Description: Following his 'successful' deal with the evasive Ms. White, Billy Kane stops by to pay his 'regards' to the Don of Metro City. Aggression comes in many forms, and there's very little passive about the attitude these two men present to one another. But on such promise of violence, a brighter future may just be built... if only because of the fire and flame burning the sky.
The entrance of the opera house, Il Paradiso's, was closed to the main public. This naturally was not unusual this early in the day. Certainly, it was unlocked. But nobody, except the singers, would want to poke around. And the two burly security guards always on duty around the entrance seems to deter any acts of vandalism against the opera house. Certainly, there wasn't anything strange about the front lobby of the great Opera House
With the exception of the producer lurking at the front entrance.
'Mr. Brown' was the name he gave. Brown hair, always had a briefcase. Most striking was his black eyepatch, slung over his eye. Always working on a laptop, by a broom closet of an office near the entrance. The office was almost a joke the extravagant opera house. He was always working, always studying, always busy with nothing in particular. He wasn't working for the opera house, at least he did not claim to. He was just a producer, an in-house source of finance. Nobody sought to bother him, nor did they have a reason to.
After all, the only people who bothered him were people who had right to.
Life used to be so simple. London's East End has a vast enough criminal underbelly, but a man knows where he is with switchblades, billy clubs, and vehicles shoved off the muddy banks of the Thames following the application of the first two things. Crime is practical, crime makes sense. But under the employ of a man like Geese Howard, you soon to learn to take assurances that 'nothing is strange' with a pinch of salt. There's weird stuff everywhere, and the slit-throat bruiser who calls himself Duke? Well, he's no exception.
Billy Kane knows his stuff, he knows what he's dealing with, and it's part of his job to know exactly where somebody so important to the Syndicate plies his trade. But they've never actually met in person, and it's his first time venturing beyond the front entrance of the Il Paradiso. Entering seemingly unarmed, his hands plainly visible as he nonchalantly swaggers past the pair of hired thugs, the Londoner has come in peace to this brave new world. His expression doesn't change as he sends a nod their way.
Clad in his iconic denims - complete with the 'no smoking' logo on the back - he's not a figure most would expect to see slipping into the front door of the opera house, and for that reason nobody actually does. You learn quick in this trade; people see what they expect to, and blank out anything that doesn't demand they open their eyes any wider than absolutely required to survive. It's how pickpockets and other petty thieves make their way, and men like Duke and Billy can operate so much easier because of it.
Billy's only problem lately is that he doesn't get stopped for autographs, but hey...
Who'd expect a loveable public figure to be steeped to the waist in dirty crime, anyhow?
Once he's inside, Billy finds himself face to face with the mighty Mr. Brown. A smile flits across his lips, faint and just barely pleasant enough to pass for a civil greeting, as he catches the man's eye - even if doing so takes some difficulty, to get him away from his screen. "Hey, hey, hey," he murmurs without much of his usual enthusiasm, effectively branding himself with a self-effacing chuckle under his breath. Catchphrases are dumb, but they serve their purpose. That describes a lot of things... and a lot of people too.
"I'm 'ere to welcome our friend back from 'is little 'oliday," he says more clearly, running a hand back along the top of his red and white bandanna, teasing at the back of his neck for a moment as he flashes a pearly white grin-- yeah, he's British, but Geese pays for the best dental care. "I'd've brought flowers, but that seemed a bit trite under the circumstances. You'd better 'old onto this, though."
Reaching inside his jacket, he yanks out the folded three sections of his cane. Without preamble or any flashy gesture, he steps over to set the heavy weapon on the surface beside Mr. Brown's laptop. Clunk. So far, so polite; he knows better than to expect to walk armed into Duke's presence.
Mr. Jacque Brown, known in the underworld as 'One-Eyed Jack' was Duke's Consigliere. His advisor, and right hand man in the details of operations. As he sits at his desk, handling some non-confidential information, a man is at his desk. Normally, the 'guards' would have settled an intruder. Two types of people stop at his desk. People who know One-Eyed Jack, and trouble makers. This person, fortunately, knew Mr. Brown.
