kumquatix: Elaine smiling (elaine)
[personal profile] kumquatix
Title: Elaine has a long and important conversation about food in a McDonald's
Author: Kumquatix
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Gen
Spoilers: None
Rating: G
Word count: 1000
Summary: Elaine is in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, and hangs out with her Little Sister. It's not always simple.

"Elaine!" Catalina said. "Do you like marshmallows or whipped cream better on hot cocoa?"

"I used to really love marshmallows when I was a little girl," Elaine told her. "But now I like coffee with foamy milk better. It's not as sweet."

Catalina gave her a very skeptical look. "Don't you like sweet things? Everybody likes sweet things!"

"Not as much as I used to. I think my taste buds must have changed when I grew up. Now I like olives and brussels sprouts better than candied yams, and that used to be my favorite food."

Catalina had a lot to say about what her favorite foods were, and what was really yucky, and what her brother once did to his mashed potatoes, and Elaine smiled and asked questions to keep her going. It was strange to think how quiet and shy Catalina had been when Elaine first became her Big Sister.

"Elaine!" Catalina said again. Elaine sometimes got the impression that it was her favorite word. "Next Tuesday we get to go to the football field, and we made up a cheer, and we get to make s'mores at a real bonfire!"

"That sounds like so much fun, Cati," Elaine said. "Is anyone you know playing?"

"Yes," Catalina said. "The football team."

"All right, that was a silly question, I guess," Elaine said, and laughed. She was glad Catalina felt comfortable enough around her to tease her. She had wondered if something was up, because the girl was more hyper and tense than she had been for months.

"Are your friends going to be there too?" she prodded.

Catalina nodded and jumped in her seat. "Amparo is going! And Luz, she says that she's been to a bonfire before lots of times but I don't believe her, she's going to be there. And Becky is coming too, she's going to wear the friendship bracelet I made her." Catalina extended her arm and waived it about, nearly knocking the box from her happy meal off the table.

Elaine caught her wrist and held it still. "Ooh, that's a pretty bracelet. Did Becky make this for you?"

"Yes! And we used the same pattern, except hers is green and purple, because those are her favorite colors." Catalina abruptly fell silent, and stared soberly at Elaine.

"What is it, honey?" Elaine asked her. "Is something wrong?"

"No..." the girl said, and bit her lip. She started fidgeting around in her seat. "Are you sure you don't like marshmallows?"

"I like them fine," Elaine said. "Just because I started liking vegetables too doesn't mean I don't like candy anymore." Well, maybe an intense, bitter chocolate, she thought to herself. Or candied ginger.

"Will you come with me to the bonfire? We're going to make s'mores!" Catalina burst out, then clamped both hands over her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut.

"I wish I could. I'd love to make s'mores with you, and learn the cheer you made up! But I have to work on Tuesday," Elaine said with real regret. "You'll have to pay really good attention so you can tell me all about it next week!"

Catalina sniffled, and big tears started rolling from her eyes. "I don't get to go unless an adult takes me. I thought you were my big sister, but you don't care! You'd rather go to work!"

"Cati, no! I'd rather spend time with you, you know that." Elaine tried to put her arms around the sobbing girl, but Catalina jumped up and ran out of the restaurant, not seeing or caring that she bumped against a large family all carrying trays piled high with food.

"Excuse me," Elaine told them. "I'm sorry. She's upset, and she didn't see you."

"No pasa nada," the mom said with a concerned look. "You had better go after your little girl."

Luckily Catalina had run out into the fenced in playground, and Elaine found her curled up in a ball in the inner chamber of the tube labyrinth. She wouldn't come out when Elaine called her, so she had to go in.

The things I do for you, girl, she thought. I haven't crawled into a space this tight in my free time since I had to search that crawl space with the rats.

This time, when Elaine reached her and opened her arms, Catalina flew into them. The whole story came pouring out between sobs, and Elaine couldn't understand most of it, but it sounded like her mom had to work the late shift again, and her dad hadn't kept up with his visits so she hadn't seen him for weeks. The neighbor who watched her and her brother during the evenings had to stay home with her own kids, so she couldn't take her either.

"You know what, Catalina?" Elaine asked her when she had quieted down, and was just clinging to her. "I have a good friend who loves to light campfires in the park, and he knows a lot of great campfire stories and songs. I would be really glad if you and Becky would come with me next time I go to a campfire with him."

"Really?" Catalina looked at her with shiny eyes, and Elaine got out a napkin to wipe her nose.

"Really! You can teach me to make s'mores, and I bet I'll really like them when you cook them. And I'll teach you to make fried bananas with chocolate and roasted sweet potatoes."

"You eat deepfried bananas with dulce de leche," Catalina giggled.

"Ah! Shows what you know! You eat campfire fried bananas with chocolate," Elaine retorted, and stuck out her tongue. "Now show me the way out of this labyrinth. I need some space over my head!"
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(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-25 04:23 pm (UTC)
helens78: A man in a leather jacket, seated on the ground, looks up hopefully. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helens78
Oh, I really really loved this, and I love that you wrote something for the [community profile] dark_agenda challenge! Elaine was one of my favorite parts of the first two seasons, and her sweet relationship with her Little Sister here is adorable. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-26 01:31 am (UTC)
rhi: Dief, waiting for you to say something.  "yo." (Dief)
From: [personal profile] rhi
This was really lovely. I adore stories about Elaine. And I bet Cati will end up adoring Dief! Thank you!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-26 12:35 pm (UTC)
wychwood: Elaine says damn right, she's fabulous (due South - Elaine fabulous)
From: [personal profile] wychwood
Awwwwww, Elaine. I do love her so much! And I can just see her and her Little Sister hanging out with Fraser in the park :) Awesome.

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