2019-12-27 - Ho Ho Huh?


Christmas at Luke's.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Dec 27 00:48:07 2019
Location: Luke's

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Theme Song



Christmastime at Luke's is pretty much like any other time at Luke's. Luke is there behind the bar with his trademark polishing rag, polishing the bar as he tends to do when nothing else is going on at the moment. Idle hands and all that.

The differences are in the d%<233>cor. The tavern has been dressed up for the season, in various red and green accents all over the place. Lightbulbs have been replaced with colored lights, streamers hang from the ceiling, and the tables have been draped with red or green tablecloths.

Oh, and Luke is in a Santa suit. Fat belly, white beard, and everything else.

Odds are, when Anya Corazon agreed to work the Christmas party at Luke's, no one quite knew what to expect.

The young Latina is dressed with holiday cheer, that much is certain. A bright red, latex leotard adorns her top, unzipped just far enough to tastefully show cleavage. Bright red, glittery, four inch stilettos with an open toe adorn her feet, adding to it her otherwise short size. Shimmery, skin tone tights are layered beneath bright green fishnets, rising all the way to hips that definitely do not lie. Red latex gloves rise to her toned biceps, and mistletoe is attached to a red choker around her neck. A Santa hat rests upon her head, which otherwise appears shaved.

The holiday cheer doesn't end there. Her upper body is wrapped in Christmas lights, running from a small battery pack that is clipped to a glittery silver belt wrapped around her hips. Her face and exposed skin is also dusted in glittery makeup, and her eyeshadow is a gradient green.

With Luke behind the bar, Anya is on cocktail waitress duty, and is making her way from table to table, taking orders.

Clint Barton makes his way in wearing a hoodie, jeans and sneakers, not exactly setting any fashion standards. He wears fancy gear often enough when he's out on missions, he doesn't have to make everything purple or draw arrows on his butt to be Hawkeye. He's Hawkeye all the time.

That's Hawkeye, not Hawkguy. Keep it straight.

He pushes back his hood, his dirty blonde hair high and tight as he settles onto a stool.

"I'll take a Christmas beer and a Christmas shot. I'll have some pretzels for Hanukkah and I'll air some grievances for Festivus. I see you've already got the Christmas cookies out on display," he says, nodding towards Anya.

In a city like New York there's bound to be some decent bars. Some of them might even accept more unusual clientele like those darn troublesome metahumans. It's fortunate that Domino happens to know someone like Thea who already knows about such a place. All it takes is a text message and the promise of booze and she's on her way over.

The pale faced lady who arrives looks like she's dressed up for a blizzard with several layers hiding beneath a long shiny black puffer coat. A quick glance at the architecture is met with a thoughtful "Hmm." The holiday decoration is met with a slight frown and a "Mmh." The appearance of the waitress causes the frown to evaporate with a somewhat more thoughtful "Huh."

Also there's plenty to drink. Very important, that detail.

Removing a hat shows a whole lot of stubble along the left side of her head while the dimmer atmosphere of the place causes a silvery glint to appear in her eyes. She may look like trouble but it's not on today's menu. She merely goes to settle in at a vacant table while remaining huddled in her coat.

The door will open and admit one biokinetic that is familiar to Anya and Luke both - even if Luke doesn't know her 'secret'. Hair is currently a glossy black, hanging straight. The coat is a knee length trench in black leather that's wrapped around her like she's a present. Smoke colored stockings have a hint of silver sparkle, that goes well with the silver stiletto heels. There's a messenger bag bouncing against her hip, full to bulging.

Makeup is more subtle than dear Anya's, a soft golden shadow on lined eyes that are bright blue with the help of tinted contacts. Lips are Christmas red to match the fingernails, but that seems to be the extent of her maquillage. Silver and sparkles of blue and white adorn her ears, laddering up the edges.

She will move with a stalking stride for the bar. "Luke, you handsome Santa you. Come on, Santa baby.. give me a bourbon." There's a wink as she slips the messenger bag onto a stool. Then the trench is unbelted and slipped off. The dress is a bandage bodycon number, that fits like a second skin in a cobalt blue shade. The neckline is a deep v, letting Thea show off a little more cleavage than usual as she slides up onto the stool.

Moving to fill the boilermaker order, Luke smirks as he slides a bowl of pretzels over towards Clint. "The first three I can do, but if your going to be airing anything, do it outside. Don't need you stinking up the place."

He casts a sidelong glance over towards Anya, and then shifts his eyes back to Clint, "As for her cookies, I would suggest you keep those comments to yourself, or she might air out her own grievances on your balls." Luke places a pint and a shot down in front of Clint, "Enjoy."

Luke turns his attention to the door as it opens, eyeing the newcomer and sizing her up to see if she looks like she might be trouble or not. After a moment the large black Santa shrugs a shoulder, and goes back to wiping down the bar until Thea shows up.

"One bourbon, on the way Thea." says Luke as he grabs a glass and the bottle from the back rack. He turns back around as Thea removes her coat and lets out a low whistle, "What has you all dressed up? Still trying to get me to flirt with you?" he utters with a grin as he pours a couple of fingers of bourbon into the glass. "Because it might work."

Between orders, Anya's eyes glimpse past the new arrivals, from one to the other. It's yet unclear whether she heard any of Clint's remarks, but halfway toward Domino's table, her eyes catch sight of Thea and a grin forms. Business first, though.

"Is it cold in here?" she asks of Domino, still grinning as she comes up to the woman's table. "What're you having?"

Clint Barton takes note of the girl who looks like trouble because, of course, he's quite the sort that tends to attract trouble, usually the kind of trouble that ends up with him going through a large glass window or bouncing off of somebody's hood. Domino looks like she could probably do that, she carries herself like a lady what can handle herself. Or handle him.

Then Luke gives him the pretzels and he holds up his hands, a bit of callous on specific fingers for string-plucking reasons, "No worries, El Gigante. My balls have had so much grief this year, they're practically a telenovela," he says. He tosses a few pretzels in his mouth, chewing thoughtfully and washing it down with a sip of his beer as Thea strolls up. He eyeballs, then swivels said eyeballs when Luke shows an interest. He's confident but not stupid. Never rub another man's rhubarb.