And even more fortunately, One-Eyed Jack would know Billy.
Looking up from the screen, the French-Canadian looks at Mr. Kane with little nonsense. Grimacing, he simply looks at Billy. Waiting. Listening. One-Eyed Jack was not as unpleasent as he was acting towards Billy. THe one eye fixes on the table as the cane hits the desk. Inspecting it, he finally nods, focusing back on the Brit.
"Thank you for checking your weapon at the door, Mr. Kane." Came the gruff, intense tone of the consigliere, pulling open the drawer to his desk. Pulling up a small handheld talkie, the man keeps his posture erect. "Let me page the boss, Mr. Kane. He is recovering from... your assistance." The man scratches his chin. "It is good that you have come. He is very distraught at the costs required to restore him back to power. It makes it difficult to reason with him." The man looks away, lips still tight.
"You will allow him to get steam off, oui."
Speaking into the communicator, he does not conceal the words from Billy. "Boss. There is a guest here for you." The consigliere pauses. "Mr. Billy Kane. He is here to welcome you-" A crackle of static erupts from the communicator. Mr. Brown puts away the communicator. "He seems to have been expecting you, Mr. Kane. Allow me to show you the door." Rising up, One-Eyed Jack does not turn around as he walks out of the office.
And approaches a small segment of velvet wall.
Pulling aside a scone, One-Eyed Jack reveals small keyhole. Frisking out a key, the assistant inserts the key, twisting it one to the left, and three full turns to the right. As he turns to the let again, a loud click is heard as a portion of the wall begins to slide aside. One-Eyed Jack stands aside, motioning for the unarmed Billy. "I will close it behind you. Go."
"The Duke Awaits."
Most people know Billy, at least loosely-- he doesn't lack for fame won on the fighting circuit.
But by comparison, very few people really /know/ Billy.
As he's recognized and acknowledged, the Londoner sinks his posture slightly; not from relief as such, there are even fewer who can make him genuinely nervous - though they do exist - but because in spite of all his bluster, he really didn't know what sort of reception to expect here. Duke had made a serious mistake allowing Cammy White to best him, but the deal that's been brokered to reverse the consequences of that was more than simply risky... it was outright dangerous, irresponsible and insulting by equal measure.
"Steam, is it?" Echoes Billy with a quirk of the lips, scratching once more at the nape of his neck before dropping his hand away and raising both arms in a loose shrug. As if to say, 'what's a guy to do?' It actually looks humble, and genuine enough, though Kane doesn't believe for an instant he can wash away the criminal politics involved in this one with a bit of cockney charm. "Understandable. I'd like to give my..."
He pauses, letting other words fall inbetween, his mouth hanging open as he waits out the exchange between Brown and his impressive titan of a boss. The operation is smooth, and Billy's not unimpressed; everything seems pretty tight, even shipshape. Mr. Brown has earned his reputation and then some, especially with reports of his involvement in the fracas that claimed Duke. Men like him are true survivors. They share that.
"...commiserations." Finishes Billy at last, glancing toward the consigliere as he steps across the room.
An eyebrow lifts, almost entering the outer limits of the punk's bandanna as he observes.
"Very posh," he offers by way of compliment, ducking his head to Brown as he follows the proferred lead. "My fanks." A rather cruel grin flashes out as he slips past and turns over his shoulder past the closing door. "He doesn't pay you enough," form his last words, with a chuckle as he twists again and heads down into the darkness. Or not. Hell wishes it was so well-decorated, the Londoner's step carrying him past sculptures and paintings - as lavish as Duke's taste in clothing and music would attest - on his way to the office.
