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Igor's looked as Igor's had always looked since the day his great grandfather had opened the doors. The crumbling red paint on the outside had always been crumbling, it was just much more so now. The beat up old door that squeaked when you walked in. Vlad never bothered to oil it. It was an easy fix, but it was part of the way it had always been. The red neon sign outside blinked Igor's was always on, no matter the time of day.

If you had never been to Igor's before and expected the inside to be the same as the outside you would be highly mistaken. The inside was luxurious. The walls were painted in faux marble. The chair rails and molding were all specially carved pieces of dark wood that looked like mahogany but were much cheaper. All the woodwork from floor to ceiling was polished nightly.

The floors were white tiles that were bleached nightly. The ceiling glittered with fake crystal chandeliers. Everything about the place was fake, but the no one seemed to care, it was in the Red Light district after all.

In the background Russian classical music played from the Might Handful. They were not Vlad's favorite, but it kept with the mood. If you wanted authentic Russian Cuisine this is where you came. Igor's probably could have moved uptown, and you could pay a high dollar for what they served, but here in the Red Light District, you could go unnoticed for many a thing. And Vlad liked it that way, as had his father and his father before him since the opening of Igor's.

Vlad hardly paid any attention to the front of the business. The restaurant pretty much ran itself. The day manager, Ivanna Pavelova scheduled everything and insured that the books were correct. Vlad should really think about paying her more, but that was something to think on later, today he had other things to deal with.

The office in which his father had died had become his. Vlad still remembered that day clearly in his mind. He tried to focus on the events that had happened but he couldn't place it.
Vlad was kicked back in the leather office chair with his feet kicked up on the desk in front of him. He was waiting for the boy to come in, he was late. Vlad flicked pulled the unlit cigar to his lips and lit the end with a mere thought. It was only seconds to the onlooker, but it was a long drawn out process for him. He had to grasp the power and call upon the elements and weave the fire onto his cigar. It had taken years to just learn that. But now it was natural - as easy as a piece of cake as they say.

The knock came and Vlad called out. "Voydite!" As his father before him, if you wanted to work here you had to speak Russian.
The boy had barely waited for Vlad to tell him he could enter, which made Vlad's anger rise. The power with in always came quickly and easily while angry, Vlad had to keep his anger in check or at least make sure he didn't kill anyone else. He didn't mind letting it get hot when he was angry. He was the epitome of an American, born and raised in the United States. But the boy was family, to which Vlad had taken on grudgingly when his older sister Anna could handle the son she had raised. Vlad still laughs at the fact Anna thought he could do better with him. He was still a loser child. Still into girls and drugs. But to his mother, Peter was now a blossoming young man, who had decided it was in his best interest to stay with Uncle Vlad.

But this wasn't a social call, the boy was here and he was in trouble.

Vlad removed his feet from the desk and tapped the screen of his wallet on the desk in front of him. In very clear Russian Vlad said, "Read it!"

The boy brushed back his long hair and leaned over Vlad's desk as if he owned the place. He muttered to himself. Unfortunately the article was in English. He was insisting Peter use Russian at all times around the family. He was suppose to be learning things, this was his way of enforcing it.

The boy paled and Vlad snatched the wallet from his eyes. "Do better research boy. Or you'll be in the back washing dishes or worse yet I'll ship you back to your Mommy and Daddy." Peter's pallor deepened even more. Vlad resisted the urge to grapple with the power with in and teach the boy a lesson. He kept chanting in his mind, he's family. It was the only thing keeping this boy alive in Vlad's anger.

Peter stood up straight, the color of his skin had returned to normal and he glared at Vlad. "That isn't my fault." He spoke softly in English, he knew he was pushing his limits.

Vlad grasped the power and the boy was on his knees in an instant gasping for breath. Vlad walked around the desk and knelt down next to the boy. "It is your fault. I made it your fault. Do better or get out of here." Vlad stood up and let go of the glorious power. It was so hard to do. It filled him with such wonder and the things he could do with it. It must have been what a god felt like.

"Now get out of my sight!" Vlad turned his back on the boy and advanced towards his desk. By the time he had reached his chair Peter was gone and the door was slamming shut behind him. Vlad smiled. He did very much enjoy his job.

