Characters: Ronan (ronan_m) & Travis (travis_moore)
When: 5p.m.-6p.m, 12-28-03
Where: Club Excalibur
What: Travis shows Ronan his ability as bartender.
Rating: PG-13 (swearing, themes)
Ronan: Ronan checks his watch. Five o'clock. He's sitting one on of the stools at the bar, facing the door, a cardboard box on the countertop behind him.
Club Excalibur looks so different without the music on, Ronan thinks, the lights dancing silently by themselves. He still needs to replace that bulb Travis had popped earlier, but he smiles at the thought.
It's going to be fun, having Travis around. Ronan can already tell.
Where is he, anyway? Quietly, Ronan laughs. Of course he won't be right on the dot, down to the second. You set your standards too high, sometimes, Ronan chides himself.
Travis: He's ridiculously nervous. There's no reason to be, he chides himself, as he hurries to cross the street. His hands are in the pockets of his coat, shaking slightly, even as he jogs to be on time.
He thinks, maybe it's all because he wants the job so badly. He likes Ronan, likes the feel of the club. He liked walking in a crowd of mutants (even more than he'll ever fully admit to himself).
The door is unlocked, no bouncer, when he gets there. He opens the door and smiles when he see Ronan at the bar, waiting for him. He crosses the distance between them.
Ronan: The door cracks open, and there he is. With a smile, Ronan looks down and checks his watch again as Travis’ sneakers come into view.
“Not bad,” he says, half-jokingly. “Two minutes late, but not bad at all.” He smiles to show there’s been no real foul, and reaches behind for the box. From inside he pulls out a gray and black pile of neatly folded clothes.
“Uniform.” He shows it Travis. “It should fit you, but if not, there’s some more in the back.” He holds the garments out expectantly.
Travis: "You guessed my size?" Travis asks, taking the uniform.
Ronan: Ronan smirks. “We’re about the same height, so I just figured…” he shrugs.
Travis: "Yeah, but you've apparently had a lot more beers in your lifetime than I have." He's grinning while he says it, but the grin quickly fades when he realizes Ronan might not have the same sense of humor as him.
Ronan: “Hey,” Ronan grins. “Don’t knock the beer-belly. Mine’s practically non-existent, anyway.” He looks down at himself, smoothes a hand down his chest and stomach.
A little half-smile twists his lips when he looks back up. “And is that the way to talk to your future manager?”
Travis: The way Ronan just rolls with everything makes Travis relax, even if just slightly. The club without all the people and music, is intimidating, and less dreamlike than it was last night. He's more on guard now, something that frustrates even himself, as he doesn't want to be. Maybe all the liquor he drank the night before can explain why he was much more comfortable last night.
Realizing he should say something, or do something, he just smiles and says: "Hey, sorry, I didn't know it was such a sensitive subject."
Ronan: Ronan waves the apology off. “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’m tough,” he smiles, and pushes off from the stool to stand. He nods in the direction of the bathroom and heads that way, motioning for Travis to follow.
“You can change in here,” he says, coming to a stop in front of a black-painted door marked ‘Men’s’ in glued-on, plastic bronze lettering.
Travis: One thing he never really understands is how such big places can have one room bathrooms, no stalls, just a toilet and a sink, and get away with it. Maybe they've got more some place. He doesn't really known much of the layout, other than the bar. He should ask for a tour later.
Deciding his mind should learn to focus on things not so unimportant, he pulls off his shirt. Doesn't look down, never does, not at the scar from Adam, not at all those other ones, some he put there, some others did. He pulls on his shirt, wondering if it's healthy to avoid shit that's on your own body, but then reminds himself that he can't think of this now, he's got to get this job, he wants it too much. Of course, the shirt won't button. Too tight.
"It's too tight," He calls through the door.
Ronan: “Damn,” softly, under his breath, as he hears Travis’ voice. “It should fit,” he says, pushing the door open and stepping in, not at all concerned about seeing another man half-naked.
“I can’t be that much bigger than you…” he trails off, reminding himself to stop being so vain.
At first, he’s too engrossed in examining the shirt, pulling at the shoulders to try and make it fit, that he doesn’t pay attention to Travis’ actual skin.
Travis: "It's not going to fit..." He says, voice kind of half there. Maybe he won't notice. Or will notice and not ask, though he's not sure what's better.
"M-Maybe it was marked wrong? Try another one?"
Well, if Ronan doesn't notice the scars (thank god the sleeves cover his arms all the way down to his wrists, he's not ready to handle that trauma yet), he's bound to notice the sweating and the shaking. And the stutter.
Ronan: He sees the scars. How can he not? Ronan’s pulling the lapels of the shirt in, and he sees the scar on Travis’ left side. Bites his tongue, afraid to ask.
Maybe he doesn’t want to know.
And by the way Travis is stuttering, all nerves again, Ronan knows Travis isn’t at all comfortable with his close-proximity, or the way the scars are in plain sight.
“Yeah,” Ronan finally says, snapping his eyes away from the angry mark on Travis’ side. “Yeah, I’ll get another one.” And he walks out, to the back, his steps heavy.
