1965-02-02 - Hafez and Rum
Summary: Drinking is good for the body, and music for the soul.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lucian bucky 


Thereis still an assassin working here. His work for SHIELD…it hasn't increased the tally of sins on his ragged banner of a soul, which is relieving, if one has a care for what remains of his moral compass. Less often than he did, of course, SHIELD has its demands, as do the kids…but there's a relief in being somewhere where he's just Jack, and no one asks more of him than to serve a proper drink and be polite to the polite customers and suitably forceful with the ones that want to start trouble. He's so very good at starting trouble, and just that much better at finishing it. It's near closing time, and he's helping clean up and set things in order for the next day. Dressed in one of those better suits, if not the prize Rogue gave him. That's for special occasions, like Paris and maybe marriage. Humming to himself under his breath, not apparently cognizant that he's doing it, for what he's humming is 'The Sacred War'.

*

Given the job placement in the beginning of All, Lucian cares very much for every last soul in keeping. Tallies matter, as much as they do to the eldritch powers of the many hellscapes swished under his particular province. Might being what it is, he measures up those associated with Lux closer than others. Call it a point of insight, where necessary.

Grandeur and glory survive in many forms in this city choked in splendours and ambitions. No one is likely to assume flipping over a record for the turntable on the advanced sound system is one of those glories, nor that a thin bottle capped in plain wax amounts to much. Ana's excitement will be noted in an ebullient laugh and hands clapping, were she not currently having a moment with a caramel saute and licking her fingers vigorously clean after braising some nonsensical pudding dessert to the right layer of consistency.

"Boil over like a wave. This is the peoples' war, a sacred war," mutters that golden-haired man wiping down the bar. That alone might be enough for him to partake of a smirk, for who knows better of sacred wars than he? Black wings shall not dare fly, no? Something to puzzle over.

*

He's far from too proud to refrain from any type of housekeeping, and now he's finishing inspecting and cleaning the booths. All swept out for now, though he comes over with a glittering sapphire bracelet in a leather-covered palm. "Someone'll be asking for this tomorrow, I bet," he says, with a grin, proffering it to Lucian. The scent of caramel has him sniffing the air - the wolf's that much more sensitive to scent than he was, though he's rarely terribly conscious of it.

*

Sapphires will indeed bring someone running back into the ready arms of a dusky-skinned woman absent a soul and much compassion for the world. Lucian spritzes that orange and lemon cleaner he's been using for a few days upon the granite backing of the bar, marble treated by something less dangerous to its finish. A few passes of the cloth impregnated by that heady scent and the stone gleams, washing away water spots with it. He pauses to take the bracelet from the man comfortably known as Jack, somewhere in the accountant's ledgers as such, and nods. "Maze will worry about this. Well done for catching it." His mouth hardens a little and he looks away to the strawberry-blonde deva cracking the hardened surface of the caramel-coated pudding with a spoon. Creme brulee it isn't, but some kind of French cousin. Ana sighs in breathy delight before cramming a mouthful in, practically curling in on herself.

"I assure you, it's not that good."

*

"Jack" has acquired that puckish, no-teeth-showing expression he gets when he's trying hard not to smile. The eyes give him away every time, even if he can sufficiently firm up the line of his mouth. The usual ready flicker present, flaring up only a little when he glances over at Ana, and then looks away before it turns into one of those too-close surveys. "I guess you gotta try it to understand," he offers, mildly.

*

At least he smiles; such reactions aren't the most common with the highest-born of the Creator's children, especially when one knows what and whom he is. The hidden wings and the burning halo do not tend to leave a positive impact at the best of times, much less to those fools trying to invoke his true name for a glimpse of a red, cloven-hooved creature. Last Friday was a bother, really.

"Work a twelve hour shift because the backup failed to show, and everything tastes like mana. Though mana is entirely overrated," Lucifer replies, ticking his shoulders up a shade. The bracelet is secured away in his pocket, later to be transferred. Something they can worry about later. "Cat has your tongue otherwise, does it?" That smirk brightens. He knows.

