|The Wicked Child
Author: big.break.and.laryngitis PM
Elijah invites his friend Peter to his house for Passover Seder. With a million aunts, uncles, and cousins, not to mention his parents, Bubbe, and Zeyde, what could possibly go right? But maybe Peter likes him in spite of all that. Oneshot. MxM slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Family - Words: 3,831 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-16-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2661379
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ah, for the last day of Passover, I have for you a Passover story. With gay boys. Now, doesn't that sound fun? Two of my favorite things in the world, all in a single oneshot… matzo ball soup and homosexuals… Sigh… anyway, here it is. And don't get mad at me, again, for bringing religion into this. If anyone's offended, get over it, because this is very similar to the Seder we had over here, so if you're gonna go all "this isn't how that works" on my ass, maybe you should look up the definition of "Orthodox Jews" and compare it to my statement of "MY FAMILY IS SO NOT." We're very… um… unorthodox? Yeah. So. There it is. Enjoy.
The Wicked Child
"Elijah! Get the damned door!"
He jumped up from the couch and switched the TV off, running for the door. As he unlocked it, he told his mother snarkily, "You know, traditionally, you're supposed to open the door for Elijah."
She rolled her eyes and put a pan of chicken into the oven. "Wrong Elijah, sweetcakes." She sighed. "I knew I shouldn't have named you after a prophet. Good lord…"
Elijah grinned as he flung the door open. "Hey, guys!"
"Hello, Elijah!" his grandmother hugged him, and his grandfather clapped him on the back. "How are you?"
"I'm good," Elijah said. "Come on in!"
"Take these, bubbala," Bubbe said, handing him a stack of haggaddahs. "Miriam!" she called, strolling toward his mother.
Elijah set the haggaddahs down on the dining room table. As far as Orthodox Judaism went, the Hirsch family was pretty lame. They never went to synagogue—ever—except for maybe purim when Elijah was younger. Passover consisted of eating bread along with matzo—"I figure," Elijah's mother said once, "that as long as you're eating matzo, I shouldn't keep the pop tarts from you either, right?"—and Chanukah was eight days of presents with maybe four days of candles. Either way, Bubbe always insisted they have Seder, whether it was on the approved Seder days or not.
Elijah's cousin, Sara, always brought her boyfriends to Seder. Three years ago, it was Daniel. Then Jacob. Then Joseph "call me Joey." Elijah snickered to himself. They most certainly had not called him Joey. Elijah couldn't wait to see who Sara would bring this year.
Elijah himself had invited someone. He wasn't all too sure how it was going to work out, though, once his someone caught sight of the Hirsch family. It had taken some prodding in the first place, but Mom had finally given in to letting her son bring a guest. It had gone a little something like this:
Elijah: Hey, mom, can I invite a friend to come to Seder?
Mom: A special friend?
Elijah: No, just a friend.
Mom: A girl friend?
Elijah: No, just a friend. His name's Peter.
Mom: (shocked expression) You want to bring a boy to Seder?
Elijah: As a friend!
Mom: Are you sure he's just a friend? You never want to bring any other people, boys or girls to Seder.
Elijah: Sara always gets to bring her "friends."
Mom: (eye roll) That's true. Fine. Have your "friend" come. Peter, you said?
Elijah: Yes. Peter. My friend. Thanks, mom.
So when the doorbell rang again, Elijah jumped, sending half the stack of prayer books flying. He peeked around the partition separating the dining room from the entry way to find that it was not, in fact, Peter. It was Aunt Melinda, Uncle David, and Sara. And Sara's boyfriend, of course.
"Elila!" Sara exclaimed, wrapping her cousin in a hug. "You smell nice. Why are there haggaddahs on the floor? Ooh, I'd like you to meet Brian."
The guy standing beside her raised his hand in greeting.
"Hi," Elijah said. As a side comment to Sara, he added, "Is he Jewish?"
"Nope," she grinned. "That's probably why I think he can last."
Brian smiled and tugged on Sara's hand. She pulled back and began whispering stupid cutesy things in his ear.
Elijah walked away to pick up the haggaddahs, mumbling to himself, "Doesn't say much, does he?"
