Realm of Terreille => Dhemlan => Anahi Province => Topic started by: Viviana Mori on May 12, 2019, 01:33:41 AM

Title: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 12, 2019, 01:33:41 AM

It had taken only moments after Ziauddin's departure for the silence to crush the Black Widow under its weight. Viviana had learned to embrace solitude centuries ago, but the hollowness on the inside reflected the emptiness of her home back at her - and for the first time, she wondered what she'd given up in the name of fulfilling her mother's vision. There was no one to blame but herself, really. She could have gone anywhere she liked upon reaching her majority -- could have returned to Dhemlan to become a proper member of society there, and rejected her mother's vision of a heroic child. Instead, she'd allowed one web to shape her entire life.

So Witch was dead, and now what?

There were a few pets left to clean out, but then...Viviana didn't know what happened after. Once she'd had childish visions of marrying her first love and having a family, though in retrospect it had been a girl's dream and one thoroughly dismantled before the war. Since then, she'd simply answered the question with one name: Zia.

Viviana didn't know how long she stayed in her sitting room, hands pressed painfully between her knees, letting the darkness envelop her in a sort of muffling comfort; it was hard to feel alone when you couldn't see, anyway. By the time the anger burned in her veins and her belly, night had advanced, and she suddenly had...an idea. It was a terrible idea, but perhaps it would let her work out some of her frustrations so that she could support her best friend now that his purpose had shifted so drastically. She stood in an abrupt movement, running her hands down her blouse, and then over the blood-stiffened trousers; she'd never changed, and now....it seemed pointless.

If Bohai humored her one more time, she'd only add more to what already stained the dark fabric.

Pausing only long enough to change the bandage across her palm, Viviana Mori made her way to the nearest landing web, and caught the Gray winds out of Shalador to Dhemlan. Finding Bohai was only really a matter of closing her eyes and concentrating on the tracking web she'd left on him....oh, centuries ago. Was it a sign of her love, or mistrust? It was impossible to know now, but it hardly mattered. It would allow her to locate him quickly, and she honed in on the familiar feel of his double green strength, traveling as quickly as the turbulent winds would allow. She needed a fight, felt that desire thrumming in her veins and pounding in her ears.

It didn't surprise Viviana, when she dropped out of the winds and onto a quiet Dhemlanese road, to see that the tracker was leading her into an establishment that had clearly seen better days and - despite the late hour - had lights burning in the windows. Gambling, most likely, she decided and tucked her hands into her pockets as she passed through the door and stepped into the main room, letting her eyes trail over the room's occupants until they settled unerringly on her former(?) lover.

She sent a slow tendril of wordless communication out on the Green, and waited to see what his response would be.

