Foreplay and Cuddling


logan_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title Foreplay and Cuddling.
Synopsis Logan drops by to negotiate for a box scavenged from the burnt out remains of the Dagger. He strikes up a deal with Tuck for its return. The whole negotiation is compared to another kind of transaction.
Date August 10, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

o say it would be safer to walk through the Rookery at night is, basically, stupidity. The cloak of darkness is only so handy, especially when neon still casts shards of bright and shocking light; a tiny, dirty Vegas that can only try to be seen from the moon. Besides, when Logan was showing his face around here, it was during such hours anyway. May as well not give anyone the excuse of darker alcoves to do their worst.

So. It's early afternoon that has him awarding Staten Island with his presence since the first time he'd been sent running from its territory in the back of a periwinkle van and bleeding from a very neat bullet wound in his shoulder. The clouds have parted enough to allow for glimmering sunlight to warm the relatively empty street as Logan strolls down the pavement as if he were, in any way, shape or form, welcome here. Even as his route carries him by the burned out husk of his former brothel, his walk doesn't slow and his head doesn't turn. He doesn't need to see it.

God knows, he doesn't need to see it. Logan is dressed for the occasional, an echo of his former self in a sleek, black three piece suit, a crimson shirt beneath it open at the collar, and his shoes, tapered towards the toe, are polished to shine. Though he wears a plain coat thrown over this ensemble, it's unbuttoned, billowing back to show flashes of expensive fabric and silk lining. Perhaps Tuck— as that, it seems, is where the pimp is headed, just a few doors down and a clean, near manicured hand reaching for the door— should be flattered.

Or, simply, one is putting up appearances. Logan shoulders open the door of the pawn shop, and steps inside.

Tucker's Pawn Shop is the opposite of manicured. Though generous support (with copious strings attached) from Linderman has allowed the proprieter to fix up the fire damage at the front of the shop, the business has still seen better days.

The walls and shelves are looking a bit bare. Even the collection of DVDs and VHS movies looks a bit depleted. He had a few thieves break in when the front of the shop was less than secure. Seeing they couldn't get through the bulletproof glass (and most of the merchandise was stored off-site anyway) they decided to steal Disney movies and comedies from the 80s instead. Maybe they'll learn something about life from The Breakfast Club.

Business has been bad, because a lot of Tuck's usual customers have gone to ground or have moved to garbage piles less likely to be kicked up. Gilbert Tucker has not had many heydays in his life, but this is clearly not one of them. Closing the shop, even for a little bit, has hurt his business and repeat customers.

When the shop door opens, Tuck is not at his usual spot behind the counter. There is however, the sound of the radio and a cigarette smouldering in the ashtray. He's around, but in the back. There's a bell on the counter.

It might take a lot of work and effort to get Logan to shed a tear for the depleting business of the pawn shop, all things considered. Sooner you might get blood from a stone. Upon seeing the front room empty, he doesn't immediately go for the bell, curiously letting his gaze wander over the scarcely stocked shelves, the faces of DVDs, the glimmer of jewelry beneath the glass cases. Times are hard. Are times ever not?

Or rather, times are interesting. There's something worth seeing, if major criminal eyes have turned to this spit of land. The blackened stones of the Dagger a few doors down could be said to be an omen of the end times for all criminals across the Rookery's rambling territory— or perhaps, just the beginning.


Logan's hand slaps the bell so that it rings crisp through the air, and his hand hand moves up, fingertips touching the bullet proof glass, his nails making a delicate tik-tik-tik sound against it as he waits to see if the summoning has worked. All things considered, he looks better than the mean, hungry presence he'd been in the Rookery in his final days, underfed and underslept and financially hurting and looking for things to make bleed. He still seems tired, but he's been tired in a luxury apartment with a new and shiny paycheck, and that counts for something. And he's not looking for anything to make bleed. Right now.

