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Snips & Scraps

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Your name is Spades Slick.

 

There's really not much else to say.

 


 

Okay, so your name used to be Scurrilous Straggler, but that was a long time ago. You've moved on. That's the old you. If someone were to call you up looking for poor old Scurrilous, you'd pick up that phone and tell 'em to move along, cause that guy's dead.

 


 

And while we're being totally honest, you were once called Jack Noir. But don't worry. That probably won't come up at all.

 


 

“Jaaaack,” Says the worst person on the entire planet, who you have had intimate fantasies of dismembering, “What a surprise! So good to see you...”

 

“Is that supposed to be funny?” You snarl up at her, “What, cause you took my eye?”

 

The ex-sovereign formerly known as Black Queen smirks. “...you know, I hadn't even considered that. I had hoped you could have moved past that little mishap by now.” She examines her nails, like you're boring her. Then adds, mild as a lamb, “I certainly have.”

 

MY EYE-” You start, but Droog shoulders in front of you, cutting you off. You smack your hand into his back and he doesn't even so much as blink.

 

“Good evening,” He says. He might even mean it. Like this is some kinda get-together between friends, as opposed to a meeting of the underground kingpins of the new world. Which is what it actually is.

 

“Ah, Dignitary.” She smiles, extending her hand. Droog kisses it, like a fucking sap. “Pleasure to see you again.”

 

“Diamonds Droog, now.” He replies. “And this is Spades Slick.” He motions to you, as if you'd just shown up now, and that whole thing he walked into hadn't happened. Sometimes, you hate him so much.

 

Spades Slick,” She repeats, “Is that who you are?”

 

You sneer at her. “Yeah, and don't you forget it.”

 

“And you?” Droog asks, ignoring you again.

 

She sighs, “Sn0wman, I'm afraid. Pleasure to renew your acquaintance.”

 

“Likewise.” Droog turns back to you, “May I speak with you, a moment.”

 

It isn't a question, and he doesn't wait for an answer. He just takes you by the elbow and drags you away. Sn0wman waves you goodbye and turns to speak to a green man with the physique of a perfect triangle and a stupid red triangle hat to match. She's laughing. She's laughing at you. She's laughing at you, with that guy.

 

You hate her. You hate her so fucking much. It feels like it's all you could ever need, just hating her, forever.

 

But you hate that guy even more.

 

“What the hell were you thinking?” Diamonds Droog asks you, once you're across the room. “No, pardon me, wrong question. Have you ever once had a thought in your entire life?”

 

“Don't you fuckin speak to me like that,” You snarl, “I had it under control-”

 

“Under control.” Droog repeats.

 

You meet him dead in the eyes.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Bullshit.”

 

“Bullshit! You're bullshit! This whole fuckin thing is bullshit! I don't need this,” You're already heading towards the door, “-and I sure as hell don't need you!”

 

Gentlemen,” schmoozes a voice you've definitely heard somewhere before, “You must be Spades Slick. And Diamonds Droog, of course. I've heard so much about you. So good to have you back in the city.”

 

The voice belongs to a man in a white suit. He might be whiter than the suit. The most colorful thing about him is his green bow tie, and it's such a sickening neon green against his terrifyingly pale skin that it seems to be glowing. You've never seen a Prospitian that white before.

 

“I don't believe we've met.” Diamonds Droog replies, accepting the man's extended hand.

 

“Ships in the night, I'm afraid.” The man says, as if that's even an answer. Droog seems to think it is. He nods, as the new guy says, “It's Doc Scratch. Pleasure to meet you, Spades Slick.”

 

“'Scratch'?” You repeat, “The hell kind of a name is 'Scratch'?”

 

He smiles. Something in you itches. “...it was a gift, from a dear friend. If you'll excuse me...” He moves past you, then stops just behind you before adding, “I have other guests to greet. Perhaps we'll have more time to chat later, after the meeting.”

 

You wait until he's joined the crowd before you growl to Diamonds Droog, “...that guy gives me the creeps.”

 

Diamonds Droog is still watching the crowd. “Hmm.”

 

“What? What're you staring at?” You follow his line of sight and find...

 

Clover, doing some kind of weird dance at Clubs Deuce.

 

“This place is a freakshow.” You growl.

 

“Then you should fit right in,” Diamonds Droog says, prim as any court lady.

 

You go to start yelling at him but he just waves you away. “Try not to start a fight while I'm gone,” he says, and then just like that, he's left you again.

 

The party expands around you like you've got some sort of disease. You can feel the heat of everyone's eyes on the back of your neck. You stand there like an absolute chump for precisely two seconds.

 

Fuck this. You think. I need a drink.

 

And like a miracle, there's Hearts Boxcars, whiskey in hand. You swipe the glass from him and he just grins like a big dumb idiot.

 

"Having fun, boss?" He asks, and you give him a lazy sneer. You're not even going to waste your energy on such a dumb fucking question.

 

"That's a dumb fucking question."

 

He laughs, and it prickles between your shoulders. But he smiles at you like you're in on the joke and he says, "Yeah, tell me about it."

 

You drink and try to relax. It's going to be a long fucking night, even without you picking fights with your own crew.