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Feb 23, 2020 6:31 PM
valentine furnishes his new house
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Valentine is watching him.

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(He likes Valentine watching him. It's terrible.)

"How so? -- I don't disagree, mind, I'd just like to hear your thoughts."

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He nods, and thinks about it, twirling his fork between his fingers.

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"You may sit down, if you'd like."

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He folds to the cushion immediately, eagerly, legs crossed tailor-fashion.

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"It's so..."

He stabs a green bean with a slight excess of force.

"Look at all those stupid people who want to not–be in pain, or die in childbirth, or whatever. Look at how fucking unvirtuous. I hate it."

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"You could stop reading the book, you know."

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"No. I want to hate the entire thing."

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"A second time."

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"My reading comprehension is better."

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"What changed?"

It's surreal, to be here with them in the dining room, to be sitting on the floor, to be discussing literature.

(Surreal: above the real. Better than the real.)

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“I was sixteen last time.”

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“I think it’s perfectly reasonable either way.”

He takes a bite of pasta, hums in satisfaction to himself.

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He carefully averts his eyes from the sight of Valentine eating; waits for Cato to start before he touches his own food.

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"...why do you do that?"

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"--you told me to."

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“...what?”

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"...the first time we ate together. You made me stop looking at him."

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“I’m pretty sure I didn’t do that.”

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"But you did. You kicked me."

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He thinks back, tries to remember.

 

“—you weren’t eating anything. I don’t care where you look.”

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"--oh."

He'll eat blindly, then, eyes fixed on Valentine.

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Okay maybe he cares a little.

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He feels very admired.

He doesn’t enjoy his food any less for it.

Near the end of the meal, as Cato brings his plate to the sink, he picks up a sliver of potato delicately between his fingers and holds it out towards Jean.

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Somehow, this is better than anything else he's been fed today.

Jean leans over, carefully, hands neatly behind his back. He doesn't indulge himself -- doesn't let his lips do more than brush Valentine's fingers -- but he makes it beautiful, and he doesn't try to hide what it does to him.

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