Almost Home (invite only)

Alex groaned as one of the monitors he was hooked up to began to chime. He sheepishly lowered the device in his hand and called out the door, "It's okay! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! They were eating my brain!"

There was a laugh outside the room and a little blond head poked in. "Can I watch?"

Alex frowned.
"Watch me play, or watch as your mom tears me a new one?"

"Tears you a new what?"

"Later, Jamie. I'll explain it later."

Alex groaned again as he heard Becky's voice right behind Jamie. She entered the room and smiled at Alex, crossing her arms and shaking her head. "You're corrupting my child," she said lightly.

Normally such a statement would have had Alex running for the hills, in fear of some kind of homophobic retribution. There were several problems with that, though, not the least of which was that he was hooked up to an IV and several monitors. Also, his knee was all fucked up from his surgery just two days ago. Also, he happened to know damn well that Becky wasn't the type, working for Rue as she did, and that she was referring to his use of the 'tearing him a new one' phrase that she would now have to explain to her 11-year-old.

"Sorry, sorry," he said. "You don't understand though, there were zombies. Everywhere."

Becky chuckled. "I'm going to take your Kindle away if you don't stop setting alarms off every time you get stressed out by Plants Vs Zombies."

Alex clutched the device to his chest and shook his head fervently, guarding it as Becky entered the room fully and reset the monitor.
"How come I still have to be hooked up to all this, anyway? Can't I go home? I feel fine."

She rolled her eyes at him. "Of course you feel fine. You're on painkillers. You had a chunk of bone removed. Believe me, if we stop the drugs you're going to be feeling it."

"What I'm feeling is fat and lazy," Alex said, aiming for pitiful and suspecting he only managed whiny. "I'm gaining pounds with every minute I lay here. Shouldn't I be up and moving around and getting my leg strong again?"

He thought he had a decent argument until Becky ruffled his hair like he were Jamie's older and stupider brother. "Yes, sweetheart. That's exactly what you should be doing... about four days from now. I'm going to change the bandage on your knee, okay?"

"All right." Alex sighed softly.

Becky worked quietly, and Alex winced at the strange feeling of swollen, too-tight flesh as she unwound the white gauze from the site of his surgery. "It's awfully red," she said. "I think I'll ask Dr. Rowan to look at it again."

"Don't wake him up," Alex cautioned. "It can wait, can't it?"

Becky glanced up at him and smiled. "Yes, he'll be here in a few hours. I think it can wait until then. Is there any pressure or discomfort?"

For the next couple of minutes she gently poked and prodded his knee and he shook his head. He felt some discomfort, but it was tempered by the drugs, he was sure.

He'd been in the infirmary at Liefde for only a day; the hospital had kept him for two and then discharged him into Rowan's continued care. Ordinarily he'd have worried about being here but it was actually pretty home-y. Not like being in the hospital. The infirmary here at Liefde was equipped with two exam rooms and two long-term rooms, one of which he now occupied. The bed was nice and normal, not a narrow plastic mattress but a real one with a raising and lowering head and foot. Incredibly comfortable. No noise and bustle of a hospital ward around him, a small bathroom, a television, a closet in which Eiryk had thoughtfully hung some changes of clothing for him. All the comforts of home, with hospital equipment and a constant staff that checked in on him regularly.

It was the nicest mix of hospitalization and home care Alex could possibly envision. Rowan had said he just wanted to keep Alex here for another day or two, then he could get all unhooked and go back to his own apartment. There would be physical therapy, another round of chemo in a few weeks, and he would be (hopefully) all better.

Alex wasn't looking forward to the chemo but maybe, just maybe, he thought guiltily, Eiryk would help him through it. It was hard to see his friends, feeling this heavy weight on his shoulders. He had sipped at Eiryk's blood several times and he didn't like to admit the fact but he wanted to do it again. So badly. His hands shook as they held his Kindle.

"Everything all right? Did that hurt?" Becky asked.

Alex shook his head.
"Nope, I'm fine," he answered.

Becky smiled, finished re-wrapping his knee, and checked his leash - er, IV line - again. "Need anything?"

Alex looked around. Kindle, check. TV remote, check. Eiryk's blanket was at his feet and his fiance would likely arrive soon to keep him company and bring him something to eat. He shook his head at Becky.
"I'm good. Jamie can come play with me if he wants."

"He has homework to finish first," Becky said, slightly louder than necessary, and they both grinned at the responding moan from the hallway.

"Mom, it's math. I hate math."

"Need some help?" Alex asked.

Jamie poked his head into the doorway again. "Can you do Algebra?"

"Aren't you young for Algebra?" Alex was surprised.

"Accelerated learning," Becky said.

Jamie nodded glumly, not looking too thrilled about accelerated learning.
"Yeah, I can help you with it."

If I remember it, Alex thought. Jamie bounded into the room and Becky restrained him. "Gently, Jamie."

"Right." Jamie tiptoed in and wheeled the table-tray over carefully, positioning it so they could both reach it and see what Jamie was working on. Before too long they were bent over pictures of triangles.

Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Later that afternoon, after both Alex and Jami had had their fill of right angles, Alex managed a little nap until he was woken up by the sound of the door opening quietly. He blinked awake with a little start, felt his Kindle slide from his chest where he'd let it rest, and squinted sleep-filled eyes at he familiar figure int the doorway.

"Just me," Rowan said, letting himself in. He was dressed in dark purple scrubs and had a stethoscope dangling around his neck, but he still had cuffs on his wrists, piercings in the usual places, and he wore the beautiful metal bracelet Cris had given him. Not to mention the shiny new wedding band.

"Hey," Alex greeted him muzzily.

"Hey yourself. Becky told me your knee is kind of red, in a possibly-not-post-op way," Rowan said with a little lift of his eyebrows. "Mind if I poke it?"

Alex smiled and shook his head. He imagined it might be awkward having your doctor also be one of your best friends (and your fencing teacher), but Rowan was so cheerful and unpretentious it didn't seem to make a difference whether he was here for business or pleasure.

Rowan unwrapped his knee and took a look, making his thoughts clear out loud. Alex appreciated that. He hated when doctors hummed and made faces without telling you what a particular face was for. Rowan didn't do that.

"It is red," Rowan said, "but it doesn't look bad. Just to be on the safe side I'm going to swap out your antibiotics. I'm not going balls to the wall, but I am going to give you something a little stronger. If it makes you feel nauseous let me know. We have a couple different brews you can try."

