Rescuing Tigers

fletcher_icon.png rylie_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: Luchas de Apuestas

When: May 30, 2012; Evening

What: Rylie and Zan get around to finding Fletcher and making acquaintances after their Memorial Day run in.

This late in the evening, there are no trainees at Luchas de Apuestas. Even its proprietor is absent, though the doors are unlocked. The only inhabitant of the Mexican wrestling gym is a tall man wearing a white t-shirt, battered jeans, and work boots.

Fletcher hums under his breath as he flits to and fro with a broom in hand. By the time he's swept around the gym's two rings, the rows of boxing bags and tackling dummies, and the long lines of workout equipment, he's collected a respectable pile of dirt and debris. Smudges of dust at the hem of his shirt and across the tip of his nose are telltale marks of how long he's been at his housekeeping tasks.

Still in her business attire from work, Rylie pulls the door to the gym open and lets out a satisfied sound for finding it unlocked. She steps through before turning to hold it open until Zan can join her, too. "Fletcher, wasn't it?" she says, her head tilting to one side. She might have been distracted at the party, but some details filtered in, apparently.

Or maybe Zan filled her in later. Either way.

The door is grasped just above Rylie's hold, Zan appearing a step behind. "Yeah, think so," he answers, a slight frown drawing along his expression as he peers through the interior. Though they'd both been present for Fletcher's introduction, he'd hardly given the man much consideration at all, confirming what few details he could recall when he'd talked with Rylie. His hand remains on the door, slowing its closure so that it doesn't bang shut, turning off his scrutiny of the gym to glance toward the girl with him.

"Eh?" Fletcher glances up from his work at the sound of the door opening and closing. When he identifies the new arrivals, he raises one eyebrow inquisitively, but doesn't look all that surprised to see them.

"You two seem none the worse for wear," he observes, sweeping his pile of dirt into a dustpan, then setting it and his broom aside. "Been wondering when you were gonna show up."

"Tell that to Zan's cheek," Rylie says, although with a crooked smile. "If we could go a couple weeks without him getting a new set of bruises, well. It might be a miracle." She steps deeper in, stepping over toward where the man works.

"That predictable, huh?" She finds herself a stool to pull over and hop up on before she looks over toward Zan, her hand held out toward him.

One corner of Zan's mouth twitches toward a grin, though he shakes his head. His arms fold loosely over his chest as he follows Rylie, once again looking toward the collection of bags and training equipment while passing. A faint crease returning to his brow when he focuses on Fletcher.

"You were expecting us," he asks, with another look toward Rylie. He steps a little closer to her and takes her hand.

"I figured you'd turn up sooner or later with some questions," Fletcher replies. "Better you than the cops."

Hands dirtied by common, mundane tasks are quickly wiped on the seat of his pants. He stuffs them in his pockets and gives a shrug at the mention of Zan's bruised cheek. "Anyway, he'll heal," the old fighter says, a small smile tugging at his lips. "Trust me."

"Yeah, well. I wasn't planning on riding over with the boys in blue." Rylie glances to Zan, then back to Fletcher with a more quizzical look about her. "Some questions. That's one way to put it at least. Who are you?"

Her words flow from one to the next without pause, from discussion to questions without acknowledgement. She might be a little nervous. Maybe. "This is like, underground type stuff, right? Like, mob stuff or something?" Because that is a question people answer.

"Odd as it may sound," Zan adds in, "I'm not about to drag the cops into things." Especially not things that got him out of a mess for once. He glances toward Rylie when she begins firing off questions, giving her hand a small squeeze. He speaks up again when she hits a brief pause, "Feel like I owe you something. That's some luck of timing."

Silent. A long, silent moment passes as Fletcher fixes first Zan, then Rylie with an appraising stare. "Some people call me the Fat Man," he says by way of explanation. "It's what I do. I solve problems."

More silence. Fletcher rolls his broad shoulders. "I'm glad you're okay. I figure you got caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Honestly, it's probably best to try and forget it happened. These guys tend to have long memories and short fuses."

Rylie looks back over at him, not shying away from his sizing up, but not sure what to make of it all the same. "Well… that's rude," she says, as far as his nickname. Whatever reputation he has, she lives in an entirely different circle. Mostly.