Travis: When Ronan is gone, he lets out the breath he didn't know he was holding. He's only vaguely proud of himself for not dimming the lights, or stopping them entirely when Ronan came in. He could have. Maybe he should have. But he made a promise that he wouldn't hurt Ronan's club, if not aloud to Ronan, than to himself.
Still, the lights flicker just a little when he turns and slams an open palm into the tiled wall. Hard enough to sting, not hard to really hurt anything --wall included.
He's still flushed when the door opens again, but this time he's got the shirt pulled over him as much as he can.
Ronan: “Hey,” Ronan walks back in, shutting the door softly behind him. He hands Travis another shirt, and manages to trudge up a steady smile. “This one should fit.”
He wants to ask, as he sees Travis has tried to cover more of his skin, the scars, but it’s not his place. He won’t ask, not until Travis is ready to tell.
But maybe it wouldn’t hurt to offer some sort of an acknowledgement so they won’t have this awkward air around them, or have to tip-toe around eachother.
“So,” he pauses to consider his next words carefully. “Bicycle accident? Skiing injury?” he asks, and knows he doesn’t have to explain what he’s talking about.
Travis: "Like you'd get my stupid ass to fly down a mountain," He mumbles, turning his back, feeling stupid for it, Ronan's seen a lot.
He pulls off the shirt quick, can't let him see his wrists, or he'll never get out of this fucking bathroom with any sort of dignity (dignity, he decides, is not the right word), and pulls on the new one. This one is going to be too big, he knows it already.
"I, uh," He clears his throat, buttoning the shirt with his back to Ronan, hands still shaking just a little, praying Ronan didn't see the more embarrassing set of scars. "In high school. This kid, a mutant, he attacked everyone. Got hit with whatever the fuck was coming out of his hands." That should be enough, he wants it to be enough, so why does his mouth keep moving. "My brother died because he tried to shove me out of the way."
Finished with the buttons, sure that Ronan won't see more than he already has (unless, of course, he saw his wrists), he turns around. He can't look directly at Ronan, and yeah, the lights are kind of flickering, just a little.
He jumps when the hand dryer turns on. 'Control my ass,' he thinks.
Ronan: Ronan almost smiles as the dryer turns on, but he forces his face to remain calm, collected. Understanding. Because he does understand.
“Oh,” is all he can think of to say, but it seems extremely inadequate of a response. “I’m sorry about your brother. I – ” don’t know how it feels, because I haven’t lost a brother, and I don’t pity you, but I don’t think keeping all of this bottled up inside is good for you, either. But he doesn’t say it, doesn’t say any of what he really wants to.
Instead, he says, “My parents disappeared while on vacation in Russia. They’re dead, supposedly.” And he doesn’t know where it came from, but that it needed to be said.
The wounded give comfort in exposing their wounds, in licking them clean. Wolves do that, Ronan thinks. And – he thinks – I don’t know what else to say. There are scars, he knows, along Travis’ arms.
He doesn’t have to see to know there are marks on his wrists. It’s a silent understanding brought on from a feeling and a place he is all too-familiar with, but that was in the past, and even though he’s moved on, he hasn’t forgotten.
Travis: Travis feels himself nod. "I'm sorry," He says, and he knows it's just as futile as Ronan telling him that he's sorry.
He crosses the room and shuts of the dyer, can't resist a slight grin. "Told you, emotional stress." He says, by way of explanation, trying pitifully, to lighten the mood.
Ronan: “That’s pretty cool, actually,” Ronan says and smiles. Now that the tension seems to be somewhat dispelled, his attention is drawn to the shirt again. This time, a bit large, but it’s the next biggest size he’s got, and anything else will only be larger.
“That’ll have to do,” he says, and moves to straighten out Travis’ shirt, pulling the collar neatly into place. “Anything else, it’s going to be bigger. Maybe you could put it through some extra cycles in the wash to shrink?” He can’t help but laugh a little, as he steps away.
Travis: Travis shrugs. It's comfortable this big, even if the sleeves are a little long, going over his fingers just a little, he'll have to push them back a little while bartending, but otherwise, it's generally how he likes to wear his shirts.
"It's fine, if you're okay with it."
Well, at least his hands have stopped shaking. Of course, he wants to bolt from the room, but they've still got a lot to go over before the crowd comes.
Ronan: “Oh yeah,” Ronan nods, moving towards the door and opening it. “It’s fine with me.” He steps outside, motioning for Travis to follow.
“Now let’s see how well you are behind the bar,” Ronan says, once they’ve reached the bar, gesturing for Travis to go behind the bar and make himself at home, while Ronan sits himself down on the stool on the other side.
“You said you bartended before, so you should know everything that’s there. Look around, familiarize yourself with where everything else. To be honest,” Ronan leans on the counter with his elbows, grinning faintly, and winks. “I don’t care, as long as you can make a killer surfer on acid. Which,” he pauses, and leans back, “I think I’ll have, right now.”
Travis: Travis is full out grinning as he reaches for the right bottles. This is more his style, where he's more at home, removed by a bar, at a distance from everyone. Even if it is his boss he's glad to be separated from. It takes him a minute to find everything he needs.
