A/N: Thanks to everyone who has reviewed, favorite-d, followed, and stuck with this even though I'm terrible with updating it! Lots of love to all of you!
This was impossibly difficult to write, you guys. And why yes, I realize I'm probably shoving headcanons around onto you guys like no body's business. I'm sorry.
Coffee shops are cool.
…I feel like the more I do, the more I ruin a good thing. I'm thinking I should just quit while I'm ahead...
I'm also going to actually start college in a couple of weeks, so we'll see if that gives me more inspiration something, so, let's keep our hopes up.
Horatio sighs, and takes a careful drink from his hot tea. So it's in the middle of summer and entirely too hot to be drinking such beverages, but it relaxes him so he drinks it anyways.
He glances up from his seat, blinking in surprise for a brief moment. "Laertes. Did you need something?" There's an unnecessary bite to his tone like there always is when he talks to Laertes, and he's long since given up on trying to figure out why.
"No," Laertes shakes his head slightly but pulls out the chair opposite of Horatio and sits anyways.
Horatio doesn't question that either. Really, their entire relationship is full of so many questions that it shouldn't work, but it does. Apparently. "Then what?"
There's a slight frown on Laertes' face. "Nothing." Pause. "Ophelia yelled at me."
Horatio raises his eyebrows, half intrigued and half disbelieving. "What?"
Laertes sinks low in his chair, hunching over his overly indulgent iced coffee that Horatio is pretty sure has more chocolate and whipped cream in it than any one person needs. "She thinks I'm babying her."
Laertes shoots him a pitiful glare. "I don't."
Horatio simply rolls his eyes and gives Laertes an unwavering, distinctly unmoved look.
Laertes narrows his eyes before giving up and slumping on the table, hiding his face in his arms. "Piss off."
Horatio scoffs, bringing his cup to his lips as he tries to form some sort of reply. "That still doesn't explain why you're here," he finally says since Laertes doesn't seem open to saying anything else. "In fact, if Ophelia's with Hamlet like it sounds, I doubt seeing me makes it any better."
He huffs in irritation, sneaking a glare over his arms. "Shut up it does."
Laertes hides his face again, and Horatio doesn't know why he was expecting anything else. "I didn't say anything."
"Why are you so difficult?" Horatio grimaces.
"I'm difficult?" Laertes nearly growls as he suddenly sits up.
"There are different types of difficult people." Horatio sighs. And he thought he would have a relaxing afternoon. What a laughable idea that is now.
Laertes opens his mouth to angrily retort but he suddenly leans forward and presses his lips against Horatio's and isn't that utterly mindboggling?
He pushes Laertes away, barely keeping it from a rough shove. "What are you doing?" he hisses.
"Sorry," Laertes mutters, but his attention is still on something over his shoulder.
"Hey, tell me what that was all about. Now."
Laertes sinks back into his chair in mixed relief and agitation, running a hand through his short brown hair. "I told someone I was already in a relationship to get him off my back."
Horatio frowns, about to argue, but he can already anticipate Laertes' line of logic and chooses to say something else instead. "You took advantage of the situation," he says slowly, carefully choosing his words.
Laertes' expression wavers between embarrassed and indignant and there's a faint red coloring his face. "Yeah."
"You know I really don't—"
There is a long and uncomfortable pause and Horatio just wants to leave, but he can tell Laertes has something he wants to say and he would rather get this over and dealt with now.
Finally, Laertes starts, "So you really love—"
"Have you two—"
"Not all the way,"
Laertes winces at his tone. "…Sorry."
Horatio starts to sigh, but he's done that too much for the day and so stops himself. He instead takes a slow drink from his tea. "He respects you, you know."
Laertes groans. "Don't start this crap with me again."
"I was just saying a statement, that's all."
"Yeah right," he grumbles, "Don't think I can't see that smirk. And you think I'm conniving."
"So who is the unfortunate soul you're trying to avoid anyways?"
Laertes looks at Horatio suspiciously before answering. Or he would have, had Hamlet not come bursting through the doors, Ophelia in tow, and latched onto Horatio at that very moment.
