New beginnings

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Leaving Warlington was much more difficult for Charlie than he thought it would be. He'd always pictured leaving, but he hadn't pictured it this way. He thought he'd do it on his own with not sickness weighing him down and no anticipatory anxiety. Patrick had assured him almost every day leading to their departure date, but he still had butterflies and regrets when he zipped his bag for the last time.

Boxes littered the house he'd called home all his life. The house looked oddly empty without the furniture and all the odd things they had collected over the years. Patrick had arranged for most of the furniture to be moved into storage, which he'd pay for every month. Charlie had elected to take all his favorite things with, requiring them to use a U-haul van in addition to the car they'd be driving up to Sydney with. With addition to Ariel and Patrick's stuff, it all just couldn't fit in the car.

Patrick and Charlie had flown up to Sydney a month prior to look for a place; and Patrick already had an interview with a prominent hospital. They'd found a small house in a coastal suburb and bought it on the spot. Charlie wasn't so keen on buying the house, but Patrick wanted to make their transition to Sydney to not be as dramatic. The house they'd bought looked much like Charlie's house.

Charlie was grateful for Patrick's thoughtfulness, but he knew his life was about to change dramatically regardless of his dwellings. Sydney was much bigger than Warlington. It was busier. He didn't know anyone except Patrick and Ariel, and he was going to meet a new team of doctors. It would take a while to get used to them, more so because right off the bat they were going to pry into his personal life. It came with his disease, there was no escaping it.


Charlie looked up from his suitcase. His eyes travelled in the direction of the voice to find its source. Patrick was standing at his bedroom door, leaning against the frame.

"I don't know," Charlie admitted while scratching his head. "It feels so weird leaving."

Patrick walked into the room. "Just remember why we're doing this," he said softly. Charlie still looked agitated so he grabbed his hands in his.

"You've moved twice in the last couple of years. I've never moved from Warlington," Charlie said. "I've always wanted to move. I just didn't think it would be this hard."

Patrick let the hands he was holding slide up to his waist. He cupped Charlie's face with his now free hands.

"Moving was hard for me too. The first time I did it because I was running away and most of the time I didn't feel anything. There were times at night in my bedroom when I wanted to stay, but that soon disappeared when I remember why I was running away. When I moved back I was anxious. My parents wanted me here and I...I wanted to here too and that scared me cause even though I didn't want to admit it to myself, you were the reason. I worried about coming back only to find you gone or married or something. I worried about leaving my cushioned life only to be faced with disappointment," he informed Charlie.

Charlie looked intrigued by what Patrick had said. He couldn't find anything to say to that, considering that he was hostile to Patrick up until just recently.

"I remember you told me you wanted to explore the world. Take this as an adventure. I'll be there with you," Patrick cut short the ensuing silence and took the time to give Charlie a short sweet kiss.

Charlie managed to smile even though the anxiety wasn't gone. He realized it would never go away, but it didn't mean much. Moving away, whether it was with Patrick or alone would always give him anxiety. That didn't mean it was a bad decision.

"Ariel is in the car, so I think we should get going now," Patrick said.

Charlie meant to hug Patrick tighter, but his hand acted of its own accord, pushing Patrick away instead. It wasn't a hard push, but Patrick felt it.

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