When: Evening-night, same evening as the cooking lesson, right after they left everyone
What: A walk outside and a conversation between old comrades
Where: Campus - fountain
Warning: ...Suikoden IV/Tactics spoilers? Not much else. :o
The weather within the artificial atmosphere was warm these days, though a cool breeze would join it during the evenings. Thankfully enough, it left it warm enough not to wear a jacket. The smile he had worn since dinner had ended still lingered on Hervey's face as he stepped down the stairs of the dormitory entrance humming along the way. Reaching the last step he turned to his company for the moment with that same grin.
"Man! I'm stuffed." He said cheerfully. "Sure has been awhile since I ate somethin' home cooked."
A small, slightly amused, smile appeared upon Lazlo's face at Hervey's exclamation. Considering how many refills the older man had, he simply wasn't surprised at the first statement.
"Don't you have a kitchen in your suite too?" He inquired quietly as he kept up with the pirate. "Or should I assume you accidentally burned it down?"
The pirate let out an annoyed breath, folding his arms before him and he glanced as his Tenkai disapprovingly.
"Don't be rude." He muttered. "Just because that weird thing doesn't wanna work properly for me, doesn't mean I burn it on purpose."
After all, stoves in their world were usually just an open spit or something made of stone or metal. There was none of those knobs or glowing green lights blinking at twelve-zero-zero eternally.
"And Yubari does his damages too."
As he meant his question as a jest, hearing that his former comrade actually had burned the stove--to what extent?--caught him offguard. Surely it couldn't be that hard to understand how it worked. Why, Lazlo himself was making good use of it whenever he had his cooking class and made lunch in his suite!
And hearing that Yuber damaged that particular utility didn't actually do much except make him wonder just how much of it was left intact, and usable, considering the dessert table at the BBQ party.
"Oh," he returned quietly, not really having much to say about that that would be appropriate. Instead, he took a moment to ponder on a solution to Hervey's dilemma that wouldn't be too farfetched.
At length, the youth proposed a solution that seemed just right to him. It wouldn't be too much trouble and gave him more opportunity to get at ease with the stove.
"Should I cook you lunch tomorrow then?"
The red-head blinked at Lazlo before breaking into another grin.
"Seriously? That'd be great!" he said to him as he stuffed his hands into his pant's pockets as he felt them getting a little cold from the cool wind. "That'll save me a lot of time tomorrow. Oh! How about we just eat lunch together then?"
"Together?" Lazlo blinked at the suggestion, not having expected that. "I don't mind..."
In fact, that proposition rather pleased him the more he thought about it. His days were rather lonesome, even if Ted and Tyr were around to hang with as Tyr had his obligations with Serah and Ted tended to gravitate more around his best friend than anywhere else.
Besides, he felt more like a third wheel with them than like he belonged.
"Do you have any special requests?"
"Steak!" he declared jokingly before breaking into a laugh. "Hmmmmm.. well, what do you know how to cook?"
Hervey's eyes trailed onto the large fountain located in the middle of the campus. It was still pretty early in the evening, so water was still running on the concrete and marble surface of the display. He couldn't help feel a bit out of place each time he saw that. Too classy and formal for his taste.
"I've never seen you cook before, you know. Do you have a specialty?"
.... though in the back of his mind, he had a feeling he might just know what that was.
So many questions out of the pirate. It made it a bit difficult to follow the conversation, but Lazlo could deal with that sort of things. He just needed to prioritize the statement.
"Steak is better eaten freshly cooked, you know?" he commented thoughtfully. "I can cook that, but is it what you want for tomorrow?"
The light brunette honestly didn't mind that request. He himself would prefer something else, but those days in Razril as a Vingerhut servant had at least taught him a large variety of recipes.
Besides, with his specialty being omelettes while he highly prefered buns and fruits, he wasn't willing to mention it to the pirate.
"Hmm..." the red-head droned as he thought about his options.
Though steak was pretty appetizing, he knew it would be too much to ask. Not to mention a bit awkward for lunch... right? That left all sorts of options. And Hervey was not a picky eater after all and he didn't have any allergies so far.
"How about you surprise me then?" he suggested.
That... was unexpected. Whenever he cooked in Razril, it was always to the specification of other people. Never before was the menu left up to him and that made him somewhat nervous.
"Alright," he nodded hesitantly. "You like meat, right?"
At least, that was what he noticed the few times he'd seen the redhead eat.
"Yep." He replied curtly. "Can't really hate it 'til it's gone bad."
By now, they had reached the fountain. He didn't really want to drag Lazlo all the way out of the campus grounds at this time considering all that were open were the sketchy forms of entertainment in the city.
Hervey then gestured to one of the benches for his tenkai to have a seat. He let out a long breath, staring at the dark sky above them with that same smile still on his face.
"It really has been a while hasn't it?" he muttered quietly as he took a seat on the bench. "Though we did see you when Kyril was around... but you disappeared just as quickly when it was all over. You keep that up and you'll lose your comrades, y'know?"
How could he explain that he'd done so to keep everyone safe from himself without sounding like a martyr?
