Written By: _alicesprings and newssodark
Author's Notes: This is a direct prequel to our fic June 18 and the backstory to the grocery store comments made there. While we come up with the ideas together, newssodark did most of the actual writing in this one. Our other collaborations are a pretty even split with the writing.
When they first move into the house, they save the grocery shopping for last. Reid is dreading it. He hates shopping in general, but especially for groceries. It's far too domestic for his tastes, and it always makes his soul hurt at how much it costs to shop for the first time when he moves into a new place. Even though he's never been one to buy anything superfluous, stocking a kitchen for the first time is always a couple hundred dollars, and that makes Reid's cheap little heart hurt. It's not like, between the two of them, they don't have the cash to spare, but that's irrelevant. Two hundred dollars is two hundred dollars.
They've spent all day moving furniture and their collective ass-load of crap that they can't live without into the new house, and Reid is tired and grumpy and has absolutely no desire to go to the single grocery store in this damn town and spend a couple of hours trawling through aisles full of soccer moms and bratty kids in order to fork over hard-earned money.
So when his pager goes off just as he and Luke are on their way out the door to head to the store, Reid has to fight the urge to pump his fist in the air triumphantly. "It's an emergency," he tells Luke, going for apologetic but only managing relieved. "I've gotta go. You okay to do this on your own?"
Luke's eyes widen a little and for some reason he looks almost unsure, but then he nods, shoving his hands in his pockets. His expression goes from uncertain to determined in the space of a second. Sometimes Luke reminds Reid an awful lot of a character in a kids book; the little Snyder that could.
"Sure," Luke says, overly casual. "Yeah."
Reid doesn't have the time or inclination to wonder about this new facet of Luke's weirdness. Instead he leans over and kisses him quickly on the lips, grinning back when Luke smiles at him. "See you later."
"Be good," Luke says.
"I'm always good," Reid shoots back, already across the room to the garage door. "Don't forget to hit the deli! And get some Easy Mac! I eat it at work."
"Easy Mac?" Luke repeats uncertainly.
Reid just grins and waves at him, and Luke dazedly waves back. Reid whistles his way out to his car, not another thought wasted on Luke's strange behavior.
Reid realizes that he may have made a mistake the second he walks in the door later that night. The huge kitchen is clean, but Luke is sitting cross-legged on the floor leaning back against the island in the center. His brow is slightly furrowed with concentration and there are coupons carefully laid out on the linoleum, completely surrounding him. It's...odd. Reid's Spidey-senses start to tingle.
He puts his keys carefully on the counter just inside the door and shrugs out of his jacket. He clears his throat. "Luke?"
Luke looks up at him and smiles. It's impossible not to smile back when Luke grins, so Reid does. He walks closer when Luke makes no move to get up.
"Hey!" Luke says happily. "How'd the surgery go?"
"Good," Reid answers, cautiously. Something is going on. He looks around the kitchens suspiciously. "Saved the guy. Surprise, surprise. What're you doing?"
Luke blinks at him distractedly. He appears to be sorting the coupons by genre. "What?"
Reid's starting to feel a little concerned. "How was the shopping?" he asks delicately.
Luke's smile this time is quick and bright and proud. "Awesome. I just got home."
"You just got—I've been gone for four hours."
Luke just looks confused, and Reid opens his mouth to elaborate on how utterly ridiculous the notion of four hours spent grocery shopping is, when he sees it. It, with a capital 'i'. Lying innocently, tangled and curled up in Luke's lap, is the single longest receipt that Reid has ever seen before in his life.
Reid balks, and bends over to snatch it out of Luke's lap. Luke half-heartedly protests but Reid ignores him. By the time he's finished unfurling it, it dangles nearly to the floor, and Reid's eyes frantically search out the bottom of it for the grand total. When he finds it, the world goes fuzzy around the edges and everything narrows down to the soul-searing pain.
"Five hundred and fifty-nine dollars?" he says, his voice weak at first, and then very loud. "Five hundred and fifty-nine dollars?! Luke!"
Luke looks completely startled. He blinks at Reid once, and then is distracted by one of his coupons. His face falls. "Fifty cents!" He says. "Oh, damn, I bought like, four of these! I could have saved fifty cents."
The laugh that breaks out of Reid's chest is completely hysterical. The receipt is shaking in his grip. He looks down at the total again and swallows. "Jesus fucking Christ, what the hell did you spend this much money on?"
Luke is probably looking at him like he's crazy, which would make Reid laugh hysterically again, but he's already walking around the island to the giant refrigerator. He pulls open the door for the fridge and the freezer at the same time, and has to back up to take in the full picture.
There's so much utter shit in both compartments that it makes his eyes cross. In the freezer, there are boxes of crappy frozen chicken nuggets and frozen pizzas, about forty TV dinners and three boxes of toaster waffles and some garlic bread in a box. There are two bags of tater tots and three giant family-sized macaroni and cheese dinners and that's all Reid can take before he looks away.
The fridge is full of energy drinks and soda, and enough sandwich makings that they could open their own deli. There's yogurt that is clearly geared toward children considering the flavor is 'strawberry kiwi' and mozzarella string cheese and little cups of applesauce. Reid groans out loud and shuts the doors to block out the sight.
"So they were giving out these samples at the store, right?" Luke says conversationally. Reid looks over at him. He feels like he might cry. "And they had these things called...like, Pop-Tarts. Have you ever heard of them?"
"Oh my god," Reid whispers, devastated.
"And they looked completely disgusting, but I tried one, and Oh, my god Reid, they're so good."