The large quantity of people who would rather beat Tuck than deal with him is why he invested in that inch of glass. Tuck lives like a creature in an aquarium, but it's the only way to survive when you can't shoot fireballs out your fingertips or have the weight of a full gang to back you up.

The scruffy head of the pawnie sticks around the corner, eyebrows lifted. "Yo?" Blink. Well. This is interesting. He emerges from the back, coffee mug in hand. A cigarette is held in his fingers. He forgot about the one he left burning in the ashtray. "Well well. If it isn't King Pimp. Didn't bring your boner?"

Logan's fingers curl a little as Tuck emerges from the backroom, ice-green gaze swiveling towards him, flashing in something like thinly veiled animosity for the casual address. Fingernails still fidgeting in an absent way against the glass before he lets that arm fall. His hands clasp gentlemanly behind his back. "Charming, Tuck, you're so charming," Logan observes, and the fall of his coat indicates a shoulder rig beneath his jacket, over the waistcoat, something he's been wearing more than ever, as if it were his own armor. Something to do with him no longer having the weight of a full gang to back him up, or the equivalent of such on a paycheck.

And he never could do much for fireballs. Whatever is in the silver revolve will count for incredibly little against the thick pane of glass, but perhaps Tuck is the least of his worries anyway. "I left him at home. Should I tell him 'hi' when I get back?"

Tuck slides up onto his high backed barstool and sets his mug of coffee down. He inhales from his cigarette, then sets it in his ashtray and laces his fingers together. "Oh yes. Say hello for me. I'm sure he'd love to hear from me." He flashes a toothy, humourless smile.

"So. I can guess why you're here. So let's get down to it, shall we? I'm not really good at all this…" he flips a hand, vaguely. "…fanfare. Lead-up. Pleasantries. Dancing around. Whatever you want to call it."

Logan snorts once, and peels his coat back, hand ducking inside. Luxury silk catches the light as readily as the glaring surface of a lake, in what dim light has managed to angle through the windows. He's not, as it happens, reaching on the side of the revolver - but towards the breastpocket of his waistcoat. "Shall we call it foreplay?"

His hand withdraws, something shiny tangled around long fingers, dangling and glimmering, and Logan presses his hand back against the glass, palm flat, fingers splayed. Tuck will recognise the displayed necklace. "Not a wonder you're not good at it, but I'm all for cutting to the chase. Where's the rest of it?"

There's demand in his query, but it's swathed in velvet pleasantness, words tumbling out of a smile. Logan blinks once, twice. It works on some.

Tuck wouldn't know the difference between luxury silk and velour. Good days for him meant a suit from Moores instead of Sears. He does however, note that Logan doesn't seem so hard up as one might expect a pimp with no hos. But he's a resourceful fella. The pawnie's not that surprised.

He eyes the necklace, then peers up at Logan over the top of his glasses. Unfortunately for the charming Mister Logan, Tuck's spent a lifetime denying…just about everything. If Logan's oh-so-lovely smile and pretty-pretty eyes are having any effect on him, he's hiding it well.

"That depends. Are you here to shake it out of me, or are you here to deal with me, businessman to businessman?"

The hand remains against the glass, necklace and its pretty jewels trapped where it is for the time being. There are ways that Logan could lever a reaction out of Tuck, at least on a purely physical level at odds with whatever clamshelled sexuality the man currently happens to be sporting as an endless source of mockery for Logan— but apparently, it's not a route he's choosing. A few eyeflash flutters is as invasive as he gets.

For the time being, anyway. "I'm always a businessman," Logan says, smile twisting into something more wry, though it doesn't last. 'Cocksure' isn't something he's been wearing nearly as well as silk, these days. "But no, I'd rather not use a crowbar when there are other ways to ply things from you."

His hand retracts, and he goes to slip the necklace safely back into place. "That mean you haven't sold 'em, then?"

"Why did you send the thug, then? Did you know he was going on like it was my moral obligation to return everything, and accused me of stealing?" One of Tuck's eyebrows arches. "I do hope you're teaching that boy how criminals actually work."

