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silhouette, tall drink of water
almosthonorable wrote in milliways_bar
After a damn near-fatal run-in with the Whomping Willow, Ben's horse is safe and settled in the stables, and Ben strides in the back entrance.

He wants a drink or three.

And a new hat.

Once he's settled at the bar, though, he gets a little distracted, admiring his new favorite fork.

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The way he's eyeing that fork looks all kinds of unnatural.

"Someone toss you outside with the lèsè this afternoon?"

"That depends, Sassafras."

He waggles the fork a little so that it reflects the light.

"What's lèsè, exactly?"

"Garbage. Trash. There are others, but they're not nearly as nice."

Neither are those, admittedly, but she never said she was.

"Should I ask how the other guy looks?"

"A helluva lot taller'n I am, I'm sad to say."

He puts down the fork and lifts his battered, not-long-for-this-world hat for Saffron's inspection; shards of bark are embedded near the brim.

"You know there's a tree out back that likes to tussle?"

She doesn't hide her grin - or her chuckle, for that matter.

"I'm sure Bar wouldn't mind giving you a proper replacement."

And then the second half of his words sink in.

"A tree?"

"Tree," he echoes, sage and serious. "Surprised the -- "

A beat.

"Well, that ain't proper to say, but the point is, it took me for a loop, all right."

He pulls a face at the sorry state of his hat.

"And I like this hat."

One eyebrow quirks as he cuts himself off, then corrects.

"You poor thing," she says, all innocence.

"Sounds like you could use some quality comforting."

"Poor in spirit, if not in wallet," he says with a nod. "Trees that punch -- I tell you what, the day this place stops givin' me pause is the day my heart stops."

A beat.

"Unless I come back here dead, I reckon."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

One of her feet rests on her barstool's lower rung, the other swaying absently back and forth.

"Buy you a drink?"

He smiles at that.

"Now, now, what kinda gentleman am I if I say yes to that?"

To the counter, "Miss Bar, I'll take a whiskey, please, and somethin' Miss Saffron'd like, too. On my tab."

A lowball glass appears in front of him, and something -- it's ridiculously pink and frozen, laden with fresh strawberries and what smells like coconut -- pops up in front of Saffron.

"The kind of gentleman willing to accept a drink where it's offered to him."

But something tells her he's not going to shake that dynamic so easily.

On the other hand, who is she to pass up a free drink?

She plucks up one of the strawberries with a few fingertips and bites in. It's fresher than fresh, and she sighs contentedly.

"'Fraid I'm just too old-fashioned for my own good," he says, studying her drink with interest.

(He likes the straw, too; he's never seen one so green and curled in quite that way.)

"Now, tell me, how've you been since we last ran into each other?"

The contents of her drink turn the inside of the straw a brownish color as she sips through it.

"No complaints here."

Only, the one thing she does have to complain about is not having something to keep her occupied.

"But nothin' to brag on, neither?"

He takes a sip from his glass, then swallows slowly, the whiskey snaking a warm trail through his system.

"'Cause I think we talked about remedyin' that."

"That we did."

She takes another small sip through her drink's straw, then reaches for a second strawberry.

"When'll it be, anyway?"

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