Author's Note: Any episode of How to Get Away with Murder without at least two Coliver scenes leaves me cold. So you can imagine how disappointed I was by the complete absence of Coliver in S02E09. I have written two scenes that follow naturally from the end of S02E08 and could have occurred at the beginning of S02E09.
How to Get Away with Murder is the property of Shondaland Productions. I do not own any of the characters in this story.
Chapter 1: Enough for One Day
Oliver drove them home after their hijinks in the lecture hall. They're a one-car household. Why Connor had not bought another car after his was stolen remained a mystery, but Oliver had stopped asking him about it when he moved in. Renting Apt. 303 entitled them to just one spot in the building's parking garage, and Oliver didn't want to move.
Connor had tilted the passenger seat back and fallen asleep as they pulled away from the campus. Here in the parking lot at home, he remained soundly asleep and perfectly posed – no snoring, no open mouth, no messy hair, no goofy expression. As he always did at moments like these, Oliver sat quietly, overwhelmed yet again by how beautiful Connor is, and wondered how long he could go on staring before something interrupted them.
On this occasion, not long. A neighbor's car rounded the corner quickly on its way out of the garage, and the squealing tires woke Connor. "Hi, sleeping beauty," Oliver said and kissed him on the cheek. "We're home." They took the elevator to the third floor in companionable silence and started getting ready for bed as soon as Connor locked the apartment door behind them.
Oliver tossed his dirty clothes in the hamper and started buttoning his pajama top. Naked and determined, Connor approached, stilled Oliver's hands, kissed his neck, and started unbuttoning.
"No," Oliver said, pulling away and opening a dresser drawer. "That was really fun in the lecture hall, and I'm totally flattered that you want more so soon, but enough for one day. I'm exhausted." He threw a pair of sweat pants and a tee shirt at Connor, remembering that "pajamas for C – both flannel and silk" were on his Christmas-shopping list (along with some less practical items for C). "You're tired, too, Con. You were sound asleep on the ride home."
"Yeah, but I'm feeling refreshed after my nap," Connor teased. Oliver just rolled his eyes. "Ok, ok. You're right," Connor said, pulling on the tee shirt. "Let's go to sleep at a reasonable hour for once. Tomorrow's another day." He went to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and Oliver followed.
Because of all the pills, Oliver spends a lot more time than he does in the bathroom every night, and he always gives Oliver some privacy for that nighttime routine. He was under the duvet on his side of the bed when Oliver emerged from the bathroom, put his glasses on the night table, and turned off the light. Soon they'd connected in one of the configurations that worked for them, without having to say anything or consciously choose which one. Connor rested his head on Oliver's right shoulder, while Oliver placed his left hand in Connor's right and carded the fingers of his right hand through Connor's amazing hair. Unfortunately, sleep did not come immediately.
"I'm worried about you," Oliver said.
Connor lifted his head just a fraction of an inch and said, "Isn't that supposed to be my line?" Oliver grew stiff as a board beside him and withdrew his hand. Shit. That had come out wrong. "I wasn't talking about your health! How many times do I have to say it? Being HIV positive isn't a death sentence. You have a good doctor, and you're doing everything right. That's not what worries me."
He felt Oliver's upper body relax and, after a few seconds, figured he could lace their fingers back together. "I'm worried about your getting sucked into my mess at work. I couldn't live with myself if you got into legal trouble because of something I asked you to do."
That was an important conversation but not the one that Oliver wanted to have at the moment. "Well, I'm worried about your health," he said to Connor.
"Mental or physical?"
Oliver figured that Connor was trying to deflect his concern with a smart-ass response, but it didn't matter. "Both, actually," he said honestly. "You're not eating well, you're drinking gallons of coffee every day, and you're not sleeping soundly. Or sleeping enough. When you finally fall asleep, you have nightmares and wake up in a cold sweat before the stupid alarm goes off at 5 a.m. It's crazy! Does everyone who works for Annalise Keating live this way?"
Connor sat up, put one pillow behind his back, and hugged another to his chest. He didn't turn the light on, because he was afraid to get too deeply into this conversation late at night when they were both tired. "Yeah, I think so. I've never been there at midnight when we've all been going nonstop since 9 a.m. and heard anyone say 'I have to go home and get some sleep now. Civ Pro lecture starts in eight hours.' Sometimes Wes takes off on his bike in the middle of the afternoon without telling Michaela and me where he's going, but I doubt it's home to take a nap or cook a nutritious dinner."
Oliver sat up next to him. "Connor, you can't go on like this. It's starting to affect you. You're on edge all the time. You're snapping at people – including me, I might add. You're not happy living like this." He turned Connor's head gently so that they were facing each other. "I'm not happy with the state of things, either. I miss that smooth, confident guy who flirted with me in the bar last September."
Connor forgot how to speak for a minute. No one had ever expressed this kind of loving concern for him. His older sister might eventually have gotten around to it, but he'd been shipped off to boarding school when still quite young at his father's insistence. By the first time he came home for the summer, he'd learned how to say what he needed to in every situation instead of saying what he truly thought or felt. It's the most important lesson that little boys learn at elite boarding schools, as much from their fellow pupils as from their teachers. He was on good terms with his sister as an adult, but she had to make all kinds of assumptions about him, never really having known him as a child.
Yet, Oliver could see that he was struggling and wanted to help him. "You don't want that guy back, Ollie. That guy was an arrogant jerk who used you in order to impress Annalise Keating." He cupped Oliver's face in his hands and ran his thumbs over the cheekbones. "I'm so glad I'm not that guy any more."
"Oh, that guy wasn't all bad, Con." Oliver smiled, removed the pillow from Connor's lap, and held Connor's hand. "And at least he took care of himself."
"I'll be ok," Connor said. "We have a mid-semester break coming up, and I'll be able to catch up on sleep."
"Don't lie to me. Don't lie to yourself, either. Annalise won't give you a break if there's work to do on an important case. Somehow this woman thinks she owns you, and you let her go on thinking it. You say that you hate working for her, but you don't quit, even though hers is just one of your four classes. I don't understand."
Of course you don't understand, Connor thought. I've deliberately kept you in the dark. It's killing me, and you can tell, damn it.
"You're right. Something's gotta give. I can't go on working 24 hours a day, most of them as an intern for someone whose work I don't believe in."
"Good. Because I can't go on watching you disintegrate. There has to be a better way." Oliver lay down and pulled Connor back into his arms. "You have to figure out what you really want out of law school – and how to get it without all this craziness."
Connor put his head back onto Oliver's right shoulder. "Let's figure that out tomorrow. All I really want right now is to sleep next to you – for as long possible. Ok?"
"Of course," Oliver whispered. "Good night, love." He kissed Connor's temple and rolled onto his left side with Connor's right arm wrapped around his middle.
Connor squeezed his lover's waist gently and kissed his shoulder. "Good night, Ollie. Please don't worry about me."