By the fifth time the doorbell rang, all of the Hirsch family was present. So, standing at the door, it could only be—"Pete!" Elijah said gratefully as he flung the door open. "God, I'm glad you're here, it's a madhouse."
"Is it really?" Peter asked, stepping inside and looking amused.
"Shit!"Elijah's uncle was shouting, as a porcelain basket crashed to the kitchen floor, sending matzo flying.
"Yes," Elijah confirmed unnecessarily. "Definitely a madhouse."
Peter smiled, and Elijah felt his stomach drop about two inches. "Well, I'm glad I could make it. Easter's tomorrow, after all."
Elijah snorted. "Like your parents care if you miss Easter."
Peter's grin widened. It was true. "I know. I just felt like making you feel special, knowing that I could be somewhere else."
Elijah blushed, but still said sarcastically, "Like where? Church?"
Peter chuckled. "Maybe. Maybe I want to find Jesus."
Just then, Elijah's grandmother entered. "You never will, boychick, he's dead. Now, come inside and relax."
Elijah and Peter snickered and followed the older woman into the living room. "Introduce your friend, Elila," Bubbe said.
"Oh! Oh, right. Zeyde, this is Peter," he told his grandfather.
Zeyde smiled and shook Peter's hand. "Nice to meet you."
"You, too, sir," Peter said politely.
Zeyde grinned. "Call me Alon."
Peter grinned back. "Sure, Alon."
Peter then became involved in a very animated conversation with Zeyde and Bubbe that Elijah tuned out until he was called into the kitchen by his mother. "Come on," he told Peter, tugging on the other boy's arm. "Let's go before they start calling you Petela."
Peter smiled and followed Elijah into the kitchen. "Who's this?" Mom asked plainly as the boys entered.
"This is Peter, Mom," Elijah said.
"Oh! Oh, your friend Peter. Hi, Peter. Elijah, get out the dishes for the parsley. And mix the salt water for me, will you? I think we have kosher salt, don't we? Well, if not… who's going to notice? Anyway…"
Peter allowed Elijah to release his arm to help his mother. "Is there anything I can do to help, Mrs. Hirsch?" Peter asked.
Mom blinked. "Oh. Um. Sure, you could… could you set out the wine glasses for me?"
Peter smiled and nodded, taking a padded box of glasses from Elijah's mother's arms. He left to enter the dining room.
Mom rounded on Elijah. "So he's just your friend?"
"Yes," Elijah groaned.
"Are you sure? Because if your father doesn't get home soon and that boy's still not gay, I promise you I will marry him."
Elijah laughed, standing up to pour salt into the waiting water. "Well… I don't know. I mean, we are friends, but…"
"Elijah Adam Hirsch, are you ever going to come out to me?"
Elijah raised an eyebrow. "I didn't think coming out was necessary."
"You mean you thought it was obvious," Mom observed. "Well, frankly, it was, but we don't have to get into that. Here. Cut the parsley."
Peter reentered the kitchen with the padded box under his arm. "Anything else I can do?" he asked sweetly.
"Yes," Mom said immediately. "Keep Elijah company and watch the chicken." And with that, she left the room.
Elijah grinned. Sometimes, he really, really, really loved his mom. "She really likes you," he told Peter.
Peter smiled. "Well, that's good, because I was definitely trying too hard to impress her."
"She thinks we're dating," Elijah felt compelled to point out.
Peter looked over to meet Elijah's eyes. "Imagine that," he said dryly.
What Elijah didn't tell him was that he did imagine that. He imagined that all the time. But Sara entered, saving Elijah from awkwardness. "Oh my goodness. Who is this, Elila?"
"Peter," Elijah mumbled. Sara's outgoingness sometimes overwhelmed him.
"I'm Sara," she told Peter. "Are you guys boyfriends or something?"
Peter and Elijah looked away from each other, both blushing instantly. "No," Peter said first. "We're not."
"Oh. Well. That sucks. Because I mean, we've all known Elijah was gay for like, centuries, and he never invites anyone to Seder, so we all just assumed… anyway… I can go back out and tell them you guys aren't dating, if you like."
"That's unnecessary, Sarala," Bubbe said, coming into the kitchen from the living room. "I think they know. Anyway. I left the plate in the car. Elila, will you hand me my purse?"
