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Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John x Beau]

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Offline Beejoux

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Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John x Beau]
« on: October 05, 2019, 03:01:46 PM »
There was a number of conflicting and confusing emotions swirling around Tucker's head as he hurried away from Rabi's office and towards the entrance to the building.  There was a lot of guilt, a lot of sympathy, and a prevailing sense of unease.  Some things he'd gotten answers to, and some of those answers had just created bigger questions, and it was impossible to not be curious about all of it.  But there was another part that screamed that everything he'd been doing for the better part of the last three days had been nothing but a series of mistakes.

He should just give Rabi the pin.  The other man wanted it, it was probably his, and if he had it he could leave.  Escape.  But everytime he thought he'd made up his mind to do it he'd faltered, hesitated, talked himself out of it somehow.

It wasn't like him, and he didn't like it.

And none of it was doing anything for his anxiety.  Even now, as he passed through the front doors and dropped his skateboard on the sidewalk to kick off on it, his hands were shaking, eyes too wide.  And the conversation with Rabi earlier in the dorm had managed to drag up shit from the past that Tucker really didn't want to see dealing with again.  Painful things.

He probably wouldn't notice the car tailing him: not even as it drove slowly and carefully in his wake, as it fell back to avoid his gaze but turned when he turned. And when he finally made his way back to the dorm room, the car parked a couple blocks down from his door.

He'd have time to get in. To get settled. And then there'd be a knock.

He wasn't usually one for doubling down on the medication in one day, but he was seriously considering it as he tossed his keys on his desk and kicked his shoes off next to the door.  Hoody shrugged off and tossed on the bed with a deep sigh.  Then there was a knock, and Tucker actually groaned as he crossed the room to open the door.  "Why are you even knocking?"  Obviously he was expecting it to be Rabi.

It wasn't. Tall and attractive like a GQ model, John put a hand in the center of Tucker's chest to shove him back into the room, one step and then another, to close the door behind him. "Where is it?"

Pale eyes widened--he recognized the tall man in the hall, and there wasn't even time for Tuck to get a proper gasp out before a big hand in the middle of his chest was shoving him back into the room with a startled grunt.  He stumbled over his own feet, catching himself on the edge of the desk, and there was real fear on his face as he stared up at John.

Somehow he hadn't considered this as a consequence.  With the fire, the police, dealing with Rabi, he'd forgotten...  "I think John's going to be pretty upset with us, frankly."

"What are you talking about?"   He didn't know what to do.  Giving the pin back wasn't an option.

"Don't make yourself a liar." He looked around the place, quick, brusque, before he refocused on Tucker. "You have it on your person, I'm sure."

He swallowed, resisting the urge to reach for his pocket, and did his best to just stand his ground.  Even if the fear showed, his shoulders tense, posture closed off and defensive.  "How did you get in here?"

John reached out to catch the lapels of his shirt, to begin a brusque search -- and didn't bother answering the question.

The fear spiked, and Tucker just reacted, thoughtlessly, recklessly.  "Don't touch me!"  Hands grabbed for john's wrist to keep him from going through his pockets, and at the same time he lifted his leg to slam his heel as hard as he could into the top of John's foot.

He collided, hard enough to make John grunt, and stumble, to make him pause for just a moment. He glared up at Tucker, hopping back a couple of steps. "You're a thief."

Tuck backed up until his legs hit the bed and there was nowhere left to go.  "You're a bastard," he spat back, lip curling as he glared back at the bigger man.

"You're a child." He straightened slowly, scowling at Tuck. "Hand it over and I'll leave."

"Get out of my room."  He couldn't quite hide the tremor in his voice or in his hands, but he baby blues were narrowed, defiant.

"Or what." He tipped his chin up and adjusted his posture. But he was still favoring that one foot.

He didn't say anything, didn't know what to say to that.  Just glared at the taller man, hands balled at his sides.

He moved carefully, adjusting his posture, looking Tucker over -- searching for the sign of something out of place, where he might be holding the pin -- "You have nothing. If you want to fight, we can fight."

It wasn't a fight he was going to be able to win with brute force.  Tuck glanced past John towards the door, to the sides, looking for anything he could use to defend himself.  If he could get out of the room he could find somewhere to hide.

John was still just one more moment, assessing, and then he lunged. He was quick, and he was bigger than Tuck, but he also stumbled on his aching foot. If he was close, Tucker could duck by.

He want expecting the opening, but he was sure as fuck going to go for it.  As John started to stumble Tucker darted to the side and around, and then used his desk to push off of, driving his elbow into the big man's side to throw him further off balance.

He grabbed for his keys, didn't bother with his shoes, and rushed for the door.

John growled and turned to start after him -- off-balance from the blow, and also from getting his feet caught up in the chair. He started after Tucker in a rush, but he wasn't on the soccer team, wasn't running suicides on a regular basis. It wouldn't be that hard for Tucker to outstrip him down the hall.

He'd wrenched the door open and practically thrown himself into the hall.  A bounce off the wall, and he took off in the direction of the stairs, taking them two or three at a time.

John pounded down after him, but he also didn't know this campus. Not the way Tucker would. If he was smart, Tucker would head somewhere public, where he could disappear; by the time John got down the stairs, he'd have to struggle to spot him.

Through the common room at a sprint and past the lobby, Tuck cursed the lack of traction on his feet as he slipped on the linoleum and skidded to the mat in front of the double doors.

He didn't look back, he could hear John charging after him.  Pushing through the doors he jumped the side banister to land with a grunt on the grass to take off running again towards the stretch of shops, and hangouts.  Towards people.

John spotted him and started after him -- but not at such a breakneck run. Instead, this time, he took a moment to fold his hands together, speaking low under his breath. The words were impossible to hear, but when he raised his hand and pointed at Tucker, it was with a charge in the air.

That charge seemed to land on him, and all at once, Tucker's feet felt like lead, his movements slowed to a more sedate pace.

He didn't make it to the sidewalk.  Stumbling instead, his hands thrown out to catch himself in the grass, and he pushed back up to keep going.  Tried to.  Could barely lift his feet and stumbled again.  "Fuck!"  A glance over his shoulder showed John moving towards him, tall and menacing.

At least they were in public, now: John could hardly beat the shit out of him here. Couldn't raise a hand, even; someone would certainly see. So he took his time, straightening his jacket as he approached Tucker. "Now now."

Tucker bristled like a cornered animal as John closed in on him, flipping so he was sitting in the grass instead of kneeling.  He wanted his feet free, if whatever the fuck was weighing them down lifted.  "Get the fuck away from me."

