Old Dogs


deckard_icon.gif felix4_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Dogs
Synopsis Can be convinced not to tear each others throats out on sight if sufficiently brain-addled and careworn.
Date January 10, 2011


It's a crisp 26 degrees Farenheit outside, quiet and clear, January skies pitched velvety black over the foggy remains of The Rookery. Snow clotted grey across the curb mingles with steam churning from vents in the street and worn out heating units, damp bricking and concrete slick with ice between scattered patches of salted walk.

Flint is alone on the sidewalk outside of Shooters. The way he usually is when he creeps into bars on the fringes of New York's night life, leather jacket bunched scuffed and brown around his shoulders while he smokes. A cigar, not a cigarette, oily smoke kicked out thick between his fingers when he levers the stogie away long enough to scuff at his nose.

It is no doubt a measure of Mr. Nikolaievich's persistent stupidity that Felix is here at all. But he's walking along the sidewalk with something almost like a swagger. He's got a worn greatcoat on, something purchased at some military surplus outlet, and a black watchcap to cover his nearly shorn scalp. No glasses, not anymore. New lines around his eyes - he looks his age and more. His pace slows when he nears Shooters, pausing to ponder the door. Been a long, long time since he was here.

Of all the dives on Staten, for Deckard, this is one of the more familiar. They know him by two names but they've never called the cops. He tips like he should tip. Smokes outside when they ask him to smoke outside. Doesn't puke on the floor.

Greying hair scruffed into short-shorn disorder and stubble-collection grizzled on the last leg of a comeback after he shaved it off for Christmas, Flint's buzzily relaxed and so slow to turn his long face after the approach of another customer. Either one of them could be anyone out here; the street lamps are weak and shadows are long.

Then Flint turns his eyes on to get a better look, electric blue ringing out stark under the hood of his brows. Which knit.

He knows that idiot's skeleton all too well. That bullet that used to hang like a little star along his spine is gone. But the pattern of healed fractures, down to the foot he tried to restore himself, they're familiar. The heart, too - the leisurely throb picks up, faster and faster, to something that looks almost spastic. The gun, too, that rides at the back of his hip, a malevolent steel gleam. But Fel doesn't go for it. They are….even, after all, though it may be a childish way to view it, tit for tat. Murder and healing. The Russian lifts his chin, eyeing Deckard as if not at all sure how wary he should be.

Coyote in the headlights, Flint tenses back in on himself, shoulders drawn into a bristly barbed wire hunch and vertibrae coiled down tight. His teeth don't show but the impression is there all the same, cigar forgotten in its smoldering set between index and middle fingers. He hasn't reached for his gun either, but more in the way that a duelist hasn't twitched to draw just yet.

Jesus Christ. Not this again. It shrills along his nerves, fight or flight in that overwhelming cascade, no more conscious volition than a grayhound loosed on that track's plastic rabbit. But the memory of Abby is enough to have him lift his hands, slowly, that ancient gesture of peaceable intent. Which Flint might well take advantage of, recreating that previous smoking hole through the former Fed's wizened little heart.

Deckard's own heightened rate of respiration filters warm air thin through his sinuses while he watches, heart pumping through adrenaline at a sluggish pace in relative terms only. There's nothing forgiving in the unholy bore if his glare through muscle and blood, dislike deeply instinctive for all that multiple overwrites have muddied precise recollection of the hows and whys. A fine adjustment of focus accounts for both of Felix's hands being raised and still he stands there motionless, unwilling to turn his back long enough to scrabble tooth and talon into the night.

Which is, some might argue, a step above attempted murder.

"I'm not going to shoot you," Fel's voice is calm, even. "I'm not going to try and arrest you. I owe Abby way too fucking much, and she's still got her wing over you, I think." His hands remain lifted and splayed, bones matchstick fragile to Flint's vision.

"She's married."

Flint's voice sounds like it's worn deeper since Felix heard it last. More smoking. More misery. More life lived.

A reason for sharing does not occur to him immediately. It just sort've gets out there. An honest non-sequitor. Maybe he doesn't think she is a good enough reason not to fuck him over under the circumstances, but the source of it doesn't sound like a challenge or even mistrust.

Just some shit that's happened.

An irregular twitch and flick of his eyes fleetingly further down the street segues over into a lift of the cigar back to his mouth, and he finally rocks into the first wary step of a retreat.

"I know. I question her wisdom in that, but her damnfoolery is more often than not the reason I am still here," Felix's tone is ….oddly comfortable. He slips his hands into his pockets, slowly, to warm them, rather than going for any kind of weapon. "What is it you did with the Company?" he wonders, putting his head to one side, a gesture oddly like one of Eileen's birds.

"Paperwork." Grim honesty again, after hardly any pause. This time with an even stupider truth on a subject he hasn't talked about much to anyone.

Flint blinks dimly at himself a beat later, mentally disoriented. Or at least off balance. "Friendly fire on my first mission and they stopped clearing me for field duty."

There's one of those explosive little laughs, a literal scoffing. "God," he says, with a shake of his head. "How'd they get you? You have too much sense to sign on for ideology." The firmament cracks, the heavens shake and fall, Felix has paid Flint a sincere compliment.

This is a surreal conversation to be having with anyone. Least of all Felix Ivanov.

Foggy breath mingled with a slack loop and fade of off-white smoke, Flint hedges distantly after the prospect of explaining the bits and pieces of the partial story he does know. "I dunno," he says at length. Vague. Breathing slowed down into a lazy pull and push of ribs slatted under the zip of his jacket, eyes still spectral blue against low orange light. "I killed some people. Woke up there one day."

Surreal it is. But then, the relationship between these two has always been that way, when it's not directly bloodily vicious. "They just grabbed you? What hold do they have on you?" Watch out, Flint, Felix may decide to be quixotic on your behalf. Or more directly malicious.

"They tried to fix me." Reticent as ever even in halfass explanation, Flint answers without any real change in tone. No cynicism or resentment. The slant of his shoulders has even slacked into some semblance of easy lassitude, cigar at the corner of his mouth drooped for all that his eyes stay zeroed in on chilly target.

He doesn't laugh. Doesn't even snort. There's a twitch of his lips, t hough. Good fucking luck on that one. "Did they succeed?" There's genuine curiosity in his voice, and no hint of archness.

To The Company's credit, Deckard thinks about it. Overlarge ears ajut on either side of the thuggishly short sheer of his wiry hair, he turns the prospect over under the hard case of his skull for a long beat of silence before he shakes his head and flicks the stub of his cigar hard down into the street. No.

Fel shakes his head, hands still in his pockets. "Why did you heal me?" he asks. "I haven't had a chance to ask you, not that I remember. You scared the hell out of me, waking me up in that hospital bed…."

No answer this time. Both hands and the flat line of his mouth free, Flint stares Felix down like a resentful mutt, rangy arms long and legs longer. Save for the addition of a few fresh scars around the side of his face and some thickness gained through his neck and chest, he looks roughly the same as ever. Shitty. Inebriated. Etc.

A fresh scan of his glare from head to toe is probably in search of a badge to go with that gun. Then he's stepping away. Presumably to leave.

Fel doesn't press, beyond a lurching half-step forward. No badge gleams in his wallet. None to be seen, anyhow. Frontline's a very different animal, after all. The Russian cants his head, patiently, but neither advances nor retreats, beyond that.

In the absence of pursuit, Flint plies one last wary look after his odds of spending the night picking lead out of his own back. Then he takes off in earnest, hands burrowed deep into his jacket pockets and shoulders hunched against the cold.

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