Here is a bar. At it is a girl, late teens - ? - dressed in wide bands of black silk tied ragged edge to ragged edge in a neat pattern. There's a small owl on her shoulder and a stack of napkins at her elbow and she's nursing a cup of something steaming and spicy.
"I'm not planning on being quite that intimate with anyone. Ever."
He raises an eyebrow. "Well, luck with that, I suppose. Have you ever had a... significant other, I'll refrain from heteronormativity."
"Nah. I mean, that's a lower bar than soulgazing, but as it happens, no."
"Well, you're young yet. Do you intend to?"
"Maybe post-project?" Shrug. "I don't want to tell anybody what it is but it's the sort of thing I'd feel bad about not telling a significant other."
"What do you think of Harry?" he asks slowly.
"He seems perfectly nice... I mean, I haven't been chatting with him a lot, either, as you mentioned."
"True. I worry you haven't seen the best side of him; he's been grieving lately, you might have noticed. It takes a lot out of him."
"He has seemed kind of run down. What happened?"
"A... friend. Sheila. I was away on business, and he managed to have some kind of apocalyptic battle with the White Court, and she... died. To give him the time to save everyone else." He coughs. "He's never been good with loss. Much less someone else sacrificing themselves for him; he always wants to be the one taking the bullet."
Nod. "I'm sorry."
He snorts. "By rights I should be the depressed one. I actually liked her; he always kept her at arm's length, thought she was dangerous. But he's awfully sensitive, and I'm not the one who saw her crumble to dust." He pauses. "Also because I'm a heartless bastard, but, you know. Keep the blame on others."
"He thought your friend was dangerous?"
"Mm. Not that she wasn't, you understand. She was very dangerous. But most of our friends are dangerous, and she at least held the rare distinction of only having tried to kill him once."
"Your friendship filtration methods may leave something to be desired."
"I did mention I was trying to befriend you. You seem a very stable and nonmurderous type of person, and may well represent the dawn of a new era in the Dresden family's acquaintanceship."
"I do avoid trying to kill people! I have good qualities like that."
He exhales. "Good lord I got sidetracked. This is an absolute mess of a conversation."
"Sidetracked from what? I thought this was just sort of general getting-to-know-you?"
He waves a hand. "Oh, sort of. I was mostly trying to sound you out to see if I could hook you up with Harry, but all things considered it seems unlikely. At this point it might just as well be getting-to-know-you time."
"...He seems perfectly nice and... it's kind of weird to tell a guy's identical twin that the guy is cute... but, yeah, high threshold of trust thing, secret project, etcetera."
He flashes her a smirk. "Thanks, by the way."
He sighs heavily and lounges with affected suffering. "Honestly, some people. One woman fakes her death to live the life he wanted to live, another's condemned to a miserable half-life as a monster, and suddenly love is dead." He cocks his head. "I suppose you might count Sheila as well. So that's at least a pattern, but it's not much of one."
"I mean, if this is the kind of result people Harry falls in love with wind up encountering..."