It didn't lift. It lightened, slightly, so that when John settled next to him to put a hand under Tucker's elbow to help him up. "I don't think so."

His arm jerked as John tucked a hand around it to pull him back to his feet, struggling to break free.  And again, he'd just act, automatic and thoughtles--and horribly stupid.  Spitting at the tall man's face.

It got a flash of fury, instead, and John had to visibly fight back the urge to smack him for it. Instead he swiped at his face, fingers tensing around the arm to drag Tucker after him. "Don't do that again."

He'd expected John to hit him, braced for it.  Instead he jerked on his arm again as John started dragging him back towards the dorms.  "Or what?"  Purposefully challenging, trying to egg him on now, maybe.  Mind working furiously to come up with some way to get out of this mess.

Not the dorms: toward the parking lot, slow and steady, chin tipping up. He kept his voice low and focused, even. "You're somewhat hysterical. I think you need to have a seat."

He tried to dig in his heels and that only made him stumble, the only thing keeping him upright the too-tight grip on his arm.  "I don't fucking think so."

If Rabi was there he could toast him, distract him, do something.  Of course he wasn’t there, he was at the office. 


Eyes going a little wide, Tucker thrust his hand into his pocket to curl his fingers around the pin, thumb pressed against the sharpened point.  Let it work again.  He pushed harder, felt it break the skin.


Offline Beejoux

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Re: Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John]
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 03:17:37 PM »
Pricking his finger put that same tension in the air -- a thrumming of power that popped with a sense of warmth against his spine, Rabi carefully wrapping arms around him.

Then warmth turned to blazing heat, the world gone to fire. It was too hot; hot enough to hurt against Tucker's skin. And when the fire receded away to show them in Rabi's office, his skin would prickle with something like sunburn.

It did something. Tucker felt the air shift, and then warmth. Arms wrapping around him, there was a moment of relief, to sink into that comforting heat.  Then he was burning, heat rippling across his skin, and Tucker screamed.

When it receded he didn't immediately know where he was, just that he wasn’t at the dorms anymore.  A drastic shift, and between that, the burning, and the exertion from running his knees buckled.

Rabi caught him under the elbow, delicately, to settle him in a chair. And it was almost nice. Except he was also him. "What the fuck?"

He sagged in the chair, chest heaving as he tried to catch his breath, and it'd take a moment before he could answer.  "John."  He sucked at the poke on his thumb, it stung.  He'd been a little careless.  "He knew where I lived, or he followed me back to the dorm."  His head lifted to look up at Rabi standing next to him.

His eyes had gone yellow and his hair had a flash of red through it; the bruise and the split lip were gone. The burnished tones of his skin had gone toward gold, too, just the far side of human. Rabi didn't seem to notice. He scowled down at Tucker, all sharp cheekbones and wide mouth. "I can't kill him. He has to take the fall."

Blue eyes widened, but he didn't point out the change, too caught up in the otherness, and maybe a part of him didn't want to bring it up because he didn't want Rabi to realize just yet.  "He's got...magic, or something."  Tucker shook his head, pushing now sweaty bangs off his brow.  "He was dragging me to the parking lot, trying to get the pin back.  I didn't know what else to do."

He folded his arms over his chest, still scowling at Tucker. And he was warm, even this close, against Tucker's tender skin. "Well, that's not great."

The breathing was almost under control again, but as the adrenaline faded it left him shaky.  "He's not getting it back."  He said it resolutely, pale features hardening.

Rabi paused -- there was heat behind that, surprising, which made him raise an eyebrow. "The easiest way to keep him from getting it would be to give it to me, of course."

It was probably the closest he'd come yet to handing it over, because Rabi was right and Tucker knew it, agreed.  But then he frowned, a little of that fear coming back.  "And what happens when you disappear and he's still it there and pissed.  Free."  Now he knew where Tuck lived.

"I'll kill him, of course." He tapped fingertips against his elbow. "Painfully, probably."

"You gave them my name.  People probably saw him chasing me."  John dying didn't seem to bother him.  "He needs to go down for that fire."

Rabi breathed out, slowly, something sagging in his shoulders. Resigned, maybe. "Well, you'll need some protection, then. Besides me."

There was an apology in blue eyes.  "After he's convicted you can do whatever you want to him, I'll be in the clear."  Until then, if anything happened to John, Tucker was as much a person of interest as Rabi, but without the means to disappear.

"What kind of protection?" Dark brows arched.

"I can give you a name and number." But he didn't look at Tucker, now; a muscle jumped in his jaw as he went around the desk.

Tucker just frowned back at him as Rabi walked around the desk.  "My phones back at the dorms."  His everything was back at the dorms, and with that realization came the question of if he could safely go back there and,if not, where the fuck was he going to stay?  With a small, helpless groan he dropped his head to rest against the cradle of his fingers, arms braced against his knees.

He wrote the name down -- Abbott Eastoft -- with a number and an address after it, and then shifted a little, unhappily. "I can grab it."

Tucker just waited, spent.  Mind working to figure out what to do next, where to go.  "Wallet too?"  He looked up then.  "If the dorms not safe I can get a ride to a hotel maybe."  He licked his lips, thinking it over.  "You could come, so you wouldn't have to sleep here."

Rabi just shrugged, his eyes flicking up to the door. "It's safe, here. No one can come in unless I let them."

"Oh."  Disappointed, maybe.  His gaze skirting away.

"If you talk to him -- " He turned the note around, pushing it toward Tuck. "He can do the same for any room you'd like." And before Tucker could reply, he disappeared.

He sighed as he picked it up to look it over, slouching down in the chair again.

Rabi's handwriting was slanting and sharp: the same that had put all those medium grades on his work. After a moment, he was back, with the phone in hand and Tucker's wallet.

Rabi returning pulled his attention up and he'd hold a hand out for the phone and the wallet, a muscle jumping in the side of his jaw.  He looked down and away as something unhappy flowed across his face.  "Thank you."

Rabi flopped down into his chair, legs stretched out, and slid Tucker's things across his desk. "You can always say he attacked you."

He blinked, coming back from whatever unpleasant thoughts were circling in his head.  "Yeah, it'd definitely strengthen the case against him.  Him stalking and going after the guy that helped his battered ex escape."

"You'd have to prove it, though. A black eye would --" He leaned back as he said it, to look in his mirror -- and broke off into a grimace as he realized how he looked. "Shit."

He looked, for a moment, faintly amused.  "Yeah, you're a little shiny."  Phone and wallet were collected off the desk, Tucker shrugging.  "And your right, but I think he was being really careful.  I smashed his foot, even spit in his face, but he didn't do anything but grab my arm.  Might be bruises from that.  I think he was waiting until he got me in the car..."
Rabi nodded almost absently, watching himself in the mirror -- working slowly on putting himself back to rights. "...if you can, don't mention me."

