I've always shipped these two and decided I had to write a short one-shot on the possibilities of a peculiar and unlikely relationship between them. I hope you all enjoy this, and I really appreciate reviews and any other input you could give me on this.
Lackadaisy-Tracy J. Butler
Mordecai Heller looked like a statue as he stood, off to the side, in the Marigold. Asa Sweet was off charming someone who Mordecai couldn't give a sprinkle of a damn about, and any other educated person he thought he might be able to engage in an intelligent conversation to pass the time was off doing such with someone who wasn't him, therefore making conversation impossible. It wasn't that Mordecai was afraid to join a conversation with more than one person; it was that he entirely despised the idea in the first place. Three was a crowd.
So, it surprised him entirely when the social Serafine Savoy approached him. Her hair was slicked back in a bun and she wore a rather sharp looking deep grey suit with a red tie, as well as the expected Marigold pin on her lapel. She held a glass of what Mordecai figured to be hard cider, or whiskey; she was rarely a woman for such light drinks as champagne.
"Mordeca-i." Her tongue rolled out his name with her thick accent, her eyelids half open, painted a lighter crimson that matched her lips. Her golden eyes were striking.
"Miss. Savoy." Mordecai said politely, if a bit stiffly. The Cajun had never exactly given him an easy feeling. She usually avoided direct eye contact, and if she did look directly in your eyes, she was usually in the middle of doing or saying something absolutely insane, or extremely seductive.
"You look lonely." She said, leaning against the wall by him, swishing her drink in its crystalline glass.
"I'm not lonely. I'm alone. There's a difference." He sipped his own drink. He wondered why. He didn't really even like alcohol that much.
"Lonely, a-lone. Either way, dey got lone in dem."
"Are you so bored out of your cranium you willingly came to talk to me?" Mordecai raised an eyebrow.
"Is dat so surpriszing?"
"Rather. Last I recall you aren't too fond of my company."
"Ah, ha, ha, ha, Mista Heller, you've mixed up me n' you. You are de one not very fond of me."
Mordecai didn't comment, but gave an agreeing head nod. Desperate for something to preoccupy his time with, he asked, "I don't see your brother, did he find something inherently better to preoccupy his time with?"
"I think her name is Francis." Serafine snorted. Mordecai blinked. "I see."
"I don't blame him." Serafine's sunset eyes traveled over the crowd that milled around the Marigold, laughing, talking at an outrageous volume and generally having a good time. "Dis is boring."
"I think you'd at least be doing more than I am." Mordecai commented honestly, following her gaze. He couldn't understand how these people found this entertaining. Sitting and talking and drinking for hours on end. Maybe it was exciting because it was illegal. Maybe it was because they were all drunk, and the sound of a pin dropping would gain a thunderous burst of laughter. He looked over to see Serafine having finished her drink. She looked back at him and set the glass down on a side table.
"Why are you still 'ere, eh?"
"Sweet requested I stay and "mingle"." Mordecai made air quotations with his fingers.
"So you stand in de corner and hope no one talks two you?"
"On the contrary, I stand in the corner and hope I either blend in or manage to get engaged in a conversation at least intelligent enough to keep me occupied until I can afford to leave." He corrected, glancing over at Asa Sweet, who was currently getting drunker and drunker and telling worse jokes by the minute, which his colleges all laughed at no matter how awful they were.
"Ah." Serafine huffed in a bored fashion and shifted her feet.
"Why are you still here if you're bored as I am?"
"I have no where else ta' go." She shrugged. "I cn' be bored 'ere, or I can be bored at de house, or I can be bored at de diner down da street."
Mordecai set his unfinished drink down beside Serafine's and stepped away from the wall. "Well, I'm tired of standing around here doing nothing productive."
"Where are you going?"
"My home, so I can read a book in some peace and quiet."
Serafine paused, eyes fixed upon him. It was odd how expressive they were, along with the rest of her face. The tiniest adjustments could suggest an entirely new emotion. A minute ago, it had been deadly boredom. Now, with the slight shift of the corner of the mouth and a bit of a raised eyebrow, it'd gone to an awkward and hesitant may I join you?
Mordecai didn't give a verbal answer until he'd put on his trench coat and hat, giving him time to think of an appropriate response. "I do not mind company, but I am also not a chatty companion, so if you wish to come to my place of residence and expect a lengthy conversation on any topic, don't follow me."
Serafine blinked before nodding. She wordlessly got her own coat and hat on and followed Mordecai, who was immediately questioning his decision to let a bayou grown, Cajun, Voodoo practicing, over-zealous hair-gel using female into his home. He tried not to let his mind delve into the possibility she kept any infectious charms on her person when opening the door to his car, letting her step inside before him. She seemed a bit surprised by the gesture, but didn't question it. Mordecai felt a ting of sorry for the woman, who probably rarely, if ever, experienced chivalry in her occupation.
He got in the other side of the vehicle and started it, headlights shining through the darkness onto the damp road before them. Flickering streetlights provided limited illumination at the two went through the roads of the town. Mordecai noticed Serafine's ears perk up a bit when they exited out of the main part of town, heading out on an even darker road.
"You don' live in da city?" She asked.
