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20 July 2010 @ 08:15 pm
Let There Be Peace In My Soul  
Let There Be Peace In My Soul
Summary: Snapshots of Greg and Warrick's relationships and all of the moments Grams was there for them.
Author's Note: This is extremely saptastic. Written for alphabetasoup for the prompt "Olokun".



Let There Be Peace In My Soul




Olokun signifies unfathomable wisdom or the instinct that there is something worth knowing, more than can ever be learned.



Greg followed Warrick into his apartment. He toed off his shoes, took off his jacket and threw it on the sofa. He knew it annoyed Warrick. Hanging up your coat won't kill you. His boyfriend was all guy but he had a knack for nagging like a woman. Warrick was a complete neat freak and Greg liked the idea of messing up his world a bit. He waited for his boyfriend's usual complaint, but it didn't come. Warrick was sitting on the sofa, focusing a little too attentively on removing his boots. "Something wrong, Rick?"
 
Warrick finished taking off his boots. "No. Yeah. Um...can I ask you something?" Greg loved these rare and brief moments where Warrick lost his cool. He's seen more of those moments in the short three months they've been dating than in the five years they've been coworkers.
 
He moved to sit next to his boyfriend on the couch and bumped shoulders with Warrick. "Is it something kinky?"
 
Warrick let out a startled huff of laughter, the joke taking him by surprise. "Not quite."
 
Greg grinned. He'd made it his personal mission to get Warrick to smile and laugh more. Warrick didn't laugh nearly enough. "Just ask, Rick."
 
"Yeah. Well, you know how I go to church and have lunch with Grams every Sunday morning?" He didn't give Greg a chance to answer the question. "Well, I was wondering if you'd like to join me this time. You know I talk about you sometimes and Grams...she wants to meet you." Warrick finally took a much needed breath.
 
Greg waited a few seconds before putting Warrick out of his misery. "I'd love to meet her, Rick."
 
"Yeah?"
 
"Yeah." Greg could see Warrick visibly relax. "So, now with that over, can we go have sex?"
 
Warrick chuckled, shaking his head. "Yes, Greg. We can have sex." He stood up and started walking toward the bedroom, muttering load enough to be heard. "I swear I'm dating a teenager."
 
Greg wrapped his arms around Warrick's waist from behind. "Lucky you."
 
XXXXXXXXXX

 
“Why are you so nervous?”
 
The car ride had been unusually quite and Warrick’s hands were tight around the wheel. “I just want her to like you.”
 
“She’ll love me. I’m awesome with parents.”
 
“Grandparent.” Warrick corrected. “And Grams hasn’t liked anyone I’ve introduced her to before. She thinks I have horrible taste.”
 
“I’m awesome with grandparents too and she’s right. Your taste in women and men is horrific. You’re lucky I saved you from yourself.”
 
“Ha ha.” Warrick pulled in front of his grandmother’s house and parked the car before turning to Greg. “This is important to me, but, you know, however it goes, we’re still good. You and me, yeah?”
 
“Yeah, I know. You just can’t resist me.” Greg pecked Warrick on the cheek. “Come on, she’s probably watching us.”


Greg stepped out of the truck and waited for Warrick to walk around the vehicle to stand beside him. Warrick opened the gate and they walked up the short walkway together. Grams opened the door before they even had a chance to knock. She was all smiles, and the surprise must have shown on Greg's face, because her first words were "has my grandson been telling lies about me again?"


Greg smiled and stepped forward. "You know, I think he has." He looked back to Rick. "It's nice to meet you Mrs. Brown."


"Call me Grams, and it's nice to meet you too, Greg. Warrick has only said positive things." Grams gave a soft laugh. "In fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd say he was a little lovesick."


"Oh, he is."


Warrick waved. "Yeah, I'm still here, guys."


"Hush now, Warrick."


Greg grinned. "Yeah, Warrick, hush."


XXXXXXXXXX



Greg was beginning to get tired. He and Grams were a lot alike in that they didn't have any type of filter. They'd talked about everything from politics, to religion to Warrick-isms. The sun had just set and Grams was in the kitchen pulling brownies out of the oven for them to take home. Greg rested his head on Warrick's shoulder.


"Tired, babe?"


Greg let out sleepy, "yeah."


"What do you want to do when we get home?"


"Sleep. Sex. Sex and Sleep or some variation of the theme." 


"Sounds good to me."


Greg had fallen asleep by the time Grams came out of the kitchen. She sat next to her grandson. "I'm happy for you Warrick. You'll be good for each other." 


