1964-06-26 - Another Night at Saganaki
Summary: Wine, good food, good friends, and a dismal discussion about death.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
kai lara lambert strange wanda 

The restaurant is busy tonight - lots of people are present, most of them sitting down to eat. The special is a rich Greek fish stew with lashings of cream, and the golden buttery pools on top show that it is the kind of food designed for peasants who have to work hard during the day. Fresh dill and raw oregano sent the air, there is red wine being poured, and the staff are run off their feet. For those who might want to talk to the chef, the Courtyard is the place to be - there is a window where he can lean out and converse with people out here, and the more enclosed space allows him to participate. And participate Lambert does - with so many real humans around, his fluffy hair is trapped with his goaty-ears behind a chef's hat, and the tail his hidden under his blue and white uniform. Only his weird eyes mark him as unusual, and many might miss those as the orders come - saganaki, spanakopita, rabbit braised in tomatoes and olives, home made flat bread and yoghurt. Loukaniko with feta cheese, avgotaraho - fish roe - for the brave. Smells, sights and…maybe sounds, if Kai is here.

Definitely sounds. Kai has been playing all evening, and there has been soul behind his usual talent. Though he looks mostly human, only someone looking at his eyes and knowing what to look for would notice anything unusual. His eyes are a deep ocean blue flecked with silver that gleams like moonlight on water. He plays on a battered old guitar, some hits of the day, some older, more traditional fare. It isn't until it's getting late that he takes a break, bowing to the applause, and heading toward the courtyard. Food time.

Up in the air over the city, Lara flies along at a relatively sedate speed, high enough to be able to get a good view of what's below… and adjusting her flight altitude with the height of the buildings over which she's flying. She smells the food from the greek restaurant… and it makes her pause in her flight, then descend towards the little courtyard. She drops sedately from the sky to land, lightly on her feet, near the fountain. Hands on her hips, she looks at the fountain, then about at the rest of the place. In most places, her coming down out of the sky might illicit fear or immediate distrust from people. In a restaurant this near to Mutant Town? …who knows how the people here will react to a flying woman?

The courtyard has somewhere a musician can sit - though Kai will have to tone down the volume, as the place is all hard surfaces and rock. Up above can be seen the lights of Lambert's private residence, the windows thrown open at all hours. Apparently he just lets the plantlife grow right on in. Kai has just arrived out there with his music, and Lambert can be heard saying some mean things in Greek about the quality of the last rabbit he has for the pot. Never mind! Though as Lara comes down, Lambert puts his hands on the window and calls out "Stealing anything means you have to wash the dishes - I don't mind if you're starving, I'll feed you, but you _have to work_, young miss!" After being robbed as many times as Lambert has been, apparently you develop a bit of a nervous twitch.

"I remember when you used to greet people with hello," Kai says to Lambert. He leans the guitar against the stool, and he goes over to a table, sitting down and regarding the chef pointedly. "I was led to understand there would be wine," he says. Then he looks up in the sky. A bird? A plane! Ooh, a flying woman. "Hello," he says when she touches down. "I'm Kai. You'll have to excuse Lambert. He's had a spot of iffy luck.." The elf has dark circles under his eyes, and the good cheer is pushed a little, but his smile is genuine.

Lara's eyes turn to Kai and she actually seems … surprise? … relieved? … at being greeted openly like that. "I am Supergirl", she replies, in English. Then, when Kai's words make her realize that Lambert's words were direct at her, her eyes widen — clearly at being assumed that she's here to steal. Moving over towards the window, she holds up both hands and says, "I dropped in only because I remember…. once visiting a place much like this. I mean no harm, and intend none… nor am I in need of food. Howver, if you'd prefer I leave, I shall."

The last time he swung by this place, he ended up bringing home some excellent dishes. They were enjoyed, even he wasn't able to sample a flake of them, and thus, Strange returns to Saganaki and this time, with Wanda in tow.

Rather, on his arm. How rarely do they get to walk about as such — and isn't he the proudest of peacocks, the impression projected as his usual air of self-confidence. He's dressed for the warmth of the spring evening: black slacks, shined shoes, a dress-shirt in celadon-blue with sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The button at his neck remains undone for air flow.

"This is the place," he asides with a grin. Upon opening the front door, the scents of the cooking filter forth and their potency is enough to make him wiggle his nose once. "After you, m'lady." Goodness, the charm is turned on 'high' tonight. Stepping into the restaurant means ascertaining just how busy it is and there's a small spot in his heart that's glad to see it. The owner, that Lambert fellow — he was kind when he opened up the kitchen for the Sorcerer even when the "CLOSED" sign said otherwise.

The couple has arrived a little after Lara's landing, missing her singular entrance, but Strange does know that voice within the thread of conversations. His sharp eyes find Kai across the room and he offers the Elf a genial two-fingered salute from his silver temple in greeting.

