Common Problem

Title: Common Problem
Time Period: June, 127 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: However little two people have in common, they can help each other with a similar situation.

The port town of Grimsby has a few unsavory establishments. The middling one would be a mix between a tavern and a whore house all at once. Tables are filled with dockworkers, sailors and townies all, both male and female, with the serving ladies both overly friendly and dressed to please the eye. Drinks flow, a haze of smoke comes from one side of the tavern, and the music from the corner piano is mostly drowned out by the laughter, the coughing and loud talking.

The doors burst open. Three men all dressed similar lead a younger, scrawner teen into the establishment. All are dressed in work clothes, dark jump suits with boots that carry a smell of animals. Not that the dock workers or the ship captains smell like roses, themselves.

"Ladies, we've got some fresh meat for you," one of the older men cries out over the sounds, pushing the teen forward until he stumbles, looking back with wide brown eyes at the three men who block the door. His mouth works as if he's trying to speak, but any sound that may have come out is covered up.

"Blackburn here has never been with a lady. Eighteen is too old, wouldn't you say?" They certainly are making a scene as they push the dark haired boy further in and force him down into a chair at a table. "And I don't think he's ever drank either." Two strong hands stay on the teens shoulders, keeping him in the chair as he continues to have false starts at trying to speak.

A lot of people are too engrossed with their own thing, but not all…

Sitting near on the bar, is a young lady that looks a little too young to be drinking as much as she is. Her tinkling laughter bubbles over the voices as she playfully slaps at a gentleman trying to reach to her ankle. Placing her booted foot against his shoulder, she pushes him back while making an earnest effort not to jab him with the heel.

"Stop~" she giggles and reaches for a decanter of pale liquid, likely white wine. Having no glass in her other hand, the lip of the bottle goes to her mouth and she takes a long drink. "My da's going to be here soon, what'll he say if he finds me among such letcherous company?"

It's an empty threat as it's more likely her father has no idea where she is.

Her head perks to the challenge of the man across the bar and she waves. "Bring him over here! I have wine~." The invitation is as sweet sounding as the drink, sung as though from the lips of a siren. Luna crosses her legs at the knee and kicks out her heel, twisting her foot to becon the stablemen over.

"Well would you look at that," one of the men says in his crisp southern accent, leaving over the boy with a laugh. The boy actually attempts something like a laugh, as if he's trying really hard to see the best in a thoroughly embarassing situation. But before he can get a word out, again, he's practically picked up out of the chair and pushed toward the stoll.

The teen stumbles a few steps, recovers and looks back. They motion him on, but at least they're not manhandling him anymore. Running a hand over short dark hair that sticks up a little, he takes a slow breath and looks back at the girl close to his age at least and offers a sheepish kind of smile that dimples a cheek.

"A— hi," he offers as he finally sits down. "Yer— uh— you don't look like— " He glances at the serving girls, who aren't shoving men away with their heels. If nothing else, he looks extremely tense.

Greyish blue eyes follow his to the trollops peddling their wares and Luna gives the teen a winning smile. "Oh, I'm not," she agrees with a somewhat coy tone in her voice, "I'm a lady." Then she laughs as though she'd been thrown into a bed of tickling feathers, the sparkling sound is inviting enough that a few people laugh along with her, without even knowing what the joke was.

Another drink is taken, this time a smaller sip before she holds the bottle out to the young man. "So you've never been with a lady? Or had anything to drink?" The silky shawl on her shoulder slips, giving the teen a glimpse of the pale skin at her shoulder and clavicle. At least she seems modest enough by the way that she pulls it up again to cover herself from chill. "Have some wine and relax, you look as though I'm about to eat you up."

Brown eyes meet hers for a brief moment, before looking down at the movement of her shawl. The slight flash of skin, however brief, colors his cheeks as he looks away. Cas' blush doesn't fade as she asks that personal question that the men he arrived with up and announced for him. It's the accusation he answers defensively, though. "I— I don't think you'd eat me up. I just don't like being… dragged places."

The nervousness that makes his voice a pitch higher doesn't really help with his denial.

"I— " For a second he looks as if he's going to say no to the offered bottle, but then he takes it, downs a gulp that makes him cough. Polite enough to cough away from the lady at least. When he recovers, his voice is hoarser. "So— ah— What's a lady like you doing in a place like this?" If it's a line, it's an accidental one.

"A lady like me," she banters back, a bit more flirtaceously than he, the blush caught and grinned at as she slides a little closer on the bartop. "A lady like me has come to get drunk before her father swoops down with all the wrath of a storm bringer and levels the place flat."

Reaching for the bottle again, she allows the shawl to fall to her waist. The ends draped at the crooks of her elbows keep it from going any further and she doesn't correct it this time. "And a gentleman like you is looking for a lady to be with, aye?" Swinging her leg around in a circle, she looks down at him as she take another drink to drain the last of the bottle.
"Another, this time this fine gentleman is buying it, we'll have more of the same."

