Date: 20th March 2017

Quinn was far happier than he thought he’d be on his birthday. His
parents were doing cake later, so he was free to spend the day working out the
clues that he had found in his locker from Dustin. The fork, of course, had
made him go red. He had been so stupid to put that thing about not having mugs
in Dustin’s Christmas present. Still, this was an actual scavenger hunt, with
clues about things he was into. From binary to Harry Potter. It was a fun way
to kill the few hours after school when he’d normally just be sitting on the
computer, even for his birthday. When he’d finally made it to the last stop,
Flopped, he looked around at the lot, not spotting Dustin outside, and pushed
his way inside, a big grin on his face as he looked for the other male.

Every time Dustin would hear the door of the diner open, he would turn his
head towards the entrance to see who had just come in. Every time, he felt a
slight pang of disappointment when it wasn’t Quinn. Hopefully the clues weren’t
too hard. Or maybe one of them had gotten lost? Some time later, however, he
heard the familiar push of the door. When he spotted Quinn walking inside, he
quickly pushed himself out of his booth and made his way towards him.
“Hey!” He had a big smile on his face when he saw that Quinn looked
happy. He’d been a little worried that he wouldn’t like the scavenger hunt or
think it was either childish or too weird.

When he spotted Dustin, which didn’t take
too long as he had stood up to come greet him, Quinn’s smile grew even wider.
He had figured that this was the last spot on the scavenger hunt. There wasn’t
much he could think of that would work well for finding a clue here.
“Hey,” he said, leaning forward a bit. Quinn wanted to go in and hug
him, but he hesitated, pulling back. Dustin had been odd about people seeing
them even hold hands before. “So, that was a pretty great birthday
scavenger hunt,” Quinn said with a smile. “Except the fork,” he
laughed. “That wasn’t my actual present was it?” he teased.

Dustin just laughed, shaking his head. “What, weren’t you happy with
your fork?” he wanted to know. “But no, it’s not your actual
present.” Hopefully Quinn would like his actual present. It was so hard to
get a present for someone that they would like, that would say that you found
them awesome without being over-the-top or too expensive or cheesy. “Happy
birthday!” he told him, still smiling, then said fuck it and pulled him in
for a hug in the middle of the floor of Flopped. Friends hugged all the time,
especially on birthdays. There was nothing strange about the sight of two boys

Quinn shrugged slightly. “Well, I think it’s a bit more ridiculous
than the mug, even though people actually give each other mugs,” he
pointed out. “I don’t think giving a fork is a thing,” he laughed.
“Thanks,” Quinn began, before he was cut off with the hug. Despite the
fact that he was slightly caught off balance, he wrapped his arms around Dustin
and smiled happily. This was nice, even if people were around. Quinn let the
hug go on for a moment, before pulling back. “So, are we eating here or is
this just a convenient end place?” Quinn asked with a small smile.

“I’ll make it into a thing then,” Dustin replied. He was determined to
only let the hug go on for a small amount of time because they were in public,
but in the end he didn’t have enough willpower to pull away, so it was Quinn
who did. “I thought we could eat here? You said you liked breakfast food
but not breakfast,” Dustin pointed out, resisting the urge to take his
hand. “But, um, if you prefer we could eat somewhere else? Or not at all?
‘Cause I don’t want to keep you from your family on your birthday if you’d
rather just have your present and go home. It’s your birthday, so anything you

“I don’t know how well that’ll catch
on,” he admitted, but laughed anyway. Quinn
nodded. “I do. Brinner is the best meal of the day. Better than breakfast
and dinner. The sum is better than the parts,” he said with a laugh.
“No way, this is perfect. I’m always down for this place,” Quinn
said, nodding over to the booth that he saw Dusting stand from. “We just
do cake for my birthday, so that’ll be after this anyway,” he said with a
shrug. Biting his lower lip, he paused for a moment, thinking if he wanted to
ask this. “Do you want to come over after? For cake?” he arched an
eyebrow. It’d be the first time he’d really invited someone over for his
birthday, he didn’t count those younger parties when you just invited a bunch
of people. “If you wanted to. You totally don’t have to,”

“I just think breakfast food is awesome
no matter what time of day it is, but especially in the mornings,” Dustin commented, a smile forming on
his lips when Quinn said that the place was perfect. Hopefully he’d like his
present, too. Or at least find it a little amusing. He had to think a bit about
Quinn’s invitation. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to come over, but he knew
that hanging out with Quinn’s family could get a little awkward, especially if
he was the only one Quinn had invited. But maybe it wouldn’t be too bad?
“Sure,” he replied, giving him a small nod as he slid into the booth.
“I never say no to cake.” Or hanging out with you.

