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Rimes of Ancient Mariners

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"I can't believe you, Sixer! That was the most pitiful attempt-"

"Well, what did you expect me to say after that dreadful pick-up line you dropped at-"

"She left after you came in, not me. Seems pretty obvious to me who screwed it all up-"

"It was a stupid idea to begin with, Stanley! Not even the women of this weird town are so nutty to fall for cheesy twin shenanigans!"

They stopped talking at the same time, suddenly aware of the loud silence surrounding them and of several unimpressed glares from the passersby. They cleared their throats in unison, straightening up their outifts and standing up from the bench.

"...How about we go home now, Poindexter?"

"Good idea."

 

"Anyway, that clearly proves that not even crossing a goddamn Stargate can help you build some charm and self-confidence with the ladies."

"I'll have you know that I was once banned from an entire dimension because the Princess of its most powerful realm planned to call off a crucial political marriage when she fell head over heels for me!"

"Pfffft, yeah, sure. And how did you manage to win her heart? Rolled a 38?"

"Dumb luck and cheeky attitude won't win you everything, Stanley. Seduction mostly relies on subtle hints, mutual understanding, careful observation-"

"No offense, but reading the room has never been your best skill. Remember that time at the school party-"

"Yes Stan, I do remember it and I would be glad if you stopped bringing it up once every three days. It was over fourty years ago, you may have remained the same overconfident knucklehead you were back then, but I have learnt a few things in the meantime."

"Oh yeah? Then what was wrong with my technique, Prince Charming?"

"The choice of gift, for example. You came up with the idea of presenting flowers and you show up with a daisy? It's one of the most common and unimpressive flowers on the planet, you could have just picked it in a random grass patch to spare the exp- wait..."

"Lil' Gideon has the most beautiful and flourishing plants of the town, trust me, it's a waste to just leave them there to wither under all those whiffs of hair spray."

"Argh! You see what I mean? You have no tact or consideration, no-"

"Right, right, how about yours? What's so special about that... whatever fancy flower that is."

"It's a carnation, and... ah, whatever."

Stan frowned at the sudden interruption of what was a perfectly normal and evenly toned conversation for them. His brother was busy fumbling with the door keys and looked genuinely irked all of a sudden. It was surprising that he had managed to annoy Ford without noticing, he was usually perfectly aware of exactly how obnoxious he was.

"I'll be in the basement if you need me. Don't drink the milk in the blue gallon in the fridge, it's not from a cow."

Before Stan could even muster a reply, Ford had already punched the code in the vending machine and stormed downstairs.

 

"Yes?"

Ford didn't even bother looking at the elevator doors quietly opening behind him, too engrossed in scribbling away in his new journal. He didn't get a reply, but there could be no doubt as to the identity of the visitor now that the twins had left.

"Stan? What is it?"

He inhaled sharply as warm lips latched on his neck unexpectedly, strong arms wrapping around his own to effectively trap him.

"A yellow carnation, eh?"

Stan had managed to brush aside Ford's irritation for a good few hours before giving in to the curiosity. How typical of his nerdy brother to drop a secret code into every action or situation, even something as trivial as a flirting challenge. Good for Stan that he had listened to Mabel's enthusiastic dating lessons, including something about flower language and other romantic whatnots. He had spent a good thirty minutes fiddling with the self-proclaimed "smart" phone the twins had pestered him to stea- buy, but in the end he had managed to open Goober and find the necessary information. Which had left him affronted and regretful at the same time.

"Not fair, Poindexter. No wonder we got the cold shoulder, you weren't even trying."

Ford snorted, keeping up the stern attitude even though his brother's kisses were effectively chipping the tension away.

"I told you I didn't want to do it. I asked you please not to drag me into your questionable past-times. I swear I'll just show the goddamn tattoo to the twins myself if you keep using it to blackmail me into these ridiculous-"

A soft yet lingering kiss cut off his remarks. Ford briefly considered not to let his brother off the hook so easily, but few seconds later he was already returning the kiss without really noticing. In fact, he would have quickly decided to drop the topic entirely if Stan hadn't drawn away first.

"All right, I got it. Sorry. No more chicks hunting. Can't promise anything about the tattoo though, that's just priceless..."

Ford laughed, turning more fully toward his brother to return the embrace.

"What was that even about, Stan? I would like to hope you weren't really trying either."

"Eh, you know. You still spend most of the day always locked down here, and I don't think I've ever seen you taking a proper walk around town. Figured you should try and make friends with the townsfolk..."

"By harassing women relaxing in the park with bad pick-up lines?"

"Worked for me! And in thirty years I wasn't even once reported to the cops!"

"You're undignified."

"The noises you make when I grab your nuts are undignified."

An undignified whimper left Ford's mouth as his brother proceeded to demonstrate his claim.

"Dear God, why do I even talk to you?"

"Because I don't need dice, charisma points or fancy trinkets to get your booty, Sixer."

Ford grinned and firmly grabbed Stan's other hand, which was again moving to prove its point. He let it free soon after though, and his head dived in the crook of Stan's neck to land a challenging nibble on his collarbone.

"We'll see."