In honor of Eric R. Bittle’s birthday, here’s a little birthday ficlet. Happy birthday, sweet Bitty! And thank you to @ngoziu for creating this amazing character. Summary: Jack makes the decision to take Bitty to every Michelin-starred restaurant he can. Bitty had given him everything, so it seemed only fair to Jack to give him the entire world in return. Also on AO3…
It started out as a fun, one-time idea to surprise Bitty with. The Falconers were playing the Blackhawks, and then had a few days off. Bitty fell in love with Chicago from his first visit there, so Jack had Bitty join him for that particular roadie.
“I have a surprise for you, Bits,” Jack said as he saddled up next to Bitty while he admired the view from their suite in the Peninsula.
“Oh? And what would that be, you charmer?”
“Dinner at Alinea tomorrow, along with a tour of the kitchen with Grant Achatz.”
Bitty’s eyes grew so wide, it was almost comical. It was adorable, and Jack wanted to eat him up.
“We have dinner reservations at Alinea tomorrow. And you have a tour with Grant Achatz.”
“Oh my god!” Bitty shouted as he began to jump up and down. “Are you freaking serious, Jack‽”
Jack laughed, in love with Bitty’s happiness.
“Yes, I am freaking serious.”
“You shouldn’t have, sweetheart. Lord, that must have cost you a pretty penny!”
Jack frowned, “Well, that’s not important.”
It wasn’t – when it came to Bitty, Jack was willing to do any and everything. He was worth every pretty penny.
And as the two sat through their eighteen course meal at Alinea, (And Jack didn’t get most of it; not really. Jack thought that molecular gastronomy, or whatever, was mostly all show and no filler. He was already looking forward to the Chicago dog he’d eat afterward because he could tell he was still going to be hungry.) Jack could not take his eyes off Bitty.
How thrilled Bitty was with every course. How large his eyes became with every plate set in front of him. How he studied each dish, delicately smelling everything before popping it into his mouth, savoring each taste with a smile. Bitty was transported by the food placed before him, and Jack could watch this go on forever. Jack was lost in Bitty’s pure unadulterated joy, and loved every second of it.
After dinner, when they got a tour of the back of the house and Bitty was eagerly chatting with Chef Achatz, Jack made the decision right then and there that he’d take Bitty to every Michelin-starred restaurant he could. Bitty had given him everything, so it seemed only fair to Jack to give him the entire world in return. And so it was, that their Michelin adventure began.
When they played against the Caps, Jack took Bitty to Minibar by José Andrés. When it was time to face the Rangers, Bitty faced Éric Ripert at Le Bernardin (Ripert who became charmed by Bitty’s bad but earnest French, invited him back anytime for a chat.) Another Hawks game meant a meal at Grace.
Soon it became more than just hockey cities. Jack took Bitty to Michelin-starred restaurants all over the country: The French Laundry, Quince, The Restaurant at Meadowood. Then all over the world: Paris Plaza, Maison Lameloise, Lasarte. The Michelin app was installed on Jack’s phone; a well-marked map sat in his planner. And at each place Jack was mesmerized watching Bitty.
As Bitty’s birthday approached, Jack had some ideas floating around. Where would Bitty have the best time? What meals would impress him the most? This was very important to Jack you see, for Bitty should always have the best.
And as they relaxed on their couch in Providence, Jack’s head in Bitty’s lap while Bitty stroked his hair, Jack asked what he would like.
“Your birthday is coming up, Bits.”
“Yes it is, Mister.”
“I was thinking maybe Spain again? Or Il Gallo d'Oro in Madeira. We’ve never been to Portugal.”
“I was thinking… something else?”
Jack looked up, “Anything you want. You name it.”
“You know I love traveling with you, and I adore all the wonderful places you’ve taken me…”
“I’m glad, Bits,” Jack said feeling a happy warmth spread throughout his chest.
“But I was thinking this year, since I’m turning 30 – I’d like something really special.”
“What, my lapin?”
“I want to spend the weekend in bed, watching old movies and eating cheese and crackers, with you.”
Jack sat up and furrowed his brow. “Is that really what you want?”
Bitty smiled and nodded.
“We can go anywhere,” Jack said. “Anywhere at all.”
“I know, but what I want is to be in our home, in our bed – just the two of us – in our own little bubble. Drinking wine, eating pie, away from everyone else. That’s what I want.”
“Honey, I don’t need anything else but you. Just you. All to myself.”
“Then that’s what you’ll have, Bits.”
“Good,” Bitty said with a smile.
And so Bitty’s birthday was spent in their bed, eating a variety of cheeses, drinking lots of wine, feeding each other apple slices, and demolishing two peach pies; kissing and loving one another in between bites of food and peals of laughter.
And Bitty declared their bedroom, “…the most Michelin-y of all the Michelin-starred places.”
Jack smiled and agreed, as he looked at Bitty with stars in his eyes.