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Touching Base
Dramatis Personae

Cage, Trib


Trib finally checks in with Cage. (Part of Infected TP.)


<NYC> Heroes for Hire - Midtown East

The front room of the Heroes for Hire office has the secretary's desk, a small filing cabinet, a computer, and a ceiling fan. Janice, the aforementioned secretary is a sixty-something woman who's accent clearly marks her as being from Eastern European descent, though probably one generation removed judging by how well she speaks English. Janice was almost certainly selected by some busy-body lawyer on Luke's behalf, probably to keep him free of any more accidental law suits. The paint is faded, but everything pretty much works. Off to one side is the bathroom, and the other door leads back to Luke's office.

There's isn't much in Luke's actual office but a small desk and a swivel chair pushed into one corner, with a pair of straight backed chairs on the other side of it. A couch is by the window that looks out over the city, with Times Square in the distance. All things considered, its actually a pretty decent little spot.

It's Sunday night, and things are basically back to business as usual at Heroes for Hire. Janice is in, and she's standing in the door to Luke's office, holding a thick, green folder of papers. "Mr. Cage, I have the forms you need to sign..." Oddly enough, Janice's voice is low, quiet, and respectful. Luke leaves his place looking out the window, storms over to Janice and snatches the folder from Janice.

He pauses close to her and growls, "You don't have to tiptoe around here like it's some kind of... he's not fucking /dead/, ok?"

"Of course he's not," she says quietly. Janice is tough as nails, but really she's at a loss for how to deal with her boss being so out of sorts.

Luke crosses back to his desk and drops the pile of papers noisily, and stares down at it as if it had done something it should be ashamed of.

The clomp of boot on the stoop outside the office is familiar and one that's gone largely unheard around these parts since before the plague got really bad. The same for the shadow that looms in the glass of the door before it swings open to thump loudly against one of the chairs in the reception area.

Trib doesn't look /great/. The big man's face is stubbly, and his trademark scowl seems deeper, somehow. Which could be attributed to the black suit that the boxer wears, rumpled from train travel but still identifiable as his 'security' uniform. Hands jammed in his pockets, the big man grunts a greeting at Janice as he passes through the outer office and into Cage's office where he flops on the sofa. His golden gaze is weary when he latches it onto Cage, and his eyebrows lift a bit.

Janice looks up when Trib bangs the door open, ready to complain about the noise, and then her eyes go wide and she just sits back. Her old stony expression returns, but not before a flash of real pleasure, and she even graces Trib with a nod. A /nod/. Of approval. Mark it on your calendars, folks.

In the office, Cage spins at Trib's entrance and just freezes by his desk until Trib flops into the couch. "Jesus Christ," he says. At least he's not growling. "You couldn'ta /called/? For fuck's /sake/ Trib..." But Cage doesn't wait for a response. Normally, he tries to be careful about his strength, and not making people feel awkward or frightened of it. But just now, he takes to big steps and picks Trib up like he weighs no more than a stuffed animal, and wraps the young man in a bear hug.

"Agh." It's about the best Trib can manage as he's lifted off the couch and squeezed. Either indignity or the pressure on his ribs robs him of the breath to offer more. Instead, he just raises his hand and pummels his fists against Cage's shoulders like two meaty hammers until he's put back down. Then he winces, and puts a hand along his rib cage. "Jesus. I didn't fuckin' live through the goddamned zombie apocalypse to be fuckin' /hugged/ to death." His growl lacks heat, though, and there's a definite upward turn to one corner of his mouth. "I ain't called on account I been fuckin' busy with shit." He jerks a thumb towards the outer office. "Glad to see Janice made it. Miss Blair okay?"

"Well return a damn call sometime," Luke says, setting Trib down and stepping back. "Yeah, man Ali's great. I had her come stay at mom's with me so I could keep an eye on both of them..." His expression goes a little dark but he continues, "Mom caught the plague, but we were able to get the meds... and the cure." Luke clears his throat and the true, deep river of emotion behind that statement comes clear for just a moment. Then he nods at Trib, "What about Bones? Did he come through ok?"

"I told you, I been busy with shit," Trib says, moving to return to the couch with another flop; this one takes his feet up so that he's laid out on the furniture so he can rest his hands on his stomach. "Glad your mom made it," he says slowly, grinding out the words. "She's a nice lady." His expression darkens as he considers something -- or maybe he's remembering it -- and he sinks lower in the cushions. "Bones is okay," he rumbles, his laced fingers unlacing so he can fold his arms across his chest. "We tried to avoid gettin' it, and we got in on the cure pretty quick." There's the tiniest of twitching around the boxer's eyes, as if he might be wincing. He rolls his gaze around to pin Cage again. "My dad didn't make it."

Cage nods, and leans back to sit on the edge of his desk while he listens to Trib, nodding along, until he gets to the end. Luke sighs and closes his eyes, "Man, I'm so sorry. Were you able to..." He just shrugs. With as much terrible as has been going around, there aren't too many ways to ask delicate questions anymore. "Were you able to get the body? Do you need more time away? Whatever you need, man. Seriously."

