look he's got glasses

top 10 phan moments that make me wanna rip my heart out

yeah, just ten moments among hundreds, let it be part one or something. tell me what i’ve missed because i want more suffering in my life.

10) mind control.

i mean, i appreciate the subtlety. i crave those tiny moments that you only notice when someone points them out to you. but this! you can’t miss this one, this moment is shoved down our throats. this is so “i’m allowed to do that to you, to be in your personal space, and gaze into your eyes for no reason, just because i want to”. and phil’s face in that moment, so much joy and mischief, he claps his hands and gazes back.

9) chest touch.

drama queen howell strikes again, it hurts to rewatch it srsly, why is he so extra? but what is phil doing ladies and gents? he slaps his chest in the weirdest way possible, he brushes it, it’s like he wants to shove him but reassuringly and the movement happens so fast you have to pause for a second to comprehend it. that sweet gentle boy is so fond of dan’s unnecessary commentary and yeah, it completely distracts us from what dan is saying at that moment.

8) feel my heartbeat.

was that necessary, really? like, i don’t ask my friends to feel my heartbeat when i’m scared, that was such a “horror movie at first date” bullshit, that’s not what people do?? and when dan does feel that beautiful hummingbird heart, phil just covers his hand with his own palm because yes, you gotta feel it very close, no air between your hand and my chest. dan immediately looks into the camera to show us that yeah, i know you’re there, nothing strange, and makes a comment about phil dying. wow.

7) phil the delivery man.

i don’t know what to say. it’s so simple but why does phil have to make such an act of bringing dan his charger, why does he talk in that stupid voice?? they have a banter, and then phil FIXES DAN’S CHARGER FOR HIM, like what?? who asked you to do that? where’s my IT guy au (literally, he’s got glasses, look at him). and before he leaves he plays the piano that nerd, what an attention seeker, and then bows!! is he tipsy? did he have a pre-liveshow orgasm or something? dan laughs fondly and it’s all i need in the world.

6) child beer.

what’s happening and does it even matter. phil’s hiding on the floor, but why? to surprise us? eh whatever. so he’s got that magical japanese powdery stuff and he wants dan to taste it. the biggest problem for me here, ahem, i mean the thing that just kills me every time is that phil spends the whole time (eight minutes) on his knees and he looks so cute when he makes that beer, holds it close to the camera, and then lets the foam sit so dan can have the ultimate child beer experience.

it reminds me of that hot chocolate video, where he does something so trivial but he’s so gentle and loving about it. i still don’t understand why they didn’t do a simple taste test like bros, but phil had to make it for dan, he wanted to see his reaction. and then he tries it as well, touches the glass rim with his lips at the same place where dan’s mouth just was (gross).

and i just can’t ignore how that boy sneaks past dan’s room after that, he’s playful, he stops to say that he googled something and dan was wrong, and domesticity, i wanna die.

5) sleeping phil on tour.

i kinda wanna talk about the angle here because i don’t understand how it was filmed (camera is pretty static, dan’s hand reaches from the side, not behind), but i don’t know if it matters here. what matters is how gentle dan is. of course, he starts with classic nose tickling, which is what “messing with a sleeping friend” usually implies, but then he frees one strand of phil’s hair and just lets it fall. wow, fantastic prank, dan.

and let’s separately discuss that pout/kiss phil does after he opens his eyes. i know you want a slow mo replay, so here we go:

that’s what i call “im gonna stay asleep but i love you”. where’s the nearest cliff so i can fling myself into abyss?

4) the look.

context what context. why did they keep it? why did they put it on fullscreen instead of hiding in the corner? two full-length looks dan, really?? you know what he looks like, why do you have to examine him like that in front of us you slut. and it just passes, without acknowledgment, they just turn back at us simultaneously and I’M STILL DEAD at that moment, i don’t care what happens next.

3) snoot. proot. (i just filmed you doing that)

i don’t even care what it was. something about piano sounds or whatever, but this video haunts me. THERE’S SO MUCH TO IT. first, phil is lying on dan’s bed (at least in the official version it’s dan’s, not mutual), just chilling?? and dan’s working i guess. so they are not actually doing something together but it’s a cozy evening, why would they spend it in different rooms? dan says something, idk, and phil replies “yeah” in that deep voice I SWEAR i haven’t heard from him before. dan makes the sounds again, like can you believe he’s an actual dork in real life, it’s not an act, he’s actually the weirdest boy alive, and he so obviously doesn’t know he’s being filmed. because when phil says “i just filmed you doing that you’re so weird”, he’s so delighted, he laughs at himself, he turns around, his hair is pushed back omg they are both so sleepy and i rejoice. i think this video gives us a rare but fantastic insight in their everyday life, phil must be keeping so much silly videos like that on his google drive and we never get to see them BUT SOMEHOW he posts this one, probably because dan is cute and he wants everyone to know it.

2) you loved it. you wanna do it more.

so, yes. you know this one. where do i even begin?? they play this dragon quiz and then 1) phil says “you loved it” in the strangest voice, like the voice we never hear from him, it’s deeper and quieter, he looks at dan even though dan’s not looking back; 2) dan is looking down as if he’s fiddling with an ipad or something, it’s almost a bts moment, something they would usually edit out. AND THEN THREE SECONDS OF SILENCE while dan kinda processes what’s going on and phil still looks at him expectantly. seductive as fuck. and now this quiet “alright”, i’m just… dan looks like he’s gotten the hint, so he’s a little embarrassed and they share the softest laugh. 

the thing is, we know how often phil makes sexual innuendos and dan always reacts the same way: he looks into the camera, he throws a witty comment in, he puts it on display to show us that there’s no intimacy in that moment. but not this time. i don’t understand why they didn’t edit it out. i just… don’t.

1) pantless liveshow
this is the ultimate. this is the weirdest and the most awesome thing these two gave me and i’m not even sure what can top that. the moment when phil decides to grab the humidifier and show us, he looks at the screen, says “one second” and stands up very awkwardly while dan turns the laptop away from him and makes the weirdest “how you doing” face. 

WHAT THE FUCK. did they think we were so used to them weirdos that we wouldn’t even notice that shit? but fuck, they do it again, they want to show us the spray and dan goes “should i go get it? you have to do phil’s corner”. like, i can’t function, i honestly can’t. AND THE WORST PART is when dan returns and we can see him covering his legs with a blanket just too fast like it’s not that cold boy come on.

i have no explanation and i have every explanation. i don’t deserve all this suffering.

I finished @thepenumbrapodcast and all I got was these lousy feels.

2

Happy Birthday Izuku!!

an espresso a day:


“Vic, I’m not that desperate.”

It’s the immediate response from Robert because all this fussing is almost embarrassing. He knows he hasn’t been himself lately, but it’s understandable considering his marriage is over.

It’s almost like everyone expects him to dust himself off and go again but he can’t because this is Aaron. This is Aaron who left three days ago and gave him no indication he was ever going to be ready to try this all again, when he was better.

The realisation hit Robert yesterday, sitting in the pub and nursing a pint. He’d realised that he couldn’t be anywhere near the scrap yard because Aaron was everywhere wasn’t he? He’d be forced to stare across his desk and see the empty chair where his husband used to sit, used to swivel like a little kid and drive him mad.

It would all make him miss Aaron even more, he couldn’t afford that type of heart ache. He was too fragile for that.

He’d left the scrapyard, hadn’t even bothered to pile his folders into the spare room at Diane’s which he’s decided to spend the rest of his days living in. It was dramatic but that’s how he felt at the time.

Now though, Vic’s in his room, hovering over him with a hand on her hip and telling him that he needs a hobby, that he needs to do something with his time, that Bob needs help in the cafe.

Vic rolls her eyes, “Robert you need this.” She says, like she knows what he’s going through, like she wasn’t the one who ended her relationship with Adam.

Robert pulls the sleeves up of his shirt and sighs. He can feel the pity radiate off her and it makes him want to run away, do what Aaron had the balls to do.

“I think the money I have can tell ya others.”

“Listen to me, I’m not having you hiding away in here.” It’s almost like a promise and Robert knows better than to ignore her.

So he raises his head. “And working in the cafe is going to do what exactly? Make me forget that I’ve ruined yet another marriage of mine?” It stings, it shouldn’t be this hard, he should be able to realise that it didn’t work for a reason and that he has to leave it alone. He has to stop thinking about Aaron all the time. But he can’t.

Vic is soft suddenly, comes closer and sits on the rickety bed that Robert cannot sleep in properly. “Aaron’s gone Rob,” it makes her brother wince. “He’s working on himself and you need to do the same by focusing your mind elsewhere. I promise it’ll do ya good.” She’s so hopeful and he’s so willing to feel that too.

So he agrees.



Bob’s nice enough. He welcomes Robert like he’s a long lost son (which could probably be true considering Bob and his reputation) But he puts his foot in it, a lot.

