evowhisperer: (Default)
evowhisperer ([personal profile] evowhisperer) wrote in [community profile] savetheearth2015-02-08 08:58 pm

I really don't care, it's nothing I mind

Who: Cesar and L
What: They grab lunch.
Where: Cesar's apartment
When: Saturday
Warnings: None (may be updated as thread progresses)
The apartment is full of sound. The TV is on at a low but constant murmur, showing a mindless action flick that probably isn't being watched. The stove has meat and onions hissing loudly, and the smells are strong enough that they've crept through the apartment's front door and around the walkway outside. The dining-room has an entire half that's been cleared of clutter. (The other half looks like it has double the usual amount.)
Cesar is standing by the stove, wearing work clothes with the sleeves pushed up. There's a mixing bowl in his hands with green sauce inside, and he's rotating between mixing and glancing at the meat to test for readiness. Almost done. It looks like he hadn't gotten started too late, after all...
dead_black_eyes: "Catapult" (His heart was cut out of the same stone)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-09 04:19 am (UTC)(link)
L is early by four minutes. He debates knocking, ultimately deciding that flawless punctuality is preferable to getting to see Cesar several minutes earlier. In the meantime, he leans against the wall in a hallway so fragrant that even his crippled sense of smell picks up hints of the cuisine's aroma, toggling on his iPhone and watching the time.

The moment it is officially noon, he stows his phone and knocks three times, starting to smooth a hand through his hair. It gets stuck, and he gives up, shoving his hand into his pocket with his phone instead.
dead_black_eyes: "Secret Agent Man" (All you're giving me is fiction)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-09 05:38 am (UTC)(link)
Judging from L's wide eyes as he shuffles in after Cesar, along with the way he tilts his head in the direction of those strong scents' origin, the additional effort has paid off substantially. He seems hesitant and perhaps mildly intimidated by all of it; though Cesar had told him ahead of time what he was preparing, L hadn't expected it to be so complete and welcoming. It looks the way Cesar made cooking in Argentina sound, and he's shrugging out of his jacket and draping it slowly over the back of a nearby chair without taking his eyes off the half-cleared dining room.

"This is really..."

He shakes his head, momentarily at a loss for words.

"I guess this wasn't what I was expecting at all. Water, please..."

He knows where Cesar keeps the glasses, and immediately goes for one, feeling strangely helpless surrounded by so much kindness and competence. People cook for him sometimes, well-meaning sorts like Tony who worry about him dropping dead, but it's rare for him to be offered a place at a table, the chance to actually share a meal in a social context.

Agape, much? It's not like you haven't shared other things by this point.

"You really went all-out. Is there anything at all I can do to help?"
dead_black_eyes: "White Rabbit" (Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-09 08:35 pm (UTC)(link)
He nods quickly, happy with the agreement. For someone who seems so frequently to be in need of general care and kindness, he has a surprisingly difficult time simply accepting it at face value when it's offered to him. Knowing that he'll be helping with the dishes makes it somehow more even and acceptable.

He pours himself some water, setting the pitcher back on the counter and accepting his plate and silverware, watching the process of dishing out the hot, finished food like someone who has actually never seen it before, or, more likely, has seen it so seldom that it's jarring every time. While L might have been more comfortable with takeout, that having been the go-to option for him and his uncle then and for himself since, he is overtly and obviously happier with this option, and he trails after Cesar and takes a seat at the table with him, setting his plate, silverware and glass all very carefully on their place mat before he takes a slow seat.

There's no way to be absolutely discreet about it when Cesar is watching him so closely, but he attempts to at least be quick about it. His phone comes out, and he takes a snapshot of his plate. People do this shit all the time at Espresso Yourself, and L has never understood it, but there's something about the way this second makes him feel that he wants to preserve, no Instagram account necessary. He's solemn and quiet throughout the process, stashing his phone again and going quickly for his fork and knife, aware that he's already behind.

