Logs:Simple Exchanges

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Simple Exchanges


Characters: Louis and Tris
Date: 2019-12-06
Summary: After becoming injured, Tris seeks help from the man with all the answers, Louis.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

It's a lively night at Salome. The band up on the stage has rather more equipment than most of the jazz bands that play here, because they're doing a fast, techno-swing sort of music that has the dance floor up and rocking, and sound bouncing off of the walls. It's Friday, so a lot of people are taking the opportunity to drink a part of their paycheck, and see what trouble they can pick up. Louis, in a dark green suit with pale undershirt, and a Christmas tree patterned waistcoat, has been mingling and chatting with his clientele, and is just now starting to take a break to return to his cordoned off table, and throw himself into one of the padded chairs with a sigh. He shakes his handkerchief out to wipe his head, and signals for a drink from the bar.

--

Tris has picked the ever-classic black for this evening's attire. It's not only slimming, but it has the added bonus of not letting any blood that might leak through bandages (self-taught, thank you, YouTube!) show. His Armani blazer will not appreciate the blood, but maybe the bandages and the black designer tee-shirt beneath will suffice. He's even wearing slacks tonight, rather than his preferred denim.

Paying the cover at the door, he's slipping into the crowd but avoiding the dancefloor. It's not his first trip to Salome's, but it is the first time he's actually managed to align his visit with a time that the proprietor is not otherwise engaged. And so it is that Tris Kesel arrives just outside that rope, and casts a smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes toward Louis. "How much does your time cost these days?" It's only sort of a joke.

--

Louis's drink arrives a moment before Tris does, and so he has a tumbler in his hand as the younger man approaches the rope. He rises without hesitation to unhook the partition, his face wreathed in a smile. "For a friend from my home town? Time, at least, is free. It's a pleasure to see you again. Please," he waves his hand towards one of the other chairs. "Take a seat. You want something to drink? Chloe's actually getting quite skilled in the more complicated cocktails, if there's something you want to experiment with."

--

The Millennial steps through the opening at the proprietor's invitation and he moves carefully to claim a seat, grunting when he does and adjusting his torso slightly, one hand reflexively sinking to his side. "Normally, I'd take you up on that." Tris does like his drinks, after all. "But I had a little... happening earlier and it would probably be better for me to have soda tonight." Nevermind that sad-puppy look in the direction of the bar; he really will survive a night sober. "Or water," worse and worse.

"I'm glad to catch you. I've been in a few times since Thanksgiving but never at the right time. Congratulations on the success of your venture," an open hand indicates the vivacious enjoyment of the crowd. "Even before Thanksgiving, the first time I met one of us here, I was directed to you." There's some wry humor in his expression for that. "You seem to be acclimating well," is a compliment along the same vein. This man is certainly more relaxed here than he was at that fateful Thanksgiving run in, more the Tris Louis might remember, if less frantic and steeped in Newly-Returned panic.

--

Louis clucks his tongue, playfully. "And since when have you cared about what is better for you?" he teases. But when he flags the server, it's soda that he orders, and doesn't even have any rum put in it. "What sort of happening?" He tenses. "The kind we should all be worried about?" Louis doesn't LIKE worrying, but that doesn't mean he's incapable of it, and the lights on his face flicker. The compliment softens it, a little, but he shrugs. "I'm about the only one of us who is willing to have a relatively public address to /be/ found at, Tris."

--

"I'm just bleeding a little is all." No big deal! Tris is very casual about it. "Not on anything," he's quick to add, which is less than reassuring when he also says, "I don't think." He glances down his torso. "I'm sure it'll be fine." If it's not infected or still bleeding or something.

As to what sort of happening, there's a comedic moment (haha-RUN, that kind of comedic) where the scarred man has the grace to look sheepish. "I was going to ask if you had the name of any good lawyers who like to take money and get people off of things?" He's probably just asking for a friend. It's probably totally unrelated to the blood on his fingers. Oooh, oops?

