Mini-Interlude 6 – Sean

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“I guess if you wanna get yourself lost where no one can find you, it’s probably pretty hard to do better than a city in South America with eight million people in it,” Sean Gerardo muttered aloud to himself.

He was standing on the roof of his Uncle Sebastian’s apartment building, overlooking the massive city of Bogotá. Or at least, the tiny part of it he could actually see from there, since the apartment wasn’t that tall. The narrow, cobblestone roads below were busy with the afternoon traffic, and he could hear music coming from the Usaquen Market that was just down the street. Which reminded him that he should probably work his way through the tourists to pick up a few things for Columbus and the girls.

“Did you say something, sobrino?” The voice came from the doorway onto the roof, where Uncle Sebastian himself was just emerging carrying two glasses.

Sebastian Gerardo was a fit man, though not a very tall one. At his full height, he was only about five foot seven. His hairline was receding, but he still looked like he could run a marathon without too much trouble. His arms were thick with corded muscle, and his gray-blue eyes looked like stormy clouds moving through a clear sky.

The man joined Sean at the edge of the roof, and Sebastian handed him one of the glasses. Taking it, the boy enjoyed a sip of the Avena Colombiana, which was essentially a creamy milk drink with sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and oatmeal in it. He’d tried describing the drink to his roommate before, but Columbus had gotten stuck on how ‘gross’ oatmeal in a drink sounded. Which was his loss, really.

“Yeah,” he answered his uncle after enjoying another delicious sip. “I said that moving to a place like this is a good way to make sure no one can find you.” Using the glass to gesture out over the other buildings, the boy added, “Especially if the person looking for you doesn’t live around here.” Glancing back to his uncle, he met the man’s gaze. “Tourists stand out.”

Sebastian had stooped to scratch at Vulcan’s head as the mechanical dog sat near the edge of the roof. Vulcan made a happy noise before picking up his metal ball with a hopeful look. Sebastian took the ball and threw it to the other end of the roof, prompting the robot-canine to go chasing after it, barking happily.

“Yeah, they do,” the man finally responded to Sean. Looking back to the boy, he added, “So you’re probably wondering where Mateo is, since he wasn’t here to meet you like he usually is.”

Instead of answering right away, Sean took another drink, longer this time as he turned to look back to the city. When he spoke, he tried to keep his voice as light as possible. “I figured he was probably trying to stay out of my line of sight until you had a chance to talk to me about why he’d set off my Stranger sense.”

Looking back that way to find his uncle’s surprised stare, he added, “At least it better be that. Because if it’s because you’re worried about me finding out you two are an item, I’m gonna have to kick your ass, Tío Seb. Being a Stranger is one thing, but if you think I’d give a shit that you’re gay, then you don’t know me at all.”

For a few seconds, Sebastian said nothing. His expression was unreadable as he stared at the boy before finally lifting his head as a look of realization passed over him. “Your Edge vision.”

Nodding, Sean turned away from the roof to face his uncle. “Yup. Kinda hard to uhh, mistake a guy you’ve known pretty much your whole life turn into a werewolf.”

Taking a visible breath, Sebastian glanced toward Vulcan before speaking again. “Okay. Well, obviously you haven’t said anything to anyone yet. So… thank you. I guess you’ve got a lot of questions. I know it might be hard to understand, but–”

“He’s not evil,” Sean interrupted before the man could go on. “Yeah, well, him saving my life from those gangbangers that broke in kind of spoiled the surprise on that one.”

Straightening, he continued to meet his uncle’s gaze. “It’s okay, Tío Seb. We should probably talk about this stuff all together, shouldn’t we? I mean, if he’s somewhere close by?”

Remaining silent for a few seconds, Sebastian eventually nodded. “Yeah. You sure?”

Sean didn’t look away. “He saved my life. Even if there wasn’t more, even if there wasn’t… all this shit I need to tell you about, that’d be enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. Neither of you have to prove anything to me.. You think I’d take some teacher’s words over yours? You think I’d kill Mateo just because of some paranoid tradition? He’s family. You’re family. Like I said, you don’t have to prove a damn thing. You already spent my whole life proving it.”

Head tilting a little as a tiny, obviously relieved smile touched his face, Sebastian asked, “Something happened up there?”

“Yeah, a lot of things,” Sean replied. “But it’s probably better to talk about it in person. Together. You know, with family. So you gonna tell your boyfriend it’s okay to come up here?”

