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A New Day
Continued from: Dealing with Devils

Finally, after what seemed a lifetime Michael and Jaxen exited the Undercity.

Jaxen - as Michael learned his name was as they retraced his steps to escape - was one eccentric bastard. He supposed he didn't blame the man for wanting to be gone from that hell hole, but he blinked when the bastard straightened his coat and demanded he hurried up. Unless he had stumbled into that nest of monsters while on an evening stroll - something Michael seriously considered, from what he had seen of Jaxen - he doubted the man had any idea of the way out.

Michael wasn't bothered, he was just glad Jaxen had not tried to kill him - at least, not after he had learned of his powers, and not mistaken him for a monster. In fact, the man's blasé attitude towards it all was rather endearing. Which was just as well for him, since he would soon find out he had a lot more in common with Michael than he probably wanted.

They paused as the exited the Undercity, and Michael did not waste time now that they were free. He took a quick look around - nobody was out at this early hour in the morning, nobody to overhear - and spoke.

"There is one more thing,"
Michael said. He wasn't exactly sure how to tell someone they had superpowers - he hoped the man didn't think he was Batman and start dressing in a cape - so he cut to the chase. "You saw what I did. You felt it. Well, you can do it to. The 'Sickness'? You know of it of course. Well you have it, but it isn't a disease. It's the start of something new.I can explain it later, but for now, there is one thing you need to know. If you don't get it under control, there's a good chance you will die. I can help you, but I will only offer this once."

<small><small>[fast forward and moding done with permission]</small></small>

Edited by Michael Vellas, Aug 17 2013, 12:38 PM.
Michael and Jaxen bust out of a shoddily locked pair of doors and drank in the fresh air of freedom. It smelled like shit and vomit, but it was the sweetest shit and vomit Jaxen had ever known. He took a deep breath.

From palming his chest in relief, he pushed his hair from his eyes and squinted. The light was that familiar early morning glow, but after the darkness of underworld dungeons, he felt like an albino meeting the world for the first time.

He was pressing the corner of his eyes, tired, sore and wracked with shock, when Michael spoke up. The guy was true to his word, and showed him the way out, so Jax owed him one. Which was why he didn't clock him and take off.

Jax glanced from the corner of one eye and made sure to keep walking. He had every intention of getting as far away from here and as close to the bottom of a vodka bottle as soon as possible. Which meant: keep walking.

At the end of the crazy coming out of Michael's mouth, Jax smirked dismissively. He had no idea what the guy was talking about. "Look I don't know how you did what you did, but you're good. I'll give you that."
The world was right as rain to Jaxen. Only now it had cannibals, hot chicks with swords, and batshit crazy guys talking STDs and dropping ultimatums. So if Michael did anything, it was a trick. What else could it be?

"I have the sickness? Right. You know, just last week alone I ran into an alien wearing an Elvis sweat-suit and back-door banged Jessica Rabbit in the Manifesto bathroom."
Jaxen smirked and made the curvy outline of a female figure with his palms. "That shit was hot as fuck."
He laughed in light of his companion's seriousness.

The Sickness? It was insane. Really? What was it he was suppose to have felt? Besides the raging boner everyone was lined up to press to his hip?

"Know what I think, Michael? I think we need to find the bottom of a pair of vodka bottles. Or ten. And you can tell me about how I'm going to die."
He laughed again.

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Aug 17 2013, 03:18 PM.
"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 +
"Know what I think, Michael? I think we need to find the bottom of a pair of vodka bottles. Or ten. And you can tell me about how I'm going to die."

Michael was slightly surprised that anger did not well up in his stomach at Jaxen's dismissive mockery. Certainly, the man thought he was bat-shit crazy, but he couldn't really blame him.

He supposed he would have reacted the same way if he were in the same position. Unfortunately, he didn't have the chance to. He had already killed someone because by the time he realised what was happening.

Michael did not smile back at the man - he could not find it in himself to smile after what had happened - but he decided to take a friendlier approach. He would make sure Jaxen was warned - he didn't want to see the man die in ignorance after all the effort he had been to to save Katalina - but no more than that.