*

Now it's Lucian who's treated to that impish flicker. Mock demure - the rest of the staff occasionally teases Jack for his silence. "That's true," he agrees, coming around the bar to make sure the clean glasses are stocked in their proper places, and that the bottles are all at the level needed for the next shift. "Well, that something tastes all the better when you're starving." A half-curl of a smile. "I dunno about mana." The clink of crystal as he organizes the glasses for absinthe-based drinks, all the more carefully for the lack of delicacy in the gloved hand. It's been long and long since he was clumsy with it, but the Soviets didn't design it for the care of fine stemware.

*

"Overrated, rather in the way of pineapple. The effort to get it supplies a certain flavour, but then I hear the same applies for shark fin soup and pangolin fritters. Something I would never serve." Who covets the bright hue of that smile when the sun has departed, leaving only the creeping gloom of winter nightfall in its somber wake? Lucian reaches up to brush the oil-infused cloth along the brass rim of a shelf, displacing a few specks of dust in the process. The various other oddities displayed have a definite winter aspect, the holly syrup and the pine-shot resins, the concentrates from bilberries and other things typically not consumed in any great amounts by normal people. Still, they make excellent additions. His shirt tugs as he leans up, reaching for those high places. He always manages to reach them, too, regardless of actual distance.

*

There's a little chuckle from him at the idea. "I like pineapple. I remember being pretty dazzled the first time I had it," Buck allows, comfortably. Lucian, too, gets only a sidelong, discreet glance, even though it's only Ana and her caramel who might catch a gaze let linger longer than it should, professionally. "But all the rest of it, yeah. Haven't ever had caviar, either," he adds, looking over to Ana again, as if considering angling for a spoonful….though she looks as if she might savage any competitors for that particular kill.

*

Pineapple, pfft. "That most noxious of fruits. Demanding upon the soil, all full of points and extraneously tough skin to prevent one from really reaching the flesh. It is only worthwhile because you put so much effort into opening the thing. Give me a proper sword, I can show you why it's not worth it." Lucian rolls his shoulders, and he twists around from the waist to toss the rag into a basket prepared for such things and little else. An important gesture for the sake of others who labour, for he certainly isn't cleaning things on his own. "You've never had caviar? Beluga, naturally. Salty as sin and smeared on crackers, a waste compared to a ripe strawberry or other delicacies, but certainly viable." There could well be comsething in the way Ana devours her pudding one bite at a time, allowing the consistency to melt down her tongue and swallow. Bucky could ask nicely. He might even get a taste. "Though as it comes to caviar, I know a decent supplier in Brooklyn of all places. He sells to the better restaurants who know where to look. Is that really your fancy? Trust me, the melting perfection of a good rare tuna steak…"

*

"Not really," he allows, easily, looking back to Ana again….finally permitting that little grin to bloom. She'll catch on in a moment. "It never sounded all that good to me. Just another of those foods fancy people have just to be fancy about it," he says. "That sounds better. I like fish." He's working on what surfaces Lucian hasn't tended to, humming to himself again. No longer the song about the war, but something dreamy in rhythm from the Forties. "And strawberries in season. We used to grow 'em on the roof when I was a kid," he says, tone musing.

*

Ana pats the table almost affectionately. How can she not show appreciation for that lovely dessert of her own creation? The weight of others appreciating it, and given there may be no more than five people in Lux right now, causes her to turn her head in Lucian and Bucky's direction. Waggle of a spoon sculpts a sinuous question mark.

"See, a sad day when someone presented with tuna turns up their noses at so fine a fish. Forget the sailfish and the swordfish, where predatory excitement is more to the point than flavour. But a bluegill or a yellowfin, delicious. Wrapped in flatbread with a bit of chopped lettuce? You might try that." He shouldn't be waxing so damn affectionately about a wrapped sandwich, but there one can be actually almost human for a rare second. "Do be sure to eat properly. You have that ragged look around the edges."

*

Not every pleasure of the flesh is licentious or intoxicating. Sometimes it's a cold soda on a hot day, or cotton candy. An eager nod from Bucky at that gesture. He'll try some. "Know a good place to get it?" he asks, looking to Lucian. That expression of concern has him sobering up, just a bit. "I do," he promises, softly. "Just been a busy few months," he adds. Understatement of the year, but then, he doesn't lie to the Morningstar.

