Description: After Agent Little was revived on the slab in the control of the insane Doctor Tessitore, our wily detective did the only thing he could do under such duress: The sweet sweet seduction of a true Interpol Agent. Now in the good standings of the one Dr. Fio Tessitore, the pair go to a fancy Majigen steakhouse to enjoy the finest delights in the twisted land... but what is our public dick really up to with the dangerous spider lady? Will he be able to resist the good doctor's wiles... or will he Come Into Her Parlour? (The cover art shows the interior of a western saloon. Daniel Jack is on top of a table, fighting off a hoard of rat sized goblin spider things. One is leaping at his neck, which he is grabbing, while several others are trying to pull him off his table. Doctor Tess has a lazy eye and is rubbing her hands together as she sits in a nearby chair. She is dressed in a strapless red evening gown. A single skeleton sits at the bar in the background, wearing a cowboy hat. A mop accompanies him.) (45 cents)
It's quite likely that Daniel has adapted to the rather insidious odor of death and decay that permeates the pocket dimension of Majigen for a period of several months. But, having been trapped within the dim lighting of the towering laboratory devoted to Dr Tessitore's work, the dark purple saturating the vein-lined skies should be much, much more vivid than his last venture here. The sky pulses at a glacially slow frequency; the entire dimension being a living organism itself not unlike one of the Doctor's experiments.
Majigen will be thoroughly unrecognizable from the last time Daniel was out and about; for one thing, the familiar cityscape of Metro City is conspicuously absent. None of the tall spires or lofty rectangles exist; the buildings of Majigen are like twisted shadows of their analogues in the human world. The ornamented buildings definitely show off their Florentine inspirations, though further examination will show that each building is twisted and warped, as if exhibiting a fisheye distortion from a camera lens. Only when one stands perfectly in front of a building's facade will it appear to be properly rectilinear, and even then any slight motion will break the illusion.
Tess has donned a slinky silk dress for the occasion; champagne in color, the garment twinkles as the doctor strides through the streets of Majigen. Her spider legs twitch every now and then, but otherwise keep to themselves, hanging behind the woman as fluidly as a cloak fluttering in the breeze. With her arm coiled lightly about Daniel's, it's clear that she's in the best of spirits, perfectly comfortable amongst the pale-skinned denizens of the vampiric neighborhood which she's brought him to. There is nothing for the world's most popular doctor to fear here: her heart is racing with the proximity of the handsome man beside her, and none of the vampires will seek to do harm to the favorite doctor of this realm's lord and master. But the pureblood human walking beside her may find that all eyes are on him -- staring, and judging, and yet silent and dismissive as he approaches. Daniel is simultaneously the talk of the town and condescendingly beneath notice.
Tess stops before the short, street-facing wall of a long (mostly) rectangular building. A vampire, bedecked in a charcoal grey tuxedo, stands before the entry door -- and noticing Tess, opens the door for the couple. "Welcome, Milady and her guest."
Tess turns to smile up at Daniel, eyes ablaze with enthusiasm. "I've been wanting a good excuse to try this place out! They're supposed to have the -best- filet mignon..."
Daniel was, in fact, quite adaptive when it came to the underworld.
Majigen was quite different from the endless Egyptian afterlife that he ended up in, but the fact of the matter was that Daniel didn't have a much better choice. He either adapted to the smell, or he would be retching. Agent Little was in a dangerous land, with no clear method of getting home. There may not be a Nightwolf or Ayame to save him now. He had only himself to rely on, in a terrifying new world with a questionably sane companion.
The change in scenery, however, was a pleasant surprise.
What it meant was a mystery to the detective. If it meant anything. He could quickly observe the new, distorted geometries, the images of landscapes instead of actual landscapes. It was an alien world, attempting to manifest and model off another reality. And yet, it was its own thing, its own reality, its own place. Daniel Jack himself was dressed in a... local fashion, as one might describe. A navy-blue suit, clad with a red waistcoat, was what was provided after his hospital wear was deemed inappropriate and his old outfit deemed MIA. Milky white ruffles adorn his collar and cuffs, giving a certain foppish look. Daniel constantly pulls at the ruffles, uncomfortable in such an outlandish costume in his mind.
The eyes of the locals didn't help much.
