It's A Living

Title: It's A Living
Date: August 24, 2748
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Sloane's latest job turns out to be Trouble.


In the shadowy alleys of Old Diopside, where the civilized folk are afraid to go, shady deals are being wrapped up.

Sloane has been hired to assist in picking up goods her client had requested for retrieval by a third party. The exchange location is the yard of one of the factories near the city's outskirts, well after sunset. Guttering street lamps barely make a dent in the darkness of the nearly abandoned city as her car bounces along the unmaintained roads.

Her client — well-dressed man in his early 30s with slick, black hair and a hawkish nose — lounges in the back of the car, peering out the window at the ghosts of the long-abandoned factories lining the river. "Have you ever been out here before?" he asks quietly, breaking the long silence.

Sloane is not well-dressed. Her jacket is worn, her jeans are torn and her boots have skipped right past 'worn in'. But at least she's not a bad driver, so she has that going for her. She's been quiet for the drive, at least after the initial greetings. So when he speaks up, she looks at the rearview mirror, as if mildly annoyed by the disruption, then back at the road. There's a stretch, like she just might not answer, before she speaks up. "Have you?" Instead of inquisitive, the question is spoken like she knows the answer already.

The man snorts, as if the very idea is ridiculous. "No. I was hoping I'd get someone who'd know the lay of the land. Ah well, you get what you pay for." He tugs at his cuffs, gray eyes flicking to each building as they pass it. "You said you're good with a gun at least?"

He doesn't get an answer to that, just a glare via the mirror and, a few moments later when they arrive, she hits the brakes sharply. Probably on purpose. "We're here," she says as she climbs out of the car. She takes a moment to take a look around, watching for anything suspicious. Her hands slide into her jacket pockets and she leans back against the side of the car. It doesn't look very bodyguard like. But then, he is getting what he's paid for.

He jerks against his seatbelt when she stops, wincing and rubbing at his shoulder. He mutters something about sloppy drivers as he gets out of the car, straightening his jacket and peering around the darkness. Both he and Sloane are well out of the pools of lamplight, and it's the moon up above that gives most of the light, though it ducks in and out of sight behind the clouds racing across the sky.

"He said he was going to be here at 10:30," her client says, checking his watch and grunting in annoyance, "Where is he?"

"Waiting for you," comes an amused reply, as a cloud's shadow races across the ground. A figure steps out from behind a lamppost (though Sloane's pretty sure she got a good view of that post on the drive in), and starts to walk towards the car, his hands in his pockets. He's at least 50 yards off, and just strolling across the open lot towards them. "Evening, Mr. Suit. I've got a present for you."

Mr. Suit squints into the darkness, his hand going inside his jacket, possibly for a weapon. "Mr. Trouble?" he asks, sounding suddenly a lot less sure.

Sloane doesn't get a chance to reply, because their contact does instead. She looks toward him, then looks around again a little more carefully. She was absolutely sure that she looked that lamppost over, but that's all the show of surprise he gets. She's back looking at him after a moment. When they address each other, Sloane brings a hand up to her face and groans into it. "You guys are killing me," she says, but then she steps out in front of her client. Maybe to keep him from doing something stupid. Like drawing out a weapon. "Can we do this without the cloak and dagger?"

When Sloane steps forward, Mr. Suit doesn't seem purturbed by the extra body between him and the man approaching. But Sloane's movement does get the man to stop his approach. He pulls his hands out of his pockets, raising them up, as if to show he's helpless. "What, you don't like the dramatic reveal?"

The clouds move again, and moonlight slides across the parking lot, illuminating their contact. Rather than the scarred and dour characters Sloane has come across in her past work, this guy looks… young. Or rather, he has boyish good looks that make him seem more like a young man than a hardened criminal. The playful smirk doesn't help his appearance any.

"But everyone loves a dramatic reveal!" he adds with a chuckle, putting his hands back on his hips. His blue eyes are surprisingly bright in the dim moonlight, and Sloane can see them move from her client to her. Trouble eyes her for a moment, and she can see his nostrils flare as he sniffs the air. The motion sends a shiver through her, and she known, just like she's known so many times before… he's Family. Dammit.

