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“In the proper light, it isn’t too offensive,” Elrond tries, but Thranduil can tell he’s lying through his teeth. With a deep scowl, Thranduil swipes to the next picture, and Elrond falls silent. There’s nothing he could say to fix the situation.

Thranduil stares at the picture of his once-precious child a little longer, this one set outside a tattoo parlor with his ‘best friend’ standing next to him. His arm’s around her shoulder and entangled in her red hair, and her eyes are off in the distance, probably watching some hideous dwarf lumber down the street. The friendship in itself is troubling, but the little metallic loop under Legolas’ nose is what really gets Thranduil’s blood boiling. Legolas stills looks beautiful, yes, but he has Thranduil’s genes, so he couldn’t look truly ugly if he tried. The nose ring is as close as it could get. It’s one thing for Thranduil to play around with boys pierced to high heaven, but quite another for his boy to do it. Elrond gently reminds him, “He’s a grown man, Thranduil. You have to let him make his own choices.”

“Not when they reflect poorly on me,” Thranduil mutters. “What will people say if they see my spawn dressed up like some sort of devil worshipper?”

“Probably less than they would say if they knew you referred to him as ‘your spawn’ and considered a single piercing the equivalent of devil worship.”

Thranduil shoots Elrond a quiet glare. The worst thing about the conversation is that it makes him feel like the old fashioned one, even though he’s usually the indulgent free spirit getting what he wants, with Elrond playing the role of boring old fuddy-duddy.

Legolas is just a whole other problem, and Thranduil finally clicks off his phone, unable to stare any longer at the picture of his once-handsome heir now marred with a metallic booger. He consoles himself with his triple shot espresso and eyeing the cute waiters flittering across the café. One of them, a slender, pretty creature with long honey-coloured hair, has a thin silver hoop around his bottom lip. Fully aware of the hypocrisy, Thranduil entertains a moment of sympathy for the boy’s father before wondering what that metal will taste like on his tongue when he inevitably seduces the young man into his bed.

Elrond’s phone interrupts the daydream with a short, generic buzz, and Elrond types out an automatic reply. “Your illustrious assistant?” Thranduil guesses. He and Elrond’s children are the only ones who ever seem to call him, aside from Thranduil himself, who probably has a dozen times that many contacts. The slight smile on Elrond’s lips betrays which of those five contacts it is. When Elrond just nods, Thranduil asks, “When are you going to fuck him already?”

Elrond only sighs. By now, he must be used to Thranduil’s needling. He still bothers to answer as he sets his phone down on the round, polished table, “That would be wholly inappropriate, and you know it.”

Thranduil snorts. He knows that they’re both grown men clearly smitten with each other, and what two consenting adults do on their own time is no one’s business but their own. And Thranduil’s.

As Elrond thoughtfully sips his green tea, eyes clearly lost off in Lindir-land, Thranduil waves over the cute waiter. Hurrying to comply, the young man smiles with a dazzling set of white teeth, asking sweetly, “Is there anything else I can get you, Sir?”

It would be so easy to answer: your number, but Thranduil isn’t quite that sleazy, and instead answers only, “The check, please.” The waiter nods and leaves, looking subtly disappointed.

Elrond announces, “I’ll be right back.” While he excuses himself towards the washroom, Thranduil continues to stare at the attractive waiter, who diverts to a small circle of his coworkers rather than the register. He says something that makes them giggle, then glances over his shoulder, and Thranduil offers a lewd grin that makes the young man blush a faint pink and smile back. Thranduil’s already plotting out just how to despoil him. He’ll look scrumptious spread out across the plush rug in Thranduil’s living room, stripped bare and ready to be ravished in the dim light of the fireplace.

Again, Elrond’s phone pulls him away. The screen lights up with an incoming text, and Thranduil, a tiny bit bored and a tiny bit more curious, plucks the forgotten phone off the counter while Elrond’s still away.

Sure enough, it’s Lindir, asking: Should I prepare anything else for you?

Lifting an eyebrow, Thranduil glances up through the conversation. Just before that, Elrond had said, Thank you. Actually, I’ll be stopping by tonight.

And before that, Are you coming by the office this weekend? I came across an interesting article during my research and left a copy on your desk. It could wait until Monday, though.

The rest of the conversation is in a similar vein: as dry and academic as the people themselves, not a stray exclamation mark or emoji to be found. It feels tragically pathetic, given that Thranduil, as a professor at the same university, has seen the intense longing in Elrond’s assistant’s eyes, and Elrond himself is only a fraction better at hiding it.

For a few seconds, Thranduil just eyes the useless chitchat, and then he decides to take mercy on his poor, sexless friend. He answers the question of what Lindir should prepare by sending simply: You.

In almost no time at all—because Lindir always seems eager to attend Elrond at any given moment—Lindir answers, Me? I don’t understand.

Thranduil can’t help but roll his eyes. Of course Lindir would have to be an innocent little cherub. He barely hesitates before typing out what Elrond would never have the courage to say: Yes, you. I want you to suck those talented fingers of yours into your mouth, get them nice and wet, then trail them down your pretty body while you think of me.

He hits ‘send.’ And he doesn’t give Lindir a chance to splutter and combust. He continues: I want you to ease them into your body, sliding them gently into your cute hole, and I want you to scissor yourself open until you’re wide enough to take me.

Send. ...And then I want you to bend yourself over my desk and wait for your professor to come and give you the good, hard dicking a seductive, wanton little beast like you deserves.

He sets the phone down, sliding it back to where it was, and sips his coffee while he waits for the screen to turn itself off. He’s sure it’s officially the longest Lindir’s ever gone without answering his beloved Elrond’s texts.

Over by the til, the cute waiter’s gotten himself stuck serving other customers. None of the others come in to serve Thranduil—Thranduil likes to imagine that his mark’s already jealously warned the others off. While a shaggy looking man with a unibrow searches his wallet for change, the waiter glances over and catches Thranduil’s eye. He bites his bottom lip, his tongue peaking out to play with his ring, as though he needs to try any harder to make Thranduil want him.

Elrond emerges from the washroom, sliding smoothly back into his seat, and asks, “Shall we pay at the register?”

“No,” Thranduil insists, gaze still elsewhere. “Let him come to me.”

Elrond makes a withered noise and doesn’t comment on how specific Thranduil made his answer. Instead, he taps his phone, and Thranduil looks back in time to see all the colour drain from his face.

Elrond frantically scrolls up through the last five texts. Then his head shoots up, and he seethes, “Thranduil...” His chiseled face contorts into an expression of pure fury, the scholar suddenly turned into a warrior, but he doesn’t seem to have any other words. Instead, he returns to his phone and begins rapidly typing out what Thranduil assumes is an apology.

He’s cut off before he’s finished with an incoming response. Elrond tenses. Thranduil leans over and reads: Yes, Sir.

The two of them are silent. A second later, another joins it. Thank you, Sir. <3

Elrond’s pale face flushes bright across his cheeks. Thranduil can barely contain his laughter.

The waiter then returns with two receipts, one that he sets down next to Elrond and one that he gracefully slides towards Thranduil’s hand. The waiter purrs, “Please come again soon.” And as soon as he’s gone, Thranduil flips the receipt over, unsurprised to find a phone number written on the back.

He adds it to his phone while he fishes out change and a sizeable tip with the other hand. Elrond remains frozen, vaguely reminiscent of an outdated computer utterly deadlocked by a sudden rush of incoming porn ads.

Thranduil offers, “Well, enjoy your evening,” and tries not to smirk too hard as he leaves.