"Found him," Trib says, his mouth tightening. "Fuckin' biters got him in his own house." He exhales heavily, a bit of a shudder coming into the end of it. He lifts a shoulder at the question, and wrinkles his nose in a grimace. "It's all done, man. I just got back from the reading of his fuckin' will." His brow lowers, and he falls silent for a long stretch of minutes. When he does speak again, he sounds really tired. "He drove me fuckin' nuts, man. Like, I wanted to /punch/ him for bein' so stupid. Now all I can think is how much it's gonna suck without him around."

Cage lets out a long slow breath, looking past Trib and out the window. "I'm sorry man. That's hard. I never knew my dad, but I can't imagine losing mom... shit." Cage sits quiet for a long moment and finally shakes his head again. "Do you need anything?"

Trib snorts at the offer, although it's not dismissive. Rather, it's an incredulous sort of noise. "That's kind of the thing, dude. I don't /need/ anything, any more. Apparently, I now own a fuckin' house, and the royalty rights to Pa's books." He shakes his head, looking accusingly at his feet. "I mean, it ain't like I'm fuckin' rich or nothin'. Dad was a shit writer, an' his books don't sell that great. But I ain't got to worry about fuckin' payin' my rent no more." He grinds his teeth, then, as if such /luxury/ was somehow bothersome to him. Then he glances sideways at Cage. "I ain't told Bones," he confesses. "About the house. 'Cause I think I'm gonna sell it." He turns his head, then, to regard Cage. "I mean. That's what I /should/ do, right? Be a nice chunk of cheddar to live on for a while."

That reminds him of something, and he grimaces. "Speakin' of cheese...I got some fuckin' moron tryin' to hire me as his fuckin' security guard or some shit." He growls, and hunches his shoulders. "I'd do it, if he wasn't a fuckin' skeeze jackass."

Cage nods again, and raises his eyebrows. "Terrible way to come by it, but at least... that's something, right? And yeah, selling the house is probably the right thing to do, unless you wanna live in it. You could rent it out, if you wanna be a landlord, but trust me... mom tried that for a while when I was in prison. Said it was more hassle than it was worth." Cage shrugs, and adds, "Well hey man, you can start training full time now, right? That was your plan, when you got that card, yeah?" Cage seems plenty supportive, though hesitant as well. It's clear he'd rather have Trib around. "And you definitely don't have to take on some low-life bodyguard job."

"Oh, I can't fuckin' rent it," Trib says, rolling his eyes. "I ain't got patience for dealin' with folks, an' it looks like somethin' out of a fuckin' Western. I'm gonna have to sell it 'Spaid off, though." He shrugs, sighing again. "I dunno. It's still all fuckin' weird." The question about training gets an actual groan, and Trib reaches up to pinch his nose. "Don't fuckin' remind me. It's gonna be forever before I find another open card." He grimaces, and drops his hand to his stomach, toying with the buttons of his jacket. "I wouldn't take it even if I needed the money," he says of the aforementioned job opportunity. "I ain't keen on jammin' my thumb in the eye of Wilson fuckin' Fisk, an' that's what it sounds like this guy wants to do." He holds up his half-hand. "I ain't got the digits to spare to help him out, even if he was shittin' diamonds to pay me with."

"Well I dunno, man, it seems like if you got one, you could get another." Luke runs his hand over his bare scalp, making a soft rasp noise indicating that he hasn't shaved today. "I can introduce you to my old trainer, if you need one. The shitty thing is, I can't really go to bat for you. If I do, everyone'll... think you're a mutant." Luke shrugs and offers a half-hearted smile. Then his eyebrows shoot up when Trib mentions Fisk's name. "Holy shit, seriously? A cog in /Fisk's/ machine tried to hire you on. You dodged a big fucking bullet turning him down, but it sounds like you know the man already."

"Probably," Trib agrees in a grunt. "I ain't done much lookin', to be honest. Most of the gyms that host amateur bouts were in the bad areas." He manages a weak sort of smile, and lifts his eyebrows. "I could use a trainer," he says. "I mean, you do a good fuckin' job, an' all, but I need someone who knows the current circuit, y'know?" He swings his feet around, and plants them heavily on the floor. "Yeah, I know him," he says of Fisk. "You can't box on the amateur cards an' not have heard of him. He's fuckin' bad news." He stretches, then, and glances at the clock on the wall. "Shit, is that the time? I'm fuckin' starved." He glances at the window, and frowns. "Is there even any fuckin' restaurants open around here, yet?" His tone actually sounds lighter; like talking to Cage might have actually helped him. "Let's grab some chow, an' I'll tell you all about the little weirdo." He glances at the outer office. "Janice, too, if she wants."

"Like hell I'm going anywhere with you two clowns," comes the calm and collected voice of Janice from the front room. "But you already have reservations at the BBQ place you liked so much. The one where they..." Janice shudders in spite of herself. "Where they give you a bib."

Luke's eyebrows go up, in surprise, appreciation, and realization for how much /she/ must have been worried about Trib too. "Thanks Janice! You can head out if you wa-" Luke's sentence is finished by the outer door slamming shut. She was already on her way. Luke shrugs and nods at the papers before getting up and grabbing his jacket off the coat hook. "C'mon man, I'm hungry too. Plus, I can tell you all about how we're taking 'Heroes' non-profit."