Author Topic: Face Off  (Read 3098 times)

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Face Off
« on: August 09, 2012, 10:36:01 PM »
Cicero hadn't managed to shake his sire off for a number of nights since they'd found one another and taken over a house together.  He certainly wasn't going to lead the blonde ancient to Ami, where she ran the risk of being hurt due to some misplaced jealousy or unreasonable hatred due to her gender.  For two weeks he and Lazarus had circled one another like combatants, but fucked one another like the long lost lovers they were.  It wasn't so much the sex Cicero enjoyed as proving he could still dominate the blonde.  Since he'd won his physical battle against the other, he found Lazarus a great deal more compliant.  It was different to the outcome when he'd mentally controlled to get his way.  Strangely, he felt like his sire respected him more besting him the archaic way.

He'd managed to dump Lazarus at Risk while also finding Tucker.  It had worked out beautifully, for Lazarus hadn't been interested in sharing what Cicero was interested in when a lovely young mortal offered himself up on a platter.  He'd been a little inebriated, full of the courage alcohol tended to give, and Lazarus had literally had his pants charmed off him.  After some below-the-table play in front of Cicero and Tucker, Lazarus then took his newest playmate upstairs and Cicero grabbed Tucker and headed for the exit.

Once they were away from Lazarus, Cicero returned to his mental speech within Tucker's head, but the fact he'd used his voice couldn't be undone.  He explained that his sire Lazarus had a ring that blocked all mental communication, forcing Cicero to talk (and his accent was transforming from thick and sometimes-germanic, sometimes-french into a mingling of American drawl, a bit of British and an unidentifiable pronunciation of all words that ended with the 'st' sound).

He'd stopped a cab for them and instructed the driver to deliver them to the Detour hotel with the meter off.  On the drive there, Cicero explained to Tucker that he wished to keep him in a place more convenient and easier to find him in than Risk.  With this explanation he sent along mental images and the physical impulses he had for the mortal, ensuring that there would be no doubt as to why Cicero was wanting to have him set up at a hotel.  He wanted to keep Tucker for himself.  He scanned the youth's mind enough to know that being kept was acceptable - even desirable - to him, but that he was also envisioning some palacial setup that he wasn't going to get.  He would find that for himself once they arrived.

The pair of them got out of the cab, which drove off without further hesitation.  He led Tucker to the apartment he'd already set up for himself and went inside after switching on the overhead light.  The space had better furniture in it than it had originally.  Cicero hadn't liked the bed or the mattress upon it, nor the sofa.  He'd replaced those with items he'd mesmerised the shop assistants for.  The mattress was plush and expensive, as well as the iron bed it rested on - though as modern as the mattress was, the bed itself was old fashioned and ornate.  The sofa was a plush affair, fabric covered stripes instead of the more popular single-coloured leather.  None of the furniture chosen meshed with the rest of the room, which was neutral.  A metre square canvas was propped against the wall; Tucker could see it was a beach scene by day, pouring out from the woman's face through her liquid eyes.  Cicero went to it and picked it up as well as the thing behind it before ushering Tucker back outside.  He handed the youth a thermos to hold (it was full of cold coffee) and locked up before also handing him the key.

They went to another apartment, Cicero with the canvas facing out and Tucker pocketing the key to his new apartment - a place he didn't have to pay rent for, it had been told to him.  A place he could make requests for, it had been offered him.  Cicero would get the mortal what he wished to make the apartment more cosy.  He knew Ami was home because he could feel her mind, and he touched it lightly to alert her to his presence (but didn't add that someone was with him).  He wanted her to open the door so she could see his painting of her and be presented with it.


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Re: Face Off
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 03:25:15 PM »
While Cicero was introducing his playmate to his new digs, Ami was just arriving at her apartment – making an early night of it after a disappointing showing at the pool tables down at Sticks and Stakes. She had just sat down to a container of last night's Chinese takeout when she received the vampire's mental door knock. Huh. She'd almost given up hope on that one.

Hope for what? Fucked if she knew. Digging her chopsticks into the cold mass of noodles that comprised her dinner, she pushed away from the little dinette table and made her way to the door – which opened after a clicking of several locks. She was dressed in her normal tight black jeans and studded belt – but her tattooed arms and midriff were bare in the artfully ripped tank top she wore. Placebo's "Pure Morning" played softly from a stereo somewhere in the room behind her.

An expression of surprise sat oddly on her face as she took in the painting – richer now that the paint had dried, even in the sickly light of the parking lot – not understading for a moment. Was that for her? Jesus, if she was supposed to have that, she'd need a better apartment to go with it. It would be shameful to hang up a piece like that in a scabby-ass motel room. But, despite her best efforts at staying cool, her heart beat faster at the thought of Cicero bringing her such a gift.