"So you're like…" She shifts a bit on the stool, brows furrowing for just a moment. She must not know what he's like, because that particular sentence is abandoned. "Hey, you know, we don't go looking for trouble. Honest." It's meant to be reassuring. "It isn't going to make any for you, is it? Helping Zan out like that."

The crease along Zan's brow deepens, nearing a frown under Fletcher's scrutiny. "Not something you just forget," he points out quietly. He glances toward Rylie again, then angles that gaze back to the older man.

"More trouble? Probably." Fletcher doesn't seem particularly concerned. He crosses his arms over his chest and lets out a long, measured breath. "None of us walked in there looking for trouble, but at least we all walked back out. As difficult as it may be, letting it lie is the smart play. You can trust me on that one." The last bit is said quietly. Wistfully, even.

The girl frowns at his answer, and her arm slips around Zan's waist at the back. For whose comfort that is is hard to say, exactly. "So you don't think they'll come after him again, if we don't file police reports and the like. Right?" From her tone and the way she looks at the older man, she's hoping for a yes there. "You're taking all this in stride. I don't know if I'm impressed or a little frightened," she says with a bit of a laugh.

Zan draws an arm around Rylie's shoulders as he looks down at the floor. Easier said than done to leave well enough alone. "My dad's going to need an explanation. And he might be interested in knowing who you are. Moreso if I tell him what really happened."

For Fletcher, all other conversational avenues come to a halt when he hears the words 'father' and 'explanation.' "No thanks," he responds firmly. "I work pretty hard to stay anonymous. The only reason we're having this conversation right now is because I figured it'd be easier to volunteer than to have you track me down. You two mix me up in this mess with your dad and some wannabe gangsters…" he trails off, but it's clear that the results wouldn't be good for him. "Tell him what you have to, but keep my name out of it. Please."

Rylie looks between the two, frowning at first, but she smiles a little reassuringly as she looks up at Zan. "I'll explain this one to him. I'm not sure he'd buy rogue with a heart of gold here anyway," she says, her arm squeezing him a bit. "And he likes me better." That part seems to be a joke, the way her smile turns crooked.

Once more Zan finds himself frowning, though with his face angled downward it might be a bit difficult to make out. "Yeah," he agrees, almost grudgingly. "Least I can do for your help." He glances toward Rylie at her offer to cover for him, a twitch of a grin showing again, easing off some of his crossness.

It's clear that this is what Fletcher has been waiting to hear since before the two of them ever showed up. He relaxes visibly, tension sloughing from his shoulders and worry lines smoothing from his brow. "Thanks," he says.

A few seconds of fishing around in his hip pocket produce a slightly bent business card. It has a phone number on it, nothing more. "Take this," he offers. "Just in case. But it'd better be an emergency. No kitten-up-a-tree-shit, you hear?" The lightness of his tone and the smile on his bearded face erase any implied threat from his words.

"This is Vegas," Rylie points out with a grin, "It'd be a tiger." Sliding off the stool, she reaches out to take the card, glancing at the number before it disappears into a pocket. Her smile is warmer when she looks back to Fletcher, and she pushes up onto the balls of her feet to kiss his cheek. "Thank you."

For more than just the card, likely. But she turns to Zan, eyebrows lifted, "I think we need burgers and shakes again. What do you say?"

"Thanks," Zan echoes quietly, looking up at Fletcher. He extends a hand out to the older man for a handshake. "Seriously. You have a gift for timing or something." He looks at Rylie after and nods, a slight smile mustering. "Yeah."

Fletcher's cheek is a long way off the ground and he's not entirely made of stone. He wraps an arm around Rylie, giving her a hug and a brief boost at the same time. "You're welcome," he says, smiling at both of them as he takes Zan's hand and gives it a firm, manly squeeze. "Try and stay out of trouble, yeah? And take good care of that cheek."

There's a laugh when she's boosted up, but it's a good thing he did. She is not all that tall. But when she's set down again, Rylie gives him a firm nod. "We'll give it a try. You'll see us again, Mister," she says, apparently having set him in the Good Guy category in her estimation. But she takes Zan's hand again to lead the way back to the exit.

"Always do," Zan replies, shoulder rolling upward into a small shrug. "Trouble just tends to find me." Which seems true enough, given his track record. He raises one hand to Fletcher as the other is taken over by Rylie. His fingers lace with hers, and he follows her lead back to the exit. And eventually to some place with really greasy burgers and super thick shakes.

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