of course I do," Chandler replied automatically. "Why would you even ask me something like that?"
Kent's eyes lowered slightly. After several months of sheer bliss, he didn't want to do anything to jeopardize their happiness. But unfortunately, he had to do something that Chandler wouldn't like.
"I have a surprise for you," Kent said in a slightly nervous voice. "But I don't know how you're going to react to it."
"You're not pregnant, are you?" Chandler joked.
Kent threw his napkin at Chandler's head in response. "Will you be serious?"
"I'm sorry. What is it, Emerson?" Chandler replied in a soft voice.
"Close your eyes first."
"Don't you think we're a little too old for games?"
"Close. Your. Eyes," Kent reiterated more firmly.
"All right. They're closed now."
"Keep them closed. And no peeking."
Chandler was getting curious with each passing second. He suddenly felt something wet on his cheek, like someone was licking him.
"I appreciate your enthusiasm Emerson, but this is going a little too far."
"You can open your eyes now."
Chandler immediately was startled to find a pair of big brown eyes looking up at him, and they didn't belong to Kent. In fact, they belonged to a small golden retriever puppy that was being supported by Kent's hands as its tiny legs flailed in mid-air. It was slightly thin and on the small side, but it seemed in good spirits as demonstrated by its frantic wriggling. Nevertheless, Chandler wasn't thrilled by this surprise, just as Kent suspected.
"What's the meaning of this?" he demanded as he took his napkin and started wiping away at his face when he realized it was the dog that licked his cheek only seconds ago. "And where did you get that mongrel?"
Kent brought the puppy close to his chest to calm her down when she started to whine after hearing Chandler's raised voice. "Don't yell, Joe. You're scaring her. And she's not a mongrel. I found her in the back lot a few days ago just behind the apartment complex. She was cold, hungry, and alone. I couldn't let the poor thing suffer so I brought a blanket and started leaving some scraps of food."
"So that's where all the leftovers disappeared to."
"Guilty as charged. It wasn't easy to win her trust, but after a few days, Tilly got used to me and let me pet her. I wasn't planning on bringing her home, but she wouldn't stop whining. There was nothing else I could do."
"I applaud your benevolent actions, but it was a little shortsighted. What if her owners are looking for her? They must be worried to death."
"I asked everyone in the building and nobody came forward to claim her. Tilly must have been abandoned. Apparently, nobody wanted her except me."
"Emerson…" warned sternly. The fact that Kent had already given the puppy a name meant that there was going to be trouble.
"Isn't she the sweetest little thing?"
"Adorable. Don't you think it would be better to drop her off at the local animal shelter and let them take care of her?"
"But what if they don't find anyone to adopt her? They might even put her down if she doesn't find a home soon."
"You really don't expect that little dog to live here with us, do you?"
"Why not? Your lease allows pets."
"That's beside the point. You know how I feel about keeping things tidy. Having a pet is a big responsibility, let alone a puppy. She'll make a mess of everything."
"Tilly won't always be that way. Please, Joe. I'll take care of everything and you won't even have to lift a finger. She won't cause you any trouble. I promise."
"Puppies need a lot of attention especially at her age. How are you planning on taking care of her when we both work during the day and barely have time with each other at home?"
"Where there's a will there's a way. This is important to me."
"You never mentioned wanting a pet before."
"I didn't think I ever wanted one. But when I saw her shivering and all alone, I changed my mind. I know it's a lot of work, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes. If you just give Tilly a chance, I'm sure you'll grow to love her as much as I do."
"Emerson, you know that I would do anything for you, but I don't want a pet in my home."
"I thought this was my home, too."
Chandler couldn't help but cringe when he heard the obvious pain in Kent's voice. "I didn't mean…"
"Forget it," Kent replied stiffly as he turned to leave.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm spending the night in the spare room. Don't worry. I won't let Tilly on the bed. I wouldn't want to do anything else to annoy you in YOUR home."
Chandler couldn't do anything, except to slump back in his chair. It had been their first argument where they left in anger or resentment.
"Now, what am I supposed to do?" Chandler asked helplessly.
Later that night, Chandler peeked into the spare room to check on Kent. They had parted in such uncomfortable terms, that he couldn't rest until he was sure that Kent was all right. Having been the first time they slept in separate beds since Kent moved in, Chandler found a restlessness he had never experienced before. He had become accustomed to the warmth of Kent's body as he slept by his side and his steady breathing. He even loved the way Kent would tuck his hand beneath his cheek like a child when he slept on his side. At times when Chandler had difficulty falling asleep, he would watch Kent in awe and wonder when he dwelled on just how lucky he was to have him in his life. Being separated like this was torture.
Chandler found Kent sleeping soundly with Tilly lying on the floor next to the bed. She rested her head on top of her paws as she lay on a make shift bed that Kent had made for her. He had taken a laundry basket and placed a couple of bath towels on the bottom to act as a mattress. He had even put one of those blue training mats on top in case Tilly had an accident during the night. Chandler smiled reluctantly. Kent and Tilly really did look like they belonged together. Unfortunately, Tilly sensed Chandler's presence and started barking at the intruder in the room. Not wanting to wake up Kent, Chandler kneeled down and softly shushed the puppy, but she was not having any of it. Out of desperation, he decided to pick Tilly up and carry her into the living room. Eventually she settled down and was content to stay nestled within Chandler's arms, resting comfortably on his chest as he sat back against the sofa.
"I guess all you needed was some attention, you little troublemaker," Chandler commented without malice.