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on May 12, 2019, 01:06:13 PM
For the first time in what felt like a very long time - which was long enough to have accrued a debt figure with the house not unworthy of a double-take, especially in comparison to the shabby state of the establishment itself - the Warlord Prince was having a lucky night. He hadn't left his stool for more than a quick piss since before the sun had set, and there was no leaving now. Not with a pool of winnings that squared his losses by a significant margin, sitting an arm's length and two cards away.
A quick succession of glances to the Prince to his left, the witch directly across the table, and the Warlord to his right told Bohai more or less what he needed to know: The struggle to keep from fidgeting, the slight sheen of sweat on the woman's brow; in the very least, the odds were handedly stacked against them, in his favor. Of course, that didn't stop him from sending the feather-light touch of a Green probe in the direction of the Warlord, whose tell suggested he might be a contender: the slight wince tightening the skin around his eyes, which Bohai could only assume was his best attempt at smothering a cocksure, victorious smile.
There were normally protections against interfering with a game using Craft, but that was part of what had drawn Bohai to this particular location: They didn't particularly give a fuck. If you sat down to a game with someone with darker Jewels, you took the risk that they were better at Illusions or probes, right along with whatever sum you put down. If you had a dispute, you used the bloody back alley to sort yourself out. What Bohai liked about it, for his own part, was the added challenge of trying to win against a bunch of cheaters.
(Not that he was above cheating, himself. Obviously.)
Thin lips set in a statuesque frown, Bohai reached one thick-fingered hand towards the center of the table and drew another card, carefully settling it into place in his hand, counting the seconds between blinks, measuring the speed with which he moved, resisting the urge to shift against his seat. His eyes took in each card in his hand - a winning hand.
Right about then, the wordless hum of a familiar presence reached out and flooded his mind.
Straightening despite himself, Bohai heaved a slow, heavy sigh, and shrugged. He laid the spread atop the beaten table to the sound of heady cursing, then reached forward to collect his winnings.
"Hold on," The Warlord to his right caught Bohai by the wrist. The Warlord Prince raised approximately one quarter of an eyebrow in response. "You're not walking on that, are you? Let's go." With a grunt, Bohai moved his hand forward again despite the weight attempting to press it to the table, and vanished the sum, shrugging again.
"Just got busy." With a nod to the more graceful losers alongside them, Bohai dragged himself away from the table with a noisy scrape of chair legs on wood, hoisted himself to his feet, and turned to face the Black Widow awaiting him before he could think better of it. Immediately, his frown deepened.
Something was wrong. That would've been true enough of a visit from Viviana in any given decade, but to show up out of the blue (he wasn't sure if he should be touched or concerned by the fact that Viviana was obviously aware of his whereabouts at any given time - she didn't seem to mind him knowing hers, or if she did, she had yet to do anything about it), and to look like that. The Black Widow was angry, and despite himself, Bohai needed to know why.
With a sharp jut of his chin towards the bar, Bohai wordlessly invited Viviana for a drink, then eased himself along its grimy surface with both elbows. It took every ounce of resolve he possessed not to take a closer look at Viviana as she sat alongside him, but he'd had plenty of practice looking in the opposite direction of where he wanted to, so he stared at his own grim reflection in the mirror along the wall, instead.
He let her order for herself, not trusting himself to know anything about what the love of his life wanted.
"What's the occasion?"  Golden eyes shifted from the mirror to quest around the room momentarily; aside from the miffed Warlord (who was harmless, in his experience, other than his constant running of his mouth, which damaged Bohai's reserves of patience), he had no enemies here, tonight. That he knew of.
"Did I miss a birthday?" The follow-up fell from his lips of its own accord, snide despite wanting to be humorous, to raise the pair of them at least a few inches out of the grave they kept digging themselves into. Bo knew better than to apologize for it; with Viviana, there were no take-backs.
"Not sure this place is your scene. Not sure where else you'd wanna go." He fixed his gaze on Viviana, then, shifting his shoulders towards her as his hand picked up a freshly served glass. It was…shall we say, ill advised to invite Viviana back to his so-called home, and a drink had seemed far more pressing a matter than figuring out a landing point for after. Still, he wouldn't deny Viviana privacy if it's what she needed, for what she was there to talk about. Or do. Maybe she'd finally worked up the nerve to kill him.
Another quick look around the room confirmed: There were plenty of worse places to die.
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 12, 2019, 01:09:42 PM

Despite the attention she had drawn - or because of it, maybe - Viviana maintained a casual posture, her hands tucked into her trousers, and her attention lightly resting on the table where Bo had been playing. She’d lived too many years to think there was any way to be subtle when one was both a Black Widow and wore the Gray; let alone when she was furious on top of it. The soft ripple of murmurs across the room were familiar, at least, even steadying in their own way, which meant the focus she shifted to the unknown Warlord was perhaps a little less vicious than it might have been otherwise, her eyes narrowing on the way his hand gripped Bo’s arm.

It was a relief when he released the Warlord Prince; she was here for a fight, and the stranger couldn’t offer her that.

Even so, she let her stare linger as Bohai gestured to the bar and then shifted towards it. Viviana wouldn’t tolerate any interruptions tonight, and it was only fair to let the man decide whether he wanted to die or not. Then she turned crisply on her heel, and followed Bo to the grimy bar. That, too, was a comfort. She was hardly in the mood for fine things, and the thick wood - stained and scarred as it was - felt grounding in its own way. So Viv drew her hands from her pockets, and ran her fingers over the filmy bar top and ordered, “I’ll have the strongest you’ve got, thanks.”