“Now, I don’t know how you and Aaron have your coffee but -”

It’s always him and Aaron. Everyone seems them as a pair don’t they?

Robert winces, gulps down and then sighs as Bob realises his mistake and decides that rambling out an apology is the only thing he can do.

“It’s fine.” Robert tries to smile, raise a hand and brush it off. None of it meets his eyes though and he stands there sheepishly waiting for the moment to pass and for his heart to stop feeling like it’s about to break down on him.

Bob shows him how to work the machines but it doesn’t take long because Robert is used to them. He knows where to press and when to wait and how to press and Robert can’t help but crave the gratitude Bob so readily gives.

In a daft weird way it makes him feel wanted, almost needed and it’s enough.

Sometimes Rebecca comes in and it’s awful. She’s growing bigger by the day and she always rubs her belly whenever Robert’s in sight. It’s weird, seeing her, knowing that she’s carrying his son, someone who will love him unconditionally and won’t leave. He should smile when she comes in but he doesn’t, he just pours her something creamy and topped with sprinkles and she lets him know that everyone is okay.


::


“Since when were you working here?” Bernice is suppressing a laugh, watching Robert stick a straw in a smoothie, as she taps her fingers against the counter and waits for his attention. “Didn’t think you’d stooped so low.” She mutters and that gets Robert’s full attention.

“Weren’t you working here a few weeks ago?” Robert retaliates because he’s sick of the looks he’s getting, standing there with a towel on his shoulder and his sleeves rolled up high.

Bernice leans forward, acts like she doesn’t want anyone to hear her as she speaks. “Is this to help get you over the whole Aaron fiasco?”

Robert blinks, his heart skips a beat. “Fiasco?” He wants to shout and make a scene but he almost can’t. It’s too embarrassing. Instead he just shakes his head. “He ended our marriage.” He reminds her like she needs to be.

Bernice politely excuses herself after throwing him a sorry smile. It doesn’t mean much but he won’t begrudge pity right now, it seems like his only friend at the moment.

Until Doug introduces him to his prized beetroot or whatever.


::


He’s getting used to it, the mundane aspect of serving coffee. He can’t help but be himself though, barks a little if a customer bites.

“Yeah well, she didn’t say please or anything, what am I?”

“A barista Robert, someone who serves coffee. That’s all.” Bob is a little too firm with his tone, knows it, sighs to ease a little tension between them. “Just hold back on the etiquette lesson eh?”

Robert feigns sincerity and obliges.

It’s a few weeks later when he sees him. Bob is banging on about treating Brenda and actually is asking for Robert’s knowledge about fancy wine places. Robert puffs out his chest, goes to speak and then he hears him.

He hears him laughing before he even sees him standing there, shock clear on his face because why is Robert working in the cafe?

Robert tries to hold his gaze, allows himself time to trace the marks of his face and hold onto it because it’s been too long. It’s been weeks. He has his hands tucked into his pockets and he’s wearing a blue jumper, Robert thinks it’s new because he hasn’t seen it before. Suddenly he can’t help but wonder what else is new about him, what else has changed for Aaron whilst everything else has stayed the same for him?

Aaron doesn’t order anything, does this awkward u-turn after Bob greets him. Robert hears something about the scrapyard and being busy and he knows it’s a lie, appreciates it all the same though.

He can’t concentrate after Aaron’s gone, he nearly burns his hand and then passes over a tenner instead of a fiver and Bob has to intervene and prize it away from Kerry.

He’s in his head again, swimming, almost drowning every thought Robert had when he wasn’t around. Robert stands back and realises how he looks as he sights himself in the glass of the coffee machine.

He’s got hair sticking out in all the wrong places, cheeks flushed and pink, and a purple apron fixed tight around his waist with an extra tea towel lounging awkwardly over his shoulder. In short, he looks like shit. Shit that Aaron saw.

“How about you get off?” Bob says, there’s that voice again, the one soaked with pity.

Robert just blinks at him and then he’s hearing the sound of someone coming in.

Of course it’s her, with her hand over her stomach and a patterned blazer obviously becoming too tight for her now she’s getting bigger.

“I just saw - I mean, I know that - I know Aaron’s back.” She stammers, head down then tilted then down again and Robert wants her to leave already.

“And what?” Robert says, feels the atmosphere become thick with tension all of a sudden. “Just stay out of his way alright? He doesn’t have to be reminded all the time.” He points directly to her stomach and she shields it almost protectively and yeah, within seconds Robert feels like a Disney villain again.


::


Diane calls him pet a few times and gives him a milky tea, hand on her hip and a small smile on her face.

“I suppose he had to come back sometime.” She reasons, sitting beside her step-son and shrugging. “How did he seem?”

That’s a good question Robert thinks, slumped against the chair in the office and a hand already fiddling with more paper to make more airplanes. He thinks about how Aaron looked at him, an eyebrow raised and his mouth ajar. “Surprised. But maybe that had something to do with me working in the cafe.” He folds over one of the corners of the paper and sighs. “Other than that, he was almost vacant you know? Like he didn’t even care.”

It hurt, thinking back to it. It hurt because why did his heart still skip a beat when Aaron’s stayed the same?

“I’m sure he did.” Doug comes out of nowhere and slaps him on the back for some reason. “He just needs time.”

“For what? To work out I’m a loser and he’s better off alone? I think he’s done all that already.” That scares Robert the most, the thought of Aaron being completely over him now that his head is clear. “I need to do something.”

Diane pulls one of her worried faces and Robert frowns at her.

“Think of it like a flower,” that’s when Robert wants to dart out the room but Doug stops him. “Aaron’s a flower, and you’re a watering can.” Even Diane pulls a face. “You can’t keep pouring water into it, can ya? It’s going to overwhelm the poor sunflower and then it’s going to -”

“Yeah I get it.” Robert waves a hand out, doesn’t want to get it but he does. “Just because Aaron’s back, nothing has changed, he would have come and seen me if it had right?”

Diane nods her head. “Yes love, and he hasn’t. So you’re going to focus on you and not trying to make him take ya back okay?”

Robert feels like he’s giving up, giving in and he hates himself because he’s not a quitter. He hates losing.

But this is different, this isn’t about a contract or a partnership. This is about Aaron, who isn’t happy with him at all, who can’t be with him.

He blows out a long breath, folds another corner over and holds up the airplane, agrees to Diane’s words just as he lets go and watches it dance around the rom for a second before falling down to the ground.


::


It’s relaxing, the way the coffee grinds away softly and then pours right below the brim so that it doesn’t overflow. Robert likes adding cream, swirling it round and adding sprinkles for Rebecca.

They’ve reached some sort of compromise. It helps that he works closer now, that they can catch up over a coffee or whatever.

“How’s he doing?” Robert always asks, always wants to know now that his baby seems to be the only person who doesn’t hold some resentment towards him.

Yet.

Rebecca always smiles, glows when he’s mentioned. “Perfect.” She hums, closes her eyes as she speaks.

“And how’s his daddy?” Robert doesn’t like speaking about himself, doesn’t like speaking too deeply about anything with her because it’s weird and it’s almost too personal.

“Getting by.” Robert offers with a shrug. He’ll keep the truth to himself.


::


Aaron comes in one day, of course he does, and he waits in the queue with his head down. Robert serves slowly, doesn’t know why but he just can’t speak to him. He has this awful thought that Aaron wants them to be mates and he just can’t be. Mates tell each other things, what could he possibly tell Aaron now?

He’s thankful when Adam storms in, mouthing off about Aaron leaving the van in the middle of the road with the keys in. For a second Robert wants to raise his head and call him an idiot, but then he remembers and he disappears into the back instead, only hears the sound of Aaron’s boots leaving the shop.

It’s closing time, Robert’s polishing down the tables and Vic’s in his ear. She’s saying something about Rebecca’s room and how it’s all coming along and Robert’s trying his best to act interested.

The bell goes and there’s the sound of feet coming though the door. It’s Aaron.

“Alright?” Aaron nods at Vic and then he’s slowly looking across at Robert, clenching his jaw the way he does when he’s nervous.

Robert stills, hand growing wet as he squeezes the damp cloth and the sound of the clock ticking by becoming too unbearably loud.

“Yeah.” Robert forces out, standing up straight and awkwardly pulling the towel of his shoulder. “Yeah I’m fine.” He lies.

Aaron nods his head, eyes looking towards the floor and then darting up again. “I just wanted to say uh - some of your stuff is - I’ve packed it up, left it at Diane’s for you.”

Robert feels like he’s being punched over and over again and he wonders if Aaron wants to hear thanks. Surely not?

He just nods his head and looks back down towards the table as Vic looks between them both like she’s watching Wimbledon.

“And your - your haulage stuff is there as well.”

It doesn’t even seem hard for Aaron to get out. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe Adam will high five him as soon as he leaves and they’ll laugh their heads off about it.