Tris looks at his hand as it comes away from his middle, frowning. "I... must not have done the bandaging right is a thoughtful, still unperturbed observation." He starts to scoot from his seat. "I should go wash my hands." Maybe fix that bandage. "People like it, though, having somewhere to go. Have you seen the new community center?" What's a little blood to stop a charming conversation after all?

--

Louis's expression doesn't reflect dismay at the blood or the information that Tris is still bleeding through his clothes. Instead, he clucks his tongue again, and calmly rises to his feet. "I just realized; I haven't shown you our VIP room yet, have I? I think you'll like it. C'mon." He even manages to smile cheerfully, like it's an offer born entirely out of good will towards a customer, and not a pressing desire to see how bad this wound is. "Community center? No, I haven't. It sounds like a good idea, though. Ah, and I don't /know them/, know them, but I might have a name for you. Depending on what kind of a lawyer you need." No judgement there.

--

"We can talk about it in your VIP room," Tris readily agrees. Privacy does seem like a good thing just now. Even if he's a little bit of a lost Lost right now with tasks unfamiliar to him (like wound binding), he hasn't disconnected from the world he knows and understands entirely. He shifts off the seat, his face flinching as he does, and adjusts his jacket. He's not dripping blood, so that's a good sign! "I saw the community center this morning. It's impressive for what it is." See? Nothing to see here. He can manage to carry on this innocuous topic while he follows Louis wherever he'll lead.

--

Louis leads them past the bouncer, pausing to briefly direct the man not to permit any more visitors until he runs it by Louis, first. Then they're down the hall and to the right, opening up into a quiet room. "Here. Go lay on a couch and show me the bandages. Not that I'm a doctor, but if your intestines are hanging out, we'll need more help than I can quickly provide myself, and I need to know if I need to make some calls." He puts his drink on the tabletop, and moves to unlock a cabinet. The interior has various things that are difficult to glimpse unless Tris leans around the doors to see, but Louis does remove a small, wooden box with a lock. "So. What did happen?"

--

The gait the Beast employs to follow the other Changeling is more careful than his usual stride, but he's still not noticeably limping. "I'm sure it'll be fine," he says with all the blithe reassurance of one who knows nothing about wounds. Still, Tris doesn't resist Louis' instructions. "Nothing's hanging out. I'm just cut up a little. And really, it's not even... I'm not even the one that..." How to even put it? What does he even want to say?

Dark blue eyes go to Louis' face, because he knows that information is currency with this Changeling, and yet, he'll give him this much for free, because of their history, probably. "I wasn't the one that got blown up, I was just helping." He finally sheds his jacket and then rucks up his shirt before laying back on the couch. There is a wound there, bleeding, and it looks... well, like it was made by a splat of shrapnel, even though there's no apparent shrapnel actually in the wound. It's not gruesome, though neither is it pretty, and it was bandaged poorly. Too much gauze, not enough tape.

--

Louis sighs. "Blown up? Really? Was this over in the Hedge, or are you getting involved with domestic terrorism now?" He pulls a chair over to the couch, and sits down on it, the box on his lap. He eyes the wound as well as he can with the bandages in the way. "I think I can help with that." He smiles. "Let's talk price. This time, I'll do it for an /actual/ explanation for what happened, and a small favor to be determined later. I do mean small. Promise me that, and I've got a bit of something from the Hedge that should help patch you up."

--

"Does it count as domestic terrorism if the weapon is a star?" Tris wonders, fairly, aloud to the man who is not his therapist despite their farcical positionings. It's another free piece of information, maybe too much really, but they're friends, aren't they? Maybe Tris thinks so. Blue eyes come away from the ceiling to look over at Louis instead.

"I'm honestly less concerned about this-" he gestures at the wound, "I've had worse." The gossamer stitching lines of scars are plenty of evidence for that point. "But I do need the name of a good lawyer who has a good way of making police look somewhere else if they want to come bothering me." He does look toward the box in Louis' hands though. "I have an unfortunately unique car and face." Neither of which occurred to him earlier or he wouldn't be here.

"What is it that you're offering me, exactly? And you know how I feel about owing instead of settling." Tris is good with settling deals, trades; owing... well, that's a lot harder to get this Beast to agree to.

