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Themenübersicht (Neueste zuerst)
Geschrieben von <g12>Serafina Rossi</g12> - 16.08.2022, 12:28
What was he saying. What on earth was going on. WHAT WAS THIS VIBE. HELP. Who was supposed to come and help her? That, she did not know, nor did she care. She was just beyond the point of freaking out. Be it about her own inability to stop herself when she was saying useless stuff because she was feeling embarrassed or the fact that whatever-the-fuck he just said sounded very questionable. At least, by his new standards. All she could manage was a perplexed look whilst she was staring at him. After seconds of silence, she blurted: “That’s good to know.” Later, she would bash her head against the wall. Or take a very cold shower.
This whole coffee grinding thing was a mess, really screwing with her head. And body, apparently, since she was still feeling weirdly hot and tingly. The hand he had touched was feeling especially tingly, and she wasn’t sure what to make of that. Better to ignore it for now, and read too much into it later. She was the kind of person who’d lay awake in bed for hours on end, pondering, missing out on valuable sleep. Overthinking was kind of a specialty of hers, as well as interpreting things the wrong way and the reading too much into it thing. It was probably just that she hadn’t seen him in such a long time, that it was overwhelming her. Naturally she’d be stuck comparing the Leonidas she used to know with this new version of him. Surely, he was doing the same thing with her. It was normal. Nothing weird, nothing to be concerned about. There was no way this was weird. This was her best childhood friend she was talking about! So what if he grew up? Two individuals of the opposite physical sex would… Naturally be aware? Whatever!
After the fiasco was over and she was on her best way to sort out her emotions properly enough to hold a conversation, she changed the topic. Stirring it to a different direction was probably her best idea she’d had the whole day.
She’d rather not share her food with others, as they couldn’t possibly be prepared enough to endure her ‘skill’, or lack thereof. It’d probably knock them straight out. Cooking really wasn’t her strong suit, even though she really loved to eat. Especially sweets or baked goods. She’d kill for some lemon ricotta cake. Considering which country they were in right now, she was probably better off just waiting until she had a chance to go back to Italy before giving in to her craving. “Sounds like a pain”, she groaned before taking a sip of her coffee. Hazelnut and brown sugar notes were budding on her tongue. Bliss. “Canteen food is already not good. It probably won’t be any better in America.” Her dislike for American ‘cuisine’ was fairly obvious, and she wasn’t gonna hide it. Well, at least not in front of Leonidas, who might still think differently than her when it came to this. At least they could agree on Italian coffee clearly being superior.
She took mental notes of the information he gave her, finding it weird that a training room was so high up to begin with. Why not train outside in the courtyard or something? Did they not have a proper gym? Frowning, she contemplated over possible reasons for using the attic, before shaking off the thought through shaking her head slightly. “Sure have.” A gentle tugging on the corner of her mouth, before crumpling down. Ah, shit. Here we go again. ‘So I know where to find you later.’ This time, her mental image from before popped up in her head – unasked, yet again – but the roles were reversed. Why was it always the showers? Maybe she should place multiple locking runes on her door, just to play it safe. Clearing her throat before raising her cup to her lips, she desperately tried to get rid of these annoying mental images. She really had some issues, didn’t she. “136”, she finally replied after basically finishing half of her drink again. “But if you walk in on me while I’m changing”, she growled leaning in, “I’ll make sure to skin you alive.” The sweetest smile appeared on her face before she emptied her cup and got out of her chair. “Pick me up for dinner?” Serafina placed the empty cup next to the espresso machine before heading to the still open door of his room. Just as she was about to leave, she placed her hand on the door frame, halting before looking back at him. Struggling to say the words, she hesitated. “I’m really glad you’re back, Leonidas.” And that she really was. Not giving him a chance to respond, she left the room without even looking back at him, heading towards her own.


- SCENE END -
Geschrieben von <g12>Leonidas di Angelo</g12> - 16.08.2022, 09:00
What could he say to it already big? Partly he didn't even understand what she wanted to tell him! Why was he kinky? Because of the joke he had allowed himself? Or what was she referring to now? And how did she even... come up with that? He had spent almost his entire teenage years in isolation, with only contact with the mundie who had kidnapped him. He had completely skipped the various trial and rebellion phases and had immediately grown up to a young adult. His way of thinking and acting - outside of this mostly playful conversation between his childhood friend and himself - showed more of a soldier who had spent several years in training in various war zones and had learned to survive there.
However, he could do little with this flirtatious kind of innuendo. For him this made relatively little sense, precisely because he had no experience in a romantic or sexual direction. Accordingly, he could not help but stare at her perplexed. For him it was a puzzle, which she complicated even more with further words and her strange saucy grin. Fortunately, he found his language again relatively quickly and told her the obvious right away. To him it had all sounded so strange, as if he didn't want to spend any time with her. And exactly the opposite was the case. However, now he was the one who was stared at with big googly eyes. What?!

Somehow, they got their act together and changed the subject a bit. Now she hadn’t expected such a nearly mean but steaming with self-esteem comment. Shortly noted by her, he continued with another question. Why was she so keen on destroying doors and kicking ass? Asking for a spare key was the best solution for her problem of getting to the espresso machine. What she imagined, he couldn’t tell and better did not want to know. Gladly, he couldn’t read minds. Otherwise, he would be even more lost than just a few moments ago. Raising a brow he looked at her amused. ”if I have the choice between a broken door, you sitting here, enjoying coffee and calling me slowpoke and other names with a smug smile and the one without the first one, I won’t dillydally around.” Wait… Had that been some kind of confession? Well, he couldn’t deny that he liked when she smiled. Somehow his heart stumbled in the process, which was extremely worrying and confusing at the same time. Only had he experienced that in such an extend and such a quantity during their conversation right now. Little did he know, he had the same feeling back then with Lydia. But even then his heart had bloomed when Serafina had smiled, laughed, giggled. Maybe he had even just got involved in some small pranks with her because he wanted to see her that excited and happy, enjoying every second. Offering her any time frame she wanted to train together was another special treatment not many would get from him. Seeing the smile turn into her grin on her face was enough for him to be happy. And he let her know that with just a few simple words.

Honestly, he hadn't quite understood the reason for her sudden jumping up. Was she really so dependent on caffeine? However, he dismissed this as a natural Italian urge for more coffee. His own cup had only a few centimeters of the elixir of life itself. To be honest, the vessel was only half full, which really almost bordered on complete ebb. Until he had drunk it completely, however, it would still take some time. Finally, he put his priority on Serafina, who had immediately taken a position by the espresso machine and was waiting for an explanation. Instead of just sitting and giving her instructions from the few arm's length away, he rose and joined her. What this would cause in her for a tangle of thoughts and feelings, he could not foresee. Would he have simply remained in place? Probably less. He was much too obliging for that and did not like to let a guest - which she was in his rooms - do everything alone. Opening the drawer for her, he let her choose. Of course, he only had a small handful of the various roasts, but he could always get more if he needed them.
With what money, actually? After all, he wasn't working a mundie job and earning that kind of money. No, amazingly, he still had access to his account, which had been set up for him in New York. In the past, he had not drawn any money from it, which is why he had accumulated quite a bit there and could invest in the espresso machine and the coffee. But if this should become scarce... then they had a problem. But until then they still had some time and he would certainly have already visited his family and friends in Rome, so he could bring some directly from home.
Serafina's choice was a Lavazza with a light hint of brown sugar and hazelnut. Why he had bought this one as well, he didn't know anymore. Perhaps he had been looking for variation. After all, he couldn't just have the darkest and most tart bean varieties on offer, which, when prepared correctly and with the most vigor, made the spoon stop in the middle of the cup, could he? However, the question also arose, whom he had still wanted to give a taste with it... Had he secretly thought and hoped that someone from his homeland would come to him, after he had been there for a visit? After all, this particular variety somehow matched his childhood friend - in his opinion... I wonder if he had thought about her when he bought it...? No, that was silly! Absolutely silly... but not absurd.
Anyway, he helped her to fill the coffee grinder. Not really noticing her looks, or rather dismissing them as nothing, he set the machine down in front of her so she could start grinding. Watching her, he noticed something that worried him slightly. She seemed somehow... strained? Instead of confused feelings - which, as already mentioned, was not his strong point - another thought occurred to him. The coffee grinder was still very new and he was accordingly strict.

