Logs:Bargains, Benefactors and Beignets

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Bargains, Benefactors and Beignets


Characters: Jeanie and Tris
Date: 2020-03-06
Summary: Law-student Jeanie and not-so-mysterious benefactor Tris have a surprise meeting over beignets in which much is discussed, a little is revealed, and even more is just plain confusing.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Early birds can have their worms, 'cause Jeanie is much more interested in something fried and delicious. And coffee. Breakfast rush has come and gone, but it's not quite lunch yet. The woman and a massive stack of books have claimed a table, although she's not focused on the books yet because she's too busy studying one of the beignets and the effort of trying to figure out how to get it into her mouth without getting powdered sugar everywhere, without much success. At least even in failure, she's still nomming on delicious.

--

The best part about knowing monsters are real is when one invites himself to a seat across from you, amirite? There's nothing outwardly alarming about the brunette with the faint lines of scars that, in the Mask, look nothing too remarkable, not even marring his just-rolled-out-of-bed-looking-this-good level of sexy. Only the smile can be said to be an active attempt to be-- well, not actually attractive, but disarming anyway, friendly. Tris has a plate with two beignets of his own and a small bag of take-out style ones set beside it as he flashes that smile across at the law student. "Jeanie," he greets as if this were the most natural thing in the world, as if the woman didn't know (but not currently be able to see) that every one of those faint scar lines are, in some other shade of reality, currently refracting the light into orange, yellow and green twists along gossamer ridges. There's what's seen and what goes unseen, even if she once saw it some time ago.

--

Surprise monsters are certainly something unsettling enough to set one off their appetite and Jeanie is no exception to that. Jeanie sets down what's left of that one beignet and reaches for a napkin to try and deal with the whole powdered sugar massacre on her face. Her own attempts at just-rolled-out-of-bed look not nearly as put together. She'll smile back, but there's a bit of caution as she eyes the man and those scars, memories of gossamer visions she may have been trying to convince herself weren't real. "Tris. Surprised you didn't have someone who could come fetch your breakfast." Although technically even the law student could afford GrubHub if she had wanted, but they're so much better fresh.

--

"Because my job is so demanding?" Tris suggests with no small amount of humor subtly laced into his tone. "Or because I can't be bothered to mix with the little people?" He twitches forward suddenly enough that he'd deserve to be punched if she could land the hit, trying now to unnerve her just a little, "If I didn't mix with the little people, we never would have met." And besides, for all his trust fund baby status, he was also working as a paparazzo when they met in New York City, so 'slumming it' is something he very much does.

"Besides, they get soggy when they're not fresh. It's the price some people will have to pay," a finger flicks the take-out bag, "but not me." He's here, obviously. He smiles at Jeanie again, this time perhaps with an intention to reassure (the asshole). "How're classes going? Tell me what I'm paying for, again."

--

Landing a punch would require taking a hand off the coffee mug which Jeanie seems more inclined to cling to like it's lifeblood even as she gives a little shrug. "Or maybe because it requires getting up before noon?" If the spookiness of the surprise encounter wasn't giving a bit of adrenaline, she'd probably be yawning herself. As it is, she probably looks like she's pulled an all nighter or two over the past week. "That is true," she'll give a nod for both their meeting and the sadly short shelf life of beignets while slowly turning the books spines so he can see. "Really thrilling stuff. Federal tax code, evidence requirements and business organizations. Next semester should be where the real fun begins though. Disputes resolution and trial advocacy then."

--

The slight scoff that Tris makes in reply to Jeanie's spot on observation comes with laughter not allowed to press past his lips busy with their bite of beignet. "I'll have you know I get up before noon regularly now. Clubbing is more of a special occasion event now." Once, it was simply what one did on a day ending in 'y.' As he's chewing, the Changeling wipes his hand on a napkin and then reaches to touch the spines that have been turned so conveniently for him, perusing down the very dry variety of words strung together in ways that doubtlessly make sense to the law student but are well over his head. This is why he's paying for her schooling, though, so they can gladly stay over his head.

"I need to introduce you to Miles, sometime. I can, of course, hand your book lists and semester living cost estimates to him, but probably easier if you've been introduced in case you need something when I'm in New York or wherever." He doesn't travel often these days, but not never. "Do you still have everything you need for this semester?"

