Log Title: Drunken Noodles
Summary: Winter runs into a drunken Royal at a noodle bar. He can't even use chopsticks sober.
IC Date: Thu Mar 07 20:01, 2381
OOC Date: Thu Mar 07 20:01, 2019
Related Logs: Atypical
royalwinter

 

 

* * *

It's hard to say where exactly Royal is coming from, but two things are certain: wherever it was was probably fancy (or at least, he wouldn't stick out dressed as he is) and he drank a lot there. He's wearing a mustard-gold three piece suit that must have some kind of fibre optic thread in it, because the neon lights of the district play off it in interesting ways. He's got on a pair of gunmetal wingtips that likewise catch the light. The whole effect not only makes him look like part of the scenery, but it draws attention away from the slight slackness in his face and the slight sheen of sweat on his forehead. It sort of highlights the stagger, though.

"Gentleman, your finest street protein," slurs the Duke, as he staggers up to a street food vendor. "Ah, no, hold that, hold that…" and then he staggers away, and instead drops down at an open air noodle bar. Because this way he can order sake.

* * *

What's a better chaser for alcohol than… more alcohol?

Dr. Wisteria Tau is a frequent patron of the open air noodle bar because a) it's not far from their office (home) and b) they don't really cook, but they do get hungry on a regular basis. The doctor is seated at the bar, waiting for their bowl of spicy noodle soup to arrive. They're not dressed quite as impressively as the Duke, instead in a pair of loose, wide black pants, a fitted, white, long-sleeved t-shirt and a puffy lavender vest over top of the sort meant to keep the core warm. A darker purple kerchief is on their head, keeping their hair back from their face, and they glance over as another person sits down nearby. A rather well dressed someone. A rather drunk and well dressed someone. "Oh," they say, brows lifting and tone a touch surprised. "Royal. Hello, again."

* * *

Royal's reaction time is rather delayed. He whips his head around a bit too fast, then smiles sloppily. It takes a moment for his eyes to focus enough to place Winter's face - or at least let his ONI do it for him. "Doctor! Good evening. That's right. Your office is nearby, isn't it?" He's barely staying seated on the stool. The noodle bar server looks annoyed by him up until he places a thumbprint on a pad to open a tab. His level of credit turns that frown upside down quite quickly. "Have a drink with me! Top shelf sake, sir!" He slaps his hand on the bartop. "And perhaps something starchy. Dumplings? Yes, dumplings."

* * *

Winter considers that invitation, and then gives a small nod of agreement They shift over a couple seats so they're more properly sitting next to Royal, making the sharing of alcohol and dumplings that much easier. "My office is just down that street and around the corner," Winter agrees. "Where have you come from? You look too well dressed," and too drunk, "to just be getting dumplings."

* * *

"I was at a perfectly dull and perfectly…" Royal does the honours with the carafe of sake that's delivered, filling two ceramic cups up full and somehow not spilling it everywhere, "…dull diplomatic affair. I've definitely been here on the ground too long because I found it absolutely stifiling. Everyone was talking around things instead of about them."

* * *

"Perhaps you've just been in America too long," Winter muses as they accept their little ceramic cup of sake, holding it up to clink against Royal's. "Talking around things sounds especially British to me."

* * *

"Oh no, no, I mean this Longbow business. No one in the room wanted to talk about it, so they talked on the edges of it." Royal clinks the small glass with Winter and then shoots it. Probably isn't supposed to be shot, but here he goes. Fortunately, his first order of dumplings is up quite quickly. He eyes them, eyes the chopsticks. "A friend of mine tried to teach me how to use those. I failed at it sober, so…." he picks up one with his fingers, dips it in the sauce and the tucks it into his mouth.

* * *

"That does sound tedious," Winter agrees, a corner of their mouth quirking before they sip their sake and consider the dumplings. "I won't tell," they assure of the illicit use of fingers. Perhaps to cement this promise, they pick up a dumpling with their hand as well, dipping it in sauce and taking a bite. After chewing and swallowing they ask, "What did they all say, then? Or… not say, I suppose."

* * *

"Talking about virtually anything but," says Royal. now that his appetite has been stimulated, the dumplings are disappearing fairly quickly. "That's what made it so conspicuous. How do you get a room full of people whose business interests rely on the meths and not mention the fact that someone is murdering clones of Ariana Longbow?" That makes him pour himself another cup of sake, though this one he does sip.

* * *

"Because their business interests rely on the meths," Winter answers, finishing off their pilfered dumpling before a bowl of soup is set down before them. "And, probably, because they're afraid."

* * *

"You're probably right." Royal looks at the bowl with some food envy. He points to the bowl, then upnods to the server by way of ordering the same for himself. "If there's one thing those in power dislike, it's a change to the status quo."

* * *

"Yes, since the status quo assures their power," Winter agrees as they pick up their own chopsticks, stirring the soup and capturing a few noodles. "And they're worried from both sides. Beneath them, or so we presume, someone is out to damage or infuriate at least one meth. And above them are said meths, likely none to pleased about it." The noodles are lifted almost to Winter's mouth before they say, "You know, in some cultures, it's considered complimentary to the chef to slurp your noodles. Shows appreciation and enthusiasm." The ends of the noodles are popped into Winter's mouth and they slrrrrrp them up and chew.

