The Big Leagues

June 23, 2018:

Wilson Fisk makes Owen Mercer an offer he can't refuse. Or. Well. He could

An Undisclosed Location

Get yer good drugs here.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Luke Cage, Matt Murdock, Six

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Who knew that a few days alone with your girlfriend could be so trying? Weeeelll, anyone who knows Owen and the girlfriend in question could probably have at least ventured an educated guess. But either way after a minor kerfuffle in which Owen declared he was going 'out' and when pressed for more details only specified 'Out!' he finds himself walking towards a "friend's" house. He desperately tries to not connect that previous scene with the thousands like it from his childhood, even going so far as to quicken his pace to beyond human speeds as if to outrun those memories.

The reply that comes to Owen's phone is not what he was expecting, and definitely not what he was hoping. His friend Bubs, or in reality his dealer Bubs, redirects him. Never in the history of this arrangement has Bubs ever not been holding. And on a normal night Owen might have called it off and just decided to get a case of beer or bottle of whiskey, but tonight he's a man on a mission.

Heading into the apartment building and finding the right door Owen finds himself agitated. Maybe it's the scene with Harley earlier, or the fact that he's not buying from his normal dealer. Maybe it's something else altogether. Whatever it is, the knock is a bit more urgent and loud than he intended.

The woman who answers the door has honey-colored hair which falls in a stylish tumble over her right shoulder. She wears a pretty grey-blue blouse and slim grey slacks. She gives him a winsome smile with her professionally made-up face, and opens the door wider. "Mr. Mercer," she says. "You're right on time. Bub said you'd be coming. Please, step inside. Can I get you something? Water?"

Definitely not your normal deal.

The apartment is immaculate, and every corner of it looks like it popped straight out of an interior design magazine. Both in how stylish and pretty it all is, and how fake and unused it all is. The only thing that really draws the eye, that really has any kind of personality, is the strange grey case up on the marble countertops.

"I'm Ariel," she says, as if this were her real name and as if it mattered.

The sight of an attractive woman opening the door already has Owen's brow half furrowed in concern before she calls him 'Mister'. His breath sucks in and only slightly releases when she explains that Bubs texted ahead. That's … awfully considerate? Owen is so confused that he readily follows her directions as if in a trance.

"What kind of..?"

The half-question escapes his lips as he takes in his surroundings. He didn't mean to say it out loud but he is out of sorts in more than one way at the moment. Owen glances the case and tries to be casual about looking around, though his eyes do keep falling back to it.

"Aerial. Sure. Look, you know my name and you know Bubs, but I gotta ask. Am I in the right spot?" He both doesn't know Ariel is a name, and wouldn't believe it were her real one if he did. A little voice in his head tries to warn Owen that something is off about this, but there are much louder ones that would walk into far shadier situations to get what they're after.

"You are. My employer wished to give you an opportunity to try some of our newer, cutting-edge product."

She opens the case, and inside are these patches. They're clear, with silver lining, and they're all neatly in a row.

"It's heroin," she chirps happily. "But it's a synthetic variety. This will be the best hit you've ever have. I'm authorized to offer you a free sample, if you'd like one. They're perfectly safe."

She holds up her arm to show him the patch that's on hers. She's using, or has used recently. Unless it's a fake. But it looks precisely the same.

Owen eyes her warily as she starts to explain. He looks nervous as she opens the case and only a little less so when she explains. Once she does though, his interest in the product becomes apparent despite his best efforts. He leans in a little closer and picks one up to look at it.

Eyeing the patch on her arm, Owen asks. "Really? Let me see yer feet." Uhh? No, this is not some weird kink. Owen wants to see if she was an IV heroin user shooting up between her toes like most of the models or pretty girls who use.

"And who is yer boss? And just why is he making /me/ this /special offer/? Because I feel a big ol' catch comin' on and if you don't mind I'd rather not be blitzed when you drop the 'but' on me. What is like twenty times the price? Makes you sterile? Turns you into a secret nazi sympathizer and makes you want to take down America?"