"Starting to feel warmer," Domino offers with a lopsided smile to Anya. "Spent too much time down south, it can really mess with you. So, I'm new to the area and freezing my pale butt off. What's good in this town? I'm thinkin' something stout."

Dom may not have ever known that Thea showed up if not for hearing the bartender say her name. It's a double-take situation, she doesn't recognize the biokinetic at first glance! A glance back to Anya has the albino motioning toward the bar with a dip of her head. "Also gonna order a relocation."

Before shifting seats the others at the counter are given a quick glance over. Thea knows the Santa fellow, that's a good sign. The dirty blonde's an unknown quantity but it seems like he's a regular around here too. Which means she's the odd one out. Good thing she's comfortable with playing that angle.

Thea will run a hand through her hair to push it back, laughing at Luke. "Luke, if you don't want to flirt with me, handsome, that's your loss." She'll give him a smile full of mischief, before she's reaching for her bourbon. She will take a long swallow, before there is a deep breath in and out, a hint of relaxation.

She'll flash a smile at Clint, as she leans to reach into that bulging messenger bag. She'll pull out a wrapped package, to offer to Luke. "Happy Holidays, to my favorite bartender." Anya may protest that! But if Luke opens it, of course it is a gag gift - a book :Get a Hobby! 101 All consuming diversions for any lifestyle. It harkens back to one of their first conversations.

Her head turns, just as she hears Neena order a relocation. Another smile breaks out, bright and friendly. "Well hey there. Glad you got the text!" She glances over at Luke. "Whatever she likes on me, please?"

Then there's a turn on the stool. "Hey there, sexy barmaid. I got you a present!" There's a laugh, smiling for Anya, though Anya may still see some of the predator lingering in the biokinetic's face and body language.

"Just giving a guy fair warning. I find it only fair to let a guy know what he might be getting himself into. Play ball if you want, just be careful of the spike. Shot is on the house." Luke says to Clint before turning his attention back to Thea.

"A gift for me, you shouldn't have." says Luke as he reaches over to take the package. As he starts to open it, he chuckles "Oh, I never said I didn't want to flirt, Thea. But when a guy like me flirts he gets a reputation, and I would hate to sully yours with any of my baggage."

He looks down at the book in his hands after he unwraps it. He smirks, looking back to Thea. "Funny, reeeal funny." he says with a chuckle as he places the book behind the bar, "Maybe I picked up knot tying as a hobby since we last spoke, and was just going to surprise you with it sometime."

He looks to Domino as she sits at the bar and Thea offers to buy her a drink before looking back to Thea, "You know, if it wasn't bad for business, and it would ruin that dress, I would just pour whatever she ordered on you. Payback for the book. Careful how you phrase things."

"What will you have?" he asks as he turns his eyes back to the albino. "Preferably something not that sticky in case I just can't help myself."

The grin on Anya's face grows a certain coyness to it in lieu of Domino's compliment. "Saves Luke on the heating bill," she answers, before taking a moment to glance at the bar. "Stout. Got just the right thing for ya." As luck would have it, Anya isn't checking for ID's at this moment. It's a usual thing for her, but, it just slips her mind for some crazy reason.

A thumbs up is given of the relocation, and then Anya is off to the bar. She'll fill the orders herself, having had plenty of experience behind the bar herself. However, just before ducking behind the bar, she saunters up toward Thea.

"You sure did," Anya answers Thea, assuming that her dressing for the evening is the present. Her grin widens even more, and she casts a look between Thea and Luke with half raised eyebrows. "Wait, you two know each other?" she asks, then looks between Thea and Domino, eyebrows rising even more. "This suddenly got real fucking interesting."

A look back to Thea with a glimmer of mischief in her eyes, brief though it is, before she's moving behind the bar to fill drink orders. The stout will be first, and is slid over toward an empty space next to Thea, for Domino to intercept.

"Got her covered, Santa," Anya tells Luke. "Keep the Festivus pole in your pants." A wink is given to the owner, before she moves to mix some cocktails for other patrons.

Clint Barton doesn't know anybody here but that's kind of the way he prefers it. There are benefits to being an agent of SHIELD and an Avenger and a general world-class hero kind of guy, but they tended to blow up in his face whenever he tried to take advantage of them. If anybody recognized him, it was almost always someone who wanted to kill him. There were a lot of those about.

He takes his shot, which he probably should've specified as an actual alcohol rather than just 'shot', since whatever it is he can't quite identify other than the way it makes his toes curl and his eyes water.

"Oh, that tastes like pine varnish. I'll have another," he says, pushing his glass across.

He takes a moment and considers, "Did I come on ladies night? Is this an intervention?"

Clint Barton says, "Is someone trying to put me in hot chick rehab?"

Only the tail end of Luke's gift is caught but the exchange between him and Thea is overheard. It leads to a fair bit of back and forth glancing between the two!

"Of course I did," Neena grins back to Thea. "You said the magic word." Bar, tavern, pub, whatever. They all point to the same idea! "Jeezus, look at you bein' all persony. Didn't know you had it in you. But if you two need a moment alone..?" she offers with a smirk.

Then Anya drops an f-bomb and Domino laughs! "Usually I'm not a part of the entertainment. But -this- lady," she hang an arm off the back of Thea's shoulders and gives the other meta a playful shake, "is a real life saver." And the source of a free drink! With the stout slid over it's claimed without hesitation, dipping her head once back to Anya.

To Luke she opens a palm and motions to the glass. "You wanna take the shot then here's your window but don't say I didn't strongly advise against it." On a somewhat more serious note she inquires "Been around here long?"

The nearby call of pine varnish and a refill has the albino snorting in amusement. "That's the spirit! After the third one you won't care anymore." Assuming Luke didn't steal the stout it'll be raised in mock salute toward Clint before she takes a drink.

Thea laughs. "Well, it just shows you I remember the first time we met, Luke. After all, buying you booze as is my usual go to present would be a little redundant." There's a grin. "Honey, you don't /want/ the bill for this dress." It is an upscale purchase, though she would never say it. "Save it for some night I'm in something a little less pricey, hmm?"