Billy's cocky, but he's not an idiot, and he keeps his steps purposeful but unhurried. He's prepared for any attempt to surprise him - you can never put it past an ambitious man to target anyone who seems to stand in their way, even with the bodyguard's connection to his own, more powerful master. There may always be a bigger fish, but smaller fish can grow, if they feed well enough. He'd make a fine morsel, and he knows it.
"The Duke Awaits, indeed," he echoes, glancing at the sumptuous walls, "Someone pays /him/ too much."
Of course, he thinks as he approaches the office, his actions might help ah... redistribute some of that wealth.
Billy's like Robin Hood. If he worked for the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Really, for what he goes through?"
Mr. Brown doesn't get paid enough.
As Billy lowers further and further down the stairs, the secret door is shut with a 'click.' Looks like there is no turning back now.
And then the beautiful interior reveals itself. %
The interior of Duke's inner sanctum is lavish, to say that least. It is composed of a series of marble statues and high-rising, black columns, developed with the same rose-vine designs as those in the atrium. The main room is large and circular, leading in from a long hall decorated with a series of lavish pieces of artwork. The flooring here is made of black marble, and deep red carpet leads a path towards the study itself, giving this chamber a far more darker quality than the rest of the opera house.
Towards the end of the chamber is a large fireplace, with several large chairs surrounding it. There are speakers arranged here with a seemingly obscure purpose; however, these speakers are connected to the upper rooms of the opera house, allowing whatever opera being conducted to be played out in sound here within the study. Towards the opposite end of the study is a single door, leading into a simple office -- a dark mahogany desk is set here, along with several chairs just before a large, lavish black chair, composed like some sort of modernized throne. The office is not nearly as grandiose as the study itself, composed of only that desk and several book shelves filled to the brim with various works of literature.
And behind that desk, sat Duke, glowering fiercely.
Sitting at the desk, he was in the midsts of reviewing the shattered remains of his operations. Damnd was jacking up prices to choke demand. Raiden still had not captured those three children. And now, with the balls of steel, was Billy Kane, coming down to his lair. A bowl of walnuts stand on his desk. Gripping one nut, he taps it on the desk. Waiting. Looming.
Whatever cracks Kane may aim toward his fellow mobster, and - in this area of town - a man who carries far greater sway than he, there's a strong modicum of respect burning somewhere in his soul. This is a stylish venue, the man's presentation impeccable, the overwhelmingly impressive corridor fading to a darkened vault... truly, if Duke were to introduce himself, it would be as a man of wealth and taste. It does a credit to the reputation he has earned, and the name he has made, that Billy hesitates even inwardly to be here alone.
But on the outside, the Londoner is exactly what Duke has likely imagined him to be. That perpetual swagger works its way into every step, his mouth twisting in a grin that's as smirking and sarcastic as it is openly friendly, Billy's rather savage stare slipping through the shadows to single out the unmissable presence of his host. A hand lifts from the waist, languid and lazy, before a casual two-fingered salute is flung in greeting. A delinquent youth packed into the body of a man, Kane's bearing is enough to irritate many, far calmer men.
"Love the place, Dukey," he offers in that thick accent, harping as though they were equals at most, even as he passes through the door to effectively set himself in the very belly of the beast. "It's ah, very 'you'. S'pose instead of rats and mice, you've gotta worry about underaged girls nibbling at the woodwork, eh?" In case he needed to be any more confrontational, he takes a step toward the desk, hands hooking through the waistband of his jeans as he looms over it, grin positively shit-eating as he angles his chin as though waiting for a punch.
Or a thrown walnut, perhaps.
"Tell me, at what point /did/ you decide it was a good idea to try and take Cammy White alone? She 'ad your number from the very second she 'eard about you, mate. Nice girl, though. Very sweet. Very 'umanitarian. Next time, maybe you should appeal to that instead of chucking punches at the bloody air. Mind if I grab a chair?"
It's seamless, the way he switches from needling insults to friendly banter. His eyes are easier to read; he's TRYING to get a rise.
Duke does not rise for his guest.
