In-Law Reunion


nataliya_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title In-Law Reunion
Synopsis They're not technically in-laws because Tuck never married her sister, but they're close enough. Nataliya pays her sister's old flame and the father of her nephew a visit. They're birds of a feather.
Date May 19, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

The fun part of running a pawn shop is people drop in at all hours. It's a quiet period when Tuck's latest visitor slips inside the shop proper, dirty baseball cap on her head, steel-toed work boots quietly clomping - if such a thing is possible - on the worn floorboards toward the counter, stopping in front of it. After a moment's hesitation, a familiar voice says, "Tuck."

"Yo. Can I help you?" As usual, the pawnie is at his spot behind the desk at the rear of the shop, bulletproof glass between him and Staten's nastier citizens. He's currently engaged in the very exciting practice of filling out a crossword. Or is it sudoku? He's kind of alternating back and forth between both. He doesn't recognize her right away. Then again, he hasn't really bothered to take a good look. Important crosswords.

That's alright. She's not really into people recognizing her, anyway. Sort of defeats the purpose of lying low. "I'm looking for my brother," she intones quietly in Russian, accent perfect. She places a hand on the glass, leans toward it, adjusts her cap so he can get a clearer look at her face.

Tuck slowly moves his head down, like a curious bird. He looks over the top of his glasses, then through them. His lips twitch. There's a long moment, then, "…Tali?" A beat, and then he claps his hands together and laughs. "Oh my little green apples. She has surfaced." He drops back off the stool and rounds to the door. It takes a little fumbling with the latch of the door, but once it's off, Nataliya finds herself wrapped up in a big bear hug by a short pawnie. "Hey punkin, where you been?"

Nataliya grimaces as she's enfolded in pawnie arms, though she quickly squeezes him back, hard. "You never get my nickname right, you stupid man." She edges back, holding herself stiffly. Containing emotion. "I've been here. Just… quiet." She pauses before adding, "It's good to see you."

"Hey, that's why it's a nickname. No such thing as a wrong nickname." Tuck has not been genuinely happy since he realized Rocket was alive. And that has the bitter aftertaste of his kid not wanting to have anything to do with him. This reunion is better. He didn't have to approach Nataliya like a skittish deer. He squeeeezes until he's fairly sure it's starting to hurt, then releases her. "C'mon, come on back. I've got some coffee on."

He trots to the front of the door and throws a series of locks closed. Staten's like a small town in that way. He's open when he wants to be. "Last time I talked to Dasha she was nearly out of her mind wanting to make sure you were okay. I tried to sniff you out, but I couldn't catch a whiff."

Nataliya glances behind them at the door and falls into step behind him, walking into the back. Coffee? Coffee sounds good. Really good. "The Golubevs looked after me for a short time. I'm sure I shouldn't be poking my head up again at all, but maybe I want another try at beating you at pool, Tucker."

"Ohh, sweetie. Since Staten became a dump, I've had nothin' but time to tighten up my game." Tuck guides her into the back and squeezes her shoulder as they go. As is his style, the place is packed floor to ceiling, but is oddly neat and rather clean. He grabs for a stained, but clean mug with 'I (Heart) New York' on the side and fills it. He hands the mug over and motions to a box of sugar cubes. There's a bar fridge nearby that concievably holds creamer.

"I'm glad you're all right, kiddo." That's how many nicknames in the space of five minutes? Tuck's good at them. He bites the edge of his lip and then blurts out what he was considering saving. "Rocky's alive."

Here's a sign of change in Nataliya; she cracks a grin at the news. "Is he really? Is he here now?" She just assumes the kid's with his father. Oh, silly. She makes herself right at home, plucking up a trio of sugar cubes and plop-plop-plopping them into her mug. "Was he unfortunate enough to get your nose?"

"Ah, no. Nnno." Tuck rubs at his neck. "He…thought I was dead too. After the, you know." Explosion. "He's safe. But he hasn't forgiven me for going to shit after Alexi." He doesn't have to specify 'killed.' He was her father, after all. "Still thinks I'm an addict. Been clean two years. No booze. Just weed and cigarettes." He clears his throat. "He'd be happy to see you."

Nataliya frowns, stirring the sugar into her coffee with the exaggerated care of someone determined, again, to mask emotions. "Two years? What, you don't have one of those little plastic chips you get at the club?" AA. Her tone is… not disapproving. Maybe resentful.

"No AA on Staten, sweets. And I don't get off the island much." Tuck's lips twist into a wry grin as he makes himself up a cup of coffee. "So. Where've you been keeping yourself? Staying out of trouble, I hope? Or at least, you know…the kind of trouble the cops pay attention to."

