Written By: _alicesprings
Author's Notes: Train? What train? Thank you to rhiannonhero for betaing this for me!
When Luke looks back on his relationship with Noah, he has mixed feelings about it. At the time, he believed absolutely that he and Noah were destined to be together forever. He thought that their love was rare – once-in-a-lifetime, like his mom always told him. It wasn’t until he fell in love with Reid that he realized what a falsehood that was. Not a lie, exactly, because Luke did love Noah with all his heart. It’s just that now, looking back, he knows Noah didn’t feel the same way. That what Luke thought they were sharing was actually one-sided.
Luke’s looking through real estate listings at Reid and Katie’s place while he waits for Reid to get home from work. It’s six months to the day since he and Reid first slept together. Reid had returned from Bay City with a heart for Chris. “Told you I could put a heart in a cooler and just drive away with it!” Reid had grinned triumphantly. “You can get away with some crazy stuff in this town.” Luke had felt so proud, and so relieved – especially for Katie – and more than a little turned on by the sheer awesome of his boyfriend that he'd practically dragged Reid back to his apartment and they’d made love for half the night.
Luke grins at the memory of it. It was better than he could have imagined, and it’s just kept getting better. Reid’s insatiable and he’s awoken the sleeping appetite in Luke that he’d forgotten had existed during his long estrangement from Noah.
Noah. Clicking open another promising listing, Luke can't help but remember Noah's reaction when he came home to find Luke looking at rental listings. Noah had been unhappy, claiming that they hadn’t discussed it, even though they’d talked about it ad nauseum the year before. Noah had begged off, claiming he wanted to wait until he’d graduated from college, until he had a job and they could share expenses equally. Luke had acquiesced at the time, but looking back, it’s just one more thing that made them utterly incompatible. They were never on the same page. Hell, Luke had practically twisted himself into a pretzel trying to get on Noah’s page, but every time Luke did, Noah seemed to change his mind, wanting something else.
Luke hears Reid’s key in the lock of the door and hurriedly puts his laptop into sleep mode.
“Hey,” Luke smiles, slamming the laptop shut as Reid walks in and tosses his keys down.
“Hey, yourself,” Reid greets Luke, bending down to press a quick hello kiss on Luke’s mouth on his way to the fridge. “Where’s Katie?”
“Emergency diaper run,” Luke says.
Reid pulls a face and drops down next to Luke on the sofa, taking a long pull from his beer.
“So,” Reid says, flinging his arm around Luke’s shoulders. “What were you looking at on your computer that you so desperately didn’t want me to see just now?”
“What?” Luke laughs once, high-pitched and shrill.
Reid juts his chin toward the laptop resting on the coffee table. “Don’t be shy,” Reid says. “It’s perfectly normal to watch porn.”
Luke slaps Reid’s arm, and Reid chuckles. “Shut up,” Luke mutters. “It wasn’t porn. It was nothing.”
“Well now I’m definitely curious,” Reid says, straightening up.
“It was nothing,” Luke insists.
“Oh god,” Reid says, “You weren’t shopping for a Valentine’s Day present, were you?”
Luke raises one eyebrow. “What do you know about Valentine’s Day, Dr. Oliver?”
“I know it’s next week,” Reid says. “Katie’s been dropping not-so-subtle hints.”
Luke grins. “Are they working?”
“Ugh,” Reid makes a disgusted sound. “Valentine’s Day is the most cloyingly sentimental, schmaltzy, ridiculous holiday ever invented. It’s nothing but a marketing ploy cooked up by greeting card companies.”
“I guess I won’t hold my breath waiting for flowers and candy then,” Luke says.
“I’ll buy you a Twix from the vending machine at the hospital.”
“Two for me, none for you,” Luke grins.
“That’s my line,” Reid laughs. “I’ll buy myself one too,” he says, brushing his lips against Luke’s before turning serious. “Fess up,” Reid says, pointing his beer bottle at the laptop.
Luke rolls his eyes but picks up the laptop anyway, opening it up and bringing up the listings he was looking at before Reid arrived.
“Why would you hide that?” Reid asks. “I think it’s definitely past time you moved out of your mommy’s place.”
“Well, I wasn’t just looking at it for me,” Luke says, nervously biting his lip. “Don’t freak out, it doesn’t mean anything, I don’t want you to feel pressured or anything.”
Reid shakes his head. “What are you talking about?”
“I was looking at them for us,” Luke says. “Please don’t be mad,” he blurts out.
“Why would I be mad?” Reid asks.
“Because I didn’t talk to you about it first?”
Reid just raises his eyebrows. “So? It’s not like you already signed the lease.”
“I was just letting my imagination run away from me, it’s a someday thing, not a right now thing, I mean, if you wanted to someday, we haven’t even talked about living together, it’s okay, forget about it,” Luke babbles.
“Christ, Luke, take a breath,” Reid says, placing his beer bottle down on the coffee table.