It was impossible not to watch as the otherness faded and the Rabi he was used to seeing reemerged.  Magic.  His thumb slid over the paper in his hand as he looked back down at it.  "So who is this guy?"

"Magician." It was absent, without looking back at Tucker. "A very good one."

"And he can make it so John can't get in the dorms?"  That'd be better than a hotel.

"Into your room." He looked up, then, quickly. "The dorms are public territory. He'd need more permissions, for that."

"Oh."  A beat, and then he seemed to realize what that meant, and his shoulders sagged.  "How persistent do you think John'll be?"

"Persistent." The black eye was back, now just a little green around the edges; his hair darker again; his eyes more muted. "Talk to the magician, he'll help you out."

He turned his phone in his hand, started to dial and then paused before hitting the connect button.  "Can you do that on me, make it look like he roughed me up?"  He wasn't positive about going to the cops, yet.  Had to figure out what he'd tell them.
"No." He shrugged just a little bit, dragging a thumb down his jaw to put a slight bruising there, too. "But he might be able to."

Another moment to watch, then Tuck hit the button and brought the phone up to his ear.  And then looked at Rabi with a frown as it started to ring.  "What should I say?"

"That you need protection of a kind he's uniquely suited to offering." He shrugged just one shoulder as the phone rang -- and rang -- to voicemail. It's Beau. Fuck you if you leave a message, text me instead.

The voicemail was gruff, and Tuck hung up before it could beep at him to leave a message.  Frowning, he opened a text instead and tired in exactly what Rabi said before hitting send.

Rabi watched him, one arm folded over his chest and the other lingering against his throat. "Are you just going to stick around here?"

Tucker shrugged without looking up right away.  "Not if you don't want me to, but I don't know where it's safe right now.  You said he'd be persistent."

Rabi slid a hand across his face, then, rubbing at his eyes And he nodded just a tiny bit. "I need food. Any chance of you ordering something?"

It seemed to perk him up, just a bit.  "Do you like pizza?"

"I'll eat most things." He watched Tucker sideways through his fingers, frowning just a bit.

"Pizza it is, then."  He didn't notice, had already turned his attention back down to his phone to start the order.  And because Rabi seemed to be something of a bottomless pit he went with a buy-one-get-one special, two mediums, with pepperoni and green peppers.  "Thirty minutes."

Rabi just watched him, though -- sitting at the desk, looking battered and a bit tired, shoulders rolled in a shrug. "It could take a while to get a reply. He's a busy man."

Baby blues flicked up, then away.  "I guess I'll figure something out after we eat, if he hasn't gotten back to me by then."

"There's definitely not enough room for both of us to sleep in here." He said it idly, still watching Tucker. Unwavering.

He could feel Rabi staring at him, and quick, little glances confirmed it.  "Probably a hotel, then."  He had to resist the urge to squirm.

"Plus, I'm afraid what the police would think if they showed up again."  He looked away, finally, toward one of his paintings. Grimacing a bit.

As a distraction he'd pulled up local hotel listings to price things out, so he didn't notice the grimace.  "They'd probably assume an affair, and that John found out about it and that's why he's gone off the deep end."  It was idle, like he wasn't really thinking about it, just saying whatever came to mind.
"Except that -- " The rest of that statement was choked off, his eyes closed and attention turned upward. It left him looking pained.

Tucker rolled his eyes up, narrowed, to stare across the desk at him.  "And what, shy of that, would you care about the cops thinking?"

"The more innocent both of us look, the better." He shrugged, staring up at the ceiling still, while he worked out tension in his jaw.

"I wasn't suggesting we make them believe it, just that that's what they might think, given how much of a psycho he's being."  It was defensive, and Tuck had gone back to scrolling through hotel listings.  "Or not even them thinking it, but thinking John thinks it."  He shrugged too.

Rabi started to answer that, too, then bit down on it -- swallowing his words, again. He just sat, and twisted slightly, uncomfortably. "I'd rather not."

"Obviously."  There was a little bite behind it, something sharp.  His attention resolutely down on his phone.

"You're a child." That he could get out. Without looking at Tucker.

"I wasn't suggesting anything."  Defensive and bristly.  His thumb flicked against the phone screen jerkily.

Rabi let it go, then, rolling up to stand to look at himself better in the mirror, to make sure he'd gotten everything back together.

Tucker ignored him as he finally found a hotel with good reviews and a decent rate--or just got tired of looking.  He pulled a card from his wallet to plug numbers into a form along with a name and his phone number.


Offline Beejoux

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Re: Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John x Beau]
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2019, 07:11:15 PM »
He'd be about halfway through punching in the number when he got a text back: I can't do shit for you.

It made him pause, switching over to the text and he made a noise somewhere between helpless and disappointed as he read it, shoulders sagging and all the bristliness evaporating.

"...what?" Rabi shot him a sharp look, like it annoyed him.

"Abbott got back to me."  Now he just seemed tired.  Too much dealt with in a single day.  "I can't do shit for you," he read back aloud, tone mildly sarcastic, like he didn't have the energy to put more into it.

Rabi thought about that for a long moment, and then held out his hand for the phone, the gesture sharp.

He dropped it into Rabi's hand, head tipping back to rest against the back of the chair.

Rabi sat back with the phone, considering, and then started texting with the guy on the other end. Back and forth.

He'd wait for a few moments before rolling up to his feet.  "I'm going to see if the pizzas here."  Because it was about that time, and there was nothing else he could do at the moment.

"He could be in the hall. Hopefully the pizza will come to the office." Rabi flicked a look up at him, quick.

Sighing, he sat back down.  Flopped, really, arms folding loosely over his stomach.

Rabi snorted at him, attention back on the phone. "He's going to find someone for you."

He glanced up, at the phone first and then up to Rabi.  "That's a relief."

"He hasn't promised yet, but...." He shifted a little where he sat, typing again. "He'll meet you."

A dark brow arched.  "When?"

"Ten thirty tonight." He shrugged just a tiny bit, crookedly, at Tucker. "You're not twenty one, are you?"

There was a part of him that didn't want to answer that if only because he'd been called a child twice in the same day.  It bothered him, if only because he'd been through more in his twenty years than most people went through in a lifetime.  "I have an ID that says I am, if the need calls for it.'

"Good, his preference is a bar." He shook his head just a little, watching Tucker over the phone.

He looked back, brows arched, before glancing around for a clock since Rabi still had his phone.  "What time is it now?"  Still a long way until ten thirty, probably.