"Yeah, and then people got violent in my restaurant," says Lambert to Kai "And that fishy man broke my ribs." He sniffs, but out he comes, and he has with him a big pottery jug "The good stuff?" asks Lambert, who expects no answer - instead he is pouring out a bowl of it. There are little wooden bowls here for wine instead of glasses "Also the time we were chased by a giant crab who wanted to steal things. I think it is unfair that the fishy man will kill me if I serve calimari, but that seafood itself is coming for me. Okay! Wine. Wait - you look terrible. Skinny." He glares at Kai direly "You have to eat." He jabs a hand at Supergirl - evidently to shake hers "Oh, that's fine then - people keep robbing me." He fusses, he fusses so much "All they have to do is wash dishes, or peel some potatoes, and I would feed them, eh? Afraid of a little hard work, they are. No, sit, sit - wine for you. Allergies? Things you don't l - …wait. Not in need of food? Isn't everyone? It's been over an hour since _I_ last ate!"

Then in comes Strange and Lambert smiles warmly at Wanda "Hello! Come, come and sit out the back here - yes. More wine, of course." The restaurant inside is thinning out now, giving Sam and Marcie a little bit of a break, and Lambet can afford to tend to guests out here in person "Strange," he adds to the Doctor "You come too. Sit under the lemon tree - smell those blossoms! Perfection."

Patrons were led to believe there would be wine in a place thick with thieves, women, and song? In the absence then of these particular elements, perhaps there may be an addition seized from the general hoi-polloi from around the East Village. Simply refuse to tell Stephen he's one of those unwashed masses.

The night marks one of those precious rare occasions when Wanda deigns to wear anything other than her habitual attire, though the uniform palette of burgundy and onyx prevails as it always does for those who know her. The corseted leather jacket wraps around her in an unforgiving dream of murderous angles, an odd touch over the black cocktail dress. Her shoes aren't terribly high-heeled on account of the multiple weapons concealed in her clothes. "Bread, and lemons," she says to Strange, as some kind of deadly prophesying on the purpose of the night's entailing.

"I think one of us is technically betrothed to that crab," Kai tells Lambert. Then he's told he looks terrible, and he says with a sigh, "I've given up on sleeping. The dreams aren't worth it. Food will take my mind off things. I'm living hard, Lambert. As hard as I can. The time goes by too quickly." Upon spying Strange and Wanda, he rises to his feet and says, "Doctor, hello." Another tired but genuine smile. "And this must be the lovely Wanda, how good to finally get the chance to meet you." And to Lara, he says, "At least have some wine. It's quite nice. I'm Kai, by the way, Kai Alfsson."

"Well met", Lara says to Kai. "And while I enjoy a good glass of wine, I haven't money with which to pay for it… nor do I actually need any such sustenance. You need not trouble yourself on my account." She steps back from the window, then, moving over to one of the benches as if intending to sit — perhaps she's simply getting out of the way of Lambert and his two recently arrived customers/guests.

"I can think of far worse things than smelling lemon and bread," he murmurs to Wanda before leading the way towards the back as hailed by Lambert. "You're too kind, sir."

They travel out to the back, where the restaurant's owner apparently intends to attend them personally, and he grants the Moon Elf a small smile. "Hello, Kai. Yes, my Consort, Wanda," and he steps aside conversationally to let her continue introducing herself.

Lara's given an interested once-over and a professionally-friendly nod. "You must be a friend of one of those two?" the good Doctor asks of her, tilting his head back towards Kai and Lambert.

"I'm not picky," says Lambert to Kai, of betrothals, and crabs "But the size difference could be an issue." He then frowns a bit "Why is that? Maybe you should go careful on my wine. It's. Kind of, ah, strong." Indeed it is. It kicks like a mule on steroids, but then, it is _almost_ magical in its own right "Oh, introductions. I am Lambert Petropoulos." The last name comes out with a much stronger Greek accent "Oh, well, yes. Hmm. If you want wine, woman-that-flies, there is a broom there," he nods towards the outside wall "Go sweep the step." Yeah. Says the cook to the near-Goddess. Lambert claps his hands suddenly at Doctor Strange "Hah! Many worse things. Let's get some decent food out here. And I am everyone's friend!" Or so he thinks.

"I like lemons," reiterates the golden-skinned, dark-haired oread helpfully installed on Strange's arm. She does not go rushing off into the later parts of the restaurant to inspect the authenticity of the Greek cuisine, oh no. The doctor's living shadow does not tend to stray overly far from his vicinity. Her nod conveys enough greeting without trending into the effusive range; no smile or idle giggle is going to greet them at any point unless the world has gone very wrong indeed. "Is this a place where one cleans to eat?" The concept is not wholly lost upon her.

After that hushed question, she lifts her fingers in a simple greeting to Kai. Being called a consort is probably strange enough in this day and age, some newfangled thing for people too cool for altars and crosses. "I know you." Is that comforting? "But not him. Petropoulos. Son of Petros. But Spartan."

Right. The girl who doesn't know English picks that out. Really.

Kai smiles warmly at Wanda. At this point in the game, it's not disquieting. Rather, the elf his pleased to be known. To be known is to be remembered. "It's a pleasure to put the name with the face," he tells her. Then, "I won't go easy on your wine," he tells Lambert. "I can drink any one of you under the table." He gestures to Lara's table and asks her, "May we?" Apparently he means not only to join Supergirl but to invite Strange and Wanda as well. "Are you a hero, then?" he asks Lara. "Because Lambert here keeps getting robbed. Perhaps he'll give you wine in exchange for a promise you'll stop in every once in awhile to make sure everything's in order." He eyes the broom, then Lambert. He grins at the satyr-kin. "Or you could sweep."

