So They Meet in a Bar... by Orin Drake
It's... something, alright.
"Jesus fucking Christ." He murmured, just glad to see the guy walking away finally. What the fuck was he? A super model or something? Why were all the creepy guys wandering up to him? Couldn't he be let alone at a bar and drink just like everybody else? Ugh. He knew this wasn't a good idea. But he couldn't risk punching someone else for using a stupid pick-up line, and he couldn't have stayed away from a bar with no live entertainment. They were getting rarer and rarer.
Ah well. A quiet moment. Until there was another set of footsteps behind him, wandering right up beside him at the bar. He tried to keep his focus on his glass, but couldn't resist the visual out of the corner of his eye. A chick. Maybe... twenty-ish. Brunette. Built, but not overmuch. Nice tits. Outfit looked stolen from a number of petite bikers. No visible weapons. Hm.
She was looking at him. Clearly. So he turned and introduced himself in a flat tone. "I'm not interested. But thanks, I'm sure I'm flattered."
"Same goes to you." She threw back without a pause, not moving.
Well. That was... odd. He wasn't quite used to that kind of a response. Taking another swallow of the filth he was drinking (what had he ordered, anyway?), he returned his gaze so that she only appeared in his peripheral vision. She was waiting for the barkeep. But he didn't seem interested in a pretty young thing. Funny, that.
So she did the only thing she could think to do in such a circumstance. She drew a carpenter's hammer from a hidden fold in her pant leg and made a huge, loud hole in the bar in front of her. As soon as that was done and all surrounding conversation fell silent, she returned the hammer to her leg and cast a pleasant smile to the surprised bar's owner. Regardless of the smile, her voice was straight to the point. "Rum. Now."
Well, at least she was a lot more interesting than most of the idiots he'd encountered over the months. A chick with personality was as hard a find as a bar with no live entertainment. As her drink was handed to her with a worried eye and a shaken hand, he leaned in a touch to ask, "And what's your name?"
"Name me." She responded without looking at him, giving the barkeep a mild "go away" gesture with a sweep of her hand.
His smirk was a dagger's edge. "Pumpkin."
"Then I am Pumpkin." She repeated, almost pleasantly. As if to celebrate, she took a swig of her order. "And you are?"
"Lost." He responded in a low tone, aggravated again for the hundredth time since dawn. Not once, not even once had it occurred to him to familiarize himself with the landscape he was running away to. He'd gotten the ship, ditched his identity, found the perfect place to land--and forgotten all else. He was absolutely certain that all wanderlust had been beaten out of him from that very experience.
She seemed less than interested in his story. In fact, she seemed more like she was waiting for someone--a someone that suddenly ambled in and sat beside her with huge, heavy thumps.
Hm. His eyes shifted from his glass, to the chick's glass, and then finally over to the newcomer. Big guy. Huge... furry guy. Gigantic, furry, dog-like--a Maruh! Oh shit. He quickly dug into his pocket to pay for the drink and leave while he still could.
"Relax." The girl ultimately known as Pumpkin growled almost under her breath.
Relax around a fucking Maruh with claws the size of his forearm... or get the hell out and away like he really should... Tough choice. He'd need another liquor to think about it. He raised his hand for the barkeep--who had apparently already fled. Guy must have seen the big beastie, too.
"What do you want?" she asked, taking another drink herself.
"The... uh... blue bottle." Hey, she had asked. He'd never had a drink out of a blue bottle before. Might as well give it a shot.
The Maruh next to her leaned forward with a creek of wood, reaching across the bar for the bottle. The guy was so ungodly huge that he didn't even have to get up from his stool to be able to grasp the requested vessel and easily place it right before the lost boy.
And for that... he was impressed. "Friend of yours?" The fact that a Maruh had just handed him a bottle of booze without breaking it over his head first didn't quite sink in. And, if he successfully kept drinking, he could prevent the realization entirely.
"Yep." She responded, watching casually as her Maruh friend grasped one of the finer wines--but not before splintering the cabinet door that hid the more expensive storage area with a good punch. "I suppose you could name him, too."
"Vlad." He had decided even before he'd realized it.
The Maruh grunted at that, leading the lost boy to wonder if he'd actually understood him. If so, he should really keep his fool mouth shut.
Speaking of fool mouths--he could just sense it coming. One of the drunks from the other end of the bar (obviously not having seen the Maruh) was approaching. The footsteps revealed the man's state of mind, and the self-appointed "Lost" had only to ready himself for the thousandth time.
He didn't have a chance to divert the drunk's attention; the girl had turned and waved the man on. When that obviously hadn't worked, the Maruh next to her had taken her subtle hint and turned, giving the drunk a nice view of his massive teeth. With that, the sound of quickly shuffling feet disappeared back into the corner.
The girl spoke before he had the chance to thank her--or tell her off. "It's because you're a pretty boy."
Wait a second, here. This chick just came in, her friend had gotten him a free drink, and now she was insulting him? "I am not!"
"Bull." She denied, keeping her voice just as calm and steady as before. After another sip, she declared, "I didn't say that was a bad thing. It just tends to... get you noticed in a different sort of way."
All of the accusatory anger drained out of his voice. Maybe she had a point there. But... still. "And what about you? I mean, you're... pretty and such."
There were no thank you's. "I've got a hammer named Maxwell and a Maruh named Vlad. I don't need to be taken seriously."
"Good point." It all seemed very logical at the moment. "So. Where are you two headed?"
She gave a little snort at the question. "Maybe Braiton. Maybe Wes'pur."
He pretended to know the places she was talking about with near expert ease. "Ah."
Unfortunately, she called his bluff without taking her eyes off the ridge of her glass. "You have no idea, do you?"
"Nope." He admitted casually, enjoying the blue bottle a little too much.
Well, honesty was a nice asset. Or so she thought. He was a little odd, but then...
The Maruh leaned in close to her, his low voice made even more so by his whisper. "We ought to go. Now."
She nodded almost imperceptibly, then jerked her head slightly in the direction of the lost boy. The motion asked what her voice didn't dare: "What about him?"
In response, the Maruh shrugged slightly. Taking another good long look at the boy, though... he whispered lowly again. "He presents no immediate threat."
She nodded her acknowledgment, turning her attention toward the threat-less boy. "Need a mission?"
He blinked, but his eyes remained on the hole she'd made in the bar scant moments ago. "I need a map."
"You might get both." She offered.
"Okay." He agreed haphazardly--but not before grasping the whole of the blue bottle to take with him. "Should I leave a tip?"
"Nah." She dismissed, waiting for the Maruh to lead the way out. People parted like tides in his presence, and they walked out without incident.