And Cicero had brought a friend. And his friend had brought her thermos?

She schooled her face back into its customary mask of indifference, but stepped out of the doorway, trusting that all would be explained soon "Hey. Uh, come in." It felt weird to actually invite the vampire inside. usually he took care of that for her.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 10:32:58 AM »
Tucker, still in a state of shock, hesitated at the door after Cicero went in. Not only had he been found and swooped up  by Cicero, but the vampire was apparently stowing him away in a place that yeah, wasn't in the greatest condition, but rent was taken care of entirely. That would free up at least a few hundred dollars a month from his paycheck for him to play with. But, then there'd been something about being able to make requests for the place that'd made him think maybe he wasn't expected to purchase anything for himself.

And now it seemed like Cicero wanted to help introduce him to the neighbors, which was nice, but weird. First, there was the thermos he'd been instructed to hold (was it a gift?) and secondly, shouldn't she have knocked on his door with some fresh cookies or something? Chalking it up as he normally did to things being different off-base, he shrugged and went in finally, mindful to shut the door behind him.

Immediately, he detected the acrid odor of recently smoked cigarettes, but managed to keep his expression pleasant. Where he'd grown up, people had been more likely to smoke than not. His parents (and later, him) had been an exception to the rule. It wasn't like he was unused to the smell.

He waited, thermos still in hand, to see if Cicero would introduce him to the tattooed woman or he was expected to remain silent and unseen.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 03:44:45 PM »
Cicero spoke into Ami's mind as he stepped inside, holding out the painting to her.  This is yours.  If she didn't take it and set it down, he would put it against a wall, image facing out, before taking the thermos off Tucker and handing that to her.  This is yours, too.

He then opened up his mental communication to both of them at once.  This meant his emotions didn't carry through so clearly, only the message.

Ami, this is Tucker.  He will be living in the apartment I have upstairs.  Look out for him.  Tucker, Cicero turned to look at the youth whose expression was amusing to the Ancient vampire, and he figured he'd hear some protest at his next words.  Do as Ami says, if she has a mind to say it.


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Re: Face Off
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 02:54:11 AM »
Ami would've liked to have taken a second to protest the gift  (or at least properly appreciate it) as she took it from Cicero, but then he was handing her the thermos and she elected to keep her mouth shut, placing the painting slightly out of the way against the bedstand, because Cicero was making no hesitations with his second offering. Feeling an ominous weight to the thermos as she accepted it, she gave it an experimental swish – and then hastily placed it atop the bedstand as a grimace crossed her face. That was a science experiment for another day.

"Thanks," she said simply, to both.

His first request had her cocking a brow, the second had it joined by its twin. She shot a glance toward Tucker, just to confirm that they'd both heard what had been said. She gave Tucker a slow once over. He looked normal enough to her; healthy, and an adult to boot. Why would he need looking out for?

Then she shrugged. Look out for him? Sure. He was a grown up, and didn't look like he was capable of getting into much trouble anyway. She viewed it as a trade – Cicero had given her something nice, and now she was doing something nice for him. If he'd told her to look after him, it would be another story. "Ain't gonna babysit." she said, just to make that much clear.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2012, 05:16:42 AM »
Tucker frowned. Her? Look out for him? Sure, she looked like she could handle herself, but what made it seem like he couldn't? Was it because he didn't have tattoos? He could get tattoos. But he didn't like needles, so maybe that was out.

Still.

"I'm not a baby," he said, for Ami's benefit as much as Cicero's. "So you don't need to."

Belatedly, he realized his assertion might not be appreciated and looked at the vampire questioningly. "Right?"

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 08:18:16 PM »
Cicero slowly turned his head to look at Tucker.  He didn't frown, but he wasn't smiling either.  He wondered if Tucker would be cowed by his look.  He didn't respond to the question, feeling it beneath him, and looked back at Ami, no longer sending to both of them, but only to her.

I don't need a babysitter.  You're smart enough to guide him away from predators.  Cicero liked how careful Ami was with her thoughts and reactions.  Tucker could learn from that.  He was more like a pup, following whoever claimed him.  I have claimed him for myself.  I don't want anybody else swooping in and using him.

No sense not spelling it out.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2012, 12:31:20 AM »
I don't want anybody else swooping in and using him.

Using him. Like he was a goddamn pop machine. Though Ami's face remained neutral, she crossed her arms over her chest and looked away from Cicero. The fact that he hadn't reacted told Ami that Tucker hadn't been included in that exchange. Her mind exploded.

She'd been a fool to forget what Cicero was; how his kind thought of hers. She'd been granted an exemption because he liked her, or because she stood her ground. Either way, there was still a possibility that his tolerance of her had an expiration date.

