This is a short companion ficlet to Family. You should read that work first.
"Hm?" Nick climbs into the guestroom bed next to him and kisses his cheek, and he thinks briefly about how his own parents would never have allowed a girlfriend to spend a night with him in the same room, much less the same bed.
But he really doesn't want to think about his parents, or girlfriends, right now.
"Do you want kids?" He'd been trying to understand all evening, and over dinner, why seeing Nick and David's mother Helen interact with her heavily-pregnant daughter-in-law Eileen had bothered him so much, until he realized that he'd always seen children in his future, and that he suddenly wasn't sure if that was a possibility anymore.
Nick just smiles at him, and it's more infuriating than it should be. "Do you?"
Carlos shakes his head. "Nick."
Nick kisses him, gently. "Honestly, it's not something that I've had strong feelings for one way or another. I'd be happy to just have a partner. I'd be happy to have a partner and some kids. It would really depend on him. On you."
Carlos likes the feeling he gets from hearing that Nick's thought about a further future with the two of them. "Kids aren't something you can just be apathetic about, though. They're a commitment."
"You didn't answer the question. Do you want kids?"
He thinks for a minute about how to frame his answer. "I do. At least... I think I do. I don't know how much of it is actually wanting kids and how much of it is the straight and heteronormative box I tried to fit myself into for so long." All of his future visions of kids had included a wife as well, and he isn't sure how to reconcile the two.
Nick lays back in the bed and holds Carlos' hand between them. "Well, if it's important to you, then it's important to me. And I'm happy to help you figure out if it's important to you, if you want. But like I said, I've never felt strongly one way or another."
It's one of the things that bothers Carlos about Nick -- he's always so deferential, even on things where he really should have an opinion. Carlos thinks he knows Nick well enough by now that he can tell when something really bothers Nick, and Nick's emotions aren't hard to read anyway, but he wishes Nick would think about himself more, too.
"Okay," he says, instead of all the other things he wants to say. "Thank you."
Nick turns toward him, frowning, and he should have realized that Nick can read him now, too. "This is bothering you."
"It's just that... you always care so much about what I want, and I worry that it's coming at the expense of what you want."
Nick shakes his head, letting go of Carlos' hand and propping himself up on one elbow. "Babe. I love you. You're important to me."
That's even more frustrating, and Carlos tries not to take it out on him. "But you're important, too. And I know you're happy to... defer to me, on a lot of things, but I think this is one where I really need you to have an opinion."
Nick nods, seemingly thinking. "Okay. Um. Then let me say that I have imagined both. Wade didn't want kids, so for a while I'd been imagining my future without them. But when I was growing up, and with my first boyfriend in high school, I'd imagined us with two kids, a boy and a girl, and thought about how I'd have to bring her to mom for all of those things that my husband and I wouldn't know." He frowns. "So I legitimately don't think I have an opinion here, babe. I think you would be an amazing dad, and I would love that for us if it's what you want, but I really think this one is up to you."
That's a more satisfying answer, at least. "Okay."
"Also, practically speaking, med school and residency are long, and busy. I know plenty of people have kids during those years, but it wouldn't feel fair to you to have to shoulder that burden by yourself. So if I do have an opinion, it's that we wait until I actually have a job somewhere, or at least have my residency, so it can be more collaborative with both of us. And that means waiting until I'm almost 30, or older than 30, in case that makes a difference to you."
"Plenty of people have kids in their 30s." Carlos isn't sure if it's meant to be reassuring, or if he's even trying to reassure himself, but it just comes to mind. "But okay. That makes sense."
Nick's looking at him, as if studying his face. "Babe. I really want to make sure you're okay with this."
Carlos nods. "I am," he says, and he thinks he actually is now. "I'm sorry for... pressing."
Nick smiles, kissing him again before lying back down. "No, I think you're right. And it's an important one to talk about. If two people had strong opinions and disagreed, not expressing that disagreement would be a great way to create resentment, and I never want to resent you, or for you to resent me."
Carlos lies back in bed, taking Nick's hand in his again. "I don't think I ever could."