Chopped liver

Larkspur 
#1
@Minnie

Joaquin pulled up to her address right around 1:18PM, and put the car in park while he waited for her to come out.

He had left very suddenly. An issue with a friend that he'd needed to take care of, because the guy didn't have family. It was all a matter of rough, but it had been handled and he was back now. And he was glad he was. This place only seemed to ever get more and more sketchy, and he worried for his family. His sister.

She arrived eventually while he played offensively growly chuggy death metal at a volume intended to be heard from outside the car. Joaquin didn't hate it, but he knew she did!
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#2


 Minnie was admittedly very excited to see her brother! Even if things between them were maybe a little weird. She wanted to slap a big ol' band-aid right on that, though, and spending time with him again seemed like a great solution! So, it would be with a giant grin that she trotted out the door and towards his car, which. Was playing very angry music. :(

 Her grin persisted despite shrinking some, nose wrinkled at him in distaste, no matter how playful. She pulled the door open, and yelled at him very dramatically! "Hey!! Why are you like this!! My neighbors will hate me!!"
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#3
Oh gosh, what was that music!

Ashley peeped her head into the living space from the bedroom, as if the sound would reveal itself somewhere on the couch or something.

That was just in time to hear Minnie yelling(!), though in a playful kind of way. She huffed, wondering who it was, but snuck back into her bedroom before she could be seen as prying.


exit :3

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#4
Her reaction and her face was enough to have him snkrting into laughter, a hand reaching to lower the volume.

"Minnniiieeee," he laughed-whined, warmed by actually finally getting to see her again. "But you love this stuff!"

Her house looked pretty nice. He wondered what had inspired her to move, and if she had roommates. Probably!

Anyway, where were they going. He actually hadn't decided yet!
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#5
 He did, at least, turn it down, and that would be enough to end her balking. She plopped into the passenger seat with the same sort-of-scornful-but-not-really grin, and rolled her eyes. "My favorite!" And, before she buckled in, she would drop her purse in the floorboard and lean across to wrap a hug around his neck! "Ohhh!" she said as she squeezed. "Missed you! Where we going?"
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#6
"Missed youuuu," he squeezed her back, smiling. And then he shut that shit off, the prank done with.

"So there's this awesome place nearby, I'm sure you've heard of it. It's called... Minnie's Favorite Larkspur Joint So Far."

It was a long name but the food was great at least. Joaquin grinned.

(This all meant that it was actually her choice.)
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#7
 Thank goodness. Minnie tried to be open minded about all music, but she just couldn't get behind something that just sounded like yelling :(

 She giggled for Joaquin's suggestion, shaking her head as she buckled up. "There is this really good sort of... Asian fusion restaurant a little bit south of here," she suggested. They had a really good stir-fry ramen concoction that she could never finish in one sitting! Unless he had any opposition to this, she would pull out her phone to turn on the navigation. And also, maybe, hijack the auxiliary cord.
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#8
"Oooh, Asian fusion. I like it! Let's go for that."

He'd absolutely let her play radio pop or whatever it was young people listened to nowadays. "Sooooo. You live here by yourself?" he asked, starting to pull out to drive.
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#9
 Okay! So it would be! Minnie turned on the navigation, and then something off her own playlists. Surprise, it was Florence and the Machine, but she kept the volume pretty low so they could chat!

 "Nope! I have two roommates, Ashley and Chantelle," she informed him, grinning broadly. "They're super great, and one of them has a power, like us!" Wasn't that cool??? :3 There was some temptation to offer to introduce them, but maybe that would be awkward!
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#10
God. He'd actually almost forgotten all about Minnie also having had a power. Life had been a wild ride.

"Dude, that's awesome. What can she do?"

He took a turn requested by GPS, and listened to her typical favorite wailing. (He secretly also liked Florence too.)
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#11
 It was awesome! She bobbed her head in agreement. "She can heal people with her hands! Like, one time, I had fallen down and scratched my face, and all she had to do was put her hand on it for a little bit and it totally went away." It was like, sort of miraculous. She had also passed out in front of Ashley after her power misbehaved to awful proportions, but she wasn't going to tell him about that right now!
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#12
"Whoa," he blinked. That was some like... real Hollywood stuff. "That's a really useful ability I think. She a doctor or something? Or."