"Not the dress, Anya, though.. I'm flattered." There's even a hint of a blush. "I told you the other night that I knew Luke. Of course, we were drinking tequila and you had a couple people…on your mind." Oh, the grin is wicked and teasing before Thea's covering it by sipping at bourbon. "But, present time!" Anya? She gets a bottle of that tequila she likes… and a giant box of condoms with a bow on it.

Tsk tsk, if Clint read his files, he'd recognize Thea (maybe. She does change her look a lot) as the SHIELD agent that heals people. She laughs, casting a glance his way. "I'll intervene on your behalf, honey. Are you sure you're up to it, though?" She will waggle her eyebrows at him, jokingly.

She chuckles at Neena, tipping her head to the albino's shoulder a moment. "You know it, sister." She jokes. "She would know best on advising you /not/ to ruin my dress. She's seen me in action."

It's about then that another member of Luke's staff appears from the back, looking suitably festive. The pretty young Texan is on a limited budget, being the cliched 'on her own in the big city', and so most of her more glammed-up wardrobe is what she brought with her when she migrated north. In this case, an outfit Luke and Anya have seen before, but which works very nicely as a holiday dress. A cheery red verging on peppermint pink, fitting very nicely to her sleekly dangerous curves, with glittering strategically-placed accents and intricate detailing, sleeveless and bare-shouldered, high collared but with a mesh insert giving a glimpse of cleavage, and a mini-length hem showing off long, sculpted legs sheathed in hose a bare shade darker than her skin. A pair of glittery red three-inch spike peep-toe pumps with buckled straps around her ankles complete the outfit, bringing the already-tall blonde to about six feet even in height. (Becca's PB, in the dress: https://tinyurl.com/yylo4yq8)

As she strides toward the bar, Becca calls out, playing up her accent a bit and smiling brightly, "Hey, how y'all doin'? Merry Christmas!"

"Hey…" Luke says to Anya as he tosses a chunk of ice at the cocktail waitress, "…that is more of a yule log thank you very much. Ho. Ho. Ho. Put a dollar in the swear jar." He smirks, rolling his eyes at Anya as she darts off. "Yeah, Thea and I know each other…as much as I know most of the regulars in here anyway. I take it you know her as well…like it isn't obvious. Ask stupid questions, Luke…" he mutters off quietly.

He turns to Clint and chuckles, pouring another shot of 'pine varnish' and sliding the glass forward, "This is normal, actually. Anya over there is my head elf, Becca is around her as well somewhere. You will know her when you see her. Thea comes in on the regular, but I don't know her friend yet. Life could be worse. At least you don't have to deal with HR."

He turns to Domino and grins, "Tempting, oh so tempting, but I try to retain my customers, not soak them down with beer…unless they ask then all bets are off." He shrugs, "Long enough. A year or so, give or take a few months. I really haven't kept to much of a track. I'm here so often all the days blur into one. Hence the 'joke'" he says as he holds up the book on hobbies. "Her way of telling me I should get out more, isn't that right Thea?"

He turns as Becca makes her entrance, motioning to her as he looks to Clint. "See."

"This ain't rehab," Anya says with a husky tone, in response to Clint. "It's relapse."

To Thea, Anya seems momentarily flustered herself. It's brief. "Not just on my mind," she says, confirming whatever suspicions there may be about how her night at the club ended. She turns her smirk from Thea to Domino, and blows a kiss from across the bar toward the albino.

A bourbon and coke is tilted to catch the ice thrown by Luke, a nothing but net situation. "Whoa, TMI there, Black Santa," she quips in a friendly way, then looks to Thea. "Hold that thought," she says of presents, and moves away briefly to deliver drinks to people at their tables. She's got more drinks in each hand than anyone should be able to balance; surely that's just Service Industry Skill, and has absolutely nothing to do with near microscopic spider hairs on her fingertips.

Once she returns to the bar, she accepts the present from Thea and opens it. "Espolon!" she exclaims, brightly. "You shouldn't ha-"

Her words choke up at the next item, and the choke turns into a snorting giggle. "Muy bien, Thea. Muy bien."

Clint Barton snorts, "Relapse, huh? So, like, no different from the rest of my life. Honestly, I'm trying to figure out which episode of Cheers I'm in. You're Hot Carla, that's Black Sam, the black haired girl with all the presents is somehow Norm. Pale chick's gotta be like some sort of Frasier/Lilith hybrid…" he mutters.

"God damn, I gotta stop watching Netflix late at night," he says, taking a long swig on his beer.

"Anybody want to lose to me at darts?"

Neena looks properly amused while raising the stout back to Anya following the air kiss, soon chuckling at her 'relapse' remark.

Thea's comment about seeing her in action gets an "Mm-hmm" from the pale lady without any clear emotion behind the response.

This changes easily enough when Luke talks about trying to retain customers, unless they ask for it. "Noted" is offered with a light grin, complete with somewhat exaggerated canines.

"Getting out can be overrated. Make sure to read the fine print on any travel brochures before committing. And hey, if you like what you're doing…" she trails off with a look back to Anya..who has just been given a gift-wrapped box of condoms by Thea..and to the arriving gal with a southern accent. Becca's given a playful salute off of the albino's brow.

Looking to Thea again, "I'd say you have some really strange friends but there's a bit of kettle mixed in with that collection of pots."

Clint's 'Frasier/Lilith hybrid' is met with an arched brow which easily enough shifts into another smirk at the call for darts. Another long drink is taken from the stout before she sides to Thea with "If you get into any trouble try not to get out of it without me." The unnecessarily warm coat is left behind on the stool before she holds a hand in the air. "Let's see whatcha got, Blondie!"

"At least I am not Woody" says Luke with a snort to Clint. "I'd say you would be Cliff, but you ain't been here long enough to earn that status yet."

He looks between Thea and Anya and a brow raises, "I see you two are 'friends' as well. Oh, right…you told me you knew Anya, Thea. I just wasn't aware how well."

He looks to Neena and nods, "Exactly! I keep getting told I need to leave this building, but I like my work…and it is damn convenient that I live upstairs. Just because I don't get out much, I get harassment like this." he says as he waves the book again. "Screw that." He grins with a shrug and moves to grab himself a glass, pouring some water in it, "This damn suit is hot."