Ready to help, he stood behind her at a bidden distance - so he didn't have to twist and couldn't accidentally ram her with his elbow. Putting his hand on her, he began to operate the crank together with her over the first initial difficulties. He noticed how his senses suddenly felt so much sharper. As if they had just received a hefty dose of alertness. However, they were all focused on Serafina. The soft skin of her smaller hand, which was buried under his, the lovely scent of her perfume, which almost robbed him of all possible thoughts and completely emptied his head, trying to find the one after ... coffee and somehow... a mixture that he knew all too well, but could not grasp with his memories except roughly something in or about Rome ... the heat of her body that emanated from her, on top of that ... there was so much he could not enumerate it all. What was this effect? What was she doing to him? How could she stay so... Meanwhile, his heart was performing a choreography of a difficult ballet piece of the finest kind. A quick sideways glance at her didn't help it either, just made it jump even higher and bolder. The contours of her cheeks, which he could make out through her hair, the small nose, which he had liked to poke in the past to elicit a giggle or even just an eye roll, her eyes... her ocean-colored eyes, in which he could sink... Damn! What was he thinking!!! What was that!!! A bit embarrassed, he pulled back after he noticed the handle was easier to use again. Joining her side again, he first had to sort himself out internally, which is why he reached for his coffee cup out of an act of overreaction and first took a few hearty sips. Only when he sucked in air, he noticed, it was empty. But perhaps that was all the better, because in the next moment Serafina's hand struck the tabletop. What was going on now? Had he done something wrong? Or why did she react so... aggressively? He wanted to take the work away from her, because she was in a strange mood. However, he didn't manage to actively move a fiber of his body, only his little hair stood up. With widened eyes he watched her open and close her mouth like a fish out of water, before she simply turned to filling the portafilter as if nothing had happened. By the angels, what was that all about?! Slightly worried about her, he continued to keep an eye on her. Almost with a certain urge to let off steam, she pressed the coffee powder into the filter with the necessary equipment, before letting it click into place and pressing the button. Silently they let only the hissing and humming of the machine fill the room. Still frozen like a pillar of salt, he watched her sit down again. It was all so ... strange! Rustling slightly, he finally broke his rigidity and took care of emptying the filter and refilling the grinder with the same roast for his own coffee. A slightly different taste couldn't hurt. Maybe all the completely black and strong espresso went to his head and he had imagined it all or perceived it more extreme? "I didn't think you were going to break it either. Every machine is just different...", he began, but stopped almost immediately. Why did he have to justify himself? What was the point?

The renewed crackling and crunching of the beans filled the room as he ground his own coffee with deft and quick turns. "There is a canteen where you can take a variety of food. As far as I know, though, you can cook your own if you want. However, chances are you'll have to share it with the mundies who are in charge of the kitchen work," he shared his half-knowledge on the matter. On it he had not paid attention usually further, his priorities were differently set. To have been set was now possibly more appropriate. "The training room is in the attic", all other basic equipment like a library and armory as well as some other rooms also existed, but these were less important. "Have you been assigned a room yet?", he stuck to the same theme. "So I know where to find you later." Was he interested in where he could find her? Clearly. Of course he didn't want to get rid of her, you could hear that clearly.
Geschrieben von <g12>Serafina Rossi</g12> - 15.08.2022, 19:34
Glad to have said what she had meant to say from the moment that she had confirmed with her very own eyes that he was, in fact, still alive and back, Serafina let out a silent sigh of relief. She had yelled at him, openly showing her displeasure for being kept out of the loop for over a week at this point, hugged him, teased him and told him that she would be waiting for him if he ever wanted to open up about what happened to her. No pressure, just an offer, which, hopefully, he understood. The last thing she should do was pushing him to talk about something he was clearly uncomfortable with. Even a basket case like her knew that. Or maybe, just maybe, she had grown up a little. Perhaps it was also just some kind of influence he had on her, with his annoying aura of someone who had his shit together.

So, the thing that was even worse than making stupid jokes out of embarrassment in an attempt to distract someone else from one’s own discombobulation – she only imagined him like that for a split second, seriously! – was, when the person sitting on front of them just stared. Quietly, with a hint of bewilderment in their face. By the angels, what on earth was wrong with her? On one hand, she really wanted to know what Leonidas was thinking in this very moment. On the other, she’d probably rather not. Ignorance was a blessing, after all. Especially in this case, she thought. Unlucky for her that her mouth wasn’t done making a fool out of her, but at least she had a moment to breathe before that happened. ‘You mustn’t find an excuse to spend time with me. I hope you know that.’ Now it was her turn to just stare blankly. Did he seriously have to spell it out like that?! Now that was awkward.
Anyway, she managed to be an idiot yet again, so there wasn’t much time for her to ponder over his words. Since she was so busy with telling - no, screaming at and begging herself to please stop talking, he thankfully carried on the conversation, even if it left her with her mouth wide open. ‘If you can truly surprise me.’ Cocky much? “Wow”, she breathed, perplexed but also amused. “Rude.” Not that she was one to talk. 80% of this conversation had been her bashing him verbally, but she chose to ignore that. “Why wouldn’t I? I’d say I’m pretty damn dedicated to the cause-” Uhm, wait a damn minute. What did he just say? Asking for a spare key? Immediately, the thought she’d had before about him coming out of the shower, dressed with nothing but a towel wrapped around his lower body flooded back into her mind. She stiffened up visibly, blinking at him and his smug smile. Never in her life had she wanted to wipe such a smile off of his face so much before. Fortunately, she managed to pull herself together rather quickly this time around. “Doesn’t hurt to broaden one’s horizon by learning new skills, don’t you think?” Rolling her eyes yet again – if she kept this up, her blue marbles would pop right out of their sockets in her skull – she noted: “And if you dillydally too long, I’ll just get my kick by kicking you in the ass instead.” There was a lot of talk about ass-kicking coming from her side. At any rate, she was pleased with herself, so she smiled at him.

‘Whenever you’re ready, you let me know.’ After getting back some her faltering composure, her smile turned into a grin. “Alright, but don’t you dare to complain when I do!” Just the thought of getting special treatment caused her heart to flutter. Even back when they were kids, she had always enjoyed him spending time with her alone way too much, as if she were saying: ‘Y’all see that? We’re best friends!’ What a brat she had been. It must have been exhausting to deal with her attitude, even more so than now. Then again, that really wasn’t her problem. When he said he was looking forward to every single one of their – scheduled or additional? – training sessions, she swallowed hard. Why on earth was there a lump forming in her throat?

