n. a contract so imbalanced in favor of one party over the other that there is a strong implication it was not freely bargained.M!A: Red haired for a week starting 14/10
You look at him fondly, pleased to see that he seems to have been helped at least somewhat by your words. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, quite honestly.
"Good." You say, smiling. You think quite a lot could be solved between the two of them if they just spoke, without endless arguing. After all, kismesii have to sit down to figure out their everything at some point, right?
"Oh, I’m sure that’s a normal feeling, you know?" You say softly, and lay on him a bit more, for better snuggling. "Not every quadrant can be serendipitous like ours. That’s why it’s important to keep up communication. But if it helps, I think Deadeye very much wants you. He gave you your ring of his own volition, remember? That usually means at least some willingness on his part to keep this relationship."
“Y’probably right.” That’s as much as you can bring yourself to. You’d try for more, but you are so tired and thinking is difficult. Thinking with your moirail curled against you, safe and whole, is damn near impossible.
"Mmm." You feel heavy to your bones, like your flesh has picked up extra weight somewhere. Sleep looms in the distance, warm and welcoming, but you do not succumb yet to its fading embrace. This moment is too precious to waste by falling asleep during it. You draw little diamonds between Bawd’s shoulders and breathe easy, for what feels like the first time in weeks.
Waiting patiently is easy, and you rub his shoulder as you watch him try to find the words. Then as he speaks, you end up looking more and more thoughtful. You’re actually glad that you’d talked to Deadeye before meeting with Scoff, because it’s entirely possible you have at least some of the answers now.
"Well, the first one just sounds like run of the mill jealousy, honestly." You say, gently. "As for the second one… Well. When I spoke to Deadeye, it seemed like he was under the impression that we were attacked by the same people. It’s possible… he’d been thinking that you’d killed that man for more than you did." You go a little quiet, tapping a finger on the couch.
"Deadeye’s very complicated, honestly. I don’t know what his deal is half the time. …This time, though, I think he’s just very shaken up by what happened. By what his attackers wanted out of him, too." You shrug, sighing a little. You can understand how Deadeye feels, honestly, at least with that. He seemed…spooked when he’d come to see you, after all.
You hum thoughtfully after she finishes, lean into her and just drink in her presence. Her words cut through the thick fog of irritation and worry, they offer clarity and focus. You feel better just for having her near you, having her offer gentle words of help is like a soothing balm for your riled mind.
"I’ll talk to him. Without yelling, and everything." You stew over the core fear for a while, roll it around in your mind and taste the concept. It is sour and slimy cold, unpleasant in the extreme.
"I just -" You tilt your head as if trying to hide, and your words come out muffled against her shoulder when you speak again. "I worry he doesn’t want me, some days.”
You consider him for a moment, looking thoughtful. He seems upset about Deadeye, but hasn’t brought it up… But anything involving Deadeye is usually outrageously complicated for Scofflaw to bring up, you’ve found. It’s kind of silly, really, but you can understand it considering their relationship.
So you reach up and pap his cheek, just a gentle little touch.
"Did something happen with you and Deadeye?" You ask, and pause. "And if something did…Would you like to talk about it?" You kind of hope he does. It’s never good for him to just bottle up his feelings like this.
You grumble something that sounds like he’s a sanctimonious ass , shifting restlessly for a long moment. You sigh, eventually, slump over on Bawd and stay like that for a while. Finally, you tilt your head to stare moodily at the floor, agitation broken under simply having Bawd to talk to.
"It’s -" Still, even thinking about Deadeye is a complication. You’d thought your relationship would settle a little faster than it seems to be, and you are at a loss to find it hasn’t. Maybe it won’t. That’s worrying.
"Well. There was that thing when we were Trolls. I’d seen Droog - who had the fucking gall to be a rainbowdrinker, who apparently subsist entirely on the blood of other trolls. Scout wasn’t around, so - well. Needless to say Deadeye hadn’t thought well of that.” You’re frowning, now, lips set into a thin line.
"Then not long ago, with that grey magic, he demanded I see him in fucking public. So i go, like the goddamn idiot I am, and he all but tells me if I want him, I can’t be killing people.” You want to wring his fucking neck, hands aching with it. You’re silent for a few moments, chewing the inside of your lip as you think.
"I don’t know what to do there, either. Fuck. I fucking crawl in the dirt for the ass hole and it’s still not enough.”
"It could be subtle. Make it seem like he’s not the person they’re protecting. Scout would probably be more interested in that kind of detail, too." You say, sound thoughful, and nod. "Deadeye seemed very invested in it, so I think he’ll talk to Scout about it."
You shake your head a little. You do trust Deadeye to talk to Scout about this, if nothing else. And it wouldn’t even have to be for very long, if everything goes well. Though,you’ll admit, nothing seems to be going very well lately at all.
