2020-03-01 - Any Port in a Storm as Long As The Food is Good


It's stormy outside, and full of not very many people inside Luke's. Hey, at least the food is good.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Mar 1 07:58:50 2020
Location: Luke's

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Theme Song



The bar is quiet for the time being, not that it's closed or anything, just empty. The temperatures outside are dropping with every passing moment and the wind's kicked up with a quiet rage whispering promises of less restraint on the horizton. Flurries of snow snap through the air, not the big soft fluffy flakes, but the small sharp ones that sting when they hit your face. So, everyone's headed indoors, either work or home, but not the bar. At least not yet. Surely there will come a time when the desperate and the broken will filter in, but that time doesn't seem to be right now. Whcih is fine. It gives Hod time alone on the stage.

He looks slightly different frankly, it's not a huge difference or anything, but he's a bit paler, his hair and beard a bit longer as if he'd missed the last visit or so to the barber. He's wearing a thick black cable knit sweater in the infantry fashion and some slate gray cargo's over black boots, the whole look working for him making him look like a hipster soldier. His eyes, of course, covered by mirrored shades, so no more clothes wrapped around his head for which everyone is likely grateful.

He stands on the stage, a clarinet between his lips, his fingers lilting out the dirgey heavy laden tones of Nightmare by Arty Shaw filling the dimly lit bar with an almost Film Noir style atmospere. On the stand next to the bar is a bottle of wine complete with a half full glass of somethind dark and red.

Nothing here seems really amiss, which is odd, because Gwen's been feeling that familiar soft buzz in the back of her head ever since she reached her hand for the door that leads into Luke's.

Tonight is Gwen's night off, but somehow, she's here anyway. Apparently there was some chance someone else couldn't make it, so she got the 'Hey, can you come in and wait tables?' call, to which Gwen answered sure, but with the caveat that while it's not busy, she's gonna be working hard on some schoolwork.

It certainly seemed fair to Gwen, and must have been fair to all other parties, because here she is. Currently she's sat at one side of the bar, dressed for waiting tables in a cropped t-shirt, long skirt with a slit up one side, and knee-height boots. Might as well dress to impress, afterall. Arrayed in front of her are a pair of biochemistry textbooks, a notebook, and her cellphone for extra research potential (and the occasional text from a friend that usually gets a 'sorry can't busy' type of answer). She's got a drink in front of her, too, of course; it's a Coke, with no booze in it.

That feeling at the back of her brain is totall unignorable, and she keeps looking around, like she's expecting armed geurilla badpeople to come jumping out of the woodwork at any minute; and she checks to make sure her backpack is where she left it just as often. (Spoiler; they don't, and it is.)

Gwen throws her hands up and sighs, tossing her pen in front of her onto the notebook. "Just realized I screwed up a page ago," she announces, to nobody in particular; what follows is the tearing of an entire sheet of paper from the book, which gets tossed into the garbage can on the other side of the bar without looking. (She gets it though.) "Good thing it's a slow night… for… me, I guess."

"Fuck 'em." comes the almost predictable response from Hod as he pauses in the middle of his song, clarinet poised on his bottom lip. He then sets it aside for a sip from the glass, "You hungry?" he asks curiously as he moves to dismantle the instrument. He should know better then to ask someone less then 40 if they were hungry, but it's polite.

Gwen stretches her arms up over her head, and sighs loudly. "Hungry?" she replies. "Definitely. Studying always makes me hungry. Usually, studying doesn't include time for cooking, so I'm learning why students talk about stuff like 'Ramen' and 'Kraft Dinner' and all that sorta stuff all the time. It's not a budget thing, it's a time thing."

The young blonde looks down at her studies, then back up towards Hod. "So, you could definitely convince me to come study here more often." She flashes a winning smile — not that Hod can see that either — and gives the room one more look. Nope, no geurillas, no aliens, no supervillains, no terrorists, and no weirdos.

Hod snaps the lid closed over the clarinet and nods, "You can't beat the company." he admits, smirking /just/ a smidgen as he heads for the kitchen doors, cane swinging before him. Wait. He smiled. That's creepy. "Dessert or food!?" he bellows from beyond the kitchen doors, "And you got any alergies?" He's acting weird. Not like weird weird, but if he were anyone else he'd seem almost like he was in a really good mood. But it's Hod. So clearly it must be something else. Hey! Maybe he got laid!?

Now there's a thought that crosses Gwen's mind, and is immediately banished. Gross! Who wants to think about that?! But hey, you never know.