"Little after six." He sighed like he knew what was coming next -- and waved it off a bit, hauling himself up to stand. He just paused to delete half the texts. "You need books?"

"I was wondering where our food was, actually."  Pale eyes rolled up to watch Rabi stand.  "And if you mean for homework, yeah, I guess.  Seems a little pointless though if I can't go to class tomorrow."  There were a lot of things he needed from his dorm, but he wasn't sure how much he wanted to ask Rabi to get them.  He already seemed put out enough without Tucker making requests.

"Which books?" He shrugged crookedly, tossing Tucker back his phone. Probably, somewhere in there, the pizza guy had called. He could call back while Rabi went, to get the guy to come in to the office.

He caught it, thinking over what classes he'd had earlier that day.  "English, biology, and trig."  He frowned down at a missed call, and hit the button to call back, bringing the phone up to his ear.   And before Rabi could head out of the office he'd add in, "the phone charger and shoes too, please?"

"Yeah." He hardly headed out so much as he disappeared; it was faster, and easier, and it was quick enough that when he returned a few minutes later, nothing was even singed. Just a little warm.

Rabi's reappearance made Tucker stutter to the poor pizza guy on the other end of the phone, but he recovered quickly and finished explaining how to get back to the office.  Then he hung up and made a move to collect the items from Rabi.

He dropped everything into Tucker's lap, rolling his shoulders -- eyes closed for a moment as he drew in a deep breath. "I'm really hungry now."

It made him grunt as everything landed on his lap, but he caught it all so nothing slipped off, and after a moment picked the lot up to set on the edge of the desk, pocketing the charger and pulling on his shoes.  "Pizzas here, the guy just has to make it back here."

"Small favors." He hesitated, pacing the room. "How much did you order?"

He watched him pace, waiting to hear the knock on the door that meant their dinner had arrived.  "Two pizzas."

"That's a relief." When it came, Rabi was on his feet, so he got the door -- reaching out to take the boxes and leaving any payment or tip in Tucker's hands. "I could eat a whole one."

Tucker stood as Rabi took the pizzas, offering a smile to the delivery guy as well as an apology for not answering the phone right away and making things complicated.  He compensated with a better than average tip before waving him off and shutting the door.  "I figured, that's why I got two."

He already had them open, with a slice in his mouth: working through it quickly, unhesitatingly. He looked up at Tucker and spoke around the mouthful. "Hopping around takes it out of me."

It was always just a little strange, watching Rabi eat.  It made Tucker hesitate if only for a second or two as he reached for a slice before sitting again.  "Thank you for grabbing me outside the dorms."

"You're very pink." He shoved the last bite into his mouth, reaching for another piece of pizza.

He blinked at that, slice lowering an inch before he'd even taken a bite.  "Pink?"

Rabi gestured loosely across his nose and face with his thumb.

Brows creased and he stood to move towards the mirror to look at himself in it.  Pink was exactly what he was -- across his face and his arms.  Somehow he hadn't noticed before, too much going on, probably.  "Shit."  It looked like he'd been sitting out in the sun all afternoon.

"Better than whatever John would have done, I hope." He shrugged, shoving another half a slice into his mouth.

He touched his own face to see if it was tender at all, and it wasn't too bad.  "Probably."  Dropping his hand he finally took a bite and sat down again, shrugging.  "Worth it to keep him from getting what he wanted."

"It'd be worth a lot more damage to prevent that." His tone was dry. Maybe it was a little mean. He downed the rest of the pizza.

He disregarded the tone.  "Of course it would."  He'd been expecting to get the shit beat out of him, and the only reason he hadn't was because he'd gotten really fucking lucky.  With a huff he went back to his slice of pizza.

Rabi flicked him a look, then, thoughtful.  Reading what he meant by that, maybe. Or trying to. "He's not immortal, or invincible, though."

"Well that's good to know, but at the time it didn't matter.  I didn't have anything to use against him except my keys."  He frowned, shrugging.  "And the pin, but bringing it out would have confirmed I had it."

"No. That's not a weapon." It was sharp, and immediate, sitting up straight. "So long as your blood's on it, it's yours, but...you don't want to transfer ownership."

He nodded as he chewed, swallowed.  "That too, I didn't know what it'd do, didn't want to take that chance.  Fuck, I wasn't even sure pricking my own finger was going to do anything, it was just a hunch."

Rabi made a very quiet sound and -- well, he didn't explain anything more, just nodded, grabbing more pizza. He really would eat one all by himself. Probably could have eaten two. "Pepper spray. That'd help."

Rabi had made it through half a pizza before Tuck had made it through his second piece, but that was fine.  He'd known the other man would eat at least the one, if not more.  "That's a good idea."  It wouldn't have occurred to him, but it was efficient.

He glanced down at the boxes on the desk, grabbed himself a third slice, and then sat back.  "You can have the rest.  Anything you don't eat now you can eat later."

That made him raise both eyebrows, already digging into another piece. "It won't make it to later, I guarantee. Do your homework."

Tucker shrugged as much as to say suit yourself, and slouched down in the chair to finish his pizza.  He'd worry about homework after, he had plenty of time.

Every speck of pizza'd be gone within the hour; Rabi settling in to poke through some work himself, flicking music -- something wild and noisy -- on in the background.

That would be distracting.  Tucker had settled into his trig homework but the music was making it hard to concentrate.  His foot bounced, pen tapping rapidly against the edge of the book.

It was Rabi's office, though, and it definitely made him relax -- leaning in on the desk to look through student work, his expression gone back toward serious.

Which was precisely why Tucker said nothing, did nothing.  Just tried to shut it out and focus.  Eventually he pulled earbuds out of his pocket and played something more mellow over them, and that helped.

It'd keep him going until the sun had set -- and Rabi huffed out a breath, looking up at him. "You need me to walk you out?"

He pulled an earbud out as he blinked across the desk at Rabi like a deer caught in headlights.  "You're not going to the bar too?"  He'd just assumed...

Rabi blinked at him, slowly -- leaned in against the desk. "Do you need a chaperone?"

He made a small, indignant noise.  "No, I just don't know who I'm looking for."  And it didn't seem to him like this Abbott guy wanted to help, and it'd taken Rabi interceding once already just to get a meeting.

"You need a babysitter, then." He reached back to flick off the music, thinking it over. "You'll have to buy me drinks."

Another indignant noise, and if he hadn't already been so pink there'd have been color in his cheeks.  With a huff he closed his book and dropped it back on the other two on the desk.  "Fine."

"Or you can go on your own." He shrugged, just the tiniest bit, leaning back in his chair. "Whichever you'd prefer."