"Not exactly. Too much noise and disorder." He said, turning down a dirt road a number of miles out of town. The headlights shone on lush grass and tall oak trees. Shadows danced around them and bushes until they pulled up to Mordecai's house; a dark grey single story with a brick walkway and impeccably clean outdoor table and chair. Mordecai turned off the car, the illumination going with it, leaving it very dark and very hard to see. He saw Serafine's shadow step out and did the same.
"Kind of looks like a murder house." She commented.
"It is a murder house in all technicalities, though you'd never know if I hadn't told you." Mordecai said, walking around the car in such a way that dirt did not get onto his shoes.
"Iz dat why you live in da middle of a forest?"
"Mostly. The quiet is nice, as well. No cars or drunkards going by. Just birds and the occasional ground-bound rodent or other creature, like a frog."
"Ah." Serafine nodded, "we've got frogs in da bayou. Lots of dem. And gators."
Mordecai led Serafine to his door.
"Found one in da house once." She mused. "He was big, bigger than you and me."
"Put together?" He gathered his key and unlocked the door.
"Probably. Nearly bit Nicodeme's hand ouff. Stupid boy. I had ta shoot it. He was still drunk from night before." She shook her head as Mordecai walked in and flipped on the power. His house was as ordered as you would suspect. Sparkling fireplace in one corner with a leather chair and couch by it. Clean floor, clean-well, clean everything else. There wasn't a wall without a bookshelf and lamps placed strategically at any possible sitting area for book reading. Mordecai hung his jacket and hat and directed Serafine to do the same while closing the door. She glanced at him before removing her shoes and then went over to a bookcase. She discovered them to be labeled by genre, and he seemed to possess at least a shelf for each one imaginable.
"You need to open library." She informed him.
"So I've been advised." Mordecai went to a Historical Fiction shelf and took out what seemed to be a Revolutionary War era novel. He set down in a comfortable looking leather chair and turned on a lamp before stopping and looking up at Serafine, who looked like she felt quite awkward. He perked his ears then coughed and turned to the page marked in his book.
"Read whatever you like, long as you put it back where you found it."
"Ok." She nodded and went to a Fantasy shelf and picked up Journey to the Center of the Earth and sat down crossed legged on the floor. She opened up the copy, which was worn gently around the spine from excessive but careful reading, and went to the first page. Though she'd never admit it, Serafine had quite a bit of trouble reading. She'd never gone to any formal school, and the only people she'd had to teach her were barely taught themselves. Nico had stolen a speller from a store when they were little, which helped, but beyond that it'd been up to them figuring it out as they went, sounding out the letters and figuring out the definition of words from context.
And now, reading Jules Verne, Serafine wished she'd gone to school.
They remained quiet for a long while. Probably hours, or maybe a century, far as Serafine was concerned. Mordecai looked over after he finished his book and blinked. She was only ten, maybe fifteen pages in to her book. He stood, placing his bookmark on the table his lamp stood on, and walked over, peering curiously.
"Jules Verne?" He asked.
Serafine seemed rather startled, but looked up and nodded. Mordecai raised an eyebrow, "did you just start it?"
Serafine stopped and, to Mordecai's utter surprise, seemed embarrassed-almost blushing. "Non," she said, "I started reading when you did."
Mordecai's jaw nearly dropped before he realized that she obviously lacked education. From a family of intellectuals in New York, he often forgot that there were people who could read or write very well, if at all-though he couldn't recall having really contacted one in his line of work except for Viktor, and he'd taught himself so that he was nearly up to speed with Mordecai when they worked together.
Serafine uncomfortably stood up and looked at him. There was an awkward silence before Mordecai turned and put his book away and then looked at her.
"What troubles you the most?"
Serafine blinked then looked at the book. "Uh, big words." She pointed to one, representative.
"Representative." Mordecai read out.
"Oh." She nodded and bit her lip. "It's mostly those."
"You have to sound them out?"
It was then that Mordecai Heller did something anomalous; so peculiar, in fact, that it would be remembered by the two for the next 43 and 3/4 years. He sat himself down on the ground next to Serafine and scooted close enough for the book to be rested jointly on their knees and, once finding where Serafine had left off, began to read to her. Slowly, though not insultingly so, and moving his finger under each word. He sat there doing this, Serafine following his voice and finger alertly, for well over an hour, stopping when the sun began to peak and sent streaks of light through the trees and windows, landing on the floor in front of them.
When this was realized, Mordecai and Serafine moved their gaze from the half finished adventure novel and to the window, then to each other. They registered just how long they'd been sitting in a close proximity and gradually slid away from each other, then stood. Mordecai marked their place and put the book back on the appropiate shelf.
"It seems it's reached morning." He declared the obvious.
"Oui." Serafine nodded, her head swimming with words, like anthropologist, cardiovascular, and amour.
"Though it is morning, I see it fit that we both retire since neither of us have slept within the last twenty four hours."
Serafine agreed with a head nod and let herself be led to a small guest room placed diagonally from Mordecai's own room. She went in, then turned and stood in the doorway, facing Mordecai. The two stared at each other for a moment, almost reaching an uncomfortable amount of time, before Mordecai nodded to Serafine.
"Sleep well, Miss Savoy." He said. Serafine nodded back to him.
"May sleep find you quickly, Mister Hellar." She said. And with that Mordecai went to his room and opened the door. Very unlike himself, he turned back before shutting it. They locked eyes for a moment; split and seemingly un-meaningful, but overall holding an impact neither could anticipate. Then, he closed the door, and Serafine closed hers, and they both went to bed.