--

Jeanie artful raises a single eyebrow as if she doubts the the validity of the lack of clubbing, but she'll let it slide for the moment. For the moment, the spines definitely make sense but the concepts within the pages might be another matter for the moment. Semester is just beginning after all, so there's a lot of studying left to do! Her head tilts as a new name is mentioned. "Miles? Is he like an assistant or something? And everything that was on the sylabus at least. If anything else comes up, it'll probably be in the library."

--

"You might find your toes, nose and fingers instantly frost-bitten should you say something to that extent to Miles. Miles Norwood. One of my partners." Tris shifts his left hand so the ring with its three bands is in evidence. That kind of partner, although some kind of business partner might be true enough also. "He's handling many of our financial items." Anyone has to be better than Tris at that, right? It's a good thing he has so much to (mis)manage. "And of course anything you do for me will, naturally, be of relevance to him. Ought to have you meet Jules, too. So you know who you can talk to if anything comes up." Like the money suddenly stops? Something.

"If something comes up, you know I'm only a text away." Isn't that creepy? Text your own personal monster for your own personal payout. It's fine. Jeanie doesn't really believe anyway, right? "You've not run into any other problems? Any of my kind of problems?" Only one of them will pretend it's not real, apparently; not Tris.

--

Time for Jeanie's other eyebrow to join its fellow as Tris brings up that threat of winter and she shivers just a bit and clings tighter to her mug. "I'll make sure to be on my best behavior." She might even break out those overly polite manners drilled into her head in preparation for a cotillion she is also firmly pretending never existed. "And Jules is another... partner?" There is more than one ring on that hand after all. As talk turns to problems, she shifts and straightens up. "Contrary to what you may have seen, I do normally try to handle my own problems. And not unless you count someone claiming a mardi gras float was cursed as a reason to steal it or a bunch of drunks interrupting a graveyard tour as your kind of problems..." Both of which she's been more than ready to explain away as perfectly mundane.

--

A ring of three entangled branches - one rose gold, one black, one bronze, the metal carefully textured and antiqued to highlight the subtle realism, but now that Tris has said as much, the meaning is plain enough. "He is." If Jeanie was looking for more explanation, the most she gets is, "Jules Landry." His fingers tap briefly on the tabletop before snatching up his beignet and bringing it back to his lips. "I wasn't insulting your ability to care for yourself, Jeanie, simply impressing upon you the importance of you allowing me to keep up my end of our bargain. It quite literally does me no good if you don't hold up your end and I don't hold up my end."

The items she lists for his consideration do warrant the latter. He chews while he thinks though. It's probably just as effective as if he were giving her his undivided attention, honestly. He's not the brightest color in the box either way. It's fine. At least chewing is useful. "Sounds pretty New Orleans standard, to me. But then, everyone knows New Orleans is weird." He reaches up to scratch his chin idly, watching the law student thoughtfully. "Do you intend to carve out a niche for yourself? Helping people like myself who find ourselves in inexplicable situations by the norm of society on the whole?"

--

The ring and the names mentioned are certainly filed away in Jeanie's mind for further research because why trust anything directly from a Changeling? She bristles slightly at the mini-lecture before resigning with a sigh. "As I recall, the bargain was for school and school related expenses..." And food may certainly be related seeing as she without it there'd be the whole withering away and dying before completing classes which isn't useful for either of them, but she's got enough spending money for meals out apparently. Just when she thought she could relax, there's the last question which has her staring again. "Just how many people are there like... yourself are there. In New Orleans..." Because the rest of the world might be a bit overwhelming. Best to focus on local issues first.

--

"Enough with money enough to set you for life if that's the kind of law you decided you wanted to practice. You could even afford to take pro bono environmental law cases," Tris replies, dusting off his fingers on his napkin, one beignet down. One to go. "The thing is, Jeanie, with my kind, in a lot of cases," and here his voice has dropped low, of course, low enough that they'll have to lean in a little if she wants to catch it all, "we've all been gone from the word for a lot of years before finding our way back. Add to that that many of us start finding our lives here by committing crimes or being party to them, and you have a fairly ideal, not to mention personally sympathetic group of clientele. Not that I'd expect you to have sympathy for me, of course." There's humor but also sadness in the eyes briefly for that remark.

He leans back and plucks up his next beignet. "If that's the way that you're going to go in this city, though, there's some things we should be looking into for you." As if Tris has a stake in Jeanie's future... which, fairly, he sort of does? "There's a thing that can help protect you, getting involved in all this, but they don't just give it to anyone like you," a gesture encompasses her humanness. "You have to prove yourself worthy somehow."

