The Alchemy & The Siren

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The Alchemy & The Siren

Poppy & Mavis

30 October, 2019

Mavis stops in at the local club-scene for a few drinks before heading home. Meets Poppy, fells under the cliche of being one of those patrons who dumps their woes on the bartender.


The Alchemy

It's early in the evening, before the main rush of the bar has started. Currently, there's a stocky redhead on the door, dressed in a black jeans and a black t-shirt bearing a colorized version of the alchemy logo; further inside, a couple of the hard-core regulars are already holding up the ends of the bar, while a small group of femme-appearing people dressed to the nines clearly just starting their night on the town take up one of the round tables. Behind the glowing blue lucite bar is a rather tall blonde, hair pulled up into messy bun and secured with a pencil, dressed in a spahetti-tank version of the uniform shirt, black skinny jeans, and a pair of black leather stiletto boots that zip up to the knee.

      She gets dropped off in an Uber and is rain-drizzled by the time she hits the door of Alchemy. The mortal stamps her feet then smiles sheepishly at the redhead standing vigilante by the door. Mavis produces her ID card for the redhead, retrieving it from a wallet that's tucked into her back pocket, and does she so without a fuss or prompting. At 23, Mavis is used to this sort of procedure. She's human, to be sure. Only a human could drift through their life with that brand of carefree innocence.

      Once she gets her card back, Mavis waves sheepishly goodbye-- "I'm just.. gonna go up there now."-- and then turns around to face the club. She doesn't move at first, still as she scans the bar to get a take of her surroundings and draw in a breathe with which to steel herself. She wasn't used to going out alone OR this early. Mavis' honey-brown gaze zeros in on the bar and she cuts a path up to it, seating herself when she gets there. Her thick, black hair is currently twisted back into a loose, messier-than-usual bun and strands wisp free, refusing to be contained. The hoodie slung over her frame is spattered with bright, neon paints as are her jeans and even the mortal's shoes area flecked with streaks of color. More paint crusts the cuticles of Mavis' bitten fingernails and cakes into the creases on the backs of her knuckles, which become visible when she knits her hands atop the counter.

As Mavis approaches the bar, Poppy offers her a cheerful smile as she finishes pulling a beer for another customer; once she's finished she walks it over to a nondescript man at the end of the bar, leaving it there before making her way back to the paint-spattered woman. "What'll you have?" she asks brightly, gesturing behind her at the list of drinks posted above the shelves of liquor.

      She's a very polite customer, Mavis. The mortal waits for Poppy finish with the customer who'd arrived prior to her, and, when the bartender does turn back her way, a smile brightens her face. Neat rows of sparkly, white teeth and the sliver-gap between her incisors are revealed when her lips curl into that smile.

      "I dunno," she admits, unhelpfully, and shrugging her apology. "Nothing too heavy? I'm just killing some time, not trying to get plastered." Mavis leans up a little in her seat to peer behind the counter, tilting her head as she skims the list. Her black brows furrow, smile fading away as her lips purse in thought. "What's that mercury stuff?"

Poppy gives a thoughtful hum at that question. "Not too heavy would be a beer or a cider." She grins at that question about mercury. "Mint chocolate, but there's fucking vodka in it. I wouldn't drink more than one or two of those things unless I wanted my ass plastered." Blue eyes gleam at that. "Apparently they go down pretty goddamn easily, at least if half the people I've seen here celebrating are to be trusted."

      Mavis' face snaps toward Poppy when she says that-- mint chocolate-- and her golden-brown eyes widen ever so slightly to express that, yes, yes, this sounds good. She, however, wilts back against her seat when Poppy tells her there's vodka in it, but then she arches a brow and grins at the blonde on the other side of the bar.

      "What do you mean, if half the people you've seen celebrating are to be trusted?" She feigns a deeper puzzlement, crinkling her nose, then coyly asks, "What, you never tried one? Don't like mint chocolate or something?"

The blonde grins. "I can make it without the fucking vodka - do it with peppermint schnapps and a chocolate liquor instead. Still alcohol, just less of that shit." At that question, Poppy snorts, expression dry. "Oh, I've tried everything on the damn menu; it helps when making recommendations. But let's be real - most people who are celebrating aren't tasting jack or shit after a certain point." Blue eyes gleam again. "So is that a yes on mercury?"

      Mavis brings her elbows up to the counter and props her chin up in her open palms. Her fingers rest lightly against her cheeks, banded by many rings. She listens to Poppy rattle that off with a lop-sided grin then nods in response to the question, impeded somewhat by the fact that she still has her chin in her hands.

