Description: With the White Angel of Death dying of the accursed chemical injected in her by the wicked and lustful Dr. Fio Tessitore, stalwart ace detective Daniel 'Jack' Little of Interpol is forced on a journey. Traveling to her castle in the depths of Translyvania, he allows himself to be captured in order to uncover the cure for his partner's affliction. Daniel Jack is willing to do anything for his partner, but is he willing to pay... The Price Of Purity? (The cover shows the beautiful and deadly White Angel of Death strapped to a slab, writhing in pain, in the midst of a mad scientist's lab. She is garbed in a strapless red dress. Strapped to another slab is Daniel Jack. Fio Tessitore, the diabolical spider scientist, is operating a panel while wearing a full lab coat. Daniel is writhing on the slab just like the White Angel of Death, but he seems to be caught in a kind of mid transformation; not only is he beginning to share some of the features of the dangerous Russian woman, but his detective suit seems to have the beginning transformations of a strapless red dress...) (45 cents)
It really was a miracle that Daniel could get a horsedrawn carriage at this hour.
The villagers didn't want to cooperate at first. Agent Little found out that the reach of Interpol could only go so far. But Daniel Jack had very, very few leads that would direct him to the lady he was looking for. And frankly, the only place he knew that might have a connection... was here, in the hills of Translyvania. All he wanted was a ride up to the castle. And nobody was willing to go to that cursed place... with a single exception, who was taking him up right now.
Of course, it probably helped that the carriage driver was a cackling hunchback.
"HEE HEE HEE!" The hunchback croaks as the carriage comes to a halt before the entrance to the castle. "HAW HAW HAW!" Was the groan as he drops down, and opens the door for Daniel Jack. "Let me get you... your bags..." The hunchback growls, as he helps Daniel down by lifting him overhead and nearly hurling him down. "Not that... YOU'LL NEED THEM! HAW HEE HAW!" Daniel Jack brushes himself off. "Thanks scuzzy." He states, as his bags are hurled into his arms. Stumbling, he holds them fast as the hunchback, nimbly, leaps up to the carriage, and gripping the reins, snaps them hard. The snorting horses ride away with the carriage, as the howling fills the night sky. Daniel Jack pauses a moment, and goes up to the looming, giant door to the castle. He gives the great gargoyle knocker a thump. And almost immediately, the door opens, revealing a man dressed in dusty clothing from the 1800s.
"Oh... a guest..." "Please... come in."
Daniel Jack sighs as he moves past the door, holding his bags as he thumps them down. The interior looks like it hadn't seen any life for decades; cobwebs fill the full rotted interior; and a chandlier looms overhead. The only light inside is candlelight... and the glowing yellow eyes peering from the darkness. The doorman is immediately behind him, as if he was always there. Wringing his bony fingers, he whispers. "We rarely... we rarely get-" And the strangely dressed man pauses a moment. "Wait a minute, aren't you that guy who fought here a little while back?" Daniel Jack nods firmly. The man tilts his head, eyes unblinking. "Did you... forget something? Or are you hoping to check in for an extended stay?" Daniel Jack looks around at the yellow eyes peering from the shadows.
Oh god, this was a terrible idea.
"Yeah, uh, look, I'm really bad at this, so let me try my best to make this your problem. First of all, 90% sure you're a vampire, and you have a whole bunch of vampires here. Yada yada so so aaaah how will I ever escape the unstoppable undead armies." Daniel Jack wiggles his mustache. The yellow eyes emerge from the shadows, as the strange-garbed men and women creep out, a hungry look in their eyes. The doorman smiles broadly, flashing his fangs in the dim light. Daniel Jack stands fast, as the vampires circle in. ANd without missing a beat, he hastily spits out. "So I'm looking for Fio Tessitore; she works for a Lord... Dohma? And I don't have her contact number. Can you guys send the word out?"
And promptly, the vampires pause.
"Lord Dohma, you say?"
- Majigen -
Fio prefers working in Earthrealm, but time and time again, she keeps getting interrupted. One day it's protesting villagers setting her laboratories on fire. Another, it's demon hunters stabbing her in the face when she tries to recruit some more help. And then there's the time that the Russian Secret Service destroyed a bunch of Ukrainian livestock in a misguided notion to rid the world of Darkstalkers.
She's still bummed about that. Those poor pigs weren't hurting anyone.
No, it's better to stay in Majigen for now. The sky is a muddled hue between crimson and indigo, the air is stagnant and reeks mildly of decay -- but working indoors with HEPA filtered air circulation solves both issues. Dozens of hand-scribbled post-it notes are scattered across printouts of genomic sequences, haphazardly arranged upon her mahogany desk. The trashcan is overflowing with crumpled-up papers. And Tess's swivel chair creaks as she rocks idly from side to side, lost in thought.