The first bite is a small one he chews slowly, glancing Cesar's way as he does so. "Have you... never worked for a restaurant?" he asks. "This is... really, really good." The second bite is quicker and larger.
dead_black_eyes: "Secret Agent Man" (If I die in the German war)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-10 08:32 pm (UTC)(link)
L can't tell if Cesar's laughing at him for being such an apparent and incorrigible hipster, but what matters most is that he's not angry or disgusted, and that L has the picture. He thinks that he'll be able to look at it days from now and remember which parts contributed the most to the flavor which, while muted due to his nearly-destroyed sense of smell, still comes through more for him than most things. Even if he can't... it's a reminder that someone did something so frivolously and unnecessarily kind for him when it would have been so easy to just say "rain check" and leave it at that.

His brows raise at the revelation that Cesar did in fact work in a restaurant, which gets a nodded acknowledgment as he chews the tender and well-textured meat. He swallows with a sip of water, then answers, slightly self-consciously.

"I really haven't. When I lived with my uncle almost every meal was Chinese takeout, even when we weren't traveling, and when I lived with Belle, there was always food at home, but... not like this."

Their relationship had, for the most part, had started based on blackmail and ended on a somewhat awkward note, and everything in between had been more of a roommate dynamic than anything.

"Was it your plan to make this for dinner, before your work interfered?" He still seems pretty enamored with the idea of someone thinking so far ahead before making a meal.

dead_black_eyes: Do not take use or edit (Where's your famous golden touch?)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-11 06:04 am (UTC)(link)
L is the kind of person that many pity, but few want to have over for dinner. This is even true in his synagogue, where his attendance has been spotty over the years and most regard him as someone who struggles and whose name is spoken in countless prayers. Despite these kindnesses, his company makes too many too uncomfortable to reach out in more substantial ways. For many years, L realizes that it was probably easier to look through him than to stare directly at the mess he was turning his life into.

Is that getting better, now? Is that what actually sitting and sharing a meal with someone signifies?

He continues to go at his meal, glancing up as Cesar signs, clearly enjoying the much-needed meat portion of the dish the most. The body wants what it needs most, and in L's case, as a grown man with the physique of a stringy teenager, it is clearly protein. "Definitely better fresh," he agrees, knowing at least that much; he's squeamish about expired foods and has actually hallucinated odors before if the number on the container says the contents should be going sour, so this is extremely important to him.

He clears his throat. People talk during meals, about more than the meals themselves. "So, how long do you have before you need to go to work?" he inquires, picking up his fried bread and nibbling at it.

You look like a neurotic rodent. Bigger bites, chew more slowly.
dead_black_eyes: "White Rabbit" (Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-13 04:22 am (UTC)(link)
"All night...?" he echoes, sounding something like sympathetic, though his monotone has difficulty conveying it to the full effect he feels. Even though he stays up all night very frequently, himself, it's somehow different when it's someone who's nice enough to cook for him. "I guess that's how it is when your work is very important, whether or not it's exciting. Do you have tomorrow off, at least, so you can catch up on sleep?"

There's certainly a type of information L's pushing for, but it's probably not the kind that Cesar might have feared at some point.

"I've got a dark room at the school, specifically for sleeping during the day. If you need to use it, you're welcome to..."
dead_black_eyes: "Closing Time" (I don't pretend to understand at all)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-15 04:50 pm (UTC)(link)
It's not the answer he was looking for, and definitely not the one he wanted, but it's satisfactory nonetheless. If he's happy about it, it will make him look like he cares, like he isn't selfish, and like he respects and understands boundaries. Even if all of those are ultimately pale lies, he thinks he can be convincing enough with his overbright smile before he takes another small bite of steak.

"It's better than nothing, I suppose. You must be working on something really spectacular for you to not mind pulling hours like that on a semi-regular basis... are you curing cancer, or something?"

