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Pancakes and Coffee Syrup

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Carlos wakes up with a pleasantly warm body next to him. He opens his eyes to find soft green walls instead of his dark navy ones; it takes him a moment to realize he’s not in his bed, and therefore, not his apartment. The night before comes back to him in flashes like a dream. He remembers showing up at the Strand household, TK opening the door with a mischievous grin on his face before he pulled him in by his shirt, his mouth on Carlos’ before he could even say hello.

They’d stumbled towards his bedroom, touching and giggling like schoolboys as they kissed any inch of skin they could reach. When they got to his room, TK had pushed him on the bed, and all Carlos could do was watch in awe as this beautiful man smiled down at him. His green eyes shining as they crinkled at the corners before he climbed into his lap, stealing his breath with every kiss he gave him.

They’d spent the night making love, taking turns pressing into the deepest parts of their bodies until they shook with pleasure.

Carlos has always enjoyed sex, and knows he’s a good and considerate lover who knows how to please his partners. Yet he can honestly say he’s never had sex like the kind of sex he has with TK before. Everything is heightened with TK; his want and need for him are more intense than he’s ever felt with anyone else.

He looks down at the man in question; there are locks of soft brown hair in his face as TK sleeps with his head on his chest, his mouth parted in his sleep to the point that there is a small trail of drool from the corner of his mouth.

Carlos rolls his eyes at himself when he finds it adorable, he’s stupidly gone on this guy, but there’s nothing he can do when his heart thumps funnily over him.

He starts to move, shifting from under TK slowly and quietly, he’s unable to stop his smile when TK whines in his sleep and tries to cling to him. He considers staying for a moment, but he really needs to pee.

He heads for the bathroom to relieve himself. After washing his hands, he splashes some water in his face and steals some mouthwash.

Opening the bathroom door again, he stops, freezing like a deer caught in the headlights when he finds his boyfriend’s father standing just outside the bathroom. From the way he’s dressed, it’s obvious he’s just come home from the overnight TK told him he was on.

“Good morning, Carlos,” he greets him calmly. Like this is a regular occurrence for them to run into each other outside his bathroom, and instead, not the first time ever that Carlos has spent the night in his house.

“Captain Strand,” he croaks out, swallowing hard under the embarrassment he feels at getting caught half-dressed by his boyfriend’s father.

“I think if you and TK have progressed to having sleepovers here, instead of just at your apartment, you can call me Owen,” he says with an easy smile.

“Right, of course,” he answers, trying to be polite. “I’m going to get my clothes and get out of here; I’m sure you want to get some sleep, sir.”

“Are you saying if you stayed, I wouldn’t get sleep?” Owen questions, there is an amused twinkle in his eyes that makes Carlos wince. “Is that how loud you and my son are? I’m not going to get any complaints from the neighbors, am I?”

Carlos stares at him, his mind going completely blank.

How do you even answer that?

If it’s with honesty, then the answer to that would be yes, he and TK are very vocal in bed, but even though it’s obvious Owen is messing with him, he’s pretty sure that’s not the answer the man wants.

“Uhh – “ he tries, but nothing else comes out.

Owen chuckles amused with himself, and with him, it seems.

“I’m joking,” he assures him. “I don’t want to know at all if that’s the case.

Carlos presses his lips together and gives him a nod.

“I don’t go to sleep right away after an overnight,” Owen starts, he jerks his head towards the rest of the house. “I was going to make some breakfast. TK will get up when he smells the food. Why don’t you join me?” Owen continues with a smile and then looks at him up and down. “After you put some pants on, of course.”

Carlos can feel his face go hot from the root of his hair to his chest; it doesn’t help that Owen’s mouth twitches like he’s seconds away from laughing. He nods one more time.

“Good,” Owen says pleased, clapping his hands once. “I’ll see you in the kitchen.”

Carlos goes back into TK’s bedroom; his boyfriend is now spread out like a starfish, still dead to the world as he sleeps. He considers waking him up in a moment of panic, but in the end, with a sigh, decides against it. He puts on his clothes from the night before, grateful that his shirt didn’t have any buttons for TK to snap off in his usual impatience to get Carlos out of his clothes.

Walking over to TK, he leans down to press a kiss on the side of his face, smiling at the soft sound TK makes in his sleep before taking a deep breath as he leaves the room.

He likes Captain Strand, both professionally and personally, just because he also happens to be the father of the man he’s quickly falling in love with, doesn't mean he needs to be afraid.

Walking into the kitchen, he finds Owen stirring ingredients in a bowl.

“Do you like blueberry pancakes?” he asks, looking up from what he’s doing.

“Yes, I do,” he answers; honestly, he likes any type of pancakes.

“Great,” Owen says with a smile. “Blueberry for you and me, then, TK isn’t really a fan, he prefers – “

“ – Banana chocolate chip,” he says, shrugging when Owen looks over at him surprised. “I’ve made breakfast for him when he spends the night; he has a sweet tooth in the morning.”

Owen nods, the corners of his mouth quirk upward. “He does,” he says softly. “When we lived in the city, he would have a donut, a Danish or a bear claw, and some frosted monstrosity he likes to call coffee every morning. Even when it’s plain black coffee, he puts some kind of flavored syrup in it.”