“Okay.” Robert almost whispers, knows that he’d have to take it out of the portacabin eventually, didn’t think Aaron would find it so easy to do.

Did he pack away the picture of Liv and me at our wedding day? Robert thinks as Aaron shuffles back towards the door.

“How are ya?” It drops out, unexpected, almost wrong in his mouth.

Aaron just blinks at him for a few seconds, eyes wide and then they almost glaze over. “Fine.” He says, it’s clear that he doesn’t know what else he can possibly say. “Better.” That’s more appropriate Robert thinks.

“Good.” He says, then Aaron leaves and Robert learns how to breathe again.


::


Bob is well up to date with the dramas of Robert’s life, knows when to push and when not, knows that it’s probably best if he serves Aaron if he ever comes in. It’s rare though and Robert likes it that way because it saves an awkward small talk that they both almost feel obliged to go through.

It gets colder outside, crisper and there’s a crackle of something in the air. Rebecca blooms and Robert dares himself to feel excited about it all for a few seconds.

He kicks in her stomach, the baby, and Robert feels it, over the counter, hand pressed firmly on her belly and something melting in his chest as he feels it.

The feeling dies though, because Aaron comes in and he’s laughing again, and some bloke who isn’t Adam is laughing with him. Something stills in Robert’s chest and he feels cold, pulls away from Rebecca like it’s completely and utterly wrong and then he’s dashing behind the counter again.

He watches Bob serve Aaron, make idle chat and then he asks him about the bloke and Robert doesn’t know whether to kiss or slap him. Aaron’s all cryptic though and oddly doesn’t even give Rebecca evils as she smiles at him.

Maybe it’s progress. Maybe it’s a sign. Maybe he’s moved completely on.


::


Robert doesn’t stick around to see how close Aaron sits next to the bloke, the bloke with a chiselled jaw and a blush on his cheeks and a floppy fringe, but fuck he thinks about it.

He sees them again, three days later, this time he can’t escape because Bob’s gone to pick up a delivery. Aaron pushes at the blokes shoulder and the twat laughs, gestures to a seat near the counter and then Aaron’s pointing near the door. Robert blushes when he thinks about that being for his sake.

“Just two coffees, please.” Aaron says, can’t lift his head.

Robert wishes he could, wishes that it was easy considering it’s been a while now. But it isn’t, they’re stuck in this cycle of regret and awkwardness and it’s almost tragic.

“Yeah, to go?” Robert tries to make out he doesn’t know exactly what Aaron wants.

Aaron bites his lip awkwardly and then shakes his head. “Nah, just -” he scratches his eyebrow and then blows out a breath. “So. You. Working here. Never thought I’d see the day.”

Robert’s eyes flicker and he remembers hands over Aaron’s, too comfortable on their sofa, laughing about Robert’s need to tell everyone about how to make the perfect coffee. It was bliss then, it’s a shame Robert didn’t really figure that out in time.

“Yeah well, someone had to teach the world about how to make the best coffee.” It rolls off the tongue, it’s easy and Aaron’s eyes almost twinkle as he fights back a laugh, rolls his eyes instead.

“I suppose so.” Aaron almost whispers back, hands dancing too close to the till, too close to *Robert and he pulls back, turns towards the twat waiting for him and Robert takes the hint. He actually does his job, does it well and nods at Aaron who takes the mugs with thanks.

Robert tries not to burn a massive ‘Fuck You’ sign into the back of the twat’s head as he listens to them speaking. It’s irritating. Not loud enough for him to actually string a sentence together but not low enough for him to be able to ignore.

They stay almost until closing time and Robert thinks it’s out of spite or something, then remembers it’s Aaron he’s talking about and thinks against it as quickly as he can.

The twat leaves and Aaron stays and six o'clock rolls by, and Robert’s locking up, Aaron’s still there. He’s just sitting there on his phone, like he needs to say something.

He does. It’s serious and Robert feels it hit his gut.

“Liv’s back tomorrow.”

He doesn’t expect it to ache but it does.

“She knows enough. I know that me and you are hardly shooting daggers across the room but we stay out of each other’s way nice enough don’t we?” Robert just nods. “I need it to stay that way Rob.”

Something fizzles inside Robert as he hears the nickname but he tries his best to fight against it. “I get it Aaron.” It comes out of nowhere, it’s this bubbling anger. It’s an almost ‘how dare you try and say I’d make things hard for Liv?’ “I know exactly how you want this to be.”

Aaron’s hurt, it’s clear, he gulps and then shuffles on his feet. “I didn’t want any of this.”

It’s suddenly too deep too soon and Robert wants it to be over. “We’re closing now -”

“- walking in on you rubbing her stomach, seeing ya every day and seeing her - you think I wanted this?”

He’d seen that?

Robert shuts his eyes, he was kidding himself if he ever thought they had reached a soft sort of state. They’d never be like that.

“All I know is you didn’t want me. Or my baggage. Don’t remind me Aaron.” He was so strong and then his voice breaks and he disappears round the back, waits for Aaron’s footsteps to die out and for the sound of the door to slam.


::


Diane gives him another milky tea and Doug buys him shortbreads and they chat about it, Robert finds it easier now to get it all off his chest with them.

“He hates me.” Robert offloads, shuffles in his chair and reaches out for a piece of paper to fold. “I could see it in his eyes, clear as day.” Diane brushes a hand over his knee. “He saw me feel the baby kick?”

Doug tuts, “Well that’s probably understandable isn’t it?”

Robert raises his head sharply. “And what do you say about him laughing and joking with some guy?”

Dough goes to speak, decides against it as he pushes forward another shortbread and shakes his head.


::


It’s a bad day, he had a dream about Aaron and it made him cry like a little boy in the middle of the night. The next thing he knew, he was climbing out of the bed, reaching over and Aaron’s ring was in his hand. It was cold to touch, too cold and it almost felt like dead weight in his hand.

He decides he needs it close to him, maybe it will stop the nightmares, so it’s round his neck now and he promises to never take it off.

Because that’s healthy.


::


There’s an order in, Bob’s gone mad and overdone it on the bakery items and Robert’s been left to sort it out.

He’s rolling his eyes as he counts the cream slices and the blueberry muffins and then he’s stopping all of a sudden because the massive cookies are right in front of him. The ones that Aaron adores, the ones bigger than his face with the smarties and huge chocolate pieces wedged in.

It hits him so hard that he almost falls back, he’s ridiculously love sick and it aches. “Those are Aaron’s favourite.” He whispers, more to himself than anyone else. But Bob is Bob, slams a hand over his pack and then squeezes his shoulder and yeah Robert finds comfort in it more than he probably should.


::


Liv comes in and sees him and it’s so painfully obvious how hurt she is.

It’s in her eyes and the way she gradually approaches the counter with hesitation.

He wants to hug her, say he’s sorry but he can’t because the words get stuck in his throat and she just stares at him.

“I’ve been waiting to give you a chocolate cream swirl with extra sprinkles you know?” It’s pathetic, he’s expecting her to turn right around and tell him to never speak to her again but she doesn’t, instead she just nods a little and then she’s shaking her head at him.

“Why are ya such an idiot eh?” Her eyes are watery and she’s grown, she’s taller and probably wiser. Maybe she sees things differently now, maybe that’s why Robert’s still got his head on his shoulders.

The cafe is hardly busy, just Jimmy in the corner trying to avoid Nicola, so he comes round the counter and he holds her close to him and she lets him.

It feels too natural for words.


::


A few days go by and Aaron’s back, the same bloke is back too and he’s wearing this checkered shirt which does absolutely nothing for him.

Bob’s got them offering a pumpkin latte nowadays and Robert almost winces when he has to ask Aaron if he’s interested. They haven’t really spoken since Aaron let slip that seeing Robert with Rebecca still wasn’t easy or whatever.

Aaron’s got his scarf tucked into his oversized black jacket and he raises an eyebrow at the request. “Nah. Just two -”

Robert knows his order, “Yeah alright.” He says before turning his body around and wondering if Aaron will leave.

He doesn’t though, he stays and Robert turns around and stares at him properly. There’s something lighter in his eyes and he hates to think that the checkered twat is making it that way.

“I’ve been meaning to have a chat with you.” Aaron says, clears his throat.

“You never were big on chat.” Robert says, hand pressed against the counter and a small frown on his face.

“Yeah well, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for snapping the other week.” It seems almost pathetic, to apologise now.

“You don’t have anything to be sorry for.” Robert shrugs. “You’re moving on.” He looks straight towards the twat and misses the look on Aaron’s face. “And I’m trying to focus on that too.” He says, cheeks flushed a little and the sound of hot milk pouring into a mug making the atmosphere feel less tense around them.

Aaron bites his lip. “I’m glad we both are.” He says, something sad in his voice that Robert wants to ignore because thinking too deeply about what Aaron wants only makes it hard to breathe.

