|Location||The Fat Greek - Mutant Town|
|Summary||Rich and Ro have some.|
| The Fat Greek is a restaurant set smack in the middle of Mutant Town, set on a lot just big enough to set up a small patio out front. The interior of the restaurant is a modern take on the traditional eateries of Mainland Greece. A large, open dining room with freshly polished hardwood flooring, clean white stucco walls and ample lighting create a cheerful and welcoming environment for customers and employees alike. Set in the direct center of the ceiling is a massive wooden chandelier, designed to look like the wheel of an oversized boat.
Three communal dinner tables have been arranged into a U in the middle of the dining space, with a raised platform for live music and other forms of entertainment. Of course there are several smaller tables and private booths set against the walls and windows for those desiring a more private eating experience.Even though it's a relatively new establishment, it already seems to have attracted a loyal crowd of both repeat customers and those enticed by the delicious myriad of smells always pouring out onto the street.
Mondays are Greek Feast night, with an array of deals on platters groaning with food, in enough different arrangements to satisfy almost any fan of Greek. As one might predict, the Fat Greek is doing brisk business, the air warm with mouth-watering aromas. Rohan gives the hostess a wink as he arrives, and is immediately shown to a small table by the window. "It helps when you have a flatmate in the kitchen," he says. "However, I have to loudly praise all the food and enthuse about whoever cooked it. It's my way of making up for the fact Holly coughed up a hairball on his shoes the other day."
"Wow, that sounds like a real hardship," Richard deadpans as he trails after Rohan to sit at the table with him. "Complimenting your roommate's cooking? You've got it rough, man." There's the hint of a twitch of a grin somewhere at the corner of his mouth, though.
Rohan sighs, theatrically, and settles into a chair, taking hold of the menu. "Life is so hard," he agrees. He glances up. "You know, I almost ended up working here once. Sumit offered to put in a word for me, after that Chinese place I worked at for a bit...let me go. But they didn't have any spaces in the kitchen, only for servers, and I was rescued by the job offer from Open Hands." He waves the menu in Richard's direction. "The question is--how much souvlaki do you think you can eat?"
"Well, I tend to need a lot of calories with my power, so honestly probably more than most people," Richard says, his smile curving lopsidedly into existence. "But it's not like I'm trying to prove something here."
"Maybe," muses Rohan, looking back at the menu, "if I'd become a server here, I'd have met my true love, and not be eating dinner with someone like you." His voice is light, however, and his expression mischievous as he glances up. "We'll order a ton in any case, and live off leftovers for a week. Remember--I've seen your kitchen."
"Wow. /Wow/." Richard lays a hand over his heart, looking truly hurt. "My companionship is a /gift/, and my kitchen is none of your business, and also Jeremy keeps trying to force real food into it nowadays, so there's /totally/ stuff there."
"Mmhmm." Rohan sounds just a little skeptical at the idea of 'real food' in Richard's kitchen. "I'm your friend. I'm just looking out for you." He waves down a server and gives an order that includes a lot of food and a certain amount of alcohol. "How are things, though? I mean...things. You know. Things."
"Things," Richard deadpans back at him. "I guess these vague, generic 'things' are going all right. I saw that team that went gallivanting off is back safe and sound, so that's good." He quirks his brow a bit at Rohan, almost a little challenging.
"I'm really sorry I missed that," says Rohan with a sigh. "Running off to a fantasy realm...mages, dragons, horses..." His voice trails off a little bit. He adds, offhandedly, "The trainer at the stables is teasing me with the possibility of exercising a really nice horse and being paid for it--but it means treks out to Jersey, apparently. I mean. Speaking of horses." He shrugs, and adds more quietly, "I mean, with stuff the other week. You and Jeremy and all that and--I'm not sure if I'm good talking about feelings unless I'm upset or drunk."
"Dude." Richard's expression goes serious, and he sets both hands on the table to look at Rohan with such earnest focus. "I'm saying this as your friend. /Nothing/ is worth going to Jersey." He'll get to that other part after this joke is done.
