One Request


cesar_icon.gif monica2_icon.gif

Scene Title One Request
Synopsis Presents are very important.
Date July 15, 2019

Cesar's Apartment

FaceTime me when you get this <3

The note is taped to the top of a box. There's no name on it, but the postage tells that it came from Japan. And he is an investigator, so Monica has faith that he'll put two and two together.

Various things are noted about the box first. The address listed, the amount of postage, the condition it arrived in. He didn’t shake it.

Cesar can’t help the little smile that appears on his features as he rummages around the inner packaging. Curiosity has him. But then he slips off that mental track when he remembers who wrote the note and the news of Monica’s status since.

His phone gets a quick swipe to unlock it and after an equally quick check of his appearance in his bathroom mirror, Cesar dials up Monica's number.

The smile returns, a bit more crooked.

When she answers, there's a smile on Monica's face, too. Even though the hour is ungodly, she doesn't seem to be worse for it.

"Did you get my package or is this because of the news?" she asks, her tone probably a little too lighthearted for the situation she and her friends are in. But that's Monica. "You didn't look at it all without me, did you?"

“What? No, why would you think I’d gone through the whole thing. It’s not my birthday,” Cesar retorts with a playful mock-offense. But his initial lean against his bed’s headboard switches positions as he sits up more. “About that news, though,” he says unavoidably.

“What the fuck is going down over there, Monica? Thought you and your friends were going sightseeing?” In comes the also unavoidable frown of confusion that Cesar gets when he’s sorting things out. Be it a case, or folding towels.

"Good. I've got a few things in there that I want to see your face for. Oh, and I sent something for your mom," Monica says as she scoots herself upright in bed.

"Listen," she says, to the more important question, "I was sightseeing for, like, a month solid. I sent you the pics from Tokyo Disney." That's her defense that at least some of this trip was for fun. "But this is just a case of mistaken identity. We're going to clear it all up. It just might take some time to sort out, so I'm not sure how long we'll end up being here." At least most of them are unemployed. No job to report back to. "A little longer, anyway."

“Uh huh.” The dual syllables hold far more than original skepticism. There’s weighty concern, nervous anxiety, energetic need to do something about the situation that for now has nothing to be done. Except to ask, “You were all cleared to travel by the agency. Now I know that we’re still getting our shit together here Stateside, but to get mistakenly accused of suspected murder? Of the Minister of Justice of Japan? It don’t look good.” Not one bit. Especially when she says that the situation will take some time to sort out.

“You should’ve been back already,” he pouts, lips curling wryly. Not wanting to dwell on that lonely fact, Cesar reaches for the opened package to poke around in again.

“But those pictures of Tokyo Disney were good. How did the churros taste over there? Couldn’t have been as good as the Tomorrowland cart?”

"Well, none of us set out to embarrass your agency, Cesar," Monica says, a gentle chiding for his priorities in this particular matter. "But part of me wonders if someone did. Three American Expressives get linked to this incident? Easy enough to bend that in a political fashion. The sooner it's over, the better."

She doesn't look worried, but he's known her long enough to know she doesn't always let that sort of thing show.

She also lets his lonely comment go by for the moment, focusing instead on what follows. "I mean, the churros were okay. Not quite as good as home, though." There's a pause there, some thought flickering through her mind before she speaks again. "Speaking of, are you gonna open that box or what?"

Shaking his head, Cesar makes a wordless noise of protest for the chiding even though he knows he deserved that one. Touche. "Just… be careful out there," he says out of a verbalized worry for the both of them. "The agency's already started looking into it on our end, I'm sure." Because he would have caused more of a scene if they hadn't.

But at present, they have a different present to address. "I'm gettin' to it, hold your horses, woman," he returns to teasing. After a glance around, he finds a clear spot where he can set the phone on a stand. Part of the protective packaging flings on to a nearby pillow where her head sometimes rests. "When you get back," he says as he finishes upwrapping, "I'll take you out where we can get some churros with that dulce de leche dip."

