Keep your expectations low, and everything should be alright.
World’s End | With Their Pumped Up Kicks
Rissa barely turned to the bartender when he refilled their glasses. She didn’t reach for her newly topped-off drink right away. She needed to slow down, and her current conversation was far more interesting to her than anything that the bartender was dishing out.
While she was a flirting neophyte, she had encounters with people in the past that made flriting into an art. It was clear after a few minutes that they only really wanted to get it in, but Aubrey seemed to want to get to know her. At the very least, he didn’t hit the ground running when she started talking about roots and connections. It had been Rissa’s experience that people didn’t respond well to that kind of talk on a first encounter.
She smiled and nodded her head enthusiastically when we talked about going into the wilds. There were outposts set further into the abandon than other bases. Rissa had always wanted to do a stint at one of those kinds of outposts. They were supposed to be more dangerous, plunked out in the thick of it, but the way Rissa saw it, they must’ve had a certain kind of serenity to them.
Her family had lived on the very edge of the dome in Vermont, and she’d often wandered outside of the supposed safety of its cover more than once. She liked the way she could hear the rustle of the trees in the wind, feel the sun directly on her face.
The wilds were dangerous; she was not so naive as to think that something beautiful couldn’t also swallow her whole. She agreed with Aubrey, though. Sometimes she just wanted to venture into the abandon and see it for herself. Humans were great, but they had a bad habit of trampling all over everything without thinking about how it would play out for the rest of the world.
She could see it every day. Regular humans didn’t even pay other sentient beings proper courtesy sometimes. She was only half-kaida, but even so she’d seen the looks that people gave her. They never quite let her forget that she wasn’t the same. She was other, just like vampires were other. Just like werewolves.
She wondered if Aubrey had experienced that kind of prejudice. Sometimes it was easier for weres and shifters to hide, though Rissa didn’t think that they should have to. The very idea of the shifter trade made her skin crawl. Luckily, the hunter corps didn’t seem to give a shit about what people were, so long as they could do the job.
She figured that was the reason that so many of the supes signed up. After all, the Quidel Initiative alone consisted of mostly supes. Aubrey and Linc were wolves. Pierce and Rissa herself were kaida, and Oma was a phoenix. Rissa hadn’t met the other hunters yet, but she knew there was at least one tuatha.
"Me too," she finally said with a smile. She picked up her drink, taking a big gulp. " Hey, who knows? Maybe after this we’ll get a vacation. We could go on a hiking trip or something. That’s a thing that people do, right?" She paused, blushing a little. It was probably weird to invite him on a hiking trip when she’d known him for like twenty minutes or something.
"You know, if you wanted to. We just met. You might get to know me and think I’m annoying or something," she joked to cover up the potential awkwardness.
Oma emerged from the bathroom wearing a sleeveless hoodie and some yoga pants. They’d been a far sight more comfortable than the dress that she’d been wearing, though she like getting dressed up. She went to stand by Lincoln, ruffling his hair fondly as they inspected the stash of booze in the minibar.
"I should’ve tried to charm the bartender out of a few bottles of champagne. He was trying to flirt with me; I could’ve made out like a bandit," she sighed wistfully, but her smirk remained in place. She couldn’t lie. She liked it when people flirted with her, to a point. But as far as she was concerned, she didn’t want to pursue anything with anyone that wasn’t Linc. "Poor Pierce probably needs all the alcohol he has."
"But I bet that Aubrey would give us the contents of his minibar if you asked," she teased. She wasn’t a wolf, but she’d definitely spotted how the younger hunter acted around Linc. Must’ve been an alpha perk. "He’s a sweet kid, and I bet that he and Riss will probably hang out at the bar long enough that they won’t need it. Really, it would be responsible to take their booze so that they don’t go overboard. We’re senior officers, so we can show up with a ridiculous hangover, but the rookies might get in trouble. So we’d be doing them a favor, am I right?"
The logic was a little twisted, and she wasn’t exactly joking, but she was sure that Linc would roll with her on this. He generally rolled with her, figuratively speaking. She wanted to roll with him literally, but perhaps tonight wasn’t the best timing for it. Still, a girl could dream.
