Sparkling Cookie hummed to himself as he closed his eyes, smiling as he mixed a drink together. He set it near the Cookie who'd paid for it, then moved on to the next customer. It was how his day always went. Work until the day was done, then close up, clean up, and get a few hours of sleep before repeating the cycle again. It was how it worked, and he never thought he'd divert from it until one day. He'd had his usual clients and, as usual, most of them were respectful. But when the door jingled and he looked up, he blinked at the sight of Herb Cookie being there. Herb Cookie, one of the few Cookies he'd never thought he'd see in his bar.
Herb Cookie quietly stepped inside the bar, clutching the potted plant he always brought around with him, an easily identifiably uncomfortable smile on his face as he gently made his way over to the bar stools. Safe to say, any place other than his beloved garden or tea shop was unusual to find him in, but to be inside Sparkling Cookie's bar, during working hours, [i with] his plant in the dim lighting? That was an odd spectacle, but he had come there for a reason; after all, why else would he leave the comfort of his precious familiarity? Vampire Cookie had visited him earlier in the day, muttering things of Licorice Cookie having possibly pulled a vile prank; in Herb Cookie's opinion at least; of putting specific food poisoning-like toxins on tea leaves and letting the dried lightly poisoned leaves circulate through the kingdom. Sure, it could easily be another one of Vampire Cookie's tall tales, but he already left his garden in the care of Mint Choco Cookie. Besides, he only wanted to make sure his fellow Cookies would be alright, well aware Sparkling Cookie had some assortment of teas; food poisoned customers were bad business and could mean lawsuits if bad enough, he knew that much. So, still carrying an out-of-place uncomfortable smile, Herb Cookie sat down at one of the stools away from as many people as he could, nervously fiddling with his potted plant. Hey, he couldn't exactly walk into the back room and check the bar's stock without asking and explaining why first after all.
"What can I get started for you?" Sparkling just decided to be cordial and treat Herb Cookie like any other customer, giving him a quiet smile while cleaning out a glass. Usually, patrons like Herb Cookie wanted something like milk, or maybe some sort of water to go since they were in a hurry, but he was a bit worried since Herb looked very much in distress. "What's the matter? Did someone try to burn your garden again?" He hummed out, his accent coming out slightly but quickly going away as he leaned over the bar counter a bit. He wasn't much for flirting, honestly, but he did know that Herb Cookie occasionally liked compliments, and Sparkling Cookie was happy to supply him with such.
Herb softly shook his head a few times at the last question he was asked, offering up a small, appreciative smile at Sparkling Cookie's casual attempts to figure out what exactly was wrong. "Ah, I'm not actually here for a drink right now, Sparkling." He politely corrected, slowly stopping his light fidgeting with his potted plant, instead preferring to look Sparkling in the eye to express his seriousness; albeit soft seriousness; which was yet another rarely seen thing. "Could I, uhm, look your tea over quickly?... It's a weird request, I know, but I'd like to check it over for... Safety concerns." Herb explained, not giving a too in-depth reason as he didn't wish to disturb the warm, bubbly environment of the bar, which even he could appreciate from time to time.
"Mm, of course. Come." He nodded, leading him back to the stock room as he pulled a key from his pocket and unlocked it. Pushing the door open, he let Herb in first so that he could start his search for...whatever he was looking for. Sparkling honestly wasn't sure why Herb wanted to look over his teas, especially since it was...plant matter...and Herb didn't usually like seeing plants dead...he shrugged and waited, humming to himself while fidgeting with the clasps that held up his outfit. If Herb found what he was looking for or not, at least he'd have peace of mind about whatever was distressing him. It definitely seemed like he needed it, anyway.
Herb slipped inside the room the second it was unlocked and he was allowed to do so, setting his potted plant by the door as he didn't want it to witness the sight of the dried tea leaves to avoid becoming a bad plant caretaker. As if he didn't feel like one already though, intensely worried about the fact he might have allowed some other Cookie to poison plants, be it if they were dead or alive when poisoned. Quietly sifting through Sparkling's stock of teas as efficiently as he could, Herb did his best to be quick and thorough as to not hoard Sparkling's precious working time to himself, audibly groaning when he came across a bad box, which confirmed Vampire Cookie's claims. Thankfully, though, it seemed like it was the only one Herb could find, so, dusting himself off, he handed the box over to Sparkling. "You need to properly dispose of that one... The others seem alright." Herb stated as he picked his potted plant up once more, pausing when he realized he hadn't given the other Cookie a proper explanation. "Uh, be careful where you get your tea; some have been poisoned while circulating around, so..." He murmured out, leaving it at that as he slid out of the stock room.
He looked at the box before quickly going after Herb, gently catching his wrist. "Herb-! Danke schön, really, I appreciate it." He smiled at him sweetly, leading him back to the bar before motioning to one of the barstools. "Please, let me make you something in thanks." He smiled at him more, watching him while trying not to let on exactly what was going on to his patrons. Truly, he was ready to make up for the work Herb Cookie did for him, even if it was small. It was part of his kind nature, he wanted to make everyone happy eventually. Maybe he could make him one of his favorites or something.
"Oh, no, Sparkling, you really don't have to, honestly, it's fine," Herb sputtered out in slight surprise, slowly cutting his gentle protests short upon seeing Sparkling's genuine smile. Reluctantly caving into the request, he sat at one of the barstools, still clutching his flower pot as he did so, quietly letting out a sigh before offering up a small smile of his own. "I- okay, just, please nothing too strong if it's alcohol, I've still got to close up shop and I don't want to keep Mint Choco waiting too long," Herb stated softly, figuring it wouldn't hurt if he stayed around a little longer. Besides, he enjoyed Sparkling's company and he loved to chat, plus the other's smile was hellishly infectious so... Yeah, on second thought he could stay for a bit.
He mixed together a non alcoholic drink, making it with a bit of orange and chocolate before pushing it over to him. "Here you go. On the house, for helping me." He spoke in an appreciative tone, noticing the pot before thinking. "Do you think your plant will want some water too, darling?" The nickname just slipped out, but he decided not to roll it back just in case Herb liked it. He wanted to make sure Herb was susceptible to flirting anyways, since he really did want to make a move on him in the near future. He couldn't use flowers, he supposed, so he'd have to just use his words and actions.
Herb flashed a grin, happily sipping at the drink that was curated for him, freezing in place almost instantly hearing the nickname he was given which came from seemingly nowhere, in his opinion at least. It took every fibre in his being not to grow flustered on spot, instead brushing it off as something Sparkling was accustomed to considering one had to be charismatic to be the adored face of a bar. Quietly swallowing down the little gulp he had in his mouth, Herb hummed out a note, "Sap usually [i does] get thirsty around this time of day, and it's in a different environment with lighting and noise it isn't accustomed to..." He murmured out, looking between the plant he brought with him and Sparkling a few times, silently recalling the plant's watering schedule. And, of course, he had named the little plant, having grown extremely attached to it. "If it isn't too much of a bother, that'd be great actually, I'm sure Sap would appreciate it if it could talk," Herb answered after a moment, genuinely smiling his usual bright smile for the first time since entering the bar.
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