It was time to do the rounds now and make like a good host, it was by far the easiest part of the job, but Vlad hated to put on the fake face his patron's expected of him and his family. But it was his duty to his family and the business with in.

Vlad walked through the kitchen greeting everyone by name and offering some sort of conversation with each before entering the dinning room to mingle with his customers.
Yuri kept himself in the shadow of the alleyway as he watched the old woman walk by, pushing a stroller. Probably picking her granddaughter up while mommy worked the pole in some place around here. The woman had set her purse in the carrier beneath the handlebars. Perfect.

There wasn't anyone watching. So Yuri reached out with his power and with invisible hands of air just snatched the brown leather bag out of the stroller, dragging it across the street to the alleyway. The woman kept pushing the stroller down the street, unaware anything had happened.

He grabbed the purse and darted through the alley to the next street over, and rifled through it. Found a handfull of bills, no Wallet, a shame -- he knew a guy in the underground who could hack the things, and would usually give him some scratch for one, but nevermind that -- and some pills. Heart medication. Old bag probably needed them for emergencies. He might be able to score some cash with that. And cash was what he needed right now. He did pretty good as far as coming by it, but it was getting more expensive to keep his habit up.

The power pulsed within him. Fuck, yeah. Whatever it was, that raging storm that seared through him was more exhilarating than any drug he'd ever tried. He drew as much as he could hold -- a drop more and he'd lose that tenuous balance. But an addict who didn't have the skill to walk that fine line and push to the very edge of that cliff without falling over didn't stick around for long.

And now he could feel it ebbing in him. Yeah, his crank was wearing off. Fuck. If there was anything he hated more than anyone and anything that tried to put rules on him, it was being sober. Not only could he not sense the power when sober, but...damn, the world really sucked when he was out of his cloud.

Yuri slung the purse to the side of the alleyway -- nothing else in there he wanted -- and headed up the next street. Might as well go find a place to get a nice drink. He needed to find another good connect soon for some good blow or crank, ever since he'd decided to kill the last one rather than pay him what he owed. A shame the guy kept pushing the issue of payment. Dude should have known Yuri was good for it, he could always come by something. But whatever.

His stomach rumbled. Maybe something to eat wouldn't be a bad idea either.

There was a building up the street that looked like it had once been painted red. Now it was more like a patchwork flaky mess, chips and cracks all up the exterior. The open sign was on. Shithole like that shouldn't cost too much for a drink and a meal. Yuri made one more flow of air to brush off the dust and grime that might have gotten on him -- didn't want to look too much like trash from the underground -- and with regret released his hold on the power.

He walked across the street to the door and opened it. It creaked with great noise of a rusty hinge that hadn't seen oil since it was mounted. Then he crossed the threshold. It was not what Yuri had expected from the exterior. Polished hardwood floors shone with fresh varnish. Clean walls -- yeah it wasn't real marble but it was bright and fresh paint. There might be some money to this place, which meant an opportunity.

There wasn't a greeter nearby, so Yuri took his own seat, a little twin table by the far wall near the door. That way he could see everything that happened from his vantage point. And split if he saw the opportunity to. A server eventually came by and brought a menu, and by that time Yuri was already feeling that itching that came upon him when he'd gone too long without any kind of fix. He rubbed his eyes and snatched the menu from her.

he said to her. He dug in his pocket and fished out one of the bills he'd taken from the old lady's purse. "Whatever that'll buy from the well."

The woman gave him a harsh glance and a sniff that implied she wasn't particularly happy with his tone. Yeah, well fuck her too. He paid for it. As long as she brought back his drink.

Yuri glanced over the menu while waiting for the serving girl to bring back his drink. The Shchi sounded good. Beef stewed with cabbage and sauerkraut, some onion and carrots thrown in the mix. Rye bread on the side. That was a good place to start. Seeing as he hadn't bothered to eat in the past two days, he might as well get his fill here for the next couple. Having paid for his drink up front, the server wouldn't think he'd be one to skip out on his tab if it came to it.

The server came back with an unlabled bottle and a glass with ice. She deposited them on the table with little fanfare. Good. Yuri had thought he'd given her enough for a bottle. "Would you care to order?" she asked.

"Bring me the Shchi with rye bread to start,"
he replied, pushing the glass away and grabbing the bottle. The waitress left and he twisted off the top and took a long pull. Distilled from grain, and not well refined, it was tasteless and harsh. Still it got the job done.