“Well you’re part wrong,” Quinn said, sticking his tongue out.
Quinn waited while Dustin thought about his answer. He really hoped that Dustin
would say yes and come over. It would be great to have him there, even if it
was just him and his family. Smiling brightly, Quinn replied quickly with an,
“Awesome! I knew I would be able to tempt you with cake.” He slid
into the booth opposite Dustin and leaned back a bit, grabbing the menu to look
over quickly, even though he knew exactly what he was getting. “So, did it
take you a while to make the scavenger hunt? Because it was really good. I’d
never be able to make something like that,”

“I shouldn’t have revealed that secret
about myself,” Dustin replied
and sighed. “Now you’re probably gonna use cake to make me do things for
you all the time. But I’d love to come over, if that’s okay with your parents?
I don’t wanna take away from your family time,” he said. He didn’t need to
look at the menu to know what he was going to order. Waiting for Quinn to
arrive, he had studied the selection of food about a thousand times. “It
didn’t take that long, no,” Dustin replied, even though he’d spent a good
portion of Sunday on this. But it had been a good distraction from his
homework. “My family would do birthday scavenger hunts for me and my
sister all the time and I was always there when we planned my sister’s. So I
used some locations that I knew would work as hiding places. I think what took
most of the time was getting to all the locations across town by bike.”

“Oh I’m totally gonna do that,” Quinn said with a nod and smirk.
“You gave me your weakness, how can I not use it to my advantage? I
promise to only use it for good though,” he said, putting up his hand as
if doing a mock oath. “Of course not. They always tell me to bring friends
over and stuff,” Quinn shrugged. Plus they liked Dustin. “Well that’s
good. I don’t want you to spend all day doing stuff for me,” Quinn said,
even though he was really grateful for it. “Really? I never did anything
like that,” he replied, slightly jealous. His birth-parents hardly
acknowledged his birthday other than a cake and a few presents. But he never
had any parties. The Manns had done the opposite, tried at first with big
parties, but he wasn’t really into those, so now it was just a smaller
gathering, which he liked. But something like a scavenger hunt would have been
cool to do. “Well, thanks again. I really liked it,”

Dustin laughed. “But if you used
it only for good, you wouldn’t need to bribe me at all, would you?” he
asked, then shook his head. “I promise it wasn’t all day. But anyway, I
had lots of fun preparing this. Apart from the physical exercise bit, of course,”
he admitted. “Yeah. We would have a few friends around when we were little
and then we’d go on those scavanger hunts together under my parents’
supervision. It was fun, until one year I decided that it was childish and I
was too old for that.” Besides, that year he hadn’t known who he should
invite and he hadn’t felt like going on the scavenger hunt alone with his
family while his sister always brought loads of friends. “I’m glad you
like it.” He gave him a shy smile from across the table. “Sooo, when
would you like to see your real present?”

“Sometimes people don’t know what’s good
and bad. So you have to show them,” Quinn
said with a slight shrug and sly smile. Quinn looked at Dustin with a happy
smile and nodded. It was new to him having someone care so much about him to do
something like this when it wasn’t his family. He liked the feeling and like
the fact that it was Dustin that made him feel that way. “Those sound like
a lot of fun,” Quinn admitted. He perked up a bit at the mention of his actual
present, and grinned again. He was always smiling when he was around Dustin.
“Dude, I’m always ready for presents. Lay it on me,”

Dustin chuckled. “So you’re gonna
show me what’s good?” he asked. At Quinn’s request, he reached out to grab
his present from his backpack. It was wrapped in striped wrapping paper, but
not very tidily. When it came to wrapping presents, he just sucked. Badly. He
held it towards Quinn, biting his lip. “Here you go.” Shit, what if
Quinn didn’t like the tshirt he’d
gotten for him? He’d had no clue what to get him really. “So, this is
really lame,” he told Quinn. “Just, like, I saw this and I thought of
you. But it’s not a big present or anything.”

