Description: Bad, bad Leroy Smith is back in Southtown, and his first step has been to evict some small-time gangsters from a majestic old church. Such good work in cleaning up the neighbourhood is noticed by a powerful man, who has dispatched his insidious butler Hein to make Leroy an offer he ought not refuse.
Controlling both the criminal underworld of Southtown and legitimate enterprises within the city is quite the task, even for a man such as Geese Howard. It is for these purposes that he has employed countless underlings.
The psychotic assassin, Yamazaki. His personal bodyguard, Billy Kane. The Muay Thai champion turned street thug, Hwa Jai...
Among his countless underlings, two stand out in terms of helping the day-to-day operations of both the Syndicate and Howard Enterprises.
Mr. Big, Geese's second-in-command in terms of running things on the street. He handles the details for the majority of criminal activity under the Syndicate flag.
As for the legal side of things, there is none more qualified than Geese's personal manservant, the German butler known only as 'Hein'. A pillar of diplomacy, manners and self-control, he pairs years of grammar and etiquette lessons across the finest academies and schools in Europe with a hidden fighting potential which he rarely puts on display.
Sometimes a stick is called for. Other times, a carrot - held out with a fine satin glove - is just the trick to get troublesome individuals to bend to Howard's will.
Leroy Smith's return had not gone unnoticed by the organization whose tendrils spread throughout the entire city. Evicting the Phantoms from this church had the whole neighbourhood abuzz with rumours of a man who had taken it upon himself to wage a personal crusade against crime in Southtown.
Unfortunately for him, that is something that the man who - essentially - runs this city views as /troublesome/.
But sending someone like Yamazaki to simply kill Leroy Smith would also be more trouble than the outcome is worth. The killer is not known for his subtlety, and Geese takes great care to not put himself in a position that might cause blowback upon either his criminal or legitimate enterprises.
In comes Hein. The diplomat. The public face of Howard in most matters legal and above-board.
Sitting in the back of a black BMW 760Li - one of countless 'company' cars Geese has purchased for official use - is the German in question. Well-dressed as always in his typical black suit and brown vest, the man runs one gloved hand through his perfectly combed and slicked-back black hair as the car slowly pulls up in front of the church which had previously served as a base of operations for the Phantoms.
Gazing out the heavily tinted window, Hein speaks to the driver and the large, muscular man sitting in the passenger seat - his voice calm, impassive, polished and proper.
"Wait here. I can't imagine this taking long."
Grabbing hold of a black leather briefcase sitting on the seat beside him, Hein opens the door and steps out of the sedan, the case held at his side as his other hand reaches out to close the door behind him.
Cool, emotionless eyes fall upon the entrance of the church, and he begins to walk towards it - evidently in no hurry to get to the foot of the steps.
It's a place where people come to relax and worship and find some sort of peace. It's a place that has always been the safest place on all the blocks in all the neighborhoods around the world. There's always been some sort of unwritten rule about places like this.
Then the Phantoms decided to break that rule. They had taken over and ruined what was once a place that people could come to as a bit of a safe space. What they were doing out of this place of worship, the details don't really matter. Whatever it was, it was not good for the neighborhood. It didn't have Southtown's best interests at heart. IN fact, it probably just served to help the Phantoms continue to rise up the ranks of the various gangs that threatened the sanctity of Southtown.
Things were looking up for the Phantoms until an old man showed up on their doorstep with a message. A message not for the Phantoms but for those that employed these assholes. That message? It came right after some brutalization of the Phantoms themselves. It was a simple statement. One that should be pretty clear to all parties that hear it. One that should, with the injuries that the Phantoms has sustained, be heeded as the warning that it was meant to be.
That message: 'Leave.'
Now, though, the man that sent that message is standing on the walkway that leads to the doors of the church. The place that he has taken from the Phantoms to turn it back into a safe haven for the people of Southtown. He stands there, decked out in the finest of traditional Chinese tunic drip. There's a cane held in front of him that only helps to define the innate swagger that this older man's aura is exploding with. His head is even cocked to the side in a manner that shows he's not about whatever bullshit is headed up this way, his dark sunglasses covering his eyes and everything.
There's no doubt about it. This is Leroy Smith.
Next to Leroy's legs is faithful American Bully companion, in all of her four legged glory, Sugar. She's sitting calmly and just kind of watching alongside her master. Tongue hanging out and all that.