Nataliya takes her cap off and steps forward to attempt to place it lightly on top of Tuck's head. "No chip, no proof. If he doesn't like seeing you, would he really like seeing me?" She curls both hands around her mug, has a sip, has a wince. "I've been staying out of trouble. You didn't find me after all, did you? I'm staying out of trouble very well. And you? Business is still good."

The hat, unless it's one of those elastic-back ones, just kind of perches on top of Tuck's larger head. Despite creeping up on 40, the hat makes him look almost teen-like. Or maybe a baseball player, depending on the light. "I know you two were never close, but he's been running around thinking everyone's gone." A beat, then, "You should send a message to your sister." Always the same with family. 'You should call more often.' "Business is fine. Doing a rat's work on a sinking ship isn't a bad gig."

"We're all rats now, aren't we?" Nataliya muses, reaching out to tap the cap so it sits at a jauntier angle on his head. "I'll say hello to him, then." She lets a shoulder rise and fall. "Send a message how? You tell her for me."

"Well. I suppose there is that. Not like you can just go visit her at the prison." Not without risking getting arrested herself. It's a risk for Tuck to go, even though he's not very high up anyone's wanted list. It's why he's only made phone calls the last few months. "I'll tell her you're all right next time I talk to her. Let you know before I do." In case she wants to send a specific message. "Or are you just surfacing for air and are gonna disappear again."

He wouldn't blame her, really. But frankly, he'd be happy if she stuck around. "Need a place to stay for now?"

Nataliya turns her face away from him, studying a stack of DVDs and sipping her coffee to buy time before replying. "…I can hardly say hello to Sputnik if I just disappear again, can I? I have a place to stay. I didn't come here looking for help. I don't need it."

No, of course not. No one comes to Tuck for help anymore. He can't really blame them. He proved himself fairly unreliable during the worst of his benders and drug trips. "He's over at the Lighthouse, last I heard. Safe, according to a friend of mine. If you see him around, you can…" a hesitation, "…well, trust is a strong word. He won't shank you in the back. Name's Richard Cardinal."

"He won't? Sometimes I get itchy right between the shoulder blades," Nataliya says with a crooked little smile, so subdued compared to the old days, before Alexi's death. "Richard Cardinal. I'll try to remember that. It can be a tiny little island sometimes. Usually when you least want it to."

"Oh Tali, dear. If you get itchy anywhere there's people on this island with a blade to scratch it." Tuck makes a face after he says that. It's clear he didn't really think that through before he said it. He waves a vague hand. Anyway. Anyway. "Glad you're back, kid. Been worried about you."

"No need to worry about me," Nataliya says, some of the old brashness coming back. "I didn't worry about you. You're like a cockroach, Tucker." How nice. She said it with a smile?

Hell, that's a compliment when you're talking to a criminal. "I did survive nuclear fallout." Though Tuck grimaces rather than smiles. A beat, then "If…you do go see Rocky? At the orphanage? Don't tell him I sent you? He doesn't know that I know where he is. I don't want him to bolt again."

Nataliya turns toward him to give him A Look. "I don't remember Sputnik being retarded, Tucker. I think he might be able to figure it out if I show up at an orphanage."

"Well, there's a difference between him suspecting and you saying 'hi, your dad sent me.'" Tuck rubs at his stubbled cheek. "Sides, the orphanage is where all the spuds on Staten congregate. It's a logical place." Which is why he's kicking himself for not thinking to look there.

Nataliya rolls her eyes some. "Fine. I'll go look for him and say I missed him and wanted to see him. Would you like me to ask where you are to see what he says? I could bring a note. Do you still like your daddy, check yes or no."

Tuck rubs a hand down the side of his face and just looks at Nataliya over the top of his glasses. "Leave it to you to reduce a lot of problematic father/son stuff down to a checkbox," he drawls. "Just…know he might be hostile to you if he knows you don't hate me."

"He might," Nataliya replies, the mischief fading from her dark eyes. "How will that serve him, though? It means I have one less Christmas card to send."

"Cause he's sixteen and pissed at his father for fucking up. And he's been thinking I was dead for the past two years." And Tuck was thinking Rocket was dead. Assuming. Because that was easier. "You were a teenager not that long ago. Since when are the emotions of teenagers logical?"

"True," Nataliya admits, sipping her coffee and nodding. "When I was a teenager, though, I loved my father. And that wasn't even after the world turned upsidedown." She holds up a finger, wiggles it. "Perhaps I will explain this to him."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License