She didn’t look at Bo as he spoke, and wondered how the hell it had come to this. They’d met in an establishment not far from here - one not quite so dodgy, but still common and welcoming, and she’d felt such a thrill that he’d noticed her. No, there was no sense in wondering what had changed; she had. Her black-tinted nails scratched at the bar top, and her lips thinned into a line. “I’m not that bitch,” she said quietly. “Never gave a damn about that kind of thing.”

Had that been an attempt at a joke? She couldn’t tell, and wasn’t in the mood to investigate. Instead she waited for her drink, wrapping her fingers around the glass before she spoke again. “This scene will do.”

Now that she was here with him, the anger had shifted into that bone-deep place it always sought when she was in Bo’s company; a tired, resigned, bitter thing. Her shoulders curved inward as she let go - for now - of the idea of picking a fight. No matter how much she wanted to hate Bohai, she could never quite manage to hate him enough. So she tossed back the swill, and set the glass down hard enough to catch the bartender’s attention. “Another,” she rasped through the burn, and then pointed at Bo. “Put his shit on my tab, too.”

While she waited for the next round, Viv decided to finally look at Bo, though she certainly didn’t need to; the planes and angles of his face were etched into his memory. “I didn’t want to drink alone, tonight.”

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on May 14, 2019, 12:21:03 AM
"No, you aren't, and no, I don't suppose you ever did." The Warlord Prince admitted with a sigh of defeat. It'd been an age since they could make one another laugh. Since there was even a reason to be remotely joyful. Bohai's frown deepened a fraction; Viviana retort was a little too quiet, her eyes fixed on the bar beneath her idle fingers, even as he felt the anger rolling off of her figure.

(Was it amplified so as to mask something else? He couldn't quite tell; not until it started transforming around her into a much more familiar feeling, made so by his constant living in it.)

When the Black Widow confirmed that the scene would do, a black sort of amusement bubbled in Bohai's chest. Scenes were for acting - or murders. He knew which Viviana was better at, and he had to wonder if the choice of words was deliberate, or not. He nodded all the same, giving a soft "Alright, then," before she drained her glass and swiped the tab.

"S'not necessary." He gave the bartender and Viviana separate, knowing looks, even as he raised a finger to order another. If the gesture was some kind of a peace offering, or a last meal, fuck if he was gonna give her the satisfaction of either.

She didn't owe him shit.

It was painful, finally catching her gaze; too familiar, and desired, and long denied not to be. Bohai sank into it, the severe creases in his face softening infinitesimally at his once-lover's confession. "Huh." He kept his tone casual, thanking the bartender as he returned with another glass for each of them, eyes never leaving Viviana's face. He polished off his first drink with a hiss, breaking eye contact for a singular blink, before returning to the task of deepening the relief of her features in his memory. He could think of dozens of places the Black Widow could go to keep from being alone. Why the fuck she chose to be in Dhemlan, with him - finally, Bohai's gaze shifted back to the mirror, watching as the scowl on his face shifted into a look of muted displeasure.

 "Yeah? Why's that?"
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 14, 2019, 12:38:41 AM

Some men, Viviana decided, were too stubborn for their own good. Rather than argue with Bohai over who would be paying for his drink, however, she simply shrugged and let the bartender do as he would. It seemed her old flame had experienced some kind of recent luck, if he was turning down a free drink - but the matter of his income hadn't been her problem for centuries. (Had never really been her problem; she'd been a brief lover and nothing more.)

(Bohai wasn't the only stubborn one.)

She felt his gaze on her even after she'd looked away, unable to look at him for too long without feeling that old pain bubble up in her chest. Would there ever be a time she didn't miss him? Bo had never been a man of easy smiles or pretty words, but she'd loved him nevertheless, and the absence of him was an ache she'd never managed to drive off. So she studied the new drink in front of her, and shrugged again. "I'm just...so tired."

Defeat wasn't something Viviana Mori was known for to anyone except, perhaps, this man and she hated herself for the way it settled in her tone and the slump of her shoulders. "Sometimes I just don't know what to do with myself, you know? But drinking alone is apparently frowned upon, and doing it anyway only results in several pissed-off men landing on my doorstep so..."

