Pouring Syrup

August 19, 2018:

Owen learns a bit more about Luke's past, before they decide to stop talking about their feelings and go break something.

Luke's Bar - Harlem


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Kingpin, Jessica Jones, Emery


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The routine by now has become, well, routine. Owen has been in the 7-days a week outpatient rehab program based in Harlem for nearly a month now. He's been consistent in going and consistent in staying clean. He's trying to get used to the fact that he has people constantly aware of where he is and checking up on him but it's extremely new and unsettling to him. He's used to a much higher degree of freedom to come and go as he pleases and even though he's managed to sneak out to Gotham here and there it's been difficult.

The only reason he hasn't been called away on a real mission is that he requested time from Waller to get clean. And though she doesn't really 'care' per say about his health, having him not using makes him more useful to her.

But this evening Owen walks back from the program, making his by now usual stop in at the liquor store on 125th. He heads up towards the building, brown bag in one hand, cigarette in the other. He stops on the large granite steps to finish his smoke. He puts the bag down and pulls out his phone, now actively searching for jobs on the Hench app that he can pull. He needs a good distraction.


"Grindr or Tinder?" Comes the big man's voice as he swings open the door to the apartment, already shaking out his own cigarette from a crinkled package. Some where along the way, Luke has given up the ghost of pretending he hasn't become a full blown smoker, now buying instead of bumming. Still not having moved into his own rather swank pad and the bar still closed, he must be here working the Superintendent part of his gig. Maybe that's what the Village People tool belt around his waist means, or he's about to go to his side gig as a male stripper.


"What?" Owen looks up and then replies smoothly, "No, I was just sexting Jess. How many n's in cunnilungus again?" Yea, that's not the right word, but it's Owen, so close enough. He slides the phone away and then looks down at the tool belt and then up at the cigarette.

"Smoking /and/ fanny packs. You have picked up some terrible habits as a super. You know that right?"

It's unclear if Owen knows the difference between a toolbelt and a fanny pack. Sure fanny pack is the funnier joke, but only if he actually knows the difference.


"The only licking you'll be doing is of your wounds if you actually hit send on a dick pic to Jess." It's amazing how phallic a hammer can become, when one leans on it the right way so it angles up from their tool belt. "I have to temper my responsibility with a vice. It's what keeps me on an even keel." Luke replies with a casual lean against the side of the building, bending his face towards a cup of hand around his lighter. "Don't be jealous of my fashion sense." A pause. "So if I ask you how you're doing, you going to throw a smoke bomb and disappear?"


"Fine. I'll only send you dick pics." He takes a drag off his cigarette and then adds, "I like it when you get jealous of our thing." Because yea, that's what Luke is protective of. Owen would be happy to keep their banter about that level too. It's easy and comfortable.

At the question about how he's doing, he bobs his head, lips pursed as if thinking how to answer that question. "First off, I don't use smoke bombs. That's for ninjas and batlings. I would use a smoke boomerang, which is way cooler and in no way the same thing but shaped like a boomerang." Because it's much easier to deflect than navigate actually having a real conversation.

"And I'm fine." Eventually he comes out with something resembling an answer though. "Bored as hell. But fine. And clean." He tries to keep any edge out of his voice at the last part. Tries not to stress it.



At the mention of their 'thing', Luke presses his t-shirt down the front of his chest making a mmhmm sound that would make Emery proud. He smirks at the end, taking a puff off of his cigarette and letting the smoke roll out of his nostrils. "Bored. How can anyone be bored at a time like this." But of course Cage has never been an addict like Owen, chasing that perfect high and escape, so his imagination fails him on that level. "You want, I can bury you in paperwork. I think I'm dreaming in profit margins and shareholder reports. This being a full fledged businessman…" He shakes his head. The mention of clean only gets a nod of his head, though it could use a whole lot more attention, no doubt Owen's been getting that from all sides lately.


Owen looks at Luke like he has two heads, not about the flirting thing, that's par for the course. No, the part where he genuinely doesn't understand why Owen would be bored and then offering him paperwork. As if to somehow clarify how much he was not asking for paperwork to do, he starts right in with this:

"Want to know the best part of robbing a bank?"

No? What? They were certainly not talking about that.

"It's the moment everyone realizes what's happening. This half second of calm before Tina the assistant manager starts screamin' or Bob the security guard pisses himself trying to get the gun he's never used out of the holster."

Owen isn't really looking at Luke as he tells this odd little bit of insight. He's smoking and looking out at the street.

"You did time. You ever rob a bank? … You don't really seem like a bank job kinda guy."


"Man whatchu…shiiit." Luke pushes a booted sole against the building, popping him off his lean. "No I ain't ever robbed a bank, son. I did hard time at Seagate because I was set up, and if we don't stop Fisk soon, he's going to see me right back in lock-up if he has the time to see me as a threat." Cage twirls the filter of his cigarette between his forefinger and thumb, consciously resisting crushing it by accident. "And that kind of stuff is in your past. You can't just trade one high for another, and sure as hell not by busting laws like that to get your fix."


