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The Depths of Hell [Devil's Lair]
When Zef had gotten dressed to go Kallisti she hadn't been thinking sexy but more about practical and functional.  She was there after all to hunt a god.  But that hadn't seemed to bother Jaxen in the least.  But it was hardly attire for sex drugs and likely rock and roll.  Or some form of electronic beat thumbing music that was too loud to hear your self think.  But they were in the Red Light District.  And there were Atharim safe houses all over.  Because what better place to be a monster, but in a place where no one is going to miss a person living there?

She looked for the signs of a safe house that posed as a fashion store.  There were a few -- for occasions such as this where breaking and entering was part of  the case.  Zef nodded towards the store.  The windows were thick but you could see the dresses inside. "I need something a little more appropriate to wear." 

Zef didn't wait for Jaxen to offer, she pulled the lock pick set from her belt and started on the lock and was in with in a matter of seconds.  The alarm would trigger, but there was a special Atharim signal that would disarm it while still cutting the wires.  She'd only done it on one other occasion in another city for another makeshift trust issue.  But that had been a totally different hunt -- this was something else.

The store smelled musty like old books but the clothes were decent enough and she pulled down the dress from the window.  "Probably have enough time to change." 

She moved behind a stack but it barely covered his view -- modesty was not something she cared too much about as she pulled off her practical clothes in favor of the red dress that barely covered anything.  Almost the full breathe of her tattoo was visible, only a small portion of the back was obscured by the satiny fabric.  The oroborous tattoo was obvious for any Atharim on her left forearm, but it was mixed in perfect cohesion with the rest of the tattoos that formed the picture of the Atlantia clan from Atlantia to Zef herself.  The four winds inked just above her wrist and the birth of the huntress at the base of her back near her spine. 

Zef looked in the mirror and admired the dark ink against the red of the dress.  But the lines from her panties in the tight dress marred the beauty and they had to go.  She watched Jaxen from the mirror as she did the last of her accessories -- spinning up her hair in the long silver spikes she carried in her belt for just that purpose -- and also for killing monsters should the need arise.  They'd be her only weapons going into the Devil's Lair.

"Ready, darling?"  She slung her clothes in a bag she grabbed from behind the counter and waltzed out the door leaving the door open.  Someone would be by to clean up the mess like she'd never been there.  That was what the Atharim teams were for.

Two blocks down the road Zef tucked her things in yet another Atharim safe place and tagged it with a location beacon.  They'd be by to pick that up later too.  It was well hidden and she was free to go deep into the depths that only Jaxen knew the way. 

She dangled on his arm.  He was a handsome man -- a man of wealth and prominence even if it were a little tarnished.  But she liked this man.  Confident and smooth.  Too bad he was a fucking god.

But that didn't stop the fun.  The neon signs lead them through darker and darker places.  The music was loud enough to hear from a ways away.  It drew them down the tunnels and around dark corners, until it was there and they were let inside. 

The thrum of the music coursed through her body and there was a distinct sense of danger here.  Monsters would hunt here.  Best be on the look out.  Zef took the crowd of people as an advantage and wrapped both her arms around Jaxen's neck and she walked backwards deeper into the crowd leaning in to shout in his ear "Find us some fun."

[@"Jaxen Marveet"]
His roommates were slightly annoyed as he abandoned them in Manifesto to cruise with the rich and powerful. But they forgave him when he shelled out some money for some lesser drugs they had wanted to score but had no cash. They shared and Cruz for the first time in his life felt like things were going to be alright.

Except nothing was alright. Ever since he'd found that coin he couldn't stop thinking about it. And now he saw it everywhere. In things that weren't there. He even saw it in the hallucinations that the shrooms caused when his friends shared their stash.

University was so much different when you didn't live at home with your parents.

Despite the lack of sleep and lack of studying his grades hadn't faltered -- yet. He imagined he'd hear from his grandfather the moment they did.

But it didn't matter. At least not tonight. Tonight he followed the signs. Followed the laughing skull and the terror of the other side down and down into the depths of a place he never thought to imagine himself in.

