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Jack Sparrow ([personal profile] notjackkerouac) wrote2008-10-16 01:57 am

In Which a Meeting for the Ages Occurs

The thing about England -- about Europe in general, in fact -- is that its public buildings have yet to develop an appreciation for air conditioning. Beads of sweat have started to gather on the back of Jack's neck as he slumps on a bench in the entrance hall of the King's College law library. June in London isn't anywhere near as humid as June in Thailand but the combination of boredom and lack of a breeze has begun to take its tole. Mister James L. Norrington, soon-to-be Esquire (information curtesy of a quick Google search in a cafe earlier this morning) seems to have a habit of taking his sweet time. Jack sighs and tries counting the tiles on the ceiling.

The other thing about England is that it doesn't install sofeted pannels in its ceilings. The archway stretches at least two stories high, done up in posh cheery wood with gilden trim, free of anything to count. Jack tilts his head and tries to imagine a mosaic up there, maybe someone like Cromwell in one of those horrible, hilarious wigs banging down the gavel of enternity on the Irish.

Jack would be the Irish in this analogy. Despite that, technically, he's as English as Cromwell was. Technicalities, Jack's always thought, are highly over-rated.

Even if a technicality is what will keep his arse out of jail for the rest of the month. Three days and a fine isn't a bad trade for keeping the Pearl safe. Landing in St. James Park was better than crashing into Big Ben, after all, and it's not like Jack could help the fact she was leaking oil all the way from Salzburg. Not in mid-air, at least.

In his hand, Jack holds a crumpled piece of paper with the name of the officer he's meant to turn himself into in a week's time. He could call now, introduce himself, try to arrange that week into two and those two weeks into never, but the only things he has in his pocket is €1, cigarettes, and some lint. There doesn't seem to be a phone booth around here anyway.

Court is really, really boring. Jack puffs at his fringe and then pulls himself up to smoke a fag outside. At least it will give him something to do with his fingers.

As he stands patting down his pockets (there are eight of them, when considering his socks sometimes serve as good storage space), a door down the hall swings open and the sound of very smart shoes come clipping down the hall.

James L. Norrington, soon-to-be Esq. looks entirely different than he did in the makeshirt courts. Without the robes and the wig (horrible, hilarious), attention can actually be focused on the strong line of his jaw, the broadness of his shoulders, the colour of his purse. (Bag.) Jack thinks the hue might be termed fawn. He wonders if Mister Norrington calls it that.

Tucking the filter of the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, Jack ruffles up his hair and walks to intercept his prey.

"You take a bloody long time to un-doff a wig, mate," Jack says when he gets within hearing distance. He holds out a hand, conviently blocking James L. from continuing on his merry little way. "Don't think we got a chance to be properly introduced."

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 08:52 am (UTC)(link)
'Indeed,' James mutters, the word sardonic and amused. 'You often find your plane incapacitated whilst flying over... Salzburg, was it? I can imagine that would lead to, hmm, experience with such troubles.'

He knows perfectly well what Jack means by 'experience,' of course. You don't run a criminal trial without checking the background of the defendant, after all, and Jack's criminal record was in the system along with everybody else's- some theft, counts of drunk and disorderly conduct, and- rather bizarrely- masquerading as an Anglican priest. Frankly, though, it's not any of James's business to pry outside of the courtroom. And it's not as if he's never broken the law himself.

He takes the cigarette when Jack passes it, lifting it to his lips and tipping his head back to exhale a long stream of smoke. One eyebrow lifts into his fringe at the question, and he takes another quick drag before passing the fag back.

'I rather doubt most arsonists are the victims of spontaneous whim, if that's what you're asking.' He doesn't answer Jack's other question, but instead turns an amused and slightly dubious expression on him. 'Been doing your research, I see.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 09:05 am (UTC)(link)
"Why do it, if not spontaneously?" Jack asks and flings out an arm. Because there's not really a point to planning it out, is there? Why do something that will get you caught? That's not the point of it at all. It's only excusable for lack of foresight, which isn't something Jack exactly lacks; it just seems more of an adventure to let things go unplanned.

