Calling in an Expert

Things that have happened in the far past.

Calling in an Expert

Zea Mazuo
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Zea Mazuo
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010, 04:30

27 Mar 2011, 05:15 #1

This was probably a terrible thing to be doing, and Zea was almost certainly going to some kind of special hell reserved for race traitors, but damn it all, she didn't feel like answering stupid questions. Dead people were notoriously poor listeners, anyway.

Especially this one. In the end John had found her, all wiry and withered and pinched and completely disinterested in being contradicted by this strange colored girl. Really, what sort of ghost remembered itself in its most wrinkly and desiccated state? And why oh why would any ghost still care about tea?

"Well, I don't know, ma'am, he doesn't have any china. This is all that's here," Zea told her in a hushed voice, trying not to wake Fynn. She'd lied and told the ghost that she was the new staff, and thanks to the unusual tunnel vision of the undead, the woman hadn't questioned that Zea was handling all this in naught but one of Fynn's shirts.

The elderly-seeming shade sniffed in disapproval. But then... this was some kind of imported African savage, and of course she didn't know anything about tea. They would just have to make do with what the little colored girl was able to dig up in the kitchen. "Enough fussing, then. Find the kettle and show me the tea you've picked so that I can tell you whether it's acceptable. You'll be running a proper house in no time, provided you can do as you're told."

"Yes, ma'am," Zea said, inwardly rolling her eyes. Whatever. It would be worth it.

*****


The sun was high enough to be coming through the windows when Zea rapped on the doorframe of Fynn's bedroom and hurried away. Anxiously she waited in the kitchen, leaning over the counter with a teapot under a tea cozy that she'd found... somewhere.

She'd heated the kettle and the mugs and the teapot before doing anything, and she'd taken the water off the heat as soon as it started to boil so that the flavor of the water wouldn't go flat, and then let it rest for a few minutes to get down to the right temperature. She'd let the tea leaves open up in a little bit of hot water which she then drained so that she could steep them properly in the teapot without the initial bitterness. It was black tea, so she'd steeped it for three minutes--she'd counted--and then served it out into cups which already had the milk in them because that was just how it was done.

Zea hoped she'd done it all properly. That stuffy racist old bitch had seemed satisfied enough before Zea sent her on her way with profuse thanks and the requisite lavish piles of attention. Now she had to wait to see what Fynn thought. If there was really a difference between a proper cup of tea and the sort of lazy nonsense they got up to in the colonies--god, that woman--the bjorn would notice.

She hoped she'd done it right.
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Fynn Callaghan
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Fynn Callaghan
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Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 08:21

27 Mar 2011, 06:12 #2

The loud snoring from the bed stopped with a distinct snort, and Fynn rolled over. He raised one hand to shield his eyes from the sun coming in the windows-- had Zea opened the curtains? Hhhhhh who would do such a cruel thing.

Okay, he was up, he was up.

The edge of the bed seemed a league away as Fynn climbed over the cool cotton sheets, and reached for his glasses. His eyes were mostly closed anyway as he made his way out of the bedroom with naught but more of those loose flannel pants on.

He was already in the bathroom before Zea could stop him, but that didn't really take too long. Only the most rudimentary and demanding of functions took precedence over the most important ritual of all: tea.

Fynn emerged with but one thing more, trailing an open robe. He yawned and stopped halfway through. First came the tentative sniffs, then the deep, questing one, that morphed appreciative on the tail end.

"Is that tea I smell," his smile was slow and broad and still half-asleep. Fynn reached for a cup and took a sip without looking.

. . .

Fynn looked at the cup with bleary eyes, set it down, rubbed said eyes with both hands, and adjusted his glasses so he could look at Zea through them.

"Wh- ....How?"

He needed another sip.
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Zea Mazuo
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Zea Mazuo
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010, 04:30

27 Mar 2011, 06:20 #3

Zea tried not to fidget while Fynn went for what she could only assume was a morning piss and then sort of ambled his way into the kitchen where she was expending great effort not to rap her hands on the counter or shift her weight or otherwise imply that she was nervous as hell about whether she had done it right.

It was like being in grade school again, so proud of something she'd spent all day and made a huge mess working on but terrified that maybe it wasn't good. But it had to be good! Zea had consulted some kind of self-described tea expert and done everything she said. Something in there had to matter.

It had to.

She watched him realize that there was tea. She listened to him smell it from several paces away. At some point she had pulled her lower lip between her teeth. The suspense was absolutely killing her. Was the tea good? Was there even a difference? Was she making a big fuss over nothing when tea was just tea and it all tasted the goddamn same anyway?

Oh, he'd noticed. Fynn had noticed something. Something was different. Was it a good different or a bad different?

