It's a Monday evening, but there's work going on at the church rather later than usual. Having sorted the gutters out again earlier in the day, Fred now seems to be shifting hessian bags full of... something. Something heavy, by the way the veins are standing out on his arms and in his neck. He's carrying them from a disorganised heap by one door to a rather neater stack by another.
Adam has been downstairs in the vaults, putting the most valuable things into plastic bags and putting them at a higher level. He emerges, cobwebs and dust covering his shoulders and his hair, his face smudged with dirt and looking like a creature from the crypt himself. "Tea?" An offer or a plea, it isn't clear, and he shoots Fred a rueful grin. "I'm waiting on the plague of locusts this year, it seems He is upset with us over something." Mostly joking.
Fred dumps the armload of sandbags on the new stack, then nods. "Tea," he agrees, then visibly winces. "Locusts," he says with a shudder. "Please don't invoke that here, Minty. Not in this green and pleasant land." Dusting his hands off and scattering loose sand on the floor he turns towards the church hall.
A brief laugh follows Fred, just before its owner does. He leaves a trail of dusty footsteps behind him as he heads towards the kitchenette. "Get the biscuits? Is there cake?" He puts the kettle on, reaching for mugs, "Not sure I've got everything important covered down there, but I've no idea what else to do." He turns to face Fred as he waits for the kettle, the look on his face thoughtful. "You going alright, Saint?" The quiet question is asked quietly.
"On the biscuits," Fred replies, heading for the cupboard the tin has apparently moved to while Adam sorts the kettle out. "Yeah, not too bad at the moment." He's been back a few weeks from the latest trip to a place where they've got so much sand that sandbags often seem redundant, and the deep tan is starting to fade. "Got a favour to ask you though, Minty." There's a smile with that, a warm one with a hint of softness to it.
The kettle boils and the tea is made, the two mugs placed on the table. Minty gives Fred a look, lifting his eyebrows. "If you are after my first born, you are out of luck mate." He pulls up a chair, lowering himself into it with a wince, his hand absently dropping to massage the protesting muscles of his leg. "Shoot." A glimmer of amusement tugs at his lips, hinting that Fred's expression is noted.
Fred's smile flickers, an edge of boyish humour hastily blanked away. "It's a bit embarrassing really," he says, bringing the biscuit tin over and cracking it open before setting it between the mugs, "But will you marry me?"
Minty, in the process of lifting his mug to his lips, pauses, a startled expression crossing his face, and then he puts it down again, levering himself to his feet. He moves around the table, offering Fred his hand, and a broad grin. "Congrats, old man! She finally asked you? I'll put on my best frock for it even. Just hope the Church isn't too wet! When?"
Fred bursts out laughing at Adam's expression, rising when Adam does and taking the man's hand in his own. The laughter eases into another of those slightly-soft smiles, full of wonder at a world with such joy in it. "She asked me. And I asked her, at pretty much the same time. As for when - well, whenever, really. It's not like there're hordes of family on either side, or anyone else we have to put on a spectacle for."
A slap on the shoulder and a nod, that is positively a hug between the guys. He laughs at Fred's expression and nods, "Tomorrow, before the floods hit?" He comments dryly, turning back to his seat, a faint tension around his eyes hinting that legs only allow so much movement before they punish you. "I had some news for you actually, which might help you newly weds... The diocese have deigned to give me a vicarage, a little privacy from the nuns. I wondered if you cared to take a room there, the two of you? Five bedrooms is quite enough for one man. You could even grab another as a sitting room if you want."
Fred returns the nod and the shoulder-slap, then settles back into his seat as Adam retreats once more. "Much as I'd love to take you up on that - we both would - I think there'll be a mutiny here if other people don't get to arrange dresses and cakes and choirs and stuff. I mean, there's no horde of relatives on either side, but there are a few people who seem to think that a few hundred people at a wedding is the only way to go." He doesn't share their viewpoint, that much is obvious. "Unfortunately I don't think we've got time. I still need to get the carpets up, and that's not a quick job at the best of times." He blinks at Adam, then, and his grin is suddenly /for/ Adam. "Congrats! A place of your own, and yet you /still/ want us around? Thanks, Minty. 'Preciate it."