Man, imagine if he could heal people instead of just being able to change his face. He'd be like.

Jesus.
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#13
 It was super useful! "No, she works at Jubilee Oval," Minnie informed him with a soft smile. "She totally could be a doctor though, probably, she's really smart." Ashley could just gush about her friends all day probably! But! "What about you! What have you been up to, everything been okay?"
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#14
Aww. Minnie. You were always just a ball of sweetness, yeah? He smiled fondly, a warm look that faltered as the subject turned to him.

"Yeahh. Yeah. Dan fell and broke his leg, so I was there for a bit just helping him out while he healed. Dude can't stay down, you know? Coulda used your friend out there."

This was also not really true. His friend had developed one of the big Cs, so.

That was why Joaquin had been gone so long.
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#15
 Jeez! Poor Dan! It must have been a pretty bad break, Minnie figured, to have kept Joaquin away from home for so long. She smiled, but sympathetically. "Wow, I bet, poor guy. That's nice of you." She patted his arm and looked through the windshield. "How've mom and dad been since you got home?" Which, it hadn't been very long, and maybe they were putting on a good face for him, but. You know!
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#16
Yeah. Poor Dan.

"Not too bad, but it's only been a day," he shook his head. "Any idea why they were going at it before?"

His hope was that it was money, and not... something much worse between them.

The restaurant was coming up soon, too! Which was good because he was starving. But also he was pretty sure she was starving.
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#17
 Yeah, one day was probably not yet enough to get a good scope on the happenings at home. "Eh. Money I think, but there were a few times when they just kinda. Would fight about anything." Like toilet seats, and who was in charge of paying this bill or that bill, or whether dad could watch the football game in the living room or if mom would banish him to the basement.

 Meh! She was glad to not be around it, but it didn't mean that it wasn't still happening, which just sucked. She sighed a little, aware of how generally helpless she was in the matter, and considered the navigation path on her phone. They were indeed almost there!
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#18
Maybe it was just money. And hopefully nothing else, because... it would just be... really bad.

"No good," Joaquin shook his head. "You think something happened between them?"

He slowed as they approached the block, and he began to look for parking.
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#19
 Minnie shrugged a little. "Maybe. I don't know what." Maybe the... "flame" or whatever had died. People fell out of love sometimes. She had just never imagined their parents would fall victim to that pattern of life. They needed to be together until they were old and pruned up. "Oh, front row!" she exclaimed, pointing to an open space some twenty feet from the front door.
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#20
He'd hoped she would have more insight, but considering not, well...

Okay. Joaquin would leave it alone, then. Maybe find his own spot, or offer to keep the house if they... decided they didn't want it anymore.

"Front row," he grinned, and moved towards it and parked. "Counting on you to lead the way on what to get, Miss World Cuisine."
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#21
 Front row parking always felt like a small victory. Minnie grinned, sliding the seat belt off and snatching up her purse. "Oh, man. They have these things called green onion pancakes that are really good," she began, although she was unsure of what they were actually made of. "And also, sesame seed tater tots with hoisin sauce. And there's like, a... banh mi sandwich thing?" She explained all of this as they got out of the car and started towards the door. "I'm getting stir fry ramen. They put a fried egg on it and it's soooo good." It was probably a lot of information! But there were pictures with every food description, so maybe that would be helpful :3
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#22
She was so happy to dive right into the menu, and Joaquin grinned fondly as he listened.

"You come here a lot, huh? I can tell," he jabbed, and then an actual jab at her side as they walked in to make her jump. Followed very smoothly immediately with a poker face as he saw the host and held up the same two fingers he'd poked her with. "Two, please."

Pretending he hadn't done that, of course.
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#23
 She did come here as often as her budget allowed her, yeah! She grinned, but before she could fully turn it on him he was poking her, and Minerva let out a yip! of surprise, bending away from the offending hand. What were brothers for if not to pick on their younger sisters?