He nodded at Jaxen's words. "Sounds like a good idea. I tell you what, you look pretty banged up, you can come back to my place and get yourself cleaned up and have a drink to get you back on your feet."

Tony would love the guy - he would love anything that would drink vodka with him. More importantly, he would be better at explaining things.
Edited by Michael Vellas, Aug 18 2013, 08:01 AM.
Wasn't Michael a barrel of monkeys? Like beating a grin out of a fuzz-hat stiff standing guard outside the Tower of London. Not impossible, but Jax wasn't going to hold his breath.

He did bark a laugh in reaction to the invitation though. In the span of twelve hours he'd dealt with a lot of interested parties giving him the ole' one-eye. Michael may not have that certain zombie-like look in his eye, but the guy wasn't without creep-factor. Probably got on splendidly with the ladies.

Jax pat the guy on the shoulder and steered him toward the curb, hailing a cab. "Back to your place eh?"
A black and white checkered cab pulled over. Jax held out his arms and gave an elegant, dancer-like spin as he rounded the car to model the manly bruises, blood and swellings decorating his scruffed hands and whiskered jaw. It was pretty convincing too. Balance and coordination was in his bag of tricks after all. Those ballet-lessons were the first thing little-kid Jaxen ditched-- you know, after he realized those things dangling between his legs were actually important-- but the skill stuck with a kid long after he grew up.

He grinned sarcastically and finished his sentence over the top of the car, "Before you get to blowing me, I'd take a spongebath too. But don't worry, I'll make sure we get the good vodka on the way."
He laughed and landed in the cab's backseat, slamming the door after him.

He spoke to the driver, Russian accent thicker than ever. "Take us wherever this guy says, my good man. But only by way of the best liquor store there is between here and there."

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Aug 18 2013, 08:51 AM.
"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 +
Michael let Jaxen's mockery slide of his back. He did sound like a creepy bastard, but he would soon understand. If he didn't, well, Michael didn't particularly care.

The taxi pulled in at one of the finer bottle-o's in Moscow. A fancy looking place called "Vintage Liqueur". A shit name, Michael thought, but it was classy with its silver plated sign and blue neon interior.

He let Jaxen do the shopping, Michael did not really drink these days. Not that he avoided it, precisely, he just never had the urge. Holding the power was a drug ten times as potent as alcohol.

When Jaxen returned, he handed Michael three bottles, another three in his hand. Michael's brow rose at the needlessly ornate bottle. He was pretty sure that the label was real gold. It also said that it was vodka, but Michael had never seen amber vodka. The stuff must have cost a fortune, but he didn't make any comment. He didn't care what Jaxen did with his money or how he got it.

The rest of the cab ride passed by, a short ten minutes spent looking out over urban Moscow and the early stirrings of its inhabitants. Apart from the occasional directing, there was not much talk.

The cab driver pulled up along the side of the road facing the river - he still had not gotten used to the way the Russian's drove on the opposite side of the road - and Michael paid the man with a word of thanks.

Michael looked out along the river which was always busy in the early hours of the morning. He hated the damn thing, the breeze that came in from the north of the river was freezing. But it also was a familiar sight which brought him comfort in his hatred of it.

After a moment breathing in the scent of the river, he crossed the road towards his house. He wondered what Jaxen would think of it - if his guess was correct, he was likely from one of the rich families that had sprung up like weeds when the CCD had been established. The neighborhood was the picture of middle class urban Moscow, the houses tidy and adequate and the people distant but friendly.

He reached the front of his own house and withdrew the keys from his pocket. He looked up at the brick wall above the door to find soot still covering most of the wall around the chimney. He wasn't really expecting Tony to do anything in the condition he was in, but it would have been a pleasant surprise if he cleaned up the mess he made when he had thrown a fireball at the fireplace as a 'joke'. He had downed 3 bottles of vodka that day, and Michael was glad he had no power to heal the stupid bastard.

