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First of, instantly drop everything you are doing and / or holding (well, unless it is a baby, I guess you shouldn’t drop that) and rush over to Noa’s journal for some absolutely lovely taped cricket Eric and Viggo fluff. Go now.

And if you happen to come back afterwards:

This is for [personal profile] gattodoro (by which I mean: It’s her fault) on the occasion of her birthday that I forgot. Happy belated birthday again, dear!

‘Mate, you look horrible,’ Sean says to Eric before stuffing half a waffle into his mouth.

Eric replies by flipping him off, or at least trying to. As it turns out, he is a bit too tired to coordinate which finger to raise. Sean grins, part of his waffle showing. Orlando frowns in response to that and gestures Dom to give him the whipped cream. Viggo consolingly pats Eric’s shoulder, wiping off traces of honey on his checkered shirt in the process.

It’s Monday morning, and they are having breakfast in front of the ‘Pony’. With almost all the boarders away by now, JC’s kitchen staff has been sent on holiday as well, leaving it to the staffers to feed themselves. This traditionally means that they take turns in hosting breakfast in their houses or - if they fail to find someone to provide food - to invade the Pony that has a surprisingly awesome breakfast menu.

Eric, however, doesn’t seem to be able to properly enjoy waffles and beans and bacon on this sunny morning in July. His right hand holds the fork all right, and it has scrambled egg on it, but he has been holding it for so long that Sean has started making flirty eyes at Eric’s breakfast and has so far just been held back from commandeering plate and fork and eggs and all by the presence of Orlando.

‘What’s up with you?’ Orlando asks, the disinterest in his voice making it very clear that he is asking because politeness dictates it, not because he actually wants to know.

Eric’s reply is slightly muffled because his left hand is keeping his head from conking onto the table by propping it up by the chin.

‘I barely slept. I had a nightmare.’

Orlando hums and, since his tribute to the gods of good manners have been paid, returns to cutting up his waffle into neat little squares. Sean and Viggo look somewhat sorry for Eric. Dom, predictably, doesn’t.

‘What was it about?’ he asks gleefully. ‘Someone tried to divide by zero?’

Eric makes a groaning sound, and Dom snickers, nearly spitting beans over the table.

‘Someone hid all your calculators?’ Dom tries again.

‘No. Leave me alone,’ Eric grumbles.

Dom, very grossly, licks bean sauce from his fork.

‘Someone spanked you with a ruler?’

Eric groans again, and Dom is faced with varying degrees of skepticism from the other three members of their breakfast party. He remains unfazed and shrugs.

‘What? It’s the only other thing with maths stuff I could come up with on the fly,’ he says somewhat reasonably. ‘That it’s a bit kinky is just an added bonus.’

‘Why are you even here?’ Viggo asks, in that polite nonchalant way of his that usually is the preface to him shoving you into a puddle.

Dom is impervious to that as well. He uses his fork to gesture at Orlando - well, to nearly poke Orlando’s eye out with it, really.

‘Bike trip with Lando.’

‘Not if you blind me first,’ Orlando argues dryly.

Sean, who has by now swallowed enough of his waffle to make himself understood again, makes a sound of disagreement.

‘Pretty sure you’re still the better biker, even if you wore an eyepatch.’

‘Oi!’ Dom protests, but no one comes to his aid.

‘You let him drive one of your bikes?’ Eric asks Orlando with something like the pre-coffee version of horror.

Orlando shrugs.

‘The Yamaha is pretty tame,’ he says matter-of-factly. ‘And I insured it against pretty much everything.’

Eric’s bleary petrolhead stare of disapproval is met by Orlando’s utter disregard of emotionalism in the middle of the table, right above the pancakes that Sean quickly pulls out of harms way and mostly onto his plate.

‘I’m still undecided which one to take to Poland,’ Orlando says in an uncharacteristic attempt to show patience and explain himself to Eric.

‘The decision will be made for you once Dom wrapped the Yamaha around a tree,’ Sean says merrily and not at all concerned for Dom’s safety.

‘What are you even doing here?’ Dom now asks in a fairly good imitation of Viggo’s voice of threats.

Sean shrugs.

‘It’s Monday. Waffle day, mate.’ he says.

‘I reckon he is questioning your raison d’etre as a whole.’ Orlando says, filling the square holes of his waffle bits with neat blobs of syrup. ‘Your entire right of being.’