 She would try to stay composed for the host, but her mouth was pressed into a small, goofy line of... mostly trying not to laugh after the fact. But once the host turned away from them to lead them to a table, she would stick her tongue out at him. >:P

 "Soooo what are you gonna do for work? Same thing?" She asked him this as they were seated, once their drink orders were taken. Honestly, she didn't really remember what his specific job had been! Whoops!
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#24
Joaquin, of course, played it completely innocently— at least until she stuck her tongue out, at which point he reached his hand out towards her face as if he was going to grab her by the tongue.

He didn't, though! That would be gross. Minnie cooties.

They sat and she asked him a serious adult question. "Man, I haven't even thought of that. Was just hoping you could marry into a rich family and I could mooch a thousand every other week."

What should he do, Minnie :(
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#25
 Ha! Minnie laughed a little. That would be nice, wouldn't it! "If that happens, you'll be the first to know! I would totally support your early retirement," she assured him. Unlikely, Minnie thought, but a girl could dream, and so could her brother! "Bet I could get you a spot at my super cool record store job," she added, grinning, figuring that was also probably unlikely! Joaquin could do a lot with his fancy military stuff, right??
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#26
A record store. He laughed, unsure if she was joking or not, then had to confirm.

"How does a record store even stay in business in the grand year of 2019?" Joaquin asked, head tilted in great interest.

That was not a no!
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#27
 Minnie laughed brightly. "Hipsters," she informed him with raised eyebrows, and a nod of affirmation to her own words. Not that she was real big on grouping people up like that! But it seemed like a broad enough - and honestly, kinda true enough - stereotype that Joaquin would probably get it!
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#28
He laughed again, delighted to rag on hipsters because who wasn't, really?

"Guess it takes one, huh?" he teased. "Alright, I can take a look at maybe doing part time there. Gotta protect you from the other hipsters."

He grinned, eyes glazing over the menu, but mostly just assuming she'd order everything she wanted.
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#29
 Ha! His insult could not hurt her! She didn't think less of hipsters! But still, she wrinkled her nose at him, like she might stick her tongue out at him again, but she didn't. In case he tried to grab it again >:(

 "I'll put in a good word for you," she said with a chuckle, and flicked open her menu. Why was she looking at it when she already knew what she wanted? Who knew! Still, after a while, she'd prod at him. "Whatcha gonna get?"
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#30
"Scallion pancakes for sure, and then... I dunno. You seemed to have it all down? Why not just pick for us both?"

Then he perked.

"Oh, but I want the pineapple fried rice. For sure. You think people get as mad about that as the whole pineapple on pizza thing?"
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#31
 Minnie grinned at him as he spoke. Scallion pancakes, and pineapple fried rice. Excellent choices! "Gosh, maybe," she said thoughtfully. She'd never really considered that! Why were people so hateful toward pineapples? "What an underappreciated food, right? BUT, I think sesame tots, too, and then if you're leaving it up to me, we're both gonna get ramen, but I'm getting tofu in mine." She grinned at him, eyebrows up, gauging his reaction. He seemed open to food options! And they were going to have plenty of leftovers!
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#32
Exactly, Minnie. Exactly. He mourned the state of pineapple hate with her and glanced down the menu at all the things she mentioned just to see if there were pictures there.

Ramen with tofu, huh? He'd never had that before, but consider him interested.

"Might do that too actually. You're vegetarian now?" he asked. Wait, had she always been? Nnnnooo. Right?
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#33
 She liked to think Joaquin wouldn't be disappointed. They made their tofu just to her liking here! Or at least, it blended well with whatever dish she got it in. "Yeah!" she said. "I've been vegetarian for..." A thoughtful pause, and then a realization that she didn't remember how long it had been since she stopped eating meat. "Uh. Months." She chuckled sheepishly. Derp!
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#34
Months?! How many months? Before he left or after? Joaquin sat back and offered a thoughtful "Huh. Well, what made you change?"

There were a million reasons why of course, so he was interested in which pulled her.

The waiter was approaching soon, though D:
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#35
 Minnie was uncertain about telling her brother why she'd stopped eating meat. It sometimes felt like other people would think she was judging them when she made her explanation. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it in a bright smile for their waiter. Food first!