Sitting behind his great desk, he glowers at the filthy limey. If he had his way, he would be breaking every bone in Billy's body. But as it was, Billy was still a respected member in the Syndicate. He was well armed, well respected by the right people. Geese's little darling bodyguard.
But he did turn over his weapon.
Duke had a code of honor. He had PRINCIPLES. And he would uphold them, despite the smarmy-ass bastard that had presented himself. Clutching a walnut, he glares at Billy with those yellow eyes. Rapping the walnut steadily on the table. He listens in bitter silence. Every word was a blow against him. Billy was unarmed, yes.
But he was still an ass.
"A... misunderstanding." The Don states, every word restraining the utter fury he smothered. "I did not expect the boss to arrive so suddenly. And make his opinion on how swiftly to handle her. I had hoped to subdued with a secondary agent. But I was instructed to... Deal with her personally. So I attempted. And she proved too much."
"You may have a seat, Billy."
It's thrown out with a playful, nodding semi-bow before the Londoner turns and picks out one of the nearby chairs, hauling it in close to the opposing side of Duke's desk only to flip it abruptly. With an unnecessarily stated exhalation he straddles the cushioned wood, forearms flung unconcernedly over the front to rest upon the edge of that beautiful, polished mahogany. He doesn't speak for a moment, watching the other man levelly, as though mulling over the full sum of his words. Which indeed he is; sort of. He'd already drawn his conclusions, but in spite of his irksome manner he's prepared to hear Duke out and reach fresh ones, if appropriate.
With no particular immediacy does Kane look impressed, however.
"The 'misunderstanding'," he begins with a mocking sneer, leaning forward as far as he can without breaking the casual air of his posture, "Was that you went in guns blazin' to begin with. Didn't you read up, study tapes, ask questions, before you set up a meeting? Cammy's dangerous as they come. She beat /Geese/ until he couldn't see straight-- you really took 'is orders to mean you should take 'er down alone? She's better than you, mate." He pauses, snorting, turning his glance to one side, only partially in disgust. "Might even be better than I am. I wouldn't wanna risk it, given a bloody choice. No man would, if he stopped to /fink/."
When he looks back, it's with a sigh and a swiftly adjusted attitude, and he leans away from the chair's back, hands slipping from the desk to hook about the seat. His fingers drum a staccato rhythm against the wood, before he spreads them beseechingly. He actually looks like he's dispensing halfway friendly advice, now.
"That's why I did what I 'ad to. We can't afford to line our best men up until White's knocked us all down, one by bloody one. If she's involved, Delta Red is involved, and what's next? Someone 'ires the Ikari, or it gets real messy and Interpol shove their noses into Metro business? No good. Our safest option is to do this smart, raise our image, an' make the girl understand we're the lesser of all possible evils. I'm gonna fix this-- /we're/ gonna fix this, but it starts with cleanin' the Glow off the streets. That's all she wants."
His lips twist, a sardonic half-grin manifesting as he gestures around the room.
"Class like this don't need that crap, anyway. There's better ways. Safer, smarter, an' more profitable."
"We don't need Glow, mate," he finishes, meeting Duke's gaze with a chuckle, "But we do need you, an' not sat in some dank prison cell."
Duke's temper was a slow burning fuse. The powder keg of a man was stable. Calm. But rile up his fury, and he could level an entire city block. Billy's words are like a punch to the gut, the Don's brow furrowing in rage. Holding the walnut in a fist, he begins to tense, his limbs trembling. When Billy finally says those words, of how they need him out of some dark cell? The breaking point is reached.
And there is a sharp crack.
The walnut is crushed in Duke's palm. The shell is slowly left to fall, piece by piece. The final fruit of the nut is all that remains, before Duke clutches it between his thumb and forefinger. A deep rumble rolls from the Hell's Executioner's barrel chest, his temper subsided for now. He looks Billy right in the eyes, every word brought out with utter seriousness.