World’s End | Careful for the bite
"Gorgeous?" Remy asked. His voiced wavered a little. For starters, he was unsure if Jackie had been seriously inquiring about Remy’s opinion on the arrangement of Jace’s face. Secondarily, he was not sure how to go about answering the question. he enjoyed Jace’s company a great deal, but he had never sat down to objectively assess his physicality. Jace was definitely in shape, and when Remy thought about it, his features were quite aesthetically pleasant. He cleared his throat and looked up at the ceiling, as if the rafters were especially captivating to him at that precise moment.
"I was worried for him. I promised I would stay until he was better. I… desired to make sure that he would recover." He was glad that Jackie didn’t press him too much on the subject, though his ears were undoubtedly red from sheepish embarrassment.
"Oui," he agreed, mentally cataloging the word for later use. Restless. Since his inability to communicate when Jace had been injured, he’d been making more of an effort to adopt as many English words into his vocabulary as was possible. He did this partially by reading. That was easy enough, considering how much downtime he had now that he was off of active duty.
There was a surprising amount of literature available on the base. Gideon, for example had several volumes with him. Half of them were textbooks, which Remy knew well enough. But the other half were filled with stories that had clearly been in circulation long before their time, written by someone who had far more idealistic expectations of how the world would be. They were impractical, but Remy enjoyed them. It was a comfort to know how hopeful people could be.
The most helpful book, however, had come from Sheppard, of all people. He’d given Remy leave to search the whole of his bookshelf. For the most part, it held manuals for vehicles and a handful of joke books. But stuffed inside of a particularly cringe-inducing volume of jokes centered on toiletry, he’d found the most useful book. It was hand-written, and it seemed to be an account of a man who was “on a one-way train to Swoontown” because of “the most beautifine goddess that ever did live.”
It listed no actual names, but the pages held clear descriptions of several characters with curious nicknames. Y-Sub, for instance, was a man for whom the narrator had a not inconsiderable amount of empathy. The narrator pointed to their mutual love of “cracking wise.” He also had no small amount of admiration for Y-Sub’s physical abilities.
The rest was a bit hard to decipher; it relied so heavily on colloquialisms and turns of phrase that Remy had never before encountered. He’d taken an entire afternoon poring over the book, making notes on what he could decipher. He was not yet brave enough to attempt to incorporate some of the more outlandish sentences into his own speech, but he’d made a rudimentary attempt at implementing some of the simpler terms. He’d told Gideon that the younger hunter’s French was, “hella.” It had evidently been correct, judging by the way that Gideon had smiled.
Jackie’s hands felt warm on his wrist, and he looked at her for a moment before looking down. The bites looked worse than they had a moment ago. They looked like they should hurt more, but mostly Remy felt like he’d sunk into a warm bath after a long hunt. He was swaying on the stool, though he wasn’t aware of it.
"I feel fine, Jacklyn," he said. In his head, he sounded reassuring, but it had mostly tumbled out of his mouth sounding drunk. He quickly corrected himself, wanting to use the opportunity to practice his English slangerisms. "I am most hella. Please, take all of the sampling you need."
As if encouraging her, he held his hands out a little more. They were out of focus, so he squinted to compensate. “Is this a test? Do you require a blood sample?” He wiggled his fingers, giggling softly and repeating the motion, clearly amused.
World’s End | Dark Roman Wine
There was something so utterly familiar about the alpha, but for the life of him, Bastian couldn’t place it. It was in his scent, but also in the line of his jaw and curve of his smirk. Bastian looked the man over, taking in the tone of his arms and shoulders and the angle at which he held his head. There was confidence there, a self-assurance that also shone in his eyes, though Bastian couldn’t bring himself to meet his gaze for more than a few seconds.
Growing up, he’d been taught that making eye contact with an alpha was a challenge. His father had taken him to the dirt for holding eye contact for too long on more than one occasion. He had no intention of issuing any kind of challenge, especially not to this alpha. His wolfside clawed at the inside of his skull, desperately wanting to get closer. Whoever the guy was, Vlad hadn’t been joking when he’d called him a VIP.