Robert tilts his neck a little and then his eyes widen as he sees that Aaron’s eyes have fallen onto his neck, the chain. He pushes his head back up and when he looks up Aaron’s attention is elsewhere.

“Yeah.” Robert lies, hands over the coffees and disappears into the back again.


::


So, Rebecca gets a friend, or gets back in contact with a friend and then suddenly they’re always in the cafe.

Robert doesn’t mind seeing her, watching her lounge about in her flowery dresses, because he’s seeing his son as well and that layer of guilt and distance he once felt for his own child isn’t there any more. He hates to think it’s because Aaron isn’t there anymore either.

The friend’s name is Charlotte, she’s a pretty thing, bright green eyes and brown flowing hair which is annoying plaited like Rebecca used to do before she was always tired or crying or both.

“So, you the baby daddy then?” She’s posh too, eyes shimmering at Robert as if she’s interested in him.

Something stirs inside Robert and maybe he’s interested too.

“Sure am.” Robert says, doesn’t know where to put his face. “You want another coffee or something?”

Charlotte leans a little closer, “Bex hasn’t told me the ins and outs, just that you’re not together, never were really.” She’s doing that weird almost flittering almost judging you thing and Robert still doesn’t know where to put his face.

“Yeah well that’s true.” Robert looks up at her, tries to smile and realises he didn’t give her appearance enough credit, she really is beautiful. “Why’d you care so much?”

Charlotte does this shy smile thing and pulls her hair behind her ear whilst shrugging. “Oh I don’t know, many reasons.” She says, makes something rise in Robert’s stomach.

But then she’s looking down at his hand, at his ring and she’s widening her eyes for a second. Then Aaron’s coming through the door, alone this time, and his face is almost falling and Robert wants the ground to swallow him up.

“I really haven’t been filled in then.” Charlotte says, tries to laugh it off but her cheeks redden in embarrassment.

Robert goes to speak, sees Aaron hovering nearby and he can’t get his words out right.

So Rebecca struggles to stand up and Charlotte helps her up and they both scurry off to whisper about how pathetic Robert Sugden is and always will be.

Aaron just stays there awkwardly, orders a massive cookie to maybe just tug at Robert’s heart strings that little bit more and then he’s asking if Robert’s okay.

“Do one Aaron.” He doesn’t mean to be unkind, just hates how he’s feeling.

Aaron doesn’t, just raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t do anything.”

Robert feels tears well his eyes, thinks he’s crazy for getting so emotional. “Yeah, you don’t even need to though do ya. You just walk in here and make it impossible for me to move on just like you are -”

Aaron looks like he’s going to cry, shakes his head and frowns. “I’m sorry.” He blurts out. “Liv thought it would be alright if we tried to be -”

“It’s too hard Aaron.” Robert whispers, head down. “Being your mate? Getting along? I can’t Aaron. Please.”

Aaron nods his head, tenses and goes to speak before deciding against it, leaving.


::


Rebecca’s only got a month left until she pops and Robert would be lying if he says he doesn’t want to meet him already.

He’s thrown himself into that life, the one where he’ll be a dad next month and he’ll have to completely forget the life he had with Aaron.

Aaron. He hasn’t shown his face for a while, Liv has though and she’s becoming herself around him again.

All it takes is a strawberry smoothie and a brownie after school everyday and yeah, she’s not hating him as much anymore.

“How comes you and Aaron are still so frosty?” Liv asks, pointlessly sucking the straw despite knowing it’s already empty.

Robert stops buttering a roll and raises his head. “We’re not. I just told him I couldn’t be his mate, that’s all.”

Liv raises an eyebrow. “Yeah I gathered that.” She says, annoyed. “It would explain his conversation with Adam the other night.”

Now Robert’s intrigued.

“Oh yeah?” He puts down the knife and gulps. “What was that about?”

Liv squints her eyes and using the chair next to her as a stool despite how many times Robert keeps telling her not to. “Like I’d grass.” She says, like there’s loads she can’t say. “Let’s just say, he thought it was a good start, being mates with ya for once. You saying you don’t want that was sorta like a slap round the face.”

Robert’s eyes flutter because he can understand why it would be but - he still feels the same. He still can’t quite understand how they’d ever be mates.

Rebecca’s shuffling through the door and complaining about being hot, it gives Robert the chance to think of something else for a little while as he helps her sit down and reminds Liv to keep her feet on the ground.


::


He thinks he maybe should apologise to Aaron, explain himself, be able to talk like a normal adult but he bottles it.

Instead he gets roped into painting Rebecca’s room and finds it weirdly relaxing. So he starts painting in his spare time like a loser. Doug keeps telling him it’s great, says he can take up gardening next if he wants and Robert tries his best to smile through the embarrassment.

Liv’s impressed by his painting, says that the colours look well together and he can’t explain why it makes him so happy.

He pushes his confidence into his son’s room, starts drawing trees on the walls and even Vic is impressed.

He doesn’t ache when he thinks about Aaron for a whole two days.

But then he sees him again. He looks good, he always does but he looks better than usual. He has a tight shirt on, muscles on show, hand ruffled through his hair and the checkered shitbag is with him.

He hasn’t seen said shitbag for a while but seeing him standing there, smiling at Aaron and then sitting himself down, it’s enough to make his blood boil.

He makes them their coffees, gulps hard and attempts to say something to Aaron but he’s already gone back to his seat.

Robert watches them like a nutter, wonders if they are actually dating now that he’s becoming a firm fixture by Aaron’s side. He makes Aaron smile, rolls his eyes a little and chuckle as he sips his coffee and Robert hates him. He thinks about grilling Liv but then thinks against it because the last thing he wants is for her to think she’s being used only for that when it’s not the case.

It’s near to closing time, music around the cafe soft and slowing and Bob is running off to get the kids so Robert has to lock up again. They’re still sitting there and he tries to busy himself by the tables near the till so that he isn’t going full on stalker mode.

“How about we get out of here?” The twat asks, hands dancing close to Aaron’s. “Back to mine?”

Robert wants to be sick, nearly is.

“I’m not ready for that,” Aaron hisses and Robert’s legs turn to jelly. “Ya know I’m not, it’s all too new, too fresh.”

“Maybe it has something to do with us sitting a few feet away from the scumbag.”

Robert wants to throttle the twat and chuck him out of his cafe, well Bob’s cafe, but then Aaron’s frowning harsh.

“It’s not that. Well yeah, but - Luke we have a laugh don’t we?” Aaron sounds like he’s nervous and Robert hates how this Luke is making him feel. “It’s just a bit too soon.”

It should be enough, Robert goes round the counter and tries to empty the steaming coffee and then he sees Luke squeezing round Aaron’s upper thigh and then hears the scrap of a chair and -

To say he’s scalded himself is a bit dramatic, but there’s steaming hot coffee boiling his hand and fuck it hurts.

“Shit, shit shit, fuck -” Robert’s swearing his head off and Aaron’s staring at him with wide eyes, leaving Luke to make his way out of the cafe.

“You idiot.” Aaron chastises him, runs off to get a cold towel and presses it against Robert’s hand.

Robert wonders if he feels it too, the spark that surges between them still. It makes Robert shudder but Aaron just stands there, looks exactly the same.

“This was bound to happen.” Robert winces, takes the cloth from Aaron and runs the tap, ice cold water shocking him as he looks at his red hand. “Looking any better?” He wonders, tilts his head towards Aaron and then looks at the younger man who’s eyes are fixed on the silver band which Robert still wears.

“Yeah a little.” Aaron clears his throat and then chews at his lip. “Sorry about you seeing that, or hearing that, with Luke.”

Robert hates how Aaron apologises to him, hates it so much.

“Seemed keen.” Robert tries to joke, it doesn’t meet his eyes though.

Aaron rolls his eyes and then he’s signing hard, pressing his back against the counter. “It was moving too fast anyway.” He says, “We weren’t, we *never -”

“You don’t need to talk to me about that Aaron. Any of it. It’s not my place anymore.” Robert snaps, the thought of hearing about lucky fellas getting their hands on Aaron makes him want to cry.

Aaron turns red. “What do we talk about then?”

Robert cringes, his hand is wrapped up in the cloth still as he stands there awkwardly. “We don’t have to Aaron. I don’t know what you want from me, what you want me to say.” Aaron goes to speak. “Because I can’t talk to ya about what I was doing last night.” Aaron turns a shade paler and Robert shakes his head, tries to communicate that it wasn’t anything fruity or whatever. “I was painting Rebecca’s room for the baby, the baby who will be here this time next month Aaron.”

He sees the way Aaron’s face drops, he sees the hurt in his eyes and then the way he gulps.

“That isn’t going away.” Robert promises Aaron, realises that they needed to say this to each other, that they still seem to need to hurt each other for the greater good. They’ll never move on properly if they don’t.

