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Coffee and Everything

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AN1: I don’t own the characters or the franchise that they belong to.

AN2: I know that the grammar and format most likely suck, but I wrote this within an hour over eight months ago and have no interest in altering it. It took three weeks just to work up enough ambition just to post this, so please don’t mention anything about how shitty you find my lack of writing skills, alright?

 

Coffee and Everything

 

All those important things in life? They involve coffee.

 

It’s Anders and Daniel’s relationship that makes this whole decision easier. Daniel moving in, and honestly Far would be more worried about how this would affect his son if Anders didn’t already like Daniel so much – trust and respect and confide in and like is such an understatement really-, not to mention Daniel’s feelings, love and pride and joy and everything else plain as day on his face when he looks at Anders. So as they carry the last box of Daniel’s clothes into the home and Far sees Daniel’s hand on his sons shoulder and smells the too strong coffee (Anders’s doing, they really need to work on that), Far knows that this is the right decision.

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Anders walks beside him, his worn out soles squeaking on the school’s hallway and Far winces as pain throbs dully in his skull but the pain is good because it means that he hasn’t had a drink in two weeks now and so he focuses on the noise and watches his feet and ignores his boy’s glance and then.. then there’s a man in front of them. A man with curly hair and blue eyes and a tired smile beneath his beard. A man – Deronda, Anders’s new English teacher, yes that’s right - that’s holding out a plastic cup of coffee. Coffee that’s smells burnt and vile and no doubt hours old and Far really should decline cause he’s got work in the morning but he takes it anyway and then Deronda is speaking and…

 

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There’s nightmares. Nightmares about war and death and illness and those long lost for Daniel, ones about alcohol and social workers with papers and dead sons for him. Nightmares that leave them shaking and breathless and almost crying, sometimes. Before this it was a phone call, cigarettes and chocked silence and reading aloud and talk to me, my friend. Now it’s arms encircling and checker games and reading aloud and worried eyes and listening to Anders’s deep breathing along with it’s alright, sweetheart and sometimes cookies or coffee that’s more milk then anything. Now is better then Before, by far.

 

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Daniel is sitting on the bed when Far enters the apartment. For a few seconds Far just stands there in the doorway, his entire body aching from nearly 17 hours of sweeping up trash and his eyelids feeling as if they’ve got ten pound weights on them, and considers just sleeping right here in the doorway. Then Daniel, looking just as tired as he is, looks up at him and without a word begins to clear the papers from the bed. Far shuffles forward and once he reaches the bed and pauses to automatically take a drink from the coffee mug that balanced dangerously on the arm of the couch. He barley has time to taste the ice cold coffee – which as usual tastes as if the other man had drowned it with milk and sugar- before its being taken from his hand and Daniel pulls him down onto the mattress and tucks his head into his shoulder, murmuring “leave it alone, baby”, and through the fog already clouding his mind and the familiar scent of Daniel invading his nose (soap and honey and musk and chlorine and printed pages) Far thinks that he wouldn’t mind if the endearment, spoken for the first time that night, became a regular thing.

 

 

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Far stares at the clock in the break room blankly, still half asleep as he waits for his shift to began, his third cup of coffee stone cold and half gone as it sits forgotten on the table. His mind drifts, focusing on a half remembered dream from the night before. It had been an arousing one… something about a car and brown curls in between his fingers… a hand palming his cock through his pants… . the shrill ringing of the bell snaps Far out of his daze, forcing him to automatically rise to his feet in perpation for his shift, a grimace on his lips and the taste of coffee lingering on his tongue. There was something about those curls that was familiar…

 

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Why Deronda lives here Far doesn’t know. A stretch of streets that’s half abandoned buildings and half liquor stores and you’re more likely to wind up dead walking out your door then you are to win the lottery, especially since there’s something about the man that says Old Money, says that he should live in a sprawling manner in the countryside and be surrounded by servants … a man for whom Far has shaved and dressed in the cleanest, nicest clothes that he owns just to meet him in a dingy café – it’s a date father, it’s not a date son you know I’m not into men, you’re dressing up still a date – where they’ll talk about Anders and drink watered down coffee and it’ll be nothing more then that.