Well. For the most part. He nicks the cigarette back and turns his face away as he takes a drag. "Not to say there's not wisdom in not walking in blind when you can help it." There's a hole in the toe of his boot. Jack wiggles a orange toe through it. "Fair's far, after all. You got my record so I got yours."

Which really wasn't much of a record at all, apart from long names of various educational institutions and a poorly-focused photgraph of fifteen men kitted out in robes and wigs in front of presitgious looking building. Jack's record is much more colourful, on the other hand, especially if James got a hold of his sheet from Louisiana.

"Couldn't find anything, though, about a personal drinking habits. Tea or coffee? Or neither. Could like water, I suppose, since you're not one of them."

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 09:18 am (UTC)(link)
'I couldn't say,' he drawls, eying Jack's expansive gesture with a little purse of the lips

His answer following the comment about arsonists that James would frankly rather not look into, though- that's got a certain logic to it. Still doesn't stop it being strange that Jack went and Googled his prosecutor. It's not as if there'd be anything much to Google, after all; he's still just a student, no matter what a good one he might be. James can't help but wonder if this was before or after the trial, when Jack had apparently decided that trying to pick him up would be a good idea.

Still thinks it is a good idea, judging from the line that comes next. James offers a small, slightly rueful smile as he nabs the cigarette from Jack's fingers. 'Tea,' he says, 'but I hardly think it's really appropriate for me to see a defendant outside of a purely... professional context.'

And maybe, yeah, professional isn't exactly the right word, but the point still stands. For him to go out on a date with the man he just gave three days in jail and fined 3,000 pounds would, besides being highly inappropriate, be frankly rather ridiculous.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 09:33 am (UTC)(link)
Jack was expecting a "no". Maybe a shorter "no" but then law's never really been something where people keep it sweet and simple. But still. James hasn't tried to vacate Jack's company yet and that's promising. After all, he wasn't expecting the idea to go over too well, at first.

Thankfully, Jack has studied well in the art of persistence. "Not a defendant anymore, am I? Just a bloke on the street. Steps. Lawn type area... thing." He looks about their surroundings curiously, trying to find a better way to phrase that. There might not be one. So he looks back at James instead. "And I didn't ask you to anything yet. No sense in being presumptuous. I might just be inquiring about drinking habits for the sake of it. For a poll. Government thing."

Because technically, that's true. Even though Jack doesn't put a lot of stock in technicalities. He can't seem to help it, though, teasing. The thing he finds interesting about James is the way he can keep up with Jack's particular brand of logic. He didn't let Jack get away with it in the courts, even when Jack made a few good points -- if you squinted and turned your head sideways. They were still... good. Decent. Solidily shaky points.

He takes the cigarette straight from James' lips and smiles at him innocently.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 09:43 am (UTC)(link)
Jack even goes so far as to allow his fingertips to brush against James's lips as he steals the cigarette back, and James can't help his little chuff of laughter at that. Persistent and skilled, it seems. If James was a lesser man, he might entertain relenting and going out for a tea... coffee... water with him.

But as it is, he's not. And enticing thought the prospect is, it really wouldn't be cricket. Besides, he hasn't a clue who Jack is, other than his criminal record, and all things considered, that probably isn't the best of places to start.

'You've got that court paper; as far as I'm concerned, you're a defendant. Sorry, but that's the way it is.'

He can't resist a dig at Jack's comment, though, and his mouth pulls itself over to one side of his face. 'And if you were to say you were conducting a government poll thing, I'd have to ask what sort of government would employ you.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 09:59 am (UTC)(link)
This is fun.

"The French," Jack says without pause and as sincerely as possible. Which is fairly bloody convincing.