"I think it’s for the best. I’d hate to see Scout get hurt, and from an objective point of view he’s too wrapped up his friends from both sides for anything that happens to him to be…non political." You sigh, and shrug a little. Blech, politics.
You nod into her shoulder. You’re still bitter, maybe, still furious. It’s old, and worn, and it’s lost all its teeth, but it’s there and it’s a constant irritant. You’ll be much happier when you can stop worrying about anyone going after your people.
"I need to talk to Deadeye, anyway. I’ll make sure to talk about this with him." You’re not sure how you feel about that right now. You admit, you’ve been ignoring it for the last few days. You’d say more important things but you’d be lying. Deadeye is … important. Maybe you’ve just been putting it off so the slick mess of worry and anger doesn’t choke you out cold.
You have to take a deep breath after you land, taking the key from your inventory to unlock the van. You crawl through the back, opening one door to let Scoff put the case inside, and start unloading the stuff from your pockets before nodding to him.
"Won’t take too long. If y’ want, I can drive and you stay back here and do what you want with it. We can get to the house, or the bar, as long as you figure out a place to put it."
You open the case and pass it to Delinquent before you enter yourself, grinning ear to ear. Tonight has been good, and looks to get better. You light a cigarette as Delinquent unloads, laze on your seat like a cat in a sunbeam.
"Might be best if we drop our little bundle off first. Quickbeam Street is on the way, we got a little apartment there. We can always head back after we’re done drinking to check the haul, if y’like, otherwise I’ll just pick it up later tomorrow. We’ll have to sit on it for a while, until the heat dies down, but after that we can dribble it out to whichever friendly fence we want."
"Oh, no, don’t get me wrong Scoff. I completely understand why you did what you did." You say, patting his hand and smiling warmly at him. "To be honest, I know I would have done the same. I’m just saying that, as sad as it is, we can’t kill the others. At least not without a few degrees of separation between us and the murder."
Your eyes light up at the mention of a heist, and you feel pleased as punch. Something tells you that that is just what these two need, something exciting and probably delicate to plan and do, in order to break up the monotony of everything else.
"That sounds lovely. I do hope it goes well." You look fond, and give his hand a little squeeze. Then you pause, humming. "Oh, and, by the way. Deadeye and I spoke, a bit ago. He mentioned getting Scout protection. I was wondering what you would think of that, considering you’re his matespirit."
You smile and squeeze her hand in response, nodding. A distraction is in order, Delinquent and yourself will surely manage something as simple as a heist. It’ll be fun! Your expression falters for a moment when she mentions Deadeye, a little like quilt and a little like thoughtfulness, but you nod slowly.
"It might be a good idea. Not - not immediately noticeable. But some one, or a few some ones, to keep an eye on things. But then - that could invite more heat from anyone looking to make a name for him or herself, especially from our side of the law." You think for a long moment, quiet and still. Could you risk it? Probably, but Scout might not want you to and could you paint a target on him like that? Your frown deepens a little.
"Did Deadeye say he would talk to Scout about it?"
"Pssh, ‘f course we can get drinks!" That’s enough to get you smiling again, even as Scoff starts thinking out loud.
"Prob’ly be better if we drop off this shit first." You shrug, thinking about the stuff you have on you. Even if you are a Scoundrel, it’s not good to get caught blatantly stealing valuables.
"Scoff, it’s already been a good night, but-hey, if y’re proposin’ we find some nice-lookin’ bottles and some better lookin’ dames, then I won’t stop you." You grin back as Scoff puts a hand on your shoulder, wondering if he’s actually up for sitting around and drinking when he’s already this buzzed. You can feel the thrill, sure, but not enough to shake you like Scofflaw. Maybe it’s an age thing.
"Let’s get to th’ car, and we’ll see where it goes. Th’ night’s young." You nod, steeling yourself for another trip. "Take it away."
"It’s like y’reading my mind," you tell him before the rush of magic overtakes you. It doesn’t even hit the sides, nothing beyond static and a harsh buzzing in your ears. You can barely hear the silence, and it’s nice. for a change.
You set down again in an alley, staggering a little under the sudden reintroduction of normal physical concepts like gravity and breathing. There’s a second of disorientation, passing like a wave, and then you’re springing back into action.
"How quick can you strip out the stuff you grabbed? We can toss it all in the case and stash that, an’ it saves us a double trip." You heft the case in your hand thoughtfully as you take a glance at the street from the mouth of the alley. Empty, and likely to stay that way. You feel a little less tense, but you’d feel better for being away from the literal scene of the crime. Take it easy, you remind yourself, amateurs flee and get caught. Professionals walk away like they have every right to do so.
