Title: Butter Knives
Author: [livejournal.com profile] xiexiegirl/[livejournal.com profile] dwarvenhunter
Rating: PG
Pairing: Archuleta/Cook
POV: 3rd, Archuleta’s
Summary: College AU! David’s fairly certain he shouldn’t have accepted when the girl from his writing class said that he should come to her party.
Word count: 3303
Warnings: Imagined violence and thoughts of murder?
Author Notes: Fic to distract myself with because RL is Not Fun right now. Ridiculous College AU, since ridiculous AUs seem to be my thing these days. (Cook’s quote about Wednesday is from the podcast Welcome To Night Vale.) Not to be taken seriously, done for shits and giggles, etc. etc. (I feel like that disclaimer should come standard on my fics at this point.) Hammered out in, like, three hours and lacking a beta. I went over it a few times, but I still probably missed stuff.

David’s fairly certain he shouldn’t have accepted when the girl from his writing class said that he should come to her party. He eyes the front door of the house warily, the thump of the bass from the rap song currently playing actually making the screen door rattle in its frame. A cup goes flying out of the open window and David has to dart to one side to avoid getting hit by it. The thunk it makes as it hits the ground behind him informs him that it wasn’t glass, at least. Just plastic. If the blur as it flew by was any indication, it’s the same kind of cup as the people inside are drinking out of.

He definitely shouldn’t have come.

But then the door flings open and his friend from writing trills Daaaaaaaaviiiiiiiid! in a tone David last heard when his parents said they could scrape together the money to take them to Disneyland and his sisters started cheering.

David’s not sure when he became synonymous with Disneyland in someone’s head and he’s not entirely sure he wants to know why. He does know that there’s officially no backing out now and that he really should’ve stayed on the bus and taken it until he hit the O. There’d still be alcohol, but at least he’d have french fries.

He squares his shoulders and steps up onto the porch, because he agreed, and she’s seen him, and he’s not rude, so he can’t just vanish now. He steps inside, giving his friend a polite smile and trying not to flinch at the wall of noise that hits him the second he crosses the threshold.

It’s not packed, there’s maybe forty people here, but it feels like David might have been better off if it was packed. He doesn’t know any of these people, and small talk is so far off the list of things he’s capable of doing that it’s right up there with tap-dancing on the list of things he is absolutely terrible at.

The music’s loud, and the rap’s changed in favor of some rock song that David’s never heard before, and people are fighting to talk over it and David seriously wonders why they don’t just turn the music down. He’s forced to make introductions with some of them when his friend just shoves him in their direction and he spends half of it apologizing profusely because seriously, this sucks and he just wants to go home. He’ll even skip getting his french fries after if it means he can get out of here right now.

He manages to escape to the kitchen when a spectacularly well-timed spill (courtesy of a very nice girl named Allison, and he seriously considers sending a thank you card) means he has to go blot his t-shirt with a wet paper towel and start praying that it doesn’t stain because he likes this shirt. But it gets him away from most of the people, though, and seriously, Allison deserves a card, or possibly a present, because now he’s in the kitchen, and there’s a grand total of three other people here, and two of them are sitting on stools and slumped over the island.

David’s fairly certain they’re asleep.

The third person’s leaning against the wall, on the floor with his legs sprawled out, headphones on and blasting loud enough that David can clearly hear the rock emanating from it, even over the song coming from the living room stereo.

He doesn’t have to make small talk with anybody in the room, and he can totally hide out in here for what could be deemed a socially acceptable amount of time to spend at a party before escaping.

(He’s tracking Allison down after this and giving her a present or a card or something. Seriously, hero.)

He sits down on the floor, a few feet from the other guy, tucks his legs up under him, and puts his earbuds in, thankful he learned ages ago to bring them with him wherever he goes. It takes cranking his music up to nearly maximum before it drowns out what’s playing, but he doesn’t mind. He tilts his head back and closes his eyes, tapping his fingers on his thigh along with the piano part and completely tuning out the party.

Until, five songs and twenty-six minutes later, someone knocks into him and startles him out of the music. David looks up and tries to glare at the guy, but he suspects he looks more like an angry kitten than anything scary, because the guy immediately starts laughing. David keeps glaring as he puts way his earbuds and gets up, because seriously, he’s been here long enough, he’s going back to his dorm.

