Congrats on the 1k, Jillian! 🎉🎉
If it strikes your fancy, from the heartbeat prompt list.
13. “I know my heart is racing, but yours is too.”
Thank you, Stef! May I offer you a little proposal fic as a token of my appreciation?
1k Follow Celebration: "I know my heart is racing, but yours is too."
964 words || ao3
The words drop into the kitchen like a bomb: arriving suddenly and leaving shockwaves in their wake. Carlos looks up from the counter where he is slicing vegetables to TK standing at the stove, spoon frozen mid-stir as he processes what he just said. His eyes grow wide as the words and their implications land and Carlos can see the panic about to set in. He takes a step forward the same moment TK begins to speak, words harried and rushed.
“I’m sorry,” he says, turning his eyes back to the pot on the stove before him. “That was stupid. I don’t know why I did that. I had this whole plan, the ring is upstairs; I don’t know why I just did that. Here we are just trying to make dinner and I screwed it up. You deserve something more special than this, forget I even…”
But he trails off as he notices that Carlos isn’t even looking at him. Instead he has turned away from him; to the cabinet above the sink where he has pulled the wine glasses down and is rummaging for something behind them. TK frowns in confusion and is about to ask what exactly Carlos is doing when he makes a triumphant noise and turns back to TK, something clearly clasped into his closed fist.
“It’s not stupid,” he said after a beat, his words falling out quickly. “It’s not stupid at all TK; nothing you say to me ever could be, but especially not this.”
TK feels some of the dread fall away but doesn’t say anything, now feeling his own breath catch at the sight of Carlos before him, visibly anxious as his hand clutches tightly to whatever is closed within it.
“I was just surprised, and maybe a little frustrated.”
TK frowns now but before he can say anything else Carlos simply opens his hand and places the item he had been clutching on the counter between them: a small velvet box.
“But only because you beat me to it.”
TK’s breath leaves his lungs and everything feels like it is moving in slow motion as he reaches out to pick up the box with shaking hands, carefully opening it to reveal a simple yet elegant gold band nestled between the smooth back interior.
He’s not sure how long he stands there, staring at the ring glittering back at him in the warm light of their kitchen. He only comes to himself again when he feels Carlos’s arms wind around him from behind, pressing him against his chest.
“Your heart is racing,” he says quietly into TK’s ear and TK takes another moment before he twists in Carlos’s embrace to face him. He places a hand on Carlos’s chest for a moment before he looks up and meets his eyes.
“I know my heart is racing,” he agrees, voice equally as soft, “but yours is too.”
“Is that a good thing?”
TK looks at him for a long moment. He takes in the warm brown eyes and the dimple at the side of his mouth that never truly disappears. He takes in every line and curve and every detail that makes Carlos Carlos. Then he looks back down at the box in his hand before he reaches up with the other to place it gently on Carlos’s cheek. The other man leans into his touch and TK smiles, rubbing his thumb lightly against his face.
“It’s the best thing,” he nearly whispers after a moment, his voice thick with emotion. “You are the best thing, Carlos. I love you so much.”
And Carlos beams at him before pulling TK closer and into a deep kiss. They stay that way for a while, savoring the warmth and taste of the other before they pull apart, each gasping for air as their chests heave, still flush with each other.
“So,” Carlos asks after a moment once they have caught their breath again, “is that a yes?”
“That depends,” TK says coyly.
Carlos raises an eyebrow, “On what?”
“On whether or not you are going to let me do so I can go upstairs and get your ring. Technically I asked first, you know.”
Carlos chuckled and the vibration of it rippled through TK, nearly making him melt on the spot.
“And yet I was the first one to get my ring. I think that means I get an answer first, Strand.”
“Are you calling this on a technicality?” TK demands, but his radiant smile betrays him. They’re beaming at each other even as they banter and TK can’t think of a single time he has ever felt so complete.
“I think,” Carlos says evenly, still grinning, “that this is all a technicality. Since I’m pretty sure we both already know the answer.”
“Is that so?”
“Mhm,” Carlos confirms lightly, reaching down and plucking the ring out of the box in TK’s hand. He waits a moment for TK to drop the box, and as it clatters to the counter beneath them he slides the ring onto TK’s finger.
