1964-03-30 - Making Nice

This night hasn't been so bad. Work went well, tips were good. He came home, smoked a joint, and he lies on his back on the floor in his living room in sweats and a singlet, staring at the ceiling. The ceiling has been done like a starscape, lots of fun when one is buzzed. In one hand, he clasps the crystal apple, and he gleams. There are no lights on. There don't need to be. The entire front room glows, illuminated by moonlight.

There's someone watching. Of course there is. A healer's a valuable resource, especially for someone as prone to injury as the Soldier. So he's found a place he can watch the flat from, a rooftop across the way. The glow….what is it? He's got a monocular, not a nightvision scope, and is merely silently observing, for the moment. Not a lot of experience with people from other realms. Not that he can remember, anyway.

Kai does get up eventually, after he's fed the artifact the light of the moon. He still gleams as he gets up, stuffing the apple in his pocket. It's drink o'clock, and he goes to his fridge to see what he's got. There's one more beer left. Not his favorite, but he grabs it, passing in front of the window on the way back from the kitchen. The gleaming is him. A silvery blue aura emanates from him, and it makes him look truly otherworldly.

He knows better than to go in and harass Kai. He doesn't need healing at the moment. But….when Kai returns, 'Jack' is in his living room. No sound of feet on the fire escape, no sound of the window opening. No gun in hand this time. In a voice that's almost conversational, he says, "Tell me more about this place you come from." Apparently greeting and/or preamble is the kind of extraneous courtesy one discards in Russia.

Kai starts with a yelp, and he pulls back a fist to throw a punch. Not finding 'Jack' within smacking range nor holding a gun on him, he stands down. Somewhat. Still poised for violence. "What's it to you?" he says. "You know, you're a real itch in the jockstrap. A rash, Jack. I just…" He squirms where he stands, like he's uncomfortable in a delicate place. Then he sighs, rakes a hand through his curls, and says, "If I tell you, will you stop stealing my drugs and pointing guns in my face?"

'Jack''s got the kind of deadpan you can only perfect after two decades of being a prisoner, no, a subject in a sharashka. But somehow, there's a suggestion of humor in his face. "They say that if you can make your captor relate to your humanity, they're less likely to kill you," he says, almost airily. "And I'm not pointing a gun at you now."

"I'm not your captive," Kai says. "You got no strings on me, Daddio." He stands, a hand on his hip, an apple-sized bulge in his pocket, gleaming with moonlight, and looking like a very annoyed otherworldly phenomenon. "I'm from Alfheim," he says. "No. Nuts to that. I'm from London. My parents are from Alfheim." He spreads his arms, beer in hand. "I'm an elf. Have your laugh and get out of my flat."

"Show me what's in your pocket," His tone's still even, almost conversational, but there's that hint of steel behind it. "Because I know you're not that happy to see me."

Kay exhales through his nose. "You're cute, but my type doesn't pull a fucking gun on me." It might not be safe to admit he's 'that way,' but hell, the bastard has threatened to kill him already for less. He pulls the crystal from his pocket. It's clear, and the inside echoes the silvery blue of Kai's gleaming. It's shaped like an apple and is about the size of a small one. "What it is, is mine."

The blue glow is almost kind to his face - catching in the pale eyes, erasing some of the lines of strain. There's curiosity there, wearing at that impassive facade. "What is it?" he asks, still calmly.

The calm irritates Kai even more. How dare this man be calm after the gun, the dragging around… He scruffed Kai. Scruffed him like a cat. Kai looks away with a breath of mirthless laughter. Oh, the nerve. "It's a doo-dad that makes owies go away, dig? Before you get any ideas, you can't use it on yourself. You can only help others, and that doesn't seem like it's your scene."

Utter sangfroid, the annoying old bastard. He holds out a hand, expectantly. The gloved one.

Kai shakes his head and steps back. "It's mine," he says, clutching it to his chest. His narrowed eyes round out again, and the fey creatures gives the utter sangfroid a pensive look, almost appealing, but it would be to a sense of goodness he's pretty sure 'Jack' doesn't have. "You're not strong enough to use it anyway. A norm might fix a sprained wrist before getting spent. You'd just be opening yourself up to a world of hurt."

