Damemaru’s whole vibe was a pleasant surprise for Sanko. He seemed like a chill and reasonable guy, at least when you didn’t tryna touch him. Shimada and Avakian said he didn’t have to be too ceremonious with Damemaru; still, Sanko wanted to be a good host.
“Moja is still making a room for you,” he said when the evening came. “I guess you could stay in mine tonight!”
“It’s fine,” said Hajime Damemaru.”I can hang out somewhere in the mess hall.”
“Eh, better not,” Sanko said. “Destruction is out and about, he might bite, even if he thinks you’re with the crew now. One time I woke up, and he was chewing on my hair, that was gross. Stay with me instead.”
The prospect of what he knew from books was called a “sleepover” was exciting. The interior of his room wasn't quite ready for overnight guests, however. Sanko dug into the storage unit in the corner.
“I only got one jelly bed… Shimada sleeps in the dirt, and Avakian likes to chill all over the place. I got my old mattress though, you can use it.”
“There’s a regular pillow or my Alternate Dimension pillow. Which one do you want?”
“Does it matter?”
“Well, while I’m on your guys’ ship and on your terms, I have to go with anything you tell me.”
This didn’t sit right with Sanko, somehow, but he couldn’t quite explain even to himself, what exactly about Damemaru’s words bugged him. He stuffed the pillows into Damemaru’s arms.
“Alright then! In that case my terms are that you take both.”
It took some time to move stuff around and get the bed ready. It wasn't all that late yet, and usually Sanko spent the evening reading his books or messing around with clay and such to make new figurines. Now though he had a guest that needed to be entertained.
Sanko showed off his toys and figurines; Damemaru seemed a bit interested in Sanko’s “artistic endeavors”, as he called them, but it didn't go further than that. His voice was politely distant at the suggestion to play with them, - Sanko knew a “no" where he heard one.
What else was there to do with another person here?.. The room that Sanko designed with such care and pride now seemed lacking.
“Hey, do you wanna watch Alternate Dimension Death RUN? It's got to be on some channel!”
In truth, at least one channel was showing the reruns at any given time.
“Yeah, if you want to."
“Heehee," Sanko turned on the small screen that he had in his room. The big TV out in the hall was way cooler, but Avakian was chilling on the couch there, he was cranky that evening, and Sanko didn't wanna irk him any more.
“Have you seen the latest Curse of the Diamond Planet arc?" he asked, flicking through the channels.
Bingo! One of the fresh episodes was on.
“I haven't watched much tv the last couple years," said Damemaru. “I saw some before, but I’m not caught up."
“Shit, there will be spoilers then..."
“It’s fine,” Damemaru shrugged again.
They sat on the floor and watched the tv. In fact, it was one of Sanko’s favourite episodes, and yet… It wasn’t shaping up to be the cool sleepover that had been advertised to him. For one, he’s already seen this. And now he was beginning to feel childish and silly to be enjoying it to begin with. Damemaru’s lukewarm reaction to everything was beginning to bum him out. Sanko sneaked stealthy side glances at his guest, and his placid expression confirmed it: Damemaru most likely simply tolerated him and his ways out of necessity. Damn.
Who knows, maybe he wasn’t even a peer, as he claimed. Maybe he really was an old man who didn’t like doing anything fun. Maybe there was no point in trying to make friends with him in the first place.
Sanko sighed. All this gloomthink was making him hungry.
“Man, I would love a mebaspa right now,” he said.
“Yeah, a meatball and spaghetti sandwich.”
“What is that?”
Sanko turned to Damemaru and stared. The guy was giving him a genuinely curious look. As if he had never in his life heard of, let alone tried a meatball and spaghetti sandwich!
“Are you kidding? It’s the best food in the friggin’ universe!”
“What’s it made of?”
“It’s got bread, and spaghetti, and meat, and some delicious sauce… Seriously, have you never had any?”
“Never. Actually, I haven’t had any food for a while, because, you know,” he gestured at his whole body.
Oh right. He’d been a pile of goop twice over the last few days and who knows how long beforehand. He’d regenerated alright and seemed to be fine, but the thought of going hungry for so long made Sanko shudder. Perhaps… perhaps he should have led with some food, actually.
“Are you hungry?”
“Mmm, yea,” Damemaru said, his voice mild and his eyes big.
Sanko turned off the tv. The Curse of the Diamond Planet could wait. He stood up and marched towards the door. Cranky Avakian or not, he was gonna start the stove and get some meatball and spaghetti goodness into this guy.
“Come on! You’re about to have the best meal of your life!”