Trading Future Favours


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Scene Title Trading Future Favours
Synopsis Now that things have gone to hell, Felix looks up an old contact on Staten Island and enlists his help to keep an ear to the ground. Tuck isn't sure whether it's worth it to help the Fed.
Date February 8, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

It's not always that Tucker's Pawn Shop closes promptly at midnight. But things've been slow lately. The lowlifes and thieves can come back in the morning. The doors to the front are locked, the security system is armed and Tuck moves into the back room to watch a little TV, smoke a joint and pick over a bag full of junk he got sold earlier to see if there's anything good.

Certain people know to come around the back way. Thieves, for one, but also employers and cops. No one else would dare creep around into the pitch black, used needle filled alley unless they knew there was a door back there. There's only a faint light to illuminate the tightly barred door, but there is a bell.

Fel's got one of those little LED flashlights in his palm. He's not dressed in his usual suit, but instead dark jeans, watchcap, long-sleeved t-shirt, and boots. In better condition than most folks in that hellhole. He's also got a dark canvas jacket on, his Walther tucked in its pocket. He presses the bell once, and turns his face up to the security camera. Honey, I'm home.

There's the usual delay one would expect when faced with a secret back door. But Felix should be rest assured that his bell was heard. The zoom of the camera above whirrs and moves slightly to get a better look at who's come to call.

There's a delay of a few minutes, then the sound of a heavy metal bar being removed. The door swings open and Tuck stands, backlit, with plastic glasses on his face, a joint between his lips, clad in a thin, dark blue sweater and a pair of light blue jeans. "Well well. Privet." Though he doesn't seem particularly enthused. FBI agents are never welcome vistors. He rocks back and leaves the door open and rather carelessly covers a few things up with blankets and random jackets. Illegal merchandise, no doubt. But if Felix hasn't arrested him for petty theft yet, he doesn't imagine he's going to start now. "Shut the door."

Petty theft. Oh, that's so beneath him. Happily. Fel sidles in, clicking off the flashlight, and favoring Tuck with a jackal's grin. «Good evening,» he says, pulling off his hat to expose brown hair in disarray. He snorts at the token effort to spare his innocent eyes. «Don't worry,» he adds, amused. «I'm not here for your little gewgaws. What I do hope is that we can resume our old arrangement.»

"Look…man, stop…stop with the Russian. I'm not entirely fluent, less so after some of…" Tuck looks down at the joint in his hand, then up at Felix with a half-shrug. "I read you were dead. Poured a drink out for you and everything," a beat, "You owe me six bucks." He walks past Felix to move over the heavy metal bar that both seals people out and them both in. He wanders over to drop onto a ratty chair. "Oh yeah? Thought the cops'd given up on Staten?"

"I was dead. Terrorists shot me," Felix says, sunnily, stuffing the cap into his coat pocket. "What I was saying….how do you feel about resuming our old arrangement?" He quirks an eyebrow interrogatively, offers that grin again - lopsided and sly.

"How do I feel? How do I fucking feel? Ivanov. If you're here, if you're smiling at me like that? I don't have a choice, do I?" Tuck snorts. "Don't patronize me into making me feel like I do. Gimmie a little respect, would ya?" He kicks a foot up on the table. The smoke from the joint hangs hazy in the air. It's vaguely offered towards Felix, but he's not expecting a reply in the positive, so he prepares to snuff it out.

Felix waves it away, though it might as well be an ordinary cigarette, for all the reaction he shows. "You can refuse me," Fel says, in apparent earnest. "I'm not here in jackboots to dragoon you into something unwillingly."

"Oh come on," says Tuck with a low, long drawl of those words. He's smiling, but that's the fault of the drugs. "Why the fuck would I want to help you if there wasn't something in it for me? Or to keep me out of something? Talking to cops around here isn't the smartest of ideas, wouldn't you say?"

Felix lets his eyes half-lid, in a parody of demureness. "No. So. What do you stand in need of?" he wonders. "Offering to have the cops turn a blind eye…valueless. They turn a blind face to this place. But…"

"I don't know what you could offer me that would be worth the risk. If this is a negotiation." Tuck makes a vague motion with his hand. "I suppose that depends on what kind of, oh, information you want me to gather. Precisely." Brows go up. He peers at Felix over the top of his glasses.

