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Summer Snapshots

Chapter Text

Clear skies stretch to white clouds on the horizon and sunlight throws everything in HD. The expanse of water before him sparkles invitingly, warm sand under his feet a warning of the temperature to come, and the umbrella, cooler, and towels set up to his right. It’s a rare sight to behold, and on the first day of summer no less. However, there’s one view nature can't beat.

Edd wearing a small pair of swimming trunks, the fabric clinging to every curve as he walks away from the shore and back to their spot with a green plastic bucket filled with water in hand.

“Tord, you're drooling.”

Whoops.

“No, I'm not,” Tord protests, surreptitiously wiping away said drool.

Edd snickers, leans down to set his bucket on the ground and plops down in the shade of the umbrella. He beckons, “Stop being a creep and help me build a sand castle.”

Right, mind out of the gutter now, Tord thinks. He sits close by Edd’s side, knees bumping, and dutifully takes a red scoop. They build up a rectangular shape and four circular ones at the four corners for the foundation. Edd runs over to the shore with the bucket for more water as Tord works a few spires up and digs a moat around the base. The bucket’s set aside once its purpose is fulfilled and they add windows into the sculpture with their fingers. A thought occurs to Tord while they search around for seashells.

“Hey, how did you get Matt and Jehovah to stay home?”

Edd hums, mind still entirely on decorating, “I told Tom alcohol’s banned on this beach and that there are no mirrors in the restroom to Matt.”

A beat of silence passes as Tord attempts to visualize his normally truthful boyfriend lying to his friends’ faces.

“... Did you really?” It doesn’t hurt to confirm.

“Did I really say those things to a known alcoholic with a dozen hiding places on his person for his flask and a man with hand mirrors he could bring?” Edd grins, slow and mischievous.

Tord.exe is currently trying to restart. In the meantime, he awaits Edd’s response with bated breath.

“No, what I actually said is”—Edd pauses for dramatic effect despite having his audience wrapped around his finger—“we were going on a date!”

… He’s lucky he’s cute.

“Edd, why?” Tord asks, embarrassment coloring his cheeks.

He shrugs and chuckles. “Honesty is sometimes more funny than the best lie. Seriously, you should’ve seen Tom’s face.”

Tord can picture it; Tom spitting out whatever he’s just drank in shock, eyes white and mouth gaping. That image alone is enough for a giggle.

“I think I just fell deeper in love with you,” Tord says, adoration in his voice and a love-struck gaze aimed at Edd.

He gets sand flicked at him for his trouble, but Edd has a glowing blush on his face. He doesn’t protest to a picture when Tord digs out his phone from his bag. Tord counts it as a winning start to this year’s summer and happily looks forward to the next adventure.

Chapter Text

Tord follows the smell of fresh cooking bacon to the kitchen for a meaty snack, but he froze upon rounding the doorway. Edd at the stove with Tom and Matt seated at the table is nothing new; however, their expressions tell a different story. Disgust and horror on Matt and Tom's faces while Edd has a gleeful smile as he chops up the cooked bacon. Tord spies a carton of cola ice cream and a liter bottle of Coke, and an ominous shiver races down his spine.

“Tord, come sit at the table! I've got a treat for everyone,” Edd said.

Tord sincerely doubts it'll be a treat. Just like how he doubts Tom will let him run to freedom based solely on his vicious glare.

“What type of treat?” Tord asks, reluctantly sitting down.

Edd grabs four cups and moves everything to the table. “An ice cream float with bacon bits! It's the best of both worlds!”

He loves bacon and enjoys a cola now and then, yet the thought of eating both in an ice cream… It twists something in his stomach. There's a burn in his throat, nausea crashing through him like a wave, but Tord swallows it and forces a tiny smile for Edd. All three men look on as Edd pours the soda and adds half of the bacon. Ice cream is spooned up and dropped into the cups then he swirls it as he adds the remaining bacon.

They’re given a liberal coating of chocolate syrup before being deemed perfect and slid to each recipient. Matt’s just staring at it, a conflict of self-preservation and politeness clear in his wide-eyed gaze, while Tom drinks from his flask like he’s been dying in a desert for weeks.

Edd has no reservations (and maybe no taste buds) and drinks up.

“It’s delicious!” Edd chirps around the mouth full of dessert.

Tord tries to communicate to Edd how bad of an idea that much caffeine and sugar is with his gaze alone. Alas, the love of his life is too blissed out on cola to notice it. A glance at Tord’s fellow sufferers reveals Matt’s survival instinct lost the battle since he has the cup hovering indecisively before his closed mouth and Tom’s pouring his alcohol into his cup. They catch him staring, leading to a silent three-way battle of wills as to who would be the first to drink the concoction.

It ends when Edd surfaces from his cup to shoot everyone a puzzled look. “Is something wrong?” he asks, puppy eyes in full effect. “Do you not like it?”

Tord crumbles. He crumbles hard . The cup is in his hand and at his mouth that second, cold foamy cream with irregularly sized bits of meat flooding into it. His taste buds are overwhelmed by the sweetness and fizzle of the float, and they conceal the savouriness of the bacon until he chews the larger pieces. He has to stop after the ice cream is gone and there’s only soda and more bacon left.