“Hey, I’m sorry, I’m an ass,” the guy says and David gives him a look that he hopes conveys the no, really? he’s feeling. He’s not a mean or sarcastic person, really, but seriously, this guy knocked into him and then laughed at him and David, contrary to what some of his friends believe, does not have the patience of a saint. The guy, thankfully, seems to understand David’s unspoken sarcasm, because he grins and offers his hand. “Can I try that again? I’m David, and I’m sorry for knocking into you.”

“Me too,” David says and then resists the urge to smack his forehead because wow, that was intelligent.

“You’re sorry for knocking into me?” David gives him another glare, which seems to succeed in showing his annoyance, because the guy—David—and okay, that’s weird—the other David’s grin falters slightly. “Sorry, I’m a naturally sarcastic and occasionally bitchy person.”

“I couldn’t tell,” David mutters, getting up and dusting his jeans off. He really shouldn’t have sat on the floor. Ew. “And I meant that my name’s David too. David Archuleta.”

“Ah, that makes more sense,” the other David says. David looks at the guy and wonders if he could be fast enough to strangle the guy with his own necklaces, because seriously, and he’d thought he could be a smart-aleck. “I’m David Cook. So, you could call me Cook, I guess. What do I call you?”

“Um, nothing? Because I’m leaving and getting myself french fries, so we will, most likely, never see each other again. So, uh, bye,” David says, and tries not to smirk at the other David—Cook. Not-smirking is hard, though, especially when he’s not entirely fond of a person and he gets to be kind of mean. He can be petty like that. So, he just puts on a smile and gives a dorky wave before turning and heading towards the dining room, hoping to find his friend and say bye before he leaves.

Winding his way through the people is a pain, but David manages to find his friend and say goodbye and only gets groped by drunk people twice, so he counts it as a win. Getting out of the house entirely gets him another grope, but he can live with that, especially when it turns out nobody’s on the porch and he can breathe for a minute before he walks down to the bus stop.

The breather turns out to be a mistake, because the guy—Cook, David reminds himself—practically falls out of the front door and manages to land flat on his face. David really can’t help it; he bursts out laughing, clutching at his sides when the giggling starts to hurt, while Cook scrambles onto his feet and gives David a dirty look.

“Fair’s fair,” David gasps out, giggles finally tapering off. “You laughed at me, so.”

“Oh, god, kill me now,” Cook groans and David giggles again. “May I tag along with you for french fries? Please tell me you’re going to the O.”

“Yes, I’m going to the O, and I don’t know you, so I’m going to say no, because unlike some people appear to have, I didn’t actually forget the whole stranger danger lessons from my childhood.” Cook snickers and David decides that he could probably get a good grip on the necklaces and start cutting off Cook’s air supply before Cook managed to fight him off. It’s tempting, at the very least, especially because Cook keeps laughing at him.

“I’m sorry, but you don’t look like you’re capable of hurting a fly, let alone me, so I don’t think I have much to worry about,” Cook says. David sighs. Strangling is clearly too good for this guy. He should’ve grabbed a butter knife. He hasn’t felt the urge to stab someone recently, but if this guy doesn’t stop, David’s going to be forced to. Or maybe just hack a thumb off or something, to start. Teach him a lesson without killing him. David’s sure he’ll get less jail time for a slight maiming than he will for murder.

Although, a sympathetic judge would consider this justifiable homicide. He’s certain of it. Probably shouldn’t test that theory, though.

“You have the angry kitten face on again,” Cook informs him and David groans.

He really should have gotten a butter knife. Next time he gets the chance, he’s buying himself a set. Not super nice, because that would just be a waste, with all the blood that’ll get on them, but a decent set that won’t rust.

“Kittens have sharp claws,” he replies, and decides his fingernails will do just fine in the absence of a butter knife. “I can and will hurt you. I’m just saying.”

“I’m sure,” Cook says, his tone stating exactly how much he believes David, which is so not at all. David can tell. People keep underestimating him, so he knows that look and that tone by now.

Butter knives might come in bulk. He should look into it.