The grin for Anya is just wide. "Well, you know, I worry about my friends." Then she's snickering, glancing at Luke. "You do need to get out more! At least you know… walk around the block." She's finishing her bourbon, nudging it towards Luke. That's when the hem of her dress comes up to expose her cargo garter, and money is taken out to be put on the bar. "Or you know.. get some flaming cheese."

She looks at Clint. "What, am I not hot enough to be Kirstie Alley back in the day, or something? Rebecca, right?" She's not sure, she doesn't know the show that well. " I mean, I could rock the tan sports coat and brown tie of Norm, but it might be too sexy for you, cowboy."

She reaches into her bag, and Domino is also presented with a bottle of booze, one Johnny Walker blue. There's a small box - with a necklace inside with a sparkly pendant. "For the one I um..broke." Or pried off her in hell, but whatever. Then she's handing her a gift card. "Good for a lot of services at my favorite spa. As promised."

"I could say somethin', but I don't wanna get in trouble with 'HR'," Becca says, grinning at Luke as she slips behind the bar. "I could say more'n one somethin', if I'm bein' honest." Grabbing her pad and a pen, she heads off to see to a table of new arrivals, looking uncannily light on her feet as she navigates the floor in those heels.

"Hot Carla." Anya's too young for Cheers; she just stares at Clint for a moment, and makes a mental note to do some googling.

Thea's gifts are placed in a little spot under the bar where staff stow their belongings. She returns with a dollar for the Swear Jar, and a cell phone. The dollar is wadded up and tossed into its new home, while the other hand is googling 'Carla Cheers'.

"I appreciate it," she tells Thea, though there's a chance her face is still a bit flushed. Hard to tell with glitter on her skin.

"Hey there, Cowgirl," she says to Becca, flashing the younger woman a grin and a waggle of her eyebrows.

She looks back to her phone, and her eyes go wide. "What the… oh." She glances to Clint, and to her credit, she does manage to keep her middle finger where it belongs. Barely.

Clint Barton points a finger at Anya, "Rebecca was the bar manager and Sam's boss, in the later seasons after he'd been forced to sell the bar to a rich guy. She had lustrous hair and padded shoulders and amazing bazongas and you are not her. You are Carla, the sassy, take-no-prisoners waitress who falls for the wrong kind of guy. Except hotter. Hence - Hot Carla."

He assesses Domino carefully as he heads towards the dart board, "Now, I'm not making any assumptions, but you walk like a person who has kicked asses. I, too, am an ass kicker. But we can have a friendly game with nobody losing teeth, no matter how badly I beat you, right?"

"You know, I am pretty sure there is a law about passing around bottles of your own liquor in MY BAR, and thus cutting into my profit margin, Thea. But you're lucky I am in the holiday spirit. Ho. Ho. Ho." Luke says as he flicks his eyes to the bottle of whiskey and back.

He looks to Becca, "Yeah, I bet you could, Becca. HR is such a PITA though. There are days I would love to just clock him one."

Thea smiles, "Luke, darling, there are times a lady needs a stiff drink, and a bar just won't do. Not even one with your compassionate company." She blows him a kiss. "I'll make it up to you." It sure sounds like both a promise and a threat.

She glances at Clint. "Hmm. No shoulder pads. Does that take me out of the running?" Then she blinks at what he says to Neena, before she looks at her albino friend. "A - did he just assume he can beat you? B - Do I not walk like I can kick ass? C - Should I just kick his ass now?" After all, Domino knows better than anyone in this world, just what Thea is capable of.

She will glance at Luke, another bill pulled from her garter to the bar. "More bourbon for me please, Luke." She will smile at Becca, friendly despite not knowing the young woman.

Whup! Hold that thought. Thea's quick on the draw to catch Neena before any bets can be made at the dartboard. Booze is always a good place to start! The necklace is given its due attention, soon to find its way around the albino's neck to add a -little- color to an otherwise color-washed appearance, and finally a promise kept. Suddenly Whitey's glad she didn't also grow claws while touring the abyss, it might make a spa trip a little more awkward.

Neena smiles and gives Thea a hug. "Stay awesome, you brat."

Anya's not the only one who didn't catch Barton's references but she can look it up later. For now the dartboard is calling.

Her opponent is sized up in turn now that the archer's on his feet. Keen eye. Confident stance. He just might give her a run for her money. "Fair assumption. If anything I'll dump the rest of my drink over your head since the owner of this place seems to condone it," she kids. "Though maybe first you can tell me who it is that's about to kick my ass." It's always helpful to put a name to a face.

Thea's call has the albino laughing. "Now now, give the guy a chance to thoroughly embarrass himself first!"

Putting the phone back, Anya seems to finally be warming up to this Clint guy. She's even happy she refrained from flipping him the bird, much to the swear jar's chagrin. "You got me pegged. Totally pegged."

A brief grimace is hidden by turning away to cough into her hand. Phrasing, Anya. Phrasing.

Hanging back for a moment, Anya pours herself a drink, a straight double tequila, and even pays for it. Her eyes dance from one to the other, though her attention is largely upon the showdown that is about to take place.

"You know what this bar needs?" she tells Luke. "A popcorn machine."

Clint Barton points a finger at Thea now, "Hey, noting the capabilities of my current foe does not in any way demean the capabilities of friends, onlookers, dilly-dallyers or others present. Everyone here could secretly be Bruce Lee's lost child, but I'm only assessing this young lady at this juncture," he says, nodding to Domino.

"Clint Barton, at your service," he says, a name which probably would be familiar to anyone who has ties to SHIELD. He picks up a dart, flips it up into the air, catches it by the tip and throws it end over end right into the bullseye.

Luke grabs the bourbon and pours another few fingers of the amber liquid into Thea's glass. "Yeah you will." Luke says, capping the bottle and stashing it back into its place.

Luke picks up his water and takes a sip, turning to Anya and chuckling, "You think? I'm sure we can get one, but Hod would likely pitch a fit that the salt to butter ratio was fucked up or something."