--

"A star? Oh," Louis snorts, "you've met Robin, I see. Did they do this to you on purpose, or did it just happen?" He opens the box, and takes out what looks like a small, knobbly stone. "This is...well, I don't think it has an official name, on account of no scientists knowing about it. But it's a thing from the Hedge. It should take care of most of that, and it isn't painful at all." He smiles. "And I know you're not fond of owing, but I don't yet know what I need, if I'm honest. Things are in flux. I don't need money the way I did before, but I do need favors I can call in when things get dicey. People I can trust. And I don't mind giving the lawyer for free, if only because I don't know for certain that she can help. But I've heard that Compacted people might have some luck with Delphine Laurent. I haven't been able to arrange a meeting with her, myself, but I have tried."

--

"Oh, no," Tris starts, then stops, correcting, "I mean, yes, I met Robin, but no, they didn't do this to me. I did this to me." He shifts his pile of gauze and presses it to the wound, his eyes going to the knobbly stone that is apparently edible. There is more than a little thoughtfulness there, although he makes no move to reach for anything Louis holds.

"I'm particularly reluctant to owe anyone anything right now, even you, and I trust you more than I probably should." There's a pause, "I'm going to try to assist with creating the freehold. That should be done without... ties that bind." There's something about that phrase that makes Tris grimace, or maybe that's just the pressure he's putting on the wound.

"How about you help me bandage my wound," two heads are probably better than one, "I'll give you the story about today, I'll thank you for the lawyer's name, and then you tell me how I can help Odile stay safe while she searches for something that's caused deaths already?" Obviously, he's not wholly in this loop, but he's asking for the in. Is that a favor from Louis or a favor for Louis? It might be hard to say, but at least it's a counter offer and not an outright no.

--

Louis raises his eyebrows. "Who told you /that/? Ties that bind are what keep us together." He sighs, and rocks back on his heels. "And I don't have the faintest idea how to bandage things, Tris. I have oddments for that." He does put the little stone back in its box, and put the box back on the table. "And there's no way to keep Odile safe, my young friend. Being dangerous is largely what she does." He smiles. "I assume she read you in on our treasure hunt?" A glance at the bleeding. "I'll call you a doctor who won't ask questions, and you can pay him. /He/ needs money. Sound good?"

--

"No one told me that." No one needed to tell Tris that. "I spent a very long time learning that particular lesson, very painfully." His eyes go down to that impressive spread of stitches across the revealed section of his torso, where tattoos have been rearranged into nonsensical images, interspersed by more and more of those crystalline threads that capture the light available in the room, not lessening it in the environment, but reflecting it in greens and yellows and oranges.

"So she's indicated, but that doesn't mean that I can't be of some help to her, in certain situations. I'd claim I'm a good getaway driver, and normally I am. I was just a little late. On account of Robin getting blown up. By accident." Tris can look amused despite continuing to press the gauze into his side.

"I'll take you up on your oddment sometime it's more serious. I have some... strange limitations when it comes to options for healing up. And frankly, I'm not sure that would work this time." He nods toward the box. "Magical prices and all that." He shrugs slightly.

"A doctor would be fine. Money is easy." So that's a yes, and one story for Louis, but before he pays up he clarifies, "She told me a little. Can I help?" He does seem willing anyway, eager even?

--

Louis sighs. "Tris," his voice is gentle. "You have to find a balance. Trusting is difficult, but vital." He stands to put the box back, and lock the cabinet it came out of, before grabbing his phone. It takes him several minutes to remember how to dial - and this is still /twice as good/ as when Tris and Louis last knew each other. Technology is hard. But he manages, and says, "Hey. Mind coming over to Salome? The VIP room. Yes, I know it's dinner time, but I need you to bring your stitching tools." A pause, then he laughs, softly. "Yeah. You can charge the rush fee. The patient can pay. Good. Thank you, see you then."

That done, he comes back to sit down. "I don't see why not. If you're willing to work with a vampire without blowing your stack. Can you do that?"