Aaron nods sadly, “Neither is that though is it.” He whispers, points towards Robert’s ring and then he’s fighting back tears and Robert feels like a dick.

“I’m sorry.” Robert explains. “I’m sorry I can’t let go of it yet.”

Aaron shudders, suddenly pulls his hand up and strokes Robert’s cheek, turning the older man’s body to jelly again as his heart practically melts in his chest. “I get it.” He says, lets his hand linger, lets Robert become haunted by the tears in his blue eyes and then his gone again.


::


Robert paints again tonight.

Paints his feelings or whatever.

Only uses blue paint.


::


Rebecca has a full on break down and Robert doesn’t see it coming.

She suddenly thinks she’s useless, rubs her belly protectively as she sits in the rocking chair Vic bought her and cries her heart out.

“I’m no expert but I doubt that’s good for the baby.” Robert reasons because he hasn’t mastered a soft voice for Rebecca yet. He only has one for Vic and Liv and *Aaron. He passes her a tissue, watches her chest heave up and down as she takes it.

“I don’t know how to do this.” Rebecca flies a hand up, eyeliner smudge, mascara races down her face. “Robert, I can’t do this.”

Robert gulps hard, comes closer towards her. “Where’s this come from?”

Rebecca hesitates like she wants to keep it to herself and then she sighs heavily. “Saw Aaron today, he wished me luck for everything.” She pulls a face. “He was kind, better than before. I felt this pain in my stomach and he -”

Robert’s eyes widen in panic that he didn’t know was even there in his heart.

“He sat me down, asked Bob to get me a tea.” Robert goes to speak and she shakes her head. “You were sorting a delivery, I specifically didn’t want him calling you out.”

Robert thinks about Aaron helping her and something twists in his chest. He doesn’t know how exactly to feel. Surprised? Maybe, because Aaron had said awful things before, he basically said he’d be glad if the baby died and now he was helping keep the baby okay.

“If he wasn’t there, I might have lost him, through my sheer panic.” Rebecca rolls her eyes. “I would have drove to the hospital -”

“We said you weren’t going to drive any -”

“Exactly.” Rebecca shudders, rubs her stomach again and flicks hair out of her way. “I’m ridiculous.”

Robert has a hand on her knee. “Yeah well what does that make me?” She manages to smile at him and he feels like he did when he was younger, when Rebecca used to smile at him like he was the only light in the world. It tugs at his heart a little and he wants to protect her. It’s like she’s a younger sister, one who has wronged him, one who he has wronged too.

“I’ll be here.” Robert says, “And we’ll love him as much as we can, I guess.”

Rebecca frowns, “You guess?”

“I know.” Robert corrects.

And he does, he really does know.


::


Adam’s always had a big mouth, it’s just a standard thing really.

So yeah his booming voice carries through the cafe and he hears him gossiping with Bob as he passes him over sandwich.

“Between you and me, he’s eating his words. I mean, he wanted to push for the whole mates thing and it didn’t work out right.”

Robert backs away, manoeuvres himself into the little side room and listens in.

“You’ve got to see how hard that must be for him though, being mates with Aaron would have been hard.”

“Yeah I know, it could have led to something though.” Adam sighs. “You never know.”

“What with his baby on the way?” Bob makes sense, Robert loves Bob. “I doubt he’d be on board now.”

“Well maybe he just wants Robert to try.” Robert rolls his eyes, he isn’t psychic. “Again. Maybe he’s ready.”

Something bubbles in Robert’s chest and he fights back a smile.


::


Robert has another dream about Aaron. He’s standing there, arms outstretched, tears in his eyes and he says: ‘I still miss you.’

Robert has to rub Aaron’s ring a few times before he settles down again, suddenly realising that he needs to try and get Aaron back again.

One last time.


::


Aaron comes in with Adam, it’s freezing outside and he comments about it, of course he does, he’s always moaning about being cold.

“Yes Robert,” Adam’s got into the habit of slamming his hand down on the counter and Robert always has to roll his eyes. “Two coffees, one slice of toast and a bacon sandwich for me.”

Robert sighs. “I’m not doing bacon.” He says, “It spits out at me and I’m not going through that for you.” He says, voice dry and a smirk on his face that makes Adam scowl.

“Well thank God, Bex is the one pushing out your kid eh?” Adam says roughly, no bite in his words as he turns back towards the sofa.

Robert waits until he’s gone to use the loo before he comes over and settles the coffees down, passes over Aaron’s toast and then a cookie too.

“Didn’t order that.” Aaron says, phone in hand as he points towards his favourite cookie they sell.

Robert nods, “It’s to say thanks, Bex told me you helped her the other day.”

Aaron looks almost embarrassed and flushes pink. “No bother.” He says, “It was no big deal.”

Yet it was. It was a massive deal to Robert and he doesn’t know if Aaron can work that out.

“Yeah well it was to me.” Robert stands awkwardly over Aaron and then bites the bullet, sits opposite him. “You know, after everything …”

“I wasn’t myself when I said all that.” Aaron’s eyes flicker up to Robert’s like he wants him to hear this. “Do you know that?”

It seems suddenly vital that he does, it seems like Aaron wants to scream it at Robert until he does know that he’d never want to harm Rebecca or their baby.

“Yeah. I know you Aaron.” Robert whispers, tilts the plate towards Aaron and smiles. “Enjoy.” He adds before he’s up and away and he’s missing the smirk on Aaron’s face as he eats.


::


It’s getting colder, Rebecca’s about to drop and Robert’s life is beyond hectic whilst Aaron’s seems to be going at a soft pace.

Everyone’s wanting a hot chocolate nowadays.

Bob helps him step it up a gear (the whole ‘get Aaron back’ operation)

He orders this funny shape maker and Robert can’t help but get this silly love sick cheesy idea which usually makes him feel sick.

He starts dusting smiley faces into Aaron’s hot chocolates.

“You are pretty love sick aren’t ya?” Liv comes in, smirk on her face and Vic walking with her.

Robert instantly feels like he’s in for a grilling or something.

“He’s always been a bit of a smitten kitten though, some things never change.” Vic comments, smiling as they approach the counter.

“You what?” Robert asks, knows what they’re on about, wants to know how they know though. Has Aaron been finding it absolutely ridiculous?

“You’ll be giving him love hearts next.” Liv pouts playfully and then Robert’s bright red, working around Bob who is fighting a grin.

“How’d ya know about that?” Robert grumbles out.

“Adam picked up Aaron’s the other day by accident, laughed his head off.” Robert growls, he can see it now and he wants to smack the stupid idiot. “Aaron doesn’t mind it all that much though.” Liv continues and Robert’s eyes brighten at her words.

“No?” Robert feels something tighten in his stomach and he’s suddenly too hot, his white shirt sticks to his arms.

“Said it was sweet. Then told Adam to fu -”

Robert stops Liv, tells her off and then he’s grinning to himself until it’s closing time.


::


It becomes a thing.

Robert gets all creative, takes an age to dust over the coco just right so that it looks good.

“Flipping heck just confess your undying love.” Nicola snaps, makes Robert turn red and he’s suddenly thankful that Aaron’s in the bathroom.

“Shut it Nicola.” Robert doesn’t even look up, just keeps dusting over the coco like he’s in a world of his own.

When Aaron comes out everyone’s staring at him and Robert passes over his coffee, fights a smile and relishes in the way Aaron thanks him with a curt nod of the head.

It shouldn’t make him melt like this he thinks, because Aaron was his husband wasn’t he? He’d gone through this pathetic falling in love stage and it had been beyond messy, he can’t do that all again.

He can’t help himself though, he’s in too deep and he falls into this pattern of making Aaron feel special or something, in his own little way.

But it doesn’t pay off.

Aaron’s tapping his foot against the floor loud, Liv sitting opposite him with her phone up towards her face.

He’s leaning in and trying to talk to her and then she’s shifting her body away from him. It looks tense from where Robert is stood, behind the counter, Bob in his ear telling him to do something.

So he does, he comes over with a hot chocolate and a smiley face and a cream slice.

“Didn’t order anything Rob.” Aaron snaps, hand over his face as Robert stands there, his navy blue shirt sticks to his back as he becomes flustered and confused. “If I wanted something, I’d have paid for it myself. I don’t need your hand outs.”

Liv’s eyes widen and her phone is abandoned. “It’s a cream slice.” She almost echoes Robert’s exact thoughts.

“I didn’t mean to -”

Aaron suddenly stands. “You think you can really buy back what we had through stupid messages in hot chocolates. You broke it Robert. You ruined it so stop trying to fix it again.” He’s almost screaming at Robert and the older man stands back, lets him and then watches as Aaron calms down, as the realisation hits his face and oh -

There’s the regret for causing a scene, embarrassing Robert so publicly.