"It wasn't about Glow, Billy."
Rolling the walnut softly, he mulls quietly. "I tolerate a level of oversight in my gang, Mr. Kane." He begins, his deep baritone rumbling through his lair. "Geese's opinions are... considered in my organization. If Geese loses to a woman like her? Then may I deeply question the presence of his authority in this gang. But as long as he is the leader, then my resources are his."
"But you have no authority over me, Billy."
Eyes burning, he pops the walnut in his mouth. Crunching down on the nut, he chews slowly. "I have a vision for Metro City. Play it smart? Play it like a coward is more like it. Look at us. The Southtown Syndicate? We were driven out of Southtown with our tail between our legs! We don't even have our name as a keepsake."
"And whose fault is it that we were driven out?"
Kane doesn't miss the building energies, the frothing of barely-constrained emotion within the bulky mass of the quite honestly fearsome man facing him. Quite the contrary-- it's exactly what he's been intending, to draw out that fire, to bait it at whatever cost to any number of nuts. That chuckle carries a dark quality of its own, ringing through his speech in the instant before Duke finally, literally cracks.
He has moxy, the Londoner, but he's only human in the end. He actually jumps a little at the double whammy of the violently parting shell and the subsequent /growl/. It's a faint gesture, he doesn't spring from his seat, manifesting mostly as a twitch of the shoulders and a detectable wobble to his pupils as that stare bores into them. Enough to gratify the Don, no doubt, to assure him he still has sway and power here...
Billy couldn't take all of that away if he tried. He's right; the punk doesn't hold authority.
"The fault was with us all."
But does have a surprising measure of wisdom and insight, though, from time to time.
With the admission comes a rolling shrug, denim shifting against his bare torso as he leans back, glancing from Duke to the ceiling and back again, his head slowly shaking from side to side. They're playing a game - they always are, always will be - but there's a point where Billy simply has to call it like he sees it, to be utterly honest. Acting disrespectfully does not preclude actually having respect, and Duke's earned that, effaced by his embarassing loss and yet more disarming release from the authorities as it may be.
"The Syndicate's not about one man, it never 'as been. Geese is in charge because he's got /vision/, an' because not a man jack of us could take 'im down at full strength. Nobody's invincible, nobody's without weakness, but that's exactly my point; when it comes to facing down our enemies, whether it's a mere girl like White or the threat that someone like Heinlein brings to our 'appy little table, we need to work together. We need Geese-- I know damn well I do, an' you can deny it all you like, but you do too. We /failed/ back in Southtown. Not the first time I 'ave, but I've learned from it. We can't afford to be selfish. You didn't wanna defeat White for the Syndicate; you reckoned it'd be bring you glory. Am I wrong?"
He doesn't pause long there, lifting a hand to scratch at his neck as he plunges on.
"I agree with you, mate, we pussyfooted around Heinlein and we paid for it. Cowardice ain't the way. But no matter how strong we are, apart or together, we're no match for the entire bloody world. Cammy's the first wave of somethin' much worse-- we can't just stamp her into dirt, we need to make sure she goes back with a good impression. She sees a bunch of /strong/, careful men who can control this city, she'll call off the assault. An' that's the stuff; it's what she sees, not what's really there. Fink of it like..."
He grins again, nonchalantly reaching forward to pluck a walnut from the bowl.
"A school inspection. We're not changin', we're not runnin', we're just... passing muster."
"All of us?"
"Weakness begins at the head, Billy, not at the heart." The Duke rumbles. "You always were a stooge for Geese, Billy. Don't try and prove otherwise to me. You think you can placate me, after selling my men down the river? No, this isn't about personally shaming me. This is taking apart my gang operations. You think this is funny, breaking up my momentum?" The Duke casts a gaze towards Billy grabbing the walnuts. He does not stop him.
"Help yourself to the walnuts."
