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23 February 2014 @ 04:26 pm
[shared 'verse: party remix] care  
title: The Sandwich Means I Love You 
rating: PG
word count: 708
community: writerverse
prompt: Phase #09: Challenge #28: February Prompt List (big red, completely dense, all tied up)
pairing: Mariel+Tristan
summary: Tristan takes care of Mariel when she stops eating properly after a bad break up.
notes: disordered eating, implied gaslighting

Tristan paused for a moment under the row of autumny trees, but he wasn’t admiring the picturesque view, with the red brick college buildings and the lazy stream. His eyes were fixed on a smear of red hair like a fire engine further along the path.

“Hm?” asked Mariel, turning back to him. She had gone on a few steps since he stopped. “You good?”

“Fine,” said Tristan, a little too brightly.

“Your hip?” Mariel spoke quietly, concerned.

Tristan shook his head. “Not exactly,” he said. “Let’s…” he glanced past her; the fakey crimson hair, and the woman who wore it, drew closer. “Lunch?”

With that, he turned sharply and set off determinedly down a side path towards the food court on campus, all the white praying that Big Red wasn’t hungry. Mariel followed him, nonplussed.

“You just finished that frappe thing,” said Mariel, who didn’t believe in anything but coffee in her coffee. “Are you still hungry?”

“I’m not still hungry,” said Tristan, quickly.

“Don’t worry about me.” Mariel shrugged and wondered if this was one of those times when Tristan decided coffee and cigarettes weren’t a balanced diet and bought her a huge meal. “I had -“

“I’m hungry again,” corrected Tristan, “but yeah, you could eat something. You had a jam sandwich your kid brother made you for breakfast,” Tristan checked his watch, “two hours ago.”

“There was a lot of jam,” said Mariel, defensively.

Tristan rolled his eyes and budged open the heavy front doors of the historic campus building without pausing to appreciate the intricate woodwork. Mariel caught the heavy door behind them so it wouldn’t slam shut and followed him down the twisting ramp from the student center to the caf. He kept glancing over his shoulder.

“So,” said Mariel, balancing a tray on each hand, one for her and one for him. “You can’t really be hungry enough for lunch already. Why aren’t we just stopping at the SC for one of your weird energy bars?”

“I thought I saw a ghost,” said Tristan, evasively. Even if he had just finished a Frappuccino on their way over from Mariel’s place, he could still eat, and he helped himself to a slice of the first batch of wood oven pizzas and, after a moment’s contemplation, a little paper boat full of French fries.

“Sure,” said Mariel, “the ghost of girlfriends past.”

Tristan paused, mid-crouch, which was a mistake. He winced and straightened, leaning heavily on his cane. He looked her in the eye. “You saw her?”

“‘Fraid so,” said Mariel, trying to sound casual. She set down the trays - one empty, one full of greasy cafeteria food - and grabbed two bottles of iced tea from the bottom rack in the refrigerated cabinet.

“I was hoping you wouldn’t,” he said, and then, “you can’t have green tea for lunch.”

“This isn’t lunch,” said Mariel. “It’s,” she checked her phone. “Elevensies.”

“Fine, hobbit, at least get some dried mangos. I worry about you,” said Tristan.

Mariel took a sealed bag of dried mangos, which she fully intended to throw in her satchel bag and not eat for another few hours. Tristan must have caught on, because he took two cupcakes from the display and set one deliberately on her otherwise empty cafeteria tray.

“You’re worse than your mother,” she said.

“I’m not,” countered Tristan, but he let her push past him and hand her ID card over to swipe and pay for both of their meals. “I’m not telling you to get married,” he said, after a pause to ring them up. He lead them over to an empty table under the stairs. “In fact, I am actively working on preventing you from getting married.”

“We weren’t going to get married.” Mariel made a face at the cupcake. “Gimmie a sec,” she added, jumping up. She returned a moment later with a plastic fork, which she used to scrape the icing off her cake. Tristan wrinkled his nose, but at least she was eating.

“Close enough,” said Tristan. He had no love for Mariel’s ex, Katherine, and unlike Mariel, he never liked her. “You were all tied up in her crazy.”

“Tristan,” said Mariel, suddenly forceful. “Let’s … just don’t. I’ll eat the stupid cupcake, okay?”

title:
Stairs to Everywhere
rating: PG
word count: 536
community: writerverse
prompt: Phase #09: Challenge #28: February Prompt List (stairs to everywhere, forgotten)
pairing: Mariel+Tristan
summary: Mariel helps Tristan when the history building elevators are out of order.
notes: this month's theme was "hero vs villain," so this fic is really "Tristan vs. institutionalized ableism"

“Out of order,” Tristan read. He shook his head, incredulously, and looked from the yellow tape across the one elevator in the history building to the politely worded sign with the sad emoticon from a set of early 2000s clip art. He rubbed his eyes, as if willing himself to open them again and find the elevator working again, but no luck.

Shifting his backpack, he made for the stairs. He debated calling the professor and saying he would be late, just to be snotty. He would only be a few minutes late, but his class was on the third floor of a building inexplicably numbered from the ground floor up, unlike every other building on campus. He didn’t mind missing a few minutes of lecture, but he was going to mind climbing these stairs for the rest of the evening and probably well into the following morning.

He started his way upwards with a sigh. His progress was slow and shuffling. He might have moved faster if he hadn’t worried about sitting in a hard plastic chair for the next three hours. It occurred to him that he hadn’t packed a snack and he wouldn’t have time to go down the stairs, to the cafeteria, and back up in the seven minutes allotted by their professor to buy dinner. He would have to bum something off one of his classmates, maybe that nice girl Layla.

“Tristan!”

Tristan looked up from his feet, which he had been concentrating on putting on the right step and not overbalancing. Mariel hung over the railing of the next flight up.

“Elevator’s out of order,” said Tristan, by way of explanation.

“I texted you,” said Mariel. She made her way down to meet him.

“Missed it,” said Tristan, through gritted teeth. “Left my phone at home.”

“You okay?” she asked.

Tristan glanced behind himself and up the next flight. No one else was on the stairs. He shook his head. “I’ve been better.”

Mariel didn’t ask, just eased his backpack from his shoulder. She slung it over her own satchel. Tristan might have clocked anyone else who tried that, but it was different with Mariel. He bought her cupcakes, and sometimes she carried his bags, but only when there was no one else to see. She handed it back to him halfway up the last flight of stairs, and he shrugged it back on.

“Don’t you have something better to do?” asked Tristan, not ungratefully.

“Translations,” said Mariel, “but I was just going to -“ she was on her way out for a cigarette and a cheap cup of coffee, but that didn’t seem like any way for repay Tristan for letting her help him. “I’ll go get a fruit salad or something from the Java Hut. Wanna do dinner after?”

“Sure,” said Tristan. “Mariel?” he asked, as she turned to go buy something to snack on before dinner. “Thanks.”

Mariel shrugged. “Don’t get used to the door-to-door service,” she said over her shoulder.

“‘Course not,” he said. He checked his watch; three minutes late as he pushed open the classroom door. He didn’t need to worry about the out of order elevator; half his class was still scraggling in, anyway.
 
 
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