Tilly reached up to rub her snout against Chandler's chin in response as if she understood what he was saying. Chandler reluctantly smiled.
"You know, you kind of remind me of Emerson. You're both cute and you both give me nothing but trouble. I didn't mean what I said about you being a mongrel, Tilly. I can't believe I'm admitting this to a dog, but I'm selfish when it comes to Emerson. I know that it sounds crazy but I suppose I'm a little jealous of you. After all, I've had Emerson all to myself until now. With you here, it means that I have to share his affections. I just love him so much that I worry sometimes. What if he gets tired of me and all my obsessive ways? What if he can't take it anymore and decides that he wants to leave me one day?"
"That will never happen as long as we keep loving each other," Emerson's voice came from behind.
"I thought you were sleeping," Chandler replied a little sheepishly at having been caught pouring his inner thoughts in front of a puppy.
"I was until I woke up and saw you carrying Tilly out here," Kent replied coming to sit beside Chandler.
"You could have let me know that you were listening."
"And miss your heartfelt confession? Not for all the money in the world. Don't worry. We won't say a word to anyone. Mum's the word, right Tilly?"
"Did you mean what you said?" Chandler asked softly. "I mean, about not leaving."
"Yes, Joe. I knew what I was getting into when I accepted your invitation to move in with you. It's not exactly a secret that you aren't an easy man to get along with."
"And yet you still accepted."
"How could I say no? Do you have any idea how long I waited and wished for that? Besides, it wasn't like I went into this situation with blinders on. I knew what a big step this was for you and all the adjustments I would have to make. All of that didn't matter to me as long as I could be with you."
"I never realized how lonely my life was until you came to live here with me, Emerson. You always find a way to cheer me up and forget about a bad day at work even though you're probably just as tired and frustrated as I am. When I think I can't go on, your smile is enough to keep me going. I was afraid that I was living in a dream. That one day, I would wake up and find you gone because I had driven you away."
"Why didn't you tell me you felt like this?"
"I didn't want you to know. I was so happy you agreed to move in with me that I didn't want to rock the boat by burdening you."
"It isn't a one way street you know. Don't you think I worry that you regret asking me to live with you?"
"You were always so sure of yourself and about us. It never occurred to me that you would have reservations too."
"Why do you think I didn't tell you about Tilly when I found her? I always knew how much you needed things to be a certain way and I didn't want to take that away from you. But it seemed like everywhere I looked, it felt like nothing was mine."
"Didn't I tell you that everything I had was yours?"
"It's not the same thing. Don't you see? This is your flat decorated in your style with your furnishings. Everywhere I look, it reflects who you are. Do you know what it feels like to be a stranger in your own home?"
"I didn't mean to make you feel that way."
"I know you didn't. I just…I just wanted to keep Tilly so badly so I could feel needed and that I could have something to call my own."
"Emerson, I need you. I need you so much that my heart aches whenever you're away from me. Don't you know by now how much I love you?"
"Joe," Kent replied softly as he was overcome with Chandler's heartfelt confession.
"This is your home too. You don't have to feel like you're walking on eggshells because you're afraid I'll be displeased if something is not done the way I want. I don't want you to feel that way ever again."
"I should have told you about Tilly right from the beginning. I didn't give you a chance to get used to the idea. Instead, I ambushed you and expected you to accept her right away. I was wrong."
"I suppose my reaction wasn't exactly very welcoming, was it? You'll have to forgive me Emerson. I'm still getting used to the fact that I have someone else's feelings to consider now. That it's not just me anymore and my needs. I'll try to do better in the future."
"Tell you what. From now on, let's not keep any more secrets from each other. Whenever anything is bothering us, we'll let the other person know and talk it over. Deal?"
"Deal. Fight over?"
"It is as far as I'm concerned. But what about Tilly?"
"As a compromise, how about we have a trial period to make sure she's comfortable with the both of us and her new surroundings? If it doesn't work out, we'll find her another home. Either way, she won't end up at the animal shelter."
"Do you mean it, Joe? She can really stay?"
"I already have one eager puppy. Another one won't kill me," Chandler replied with a sigh of resignation.
"Thank you so much! I'll make it up to you. I promise." Kent followed up by pressing a soft kiss against Chandler's smooth cheek. "How's that for a start?"
"It was satisfactory. But I expect significant improvement in your performance DC Kent," Chandler teased in his authoritative tone that he used at work.
"Yes, sir. I always aim to please," Kent replied, before picking up their new pet and heading towards the spare room to put Tilly to bed. He wouldn't need the spare room tonight or any other night from now on.
"Did you miss me?" Kent asked as he slid under the covers rejoining Chandler in their bedroom.
Chandler suddenly pulled the younger man in his arms and held Kent tightly against his chest.
"I was only gone a few minutes," Kent replied laughing in amusement as he returned his embrace. "Did you miss me that much?"
"It isn't a dream. You're real. And you're all mine."
Kent pulled back and framed Chandler's face in his hands as he looked deeply into his eyes.
"I've always belonged to you, Joe. I always will."
Chandler reached over to brush his lips across Kent's forehead. "I love you."
Kent smiled again. "I know."
With that, the two lovers reunited, eventually falling asleep in each other's arms, exhausted but happily sated. Both Kent and Chandler knew that they would have to make adjustments as they continued their journey together. And now, they had a new addition to their household to add into the mix. But it was more than okay. For the first time since Kent moved in, he felt like he was finally home. And with Kent nestled securely in his arms, Chandler felt exactly the same.