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Candle flame

Crowscratch & Confrontations

Posted by crystalizelight on 2006.09.13 at 18:04
Current Location: Residence Lila
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Current Music: Eve 6, "Jet Pack"
Tags: ,
Hah! Took me two days this time, though granted I didn't start it until a month after the last one. Still. I don't think it's quite right, either, but I wanted to get this whole bar scene through, and so it is. Next thing from Kate or Petra, and probably involving mold-aligators.

What were David and Brandon talking about while Aaron and Maria were dancing?

“You should offer to buy her a drink,” David said just before they got to the group of happy twenty-somethings. Aaron blinked at him, tearing his gaze away from the girl’s antics like he’d popped up out of the floorboards, and he allowed himself that spate of amusement at his friend’s expense. Some people might think it counted as using his friend, but he’d actually kept enough attention free of the mesmeric dancing to notice Aaron’s expression. He didn’t think the younger man would mind much.

“Modern courting, Aaron,” he counseled. “Buy her a drink, and she might let you sleep with her.” Which, given the way she could move her hips while fully clothed, David could get into himself under different circumstances. On the other hand, he could probably lick the fae from her skin with the bar-sweat, and while he could feel Aaron‘s interest far too well to begrudge it, he didn’t need that in his own bed. Besides, there were other considerations to think of. “Compliment her, and she might even dance for you again.” Now, that turned Aaron’s eyes dark with all sorts of awe and desire, even beyond the sex-lust. He’d known it would.

Dangerous. But it would keep both Aaron and that girl out of his way while he talked to the boy from the bar. Aaron would stop her from dancing straight into another world, given that he wanted to go back to the Seelie Court nearly as much as David did. And if anyone could suss out what she was doing on that dance floor, things no mortal ought to be able to do, it was Aaron.

There were eleven people gathered around a table that was really too small for them, and each and every one of them, David suspected, a college student. He and Aaron would make thirteen. Aaron would never even think to count; David was just grimly amused. He hated fate. He wasn’t in the best mood for college students.

Didn’t matter. Time to be a self-effacing mortal. A bit shy, even, of the gales of laughter surrounding the girl and the tall boy from the bar. She was bent backwards over the arm of one of the other girls’ chair. It looked, actually, exactly like something Aaron would do, in mind of some arcane, utterly-obvious-to-him purpose that would take David another five minutes just to catch up with. He tended to doubt it came from anything like the brilliant, convoluted workings of Aaron’s brain in this case, but it helped David work up the proper sincerity for a smile anyway.

“Hey,” he said, to catch the tall boy’s eye, and continued with an, “um, sorry for being a bit rude first off, back there.” David stepped forward, Aaron stepped back, and the tall boy was offering both hand and name. And, yes, David did recognize him from somewhere, and maybe he couldn’t feel a hint of fae in the cheery smile or the handshake, but it was damn well there in the hazy, disconnected fringes of whatever memory he was from.

The fantastic/terrible unfae being on the airplane, and a girl who danced like Lillaina cloaked in wind and shadows, for fun, on a Wednesday night in a bar in Atlanta, and if David hadn’t seen this mortal boy standing in the very heart of the Seelie Court, then he was more tired than he’d been in decades. He didn’t even bother trying to hope the girl wasn’t called Maria, although he couldn’t quite keep back the grimace on finding out he was right.

As soon as this whole mess was seen to, he was picking Aaron and Kate up by the scruffs of their very necks and moving to the roughest, most modern neighborhood in all of New York City. Or, better yet, find them a house somewhere in the endless, artificial stretch of plastic-and-factory-mod suburbia, right up next to a Wal-Mart. He could probably get them a place within the week. They’d kill him, but the great thing about suburbia was that you could stab someone to bloody death and hide a body under the floorboards, and the house wouldn’t even get haunted. He knew Atlanta had too damn much character.