      It takes her a moment to verbalize her expressions, as she's puzzling about the Poppy's eyes. They are just vivid and blue, ringed by thick, black eyeliner and-

      Stop that, Mavis! Quit staring so hard into the bartender's eyeballs. It's weird.

      "Yeah, you got me. That's pretty true. I'll take one," she says with her smile creeping back onto her lips. "And a beer." By her tone, sounds like it really doesn't matter a whit one kind of beer Poppy pours into a cup. Mavis would drink it.

Poppy laughs, the sound almost musical, then says, "If a fancy liquor drink and a beer are your idea of going light on shit, I'm pretty goddamn impressed." A grin, even as the blonde turns to grab a glass before making her way to the shelves of various alcohols. It doesn't take her long to mix up the white mint and chocolate concoction, adding something that glitters darkly in mimicry of the silver-black of the element it mimics. Grabbing a skewer bearing the elemental symbol for the planet along with a chocolate truffle, she finishes assembling the drink before placing it against the glowing blue lucite in front of Mavis. Then she turns to grab a pint glass, pausing before she asks, "Light? Dark? Don't fucking care?"

      Her eye contact is intense. For a mortal, anyway. There is a slight, pensive knit to Mavis' brows and her steady, honey-brown gaze is anchored to Poppy's face. She blinks now and then, less often than one normally would, and her eyes track the bartender as moves behind the counter. When Poppy laughs, Mavis lifts her chin out of her hands a few millimeters and her eyebrows shoot up in pleasant surprise. She settles back down and, unconsciously, leans forward wanting to be nearer to the source of that silky, musical laughter.

      "Oh, pbft," scoffs Mavis, rolling her eyes and lowering her paint-flecked hands to fold them one over the other atop the counter. "You said you were going to make me a mercury-lite and it's just one beer and it's just one mercury," Mavis reasons, sounding baffled at her audience then laughs. "I don't fucking care. Dark, I guess."

      Then she lowers herself to the counter, getting nose-to-glass with the drink Poppy has set in front of her. "Woooow, this thing is fahhncy." Mavis pokes the mint-chocolate delicacy in front of her with the tip of a finger, admiring the silvery sheens. "It's so pretty, I kinda don't want to drink it. Just look at it."

If that eye contact seems to bother the blonde, it isn't obvious; Poppy grins at that response to her question about the beer. "Dark it is. We've got a pretty fucking decent stout Jake found at microbrewery in Massachusetts." Moving over to the taps, she places the glass, then pulls the tap, humming idly under her breath, the tune matching the canned music overhead for a moment; clearly she has some sense of pitch, and a good voice. Once she's done pouring, the pint goes on the bar across from the woman with a laugh for her remark about the specialty drink. "Hey, it's your goddamn drink; you paid for it. You can just stare at it all fucking night and not even drink it."

      Mavis' eyes lift from her sparkly drink to Poppy again and then they don't leave. She's not.. leering, exactly. It's more as if Mavis has lost all sense of distraction, her attention held solely by the woman pouring her drink. When the first snippet of Poppy's humming touches her ears, Mavis flinches back in surprise, blinks, then composes herself. Wow! She wanted to open her mouth and speak some form of praise, but the mortal just bites down on her bottom lip and looks back down the mercury she'd ordered.

      She looks back up without lifting her chin when Poppy sets the drink down. Mavis absently curls a hand against it, rings tapping against the glass. "I haven't paid for it /yet/," she clarifies with a teasing grin. "And maybe I'll just stare at it for a little longer. I'm kind of avoiding my roommate right now," confesses Mavis, abashed at herself for admitting that. She mutters, quietly, "Sorry. I'm not one of those people."

The bartender arches an eyebrow at that remark about paying for things. "Well, if you're /not/ going to pay for that shit, then yes, you can't do what you want with it." A grin, then she mms. "Yeah, that kind of situation can be a fucking shitshow, it's the truth." Poppy reaches down below the bar, picking up a glass of what appears to be water and taking a sip of it. "Not one of what people?" she asks, expression inquisitive.

      "You know," Mavis goes, waving the hand not curled against her beer through the air. "One of /those/ people who word-vomit all of their stupid-ass problems at you. Because you're behind a counter and in... uniform?" The mortal squints at Poppy, mostly her state of attire, although it's not in criticism. "I just want to be a lii-ittle tipsy when I get home, manage the goddamned steps without dying, and then pour myself straight into bed." She could minimize contact with her aforementioned roommate like this.

       "Don't worry, I'mma pay for all of this. Not trying to avoid anyone in a jail cell," she remarks with a laugh that's a bit forced then turns wry and honest. "My one phone call would prob'ly be to my roommie, anyways."

