Got No A-Game


nick_icon.gif toru_icon.gif

Scene Title Got No A-Game
Synopsis Toru and Nick have a second meeting, as awkward if less dangerous than the first.
Date January 19, 2011


Tonight's drinking establishment is a typical dive bar, a no frills kind of place where the table tops and bar top are covered with bumper stickers, the bar stools and booth seats a dark green vinyl, some of which are being held together by black electrical tape here and there rather than replaced. Loud televisions above head play basketball games, while the patrons take part in their own recreational contests of pool, darts, or even in one corner, arm wrestling.

Nick takes up a bar stool at the far end of the counter, his back to the wall and eyes on one of the pool tables, watching it with a nonchalance that suggests he's not very interested in the game, but it's a place to rest his eyes. One hand holds a cigarette, the other a pint of Bass, the two interchangeably making their way to his lips for long drags or long draughts.

Toru, in point of fact, has already been at the bar for a while. He's nursing a pint of whatever's cheap, elbows rested on the counter as he, too, looks out at the bar. And notices Nick taking up that seat at the end, whereupon eyebrows are lifted with a bit of surprise. Sure, he only "met" the guy once, but you never forget your first explosive psychotic guy.

Gathering up his business, he nonchalantly strides over to sit at a stool two down from Nick so as not to seem too obvious, and takes up the same pose he'd been in before. Long sip is taken from his glass, and he twists about to set it on the bar before ultimately looking to the man sort-of next to him. "Y'know, there are easier ways of turnin' a guy down besides turnin' into a bomb," he notes, despite that event having happened nearly a month ago. Remember me? Probably not.

Eyes flicker from billiard table to Toru, and Nicks's dark brows knit. The cigarette is pulled from again, then he reaches to dash it into the ashtray and rest it there. One brow then tics up and he gives a shake of his head, as if to say he didn't hear right.

"'m sorry," is said, guardedly, though not impolitely. "We met?" It's hard to tell which side of the pond he's claiming with such terse syllables, also tainted by the beer he's been drinking — the glass he's on is mostly empty, and it's probably not his first. Nick looks much more casual than the tuxedo he'd been wearing last time, in jeans, black Doc Martens, and a black sweater, as well as less bruised, much less drugged and psychotic, at least.

"Agh— man!" Toru closes his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose with a sigh. He's got gloves on, one might notice; thin, opera-style ones that cling to his hands, seemingly more for some bizarre fashion statement than for warmth. "Okay, whatever, it was like a month ago and I guess you were busy." But clearly his feelings are still a little hurt!! He twists around to get his beer glass again, tilting his head back to chug down what's left. Which isn't too much.

Aand sets it down again, with a gesture to the bartender to fill 'er up again. Toru is dressed significantly more casually himself; jeans, boots, and a wool peacoat over a brown hoodie over a t-shirt. Gotta dress in layers this time of year, after all. "I was at that Christmas shindig, with the disastering. Forget about it. How you doin'?"

That brow arches more when Toru seems hurt by Nick's not remembering him, and he shakes his head, about to say that the other man must be confusing him for someone else, when he mentions the shindig.

His own glass is tapped with a nod toward the bartender, while a slightly shaking hand moves back to pick up the cigarette he'd abandoned, taking another drag. A puff of smoke is exhaled upward and away, with courtesy for Toru. "Ah," he says, the single syllable short and brusk.

Blue eyes study Toru's face and then glance toward the door. "Yeah, sorry, I … it's kinda a blur. You must think I'm some sort of asshole, huh? Tried to blow up a nice party and forgot you?" He's settled on American, it seems, for this dialogue.

"No, forget about it." Toru turns in his seat to face the bar, leaning against it and tapping on the bartop idly while he waits for his brewski, which does take a minute. Money passes over, and he takes a long draught. Aw yeah. "I mean, we only talked for like, a minute, and I think I mighta embarassed myself and anyway it's no big deal. I probably only remember you 'cause you were explodin' at the time." Well, almost, anyway.