*

"Merchant's River House. Down near the Financial District but facing New Jersey. It's well placed on the Hudson River and easy to reach from the South End." That it's something of an institution surely helps to place the restaurant for those in need of doing so. Lucian's leveled indigo-spattered gaze locks in unerringly, a targeting system as effective as any missile guidance provided in secret developments by the Air Force. Not his nature to pry, not at all, especially as he breaks into a yawn casually behind his raised hand.

*

Clearly filing that away….and then restraining that little smile again at the yawn. His gaze doesn't waver from Lucian's - there's that curiosity, as if somehow the right look will reveal another glimpse of the reality behind that beautiful mask. "I'll remember that," he says, quietly. "Sounds like a good place for a date."

*

How can an angel need to yawn when the individual need not sleep, and even oxygen is an unnecessary addition? Being in flesh does not being part of flesh. His shoulders squared, posture easy, and feet light on the ground, Lucian pivots away for a moment to catch an unfortunate bottle sliding on a thin meniscus of oil to clank up against the rail. No telling how he knew that was coming, but the reflection of action is simple. Slanting consideration peels away everything else, after the interruption. Ana has the spoon deep in her mouth, and the quizzical uplift of her strawberry-blonde brows is telling. An 'Oh my' if there ever was one.

*

Patience erodes and curiosity goads, and Buck's slipping past the bar towards Ana. "You gotta save a spoonful for me," he tells her, with that confident grin. "C'mon, one for your ol' pal Jack."

*

"Do you have a mouthful to spare for me?" That's not exactly mockery, not at all, but rather chirped back at him by the amused deva bouncing the spoon off the side of the bowl with a clank. Go ahead and wince slightly at the noise of it. "For that, I suppose I'll share with thee." It has to rhyme, and a poor rhyme that is, but you can hardly fault a girl in a caramel coma for failing to reciprocate with flowery poetry.

Lucian is left to watch. Interesting.

*

"Depends on what mouthful you want," he retorts, grin not wavering. The joke taken in the spirit it was given in. "But sure." Up within the proper distance for him to be spoon-fed, if she chooses.

*

Bowl, spoon, and help yourself. The worshipped do not worship the worshippers, most of the time, except upon the rarest occasions. Besides, there's a bit of syrupy sweetness running down the side that could affect the possibility of getting sticky fingers and those need to be contended with. "You can have the rest. You'll need the energy." Her winsome laugh goes off smoothly as she pops up, and grabs the butane torch. "Time for me to clean up a bit. Luca, you got this?"

Lucifer Morningstar, reduced to /that/ Italian nickname. Yes, it goes, as he sighs. "Make sure the bills are paid with the people who bother with that. And tell Maze to lock up. I'm otherwise occupied."

*

"Thanks," he says, pleasantly. That looks good enough, and rich enough, that the remains of a goddess's treat is appealing. Buck picks it up, carefully, bowl in the right hand, spoon in the left. No getting stickiness on the leather glove. A tentative mouthful, and his brows go up, appreciatively.

*

The caramelized sugar is something spectacular, at least, and the underlying flavour carries a surprising zest of lemon to go with the rich pudding consistency. Wait for that to hit the bloodstream and Bucky might be revving on jet fuel or the equivalent thereof. A dash of rum will come back around to bite in all its stormy, dark moods noted in the base notes of a Caribbean isle.

Ana laughs behind her hand as she meanders around the Steinway to reclaim her spot behind the bar, mostly to stow away the butane torch used for the majority of her dessert work. Totally. Strawberry blonde excitement will invariably end curled up in front of the television and watching some Julia Child, thumbing through her favourite recipe book for libations and desserts that taunt the mortal soul with satisfaction and gleeful ecstasy. Raptures in chocolate, the best kind.

Lucian has to compare to that, and idly he remarks, "Now you've gone and spoiled your supper. I do hope you have room left."

*

James looks over from a second spoonful, guileless and bright-eyed. "Ana, you're a hell of a cook," he calls after her, before adding to Lucian, "Seriously, have you tried this? It's great." It is an immense effort of will to stop himself after two spoonfuls, just in case Lucifer wants a bite of it. Then he's laughing, silently. "I already ate - I had a break when Ana came off of hers." He brings his lunch, after all. This is before microwaves, so it's usually a sandwich.