"I've just met them, actually, when I came down to visit", Lara says in reply to Strange, with a gesture up at the sky in time with the last few words. She then turns her head when Lambert speaks his name, cocking up one eyebrow — but without saying anything. Her eyes turn towards the broom and it seems she's actually about to go over to pick it up and sweep the step, until Kai suggests she might trade other service for the drink. Turning back to Lambert, she holds up a hand in a 'one moment, please' sort of gesture to Kai, and asks, "Mister Petropoulos… -would- it be of service to you if I were to remain nearby somewhat regularly, in order to prevent robberies of your place of business?"

Strange watches the preceedings unfold in regards to earning one's keep for food with a quiet smile. He wanders away from the Witch a little, not too far, to observe what he can of the lemon tree and its blossoms. It's a healthy thing. The scent is lovely as well. He wonders idly to himself if he could capture it somehow…

The topic of robbery garners his attention and he of the unending curiosity returns to Wanda's side, looking from Lara to Lambert to Kai with a lift of his brows in silent encouragement for someone to expand on the matter.

"Not a Spartan - the closest thing would be an Epicurean," says Lambert, glancing at Wanda with sudden interest "Haven't heard that other word in a long time out here, right? And I guess, like, a true Epicurean is a pretty restrained type, Grandpa always said they took it _way_ too far, all those like, orders of pleasure into naturalness and necessariness and…you know, never mind," He waves a broad-fingered hand, and then he says to Kai mildly "Oh, hang on - was that a _drinking competition challenge_? To _me_?" He wipes his hands on his apron, and then he says to Kai "Careful, boy. I've not met a single man in this city who had half a chance."

But then he is moving between kitchen and tables, already setting out things - because Kai needs to be fed, right? Fragrant rice with lemons, dolmades, lamb roast, rabbit stew with olives. For all of the complaints about thefts, he wants them all to eat. And he says to Kai "She was willing to sweep, like a commoner? She's fine, then. She can stay." He nods to Lana "Yes, that _would_ be good - just every so often, ey? I can't do so much magic. Flying! Disappearing! Throwing a bottle of wine at my head," mutter "So yes, please, Miss. Now sit and eat. Kai, eat now, sing later, by Dionysis!" Because food and wine are being served, and how that wine tastes like fresh herbs and honey, and how the food is lovelingly prepared by someone who's skills are not in the metamagical.

"Why do they rob here? Food or money left out like gold?" For the direct question, there's Wanda to rely on for getting to the heart of the matter. Her heavy accentation does not particularly like English and some of the odder combinations of vowels and syllables plunk her squarely in Orthodox territory for how she tackles them. Mostly. "Peloponnesian." But for that, she nods to Lambert as he knows his name better than some. Eyebrows lift slowly. Curling her fingers firmly around the doctor's arm, and as Strange worries about the business of theft, she tilts her face up to catch the scent of the citrus blossoms.

"Maybe gold in wine. It is something they come for." Her questions fade away. Lara's offers to sweep are not exactly familiar, and so her directness is delivered without a trace of irony. The dark-haired sorceress has all the grace given unto a pickaxe to Trotsky's visage. "Where are you from? If not here."

Kai snorts at Lambert and says, "I'm not like other men." Then food is laid out before him, and he samples this and that, his eyes crossing with pleasure at the rabbit stew. "You've done it again, mate," he says. "I just want to eat here until I die." For a thin creature, he does seem intent on putting quite a bit of that food away. He's sung for his supper well. It would be a shame to waste it.

Lara sits when the chef tells her to, but seems hesitant to sample anything… then, suddenly, she stands, head turned as if listening to something. "I need to go. I've just heard what sounded like a car crash", she says, already floating up into the air. Oddly, there wasn't any such sound to be heared…. to anyone without hearing as sharp as hers. Stopping in her ascent, she hovers for a moment. "Thank you for the hospitality. I shall return", she says, directing her eyes and her words to Lambert. Then, she's accelerating up and away, very quickly out of sight.

Strange watches the young woman go and his eyebrows rise.

"That's a trick," he comments, somewhat to himself. Having idled by the table and not seated just yet, he instead encourages Wanda to take a seat by pulling one out for her. "Chef Lambert is responsible for the…never mind, I'm going to butcher it," and the good Doctor laughs, his baritone belling the courtyard. "Please, «Beloved», sit and eat for us both. My treat."

The monicker is spoken in Tibetan, their shared language, and accompanied by a fond smile. "Perhaps Kai can sing for us after dinner?" His eyes twinkle towards the Elf.

"Food," says Lambert to Wanda, not without some pride, and then he hesitates "But everywhere has problems. Either people rob people like me because we look weird - or because they think we are human, when they are mutants. Because they are hungry. Because they are frightened. Violence always comes from fear, I think, unless there is madness in there too, eh?" Such a philosopher. He thunks plates down "Heh, how do you know all those old words?" he asks Wanda. And then he pats Kai, and he says to him mildly "Drink up. When you lose, there'll be payment owed. Ah, miss - I'm from Texas." He laughs, and adds "But my family's from the mountains up behind Athens, and have been for centuries. Just. Er, well, the children, some of the children, left. But we're a close-knit family. Grandpa writes me letters." In ancient greek. He looks to Strange, curiously, and he says "Sounds good, Doctor Strange!"