"Uhh…" The young student chews that one over for a moment. "Food! And, allergies? Uhm, no, not that I've encountered so far. Nothing food-wise, anyway." She gives her books another long, hard stare, after watching Hod head for the kitchen. Her phone makes a happy little sound of triumph, and Gwen quickly types out the response that's become standard for her tonight and goes back to the website she was looking at about molecules.

At about that moment, the door opens, and Gwen looks up like she's about to dive for cover in an action movie; someone pokes their head in, looks around, and then says to someone outside "Nope, he's not here either, which friggin' bar did he—" as he lets the door swing shut.

"Don't panic," Gwen announces. "That wasn't a customeer, just a dweeb. …So you're happy lately, Hod, what's got you so cheerful? …Not that I'm complaining."

The sound of pots and pans and implments from the kitchen ceases for a moment in almost contemplative silence before resuming, "I reconnected with an old friend I thought lost to me forever." he admits freely, "That's very rare for me." given his general demeanor most of the time that likely makes sense. "Took a uh…" he seems to consider his words, then reappears in the doorway and uses a small blck of metal to wedge the swinging door open before returning to work, meaning she can hear him much more easily now. "lets call it a working vacation. Old business needed handling, got my hands dirty a bit in a way I've not for a long time, found my friend." she can almost hear the grin in his words, "Productive month."

"Sounds like it!" Gwen's mouth quirks upwards at the corners, and she pushes her books out of the way for the moment so she can lean on the bar. "I'm glad you found your friend, Hod. Especially since you didn't think you were going to see them again. I hope it wasn't too stressful a time, but I'm glad it worked out."

Of course, the back of her head is still buzzing, and that usually doesn't happen. What does that mean? Why don't superpowers have instruction manuals? Is she getting sick? *Do* Spider-people get sick?

"Can't… really say I have anything super exciting to report on my end. Did well in my first semester at University, got straight A's. Dad's proud, I'm pleased, my social life hates me, y'know. Pretty much the regular for a student, I'm sure."

Hod's mind flashes back to the heavy forest, to the cold whisteling wind, the hot spray of blood, the smell of fear in the air, the rush of ground beneath his feet… Knowing he's alone in the kitchen, this time he actually smiles. "Not gonna lie, there was a little stress, but it worked out in the end." something hits a pan and sizzles and in short order the smell of Food (capital F) is in the air. Smells… like spices? Like spicy spices. "Wouldn't know, I havn't been to a school since-" he ponders, "oh I dunno, prolly Catherine the Great was kicking it in Russia?" Ha ha. He's an old man. It's funny. "Things back then were easier. Except you know, no indoor plumbing."

"Yeah, I hear about that from some of the older guys at my Dad's precinct," Gwen replies, dryly. "They talk like they were around when George Washington was busy telling the British to kiss off." She rolls her eyes, "In my day," she continues, deepening her voice and adopting a strange accent, "We had to walk six miles to school in the snow with no shoes, uphill both ways, with foreign soldiers chasing us with bayonets, and there was no toilet paper, and we liked it!" …Yeah, sure thing gramps, I'm pretty sure the worst you've ever had to deal with is your TV not having a remote control." She hmmms, "Well, outside of what comes with being a cop, at least."

Gwen pauses to inhale and enjoy the smell of food in the air. With spices. "Smells delicious already," she adds.

Catherine the Great? Yeah right. Must've been metaphorical.

Was it really that long ago? Surely he did some time in a… huh… nope. Russia, 1788, maybe '90? Something like that. No school since then. Maybe he should go again sometime, see what the mortals have managed to figure out in the last couple of centuries. "Oh I wouldn't knock the snow part, plow technology has made leaps and bounds in your life time you infant. You've no idea how hard it was before heated flooring was a thing. Imagine, having to pee in the morning and stepping on frigid tile!" he adds to pans banging together like a dramatic gong.

Hrm. Something… seafoody? Maybe? Oooo. And there is clearly a heavy veggie presense of somekind, aromatics, but had to place. Not a mirepoix persay…

Gwen snorts. "I don't have to imagine, I did girl scouts for a couple years and we went camping at some places that were Cold, with a capital 'C'." she shrugs lightly, "One advantage of living in an apartment though, the place beneath your floor is generally warm, so the floor is warm, too. So there's that, I suppose. Makes up for when someone above you or below you suddenly decides that it's a good idea to play rap music at full volume at two o'clock in the morning. On a school night. …When you have a cold." She pauses. "Ask me how I know about that."

She peers at one of her books again, and makes a note on it, right in the margin. "Pretty sure I'm too old even for you to call me an infant," she adds. "Toddler, at least. Well past the terrible twos — I only throw tantrums when I want chocolate and there is no chocolate. Or when a good movie gets interupted by a news broadcast about something irrelevant."