*

"Do you think anything comes out of her pots without trying at least once? I am a discerning audience." And so the smirk widens ever so slightly, adding a cocky element to the tall, thin man concealing his usual stature in breadth because why not? The drudgery of being the same every day doesn't apply to him. Stifling an unnecessary cough, he flips his palm upright to James to foretell any further need to share. "You had a break when she came off hers?"

Nothing in that is less than amused. Lucian taps his fingers. "Really. How important you aren't collapsing in exhaustion."

*

There's a beat where he realizes just how the phrasing sounded, then Buck snorts. "That….I phrased that wrong. When she returned from her break, I went on mine and had dinner," he clarifies. A little pink with embarassment. "And I shoulda figured you'd've tried what she made." He looks down at it again, takes another bite.

*

"No doubt you thoroughly and rigorously enjoyed your meal break. I would hate to think otherwise given her creativity has been at its peak. Full moon and all." The light spin created to so blithe a statement by an upraised golden brow cannot be overstated. Allow no one to walk away from this unscathed, not tarred by the same sticky brush. "Why act so abashed about your meal habits or that I sample her work from time to time? It's one of those pleasures of creation to partake of sometimes, though not always. I assure you, there are vile mistakes and accidents produced in a kitchen I genuinely lack any interest in pursuing."

*

"Slip of the tongue," James replies, easily. And then buries confusion in the last few bites, before coming over to wash the dish and spoon in the sink. "And I agree on that. I don't remember anything in Russia tasting good. They poured booze in to me once to see how I was affected by it, so I was drunk for a little while, but not long enough," he says, with a shake of his head.

*

Lucian remains fastidiously curious about that effect. "How much did you consume? It had to be more than a few bottles to render any kind of effect." No need for him to worry about the amount of alcohol necessary for him to feel a buzz. Answer, it takes close to a solar volume so no hope in hell. Once upon a time… "Surely there must be something in the entirety of Russian cuisine that isn't flavourless pap or ridden by salt. I might be able to account for preserves, though berries prevalent there lack the kick of those I would prepare."

*

"It was a lot," Buck's washing the dish in the sink, though it's quiet enough he doesn't have to raise his voice. "Few gallons at the very least, and it was high-test stuff. Tasted like rocket fuel, musta been some kinna fairly pure grain alcohol," His voice is matter of fact, neither condemning nor angry. "And I'm sure there are good cooks and good food in Russia, if you know where to look. But they didn't waste any of that on me." He shrugs as he scrubs the stickiness from the dish, having taken off the leather glove and stuck it in a pocket, and hung his suit jacket on a hook behind the bar, the better to roll up his sleeve and do the washing up. There's no one to come in who hasn't seen his metal hand.

*

Would anyone dare to walk in the door and peer down at the near empty ground floor, they would have their work cut out for them. Attempting to position themselves any further in the inner sanctum would only invite Maze to emerge out of the gloom, daggers in hand. No danger ready to flow out of the darkness right yet, but the dimming lights that leave the mezzanine awash in copper shadows provide ample spots to hide.

Lucian needs little reason to lapse silent. As far as listening goes, he holds tremendous experience. Once spent a century without making a noise just to see whether the silence suited him better, so what are a few seconds? He supplies a fresh towel as necessary.

*

The memories are strange, distant and immediate at once. Tales told of the life and adventures of a stranger driving his body, wearing his face. But he's comfortable enough now, body relaxed, as he dries the bowl and spoon with the towel, before putting them away. Always punctilious about neatness, it's more of a reflex, than anything else. Only once his hands are dry again does he roll down his sleeves.

*

No difficulties in sharing stories of places past, voices had, visions shared. Lucian leans back against the bar and stretches his arms to either side, palms absorbing his weight in the displaced angles drawn between shoulders, torso, and hands. The ophidian charms he occasionally displays lies in occlusion for the moment, the attentive expression of a friend solidly in place for any casual inspection. Sharper edges and honed examination behind his lidded indigo-night eyes and cloistered expression would never quite hint to the terrifying heights of calculation performed at every moment. "The suit works for you." A faint smirk hasn't moved. "You take well enough to everything else. There will be a few keynote performances coming up, though the dress code won't change. Only the crush of people, naturally."

