|aiden shepard is not (ofmazandaran) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-04-05 21:24:00
|Entry tags:||christine daae, persian|
Who: Sam and Aiden
What: Pizza, beer, whiskey, talking.
Where: Arcadia Unbound
When: Sometime over the weekend.
Warnings/Rating: Language, mostly.
The dangers of making an ass of yourself while drinking had always been readily apparent to Aiden, who hadn’t done much drinking himself until his mid-twenties. So, he’d always been careful to make sure his phone was either out of reach or obnoxiously hidden so that he had to sober up and fast if he wanted to answer it, and that his laptop was stored away somewhere. Lately he’d taken to hiding the notebook, too, because those people knew his name, and most of them had some idea of who he was as a person. Generally, the world was safe from the results of his binge drinking. At least while he was drunk.
Once he was hung over, on the other hand, he made sure everyone knew just how much suffering he was going through. It generally made him a worse speller and a more impulsive bastard, and often resulted in the shop not opening until later in the day than usual.
He was getting ready to close when he remembered Sam was going to stop by, and cursed to himself for not remembering earlier. There was still a frozen pizza in the freezer, yes, but it had to be cooked, and he wondered vaguely if she was still offended by his hangover-casual ‘fuck off’. Probably not. It had been hours. But who knew? Aiden certainly would have held it against her, because he was vindictive and a major asshole. Even with Nadir’s influence constantly pressing on his mind, he couldn’t even start (and honestly didn’t really want to) getting rid of his worse attributes.
Aiden left the door unlocked and went back upstairs to preheat the oven. It was going to be a long night, and he still had a headache, and there was a bottle of something high-proof and shitty still sitting on the floor nearby, half empty. It was tempting.
Sam had left Paris behind because she couldn’t stand being trapped in Christine’s panicking mind any longer. Despite the younger woman’s relative calm on the journals, she wasn’t really calm at all. She knew no one was dead, sure, but she was pretty sure Liam was lying to her, and she was even more sure that Neil would ignore her cautionary words and cross through to Paris sooner rather than later. Being there when that happened wasn’t going to help anyone, and it was Sam that had made Christine leave her pacing behind. Sure, now Christine was pacing in Sam’s mind, but Sam was much better equipped to deal with panic and concern than a girl barely out of her fucking teens.
By the time she reached Arcadia, she had all but forgotten about the comics she was interested in, too caught up in this fucking Paris mess to think about anything else. She pushed through the doors to the shop, dressed in a pair of old, worn overalls, work boots and a wifebeater, and she called Aiden’s name before the door was even closed behind her. The shop was exactly what she expected it to be, and she would have appreciated how off-the-beaten-path it was if she wasn’t freaking out about potential, future death. Because that was the problem here, wasn’t it? It wasn’t who the hell Christine ended up with, or if Raoul and Erik hated each other for eternity - it was the fact that someone could die, and this most recent incident just proved they didn’t have any control over it, no matter how much they wanted to pretend they did.
He heard Sam arrive, calling his name from the first floor, and kicked a small pile of dirty clothes under his desk. Aiden almost never had visitors, and so almost never had to clean to suit them - but he kept the place mostly in check, save for the endless stacks of books everywhere. He gave the oven a glare before going back down the stairs and opening the door to the shop. T-shirt, battered jeans, and for once devoid of a jacket, he looked vaguely weary and still recovering from a very bad hangover, though for the most part, he’d gotten over it.
“Pizza’ll be a while,” he said, moving past her to go lock the front door (the closed sign having already been flipped at least half an hour beforehand). “Gives us time to talk, I guess. Someone seriously set fire to the fucking Opera House?” Nadir hadn’t said much since the revelation, and Aiden suspected it was because the man was too busy trying to piece things together or come up with a convincing enough argument to drive Aiden through the door.
“Someone had a rough night,” she said, because his hangover was written all over his fucking face. She watched him walk by her, and she slid up onto his counter and crossed her denim-clad legs on the wood, criss-cross and looking young in messy pigtails. “Come on. We both know who torched the fucking Opera House,” she said, much less inclined to protect Raoul than Christine had been. “The fight they had down there was a nightmare mess, and I’m not surprised, though Christine kept the terms of Raoul’s fucking ultimatum. I just don’t know how Liam - who lied through his fucking teeth at me, by the way - got a key. I checked. The thing is still in my toolbox at home.” She groaned. “We should go once we eat. Check to make sure the place is safe before Erik goes and loses his shit. I don’t know, maybe Nadir can talk to Raoul. He won’t listen to me, and he won’t listen to Christine.” And how the fuck had things gotten this bad, anyway? “Also, I need to know about Loki. Don’t ask. It’s even more complicated than this Paris crap.”
