Log Title: Dessert With A Wounded Bird
Summary: A still-healing Royal gets some company when Winter pays a visit.
IC Date: Wed Mar 27 19:36, 2381
OOC Date: Wed Mar 27 19:36, 2019
Related Logs: Mask Off, Play It Again, I Will Always Annoy You
winterroyal

 

 

"One of us might come out of virtual with a kink in our neck, but the option is there."

* OOC Time: Wed Mar 27 17:36:32 2019 *

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Yesterday, Royal messed up his graft and had to head back to the hospital to have it repaired to avoid scarring. The plan may have been to spend the night in the hospital, but then came Mick, and now Royal is no longer hospitalized. It's evening the following day, shortly after sunset with the garish glow of of the Neon District visible from Royal's very generous windows (should he be at home looking out them). His ONI flickers with a message.

Winter > Hey, wounded bird. How's the wing?

* * *

Royal is indeed at home. Not just because of doctor's orders, but he's not feeling like he can present his best self to the world. And that means, in his world, that he stays aways from said world. He's eating takeout and watching something mindless on his ONI when the message comes through.

Royal > Still being babied. But I'll be up and flapping in no time.

* * *

Winter > Have you gotten dinner, yet? I was just thinking about getting food. Noodles or takeout, maybe.

* * *

There's a pause. Then an image comes through of Royal with noodles guiltily dangling from his mouth. But hey, chopsticks!

* * *

Winter > So, the secret to mastering chopsticks is being shot. No wonder it's guarded so closely.

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Royal > Make no mistake, I haven't mastered them. In fact, I dropped one after I took the photo.

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Winter > Well, you almost maintained the illusion. Still a step up.

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Royal > I'm all about appearances, you know.

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Royal > You could come over and bring dessert?

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Winter > Deal.

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Winter > I will also bring mochi. Goes well as an after for noodles. No chopsticks required.

* * *

Royal > Good because I think one of my only two just rolled under the couch.

* * *

Winter > Hold tight. Help is on the way.

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Royal > My valiant hero.

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It's about a half hour later when Winter knocks on the door that's actually Royal's office. They have a plastic bag dangling from one arm and are wearing a pale rose-colored asymmetric sweater with a pair of those soft, black palazzo pants they favor.

* * *

The door opens onto the office-slash-vestibule. Royal has his left arm in a sling. He's dressed in probably the most casual clothing he owns, which means workout pants and a gray t-shirt. He looks freshly showered, but his hair is a mess of curls rather than the straight and neatly combed style he almost always sports. He looks a bit tired, a bit pale. But he smiles when he sees Winter. "Hello hello. Come in." He steps aside. The panel door to his flat proper is open.

* * *

Winter quirks a small smile as they take in Royal's much-more-casual-than-usual aesthetic. "Hello, yourself," they greet before heading in, through the office and into the actual apartment. The plastic bag is opened and a small styrofoam (or whatever has replaced it in 2381) carton is set out on the coffee table as well as a small, plastic container.

* * *

"Can I get you something to drink?" The remnants of Royal's dinner are still on the table. There's a takeout noodle place that's quite literally across the suspended walkway from his flat. It's not particularly good, but it is close - and it gave him a bit of what passes for fresh air on the ground. "What have you brought, then?"

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"Sure, I'll have whatever you're having." Winter answers. They open the styrofoam(ish) container which reveals four small, flattish, round, white objects that sort of look like smooth stones. "These are mochi. Ever had them before?"

* * *

"Entirely possible, but not with context," says Royal. He crosses to the small bar (with everything hidden behind sliding panels, of course) and fills two glasses with red wine. He looks at them both, looks at his arm, sighs, then picks up one and crosses the room to hand it to Winter. "There you are." Then he crosses back again to pick up his own glass. "I've…had someone from home drop back into my life unexpectedly. So if you see a shortish, bald, muscly man with a scowl who doesn't sound like he's from Bay City, that's Mick."

* * *

"Oh, gosh, sorry," Winter murmurs apologetically when Royal has to go back for the second glass. "I'm an ass." They nod towards the little, white confections. "Mochi are desserts made from rice dough and filled with a sweet red bean paste. Best when dipped into whipped cream, as it happens, though I'm pretty sure that’s breaking with tradition." They open up the little plastic tub which does indeed contain whipped cream. They consider Royal's news, head canting a touch. "Okay. Mick. Is this, like, an old flame? A friend? Family?"

