Keeping Contact


satoru_icon.gif ghost_icon.gif

Scene Title Keeping Contact
Synopsis Logan's Angels update one another over tea and bubbles.
Date July 14, 2009


A wee bubble tea cafe.

Chinatown, as usual, is full of shrieking Chinese peddlers selling knockoff bags and watches, real produce, and live chickens. Shrieking grandmothers are probably also to be seen, but Toru has opted to kick back in a slightly less shrill bubble tea cafe. Small, quaint, relatively quiet, it isn't generally very crowded at this time of day either - it's getting on towards supper time for most people, and as the cafe doesn't serve food, well.

So Toru is hanging out in the back of the cafe, leaning against the back of a booth seat, one arm spread along the top edge, the other holding a plastic cup with milky purple tea, teensy black tapioca pearls lurking beneath. Waiting, presumably, for a meeting he isn't sure that he's looking forward to.

Everything is quaint when you are from 2019. It is one of Ghost's most snooty conceits, and he has a lot of snooty conceits; you don't do the things he does without a certain sense of self-entitlement. He is coming in now, a figure recognizable if not intimately familiar, a black jacket pulled on over a like sombre shirt, trousers, sawtoothed boots, a militarily sturdy green canvas bag slung loose over one shoulder.

He does not appear to be particularly surprised to find Toru here, insofar as that his eyebrows don't move as he lopes closer, a choreographed carelessness dropping an audible scuff and shuffle on the floor before instinct and conditioning automatically corral him back into a gait of rolling silence. There's a bruise healing on the back of the ring finger knuckle on his left hand.

"What is that?" he cranes his head over the rim of the booth's tidy little table, slings himself into the seat opposite, limb over long limb. "Blueberry? Taro?"

"Taro." Which is mildly appropriate in that it sounds vaguely like his own name. Taro, Toru. Mix them together and you get a wee fuzzy thing. — Which is beside the point. With a long sip from his comically large straw, Toru swallows some tea and chews contemplatively on a black pearl or two. He looks Ghost over. Raises an eyebrow. Swallows.

"You, uh.. look a little outta place, brah." Somewhat of an understatement; the cafe is rather something out of a girl's afternoon TV series. Lots of pastels; the cushioning on the chairs is a particularly cozy peach. Toru himself isn't much better in raver pants and a hoodie with mock-graffiti'd skulls, but it works better than Western mourning garb and duffel bag.

"So where you been, ar? I couldn't help but notice you kinda disappeared after the Rookery thing." Sip, pointed stare. "Now seems kinda'a crappy time to be abandonin' the post and all, y'know?"

The plastic lamination of the menu clicks audibly against the scrub of gloved fingertips, despite the intervening layer of membrane. He flips the colorful cover up to examine small text and cartoony iconographs under the bright of incandescent light. "I didn't abandon post. You abandoned post.

"Or I guess, you aren't at your master's heel whenever he calls me." There's a light-handed insinuation of something playfully cruel in the curl of his mouth and his choice of words. Not that the ghost is actually fucking Logan, or that he actually thinks Toru would be idiot enough to take offense even if he were, but it's there, the offhand token mockery, play, while he roves the offerings. "Some hipsters wear all black. What the fuck are you talking about?"

We have surely established by now that Toru is the sort to get riled up over anything that can conceivably be taken as offensive, have we not? … And he does grit his teeth a bit at that potential insinuation, but nothing more. If it was another neighborhood, maybe, but he has to live with these people. So.

"You don't know why I wasn't there," Toru notes, but doesn't elaborate. "And you're kinda old to be a hipster, goth, whatever. It looks weird. With the bag. What is that, a murse?" Eyebrow is lifted, tea sipped.

"In any case, you haven't been around lately that I know of. Logan hasn't mentioned it. Something is wrong with him, things are going to shit. You got any idea how messed up you gotta be to have me be the guy tryin' to make you feel better?" He taps his fingers on the table, runs a hand through his hair, sighs, sits a bit more upright. Fidgety. "He's in a pretty crappy state right now."

"Some guy who used to be in the Special Forces gave it to me. Wasn't romantic," Ghost states, dropping his head sideways to study the canvas accessory perched on the seat beside him. "I don't think he'dve been your type anyway. You're one to talk emasculation, boy: size of that straw, this place." Always one to be gentle with the sensibilities of others. It is fortunate, indeed, that Toru does have to live with him. —Or.