 She would rattle through their order, looking to Joaquin for any input or corrections or questions, and then thank the waiter brightly as they turned away. After a sip of her water, she would pick up where they'd left off. "I just feel bad about eating animals," she said quietly, and added quickly, "but I mean! I don't think less of anyone who does! I'm just. Worried about the kind of stuff they go through before they die, I guess. And the impact that factory farming has on the environment."

 She felt some keen sense of "hey maybe I don't actually know what I'm talking about!" Or that Joaquin would think she was a little dumb for it, maybe. She smiled at him almost nervously, chuffing out a laugh at herself.
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#36
Yay, food ordered; now on to the more interesting part.

He had a sense she was downplaying her own reasonings, and to be honest he had no idea why she would feel the need for that. (Maybe because he spent seventy five percent of the time teasing her for dumb things. But still!)

"That's cool," he nodded, a chill response partly to reassure her. "I dunno if I could do it like, all the time, but maybe a couple of days a week I could commit."

Though, animals made him think about that bird.
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#37
 Joaquin didn't seem to be scornful or judgemental, but Minnie couldn't shake some lingering idea that he might find it ridiculous. Still, she grinned at him a bit wider. "I could send you some recipes," she offered. She had been trying her hand at cooking a little more, now that she didn't live with mom and dad. It was hardly a refined skill, but she found it enjoyable as a creative challenge!
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#38
Joaquin didn't cook for himself much. But he wasn't closed to the idea.

"Tell you what. I'll come by to visit you at your place, meet your friends. And you can cook my food for the week."

Alright, he was being a shit again. Couldn't help it, Minnie.
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#39
 Look, Minnie was not opposed to him coming over for dinner! For one night! She laughed at him, shaking her head. "I'll make you nothing but black beans. A five gallon bucket of black beans."

 A bit ridiculous, but so was Joaquin!
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#40
That had him sputtering into laughter, struggling through it to make a joke in return.

"Mom and Dad will just move out together just to escape the gas."
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#41
 Minnie had to laugh, too, for him laughing, and made a "pffft" sound that returned to giggling for his fart joke. "Oh, no, ewww," she cackled, and promptly put her face in her hands. "Sorry, you can't meet my roommates, I'll die."
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#42
It always felt good to make her laugh. To be fair, she was always an easy target for that. Joaquin laughed with her, merciless. "Aaww Minnie. You can't be embarrassed of meeee."

She could, though. He smiled at her, and then could not contain his curiosity.

"Hey, hey. You ever run to that bird again?"
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#43
 Minnie grinned, but the expression would be exchanged for a thoughtful one. The last time she'd seen Whitewing had been... months ago. Her eyes fell to the table as she recalled it, a rainy day, a pitiful conversation in her car. A conversation about things that... she didn't really want Joaquin to know!

 "I think I saw him... a little while after you left. I'm not actually sure if it was him or not." She looked to Joaquin with a furrowed brow, immediately regretting such a bold faced lie. It wasn't good to lie, especially not to someone like your brother. "Have you?"
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#44
Well, he looked like any other bird. Maybe the real one flew elsewhere or something.

"Nah. Never," he shook his head. It was a slight relief though; he hadn't approved of Minnie just giving out her address at random like that. "Hopefully he's doing alright. Weird little animal, though."

He hadn't forgotten how he'd casually told Minnie not to trust him, and his own misgivings about it.
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#45
 Joaquin believing her didn't make her feel any less... dirty, in a way. Keeping secrets. Ugh.

 "Yeah," she said with a half-hearted chuckle. Whitewing was weird in that he was an oddity, but she'd met a handful of other talking animals. More secrets. But Whitewing was so kind. "I wonder how many there are like him. I mean, animals that can talk."
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#46
Man, what a question. He huffed a little. "We can go to the zoo and ask them how their days are, maybe."

It inspired a small laugh just as the scallion pancakes came out.
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#47
 His suggestion elicited something of a snicker. She could picture it clearly - the two of them leaning over a rail to look down into a bear exhibit, asking them how the food was.

 "We could," she said, and it was a half-interested statement. For now, she was a little more invested in stealing a pancake.
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