There are frank truths and those couched in poetry. Take whatever the witch says how one likes. "My people are the oldest of the earth after the old Australian story singers." Her shoulders rise and fall slightly, dragging the coat tighter around her chest and back. Changing shapes give a constantly altered pilgrimage shaped out of indolent leather, supple in a shiraz wash that reaches her knees. A good nod comes on the matter of elves and food and obligations, but she has far less to offer on that score. English is hard, after all.

"No meat," she says quietly, to Lambert. Kai can destroy the rest of it as needed.

Kai is liberal with the wine, looking Lambert pointedly in the eye as he drinks down a glass in deep swallows without pause. Then he sets the glass down and says, "So good, I'll have another." Then he digs in to more food. He grins at Strange and says, "It will be my pleasure." He inclines his head to Wanda, then tells Lambert, "I'll take her portion in exchange for giving up some dolmas. He raises his glass, and he says, "Tonight, let's eat and drink like we're in Valhalla."

Taking up a seat beside his Consort, Strange settles in. No wine for him, so he pours himself a glass of water from the caraft on the table. Sipping at it, he watches the Elf practically inhale the food and most definitely quaff the wine. It does all smell wonderful, he admits, but unfortunately, also none for him.

Thus is the fee for the utilization of the power of the gods.

The Sorcerer watches Lambert go, on some quest regarding the kitchen and its mastery, before smiling faintly. "Like Valhalla? I doubt I'd ever be admitted there. Still, it's a nice thought, I suppose."

A carafe of wine is enough to do Wanda in. She's only mortal. On the other hand, her hummingbird metabolism sears through anything remotely liquid, sugary or fruit-based. Not as impressively as the pounds of it that Tommy or Pietro need to achieve, but that's neither here nor there.

"Ill luck to be as the dead," she says flatly, not unkind but neither willing to broach that. Given the shadows traipsing after her, she makes a short little headshake a punctuation mark on the statement. For herself, wine. And lots of those dolmades. Oh yes. Om nom nom.

"Ill luck indeed, fair lady," says the elf. He takes another drink, and he smiles slowly as Lambert heads into the kitchen. "That's right," he murmurs, "you'd better run." The haggard creature sets down his glass, and he pulls apart a bit of bread, dunking in the sauce left by the rabbit stew.

Kai's gaze shifts to Strange. Quietly, he says, "I got a visitation the other night. It won't be long now. I'm saying my good-byes." He smiles tightly, and there's little joy in his tired eyes, though perhaps a spark of relief. One way or another, it will be over soon.

The scent of the flowering fruit tree drifts down overtop them, carried on the wind. The spread is fair, the taste sumptuous, and Strange sets down his wineglass of water.

"I see." His voice is quiet and his eyes narrow to show crow's feet about the corners before relaxing. "Weren't able to find a way out of it then. I'm…sorry to hear it, Kai. Would that I could do more, but diplomacy would only take me so far." His lips thin before he glances away, up to the blossoms. "Still…" and he looks back, a painful kindness in his steely-blues. "Nothing is impossible. Remember this."

Kai lowers his gaze to the food he's still working on, though much more slowly now. "They mean to mount a defense or a rescue," Kai says. "As for myself, all I can do is have faith in greater powers than myself." He raises his glass and looks to Strange. "If they pull it off, I will spend the rest of my living days striving to be worthy." There's an unspoken 'but' in his tone, though. Faith, sure, but also a cold dash of realism.

"I have faith in the tenacity of your would-be rescuers." Strange won't mention his worries in regards to Midgardian diplomacy between himself and Niflheim, but…there's always carefully preparing for the worst in the meanwhile. "Who is mounting this defense?"

"I've no doubt they won't stop," Kai says, and his eyes glimmer wetly all of a sudden. Still, he musters up a light tone, a warm smile. "My beloved," he says, "and the Lady Amora, who has always been so kind to me. I believe they may be enlisting Thor, but maybe not since she and he are on the outs. Also, a guilt-ridden Bucky Barnes, who may have already allied with them." He has no idea the Avengers have signed on, too. "If I seem pessimistic, it's humility. To be regarded as important enough to defy death, by such excellent people…" He shakes his head. The son of thieves and outcasts can't wrap his head around it.

"No life is worth less than any other in the end, I think." Strange is softly-spoken now, as if any louder might shiver petals from the tree beside the table. He is deprived of none of the formidable gravity about his person for it. "To lose one is still to extinguish a fire, mortal or not. You stand a fighting chance with those beings at your side, I think, along with the Prince Loki."

Kai's features soften just at the mention of the name. There's a deep ache in him, though. To be this close and still separated. He's quiet for a time. His features harden slowly, and he says, finally, "They murdered me, Stephen. They chained me down and tortured me I know not for how long but it felt like eternity." He pulls the sleeve of his shirt down to reveal his shoulder, etched with silvery 'ink' in the shape of a net draped like a mantle upon him. "I still bear the mark of their bondage."

He takes a drink of wine, very deliberately, and he lets out a calming breath. "My last days were a haze of pain and humiliation. Bucky's killing blow was a mercy." He releases his shirt. "I think I could accept my fate if it has been some natural death, but not like this. So I'll go, and I'll wait, and I will get the best revenge: living well."

