39th Intas | Evening
The Black Dove
Kit watched with an amused smile as the younger Bastian attempted to straighten himself out. It was rather endearing, he was clearly a mess that no amount of finger-combing was going to solve… but then the musician knew full well that he himself was shortly going to be just as dishevelled- if not more.
“Glorious company, eh? Don’t oversell yourself now, Elias, I’ll expect you to live up to it.”
Flashing the other glador a brilliant grin, he leaned over the bar once more to call the attention of the human behind it.
“Sweetheart? Change of plans, I’ll take my pay now if you don’t mind.”
The coins were dropped, clinking, into his open hand before he’d even finished speaking- the woman having seen this exact scenario played out more than once at the end of one of Kit’s sets- but as he went to pull away with a wink and a “Same time next week?” her bony hand shot out, quick as a flash, to clap around his wrist.
“Take the toffin off m’ hands, aye, he’s been bringin’ down the whole room- but don’t ye come back in the mornin’ claimin’ ye forgot I’d given it to ye.”
Her deadpan stare was met with the playfully innocent blue gaze of a man used to pushing his luck- and mostly succeeding.
“Would I do that now, darling? I’m wounded that you think so little of me.”
Her glare continued.
“Four times in’t last year.”
He tilted his head with a winsome smile, and she relented, sighing, and released his hand.
“If ye weren’t so easy on the eye Kit, I swear…”
He laughed, blew her a kiss, and pocketed the coins, grabbing the gesturing hand of his new companion to tug him out behind the exuberant golly into the crisp, salt-scented night air.
Out in the street, Kit tucked his hands into trouser pockets as he breathed in the chill, feeling the tingle as it sharpened his senses. In a way, he welcomed it- the musician had stumbled across something better than alcohol to distract himself with tonight. Not that he intended to sober up entirely any time soon…
Hearing the loathing in Eli’s cultured tones, he chuckled.
“Only a couple of streets away, I promise. We’ll be back in the warm before you know it, and you can pretend you’re in one of the lower-class Viendan establishments.” He was already walking as he spoke, jovial steps backwards, and grinned as he added, “Keep up, handsome,” before turning on his heel and setting a brisk pace.
But Elias was talking, and ...damn me, if he doesn’t keep poking...
Physically, as well as verbally, it seemed, as an elbow caught him in the ribs.
“Some form of education? I’ll say… I think a full sentence served at Brunnhold qualifies…” he muttered, almost bitterly. “I did manage to graduate, much to my family’s surprise.”
He sighed, considering just what information to part with, and what to keep to himself.
...well, it’s not like he couldn’t look up my name if he wanted to...
“Anyone who’s trained at all as a Seventen, spent more than a few weeks in Numbrey, knows the name Edevane.”
The silver flask came out, and Kit took a swig- swirling it round his mouth to feel the burn before swallowing- and offered it to Elias before pocketing it once more.
“I’m not exactly officer material. I managed to make enough of a nuisance of myself that the pater kindly requested I fuck off and stop bringing the family name into disrepute.”
His boot clinked against a bottle lying in the gutter, and he gave it a desultory kick, sending it clattering away.
“They were ...kind.” The last word was all but spat. “They didn’t legally disown me. Oh...sure...”
Pulling the matchbook out of his pocket again, he broke one off and lit it, pulling in close to the other man as the flame flared to life, shielding it from the night air with one hand and a hunched shoulder for Eli to duck in and light his cigarette.
He very carefully didn’t mention the dark corners of his mind that had been present for as long as he could remember, the thoughts that drove him to drown them out again and again and again...
...no reason for him to hear that…
“So, you see, my demons are all of my own making. What about yours?”
He looked over the flame into gold-rimmed eyes, noting the sharp contrast of golden light and dark shadow that outlined that aquiline nose, the damaged, unkempt field that brushed so brazenly against his own.
...meet me in the gutter, make the devil your friend...