Well, it was safe to say that her attempt of avoiding his gaze and giving herself a different reason to be aware of him had backfired. All she had wanted to do was having a reason not to look at him for a minute. Instead of being able to focus her thoughts on something else, Leonidas made her even more aware of his presence, leaving her thoughts to become a complete mess. ‘Whyyy are you standing up. By the angels, Leonidas, please. Sit back down.’ But of course, he did not. Nope, he stood right next to her, opening a drawer to pull out a manual, old-school coffee grinder. Intensely staring at the various packaged brands of beans he had in the drawer, as if they were the most interesting thing in the world right now, she could feel herself starting to sweat. The hairs at the back of her neck and arms were standing up, almost alerted. There was something in the air that was sweet and unforgiving, piercing through her nose, causing her head to spin. Gently tugging on a feeling inside of her chest that she didn’t want to touch upon. And it sure as hell wasn’t the coffee beans. For fuck’s sake. It was driving her crazy. Desperately trying to calm down, she picked a bag of Lavazza dark roast that she knew had undertones of brown sugar and hazelnut. Everybody loved hazelnut, right? Not like she was able to properly think right now, anyway. ‘Seriously, Leonidas, can’t you be a little less dense?’ Hasn’t he been the one eyeballing her, seemingly analyzing her every move for the past few minutes? The way he was standing next to her, handling the coffee grinder in his hands, she realized how much he’d grown. He was taller than her, even if only by a couple of centimeters. Though he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, it still didn’t hide the muscles that moved as he grabbed the grinder and placed it in front of her. Yep, he grew up, alright. ‘Yes, yes. Grind the beans’, she thought to herself, though she felt more like screaming. What the hell was going on here? Taking the blend package she had decided on, Serafina tried her hardest to breathe calmly. His words, however, weren’t helping her achieving that. ‘Yeah, it’s pretty difficult and hard, alright.’ Now she was definitely screaming internally, but the only indicators of that were her rosy pink cheeks and her burning hot ears which she was covering with a movement of her hand, causing her hair to slide forward from behind her ear. Almost like a curtain, separating them and shielding her from his gaze. Hastily, she tried to follow his invitation to grind the beans herself, though the device didn’t want to comply to her efforts. But boy oh boy did she not see his next move coming.
Moving behind her, he placed his hand on hers. Serafina literally felt like she was about to choke to death on that lump that clogged the entirety of her throat. Even if he wasn’t touching her back, she could still feel the heat which his body was radiating through the fabric of his clothes. ‘Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…! What the fuck!’ Her body was as tense as a bowstring, her skin burning and prickling with an unknown kind of excitement. Convinced he could hear her heart beating out of her chest, she did not dare to look at him, though she could feel him glancing at her. Okay. So, speaking sexuality. It’s not like she wasn’t, well, aware. Of affected. She’d had crushes in the past, or found people attractive. Guys and girls alike. She wasn’t naïve or completely dense when it came to physical attraction. And he was attractive. Well, for a brother she had thought to be dead for the last 5 or 6 years. But this? He was seriously testing her strength right now. Wondering if he was even aware of what he was doing to her, she swallowed in an attempt to get that damned lump out of her throat. By the time he moved away, her skin felt like it was on fire, and there was a faint, yet telling, throbbing sensation in her lower abdomen. She could barely hear the words he spoke, because the blood running through her veins was loud as fuck. Still tense for a heartbeat or two, she was just standing there, hand on the coffee grinder before she finally got a move-on. As he had said, it was a little difficult at the beginning, but once the handle stopped being a bitch, it was easy. She was grinding her beans in silence, not speaking a word. Then again, what was she even supposed to say? Turned out that glancing at him through the hair that was still separating them was a mistake. Go figure. She stopped with turning the handle, and placed her hands on the free spaces next to it. Possibly with too much force, since she practically slammed her palms on it. At a loss for words, she opened her mouth, then closed it again before directing her attention to the machine. If she recalled correctly, he had opened it there… For someone who grew up in Italy and basically had coffee running through her veins, handling espresso machines was practically second nature to her. In any way, she managed to fill in the freshly ground powder where it belonged and pressed the right buttons after placing her empty cup where it needed to be. The only sound filling the air was the one of the espresso machine doing its job. Sera prayed for it to take a while longer, but of course, it didn’t. It completed its task efficiently, as it should. Angry with the appliance for not buying her a little more time, she stared it down, before grabbing her cup and then turning around to face Leonidas. She put on a winning smile, even though her cheeks were still flushed. “See”, she bragged seemingly proud and boastful. “Didn’t break it. So I guess you can trust me with it.” Cup in one hand, she went back to her place on the opposite side of the desk, happy for the physical distance it created between them. “So, does this place have a kitchen, or how do things work around here?” Change of topic, just to play it safe.
Geschrieben von <g12>Leonidas di Angelo</g12> - 15.08.2022, 15:35
Almost like children they bickered with one another in a playful way. Slowly he could gather the extend of how much he had missed her. Meanwhile, their conversation demonstrated how different they thought in some ways. Or how similar, in this special case. Well, he had imagined something even more violent than just a punch to the face with a potential broken nose but the direction was the same. ”More or less. Depending on your point of view.” Vaguely, he accepted that description nonetheless. The art of killing wasn’t that far away from that…

Gladly, they could close this little topic before they got to the main one. Obviously, everything from the past five years till the here and now. Everyone was eager to hear the story why he had left and where he had been. However, he didn’t want to, couldn’t quiet tell. Understanding Serafinas rage about him not sending any message to the Rome Institute, his family and friends that he was alive and back at the one in New York, he did not want her to think that they were insignificant. No one was to him. At first, he had tried to avoid a direct answer which earned him even more bitter comments from her. Again, he did not judge her but once they had reached a certain point, it was inevitable to actually tell her a bit. Just that he couldn’t tell her, didn’t want to be confronted with that chapter of his life that had lasted five long years. Too long. Too painful. Too much. Gladly, she accepted that one and didn’t push him farther. Acknowledging her offer with just a soft and thankful nod as a closing.

Back to something even more important for them. Basically, the Holy Grail for every true Italian. Coffee. Both took this subject far too serious in a more joking and teasing way. Almost pretending like they hadn’t had a bit of a deep talk before. While he had a more loose tongue with her than with everybody else he had encountered recently, he still sprinkled some seriousness into his words. Not at every point like her moving in with him which had totally been a provocational joke. That’s why he was caught off guard as she called him kinky all of a sudden. Another tone of her voice tangled in between her cheekiness which he couldn’t categorize. What was she talking about?! Yes, he wanted her here with him, talking and just spending time together. But … by the angels had this turned into a … strange and weird direction. Especially, ‘cause he couldn’t tell what she wanted to tell him. Her whole character seemed to transform in front of his eyes as she started fanning some air towards herself with her hand. He hadn’t even lit the fireplace! – and wouldn’t as he was more comfortable with and used to the slight chilly air, only a request could change that. Blinking slowly a few times he tried to figure out what this was all about. What was she up to? Like a deer in headlights he stared at her blankly. A flirt?! When in the last few minutes had he flirted with her? He did not even knew how to… Not being interested nor experienced in flirting, in general. With every second his confusion grew to a point where he looked with big eyes like an innocent puppy completely puzzled from all the new sensual influences and his surrounding at her. When she broke the eye contact, he was somehow glad. A short silence filled the room where his eyes turned towards the coffee in his cup. That had been … awkward. For both parties, as it seemed. What had she been thinking? No, no, he didn’t want to know! Probably, it was better for his mental sanity this way. Her real motive for the coffee incident – as one could call it – was obvious. Nonetheless, he cleared his throat to interrupt the uncomfortable silence that had started again. ”You mustn’t find an excuse to spend time with me. I hope you know that”, almost shyly he told her that, looking at her again. He had loved to spend time with her as a kid and now was no difference. She is his best friend, nothing could change that…

… even her cheeky and confusing comments and show acts. Heaven, what was that about again?! Sometimes he did not understood this splendid a e folle seniorita (gorgeous and crazy young lady). Wait… What was that? Shaking his head slightly in disbelief of his own thoughts, it seemed like he commented her words like a friend who wondered why he still wondered about the other's words at all. At least, her red ears showed him her own discomfort. Maybe she should really try to hold back with her comments.