Coughing, Sebastian nodded quickly. “Sí, well, I ahh, already did.” He tapped the side of his head demonstrably.

No sooner had he finished saying that, than the door onto the roof opened once more and Mateo emerged, carrying a glass of his own as well as a tray of pandebono, a sort of cheese bread. Like Sebastian, Mateo wasn’t a very tall man, standing only an inch higher than his companion. Unlike the other man, Mateo also wasn’t large in any other way. Rather than having muscles layered on top of muscles, the man was almost rail thin.

“Hey, Sean,” he greeted the boy, extending the tray to him. “Heard you’ve got a bit of a story to tell.”

Smiling faintly, Sean took one of the pandebono. “Yeah, well, you know how it is. Go up to school to learn how to fight monsters and find out not all of them are evil. Especially the kind that save your life.” Pausing then, he added, “Thank you, Mateo. You uhh, I know what you risked. I know what you’ve probably been going through ever since I went up to Crossroads, what you had to be afraid of. So… thanks. Thanks for what you did, what you risked.”

Clearly swallowing hard past a lump in his throat, it took Mateo a few seconds to find his voice. “Hey, kid, you… couldn’t let anything happen to you, huh? You’re practically family, after all.”

Sean shook his head firmly. “No. There’s no practically about it. You’re family, Tío Mateo.”

“Family,” Mateo’s voice was gruff, his voice clearly thick with suppressed emotion as he carefully set down his tray and drink before offering a hand to the boy. “Thank you.”

Looking at the offered hand briefly, Sean took it and squeezed. Then he pulled the other man into a tight, firm embrace. “You saved my life, even though it could’ve cost you everything. Thank you.”

Stiff with surprise at first, Mateo quickly relaxed into the hug, tightening his own grip around the boy. “It wasn’t that much of risk. Losing you would’ve cost everything, Sean.”

Eventually pulling back, Sean found a smile. “Though you’re running out of excuses not to make each other honest men.” Teasing them with a wink, the boy’s grin grew at their expressions. “One of you needs to propose to the other and get this over with.”

Nudging his shoulder with a fist, Sebastian cleared his throat. “You said there was something about what’s been going on up there, eh?”

“Sure, sure, change the subject,” Sean shook his head. “But just so you know, if I don’t get to be the best man for one of you, I will be deeply disappointed.” Head tilting then, he amended, “Though I would settle for flower girl. That looks fun too.”

Sobering, the boy took a breath. “Anyway, as for what’s happening… I can’t tell you all of it. I mean, I want to, but it involves magic secrecy spells, so… anyway, it starts with this girl named Flick. Flick Chambers, her mom….”

******

“And that’s pretty much all I can tell you,” Sean finished up awhile later before taking the last bite of the last pandebono. “Actually, your whole thing… here, made me wonder if you guys were part of that rebellion.”

The two men looked at one another, frowning slightly. Sebastian finally spoke. “If that’s true, then… we wouldn’t remember if we were.”

“Makes sense though,” Mateo offered with a thoughtful look. “If there was something like that going on, I would’ve been all over it.”

Nodding slowly, Sebastian made a face. “Until they erased…” A noise of anger escaped him then. “I’ll kill that carechimba, I swear to–”

“Easy, Tío,” Sean cautioned, putting a hand on his uncle’s arm. “Take it easy. We’ve gotta play this cool for now.”

“This necromancer,” Mateo put in then. “You said his name was Fossor. I’ve heard of him. He’s not one to mess around with. He’s one of the bad ones, probably one of the worst Nocen. If he’s got your friend’s madre… you guys are gonna need all the help you can get.”

“You volunteering?” Sean asked with a little smile at the man.

“You need us,” Sebastian put in as both men nodded, “and we’re there. No hesitation. Like you said, sobrino, we’re family.”

“I have some packmates I run with that’ve had dealings with necromancers,” Mateo added, “Mostly bad ones. Werewolves don’t really like that kind of stuff. But I’ll see if they know anything more about this Fossor and any woman that he keeps around him. If we can dig anything up, I’ll let you know.”

Smiling faintly, Sean nodded. “Thanks. I uhh, I’m sure Flick’ll appreciate anything you can find out. We’re kind of flying pretty blind here.”

“You will be careful,” Sebastian ordered. “You find out anything, anything substantial, you let us know. You got it?”

Sean agreed, and after a little more back and forth, Mateo raised an eyebrow. “You like this Flick girl, hmm?”

