Feb 042014

Title: Reflection
Fandom: Viridian Legacy: Glass
Characters: Baron , Arkady
Rating: T (L2 N0 S0 V0 D1)
Warnings: Awkward conversation about a trans girl, memories of mind-altering suggestions
Notes: Arkady's got a new girlfriend. (Evan, stoppit. This never ends well.) Baron's just as concerned as anyone who knows him should be, for the same reasons as always, just with a different trigger. Arkady sets him straight.

"So, I heard you got a thing going with Mariella." Baron took a swig of his beer and crossed his feet on the edge of the coffee table. The nice thing about it being his coffee table was that he could do that. "She's really nice, man. You did good."

Arkady squinted across the table, from where he was curled up in a chair, with his own beer. "There's a but. I can hear it."

"Only because it's you. If it was Mike, I'd just sit back and wait."

"I will never get what is with you and Mike." Arkady stared expectantly across the top of the beer can resting against his lip. "Keep talking."

"Chel and Lupe don't think she's had her last surgery, yet." Baron shrugged. "I told Lupe I saw you dancing with Mari, at the bar, and she looked at Chel, and they both looked at me, and Chel finally says, 'Does he know?' And I'm like 'Of course he knows. He just doesn't care.' I mean, you're not Mike, and you're not stupid. And then Lupe tells me she thinks Mari's still saving up for her last surgery."

The staring continued, now just a bit flatter, far less amused. "And?"

"So, I mean, it's you, man. I know you. I know how fucking hard it is to be you, and I don't want to add to that by keeping my mouth shut. I know you got some unhandled dick-related drama of prior days, even if I don't know what it is, and that's not a question. I just didn't want you to get wound up in this chick, thinking she was done, and then get yourself all undone." Baron wasn't usually this bad at putting words together. "I know you like this girl. I know you don't like dicks. I know you wouldn't care if she used to have one, but I don't know if you'd care that she probably still has one. It's not a subject that comes up in conversation a whole lot. I just didn't want you getting hurt again."

The rest of that can of beer went directly down Baron's throat, and for a long few seconds, the only sound was him swallowing, followed by the sound of the can bouncing off the far wall of the studio, as he lobbed it in the general direction of the trash.

"I've asked myself that question. Not the one you're not asking that I'm not answering, but what would I do if I fell in love with a girl with a dick? I mean, I like to think I grew up, you know?" The pause after the question stretched on. "Ok, no. I haven't grown up. I'm full of shit. I still want to believe I'm better than that, now. I mean, girls with dicks, it's not like — No, Evan, stop talking."

Arkady rubbed his face before he started again. "Sorry, dude, I'm not telling you any of that. I don't want to say it, and you don't want to hear it.

"You know I've got preferences. Dude, you have them, too. Didn't stop you from doing Sin." It was a cheap shot, and he took it. "Did Liz ever stop begging for details, or are you still getting berry tarts while she tries to pry it out of you?"

"That was different!" Baron complained, leaning forward to get another beer from the case on the table. "That was me. You know I hate to lose a bet. I still don't know if I won that. I'm pretty sure there was supposed to be an actual chick in there, somewhere."

The can hissed as he opened it. "Either way, I got showed. Lesson learned. Fake tits are just as good, and Mr. L's a lucky man. Not something I meant to do, but I don't regret it." Another pause, then a slight smile. "Tarts are in the fridge, if you want one."

"Would you do it again?" Arkady washed the question out of his mouth with beer.

"I don't know." Baron shrugged. "I didn't think I'd do it the first time. I could blame him. I could say it was all his fault, but it isn't. I can't blame him any more than I can blame any number of chicks who got me high. He made the choice a lot more appealing, but it's still a choice I made, and one I don't regret making. No harm done, and I had a good time. If he asked me again — just asked — I don't know if I would. Probably a situational thing. If he nudged me even a little, though, I think my pants would be on the floor. No regrets. None."

"Don't ever tell Liz that. Please!" Arkady shook his head. "She'll never stop whining about it."

"Why hasn't he? Do you know?"

"With her? I think it's because Sev's such a headcase. You're really the only one of us Sin's fucked, and that's because you had to make that bet. I kissed him, once. Same night. And I almost regret that." There wasn't enough beer in the world to make this comfortable, Arkady decided. "I didn't believe him, so he showed me what he could do. I wasn't expecting it; he didn't enjoy it. He pushed hard to get me to stop, and it was like getting smacked in the face. I wouldn't do it again. Not with him. He pushed back so hard I don't know if I could. I didn't know it was possible. Not for him, for me. I didn't know it was possible, and then I was kissing him, and then he told me to stop, and the whole thing just turned gross. I really don't know what happened, but I … It's not something I want to do again."

"You wish you could do that." Surprise crept into Baron's voice, as he realised it. He had an uncanny sense about these things. "You wish you could make people fuck off with the power of your voice."

"Of course I do! Don't you?" Like it was the most obvious thing anyone had ever said.

"That's not my issue, man. I've got issues, but not that one." Baron just shrugged. "People don't take me seriously; I forget to get off the powder; I forget the names of girls after they leave… But, I don't have any use for backing people off like that. I like being famous. I love people pawing at me. I'm not like you and Mr. L."

"You know he's going to kill you if you don't stop calling him that."

"I only call him that when he's not looking. Or when I'm trying to piss him off." Baron grinned. "Don't look at me like that! You do it, too!"

"Just because it keeps him from…"

"… hyperventilating and freaking the hell out?"

"Yeah. I keep forgetting you're paying more attention than I am." Arkady finished his beer, closed his eyes, and tossed the can over his shoulder. The can clanked into the bin, against the far wall, and his eyes slid open smugly.

"I hate you."

"It's just practice." Just like Baron knew people, Arkady knew trajectory and the weight of an empty can. "You always put the trash in the same place, when we're drinking."

"… Asshole." Baron sulked into his beer for a while. "So, you're that into Mariella?"

"She's nice, she's pretty, she doesn't seem to care that I'm a lazy drunk. Whatever goes wrong, and something will go wrong — you know me, dude — can't possibly be worse than anyone else. As long as she doesn't break my nose on the way out the door, I'll be fine."

"Fine, as in, no worse than you usually are after a breakup." A weighted pause hung between them. "Three cases of Pabst and a Joy Division album?"

"The Stooges. I can feel it from here. It'll be a Stooges album."

Baron leaned over and heaved his bass into his lap, from where it rested against a chair. About half a measure in, Arkady recognised the song and started to tap out the drum line with his knuckles on anything he could reach.

"Who's the asshole now? I say The Stooges, and you give me this?"

"There's nothing in my dreams, just some ugly memories…" Baron sang, something a little more like on-key than usual, because he was trying not to laugh.

"Such an asshole. For the record." Arkady didn't miss a beat.

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