Never Just A Beer


nadira_icon.gif prince_icon.gif

Scene Title Never Just A Beer
Synopsis After interfering in a near drunken brawl, Prince and Nadira muse on death, contemplate occupations, and do a bit of psychoanalyzing.
Date August 16, 2010

Outside a Bar, New York City

It's evening and most of the clubs and bars around town are packed—with the curfew laws making hours shorter, there are less prime hours for barhoppers, more of them crammed in a smaller amount of time, and copious amounts of drinks being imbued. Nadira, who had been at said bar and had her fair share of drinks, had enough of the humid and hot air of sweaty bodies crammed together in a small public place, so she'd made her way out to where some were doing the same and others were stumbling around a little too intoxicated. She shifts, leaning against a wall near the side of the bar. People linger about, a few coming and going, some squeezing out of the packed bar, and others chattering loudly outside.

Making his way down the busy street is the form of Prince, clad in a pair of loose fitting but not too baggy denim jeans and a white button up, the sleeves rolled to his elbow and an unbuttoned vest over the shirt. He dodges some of the more intoxicated people, even once stopping to make sure somebody wasn't choking on their own vomit before continuing on towards the bar. The same bar (what a coincidence!) that Nadira just extricated herself from.

But about this time is when things are getting rough. As Prince moves for the bar, a young man is shoved directly in his path by another man, swearing obscenities at him. "We don't want your kind around here. Go drown yourself in a lake and take yourself out of the genepool, do us all the favor." The man who was shoved moves forward, angrily. "What the hell is your problem?"

Prince manages to dodge out of the way of the incoming body, military training kicking in on instinct. He looks to see what the problem is, his brow furrowing when he hears the words. He doesn't have to know what the man meant by the words, only that they aren't right. Still.. he'd prefer to avoid having to stop a full blown scuffle. He steps forward, interjecting himself between the men. "Whoa. Hey now. Why don't you two take a step back and cool off, huh?"

Prince isn't the only concerned looking one. Nadira turns, facing the two men, a frown on her face. A few others onlook, but quickly move on their way, not wanting to get involved. The angry man, however, isn't backing off. He stares at Prince, then at the other guy. "My problem? You know what my problem is? My problem is assholes like you. Assholes who think they can walk in there and pick out any girl they want and just walk off with her, take advantage of her, just like that. That's my fucking problem with you!" The other guy shrugs, pointing at the bar. "I've got just as much a right to be in there and talk to whomever I damn well please."

Out of the corner of his eye, Prince catches Nadira's focus on the altercation to be, but his gaze is squarely on the two men as his head moves side to side. "I don't think you guys heard me. You do not want to fight, got it? It will not end good for either one of you. I don't care who is right and who is wrong. You'll both be on your ass and then behind bars, cooling your heels over night."

"I've got no problems with this." The man who was shoved is heading back towards the bar. The other one, however, doesn't seem to like this a bit. "What the fuck! You see this? He's just gonna go right back in there and make another damn conquest. He's gonna go in there and convince some woman who probably doesn't even want to go home and have sex to have another drink, and another, and 'oh, just let me help you get home'. That's the kind of fucking thing people use these goddamn powers for. Rape." He peers at Prince. "You gonna let him go in there and just rape some innocent chick? Or maybe you're one of 'em too and you don't care who he goes around sticking it in because you guys are the same."

The guy spewing in Prince's direction is lucky that he's spewing it at Prince, and not somebody more prone to solving his problems with violence. Prince does look angry, however - his brow furrowing again. "Yeah. I've got a power. But don't ever talk to me like I use it for anything bad." His attention turns to the other man heading back towards the bar, his hand coming down on the man's shoulder. "Get out of here. Now. Don't let me find out he's right, or I'll make sure you find your way behind bars for good."

The 'Evolved' man frowns, glances between Prince and the angry man, but shrugs off the touch and heads away. He's smart enough to leave. The other guy shakes his head, fists clenched. "Fucking hell. You've got to be fucking kidding me. You're just gonna let him walk? Fuck you. You think you're some kinda hero?"

Before Prince can even get an answer in, Nadira's the one that replies, glancing over from where she's leaning against the building. "Honestly, out of the three of you I'd think he's the only one who is. Are you even listening to what you're saying?"

Prince was about to open his mouth, but stops when Nadira interjects herself into the conversation. He listens to her, then shakes his head. "No, he has a point." Then he turns back to the angry man. "Look. You may be right. But without any evidence, there's nothing I can do. And getting in a fight is just going to make matters worse for you. Dispensing your own justice is not any better than someone commiting a crime, whether they're Evolved or not." His words are polite, and sound quite legitimate, like they come from some place close to heart. "Just cool off, buddy. Alright?"