As he and his escort approaches the tall faux building, he looks up from his wrist ruffle to the... vampire. Daniel was meat here, wasn't he. He was meat when he got here, and his only saving grace was being a different kind of meat for the good doctor. As the vampire greets them, Tess looks up to smile at Daniel Jack. In turn, the agent of Interpol puts on his most charming smile in return. "Well, the neighborhood looks incredible. I wouldn't mind enjoying a nice, rich steak out here in-"
The detective pauses.
"That's -beef- filet mignon, right?" He whispers, leaning in to Dr. Tess's ear.
Tess was quite happy with the clothing selected for her companion; for her, the simple concept of dressing up for an occasion is more enthralling than the fashion style one may be trying to evoke. Or not evoke.
But not only that -- Tess can sense the agent's fear, and practically taste it. She was pleased to walk alongside him as he shrugs off the macabre sights and sounds of the distorted simulacrum of human society. A lesser man would have declined -- or shriveled up into a ball, and yet the Interpol agent manages to not only walk on both feet, but walk with pride and confidence. Even in ruffles. The doctor is quite impressed with her patient's patience!
"It is!" is her whispered response to the query, but it comes with a qualification, as she politely leads the man inside by the arm. "But be careful how you order it. A 'well done' here would be about a 'medium rare' to humans." It would, of course, stand to reason that the vampires like their meat fresh and bloody, after all. The well-coiffed doctor nods a greeting to one of the valets, handing him the satiny cloth she'd been using to warm her shoulders along the breezy evening walk.
Without any external cues that anything is awry, the inside of the restaurant looks much like a five-star restaurant in the realm of humans. The maitre'd's attire is impeccable, and he is more than happy to show the two to an empty table for two. The table is bedecked with a fabulously ornate tablecloth and topped by an elegant candle. Each chair is covered in plush velvet cushions; Tess is quite happy to allow her companion to act as he pleases in such a formal affair.
Two menus are presented: Daniel will find that nearly all cuts of beef are represented with diagrams, in case he's a bit rusty on the Italian captions.
As she's seated, Tess smiles back at the agent. "Are you nervous? I really hope you're not...! I don't intend to renege on my deal, you -are- free to return whenever you like. I thought you might like to fill your tummy after so long with the..." Catching herself prattling too much again, she covers her mouth with a hand and offers an amiable laugh. "It -is- all beef. So whatever you want, you can rest assured it's been imported from Earth and..."
Again, with the details. She steeples her fingertips with another enticing smile. "It's... fresh. The folks here take pride in their work."
She looks back down at the menu before her, laughing lightly: "Do you have a favorite, from back home? I'm sure they can make a special order if you would like something in particular."
Daniel was not fearless.
Oh, he had a stout heart. But he was not fearless. He felt like prey here; and without the favor of the good doctor, he would be. There weren't cats here now to help him, not right now. Majigen was a place for a detective like him to become a memory. Or worse, a new subject. The place just reeked of a deeper malice.
But for now, steak tips.
"Medium Rare. Right." He pulls away, as the maitre d leads them to their table. It is far fancier than anything that the detective has been to in... years. As the menus are brought forward, he inspects them dilligently. The Italian is noted; as well as the shape of the cow. He mulls. Beef. Listening to Tess, he seems to be considering carefully. As she steeples her hands, he puts the menu down.
"Oh no, I actually was hoping to stay here a bit longer with you, Doctor."
He reaches out, placing his hand on Tess's and gives that charming smile. "I notice that there is Italian on here. I am surprised by the influence overall; was there an..." Daniel considers his words. "An immigration here from Italy?" He inspects the well-dressed doctor, and winks before going back to the menu. "Nothing too special from me." The detective chuckles a bit. "Kansas City Strip actually." The detective pauses again, considering the cultural norms here. "Or you could know it as New York Strip." Another pause. "Or Strip Steak for that matter. Just... Short Loin."
He points to a section, right behind the ribs.
"We can go with that, a Strip of Shortloin."