Hod snorts, "Where I grew up it was always the perfect temperature, but our…" he pauses to consider, "neighbors… now they were cold. Ever been to Norway in the winter? It's a bit like that, only less hospitable." Because Jotun's don't do central heating, "We did some trail hiking, part of the way my family wanted me to over come the whole being born disfigured thing. After which I awoke to my brother lighting me on fire." there's a sudden flare of a scent Gwen will clearly know. Garlic. Everyone knows garlic. "Trade ya?" he offers, but his tone is chipper which clearly means he's kidding. Clearly.

"Fair enough. Toddler it is. The last girl I made friends with about your age I named Kumo, guess I'll have to work something out for you." pause. "Chocolate, eh?"

Gwen sputters, "Well, if I'd known it was gonna be that easy, I'd've shot for Teenager," she replies. "And no trades, I love my Dad, and at least not having any siblings means that… well… nobody set me on fire at a young age. That's… I mean, that's a pretty wild story, Hod. I hope you got your brother back for it."

She pauses, and perks an eyebrow upwards. "Yeah, chocolate. Dark chocolate and white chocolate are the best, but… I'm flexible, I'm not the sort of person who only likes to eat the same things over and over again. Caramel, butterscotch, fruit, vanilla… lots of things are good for desert." She taps her lips, and furrows her brow. "But… not, like… custard. I dunno who came up with that stuff, but it always seems like some kind of yellow glob of minor evil."

Gwen shrugs her shoulders lightly. "I've never been outside the States, except brief trips to Canada, so I can't say I know what Norway's like in the winter," she admits, "But if it's anything like New Brunswick, I imagine it'd be far too cold for me."

Hod snorts again, "My brothers are not the sort one gets back at." yeah, no one wins a prank war with Loki. Except Loki. "White chocolate isn't actually chocolate you know. It's made from the butter of the plant but not the solids that give chocolate it's taste. It's why it doesn't taste like chocolate. Technically, it's a candy." boom. Take that to trivia night next time. There are sloppy noises coming from the kitchen now, "It's where Vikings come from." he offers helpfully, so she can form an idea of winters there.

He appears in the doorway holding a large ceramic bowl on a platter. It takes him a minute to make it to the bar, which he then uses to guide himself towards her before setting the bowl down before her. There was an attempt at garnish, but it's completely off center and the some of it's on the lip of the bowl instead of inside, green flecks of something that smells a bit like… mint? "Crayfish ettouffe with andoille sausage, the cajun prefered trinity, all poured over fluffy white rice-" and then two very large peices of toasted bread land on the bar beside the plate, crusty and with a sorta orangey color to them, "and one small baggete toasted and buttered with a cajun compound butter." he then waves a hand at her, "Feast up." A spoon joins the bread with a clatter.

"I know where Vikings come from," Gwen points out. "I'm young, not oblivious. …But I'm also American so I suppose it's fair to assume I might've missed out on quality eduction, given the way Republicans like to do things." She stops talking when the food is brought out, and her eyes widen at the sight of it. "Wow. Thank you for reminding me that I have, in fact, seriously missed your cooking, Hod. Amazing as" she catches the spoon before it hits the table "always."

With that instruction given, Gwen happily digs in, and for the first few bites she's basically just absorbed with eating something entirely delicious. For a moment she even forgets the buzzing at the back of her brain — seriously, no ninjas or aliens or cyborgs yet, brain; not even any animated furniture, like in 'Beauty and the Beast' but somehow worse.

"I did not," she admits after a moment, "Know that about white chocolate, though. …I refuse to change my opinion about it, but knowing what it really is is good for sure."

Hod shrugs, "Honestly it's just a word, call it putrid donkey shit, still gonna taste like white chocolate. What's in a name?" asks the guy who's lived under about a two thousand of them. He then heads back towards the stage, and the further away he gets there's that eeeever so lessening of the buzz. He pauses there to pat about until he finds his wine bottle and abandoned glass, and then moves back to the bar. It's subtle, easily missable if one was distracted, but the buzz ramps up the closer he gets. By a hummingbirds breath or two.

"Eh, I think I'll stick to calling it white chocolate," Gwen declares. "For one, everyone else will know what I'm talking about, which I'm pretty sure is what's in a name, and for two, it sounds tastey, unlike… what… you said." She continues to dig into the food, falling silent for the moment; which gives her the opportunity to notice the change in quality in the everpresent grumbling of her danger sense as Hod moves.

Which almost makes her drop her spoon.

She sits frozen for a long moment; until she realizes that no longer eating must seem weird, so… after oggling the plate for another equally long moment, trying to decide if there's cyanide in it or something, she resumes. Cyanide has a flavor to it anyway, right? You're being ridiculous, Gwen, flashes through her brain. Your danger-sense is just acting up.

