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Sometimes Knowing Sucks
The night was chilly and the street quiet. It had rained earlier and the air smelled of wet asphalt and garbage. Other smells too, but he wasn't exactly in a categorizing mood. The heavy sounds of bass music up the street competed with the shhh of traffic on the road. The Little Kitty was not the classiest place, that was for sure.

Anyway, where was he? Oh yeah. Last two days had been.....crazy. Looked like while he and Alex were hooking up, Nox had gone off and gotten himself in some real trouble. A city block torn up, chunks of rock and concrete and building material and whatever the hell else there was- was that lead spikes?- covered the place. Looked like a fucking war zone.

And Nox had been arrested, along with some pretty boy soldier (the way a couple of the guys had joked) or something. And then both of them just disappeared.

He wasn't sure about the soldier, but he had an idea about Nox. Well, more a suspicion. Not that he was a genius or anything. But it seemed familiar. He remembered a certain padded cell, the prodding of needles, tests. Course he'd also been suffering from the sickness, so for him the memory wasn't all that bad. It had saved him. And the Ascendancy had come to him, taught him to control himself, and put him back out on the streets with something in his record that gave him some sort of pull. Enough that the Cap had pulled him onto Domovoi.

No, not a bad memory for him. But he wasn't Nox. Nox could be a dick. More than one, really. Like a whole bag of dicks. But he was honest. Despite what he'd said to Alex- hey, his head was full of tequila and she was hot and he just wanted to kiss her, what did she expect?- he really did believe the guy's story. He doubted Nox wanted a job in the CCD, or would follow orders or whatever they wanted him to do.

And, of course, nobody told him anything. Pissed him off.

Top it all off, he got a call from Uncle Pol. He'd not seen him in years. To be honest, he didn't know why he was being called. He'd known Pol his whole life- his daughter Olena was Ivan's first kiss, first love, really- but it wasn't like they had any heart to hearts. He was pop's friend.

So why the hell was he calling Ivan and asking him to meet him at 2 in the morning down the street from a seedy strip club? Not like Ivan hadn't been tired or anything.

Bah, he was just being a pissy little bitch. Pol had gone down hard after Olena had been shot, bleeding out in his arms. That was a punch to the gut. They all took it hard. But Pol never climbed back out of the bottle.

He owed him. For pops. For Olena's sake.
Ok. Standing outside in the cold was getting old like really super fast. Not like they had to meet actually outside outside, after all. And he had no desire to go into the strip club. Not that he minded those, necessarily. He was a guy and women were women (and he did like women).

But generally it was just sad. He felt bad for the girls. Bad for the guys. Yeah yeah, not very progressive, he knew. People had a right to do what they wanted. To buy and sell as long as everyone was an adult. And he was sure there were a lot of well adjusted dancers who generally enjoyed themselves or the art of it or whatever. Like those high end places downtown.

But a place like this....divey and maybe you might catch something just sitting down and the girls had that worn out look even though they were his age or younger or 15 years older than him and had just gotten divorced and realized that they had lost 20 years of on the job training or opportunities or whatever.....well, he didn't know. It just felt like taking advantage. Even though if no one went, what would some of them do for work? That was the rub on the back end. Desperate people did desperate things. And if they didn't have this, what else might they do? What else that was wors?

To top it all off, as a beat cop, he'd been on more than a few cases where he got to know some of these girls or their home lives. No. Not pretty.

And not like the guys weren't sob stories too. Big secret of places like these was a lot of times, the guys just wanted to sit and talk. Lonely widowers. Guys who never had much luck or were just too busy to be able to devote the time to the chase. Depressed. Just wanted to talk, maybe get to know the girls, their regulars.

It was a relationship even with how fake it was, the only contact in a life without it. A fantasy. You couldn't be mad at them for wanting something, as long as they weren't hurting anyone. Broken people, giving each other something, even if it was just a transaction.

It was all just so complicated and he didn't know what to do about it. Stuff like that made him hate the city, even though he knew it was worse other places.

So...back to the car, he guessed. Turned on the engine and the heat. Flipped through his wallet. Bored. He'd give Pol another 10 and then go. He had work tomorrow. As it was, it was gonna be fight to hit the gym in the morning. With himself, anyway. He'd slacked off and the night turned day with Alex had also put him behind schedule (though it was not like he was complaining or anything.)

So, ok, there sitting in the car, flipping through wallet, bored, checking time, periodically looking at mirrors or ahead. Occasionally, he saw someone come out of the club, but after a moment, went back to what he was doing.

Finally, a man came out, bundled up in heavy coat and hat. Ivan put the wallet down and watched him walk up to the car, stoop down with his hands on the window to look in. Ivan recognized him and unlocked the door.

Pol slid in, the rush of cold into the now warm car not really welcome. Nor was the smell of body spray. God he almost coughed, it was so thick. Like a cloud or something. He was willing to bet Pol had glitter on his clothes too. Ivan cracked the window despite the cold just so he wouldn't choke to death.