You shrug, letting the necklaces shift in your pocket, and keep out of the way as Scoff rearranges his inventory. You aren’t sure what’s he’s doing-it looks strange, and he’s a bit secretive about all of it, and you are worried despite yourself. You don’t want to worry about him. He can handle himself.
"Okay. If you know what y’re doing." You nod, letting him arrange himself, and turn your attention to the door. You’re not looking forward to another trip, but you know that it’s necessary. Fishing a piece of paper from your inventory, you try to hand it to Scofflaw, nodding.
"That’s where I parked the van. If you want it. Or we could just go to a safehouse."
"What, no drinks?" You look affronted as you check your watch. Enough time to fuck right off out of here, just as planned. You check the address he hands to you and nod, fold it in half and slip it into your pocket. "There’s a bar not far from where y’parked the car, we could make a quick stop before heading back."
"Acourse, we could just go back to one of our places and check the haul there, I’m pretty sure every one of ‘em is stocked with enough booze to have a good night with." You could go either way, really, or you could go punch a mountain. You feel wired to your eyeballs, all but vibrating with the thrill. You hold it together, clap your hand to Delinquent shoulder. There’s no immediate rush of shadow and vast, terrible space, but you feel it ready at your fingertips. Like always, it feels like illness, it feel like power.
Maybe that’s just you, though.
You find Scoff crouching over a safe, a fuckin’ stethoscope jammed in his ears while he smiles like a lunatic. You blink, surprised, but don’t move.
"Uh. Okay. Y’ gettin’ what you need there, boss?"
You’re a little, well-you didn’t know he was going after a safe. You didn’t know he wanted something specific. And frankly, being sent out to play in a world of glass and gemstones may be entertaining, but it’s a lot less fun doing it alone. You’re not quite sure what’s going on.
"I got stuff." You shrug, unsure of how impressive it’ll be. "I can wait, though. We got a few more minutes left, yeah? I’ll just watch the door. Don’t want anyone interruptin’ us."
"Divide an’ conquer, Delly," you mutter, apropos of nothing, as you hook the stethoscope around your neck. You pause and flex your fingers, stare at your gloved hands for a moment before reaching into the safe and drag ging out a sheaf of papers You give them a cursory glance before putting them back as you found them and pull out a jewellery box, black leather and silver finishings. Jackpot.
"See, you hit the front, which is gonna take their attention for a while." You open the box, smile faintly, and snap it closed. A black case is drawn from your inventory and you crack it open, stow the first box in it and go back for more. "They’ll check th’safe, of course, we can’t really avoid that, but why just hit the safe?" You sort through the boxes quickly, only taking long enough to check the contents before packing it away. You don’t take everything, just the things that catch your eye. You have mixed feelings about one particular item (the Dersite Prince’s coronet, really, who would even think to take this into exile) but you figure you can figure that mess out later and it goes in the case.
You close the inner compartments and extract your picks, close the safe door quietly and spin the dial for a moment. Now, if you can manage to keep it together on the exit, this night will be a total success.
"Right. What d’ya say we get the fuck outta here?"
"That’s true." You say, and wrap your arm around his shoulder, cuddling him closer. "I’m not terribly interested in seeing the city burn down around me, for any reason. I’m not totally sure what they expect to do, if they do rebel, but I think that makes them much more dangerous."
You sigh a little, running a hand through your hair. Now comes the hard part: actually figuring out how to make the revolutionaries in the city relax a bit. Or at least make them think they have cause to relax.
"I think we should be a little less hands on in our dealings with people. At least, when we’re exacting revenge or something similar. While it’s flattering that people think the Scoundrels are responsible for every crime in the city, that kind of thought process will only breed more unrest.
"That’s not saying, of course that we should avoid all sorts of retribution. Personally, I’d love to ruin those punks that attacked me. But when you did that, it made everything that much worse. Thankfully, there’s more than one way to- Mm. Ruin a man’s life with your hands coming out clean." You say, thoughtfully avoiding the more traditional saying at the last moment.
"I couldn’t - think." You frown faintly, an unwelcome surge of anger rising in your chest. You stamp it back down as quickly as you can - now is not the right time for it. "He hurt you. An beyond that, he attacked a Scoundrel. Not just a low level player, Bawd, you. If I had let that slide, I’m pretty sure we’d be looking at a gang war on top of everything else.” You had taken your brutal satisfaction out on him, but you wonder if maybe, maybe, there could have been a better way.
Not that it matters now, you suppose.
""I’ve set up a little hiest wit Delly, but it’s a pretty standard affair. It shouldn’t come back to us, and I’ve set us up a little deniability if it ever does." You hum thoughtfully, tap Bawd on the nose.
"If we keep our heads down, might give us a little breathing room."