He scoped out the room and drank from the bottle while he waited for his food to arrive. A couple pairs of customers across the main floor, not terribly busy at this time of day. Easy to make a score on a place like this when there weren't many witnesses. But also it was unlikely there would be much in the way of sales in the front register. Any real score would be in the back, wherever the management kept their operating cash for the day -- and if they were lazy about making deposits some accumulated sales.

Still, the front register would hold something. Get a little but risk a little. Not much work to it, just something up Yuri's alley.

The server returned with the shchi. Hot and steaming, the hearty smell of beef mixed with pungent aroma of stewed cabbage. Good stuff. Yuri waved her off and broke off a chunk of rye bread, dipped it in the broth and bit into it. Yeah, these cooks knew their food. It was certainly the best thing he'd eaten in awhile. Probably the only decently-cooked thing he'd had in awhile. He continued to pull on his bottle of vodka and ate.
Vlad peeked through the round window in the door that separated the kitchen from the dining room. The dining area was not full, it was several hours before the mid-day meal and it was never busy - mostly regulars. Vlad smiled the moment he stepped passed the swinging kitchen door. He knew all the faces in the room, except one. From the looks of him, a street kid.

In their regular spot by the windows, two of Vlad's regulars were discussing something in Russian. It seemed they were discussing an article in the recent news. The two men were arguing over a recent ball game, Vlad sighed inwardly relieved. Peter's screw up weighed heavily on his mind. The repercussions of something like that was going to be hell on his business. Vlad wouldn't be surprised if the Ascendancy revoked some of his laws that opened up various exploits to become illegal again. They asked Vlad what he thought and he only waved them off, "I didn't watch the game." They didn't comment on his use of English and he smiled as he walked away, leaving them to their fight.

The last couple was an elderly one, they had been Vlad's father's patrons and gave Vlad a dirty look when he walked up to them. But it faded as quickly as it had gone. They had not forgiven Vlad for his father's death. He had been in the room after all and could have done something else surely. The least of it they knew not. "How's the meal?" Vlad asked in Russian.

They both nodded with their mouths full. Vlad put a hand on each of their shoulders and nodded, "That's wonderful to hear." Some customers expected Russian like these two who had been coming her for ages. Other's like the men on the table by the window, didn't care and Vlad flipped between English and Russian mid thought. It was habit.

The lad sitting in the corner with an obvious view of the entire place was not only nearly scarfing down his meal, but he was looking everywhere, watching everything.

Vlad sighed and walked over to the girl at the check out and whispered to her in Russian, "What the lad in the corner."

Vlad could tell a loser when he saw one, the boy reminded him very much of Peter, and how he looked when he came to stay with him. The boy now was clean and looked presentable at all times. Vlad couldn't have his top salesman out looking like shit. He walked up to the boy with a smile. "Welcome to Igor's! How does your meal fair this day?"
Yuri kept eating and drinking his vodka, paying more attention to downing the vodka at this point. Bottle was about half gone, and he could feel his blissful cloud returning...and he almost thought he could sense the power at the edges of his imagination again.

He took another spoonful of the shchi. Yeah, that was good too. It was almost gone as well. He looked down and realized he'd eaten quickly out of habit. Down in the underground you had to do everything fast, but especially eat. When you were eating you were vulnerable, and if your meal got interrupted -- well, no telling when you would have the opportunity for another one.

Yuri took another pull from the bottle and noticed a shadow cast across the table. He looked up. Saw a right ugly looking motherfucker. Not a huge man, but damn did he have that looming presence. A muscular dude. His forehead thick and square like it'd been smacked with a snow shovel. A right proper Russian, definitely.

"Welcome to Igor's!" the man said, in crisp Russian. Definitely practiced. "How does your meal fare this day?"

Must be the manager, doing his self-important "job" of "checking in" on the guests at the restaurant who'd already been checked in on and helped. Too bad there wasn't a fly in the stew, Yuri would have flung it right at the guy and started an altercation right there that would throw the place in confusion long enough to score and get out.

Yuri noticed the guy had sent his serving girl over to the check-out counter. She was still eyeballing him. Maybe she'd complained about serving him and that's why the guy was here. Whatever. Yuri hadn't done anything to her that would get her panties in a wad, and certainly not her boss's. Not yet, at least.