He tries to make it sound like a joke, but if Cesar is working in pharmaceuticals now, it's not that far-out, is it?
dead_black_eyes: "Secret Agent Man" (You're faithful to the better man)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-18 04:50 am (UTC)(link)
The smile gets an answering one from L; it is genuine enough to put him more at ease, and he makes a mental note to court these topics more in the future. They are apparently safe enough, even if Cesar admits that he can't talk much about the details. It's clear that the man is joyously passionate about his work, which L can certainly relate to.

Maybe he's really that capable. Maybe not. Something twists at the base of L's neck, a primal alarm, but he suppresses it. It's inconvenient and uncomfortable, and who wouldn't want to believe in such capability?

"Don't feel pressured," he's quick to reassure him, setting down his fork for a moment to take a bite of bread. "I know that I can be curious, to... a definite fault, but I'm truly happy for you. It sounds like you've found work that is your calling, and that's the best possible reward anyone can have in this life, isn't it?"
dead_black_eyes: Do not take use or edit (Where's your famous golden touch?)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-21 05:16 am (UTC)(link)
L has absolutely thought about it, usually framed in the context of what he imagines to be a totally idyllic existence in the Sanchez-Ortiz clan. He's spent his entire life on the outside of happy families occasionally getting glimpses into them, but never belonging or remaining longer than a rare token invitation permits. He's just not the family sort; he makes others too uncomfortable to be around him for extended periods of time.

He nods earnestly. "I think my echoes changed everything for me for the better, too," he says. "Before I got my Numbers, forget purpose... I knew I'd peaked and that there was nowhere to go but down, and when you know that, I guess... you can swim harder, or sink, and sinking was the easier option. It suited who I was a year ago. But I don't think it suited him, and he's who I want to die as. He's the person who can make this world better before leaving it."

He says so in a tone that could be described, accurately, as "reverent."

"Echoes saved my life. Everything is better, or at least moving in that direction."
dead_black_eyes: "Secret Agent Man" (Don't you know I suffer?)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-23 06:00 am (UTC)(link)
L's always been quick to put his Other on a pedestal. For someone who practices the faith he was raised with in fractured patches, he is actually very religious in a pointedly different direction.

He is fallible, weak and flawed, but if he's a vessel for someone like his Other, he can find reasons to work at being deserving of that role.

"Of course," he says, unblinking. "You didn't know me before all of this, and that's a good thing. Believe me."

He turns his fork over in his fingers, adjusting his sleeve with his free hand before using the tongs to draw a neat line in his food, separating two courses from each other, before continuing his small, neat bites.
dead_black_eyes: "Crazy" (Since I was little it looked like fun)

[personal profile] dead_black_eyes 2015-02-24 08:24 am (UTC)(link)
It's an exhausting balancing act, to walk the tightrope L had when he was younger. On one side was the pressure of fighting to be the best and remain there at any cost. On the other was the worthlessness that came with slipping and gracelessly outgrowing the novelty of being a child prodigy. Either way, it had been a long way down, and a painful impact sans any sort of safety net. And when it came to it, L hadn't even fallen from that tightrope; he'd jumped, motivated by perhaps the first personal conviction he'd ever actually felt.

It's different, now. Conviction is no longer something he mistook desperation for once upon a time, it's real and staggering and guides his actions every day. It puts a light in eyes that were lifeless, blank pits for years. If it's unhealthy, toxic, or damaging, the irony is that it's keeping him alive, sustaining him more effectively than food, sleep, and medicine combined. It's very different from what's eating uneasily at Cesar's insides and the guilty knowledge picking at his brain, but what's sure is that the day those two manifestations of "messed up" mix is the day this pleasant, fledgling relationship will stop being sustainable.

"You weren't there," L says with a twisted smile, as if to gently point out that Cesar's reassurance is kind but misguided. "In truth I was probably worse. If you name it, then I can pretty much guarantee I turned failing at it into an art form, and it was usually no one's fault but my own. Now... even if I can't change the past, it feels like there's some kind of future. I don't want to lose that."