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25 December 2009 @ 05:58 pm
Opening Moves [A Fleeting Fancy]  
Location: Japan; A seedy bar
Characters: Zaiden Mallory, Kohaku Pardis
Purpose: A questionable first meeting between the characters in question.

The plane ride to Japan had been far too long. Even with modern aeronautic technology, or whatever it was – Zaiden was a political science student, not a scientist – being in a tiny box at thirty thousand feet for that many hours was horrid. And once he was back on solid ground, it was still disorienting. Not jet lag exactly, nothing distinctly physical, just a mild prickling in the back of his brain that was growing progressively more and more irritating. Zaiden's father had arranged for a five star hotel suite for his one and only son; Zaiden didn't even know if the man had paid for it himself. He had learned not to ask those questions long ago. He no longer even wanted to know the answers.

Zaiden didn't want to stay in the hotel. He had left all of his textbooks back in California, bowing down to the suggested wisdom that he travel light. And he did not wish to read in the first place. Looking at text on a page – or on a screen – only made his head throb perversely. The common areas of the hotel were filled with wealthy businessmen from other parts of the country who only wanted to speak in Japanese, and who Zaiden was certain he did not want to converse with in the first place. Their company was excruciating.

In his somewhat addled state, Zaiden decided that visiting a Japanese red light district would be a productive way to pass his time. Oh sure, he should be brushing up on the culture and the political climate in preparation for his upcoming diplomatic meeting. He considered himself to be a responsible man. Straight-laced, despite the negative connotations to the term. He had his shady dealings, sure, but he also had his morals. Principles. Principles that were flitting away happily at the chance to spend a few hours in the company of people whose morals were more than suspect, who also hadn't bothered to properly learn the only language he was fluent in.

Perhaps he would pick up a few more language courses when he got back to California. It couldn't hurt.

It was dark by then, and the trip to that part of town was more than just a bit of a hassle. Zaiden wondered to himself if it would even be worth it. He had no plan. He had no desire to pay for the privilege to sleep with a prostitute. And he had no desire to get completely smashed. It wasn't for the scintillating conversation, seeing as that would be in a mash of Japanese and broken English.

He selected the bar based on its creative combination of lurid fluorescents. The interior decorations fit the stereotype of Japanese, and Zaiden suspected that the establishment was geared towards foreigners. Zaiden didn't know what he was drinking. The bartender spoke English well enough, but Zaiden didn't know the brands and didn't have a preference even when he knew what the options were, so he just pointed to a bottle on the wall that looked interesting. He sampled exactly two sips of the beverage. It seared his throat all the way down, and he entertained the thought that it was still burning merrily in his stomach. He remembered why he drank like a girl when societal norms demanded it.

He ended up in the most convoluted debate in his recent memory with a woman he was unable to shake off, mostly because her make-up fascinated and horrified him to the point where he didn't want to make an excuse. The spectacle, combined with the necessity of working out the meanings of the Japanese words peppering her speech based on context, was enough to occupy the functioning portions of his mind.
paradise_liar on February 28th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
[A Fleeting Fancy] II
The bar was rather crowded; with the combination of clinking glasses, an occasional burst of drunken laughter, and waitresses in distractingly revealing uniforms, one could be forgiven for overlooking over the slender young woman with long black hair and a bright red kimono sitting at the end of the bar, sipping her drink casually. While rather attractive, the woman exuded an aloof air, as though she wouldn't normally be caught in this sort of place, but was waiting for a friend or some such excuse. Said air tended to put off the average bar-browser, which was exactly her intent; for not only was Kohaku Pardis not interested in 'the average bar-browser', he wasn't even a woman, and he was in no state to defend his femininity, or to flaunt it.

Kohaku's day had not gone well. He had gotten virtually no customers at Seifuzoku Fukaku, and when he did, he had been interrupted by one of the new girls, a brainless dolt who had so little tolerance that one shot made her incapable of reading the massive 'occupied' sign affixed to the door. His customer had been so put out that he had actually left, albeit without his pants or wallet. And, to truly finish off the day, one of his other clients had actually called him to say that she no longer required his services, because she had reconciled with her husband. He slammed his drink down on the bar's counter, still seething over the latter. Who hires an assassin to kill their husband over a dispute that they could work out with 'counciling'? He took a few more sips of his drink, still making sure to appear feminine; the last thing he needed was one of his semi-regular customers to see him slugging his drink in an uncouth, masculine manner. That was the last thing he needed.

