Smack Smackdown

July 07, 2018:

Luke and Danny hit the streets to shake down some leads.

Streets of Manhattan

She paints her eyes as black as night now. Pulls those shades down tight. Yeah, she gives me a smile when the pain comes. The pain gonna make everything alright.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Jessica Jones, Owen Mercer, Claire Temple

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There is a taptaptap of knuckles rapping on the doorframe of Danny's room, Luke having deduced after a bit of searching that's where the man retreated to. No one blames the host for wanting a little 'Immortal' alone time, but it seems that Luke feels the need to interrupt any meditation or sleep type activity the man might be engaged in. Before the first round of knocking can even garner a reaction there's another impatient set. Perhaps Luke needs a place to hide out too. There is a nurse out there, after all, threatening him with needles that he's been trying to avoid lest she find out the full extent of his powers.

*

Danny looks up, then lowers the lid on the box and walks over to the door. He opens it and blinks. He's a tall guy, and he doesn't look up at too many people, but Luke Cage isn't just 'any people.' "Oh, hey man. What's up?" He steps back to let the other man inside.

Danny's room feels the most like him of any room in the house other than the basement. It's relatively spartan, but feels lived-in. The cleaning lady doesn't get in there much. Instead, he keeps it straightened up himself. His bed is one of those platform types - low to the ground with natural wood paneling and storage nooks around the exterior. It's covered in a light white quilt. There's just one pillow. It's sort of like a king-sized version of a monk's cot. There's a large wardrobe that dominates one wall in the same matching wood. The ceilings, like most of the rooms on the main floor especially, are high with decorative trim. The windows with tall brown curtains are open and sunlight pours in to the corner room. The carpet underfoot is plush and earth-toned.

*

Luke ducks into the room, it's not that it's necessary to get through the frame, just sort of a habit he's developed over the years of smacking his head on lower jambs in the historical buildings of Harlem. "Hey man." Luke echoes, holding his hand out for a friendly shake/fist-bump combo. "Oh, Danny." He sounds vaguely disappointed when he enters the man's inner sanctum. "You have to get some color up in this place. You need a girl. Ever hear of an accent pillow? Don't suppose you've got any booze hidden in your Chi closet?" He's been avoiding drinking in front of Jess, this whole destruction of Hell's Kitchen one giant trigger for her.

*

"You know, I never thought I'd hear the words 'accent pillow' out of your mouth," says Danny good-naturedly. Because they all might be spiritually (and some literally) bruised, but it takes a lot to completely wear him down. "I don't uh, keep booze in my room because the fridge is like…right there, dude." He points past the big man. "You worried about Jess? I can sneak some bootleg in here if you'd like."

*

"Shit, I know all about feature walls and throw rugs too." Luke reaches to snag the door and close it behind him when Danny mentions Jess, a vague nod coming from the big man. "I went to a dark dark place after the bar. I can't imagine what losing your whole neighborhood is like. Last thing I need is to set her off." He shrugs then. "Just figure we could use a drink while I talk to you about a few things. But if a bottle of hooch ended up behind your headboard I wouldn't say no."

*

"Wait right here. I'll do my ninja thing." Danny pauses, then flips up the hoodie he's wearing (because AC is kinda chilly, man) and then he puts a finger to his lip. He creeps out in an exaggerated way, then carefully snags a bottle of something caramel-coloured out of the nearby liquor cabinet. Then he creeps to the kitchen, carefully steals a pair of glasses, then sneaks back in - all while barely making a sound. He steps past Luke and presses one of the glases into the man's big palm. Then he closes the door soundlessly. "Like a cat."

*

Amusement is a difficult thing to attain given the recent solemn circumstances, but something about Danny slipping out of the room like that has Luke humming the Mission Impossible theme while Danny slinks around, amusement shining in his eyes when the Iron Fist returns. "You had way too much fun with that, didn't you? That's going to be real handy in a second."

Luke reaches out to snag the bottle from Rand, twisting open the top and tipping it towards the two glasses until an ample amount of liquor into them. "I'm going to go shake down a lead and I want you to come with." And the fact that he's eluding to sneaking out means he doesn't want to disturb the others with this.

*

Most of the time, Danny lightens the mood without meaning to. His good-natured cluelessness and fish-out-of-whatever-water-he's-in lot in life tends to make for unintentional comedy. But sometimes, he can deploy it on purpose - in the name of cheering up the big man by making him hum a themesong.