Scoff points you straight, and you grin as you make your way into the main display room. You’ve never had an eye for quality, but you know what Scoff likes, and you try to put the crowbar into your inventory before dropping it altogether. Well, shit.
The good stuff’s in the middle, so you try to find the latch and end up just lifting the top away from the bottom. Some of the glass cracks, but it doesn’t shatter just yet, so you set it aside and start scooping out the jewelry. You’re sure the dames love all the little lacework on the jewels, but mainly, they shine, and they’re worth a lot of money. You try to establish a pattern, but eventually you just give up and go for the biggest cases to get the major stash.
When you’ve just about lost count of your extra pockets, you decide it’s time to go, and you make your way back to the door to try and find Scofflaw again. You’re not sure where he’s been-missing the good stuff, for sure-but you hope he can get you back out of this. Pretty damn unfortunate if he can’t, really.
While Delinquent relieves the store of it’s more expensive valuables, you’re stuck in the back room with a set of lock picks caught between your teeth and a look of intense concentration on your face.
Safes were never really your strong point. Innovator usually manages whatever arcane fuckery he does with them, and you can hardly have Delinquent rip it clean open without all your hard work to disguise this portion of the theft for as long as you can going to waste. You mumble another curse around the metal between your lips as you continue spinning the dial.
Stethoscopes aren’t really the best listening device, really, but it gives you enough clarity to hear the slightly different click of one of the pins setting into place. You try to breathe as evenly and shallowly as you can so you don’t mask a noise that might turn out to be important.
Even after you get through that door (ten bloody minutes of wasted time) you’re stuck contending with a secondary set of locks, as if the owner was paranoid but not paranoid enough to invest in an electronic safe system. You pause as Delinquent returns, then grin as the final lock clicks open.
You sigh, and adjust yourself so you’re in a much more comfortable position for long talking. This is a decently serious conversation, and you want to give it the gravity it deserves. Even if you don’t quite quit snuggling Scoff while you do it.
"Mm, things have been happening so much." You say, sounding thoughtful. Where to begin is an excellent question, but you think you have a good idea after a moment’s thought. "On the night I was attacked, Vexation had "stopped by" my office to talk to me. And he told me, in no uncertain terms, that if things continued the way they are, we would get a violent revolution in roughly six months."
Your smile is really more of a grimace, and you rub the back of your head before you even think about it.
"Personally, I think his estimation was a little generous. But it’s a very worrisome thing, no matter what time it happens at."
"Mm. I agree with you. Just seems like every step I try to take to get some calm around here just fucking explodes in my face.” You shake your head, settle your arms around her a little more comfortably. “I’m not sure what more can be done. Apparently just existing is enough, these days.”
You can imagine all of this coming to a bloody head, entirely too easily, and it’s worrying. A lot of things are worrying, these days. You try not to think about Deadeye, when you think about that. Focus on one mess at a time, you suppose.
"The city as a whole isn’t ready for it. S’too soon after - well. After. Most of the people born here don’t even know what war is actually like.” You sigh, close your eyes and rest your head on her shoulder. You are so tired.
- "Winter is coming."
- "I am not your little princess."
- "I don’t want to be a queen, I want to be the queen.”
- "We’ve have idiot kings and we’ve had vicious kings, but I don’t know if we’ve ever had a vicious idiot for a king!"
- "More wine."
- "Everyone who isn’t us in an enemy."
- "I am the god of tits and wine."
- "The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands."
- "Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon. The best one is between her legs."
- "The gods have no mercy, that’s why they’re gods."
- "Nobody cares what your father once told you."
- "There are no men like me. Only me."
- "Why have the gods condemned me to love a hateful woman?"
- "Everything’s better with some wine in the belly."
- "You were kind to me, I remember."
- "All these years and I still feel like an outsider when I come here."
- "I wish I was the monster that you think I am!"
- "My brother has his sword, I have my mind."
- "Woman? Is that meant to insult me?"
- "Honor made you leave, and honor brought you back."
- "Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it (the world). I don’t want to be most of us."
- "A man without friends is a man without power."
- "Everyone is mine to torment!"
- "A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of sheep."
- "A mother does not flee without her children."
- "Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king."
- "I will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me."
- "I want to look him in the eye and ask, ‘Why?’"
- "They’re a family. I’ve never had a family."
- "I can be your family."
- "Those who have the most power have the least grace."
- "I will answer injustice with justice."
- "I am not questioning your honor. I’m denying its existence."
- "All I know is that she was the one thing I ever wanted."
- "What we don’t know is usually what gets us killed."
- "I did what I did not to slight you, but because I loved another."
- "Given the opportunity, what do we do to those who have hurt the ones we love?"
- "I will not become a page in someone else’s history book."