Introductions all around, and really, putting aside Maria and the Brandon-boy, they were nothing but a group of standard mortals. Friendly. Foolish, and easy to fool. Which made Maria and Brandon both a little more suspicious, a little more difficult to figure out, if they knew fae and still willingly spent time with these people. Better than fae, perhaps, but David would be bored out of his mind within hours on the first day.

Brandon was a talker, once past the introductions, and he was talking around anything of any sort of importance just as smoothly as David was. Aaron had the girl busy; there was some kind of testosterone-competition going on with one of her friends, but one of the wonderful things about modern women was how eager they all were to reject the rule of the men in their life and ‘make their own decisions’. Besides, Aaron’s charm might not be as suave or practiced as David’s could, but outside observers tended to find him oddly endearing. Maria seemed no exception. She plucked at her wet shirt flirtatiously before she took off for the ladies’ room.

One down, one to go. David could talk about Atlanta bars all night, he and Aaron had been to enough of them, but that wouldn’t get him what he needed to know.

“Were you going to go buy her a drink?” he asked with a bit of a grin, attempting to break through Aaron’s thoughts as he watched Maria’s retreating form in the crowd. It didn’t appear to have much effect. “Aaron? Mon frere?”

Interesting. It didn’t usually take more than two tries. If she broke his heart, David would have to rip out hers. He could feed it to one of the snakes.

“That’ll only work if you add sugar, and it went extinct yesterday,” he said in German, wondering idly if Brandon could understand what he was saying.

“Not if I substituted with…wait, what did you say?” Aaron blinked, finally turning to look at them. Still in German, and Brandon’s grin widened at the reaction, but he showed no sign of actually understanding. It meant very little, except that if he’d at some point stumbled over the Seelie kingdom, he probably hadn’t done it in the Black Forest. “Why are we speaking in German?”

“I don’t know, Aaron, why are you speaking in German?” David teased, and Brandon finally laughed. “I asked if you were going to get her a drink.”

“Right…she said lime daiquiri.” Aaron really looked even more dazed than normal. If all went well, David would of course be thrilled. Until then, again. Dangerous.

“She likes those,” Brandon put in.

“By the bar, A,” David added helpfully. Aaron rolled his eyes, shoved David gently on the upper arm, and headed off.

“German?” Brandon asked, when Aaron had gone. David shrugged, nonchalant.

“Rich ex-girlfriend who was fond of the Rhine,” he explained, which was true, as far as it went. “I ended up dragged along a little more than I meant to--Aaron visited us once in a while.” He’d once nearly gotten himself thrown over the top of the cliff for his terrible singing voice, too. It would have made a nice ironic change. “I have to say, I think the German was the only good thing I got out of that relationship.”

“You didn’t like Germany?” Brandon asked. Ah, there was his opening, if he followed it up gradually enough.

“It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be at the time.” He sighed, a little. “I’m sorry I brought it up…it always sounds like I’m bragging, because I spent time with my rich ex-girlfriend living in Germany, but nobody ever really believes how much I’d have really rather been right here.” To whatever extent they’d had civilization in the colonies at that point in history, anyway. Whenever it was. Hmm, maybe he should try Germany next. He’d put it on the list after Prague.

Brandon had an odd, sympathetic look on his face. “Believe it or not, I know the feeling,” he said. Ah, so mortal-boy had been to Europe. That explained little enough, but at least he didn’t have to worry about spontaneous Seelie Court portals in the middle of Georgia.

“Not Germany, though?” David asked. Somewhere farther west, he’d bet. Celtic, once upon.

“France,” confirmed Brandon. David had been there about six months ago. Wasn’t worth it. “Anyway, it’s not--”

“Important, of course not. Though speaking of bars, there is one thing I used to be able to get in Europe all the time that I haven’t seen in the states at all, I think. They called it, hmm, in French it would be sangrevin?” Brandon stiffened. If he were still reacting that visibly, there was no way he’d spent much time in the Seelie court, even if David couldn’t tell that just by looking at him. “The drunk was bizarre, I have to tell you. End up dancing…well, like her,” he said, nodding at Maria, who was twirling across the dance floor again, with Aaron gaping at her from the bar.