So," she muses, after a bite and a pregnant silence. "What did you do before you took up being a chef, here? You know about everything from Vikings to white chocolate. You must've done something interesting."

Hod seems to consider that thought, "Welp," he leans back against the alcohol rack gently and letting the wine bottle dangle by the neck from one hand, the other cups the wine glass gently as he considers, "Honestly not a lot of much. Made a couple of real good business deals awhile ago, fell bass ackwards into some walk around money, pretty much stopped working after that. Mostly I play music, cook, pursue my hobbies." he wiggles the wine glass pointedly, though it should be of note that in all the weeks she's known Hod he's never had wine before. He's been a hard liqour guy from the jump.

"I like to travel, which I do from time to time when the mood strikes. Not sure if the money will last forever, but while it does I might as well make use of it. Can't take it with you, right?"

Gwen Stacy ehs softly, and shrugs. "People keep saying that, and I suppose it's probably true, but I've never met anyone who's died and come back to life before so I can't say for sure. But you're probably right about that." She shrugs, and has another bite of her food. Sine it doesn't taste like it's going to be the death of her, she keeps going; afterall, she's a spider. She's tough. She's not afraid of a blind man and a plate of grub.

"Ever learn karate?" she asks, adopting a more joking tone of voice. "I mean, I know blind martial artists are a real thing, so you never know, I'm not asking to be a twerp. Just, you seem to know about everything else, so why not?"

Hod makes a face, "Karate isn't practicle for someone like me. You have to be able to judge precise distances, timing is important." he shakes his head, "Not my thing. I do practice jiu-jitsu however. That's all in close, you have your hands on a person already, it's about balance and understanding weight distribution and anatomy. To be fair though, I do it mostly for fitness. I have to be careful with weights and stuff so lots of isometrics, yoga, that sort of thing, and jiu-jitsu." And the brutal spear fighting techniques mastered by his father, and the medieval European pikemen, and the long staff and spear styles of 11 different schools of Gung-Fu, an-Well. It's prolly best he not mention any of that stuff.

"This isn't a movie Toddy," he tries out the first of his attempts at a nick-name, "the blind old wise man is really more of just a drunken fool with to much money and time on his hands. I can only do so much, so what I can do I practice. I'm good at. The rest?" he shrugs, "What use is it to me? For instance I can tell you what I /don't/ know about. Interior design. I don't know the first fucking thing about color matching." tiny smirk. "Don't know a cold color from a warm one far as I can tell they're all the same. I'm also shit at race relations. So of course Luke hired me here, because I think he wants me to get my teeth kicked in."

"Toddy? What am I now, one of those wrinkly old prunes who sit at the park and play chess all day long? I'm pretty sure I heard someone use that as a slang term for someone's boy-bits once." Gwen wrinkles her nose, and shakes her head. "I didn't know that, about Karate versus Jiu-Jitsu." Yes she did, she's totally watched all of the kung-fu movies. Like all of them. And all the non-kung-fu movies that get classes as kung-fu movies anyway.

"Yeah well, I don't know anything about interior design either," she replies, picking up one of the pieces of baguette and tearing into it, allowing how good it tastes to overcome her danger-sense telling her she's a sitting duck for some reason. "And, I'll make sure nobody kicks your teeth it," she adds. "Not… that you need me to, if you know Jiu-Jitsu. I'm sure you don't need help from a girl enjoying her last year of being a teenager. But, y'know… I'll do what I can. Probably just call the cops and hide in a corner and hope nobody picks on me, in all honesty."

Or run in the back and return wearing a vigilante costume. There's that possibility.

Hod hrms, "I suppose it's not a great substitude for toddler. I'll work on it." he chews his lip as he considers before polishing off the glass of wine and pouring another almost mindlessly. A fingertip inside the glass tells him when to stop pouring. He pauses, considers, then lets it go and shakes his head, "Naw. Anyone comes looking for me it's best you don't get involved. Best case senerio you end up the cops daughter in a Harlem bar picking fights in a race thing. I clearly can't be sure, but I'm gonna lay odds you're white as fuck. Bad optics, sort of thing that could end up hung around Luke's neck for a long time."

He takes a hit from the wine and wiggles the bottle at her like it was a pointing parental finger, "I can take a beating, you walk the world without eyes you learn how to take a fall, and if you have brothers like mine you know how to take a couple kicks while you're down there. Let them beat up the blind guy at the bar then go on about their business because two things, one" he ticks off on a finger, "unless I thuroughly misjudge him Luke will have something to say about it and as this is his territory and his people he has that right, and two," another finger down, "no one gets street cred for kicking the crap out of a blind guy. If Luke doesn't handle business, Harlem will, in it's own way in it's own time. Not everything it best solved by escilating the situation to cops, or worse, the spandex wearing lunatics filling the skies these days."