He turned to Jaxen as he unlocked and opened the door. "The shower is upstairs. Don't mind the bastard laying on the couch."

At that, Michael heard Tony groan and sit up. The couch was littered with bottles of vodka in front of the plasma TV. The kitchen in the back was untouched - the fool probably hadn't eaten before he started drinking again.

Tony blinked as he saw Michael and Jaxen in the doorway. "Who the fuck is that, Michael? He one of those religious types? Tell him to fuck off, I don't need saving."

Michael turned back to Jaxen. "Show him those bottles of vodka and he'll change his mind."
He lowered his voice so Tony could not hear. "One more thing. Don't mention the girl to him. If you do, I'll kill you."

<small><small>(moding and speech done with permission)</small></small>

Edited by Michael Vellas, Aug 18 2013, 09:57 AM.
With a case of vodka between them and a bag of limes, Jaxen could care less where they went. The cab certainly took him to a familiar area, though. Riverside, south. In the distance the glittering buildings of Moscow City arose, sparkling in the eastern-born sun. At this angle he couldn't make out the topper of his own building, but neither was Jaxen particularly ready to run home. Besides, what better way to get to know a guy than by getting stone-cold drunk together? The true test of men's character.

He hefted the half-case of bottles, liter and a half sized, the same as what was pinched by the LA operation not too many weeks ago. Counterfeit counter-measures raised the price per bottle like some insane sin-tax, but thankfully, Jaxen's Wallet was undamaged in all the antics of the last day.

The interior of Michael's home went relatively unnoticed by Jaxen. It was a slight upgrade from the roach motel he'd been staying in, but the bloke strewn out on the couch was definitely a downgrade from the District's usual entertainment. And a lot hairier. Like werewolf meets boardwalk. Without manners. "I look like a fucking priest?"
Jaxen said plainly, checking out the quality of bottles strewn about the guy's feet. Any decent Moscow-born man should be able to hold his liquor. A slobbering drunk was hard to respect. A depressed, slobbering drunk was pretty much scraping the bottom of the man-barrel in Jaxen's view. He shook his head, disapproving, but before he could head toward the kitchen, wherever it was, Michael stopped him, Aussie accent kept low.

Having been in a charitable mood before, what with dropping nearly five grand on decent vodka to split with the house, Michael's threat, dropped casually like some after-thought he'd only now remembered to mention, was met with a surprised look. He looked Michael up and down. The guy went from offering to save his life to snatching it away abruptly. Moody bitch, wasn't he?

Jaxen leveled. His house, his rules, but mostly, Jaxen couldn't give a flying fuck about Earless. In fact, he preferred to erase the memory of her very existence all together. "Kitchen that way?"
He pointed across the main living room, where some old arch cut into the side of the wall seemed to show off a change in flooring reminiscent of kitchen life. Michael nodded and Jaxen took off.

The vodka went into a freezer for a rapid chill. As also did he flip on the ice-maker so to make sure it kept up production. Then he found his way to a shower somewhere upstairs. Not that he stripped down and hopped right in. Its not like he had a change of clothes handy, or that he had a vagina. Instead, a few splashes of water cleared his eyes of fatigue and smoothed his hair back from his face. The dark stubble across his throat itched, but second-hand razors and aerosolized foam were hardly tempting enough to make him want to shave.

He did take the time to strip off the coat and t-shirt though, hanging both on a peg in the meantime, to wash the blood stains from his forearms. The gashes around his wrists looked like he'd tried to kill himself and didn't know to slice up and down his arms rather than across, but a few minutes later the sink was stained pink and he was feeling better. At least cleaner.

He stared at himself in the mirror for a while, expression hard as his head replayed everything. From spontaneous combustion to midair levitation; White showing up out of thin air and cannibals gnawing on earlobes; vomiting until he nearly passed out and the stunt with the Ring Race? The Sickness? He was going to die? Right. He shook his head dismissively and grabbed his stuff. Goddamn he needed a fucking drink.