 

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They fight and scream and look at each other with flashing eyes and the scent of coffee drifts down the hallway…. He comes home late after a double and a half and catches sight of Anders’s eyes wide and teary and the chips of ice that are Daniel’s and Far feels sick because he’d forgotten to call and so they’d thought he was off on a bender somewhere and it’s not underserved but the coffee pot shatters against the wall anyway and Far makes sure that he cuts himself on the pieces …. they laugh and celebrate Christmas and birthdays and nearly burn the place down trying to cook Sheppard’s pie and Anders rolls his eyes when Far pins Daniel against the fridge and claims his mouth and they throw out the coffee can when they find a dead mouse among the grounds.

 

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They call him at work, tell him Anders has been in a fight. Far takes off early even though he can’t offered to and enters the office to find his son with a split lip and bruises on his face and Deronda sitting behind his desk. Far listens, anger rising as Anders tells about the three swimmates who jumped him – because he’s short and skinny and stutters when he’s nervous and because his hair is too short or some other shit- and when he glances back at Deronda Far is surprised to see the man’s eyes have gone cold and hard. Cold and hard in a way that says they’ve seen so much abuse and hurt and bigotry that this time is the final straw and that they’re sick of it. Far briefly wonders where this teacher grew up, that he’s seen all of that. Trust is hard for Far to give – growing up in the foster system will do that, you know- but he knows that he can trust this man with his son, to protect him if he isn’t there. In gratitude, Far hands him the Styrofoam cup of cold, tar like coffee that he’d been holding when he’d received the call, and Deronda’s smile, in contradiction to his eyes, is warm and easy and startlingly kind – Daniel, please, call me Daniel – and Far takes Anders home, strangely pleased to have finally gotten this man’s – this trustworthy mans’- first name, and doesn’t notice Anders’s knowing gaze, far too observant for a boy of ten.

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Far loves his son, you know. Loves him with everything he has and is terrified of losing him even though the alcohol would suggest otherwise and when he sees Anders with Daniel, sees the way they do dishes and play cards, read and do schoolwork and play baseball and swim, when Far sees they way Daniel’s eyes light up when the boy so much as sits down at the breakfast table with them, Far knows that Daniel loves the boy just as much. Some people – small minded idiots- might consider it improper, two men raising a boy, might say that Anders needs a mother figure in his life. Far says piss on them, because better a second father that kisses the boy on the forehead and watches films and takes the two of them on day trips and makes them all shitty mocha topped with whipped cream as he reads Tolkins’ series aloud to them…. better the man that Far and Anders both want and love then a woman whom they don’t. Better Daniel then the mother that tried to drown her infant son.

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They sit there, on Far’s sagging couch and Daniel talks. Talks about secrets and curses and people and places and living forever until there’s a soulmate and Far doesn’t believe him until Daniel takes a knife and slices open his own arm and the when wound closes – closes slowly but still closes - and Far has to believe him because that kind of thing just doesn’t happen and then Daniel is kissing him. This man with the warm smile whom talks to him in the night and that is centuries old and teaches kids and whose hands are rough is kissing him and Far forgets that he just doesn’t do men and kisses back. Kisses this English teacher that loves books and cares for Anders and whom tastes like coffee and chewing gum and Far decides that he can do this man just fine.

 

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The bite mark that Far gave Daniel last night is still there, a deep purple mark on his inner thigh. It’s still there! It’s there and Daniel is gaping and his eyes are watery because he’s going to age now and…. fuck! He’s going to age because Far is his soulmate and how can he be Daniel Dorndea’s soulmate?? Far barely passed high school and they argue a lot and he smokes and swears and forgets to put the toothpaste cap back on and Daniel hates that and he can’t… he can’t even give him kids for fuck’s sake and – then Daniel is laughing and kissing him and speaking soothingly in some other language and as Far feels his fears quieting as the realization dawns that this means that Daniel is his. Unquestionably his. Sometime latter, when they’re both sweaty and out of breath Daniel gets up to make coffee, six new bite marks visible on his back.