“I think the fact that we both have rings,” he continues as TK studies the gold against his skin, savoring the comfort of this new weight on his finger, “says yes pretty clearly.”
TK pulls his eyes from the gold band to meet Carlos’s, not at all surprised to see the same shimmer he could feel gathering in his own.
“Then I suppose I need to give you yours then,” TK replies. “I can’t have you wondering for a second about my answer.”
“Does that mean it’s a yes?”
“Anything that involves you is always a yes, babe.” TK tells him matter of factly, wrapping both his arms around his waist. “Why would forever be any different?”
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you light me up: a tarlos fic
Carlos goes to visit TK when he’s home from the hospital and helps to calm the storm of thoughts raging inside the firefighter’s head. Carlos’s presence grounds TK and anchors him, as they navigate their developing relationship and dynamic with a few realizations along the way.
Missing scene from 1.09
missing scene, hurt tk strand, worried carlos reyes, hurt/comfort, whump, emotional hurt/comfort, developing relationship, comfort, tk needs a hug, carlos gives him hugs
whumptober 2021: day 10 - flare up
2.3k | rated T | on ao3
TK’s been in the same position on the couch for the past thirty minutes since he finally managed to get Owen out of the house to make it to his shift on time. The fire captain hesitated in the living room for a good ten minutes before TK reassured him that he’s fine, totally, completely okay on his own. But TK could tell his father was starting to reconsider going to work.
“You know, I think it would be okay if I take one more shift off, Judd is in charge and everything is fine at the firehouse.”
“Dad,” TK pressed while his eyebrows traveled up his forehead. “Go, I’ve got everything I need.”
“Take it easy, TK. I mean that, you’re still in the early stages of healing and any—”
“Any effort or wrong movement can cause more damage,” TK had continued for him. “I got it, dad, I promise.”
A moment later, Owen sighed and nodded. “Okay, but if anything changes…”
“I’ll call,” TK concludes.
He decided to play a random comedy movie after surfing Netflix for a few minutes. He just needed some background noise to hopefully quieten the storm of thoughts raging inside his head. And maybe the movie can get a laugh or two out of him, that wouldn’t hurt either.
He was still wrapping his head around it, getting shot and the prognosis. The doctors were hopeful about his recovery, his initial tests after he woke up showed promise and they said PT would guarantee that TK’s shoulder would be back to a hundred percent. It would take some time to get there, but they assured him he would be able to go back to work with no complications once he was cleared.
But the question currently bouncing inside his head, did he want to go back to being a firefighter?
The doorbell ringing brings him back from his thoughts, and he gently puts the cushion he was hugging down and gets to his feet.
TK opens the door and a smile spreads on his face. “Hi.”
“Hi,” Carlos replies, reciprocating the smile.
Carlos quickly surveys TK’s form and his facial expressions morphs into one of concern at how TK is holding up his injured arm in midair across his stomach and then moves to cradle it.
“Are you sure you shouldn’t be wearing a sling?” Carlos asks as he steps into the house.
TK shrugs his good shoulder but the movement still slightly aggravates his other one. “Probably, but I’ve been sitting down all day and I had it resting on a pillow.”
TK leads Carlos into the living room and slowly sits back on the couch again, Carlos following him.
“You sure you’re okay?”
TK nods around a wince. “Yeah, the pain comes and goes, it’s fine.”
Carlos wants to say you’re not fine, TK, you have a hole in your chest, but refrains from doing that because TK is pretty aware of said fact. So Carlos nods, not wanting to push. He settles for keeping a close eye on the younger man.
They lapse into comfortable silence, and TK feels lighter in Carlos’s presence as they both watch the TV screen. Carlos easily emits comfort, the man’s been there for a few minutes and TK already feels better. And even in silence, there’s a sense of calm and tranquillity that radiates off of Carlos, and it’s infectious. And if TK is being completely honest, he’s starting to long for it.
He directs his gaze to the officer and Carlos returns it with a smile, the silver sparkle shimmers in his beautiful brown eyes and TK can willingly get lost in those irises forever. If he chooses to.