--

"I'm working on it, Louis." Tris' reply is earnest and his eyes seek to meet that of the longer Returned. "I'm here, aren't I?" One of the problems with the double-dose that is a Summer Beast is that this one can be painfully straightforward. "There's always been a good reason to be wary of you because you are so effective at what you do, but Odile trusts you." As much as the Autumn might trust anyone, "And I've only had good experiences with you, and I'm inclined to trust her judgment," with some reservation, perhaps. Perhaps wisely.

He's quiet after that, letting the Spring take his time with the technology without comment. At the word 'stitching' however, Tris flinches, cutting across the conversation, "No. He'll have to find another way." Whether he's heard in time for it to make a difference... Tris is pale when he's next looked at, making all those stitching lines all the more stark against his skin. "Bandages. Glue. Hell, staples. Not stitches." His voice goes one shade beyond firm to commanding, even if he's not really intending to command Louis; it's just that shit is real for Tris right now. The rest will have to wait a moment for Tris to collect his suddenly scattered wits.

--

Louis's eyes cut to one side. He doesn't express any exasperation, if he's feeling it. He just hits the little green button on the screen again, and when the doctor picks up, says, "Sorry to bother you. Patient is allergic to stitches. What are our other options?" He listens a couple of minutes, then comes over to stare at Tris' middle. "Yeah. I think glue and those little barbell shaped things you have should work." A pause. "Right. Thanks." He hangs up again, and offers a smile. "No stitches."

Look, he's used to fulfilling requests of unusual nature, so this hardly throws him at all as he settles into his chair. "I appreciate your efforts, Tris. And thank you for saying that I'm competent enough to scare you." The merriment returns to his eyes. "It's everything I ever dreamed of, really." It's light and teasing.

--

That Tris can, after a moment, roll his eyes at Louis (he is from that eyerolling generation after all) for his humor is probably a good sign that shaken though he briefly was at the notion of stitches, he's returning to conversationally competent in short order. "You scare me, Odile scares me, Miles scares me. I really have quite the list. My therapist says I have trust issues," which is also what Louis just pointed out to him, but maybe Tris doesn't quite remember that just this moment while his wits attempt to report for duty.

He does seem to remember something though because he says, "I can work with a vampire, as long as they're not going to bite me, or something." Tris probably hasn't had enough experience with vampires to know anything at all because he asks of the ceiling, "What would that even do?" like it might be a weirdly fascinating question of science (especially weird since Tris doesn't care a stitch for science), but maybe that's the journalist in him.

"So. The story?" Tris turns his head to look over at Louis again, lower lip pressing out and brows lifting in inquiry. Is it payment time? Or should they talk vampires first?

--

"I am the least scary person in this city," Louis claims, which might be the only lie he tells. Although even he isn't trying to /sell/ it; he's grinning with good cheer. "But that's fine. It'll come with time." There's a nod at the rest. "Good. He hasn't tried to bite anyone yet. He's pretty polite, likes games and secrets. Good investigator. Name of Rhys. I'll introduce you when I can."

Then he nods again. "The story, if you please."

--

"I'm not a terrible investigator. Back when I was doing a job," instead of just living off his one percenter perks, "I was good at what I did." Tris can offer up that much more for a resume to the man with uses for people with skills. "I'm obviously particularly good when it comes to taking the photographs, but to take the photographs, you had to figure out where to be and when to get the shot." He considers Louis again, "You should keep me in mind if you ever have cause for that kind of work. I'm not private investigator grade, but I'm one of us." Points for trustworthiness in that way, in so much as any of them are. "I'd appreciate the introduction though, so I'm sure he won't try to bite me." There might be humor there, but only some; vampires are, after all, a relatively unknown element to the man on the couch.

Tris lets his eyes find the ceiling for the next. "I went over to the new community center. Good setup. Smart, as far as I can tell." That's not really part of the story, just bonus opinions for the low, low price of having to listen to Tris talk. "I met Ian, who's made of... flexible glass? Something like that. Very interesting. And Ian introduced me to Tombstone pizza that didn't seem too hard to make and smelled better than Cup O'Noodles and canned tuna." This is apparently important in Tris' world.