She didn't admit to not knowing what to do with herself because she wasn't sure she was supposed to have survived the conflict that had eliminated Witch. The dead bitch was too deep a wound between them to bear mentioning and - frankly - if anyone else knew what it felt like to outlive the cause you'd devoted everything in your life to...it would be this man. "I also figured maybe you'd give me the satisfaction of a fight but," she picked up her glass as if to drain it, and then set it back down. "I don't think I'm really in the mood for that anymore."

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on May 14, 2019, 10:54:40 PM
Tired. That was code, Bohai knew, for something else; what, he didn't know. But Viviana didn't get tired over stupid bullshit. She had reserves of strength he could scarcely begin to fathom, an entire Kingdom at her fingertips he couldn't begin to conceive of. He supposed that was the sort of shit that might make the average person tired, but Viviana wasn't average in any regard. One didn't come out the victor of lifetimes of war as average.

The Warlord Prince pressed his lips to his glass while he waited for her to go on, opting to watch Viviana's reflection instead of pressuring her with the weight of his gaze. He'd waited a hundred years to be capable of having a single conversation with the love of his life. He wasn't about to ruin it by turning this into the fight she claimed to have wanted - especially now that she didn't seem to want a fight, at all.

"You never have to drink alone." Bohai spoke with a sudden certainty, putting down his glass. He sent a sidelong glance in Viviana's direction. The ghost of a smirk twitched against one eye, imperceptible, except to one who knew him far better than was healthy. He shrugged. "I'm drinkin' all the time."

Ironic as it might be to someone who didn't know better, another gulp of the glass sobered him - at least in expression. Bohai leaned forward to match the caving of Viviana's shoulders, fingers cupping his glass on either side, dark gaze wandering as he spoke. "I know the feeling, though, and I'd wager you ought to be the last one feeling it. Not one of my better bets, clearly." The frown was back, creeping into his tone in the form of dubiousness, rather than disappointment, or outright concern.

"Can't say I'm much good for a fight, these days. But - if I asked why it was, exactly, you were lookin' for one." He focused his energy into keeping his tone level, noncommittal, understanding, regardless of the answer. "Would you bother tellin' me?"
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 14, 2019, 11:16:36 PM

It was right there, on the tip of her tongue, the urge to comment that Bo drank too much, and that he certainly drank alone and why didn't anyone give him so much grief about it? Vivian knew that wasn't a welcome line of conversation, though, and she swallowed the words with the swill, downing the glass in one go. It wasn't a sensible way of drinking for most, but then, there were few whose power burned up alcohol so quickly.

She put the glass down, the rim hitting the counter with enough force to draw attention to her (and for her to indicate she'd like another.)

Bohai wasn't looking at anything in particular, but his weak joke about his drinking habits drew her eyes back to his face in time to see the faint smirk; and the ghost of an answering smile touched her own lips. She was tired enough, heartsick enough, that her mind wandered back to better times with this man: learning how to play cards in an establishment much like this one, or sitting in the dark sharing a bottle between them while she told him the names of the constellations in Shaladoran. Because of the smirk, or the memories, or both - she found herself speaking before she could stop herself.

"Oh, you pay attention to whether it's a good bet or not? When did that development come about?" Her shoulder brushed ever so slightly against his, before she came back to her senses and leaned away once more, reaching out to take the new glass offered to her by the bartender. She focused on the beverage for a moment, her smile fading away as the Warlord Prince - in a move typical of his caste - brought the conversation right back where she didn't want it to be.

She brought the glass to her lips, sipping it this time, as that fresh pain surfaced through the old. It had only been a few hours since Ziauddin had left with his sister to return to his Queen's residence, but she already missed him keenly. It hadn't even ached like this when he'd gone back to Hayll, even though it probably should have. Vivian settled the glass lightly on the bar, her fingertips falling to scratch idly at the surface.

"It's stupid shit," she said quietly, and then amended. "The same old stupid shit."

Her tone didn't dismiss his question, but her gaze burned with unshed tears, and she wondered if Bo would realize that her reluctance was less a refusal and more an inability; if she said the words, that would make them more real, and she was, sure as the sun didn't shine in hell, entirely too sober to deal with that.

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on May 15, 2019, 12:54:51 AM
If it hadn't been obvious from all the signs to come before, the second empty glass slammed in quick succession to the first, confirming just how desperate the Black Widow was to get completely and thoroughly wasted.

