"If you're bringing Eren to your family's dinner, am I going to mine alone?"
Marco stood, hands squeezing the edge of the kitchen bar counter, staring narrow-eyed across it at Jean as he posed the question. Jean shook his head, adjusting his glasses the way he did when he was nearing frustration. Figuring out who was going to each family dinner with whom was one of the more irritating facets of celebrating the holidays.
"No, you said yours is at six, right? That should give me plenty of time to get him back here for you to take him with you, too."
Marco nodded slowly. "So you don't wanna come with me this year?"
"I went with you last year, didn't I?"
"No, that was Easter," Marco sighed. "Eren got food poisoning at your mom's house last year and I ended up going to Thanksgiving alone. I just wanna actually bring someone this time."
"We're gonna make sure you do. I've just got a dinner to do already, and I can only deal with so much family in one day. Plus I don't want Eren stuck at home alone." He motioned toward Eren, lying on the living room couch with hands folded behind his head. Eren shrugged. Marco frowned, almost pouting.
"Yeah, I know. But I mean... technically you guys are leaving me at home alone until six."
"Sweetheart..." Jean trailed off, dragging hands down his face. "What do you want me to do here? I'm just trying to make things work, without having to deal with our families causing a scene. This is always so damned complicated. I mean, you know how my parents are..."
"Maybe I'm just getting sick of doing the family dance, okay? I hate lying to our parents at every holiday. I just want to feel included, and I just want both of you to be --"
"Hey, at least we don't have to worry about my parents getting pissed," Eren said darkly. Jean and Marco froze where they stood, gaping across the counter at each other before turning to face him with apologetic faces.
"Honey..." Marco began, but Eren shook his head sharply, wary of anything that sounded like pity.
"Just tryna get you two to quit worrying so much. Not supposed to be what this is about, remember?" He looked down at the tattoo on his wrist - the image of a green gem he'd gotten when the three of them had decided on some sort of mark of commitment - running a thumb over it the way he always did when he was anxious. On reflex Marco looked down at his as well, and Jean at his. Eren watched them, his usual wide, toothy grin beginning to spread across his face at the way tiny marks on their skin could make them feel connected even when life was trying to pull them in different directions. "We've gotten through too much shit the last couple of years to let some fuckin' turkey come between us."
From his place leaning against the counter, Jean snorted, and then Marco was laughing too. They just stood in place, all three of them laughing for a few long, cathartic minutes as the tension between them evaporated and they were left clutching their sides and completely forgetting why they'd even started laughing in the first place. It didn't really matter - none of it did. Marco reached across the counter to slide his fingers between Jean's and smile for just a minute before pulling him into the living room after him.
"You guys gonna quit freaking out and come share my blanket?" Eren grinned, lifting his arms like quilt-clad wings and waved them invitingly. Jean released Marco's hand to let him flop down into Eren's linen pile and looked down at them both with crossed arms.
"That's my blanket, actually."
"Whatever, babe," Eren smirked, looping one blanket-wrapped arm around Marco. "You gonna get in on this or not?"
Jean sighed and let himself drop onto the couch beside them, with just enough time to grumble - "thief" - before Eren tossed the blanket over his head. Five minutes later, Jean didn't care whose blanket it was anymore - only that it was big enough to cover three barely-dressed bodies.
Later that evening, when the light outside was as distant a memory as the wine from the empty bottle on the living room floor, they settled on a plan. Two dinners, with two families, each one of them bringing two guests instead of deciding on one. It was more straightforward than any of them had ever been with their families, but imagining themselves anywhere but together on Thanksgiving was to imagine themselves without the people they loved most. And after all, Marco said - echoing Eren's words from before - "isn't love what the holidays are about?"
"Still worry about what my dad's gonna say," Jean sighed, eyes fluttering closed as Eren held his head in his lap, scratching lazily through his hair. "Or how long I'll have to hear about it."
"Your dad?" Marco groaned, propped against Eren's opposite shoulder. "Mine will probably disinherit me. And I thought coming out was rough." It was said as a joke, but Jean and Eren both knew he was genuinely worried. They all were. But Eren wasn't one to let fear cage him - or his mouth.
