Closed RP The Bird and the Bees

This RP is currently closed.


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"I'll have a, uh. Milkshake."

She leaned over the counter, sliding a few crumpled notes across the peeling laminate. In Edain's defense, this was only her third. She was fairly certain she could afford it, as well; her new form, with all the things it no longer required, had ended up saving her quite a bit of money. Plus, her request for a research grant had actually been accepted, through the grace of some insectoid God, so she finally had something she could call a job again. Her life... seemed to be veering back towards the tracks again. As much as it scared her, and for the first time in decades, Edain was optimistic.

Right, right, she had to actually order what she wanted- they had a pretty big menu, and she didn't fancy letting this... strange stranger pick her order for her. Not that there was anything wrong with being strange! She just didn't want anything wrong with her order.

"Sorry, uh- I'll have a large, um, cotton candy milkshake with the strawberry syrup. And the raspberry syrup, if you'll let me have both. And, uh, some skittles- make that two servings of skittles. Please."

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The job wasn't exactly hard, but it was boring. Kingpin wasn't the most popular place in the city, and the dirty little dine-in bar was even less so. That, of course, made every single customer that came to it the sole focus of all the attention Dapple was able to give. Taking the money, the girl stretched it out beneath the light (it was the correct way to look at money, that's how everyone did it), and - bouncing back and forth from ball to heel of her foot - slipped it into the register.

"Two skittles. Extra, extra, extra." She beamed. "Like sweet?"

Picking up the metal mixing cup from beneath the counter, she began scooping ice cream inside.

"You come. Come lots, yeah? Like here. Good place. Good milkshake!"

The employee took the money and held it to the light; checking it for forgery, maybe? That's what someone had told her the last time she had asked about it, which made a lot of sense. Edain didn't forge money, though. She wouldn't know where to start, or what she was supposed to do if someone ended up catching it. Crime like that was too scary; too many things could go wrong. She was having a hard enough time with her new form as it was, constantly terrified that someone would stop her on the street and ask for her fingerprints, or a physical examination, or anything that could give her away.

But, yeah. The girl was right. She did like sweet.

"I- uh, I come here sometimes!"

She craned her head to look at what the employee was doing, to make sure she would put enough syrup in the mixing cup. Most places skimped on the stuff- which was weird, since it was usually the cheapest ingredient they carried, so did it really matter if a particular customer wanted a little extra in one milkshake? Or four?

"It is good, yeah! Nice and quiet this time of day as well- I, uh, I don't do well in crowds. Probably won't be seeing me during the evening rush, that's for sure!"

"Ha! Rush, rush. Good fun, run. Learning skates! Big boss says, more skate, more tip."

Her laugh was more a cackle than a giggle, echoing around the mostly-empty alley. She didn't seem particularly bothered by Edain's looming - if anything, she welcomed the company, grinning at her as she tipped the cup under both syrup nozzles and started pumping.

"Say?" she asked, glancing over her shoulder.

It was important to make sure the customer got what they wanted, after all! They were always, always, always right.

She laughed, and Edain laughed too. That was always the safest bet, she had learned. When someone started laughing and you didn't know why, it was probably because you said something wrong, and the only way to rectify saying something wrong was to make it seem like it was intentional, to laugh along, to be in on the joke you unknowingly started. Although- was the employee just laughing at herself? It sounded odd.

Still, it wasn't malicious.

Edain continued to lean over the counter, pushing herself further towards the cup as the syrup flowed into it. She... she never had this much control over how sweet her drinks were. Not when she had them outside, anyway. Again, companies were stingy with this sort of thing, for some reason. This time, however, the syrup continued to pour.

"Mm, not yet..."

And pour.


And pour.

"Ok, there. That should do it."

"Lotta syrup," Dapple half-giggled, half-cackled yet again. It was more syrup than shake at this point. Almost like drinking the syrup straight from the bottle. The feathered girl shook the cup - then eyed Edain, a mischievous gleam flickering in her dark eyes. Moving over to the counter, she pulled back the door.

"Wanna-come? Come in, come. Try."

She gave a flourishing bow, then hop skipped over to the syrup rack. She picked up a bottle, unscrewed the cap, and tried an experimental sniff. It was sweet. Like - a candle mixed with sugar mixed with marshmallows mixed with - with - well, with something kinda chemically, but that was part of the whole experience, wasn't it?

"Come. Try. Mix. We make, yes? Art, like - like Cooking Mama."

Was this allowed? Was this... food-safe? Fuck, was Edain going to get this place shut down if they caught her behind the counter? No. No, if they were going to shut down because of something she did, it would probably have something to do with the dead flies that had started piling up on the counter. She idly brushed them aside, as if to push them onto the floor, but nothing landed. They seemed to vanish as soon as they hit her arm.

"Yeah, I guess it would be art!"