“I’m going away, now. Goodbye,” David says and starts heading towards the bus stop, because if he engages with Cook any longer, it will end with the police getting called. He pulls his earbuds out, firmly intent on blocking out anything else Cook might say, because of course Cook’s following him. That’s just how David’s life works.

“Can we start over? Without the vitriol?”

“Swallow a dictionary?” David asks, ignoring Cook’s question.

“Several. They make for excellent breakfasts,” Cook replies, not missing a beat, and it startles a laugh out of David, even if it’s not really that funny. “Seriously, though, can we?”

“I guess,” David says, because really, it’s pretty obvious Cook’s not going to let it go. And David has a sneaking suspicion Cook would follow him onto the bus, all the way to his stop, and even into the restaurant just to make sure he didn’t hate Cook or something. Which is ridiculous (the following, not the hating him; David has the awful tendency to hold a grudge and he knows it) but Cook’s behavior until now hasn’t exactly proved that David would be wrong about that.

“Wow, I feel loved. Are you like this with all your friends?” Cook asks, mouth quirking up on one side.

David does not find that stupid smirk charming at all. (That’s the grudge talking but who cares. Point still stands.)

“You’re not my friend. We agreed to start over, without the vitriol, and that is what we have done. That doesn’t mean we’re friends,” David mutters, rolling his eyes. Cook’s smirk turns into a grin and David sighs. “If I say we’re friends, will you let me get my french fries in peace?”

“Nope. Partially because my friends are asleep on the kitchen island back there and I have no entertainment now, so...”

It figures that hell would be real life, only worse. David really should have seen that coming. Was it because he didn’t, like, save kittens in his spare time? Because he would have, but finding kittens to save is kind of hard when you’re a college student in a dorm. He could always hide them under his bed, he supposed. Or find a shelter. He didn’t think not saving the potentially non-existent kittens warranted hell, though.

David really should work on the grudge thing. He’d probably like Cook if it wasn’t for that.

“Okay, how many different ways have you imagined killing me already for not leaving you alone?” Cook asks and David snorts.

“Three, so far. Four, if you bleed out from a hacked-off thumb. One involved clawing you with my fingernails,” he admits and smiles when Cook laughs. Okay, maybe he could let go of the grudge. “Two involved butter knives.”

“Was one of those the hacked-off thumb?”

“Yup. I figure, if I hack your thumb off and you somehow bleed out, it’s only assault and accidental manslaughter, versus third degree murder,” David says, tucking his earbuds back in his pocket. He wasn’t going to get a chance to listen to his music, so he might as well put them away.

“Very nice. And the last one?” Cook asks, raising an eyebrow at David, who snorts at the absurdity of talking about the ways he contemplated killing the guy.

“Strangling you with your own necklaces.”

“Sadly, been attempted by both my best friends and brothers. Too fragile. The chains break first,” Cook informs him. David frowns and crosses it off the mental list. He’ll have to come up with something else. If he weren’t so attached to his earbuds, he’d just use those, but he’s not sure they’d survive. “So, do you like music?”

David’s hold on his grudge slips a little with the subject change, because he finds it hard to dislike anybody who likes music. He can’t help it. The topic lasts them the bus ride and a shared basket of fries, David trying not to ramble too badly, because seriously, he just can’t shut up about music sometimes. Cook, thankfully, doesn’t mind.

It almost makes David like him. Almost.

---

Because David’s life is just that great, he shows up to his writing class a couple of days later to hear his professor announce that his TA had quit for some reason.

And, because his life is apparently a soap opera, the new TA is Cook.

If David swore, he probably would have then. Loudly. Possibly in two languages.

But he doesn’t, so he sinks down low in his chair and wishes that the class was bigger and that Cook won’t recognize him.

David’s luck isn’t that good, apparently, because Cook does recognize him, and grins at David.

He really should have bought the butter knives.

---

His pen would make a really great weapon. Sure, it has the Jonas Brothers on the side (his sisters have such wonderful taste in gag gifts), but the tip’s nice and pointy and it’ll substitute for a butter knife since he lacks one at the moment and Cook’s cornered him after the class lets out. He can live with getting blood on Nick Jonas’ face, as long as it’s Cook’s blood.