--

As much as the idealist in her might want to say screw money, even Jeanie is pragmatist enough that to not dismiss the offer out of hand, brow knitting as she ponders just how many Changelings that might be. "So... that would mean focusing on criminal law?" She's had at least a little experience with that given their previous dealings, even if it was never the field she'd seen herself going into. "So... are you saying there's like a supernatural bar exam? Need to study up on faeries and witches and ghosts and things? Make sure I can tell a zombie from a ghoul?"

--

"In an ideal world, it never gets that far." Tris contemplates. "I'm probably not the right person who tells you what to go into to make different charges disappear. But the truth is, Jeanie," the Changeling leans in again, half his beignet left, fighting a good powdery fight (and losing), "We cannot actually be jailed. Most likely the attempt to cage us would escalate to something very unpleasant, very quickly, so it would be best if we could just avoid the whole thing by making sure anyone with an interest in, say, a car's license plate was too inundated with paperwork to ever get around to checking it, or making the kind of friends who could see one number was smudged to look more like an eight than a six."

He sits back to furrow his brow and contemplate. "I'm not saying there's a bar exam. I'm just saying that just because you know doesn't mean you get the protection. You have to be worthwhile to protect in a way that most people," he gestures, "simply aren't. But studying up on faeries, witches, ghosts, zombies and ghouls sounds like a good place to start. Being able to tell what's real and what isn't is a good place to start, and understanding when you need to hide your understanding is another good place to start. You can end up in quicksand before you look down with this crazy shit." There's some amusement there. Why? Well, the short answer is that Tris is crazy, but if anyone's being kinder about the Crimson Courtier, it's because he's already in the thick of these figurative brambles.

--

"For you and those with enough money, it seems easy enough if you know the right person to bribe..." Jeanie has at least found a few of the strings that can be pulled if someone's determined enough but there's only so many times one can panic-y call one's aunt in the DMV begging for help that their dad must never find out about and the amount is approximately ONCE. Tris' answer wasn't what she was expecting and so she takes another sip of her coffee as if the caffeine might help. "Wait... so you're saying zombies and ghosts are actually real? Where would you even read up on this? Not like you just wander up to the library and search REAL MAGIC...." There's so many questions that are probably just going to bred a thousand more. Quicksand is like that after all.

--

"Then maybe you should learn how to do that, too," Tris suggests as if he were suggesting Jeanie take up something as innocuous as the violin. Certainly, Tris needs people do to that kind of service.

He lifts his hand and gives a noncommittal wiggle in the air. "I can't claim to be an expert. I only got back last year." Tris lifts his shoulders in a little shrug. "There are a lot of things that are real that I didn't think were. But you're smarter than I am," that's kinda half the point of having picked Jeanie with whom to make a Bargain, "And I'm sure you can figure it out. Surely there are book shops in New Orleans that would lend toward that kind of thing. It is the Voodoo capital or something, isn't it?" He probably has that wrong, but it's fine. This is Tris. He pays people to google for him. It's fine.

"What I am saying, Jeanie, is start looking into things. Start learning. But be careful who you trust. Some of this shit can get you killed or worse." There's worse, trust him. "I can help with my end of things, I guess." He guesses. "But you'll have to come by the house for that." He's not a BARBARIAN, Jeanie. He's not going to talk about torture and crazy faeries in the middle of Cafe Du Monde.

--

"Right, because that won't ever run afoul of an ethics board..." Jeanie mutters as her finger taps against the mug with irritation, but getting into deeper problems tends to happen when one makes Bargains, especially when one had no idea that anything Fae-related was real until moments before the bargaining. "Would uhhh... Miles have any suggestions on what bookstores to look at before I go digging through a hundred touristy voodoo haystacks?" This is New Orleans after all, where Zombies of the alcoholic sort might be more common drinks than water and there's a voodoo shop on nearly every corner on some streets. "If I'm going to the house, might as well knock out two birds with one stone?" That's the type of logistical thinking he was looking for, right?

--

Tris's blue eyes squint a little as he looks at Jeanie over that first mutter. There's then the long pause in which the one-percenter murmurs back, "Aren't problems like that why you get very good at giving bribes?" JUST WONDERING. It is in Tris' world, obviously.