Upon hearing a slight sound behind her, the fashion-conscious Italian looks up into one of the mirrors stationed upon her desk. Occasionally her ghastly blue skin tone startles her, but it's less frequent now that the woman is becoming used to her new look. She's tried, to no avail, to find a combination of cosmetic products that can both approximate her original skin tone and withstand her brutal 14-hour work cycle.
But she's not looking in the mirror out of concern for her appearance. She heard a sound; seeing nothing and no one, she slumps back into her chair, flinging her hands out over her head and stretching with an exaggerated yawn.
Only to look up into the face of a vampire.
And that -does- startle her, causing her to tumble sideways out of her chair with a shriek.
The reflection-negative vampire is unamused and unperturbed, aside from the mild frustration of brushing a light cloud of dust away from his ancient lapels. He waits patiently for the spider-limbed woman to settle before speaking. "Doctor Tessitore, it appears you have... someone looking for you. A human."
One hand pressed against her pounding heart, she stares accusingly back at the macabre man who interrupted her work. She hasn't scolded him before -- in fact, she doesn't even know this vampire.
Tess draws in her breath, closing her eyes. "Did he give a name?"
- Earthrealm -
Blood begins to drip from the ceiling, landing in large, bulbous drops upon the weathered wooden floorboards. But rather than seeping into the unlacquered surfaces, the blood begins to pool together, forming a shape that resembles a crimson pancake more than a pool. It'd be easy to miss the sight -- aside from the sound of the drops themselves, the anomaly would not be enough to disrupt a casual conversation, and it takes place a fair distance from Daniel and the vampires to whom he was speaking.
The dripping process takes about twenty seconds. But what -would- be noticeable is the rather loud splash that occurs, as a figure rises up out of the pool of blood, as if shoved upwards from a hidden trapdoor beneath the floor. As the figure steps away from the pool, the blood falls right off of her, landing on the floor again, and rejoining the pool as if drawn by magnetism rather than fluid mechanics.
There is not a drop of crimson on Dr. Tessitore's pristine white lab coat, not a speck of blood spattered upon her indigo-colored dress. Her gold-rimmed eyeglasses reflect the flickering orange light of the candles. And her black tresses... well, she's had a haircut since the last time he's seen her, her long curls traded for a fauxhawk, styled in place with a thin helping of oil. Her face and skin are a pale blue, rather than the dark tan she'd cultivated in Genoa.
But her smile...? Her smile is exactly the same as ever. "Daniel! You... you look well!" She hustles over to him -- apparently quite used to her mode of transit. And she offers him a brief hug, and a kiss upon each cheek. "What brings you here?"
See, Daniel was planning on being professional about this.
After the word was dropped, the vampires turn up their heads, the scent and sounds caught. Daniel Jack narrows his eyes towards the center of their attention... and kinda sees something dropping? A leak? It is only when the splash comes when suddenly, forcefully, the purpose of his trip arrives. Fio Tessitore, in full outfit, just like how Daniel remembered her before. Haircut or not, Daniel Jack picks up speed, approaching her with a stern face. As she moves in for the brief hug, and the kiss on each cheek, he just gives her a look.
He grabs her, and with a sweep of flourish, takes her in his arms, leaning her back.
Moving to dip her over with the gesture, he gets so close to her, his eyes locked with hers. "Fio~" He croons. "I had to see you. I mean... gosh." He just gives a kiss, getting lost in it for a few seconds... before recovering, steadying Fio on her feet as he clears his throat. "My apologies. I told myself I came here for business. But it has been so long, and honest to god, I was... I was afraid." He tenderly brushes his hand to the side of her head. Daniel Jack sighs hard, a tension coming over him. " I wouldn't be so naughty as to disrupt your valuable work for this, mind you. But I had to see you." Daniel Jack glances over at the vampires, and then back to Fio. He jabs a thumb.
"Do you mind if we find somewhere private to talk?"
To someone growing up in Genoa, a kiss on the cheek is simply an expected gesture for a friend, let alone a loved one. She put no more thought into the gesture than she would for anyone she'd left on good terms with. Though, the serious look -did- signify that perhaps the gesture might be misconstrued by someone who'd spent the majority of his life acclimated to more reserved cultures. Embarassment flits across her powder blue features for a moment; her new physiology does not require as strong a blood flow as before, but her cheeks stain a darker shade nonetheless.
She has little time to feel that particular emotion, however, as her heart races with an altogether different sensation. The room pitches forwards, from her perspective, with the Interpol detective sweeping her right off her feet. As Daniel ups the ante from her simple old-world greeting, Tess finds herself at a mechanical disadvantage to push back against his advances...
Until she realizes that she can push back. Two clicks signify her two lower arachnid legs touching the floor, allowing her to properly address the agent for as long as he dares.
She allows Agent Little to bring her back to her feet, however. "Oh my, you -did- miss me..." A coquettish giggle escapes her full lips as she flattens her palms against her lab coat, straightening out the mussed lapels. "No need for apologies! I have been busy, so even if you -hadn't- been in that silly little debacle of yours, I would have been a poor hostess for you..."