"YOu don't know me," he states, flatly. His fingers flatten out and there's a tiny noise as they do. Almost like something slithering. "Let me see it."

Kai regards 'Jack' with mutiny in his eyes. Maybe just a little petulance. "I'm not letting go of it," he warns as he steps over. Cautiously. His grip on the beer bottle shifts ever so slightly. Any sudden moves and someone's getting an Old Milwaukee upside the head. He kneels, holding up the apple. "Look." The inside gleams with the same glow as the elf, slightly brighter than it was before. "You tapped it. I'm filling it up again."

"Tapped it. When you healed me?" That faint brush of curiosity again. He closes his hand around it, carefully. "How do you recharge it?" Bucky's tone is clinical.

Kai's fingers tighten around the crystal, and for a slight fellow, he's strong. Unnaturally strong. Way stronger than his frame should even be able to support. The grip wouldn't be easy to break, and his eyes narrow just a touch as if to say 'that's right.' "It recharges by the light of the full moon."

A little grunt of understanding. "How long does it take to recharge? Why do you have it?" His fingers are curled around it delicately, the one thing about him that doesn't suggest brutishness. He's not trying to take it from Kai.

Kai relaxes somewhat, though he watches 'Jack.' Like a hawk. It's almost as if he doesn't trust the guy. "Depends. I was going to put it on the nightstand and let it soak up the rays tonight; it'd be tip-top by morning." He pauses, then adds, "It's no good to you. Besides, I need it to help people."

"Why?" he asks, with child-like directness. Carefully, he withdraws his hand from it. But he hasn't moved, or invited Kai to sit down. Nor has he sat himself. As if standing's more comfortable.

Kai's brow knits. He takes the apple back and stuffs it in his pocket. He eases onto the couch without asking, crossing his legs beneath him. "Why?" he echoes. "Because people need help. You Clydes are a mess down here. It blows my mind how you can be so fragile and so reckless. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about pushing boundaries and riding the edge, but I don't snap like a twig. Then you get old so fast! It's hard. It hurts. You end up abandoned and alone. Someone's got to ease the aches and make sure you've got a meal in your belly and heat in your house. How the streets aren't piled high with bodies, I can't wrap my head around."

So does Bucky's - he's got that set of frown lines, like this is a face he makes a lot. "And what's it to you?" he asks, hoarsely. "If we don't live that long anyhow, then how much good can you do with that, really?" An inclination of his head to the now covered apple. "It sounds like being a veterinarian who only practices on pet mice, or something."

Kai eyes Bucky oddly. "That's your takeaway? Woof, you're a real beam of sunshine, Chuckles. If you ever lived in the moment, you'd know each one's a gift. Maybe it's because of how short that life is that it's important how bright it gets to shine. All we got is right here, right now, and the other night when you were here bleeding out and pulled a gun on me," He's just not going to let that go, is he, "I figured even jackasses don't deserve to be snuffed out before they get to dazzle." He holds up a hand. "Not that I expect you got it in you, but if I could give you the chance and don't, then what does that make me?"

"I suppose I owe you," Man, it's the tone in which he delivers these lines that makes the asshole factor pin the needle. "But then," And he glances aside, distractible, "I didn't kill you."

Kai snorts. "Oh, thank you for not killing me. That's really cool, man. I dig how you didn't do the thing no one else fucking does. It must have been hard meeting the base line for not being a total psycho." He mimics a modest bow from where he sits, folded up on the couch. "You're right, collapsing from exhaustion is just about the right balance for not getting shot. In fact, if anything, I owe you." He takes a long drink from his beer, shooting the harshest of side-eye at 'Jack.'

His expression is one of infuriating blandness, as he replies, "You're welcome." A beat, as he considers the beer. "Why are you on earth? This mission of mercy? Or did you get kicked out?"

Kai flips 'Jack' off. "Get bent," he says. He finishes off his last beer with relish, having shared none. Setting the bottle aside, he says, "I was born here. My parents were on an extended holiday, and I was a stopover in London." He shrugs a shoulder. "I didn't get kicked out. I left the first chance I got. Alfheim doesn't feel like home, man. Besides, it's Dragsville."

"Really?" Up go those thin dark brows. "This world is more appealing than Alfheim?"