“Sure,” Sean replied with a shrug. “But not like that. I mean, sure, she’s cute and smart and all that. But she’s got this thing for her roommate. Or possibly this other girl, the one with the vampire sister I told you about.” He had put together Shiori’s connection with Asenath shortly after their trip to the Meregan world, and eventually talked to his roommate and Shiori herself about it.

“Anyway,  I’m not sure what’s happening there. Either way, I’m not really in the running.”

After observing him for another few seconds, Sebastian smiled slowly. “Maybe not her, but there is another one, eh?”

It was Sean’s turn to flush a little bit. “Ehhh, well, you know. She’s not exactly on my team or anything. But there is this girl. Roxa. Roxanne. She’s this cute little Silverstone blonde surfer chick. She uhh, she’s got this mechanical cougar, like Vulcan there. Except hers turns into this hoverboard, it’s…”

Catching himself as his own little partner stared at him reproachfully, Sean crouched to scratch behind Vulcan’s ears. “It’s not nearly as cool as this guy. But still, she’s pretty awesome. And did I mention cute? Because I can get more descriptive.”

Laughing, Sebastian shook his head. “I think I can picture this girl pretty well. So have you said anything to her?”

“Been a little busy so far,” Sean pointed out. “Besides, how do I start? ‘Hey, you wanna go out on a date and talk a little Crossroads treason?’”

“Maybe ease into that a bit later,” Mateo cautioned with a chuckle. “But you never know how someone will react to things until you get to take the time to get to know them.”

Nodding slowly, Sean quipped, “So ask her out on a few dates before getting into the whole ‘everything you’ve been taught this year about monsters is a total lie’?”

“Now you’re getting it,” Sebastian grinned. “Plus, maybe you should have Mateo cook for her. That’d make her warm up to the whole ‘not all Strangers are bad’ thing pretty quick.”

Still smiling, Sean looked back and forth between his uncles. “You know,” he started thoughtfully. “I might just take you up on that someday.

“But right now,” he added with an easy smile, “it’s Thanksgiving. So let’s talk about the most important thing.

“Food.”

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18 comments

  1. Happy Mini-Interlude day, guys! Thanks to Hendy for commissioning this look at Sean interacting with his uncles. And over the next two weeks, we’ve still got those two more mini-interludes. So stay tuned for those mixed in with our normally scheduled updates. 😀

    Obviously, I don’t actually speak Spanish, nor do I know that much about Colombia. So if I’ve messed anything up, do feel free to let me know and I will fix it.

    Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed that bit. I’ve gone in and updated the cast list a fair bit, including adding in Eden’s Garden Heretics and listing all their tribes for easy reference. Go ahead and check that out if you feel like it, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions. Oh, and I’ve also re-added the link to Flick’s class schedule onto the menu of the main site, which was accidentally taken off awhile ago.

    Finally, today’s tags, for those on mobile, are: Clearly ‘Would You Like To Help Me Commit Treason Against Our Murderously Oppressive Leadership’ Is At Least Fourth Date Material., Mateo, Sean Gerardo, Sebastian Gerardo, Vulcan, You Don’t Get To Be The Flower Girl – Sean. That’s Vulcan’s Job.

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  2. Wait, is Flick joining Seán for Thanksgiving? How would she get there? Getting ahead of myself, since it’ll be covered soon enough.

    It occurs to me that Flick might want to be a bit more secretive. At present, her entire team, plus Shiori, Tristan, Koren and Vanessa(?), along with Nevada, Gaia, Dare, the chief of Security, Seller, Miranda, Asenath,Twister, Wyatt, Deveron, 34, Ammon and now Sean’s uncles all know enough to get her into serious trouble. There’s way too many points of failure and not nearly enough safeguards in place. I mean, for crying out loud! In spite of KNOWING for certain that Ruthers is suspicious of her, she holds conversations in Crossroads, that if Ruthers is even halfway competent are bugged to hell and back. The coin trick is handy, but they probably shouldn’t be relying on it so much.

    Maybe I’m overthinking things, but they really, really need to be more careful. The ideal number for a conspiracy is 2 and for a secret is 1 for a reason.

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      1. My bad, I somehow managed to utterly misremember/misread the last few chapters. In my defence, you have a lot of characters and I’m really bad at keeping them all straight in my head.

        Thanks again for the great story!

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      2. lol, no problem. I was just afraid that I accidentally included something that seemed to imply that they were waiting for Flick.

