1965-04-10 - Questioning the Devil
Summary: Bucky wants to know how to retrieve a few souls.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky lucifer 

It's good for a man to get out once in a while. Out in this case means East Village as ever, the spillover from Greenwich pouring into the clubs and out of the jazz dens and rock havens. The street, abandoned at the later than midnight hour, gives a slick spot for guests to dance in the rain for no reason other than frivolity, inspiration, and possibly a certain watery deva advantaging herself of the gloom-ridden weather.

Not that Lucian gives the least fig if he gets soaking wet, but he finally finds an excuse for loitering under someone's awning and shamelessly drinking a libation of questionable extraction. No cigarette, though the situation might call for such. Getting high off marijuana requires the ability to get high at all, and the other options scarcely quantify anything worth it. Thus he watches the revelers splashing in the puddles, growing soaked to the bone, arm in arm, hand in hand.

Buck, for his part, dropped by to pick up paychecks and look for the boss himself. Only to be told Lucian was out for the evening. No bank account, so he's carrying that money tucked away in a pocket inside his own coat, a good trenchcoat - can't work at Lux and dress like a refugee from a ragbag, after all.

He's pacing home - well, towards the Avengers' mansion, but it's a ways to a subway he'll dare. More sins on him, of course. More deaths added to the tattered display. Not least of which Volga's, even if it doesn't stick. Cannibalism is new, too, even in its oddest form.

Fool be the man who tries to rob a patron of Lux, much less an employee. Money earned fair and square in the establishment receives the protection of its employers thereof, and the staff holds a merry band of miscreants prepared fully to undermine the good sleep and safe dreams of any gainsaying their pledges. Commitments can be scarce enough, but the money's always good, the contracts generally honoured. Thus, cash always comes clean; no missing tips.

Maze dwells out there somewhere in the mix of three dozen people reveling like children under the sodden skies, music filtered through speakers positioned here and there. Nuisances to their neighbours, but sometimes New Yorkers need to play when theirs is a city besieged, bereft of comforts otherwise. The blond man lounges, easier in mood and manner than normally is his wont.

Tattered sins worn on the sleeve stand out to those burning eyes as well as anything, but at least the ex-Devil keeps his ill-got gains to himself. Most of the time. Trading on sin is a risky business for someone's name. What he sees, he says nothing on, waiting. In the end, patience is relative. They come to him or they don't.

That cut-glass profile is distinctive, even if it's not found where expected. Buck pauses, quick-march step faltering, cocks his head. He's got his hat on, a fedora current enough in cut to pass among the crowds, old enough in style to satisfy tastes formed a few decades ago. Hesitant, he veers off the pavement, as if uncertain if he sees what he thinks, or is the victim of mere wishful thinking.

A fedora will never really go out of style in New York streets; only the borough in question matters. So be it. Lucian manages cool without much trying, the shop behind him devoted to shoe repair and newspapers and Indian woven rugs closed as the mood takes the proprietor. Splashes of colour drizzle away under the liquid ultraviolet glimmer where clashing influences of light and dark unite in his person. He's almost crystal cut against that etched, smeared illumination. Victims of fate they may be, though he'd deny it on every breath as loudly as Tony claims to invent things, dammit.

"Didn't take you for a walk in the rain kind of fellow."

…..has he ever encountered Lucian out of the confines of Lux? Memory says no. So there's that little bemused line etched between his brows, as he comes in under the awning, takes off his hat. The long hair's tucked within his collar, the better to pass. "I hadda stop by, get my check," he says, quietly, looking up into that face. Even in this setting, Lucian's dazzling. "I….was honestly hoping to ask your advice on something," he adds, hesitant. He's been so careful to ask little, to take only what's been offered without solicitation. Conscious of the debts owed already, never to be discharged.

A nod to that; let Maz worry about the accounting because Lucian never does, scarce interested in the ebb and flow of coin except when favours fail to turn up the debts or taxmen come by. Takes one to know one as far as devils in the money department go. Thinned gaze shielded against the spattering rain, he steps back deeper into the recess of the doorway to allow some protection from growing too wet. See, nothing questionable at all taking place on a stoop by night, betwixt assassin and proprietor of all luxuries and sin. Wasted moments spent admiring the staccato skyline draw him back to the present. "Not often I hear such things. Well?" A lingering pause, pregnant with meaning. "You would know?"

His gaze doesn't waver from Lucian's. It almost never does, when he's in the angel's presence. Natural magnetism, as it were. "I need to ….I need to go get some dead kids from the afterlife," he says, as bluntly as he can. "I was away and I was fighting this…..I'd say he's a sorcerer, but I think he was more than that. A personification of the River Volga? An old local god? I still don't understand what happened," he admits. "But….he'd been making and molding children with science and magic, a lot of 'em from me. So….when we went to deal with him, he destroyed the school he'd housed them in. Many of them died."