“Don’t even bring it up.” After getting back from the Masquerade, Aiden had gotten drunk - and then hadn’t stopped being drunk for a while. The shop had stayed closed for almost two straight days, and his eating habits had turned nonexistent. He’d finally gotten food in him, and less alcohol, and now the hangover was telling him everything had been a bad idea, but honestly … it had been a good idea given what had happened. How fucking awful the night itself had been.
He finished closing up the shop and hit the lights, leaving only the glow from above coming down the stairwell, as he listened to Sam. Fights, lost keys, arson, secrets - Loki?
“Who the hell else would it have been?” Nadir had his own ideas, ones that Aiden didn’t share. “I don’t know. Magic. Is it really so ridiculous that a magic hotel would also have magic keys? I don’t want to go but I suppose we don’t really have any choice, do we.” He ushered Sam up the stairs and shut the door behind them. His apartment loft was quaint, to put it one way; another way, it was kind of a shithole. But there was space to sit and the oven was working well enough and there was hard liquor available, so that was good enough. “Fine, I won’t ask, but you’re going to have to be a hell of a lot more specific if you want information. The guy’s a Norse god. There’s a lot of shit to know about him.”
Sam followed Aiden upstairs, and it was probably pretty indicative of the shithole that she lived in that she looked around and saw a pretty cool setup. He had a shop to call his own, a job that didn’t involve sweating balls, and his own place without a psycho roommate. Wins all around, as far as she was concerned. She threw herself on the bed, flopping onto her back and not caring that she was invading his space in a way that was likely imposing. She shoved the pillow beneath her head, and she put her booted feet on his wall, walking them up along the flat surface. “From the comics. Marvel,” she explained of Loki, before turning her attention back to the Opera House.
“Yeah, well, it’s fried, and we both know Erik is going to lose his shit. Fuck, even Christine knew Erik was going to lose his shit, which is why she didn’t tell Neil. So, how do we keep them alive? And, before you try to blame me, I didn’t have anything to do with it this time. Christine promised Raoul she wouldn’t talk to Erik or go back to the Opera House, and she hasn’t, so we can’t blame me for this near-bout with death.” And there was a decent amount of worry there, because Neil could have died. Liam could have died setting the fire, and she could have died when Christine tried to run into the blaze. Point being, they could all be dead, and she didn’t like that shit at all.
“Get off my bed,” Aiden snapped peevishly, partly because it was his bed and how dare she just fall on it like she owned the damn thing, and partly because he hadn’t changed the sheets in a while so it was probably filthy and covered in dust mites. He tore at the plastic cover on the pizza and gave an irritated snort. “I’ll blame whoever I want except myself, because I literally had nothing to do with this. But fine, we’ll pretend this has nothing to do with you. I don’t know how to keep them alive except to tell Neil he’s not allowed to go through and hope against hell that he has enough strength to keep Erik from forcing him to do so. Aside from that, and from none of us ever going through the door again ourselves, I can’t think of a damn thing.”
Eying her boots and their progress on his wall nastily, Aiden swept up the half-empty bottle of whiskey and took a swig of it. The burn traced scars down along his throat, and he swallowed hard, wincing slightly in a combination of pain and painful memory.
“Hair of the dog doesn’t actually work like that, baby,” she said, ignoring his bitching about the bed (she’d been on worse) and ignoring his eying of her boots. She stretched her arms out behind her head, and she turned her attention back to his less-than-helpful opinion of the situation with the door and their ultimate, inevitable death. “Neil can’t,” she said easily. “Erik drives him nuts if he tries for too long.” Which wasn’t any criticism of Neil; she wasn’t much better. “Why can’t we tell Liam he can’t go in? Or are we counting the fire as proof that shit doesn’t work?” She closed her eyes on a husky sigh. “So, why the drinking? Chick leave you?”
