Milliway’s wasn’t the nicest bar in Beetlesburg. It wasn’t even the nicest student bar, which was a category several levels of price and quality below the average and at frequent risk of explosion, dissolution, or infestation of nuclear yeast. But it was the bar at which Klaus had functionally free drinks, because Professor Alucard had left for sabbatical two weeks before the end of the semester and bequeathed to his TA (Klaus) a generous credit at this, the bar most physically adjacent to the Sanguinary Arts building.
(He had also bequeathed substantial unpaid tabs at several other bars, which Klaus now avoided as much as possible, and the responsibility to grade some 200 final exams, which Klaus was avoiding at this very moment.)
“Hey, you’re the one who hangs around with the Heterodynes, right?”
The man who slid onto the barstool beside Klaus was nondescriptly middle age, with blond hair and a Beetlesburg Militia shirt that had seen better days. Klaus didn’t recognize him, but the man waved down the barkeep with practiced ease and two raised fingers, and passed Klaus the second beer.
“Thanks,” said Klaus, and took a healthy swig. “Yeah, I guess. What’s it to you?”
The man shrugged. “Curious.”
Klaus narrowed his eyes, peering through the haze of the seven previous beers. “You’re not another damn joura- jourla- reporter, are you? I told you people to leave off , and don’t even think about bothering Punch and Judy, either.”
The man raised his hands, but he didn’t look impressed. Klaus leaned forward with a snarl. “Bill and Barry are my friends , okay. Nobody’s minioning anyone else, they’re just here to learn , unlike some assholes, and if you don’t let them do that in peace , then--”
“Works for me,” said the man, and drained his stein as he stood. “You should know, then, that they’re about a block down the street, two sheets to the wind, and the older one is threatening to redecorate a wall if it doesn’t get out of his way.”
Klaus put his head in his arms with a groan. None of the war or horror stories mentioned how weird Heterodynes got when they were drunk. Not that it was his responsibility - Bill and Barry were grown...teenagers. And Judy had given him a Look as she shooed the three of them out the door to “go have fun.”
The militiaman was gone when Klaus raised his head again, though he’d left a couple francs on the bar. That was nice. Klaus needed all the free drinks he could get.