bolivar_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Pity
Synopsis The amount of jerk at the Nite Owl reaches critical mass. Or, two former co-workers catch up.
Date December 2, 2008

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

Winter just hurts. Especially with Fel's illness. Like those hares who shed their brown coats in favor of white in the cold season, Felix adapts, albeit….badly. He gets more and more grim and gaunt, and coming up on Christmas, he's sunken-eyed and thin-lipped, spidery fingers wrapped around a mug of coffee like it's an anchor. There's a mostly untouched sandwich shoved off to the end of the table like he's done with it. At the moment, there's no paperwork on the table - he's gazing absentedly out the plateglass windows at the few passersby.

The burnt man doesn't go past the window because he's coming through the door from the other way. There are two dogs at his heels, one vast Shepherd whose black saddle and broad shoulders probably have the strength to carry a human toddler and a Welsh spaniel whose curls bounce slightly as she walks, evincing a sense of youth that's as much a contrast to her companion as the absurd disparity in their size. Bolivar is taller, of course, but not by much— his childhood curse. They are docile. Remarkably so, and their presence elicits no comment from the Nite Owl's staff, which probably says more about their owner than his nondescript dress. He picks a booth without realizing who's facing him directly in the next one.

Doesn't let on the surprise, of course; he merely frowns, while his fuzzy companions seat themselves with a clinking like change. "Gringo. You look like you just got out of Auschwitz. What the fuck?"

Fel snaps back into reality rather belatedly, favoring Bolivar with an owlish stare. "What?" he says, hands convulsing around the coffee mug in his startlement. "I…..oh, hey. Rodriguez-Smith," he says, as if confirming the name to himself. Absolutely no comment on the burns. No need to ask. "You didn't used to be with K-9, right?" he prompts. It's awkward - NYPD doesn't like Feds, in a general way, and Fel wasn't all that popular even when he was just a vanilla detective. "I'm just thin," he adds, lamely.

"No. I didn't used to be with K-9," Bolivar answers, repeating enough of the sentence back to the other man to imply there was something wrong with the way it was asked. There wasn't, if you like small talk. And Rodriguez-Smith doesn't, generally. Nor does he particularly like Feds, or the PD anymore, for that matter. The sandwich on Felix's plate, however. Pale eyes go dark as he nods his head down at the plate he can barely see above the top of the next seat. "You're also wasting money, food, and a booth, for the list of other ways you're coming up short," he points out, dryly. "If you're not going to eat that, pass it to Logan Rose? She likes chicken." He reaches over to put his hand on top of the spaniel's head. The spaniel in question points her nose in Felix's direction.

Felix's lip curls in something that would almost be a smile, though it borders on a sneer. 'Sure," he says, affably enough. Got a soft spot for pups, apparently. He motions tentatively at the dog.

The dog tentatively rises to her feet, her pink toe-pads patting the tile with a sound exactly like a scrappy, unshod child's would. She doesn't move forward until Bolivar finishes unlatching the leash from the back of her head and murmurs a word of command. Or reassurance; from this distance, it's hard to tell. The dog then trundles forward, the great ostrich feather of her tail bobbing brown and white behind her.

As far as Bolivar is concerned, there is no ice to be broken. There are only dogs to be fed and an incipient cough starting in his throat; emerges only when the waitress comes by to take his order. Stew and bread. This is after the marijuana munchies have set in, too: he isn't a heavy eater, but he isn't one to waste, either. He doesn't give the woman a smile, and hers had had a look of rote about it: Bolivar has come here before. Without comment, he watches the spaniel take the pieces after a hesitant sniff, her muzzle filling the hollow of Fel's hand even when there is neither salt nor protein left to take from it.

Felix ruffles her ears affectionately, speaking to her in the same infantile Russian he'd use to a little girl, praising her prettiness and her good manners. "How old is she?" he wonders, looking up from the dog to eye the battered human again.

"Three," Bolivar answers, monosylabically, before he calls out: "That's enough, Rosie. Come here." It's subtle, the shift in his tone between addressing dog and Fed; complicated by warmth to the former, every word simplified like steel when put to the latter. Despite visible reluctance, the spaniel obeys, her curls brushing Felix's fingertips as she circles back and wanders to her master's side. The shepherd sniffs her ear pleasantly. "She isn't a pup anymore, and needs to learn that," he says, half by way of explanation and half to continue his previous train of thought. "I'm sure in Communist Russia, the rookies haze you, but that isn't really how it works here."