“Yup, totally. And I just have to use
cake to show you,” Quinn
replied. Reaching out for the present, he looked at the bad wrapping job and
chuckled. He wasn’t particularly great at wrapping things, but he was probably better
than Dustin was. Either way, he tore it open quickly, pulling out the shirt and
laughing. “This is awesome!” he said, looking at Dustin and giving
him a genuine smile. “Really, I love it,” he said, holding it out and
looking it over once again. “Totally gonna wear it once it gets warm
again,” Quinn said with a definitive nod. Honestly, Dustin could have
gotten him anything and he’d probably have loved it.

Dustin let out a small sigh of relief
when Quinn said that he loved the present. While he knew that getting him a
present he didn’t like probably wouldn’t have made Quinn hate him or anything,
he was still glad that it wasn’t the case. “It better get warm quickly
then, I’d love to see you wear it,” Dustin replied with a small smile.
“Is it the right size? I checked your shirt size the last time I was over
when you went to the bathroom, but maybe I mixed it up or something…?”

“It’s supposed to I think… maybe. Who
know’s, it’s fucking Maine,” he chuckled, looking at the shirt again and
then checking the size. “Yeah, this’ll totally fit,” he nodded.
“And I’m gonna completely ignore your creepy snooping,” Quinn teased, sticking his tongue out
at Dustin and folding the shirt back up. After slipping it into his bag he
turned back to face Dustin again. “Thanks again,”

“Fucking Maine,” Dustin mumbled, raising one eyebrow at
Quinn when he was called creepy. “Creepy snooping?! I looked at the size
of the closest shirt I could find, it’s not like I went through your diary or
tried to see what stuff you’ve got hidden under your mattress!” he
protested in mock offense. “No problem. I’m just glad you like it.”
Dustin smiled at him. “What do you wanna eat? It’s your birthday, you
should have whatever the fuck you feel like eating.”

“Yeah Maine sucks,” he laughed,
scratching the back of his head. “Totally creepy snooping. You could have
asked my sister or Karen or something. But you go through my shirts,” he
teased. “I feel dirty now,” and he pouted with a laugh. “I think
the chocolate chip pancakes,” Quinn
said with a definitive nod and pointing to it on the menu. It was what he
always got when he came here. “They’re really good here,”

“Yeah, but then they would have known
what I was up to,” Dustin
replied. While he did like Quinn’s family, speaking to them about getting Quinn
a birthday present would have felt a little strange. “And I didn’t exactly
go through all your shirts, I just looked at the nearest one…” At that
time, that had seemed like the easiest solution to his problem. “They
sound good,” Dustin said. “I think I’ll take some waffles with cream?
I’ve never had them here but I like the idea of them.” The idea, and all
the sugar inside them.

“So?” Quinn asked, quirking an eyebrow. Was it that odd to let them know
that Dustin was getting Quinn a present? “Riiiight,” Quinn said,
rolling his eyes, but laughing. He was just teasing Dustin, sometimes it was
too easy to do. Quinn chuckled and looked up at Dustin. “Yeah, I’m not
really surprised you’re picking something like that,” Quinn grinned.
“I could have called it that you were going to pick something sweet,”

“That would have been a little
awkward, don’t you think?” Dustin
asked. While he liked Quinn’s parents, talking to them without the other boy
present would feel weird. He couldn’t quite place why exactly. “Shut up! I
wasn’t snooping through your room. I would never!” Dustin saw Quinn laugh
and grinned. “Okay, but how exactly is waffles sweeter than chocolate chip
pancakes?” he wanted to know. “Somehow, I don’t think I’m the only
one picking sweet things. What are you gonna have to drink?”

“Not really. They’re super nice,” he
said. In a way, he wanted Dustin to get to know his family. Quinn just continued laughing at
Dustin’s response. “It might not be,” he said with a shrug. “But
I don’t always get sweet things like you do. I could have gotten eggs. And you
wouldn’t have been able to know if I went salty or sweet. You pretty much
always go sweet,” he reasoned out. “Ugh, probably tea. It’s not the
best here. Just, like, lipton or whatever, but it’s better than nothing. And I
don’t do coffee. You?”