He danced down the stairs in a darker mood than when he went up it. Not too interested in chatting, he bypassed blondie on the couch, chucked his coat and Wallet to a chair and headed straight to the kitchen. He spent a few minutes slicing the limes, throwing green slivers one at a time in a bowl. Then pulled the cold bottles from the freezer and put them back in the main fridge to stay chilled.

He rummaged around for whatever glasses there were, pulling one only for himself. It was soon filled with ice-cubes which were poured over with the amber colored liquid, that smelled like heaven in a bottle, until the glass was filled to the very rim with straight vodka. A squeeze of lime over the top and Jaxen wandered back to the living room, bottle tucked under one arm until he collapsed on some old club chair. The bottle he deposited on a table within easy reach alongside and he drank half the glass in a few fast gulps.

He paid for the shit, but he wasn't the guys' fucking waitress. If they were expecting something, they could get their own. "So,"
Jax relayed to them, "I hear I'm going to die a horrible death?"

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Aug 18 2013, 10:42 AM.
"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 +
"I look like a fucking priest?"

Michael closed the door and nodded when Jaxen asked about the kitchen. Tony was rousing himself, his arm clutching at his side.

When Jaxen had disappeared upstairs after depositing the vodka in the fridge, Tony finally decided to speak up.

"What the fuck is this about Michael? Looks like that prick got himself into a fight."

"He did. He was a prisoner. Those...monsters... were going to eat him."

Tony's eyes sharpened at that. "Katalina?"

The lie came easy. "I found nothing. I don't know what happened."

Tony nodded, his shoulders slumping. "Dead, then." He paused for a moment, eyes distant, then turned his attention back to Michael. "Why the fuck did you bring that rich bastard here? The hospitals all closed today or something?"

"He can use the power."
Michael said, ignoring Tony's tone. "He is still in the 'Sickness' stage. I couldn't just leave him to die."

That shut the man up. He spent a long time in thought before making his reply. "Well then...That changes things."
Tony watched as the kid - Jackson or whatever - came down and prepared a nice meal of vodka and lime. Whatever else could be said about him, he had good taste in vodka; and the cash to go with it.

Tony sat watching him as he put the drinks on the table - Michael silent on the left. He poured himself a drink and sat back.

"I hear I'm going to die a horrible death?"

Tony was silent a moment longer. What was he going to do? The cases of the 'Sickness' were growing more frequent, and was surprised to learn he could not dismiss the bruised man and drown himself in his expensive vodka. Did he still care? Why?

Putting aside questions for later, he focused on the kid at hand. He knew the type. He was in denial. Probably had everything going for him in life, he didn't want anything to change. Just like Tony himself.

Well, it was too bad. Things would change, whether he liked it or not.

Tony embraced the power and opened the cupboard and fridge, grabbing another vodka bottle and two glasses. He let them hover over the top of the table while he used the power to open the bottle and pour. It took considerable effort, more than it would just to get up and do it himself, but the kid needed to see.

A display - something real, irrefutable would get the kid's mind working.

"You may die. Most do. Only a handful survive the 'Sickness' stage, less than those who die."
He downed the glass of amber liquid - shit was it good! - before he continued. "Of course, it's only a trick, right?"
he asked in rhetoric. "You haven't suddenly done something which seemed impossible while under pressure, right? A rush of adrenaline - like you could do anything in the world! - has never hit you and you find yourself doing something incredibly stupid, right? Of course, that means you have never become violently ill for no reason a few days after these things happen, then recover like nothing has happened? Of course not. Stupid question."

He locked eyes with the kid as he continued. "But let's take a hypothetical example, shall we? Each time that happens, you inch a little closer to actually touching the power - I don't know what the fuck it's called, call it magic if you want, you'll understand once you feel it. Each time, the reactions get worse."

He poured himself another glass of vodka, this time using his hands. "Finally, it gets to the point where you make full contact. Some survive it, sure, but most don't. It starts off like the other times, violent sickness. Except, this time, it doesn't go away. You start to convulse, every muscle in your body aches."

