A Courteous Lowlife


eileen_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title A Courteous Lowlife
Synopsis Tuck decides to rat out Felix Ivanov and tell Eileen that he's looking for her.
Date February 10, 2009

Filatov Clinic

The largest, most obvious feature of Dr. Filatov's clinic is that one wall, an entire wall has been almost completely with what appear to be tall hardwood china cabinets, or possibly some other form of storage furniture from a bar, or kitchen or apothecary that have been nailed to the wall and cobbled together into some kind of uniformity. The last one may be the most likely, because every row of shelves that no run the length of the wall are covered with jars and bottles containing all manner of drugs, medicines, tonics, ointments and tinctures. The drawers below the shelves doubtlessly contain more supplies necessary for the operation of the clinic, so perhaps it's best not to question exactly what can be found in them. Besides that, the room is dominated by two large examination tables, which are really just old, well-worn wooden dining tables, with some of the matching chairs resting against the wall opposite the medicines, the closest to a waiting room the clinic has. A simple wooden screen in one corner serves as a dressing area. The unadorned wood paneling and scuffed hardwood floor are not the doctor's doing; he freely admits that whoever occupied this place last had both a thing for wood, and poor taste. The only other seemingly permanent fixture of the clinic is Ranger, Dr. Filatov's absolutely ancient bulldog, who spends most of his days lounging by the dressing screen, or wherever the sunbeams happen to pass through the steel window shutters. Besides a short hallway leading to the rest of the building (most of the space of which is taken up by the enormous examination/emergency/operating room), an unobtrusive door with far too many latches takes up a portion of an inside wall. 'Employees only' couldn't be spelled any more clearly.

It's been a slow day at the Filatov Clinic, but then again so are most — or at least this is true in Eileen's limited experience. She's only been working at Constantine's for a fortnight, and while she's bore witness to plenty of grisly things during her time here, none of their patients have even come close to some of the horrors she experienced when she was still amongst the Vanguard.

Having already swept the floor clear of dirt and debris, she busies herself with the sticky task of disinfecting the doctor's tools in the clinic sink so he can make use of them again tomorrow morning when they reopen their doors. She wears her inky black hair tied back into a loose knot at the top of her head, leaving a few strands to tickle at her cheeks, flushed pink by the heat of the water in which she's washing — beneath her blood-stained apron the young woman is dressed in an oversized gray sweater, the sleeves rolled all the way up to her elbows, and a pair of long leggings that cut off just beneath the knee and expose the milky-white skin of her slender calves and her small, bare feet.

Filatov has no other appointments to keep for the evening. She has no need for shoes.

Tuck has left the shop in the hands of one of the former Russian mob kids - well, young men - that he's known for years. He's probably a cousin of his son - he never bothered to figure that out. The fence has been turning over the dilemma of Felix Ivanov's visit in his head for a day or so now. When it comes down to it, he needs on the side of scum more than he needs a favour from a Fed. Staten Island isn't a place for government - not anymore. He remembers when there were suburbs, families, respectable business. That feels like a lifetime ago.

There's a sharp rap on the door to the clinic. Beyond it stands a shortish, well-built man in his late thirties with a cigarette pinched between his lips. His hands are dug deep in the pockets of a down jacket.

Eileen is in the process of toweling off the water mixed with soap suds from her hands when she answers the door. Judging by the mildly bewildered expression on her face, she's surprised to see Tuck standing there… though perhaps not as surprised as she could be. "Gilbert Tucker, isn't that right?" she asks, gray-green eyes sweeping up and down the man's body as if assessing him for any injuries. A small smile appears at the corners of her mouth. "You don't look hurt to me. Can I help you with something?"

"That's me. You…you have a good memory," Tuck waves a gloved finger. "Can I come in? I have something to talk to you about." And the streets of the Rookery have ears. And teeth, if they don't like what they hear, or like it too much. "It's about that note you left at my shop."

"My memory isn't anything special," Eileen says, moving aside with a glance over Tuck's shoulder to ensure he isn't being followed. Her train of thought isn't so different than his, it seems. "I've got an ear for gossip is all. People talk a lot about you." And your debts, though she has the courtesy not to mention this out loud. "Please. The doctor's out making a house call right now, but he should be back soon. Have you heard anything?"

"No doubt prefaced by how much or what I owe them," Tuck's face wrinkles into a grin. Hey, he knows the deep holes he's in. But he's in debt to enough opposing factions that it would stir the ire of a number of groups if one of them were to take him out before he paid. So he's oddly protected. For the moment. He steps inside and murmurs, "Thank you," then he unzips the top of his jacket. "I…think someone brought me here once. I woke up at home with stitches and a bill." Hard to tell if that was a joke or not. He looks ponderous for a moment, then returns his attention to her.

He puts a fist to his mouth and clears his throat. "I won't dance around it, Eileen. A Federal agent responsible for putting the mother of my kid," notably not 'my ex' or 'my girlfriend,' "…in prison came sniffing around my place. He wanted some information. On you. And your dad. Name's Felix Ivanov."