"And Ian also introduced me to Robin, who I was very impressed by," but then the Summer would be, wouldn't he? Or at their throat, but apparently the former. "And Ian wanted to burn down his fetch's house." He turns his head to lift a brow at Louis to see if there are any points of clarification so far.

--

Louis is listening. He makes a nod at the idea of Tris' skills, and the request to introduce him, but he doesn't interrupt. At least, not until they get to the part about Tombstone pizza. "Good god, man. What do you eat? Have you not learned to cook a meal of actual food, yet?" A shake of his head, then he waves. "Never mind. Discussion for later. Continue, please."

--

Even with Louis' nevermind, Tris seems inclined to respond. "Uh, no. We always had people for that." Cooking. "Even in college, I had... someone." He also ate an obscene amount of takeout from the City's best food places as Odile can likely attest to. Tris looks to Louis, "I was going to ask if you'd teach me. The food from Thanksgiving was delicious, but I wasn't sure you'd have time, with all of this. Jules is going to try to teach me something this weekend, but I don't know what." But yes, anyone who cares at all about Tris' state of health should be very concerned about what he's eating (and not eating) right now, because, "I just told you what I eat. Oh, but I have cereal now too. And I watched a YouTube how-to on sandwiches." So he's actively trying to expand his culinary horizons, which is something.

But back to the story, "So we went and burned down Ian's fetch's house." Tris grins like it was amazing (because it was amazing). "We rescued Ian's plants-- oh, Ian turned into a cat to fit into my car with Robin who didn't burn my seats after all," these are details Louis wants to know, right? "And then Robin set the place on fire, and everything was fine until there was an explosion. Probably the propane. I didn't think about it," because of course he wouldn't, since he does not cook. "And so since they were on fire a little and hurt, I helped to heal them a little, and-" he gestures to the wound, "I got a souvenir. The firemen saw us, unfortunately, but at least we avoided contact with them." Good point. "But my car is custom," bad point. "So it wouldn't be hard to find me, not that they could prove anything, since I actually didn't set the house on fire, but..." Fleeing the scene of an arson? Maybe. "That's why I need the paper shield." The lawyer.

--

Louis rubs at his face. Just a nice, slow, full facepalm rub, that coincidentally conceals his expression until he can say, calmly, "I think I can teach you a couple of things. I think I can at least do better than an internet tutorial on sandwiches." He smiles. "And what are you going to offer in return, young man? Other than a promise to learn about the basic food groups and the body's required nutritional intakes."

The rest gets slowly raised eyebrows from the Spring changeling, and the scent of flowers intensifies around him. "All right. You have the lawyer's name. You can contact her and see if she can help. If she can't, I can get you a mortal lawyer who will not care if you are guilty or not, but not one that you can mention the other details around."

--

Since Tris is asking for mundane favors in cooking lessons, it's only reasonable that the man replies with a mundane offer of services. "Free publicity photos for Salome. For use at your discretion on any advertising you'd like, or to submit to the newspapers as it pleases you. "I'll give you photography at special events for the same number of lessons you provide me." It sounds fair to Tris, anyway. "Unless there's something else you'd rather?

"I'll look the lawyer up." Hopefully he will do that before the police actually get to him so he needn't soil his soft hands with a public defender, not that Tris-of-New-York-City and his antics as a trust fund baby there isn't familiar with this process through rite of long experience.

--

"Already hired a guy. Marshall Scott. Mortal, kind of funny. Might be a mass murderer. You should meet each other - I think you'd get along." The worst part is, Louis sounds pleased as punch about all of that. He likes people! "And if the police harass you, I can probably remove them from your back unless they have solid evidence. That /will/ cost you, though," he says. As for what he wants, he hums to himself, "All right. You up to doing some conflict resolution? Seems a couple of Lost got into a bit of a /tiff/ in Salome when I wasn't here. I'm not asking you to be a bouncer, but can you promise to try and separate and remove any Lost you see when you happen to be here, who are starting to cause a violent disruption?"

--

"I bet mine are better," Tris must assert it even if it doesn't prove true. But he's not going to fight over a job he didn't really want to begin with. "I'll bear that in mind," about the police. "It sounds useful if things get beyond the usual means." The rest, however...