The Genoa doctor blinks back at the vampires standing about. They -had- been staring, but they quickly turn the other way once receiving the judgmental glare of Jedah Dohma's prized neurochemist.
"Afraid?" she asks, tilting her head in curiosity. "That I'd been horribly maimed and disfigured? Oh, I... I was! But..." She gestures to herself with open palms, as if she herself were the latest luxury. "... Science! Huzzah!" An impish smile winds its way across her face, as she explains, "Lord Dohma treats his favored subjects well, naturally. Especially since he's been having me work such long hours on my next master works -- he doesn't entrust his peculiar blood to just -anyone-."
She finds herself glancing pointedly at one of the vampires with a particularly stolid expression -- right as Daniel asks for somewhere more private to speak. Tess glances to Daniel -- and then back to the lord of this castle.
"... Private? If you'd please..."
Anger flits across the castle lord's features. Privacy can have a number of connotations, but considering the display just now -- and considering he and his staff had already been planning to set Daniel up in a private suite, he needs only nod at his subordinate.
Said subordinate nods to both, leading the two down an ornately decorated hallway.
Tessitore seems pleased with the arrangements -- as one of Dohma's favored subordinates, she has nothing to fear from these vampires, after all. She wraps her slightly chilly arm about Daniel's, pressing her lips together as she thinks on what he could possibly discuss.
"They mean well. You're a guest, after all! And a treasured associate. ... But really, what brings you here? Other than the obvious hunger you've been trying - and failing, miserably I might add, to suppress...?
Tess has a number of hypotheses on the possible subject matter, but considering her pounding heart, she is content to simply be around the dark-skinned agent for now. That was... quite a greeting.
The journey to the suite is pleasant, at least.
Certainly appearances seemed like Daniel was exploiting the host for moment of romance; but that was a dangerous game to play. Daniel Jack was happy to keep up the appearance at least; he sticks close to the good doctor, as they are lead to their privacy. All the while, he speaks to the woman, a firm look on his face. "Certainly; I've been here before. I just thought of them as... strangers then. But looking back, I realized that this was a hostel for vampires. And I thought that if a vampire could run a steakhouse, then they could just as well be helpful. Naturally I would have called in and worked it out officially, but uh." Daniel Jack shrugs.
"Didn't exactly have a number."
Daniel Jack focuses his attention harder on Fio, the crook of his arm around hers to escort her. Not necessarily a 'human' arm per say; whatever Fio was willing to give up. "I'm surprised you got here so fast. And concerned. Concerned about that too. There's a lot of business we need to discuss, your busines, my business, and the boundaries we need to set between them." Daniel's commanding tone was coming with a steady pace. "Just promise me you won't 'distract me' while I am trying to business, okay?" A smile breaks across Daniel's face as they enter the suite.
And Daniel would keep that smile, after the vampire left them both alone.
The interior of the suite was quite different from the rest of the castle; for starters, it was actually kept well. Cobweb free and dust free, it has fresh quilts and blankets over a four-post bed, big enough for 8 people. Drawers and mirrors fill the room, showing that this was well and prepared for guests that weren't part of the vampire's usual clientelle. Daniel Jack confirms this as he heads to the bed, and numbly nudges a chamber pot. "we're alone now, Fio?" He states, looking towards the door. Scanning the room quickly, he then moves back ot Fio, to take him in his arms again. "Dammit Fio, stop being so cute!" He states firmly. "I'm trying to talk business!" The teasing, accusing tone does have an edge to it, especially as Daniel musters the bottom line of this encounter. "Fio, darling." Daniel Jack coos. "I need to focus on the business on hand. I keep getting distracted by you, but I must focus! It's about you, that head injury, and... well."
"Have you had a run in with any Russians recently?"
"You might be surprised at how much of modern Earthrealm society has -always- run by vampires, honestly..." The doctor is more than happy to use one of her two flesh-and-blood arms to latch onto Daniel.
"I mean, you've heard of Nikola Tesla, right? Highly eccentric, and yet, very precisely ordered. For a time insisted on dinner at precisely 8:10pm at Delmonico's Steakhouse." She smiles sweetly, glancing aside for a moment. "We still keep in touch with a kind soul who used to be the head waiter there. He was actually -very- good friends with Mr Tesla, and when financial difficulties threatened to keep him from his regular mealtime, he developed a bloodletting system for us that we still use to this day. Brilliant man!"
Another smile escapes her, followed by a nod. "So yes. Vampires are everywhere."
She seems pleasantly amused at the mention of the speed of her arrival. "Well, I wouldn't have wanted to keep you waiting! You've been so busy -- I couldn't bear to rest without knowing how you were faring in the fighting circuits these days." The blue-skinned beauty bites her lower lip for a moment, chin drooping as she considers her words carefully: "Let's just say, I'm kind of envious watching you manhandle other people..."
