Happy Birthday, Sweet Kat!
It was the first legitimately warm day of spring. Ronan had given up on his afternoon classes and slipped off campus before Adam or Gansey could talk him out of leaving. He drove aimlessly for a bit but finally decided he’d just rather be home. He tossed his things in his room, retrieved a few beers from the fridge, and went up the fire escape to the roof.
The lawn chairs they had left up there more or less survived the winter. Ronan picked one of the reclining chairs with only a few broken straps and hauled it out to the center of the roof, in the brightest sunshine. He cracked open a beer and lay back, letting the sun prick his skin.
“You’re going to burn.”
The only sign Ronan gave that Noah had just scared the shit out of him was a clenched fist. Unfortunately, it was the fist in which he held his beer, and foam spilled out over his hands and arm and soaked his trousers.
“Fuck, Noah,” he growled. He wiped his hand on his shirt and turned to find Noah standing over him, a pair of white-rimmed sunglasses extended towards him. “Fuck. Noah.”
“I couldn’t find any others. And you will burn. And you will be upset.”
Ronan took the sunglasses and put them on. Noah came into sharper focus. He sat down on the end of the chair. Ronan shifted aside to make room for him, which Noah took as an invitation to stretch out beside him. Ronan rolled his eyes, but he made a little more room and got comfortable. He was getting hot, and Noah’s cool presence beside him calmed, just a bit, the restlessness that had been eating at him for weeks.
“So.” Noah rested his head on Ronan’s shoulder. “How was your day?”
Ronan arched an eyebrow. “Beautiful. Yours?”
“Oh, it was alright. I spent most of the morning watching talk shows and ordering plants. We need some more green around here.”
“You didn’t order flowers, did you?”
“Yes,” Noah said slowly. He was quiet for a moment. “Oh. Oh no. Oh shit!” He sat up, agitated. “Shit shit shit!”
“Chill, Noah. I’m sure we can change the order.”
“I ordered next day delivery!” he wailed. His outlines blurred and faded as his agitation increased. Ronan lay a hand on his thigh. He wasn’t Blue, but to Noah, he was familiar and safe. The reassuring weight brought Noah back to himself.
“It’s okay, man. It’s fine.” Ronan traced circles on Noah’s thigh until he was fully calmed. He lay back against the chair. Ronan hooked an arm around his shoulders and pulled him close. “I’ll tell Gansey to stay away tomorrow. Maybe send him home for the weekend. Adam and I can take care of the plants when they get here.”
“But what will we do with them? We can’t just throw them out.”
“Give some to Blue? Plant some at the church? I don’t know, but we’ll figure something out.”
“I just wanted something nice and springy for home,” Noah sighed. He curled on his side towards Ronan. Ronan stroked his shoulder. “I wanted something fresh. Something alive.”
“We could clean out the fridge. I bet there’s a thing or two living in there,” Ronan said gently. Noah chuckled.
“We are so disgusting. How the rest of you stay alive is a miracle.”
“We’re tough bastards,” Ronan agreed. “We could maybe get some cactuses or Venus fly traps or something. Those would be alright. And when you forget to water them, they won’t die right away.”
“I wouldn’t. I’m very responsible.”
“Yeah? Then what happened to that cat you brought home last summer?”
“Cat? What cat? I never—” Noah looked horrified. “Warren? What happened to Warren?”
“Relax. He’s alright. Parrish brought him to Sister Grace when you started going all spooky. He’s fat as a king. Sister spoils him rotten.”
“How could I forget? Gansey bought him a name tag and everything. How could I forget a cat? How could I forget flowers bring bees?” He was growing agitated again, and Ronan wrapped both arms around him.
“It’s okay, Noah. It really is.”
“But I could have killed him!”
Ronan blanched. The threat had been heavy on his mind, too, but he shook it aside. He kissed Noah’s cheek. “We’re all watching out for him, man. And we’re watching out for you, too.”
“But who will watch out for you?” Noah asked mournfully.
“Shit, man, I’m invincible.”
Noah reached up and took the sunglasses from Ronan’s face. Ronan looked away. He gave them back, and Ronan put them on. A chill that had little to do with Noah settled over Ronan. He hugged Noah tightly and tucked his head under his chin.
“You don’t have to answer the question now,” Noah said, “but you should think about it.”
“I mean it, Ronan.” Noah nuzzled his cheek. “Just promise me you’ll think about it.”
“I think about it all the time,” Ronan sighed. Noah returned his kiss and tucked in close to Ronan.
“But in all seriousness. We shouldn’t stay out here long. You will burn and I can’t rub lotion into your shoulders.” He was quiet for a few minutes. “Of course, I supposed Adam could do it.”
“I’m sure he would love it.”
“Rubbing your shoulders.”
“Noah. I will throw you off this roof.”
“Fine. Fine. Just remember what I said. I love you. We love you.”
“Yeah, yeah. Alright. Nerd. Wake me in half an hour.”
“Will do, Ronan.”