And he definitely knows her as well. That's how it works. Though all he seems to do with that knowledge is give her the smallest of nods, before looking back to the client. "Anyways, like I said, I have a present." He reaches slowly into his jacket pocket, and pulls out a memory stick. One of those sticks that are designed such that they're only usable once. "Do you have the money?"

"Well, I don't. I like getting paid. So, the sooner we can manage that," Sloane says, letting the end of her sentence hang. His smirk and youthful looks don't seem to ease her any. In fact, they seem to put her more on edge. It isn't until that recognition hits her, and until she sees it hit him, that tension seems to go out of her shoulders. She responds to his nod with a sarcastic, and rather lazy, salute. When he pulls out the stick, she glances to her client, then nods toward the car. "It's in the trunk." She glances to her client, her expression so much less than friendly, "You're up."

Mr. Suit seems a little put off by the other man's appearance. He's squinting at him, and Sloane can see the calculations going on behind his eyes. "Mmmm. Yes, just a moment." Her client turns to go towards the back of the car.

While he's distracted, Mr. Trouble (apparently) looks back to Sloane and she gets favored with one of his friendliest smiles. He even returns the lazy salute, though he seems to take interest in looking her over. Sizing up a competitor, maybe?

"Here," Mr. Suit says, coming out with a briefcase. He pops it open, to reveal piles of bills, each in the high denominations. Mr. Trouble's eyes widen perceptibly at the sight. He must suck at poker.

"Glad to do business with you, Mr. Suit," he says, stepping forward, but Sloane's client puts up a hand to stop him.

"Ah ah. The data first," he says, gesturing to the memory stick.

Mr. Trouble sighs, and stays where he is, lazily underhanding the stick towards Sloane.

Friendly smiles seem lost on Sloane, as all he gets in return is a furrowed brow. She doesn't watch her client, though. She watches 'Mr. Trouble'. Even as the briefcase is opened, she seems unimpressed. And by the noise she makes at Trouble's reaction to it, she doesn't buy it. But, as the stick is held out her way, she steps over, reaching out to take it. It's clear, at least to the werewolf in front of her, that she was expecting more from her client, but whatever questions or procedure she thinks is missing, she doesn't do the work for him.

Mr. Trouble seems unperturbed by the unprofessionalism, giving Sloane the stick without a fuss. He even flashes her a small, friendly wink when she's within arm's reach. "Whatever he's paying you," he whispers, "It's not enough."

When Sloane gets the stick back, Mr. Suit has closed the briefcase up and set it on the ground behind him. He takes it from her without comment and sticks it into a handheld reader. Its contents spill over the screen, and it's enough to make his expression change to delight. "Excellent! I didn't think you would actually come through."

"I always finish my end of the deal," Mr. Trouble says, with a small shrug, "Now you finish yours." He gestures to the briefcase. "And let's make it quick. I have a hot date in a half hour."

"Actually…" Mr. Suit tucks the handheld reader and stick away in his jacket, "I have a better idea." With the click of a slide locking into place, he pulls out a small pistol, leveling it at Mr. Trouble, who goes stock still, the smile washing off his face immediately. "I keep the data and the cash, and go home. That seems much more amenable to me. Start the car." The last is said to Sloane, like he expects her to comply.

"You're damn right about that," Sloane says, to his whisper. She gives the memory stick a bit of a twirl before she hands it over to her client. She watches him open the files, her arms folding at his change in expression. And really, she must be quite familiar with this part of town and this sort of exchange, because when he pulls out a gun, her only reaction is a sweeping gesture of her hand as if to silently query: What the fuuuuuck? When he addresses her, she shrugs, though, and starts forward. Only, she passes near her client and reaches over to brush his arm, sending a quick, jarring electrical pulse through him.

"Dude, c'mon! Not cool!" Mr. Trouble cries, holding his hands up, careful not to make any sudden moves. He doesn't look happy.

"Hah! You think I got to where I am today by giving away money when I didn't need to? You're ignorant if you thi—AUGH!" He jerks at the sudden shock of electricity that runs through him, and his back arches painfully. Worse, his trigger finger clenches and the gun goes off with a loud report.

Mr. Trouble nearly throws himself to the ground when it goes off, staring at the both of them in surprise.