Oh no, on him. There's a visible grimace as he looks at the barkeep, a plump lady who looks as if she eats half the food that makes it out of the kitchen. Cas reaches into one of the many pockets in his jump suit and pulls out some leather strips stamped with a horse shoe. Some have more stamps than others. "I don't have much," he admits, before the woman immediately takes the one stamped with the most and drops a bottle of wine.

From the grimace on his face, that was a lot of days of work right there in that strip. The rest disappear before she grabs them too.

"I'm not really looking for a lady… my lady," he says, glancing back at the men as if hoping they've become too distracted to block the door if he tries to get up and leave, but they're not. With an audiable sigh, he turns back around, seems to be doing his very best to avoid looking at bared skin, and hands her the bottle. "I'm Cas. Uh— Blackburn, my— uh— lady."

The young blonde seems oblivious to the man's monetary woes and proceeds to take a few nips from the fresh bottle before passing it down to him. She's close enough now that she could practically slip into his lap if she wished. "Luna Owens," she says offering her hand to him like a prim lady instead of a customer at this establishment.

"Either way, I don't think you'll be getting out of here without someone on your arm." Her eyes go to Cas' companions at the door and then to him. Taking the chance, she jumps into his lap with a very public squeak and wraps one arm around his shoulder. "So, I think, you and I have a very common problem, Mister Cas Uh— Blackburn. You can't leave without someone on your arm and I don't think I'll be able to get out without offers for company."

The hand is taken, though he self-consciously wipes his hand against the top of his jump suit as if he's sure it's dirty. Cas' hand isn't anymore dirty than most hands, but it is clammy. Especially from the nervousness still in his eyes.

The public squeak gets it's own accompanyment in the form of a surprised gasp. And at first he squirms, but that stops rather quickly as he freezes in place. "I— uh— " That's as far as his attempts at protest get before her idea processes. And when it does, his eyes widen and he looks behind him, to the stablemen. One of them immediately gives the teen a thumb-up of encouragement, but he looks back still surprised. And a little less nervous.

"So you want to act like we're— that's brillant. Perfect really. I can…" He looks from the girl to the men watching him. "We can go— uh— now?"

"Go now? You just bought a full bottle!" Luna's loud protest comes with a small wink to the young man before she wraps her other arm around his neck and kicks her feet into the air. "Oh you naughty thing, I hope you have enough of those leather strips to.." Tilting her ear toward him, she pretends to listen to something he says before squealing again in laughter.

Jumping off the stool, she grabs one of his hands with one of hers and the bottle with the other. "I'll have this." Proper compensation for her lovely party ending so soon, apparently.

Hugging herself to the arm she holds, she guides Cas toward the door and smiles at his companions. "If you'll excuse us, this fine gentleman is going to walk me to my room." Then she gives the man blocking their way a wink and a coy smile.

For a moment the ruse is hard to keep up, because Cas looks rather confused as he listens to her pretend laughter. She pulls him to his feet with the same startled expression, but he doesn't protest her taking the wine. It may be a small price to pay for the stablehands leaving him alone about his… status.

With him in tow, he follows along with his mouth still working as if he's trying to think of something to say. The men don't seem to see anything wrong with that, though. One of them steps closer and slaps him on the back rather hard. "Now you go learn how to ride, boy," he says in that loud voice that makes all the rest of the stablehands laugh at him.

After another step or two, he finally manages to say something. "Ow. That hurt." He glances back over his shoulder to make sure they're getting away— and they seem to be. "I— thank you, Lady Luna," he offers as they step out into the air, already trying to extract himself from her arm once the door is closed.

Luna doesn't protest Cas' aversion and desire to be away from her, she's too busy drinking wine. When the bottle comes away from her lips, she wrinkles her nose and shakes her head toward him. "You're not leavin' me out in the streets alone, are you?" Her tone is a little angry that he might actually have the audacity. "I said you were walkin' me to my room and you're going to."

Pulling her shawl up around her shoulders with one hand, she holds it at her neck to keep from getting a chill. "A fine gentleman you'll make," she complains as she leads the way by two steps, bottle swinging at her side. "I could be kidnapped and ravaged for all you care."

"What— of course I will— I didn't— I just thought— " That could go on for a while until Cas squeezes his eyes shut to try and dispell the embarassment of the situation. To help him recover, as soon as his eyes are open he's offering his arm out toward her.

"I'll walk you to your home, of course." He's trying really hard to recover from the embarassment. "I just didn't want you to think I… you know. Expected that you were going to… go through with the… you know. What you said back there." So much for getting over the embarssment.

He clears his throat. "So where do you live?"

"Dornie, have you ever been?" As hard as Luna tries to be conversational, her words pause and slow with each step she takes. It's as though she needs to concentrate on walking instead of splitting her attention with talk. She weaves down the street toward the better section of town, the one that Cas just came from, toward one of the more expensive inns. "But my da's doing some business here, probably trying to find a place to take me in."

She grows solemn at that point and throws the bottle of wine against one of the stone buildings they're walking past. There's no light or shout, nothing to acknowledge the anger that seems to be coming from the young woman. Without the acknowledgement, it's turned on Cas. "So you might be lucky enough to have me yet, Cas Blackburn, if my da' decides to leave me here to become respectable."