Reid takes a shuddery breath and strides over to the big pantry, pulling open the door with great trepidation. There are four boxes of cereal, one of which is Lucky Charms, and a bunch of cans of soup and vegetables and normal shit, and then seven twelve-pack boxes of Pop-Tarts in different flavors.
"I couldn't decide on a flavor," Luke says from behind him reasonably. Reid's not sure when he stood up, doesn't remember him walking up close to him. He was too lost in the madness. Luke keeps going, "So I figured we'd eat them all eventually, right?"
Reid hangs his head. On the floor, wedged into the corner because the pantry is packed full of chips and protein shake powder and too-expensive coffee and cookies, is a six-pack of the Easy Mac he asked for. Reid can barely breathe. He has to compose himself before he turns around to look at Luke.
"You've never been grocery shopping before."
Luke beams at him. "Can't say that now, can I?"
Reid scrubs a hand over his face. He knew that Luke grew up in a sheltered sort of silver-spoon-fed life, but it never occurred to him that his better half might not have ever had to do something like this. Luke's had a kidney transplant and conquered paralysis. He runs almost single-handedly a charitable foundation for sick kids. He became the C.E.O. of an international company at twenty-two, which he still runs. He's aided in the rescue of an Iraqi refugee and he's bagged the world's greatest neurosurgeon. And now he's twenty-five years old, and has just gone grocery shopping. For the first time.
Reid pinches the bridge of his nose and the calm sort of leaves him as he gestures somewhat wildly at the pantry. "You just spent five hundred and fifty-nine dollars on food for two people."
Luke raises an eyebrow. "So?"
Reid counts to five. "You bought Pop-Tarts, and frozen dinners. And toaster waffles. I'd like to point out that we are not ten years old."
"Hey!" Luke protests. "This isn't food for ten-year-olds."
"Tater tots, Luke," Reid says firmly. "Tater tots."
Luke glares, and Reid looks at him, Luke all flushed and brow furrowed, and okay, this is pretty goddamn funny. He fights a smile. "What the hell were you thinking?"
"It all looked good!" Luke says defensively. "I was hungry. And I've never seen any of this type of stuff before! Frozen chicken nuggets? What the hell is that about? I had to try them."
"You got all name brands. Did you even look at the prices of things? And you bought already prepared stuff, and that's expensive. You didn't buy cheaper stuff that we could make. Y'know, actually cook. Mix ingredients. Make a meal."
"Cook?" Luke says distastefully.
Reid opens his mouth, about to continue, but then he notices that there's a small bakery bag on the island counter. He walks over to it and unrolls the top, pulls it open and looks inside to find a pile of cranberry mini-muffins. Reid looks over at Luke, an eyebrow raised.
Luke blushes and looks down, toeing at the floor with his sneaker, one hand gripping the counter lightly and the other arm folded behind his back. "You mentioned there was a new bakery place you saw on your way to the hospital the other day, and I know you like cranberry muffins and that you hadn't been there yet because it's so busy in the mornings. So I stopped by on my way home and sweet-talked them into making a fresh batch. I thought you'd like them?"
Reid stares at him, lips slightly parted. Every once in a while he forgets just how completely he belongs to Luke Snyder, and then Luke does something like this, and Reid's insides go all warm and fuzzy and he can't stop smiling and he remembers that he's completely wrapped around Luke's little finger. Also, that he's a twelve-year-old girl.
He doesn't say anything, just walks over to Luke, hooks his fingers in two of Luke's belt loops and pulls him close. Luke looks up at him through his long eyelashes and Reid laughs and noses at his cheek. "You bought me muffins."
"You bought me muffins."
He's smiling though, and so is Reid. Reid grazes his lips over Luke's cheek and then snares Luke's lips with his own. Once Luke's been kissed stupid, Reid laces their fingers together, both hands, and lifts their arms so they're stretched out to the sides completely and they're pressed chest to chest. Luke laughs.
"So," Reid says, "in about four months when we've finally eaten our way through all the crap you bought today, I'm going to take you to the store and teach you how to buy food like a grown up, okay?"
"Until then," Reid begins sternly, "you are banned from the grocery store. Banned. You can't go within a ten-mile radius unsupervised. Got me?"
Luke rolls his eyes and squeezes Reid's hands. Reid brings their arms back down and Luke lifts Reid's hands to his lips and kisses the knuckles of both. "So. Chicken nuggets then?"
Reid nods. Obviously. "Oh yeah. And the tater tots."
"Awesome," Luke says.
So they make dinner and pile chicken nuggets and tater tots onto their plates and eat out in the living room, watching the A-Team on their new DVD player on their new TV in their new house. The food tastes like Reid is six years old again. There's something surreal and great about that. When they're done eating they stack their plates on the coffee table and Luke puts his feet up next to them. Reid immediately stretches out and rests his head in Luke's lap. Luke's hand slips into his hair and stays there, massaging gently. It's nice.
Luke has to work early, and goes up to bed around eleven. Reid kisses him goodnight, waits fifteen minutes, and then boots up his laptop.
It takes him about five minutes to make it perfect, and once it's done he prints it out and puts it on the fridge with a big, obscenely orange magnet, sure that Luke won't miss it in the morning, and goes up to bed. He goes about his normal nightly ritual and then climbs into bed. Luke is already asleep, but Reid spoons up behind him and Luke settles back against his chest with a sigh. Reid smiles like it's a secret and presses the softest of kisses to the nape of Luke's neck. It's their first night here. It's kind of perfect.
Luke leaves at ass-early o'clock in the morning, and when Reid checks the fridge when he gets up an hour later ready to leave for the hospital, Luke has left a response. Reid laughs out loud, terribly pleased with himself. When he gets home? He's going to frame that shit. He heads out to his car whistling again.
It's gonna be a good day.