Title: A Squeeze of Lemon
Fandom: Prodigal Son
Characters/Pairings:Malcolm Bright, Gil Arroyo, Jackie Arroyo
Word count: 699
Warnings/Spoilers: Cannon food avoidance.
Summary: Malcolm needs to eat and Gil needs to check on Malcolm.
Notes: This is the first non yuletide fic I’ve written since 2015 which says something about my life and maybe something about this show. Only one episode so far. It’s either going to be brilliant or a train wreck. Right now it’s a bit like watching someone try to black out a trope bingo card using only one story. I’m kinda loving it.
There were only two people who would so brazenly break into his apartment and his mother had already dished out her monthly dose of ‘care’. She also never filled his apartment with the smell of food.
Malcolm climbed the steps even as his stomach flipped about. It was one of his many ongoing wars. His body insisted he needed basic sustenance to live and his brain said ‘no’ like an angry toddler, often forcing later rejection of what was consumed.
‘You’re a bright boy,’ she said cupping his cheek, her hands smelling like garlic and lemon. ‘You should do something with that.’
“What’s cooking?” Malcolm forced a smile. “And since when do you cook?”
“Since I decided I’m a grown man and cannot live on Chinese takeout and dirty water hotdogs, although I can tell you’ve been trying to manage on even less than that so sit and eat.”
“I’m fine,” Malcolm insisted out of principle more than fact.
“You’ve lost at least 40 pounds since you joined the feds and I can tell because I hugged you.” Gil ladled soup out of the pot bubbling on the stove and into a waiting bowl which was then placed on the counter where a spoon was waiting. Malcolm sat and peered into the bowl. It was mostly broth, a few bits of carrot and celery, and wide egg noodles. Gil’s bowl was more solid than liquid with big pieces of chicken and piles of vegetables. Gil stared at him until he lifted his spoon and took a sip.
He’d taken the subway. It was his first time on the trains that had rumbled beneath his feet. He’d stood studying the map for twenty minutes, trying to commit the rout to memory. His sister was with the new nanny, their old one having quit in terror. His mother was drunk, and he just had to get out. Get out of that house, get out of that life. He knew it was dangerous, a child alone in New York. He didn’t care. He got off the train and walked block after block, comparing the numbers to the slip of paper clenched in his hand. The apartment was tiny. Rent controlled for a beat cop and a school teacher. Jackie had asked if he was hungry. He nodded. The nanny wasn’t the only one who quit. The entire household staff had run and his mother wasn’t good at remembering things like meals. And his body hadn’t yet started to reject even the thought of food. She floated a thick tortilla in the bowl which had a little chip on the rim. The spoon wasn’t a soup spoon and the bowl was deep. He was so hungry then. The nightmares hadn’t started yet.
He sipped the broth, his body rejoicing and railing at the same time. “It’s very French, you know?” he said.
“What is?” Gil asked.
“The squeeze of lemon Jackie always put in the broth. Brightens the flavour. You get it in French cooking. Greek as well. Probably a Mediterranean thing.”
“And you would know a lot about Mediterranean cooking?”
Malcolm shrugged and forced himself to take another sip. The broth in his mouth was soft and warm, savoury and bright. He swallowed and it landed like liquid lead. “Couple of summers in the south of France. Sunburned whiney American child. Didn’t appreciate the food when it was available.”
“Nothing stopping you from going now.”
Malcolm actually smiled. He knew all this was Gil testing out his state of mind. Anyone else he would have thrown out.
“I thought you liked having me back in the city?”
“Not if it’s going to keep you from sampling the delicacies of the French countryside.”
Malcolm smiled into his soup and took a third sip which seemed to settle with more ease than the first two. Maybe they would actually stay down tonight. Maybe his dreams would be memories of Gil and Jackie’s tiny apartment, with its clattering radiator, and Formica table. Where he’d felt safe enough to cry into the shoulders of people who were nearly strangers and eat chicken soup after.
“Nah, I’m fine here. This is enough for me.”
This entry was originally posted at https://ladygray99.dreamwidth.org/851000.html. Please comment there using OpenID.