Poppy grins. "Oh, I don't fucking care about people talking; don't worry about that. It isn't like I'm going to run my goddamn mouth." She shrugs. "It's a uniform. We're in a fucking bar." She arches an eyebrow at that remark about tipsy. "Hey, you do you. I don't recommend having any fucking chats on the way in, though, if you're planning on getting a little tipsy. Not if you're pissed about something." At that comment about paying, she nods. "Sure," she agrees easily, then tells Mavis the current cost of the drinks.

      Mavis pulls her beer closer, sliding the glass across the counter, and looks down into the other drink. The pretty, silvery one. Then she plucks the chocolate off of it and pops it into her mouth, chewing as she looks back up at Poppy. She nods along with what the woman's saying, chewing at the same time, then finally swallowing that mouthful of chocolate.

      Then she's swallowing some more. Sipping her beer. Another sip, this time it's a swig. Mavis sucks her cheeks then licks her lips, and says in a thick voice, "I'onno. Not mad, really." She reaches back for her wallet, pulling out a debit card to cover her cost and handing it to Poppy. "I'm not sure if I should be mad, you know? I just know she's lying about stuff and she has her reasons." Mavis rolls her shoulders, trying to shrug it off. "Definitely not looking for a confrontation, though. Even shit-faced, it's not my business, I know that," Mavis tells her earnestly, voicing aloud a thought that has chimed in her own head at least a hundred times already. Mavis plucks up the chocolatey-minty drink, silvers swirling darkly. She peers over the mercury at Poppy. "It kinda," she pauses, continuing in a thin voice, "hurts my girly feelings to be lied to?"

The bartender tilts her head as Mavis speaks, reaching over and taking the debit card. "Well, I suppose that depends on if it's lying - which is pretty fucking malicious - versus just not telling you shit. No one owes other people their fucking story. You don't owe yours to anybody, they don't owe theirs to you." A rather sinuous shrug, even as Poppy moves over to the register to run the card. Once that's done, she offers the plastic back to the other woman. "I mean, you can tell her that you're disappointed that she doesn't feel like she can be completely fucking honest with her, but on the other hand, that shit can sound kind of passive aggressive, so your mileage may vary."

      Mavis frowns, tight-lipped and grim, at Poppy when the blonde echoes her own insecurities. Her drink is still poised, ready to be quaffed, but Mavis just sighs out a slow breath and woefully shakes head. "No," she opines, "they are out-right lies, but she's.. not a malicious person? We're /friends/, I don't need to know everything-"

      She halts talking when Poppy returns with her card and she murmurs something low then tosses back the mercury. It slithers down her throat, smooth, rich, and refreshing with that after-bite of mint. The human visibly shudders as she sets the emptied glass down to take her card back from Poppy. Someone miiiight be a party girl.

      "-But," it's like she never stopped talking, "what's it say about /me/ that you feel you have to lie about it?" By "you" she clearly means her accused roommate. "How fucking BAD is it? Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph. It can't be that terrible." She picks up her pint and grouses, "I did talk to her about it," then gulps down three hearty swallows of the dark liquid.

Poppy shrugs. "If they're outright lies, and she's not a malicious person, then they're probably for a good fucking reason, then." She takes another sip of her water before returning the glass to its hiding place beneat the bar, not commenting on Mavis' drinking habits. Then again, that's certainly not her job. "Maybe it isn't about you?" the blonde suggests wryly, eyes glinting with humor. "Most of the fucking time it's about the person, not the people around them."

      "I want to believe that." Mavis hopefully peers up at Poppy when she says that about her roommate's reasoning. She lowers her drink, setting the pint back down with three-quarters left. She's not tipsy, at least, not yet. Let her body catch up to the fact after Mavis has guzzled down more alcohol and she will then be tipsy. She assures Poppy with, "I'm not a crazy person, just so you know. I'm trying to let it go, people deserve their privacy. I think.. I stumbled on something I wasn't supposed to know about and my roommate never intended to lie, but here we are." The mortal lowers one hand to the counter, leaving the other curled around her drink, and drums her fingertips against both the counter-top and the side of the glass. "I just want to go back. Rewind. Un-pause. Resume normal programming." She arches a black brow at Poppy. "You know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I know what you mean; that's one of the fucking problems with life, though, is that you can't rewind that shit. You only get to go forward. On the other hand, that doesn't mean you're stuck where you /are/, either. Just talk to her. Tell her you don't need to know whatever the hell it is, but you'd like to be friends. See how that shit goes." Poppy gives another sinuous shrug. "As long as nobody's trying to be an asshole, usually things work out." Another customer approaches the bar. "Sec," she says cheerfully to Mavis, then moves over to help the newcomer; after pouring three ciders and taking a card to start a tab, the bartender returns to where Mavis is standing.