”If you can truly surprise me, then I’m worried about myself”, he let her know with a lofty self-assurance whilst leaning back a bit. ”Why would you put in so much effort - learning to pick a lock or even destroying the door - if you could just ask for the spare key instead?”, he asked her with a slightly smug smile on his face while his brows where raised in question and he nipped some coffee. Was this a potential offering? Not necessary, but he wanted to know why she would think of the more violent and pricey version first instead of taking the easier road – even just in joking. That wasn’t rational but a perfectly potential presentation for another one of her weird comments. ”For your peace of mind, I spend most of the time in the Institute. If you ever have the sudden urge of needing a new kick of coffein, you will find me.” However, he suggested just go looking around for him, he would just leave the door unlocked for her in the future.

Besides all the weirdness and seriousness in parts of their conversation, she had started to unlock something in him. A bit of banging here, a bit of pushing and a last final explosion and the laughter erupted from deep inside him. His whole face lit up while his muscles eased a bit, only slightly tensed by the overwhelming force of joy that flooded his whole body at once. Even just for a short moment, he did not feel the pressure on his shoulders, not the shadows of his bad memories hoovering over everything like the sword of Damocles, not bothered by her eyes staring at him. Smiling at her, his facial expression turned back to the undefined and earnest one in a matter of seconds. A short glimpse of the soul deeply buried inside of him. How she could tickle him that easily into allowing him to surface, he didn’t understood either. His name from her mouth was even more heart-warming than before. Slightly skipping a beat it started drumming inside his chest, drumming against his rip cage in a soft and strong humming rhythm. Why had she all this random effects on him? Still amused about her assumption she could beat him in training, his eyes flashed slightly. ”You would grow tired of training with me every day. Let’s say whenever you are ready, you let me know”, a generous offer which allowed her to control their daily trainings in a degree. Normally, you often had set training times but for her he clearly made an exception. ”I am looking forward to every single one of them.” And not only them but generally in spending time with her.

The last few minutes he hadn’t paid much attention to the fullness or better emptiness of her cup, he had to admit. Not the best move of a host but somehow he could easily forget such things when deeply in conversation with her, throwing back every ball he got from her and sometimes at the same time trying to figure her out. Watching her walking towards the espresso machine, he stood up and joined her. Standing right next to her, he nod. ”First of all, you must grind the beans”, opening a drawer of the desk right underneath where some packages of exquisite Italian coffee brands – with different strength and tastes - , some measuring scoops and a manual coffee grinder resided. Handing her the latter, he let her decide which beans she wanted to use. Instructing her how to open the grinder – as this mechanism differed from type to type - , he helped her by filling the beans inside the grinder. ”You know the procedure. This might be a little difficult and hard at the first few turns”, he warned her and watched how she tried to turn the crank which did not move an inch. ”Wait… Let me help you”, he offered and stood slightly behind her. Being the gentleman he held a bit of distance between them, still his hand rested on hers as he helped her with the first few turns till it got easier. Feeling her soft skin against his, his fingers started to tickle. The slight scent of her perfume filled his nostrils and sunk into his mind. Nearly closing his eyes shortly, he was surprised of this urge as well about his drumming heart. Why? Just … why? Turning his eyes sideways he glanced into her face shortly, catching her side profile, her mystical, magical blue eyes – almost like he was trying to burn it into his mind – before he looked back to the grinder. ”You got it...”, not quiet a question as he cleared his throat silently afterwards. Letting go of her hand, he stepped back again, taking his place by her side, waiting for her to be finished and till he could show her the next steps.
Geschrieben von <g12>Serafina Rossi</g12> - 15.08.2022, 12:51
This more or less playful fighting made her want to smile. Just like when they were kids, always trying to one-up the other, coming up with a witty remark that would leave them speechless. How she’d missed him. At his oh so deep and meaningful words, she cackled. “Right, so, when I punch you in the face and blood comes out of your nose, can I call it art?” Perhaps she was feeling extra sassy today, since she needed to make up for all the lost time somehow, right?!
But even with all of the joking, he had been gone. Lost, missing, presumed dead. It pained her to see him like this, clearly struggling. The way he ran his hand through his hair, looking for the right words to say was much more like her than he’d think. Even if she was usually the first to prick the balloon, this time, she kept her mouth shut. She wanted to reach for his hand, but wasn’t so sure if he’d be fine with her touching him right now. Thinking back to it, she didn’t even consider if he’d be fine with her hugging him. But just because he didn’t push her away then – even hugged her back – didn’t mean he was fine with it now. Family and friends were most important to her, and even if she was a bitch to basically anyone else, she couldn’t bring herself to disregard his suffering. He’d always been both friend and family to her, and she’d just gotten him back. “I’m not going to push for answers.” Looking at him made her heart ache. “But I’ll be here for you when you’re ready. To listen.” His pained, struggling expression stirred up all sorts of emotions within her.

Luckily for them, one could always count on her to make an idiot out of herself when she was at a loss of words or as nervous as she was right now. So, they changed the topic, overly enjoying that look of his eyebrow rising up. “Oh, please”, she scoffed. It wasn’t like she was gonna burst into the room when he was showering or anything, so it should be fine, right? Visibly flinching at that thought, she tried to shoo away the mental image that just presented itself to her. Being the person that she was, she did the thing she’d always do when she was nervous: spewing bullshit and hoping the other party didn’t notice what was going on inside her head. “If you wouldn’t want me in here, you would’ve kicked me out a while ago instead of brewing me a cup of coffee.” A winning smile thrived on her face, before it turned playful. She cocked her head, as if she wasn’t sure if he heard him right. “Is that a threat? Sounds unexpectedly kinky, Leonidas.” Sera, what in the name of the angels are you doing?! But she was already in too deep and couldn’t stop her stupid, blabbering mouth. Fanning herself, as if she was feeling hot – which she was, by the way, but only because she was embarrassed for not being able to stop – she grinned: “I didn’t know you were such a flirt.” Please, PLEASE shut up! Internally screaming, she eyed her now empty cup instead of looking at him. Maybe she should put ‘keeping my fucking mouth shut in certain situations’ a higher point to tackle on her list of priorities. Also, what did Rome have to do with this? Not that she was supposed to be in the headquarters back in Rome, but… Also, they didn’t put their coffee machines there, so where was the logic in this argument? “You’re missing the point here.” If it was just about the coffee, she could also just go outside of the Institute and get it herself. Of course, he knew that. The machine was just a means to an end. An excuse to see him more often than she usually would. Good coffee was just a nice, welcome extra.

