Shirou has apparently decided to play things the lazy way for once. He's used to cooking his own meals and he's totally the kind of guy that happily does someone else's shift work for them and the like....but even he needs something different than his own cooking some days. That said, he's currently eating a sizable portion of spaghetti.
Of course Shirou can't just have an easy night off. The door of the UR opens with it's tell-tale chime and in stumbles Ashley J Williams, slacker extraordinaire... and occasional reluctant hero. Not that anyone on Twisted knows that besides the hugest of movie buffs - and likewise not that anyone has ever told him. Not that he would accept it. All he's accepted at the moment is an all-night drinking binge that's gone on until... what time is it?
Lunging and sorta falling onto the bar, Ash raises his wooden hand. "Barkeep! You gotta get me something strong because if I can still remember where I sleep, I've not had enough yet." Role model for your children here.
Shirou raises a brow at the sound of that voice. "...Mr. Williams, did something happen with you?" Sure he's asking but, he gets the feeling Ash drinks ALL the time. Still, he can't understand what'd drive a person to be in that state either...
The bartender takes one look at Ash and shakes her head, giving him a watered down something. It's good enough apparently as the already drunken man gulps it down before he can complain. He starts to look like he's going to ask for more when Shirou's voice draws his attention. All at once the man's eyes go wide as he swings his upper body towards the voice. "Oh HEY. It's the guy who does the stuff!!" Yeah, you're in for it now. He pushes himself towards his (table? Booth? Place at the bar?) seat and takes one close by to keep from falling over. "Did something happen? Pffft. Yeah. Story of my life."
Shirou is probably at the bar since he was on his lonesome. "Guy who does the stuff? Well I guess it is probably hard to tell I'm the sporting goods associate. You don't look so good." Not that he usually looks good anyway. "Have you even eaten dinner yet, or do you survive on booze?"
"I'll survive on your Mom's booze." Ash blinks. "Does your Mom have booze? Can I have some?" That should answer his question. "Look, kid. It's nothing personal. I've just not lived a very fantastic life." He points at his wooden hand. "But you know when you run into a burning orphanage and save everyone at the cost of the ol' right-hook, you try not to complain about it. Getting so drunk that you can't tell your ass from a hole in the ground, maybe."
Shirou shakes his head a little. He feels like responding to the burning orphanage thing for about a split second, but that time comes and goes. "I'd have to HAVE a mother to know the answer to that one," he states simply, "And I think plenty of people in the multiverses haven't lived great lives...if I didn't think you'd just puke it back up I'd offer to buy you some food." Deffinetly no offering booze though, not with how drunk Ash already looks.
Rayne steps into the Usual, looking fairly tired already as she does so. She makes her way almost zombie-like to the bar. It's been a long day, and she just wants something to eat before going to bed. So here she is in the Usual Restaurant, preparing to get some take-out... what could possibly go wrong? She goes a head and takes a seat at the bar, not paying attention to who's around her at the moment.
Wow the orphanage story usually works, as evidenced by the man's surprised expression. "Food? Nah. Food is for chumps and people who want to remember their name. When you've seen what I have you'd understand." He sorta trails off at the last statement, getting quieter and mumbling more. "Look, the point is I can take care of myself! I don't need nobody." He looks up at Rayne and smiles, "'Cept maybe that." Does he remember Rayne? Clearly not at the moment. Does she remember him? Totally different question. "Helloooo nurse."
Shirou says, "Well, I'm not one to complain either, so I'll just say that I know the experiance a lot more than you'd think." It's not even that he doubted the hand story, just he's ALREADY trying to help Ash out, so trying to get sympathy is like trying to squeeze blood from a stone. And THEN Ash notices Rayne and gets Shirou's attention drawn to the fact....which ellicits a face palm. "Hello Rayne, you must have had a busy day.""
Rayne twitches as she recognizes the voice and slowly turns to look at Ash. "Oh, god. You again," she says with annoyance almost dripping from her voice. "Look, buddy, I'm not interested, all right?" She groans tiredly before Shirou greets her as well. "Yes, yes, Shirou. Every day is a busy day. I'm doing the work of two and a half people now, and it's really starting to grate on me. Thank the gods I've got Sunset able to mostly run the Welcome Center by herself."