Strange nods slowly, his smile managing a frosty nature in its inherent agreement with the Elf's stance. He lift up his glass of water by its stem and murmurs, "To living to spite your enemy. Gods below, I know that one well enough. Sometimes, they can't stand to see you happy." He sips at his water and sighs. "It's a most gratifying revenge, Kai."

Kai raises his glass. "To getting on with the business of living and doing it better than they ever could." Used to be the elf didn't have a mean bone in his body, but he's sitting on a lot of anger, and some of it comes through in the set of his jaw, and the firmness of his grip on the glass. He takes a drink, then sets the glass down and digs in to the last of the rabbit stew. "Pray for their sake that's all that happens. My beloved isn't known for his clemency."

Strange allows himself a wry little smile. "No…the youngest Prince isn't known at all for it, believe me. Before his recent return to Midgard, he was…a challenge to deal with from time to time. I much prefer his current personality, I admit." A fingertip flicks an errant petal from the tablecloth and he watches it float to the ground.

Kai watches the petal as well. He can't stay in a state for too long surrounded by such comfort and beauty. Lambert does know how to create an atmosphere, even if the coward did run away from the drinking contest. That's the elf's story and he's sticking with it. "Even if this were the end of it though," he says, "I can't take it too hard. I'm with a Prince of Asgard, the Enchantress is my fast friend, and the Sorcerer Supreme of Midgard is like a brother to me. In all the ways that matter I'm the richest man in the world." His gaze seeks out Strange's. "Thank you," he says. "For being part of that."

"It's an honor, Kai, and will continue to be so." The Sorcerer is obdurate in his belief grounded in his cosmopolitan life as the mantle-holder of the Vishanti. The possibilities are endless. Past lives are terrifyingly beautiful things and reincarnation is clearly within reason given the actions of the youngest Prince. "You've set a fine bar of quality for any other Alfheimian I come across."

Kai laughs, despite himself and his circumstances. "In Alfheim, I am the child of those people. The scoundrel and the lady who ran away with him, disgraced her family. They watch me like a hawk, waiting for me to show how blood will out." He swirls his wine in his glass. "My gran always told me I'd come to a bad end, but what can I say? The middle was worth it, and the denouement will be even better."

The lines of Strange's goatee break for the curve of his lips. "You don't strike me as the type to believe in self-fulfilling prophecies, Kai. Do you really believe that this bad blood will out?" Consider the man very unimpressed with the lack of familial support, even if he's had none for years until Wanda came along.

Kai shakes his head and says, "No, I think free will determines the course our lives take. Let me tell you, I learned all my courtly manners and the lessons my gran taught. I can be the gentleman. But then I decided not to because I don't like the way she talks about my da." He holds up a finger, "However. It was a conscious choice, not my blood." Never mind what he may or may not have inherited of mischief from said maligned father.

"Right, a conscious effort, and that's why bad blood never outs. It's all about the willpower to commit to a decision and stick to it." Strange nods before sipping at his water. He rolls his lips and again, there's that faint encouraging curvature of that mobile mouth. "Hope and willpower. Conquerors of insurmountable problems. Remember this too."

"Exactly," Kai says. "I'd hate for my effort to get explained away by something like blood." He shakes his head and takes another drink of his wine. He pauses, then sets the glass down and says, "Hope and willpower. I think I should sleep tonight. I haven't lately, I've been so busy finishing what can be finished. But I've prepared for the worst. Now it's time to prepare for the best. A long sleep and a letter to my darling saying I will wait for him."

He smiles, and a profound sadness enters his gaze just then. Not for himself, but for Loki. What this must have been like for him. The elf draws himself to his feet, and he says, "Whatever happens, don't let him fall into despair. I will wait for him."

Rising to his feet and taking Wanda's hand in his own, Strange inclines his chin in a slight nod.

"I can't offer anything more than a promise to keep him composed enough to not lash out against our reality. I may see if his brother can aid in this, if need comes to be." Stoicism is his shield against what grief haunts him. It leaks through in the darkening of his eyes. "I'll see you for scones next week, Kai Alfsson. Don't be late."

With that sanguine commentary, the Sorcerer and the Witch then depart from the restaurant.

Strange goes home.

Who knows how much Lambert has heard of all of that, and how much he has not? The fact is though that his ears are long, and as humans have left the place, he takes off his chef's hat, and lets them flick out. After a moment, out he comes with lit candles, that he puts on other tables - not Kai's. And then a plate of baklava, and a small wooden bowl. Lambert unstoppers a new pottery jug and something thick and very dark red pours out, into the bowl "Everyone else has gone home. Even, haha, one who hangs around here for when I stop cooking."

"I guess I'm not ready to have a proper sleep after all," Kai says with a warm smile for Lambert. Warm but tired. There are dark circles under his eyes and a brittle edge to his regard. Elf has seen some shit. "Let's settle this drinking thing," he says, "though I've gotten quite the head start on you. Don't think you can waltz in sober and not be a cheater."

"This is the good stuff," Lambert says, and he pushes the bowl across, and then takes out one for himself "Not my brew. My grandfather's. This is the wine of Dionysis. It is over five hundred years old - it will always keep." It…smells. It smells like hot days under an Aegean sun, it smells like thyme and it smells like…something indescribable. After a moment, Lambert says "I'll catch up!"