A quick order is dispensed at the waitress who clackety-clicks by on wood-soled heels. Just tea, no bubbles, or ostentatiously proportioned sucking implement. "How's John been with you?" he asks, glove-blacked fingers curling on the table. He forgets, perhaps inconveniently, to clarify that this one isn't a dig about anal sex.

"Mr. Logan," Toru corrects oh-so-subtly, "has.. he's havin' a nervous breakdown or somethin'." He shakes his head, looking Ghost over. "Gay jokes, very funny," he adds, as an aside. "Day after all the shit went down I went and got his shit and took it to that hotel in Jersey. He looked terrible. Mighta been drunk. He.. wasn't happy.

"And he still isn't happy." This is an understatement. "He's been.. he just hasn't been bein' Logan lately. I wasn't with him but I guess the other day he went and left some bar cryin'. Comes back and he's bein' more of a dick than usual and I almost threw him out and said hell with this shit." A pause, there, as he contemplatively sips his drink. Looks across at Ghost, scratches the back of his own neck. "Not that he ain't usually a dick but he don't usually try and go shovin' away people he might need later."

Somehow, Ghost manages to swallow the urge to laugh despite that he doesn't have a beverage on hand to soothe it down. No bitter pill, at any rate. Huruma's probably giving herself asspats, somewhere out there. He looks up, momentarily pausing the conversation when the waitress brings him his beverage in a white ceramic cup.

Says Thanks, asks for the check, not because he's leaving but because he wants to able to do so with a clean conscience if he does. He has a lot of trouble with that conscience of his, you know— "You don't have a lot of illusions about the kind of guy you're rolling over for, do you?" he asks, dark brows laddering up his forehead, faintly incredulous, or a parody of a fond elder's concern. "You're too young to be talking like that.

"Doesn't seem like you're enjoying his mood swings, but I take it you didn't let him shove you away."

"I'm just hopin' he'll get over it, and do you really— " Toru stops there, giving a look around to make sure nobody's listening, lowers his voice a tick. "Do you think maybe you could can it with the jokes, man? It ain't none of your business, for one thing, and for another.. … well fuck, it ain't none of your business." So there.

"Anyway. Yeah, I know he's an asshole, I think anyone who's met him knows that, yo." Leaning back again, he resumes sipping his drink — his own is in a tall to-go cup, mildly ironic given that he, too, isn't actually going anywhere. "And maybe I like that. The guy's pretty much the closest thing to a friend I have and it's nice havin' somebody around who don't think you're horrible for what you like to do."

He's being rather noticeably, though not necessarily intentionally vague on whether he's referring to bedroom practices or less carnal activities. "He said somethin' about realizin' he doesn't know where he is or how he got there and I'm kinda worried the guy's growin' a conscience or somethin'."

This is categorically hilarious. Logan, that is. Not Toru being disconcerted at the ghost making light of his private business— the dissuasion of which he concedes with a small movement of his head, acknowledgment. "Not that I found you drooling in a bucket of misery the other w— not my business." He puts his hands up. Surrender. Grins, shows teeth: a shit-eating grin that fades to serious in a beat, a breath outgoing, taking the squared corners from his shoulders with it.

"Worried the guy's growin' a conscience?" he repeats, in a better facsimile of seriousness, this time. Ghost's dark-haired head tilts on its axis, as a falcon twitches orange orbs and the wicked hook of its bill to study a twitch of underbrush or a blink of gray fur through it. "Ah, right. You like that he's an asshole. Whatever sates your tragic self-loathing, amico. It doesn't sound like it's improved on his capacity to fuck with you, at least—" and he does mean fuck with. "So I wouldn't be too worried about coming up short on opportunities to bleed on his knives.

"Yeah, you found me. I didn't go foistin' my business off on you, you came lookin' for it. I ain't askin' for your pity." Granted, he was then, but not so much now. "I don't go askin' you who you're banging and you don't gotta make fun of me." Though no doubt Ghost, and everyone else, has noticed that doing so never seems to get Toru to run away. He just cries more; perfect victim.

"So anyway yeah. It isn't that so much as how if he gets all good guy on me then he's probably gonna start thinking I'm awful and you think I wanna have him abandon me too?" Fidgeting around a bit, the boy folds his arms on the table, leans back, folds his arms behind his head, leans forward, and settles his hands on the edge of his seat. He'd kick his legs, if there was space.

"Weren't you tellin' me a couple weeks ago that the bigotry shit is kinda rude?"

