"Cigarettes and coffee? That's not a very healthy lunch."
Mana crossed her legs and took a refined sip of her own coffee even as her company was not.
Akeifa took his time lighting the brown, unfiltered roll of paper and foreign leaf and took a long drag from it before giving her a large grin that showed far too many teeth and offering her one.
Mana crinkled her nose and took a breath, ready to declare the things 'gross and disgusting and how can you even smoke something like that, I can smell how strong it is from here,' but remembered that she was being a proper lady today and keeping a tight reign on the tongue that never failed to get her in trouble and the boundless energy that made her teacher sigh in exasperation.
She shook her head stiffly, took a small case out of her purse, opened it, removed a slender, filtered cigarette of the appropriate color, and forgot.
"I don't know how you can even stand to smoke those things. They smell nasty strong!" she blurted out, unable to hold it back any longer and leaned forward in her seat, legs at least still crossed by bouncing up and down under the table.
The outburst prompted a small show of amusement from her companion who gave a brief laugh and stuck out his lighter, an offer she did accept with a small blush.
"Oh, um, thanks." Mana jumped slightly when the flame lept up three times higher than expected, wondering what kind of person kept their lighter turned up all the way but leaned forward and occupied her mouth with lighting the cigarette, taking a dainty puff, the ends of the paper turning red and curling back to expose the tobacco, taking on a brief glow before quickly turning to ash.
"Is there any coffee left under all that cream and sugar? How can you stand to drink it so sweet?" the man countered, voice like sand and sun and harshly weathered like his dark skin and twisted smile.
She gave a little breath in, then huffed it out just as quickly, the line of smoke from the end of her small cigarette interrupted as she jerked it about expressively. She always wondered why they went out on her or burned too quickly.
"Because that's how I like it- oh." Mana paused, forced to consider that the statement went both ways. "Well I still think they're nasty," she mumbled stubbornly.
"I'm sensing some hostility." Still grinning, still playfully mocking.
"Of course you are, I'll never forgive you for what you did to the pri- to the pharaoh."
"Haven't done it yet."
"But we both know you will," she snapped, tiring of the way he teased her.
A nod, and Akeifa's amusement seemed to fade. "And we should both know why."
Mana bit her lip and the energetic gestures turned to uncomfortable twitches, the knowledge making the situation go from right vs wrong to one of those moral grays she never did like to spend too much time thinking about. Things were so much easier when they were black or white.
Akeifa's mood turned dark and intense, the smoke laden air hung heavily over them and still she found she couldn't hold her tongue.
"But it's not his fault! It wasn't even his father's. It was wrong and bad but you can't punish people for things they didn't do!"
Akeifa was quiet for a long time. "But it was done and someone has to take responsibility."
"It's not right."
"Neither is slaughtering an entire village." His tone was cold, emotionless and he snuffed the cigarette, grinding the stub steadily into the bottom of the ashtray with far more force than necessary, getting up to leave.
"Wait..." Mana's own half burned stick barely made it that far, leaving her fingers and falling, tossed carelessly away, bouncing against the rim and rolling along it until toppling in, continuing to smolder quietly among the other discarded remnants. She grabbed Akeifa's arm to stop him. "I'm sorry, it was stupid of me to bring it up. Can we pretend I didn't say anything at all and order some more coffee?"
He looked down to see the anxiety in the draw of her mouth and a tear at the corner of her eye and that the apology was for far more than the words. Akeifa wiped away the moisture with a gentle thumb, callous tickling her skin but not scratching it, and leaned down to kiss the worry from her mouth. Her arms flew up and around his neck, holding him there and the it was long and passionate and tinged with regret.
When her hold finally loosened, he took the opportunity to untangle himself from her, removing her arms and placing them back at her sides, leaning close enough to whisper in her ear. "Go back to your prince. Break time's over." His voice was empty of the bitterness it normally held though she thought she could pick out a hint of sadness. He kissed her earlobe, and walked away.
Mana stood staring after him until he was no longer in sight, a part of her hoping he'd turn back but when he didn't, she gave a small sob and turned to run in the opposite direction.
Later, Atemu couldn't quite figure out what upset his childhood friend so badly and made her cling to him tightly and cry on his shoulder, but he held her until no more tears were left.
A/N: sorry it's so strange! never watch strange movies when trying to get ideas for fics for fear the characters will latch on and not let go XD I like how it came out though. And go watch Coffee and Cigarettes! It's an awesome movie.