        But no, her two Thanksgivings are at home and at Koren’s new home in Florida.

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  3. Clearly, Vulcan’s the one with the crush and he’s been conditioning Sean to be into Roxa. I mean come on, that’s just obvious.

    And Mateo has a pack, huh? And here I was thinking that he’d be a lone wolf. I look forward to meeting them down the line, brief as it may be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clearly, Vulcan’s the one with the crush and he’s been conditioning Sean to be into Roxa. I mean come on, that’s just obvious.

      *snickers* Can’t get anything past you.

      And Mateo has a pack, huh? And here I was thinking that he’d be a lone wolf. I look forward to meeting them down the line, brief as it may be.

      He spends a lot of time away from them, but yeah, he does have a pack to run with.

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  4. It’s a sign of how awkward orthodox Crossroads Heretical society can make things, where Sebastian has to keep his boyfriend out of sight until he can be sure that his nephew hasn’t partaken of the ‘all Strangers are bad’ kool-aid- the combination of Sean’s Edge vision & association with Flick & co have really helped there.

    Though it’s nice that Sean’s found at least a couple more allies who could help Flick in her quest to deal with Fossor (whom apparently a lot of Alters & Heretics have heard of and consider very bad news,) though do have to say that there’s a lot of people who know at least something about Flick’s attitudes and/or Shiori (and possibly others) being half-Alter, probably a lot more than is desirable from an operational security standpoint. At this point, I’m wondering how long it’ll be before someone who’s actually an agent of Ruthers’ cabal is brought in, or somebody in the know will let slip the wrong thing in front of a bug or someone who works for Ruthers, assuming that hasn’t happened already, and when that happens, just what Ruthers might do with that information.

    Oh, and looks like Sean’s noticed that Flick has the hots for both Avalon & Shiori, and can’t decide which way to go. Wonder just how obvious is that little brewing triangle to others?

    And Vulcan, sorry to hear that your master seems to have a thing for a filthy cat-lover, instead of someone who’d have a nice dog you could get acquainted with… ;p

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  5. To be honest, Flick’s best romance option is to just roll with it and go with both! Why not, right? I’ve known at least two love triangles irl where all three had an extremely cool dynamic between them and would’ve fit well together, but one triangle ruined one of the friendships and the other is still friends, but neither made the choice to go through with it. The triangle that remains friends at least talked about the opportunity, but didn’t do it in the end.

    Either way, whatever she does, communication is key.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took Flick a relatively long time to realize and come to grips with the fact that she is bi, expecting her to then just make the leap to poly seems like maybe a bit much this early on. Not to mention, those kinds of relationships take a bit more care and work than a simple pairing. And despite everything else going on these are still highschool aged kids. Relationships at that age are hard enough already.

      I’m not saying that I’m not all for the plan. I just think that someone other than Flick would have to bring it up first, and her head would melt a bit when they do.

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  6. ““I have some packmates I run with that’ve had dealings with necromancers,” Mateo added, “Mostly bad ones. Werewolves don’t really like that kind of stuff. But I’ll see if they know anything more about this Fossor and any woman that he keeps around him. If we can dig anything up, I’ll let you know.””
    Me: Hm. The group of people “in the know” is starting to be problematic in size, but there’s no avoiding that. Like Sean said, the group right now is rather lacking in information and needs external assistance.

    ““Now you’re getting it,” Sebastian grinned. “Plus, maybe you should have Mateo cook for her. That’d make her warm up to the whole ‘not all Strangers are bad’ thing pretty quick.”

    Still smiling, Sean looked back and forth between his uncles. “You know,” he started thoughtfully. “I might just take you up on that someday.”
    Me: Food is a rather effective method of persuasion/conversation.

    Nice Interlude.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed Sean’s day in the limelight. It was nice meeting his uncles. They are as cool as he says they are.

    That the fact that Sean has a crush on Roxa was a surprise to me, I hope that she joins Flick’s group.

    If they were apart of Joselyn’s rebellion, I hope they get their memories back.

    I hope that Flick and her allies get the chance to meet them so they can help with her Fossor problem.

    Thanks for updating. 🙂

    Like

  8. Oh, come on! Vulcan is so totally best man material. Rocking a bowtie and waistcoat? Check. Herding the principle players where they need to go, when? Check. Being slightly threatening should anybody get too over-the-top with the jokes? Check. Short, to-the-point speech with more show than tell? Check.

    What more do you want? 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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