Rose Samurai part one

Josh Vogt (TheLorian)

The room was thick with the scent of alcohol and heavy with the stench of cheap food, and even cheaper cologne that gathered in the air to make an unholy combination that would cause most to turn and leave. Flavian had never learned, and came back each and every day to wait on tables for a measly eight nuyen an hour plus tips. Tonight it was surprisingly crowded in the tavern and he was busier than most days, rushing between the tables and the kitchen so much that he may as well be given a gold medal.

The day was long and the work was hard, but he loved the people, and to hear their stories, their hardships even. It was inspiring to him sometimes to hear about how hard some people have had it, and yet kept on going. He would get to know as many as he could, and the people he would meet often kept him grounded when he felt the rest of his life spinning out of control. On his way out the door after his shift, many would wave him off and hand him some extra tips they demanded he deserved. That feeling was why he did it, and he could never say no to these people.

It was often far louder than he preferred, though, and tonight was no exception, if not so loud that it was the exception. He had to shout over the clamour in order to find some of the tables, and by the end of the night he was hoarse and coated in multiple layers of sweat as he took a seat at the now-empty bar. Nobu, the bartender and his long-time friend, poured him a drink and leaned over on the counter.

Nobu was not normally very outgoing or even very loud to begin with, but he opened up when Flavian was around and grew more comfortable in his own skin. They’d met years ago when they both joined the planetary defense force, a military designed to protect the planet from external threats. It was founded by the combined governments of Sol almost a hundred years ago when they discovered extraterrestrial life, but that’s another story for another time. They were both placed in the same training camp, and they’d initially not liked each other in the slightest. However, when Nobu took to heavy drinking, it was Flavian who was there to help get him through it, and it was over that that a mutual respect was born which allowed a friendship to take root.

After their time in the PDF, they ended up back in Tokyo with nowhere near enough money to get by and a whole lot of PTSD. Somehow they were able to open up a restaurant, through contacts they still had on Sol, and struggle their way into the stable jobs they had today. They’d gotten help with their issues, well…some of their issues, and then they’d started their own business that was as thriving as one could be in this part of town. Nobu elected to run the bar, as a constant reminder to himself of what he gave up and to prove to himself that he can stay sober and stay happy.

“So, how ready are you to go home and sleep?” Nobu joked softly, pouring himself a glass of water.

“And leave you to clean up the bar all by yourself?” Flavian scoffed. “Not a chance, man.”

“You come in looking like the walking dead, Flave. You need to give yourself some breaks or you’re going to run yourself into the ground. Honestly, I don’t think you’re getting enough sleep at home,” he set down his drink and sat back on his stool.

Flavian just sighed and set down his own drink, then went about sweeping the bar until he deemed it clean enough, under Nobu’s concerned gaze as he wiped the counter. He felt bad lying to Nobu about what he did at night, but it was for his own safety. If Nobu knew too much, it would put him in danger, and he’d been through far too much already to have to worry about Flavian every night. He finished up with his cleaning and then after saying goodbye to his dear friend, he began the walk home.

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