Tea washes into Ghost's mouth easy, worked down by the bob of his Adam's apple. If it's too hot, he doesn't let it on; if it's utterly delicious, he doesn't bother manifesting his delight, either, his momentary expression of speculative introspection fading out after he lifts his eyes from the dark mirror of the drink's surface.

"I can't remember," he admits. "I wouldn't put it past me. I'm not a bigot, though. I just find your bad self-esteem annoying. I have the compulsion to scratch at it until calluses grow in. I get impatient. It's a flaw of mine.

"I do understand that makes me an asshole— self-awareness doesn't exculpate me, it inculpates me." Toru keeps company with all sorts of monsters these days, it seems. This one seems less inclined to sharpen his claws on him, but just as indifferent to the effort of pulling his punches. There's a protracted moment's quiet, then, as he studies the Asian kid's face with beatific quiescence presiding his own. "Maybe you should meet more people."

Ghost is watched quietly, bobbing Adam's apple regarded in a way that leads Toru to rub his own neck, in a self-conscious sort of fashion. He catches himself doing that and looks away a moment, just in time for his eyes to sort of glaze over as Ghost gets all philosophical. Ultimately he does latch on to one set of words he gets, and remarks, "You think I have low self-esteem so you figure the way to help out with that is to be a dick. Brilliant strategy, genius."

If they were outside, he'd spit, but as it is, he contents himself with sucking up a few tapioca pearls and chewing on them impudently. Talk of culpation is similarly blown over his head. "It ain't that easy to meet people on Staten and here it's hard t'tell what kinda people you're gonna run into. Last few people I've met've either been cops or sent chicks to beat the shit out of me or just been crazy or—" Well.

Frown. He looks off to the side, shakes his head. "It ain't that I don't figure I can do better, I just don't figure I should lose what I got for speculations that might not pan out."

Tea is manly according to Britain. Which isn't the most manly island that the Sicilian can think of~ frankly, but still, it's no skin off his nose primly drinking herbal seepage over the rim of immaculate porcelain drinkware.

Mouth thusly occupied, he smiles with only his eyes when Satoru says that stuff. His eyes are the only real token resemblence to his true face, a washed out white-blue like chipped ice, ever at odds with warmth in any sense of the term. "I figure when you find some sense of self-worth, you'll congeal enough backbone or pulled up the balls to object."

There's a quaver-beat's pause, considering, brow wrinkling a brief squint, before a smile shoots across his face, bright. "Which I guess this is. Maybe we should toast." He doesn't toast. "Okay," he says, then. "Makes sense to me. People I was going to suggest you talk to aren't going to make you bleed at a lesser rate, anyway. Logan sure as fuck needs someone at his back anyway."

Toru doesn't toast; instead, he raises an eyebrow, regarding Ghost coolly for a moment. He leans forward, folds his hands together, forearms leaning on the table between. "I don't really see why you'd have any reason to have me talk to anyone in particular anyway, unless you're trying to whore me out or something." Slow, deliberate words. "And that's weird." He nods once, crisply, and taps his hands on the table.

"I may be working for Mr. Logan, but he has other employees than that kind, which I figure you know so I dunno if this is setup for some kinda joke." Paranoia, much? "But I mean, I may not be great at helpin' him out but once Logan's back to not being as much of a dick, I figure I can deal with him being one for now.

"…And speaking of which, what the fuck is going on with you, anyway? Do you still work with us or did you run off when the place burnt down? One of the problems we got here is Logan thinks everybody's abandonin' him." He frowns, there, and takes a moment to pick at dirt beneath his fingernails, contemplatively. "I mean, it's kinda sad when I'm the guy who's tryin' to lift yer spirits, y'know?"

"I still work for him," Ghost answers, flexing his fingers around the curvature of ceramic. "The main difference between you and I is that he thinks I may actually be dangerous to him— and that's a big fucking difference. He isn't going to lean on me like he leans on you. Ever.

"You should lap up his codependency while it lasts. I'll be around when there's work and pay. Those are the terms of our agreement, and John isn't going to ask for more than that now he's shrinking from shadows and wringing his hands or whatever the fuck." The stiff goes out of his spine, a momentary, ginger experiment at laziness. Lasts all of about two seconds before military self-discipline prods him upright, disconcerted by the distinct conviction that he just extricated himself from the cold, chalky grip of sleep.

"Right, because this isn't work." Though there is no pay involved. "I maybe just wanted to see if he was justified in thinkin' that. That one girl's gone, I guess Mu-Qian's done with 'im, I dunno what's up with Eloni, I think the guy's actually lonely. Which is kinda.." He flaps his wrist briefly, but doesn't actually say gay. "Drinkin' a lot, going out a lot, talking to people, I dunno.