Alex chuckled.
"I'll let you know," he said. He'd had enough nausea for a lifetime with the chemo.

"Does it feel irritated? Tight? Hot? I know it's probably all those things, but if anything changes you've got to tell me."

Alex nodded again.
"It's really not that bad," he said. "Becky said that might be the drugs talking though."

Rowan nodded as he carefully re-wrapped Alex's knee and stood to play with the IV bag. He already had a syringe in his pocket, and he poked it into the existing bag and slowly injected it, squeezing the bag gently to mix everything. "It's definitely the drugs talking," he said, a smile on his lips and in his voice. "I'm going to start weaning you off the painkillers tomorrow, get you on something a little milder that you can take orally. Then the day after tomorrow you can go home, if things still look good and you can manage to get yourself around without too much trouble. I still want to see you twice a day though."

Alex felt a rush of excitement.
"I'll be here," he promised. He did miss home. Thora bouncing around, Eiryk's comforting presence, being surrounded by all of their things. Pictures from vacations. Books, games, just... their stuff. He suspected the twice-daily visit was Rowan's version of over-protectiveness, given the fact that the hospital was going to send him home a day earlier with a follow-up in a couple of days.

He wasn't going to complain. There were worse things in life than having friends who cared about you. Alex wouldn't ever take that for granted. He let pride stand in the way far too often.

After Rowan finished playing doctor he pulled up a chair, leaned back in it, and put his feet up at the end of Alexander's bed. "So what do you want to know today?"

It was a game they sort of played, having started it somewhere around the time of Alex's fencing lessons. Early on Eiryk had hit on the idea that perhaps Rue would be easier to talk to about vampires, about Evenhet, about everything. Alex hadn't wanted to ask Eiryk directly. The suggestion had worked, and since then Alex and Rowan had plenty of 'tell me a story' moments. Alex had since gotten over any issues with dragging Eiryk into it, but he still enjoyed sitting down with Rowan and being nosy. His friends had all led fascinating lives.

He thought for a few minutes.
"When did you lose your virginity?" He said it with an impish grin, knowing Rowan's life was not the stuff of monasteries and nunneries.

Rowan opened his mouth and then paused as if considering. "You know, I don't know," he said, chagrined. "Pick something else."

Alex shook his head.
"No way. If you don't remember, then first time as a vampire. I have to hear this."

Rowan snorted and reconsidered. "That would have to be almost immediately after I was turned,"
he said.

Alex raised his eyebrows.
"Not Henri?" Funny, he hadn't gotten that kind of vibe from them.

Rowan shook his head. "No, not Henri. But I was young and inexperienced, and you know sometimes the biting feels just as good for us as it does for you. Didn't occur to me not to just go with it."

He smiled unrepentantly and shrugged. "So there you go. I lost my vampiric cherry in a dark alley with a stranger whose name I don't know. He had the greatest ass, though."

Alex burst into laughter. Something about the way Rowan said it, with his muddled accent and his way of stating the bald truth, struck him as incredibly funny.
"Figures you'd remember his ass."

Rowan nodded, shameless. "Absolutely. It was firm, not really very hairy, nice and round... no plague to be seen..."

Alex waved his hand at Rowan.
"Quit it, you're terrible."

Rowan gave in and giggled. "Seriously, that was it. That hardly even counts as a question. You should get another one."

And so the game continued.
Eiryk 10 years ago
This was notably better than having Alex in the hospital. It wasn't perfect he couldn't sleep with hos fiancé but he was only an elevator ride away. Eiryk was even starting to be rather optimistic about Alex's recovery.

God, whichever one or ones Eiryk was choosing to believe in just then, knew that he was greatful to Rue. There really wasn't anyone else he could think of that would take as good of care of Alex. Rowan was a wonderful doctor and always did his best for his patients but it seemed to Eiryk that Rue was going above and beyond for Alex. Whether that extra effort was for him or for Alex or a combination of both Eiryk didn't really care. He was just greatful. If he wasn't madly in love with Alex it was enough to make him consider falling for Rue.

Tonight he was headed down stairs with one of his bonsai plants, a thermos of coffee and one of Thora's toys the little vixen had insisted he bring to Alex.

He stumbled out of the elevator and into the door. He heard voices and smiled. Aside from the fact that it was a medical clinic it would be a nearly perfect evening spent with two of his favorite people.

"Evening you two. I brought coffee. What's going on?"

Even as he spoke/bubbled Eiryk moved to kiss Alex deeply. It wasn't as satisfying as it could be because they couldn't follow up on it but it was still wonderfully sweet. As he broke away he handed Alex the small squeaky chipmunk. It was one of Thora's favorites she occasionally carries it around like a teddy bear.

"That is just a loan I'm told so don't get attached."
Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Alex smiled happily when Eiryk appeared in the doorway. He was greeted with a wonderful kiss which he returned as best he could from his bed. He laughed and took the chipmunk, tucking it next to his pillow.

"Tell Thora thank you. I'll keep it safe."

"I'm assuming the thermos is for me," Rowan said, making grabby hands at it.

Alex gestured from Eiryk to Rowan. Coffee was Eiryk's cure-all for everything, but Alex just couldn't manage it right now. He was fine with water and the occasional juice or ginger ale. With the new antibiotics Rowan had cautioned him about, Alex didn't want to take any chances either but Rowan certainly deserved coffee and he was welcome to it.

"What do you have going on today?" Alex asked Eiryk hopefully.

He had encouraged Eiryk not to spend all night mooning around at his bedside. Not only was that perilously close to 'flu mode' but it wasn't what Alex wanted. He was just fine, sleeping a lot, and Rowan's staff were all sweet to him. He barely went five minutes without someone checking in on him. Not only that but Alex looked forward to hearing about what Eiryk had been up to. He wasn't sure if he had adequately expressed it to Eiryk. It helped give him something to look forward to.

"Do you mind going by the store if you get a chance?" Alex asked a little anxiously. Marie had checked in on him earlier in the day and wished him well, telling him everything was fine. And the new manager, Adam, seemed to be doing very well.

But Roughing It was still Alex's baby and he hated being away. He couldn't wait to be able to get back to it, even just for a short time before he did his last round of chemo. After that he'd be back in full swing and, oh, how he missed life. As soon as he could manage it he was going to go climbing, hiking, enjoy the fall sun and wind before winter hit. Maybe he could convince Eiryk to go camping with him, or out on the boat for a long weekend up the east coast.
Eiryk 10 years ago
Alex's laugh made Eiryk feel warm; not the hot and bothered that he his fiance could do to him so easily but the comfortable warm of a glass of mead and a warm fire, just happy and home. He would have moved in down here if Rowan and Alex had let him because home was where ever Alex was.

