Arcana One:

The Magician

--

Tarot had always had a soft spot for marshmallows.

When he was a very young boy, he would go camping with his father and older brothers, and they would all roast marshmallows around a fire while his father told ghost stories that would usually give Tarot nightmares and cause one of his older brothers the problem of having to console him. As he grew up, he found that his enjoyment of the fluffy pillows of sweetness never diminished.

In fact, Tarot discovered that marshmallows were particularly enjoyable when roasted over the remains of his cheating ex-boyfriend's belongings.

The very next day after walking in on his boyfriend and Sebastian exchanging DNA, Lisa and Tarot were sitting in front a roaring fire fueled by various books, articles of clothing, and knickknacks of Johnny's.

"So...what're you going to do now, my little Oberon?" The Asian girl inquired, idly sipping root beer from a can. The two were sitting on a conveniently placed log in the front yard of a cabin Tarot's step-father owned, having decided to take an emergency 'let-the-interns-do-all-the-work' sabbatical.

"What do you mean?" Tarot asked, arching an eyebrow out of habit.

"Ooh! I know! We should go clubbing!" Lisa chirped, her face brightening to epic new proportions. "We'll get completely wasted, have passionate monkey sex with gorgeous men, and when we wake up in the morning, they'll realize that we're the perfect people for them and ask us to marry them. We'll all live happily ever after." Lisa ended with a sigh, her hand coming up to rest on her cheek.

"Lisa. Darling. I'm going to need for you to pull yourself together." Tarot stated slowly, nodding at Lisa. The girl merely glared in response before returning to her drink.

"Hmph. You're just upset because nobody loves you." Lisa quipped, looking Tarot up and down.

"Don't be mean to me, you whore. I almost died, remember? You should be mourning your almost loss." Tarot replied, frowning.

"I am. I just left my black veil at home, and I didn't remember it until we were almost here. By then, you'd have thrown me out the window if I'd asked to turn the car around and get it..." Was Lisa's retort.

A comfortable silence fell between the two friends. Tarot stretched his legs out in front of him, idly chomping on a marshmallow. Lisa merely kept nursing on the nearly depleted soda, as they both took in the cool air of the evening, the warm colors of the foliage, and the strangely calming sounds of various insects chirping.

"I don't see why anything has to change." Tarot finally stated, his pretty faced pulled into a mask of determination. "I mean...it's just the end of a relationship, right? Life will go on as usual. You and I will make cakes, we'll spend all of our money on clothing and shoes that are above our means, we'll sip cosmos, and we'll bitch about how we can't find men."

"That's true, but don't you think you should do some re-evaluating in your life? Break-ups aren't one sided, even if they end like your's and Johnny's." Lisa replied, nodding sagely. Tarot simply frowned and stared into the fire.

"I...I knew, you know?" Tarot said meekly, ducking his head. "I mean...I didn't exactly know that he was cheating on me, but there was definitely a lot of distance between us recently that hadn't been there before. I figured that one of us was going to get tired with the other soon."

Tarot looked up, dark blue eyes startlingly large and wet with tears. He smiled bitterly at his friend, "I just hoped that as long as I hung onto it, there was some hope for us. I suppose that was foolish, though."

"No, love. Not foolish." Lisa soothed, scooting over on the log to drape herself across the dainty male. "It's natural to react like that. No one wants to see a relationship end when it's that meaningful to them."

"Hmm." Was all that came from Tarot.

"Well, if it makes you feel any better, according to my horoscope, I have a seventy percent chance of running into the love of my life today." Lisa quipped, returning to what must be the root beer equivalent of the bottomless bag from Mary Poppins.

"Do I really need to tell you how much I hate you right now?" Tarot deadpanned, eying Lisa frostily.

"Whatever. Don't hate because I've got a pocketful of sunshine and you have a pocketful of famine and pestilence." Lisa replied airily, her hand gesturing vaguely between the two of them.

Tarot merely snorted before pushing her off of the log and into the dirt and taking her root beer can.