Surprised by his sudden friskiness, the gaze of her blue marbles shot up to look at his face. A playful gasp escaped her. “My, my, what would people think if I just did that? How indecent.” Sera, please, no more…! But nope, once she was on a roll, embarrassing herself by talking the weirdest shit, she could not stop herself. As if her next comment was going to fix the weird, more than mildly suggestive things she had said before. It was a vicious cycle. In reality, she was just surprised by the fact that Leonidas actually kind of went along with her jokes – even playing the ball back right to her. If there was one thing she loved, it was a challenge. Even though this was very different from trying not to break your neck while training with someone much more experienced than you, the threat level felt about the same-ish. “I think the point of a surprise attack is, that you don’t see it coming. The door, on the other hand, would just be collateral damage. Quite unfortunate, really.” The combination of self-embarrassment and something like nervosity made her heart beat like crazy. Even more than before, when she had stood at the bend of the hallway, facing his opened door, preparing herself to face him. This was way worse. Everything from the realization that he was alive, over him returning her hug, calming her down, his annoyingly cocky and somehow distant attitude. It all made her unsure what to feel. And now that she had flirted with her childhood friend that had just returned from the dead – and was the future head of the Institute, by the way! – her stupid mouth got the better of her. Flustered, her ears burned hot and red.
Looking away, she cleared her throat before agreeing to his terms and warning him about her being considerably grumpier before her morning coffee. What he did then, she truly did not anticipate: he laughed. Short, clear, deep. A sound that made her turn her head to look back at him, and boy did he surprise her even more. The loving smile he showed just for a brief moment made her whole body feel hot and uneasy. Somewhere, in the back of her head, she could hear her heart whisper: ‘Can I skip a beat now?’ And that it did. For a moment, she was speechless, simply staring at him. Trying to process what she had just seen before trying really hard to come up with a reply. Desperately attempting to cover up how hard he had just cracked her composure, she rolled her eyes. ”Don’t flatter yourself, Leonidas.” Saying his name suddenly made her feel even hotter. Why was that, it was just his name! Damned, stupid heart. Just because he was being a little cute with his smile? Huh?! Not to mention that he grew up to be even more goodl- Okay, seriously! You need to stop. He’s like a brother, she scolded herself harshly, even if her ears were still burning. ”We can still meet more often to train if you insist on me beating your sorry ass.” Her acting all high and mighty may have been a little too on the nose, but maybe, miraculously, he wouldn’t notice. Still cocky, she echoed: ”Pinky promise.” Unsure how to cover up her uneasiness, she decided to do what she would always do: pretend like it didn’t bother her at all. She grabbed the empty cup in front of her and got up from the chair she made herself comfortable in before. Cup in one hand, eyes fixed on the espresso machine she was thankful to not have to look at him for a moment. Now, she could breathe. Pretending to examine it thoroughly, she let out a thinking noise. ”Hm, not really. But! You could tell me how to operate it without breaking it, maybe?” And without eye- or body contact, perhaps. For some reason she was feeling extra aware of where he was sitting and the way he was holding himself. Also, the way she was holding herself. Hopefully inconspicuously, she adjusted her stance to one that seemed very relaxed and totally unphased by his words and actions, while standing right in front of the espresso machine.
Geschrieben von <g12>Leonidas di Angelo</g12> - 15.08.2022, 09:45
Normally, he wouldn’t participate in any kind of games. They were foolish and childish, most of the time. However, this one he enjoyed somehow. Maybe he would continue this masterpiece of verbal battering with her in private. His ‘new’ mindset did not allow him to use that when other, unknown Shadowhunters were around. This wasn’t a matter of pride, it was professionalism. Moreover, he wanted to earn respect and not be seen as one who wasn’t strong enough to lead and command clearly. Her mocking assumption nearly amused him. I am neither a poet, nor a painter. Only if they are allowed to create their lines with blood. Tilting his head slightly to the side, he glanced at her. ”Anything can be art in someone’s eyes. Even the most horrible work.”

For him it would be irresponsible and incomprehensible to leave the New York Institute to continue his training elsewhere. They had done nothing wrong. Admittedly, he would not assume on good faith that they had searched for him sufficiently. Nonetheless, they hadn’t caused his kidnapping. He would advise to cross-check their information before they send out hunters or, at least, have multiple plans if plan A and maybe even B failed. Returning home to Rome for his training phase wasn’t an option then. Not telling them he had returned was another matter for which he earned a deverstating stare. Listening nearly every word turned into a imaginary slap into the face for him. Everyone had worried about him, and still was worrying besides him being declared dead. The scars from the mission started to itch and slightly burn at the thought of the heart pain of his family and friends. ”I never wanted it to come to this, to cause you any kind of pain and despair”, honesty filled his voice which still seemed more like the authority one. Pressing his lips a bit more together, he did not know what to say. ”It’s …”, one hand ran through his hair in distress, ”Everyone asks me the same questions about my whereabouts. Legit, no question. But… I don’t… I can’t…” By the angels, he grasped for words, looking away shortly to gather himself and suppress the memories before he turned his head back towards her. With Serafina he wanted to be honest, wanted to tell her but he simply couldn’t. Inhaling deeply, he added ”Give me some time… please.” He desperately needed to sort things out, without a doubt. That it might help to talk with others, he didn’t even consider right now. For him, it was his problem, his kind of failure and personal story he needed to get straight before he could tell others. The head’s grandson… the future head… Was he just that? Handed that burden by birth and wearing it ever since? Nothing more? No… He was more than that. ”Heavy is the head that wears the crown”, he muttered more to himself than her.

Now he would have to live with the consequences of not telling anyone, especially her. Knowing she could hold grudges for a while and would often rub it into his face, he accepted his fate. Ignoring the spite in her words which hit another nerve. On the one hand, he was astonished she didn’t hold back, on the other hand, he called her a fool for doing so. Her attitude wouldn’t be to the liking of everyone and she would not only make friends with that. Allowing her to not hold back with her comments and furiosity right now, did not mean, he would accept it forever.

Oh oooohhh, what was she planning? The self-indulgent smile on her face let his brow raise as a reflection. Breaking into his room? Picking the lock? Everything under the umbrella of cohesion? With every argument it rose higher, his lips twitching in hidden amusement. His heart skipping a beat as soon as she called him by his name. Why was that always happening to him? This sudden jump and the warm feeling… Was she telling him, she would start a fight over coffee? ”Apparently, you have never heard of privacy”, something he had in one way or another the last few years, too. ”Oh, I can make sure, you will never set a foot into my room again – believe me” , he almost threatened her. Would he really be that mean? Pinching his eyes slightly he looked at her. ”I did not know my room is the headquarter of the Italian Shadowhunters based in New York.”

There was something in the air. Somehow they managed to run at each other, growl their claws in warning and briefly give each other a few sets of hot ears without really hurting the other. They also managed to drive each other mad with teasing words. It was as if they were two young lions who raged together, sometimes more sometimes less seriously, even after they had not seen each other for a long time. They had a very special chemistry and dynamics that many could probably never understand. His head slightly tilted, his eyes flashed out of interest and amusement. ”Why don’t you move in with me here then, if you want to spend most of your time near the espresso machine either way?”, he added a bit cheeky and almost challenging. And want to spent most of the time with me...

How proudly she let him know she had gotten better at fighting! It warmed his heart. She hadn’t been the typical kind and had taken the training sessions seriously. Obviously, that had changed. Many things and people had. ”I will be on my watch for sudden attacks and broken doors then.” Oh, my lady had finally decided to accept his offer. ”yeah, how generous of you”, he admitted with a slight roll of his eyes.

