A bit of an Infected flash fic – Tanksgiving
Nope, not a typo. Happy Thanksgiving, American readers.
“Tell me again why we’re doing this,” Roan asked, as he set up the dining room table. They’d just bought it at a thrift store yesterday, and Roan had to shift the couches, chairs, and end table in the living room to make room for it.
Dylan sighed at him before turning away to pull the lasagna out of the oven. “Because you’ve never had a proper Thanksgiving, and I wanted to give you one.”
“See, that’s where you’re wrong. I’ve had a couple of “proper” Thanksgivings, and that’s why I hate it so much.” Roan shook out the green tablecloth Dylan had dug up somewhere, because even though he thought it was silly, he knew he had to play along, or there would be hell to pay.
“See, that’s exactly what I mean. Hellish Thanksgivings with foster families are exactly what the holiday isn’t about. I want to re-frame it, give you a good holiday. What did you and Paris do around Thanksgiving?”
“We generally went out and had a nice dinner on Canadian Thanksgiving. On American one, we’d just sit at home and watch our own Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon. I liked it.”
“Oh, I’m sure you did. But you can do more than that.”
“I’m still watching my copy of Night of the Blood Beast, damn it,” Roan said, pretty sure the tablecloth was straight. Or at least straight enough. He just couldn’t care.
Dylan now had some plates, and gave Roan some before starting to put them on the table. “Come on,” Dylan said. “This must be self-explanatory.”
Roan sighed, but started laying out plates as well. The funny thing was, the plates didn’t match. There were some elegant, square, dark blue ones, which Dylan had bought, and Roan’s older ones, which were round and green and pretty utilitarian. Roan hated to think the plates they had reflected their personalities, but they kind of did, if you thought about it. That was sad.
There was a knock at the door, and Roan left to get it. That was the general unspoken code of the house – Roan always answered the door if he could. It was probably only one of their guests, but just in case it wasn’t, he was the ex-cop/current lion man around here. If someone wanted to make some threats, they could, but they’d have to be ready to back them up really fucking fast.
But as it was, it was someone who could have backed it up if they decided to become threatening. It was Tank, along with Fiona, both of them carrying something in paper bags. “Hey, happy Thanksgiving,” Tank said, and handed him the bag.
“And thank you for not going for Tanksgiving,” Roan replied, stepping back so they could come in.
“Oh hell, how did I not see that? Goddamn it …”
“You’ll come up with a terrible pun next time,” Fiona assured him, and followed Roan to the breakfast bar, where she put down her bag. It sounded heavy, and glass rattled. “Chocolate stout,” she said, as Roan glanced at the bag. “How do you say no to chocolate beer?”
“Chocolate beer?” Tank repeated, coming over. “I gotta try that.”
Roan took Tank’s gift out of the bag. It was a bottle of wine. Dylan came over and took it from him, and Roan was grateful, because he knew nothing about this kind of thing. “Very nice,” Dylan said, reading the label.
Tank shrugged as Fiona gave him one of the bottles of beer. “I went to the wine store and asked the guy what went well with tofu. He gave me that.”
Dylan clicked his tongue. “It’s not tofu. It’s vegetable lasagna.”
“Either way, I figured it would work.”
Roan wouldn’t admit it, but he thought the same thing.
Before Roan could get himself a chocolate beer, Scott arrived, and he brought a “Canadian delicacy”: donut holes. But as he was quick to point out, they were fancy donut holes, covered with chocolate. Then Kevin arrived, with a homemade chopped salad and two homemade dressings, one honey mustard and the other a loganberry vinaigrette. Dylan was duly impressed, and Kevin explained he learned how easy it was to make your own dressing from Good Eats, and he no longer saw the need to buy bottled. Dylan found this to be fascinating conversation, and weirdly enough, so did Scott, who explained he was forced to eat salad a lot of the time when on training diets, and he fucking hated salad. So Scott and Kevin ended up sitting at the breakfast nook discussing salad dressings with Dylan, who was still getting stuff together.
Tank heckled Scott a bit from the sidelines, because he claimed he could get as “fat as Brodeur” (whoever that was) as long as his reflexes and flexibility remained the same. Scott flipped him off, which just made Tank laugh. Kevin seemed put off by the hockey players at first, but he seemed to warm up to them as time went on. Especially Scott. But it was hard not to warm up To Scott, who would be an excellent hockey ambassador if such a position existed.
Holden arrived fashionably late, because of course he would. He didn’t bring anything, but Dylan hadn’t asked anyone to bring anything. It was an informal get together of people who had no plans for Thanksgiving. Tank and Scott still celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, and found American Thanksgiving a weird novelty; Kevin actually did pay a visit to his mother’s earlier in the day, but found dinner with his extended family so onerous he usually just made a token visit and left, saying he was working down at the station whether he was or not. Fi’s family was mostly out of state, and she couldn’t be assed (her words) to travel. Holden, much like Roan, didn’t celebrate the holiday.
So it was like a gathering of the misfit toys – only whatever the Thanksgiving equivalent was (turkeys seemed way too on the nose) – for vegetable lasagna, sourdough rolls, and pumpkin custard. Now along with chocolate beer, tofu appropriate wine, Kevin’s fancy salad, and Scott’s even fancier donut holes. A weirder group of people you probably wouldn’t find in one room.
But as Roan brought the bowl of rolls to the table and people started debating where they were going to sit, he realized he was okay with this. This wasn’t so bad.
Damn it. Why did Dylan always have to be right? It was so unfair.