The forceful magnetism might be stowed briefly under a lampshade, but always remains presence around the blond man. He need not hear the lyrical instrumentals evoking a vague wilderness; all they need are skirling pipes and adolescents trotting off to Long Island to begin a legend in the modern day. His fingers halfway to his collar still, and Lucian halts in that gesture. Not the oddest thing he has ever heard, not by a long shot. Strange, though, there's the rub. "You do not understand that you fought someone and came back with a quest to descend like Orpheus into the underworld." Not wholly a question, that. "Death, though often a charming woman — if a bit sparse on conversation — does not always wear so friendly a face," he remarks in that acerbically dry English accent. His hand goes to his pocket, lingering there instead in the relatively dry warmth afforded by his coat. "I remind you your last brush with a death lord ended rather distastefully for you. One of the lesser powers, much diminished. Pray none of them turned to worship Czernobog or his white brother?"

"I don't know who they worshipped, if anyone, other than maybe Volga himself," Buck says, pragmatically. That weary set to his mouth. "And I remember. Volga said….said I'd be fine bait for Czernobog," he adds, recalling that strange conversation. "That it left death left marks on me, that I seed it in those near me. I imagine he's the one who has them, if they died in Russia. I don't know how the afterlife or afterlives work. Most of the times I died I don't remember anything of itat all."

"Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. End up in your place of eternal reward, end of the line." So spaketh Lucifer Morningstar, who would know, not that any of it is secret to him. "Except when it is not. For every law, nearly, there is a loophole. You want to know how to recover them. Whether they can be recovered at all."

HE grins, despite himself, that old crooked almost-smirk. "Yes, exactly," he says, gently. No real enthusiasm there. "I mean, he-" He coughs, eliding that particular expletive as insensitive at best. "I've come back several times, and I wasn't even tryin'. Well, was made to come back," he says, rubbing the back of his neck.

Lucian examines the rainfall slanting off the buildings, a cascade of water that transforms even humble, pitted brick and grey concrete into something vaguely beautiful, a diamond shellac over them all. What's the price worth to an immortal there 'ere death began? "Let's keep the matter simple. None of the death lords or Death herself part freely with souls. Exchanging currency or a bargain for one or two is possible. Beyond that, you had best have something priceless they need. Have they descended to Hell, you're in a tighter bind. Some of the lords may dealw with you. Others will simply destroy you given the chance. Is this really worth it to you?"

"They were innocent children. Would they go to Hell?" If anyone is going to know, it's the ex-landlord. He tilts his head at Lucian, thoughtfully. Apparentlyhe just can't picture Lucian tormenting anyone, just because. But then, he's long since determined that clearly a lot of the stories he'd heard about the Morningstar were the result of the official histories being written by the victors.

"Even children can sin." Those glittering eyes hold no warmth of the sun in them, generating all their own light. Elbow to the door, Lucian curls his long fingers. "Are you sure they bore no stamp on their souls? Be that as it may, those doors are not easily opened." His voice holds the threnody rolling through the English current, settled thus. "I shan't tell you of the door out of time for you cannot cross it. If a soul wishes to return, and you can convince its keeper — or steal it, though that runs immense peril — then you may restore someone to life. Though do recall not all dead are tangible. Bring back the soul with no body, you've a problem."

Buck makes a little gesture with his gloved hand. "I don't know," he admits, quietly. "And I figured as much. No matter what myth or story you read, there's always an enormous price. I don't know how….I don't know why I was brought back more than once. I mean, each person who did it had his reasons, and they were never good, but…what're the odds? And I don't have their bodies."

"Name a dozen lords, I can name a dozen costs." Lucian fixes Bucky with that veiled regard, such as it is, underlining fact and importance with equal stead. Whether he knows why that soul comes back again and again, fractures drawn on its surface, he remains mum on. All the better, really. "Be prepared to come back with few, if any. Resolve yourself to one or two, you may be the happier for it. Only two powers known to me would ever restore someone to life freely, and one of them is currently non-operational. The other?" He draws in a breath and releases it. "You're standing on. And convincing her has ever been an uncertainty where magic, science, and making are involved. Though not impossible, I suppose. You would be better suited to determine if they've passed on completely. If so it's an act of utter hubris — the scarring kind — to force their return. If not, then you stand a chance. Learn the realm they are in, proceed accordingly. And try not to put all your eggs in one basket."

"I wonder…..the legends say Mother Russia loved Volga. I wonder if I bargained with her - I have his heart," he says, musingly. "For it's in Moist Mother Earth they are now." His voice is wistful, but he's nodding along. "But it'd all be to do again, that way. He has us enslaved with his blood…" A slow breath. "I'll find where they landed…."

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