Something had started to brew in his chest over the course of their conversation, lowered slightly over time but always kept raising. And now it had reached the point of boiling. The final blow was her pointing at him and warning him to claim her trainings lessons with him, if necessary, but needing coffee or she would otherwise turn feral. A laugh errupted from him out of nowhere and filled the room for a heartbeat. It was a short one but still you could hear he hadn’t had done that for quiet a while, filled with honest and pure relief and joy. His head thrown in his neck a bit for that, he flashed a loving smile at her for a second afterwards. ”I did not know you were so keen on training with me. Otherwise, I would have raised my demands and the number of mandatory training sessions per week.” Her smile… her damn smile… ”Pinky promise” Like the promises they had made as children. Shaking his head slightly, his faded like someone brushed it away, like it had never existed before. ”Anything else I should know?”
Geschrieben von <g12>Serafina Rossi</g12> - 14.08.2022, 13:35
Even if she didn’t like admitting it, but she kind of enjoyed the way they were verbally dancing around each other. Equally looking for places to strike, barely holding back. Like a game of cat and mouse, just that they were both cats. Maybe even lions. Amused, she rolled her eyes at him. How deep. “Alright then. And you are a poet, I presume?”, she asked in a mocking voice. Prick. In that moment, her palms itched to have a close encounter of the bitch-slap kind with his face.

So, he wasn’t planning on leaving the Institute again. That also meant he wasn’t going to leave her. Thank the angels. Sera could not possibly put into words how relieved she was to hear those words. After all those years of thinking he was dead, she was yearning to spend some time with him. Anything, really. She just wanted to be with him, make up for the lost time.
Regret trickled into her, but she would not take back her words. They both knew she was right. He had to. As he spoke, her face lightened up with disbelief. For a few seconds, she simply stared at him in silence. “You’re kidding, right?” She paused, waiting, sitting up straighter in her chair. “Right?” The blue of her marbles was locking onto the green of his. “’Not worry anymore’, my ass. What on earth makes you think that, just because you sent us a message that you were back or ‘ok’”, she drew quotations into the air with her fingers, as she stressed the word, “… that we would not worry about you anymore?” Still in disbelief, she shook her head. “And I always thought you were the smart one of us.” Somehow, she had a hard time understanding where he was coming from. How could she, since she didn’t know shit about what had happened to him while he was gone? Again, she didn’t want to start imagining. The possible scenarios she had painted in her head way back then came back to haunt her. How fitting, just as he spoke of his soul haunting others. Her face looked like she had just seen someone spit into her morning coffee. “Obviously. They’d be elated. You’re the Head’s grandson and their future Head. Duh.” Though, a party was laying it on a little thick. Seemed a little too over the top to her, even for her Italian friends and family.
And just like that, his mask was back on. Solid, pristine. Infuriating and fucking frustrating to look at. Annoyance and hurt was written all over her face.
‘If you want to add something, don’t hold your tongue.’ Without hesitation, she spat out the words: “No, thanks.” She was still upset about the delay, and if there was one thing she was excelling at, it was holding grudges. Even for no reason at all, especially if it fucked her over in the process. She didn’t want to push him away or give him a reason to want to keep his distance from her, but at the same time, fuck you. She was pissed, and not ready to forgive. So, she would have to deal with her sassy attitude until she was over it. Or, well, forever, since she was being sassy all the time. At least he seemed to have understood that she was not going to tell him anything more. That was his own problem.
With a perverse sense of satisfaction, she noticed him swallowing before replying. At least he was still able to feel something. Whilst he was hiding his face in the coffee cup as she had done before, she smiled drily at him. “Apparently so.”
Something ‘similar’. What the fuck, that sounded super suspicious. And, hold on, what was that what she was spotting? The corner of his mouth lifted, causing her heart to flutter. Shut up, traitor, she groaned at her happy and loving self. Now wasn’t the time for butterflies. We are mad at him, remember? “Ooor…”, she started, stretching the word, “… or, I could just break in and use it when you’re out.” Shrugging, she added: “I might even consider learning how to pick a lock.” Her smile was bright, wide, and clearly a provocation. But then, she grimaced. “You can’t seriously be telling me, an Italian, not to constantly go in and out.” She looked at him as if he was missing an obvious point. “We’re talking about coffee here, Leonidas. Nothing is going to stop me. Asking was simply out of sheer politeness.” A mere door wasn’t going to stop her from getting proper coffee, if her other options were to either drink whatever ‘similar’ stuff they offered here, or figuring out where the hell she was gonna get a decent cup of coffee from in a city she had never been in before. Hell to the no.

Leaning forward, she grabbed her cup again, shooting him a look. “You know I would find a way in. Even if it means you won’t have a door anymore at all.” Pretty content with herself and totally unapologetic, she emptied her cup. Obviously, she was just joking. Well, maybe only half. But she also wasn’t stupid enough to break his coffee machine. First of all, she needed that coffee. Second of all, she didn’t need to give him any extra reasons to be pissed off. Thirdly, she was quite satisfied to have found a reason to cross paths with him more in the future, aside from all the training stuff. “Also”, she continued in a bragging voice, “I’ll have you know that I actually don’t suck at fighting anymore. Not as much. So you better watch out for that ass of yours, if you’re gonna train with me.” Little did she know the hardships he’d had to endure, and that, if he really wanted, he could, most likely, disarm and pin her down in a heartbeat. It wasn’t like she was completely hopeless, she just… took too long to take her training seriously, and now it was biting her in the ass. Again, she rolled her eyes. This time, the smile reached her eyes, even if it was quite coquettish. “But, since I’m so gracious, I’ll accept the olive branch you’ve offered me. I’d be thrilled to accompany you on your trips.” With a playful smile, she raised her hand, pointing her finger in his direction, as if she was warning a child not to misbehave. “But only if that threat of training with you is a promise set in stone. Ah, be warned: I may be ruthless and insufferable now, but it’s even worse before the first coffee of the day.”
Geschrieben von <g12>Leonidas di Angelo</g12> - 14.08.2022, 11:54
Not only did he not want to talk about the past five years in detail, could he imagine it would be triggering and traumatizing for others. He hadn’t simply spent the time away at a grand hotel, working out in the fitness area with a personal coach to get fit, eating healthy and diverse food with the assistance of chef cooks and just chilling at a beach. Involuntarily, he had been kidnapped, had been taken hundreds of miles away from New York to be held in a dark, small room like a prisoner. Only being allowed to go outside for training times and when he had to fulfill diverse household duties like cutting wood into pieces for the fireplace which warmth he would never feel on his own skin. His tongue tied into a knot when he only thought about talking about it, he couldn’t… Another reason why he wasn’t able to be open about it. Firstly, the story itself, secondly, the ability of finding the right words for it, and thirdly, to stop the memories, the emotions or even prevent them before they could roll over him like a tsunami filled with pain and despair. Meanwhile, he couldn’t even imagine how much his family and friends had suffered his loss. There had been a hollow feeling inside him for the first few weeks when he had thought about the last glimpses of the mission he had caught sight of. At first it had been the main theme of his nightmares, being back there fighting demons which outnumbered them with ease. Later they turned back to the past couples of days and months of him being trained, sometimes even in combination with the prior ones which together created a venomous cocktail of immense torture. Often he found himself waking from his dream screaming, sweating in the cold and damp room, his scars throbbing and burning like freshly cut. Swearing he would never let anything like this happen to anybody else, he had endured it all somehow. Maybe it was a test by the nephilim? One of the instant first thoughts he had had which soon faded. Now the bitter reality had hit him like a truck. Instead of a test, he tried to assert different ways of escape - one being more suicidal than the other. Most options he outlawed simply because they could be against the opinion of the Clave. What would they think about him if they knew? If they found it? No, there had to be a better way but with bitterness he had realized there had been none. To be free, he had to kill. Now he had broken his chains and still he wasn’t free…

Their conversation almost had something of an old married couple about it. Basically they liked each other, but he had done something that went against her grain. To get back at him, they would literally argue all day long, throwing jibes at each other like a ball. But now she seemed to be the one who couldn't think of any more, although she was actually the master of this verbal sport. At least he thought so. Her rather more sober remark only earned her a slightly raised eyebrow. "Everybody is an artist in one way or another," he said with an extremely wise and almost precocious phrase.