Luke takes another sip from his cup and leans back against the bar, "I got five on the girl."

Well that name does get Thea's attention. "Neena love? Get your luck in line." Those blue eyes will rest on Barton. "This guy /does/ have good aim. At least according to his employer's files." Which Thea has read, but four years in a hell dimension while no one but Domino knows exactly what happened will do something to a memory for a face. Then there is a smug expression on Thea's face, because she knows who Barton is, and he likely hasn't a clue who she is. Just how she likes it, usually.

She will wink at Luke, reaching for her bourbon. "I can't bet against my chica. Damnit." She sighs, a look at Neena. "You're awesome, but now I have to bet, and the only bet to take is against you." She will slip a five onto the bar to match Luke's wager. "Now prove me wrong. I know you can." She'll grin at the albino.

Becca returns from waiting on the table of newcomers, passing through an order to whoever's working the kitchen tonight before turning to start drawing some beers. She glances toward the darts challenge just forming up, then, having noted some of the remarks previously, she asks Luke, grinning and inclining her head toward Thea, "So who's your pretty friend?"

"Jar," Anya quips to Luke, with a rueful grin. She sips on her tequila, eyes roaming from one person to the other. "Y'know, usually I'm always one to bet on my fellow woman. But just to keep things interesting, I'll put five on Barton."

The only possible ties Domino might have with SHIELD are on the wrong end of their database. There might be an awkward encounter waiting to unfold later on, it's difficult to tell and probably for the best that she doesn't know he's with the Division.

What she DOES know is that the guy has a way with thrown projectiles. That brings a low, appreciative whistle from her end. Oh, and people are already taking bets!

She looks at the darboard. Looks back to Barton. Looks back to the board. Sinks her first dart -right- next to his.


"Becca, Thea. Thea, Becca." Luke says as he introduces the pair. "Thea is somewhat of a regular, I'm surprised you haven't run into each other before now. She keeps telling me I need to get out of this place." Luke tells Becca as he sips at his water.

"Speaking of getting out of this place…Thea, did you ever find your friend? I would assume so, since you are here and having a good time. You are much more…relaxed…than the last time I saw you."

Luke looks to Anya and opens his mouth to say something. He closes it again with a sigh, muttering "Shit." as he pulls out two dollars and tosses them into the jar under the bar before he slaps five down onto the bartop in front of Thea, and then another five in front of Anya.

Clint Barton assesses, from a professional standpoint, which is to say he takes another one of those throat-melting shots and lets out a small burp at the tail end of it.

"I see. So it's like that. I think I like it better when I go to bars where people don't show a technique demonstrating a familiarity with shuriken usage. You don't get a lot of that in the bars around the docks."

He selects his next dart, considering it for a moment, rolling it across his knuckles, "I can assume we're going to do some center clustering, you and me. Real Robin Hood type shit." he says, flinging the dart rapidly and burying it between his previous shot and hers, millimeters separating them.

"Of course, when I give to the poor, it's pretty much…y'know, me."

Thea smiles, a wave to Becca. "I'm a recent regular, though. And I show up in like the afternoon, when it's slow. Not too surprising." Then her eyes are on Luke. "Yeah, I did." She points to the albino. "Her." And now Luke knows why Thea is much more at ease. Clearly the woman who went through literal hell with Thea is alive and kicking.

She looks back at Clint, eyes narrowing as she tries to remember what she read. "Hmm." She's just watching him, curious.

Anya puts her five down along with the other bets, and watches as the match unfolds. Her eyebrows rise slowly, and she reaches up to remove the Santa hat, revealing a shock of bright blue hair formed into a flattened down mohawk.

"It is getting hot in here," she remarks to Thea, Becca and Luke. Someone might be getting a little overstimulated. Thankfully, there's tequila.

Lots of it.

Nodding, Becca smiles at Thea and says, "Nice t'meet you. Yeah, I tend t'work evenin' shifts an' weekends, so I guess we just haven't been here at the same time. If you don't mind me sayin', I'd remember if I'd seen you before."

To Anya, she grins, winks, and says, "An' I could make the same suggestion to you I might've to the boss, if it weren't for that 'pesky HR guy'."

"At least you are not wearing a fat suit." Luke says to Anya as he takes another sip of his water. "I'm getting dehydrated from this getup. Santa is about to strip down to a tank top."

He looks to Thea, then glances over at Domino, then back to Thea and nods. "Good. Glad to hear it, and glad to see you smiling…even if it is at my expense."

He looks to Becca and smirks, "Stupid HR. Maybe I should just tell him to take a hike for the night."

"Yeah. It's like that" Neena confirms with that semi-pointy grin of hers. "If you're looking to clean house there are definitely better watering holes."

Another dart, another bullseye from the Barton. "You know, a game like this is probably going to be really exciting for everyone else and a bit dull for us. Maybe we should focus more on giving our fans a good show. Winnings can go to your charity case." Since he claims to be the poor one and all. She can be a good sport! Sometimes. When she wants to be.


There's number four kinda nested in amongst the other three.

"Lucky shot" she deadpans.

There's a blink at Becca's comment about remembering her. "I can sort of fade into the background." At least she can when she wants to. Clearly tonight it not that sort of night. "Damn HR guys."

She laughs at Luke. "Oooh if I take out money, will you strip out of it to music?" There is a brow waggle. She doesn't seem to be serious, but she probably wouldn't protest.

Her head cants to look at Neena, before she's breaking out into laughter at the mention of a 'lucky shot'. "Luke's doesn't seem to collect boring clientele or employees, I'll agree."

Clint Barton nods, "You have a point. We need probably something a little more advanced than darts, I'd say, to properly measure each other's, uh…" he taps his nose, "talents."

He selects another dart and considers for a moment, cocking his head and then flicking it off to the side, where the tail hits the wall, ricochets down off the floor and, yup, up to spear into the selfsame bullseye.

Luke gives Thea a look, and rolls one massive shoulder in a shrug. "It's not that kind of bar, but a buck is a buck. It's tempting, but I'd probably get in trouble with HR. Damn HR guys."