"What the hell was that?" Mr. Suit snarls, whipping his head towards Sloane, trying to turn the gun towards her, but his arm doesn't seem to be workign too well, and he only manages to turn it in her vague direction.

For her part, Sloane seems pretty decent at seeming surprised when he jerks and she lifts her hands when the gun comes her direction. "How the hell am I supposed to know?" she says, which is also quite genuine. "Maybe you should know better than to open questionable flash drives right here on the street. Just a thought." Her hands stay up and she doesn't exactly look in Trouble's direction, but it might be obvious that she's purposefully keeping the guy's attention on her, seeing as she isn't trying to get away. Or shutting up. "Everyone on the street knows better than to trust a suit, you know that much, right?" Maybe she doesn't need to sound so much like she thinks he's a dumbass, but… you know, she thinks he's a dumbass.

Mr. Suit looks very angry, and his aim is quickly steadying on Sloane's head.

Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Trouble stand up, reaching inside his coat…

And then he's standing beside Mr. Suit, gun pressing against his temple. She didn't even seen him cross the distance. One moment he was dozens of yards away, and the next he's close enough to touch. Mr. Suit's eyes go wide, his aim drifting off of Sloane as his eyes roll towards Trouble without moving his head.

"Okay, this WAS going well," Trouble says, sounding annoyed, "But then you had to fuck it up. Now you're going to do what I say, got it? First, you're going to put the gun down."

Mr. Suit does so without question, putting the gun on the roof of the car, lifting his hands up like Trouble was moments before.

That does surprise Sloane and she blinks at his sudden swiftness. But then something quite similar to a smile curls the corner of her mouth. When her client puts his gun down, Sloane scoops it up. She knows, you know, less about guns than she might have claimed in order to secure a job, but she knows which end to hold and where to point it. Which is to say, at her client. "And I quit, by the way. You are about to have a hard time finding protection, 'Mr. Suit,'" she says, although the name comes out sarcastically.

Mr. Suit looks even more distraught when he realizes he now has two guns pointed at him. But Trouble just looks pleased.

"Alright, briefcase next," Trouble says, and Mr. Suit looks distraught as he kicks it over towards the werewolf, who catches it on his foot, and kicks it up into his arm. Trouble looks between the two of them, then at the car. "Whose car is that?"

"It's mine, so please don't shoot it," Sloane says, dryly. She lifts her chin a little, eyeing her client before she adds, "The trunk's pretty empty." Her eyebrows lift and she grins at the attempted doublecrosser in a way that is probably not very reassuring. "Can't promise it's roomy, though."

Trouble barks a laugh at the insinuation, and Mr. Suit whimpers, "N-no, p-please… I'll, I'll triple your pay!"

"Hey, how often do you have clients who grovel, eh? That's certainly a perk!" Trouble says, tucking the gun back under his jacket, curious where this is gonna end up going.

The offer makes Sloane tilt her head, as if in thought. And it is in thought, because after a moment's consideration, she takes a step toward him. Gun still up. "Triple. And you give me the best damn review you've ever given. Then I'll let you walk away. Provided," she adds, "you behave yourself. And don't try anything fucking stupid. Anything else fucking stupid, anyway." She gives Trouble a glance, and a smirk that might imply that it happens often enough.

Mr. Suit nods vigorously at that. "Yes! Yes, whatever you want! 5 stars, I promise!"

Trouble looks like he's trying not to laugh, hand over his mouth, when she looks his way. He responds to that smirk with a huge grin and a shake of his head. He's just enjoying being a spectator for now.

"Alright," Sloane says, her hand moving to her hip. She looks at Trouble, eyebrows lifted, "He's gonna do both right now, so don't shoot him unless he pulls some shit." And then the hand on her hip gestures to her client, ushering him to follow through. Seems the guns aren't going anywhere until he does.

Mr. Suit reaches slowly into his coat, pulling out his phone. His hands are trembling so hard, he's having trouble holding the device. Eventually, Sloane gets a buzz on her phone indicating she's been paid triple her usual rate. Then a few minutes later, a glowing review on he notifications feed. "Okay, okay! That's it. C-can we put the guns away now?" Mr. Suit stammers.

Trouble has gotten hold of himself, wiping at his eyes from the silent laughter. "Oh wow, you just lucked out, buddy. I've seen drivers shoot their clients for less than sticking a gun to their head."