"Thanks Grams, that means a lot." Warrick gave her a hug before waking Greg up. "Come on it's time to go."


XXXXXXXXXX



1 year later



Warrick turned off the television as Greg walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom with a towel around his waist. Greg tried walking past the bed to the dresser but was pulled away from his path. "Warrick..."

"Greg...just one kiss." 

"After I get dressed." Greg protested, but he was already leaning down to grant Warrick's request. 

"I'm impatient." Warrick whispered before their lips connected. Within seconds, Warrick managed to distract Greg from his earlier task and pull the younger man into bed. He was the first one to pull away. "I have to ask you something."

Greg's voice was all whine, "now?" 

"Yeah, now." Warrick reached underneath the pillow for the item he had placed there earlier. He opened the little box, displaying two simple platinum bands. "Greg, will you spend the rest of your life with me?" Greg took the smaller band and slipped it on his left ring finger. He kissed Warrick as the older man did the same with the larger band. 

"You just wanted to propose while I was naked, didn't you?"

"Maybe." Warrick smiled. "You know, this is my favorite version of you."


XXXXXXXXXX



Warrick watched his partner from across the room. They were at Grams house for the annual holiday party. All of Warrick's relatives were there. They had talked about making an announcement about their rings and what they meant, but decided against it. Warrick was happy, content, excited about the future. He didn't need deal with the drama that would surely come from the announcement of his life-long commitment to his gay lover. His family was pretty chill, they weren't that chill though. 

Warrick walked into the kitchen to refill his drink. Grams followed him. "Is there something you want to tell me Warrick?"

"I was waiting for you to corner me." Warrick set his empty glass on the counter and fingered the ring on his left hand. "It's not official or anything. I mean, it's not like we can get married. We'll probably file all the paper-work we can over the--"

"Warrick, marriage is more than a legal commitment."

"Yeah." Warrick ducked his head, looking at his ring before looking at his grandmother. "I know that, believe me I do. The way I feel about Greg...it's so...it just felt like the right time to make the next step. You date, you fall in love, you get married. That last step, we can't make it, but this is close enough. Not the same, but close enough."

"What makes your relationship any different than a marriage?"

Warrick shook his head. "Nothing. The connection and commitment between me and Greg...I know it's stronger than half the relationships out there, half the marriages out there. What's between us isn't any different than those in a marriage. What people perceive to be between us is different than what's perceived to be between those in a marriage. To the rest of the world we're nothing more than live-in boyfriends."

"Since when have you cared about other people's perceptions?"

He answered with a half smile. "Since I started loving someone other than myself?" Warrick poured himself a glass of wine. "It's crazy. I know I'm the best thing for him. He loves me. I love him more than anyone else ever could. Yet, there are still these moments when I doubt myself, you know. I wonder if his life would have been easier if we'd never fallen into this. We used to talk, before we got together, when we were just friends, about what we wanted in life. Just fantasies. Marriage was a big part of them. I wanted someone by my side, someone to show off, wanted to hear it in the church announcements, be congratulated on finding the right one. Greg wanted the wedding, reception, anniversaries. Wanted the memories. And, now we'll never have that kind of normalcy. This..." Warrick twirled the band around his finger, "it means something, a lot, but it ain't the same. Never will be."

"Warrick, baby, you keep tossing around the word marriage like it's all you and Greg ever wanted. Marriage is just a word. You and Greg wanted acceptance. You wanted your love to be recognized and celebrated. You don't need a law-abiding marriage for that."

"Yeah, I know, but-" Suddenly familiar arms were wrapped around Warrick's waist.

"Hey Grams, is Warrick thinking too much again?"

Grams smiled. "I think so."

"It's amazing how he can think himself into a bad mood isn't it?"

Warrick turned around in Greg's arms until he was facing his partner. "I'm not in a bad mood."

Greg held onto Warrick's left hand, fingers tracing over the new jewelry. "Tell the frown on your face." Greg leaned into kiss Warrick, but pulled away before it turned serious. "Be happy. I'm happy. You're not having second thoughts, are you?"

"You're happy. I'm happy. We're together. No second thoughts."

"You know these rings are supposed to mean that even if you're unhappy, we're still together."

Warrick smiled. "I know. I'm stuck with you."

Greg grinned. "Damn right."

XXXXXXXXXX



"Turn left at the light, Warrick."

"Grams, the church is two blocks to the right."

"We're going to a new church." Warrick made the left and continued on for a few minutes. "Make a right here and it's on the left."

