I Need a Fix 'Cause I'm Goin' Down


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Scene Title I Need a Fix 'Cause I'm Goin' Down
Synopsis Joseph needs to get high with a little help from his friends.
Date September 30, 2009

Greenwich Village

There is never an overabundance of words to share between Joseph Sumter and Flint Deckard, and the phone call in question was particularly brief, dial tones and staticky pauses aside. There hadn't been the ambiance of noise that surrounds Joseph now, having used the landline in the upstairs apartment of Greenwich Village's Old Lucy's, but now he waits with his shoulder blades leant back against outside brick, listening to the ever constant sounds of traffic of a New York evening sometime underneath curfew.

It's gotten sharply cold, today, and that razor edge of chilliness has lasted into the evening. No where near the winter that's coming closer and closer, but a spike downwards with the clouds clearing, taking the pressure off the crush of humidity. Joseph has thrown a jacket over a sweater, jeans and boots and not completely a stand out amongst the patrons that walk in and out of the bar.

And waiting, mostly, distracted. Hands tucked into his arms where they're folded across his midsection, he rests his head against the wall and tries to quell the rising anticipation, completely removed as it is from his mood.

Deckard is late. Not in the sense that they set a precise time for him to show up here, but in the sense he probably could've gotten here sooner. Should have gotten here sooner. He stands out a bit in his cross from street corner to street corner once he's finally appeared, tall, gaunt and scruffed, hands pushed deep into the pockets of his leather jacket against a drop in temperature he was hoping would hold off for a few more weeks.

Upon closer inspection he looks a bit trodden upon, grizzled hair flat in some places and buzzed up into a bristle in others. He smells, too — stale and unshowered and like he might've spilled some beer on himself at some point, though there's none on his breath when he's close enough to look Joseph over from an awkward stop some five or six feet away.

Okay. He's here. Now what happens?

There was a point at which Joseph had started worrying the other man won't come at all, but considering that point had been when he'd first set down the phone— lateness doesn't mean too much. Either way, when Deckard does materialise into his periphery, Joseph is quick to swing his weight off the wall and offer the other man a quick smile. He's nervous. "Hey. Thanks." For showing up. Deckard gets a scan up and down, as if the pastor were checking that all of him were present, unharmed. They've both had better days.

There's the scuff of boots against the pavement, more sound than real movement as Joseph shuffles away from the building. It gets a last glance, and presumably it's filled with patrons, and a Leo and an Abby, and his dog. A decision is made without much delay, Joseph already taking a step.

"Can we walk?"

"…Yeah," says Deckard. He can walk. Joseph can walk. They can walk ~together~, even if his eyes trace over the bar at Sumter's back with something akin to reluctance. Abby's probably in there somewhere.

But! Joseph didn't call him so that he could come brood at Abigail, and on a short delay he nods to confirm his yeah so that he can fall into step a beat behind and beside the pastor to head — wherever they are headed.

Which is no where in particular. Just away. Joseph's steps are not direct or purposeful, an apologetic meander as he tucks his hands into his pockets and spends a few seconds watching the pavement disappear underfoot. Motions are gone through with the same sleepless zombie-like apathy that he's spent the last couple of days enjoying, nervousness sparking and shorting out now that Deckard is actually here.

He doesn't look well, but it would take some study to pick up on, especially beneath the shiftier lights of evening. Voice no longer the burned huskiness with which he'd addressed Deckard in the hospital, Joseph tries; "You took off kind of quick, the other day."

"Yeah," Deckard says again with approximately the same flat affect as before, agreeing without emphasis or feeling while he watches Joseph watch the sidewalk sidelong. There's no nervousness about him in turn, but plenty of undead detachment.

There's an empty space where he could probably stand to elaborate with an explanation or interpretive dance, but he just kind of drags on instead, a second sideways glance measuring the distance to Joseph's near hand with dotted line deliberation before it picks back up onto the street.

Yeah, times two. That can only really get a jerk of nod, Joseph's mouth going into a line when no explanation comes as he negotiates the precipice of whether to push or not. This time, he doesn't, but it leaves him with a nod and a pause that continues on after to be awkward and weighted and underscored by foot falls leading them onwards.