"I said fine," he repeated, winding his earbuds to stuff them back in his pocket.  "I'll buy drinks."

Rabi considered it for another moment before he rolled up to stand. He was still wearing Tucker's mish-mash of clothing, for better or worse. "And drive? Or do you want to risk the flames again?"

The mish mash was probably better than the grass stains Tucker was sporting.  He got to his feet, giving Rabi a wary glance.  "Does it always burn like that?"

"Only if you're prone to burning." He shrugged at Tucker, swiping at the mess of his hair. Probably he needed a shower, too. Alas.

"Maybe an Uber this time, I'm already pink enough."  The flames were definitely faster, but in that moment between warmth and Rabi's office it had hurt.  He got to his feet too, pulling out his phone.  "Which bar is it?"

The place Rabi named was -- expensive. And both of them would stand out in their dressed down looks. Well, maybe not Rabi; he was attractive enough to make up for it. And had the attitude.

Tucker couldn't help a small sound as he put in the address for the Uber.  It was all going on a credit card, it'd be fine, but he was definitely spending a lot more than was normal.  He expected a phone call in the coming weeks.

Rabi didn't even seem to notice, or think about it, but -- then, maybe he didn't even actually have any money. He locked his office carefully, looking around them. On alert, really. "I don't think he'd follow us there."

Tucker stayed close, doing a fairly decent job of appearing less nervous than he felt.  He didn't want a repeat of earlier, but if Rabi was actually with him he didn't see that happening.  "Why not?"

He chewed over how to reply to that, head tilted just slightly. "People there might object."

He frowned, obviously puzzled.  "Wouldn't think objections would be enough to keep him from trying to get to what he wants."

"The ones who didn't object would probably be competition." And just saying that made him clench up.

Pale eyes flicked up to Rabi,  brows dipping just a bit.  He opened his mouth like he meant to say something then closed it, looking thoughtful.

Rabi flicked him a look in return, rolling his shoulders and adjusting his shirt. "That's why you can't mention the pin."

He was so far out of his depth in all this that he really didn't have any other choice but to believe him, so he just nodded.  "What do we say is the reason John is looking for me?"  That was a tame way of putting it.

"You stole something from him." That was accurate but not too detailed. He shrugged a little, grimacing. "I wasn't prepared to have to deal with all this aftermath."

Tucker frowned, sighing as he looked back down the hall.  He didn't like that, didn't think it was entirely accurate given the circumstances, but he let it go.

Rabi shrugged at him, scraping at his hair as he escorted Tucker out onto the street. John wasn't there lurking, which was both good and concerning, perhaps.

It was concerning.  Tuck hadn't wanted him to be there, but knowing where he was was better than speculating.

The car that pulled up a moment or two later was a newer looking hatchback, and Tucker double checked the make and color on the app before approaching.

And Rabi frowned back at something on the corner, arms crossed over his chest. It'd be a moment before he climbed in after Tuck.

There wasn't anything to see through the window, but that didn't keep Tucker from following the other man's line of sight towards the corner.  "You good?"  He said it quietly as Rabi got in, apparently finished with any obligatory greetings with the drive.  The car eased away from the curb as the door shut.

"No, everything is terrible." He shot Tucker a look as he said it, a bit exasperated.

"It just looked like you'd seen something," he snapped back, turning his attention out the window instead.

"A car." He shrugged, just one shoulder, half-turning his head to look again. "If it follows us, I'll worry."

That dragged his attention back towards the corner Rabi had been staring at, but he still couldn't really see.  "I didn't see the car earlier."  Now he sort of wished he had.  They'd know what to look out for.

He strummed fingers against the side of the car, still watching out the side. "It'll be fine, I'm sure."

Not much to say to that, at least nothing helpful, so he just settled back in the seat and tried not to look as nervous as he felt.  The subtle bounce of his left leg probably gave it away, though.

Rabi slouched, slowly, to settle his knee against Tucker's to make it relax. He looked thoughtful.

He blinked, glancing down at Rabi's leg, his own bouncing, and forced it still with a steadying sigh.

"If you want to seem like the good guy, say he had leverage on me." He said it slowly, after some time, looking up at Tucker. "And you wrecked that."

He looked up from their legs with a small, guarded frown.  "Okay."  It was better than painting him as some random delinquent, but it didn't do much to settle the nerves.

"Also a good reason not to give more details. It's not like you're going to hand someone else that leverage." His eyes flicked down as he said it like he was searching for the hair pin.

It was in his pocket still, but Tucker's hands didn't so much as twitch towards it.  He just shifted in the seat to rest his elbow against the door, propping his cheek on his knuckles.

"And a good excuse for me to stay by the bar and drink and look miserable." He said it smoothly, attention turned back out the window.

It couldn't be all that bad...  He didn't say it, just looked back out the window, watching the buildings they were passing.  Vaguely familiar, but hard to tell in the dark.

This part of town was swanky - not student bars, but nightclubs where people showed off new fashion, came to be seen, where lines went around corners. Lights flashed and the music thrummed even through the car and Rabi sat up a bit to look, brightening.

Tuck in his grass stained jeans and tee shirt certainly wouldn't fit in here, but there wasn't anything he could do about that.  Even in nicer clothes, he still probably would have stood out like a sore thumb.  Not his scene.  Not even close.  Interesting to see, though.  Pale eyes flicked across the fronts of the buildings and the lines.

The one they settled in front of had people in sleek suits and sparkling dresses, and they'd probably stand out even more. Rabi climbed out and cocked his head, looking from them back to Tuck. "I could blend, but I can't make you blend."

Tucker shrugged as he got out as well, and walked around to the sidewalk.  "There's not really a whole lot we can do about that now."  The nervous tension was back, it was visible in the set of his shoulders, the way he watched the people around them, but it wasn't in his voice, at least.

"I can get us in, at least." He gestured at Tucker, not toward the line but a back alley.

He'd go where directed.  If nothing else, at least he took directions well.  Usually.  He flicked a last look towards the front entrance before turning to head for the alley.

It took Rabi only a minute to find a door -- he pushed Tucker up against the wall, out of sight, with a hand in the middle of his chest. "You stay here." And before he could get a reply, he disappeared with a wash of heat. A moment later, the door opened.


Offline Beejoux

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Re: Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John x Beau]
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2019, 07:12:51 PM »
Tuck gasped as he was pushed back against the wall, and gave a very startled nod to Rabi before the other man had disappeared.  He stayed still and waited, gaze glued down the alley the way they'd come until the door opened beside him.