Warrick parked in the busy church parking lot. He stepped out of his SUV and met Greg and Grams on the other side of the vehicle. "You've been going to the same church for nearly 10 years. Did you leave Unity Baptist?" They began walking inside the church.

"That church wasn't what I thought it was."

Greg was about to comment, but Warrick made eye contact over Grams head and shook his head. Every time there was a church scandal in the newspapers - philandering pastors, misappropriation of funds, anything of the sort - Grams would take it as a personal betrayal. The last time Grams left a church due to scandal, she wouldn't go to church for a month. She claimed she had lost her faith, not in God, but in people. Warrick saw it as a good sign that she was even attending church today.

Warrick, Greg, and Grams sat waiting for the church announcements to start. The deacon was nearly halfway through the first announcement before Warrick realized it was about him "...Brown and Mr. Greg Sanders please stand?" Both Greg and Warrick looked at each other before looking at Grams. She waved them on. They stood. "Let us all take a moment to congratulate and give our blessing to Mr. Warrick Brown and Mr. Greg Sanders, two new members of our church, for their recent commitment. They have made a commitment to themselves and to God to spend the rest of their lives together. And for that they deserve our blessing." There was applause. Greg and Warrick sat down and the deacon moved on to the next church announcement.

As soon as Warrick sat down, he hugged his Grandmother. "You left your church to give me that."

Grams shook her head. "I left that church because all of God's children deserve to celebrate their love. Even you." Grams smiled at her own joke. "Especially you." She reached over Warrick's lap to place her hand on Greg's knee and addressed the both of them. "You two have got hundreds of people blessing your commitment. You'll be just fine."

XXXXXXXXXX


6 months later


"What the hell am I to you, Warrick?" Greg had been silent during the car ride home, silent as he walked through the house. He had put his wallet and keys on the nightstand next to their bed. He took off his watch and put it beside them. When he finally did address Warrick, his tone was flat, his volume low.

"Greg..." Warrick rubbed his palm against his chin. He knew he didn't have the words that would make Greg forgive him.

"Of all the things you could do...you do the one that you know I'd really have a problem with. We talked about this before we even started dating."

Greg and Warrick have had arguments before. Their arguments were usually loud, mean, and laden with low blows. They never lasted long though. Greg would crack a joke or Warrick would use some pet name and they'd be back to normal, back to them.

And Greg had been hurt by Warrick before. Warrick could be rude, insensitive...he could do all those upsetting things boyfriends do.

Through it all though, Greg had never watched Warrick knowingly hurt him. He'd never doubted Warrick. "You know what? I have to get out of here." Greg grabbed his keys and walked out of the bedroom to the front door.

"Greg, where are you going?"

Even through his anger, Greg couldn't let Warrick worry. "I don't know yet. I just need get out of here, clear my head. I'll be back."

Greg walked out of the door.

XXXXXXXXXX


Greg shoved half a brownie into his mouth and took a sip of the hot chocolate in front of him. "I just don't know what to do. We never argue."

"Greg, honey, you two argue all the time."

Greg shook his head. "Not like this, Grams. I don't want to see him or talk to him. I don't want to hear him explain it away. I've never not wanted him around me."

Grams stood on the other side of the kitchen island. She took both of Greg's hands in hers. "This is the not-so-fun part of being in a relationship. You have to deal with it."

"Not today. Can I stay here tonight?"

"Sure, you can stay in Warrick's old bedroom."

"I just can't get away from him, can I?" He half-joked.

"Not when you go to his childhood home. Think about why chose to come here, Greg."

"I will, ma'am." With that Greg headed up the stairs to Warrick's old bedroom.

XXXXXXXXXX


Grams fixed another cup of hot chocolate and plated two brownies. If she knew her grandson at all, she knew he'd be knocking at her door any minute. She heard the truck pull up, went to the door, and opened it up before Warrick had a chance to ring the doorbell.

"Hey Grams, is he here?"

"He just went to bed." Grams stopped Warrick before he headed upstairs. "Warrick go to the kitchen." She followed him and sat down at the island. "What happened?"

"I fucked up, like I always do."

"There's no putting yourself down in my house. Now tell me what happened."

"I'm sorry." Warrick ran his hands over his face. "We were out with some friends and ran into some people I knew in college. And I introduced Greg as a friend."

"Warrick."

"I know. But--it wasn't because I'm not proud of us. It's just--there are some people I used to know that I don't want knowing me and my personal life. It just happened so fast. I wanted to get away from them as soon as possible, you know?"

"I'm not the one you have to make understand. Go upstairs."

