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Sep 22, 2020 2:17 PM
Sasha and Fayna meet in a bar. This goes exactly as badly as you'd think.
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She takes a sip of honey beer. “Delicious as always! How’s your shift going?”

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"It's going well!" (This is true, and not just because he already has a place to sleep lined up for tonight.)

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“That’s really good! I’m glad.”

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"How's your week been, anything interesting happen at work?" He's keeping half an eye on the rest of the bar, but Fayna's close enough to a regular that it's not that weird to be focusing on her. 

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“Mm, no, nothing interesting, really. My work’s not quite as conducive to interesting stories as yours is—fewer people, more eyeglass screws. It was a good week, though! How was yours?”

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"It was fine. A few days ago three different people decided to hold parties here and it was packed with new faces, I haven't gotten that many weird looks in a single shift since I started working here, that was a time." He's smiling. 

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“Yeah, I can imagine. I’m sure I gave you a weird look the first time I saw you, too. It’s good you can smile about it.”

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"If you did you were subtle about it. It was mostly just funny, honestly, somepurple asked me if I was cosplaying or being political and it looked like he'd put money on it, the look on his face when I said I was just weird was great." 

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Oh good at least it’s not a political statement. “I wish I had seen it! I bet it was priceless.”

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"It was! Of course I didn't get pictures but I almost wish I had, you'd laugh. Beats the girl two weeks ago who started talking about caste abolition out of nowhere because she looked at my hair and thought it'd be small talk any day."

As soon as he says it he really hopes she's not an abolitionist, but the way she'd asked if the dye was for a cosplay makes him think that probably she isn't. 

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“Yeah, I can imagine it would! I went through an abolitionist phase when I was two, but even then I don’t think I would’ve started talking about it out of nowhere like that. Having worse social skills than a two-year-old has got to be, like, an achievement.”

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"In her defense this was after two of those frothy fruit drinks, and her friends were very apologetic about it, but you sure would think!" (His accent is coming through more strongly than usual, he's trying to correct for it but not getting all the way there.) 

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Fayna giggles. “Well, I hope most of the people here treat you better than that, frothy fruit drinks or no.” Her voice is casual but very sincere.

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"It wouldn't be so memorable if they didn't, it's one of the things I like best about this bar." He's looking her directly in the eye; he sounds just as sincere as she did. 

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She breaks the gaze before he does. “Well. As long as you like it.” And then she smiles and looks at him again, as though the entire exchange hadn’t happened. “—um, what’s the best story you have of that kind of thing, then?” 

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"Oh, gosh. Um, this was before I was working here, but about six months ago someone came up to me and wanted to know why I'd dyed my hair. And I gave the standard spiel about how I'm kind of weird and want to look like it, and she goes, I kid you not, 'why are you denying your purple identity?'" 

His accent has gotten noticeably thicker as he's been talking. 

"And I stopped and kinda looked at her for a moment because what the hell do you say to that, and she goes 'well, why are you?' 

And I don't remember if I said anything and I definitely don't remember what I said, I just remember that five minutes later she was still glaring at my hair and my coworkers thought it was the funniest thing they'd ever seen." 

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"She said that to a stranger? Wow. I'm glad you like your job but, man, I am so glad my job doesn't involve talking to people." She laughs, a bit self-consciously, and takes a drink of her honey beer.

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"It has its benefits! Meeting people is fun, and the vast majority of people don't do that, and the percentage of people I meet who get offended about my hair here is lower than it would be if I were working just about anywhere else." 

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She finishes her drink! "Um, can I have another honey beer please?"

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She can! He is capable of recognizing when it is time to shut up. 

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Then she will drink her newly obtained honey beer! 

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At around 11:30, he gets a text and ignores it. 

At midnight, when his shift ends, he checks his phone and very quietly swears. 

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Fayna waves him over! “What’s up?”

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"Guy I was going to go home with has a work emergency. It's not a big deal, just." He tries very hard to make his tone convey that it is not in fact a big deal, but is thwarted by the fact that it's late fall and therefore it's cold enough outside that not having a place to go tonight is kind of a big deal. 

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“Oh. 

 

...You could, uh? Come home with me?” She tries to go for the right blend of sad and casual but is also thwarted, mostly by her own poor emotional concealment skills; it’s pretty obvious she’s closer to “hopeful but really nervous”.

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