Tess usually prefers the company of girls -- because guys either want to kick her in the face, or have nothing else on their minds but taking advantage of her. But Daniel -- he seems different. She can tell by the way he presents himself with the utmost of dignity, even in a less than dignifying set of circumstances. She can tell by staring at his eyes as he peruses the menu -- even such simple things show a the work of a keenly analytical mind, constantly tabulating and comparing the choices, making sense of a language he can't possibly know. And yet he seems to understand the menu well enough to put it dow--
Her fingers had been steepled, but now there is another hand upon hers. Her heart skips a beat, startling her out of the reverie she'd found herself trapped within and thrusting her suddenly into another realm -- one in which she alone is the center.
Longer? Did he say he wanted to stay here -longer?-
The doctor really doesn't know what to say to that. But her cheeks do flush red -- showing that blood still -does- course through her veins, unlike those of the restaurant staff. (One of the waiters practically forces himself to look away, actually...)
"... Immigration, y-yes," stammers Tess, in the midst of finding Daniel's gaze wandering about her curvaceous form. The attention is not unwelcome -- she wouldn't have donned a strapless dress if she -didn't- want to be stared at, after all.
In fact, if it weren't for the Interpol agent clarifying his order several times, she probably would have been lost within his smile for a -third- time. "Oh. Yes, yes..." Right about then is when the waiter wanders over -- and it takes her every bit of willpower to snap her eyes away from Daniel so that she can focus on the vampiric server. She recites the proper Italian for 'filet mignon' and 'strip steak', along with an appropriate selection of wine, all the while smiling with the giddiness of a schoolgirl at dinner with the teacher she's crushing on.
Which isn't far from the case, really.
As the waiter dutifully takes the order and begins to walk away, Tess reluctantly peels her eyes away and turns back to her dinner companion. Her hands are plenty warm beneath their elbow-length gloves, but that doesn't stop the grad student from nudging her knuckles into the nest of Daniel's palm. "An excellent choice. The dinner selection, too. Now... tell me, if you would... what -is- it about me that makes you want to stay here in this..." She would wave her hands from side to side, but she shrugs her shoulders instead, along with a slight shudder from her currently-unoccupied spidery legs. She continues: "... this 'lovely' place? I would have figured you'd prefer blue skies and green grass to veiny membranes and rotting corpses..."
Daniel also usually prefer the company of women as well.
Of course, women were just as likely to kick his face in AND taking advantage of him. But Tess? Well, she was still free to kick him in the face, though at the moment, it seemed that Daniel was more content in her taking advantage of him. Tess seemed to be overwhelmed by the attention. Daniel Jack was observing that, and frankly, he enjoyed making her feel special. What was there to take advantage of? Daniel had what he wanted... right? Maybe there was something more. After she finishes the order, she then holds the question back to him, wanting to stay close, to stay near. A strong question, a piercing one. Why would he want to stay here much longer? Just a while ago, he would have done anything to escape.
"Well, for starters, you saved my life, and that's something worth appreciating." She also kidnapped Daniel and forced him into horrible experiments. But right now, Daniel Jack was not interested in what was wrong with what this woman was doing. "And now, well. You make me feel safe here. That was always the challenge about this place, you dig? Just how hostile it was." The detective gets a faraway look in his eyes, as he begins to recollect just how hostile this place was. I am not dead. Day one. "This isn't... this isn't my first time being in a place like this."
"Let me explain."
"I first came to an 'other world' like this was when I faced some... Egyptian Mummy thing? It sent me to an Egyptian underworld of some kind. I remember the sun never rising, and... wandering through deserts and rivers and everything. I was mangled by a giant stone mummy thing, and then sent to my death or something there. I remember the cats, I befriended the cats here. I lost my mind there, I had the notes about when I lost my mind. I still have the words rattling in my soul; sometimes when I find myself in the worst, the words come up again. I am not dead. And I... I got out of that. That's why I guess I came back with this, when Metro City was... taken? Disappeared? I don't understand it. I still don't really. But I was under orders to find out what happened to it."
"And I found the cats again. "
"They wanted me to help the... people here. I guess I can use that term, real sharp. Specifically, the scarab beetles. They explained that they were sacred, and were victims of people... well, humans that had crossed over, and was capturing them. Torturing them, draining them of their fluids. It just seemed... surreal. I had to help the cats through, I owe it to them. They pretty much saved me in the underworld before. So I went to help them, help the locals. I found the man who was kidnapping them, and... well, apparently the beetles had a venom that caused hallucinations, or seeing things, or something. "
And that's why it comes back around to you and where we are at now.