Nothing is said. Nothing needs to be said. Ol' Leroy Smith just stands his ground, about dead center of the walkway to the church, while awaiting certain individuals to say whatever it is they came here to say.
Looking as calm as anything, Hein slowly approaches the walkway leading up to the church; he appears to take little notice of Leroy or the dog, as if he were simply on a casual stroll... of course, his clothes would make him stand out in this area of Southtown, even without the luxurious car he just rolled up in. Businessmen, professionals, and butlers were all rare sights in this part of the city; a much more common class of individual dwelt here.
The fact that he doesn't wear a look of distaste all over his well-groomed and moisturized face is a testament to his self-control and etiquette. He doesn't want to be here, the people in this neighbourhood were well below his station... but Leroy might be the sort who could read such things from a person's expression, and it does no good to get this meeting off on the wrong foot.
It is only when he steps within a few feet of the unusual pair that the butler's eyes finally seem to come to life - a sudden, closed-lip smile suddenly manifesting on his previously blank face. Coming to a stop just short of Leroy, he seems to look at a point somewhere to the side of Leroy's head - not yet making eye contact.
"Who's a good boy?"
His voice is smooth as silk, words enunciated with the precision of a Shakespearean actor - and no hint of the German accent from his childhood, polished away by years of language training. After a brief pause, his eyes move from Leroy to fall upon Sugar, confirming that he was in fact addressing the dog before its owner... some subtle disrespect, greeting the animal before the man? Or perhaps Hein is just a lover of dogs. Who can say?
"Lovely dog... Mr. Smith, I presume?"
Now speaking to Leroy while staring at Sugar, it's clear this man is far from normal despite his well-mannered appearance and speech. There's something off about him, a theory given more credence by that unusual gleam in his eyes. They're /sharp/, like the edge of a razor - as if politeness were merely disguising a well-practiced viciousness, hidden underneath layers of nicety.
"Allow me to introduce myself. You may call me Hein, if it pleases you..."
Finally turning that sharp gaze back to Leroy, he stares straight at the man's face this time - boring past his skin with an ice-cold glare that seemed at odds with his polite smile. He carries on, not giving Leroy much of a chance to reply - as though what pleased the man was of little concern to Hein himself.
"...and I represent a very wealthy man, who has /noticed/ the good work you've done in the neighbourhood. Perhaps we could speak inside? I'm afraid my business isn't well suited for the street, sir."
Honestly, who knows what the hell Leroy Smith can read? He's old. He's only got one eye. There's a lot of things that should be wrong with this man. There's no reason he should've been able to single-handedly rid the church of that entire sector of Phantoms.
Then again, that Tunic Drip can't be worn by just anyone, right?
Leroy Smith doesn't seem to be in the mood to move or give much by way of body language. He might not even be reading Hein's. In fact. he just kind of seems to be standing in some twisted form of impatient patience as if the ball is forever in Hein's court. Even though this is Leroy's territory. Or, well, at least he's decided to make it his.
Sugar, for all her tilted headness, just kind of stares blankly at Hein. Her tongue continues to hang for a moment before she draws it back in and just kind of looks confused. Boy?! Frown. Much frown. Though it's kind of hard to tell but still: FROWN.
There's finally an eyebrow that's raised because Leroy Smith don't like people messing with his Sugar. Still, though, he keeps the bulk of his emotions under wraps in favor of just continuing to stare at Hein through his sunglasses with his single good eye.
Hein's suggestion of going inside causes Leroy to almost smirk. "We renovatin'. Wouldn't be a safe environment..." Now he smirks fully as he tilts his head in the other direction to give off just a hint of a cocky vibe. "... for you." There's even a tap of his cane to help punctuate that fact.
Leroy straightens up as he takes a step towards Hein. Not a threatening one so much as just kind of putting himself in the range of proving that he's not going to give any ground. Body language of stubborn old man here to speak volumes, of course.
"This my street." Leroy doesn't seem to believe that there could be any question to that statement. "Which makes this my business." There, he just solved whatever issues Hein had with conducting his business out here.
Oh snap. Leroy Smith with the potential subtle disrespect hurled right back in Hein's direction. He doesn't have a companion to speak to instead of Hein so instead he just hits him with the straight up dog commands.
Black Knight to C6.
Leroy's bearing and tone come as something of a surprise to the German, though his expression doesn't show it. Unblinking blue eyes remain leveled at those sunglasses, his own face vaguely reflected in the tint. As an emissary of the man who controls most of Southtown, the servant is not used to such disrespect - or his polite requests being turned down.