His eyes dart over to Barton and Domino as Clint tosses the dart, and his jaw goes slack. "Um. I didn't just see that, did I?"

"Please don't," Anya says to Luke, and now she's grinning wickedly. "I don't have anything else I can take off." Clearly she's all in favor of stripping down.

"Motion carries. HR is on vacation for the night." With that, and no shortage of mischief in her demeanor, she downs the rest of her tequila and pours another. The tips have been well tonight, after all.

Having finished drawing beers for her table, Becca turns just in time to witness Barton's crazy ricochet shot with the dart. "Whoa. Now /that/ was impressive," she comments, before hefting the tray carrying the mugs and heading out with it, making it seem effortless to keep the tray balanced as she maneuvers around people in those shoes. To anyone watching her, it almost feels like it's her super-power or something.

There's laughter from Thea, a shake of her head. She glances at Luke. "Yeah, you just saw what you saw. This is the guy's bread and butter, where he works, if I remember right. Excellent aim and trick shots. The sort of can't miss shit." She will toss a dollar in the direction of the swear jar.

She eyes Anya from head to toe. "Don't you know you at least need to have something you can take off, in case of sudden strip poker? Or darts, or ..strip whatever?" There's a low laugh, as Thea tips back bourbon, drinking it down until the glass is empty. "Another please, Santa baby?" One would think she'd be showing some sign of intoxication, at her rate of consumption. But nothing shows, at least not yet.

"That's impossible," Anya remarks, and is suddenly glad she put money on Clint.

Once Rebecca gets back, she taps her on the shoulder. "Hang out. I'll cover the tables for a bit, you can cover me later."

A look is given to Thea. "Oh, there's plenty I can take off, now that HR's on vacation for the night." That mischief remains in her eyes, but she's got work to do. She'll keep an eye on the game of course, but it's a busy bar, and she needs to make up for all the free booze she takes advantage of.

Sliding the dollar back towards Thea, Luke mutters in a low tone, "The jar is for employees, not patrons. Keep the dollar, slip it in my pants when I take off this damned jacket and fat suit."

Luke pours another shot for Thea, flips on some music on the radio behind the bar and shrugs out of the jacket and fat suit. Quickly, but not that quickly.

Okay. Color Neena impressed. It'll show up easier on her with the white backdrop. He just scored a bullseye on a double ricochet. With a DART. Very few people could land that shot!

She draws in a breath with a subtle headshake, looking at the results of Barton's handiwork. "I need a moment. And maybe a shot of something stronger."

With the last dart still in hand she returns to the bar and downs some more of the awaiting stout. Then her attention turns to Luke. "Hey boss," she calls him closer while leaning halfway across the bar. "Could you do me a solid?"

A few words are exchanged. A friendly monochrome smile is provided. Her beer gets finished off then it's back to the dartboard she goes.

"Gonna go ahead and say it now. That was some elite tactical dart tossing shit right there. You've got the skills. Maybe I can still measure up."

The dart's brought up but before it's thrown she gives a whistle.

Then a serving tray gets flung across the room like a frisbee.

The dart meets the tray somewhere along its trajectory with a *Kwang!* before it spirals right into the bullseye with the rest of 'em.

"Sure thing," Becca replies to Anya, as the 'head elf' tags in on table duty, leaving the tall blonde to take over working the bar. Then, as Luke puts on the tunes and starts taking off the Santa suit, she comments, grinning devilishly, "An' now it's a party, folks."

It would take a bit to distract Becca at that moment. But the whistle, the thrown tray, and the dart careering off of it to strike home on the board qualifies. Those blue eyes wide and staring, she mutters under her breath, "…Fuck."

Thea just chuckles as she sips bourbon. There's the Neena she loves…and hates, and sometimes wants to strangle. She shrugs at the idea the swear jar need not apply to her. Then she's smirking as Luke starts to strip out of that suit, waving some singles at him like the bitch she can be.

She will watch Anya and Rebecca tag on who covers the tables, and she'll watch her spider friend a while, just drinking and trying to stay relaxed.

Clint Barton rolls his tongue along the inside of his cheek at Domino's display, "Ah, see, it's like that, is it? Well, that's a fine kettle of fish. Y'know, I've heard that phrase from old carnies and I don't get it. What's so fine about a kettle of fish? Who are these people walking around with fish in kettles? Shouldn't it be a bucket?"

He sits down for a moment and eats a few pretzels, "I feel like if we keep going we're going to continue to one-up each other, which will be fun but will inevitably lead to someone probably bleeding one way or the other. This shit inevitably turns into William Tell shit. Apples and heads. No good for anybody."

"So how about we just get drunk?"

"OK, ok..shows over." Luke says as he picks up the coat and fat suit off the floor from his little impromptu dance show. "Becca, hold down the fort. I'm heading upstairs to go change into something less constricting."

He pauses, throwing the tray at the moment it is called for and grins at the impressive dart shot, "Damn. I bet on the right person, though I think all in all it has ended up a tie. Screw it, drinks on the house for the next hour."

'Drinks on the house' is -exactly- the sort of line Domino wants to hear said immediately following 'how about we just get drunk?' "Now there's a game that should involve less risk of drawing blood. You're on, Barton. I'm gonna give one of those pine varnish drinks a try and go from there."

"Would it be a bitch move to tag out now?"

Oh yes. Anya did hear Luke's call that drinks are on the house for the next hour, and conveniently, she's just finished doing her rounds. Her words were directed toward Rebecca of course, an while she's half joking… she's also half serious.

With a laugh, Becca replies, "It might just be about to get a little busy back here." In the time she she started working here, the blonde has gotten much more proficient and confident behind the bar than she once was, but a full-on open bar rush might be a bit much for her to handle on her own.

Thea is laughing, looking at both of them. She will just put money on the bar for a tip, to try and ensure that her bourbon will stay topped off. "Don't look at me, I don't work here."

With a full bodied laugh, Anya slips around the bar to meet Becca where she belongs. She slides on her heels with impressive agility, and hip-bumps Becca while snatching up bottles of tequila and bourbon alike. Thea is topped off, as is herself. "No reason why I can't drink too," she quips.