"Past the veiny membranes and rotting corpses? There's humanity here. I don't mean in the sense of just being human-like and stuff. But there is right and wrong, not a freaky world where everything doesn't make sense. The nurse, the beetles, the cats... you. When I faced The Butcher, the monster that infected me; when I faced. You get the impression that this is a world of monsters. But when I found that man. Maybe... maybe there are good monsters and bad monsters, just like how there are good people and bad people. Someone like the Butcher is a criminal, a brute. While here... I mean, look at all around us. This is civilization, isn't it? This is just like my first time in France..." The detective halts a moment, looking around.
"... Except it smells a lot better than the Seine."
Daniel does sigh though, looking up at the ceiling. "I do miss the blue skies, the green grass, the... erm, scent of pine." He pinches his nose once, before running his fingers down his mustache. "But this place... this place is becoming familiar to me. When I first ended up in the Egyptian underworld, I thought that it was the source of the Egyptian culture. Like if H. R. Thor smacked me into the underworld, I'd find a viking land because that is where the vikings got their inspiration. But after this incident, after meeting you, and seeing everything that is happening... I don't believe that anymore. Not after all that happened. No, the cultures here draw from the Earth's cultures, which would make sense if I was in an underworld. The inhabitants bring their memories, and in turn try to make the society around them a little more like what they are comfortable with."
"Which is what comes back to you, Doctor."
Daniel points to his right eye, as he looks at Tess with intense focus. "When I first met you, I thought you were a feature of this place. I did see you as a monster, Doctor Tessitore. But then I saw something else as I talked to you more. I saw past my fears and terrors. And you know what I saw?" "Humanity, and for all purposes, for better and worse, for good and bad. I don't really see you any different from a shy, somewhat awkward scientist who has a little too much freedom in her experiments. You didn't use to be like this. I can tell." The detective leans back. "You've come somewhere from Italy. You have enough cultural mores to indicate that you were amongst a different, modern society, possibly as an outcast or simply socially anxious. You are now practically a queen, where you are served hand and foot by the local populous, with access to resources beyond both of our imaginations." Daniel Jack claspes both of her hands together, grasping them as he nods, eyes wide.
"What's a nice girl like you getting mixed up in a world like this?"
Fio Tessitore looks out for herself, because in her experience, no one else does as good a job at it as she does. What others might consider as arrogance or self-centeredness, she views as a self-defense mechanism. If she can help others achieve their goals, so be it, but her primary focus is herself. And perhaps part of her charm is that she's not above admitting that: she's not the least bit shy about admitting her true nature to anyone who has the curiosity to ask. And she's enormously delighted with anyone who, like Daniel, not only has the curiosity to ask, but -states- the intent to continue asking more questions about her favorite topic: herself. It's just highly unusual to find anyone willing to indulge her in such a fashion.
So if she's biting her lower lip a little more than one might expect, it's not because she's hungry for the filet mignon. Her eyes are fixed firmly upon the agent's: his unwillingness to chastise her for her behavior is a definite plus. She listens intently to his tale, gleaning what she can from the tale of his time in the Egyptian underworld. "... King Anakaris... was that his name...?" It rings a bell, but only because she researched the background in the aim of finding out just what Daniel's past was.
And then she is able to piece together the aspects of Metro City, and Daniel's personal involvement in what would come to be known as the Majigen Series. She nods and listens in rapt silence, thinking for a good long while.
And then topic swings back around to her. A curled tress drops down before her eyes; with a puff of air, she clears it out of her eyes so that she doesn't have to bring her hands out from beneath the Interpol agent's.
But most importantly, she smiles. She -was- smiling, which was why it's unusual to see her smile grow to a so much more radiant degree now.
"You're such a sweet and caring man, Agent Little. I... I didn't stop you, because it's like you were reading my own mind, or peering right into my soul. I... I can't tell you how happy I am to have met you." She blinks, perhaps a bit more rapidly than one might expect; so overwhelmed with positive emotions. "To... to know someone who understands me the way you do."