The brute of a man finally raises up from behind the desk. "You don't -need- Geese. You need me. My vision could be sustained, even if it meant sitting behind the bars. What is Cammy agreeing to? Letting me walk? What a load of bull. This isn't the time to play with kid gloves. She wants to escalate?"
"I'll make her spit teeth if she even tries to escalate."
Duke walks towards the bookshelf, hands behind his back. "Break bones, shatter skeletons. Does Delta Red want to make a war on US soil? I dare them to try to turn Metro City into their own personal warzone. She needs fear in her heart. So help me, I'll call Yamazaki to eliminate her. Or that Juri figure... She was my original pick."
"Threats are to be eliminated, not tolerated, Billy."
Duke finally reaches by a bookshelf. Fingering it lightly, he inspects it delicately. "While I am free, there is at least some time for celebration. I would offer you cigars, but, as utterly disgusted I am by you coming here... your grounds on smoking are one of your only redeeming qualities." Duke grabs a handle, and lifts up a false line of books up. A long fridge is revealed, stocked with various spirits. "I am well stocked. The walnuts are good with an Armaetto, but I assume you would prefer a lager, whatever is the most familiar with your tastes."
"Thirsty, Billy? "
It appears to be Kane's turn to have his buttons pushed. The term 'stooge' has never sat well with the Londoner, implying that somehow loyalty and honour to those who provide you with the means and reason to exist are negative traits; that it's wrong to defend those who give two shits about you. Nobody in the world gave Billy a chance until Howard saw some innate talent and decided to nurture it, just like nobody else ever cared for his sister but him-- does that make her his 'stooge' when she steps up to those besmirching his name?
"Tch!" He doesn't say anything immediately, gritting his teeth as he flicks the obtained nut in his palm, rolling it for a moment before closing his hand to a fist. He may not have the sheer size of Duke, but he's no slouch, and the fruit cracks open with minimal strain. He shakes the splintered shell out into an unruly pile on the desk, then tips the morsel into his mouth, chewing and swallowing angrily as the Don continues.
His words are similar to those the Syndicate punk has heard before, from greater men and lesser, promises that ever sit empty until acted upon. Billy doesn't interrupt though, waiting until he's offered that drink before giving a shake of his hand, slapping a palm down on the table. Not enough to dent, but the impact is notable.
"You can't just destroy what doesn't please you!" He barks, not disguising the anger and frustration in his voice, the slapping palm then reaching up to pull off his bandanna. His hair beneath, blonde, was once cropped, but has a shaggy edge to it now, and he runs the hand through it with a seething sigh. "You wanna end up like 'Lord' Vega, an' Shadaloo? Then keep down that road. Deal drugs, murder desperate single mothers with bloody hand grenades, punch babies on live corporate television. You reckon that's smart, eh? Geese didn't build an empire on that; he didn't come back from the bloody dead because of it. Usin' your brain means..."
He pauses, tapping a finger against his skull. It doesn't sound quite as hollow as some might claim.
"Fink it through, Duke. Terror works at street level, but when you're playin' with the international big boys, there's subtleties and social graces, trade agreements and prohi-fuckin'-bitions. We're not aiming for the small time, we /shouldn't/ be, and the way out of that - back to the top - is to pretend we play by their rules. We're not changin' the world, we need to live off it, get rich and famous, make 'em /love/ us as we squeeze that blood out one drop at a time. There's no point ruling over a graveyard."
"Oh, and," Kane stands up now too, resettling his bandana in one hand as he steps closer to Duke, at the far end of the desk now - not quite within striking distance, but close enough that he might as well be. Either of them can move like thunderbolts, after all. "I didn't halt your precious fuckin' momentum, big man. That was you, when you got your arse kicked by a teenage girl. Get hauled through court, get made a spectacle, and you'd've lost everything you 'ad within weeks. This way, you learn a lesson, you get /stronger/. I'm not out to make you look like a chump, mate, I might enjoy the whimsy of my job but I'm in it to win, just like you."