That earns Bolivar a little wheezing laugh. "I know," he says, a little more warmth in his own tone, as the waitress brings him a serving of what looks like pecan pie. "She just a pet, or is she a cop, too?"

Left to wait for his food, Bolivar puts his hands in the pockets of his coat. The brown of the fabric makes him look a little less pale, appealing to the underlying olive he had inherited from his mother. "If she was a pet, I'd let you baby-talk her all you want," he lies straightforwardly. "She's the rookie. We're going in together. Her first tour, my second." His eyes brighten, flatten, then sharpen again. "You're not the best face they could put on the mission. I'm beginning to wonder what the Hell I was thinking — besides, 'I need a fucking salary.' Rough week at work?"

Fel flicks a brow up at that. "Try a rough few months," he says, dryly, taking a tentative bite of the pie. Someone's gotten superpicky about hisfood, it'd seem. "I haven't seen you in years. Not since I got shot and left for the Bureau."

"I remember," Bolivar says. The rough months, the bullet. Not so much Felix's eating habits: those, he had not paid much attention to, ever. "The boys were impressed by the FBI's qualifications exam. Get shot, get in. If they weren't all sulking, jealous asshats wondering why it wasn't them who got to move out of the judicial trailer park, I'd probably remember more of what they said. There were some pretty funny lines. I got bombed," he divulges, frank as the weather. He removes one hand from his pocket and indicates the ruined side of his head where it disappears into the collar of coat. Ironically, the pointing finger itself is raw in the grain of its skin, distorted like mauled bacon, itself. "It put me out of work for two years," he says, dropping it back to his pocket.

Felix's lips stretch into one of those humorless grins. Man, being a Fed hasn't exactly loosened him up, has it? They have reputation for being empty suits, anyhow. "Yeah, tell me a-fuckin'-about it," he says, a hint of his old Brooklyn accent in evidence. He nods at the wounds. "I'm sorry," he says, more quietly. "But seems like you're back in the saddle."

Bolivar's gaze swivels to the right when the waitress comes with his order. He inclines his head in acknowledgment and forgets entirely to thank her. "Your pity is wasted here," he assures the other man, in a reasonable facsimile of generosity. Except, you knww, not really. "You look like you're about to fall off yours in a pile of piss and sick, senor." Though, to be fair, it would be more unkind if it weren't true.

"I don't know that pity's involved," Fel says, drily, eyeing Bolivar somewhat askance. "And looks are deceiving, happily. I'm fine, for every useful value of the word."

Now-dark, Bolivar's eyes narrow around something that might be construed as a smile. "You should probably figure that out before you piss a guy off then, eh?" he inquires beatifically. He takes up the lobe of bread with his hands, scarred and unmarked fingers working in mismatched concert to pull it apart above the bowl of stew. Steam rises from the dish, warming fingers that had failed to acknowledge the cold.

Felix just snorts at him, and shakes his head. Apparently being panfried by radiation hasn't improved Bolivar's temper. He takes a few more bites of the pie and leaves it, pulling his wallet out of his coat.

"Enjoy your health, Ivanov," Bolivar says, going on the reasonable assumption that the Fed is preparing to leave. That might be snide, passive-aggressive, or sincere; nothing on the man's face or manner gives indication of which, while he dips bread into stew and pauses to crane his head over and let the bigger dog blunt her nose on his cheek.

"What I have, I do enjoy," Fel says, with utter aplomb, even as he puts his hands down on the table to lever himself up and out of the booth, having left tab and tip on the scratched formica. "Good luck," he says, rather obliquely, as he shrugs on his coat.

Straightening, Bolivar accepts utter aplomb with a characteristic grimace. Which he directs, mainly, at the pecan pie abandoned on the table virtually untouched. He acknowledges the well-wishes with a laugh, short and sincere, inclining his head in salutation once before he starts his own meal with due diligence.

December 1st: See SCOUT Flirt
December 1st: Matters of Security
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