He takes his glass from Luke, then looks into it. "If we're going out, we probably shouldn't drink." #VigilanteLife

*

"Probably." Luke says flatly, then empties the booze down his throat in one thick gulp. He immediately looks like he's prepared to regret it with a pre-emptive wince, prepared for the sting to be amplified by a smoke raw throat that doesn't come. "Huh." One eye creeps open. "Guess I'm better." Suck that, Claire! Not that he holds any ill will against the nurse, but that's one person he's going to try to circumvent. And it's not lying to Jess because he /did/ get checked out. He just wasn't particularly cleared in full, but he's avoiding the whole 'you can't give me an IV' issue at the moment.

He wipes his mouth off and surrounding facial hair with a drag of his palm. "So before all this went down, Owen asked Jess and I to hang out at your place on Friday. Said he had a tip something was going down in the Kitchen. We didn't question, we just promised. Figuring it was some gang war kick up or something. Boy didn't know. Not about how big it was. But when I questioned him afterward, he said the dealer he was with mentioned Fisk."

*

Danny starts raising the glass to his lips, but pauses and frowns when Luke goes through his explanation. "Fisk." That single syllable name has caused a book's worth of trouble and pain. And then, "Drug dealer?" No, Danny, a poker dealer.

*

"Yeah." Luke says that singular word like it pains him, his gaze dropping to his boots for a second. "We'll work on getting him clean when all this is over…if he even wants to get clean." Luke looks flummoxed for a second, having to deal with dealers and users all the time in Harlem, but when it comes to his friend he's at a bit of a loss. "Anyway, man. One problem at a time. So the idea is we're going to go shake down some dealers, looking for this girl named Arial that gave Owen the tip and the drugs. See whether or not she was just name dropping to look big, or if she actually has ties to Fisk who she called Kingpin. You in?"

*

Danny frowns. Maybe it's general cluelessness, maybe it's his tendency to see the best in people - but he didn't know about Owen's affliction. He purses his lips as he ponders the implications of this, then swallows a mouthful of what turns out to be bourbon. "Just let me get dressed." He walks back over to the chest he was looking into earlier. He pulls out the yellow helmet with black eyes and the dark green body armor.

*

Luke clunks down his glass and flips up the cowl of his own hoodie. There. He's dressed.

But Danny is pulling out some sort of super suit that Luke hasn't seen before, "What the what?" He asks incredulously, unsure of whether to be impressed or to make fun of Danny. A lot. In the end though, the dude is a crime fighting Billionaire, and unless he wants to come out balls to the wall like Stark, hiding his identity is a safe bet. "Where'd you get the get-up?"

*

Danny raps on the helmet's head and looks back at Luke. He smiles a bit tightly, "Owen made it. I knew he'd keep quiet about it, and everyone's been watching where I spend my money lately." By everyone, he means the powers that be at Rand. "It's even more important to keep my face hidden these days." He has been all over the news. What little shred of anonymity he might have had from his initial round of media noteriety has more or less disappeared in recent weeks.

*

Luke pulls his Stark Phone out of his pocket, tapping out a quick text to Jess. "Owen." Luke's never really seen that side of the man before, beyond updated the bar into the current century business technology wise. But building a new suit? Wonders never cease is written all over Cage's face. They both learned something new about Owen tonight. "It's pretty tight. Hey, bring your phone. I gotta leave mine for Jess." He's tapping out another text as he pops open the door so he can drop it on the counter. "You better not have a cape…" But he's out before Danny can answer, leaving Rand to slip into something less comfortable.

Night is just starting to settle on NYC when they roll into Harlem, having stuck close to the East River to avoid the clustered mess that is Hell's Kitchen and the diverting traffic as best they could. With the summer sun setting so late, criminal activity peaks up short after dusk. Drug dealers and junkies start to skitter out like cockroaches from the cracks. They don't have a particular place to start, so Luke takes Danny to a particular section of the Borough that runs a little rough. "See that pair on the corner in the jerseys? Rico is the lookout, and Jojo runs the smack." Luke points out from a nearby alley. "I'll go around and flush them back this way, they'll try to cut right through this alley on their way to 133rd where they den out."

*

Shockingly, Danny's suit looks less silly on than one would think. It does well to hide his identity, including a voice modulator that disguises it just enough that he doesn't have to run around talking like a smoker. It does however, take a little getting used to. First and foremost, the ninja needs to be able to move, so it's not particularly bulky. It's also well-ventillated because overheating doesn't do him any good.

He moves quickly and quietly alongside the big man. It takes some doing to avoid getting sidetracked by petty crime and focus on why they're here. "Got it." He then crouches low around the corner of the building.