But there were also Humans who wanted to be used – and the kind of life that a vampire could offer them in exchange. The way that Tucker – a grown-ass man – had asked  Cicero if he needed protection told her that he was either mentally deficient or utterly dependent on the vampire, or some mix of the two.

"Ain't no damn object, either." That was mostly aimed at Cicero, though she spoke to Tucker, "And he ain't your daddy. You need lookin' out for or not?" The question was rhetorical – this kid obviously couldn't find his ass with both hands – but more of a way to get him to speak for himself. She'd do as Cicero asked, either way.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2012, 09:32:34 AM »
Cicero's look had caused him to creep back into his shell, but Ami's words had him peeking out again. She was right. Cicero wasn't his daddy, and he didn't need looking after. He'd been doing fine on his own before he'd encountered the vampire at Risk, though he'd had to take on a couple roommates to afford living in a neighborhood that wasn't like... well, this one. He didn't need Cicero to pay his rent, but it was nice, thinking about all he could do with his money when he didn't have to spend it on his basic necessities.

He looked furtively from Ami to Cicero, then back again, knowing he needed to say something to make her think he was worth the space he stood in, but only managing a one-shouldered shrug.

After all, Cicero was the vampire he'd agreed could keep him, and she was only a woman he'd met a few minutes ago.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2012, 09:13:51 PM »
After seeing Tucker's reaction at Ami's baiting words, Cicero sent her his smug triumph, but not only that, he gave voice to soft laughter.  Tucker had heard it, had heard him speak as well, but not Ami.  Not until now.

Pick your battles, Ami.  I'm sure you have a few left with me, yet.

He was smiling at her, enjoying her explosions of realisations.  A lot of them were about him, tonight, and it was fascinating to see how he looked in her mind.  He hadn't missed the warning she'd given herself, and thought he'd best double-edge it.  She didn't have to know that he wouldn't harm her.  She would have to do him an immense wrong for him to become violent with her.  She'd already received her pass.  But she didn't have to know that.  Not yet.  And he doubted that she would believe him if he explained it to her, regardless.  She was wise like that.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 02:25:49 AM »
"Christ," she muttered, irritation evident in her voice. So Cicero had gotten himself a simpering man-child to take care of. Good for him. Why did it have to be her problem too? Ami snorted, but that was her only outward reaction – until he laughed. Like he'd meant to. That was odd enough to earn him another surprised look, but this one only lasted a second before she was back to mentally tableflipping again.

But the quality of her anger was ephemeral, fleeting. She was annoyed with the situation – and with Cicero for putting her in it – but it would pass. Her instinctual fear of him kept her tongue at bay, however, and even the annoyance was fading as she turned on a heel and walked the few steps back to the kitchen.

"Want a beer?" she asked Tucker, turning her back to the pair of them to get her own beverage out of the fridge – and also so that she wouldn't have to watch Tucker ask his master for permission.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2012, 06:06:59 PM »
"Yes, please," Tucker answered, but only after he looked at Cicero for any signs of objection. He was pleased he hadn't detected any, because drinking beer would soothe his nerves a little, so maybe he wouldn't be so sensitive to the way she kept looking and talking to him like she did while Cicero remained silent. He'd just have to assume that not hearing anything from the vampire meant he wasn't doing anything wrong.

He took a swig from the bottle shortly after it made its way into his hand, and felt the coolness of the liquid from the moment it hit his mouth and well after, until it hit his stomach. His empty stomach. He'd meant to grab something to eat before Risk, but he'd felt a weird sort of urge to get there as quickly as possible and he'd forgotten in his rush to the vampire club.

"So... ah, how do you two know each other?" he asked, trying to fill silence that didn't necessarily need to be filled.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2012, 02:54:11 PM »
Cicero watched them both with a tiny smile flitting about his lips before looking at Ami's bed.  He moved to it and straightened the covers as he liked before crawling onto it.  It was possible that Ami would object, but he would only laugh at her if so.  Any physical attempt to remove him would have her pinned under him, but he doubted she would give him the opportunity to get so close (also, her survival instinct was a great deal more advanced than Tucker's, though they both dealt with him appropriately in their own way, fitting to their roles).

He would listen to them speak, interjecting with his emotions or point of view as he saw fit.  Right now he wanted to hear Ami's version of their tale - which was an amusing one to look back on - if only to relive the vivid imagery in her mind.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2012, 03:22:23 AM »
Cicero would find that the hotel bedding had been done away with long ago (the band had been living there long enough that cleaning staff knew to avoid their rooms), replaced with a downy black comforter and plain black sheets, all in a state of total disarray. And shoes on or no, Cicero could do what he wished with it as far as Ami seemed to care.

