A/N: Something ridiculously sweet for you ;) Because the weather here is beautiful, I'm feeling surprisingly great for all the stress I'm under and I just can't keep writing on the big things I've got planned because imagination keeps throwing ideas for little snapshots at me.
Um, I seem to like letting Will be a clumsy idiot in handling coffee… *coughs*
AND: Just a side note, I will be (or, I am) more active at the Archive of Our Own, so if you like my stuff, please stop by there (same pen name) for new stories will be posted there first (and I can't promise I'll put them up here as well because I keep forgetting and well, I'm kind of changing ship, y'know?). Just so you know. Thanks :)
Coffee and other drugs
Slinging his bag over his shoulder, Will grins at himself in the mirror. He looks a bit bleary-eyed and slightly red-nosed but the wide smile covers up any signs of a developing cold. And hell, he's got something to look forward to. If he's learnt anything during the past week, then that seven days can be excruciatingly long. Not that he's complaining, the hotel was quite nice and the meeting even interesting but if he could choose, well Ethan's always going to be his first choice.
So when he tucks the scarf under the coat, struggling a bit with his earphones, he's still grinning. Will stuffs the gloves into his pockets and leaves the room. The grin still doesn't fade when he's walking down the corridor to the lifts and when he checks out, handing over the key card, he wishes the woman at the reception a very nice day and offers her a bright smile (not his brightest, though, that's kept for someone else). The air is chilly and Will shivers a bit when he steps out of the hotel lobby but the flawless sky is painted in a bright blue and a plane leaves a white vapour trail behind as it crosses the sky. Will nestles into his scarf until it covers his mouth and nose and begins walking down the street. The main train station isn't far from the hotel so he decided on walking. The sunrays glint in the shop windows and he watches the people floating by, most of them as good-humoured as himself, some seemingly rather exasperatedly talking into their phones. Will exhales a white cloud of breath as he raises his head to squint into the sun. Yes, it is a beautiful day. A beautiful day to come home.
When he'd told Ethan that he'd be away for a week (some highly important analyst-thing), his boyfriend had merely looked at him, then let out an astounding amount of air, put his hands on his hips and had simply said, "A whole bloody week?!" The incredulous expression on his face when he'd cocked his head had just been too cute and the wicked grin Will hadn't been able to suppress hadn't exactly helped the situation but since they're both adults (at least Will's sure on his part. Ethan on the other hand…) they'd accepted things as they lay. Ethan hadn't refrained from enumerating all the reasons he could come up with why Will shouldn't, no couldn't go while Will had been packing his bag. His favourite reason being What am I going to do without you for a whole damn week? Will had simply kissed him sweetly and told him that he'd sure find something to distract him. Ethan had grumbled something and it had taken Will a whole minute to wriggle himself out of Ethan's embrace. Now, he thinks, he wouldn't want to let go for hours. God, what had Ethan done to him that he's gotten so sentimental?
Rounding a corner Will retrieves the gloves from his pockets and slips them on because it's bloody freezing. He reaches the station a couple of minutes later and of course he's way too early so he treats himself with a hot coffee and saunters through the building in search of his platform. Finding it he slowly walks up the stairs and sits down on a bench, placing his bag at his side. He's got at least half an hour left so he fishes out his phone and unlocks it. The display greets him with seven new messages.
Every single one from one number.
Will grins as he scrolls through the messages.
8:10 am Morning, sweetheart.
9:06 am Have you had your coffee yet? Cause I won't fetch you from the station if you didn't. Don't want a grumpy face to be the first thing I get to see of you.
9:24 am The weather's beautiful, we should go out for a stroll when you come back.
9:24 am Speaking of, when does the train arrive? I probably can't use the force to make it go faster, just don't want to miss you.
9:26 am Well, I do. Miss you.
9:31 am Shame I'm not a Jedi.
10:18 am Will, would you please do me the honour of answering me? I'm terribly bored.
Will's smile grows with every word he reads and he opens a text to relieve Ethan from his chagrin.
Hey, you, he types with frosty fingers. (The gloves had to come off, touchscreens be damned.) Train's gonna arrive at approximately 2 pm. Approximately, because nothing ever goes according to plan. And yes, I've got a coffee sitting right next to me. Smells delicious. And is the only warm thing around here.
