Work Header

Copper Bottomed

Work Text:

Vin's just outside the door to the bullpen when he hears Ezra shout, "This is an outrage!"

It's instinct that makes him go for his gun, since he's heard Ezra shout that a thousand times in a thousand busts gone horribly wrong, and it's usually a prelude to a gunfight; the fact that they're in the office and not in some skeezy warehouse only lowers the odds of a potentially deadly situation by a negligible margin. So he's ready for anything – and he does mean anything, given the vast number of things Ezra finds outrageous – when he peers around the door and sees Nathan taking away Ezra's French press.

"It's a travesty of justice!" Ezra continues, although Vin can tell he's already conceded the issue. All that's left now is the shouting, and Vin holsters his gun and steps into the room.

"Ezra, I can see your heart beating from the other side of the room," Nathan tells him as he locks the French press away. "This is for your own good."

"But—" Ezra trails off and stares at the others, and then at the ancient percolator on the counter. His face contorts into an expression of abject horror. "Surely you don't expect me to drink that."

"Yes, I do," Nathan says.

"You could always switch to tea," Josiah adds. "Does a body powerful good, tea."

Ezra makes a face and Vin smirks at him as he pours himself a cup of coffee.

"Ain't that bad, Ezra," he says and takes a sip. He almost spits it out – JD must've made it today because it's as weak as a newborn horse -- but that'd ruin the effect. "Mmm, mm. This is some mighty fine coffee."

"That," Ezra says, "is not coffee. That is what happens to coffee when it's been very bad. That is something coffee has nightmares about."

"Tastes like coffee to me," Vin says, though in his heart he's completely on Ezra's side. This isn't coffee.

"You, sir, are a philistine," Ezra says, and Vin grins into his mug as he lets Ezra's tirade wash over him.

'Course Ezra wouldn't know what real coffee was if it bit him on the ass. He's been to Ezra's apartment – slept there a time or two, when he'd been too drunk to drag his ass home – and he's seen the shiny steel thing Ezra calls a coffee maker and has a two inch thick user's manual. Nothing that sleek and shiny can make proper coffee.

Proper coffee needs to be made on a campfire, needs to taste of smoke and nature and be thick enough to hold a spoon upright.

Or, barring that, a shot or three of whiskey.

'Course, Vin only thinks like that on his bad days – those days when it's hard to remember to be the man everybody thinks he is, and not the man he suspects he must be.

The thought must've shown up on his face, because Ezra stops in the middle of his rant – just for a second, a pause that may seem like he's taking a breath to anyone not staring right at him, not seeing the way he packs a whole bushel of questions into a single raised eyebrow. Vin shakes his head minutely, regretting – like he always does – that he'd ever let Ezra see him at his worst; see him on one o' them days when he skips the coffee and goes straight for the whiskey.

Hell, never would've happened at all if Ezra didn't carry that damn flask around; didn't keep a bottle of 15 year old Macallan in the bottom drawer of his desk.

Ezra takes him at his word, though, and picks up his tirade on the proper way to brew coffee as if he'd never dropped it, as if an entire conversation hadn't just taken place between them. He sweeps out of the small break room and Vin follows along in his wake; although he does take a minute to surreptitiously empty his mug into the Wandering Jew Agent Sinclair keeps on his desk. He feels kinda bad about it, but he figures this stuff is more water than coffee anyway – 'sides, a little caffeine might do the thing good.

Vin sits down at his desk and boots up his computer and lets a whole damn torrent of mundane bureaucracy remind him of who he is – of who he wants to be.

Lets it wash away the bitter aftertaste of that coffee too.

He checks his calendar, his email. Looks at the cold case he's working on – the one that's a goddamn glacier, it's so damn cold – and decides that he can afford to take the weekend off. Maybe go camping.

Yeah. Camping sounds good.

He could do with some real coffee right now.