From the shake of his head, Cas has been to a place called Dornie, and perhaps never even heard of it. It's quite out of the way of places he's travelled. The anger causes him to jump before he looks back at the bottle, the many days of work thrown away. Not that he would even get much back for the bottle, but one never knows… He's not one to throw away anything.

"I— I doubt that you would— I'm sure you'd find other…" he trails off, actually moving closer to lay a hand on her upper arm. "You seem plenty respectable to me already…" he manages after a moment.

Respectable except for the place he met her.

"Really? Respectable?" Her grin is a little lopsided as she regards him and then the hand on her arm. She stops walking and looks up at him, her lips downturned just slightly and the quiver in her chin that just hints at the tears that might fall soon. "You met me in a tavern, drunk, and I was sitting on your lap."

But Luna doesn't turn away from Cas, instead she hugs the arm to her and rests her chin on his shoulder. "Did you like me sitting in your lap, Cas Blackburn? If I lived here in this town, would you visit with me often?"

"You were just doing it to help me," Cas offers rather quickly, reaching his other hand around to hover above her, until finally settling on patting her. Like he would a horse who needs encouragement. Not that he would tell her what that gesture means.

The patting stops as the depth of her question hits him, "I— I don't know… I— I don't think I could afford your taste in wine, for one," he says with hesitation, as if he's not sure that's something he should say at all. "But you did— give me a way out. If I want to go back to that… that place again, at least it will be on… you know, my terms." Unlike getting dragged there.

"We wouldn't need to drink," Luna supplies helpfully, reaching into a little purse with one hand to extract some handrolled cigarettes. "I know all the best herbs and they're so much better than drink anyway. They don't leave you feelin' all sloshy."

Placing one of them to her lips, she digs in again for a box of wooden matches, likely liberated from the tavern they just left. The spark and smell of sulfur disappate quickly in favor of the sickly sweet scent of the cigarette. She takes a few puffs before a long drag and holds her breath in as she passes it to him. "Have some," she manages, a few small clouds escaping before she expells the rest in a thick haze.

After a second where it looks as if he's considering saying no. Cas even glances around as if to check the street for people. There are a handful of people within sight, but all going about their own buisness. Hopefully none are thieves. When he looks back he hesitates a second longer before reaching out to take it, "So what does it do?" he asks, but doesn't wait for the answer.

The cigarette is placed between his lips and he inhales. Within seconds he coughs, managing to keep hold of the burning stick as he does. "Sorry— I don't— usually smoke." Obviously from the hoarseness and the desire to keep coughing.

"Some of the others do," he notes, but that doesn't help him with inhaling it too much himself. Still he tries to get a full inhale again without coughing. It only half works.

She doesn't answer right away, not until the cigarette is gone and an indeterminate has passed by (if only because it doesn't seem to matter anymore). All that is for certain is that the night watch has passed by the pair twice and each time Luna has waved him off with an uncouth yell.

"It makes me feel like a princess," she finally answers with a silly grin on her face. Reaching out, she takes Cas by the hand and places it on her cheek. "See? I feel like a princess, don't I?"

Letting go his hand, she places both of hers on his cheeks and slowly closes her eyes as she leans forward. It's a rather obvious pass made moreso by the time her lips brush against his. "You feel like a princess too," she murmurs. It's possible that she got her words mixed in the haze around them but it's also possible that her sentiment rings true.

Inside the haze, Cas may not have even noticed the amount of time that passed them by. The nervousness seems to melt away, and even the coughing doesn't happen as often anymore. The edges of his vision seem to have blurred, leaving only the center at all clear, and even then it seems to have a light to it. Which would seem stupid in retrospect since the little light in the street isn't bright.

A shiver can be felt as her lips brush his, both from sensation that seems to be a little hieghtened, and from the surprise. Surprise that doesn't make him fumble over his words this time. If nothing else, the herb seems to have helped his courage. Hands touch her, he leans in to make the brush more of a kiss, and he even speaks against her mouth. "Can I be a knight instead?"

A little giggle bubbles out of her, as light and sparkling as the one that first greeted him in the tavern. The kiss is broken and she shakes her head, negative. "Perhaps you can be the mad rabbit with those teeth that click against mine, aye?" She pulls away and takes a wobbling step toward the street, leaving him behind.

"It's time for you to go… I don't relish more kissing an' I ain't going to be the one you learn to ride. You can find another woman I'm sure," there's a measure of hurt in her voice, even as she insults the young man.

"Wha— " The teen starts as she pulls away, unconsiously following a few steps before he stumbles and catches himself. The world still seems fuzzy to Cas, at least in some places, but he did hear what she said. It takes some time for the jab to reach anything under the haze, though. "Oh," he says, touching his mouth with his hand, including his teeth that do stick out a little.

They weren't something he was ever self conscious about, but…

It takes a few long moments for him to shake out of the haze enough to really think. And even then it doesn't quite work. Dark eyes seem even darker when he can finally manage.

"Did you still want me to walk you home?"