Sloane waits, even patiently, while he works out how to use his fingers again. She pulls out her own phone, even though she doesn't strictly need to, to look at her alerts. "Thank you for the prompt payment," she says, in a parody of the Customer Service Voice, "it's been lovely doing business with you." She lowers her gun, but doesn't exactly ask Trouble to do likewise. "Start walking," she says, her tone returning to a harsher one.

Jason tucks his gun away, and Mr. Suit finally relaxes. He looks at Sloane with great distress. "But… New Diopside is miles away! I'll never be able to walk there!"

"Not with that attitude, you won't!" Trouble says flippantly.

"There's a train. Cabs. It's probably too late for the city bus," Sloane looks over at Trouble, as if to get confirmation on that point before she looks back to her client. "You tried to cheat your way out of this meeting. You pointed a gun at me. At both of us. Your feet will recover. Gunshots take a lot longer."

Huh? (Type "help" for help.)

Trouble gives Sloane an incredulous look, shrugging. "Do I look like the kind of guy who takes the bus? But yeah, you better do what she says, man."

Mr. Suit stares at the both of them, before his expression turns angry. "You… you stupid bitch! I pay you triple, and now you're going to stiff me? I'll make sure you never work in this town again!"

"Okay, time's up." Jason steps forward, pulls out his gun again, points it in the air and fires, cutting Mr. Suit's temper tantrum short as he quails in fear. "Get those feet moving before you lose them!"

Sloane puts a hand to her chest at the insult, like she's never been called such a thing before. She might have some smartass thing to say, but Trouble cuts into the conversation rather pointedly, so she just crosses her arms and scoffs at the man's threat. "Chop, chop, Mr. Suit. You've got a lot of work to do if you're going to try to freeze me out of work."

Mr. Suit looks like he's about to say something, but Trouble fires into the air again, and he ducks his head, taking off at a run with a yelp.

When he's out of earshot, the other man breaks out into peals of laughter, nearly doubling over. "Ahahaha! Holy shit, did you see his face?? Hahahaha, you had him pissing himself! That was amazing!"

When the man starts to run, Sloane lets out a sigh, as if that didn't all go how she wanted it to. But then, Trouble starts to laugh and she looks over at him like he might be crazy. But after a moment, she smirks in reply. "Me? You're the one shooting. I think you need most of the credit." She unfolds her arms and turns toward him, "Was it unclear that he was paying me to not shove him in my truck and dump him in the ass end of nowhere?" She also passes the gun over to him, seeing as he seems to know how to handle them and she does not.

"I wasn't the one who negotiated triple my pay AND blackmailed a guy for a 5-star review! Holy crap, that was genius!" He settles down, wiping at his eyes again. "Hee hee… no no, that was crystal," he says.

He glances down at the gun when she offers it out, but he does take it with a cheeky grin. "Not a fan of guns, huh? Too bad, you could pawn this for a few hundred, I'll bet. It's an expensive model."

"Well," Sloane says with a crooked smile, "it isn't like he made it hard. He's still going to have a hard time finding a bodyguard next time. The community doesn't particularly like stunts like that." Whatever the community is. She laugh dryly, briefly, when he goes on. "I'm more likely to shoot myself in the foot before I make it to a pawn shop." There's a pause before she holds her hand out toward him. "Sloane."

"There's a bodyguard community?" Jason asks, more to himself than to her, "Do they have a Facebook page or something?"

When she offers her hand, he slips his into hers with a smile, shaking it. "Trouble. Is what my customers call me. The Family knows me as Jason." He flashes her that boyish smile again. "So how much do I have to pay you to give me a ride back to civilization, and not dump me in a ditch?"

"Something like that," Sloane says, as far as what the community is and where they might gather. She returns the shake, then slides her hands back into her pockets. "Jason, then. Not very many people have been able to sneak up on me. I guess I'm glad you're family." At his question, she smirks and nods toward the car. "Buy me a coffee, we'll call it even." Nevermind that it's the middle of the night.

Jason looks plenty pleased at that, puffing out his chest and grinning like an idiot. "Always glad to run into more family. Might be easier to get a drink than a coffee, though. I know this place in New Diopside that makes amazing Kahlua milkshakes…"

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