"D'you mind if I smoke?" Fel wonders, absent mindedly, reaching into his pocket for his cigarettes. Black Russians, and absurdly posh on a cop's budget, really. "Info in return? Cash? I need an ear to the ground. Something big just went down, but we didn't net all the bad guys. The word is Vanguard. The name is Volken."

"Oh no, please, please. This is a smoke-friendly establishment." As far as criminals go, Tuck's a fairly cordial one. There's no snark in that. He reaches into the mini fridge for a bottle - of all things - V8 juice. He shakes it, pops the top and swallows a mouthful. "Are they the ones who blew up the bridge?" Casual. Yeah, the city's crumbling, but that's a good thing for cockroaches like him.

Felix inclines his head, even as he cups a palm around his Zippo, flicking it open and lighting the cigarette - the act of drawing on it to get it lit only makes his face look more gaunt than usual. "Yeah," he says, clicking it closed.

"Oh gee. I forgot what a marvelous conversationalist you are." The words are flat, but somewhat amused in the way that Tuck seems perpetually amused. "So what can I do? I doubt they're gonna trot in here and say, 'I'm one of the Van people.'"

"They may not. But if they're trying to regroup, you'll hear about people looking for weapons, documents for new identities. Possibly coming in with small valuables to sell - jewelry, little weapons in return," Felix says, patiently, head now wreathed in smoke. "New faces. You know the regulars, the players. Rumors."

"Bud, you just described a normal day for me." Tuck squints one eye and then swallows a mouthful of the juice again. "People looking to traffic that kind of merchandise are the very heart…" he touches his chest, "…of my business. Now, I could concievably keep an eye out for said persons. But. I would have to be certain they were in facts the persons you were looking for before I'd give you any info. It just wouldn't do to have my…innocent customers harassed."

Felix snorts. "I've no wish to let them know we're still pursuing," he says, ashing delicately in a tray clearly intended for that purpose. "You know the currents, you'll know when there's something odd in the water."

"That goes back to what is in it for me," Tuck looks at Felix in a slightly askew manner, head cocked in a way that somehow suits him. "If I'm going to be messing in the business of people who blow up bridges, I want to make sure it's worth my while."

Felix flicks the cigarette to the opposite corner of his mouth, grins insouciantly. "What do you want?" Like he's some sort of skinny genie.

Tuck pauses for a moment. He considers Felix, then, "A cop in my back pocket wouldn't be unwelcome. But I'd imagine there's much you're not willing to do."

Felix just eyes him, patiently. "That's true. What would you have me do?" he wonders, meeting Tuck's gaze levelly.

"Oh. I don't know yet. I haven't got any particular use for you at the moment, to be perfectly honest." Tuck motions with a hand and sets his juice down. "But if I'm doing you a favour, well, I guess I need to know what you might be willing to do for me. If I asked. Or rather, what you wouldn't be willing to do."

"I'm not killing anyone. I'm not feeding you info you'd need clearance to have," Fel says, thoughtfully, plucking the cigarette from his mouth, letting it smolder forgotten. "I can possibly move to fuck over a rival of yours."

"I don't have rivals, Felix. I have people above me who only let me live because I continue to be useful." Tuck puckers his lips and works his jaw to the side. He stares vacantly at the pile of knick-nacks on the table in front of him. For a moment it seems like he's zoned out, then he slowly returns his attention to the man across from him. "Well, we'll see, hm? For now, you got any names? Specific descriptions of people you're looking for?"

"A man named Gabriel Gray. Goes by Sylar, for one," Fel says, quietly.

"The one who put the hole in midtown?" Tuck knows the answer to that, but he asks anyway. "I…am sorry there, Felix. But I'm not getting messed up in anything anywhere close to a guy with that kind of power. I stayed alive this long precisely by knowing which fish - sharks, to swim away from. And that man is a very, very big shark."

"Yes. If you hear, let me know. There are others. A tall man named Benjamin. A girl named Eileen Ruskin," Fel says, patiently.