Rabi -- now in black fitted slacks and a t-shirt that'd fit into the club a bit better -- gestured him in, somewhat impatiently. "You won't have a hand stamp, but it's okay."

It didn't matter how many times Tucker saw it, that quick change magic was still unexpected.  He spared Rabi a look of surprise before slipping past him through the door.

"Now maybe people won't look at you." He said it idly, leading Tucker back through a hall that was definitely staff only, toward the sound of blasting music.

He made a small, indignant sound as he followed.  "Maybe, but I still don't exactly blend."  He didn't sound too terribly bothered by it.  "Which is fine, I guess, I'm not here to mingle."

Rabi smoothed a hand over his hair to put some red in it: loose streaks that arced back over his head. "Just try not to look afraid."

Well that was easier said than done.  The laugh that followed was humorless, eyes rolling.

Rabi shook his head just a tiny bit, leading the way into the crowd -- and then through, toward the bar. He had to push a bit to get Tucker through, but he obviously didn't mind doing it.

Tucker just stayed close.  He was so outside his element on so many levels and at this point he just wanted to get this meeting over so he could figure out what where he was going from here.

He was awkward. He put a cramp in Rabi's style. But he leaned in against the bar to catch the bartender's attention, and shouted in search of Abbott. They were both pointed to a booth in the corner, with curtains half-pulled closed around it. And Rabi raised an eyebrow at Tucker, leaning in to be heard over the music. "Do you need hand holding?"

He gave Rabi a look, but also didn't say no.  Just glanced at the booth with a frown.  "Not yet," he answered honestly.  "Maybe stay close, though."

He made a sound, annoyed, then caught the bartenders attention to order something sweet and strong and brightly colored to take with him.

"You'd think you'd be more concerned about this going well," he commented drying after Rabi ordered.  "You don't want to babysit me constantly, and I can't exactly wander about safely at the moment."

"I also don't really want to get too close to anyone who knows magic and might recognise me." He shook his head at Tucker.

"I can appreciate the caution but you're familiar with this shit, not me.  I'm way out of my depth."  He said it back at him as he started for the booth.

Rabi blew out a sigh and grabbed his drink before following - back a few steps, out of the way. In the Boothe were three extremely hot girls, two very fit you men, and one guy who was drunk enough that he blinked up at Tucker and looked more confused than annoyed.

He wasn't expecting so many people and it showed in the widening of pale eyes, for just a moment, before Tucker managed to push back the nerves enough to speak levely.  "I'm here to talk to Abbott Eastoft."

The drunk stared at him for a moment, blinking slowly, trying to focus. it didn't make him intimidating, even in the expensive tie and fine cufflinks. "Why?"

Great...  "About protection."  His attention settled more firmly on the one that had spoken, but not before glancing around at the other people in the booth.

"What's your name?"  He leaned in, elbows on the counter, scraping at the mess of his hair.

"Tucker."  He wasn't sure if his last name was important, but he didn't want to give it if he didn't have to.

"Oh. You." He sat back for a moment, rubbing at his face - and then gestured at the hot girls blurrily. "Go away." They glared, but they did, taking the rest with them.

Tuck shifted back a step or two so he wasn't in the way, waiting for the rest of the booth to clear out before sliding in to take a seat opposite Abbott.

His eyes flicked up over Tucker and around, like he was looking for someone else. Probably, he was. "Give me details about what you need."

He resisted the urge to glance up at Rabi, and instead folded his arms on the table in front of him, leaning into them. "I've got the attention of someone that's shown they aren't above stalking and abduction in broad daylight.  I need my dorm to be inaccessible to anyone I haven't let in, and I need to be able to move around safely again."

He rubbed a thumb into his eye slowly, trying to think. "... I could have helped you, a couple months ago. The problem isn't that I won't, I swear..."

Tucker frowned thoughtfully.  "So what is the problem?"

"It's that I can't. I mean I really can't. I'm unable." As he spoke, he scratched around the cuffs of his shirt, uncomfortably.

Baby blues flicked down to the scratching and then up again.  "You said something about finding someone that could help, though."

"Yeah. Just." He paused, chewing it over. "You're looking for magic, not a gun, right?"

"Preferably, yeah."  He didn't want anything to do with a gun.

"Can you pay someone, or are you expecting me to front this?" He shook his head, just the tiniest bit.

More expenses.  Tucker drew in a breath and let it out, considering how much he could afford.  "You'd have to tell me how much before I'd know if I could afford it or not."

"If you're asking, you can't afford it." He looked upward, slowly, sagging in the chair. A prickle of dread under that drunken stupor.

Again that urge to look up at Rabi, and again he managed to resist it.  And since Abbott hadn't asked him a question he waited.

He chewed it over slowly, rubbed at his eyes, trying to decide what to do. "I can give you some names. And if you have trouble, some help, I guess...."

"Anything you could do would be appreciated."  He leaned in a little closer.  "He stalked me back to my room, threatened me, used magic on me, and tried to drag me back to his car."  He let the fear show in pale eyes, before giving the rest of the club a quick, nervous flick.

It probably wasn't reassuring that Beau just shrugged a bit in reply, fingers tapping against the table. "Give me your phone."

He pulled it out to offer it over slowly, brows drawn down into puzzled lines.  "What kind of help do you mean?"

"I don't know if you need it, if you've got info on everyone in town." He shrugged, just one shoulder, plugging contact info into Tucker's phone slowly.

"Everyone?"  Dark brows lifted, gaze dropping to the phone Abbott was adding contacts to.

"Got info about me, I guess." It was a little sharp. He'd put three names in there, and sat waffling over a fourth. "So who else?"

A small shake of his head.  "I don't know anyone else."

"Uh huh." He didn't look like he believed it. He punched one more number in then passed the phone back, leaning away. "Some of those people are safer than others."

"What do you mean?"  He took the phone back and looked down at the new contacts that had been added.  "Who's safe?  Who are these people?"

"Wizard, low fae, charm maker, high fae." He tapped each of the names in turn: Rider, Baird, Lukas, Rowan. "Also, least dangerous to most, in my opinion."

Tucker licked over his bottom lip as he looked over the names, and then back up to Abbott.  "What do I say when I contact them?"

"I don't know." He looked back at Tucker in a tired kind of way. "Tell them whatever you shoulda told me."

He looked through the names again before sitting back in the booth, finally.  Abbott wasn't the only one who looked tired.  It was late, and Tucker really just wanted to go home, but that wasn't an option, at least not tonight.  "Thank you."

He slumped out in the chair, mulling it over, just watching Tucker. And now his gaze was vaguely appraising, like he was searching for something in Tucker's face. "I think you're probably pretty fucked, huh?"