*

James buttons his cuffs, replaces the jacket, but doesn't button it for now. The tie he loosens a little, with the tug of an alloy finger. Lucian has that effect, it seems. "Good," he says, "And I try to. Just let me know what you want me to do," Earnest enough, if quiet, looking into those dark eyes.

*

"What do you want?" So the query must naturally come, for is not the Devil the provider of all fine things? It is practically scripted out in the divine play that he provide the expected answer, tendering his lines well and without an ounce of irony about it. Tumbling golden hair swept across his brow forges a leonine arc, touching his cheeks and neck, casually knocked about by a shake of his head.

*

You. But that isn't the answer that comes. He smiles at Lucian, and it's fond, if such an expression can be applied to that mixture of terror, longing, affection, and incredulity that's par for the course when the Morningstar is involved. Silent for a moment, before he replies, "What I have."

*

Acknowledging that, Lucian doesn't exactly chuckle but utters a sound low and resonant deep in his throat. "Better than vanishing for days in a fugue, and regretting your choices." Does he recognize that flare? Invariably, though the king of the jungle is not immediately the sort to hunker down and pounce. Close but no cigar, not really. Mirth and the bleeding edge mystery remain, shining through his vast eyes and endless age. "Wise is the man happy with his lot, and still striving to advance it."

*

The smile broadens, deepening the lines around his eyes. It'll be a long year before he really has crows' feet, but it seems the ages spent as Winter's automaton hasn't left a physical mark… beyond maybe the little line that'll stay graven between his brows. "I'm definitely working on that," he says. "I've got goals to work towards, but a lot that's good already. Wishing… that's dangerous."

*

"Wishing is the byproduct of having an ounce of creativity jammed into the cortex under the skull. Do not make me regret following the plan to devise it there, and tell me that it was neither well-conceived or faulty. Danger is sistting still to stagnate," points out the angel with characteristic arrogance. Let that be a point for them to talk about later. How /were/ things when devising a particular race according to the Creator, and what about all the other races that weren't on the planet. Is there anything about that he wants to confess? Answer, no. Lucian waves his hand idly, rolling into a step of motion, brushing past Bucky and giving no quarter in the brush of contact, either. "Wishing is the essence of the soul. None of that cartoon nonsense or faerie tale, but a plain and simple truth. You are made to wish or want so you will grow."

*

It's for the human to step aside, bumping back against the inner counter's edge. "That's true," he allows,, placidly enough. "And I didn't say I didn't," he adds, with a little glitter of amusement in his eyes. He never does press on the subject of Lucian's past, figuring it forbidden….or well into territory of 'you don't want to know,' But provoking him, on the other hand, into the occasional admission? That's one of the little perqs of working here.

*

Pasts belong to those who claim them. History only exists where preserved by a record — fossil, geological, written, memory. Without the record, what proof is there? The hearsay of a man who will not speak, the knowing glare of a Lilim who will not divulge, the echoes of stories across a hundred hundred empires and countless stars from here to the bleeding edge of mercurial oblivion.

They call names, they tell tales, and some of those incandescent shards represent the truth.

Truth, colourful truths, bright and shining lights. All of them flashing in his eyes. Lucian then turns away to vault over the bar from a standing jump, landing easily on his feet.

*

He's pulled a one-handed vault over the bar himself, when occasion needed it, for the hell of it. A gymnast's balance, someone perfectly at home in his body, even with its metal oddities and old wounds. He watches Lucian with that expression that's openly fond. No one's here to twit him about how he looks at the boss, after all. And Lucian knows well how beautiful he is, in all his moods and variations. Buck's down to the last of setting things in order to be ready for opening - glasses clean, dry, and orderly, ranked according to what they will hold. The chairs up on the tables, for the moment. He surveys the dim expanse of the club, pleasedly. Order in one small place, for a little while.

*

Oh, there are a few here and there — Ana, Mazikeen, Sara who often handles the music and haunts the mezzanine in her relentless pursuit of perfection while thumbing through the Kerouac paperback someone left stowed in a corner. He's not the only male on staff, of course, though none of them are in residence, frequently drawn by the dawn rather than dusk. What might they all see, and be seen as? The world is a complicated, drawn, difficult place.