He deliberates with himself for a few seconds before speaking a statement that makes his heart beat faster in his chest.
“I’m glad you could make it before your shift,” TK says, his eyes not leaving Carlos’s.
And the way Carlos’s smile widens and his eyes get even more captivating, the leap was worth it.
“Me too, I was happy to get your text this morning,” Carlos replies.
They’ve been exchanging texts on and off since TK woke up. Well, more off than on, and they had slowed down a bit once TK got home, TK trying to find his footing amid the curveball life had tossed his way, but he always longed for the officer when they weren’t talking. Carlos never pushed, was always responsive and easy going and TK wanted to keep the conversation going for hours, but found himself pulling back every while.
He and Carlos have been in uncharged territory for some time now, more than friends but not quite a couple. They were heading towards something, something bubbling between them in the weeks prior to TK getting shot, and they both felt it, but then said curveball happened and knocked TK off balance.
It took him by surprise, how quickly and easily he started falling for Carlos. It had never occurred to him, nor was he ready for it to happen, when he first moved to Austin. But it feels natural with Carlos, it feels right, even if it’s terrifying for TK. It’s a constant tug of war inside him, wanting to be close to Carlos and feeling that pull between them, the pull that feels so genuine and so organic, yet on the other side, TK is still reeling from what happened in New York, and his walls still built high and thick.
But he also knows that slowly, Carlos has been helping him bring those walls down. TK realizes he wants to bring down those walls when he’s with Carlos, and maybe that’s what scares him the most.
But with the way Carlos is looking at him now, the amount of genuine care and affection drawn on his face and flickering in his eyes, TK feels that fear start to trickle away.
“How was your morning?” TK asks, a small smile on his face.
“It was good,” Carlos replies. “I went for a run and then had an orange juice. It’s a pretty nice spot, that juice bar. I think you’d like it,” he says easily.
TK’s smile widens a little. “I’m sure I would. You know all the best juice bars in Austin.”
“I do,” Carlos confirms. “We can stop by this one when you’re feeling better,” he suggests.
TK nods after a moment. “I’d love that.”
A few moments tick by and TK takes a deep breath, thinking, just a few seconds of bravery and then he’s reaching for Carlos’s hand.
“Thank you for being here,” TK voices, his eyes not leaving Carlos’s.
Carlos’s expression softens even more and he gently squeezes TK’s hand. “Of course.”
Carlos’s relaxed expression changes into one of tension and concern when TK starts wincing and closes his eyes, clamping his jaw shut and Carlos can see the way his teeth are pressed harshly against each other.
“TK?” Carlos speaks, worry coating his tone.
TK wants to reply, to reassure Carlos that he’s okay, but he currently can’t utter a single word, the fire in his veins and the pain pulsating in his shoulder and down his arm are the only things he can focus on.
He tells himself to breathe through it, that it will pass, but all he can do is push out a throaty groan. He feels Carlos stiffen even more next to him, unsure of what to do, but his weight on the cushion next to him gives TK something to focus on aside from the burning in his shoulder. But it hurts, it hurts so much, the pain throbbing and TK wants to scream.
He must have let out a strained noise because a few moments later, through the haze of hot agony, he can hear Carlos’s words filtering into his ears, his comforting and soothing words.
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Carlos repeats. “It will pass, just squeeze my hand if you need to. You’re okay.”
And TK does. He squeezes Carlos’s hand and the pain, finally, starts to lessen until he can draw in a full breath. He shakily exhales and when he opens his eyes, he’s much closer to Carlos than he remembers. In fact, he’s so close to Carlos there’s no doubt the other man can feel the pants he’s currently puffing out colliding with his neck.
He unconsciously gravitated towards Carlos.
The realization sends heat crawling up TK’s neck and face, settling into his cheeks and painting them pink. He slowly lifts his gaze to meet Carlos’s but Carlos doesn’t comment on their sudden close proximity and he doesn’t pull back. TK is met with wide, worried brown eyes, and he’s so close he can see the speaks of light brown swimming in Carlos’s dark brown irises. They’re breathtaking.
Carlos’s eyes roam over TK’s face, intently studying him with a slight crease engraved in his forehead.
