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Beef Stew

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“Yo Ignis! How’s my favorite person of the day today?” Pelna slips right in front of Ignis’ stall and situates himself on one of the empty stools. Warm eyes watching Ignis and with that grin of his, it seems someone is having a the best day of his life. Ignis can’t help but immediately feel quite all right with this. A simple admiration of this man who decided to appear in his life more often than others.

“Very well. I didn’t realize you have a favorite person of the day.” Ignis responds kindly, gracing with a smile of his own. He immediately fixes Pelna with some beef stew he wanted him to try.

“Well, no one’s cool enough to make it on the list actually.” Pelna states casually, watching Ignis’ preparation with rapt attention.

“Ah. So there’s a list now?” Ignis turn around and presents him a bowl of stew and small slices of bread.

“Yeah.” Pelna smirks before taking a whiff of the aromatic dish and scoops the meat with some carrots and potatoes. “Damn, it smells really good. Reminds me of home actually.” His face softens, reminiscing.

“Hopefully it’s to your liking. I think six hours of it cooking should suffice.”

“Man, you already got me with the smell.” Pelna takes one bite of it and starts groaning with joy instantly. Ignis could see the man’s delight raining on him, and when Pelna eats his second portion, he chews in bliss before swallowing it down. “Shit, man… it’s fucking fantastic.” A slice of bread is scooped with the brown sauce on it. As Pelna eats it, he’s already giving Ignis a sign of approval.

“Thank you.” Ignis bows. “Is there anything that needs to improve?”

“Uh.” It takes some seconds to think until Pelna moves his head side to side. “Honestly, I don’t. It’s delicious and I’m not complaining.” He directs his fork at Ignis and points hard. “You’re definitely number one on my list. In fact, you’re the only one I want on the list now.”

Ignis exhales a bit amusingly before he scoops a portion of his own into a small black bowl. He walks out and takes a seat next to Pelna’s left. “Are you sure? There are over thousands of inhabitants in Insomnia who’s more likely—”

“Nuh uh.” Pelna waggles his spoon in Ignis’ face. “Nope. Sorry, it’s only you.” He gives him a wink, leaving Ignis a bit heart throbbing at the moment.

The first time he met Pelna, well, he was any customer who came to his stall for food but after a few shared moments and tea, Pelna strikes him as a character who’s eager to get to know you, bit of that mister suave personality dripping from every word he says and you’ll get a laugh out of it. Nothing from Pelna sounds forced, there’s honesty and kindness which Ignis likes, how he finds him radiating with energy at times.

Now, Pelna visits him whenever he’s open and stays with him until Ignis closes up. It’s a nice gesture, and he would find himself apologizing for closing the place later than usual. It doesn’t bother Pelna, he used to staying up late.

“Then it is an honor to be on your list, Pelna.”

“Superb.” Pelna grins before taking another bite of his meal.

“Then I must inform you that you’re my favorite person as well.” Ignis states as a matter of fact and has a taste of his own dish. If he had to critique himself, then it would be the lack of salt in it. It’s not a serious matter but a reminder for next attempt.

“Thank you for always being here. I’m unable to explain much of it in words but it’s important, nonetheless. Forgive me for that.”

“Whoa, whoa.” Pelna’s eyes grow wide and his utensil falls into his bowl with a splat. “There’s… there’s no need to thank me. I admit, the feeling’s mutual. Like very mutual.”

Ignis beams a small smile and grabs a napkin from the counter. “You are very kind.” He wipes the splatter of sauce off the table.

A hand curls over Ignis’ hand holding the napkin, stopping his cleaning and a thumb runs over his knuckles instead, pressing along the dips and bone. A subtle heat reaches Ignis’ cheeks from the fuzzy feeling crawling up his arms and down to his stomach. Pelna leans a little closer to him until their arms touched, finding the silence between them is appreciated and wanted.

They both stay like that for a while.