“It’ll work if I tell it to,” he grumbled, setting the bottle down a little harder than necessary on the countertop. “Obviously he got back in, so no, banning him won’t work. We could chain him to his apartment, or wherever he lives.” A moment of thought. “Or we could chain the door shut, I guess.” Because imprisonment came to mind before preventing trespassing every time. “Or we could break his legs. I don’t know, Sam - you’re asking me for answers when I barely even realized you were all so easily dragged around by these little pricks.”
Because, naturally, he wasn’t. Nadir’s efforts were always going to fail, even though they were making ground … ground that Aiden didn’t see, or know, or want to see or know. As far as he was concerned he was so solidly grounded in his own personality it would take a sledgehammer to change him.
“No, I’ve never had a girlfriend,” he said automatically, paused, and then shrugged. It was true and he didn’t give a fuck, though she was likely to start mocking him and never stop on that ground alone. “It’s just been a shitty few days, all right? I doubt you enjoyed that stupid fucking party.”
“Just because Nadir isn’t obsessed with anything through the door doesn’t mean we’re idiots for being dragged around by them. Christine is a wreck and a half, and she’s giving me a migraine that’s worse than anything your whiskey is doing to you. Trust me.” It was the truth, and Sam groaned with the confession, because she was pretty fucking sure she’d be toast right now if Alfred hadn’t been around to keep Christine from running headlong into the fire.
The admission that he’d never had a girlfriend made Sam turn her head and regard him curiously. “How about getting laid? Ever done that?” she asked, rolling onto her side on the bed and quirking a curious brow. Sam had absolutely no barriers when it came to sex, and the question didn’t make her bat an eyelash. The mention of the party, though, that made her roll onto her back with a groan. “I turned into a cannibalistic slut in a red hood. You?”
It was an awful choice she was forcing him to make. Either talk about his entirely nonexistent sex life and inevitably have her start questioning his life choices, or try and talk about the problems present at the party. He didn’t like talking about either subject, but even though the masquerade hadn’t actually had any really traumatic happenings in it, it had forced him to face things about himself he hadn’t ever wanted to consider. It only took him a few seconds to decide that being mocked for 28 years of virginity was an infinitely better choice than admitting to having become the physical representation of horrific self-loathing.
“No, I’ve never gotten laid. Not interested.” Aiden prodded the oven to try and will it to heat up faster. “Do you want a beer or something? I have a few in the fridge, but don’t spill on anything.” There were too many books around to risk spills, though a verbal warning was never very effective.
“Wait. Hold up. Not interested in sex at all?” she asked, because she so couldn’t wrap her head around that. She took his offer of a beer, and she slid her boots off the wall and climbed to her feet and opened the fridge. Luckily for his precious books, Sam could do pretty much anything with a beer in her hand and not spill a drop. She sat back on the bed heavily, crossing her legs on the sheets, and she regarded him with the kind of curiosity reserved for those strange fish that got discovered on the bottom of the ocean, the really nasty ones with no eyes and shit.
“No,” said Aiden, partly relieved that every other subject had been dropped in the face of this and partly irritated for the exact same reason, “not at all. It’s not a requirement unless you want directly-descended children, and since I’d be a fucking awful parent, it’s not a problem for me.” He wrapped his fingers around the neck of the whiskey bottle again but didn’t take a drink just yet. She was watching him interestedly; it almost made him nervous seeing that kind of curious attention directed at him by someone he only sort of knew, and even then only because of really strange extenuating circumstances. But he didn’t show it, or mention it, and instead just rolled his shoulders and leaned against the counter.
“You should hook up with my robot-chick friend. She doesn’t like it when living people touch her. You’d be happy together,” was all Sam could manage, because this concept was so foreign that it hurt her head to even think about it. It wasn’t like sex was everything, but it was something. She shrugged when he rolled his shoulders, and when the pizza beeped she hopped to her feet and took it out of the oven, as if she owned the entire damn place. She didn’t bother cutting or putting it on anything once it was out. Instead, she tore off a corner with her fingers and carried it back to the bed with her beer. “So, is that why you don’t get it? The whole obsessive crazy love thing through the door?”
