As Lucas closed the door behind him, he sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Liz hadn't been herself since she got the news. Then again, how can one be told their husband was killed and still be okay?
While he had been staying with her, Lucas could be the shoulder that she needed to cry on, as well as being able to make sure that the kids were still fed and had regular routines. Jake and Cooper were already suspecting that something was wrong when their mommy wouldn't tell them when daddy would next call. Lucas loved those kids like they were his own, and his heart ached to think that they'd grow up without their brave, goofball of a father.
Lucas had wanted to stay longer. Liz was pale, withdrawn, and quiet when he left. But she asked him to go, and he did.
The journey home was surprisingly long. Even though he was in New York, public transport tended not to be ten minutes late, and bus drivers usually didn't spend another ten minutes waiting for someone to take over their shift. Much to Lucas's dismay, a particularly aggravated old man found it in his favour to rant to closed ears about the deteriorating state of a corrupt government. Lucas couldn't really argue with all that he had to say, but it was nearing midnight. If the old man wanted to protest, he should do it in times and places that would really make a difference.
After a painfully long time, the bus had finally reached his stop. Though slightly reluctant, Lucas mumbled a quick thank you as he passed the driver. If he'd been even just a bit of a believer in karma of fate, his unfortunate bus ride would have made him a little suspicious.
To his surprise, the lights all of the lights were still on when he entered the house. Shrugging off his jacket and satchel, Lucas frowned and made his way over to the living room, where he could hear a vaguely familiar football chant. Or soccer chant. He hadn't quite learned the difference yet.
Lucas had wondered why David hadn't been returning his texts or calls for the last few days, and he supposed that it made much more sense now.
David was curled up on the sofa, still in his doctor's uniform, with the TV remote on the floor in front of him. The coffee table was littered with crumpled tissues, some half-filled mugs, and empty takeaway boxes. The photo of David and Josh during their graduation ceremony, which had always taken pride on the mantel above the fireplace, was loosely in David's grasp.
Lucas's heart clenched as he gently moved the photo and knelt beside his partner. He was breathing deeply, but his eyes were pink, and there was a damp patch beneath his head.
"David?" Lucas murmured, resting a hand on his shoulder. He wasn't completely sure what it was he should do. He hadn't really handled his own emotions in the past, let alone others. "David, sleeping on the sofa will be nightmarish on your posture; you need to get to bed."
As David slowly yawned himself awake, followed by unhappy quiet grunts, Lucas wondered how he ever thought it reasonable to leave David alone for a week after the passing of his best friend.
Even though David had a job – which he had refused to take bereavement leave from – that would keep his thoughts busy for a few hours at a time, and friends to distract him on any breaks or time in between patients, he would come home to an empty house every night. David would be alone with his thoughts, who at this moment would be his best ally and his worst enemy. He'd lost his closest friend, and Lucas hadn't been there when he needed him most. Lucas didn't regret spending his time with Liz and the kids, but he realised that they weren't the only ones who were hurting. Even David, the man with a childlike optimism and seemingly unrelenting optimism, couldn't keep his spirits up forever.
"Hey, there," Lucas said softly, gently rubbing David' arm. "It's me. I'm home."
David blinked his eyes into focus, and upon settling his gaze on Lucas's face, threw his arms around his neck. He tried biting the inside of his cheek to prevent it, but David couldn't prevent yet another wave of tears from falling down his cheeks.
They stayed like that for longer than Lucas could keep track of time. When David finally pulled back and was calmed enough to speak, Lucas had a wet patch on his shoulder.
Lucas sat cross-legged on the soda, one hand on David's knee. "I'm so sorry, David. I should have been here more."
"No, no. It's fine, don't worry about it." David put his hand on Lucas's. "Liz lost her husband, and two little boys lost their dad. They needed you more."
"It's not a matter of who needed me more, David. It's about you needing me, and I wasn't there." Lucas sighed. "I'll go to Liz whenever she calls or I feel as though she might need me, but whatever happens from here on out, I will be here every night before you go to sleep, and every single morning when you wake up. That is unless I'm in the kitchen attempting to cook an edible breakfast, rather than have you feasting on leftovers."
David blushed as he quickly glanced over at the table, but smiled his first genuine smile in a week. "Cooking eggs that aren't pink? That's an awfully big promise, Lucas."
"One I intend to keep." Lucas chuckled and took both of his boyfriend's hands in his. "He took a deep breath to compose himself before looking sincerely into David's eyes. "And maybe we can help Liz, and practice what fatherhood might be like, by babysitting her tiny terrors."
"Really?" David's face glowed.
"You're not just saying this because of everything that's been going on?"
"It's a part of that." Lucas admitted. "When we first talked about it, I was totally against it. For all of my life, I never imagined ever settling down with someone and having a family. I've never even had a place to settle down in. Then I spent so much time with the boys, and in that week, I really connected with them, I realised how much I would miss taking care of them. I think I'm ready for it. I think we're ready."
"Lucas," David's eyes began to water once more as his hands cupped Lucas's cheek, pulling him closer. "I love you."
"For all time." Lucas finished, and closed the gap between them.