“You’re wasting your time.” Aaron tells him, calm now, voice still icy enough to hurt though.

Liv looks horrified, tears swell in her eyes and then she’s following her brother out the door.


::


“That was your fault that.” Robert tells Bob, the cafe is closed and he’s tackling the coffee machine which has been on the blink all day, talking about Aaron’s outburst and of course blaming Bob for telling him to go over.

“I didn’t know he was going to be like that.” Bob says, doesn’t want the blame. “He’s probably stressed about something else, taking it out on you.”

Robert pulls something and clicks something else. “That’s nice of him.” He says sarcastically before hearing Bob’s phone ring. “You get that.” He says, tries to turn something in the machine.

“Ah. Yes, no that’s fine I’ll be there.” Bob makes promises over the phone, something about picking up the kids again and Robert wants to throttle him.

“This needs fixing.” Robert explains, makes a point by hitting the stupid machine.

Bob pulls a face. “And you’re doing a grand job.” He says, all smiles as he fetches his coat and unites his apron. “Look if it’s still acting up in ten minutes, leave it alright?” He says before he’s dashing off and leaving Robert.

Robert decides to think about Aaron again, question what exactly he’d done to make him react that way. He thinks and thinks and then takes his frustration out on the glossy coffee machine which just won’t pour.

Then he’s clicking something and warm milk is spluttering out everywhere, splashing over his shirt, over his jeans and won’t stop until -

He doesn’t even know how, but Aaron’s there, pressing a switching and holding out a few tissues for Robert and he looks a lot calmer than he did before.

“Cheers.” Robert gulps hard, takes the tissues and then just stands there looking at Aaron, then back towards his ruined shirt. “Do you mind waiting here a second, I’ve got another shirt in the back that I can change into.”

Aaron raises an eyebrow, “Course ya do.” He says and something flutters in Robert’s stomach as he goes.

When he comes back through Aaron’s already clearing up the mess and his heart tugs. “You don’t need to do that, it’s fine, I can manage.” Robert says, comes closer and then Aaron’s looking down towards the counter, looks like he can’t speak. “Aaron?”

“You keep it round your neck?” Aaron whispers, finally lifts his head and stares at the gleaming silver line of the chain which Robert still wears. Robert blushes, thought it would cover by his shirts. “My ring.” Aaron adds thickly, like he can’t believe it.

Robert clears his throat, “Why did you come here Aaron?” He whispers.

“To apologise. For hurting ya. I didn’t mean to snap like that Rob.” Aaron says, turns towards Robert. “Even when we’re not together I’m pushing ya away.” He holds his head like it hurts and Robert hates himself for making him like this again.

He was happy a few weeks ago, then he started dusting smiley faces into Aaron’s hot chocolates and it all went down hill from there.

“It’s okay.” Robert lies, because it hurt like hell but Aaron doesn’t have to actually hear that. What good would that do? “Apology accepted.” He nods his head and it’s so formal that it aches.

Aaron lingers though, like he’s not ready to leave and Robert doesn’t know what to say. “Why did you start doing all that anyway?” He says, eyes fluttering towards the floor.

Robert gulps, this is too painful, too raw and he hates it. “Because I’m selfish.” Aaron looks up like he didn’t expect to hear that. “Because I wanted you to know I care when I should just - just leave you alone -”

“That’s not what I want.”

It’s so heavy in the air, Aaron’s green jumper jumps out and grabs Robert’s attention and everything is Too Much.

“What?” Robert blurts out, tears in his eyes, tears falling. He’s got Aaron’s words on repeat in his mind, telling him they’re broken, that there’s no going back, that he can never be with him. Robert breathes out heavily, hands flying. “Well then what do you want then?” He says, a hand through his hair, face wet. “Because I’m *struggling Aaron. There, I said it. I can’t keep doing this when I have ‘no idea what you even want and I -”

Aaron’s stepping forward, has his hands on Robert’s face and he’s crying too, the way he always does when he’s overwhelmed.

“You. I just - all I’ve ever wanted, is you. You, Robert. Just -” Robert can feel him, he’s so close, lips brushing against lips, hands falling into hair and then -

Robert’s phone is ringing and the minute is crushed because Aaron’s telling him to get it and he doesn’t want to. He wants everything in the world to wait but it can’t.

It’s Vic, she’s rambling and -

Rebecca’s in labor apparently.


::


He’s healthy, he’s soft and he’s got whisps of white hair which should golden. There’s a few freckles on his face and he has gentle unassuming eyes filled with wonder.

They’re a hazel colour, spotted with specs of green and blue.

And he’s beautiful.

Everyone says so.

“I think we did good.” Rebecca says, exhausted yet still glowing as she lays there, looks at Robert holding the baby in his arms. “Even if it wasn’t meant to happen.”

Robert raises an eyebrow. “We did good.” He says, tries not cry.


::


Rebecca names him Gabriel and Robert doesn’t roll his eyes at the name, he likes it a little actually.

“He’s just precious isn’t he?” Diane whispers as Robert holds him, lets her gently stroke his hair. “And you’ve got him tonight?” She checks and Robert nervously nods.

Rebecca’s still exhausted and she asked if Robert wouldn’t mind having him for the night. He’d said yes when he wanted to scream that he wasn’t sure. But he’s been good as gold so far and he can’t complain too much, not when he’s in his arms.

Doug rubs his hands together, “Oh lovely, little Gabriel can watch Love Your Garden with us.” He says, settles down on the sofa and elbows Robert who actually doesn’t mind.


::


“Gabriel? As in the angel?” Of course Liv twigs that and of course she’s got something to say about it. “How could you make an angel Gabriel?”

Robert laughs at her, throws a straw in her direction and waits for her to say something else.

“Can I come see him?” Liv asks, maybe thinks out loud and then Aaron’s behind her.

Robert’s mouth goes dry and he feels sick. He hasn’t see Aaron for days, not since -

Well before he had a baby, a son, a responsibility. He supposes everything has changed for Aaron now that everything is real. Robert hates how the younger man has probably realised everything he said was wrong and pathetic and that he doesn’t want a single dad after all. Not after everything.

“Maybe uh - I mean, it depends.” Robert gives her half an answer and she knows better than to pry, so she says something about being late for the bus and leaves her brother standing there with his hands in his pockets.

“Bob’s just gone to get milk.” Robert explains, wonders if that’s what Aaron wants.

Aaron nods his head, looks almost in pain as he smiles. “Congratulations.” He blurts out and Robert doesn’t know where to look because he’d ran out the cafe after Aaron told him to go and he hadn’t caught him up on anything. He hadn’t told him everything was fine, he hadn’t had a minute to.

“Thank you.” Robert whispers, “Honest.”

Aaron gulps hard, like he’s really trying. “I bet he’s got your freckles, I always thought that -” he stops himself and bites his lip. “I bet he has.”

“He does yeah.” Robert says, wants to hug Aaron, wants to tell him he loves him still and that he can do this, they can do this. But then the door is opening and Rebecca’s walking through looking as pale as a ghost and Gabriel’s there, right in front of Aaron and -

He watches Aaron run away, doesn’t even call out for him to stop.


::


Aaron disappears for a while with Liv and Adam says they’ve gone to Ireland, says nothing more but Robert knows why.

He cries when he tells Diane that he won’t come back, that he knows now that Aaron won’t ever love him because of Gabriel.

Because of his little boy who never cries with him, who holds his hand really tightly and never seems to kick up too much of a fuss with his mum either.

There’s nothing he can do about Gabriel, wouldn’t want to do anything now that he’s here. So he focuses on his little boy and himself and as the leaves fall he manages to get himself a flat just outside the village.

It’s not poxy, just not lavish and Robert wants to call it home.

He spends his nights there, painting walls and moving furniture and sometimes Bob even helps.

“Maybe it’s not my place to say this but,” Bob smiles. “I reckon your dad would be pretty proud of you Robert.” He says and something warms across Robert’s heart, makes him want to believe it.

He fixes up the spare room for Gabriel, uses his painting ‘skills’ to create an underwater world for him and he gets approval from Rebecca, and Vic and even Doug likes it (despite being bitter that his garden theme idea didn’t get passed his own mouth)


::


Christmas is a week away suddenly and Robert contemplates spending it alone, in his new flat.

He thinks about Aaron, of course he does, and about how he’s still away with Liv. He thinks about him being happier, away from Gabriel and reminders and hurt and that makes Robert smile a little, manages to stop the pain in his chest for a few minutes at least.

It’s closing time, Bob’s at the twins nativity and Robert’s attempting to pull tinsel out from one of the machines, has no clue how it got there in the first place but keeps going.

Even when the door chimes open.

“We’re closed, sorry.” Robert says, tugs harder and doesn’t even look back.

“I don’t think I can wait until tomorrow.”