"Difference is," he chuckles, "I guess I use my bonce a bit more. And you're tellin' me I shouldn't."
He stops talking at last, and purses his lips, glancing toward that rather alluring concealed bar front.
"Bourbon, triple, neat. A few less braincells might make this easier to swallow."
Duke begins to draw out the Wild Turkey, setting up Billy for his drink. Preparing a tall, frosted sifter, he mulls silently over Billy's comments. Naturally, Billy was right. Duke shot at the hip, and ended up getting burned. But despite the Punk's attempts at intimidation, Duke did not end up as a ganglord for quailing. His iron will often ran against his judgement. He did not want to answer to any man. He should bow his head to Geese, to the Syndicate. Even to Billy, for bailing him out of prison
But Duke's pride would not allow that sort of humility.
"Even if I can't destroy everything, why shouldn't all of the city believe so?" Rumbles the Don, not turning to the punk. "I have little concern outside of my city, Billy. While Geese might sing of his visions of the future, I don't give a damn about the international scene, those shadow organizations or whatever the rest of the syndicate concerns itself. My sole concern is Metro City; You want to build a criminal empire without working from the ground up?"
"Then Metro City will be lost, just like Southtown."
A Ginger Ale and Disaronno is prepared for the Duke, Billy's triple bourbon clutched in the other hand. Bringing both drinks over, he hands forward the sifter of Bourbon. "I will say, after idiotic I find your efforts, I am flattered that you would step out of your way to help me, But if you want to help me out again, Billy? You want to help the bosses' vision? " The Duke's yellow eyes narrow violently, his eye burning with unspeakable rage.
"You stay out of my way, unless I ask for your help."
If there's anything Billy Kane respects, it's honesty.
Duke's manner is as blunt as a mace, and his words are spoken from within the core of that black heart, the heart that couldn't be stopped by something so simple as a cut throat. In his own way, the Don has the measure of Geese himself with that one - thwarting death without the support network, without the shadily-attained mystical power. There'll never be any man the Londoner holds in such esteem as his boss and closest friend, but that doesn't preclude gaining admiration for another. And while he may not agree with Duke...
He gains some estimation with his words now.
"It's a bit late for that here an' now," mutters Billy as he takes the proferred drink, matching that dangerous glare with his slightly animal, maddened optics - the thuggish look one he could never quite shake, thanks to them. Not that he tries to, particularly. "But you've made your point. I've got my own agenda with White, but the damage is good as done, right? I won't tread on your precious toes any more than I need to, to see her out of this city. Cut it 'ow you like, mate, but Geese put Metro in your care, and you /fucked up/. Want me out of your way? Then don't force me to step in again. I protect Geese and 'is interests, that's /my/ job."
Snorting, he raises his glass, shoulders settling as he exhales.
"Cheers, anyway." It actually sounds almost friendly again - this was business to Billy, and as much as he tried to enjoy it, personal feelings don't tend to get tangled up in it. Only when it's him that's failing. Only when it's him lying on the ground before some jumped-up hero seeking to screw him and his lifestyle over. Duke and he share that, too, then. Smirking, he throws the bourbon back in a single heavy gulp, mulling it on his tongue a moment before swallowing. The glass is set down upon the deskside, and Kane takes a step away.
"I reckon we're pretty clear, then," he seeks to conclude with a roll of his shoulder and a sidelong glance toward the more brightly lit corridor from whence he came. "For what it's worth, I'm not tellin' Geese anything I 'aven't said to you. I've got my own business to tend to, an' yours? You know your limits by now, I reckon. We'll give each other a wide berth, though I've gotta admit..." He tails off a moment, whipping a glance from the base of Duke's lofty form to that distinctive peak, "Sometime, I'd like to give you a spin. See 'ow I measure up if we ever need to get... uncivil, down the line. Friendlylike, of course."