 

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The apartment is nearly overflowing with books now. Books on the dresser, on the floor, in the empty spaces of the cupboards and closets. They’re in boxes underneath the beds and next to the tv and couch, sitting next to the garbage can and the toaster oven and on top of the fridge, underneath the clothing and lining the walls. They’re in stacks on the coffee table and on chairs, in the corners and in the kitchen and the bathroom, underneath videos and the pepper shaker and the lamps. Books that they trip over or sit on or move around. Books that are thick and thin, old and new. Books that are bound in linen or leather, silk or wool, paper or even bamboo. Books that have pressed flowers inside or bird feathers marking the pages. Books that are in English, German, Danish, Welsh and Mandarin. Books about Pipi Longstocking or Jackal and Hyde, birds and dogs and governments, religion and science and philosophy, Scarlett O’Hara or Bilbo Baggins or poetry or evil alien clowns and even the spinning of wool. Books that they read while drinking coco or coffee and sometimes milky tea. Books that they read separately and together and late into the night. Books that would surly bring them a small fortune, should they sell them. Daniel’s offered to do so more then once – says that he’s done it many times over the years-, but Far always forbids him to because for all of the comfort and closeness that these printed pages have brought to their small family, Far knows that these books are the ones that Daniel has never sold. The ones that he has clung to throughout the centuries because far too often they were his only souse of consistent comfort. Far will be dammed before he allows Daniel to give up something that means so much to him.

 

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When Daniel gives them to him one night, Far looks up from two antique silver bands sitting in his lovers palm in surprise before catching sight of the nervous eyes and swollen lips and feels that familiar warmth in his chest and kisses Daniel around his smile – because why not? He’s already in this for the long haul anyway. They can’t actually get married, of course, because it’s not legal yet but they put on a small song and dance anyway. They get a Tiramisu cake and exchange rings and Anders takes pitchers and they get a few flower petals tossed at them and when they book a tiny hotel room and explore eachother and Far makes a point of telling Daniel that he’s amazing and beautiful and he so fucking in love with him because Far knows that he doesn’t say it often enough and Daniel says I know and talks in French and Italian and Hebrew and calls him baby and an gorgeous infuriating bastard and mine and love you to… Far knows that the lack of legality does not make this man any less his husband, even if there had never been any rings.

 

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It happens occasionally. The urge to drink, to pour the alcohol down his throat and feel calm and dead and just forget, just for a while. It usually happens when things are worse then normal, when the bills can’t be paid or they have to eat out of cans or when… when Anders is just walking down the street and takes a bullet to the leg. When Far and Daniel can’t do anything except sit and wait and wring their hands and drink lukewarm coffee –decaf, Far is sure – and ignore the look people give them as Far lays his head in Daniel’s lap as they wait for news about their son. The son that they are terrified they will lose, lose and break when they do. So yeah, Far has the urge to drink right now. Far doesn’t though, no matter how much he wants to. He hasn’t had a drink in three years, not since that day in Greece when the bottles and a high tide almost made him lose his son. Far will not do it, will not drink and lose time and himself and will not cause disappointment in those twin sets of blue eyes that he loves so much… especially if a ball of metal is what causes him to lose his son on this day.

 

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Sometimes Far doesn’t know why Daniel chooses to live here. Here in this apartment with him and Anders (the apartment was the size of a matchbox – their bed was in the living room and they shared dresser space with a teenager for god’s sake- , it was drafty and cold with spotty electricity and mouse shit on the floor) but then Far catches sight of the expression on Daniel’s face as Anders hands him morning coffee or sees that Far fell asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home from a late shift at the school, and Far knows why.

 

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The scene is one the police officer has seen before. Victims caught up in a hail of bullets, dead from just being within the crossfire. From being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s three people this time. Two men and a boy, barley 15, if that. Judging by the way the bodies are sprawled across the floor they hadn’t even seen the attack coming, were most likely dead before they knew what was happening. That’s good because it meant they didn’t have to watch their loved ones die. The two men were lovers (as good as married, judging by the rings and photos on the wall), so the possibility of this being a hate related killing will have to be looked into but…. most likely not. The officer turns to leave, eyes taking in the blood spattered diving mask on the counter and the pulverized books and the shattered dishes and dried coffee stains halfway up the wall. He doesn’t look at the bodies.