He'd taken Raffe's advice -- to look the part. Cruz had even managed to enter a thrift shop and come out with an outfit he liked and so had his friends. They didn't accompany him this night. They had gone to Kallisti. When free tickers were available and to one of the hottest shows in town they jumped at it. But it wasn't like he hadn't seen Nox dance... he had. Many times and really wasn't his thing.

So alone it was down in the depths of the thrumming music of a place called the Devil's Lair. It was fitting and hard enough to find. And there was no loss of dealers to find something more fun to hang with. But for now Cruz just danced. Hands and bodies writhed around him and it didn't matter in the moment whose were where it was all good.
As soon as Zephyr stopped, Jaxen eyed the dark boutique quite confused. If a shop in the Red Light district was open all night, it meant they sold toys. The fun kind. They also delivered. Not that Jaxen knew from personal experience. Okay, he knew from personal experience. Slutty clothing boutiques were also open late, but the hour had ticked on past for that kind of thing. He was about to tell Zephyr not to bother. That their destination wasn’t the kind of place people dressed up to impress, but as soon as she knelt in front of the door, he was struck rather speechless. She whipped out a lock-pick like others handled cutlery. Like he handled it.

While she pried apart the mechanism, Jaxen looked left and right down the street. He might have suggested they target the rear entrance rather than the main one, but nobody was close enough to bother worrying. More concerning than eye-witnesses were camera potentials. A store like this would definitely feature security system, and sure enough, as soon as the door opened, he would have wagered a silent alarm was sounding. It didn’t stop him following her inside, but he did make sure the door was closed soundly behind him afterward. No point inviting everyone in with them. Although, now he thought about that… No. Nevermind.

He watched her waltz through the place, strumming hangers and considering the options. As soon as she started to strip down, she had yet again an enraptured audience. If he had been concerned about cameras, by then, he could care less. She was painted with wide swaths of tattoos. The art was difficult to make the details in the low light, and when Jaxen licked his lips that time, it wasn’t because he was thirsty. When she dropped the panties out from under the skirt, his imagination was running wild. Jesus fucking Christ. At least it made sense why she was into the bad boy vibe.

Outside, he draped his arm around her shoulders. The spikes in her hair gleamed not unlike the one dangling from his ear. “Looks like we shop the same place,” he said, flicking it into swinging. Hers looked sharp enough to stab, but so was his.

Right after they started walking, Jaxen sent two messages.

The first message was to @Sage.

Got a favor to ask. Mind wiping the security footage from this boutique? Hot girl borrowed something.

Given that not an hour beforehand, Jaxen had been swapping spit with Sage’s boyfriend, he figured he’d get at least a response. Besides, it was all in good fun. Sage probably got hard watching the make-out session anyway. Who wouldn’t? Jaxen and Aiden? That’s a lot of hot male testosterone rubbing up and down one another. Plus they’d tried to kill each other in Ireland, and what was the tension of battle but unrecognized sexual tension anyway? So really, Jaxen did the guy a favor. Returning it was the decent thing for the guy to do.

The second (although presumably more important) was to his building doorman. Upside perks of living a condo, the services were all on-site. A minute later, concierge confirmed a time and place to meet. His coat could be taken off his hands then. Sure he’d walk the district in a knit-sweater knitted loose enough to bare his nips, but he was motherfucking Russian blood born. Cold didn’t bother him. Especially not when there was a reason. Outside the entrance to the abandoned Tube station, a man in a plain suit approached. The alert on his Wallet confirmed it, and he deposited the garment to his capable hands. “I’ll take care of it, Mr. Marveet,” he said and walked away without a second thought. Guy didn’t even glance at the scantily clad Zephyr. Just another night for him. Jaxen’s expression soured slightly with the name though. He’d given up insisting that they stop calling him that; the demand never stuck. Not even paying off the building manager worked. That was the downside of uptight, on-site staff. But he could live with it.

