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Munich, Germany

“I feel ridiculous, Beth” Alex said adjusting her newly fitted skirt and apron.

“If you want to live in Bavaria, than you have to dress like a Bavarian,” Annabeth said. “Besides, do you know how long I’ve been waiting to get you into a dirndl?” she said with a wink.

“They definitely do wondrous things for the girls,” Alex said adjusting her white blouse.

“They do indeed,” Annabeth said pulling open the beer hall’s massive wooden doors. The pair was immediately confronted by the blaring sounds of a German brass band and the cacophony of happy conversations in dozens of languages from around the galaxy. Hundreds of individuals from every corner of the Federation and beyond were crammed into row after row of wooden tables. Waiters frantically moved through the crowd to deliver heaping plates of sausage, sauerkraut, and massive glass mugs of beer.

“Are you sure you want to eat here, Beth?” Alex shouted over the noise as she followed Annabeth through the maze of people of tables. “I read that this is one of the most touristy places in all of Munich.” Annabeth looked over her shoulder with a huge grin.

“Alex, this place is Munich!” she said smiling from ear to ear.

Annabeth found two places at a table in the center of the massive room near the band. Warm yellow light bounced off the white plaster walls and the brilliantly painted murals of the high arched ceilings. The pair squeezed past a family of Tellurites enjoying their dinner. Alex smiled uncomfortably and their pig-faces smiled right back.

The doctor took in the sensory overload of the raucous party going around her. She looked over to Annabeth, her blonde hair in two long braids framing her happy face. She could tell that just being here brought back a lot of happy memories for her, and it started to make Alex happy as well.

A waiter dressed in a pair of leather lederhosen and a blue checkered shirt quickly made his way towards them.

“Guten nacht,” he said pulling out a pad of paper.

“Guten nacht,” Annabeth replied. “Zwei Maßkrug, bitte,” she said holding up her thumb and index finger. He nodded politely and disappeared.

“What did you just get us,” Alex asked curiously.

“Refreshments!” Annabeth exclaimed happily.

A few minutes later the waiter re-appeared hefting two of the huge liter mugs of amber beer.

“I can’t drink all that!” Alex said as the stein dropped to the wooden table in front of her.

“Not with that attitude,” Annabeth taunted as she hoisted Alex onto her aproned lap. “You’ll be amazed what you can do when you set your mind to it.”

Another waitress wondered past them carrying a huge basket of pretzels larger than Alex’s head. Annabeth waved her over and ordered two of them.

“This helps,” she said breaking off a piece of the salted bread and playfully popping it into her wife’s mouth. Alex laughed as she hoisted her mug to her lips and took a sip of the fresh beer.

Suddenly, the band began playing a well-rehearsed song and the crowd went wild. Annabeth literally started bouncing up and down. The leader of the band began singing.

“Im München steht ein Hofbräuhaus!”

In unison the crowd answered with a thunderous reply:

“Eins, zwei, g’suffa!”

Annabeth hoisted her mug and took a long drink. The band leader continued as the brass instruments continued their booming rhythm.

“Da läuft so manches Fäßchen aus!”

Again, the crowd answered.

“Eins, zwei, g’suffa!”

And everyone took another drink.

“What are we all saying?” Alex asked happily.

“One, two, down the hatch!” Annabeth answered. “That means drink!”

Alex playfully took a small sip of beer, but Annabeth wasn’t satisfied. “C’mon princess, drink!” Annabeth tipped the bottom of Alex’s mug up so beer ran down her cheeks and dribbled onto her shirt. She started laughing before dropping her mug to the table.

“That’s not funny, Beth!” she said wiping beer from her mouth.

“I’m German, Babe,” Annabeth said flashing her a look. “I never joke where beer is concerned. Prost!” Annabeth slammed her glass into Alex’s and took another long drink.

The crowd was now stomping their feet and clapping their hands in such a frenzy that Alex thought the roof would fly off the eight-hundred year old building. As the alcohol started making its way through her system, Alex finally let the experience wash over her.

“You know, I think I could get used to this,” she whispered into Annabeth’s ear.

“That’s the spirit,” Annabeth whispered before giving her a long kiss.

The band began another song and the crowd continued singing along. This time Alex joined in whole-heartedly. As the band reached the chorus, both women raised their beers into the air and belted out the refrain:

“Iha Iha Iha oh! Iha Iha Iha oh!”

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