Fort Weyr: Shenanigans: Pool Table Room

Fort is moving from spring to summer, and the warm weather always brought more people to the weyr. And more people meant the games rooms were full, especially on a night like tonight with the rain falling outside. Hotaru had been absent from the weyr for several months, helping her grandparents prep their cothold for summer, planting things and the like. Before that she'd been at Igen with her parents. But now she's back and shuffled in with the rest of the game goers. She's currently engaged in a game, the other team isn't looking too happy, either. Probably because she's duped them into thinking she'd never played before. And then once everyone put down their bets she turned out not to be a beginner. "Ugh… it's so crowded in here…" She says, trying to line up a shot and hoping she doesn't smack someone behind her with a cue. Her bronze firelizard clings to her shoulder as she bends over the table. She in a button-up shirt that she's ripped the sleeves off of and a pair of baggy pants that look to be three or four sizes too big. Yay for belts!

"Excuse me, excuse me, coming through," a guard is muttering, making full use of his knot and his elbows alike to get people to shove out of his way. It's either that or spilling hot klah down their backs, and then he wouldn't have anything to drink! Of course, as soon as Kazulen catches sight of who is being the shark at the pool table, he stops dead (and gets elbowed himself). "Oh, shards," he groans. "Not you again!"

Unfortunately Hotaru's little scam only works a couple of times before people catch on and the word is out. Being a pool and card shark was how her grandfather made a living! At least back when he was a trader, before he settled down at the cothold. Hotaru has just lined the shot up… when she hears a familiar voice. Distracted, things get out alignment and she scratches instead of sinks the ball she was aiming for. "What the…" She turns to give Kazulen a frown. "You! You're still here? Look what you made me do." She points to the table, as if that's any sort of indication. The other team is looking a bit pleased as they move to take up their shot. Hotaru leans on her cue stick and looks up at Kazulen. "You owe me a drink for that." She states matter-of-factly.

"You," Kazulen answers bluntly, unimpressed, "are too young to be drinking, anyway! What are you doing back here? I thought you were gone from the Weyr!" 'For good' remains unspoken, but it's right there at the tip of his tongue. Meanwhile, one of the elbowing-back-ers elbows him again, leaving a drink sloshing straight for Hotaru's shirt. Oops.

Hotaru tilts her head and gives Kazulen the eye. "I'm old enough. What are you drinking anyways? It smells like klah." She stands on her tip-toes to try and peer into his cup. "No, I just took a vacation after I was done with candidacy. What's it to—-Nooooooooo!" The sloshing cup happens in slow motion, at least for Hotaru. Not that there's anything she can do about it anyways. She does jump back, but that doesn't mean she doesn't get a big splotch of klah on her shirt. "KAZULEN! Look what you've done now!" She brandishes her pool cue at him with one hand while peeling her shirt away from herself with the other. "Go get some napkins!"

Kazulen can't get a napkin, though, because he's too busy being shoved by the drunken lout behind him, who is now using his shoulder to launch himself up in a high-jump, cackling and screaming unintelligibly. (The only phrase that seems to make any sense at all is 'wet t-shirt contest'.) He does, at least, screw up the other team's play; maybe that'll help Hotaru's mood, in the long run. "Sorry," Kaz mutters, shoving the mostly-empty klah mug at a hapless third party — fourth party? Fifth? — before neatly tripping the drunken lout and 'accidentally' stepping on him once he's on the floor.

Hotaru grumbles and shoots a glare at whoever suggests a wet t-shirt contest. "Say that again and I'll beat you with this cue until you have detached retinas!" An idle threat, but still. She squeezes away to find something to wipe off her shirt with, coming back with a few napkins from the bar area to see Kazulen stepping on some drunk guy. The other team is looking as miserable as ever, since they've not only managed to scratch, but they also knocked one of Hotaru's balls into a pocket. Hotaru pulls Kazulen's arm to try to get him off the drunken lout. "Run interference for me. I've only got a couple more balls to sink." She mostly wants protection from the rowdy group who looks like they actually might want to start a wet t-shirt contest.

"I'm a little busy arresting this guy for assaulting a guard," Kazulen points out, scowling, but — well, he would actually feel guilty if a fifteen-year-old got mobbed and soaked and sexually objectified, whether or not it was just Hotaru. Besides, Drunken Lout #1 seems to have gotten the message to stay down on the floor, judging by the way he was trying to pet a chair's leg and singing a lullaby to it. "Fine," Kaz mutters, and straightens up, glowering at everyone equally as he lurks by the pool table.

