breaking & entering: (the start of) a love story Modern Family, Mitchell/Cam, ~1,200 words
"Oh my God," Mitchell says, "this is insane."
It is, for the record. It is actually ... insane.
"It'll just take two seconds,"
"We," Mitchell says, "are breaking into a school."
"A school where I work,"
"I'm not fretting," Mitchell says, shaking
"But you can name-drop him veeeery quickly."
"Shut up," Mitchell orders. He doesn't usually tell people he met a week ago to shut up, but he almost always wants to. So this is, in a weird way, deeply refreshing. "You said we were going to dinner and now we're breaking and entering; you've forfeited your right to mock."
Cam pauses to consider this.
"That's fair," he finally pronounces.
"Thank you," Mitchell says. "Okay. So, breakin' in."
"Dropping by," Cam amends.
"Dropping by! Yes. Dropping by the locked building. And you don't have keys because ... ?"
"Evita Margarita Night at Pepper's leads to madness, Mitchell. Madness. Those keys could be anywhere."
"Hoo boy," Mitchell mutters.
"But it'll be just fine. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I grew up on a farm, so. Entering a building through a window? Not exactly a big deal."
"First: yes, yes, you have mentioned the farm. Once, or maybe, I don't know, thirty times. Second: how does growing up on a farm qualify one to enter a building through a windo-- Are they supposed to just pop out like that? They aren't, right? I mean, this is a school! Anyone could just pop a window off and waltz right in!"
"Anyone? Like who, exactly?" Cam calls over his shoulder, climbing through the (space where formerly there was a) window. Mitchell's like 96% convinced that there's no way that's going to go well -- he has brief but vivid visions of Cam getting stuck like Pooh Bear -- but then he's gone and Mitchell's standing outside next to a broken window by himself. Who is this person.
"Villains," Mitchell replies, a little lamely. "Or, hey: you."
"Villains," Cam repeats, and titters to himself. Mitchell rolls his eyes. Cam leans back out of the window and offers a hand.
"I can climb through a window by myself," Mitchell says.
"I'm sure you can," Cam says, in a way that very clearly means 'I'm sure you can't.'
Mitchell hoists himself up onto the ledge.
Okay. Fine. Maybe if he'd grown up on a farm he'd have more of an edge right now.
"Go on," Mitchell says, waving a hand, "get -- whatever it is you need to get. I'll be there in two seconds."
"Two seconds," Cam repeats. His entire expression somehow communicates the air of the world's most skeptically raised eyebrow.
"Maybe five," Mitchell admits with as much dignity as he can muster. Which is not a lot.
"You're adorable," Cam decides, then disappears into the school o' shadows.
"Thanks?" Mitchell says to no one.
He does manage to climb inside, for the record. It's your standard middle school band room. He doesn't say anything for a few seconds; just tries to imagine
He trails off, because Cam is sitting at the piano, and he's starting to play. To play As Time Goes By, to be exact. Mitchell doesn't really know what to say. He figures that's okay, because hi, Cam's playing the piano -- really, really well -- and talking through it would be kind of rude. The thing is: Mitchell always knows what to say. And most of the time, it's not exactly glowing stuff. He's always figured it's best to point out what sucks about the world before it points out what sucks about you. Or, well. Something like that. His life philosophy's not going to show up on any bumper stickers anytime soon. (Because bumper stickers are seriously limited in the sentiments they convey. And also tacky.)
He's never been serenaded before. Or ... is it still a serenade if nobody's singing?
Whatever it is, it's kind of threatening to make this the best night ever.
By the time the song ends, Mitchell's sitting on the other side of the piano bench. He feels the world's weirdest combination of totally calm and stupidly giddy.
"Casablanca," Mitchell says softly.
"Casablanca," Cam agrees. They both mime Play It Again Sam piano hands, and laugh a little, and Mitchell kind of hopes that's not going to be their thing, because yikes it's dorky, and he has known this music-teaching farm boy who cannot be trusted on Evita Margarita Night for one week and already he's thinking phrases like 'their thing.'
As a rule, he never really dates romantics.
Screw that rule.
"You made me climb through a window for that," Mitchell marvels, absolutely unable to control the whole beaming thing his mouth is doing, taking Cam's hand. "And -- it was kinda worth it."
"Yeah?" Cam asks, pleased.
"Yeah," Mitchell says. He can't quite tell who leans in first, but they're kissing and it's good and even though they've had the eerie ability to bicker like somebody's eternally-married grandparents ever since their first conversation, it's definitely not incompatibility, the whatever-it-is between them. Definitely, definitely not. Are first kisses supposed to be this good? Are first dates supposed to be this good-- oh right, the date, hanging out in a band room is in fact not the date.
"You know," Mitchell says, pulling away, "our reservations are for eight thirty, so we should probably get going--"
"So you're just like this all the time, huh?" Cam says. He waves one hand in a sweeping circle, like with that circle he is somehow encompassing Mitchell's essence. Judgily. "With the nagging? This is a Mitchell Pritchett thing? 'Cause I was thinking: aw, maybe he's just nervous. Maybe that's how he reacts in uncomfortable social situations. Maybe, once you get to know him, he's an incredibly sweet and non-critical human being."
"It's not nagging, I just like things to go a certain--" Okay, not the best answer. "Yeah. Yeah, it is." He inhales, nervous in spite of himself. "Worth it?"
"Worth it," Cam says, smiling. He doesn't even leave room for a pause in there.
"Thank God," Mitchell says, and kisses him again.
They're late. So late the restaurant gives their table to somebody else. They wind up at Subway. Mitchell still spends like twenty minutes the next day at work scribbling their names together inside of hearts. He hasn't done that since the heights of his youthful Rob Lowe infatuation. He thinks it might be a good omen.