Ariel slips her foot out of her designer pump and lifts her foot, wriggling her toes at him with a little smile. The marks are there. "I'm sorry, Mr. Mercer," she chirps. "I am only allowed to refer to my boss as my employer. He shoots people in the head when they don't comply. Or worse. But he does want to talk to you, and if you take the sample you agree to see him in person. He has a much bigger offer for you, and while it will not make you sterile, is not significantly higher in price than the lesser product and does not turn you into any kind of secret Nazi Sympathizer, he does have a business proposal for you if you like it."

It smells a little like heroin, at least. The patch in his hand.

The smell is certainly a powerful selling factor. Owen would like to believe that he can keep a clear head and make a good informed decision, but let's be honest. Even if he weren't jonesing for a hit right now, good decisions are not his strong suit. He examines the marks between her toes and is satisfied that she is a least a reasonably believable user. Honestly, he wants to be convinced, even if he's trying to play the skeptic.

"So the deal is what? I get a sample. Get what you claim is a good high and then when my head is clear your boss hits me with what a distribution proposition? 'Cause I ain't interested. And frankly, I don't think I'd look as good as you do peddling this shit."

While he may be trying to sound tough, he has already opened the package. As if someone else's hands are doing the work, he rolls up a sleeve and applies the patch to the inside of his arm. He wanted to hold out. He meant to find out more about the deal or the terms, but dammit the smell and the promise of a better high was a little more than he could take.

The high. Is great.

It really is like that first hit all over again, devoid of any tolerance problems that Owen might have developed over the years. It hits the bloodstream in an instant. Whatever they've done to make it work this way, it's good shit.

Ariel just smiles and closes the case, then puts in a call. "Yes sir," she's saying.

"Yes sir, I think he likes it very much."

She covers the receiver, more out of reflex than effectiveness on a smart phone. "How is it, Mr. Mercer? Are you willing to hear my employer out? Oh…you can lay on the couch or something if you like."

How effective could a patc- .. Oh. What?

"Hooly Shiiiit."

Owen looks down at the patch and then back up at Ariel, with a smile spreading across his face. His unfocused eyes with narrowed pupils flutter briefly. He barely registers that she is making a phone call, he doesn't care.

He makes his way to the couch before she even gives him leave. He tries to focus on her question about being willing to take her employer out on a date or something and he can only nod and give a dreamy thumbs up.

It's like he finally found the high he's been chasing. That elusive warm embrace that makes all those pesky troubles seem so distant and tiny. As if all of his Galactus sized issues were suddenly shrunken down to Jane Foster sized teeny things to be shoved in closets. The thought of shoving the tiny scientist into a closet only causes his smile to broaden as his head lulls to one side to try and take in what Ariel is talking about.

"Why am I dating your boss? Is she pretty like you? Wait. Are you your boss…?"

By the time he is done shoving Janes into closets, Ariel is long gone.

And whomever is sitting there is not pretty by most people's standards (though hey, no judgment if ginormous men are your thing).

Wilson Fisk sits there in an impeccable charcoal grey suit. He's smoking a very good cigar. He has chosen a big leather armchair that accomodates him. One hand is closed about a diamond-tipped cane. It stands up straight and tall beneath a palm that could wrap around most people's skulls.

He wears a slight smile on his face.

"Mr. Owen Mercer," he says, rumbling out the man's name.

There is a seething undercurrent to his every word that speaks of a man who is perpetually angry. Who never stops being angry. But on the surface? It's all genteel, and it's even a touch amused.

Coming down is almost as good as going up. Whoever built this little drug knew what they were doing as there is almost no drop off. Owen just kind of lazily rubs his head against the couch as he comes back to this reality. But it doesn't smack him in the face, no it drifts slowly back into view as his senses start to refocus.