"I dunno about a leash," Bastian said, his trademark smirk falling into place on his facial features. "Wouldn’t that mean that I want to keep one of them?" It sounded a little harsher than he meant it to. He was sure that the bachelorette party was comprised of some very nice and perfectly lovely ladies. But Bastian didn’t do commitment. He’d never been on a real date before, and anything beyond one-night stands made him feel uneasy. He hadn’t even tried for one of those in a while. He told himself that he was just tired from work, but he knew that wasn’t really what was going on.
The real reasons, however, tended to put a damper on his mood, so they stayed locked up in a corner of his mind so that he could staunchly deny that anything was wrong at all. His wolfside bristled and huffed at him. It knew how the weight of the shame that they were carrying. Bastian ignored the wolf, pressing it down in his mind. He brushed his fingers through his hair, ruffling it as he narrowed his eyes in thought.
Most people that came to Fenix didn’t order wine, and if they did, then they didn’t bother to expound on their order any further than red or white. Vlad drank wine with the high-rollers, though, so Bastian knew his way around a wine list. But each option he went over didn’t seem quite enough for the larger than life presence in front of him. After a moment, a thought occurred to him, and he leaned back.
"I think I have just the thing," he said, turning and bending under the bar to get into the wine fridge. As luck had it, he’d stowed away a bottle of wine that Malcolm had given to him a few weeks ago. It was a French vintage, and had apparently come from Malcolm’s uncle’s cellar. Bastian had never met Malcolm’s uncle, but he knew that he was immortal and proudly French, so he’d probably been drinking wine for, like, hundreds of years. Bastian would trust his judgement.
He set a wine glass in front of the alpha and uncorked the bottle, letting it breathe before pouring it out. He laughed a little. “If it’s a test, how do I know if I pass?”
He arched his eyebrow, smirk still in place. “I’m Bastian, by the way. What do you want me to call you? ‘Sir’ seems a little stuffy.”
Devil’s Trap | Walk five hundred miles to fall down at your door
Dean tried not to watch Jo too closely, tried not to catalog her reactions as he spoke. He was a little worried that he was going to creep her out or make her think that he was worried about her stability. And he was worried, but he knew Jo well enough to know that she wasn’t fragile and wouldn’t shake apart on the spot. He was more concerned that she would get that impression. He didn’t want her thinking that he doubted her because of anyone on the frickin’ planet, she was the last one he’d ever doubt.
He couldn’t help the sheepish laugh as Jo teased him. In retrospect, punching Cross in the face had probably been overkill. He’d apologize in the morning. Not directly, of course, but in his own, roundabout way.
"I’m sure Cross is fine. He’s resilient," he said with a small shrug. His expression sobered along with hers, and he looked at the gun. He wanted to say that he’d kept it because he knew she’d be back, but that wasn’t entirely true. He’d hoped for as much, but the real reason that he’d kept the shotgun was because it was the one thing of hers that he could cart around without outwardly showing anyone how much he missed her. Sammy knew, he was sure, but no one else he knew would think twice about him carrying a gun.
But he couldn’t tell her that. He’d probably sound stupid or creepy or both. So instead he tipped his head in a short nod and muttered, “Welcome.” As if that could’ve possibly conveyed what he was feeling. It didn’t, but he was Dean Winchester, and emotional suppression was his specialty, right after hunting and drinking.
In the kitchen, Elia kept her focus on Sam. He looked tired, and so had Dean. She wondered how long they’d been sleeping when she’d woken them up, and how long it had been prior to that since they’d gotten a real night of sleep. She’d known them to go for days with only a couple of hours of rest, and it worried her to no end when they did that. It was common for hunters, sure, but it was also unhealthy. She smiled at Sam when he chuckled, reaching out and poking him lightly in the chest.
"Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up, Sam. But you guys need to rest. I’ll go all fairy tale sleeping curse up in here if I have to." She was only halfway joking. She nodded and watched Sam go back to the bedroom before turning to Cross, who was smiling, clearly amused.
"Shut up, Cross," she pouted, elbowing him playfully. This only made him laugh, holding his arms up in self-defense.
"I didn’t say anything, principessa," he said, the amusement more clear in his voice.
"Still shut up," Elia retorted, sticking her nose in the air. She tried not to yelp when he pulled her into a gentle headlock and playfully ruffled her hair.
Dean was grateful when Sammy showed up. He didn’t want things to get awkward between him and Jo, and he wasn’t sure where to take the conversation next. He looked back to Jo and put on an easy smile. “Your call, Jo. Sammy and I can go crash on the couch for the night, and we can tackle this with a little more sleep under our belts. Or we could stand watch, if you prefer.”
World’s End | You’re My Best Friend
Isaac buried his face in his pillow, which muffled his groan of exaggerated anguish. He let Aaron tug on his arm, even though he knew she wouldn’t be able to move him too much. He’d been kind of scrawny in his early childhood, but he’d hit the ground running when puberty reared its head, shooting up like a weed and bulking up just about overnight. Not really, but that’s how Solo always described it, and Tish always backed him up with a smirk and a nod.
The reality was that Isaac had spent one particularly uncomfortable summer taking his mind off of his growing pains by learning everything there was to know about sailing a ship. The coils of rope they used for the rigging were pretty heavy, as it turned out, and between learning how to hoist sails with November and lugging supplies around with Emmett, the muscle build was far more understandable.
The work he did now required a bit more heavy lifting, certainly enough to keep him in shape. Albie liked to comment that it was useful having a partner that was built like a brick wall. She often had Isaac stand behind her and frown sternly during particularly troublesome negotiations, just so no one got any ideas about trying to pull anything.
Not that Isaac was actually the intimidating enforcer that some people thought he was. His Porter sensibilities more or less precluded the expected gruffness that his stature suggested. And honestly, he pitied anyone who was stupid enough to actually try and threaten Albie. She was small, but she made up for it by being smart and ruthless, when the occasion called for it.
He’d once seen her leap over a table and take someone to the floor so quickly that she’d disarmed him and shoved his own gun in his face before he’d had time to react. Definitely a change of pace from living with his family, but he loved Albie like a sister all the same.
Isaac laughed from deep in his chest when Aaron threatened to leave him. He stretched and yawned, rubbing the heel of his hand over his eyes as he started the, in his opinion, laborious process of getting out of his cozy blanket pile. He made it halfway out before dramatically slumping over, his hand skimming at the floor next to the bed.
"Oh no," he said, ineffectively flailing his limbs, "Ronnie, gravity suddenly increased on me. I can’t get out of bed." He made a show of uselessly trying to fight the fictitious increase in gravity before going limp.
"Remember me fondly, Ronnie. Tell them I was brave," he said as solemnly as he could muster, though his eyes crinkled from an oncoming smile. He did a ninja roll out of bed, moving with surprising grace for someone his size, getting to his feet and shaking the sleep from his limbs. His hair tickled at the nape of his neck; he’d need to cut it soon. Tish normally did it for him, but it’d been a while since he’d met up with the ship.
"Do you think Garrett would make chocolate chip waffles if I asked him really nice?" he asked, grinning at Aaron.
World’s End | When He Calls To Me I Am Ready
World’s End | Up all night for good fun
The first time that Malcolm had met Wrench, the blond had smiled at him. Over the years, Malcolm had seen many variations of Wrench smiles, ranging from playful smirk to the classic “I’m sorry I did the thing, but look how much charm I can channel in my face” grin. Malcolm loved both of those smiles, and every degree that feel between them.
Frowns were another matter entirely. They didn’t belong on Wrench’s lips, and they were so rare that the gesture seemed incongruous with the rest of his face. There was a frown, though. From the timing of it, Malcolm gleaned that Wrench wasn’t okay with the joke he’d make about dying, but he was certain that there was something more to it than that. They joked about death all the time. It was their right as young twenty-something and potential immortals.