"You, um. There isn't honey in it yet. I don't know how much you take. But um... you theoretically shouldn't need as much, I think, the way I did it."
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Fynn Callaghan
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Fynn Callaghan
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Joined: 24 Oct 2010, 08:21

04 Sep 2011, 16:43 #4

Fynn slowed -- as if it were possible -- and took a deep, measured sniff with his eyes closed. It came back out with a pleased sigh.

He eyed Zea over the cup as he took another, longer sip.

True, he would prefer a little honey -- or sugar in it, but that was preference and would not change how delicate and complex and wonderful it tasted.
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Zea Mazuo
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Zea Mazuo
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010, 04:30

27 Jan 2012, 09:08 #5

It took a lot of really serious effort to push her shoulders back down where normal people kept them when they were not tense and focused on something of dire importance, held in suspense over whether they had committed a grave sin against something someone cared about as much as Zea had been told all her life European people cared about tea. Shoulders down.

He was checking it. Was he checking to see if she'd done something wrong, or was he--

That looked like an appreciative sigh.

Fynn looked happy.

He was doubtless going to make some kind of comment about something she hadn't done right but it didn't matter because Zea had done enough of it right to get him to make that face. As she was learning, it was a face that Zea liked being the cause of. Relief was starting to creep in now, sending cracks up through the tension and eroding it away with the awareness that she had successfully done something thoughtful.

She wasn't sure she should tell him how.
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Fynn Callaghan
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Fynn Callaghan
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27 Jan 2012, 09:28 #6

Fynn moved closer to Zea, eyeing her over the rims of his glasses. Not that it really worked well; doing so rendered whatever he was looking at into fuzzy blobs, but the effect worked rather well, he'd learned.

And when he was close enough that she had to look up at him, he leaned down just slightly, over his mug, and pressed his whiskery lips to her forehead.

Then took another sip of tea.

Mmmm tea.
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Zea Mazuo
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Zea Mazuo
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010, 04:30

27 Jan 2012, 09:34 #7

Fynn was looming.

He was advancing and zooming in and he had to know what the staring meant to the bundle of standard wolf instincts but this was a bear and secondarily it was Fynn and these things probably meant something different so damn it all she would look at him.

Even though he was looming.

His trajectory changed at the last moment and he kissed her forehead.

The absurd suspense and inexcusable anxiety shattered and she grinned down at the floor. Zea had figured it out. She'd figured out something he wanted and that she could give him without him feeling creepy about it and now was the time for shameless self-congratulation, so Zea set about the task with enthusiasm.

She had done him a tiny thoughtful thing that nobody else could have done for him because nobody else would have had to conjure ghosts and put up with racism and navigate a foreign kitchen in order to do it. Maybe they would have had to do one or two of those things, but that combination of surmounted obstacles belonged entirely to Zea.

Zea still wasn't sure she should tell him the details.
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Fynn Callaghan
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Fynn Callaghan
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27 Jan 2012, 09:43 #8

He pulled her against his side, arm wrapped around her shoulders. Miraculously good tea on his tongue, stunning woman as his hip, and at the risk of being improper, last night was fantastic and Fynn was feeling quite well, thank you.

Fynn buried his nose in Zea's hair and sniffed; now she really smelled like him all over. Even the glossy black strands of her hair where he'd run his hands through it. The hum of approval vibrated his chest underneath the robe and he punctuated the end of it with more tea.

Because tea is all things. Very little is more important than tea.

Zea already proved herself to be one of them.
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Zea Mazuo
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Zea Mazuo
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Joined: 18 Jan 2010, 04:30

27 Jan 2012, 09:53 #9

Zea leaned into her big Irish sweetheart intellectual millionaire friend-or-possibly-more-than-friend and just grinned herself silly, basking in her own approval. Also his, but largely her own because she had done something clever!

This was all going rather well if she did say so herself, minus the part where she'd gotten shot yesterday. But well, in Zea Mazuo's life, little things like experiencing someone else's violent death could not be permitted to poison her fun or frankly she'd never have any real fun at all.

It helped that Fynn was so distractingly large. He occupied such a great lot of space and the size of him seemed to crowd out all of those persistent bothersome bits and pieces of her freakiness that she would surely have to deal with later but right now were all getting shoved into the background by this giant fine-smelling nice man she had found and gotten into bed.

I am so good.

"I'm glad the tea's good. I've never made it that way before."
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Fynn Callaghan
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Fynn Callaghan
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27 Jan 2012, 10:05 #10

"Mm," he re-affirmed, finishing his mouthful and looking down at her. "Yeah?" Even the one word somehow sounded inarguably Irish. Even if it was mostly idle and distracted.

Fynn was trying to wallow in the delicious combination of tea/girl/sex, Zea, why are you talking at him. Talking required responses, which required thought.

Mmm. Girl. No, he corrected himself with a small, private smile, woman. Girls did not hunt and take. They might play at it, but Zea had not been playing. He was the great big scary bear, but he knew who had been the victor and who had been the spoils of war. A role he was more than happy to fill, one might add.
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