“I know they are. But they know that I
like you, so it would be a little awkward,” Dustin replied, rolling his eyes at Quinn’s next response. Ugh,
logic. Who cared about logic anymore? “Do you even like eggs?” he
asked. “For dinner?” Biting his lip, Dustin looked across the table
to the other boy, giving him a small smile. “How much would you tease me if
I said I was going to get a hot chocolate?”

Quinn frowned. He didn’t think it’d be that awkward. But then again,
would he really want to go and ask the same of Dustin’s parents? At least he
wasn’t in the situation that he needed to find out. “Yeah. Who doesn’t
like eggs? And it’s breakfast food for dinner. I’ve already told you that’s my
favorite,” he pointed out with a soft laugh. “Probably a lot,”
Quinn said truthfully. “But I’ll go easy on you today. Deal?”

“I don’t know, if I had the choice
between eggs and any other breakfast food I would always choose the other
breakfast food,” Dustin pointed
out. Eggs weren’t bad, but why would you have them when you could have
pancakes, or waffles, or bacon? “I remembered that’s your favourite,
that’s why I chose this place,” he said and stuck out his tongue at Quinn.
“Because I’m a good friend who remembers the stuff you say.” He
chuckled. “Okay, deal. In this case I’ll get the hot chocolate. And you
better not break your promise.” He leaned out of the booth a little to get
the attention of one of the waitresses.

“But what about eggs benedict? That’s so
good. And you only choose other stuff because you like sweets,” he
laughed. Quinn smiled, glad that
Dustin remembered something like that about him. He didn’t exactly go around
talking about how it was his favorite all the time, so it meant he remembered a
probably small thing from a conversation. “Yeah, you are,” Quinn said
with a smile. He wanted to reach out and take Dustin’s hand, but he didn’t.
They were more than friends right? Friends didn’t cuddle and hold hands or that
kind of stuff. “Okay, I promise not to make fun of you. That much,”

“I don’t think I ever had those! Neither
my dad nor my mum know how to make them,” Dustin admitted. “And we never asked for them, so… I
actually don’t know what they taste like,” he said. “That reminds me,
do you cook? Or is it just your parents making meals?” he wondered.
“Since you’re eighteen now. So totally an adult.” He grinned.
“An adult who won’t break his promise and make fun of me at all. Shit,
you’re eighteen. And I’m sixteen. That’s basically two years younger than
you.” There weren’t a lot of eighteen-year-olds hanging out with younger
teenagers. Did Quinn think he was immature? Because sometimes, people told him
he was, which was a bad thing especially since he was younger.

“Really? It’s great. You should get it
when you go out,” Quinn said
with a smile. His parents didn’t make them either, but he got them when they
went out to eat sometimes. “Oh, not really. I guess I could if I had to,
but I don’t usually need to Karen does it,” he replied. “Yeah,
totally an adult,” Quinn wrinkled his nose. It was a weird feeling to be
eighteen, even though not much had really changed. Suddenly he could do things
he couldn’t before. Well, technically couldn’t before. “I guess you are. I
hadn’t really thought about it,” Quinn said with a shrug, which was the
truth. He’d never considered that Dustin was two years younger than him.

“Okay, I will. But not today. Today I’ll
have waffles,” Dustin replied.
He didn’t like changing his order once he was already excited about the
waffles. “That’s nice of her. But um, I can’t either. I mean, I got banned
from the kitchen a couple of years ago when I nearly set the house on fire and
I’m not sure if I earned back my cooking priviledges or not,” he said with
a shrug. “Does it bother you that I’m younger?” he finally decided to
ask. “I mean, it’s not exactly the coolest thing, hanging out with younger
people. Unless you’re eighty years old, then it’s probably cool.”