The door opens briefly, and a young woman makes her way in, closing the door securely behind her against the wrath of the elements. Only once the winter storm has been shut back out of the bar does she unwrap her scarf, gradually revealing her face - one which would be familiar to both Hod and Gwen, if the former could see. "Hope you didn't need to go anywhere soon," Hisako says wryly as she unfastens her coat. "It's coming down pretty heavily out there, and if it keeps coming .."

And realizing that they were probably talking, Hisako trails off, grimacing. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt."

"Well yeah, I am white," Gwen acknowledges. "White as… Well… white. Let's just stick with that." She shrugs her shoulders, and gets to polishing off the baguettes. "So, yes, being the cop's daughter who called the police in Harlem might not be the greatest plan, admittedly, but if I ever think you're in serious danger I reserve the right to smack someone upside the back of the head with a serving tray. Luke can always fire me, but I don't think I could live with it if you got killed, right?"

At about that moment, the door opens up and in comes Hisako. "Hi!" greets Gwen, bouncing to her feet and pushing her textbooks generally out of the way, just in time to flinch against the brief but palpable wave of cold. "Don't worry, neither of us are planning to go anywhere any time soon, we both work here." She pauses, and tilts her head to one side. "We've met before though… not… sure I caught your name?"

As Gwen speaks, she plucks a menu off a pile, and makes like she's going to find Hisako a seat. Though, she doesn't quite get to that part, not quite yet.

Hod snorts, "Trust me girlie, bigger badder things then this neighborhood have tried to kill me," he drains a third of the wine glass in a gulp, "doesn't have the stones." he flashes teeth at Gwen in the approximation of a smile. "Now. Finish your ettoufee and I'll see if I can't make something out of chocolate. Pretty sure some of my Blegium stock is still in the fridge, unless out illustrious boss ate it all." pause, "Again."

He pauses on his way to the kitchen and tilts his head a bit and inhales through his nose, "We got cajun already prepared if you're looking for some heat, pull up a stool and join us. We're talking about how I'm to tough an old blind fuck for Harlem to kill me. We're fucking hilarious."

"Hisako Ichiki," the Japanese girl answers Gwen, smiling. "Which gives you the advantage of me, although I recognize your face." She pauses. "I think I do, at least …" She slips her coat off, draping it and her scarf over the back of a chair (since the place seems pretty slow, and unlikely to pick up much) before pulling up the stool as invited.

"Cajun sounds good, Hod," she replies to the blind badass. "And if there's enough chocolate to go around, a mug of cocoa would be appreciated … ?" She's not quite sure what sort of chocolate Hod had in mind, admittedly. If he was going to whip up a dessert? Even better, although it puts her back to square one on a drink order.

"Gwen Stacy," replies the blond. She smiles, and after a moment's thought, puts the menu back where she found it. Why does she even bother with those things? Aside from job description. "We've definitely met before, but it was brief and I'm pretty sure I look like a lot of people, so there's that." She jerks a thumb towards Hod, "And that's Hod the Unkillable, tougher than a barn and harder to get rid of than a tax auditer. Which is good, because he cooks better than one, too."

Gwen meanders around the bar, and spends a moment producing one of those neat little bundles of cutlery with a napkin wrapped around them, which she provides, followed by a mug. "Just in case you want coffee… but I'm pretty sure that since you just said 'mug of cocoa', you're about to receive the most impressive mug of cocoa you've ever experienced." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "So, storm's getting worse, hunh?"

Hod tilts his head, considers, "I can do that." he quips before disappearing into the kitchen. There is banging and clinking and in short order a shockily large bowl of ettoufe appears escorted by a blind hipster. Andouille sausage and crayfish in a creamy cheesy spicy sauce with a large number of sauteed veggies on a bed of sticky white rice rest inside the bowl. An attempt at a garnish was made with thinly sliced mint leaves, but his aim was uh… off center. Still, that doesn't effect the smell which is sinful.

After setting it down on the bar with a spoor ploped atop, he then turns and heads back into the kitchen, muttering something under his breath about having to find that damned double boiler. He nods his head firmly, "And don't you forget it!" he adds to Gwen's description of him just before walking /mostly/ through the door to the kitchen, his shoulder slamming into the frame and half spinning him into the room. "No one saw that!" he calls from inside while muttering a curse about someone's questionable parentage.

