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"You know," Delsus said suddenly, squinting at Arlin through the smoky haze surrounding them and pointing with his pipe for emphasis, "you're not bad. Not bad at all. I gotta admit I didn't think you'd be up to this--" here he paused and downed the last of his most current drink, letting out an exaggerated sigh of pleasure at the spicy burn. "But damn, I'm pretty impressed."

Arlin snorted and took a deep drink from his glass. "Just because I usually don't drink, Delsus, it doesn't mean I can't."

"Yeah, yeah, I got that much - gonna have to bring you with me more often." Another drink had appeared before Delsus, and he promptly tossed back half of it with the great ease that comes from drinking entirely too much. "You, uh, wouldn't mind that, would you?"

"What if I would?" Arlin caught his gaze and held it for a few seconds longer than was really necessary, just to make him squirm.

"Well I, um, I--" Sure enough, Delsus squirmed, then shook his head sharply and leaned back, taking a deep breath. "...Damn. Think I've had enough. Look, I uh, I'm gonna head back. Sorry to bottle out on you like this..." He stood quickly, swaying a bit and looking distinctly thankful when Arlin rose to support him until he had his footing. "Yeah...yeah, you're really not bad. Thanks, Arlin."

Arlin didn't say anything, just watched him until he was out of sight and the thumping sounds of his feet on the upper steps were audible through the open door, and only then did he turn to the figure behind him. "Thank you for your assistance, Norman. And I'm sorry about the plant."

"Eh, I've had worse happen to the plants in here." Norman eyed the poor potted tree that Arlin had been secretly dumping his drinks into the entire time, smiling wryly. "Now go babysit Delsus before he puts someone's eye out with drunken crossbow shenanigans."

Arlin laughed and started for the door.