Time Frame: 14th February Location: Max's Apartment, Sao Paulo Status: Private
Demons don't dream.
Max raised a brow when a troll, mouth full of pointed teeth, told him that. It'd been months after his murderous betrayal (whatever the fuck that means). He'd found his way to the demonic marketplace. Stumbled upon a merchant's tent with dream catchers. Touched one with his calloused knuckles. Then, after hearing about the loss of his dreams, he thought to himself...
Naked, he turns his head to stare at the back of Rebecca's sleeping head. He watches her back expand and contract with dreary breaths. Max's eyes shift to the ceiling. He's never tried to read someone's mind while they're resting. (Would that even work?) A frown creases his forehead. That seems to be more in Matt's wheelhouse. After a few moments, Max's eyes begin to close. He falls back asleep.
Demons don't dream.
If asked what happens when his mind was at rest, Max wouldn't have images. He'd have sensations. Falling, running, stabbing, fucking, sobbing, struggling. Without dreams, he's left with a bag of screaming verbs; the mess of his subconscious mind.
His dead wife's name slips from his mouth.
Frowning, he turns his back to Rebecca. He curls his hand into a fist. He's not having a nightmare. He's not having a dream. Remember?
Demons don't dream.
But it feels like he's falling. Plunging, slipping, inhaling poison. And he doesn't like it. He grips onto the name of his dead wife like a life raft. Hard. Then, he drives his fist into the wall repeatedly. He doesn't feel the skin as it peels back from his knuckles.
Most times she doesn’t remember them. There’s a safety in sleep that she can still find sometimes, even if she is dead, although she’s had sleepless nights wondering on why the dead can even sleep. The question hurt too much, and now she accepts it because it’s some measure of peace in a world that is anything but.
It’s the loud, sharp sound of flesh hitting something solid that startles her awake and it takes a moment for her to take in her surroundings, remember who she is. Where she is. Who she’s with.
The events of the night before come flooding back and she turns over, catching sight of Max’s back.
He’s punched the wall.
“Shit,” she says, sitting up quickly, one hand holding the sheet against her bare skin, concern written all over her face. “What’s wrong? Are you bleeding?”
Max freezes immediately, fist locked a centimeter from the wall. Perfect muscle control. Military training. He blinks and turns a look over his shoulder, taking in the sight of Rebecca. She's leaning up, staring at him in concern. It would be sweet if he wasn't ashamed. Max tears his eyes away. Stares down at his frayed knuckles.
"It'll heal." (Probably in less than an hour.) He flexes his fingers, testing the damage. "It always heals," he echoes quietly.
"Sorry if I woke you."
Max stares at the dent he made in the wall. (Awkward...)
Rebecca frowns. Instinct wants her to reach out and grab his hand, check the damage. But there’s something in his look that stops her. He’s wounded, and it’s not just physical. She’s frozen in place, waiting for a signal to move, unsure of what his headspace truly looks like. She’s not frightened of being hurt, but it would be awkward.
"Sorry if I woke you."
She nods her head slowly, cautiously. “It’s only sleep,” she replies. Rebecca looks at his bleeding hand, then back to his face, trying to find his eyes. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Or do you want me to go?”
Rebecca likes Max, but it was clear the night before - and more so now, - that there’s a darkness to him in a way even she doesn’t understand. She’s not foolish enough to think she can fix anyone - broken things could be stubborn, and she’s not pretending this is more than whatever it is - but anyone can be a good listener if they bother to try.
It's been years since anyone's asked if he wants to talk. The demon remains still, uncertain what to do with the question. He and Rebecca generated heat with each other, yes, but her genuine interest in him is unexpected; can a dead woman have a heart?
“Or do you want me to go?”
Shit. She must be interpreting his silence as rejection. Max takes a moment to gather his thoughts, then turns around. His blond hair is floppy, disheveled. He rubs sleep from his eyes and shakes his head. "No..." Max connects with her eyes.
He means it. Max doesn't want to talk, yet he's not quite ready to be lonely. He's not ready to be swallowed up by his own bullshit. It's too early. "I'm gonna wash my hand off, but..."
Is that relief when Max tells her to stay? It could be satisfaction. She’s not really sure anymore, and it’s frankly hard to tell.
She likes Max. He’s complicated. Everything in her life is complicated so whatever it is he has going on is hardly going to make dint in her own problems. If he wants to talk, fine. If not, it’s also fine.
It’s not like whatever this is comes with strings attached.
"I'm gonna wash my hand off, but… How do you feel about scrambled eggs?”
Max’s smile tells Rebecca that he thinks himself devilishly charming, and he’s not wrong. Amongst a crowd, he stands out, and lying next to her even more so, but Rebecca’s not a novice and she knows that some part of it is an act to cover up whatever it is he’s trying to keep buried. So says the wall beside the bed.
Not that she’s complaining.
“Love ‘em,” she replies - because what does one say to a question about breakfast? - before beginning to search for her clothes on the floor.
“Although I wouldn’t have pegged you as the scrambled eggs type,” Rebecca says. “More like the full breakfast. You’re more an all-or-nothing sort of person."
Max pauses, a bit surprised when Rebecca doesn't prod him with questions. She's nonchalant, more laidback than he gave her credit for. (Interesting.)
“Although I wouldn’t have pegged you as the scrambled eggs type."
Gloriously nude, Max stands up and combs long fingers through his hair. "Are you saying grown men can't cook?" He snorts groggy laughter. "Sexist..."
“More like the full breakfast. You’re more an all-or-nothing sort of person."