Sitting up, and looking only slightly more rumbled than usual Owen tilts his head as the giant grey and brown chair talks to him. No, wait. That's a giant person in a likewise oversized chair. Owen opens his mouth a few times as if trying that movement out for the first time in a long time. He is about to ask for a glass of water when he sees one prepared for him on the coffee table.

"Mr. Bossman." Owen tries for a witty rejoinder but is not quite back on his game yet. He takes a few large sips of water and tries a variety of facial scrunches and blinks to clear away the fog drifting off of him. Normally he might use a bit of speed but even now he is at least aware enough to hold that one close to his chest. As if the boulder of a man across from him was unaware of said talents.

"My name is Wilson Fisk," he says. Ariel's employer can safely drop his name here, for a variety of reasons. He suspects Owen Mercer has already heard it. And now he's connecting face, voice, and blown up bars while coming off of a very illegal drug that he just got for free from the hand of this man himself. Besides, this conversation requires it, the gravitas of his name.

He tamps out the cigar over an equally massive ash tray, and rumbles, "Did you like my product? Quite revolutionary, if I do say so myself. It doesn't show up on any tox screen, and it will take over a decade for the tests to catch up. When I purchased IGH I split off some of their biochemists to work on this product. Just in case someone took it into their head to go smashing the flashier operation."

"What the fuck?!"

Yea, Owen can connect blown up bars and names pretty quickly it turns out. He glances left and right as if looking for a hidden camera or maybe hidden Bubs like this were some elaborate prank. He looks back to the man, mouth slightly agape as he tries to figure out what is happening right now.

"I did. But the name brand sucks. I'm afraid that's tainted with that whiff of breaking my number one rule. 'No killing Owen.' Or in your case almost .." Owen's smart mouthing trails off as he processes what is happening right now. He mentally tries to calculate the exits, remember exactly what mechanisms were on the door, what weapons he has on him. He's got that rabbit look in his eye, one that Fisk probably knows all too well.

"Why? Why are you telling me any of this?"

And why didn't he press Luke or Jessica for more details at any point before oh, say, now.

"It's simple, Mr. Mercer. Your erstwhile employer Mr. Lucas has been wise enough to largely stay out of my affairs. Your friend Miss Jones has allowed herself, again, wisely, to be redirected by the Brotherhood's demands. She, too, has steered clear of my affairs. Two of your little circle have not. So I wish to make you an offer. I will provide you with a lifetime supply of my synthetic heroin. Any and all improvements which come to the product will similarly be yours. It will be free, it will be yours whenever you wish it. And in return, all you must do is deliver either the vigilante known as the Daredevil to me, or the vigilante calling herself Six."

He pushes the remains of his cigar into the ash tray, finished with it. He props that hand atop the one that's already atop his cane. "I am afraid they have proven so troublesome that it is well worth the expense to me to issue this offer."

Steadying his breathing Owen tries not to look quite so out of sorts but this has been a doozy of an evening so far to say the least. He tenses as Fisk mentions Luke and Jess, instinctively protective of them. He relaxes slowly when they are deemed outside of the current purview.

Owen would like to think himself a smooth operator, but both his eyebrows shooting up at the offer would beg to differ. He glances down at the patch on his arm before bringing his eyes up to meet Fisks.

"Why me? You c'd hire half a dozen hoods out on the unternet for probably a fraction of the cost of this deal. And what stops you from just bumpin' me off even if I'm dumb enough to agree to this and complete this … task."

Daredevil. Six. No idea. But it's not Danny, Luke or Jess. Which means Owen hasn't actually said 'No' yet. He meant to. Really, he meant to firmly shut this down and walk out with his head held high. Like a good guy.

But Owen is still sitting on the couch. Talking. Considering.

"I have reason to believe you can get closer to them than half a dozen hoods. As it is, the Devil of Hell's Kitchen has cleaned out an entire gang on his own. No. This requires stealth. And finesse."

It's possible Kingpin knows exactly how hard he can push, and on whom.

He smiles faintly.