Hotaru peers at Kazulen. "What, are you on duty? Besides, he's drunk. Look at him." Can the guy even get up on his own without the foot on him? It was questionable. He's too busy with his chair leg lullaby at any rate. Hotaru tries not to stare. Also she's got a shot to make, if she's going to collect her marks. The teen seems satisfied as Kazulen is at least scaring off some of the would-be oglers. It at least lets her make her shot, which she does by sitting on the table and passing the cue behind herself, all fancy-like. Okay so she's showing off a bit. At least she sinks the shot. Her partner takes the next one, and the game ends. Following a bit of squabbling over the marks, Hotaru gets her share and returns to Kazulen, still pulling at her wet shirt. "Now you owe us both a drink."

"Pretty sure you've already gotten my drink," the guard points out dryly. (As in, what Hotaru isn't right now!) "And you now have more marks than I do, anyway, and you got me to keep the drunks off you, so… by my count, you owe me a drink."

Hotaru looks down at herself and grunts a bit. "A lot of good it's doing there!" Was… was Kazulen implying that Hotaru is… wet? "How do you know I have more marks than you, anyways?" She sighs. "Do you have another shirt on under that shirt?" Because if he does, she wants the outer shirt. "I don't owe you anything, but I'll buy you a drink if you keep the drunks away. Do you want to play pool? I think my partner went to go spend all his marks getting drunk."

"Well, it's not like I can drink it when you're wearing it, either," Kaz points out, seemingly reasonable enough. "And I know you have more marks than I do, because I saw how many you just won, and I know how many marks I have!" Duh. "Why are you asking about my shirt?" is a far more wary question.

Hotaru doesn't retort to Kazulen's observation that neither of them can drink the drink that's been spilled down her front. Instead she's busy shoving her way through the crowd to find the bar. "Aren't we awful sure of ourselves." She's assuming he's following her. If he wants a drink, he'd better be. "Because mine is all wet?" She reaches over to try and lift up his shirt. To check if he's got a second one on underneath, of course.

This, instead, results in him squawking and swatting at her hands, whether or not that results in spilled marks. "HEY! No stripping in public!" No stripping him in public, anyway. And no stripping the underage kid, either. The drunk on the floor, however, is relieved of his overshirt — why was he wearing an overshirt in this weather, anyway? — before he even notices, and it's thrust hastily at Hotaru. "No naked in public, I'd have to arrest you, too!"

Hotaru knows better than to just hang onto her marks like that. They've been shoved someplace in her pants. Not a normal pocket, either. "Then answer me!" She says, pulling back her hand as it's swatted away. Alas, there will be no answering, though obviously Kazulen is only wearing a single shirt. Hotaru wrinkles her nose as she's give the drunk's shirt. "It smells like beer. I guess I can't be changing in here then. Or you'll ARREST me." She waves to the bartender. "I want a juice and whatever he's drinking." She motions to Kazulen. Then she sets down the money for the drinks, and scampers off to the loo to change her shirt before the bartender comes back. When she comes back, she's swimming in a stinky shirt.

At least the oversized shirt matches her oversized pants and makes it that much easier for her to be underestimated by the drunks who missed her prior show, right? Kazulen is now perched at the bar, drinking on her marks. Sure, she's underage, but he isn't, and nobody actually cares that the teenager bought him whiskey, right? Kazulen smirks at her, raising his glass in a slightly-mocking salute. At least he made sure to keep her juice safe from the drunks who thought it had vodka in it.

Hotaru can only hope. It wasn't like she was going to soak everyone of their marks. Just enough to have enough to pay for drinks and some to bet next time and a little extra maybe. Was there a drinking age at Fort? Maybe not an official one, but Hotaru isn't going to press her luck by ordering booze. She grunts at his smirk, and climbs up onto the stool next to him. Her other shirt is hanging out of one of her pockets. She slides her drink over towards herself. "Are you supposed to be drinking? Or are you really off duty?"

"What, you think I'm required to drink while on duty, now?" Kazulen challenges, failing to answer her question even remotely. (The bartender smirks at him.)