Bohai caught the smile, the gentle almost-contact of skin through cloth, and, secretly, relished in them both - his only tell the speed which with he had to look away, in order to keep from actually grinning. Instead, his eyebrows raised into the middle of his forehead at the callout; he opened his mouth to reply, the words hanging behind his tongue for a moment, before he changed his mind, and gave a simple, "Dunno, to be honest."

Things took a turn, then - one Bohai had been deliberately circling back to this entire time, although he hadn't quite expected the answer he received. Then again, what had he expected? He hadn't been privy to Viviana's inner thoughts in…well, entirely too long. The context clues weren't quite enough to answer the riddle that was the Black Widow's inner turmoil, but it was start. It told him that something that'd long since jaded her, was back to fuck with her, again. Based on that description, the Warlord Prince had to wonder if he'd somehow done something to cause all of this. The math didn't add up, however, and so he watched the swirl of his drink inside the hazy glass, swallowing hard to keep his jaw from clenching too tightly.

"Okay." He nodded once, took another sip of his drink, and nodded again as he set it back down. It only took half a glance in Viviana's direction to truly see the pain that she was in. If it weren't for the fact that he'd caused her just as much, if not more, in his lifetime, Bohai would've sworn then and there to give that same grievance to whomever had caused it, this time.  As it so happened, Bohai was not in a place to dole out that sort of vengeance. Not unless he was asked to.

"In that case." It wasn't time to ask about the same old stupid shit - not yet. He could tell. A subtle shift of his hand indicated to the bartender to set the woman up with a double of her previous orders. Taking a chance, he shifted slightly, just enough to nudge her elbow with his own.

"Wanna play a game?"
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 16, 2019, 12:07:04 AM

"A game?" Viviana's hand went back to the glass, taking another heavy drink that nearly emptied it out entirely. "What kind of game?"

Hadn't that been how he'd approached her the very first time? She'd caught him looking at her, alone and unescorted in an unfamiliar territory, and he'd sidled over to ask if she wanted to play a game. Back then she'd been eager for something that didn't involve her awkward family dynamic, desperate enough to overlook the caste and simply enjoy the card game he'd taught her. (The finer points of gambling not having been part of her education prior to that event.)

Now, Viviana wondered if recalling that memory was his intent, or if he was simply falling back on an old skill to distract her. It certainly wasn't an unappealing prospect, which was startling. Somehow, every time she found herself desperate in Dhemlan, Bohai was there to offer her a game - it was usually even cards. She finished off her drink, and found another already in its place. Grateful, she cradled the glass in her hands and shifted on her seat to be able to see him better, knee pressing into his for a brief moment before she thought better of it.

"I think I would like to play, actually." She took a sip of this new drink. Was it stronger? "Friendly game, or are we betting?"

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on May 16, 2019, 03:51:07 PM
Truth told, Bohai had no fucking clue what game they would play when he suggested the idea. There were enough options at his disposal that he didn't suppose it mattered all that much - except it did, actually, because he wanted it to be something Viviana would enjoy at least enough to get her mind off of things, if not leave her comfortable enough to put words to her frustrations.

"Any kind you like." The Warlord Prince shrugged, tugging a deck of cards from the pocket of his pants. "Something simple, maybe. Test your reflexes. Collect the deck. First to tap on doubles and A-B-A patterns, with escalating chances to trump with face cards. Queen's the highest, obviously." He set to task splitting the deck face-down between them as he explained the rules (barely), ignoring the obvious way in which the current circumstance smacked of their first introduction - and especially, the way her knee shifted against his leg beneath the bar.

Once he'd finished, Bohai pushed one pile further in her direction, turning to face Viviana more directly, as she had just done. He squared up the cards in one hand so that the edges ran smooth and parallel, and waited for the Black Widow to finish doing the same. "No damn Craft. Got it?" The declaration was as much for him as it was for Viviana, and again, Bohai found himself suppressing the hint of a grin. Hooking the heels of his shoes into the lowest rungs on the stool, he gestured for her to do the honors of playing the first card.
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on May 20, 2019, 12:41:51 AM

Queen's highest, obviously.