"Miles would not have any suggestions for that. Nor Jules." He contemplates. "I'm not actually sure how people like you go about things like this. Google, probably." He frowns. "What about that cursed float? Maybe the people who know about that know where to start with this kind of thing?"

There's a pause before he adds, "Miles and Jules are both... very reserved. It's part of their natures." He seems to find this insufficient, so he adds, "They're older, not the sort you would probably expect to find with me." Beat. "When you're not just with me, acting like you're on a job interview is probably your best bet." That should give her somewhere to start anyway.

--

Jeanie's hazel eyes stare right back as the one-percenter's world view is VASTLY different than her own, but the staring eventually devolves into an eyeroll. "Some lawyers actually try to you know... uphold the law?" Right now, all she's upholding is the top book on tax law (ironically probably the most loopholed field for those with the money!). The mention of the cursed float gets an actual laugh. "You want me to go up to the stoner guy in the back of the Flying J and ask about ghosts? Or vampires?" There's a nod as he gives hints on how to deal with his fellow changelings. "So like when I was a receptionist at the law firm?" She can even queue up that polite-professional smile and the perfectly upright posture to show she does remember how to behave, sometimes.

--

You roll, I roll, we roll. They can roll eyes together if Jeanie wants because Tris will, with elegant Millennial style, roll his in echo of hers at him. "Like when you were a receptionist," he confirms. "Jules is a little more personable, usually, but just as reserved." There's a purse of his lips and then a shrug as he gives up on trying to explain his partners to someone who's never met them.

The rest is harder. "Drugs might just indicate a need to cope." Or just a love of a good time, whatever. To each their own floating boat. "Never judge a location by its cover though." He reaches up to scratch at his short beard again. "I don't know, Jeanie. Start nosing around and see what you can find out. I'll take a look into where resources might be, but... listen, steer clear of vampires, alright? For now. Until you know just how to act." Yes, he really did say all that with a completely straight face, leaning in and murmuring it quietly, urgently, like it's important.

--

Somewhere a bus boy is probably rolling his eyes as well, but that's not going to stop Jeanie, she just nods. "Law firm receptionist I can do." Even if she doesn't have to actually work that particular job anymore thanks to Tris' pocketbook. Her eyes widen about as much as physically possible at the mention of vampires. "Vampires? What in the name of God's green Earth would make you think I'd want to poke my nose around with them?" In the surprise, her country roots are abundantly clear in her accent, even as her hand is creeping up to her neck as if to verify that all her blood is still there.

--

"You did just say asking the Flying J guy about vampires." Tris points out even as he's dusting off his fingers one last time and pushing himself out of his seat. "And some people read too much Twilight." He's looking right at you, Jeanie. "I think you're safe enough in daylight, though." He's only half right. It's fine. He collects his bag, leaving the dish for that eye-rolling bus boy to pick up, dropping a twenty on the table for a tip. Yep, he's that kind of one-percenter.

"Let me know if you need something before we meet up, or if there's something I can have on hand for you. I'll ask around and see what I can find out about someone like you learning about people like me so you can learn it well enough to get the protection of the Shadow Accords before you get dead." CHEERFUL NOTE. He'll leave on that cheerful note, dropping one hot hand to her shoulder, unnaturally hot; not as hot as if the Mask were dropped, but hotter than a human hand should be by several degrees. "Take care, Jeanie. See you soon." Muwahahaha, or whatever a Changeling with his nefarious booty of beignets would do upon his dramatic exit.

--

Jeanie can do a pretty good impression of a landed fish as Tris' remarks about reading too much Twilight hit a little close to home (although it was watching and she was thirteen at the time, to be fair). "That was a joke. And I've seen him in daylight so he couldn't be a vampire..." She shakes her head as there's a part of her that's still not willing to accept that anybody could be a vampire. "I'll just ask him about curses or whatever. Someone said he was the guy to go to about that type of stuff..." That cheerful note gets a bit of a glare and she takes a gulp, then another literal gulp as she downs the last of her coffee. "Thanks. I'll try not to get hit by a bus, cursed or otherwise, before we meet." Cause not much magic can do if a mortal is to get completely splatted. The hot hand is eyed with surprise, but she gives a wave as he heads out. "You too." And then she's back to the books and eventually a coffee refill. She's gotta fulfill her end of the bargain after all if she doesn't want a mountain of law school debt.