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Partybar Schuffel

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"Okay, try to guess this one."

"It's a Pisco Sour. Come on, give me a challenge!"

"Okay, how about this?"

"A strawberry Daiquiri. What part of 'challenge' do you not understand?"

Junior rolled his eyes, chuckling as he carried over the next round of drinks for the celebrating Platoons. Another day, another successful set of missions. And finally a mandatory two week long vacation. So when Junior promised them it'd be on the house today, Sirius, Spica, and Vega were too excited to come for a free meal. Tonight, they'd all enjoy a good party, and then they'd all get on the Orion line to go to the Mistral system for a trip to the hot springs. Which Roman seemed far too eager for. Junior was really happy for them all.

But he'd be lying if he said he didn't wish he'd be spending this vacation home.

"Hey, Baby Bear," Roman chuckled. "You should join us. We're playing a game and I think you'd be great at it."

Glynda rolled her eyes affectionately. "Isn't it a bad idea to have the bartender play this game? He made all the cocktails."

"I can make some just for Junior," Qrow assured. "Jimmy, come give me a hand."

Junior set down the tray of drinks in front of them, smiling. "I don't know, guys-"

"It'll be great!" Roman pulled Junior beside him, holding up a scarf. "It's simple. You take a sip, and you tell us what you think the drink is. If you guess enough times right, you win a prize!"

"And if I don't?"

"Then you'll get no prize." Roman reached around, making sure it was snuggly fit onto his head. "Simple enough?"

Junior nodded. "Sounds simple enough. Let's try it."

"Alright!"

It took a few minutes, and a few teasing moments between a certain pairing behind the counter, before the drinks finally arrived for him to try. Junior made sure he couldn't see them. That'd be cheating after all. Between snickers and chit-chat, he could have sworn he heard the sound of a train whistle echoing in the sky. Probably the night time express, if he recalled correctly. It left around this time every day.

He'd grown so used to the sounds of the trains. He knew them all by heart.

Just so that he'd know when Roman would come home.

"Okay," Qrow said. "Here's the first one. Try it."

Junior felt the tip of a straw touch his lips and he took a sip. Immediately he could make out the sweet, sticky sensation of cola and rum. The strong alcoholic flavors dancing over his tongue were unmistakable.

"This is a Long Island Iced Tea," he answered. "And James made it because there's a little extra gin than usual."

"Wow," Tukson gasped. "He's good."

Nailed it.

"Okay, okay, let me pick!" Roman insisted.

"No," Glynda said. "My turn."

"But-"

"No. Me next, Roman."

Roman let out a sigh of annoyance. "Okay, Captain Goodwitch. Your turn."

Glynda giggled softly and held up the next drink to Junior's lips. Immediately he nearly coughed, trying to take in all the flavors. He could easily pull out the vermouth and cognac. Everyone around him laughed, with someone giving him a gentle pat on the back to help soothe his breathing. With a little help, he removed his tie, just in case the next drink was worse.

"That's gotta be a Corpse Reviver," Junior coughed. "And Qrow put that one together. Too much brandy."

Qrow laughed, giving Junior a pat on the shoulder. "Good guess."

The game continued on for a little while longer. Eventually it wasn't just him. Glynda took a turn, and soon all the platoons had gathered at a single table to see which of the two could guess the most correct. At some point, Melanie and Miltia rolled out a chalk board and started keeping score. Bets were flying, drinks were going fast. Eventually, Junior forgot all about his frustration and loneliness. Sure, Roman wouldn't be home for vacation.

But he was here now, surrounded by friends and family.

This was more than enough for now.

"Okay, okay," Roman sighed. "My turn now?"

"Okay," Junior chuckled, feeling his nose tickle slightly from the drinks. "Go for it Ro. Let me see what you have in store."

"Okay." Roman moved in closer, holding the glass to his lips. "Now, it’s a shot, so you'll have to down it in one go, okay? Then tell me the flavor. And take it slow, okay? Savor it."

"Bossy tonight, aren’t we?"

"Baby bear."

"Alright, Ro. No need to whine."

Junior nodded and took a sip. He could taste peach schnapps and amaretto. Melon and cranberry. But before he swallowed the drink, he paused, reaching into his mouth and grabbing something that wasn't part of the recipe. It was small, round, and smooth all around. The only dent came from what felt like a small stone embedded into it. Carefully, he reached up with his free hand and removed the blindfold.

In his hand was a small, shining black band with silver edges, a tiny red stone embedded into the center.

Roman smiled softly, resting his head on Junior's shoulder. "Can you guess the drink?"

"Partybar Schuffel," he whispered. He looked at Roman, completely stunned. No way. There was no way. "Ro…"

Roman removed his hat, setting it on the table before getting out of his seat and kneeling. He took Junior's hands in his, holding them close to his chest with a longing gaze. "Hei, you've made me the happiest man alive ever since we met in this club all those years ago. I was a petty robber then, but you were the master thief. You stole my heart. And now, I want to take yours in kind." He pressed a gentle kiss to his knuckles. "So what do you say, baby bear? Will you marry me?"

Junior said nothing. He couldn't. Every little sound he wanted to make was caught in his throat, choking him silent. Instead, he did the only thing he could. He took his hands back, removing the gloves he always wore and slipped the ring onto his finger. He took a moment to admire it, nodding and pulling Roman into his arms, barely managing a soft 'yes' as he pressed a kiss to his lips.

"So is that a yes or what?" Sun whispered loudly, earning him a light smack on the arm from Neptune. "Ow!"

"Be nice," Neptune hissed.

"Hey! I couldn't hear the answer!"

Junior looked around the room, feeling a soft warmth deep in his chest. "Yes. Yes I will."

Roman let out a soft 'woohoo!' and hugged him tightly as the captains poured another round as the rest of the teams applauded. Junior buried his face in Roman's shoulder, letting out a contented sigh. Something he never thought would happen finally came to pass.

And he couldn't be happier.

 


 

"Now, you're sure you have everything?"

"I promise, Hei, I got all my stuff." Roman leaned out the window, giving Junior another smooch. "Relax Mr. Worry Wart. I'll be back soon. I promise."

"You'd better," Junior teased. "Or I'll be mad."

Roman chuckled. "Trust me. I'll be home before you know it. And when I do get home, not only will I know if this hot springs is a good honeymoon spot, but I'll also plan us a nice date night."

"I'm holding you to it."

With one last kiss, Roman returned to the inside of his passenger car and closed the window. Junior stepped back, waving sadly.

The front let out a whistle. The steam began to form. And soon the train began to take off.

Junior waited a second before trying to follow. Roman kept his face close to the window, waving happily and repeating 'I love you' over and over until his face went out of sight. When they reached the edge of the platform, the train flew into the air towards the stars. Junior's hand went to his ring, lightly brushing over the stone as he watched them go.

He knew Roman would be home again soon.

And I'll be waiting.