Lucian knows well how difficult he is, in all his moods and variations. He surveys that piano with a practiced eye, cold as it is tempting, and walks over to strike one of the keys.

"Last night, as half asleep I dreaming lay, half-gowned came she in her light gown, with tilted glass, and verses on her lips; Narcissus-eyes all shining for the fray, filled full of frolic to her wine-red lips, warm as a dewed rose, sudden she slips into my bed, in just her light gown." He translates note for note the penmanship of Farsi, an ancient tongue revealing the lies and sensual imagery of long-ago desert-swept chambers, baked with the long gone summer heat. Hearing him sing is rare enough.

*

It's enchanting. The mortal there gives up any pretense at work and simply listens. Time for rest, anyway, a beat before the long walk home. Watching and listening, no longer smiling, though there's a hint of it at the corners of his mouth. No comment from him, though he's laid his hands lightly on the bartop, leaning in to listen just a moment.

*

Fingers run over the keys and lead a very strange procession to a western ear. Classical Persian music does not lend itself perfectly to a piano but he makes the best, gathering up handfuls of chords and committing himself instead of standing adjacent the bench. The Steinway deserves better treatment than that, itself a masterpiece tuned to charm whole audiences on a lesser scale than Radio City.

Almost unbidden, Lucian slides into place, and there are the white wings, pristine feathers in luminescent razor-edges cut from the thinnest margins of moonbeams on a frosty Arctic plane. He recalls the soul of the moment, snatched out of the endless pages of the book of time, a pressed flower briefly recapturing the sweetness and scent of the season.

"Said she, half-dressed, half-asleep, half heard,
With a soft sigh betwixt each languid word,
'O my love, do you sleep or wake!'
In an instant, I sat up for her sake,
And drank whatever wine she poured for me —
Wine of the tavern or the vintage it might be
Of Heaven's own fine; he is surely a churl
Who refused wine poured out by such a girl,
A double traitor her to wine and love,
Begone, wretched soul. For fate above
Ordained this wine for us, but not for thee;
Besotted are we by a divine decree,
Aye, by the special privilege of Heaven,
Foredoomed to drink and foreordained forgiven."

If there is any bitterness crackling through the sensual triumph by the end, reflected upon in the basis of tumbling chords chasing the contemplative melody, so be it.

*

Manifestation enough of his real nature to send that human heartbeat racketing up its own scale, terror a frisson, affection wiped away by awe like letters written in sand before the tide. James has gone still, barely breathing, attention tuned entirely to that spectacle. Lucian singing is something rare, indeed….and usually it happens when he's working and can't afford to lose himself in it. He doesn't applaud when Lucian's finished, either. Perhaps afraid of breaking the spell….or having Lucian remember he's there.

*

Sometimes he bothers to assault the old battered piano that shows up during the spring to autumn in Washington Square Park, showing some full of himself long-haired hippie or folk rocker how you really sing. Lucifer is not above putting people in their place, especially the insufferable bastards out to crow their skills high and low. Why not undermine someone's opinions by totally and utterly oblitering their self-esteem and ego in front of their overconfident, irritated companions? So be it.

Only the wings give away his actual nature, not the whole decomposition of the mundane into the supernatural, the original iconic appearance of the Firstborn of Creation highly non-conducive to the business of walls and ceilings and intact floors. So limited span of the wings it is, folded neatly behind him, the threshold of the bench allowing some background.

He sings easily enough, and he silences himself with equal care. The lovely acoustics of the club are meant to amplify and lend the holy resonance of any cathedral or conert hall. They so too allow the pindrop of reaction, and the angel putting his hand on the resonating instrument. Maybe he hears every atomic quiver. In which case a heartbeat is easy. "That ones put the clerics into a fit. I ought to venture out into Saudi just to see how they're getting along."

*

"I never made it that far East," he says, after a silent swallowing, trying to make his mouth that much less suddenly dry. "Only to Tunis." Of course, the first trial, the first leg of the war, before Steve got himself transformed into something capable of the fight. He was Sergeant Barnes before he was Captain America's sidekick.