Even in the shadows he could see the bleary red eyes. "Hey Pol. You doing ok?"

The man sat there and despite being the one who asked to meet, didn't say anything for a moment. Then, "Yeah. I guess. As good as you might expect."
He coughed from deep in his chest. Then he looked at Ivan and he coulda swore he saw the wash of tears.

He turned to face him, now concerned. "What's going on Pol? Why did you want to meet?'

Pol just stared at him, clenching and unclenching his jaw. Finally, "I'm sorry Vanya. I'm sorry. It's my fault. All of it. Olena. Your dad."

The words cut through him, like when he'd fallen into the river at the park in March. He couldn't breath. His voice was hesitant and he took Pol's shoulder, perhaps tighter than he should have. "What do you mean. What the fuck are you talking about, Pol!!"
Pol didn't say anything and Ivan was starting to get pissed. Like seriously pissed. Any notice of the smell suffocating him or the cold from the open window or anything else just kinda went out the window.

Talkin about his pops? He'd nearly died. Olena had died. And it was his fault?

His voice became hard. "Just say what you are saying!"

Just then, the door behind him opened and he felt the cold steel of metal against his head. The voice was smooth and commanding. "Please don't move Officer Sarkozy. Your family wouldn't be happy being forced to have a closed casket at your funeral."
The voice became quieter, and yet all the more deadly for it. "And you wouldn't want anyone in your family to get hurt."
Ivan felt anger burning inside him. He wanted to glare at his "Uncle" but the feel of the steel against his head stilled any movement. Fuckers. They didn't know who they were messing with. His voice was tight, angry, a promise of threat."You're making a huge mistake. You have no idea-"

The voice cut him off with a chuckle. "Actually, Detective Ivan Sarkozy of Domovoi, we know exactly who- and what- you are. And what you are capable of. It's why you have been chosen."
The voice went on. "We are not fools, Detective. We've dealt with dangerous men before. I have no doubt that you might be able to get away. Might. Or that you could....well, you wouldn't kill me now would you, Detective? You're a sworn officer of the law. You wouldn't deprive me of my civil liberties."

The guy was needling him. But he was an idiot. If it came down to it, he thought he could kill. Maybe. If his family was involved. The voice could read his thoughts, it seemed. "More importantly, I promise you that you'd never make it to your family in time, out here on the edges of town."

He squeezed his eyes shut, feeling the panic, the fear. Like when pops was shot. He'd been at school and got the message, run home terrified. Bastard. Fucking Asshole. It made sense now, the shithole strip club.

He did turn his head despite the steel pressed against it, and glared at Pol. The dick wouldn't even meet his eye, just kept looking down, crying. "How the fuck can you do this to us, Pol!?!? We're almost family!!"
The man didn't say anything.

"Enough, Detective. Please drive to this address."
handing a slip of paper to him. "And don't try anything. I promise you, no matter happens to me, your family will suffer. I promise."

Ivan had no choice. He couldn't take the risk. He drove.
Yun Kao, was a good cop. She'd always been a good cop, but things happen. Times change. And the line between black and white turns a muddy gray and soon, you are walking closer and closer to the black side of gray. At least that's how it has always felt for Yun. She was a generational officer. Her father was a cop, his father and so on back for generations. The only difference now, was instead of China, her grandfather emigrated to the CCD and to Moscow specifically when the man who ruled the world made a home there. He wanted to be in the thick of history. And they have been her for two generations, and her sister was seeing to the third generation. Yun didn't have time for finding a husband. And her family line would end with her for good reason.

The shame she'd bring to the Kao name would make her father roll over in his grave. If he ever found out. But things change and Yun made the best of some really bad situations and made a few extra bucks in the process.

It hadn't happened right away, a little job here, one there, and then they asked for bigger favors. And Yun made her self indispensable, until one day, the big man came to her, made her kin, and Yun took over the family business. The idiot son never saw it coming. Now she ran the thing.

She might be small, but she had great power. Until the Ascendancy came and ruined that all with the might of a statue erected in front of the world. Now her power seemed feeble. Yun needed to harness one - to find one to use and mold into her very own weapon. She'd work her way through their mind, like the old man had done to her.

Thankfully moles were everywhere and there was a young cop of a former friend who might have just gotten himself into a bit of a pickle helping out a friend. Yun sent a friend of the family to bring him to her. She couldn't want to be the young boy scout. Would he turn like his father? or would he stand strong in his ideals? Either way they could help each other out. He just needed to her a few favors in return. She'd win him over.

[Image: 640?cb=20150503204635]
Ivan drove, running through options in his head. Not for right now. This was gonna happen. He couldn't get away and he knew his family is in danger. He was gonna meet with whoever.

But later....he needed to figure out for later. Get out of this. Move?
Ask for witness protection? Based on what evidence? Clearly these people- and he was thinking one of the crime families- had no fear of cops. He glared at his "Uncle". The man just looked ahead. He had to know Ivan was starting at him. They had dirty cops on the payroll. They'd be tipped off no matter what Ivan did.