Kai says, "Ahh, so you've brought out real drink. You might well put me under, my friend. The flavored water these Midgardians call alcohol doesn't faze me." He takes up the bowl and inhales the scent of the wine. His eyes lid with pleasure. "You've given me a gift," he says. "A chance to get decently plastered before I sleep." He raises the bowl to Lambert in a toast, then drinks.

Lambert finally says "…why…do you _have_ to die? I could only hear some of it. Are you under a curse? I do not understand - but I know that you have powerful friends, are powerful yourself. What is happening?" He lifts his own bowl, lightly, and then drinks, low, rolling swallows. The wine…the wine. This really is religion here. A religion of hungers, intensities, bad ideas, pleasure, sacrifice and - does Kai know? Death and rebirth. The Cult of Dionysis is the Cult of the Beautiful Dead Youth.

Kai takes a long drink from his bowl, and when he lowers it, he sighs with pleasure. "Real wine," he says. "All right, I may have bitten off more than I can chew." He doesn't seem to mind, though, and he takes another drink. "I'm already dead," he says, but I was given a temporary reprieve to do a task. Whether I do the task or not, I have to go back. I can't avoid it forever." He leans in and murmurs, "But there are those who are willing to storm hell to fetch me out again, so we'll see."

Lambert says "You're dead? You look remarkably well for a dead man." He pauses, then he says "My…grandfather might know a little about bringing back someone, it's…part of some of the Procession of Silenus. My grandfather was a thiasos." He adds "Is there anything I can do? I mean, I have the wine and food down - a soft bed above. I can arrange company. Fine clothes…" All those physical things.

"Yes, they've returned me to health for the duration, so that's been a kindness. Or cruel, considering they're just going to yank it away again." He takes another drink, then says, "Somewhere nice to sleep would be good. I don't plan on being able to make it home in one piece." He waves a hand at the offer for company, though. "My heart belongs to my one and only." He considers the fine clothes, then decides to put a pin in that for now and instead focus on another drink. "You've done so well for me already, my friend. Earthly delights to beat the band. When I'm gone, if I don't come back, take care of Jay."

Lambert says "You can sleep in my bed. If you don't want to go for a ride, then I'll sleep on the couch." He gives a faintly baffled, if friendly smile, at the whole idea of hearts belonging to a one and only "Or I could call a cousin in, I've got several - oh, wait, you're serious about that?" The chef is baffled. For Lara's benefit, Lambert is now without his chef's hat and apron. So the long, goaty ears are visible, as is the tuffet of a tail. The fur is white - like the platinum blonde sheep-pelt curls he has on his head "That's. Well. Interesting." Then he raises an eyebrow "Of if you want to bring him here for a while, you guys can use my place. I'm just as comfortable out here on the bench." He pats his round form with amusement, then he says "Oh, that kid? Poor kid."

Kai laughs a little. "No ride," he says. "It's not that I'm not tempted. The old me would've already been on that by now." The wine is loosening his tongue nicely. He's not used to 'real' alcohol. He takes another drink, then swirls it in the bowl, studying it as he says, "I don't have that long, Bertie. I might be gone in the morning. I just hope I get to see Loki again before I go. I just worry about Jay. He won't take it well."

There's a sharp 'crack' that sounds far up in the sky and a bit of a distance away; it's the sound of the sound barrier being broken as Lara actually slows from hypersonic speeds as she descends out of the sky, slowing to a leisurely and gentle landing back in Saganaki restaurant's courtyard. She eyes Lambert for a few moments, one eyebrow slightly raised, then glances to Kai as she says, "Hello again", so that both are included in the greeting. It's clear she didn't expect Lambert to be a satyr, but it's also clear that it didn't really faze her once she found it out.

"Call him now, I'll go next door and ask to borrow their phone," says Lambert, firmly "Or, if you give me his address -" And then Super Girl, or, ah, Flying Woman, or some approximation of the two is arriving, and Lambert says "…we ask her if she can go get him. Kai - this is serious. If you love this man, and he loves you, and you're _about to die_, why don't we go get him?" He adds, then "Yes, yes, Jay is very nice, but - please _focus_. Whatever you are." He jerks a thumb at the woman "Come on, I'll bribe her with food - or she might do it because you look like such a sorry sob story, I bet orphaned kittens would help you out."

Kai shakes his head and says, "I can't. The moment I see him again, they'll come to take me. That's the deal. They'll try to take him, too. This way, at least I get enough time to write him a letter." He shoulder-nudges Lambert and says, "Take it from me, if you get a chance to make a deal with an otherworldly entity from the underworld, don't." He clasps Lambert's shoulder. "Don't trouble yourself, my friend. Be there for Jay, get him good and drunk, and you'll be the truest friend I could ask for." Then he laughs, and he sniffles. "I am a sob story, aren't I."

His attention turns to Supergirl, and he waves at her, a little tipsy. "Hey, there. Have you come for the food? It's worth it."

Lara frowns just a little at hearing that someone's dying. "Supergirl. Please call me Supergirl", she says to Lambert. Then, hands on her hips, she asks of Kai, "Who would come to 'take you' and the one you love?" She's clearly serious about her question, but she's also using a pretty gentle tone of voice as she asks. "… and what is killing you?", she adds.