"Dude says anything to you, I'll fuck him up. Don't even worry about his stupid shit, hon."
From his place in Eren's lap, Jean stifled a scoffing laugh. "Babe, Marco's dad is a blackbelt with a gun collection. I'd prefer we make it through this incident alive, okay?"
"I'm just sayin', don't talk shit about my boyfriend. Either of 'em." He scratched his nails affectionately over Jean's scalp and let his hand linger long enough for Jean to press his face - and bury his snickering - against it.
"How about this --", Marco offered, still grinning from listening to Jean trying not to laugh. "When we inevitably get kicked out of one or both dinners, we just go to IHOP and order half the menu. If we get enough food, Jean and I might even get a bite to eat."
"Excuse you," Eren scoffed, and it set Jean cackling in his lap again. "I don't eat that much."
"Right," Jean laughed, trying to catch his breath. "We'll probably get asked to leave my family's dinner just so there'll be some food left for everyone else."
"Or because your mom is crying too hard over never having grandchildren," Eren quipped. Jean nodded and Marco heaved a sigh, reaching behind him to loop his fingers with a few of Eren's.
"God, I hope she doesn't get started on that again. I'll excuse myself."
Eren leaned his head over to rest against the top of Marco's. "You and me both, honeybunch."
"Honestly it really doesn't matter what any of 'em do. Or say." Jean looked up at the two of them and smiled before closing his eyes again. "I've got plenty to give thanks for, right here in this room."
Eren snorted. "Quit with the cheese, babe. We're all out of wine."
Jean opened one eye to glare up at him; Eren huffed a laugh but leaned down to kiss him anyway, pulling him up into his lap and then sighing happily as he watched Marco lean over to kiss him as well. They wriggled themselves around until two pairs of legs were tossed across Eren's, and every hand had another to hold.
Jean was the first to fall asleep that night, but he was shaken awake when Marco stood from their living room cuddle pile to stretch. He blinked up at him for a few seconds before stretching a hand out for Marco to pull him up as well. He swayed on his feet for a moment after standing, and Marco wrapped arms around his waist to steady him. They kissed - slow and soft and quiet - before sharing an affectionate glance down at Eren, still sprawled at their feet, snoring faintly.
"He was right earlier," Marco whispered, squeezing an arm around Jean's back. "We really don't need to worry."
"Doesn't make me any less terrified of your dad, though. Especially with Eren's plan of action." Jean buried his face in Marco's shoulder, feeling him shake with quiet laughter.
"We'll get through this weekend, sweetheart. And if it means spending holidays here at home from now on - just the three of us - then our families can say whatever they want. Let 'em disown us; I'm done worrying about it. I can't actually think of a bad outcome, when it comes right down to it. As long as I still have you boys."
"That'd sure make Christmas shopping cheaper," Jean snickered, and Marco just kissed the side of his face and pulled him onto the couch with him. Jean glanced back over his shoulder at Eren sleeping in the floor. "Should we poke the lump awake so he can join us up here?"
Marco shook his head, but reached over the back of the couch to the stack of folded blankets they kept there. He shook one out and threw it over Eren, gingerly tucking it around his legs. Jean passed him a couch pillow for Eren's head, and they shared the other, pressed tightly against each other as they pulled another blanket over themselves. Marco smiled, arm draped over the edge of the couch to swirl through Eren's messy hair. "He hates sleeping on the couch. Besides, the Macy's parade comes on in a few hours. I'm sure he'll be the one waking us up, soon."
They drifted back to sleep, considerably less worried about family dinners and drama as Thanksgiving morning approached. And when dawn broke outside, Marco's prediction proved spot-on; they spent their morning sipping his overly-sweet hot chocolate and trading smiles at the way Eren beamed over his mug at the parade on tv, still wrapped in a blanket and stretched across both their laps. Dinner later that day was an afterthought. Even in their small living room, there was so much for which to give thanks.