Brandon growled. David didn’t think he’d heard a person sound so much like an angry wild animal since Kate’s first month out of the Court, in reference to mortal painkillers. He actually considered being intimidated.

“What are you boys up to, then?” butt in a third voice, before Brandon managed any actually coherent human noises. The other girl, Veronica, the annoying one. David had lost them from the conversation ten minutes ago while they were still talking about actual bars, but it was inevitable she’d pick now to pop back in. Well, easily dealt with, he hoped.

“Comparing languages, actually,” he said, bringing back his self-effacing mortal grin and turning it on her. She absolutely preened. “Vous parlez francais?”

She looked at him a bit sideways, so he repeated, “Do any of you speak French?”

A ‘no’ from Veronica, and from a few of the others as well, who’d bothered to be listening in.

“Un peu,” said Brandon, darkly. A little. Well, then.

“Ecoutez,” David said, slowly and making sure to enunciate. “Est-ce qu’elle sache ce qu’elle fasse?

He could see Brandon working through the translation in his head, while Veronica looked at them curiously. Does she know what she does? “Non,” Brandon said finally. David nodded. He didn’t bother being surprised.

“No what?” Veronica demanded.

“No nothing, Veronica,” said Brandon before David quite bothered to. “Just…watching his friend with Maria, there.”

David had to admire the strategy. Annoyed at being overlooked, Veronica hmmphed, and turned back to the conversation at the other end of the table. Brandon himself stood where he was, watching Maria, now dancing with Aaron, like he didn’t have another interest in the world.

“You know she’s dangerous,” David said far too lowly to be overheard, leaning in close to Brandon’s ear. “I’m not looking to hurt her, and you can see for yourself how much Aaron likes her. But while she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s dangerous to me and mine, and you too.”

Brandon’s eyes didn’t move from the dancing couple. Finally, he said, “She’s dangerous to me too, or I’m dangerous, too?”

“Either.” David let himself smile, then, very, very different from the shy mortal he’d been in the face of Veronica. “I said I didn’t want to hurt her. I don’t want to hurt you, either. But I’m more dangerous than you are.”

Brandon nodded, slowly, though David knew better than to take it for more than acknowledgement that Brandon had heard what he’d said. He turned back to face Aaron and Maria himself. He could admit that they were both gorgeous. Her, of course, and then David hadn’t seen Aaron move like that in…well. Long enough ago that time hadn’t mattered, anyway. And a bit before that.

The song came to an end, and Brandon groped, almost unseeingly, for a beer. He’d frightened him, then, but so long as it helped keep him and Kate and Aaron safe, and Petra too for that matter, a little fright was all to the good. Oh, David was not looking forward to explaining this to Kate. It already had all the signs of a situation where someone was going to end up dead, and it had only just started yesterday. She had Unseelie in her dancing, not much, but enough. And that thing on the plane had neither.

“You know, as nice as it was to meet you all, I’m afraid our other roommate is going to skin me alive if I keep her little brother out for much longer,” David told the collective table with a wry smile. “Brandon, maybe I’ll see you around some time.” The boy’s face tightened. Couldn’t be helped.

Aaron looked disappointed as expected to be leaving, and David wasn’t actually planning on going home without some kind of contact info--he’d have pretended to be interested in Maria himself, or hell, Brandon if he had to, to keep an eye on them--so he didn’t put up any kind of fuss about waiting for her to scribble down her phone number. He’d be putting that on a post-it the moment they got home. Kate could just wait for her explanation after.

Damnit, he thought as they finally stepped out into the night air, muggy and even hotter than the bar for all the dancing bodies in there. He’d been planning another little trip before the end of the month. This was supposed to be his time off from the bizarre and unplannable.

“I hate it when people I don’t know are right,” he said. Aaron, of course, looked right through him as if he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, then went back to talking about Maria. He should really be listening for tips in that, but Aaron actually seemed to want to spend time with her as a person, of all things.

David sighed.

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