Elijah did as he was asked, and eventually, he and Peter were alone in the kitchen again, Sara having gone off with Silent Brian. "I'm sorry about her," Elijah said.
"It's okay," Peter said. "If I weren't me, I'd think we were dating, too."
Aunt Melinda came into the kitchen, then. "After Bubbe gets the plate and we set it out, we're going to start, okay, boys?"
"Okay," Elijah and Peter chimed in unison.
When the whole Hirsch family—and Peter and Brian—were seated around the table, Laura, Elijah's cousin, apparently felt the need to point out, "At Hebrew school, we learned that you're s'posed to recline at the table. We don't recline. How come we don't recline?"
"We're not Orthodox Jews, Laur," Elijah replied. "Can we start? I'm starving."
"Passover isn't about food, Elijah," Sara chided.
"Um, it is to me," he said.
Half the table groaned. "Now you know why we always make you read for The Wicked Child," Zeyde said, an amused look in his eyes.
"Alon, will ya start already? Mirila's chicken's going to burn," Bubbe said.
Zeyde grinned and opened his haggaddah. "Oh, these are new!"
"Yes," Aunt Melinda said. "The synagogue was printing them for us. They're a little more unorthodox-friendly. More English, less Hebrew. That sort of thing. Nicer for the goyim," she added, grinning at Brian and Peter.
"And they're all the same," Mom marveled.
"Yes!" Bubbe grinned. "We'll finally all be on the same page! None of this 'red ones go to two, blue ones to five' nonsense. Ach. Alon. Start."
Zeyde cleared his throat. "We are together tonight to recount the story of our deliverance from Egypt. It is the same story that Jewish people have told for over 3,000 years. The story of Passover illustrates out passion for freedom.
"Imagine a world without freedom and so much cruelty. Many times in out history, Jewish people lived without freedom. The Haggaddah tells the story of one of those times. The story of Passover reminds us to celebrate our freedom and peace."
"Skip the next page, no one cares about blessing women or children," Bubbe said impatiently.
"June!" Zeyde admonished.
"What? They all just want to eat. Page four, everybody."
When it came time for the questions, Laura insisted upon reading. "Why is this night different from all other nights?" she asked in a scripted tone. "On this night, we…"
Peter's hand brushed Elijah's under the table. Elijah looked up. "Sorry," Peter whispered.
Elijah noticed that he didn't look sorry at all. "I call The Child Who Does Not Know How To Inquire!" Sara shouted suddenly, causing Elijah to realize that he'd been spacing out.
"I'm The Wise Child!" Laura said.
"Aw, I wanted to be The Wise Child," Abigail, another of Elijah's cousins, pouted.
"You can be The Simple Child, Abby," Aunt Ruth told her.
"Simple means stupid! I'm not stupid!"
"Next year you can be The Wise Child, okay?" Aunt Melinda said.
Abby stuck her tongue out at Laura, but said nothing more.
"Who wants to be The Wicked Child?" Bubbe asked.
Everyone looked at Elijah. "Why me?" he asked.
"You're always The Wicked Child," Laura said with a little shrug.
"It's how it is," Sara added.
When it came time for The Wicked Child's speech, Elijah began in a very animated voice, "The Wicked Child says, 'What does this service mean to you?' By saying 'to you,' The Wicked Child implies that he does not belong to the Jewish people. He should be told, 'Join us tonight and be fully here, and listen closely. Be with us, let us celebrate together.'" He frowned. "I swear they were a lot harsher to The Wicked Child in the old haggaddahs. Something about 'what God did for me, not for you.' Am I wrong?"
The Hirsches all stared at him. "He remembers what happened at a Passover Seder?" Bubbe said incredulously. "I never thought he was paying attention."
"Be quiet, Bubbe," Elijah said. "There's a service going on."
"Plagues!" Laura shouted.
Sara laughed loudly. "Blood!"
"Frogs," Elijah added.
"Lice!" Bubbe threw in.
"Beasts," Abby said darkly.
"Disease," Elijah's father said.
"Boils," added Melinda.
"Hail," David said. "I never got how hail was a plague. It happens all the time."
"This was big ass hail, Dad," Sara said. "Seriously."