God, it was weird not being weird. Edain hadn't not been the strangest person in the room since... well, she didn't know how long it had been. Right now, she was feeling positively normal- and abnormally positive. Positive enough to take the woman's offer and step behind the counter, genuinely excited for the prospect of mixing a bunch of random syrups together. That was what she thought science was, when she was a kid- well, except entomology, which was far more serious.

"I, uh- where do I start?"

Dapple clapped, giggling. Now this was more like it. Why stand behind a counter while bored people point at pictures on a sign, when you can have a little fun? The customer seemed to be happy, too, and that was the most important part of working - making the customer happy!

"Where start?" She shrugged. "No train. No book. Follow this -"

She tapped at a sugar-stained chart of syrup doses per cup size.

"But why follow? Can lead!"

Picking up one of the bottles, she raised it in the air triumphantly - then promptly dumped half of it into the metal cup. Afterwards, she glanced at the side.

"First alchemy." she said solemnly. "Butterscotch."

Oh, shit- this was really happening. She was behind the counter, making her own milkshake the way she wanted it to be made. God, she hoped management didn't come round when she was doing this. Edain didn't know what she would do if that happened, but she could guess what they would do: kick her out, and fire the employee that let her do this. She'd be blacklisted from the venue. She'd never have a milkshake again. It would be-

"Alright, sure!"

She forced herself to say, grinding her racing thoughts to a halt. Management weren't here, otherwise she would've seen them by now- that's what she'd have to assume, anyway. This was meant to be fun! Did she even know what fun was anymore? Of course she did! Fun was mean tto be this!

"Butterscotch, yes." She repeated, "Strawberry next, I think. Twice- maybe three times as much as what the, uh, the recipe thing says."

Edain walked over to the syrup bottles and looked at them for a bit, before discreetly placing a hand over one of the nozzles. The flies at her fingertips began to drink, and she began to taste it, which meant-

"No, not strawberry. That wouldn't go."

She moved onto the next bottle, and did the same.

"This one. Chocolate fudge." Edain nodded, "Same amount- three times the normal."

"Yes yes yes! Chocolate! And fudge! Good science."

Dapple took the bottle of chocolate fudge syrup, squirting it six times into the cup. She gave it a little swirl. Brushing past Edain, the bird-girl moved down the line, picking up Birthday Cake Swirl and holding it out to Edain.

"This?" she paused. "After, blend, add sprinkles. Butterscotch-chocolate-fudge-birthday cake-sprinkle-surprise."

She cackled.

"Surprise is oreo crumb. Never expect." Dapple winked.

This was nice. Way more fun than it had any right to be. She stared at Edain for a few seconds, tutted to herself, then nodded firmly.

"You are friend."

"Yes! This is science- this is exactly what science is like!"

Edain wasn't joking. At least, she didn't think she was joking. Though her preferred field was entomology rather than chemistry, there were certainly some similarities between what she did for work and what she was doing here; namely, fucking around and seeing what came of it. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. If it did, she'd make note. If it didn't, she'd try again. She was buzzing with excitement- maybe a bit too loud.

"Oreo crumb- that's genius." She nodded, "Maybe- oh, maybe put a heavier layer of syrup at the bottom, as- I don't know, another surprise! I don't know, maybe-"


She considered Edain a friend? After- how long was this? This was- was this normal? Edain was, admittedly, not the most experienced when it came to friendship. There were a few people on Termitaria, a few colleagues at work, but they didn't count, not really. The Termitaria folks, she just knew by screen names--Cricket and Vignette and Nectar, before she retired--and she only communicated through emails and deleted DM after deleted DM, sparsely and impersonally. Her colleagues mostly just tolerated her; the new place she worked at, away from Dr. Pearce and co, seemed a bit better than the last, but she was still having trouble talking to them. It was like being back at school; they all thought she was weird, they were just pretending to be nice to her, it was hollow, all hollow-

And yet, this milkshake bar worker just called her a friend, right off the bat.


Her voice faltered, though not in the usual way; less of a choke, and more a harsh buzz, like feedback on a speaker. She found herself smiling, as if by some reflex that the bugs had retained.

"Friend. Yeah, you too."

Wait, didn't friends typically know each other's names?

"I'm, uh... I'm Doc-" (People don't like it when you introduce yourself with your qualifications, Edain.) "Uh, Edain Callaghan. Nice to meet you, uh, friend."

If Dapple noticed Edain falter at the word friend, she was completely oblivious to it. In fact, she was no longer looking at the doctor at all - instead, she was now leaning over the dingy cart filled with various liquid toppings, contemplating a bottle of caramel shell as if it was the most important thing in the universe. At mention of names, though, she glanced back and grinned, squeezing what must've been half the bottle of the topper directly into the cup.

"Dapple. Nice-met. Good talk, Doc Edain Callaghan."

She laughed. Or, well, made a noise halfway between a laugh and what sounded like a car alarm squeal. It was probably just a laugh. Holding up the cup, she gave it a slosh.

"No good ice cream room," she said thoughtfully. "No fit. No ice cream, only syrups. All syrups. Syrup cream? Think people buy? Good business, cup of syrup? Hum."