The smile is overflowing, and she finds cause to take a deep breath. "I... was a student at the University of Genoa when he found me. I was frustrated, because... I was on academic probation after a rather... unfortunate incident. I was on the verge of a breakthrough, and then the school just... cut me off. My advisor told me to abort my entire thesis project, to find something else. You... you've got to understand, this was the culmination of -years- of research that had already been approved, just getting cut off, like *poof!*"
Her chin droops, her expression growing a bit more somber. "Lord Dohma gave me a chance. He... he saw me like you do. And yet... " She shakes her head slowly from side to side, but... hesitates, looking down at Daniel's hand upon hers.
Her mouth opens and closes, but no words come out. Unless Daniel can read the words 'I can't, ' upon her lips.
There is a pause before she collects herself again. "And the next thing I knew... I was in Celle Ligure, the little town about 30 kilometers outside of Genoa, and then..." She shrugs around -- the understated motion of her bared shoulders suggesting the entirety of the restaurant. And beyond. "Lord Dohma is kind of a scientist as well, you should know. So he was very happy to have someone like me to join him in his research." She glances past Daniel -- if he were to look back, he'd notice one of the vampires having turned to stare at the Italian woman. Hence the mild anxiety which seems to be constricting her expressiveness.
"... We have a lot to do, here. Lord Dohma has... has so -much- he wants to do, and such high expectations of everyone. It is fun, you know...? The challenges..."
Tess looks back at Daniel with a hopeful smile. "I'm really happy that you want to find out more about me! But I guess I'm just... hee. I'm afraid you'll find the 'real me' way more boring than the me I -want- you to see."
That was a very important name. The good doctor gives a lot of important names. Not secret information by any means, but an idea of what was going on. University of Genoa. Celle Ligure. King Anakaris. Daniel Jack was eager to stay close to Doctor Tess, to make her feel safe, to make her feel comfortable. As long as she felt safe and comfortable and pleased, then Daniel would get the same as long as he was here. He was free to leave any time. He wanted to make sure he could come back any time as well. You build connections in a new land, not burn bridges.
This was exactly why Daniel didn't want to spoil his relationship with Doctor Tess.
This wasn't an act, the detective did enjoy the company of the voluptuous scientist. But he had to keep his mind on his work as well. Still, he enjoyed making the young lady feel amazing. Daniel Jack nods along as Tess tells her story, interjecting occasionally with a 'uh huh' and other verbal cue indicating he was listening. It was not a surpising story to Daniel; the story of an academic who had an 'accident,' who lost his funding, and made a deal with some kind of supernatural Lord Dohma. It made sense, in so far it could make sense. As she begins describing Lord Dohma, Daniel's interest peaks a bit. But as Tess stares past him, the detective turns around, looking back at the vampire. He shakes his head at the woman, implying that staring is rather rude. Turning back to Tess, she gives that hopeful smile.
He was probably the nicest person she's met here.
"I can understand what's its like working for someone who is very powerful, who shares in your vision." The detective states, nodding his head firmly. "And I can understand how it is when something you worked... you worked so hard on falls apart." He tightens the grip on his hand, his arm trembling a moment. "I suppose that Lord Dohma owns all this then. Well, my focus is on you, Doctor Tess. Frankly, I know that we got off on a rough start, but I think I can find comfort in having someone I can trust here." Daniel nods. "You know, you have the nicest smile Doctor. I really shouldn't make you blush so much, though. I think some of the locals are getting more excited than you."
Daniel Jack gives a playful wink at that last comment.
Fio Tessitore is not used to having someone's undivided attention. Typically someone's passed out or gotten whacked in the head somehow before... and they're trying to make her feel anything -but- amazing. Instead of calling names, though, Daniel has listened -- and used more flattering language. Instead of dismissing her methods out of hand, he has carefully weighed her words, and chosen responses that acknowledge the craziness without passing undue judgment. It's true -- he probably -is- the nicest person she's met here.
Quietly, she makes notes of just what he's doing different. Signaling interest with verbal interjections that don't interrupt the flow of conversation. Any of the vampires quietly eavesdropping on the conversation are capable of having a polite, friendly, even complimentary conversation with the grad student, but to -listen- without attempting to impress upon her? That, she decides, is the key. She smiles -- though it's clear to see that gears turning in her head, even as she attempts to return his kindness by nodding her head, by saying 'Uh-huh...?' in the same inquisitive fashion.