"Oh, right, and you're the master of all good advice." The man snaps, peering at Prince. And then he peers at Nadira. "And you can stay out of this too. No one asked for your opinion." He looks back at Prince. "I'm not the rapist here. If a girl wants to come home with me, cool. I don't go in there with some goddamn ability and try and convince women to drink more and then convince them to come home with me. They don't even get the chance to say no with asshole like that." He looks to Nadira again. "And you say he's the hero? I'm just just trying to make sure chicks like you don't get taken advantage of and everyone jumps on me."

"I didn't jump on you. Hell, you're lucky I didn't lay you out for assuming that anyone with an ability is going to be an asshole. The world isn't black and white, pal." He turns to face the guy completely, clearly looking to vent something off his chest. "Yeah. I'm Evolved. You know what else? I'm also a doctor. I save lives for a living. I served my country in Iraq. I saved a lot of their lives. Some I saw die." He takes another step towards the guy, almost face to face. "I bleed just like you. If you want to find out, try something. Otherwise, mosey the hell out of here." Whether the guy leaves or not, he turns around to shake his head at Nadira. "Sorry. You alright?"

It's one thing to be yelling at some guy outside a bar, it's another to be yelling at a doctor/war veteran who just happens to be Evolved. The man blinks, face flushing red. "Sorry dude…" He mutters, scuffing a foot on the ground before he moves away, heading off.

As Nadira's addressed, the Egyptian woman shakes her head a little. "I'm fine. No need to worry about me or apologize for anything. Thanks for breaking that up. I couldn't decide if I quite wanted to wade into that territory myself…"

Prince gives the guy a nod as he moves away. He may not like the way the guy went about it, but he still appreciates what he tried to do. "Don't worry about it." Then his attention is back to Nadira, and he just throws his arms in the air like he doesn't know what's going on. "Yeah, well. I didn't have much of a choice. I almost got knocked over. Still.. I abhor violence. Which is ironic, considering the jobs I've found myself in lately. You probably don't want to hear about that, though. My name is Jeremy." He extends a hand and offers a charming smile. Not that it's meant to be charming, all his smiles are just like that.

The hand is accepted, and Nadira smiles in response. "Nadira. I can't say I'm much of a fan of violence myself, so I'd have to say that I appreciate you managed to handle that without incident." She pauses. "You say that like a man who wants to talk about something but doesn't have someone to listen. I wouldn't mind hearing about your recent job situations, if you'd like to talk about them. I'm a pretty decent listener."

"Yeah, well.. for a minute there, I thought the guy was going to clock me one. I appreciate that it went by without incident, too. And no, nothing like that. If I was desperate for someone to talk to, I'd go see a therapist. I simply meant that judging by your being out here, and not in there, that you're a little tired of gentlemen coming up to you and trying to talk to you." He looks you over for a moment, then lets out a sigh. "Well. I see you've led a colorful life. If you promise not to use those lying skills on me, I promise I'll buy you a drink."

"Well, I'm glad he didn't clock you. I'm not much of a doctor. It might've been easier if he clocked me instead, at least then the doctor'd be on the right end of things." Nadira offers a smile. "I'm used to hearing people out. It's kind of nice, really. Hearing people's stories. I'm just out here cause it's a little crowded and most of them in there don't want to share stories, just numbers or pick up lines." She frowns suddenly at the mention of her 'colorful life' and lying. He had mentioned being Evolved. Either that or he somehow figured out… "I haven't lied to you since we've been talking." She points out. "But you're welcome to venture inside for a drink on your own. It's like walking through a sea of potential gropes all of which can be blamed on the excuse of being bumped or merely 'accidental'. Not that I don't appreciate the offer. Because I do. I'd just rather stay out here."

Prince rubs his temple with one hand, then the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you. It's just that everybody I've been bumping into of late seems to be.. well, colorful. We all have our pasts. Let's not dwell on them right now." He smiles again, trying to assuage the situation with his pearly whites. "I can stay out here. I was just looking for a drink, but I think I'll skip getting groped just to get one. I'll take some conversation instead." He moves to lean against the wall, mimicing your earlier stance. "Like I said, I used to be in the military. Reserves. I joined to pay for medical school. Now I work.. well, let's just say I'm part of group of Evolved people that are like.. peace keepers. We don't make arrests, but we keep things in line. I don't like the violence, but somebody needs to keep everybody back together." A pause. "I don't think it would have been good if he hit you. I'd have to face my aversion to violence to make him pay for that, if it happened."

Nadira gives a small nod towards him, settling against the wall next to him. "I would've punched him right back. Couldn't have been that much stronger than me." She chuckles. "Besides, if he'd decked you, he might have messed up that nice smile of yours. Would be a shame. Hard to doctor your own face." She leans her head against the wall, shutting her eyes for a moment. "So you keep things calm? Safe? Sounds like not too bad of a thing. Most stuff I've seen here has been… a lot more complicated than that." Her eyes open again. "Did you get to see combat, when you were over in Iraq?"