James L., it turns out, has a nice, if a bit sloppy, smile. Jack would dearly love to see it again, perhaps offer it closer inspection, perhaps with his mouth next time. Defendant status and professional... whatever aside, Jack is not ready to give up on this game. James gives as good as Jack, and that's a rare quality to find in a man. The only other one that keeps up on Jack's wavelength is Hector in Accounting. And he's just mean about it.

Jack takes the last drag off the cigarette before ripping off the cherry and pocketing the filter in his jeans. He pulls out his crumpled piece of phone number. "I could lose the paper. It could just fly away with the wind." He flutters the paper in a mimicry but doesn't actually let go. It'll be his head if he loses it, or more likely his future date with James. Drinks are hard to be had sitting in a cell for thirty days.

A change in tactics is needed. Jack edges closer into James' personal space, going so far as to lean close to his ear to better whisper to him. "What if I make you a deal. We go have drinks, little stronger than just tea -- " and Jack gives a little eye roll at that " -- and I'll... go break a window in a house, or something. That way I get my time and you can give your sound and comforting legal advice. Square enough?"
Edited 2008-10-16 10:02 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 10:22 am (UTC)(link)
James's laugh at the alacrity of Jack's response turns into a slightly warning look as he flutters the paper dangerously in the wind. He's sure he has no intention of actually letting it go- that would be foolish enough, even without James standing right there- but he can't really help himself.

He tenses slightly when Jack leans into his personal space, breathing against his ear, leaning back just a little, so that the two of them form an awkward curve. But once again, the words make him laugh. It's rare, really; not that James is a sour person, not by any means, it just takes quite a bit to make him laugh aloud. Generally, he restricts himself to eyebrow raises and dry chuckles.

It's clear what his response is intended to be, but somehow, he doesn't really mind giving it. For all he's known him for only a few hours- and most of those spent in a courtroom- Jack seems to be something different. And James never could resist a puzzle. He places a few delicate fingers on Jack's chest, shoving him lightly out of James's personal bubble.

'What if I make you a deal? We go have drinks- just this once- and you don't break any windows at all. Makes things easier for the both of us.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 10:37 am (UTC)(link)
If a James L. smile is nice, a laugh is something else all together. Better than "nice". A little less than "fantastic", but makes up for it by adding some "deep, rich, full-bodied" into the equation. It's always an interesting experiment to see what Jack can get from people, if they laugh at him or with him or stare with mounting confusion at his slips in thought. Jack bites at his lip to hold back another grin and grabs James' fingers when they prod at his chest.

"Even better. Hard to convince you for more drinks if I'm serving two sentences."

He makes a show of inspecting James' nails, nice and neat and clean for a student, and brushes his thumb over the knuckles once or twice, just for the sake of it before James takes his hand away. Jack flounders a moment for what to do with his free limbs before hooking his fingers through a belt loop.

"There's a restaurant down the High Street. Play live music Thursday nights. Eight o'clock all right by you?"

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 10:51 am (UTC)(link)
The way Jack holds his hand, raising it to inspect, brushing his thumb across the skin, is as odd and unexpected as the rest of him, and James humours him for a moment or two before withdrawing his hand, tugging at the strap of his bag. Jack's fingers, he can't help but notice, look as though they were designed to be as unalike his as possible. They're tanned, like the rest of him, bedecked in rings, and the nails bear the chipped remnants of nail polish.

James knows the place Jack's referring to- or at least, he's fairly sure he does- and this time, he fishes for a pen in his bag. When he does come up with one, he scribbles the relevant information on his hand, muttering aloud as he does so.

'High Street... eight... o'clock.' He looks up, giving Jack a polite smile. 'Sounds most agreeable. I look forward to it.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 11:08 am (UTC)(link)
Jack watches with interest as James writes across the back of his hand, as if in six hours' time he's likely to forget those two relevant pieces of information. Too many laws crammed in his head, probably. Jack plucks the pen out of James' hand and adds an adendum to the note in his own looping, disjointed cursive.

"Must. Wear. Something. Flash." He underlines flash twice and then turns James' hand over for a quick kiss to the inside of his palm, folding his fingers over as if it's a physical gift for James to keep.