Of course it was. Viviana had to resist the urge to set the fucking cards on fire, settling for another large gulp of her beverage. (She only just managed to avoid sputtering, this was definitely stronger but far be it from her to complain.) Swallowing down the burn, Viv turned her attention back to the cards. "Tap, huh?" She'd bet that escalated quickly, and she wasn't even the gambler. "I assume that means tap first?"

Ah, yes. There it was, that competitive streak rising right up to the surface. Had that been Bohai's intention? Possibly, he'd always been good at distracting her before and it was clear they were falling back into a few habits. She watched his hands, the cards passing easily between his fingers as he shuffled and sorted them onto the bar, forming two smaller decks on the surface. Another drink, while Bo slid the deck that was clearly hers over, and Viviana could finally feel that dizzying sensation of a buzz; it was creeping up a little faster than usual, but she had lost a fair amount of blood before her chat with Zia, hadn't she?

Oh shit, how had she managed to keep someone from bitching about that already?

Her gaze swung up to Bohai's face in a careful squint, which she lost almost immediately at his gruff no damn craft. The grin probably wasn't obvious to most, but the crinkle at the corner of her eyes, and the twitch of her lips as they tugged into a full smile - Bohai would know those signs. Then she snorted in a soft laugh. "Suddenly remember you're playing with a Black Widow?"

Viv wiggled her fingers in his direction for a moment, before all of them pressed down against her palm, leaving her pinkie in the air. She bent it a couple of times, eyebrows raised. "I'll pinkie swear, if you do."

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on June 05, 2019, 05:15:45 PM
Had he deliberately ordered something stronger for Viviana, when he'd also ask the measure be doubled? Maybe. That was his secret to keep - at least, until Viviana nearly choked on the beverage after a large gulp.

A snort was Bohai's only reply to Viviana's following taunt - until he caught the smile on her face, and her own laughter. He shrugged. "I'm an old man now, y'know. Can't help it if my memory shorts out now and again."

Then Viviana was wiggling her fingers at him? Bohai was still trying to figure out what she intended by the taunt when her pinky was the only one left waving invitingly - despite the snake tooth he knew it possessed. He let the dark glint of his eyes linger dubiously on the outstretched finger for a long moment, then, by some miracle, managed to lock one of his pinkies with her own without cracking a grin. "Alright, then. I swear."

Bohai nodded confirmation to Viviana's earlier question about the rules, returning his focus to explaining the game at hand. He took another sip of his own drink on either side of his reply. "Tap first. Like I said, reflexes. The better yours are, the better your chance of hitting a Queen in the face." If the words galled their spokesman at the most base level of his psyche, he gave no tell of it. In fact, the bitter look on his face as he dropped the glass to the counter, eyes focused on the pile of cards before him, was the closest his expression had gotten to a proper smile in as long as his face muscles could remember.

Sure, the death of his Queen hadn't eradicated Bohai's innate drive to serve, or to protect. Absence hadn't made the heart grow fonder in his case, however, and jokes such as this were the closest he'd come to voicing the very complicated well of emotions he drew from on the subject. Besides, if anyone deserved to hit a Queen, it was the Black Widow in front of him.

Not for the first time in his life, he wanted to let Viviana win, just for that.

"Go on, then. You start." He held his first card face-down, slightly away from the deck, ready to flip as soon as Viviana's card was in place.
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on June 05, 2019, 07:36:05 PM

Viviana's finger tightened around Bo's, and she leaned forward to sweep a look down and then up; taking him in fully for the first time since she'd entered the bar. "Don't look so old to me yet, Bo."

She leaned away, pulling her pinkie from his, and picked up the cards. They still felt warm in her fingers, from where Bohai had shuffled them, and she wondered how often he'd handled these - if they were the same cards he'd used more than a century ago to first win her over. That seemed unlikely, and Viviana wasn't one to romanticize things often, but somewhere between the blood loss, the booze, and the heartache she'd thrown that caution to the wind. She fanned the short edges of her small deck with her thumb, taking satisfaction in the soft sound they made.

"Want to make a wager that I'll hit every queen you put down?" Viv raised an eyebrow in a slight challenge; they both knew it was damn near impossible for Bohai to walk away from a bet, and she wanted to see if he'd take this one. "You can name the stakes, if you want."