"Locusts," Mom said. "Ew."
"Darkness," Zeyde said.
"Mwahaha!" Elijah laughed evilly. "Slaying of the first-born!"
"I don't know why you're laughing," his father said, an amused tone in his voice. "You do realize that means you."
Elijah frowned. "But I'm a Jew."
"Barely," Sara mumbled. "So, plagues are done. That was fast. Let's sing something!"
When they deemed themselves to be done with the service, Elijah's parents went into the kitchen to get the matzo ball soup. "Matzo balls?" Peter inquired. "I thought matzo was the flat bread thing."
Elijah grinned demonically. "Oh my god. You've never had matzo ball soup. You have not lived, Pete, you haven't." When Mom entered, Elijah told her, "Give it to Peter! He's going to die a slow and painful death because he's never had matzo ball soup!"
She rolled her eyes, but obliged. "Try it!" Sara insisted.
Peter eyed the grayish lumps in his soup with caution, but cut into one with the side of his spoon and brought it to his mouth. He chewed. He swallowed. The Hirsches waited. "Holy mother of—that was… what was that?"
"That was a matzo ball," Elijah said proudly.
"It was amazing. I want more. I need more. This is… you could sell these things like drugs. They're… oh my god, I need more!"
Elijah and Sara laughed. Silent Brian tossed in a smile for good measure. Peter continued to eat his soup. When everyone had been served and were all chatting nicely, Peter turned to Elijah. "Your family's nice."
"I know. I like them."
Peter smiled. "I like them, too. I'm glad I could come."
"Yeah, they were surprisingly cool about it. I told them we were just friends, you know, and they seemed to… to take that okay."
Peter laid his hand purposefully on top of Elijah's under the tablecloth. "I'm not just a friend, am I?"
Elijah felt his face grow hot and immediately gulped a spoonful of matzo ball soup, burning his tongue. "Tcha, Elijah," Sara said. "Don't drink the soup so fast."
"Yeah, watch yourself, bubbala," Bubbe said. "Or we'll always make you read for The Wicked Child."
"Bubbe, you already always make me read for The Wicked Child," Elijah complained. Many people seated around the table laughed.
They cleared the soup bowls and began to eat the chicken. "This is good, Mrs. Hirsch," Peter complimented.
Mom blushed and said, "Thank you, Peter. Isn't he the cutest?" she inquired of her sister-in-law.
Ruth nodded. "The cutest. He definitely gives Elijah a run for his money."
"She thinks I'm the cutest," Peter sang under his breath.
Elijah snorted. "Yeah, well."
Peter frowned. "You don't think I'm the cutest?"
"I wasn't questioning her taste. I was just saying."
"So you do think I'm the cutest."
"That's not what I—oh, what the hell. Yeah, yeah, Peter, you're the cutest."
Elijah was actually a little surprised to see the amount of relief present on Peter's face. After the search for the afikomen—Elijah spotted it about ten minutes before Abby finally did—and the after-meal grace, Elijah said, "And now, the most important part… Elijah!"
"It's not that important," Sara grumbled.
"You're just jealous because you weren't named after The Prophet Elijah!" he said sweetly. "So, we've already got the wine in Elijah's cup. I'll go open the door. We need to be informed," he told Brian and Peter, "as to whether the Messiah's coming."
"Don't mock it, boychick," Zeyde said. "It could happen."
"So we keep the door open," Elijah called from the now-open front door, "so that Elijah The Prophet can pop on by and have some wine, and let us know if the Messiah's coming. Now. Let's drink more wine, guys!"
After the fourth cup of wine and prayer for it, Mrs. Hirsch said, "Excuse me, Peter, dear, will you help me in the kitchen?"
Peter stood up with a nod. "Sure." Elijah watched his retreating form nervously. "Yes, Mrs. Hirsch?"
"Are you or are you not dating my son?" she asked, a fierce, motherly look in her eyes as her hands leapt to her hips.
Peter swallowed. "Well, I'm not, but…"
"But!" she said loudly. "That's all I can get from either of you boys. 'We're not dating, but…'" She shook her head. "Tcha. But nothing."
"How about 'But I'm going to ask him?'" Peter suggested.