* * *

Royal calms his own growing appetite by dropping another dumpling into his mouth with his fingers. "Mhmmm, yes. But they won't talk about it. They're desperately afraid to name the elephant in the room for fear of giving it power." He watches the noodle slurping with a grin, then his eyes light up as his own bowl is set in front of him. "Cheers." Then, "…oh dear. I've miscalculated."

* * *

Winter swallows and smirks. "There's always the 'to go' cups, if your eyes were bigger than your stomach. But you shouldn't surrender to defeat without first putting up a proper fight. Here, I'll help." They reach over to steal a dumpling, this time dipping it into the soup before eating.

* * *

"No, it's not that," says Royal as he stares at the bowl. Then slowly, he picks up the pair of chopsticks. He holds them up towards Winter. "One, I'm drunk, so coordination is going to be an issue. Two, I am so desperately English that I can't use these. And I don't think I'm going to manage to get all these lovely bits with a spoon. Also…" he leans in, wrinkles his nose. "How…spicy is this?"

* * *

"Mmm…" Winter considers, "spicy enough to impress white people," is their answer, "Not so spicy the white people will die." They scratch thoughtfully at their jaw as they consider Royal's predicament. "There's a cheat for them," they say with a nod towards the chopsticks.

* * *

"Good, because I come from a long line of the whitest white people." Royal picks up the spoon and very carefully sips the broth. He smacks his lips. Not dying. He wobbles his head back and forth. He does however, signal for a drink of water just in case. "If it's the pencil trick, ti's been tried. I just don't have the coordination." He tries to scoop up a noodle onto the spoon, but it slides off and disappears back into the broth.

* * *

"The what trick?" Winter asks. "I don't think I know that one." They raise a hand to get the noodle man's attention, leaning over the counter to quietly request something. He smirks and reaches under the counter to pass over a small, plastic… thingie? Winter picks up Royal's chopsticks, snapping them apart and sliding the plastic thing onto the top. They pass the doctored pair over to Royal. "Try now."

The rubber bit acts as a means to keep the chopsticks aligned and positioned so the ends press together when at rest. All that's needed is to put a finger between them to open them, set them around the foodstuff of choice, and withdraw the finger again. The ends come back together, trapping the food between.

* * *

All of this would probably be completely doable for sober Royal. But this is drunk Royal. Although he managed to reduce some of the drunkenness with a carb infusion, he's also still drinking. So this is definitely challenging. He gives it a try and manages to get a bit of tofu up to his mouth, but the noodles just aren't working. "Blast. I don't…" and then, the noodle man takes pity on him and produces a fork from somewhere. "Bless you, bless you sir." He flashes a grin at Winter. "I shall try to remember this trick going forward. Then maybe I won't utterly embarrass myself the next time I have sushi with Kagami."

* * *

"Oh, I'm pretty sure he'll make fun of you for it," Winter replies with a soft laugh. "It's like… training wheels for chopsticks. But, one must eat, however one can." Winter finishes off their little ceramic cup and pours another for themself.

* * *

Royal is already diving in to the noodles, wrapping them around the fork like a small child eating spaghetti. He shoves a mouthful into his mouth and sluurps. "Did I do that right?" he asks, then dabs his lips. "Oh, the spice is making my lips tingle. Mmmhmm." Yes, so very white. He swallows a mouthful of water, then goes digging around in the bowl for what other treats the bowl has to offer.

* * *

"Very nice," Winter approves for the Duke's slurping. They eat quietly next to Royal for a couple minutes. Well, quiet except for their own slurping, of course. After a little, they wipe their mouth and have a bit more sake. "Listen, Royal. About the other night. I feel I should apologize for how I spoke to you. I was blunt and discourteous. It wasn't my place to say any of those things."

* * *

"Mhmmm?" Royal looks up from his treasure hunting around the bowl. It's hard to tell if it's the spice or the drunkenness that has created the soft sheen across his forehead. "Oh, no need to apologize. It can be hard to turn that sort of thing off when that is one's profession." He attempts to use the doctored chopsticks to get the last dumpling into his mouth. Success. He beams.

* * *

"I disagree," Winter replies, "as a professional it's my obligation to turn it off unless I've been asked to use my expertise in that capacity. And, you didn't ask. So. My apologies."

* * *

"It's already forgotten," says Royal with a bit of a hand-wave. And that's probably true. He has the time-honoured British tradition of ignoring uncomfortable feelings. He finds a bit of bok choy and spins it around some of the noodles. "I suppose…" he starts a bit hesitatingly, "…my case is just a bit too odd to not remark on, hmm?" Down goes the rest of what's in his sake cup.

* * *

"Yes and no," Winter replies. "I suppose I'm… used to having the upper hand in most interactions. Having the control, the leverage. I'm usually guiding someone else through their journey, after all. But this was… I think I was trying to get that control back from someone else who tends to command the room, if in a different sort of way."