It was empty.

--

The following Saturday afternoon found Tarot restlessly tinkering about his apartment. Finally, the boy had removed the very last of Johnny's effects from his abode, and he had since moved onto sifting through his belongings to see what he actually wanted in his life and what he could let go of.

Lisa had been around in the morning, wishing Tarot good luck in his revitalizations before whisking off to visit her parents and siblings for the weekend.

He had just finished going through the master bedroom when he decided to take a break.

He and Johnny had been broken up for less than a week, and already, it felt as if every person who Tarot had ever come into contact with in his entire life had something to say on the matter.

Needless to say, none of them merely wanted to know if he was still alive.

No, they all wanted to inform him of exactly where his relationship had gone wrong. Tarot figured that it had probably began when the outside world had a better idea of what was going on between himself and Johnny than he did.

The boy sighed heavily and dropped onto his bed. It was ridiculously large, taking up three quarters of the room, and decked out in opulent black silks with a heavy down comforter.

Tarot was frugal with almost everything in his life. Bed fittings and his clothing were not amongst those things.

The boy quickly realized why he hadn't allowed himself a break since the Tuesday he'd spent in the mountains with Lisa.

Every moment he'd relaxed, the weight of his failure hit him like a bag of bricks. He couldn't blame the breakup on Johnny singularly. Lord knows he'd tried. The first few nights he'd tried to sleep he'd just laid in bed, cursing the day his ex was born.

Every possession of the other man's just served to fuel his hatred. Soon, though, reality began to peek through the cloud of anger hovering over Tarot.

Anger is a bit of an understatement, actually.

It was really more like some Evil Triumvirate of anger, hatred, and despair.

On the positive side, Tarot had created the best damn funeral cake in history. He'd taken it from Lisa because he figured it would be a nice outlet for him. No one had to know that he'd imagined his ex-boyfriend was trapped inside the casket of baked sweetness.

Anyways, the angered had faded, and in it's place came all of the self-doubt and sheer sadness that was hanging over Tarot in a shroud at any moment he let his guard down.

Tarot felt his eyes begin to water as the familiar whisperings of inferiority burgeoned on the outskirts of his mind. He often wondered why he hadn't been enough for the other man, why he hadn't been sufficient for his boyfriend. Where exactly had he been lacking that caused Johnny to go elsewhere.

Realizing that that train of thought wouldn't do anyone any good, Tarot quickly diverted his mind. He got up from the bed and set off to tackle the rest of the spacious apartment.

--

Tarot had made his way through the spare bedrooms, accompanying bathrooms, and the living room, and was attacking the kitchen when his doorbell rang. He straightened up from where he'd been bending over, scrubbing the inside of the oven, and walked over to the door to the apartment.

He opened it cautiously, praying to any and all gods who would listen that it wasn't going to be Johnny at the door. Upon seeing who it was, he merely rolled his eyes heavenward and changed that prayer to one of patience to deal with the pest at his doorstep.

"What're you doing here?" Tarot scoffed, immediately turning his back on the man at the doorway and walking back into the kitchen.

"I just thought I'd drop by to pay a visit to my favorite queer neighbor" The man replied, closing the door behind him before following Tarot into the kitchen. Tarot merely continued his prayer while returning to vigorously scrubbing the stove, hoping against hope that the man would just leave suddenly.

Aiken Laroche was nothing if not persistent, unfortunately.

The much larger male hopped onto the counter beside Tarot, eying the smaller boy thoughtfully before speaking.

"I am sorry, y'know?"

"Ow! Oh, fuck!" Was Tarot's only reply. The boy had been so startled by his neighbor's admission that he'd jerked up to meet Aiken's eyes. Instead, all that had met was Tarot's skull and the metal oven.

"You still alive there, Tiny Tim?" Aiken chuckled, trying valiantly to avoid bursting into full out laughter.

Tarot merely whimpered in reply, straightening up and holding his head gingerly.

