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posted Oct 12 2017, 12:34 AM ( )
He wasn't certain - he wasn't ever truly certain, but Al had a sinking suspicion that he was being hazed. Again.
It just - it happened so often. He couldn't complain, really, because he was never hurt or put in danger or anything drastic like that, but he swore it was like the combat ops guys were out to humiliate him. Why, he had no idea. Maybe he'd insulted Jesus' intelligence on an occasion or three, or denigrated their collective ability to care for their equipment, and perhaps he did get a bit snippy when someone forgot that he does in fact have two doctorates, but - surely he didn't deserve this treatment?
But then, maybe he was just being paranoid. Yes, the agent had sent him to - and he shuddered at the name - Carnal, but she was really nice about it when she'd texted him. Polite, and sweet, and so apologetic for asking him to run such a banal errand, but it was so important, she said, and she would definitely buy him his morning coffee on Monday to make up for it. She was really certain he'd be the perfect person to handle it. He couldn't refuse, really.
Al blinked at the neon sign glaring against the dim street lamps. Carnal. Lips pressed thin in distaste, he showed his Pandora ID to the bouncer, then made his way into the dim, musky bar.
It reeked of sweat, and sulfur, and sex. Ailbhe could feel his cheeks grow warm already - from the heat, he told himself, from the sheer number of bodies pressed into the building. He loosened his ascot, feeling remarkably overdressed, and kept his eyes glued to the floor as he made his way over to the bar.
Fifteen minutes later, he'd finally gotten the bartender's attention. "Hi," he said, but he choked on it, and it came out like more of a grunt. "Um, excuse me. My apologies. A colleague of mine has sent me on a rather important errand here - I'm supposed pick up a package for her from Mike Litoris?"
posted Oct 12 2017, 12:56 AM ( )
The entire club was practically dead at this early hour. Only the real bad bar flies were there huddled around tables and sitting on stools. Some girls were present to soak in the half price cocktails presented to them a few hours prior to the opening performances. there most certainly wasn't a bartender present behind the counter at this time. Nah, he was busy hauling in the night's stock.
So, uh... who was?
A certain red headed fae turned around with a cocked eyebrow. He was holding a metal cup and a glass in each hand, pouring a fruity looking red mixture from the cup to the glass. As he was doing so, he couldn't help but crack a smile. Soon, a smile turned to a chuckle, and a chuckle developed into an impish laughing fit.
Arlo could barely contain himself. The metal cup tumbled out of his hand and onto the floor mats, and he reached forward to place his drink on the counter. After a moment or two it seemed like he was rubbing it in, drawing as much attention to the shy newcomer as possible.
When he finally regained himself, it was as if he had never lost his composure. The imp looked absolutely dashing, without a hint of redness in his face, or even laugh lines from his smiles. His voice was slick and devious, flowing quickly from between his pale lips. "'fraid we don't have a Mike here, lad. Regardless, It seems like you've fallen for an awful bad joke." With that, he lifted the glass of red liquid to his lips, taking a gentle sip while locking eyes with the other fae.
posted Oct 12 2017, 01:43 AM ( )
A bead of sweat dripped down Ailbhe's brow. The air was hot, and Al's face was hot, and were there always this many people in this establishment? Did the bartender have to laugh quite so loudly, and for so long? Surely it was unnecessary. He felt eyes fall on him from all directions.
"A, uh, a bad joke?" Al stammered, and cursed himself. He envied the bartender his composure, his even tone, his truly dramatically prolonged eye contact. Al sent a swift prayer to every god he'd ever dismissed as ancient and out of touch that this truly was not another effort to haze him. If it was a joke, he didn't get it. "I think you may be mistaken, sir. My colleague was adamant that finding Mike Litoris at this location was of the utmost importance."
The man's gaze was intense, and irritating. Al held it determined to recover himself, but he felt his flush creeping up his neck spread to his cheeks, neon against his translucent flesh, he was sure. He cast a glamor in a vain effort to retain his regular pallid shade, then abruptly broke eye contact, annoyed by his own discomfort. "Of course, I would not be surprised if you could even remember your customer's names, if you're drinking on the job," he griped under his breath. "Extremely unprofessional."
posted Oct 12 2017, 01:54 AM ( )
At this point it set in that this individual was not the brightest in the book. Arlo didn't even have to exaggerate anything this time. The few members of the 'crowded' establishment all began to smirk and giggle. The storm of laughs and following conversations continued until Arlo, swiftly and without any issue, hopped atop the counter to sit with his legs dangling off the edge. He positioned himself to be directly in front of Ailbhe, wrapping his legs around the man's waist involuntarily before pulling him closer. He the grabbed his chin and tilted it upwards, his smile never leaving.
"Poor fool, you are. I can only assume you don't get much attention from the ladies. Your clitoris isn't present here, and your colleague is an asshole." With that, he let go, giggling all the while before spinning atop the counter to lay down upon it.
The comment about Arlo's 'drinking on the job' wasn't entirely false, nor was it completely true. His act wasn't for another thirty or so minutes. This was made apparent by the sudden arrival of the actual bartender.
