2007-05-17: Harvey, My Friend


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Summary: Jack and Mara meet again and realise exactly what circumstance they met under the first time they made acquaintances.

Date It Happened: May 17, 2007

Harvey, My Friend

Den of Iniquity

By the time the middle of the afternoon rolls around, most of the Den's regular patrons are either still sleeping one off or staggering out of bed with a hangover. Much to everyone's surprise, most of all his own, Jack is doing neither of these things. Having woken up relatively early (for him, anyway) he threw on a white button-down and a pair of black slacks and opened his pub up early for a change.

Yesterday's Jessica-inspired mess has long since been cleaned up, and bottles are strategically positioned to cover the bullet holes in the wall. There are no customers to serve, leaving Jack to sit behind the bar, sip at a glass of bourbon, and page through the morning paper.

Oh, thank /God/ there's a quiet bar open at this hour of the mor… It's not morning anymore, is it? Well, whenever Mara rolls out of bed (or picks herself up off the floor) counts as morning, right? Even a shower didn't make things better today, so it's off for a little hair of the dog that not only bit her, but chewed her up and regurgitated her. No, wait, she was the one who did all the regurgitating. Note to self: Rent a carpet steamer before your landlord finds out.

Mara pushes open the door to the Den of Iniquity, perching a pair of dark, mirror-finish sunglasses on the top of her head only after she's safely away from the sun's harmful, headache-inducing rays. It's trying to kill her, she swears. Fingers ruffle the back of already mussed blonde hair before the woman limps her way toward the bar, leaning heavily on a black lacquer cane with a silver handle. "Afternoon," she utters silkily as she takes a seat. Wait a second. This guy looks awfully familiar. And this isn't her usual bar. At all.

"Hey. What can I get y—" When Jack looks up from his paper, he cocks his head to the side curiously and his eyes narrow perceptibly. He looks the woman across from him up and down, then one eyebrow quirks upward. One hand reaches up to knuckle at his stubbled jaw. "Have we met before?" he queries, his voice a low, basso rumble.

Mara scrutinises Jack for a moment. Gawd, sure they have. Haven't they? That voice sounds… "Yeah. I think we have. But I just can't…" He can almost see the light bulb go off over her head. "I think we have a mutual friend or two. Short little Japanese guy? Ring any bells?" Oh shit. Please, tell me I'm wrong.

"Ha! It's you!" Jack thrusts one long, thin finger out, pointing in Mara's direction. There's no questioning the recognition on his face now. "We got drunk and bumped uglies once, didn't we? S'good to see you. What'll you have?"

"Yeah. Yeah, we kind of did." Mara looks away, expression sheepish. "We got /really/ drunk. Or, at least, I did." She looks uncertainly at Jack for a moment before smiling an easy smile. "How about a Harvey Wallbanger?" A little something different from the standard G&T today. Too much of that last night.

Jack returns the smile with a crooked grin of his own, then bods a nod in response to the order. "One Wallbanger, comin' up." He chews at his lower lip for a moment, then spins around to put the drink together. "So. Don't recall you havin' a cane when last we met. You doin' ok?"

"I ended up on the wrong end of a mugger's gun," Mara explains. She doesn't sound concerned. "It's healing up nicely." She pauses for a moment, glancing toward the ceiling as though the words she's looking for are hiding up there. They must be, because she speaks again, "Jack, right?" She focuses on him once more. "I'm Mara." In case he forgot, and she's betting he did.

"You got it, Mara." It's true, the name is unfamiliar on Jack's tounge. It doesn't seem to bother him, though. He picks up his nearly empty glass of bourbon and clinks it against the rim of Mara's drink. "Well. This is my place." He gestures expansively to the dive. "I hope you'll come back around now that you've found it."

"Oh, I think so." Mara smirks and brings her drink to her lips, taking a long drink. "Mmm. That's got to be the best Wallbanger I've had in a while." Except for maybe… No, don't even go there, Damaris. "Definitely will be coming back here." She nods appreciatively and sets her glass down only after another drink. "So, if you own this place, what were you doing hanging out at DnA's?"