He returns the smile with one of his own, less polite and more excited. Or leering. One of the two. And then does a little mock bow. "Pleasure to meet you, James Norrington. Tonight, you're going to need to tell me what the L stands for."

Jack gives a little wave and then fishes another cigarette out of his pocket. He'll find someone on the street to ask for a light and maybe beg off a bite to eat before he gets himself dressed for tonight.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 11:32 am (UTC)(link)
The tip of the pen digs into his skin with every loop of Jack's handwriting, and James bites the corner of his lip, half in faint discomfort, half in amusement. Given the way Jack's dressed, James isn't entirely sure anything he owns qualifies as 'flash.' But he certainly knows how to dress himself up should the situation require it; there's no doubt about that.

'Flash,' he affirms, smirking around the syllables, 'I'll keep that in mind.'

The little kiss to the tender skin of his palm, and the leer that follows might have had him blushing if he was the sort of man who blushed. Fortunately for him, however, he isn't even remotely close to that sort of man, so he merely chuckles, curling his fingers away from Jack's.

'We'll see,' he says, inclining his head towards Jack in his own approximation of a bow as the other man sets off down the street. James shakes his head bemusedly, gazing after him for a moment or two. He hadn't noticed it before, not when he was walking besides James, but his gait is a curious swaying, swaggering thing, as if his entire, dubious balance centres around his hips. It draws a certain amount of attention to his arse, at least from this angle, and James has to admit, from what he can see of it, it is an eminently fine arse. He chuckles to himself, turning around to head back to his own flat, the faintest hint of a swagger in his own step.

He arrives at the restaurant in question at eight o'clock sharp. It's a nice place, classy but casual, lots of black around small, round tables of polished wood. Up on a low stage there's a man and a woman performing; the man singing harmonies to the woman's breathy alto, the woman with an acoustic guitar slung 'round her shoulders. Good music, if fairly predictable for this sort of venue. James, for his part, is dressed in what he hopes qualifies as flash; a black button up shirt tucked into nice jeans all fairly plain, but the sportcoat he's got on over the shirt is burgundy velvet. Slightly ostentatious, but beautifully cut.

He can't find Jack anywhere in the place, so he takes a seat in a corner booth, the cushions black leather, and orders himself a glass of red wine. Hopefully, he won't have long to wait.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 11:57 am (UTC)(link)
Somehow, "a bite to eat" managed to become a full knock-out buffet with Gibbs, sitting on a stool in his kitchen spinning stories about Thailand and the Pearl and Jack running from angry villiagers. Gibbs keeps him stocked in knowing hums and free beer until Jack's out of story to tell and a little bit drunk.

The clock on Gibbs' wall, which is the face Felix the Cat, a present Jack bestowed on him one Christmas after finding it in a pawn shop in the south of France for a good price, catches the time and Jack off guard when he looks at it next. Felix's whiskers say quarter past seven, which can't be right, because Jack was meant to leave at least by six-thirty.

"Bugger," he says and sets down the dish of applesauce. (Gibbs had told him it was from Hector in Accounting and Jack passed the double pint mark before he was convinced that it wasn't poisoned.) "Bugger, bugger, bugger. I'm going to be late."

Gibbs had sprawled out on his sofa a while ago and seemed half-asleep, unable to pay attention. Or drunk. Or both. Jack side-steps him, pocketing his keys to lock up, and hops the tube to Camden. By the time he budges open the door to his flat and leaps over furniture in search of clean clothes, the sun has set.

Bugger. This is not good. James seems not the type willing to wait long, punctual probably, and chances are annoyed when Jack went out of his way to ask him out. Jack finds a white shirt and an embroidered tweed waistcoat and fits it all together with a fedora. He adds a bit of eye-liner for evening and then hurdles the sofa and what he thinks at one point was a television back in 1956 to bolt out the door.