Cesar dips both hands into the box to pick out the first couple items in the form of headwear.

"Oh shit, Mickey ears?"

"I'm always careful," is an easy lie. What she really means is that she knows she can get out of any trouble she gets into. But to Monica, those statements are pretty much the same.

She laughs at his teasing, happy to move on to the collection of gifts she's gathered through this trip so far. "Sushi Mickey ears," she says and when he turns them over, he can see that for himself. There's even a set of chopsticks stuck to one ear. She reaches over, grabbing her one set to stick on her head. Hers are ramen bowls. "I just had to have them. That's how they get you in there. You can't not buy them, they're just… so extra."

Deeper in the box are some other things— mostly clothes that are off beat, but sure to look good on him. There's a set of weapons that she instructs him to keep for her until she gets back. And also, a desk doodad in the form of a Newton's Cradle with little ninja faces on the clackers.

"That's for your mom," she notes, "I thought she might think it's cute."

It’s true, he sees the sushi roll shape from the black seaweed back at first. The front, however, that’s the kicker with white puffy sequined ‘rice’ and colorful innards denoting the raw fish, vegetables, pickled bits. Cesar is kind of speechless outside of a que es eso? murmured out before he turns to look to the phone screen. And sees the ramen bowls on Monica’s head. “Oh. My. God.” His voice catches in his throat, followed by a sputtering ‘pff’ and then laughter.

Cesar turns away. He sticks the sushi ears on his head. He Blue Steels as best he can.

Once the second bout of laughter’s over, he’s digging back into the box of goodies - the clothes are all examined with interest, the weapons with a little more than slight suspicion. But the desktoy with the small ninjas renews the amusement. “You think my mom’s going to… actually nevermind. She’s going to love it. Because it’s coming from you.” How many items has wound up on Cesar’s mom’s shelves from Monica’s travels? So many.

Clack-clack goes the Newton’s Cradle once he’s freed it from the packaging. He sets the item carefully on to the bedside nightstand next to the phone after stilling the swinging balls. In that brief silence comes an awkward pause as he finds a tiny figurine of a green fledgling Banageon tucked into the corner of the box. It’s really something. And it’s set down next to the Ninja Newton’s Cradle.

“Do these clothes mean you’re trying to dress me now?” Not that he had problems with wardrobe necessarily, but the man’s government job means the color palette is limited for the sake of uniformity. But still, any attempts at seriousness in the moment are foiled with the presence of Mickey sushi, so he leans into it more. “Or you’re tryin’ to double dip with dressing and undressing?” His crooked smile teases out.

"If you happen to decide to try them on while I'm here, that's just coincidence and not at all in my agenda for this call, I assure you." Monica smirks, though, which might take the sincerity out of her claims. "All they mean is that I was thinking about you," she says, and that one hits the mark a little better, because she has been thinking about him. Not that they haven't spent months apart before, but it doesn't mean he's far from her thoughts.

"Anyway, if you have any other requests, now's the time to get them in. Assuming I can get to a store without being arrested," she says, probably too casually, but then, being wanted by the government is familiar. Just like the bad ol' days. "Or rather, when I can go to a store again." That might be a nicer way to put it.

“Uh huh,” Cesar says mock-skeptically at first, his crooked smile mirroring her smaller smirk pictured on his phone’s screen. Even the pixelation and bit of lag doesn’t diminish the sincerity of her next statement, though, and his smile grows wider. His mouth starts to open, his initial reaction catches down in his throat before he manages to speak them. Technically it’s fine, she moves on to other requests he might have. “Nah don’t you worry about me,” he says instead, head shaking and wobbling the round sushi ears upon it. “But if I think of anything, I’ll text it to you. It’s late, so I’ll let you go.”

After another beat, he submits three words to her, different from what he had almost said seconds ago.

“Come home safe.”

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