The door jostled shut with that scraping half-hearted wooden clack that meant there was no energy left for a jolly good bang against the frame. Bran Davies looked up from the mess of sketch-paper spread out over every inch of available space on the kitchen table, one tawny eye assessing the state of the entrant.
Will Stanton sighed, unclutching his satchel with one hand and letting it fall with uncharacteristic weariness to the floor; the other raking through his hair and mussing it up.
"Long day?" Bran said with sympathy, rising from the table and wiping charcoal dust from his fingers with a rag that he dropped on the seat he left behind him.
"Horrid," Will grunted, attempting to drop his coat onto the coat stand and missing by a foot, then he looked up with a remarkably composed expression. "When I said that teaching mid-level courses would be easier than the travails thus far, why didn't you laugh at me?"
Bran wisely did not laugh at that, but rather put the kettle on, then crossed the kitchen to hang Will's coat properly. He circled Will with feline grace, pale eyes climbing over him like the stroke of a visual touch, then paused before him, fingers unkinking Will's neck-tie and tossing it aside. It landed on one of Bran's half-completed sketches.
"The week's over now," Bran said, leaning in close enough to kiss but brushing past Will's ear, nuzzling at a sensitive spot on his neck.
"Ahh, you know just the thing to say," Will exhaled appreciation, arms going round his lover.
"Tea will be ready in just a mo'," Bran continued, settling his fingers at the nape of Will's neck and flexing, beginning to work at the tension there.
"That's the other thing," Will said gratefully, and rested his forehead against Bran's.
A tiny smile curled Bran's mouth, pure satisfaction at teasing his love into a better mood. With any luck, a full recovery was in order for the evening.
"With tea and a neck-rub I may return to human shape by dinner," Will said hopefully, angling their heads enough for his gray eyes to meet Bran's pale amber ones.
"Aye, that's my intent," Bran said, now chuckling. "Let's situate you on the sofa, love, and get you attended to."
Will let himself be drawn along unresisting. "Ah, good," he rumbled, all but purring with happiness. "And later I'll see to your needs..."
The smile Bran flashed him was beyond magic. "Haven't you always?" Promise was in his face, his lips, the touch of his hands.
As always, Will met him halfway. He would go to forever, with Bran.