Counteroffers
Roleplaying Log: Counteroffers
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Luke, Foggy, and Matt discuss next steps in their negotiations with SHIELD. Immediately follows Devil's in the Details.

Other Characters Referenced: Peggy Carter
IC Date: March 13, 2019
IC Location: Nelson & Murdock
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Mar 2019 00:49
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

As soon as Peggy leaves the office, Luke drops his big bald dome into the wide expanse of his hands, cradling it as if plagued by a sudden headache. For Matt, the movement is likely indicated by the sudden muffling of his voice. "I don't know if I can do this, guys. Spy works, lying, morally grey area? Not to mention giving SHIELD access to the bar and building, and the last thing I need are a bunch of eyes on my friends who I'm trying protect in the first place. When she asked you guys to leave the room, she told me SHIELD is expecting major trouble. I'm all about helping, but somehow I feel like I'm selling my soul just to clear my name."

—-

When she's gone, Matt abandons that professional posture and instead allows himself a boneless slouch. He takes off his glasses and rubs at his face with one calloused hand. He looks tired.

Cage's words don't seem to surprise him, perhaps because he could sense some of that internal struggle before the bigger man ever gave it full voice.

"What, you thought James Bond just sipped martinis all day?" he asks. It's a rib, but a gentle one as they go. More seriously: "I hear you. And if this is too much, fine. But let's be clear about the choice. It isn't between you lying for the government and not lying. It's a choice between you lying for the government and lying to the government, in a way that your enemies — including Fisk and this old friend of yours — could use to take you away from us. From Jess. Registering as Luke Cage means that even if we eventually clear the name of Carl Lucas, you'll always have a Sword of Damocles hanging right over your head."

—-

Foggy sets down his pen carefully on the yellow notebook paper, letting it nestle into the top binding edge. He takes a breath, scratching up through his hair that has gotten a bit too long and shaggy. He glances slightly between Luke and Matt before he speaks to the former. "Matt's right. There's no clear way out of this for now, but Carter is giving you a path. It isn't ideal." He looks down, tapping slightly at his notebook. "So… maybe we put an expiration date on this whole deal… one year. SHIELD gets you for one year, and then that's it." He looks to Matt and Luke now. "You can help SHIELD, but they release you from obligations with a cleared name."

—-

"I could always go back to the original plan and turn myself in." Talk about not ideal as Luke's weary eyes travel between Foggy and his blind counterpart, knowing each man can sense the weight of the gaze in their own way. "Face the music as it were. Then we can argue my case in front of the court, and maybe they'll give me time served anyways. I'd still be a felon, but at least then my debt would be paid. But even if it's something you think you could win, it still puts a lot of pressure on your firm when you're already on the forefront of fighting Registration and I doubt my story is something you could use in support of that cause."

—-

Matt nods faintly in Foggy's direction when his partner says there needs to be a time limit on Luke Cage's service. Complete agreement: this needs to be a job, not some period of indefinite indentured servitude. And speaking of a job: "OK, let's take a step back," Matt says to Luke. "You're uncomfortable with lying, spying on your place of work, and all the rest. That makes complete sense. But from my read on our conversation with Carter, we opened up that door by asking for field work instead of a desk job."

The dark-haired lawyer spreads his hands, shrugs his shoulders. "I know you said pushing paper seemed like a fate worse than death, Luke, but if it's just a year or two? Can't you be Luke Cage, SHIELD office worker by day, and bartender and Hero of Harlem by night?"

To the rest? To Luke turning himself in, Matt gives an eloquent wince. "We could try," he says. "But there are no guarantees."

—-

"I would advise against that," Foggy replies to Luke. His tone has taken on that only just humored tone — a mask to the seriousness that lies just beneath. Then he leans forward, rubbing a hand through his hair with a deep sigh. He looks up at Matt when he suggests that they take a step back, and he leans back in his chair to hear what Matt has to say. He listens with a slight nod of his chin, and he glances to Luke. "Matt's idea isn't a bad one, Luke… besides, I push paper all day. Let's not start throwing around insults about jobs." His smile is quick and soft, and then he leans back over his pad of paper. "I think that Carter is giving you something, and it would give us more time to actually find a better solution."

—-

Luke gives a long exhale and his head goes from a bow to being thrown back to address the ceiling. "No offense." Gets rumbled to Foggy as he reminds Cage that the type of job he put down is precisely the one that Nelson has. "Alright, how about this. They stick me in the back someplace. I'll file papers or clean weapons or…whatever. We put a time limit on it. I also want it known I won't take orders to apply lethal force and I'll do a tracker rather than any other kind of surveillance that can get anyone else in trouble. How does that sound?"

—-

Matt cracks a slight, wry smile when Foggy notes that he pushes paper all day. "You're a hero in my book, Fog," he says dryly, before turning his attention back to Luke and his proposed counter-offer for Agent Carter.

"I bet we can swing that," he tells his client. "Besides, if they really stick you in a back-room office in the Triskelion, they can't really expect you to do too much killing." There's a beat, a tap of the man's forefinger against his now cold cup of coffee. "I know this isn't ideal, Luke. We're just — trying to give you the best options we can in a bad situation with a ticking clock."

—-

"Damn straight," is all Foggy says. Then he's looking more seriously to Luke. "I think we can give that a try… worst case scenario, we put a limited number of missions SHIELD can tap you for. If they're going to need your help, they can make sure that they make those times count." He looks toward Matt, and starts to nod a sober nod in agreement. "No deal is perfect… but this would give us a chance to get you some breathing room so we can really tackle this Carl Lucas thing."

—-

"You don't need to do that Matt. You always making it sound like you're taking the weight of the responsibility on you. This is all on me, I got myself into this mess and you all are doing your best to shovel me out." Luke's hands lightly slap the table, like a gavel smacking a judge's desk. "Alright. Give her the counter offer. I'm with Foggy, if it gives me and Jess a little space to to figure out who did this to me in the first place, then that's precious time we wouldn't have otherwise. And I can plan a wedding."

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