Viggo opens his mouth on autopilot, but then shuts it again and instead helps himself to some melon slices.

Dom shakes his head.

‘No, actually, I was asking whether Cate canceled your friendship. Isn’t she holding some fancy breakfast do at her place right this very moment?’

‘Kiele and Mir are there,’ Viggo says in something like agreement, and with a half-smile he adds, ‘Grown up party too much for you?’

Sean pulls a face.

‘Nah, but she’s serving all kinds of fancy French shit, like snails.’

His entire body shudders, and he turns back to his safe and very British beans and eggs.

‘That’s pretty much my definition of a nightmare.’

With that, the general attention shifts back to Eric who in the meantime started delicately nibbling on some bacon. Feeling the majority of eyes on him, he huffs.

‘Mine was about the Falcon.’

Dom makes an understanding humming sound that never is a good thing.

‘I see, a sex dream involving the Falcon. Interesting.’

Sean stuffs waffles into his mouth. Viggo looks at Eric. Eric’s bacon stops mid air. Orlando huffs.

‘No, it isn’t,’ he says. ‘And if Dom’s wild guess happens to be accurate, I don’t want to hear anything about it.’

Sean makes a sound of agreement around half a pound of breakfast food. Viggo pats Eric’s shoulder, this time solely meant as comfort not also to get rid of sticky stuff. Naturally, Dom ignores all of it.

‘I mean we’ve all seen 70s soft porn flicks and know where public car washing leads,’ he muses out loud. ‘I’m guessing one of the car washers was Viggo, yeah?’

He willfully misinterprets the stunned silence around the table as a sign of agreement and nods.

‘Considering the soft porn scenario, one car washer is not enough, though, no matter how skimpy the shorts. I mean, Vig, it’d take you ages to get into all the nooks and crannies of the Falcon, won’t it.’

‘Stop reading my mind,’ Viggo says laughingly. Eric doesn’t seem so horrified. Which is kinda his mistake because Dom then has to double his efforts.

‘So, while Viggo is polishing the front, on his knees and everything - puns intended, who might be working hard on the rear?’

His suicidal gaze swipes over his audience of three.

‘Bean, how about it?’

Sean chokes a bit on his pancake, and it’s possibly just because of that that his face turns red.

‘C’mon, you secretly wanna feature in Eric’s wanking fantasies, don’t ya?’ Dom says, his grin so huge it is barely possibly for him to speak.

Sean coughs, swallows and shakes his head.

‘If you don’t watch it, mate, you’ll get a slap.’

Dom just laughs.

‘Me thinks the lady doth protest too much,’ he teases, then tilts his head and looks at Orlando.

‘Well, Lando, how -.’

‘Shut up, Dom,’ Orlando says without looking up from his military waffle project.

Dom shuts up.

The silence around the wooden table could maybe be described as somewhat tense if it weren’t for Sean’s continued coughs and Eric slurping his coffee. They move on from there when the waitress brings more pancakes and Sean has a moment when he is undecided whether to flirt with her or the food. When asked to elaborate on their planned route for today, Dom and Orlando take turns in explaining how to get from JC to Shropshire. While Dom shows great enthusiasm for the incredible views and Titterstone Clee Hill in particular, Orlando talks about the consistency of tarmac which bores Viggo, Sean, and Dom but does cheer Eric up a considerable amount.

Eventually, Orlando urges Dom to eat up, so they can be on their way, and Sean, too, leaves to walk back to JC because he promised to join his remaining boarders in the Loo for some board games.

Eric and Viggo remain where they are, and Eric has a third cup of coffee and eats most of Viggo’s sausages while Viggo stares unseeingly at the crown of the oak tree, seemingly lost in thought. Under the table, Eric’s knee nudges Viggo’s.

‘All right?’ he asks with a smile.

Viggo’s eyes focus on him and he grins.

‘There was a fit man from Victoria,’ he says, his voice somewhat singsongy to highlight the anapestic metre, ‘who loved his red car with euphoria. He was very brave if his Falcon was safe. Lord save him from phantasmagoria.’

Eric’s smile widens.


Viggo lifts a shoulder.

‘”Nightmares” doesn’t rhyme with euphoria.’

Eric presses his knee a bit harder against Viggo’s and finds the pressure returned.

‘No, it doesn’t,’ he agrees. ‘And “fit”?’

Viggo shrugs.


Eric licks sausage grease from his lips slow enough for Viggo to laugh.
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