He didn't look up again until Abbott spoke, and his brows twitched, shoulders rolling in a small shrug.  "Probably."

He chewed on that, too, rubbing at his face and floundering. His eyes turned to his little fans in the crowd. "I can lend you something that makes you look like someone else. But I want it back."

He let that sink in for a moment, and it perked him up a bit, had him sitting up a little straighter.  "That'd be great.  And of course."

"Give me a minute." He rolled up to stand -- wobbled -- almost lost his balance -- and grumbling, he disappeared into the crowd. As soon as he did, Rabi dropped down next to Tucker, his drink already mostly empty.

He'd very nearly made an attempt to grab for Abbott to keep him from falling, but the moment passed and the other mean slipped away.  Tucker watched him go as Rabi dropped down next to him, glancing up at him only after he couldn't see Abbott in the crowd anymore.

"He look like a fucking wreck." It was thoughtful, straw stuttering as he took a long drink. "He was definitely the most powerful magician I could think of, off the top of my head."

"Did you hear all that?"  He wasn't going to repeat it all if he didn't have to.

He made a sound, agreeing, tapping fingers against the side of his glass. "Avoid the fae. They're too tricky for a novice."

"Rider or Lukas, then."  He sat back, hand coming up to rub at his eyes as he fought back a yawn.  "And something that'll let me move around a bit until then."  The hand dropped back to his lap, and he blinked blearily.

"Mhm." He thought about it, polishing off his drink and then sitting back. "Can you afford this?"

is gaze dipped down to the empty drink, and for a second or two that what he thought Rabi meant.  Then he shook his head, sighing as he looked up at the ceiling.  "I don't know, probably not.  Dunno what else to do, though."

He scraped the straw in the bottom of the glass and thought it over. "Okay. I can get some cash."

That'd earn the other man startled blink.  Either because it was just that unexpected, or because Tuck had been footing the food bill the whole time assuming Rabi had no access to money.

Or both.

That had, to be fair, been his assumption. Rabi leaned back, picking the fruit out of his drink and staring out into the crowd. "You don't want details, do you?"

Surprise melted into wary suspicion.  "Probably not."  Though he was curious.

"Uh huh." He stood, grabbing his glass. "Front me for another, now."

The wariness lingered as he finished out his wallet and handed over enough cash for another drink and a tip.

He could have asked for his own drink, too; Rabi didn't offer. Instead he slid through the crowd as Beau came back, holding a ballpoint pen in one hand. He offered it to Tucker.

Pale eyes shifted from Rabi's, back up to Abbott has he came back to offer over a pen.  "This makes me unrecognizable?  Is it to everyone, or...?"  He asked as he reached out to take it.

He made a pen clicking gesture with his empty hand, collapsing back into his seat. His hair looked rumpled, the suit a bit wrinkly. And he had another drink. "There's a couple looks in there."

His thumb slid over the end, pressing down almost enough to make it click, but  eased up just shy of it.  "Thank you, really.  This is a huge help."  It did seem to perk him up some.  "You've got my number now, you can get a hold of me if you need it back.  Right away, I mean."

"Soon as you can." He took a big swallow of his drink, grimacing a bit.

Tuck nodded, slipping the pen into the opposite pocket as the pin, just to be on the safe side.  He'd start making calls tomorrow, and hopefully get the pen back to Abbott within a couple of days.

He blinked at Tuck, then, seriously, tipping his glass vaguely in his direction. "That all you needed?"

Brows arched back at him.  "Um."  Was it?  "I think so?  Safety...or as close to as I can get."  His shoulders came up in a little shrug.  "Unless you're offering me a drink," he dipped his head towards the glass Abbott had tipped at him.  "Cause it's been a real hell of a day."

He drew in a breath and then blew it out, slightly annoyed. "Just go put it on my tab." He waved at the bar.

He hadn't expected him to actually say yes and it made him blink back at him.  "You really don't have to, you've already done a lot."  Maybe he looked flushed, maybe it was just the burns from earlier.  "I wasn't really being serious."

"Then don't ask." He threw back the rest of his own drink, leaning back slowly in the booth.

Whatever small sound he made in response was probably drowned out by the music.  He sat back, glancing towards the bar to see if he could spot Rabi.

There were too many people, right now; if he tipped his head a little, he might catch a glimpse of red hair that maybe was Rabi's.

Staying there, he felt like he was just preventing Abbott from enjoying his evening, but he didn't want to get pulled into the crowd, or noticed anymore than he already had.  His hand slid up his opposite arm, nervous.  Awkward.

He watched Tucker in a thoughtful sort of way, tapping fingers against the table. "...are you looking for something else?" He sat up, slowly, assessing. "You're not really my type."

He glanced back at him.  "No, I'm waiting for the person I came here with to get back.  I stand out in here like a sore thumb, so I don't want to go wandering around.  You can have your booth back soon.  Sorry for holding things up."

"Who'd you come with?" He turned the glass against the table, slowly, his attention turned out into the crowd.

He hesitated before answering, trying to decide what to say.  "Just a friend that's helping me keep an eye out."

"Uh huh." He was drunk enough that maybe he fell for that. "And what's he look like."

"Oh, ah.  Taller, you know.  Dark hair..."  He said it distractedly, like he was searching the crowd too.  "Actually, I think I see him.  So I'm just gonna go, and, uh.  Get out of your hair."  He was sliding out of the booth as he said it.  "Thank you though, for agreeing to talk to me, for helping as much as you could."

He stared up at Tucker like he resented that, weirdly, a frown pulling at the edges of his mouth. "Uh huh."


Offline Beejoux

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Re: Divide and Conquer [Rabi x Tucker x John x Beau]
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 07:13:22 PM »
Tucker paused at the look, frowning a little helplessly.  Aware he'd said something wrong, but unsure as to what.

Beau flicked fingers at him, dismissively, half-turning to search for his own crew in the crowd. "Tab's only open twenty more minutes. Then I'm going to go get really high."

He walked away looking troubled and confused, towards the bar, but with no intention of taking Beau up on that begrudging offer.  He couldn't have anyways, didn't have a mark on his hand.

Instead he tried to find Rabi, but he'd only gotten a few steps from the table before he'd felt immediately exposed.

It was alright: Rabi was there in just a breath, with his second drink mostly empty. He also still seemed perfectly sober. Obviously he wasn't an easy drunk. Or he hid it well. "Luck?"

He blinked, looking a little like a deer caught in headlights before settling back into just looking tired.  "Sure?  He gave me a pen that'll make me look like other people, but he needs it back quick."  Pale eyes flicked down to the almost empty drink.