Mrs. Hirsch's eyes softened. "Hmm. Well. Maybe but that." She scrutinized him. "You hurt him and I'll send a pack of wild Jewish women to eat you alive. Trust me, kid, they won't care for a minute whether goyim are kosher or not, not if you do something bad to Elijah."
Peter grinned a little in spite of himself. "I won't hurt him, ma'am. Trust me. I like him way more than he likes me, anyhow."
Mrs. Hirsch looked aghast. "What is wrong with that boy? You're wonderful. Go sit again. Unless you'd like to help me bring in dessert…?"
Peter gauged her expression and decided that whether this was a test or not, he should still go along with it. "I'd love to help," he told her.
Mrs. Hirsch smiled, looking very satisfied. "I'll get the matzo bark."
When Peter reentered the dining room, setting a tray of what looked like brownies on the table, Elijah pulled him down into his chair. "What did she say to you?"
"She showed me all your baby pictures and your first lost tooth."
"No, not really, what'd'ya think, dumbass? She wanted help with dessert."
Elijah relaxed into his chair. "She didn't say anything rude, did she?"
Peter shrugged. "Not really. She just wanted to know whether I was dating you or not."
Elijah glared at his mother, who was setting a tray of chocolate-covered matzo—matzo bark—on the table beside the matzo-meal-brownies. "What did you say?"
"I said no," Peter said. "But that I was going to ask you out later."
Elijah felt his entire face explode with heat. He turned slowly to look at Peter. His cheeks were tingling. "Yeah?" Elijah asked softly.
"That's what I told her," Peter confirmed. "But I didn't say whether or not I was actually going to do it."
Elijah swallowed. Of course not. "Oh." He turned away and reached for a brownie.
"What?" he snapped, turning back toward the other boy.
Peter looked down, face flaming. "I really do like you, you know."
Elijah bit his lip. "Really?"
"Why else do you think I'd come here and meet your whole freakin' family, and be in the same room as that gefilte fish shit, and tell your mother I was gonna ask you out? I mean, yeah, maybe I'm just a psychotic masochist. Or maybe I like you."
Elijah's hand found Peter's under the table. "I think everyone knows that I like you. I mean, Sara brings a different boy to Seder every year. But I never… I didn't. But I wanted you to come. Because… I wanted them to like you. I wanted them to like you as much as I do."
Peter squeezed his hand. "Good. So it's settled then."
"Are you boyfriends now?" Sara asked. The boys looked up, realizing that she'd been watching them the whole time.
"Yes," Elijah said.
Peter smiled, and with the hand that wasn't holding Elijah's, he took a matzo-meal-brownie. "Huh," he said. "These are really good."
"Thank you," Bubbe said, winking.
Elijah laughed. So did Peter. They shared a quick glance before going back to their matzo-themed desserts.
Afterwards, when the adults sat around chatting, and Laura and Abby were drawing at the table, and Sara and Silent Brian were kissing in the corner, Elijah sat with Peter on the couch in the otherwise empty living room. Well, in reality, Peter sat on the couch. Elijah was on it in a supine position, his head resting in Peter's lap. Peter played idly with Elijah's hair, staring off into space. "I'm really glad I came," Peter said again.
"'M glad you came, too."
Peter looked down at Elijah, and met the Jewish boy's bright green eyes. "You're adorable, did you know that?"
A little smile turned up the corners of Elijah's mouth. "I didn't. But now I know. Thanks."
Peter leaned down and quickly kissed Elijah's lips. "I can't wait to go to school on Monday and have all those girls glare at me, because they want you and can't have you."
Elijah frowned. "That's a little rude."
"Maybe. But very satisfying."
"What if I decided to ditch you for one of those girls?"
Peter kissed him again. "I'd cry."
"Would you really?"
"No. But I'd feel like shit."
"Well, I'm not going to ditch you. Especially not for a girl."
Peter smiled softly. "Promise?"
"Of course." He raised his head and pecked Peter softly on the lips. "Happy Passover, Pete."
"Happy Passover, Elijah."
A/N: Aw. Sorry. But little gay Jewish boy just makes my heart sing. So does the gay goy, for the record. Haha. Gay goy. PSSH. Anyway. Review if you please! Or if I please… which I do… so review?