Tris frowns slightly. "I'm... not sure I'd actually be effective. I would try, Louis. I'd probably try even if you weren't asking, but I tend to escalate conflict, not deescalate." For all that Tris' lean muscles on his abdomen are still in plain view, he's not excessively strong looking. At least he's honest about it, not that that helps him strike a deal (but he's terrible at this, generally, so no surprise there).

"You don't need my money, you don't need my photography, unless you want me to make up some kind of photobook for the club to be purchased by your diehard patrons, you don't need my skills of investigation and I doubt I have any contacts you don't already have that you'd want." Necessarily. "Maybe I'll have to come back to you when I have something else to offer, or one of your hires doesn't pan out." That last gets a smirk because he's not always nice.

--

"They probably are," Louis agrees, easily. "The young man doesn't actually have any experience. But he wants it, and someone should give him a chance. I'm hopeful he'll be useful later." He watches Tris for a long moment. "It's your choice, Tris. I don't actually care about /stopping/ anyone from fighting. I assume they're having fun, and why would I want to ruin that? I would just rather they do it on the street and not in my bar. So picking them up and tossing them out the door would be fine by me. But if you can't, you can't."

He stands and goes to retrieve his drink. "Sure you don't want something stronger than soda?" A smile, more into the glass than at Tris. "And yes, that's why I ask for favors, generally. Because there might be a moment when I need a photographer, and I'm always going to go to someone who owes me over calling random people who might just frustrate me with refusals. I can trust a debt. I can't trust someone's random goodwill."

Maybe Tris isn't the only one with trust issues, even if Louis structures his differently. He returns to sit near the other man. "Or you can find something you think I might be able to use, and offer it. I'm good with either."

--

"Herding them out I can try to do. I'd rather fight outdoors anyway." So fighting isn't off the table for the Beast, but not, perhaps, his best use. "Picking them up might be doable, depending on how unmovable they prove to be." Tris continues to consider. "I can try. I'm willing to try, if you can take a 'try.'" He glances down at the gauze, his eyes lingering, "Or I could owe you this." He gestures at his side. "I don't like owing, but that's defined. As long as it won't cause me deadly harm to do it, I could owe you healing." By apparently taking the wounds onto himself, to some degree. If Louis wants a debt, this seems to be the one Tris is offering.

"My therapist says we can usually trust our friends, especially when our interests and goals align with theirs." So his therapist isn't the useless kind that speaks in broad, overly-optimistic platitudes. "Try calling me sometime when I don't owe you. See what happens. Don't ask me for something dumb though. Not that you would, but people--" He waves a hand in the air. People do.

--

"I don't mind try," Louis says, with a smile. Although the mention of the healing Contract makes him visibly perk up. "But that? That would be more directly useful. So, I'll take it, if you're willing to give it." He sits back. "And I don't call people for favors unless I have a strong working relationship with them. I'm willing to do it - but generally not with people who aren't willing to owe me somewhere along the line, themselves. Exchange. Mutually beneficial trades. That's what I trust, when it comes down to it. I don't like people giving me things. It usually just means that they aren't willing to disclose the terms. I can trust a debt, in either direction, but gratitude?" He shakes his head. "Gratitude and five dollars will buy you a Starbucks."

--

"Not everything is a favor, or a deal. Among friends, I'm told sometimes people just help." Tris is probably still experimenting with this idea himself. "You know I don't mind trades," straight trades - this-for-that, "I just don't like..." He sniffs, trying to find the right word, "Being controlled." Close enough. "I can owe that. I'd rather it be used when it's needed anyway, and it's not the kind of thing a person can predict. "I'd want to keep you alive, even if you weren't going to teach me to cook something worth eating." He flashes a smile at the fixer.