I miss you, too.
He's told Ethan at least ten times about the travelling details but he'd probably ask the same questions if their places were swapped. On a whim, he sends a second text.
Ask Benji, he probably knows where to find Luke.
The answer comes almost immediately.
Tell the coffee to cut the seducing tactics. You're in a relationship.
Will chuckles. Because, isn't it ridiculous how Ethan always manages to lighten his mood in a split-second?
Well, it is hot, Will sends just to annoy Ethan. And because he's got nothing to do.
Will, honestly, you'd dump me for a coffee?
If that man keeps throwing nonsense at him Will's most likely going to go through the whole being-embarrassed-while-laughing-at-your-phone-in-public situation rather sooner than later.
Not for just any coffee. But if I were offered one from Luigi's…
The Italian trattoria has become Will's favourite place for lunch or a cup of coffee. Mainly because it had been in front of the door to this very place that he and Ethan had shared their first kiss after Jane had all but pushed them to go out together.
Secondly, because Luigi makes the best coffee in DC.
What is this, a ménage à trois?
Will pulls a grimace. Gross, Ethan. I did want to drink my coffee in peace, thank you very much.
As if proving it to the almost empty platform Will takes a sip of the hot beverage and immediately burns his tongue. Scowling at the paper cup he sets it back down next to him on the bench just when his phone announces a new message with a ping.
Just wanted to let you know that I won't allow any dalliances. You won't get rid of me that easily, you know.
Who says I want to? Will answers truthfully. Hell, he hasn't seen Ethan for only one bloody week and it's already affecting him way too much. He doesn't even want to think what a longer separation would do to him. Everything has changed for the better the moment Ethan had kissed him in front of basically everyone outside Luigi's (Will had been lucky that day, he'd even got a free coffee out of it because Luigi decided the kiss was Oscar-worthy) but being separated has become so much more unbearable. Will would say he's somewhat surprised at what being in a relationship does to the little things but then, he actually isn't. And he didn't exactly expect things to be easy with one Ethan Hunt as his boyfriend. (The decision to move in together had come rather doubtlessly, though. Will hasn't regretted it for one second.)
He keeps receiving text messages from Ethan (he never stopped receiving texts from him during the week. He couldn't reply to half of them since he was – contrary to Ethan as it seemed – busy) and the inevitable happens eventually when the conversations begins to circle around fruit of all things. Will can't help but burst out into laughter at one of Ethan's comments but he's quick to stifle it into his scarf when he becomes aware of the people looking his way.
It's a couple of minutes later – Will's been checking his watch at least five times per minute now – that the station speakers crackle and a voice announces that the train will be delayed for another hour. Will sighs heavily and feels somewhat sorry to have to interrupt their hilarious back and forth and dampen Ethan's mood.
Train's delayed, he informs him. It'll take another hour.
Ethan sounds almost angry when the reply lights up the display.
Right, I'm gonna go get Luke.
Smiling, Will shakes his head.
You had a clown for breakfast or what?
He knows what the answer is going to be but the smile still turns into a wide grin when it comes.
That's why it tasted so funny. But hey, you brought up Luke first.
Will quickly considers arguing about who brought up Star Wars in the first place but then he decides against it and sets the phone aside for a moment. Leaning back against the bench he lets his gaze wander across the platform and the people waiting. The man to his left – he looks about Will's age – holds a newspaper but he's not actually reading. His eyes are closed and he sways slightly on his feet until he loses his balance and almost stumbles backwards. Will lets out a sympathetic snort. Yeah, that could be him on any morning, too.
The platform hasn't become considerably more crowded through the past half an hour and Will enjoys the silence that's only interrupted by the typical sounds of the morning business of a railway station, the rush of arriving trains and screeching breaks. His eyes travel to his right where a young mother with her baby sleeping in the buggy is typing away on her phone and the sheer ordinariness of the life around him puts Will into an almost solemn mood and he treasures the feeling.
An IMF agent doesn't exactly feel as if they're actually living a normal life a lot so that moment ranks almost as high as an epiphany.