“Ha ha. Hilarious. I’m not a fucking robot.” Aiden watched, appalled, as Sam jumped up and snagged the pizza as it finished and just tore a chunk off without even bothering to cut it. “Where the hell were you raised?” he asked incredulously, pulling it onto the counter and grabbing the plastic pizza cutter to adequately prepare it. “You do know we’re supposed to share this, right? And fine, yes, maybe that’s why I think the whole love triangle is a gigantic pile of shit, because I’m incapable of romantic attachment. Or maybe it’s because I’m not constantly blinded by idiocy and ideals of romance that I can see how destructive and awful the whole affair really is. Personally, I’m in favor of that idea.”
He tossed the cutter in the sink and picked up a slice - opposite the place where Sam had attacked the pizza so viciously - taking a bite out of it and hissing at the burning heat. A shot of whiskey didn’t do much good in cooling, but it did enough.
“And I’ve analyzed too many books,” he said with a cough, “to think that romance is even possible in these kinds of situations. It’s all a metaphor or something.” And there was the last dredges of the hangover and the start of a new drunk period talking yet again.
“Hey, calm down. I don’t actually believe anyone loves anyone through our door. I think they’re playing trophy chick tug-of-war, but I can get behind obsession, especially the sexual kind. So, don’t confuse sex with love, baby,” she cautioned, sounding kinder than she had before. “They have nothing to do with each other, despite what popular media tells you. Life isn’t a romantic comedy.” She licked her fingers after eating her torn off bit of pizza, and she chased it all with a swig of the beer. “As for where I was raised? A little armpit in New Jersey, one without pizza cutters or manners.”
His comment about analyzing books didn’t impress her, because Sam was the impulsive type who never analyzed anything. “Finish your fucking pizza. Let’s go see how bad that damage is now that it’s had time to cool down. I’m surprised we haven’t heard Neil screaming about it yet,” she admitted, obviously worried about that eventually. “He’s calm as fuck, but he might actually manage to deck Liam for this one. If not, I will.” Which wasn’t surprising, seeing as her relationship with Liam had eventual broken nose written all over it.
Aiden nearly rolled his eyes at her commentary about sex and love and threesomes and the entire summation of Phantom of the Opera - not that he completely disagreed - but when she dropped the subject, he didn’t try to resurrect it. Instead, he jammed more of the pizza in his mouth and scowled at the idea of evaluating the damage. Even though it wasn’t going to be him doing it, and even though Nadir was trying to nudge him in the same direction that Sam was suggesting.
“Why not just deck Raoul? I doubt he could fight back as well, poncy aristocratic swordsmanship training or not.” He finished the slice of pizza and looked forlornly at the rest, which was most of the rest of it. It would probably survive being left out for a while. Nonetheless, he took one more drink from the whiskey and sighed heavily. “Fine. Let’s go. Lead the way, because I don’t have a car.”
“Because Christine would cry instead of decking him, or maybe she would faint. I don’t fucking know,” Sam said with a groan. She was working on that, really, but Christine was too much who she was for Sam to be able to change her too much. Teaching her to be braver was one thing, but she was still a girl who grew up in a time period where shit was really different. It was a challenge.
She finished her beer, and she tossed the bottle into the trash. She grabbed another slice of pizza, which she munched on as she walked. “Seriously? Do I look like I own a fucking car?” she asked, walking backward down the stairs with loud clomps of her boots on the wooden floor. “Neil and Liam have money, you and me, we don’t. And you have a fucking store and a place that’s yours to sleep, free and clear. You can afford pizza and beer. Which means you’re paying the cab fare, or we’re hoofing it.” With that, she closed her fingers around Aiden’s sleeve and tugged him toward the door.
There was something bitter in the way she talked about the money situation - sure, he wasn’t well-off, but apparently he was better off than she was. A store and a place to sleep free and clear, able to afford food … Aiden had always assumed that was sort of the norm, but apparently that wasn’t the case. Not for Sam, anyway. He raised an eyebrow at her and reached for his notebook and key; down the stairs, toward the exit, her hand holding onto the sleeve of his jacket and pulling him out the door. Cab fare … ugh. But walking at this time of night was very nearly suicide even if you’d lived in Vegas for a good while.
So he only glowered and stayed quiet - a nearly-miracle for him - as he hit the lights, locked the door, and followed Sam to the corner of the street where one of them could hail a cab and get to that godforsaken hotel.