He's quicker to talk, usually, but between a month and the last time he'd seen in the man beneath the ground during the mingling and arguing of Ferry folk— Joseph's mind works at a labourous grind. Finding something — frankly, anything — to say before he has to say what he is supposed to be saying.

Time's up.

Deckard stops first, boot heel dragged and scuffed to a halt and half turn that doesn't quite constitute a rounding necessarily, upon Joseph's walk. They can't have made it more than a block, maybe two, but this smells and Sumter's sick and people don't call him up for jogging company.

So here he is, drawn up to all 6'2" of himself with bristled chin tipped back and chilly eyes more patient than the rest of him looks like it feels they should be. Hands still deep in his pockets, shoulders sloped at a careless angle, he waits.

Joseph isn't slow to react, halting a split second after Deckard does with what is first an uncharacteristically wary flash in his eyes, jaw setting like steel, until just as uncharacteristic patience is met. He rocks a step back and casts out a sigh that doesn't meet air cold enough to make it visible. A hand comes up to rub at his otherwise warm brow. "Sorry. I shouldn't— "

Make excuses, which would only contribute to 'waste your time' anyway. He clips his words before he can bother with it, a dismissive head shake. "I need your help with somethin'. Not your gift. Have you heard of Refrain?"

It's probably a good thing Deckard's hands are still in his pockets or he might have embarrassed himself just now with a rrreach for contact. As things are, he only gets as far as a lift at his left shoulder before clarification bounces off his orange t-shirt and scatters ashy at his boots.

Casual composure retained despite a twitchy knit at his brow, he searches quickly over Joseph's face, tired lines and shadows matched set for set while he tries to find a way to make the subject matter of the request fit onto the face asking about it. He is not — entirely successful, and so there's a beat's pause before he looks over sideways at someone else on the corner who may or may not be eavesdropping and nods.

Here is to hoping they are not eavesdropping. Joseph allows himself a fleeting glance along with Deckard's, and pitches his voice somewhere quieter. The sound of city traffic isn't kind on quiet Tennessean words, but they catch on hearing all the same. "I wouldn't have a clue about where I'd go about findin' it," he states, his voice as level as he can get it. The street name plucked from the inky print of old newspapers also comes with the knowledge that, yes, someone like Joseph is at a loss. He can feel his face warm, though it was already to begin with, just less pallid this time.

His mouth is dry when he continues. "And— I was wonderin' if you might. If you would." Joseph's head is at a slight tilt as he meets Flint's paler gaze, bludgeoning his way through shyer instincts to, say, direct his eyes towards his shoes.

Oh no. Realization is slow in bleeding through the vacant bafflement carved into hard angles and hollows all the way from the level of his brow to the fuzzier frown lines worn in around his mouth. It slacks at his jaw and lets his mouth fall open around an initial response that never sees the light of day, possibly because he's become preoccupied with sizing up the walk/don't walk sign posted somewhere off to his left.

The lift at his grey-patched chin sinks into a tuck against the lift of his jacket collar. It takes some effort to get blue eyes centered and focused clear on Joseph's face again, and still more to clear residual disquiet into hazy neutrality. "Why?"

That's not a yes. Joseph stands helpless for a second, his brow furrowed with an eye line that is less shifty than Deckard's, studious before it rolls up towards the clear sky. Thoughts, emotions, reasons are a tangled mess like blood and intestines and it's just never something you want to spill out, or Joseph doesn't. "Because…" He cuts a rueful smile towards the other man, the heel of his boot scuffing concrete as restlessness swings subtle his leg from the knee down, plants sole against concrete.

"I need it. For a little longer. I'll be able to— figure somethin' out soon. Just— not while I'm staying with Abigail. And I kind of have enough to figure out already." His voice is tense, as if vocal chords were strung tight like an overtuned guitar, and there's even a quiver running through the certainty he's laid on thick. As if his confidence would inspire such in the man standing in front of him.