Idly tapping on the bartop, he breathes out a vague sigh through lightly clenched teeth, racking his brain for some means of salvaging this conversation. "Well anyway. Like I said, no big deal, and here we are again so there's no reason to dwell on that, right?" His smile is slightly forced, but he's trying to convince himself it's silly to be upset given all the facts in evidence. "And everything turned out fine. So, uh. I'm Toru, by the way."

"Toru," Nick repeats. "You're probably the only person who'd willingly talk to me after that… donno if anyone there believed I wasn't there to blow shit up, but.." The memory has Nick glancing downward, brows furrowing and he brings one hand up to rake through his hair. The cigarette gets another drag, finishing it out, and he tosses it into the tray.

"I doubt you embarrassed yourself. Or, if you did, it was lost on me, anyway, yeah?" The faux-American pulls a pack of cigarettes from his pockets and tosses them on the bar top between them, along with a lighter. Presumably so Toru can take one if he wants. "Nick."

Considering the cigarettes for a moment, Toru finally takes one, lighting it up and setting the lighter back down where it'd been. He turns in his stool again, facing Nick this time, one arm rested on the bartop, and seems significantly less upset than he had been a minute ago. "Sorry about the moody shit, man, just— that was kinda a shitty week for me all around, I guess." He takes a short drag, hands a bit shaky, forcing himself to calm down a bit.

And in doing so, takes up the beer for another sip from that. "I'm not all that great at like, talking to new people, y'know? Kinda.. hard to figure out how to act and shit, so I end up lookin' like an idiot. I mean usually if I meet someone it's on accounta someone else introducin' me so I just act like I do with that person but then shit like this happens and I can't fuckin' stop talking."

There is a bit of a snort, expelling some more smoke, and Nick nods to the bartender for handing him a refill, pulling out a bill to toss onto the bartop. "Moody shit," he echoes. "Fuckin' tell me about it. I think shitty week doesn't even begin to cover it. How many times can a guy get fuckin' kidnapped?" The answer is twice within as many days, in Nick's case.

"If you're being moody — or if you were moody then, s'fine, man. I'm sure you're entitled to it. Sorry I didn't recognize you. I donno if I'd have remembered if my own grandmother was at that party, you know? I remember like… people yellin' at me, and all I wanted was to get away from them, out into the park where I wouldn't hurt anyone." This is spoken into the beer, before his brows furrow and he shakes his head. "Fuck, does that sound…" he shakes his head, and takes a long swallow of the beer. Eyes narrow as he regards Toru over the glass bottom for a moment.

"So, why were you there? You don't seem the fancy shindig type, no more'n I do, and I certainly wasn't on the guest list, yeah?"

Toru shakes his head. "Naw, but like.. it was one of those 'somethin' to do' kinda things. Probably shoulda just saved the cash and found somethin' else since it ended up kinda bein' a waste, but.." He shrugs, sips his drink, looks over at Nick and manages to avoid staring too creepily. "And especially with the company, I dunno if you know him but that Redbird guy, I ain't a huge fan of him. We kinda.."

Frowning, he looks at the bottom of his own glass a moment, facing the floor. "Well, we kinda had a few altercations before, I guess. So runnin' into him there and all that shit goin' down, I shoulda just gone out for Chinese or something. I been tryin' not to turn into a total hermit, I guess is the thing."

Said the hermit to the hermit. Except that Nick is an odd sort of hermit who is utterly alone while drinking beer and playing pool most nights. "Yeah, I guess I getcha there," Nick says, picking up the glass for another swallow. "I guess I should be happy I didn't waste money on a ticket, right?" His lips quirk up into a crooked half smile, the humor not quite lighting in his blue eyes.

"Redbird guy? The one who wanted them to shoot me?" Somethings are clearer than others, in his memory, apparently. "Yeah, actually, not well, but a little bit. Not like … best friends or nothin', so don't worry on that." He raises a brow and gives Toru an appraising glance, eyes flicking down and back up. "No offense, but… you don't really look like the alteracatin' type."

"Yeah, that guy. He likes to stir shit up, I guess, I dunno." Toru shrugs, sips some more, sets glass down again, twirls to face the bar proper once more. Not that there's anything he's interested, just.. so he isn't spending the whole conversation staring at Nick. Not that he minds the scenery~~ "I used to have a gig roughin' people up and a buddy of his owed my boss money and I guess he's got a grudge even though this was like I dunno, almost two friggin' years ago? Guy can't let shit go."