Back and forth, back and forth he want.

He reached the place and Ivan got out. He wasn't gonna try anything. Not until he knew his family was safe. And then....

The building was tall, maybe 3 stories, and in a residential area. Small courtyard out front, waist high wrought iron gate, stone steps to a nicely carved door. Ivan's feet shuffled on the steps. "Come on Detective. Let's not keep her waiting."

Her? He ran through what he knew about the crime families. A few females popped up. But not in charge. Not yet, anyway. Course, he didn't work Major Case, so he probably was wrong.

He entered the room and reluctantly followed the voice- short man, tailored suit, bald- into some sort of library. Stopped and stared. She didn't like like one of the families. Unless the Chinese Triads were making inroads into Moscow.

And he was sick of this. "What do you want from me."
Get out of there as fast as you can. Get out. Get family somewhere safe.

Then....then it would be time.
He was young and direct, he probably thought to get away. But that was all but impossible now. Yun smiled to herself as she sat in her leather chair fingering a glass of the finest scotch.

"Sit Detective Sarkozy. A drink?"
With a wave of her hand a glass was poured of the detective's favored drink. She'd done her research before pulling in the kid wonder. He'd made her radar on his promotion into Domovoi. And her little birds were ready to sing for any crumb she'd give them.

The man set the glass on the table between her and the adjoining chair in library's sitting room. It was one of her favorite rooms in the entire house. All the books, she'd been fond of books as a girl, now there was hardly any time to read. But it felt good to be among the relics of a time since past.

"I have been looking forward to meeting you for some time. Your father has been greatly missed around here. I never worked with him personally of course, before my time as they say. But a good detective like him is very hard to come by. A drink to retired soldiers?"

Edited by Nox, Feb 1 2018, 01:02 PM.
Ivan didn't bother studying the room. That didn't matter. The lone man. The woman in front of him. Asian. Scars on face. Seemed completely unafraid. And that despite what she knew he could do to her. To the whole fucking building.

Because, of course, she was holding his family's lives hostage. Because there was not a goddamn thing he could do right now except listen.

But he wasn't gonna do any of this pretend civility bullshit. He didn't bother sitting and when the guy put the drink down, he honestly looked at him. Are you fucking kidding me? He wasn't drinking piss with either of them.

And then her words....His face darkened as rage colored it.
His eyes were on fire. He seized the power, his anger like gasoline, pouring out onto a fire, ball of flame and smoke flaring up. He had never been this angry, never in his life.

A thick thread of air whipped out to the man in the room, wrapped around him, choking him, holding him mobile. Ivan looked at the woman, strained, seizing more of the power, refused to back down, to back off, the rage firing him like never before. The fucking power fought him as he tried to form another weave but he was through bending over. He was beyond caring and pushed and pulled and felt the give and pulled and finally, another thread formed, whipped out, coiling around her like a snake, squeezing.

His voice was as cold as ice. They pushed him too far.
"You threaten my family?"
He couldn't think. The blood pounded in his ears. My family. They threatened my family. He could hear the man struggle to breath. Ivan ignored him. To hell with the rules.
"Maybe it's you that's the hostage. And everyone in this building. Call off your men and I will let you live instead of bringing this entire building down around your corpse."

He eased the tightness around her throat only enough for her to croak.
Irresponsible boys. They had been right about his power. Not that Yun had actually doubted it, but it was one thing to see it and a completely another to be wrapped up in it vying for breathe.

But Yun knew the boy well enough, knew that there was leverage to be played. Yun spoke, "Slav."
and a screen rose from the far bookcase. The holo showed a picture of Sarkozy house, outside parked a car. And then within a few moments the single man got out of his car and walked up to their front door and knocked.

A strange man answered and they spoke for a moment before three other men were hustling out the Sarkozy family pressing them to their knees guns pointed at their heads. A russian voice from the door they had all entered in spoke quietly over the imposing threat. "You have 30 seconds before they start putting bullets in your family's heads. Sit down and have that drink, Detective."

Yun smiled as her right hand spoke. The gun in his hand pointed at the young officer. He never left her side for long.

Edited by Nox, Feb 1 2018, 03:32 PM.
He watched in terror as his mother and father and little sister were dragged out, were kneeling in the living room, guns at their heads. He wanted to vomit. His jaw clenched and unclenched. I have all this power....and there's not a god damn thing I can do!!!!

And with that the power drained from him, just poured right out of him. Along with hope.

The bonds release them both as he yelled "Ok ok! Don't hurt them. Please!!! There. There! You're free. I'm cooperating. Don't hurt them!!"
He sat in the chair. He was trapped. Held by bonds far stronger than those he had just used.

He had to figure out how to get his family safe. That was first. Then....then he'd take care of this.

She stared at him, as if waiting. The drink. The fucking drink. He wasn't stupid. He knew what would happen then. But the image of his family, crying and whimpering with 3 guns to the back of their heads was all he could see.

He picked up the shot of rum and downed it in one gulp.

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