Find Your Bit Of Zen

This fic follows on Been Out There Searching, which follows on Lifeline, which follows Breaking the Surface, which in turn follows Falling Into Place, and therefore contains spoilers for and will not make sense without those previous four works. You should read all previous works first.

Saturday February 11, 2023

"Hey, dude? Can I ask you something?"

Carlos turns toward Adam, still holding his controller, as Nick walks into the bathroom and shuts the door behind him. "Yeah?" Adam looks uncharacteristically nervous, and Carlos wonders what this could be about.

"Um. I wanted to get your blessing."

"Chico. For what?"

"I, uh..." Adam takes a deep breath. "I think I'm going to ask Cass to marry me."

Carlos is sure the smile on his face can be seen from space now, and Adam visibly relaxes at it. "Dude! Congrats!"

Adam blushes. "Yeah, well. She hasn't accepted yet, so don't be so quick to congratulate me." Then he stops, looking at Carlos carefully. "But you're really okay with this, dude?"

"Chico. Why wouldn't I be okay with this? You two are like... perfect for each other." He stops and thinks. "Well, not as perfect as me and Nick, but still perfect for each other."

Adam laughs at that, throwing an arm over his shoulders. "I'm glad. I, uh... I know all of us really get along well, but I still wanted to make sure. Because even though you're still the most important person in my life, she's a very close second, and I never want you to feel... out of place. Or uncomfortable."

Carlos ruffles his hair and Adam bats his hand away. "Dude. You two are great together, and she's a great friend. I'm happy for you!"

"I'm glad."

"And now I get to rub it in your face that you met because of me. You can't rub Nick in my face anymore."

"What am I rubbing in your face, babe?" Nick reappears, wiping his hands on his shirt, and Carlos remembers that he needs to go get the laundry from the dryer. "Also, if Adam's joining in, we should probably let Cass know."

Adam blushes at that, and Carlos grins. "Dude. Adam is going to propose to Cass."

"Oh! Congratulations." Nick sits back down next to Carlos and slaps a hand on Adam's shoulder.

"They owe me, now. This cancels out the debt I owe Adam for introducing us." Carlos kisses Nick, relaxing as Nick's arm moves down his back and settles around his waist.

Nick smirks at him. "I don't know. I think Adam still owes me for all the pain and suffering he's inflicted on me over the years by introducing us."

"Mmm. Okay mister. You apparently want to sleep on the couch tonight."

Nick grins and kisses him. "If it means I don't have to deal with you all night, absolutely."

Carlos shakes his head, half-heartedly pushing Nick away. "I take it back. The couch is too good for you. I'll throw a pillow into the bathtub for you or something."

"Seriously though, Adam," Nick says, grabbing Carlos and wrapping his arms around him. "Congratulations. You two are great for each other."

Adam blushes. "Thanks, dude. I, uh... would you two be there at the proposal? It just feels like you should be there."

"We wouldn't miss it for the world, chico," Carlos says, breaking out of Nick's arms and pulling Adam into an embrace instead, and Nick nods in agreement next to him.

Saturday December 2, 2023

"Looking good, Adam," Nick says as Carlos helps Adam into his suit jacket.

"Thanks, dude." Adam fiddles with the cuffs before buttoning up the front as the photographer snaps away.

"Your tie is crooked, baby," Carlos says, moving to Nick and adjusting his tie as Nick looks at him with utter affection. "Okay, stop that. What's that look for?"

"Just remembering how handsome you were when I married you. And you're even more handsome now."

Carlos blushes as Nick kisses him, gently. "Well, I'm glad I married someone who's into daddies, because I am going to have to shave my beard off soon if this continues."

"You'll always be handsome to me, sexy distinguished gray and all," Nick says grinning as he turns from Carlos to Adam, who's staring off into space now. "Although today you might have some competition."

Carlos smiles and brushes some lint off Adam's shoulder, and that seems to snap him back to the conversation and he blushes. "You know, normally I would object, but today, you're right. Chico, you're glowing."

Adam blushes harder. "I'm just... excited."

"Going to marry the love of your life? I'd be excited too." Carlos looks over at Nick. "Well. I guess I already did, so I guess I should just say I know the feeling."

Nick blushes and Adam nods, but he seems to be lost in thought. "It's not just... um..." He pauses. "Actually, can you two... keep a secret?"

"Of course, chico," Carlos says as Nick nods and Adam looks around the room, seemingly making sure his dad and Cass' brother aren't within earshot before bending over and pulling Carlos and Nick closer to him.

"Um. Cass is pregnant."

Nick slaps his hand over Carlos' mouth, which he appreciates when it muffles his shout of surprise.

"Adam! Congratulations!" It's quiet, but Nick seems overjoyed at the news.

Carlos nods as Nick pulls his hand away. "Chico! That's great!"