With a parasitic rune like the Rune of Punishment, one who would move onto a new host the moment he would die, Lazlo was much more concerned with keeping away from his former comrades and allowing them a normal life than he was with socializing. Theirs was a world where danger could be found just around the corner, with all those monsters roaming the seas and the islands, not to forget the more unsavory individuals that had no qualms about taking another's life. It had been much more expedient to take himself out of anyone's vicinity and isolate himself as often as he could.
Besides, right after the rune cannon hunt, he'd been dragged almost against his will back to Obel and shown the ropes of kingship. That in itself didn't exactly lend to much time for socializing with his sea-bound former comrades since he had still been trying to keep everyone safe by staying in isolation. And even if he'd been cured of most of his fear during his previous months spent in their world and more willing to approach people, he hadn't ever been a social butterfly and wasn't always comfortable seeking out others unless required to.
"There were circumstances..." he finally answered as he curled a gloved hand into a fist. "It's not that I hated any of our comrades, just..."
"I understand that." Hervey nodded.
What he knew of Lazlo's rune was limited, but he did have an idea. It was dangerous and could kill relentlessly whether the host wished it or not. He had seen the red skyline that the rune had caused with its power. He knew what it was capable of.
"But not havin' anyone around? Keepin' to yourself like that an' all. I've just always wondered..." he continued. "Isn't that lonely?"
He knew it quite well that even having mere people around was enough to keep one's sanity in tact. Isolation could eventually lead someone to lose their sanity, their trust... The young man they found in the fog ship seemed to be an example of that.
"s'not really my concern, I know that. But maybe you should consider not keeping yourself so out of reach with the rest of the world, yknow? People worry."
King Lino and Flare had already brought that topic up despite Setsu's initial protests: about how they were concerned about him and didn't like how he had purposefully isolated himself from everyone. The people of Obel themselves wanted him to rule the island and showed him how welcome he was, even if he hadn't thought it possible. Even the redhead pirate here was telling him not to stay away from people.
Admonished once more, Lazlo could only nod to Hervey's words.
"I'm... at least making some progress, right?" he spoke hesitantly. "I'm still here."
Because that was really all that he could do in the face of everyone's insistance. Try to reach out to people again instead of holding back and keeping to himself in solitude.
Hervey was silent for a moment, his expression unreadable as the seconds passed while he looked at Lazlo's general direction. Noticing himself that he had gone too quiet, the red-head broke into another smile.
"Right." He replied amiably. "So it's fair to expect that I'll be seeing ya around more often now, eh?"
"As long as the offer you made earlier still stands," the brunette agreed nervously, unsure if that one was still applicable.
"Of course, of course." Hervey waved a hand in front of him. "I meant aside that. Besides, I won't pass anything up for food. It'll let me brag that I got to eat something our ol' leader made himself."
Lazlo smiled tentatively at that comment. "Funghi's a better cook than me, Hervey."
After all, being Snowe's playmate meant he didn't spend all his time in the servant area, even if that was where he belonged. And after they underwent training for their knighthood, opportunities to cook and perfect other recipes were even rarer.
"I think you're missing the point here." He grumbled and pursed his lips to a pout.
He agreed Funghi was a great cook and he enjoyed all of the meals their fellow comrade had prepared for them, but Hervey didn't exactly pay much attention to anything unless Kika had ordered him specifically to do so.
To not act unless there was something to gain. That was the life he had lived by as a pirate. He owed Kika his life, so he willingly followed her everywhere. Aside that, she was no fool for a leader. He admired her. So he had not taken much opportunity to talk to his Tenkai unless he had reason to, or if he came to him.
It was a chance to change that even slightly considering he now knew a little more about the younger male's situation. He was being social dammit. Now, Lazlo was being a shy little bugger. That doesn't seem very leader-like does it?
Oh well... he'll break that soon enough. They did come to a new world. There was no need to be conservative with such a different and welcoming environment.
"Ah..." he started tentatively before hiding behind his bangs, admitting to the point. "Maybe..." He didn't quite see the point of bragging about his cooking when there were other people that had more talent than he ever would.
A gentle smile graced the pirate's face instead of his usual grin as he watched his Tenkai's reaction. He probably shouldn't pick on him so much... Who knew what Kika or the others would say if they found out.
"Well then, think that roommie of yours has his business done and over with yet?" Hervey mused, that rare smile vanishing just as quickly as it came. "Probably shouldn't keep ya out too long, right?"
While it wasn't in his nature to take advantage of it, Lazlo couldn't help but raise a brow at Hervey, face still partially hidden behind his hair.
"Is that why you called me out here?" he asked in a carefully blank tone. "To keep me out of people's business?"
Though, in retrospect, the young Tenkai was glad he hadn't stayed. There had definitely been undercurrents going on during supper and staying in the suite would have probably made it worse.
"I'd be lying if I said that wasn't part of it." Hervey said curtly as he leaned back against the back rest of the bench, the sound of running water ringing in his ears. "But I really did want to talk to you. Not sure if you'd have wanted them to hear all this."