Eileen shuts the door behind Tuck, causing the bell above it to fill the clinic with the cacophonous jangle of solid brass. "Felix Ivanov," she repeats, the name leaving a sour taste in her mouth when she speaks it. Setting the towel aside, she blows an irritated snort out through her nostrils. "I suppose you can't really blame him. Putting people in prison's all he's good at — that and bleeding."

She's known Felix has been lurking in the area for several days now — this isn't news. Neither is the fact that he's still curious about her and Ethan. What's troubling is his apparent desire to act on that curiosity. "What did you tell him?"

"I told him that I had seen you, and that you were looking for Ethan. But I didn't tell him where you were. He said you killed a Federal agent. I told him that if you did, you likely had a good reason," Tuck tilts his head. "He also told me you blew up the bridge. Or the people you're with."

There's a moment while he stands there, hands in his pockets. "I don't want you to misunderstand me, Eileen. I am not going to help Felix Ivanov. He has shit on me, so I have to play like I'm on his side. Else he could find a way to put me away, or worse. Truth is? I don't care what you or this Ethan are in to, unless it affects me. But you know, common courtesy. One underworlder to the next? I thought you might want to know."

"I appreciate that." Eileen's tone is soft, but it's also earnest — she can't fault Tuck for speaking with Ivanov. She suspects she might have even done the same, had she found herself in a similar position. "I came close to killing a federal agent," she clarifies, reaching up to tame one of those errant strands of hair and tuck it behind her ear where it won't get in her way, "but I never pulled the trigger. He's living proof of that." As for the bridge? "Don't believe what you hear being bandied about on the radio — nobody blew it up. He's just as responsible for what happened to the Narrows as anybody else, present company included."

Tuck clucks his tongue and shifts his weight to his other foot as he considers what Eileen says. He also considers what he's going to say. "I definitely do not take everything Ivanov says at face value. Not that I think he's a liar, though I think he'd do that if he had reason. More that I don't trust the, uh, 'greater authority's version of the truth." He tugs his hands out of his pockets to make air quotes. "I don't believe the radio. Hell, I don't really believe anybody. Someone blew up the bridge. Some people died. Something went down. That's all I know. What I'm more concerned about is how I'm going to survive now. And in my estimation? It's not by pissing off anyone on this island." Which is why he's here instead of spilling his guts to Felix. "Especially no one with power and connections. I have enough people mad at me. Hopefully…" and here he cracks a grin that might've been mischievious in his youth. "…hopefully distracting a few folk from my debts."

Eileen could fit all her political power in the very tipof her pinky finger; the only connections she's ever had were severed when the bridge fell. Not that Tuck needs to know this. In fact, if she's smart, she'll go out of her way to keep it from him. "Thank you," she murmurs, unable to keep a brief flicker of amusement from lighting up her eyes as he grins. "If ever someone comes to collect and you find yourself one less kneecap, there's always room for you here."

"So I could limp around like Igor and fetch pig's blood down from the high shelves? I tell ya. It wouldn't be very good for you." Tuck opens his hand and closes it quickly. "Butterfingers. Anyway…" he glances around. "That's all I came for. Though if you consider this a favour, I might take getting sewn up in return. With the way things are going 'round these parts, I'm going to need it sooner or later."

"It'll have to be stitches or nothing," Eileen says with a small chuckle. "Dr. Filatov can barely tolerate me as it is. The day he hires another assistant is the day I find myself thrown out on my ass." Or carted off to a maximum-security prison courtesy of their mutual acquaintance, Mr. Felix the Cat. She isn't sure which. "Please, take care of yourself? As much as I like this job, it would be better for everyone if I didn't have to do it."

"Don't you worry there, missy. I've survived this long. I'll keep on surviving. That's the thing about roaches. We've got thick shells." Tuck's lips twist up into a wry little smile. "That and no one pays us much attention. We just skitter around about our business and don't get in anyones' way. You take care of yourself too, hmm? And let me know if you're short of any supplies. I imagine things are going to get real tight around here pretty soon."

He'd ask if she really knows Sylar, but the truth is - he'd rather not know. Or figure out that he fleeced the guy over a watch. He'd never sleep again if he knew. Because he'd probably wake up without a spleen.

Oblivious to Tuck's thoughts concerning one of her dearest and closest friends, Eileen opens the door for him again, shaking her head. He's undoubtedly right about things getting tight — she can feel it in the air, her senses attuned to trouble like cat's ears are to rustling in the leaves. It's too bad there's not much to do about it except hope they'll be prepared when the situation goes from bad to worse. "I will," she promises.

Tuck lifts a hand in a salute, then zips up his jacket. "At least things are going to go to shit in the spring. I don't think I could stomach a turf war in the middle of winter." His smile is inexplicably good-humoured as he steps out into the street. He waves once, then starts off again in the direction of his shop, cigarette lit as he goes.

February 10th: Frenemies 4ever
February 10th: Interruptus
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