"And I ain't really been sleepin' with him since he started being an asshole, since you like to bring that up. I'm letting him crash at my place 'cause he doesn't really got anyplace else to go. Job security suggests I oughtta help out and make sure I'm gonna keep havin' a job, even if I ain't gettin' paid right now."

He sips his tea, and smirks a bit overly wryly. "Knowin' that I'm makin' a difference in helpin' some poor guy stay off the streets is all the payment I need, am I right?"

Oh for God's sake. Ghost rolls his eyes up at the ceiling, lets his axis fall back against the chair with proper weight of feeling, this time, not precisely slumping back but being as emphatic about the shift in posture as he was in maintaining his earlier one. "I'm a dick. You said I was a dick.

"I don't think he needs my company right now, and you don't seem like you like me, so him in all his delicacy of rose would hardly appreciate knowing I was around. On the best of days, I come off like something people with feelings should try to stay a couple walls or miles away from.

"I can drop by some time, if you think it would be a good idea," Ghost leans over, claims a straw out of the cup at the end of the table with a swift thumb and forefinger. Stirs his tea. "But a guy's got to eat, and if Logan isn't paying, there are other people who will."

"Well, just 'cause you're a dick doesn't mean I can't still wonder if you still work there!" 'There' not actually referring to a concrete location, but. Toru shakes his head with exasperation. "We're all dicks, dude, you'd think you'da figured that out. I just wanted to know how many people were on the list of who-all ain't comin' back. I don't need you stoppin' by my place."

Angry tea-sip, pearl-crunch, his drink's just about done with anyway and they always put too many bubbles at the bottom. "Maybe I'm just young and dumb but I got some sens'a loyalty to my boss, y'know." You know, the same guy who spends half his time making fun of him, did that whole questionable-forced-sex thing and is currently sleeping in his bed thinking he's too good for the place. That guy. "But I guess since I ain't dangerous that means I don't get to be as relaxed about it, huh?" Sarcasm, there.

"I'd probably like you more if everyone I ever met didn't think they had to be a giant asshole to me, ar. What're you doin' in the meantime?" He shifts suddenly back to that previous line of thought with scarcely a flinch.

Incredulity bears some resemblence to annoyance on Ghost's face, etched in around the dark bars of brows and the severity of his mouth. "I work for money.

"Loyalty and the other butthurts that Mu-Qian and Bebe might be trying to get over aren't really — well, you're young and dumb." A flash of tooth, a bar of perfect enamel across the middle of his face, grinning, fiercely, before Ghost deigns to enough grace to put his scary faces away. Swallows another mouthful of tea, and turns his head to study the neck of a waitress walking by, pushing her fingers through the black tassel of her ponytail.

"You'd probably meet fewer people who think they have to be a giant asshole to you if you met more people," he points out, brightly. "Working on other projects.

"Phoenix and Humanis First! and shit," he clarifies after a beat's pause spent tracking the locale for eavesdroppers. No doubt, he is only as frank as he is confusing. "This body I lifted used to belong to a kid who was with the former. What are you doing? Just living off your savings and whatever?"

In mid-sip, Toru would almost choke on his tea with that admission if not for well developed gag reflex the presence of mind to keep instincts from flaring up. "You're a fuggin'— " Pause, breathe. "— ain't that kinda contradictory? Since apparently you're Evolved," this too said after a quick glance around, "— ain't it kinda against your self-interest workin' for the shitheads? Or is this another one of your dick pranks?"

That term could be taken wrongly, possibly, but he doesn't bother correcting himself. "Used to have a job runnin' shit around town, I figured I'd stop by sometime and see if they'll take me back for a couple days a week. I got savings, I got an overprotective ma, it's all good." Shrug. "And like I said before, pretty much everyone I've met in the city's tried to kill me or somethin', it's safer on Staten but it ain't really worth the trip."

Despite that Ghost probably wouldn't be entirely contrary to the prospect if it suited his particular agenda of the day, in his diary, under 'Goals,' this time he is capable of offering Toru a reasonable facsimile of comfort in perfect sincerity. "I'm not working for Humanis First!, the work I'm doing just involves them.

"It's complicated," he says, not in the dismissive tone with which somebody who knows better would speak to someone who is rather dense, but it is probably difficult for Satoru to note the distinction anyway. Perhaps unwisely or rudely, Ghost doesn't bother citing confidentiality or tactical silence as his reasons.