"Is New Jersey /really/ that bad?" wonders Rohan. "There's some stables out there, apparently. Somewhere," he says with the vagueness of someone who's never bothered to acquaint himself with geography outside NYC.
"I mean, it's the armpit of New York, but sure, if you really /want/ to." Richard shrugs in that meaningful way that says, 'If you value our friendship you'll agree with me that New Jersey is the worst place on Earth.'
"Well," says Rohan. "I'll have to go there first, right? To see if I agree?"
Richard gives Rohan a thin sort of look, but doesn't argue. 'Fine,' it says. 'FINE.' He orders a beer from their waitress instead and lets Rohan handle the souvlaki end of things. "Anyways. Jeremy's great. I guess he's gonna have to deal with converting some magic treasure into actual US dollars, but." He clears his throat and hesitates on whatever he was going to say next.
Rohan waits until their drinks arrive, and wraps his hands around his beer. "But?" he echoes with a raise of his eyebrows.
"No, everything's cool, nothing's wrong with /Jeremy/." Richard's mouth twitches just hearing himself say that. "It's just that it's -- weird. The whole poly thing. Whenever it comes up. I mean, that thing with Valerie, and Jeremy was kind of like, 'Maybe not Valerie, but in /general/,' you know. 'Don't have to say no' or whatever."
Rohan is quiet for a moment, watching his beer thoughtfully. "Yeah," he says quietly. Another long pause. "You mean," he says, slowly, as if just making sure he understands. "Jeremy is poly, and you're...not. And...he'd be cool if you--went with other people."
"Yeah. Kind of -- that." Richard's smile twists a bit wryly. "It's crazy, right? I mean, people did that back -- uh, in my day. But not so -- much. Or openly? I don't know. Everything kind of happens more nowadays. I told him it still feels like cheating."
Rohan's mouth curves up a little at the corners. He picks his beer up and then sets it back down. "To be honest," he says slowly, "I...I've never really been in a real relationship. Like an adult one. I don't think I've ever thought about it."
"Well." Richard considers his beer. "I have, and I've only ever slept with that person while I was in the relationship."
Rohan is quiet a moment more. He says, quietly, "When I was--I mean with Sky, in India, I mean--I had to go on the run just as it was about to get serious." There is more than a little sorrow clinging to his voice. "But I didn't. I just...wasn't really interested in playing the field at the time. But I found myself thinking, later, here, if she wanted someone else and me--that'd be okay. And--I had to think about it, with the Valerie thing and I..." He stops short.
Richard watches Rohan quietly, lifting his beer to sip for a moment. He stays silent as Rohan stops short and gives him space to finish the thought.
Rohan rubs his jaw, ruffling his short beard. "I think," he says slowly, "that I don't need to be sleeping around when actually involved with someone else. But--if the other person wanted to sleep with someone else...I think I'd be okay. If we talked it out. Without my knowing...that'd feel like betrayal."
"Right." Richard scratches at his stubble in unconscious mirror of Rohan. "Jeremy's said from the beginning that he wouldn't do anything without talking to me first. I feel like he's trying to find these hilarious baby steps of things I'd be into to get me comfortable. You know, like--" With the slightest hint of embarrassment, his voice drops a touch. "A threesome, or like -- um. He -- watches." This is really hard for him to say out loud okay. "This is really embarrassing."
Rohan takes a swallow of his beer, but gives his friend a gentle smile. "Well, you know, watching--or being watched--can be really hot." HIs voice is low, but matter-of-fact. "I mean...everyone's wired differently, Rich. Sometimes what you're uncomfortable with turns out to be a turn-on. Sometimes, though--you're just not wired that way, and there's no shame in that either."
"...right," Richard says again, perhaps hitting his limit for how explicitly he can talk about his sex life. In public, at least. (Maybe in general.) "Um. Anyways."
Rohan clears his throat. "Er. In the end, it's something between you and Jeremy. Whatever you both can be comfortable with."
Richard actually gives a physical thumbs up, which is just a little ridiculous. "You talked to Valerie at all since tacos?"