His mind flashes, extremely quickly, to the pink Dora the Explorer bowl he'd fix his daughter's breakfast in. Max shoves the thought into the recesses of his mind. "Well." The demon pads to the other end of the room, shrugging into his bathrobe. "I could go many dirty places with that, yet...
He pauses in the bathroom doorframe. "I'm a gentleman." (Lies.) Max grins before shutting the door. Immediately, he drops his smile like a mask. Blue eyes tick down to his bloodied knuckles. (What the fuck just happened?)
Max turns on the faucet, falling into auto-pilot: disinfecting his cuts, brushing his teeth, rinsing, repeating. Eventually, he finishes up and makes his way into the kitchen. He pulls four eggs from the refrigerator. Gets to work.
A perfectly yellow egg falls into the bowl.
(My Dad's dead.)
Biting the inside of his cheek, Max beats the egg with a metal fork, waiting for Rebecca to join him.
”Well I could go many dirty places with that, yet… I'm a gentleman.”
Rebecca snorts. “Somehow I doubt,” she calls after him as he closes the door.
She drops the sheet and proceeds to collect her discarded clothing, pulling it on, and pulling her unruly hair back, her mind making a running list of reasons Max he might proceed to punch a wall. There was never no reason. She puts them it all to the back of her mind when she takes Max’s place in the bathroom.
Rebecca washes her face, relishing the cool, and checking that she doesn’t look like a walking mess in her reflection in the mirror. There’s nothing personal in the bathroom, no other clue as to who Max might be. She didn’t really expect there to be; there don’t seem to be clues anywhere in his apartment.
When she joins him in the kitchen, he’s beating eggs.
Probably a healthier way to release pent-up aggression.
“What can I do to help?” Max turns around, a bare pec exposed through the slit in his bathrobe. The demon jerks his chin toward the vinyl record player in the living room. It's interconnected with the kitchen area. Max loves the open, modern design of his space; it's temporary, yes, but it's sophisticated.
"Put a record on." He begins to resume making breakfast, then pauses, turning back around. "Kendrick Lamar or anything from the eighties." (Wait...) He grins, narrowing his eyes at Rebecca.
"I never asked about your musical tastes. What makes you dance?"
Max says nothing and ogles Rebecca, eyes speaking volumes. (I mean...)
“I don’t mind anything, as long as I can hear the words. And you?"
He shrugs, turning back to breakfast. "Anything with a pounding—" He's struck with a sudden thought. (Are we having a... normal conversation?) Max frowns. Obviously, he's not dwelling on Rebecca's true nature. He was inside of her for god's sake. Still, his moderate level of trust, however causal, throws him off balance; most women don't get omelets and Kendrick Lamar in the morning. Also, most women don't catch him murmuring his dead wife's name.
(Better add some cheese to this damn scramble.)
"Sorry," he explains, "I got distracted by eggs." Max steals a look at Rebecca's lovely face. "And I like anything with a nice sound bed. Different instruments. A pounding baseline to wrap all the elements together. My taste formed when I traveled earlier in my life..."
Leaning against the counter, Rebecca’s fingers quietly tap out the beat in time to the music; an unconscious action while she watches Max cook. The man’s a goddamn mystery, but hell if she cares at the moment.
She listens while he reveals a little more of himself. Rebecca knew he was military - she would have guessed the army before he confirmed it - but not everyone was willing to talk about it. She decides to push her luck.
“Oh yeah? How long were you in the army before you got out?” Rebecca asks.
There are other questions she could ask, like who is Sarah? and what causes you to wake up and punch a wall? but those are questions she hasn’t earn’t the right to ask and she’s happier to stick to safer territory.
“Oh yeah? How long were you in the army before you got out?”
While he sets plates down, he flicks a look at Rebecca. (What are you digging around for?) The demon knows her secrets. Moreover, he knows she has no interest in killing or selling him off. He has nothing to lose. Yet, secrecy dies hard; who is he without his armor? Max smirks, deciding to play the roguish gentleman. It's a role he knows very well.
"Enough to know I'd served my country and brothers." (Five years.) "Do you ever think about leaving Brazil?"
Max knows Rebecca can't leave; still, he's curious to see how much the ghoul's willing to open up.
"Enough to know I'd served my country and brothers.”
The words are coupled with a smirk that she catches and she knows he’s holding back answers because secrets are powerful and whatever his experience, it’s his to keep and not hers to know.
She gets that. All she can do is ask.
"Do you ever think about leaving Brazil?”
Just like all he can do is ask.
The question itself is innocent enough.
“All the time,” she replies, because it’s the only right answer, and like his, it’s not an answer at all. Still, this is the most human contact she’s had outside the bar in a long time, and part of her can’t resist adding, “But it’s not possible, for now. So I try not to think about it too much.”
She changes the topic. “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?” Rebecca asks.
Max stops. He stares at Rebecca and feels, for the first time, a connection. Her longing to leave Brazil isn't something that nags at his own soul. He's a nomad, a professional killer. A monster. Yet it just takes the sight of a father with a child in his arms to make him question himself and everything.
“If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?”
The answer is simple and straightforward. No half-truths or flirting. Just truth; Max would go home if he could. It's his version of Disneyland at this point. A place where everything used to be right and nothing could ever be the same. Isn't that something?
"Eggs are ready."
Max sits at the countertop and places breakfast into two plates. He digs into his omelet with a fork. (This needs more pepper flakes.) He reaches out for the shaker, sprinkling pepper onto his breakfast.
hey! i'm merc. i'm twenty and i live in the united states. i love cats, harry potter, doctor who, and playing minecraft! the best way to contact me (if you can't reach me through here) is on my tumblr which you can find linked above!