It’s his voice, and everything seems to melt in Robert’s chest because it’s Aaron’s voice packed with nerves and -

Robert spins around, drops the tea towel from his shoulder and stares at him. He gazes, notices how healthier Aaron looks now, he’s wearing a burgundy jumper, tight jeans and a smile on his face which is watery, matching his eyes.

“Aaron, I thought you’d -” Robert can’t speak, feels his mouth turn to sandpaper again. “What are you doing here?”

Aaron blows out a breath, “I thought it would be better, not seeing you or him, but it’s not. Because I’m miserable without you.”

Robert shakes his head. “And you hurt yourself when you’re with me Aaron. That’s why you left the first time.”

Aaron gulps, “I shouldn’t have blamed you for my own mental -” he blows out a breathe. “I never should have.”

Robert doesn’t know what to say, his eyes water and he can’t cope with the closeness of them, steps back. “We’re not good together Aaron.” He says, defeated. He knows that now, knows that the highs should always outweigh the lows and they never seemed to. “We hurt each other too much, and I’ve got Gab -”

“Could we go and get a coffee or something?” Aaron blurts out, plays with his hands like he’s a child.

Robert feels his chest tighten. “And what good would that do?” He knows this game, they’ve played it for four years now.

Aaron just looks up towards the ceiling and a tear falls down his face. “Please.” He pleads, “I’m ready Rob, to talk, to - to just -”

“I’m never going to be sorry for loving Gabriel.” Robert insists. “I can’t hate him Aaron.” He shudders when he thinks about his son, about how innocent he is in all of this.

Aaron takes a step forward, “I wouldn’t ever want you to.” He says, grabs Robert’s hand and shivers like he feels something again.

“I can’t - can’t have you running away from me again,” Robert drops his head, finds it difficult to speak. “I can’t handle thinking I have you again and then - you leaving.”

Aaron nods his head, he’s so close that Robert can feel Aaron’s forehead against his own. “Let me take you out for coffee, we can take it from there okay?”

Robert looks at Aaron and sees it in his eyes, love, it’s there again, maybe it never left.

“Okay.”


::


It starts with that one coffee a week before Christmas, and it turns into another and another and they talk.

It’s alien yet so normal at the same time.

Aaron meets Gabriel on Christmas Day and it’s odd, it’s soft and unlike anything Robert imagined it would be because Aaron’s eyes didn’t glaze over when Robert handed his son to him. He smiles down at Gabriel, hesitant at first and then warm all of  a sudden.

“Merry Christmas.” Aaron whispers, gently looks up towards Robert almost for permission and then he kisses Gabriel’s head, fights back tears.

They spend Christmas together, kiss slowly under the mistletoe Liv planted and it’s everything Robert’s always wanted. It isn’t too fast, it’s soft and they both smile into it with open hearts.

Their coffee dates continue, sometimes with Gabriel, most of the times without and it gets easier.

Somehow Aaron opens up, makes it clear what he wants and what he can handle and they seem to work their way through it. They fight against the hurdles in their way again and again, when it gets too much for Aaron, when Robert feels like he’s pushing his luck.

But they seem to fall together again.

“I want it back.” Aaron says, one night, a hand over Robert’s, Gabriel’s breathing in the background on the baby monitor.

Robert’s eyes widen, the moon is high and he wonders exactly what Aaron’s saying until he feels Aaron tug at his neck and pull out the chain, the ring.

“Are you sure?” Robert holds Aaron’s arms, stops him dead.

“I want this. I do, I do Rob.” Aaron whispers, and Robert’s passes it towards him delicately, freezes though when he hears Gabriel crying on the monitor. He thinks it’s ruined everything suddenly, closes his eyes and there’s an apology on his lips.

But he doesn’t get to say it because Aaron’s pressing a finger on his lips and he’s sliding the ring on. “Go check on him. It’s fine.” He whispers, eyes soft as Robert stands and leaves him. Robert doesn’t know what to do with his heart as he watches Aaron stare down at it, almost in amazement.

He climbs the stairs to where Gabriel is crying and bundles him up in his arms slowly, swaying him back and forth a little.

“I know, I know buddy.” He whispers, looks down at Gabriel and then moves him over to the rocking chair in the corner of the room. “You’re ruining my date kidda,” he teases, “Aaron’s here, yeah I know. It’s Aaron,” his heart jumps when Gabriel’s eyes widen like he knows what that means. “You know I said we were taking it slow now, well he said he loved me yesterday and - Gabes I was so happy. I never thought he’d love me again, but he said he always has, he said he never stopped.” Robert gently touches Gabriel’s cheek. “And he doesn’t hate ya does he? I think he likes ya really. Must be all the charm you get from me.” He rocks back a little and Gabriel’s chest puffs up and down. 

“Me and him, we’re really trying ya know. He’s got me going to this painting class, says I’m good. So does Lauren.” His counsellor, it was what Aaron wanted them to do, it helps more than Robert wants to admit. “I think we’re going to be happy this time. I think it’s for keeps this time, I think you’ll grow up loving Liv and him nearly as much as I do and gosh you’ll be so lucky I promise.” He kisses Gabriel’s head, watches his little eyes flutter as he pulls him back down into the cot and comes down the stairs again.

He doesn’t expect to find Aaron there, chin wobbling and one of Gabriel’s teddy’s in his hands. He doesn’t expect Aaron to tell him he heard every word as he looks towards the monitor. He doesn’t expect to be pulled into a crushing hug and kissed on the head, and the neck and see Aaron’s tears rolling down his face.

“He’s lucky already. So am I.” Aaron shudders, hands falling round Robert’s neck. “And I meant it, I love you and this is for keeps I swear. I’m not running.”

“You’re not running.” Robert whispers, like he needs to remember it.

“I’m not.” Aaron insists, eyes still wet. “Because we’re going to take it slow, you’re still here, in your flat and - I’m at the Mill. And when it’s right, that’s when you’ll move in alright?”

Robert blinks once, then twice. “Both of us?” He says, eyes falling on Gabriel’s teddy and feeling the time race by him before Aaron’s nodding.

“Yes. Yes Robert, both of you.” Aaron blows out a breath. “He doesn’t make me sad anymore.”

And that causes almost an explosion in Robert’s heart, makes his knees weak.

It’s enough, Robert thinks, mouth pressed against Aaron’s, head swirling with love and a sense of happiness which he thought had died in him.

It’s enough that he’s still living in the not-quite-poxy flat of his that now stinks of chinese after their takeaway, it’s enough that Aaron’s still at the mill and Liv comes round twice a week for her dinner.

It’s enough that Aaron doesn’t hate Rebecca, holds the door open for her if she’s passing with Gabriel. It’s enough that he can’t make small talk with her just yet.

It’s enough that he works in the cafe sometimes, but has thrown himself into back into the business, has a friend in Bob and goes round to Diane and Doug’s for his tea a few nights a week (especially on Tuesday’s because that’s when Love Your Garden is on and even Gabe knows he has to be quiet for an hour) and only Doug knows the significance of the sunflowers Robert keeps buying Aaron.

“I love you Aaron.” He whispers, the stars are twinkling outside and Aaron’s probably going to stay over and get coffee with him in the morning and -

“I love you too.”

(It’s enough)

Adopt

Pairing: Thomas Jefferson x Alexander Hamilton

Summary: Can’t put it into words.

Words: 540

Warnings: Fluff; modern au; drabble

___________________________________

Thomas and Alexander haven’t always been together. Alexander used to be married and had a son with her….Philip. When Eliza died, it tore him apart and Philip was too young to understand, he was 2. But when he met Thomas his life changed for the better.

When Thomas first moved in with Alex he was a little unprepared on how to take care of a child but despite his belief, Thomas was great with kids and Philip adored Thomas.

It’s been 7 years. Philip was 9 and his dad was still with Thomas. New York recently legalized gay marriage, Thomas and Alexander didn’t waste any time with tying the knot. They were happy, Philip was happy but something still bothered him so when Thomas wasn’t home he talked to his dad.

“Pa?” Philip peeked his head into his father’s office. Alex looked up from his laptop to his son. Removing his glasses he got out of his chair and walked over to Philip.

“Philip what is it?” Alex crouched down to his son. Philip’s face turned red.

“Uhm.” He fiddled with his hands. “I want daddy to be my family.”

“Philip, he already is your family.” Alex moved a piece of his curled hair behind his ear. Philip shook his head.

“No like, Theodosia said that her new mommy adopted her making her new mommy her mommy. I want daddy to be my real daddy too!” Alexander eyes grew wide.

Alex couldn’t help but smile, and felt a sense of pride that Philip wanted Thomas to adopt him.

“Okay.” Philip cried out in triumph and jumped into his father arms hugging him tightly saying ‘thank you’ over and over again. Alexander couldn’t help but laugh as he hugged his son. “But we have to make it a secret all right? So we can surprise him.” He told Philip who nodded excitedly. “I’ll get the papers, now go clean your room.”