He picks up his cigarette again and begins to casually smoke, mouthfuls of tobacco air exhales against the glass, momentarily obscuring their view of each other.

"You know I'm smarter than that, Logan. Those pieces looked sentimental. Why would I sell them? They'll never be worth nearly as much to anyone but you." He points towards the man, two fingers, cigarette pinched between them.

Logan takes up a lazy kind of pacing, back and forth along the direction of the glass, never really turning away from Tuck, his shoulders lax beneath his coat. At that point, his eyebrows raise up and he comes to a halt, hands moving to place themselves on his waist beneath his coat, his posture a collection of angles that speaks of confidence. A physical kind of posturing that's second nature, no matter what he's feeling and thinking to back it up.

"Satoru. Dear Toru. What makes you think I sent him anywhere?" His words have a hint of silver to them. "'Moral obligation', eh? You must see it, Gilbert. The boy is quite taken with me. I must have dropped a few words about what I had to leave behind here, and it had him hopping on the next boat to go get them. As for how criminals work— we're all special, unique creatures. He's learning."

A dismissive hand flip accompanies those words, before he lets out a dry sounding laugh, hand again finding a place on his waist. "Do I look sentimental?"

"I think taken is an understatement," drawls Tuck. There is a half-note of disapproval, but it flicks off soon enough. Not his business. And young Toru hasn't exactly done much to endear himself to the pawnie. Except maybe reminding him of himself. Minus some very critical denial. Satoru indulged while Gilbert pushed everything down so deep that it is likely impossible he will ever have anything close to a healthy relationship. There's still a faint glimmer of hope for Toru yet.

"You may not look sentimental, John," the first name, a sign of a change of dynamic in their relationship. He isn't in the pimp's pocket anymore. Their ground is more even, if not completely flat. "But if you're here for the actual pieces and not the money I would have got for selling them, then there's something more to them than a bit of shine and gold."

He's learned to stop bristling like an angry cat at each drop of his first name, and so there's no outward sign of it bothering him now, still in the wake of a flash of a predatory smile in reply to that hint of disapproval. With no place to sit, Logan can only approach the glass again, leaning against the counter. "True," he concedes, shortly. "Want to know a secret? They're my mum's. Nicked 'em when I was a lad of— well. Not that long ago, all things considered. Never got around to pawning them off and I'd like not to start now. I'll ask what you want for them if you can answer me this—

"If you got the box instead've just the contents from someone, you'll have a couple of photographs too You wouldn't be stupid enough to let them get lost, now would you?" At least, Logan isn't even asking about the money that had been kept inside. He knows better.

Yeah, cash is free game. No sentimental value there. And Tuck had a shop to repair, fallout from damage caused by the Dagger going up in flames. Call it an insurance payout.

"Photos are more sentimental than jewelery, even," says Tuck. There's no toothy smile, no sign of arrogance or posturing. Just matter-of-fact. He has something Logan wants, Logan has to pay for it. Simple as that. Nothing personal. No dick-measuring. Just business.

"You know me. I'm not an idiot." His smile doesn't reach his eyes. "I may be a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them. Your mistake was letting me get out of your pocket. We were both comfortable with that arrangement. And if you still had me there, you'd have your trinkets and photos. But you don't. And that's the past." He flicks a hand. "So. We've established I have what you want. The question is, what will you give me to get it back?"

There's a short amount of silence, indicating that the younger man is sorting his words, thinking before firing back whatever reply he has in the face of being told his mistake. Tuck's matter-of-fact demeanor might be why Logan even bothers hesitating. And there's a great bloody bulletproof window between them, which Logan touches once more, index finger tapping it as if trying to attract the lizards or goldfish on the other side.

"That depends, rather, on what you want. I'm in your store, you're behind your little window, sitting pretty. If it's money, you should name a price, but that's not my only currency, which you well know. Has Caliban been to see you, yet?" Considering how left field the question may seem, it's spoken casually and without imposed implication.