"Well if your tyrannical doctor keeps you here too much longer I'll bring her.”

Eiryk said with a cheerful scowl at Rowan, clearly not meaning a word of what he said about the doctor. He was half serious about Thora though. Their fox was missing Alex, she'd taken to sitting near or in some of Alex's favorite spots and occasionally sleeping on his side of the bed. Eiryk hadn't the heart to shoo her off either. She was going to wind up very spoiled if Alex stayed here too long.

He easily tossed the thermos to Rue happy to share the coffee with both or either of the other men in the room, anything but drinking it alone.

"It can be, if you pour me a cup too.”

There was more than enough to share heck he and Rue could each have a big cup and there would be more than enough for Rue and Cris to have another cup together. He'd suggest just that if he and Rowan didn't finish it up tonight with Alex.

"Not too much. A couple of consults, I might go make sure the boat is winterized but I'm not going to take her out of the water yet.”

As long as there wasn't a lot of ice, and even if there was, Eiryk wasn't done sailing. He was never done sailing, it was in his blood. Other than with Alex, he was happiest on a boat.

"We still have time to take a sail up the coast and see the leaves after all.”

It wasn't winter yet and he was quite happy to make plans for when Alex had recovered. He was already anxious to spend another Christmas at their cabin. He didn't know if Alex could be talked into a full week, or more, so they could enjoy the place, the surrounding area and each other. It might seem like more down time to Alex, but Eiryk was hopeful.

"And then I thought I'd start work on our Christmas cards. The preliminary sketches any way. Did you have any ideas?”

Because of the work that went into his cards Eiryk did think this far in advance, but they were no longer his cards, he sent them from both he and Alex and so liked Alex to be involved.

"I could bring my things down here once I get back in and if you're awake we can lay them out together.”

He might sit here and work on them even if Alex was asleep. He'd go back upstairs to go to bed but it would hurt anyone for him to hang out here for a while.

Eiryk grinned at Alex as he worried about his store a bit. Alex trusted his staff, which had grown quite a bit since they first met, but he was a caring invested business owner. That was something Eiryk understood and could relate too. As sweet as he thought Alex's concern was he knew that it had to be eating at his partner to be forced to spend this much time away from the store. It would be no effort at all to help out there, it would be wonderful to be given something useful to do.

"Of course. Not a problem at all. Who's on, Marie or Adam and is there something specific you want me to check on?”

He liked Adam well enough, he seemed quite pleasant and very sharp, but Eiryk was hoping it was Marie. He was fond of the girl who had finally gotten comfortable with him.
Christian Bern 10 years ago
Work was done for the day and he had noticed that the rooms across the hall from him were more busy than usual. Rowan hadn't lacked for work after taking the job as tower doctor but having a patient that was staying in one of the patient care rooms overnight required more checking, watching and helping than usual.

And this particular patient was very well loved so the visitors had been plenty.

He knew that Rowan was in the room with Alex and he had just seen Eiryk go by with a thermos and what appeared to be a chipmunk.

Cris stood up and pushed his chair in, straightened and put away the last of the paperwork and closed down his laptop.
"I am done for the day, MARI, but let me know if something urgent requires my attention.”

"As always, Christian. Enjoy your evening.”

"Thank you.”

Waving to Ume, he raised his eyebrows at her. "Go home.” Cris mouthed at her through the glass front of her office. She held up some pieces of paper and waved them around. He shook his head and went across the hall. [Shall I go upstairs and get you some coffee?] Ume sent back a thanks and said that she was almost done and then she planned on going up to her apartment, soaking in a nice hot tub and then watching some Sleepy Hollow. She then informed him that the British actor in the show was incredibly hot. Cris shook his head and sent to her in the same very proper accent. [Well then I shall leave you to it, Madam, though I fail to understand what is so alluring about this particular way of speaking. Just a few years ago everyone went weak kneed for anything sounding remotely French.] Ume did that girly over the top in love sigh in his head and then told him to feel free to send to her in sexy French as well. [Very impertinent.] That sending was followed by lovely mental laughter. Cris smiled and opened the door to Alex's room.

"Did I smell coffee?” He turned to his friend and smiled. "Oh, hello, Alex. Fancy seeing you here.” Apparently that very proper British voice was going to linger a little.

Cris moved across the room, pausing to place a gentle hand on Eiryk's shoulder as a greeting before moving on to Rowan. He moved his husband's feet off Alex's bed and then settled himself down in Rowan's lap.

"You are not currently in dire need of your doctor, are you?” He smiled and glanced over his shoulder at Rowan. "I promise if something starts beeping or otherwise making alarming sounding noises that I will jump out of the way.”

Leaning forward, he whispered to Alex. "Truthfully, I will probably be shoved in the floor but, for you, I am alright with this possible outcome.”
Rowan Murphy 10 years ago
"Tyrannical my ass," said Rowan with good humor as he relieved Eiryk of the coffee thermos. "You've yet to see tyrannical."

Nonetheless he reached over to the cabinet next to Alex's bed and took out two styrofoam cups. It might look like a comfortable bedroom but it was still in the clinic. Supplies were everywhere. He poured a measure into the top of the thermos and some into the cup, then handed Eiryk the thermos part and picked the cup up himself with a sigh. Tilting his head back and closing his eyes he let the boys have their chat in peace and considered excusing himself to leave them in privacy.

That thought was interrupted by a familiar voice, albeit in a British accent. Hot. Rowan opened his eyes and smiled as Cris came in, moved his legs, and then slid onto Rowan's lap. Rowan immediately wrapped his arms around Cris, sliding them beneath his outer layer of clothing, fingers unerringly finding the waist of his black work slacks and dipping in.

"You did smell coffee," he said, indicating his cup on the side of the chair. "Help yourself, love."

He chuckled as Cris promised to leap out of the way in the event of an emergency or, more probably, be shoved. Rowan scoffed at that with a little snort and pulled Cris closer so there was no missing his very physical response to his husband sitting where he was. Yes, Cris was likely to be shoved to the floor... by this gigantic boner. Rowan blamed Cris for that anyway; he was too damn hot for his own good.