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Royal laughs loudly and suddenly at the implication that Mick might be any of those three things. "Ah, no, no. Absolutely…" he stops, headwobbles, "….unlikely." He sits down and eyes the mochi. "More like…babysitter with a Nemex pistol under his arm."

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Winter's brows lift. "A bodyguard," they translate. "And one you've worked with before? Hmm. This should be interesting." They pick up one of the mochi with their fingers, dip it into the whipped cream and take a bite. It's soft and a little stretchy and chewy with a muted sweetness that's enhanced and complemented by the whipped cream.

* * *

"Yes. Very particularly, the Royal Protection Command, which is a division of the Metropolitan Police." Royal sips his wine, then reaches for one of the mochi to try himself. He gives the piece a little squeeze, grinning at Winter a bit playfully, before dipping it in the whipped cream and popping it into his mouth. He chews, nods. "Mhmm, not bad at all." He licks a little whipped cream off his fingers. "Mick was…assigned to me during my wilder days. I don't think he believes I've changed.”

* * *

Winter has a sip of their wine before dipping the mochi back in the whipped cream and polishing it off with their second bite. They chew and swallow. "Your wilder days. And he kept up with you? That's fairly impressive." They consider Royal's last comment, or maybe they're just watching him lick whipped cream from his fingertips. "If he's going to be resuming his old job, I expect he'll observe soon enough that you're different than you were in your youth."

* * *

"That is, if I can manage to avoid being like I was before around him. I admit to finding old petulance and smartassery reasserting itself within five minutes in the man's presence." Royal takes up his wine again and sips it. It's very good, naturally. Nothing in his flat below top shelf. Except the noodles.

* * *

Naturally. Winter has another small, appreciative sip. "I suppose that makes a sort of sense," they reply after a moment. "I assume some of the way you behaved back then was a response to expectations and assumptions your family had about you. Most rebellion is, at any rate."

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"Mhmm, yes. I was a good child. Obeyed, right through my teenaged years. But then I had a moment in my twenties where I just…needed to break free. A late bloomer, you might say," says Royal with a wry twist of his lips. "And naturally, it happened when I was away at school."

He sets his wine down, then he starts to reach out for Winter's hand. But he stops himself when he sees the loose pants. Something occurs to him. "Winter, my dear…" he starts, fingers flexing a bit. He looks up. "Does your discomfort with a single sleeve mean you don't…wish to be touched outside of virtual? Because if that is the case, I want to respect that."

* * *

Winter considers Royal's hand and then leans forward to curl their fingers through his. "It does not. At least… not today. I do have days where everything physical is just a bit… much. But, they're few and far between." The 'right now' goes unspoken. "Honestly, I've wanted to touch you since I walked through the door," they confess a touch wryly, "which has been distracting in the most pleasant of ways."

* * *

Royal smiles. It's not wry, or mischevious or lewd. It's a soft, bright smile that is genuinely pleased. He squeezes, then raises the hand up to kiss the back of their hand. "If it ever becomes too much, you need only say the word, all right? I've a chair, and an extra input. One of us might come out of virtual with a kink in our neck, but the option is there."

* * *

"I know," Winter replies, their smile growing a little for that kiss. "I knew before you said anything." They shift a little closer to Royal, near enough that they can rest their fingertips lightly against his cheek. "You've really come a long way with your comfort in VR. Leaps and bounds."

* * *

"Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm still not entirely comfortable with the experience. But I've a reason to adapt, which I didn't before." Royal looks down almost shyly. He looks back up a moment later. "Normally this is where I would go into the laundry list of my shortfalls as any sort of partner. But I find myself not wanting to do that, lest I actually convince you."

* * *

"Good," Winter say softly, "because I'm not especially keen on being convinced. So, why don't we skip that bit." The fingers on Royal's cheek slide up to curl through his… curls. "What comes next?"

* * *

Royal chuckles softly. "I don't know. What do you want to come next? More mochi?" He smiles again and leans a little into the hand in his hair.

* * *

Winter quirks a brow and offers instead, "…Dessert?"

* * *

"Delicious," Royal drawls with the old spark of innuendo. He raises his one good hand to cup the side of Winter's neck, then pulls in for a kiss. There's a bit more heat to it than their ones in virtual.