* * *

Royal's eyes look a little glassy, but he does seem to at least partially absorb what his dinner companion is saying. Though, it seems to take a moment for everything to click into place. "Ah, so we were sparring. And you hit a titch below the belt because you felt threatened by my charming smile." He flashes said smile, which is none diminished even through the drunken haze.

* * *

Winter quirks their quiet smile, finishes their sake and refills the glass. "Close enough, your grace."

* * *

"Did I tell you that you don't have to call me that? Because you don't have to call me that." The spicy noodles seem to be defeating Royal. Or maybe he ate too many dumplings too quickly. "This was all a mistake. I'll have to fast on celery for two days after this." But alcohol doesn't count. So he refills his own glass, and Winter's too if it's looking low.

* * *

"I know," Winter replies, "but it was a little bit fun to watch the inward flinching." They pick up their sake, taking a page from Royal's book and knocking it back.

* * *

"You enjoy buttons, don't you?" says Royal with a wry smile. "Either pushing them, or exercising your power by choosing not to push them." He leans on the counter, sake glass close to his lips. He's at the part in the evening where, although he hasn't slammed hard alcohol back in awhile, it's catching up with him.

* * *

Winter laughs softly. "You're very astute when you're hammered," they reply. Perhaps to spare Royal from drinking more (than he already has) they refill their own little cup.

* * *

Royal waggles his brows up and down, sips at the sake, then sets it down. He nudges the bowl of half-finished noodles away so that the server knows it can be spirited away. "I hope I am sober as well. I can't spend my career as a private investigator sozzled. Although…" he chuckles and shakes his head, eyes dancing with amusement. "I do admit to some defensiveness on my part. I haven't had the best experience with therapists."

* * *

Winter's brows lift and their head cants. "Have you had any experience with therapists?" they counter. Or, maybe just ask.

* * *

Royal grins wryly, and a little secretively. Then he finishes what's left in his sake cup and pushes it away to join the noodle bowl. He gives Winter a look that answers in the affirmative without actually saying anything. "And every time, it was meant as a way to tame my wilder impulses."

* * *

"Ugh," Winter replies with a wrinkle of their nose. "At least they were unsuccessful."

* * *

"'Dante, you need to talk about why you're acting out like this. For the good of your family,'" Royal sing-songs his hypothetical therapist. "'Think of the reputation of the crown. Why do you feel the need to draw so much attention to yourself? The tabloids just want to tear you down.'" Suddenly he's looking like he would like to refill the tiny sake cup. But he thinks the better of it.

* * *

"That," Winter says with a faint frown, "is not even remotely what a therapist is for, so I apologize again on their behalf." Sip. "Assholes."

* * *

"Well at least they asked me about my feelings?" says Royal. He's obviously trying to shrug it off. There's also a literal shrug. He wobbles a bit. "Mhmmm. I think I should toddle home while I'm still able to toddle. I apologize in advance if I'm missing memory of parts of this conversation when next we meet."

* * *

"I won't hold it against you." Winter considers a moment. "You're really quite impressively sauced. Should I walk you home? Or fetch you a cab or some such responsible thing?"

* * *

Royal's ONI-eye flickers for a moment. "No worries. There's a cab on the way. And with my credit, it doesn't tend to take them…" he slides off the stool, but nearly falls. Which would be a shame because the suit is impressive. "…ahem. Please continue to drink so you can forget you saw that." He straightens his jacket and tries to stand upright, but he's weaving slightly.

* * *

Winter slides off their stool, leaving their thumbprint on the portion of the counter designed to accept payments, so their tab can be settled out. "Let's at least walk together to your very prompt cab. Only for the sake of your suit, of course. It looks much better not covered in street grime."

* * *

The Duke has to hold on to the counter to stop weaving. Royal grins at Winter, eyes slightly hooded and very glassy. "I really am quite all right. The noodles helped a good deal." He taps his own thumbprint to the scanner to close the tab, with a default rather general tip percentage. His ONI flickers again. "Ah, my cab should be…" he points out of the pedestrian area to a clearing up ahead designated for air cabs. He starts to walk. He's moving sort of like a baby giraffe as tall as he is, and as drunk as he is.

* * *

Winter falls into step beside him, rather like the keeper of a baby giraffe who doesn't want to stop it from walking, but would prefer to be close enough to catch it should it fall on those gawky, stilt legs.

* * *

"I appreciate your style by the way. Very cozy. I couldn't pull off cozy. I need sharp lines." Royal's babbling a bit. It doesn't take long before the sleek black aircab is visible. He stops, tries to look the doctor in the eye, but goes a bit cross-eyed. "I thank you for your service. And now, good night to you." He bows, and somehow gets back up without falling over.

* * *

"Mmm, or no lines," Winter agrees, entirely straight-faced, as they reach his aircab. "Good night, Royal. Though I suspect the morning will be a bit rough."

* * *

"Why doctor! Picturing me in my nothing-at-alls? Cheeky." quips Royal, just before he pours himself into the cab and disappears from sight.