Shirou frowns at that. "It sounds like the welcome center should start taking temporary help or something, you're obviously doing way more than your share. I understand they can't hire just anyone on for an actual job but, there's a point when it's less than a skeleton crew." He makes extra attempt to get staff attention if they haven't gotten to Rayne yet. The less she has to deal with Ash the better.
Rayne nods a few times to Shirou. "Yes. More help. I'm gonna try to see if I can find some people around town that are friendly, welcoming, and NOT," she turns to look at Ash pointedly, "likely to use the position to just try to pick up chicks." She then looks back to Shirou again. "And then I can put all my attention on TASK instead of splitting it like I am now. Not that I'm paying that much attention to the Welcome Center lately, anyway." She slowly turns back towards Ashley. "Okay, lemme get this through your thick head. You are NOT my type, okay? I don't care how many kids you saved. Not happening."
Shirou face palms again. "So, what kind of hand did you have before this wooden one, Ash," the red head asks, "I mean, you already lost that one in the burning orphanage..." That said he nods toward Rayne. "Unfortunately it'll probably mean more work in the short term, but it should help a LOT in the long run."
Ashley actually looks hurt and ashamed at being called out about his hand. His mouth starts to go on instinct but the words don't come out. Instead he closes his mouth and sulks a moment. It's a bit of a sobering moment for him if that counts for anything. "I get it. You both think I'm just a clown, well that's fine. You don't need to respect me. I don't need your opinions. The only thing Ashley J Williams needs is Ashley J Williams." He huffs and crosses his arms. Why isn't anyone bringing him another round of drinks?
Rayne deflates considerably at the mention of more work coming her way. But the bartender is here, and she's able to make her food order! To go, of course. "I need to do it, though. Sunset might be able to, actually. But I'll still need to at least take a look at the job candidates..." She raises an eyebrow at what Ash says. "Clown? No. You're not nearly /that/ creepy. I'd respect you if you acted in a manner that deserved it. Not understanding 'not interested' is a sure way to get me to not respect you."
Shirou says, "I wouldn't say you're a clown. Despite your mismatched stories about your hand, you've obviously been through SOMETHING to be where you are now. I still have some respect for you." He just doesn't LIKE the guy so far. If the staff have gotten Rayne's order he'd flag someone down for an order of pasta and a bloody marry. "Yeah, you said Sunset's been doing well, hopefully she can handle it.""
Ash scoffs at Rayne, "You'll come around. They all do. When that day finally comes? I'll be the one telling you to shuffle on." Yeah. That'll show her. He raises an eyebrow at Shirou and simply shakes his head. "The less you know, the better." He can't help but notice the bartender is ignoring him too. Maybe he hit on her earlier and we missed it? "I don't need this place. I've been kicked out of classier joints. Matter of fact I got kicked out of Happy's before I got here." An accomplishment in itself.
Rayne nods to Shirou. "Yeah, I'm hopinh so..." She then sighs and hangs her head before shaking it at what Ash says. "Riiiiiiiight. Just keep telling yourself that. And just wait for that day. Relish the thought of telling me ot take a hike because you've moved on without me," she says in a deadpan, but then she lifts her head again to look at Ash with a raised eyebrow. "That... is not a classier place than here."
Shirou continues eating his spagetti. ....surely he's not eating another plate of carbs after the order he's downing. He looks too fit to be eating THAT much. "What's Happy's," he wonders curiously.
Ashley is temporarily done trying to cater to Rayne and focuses on Shirou's question. "Happy's Eight Treasures. It's a gentlemen's club out in the next town over." He gives Rayne the stink eye, "At least THOSE ladies know how to treat a guy." Yeah. Take that. "I can take you over there if you want, but uh... It'll have to wait a few days. Apparently they have a limit to how much booze they'll serve you in a single sitting. The nerve of some people."
Rayne glances at Ash again as her to-go box arrives, and rolls her eyes at its description as a 'gentlemen's club.' "You know that's just because it's their job, right? None of them /actually/ are interested in any of the patrons." She gets up to her feet again and leaves a tip for the bartender. "Well, I'm going home to t... to go get some sleep. See you around, Shirou." With that said, she turns and starts heading back to the entrance.