“Yeah, it’s good.” Tord smiles, dropping the expression soon after Edd returns to his float.

Matt and Tom are the picture of comical shock, eyes wide and mouths gaping, which makes the rolling in his stomach worth it. Matt shakes it off quicker and brandishes his phone.

“Smile, lovebirds!”

The photo of Edd grinning and Tord smiling, yet still a little green around the gills, with the unholy brews in their hands sneaks its way into the summer scrapbook by a vengeful Tom.

Chapter Text

Tamara comes back from the store ready and willing to shout the house down for some help with the groceries when she spies a rare sight. In the living room, a movie plays on despite its viewers being fast asleep on the couch. Tori’s curled up over Ell, face partly buried in the Ell’s neck while Ell herself has her arms wrapped tight around Tori, and their legs tangled together. Tamara doesn’t see her rival this soft and vulnerable often, and it’s a surprisingly good look for her. It’s as though she’s sweet and docile instead of a trigger-happy maniac.

Unfortunately for the couple, Tamara only has one pair of hands and Matilda to put away the food. Though she decides against waking them up violently, gently shaking Ell awake first, so a small mercy there.

“What? Did something happen?” Ell mumbles. She stretches as best she can with a body on her and rubs the sleep from her eyes.

“I came back from the store is what happened. C’mon, the food needs to be put away.” Tamara sneaks her phone out and snaps a picture before Ell notices. Better to get something to bargain with now to save herself from Commie-induced headaches in the future.

Chapter Text

They’re munching on sweets made by Tom, curled up together on the sofa, when the idea of opening a bakery comes about. It had only been said jokingly before, but now is when it becomes an actual plan.

“He should open a bakery,” Edd sighs around a mouthful of lemon custard.

“It'd go out of business in the first week. He's not PR friendly, you know.” Tord sulks, probably mad he can't one-up Tom in baking.

Edd takes his time chewing another custard, deep in thought. Once it’s gone, he proposes, “Well, what about you opening one? You can hire him, and Matt, Palle, and Pat, too.”

Tord looks upon him in reverence. “I can order Tom around and he can’t do shit about it?”

“What, no—that’s not what I—” Edd scrambles to dissuade Tord, but to no avail.

Tord gets up and races out of the room. His eagerness is like a puppy’s and about as destructive as one too. It’s cute, but Tom would never agree to bake for Tord. That’d be settling himself up for misery.

Edd freezes, mouth wide to receive a croissant and eyes steadily widening as a thought of pure genius forms. Tom would never agree if it’s Tord… but he would if Edd is an owner as well.

Months of planning, location and equipment scouting, and acquiring permits later, Gold & Solberg Bakery is in business.

Chapter Text

The weather is predicted to be in 32° highs, humidity high, and little wind for relief. Heat haze rises from asphalt and cars alike, unifying in a dizzying mirage. Opening the door results in a blast of air so hot, you’d think you just took a steam iron to the face. It’s a perfect day to stay inside.

Edd has other plans that nature cannot stop.

He sets two bags and the cooler by the front door, checks he has everything then double checks again. He asked Tom to check the car earlier although he still hasn’t come back inside yet. Edd spares a second to wonder what’s keeping him, then shrugs and ambles up the stairs. Edd knocks on Tord’s door and goes in without waiting for a response. His boyfriend is spread eagle on the ground, a wind machine on full blast in front of his face and wet towels covering him.

“Hey, you ready for the pool?” A groan answers Edd. “I know, Baby, but the pool will be more refreshing than the bathtub.”

Tord lifts the hand towel on his face. “ Elskede , when I looked outside, a tree caught fire. I bet it’s still burning too.”

“You’re exaggerating. See, it’s fine.” Edd opens a window, jumps back as ten flies, six mosquitoes, three moths, two mice, and Tom crawls through it. Unnoticed, a fly swoops out only to plummet to the ground.

“Edd, it’s so hot in the car, two hobbits came around and threw a ring in it.” Tom fans his face, panting like he ran a marathon. Tord throws his hand towel to him, sympathy plain in his expression.

“Why did you climb—never mind, I’ll get you a glass of water then we can go to the pool,” Edd says, ignoring the aggravated groans at his announcement.

After popping into the kitchen and getting the water, Edd passes Matt’s room. He knocks, but doesn’t barge in this time.

“Matt, are you ready for the pool?”

He opens the door, eyes wide in horror. “You want us to go out there? Have you lost your marbles?”

“It’s not that bad. Tom went out and he’s fine.”

Said man wobbles his way out of Tord’s room, takes the glass from Edd, downs it like a tequila shot, and stumbles to his room. Matt shoots Edd a disbelieving glare after he’s safely inside.

“That’s your definition of ‘fine’, mate?”

Edd has no response other than a sheepish smile. Matt shakes his head and closes the door. Dejected, he goes to Tord’s room and flops onto the bed. Tord cracks an eye open and moves his head to face Edd’s direction.

“Nobody wants to go to the pool?”

“Yeah,” Edd sighs.