While the door latches shut securely, Fio waits patiently for Daniel's inspection of the room. Once he mentions the obvious solitude, her lips part as if to respond -- but the subsequent chastisement and embrace earn a musical giggle. "Sorry, I can't help it!" Cheeks darkened, she brushes the tip of her nose playfully against Daniel's for a moment, before he cruelly redirects the focus onto what he calls 'business.'
"Ahh, yes... Sergei. The Spetsnaz man with an intense distaste for anything he deems 'unnatural.' He's... ruined one of my more charitable experiments, but I suppose he was under orders to do so. Though, I do wonder how he's managed with his little gift..." She arches an eyebrow, pressing her lips together as she gauges Daniel's interest before explaining: "I couldn't -bear- to leave him without a going-away present after what he'd done to my dear Agent Little..."
Still, she takes him at face value on the expressed need to stop being so cute. She pirouettes away from him, spreading all six of her arms wide as she dances across the floor. And then, with overembellished melodrama, she takes a seat on one side of the bed, folding her human hands upon her lap. "It's only fair, after you embarassed that blonde troublemaker for me. I sure wouldn't mind returning the favor of a head injury to him, but that spectacle -surely- was enough to tide me over for now..."
That was Daniel making an 'ah-ha'. A unique ah-ha, in fact, one he had not used in a very, very long time. It was somewhere between a terrifying realization, and a half laugh. Daniel... Daniel had been waiting for this moment for a while. The news about the vampires wasn't shocking to him. It was disturbing, mind you. Gosh it was disturbing. But the fact of the matter was that... Daniel knew in his heart that vampires were close to human society, closer than most of the Darkstalkers. And that was a nexus he could build on. "Alright, Fio. I really didn't want to do this, but I think we need to have a talk about this." Daniel Jack sits on the bed, right beside Fio.
"This is the noise on the floor, Fio."
"I finally have gotten approval on a task force to deal with the 'unusual' and 'unnatural.' I've been hoping to get ahead of this, to prevent incidents like with Zach where a vigilante goes and tries to kill someone like you." Daniel Jack takes in a deep breath, and sighs. "But that means the stuff you were doing before? Like with the hospital? That's criminal, Fio. And it's gonna be my job to protect those people, and apprehend those criminals."
Daniel Jack sighs, and leans back, laying on the bed.
Fio's eyes remain affixed onto Daniel as he speaks, a sultry smile insinuated upon her lips. She's... pleased that he accepts the notion of vampires being tightly interwoven with human culture as such a normal, regular thing that it doesn't even faze him -- well, not as much as it would someone with a less open mind. His calm, rational mind is one of the things she'd liked most about the detective -- that he can look at five disparate, complex elements, and resolve them into their simplest form. To look at someone so... human, like her, and yet so monstrous at the same time, and come away with the most optimistic impression possible.
Unlike closed-minded individuals like Sergei, Daniel sees her as human. Because she -is-, in her actions and beliefs.
She nods quietly, angling her shoulders towards the Interpol agent to afford him a more sensual view. It's not something she does with any particular motive -- just a way to be more comfortable in talking to someone seated beside her.
Noise on the floor. Gauging from the momentary confusion on her face, it seems she's not familiar with that turn of phrase. She flashes a perky smile at the next statement: A task force to deal with the unusual, and unnatural. That's a good thing -- stop the vigilantes. Stop the killing -- that's good, right?
Fio Tessitore then is confronted with the mention of things done -before-. In a hospital.
Tess's eyes go wide with the thought. "... -Which- hospital? There have been a lot. You mean the one where you were found? With all the people? They were all set free..."
After another moment passes, Fio's blue lips curl into a frown. "... That's not the hospital you mean, is it..." She sits forward, looking at the wall, folding her hands in her lap. With a calm, steadied voice, she asks, "Are you saying you'll be attempting to have me arrested?"
The spider appendages sprouting from her back twitch for some incalculable reason, the 'fingers' of two leaving dimples in the surface of the bed.
Daniel Jack doesn't answer immediately.
He just gets a distant look on his face, carefully considering every angle on the highest level to the low. His lips were tight, a frown on his face. His expression said a lot. Another sigh, a third one, comes out. This was it. This was fear gripping his heart. He felt dazed, almost sick. It would be less painful to break up with her right now. No, he could feel it. 'Yes.' The answer of 'Yes.' Force everything in the castle to suddenly be on the defense. Daniel Jack just stares at the top of the cornerpost bed. Staring up, and listening. He was afraid. But instead of stammering out the most dangerous answer he could did, he just grins a bit.
"Well, Fio, how far do you think I'd get if I tried arresting you right now?"