She shrugged, and took her own seat back at the tiny dinette table – though she turned the chair to face the living area before sitting down. There was a long silence before she realized that Cicero expected her to play storyteller. 

"He came here looking for a place to shack up," she told Tucker, "I showed him around the place."

In her mind their first meeting was replayed with perfect, sharp-edged clarity – but that wouldn't help Tucker out in the slightest.

"I thought he was a mannequin." she added, for his benefit.

It took another moment spent in silence for her to remember that it would probably be polite to ask Tucker the same. Fuckin' rubes. Fuckin' small talk. There was a reason she'd abandoned civilized life.

"You?" She motioned toward the bed with her beer bottle to indicate the vampire occupying it.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 02:38:37 PM »
Tucker gave the question all of two seconds to rest between them before he answered, and at length. "It was at Risk. Y'know, the vampire club near here? It was my second, maybe third time there when I met him? Was the first time I'd ever heard a vampire in my head. That was a little weird, but not in a bad way. Just... different. I got to go to one of the rooms they have upstairs, too. It was the," he trailed off, searching his memory for the proper name of the garish room they'd ended up in, but coming up with nothing useful. It'd been the... the.... "Colorful one. Moroccan! It was the Moroccan room."

He smiled, but it withered when he began to realize Ami didn't seem at all impressed with his story. She was staring at him, as expressionless as Cicero sometimes was. "I uh... Yeah. That's all."

That time, when he brought the bottle to his lips, he opened his throat and guzzled down more than half its contents. When he finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and looked fully at Cicero on the bed. Huh. He did look a bit like a mannequin when he went completely still. But that didn't explain why Ami would've approached him in the first place.

"What'd you want with a mannequin?" he asked her.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 08:19:38 PM »
Cicero caught her hostility but not why she was feeling it.  He gave her his fixed stare, wondering why she was annoyed.

It was interesting seeing her thoughts as she listened to Tucker's strangely animated story.  Tucker had been selected for a combination of his looks and slightly more animated manner of thinking.  He wasn't as vivid a thinker as Ami, or as colourful, but there was something fresh about his thoughts nonetheless.  Surprisingly, his explanation of their meeting touched lightly on this freshness.

Cicero wondered if Ami would be disappointed in him for his selection of the youth.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2012, 01:21:27 AM »
As Tucker relayed his story, Ami got a picture of the depth of his non-understanding of the situation he'd gotten himself into. This was a game to him. Shit, was he even old enough to drink? 

But everybody had to learn somehow. She'd had to do it the hard way, and she was stronger for it.

She shrugged in answer to his question, and glanced toward Cicero. The way he was looking at her still sent a chill up her spine, but it didn't show on her face. "Woulda thought of something." she assured Tucker. Fuck, why WOULDN'T she want a mannequin?

Then, after another long drink, the ultimate source of her annoyance was revealed: "Let's go do somethin'."

And by something, she meant anything that wasn't sitting around talking.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2012, 01:49:57 AM »
His first inclination was to suggest they play some video games on one of his consoles, but his TV and all his gaming equipment was at his old place. Even if he'd had everything with him, he didn't think it'd been what Ami had meant. Go meant leaving the house, typically.

"I can get us into the movies for free," he mentioned after a moment's thought, "but-"

it's up to Cicero

"-I'd be down for whatever."


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Re: Face Off
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2012, 08:47:53 AM »
He liked that Tucker thought of him, thought about whether or not Cicero would approve.  It made for a good sign that Tucker would be exactly what he needed to relax with.  Cicero sent his thoughts to both of them, not needing or wanting to isolate Tucker from his side of the conversation, and wanting the two of them to be friendly.

Have something in mind, Ami? he said, then smiled beautifically.  Were you wanting to look for trouble?

Trouble wouldn't be trouble with Cicero at her side or at her heels.  He could protect her from anything.

Except Lazarus, but he could avoid his sire easily enough.

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2012, 04:57:58 AM »
Part of Ami wondered if she really wanted to know what Cicero's idea of trouble was, but a slow smile crept across the bassist's face. She hadn't been thinking trouble, but hell, why not? No reason for tonight to be a total bust. Plus, maybe trouble would scare the kid off.

"Capital T," she said, then shrugged. "Could go to the cliffs. Maybe stir shit up at the Rabbit. I'm easy."

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Re: Face Off
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2012, 02:28:15 PM »
He was looking at her with fascination when she was talking about the cliffs.  An image, the most beautiful kind of artistic vision, came to him as she imagined what they would be doing at the cliffs.  He wouldn't call that trouble - though it certainly seemed thrilling.

The cliffs it is, he sent to both of them.  And so they went.