Prince rests his head against the wall, but keeps his eyes open. His hand get tucked into the back pockets of his jeans. "I've had to patch myself up on more than one occassion. But yeah, I think you could have taken him no problem." Clearly, he means that, and he's not just being nice. At the question of seeing combat, his eyes do close. "Yes. But mostly I saw confusion and fear. A lot of the soldiers don't want to be there. They aren't afraid of fighting, or dying for their country. They just don't know why they're there. And a lot of the locals.. they were just as afraid. It's not the way the world should be. But.. I'm not a hero. There's not much I can do, but like you said.. do what I can to keep people safe."

Nadira looks over at him, watching him quietly as he talks about the soldiers. "There needs to be a better word than hero. It has gotten more than one meaning and not all of them are the best. I suppose it would be more apt to say you're heroic. Or that you, at least, have a sense of morality. It's been a while since I've seen something like that. Maybe courage is more of the word for it." She lets out a slow breath. "I think it's noble, at least, to even want to keep people safe." There's a bit of a dry laugh. "I just get them drunk."

Prince keeps his eyes closed, just listening and nodding now and then to Nadira's words. At the very least, they seem to relax him. When she is finished speaking, he opens his eyes back up and turns his head to face her. "Yeah. I saw that. Bartending, huh? I suppose that's better than thievery." He shoots a grin, the corners of his eyes creasing as he does. "I should explain. My ability.. I can read people's skills, and then replicate them. So if I wanted, I could be as good a thief as you are."

She studies him for a moment. "That would explain a few things." Nadira murmurs, though there's a tiny smile. "You wouldn't be a very good thief, then. I never actually did much of the stealing. Usually the distracting. I'm pretty good at that." There's a pause. "That sort of thing will end up getting you killed, though."

He smirks, then laughs. "I never said you were a good thief. I said I could be as good as you. I should say.. exactly as capable as you. I can do anything you can, with the same level of skill." He pushes off the wall with a shrug. "Oh, I'm careful. Besides, if I wind up facing somebody who could kick my ass.. well, I'm just as good as them." A pause as he lets out a sigh, his hand coming up to fumble with a gold ring held by a chain around his neck. "In the grand scheme of things, however.. it wouldn't be such a horrible fate."

"What wouldn't be such a bad fate? Death?" Nadira raises an eyebrow curiously, and she notes the chain. That's got her attention for the moment. "I would be polite and not ask, but it'll bug me for a long time if I don't at least make the attempt." She gestures to the chain. "Don't have to tell me a thing if you don't want to."

Prince nods. "Yeah. I've seen lots of it. On a personal level, it is a terrible thing. On a grander level.. it's less important." He looks down at the chain and the ring, and lets go. Apparently he didn't even realize he was playing with it. "Wedding ring. I used to wear it. That's all I'd like to say about it."

"Death, I suppose, you get used to. Seeing it, I mean. That's what they say, at least. When it's personal, things change, but… I suppose I'm a coward for running from it." Nadira murmurs, leaning her head back to look u at the sky. "Ah," Nadira comments about the ring, though there's still a faint smile. "You seemed the type." She purses her lips. "Looks good, though. Guy like you wouldn't have to look far to pick up someone in a bar. Me? I don't think I'm the marrying type. I'm not the type of girl someone brings home to their mother." She pauses.

"I wouldn't say that. I may be able to tell you've had to develop some shady skills in your life with my ability, but I can see with my own eyes that you're not a bad person." He offers a smile along with his consoling words. He looks confused for a moment, though. "What type are you talking about?"

"I'm independent. I talk back, I flirt, I don't mind having drinks and I can hold them just fine. I never let people see much of who I really am, I run away instead of asking for help, and I'm just mysterious enough to be the amazing girl from that one bar that you shared a wonderful night with and forgot her name and face the next morning." Nadira chuckles. "I'm that girl, my own fault I suppose." She peers at the sky. "And I can tell I've had a few because normally people don't even get that much out of me."

Prince waves his hand dismissively as she labels herself. "None of that is terrible. Really. I've met women who would sooner take you home, get everything they can out of you and then skin you alive. Trust me, you're a regular Isis compared to those women. That's not what I meant, though. You said I seemed the type. What did you mean?"