“Wait, hold on,” Quinn said holding up a hand. “You
got banned from the kitchen? How is that possible?” he laughed.
“That’s insane. It’s really not that hard to cook you know. Just start
with basic stuff. Like boxed mac and cheese,” Quinn smiled. Blinking,
Quinn reached out and decided to take Dustin’s hand in his, not caring that
they were just at a booth in a restaurant. “Nope. Don’t care at all,”
he said seriously. He wasn’t going to think about the fact that he was
graduating and probably moving away after the summer. Definitely not the time
to think about that. “Does is bother you?”

“Like, not from ​entering​ the
kitchen, obviously.” Dustin
rolled his eyes. “But from attempting to cook. And I think by now I could
manage the easy stuff. I guess. And I can use the microwave and the oven to
warm stuff up and everything. Just, no more experiments and stuff on the
oven.” When Quinn took his hand, Dustin quickly glanced around the diner,
but no one was really paying attention to them. And today was Quinn’s birthday.
He wouldn’t pull away, no. He liked holding his hand too much right now, and so
he just gave him a small smile, raising one eyebrow. “Bother me? That
you’re older and hotter? Not at all.”

Quinn just chuckled in response,
shaking his head. Dustin just seemed to get into trouble a lot. It wasn’t a bad
thing, not at all. Technically, Quinn could be getting in a lot of trouble. He
was just better at getting away. “You should start then, maybe. I mean,
you may need to cook some day,” Quinn added. He noted the way that Dustin
looked around, but he held onto his hand, giving it a squeeze. He opened his
mouth to respond, before flushing red. “I’m not…,” he mumbled,
smiling despite his embarrassment. Quinn was short and skinny and pale. He was
definitely not hot.

day, in the far future. I’ll probably stay here when I go to college so I don’t
think I really need to learn how to cook soon,” Dustin replied with a shrug. Cooking just wasn’t something he’d
ever considered doing on a daily basis. He smiled when he felt Quinn squeeze
his hand. Maybe this was okay. It definitely felt okay. More than okay, even.
“Are you saying you’re not older than me?” he asked with a grin.
“Because today is proof that you are.” He let his index finger brush
across Quinn’s hand. “But you are definitely also very-” “Are
you two ready to order?” came a voice from beside the booth, which made
Dustin nearly jump. Pulling his gaze away from Quinn towards the waitress, he
was briefly tempted to let go of his hand but decided to keep holding it before
starting to place his order, stumbling over his words a little.

“Oh,” Quinn said simply. The only school he applied to here was UMAC. And
to be honest, he wasn’t planning on staying here. “Okay, I’m older than
you,” Quinn laughed, rolling his eyes. “Definitely not hotter
though,” he said, his face still a little red. Quinn jumped as well when
the server came towards them, and bit his lower lip. But Dustin didn’t pull
away his hand, so he didn’t either. Quinn was suddenly very much aware of
Dustin’s hand in his, and how obvious it was. Trying not to think about that,
he let Dustin order first, before stumbling over his own order. The waitress
gave them a sweet smile, took their menus and walked away, giving them an
occasional backwards glance. “Um…,” he began, looking at Dustin.

the waitress was gone with their orders, Dustin
let out a small breath, turning back to look at the boy across from him.
“I just-” he started. “Well, we were holding hands before, and
she probably saw us then, so it’s not like she noticed only now,” he said.
“I think?” Besides, he didn’t even recognise her, and she didn’d
recognise them. She wouldn’t go spread the word around or tell anyone. So it
really did not matter they were holding hands across the table. It was a weird
thought. “Also, back to where we were: Shut up. Yes, you are. No

Quinn frowned. Why was Dustin so worried about people seeing them? Was he
ashamed of him? Or just scared. Quinn opened his mouth, about to ask a question
he probably didn’t want the answer to, before closing it. It was his birthday.
He could worry about that later. “No I’m not,” he said with a slight
pout, but that turned into a soft laugh. “Fine, I won’t bring it up

Dustin grinned at him from across the table. “Okay, so, I’m probably
not the most shallow person at our school. Like, I care more about how nice you
are. But ultimately, I’m not sure if I’d really like you ​like that if I didn’t think you were
attractive, you know?” He bit his lip, feeling like he maybe had said too
much already. This was sort of the first time he’d ever admitted that he was
attracted to someone. Not just a guy, ​anyone.