Her eyes then go looking for Barton and Domino, but neither are to be seen. "Is it too late to make bets on whether Barton darts Thea's friend?" she asks.

"That prob'ly depends on what y'all mean by 'darts'," Becca answers, with a wicked smile. She's actually been starting to do a little bit of the 'show bartender' thing in the last couple of weeks, adding some flashy moves to setting out glasses for pouring and other fluorishes to entertain the patrons (and earn tips). (Of course, unbeknownst to those watching, these things can be much easier than they seem when you can make gravity sit up and do tricks.)

Thea's brows lift. "Barton darts her?" She asks. "Is that sexual innuendo?" She sounds faintly amused, as she reaches for her topped off bourbon with gratitude. She nods towards Becca, as they are on the same page. "I don't know if she'd be interested, if that'shat you mean." She will watch Becca's moves, curious.

"Hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder," Anya points out, not exactly admitting that it was innuendo, but, then again, she's in a mood.

She lifts the tequila and downs it in one gulp, before grabbing some empty glassware and dunking it into the wash bin. "Is it me, or is this bar getting busier and busier?" she asks, even though her tone of voice doesn't sound surprised at all. Luke and the dart-players may have disappeared, but the Christmas party has drawn a crowd nonetheless.

Becca grins at Thea and asks, "I don't know, was it?" She's continuing on with pouring drinks, trying to keep up with the rush of orders while continuing the banter. "An' I dunno, that Barton guy's a pretty fine-looking man. Not as fine as the boss, but not many are, 'y'know? I guess Anya's more her type, then?" Her bartending partner gets a teasing look as she's saying that.

"Don't you mean beauty is in the eye of the beerholder, Anya?" Thea will counter between sips of bourbon. "I saw how she was looking at you, that's why I'm doubting Barton's chances." There's a slow grin at the bartending ladies. There's another sip of bourbon, and glancing around. "Both your boss and Barton are good looking, it's true. I mean, Dom can date whoever she likes, but I saw where her interests were tonight."

"Maybe a little old for me," Anya admits, when speaking of Barton, "but you're right. Damn fine specimen of a man. Luckily I swing both ways."

Which is exactly when Becca and Thea both suggest the albino was eyeballing her. Her subtle attempt at a pun that only some people would get is forgotten, but rather than flush, she's grinning. "She couldn't be that lucky," Anya says, before sliding a beer down the bar to an outstretched hand.

"Still, if that Barton guy's a seven, that definitely makes Luke an eight. Maybe even a nine, but not in that Santa suit!"

Walking out from the back room dressed in a much more comfortable set of worn jeans, and a tank-top that barely constrains his pecs, Luke lets out a little chuckle as he overhears the ladies. "You know, I'll take an 8, but I certainly think I am much more a 9. If I was really going for a ten, you should see me just after a work out when the muscles are all taught and engorged. It really shows off the definition. Hell, I think I would even give that blonde Asgardian kid a run for his money in a pose down. Good thing I'm just a bartender, right?" Luke says with a grin as he makes his way back over towards the bar.

He glances over at Anya, "You do seem to draw the ladies attention, Anya. Hell, I don't admit sometimes I get jealous that you end up getting more interest in here than I do. Hell, all three of you ladies are fine. I just have to behave being 'the boss' and all."

Becca, at the moment, seems to be trying to turn as red as her dress. Glancing aside to Anya, she says, just loudly enough ton be heard over the crowd, "Busted…" She then spends the next half a minute or more studiously focused on taking and filling drink orders.

There is definitely a flush to Thea's cheeks, as she realizes Luke's presence too late to save herself the embarassment. Blue eyes slide over to look at the bar owner, a lift of her glass. "Welcome back to the party, Luke." She may be blushing, but she doesn't have to belabor the fact. She's totally cool - at least in appearance. "You're not my boss, you know." She sasses the big man, as if that's why he wouldn't flirt with her.

"But yeah, Barton's good looking, but a totally different type than you, big guy." Of course, Anya has never heard of Thea dating anyone - man or woman - so does she have a type?

Totally busted. Of course, Anya plays it cool.

"Remember, HR's on vacation," she reminds Becca, before swinging her attention back to Luke. "Don't be jealous. More ladies means more men, means more money in everyone's pockets." She winks knowingly, before shifting some glassware from the wash bin to the multi-quat.

Thea gets a snap point at her remark about not being an employee. Then, of course, she's eyeballing the Texan blusher. "You're not my boss, either," she points out, with an absolutely wicked grin.

"Of course he is a different type, there is only one of me, and I make this shit look good." says Luke as he wanders behind to fix himself a drink, after all they did say HR was off the books so he might as well really join the party. "I'm just lucky to be gifted with good muscle tone, and rugged good looks."

Taking a healthy drink from the glass of bourbon he poured he, shrugs a shoulder. "Hey, Anya, if you and Becca start something just don't let it affect work at all. Other than that, I don't care."

He looks over at Thea and nods, "No, I'm not. But you are also a regular, and if I ended up in bed with you it might get awkward. Or it might not, who knows."

Thea will look over at Anya, smothering her expression by drinking more bourbon. But she will return her gaze to Luke, as her empty glass hits the bar. "Yeah. If it got awkward, I'd just not come here." She shrugs, as if it is no big deal. "But that would be a shame. I like it here."

"That's my point. Maybe if it had been the first night you were here it would have been different. You weren't a regular then. Now I like your company, so it would suck for you to not show up anymore." Luke says with a shrug and a sip of his bourbon before reaching out to refill Thea's bourbon from the bottle. "Same reason Anya and Becca are off limits, besides the possible legal implications of it all. I'd hate for them to bail." He takes another sip of his bourbon, "But its not going to stop me from looking. Sweet Christmas have you seen the curves on them?! Best thing I ever did for the business was hire them."

That last bit from Luke actually doesn't renew Becca's blush, or make it worse. "Thanks, boss," she says cheekily, grinning at him. But then, she is a former cheerleader from a Texas big-time high school football town. Eyes on her 'like that' are not only something she's used to, but something she likes. A lot. It even seems to put a bit more energy into her, as she continues handling drink orders.

