1964-06-01 - Capturing Jack Frost
Summary: After seeing the darkest of sights, Lucian decides to extend Bucky a job offer.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
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bucky lucian 

The smile fades, but that glimmer in the pale eyes is still there. As if he's made the opening move of a game, and waits to see if Lucian realizes….and is game in return.

But to those who have an eye for humans and their sins, well, his soul is a tattered and ragged thing. However much he may wish to lay blame at the Russians' feet, the bitter truth is that Bucky Barnes was a cheerful little killer before he ever set frozen foot on Soviet soil. Oh, the cause was righteous, no doubt, but there was none at all of Steven Rogers's self imposed defensive restraint to begin with. So there are deaths aplenty to his toll before the Winter Soldier was ever conceived of. Other sins, too. Petty jealousies, unbound lusts, mild deceptions….but his besetting vice is violence. And then, of course….whatever overlay the Soldier might be, it's his hands that bear the blood of dozens, without an iota of remorse. If the ghosts of all those whose deaths can be attributed to Barnes were to appear, Lux'd be very crowded indeed.

No hunter makes easy prey of the secondborn. Fiat lux is stitched into every spot of matter in a rapidly expanding universe until its eventual heat death. The barman will be waiting then, too, possibly with a cigarette in his mouth and a know-it-all look curling his mouth into a sneer. While God shuts his umbrella, tips his bowler hat to the end of time, Lucifer has the last laugh. Literally.

Play the game, reap the rewards.

Vast, dark stretches of eternity are full of such men. Condottieri, butchers, warlords. Say nothing of the divine ichor on his own hands and his pristine white wings. An idle flick of his fingers comes up with another cigarette from somewhere. Easy to put it in his mouth, hand cupped around the end. A lighter flashes to give the end a cherry ember. "As I said. There's always a place for you here. Honest talents can be hard to come by."

It has him glancing around the bar again, in search of some evident pattern. Does everyone else here bear the mark of Cain? It's too classy. He knows the dives that mercenaries and guns for hire congregate at….and this isn't one of them. Then he looks back to Lucian, curiously. Trying to divine the diviner. "What, exactly, would you have me doing?" he asks, softly.

Oh, but it is. Mercenaries find themselves here, not only as staff but for those conversations needed in posher surroundings than the basement of a dive bar or the back of a warehouse among the stacks of crates and goods bound on an unlikely route through the Canal for southern Europe, while waving a Bahamian flag no one really trusts anyways. If these walls could talk, they'd be taken down by the Mob. Mafiya. Irish mafia. Take one's pick of an array of options.

Taking a deep breath of the cigarette, the wafting scent fills his lungs, such as Lucian actually has lungs. They're only there by design of his own, given the compounds of his body are something of a bloody illusion to satisfy mortality's shell. "Plenty of things to do, depending on your skills. Have a steady hand, easy to manage the bar. Keeping the peace. Repairs and upkeep seem a little beneath you, no disrespect. The boots say a bit there." He nudges his head to the mezzanine. "Our clientele is usually good, but we get all kinds. Someone who can make sure none of the guests or the staff get in trouble. I worry for the servers. They're not bad girls, and sometimes people take away the wrong impression."

People who usually end up knifed or laid out in a ditch on the Hudson, but it's neither here nor there. He doesn't care for violence or perpetuate it. Those who value neutral ground? Well. "We're not the sort of venue to tolerate nastiness. The guests know it and value it."

It's actually tempting. 'Jack' would love it. But Bucky, who's only in this fairy godfather diguise for a little span until midnight chimes, he leaves a boot behind for Prince Steve to find, and he's back to America's most wanted bundle of scruff and amnesia - well, his options are vastly more limited. He sighs, faintly, doggish wistfulness. "Seems like a classy place," he says, equably……and then his brows knit. Why the sudden urge to commit verbal suicide by confessing his real identity? To have someone else know him for who he is?

Lucian puts the filter back to his lips. Another deep inhale fills him, suffuses every fibre, with that sweet-dark scent of spice and the taste of a drenched land warming under the evening-day sun. Smoke curls out through his parted lips. The rounded grey haze settles in a dimensional ring around his bowed golden head. "Quality," he says, "found in something better than a dive bar and away from the self-important towers of the Financial District. Here's where you live. The former, where you pretend to do ill things, the latter where you pretend not to notice you do them. Many a shade of grey."