“I think you’re pretty shallow
actually,” Quinn said with a
small smirk. Quinn blinked, maybe that answered his question then. He did say
he was attracted to him. So that was something. Quinn just smiled and squeezed
Declan’s hand. “Okay, well, that’s something I guess,” Quinn
chuckled. “I think you’re pretty attractive too. But I’m pretty sure I’ve
told you that. Probably a lot,”

“I’m not, you take that back!” Dustin protested loudly. He didn’t
think he was shallow at all just because he thought it was a good thing that
Quinn was attractive. “Well, I think you could definitely say it more
often,” he suggested with a small smile. “Stroke my ego a little bit,
would you?” He had no idea how often they’d held hands before, but this
was far from their first time and still he could not quite get used to how nice
it felt to feel the warm press of another palm against his own. Stroking his
thumb lightly across his knuckles while glancing across the table, he was
tempted to just change the side of the booth just so he could be closer, maybe
put his arm around Quinn. But this was a restaurant, so he stayed in his seat.

Quinn just laughed, shaking his head slowly. “Nah, You’re apparently
only with me because of my looks,” he shrugged. “So there you go, not
gonna take that back,” he laughed. “Just a little bit,” he said
softly. Quinn looked down at their hands and smiled, watching as Dustin’s
finger moved over his hand. It was a wonderful feeling. Far better than he had
expected it would be, and that hadn’t changed since the first time.
“Thanks for doing this,”

Dustin opened his mouth in offense. “That is not true! I’m mostly
with you because you are an awesome person and really nice and funny and you
kind of make me forget about all this strange stuff around me. And I also know
that you’re fishing for compliments right now but fuck you, it’s your birthday,
I can go along with that.” He stuck out his tongue at him before giving
him a small smile. “Doing what?” he asked. “Holding your hand?
Or do you mean spending time with you on your birthday?”

Quinn laughed again. So Dustin had sort of figured out his plan.
“Okay, maybe,” but he was still smiling just as happily as if he had
offered those compliments without his slight prodding. “Both I
guess,” he said with a slight shrug. “But more the spending time with
me. We can hold hands all the time, but you actually planned something for my
birthday,” Quinn said with a smile. “So, thanks,”

Only now did Dustin notice that Quinn had said that he was “with him”.
What did that mean? They had never defined what they were. Sure, they were
friends, but also probably more than friends, because they both knew they liked
each other. But they had never really given themselves a label. Or even kissed.
Which was what people did when they were dating, right? Sometimes he felt like
he wanted to kiss Quinn, but then again he was also a bit nervous that this
could destroy things between them. Either because Quinn didn’t want to kiss or
maybe even because kissing wouldn’t feel good. But this wasn’t important right
now. “Of course I planned something for your birthday,” Dustin
replied as he looked at him from the other side of the booth. “I like you
and I wanted to. Also I don’t get to plan stuff for many birthdays, so this was

Quinn was kind of wishing they weren’t at a restaurant right now. Just
the fact that Dustin had planned this for him and set all of it up, made Quinn
want more contact than just holding hands. But he had to settle for that now,
squeezing Dustin’s hand and tracing his thumb over Dustin’s fingers. “Yeah
well… Thanks,” he said with a laugh. He was pretty sure he said that
three times already. “I like you too. Which is why I’m glad that you did
do it,”

It was so weird that such small words could
make him feel so warm all over. Like wasn’t even that strong of a verb. Dustin liked a lot of things. He liked
the colour white, sleeping in and long, hot showers. But in this context, the
word made felt sort of special. Maybe it was because no one had ever told him.
“Well, it would be a bit awkward for you if I planned this for you and in
reality, you couldn’t stand me,” Dustin replied with a small laugh.