Warrick took one more sip of hot chocolate before going upstairs.

XXXXXXXXXX


Warrick closed the door behind him and made his way toward the bed. "Greg."

"I'm not ready to talk to you yet."

"Greg, please." Warrick moved to touch Greg.

"Don't touch me."

Warrick ignored Greg's request and landed his hand on Greg's shoulder. "Come on, you know I hate going to sleep when you're angry with me."

Greg turned around to face Warrick. "I know. Grams thinks I came here so you'd find me.."

"Baby--"

"Pet names aren't going to work."

"How about a sincere apology?"

"Maybe." Greg had never heard Warrick sincerely apologize to him. It usually took a lot for Warrick to admit he had done something wrong and Greg had only ever seen him do that on the job. Most of their arguments ended with an agreement to disagree.

"I'm so sorry for what I did. I know it was a mistake and I swear it'll never happen again. You should know, what I said wasn't about us or how I feel about us. It was about how little I wanted to share my life with certain people. All of the people I care about and share my life with know about us." Warrick paused and the only sound in the room was their soft breathing. He brought his hand to Greg's face. "I love you."

"The feeling's mutual."

XXXXXXXXXX


3 years later


Greg crawled up Warrick's body and gave his husband a kiss, before rolling to the side on to his back.

"You know, you're getting pretty good at that."

Greg laughed, "I've always been good at that. Better than you at least."

"I don't know about that."

Greg shifted so he was on his side, his head resting on his hand. "Well, I do."

Warrick laughed, "So fucking cocky."

"It's the way you like me." Their laughter faded into silence.

"You're staring."

"Only because you're so pretty." Greg grinned. "You know, when we have kids I think you should be the father."

"Kids? I don't think that'll be happening for awhile."

"Really, you don't think so?"

"This isn't your subtle way of telling me you're pregnant, is it?"

Greg rolled his eyes. "Ha. Ha. No, this is my subtle way of telling you that we should start figuring the kids thing out. I want to be young enough to enjoy graduations and weddings and grandchildren."

Warrick rolled over on to his side so he was facing Greg. "Grandchildren?" Warrick smiled. "Can you imagine us being grandparents?"

"Hate to break it to you, Vegas. But we can't be grandparents if we're not parents first."

"Smart ass."

"So?"

"So...we're going to have kids."

XXXXXXXXXX


2 years later



They name their son Benjamin, after Grams' father. Grams is there at the hospital along with Warrick and Greg, welcoming Benjamin into the world. She's also there days later when Greg and Warrick realize they have no idea what to do with a baby. She's there for first words, first steps, first day of kindergarten, and every other first that should be celebrated by family.

XXXXXXXXXX


14 years later


"I swear I'm going to kill him." Warrick rubbed a hand over his face and sat down. Greg knew he wasn't really angry. Bennie's continual lack of respect for Warrick in particular was more upsetting than infuriating.

Greg sat down next to Warrick and gave him a sideways hug. "He's just a kid, Rick. A stupid, hormonal teenager that has to rebel against something."

"That's easy for you to say. He actually likes you."

Greg had to smile to keep himself from chuckling. It was amazing to see this man who handled every situation with either a calm objectiveness or extreme anger actually pout at the possibility that his 14-year-old son didn't like him. "Babe, he likes you. He loves you."

Warrick continued pouting. "He loves you more."

Greg spent a few seconds debating on whether he should share his theory about Bennie's behavior, before just asking Warrick. "Truth?"

"Always."

"Bennie doesn't love me more. He simply gets along better with me right now." Before Warrick could start up with the self-pity again, Greg pushed on, "it isn't a bad thing Rick. You know how we get along so well." Greg motioned between Warrick and himself. "I can anticipate your moods. You think I'm charming and funny and you totally have this hero worship thing going on."

"I tell you I admire you once and you turn it into hero worship. You know what, Greg? You're right. I think your charming and funny and a filthy liar, but what does this have to do with why Bennie won't listen to a damn word I say?"

"Well, the point I was getting to is that it kind of makes sense that Bennie would get along a little better with me right now. He's just like you, Rick. I handle him the same way I handle you."

Warrick lifted an eyebrow. "You handle me? How do you handle me?"

"Like I've known you for over twenty years."

"Okay...but I still--"

"Do you want to see Grams?" Greg interrupted. "You know I'm right. I know I'm right, but I also know that you won't feel better until Grams says the exact same thing I just did."

Warrick thought about it for a second. He actually did want to see Grams. He looked up at Greg who was already grabbing his keys. "Well..."