“So, Archuleta,” Cook starts and David raises an eyebrow.

“Did you actually remember my name or did you have to double-check the students list?” he asks, clicking his pen a couple of times and wondering whether or not he should wait before stabbing Cook.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing,” Cook says, and when David just stares at him, sighs and shakes his head. “Star Wars?”

“Never saw it.” David shrugs and clicks his pen again while Cook lets out another sigh. “Yeah, yeah, tragedy, I’m assuming.”

“This is worse than you not listening to Bon Jovi,” Cook replies and David shakes his head, clicking his pen a couple of times. Cook taking offense to David’s taste in movies and music is something he got used to when Cook had made a reference to the Princess something or other while simultaneously stealing David’s gravy for his fries. “Star Wars is a classic.”

“You said that about that princess movie. Doesn’t change a thing,” David says and Cook gives the most put-upon dramatic sigh David’s ever heard. “What did I say?”

“It’s The Princess Bride. Not ‘that princess movie’.”

“Well, I’m sorry to offend your delicate sensibilities. I just like reading more than watching movies,” David replies, shifting his bag on his shoulder and accidentally knocking off the button attached. Cook catches it for him, and David notes with a slightly twisted sense of delight that Cook managed to stick himself with the pin. “Thanks.”

“What will it take for you to like me?” Cook asks, giving David the most earnest look David’s seen on anyone not a puppy. He almost feels bad for the grudge.

“I can be bought with a large basket of french fries and tea from Crazy Mocha,” David says, reattaching the pin to his bag. Cook groans, but it’s ruined by the smile on his face.

“You can’t be a cheap date, can you?”

“My first impression of you was you laughing at me. You have a lot to make up for,” David informs him, smiling at Cook. “Also, it’s Wednesday, do you not have class?”

“Wednesday has been cancelled due to a scheduling error,” Cook informs him. David doesn’t even bother trying to figure out what that’s from.

---

Cook actually does buy him the tea and fries and David almost feels bad about it, but then Cook steals half his fries and snags a sip off the tea before pulling a face and mumbling something about coffee, so David shuts his conscience up and finally lets the grudge go.

“Alright, I’m bought,” David says, taking the last fry before Cook can.

“So, all I had to do was buy you food, huh?” Cook asks, raising an eyebrow. David rolls his eyes.

“First off, I’m not actually bought. Second, it was more that you were willing to try and make me feel better,” he says, finishing off his tea. “Thank you, though.”

“You’re welcome. And this was a nice first date, yeah—” The end of Cook’s question was cut off by David’s undignified and completely embarrassing spit-take, half of which ended up on Cook’s face. “For the record, I was joking.”

“Maybe don’t do that when I’m drinking?” David suggests, and okay, he shouldn’t laugh, but Cook has tea all over his face and shirt and it looks ridiculous, and he really can’t help it. He tries to smother his laughter with his hand, but it’s completely futile.

“I’m noticing this,” Cook mutters, wiping at his face with a napkin and giving David a dirty look. “Thank you. Really.”

“I’ll buy you fries and coffee?” David offers, trying to keep a straight face for a moment, though he fails and starts laughing again. “Sorry?” he squeaks out eventually, managing to calm himself down.

“Eh, I’ll live. My ego has taken worse beatings.” Cook shrugs and looks down at his hands. “So, uh, maybe I should phrase it in the form of a question. Can I take you on a date? Possibly one kind of like this? Only maybe without the tea all over me,” he adds, pointedly looking down at his shirt. David absolutely refuses to rise to the bait. He already apologized, anyway. “Thanks again, really.”

“I already said sorry. And hello, broke college student,” David reminds him, rolling his eyes. “I can’t exactly afford to offer to replace it. Whatever that shirt was in its previous life, anyway.”

“Okay, can we drop my shirt for a minute and answer the question?”

“You brought it up,” David mutters and wishes, once again, that he had bought the butter knives when he had the chance. “But fine. Yes is the answer.”

Cook grins at him, bright and happy, and, okay, the grudge is gone, and David can totally admit to finding him charming and liking him.

(He still kind of wants to stab him with a butter knife, though.)
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