Not that Malcolm ever wanted to live out that potential. He’d known about the curse that ran through his veins for as long as he could remember. He hadn’t minded it back then. As far as he’d understood, it just meant that he could spend the rest of his life with his family, and a young Malcolm Kinnear couldn’t think of anything better than that.
But then some asshole immortal with some asshole grudge had murdered his father, and once the dust had settled around him again, he’d realized that being immortal didn’t mean spending the rest of his life with the people he loved. It meant that in most cases he’d be spending the rest of their lives, and mortal lives, he’d learned, were fragile.
It had comforted him to know that Wrench was like him, with the same blood burden and the same unwillingness to embrace eternity. As such, they liked to make light of the things that made them squirm, so Malcolm wasn’t sure what had made Wrench frown. He’s ask later, when they would both presumably be a little more drunk.
"She is the worst," he agreed, wrinkling his nose at the subject of Irene. Bastian was sweet and kind, strange things to attribute to an assassin, especially one of his caliber. He tried to hide his gentle heart, but Malcolm could see it. He had plenty of experience with the truly heartless, and Bastian did not qualify. Not by a mile. "I was always under the impression that we hung out in places full of lowlife degenerates so that we looked better by comparison. And Kevin isn’t so bad. Dumb as a damn cinder block, but he’s essentially a nice guy."
Of all of the bartenders at Fenix, Kevin was perhaps the only one that was just a bartender. Malcolm was pretty sure the guy didn’t know that Fenix was the front for Vlad Relyco’s crime empire, which was a little concerning, considering that Bastian always has a weapon of some kind within reach, usually stowed in a compartment under the bar. Maybe Kevin just thought they worked in a rough neighborhood. Technically true, Malcolm conceded.
Wrench took his hand, and the wielder forgot all about the potential stupidity of Kevin the Bartender. They’d been holding hands for so long that they seemed to click together like the pieces of a puzzle. Malcolm had learned to ignore the heat that seemed to shoot from the contact of their hands, up his arm and straight to his cheeks. Malcolm didn’t like to blush; the act was too telling. He’d trained himself to remain calm in all situations and avoid physical tells, mostly because of his business, but it had its uses in his personal life, too.
He smirked at Wrench and squeezed his hand, and with the slight tingle across his skin that normally accompanied magic, things rearranged around them and reassembled in the form of the bustle of Fenix. There’d been a time when his teleporting hadn’t been so smooth, but as in all things, he’d trained and honed the skill until it was effortless, like a reflex.
Fenix wasn’t terribly busy, but there was enough traffic that no one noticed their sudden appearance. Without breaking contact with Wrench, Malcolm headed to the bar. He knew for a fact that Bastian was working, but he wasn’t at the bar.
"Hey, Mal," Kevin said in greeting. He set out two glasses without asking for a drink order. Malcolm checked in on Bastian pretty regularly, at least consistently enough that Kevin had committed his favorite drink to memory. Malcolm’s visits had become even more frequent in the aftermath of The Big Event. He still didn’t know the details, and that drove him insane but he knew that it had left the wolf devastated. Kevin, to give him due credit, seemed to understand this, and he answered Malcolm’s next question before the wielder could ask. "Bastian’s on his break. He should be back soon, though."
Malcolm nodded, hiding his immediate concern. Kevin’s innocuous statement could’ve meant that Bastian was actually on a break, but it could’ve just as easily meant that he was holed up in a breakroom with someone licking coke off of his abs. Malcolm’s gaze flicked over to Wrench. They were there to have fun, not get into a snit over Bastian.
"Thanks, Kevin. If he comes back, just let him know were’e here, would ya?" Malcolm slid one of the glasses of whiskey on the bar over to Wrench and took the other for himself. "You. Me. Dance floor."
He smiled and tossed the drink back quickly before making his way toward the dance floor. And maybe if he accidentally ended up grinding on Wrench in the crowd, it probably wouldn’t be a big deal. Yeah, totally not a big deal at all.
