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Sweetening the Pot
[Image: giordano.jpg]

The last encounter with his rogue daughter had not been pleasant. And the drinks he'd had with her boyfriend had been insightful. The best way to hurt the girl and to make her come to him was going to be through that boy.

Giordano didn't take a life easily, he didn't do much of what he did out of natural spite, he just deserved it, so he took it. The Atharim had tailed him his whole life, had removed his parents from him. And then sought to kill him too, just for existing. There might be additional reasons now. And with his own daughter one of them he felt the need to be rid of that torment.

But this girl, this Aria. She was an abomination, worse than he ever was, she was Atharim. He would draw her to him. That was the plan, and the boy in the tattoo shop that lay across the street was the key.

He'd been gone for a few days, Giordano hated waiting, but he didn't the other boy in the shop, he was nothing really. When Aria's boy was alone in the shop Giordano stepped inside, the small bell on the door alerting the occupant to his entrance. Giordano smiled as he pulled both gloves from his hand and stuck them in one pocket. "Hello there." Giordano's right hand slipped into his pocket where he held a small pistol ready to be used as necessary, if the boy didn't listen or caused problems. "I think it's time to close up shop."
It seemed to take forever and Lucas' backside was tired of sitting. More than once he had taken a walk the entire length of the train. More than once he had passed the drink car and paused. His mind swirled. Aria was ok. Aria was a survivor. Aria would be home soon. Swirled. Aria was in a cell. Aria was being questioned. Aria was dead. Over and over again and his mind felt tired.

For the first time in a long while- of his own volition, he remembered somewhat bitterly- he found himself craving a drink just to stop the questions, just to escape the never ending worries. The sound of the glasses and the water as the bartender washed glasses and put them up were like music to him. a lullaby that reminded him of another time.

And then he'd walk past through the smoking car and back to his own car and center himself and the craving would pass. For a while.

When the trip ended, he was only too happy. Not much went in the way of conversation with Nox. Not that there was animosity. Lucas had worked through his feelings on that. For the time being anyway. And Nox was a link to Aria. He just didn't feel like talking. Their good-byes were brief. Nox wanted to meet up with his sister. Between her and Aria he was anxious to get off the train.

Lucas went to his apartment and took a shower and threw on fresh clothes. He felt clean for the first time in three days. He had felt like the train had stuck on him until then. Feeling a bit refreshed he went down to the shop even though it was closed. He wanted to be around people. Sergei was on a date or something, probably. The shop was empty but the sound of the door bell ringing brought him some peace. He put on some music and got his gun out and primed it. You never knew when a walk-in would show up. Saturday night was better for that, of course, with people out drinking. But people drank on Sunday too. Or they were emotional. Or whatever. He just wanted to get lost in someone's emotions for the time being. It would be a relief.

He had his back to the wall when he heard the door bell ring and smiled to himself. Good. He was looking forward to doing something productive.

When he turned, his smile melted awayl, the blood draining from his face.
[Image: giordano.jpg]

The blood rush from the boy's face. He remembered who he was at the very least. Giordano wonderd what the little whelp of a daughter told him about her ever loving father. He smiled at the boy, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way son. It really is your choice. Come with me quietly. There is no need for a scene."

Giorando took a step forward, he kept his hand in his pocket as he took another, walked slowly towards this Lucas, this friend of his daughter's. He spoke softly so as not to alarm, "Do you know where my daughter is? She's been missing for a few days, as have you. Did the two of you run off to some tropical getaway for a little fun." He raised an eyebrow in inuendo.
Lucas' stomach churned. He looked at the door and back at the man. Living on the streets, he had seen a gun before. Faced them. Course he was high then. Most of the time, anyway. The other times he'd been jonesing bad. Being calm had been hard, then. As it was now, for very different reasons.

This guy was like Aria...only he used his abilities to manipulate. More than that, he seemed to relish causing pain. Lucas' remembered the fear and hopelessness that had inexplicably came over him, the sense of emptiness and loneliness that seemed to overwhelm him.