He wasn’t sure if Zephyr had been here before, so he tugged and led her along the passages. By the time the music was in earshot, he was already walking with the thumping beat. Then the Lair swallowed up two more souls, and they fell into the smokey den.

He smiled back at her as it was her turn to tug him forward. Almost immediately he wrapped arms around her. Their legs snaked, thighs bent into each others. The nightclub base kept the pulse, and Jaxen’s dancing was smooth as snakeskin. 

After about ten minutes of grinding against Zephyr, they started making out. People shoved and moved into him constantly, but they were ignored for the most part. Until one particular hand was legit tapping him on the shoulder. He pulled the snake-like swirl of his tongue from her mouth long enough to see who had the balls to interrupt, when he recognized the impish face looking back at him.

It was baby-faced nineteen year old Denis. He hadn’t seen the guy since that day in the bookshop on the route to Baccarat. The kid had stolen a wallet off a pair of French tourists, but not before flagging facial recognition. Since the kid had only been out on parole nine-and-a-half weeks, he was going to go back for years unless Jaxen did something. Of course, that something ruined his tux in the process. And Denis made off with one of his cufflinks anyway.

Jaxen grinned. “You mother fucker,” then he slapped him on the shoulder. He had to lean in nearly lips to earlobe to get his voice across. “You owe me a pair of diamond cufflinks, asshole,” he said.

Denis had to lean in just as close to respond. “Pair?! I only made off with one,” he replied.

“They’re a fucking set ass wipe!” he held up his wrists, showing off two working arms. “What’d you do with it anyway?” he added.

“Sold it to Bukir,” he said. Jaxen rolled his eyes. Bukir probably underpaid by more than half.

“You working another job here, genius?” Jaxen yelled, but it was barely loud enough. Behind him, he was aware of Zephyr. She wouldn't be able to hear their conversation, but it was clear they knew one another. He hadn’t strayed far from her hands though, even went to the effort to stick his tight little ass out for her to grope while talking to Denis. 

After that, Denis glanced around Jaxen’s shoulder, drinking in the girl in his company. He nodded approvingly then waved them both off the dance floor. Toward the bar.

Jaxen gestured Zephyr to come along. Besides, he was thirsty by then anyway. 

"Another rum and coke or you ready for the good shit?" he asked her as he waved for the attention of one of the bartenders.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
A message from the 'twat' who kissed his boyfriend made him smirk. But he wasn't mad. He liked Jaxen and his alter ego Voxel. The request wasn't foreign, was completely within his wheel house and he was amused that he'd asked. Must have been a good show. And Sage managed to gather a few shots while we swiped the footage -- something definitely to watch later. Aiden might not appreciate it, but he'd offer none-the-less.

@"Jaxen Marveet"
Nice taste. But...

Along with the video file he hung up in a safe storage unit the police couldn't track nor get into, Sage attached another file -- one atharim hunter roster of Zephyr Lelantos. A woman who had hunted Nox, though he didn't send that bit of information to Jaxen, just the pure fact he was about to fuck an Atharim. He hated ruining the game, but Jaxen needn't take her home. He wanted to play with fire he found it.

convert binary | biography
The music made holding a conversation near impossible yet some asshat pulled her mark from her. Though his ass played nicely into her fingers and Zef was more than willing to take advantage of the curves while possible. Not that here fingers hadn't explored already. Or would not be there again. Many times over if she had anything to say about it.

She was a little annoyed but the offer of finer tastes was not beyond her. "Whatever you suggest." She had to shout to be heard and at this volume she'd be hoarse in an hour. Not that there was a problem with that scenario either. Screaming was always in the cards.

Zef leaned in and let Jaxen make whatever order he was about to make and whispered/shouted in his ear. "Your friend needs to watch his pockets." She coiled a pickpocketed chain into Jaxen's palm. "Think he might miss it?" She nipped at his ear lobe playfully.