Yuri looked up at the man and for a moment just stared at him. "Shchi's good here,"
he said finally. He hated giving compliments, but one was due in that respect. "Sauerkraut and bay leaves. Nice mix of flavor."

He took another pull of the vodka, just to wash out the bad taste of the compliment from his mouth. He set the bottle down on the table. "This vodka tastes like horse piss. But it gets the job done, so no complaints."

Yuri waved the man away with a motion of his hand. "I'm good. 'Xept that pizda --"
he pointed to the girl at the check-out counter -- needs to stop with the dirty looks."

That cunt over at the counter was still giving him that dirty look. Seriously, he was going to break her jaw if she kept doing that. What was everyone's problem here? Fucking manager getting up in his business, waitress being rude as all hell...Can't a guy get his drink on while he's figuring out how he's going to rob a place without being bothered anymore?

Shit like that was enough to piss him off.

The manager was still standing there. Yuri looked up at him again. "I said I'm good,"
he repeated, waving the man off again with one hand while the other pointing at his crotch. "Go. Idi na Khui."
Unhappy customers were one thing, rude ones on the other hand deserved to be punched in the face. Vlad fought to keep the smile on his face. But he failed miserably. His anger boiled to the top, every eye was on them now. And some were even fleeing. The two men near the window dropped cash on the table and scrambled out the door. The elderly couple watched intently, Vlad could feel their eyes on his back. The girls that worked for him were discretely going into the kitchen having heard that they were needed.

It took only one moment. One very quick thought for Vlad to reach for the power with in. He fought the torrent of power until it did as he said it would. The boy in front of him was all of a sudden smashed up against the wall, chocking. Vlad watched as the old couple sneered at him and then too dropped their payment on the table. The woman snatching back what would have been a tip. At least they had paid, they knew better than to anger Vlad.

Vlad didn't have to put up the pretense of pretending he had done it quickly in a fleet of action. Thankfully luck was almost always on his side when it came to people missing his anger driven attempts when using the power.

It was only moments and the boy was struggling for air. Anger fueled the power inside, he could feel it pulsing below the surface ready to crush the boy's wind pipe. But Vlad held it glorious power at bay and got in the boys face. "It is one thing to be unhappy. It is completely another thing to be rude in a man's own house."

Vlad released the boy from the wall and he dropped. He picked him up by his not so clean collar and dragged him towards the door.
The man's face turned red with rage and Yuri suddenly felt a menacing presence erupt from him. Suddenly, visible strands sprang into existence from the man, thick flows nearly transparent and tinged with yellow. The strands flung Yuri against the wall and wrapped around his neck.

The man was using the same power Yuri could access. What a mindfuck. And he was quite gifted at using air, and was currently using it to cut off Yuri's air.

The blood pounded in his head and as Yuri struggled to breathe he began to feel a rush of euphoria from lack of oxygen. Under different circumstances it'd be a pleasant experience. But now Yuri was really pissed off. Only, he'd been caught by surprise, and was having difficulty grabbing the power himself.

The man released the flows and Yuri dropped to the floor, panting. His head swam. He didn't make out what the asshole was saying and didn't really care. And now the man grabbed him by his shirt collar. The buzz brought on by a combination of vodka and strangulation brought the power into Yuri's grasp, and he grabbed hold of it and drank in as much as he could.

Yuri's hand found the man's fist on his collar. He flung out a cord of air and used it to wrench the man's hand away. He stepped in toward the man, and brought in his hand against the man's chest as if to push him away. The hand was just for show though -- blunt fists of air slammed first into the man's stomach and then into his chest. He staggered back away from Yuri.

"I can walk myself out, mudak,"
Yuri spat, as he moved to the door. He threw up an invisible wall of air to his side to keep the man from trying to send any more flows through. Yeah, he wouldn't be back here anytime soon to try and grab a quick score. Not while that man was around anyway. Not during daylight. This place was definitely on his shit list, though. And so was that big power using fucker. At least he didn't have to pay for his meal.

Edited by Yuri Obrechennyy, Sep 12 2013, 04:42 AM.
Vlad blinked back the pain and let the boy walk out. Not only was Vlad sucking in air that had been knocked out of his lungs, but he was dumb-founded. He had never met anyone like him before.