Carlos makes a face as he agrees with him. “I know, there is caramel, french vanilla and hazelnut in my cupboards now," he tells him. “I dragged him to the store the other day to buy some things for dinner, and he was eyeing a bubble gum flavored syrup, I had to put my foot down.”

“Did he pout?” Owen asks, grinning when he rolls his eyes. “You caved, didn’t you?”

“He gave me the puppy dog face,” he explains, scowling when Owen laughs.

“Ah, the puppy dog face,” Owen chuckles, shaking his head. “Checkmate, huh?”

Carlos lets out a loud sigh, even though he doesn’t mean it. He has no problem caving to TK; he likes to make him smile, even if it’s over something gross like bubble gum syrup.

“Don’t feel bad, kid,” Owen says as he starts to pour the batter on a skillet. “TK perfected that face before the age of two, he’s a pro, and we’re all suckers for it.”

“That would explain why he’s so good at it,” he murmurs. “He makes it, and I find myself saying yes to whatever he wants.”

“He gets that from his mother,” Owen explains as he looks back at him with a sympathetic face. “It’s the green eyes; she has them too. She would turn them on me, and I would be putty in her hands.”

Carlos smiles at the tidbit of information; he doesn’t know much about TK’s mom. He doesn’t speak much about her, except when he does, he does it with deep affection, so he knows they’re close, maybe not as much as TK and his dad, but it’s obvious he loves her.

“Accept your fate now,” Owen continues as he warns him. “It makes life easier.”

“I have,” he answers, he stops for a moment before continuing, his heart jumping as he speaks. “Fact is, your son has me wrapped around his little finger.”

Owen looks at him for a moment, studying him, and Carlos lets him, not hiding away from the man’s scrutiny. He doesn’t want to hide his feelings from TK’s dad; he wants him to know how much he cares for his son and that he’s not going anywhere.

“From what I can see, the feeling is mutual,” Owen starts to say, giving him a meaningful look as he turns serious. “You know about New York and before we came here?”

Carlos nods, swallowing hard as he remembers TK telling him everything the night of the solar flares. TK didn’t want to start anything with him before Carlos knew what he was getting into, he told him about his ex, the pills, and the OD before asking him if he still wanted to be with him. Carlos had gotten out a broken yes before pulling TK into a tight hug, grateful that life hadn’t taken him away before he got a chance to know him, to love him.

“I didn’t think my son would be happy anytime soon after that,” Owen tells him quietly, the pain he feels for TK etched into every line of his face. He gives him a small smile after a moment of quiet between them. “But he lights up when he’s around you, doesn’t matter where, at the firehouse, the bar or a call, you show up, and he smiles. I don’t have the words to thank you enough for that.”

Carlos opens his mouth, trying to find the words around the lump in his throat. He wants to tell Owen that he doesn’t need to thank him, that it’s his privilege and honor to make TK happy. He wants to say to him that it’s all he wants to do, to make TK smile and joyful. He wants to tell him that he’s the one that’s grateful because having TK in his life is a blessing, one he’s thankful for every day.

He wants to tell the man before him that he’s in love with his son.

The look Owen gives him tells him he doesn’t need to say any of it, Owen already knows.

A moment later, Owen looks over his shoulder, a smile on his face, and that’s all the warning Carlos gets before arms wrap around his waist.

“I thought you had left,” TK mumbles into his back, his voice still thick with sleep. “But then I saw your shoes.”

Carlos turns, lifting his arm over TK’s head to wrap it around him, bringing him to his side. He looks down as TK cuddles into his chest and sees he still has his eyes mostly closed. “Your dad offered to make me pancakes.”

TK cracks open an eye, looking over at his father suspiciously. “Banana chocolate chip?” he questions, getting an eye roll back from Owen.

“For you, yes,” his dad tells him. “Carlos and I will be having blueberry pancakes.”

“Weirdos,” TK mumbles, now leaning more heavily on him.

“How about I get you some coffee,” he suggests walking TK over to the kitchen table and sitting him down.

“Hmm, yes,” TK moans appreciatively. “With two pumps of hazelnut, please.”

Carlos shakes his head at him before turning towards the coffee machine, Owen points at one of the cabinets where Carlos finds familiar bottles of coffee syrups. With two pumps into the coffee, he turns back to TK, who is finally looking more awake.

He smiles brightly at him as he gives him his coffee. TK takes a sip, letting out another pleased sound.

“Good?” he asks, smirking down at him.

TK bobs his head as he reaches for his shirt, tugging him down as he tilts his head up. Carlos lets him, closing his eyes as TK gives him a light kiss.

“Sweet, just like you,” he says, grinning up at him. Looking over at his dad as he starts serving the plates, he lowers his voice. “Everything okay? He didn’t give you a hard time, right?”

Carlos shakes his head as he thinks back to everything Owen just said to him, he looks over at the man to find him watching them with a soft look on his face. When he catches his eyes, he sees the joy and, once again, gratitude in his expression. Looking at TK, he sees the care for him in his.

“No, sweetheart,” he says, leaning down to kiss his forehead. “He was great.”

TK smiles brightly at him in response, happy just like Owen said, and it fills him with warmth to know he’s the cause.

“Everything is great.”