Will closes his eyes and leans his head back until he's facing the open sky and it takes him a few moments until he realises that he's unconsciously started humming a spontaneous self-created tune. Growing aware of it he lets it develop into Black's Wonderful Life and then he's rummaging through his bag to free his iPod. The music soon drowns out the other sounds and Will lets himself revel in the moment, in the deep, pure happiness that has taken a hold of him. The feeling itself isn't exactly new. It's just the intensity that overwhelms Will a bit. The only piece missing in the puzzle of the cliché perfect day is Ethan and the mere thought of him has Will smiling again. Christ, he can't stop smiling and now that he thinks about it his muscles do ache a bit from the unusual overuse. He gets the feeling he woke up with a ridiculously wide smile on his face. (He might as well have.) If he keeps this up, gifting random things and people with heightened spirits, he'll be the strange guy on the platform that had half of his face wrapped up in a scarf when he wasn't busy grinning at literally everything. If it weren't for the beautiful day (and the prospect of it getting even better) Will would have felt embarrassed but this way he sees no need for it so he grabs his coffee cup and takes a long, content sip.
A few minutes pass by and Will simply feels good. Not even the delay irks him, well, maybe a little bit. But not enough to shade his mood. The world could stay like this for all he cares. Tapping his fingers against the side of the paper cup along to the rhythm of Kenny Roger's The Gambler he ponders if there's a way to save this feeling because he never wants it to fade. But Will knows that these moments are just small interceptions in the big bad game. For now, though, he's okay with it and thanks the skies for it being Friday because this way he's got at least another two days to enjoy a bit of togetherness with the idiot he's got for a boyfriend.
He first notices that something's wrong when a sharp gust of wind sweeps across the platform and makes him shiver. Wondering why the exact spot where the paper cup sits on his leg feels especially chilly he grants it a glance and immediately lets out a disapproving growl when he catches sight of the wet, brownish ring forming on his jeans. Sitting up he rifles through his bag on the quest for tissues when he accidentally draws his arm back a bit too enthusiastically and knocks over the cup. The push sends it south and the rest of Will's morning coffee pours out over the pavement. Will stills in his superfluous attempt to catch the cup and eyes the mess with an almost offended look as if glaring at the coffee would scare it back into its container. Well, it could have been as polite as to stay inside or simply as well-behaved as to not stain his trousers in the first place.
Will blames the delayed train for the incident and the coffee for everything else.
When the train finally pulls into the station one hour and exactly seven minutes and forty-five seconds too late (Will's been a little… bored and impatient. Blame the coffee.) he shoulders his bag and, avoiding the puddle at his feet, steps up to the slowing train. He gets aboard and claims the next best seat he finds because he does feel a little weary all of a sudden and perhaps the journey's going to be quiet enough to have a nap.
His phone seems to have other plans for him, though, 'cause just as they leave the station it buzzes again. Will's got to admit, he's been ignoring it (and therefore neglecting Ethan) for the past forty minutes so he unlocks the phone and softly shakes his head at the armada of unread messages.
11:04 am Apparently Luke's untraceable.
11:11 am Are you aware that this is the 7th morning in a row that I wonder why I let you go to that meeting?
11:13 am It's purely pragmatic, don't get any funny ideas. I mean, who's gonna make pancakes every morning?
11:15 am And who's gonna smile at me first thing when they wake up?
11:16 am And who's gonna blush so adorably when they notice I've been watching?
11:21 am It feels strange not having you here, you know?
11:24 am How much can you miss someone before you can't bear it anymore?
11:27 am Can I delete this?
11:32 am Will, can you tell the train to hurry up? I'm
11:46 am Sorry, had to answer a phone call.
11: 48 am Hey, Will, you're all right?
Will smiles at the concern he can practically hear in the words. His eyes skim over the message again and again and suddenly he craves for Ethan's voice, wants to hear it, wants to hear him laugh. He could call him, he supposes but no. He doesn't want to spoil the moment of reunion for the both of them. Could be that he's only being selfish, though.