"Let me tell you something, Jack," Kai says as he unfolds and affects a lounge. Still gleaming, which is good since he's the only light in the room, "This world moves fast. It changes. You can barely catch your breath before the big thing's out and the next big thing's in. I dig it. It's my jam. It's what I knew coming up, and when everything is fast-paced all your life, Alfheim's like living in molasses. It's just the same thing day after day after day after day. They don't have jazz in Alfheim, man. They don't have poetry slams." He points at Jack, addressing some very serious issues here. "There's no bennies, you'll find no weed. They don't do the Twist in Alfheim."

And now his gaze goes distant, for a long moment. "That sounds peaceful," he says. And it's with a distinct note of what can only be envy. "To know that each day will be like the one that went before it…."

"It's dull," Kai says flatly. Jack's taking the wrong lesson from this. "Anyway, Squaresville's the same. Get yourself a wife, two kids, and a dog, moved into some house behind a white picket fence, and you too can grow old and die in a home with grandkids who never come to see you and a lifetime of regrets."

Bucky shakes his head at that. The wrong lesson, indeed. "They have white picket fences in Alfheim?" Now he's definitely teasing. Because baiting immortal magicians makes so much sense.

Kai tilts his head, then actually smiles. A ghost of a smile, but still! He's not shooting death daggers from his eyes at Bucky! Progress. "The whitest," he drawls. "So who shot you, anyway? Were they good guys? Am I hurting the cause by helping the villain?"

Any suggestion of humor falls away like a piece of dropped clothing. "Well," he says, slowly, "If they were shooting at me, they weren't the good guys. I….don't really know why…"

"You have to understand," Kai says. "You put a gun to the back of my head. Oh, yes, I was awake for that. I just couldn't move because I exhausted myself helping you." He takes the apple from his pocket, tossing it from hand to hand like a baseball. "That's how it works. Why it's no good to you. I spent my last few conscious moments that night thinking the man I just helped was going to murder me. So I gotta wonder, who's on the side of righteousness, Jack?"

Jack's voice is bleak, as he replies, "I don't know. Not me." Blunt, that admission. He spreads his hands, and there's that strange little noise from him again. Like the scraping of a snake's scales.

Kai sighs and says, "Sit down, Jack. You're here, you're not getting kicked out, that makes you a guest, I guess. His brow quirks, and he eyes that arm. It's not a normal arm. he felt that the other night. Still, he doesn't pry. He just tosses the apple hand to hand. If he had more, no doubt he'd be juggling. "You don't have to be a savage animal. I told you I'd help you, and I did. Even assholes deserve a chance to live."

He does, for a wonder, sit. Gingerly, really, as if this were utterly alien to him. What sort of crazy Private Idaho has he been hiding out in, to be this uncomfortable in someone else's living room?

"So. You're not a villain, but you're not a good guy. I guess that makes you just a person," Kai says. He snaps the crystal apple to one hand, then rests his elbow on the back of the couch, tangling his fingers in his curls to cradle his head. "A paranoid, hair-trigger, cornered animal of a person who someone wants dead. I take it from your… everything, that you don't know who's behind it. That's a bad rap, cat. You need to slow your roll before you tumble right off a cliff. Gotta find out who your friends are. And don't pull guns on them anymore. I ought to hate your guts."

"Would you believe me if I said the Russians?" There's the faintest lilt of hope, couched in that deadpan.

Kai admits, "Given the past couple weeks I've had, I'd believe you if you said it was the Devil himself." He whistles low. "The Russians. What did you do to make them blow their jets?"

There's that brow-knit frown of confusion. "I don't know, he says. "I…." Have said way too much. He's rising, suddenly, and turning for the window. Apparently leaving by the door is against his religion, or something."

Kai watches him, and despite how annoyed this man has made him, the elf doesn't try to stop him or make any kind of cutting remark. He simply says, "Okay. Well, I'm not Russian. I'm not after you. If anyone asks, I'll say Jack who?"

"Frost," is the reply. And he's left through the bedroom window. Bedroom, the creeper.

Kai studies the apple in the wake of Jack Frost's departure. "You get me in the worst trouble," he tells it. "Worse than I manage for myself." Still, he presses his lips to the cool crystal. Oh stolen artifact, he can't stay mad at you.

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