"What're you sorry for, anyways?" Tarot asked, slowly regaining his composure. He eyed the brunette perched on his counter carefully. The man had done nothing but make his life miserable since the very first day Tarot had moved into the apartment.

"You know. You having to walk in on assface to figure out that he was doing that. Vivi and I...we kinda figured that he was going behind your back with that birdlike guy. I was gonna tell you, but Vivi told me that I shouldn't. Said 'It's not our place.'"

Tarot merely cocked his head. Logically, he figured he should be mad at the man and his fiancée. They'd both known about Johnny's infidelity, and neither of them had said anything to him. But really, when he thought about it, Tarot realized that it really wasn't Vivi and Aiken's place to inform him of what was wrong in his relationship. It was his relationship, thus his problems.

"It's okay. Tell Vivi she was right. Plus, you have nothing to be sorry about. Although, if you really feel the need to repent, I could go for a burger right now, and I can't figure out how to work this grill thing..."

"Ugh...gay men trying to grill...next thing you know they'll be trying to vote or some shit. I'm not letting you near a grill, you're eating with Vivi and I tonight." Aiken said, faking a grimace at the thought of Tarot grilling.

Tarot simply beamed at the man.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have hot man-on-woman sex with that chick that lives with me...can't remember her name for the life of me." Aiken joked, jumping off of the counter and walking towards the door.

"Get out of my apartment, you pig!"

--

"You really are a pig, I hope you realize." Vivenne Warrock said, smiling all the while.

"I am?" Asked the man in question, pulling his face into a very sad and pathetic mask.

"Yes, would you pass me some potatoes, they're lovely." Vivi replied, still smiling at Aiken. "However, sometimes you're charming and intelligent enough to make you worth keeping around."

"Ugh...when would that be?" Tarot asked, looking to all the world as if he'd smelled the smelliest smell ever to be smelled.

"Well, Tarot. You see, when two people love each other very much--."

"Ack! Shut up!" Tarot interrupted, jumping up from the table to take his plate to the dishwasher, all the while muttering about 'deviant heterosexuals'.

He bent down to put the plate into the dishwasher when Vivi walked in, unbeknownst to him.

"Are you alright?" Vivi asked, placing two empty wine glasses in the sink.

"Oh, shit!" Tarot yelped, suffering a repeat of the oven's vicious assault on him earlier. "What in the hell is it with you people and making me hit my head!?"

"I'm sorry. I just assumed that you, like a normal human being, would hear the clicking of my heels on the tile floor you're currently on. I keep forgetting that you're perhaps the least observant human being on the planet." Vivi replied, stroking her chin thoughtfully. The woman's weight was resting completely on her very long right leg. She was wearing a rather tiny black dress she'd bought from some up and coming boutique that probably cost more than her rent that month, and with it she'd probably had some designer create her needle-thin stiletto heels specifically for the dress. Her golden-blonde hair was pulled back into a messy bun, and her make up was impeccable.

The woman just didn't understand the concept of casual dress.

Or budgets.

"To answer your question, yes. I'm alright." Tarot replied, thin arms wrapping around his chest, smiling wanly at Vivi.

Vivienne merely looked him up and down. "I don't believe you, in case you didn't notice."

"I know." His wan smile brightened slightly at the woman's brash honesty. "I'm really not very okay at the moment. I will be, though. I have faith in the fact that eventually life will go back to being all rainbows and sunshine. I mean, to be quite honest, it can't get a whole hell of a lot worse. "

Vivi's hawk-like eyes softened. "Yes, I suppose so. You know, you're pretty capable for someone who bakes cakes all day."

"You're just jealous because I get to be a fat kid all day and play with pastries while you whore your soul out to get people to buy houses."

"I may be soulless, but could you afford this outfit?"

"Point taken."

--

A/n: Chapter 2 is here.

Yay!

The Magician symbolizes rebirth, getting a new start, re-evaluation, reprioritizing, stuff like that.

(review, if you please)