He mentioned Aria and Lucas felt something he hadn't felt before. Protectiveness. This guy was after Aria. He wanted to hurt her. The fear began to change. For the first time in days, Lucas was glad that Aria was with Ascendancy. A part of him had hope that she would be alright. He believed in Aria. And Ascendancy was almost a god. She was safe.

But this man was here, waiting, stalking her. His own daughter. There was no sense of love. In this man Lucas saw his own father. His anger continued to grow, fanned by recognition of how similar he and Aria were in so many ways.

And Aria was his. She was stronger and tougher than him. But that didn't mean Lucas wouldn't do his part. Determination resolved into steel in his heart. He would not let this man hurt Aria. Course he wasn't stupid. The weight of his phone in his back pocket was there. If he could get a call off to Nox he would. Now more than ever, he knew Nox would be there for her.

The man told him to close up shop? He had a "No."
Whatever the man wanted, no. Anger filled him. Whatever it took. The guy was old. Lucas wasn't stupid. But he was younger and faster. Whatever it took. For Aria.
[Image: giordano.jpg]
Giordano moved slowly toward the boy, the boy didn't seem scared. His resolved strengthened. Giordano wondered what was running through his mind to make him bare teeth at him, to stand up against the threat that he posed.

The boy would fight, Giordano knew that, it was the purpose of the gun. He drew it out of his pocket and pointed it the boy. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way." He could say, he didn't want to hurt him, but that was a lie. He did want to hurt him. He intended to hurt him. It would be fun, and the stronger his resolve the more fun it would be.

Giordano smiled with ill intent, "If you move in any way I don't want you to. I will end this now. And your beloved little Aria will find your corpse rotting in this very shop. What will that do to your girlfriend? Will it send her over the edge, to come at me without care or thought. Or wish she not even care that you are dead? I wonder what the little minx would do. Do you know?"

Edited by Alex, Jun 8 2015, 08:08 AM.
Lucas' eyes never left the old man's. Peripherally he was aware of the gun. Strangely, the gun didn't scare him as much. It was the man's hands that were dangerous. He knew enough that gun shots were not the instantly fatal things that you saw in movies and tv. And the man was old.

But his words stopped him short. Aria. What would it do to Aria? He so confused. Did the man want to kill him? Kidnap him? If he kidnapped him, Lucas knew that he would be in the man's thrall as soon as he touched him. Maybe it would wear off. Maybe. Or maybe not. No. Whatever happened, it would have to be here. His best chance lay here, not in some empty room or whatever.

Lucas felt the weight of his own 'gun' in his hand, as well as a bottle of cleaning solution in the other. The stuff was relatively harmless, though the bottle was pretty solid. He looked at the man, letting fear show. It wasn't an act. He was scared for Aria. And for himself, he knew. Aria was in danger no matter where she was, it seemed. Anger laced his fear, but he suppressed it. "Ok. Ok. Don't hurt her."

Before the man could react, Lucas threw the bottle at the man's chest with all his strength, following it up by rushing the man. Hopefully, the man's reacting to the bottle would disorient him enough that Lucas could knock him to the ground, knock the gun away.
[Image: giordano.jpg]

Giordano smirked at the play of emotions across the boy. Anger, and fear and determination. He was certain to put up a fight. And he was right, the moment he said he was backing down, he threw something at him, the bottle bounced against his chest and shattered on the ground. But it was enough of a distraction that the boy rushed him. There was really no time to think, the gun would be lost in any collision, that was probably the plan. There was no time to take up a solid stance. He could fire the gun, but that would be no fun, and it would alert the neighbors. Something Giordano didn't want to happen.

