@gingerreggg welp part 3 is up (part 1) (part 2)
Heads Up- Part 3 (Joseph x Bust Caesar)
"Joseph!" said Suzi in her gentle, merry voice. "I've come to visit!"
Inside the house, Joseph began to panic. "Caesar! I can't let her see you! She'll freak out!"
"What?" Caesar asked, looking up at Joseph. "Who's Suzi?"
"My old classmate from the art school, she can't see a living, talking clay bust like you! I need to hide you somehow!" Joseph's frantic eyes darted around for something to cover Caesar with, until they fell upon an empty cardboard box on a shelf by the living room.
"I hope you don't need to breathe, Caesarino!" he said, putting the box over Caesar, who sat on the floor of the living room.
"Well I have no lungs, you said--" complained Caesar before the box completely covered him. He complained in muffled screams from inside the box.
"Now be very quiet!" Joseph scolded. "Act like a perfectly normal, inanimate clay sculpture and everything will be fine!" With an irate grumble Caesar begrudgingly complied and soon all was quiet.
"Jojo? Is everything alright in there?" Suzi called from outside, knocking again.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Joseph called out, glancing back one more time to make sure Caesar hadn't budged, before he grabbed the door with shaky hands and opened the latch, to reveal a radiant and cheerful face crowned with blonde locks on the opposite side of the door.
"Jojo!" she beamed, sunny as ever. "It's been a long time!" Before Joseph could stop her, she came waltzing right into the house and began to look around as if she was in a museum. Typical Suzi, Joseph thought to himself, a clever and capable young lady but at times a bit of a ditz.
"I've heard that you'd moved into a new apartment in town for your final year in art school!" she said. "And you've got a nice little place too to do your work!"
"Well, it's not much, but I suppose it'll do," Joseph sighed uneasily. "I've just been so busy for my senior project--" Joseph's eyes shot a glance to the box covering Caesar. "--before I graduate and hopefully start my career! I just though a pad of my own would be good for my, uh...creative touch."
Suzi skipped around the room, marveling at all of Joseph's art on display-- sculptures, figurines, models, paintings-- that Joseph had put up on display on his walls and cabinets. She gaped in awe, like a five-year-old at the fair, as she admired all of his work.
"It's all so pretty!" she exclaimed. "I see why you've been so busy for the past two years. I hadn't even heard more of a peep of you all this while."
"I'm sorry, Suzi." Joseph sighed, rubbing his brow. "Sorry I missed out on so much time we could have spent hanging out...It's just been a lifelong aspiration of mine to do the greatest art I can! Art that seems like it could just come to life."
No sooner had those words left his mouth did Joseph suddenly regret his little Freudian slip-- fortunately it seemed Suzi hadn't clued on. She continued looking around the house at every artwork she could see, and as her stay dragged on Joseph grew ever uneasier that their secret would be up.
And so Suzi had gone out of her way and admired every piece in the apartment. Except for one.
"Jojo! What's in the box?" she exclaimed,
Joseph suddenly blocked himself between the box and Suzi. "Er, nothing!"
"You sure?" She asked teasingly. "I know you have a little surprise in there!"
"You've seen everything!" Joseph huffed, his face red and sweating. He tried to keep himself between Suzi and the box as she circled around trying to get a look.
And by a twist of misfortune, Joseph's foot slipped, knocking against the box hardly.
"Ouch!" cried Caesar, muffled.
Joseph smacked himself in the forehead. "Aw shit."
Suzi had heard the voice. "Who said that? It came from inside that box!"
"It's nothing, I promise!" Joseph pleaded, but he knew their little charade was over.
"You've been acting kinda weird lately, Jojo, there's something going on here," she said, her voice quizzical and filled with concern. And before Joseph could stop her, she lifted up the box--and two loud screams filled the air.
"AAAAHHH!" Caesar cried out squinting in the bright living room light, as his cover was lifted away.
"AH!" Suzi exclaimed in a brief, shrill yelp of surprise, as she met eye contact with Caesar. Caesar tried to freeze in place, but it was too late: she had already seen the sculpture moving.
"Joseph! It's gorgeous! It's...moving! How? How did you make this!" she squealed in delight. Joseph glanced up, surprised.
"You're...you're not scared?" the artist asked. "I...I was worried you'd be frightened of uh...of him."
"He's beautiful!" Suzi cried joyfully, reaching her arms out at Caesar. "Let me hold him!"
"NO!" Caesar screamed, and frantically tried to hop away with all his might. But as much as he'd practiced bouncing the whole night, he was, after all, little more than a limbless blob of clay with a human head, and against Suzi with her long legs and grabby arms, he wasn't winning any marathon races.