"Just give me the date, Fred, and I'll make it work." The church is a popular one, pretty and close to the centre's pubs. He takes a swig of the tea, relishing it, even though that tightness around his eyes stays put. "I'd rattle around the place, and well... Wales gave me enough solitude to last a lifetime." He passes over the topic easily, changing back to practicalities. "I've moved some of the things from down there that might cause problems if they get wet but who knows what is down the rest of it. We might need to work out how to ward it from anything escaping..." Unmundane worries, aside from carpets. "We've got the vicarage from tomorrow, and it comes with furnishings. Means we can leave the nuns in peace at least."
Fred's smile turns relieved. "Thanks, mate," he says again. "I know what you mean about rattling around - though to be honest, with the amount we're both away, don't rely on us to keep you sane-ish." And then a nod. "Not sure I know anyone who deals in water these days. Probably still a few Wizards knocking around the place, though, if you're willing to let 'em down there."
"At the moment, compared with what might be summoned if those things get wet, I'll take that." He takes a few more swigs of the tea, considering matters, "Well, well... next it'll be the thumping of tiny boots..." He shoots Fred a mocking look and then points, using his mug for emphasis, "Stag do, Saint, Stag do. Although, I'm not sure Vicars are meant to arrange boozy weekends abroad."
Fred hehs. "I 'ope not," he says, amused. "That might be a bit too much for both of us." When Fred's mug lowers again, there's a lot less liquid in it. "I've already had Riley trying to suggest a stag do. Poor kid, she hasn't got a bloody clue about what it takes to embarrass a squaddie. Come to that, how does it work with the vicar also being the best man? I mean, you've got no interest in strippers, but nor have I these days. We could just settle for getting pissed and ordering in a takeaway."
"I suppose I could turn there and about. Do the vicar thing, hop and stand by you or... nah mate, I'm honoured at being the one to marry you." He finishes his tea, shaking his head, "I feel like that is a proper cop out. Could do the weekend hop and just fit it to what we fancy, I suppose. Amsterdam, maybe, and hang out at the bars. I can leave the collar at home, or use it to embarrass people... " His lips twitch, even as he rubs his leg, and then he shakes his head. "Right. Back to work, Saint, hop to it. I'll consider the whole stag do thing."
Fred eyes Adam thoughtfully. "Amsterdam," he agrees. "Coffee shops." And that, it seems, is that. "Mention the red light district and people will jump to all the wrong conclusions without us having to actually bother." He grins, then downs the last of his tea and levers himself back to his feet. "Right. More sandbags. Sometimes I think I've seen my last sodding sandbag, and then it starts all over again..."
"Who'd you want me to invite? I'll let the Bishop know I need a weekend off." He takes his mug to the sink, rinsing it out, adding lightly, "We can get the ferry there and back, and I'll set us up in a nice little hotel. I can leave the collar here. I'm sure He would understand." The vicar turns, shooting Fred a broad grin, lighting up his angular face.
Fred grins. "Got to have something to repent," he points out. "Dunno. I'll see if Ubin's mum'll let him and his brothers come out to play? Llew and Quentin if they do, can't risk getting into a scrap without a couple of Welsh lads, and those two can hold their own. There's a few more, of course. Or we could just piss off quietly and leave 'em to grumble."
"That'd be good then. Up to you, mate, up to you. Mind, people in the Parish might talk if their gay vicar and his friend go to Amsterdam together." There is an edge there, self mockery and a touch of bitterness at the parish women's response to that. "Tell me and I'll sort it out." He turns then, taking his stick and limping back towards his labours. "When is the rain forecast?"
Fred shrugs. "People in the Parish are going to talk no matter what you do," he points out. "It's what people in the Parish like to do. Hell, leave the civvies at home and tell 'em we're going to a Legion meet-up." And then a grimace. "Eight thirty, plus or minus eight hours. If you believe 'em, which I don't. You know how accurate the forecasts aren't."
"Whatever you want to do, mate, we'll do that. You best only get married the once, otherwise I'll have to stare at you." The joking words come with a grin, and the added comment, "Although I could stand your best man at the second one I suppose..." Mocking Fred, Adam shoots him that lopsided grin, before he heads for the cellars again.