the label art for shimmy and i’s current teas C: shims wrote some excellent ficlets to accompany the blends, so watch for them~
The first cup Karl ever made for him had crushed elfroot in it, but to cut the bitterness—all healing things were bitter in some way—he added honeybush. Anders remembered what happened next more than the taste on his tongue, all the terrible honeybush puns and then, warmer, deeper, the moment the word became kisses, before kisses became a nickname.
No one else called him Honeybush. They didn’t call anyone else that, either. It was more than Anders and better than anything, a cup of tea when he returned from a half-planned dip in Lake Calenhad that left him soaking, lips and fingernails blue, teeth clacking together like a reanimated skeleton’s.
‘Did you learn anything at all this time, Anders?’ Karl asked.
‘Don’t go for a swim during a Fereldan winter?’ Anders replied.
It was never easy, not even back then. But it was sweet and warm alongside bitter, at least from time to time.
On the new year, Hawke brought him a mug that wasn’t broken and a satchel of dried leaves. ‘I don’t know why,’ he said, stamping the snow off his boots, ‘but you remind me of honeybush, Anders. Father always drank it, only I was too young to appreciate the taste.’
‘I’ll make us both a cup, then,’ Anders said, and Hawke stayed the whole night through.
TURN AND FACE THE TIGER EYE
Fenris had swallowed many bitter brews in his time, and none that he had steeped for himself.
Hadriana’s halls smelled of the roses she crushed and, if one believed her, her lips tasted of them as well. Danarius, on the other hand—twisted, taloned, grasping as it was—drank his dark, from Rivain’s seers, and showed off the future in the bottom of his cups to make all his guests applaud the entertainment.
Fenris preferred wine.
‘I prefer wine,’ he said, but Hawke’s mother left the dry leaves with him nonetheless, and the smell of them was neither roses nor smoke. Fenris set them on the desk near his bed, upon an open book, where it gave sweet scents to the cracked pages.
Two nights after her death—‘Please,’ she had said, ‘you must learn to call me Leandra’—Fenris was taught the way of kettles and boiling water and patience by the talkative house dwarf in Hawke’s kitchen.
‘We shall drink,’ he told Hawke.
‘I hope you brought the strong stuff,’ Hawke said. ‘Aggregio Pavali?’
‘I brought tea,’ Fenris replied.
He drank it often after that—though he could never find a blend to match that very first cup.
Garrus enjoyed a life-or-death situation as much as the next turian—probably more than the next turian—but he was more about the shooting than the smoke that came after.
While the other members of the emergency rescue squad drank coffee from thermoses, Garrus polished his rifle, watching the sun change position throughout the day. A planet’s biggest and closest star was greatest sniper there was; it always had you somewhere in its sights.
And when it didn’t, it still hadn’t forgotten the target you made.
Garrus saved his victory drink for the one person he’d promised his first toast to before the smoke that came after, during the life-or-death situations they both enjoyed—or at least found themselves a part of so often.
It wasn’t as though the options for dextro-amino based refreshments were anything but slim as a turian’s waist above the hips, either.
‘You wait, I’ll wait,’ Garrus said. Shepard wasn’t cleared to drink any alcohol yet anyway, nursing a thermos of tea instead, while the steam rose against Garrus’s old scar like a blue-blooded blush—or the smoke that always came after.
They served coffee in the Normandy mess, from instant grounds that must’ve been left in stasis with Javik because that was about how old they tasted. A single cup burned like diesel, closing the throat up tighter than if you’d swallowed a whole tube of omni-gel.
Vega drank three cups every morning and didn’t even bat an eye. He was still young enough that he thought he needed to prove a big thing with all the little ones but he’d learn, eventually, after smashing against the walls that wouldn’t give no matter how hard his head was.
‘I don’t know, Shepard,’ Kaidan said, nursing a single, rancid hot-cup full of too many creamers. ‘Tastes a little…primitive to me.’
Shepard chuckled. ‘At least it stays down, Kaidan.’
Someday, on shore leave, on vacation, on their own, Kaidan would drink tea again, from a mug he’d use every morning, with his fingers wrapped around the sides to keep in the warmth. And, if he was lucky, Shepard would be on the couch, knocking back instant coffee that could’ve powered the Normandy’s thrusters, waiting for Kaidan to have breakfast.