      Mavis looks at Poppy with rapt attention, taking small sips off of her pint while the bartender talks. "We did talk. Did and done. She stuck to her guns and I'm just.." She sighs the smiles with a touch of ruefulness. "Stuck. I need time to acclimate and shit. Hence? Avoiding her til I've got my litter all back in the basket, then things can get back to normal." She nods politely back when Poppy excuses herself, adding, "Yeah, sure." Then while the boot-strapped blonde is gone, Mavis pulls out her phone and checks her texts messages. She types something then puts her phone back into her hoodie pocket when Poppy returns, blinking innocently.

      "Thanks for the advice, I think it helped," she tells Poppy, trying to sound happy but it came off hollow. Mavis just shrugs. "I mean, it will help. I didn't get your name? I'm Mavis." She offers her right hand with her name, as well. "Mavis Baines."

Poppy mms. "Well, then it is what it is. That's kind of all you can fucking do." She grabs her water and takes a sip again. At that comment about advice, the blonde arches an eyebrow; despite that, however, she says, "Hey, if you say so. Some shit doesn't have an easy fix." At that question, she grins. "I didn't give it, so it would be pretty fucking hard. Poppy Devereux. Sometimes I'm performing, not just back here." A tilt of her head towards the alcohol. Taking the offered hand, she shakes it with a perhaps surprisingly professional air. "Nice to meet you."

      Mavis warmly grips Poppy's hand, up-shake-down-shake, and smiles over their joined hands. "It's nice to meet you, too," she says with a candid smile, flashing the millimeter gap between her incisors at the bartender before she snakes her hand back. "And, yeah, it is what it is." Pause. "Shit. But we make the most of it and not worth losing a friend over. Especially a good one," she states, trying to convince herself that the lies didn't lessen her friendship but Mavis feels like something is stuck in her throat when she ponders that. She forces her mood to elevate, brightening and perking up with, "Performing?" She grins a little impishly, admitting, "I kinda wanted to ask if you were an artist but it sounds dumb when you say it out loud." She doesn't want to outright admit she'd been listening to Poppy's voice quite keenly this entire time. There's a reason the rest of the bar had faded to a background blur and that reason was standing right in front of the mortal. A bloody siren. "So, what.. do you do?"

"If they're a good friend, then you trust they had a pretty good fucking reason for what they did. And if they didn't, well. That shit will sort itself out." Poppy nods at that question about performing. "Yeah. I sing. Play guitar. Rock music, typically, and usually once a week still, although not like when this place was getting its fucking legs under itself, so to speak." A grin. "At that point, I was the only goddamn act, so it was me or the canned shit. But it's grown, and that's a good thing."

      "It'll sort itself out," agrees Mavis, eager to bury the subject and no longer interested in rehashing events. She raises her pint-glass and makes a silent toast to that, sipping from it while her honey-brown eyes regard Poppy over the brim. Those eyes reflect a level of respect and a touch of awe that the mortal tries to tack down, but she couldn't help it. She's impressed. Mavis lowers her glass and ruddy, pink blooms of color dot her cheeks. The alcohol is coursing through her system now, but she's far from sloshed.

      "Hey, that's fucking rad. I'll have to come see you sometime when you're up on the stage," she tells Poppy, bouncing in her seat with excitement and beaming about it. "I work over at the paintball range," she opens her arms and looks down at her paint-splattered self, "if you couldn't already tell."

      "Target dummy," she adds with a sarcastic laugh.

"You'd be welcome to," Poppy replies easily at that remark about coming to watch her, then grins at Mavis' display of her paint-covered self. "Yeah, I figured that or really into modern fucking art or some shit like that," she says cheerfully. "You know, I don't think my ass has ever made it down there, but doesn't November own that shit? I seem to recall hearing that somewhere."

      "You're not far off the mark there either," Mavis remarks, conversationally. "Once I get a workshop set up here, I'm going to get back to my art. Target dummy's just my day job." She grins, eyes alight with mischief. Mavis nods when her boss is brought up, sharing that, "Yeah, that's her. Unless you're talking about a different November, but I doubt it. She's a good boss." The mortal blinks, then adds, "The best, actually. I didn't tell her this when she hired me but I'm not.. great at.. y'know.. the whole establishment thing, but being on a payroll has its perks. I can treat myself to a fancy-schmancy drink and a beer now and then, for starters."