Daniel Jack actually laughs at that, reaching into his suit as he lies there. "Yeah, lets see, I got... one set of handcuffs. And a few zipcuffs. I'll just seduce you, right? And while you are distracted, I'll cuff you up, and then drag you down through the castle. I'll just smooth talk the vampires, look them dead in the eye, and tell them not to judge us. I'd have to gag you though, probably with some underpants, I'd have to make it believable, right? I can't beleive I forgot the gag, you would be screaming the entire way down the hall!" He sits back up, clapping his hands together once. And he just laughs, snickering at the situation. The laughter dies down, and he brings a thumb and forefinger to his brow.
"I think I'd make it outside the castle, before they killed me."
Daniel Jack just shakes his head. "Yeah, see. I like to imagine I could be able to try and arrest you for stuff. But I don't even know the -logistics- of arresting you. Hell, you're much better capturing me than the other way around. God." He just shakes his head now, the mirth having been let out. "I mean, I understand what's going on. Lord Dohma, right? He's your boss. And if he's willing to just... wipe Metro City off the map for a while, I bet he is willing to do just about anything. He tells you to hijack a bunch of doctors? You do it. Doesn't matter if it is wrong, or if you feel like its wrong. He tells you to transform someone into a monster? Doesn't matter if it is your cute detective hubby, right? He's the boss, and he could simply extinguish your life at the snap of a finger. Or worse." Daniel Jack lowers his head down low, his palm now shading his eyes.
"He's real capable of the 'worse' part, isn't he?"
Fio continues staring at the wall while Daniel considers his words. Her shoes scuff idly against one another. Silence, pierced only by the gentle crackling of candlelight within the antique glass fixtures of the room. The dim orange light cast upon the wall gives off the illusion that the room is pulsing, growing in miniscule amounts at semi-regular intervals.
How far would he get? It's an interesting question, but the Genoa native realizes that she hasn't given the matter nearly as much thought as him. Handcuffs, zipcuffs... these words raise her heartrate somewhat. Seduction. Distraction. Cuffing. Dragging. It's an enticing chain reaction of words that should be evoking a positive response from the young woman.
It's not a -negative- response, to be fair. But she doesn't laugh along -- just offers a mute half-smile in response to the laughter, and the clapping.
He thinks he'd make it outside the castle. That makes her smile a bit more. "Optimism always was your strong point."
She falls silent again, dropping her gaze to her lap. Her hand slips sideways, resting itself along Daniel's thigh. It's not an urgent touch, but rather a calming gesture: a selfish gesture meant to put her own mind at ease.
She does not dispute Daniel's recounting of her relationship with Lord Dohma. It's... accurate, judging from the pursing of her lips and the return of her expression to something more akin to granite.
The phrase 'cute detective hubby' does evoke a stiffening of her grip, however. Hubby. Husband.
Is he capable of worse? "... He is," she nods slowly, keeping her lips pressed together. Her voice is hollow, distant, and detached. "Souls do not pass on until he allows them to. To my knowledge, a contract signed with Lord Dohma has never been broken."
Fio sighs, one hand raising to her glasses, nudging them back up along the bridge of her nose.
She looks up at the wall again, quietly. "Husband and wife, mm. That -would- be tragic." Two light claps are delivered to Daniel's thigh before she pulls her hand back to join its counterpart. "But perhaps you're getting ahead of yourself, Agent Little. And let me assure you, the consequences are much, -much- more dire than the pretty picture you've painted."
Tess looks back down at her lap, her hands fidgeting there against one another. "For one, Lord Dohma's blood is... the reason for my recovery. As I experiment on others... so he experiments upon me." One fingernail gently brushes along the arteries and veins of her wrist. "And for another... Lord Dohma does not have an unlimited measure of patience with humans. In fact, as each of our earnest projects to acclimate humanity to the new Order are struck down, he becomes considerably -less- patient."
Tess turns to face Daniel, her lips turned as if for a smile, but her eyes illustrating bittersweet remorse. "You've seen stage one of 'worse' as it happened in Metro City. I don't know how high the scale goes."
"Well, it's somewhere past 'complete worldwide genocide' I think."
Daniel Jack's tone is a humbled one. He wasn't being responsive to touch; not high strung, not sensitive. "If Metro City is an example of that 'New Order' then you know I'm gonna have to oppose it. Just like its your job to bring it about, it's my job to stop it." Daniel Jack keeps his face covered. There was a careful calculation going on. An invisible game of chess. "I'm just trying to figure out if I am gonna die first, or you." He pauses a bit. "I hope it's me. If you die, you're gone probably. If I die... well, at least I'll have a chance being a tortured slave of Lord Dohma. Or something. Better chance of me working with you than you working with me in that case." A dry, soulless chuckle comes out, before falling silent. "Fio..."
"I'm gonna be busy for a while."
"In a tournament. King of Fighters. Got a team. Team Interpol. I won't be... doing work, my work, outside of the tournament. So if you guys are involved in the tournament, I'd advise that you stop. And... to stay away from the tournament. For both of our sakes." He finally removes his hand, and transfixes his gaze onto Tess. "And anothing thing, Fio."
"I need to know what you injected in my partner, Sergei."
