The building is old, and the skeleton of it is historied, but it’s current use is scarcely less so, having been some variety of bar restaurant combo for most of its run.
Lucian has taken up many roles in the current establishment, but he’s always done well on the nightshift. Even as it seems during the holidays.
It’s early in the night like always it seems, when he sees a regular of his, slip in alongside a group of seasonal pub-crawlers. This regular, would frankly be too young by appearances, but got away with a correctly dated I.D.
They were, or he was more certainly of age given that, but the repetition of getting carded was never refused. It was expected, and if anything repetition gave way to familiarity.
“Here you go,” Lucian says, after what feels like the hundredth time and Arda takes his card back with flourish.
The only thing that could make the action more apropos was if Arda had bothered with any sort of clothing beyond what looked like flannels and an oversized night-coat.
“Do you have any blood-pudding this season?”, Arda asks, a usual order on his part.
“I think so. Do you want ice with that?”
“Yes. Obviously. How else am I supposed to celebrate? Shaved, remember.” Arda said, hoping to make the rather disturbing blood ice-cream
“Like a martini. I know.”
“Of course you do, it’s only so professional of you.” Arda says, before Lucian ducks out to the kitchen for his order. The other patrons were quicker to assist, but hardly as memorable as Arda’s general presentation.
Lucian for his part made a point not to judge, only to know. He knew to a level what Arda was, what kinds of things lived in the world, but it was just as likely that Arda was simply an old soul despite a perception of youth.
Lucian walks back out to find a similarly familiar face, that being of an equally chaotic man with a much more provocative physique. It was actually pretty rare to see the man during the night shift, as he usually ended up here in the morning hours after a full moon with a need for Tylenol and an implied abstinence from liquor.
Silver Volkov was to put it simply, not young enough to be carded. In fact he’d probably pour his own drink if you pulled the expectation.
To destroy all subtlety, if Arda clocked as a Vampire, then Silver Volkov had to be a werewolf.
“So, I’ve never seen you around here? When did you land on this side of town?” Mr. Volkov asks Arda, still waiting patiently for his pudding.
“I don’t know exactly. Honestly, it feels like I’ve been asleep most of the year.”
Mr. Volkov sniffs the air, which was expected given the season, “Don’t worry too much on it. Your sort tends to sleep a lot.”
“What, baby faces?”
“No, I meant the… Thirsty.” Volkov is too careful to say, “Sorry, you probably can’t smell too well now.”
“I’d assume you’re Hungry then?” Arda says, making a clarification.
“Not forgivably.” Volkov says, an admission that proved the point.
Real life rarely takes your mind’s wanderings as a joke. Lucian listens, knowing full well that staring would be rude even with the pudding in hand.
“I won’t ask if you won’t.” Arda says, looking over at Volkov, who couldn’t help saying something.
“So, how’d it happen to you?”
“Goodness, it was almost seven years ago. I wonder if it’ll count anymore if I stopped for that long.” Arda said, settling into a more dour mood.
“Did you want it?”
“I don’t know. Does it matter to you?”
“I’m not judging, if you did at the time. If you wanted some interest once. A liquid diet.”
“I wasn’t sure.”
“I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think one way or another about it. I didn’t beg. I didn’t fight. All I can remember… is letting it happen.” Arda admits quietly, “I let this happen.”
“Should I feel sorry for you?” Volkov says, with a long pause.
“I’m not sure.” Arda says, “Are you?”
“I wonder if you’d be sleeping the way you do, if you’d been that passive last time.” Volkov said, referring yet again to something old… it wasn’t all that old, but he acted like it was the mysteries of millennia rather than a messy break up.
“Passive, wouldn’t I just be a lying dog then?”
“Well, you let it happen”
“And a life like yours would save any trouble.” Arda laughs, “Hungry all the time, gnawing monster in your belly. Fighting demons, eating people.”
“While you sleep forever away!”
“It’s been 10 years, Silver. How you were back then, did you think I could put up with being your lapdog?”
“You shot me.” Volkov accuses.
“And you fucking deserved it. All those proclamations and you didn’t fucking die.” Arda scathed, “Just a little silver, I ain’t a bad shot. You lived because you wanted a forever with someone you didn’t love.”
It was a simple enough statement, though the notion that universal was right about anything was-
“Who are you to say that? Who the hell shoots anyone that matters?”, Volkov almost yells, but the other patrons are frankly too drunk to startle.
“I wanted to die.”
“I wanted to die… when you did that. When you tried to kill me. I shot you because I had no other choice. I didn’t want you to live with that. You kept saying, ‘I won’t live with that’ did you think I would either?” Arda admits, and its all clear to Lucian how this happened.
“Did you think I could go on without you?”
“You’re here now.” Volkov rebukes, but Arda would have none of it.
“So are you. Silver, whatever love you could have ever had back then. It wasn’t enough to kill you. You're still here, telling me I should feel guilty because I’m the wrong kind of monster now.” Arda looks over at Lucian, and he’s certain for a moment that he isn’t seen, “Because I’m not pure, or pathetic enough anymore to take a hungry fool at his word.”
“Pure, you wanna tell me about that?” Volkov says, and Arda continues.
Admitting at once to what had already been made obvious, “Don’t give me that tortured crap. I was younger than this once. You still wanted me then.”
“Ten years later you’re still getting carded.”
“Ten years later, you’re still unforgivably hungry.” Arda grumbles, “The older I get, the more sure I am that I was too young back then. And the more certain I am that you were of little merit.”
“Says the ‘girl’ who couldn’t wait four years.” Volkov says, and frankly yikes.
But Arda plays in, pulling in close to Volkov, “I don’t know, could you? Where were we when you took your spoils? When you said I tasted sweet.” There’s a slight smile, “Before you tried to eat me for real.”
Volkov shakes off the intrusive movement, as Arda says, “You still talk to me like this, even as our years apart pool together into a decade.”
“And why’d you walk in tonight? It can’t just be for a Cosmo and squeeze.”
“That makes sense, you’ve never gone out for dinner.” Arda points out, “You just wandered for the ease of it. Played in younger fields with little consequence.”
All was quiet for a moment while they re-kept their original distance.
“Lucian! your late with mine.” Arda yells over, and Lucian walks up with the black pudding and ice.
“Dang Wasan, did the turning make you English?”
“It’s Arda now.” he corrects before calling to Lucian, “Hey? Can you get this dog a bone?”
Lucian does, because that’s the kind of thing that ends up in the freezer of a grandfathered dive bar. Last call happens long about one thirty, but he doesn’t hear them say anything before or after they part ways.