After everyone had received their coffee, he returned to her question. Of course he would continue his training and also at the institute to which he had been assigned. What did she think? He knew he had to go back to Rome, but the circumstances were not exactly the best. Sending fire messages a few days ago had been the most obvious idea, but he had had to throw it out. Only because of lack of eloquence and linguistic skill. For him, clear, short orders and open words counted more, he was trained to react to them immediately. Nevertheless, this was exactly the wrong approach. At the same time, he did not want to give a formal report, nor did he want to have to justify himself properly, but at the same time he did not want to play everything down as terse. He didn't have to read minds to know that his counterpart was of a different opinion, which was clearly expressed by her hissed words. He really couldn't play it down. "My ability to put enough information on paper without really telling everything, and yet enough so that you don't worry any more, leaves much to be desired," he confessed to her before sighing audibly. "We both know that almost half the institute in Rome would travel to New York at once or organize a party during my visit. I don't want either of those. I don't want a big fuss made about my appearance. At the same time, I want to visit our homeland without making everyone think that my spirit has returned to haunt them." Given his family history with Filomena, this was not at all unrealistic. The discord was clear from his tone, as was the longing for his home and family. Still, he couldn't just go back, he didn't want to resume his education there only to feel everyone's eyes on him, to perceive the whispering behind his back... No, he had to find an alternative solution. Just as quickly as he had opened up to her again for a short time, he closed himself off again like a mussel. It was so... strange. How did she always manage to tickle out the boy from before?

When he asked about his family, especially his grandmother, he received no answer for a short time. He watched Serafina with interest, trying to read in her eyes what she knew, but she would not allow him to make direct contact. "She's... dealing" Even the slight hesitation triggered a new tangle of feelings inside him. Worry, fear and incredible heartbreak struggled for dominance. Furrowing his brows he looked at her. "If you want to add something, don't hold your tongue. Speak freely," that's what he expected from his people. Even if that phrase felt wrong somehow and left a bitter aftertaste on his tongue. Somehow he knew not to expect any further information. He should get it himself in Rome. This silent message had reached him loud and clear.

However, he couldn't make heads or tails of even his old childhood friend. Each of his questions made him meet granite and almost bite his teeth on it. But he knew better than to keep trying. She had always been stubborn and even with a battering ram nothing could be coaxed out of her if she didn't want it. The few pieces she threw at him, however graciously, took away his compulsion to reply. Imperceptibly, he swallowed hard. "Sometimes you have to grow up faster than you like," he let her know before he stuck his nose back into his cup and let the tart drops of coffee flood his taste buds.

Her sudden change of subject told him she didn't want to talk about it. He would by no means force her to, so he had no choice but to jump on her bandwagon. "There is something similar to coffee in the canteen", he explained to her, his nose already slightly wrinkled for a moment. He obviously didn't like this broth himself. Why else would he have bought such an expensive machine? Turning his gaze back to her, one corner of his mouth lifted slightly. Of course, he could now play two sides: The one clearly too authoritative and self-congratulatory, by simply letting this sentence stand, or else he came towards her, but made it clear she was not to be given the whole hand straight away. "You may help yourself to coffee here under the following conditions: I don't want constant going in and out and no snooping. Everything will be treated, handled and cleaned with care and neatness. The two of us train together at least once a week and I want you to accompany me on my trips to Rome." The first were clearly normal requirements, while the last two, on the other hand, were a little more special. However, it was nothing unusual to train together, but in combination with the journeys - plural! He made it clear that he did not want to push her away, on the contrary. He wanted to re-establish contact with her. And she couldn't object to frequent trips home, could she?
Geschrieben von <g12>Serafina Rossi</g12> - 13.08.2022, 22:31
If she’d have had a way to peek inside his brain, it would have most likely scarred her for life. After years of her own suffering, reaching and clinging tight onto a future in which she had wished for time and time a again, adding to those miserable feelings would’ve deepened the crack in her already brittle walls. At least around him, they seemed to be. Something that left her unsatisfied and annoyed, but also scared. The last thing she wanted was to be vulnerable, but after sobbing at his shoulder just moments before, it was a little too late for regret. In a world with such horrible misfortune, alle she wanted was to see him smile again. Home, safe and sound. But looking at him now, with his strong posture and the composure he was radiating with, she wasn’t too sure if that was something he was still capable of. Well, neither was she. A cocky grin or a smirk weren’t the same thing as an honest smile, after all. The past years she had spent working on herself, bettering her physical and mental conditions. Yet, she still wanted to get stronger. Maybe one day she would have the power to stay true to herself, being who she really was. Simultaneously overjoyed about his return, yet anxious about someone like him possibly breaking down those defending walls she had built up around herself, she wasn’t sure what to feel. The icy feeling, that throbbing sensation in her throat and chest returned.

On one hand she was burning with questions about where he had been and, obviously, what had happened to him. How he managed to return. Usually, she would not have cared for potential discomfort of the other party, but somehow, Leonidas hit a soft spot. All the happy memories from her childhood were swirling around in her head, mixed with all of the grief and anger that she felt over the years as she came to accept his death. This was weird.
‘And the queen of cocky sayings lacks the backfire’. The way he effortlessly played the ball right back to her was surprising. Elevating her mood, while frustrating her at the same time. Then again, she had learned not to back away from a challenge. Somehow, she was intrigued. Could she possibly be able to create a crack in his façade, like he inevitably would in hers? “What can I say”, she shrugged with a challenging spark in her eyes, using the banter as a means to gain time while thinking of a good reply. “It’s an art.” For now, she enjoyed this, but as she easily grew frustrated with things that she could not predict, it was all but a question of time until she would start to get seriously bothered. Be it by his capability to think of a witty response on the spot, or her inability to do so without growing frustrated.

While contradicting emotions were causing inner conflict, she gave anything to keep a straight face. As best as she could, anyway, but she had never learned to control the look in her eyes. If her words didn’t give her feelings away, it was always her eyes. Able to gain some time by drinking the coffee, she finally thought of a proper answer. Though, the tone he used for his own response struck a nerve. Immediately, she brought up her walls again, looking at him with a blank expression. This time, it took less effort. He was to complete his training. What a shocker. But maybe also go back to where you’re supposed to lead your people later, you idiot?, she thought with a barely suppressed, displeased sound. The way he looked at her, with the authority of a di Angelo he pulled out of his ass, baffled and irritated her. She hated adults playing the ‘I’m so much wiser and more experienced than you’-card. She definitely didn’t need him to do that, too. Ticked off, she gritted her teeth while placing her cup on the desk in front of her. If he wanted to play the adult game, fine. Who did he take her for? She didn’t even disclose the reason for her transfer. Though, of course, other people who have maybe heard some rumors might be able to guess or had their own assumptions. “Just like you informed me then, I guess?”, she snapped at him, losing her poise she had tried so hard to maintain. It was a low blow, but she knew she had a point, too. Scared of pushing him away, but at the same time too prideful for her own good, she stared him down. Hah! Okay, cocky boy. You keep yourself informed. What a fucking jerk thing to say. If you wanna act like that, maybe you should come back to Rome. Where you belong. Her lower lip trembled with displeasure, and she broke off the eye contact like the pouty kid that she was.