Tony hated recalling his memories of the ones who didn't survive. He had seen just over a dozen, but it never got any easier. He downed the second glass. "I'm not sure what actually causes the death. The 'Sickness' itself, or exhaustion from the screams that do not stop until the end."

Edited by Tony Soloyov, Aug 18 2013, 11:38 AM.
Jaxen certainly glanced twice at the hovering drinkware. Enough that he crossed his foot up and across the opposite knee and settled back in the chair, one finger tapping the glass thoughtfully, as though trying to determine whether or not to believe his own eyes.

The saner parts of his head told him it was a trick. These guys were good. Too good. The cynical part of him rolled his eyes studiously to the ceiling, seeking evidene of whatever invisible fiber-wire was intricate enough to float shit around the room. Spandexed cirque du soleil freaks could fly around the ceiling. Why not vodka? Super fast burning lighter fluid that could consume a body in seconds. Sure! Didn't they use that kind of stuff on space station incinerators? The floating in mid air thing was harder to rationalize, but Jaxen could soar through randomized laser grids without tripping an alarm, but that was more like parkour than finger waggling, Ouija board bullshit. His eyes narrowed while Tony went about this latest showmanship. The rational part of his mind was exhausted. He took another drink and listened without interruption.

The sickness huh? His fingers advanced from thoughtful tapping to considerable drumming. Luck. He thought back to the lock that opened in his hands the night he escaped Baccarat. He thought of the ache still burning the back of his throat from last night's puking party. If that was the Sickness, and it was suppose to get worse, well Jaxen wasn't too keen on sticking around long enough to learn how things could possibly get worse. Supposed he could have shit his pants and spewed out both ends? Let his eyeballs drain out of his sockets? Tossed in a pit and be mauled by snakes? He shivered at the sudden insertion of imagery seemingly out of no where. A part of him would prefer those former fates to the latter; fucking snakes.

Lovely. He took another drink.

Tony enlightened him with details. No snakes. Thankfully only convulsions, violence, and screaming yourself to death.

"Oh? That's all?"
Jaxen smirked and shook his head, but he wasn't quite as dismissive of the notion this time.

"So this -- what'd you call it? Power? -- you can't use it to magick up some chips or something can you? Now that'd be handy."
The joke to his voice contradicted the narrowness of his gaze. Was he was seriously considering these jokers? He glanced thoughtfully at Michael.

"So you two survived it huh? What do you have to do? Affordable monthly payments to your favorite neighborhood cult? This involve killing a chicken? Or chanting? Because I'm all for not dying,"
he swept his hands through the air, "but I have to draw the line somewhere."
"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 +
Tony could be a vicious bastard when he wanted to, Michael had nearly forgotten that the aura of drunken stupor belied a quick and honed mind.

Jaxen seemed perturbed by the little act. It was a bit much in Michael's opinion - too dramatic - but he said nothing.

When the shaken man glanced at him and asked about killing chickens, Michael decided to interject before Tony demanded some more of that vodka.

"It is simple,"
Michael said, although he did not really know. Tony said it was, but he had never seen or done it himself. "You need only learn to touch it safely. Someone who has the same power - Tony or I - can guide you. Once you have learned to do it safely, to control it, the Sickness will disappear."

Tony nodded impatiently and continued on his heels. "I can teach you how to control it. How long that takes depends on you. Of course, you don't need to be taught. You can walk out the door right now, just leave your vodka. If you survive the 'Sickness' you will develop a block of sorts, if you don't feel like learning. That means you won't have full access to the power, only under certain conditions."

Tony cleared his throat and poured another drink, but he didn't consume it. "Anything else? Hmmm... Not much I can tell you that'd make sense. You have to feel it for yourself, then you'll understand."
he shot Jaxen a sideways look. "You do any meditation at priest school? That's the first step, if you want to learn. Open your mind and visualise the power. That kind of zen shit. But perhaps that's too much for your brain to handle in one day. How about we get wasted and you can decide if you'll give it a shot later, eh?"

The drunk bastard downed his third glass of vodka.

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