"Fortunately Alex is doing just fine. He's ridiculously healthy. New meds okay?" He raised his eyebrows at Alex, who had been on the drip for long enough now that he would be starting to feel some side effects if there were to be any.
Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Alex nodded at Eiryk's plans. He liked that his fiance kept doing things. Oh, he'd noticed Eiryk's schedule was considerably lighter than usual but Alex didn't mind that. He would have felt neglected if Eiryk hadn't cleared some of it, but stifled if Eiryk went overboard. Eiryk was learning moderation, and he'd hit it right where Alex was comfortable tonight.

"Ideas? No. I like what you do," he said when Eiryk mentioned starting his Christmas cards. They were little works of art, each one, and Eiryk had a gift for them.

He offered to bring them downstairs and work on them with Alex and Alex nodded happily.
"I'd like that," he said.

He shifted a little, onto his side to face Eiryk a little more fully. He couldn't turn all the way over but he could do it enough to give himself some relief rom the same position day in and day out, and Rowan had told him it was a good idea as long as he was very careful of his knee, which he was. Even through the pain killers Alex had learned if he wrenched it he felt a spike of excruciating pain.

"Nothing special," he said. "Adam should be there. I think he's a little bit of a workaholic. If you could bring back my inventory print-outs I'll play with them later."

Alex was aware that having a new manager in his store with no supervision was a little risky. What if the guy stole from him? But Adam had come highly recommended and from what Alex had seen of him so far, he was worth his salary. He was actively promoting the store and he seemed to enjoy working there. What's more, he was a friend of someone in Evenhet so there was nothing to hide, really. On top of that he was also gay, a fact Alex had taken into consideration when hiring a man to work closely with Marie. Adam had been to the Towers that morning, actually, to visit Alex, and Alex liked him more each time they spoke.

Cris's arrival only broadened Alex's smile. This was perfect. His three favorite people here with him. He loved having Aishe and Kem around, too, but this foursome seemed like their 'default' to Alex.
"Hi Cris. I promise not to crash or anything while you've got such a comfy seat."

Crash in the medical sense, anyway. Alex's eyes felt heavy, he realized, although he'd gotten plenty of sleep that day. Rowan asked about the medications and Alex looked at him and nodded.
"Sleepy," he commented, "but I shouldn't be. I've been getting lots of rest."

"That can happen," Rowan said. "Want us to let you sleep?"

Alex shook his head against his pillows
. "Nah. I like having everyone here."

That was nothing but truth. Alex felt so much better when all of his friend were present. Just one at a time was good too, but with all of them together he felt like nothing could bother him.

His family knew nothing about any of his life anymore. Not his relationship with Eiryk or their engagement, not about the cancer, the chemo, the surgery. He hadn't even spoken to them in almost a year. Alex had a feeling they were all done with each other. The thought saddened him, but he no longer felt the same bitter loss over it. He had too much more family here. They filled him too full for bitterness anymore.

Alex reached out for Eiryk's hand and tugged him down to sit on the bed next to him, on his good side. He gave a small, content sigh, and then looked at Cris who was tucked onto Rowan's lap. They looked adorable together, as usual. Maybe an odd couple at first sight; Cris in his dark suit looking austere and serious, Rowan with his piercings and cuffs and edgy hairstyle. But they fit together seamlessly, the way Alex felt with Eiryk. He missed curling up on his side, resting his head on Eiryk's shoulder like he did every night, but soon he'd go home and that was the first thing he wanted to do.
Eiryk 10 years ago
"T-Rue? The tyrant doctor king? I'd like to see that.”

Eiryk laughed. No, he hadn't seen Rowan hostile or overly bossy or demanding, but he suspected his long time friend had that potential. One didn't hang out with pirates for ages and not have that kind of ability. It just seemed that Rue didn't have to resort to it often. It was one of the reasons Rowan was so easy to like and get on with for centuries.

He took the coffee Rowan handed him and debated for a second or two bringing some decent cups down stairs. It might be considered 'flu mode' but he thought it was just practical. Everyone knew that coffee was better in the right receptacle.

"Art supplies and inventory print outs. Check. I can manage that, even if I have to wrestle them away from you new manager. I promise not to damage him permanently even if he gets stubborn.”

Eiryk kidded. In this instance he wouldn't even mind strongly suggesting that Adam hand things over. There wouldn't be any trouble though, Adam was new but not so new that he didn't know who Eiryk and Alex were to each other and would cause trouble.

"Should I bring a laptop too?”

Eiryk grinned as Cris entered. Apparently they were going to hang out together even here. All they needed was to add some drinks or a Wii or some other game and it would be a perfectly normal night. Even without those things one could almost forget they were in a hospital, a homey comfortable hospital, but a hospital nonetheless.

He raised his eyebrows slightly at the accent. That was different. Not bad, just different.

"If I had known we were having a party I would have brought a bigger thermos. Should be enough you two don't have to share though.”

Not the coffee any way. They were so cute and sweet together it was hard to believe that they didn't share everything else. Older vampires seemed to approach marriage, in his experience, a bit differently than humans. They had a different regard for 'until death due us part' and 'forever' than mortals and even newly turned vampires.

He let Alex tug him down on the bed, going so far as to kick off his shoes and very -very- carefully and aware of his partner's knee put his feet up on the bed stretching out next to Alex a bit. That was better, much cozier and more natural and he did not let go of Alex' hand. What anyone else would think if they walked in to see the four of them all snuggled up with each other like courting doves was not his problem.

"As amusing as it might be to watch you two fall all over each other, given the patient, I'd just as soon assume it not be necessary.”

No matter how casual he looked Eiryk was quite alert to any 'doctor' things that Rowan might say. He liked what he heard. The more positive things he heard the more confidant he was and the less likely he was to over react, hover and obsess and that had to be good for everyone involved.
Christian Bern 10 years ago
"Okay, Thank you for considering my comfort, Alex. I appreciate that.” Cris smiled at his friend and then leaned back against Rowan. Looking over at Eiryk, he shook his head. "We will assume it is not necessary either. See, no beeping lights. Except for that one.” He pointed to one of the machines. "And that one over there and these three...but other than that.” Cris shrugged "But those are not bad ones.” He leaned sideways a little and looked at Rowan for confirmation.

"So, has anyone else watched this Sleepy Hollow show? I hear it is interesting.” That adjective might have been somewhere in Ume's description. "Is it supposed to be the same headless horseman?”

