Fandom: Corybantic Dance 2
Characters: Mike Sorrentino, Quentin Moriarty
Warnings: Lots of cursing, and some angst.
Notes: I haven't been writing, lately. It's time for me to do the 7k in 7 days again, and CD2 is a little easier than MG, although, if I kickstart hard enough, I might do some MG, later.
"Quentin?" Mike stepped into the apartment and glanced around. "Q? I brought Chinese."
A voice rang out from behind the closed kitchen door. "I'm in the kitchen, Mike. Don't take off your jacket. Just come in and close the door."
This was not the usual way of things, at all. As Mike opened the kitchen door, he was met with a weak creeping warmth, and that was when his perceptions caught up with reality. When he'd opened the apartment door, he hadn't been greeted with the usual change in temperature. Quentin's apartment was just as cold as the world outside, and in March, that was quite a chill.
He stepped into the room and set the bag of takeout on the counter, as he closed the door. "What the hell happened to the heat, Q?"
Quentin looked up from where he sat, huddled against the stove. "It's March. They're not supposed to switch on the AC until May, but some jackass can't tell one 'M' month from the other." He shook his head, sadly, and opened the oven to let some more heat into the room. "It's motherfucking March. In Boston. And my fucking air conditioner works, but not my heater. I'm raising hell, come Monday."
Mike just stared at his best friend for a long moment. "And you're not trying to crash my couch why?"
"You have a girlfriend, Mike. You live with her. You're talking about marrying her." Quentin cocked an eyebrow, then his head, and continued. "I am not going to fuck up the only decent relationship you've ever had, just because I have no heat. Christ, I'm a chef. It's not like there aren't a couple hundred things I could be doing in the kitchen."
"Yet, I'm bringing you Chinese takeout," Mike joked, finally sitting on the floor, opposite the open oven.
Quentin threw a dishtowel. "Fuck you."
"What was that about not ruining my relationship?" Mike grinned.
"Twice, even." Quentin groused. "Ass."
Mike leaned over and pulled down the bag of takeout. "I got you Schezuan Beef — like I'd get you anything else, at this point — and eggrolls." He slid one container and a wax-paper bag across the floor.
"Heavy on the peppers, I assume," said Quentin, with a thin smile of masochistic anticipation.
"Of course." Mike nodded and unpacked his own dinner. "I don't know how you eat that shit. Do you have a sense of taste, these days?"
"Come on, if I didn't have a sense of taste, my cooking would suck — which it clearly doesn't, since people pay me a lot of money for it." Quentin opened the box and stuck his chopsticks into it, as his face slid into what, after years of experience, Mike called 'horribly wrong'. "What the fuck is the point, Mike? Why do I even try, anymore? I find something I love, and everything falls apart — the apartment, Colin, my last three jobs… All I have left is you. You're always there, and it's just not fair. To you, I mean. To me it's either merciful, or just the universe taunting me."
"Quentin? You're cold and hungry. It's making you irrational." Mike moved closer to his friend, draping one arm over Quentin's shoulders in a halfassed hug. "Eat your dinner while it's still warm. You're not going to make sense until you have some hot food in you. Mom always said so, and she was always right about that."
Quentin seemed to collapse into himself, wiping at silent tears with one hand while he fumbled with his chopsticks with the other. "I'm just so fucking tired. And nothing's ever good enough. Sure, they pay me out the ass, but I don't know how much longer I can take the condescension from people who can't make a fucking meringue." The anger was short lived, gone in a breath. "And every time I lose something else, it just feels like I deserve it. Like I'm just not good enough for what other people have."
Sitting up, he laughed bitterly and took a bite of the Schezuan Beef. "Of course, I'm nothing like other people. They dream of waking up and being me. The girls, the boys, the money, the arrogance, the insular fame… And I dream of being them. The consistency, the comfort, family, and pride in your work. Only being someone to the people you care about."
Mike looked down and did the only sensible thing. He headbutted Quentin. "Dork. You're a name in lights to a lot of people, but you're only someone to us — to me and Adam, to Spark, Jasper and Colin. We're your family. Well, us and your mom."
"Don't fucking bring Colin into this," Quentin snapped. "Just another failure on my part."
"Colin loves you, you stupid bastard. It's why he left." Mike shook his head and said it for the hundredth time. "He couldn't distinguish between people and toys, like you do. Hell, half the time I can't do it, but I know you do. He was just jealous. He still loves you."
"I couldn't stop, even for him. Must mean I don't really love him." Quentin had sunk into the sludge of self-loathing that tended to sit just below the surface, as he crept up on thirty.
"Love, as I've come to understand it — as you've beaten it into my head — is that thing where people want to be with you despite and because of who you are, not because of who you could be. Whether or not he comes back, you've made a dent that'll last his whole life. You've changed his perception of the whole damn world." Mike tapped his forehead against the top of Quentin's head. "Now, for fucksake, eat before your dinner gets cold. It's going to do a lot less good if you let it get cold."
"Jesus, man, you sound exactly like your mom." Quentin looked up, slightly dazed.
"And I thank God on a daily basis that you don't sound more like yours, no offense." Mike shook his head.
Quentin laughed. "None taken." He paused, staring into the depths of the oven in deep contemplation. "We're sneaking up on thirty, you and I. I don't have kids, I usually have a job that pays a metric fucktonne, I like what I do for a living… What the shit was I complaining about, again?"
"The heat," Mike replied. "You were going to go deck someone about the heat."
Quentin started on his dinner like a starving weasel. "Right. Thanks. I knew there was something."