Tilting his head a bit, he looks over at Nick with somewhat of a smirk. "So if I don't look like the shindig type and I don't look like the altercatin' type then what kinda type do I look like?"

Roughin' people up. Nick arches a brow at that and then gives a one-shouldered shrug, reaching for the pack of Capstans to shake another cigarette out. "I donno," he says, eyes narrowing a little, as if it might be a trick question. "You don't look like the type to rough people up, no offense. Not like … looks mean shit. Not these days." Not when people can explode your brains with a wrinkle of their nose.

He takes another swig of his beer, then lights a second cigarette. "What d'you do now?" he asks curiously.

"Well, whatever." Toru shrugs at that estimation of his skills. "That's what pretty much everybody says when I tell 'em that, y'know. Whatever, I was aight at my job and I got hired in the first place, right? Boss figured I'd be useful, right?" So he's being a little defensive. But ultimately he lifts a hand to smooth over his hair, shaking his head.

"Nowadays I pretty much just do like, delivery shit. Pizza, Chinese food, fried rice two dolla, whatever. I was outta the states for a while and I'm havin' a hard time gettin' back on my feet, sorta."

The taller man looks a little amused at the defensiveness that Toru exhibits but gives another one-shouldered shrug. People would probably boggle to know he works for Interpol, after all, so who is he to judge? Toru couldn't really do a worse job at his job than Nick's been doing at his. "Gotcha. Sorry. Who'm I to judge," he mutters.

But the man having a hard time getting on his feet might come in handy. Nick raises a brow. "I could maybe pay you. For information, if you can get it," he says suddenly in a lower voice, leaning forward and lowering his head. "Y'know a guy named the Irishman at all?"

Blinking, Toru looks Nick over for a moment and raises his eyebrows, his expression gone from vaguely defensive to.. not really certain how to react. He rubs the back of his neck uncertainly, actually blushing a little, though it's hard to tell why.

"I, uh.. I don't really.. I mean, it's a nice idea and all, right, but I mostly just sorta keep to myself." He takes a long sip from his beer, sets it down again, frowns a moment. "It's just, y'know, if I do get my A-game back.. I can't have 'bein' a narc' on my resume, if you know what I mean."

Toru's words earn another smirk and a slight huff of a laugh from Nick. "Yeah, I know what ya mean." Once he got recruited into his current business, it pretty much ensured he can never go back to Liverpool.

The cigarette glows as he pulls another suck of nicotine and tar, before exhaling two plumes of smoke through his nostrils. "Your A-game? And what's that like? I ain't fuckin' ever had one of those." The words are spoken with a humorous, perhaps slightly teasing tone.

Toru snorts, takes a drag off his rather neglected cigarette, and turns to tap off some ash. Thinks about putting it out, but opts for another drag before he answers. "Been a while since I had it. Usually it's havin' a better job and a better apartment and a roommate who isn't a stoner idiot." Granted, Toru's a stoner idiot, but he's also biased in favor of himself.

Running that hand over his hair again, he leans against the bartop and lets out a small sigh. "Usually goes along with everything not bein' all gone to shit. Takin' a while to get it, though."

There's an actual sincere smile from Nick, perhaps a touch of sympathy in it. "Well, I don't have a stoner roommate. And I'm kinda off work since the … thing…" his left shoulder jerks up again, and he puts out his own cigarette. "But everything else has always been all gone to shit, so that explains why I never had any A game, I guess."

He rakes a hand through his hair, then reaches for his cigarettes and lighter, then reaches to the barstool he left his coat on. "As for Irish, I was just lookin' for locales, by the way, pal. 'm not a cop." That's mostly true. "Just wanna fuckin' get even."

With that, Nick is off the barstool, tugging his black wool peacoat on. He gives a nod to Toru. "G'luck with the A game and all," he adds, as he heads for the door.

"Well, I didn't think you were a cop," Toru assures a bit hurriedly. "Just, y'know.. you say the wrong thing about the wrong guy to the wrong guy and it closes doors, right?" He slams down the rest of his beer, leaves the cigarette burning in the ashtray, and trots over to catch up with Nick. "It's nothin' personal, I'm just.. not havin' a great week."