"One of two actions will satisfy the conditions of this deal. You can either find me the true identity, verified, of either one of them. Or, you can look for an opportunity. Next Friday something interesting will go down in the Kitchen. I believe one or both of our friends will be very distracted. It might be an opportunity for you to subdue one of them. I will leave you a number you can text to get a delivery location, and then the deal is closed."

A pause. Knowing that protectiveness he adds, "It might be wise to ensure Miss Jones does not go home that day, if you wish to see her protection continue."

It's true. For whatever reason everyone has been really damned fast to accept Owen in with open arms. The thought both causes a deep pang of regret at the thought of exploiting it and a caustic smirk that he tried to warn them not to trust him. He lets out a small breath, an almost sigh, thinking about how much they've told him. How many secrets have they just laid out there for him.

"Friday, something interesting." Owen repeats it looking at the man. "More bars about to get their heat turned on?"

Owen is not really expecting the man to give him any more information. No, he's more trying to get some time to get his thoughts together.

All he needs to do is find out who they are? Or get them somewhere. Hell, he could do that but slip a tracer in. And like he said Daredevil took out a whole gang on his own, he can take care of himself. And that hit was ridiculous. And untraceable. And no gear needed.

"I'll think about it. How long do I have to give you an answer and deliver on my side? I'm assuming this isn't an open ended offer."

The part about warning off Jessica isn't commented on, but Owen's already mentally formulating the text. A tip. Something he heard. Probably nothing, just stay with Luke at Danny's in Grammercy… they'll be fine.

Indeed, he does not. Offer more information, that is.

"It's open-ended, actually," Fisk says, standing. "So long as you do not, of course, do anything to make yourself my problem. Such as mentioning this conversation, or getting more deeply involved in my affairs than you already, peripherally, are. Ask around, Mr. Mercer. I keep my word to the letter once it is given, and you can trust that if you get me what I want…"

He leans forward, and lays one more patch on the table before he stands.

"I will get you what you want. Without fail."

Reaching back to scratch at his head a little Owen considers the deal. He is surprised to hear that it's open ended. He had assumed that in the midst of these heroin laced flat patch carrots was a stick of some sort, waiting to crack down. He listens to the assurance and can only nod dumbly.

"Just so we're clear, I ask around about your rep. How would you like me to ask? It took quite a bit for some people to find your name. I'm guessing some of your associates don't even know it."

Just because Owen's an idiot doesn't mean he's not occasionally insightful. And while that's not exactly a 'yes', it's certainly leaning much closer to that way than 'no'.

Owen tries hard to not think about what he's doing. It's just a deal. Some information for some drugs. Information for money for drugs without the middle step. No big deal. Right? Right. Sure.

"On the street, I am known as the Kingpin," Fisk says, with the kind of wry irony that says he's aware that it, like most names of its ilk, sounds sort of ridiculous. Then again he's having this very serious conversation with a man calling himself Boomerang, about a man calling himself Daredevil. It is not like the hero set…or the chaotic neutral set…really has much room to talk in this case.

He gives a sharklike smile as he offers out this name, beady eyes glittering as they fix on one Owen Mercer.

Any sly smile or smirk that graces Owen Mercer's face slides right off into a perfectly neutral grave expression. Oh. Shit. Fisk might have been the name that Luke and Jess were chasing, but it meant little to Owen outside of one exploded bar. This name however is a game changer. This is big league stuff on par with being told Lex Luthor wanted to make you an offer.

"Okay." He nods almost automatically. "We have a deal."

Because deep down all Owen's ever wanted was to be good at something. And while he once thought that he failed at being a criminal, here is an offer from the top tier big league. It's like being called up to the majors after dropping out of college ball and switching sports. It was once what he wanted. To prove that he wasn't the failure that his father was. To prove that he could do something others couldn't. And while he's drifted about and flirted with going straight for the past year or so, this feels like an opportunity to finally do something.

Or maybe he really just wants that heroin.

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