James is visible through the window, the back of his head looking rather nice and not angry, but Jack doesn't trust the front to be the same. Full smile in place, he tucks into the restaurant and slips past the maitre d to join James in the corner.

"Takes longer than you think to get a cab back from Northaw," Jack lies smoothly. He eyes James' blazer. "And good to see you took 'flash' to heart."

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 12:08 pm (UTC)(link)
It's fifteen, maybe twenty minutes before Jack shows up, and- James has to admit- he's beginning to think that maybe he isn't going to show at all. The thought stings a little, and he's more relieved than he'd care to admit when he sees someone with that distinctive swagger make their way through the door.

He smirks when Jack slides onto the bench next to him. 'No need for lies,' he says mildly. He's not particularly irritated, not now that Jack is here, but there's no need to let him off the hook without any sort of sting. 'Life happens, people are late.'

'And I'm not the only one,' he continues, lifting his glass in indication of Jack's clothes. Very... bohemian chic, perhaps? Would that be the term for it? James doesn't really know. But it's a good look for Jack, regardless of what it's called. The eyeliner especially, rather to his surprised; it makes his already handsome face look almost fey, and James lets his eyes linger, an approving little once over.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 12:24 pm (UTC)(link)
It's not really a lie, because it is harder than most people think to get a cab back from Northaw. Or harder than Jack thinks, at least, any time he needs to make the trek back to London from fielding the Pearl. But if James isn't upset about it, Jack sees no reason to try to defend himself. Best to leave the whole thing behind them.

His grin turns a bit wicked as James's eyes examine him. Jack far from minds it and even plays it up a bit, tipping his hat higher on his head to stare at James. He cleans up well, he does, and Jack lingers over the small hint of a collar bone beneath the collar of his shirt. Black works well on him, and Jack says as much, resisting the urge lean across the table and part James' shirt for better appreciation.

Of the fabric.

"Didn't want to disappoint," Jack murmurs, smile curling the words into something soft and somehow suggestive. "Shame, though, that you didn't bring the wig. It would go with the black even better." Which is a lie in a way, because James has rather nice hair. Jack likes the ability to see more of it.

A waiter passes and Jack puts in his order for a Black Russian, then stretches out in the booth, boot going up to rest next to James' hip on the seat.

"So the L. I got to admit it, I'm curious, mate. L-names not being so popular these days."

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 12:35 pm (UTC)(link)
'I'll keep that in mind for next time,' James returns dryly when Jack says his wig would go well with the black.

A Black Russian sounds good, and he catches the waiter as he's leaving, ordering one for himself. His glass of wine's long gone, after all, and Friday's his free day; no harm in it.

He gives Jack a somewhat dubious look as he stretches out, feet right up against James's hip and thigh. This is a nice place, after all; a quality establishment. Feet up on the seats isn't exactly the way to go, even if he does rather enjoy the discreet pressure of it up against his leg. He doesn't say anything, but rather lets his glance speak for itself.

The query after his middle name makes him duck his head slightly, biting his lip against a rueful little laugh. 'Nor was this one so popular ever, I shouldn't imagine.' He catches Jack's eye crookedly. 'Lysander,' he admits. 'My parents... they're interesting people.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 12:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Next time sounds promising, though Jack can't tell for sure if James means that as an open possibility or just a deflection of what Jack's presenting. It doesn't matter much, either way, because Jack plans that there will be a next time, whether James knows it now or not. This night, in Jack's estimation, will go very, very well.

James laughs again and the way he shies away gives Jack a skyview of his cheekbones, the long shadows his eyelashes throw across his face. Jack's about prepared to start guessing when James confesses and Jack laughs. "So James L. is really James Lysander? Fancy that. Parents fans of Shakepeare's comedies, then?"

The waiter returns with their drinks and Jack wraps his fingers around the glass, the ice rattling as he lifts it up in a toast. Though he's not quite sure what to say. Finally he settles on, "To love-lorn wanderers and mischeivous fairies" and grins and drinks.