Philip groaned.

“But pa!” Philip whined. He chuckled.

“No but’s.” Philip groaned as he trudged his way to his room.

-

It’s been 2 weeks and Alexander had the adoption papers. Philip was growing impatient, too excited.

But Philip didn’t have to wait any longer.

“Daddy?” Philip stood there holding the papers behind his back. Jefferson looked up from his laptop on the couch at Philip who stood there looking anxious.

“Huh? Um yes Philip?” With a shaky hand Philip held the papers out to Thomas who looked at them curiously before taking them. Philip saw the tears welling up in his dad’s eye.

“I want you to be my real daddy. So will you adopt me so that can be true?” Philip asked, looking at Thomas with a hopeful looked. He choked on a sob, pushing the laptop besides him he got on his knees and hugged Philip tightly.

Secretly Alexander stood out of sight recording the whole thing.

“Get me a pen.” Philip nodded quickly running for a pen, coming back with it. Thomas signed the papers making it official.

Thomas Jefferson is now Philip’s dad…officially.

Thomas was a tearful mess as he hugged the life out of Philip. Alex wiped away a few of his tears as he smiled at the two who he loves most.

Mornings

Logan groaned and halfheartedly muttered something about ‘kids’, almost falling asleep at his desk. He’d been up all night marking papers, and hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep. Well, except for when he nodded off and his head slammed into the desk at 3am.

Now it was 8 in the morning, and he felt exhausted. 'Maybe a glass of orange juice will help,’ Logic decided, not really putting much thought into it. He finally stood up, stretching his sore legs and arms out. He left his room, hair a mess from having it tugged and pulled all night.

He entered the kitchen and grabbed a glass and the oj, beginning to pour.

“Morning, Lo,” Patton greeted as he swung into the kitchen. Logan looked up and couldn’t help but stare. Morality’s bed hair was present, which rarely happened, and it looked amazing. His heart rate increased and he felt his throat become dry. The golden rays of the morning sun coming through the window hit Patton’s skin and made it glow, making the personality glow.

“Um, are you alright?” Patton asked the other. Logan blushed and looked back at his glass, which was overflowing.

He got distracted by pure beauty, and now his orange juice was everywhere

“Oh, shit,” Logan cursed, quickly stopping the flow of the juice. He panicked and ran around the kitchen for something to clean it up. He mind was foggy and he couldn’t focus properly, just because he was in Patton’s presence.

“Here, Lo, the dish cloth.” Patton walked over to the sink and grabbed it for the other, beginning to wipe the juice up.

“T- thanks,” Logan stuttered. He fell against the bench, exhausted, but still staring at the other in awe.

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” Morality said with a wink. Logic just smiled and shook his head fondly, crossing the kitchen and scooping his boyfriend into his arms. He peppered kisses all over the other’s face, causing lots of blushing and giggling from the elevated personality.

“I can’t help it, Pat, you’re extremely cute this morning.” Logan continued to kiss all over the other, making sure to cover every inch of his face and neck, before carrying him away to a place where they could rest in the morning sun.

@feynites dorks definitely not holding hands 

@theladypirate #(like he belongs there- and Fear seizes on the thought; of course he belongs there he’s safer when he’s closer) #and if Dalish ever caught wind of this they’d probably have to suffer through even more knowing looks

anonymous asked:

What did you think of the actual chemistry between Jon and Dany in character? We've been waiting so long to see it, did it meet your expectations?

It 100% met my expectations in EVERY way, anon!!! I loved it so, so, so much!!!!

There was like crackling tension in the throne room but I loved how outside they both seemed so tired and careworn and I think right there, from the very start, they saw something of themselves in one another. They both just want what’s best for the realm, and they’ve both already fought so hard and lost so much to get it!

I think Dany is very drawn to Jon, and Jon is definitely intrigued by her, particularly after her monologue. But they’ve got some work to do to be on good terms. 

I think my favorite moment was when she allowed him to mine the glass. He looked … so moved :’)

anonymous asked:

Gramander where Newt needs to wear glasses and he overhears a random auror talking about how dorky he looks or how the glasses take away what little good looks he has (which is total crap because he is of course the most adorable/beautiful person alive!) and he gets really self conscious and thinks that he needs to change and stop wearing them or he won't good enough to be with graves...but the problem is he hates the idea/feel of contacts. Eventual happy ending :)

I have to add a picture of Eddie with glasses bc he’s just cute AF!

Keep reading

“I was taking a walk with my husband, our baby, and our dogs. As we passed an older house in a cool part of town a rottweiler joined us and wouldn’t leave us to go back the way he came. When we got to a busy intersection, I took one of my dogs leashes off and looped the other through both of my dogs’ collars and leashed up the Rottie with the first. He had a tag with a phone number and address, so I planned on calling them at our home. When we got home, I called and left a message and hopped in the car with the Rottie to take him to the address (it was on the street he’d taken up with us.)

When I got to the door, he sat and looked through the glass expectantly but leaned hard against my leg, and I saw he was looking at a woman standing about 4 or 5 feet in, in shadow. I smiled, and she just looked between me and the dog. I tapped on the door, confused, thinking she didn’t realize we were there to talk to the people home, or maybe I’d gotten the address wrong and it wasn’t her dog. She stepped back a bit, into more shadow (at least that’s how it seemed.) I checked the collar again (the dog was ready to jump back in the Volvo, he was all done here and knew I kept the good kibble back at my place), and when I looked back, I couldn’t quite tell if she was there, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable anyway.

When I returned home a man had called. When I talked to him, he was overjoyed, he was dog-sitting and the dog had gotten out of his yard and had obviously just gone home. He’d had to confess to his friend, who’d gotten my message. He was coming right away to pick up the dog. I told him about the woman, described her, youngish, long dark brown hair with bangs, and he and a third guy, a friend of his, were baffled. They tossed around names but were certain no one had been in the house for weeks. They’d been in the house that day, thinking the dog would be there, and knew the house had been undisturbed. The dog-sitter guy went from being freaked that he’d screwed up royally almost losing the dog, now a squatter! to yeah, no, that’s not a person we know or who we think was there, um, yeah, no…

I had two vivid dreams of the woman, I think probably because I was weirded out. As a boring conclusion, I thought maybe my infant daughter would grow up to look just like the “ghost”, but she didn’t at all. :)”

By: msinformed1 (As it’s nearly Halloween, how about we share some creepy stories? I’ll go first.)

10

Finally have time (and marked photos) to share what I remember from The Secrets of John Le Carré Revealed at BFI Radio Times TV Fest 9/04/17


Tom came out followed by Alistair Petrie, Susanne Bier and Simon Cornwell.

I remember Tom talking about Pine and Roper’s love story - Roper sees Pine as a Son, and Pine sees Roper as a Dad, and so Roper underestimates Pine.
Susanne talked about the look of the show and how they had to convince us that Pine would be seduced by Roper’s wealth and his world.
Then Tom said that the hotel scenes in Zermatt weren’t even filmed in a hotel, and Susanne told him off for revealing it, to which Tom points to the screen and says it’s says secrets revealed! So Alistair said the private jet scenes were filmed in a giant toilet roll and the sunset out the window was some guy walking by with a lamp.
They showed a few clips from the show, one of which was the Lobster Salad scene where Corky looses it.
Tom said Tom Hollander completely improvised that, didn’t ask Tom’s permission to grab him and he says he’s scarred for life 😂
Then they talked about Le Carré being in the scene, and Tom did an impression of Le Carré - Le Carré was just supposed to let Tom apologise and leave it at that, but he kept on going and going (Tom does an impression of him asking loads of questions) until Susanne had to say even if he didn’t agree, he just had to to finish the scene.
Then the moderator asked Tom about the fact that Pine’s way of helping tortured women is to have sex with them.
Susanne actually got quite upset about that, and then Tom tried to defend it until the moderator spoke over him and said she got it now (which I actually found rather rude).
Oh and Simon confirmed they are definitely working on Season 2.
Alistair and Susanne joke about sending emails with ideas and Tom says maybe he should start doing that too.
They all say they would definitely work on season 2 (and Simon drops a hint that Le Carré himself is involved with the writing of it)


The whole thing was recorded so I’m sure it’ll be available at some point.

Then we went downstairs to where they were leaving.
Tom did a few selfies and signed as much as he could, but he was being pushed and shoved a little.
That’s when I leant over the car to ask him to sign my book (which he did).
Security told me off for being on the car 😂
Tom, Alistair and Susanne all got in the car and left together -
Tom sat in the very back and I was watching him climb over the seats in the car - my GOD his ass looked great.
And he put his bloody glasses on when he got in so as the car drove by, he was waving and I looked in and was like “fuck!”
Simon however, walked, so I managed to snag him to sign my book too.

Once again it just confirmed that I could listen to him talk all day, every day.
And Alistair is hilarious.