He most likely wouldn't have wanted his roommate or his other friends to hear, though 'all this' didn't constitute much except talk of a lunch date and of his shying away. And speaking of lunch...
"Say, Hervey... is there anything you won't eat? At all?" A good cook had to be careful when they proposed to make lunch for others after all.
"Anything my roommate cooks and willingly tries to feed to me." He piped up merrily. "Seriously though, I don't like things that are bitter."
"Oh!" was the surprised exclamation. That was an unexpected admission. "You don't like bitter food?"
"Food or medicines. Not really. Drinks, that's something else." Hervey said a matter-a-factly. "And you on the other hand like sweets, right?"
Lazlo blinked at the accurate observation before looking decidedly embarrassed. "How did you know?"
Surely he hadn't eaten that many steamed buns on the Dauntless, had he?
Hervey tapped at the corner of his eye lightly as he got up from the bench.
"Observation, Master Lazlo." He mimicked the voice of the old coot that followed Lino around at first before reaching over to ruffle the Tenkai's hair. "And I heard your friends talking now and then."
"Oh, I s-" A small yelp escaped the brunette's lips as he suddenly found his hair to be at the mercy of one pirate's hand. Back patting and body tackling he could stand, but hair ruffling?
Ducking at the first opportunity that presented itself to him, Lazlo jumped up and away from Hervey, looking rather disheveled and alarmed. "Not the hair!"
A bit dumbstruck at first, Hervey stared at his tenkai with slight disbelief. Though he's never caught anyone doing that to the younger male, it was still a bit unexpected.
"Heeeeeeeeeeeeeh...." the pirate droned while his mouth formed a mischievous grin. He would definitely have to keep note of this.
Lazlo didn't like the look of that grin, not when it meant a difference between looking presentable and looking like a storm hit him.
"...You're not grinning at what I think you're grinning..." he asked cautiously while bracing himself to take off at the slightest hint of another hair ruffling. "Are you?"
"What?" Hervey gasped, albeit in quite an exaggerated manner. "Of course not. I would never think of doing whatever you're thinking right now."
He then walked passed the younger male, smugness adding to his grin, and headed towards the direction of the dorms.
"Com'on now. Better get back before yer roommate worries."
Warily watching the pirate walk past--and away from--him, Lazlo finally took a moment to straighten the mess Hervey had created before following after the man... out of arm's reach.
"I don't think Luc would worry about me, just so you know."
"Well, best not to give him any reason to start worrying." He chimed as he slowed down the pace of his steps to let Lazlo catch up.
"Why?" He watched the pirate's movement carefully for a moment before walking by Hervey's side again. "Were you planning on kidnapping me and asking for a ransom?"
It wouldn't be too out of place for a pirate to do that after all.
"Haha, your roommate's moody lookin', not rich." Hervey replied with a laugh. "B'sides, no point on getting rich that way if Lady Kika'd kick my ass later for it."
"Even if you could tell her it was for a good cause?"
Though what cause would be good enough to have Lazlo kidnapped was beyond him.
"Since when was kidnappin' used for a good cause?" he countered with a raised brow.
"Umm..." Lazlo pondered the question momentarily. "Back in Razril. Keneth and the others 'kidnapped' me from the barracks since they didn't approve my routine."
So perhaps all the training and then extra training and studying wasn't good for his continued health, but how else was he supposed to prove his worth as something other than a Vingerhut servant? He wasn't as good as Snowe, never had been, so when the opportunity finally came for him to show that maybe he could be his friend's equal--instead of merely being a follower--he'd tried his utmost to prove himself.
The red-head scratched his head as they neared the dormitory doors, thinking about this newly acquired information.
"I wouldn't call that kidnappin'..." he said casually. "Sound more like they were doin' ya a favour."
He was sure Lazlo's comrades had a good reason for their actions. And knowing how much effort the former Razril Knight put in his endeavors, it was probably something that concerned his survival in some way.
"Not unless they asked for money?"
His friends asking for money... That sounded like such a silly concept that Lazlo almost wanted to laugh were it not for the sobering thought that they wouldn't have anyone to ask the money from.
"No reason to ask for it," he answered softly.
No doubt, Lord Vingerhut would've left Lazlo in the hand of kidnappers rather than pay a ransom on a small servant boy. He had been lucky to have a shelter above his head, food in his tummy and clothes on his person. Lucky to even be alive at all.
"See? Then I'm right." Hervey declared quite smugly. "Kidnappin's never for a good cause. It was prolly a favour to you being neglectful over somethin', right?"
Here, Lazlo sulked.
"I wasn't being neglectful."
In fact, he was working on priorities when it happened. It wasn't as if he couldn't handle it. Things were much worse when they were younger and Snowe had social responsibilities that kept the young orphan in the servant's area.
Hervey opened the door for the younger male, laughing in amusement. Those reactions were easy enough to read at least.
"Right, right." He nodded.
Sighing, Lazlo resigned himself to Hervey's amusement and, most likely, non-belief. Involuntarily, the pirate's reaction made him compare the man to his friends, particularly the tallest of their group.
"Just like Tal," the youth said in defeat as he walked past the open door.