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Denmark

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It’s ridiculously quiet in the wide-open apartment, so silent that every keystroke seems to echo through the plain white walls. It puts Samar completely in the zone, knee-deep in work and so ensconced that his productivity’s off the charts. He’s bent over the glass coffee table with his fingers practically flying across the keyboard, doing it all themselves. He hasn’t blinked in ages. The end of the project’s finally in sight, and Samar can almost taste it.

So when something breaks that, a creaking door shattering the silence, he nearly jumps out of his skin. His finger slips, mangling the last word of his sentence. He straightens up, swiveling towards the entranceway. A few dazed blinks clear his eyes. Maybe he got so wrapped up in work that he lost track of time, but the clock on the far wall says otherwise.

Manav strolls into the apartment, suitcase dropping to the floor and suit jacket wide open, collar popped, hair ruffled like he’s run his fingers through it. He’s got his glasses on, and when he grins at Samar, Samar’s heart still stops like it did when they were students struggling through exams in college. Europe’s been kind to Manav—somehow, he’s only become more handsome with the passing years. He’s a dazzling ray of light that effectively makes Samar forget his work. He climbs off the couch, and Manav is already on him, pulling him into a tight hug that has him melting.

Manav’s lips brush his cheek, and Samar drinks in the rich cologne that he gave Manav on their anniversary. Like everything, Manav wears it so well.

Manav squeezes him tight, like they didn’t just see each other a few hours ago at the breakfast table, and before that in bed, rolling around the sheets to squeeze in every bit of love they could.

Then Manav went to work, and Samar settled down to his. And now Manava’s back, even though Samar realizes aloud, “You’re home early.”

“I just couldn’t stay away from you,” Manav teases, pulling back to peck the end of Samar’s nose and plop down on the couch. Samar still gets butterflies from those little kisses, even though he should scold Manav for ruining his schedule again, for flouncing into his life and changing everything. He’s too beautiful to be mad at. He gives a sheepish shrug of his shoulders and adds, “And I feel bad about coming home so late yesterday, when you had that amazing dinner waiting for me...”

Samar gives him a look that says you do that all the time.

“...So, here I am early! We can have dinner together, properly, with plenty of time left over for a movie, perhaps a nice walk...”

Samar shouldn’t be smiling so hard. Sometimes he hates how charming his partner is. “It doesn’t work that way. I haven’t made dinner yet.” He hasn’t even thought about dinner yet. What he’ll make. Probably something Manav loves. Always something Manav loves.

Manav reaches out, finding Samar’s hand and gently thumbing his palm, fingers stroking his knuckles. “You make too many meals for me... so I want to take you out and give you a meal.” With a knowing grin, he throws in, “And I want to show you off.”

Samar’s cheeks feel hot—he’s probably blushing. “I’m not ready to go out.” He’s still in his pajama pants. “And work—”

“You look beautiful, and you can work later.” Manav’s hand twists to thread their fingers together, something that always ravages Samar’s defenses.

He’s such a sucker for Manav. He knows it. And he loves it, so he sighs, “Just let me save my work,” and sits back down to try and close up the files while Manav drapes adoringly all over him.