He considered the problem of a headless menace in modern Nachton and tried to imagine why it would consist of an entire season. Swipping Rowan's coffee cup, he took a sip and then handed it back to his husband. "We share. It is okay.” Cris said to Eiryk. "I can go get us some more from Barney's if we run out.”

Back to the headless horseman, he said. "How does he know where he is going? And why do they not just douse him with gasoline and be done with it?”

Cris paused and said. "Hmm, I suppose PETA would be upset by that solution.”

((OOC: Cris didn't comment on the earlier stuff because he wasn't in the room then so he would have missed it. ))
Rowan Murphy 10 years ago
He laughed softly as Cris surveyed the various beeping pinging instruments in the room. He tucked his chin on top of Cris's shoulder when his love leaned back against him. "Yup. Those are all the good ones," he confirmed when Cris looked at him.

Rowan stole a coffee-flavored kiss from his partner and nodded in agreement with Cris's statement about sharing, staying silent about the TV show for the moment since Cris knew if he'd seen it or not. Obviously the question wasn't addressed to him.
"I love sharing with you," he murmured when the topic turned to coffee though, loud enough for Alex and Eiryk to hear but just low enough to be a little more intimate. Rowan would never get enough of this kind of sharing. He slid his hand further in beneath Cris's jacket and gently squeezed, holding his husband tight against him for a few seconds.

He remained out of Eiryk and Alex's conversation unless they addressed him directly; Alex liked the company but that didn't mean he had to get nosy. He smiled as they talked though; he was just enjoying being together with his friends. If Eiryk was distracting Alex with thoughts of Christmas then all the better. This Christmas was special; Alex and Eiryk would be getting married too. Alex was very subdues about it but he practically glowed every time anyone brought it up.

The two of them arranged themselves carefully on the bed together. It was wider than an actual hospital bed, and Eiryk was being very careful. In the meantime he chuckled as Cris speculated about Sleepy Hollow.

"Did we record it?" He asked Cris. "We could catch it online if not. I kind of want to see it. Ghost story and all. It sounds cool, but how are they going to relate it to the actual legend and turn it into something lasting? How long can you keep one villain going?"

He shrugged a little. They could make seven-season TV shows about almost anything now, it seemed. Rowan loved to see what was coming out next but he didn't enjoy this new trend of remaking old classics. Where was the imagination, the originality? Some of the shows were very good; Grimm, for one. But some seemed to be stretching, and maybe this was one of them.
Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Alex frowned a little at Eiryk. "Why wouldn't Adam give you the reports? He knows who you are. Don't be mean to him, Eiryk, I like him. He's doing a great job."

Eiryk would never be mean to anyone. But he could be... overzealous... in his efforts to please Alex sometimes, and it probably wouldn't hurt to tug a little on the fiance-leash. Just a little.

"I don't need the laptop," he said with a little shake of his head. He had his Kindle, and that was plenty. More than enough really.

Alex smiled at Cris and Rowan's exchange. God, he loved his life now. A year or two ago he could never have said that. Who knew it took an infusion of vampires to make it good?

As Eiryk tucked himself around Alex, Alex squeezed the hand still in his and very carefully arranged himself so he was lying with his back against Eiryk, facing Rowan and Cris, his torso twisted a little to accommodate his elevated leg. He sighed happily.
"So nice," he murmured, closing his eyes.

He kept them closed as the conversation continued but he wasn't out of it.
"Didn't see it," he responded to Cris. "We do have it recorded though. Maybe when my doctor releases me, he and his husband can come pay us a house call and we can watch it together."

His lips remained curled up in a very content smile. Discussing things like this made him really see the light at the end of the tunnel. A few weeks ago he was so miserable he was just trying to figure out how to get through the next day.

(Eiryk's blood)

Now he could think about other plans. Other goals. Even just little ones like watching TV with his friends. Sharing a bowl of popcorn. A few drinks - well, for the others. Alex was off alcohol for a while, what with the other things in his system.

(and besides, he'd rather have Eiryk...)

Alex tugged his blanket up a little higher, hiding the little shiver he felt. He knew the signs of an addiction when he saw them and he was terrified of that. Eiryk's blood was... good. Too good. He fought away the urge to taste it again and settled himself mentally. He didn't think he was addicted... but damn, he was pretty sure he could be if he didn't fight this shit off now. So he focused back on the conversation and enjoyed the cocktail of far less addictive drugs that Rowan had dripping into his veins.
Eiryk 10 years ago
"I'm kidding oh sexy one.”

Eiryk said with a cheerful smile. He knew why Alex would worry about that, he could get over zealous at times and Alex couldn't get out and about and keep an eye on things himself. He was entitled to be a little nervous.

"I promise to be nice. I'll bribe him with flowers and candy if I have to. OK?”

That felt right, wonderfully wonderfully right, having Alex lean up against him like that. Eiryk would be happy to stay like this for ages. Maybe not forever but for a few centuries or so.

He cheerfully rolled his eyes at Cris as he went over the medical devices and flashing lights and what was good and bad. As long as Alex was getting better the humor was appropriate and acceptable. In fact, from Cris, it would probably be acceptable even if things were a bit rougher. He'd gotten to know Rue's husband and liked him a great deal, he was a good man.

"We'll have to find it on line or something I haven't seen it yet.”

He'd been to busy worrying about Alex and trying to fill his days with things to take his mind off worrying about Alex. TV and movies let his mind wander and caused trouble so Eiryk hadn't watched much of anything for a while now.

He half laughed at Cris as he thought about how to deal with the ghost.

"They don't have to burn the horse. I'm fairly certain they horse is innocent. PETA shouldn't care about a ghost. And maybe he has echo location or somethings like that. Although, he might need ears and a brain or some other things to make that work...”

Eiryk frowned trying to think about how to deal with getting around with no head. It was more complicated than he'd originally considered.

"I'm sure they can keep it going as long as they need to. They'll work in time travel or some kind of elaborate subplot with the horseman or bring in some other legends to embroider things. And if that fails... eye candy. That alone might buy them a season.”

Eiryk wasn't a huge TV fan they seemed to stretch things past believability for too long. He loved movies though and didn't mind when those got absurd. At least they were over in less than four hours and baring nineteen squeals didn't ask the viewer to perpetually suspend disbelief.

"I'd say we could settle in here and watch it but this room is clearly not designed for such a thing.”