It's strange how Will almost feels it physically when he's not around Ethan for a longer time (read: more than a day). It's like a low, dull ache that's constantly there, settled somewhere in his chest, growing stronger the longer time keeps them apart. It's similar to the feeling that claims possession of him when a mission goes awry or when he knows Ethan's in danger. The troubling part of it is that the sensation isn't new either, Will developed it a long time ago in a far more unpleasant situation. It's a remnant of Croatia, the feeling that kept bothering him for years afterwards, that he should have done something, made a move, and in the very moment the door of that car had slammed shut and he'd glanced up to meet the enquiring gaze of the one person he'd tried – and failed – to cut out of his life, the one person he'd tried to forget so desperately, because you don't fall in love with the man whose wife's death you're responsible for, the feeling had been back and overwhelmingly strong. Will had wished for nothing more than to run but once again that had been no option. He hadn't been able to run after the happenings of Croatia but he'd been able to hide, hide behind a desk, and he would never have thought that he'd see Ethan Hunt again let alone stumble straight into the end of the world with him.
Will had been pretty sure that his life couldn't get more messed up but he hadn't calculated – and dear God, he hadn't expected – the revelation Ethan had gifted him with in Seattle and the trust the man had placed in him still surprises Will sometimes. Viewing from his perspective back then, Will had to face that, albeit he'd done a jolly good job at denying it, he was still in love with Ethan Hunt and as if that wasn't enough stupidity already he'd be stealing him from his very much alive wife should anything ever happen between them. To be honest, Will hadn't assumed it would, it had been highly unlikely but they'd gotten along surprisingly well and just at the point that he'd made his peace with being just friends Ethan had stood on the threshold to his office (a rather metaphorical threshold as it turned out since overstepping it had meant stumbling into a whole new life), leant against the doorframe wearing an almost shy smile and had simply asked him if he wanted to go get some coffee. There had been nothing, absolutely nothing in the question to suggest it was more than just coffee but the air had sizzled with electricity and Will had instinctively known that there was something behind the invitation. Willing down the emerging feeling of hope boiling inside of him he'd accepted the offer and a mere three hours later had found himself in a passionate kiss just outside what had immediately become his favourite café. It had been this very moment that the tight figurative rope around his chest had loosened considerably and for the first time in years he'd felt as if he could breathe freely again. Ethan had erased all lingering doubt with a second kiss (granted, it had taken him a little more than that) and finally Will had allowed himself to be happy. This had been by far the best decision in this whole tragedy he called life.
Will smiles at nothing in particular, wondering where all the thoughts came from. Again, the thought of their first kiss loosens the tightness that's crept into his chest again and hell, if it doesn't make his heart skip a beat.
But, to be honest, Ethan has been his drug from the minute he first saw him.
Will lowers his gaze for he feels his cheeks go hot and his eyes catch sight of the phone again. Quickly, he types a response.
Who agreed to you getting a mobile? I think I've got to have my spam filter checked.
But yeah, sure, I'm fine, just forgot to answer, sorry. Wouldn't have eloped with the coffee anyway, it eloped with the pavement.
As expected, he doesn't have to wait long for an answer. As expected, it makes the corners of his mouth twitch upwards again.
I'm officially offended.
See, I told you it was just making eyes at you. Someone needs to teach that coffee how to flirt properly.
Another second and the phone buzzes again.
Please don't tell me I've got grumpy cat to await at the station.
Will frowns at the display.
What is it with you and grumpy cat? he types. Do I really need to tell you that the prospect of coming home to you has me smiling ever since I went to bed yesterday?
Will falters for a moment, then he deletes the last sentence and presses send. Home. Yes, Ethan feels like home and Will chides himself for not having the courage to tell him that. But he's sure Ethan knows, anyway. Albeit Will's never said it, he's shown it, and he suddenly feels the need of showing him how much he actually means to him, how much Will loves him. He's not so sure he can find a suitable way, though, for it's too overwhelming to fully comprehend it.
He bites his lip when he types, You'd be a terrible Jedi.
Keen on insulting people, are we today?
Will imagines Ethan shaking his head at his phone and once again he wonders why he doesn't call him. Perhaps he doesn't want to say these things out loud, give their conversation more privacy. Perhaps it's the distorting the phones do to the voices. Perhaps he's just being stupid. Perhaps he only wants to hear all those things when he's got a face to go along with the voice, a body he can lean against, a shoulder he can stifle his laughter into. Either way, he answers the message.