He offers a light, if it's wanted. "You can take a front room or back room role. I allow breadth for the staff. Controlling what they do is never my style."

Bucky accepts without hesitation. Not his usual taste, but….he's a beggar in the most profound sense, and thus not inclined to demur. He's got a lighter of his own, nods his t hanks, lights up. He does need a job, neither Loki nor Kai nor Rogue can support him, forever. Time to find some way to head on…..or settle in earnest. He takes a deep drag, savors it, eyes closing. "I'd bring trouble," he says, flatly. "You don't know. I….if I'm back this way again and things are better, it does seem like a good place to work, but…."

Cigarette offered, it's not tobacco and possibly illegal in 175 countries, if there are even that many for Earth to speak of. Territories and nations, colonies and places then. The scent or the taste is up to him to consider, the soothing indolence of it.

"Trouble. That you might." Lucian leans back slightly. "Nothing so serious. As I said, the place has something of a reputation. Who would come here to bother you?"

And who, making that fatal mistake, wants to discover how many of the staff haven't been human a day in their terrifyingly long lives?

"The cops," he says, resignedly. "The Feds." A glance down, then up. Blame the booze, though he's not used to being a lightweight….

"Neither is likely an issue. They're guests the same as everyone else." Another inhalation, another release. His glittering blue gaze shifts to Bucky in the unknown form and stays fixed there for a time.

There's that face, puzzlement, incredulity. He's got no pokerface, does Sergeant Barnes - how many times did he literally lose his shirt in barracks room pokergames until the Voice of Reason Rogers stopped him? "Not for me," he says. "What I'm wanted for, that's not the kind of thing you can pay off the local cops for."

"I'm well aware." The bartender is replaced with the businessman, who in turn strides with the performer's swagger through life and will not be silent upon a paltry strage. For, no, his is the Globe, La Scala, all the finer venues that creation can offer. "Bribery is far too simple. The truth makes for a better coin. It's quite simple though. Those in my employment are paid fairly and treated equitably. Show up and work. What you do on your own hours are not my concern. Those who would interfere with the success of Lux or the welfare of its staff become my problem, and I am reasonably well equipped to deal with most problems. Nor is the possibility of scandal likely to stick. I've weathered worse."

The smile that curls his lip is skeptical…but not entirely cynical. Cynicism may be the birthright of every New Yorker, but he seems to abandon his share. "'m not," he allows, voice going lower, "Most problems."

Blighted hope and dead faith, the marks of a life well lived and a virtue impious. Lucian stubs out his burning cigarette in an ashtray, leaving half the filter still intact and the stick pinched considerably flat through thumb and pointer finger. "Good. That tells me you're sought on the market."

That sends a chill up his spine - how many times has he been sought, bought, and traded. His death, brains spilled over yards of asphalt, and that horrible rebirth in some anonymous apartment, all so the Brotherhood can do yet more damage. He shakes his head, eyes going vague at the memory, almost dreaming. How many of the dead return to report what they saw? But that limbo….it was restful, at least, if not exactly the sunlit uplands of the Elysian fields. "No," he adds, flatly. "I….that sounded like boasting. It wasn't."

Bucky says, "I mean, what I said."

"Then let me put this in concrete terms." Lucian has all the flat regard of a mirror and the focused concentration bouncing off those mirrors might well be a laser. "You will find less trouble here and very few questions. Your skill matters, and that you will not harm the business. I reserve the right to that much. Make of it what you will. Who you are, what they want, don't much matter. Boast or don't, I really don't care. What I know is enough. You have skills. You will likely not cause any trouble. Good enough."