Nadira turns to face him a bit more, standing up straight. "Well, as a bartender, I see a lot of types. You're the type of guy who would see the attractive woman in a bar, notice that she's really, really drunk, and instead of trying to get her to go home with you, you'd give her your coat and then you'd get her a taxi and make sure she got home. Succinctly, you're a gentleman. You're a doctor, so that means you care for people, but you're also a veteran so you have an extra appreciation for life and how short and how important it can be. You're just charming enough to avoid being that 'nice guy' who never gets the girl and finishes last. You're the kind a girl could marry and be happy with." She peers at him curiously. "Then again, I don't really even know you. But people-watching is what I do. Bartending's just the way that I do it. So I've got a hunch I'm at least on the right track."

Prince's cheeks turn a little red as you describe him, just a tinge of pink embarrassment on them. He raises a hand behind his head to rub it sheepishly. "Well, I'm not really sure what to say to that. I never really thought about it that way. I suppose I used to be that guy, and I'm trying to be again. But a lot of things have changed me lately. I'm still.. I'm still who I am, it's just been harder to be exactly what you say. I'm not even sure why I'm talking to you like this. At least you have the 'few drinks in me' excuse." He looks down, silent a moment. "You're on the right track though, for sure. You're probably even on the right train."

"Okay. Then I'll stay on it. You just tell me when it's the last stop." Nadira smiles, leaning fully against the wall again. "I'm good with these things. I got into bartending because I could see how the bartender got to be the one to see everything. I'm the one who sees the little secrets and when the guy comes in every week to leave with a new girl and he's got that bare spot where he's just taken off his wedding ring. Those are the things bartenders notice… and once I figured that out I decided to be one. I get to live in a world where I can see people's lives even when I'm not in them. Sometimes it's easier that way. Makes life simple, don't have to deal with them getting too close."

"So you say you used to be that guy, but now you've changed a lot. Something bad happened to you, or something big. Made you rethink how you live life. Maybe scared you a little but it probably made you realize, more than ever, that things aren't black and white. And maybe, just maybe, you began to question yourself and if anything you were doing was right."

She clears her throat. "So… this is the part where I really make a fool of myself and look like an asshole, because I'm bringing your wife into this. You didn't even notice you were touching the ring, so it's something you fiddle with. Maybe when you're thinking. But you'll keep it close because it still means something to you. You still care about her, or the memory of her, or the memory of what you had. She was important to you, obviously, because you married her but it hurt you a lot when you lost her. It wasn't your choice, most likely. I'd guess that she died, but I could be wrong. You don't have to tell me."

Prince moves back to the wall while Nadira speaks, bumping up against it and straightening himself out against it. He doesn't interrupt her, content to lift his ring up and examine it intentionally. Maybe the first time he's done so in a long time, and not out of habit. When she is done talking, he lets it fall back to his chest and looks up at the sky, trying to find a star in the city sky. "Bartender? You're in the wrong business. You should become a psychiatrist. Not everybody has such keen observational skills." He clears his throat, letting out a sigh. It looks like he's wrestling with whether or not he should say what is on his mind. "She died on November 8th. 2006. A long with many other people in Manhattan. She was in our apartment. We had a fight, I left to go on a job interview.. yes, she was very important to me. I was a derelict for years. Homeless. Living on the streets or in dirty trailers. But now I have a second chance. I'm not going to let her memory go away, but I have to move on, too."

"Trust me. I'm in the right business." Nadira turns her head to face him, looking over at him as she explains. "People talk to bartenders. People go to bars when they want to pick someone up or when they need to drown something out. Sometimes both. You get a little alcohol, you're loose-lipped. You can let it out. The bartender's there to listen, especially when there's no one else. You get someone who'll listen and understand, but you don't have to pay a hundred an hour, just a couple of drinks and a tip for the cute chick pouring. Call it charity." She smiles at him. "I'm sorry. About your wife. Even if you fought, though, it doesn't mean her last memories of you were of that. I think, when we die, that we remember things for the whole of what they were, not just a brief flash of something unpleasant. It's a good way to keep her memory, though, with that right there. That's exactly why you're the marrying type. Because you remember her even after she's gone. Because you honestly loved and that's rare." She clears her throat. "Sorry, guess I get a little talkative when I've had a few."

"Fair enough. Bartending it is." He pushes off the wall, reaching into his pocket to pull out a pen and a slip of paper. He scribbles something on it as he talks. "I think you're right about what we think when we die. At least, I like to hope so." He stops scribbling, tucking the pen away and offering the slip of paper. "My number. Call me when you'd like somebody to listen to your stories some time, instead of listening to everyone elses." He starts to walk away, but turns around mid stride. "You were wrong about one thing, though. Some people just like the taste of a good beer."

"Careful. I might just call you." Nadira replies, and the number is carefully tucked away. She watches him, unmoving from the wall until he turns and she smiles at the comment about the beer. "If that was all they were there for, they'd keep some at home. No one, in my experience, ever comes into a bar for just a good beer. There's always something more." With that, she pushes off the wall, moving slowly away to find herself a taxi.

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