"Thank you," Hisako says amiably to Hod as she picks up the spoon, gathering a bit of the etoufee up with the utensil to give it a try. "Yeah, it's getting bad. It *might* blow over in a hurry, given how suddenly this wave came on," she says to Gwen, "but if it's still coming down .. say, by the time I finish eating … I'll have to decide whether to find somewhere to stay the night in the city, or take my chances with the roads or the trains."

She pauses, popping the spoonful of food into her mouth and chewing, turning her full attention to the taste of that first bite. She doesn't even care that the mint was off-center - it actually works a little better that way, in her opinion.

As to whose parentage Hod was cursing? Hisako's guess would be the architect's, or the carpenter's who was working on that particular wall. She's polite enough to pretend the offending impact never occured, though - and she's too busy enjoying her meal to dwell on the mishap, especially if Hod shrugged it off like nothing. (Then again, if Harlem's worst hold no terrors for him, what can one mundane wall do?)

Gwen watches with a perked eyebrow as Hod reappears with food, which is plopped down in front of Hisako. "You know, technically, serving the food is my job," she points out. "You could just yell something at me like 'Hey Gwen, food's ready' or something, if I don't happen to be back there at the precise moment."

She shrugs lightly, and adopts a stance leaning sideways against the employee-side of the bar, after producing the requisite glass of water that, in her experience, usually remains entirely untouched in these situations and just generates another glass to be washed. "Yeah, same deal for me. My appartment is not exactly in Harlem, so when we close I'm going to have to choose between attempting to bus it, attempting to walk, or stick it out here." She pauses, and smirks, "At least I have my textbooks so I won't be bored."

Hod snorts, "You still have your own food to eat." he points out to Gwen from the kitchen, "All I'm doing is drinking all the wine and being excedingly manly in what I'm assuming is someone's idea of a joke because I think this apron has lace on it and is not my old one from before." long pause, "Yup. That's fucking lace. Imma kill Luke. Or Pinkie. Or my brother." growl, "Prolly my brot-Found it!" and the steel banging returns.

Hod snorts, "You still have your own food to eat." he points out to Gwen from the kitchen, "All I'm doing is drinking all the wine and being excedingly manly in what I'm assuming is someone's idea of a joke because I think this apron has lace on it and is not my old one from before." long pause, "Yup. That's fucking lace. Imma kill Luke. Or Pinkie. Or my brother." growl, "Prolly my brot-Found it!" and the steel banging returns.

"I wouldn't count on the blizzard stopping today. You can smell winter in the air, clinging to things. I had to guess, I'd say it's gonna snow like the end times for oh…" he grins back in the kitchen where no one can see him, "another two days? At least? City's gonna be quiet in the morning, snow to thick to drive in, trains will run, but no one's gonna test them for a day. Always happens the first day of a storm here. You get peace for like… ten hours. My favorite part of winter."

Hisako eyes Gwen, although there's a faint smile on her lips. "'Textbooks' and 'boredom' don't go together that way fr most students," she observes. "What are you studying? Clearly something you love learning about, but with how little I know about you …"

She pauses, looking sheepish. She didn't even see the lace on Hod's apron - although if she *had*, she *still* would likely not have mentioned it to his face. It does what an apron needs to do, which is keeping spatters of oil or whatenot off his clothes. Fashion *might* be a concern for *some* cooks, but Hod doesn't seem like one of those to her.

His assessment of the weather, however, seems reliable enough to make Hisako wrinkle her nose (not at the food, though; that's still delicious) - and she sets her spoon down, taking a moderate swig of her water. "That builds up," she observes with a soft gasp. "Either that, or the slow burn isn't that slow here. Whoo."

"Hey, you wanna wear a lace apron, I'm not going to stop you," Gwen calls back into the kitchen. Granted, however, she does still have some baguette left so she accepts that point from Hod without acknowledgement, and just picks it up so she can take a bite out of it, and note with some satisfaction that someone drank the water. Wonders shall never ceases.

"Biochemistry," she replies to Hisako. "So, biology and chemistry mashed into one, without skimping on either one. I'm covering all the required first year stuff right now, along with some electives, but it's the biochemistry stuff I'm working on tonight — which was actually my night off, but someone else couldn't make it so here I am."

She pauses, scratching at the back of her head as if she's got a tension headache or something; though it doesn't really look like she's in pain. (She just has her danger-sense going off like a mildly offended geiger counter; nobody but her would ever figure that out, of course.) "Any student who finds their textbooks boring really ought to consider a change of major," she adds. "I mean… if it's boring, do you want to be doing it the rest of your life?"