"I dunno. Knowing you it might help." Hotaru replies drolly. "You got your drink. I figured you be trying to ditch me now. Or are you planning to mooch off me the rest of the night?" Because that's not what she signed up for!

"Are you still convinced I'm going to be your boyfriend?" he counters.

"Have you gotten any -younger- in the past… turn or so?" Hotaru peers at Kazulen. "Anyways, you were never supposed to be my boyfriend. You were just supposed to -act- like it. Besides, Edani, or D'ani now, he's not offering up any marks that I'm aware of. So that means you're off the hook." The redhead looks down into her glass for a while, before picking it up to take a drink.

"So you just need to find some way of fleecing him out of the marks in question," Kazulen suggests wisely, tilting his whiskey glass at her as if that makes his phrasing that much wiser.

Hotaru peers at Kazu. "Eh? I think he'd get suspicious if I suddenly invited him to play against me in a game of pool." She tilts her glass back at the guard, mimicking his wise-glass-stance. "Besides. I haven't even seen D'ani since he impressed. He's a high and mighty bronzer now, don't you know."

"He's not that great," Kazulen scoffs, bitter, and knocks back the rest of his drink. Someone's feeling left out.

Hotaru blinks at Kazulen, then squints at him. "What? You sad you didn't walk away with your own bronze dragon?" She sighs then. "Me too. Well, not a bronze. Any other color would have been nice though. You're young enough to stand again though, right?"

Kazulen's hand comes out, fingers spread, level, then waggles back and forth: Sort of. "I've been Standing for a decade."

Hotaru blinks. "A decade? I didn't even think you were old enough for that. Last time was my first time. I don't want to keep standing over and over again for a decade. At this point you may as well keep going. You've only got a few turns left, eh?" She pokes at him and gives him a sympathetic smile.

Kazulen scowls at his mostly-empty glass of whiskey: when did that happen, anyway? "I mean, not technically a decade, quiet, yet," he admitted, correcting himself. "Awfully close, though. I really thought that mine was in that clutch, is all, even more than any other time."

Hotaru also looks at his empty glass. She's not going to have to drag him back to the barracks, is she? "Ah. Well. Not quite a decade. But since you were twelve?" She shrugs a bit. "I didn't figure I'd impress the first time… what was it about that clutch that felt different to you? Different clutchmom? I mean that made you think that was the time."

"Nah." The last few drops got drained, and then Kazulen thunked the glass down roughly. "The eggs." Meaning: that gold egg was so welcoming to him!

"Ah…" Not much to go on there. Hotaru tries to read Kazulen's face to see if she can tell any more from him. Was he betrayed by one of the eggs? She looks down into her own glass again. "So are you gonna stand again?" After taking a small sip she sets her glass down. "I'll need someone to stand with again. Though I might try my luck at Igen maybe. Or someplace else."

"There's more to standing than the eggs," Kazulen answers, although he doesn't sound very believable. "But if you're going to go to Igen, or whatever, good luck." He shrugs. "I — haven't decided. Maybe I won't."

"What kind of more? The restrictions and the lessons and the chores?" Hotaru chuckles a bit. "Are you weyrbred? Or did riders pluck you out of the hold when you were young?" She shrugs. "I haven't decided what I'm going to do. My parents said I can stand there, but I'm more used to Fort." She stretches a bit, then pokes him in the ribs. "Do you want to impress?"

Kazulen rubs at his ribs after a moment, scowling at her half-heartedly. "I always did," he answers. "At this point — yeah, I do, I just. I don't want to keep getting my hopes up and then have them be crushed. And yeah, I was born here. I've never lived anywhere else."

Hotaru grins to him. "Well, you can't impress if you don't stand. Though being crushed isn't very fun. At least it gives you a change of pace, right?" And he gets to meet other annoying candidates, like Hotaru! "Anyways. I have kitchen duty tomorrow, so I have to go and try to sleep. Here." She pulls a mark out from her pants and sets it under her glass. "Don't get too depressed. If it were back in Threadfall, people might call you the luckiest man alive." She hops down off her barstool then and shoves her way through the rowdy crowd towards the exit.

Kazulen stares after her for a moment, then pockets her mark and sets his forehead in his hands, elbows propped up on the bar. When a fifteen-turn-old is offering drinking money… Well. He's probably had enough with just the one, then, hasn't he. Eventually he heads back to the barracks — once the bartender has helped him unstick his elbows from the bar top, anyway.

'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.