Renovations? He wonders about that. No doubt the Phantoms likely left this sacred place in rough shape, but is that really the reason this man refuses to take the conversation inside? Or does he simply want witnesses on the street to prevent any shenanigans.
Perhaps this old dog is sharper than he looks... but then again, it should be expected from someone who evicted the gang which had taken residence inside the church. As silly as he might look to someone as refined and proper as Hein, there can be no doubt that his actions since returning to Southtown have shown him to be a capable vigilante.
Which is why the butler was sent in the first place. Dealing with such a dangerous and unpredictable element requires a level of finesse that is rare among some of Howard's other employees.
"As you wish, Mr. Smith. I had assumed you might want to rest your legs while we discussed matters..."
He speaks with an almost over-the-top politeness and consideration; even though he might well be implying that a man of Leroy's age would be more comfortable off his feet. Aside from the words themselves, there is little hint that he might have meant it as a backhanded comment. No, simply looking out for an elderly man's wellbeing, surely.
"Personally, I enjoy the fresh air. Better for one to enjoy such things while they still can, no?"
What the /fuck/ does that mean? Hein's face is as unreadable as ever; like staring at an eternally smiling statue, lips closed tight as those sharp eyes pierce the air between Leroy and himself.
"The man I work for has a vested interest in the safety of the city's streets, and he applauds the progress you've made in such a short time."
It's true, in a way - Geese had heard about the Phantoms being run out of the Village. They were an unruly lot, entirely unwilling to join the Syndicate umbrella... in fact, Leroy had done Howard and his gang a great service by doing what they had intended to. The church was now vacant, the neighbourhood had one less gang that did not bow to Geese's authority...
All that remained now was evicting Leroy, as well. Easier said than done, perhaps. The elderly and righteous were frequently irrational, stubborn, foolishly clinging to their own ideals instead of listening to reason.
"He's worried, though. A man your age, fighting in the streets, doing the job of the police... it can never end well, hmm?"
He's not threatening Leroy... at least there is no outright sign that he is. But the words are spoken in an almost self-satisfied, matter-of-fact way - like blowback was an inevitability, rather than simply a vague possibility. A promise, to be made good at some point in the future - unless...
"After /all/. A man with your family history ought to be aware this city isn't as safe as it seems..."
If Leroy Smith is anything, it's probably surprising. Which is why he almost seems to be even more of a smug old man after his response to Hein goes according to his not-quite-plan. He's only attempting to meet Hein on the battlefield of wits where Hein started all of this. He really just wants to take care of his town and eventually be rid of all these gangs.
Dealing with pompous butlers that got a little too much snark in them? Ain't nobody got time for dat!
"Ah, my legs'll do jus' fine." Leroy's lips crack at the sides a bit, showing the slightest bit of smirkdom as he continues on with his response, "It's these hands you gotta' worry 'bout." There's almost an audible wink that comes attached to the end of that statement. Zing! But also a warning.
There's another slight shift in Leroy's posture as he listens to Hein wax on and off about fresh air and toss another dig in his direction. That time, there's only an eyebrow twitch in response because even Leroy Smith knows that was a potential threat. Or just another old age crack. His body language almost seems to be that of 'touche' to allow Hein that moment.
"Does he?" Leroy Smith decides to meet Hein bar-for-bar here in this next bit. Even going so far as to dramatically look around as though he is searching for something or someone for a moment. It takes him enough time for this to be annoying before he brings his unamused expression back to face Hein directly. "Where he at?" Shots fired in the direction of Hein's boss! Pew pew, bitches.
Hein's words continue to fall over Leroy and he doesn't seem to react much to the spiel. He's encountered these types before and it's best to just let them talk until they need to get smacked in the mouth. And it seems like Hein's coming right up on that point when he mentions Leroy's family.
The older man takes another cane-led step towards Hein after hearing that and his chest even puffs up a bit. Nerve? Struck. It actually takes Leroy a moment to calm himself back into his previously relaxed state. It's a very visible moment that even involves an extra moment of breathing and hesitation.
"Southtown's always been a rough town. Bad things happen to good people. Nothin' bad ever seems to happen to those that deserve it. Not here, anyway." Leroy takes a step back now that he's back in control of his emotional state. "I don't know what you heard but I don't know anything about any fights. I'm just an old man, coming back home to do what I should've done a long time ago..."