Fio frowns faintly as Daniel continues speaking to her without actually -looking- at her. Eyes are the window to the soul, and even though she'd kept hers averted while she was speaking, she begins to have some difficulty in judging Daniel's emotions when he keeps his eyes hidden. Not even the mirrors dispersed throughout the room are helping her, with the position of his palm.
Fingers lace together. Her arachnid appendages bear down more firmly into the mattress.
One or the other will die, he says.
I'm in a tournament, he says.
I'm working with Sergei, he says.
Each statement causes her pressure onto the mattress to increase. The third and fourth arm join the first two, as Tessitore breathes carefully measured breaths -- increasingly loudly. Her heart rate is increasing for entirely different reasons.
It becomes clear that she is far from happy now.
A hand raises to her frowning face; sinuous fingers reach out to her eyeglasses, nudging them once more up upon the bridge of her nose. "You're... partnering with the man who destroyed my work," she repeats mirthlessly. With an even tone, she explains: "Funny story, there. It's an organic compound of my own design, intended to be a potent hallucinogen, used to distract him so that I could close in for a more... permanent solution."
She smiles, though her eyebrows arch in a more sinister fashion. "It's remarkably resistant to white blood cells, as well as the human liver and kidneys. It needs to be, because it needs to be chemically stable while I induce a comatose state for later modifications, and I can't have the patient waking up during that. It's a standard chemical, though -- I had thought that it would break down quickly with the amount of alcohol running through a typical Russian's veins..."
She pauses, tapping her cheek. "... But you wouldn't be concerned about it if it had, though...?"
"Yes, well, you are partnering with a man who destroyed one of my homecities."
Daniel's words was getting harsher, a tension building in the room. His face fully revealed, a bitterness was over his features. "I'm not happy working with my guy either, but I got ambitions, and he's my path to keeping people like you Fio or the vampires or pretty much every other so-called monster from being torn apart by lynch mobs. And I sparred with him before, Fio. He was wracked in pain, phantom pain, and that's before I even touched him. Oh, by the way? I totally pounded him. Not for you, mind you, but he did get a woopin." As Fio describes the effects of the drug, Daniel listens intently.
And Daniel Jack seems to actually lighten up a bit, by the end.
"Oh, similar to what happened with me, right? Is it related to those Scarab beetles?" The detective considers carefully. "So it is a chemical compound that you normally would push through." And Daniel Jack just claps his hand. "And you can flush it out with liquor. I Just get him drunk, and he'll feel fine!" Daniel Jack nods along a bit, and looks towards Fio. "And if Sergei is fine, he'll be out of your hair, so you see? It's win-win, for both... for both..."
And he just smashes a fist on the bed.
"No. No. God dammit, Fio, I'm not gonna do it to you." A cold anger was rising up from the detective. "You want to know what I'm doing? I'm treating you like a criminal. I didn't even realize it, but I'm bargaining. I'm pulling pressure tactics on you. 'Win win' if you help me, keep Sergei and myself from arresting you. Like a common criminal, god dammit." Not a hug of passion, but a hug of comfort, self-comfort. "God damn it all Fio. Just god damn it all. I just want you, and all of Majigen to be treated like people." His grip tightens, the detective gritting his teeth.
"But people can be so -bad- Fio."
And he just smashes a fist on the bed.
"No. No. God dammit, Fio, I'm not gonna do it to you." A cold anger was rising up from the detective. "You want to know what I'm doing? I'm treating you like a criminal. I didn't even realize it, but I'm bargaining. I'm pulling pressure tactics on you. 'Win win' if you help me, keep Sergei and myself from arresting you. Like a common criminal, god dammit." Turning on Fio, he practically pounces. Not out of anger, but out of a... hug. Not a hug of passion, but a hug of comfort, self-comfort. "God damn it all Fio. Just god damn it all. I just want you, and all of Majigen to be treated like people." His grip tightens, the detective gritting his teeth.
"But people can be so -bad- Fio."
The accusation of partnering with a man who destroyed one of Daniel's home cities is not one she plans to address. First off, while she may have initially joined him out of her own free will, it quickly snowballed out of control from there -- making her more of a slave to Lord Dohma than a willing accomplice. Daniel knows this. And he also knows that while Jedah stole Metro City away for a few weeks as a show of force, he did give it back. Mostly. Daniel knows this too.
Dr Tessitore stares mutely back at Daniel. Why is he speaking falsehoods, when he already -acknowledged- Fio's own motivations for taking part in this? Why are his moods vacillating so rapidly, in the span of mere moments? Romantic then serious; playful and then remorseful, accusing and then amicable. The last mood is the only one that brings Fio any measure of solace: hearing the voice of the Daniel she is most familiar with allows her tension to fade away, and her arms release their pressure upon the mattress. This is the Daniel she knows: the kind who laughs in the face of sheer danger and soldiers on through the worst of things; the kind of man who took a monster girl like herself for a date at a fancy steakhouse in the midst of a living hellscape.