Thea politely takes her bourbon, before Luke gets a sassy glare. "I'm not /blind/. So of course I have." She might feel a little self conscious, her time in hell had slimmed down her curves a bit, even as it had made her stronger -physically and otherwise. "After all, Anya and I did go clubbing the other night." It's true, even if they didn't dance together much.

"Truth is, with my work schedule, shall we say, I'm not sure any guy is going to put up with that."

"Did you?" asks Luke as he looks between Thea and where Anya disappeared too. "I bet that was a good time."

He takes another sip of his bourbon and sighs, "Maybe you're right, Thea. Maybe I do need to get out of here on occasion. I haven't been to a club in….I don't know how long. Now that I have Anya and Becca I could actually leave and not have to close the place down. I just guess I have control issues." he says with a smirk.

He downs the last of the bourbon in his glass before grabbing the bottle to refill it, "I understand. I have the same problem. With the hours I put in here, something serious would just be messy. I tend to keep it to one and done, you know? No strings, no commitment, no regrets. As simple as a cup of coffee. My last 'relationship' ended a couple of years ago and I haven't been serious since."

"Since 'HR' is still off for the night, I'm gonna say this," Becca begins, once she gets momentarily caught up with pouring drinks. "Boss, you're a smart, cool, good dude, on top of bein' sexy as hell. That'd make up for a lot, when it comes to hours an' such. There's a lotta women out there who'd see that."

Luke looks over to Becca and shrugs a shoulder as he downs the glass of bourbon he has been drinking like he is making up for lost time. "You're probably right, Becca. But ever since my wife died, I haven't really been great 'relationship' material. I know it, so I try don't try to be a relationship guy."

He pours more bourbon into his glass, drinking it down and shaking his head, "Anyway, that is a subject best bot brought up on what is supposed to be a 'fun' day, so forget about it."

Becca's smile collapses as she turns toward Luke again. "Shit. I meant that as an honest compliment, and t'make you feel good. I pushed too hard. I'm sorry." She shakes her head. "Can I offer you a totally non-flirting, 'you're a good guy and the best boss ever and I'm grateful' hug?"

"See, that's part of my problem." She sips bourbon before she gestures at him with her glass. "You're awesome, and you found things that work for you. I just don't know that I could do one and done." Thea shrugs. "But I don't know if there are any men out there willing to put up with occasionally odd hours and …other things."

Luke Cage glances over at Becca and opens an arm to accept a hug. "Don't worry about it, Becca. You didn't know, and I don't go and advertise it. It's all good, no foul."

He looks to Thea and shrugs, "I don't know if it 'works' for me, Thea. I really don't. It is what it is, that is about all. I'm sure there are plenty of guys out there that would be in for something casual like that. Sweet Christmas, if you go by the normal stereotype of any guy, they would be lining up at the door for something like that." Luke says with a smirk. He pours another bourbon and offers to pour more for Thea, "I'm sure we all have 'other things' that people would have to overlook. That is part of the whole relationship thing. Those are the things that come up between the first night together, and peeing with the door open."

Becca steps over to Luke and hugs him tightly. A totally as-advertised, innocently-affectionate hug.

Thea looks at Luke, and a couple moments pass. She will stick to the conversation at hand, versus feeling awkward and extending condolences. "No, no. I meant I couldn't do it. The one and done. But I don't know if a guy would be willing to put up with my schedule and other flaws, for more than that." She tosses back the rest of her bourbon. "More, por favor. But if it doesn't work for you…why do it?"

Luke Cage returns the hug, giving Becca a light squeeze from those powerful arms. "I appreciate the complement. I do. I do my best."

He pours another glass of bourbon for Thea, and refills his own. "It beats being lonely?" Luke finally says after a moment. "Pathetic, I know."

He takes another sip from his drink, "We all have baggage, Thea. Lord knows I have my own trunk full…And I got you the first time. I was saying most guys don't mind something casual. Not a 'one night stand', but a whole friend with benefits thing. I'm sure you would get ample applicants for that kind of arrangement, if that was something you wanted. Not saying you do. You would be surprised what a guy will 'put up with' though, for a relationship. You might be surprised."

Luke looks between the two ladies and tosses back the drink, grabbing a second bottle from under the bar. "Sorry I killed the party. I'll head out and maybe you two can get back to bein' cheerful. Merry Christmas, you two."

Luke starts towards the back room, using his thumb to unscrew the top of the bottle in one quick motion as he pours the liquid from his glass down his gullet.

"Merry Christmas, boss," Becca says, before amending, "Luke. I'll make sure things get closed up right, and I'll see you tomorrow when my shift starts. G'night."

"I don't think it's pathetic." Thea says, even sliding off her stool as if to follow Luke. "IT's better than what I've got going, right? Which is nothing at all. I.." She doesn't know what she wants to say, and her powers and emotions war for a moment inside her. "I'm a freak." she says, coming a couple steps closer. "No one is going to put up with that, no matter how good I look in a dress." Her voice goes quiet, even as her expression hardens. "But that's for another time." She will turn, as is she's looking to see what she should do, or go, next.

Glancing back from the door to the back room, Luke laughs. "A freak? Sister, I know people that cling to walls, and shoot webs from their hands. I've met purple cat ladies and white rabbits. I've seen some guy turn into a cybernetic scorpion looking thing. I even know a guy that is as far as he can tell 'unbreakable'. Bullets bounce right off of him, and he can bench press something like 25 tons. Unless you have tentacles coming out of places they shouldn't, I don't think you have anything to worry about…and from what I hear there are guys that are into that as well!" He pauses, taking a swig from the bottle in his hand, bypassing the glass. "Look. I know what you have been through, and I can only imagine the toll that must have taken on you. I have….nothing close to the same situation but I've had my own time spent in my own version of it. It changes you, I know. But you survived, and if you survived you grew stronger from it. You wouldn't have survived if you didn't."

Luke just stands there for a moment, taking another swig from his bottle before he turns to go into the back room. "Fuck. I'm drunk. I'm sorry. Just…ignore me. I'm sorry I made a mess of things. I hope I'll see you again, Thea. If not, I get it. No hard feelings."

And with that, Luke passes through the back door.

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