concerning immortals and flatbread
“Remind me why I’m letting you crash at my place,” Soren mutters after the second straight week of walking into his tiny apartment to find it an absolute disaster. The boy looks up absently - Finian, his name is Finian, Soren needs to remember that - from his nest of empty takeout containers and blankets. He’s got flatbread in his mouth, apparently caught midchew, the rice and vegetables threatening to topple off the remainder of bread in his hand. Soren cringes - he’ll never hear the end of it if the carpet gets stained beyond repair - and tries not to look horrified as he throws his keys and coat on the table.
Finian doesn’t seem to have heard Soren at all, but even if he did hear Soren neither of them have been very good at getting the point of what they’re saying across. Being frozen in an iceberg for over a thousand years seems to have horrible effects on communication - who knew? Every day Soren spends with Finian does wonders for science.
The sheer number of things he does that defy modern laws is staggering. Soren has lost count, but he never ceases to be amazed. His latest discovery: the boy doesn’t bleed.
“No die,” Finian explained haltingly after two days, when Soren caught the boy wandering outside in the heavy traffic of the city. Somebody rammed him hard but the boy just slid across the hood of the car and continued to walk as if nothing had happened. So if Finian wanted to claim immortality Soren was willing to believe him.
Did all immortals take over your apartments and compulsively buy everything on the meals app you showed them how to use? Or was this boy, sitting in the last shaft of buttery afternoon sunlight peeking through a gap in the curtains, somehow different even among legends?
“Good food,” Finian says happily. He examines the bottom of the latest takeout container and sighs with disappointment upon finding it empty.
“That’s nice,” Soren says absently. Coffee - he needs coffee to deal with this boy, he has learned that over the past fourteen days and even before that, on the little expedition boat with Lara, trying to understand words in a foreign language nobody’s spoken in a long time. Soren growls deep in his throat upon discovering the boy has taken the liberty of unplugging every appliance in the kitchen.
“Did you unplug the television too?” he snaps. Finian looks up, startled, his green eyes bright and wide. Who, me? his expression screams.
“Tele- telli - telviz —”
“Tel - ah - vish - on,” Soren sounds out.
“Tellyvzhon,” Finian says triumphantly. “Yes, I like.”
“Did you unplug it?”
Soren brandishes the coffeemaker plug at the boy in an attempt to get his point across.
“Ah,” Finian says, perking up. “No, I kept plugged.”
The television is off, but Soren sees the shape of a remote hidden under the brown paper napkins littering the floor and he wonders if Finian accidentally turned the television off and forgot how to turn it back on. He’s immortal but I can’t even have a simple conversation with him, Soren thinks to himself.
He phones Lara. He does that a lot, even more than before the expedition. If they hadn’t found Finian, he doesn’t know how things would have turned out, what with declarations of love and all, but with Finian they’ve got an excuse to talk to each other every chance they get.
“Lara, I don’t know if I can keep hiding him in my apartment,” Soren says in a rush as soon as she picks up the phone. “He keeps unplugging things! And my wallet can’t stand his outrageous eating habit much longer.”
“He’s still eating?”
“Yes, yes, of course he’s still eating. I have a literal immortal crashing at my place and I can’t even teach him basic speech so we can talk about half the things he knows because he’s always got his mouth full with flatbread,” Soren hisses. “Can’t you take him for a few days? Just so I can get the stains out of my carpet, Lara, please—”
“You know I’ve got the boss over for the informal dinner party this weekend,” Lara sighs into the phone, her whistly exhale crackling along the speaker. “After that - maybe. If nothing else, I could always take him out to see a museum or something, even if it’s only for an afternoon.”
“A museum,” Soren breathes. “Lara, you’re a genius.”
“I’m a scientist, dear. Not quite the same, but close enough. Keep flattering me and I might share the credit for my paper on the ruins we found in the desert with you.”
“That one’s all yours,” Soren mutters. “I hate deserts. Nasty places.”
“Excuse me,” Lara yelps, indignant. “They’re wonderful! I will not have you shitting on deserts if you expect me to drag any strange thousand-year-old beings to see ancient history.”
“Okay, okay. Deserts are… okay places.”
There’s a click on the other end, the sound of a pen. Lara shifts her phone - Soren can hear her moving and rustling. “I’ll take it. Now, where should I bring the iceberg boy?”
“Finian, his name is Finian—”
Soren pauses and casts a glance at the boy, now wrapped up in a blanket and watching the television with fascination. It seems he figured out how to turn it on again, but Soren is less interested in the way the remote is dangling precariously over a glass of water and more interested with Finian’s strange hair and skin tone.
“Hang on, do you know where he’s from?”
“No. Finding out information about him is your job, Soren. Being a historian and scholar of ancient civilizations and all.”
Soren huffs. “You’re paying for this, you know.”
“Paying for what?”
“His meal of bribery.”
Soren hangs up on Lara’s protests and approaches Finian cautiously. “What do you want to eat?” he asks, carefully, slowly. The boy stares up at Soren for a moment before grinning widely.
“More flatbread,” Finian says cheerfully. “I like flatbread.”