He runs gloved hands over his cheeks, rubbing at persistent stubble, shakes his head. "My life's just been one big shitty week since I got back, y'know?" Without really thinking about it, one hand goes to set itself on Nick's shoulder to grip — gently!!. "I didn't mean to offend or anythin', really. I don't know about the guy, anyway, so I couldn't tell ya.. I'm pretty out of the loop. Wasn't tryin' to be malicious or nothin'."

"Sorry to hear that," Nick says vaguely, but the hand on his shoulder has him tense suddenly, almost stopping in his tracks, though he moves forward to push the door of the bar open and outward. The cold wintry wind outside is a respite from stuffy heated bar that smells of peanuts and stale beer, but the cold will soon be less refreshing and just plain cold.

A muscle twitches in Nick's jaw, but the turns to glance back at Toru once they're outside. "Don't worry about it. You don't know anything, and no reason to get involved. Safer not to. I wouldn't think less of you. I probably wouldn't do it, either."

Toru doesn't miss that unexpectedly negative response to the shoulder-gripping, and lets go almost as soon as he catches it. Nick's response is overall not what he'd expected at all, and so for a moment he just sort of stands there silently. Finally, though, the cold cuts in enough to stir him into action, and he gives a curt nod. "Well, uh, okay then."

Awkward. "Guess I'll be seeing you, then." He looks a bit helpless for a moment, not really sure how to go about ending the conversation in his own favor— but ultimately just adds, "Yeah," and turns to head back into the bar. It's warmer, there.

Nick sighs, and glances back. The awkwardness, the obvious desire for some sort of friendship, some sort of conversation on Toru's part tugs at something familiar. He pulls a tuque from his pocket and pulls it over his head, taking a step toward the corner before turning around again. "Hey, kid," he says, to stop Toru on his way to the door, then strides to cut the distance between them.

"What kinda work you do, anything besides 'roughing up' people? I can keep an ear open for somethin' better," he offers. "Let you know. I mean, I donno what all you're willin' to do, if… you know, you got papers to work or just need under the table shit."

Managing not to seem entirely desperate, Toru does stop when he's called at, turning back around eagerly enough. "At this point I'm pretty much willin' to do anything. I just— can't— I ain't a fan of like.. I don't do legit jobs," he settles on. Probably could have worded that better.

"Look, don't feel like you gotta help me out, I got my eye open, it's just.. the season's got me down, y'know? It's a lot easier to stay in bed in the morning when gettin' up means you're gonna freeze, and so it's easier just to not look for work.. things'll get better when it's warmer." He sniffs, runs a sleeve across his nose. "They usually do."

The Englishman nods, not that he's ever lived longeterm anywhere particularly known for its warmth — his cover story says otherwise. "Yeah, I get ya," he says. "Tell you what. Gimme your number, and I'll keep an ear out for anything that can use someone like you, yeah? I was workin' down at the docks, legit work, you know, on the side of the shit that threw me in with Irish, but I got some buddies still, might have side jobs that need doing."

Running a hand over his hair, Toru just kind of nods vaguely. "Sure, I guess that works." He digs through pockets for a piece of scrap paper, scrawling his number down on it with the poor handwriting that using one's hand as a backing creates, and holds it out. "I don't really answer that much but texting's always good."

Rubbing the back of his neck, he looks over at Nick a bit cautiously, head lowered slightly. "Don't go out of your way or nothin'. I don't really— I mean I appreciate the sentiment, like, but I don't wanna be a charity case. You got your own shit to worry about besides me."

Wary blue eyes watch Toru, that twitch in the jaw returning, but Nick gives a short nod and another shrug of his left shoulder. He takes the scrap of paper and glances down at it, brows dipping slightly, before he nods again.

"We all got our own shit to worry about, yeah. But doesn't mean we can't look out for other people now an' then," he mutters. He glances across the street as a clock above a bank strikes eight. "I should get movin'. Good to meet you, Toru." Nick gives one more jerk of his chin before turning, long legs taking him toward the subway station on the corner, leaving Toru to the warmth of the bar for the last call of the night.

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