Lambert says "Is that the exact letter of the law? The moment you _see_ him? Or is it the moment you _meet_ him again?" Lambert then rolls his eyes a bit, and he says "I'm never going to run into those. I'm a child of Dionysis. We go elsewhere." He just seems so…irritated with everything, suddenly, as if some complex Alfheim politics have conspired to help him lose his cheap singing entertainment, and he is personally annoyed by this fact. Lambert throws his hands up "I can't give Jay the alcohol I'm giving you. Anyway!" He pours more wine, and he says to Lara "Some sort of complicated Nordic God thing is going on - apparently chuckles here is already dead and on borrowed time. Allowed to come back to write his farewells." Something occurs to him "Can I headbutt this otherworldly entity?"

"There's a nice place I could go if I'd been a better person," Kai says, glum and in his cups. He takes another drink, because what he really needs is more booze right now. To Supergirl, he says, "It's like my friend here says, a complicated Nordic God thing is going on. I'm from Alfheim. I was taken by the Wild Hunt, tortured by svartalfar, and killed by a wolf who was a good friend transformed by the bastards and forced to murder me." He smiles lazily, though his eyes glint with something less happy. "The Queen of Hel has brought me back to this world in an attempt to ensnare Loki, the god of trickery. I've failed in my mission, and soon I'll be taken back to spend eternity bored out of my mind." He clasps Lambert's arm again. "Knowing her, she'll do whatever suits her most. She might take me then and there. She might let us reunite first so she can twist the knife." Then he laughs, ducking his head, and he says to Supergirl, "You might be able to if you can find her."

When told that Kai's already dead and on borrowed time, Lara frowns, again. "If you truly are dead and walking among the living only long enough to say your goodbyes, you should perhaps do so, in person or in written form at the very least… in place of random debauchery. Surely the one you love, he would welcome reading your farewell, knowing how you still feel for him, and the more time, care, and energy you spend in the writing of it, the more meaning it will have to him", she says, softly. "And I shall take no more of your time, this night. Rest from your drink, then visit with those to whom you've come to part from, and write to those from whom you cannot part in person. I will not interfere with the affairs of a goddess, regardless of how she's come to have claim on you. It is not my place to do so, unless she threatens innocents over whom she has no legitemate claim." Even as she's finishing her statement, she's already floating up off the ground to fly away. Again.

Lambert watches as Lara takes off, again, and after a moment, he says to Kai "You know, sometimes I really understand how humans can get upset at all of this. So much power. And none of it for them." He purses his lips, and then he says to Kai "Well, you can sleep here. My bed is comfortable - and huge. My company can be told to leave be for a little. Is there anything else I can do?"

"I need to debauch a little before I write my letter," Kai says. His brow knits, and he tells Lambert, "I want you to take care of the humans, too. I love them so much." He leans on Lambert. "And if Loki should stop by here, tell him I love him, and I'll love him until the stars go out." One arm drapes over Lambert's shoulders. "Now drink with me, my friend, and I'll write my letter when I'm so deep in my cups I don't remember a word of it." He smiles drunkenly and gazes at Lambert's strange eyes. "You are giving me just what I need tonight."

Lambert says "I'll get you some of the paper my cousin makes, from the house." He laughs, and he says "No, this is not debauchery - we have not yet broken into the Museum of Antiquities." He really has had quite a lot to drink, but Lambert adds, a bit vaguely "There's like. A greek statue of a female satyr in there - phwoar. She's just. Like. Furry legs. The furry legs does it for me, you know?" A slow shake of his head, and he clips his bowl to Kai's, and then he says "Well, uhhh, do you want me to see if any of my cousins will go bring some wine down to Hel for you?"

Kai laughs and says, "Maybe we should. Maybe they'll have something from my homeland snuck into Midgard somehow." He sighs and says, "It's glorious, Bertie. Champagne lakes and wonders for the senses. There are air elves with their strange and wonderful ships. Elves who cultivate spices that would turn mortal food to ambrosia. Don't ask about the pleasure elves. Moon elves like myself, and we make Firefly Wine. I wish I could bring you some. I'd like to see it again." Then he laughs, hiding his face with his arm. "If your cousins could bring me wine in Hel I would like that very much."

"Tell me about the pleasure elves," says the satyr, and then he says "Okay, I'll see if they can. I don't know, some of us are aligned towards death and rebirth, right? That's what Dionysis' Procession is about." And then he wrinkles his nose "Why can't you bring me some? But then…I don't know. I like this place too. I mean, look at me - I'm mostly human. I don't even have horns, Kai. I can't really go to Alfheim or Olympus. Not without _horns_." Whatever that means. Lambert, though, is giving Kai more and more of that dangerous wine "Here you go. Keep drinking."

Kai laughs and says, "There's a rumor they're triple-jointed. My da always said he's a quarter pleasure elf, but his joints seemed normal to me. My da's a talker, though." His eyes go dewy at the thought he'll never see his folks again. Even his horrid grandmother would be a sight for sore eyes. "I'll never see Alfheim again. There's no time." He clumsily runs a hand over Lambert's hairline. No horns, alas. "Well, I think you're a fine satyr," he says, and he takes another swallow of wine. "The finest in New York."

"I'm the only one in New York," says Lambert, a bit dryly "Unless you count the museum!" He has herbs floating atop that wine, and after a long moment, Lambert says "You're drunk. I'm drunk too. I want…to suggest we go and get into the museum, you know? But for once, I thinkt hat's probably not such a great idea. Up you get!" Lambert reaches down, and he _is_ strong. Roughly as strong as an olympic weight lifter. Kai is just lifted up like a dolly "Bed time."