"Eileen?" Tuck tilts his head and presses a finger to his lips. Then he stands and paws through a pile of paper. He finds a bit of scribbled info, then scratches his head. "There was a girl named Eileen in here just the other day. Was looking for her father. Said his name was Ew…no, Ethan." He looks up at Felix. "She was a pretty little thing, about twentyish?"

Wow. It's that easy. Fel looks momentarily startled. "I don't know if I'd call her pretty. But yes. Ethan, huh? Did she describe him? Tall blonde guy?"

Tuck eyes his own scratched handwriting. "Nnno. Says here he has black hair. Tall. Also said he might say his name's, uh…Rafe?" He reaches for a cigarette of his own and lights it with a casual motion. He squints over at Felix. "What do you want from her? She looked pretty harmless."

"She's fierce enough to torture and murder a Federal agent, let's put it that way," Felix says, drily, exhaling smoke through his nostrils.

Tuck's mind is ticking through a list of possibilities. Sure, he could give Felix the one piece of info he's not read off yet - that of Eileen's whereabouts. Or he could just as easily go and warn her. Third choice, of course, is to do neither of those things. "Well," says the fence with wryness in his tone. "…you people do give us lots of reasons to go to that extreme, now don't you?"

Felix admits, with a lazy half-shrug, "I'm an asshole, I know it. On the level both personal and professional. I'm not gonna threaten you, Tuck. You're out of my reach, and I don't work that way anyhow. I'm still doing what I can to find your son, and now I have actual reach in the Bureau here, beyond the NYPD."

Ah yes, that damn trump card. Tuck's expression changes, first into a softer look, then sad, then his lips tighten into a hard line. "He's probably not even in the city now." If he knows what's good for him. If he's alive.

"The bureau goes everywhere. Unlike the Department," Fel points out, lazily, grinding out that cigarette with a twist of his wrist.

Tuck rubs the side of his head and takes an almost unconscious drag from his cigarette. "Yeah well. Might be better for him if you don't find him anyway." His mood has shifted. He's no longer a man in control.

Now that's a bizarre thing to say. Fel eyes him, paused. "What do you mean?" he asks, tone gentle.

Tuck chuckles roughly. "Cause I'm a crook. And a fuck-up. If he ran from me, he's got brains I never did." His smile is not entirely genuine. In fact, it's rather pained.

"If I thought he'd be better off with someone other than his real father, I'd not've agreed to find him," Felix says, quietly. "No one can stop you from changing, if you need to."

Tuck barks a bit of rough laughter. "Do you have kids, Felix?" He starts to pace slowly. Various bits of junk are toed aside. He catches sight of one of the few pictures scattered around. Rocket at five, ten. Rocket with his mother, with him. They're conspicuously hidden amongst items of no real value.

"Do I look like a family man to you?" The idea clearly startles the Fed - his tone is far less biting than it could be.

"Do I?" asks Tuck. Once again he does the curious, habitual peer over the top of his glasses. As if he doesn't trust the world to be filtered unchanged through prescription lenses.

"More of one than me," Felix says, gently. "No, I don't have any children. I'm not married," he adds. "Never have been."

"I've never been either. Rocket was an accident. I didn't even see him til he was six, when, well, you know," Tuck makes a vague motion, cigarette in hand. He doesn't need to explain. Felix helped put Dasha away. He doesn't seem pained about it. In fact, he's rather flippant. "So, what are we doing here? Bonding?"

"You're really not my type," Felix says, wryly. He heaves a sigh, and neglects to go for another cigarette. "Let me know what you hear."

Most people would take that as a casual, flippant joke. Most people are not Gilbert Tucker. He suddenly turns a sharp eye to Felix and stares for a long, suspicious moment, shoulders hunched. But then his logical mind takes over and he exhales the bit of smoke he had held in his mouth. "I'll pass on what I think it's safe to pass on."

The answer he gets is the faintest of nods, just a fractional motion of the head, in response to that unspoken question. "Of course," he says, easily.

Tuck keeps his gaze on Felix. His mouth works to the side. "You can go now." It's not a command, but it is a very firm…offer.

He doesn't wish Tuck farewell. Instead, he pulls the cap from his pocket, heads back out into the dark alley.

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