He gazes at Tord with wide, sad eyes, bottom lip in a quivering pout. Tord slaps his hands over his eyes the second the sight registers in his dazed mind. He whines, all puppy high notes and needy. Tord whimpers softly in return and curls up on his side away from Edd.

“Tord, Baby, Sweetie, Honeybunch, Love, Angel, Sugar,” Edd singsongs, sure of his victory.

“Okay, fine, we’ll go together.” Tord caves, unsticking himself from the floor to look for his swimming trunks. “Anything for you, kjære .”

Edd cheers and pulls out his phone for a victory photo. It ends up featuring the burning tree viewable through the window, but his winning smile and Tord’s adorably grumpy face distracts from it.

Chapter Text

It’s been a while since Edd’s seen Tord. His absence is usually not a cause for concern, but Edd has Insane Zombie Pirates from Hell 3 playing its menu screen on the TV and normally that’d have him down in a heartbeat. Edd goes to investigate, the sounds of screams, violence, and mad crackling following him out the living room. He doesn’t bother knocking once he’s at Tord’s door and lets himself in. Tord’s at his desk, tinkering with something, and Edd tiptoes closer, smiling like a cat.

By Tord’s side, Edd watches him fiddle with a metal box until he pipes up, “Whatcha working on?”

Edd didn’t know how Tord would react, but a yelp and a full body flinch so violent it nearly scoots him off his chair? Priceless.

“Edd, I didn’t hear you come in,” Tord gasps, hand over his heart.

“Ringo’s been teaching me the ninja cat lifestyle.” He angles his head over Tord’s shoulder for a better look at the object. “So what’s with the box?"

Tord proudly holds up it, displaying the little box with a robotic face on top. “Just something I’ve been working on. It’ll be a functional model robot.”

“Functional?” Edd asks, watching as Tord opens up the chest piece to reveal a mass of wires and circuits.

“It’ll move around, like those children’s robot dogs.” Tord closes it up and places it among the other parts and his tools on the desk. “Did you need something?”

“I have Insane Zombie Pirates on, but if you’re busy being awesome—”

Edd steps back as Tord pushes away from his desk and hops to his feet. “No, I’m never too busy for you. Did you get the popcorn?”

As he turns to follow Tord, Edd glances at the blueprints on the desk. They appear to be for the robot based on the similar head, but the measurements are all wrong. He’d build it much bigger than the house if he kept them as is.

Tord calls from the stairs and Edd shrugs the mystery off, joining him downstairs.

Chapter Text

Tord sits at the kitchen table, a mug of tea in his hand despite the solid pit of rock in his chest, and stares at Edd manning the stove. He still hasn’t found the words to announce his departure, let alone lie to Edd’s face about where he’s going and what he’ll do. So, instead he drinks in the sight of his boyfriend happy and content. It’s early enough for Tom to still be asleep and Matt stuck in the bathroom; the best time to tell him, honestly. The others aren’t around to nitpick and ask questions about his story.

There’s no predicting how Edd will react, if he’ll have questions Tord can’t answer or think of one fast enough.

“I have something to say,” spills out of his mouth without conscious forethought. His face burns when Edd looks over his shoulder to shoot him an inquisitive glance.

Just rip it off like a bandaid, he thinks. “Edd, I’m leaving.”

It takes a second for Tord to register how vague he was, but Edd catches on and stiffens.

“Tord—”

“The house! I meant I’m leaving the house!” Tord scrambles to fix the misunderstanding.

Edd’s shoulders relax as he plates up the food and lets the silence go on. Tord’s on the edge of his nerves while waiting for his response. Edd’s serene facade is too perfect for one to accurately judge if he’s truly calm or not.

“Where are you going?”

Relief courses through his veins from the simple question even as the sick of lying tars his stomach. “I was scouted by a robotic company while we were in boot camp. They’re located out of town, in the city, so I need to move there.”

Edd nods his head, finally smiling. “Ah, I wondered what was going on with you after we left the camp. You’re welcome to visit whenever you’re free if the commute is too long.”

Deep breaths, Tord. “Edd… it’s a far-away city. It’s—I don’t think I could visit.”

“What? Where—”

“It’s in Norway, Edd.”

The quiet has never seemed so oppressive before, digging into Tord’s willpower of upholding his secrets and wrenching his heart asunder. It’s torn further still from the heartbreak on Edd’s face, expression vulnerable in all the ways Tord never wanted it to be, and the moment stretches on. Their gazes break away to the table and untouched food. Tord’s will is down to the quick when he finds a solution. He moves his chair closer to Edd and grasps his hand tight.

“I love you so much, Edd. I don’t want our relationship to end; I’ve never wanted anything less in my life… Can we make it work long distance? Just until I can come back to England?”

Another pause for Edd to collect himself and form an answer. Tord keeps his breaths even despite the clench of anxiety around his airway.

Edd’s hand grips back, determination battling out the sorrow in his eyes. “Of course, Tord. We’ll make it work.”

Tord tries to smile, but it’s hard, too artificial when Edd deserves only the genuine best of him. The wrongness permeates throughout his bones as Edd brings him in for a hug yet it only strengthens his resolve to make himself worthy—to make the world worthy of Edd.