*

It takes a moment for Luke to go around the block and come at them from the other side, the man walking up to the corner with his arms stretched out at his side in a 'why' sort of gesture. The voices are distance, but no doubt they are exchanging heated words about why they're dealing out here in Cage's neighborhood. One of them pulls a knife on Luke, but when he simply reaches out and yanks it out of Jojo's hand blade first without even blinking, the two bolt. Right in Danny's direction. "Hey! You're packing?! Hell nah." Cage shouts, warning Danny without directly calling out to the man and accidentally tip the dealers off that someone is waiting.

*

Danny chooses his moment well. He appears from the shadows and lands a solid kick to the side of Jojo's jaw. Rico probably thinks he's going to get away, but there's a hand at the back of his shirt that yanks him backwards and within reach of Luke if he keeps up his forward motion. He's on the lookout for any weapons. He doesn't really want to test whether his suit is fully bulletproof tonight. "Chat with us for a minute, guys. Then maybe we'll let you go without calling the cops."

*

Jojo's jaw makes a sound of teeth grinding against teeth as it juts out to the side after being kicked. It's not broken, but it certainly will be sore in the morning. The momentum of the kick drives him into the brick wall, where he sort of slides down with weakened knees and seeing stars. With the yank from Danny, Rico pinwheels his arms as he stumbles backward, right into Luke's chest where he just lets the guy just bounce off before he palms his head and holds him out at arm's length. "Iron!" It's really hard to blurt out a two syllable name for Luke to warn Danny that Jojo is pulling on him, so that'll have to do while he's busy with Rico trying to take wild swings at him. "Calm the fuck down." But a shot rings out, a wild aim from Jojo's shaking hand.

*

Danny might be trained to dodge fists and swords, but he's been adapting to dodging bullets in his months since he's returned to New York. He executes a neat grapple on that shaking gun hand and jams up a knee to hit a pressure point that should cause a spasm and his grip to fail. There's a little whisp of smoke from the Iron Fist's shoulder where the bullet caught the edge of the fabric and singed the upper layer. He then brings an arm up to slam Jojo back against the wall, elbow to his neck. He just holds the thug there, expression hidden behind the dark lenses of the helmet. "Just…talking," he reiterates, though he presses a little harder on the man's windpipe to punctuate the statement.

*

After the shot rings out in the alley, Rico gets scared enough to stop fighting and Luke jams him into the wall next to his friend. "Not. Cool." Cage growls into his face, "Tell your boy to relax, or my friend here is going to tie him into a boy."

"We're good! We're good!" Rico tells Jojo, who's busy trying to claw Danny's arm away from his throat. Finally, even he stops trying to fight the losing battle.

Luke spares a quick glance to the side to make sure that Rand isn't openly oozing from a gunshot wound before he gives Rico a little shake. "Look, man. We don't care about you two. We just want some information. Who are you running for? You can either tell us, or the cops. And if we turn you over to the cops, you can be damn sure we're rumoring you out as snitches."

The two kids, barely old enough to be out of high school glance at each other before Jojo starts sputtering to Danny. "No one'll know it was us, right?"

*

Danny smells the singing and eyes his shoulder. Slow. Shouldn't be slow. A scared kid shouldn't have been able to clip him. But he has been, by his own admission, off-kilter. "We have no reason to get you killed, guys. We just want some information. We won't attach your names to it, promise." Despite the vocal modulation, an earnestness breaks through that disguise. He can't pair it with a look seeing as his face is hidden.

*

The pair begrudgingly give up their boss' name and his location, some dive apartment nearby that no doubt is occupied by a nest of unsavories. Just because they were given the information they asked doesn't mean Danny and Luke are going to let them go that easily, they are drug dealing armed street level thugs after all. The Heroes exchange a Look and turn to their respective perps, knocking them out cold when they simultaneously clunk Jojo and Rico's heads together. While Cage is busy turning the gun into a metal pretzel, Rand pats them down to find their stashes, dispensing of the pills and coke into a barrel filled with rain water before they're on to their next destination. It's going to be a long night.

By the end of the Heroes journey, Luke has a newly shredded hoodie from a hail of gunfire, and Danny's helmet has a brand new scratch where someone got a lucky shot in with a tire iron. Of course 'lucky' is subjective, because Danny then broke some of his ribs with a well placed, full force kick that sent the guy flying through a bathroom door.

Together, they shook down leads from the street dealers, to their boss, to the supplier, returning home with the knowledge that a new network of high level suppliers around Manhattan has moved in. They were able to knick some samples of the patches, even though they aren't out for mass distribution yet. People looking to score high volumes are being kicked up from their regular dealers to these new movers and shakers: young, pretty and professional-looking females that are pushing some new form of synthetic heroin that doesn't show up on tox screens. The kicker? They all sport Disney Princess names. First Ariel. And now they just have the names Merida and Belle.

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