A kid on her watch list pushed up against Jaxen ignorant of the other man who knew is friends. Who had just kissed one of them actually. Yet he didn't seem interested nor did he recognize her -- but she recognized the son of the former Atharim CCDPD cop who had worked many many Madrid cases she'd been on. He was the spitting image of his father. The boy slide money across the bar and was handed what she expected was P. She'd only heard about it. Drugs weren't exactly her thing. There far better highs than artificial ones, but for this one, she'd reach out. She shouted again in Jaxen's ear. "He knows your friends. Wonder why he's not watching the boy on stage like the others." He was young, but not much younger than Durante. But still young...
The crowd was thick. The music loud and Cruz was more than happy to be here than with his old friends -- not that they weren't cool. But they were all adults. Nox wasn't much older than him, but he was leaps and bounds different. And Cruz wasn't here to think about it all.

He wanted to feel nothing -- leave reality behind. Leave Jivana and his grandfather's legacy behind. He'd never understood why his father had rebelled. He did now -- grandfather was annoying old bastard who only wanted his legacy protected.

The walls were covered in lights and even completely sober they made Cruz double take. He'd see the laughing skull and turn back and it was gone. Sometimes it was a pair of eyes that stared at him too long in the crowd. Like they knew him.

That was when Cruz made his way to the front. He needed to not be sober. He wanted to feel like the rest of the folks here. Nothing and everything and see the world for what it wasn't. Being high wasn't one of those things he'd ever done in school. Now he couldn't imagine why he hadn't. Why his reputation had mattered at all. Why he cared about anything other than feeling good.

The pill was easy to acquire. The eyes that watched him before smirked and disappeared into the crowd. He could have sword as he swallowed the pill he'd mouthed 'have a nice trip' before disappearing.

He'd followed the coin into Alice's wonderland -- his very own white rabbit. But he'd left with a scathing reminder that he was rich and powerful and had the money to abuse that power. But right now... he wasn't. Right now he'd ride the wings and wait for the white rabbit to find him.
He caught the bartender’s eye, but only just long enough for the attention to slide right past Jaxen. A very not covert trade later, and some young guy next to him snatched a telling little tablet. Jaxen watched him disappear into the crowd. So did Denis, who then met the bartender over by the garnish station. Both kept their backs turned for a few moments, and when Denis returned, it was to finish stuffing money into his pocket.

Jaxen snatched his elbow, yanking him closer. “You’re dealing now, Denis? This is serious shit. You fuck this up and your ass is dead. You get that right?” he didn’t have to lean so close as on the dance floor, but he was close enough to see the cut of Jaxen’s gaze flash warning.

Denis flenched away from Jaxen's grip and shook his head. “Like you give a shit, Jaxen.”

“I do give a shit,” he replied and crossed his arms, thinking about the kid’s future. It was one thing to steal shit. You get caught and you get processed by real lawyers. End up in a real jail. Unless you steal from the wrong person and you end up at the bottom of the river. But Denis knew who to avoid. Mafia, for one. Or so Jaxen thought. He didn’t know where P originated, but it was the hottest new illegal in Moscow. Not even Jaxen knew a dealer. Heard where to go - like Devil’s Lair and some rumored breakout rooms in the undercity - but didn’t have an actual name. Not until now.

But P? He had to assume some upper-level cunts were running it. While he decided what to do, he managed to procure two vodkas, one for him and Zephyr, topped on crushed (not cubed, but whatever) ice and a hefty squeeze of lime.

He immediately put it to his lips and drank the whole thing in a few long gulps. It’d take ten of those to start to even show that he was drunk. After downing a whole fifth, maybe he’d start to stumble or slur words. Most good Russian kids started their drinking around twelve years old. Jaxen? He’d been drinking vodka since he was eight. Scion practically laced baby bottles with it, knowing him. Jax probably had the liver to prove it too.

He rounded up another order. Meantime, he snatched Denis before he could wander off.

“Alright you owe me for the cufflink,” he said. Then he held out his hand. Denis would have to eat the cost. After a frown screwed up his baby face, he deposited a pill into Jaxen’s open palm.