--

"Everything is a deal. Some are just explicit, while others are implicit. Even friendship is an exchange of affection - would you consider someone a friend if they took and never gave, if you liked them but they didn't like you in return?" Louis shrugs, and smiles. "It's better to have these things spoken, I think. That way everyone knows that they're getting value for value, and no one is taken advantage of." He leans forward, and offers his hands. "That sounds like a good deal. I'll teach you to make a couple of basic meals, /and/ several basic cooking techniques and knowledge of ingredients that you can use to follow recipes from there. And if I need healing for myself or someone else, on one occasion, provided that the wound isn't such that it would risk your life to heal, you'll come?"

--

Tris' eyes settle on Louis and his look is... heavy. There's no other word for it. "I loved a friend who took and never gave." Guess what the nature of that friend was. Given the bitterness in the scarred man's tone, it's quite transparent really: his Keeper. "Be careful those gifts of spirit that came home with us," he recommends, but quietly. "They're as real as any scars we wear and sometimes much more deadly." And painful, but they don't need to go there.

"I'll come. I can't heal everything, you should know that. But I'll do what I can, if I'm near enough to come in time, I'll come." So if he's, say, back in New York, that's probably a no-go, but it wouldn't be a useful agreement without that caveat anyway, since he couldn't anyway and then he'd just be a sealbraker for nothing. And then, he holds up a finger of the hand not pressing on the wound, "If you ask me to heal someone who's harmed me or mine, I won't do it." See? All things clear and up front, if potentially less useful than it may initially have been had it been unconditional.

--

"And we must never become like that," Louis says, simply. "Not in servitude, and not in becoming takers ourselves. So I make sure that the terms are known." He listens to the caveat, and says, "Done. All reasonable provisions." He extends a hand. "Shall we shake on it, then? It's a good deal, I think."

--

Tris offers his hand over to Louis, this one with a Band-Aid on the heel of his hand. Evidently, he's been accident prone today. "I'd rather give, but it would be nice if it weren't a choice." There might be some wistfulness in the man's tone, but then, that's the dream isn't it? For some. Maybe for Tris.

--

Louis' usual firm shake is gentled a bit in deference to that Band-Aid. There's a raised eyebrow as he sees it, but he doesn't ask questions. Instead, he takes a look at his phone. "The doctor should be here in a few moments. He's good, discreet, but not in the know, so if there's anything else you vitally need to ask or say, you should probably do it before he arrives."

--

"I think we've about covered all the immediate concerns," Tris replies, his tone turning wry and his grin reappearing. Blood does tend to be the most immediate type of concern. "I hope we'll be able to catchup more generally at a later time. I'd like to hear about things here," he gestures to the club and probably means Louis more generally, too. "Maybe even discuss whatever there is to be discussed about the formation of a freehold, but... Maybe save that for when I'm not distracted." With pain, even if the wound is not great.

--

Louis makes a thoughtful sound. "Good. I don't like to leave things hanging if I don't have to." There's a cheerful bob of his head at the rest. "Of course, of course. And Sundays, the club is closed, so I could give you lessons in your kitchen or the club's. I go to Church in the mornings, so it would have to be afternoon or evening, but I endeavor to be flexible to my clients' needs." He grins. "But in the meantime, lay down, try not to think, and I'll go greet our good doctor at the door. Afterwards, you can lay down here as long as you need. No charge - all part of the service." He winks, then, and stands up.

--

The last makes Tris laugh. Really, it's a good sound to hear when the lives of Changelings are often fraught with such horror; Tris' laugh isn't even one of those that's meant to terrify. It's the sound of a small joy being taken in good humor. "Sundays," he nods acquiescence. "Probably here. I don't even know what my kitchen has, but Jules taught me to do dishes on Thanksgiving." It would be funnier if he weren't serious, but maybe it'll give Louis a laugh later, in one of those moments when an absurd-but-true remark floats through the mind and prompts some levity. "Thanks, Louis." He offers with a genuine smile of appreciation, for all that he's paying for this.

--

"You didn't know how to--" Louis takes a deeep breath. "Nevermind. I don't need to know. And it will impact my serenity to know too much. Lay down, rest, don't frighten the doctor." With that, he heads towards the door. He stops at the thanks, and the smile. Returns the latter with one of his own, warm and bright. "You're very welcome, Tris." And then he's gone, back into the chaos of the club, to steer the doctor to the room when he arrives.