Shirou raises a brow. "Gentlemen's club? ...is that a polite phrase for a red light district kind of place," he asks this with honest uncertainty, rather than accusingly. He finishes his spagetti and downs the last of his tea before (far more paciently than the other times he was calling for staff attention) requesting a refil on the tea. It's not to say the staff is unattentive, but that Shirou's usually a VERY chill customer. It was just the order for Rayne and that one with the blood mary that he seemed rushed on getting attention for. He'd wave after Rayne and as soon as his pasta and bloody mary arrives he pushes them toward Ash. Yes Bloody Mary's more alcohol but it's HELPFUL. It's a lot healthier and actually helps out with the hang over affects.
"Matter of fact it's located IN the Red Light District..." Ash looks like he's going to say more until the blood mary gets pushed over to him. Something about that name, and that color and he's suddenly got this look of horror in his eyes. Or maybe it's the celery. "Uh... no thank champ. Maybe the lady was right. Maybe I should sober up a bit before I call it a night. Clearly ol' Ashley J isn't gonna get lucky tonight." What time is it again? Its it morning? The middle of the afternoon? Clearly whatever time it is it's too early for him to be talking about his plans for the night. When exactly did he start drinking?
Shirou frowns slightly at that reaction. "Well, maybe just a water then? Caffine's not a great idea in your state...and you're trying to call it a night anyway..." He'd appologize to the staff, saying he wouldn't be drinking the bloody mary after all, but that he'd still pay for it. "I should probably pass on that sort of place," he states, "I've got my own kind of bad luck." Which he's not going to talk about, cause after what Ash was just lamenting it feels like it'd be rubbing sand in a wound. "At least have the pasta...carbs and water should help with the after affects."
Ashley just shakes his head. "I... listen. Kid? What's your name again? Look. Lemme tell you something. Something I've never told anyone else. No stories this time. Just the honest to God truth." He stares at the bloody mary once again, somehow lost in that crimson color. "About thirty years ago me and some friends went to a cabin in the woods. By the time it was over I was the only one who walked out of it alive. My sister, my friends, my girlfriend Linda. All dead. They were possessed by something evil. It cost me my hand and my sanity. I've been running from it ever since." He pauses expecting to be laughed at and simply shakes his head. "It doesn't matter if you believe me... just. Just look, sometimes the past comes back to haunt you and it's better to get blitzed than to accept it." He gestures momentarily at himself. "So whatever bad luck you might have? At least you have luck. At least you're not hiding from yourself. Go do whatever it is that motivates you and don't let someone like me drag you down."
Shirou says, "I'm Shirou..." the red head replies before pausing to listen to Ash's story. Despite looking at him kind of hard and squinty eyed, like he's trying to decide if he's pulling his leg, he doesn't laugh at all. "Well the hand thing's a new one on me, but otherwise, I can't say that sounds unlikely. ...Do you know anything about the holy grail?"
To say he's a little caught off guard at Shirou's reaction is an understatement, but he pushes through it when he asks his question. "Old artifact? Supposed to grant immortality but probably just turns you evil? I suppose I know a few things like it..." He shies away suddenly, "...maybe." He suddenly looks nervous too. "That, uh... was a thing that the knights used to look for, right? Like King Arthur and the Knights of Castle Kand-uh.... Kuh... Cah... Camelot?"
Shirou says, "Yeah that's it. Well I mean, I don't know if the real one makes you evil or not. Where I came from magi kept their existence hidden from the rest of humanity. Some of them gathered together and attempted to find a way to the source of all knowledge, and to do that they created a false grail and had 7 magi each summon a heroic spirit to fight a war with them, each spirit that died would give the grail more power..." He pauses for a moment. "The reason I bring that up is because, during the 3rd war, someone summoned Angra Mainyu and his defeat caused the grail to corrupt. I was 7 during the fourth grail war, when a man made a wish on the grail that set the city I lived in on such a powerful, magical, dark fire that, to this day nothing can grow there. I was the only survivor from the city. I was put in the hospital with a bunch of outer city kids that got caught in the damage..." "The story gets a lot more complicated, so I'll just wrap up with the part where I finally saw those other kids again 10 years later and had to kill them all cause they were barely living husks being used as a mana battery for the spirit of Gilgamesh for the past 10 years."