"Worked in Florida once, at this bar. This girl came in and kept ordering two shots of these, kept making me do one with her each time. She said she was amused by it because she liked watching surfers." He puts down a shot glass, making a mental note of where they are, and pours out a shot. He leaves what's left in the shaker and pushes it to the side. "I was trashed by the end of the night. Last time I every even tried to keep up with the costumers."
He slides Ronan the shot.
Ronan: Ronan takes the shot, throws it back. Grins, big, wide, feeling the shot slide down his throat.
“Hey, that’s great.” He says, pleasantly surprised. “Florida, huh? That’s a long ways…” he trails off and sets the glass back down on the counter top. He happens to glance at his watch, and realizes their hour is almost up, it’s almost time to open.
With some effort, he pushes himself up and crawls over the bar, landing next to Travis. Hunching down, he turns on the music and it immediately fills the empty space of the club, an almost tangible entity. The lights become a little sharper, a little brighter.
Ronan grins, straightening up and turning to Travis. “You’re on tonight, Travis. Try and have a good time.”
Travis: Travis smiles. "Thanks."
He doesn't like the silence, even if it's being filled with music, there's still silence between them. He wants to ask something, something he shouldn't, but curiousity is evil, and he has to. Because it's been bugging him since their meeting yesterday --when he wasn't busy being nervous.
"Can I ask you something?"
Ronan: Ronan has his most harmless and encouraging smile on. “Sure.”
Mentally, he’s pulling up all possible responses to all possible questions, regarding his powers, his parents, even the club. It can’t be too bad of a question.
Travis: "It's not really my place to ask, but curiosity killed the cat and all..." Right, close mouth, breath in slowly, stop rambling. "That guy, Joey. He said you guys had a deal. What was he talking about?"
There, out in the open. At least now he can either get an answer or not and move on with his life, hoping he hadn't pissed off Ronan too much.
Ronan: That stops him short.
“Joey…well.” He’s debating with himself whether or not he should spill, but it would be better if he does. It’s bound to come up, sooner or later.
“Joey and I sort of had a relationship. I – met him, when I used to push counterfeit drugs. This was when I first got here and had hardly any money.” He pauses to sort through his thoughts. Some things, he won’t mention at all.
“Joey was, he was in pretty bad shape. Couldn’t control his powers very well, beat up anyone who even looked at him the wrong way. Drank too much, which is kind of ironic that I got him a bartending job.” Ronan stops to smile a little, slightly wistful in his expression. “Anyway, he was jobless then, too. Except when I decided to get a job, I made nice with the boss of this club, and he didn’t. I had to make a deal with him that I’d get Joey a job here, if Joey didn’t touch another alcoholic drink ever again.”
Ronan looked down at his feet, purposefully avoiding Travis’ eyes, and slipped out from behind the bar. He started toward the door and the switch to the neon light outside there, flicking it on just as the bouncer walked in.
“Guess that deals broken, now.” He says, over his shoulder, loudly enough for Travis to hear.
Travis: 'Okay, now I feel like a dick.' He thinks, but doesn't say that. No need to make Ronan think it if he doesn't already.
"I shouldn't be handing out alcohol either, but ya do what you have to make money. Bartending was not that guy's forte, though. Maybe ask him if he wants to work here doing something else? Plenty of stuff to do around here. Fix light bulbs, maybe?"
He adds the last part in as a joke, hoping to lighten the mood. He feels like a jerk, even more now, for being the reason Joey was fired.
Only after his mouth is closed does he think 'what kind of relationship?' He decides he's not ready to ask that yet.
Ronan: Ronan smiles, back on the other side of the bar now, facing Travis. He didn’t elaborate on their relationship on purpose; he doesn’t think they know eachother well enough for that, at least not yet. Maybe tomorrow night, maybe after a few drinks.
“Yeah, fixing light bulbs! Doesn’t sound too bad, actually!” he has to raise his voice over the music, now that a pounding song has come on. It won’t be another ten minutes or so before people start trickling in.
“Don’t worry,” Ronan says, and winks, positive that Travis must be curious. “There’s not much to tell about Joey and me, only that I can do better.”
He knows it can mean any number of things, and that’s why he says it.
Travis: Travis smiles and nods, not sure exactly what to say. To tell the truth, after all of what's happened in the past day (it's been less than twenty four hours, he realizes), he doesn't really care what Joey and Ronan's relationship was.
"So, any last minute advice, and or rules?"
A definite subject change, but it's a very valid question, considering what time it is.
Ronan: Ronan considers the question.
“Well, if you see someone obviously over their limit, don’t give them anymore drinks. Be strict about it, but be as civil as possible. Check for ID’s if you think they look underage. Don’t mix up the clean with the dirty glasses, and make sure people pay.” Ronan pauses to grin, shaking his head. “You won’t believe how many times Joey was swamped and forgot to take people’s money.”
Travis: Travis laughs. "Cool." Inside, he's relieved that the rules are the same as any place. There's a weird familiarity to being behind a bar, one that he likes. Or maybe, it's the club he's standing in that feels familiar.
Either way, he doesn't have time to consider it, as the doors open and the first few people come in.