Well, I've got to take revenge for your calling me grumpy cat.
You know I'm only being fondly exasperated Ethan replies.
I know Will types and he knows that at this very point the conversation will change. The banter makes room for something more serious but equally sweet, loaded with an emotion text messages will never be able to fully convey.
His phone vibrates in his hand, announcing another text.
Hey, it says, I meant it, you know? That I miss you.
I know, you idiot. Will gives back. And I miss you, too. But I'm coming home now, aren't I?
Home. He's said it. He doesn't know if Ethan feels as strongly about this as he does but for Will home means so much more. It's not only a place he comes back to, it's a life. And this, the life with Ethan is the one he wants to come back to every time. Be it after a mission or a meeting or even holidays, this is what he wants to be a stable component in his life, the one thing that's consistent, that he can always rely on, come what may. Will wants Ethan to stay because he loves him more than anything. The realisation is a bit frightening and a twitchy feeling of nervousness settles somewhere in his stomach.
Will can think of a way how to make it permanent.
He just doesn't know how to ask Ethan.
Just now, the display lights up.
Yes. Yes, you're coming home.
The smile stays on Will's lips for the rest of the journey while Will looks out of the window, watching the world rush by but he feels eerily calm although the pleasant anticipation gets stronger with every minute that passes and he feels like an idiot for being so utterly in love and so ridiculously happy.
The sound of a high whistle rips through the air and the train slowly rolls to a halt as they reach their destination. Will refrains himself from being the first to touch solid ground and instead takes his time with packing everything back into his bag. As he gropes around in the depths of his pockets for his gloves the realisation hits him that he's left them lying on the bench at the station. Grimacing at the thought he lifts the bag over his shoulder and buries his hands in his coat pockets before he disembarks.
It's hard to miss him, really. Ethan's casually leaning against the wall of the building, wearing his trademark smile. The smile that has so many hidden abilities. But when directed at Will there's something else to it, an edge of something hard to identify, a hint more serious and at the same time a trifle brighter than the smile everyone else gets. It drives Will insane but he loves it. Even if it makes his cheeks flush.
Of course Ethan's spotted him already for he's looking his way but he doesn't move and Will walks slowly just for the sake of it. He can't hide the wide smile, though, that's blooming on his face the closer he comes and when he stops in front of him, neither of them moves. Not until Will drops his bag to the paved floor and erases every remaining bit of distance the past seven days have put between them by wrapping his arms around him and burying his face in the crook of his neck. It feels maddeningly good and Will holds on tighter absorbing Ethan's smell breath after breath.
Could be that he missed him, yeah.
He can feel Ethan chuckle as the older man brings his arms up to pat Will on the back. "Hey, you coffee-stained disaster."
Will draws back, furrowing his brows in a way that would be telling Ethan he disapproves of that greeting had he been able to hold that expression for longer than a second. Instead, he regales Ethan with his brightest smile and ignores the blush that's creeping into his cheeks.
Ethan shakes his head softly and places a light kiss on Will's forehead. "Welcome home, dusty traveller" he adds, voice low but Will can still hear the smile leaking into the words.
"Hi" he manages belatedly and the all-encompassing happiness he feels when Ethan leans in to kiss him properly is threatening to make his chest burst. He sighs happily as he melts into the kiss, not caring about the other people populating the platform. The feeling of utter bliss stays when Ethan cups his cheek with one hand and Will allows himself to lean slightly into the touch, closing his eyes for a moment.
"Good to have you back" Ethan says but to Will's annoyance nonchalantly adds, "It's been getting boring here without your grumbling."
Gifting him with his best shirty look Will promptly proves the point as he forgoes any form of protest and accusingly prods a finger at Ethan's chest. "You've been distracting me with your texts!" But there's no sting behind the words and Ethan just grins.
He opens his mouth but before he can speak, Will cuts across him. "Don't you dare say it!"
Ethan simply winks at him and the "Mission accomplished" slips from his lips before Will can smother it.