Leroy Smith's back straightens and he steels himself into a position that might be similar to a mountain that cannot be moved.
"Take out the trash."
There is the briefest flash of satisfaction that crosses Hein's face, as his prodding words seem to have opened Leroy up a bit: he was worried the man would be monosyllabic, or that he might completely refuse to speak about such matters. There is no surer sign that someone is incapable of listening to reason, than stubbornly refusing to give any reply at all.
So, when the older man begins to speak in a more verbose fashion, it pleases the butler greatly. One of his sharpest skills was dragging unwilling participants into a conversation on his own terms. It is what has made him rise up the ranks from simple domestic servant, to handling so many of Geese's more delicates business affairs.
And yet, there is something within Mr. Smith that seems at odds with what he has heard about the man's actions: a certain flair for banter that almost takes the German by surprise. It is not entirely displeasing to Hein; in fact, he does so enjoy some verbal repartee... but such a swift wit is a sure sign that Leroy is more than he might appear to be.
This is no old man here to simply help the community; there is an edge underneath whatever act he might be putting on for Hein's benefit. Perhaps he might be more trouble than Howard had initially anticipated - all the more reason for his servant to try and bring matters to a diplomatic end here. If he were able to resolve this matter peacefully, before the Syndicate was forced to get involved in a /serious/ fashion, it would only help his status in the eyes of his boss.
Something tells Hein, however, that may be harder than he had initially hoped. Particularly after Leroy's first comment, which is enough to bring a short chuckle out of the refined butler - a threat in return, an answer to Hein's words. It is likely fortunate that Hein did not come alone - perhaps Leroy is able to see the two men in the front seats of the parked car, even through the heavily tinted windows /and/ his sunglasses.
Leroy's reaction to the mention of his family is enough to cause Hein to raise an eyebrow sharply - the verbal dagger achieving its goal in bringing a brief rise out of the otherwise cool and collected man. And despite his sudden step towards Hein, the butler remains standing as calm as if he were simply overseeing a banquet back at Howard's massive skyscraper.
There is an edge within the younger German, as well - though perhaps not as sharp and well-honed through experience as Leroy himself.
"The garbagemen in the city are well-compensated, yet you appear to do it for free?"
Shaking his head in mock-disbelief at the fact that Mr. Smith would take up such a duty without any obligation or monetary gain, Hein lifts up the briefcase held in one white-gloved hand - as if to draw Leroy's attention to it. It remains unopened, for now, but it's clear that the contents are relevant to his purpose here.
"My employer thinks it a shame, for a man of your age to dwell amongst the trash in these gutters. Such is the province of the young and foolish, Mr. Smith, and you seem to be neither of those things."
Smooth. Controlled. Unshaken.
Whether the remarks about Leroy's age are meant to prod him, Hein simply speaks in a matter-of-fact tone - as if stating the objective truth, nothing more.
"I'll cut to the chase, I suppose. I don't want to impose upon your nap-time. An offer, then: enjoy your twilight years someplace safer. Mr. Howard has many vacant properties in Metro City, for instance - you could do some good there, and the Mad Gear gang is far less fatal to interlopers than the thugs that dwell in Southtown."
No overt threats, but there is a pressure that slowly creeps into Hein's voice. As though he were gently shoving Leroy in the direction he wished him to go, leaving little wiggle room for a refusal. The choice should be simple: heed his advice, or risk the consequences. Finally dropping the /name/ of his employer was likely done intentionally - Geese's reputation is well-known even outside the city... and though nobody has ever made it stick, it's close to common knowledge that he is /more/ than an upstanding businessman and landowner.
"Perhaps it is time for you to retire."
It's not a question.
Leroy Smith has been around these Southtown blocks a few dozen times. He's been paying attention even while off on his journey to prepare himself for the ultimate return. He knows all about who runs what and who does what and it's just a lot of knowledge that he's decided to keep to himself for whatever reason.
Or, the most obvious of reasons. Who really knows. This old man is hard to read even when he's being as transparent as he possibly can be.
Leroy Smith takes a moment to seem to pay attention to the words coming from Hein's mouth. He even gives a little more smirk when the 'taking out the trash' line it turned back on him. Verbal warfare like this can be its own reward. Even Leroy has to admit to himself that Hein is doing quite the job with all of these verbal jabs and counters. He's quite enjoying himself. This wasn't as useless of a conversation as he originally thought it would be.
