I should have mentioned this sooner, but my SuteNia 100 theme challenge will feature 50 from Near’s “perspective” and 50 from Gevannis. I plan to post them alternatively, so the tone won’t become too boring. This is the second of the Gevanni section, mostly because the first one has turned into a 5 page story that I have the feeling will become a two-part ficlet.
In either case, Enjoy.
“Non, je veux savoir sur le dispositif.” Gevanni forced the sounds through his lips. He felt as if he could speak French while talking with Lidner, or when working for the CIA before coming to the SPK. But his abilities seemed to crumble whenever he was in front of Near.
Truly, it sounded foolish, but those black hues worked as black holes, sucking in everything around them, emotional, perception, fear; everything. Gevanni got nervous preforming anything in front of Near that wasn’t firing a gun. Marksmanship was probably the one thing that Gevanni could do better than Near. Language, however, was definitely one thing that Near had the advantage of.
The whitette shook his head. “It’s still not right. You take pauses that are either too long or inappropriate between words. ‘Sur’ is a long sound, but ‘le’ is a quick one.”
Gevanni sighed, leaning his head down between his knees. “Near, come on… We’ve been running drills for three hours. Why don’t we do something else?”
Near sighed as well. Trying to figure out how to prompt Gevanni to learn faster wasn’t the easiest obstacle he had attempted to overcome. This was proving harder than trying to stack card towers at Whammy’s House when Matt and Mello set off the emergency sprinkler system four times in one day.
It was apparent that his teaching method wasn’t effective, but he wasn’t a teacher; nor did he claim to be. “Alright, what do you want to do?”
The Italian wanted to distract his boss from what they were doing, but he had this nagging feeling that Near wouldn’t abandon this lesson for something more enjoyable, like chicken and Gnocchi. That would be delicious right about now.
“Where were you born again?” Gevanni asked, resting his chin on his hand. It was the first question he could think of, wondering what sort of foods that Near ate as a child.
Near rolled his eyes. “I have told you already, New York. What does that have to do with French?”
“So English was your first language?” Gevanni questioned, to which, Near nodded. “English was my second language. What was yours?”
The whitenette tilted his head slightly to the right, eyes narrowing in thought rather than irritation. The Italian noticed that Near did this whenever someone asked him a personal question. Gevanni assumed it was Near’s way of assessing the dangers and risks of such questions before answering them.
“I learned French and Italian simultaneously.” He answered slowly.
Gevanni smiled, his chin still resting in his palm. He grimaced, though, feeling the prickly hairs that were ravaging their way through his skin. He needed to shave after this, he reminded himself. “How old were you?”
“I hardly see the point in this line of questioning. This is about you speaking French like a soon-to-be-high-school-drop-out.” Near sneered.
There it was again! Gevanni sat up straight, wanting to slap his boss. Whenever Near grew frustrated with him; with Gevanni, just Gevanni, never Linder or Rester, he’d insult him. Gevanni wasn’t sure if it was personal, but he knew that he spoke French better than Near was giving him credit for.
“This is called bonding. Humans do this to build relationships and foster trust for one another.” Gevanni added, his tone more biting than he intended. If Near wanted to spit venom, then the brunette was content with spitting it back.
Charcoal eyes widened, just slightly, and Near looked away, starting to twirl his hair around his finger. He mumbled something that Gevanni didn’t catch.
“I was six…” Near mumbled a few seconds later.
He learned this in an orphanage, Gevanni reminded himself. Did that mean he was orphaned before that? Gevanni came to the United States when he was a little older then Near. So, that meant his boss would have lost his parents when he was still a child; and, considering Near’s current state, he was probably more like a toddler.
“Do you have any other prying questions?” Near asked quietly.
“Are you hungry?” Gevanni figured he best salvage the situation before his boss decided to drop the lesson and move onto something else.
Near’s head turned back, facing Gevanni. He stared at the brunette with that same emotion sucking expression, which was starting to make Gevanni uncomfortable. He could practically hear the synapses in Near’s brain firing.
“I suppose I could eat.” Near answered.
“That’s the spirit!” Gevanni chimed, beaming down at his small boss.
As they ate, Gevanni continuously glanced up at his boss, who was pushing his food around his plate rather than eating it. “Is my French truly that bad?”
“I…” The whitenette started. “May have over reacted… It’s not inadequate, it’s just not perfect. The French are unforgiving when it comes to their language. I want them to respect you. I’d never forgive myself if I let you get shot for something as foolish as pronunciation.”
The brunette looked down at his own plate, having forgotten that possibility. It had been about eight months since he’d been shot at, so he had forgotten the adrenaline that came with it. That, and he couldn’t help but feel honored that Near held priority in his life. It made Gevanni feel warm inside.
Gevanni’s brilliant blue eyes met the dark ones. “What do we do about it then?”
“I think, ” Near began. “that I need to find a way of teaching that works for you.”
“Any idea what that would be?” Gevanni asked jokingly.
Near shrugged, “Knowing you as I do, it will likely involve food.”
“Food huh? Can’t say I’d complain about that.” Gevanni thought, but was well aware that it likely wouldn’t work that way. He had never seen Near do anything domestic. He normally wouldn’t even get a drink on his own. The thought of that saddened him slightly, but he figured it might be a way to motivate his boss. “Any ideas thus far?”
The whitenette shrugged his shoulders. This was an action his boss rarely did. In fact, he had seen him shrug his shoulders only once before, when talking to Lidner about Mello.
“Near? Do you have any ideas?”
“I was thinking,” Near started to twirl his hair, “of attempting something similar to a bet.” He stated. “For every conversation we have in French that you complete without error, I will try something you make.”
A victorious look came over Gevanni’s face, making him look like a cat about to pounce upon his boss in gratitude.
“H-However, I do not think such a thing would work, considering I do not eat as often as you do, and I do not eat as much!”
“Je peux faire des repas de morsure de taille pour vous.” (I can make bite-sized meals for you.)
Near stared, dumbfounded. “You…”
Gevanni felt victorious, putting such an expression on the normally expressionless face. “It seems my teacher has found the proper motivation for his student. You can start by eating what’s in front of you.”