“That would be pretty shit,” Quinn smiled. “If I hated you.
Could you imagine that? Me being forced to go hang out with you a lot
because… I don’t know why,” Quinn looked at Dustin and smiled brightly.
Catching movement at the corner of his eyes he looked over to see the server
making her way over with their drinks. “Thanks,” he said, when his
tea was placed in front of him. Quinn didn’t bother to pull away from Dustin’s

“But no one would force you to hang
out with me if you hated me,” Dustin
pointed out, frowning a little when Quinn suddenly turned his head to look
somewhere else, only to discover that their drinks were ready. Looking down at
the steaming mug of hot chocolate with cream that was placed placed in front of
it, Dustin gave it a smile that was about three times brighter and warmer than
the ones he’d sent Quinn’s way during their time in the diner. Not letting go
of his hand just yet, Dustin reached for the mug with his left hand to take a
first sip, nearly spitting it right out when the burning hot liquid hit his
tongue. Swearing with his mouth closed, he tried to swallow as much as he
could, although he was not a hundred percent successful as a little bit
dribbled down his tongue and he had a feeling there was cream stuck somewhere
on his face from the sudden shock.

“Yeah I know. So obviously I
don’t,” Quinn said with a small
shrug and smile. He could see how hot his tea was, so Quinn decided to let it
cool for a little bit. Plus the tea needed to actually steep. So he didn’t even
bother reaching out to grab the mug, instead just letting it sit there for a
moment. He looked up just in time to see Dustin take a sip, and then burst into
laughter when he saw his reaction. “You-,” he paused, laughing again
and finally letting go of Dustin’s hand. “You can’t even wait a second so
it’s not hot?” he asked after another minute, managing to calm himself
down. “You made a mess,”

Dustin was still cursing in pain as all of his tastebuds in his mouths
were soared off at the same time by the burning hot liquid, which continued to
burn down his throat. When his mouth was finally empty, he took in the sight of
Quinn laughing at him and frowned, reaching for a napkin to wipe his mouth and
chin. “Shut up,” he said, blushing a little, putting his arm down on
the table and hiding his head against it for a second. “They didn’t say it
was going to be that hot,” he protested before looking up again. “And
anyway, I did this on purpose to make you laugh,” he lied. “Looks
like I succeeded!”

Quinn laughed again, looking at Dustin and reaching out to tussle his
hair slightly. “It’s hot chocolate. They don’t need to tell you it’s hot.
You’re just super impatient. Like, the definition of it,” he grinned
again, leaning back in his chair and finally taking a sip of his tea, which was
a good temperature. “You totally did not actually burn your tongue to try
and make me laugh,” he said, seeing through the lie instantly.
“Besides, you’ve mentioned you do that before,”

Dustin had to smile when Quinn tussled his hair, even though he still
kinda wished he could take back the last couple of minutes and wait with
drinking his hot chocolate so he wouldn’t make a complete fool of himself.
“They actually started putting a ‘caution! hot’ sign on a couple of paper
mugs so people wouldn’t sue them for getting burnt,” Dustin informed him.
“And of course I would do that on purpose for you. It’s your birthday and
I like seeing you laugh. Sooo… Totally did that on purpose.”

“Yeah I heard about that. Probably
some woman just like you,” he said with a big grin. “Far too eager to
get their hot beverage,” Quinn
stuck his tongue out Dustin. “One of these days we’re going to have to get
rid of that habit,” Dustin said simply as he sipped on his own tea, having
no problems at all with the heat. Then again, he could handle a lot of heat for
some reason.

“Or maybe she just
saw the opportunity to sue Starbucks and make lots of money,” Dustin pointed out. “Also, rude.
You’re already talking about changing me. No. Just no.” He laughed, taking
a second sip of his hot chocolate, this time carefully so he could actually
enjoy his drink. He was about to say something else once he had swallowed but
was interrupted by their waitress again, who put down two plates on their table
with a smile. She had mixed up their orders, so Dustin slid Quinn’s plate with
pancakes towards him, then reaching for his own plate with deliciously smelling

“Maybe. Or maybe it
was some big corporate thing and she was actually right,” he teased. But
there was no way that was true. Quinn
looked up as the waitress came, thanking her and looking down at the plat. He
pushed his over towards Dustin with a small smile, and then set his plate right
in front of him. “Alright, I’m totally ready to eat all of this. I’m

Dustin picked up his fork, spreading the whipped cream over one of his waffles.
“Happy birthday,” he said, looking up from his plate to give the boy
across from him a big smile. He was just so relieved, so happy that his plan
had been a success and that Quinn had liked it. “I’m really hungry, too.
But you should make sure to leave space for the cake though.”


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