There is a slight cant of Tuck's head at the tapping and the mention of Caliban's name. He looks Logan in the eye for a moment, lips pursed. "Mmmm." And then a slow smile splits. He looks down as far as the glass and counter will let him, then up again to meet the other man's gaze. "I see you've seen him. That explains the suit."

He might be a small timer, a weasel, a cockroach, a thief, a gambler, a drug addict - whatever unflattering tags one wants to tack on him. But he's pretty sharp. He sucks air between his teeth. "You know me. I'm willing to deal. I know cash isn't everything." Favours can often be worth a lot more.

Tap, tap. Logan allows a smile to beam right back through the glass he's currently getting fingerprints on. "I always dress my best, you know that," he says, although there's no denial to follow. Much the same way there's no denial to follow Tuck's claim, it's taken as affirmation. Nothing wrong in assumptions when they are correct. The billowing of smoke on the other side has him finally fishing out his own cigarette case, flashy silver as ever, and going through the ritual of light up.

He eases out a long stream of smoke once done, gives Tuck his own limited look up and down, then a short nod. "Name a price. I have money."

Tap, tap. Logan allows a smile to beam right back through the glass he's currently getting fingerprints on. "I always dress my best, you know that," he says, although there's no denial to follow. Much the same way there's no denial to follow his claim as to whether Tuck has done the same thing, it's taken as affirmation. As if, perhaps, choosing a side this early in the game might be the kind of shameful behaviour that goes unspoken.

Nothing wrong in assumptions when they are correct, however. The billowing of smoke on the other side has him finally fishing out his own cigarette case, flashy silver as ever, and going through the ritual of light up.

He eases out a long stream of smoke once done, gives Tuck his own limited look up and down, then a short nod. "Name a price. I have money."

"Hold on now. You've got me curious about what else you can offer." Tuck watches Logan, as if sizing him up. Once he knew where Logan stood and what kind of ground he was one. Now, he's not so sure. He's admitted to having Linderman backing, but that doesn't really tell him much. Not enough, anyway.

In any case, Logan's presented himself as a possible useful…friend. He swivels on the stool, sets his cigarette down, and moves off to the left. When he reappears from beneath the counter, it's holding a familar (if slightly singed and dented) box.

He sets the lockbox on the counter in front of him, a hand on each side of the lid. "How about I do you a favour? Like old times?"

When a price is not, in fact, named, Logan's mouth purses a little in discontent, though the expression is soon faded by the time Tuck has turned back and laid down the metal box on the counter, as unimpressive as it might be. It did go through a fire and back, and all, but you know what they say about never judging a book by it's cover. Inevitably, Logan's gaze is drawn downwards towards the lockbox, put so tantalisingly within his reach on the other side of the inch thick glass. Another drag of the cigarette has embers flaring bright orange, and dragon curls stream out of his nostrils.

"Like old times? I wouldn't say no," Logan says, gaze dragging back up to Tuck's. "What sort've favour are you willing to do me, Tucker?"

Tuck drums his fingers on the metal top of the box. Ra-ta-ta-tat. Metal bits rattle and a bit of carbon comes off on his fingers. "I return your property as a show of good faith. And you keep that in mind, should I need your assistance at some point in the future." His brows arch. A subtle way of telling Logan that the pimp would owe him a rather good sized favour - one equivalent to the money he would be paid had he quoted a price for the contents of the box.

It's not a bad move, at least from his perspective. It banks on percieved value - what Logan thinks the box is worth, favour-wise, rather than a negotiated cash settlement.

Up and down, Tuck gets another look, silent judgment. Being underestimate works wonders, and perhaps that's a sense Tuck could glean from Logan's demeanor, before the erstwhile pimps delivers him a bright smile. "That's a very generous offer," he says, ashing the cigarette onto the floor, for lack of an ashtray. "And who would I be not to accept it? We used to be neighbours, after all."