"I'm just an old man that's tryin' to clean up a mess. A town with such a reputation as Southtown shouldn't have to feel so... dirty." Leroy uses his one good eye to level a gaze at Hein through his sunglasses. "I'm sure you and your employer can agree."
Nope, definitely not implying that either of them are dirty. Nope. Nuh-uh.
Leroy's well versed in dealing with potential digs to his age and just seems to embrace them. He even leans onto his cane to perhaps more prominently display the jewelry wrapped around his wrists and fingers. He loves being his age. It comes with wisdom and These Hands.
And then Hein is cutting to the chase, which is where Leroy has been wanting to meet him this entire time.
It is when the offer is presented that Leroy Smith actually moves from the spot he's been most of this time. He swings his cane to the side and takes a few steps away from Hein, almost turning his back on him. "You know, when I was a kid, I loved this town. It was my home. Then a lot of bad things happened and I was forced to leave my home. I've lived all over the world and I did that so that I could come back here. To my home." Leroy's just sharing all kinds of information for no reason. He's even just kind of looking out at Southtown as he remembers all of this stuff that he's telling a man that definitely does not care.
"And now that I've finally made it back here, Mr. Howard wants me to just pack up and relocate to Metro City? After everything that I've done to get back here, back to this very spot?" Leroy taps his cane on the ground to indicate Southtown.
Finally, Leroy Smith turns back around to look at Hein and more, importantly, the briefcase. He plants himself behind his cane again, giving a bit of a nod towards the briefcase and sighing ever so reluctantly.
"A relocation stipend, I presume?"
Sounds like Leroy Smith might actually be considering this.
As Leroy turns away and pontificates about his past in Southtown, Hein cocks his head slightly to one side - blue eyes darting down briefly to check the rather expensive watch worn on his right wrist. Oh, how these older folks love to reminisce...
Finally, he finishes reliving his past, wrapping up with a rhetorical question - does Howard actually expect him to leave his home?
There is no answer coming from the butler at present, as he senses the man is not quite finished - and finally, when the tip of the cane lifts off the ground to gesture at the briefcase and mention a 'relocation stipend', Hein takes it as a sign that the conversation has finally progressed to /that/ point.
Time to make the offer, and see just how /serious/ Leroy Smith was about his personal mission that brought him back to Southtown. Just /how/ attached he was to this damned city, and how dedicated he was to fixing its flaws - making it a safe place for future generations to grow up in.
Bending at the knees, Hein carefully places the briefcase on the ground between Leroy and himself. Two gloved hands open the clasps on either side of the case's handle, before he spins the object so that the front faces the vigilante and his dog.
"You're a clever one."
As he finishes speaking those words, he lifts up the lid of the briefcase to reveal the contents to Mr. Smith. The interior is about halfway filled with bundles of American $100 bills - the total would come to about $1,200,000.00 if counted out. A paltry sum for a man such as Geese Howard, well worth giving away if it saves him the headache of another tunic-clad crusader waging war against organized crime in /his/ city.
There is also a small stack of papers resting besides the bundles of cash... a manila folder containing a variety of vacant of potentially-vacant properties in Metro and Sunshine City. Potential spots for Leroy to relocate, if he were wise enough to take Hein's offer and leave Southtown before something unfortunate happened.
And on top of that folder, is a clipping taken from a visibly old, wrinkled newspaper.
The title tells of an innocent family, murdered in what was assumed to be a gang-related misunderstanding. Leroy's family. Someone within Howard's organization was dilligent enough to look into the man's history, and track down the specific date his family was murdered.
Oh, there's even a bone-shaped, extra-large dog biscuit for Sugar next to the newspaper clipping - how thoughtful!
Hein continues to wear that blank smile, but his eyes are practically shining with a self-satisfied gleam - watching the man for any reaction, as a hungry man might watch a meal being prepared.
"There was a small debate about the currency to offer you, Mr. Smith... but nothing spends quite like American dollars, hm?"
He says the last bit with an almost wistful sigh, as if punctuating exactly how generous an offer he is making to the older man. Standing back up to his full height, one foot - clad in a perfectly-polished black leather Oxford - reaches out to push the briefcase a bit closer to Leroy.
"Now, what do I tell Mr. Howard, hm? Or perhaps you'd like some time to think it over?"
Leroy Smith has been trying to do something good since his return to Southtown. And now there are individuals that are willing to pay him to make himself scarce. Whether they want to get him out of here because of his potential threat to their continued success or because he is an old man that they may not want to see anything bad happen to. All of these reasons seem to amount to the same thing. The same vibes.