In better times, Duke would have a great respect for Billy taking the time to calm the raging demon down. Mr. Brown might remind the Duke later of Billy's willingness to show respect for the Don. Duke may only have disgust for the brit. But later, just like Billy would have for him.
He would have only greater esteem for the man.
Raising his glass to his least favorite person right now, the Duke takes a drink. "The damage is done, and I already have a plan to pick up the broken pieces. GLOW is just another drug. I have my men, and my good health. Raiden is on the prowl, he will shatter those trouble-makers." There was always another plan for the great brute of a man. As he takes another drink, Billy makes his strange offer. Without hesitating, the Don asks.
"You want fight me, Billy?" He rumbles, a diabolical expression spreading across his face. "I would be delighted. Perhaps it would be much more tasteful and responsible to fight on your terms, rather than mine. Someplace you are comfortable. Someplace..." A fiery rush of chi rolls over his shoulders, running down his arms. Throwing back his drink, the grand Duke takes in a deep breath.
Of course Duke had a plan; but to hear him profess it, to hear it from his own lips, is worth a thousand assumptions - and in a sense, it was all that Billy Kane came for. His loyalties to Geese could never be a bystanding element in this meeting, because Duke's failure and his subsequent embarassment at Billy's helping hand doesn't reflect solely upon the Don-- it reflects on those above him, on the one man who might claim to hold actual sway over the imposing figure standing before the Londoner. Though even then...
Hierarchy be damned, their relationship is growing closer, and what happens to Duke may happen to Geese.
Which makes testing his limits that much more important. He who holds the future must do so in a firm hand.
"Expendable, eh?" Echoes Billy, musing that this is precisely what neither of them /are/. Integral parts in a machine turning upon cogs and axles to potentially consume the world - albeit in a far subtler way than the likes of 'Lord' Vega could ever aspire to dream - what happens in this room is bigger than anywhere else. If the city believes they have the power to destroy, why not reach out and break something? Kane is hardly opposed to violence, when it serves a purpose. Which is why he laughs, genuine merriment in the dark chuckling, his head shaking as he backs off a step to stand within the door, parting his hands in a shrug.
"I'll 'ave my people talk to your people, and we'll tear it up good and proper, mate. It's been a pleasure."
He already has a place in mind. Duke's aggression and aura truly is an inspiration.
It's certainly an indictment to personal strength; Cammy might have gotten lucky, she might just be that good, but that doesn't detract from what the sharp-suited Devil is capable of. The world had better watch out. If these two can start getting along, the sky's the limit. Once they blow the roof off.
The Syndicate was a family to Duke. Thicker than water, it was blood. A loathsome family, where he wished to be the head of course. But ultimately, a family. Duke never knew if the Syndicate made him part of the family, or if it was happenstance. Outside of her dogs, he had nothing from the past. Certainly, Billy was a comrade in arms from within the family. If he wasn't, it was very likely Billy would be picking the tile from his teeth, instead of treat him to a drink and a conversation. He had respect for Billy, certainly. And he had standards and professional class.
But he still thought he was a swaggering jerk,
"Hmph." The brute grunts. "Talk with Mr. Brown as you head out. He will arrange the details. It will be sporting fun." Duke glares at the man, his yellow eyes burning. Cammy HAD gotten lucky. And in a way, so had Duke. "And I anticipate you will not hold back either."
And with that, Billy will be gone.
Duke relaxes, finishing his drink. Returning back to his desk, he picks up the communicator. Raising it up, he speaks tersely, deeply. "Mr. Brown. Billy has my permission to leave. And in one piece." The Don pauses, continuing after some thought. "... Give him a parting gift. How about something he could respect, something -meaningful- to him, to a man of his stature." A cruel smirk spreads across his face, an opportunity of some mischief of his own towards Geese's right hand man. "I know just the thing...."
"... How about that nice box of cubans I've been keeping on hand."
Log created on 15:41:22 05/24/2012 by Billy, and last modified on 08:59:37 05/28/2012.