His best weapon wasn't the gun, and the boy was throwing himself at him. Giordano let the gun fall from his hand as the boy's shoulder landed into his gut. The blow itself pushed the air from Giordano's lungs and he gasped for air. It was momentary, and he let the momentum take him as he grabbed the shirt of the man who had tried to gain the upper hand with a shoulder to his midsection. All it would take to topple the boy was touching his skin with his own, it didn't matter how or where or what part of the body. He could manage through a shirt and Giordano did emit fear from every pore in his body. The moment the boy touched him he would be his. Giordano ensured the boy fell with him a death grip on his shirt as he flew backwards and prayed that there was nothing sharp behind him.
Lucas felt his shoulder connect with a solid satisfying thud in the old man's center. He'd hoped the man would fall back throwing his arms wide, dropping the gun. Maybe crack his head on the wood floors too.

Things seemed to be working out. The gun spun out of the way and the man was falling. But his hands latched onto Lucas' shirt grabbing. Suddenly Lucas felt panic and tried to pull away and free himself. He knew what a touch meant. The man's spidery leathery fingers gripped for dear life, slowing his fall so that though he hit his head, it didn't even daze him.

Lucas pulled back, hearing the sound of his shirt tearing. He struck the man hard in the face and say the satisfying bounce as his head hit the ground. But the grip only lessened slightly. He had to get away, get to the gun!


Things swam out of control. Giordano was only half aware of which way the gun went flying when he dropped it. But the kid knew what he was, his girlfriend enlightening him perhaps, he tried to get away. A knock to the face and Giordano could feel his teeth clench down on his tongue, blood welling into his mouth.

Pain radiated in the back of his head where it smacked the ground. Giordano changed tactics, he pushed pain and fear through his hands, pushing past the fabric, it was harder but he wouldn't have hold of the kid long, he was stronger than the whelp of a daughter, if not so talented in martial fields. Neither of which Giordano was.

Giordano ground one hand into the shirt and moved his hand towards the back of the boy's neck, if he could get purchase...


Lucas felt panic well up inside him. God, what was he doing? It was like wrestling with a snake! It was like holding on to the ears of a vicious snarling dog. He had no way out, no way to get free without being bit. Panic grew and grew and he it was all he could do to pull back.

He felt the man's hand leave his shirt for just a moment and the surge of panic lessened for an instant. Suddenly his eyes went wide with understanding and Lucas knew he was truly in trouble. Like a crazy person he struggled and pulled back, feeling his shirt rip and somehow was able to get free, just enough to jerk around in the direction he thought he saw the gun go.

He could almost feel the man behind him and he threw himself to the floor, feeling the cold metal in his left hand. Instantly he rolled over, raising the fun, feeling for the trigger. He felt the gun jerk in his hand, hoped that it hit....


The boy escaped his grip. Giordano couldn't catch a scrap of cloth, he needed to touch him. He'd gone for the gun and he'd found it with almost as much ease as Giordano dropped it in the first place.

There was a flash, and then pain. He barely registered the new sensation, he was feeling nothing but the need to inflict the pain on this boy, and the pain, it only made it stronger. Made him stronger. The boy was afraid and Gioradno pulled on it. Pulled the fear to him - feed the desire and pushed through the pain. He reached out and grabbed for the boy...


The shot hit but all it seemed to do was make him angrier even as red blossomed on him. His hands shot forward and got ahold of Lucas' arm....

And suddenly he was a little boy, hiding under the bed, the crash of thunder overhead filling him with terror. He cried and whimpered but no one came to him, not his mother or his father. He lay there shivering and crying and praying and waiting for it to stop, for the world to stop ending.

Lucas suddenly was aware that he was laying on the floor with his eyes squeezed shut, tears leaking down both sides of his faze, his heart racing with terror. He tried to get control of himself, tried to pray, to think about something, to hold on to anything, an anchor. He opened his eyes and saw the face of the devil.


Giordano had won. He'd cowed the boy and now he had him lying on the ground crying. He fed the boy fear and pain and smiled down at him, "Do you want to do this the easy way now?"