“Hey, TK, you with me?” Carlos asks a moment later.
TK clears his throat and pulls back a little. “Yeah,” he whispers. “Sorry, that was a bad flare up.”
“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Carlos replies kindly, a hand going to rest on TK’s uninjured shoulder. “Do they usually get this bad?”
“This has been the worst one so far,” TK says. “But the doctor said the flare ups will range in intensity, but knowing that doesn’t make being ready for them any easier,” he sighs.
“Do you need anything?” Carlos follows up. “Is there anything I can get you?”
“Maybe some water?” TK answers. “The glasses are in the top left cabinet and the fridge has a water dispenser.”
Carlos nods and gets up, returning with the glass of water less than a minute later.
“Here,” he hands it to TK, who accepts it with a slightly trembling hand.
“Thank you,” TK breathes before taking a sip and then letting Carlos help him place it on the table in front of them. “Carlos, I’m okay,” he adds when he still observes the worry lines on his face.
Carlos gives TK’s hand another squeeze and runs the pad of his thumb across TK’s skin.
It’s intimate and grounding, the gesture sending a silent message between them as they keep their eye contact, peering into each other through brown and green gates.
TK feels bare, like Carlos can read him inside out, can read him like an open book, and he feels his walls crumble a little more. He swallows and doesn’t shy away, because it also feels safe.
Carlos feels safe, and TK lets himself soak up that safety, he lets is engulf him.
There’s a lot bouncing around in TK’s head, a lot he needs to work through and figure out, but for the first time since he woke up in the hospital, he feels a weight has been lifted off his chest, and he attributes that to Carlos being close.
Yeah, Carlos is safety.
He gives Carlos another smile before he hesitantly starts to pull back and untangles their connected hands, immediately missing Carlos’s touch and warmth.
He leans back against the couch, his eyes drifting back to the television.
“This movie has some good laughs,” TK says with a smile.
Carlos follows TK’s line of sight. “Yes, it does.”
They sit in silence for a while, TK zoning out every now and then and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Carlos.
“What are you thinking about?” Carlos asks in a low tone.
Too much, TK wants to say. But it’s all a jumbled mess in his head right now and he’s not sure he can even voice it in proper words or thoughts yet, so instead, he answers with the thought he can properly voice.
“I’ve been thinking about that little boy,” he eventually replies. “What he must be going through.”
Carlos nods. “It’s tough.”
“He just wanted to protect his family,” TK says.
“Do you know how he’s doing?”
“Dad told me he’s getting help and seeing a counselor,” TK nods. “But it must be so much for a child to carry.”
“He’s got his family looking out for him and helping him, that’s the most important thing,” Carlos says with empathy.
“I was thinking maybe there’s something I could do to help,” TK states.
Carlos waits for him to elaborate.
“Maybe I can go visit him, if his parents would be okay with that, of course,” TK continues. “I’m still wrapping my head around what happened, I don't even remember it, but I’ll be fine. I’ll go through recovery and some PT and I’ll be fine, but what about that boy? Thinking about what he’s going through, I want to help and maybe seeing me will help him.”
A soft smile spreads on Carlos’s face. “That’s very thoughtful, TK. I think they would appreciate the gesture.”
“I just want to make sure he knows I know that it was an accident and that I’m fine and I don’t blame him. I think that would make a difference.”
“I think it would, too,” Carlos agrees. “And I think that would help you feel better, too.”
Butterflies flutter in TK’s stomach at Carlos’s reassurance and support, and he feels a warmth settling in his core.
When it’s inevitably time for Carlos to leave for his shift, he tries stalling a little, not wanting to leave TK. TK notices and reassures him he’s fine, and Carlos makes absolute sure that TK doesn’t need anything before he steps out.
And when TK leans in for a soft hug, Carlos gently wraps his arms around TK, mindful of his injury and TK once again, gravities towards the officer and closer into his arms.
“I’ll text you,” TK promises when they separate.
Carlos smiles and nods. He studies TK a little more for any signs of lingering pain or discomfort. Assured that TK is okay, and after a moment of consideration, he leans down and brushes a kiss to the corner of TK’s mouth.
TK’s eyes light up.
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