And in from the cold comes one Hank McCoy. Bessy was trapped at school, and he REALLY wanted some ribs, so…off he went. On foot. He takes a moment once inside to get the worst of the snow off himself, and unfortunately wet fur /does/ have a smell, no matter how immaculate the person's grooming might be otherwise.

Still, at least it is a /clean/ wet fur smell,

A few moments to strip off a trench coat and a broad brimmed hat, Hank hangs them up by the door to dry.

Only then do yellow eyes study the room, recognizing both girls present. "Hello Miss Ichiki." He says, his voice perhaps a bit rougher than in the past, but still Hank's. He smiles toothily, and OMG Gwen might be surprised at all the FUR on the guy, is that /really/ the same guy who was here before?

Moving to the bar, he finds a spot to sit, stomach rumbling.

Hod pffts from the kitchen again, "Dealing drugs isn't boring, doesn't mean it's a viable career opportunity." he quips back, "You do whacha gotta, doing what you love is luxury, and more power to you if you can make it work. Lookit me," says the guy yelling from the kitchen, "I only get to do this shit because Luke is silly enough to think giving a blind mant he run of a room full of sharp knives and /FIRE/ is okay so long as no one else touches anything in it. And I'm rich." he adds that last part belatedly, "Which is also ni-" he stops talking for a long moment as the wind carries Hankness to Hod inside the kitchen, "HENRY!" he bellows in what for him is likely a happy tone, "Someone get that man a bourbon! I'll be out in a minute, I'm making fattening food for the well endowed metabolisms in there." The smell of something sweet is jsut starting to drift from the kitchen, and the sound of vigours wisking in a steel bowl.

"I know what biochemistry is," Hisako says with a grin to Gwen. She may only be on her associate's degree program, but she works (and lives with) people who know biochemistry better than she ever will …

And here comes one of the foremost among them, as Hank McCoy comes in, provoking a serious double-take from the Japanese girl. "Doctor McCoy?! What are you doing in Harlem this evening, or is that secret?" She seems utterly unastonished by his blue-furred countenance, too.

What *does* astonish her is that Hod recognizes him - whether by voice or by smell, or by overhearing Hisako calling him by name for all she can tell. At least, if she has to make it back to the Institute tonight, she doesn't have to do so alone.

Gwen has, thus far, not seen Hank McCoy in his blue state; at least in person, she's heard about the famous blue biochemist before, just… last time she saw him he wasn't in this form. So she does a double-take. And then when she's done picking her jaw up off the floor, she produces a glass, dumps a trio of large ice cubes in it, and sloshes an unmeasaured (but certainly very generous) amount of bourbon into it.

"One bourbon for the famous biochemist, an my personal hero in the field, Mr. Hank McCoy," she offers, sliding the drink across the bar to an open stool in a manner that would make even the most seasoned of bartenders proud. (Smooth recovery, Gwen, very smooth.)

"Don't listen to Hod," she adds, nodding to Hisako. "Getting to do something you love and get paid for it is not that difficult, though I'll admit more people than not don't ever manage it. It does take some focus and dedication." She shrugs, "Or at least, that's what my Dad tells me, and he loves his job, so I guess that's my sample size of one." She pauses. "Hod, you're not rich."

Looking back to Hank, she flashes a winning smile. "So! Anything I can get you, besides bourbon?"

At least it was 'Hankness' not 'RANKness', two very different things. "Hello, Holden. I look forward to whatever you have to serve." He calls out in response to Hod, whom apparently he knows as Holden. A smile to Hisako, rather brightly in fact. "I was hungry, Miss Ichiki." He says mildly. "My car couldn't get anywhere, I couldn't stomach the thought of vending machine food, so…I went for a jog to get here." In a blizzard.

He rather deftly captures the drink Gwen slides his way, and savors a good long sip. "Really, I'm your biochem hero? Interesting, we're not usually lionized like that." Hank nods along with Gwen's assessment. "It is amazing how many people with English Lit degrees end up doing something like IT work." He grins. "My solution was to get so many degrees I had to land work in one of them." He says it fairly deadpan, but…the eyes, they sparkle with too much mirth, and courteous fellow that he is, he even adds a bit of lurking laughter undertone for Hod.

The last question from Gwen earns the girl a mournful look, yellow eyes big and almost dewy. "Why yes, I could go for a ribs platter with everything. Please? Beast hungers."

Hod snorts, "People call me Hod these days Henry, apparently 'Holden' is some asshat from a book and I'm tired of hearing about it." also, his family are jerks and can't keep their yaps shut. He then calls out, "Girlie! Come fetch the drinks. The big one is for the furry fella, the other two are for you two smaller ones. I'd carry, but that would spell disaster, last thing anyone needs is for me to trip carrying them and have their face melted off."