Making a pfft noise of exasperation as he exhales his cigarette Owen rolls his eyes. "I'm not sayin' I'm gonna rob a bank. It's a fucking metaphor! … I think." He's not really clear on literary constructs, as the number of books that Owen Mercer has willingly read is depressingly near 0. He shakes his head and says, "An' seriously? You were framed? I think you left that part out boss."

It takes Owen a second to process that, and in fact it shifts something a little bit in his perception of Luke. He has wrongly assumed when Luke mentioned having done time that he was a reformed criminal. Probably petty criminal, or well meaning law breaker, but still someone who actually did something wrong. Being framed means something entirely different. Owen will try not to hold that against him.

"And yes, it's in my past. But I was just trying to say, that's exactly what people do. They trade one high for the next. Why do you think half of your merry little band of men in tights are out busting skulls? They got issues to work out."


"Uh-huh." Luke comments about it being a metaphor, the two syllables sounding entirely dry in their delivery. At the part about having left shit out, the original confession was made when they were first getting to know each other and so he's guilty of not revealing ever detail about it. "Wait until you hear what I got pinned for. You want to know what the real kicker was? Before I was rolled up, I was a cop." Sure he gets some satisfaction about delivering that little bit of information, just because he knows it'll make Owen squirm a little more on the subject. "So I don't care about my 'band's' motivations. I just care on what side of right and wrong they land on. And that line is getting blurred. So if you /do/ rob a bank, no one dies and you make sure you're stealing the right man's money, that's all."


"Oh. Oh shit." Owen laughs at the reveal that Luke was a cop. He stubs out one cigarette and pulls out another. It's that kind of evening. He shakes his head, "Well, don't that fuck all?" Not really sure what that means or what else to say, Owen is still not at a loss for words exactly.

"See? That's a little different than don't break the law now aint it? Cause not to shakes of my tight ass ago you were all 'bout no robbin' banks and now I got you talkin' bout rules for robbin' banks. And pretty sure I can get you onboard with premeditated murderin, so long as we're talkin' bout the right target?"


"Shit man, I don't know." Luke rubs his bald head with his palm, like Buddha's belly, maybe it will give him some wisdom or good luck. "I don't even know what side of the line I fall on anymore, how I can go around spouting sage advice? Kingpin has to go. What end do we go to, to make sure that happens?" His fingers flick his cigarette out into the street, "But if my ass ends up back at Seagate, finishing my time with a dime added for busting out, I need you straight so you can take care of all of this and my girl." There's a helpless gesture behind him, almost resigned to that fate.


"Haa! Fuck that. If yer in lock up, I'm either right there with you or bustin' your black ass out." He laughs long at the thought of him running things for Luke if he's in jail. "Seriously. And take care of Jess? She'd kick my ass f'r trying, she'd be just fine." He's still laughing at the thought of it, but he trails off, realizing that Luke is probably genuinely worried.

"We will nail his fat ass to the wall. You don't get to blow up half of midtown and carry on with yer day. We'll make sure of that."

And part of goes farther than that. A deep seated belief that villains don't win. Sure they might get the upper hand, maybe live well for a while, but even in Owen's screwed up morals there's always a reckoning. As there should be.


"The man can make one phone call…" It took months for Luke to even show his face again after Fisk blew up the original bar and gave Cage a ring to let him know what he was in for if he pressed back. "Just remember when you sign up for our conjugal, that the name is Carl Lucas." But then Owen tries to reassure him, which might just bounce off Luke were it coming from anyone else right now. The line in Luke's forehead actually softens to less of a valley, "I need to break something. Let's go break something."


The thought of Luke in prison, like for real, causes Owen's face to darken slightly. And already he's making a plan. The squad. Waller would be all too excited to get the hands on this big slab of black bulletproof beef. He grimaces slightly at the thought, but it's true if it got Luke out, he'd do it. Even if it meant opening up another part of his life. But those thoughts are put away by the crack about conjugal visits.

"Jess and I would probably have to take turns though. I don't think they'd let us both in at once."

He laughs at his own joke and then looks up with a glint in his eyes at the Luke's suggestion. "Oh hell yes. We need to break a lot of things. We still got a list of Fisk's shell games or do we need to make some pitstops to rough up some info first?" This. This is the type of distraction he was asking for. Screw paperwork. Explosions and punching!


There's a single nod from Luke as Owen seems to jump at the suggestion, just a quick tick of his head downward without the rebound for the internationally known gesture for 'let's do this'. "We got that line on that warehouse of his. How about we see how many of the dealers we can clean out of the streets surrounding it before daylight. Start from the outside in, so he can feel the squeeze." Luke twists his head, stretching his neck until it gives a satisfying pop. "Just lemme drop my fanny pack." Er. Shit. "Tool belt."


"Give me two seconds to grab my gear and put that bottle inside…" And almost before he's done talking Owen is not there anymore. He does in fact appear about two to three seconds later, with a black jacket on, a bandolier of boomerangs underneath and a candy bar in his mouth.

"You ready yet?"


"Man, I ain't even popped my buckle yet. Tsch." Luke grumbles down at his tool belt as he's just going into the building as Owen pops out and back already. "Two pump…" Mutter mutter as he plods into the building to hand some stuff off to Delford and grab a hoodie from behind the doorman's podium. He's flipping it on as he comes back outside. "Pouring syrup must be like Hell for you. All that waiting."

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