The cold, sharp flavour bites at his tongue and Jack sighs pleasantly at the feeling.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 12:59 pm (UTC)(link)
James cocks his own glass towards Jack's in a small toast, raising it to his lips in a drink. The ice clinks against the rim as he drinks, and he smiles tightly around it as he sets the glass down, enjoying the ice cold burn of the liquor.

'I suppose that would make you Puck?' He muses, cocking an eyebrow at Jack. 'If I'm the lovelorn wanderer in that equation, that must leave one of us to be the mischievous fairy.'

It seems a strangely apt thought, and he shakes his head in a little laugh, spinning his glass against the tabletop.

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 01:16 pm (UTC)(link)
"Not neccessarily. You might be more of a fairy than I am."

Not that Jack has anything against Puck, but it's little interest of him to be some character from Shakespeare, running around at the whim of Oberon. That's unfitting and a little boring.

"Always liked his sonnets better anyway." He watches James fidget with his glass and nudges his hip with a foot, trying to stop the nervous beheaviour. "So rather than love lorn, to be in Shakespeare, who would you pick?"

[identity profile] 2008-10-16 02:11 pm (UTC)(link)
'Oh, I don't know,' James chuckles. 'I've never been what you could call particularly... puckish.'

He manfully resists the urge to comment on the double entendre around the word fairy.

Jack's foot nudges slightly against his hip, and James slides smoothly away, casting the offending boot a look. He gets the message, though, and ceases his fiddling to take another drink. Jack's question is rather a difficult one, now he thinks about it, and he shrugs.

'Well, Shakespearian characters are hardly much suited for real life, are they? The lovers in comedies always end up happily married at the end, but it's never through any doing of their own, and in tragedies...' he gives an affected little grimace. 'Well, they all die in tragedies. Though I suppose I'd rather be a Lysander than a Hamlet or Macbeth. Quite fond of living, you understand.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Jack laughs when James laughs, smiling into the rim of the glass. "Never said you were. Though -- " he gestures with the glass " -- that blazer could be another matter."

He ignores the look, wiggling his foot and chasing after James anyway. James might be right to call Jack Puck. It's certainly better than Hermia, for a start, and there is something far too enjoyable about willfully doing the opposite of whatever James seems to want him to do. He slips his boot once more against James' hip, either giving him the option of dealing with it or falling off the seat entirely.

James makes a fair point, though, and Jack relents a little, lifting his glass to it for another swallow. "Can hardly blame a man for that. Much better to live life like it was a comedy than tragedy, even without Shakespeare."

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 07:49 pm (UTC)(link)
James plucks at the lapels of his blazer, affecting an offended look. 'I beg your pardon. This is a quality blazer, sir; not the least bit... Elton John.' He can't help his smile, though, as he smooths fingers down over the velvet. Maybe it is a little metro. But around Jack, that hardly seems to be a problem.

Falling off his seat doesn't seem to be much of an option, so he just sighs a little as Jack continues to poke at him with his boot. It does kind of feel good, he has to admit, even if it is brazen, given the fact that they hardly know each other at all.

'You certainly seem to,' he comments wryly. And it's true. He's rarely seen someone who seems to play the clown quite as much as Jack, spinning his tales the way he did in court. The get-up, the way he walks; oh, James likes it, no mistake. He wouldn't be out on this date if he didn't. But it's certainly not anything that belongs in a tragedy. It makes James curious, despite himself, to find out more about the rest of him, whatever's underneath the eyeliner and the fedora.

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 08:42 pm (UTC)(link)
"My deepest thousand apologies," Jack says in mock solemnity, folding his hands together. But the smile gives the lie away. He couldn't be sorry if he tried, which he's not, not when James is sitting across from him, looking like that, inviting Jack eyes to stray if they will to follow his hands on his chest. It's hard to resist the temptation to just lean over and touch the velvet himself, part James' shirt a little bit. The table will make that difficult, however, and Jack does know the rules. Besides, it's far more entertaining to edge the boundaries without actually crossing them. James reacts far more interestingly that way.