The furniture and such was all wrong and while comfy enough did not encourage multiple people to stay for hours and hours. That was probably very smart, patients needed their rest and that meant no parties. He also suspected that having a lot of people watching TV might disturb any other patients or staff as well. So that was out. He could be patient a bit longer. Alex would be home soon enough and then they could do this properly.
Christian Bern 10 years ago
Cris smiled at Rowan's kiss and hug, sighing softly and relaxing a little more against his husband's chest. [I love sharing with you too.] To prove it, though not necessarily in his favorite way, he drank another sip of coffee and handed the cup back to Rowan.

No one had seen the movie but Alex said they had recorded it.
"No, we did not." He answered Rowan's question about their own dvr. "I honestly hadn't heard about it until Ume mentioned it the other night and by then we had already missed the beginning.” Cris raised his eyebrows when Eiryk said that they hadn't recorded it and therefore would have to watch it online. He turned to Alex. "Recording shows on the sly? Very covert Alex. If you ever want to try something new I am sure I can find you something in espionage.”

Eiryk had some interesting ideas for how the horseman could tell where he was going. Cris frowned thoughtfully at the idea of other stories. "As far as I can remember there was nothing else specifically linked to the Sleepy Hollow legend to bring in. Just the horseman. I suppose they could do background on why he was killing people in the first place. I do not believe there was any specific answer to that question. In that movie with Johnny Depp, I believe they made it about certain families. Or there was a witch controlling the horseman and making him kill certain families...I do not remember exactly why but he gets to kill her and there is a big spooky tree with blood and such.” That was all he really remembered. The actress had dyed her hair blond and she had seemed very pale.

Cris looked back at Rowan, which involved leaning far sideways again, and then turned his head toward Alex.
"I am sure the good doctor would be willing to make a house call.” He smiled. "If not then his husband will certainly come watch the show. You do not want my medical opinion; however, it usually involves duct tape and super glue.”

He pointed up to the television. "Or we could watch it here if you all wanted.” Cris smiled at Alex. "I am sure we have some doctor approved snacks in the house and we can make some popcorn and have a little mini viewing to get us all caught up.”
Rowan Murphy 10 years ago
Rowan laughed again as Eiryk swung from one extreme to the other and Alex rolled his eyes playfully. It was good to see Alex acting more like himself. He'd been under a lot of stress lately with the chemo and the surgery. He had more coming, too, with another round of treatment and the little matter of ingested vampire blood that Rowan knew they still had to address but for a little while he could just be himself and Rowan was going to do his best to prolong that period.

There seemed to be a little confusion on the topic of whether the show in question had been recorded or not, but it didn't matter. MARI could pop it up on a wall for them from online, or they could see it on the TV in here.

It was Rowan's turn to roll his eyes at Eiryk.
"The furniture is fine," he said, adding a little muttered "perfectionist." He looked pointedly at the two men on the bed. "You two look plenty comfortable, and I'm not complaining about the setup here."

The chair Rowan sat in was pretty comfortable. Unlike some people, whose offices had uncomfortable chairs in them on purpose, Rowan had made sure the two long-term hospital rooms were designed for people to stay as long as they wanted. The furniture was as comfortable as he could make it, while still being functional and easy to clean, particularly in the case of the beds.

He made a little strangled sound when Cris mentioned his brand of medical opinion.
"Bull," he murmured, lips twitching. He had first-hand proof of how Cris took care of very special patients. Duct tape had not been involved, but leather restraints and lube had definitely been.

Rowan coughed and stood suddenly, clearing his throat and gripping Cris tight to let him slide down his body safely onto the ground.
"Snacks are good. We can do snacks," he said, still holding Cris close, now partly to hide the fact that every part of his body definitely remembered Cris's medical attentions. Hard to hide in scrubs.

"You need calories," Rowan said to Alex, "if you're up to eating."

Alex had been eating decently, really, so Rowan wasn't too worried.
"We'll be right back. In five minutes. Maybe ten. Uh, twenty."

He guided Cris out the door in front of him, mumbling something to Becky as they passed about being back shortly. Rowan was technically working but on quiet nights like this he could give himself a little slack since he was on call pretty much 24/7/365.

The trip home was blessedly short. Rowan escaped into their apartment, whirled, and tugged Cris close. He lowered his head, gazed intensely into Cris's eyes, and said,
"There ever going to be a time when you can't turn me on at the least provocation, is there?"

He didn't wait for an answer; he just lowered his head and kissed Cris deeply.
Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Alex reached over and poked Eiryk in the side. "No really. I did record it. I checked."

He had had a lot of reasons to be couch-ridden lately, which meant he'd watched way more TV than usual. Sleepy Hollow had definitely made the list, although Alex obviously hadn't watched it.

He turned his head to look at Cris.
"I didn't even think I was all that sneaky about it," he said. "Maybe I'm just a natural. I didn't see the movie though. It looked scary."

Alex didn't enjoy scary movies. He would see them on occasion, but he didn't enjoy the edge-of-your-seat suspense feeling. It seemed to go along with his fear of the dark. Nothing was less enjoyable, to him, than sitting in a darkened theater waiting for something to jump out at you. No thanks.

When Cris suggested watching the show right there Alex nodded and looked at Eiryk, who was maybe not so much for it.
"Come on, Eiryk, let's," he said, before nodding at Cris. "I like having everyone here."

He was drowsy from the meds but not in such a way as to actually want sleep. He had no dobut that if everyone left and the room became quiet and dim he would fall asleep. He didn't particularly want to though.

He looked on with amusement as Rowan tried to maintain his composure, but apparently whatever Cris had said or done (Alex wouldn't pretend to be able to see everything that went on over there) made it impossible. Their friend stood quickly, managing to not dump Cris onto the floor but instead use him as an effective shield for what Alex suspected was probably a pretty obvious condition.

Unable to hide a knowing grin Alex considered his stomach and consulted it on the matter of food. Coffee it had said no to, but light snacks did not evoke a negative response. He nodded, helping to give Cris and Rowan an out.
"I could eat some."

Once they had left Alex turned back to Eiryk and laughed, nestling up against his fiance's strong chest.
"You really think they're going to be twenty minutes?"

He twined his fingers with Eiryk's.
"I'll get to come home soon," he said softly. His tone was suggestive, hopeful. He knew Eiryk was bound to want to be careful with him but Alex loved touching Eiryk and he missed their intimacy. He wasn't jealous of Rowan and Cris at all, he just couldn't wait to be able to indulge in some of the same things with the man he was also soon to call 'husband.'