His own gaze sharpens again, lips faintly parted, after another drag on that cigarette. "You don't know enough," he tells him, just as certainly. "For instance, speaking entirely hypothetically," he says, with the sarcasm mostly ironed out, "If I were the guy currently wanted for the bombing of the World's Fair, who's also supposed to be a Russian assassin who's taken out one candidate for the Papacy, two sitting Prime Ministers, and any number of other political figures…..would you give him a job?"

|ROLL| Lucian +rolls 1d20 for: 17

"The worst of the Popes, last I knew, was an earl and did a fine job dispensing improper luxuries on his flock. It hardly kept him from proper employment. Besides, the qualifiers seem to make one more employable, not less," observes the blond man, chuckling under his breath. "Why, it was said there were shapeshifting aliens controlling major aspects of the government here, the Soviet Union, elsewhere. Some would say it is advantageous indeed. If it makes you feel better, you can take a shot at me and see what I think about it."

Up go those mobile brows, the green eyes widening. "Man, you really are serious, aren't you?" he asks. "And no, I'm not gonna bother you. But…..well, if I see that guy, I'll let him know you might let him work. God only knows where he is."

"More than him." The briefest thinning of that faint smile gracing the arrogant mouth so mobile in its makeup is the only warning Lucian needs to give. He arches an eyebrow at the green-eyed man. "Oh, serious. But not terribly. I can be equally frivolous and amused, but tonight seems better for seriousness. A bit of a taste of it."

"A'right," he says, finally, serious again. "I think I can speak on behalf of our hypothetical assassin." He takes a last deep drag from the cigarette, exhales through his nostrils, and knuckles it out with a twist of his hand. "Yes. But…..your word you won't sell him out to anyone, not the Feds, not the Russians, not anyone?" His lips've thinned out again, eyes gone cold and wary. "And backroom work, only. I bet you're a man of your word, and can keep tabs on your staff….but your patrons….." He shakes his head.

"Young man, I don't sell people out. It's an ugly business. Get in that end of the pool and you come out smelling vile. Nothing that can ever be scrubbed away." The mood is sharp as a knife and hot as a cauterizing iron. Lucian holds out his hand. "We have a deal, then?"

It's the other hand he extends, this time. Gloved in black leather….and while not entirely unyielding, very definitely not human flesh. "Deal," he says….quite literally shaking hands with the Devil.

Just a touch of the true strength he wields is in that grip. A touch that is still sufficient to punch a car across a road, collapse a motorcycle, and shatter the spine of about any mammal Bucky might find. The grating pressure on the fingers is hardly violent. Simply there. Simply very certain, and solid. "Excellent. In time, maybe I can earn your faith — as a good employer, and a man of my word."

Oh, indeed.

Grate it does - literally, and (just barely) audible. The plates of the hand are particularly delicate and fine - he can reload a precisely calibrated firearm, shave himself, or pick a lock with those metallic fingers. "A'right," he says again. "When do I start? And is there a dresscode?"

"Tomorrow evening. Come after five and we will set you up with a general layout of Lux. Dress code… Ah," Lucian considers that. "I could care less but the patrons generally expect some manner of clothing. At least pants. Shirts may be optional." He is probably a terrible cad and a tease about it, though his mouth curves in a deadly intent smile. "You will need a proper jacket. Don't even bother asking Maz for measurements, she is sooner to eat you for dinner. Lily might be a better choice."

"Yeah, I got the sense she'd not've minded seeing me run over by a cab," Buck admits, the tone of his voice a verbal shrug. "I'll be there." There is no coda of 'with bells on'.

Lucian has no misunderstandings on this front. "More likely a dumptruck followed by the Six, and then the sunken remains of the Lusitania dropped twice for good measure."

"So, how do I address you at work? There a surname I should use?" He can't imagine being on a first name business with his employer, apparently.

"Lucian is fine enough. No one bothers with the surname, unless I owe them a bill, and then you may be glad you're not one of my creditors. Lux runs well. They simply make it less enjoyable, at times," Lucian answers that question of Bucky's with consummate ease. He shrugs his shoulders. "How do you wish to be called, Jack? I can keep you on the payroll as that. It's a weekly cut, not biweekly. No need for that, life is short as it is."

"Legal name's John Frost. The nickname….well…" He shrugs, lazily, and there's that whisper of metal against metal. Is he so well armed that there are blades grating? Surely not.

"That will work, then. Enjoy your work, son of the winter. I'll see you on the morrow. Any complaints, I am always about." And with that, Lucian pushes himself up from the bar. The business is done, the act concluded. Now the gloom of twilight can slip inwards and swallow them up.

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