Her skin is warm -- it can be felt through her gloves. But perspiration is also beginning to form upon her brow, along the back of her neck. Anxiety begins to take hold, and when Tess notices her own reaction, it only serves to make her more anxious, compounding the problem. When Daniel shakes, her lower lip vanishes even further beneath its sibling, as she dips her chin. He's saying all the right things...
"W-well we can go somewhere without lights if it bothers you! B-but I don't think you're g-going to stop making me blush, sorry!" A nervous laugh spills out, as she finally breaks eye contact, finding herself staring at the table immediately before her.
Somewhere behind Daniel, a vampire starts chuckling to himself. But the volume decreases; it would seem that the primary eavesdropper finds something else to do after that admission from the good Doctor.
Black tresses bob about before the young woman's eyes, as, after a moment, she looks back up to Daniel. "You... I can't say I've met anyone like you before, Daniel. I... I don't understand how it is that... I feel like I can be completely honest with you. I mean, I suppose it could be the Florence Nightingale effect, but that just seems a little out there?! I mean, you were comatose for a while and all."
She blinks for a moment, before wincing. "I'm sorry, I'm speaking nonsense again. Let me start again..."
Her hands may be trapped beneath Daniel's, but that doesn't stop the tips of her spidery appendages from tapping together, as she sticks her tongue out for one brief instant. And then, a hopeful smile: "This is really forward, but... do... you want to come back to my suite after dinner?"
Somewhere in the kitchen can be heard the sound of a dish shattering against a tile floor.
Daniel had to know what he was doing to Tess. He had to know how he was making the doctor feel more incredible than anything she has felt before. He had to know that his very words were very well melting her to her knees. Even the extra ones. He had to know that he was manipulating her feelings, showing such power over her. If he was a scoundral like Roland, it would be a simple matter that he was taking advantage of her. But he wasn't a jerk, a hustler. He was Daniel Jack. The reason why he was making her feel squishy was simple.
It was Daniel's natural character.
"Then we could find somewhere without lights." The detective could not help that sometimes, even the most vile villain needed and desired the basic human kindness that they craved. He gave that kindness freely; he actually liked people. He never stopped liking people, even when they were monsters. As she babbles on, she asks the most important question, the vital question. If he would come back to her suite.
'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly.
There might have been a moment of silence for others. But Daniel Jack doesn't miss a beat. He nods casually, as if Tess asked the most natural thing. "Of course Doctor. I am glad you asked me first; I was a little nervous to impose myself." Daniel Jack looks away a bit, laughing nervously. "You have seemed like you've worked too hard recently. You seem so tense, so wound up. If it is so important, though..." Daniel Jack looks back up at Tess, and eyebrow waggles.
"Why wait until after dinner?"
As far as Tess's concerned, Daniel's attentiveness, charm, quick wit, and all-out handsomeness is a perfect combination to win her heart away. The curvaceous Italian is quite aware of the -possibility- that Daniel is using his words to weave an entrapping web for her -- but the very idea of this nice man making a trap she can't work her way out of is practically unfathomable. Especially since it seems that the attraction is hardly a one-way street -- her patient has been lapping up every subtle motion she's been dishing out for him. Perhaps overconfidence in her own assets and abilities will do her in, one day. But she doubts it will be tonight.
She could use a break, anyway. "It's true, I have..." responds the grad student, a light giggle punctuating the end of the statement. "But you -have- been asleep for a while. And you did just..."
Fio Tessitore would normally say whatever comes to mind, but the artful way in which Daniel has been crafting his words is causing her to reconsider that tack. And she simply smiles, leaning forward onto her elbows, knowledgeable of the view that motion would present to her dinner companion.
Why, indeed. She nibbles on her upper lip for a moment, thoughtfully, before sharing her suggestion: "Let's just say... that you're probably going to need the energy."
Frankly, Daniel didn't even know if he had a web set up for her.
His suave line, however, seems to have kept her to be suave herself. It was good. It made her lucid. She was good when she was lucid. Of course, when she points out that he might need more energy, he just laughs again. "What, no, I-" He halts himself, and then shakes his head. "No, no, you are right. I am starving." The detective leans back, looking towards the kitchen.
"Where are those steaks, anyway?"
Log created on 12:45:21 01/07/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 00:21:15 01/09/2016.