And yet, she's left confused again, as Daniel reproaches himself. A limp and very confused Fio Tessitore is pulled into the embrace, confusion setting in even moreso. Does that mean the 'nice' Daniel was... just a lie? A bargain, a negative aspect to his stated... pressure tactic? If he hadn't explained the gambit, the scientist would not have even realized what was even taking place.
Tears come to Fio's eyes with the realization. As Daniel's grip tightens, Fio struggles against him. Not to hurt -- but just to win back a measure of space.
"L-let go of me..." she stammers, as the moisture begins to flow down her blue cheeks. "You... -you're- bad. You lie to me, then you go soft, then you admit you're lying, and you hug me and expect me to forget it all."
Tess closes her eyes -- two spidery arms clutching at the temples on either side of her head. "Can I even trust -anything- you're telling me right now?"
"Of course I'm bad."
Daniel Jack releases Fio from the hug slowly, and grips her by the sides of her arms. Looking dead on the woman, his brown eyes are soft. A look of sheer pain was across his face, a deep and moving pain.
"Because I'm human too."
He releases her complete now, but his gaze doesn't break. "Fio, I know this story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl turns out to be working for someone real dangerous, someone she can't get away from. Boy wants to free that girl, break her away from his clutches. Boy tries to. One of them gets killed. I know this story Fio." The expression on Daniel's face is cold as ice. "And as much as I wanna get you out of this, Lord Dohma is a reality warping man of incredible power, and a drive for world domination. And me?"
"I'm just a detective."
Daniel Jack stands up from the bed. "I get you down the hallways. I get you down the stairs. And we might make it outside, before they killed us." He states, staring at the door. "And that's it. That's the end of the story of two lovers who break away. Fio, I love you. And I care so much about you, and I want to keep you safe. You're in deep, I'm in deep. And we're enemies now, as long as we stick to our principles. And I can't give up on those Fio. And I would never force you to give up yours." Daniel Jack looks at his feet a moment, and then back up at Fio. "If we really wanted to be happy right now, Fio?"
"We would hate each other, instead of love."
Tess raises her hand to her eyes as she's released. She didn't want to tell him to let go -- she'd have loved to just stay in the Interpol agent's arms for the rest of the night. But the mood -- it's gone. It might never be the same again -- all because of shattered trust. She believes Daniel is speaking from the heart now, but she he manipulated her just moments earlier, apparently without even his own knowledge.
The heart-to-heart could fade, at any moment.
She's safe here, though. And he's not -- and the fear is obvious. He's declared his intentions, but he has nothing but bluster to back them up. The ball is clearly in her court, and that keeps him from following through on... well, anything.
The detective coldly tells the story of what could happen -- relating it all to a story archetype that might just as easily appear in a dime store novel. Just a detective, he says. And then he tells another lie: one she can't let pass. As Daniel continues speaking, Tessitore nods quietly, her eyes swelling with moisture again, her lower lip jutting out. And yet -- she won't be immobilized by her own emotions. She will not be silent just because her heart is breaking.
"There you go again. You? -You- stick to your 'principles.' But don't confuse my 'principles' with my 'job.'"
Tess closes her eyes, one slender hand going up to remove her eyeglasses. Dabbing her eyes on the sleeve of her lab coat, she continues.
"Listen. What you do for a living, that's... that's work, you deal with it. I work, I deal with it. But -how- we deal with it, whether we're happy or sad about it? That's... How you deal with it is your choice."
Tess withdraws a business card from the breast pocket of her lab coat. She stands up so that she can extend it to Daniel Jack, bowing slightly at the waist.
"Me?" she asks, forging an ebullient smile despite her obviously deteriorating emotional state. "I'm choosing to be happy. Not to hate you, but to be -with- you." She folds her eyeglasses, tucking them into her lab coat pocket. "And besides, you owe me dinner." Her eyes glisten with moisture, though her facial expression is one of sheer radiance -- defiance in the face of cold, precise logic.
"Call me when you have a nice fancy restaurant lined up, Detective. We're going to have a great time."
Two people, lovers, star-crossed.
It was a story that was told time and time again. Daniel knew that this would end in blood, sweat, and tears. Just like how they met, in fact. But as he sees Fio in pain... it's something he shares. Not through science. But through love. He was cold, he made himself cold. Because the alternative was... the alternative was too much for him. Keeping himself stoic and somber, he just shakes his head again, trying to look away from the big puppy spider eyes that Fio was mustering up.
And he cannot resist any longer.
"I am sorry Fio." Daniel states solemnly. "God, I'm a dick sometimes." He sniffles a bit, but he is able to keep himself composed. "And dammit Fio, how did you figure out how to break my heart with a face like that? I never seen anybody so sad in my life." He finally cracks a smile again, and this time, it breaks through. A brightness comes back. "This will work out. I can feel it." He says, as the card is handed to him. And with that, he gives a wink to her.