Luke looks down, embarrassed. “Sorry,” he mumbles.
“Hey,” Reid says, tilting Luke’s chin up with one finger until Luke meets his eyes. “There’s nothing to apologize for. It’s actually a good idea.”
Reid shrugs. “I’m getting sick of seeing Doogie here so often in the mornings anyway,” Reid says. “Puts me off my breakfast.”
“Oh please,” Luke scoffs. “Nothing puts you off your breakfast.”
Reid grins, glancing back down at the listings. “Okay fine. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it, too,” Reid says.
“Really?” Luke asks tentatively, not quite ready to believe it could be true.
“Really,” Reid repeats. “So what do you say, Mr. Snyder?” Reid asks, his voice dropping low, and intimate. “Want to move in together?”
Luke studies Reid’s face, recognizes the slightly nervous tone to Reid’s voice, the way Reid’s worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. He’s worried Luke might say no. He looks so boyish and vulnerable in that moment, it makes Luke’s heart ache. “Of course I do, Dr. Oliver,” Luke says. Reid’s eyes go soft, and they both lean forward at the same time, meeting for a sweet kiss.
Luke opens his eyes first, and Reid’s stay closed a second longer, his expression reflecting the love for him that Luke is witness to every day. Luke’s still not entirely used to having a boyfriend who shows his affection as easily as Reid does. He doesn’t say ‘I love you’ all that often, but it’s written all over his face whenever he looks at Luke, whenever he kisses Luke at the hospital, or at Java, not caring who’s watching. It’s there whenever they lie together in the afterglow of making love, or when Luke brings Reid a latte at work.
Before Reid, Luke had no idea love could be like this. He thought that relationships were supposed to be difficult; filled with struggle and hurt, constant break-ups and reunions. But Luke knows now, that that’s not right. Relationships aren’t easy but they’re not supposed to be that hard either.
Reid brushes his thumb across Luke’s bottom lip and smiles, sliding the laptop from Luke’s lap to his own as he starts to click through the listings.
Luke’s giddy with this feeling of being so wholly loved, of being wanted, of working to build a life with someone who wants the same thing.
Before Reid, Luke thought he knew what relationships were about. He thought he knew love.
He was wrong.
Luke pats Reid’s thigh and stands up. “Want anything?” Luke asks on his way to the fridge.
Reid shakes his head no, engrossed in the listings. Luke grabs a bottle of water from the fridge and twists the cap off, taking a long swallow.
“Did you see this place on Sycamore?” Reid asks.
Luke smiles. “Yeah, I did. It’s nice, huh?”
Reid nods without looking up from the laptop, and Luke rests his elbows on the bench, watching as Reid turns his laser-like focus to the task of helping to choose a place for them to live.
Luke had loved Noah unconditionally, but Noah’s love for Luke wasn’t the same. Luke never felt like he was enough for Noah. And he realizes now, with hindsight, that it was because that’s exactly how Noah wanted him to feel. Luke knows there are parts of himself that Noah doesn’t like and he used to blame himself for that. He saw it as his own failure, his own weakness. He was too pushy, too open, too hard to love. Luke blamed himself for all their problems. But the truth is, he and Noah just never fit together properly, and the more Luke shoved and pushed, trying to get that square peg into the round hole, the harder things became. Luke thought that was normal. He thought all couples had the same problem, his folks sure did. Hell, practically every couple in Oakdale had a screwed-up relationship.
Now, Luke knows better. Now he knows that when you love someone, you love every part of them, even the parts you don’t like. You love the parts you don’t like, that’s what makes it real. That’s the difference.
With Reid, everything’s different. Their relationship began with blackmail and hatred. They’re under no delusions about who the other person is, and they love each other all the same.
Luke grins, and heads back over to the couch, wrapping his arm around Reid and resting his chin on Reid’s shoulder as they read over the listings together.
“Happy anniversary, by the way,” Reid says nonchalantly a moment later.
“What?” Luke pulls back, surprised.
“Six months ago today I gave you the best sex you’d ever had,” Reid smirks. “I’m surprised you don’t remember, I thought you were into anniversaries and things like that.”
“I remembered,” Luke says. “I’m just surprised you did too. Didn’t you once tell me you’d probably always forget my birthday?”
“Eh,” Reid shrugs. “I was trying to make a point - I’m not Noah.” Reid taps his head, “Photographic, remember? I’m pretty good with dates, numbers...”
Luke can’t contain his smile. “No, Dr. Oliver, you are most certainly not Noah. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.”
Reid smiles that crooked, shy half-smile of his, and Luke feels a ridiculous surge of love in his heart. “Happy anniversary,” Luke whispers, leaning in to press his mouth against Reid’s. “I’m thinking of a number right now,” Luke says when he pulls back. “Can you guess which one?”
Reid quirks one eyebrow and a grin breaks out over his face. “I like the way you think, Mr. Snyder,” Reid says, shoving the laptop aside and reaching for Luke’s fly.