Now Jack turns and bends to pull a number of items from a cupboard and small icebox next to his knees. When he straightens, he sets a small cutting board, a bowl, a sharp knife, and several limes on the bar. Taking up the knife in one hand, he deftly begins to slice the citrus into neat wedges, which are then deposited in the bowl. A tiny smile tugs at his lips at the mention of his Wallbangerin' skills. No double entendre intended. Really. "You think women worth rogerin' just amble in here on a regular basis?" The wry twist to his lips and frown lines around his mouth are answer enough for his own question. "B'sides, an Irishman's gotta get out sometime."

"I suppose that could be true." Mara takes another sip of her drink. "Present company excluded, I would hope." She stares off at a space behind Jack for the moment. "DnA's is a drag, tho'. Now the Fly By Night, that's a great place if you're looking for the classier types." She frowns at the bartender for a moment. "Though I suppose it doesn't much matter to you if they're a raver or high society if you're just lookin' for a shag, huh?"

Jack's brow furrows, and he pauses in his slicing for a moment without looking up. Then he goes back to work and replies as if he'd never dropped the beat. "Present company excluded, of course," he agrees. "As far as shaggin' goes, I usually prefer to be on a first name basis with my partner. The right first name, y'know?" He lifts both eyebrows meaningfully.

"I-" Mara's face falls. She's definitely embarrassed. "I was /really/ drunk, Jack. I'm really awful sorry about that." She can't even look at him now. She knows she called him by her partner's name. That was a monumental blunder of the worst kind. How do you even begin to try and explain something like that?

Jack lets out a low, unmocking laugh and shakes his head. "S'ok. If anything, it was my fault. If I'd been doin' a proper job, that never would've happened." Magnanimous in his victory/defeat, he smiles ruefully and drops the rest of his lime wedges into the bowl. "Jesus. Don't tell anybody I said that. It'd play hell with my tough-guy image."

"Your secret's safe with me." Mara rests her arms against the bar and smiles faintly again. "How about you go lock the door," she tilts her head toward the entrance to the bar, "and show me that ability of yours, huh? I really only got a brief glimpse when we met on the Deveaux building."

Jack coughs delicately into his fist, then shrugs his broad shoulders agreeably. "Sure, why not?" he replies. He makes his way around the bar, flips the deadbolt on the door, and lowers the shade. When he returns, this time he sits on a stool next to Mara. Frowning, he considers how best to go about this. Best to keep it simple, at least to start. He wordlessly points to his bourbon glass, which is presently several feet away. Then, with a snap of his fingers, he relocates it into his hand. "Easy as that," the Irishman murmurs.

Mara whistles low when Jack demonstrates his stunt. "That's really somethin', Jack!" She takes another drink from her Harvey Wallbanger and grins. "Show me again? I like seeing the flashy stuff."

There's one thing that Jack's always going to love. A holdover from his days as a magician. The praise of a willing audience. He tosses back the last of his drink, then sets the glass aside and rubs his palms together in preparation. This time he snatches the bowl of fresh, short-stemmed roses off of the desk in his office. Yes, tough guys like flowers, too. Grunting, he dabs a bead of sweat from his brow with two fingertips. "Shit. The water in there was heavier than I thought."

Mara gasps with delight when the roses are procured. "That's bloody amazing!" Then she notices the sweat and she curbs her enthusiasm. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have put you on the spot like that."

"S'no problem," Jack replies, smiling crookedly. He rubs a hand against his stubbly jaw. "It has to do with the size and the weight of a thing. If it's too big, it just won't come." Eying the largish arrangement, he plucks one of the flowers free from the rest and twirls it carefully between finger and thumb to keep from pricking himself on its thorns.

Mara watches Jack intently. She's been ruined by Peter, and by her own ability. Always wary of the fatigue that using powers can cause. "Thank you for showing me. I'd show you mine, but… I've been having difficulty. And, really, there isn't anything to show in a physical sense anyway."