"Guess who I just finished listening to, Laertes," Hamlet says with a sugary smile that would make infants cry should they ever be forced to bear witness to it.
"Hamlet, just let it go," Horatio murmurs, placing a hand over one of Hamlet's. "Don't make a scene."
"Laertes how could you!" Ophelia cuts off Hamlet, frowning down at her brother.
"Seriously," she pulls up a chair and angrily sits with a sigh of pure frustration. "I sat back and listened to every warning you gave to me about Hamlet, and then you go and do something like this?"
Horatio thinks this is a ridiculous thing to be fighting about. It should be painfully obvious that nothing is going to develop from this and yet here they are. Perhaps it's the principle of the matter. "All of you just be quiet for a minute." Once they did as they were told, he continues, "It's not a big deal—don't look at me like that you know it's true. It was just a moment of panic, right?" He gives Laertes a meaningful look.
Laertes quickly, and rather frantically, nods despite the lie. "Yeah."
"You're siding with him?"
Horatio looks up at Hamlet the best he can, a slight frown on his face. "I'm not siding with anyone. I'm trying to stop something stupid from happening."
"You're siding with him."
Ophelia nods in agreement.
"Look, we've already talked about this and sorted things out," Laertes tries.
"Everything is fine," Horatio adds firmly. "Boundaries have been redrawn; pacts have been made. There's no need to get so upset."
"And that's what they said after the first world war."*
After a moment's deliberation, Hamlet concedes, draping himself further over Horatio. "…Fine."
"Really…" Horatio sighs before he can help it. "I can handle myself, you know."
"I know that," Hamlet whines in his ear, still refusing to sit down in a chair like a normal person.
"So what was all that about, then?" Horatio smiles slightly, completely ignoring Laertes and Ophelia's stares.
Hamlet mumbles something that's completely unintelligible even with his close proximity to Horatio's ear. In fact, Horatio is pretty sure that Hamlet hadn't even attempted to try to form proper words. Horatio's smile widens, reaching back to quickly run his fingers through Hamlet's hair, accepting the rather convoluted apology.
"You're getting a little possessive yourself," Hamlet grumbles as he nudges his cheek against Horatio's.
Horatio blinks, slowly taking his hand away from Hamlet and narrowing his eyes. "I have no problem with Ophelia." He glances back over to the other side of the table where the siblings are sitting, but they are now nowhere in sight.
"Really." Hamlet sounds largely unconvinced.
Horatio's face remains impassive as he pulls away from Hamlet completely and starts to stand, an eyebrow raised. "So that 'ex' is just for show?"
"Damn it, Horatio," Hamlet mutters lowly, following him to his car and trapping him against the side of the vehicle, completely disregarding the fact that they're in public and it's in the middle of the day.
Horatio sighs, again, and turns around, tilting his head down to press a light kiss against his forehead. "Really. I'm perfectly okay with it now."
Hamlet is about to argue more, but pauses abruptly when he processes the entire sentence. "Now?" he parrots dumbly.
Horatio nods easily. "I was annoyed before," he says quietly, "and I was mad at myself for feeling that way, because there was no reason for it." Horatio hadn't felt embarrassed until he notices Hamlet looking up at him with wide eyes. He ducks his head the best he can, avoiding Hamlet's eyes for the first time that he can remember. "I just finally convinced myself to stop all that, so could we not bring it up again? Ever?" he finishes explaining as quickly as possible.
Hamlet grins brightly and gives Horatio a quick peck. "You should have said so earlier!"
Horatio's face reddens as he protests, "But it was completely irrational!"
Hamlet's grin softens. "Exactly." He tugs on one of Horatio's hands gently. "I didn't think you'd admit it, though."
"I wouldn't have, but you sounded so angry I had to." Horatio firmly tells himself that he is absolutely not, in any definition of the words, whining or pouting, even though he's covering his face with his unoccupied hand.
Hamlet slowly lowers Horatio's hand so that Horatio can see his bright smile. Horatio's breath catches in his throat and he barely hears Hamlet's next words. "Let's go to your place."
*Oh gosh, I hope that wasn't in bad taste. If it was, I can change it. Seriously. Just ask me to. I will change it.
**Also, Osric cameo.