"Again, I've known you for over twenty years."

XXXXXXXXXX



Warrick sat at the dining room table with his grandmother sipping on sweet tea. Four plates of half eaten food were in front of them. A late lunch ruined by a disrespectful outburst from Bennie. "We can't even make it through a meal. I don't know what's gotten into that kid."

Grams laughed, "Warrick, baby, he's just like you were at that age."

"I was never that--" Warrick stopped himself. He distinctly remembers getting a few ass whoopings for disrespecting his grandmother. "Greg said that we argue because we're so much alike."

"Well he's an expert on all things Warrick and Bennie, so I'm guessing he's right about that. Greg is a good man, good husband, good father."

"And what am I?"

"You're my work in progress. Just like Bennie."

"Well if Bennie is just like me as you two keep saying, then I feel sorry for him."

"Why's that?"

Greg had quickly taken Bennie to Warrick's old room after the boy's outburst. They'd been upstairs for at least 20 minutes and no voices had been raised. But Warrick knew from experience that a 5 minute conversation with Greg could make him feel sorry. A 10 minute conversation could make him feel like a lesser man. At 15 minutes he usually felt like he didn't deserve Greg. And at 20 minutes, "Well, put it this way, after Greg's done with him upstairs I don't think Bennie will feel very deserving of anything."

Sure enough, when Greg and Bennie did rejoin them, Bennie's eyes were red-rimmed. He walked up to Warrick, tremble in voice, and apologized for what Warrick felt like had to be the first time since he was ten. "I'm so sorry, Dad." He looked like he desperately needed a hug. So, Warrick pulled him into one.

"It's okay, kiddo. I know you didn't mean it." Warrick looked over Bennie's shoulder and mouthed a 'thanks' to Greg. The younger man simply rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders.

Warrick didn't know how Greg didit. Sure, Greg had a mean set of puppy eyes and the sound of his voice when he was disappointed was enough to break Warrick's heart, but he knew those qualities weren't the ones that made both Warrick and Bennie fall apart.

Greg had these expectation, but they were more than expectations. It was like he knew it as fact that Warrick was a good person. Greg was always shocked when Warrick messed up. It was like he couldn't understand how the good person he was in love with could have been so horrible for even that short second it took to screw up. Warrick knew it was crazy and completely in his own head, but every time he messed up, he felt like Greg could never love him as much as he did before. Warrick knew it wasn't true, he knew Greg's love was unconditional, but that feeling made him try harder. He wanted to be the man Greg knew he already was.

Warrick let go of his son and encouraged him to sit down and try to finish his meal. He had a feeling that when Greg took Bennie upstairs he took off the kid gloves for the first time. Warrick remembered the first time he really disappointed Greg. It took a long time to recover. Warrick sometimes wondered how he would have turned out if he had known someone like Greg when he was younger. His son was very lucky.


XXXXXXXXXX


1 year later


Greg was trying hard to keep himself from getting upset. Warrick didn't need that on top of everything else going on. Grams had been admitted to the hospital earlier that day and there wasn't much hope that she would make it through the night. They were sitting in the hallway, waiting for Grams to be taken to a room. Warrick's head was in his hands, his elbows on his knees. Greg was sitting beside him, rubbing his back in comforting circles, like he used to do for Bennie when he was sick.

Warrick wasn't crying. Greg didn't expect him to. Grams health had been failing her for the last year or so. Stupid people that knew of the situation kept saying this was a blessing in a disguise. A blessing. Right. The only person that had always been in Warrick's life, the only person that had supported their relationship from the very beginning, the only person that had been at or heard about every little and big milestone in Bennie's life, the only person that Greg loved almost as much as Warrick and Bennie likely wouldn't be around tomorrow.

Greg was going to cry.

He must have made some type of noise, because suddenly Warrick was sitting up and stroking his knee in an attempt to soothe him. "Hey, hey, it's okay. Calm down, babe. Breathe."

Greg gasped for air, not realizing that he hadn't been breathing until Warrick told him to. "It's not gong to be okay. Who's going to bake us brownies when we're upset? Who am I going to complain about you to? Who are we going to go to for advice?"

"I can buy you brownies when you're upset and I'm sure Bennie would love to hear about my flaws. As for the advice thing, we'll just have to go to each other."

Greg took Warrick's hand in his, intertwining their fingers. "She's been there for all of it. For every major moment in our relationship. We're different, better because of her."

Warrick pulled Greg towards him and placed a kiss on top of the man's head. "And, we'll have great memories of her. We won't forget those or the things she taught us."





The End