"It's a date."
Daniel Jack pauses a moment.
He blinks twice.
"You know Fio."
"I haven't figured out how we're both supposed to get out of this. Those vampires are expecting something."
Fio is, to be honest, barely holding together. There was a very real possibility that Tess would have collapsed, shutting down and pushing Daniel away completely. It was a terrifying prospect -- and not one she'd wanted to take place.
And if it weren't for Daniel, yet again, accidentally(?) mischaracterizing her actions in the face of the maelstrom of emotions, she might not have had the temerity to speak.
But she had spoken. Her words were the scaffold upon which she'd been able to form her resistance, to rise back to her feet. She found strength in her words -- strength that she's finding necessary in the face of Daniel, who she feels may be on the very brink of tearing up, himself. Maybe he will -- or maybe not.
She can't think about the 'maybe he will.' He isn't. And that's what keeps her from cracking any further.
Tess draws in her breath, nodding mutely as she laces her fingertips before her. Nodding, and then shrugging. She seems like she's about to answer, her mouth starting to form words -- but Daniel's optimism seems to be the biggest disincentive to say what she was about to.
It's a date.
Tess closes her mouth again, forging another ebullient smile.
"You're much too concerned about them, they're not thoughtless thugs, angry brothers or doting fathers. If you had tried to carry me out? Yes, you could have expected a beatdown, or worse. But anything short of that... eh. They're not my bodyguards, not even technically."
Her eyes cast upwards to the flickering candlelight. It's not as clear as she'd imagine, but she can leave the glasses aside for another few moments.
A trace of mirth flickers through her features as she looks back down at Daniel. Her fingers remain laced, as her palms press together in coquettish gesture. "My hypothesis: I believe they're expecting you to bang my brains out."
"Well I mean, vampires."
Daniel Jack makes a palms up gesture, as if he was balancing two plates. "I'm optimistic that like, they are people. I'm cynical enough that frankly, I've just gotten very, very lucky in when and where I've associated with them. I guess I'm still a little nervous about this whole thing. I mean, I keep getting the vibe that it is more of WHO you know with them, than what you know. I gotta meet more vampires outside of working with you, Fio! But as for their expectations..."
And suddenly, swiftly, Daniel was moving.
Where there was once fear, there was passion. Once anger, there was a kind of love that was all too familiar. He looks squarely into those eyes, that cheeky smile spreading across his whole complexion. "We wouldn't want to make them suspicious, do you my dear?" He says smoothly, softly, holding Fio so close so tight. He gives her a quick wink.
Before moving right into the kiss.
Fio Tessitore hadn't really been trying to look 'cute'. She wasn't exactly trying to 'flirt.' She practically lived in a lab for the latter half of her life, only looking at the handsome boys on the way to and from campus -- always looking, never pursuing. Her schoolwork was much too important...
Until such time that it was not. Until her passion and dedication to her craft hit the brick wall of reality, the judgment of the status quo slamming down upon her fragile world like a judge's gavel made of depleted uranium.
Fio has issues, in short. She's used to people looking down upon her. She's used to people judging her to be certifiably insane, to even such degrees that planting swords in her face is... to be expected.
Really, that's one perk of working with Jedah Dohma, and the vampires in particular: they ran out of cares to give decades ago. Centuries ago, in some cases. She's allowed to do whatever she wants, in whatever ways she wants, so long as she does not jeopardize the long-term viability of the Master's plan.
And, in this case, she has the leeway of a few hours in any direction. Personal time is personal -- and more importantly, personal time is -valuable-.
She could die at any moment -- that's the truth she's been keeping in mind ever since she was pushed so devilishly close to the edge. And she isn't about to waste it mired in doubt.
Other people might question the mood swing -- to swing from utter devotion, to the precipice of doubt, just to rubber-band right back into the throes of passion once again.
But not Fio Tessitore.
She opens her arms wide, accepting the smiling Interpol agent into a warm and forgiving embrace. The child of Genoa starts to offer a reply. But she finds that, for some reason, it becomes rather difficult to speak right now.
Cheeks flushed with passionate warmth, she holds the kiss for a long, long moment. Her long blue fingers find their way to the Daniel's collar -- to his necktie, to the buttons. It's not even a conscious move, at this point. And when she finally steps back towards the bed, allowing her a moment to breathe and control her racing heart, she stammers a reply...
"B-but enough about those guys..." she whispers breathlessly, turning her head aside.
With steady but firm pressure upon Daniel's collar, she leads him back towards the bed.
"Have you missed me, much?"
At this point, it was too late to turn back.
Daniel's own fingers work away, mindlessly, automatically, instinctively. There was no time to think, only time to feel. To experience. To live. "For too long, Fio. For too long." A glimmer comes over Daniel's eyes, as he lets his shirt fall off.
"Lets make up for some lost time, shall we?~"
Log created on 12:27:53 05/09/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 13:25:35 05/16/2016.