She watched him for a moment, the hints of a smile tucked into his face, and thought this might be the most comfortable they'd been with one another since....well, since before. It was as comforting as it was unsettling; underneath the ache and the resentment, Viviana missed this. Of course, after that thought she needed another bracing drink, and then she finally played her first card.

Nine of Clubs; a shame she hadn't led with a Queen, but she supposed it was terribly early in the game for that. "I hope I didn't interrupt anything by showing up here," she said as she waited for him to play his card. "I probably could have thought that through a little better."

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on June 05, 2019, 09:05:39 PM
The subtle compliment, the use of his old nickname...Bohai gave Viviana a sideways glance in response to both, only just then realizing the alcohol was hitting her as quickly as it seemed to be hitting him. Of course, he'd had a head start. Six hours head start. But while he drank steadily during most games in a show of casual indulgence - an easy way to signal the sort of temperament he brought to the table, though it was often a ruse - he tended to drink harder, and faster, in Viviana's presence.
He didn't really have to wonder why that was.
Shrugging off the compliment, Bohai did his damndest not to let his mind linger on the moment's touch they'd just shared. A pinky swear wasn't anything near the ways their fingers had entwined centuries before. He wasn't exactly sure why that would be the sensation, the memory, that assaulted his mind in response.
He almost missed Viviana's challenge, caught up as he was. The brow nearest Viviana arced, this time; a silent acceptance of the wager. "Alright," Bohai nodded slowly, chewing on the inside of his cheek as he considered possible stakes. "Let's see…" The combination of bone, tendon, and tissue that kept his posture in perfect form relaxed a little further as he leaned his chin into one hand, dragging his fingers up and down one stubbled cheek. There were plenty of things Bohai wanted from Viviana. They weren't the sort of things one could ask for in a bet.
"How 'bout we settle the tab with it. Winner chooses who pays the tab." The Warlord Prince knew damn well that paying the bartender, rather than being paid for, was the real victory for them both.
The Nine of Clubs landed on the table, and with a flick of his wrist, Bohai followed it with a Six of Diamonds. He didn't look up from the two-card pile as Viviana spoke, though he gave a sharp shake of his head, and his voice softened somewhat. "About as much here for you to interrupt as ever." Amusement returned to his tone as he continued, waiting for her to flip the next card. "You think ahead now, do you? Weren't we just talkin' about developments?"
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on June 05, 2019, 09:26:42 PM

If Viviana was disappointed in Bohai's choice of wager, she didn't give any indication of it. Instead she finished her drink, and set the empty glass down with a grin. "You mean, whoever wins gets to pay the tab. Alright, I can get behind that."

She was feeling properly buzzed now, though she knew the sensation wouldn't list. It had been difficult for her to get drunk, at least since she'd made her descent to the Gray. Of course, that wasn't going to stop her from trying tonight. She needed it - that release, the mind-numbing affects, the risk of waking up somewhere else entirely. So she indicated that she'd like another drink, and then considered the rest of the Warlord Prince's words.

"Sounds like we've both grown up," she said lightly. It was getting too close to the reason for their distance now, too close to the one thing they never discussed. So she shrugged, and moved the conversation along. "There's a good chance I'm being considered to replace one of the Coven leaders when they become one with the Darkness. It's not something they'll confer if I can't learn to think several moves ahead."

Viviana drew the next card - a four of clubs, this time - and set it on the small stack. "It looked like you were having a good night. It would be a shame if you ended a winning streak just to come talk to me."

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on June 05, 2019, 09:47:03 PM
After flagging down the bartender for another drink for himself (his winnings would surely be back in the house's hands that night between his debts and their drinking, the Warlord Prince was certain), Bohai looked up from the cards and turned his full attention on Viviana as she spoke of her future. He couldn't keep the surprise from his features, the uptick of his brow slight but sharp, a sort of pout of approval curving already downturned lips as he let his eyes wander across the Black Widow's face. The years had left them both jaded, that much he knew. But for Viviana to be considered for such a high honor was…
Well, it was precisely what she deserved, which is exactly why Bohai assumed she would do more to deny herself the possibility. That she would discuss such a thing with him, of all people, was promising, wasn't it? They hadn't spoken of such personal affairs since…well, since. What's more, she sounded interested. Was this part of the reason she was so tired, or was there something else complicating matters for her?