Leroy watches as Hein goes through the theatrical display of opening the briefcase and making showing off the contents. He doesn't seem to be marveling at the amount or anything. Leroy Smith just kind of stares at it, as if he's pondering exactly what his decision should be. Although, the more he stares at it the more he seems to be leaning towards it. Both physically and otherwise.
His cane is there to keep him from completely falling over.
"I see." says the half-blind man.
Leroy reaches out with the end of his cane to slide the dog biscuit out of the briefcase, then the newspaper clipping, and finally the manila folder. They all get slid off the cash and to the ground on the side of the briefcase. There's a quick flipping around of the cane so that the handle is used to pull down the lid and close the case.
In the middle of all this, Sugar comes trotting over to take a seat at Leroy's feet. She doesn't even go for the dog biscuit.
"I already have somewhere in mind." Leroy almost sounds both defeated and disgusted with himself for even saying those words. Where his head was up before, now it is tilted down as if he cannot take his one good eye off of the briefcase. As if it were controlling him. As if he had no other choice than to take this deal.
A deal that might actually give him an opportunity to let his family's legacy finally be put to rest.
There's a long dramatic pause that seems to be taking over the soul of Leroy Smith as he seems to shove down the emotions and the dishonor that he may be bringing upon his family. Upon his name. It takes him a bit to bring his head back up to a more straight on level, though his one eye still peers downwards behind those sunglasses.
"If you happen to have a couple more of these..." The cane taps on the top of the briefcase. "... I can be packed in two days." Not that he's demanding or requesting anything. He's just stating things. For the record.
Ugh. Even after saying it, Leroy's lips curl up into a bit of a disgusted snarl. He can't believe he's doing this...
Leroy's sunglasses keep Hein from getting a proper read on the older man, to the German butler's disappointment. The man's cool demeanor and lack of overt reaction gives the sense that there's not much he hasn't seen before, as if being offered $1.2million USD wasn't anything out of the ordinary. He's far too collected for someone put in such a position, particularly with the slight undertones of menace that Hein has tried to infuse his words with.
Looks like they may have a hard case on their hands, a man who can't be shaken by simple words and veiled threats, nor bought off with a simple briefcase full of cash.
Hein's right eyebrow arches up as he watches Leroy actually /close/ the briefcase lid with the handle of his cane, the German lifting up one gloved hand to push aside his eyeglasses and rub at the bridge of his nose. As though he were just now on the receiving end of a headache... not an entirely unaccurate thought, as the do-gooder is proving to be far more stubborn than Hein had anticipated.
And then, the faintest glimmer that the man might actually yield to reason... he has a place in mind? The words are enough to return Hein to his old calm, impassive self - the mounting frustration visibly washed away in a second as the sum of money seems to do its job convincing the upjumped vigilante.
And then Leroy continues, and just like that the butler's collected and polite demeanor is shattered once more.
Hein's own lips twist into something resembling a distasteful scowl as the man makes a counter-offer. The gall of this individual, thinking they could pose an ultimatum - of sorts - to the man representing Geese Howard, the most powerful entity in all of Southtown. Such disrespect turns the butler's stomach, and sets his mind racing with all sorts of vicious, sadistic thoughts as his blue eyes seem to grow even colder than they already were.
"This is not a negotiation, /Leroy/."
This time, he doesn't even bother to pay the man the common courtesy of referring to him as 'Mr. Smith'. Dropping such formalities is a sure sign that the typically well-mannered mask which Hein wears almost constantly has slipped off his face... revealing the smug, hateful man underneath.
"You accept this and leave, or I return to Mr. Howard and inform him of your unfortunate refusal. The choice is yours, as are the /consequences/."
Stepping forward and lifting one foot, Hein brings the bottom of one black leather Oxford down onto the lid of the briefcase - just inches from the tip of Leroy's can that is tapping the top of the case. He leans ahead, abandoning his perfect posture for the first time in this meeting to bring his face closer to Leroy's... his eyes are alive with a barely-restrained anger, even though the rest of his face remains blank - showing none of that emotion which his gaze puts across so clearly.
"I /might/ be able to convince him to give you twenty-four hours to come to a decision. I can promise nothing of the sort, though... he was /expecting/ an answer this very day."