Lucas tried to think but nothing was coherent. He couldn't make his brain work. He heard the words but didn't know how to answer. He tried to breath, tried to relax. A memory forced itself up into his mind- Aria, her long dark hair fanned out on her pillow, looking up at him with love and joy. He couldn't help the smile that came to his lips. As well as a desire to protect her. He wouldn't let this man at her.

He spit in the man's face.


"I guess not." Giordano didn't give him the satisfaction of being disgusted by the fact. He pulled the gun from the man's hands as he fed him nothing but pain. It didn't matter what it was, just pain. It was something he'd been dying to do for months now, the little girl who'd come into the world because of the treacherous vile Atharim Furia who'd come hunting him. He wanted to hurt her, but this one, he'd do for now.

Giordano had every intention of taking him elsewhere, but here would do just fine, there had to be a back room. Giordano weilded the butt of the gun against Lucas' head and watched as the determined expressing fell flat.


Lucas felt the fear and terror pour in, seeming to tear at the image of Aria in his mind. He could see her being taken, being chained and beaten, could see her crying. Now she was a little girl, her little notebook on the ground, the childish images he'd seen so long ago freshly inked. Only they hadn't been monsters. They were of houses and smiling suns and happy flowers. And the little girl was crying for her mommy and the tears were coming and Lucas knew it was Aria who hung in the middle of the darkness, bound and hung from a chain, and he struggled and fought and tried to get to her before the thing moving about in the darkness got to her. But he couldn't move. He could only watch. He screamed and shook as he tried to free himself.

Finally, mercifully, he felt something strike him, and everything went black.

[[with Alex]]
[Image: giordano.jpg]

The backroom was a typical backroom, it was the perfect place to hide for a few hours. He only hoped he wouldn't have company anytime soon.

Really it didn't matter. He could go quickly or make it a long drawn out process. Giordano would prefer the latter, but well he could do with the former. Short and sweet might just have to do.

Giordano took the boys wallet from him and found the number he was looking for and typed it into his own. Unfortunately, it went straight to voice mail, wherever the girl was she had no signal. He left a message, she'd get it eventually, "Hello love, I have something that means a great deal to you. I wish you'd answered to say your good-byes. Sorry, you won't get that chance now."

The boy's head hung limp against his chest where Giordano had managed to tie him to a chair. It was make shift but it would hold for now. He ran a finger across his cheek, sending the pain of his childhood through the boy. What it had been like being an outcast among those who were special already. He should have died like his daughter. But they took kindly upon him, his strength in untrained power had been unrivaled, and still was. The little girl held nothing to him, despite the fact that she balked at his control.

"Wake up! We have things to do and not a lot of time."
Fitfully Lucas' head twitched, the images in his mind a nightmare he struggled to wake from. It was as if his own memories had been charged with energy, strengthened, modified. Made more potent, if that were possible. Where before he remembered huddling up against a heat vent, the sounds of passersby always keeping him only half asleep, now he was hunted, hiding in a garbage bin, eyes peering through the cracks, seeing the slow deliberate movement of those who sought him out.

Fear threatened to strangle him and his heart pounded in his chest and though he could see the men through the slot directly in front of him, he could also feel them behind him, breath on his neck, ready to grab and squeeze....and then he felt hands around his neck- his own memory- and he couldn't breath, tried to kick behind him, to free the grasp with his hands but nothing was there. It was as if a ghost had closed his throat in its grip and he couldn't break free.

He tried to vomit but the bile in his stomach got stuck and burned his throat and his head pulsated with agony in time to his thunderous heartbeat. He clawed at his throat, trying to tear a hole free, to feel the sweet air enter his lungs, but nothing. His feet drummed and he became crazy with the need, the need for air, for oxygen, for that sweet breath of life that every cell in his body craved until his head clouded and mercifully it seemed he passed out and....

awakened to the old man prodding at him, malevolence in his eyes. Fear bounded inside him and he struggled to get ahold of himself. But those eyes...

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