Rohan swirls his beer around in its glass. "No," he admits. "I--well. Usually we just run into each other." He is quiet for a long moment. "I want to talk to her about this," he says quietly. "I want to be good with her. And I think it's the sort of thing that needs to be talked out. I think what she accused me of was wrong, but she wasn't completely wrong and--it's complicated. But I'm not sure she wants to talk."
"She hasn't wanted to talk much in the past from what you've said," Richard says, but there's a note of rueful sympathy to his voice. "It's like she's allergic to the very suggestion of any conversation that's too serious."
"Yeah," agrees Rohan, with a twist of his mouth. "Pretty much. Sometimes I think she's scared of anything getting too serious. Or she just doesn't care. I'm not sure." He takes a swallow of beer. "And." He hesitates.
Richard tips his head, falling silent again as Rohan hesitates on his next thought.
"It's not a thing," says Rohan almost savagely. "I know that. You know that. I set rules. I keep reminding myself it isn't a thing. But." His voice is very quiet. "I wonder if it being a thing would be such a bad thing. Or what 'a thing' even fucking is."
"It's not that it's a /bad/ thing," Richard says, watching him with considerable empathy. "I mean, I've had A Thing That's Not A Thing. But turning it into an Actual Thing only really works if both of you want it. It's not good or bad, it's just -- what both parties actually want."
"Yeah," says Rohan in simple agreement. He takes another swallow of beer, swishing it about his mouth once. "I'm not sure," he says, still quiet, "that she knows what 'a thing' is either."
Slowly, Richard exhales. "You know," he says, "I was a real -- a real jerk to Jeremy. Back when I broke things off. And sometimes in general. I was so twisted up and terrified. I was /lucky/ that he was still willing to give me a second chance, but I had to -- you know, figure all of that out myself. There's nothing he could have said that would have magically fixed it so that I was ready, you know?" He shakes his head. "There's nothing you can say, either. Don't put all your effort into trying to convince her."
Rohan catches his lower lip with his teeth. He sighs. "You're right." He is studying his beer again, as if it is genuinely interesting in its own right. "I'm not sure she wants anything more. But I also think she might actually be scared of being too close to anyone. And there's not really anything I can do to change her mind."
"Listen, I get it," Richard says, expression rueful. "She's super hot, and you guys have major chemistry. I know you got kind of pissed at me before, but I wasn't ever trying to dictate your sex life. It's just that you kind of kept going 'She doesn't want to talk to me but I want to talk to her' and that just kind of seems like a bad situation, you know? I don't want you to hurt yourself running into walls."
"I don't think anyone has the right to dictate anyone's sex life," says Rohan, expression thoughtful. "I think...that's kind of my stance on the whole poly thing? Monogamy's two people deciding they want to only sleep with each other, not one dictating to the other. But, yeah, that's sort of it. And maybe I'm not making the wisest decisions here. Like the fact she keeps short-circuiting my brain and I keep leaping over the actual talking things out."
"Hey, I've shown a whole lot of restraint not picking you up and shaking you sometimes," Richard says with a snorting laugh. "You've probably done the same."
"Isn't that what friends are for?" asks Rohan. "Not picking up and shaking you sometimes? And sometimes picking you up and shaking you when you really do deserve it?"
Richard's grin widens. "Something like that," he agrees. He finishes off his beer and glances around for their waitress. "So what do you think I should do, then? That you're not picking me up and shaking me about?"
"Bingo," suggests Rohan, face perfectly straight.
"Bingo," Richard echoes, looking thoughtful in turn. "Any particular items on the card?"
"Under the B, 13," suggests Rohan. He gestures with his beer. "I'm not sure what you're asking. What you should do in general? Or to keep me in line?"
"Naw, man, about this whole--" Richard scrubs at the back of his head, gaze sliding away embarrassedly. "Never mind," he mumbles. "Not even a real problem, is it? 'Go have sex with more people.' Boo hoo, Rich."