Wisdom and good manners aren't really his thing, anyway. For example: "Seriously? You still mooch off your mom?"

Of course Satoru, on the other hand, doesn't really care that much anyway. "I don't mooch off her, she offers to help. She's all worried about me 'cause I moved out like right outta highschool and…" There he stops, waves a hand dismissively. "I don't go askin' her for help, anyway, she just kinda shoves it at me. She's a mom. You're like what, fifty?" Point with straw. "I mean, I dunno if yer ma was like that, but maybe you don't remember what it was like to have one wanna pamper you'n shit."

That isn't quite intended as a sick burn, he really isn't all that great at judging ages, and people older than him tend to have their ages exaggerated anyway. "Anyway so, what, you're a friggin' terrorist then? That's, uh.." He rubs the back of his head and neck, leans back and lets out a small sigh. "I guess that's kinda cool, I dunno. Kinda weird, I didn't figure you for that kinda guy."

It is a sick burn even if it wasn't intended as one! Ghost misses his old face. This sucks. A scowl carves down in his forehead, an as yet unprecedented flare of genuine annoyance, stung vanity. He grunts, expressive as anything, shifts a hooded glance away, out into the bright of day outside the doorway.

How cool it is to be a terrorist isn't too comforting, given he isn't really a terrorist anymore. "Phoenix aren't terrorists.

"They're a troupe of little post-teenaged civil rights activists who are courteous enough to wait for people to shoot at them before they shoot back. I don't really fit in so good, but." A smile sharpens the corners of his eyes, sinks crow's feet into the edges of features distinguished by artificially induced age. "They're damn good kids. Accomplish more than most people tend to think. It's good to have contacts," Ghost adds, as if he thinks this is something that Satoru would be wise to remember.

Well, 'cool' was meant more in the 'okay' sense in this particular case; not so much 'awesome' or 'totally sweet'. "Well, y'know," Toru shrugs. "Media goes on about them being terrorists 'n shit, I don't really care enough to go huntin' 'em down to find out for sure either way, yo." He sucks up a tapioca pearl contemplatively, looks Ghost up and down — at least, as much of him as he can see above table level. Hrm.

"So, what, are you the guy who goes putting daisies in the gun barrels, then?" He can kind of picture this in a bizarre sort of way. "You kinda make it sound like… like they're a scrappy gang of do-gooders or somethin'. Scooby Doo types. I guess someone has to keep the Mystery Machine runnin'." Of course, he doesn't realize that he spent rather a significant time with a prominent member of the group … though if he had, the Scooby joke would probably have come sooner rather than later.

In any case, as he sips at his drink, the straw makes that scrapey noise they make when there isn't much liquid to suck up, and that means it's almost time to go. "This has been a totally bonzer talk and all, homes, but I should probably go take care of some errands and shit before my roommate starts cryin' 'cause he's lonely. Anything you want me to pass on when I see 'im?"

Daisies in the what? Not a phrase that Ghost is particularly familiar with, or clear on, and he suspects that pursuing the truth of the matter would not yield ecastatic results. Seeing as how he is, disappointingly, neither awesome nor totally sweet.

"Right," he says, abruptly feeling deeply-acquainted with his age, even if technically he's gone backward in time and it's Toru's references which are outdated. Nobody says 'bonzer' in 2019. To be fair, Ghost isn't sure that anyone else really says 'bonzer' in 2009 either, but— "Okay.

"Remind me he has my number, and Linderman's?" There's a brief flare of gloved fingers, of a wave incipient farewell.

"Yeah, he was talking about some Linderman guy. I dunno." A shrug, and he stands, shoving one hand into his pocket, the other picking up empty cup. Must be conscientious about cleaning up our surroundings!! "Half the people he talks about I ain't really heard of 'cept for people just droppin' names, I dunno what the fuck."

Now that he's actually standing, he realizes a need to stretch relaxed limbs, pulls his hands over his head and does so with a grunt. Hand replaced in pocket, cup tapped on the edge of the table idly a moment. Sort of like he wants to say something more before going, but ultimately.

Ultimately, he contents himself with a vague sort of, "But yeah, I'll— bring it up. He'll probably 'preciate knowin' I'm not the only person what's stickin' around once he gets on his feet, anyway." He brings the cup's straw to his lips, sucks up one last tapioca pearl, and starts to walk off, tossing the cup in a nearby trash can as he goes. "Later, homes."

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