Him asking about Chiara and the circumstances was no surprise. After thinking about it for a moment, she sighed, brushing some strands of hair out of her face that had gone astray. “She’s … Dealing.” If he really wanted to know what was going on, he should get in touch with her himself. Since he was being such a grown-up, it should be easy for him, right? Thinking about the head of the Institute in Rome made her gaze unoriented as she combed through her memories of Chiara, wearing her mourning rune for everyone to see. The muscles in her jaw twitched again, indicating that she had things to say but kept herself from doing so. She was still upset that he didn’t reach out to her sooner. Being her usual, resentful self, she wasn’t just gonna hand him all the information he seeked on a silver platter. Nuh-uh.
Lifting her gaze again, she was confronted with his undivided attention. Suddenly, she felt uneasy. The blue marbles focused on his face, then the cup in his hand, until he asked her a different question. “I grew up.” Unable to control her facial expression, her eyebrows shot up, looking as if she was thinking about adding furhter information. “For the most part, anyway.” Looking at him and how he stood there, tall, with the cup in his hand. Waiting. Observing. The bitterness was back. “Guess we both did.” Eager to change the topic and getting a reason to break off the eye contact – as well as getting rid of the tension between them, of which she wasn’t completely sure if she was just imagining it or not – she nodded towards the machine beside him. Coffee was a save, unconventional conversation topic. At least she was hoping that she wasn’t stepping on a land mine. “If one wanted to, where would an underpaid Shadowhunter get one of those?” Compared to coffee in a … What, did they have a canteen? Or maybe even worse, instant coffee? Italians obviously knew their craft when it came to beans and brewing. Coffee was what kept them running. One of the stereotypes which proved to be true. But Americans, what did they know about coffee? Seeing how much sugar they dumped into everything, she doubted that they had any sense of what was good and what wasn’t. Good quality was wasted on them.
Geschrieben von <g12>Leonidas di Angelo</g12> - 13.08.2022, 17:57
Somewhere inside him the little boy still existed. The one who had made friends with the little girl back then. Trying to remember what had happened when they were still kids, a part of his mind wandered, went through the bookshelves filled with books of memories to collect the one he aimed for, whilst the majority stayed concious in the present, alert and ready for everything. Through his training with the Mundane he got more alarmed, nearly jumpy when he got the feeling of being observed. A trait which is particularly relevant as a Shadowhunter, too. Besides that… he had learned so many different skillsets and ways of thinking, quickly evaluating and deciding when needed, adapted more adolescence manners and other qualities. Most of them, he would have gained through his training at one of the Institutes, too – in his opinion. However, in some ways he was glad he had had this expirience. Not many other Shadowhunters if any would have all of his skills. Which wasn’t that bad. On the other side, he might not have the same fighting techniques and knowledge in handling demons and other Downworlders. Not knowing the current affairs in all worlds was another big downside. Both he had on his daily agenda which seemingly contained nothing else. For him getting back on track, was his major task right now. Not accepting that he might need some time to heal – not only externally but also internally. His nightmares and flashbacks an indicator he might need someone to talk about everything that had happened, someone to help him get through this. Not needed, not even considered. Rather he lived with this terrors than to involve someone else. He didn’t need the pitty, the closer looks from others on not only his bruised body but his wounded soul. Nothing one could do, would ever reverse time and change the outcome of the mission he had been involved five years ago.

Roaming in his internal library, the librarian found those pitch black book covers which he didn’t dare to touch. The majority of them were coloured in this way. Often bad experiences were more present in ones memories than the good ones, especially when they had happened recently. The dark and forbidden section as he prefered to call it, was a part the librarian wandered along, never touching any besides when he seemed to be forced, triggered by any action, any feeling Leonidas had in a particular moment or situation. The more colourful books resided way back, some lost a bit of the brightness like they had been standing in strong sunlight for decades. Those memories weren’t as present anymore, some didn’t continue, had gaps or even lost most of their content. If he ever got them back?

Remembering he had been a joyful child, compared to him now nothing seemed left of him. His eyes more observant rested on everyone and everything in this room at once, his attention way better and more focused, he often talked less. Staying silent, he rather gathered his information by not only words of others but their body language and other traits. People like Serafina made it especially easy for him to collect their emotions as they were written all over their body. Embracing her to calm her was the only option he had as she had basically thrown her arms around his neck. Not being repelled by this, he wasn’t used to any such close contact which didn’t include pain. That’s why he might act a bit awkward in the first few seconds before he hugged her.

While he stifled a grin, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up a little more. Now she was watching him. Letting her gaze wander over his body, he didn't hold it against her. They had changed, both of them. His whole figure had changed from the somewhat skinny boy to the athletically muscular young man. It was only natural to get a better picture of each other. Peering out from underneath his side-draped mop of hair, he could clearly see her gasping for breath in a controlled manner. With it he had probably hit a nerve. "And the queen of cocky sayings lacks the backfire," he replied simply, briefly making direct eye contact before turning to the espresso machine. After all, he wanted to comply with her indirect request of his own volition. Her further comment on the offered carte blanche to vent her vendettas on him he simply left in the room. Even without further implications from her, he knew he would see her more often now. Not only because she would apparently be here in New York for a while, but also because of his private sanctuary, which would now become the first port of call for the Italian Shadowhunter. If only the Amarettini or even Cantuccini were missing, an Italian flag and appropriate music from the homeland and his rooms would mutate in an instant into the lounge of the Italians stationed in New York. No, he would have to come up with something.

One of his eyebrows rose slightly. Was she really insinuating that he was offering her bad coffee? The beans he had ground by hand were of the highest quality, as was the machine itself. He had learned to operate it from childhood, so it was second nature to him. Even a somewhat longer break could not change that. Besides, he had had enough practice the last few days to get back into the groove. Flashing her an undefinable glance, he sat back down, continuing their conversation which seemed more like a coffee gathering with a long time not seen friend. No, it actually was that. Listening he grabbed his own cup and took a few sips. So she had asked to continue her training phase in New York? Because of him? Just blinking a few times at her exaggerated long and insulting comment about himself, he stayed stoically calm as before. When she first broke eye contact while this question hung heavy in the room, he remained silent for a sip. "I was to complete my training here and I will continue to do so," he informed her. Slowly, he set the cup down and leaned forward, forearms resting loosely on the desk, direct eye contact restored. "Do not inform anyone that I have returned. I want to do this myself." If he ever found the right words for it. With that, he already leaned back again as well. "About your training status and process I will keep myself informed and observed", he let her know right away, while he prepared the machine for another cup of coffee. He sounded like a real (future) head of the institute, almost a trainer at the same time, who wanted to know exactly about each of his trainees. "What has happened in Rome in the last five years? Any big events or incidents? How is Chiara?", he now began with the questions, whereby she would have been the one who possessed at least equally burning ones. With the freshly steaming coffee in his hand, he turned his full and undivided attention back to her, seeking eye contact. "What all has been going on in your life?" Swiveling the cup slightly and lifting it, he invited her to a rambling tale.
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