Rather than asking questions so that they could be answered, Bohai stewed with this information for a long moment. He had no right to the pride he felt on behalf of his old lover, but it glimmered in his eyes all the same. The timbre of his voice changed as he lowered his gaze again, and flipped over his next card - a Five of Hearts. "You'll do a wonderful job, no matter what." The tone of his voice sounded unfamiliar, even to him, edges smoothed by the softness of love, and respect, and awe. He cleared his throat of it in short order, giving a gruff chuckle as Viviana moved on to discuss what kind of night he'd been having.
"Don't sound so confident, Lady. You aren't a Coven leader yet." A smirk slipped onto his lips as he tipped his glass against them. "Don't think my streak has ended, just yet."
Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Viviana Mori on June 05, 2019, 11:34:12 PM

Of all the reactions to her news, Viviana hadn't predicted this. She blinked at Bo, at the most genuine expression she'd seen on his face in centuries. Her own eyes went a little wide, and then misty, as he looked at her and then offered his assurance that she would be a good fit for the job. Such sincerity was rare between them, careful comments and barbed remarks were usually the norm, and Viviana couldn't help but feel as though she'd set them both off-balance somehow. For the time being she ignored the fresh drink that was settled next to her elbow, and focused on trying to pull back from her former lover once more.

"Bold words," she found herself saying, instead. "Hopefully it won't bruise your ego terribly when you lose to me."

Viviana drew her card without breaking eye contact with the Warlord Prince, and glanced down at the face card - a Prince of diamonds - while her finger still pinned it against the bar. "Explain to me again what this means? It's been a long time since I've played cards."

Was she just looking to hear him speak more? Possibly. Bohai was impossibly reticent outside of specific circumstances, many of which they hadn't found themselves in for such a long time. It was nice to slowly draw him out, luring him with nothing but her wit and her words; and possibly the brush of her knee, as she shifted forward on her chair to hear his explanation.

Title: Re: crawling back to you
Post by: Bohai Yong on June 06, 2019, 12:16:54 AM
      "Oh, my ego could use a bruisin', I think. But that's neither here nor there." Bo drawled, eyes fixed on Viviana until she indicated to the card. He didn't miss the surprise cross her face, and in fairness, he'd surprised himself, too. It hadn't felt right to be anything like sincere or vulnerable in their previous encounters since the war. Nothing had changed, really, and Bohai wasn't the sort of man to explain things away with time. Time didn't do shit to change shit.
      So, he didn't have an explanation, other than the fact that he was on his third - fourth? - drink in the past couple minutes, and the high of winning coupled with the buzz of booze, all wrapped around being mere inches from Viviana, seemed to have something of an effect on him.
      Tearing his eyes away from Viviana's face, Bohai glanced down to the Prince in her hand, a soft ah, escaping him as he straightened again, adjusting his shoes on the rails of the stool. "Right. Prince means I've got to put down three cards, now. You can tap on the doubles of the face cards, too - and on an ABA pattern anywhere in the sequence, so long as it's the thing that's on top at the time. If I don't get a face card in those three cards, you add the entire pile to your deck, and we start again. If I get a face card, I stop puttin' cards down, and then you'll have a certain number of chances to try and do the same. Also -" He held up a cautionary finger, "If you tap, and you're wrong - with the exception bein' our deal about tappin' on Queens, for the wager - you reveal your next card, and put it on the bottom of the center pile. So."
      Figuring that was enough explanation, and that if it wasn't, the Black Widow would learn quickly enough from experience, Bohai drew and placed the first card of his three tries: Nine of Diamonds. "Nothin', so I keep goin'." He elaborated, then continued: Three of Spades. "Nothin." And one more: Queen of Spades.
As soon as he placed the card, and saw what it was, Bohai's fingers darted out - and collided with Viviana's own. It looked to him that she'd gotten there first, but he gave her a hard look, anyway, before withdrawing his hand. "Alright - that's one Queen for you. But this pile goes to me, unless your next card has a face."