"Puck, when's your next act? His stage name, and name so widely known by all, was used by the spindly human.
"Not for another half our or so, m'friend." He chuckled, looking to Ailbhe with a wink.
posted Oct 12 2017, 02:29 AM ( )
Eyes on him. Giggles resounding in his ears. He'd been right to be suspicious, then - always, every time, the combat ops would pull something. He couldn't believe he hadn't realized sooner. Of all the stupid things to fall for, honestly.
Al opened his mouth to protest, kick up a fuss, gather up the sad dregs of his dignity, and storm out with something akin to righteousness; but then were lean legs wrapped around his waist, slender fingers grasping his chin and holding him inches away from a sly, sinful grin. Al felt his words die on the barren desert of his tongue, and nervously licked his lips. Flustered and paralyzed, even his glamour couldn't conceal the violent flush that swept over his face and neck and what little was revealed of his thin chest beyond his loosened ascot.
I should say something, he thought distantly. Establish dominance. Reclaim his composure. Without pausing for a filter, his brain helpfully supplied, "I haven't had one of those for a long time."
Stupid. Al stumbled back the second the fae released him, and he stammered out nonsense syllables, floundering for something clever and suave or just not embarrassing, but his skin felt hot where the fae had touched him and all his courtly training was flying out the window in this surreal, overwhelming place. He reached for something, anything. His brain snagged on Puck.
"Puck? Al echoed, staring at the lounging, laughing man with an curious tilt to his head. Surely not. The infamous trickster of fae and human legend, here? Absurd. Al almost asked a question, something brilliant like didn't the unseelie royals cast you out how did you end up here this is so strange, but his fizzled mind caught on something else. "A-act?" He stepped back, tongue darting out to lick his dry, dry lips again. His stomach tightened and sank; he suspected he knew the answer to the question he couldn't help asking. "What act?"
A horrible thought occurred to him, then, and his eyes narrowed sharply, glaring at the fae in a suspicious new light. "Sarah put you up to this, didn't she?" he demanded shrilly. If he were a more chaotic man, he'd sabotage her equipment the next time he laid hands on it. "You've accomplished your task, Puck. I don't need any more of this." Though high, his tone held a firm note of finality that he felt masked his sheer humiliation well. His body, however, refused to cooperate; he thought, I need to leave, and yet his feet stayed rooted firmly in place. His gaze stayed locked on the fae. Sweat dripped down his back.
For half a horrible instant, Al hated Maven for inspiring so much love and loyalty in his heart. He would've told Pandora to fuck off years ago if not for him.
posted Oct 12 2017, 12:01 PM ( )
Arlo was almost convinced the man before him would run out of the room. He watched him stumble, prepare to bolt, and then... stay? The imp was confused. This man intrigued him, having the guts to stick around for so long and all. Perhaps he was too flustered to move? Likely.
"I haven't had one of those for a long time." Most definitely. Puck scoffed, sitting up. He offered the flustered man a condescending grin. "Oh i'm sure, Honey", Arlo spoke with a sickly sweet tone. Messing with this younger fae was a great deal of fun. He didn't want him going anywhere anytime soon. Besides, he has yet to get the man's name.
Gods I'm such an asshole~
After the quick exchange with the bartender, Arlo's pointed ears caught the man's words clearly. A curious little bugger, you are. He giggled, his eyes glimmering with amusement. Arlo was about to lay down some info on this pathetic excuse of a fae.
"The one and only, Love. The audience just soaks it up." He kicked his feet off the side of the bartop once more, but this time he did not attempt to pull al closer. "You really are quit daft, aren't you? No one set me up to torment you, Darling. I'm simply making conversation. I don't even know this Sara you speak of." Arlo retrieved his sangria and took another sip before sighing dramatically. "I took up a job here after much wandering, attempting to find a place to settle down. No thanks to you pesky fae."
posted Oct 14 2017, 12:35 AM ( )
Al flinched back as Puck swung around, but the man didn't make any attempt to grab at him again. He was relieved and tense and frustrated, all at the same time; he felt hot, and his skin felt electric, and he wasn't sure why he was still here.
But then - he was sure, wasn't he? Puck was a legend. Al had heard stories about the unseelie who'd gotten himself written into mortal history all through his own childhood. The rumors of what happened after the fact were far less glamorous, however. Al wasn't sure how brutal the truth was. Seelie had a habit of exaggerating the unseelie's penchant for cruelty.
"Lousy conversation," Al muttered, crossing his arms obstinately. "And as far as I'm aware, my family had nothing to do with your... removal... from the courts. Do you make a habit of humiliating every fae you come across, or do you specifically like to target the ones who've certainly done you no wrong?"
There, he thought with some satisfaction. Still on the back foot, to be sure, but he was regaining some balance. He'd even reapplied the glamour - his skin less pink, eyelashes thicker, longer, darker. Little things, to help the charm he was trying to reclaim.
He still couldn't wrap his head around what kind of job Puck could possibly have at this kind of establishment. "You cannot possibly expect me to believe that you get paid to drink their alcohol and banter with customers," Al said incredulously. "Do you truly have nothing better to do with your time?"