Thomas Barrow, Jimmy Kent, AU
Title: One Winter Night
Even after two years together, Thomas found that Jimmy could still be standoffish. Certainly not in bed though. He was surprised how enthusiastic - like a fucking duck to water he once told Jimmy - and inventive Jimmy could be - so enthusiastic that there were times Thomas prayed he would just let him sleep. Bloody hell, who would have thought I would ever be complaining about too much sex. Instead it was when it came to being affectionate.
It really didn't bother Thomas that Jimmy wouldn't hold his hand or kiss him in public; those were things that he wasn't all that comfortable with either. It was when they were alone. True, Jimmy would lie on the sofa, head in Thomas's lap as they watched a movie and he didn't shy away when Thomas absentmindedly stroked his hair or kissed him on the forehead, but he never did the same. When it was Thomas's turn to curl up, Jimmy might just as well have been a pillow; he might rest his hand on his chest, but that was the extent of it. Even in the mornings when they were leaving for work, Thomas could expect nothing more than a quick peck on the cheek.
But what bothered him the most, something that had been gouging at his heart for almost two years, was that Jimmy had never outright said that he loved him. Thomas knew he did of course - or at least believed he did. In response to Thomas saying it, Jimmy would either grunt or mumble something about "me too." If pushed, the best Thomas would get was a "yes", but Jimmy was never the one to mention love first. Thomas guessed - hoped - that maybe he just thought it didn't need to be said; that he loved him was a forgone conclusion. Perhaps I just need reassurance that someone can actually love me; just to hear the words for once.
He thought sometimes that he should just tell Jimmy, but experience warned him off. Having been accused in the past of being needy; he didn't want the risk - no matter how slim it might be - of pushing him away if that were the case. Besides it wouldn't be the same if he had to force Jimmy to say it; he wanted him say it without thinking, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Sometimes he thought it was likely never to happen and, although he was happy with Jimmy, happier than he had ever been before, it remained a void in their relationship that he feared would never be filled.
Thomas wasn't thinking about any of that as he made his way home from the tube about nine o'clock one winter night, struggling with two shopping bags of groceries, one in each hand. He was more concerned about not slipping on the snow-covered, icy pavement. There's wasn't supposed to be any snow; there's hardly ever any snow. Rain they said. Never should have believed them. He was also cursing Jimmy because groceries were his job this week.
Just as he had been about to leave work, his phone rang.
"I forgot the shopping," was how Jimmy started out.
"Well, hello to you too."
"How the hell can you forget to go shopping?"
"I know, I know. Don't tell me I'd forget my head if it wasn't screwed on."
"It isn't and you know it. But I was wondering if you'd pick up what we need." He paused. "Or I suppose I could get dressed and go out again, back to the tube and then …"
"Right. Why don't you do that."
"No, you idiot, of course I'll go, but you owe me."
"I'll see if I can find a way to pay my debt later tonight."
"I'll be looking forward to it," Thomas laughed. "Love ya. Bye."
As he walked cautiously along the pavement he had to admit Jimmy really wasn't that bad about forgetting things, he just liked to tease him about it when he did. He never forgot the important things like everyone's birthday or their anniversary; frankly Thomas depended on him to remember because he often didn't. As he was turning the corner into their street he noticed that the street lights were still out. How bloody long does …. Suddenly his feet went out from underneath him and he sailed backward, arms flailing, groceries tumbling out of the bags. Jesus, the eggs was the last thing he remembered thinking.
He gradually became aware that he was shaking and as he opened his eyes he could see a bright light. I'm dying! I'm too young to die.
"Thomas! Thomas! For Christ's sake wake up!"
Odd. God sounds like Jimmy.
"Thomas, please wake up."
"Stop shaking me Jimmy I've got a fucking headache. And if I didn't have a concussion before you'll give me one."
"Thomas! Thank God."
"Turn off that bloody torch," he grouched as he sat up.
The light disappeared and before he could say anything else Jimmy, who was kneeling beside him in the snow, had him in a bear hug, squeezing so tightly he was having difficulty catching his breath.
"Easy, Jimmy, easy. Let go, let go." he managed to choke out.
With Jimmy holding him by the arm, Thomas struggled to his feet.
"Are you going to be okay? Should I take you to the hospital?"
"Just get me home first then we'll see. Did you pick up the groceries?" Thomas asked as he looked around.
"Simon did while I was trying to wake you," Jimmy said as he nodded to the boy who was standing off to the side, the two bags sitting on the ground beside him. "He was out playing in the snow when he saw you go ass over tea kettle. When you didn't move, he ran to get me since there was no way he could do anything."
"Ah, so you're my rescuer, are you Simon?"
"I guess so Mr. Barrow."
"Well, thank you. Dig a chocolate bar out of the bag. Mr. Kent doesn't mind sharing."
Jimmy reached over and took one of the bags, while Simon, after stuffing the bar into his pocket, picked up the other and the three of them began to walk the short distance to the flat.
"You bloody gave me a scare, Thomas."
"Why? Afraid you weren't going to have anything to eat for the next few days?"
"It's not funny, Thomas." Jimmy sounded on the verge of tears. "When I fell in love with you, you became the only thing in my life that mattered. You still are the only thing in my life that matters. And I thought I was going to lose you. I don't know what I would do if that happened." He paused to wipe at his eyes with his free hand. "It's not the least bit funny."
"I know, I'm sorry." Thomas reached over and linked their arms. "I love you too."