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It had been years since Mauve had left, years during which Laurie borne the assumption he was a widower, returning each night to an empty house which chafed more than the title.

He tried not to let it get to him.

Work was of course his favored distraction as it got him out and made him feel productive. It was something normal, he couldn’t see his lover because he himself was busy nothing more.

Couriers days were hit or miss, either they went from the first of the day to the late hours of the night or they were short half day affairs that left him at a loss.

Today looked like a miss.

 “I can’t believe there’s only six stops today.”

“Believe it ‘Lov. Last one is even on your way home.”

Laurie sighed as he started toward the elevator, “Perhaps I can go to a show or something tonight. Thank you Hy”


“Hello Hy.”

"Where the fuck have you been?"


"When did you plan on checking in?"


"Not with me, you twit!"


Laurie had considered going straight out to the theatre but Hyacinth had been right about his last stop being on his way home, and the idea of a quick shower and a civilian tux had appeal.

The second he crossed the threshold he knew he wasn’t alone, none of the alarms or other traps had been tripped, but he could hear someone deeper in the house. His pistol was in hand without a thought, there had been no car outside but he kept his finger well away from the trigger just in case one of the kids had decided to drop by unannounced, a rare but not wholly unheard of occurrence.

The intruder was in the kitchen, and it sounded as though they were actually cooking, which brought the number of suspects down and Laurie’s adrenaline up.

Reaching the entryway to the kitchen Laurie peeked in; a man stood over the stove, head bowed, dressed in what appeared to be a white shirt with purple slacks. Whatever he was cooking looked to be elaborate and smelled like the start of something divine.

As the man lifted his head Laurie lifted his gun, “Turn it off. Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my kitchen?”


He knew that voice, he heard it every night in his memories. His heart jumped as eyes made of hard ceramic met his own.

There was just one problem; Agent Mauve, his Eduard, did not cook.

Laurie held the gun steady as he stared down the other man. It was a struggle, he wanted so badly to believe his eyes and for the man in front of him to be the man he loved. But he had to be sure.

“When was our first kiss.”

“New Year’s at midnight.”

“First meal after the Ratte.”

“Chicken and dumplings, I had three helpings.”

“First Christmas how many berries?”

“Nine Hundred Forty.”

“How many men have you loved.”


“What was the last thing I gave you before you left?”

"This scar. I had to make it look convincing, so you shot me and thought I died."

Laurie drew in a shaky breath though his gun remained steady, “Say it, you promised you’d say it when the time came.”

“I’m home Laurie.”

If the other blond had anything else to say Laurie never heard it. He had discarded his gun and crossed the room before Eduard had even finished speaking losing himself completely in the kiss that followed.

It was so much like and yet so much better than the first time.

The kisses that followed the first were desperate and rough, lips and tongues trying to convey in touch alone emotions words could never explain.

This time it was Laurie that seized Mauve’s collar refusing to be moved till that contact was deemed far too little. Quick hands made short work of the sniper’s shirt sliding under the cloth to stroke eagerly at the scarred skin beneath.

The feeling of equally scarred and callused hands finding their way under his own clothes prompted a kiss breaking gasp as the smaller man focused anew on getting them both bare in the shortest amount of time.

This was more than sex.

If he were asked Laurie would have found it impossible to describe any actions that followed and yet every touch and every sound was imprinted on his memory. This was the man he had missed for nearly a decade, handling him with the same rough care he had craved all that time.

He knew where to touch and where to only skim the briefest contact. He knew the grunt that always preceded Eduard’s grip on his thighs turning to a lift, prompting his own arms to circle the sniper’s neck to keep his balance.  The feeling of first the wall against his back followed eventually by the more forgiving softness of the couch cushions. He didn’t know when the tears had started but he could taste the salt between kisses and refused to feel badly for them, he had waited far too long for this.

He cried out against his lover’s neck as he was finally filled, his limbs tightening to keep Eduard close just a moment longer before letting Eduard set the pace.

He was drowning in it all, the mix of nostalgia and new as they moved together.

After, as they lay on the couch Laurie carded one hand slowly through Eduard’s hair, savoring this ritual as much as everything that had preceded it. Thinking on the usual post-mission activities Laurie couldn’t help a small laugh, a near hysterical giggle really as he gave Eduard a squeeze.

“What is it?” Eduard asked softly.

“I won.”


“The office pool.”

“What was your bet?”

“I’d get you back alive.”

“…That’s all?”

“Mmhm,” he hummed, “There was no time limit, you just had to come back, and you did.”

Shifting just so their lips met in yet another slow kiss before another thought caused Laurie to pull back.

“What on Earth were you cooking anyway?”

"You told me that you'd rue the day I proved I could cook something fancier without burning it."

"A roux?"

"To start the stew."


"For you."

After everything else Laurie didn’t even try to hold back his laughter this time at the utter ridiculousness of the discussion, awarding Eduard with yet another kiss, “Well you can try again later, I’m not done with you here yet.”