Adam seems relieved at having gotten it out. "Thanks. Um. We were going to wait until after the wedding to announce it, and not just because she thought it was a little weird to break the news at a wedding. But we just found out for sure yesterday. Which was, uh... really not great timing, so..."

"Adam!" Nick says suddenly, and loudly. "I can't believe you lost a cufflink."

Carlos is confused until Scott appears next to them and slaps a hand on Adam's back, and he's glad one of them had the sense to be aware of their surroundings. "What's this? You lost a cufflink?"

"Oh." Adam looks over at Nick with gratitude. "I guess I did."

"Here it is." Nick bends over and mimes picking something up before handing it to Adam. "Anyway, we should let you finish getting ready."

Scott nods. "I'm proud of you, son."

Adam blushes again. "I'm just marrying Cass, dad."

"I'm still proud of you."

Carlos pulls Nick to the other side of the room, letting Adam have some alone time with his father, but feeling like he's going to explode with happiness.

He's looking forward to picking out some baby shoes.

Tuesday June 18, 2024

Carlos nudges Nick, next to him, awake as Adam walks into the waiting room, looking exhausted but also excited. Adam clears his throat, and that seems to wake both sets of parents, who look up at him expectantly.

"The labor went well," Adam says, smiling. "If a bit long. But they're resting now if you wanted to come meet them."

"Dude, yes," Carlos says, jumping to his feet.

Adam's smile seems to drop. "Although I don't think all of you can come at the same time..."

Carlos immediately feels guilty, and looks at Adam and Cass' parents, who are also slowly standing. "Maybe the grandparents should go first."

"No," Adam's mother says, shaking her head. "Godparents first. Then the grandparents can fight over who gets to go next while you're in there."

Carlos isn't sure he likes that, but Cass' dad is nodding in agreement with a grin on his face, and Carlos supposes he's not going to fight two sets of parents on it. He takes Nick's hand and follows Adam down the hallway, unsure of why his heart is suddenly beating rapidly. He doesn't even realize he's holding his breath until they walk into a room and he sees Cass in a hospital bed, looking even more exhausted than Adam but also somehow so full of joy, and he can feel his heart melt.

"Um, Victoria, meet your godparents. Godfathers?" Adam shrugs. "Eddy and Nick, meet Victoria Price Prewitt-Davis."

It takes Carlos a second, but then he's sure his face is showing how touched he is. "Chico... what..."

Cass laughs from the bed. "Adam was thinking of 'Edward' as a middle name for a while, if it was a boy, since that's also kind of both of you. But I was pretty sure Nick wouldn't like that." Nick shakes his head next to Carlos in confirmation. "Price was a more gender-neutral name," Cass continues, "and she has a bit of Em in her anyway, so it was only fair."

It takes Carlos a second to remember that Emma's middle name is Victoria, and he nods. "Well, congratulations. We're both... flattered."

"Thank you," Cass says, as Adam joins her beside her bed and lays a hand on her shoulder. "Somebody is stubborn like her mother and kept me in labor for eight fucking hours." She smiles softly at the newborn in her arms and seems to tickle the top of her head with one finger. "Who did? You kept mommy in labor for eight hours."

Carlos doesn't miss how Adam seems to melt at 'mommy', and he thinks that he's going to be a good dad.

"So, um, eight hours isn't outside the expected range for..." Nick starts, but he promptly shuts up at the glare that Cass gives him.

Then she turns to Carlos, smiling again. "Do you want to hold her?"

"What?" Carlos isn't sure how he feels about that responsibility, but Nick is gently nudging him forward.

"Go ahead, babe."

He does, reluctantly taking the baby from Cass' arms as Adam makes sure he's holding her in the right way. She looks up at him -- although he's pretty sure it's not really at him -- and his heart melts at it again. "Dude..."

"She's beautiful," Nick says, standing next to Carlos now, as he gently runs a finger over the knit cap on her head. Carlos nods in agreement, even though he thinks he hadn't really found babies to be all that cute, before.

"She's got your eyes, chico," Carlos says, and then blushes because he isn't sure he meant to admit how much he's looked at and liked Adam's eyes.

Adam just chuckles. "And her mother's hair, I hope. Mine's an untamable mess."

Carlos holds her a while until she seems to fall asleep, and he looks up at Cass, who also has her eyes closed. "Should we... leave and let you three rest?"

Cass shakes her head, not opening her eyes. "No. When you leave, the parents are going to come, and we're not going to get a moment of quiet until they leave again. Stay as long as you want."

Adam nods beside her as he sits in a chair by the bed, and Carlos turns his attention back to Victoria, sleeping peacefully in his arms.

"Victoria Price Prewitt-Davis," Nick says softly, next to him, and Carlos likes the sound of it. "I hope you know how loved you are."

And as Carlos looks around the room, and his heart feels full, he realizes how much that could apply to any of them.