Vlad wondered how common a thing it was. Before the lad had recoiled he felt a presence, like something there but not. He could only assume that meant he could use the power. But it could have been so many other things, including his imagination.

Vlad set would have to call for extra security for the next while. Who knew what a interloper like that was capable of.

But it was back to business as usual the moment the girls walked back into the room. They always seemed to know when it was time to get back to work. Vlad gave them a nod and the returned it. They knew to inform him or one of the other men in the building if the boy showed up again.

There were no customers any longer and Vlad made his way back to his office. He had other things to tend to.


The day had progressed with any additional issues. Well that was not quite exactly true. As Vlad was leaving through the back door to go home, Peter stopped him. He had a bag in one hand and an envelope of cash in the other. Vlad glared at the boy and threw him up against the wall. "Boy. What are you doing?"

Peter chocked back his words. "I'm sorry. But it's important."

Vlad sighed and took the bag and looked it over. "And?"

Peter started to explain, "Someone returned these. They wanted a full refund. I told them no. But they wouldn't take no for an answer. I ran."

Vlad smacked the boy. "You ran here!"

Peter nodded and Vlad sighed. A sudden noise from around the corner caught Vlad's attention.
Yeah, it hadn't been hard to find some uppers in the underground, little white pills that brought back clarity to the world and made Yuri's heart race. The rest of the cash he'd scored from the old lady pushing the stroller had gotten him set for the time being.

And now there was another score to settle. That asshole at Igors -- the whole place was going to pay. That cunt who was looking at him aside, that manager fuck, and everybody else. Did they really think nothing was going to happen if they pissed off Yuri? He'd only gone in there to have a meal and maybe score a quick bit from the register. Now, though -- now, it was personal. Crazy ass blockhead with command of the power had kind of brought it upon himself. The place had to be cleansed.

And Yuri was going to clean up the mess. Especially that cunt that was giving him all those dirty looks.

He hid behind some trashcans in the alley behind Igor's. It would be so easy to just set the whole place ablaze. Yuri downed another pill and grabbed hold of the power. All he needed to do was send out a flow of Fire --

A noise interrupted him. There was that blockheaded asshole again, leaving -- and some kid approached him. What the 180 was going on here? Yuri's enhanced senses caught it all.

Ah. A bag returned. Kid doing the running not supposed to come back to the place. So. Blockhead fucker was running some kind of drugs out of this place. Maybe he could get in on it -- or maybe he might have the opportunity to just fuck them all over the way they deserved it.

The garbage pile before him shifted slightly. Crap. He hadn't meant to bump into it. Yuri crouched down and prepared to fling lethal weaves of air at anyone who approached.

Vlad turned to see a garbage pile crumble. A cat or a rat more than likely. With nothing else rounding the corner it was unlikely to be thugs Peter had stiffed. Vlad looked at the bag of pills and noticed something a miss. Vlad grasped the power and flung his nephew against the opposite wall. "Where are they?"

Peter looked at him blankly. "I wouldn't cheat you Uncle. I swear it."

The fear on the boys face said he as telling he truth. He was afraid Vlad would hurt him and that was the truth. But there had been little time. From the opposite side of the alley way where the garbage had fallen three rather large and tattooed black me came striding around the corner wielding base ball bats and automatic machine guns. Vlad couldn't tell what in the darkness only that they would do some damage. But he didn't run guns, he barely beleived they were needed, but not all people were as gift as he to have the power to defend himself.

A wall of air would not stop bullets, at least Vlad had not found a way to do so as of yet. Vlad smiled his best smile and started towards the men. "I'll take whatever indifference you've had out of the boy out of his hide. He has no quarrel with you."

The men laughed but said nothing as they aimed the gun at them. Vlad sighed. His smile gone. He had the element of surprise and he was already holding the glorious power. With one thought all three black men were wrapped up and flung against the alley way walls shacking the buildings as they smashed from side to side.

They were out cold and Vlad pulled a small yet very valuable bag from his inner pocket. He had to make a personal delivery, but this would be more than worth it. He put the packet in one of their pockets and pulled out his wallet. He called the cops saying there was a scuffle outside his restaurant. They'd be here soon. At least these particular ones would. They were on his payroll afterall.

Vlad hauled Peter along and started towards the garbage pile.

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