"Jesus Christ, Joseph," muttered low in the base of his throat, Deckard closes his eyes behind a scrub of a bony hand over his brow. All of his friends are going insane. One at a time, all in a line as accumulated trauma simmers into a rolling boil and spills sloppily out onto the sidewalk. At least in this case, the source of said trauma is pretty readily apparent.

"You need to talk to someone about this."

Someone else, is the implication there, dusky in voice as it is in the haggard drag of Deckard's expression when he looks over Joseph again in full. "I can get it for you, but that's the condition."

Hey, he's heard that tone before. Not from Deckard. Despair does manage to come to the surface, but only in the subtle hints and glimmers that shine out beneath determined stoicism. His hands are returned to his pockets, hands in stiff fists and then— surprise and subtle dismay in equal measures cross Joseph's features. His head ducks, then, before there's the shift of leather against fabric, a wallet taken out of his pocket.

"Maybe I do, but you don't need to," he says, his voice reduced to a murmur. "So— please— don't. Asked you in the first place because I figure— you wouldn't." Joseph's fingers poke into the wallet, close over bank notes that don't yet get extracted.

He wouldn't.

"I won't."

See? There's honesty in curt reassurance, glower subtle as the frustration worn rough in Flint's voice when he holds out a hand in anticipation of the green Joseph's inevitably poking around for in there.

Meanwhile, eye contact has taken a dive off into nowhere, glaciatic glare fixed off sideways and down somewhere on gum studded sidewalk where friendly fire is less of a risk. "Don't worry about it."

Joseph nods mutely, a second of silent study, before the crumpled notes are placed in Deckard's hand to grab. There's enough, more or less, for four syringes, depending on where the man opts to go. "Thank you." He opens his mouth for an extra syllable to escape, but it cuts out as he changes his mind on what more there is to say, or whether or not to clarify exactly what he's thanking Flint for.

Or to apologise, even. Joseph is only distantly certain that an apology might be called for, but instead he finds himself asking, his own voice curt; "How long?"

Deckard doesn't say, 'You're welcome.' He never says it anyway, but there is maybe a hint of pointed emphasis on its absence here. There's a nod in its place, stiff-necked and to the point while he folds crumpled bills over his thumb and makes the exchange over into his own wallet without bothering to count through them first.

"I dunno. A few days. Maybe two. I'll have to find a dealer."

The wallet and both of Joseph's hands are returned to his jacket pockets, taking a step back when one half of this transaction is complete. He nods, slowly, at the answer he gets, never mind the knot of anxiety that twists. Two days is only 48 hours, a time period one can break down into those easy 60 minute slots. Something cynical reminds him Flint had only say maybe two.

"Okay," is what comes out instead. Another step back, and then; "I owe you." An attempt at a smile goes along with the attempt at making some kind of peace.

"For what?" A dry sniff against cold air does little to clear the pressure building up in his sinuses. Wallet tucked away and back straight again, Flint glances back to the sign and back to the space the eavesdropper occupied a few minutes ago, then steps back to start putting some distance of his own in. "Helping you fuck yourself over?"

"Talk to someone. I don't care who."

He shakes his head, a slight and quickly aborted movement, denial squashed down as quickly as it came. There is no point in arguing. Not when Flint could change his mind. Joseph's shoulders square a little as if readying to take the strike which, for all intents and purposes, has already come, smile long vanished.

"I will," he concedes, instead, voice halting. Joseph repeats it, because repetition works; "I will. You're not— " Don't. Another time. "I'll talk to you in a coupla days."

"Okay." Okay, he will. Okay, they'll talk in a couple of days. Okay. Fresh air drawn in steep and held stiff in his lungs, Deckard nods one more time before he turns to make his exit in earnest, more distant than he probably intends to be in the speed with which his attention wanders off elsewhere. Life.

Joseph allows himself a few seconds to stand, an almost blank look fixed and snagged somewhere high on Deckard's back as the man sets off from the corner on which they'd paused. Talk to someone. Right. Eventually, at a heel dragging pace, Joseph backs up, and heads once more for the bar.

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