The Irishman raises one eyebrow curiously in response to Mara's statement. "You have a… ? I mean, when I saw you with Hiro and the rest, I figured as much. Wasn't sure, though. What do you do, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Psychometry's my speciality," Mara admits with pride. "Touch an object, see the past. Or the future. That bit's a little… dodgy." She shrugs almost helplessly. "I'm still getting used to it all, y'know? How about you? How long have you known?"

Jack peers down at the bright yellow, tightly furled rosebud in his hand. "Ever since I was a boy," he answers quietly. "Started out stealin' cookies and what-have-you. Both my parents were special, too. I grew up thinkin' that normal people were the weird ones, y'know?" He shrugs and lays the bud in front of Mara. "How long for you?"

Mara eyes the bud for a moment before she responds. "I don't know. Six months, maybe? It was a while before I figured out what was happening to me. I would pass out." She seems to consider this. "I really don't remember how long it's been carrying on. Can't remember the first time it happened. It's just like I woke up and realised what was happening to me."

"It was a little different for me." Jack tugs a second stem free from the cluster of flowers and begins to peel the thorns off of it. Nervous energy is starting to build, and he's still not entirely comfortable talking about his ability in detail. "My mum wouldn't give me an extra biscuit. I got mad, and decided I was gonna have one anyway. Then POOF! Right in my hand." He throws the de-thorned rose over the bar and into the trash can, then picks up the one he'd set in front of Mara and starts to give it the same treatment.

"Jack," Mara reaches out to touch him, but stops just short. No risks. No chances. "We can talk about something else. I'm sorry I asked you."

Jack blinks several times, then shivers his entire upper body to slough off tension. "It's cool," he responds. "Didn't mean to get weird on you. Just haven't thought about my family in a while, y'know?" Smiling weakly, he snaps his fingers again. This time he's after his bourbon bottle, from which he pours himself a dose that's pretty hearty for this early in the day.

Mara downs the rest of her drink, setting the empty glass aside. "Yeah. I know what that's like." Blonde hair spills over one shoulder as her head tips to one side. "Did you want me to go? Or…" This time, she reaches out and she doesn't stop, resting her hand over his.

Jack's fingertips curl up to trail along Mara's palm. "No. I don't want you to go. But you should know that I'm seeing someone." Still, he doesn't move away.

Shit. Seriously? "Someone? Is it… serious?" Mara's eyes flit away from Jack's face and then back again. She laces her fingers with his, reluctant to pull away just yet. If there's one way that Mara knows how to cope with a break-up, this is it.

"Yes. Well, sort of." Jack frowns, lining his brow deeply. Moving closer, he leans comfortably against Mara and lets out a sigh. "We met about a week ago, and things have been movin' pretty fast."

"That's not serious, then," Mara reasons. "That's infatuation." She reaches up her other hand to brush her fingers over his stubbled face.

Jack raises his eyebrows and purses his mouth, considering the statement. "You could be right," he admits. "I don't like to think of it that way, though. She's nice." If she's so nice, then why is he leaning into Mara's touch?

"I'm sure she's nice. And I'm sure you both have feelings for each other." Mara leans in close, her lips nearly touching his. "It's now or never, Jack. Make your choice." Eyes half-lidded, she watches him – waiting.

Jack's unoccupied hand comes to rest on Mara's thigh. "I think I already have," he murmurs. Then he closes his eyes, leans forward, and kisses her hungrily. Now that the coy byplay is over, he's anything but shy.

Mara's eyes close completely and she tangles her fingers in Jack's hair. She moans against his mouth and presses her body closer to his. This is so much better when she's not stumbling drunk. She might even call him by the right name this time!

Jack stands, then loops both hands under Mara's thighs. He lifts her easily from her stool and settles her with one leg on either side of his hips. Lips still pressed against hers, he carries toward the back room, bumping into chairs, pool tables, and stools en route.

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