Poppy tilts her head. "Oh? Well, more power to you. There's not enough art in this world." She reaches under the bar and grabs her water before taking another sip. At that remark about November, she gives a rather musical snort. "Yeah, no, I'm pretty fucking sure there's only one." Her expression turns curious at that description of the other Lost as a boss, then she grins. "That's a pretty good fucking start, honestly," she replies.

      "Not sure if you'd call it art, but it's what I'll do til I drop dead.. probably under a quarter ton of scaffolding." She grins. Mavis sits up a little straighter in her seat and proudly tilts her chin higher. "Yeah. Working at the paintball range is a lick," she says, "I don't even have to deal with customers, schedule's flexible. November just has me on maintenance, making sure all equipment is in working order and repairs are kept up on out in the yard." The yard being what she has nicknamed the shooting range. "You should come by sometime. There's UV paintball, if you're a night-owl."

The blonde grins. "It will make for an epic end, at least," she says wryly. She then tilts her head. "Oh yeah?" Poppy listens to the job description, then nods. "Sounds pretty fucking decent, honestly. And glad to hear that shit pays well." A tilt of her head towards the bar. "Usually here at night; possibly could stop by during the day sometime, though."

      Mavis gives a one-shouldered shrug and nurses her dwindling pint. Her words bleed together here and there. So far, Mavis the Mortal is holding her liquor well. "Sure," she goes, raising her brows as she offers, "I could give you my number? November gives me too much freedom to pick n' choose my schedule so.. never know when I'll be there, really. I mean, you could check it out anyway when I'm NOT there," she prattles on, blinking her eyes at Poppy. "Or, y'know, whatever." Mavis shrugs and keeps her shoulders raised helplessly for a few seconds before dropping them.

Poppy shakes her head at the offer of a number. "Don't worry about it, I can fucking find the place. And if you're not there, I can always go back another time." She grins cheerfully. "Sounds like fun, either way. Any specific recommendations, though?"

      The mortal nods, swigging her beer and tilting the glass to drain the last of it. She sets it back down, grinning. "I do my best to hide from customers unless they full-out catch me," she tells Poppy, comfortable sharing this because customer services technically weren't in her job description. "Usually they want directions to the bathroom or something, but uuhHHh-" She shoots Poppy a blank stare. "I haven't actually tried the range out myself? Seems kind of unfair, too, with me being more familiar than most are with the layout of the obstacles. The night runs look the most fun, with the UV stuff. Not sure if it's 'cos those people are high off their asses or not."

The blonde tilts her head. "What's wrong with having a good time if you're not on the fucking clock? If you're better than other people because you work there, well, I imagine there are some that are just as good for going there a million goddamn times." Poppy grins. "May as well enjoy yourself." A tilt of her head at the comment about the black lights. "Mm. I'll keep that shit in mind, if I have a night off. Maybe bring some people by."

      "I didn't say I was better," Mavis clarifies carefully, widening her eyes. "I told ya, I've never tested the ranges out myself. Just fix 'em how November tells me to." She blinks rapidly at Poppy. "That does NOT translate to "better" than everyone else, but I caaan probably slack off a little if you pop 'round. Bring some friends," she adds, beaming and nodding and slipping from her chair while still nodding. The mortal tests her balance, finding her calibration of gravity to be a little different than it had been when she'd sat down. "The more the merrier. Might be able to take a break and goof off for a minute, but, to be honest, I haven't gotten around to asking about discounts."

Poppy grins. "Fair enough. And if you can get a fucking break when we're there, that works; we can make a night of that shit." She nods as Mavis gets to her feet, testing her balance. "Heading out?" she asks. "If you are, good luck with the home situation."

      Mavis reaches into her hoodie pocket to pull out her phone and check the time. Her elated buzz takes a melancholic dive as she locks her phone, re-pockets it, and looks back up at Poppy. "Yeah, heading out, getting an Uber. It'll be fine. Just going straight up to my room," she promises, smiling again. The mortal's smile seems less forced as she exclaims, "Fuck ya, just mention me at the front and someone will prrrroobably know where I'm hiding out."

      The mortal retrieves her phone again, orders her Uber, and her phone dings with a notification that the driver is on their way.

      "Oh, wow. They're right around the corner, I better zip. Nice meeting you, Poppy," she tells the blonde, meaning it. "Stay frosty, ya?"

The bartender lifts a hand in farewell. "Yeah, definitely. And like I said, good fucking luck. Travel safe, and nice to have met you." Poppy grins cheerfully, then turns her attention back to the other people at the bar, and the new influx of patrons that the deepening of the night brings.