Tuck has learned over the years that the best payment isn't always money. Money he pisses away on gambling, for one. Banking up favours means he has someone to call on when the well runs dry. Not only that, but a bigger benefit can be negotiated if the favour he wants benefits Logan as well. It's just that he doesn't often get the opportunity to be the one giving the favour to anyone he has a blank slate with.

He watches Logan for a moment, over the top of his plastic-framed glasses. "Neighbors. Business associates. And it seems we now have some common friends. All reasons to be on good terms, wouldn't you say? I…am guessing that the photos are some manner of blackmail material. So I've taken that into account." When calculating the size of favour potentially owed.

"No," Logan states, a little flatly. "They're not. But they do belong to someone else. Come on." Tik-tik, his fingernails rap against the glass once more, rocking back a step, back straightening. "You might not be one for the foreplay, but I was never a fan of cuddling." A slim leather wallet is taken out of his pocket, flipped open, and a shining black business card is extracted.

There's words of cursive printed into the glossy surface, and it could almost read the Happy Dagger, but no, not quite. A couple of phone numbers are printed at the bottom, and Logan slides this forward. "A future favour for the box. Here're my details."

It's a risk, for sure. Logan could decide to ignore their agreement. But Tuck takes solace in the fact that it's fairly likely he'd just gamble any cash away anyways. The box is secured, then slid into a lower slot. From his side, Logan can hear metal hitting metal and can tip the chute forward to retrieve it.

There's a slot under the bulletproof window, grooved, like a place for dropping subway tokens. He picks up the card, then eyes Logan. "Well. You get back into business fast, don't you?"

Logan's long fingered hands clasp on either side of the box, drawing it in and flipping open the lid and its broken lock to inspect the insides. Empty of the neat roll of cash of before, everything else seems in order, minus the necklace in his breastpocket. There's only a lingering second of study granted, before his dipping his fingers inside.

"Oh, yeah," he says, with a flick of a glance back at Tuck, setting about extracting the items - a couple of rings, a set of earrings, all of which expensive antiques of some kind. These are ferreted away into pockets, the photos placed into his wallet, as he talks. "A strip club - perfectly legitimate operation. You should come by sometime - cocktails are half-priced on Tuesdays."

"I'm afraid I don't get over to the mainland very often," drawls Tuck. That and naked ladies, ew. Uh, uh, wait, woo hoo is the appropriate response, right? "My business plan doesn't allow for a lot of travel expenses."

He watches Logan and the disappearing items. There's a pang again, worry that was a dumb move. But only the slightest twitch appears on his face. "Do me a favour and keep your boner boy away from here? I don't much like his threats and posturing. Or if you're going to send him, make sure you inject some manners first."

"Come on, now, if I can get 'im to practice on you, who do I get him to practice on?" Logan asks, once the last glittering set of gold and shine is hidden in silk-lined pockets. Officially, he'll be the most expensive man walking out of the Rookery. "He must like you. Don't worry, I'll keep him plenty occupied."

He pushes himself away from the counter, transaction— or the material part of it— complete, and abandoning the now useless metal box upon the counter. "And remember— I'm only as useful to you as you allow me to be. No selling me up the creek any time in the near future, I've got enough problems."

"Mister John Logan. If I didn't sell you up the creek when half the city was gunning for you, why would I do it now?" Tuck leans elbows on the counter and meets Logan's eyes. Never mind he almost did. "You've always been better to have as a friend than an enemy." Well, a friend in the criminal sense, not a coffee-on-Saturdays friend. He doesn't have any of those.


"I might be joining you on the mainland. Maybe we'll be neighbors again." He flashes a smile that is all teeth and little warmth.

"I'm always good for a cup of sugar." Logan raises a hand, wriggles his fingers in something resembling a wave, before he turns on the slightly lifted heel of an expensive shoe and heads for the door, jerking it open and disappearing out into the afternoon sunlight. It swings back on its hinges, leaving Tuck bereft of jewels, photos, and a pimp - but with something of an investment in his grasp.

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