Kai erfs as he's lifted, and then he giggles and drapes. He's heavy for his size, but Lambert is strong enough. "I'm going to write a letter," he says. "It's going to say my dearest beloved, I'm going to miss doing it with you the most. That wa really great, when he did it." He sighs. And he lets Lambert carry him where he will. "Please think of me when you're doing it with someone else. And you should, because love shouldn't stop just because I karked it." He pauses, then asks, "Too poetic?"

"Er. No, not too poetic," Lambert assures Kai, as he lifts him up into the flat, carrying him easily. Even if Kai is heavy, Lambert has carried heavier sides of beef. The satyr says "You might want to add that there were things you liked other than doing it." The fact _Lambert_ is giving this advice surprises even him.

Kai considers. "I love his eyes," he says softly. "When they're full of trouble. The way he smiles. I love that he plays tricks on me, but he's always loving. Dinner at the flat, just something simple one of us knows how to make. Breakfasts in the morning. I love how he showed up where I worked once just to see me." He sniffles. "We used to talk about the future, and the way his eyes would light up when we discussed forever."

Lambert drops Kai lightly onto the bed, then goes to rummage around to find a pen and a notepad. Even satyrs need to write neatly when they are answering government letters about their business. He picks up a tray to rest across Kai, and he helps him up against the pillows "Start writing with that," says Lambert "I mean, don't get me wrong - I love doing it. I would do it _all day_ if I could. But. This is probably more the right kind of stuff."

"We did once," Kai says. He's like a life-sized elf doll, poseable. "It was amazing." He takes the pen and studies the paper. Then he does begin to write. "My dearest beloved," he murmurs as he writes and hi handwriting is old-fashioned, more or less neat from years of practice. "I never thought of myself as someone who falls in love. Then I saw you that night at the cafe. I was terrified and captivated, and yours on the spot…" He sniffles and looks up at Lmabert. "Imagine, I'm hiding from Asgard and one of its own princes shows up in line behind me."

Kai is in a room with a lot of family portraits, and still Lambert appears not to mind the vaguely smutty talk. Even with the painted and photographed eyes of his relatives peering down. He raises his fluffy white brows, and then he says "I'm not sure if I'd feel 'someone's on the spot' in that circumstance!"

"It was terrifying," Kai tells Lambert. "To look into those eyes and fall so hard and to know how dangerous he was to me." He starts to write again, murmuring, "I wanted to resist you, but with a look I was undone. Imagine how surprised I was when you returned my love. After all this time, you remain as far above me as the stars, and I'm continuously astonished that, upon reaching up, I can touch your dazzling brilliance." He sniffles. "Bertie, people don't know him like I do."

"I don't know him at all," says Lambert, agreeably "But I can take the message to him, if you think that's safest." He adds "Though Gods do tend to be, you know. Not always _that nice_ in my experience. Power. Makes 'em loopy." He reaches over and pat-pats Kai's hair "It'll be okay," he lies. After all, in that bed, Kai is going to discover some cheerleader's underwear.

"I would like that," Kai says. "Or maybe I could leave it in his shop. I break into it all the time when I know he's out." He bites his lip, and he admits, "Sometimes I take cash from the register. I lost my job, and he buys me things anyway." He nods then. "Oh yes, makes them loopier than… than a loopy thing, but I adore him." He continues writing. "I love everything about you. Your eyes when they're laughing, your touch when it's light and teasing, when it's passionate to the point of harshness. Your body is poetry, and your mind unfathomable and blazing. These past few weeks have been torture not because of what has been done to me but because it has all been without you. My love, whatever happens, my faith is always in you, and I will wait for you until the stars go out and the earth falls to ashes. Til we meet again, your Kai." He looks to Lambert. "Is it good?"

Lambert says quietly "Yes." He reaches out, takes it, and he folds it up and pops it in a small envelope "Okay. You can choose what to do with it tomorrow. It's a good one, there, friend. Makes me almost wish I wasn't…eh, a satyr. But! I am. Kai, why don't you have a curl up in the goosefeather down there, and I'll make you a hangover breakfast in the morning."

Kai grins at Lambert, his expression mild as he hands over the letter. "I lived like a satyr before him," he says, "and it was wonderful. A new fellow every night, drinking and drugs and rock and roll. There's something to be said for it." He scoots down and turns onto his side, nestling in the blankets. "You're a good friend, Bertie. The best caliber of man there is. Er, satyr." He hiccups. Then he closes his eyes.

"I am pretty wonderful," says Lambert, without a hint of irony. He then grins, and he says "Sleep well, there, Kai. Trust me, no dreams with Grandfather's brew." None at all. Lambert tugs up the blankets, and reaches over to turn off the small kerosene lamp. Up here? There is no electricity. "You're a nice guy too. So I'll, uh. See what I can do." Uh oh…

Kai murmurs something into his pillow about how he's not tired, but before he finishes the sentence he's fast asleep. He looks like such a sweet thing, the little moon elf, with his golden hair, pale skin, and fey features. A sleeping angel, really. And dog tired. Poor thing hasn't slept well for weeks. Now? Now he's dead to the world and dreamless.

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