That's the bulk of what happens when Leroy Smith has to bear witness to the man called Hein's descent into threats. See, Leroy was just trying to see if he could get his hands on some extra cash for the move. There's a lot of costs that go into this kind of relocation. And just asking a simple question has managed to illicit such a response as the one that Hein has dropped on his lap has put Leroy Smith in a predicament. One that he definitely does not want to be in.
Or maybe he does. It's hard to tell.
The sigh is long and drawn out as he just kind of shakes his head with that disappointment that an old man would have after seeing someone that had almost pretended to respect fall down a rabbit hole of distasteful reactions.
Not unlike the moment when his family was brought up. Turnabout. Fair Play. Tables. There's a cliche in this moment somewhere if there's time to find it.
Leroy Smith slowly pulls his cane from the top of the briefcase and reaches up to straighten the sunglasses that are still on his face. It's obvious he's just looking for something to do with his hand while he watches Hein's descent into threatening anger.
"Shame. You were doing so well too." Wait, was this whole thing a trick?! Leroy Smith, you sly old dog!
When it looks like Hein's finished, Leroy Smith goes into full unworried and disrespectful mode by just shrugging and turning his back to Hein as he starts to slow walk with his cane back toward the church.
"Tell Howie," Yes, he just called GEESE HOWARD /Howie/ on purpose. What a rude ass old man. "Now /he/ has twenty-four hours to relocate to Metro City." Leroy Smith pauses and turns to half-look over his shoulder. Mostly because it's one of those badass poses when you're dropping an ultimatum or a threat or whatever. "Or it's open season on you, him, and his entire organization."
Leroy turns his head back to really show how much he's not worried about their threats and continues his slow caned walk back toward the church.
Almost as if she's been trained for this, she trots over to the briefcase, pisses on it, then turns to happily trot after her master.
And just like that, Hein - the devious schemer, the refined and adept master of business and domestic matters, the chessmaster - is put into check by a man who he had, evidently, underestimated in a big way.
Pretending to be a harmless, foolish old man. Pretending to consider the offer put forth by Hein. Pretending that he could possibly be intimidated or swayed by Geese's wealth and power.
Keeping their conversation on the street rather than going into the church has ensured that there would be witnesses to whatever comes next - he cannot use force at such a juncture, as there are already curious eyes peering out of nearby buildings or loitering in front of shops. Baiting Hein into naming his employer - making it clear to Leroy Smith exactly /who/ to blame for any retaliation that comes from declining the man's offer. And finally, having his pet literally piss on the generous offer - as if tempting Hein to overreact, to blow his cool and give Leroy exactly the reason he needs to lay the smackdown here and now.
It's masterful, to say the least; and if he weren't on the receiving end of this long con, he would likely be impressed by the older man's brilliant play. It is not often that the experienced diplomat and servant finds himself utterly bested in a battle of wits.
This man is clearly no common vigilante. He's clever... and that makes him more dangerous than anyone in the Syndicate would have guessed.
Standing in complete silence as soon as Leroy offers /his/ ultimatum to Hein - 24 hours for the Syndicate to abandon their city, before it's on sight - the gleam in his eye grows sharper, more vicious, almost dripping with murderous intent. It is the only visible sign that Leroy has gotten the better of him, the rest of his face remaining impassive and calm... but those eyes don't lie, and the blue in them grows even colder as he stares at the man's back.
His right hand clenches into a fist, held at its side as he watches the bulldog strut up to piss on the briefcase before following his master back towards the church. In his mind, there is a storm of violent thoughts that he keeps at bay with willpower and a sense of decorum alone. He cannot possibly push the issue any further, here and now, without making it clear that Geese was responsible for whatever grievous injuries befell Leroy Smith.
Fortunately, the man Leroy has decided to make an enemy of runs most of the city - legal institutions included. They will come up with another plan.
Time is on their side.
"We'll be in touch, Leroy. Sleep well."
Those final words spoken in a tone that is audibly disturbing for its complete lack of emotion, Hein lifts his left hand into the air and snaps his fingers. A half block down the street, the passenger door of the parked BMW opens... the large man - obviously a bodyguard or enforcer of sorts - steps out onto the street and begins to approach Hein's position on the sidewalk. Once within speaking distance, the German butler gestures to the briefcase sitting on the ground, turning his back to it and beginning to walk back towards the sedan.
"Pick this up and put it in the trunk. Quickly. Mr. Howard will want to hear about this."
Log created on 12:09:08 08/31/2021 by Hein, and last modified on 17:47:54 09/08/2021.