"Oof! He's heavy!" Suzi groaned as she grabbed Caesar, lifting the bust off the ground and onto the table.
"Don't! Let...let go of me!" Caesar protested, though his struggles consisted of little more than his neck and torso-stump flailing side-to-side like a wagging tail. And soon, to his dismay, he found himself up onto a tabletop again. Unable to jump more than a few inches, there was no getting away this time, and Caesar and Joseph glanced uneasily at one another, resigning themselves to face the consequences.
"Alright, I'm coming clean," sighed an exasperated Joseph. "Ask all the questions you want, as long as you keep it between the two of us."
"Three," corrected Caesar.
"He's alive! And yet...he's made of clay!" Suzi said, as she gently felt Caesar's shoulder. "How is this even possible?"
Joseph and Caesar exchanged glances. "We have no idea," they said in unison.
"Did you make him?" Suzi said, inquisitively sticking her finger into Caesar's ear which prompted a near-missed bite from the annoyed bust. "Oh, those teeth! And those eyes, and lips...he looks so human!"
"Well, I'm not perfect," joked Caesar dryly.
"What's your name?" Suzi asked the living bust excitedly.
"Oh...I'm...I'm Caesar," he replied, bowing his head shyly. "Jojo here gave me that name."
"This is beyond extraordinary," Suzi gasped in wonder. "You've created a living, talking, thinking person out of just clay and paint! Well, not quite a whole one, but still!" Caesar grimaced at the 'whole' comment.
"I wish I could explain it to you, Suzi, but...but I just can't," Joseph pleaded. "Caesar...is...he's my finals art project. He isn't even supposed to be alive! I just found this lump of clay in the attic while trying to find a medium for my grand masterpiece, I worked and painted it for several months, and before I knew it, my project was screaming and yelling and hopping around."
"Like a goddamn Veggietales character," Caesar sarcastically added, prompting a hearty laugh from the two artists. "Now put me back on the floor this instant," he demanded, unamused.
"He is amazing," Suzi said, complying, placing Caesar back down with a little effort. "I still can't believe you made something that looks and acts almost like a real person!"
Caesar's metaphorical heart sank upon hearing her words. "So...I'm not a real person then. I'm just a half-made piece of work after all." Pushing against the floor with his neck, he sadly began to hop away, in his now familiar clumsy, thumping manner.
"Caesar! Wait!" Suzi called out to him, managing to give the distraught figure pause. "I'm sorry, I meant to say you looked almost human, but you're definitely a person all the same, with or without a body. And I think you're quite handsome, for a bust."
Joseph watched as Suzi gently brought down a wall mirror and rested it onto the floor. "Have you seen yourself, Caesar? Look here."
Intrigued, Caesar began thumping over to the mirror, and for the first time since he awoke in Joseph's room, he got to see his reflection.
"That's...that's me?" Caesar gasped, leaning forward to inspect himself. He looked into his own brilliant green eyes, painted an iridescent glossy sheen, at his spiked, blond hair, formed of clay but etched with fine lines that created the illusion of individual strands. He pondered curiously at the strange pink patches on his cheeks, admired his own sculpted face, his chiseled chin, his thick, muscular-looking neck, and his smooth yet detailed collarbone.
And then...nothing. His form ended below in a rounded lump, with only the slightest hint of shoulders and the upper part of a chest. Beneath, there was only a flat pad of clay on which he stood--or sat? or lay?-- upon, painted the same textured fleshy tone as his head and neck were. Gazing over to Joseph and Suzi's reflections, he couldn't help but feel a hint of envy, at the graceful limbs that he lacked.
But at the same time, he couldn't deny that he was beautiful. Incomplete as his body was, he nonetheless felt, as he noticed every tiny detail, Joseph's hard, painstaking work in creating him to the utmost perfection.
And he felt loved.
"Wow," was all that Caesar could say at first, before he managed to gather up his bearings. "I really am a project of passion, ain't I?" he asked. Joseph smiled proudly.
"You're welcome," he said, stooping down to give the bust a gentle pat. "And I'm sorry I made you like this. It must be difficult."
"For now, my mouth is my hand and my neck is my leg," Caesar chuckled. "But I can tell you loved making me. Thank you, Joseph."
Joseph glanced up uneasily at Suzi. "Is it wrong for me to keep him, y'know, just a head? I chose to make a bust to begin with because I couldn't sculpt bodies! It's not my forte! And how long would it take to complete him?"
"Hmmm," Suzi hummed, observing Caesar from all angles. "He seems to be doing fine right now. But if you insist, perhaps I might be of help..."