Jaxen just stared. Hard. Waiting.

With a groan, he forked over a second pill.

Jaxen rubbed the guy’s hair then turned back to his date with the offering.

But Denis interrupted before either could swallow.

“You’re going to fall asleep. Or be as good as. Go downstairs if you want to do it here. Better yet, save it for later,” he told them both.

“You’re giving advice? hah!” Jaxen laughed.

He downed the second vodka before they went off in search of someplace more suitable to take a "nap".
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
The pill made him a little sleepy. A hand at the small of his back steadied his gate. A harsh whisper in his ear. "Come. Steady now." It wasn't a comforting voice. The hand at his back was cold. The breath on his neck even more so. The scent of stale metal and death lingered in the air. But there was little he could do than lift his feet and move forward through the crowd where she directed.

It was a she -- that much he was aware. Long lithe fingers circled his wrist and the halls drew narrow but the illumination stayed the same -- maybe brighter. Images of the laughing skull flashed and vanished before he moved down each way. The wrasping voice spoke softly "Come, my pet."

The music was fading. His feet were heavy. Cruz sank to the ground cradled in the woman's arms. The euphoria was spreading through his body. The images were dazzling and amazing and then she leaned down, her smile was that of sharp teeth, and her lips were blood red. The dark black eyes in her sunken face cackled as she roared at him and Cruz could only scream as the images faded into darkness and horror.
Jaxen obtained his own little score. Zef drank the offered drink and ordered a second before she wrapped her arms around Jaxen's waist and followed him down the dark long winding cooridors. Zef caught a glimpse of another couple in front of them. Each time rounding a corner she thought she saw claws at the man's back. Her hackles rose -- the place was notorious for lost souls -- monsters laying in wait.

She growled. "Monsters always interferring with the fun." They both followed, though she was hating every step. The moments that it took her high.

[[ooc I'm very sorry for the late and crappy posts ]]
He turned back to Denis. “You’re fucking with me?” he said just as the kid shook his head.

“Go downstairs and count the sleeping beauties if you want,” Denis shrugged and pushed his way into the crowd.

Jaxen studied the the pill in his hand one last time before muttering to himself and shoving it into a pocket. He’d try it later close to a comfy pillow. But for now, they’d have to settle for rec’s. Not there was anything wrong with that.

It took a few minutes to get the recreationals from the bartender, but he generously shared with Zephyr. It was an easy sniff, quick-acting. They’d laced this particular brand with an odorant that Jaxen took to be like chocolate. Not his favorite, but it masked the chemical-smell good enough. The effects weren’t instant. Those were other brands. But a good five minutes should be enough. He shared a knowing smile with Zephyr and was a pliant follower, thinking they’d go back to dancing and making out. Not like he objected before.

Which was why he smirked quite satisfactorily when she led him through the dancers and toward an exit. Not back to the street. This one led down. His smile widened to a knowing grin. He had plans for that big mouth of hers.

Somewhere through the maze that he was starting to feel a little lost in, they’d caught up to another couple. Jaxen barely noticed it was the same kid that Zephyr pointed out at the bar. She’d said something about knowing his friends? And the boy on stage? Was she talking about Nox? Guy was hardly a friend. Jaxen was at Kallisti for the spectacle and celebrity. Not the performers. But good for him anyway. 

His head was starting to swim. Heart starting to beat faster. Emboldened, not that he needed boldening, he snatched her waist with one arm, slamming her back against his chest and pressed his own hips against that taut ass. He wanted to stop just a second and grope the body she’d flaunted all night. Just for a minute. Then they could continue. He tipped his lips down to her neck.

While he held her, his other hand was busy though. It slipped into his pocket then, fingering the chain that he’d stuffed there. She lifted it off the kid. The pick-pocket. Stealing the dress. Now lifting bracelets. So goddamn hot.

"Tell me who the hell you are," he said just as he slipped that silver tongue into her lucky, lucky ear, promising more for a few little secrets.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +

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