He looked mussed, too, just a bit -- his hair rumpled, his chin tipped up. Rabi thought that over. "That'd fetch a pretty penny if you made off with it."

"I'm sure it would, but that'd be shitty and probably stupid."  He was eyeing Rabi as he said it.  "Where'd you go?"

"Wandered a little."He shrugged a tiny bit, looking back toward Beau, as his compatriots filtered their way back. "He's a disaster, right now..."

"Uh huh."  Didn't sound like he believed him entirely, but he dropped it to look back at Beau.  "Yeah, he is."  Even not knowing anything about him, Tucker could tell something was off.  "You going to finish that?"  He pointed at the drink in Rabi's hand.

Rabi looked at him -- and then, somewhat pointedly, downed the rest of the drink, shaking his head as it went down. Too much, too fast.

The sigh that followed was heavy and resigned, eyes rolling upward before he just closed then for a moment.  "Can we just go now?"

"Uh huh." He licked his lips, swiped a finger across his mouth, and then started for the door. "I can't believe he just gave you the pen."

"Maybe he felt bad he couldn't do more," he said with a small shrug, glancing back towards the table as they headed to the door.

"I don't think he usually feels bad about much." He caught Tucker's arm to haul him out the side door again, just in case. "He has a reputation."

"You think he had an ulterior motive?" He made a small noise when he was pulled to the side, and as soon as he realized where they were going he made a move to draw his arm out if Rabi's grip.

"I don't know." In the relative quiet of the hallway out, he held out his hand in request. "Let me see it."

He'd hesitate, if only for a second, before pulling the pen out to set in Rabi's palm.

Rabi clicked it immediately -- and as he did, he changed, like switching the stations on a television. Instead, for the moment, he looked like a mousy brunette girl, who raised her eyebrow at Tucker.

He'd been expecting a change, but not to that and it made him crack a smile.  "Well it does what it's supposed to."

She tipped her head, loose hair falling over her shoulder, and then clicked it again. This time, he was middle aged and white and incredible average. He hummed a bit. "Well, it works, at least." The voice was even different, a bit lower and softer.

The smile brightened.  "Nothing else to it?"  It came as a relief.  Any little shift in his favor came with a bit of relief.

He clicked through two more shapes -- a hot but cookie cutter blonde woman and an androgynous person of coffee-and-cream skintone -- and then he was back to himself. "It definitely works."

"Good."  He looked amused now, at least.  Instead of just tired and cranky.

He passed the pen back, shaking his head just a bit. "Probably he can track it if he needs to, is the only problem."

He tucked it back in his pocket.  "Him I'm not too worried about though."  Not like John.

”He's from an extremely prominent magical family." He shrugged one shoulder, slowly, dragging a hand over his hair. "I don't know."

Rabi was looking at it from angles Tuck couldn't see, and his head tilted as he looked up at him.  "You think I should just give it back?"

"No, it'll help you." He sighed just a little bit, shoving the door open into the alley. "You should hold onto it. But watch for strings."

Just stepping out of the club made him feel better.  His shoulders loosened, posture relaxing a bit.  "Strings?"

"Anything that might put you at a disadvantage. Which would make you owe him." He sighed a bit, looking up. "Wish we could have paid better."

"Ah."  He looked thoughtful for a moment before pulling his phone out.  "I don't suppose any of these people take payment plans."  It was mostly a joke.  Mostly.  He scrolled through the names again before pulling up the Uber app.

"He wouldn't want money, anyway." Rabi shook his head, leaning back against the wall outside to look down the alley.

"What does he want?"  He'd started thumbing in info for a car but paused.  "Do you need a ride back to your office?  Cause I was just going to go straight to the hotel."  He'd worry about his books later.

He blinked up at Tucker, and then waved it off, absently. Straightening. "I can get myself home."

"Okay."  He finished punching in an address, but looked up again.  "Is there anything else that I should figure out or worry about before I go to bed?"

"Lock the door, I guess." He tipped his head, frowning a bit at Tucker. "Maybe use the pen when you go in."

"Yeah, I was planning it."  He hit send to summon a car, then lifted a hand to stifle the yawn that followed.  "The pen'll make it easy to get into my dorm tomorrow for fresh clothes, but I don't want to be there for any length of time until I know it's actually safe."

He chewed that over, his head tipped and eyes distant. "You going to call the wizard or the charm maker?"

He rubbed at his eyes, over his brow, before raking his fingers back through his hair to get it out of his face.  "Tomorrow, probably the wizard.  Abbott said he was the least dangerous, whatever that means."

"Probably means he's the least useful, too." But Rabi shrugged; it was up to Tucker.

"Maybe."  He shrugged too.  "But if he can't help I can call the charm maker."

Rabi made a little sound, agreeing, or maybe disagreeing, attention turned upward. "It's your choice, naturally."

He frowned.  "Yeah, but it still concerns you, and you definitely know this shit better than me."  It was just shy of impatient.  Exasperated maybe.  "If you have a better suggestion, I'm open to it."

"Give me the pin and it all goes away." It was his suggestion, and probably always would be

"It goes away for you," he snapped back, head shaking as he turned to walk towards the mouth of the alley to see if his car was there yet.

Rabi shrugged at him a little bit. "I could make it go away for you too."

He stopped, turning to frown up at Rabi with narrowed eyes.  "How?"

"Turn myself in, confess." He smiled at Tucker as he said it. "Not without it, though."

Pale eyes narrowed a little.  "And what about John?"

"Ideally they'd catch me having killed him red handed." He said it smoothly, unhesitating. And then pointed past Tucker down the alley. "That your car?"

He stared back as he thought about it--really thought about it--a muscle in his jaw jumping before Rabi was pointing over his shoulder.  Tuck turned to look.  "Y-yeah."

Rabi shrugged, hands slid into his pockets, and watched Tucker through narrow eyes. "I'll hold onto your stuff, I guess?"

"Yeah, please.  I'll get it tomorrow."  It was distracted, brows a little creased.

"Uh huh." But he didn't move yet. He still watched Tucker, strumming fingers against his side.

His phone buzzed, the driver letting him know he was there, and Tucker looked at the car again.  He seemed conflicted, which was better than the defiance, at least.

Rabi spread his hands a little, eyebrows raising. "You want me to come with you?"

”No.  I mean I don't need you to."  He was fairly certain he could make it to the hotel without incident, and he'd already offered the second bed to Rabi.  Brows twitched and he stepped back, towards the car.  "Bye."

Rabi watched him through narrowed eyes, a bit suspicious, but he'd let Tucker go -- only disappearing once the car'd pulled away.