Sadly, none of those things could be done here. Alex did turn his head enough, though, to press his lips gently to Eiryk's. He closed his eyes and sighed softly, contentedly, very happy to at least be able to touch and kiss his partner for now.
"I'm glad you're here," Alex said. "Maybe I'll just call Adam and see if he'll bring the reports over. He's probably going to be leaving soon anyway."

That sounded like much better idea for now. Eiryk could stay right here and watch TV with them and then go and do what he had to do after. Adam could maybe drop Alex's inventory reports off at Liefde, and Cris and Rowan would be there to hang out with them. It sounded just about as good as Alex could expect it to get in this situation.
Eiryk 10 years ago
"Okay, we can watch it all together.”

There really was no reason not to. He wasn't lead on any of studio's project right now, he'd done that deliberately so he could spend more time with Alex when needed. Lord knows he didn't have the heart to deny Alex much of anything right now. Generally he was a bit of a push over for his fiancee but even more so these days.

Eiryk chose to more or less ignore Rue and Cris' hasty retreat. Undoubtedly they would come back with snacks but it was a fairly safe bet that wasn't exactly their primary plan. He grinned to himself a bit and wondered if they'd still be that hot for each other in a few hundred years. He didn't doubt they'd still be in love, he just wondered if they'd still be behaving like newly weds. He hoped so. Alex' question, therefore, elicited a half laugh.

"I think we could order a pizza and it would get here before they get back. You don't want a pizza do you?”

Eiryk wasn't a huge pizza fan, he liked it well enough but he'd be just as happy if Alex said no. Truthfully he was more concerned with Alex and their wedding and how long they'd get to behave like newly weds. Alex wasn't helping those thoughts. He wanted to stay her, to hold Alex, to love him, or better yet to have Alex home on their couch, in their bed. This forced separation was not his idea of a good time. At least it wasn't all day every day and hopefully it would lead toward Alex having a long happy life.

"You know I'm holding you to that. Everything is too big and lonely without you.”

There was a soft kiss which he quite happily returned. Soon enough they would be able to do other things as well. For now he just brushed his hands through Alex' hair and enjoyed being close.

"I'd run get them while Rue and Cris have their way with each other but then I'd have to leave you... so I'll just agree with that.”

Eiryk fished his phone out of his pocket and handed it to Alex.

"Unless Rue has a phone for his patients stashed around here somewhere. And then we can find a way to spend our own twenty minutes.”

Although not tired, he'd just woken up not too long ago, something about being with Alex in a bed was relaxing and soothing to the point that he could doze off. Even though Eiryk was a very heavy sleeper he hadn't been sleeping -quite- right without Alex. No matter how out of it he was he still wanted Alex there. He missed the little sounds and moments of his partner, the sheets didn't even smell right without Alex sharing the bed with him.
Christian Bern 10 years ago
He was leaned forward toward Alex, discussing his friend's level of sneakiness and his own medical proficiencies when he heard Rowan's comment behind him. The next thing Cris knew he was being tugged tight against his husband's body. Surprise colored his expression first and then pleasure and that was followed by amusement.

He was -not- surprised when Rowan hastily stood and suggested that they could indeed get snacks and that it would take them five to twenty minutes. Cris thought five was optimistic...for snack gathering, even for them at their...hungriest, but fifteen or twenty was definitely possible.

Waving to Alex and Eiryk, he smiled.
"We will be back. I will search for something good to drink also." Water was wonderful but it got boring when there was little else to drink. Rowan would know which juices or tea might be okay to drink and which would interfere with Alex's recovery.

The journey home was quick and soon after the door closed he found himself being tugged toward a very sexy, impatient doctor. He wrapped his arms around Rowan and moaned in response to the very thorough kiss he received which made it difficult to formulate an answer to his husband's question.
"I certainly hope not." Cris murmured when they both managed to pull themselves away for a moment . He slid his hands under Rowan's shirt and ran them up his partner's chest.

"You know you might consider changing the uniform of The Head Physician of The Towers. It can be very...revealing." Cris slid one hand lower and smiled up at Rowan. "Of course this does have its advantages." He tugged on the strings that held his lover's pants up. Once the tie was undone it took only one small pull to loosen them enough so that they slid down and pooled around Rowan's ankles." [i]

Shrugging out of his jacket, he sighed.
"Mine is less convenient." Cris tugged at his tie with one hand and pulled Rowan close again with the other. Rowan was always sexy but impatient Rowan was particularly irresistible and he needed to touch, hold and kiss him even when that made other actions difficult.
Rowan Murphy 10 years ago
Rowan groaned happily into Cris's returned kiss; when they broke apart he smiled brilliantly at his husband. "It'll never happen," he said, momentarily solemn. Then all solemnity vanished as Cris's hands found their way to the very easy-access drawstring on his pants. Clothing was shed, complicated or not, convenient or not, and with matching fervor he and Cris found themselves absorbed in each other.

There was no feeling in the world like being with Cris. Rowan had felt it practically from the first night they'd literally tumbled into bed together. It was like his whole life had been spent practicing for this; he knew without doubt he would never tire of applying each and every lesson in physical pleasure toward the achievement of his husband's. Even on such short time, he reveled in every sensation of lips, tongue, fingers. The touch of skin to skin that he craved throughout the night. Every motion thrilled him, from the arch of his back at the push of Cris's entry to the not-so-gentle rock and thrust as they hurtled together toward that delirious leap into blinding white bliss that had him crying Cris's name, digging his fingers into the lean muscles of Cris's back.

Yes, they had to return to the clinic, but that didn't stop them from savoring just a few minutes of afterglow, showering soft kisses upon each other with a tenderness that made Rowan's heart ache with the sensation of such perfection as to be nearly painful.

After such an experience, knowing how Eiryk and Alex must feel in the clinic, frightened, stressed, tired, the two of them made every effort to straighten themselves back up. There was no need to rub it in anyone's face when surely Alex and Eiryk must be dying to feel what Rowan and Cris had just treated themselves to. Back to the scrubs; Cris in casual clothes since he was off duty now. Cris's hair wasn't mussed at all and Rowan's was easily straightened.

Yet even as they moved around each other in the kitchen Rowan couldn't shake the satisfaction of having been deliciously, thoroughly, and lovingly fucked. Thank goodness he was more than capable of putting on a poker face; otherwise, it would have been perfectly obvious what they'd just done as they returned to the clinic in just over the estimated twenty minutes. Eiryk and Alex might suspect, as Rowan hadn't made much pretense of leaving the clinic for other reasons but snacks and sex, but they would simply have to remain stuck at 'suspicion.' Cris and Rowan were, by now, far too adept at putting themselves back together after a lust-filled side-trip into another room. Closet. Hallway.