World’s End | With Their Pumped Up Kicks
"Yes way," Rissa responded, wincing in her head. That had probably made her sound like a kid, and that was the very last thing that she wanted Aubrey to see her as. She didn’t want anyone to think of her as a kid, truth be told, but she knew that it was inevitable. She was the youngest hunter on the team, and she knew that she looked younger than she was, which was a huge pain in the ass when she wanted to genuinely flirt with people, like she was with Aubrey.
Or at least she was trying to flirt. It had never really been her forte. She much preferred the direct approach, but asking someone up front if they wanted to go make out seemed somewhat clumsy. Aubrey didn’t seem to mind the hand on his knee, and she thought for a moment to put it back, but she stopped herself. On the one hand, he could’ve meant that he liked that she’d touched his knee. But then again, he could’ve just as easily meant that he didn’t mind because he wasn’t really interested in her in a physical sense.
She wasn’t sure which, and her tendency to overthink was not helping. Aubrey’s face wasn’t helping either. It was very pretty, and his expressions were cute, and Rissa was too tipsy and or drunk to not be distracted by the curve of his smile. Her wings fluttered nervously behind her. She smiled in turn as he talked about nature. He seemed to feel the same way about it as she did. She drained the rest of her scotch, leaning in and taking Aubrey’s hand.
"It’s because everything in nature is rooted, you know?" she said. "Not literally, but like, in the cosmic energy sense." She rested her palm to his. His hand dwarfed her own, and she laughed a little before looking back to him.
"So like, everything in nature is connected somehow, okay?" She paused to curl her fingers, slotting them between Aubrey’s and giving his hand a squeeze. "So when other stuff tries to push it down, it holds fast because it’s all intertwined." To demonstrate this, she took her other hand and wrapped her fingers around Aubrey’s wrist, lightly pushing his hand away. But she kept her grip with her other hand so that they didn’t separate.
"I think it’s cool, too," she agreed. She still hadn’t let go of Aubrey’s hand or his wrist. "I also really like that you’re giving me the guided tour of your last-night-on-earth speech. It’s very behind the scenes. Refreshing."
"You know," she said, finally letting go of his hand. She stretched a wing out, curving it around Aubrey and nudging him just a smidge closer. "If we’re going to talk about big, philosophical things like the end of the world and the power of nature, you’re gonna need to get me another drink."
"Well then, I won’t let you down," Oma said. She’d always been proud of her ability to frankenstein weapons out of spare parts, but knowing that Linc appreciated it made her want to preen. Instead she leaned back, curled into Linc’s side as they elevator carried them up. Apparently elevators weren’t as fast as they used to be. She took a deep breath and nuzzled her cheek against Linc’s shoulder. She didn’t mind if the elevator ran slow.
"It’s not the equipment I’m worried about so much as the flesh-eating zombies," she sighed, grinning as she looked up at him. Her eyes were about level with his jaw. It would be easy to just lean forward and sneak a kiss. But she didn’t want to do that. Not before a major debriefing, and not when she was inebriated. There was a chance of making things awkward between them, and she wouldn’t risk that for anything.
"I’ll be sure to add ‘sneaky, silent-killer shit’ to the specs when I make my newest masterpiece," she promised. She laughed softly when he mentioned their zombie apocalypse plans. It had started out as idle speculation, born of boredom. Other than the random missions here and there, there hadn’t been much to do in Alaska. It wasn’t like they could go outside and sunbathe.
The plans for surviving a zombie outbreak had gotten more and more elaborate as time went on, like they’d taken on their own life until one day Oma realized that they’d actually constructed list of supplies they would practically need in order to survive. In a way, it reminded her of her feelings for Linc. She’d caught herself wondering what the wolf would be like in bed, and before she knew it, she was ass over teacup for the guy.
"Hey, chin up. Some of the plans might come in handy. You never know," she pointed out, standing up straight as the elevator slowed and the doors slid open. Oma stepped off of the elevator, fumbling for her room key as she approached the door. there was one thing from the old plans that definitely hadn’t changed. And that was that she was going to protect Linc no matter what.
