Mint Choco fluttered his eyes open to find himself laying on the couch, his body aching, his clothes messed up, and his eyes weirdly tired.
Sitting up, he was immediately made aware of the terrible hangover he had, pieces of last night at Sparkling’s bar flashing into his mind.
He sighed, burying his head in his hands. He was a much more responsible drinker, usually, but sometimes Vampire would goad him with a drink or two and he wouldn’t have enough willpower to resist and well…
His predicament is what he ended up with, usually.
He stood up, and realized how uncomfortable the position he was sleeping in truly was, all his muscles collectively whining at him. His joints felt sore as he made his way to the kitchen, fixing up his skewed shirt.
Reaching the door, he froze in his tracks, hearing the clear sounds of a turned on stove and a distinct melodic whistling.
Upon entering, he melted at the view.
Earl was standing at the stove, wearing a very cute pink apron, with a plate of freshly baked, perfect pancakes next to him, being actively added onto as he was caught in the repetitive motion of spreading the batter, flipping over, putting onto the pile and spreading the batter, flipping over, and more onto the pile, and spreading the batter again…
“Good morning,” he said, with his usual, slightly formal tone, not stopping his task. He was efficient that way: pragmatic, one might call it, but there was still an unmistakable warmth in him that Mint Choco recognized.
“Morning,” he mumbled in response, the most he could muster in his current state, and sat down at the table, where he found a glass of milk waiting for him. He took a sip, the liquid soothingly slipping down his throat, much unlike the burning of the drinks he had last night. It’s warm. Earl must’ve prepared it for him.
“Sorry for the wait, I thought you’d wake up a bit later, considering how… late you went to sleep last night,” Earl apologized, finishing up the last pancake. Mint Choco looked at him, bewildered as to the fact that it would even be something to apologize for, considering how much work he’s doing, Mint Choco thought he’d have no right to complain.
“Thank you for making me breakfast,” he opted to respond, instead, as the plate was placed in front of him, topped with powdered sugar and berries.
“You don’t have to thank me,” Earl smiled, affectionately.
“I want to, though,” Mint Choco retorted, taking Earl by the elbow. “You didn’t have to do it.”
With that, he reached up and kissed Earl, quickly and softly, watching a gentle blush spread across Earl’s flustered face as they parted.
“I wanted to, though,” Earl said quietly, almost whispered, after a short pause.
It was Mint Choco’s turn to blush with wide eyes, and Earl chuckled at the sight as he sat down on the chair opposite.
“Come on, eat, now,” he reached over and placed the fork into Mint Choco’s palm. “Even if you’re not up to it, force yourself, it’ll make you feel better.”
Mint Choco knew he was right, and breaking off a piece of pancake and placing it in his mouth, he felt very motivated to push himself through it. At least partially, as gratitude to Earl. He knew he would understand it, it was the shorthand between them: small actions, be it acts of service to oneself or to the other, as a hand-crafted language of love and comprehension meant only for each other. It’s the way they operated, not through words, but through melodic whistling at the stove or swallowing pieces of food even if they feel like they’re dying.
“Was last night fun?” Earl asked, after a period of silent chewing on Mint Choco’s part.
Mint Choco nodded, gulping down his milk.
“It was. Although I don’t remember most of it.”
“That’s what drinking with Vampire’s like for you!” Mint Choco laughed, too. “At least I don’t remember throwing up, so that’s a plus.”
“You threw up?” Earl frowned with concern.
“Probably,” Mint Choco shrugged. Maybe not. He really didn’t remember, and none of his clothes smelled like bile, but the possibility was there. “Either way it’s fine.”
“You should take care of yourself,” Earl shook his head. “There’s nothing wrong with drinking but it should be under control. Under your control.”
The last part was a jab at Mint Choco’s habit to blame Vampire for his wilder nights, which wasn’t exactly undeserved, but Mint Choco pouted anyway.
“I know. I try to,” he said, because he genuinely did. Sometimes it just didn’t work out.
“Okay,” Earl sighed, either relieved or tired. “I’m just… concerned sometimes.”
“I know,” Mint said again, because he did. Genuinely. “Thank you for that, too.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” Earl blushed again. Gratitude was something he wasn’t sure how to take, despite being a very hard worker.
“How can I not when you look so cute when you’re embarrassed?”
Mint Choco received a pout and a kick under the table for that, and he only laughed, reaching over and giving Earl a kiss on the forehead.
Earl took Mint’s arms to stop him from sitting down and kissed Mint Choco on the lips, instead, saying a million words in another instance of silent communication.