Shaking his head he gives a resigned sigh. "You're insufferable" he says and again doesn't mean it when he becomes aware that Ethan's hands are still on his hips. In fact, they never left and he brings his own hands up to rest on Ethan's shoulders before he leans in for a sweet, chaste kiss that completely negates his statement.
"Coffee?" Ethan asks when they separate for breath.
Will lets out a longing groan that could be associated with more than just coffee. "Immediately" he nods. "My coffee hasn't been exactly nice to me this morning and it wasn't even good."
"Good I bought some, you lucky little shit." Ethan lets go of Will and turns to grab something from behind his back, producing two paper cups when his hands re-emerge into sight.
Of course he's brought Will's favourite.
The smile on Ethan's face that Will's pleased expression elicits is totally worth the coffee incident earlier that day.
Will accepts the paper cup with growing delight at the delicious smell that's wafting up to tickle his nose. Benji might complain about wasting tea; Will is never ever going not to feel sorry for every drop of well-brewed coffee spilled. And since he couldn't enjoy his first morning coffee in its entirety he treats the newly acquainted beverage with a solemnity that would make every other drink jealous. Taking a sip he slightly crinkles his nose for the coffee's gone cold a bit already but he appreciates the gesture nonetheless. A couple of moments pass in silence, the two of them standing mere inches away from each other, until Will's eyes catch sight of something that looks like words written on the paper in black ink and he slides his thumb away from where it's covering the writing. The smile that breaks way on his face is so wide it almost hurts.
The cup reads a shy I missed you.
Will looks up at Ethan and hell, if they both don't blush a little when their eyes meet.
"Turn it around" Ethan encourages softly with an emphasising nod of his head before Will can say anything and Will obeys.
He turns the cup in his hand to expose the other side where he finds another note.
I love you.
It's the understatement of the year to say Will is speechless. He's aware how it must look, two men standing on the platform, barely a foot apart, one gaping at a completely ordinary paper cup of the most ordinary drink in the world.
Just that it's everything but ordinary.
"Ethan, I…" Will blinks helplessly, wracking his brain for suitable words but he doesn't find any. Figuring that he won't produce a coherent sentence anytime soon, he simply takes the cup out of Ethan's hand and sets it along with his own down on the bench next to them, careful not to spill any coffee this time, and hugs his boyfriend. He buries his smile in Ethan's shoulder and wraps his arms even tighter around him as Ethan brings his arms up and pulls Will impossibly closer.
"I love you, too" Will whispers in his ear, almost struggling to keep his voice steady. He wants to say so much more but he figures that is has to be enough for he can't think of anything that could convey his feelings right now and perhaps this is enough. He nestles into Ethan's embrace, feeling utterly content and warm and fuzzy and he sighs quietly when Ethan places a hand on his hair and presses a kiss to his temple. Will feels how Ethan buries his nose in his hair and he smiles again, savouring the feeling of them so close, of Ethan's body against his, his arms around Will's back.
When they're face to face again Will cracks a bashful smile and when they kiss, long and slow and sweet, he revels in the moment and knows with an irrevocable certainty that this is home.
"You smell good" Will murmurs at some point, still safely hidden in Ethan's arms.
"Hm, showered" Ethan provides, mumbling into Will's hair.
This draws a chuckle out of Will and he laughs around the words. "How very thoughtful of you."
It's the screeching noise of the next train arriving that makes them detach, becoming aware of how long they must have been standing there already.
"Fancy some lunch?" Ethan quirks an eyebrow at him and Will nods.
"Yeah" he simply replies.
Will picks up his bag form where he's abandoned it and shudders at the chilly air creeping through his clothes now that he's no longer enwrapped in Ethan's warmth.
The enquiring glance he gets he answers with a displeased, "Lost my gloves."
Without a word Ethan takes his hand in his, intertwining their fingers, and tucks them into the pocket of his jacket. Will huffs a laugh and Ethan smiles brightly as he leads him out of the railway building and – undoubtedly – to Luigi's.
Will decides to keep the paper cup.
Ethan takes a mental note that he's found the perfect way to ask Will to marry him.
A/N: Tell me what you think, please?