So Jack contents himself with looking only, shifting his heel just slightly against James' hip and thigh.

He shrugs at the comment. "Why live like you're miserable, eh? Might as well get the most fun that you can, go where you want, take what makes you happy and leave the rest. Would Mr. James Lysander disagree? Not one to run into the woods to be with your beloved?"

It's honest curiousity Jack has for that answer, why it should seemed to be a concept worth remarking on for James. Jack knows he doesn't have the most normal life, never stayed in one place long enough to find one, but he never wanted that. There's far too much out there to see and to do than can be accomplished sitting still.

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 09:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Jack's answer has his pursing his lips, tilting his head back to rest against the plush leather of the bench to regard his curiously across the table. It's a philosophy he can see the logic in, but never one he's lived by. If that were so, he might have run off to Scotland at seventeen for a girl with black hair that fell halfway down her back, might have- on numerous occasions- told his law homework to go fuck itself. But he never did, and so here he is now, on the verge of adding an Esquire to the end of his name, graduating from a very prestigious school and making a proper life for himself. He'd much rather have that than an uncertain summer in love, or a night out with Andrew and Theo instead of in with his books.

It seems much safer to do things the way he does. And he's happy, he just understands that one can't be happy in every moment. There's always a greater happiness to work for; drive and ambition to make it to the next level, and the satisfaction one derives from that.

He doesn't say that, though. No need to give Jack a lecture on their first date, after all, if this even is that. So he shrugs, taking another drink. 'Well, one must bear in mind the consequences of one's actions. No point in taking what makes you happy if you'll have to pay for it the next day.'

That all sounds rather dour for this sort of setting, though, so he lightens his words with a crooked little smile. 'So they'd have to be very deep woods if I was to do any running into them.'

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 09:28 pm (UTC)(link)
The look James is giving him is not one of agreement and Jack waits for an explanation, a debate, some kind of challenge. It's a little disappointing when all James gives him is a shrug.

The reason Jack likes him -- and it's expanding with every smile, every parry to his thrust so to speak -- but the reason he waited that long, painful twenty minutes in the warmth of the library was because James did what very few manage to do and that was to give Jack an excuse to think. Think about what he does, why he does it, argue for it. So much of the time, Jack spends his time doing without stopping and it's something new to take a moment to figure it all out, learn something else.

Jack frowns a bit, narrowing his eyes as he studies James, trying to get a read on the thoughts behind his words. "Would think you'd want people to get themselves in debted to yesterday. You'd be out of a job otherwise if everyone took stock of consequences."

There's a little bit of a challenge in the words but it remains true. If no one broke the law, there'd be no one needed to uphold the law. Which is not the same as what Jack means exactly but he's more interested in what James thinks of it. Why he thinks that way.

"After all," Jack adds, finishing the last of his drink, "consequences are just another way of saying what a man can live with. What a man thinks is worth it. Different for everyone, that."
Edited 2008-10-17 21:30 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2008-10-17 09:41 pm (UTC)(link)
'I suppose that's true,' James says with a little laugh, because it is. As much as the judiciary or the constabulary might talk about eliminating crime, to suppose that that's really what they want in the long term is simply naive. Jack's words have more behind them than just that, though, and James finds himself curious about what exactly that is. If Jack himself is indebted to yesterday, as he put it, if he cares that he is.

Because it's not crime they're talking about, after all, it's just living. James absently watches Jack's Adam's apple bob as he swallows, catching the swift-flicker of his tongue as he licks the taste of vodka from his lips.

'So I suppose,' he murmurs, chasing the edge of a thought, 'the question would then be not how deep the woods are, but what one might be chasing into them.'

He pauses, taking a small sip of his own drink, and mulling his thoughts about. 'Though I think... there are ways to circumvent consequence, if one looks at something the right way. Patience and thought, instead of just flinging oneself headlong into things.'