Rowan almost laughed happily at the recollections... but he stopped himself.

"Food," he announced as they re-entered the clinic. "Perfect for evening TV-watching."

He pulled Alex's tray-table up and he and Cris began to assemble their various offerings. He knew Alex preferred to eat healthy food, but Alex also needed to get some calories and some fat on board.

"Fresh fruit," he said, raising his brows at his patient and friend. "Some local cheese. Crackers. Ginger ale, and grape juice. Whichever you want. And of course, fudge brownies."

He and Cris didn't eat all the time, so they didn't have many meals in their kitchen. They had things like this; items they could snack on when the mood hit them, things they could share with company, which could also be used to cook with if the mood stuck them - well, if it struck Cris anyway.

"Anything you have a particular craving for that we should order?" he looked at Eiryk, including him in the question too.
Alex Aristos 10 years ago
Alex smiled and giggled softly when Eiryk said he thought they had time to order pizza. He shook his head, though. "No. I'll be fine with whatever they bring back with them."

They'd spent enough time at Rowan and Cris's to know what sort of offerings their friends usually stocked, and Alex always liked eating with them. Rowan in particular knew exactly what Alex's meds were liable to make him feel like, and Alex trusted the long-time doctor to plan accordingly. Eiryk was getting much better, too, but every now and then he went overboard in his eagerness to please and get it right, and Alex didn't always have the heart to correct him. Not when he meant well. It was one of the things he loved about Eiryk.

"Mmm. I'd rather have you here with me too," Alex said, trying unsuccessfully to snuggle closer. Too difficult in this position.

He accepted Eiryk's phone with a smile and a nod. "In the cabinet down there," he said, indicating where the phone was in case Eiryk should need to know. But he used his fiance's anyway, hitting the speed dial for the store. Within a few minutes he'd talked briefly to Adam and his manager had happily agreed to run the inventory reports to him at the Towers. It wasn't an unknown destination for him; part of the reason Alex had hired Adam was that he was, like Alex, an un-bonded human member of Evenhet. He'd never gotten the whole story but one of Adam's friends was a vampire in the Clan and after some drama involving a car accident Adam had learned about them. He wasn't a familiar; he and the friend he knew didn't particularly want that sort of bond, but Adam also wasn't opposed to becoming one if he found someone he liked enough.

Hanging up the phone Alex handed it back to Eiryk and then rested his hand against his partner's face, cupping his cheek.
"I just want to spend it with you," he said with a drowsy smile. "I'm so happy I can be here at Liefde for this. I hated the hospital."

It was cold and impersonal no matter how kind the staff were; and they had been. Alex's friends had made sure he had every comfort and he had no complaints about his treatment. But Liefde, even here in the clinic, was home. There was no place better for him to convalesce.

"I'll be happy when I can turn a little," he admitted. "I know I have to keep my leg up but I'm so used to being on you."

He smiled again; Alex turned into velcro when he slept. He couldn't recall a night he hadn't glued himself to Eiryk when his fiance was in bed with him. It felt odd not to sleep like that now, but it wouldn't last. Now he turned his face and shoulders toward Eiryk and did his best, honestly and perfectly content for the moment to doze just a little. He wasn't really very tired but his medication made him slightly fuzzy.

He blinked himself awake (or aware, since he hadn't been sleeping) when Cris and Rowan returned. Alex looked for signs of the inevitable lovemaking and, to his surprise, found none. Maybe they really hadn't. It almost caused him concern; Rowan and Cris were nothing if not affectionate with each other. Shouldn't they have taken the time for a quickie if the opportunity arose? Not that they were obligated, but their moods had seemed fairly congruent when they'd left and now there was no sign of... well, of that. Cris had changed out of his suit into something more casual; jeans, a soft, lightweight blue sweater. But that was it.

As Rowan pulled the tray-table over Alex turned away from Eiryk and raised his eyebrows at Cris over Rowan's back, inviting his friend to talk to him - his way. Silently. When Cris inquired, Alex sent, [Is everything okay? With you two?]

Of the two Alex was more comfortable asking Cris that question, although he supposed he'd have asked Rowan too since they'd had the opportunity to grow much closer. Still, Cris was the friend Alex felt closest to. They had many similarities, he and Cris. In another world Alex could have seen himself loving Cris as more than a friend but that didn't mean he was dissatisfied with his life; it was simply an observation based on how they got along.

He smiled at the snacks that were presented. Perfect, everything he liked that he could nibble on slowly. Lots of calories in cheese and crackers, fudge brownies for the sweet tooth and fruit that he loved any time. His friends cared for him, and Alex didn't get much chance to forget how lucky he was. Didn't ever want to take them for granted, so he reached for the remote that would raise his bed and nodded at Rowan and Cris.

"That all looks great."

((ooc: assumed Cris would get the hint; if not we can erase. ))
Christian Bern 10 years ago
He wanted to be comfortable while he watched television and make it clear to anyone who might come looking that he was clearly off duty (unless there was a damn good emergency) so he changed clothes. His had been conveniently taken off anyway so there was no point in putting his suit back on.

Instead he replaced the uniform with soft faded jeans, tennis shoes and a light cable knit sweater that was made out of a touchable dusty blue yarn. When he was done changing, he ran his fingers through his hair and checked the mirror to make sure it was all back in place. His was much easier to fix that Rowan's but that just gave him excuses to run his hands through his husband's hair also.

Once they were ready, he followed his partner back into the room carrying a television tray with more snacking necessities. Cris set the tray down in front of their chair and looked down at the mugs.
"I made some warm cider." He handed Alex the one that said "To save time assume I know everything." That one had no alcohol in it. The rest of the mugs were bright colors, handing a turquoise one to Eiryk, he took the orange one and left the purple one for Rowan.

Catching Alex's look, he smiled and sent to him. [I thought something warm might be nice.] His friend asked if he and Rowan were okay. Cris looked up and his husband, his smile softening. [We are wonderful. I promise.] He turned back to Alex and favored him with a reassuring grin. [How are you both doing?]

Indicating the big bowl of popcorn, he said.
"This seemed traditional."

Cris looked at the chair that they had been occupying and then at Rowan. "I will go grab another one otherwise your legs will be asleep before the first commercial break."