Having soothed the savage beast with alcohol (worked much better than music, he always thought), Kohaku swivelled his chair around and observed the goings-on. Most were standard for the bar; it was one he regularly visited, since the obvious catering to Western notions of Japan drew in many naive foreigners with loose wallets and looser flies. The regulars had all come on to him at some point or another; he had rebuffed some, reciprocated with others, but Kohaku was looking for something a little more unusual tonight.

He looked around the familiar setting, seeking out someone new; all of a sudden, his eyes lit upon the answer to his prayers. Newcomers were hardly unusual to the bar, nor were well-dressed foreigners, as this man appeared to be; somehow, this man had an air of importance, a sort of subtle superiority. He looked relatively uncomfortable at the moment, making what seemed to be awkward small talk with one of the waitresses. Kohaku winced when she turned slightly sideward, revealing her profile to him; it was Ayano, who could neither get through a sentence without using a ridiculous speech particle to seem 'cute' nor apply makeup properly (the greater sin in Kohaku's mind). Any man - or woman, for that matter - who was stuck talking to Ayano for any amount of time and didn't begin bleeding from the eyes and ears simultaneously was either blind and deaf or a saint.

Fortunately, this man appeared to be much more interesting than either of those options, so Kohaku got up and casually drifted over to the corner Ayano had worked the man into. When Ayano got up to protest, Kohaku pulled her aside and whispered brightly in Japanese that it would be a shame for the boss to find out about the location of the money that had gone missing from the till; the waitress paled through her garish makeup and bolted.

Smirking, Kohaku sat down at the vacated seat, flicked his hair back, and said to the man, "I'm so sorry about Ayano; she has these attacks of shyness, you see, quite a tragedy for a waitress. Mind if I ask your name?" Perhaps, Kohaku mused, the day would turn out to be less of a loss than he had anticipated.
Zaiden Mallory: Intriguedunluckycharisma on February 28th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: [A Fleeting Fancy] II
After Zaiden had gotten himself quite entrenched in conversation with the woman who was apparently a waitress, a much lovelier woman – and with more tastefully applied make-up – chose to come over. Zaiden wasn't sure at the moment how to interpret her speaking with his conversation partner in Japanese and then taking the woman's place. In his current disabled state, he wasn't entirely certain what Kohaku even was. Judging by the statement about the waitress, it was almost as if this new woman was some form of management. Maybe even the owner. But Zaiden was used to noticing little things, and he was not quite disabled enough to miss the smirk.

Zaiden assumed from the smirk that something more significant had taken place than he was realizing, but he was not currently possessed of the pieces to deduce what. He was probably not even currently possessed of the brain cells to attempt the maneuver, as the conversation with that Ayano had proven.

"Ah, it wasn't a problem," Zaiden managed. He attempted to scrape back together what brain cells he still had at his disposal. He'd rather not make an absolute fool of himself when it actually mattered. He wasn't sure why it did; this person could be important, anyway.

Zaiden had thought she would apologize for the awkward nature of that conversation, but perhaps this new woman hadn't realize quite that much. Ayano hadn't exactly seemed shy to him, after all, but it might be an excuse for her abrupt departure. He was really beginning to miss the proper use of his faculties.

"My name is Zaiden," he offered. He hesitated a moment over some polite courtesy – a handshake did not quite seem proper, and lurking manners lessons from when he was younger were making securing a hand for a kiss sound like an awfully good idea. The problem was that the habit was ridiculously antiquated, so his best confident smile would have to suffice instead. "Would you mind if I ask yours?"

Zaiden eyed his drink one last time, but decided against it. He was not going to suffer that horror if he was in the company of an intelligent person, and he supposed he would just have to cope when another person realized a non-drinker was in a bar.