Ashley sits back and stares at Shirou suddenly deposits all this information on him at once. His expression goes from confused to amused, and finally just one of remorse. "Yeah. Sounds about right. You ever hear of something called a Deadite, She-Sure-Shawn-Sh-uh....." He snaps his fingers a few times as if to job the memory but finally settles on, "Guy?" Good job, Ash. "That's what became of my friends. They become the host to a Kandarian Demon with zombie looking skin and these horrible white eyes. I... I had to put them down too." He lets out a heavy sigh and stares at his missing hand.
Shirou says, "...like I said, I don't like to complain either, but I know what you mean. I left out a lot of fighting and death. We don't need to be here all night talking about stuff that's already gone..." "Deadites? Sounds kind of like what's called Dead Apostles or Ghouls where I came from...those kinda range anywhere from zombies to vampires."
The man simply nods his head at the names Shirou conjures up, "Probably the same thing. Seems to be on any world I end up on sooner or later." Ash frowns and taps his fingers on the tabletop. "Where you came from? Was there a book? A tome of great evil? Maybe written in blood and bound in human flesh? Maybe something about a prophecy about a great hero who had to fight it?" oO(Please say no. Please say no.)
Shirou tilts his head. "Sounds like the Necronomicon, but I haven't ran into anything from Lovecraft...but someone in the fourth WAR did summon someone who used the R'lyeh Text and summoned a sea demon, from what I was told.
The sound of Ash's head hitting the bar can suddenly be heard quite loudly. "Dammit." He slowly lifts his head back up, "Look, it's not Lovecraft. It's real. The Necronomicon ex Mortis." Ash lets out a heavy sigh, "It's... it's in my trailer in the S-Mart parking lot." Abruptly he looks around to make sure no one is listening to him. "It's evil. It's really really bad. But that's what we found in the cabin. The things I've been forced to deal with because of that book." His good hand reflexively starts pumping just considering the pain he's been put through. "Apparently every world has one and apparently most of them have it out for me." One of his eyes begin to twitch. "Just, just look. You don't want to mess with that book. These stories about grails and wars? Trust me, it's got nothing on that damn book."
Shirou shakes his head. "No no, you don't have to tell me that. See that's the thing about where I came from...magic HID....so a lot of things that seemed like just stories to normal humans were real. Lovecraft still wrote about them, but what he was writing was really REAL. And actually no...the grail is fairly bad...we're talking the evil of the original satan that corrupted it. I can't say one's worse than the other, but I can say they're BOTH REALLLY bad news in the wrong hands. Thaaat's actually another reason I brought it up. That muck in the corrupted grail, what people it didn't devour, it turned evil. Even the heroic spirits became corrupted on getting submerged into it."
Ashley winces at the information and shakes his head, "Look, there's a guy I know. Goes by the name of Ray. He owns that bookstore up the road. NEVER LET HIM KNOW ABOUT ANY OF THIS." He taps the bartop with each word. "The guy's a nut. He'd probably set out to try this grail himself if he had the chance. You should have seen him when I asked him about the Necronomicon. It was like a Chihuahua on Prozac looking at a freshly shaven woman's leg." Such a wonderful mental image.
Shirou grimaces at that. "Yeah...can't say a word to that guy. One little wish on the grail is all it takes and we're lucky if it's only one city that's instantly turned to empty, dead land. The only reason it ended at that with the fourth war is because the grail was destroyed....and that's not even CONSIDERING all the innocent people that tend to get hurt in the war for the grail. Most magi are willing to do ANYTHING for the grail...and when the spirits you summon can be people like Hercules....that's a LOT of trouble you can cause."
Ash is looking more and more nervous as this conversation goes on, casting glances at the door and the other people in the room. Mostly because anytime he's ever had a conversation like this for this long something horrible has happened, and he did just bring up the Necronomicon. "Look, chief? I don't know about you, but uh. Maybe we should have this conversation another day and somewhere a bit more private? I think all that alcohol might be wearing off suddenly and maybe I should get home, huh?"
Shirou nods in agreement. "That sounds good...besides, we've got work tomorrow. Try not to over sleep /too/ much this time."
Ashley blinks at the 'W' word and jerks back looking repulsed. "Oh no, man. No. Uh-uh. I have sick time coming up! I-I mean I'm not feeling so good." Forced cough. "See? See?" He glances at the clock on the wall and starts making his way to the door. Quickly. "But yeah, man. See you around." He offers a wave before ducking out of sight.
Shirou smirks a little and shakes his head, finishing off his second tea before he heads out too.