I was told (in varying degrees of politeness) that I should post up a slash tag, so I have. I intended to wait until there was actual slashiness instead of Don eyeing Xander, but I suppose that offended some tender souls.
My apologies, ‘twas not my intent. In any case, I was going to slap one up with this chapter, which should tell you how slashy IT is. :)
“Where’d you find this guy?”
“A home-made furniture store. It had a sign saying that it was owned by a Master Carpenter, so I decided to see if he could fix the table. He’s got some nice stuff, you could get a decent piece of furniture for your apartment, instead of the crap you have leftover from college.”
Don started to grin. “You like him.”
Charlie gave him an oblivious look. “He seems like a friendly guy, he does good work, makes ok jokes, and he’s fixing my coffee table. He’s ok in my book.”
“No, Charlie. I haven’t spent years hanging out with profilers so I could stay as oblivious to people’s emotions as you are. You like him. Otherwise you wouldn’t be promoting his stuff already.”
“Don – ” Charlie protested, blushing.
“Buddy, I’m not blind. I’ve seen the looks you give Edgerton, Colby, and David. I’m not mad and I’m not about to believe any bullshit you give me about being straight because you’ve had girlfriends. You might be bisexual at that, but you are not straight, Charlie. You just…aren’t.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Nice of you to inform me,” he drawled.
“What I meant to ask was ‘Where
did you find this guy?’ As in, where is his store? Why were you there?”
“I was biking out there a few days ago. It’s in one of those shopping centers, Bay-Walk or Ocean-View or something else that sounds like a retirement home.”
“Then I was getting groceries out there this afternoon and remembered the coffee table,” Charlie shrugged. “Not much of a story there.”
“Okay, I get it. You plan on doing anything about your thing for the repairman?”
The hammering stopped, replaced by loud footsteps. “Dr. Eppes, wanna take a look?”
Charlie’s bad mood vanished when he saw the table. From above and the sides, it looked exactly the same. When he pushed it, gently and then more firmly, it didn’t even rock on uneven legs. Xander had even dusted the scuffs off.
“I’ve got some protective varnish back at the shop you might want,” the other man said with a small smile. “Or you could just work on house-training your brother.”
That startled a laugh out of the professor, and now it was Don’s turn to frown.
“Feel free to ring me up if you find anything else for me to fix, Charlie,” Xander told the mathematician as he gathered his tools and spare supplies. A few minutes of rummaging produced a business card, which he handed over to the curly-haired man. “I’d be glad to help,” he murmured.
Charlie nodded absently, staring at his hand where the carpenter’s callused fingers had touched him.
“Right,” he whispered.