Hod himself appears in the doorway, leaning against the jam a 3/4 full glass of red wine in hand, "Jesus H. Karate Chop Action Christ Henry, I didn't know you were famous? You been holding out on me?" he asks curiously as he sips the cabernet. What Gwen finds in the kitchen awaiting her 'waiting' job, are three mugs of what may well be the richest hot chocolate known to man, almost thick with chocolate beneath a floating ice berg of almost ice cream cold hand whipped sweet cream with wee chocolate shavings resting atop and a soft sugar cane style peppermint stick stuffed in them. For stirring. One of them is in what can best be described as a ceramic bucket, not a mug. It's covered in a cheery graphic of an extended middle finger.

"I have yet," Hisako says somewhat archly, "to find a vending machine on this side of the Pacific Ocean which actually sells anything closer to 'food' than glorified snacks. Braving the weather long enough to get here was definitely the smart move … although we may be sleeping here, if it's getting that bad. - And if ribs aren't an option, Hank, the etouffe is phenomenal. Maybe we should have a cooking duel between Hod and one of our resident experts?" she asks mischievously.

The change of subject, combined with the bowl she's still working her way through, provide a good enough excuse not to engage the subject of college majors - she's still trying to decide on hers, whether to follow her talents into architecture or to try and pin down a more specific career … that is, something that isn't "superhero".

"Absolutely, I love biochemistry." Gwen points towards the small pile of textbooks and obvious university work sitting on the edge of the bar. "Hence why I was working on it here when I got called in on my day off. Seemed fair to all parties involved. I—"

She stops, as she's summoned into the kitchen. "One moment!" She goes, meandering in and giving Hod a raised eyebrow in passing. "At least it's better than 'Tod'," she observes in passing. And then she comes face to face with the mugs; at the sight of the large one she plants hands on hips and stares at it for a moment, before she just shrugs, picking it up with one hand and the mere-mortal sized mugs with the other, to re-emerge behind the bar.

"Hot cocoa it is," she announces, plopping the large one down in front of Hank (without spilling it) and one of the small ones in front of Hisako. For her own, she just blows across the top before having a sip.

"And the poison taster says it's safe," she adds, cheerfully. Even if the buzzing in her brain is insistent that hey, maybe it's the hot chocolate that's about to attempt spider-murder. Good news: It isn't.

"He'd like ribs, too," she adds to Hod. "And Hisako… sometimes, when you can't get here to get Hod to cook for you, and the only thing in range is a vending machine, a bag of chips or a snickers really isn't that bad."

"Hod? Interesting, that's one of the names of a a Norse god, Hodr…God of Winter and Darkness if I am remembering right." Hank grins towards Hod. "So…my beer and math friend…do we have YOU to thank for this blizzard?" Hank's /totally/ teasing the man. In no way, shape, or form does he think Hod is the god in question. Or responsible for the weather.

A laugh. "I am somewhat famous, yes. As a biochemist and as one of the world's authorities of Mutation and genetics." Oh, only that? Trivial. "I wasn't holding out, sir. It just didn't seem terribly relevant."

Hank laughs softly at Hisako's pique. "I have to concur about the nature of vending machine food. It is generally execrable, or worse. But I'm something of a food snob." Hank admits. "As to sleeping here - I have spent time if far worse accommodating surroundings, and with far less congenial company."

Hank leans over and picks up one of the books, a fond smile of reminiscence. "Not a bad text, some of the later more complex sections on polypeptide chains is a bit…pedestrian, but overall a good solid book."

And then there's hot chocolate, his own Mugket HUGE, and flipping the room the bird. He eyes it a moemnt, then shrugs even as Gwen did. "The contents supersede the delivery system." He drains about a quarter of the thing in one quaff, and rather fastidiously wipes his mouth after. "Oh, that was very good."

Hod scoffs into his wine glass, "That's me, all powerful god of dark winters or something, working in a bar in Harlem and wearing underwear with some other guys name on them. Oh how the mighty have fallen." he finishes off the wine, "Besides, everyone knows Thor is the god of storms and /that/," he points towards the door with the empty wine glass, "sure sounds like a storm to me." Serves Thor right. Blame this on him.

Hod then turns once more towards the kitchen, "Well if you'll excuse me, this immortal norse god of whatever is going to go into the back and cook up some ribs for people. Or at least get them started then start in on the sauce while they cook. You kids play nice. If you need to crash, we have a couple of emergency cots in the back for people who need to sleep one off or something, bedding is clean, just lemms know and I can send the Girlie to fetch 'em." cause… he's not doing it. Obviously. "Of course it's good. /I/ made it." he sniffs imperiously and like a good god returns to the kitchen, where he belongs.

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