Rating/Spoilers: G/Only what's general knowledge...
Summary: Advice sometimes comes from the most unlikely of sources.
Part 1: Myfanwy & Fish
Part 2: Hex
Gwen wasn't entirely sure why Owen had brought her here tonight. With a match on and Dav's new widescreen TV installed, there was no chance of running into Rhys anywhere in town. But here they were, in this small, smoky pub, having a quiet drink and trying not to stare at the other customers. At least, she was trying not to. Owen didn't seem to be aware of anything but the glass in front of him. He got like this sometimes, she knew. Best just to ride it out and wait for the storm to break.
She sipped her drink, a red wine that she never would have chosen for herself but was quite enjoying. After a while, she nudged Owen.
"Do you come here often?" she asked, winking at him, trying to get him to at least react, if not smile. He raised an eyebrow.
"Fairly," he said flatly, taking another gulp of his scotch. "It's quiet, got cheap drinks and no-one thinks you're mad if you talk about Weevils once you've had a skinful. And you don't have to worry about retconning them, either."
"Oh. Right." So flirtatious was off the cards tonight then. This time, she took a whole mouthful of wine, not worrying so much about the taste. Once she finished this glass, she could move onto to something with a higher alcohol content. If Owen was going to be in a mood all evening, she was going to need it.
After another moment, Owen finished his drink in a single swig and climbed off the barstool. "Going to take a leak," he mumbled, heading into one of the darker corners of the bar.
"Right. Fine. Okay." Gwen turned back to her drink, trying not to feel like an idiot. "I'll just sit here, then, shall I?" she muttered. "Just sit here and try to look inconspicuous. All on my own. I'll just, you know, sit here." Glancing around her, she made a point of not keeping her eyes on one place for too long. The last thing she needed was to be accused of looking at someone funny – in this place, getting barred would be the least of her worries.
But despite herself, her eyes lingered on the occupant of the bar stool next to Owen's. She'd noticed long, furred fingers wrapped round the stem of an absurdly large cocktail glass earlier on. The fingers turned out to be attached to large, leathery hands and even longer and even furrier arms. In turn, the arms were attached, with no visible shoulders, to a body like an oversized and slightly deflated beachball, covered in wispy orange hair. As though sensing her stare, the other drinker turned his head towards her, looking at her with a perpetually disappointed expression.
Gwen looked away quickly, draining her drink. Maybe this was the point at which she needed to think about running. Almost as she put the glass down, it was replaced with another. She lifted it to get a better look, then took an experimental sip.
"Diet coke?" But when she looked up, the bartender was gone, serving a very small glass of a clear drink to someone further down the bar.
Her neighbour was probably giving her a sympathetic look, although it was hard to tell with an orang-utan.
"It hasn't even got a shot in it," Gwen grumbled, drinking it anyway.
"Ook." This time the sound was accompanied by a complicated gesture. With arms that long, the gesture could be very complicated indeed.
"He said he thinks you should probably stop at one tonight."
The voice came from behind her and Gwen turned to see a tall, blonde woman standing at the bar with a tray of empty glasses.
"How can you tell?" Gwen asked. "What he said, I mean."
"Practice." The blonde smiled at the bartender as he took the tray. "I think I agree with him."
"How the hell would you know?" Getting annoyed, Gwen looked back at the orang-utan, who was now giving her a remarkably knowing look. It was the mirror of the one on the blonde woman's face, only without the raised eyebrows. Gwen hid her confusion by reaching out for her drink again.
"Because you're here with a man you can barely stand instead of at home with the man you love," the blonde answered calmly.
Coke came out of Gwen's nose. As she spluttered, a furred hand gently pressed a napkin to her face, which she took gratefully. Once the coughing had subsided, she looked up at the blonde woman.
"What the hell-" She broke off, shaking her head. "How do you-"
"I can tell things like that," the blonde said. "You could say that I've got a nose for it."
"And what does your nose think I should do about it?" Gwen reached out for her coke, only to find that the glass was gone. It hadn't been replaced.
"It's up to you of course, but even strays can go home." The blonde woman turned to Gwen properly for the first time, her expression making Gwen's cheeks burn. Looking away, Gwen found herself looking into huge black eyes. She could almost see her reflection in them.
When the woman was gone, Angua turned to the librarian.
"I think she'll be alright," she said, smiling, just a little.
"Ook." The librarian took a long sip of his drink, prodding at the floating fruit with his straw. "Ook ook."
"You think? Well, that happens sometimes." Looking round, Angua saw the woman's companion coming back, a frown on his face.
"Where'd she go?" he asked, gesturing at the conspicuously empty bar stool.
"Home, I hope," Angua said evenly, starting to pick up the now full tray of drinks.
"What?" Putting a hand on the back of his head, the man looked around in confusion. "But, we were having a drink!"
"You were," Angua said, emphasising the second word, "and now she's gone. Let her go."
The man glared up at her. "What do you know about it?"
"More than you might think. Excuse me." Angua started to move away, balancing the tray carefully. The man stepped into her path.
"Wait a second. Who the hell do you think you are?"
"Just helping out," Angua said evenly.
"Helping who?" The man stepped closer, so that only the tray was keeping them apart. "I don't know where you get off thinking-"
"Ook." A long-fingered hand wrapped round the man's shoulder. He spun round, furious.
"Stay out of this, monkey boy."
"Oh dear." Very, very carefully, Angua backed away, retreating to the corner table with the drinks.
"Took you long enough," Colon grumbled, taking his and passing the tray round.
"Ran into a bit of trouble at the bar," Angua said, waving away Carrot's worried look. "Nothing serious." Everyone stopped drinking as a loud crash came from the direction of the bar. "See?" Angua said with a smile. "All taken care of."
Part 4: Loose Ends