*

Lucifer has to turn on the bench, given the high, folded span blocks most of the view when in their total opacity. Fine, glittering edges like sawteeth threatens to cut any hand slid down their edges. A bad idea, that. "Missing little. Desert sands and swathed women and minds turned to contemplating many unanswerable questions. For my own part, I mind none of them. It's the nonsense chattered in certain quarters, after all." Sidekick to God, blamed for all? Of course. Not quite like Bucky, who at least wasn't blamed for the better part of time.

*

Not as himself, anyway. Let the subdued ghost take the lion's share of the blame; Winter's strong enough and cold enough of heart to pay guilt no mind at all. "Sounds like it," he agrees, softly, nodding.The other subject he doesn't touch on - who, amongst the three main who discuss him, have that story closest to right. Maybe it's the few who view him as worthy of worship in his own right.

Then, as if taken by a sudden whim, Buck's pouring himself a drink - simpler than the fare he dispenses during opening hours, rum and Coke. RArely does he take advantage of the drinks he's allotted for himself. "You want one, boss?" he asks, voice still low.

*

Given the near bottomless capacity of Lux's liquor and cellar, help himself. Try to avoid the most exotic options; some of those alternatives are patent poison to mortals. But they give a thrill for the exotic clientele, so make of that as he will. "Hmm?" The query strikes Lucian back to true, the feathers rasping together, throwing arcs of gold and silver into the nebulous haze around them. He generates his own light, sort of, in the dim ambiance. A ruthless smirk turns upon the soldier. "Perhaps a sip."

*

A good part of his nervous system is screaming at him to try and hide - maybe behind the bar, as if playing peekaboo with a seraph will defuse things. But conscious good sense is enough to have him keep from fleeing, hunching down, or chugging that mixture of soda and spirits fast enough to try and outrun his own metabolism. Instead, Buck comes sedately around the bar to hold out his own glass, chiming with ice, to the angel. If all he wants is a sip, no reason to dirty a second glass. "Sure," he says, calmly. Nevermind the beat of his pulse n the hollow of his throat.

*

Look upon great violence and sin embodied in a fallen frame, somewhat defined as human. The loss of his mantle has rendered him far from the full horror he might once have been. Once, and no longer, and possibly again. Chugging spirits and running away fast as he can could be a smart route for the Winter Soldier. Lucian is scarcely ruin unto himself when sitting. He holds out his hand to take the glass, the contents churned in a quick shake. "You're halfway to running. I can only imagine what you see gazing into your crystal ball, such as this is." The drink is slow, lingering.

*

"It's kind of a knee-jerk thing," James's tone is rueful. "The brain," he taps one temple with a metal fingertip, "Knows better. The gut doesn't always buy it." He spreads hands, shrugs, apology in a scraping of plates over plates. There's a subtle buzz of a servo off, prompting a frown and a look down at it. Audible, in the quiet of the club, signal of something to be attended to, later. "Fear not, and all that."

*

"And the brain argues with itself?" Just a guess, but one gets to be a little more skillful than Freud and Jung when he got a good long peek at the original textbooks and design documents for the species. Lucian hands back over the glass; his fingerprints aren't truly printed, not the same whorled pattern as unique to each person as their genetic code, their soul. "We do howl 'do not fear' and rouse the exact opposite, don't we?"

*

He blows out breath in a little laugh. "All the time. And with the gut, too." James takes another swig, offers the glass again. "And….yeah. Now I understand why that's always the first thing they say in the Bible. I mean, I work for you, and even I could barely stand it when those guys came in here looking for Harper and you dealt with it." The air of confession, faintly abashed. "And that kinna lodged itself in my memory."

*

"You could barely stand someone threatened Harper or that I reminded them of their place?" Lucifer, still befeathered, betrays himself only in the absent pupils, sclera submerged under a glowing blueness of ancient light from the first hours of the universe in his making. He is the light and the fury and the sound, the alpha of that hour. A palm lifts to Bucky; one drink is enough, coursing along his palate and system, disassembled too fast. "I'm not a fair person or a kind one. I would not be what you call nice. Egoistical, far too self-interested, of course."

*

"More the latter, though I wasn't real happy with the former." Witness him jumping the bar to defend her, unnecessary as it proved. "And I didn't figure you for anything other than who you are," he adds, mildly. Sweat at his temples, despite the pleasant temperature in the bar, aftermath of the heated argument between limbic system and cortex currently taking place.

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