She nudged the hotel door open with her hips and stepped inside. She liked to think that she kept a clean room, but really things tended to get away from her. She quickly went about grabbing up the random articles of clothing she’d haphazardly discarded on the floor, shoving it into her suitcase, which she promptly moved between the far wall of the room and the bed, which she hadn’t made. She knew Lincoln wasn’t going to judge her for the clutter; he knew her well enough to know that she favored a little entropy, but it would probably be awkward if she just left her bra from the day before lying in the middle of the floor.
"Make yourself at home," she said, gesturing vaguely at the minibar. "If you don’t mind, I’m going to get out of this dress. I am definitely feeling a tank top and yoga pants mood coming on."
World’s End | Dark Roman Wine
Bastian had been at Fenix every night for the past week. He normally tended bar a couple of nights a week, and other than shooting people, it was probably his most marketable skill. He couldn’t say with certainty where he’d picked up his bartending abilities, but based on his tips, he guessed that he was doing something right. Like most things in his life, he found that if he had a flashy enough presentation, people didn’t really pick up on the fact that he was just making everything up as he went.
He flipped a bottle up into the air, catching it without looking as he thumbed the cap off and sloshed its contents into the line of shot glasses waiting on the bar. They were for a cluster of women up front. Some kind of bachelorette party, if Bastian had to guess. Fenix was more exclusive than other clubs in the area, so they didn’t get that sort of thing often, but when they did, Bastian liked to be there. Mostly because he was a vain motherfucker, and he was acutely aware of the way people looked at him. The women laughed as they watched him, all smiles as they took their shots.
"Do we have a bride-to-be here, or do you ladies just naturally glow?" he asked, lips quirking in the corners. At the behest of her friends, one of the women gave a little wave. Bastian smiled, pouring out an extra shot for her, bowing from the waist as he set it down in front of her. He winked as he stood back up, noting the blush on the woman’s cheeks but not saying a word. "Well, in that case I think some congratulations are in order. This round’s on me."
He could’ve carried on for the rest of the night like that, reveling in the attention of then ten or so women, nine of which were definitely not getting married (and he’d already done a quick check for rings, pleasantly surprised to find none). But just as he was turning back to the shelves of liquor behind him, he froze in his tracks. Even as a human, his sense of smell was pretty sharp, and he’d caught a scent that made his wolf scramble to the front of his mind.
Not all alphas had the same scent, per se, but they all smelled distinctly different from other wolves, even over the sharp smell of alcohol. And he’d never met an alpha with a scent like the one he’d just picked up on. He didn’t want to seem like an over-eager kid, but he also didn’t want another bartender to get to the alpha first. He grabbed onto Kevin, one of the only bartenders in Fenix that was just a bartender.
"Kevin, take care of these lovely ladies, okay? I have to take care of someone," he said, leading the guy to the bachelorette party. "Ladies, this is Kevin. He’s going to take over for me. Enjoy your big day tomorrow, okay?" There was a chorus of disappointed groans, which was a nice ego stroke, truth be told, and Bastian put on his most charming smile.
"I know, I’m sorry. But I promise you’ll have plenty of fun. I’m leaving you in capable hands," he grinned before walking to the end of the bar. The alpha looked a lot younger than Bastian was expecting, and it would’ve jarred him a little if he hadn’t already met his fair share of immortals. Vlad had mentioned that they were expecting a VIP, but he hadn’t given him a picture or a name. Just the impression that he was the most IP of all VIPs, and his visit had to go well. Bastian had already disappointed Vlad in the recent past. He had no plans on repeating that mistake.
"What’ll you have?" he asked. He rested his hands on the bar, leaning on his arms a little without realizing it. His wolfside was trying to get close. If he didn’t hold it back, it would probably do something embarrassing like lick the guy’s face and nuzzle at him. Not that Bastian didn’t want to do that, all things considered, just not at the bar. His mind had already wandered to something more along the lines of the two of them in the privacy of his room, probably with a lot less clothes.
But he was getting ahead of himself.