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Despite how regimented Asher was, Grant was the first one awake this morning. The light of the sun was just barely visible behind the drawn curtains that, though he complained about them constantly, Grant was secretly glad that Asher had bought. He didn't have his glasses on at the moment, of course, and the shape next to him in the double bed was no more than a blur. Grant squinted, but it didn't make anything appear more clearly. He was content, instead, to imagine the man underneath the bedsheets next to him.

He couldn't see it, but he knew exactly what Asher looked like at the moment. Asher always slept with his hands folded neatly between his cheek and pillow. His legs, long and pale, would be tucked into his chest; Grant remarked once that Asher still slept as if he lived within his mother's womb. Asher, of course, acted offended and refused to talk to Grant for all of two minutes, but Grant knew that Asher was secretly pleased that Grant had paid enough attention to how he slept to even be able to make such a remark in the first place. Grant was sure, also, that Asher had the blanket pulled up to his chin, as always, so that the only thing visible to an onlooker would be his face, which, though he was nearly into his third decade, still held a very innocent, adolescent look to it. His thick, brown hair was probably stick up in every direction possible at once, but Grant knew had had no room to talk. The back of his own hair was always sticking straight up whenever he awoke, no matter how much he fought it.

As all these images ran through Grant's head, he suddenly became aware of a tugging on his side of the blankets. Without looking, he knew who it was, and he knew the tugger wouldn't come up into the bed until told to do so. He was neurotic like that.

"Ephie," mumbled Grant, patting the empty bed space between himself and Asher.

The little boy, dressed still in pajamas of powder blue with the buttons done all the way up to his chin, climbed up into the bed. He was a quiet child, and he didn't say anything to Grant as he climbed over him. Grant waited until Ephie had settled into the small, safe valley between the two adults before he turned and put one long, sure arm around the three-year-old, hugging him tightly to his chest. If Ephie was bothered by practically being smothered, he didn't say anything, nor did he struggle against Grant's hold. The elder one was awake now, though his glasses remained on the bedside table. Even so, like he could with Asher, he could imagine exactly what the little boy in his arms looked like.

Ephie resembled neither of his caregivers. His hair was blond and curls, framing his face as if he were some sort of cherub. His baby eyes, big and blue, were focused on the material of the blanket he had just snuggled under, his tiny hand playing with a loose string on its hem.

There was a reason that Ephie, so cosmetically perfect, was completely different from Grant and Asher. He was neither of their sons ... at least, not biologically, and when he had been adopted at only a few months old, no one had known what colour hair and eyes he would grow up to have. The boy's mother, still a child herself and a student in school on holiday for the summer, had never told anyone who the father had been. It didn't matter; the girl gave the baby up the moment after she gave birth to him, refusing to even look at his squalling face.

It was almost Chanukah when Ephie was adopted by Asher. Laws at that time would only allow one legal male guardian, but Asher and Grant had friends with relations in the Ministry, and had pulled off giving Ephie both of their last names. Ephraim Jeremiah Bulstrode-Goldstein, a mouthful of a name that both men were proud of.

They had expected a protest, a backlash of people refusing to let a motherless baby be raised by two men in a reasonably-sized flat in metropolitan Manchester. If there had been a movement against the adoption, it had been kept a secret from the idealistic couple. Maybe everyone pretended they didn't know that Asher and Grant were homosexuals; maybe they didn't care. The papers had been approved and before the new year there was a baby's crib in a corner of the bedroom that they had shared since they had left school nearly a decade beforehand.

Ephie had become their beloved, a physical entity that solidified their love for one another. Grant spoiled him endlessly and Asher kept him immaculately clean and proper. Asher's brother told his wife the next Chanukah that Asher and Grant would be lucky if Ephie didn't have a nervous breakdown by the age of five, thanks to the way they doted over him. Asher's sister-in-law had responded by hitting his brother lightly in the arm and calling him "incorrigible." Asher and Grant hadn't overheard the exchanged and probably never would.

The sunlight was more prominent behind the curtains now and the shape opposite Ephie of Grant began to move. Grant smiled to himself without thinking about it as Asher turned, moving immediately when Ephie protested being rolled upon. Asher adored the child for a moment, finally reaching out to pet his curls lightly before moving down to the arm trapping him to the bed. Asher placed his hand on Grant's and paused before moving it slowly up his arm and letting it find its way to Grant's face. Grant flushed, removing his arm from Ephie to cover Asher's hand with his own. Asher smiled, though Grant couldn't see it.

Ephie didn't protest at being momentarily forgotten, and Asher moved expertly around the baby to kiss Grant soundly. Neither man moved for a long moment and Grant smiled against Asher's lips as he thought of what a picture the three of them would make. Two men, one with dark hair sticking up in the back and the other with crazy brown hair and prominent Jewish features, embracing one another in a loving kiss while a toddler that perhaps could have been an angel snuggled between them. Grant wondered if Judaism even acknowledged angels, but, of course, it didn't matter. He knew it acknowledged love.

P.S. If you are in high school, I would appreciate it ever-so-much if you could head over to this post by [ profile] lostlikealice and fill out the survey for her. Thank you. <3
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kimmieann: hands holding a cup of coffee (Default)

November 2011

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