"Hey, some people are just not into that," says Rohan. "And that's okay. But the thing, I guess, is whether you don't want to sleep with other people because you just genuinely don't want to, or whether because some moral voice in your head is judging you."
Richard makes a noncommittal noise in response to that and manages to waive down their waitress long enough to get another beer. He's quiet a moment longer, considering the glass, when he asks, "And what're /you/ gonna do?"
"Well," begins Rohan. It seems a prelude to a longer remark, but he is quiet for a very long time. Finally, he continues, "Well, I guess, there are three things I can do: carry on as I am, actually talk to her, or extract myself from the whole situation."
"Those do seem to be three options," Richard agrees.
Rohan's mouth twists a little. "I'm not sure which way to jump," he admits. "It'll take some thought."
"Mm," Richard says, another noncommittal noise, and takes a sip of his beer. (I wonder if they're ever getting souvlaki.)
The souvlaki arrives! Two platters with various skewers, with rice and Greek salad and potatoes, and even a side of kalamari. It smells delicious. Rohan reaches for a fork. "And I'm scared too," he says, still with a crooked smile. "I'm scared of being hurt again. But--I don't want to not do things because I'm scared."
"I get that," Richard says quietly. "If you're gonna leap, though, make sure it's for someone who's gonna catch you." He reaches for a fork, too.
"Good advice." The twist in Rohan's smile was a little sad. He works a piece of chicken off the skewer. He nibbles at it, before asking, "You don't have to answer this, Rich. But--do you ever look at people and think, 'I'd fuck her--or him--if not for Jeremy?'"
"I--" Richard stalls enough in his answer that it's probably an answer in and of itself. "I wouldn't -- put it like that," he says delicately. "But I'm not -- /not/ attracted to people because I'm with him."
"Yeah," says Rohan. "But everyone's attracted to someone unless they're dead. Occasionally looking at someone and thinking they're cute doesn't mean you're poly. It's...if what's holding you back is Jeremy." He snorts. "Listen to me. I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about."
"I don't really think that everyone who's wanted to have sex with someone else while in a relationship is poly, either," Richard says a touch dryly.
"Look, I'm trying to work this out," says Rohan, with a gesture of his souvlaki'd fork. "I'm not exactly an expert. Er. Maybe you'll kick me for this but--maybe you should watch some voyeur porn and see if it does anything for you."
"Oh my God." Richard sinks into his seat, covering his face with one hand.
"Look." Rohan keeps his voice down. "That's perfectly sensible advice."
"This is a ridiculous conversation," Richard tells him. And then, as if in counter, he says, "You don't have to answer /this/, but do you ever think that maybe the reason you feel like you could leap for Valerie is knowing she's safely not interested in being leaped at?"
"That doesn't make any sense," argues Rohan. "If I don't want to get hurt, why would I set up a situation where I would?"
"Because people /totally/ set themselves up for things like that! It's the classic 'I like you because you're unavailable and that means we'll never actually happen' thing." Richard spears a bit of chicken with his fork. "It makes just as much sense as your voyeur porn thing."
"What?" protests Rohan. "Your boyfriend is suggesting it; doesn't it make sense to test whether you're into it or not before other people are involved?" He spears a piece of kalamari. He hesitates. "Sometimes," he says, "I wonder if it's more that I'm really lonely than anything else."
Richard's expression sobers as he watches Rohan. "It could be," he says. "Loneliness -- it's like a pit. It can feel like you're drowning in it."
"I mean," says Rohan, skewering a piece of lamb, "I'm not alone. I have you, and all these other friends, and that's great. But--a warm body pressed up against you, a hand to hold sometimes..."
"No, you're right, it's different," Richard says gently. "I'm not, like -- insulted or anything. It's different."
Rohan swallows. He reaches for his beer, and manages a twisted smile. "I'm glad you're here, though," he says a little awkwardly. "Even when I ignore your very good advice."Richard's smile goes soft and a little crooked. "I'm glad you're here, too," he says. "Even when you totally ignore my brilliance." And then, with a shrug, he digs into souvlaki.