Frankie and Simon Sutler, both soldiers for the Mafia, follow up on their investigation of tainted ambrosia filtering through the top Funk Mafia ranks.
(AU:FM Sweet & FM Frankie)
A bandito friendly bar
Preceeded by Interrogation
- They hid in a dark corner on a dark night. They had to wait- one of the people had gone outside for some air and a smoke: if they revealed themselves now, he might raise alarm. The man looked around a bit and Sweet's fingers tightened on his trusty lead pipe, and his control on his Vibe. He's not that good at being stealthy. The one he's sneaking up on would get nervous, or excited, for no good reason and notice something was up, so he had to keep a tight lid on his powers. For now. It's making him even more anxious. Better would be if he had at least someone to siphon everything into, but Valentine's too damn sensitive to his Vibe- he'd go in guns blazing before they were good and ready.
- They'd traced down the source of the rotten Ambrosia,after months and months of searching. A hole-in-the wall bar, only frequented by the kind of Banditos that had bad intentions. Their mission was simple. Get in and teach them all a lesson. The plan was to only kill the leader, but Sweet knew that anyone putting up a fight would buy it tonight. At least it would send a message.
- Finally, the smoker turned around and went through the door to what sounded- and felt- like a rowdy party inside.
- Frankie leans against a wall, unusually quiet, at least to anyone who's never seen him at work. Not a spark or sparkle, or even faint buzz. Except for the two slivers of blue eyes locked on the man- then the man's back, then the slow shift of the heavy door of the crap bar, the mafioso might be asleep. The door closes. "God damn. You know I had this song stuck in my head fer the last four hours?? It's been on fuckin everything, the one'about that girl.. s' on the tip'a my tongue.." Frankie shifts to his feet and stretches, taking a quick survey- yep, all the sweet little heart beats, all in one place for the first time all night. "Original's in French'r somethin, I heard. Can't find a record of it nowhere though." He shakes out his long limbs as he finishes limbering up, then leads the way into the club.
- “Dunno, sir,” Sweet replies. “Lots’a songs about girls- how’s it go?” He angles his neck until he hears a satisfying crack.” Anyway, yer probably better off than me. I’ve been stuck with Both Reached for the Gun for bloody ages.” He rolls his eyes because now it’s back, and he has to start humming it. "Oh yes oh yes oh yes they both oh yes they both oh yes they both reached for- not very imaginative.” He falls a step behind his employer and goes silent when they enter the club, allowing him to make his big entrance while he stand nonchalant, yet menacing, behind him.
- "Oh, on the contrary, that song is just nifty. Great mood, great rhythm, great sense a story-" he goes silent to listen to Simon hum it, nodding along and looking pleased. They enter the club, Frankie sparkling as he bursts open the weathered door. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen!!! Lovely night to be clubbing ain't it!”
- Dancers freeze midstep, and a clump of banditos break apart from their huddle, looking worriedly at the two mafioso. "Me and my associate here, we heard some swell things about this here club. Pretty hot music fer an unaligned bar, wouldn't you agree, Mister Sutler!" He asks jovially. The room is frozen with fascination at the loud glittering mafioso.
- Sweet shrugs dispassionately, and takes his time lighting a cigarette, not showing any emotion but sending a clear threat by broadcasting his apathetic, directly threatening and absolute feeling that he and Valentine, could, and would gladly, massacre everyone in the entire room. “Yeh, it’s alrigh’.” He could almost hear every single bottom in the room clenching. It was very satisfying.
- He begins searching everyone in the room, singling out every person who didn’t have any innocents who didn’t know anything about the case from the ones directly involved- it had apparently been a hooker kind of party, because a fair deal of the population of the club was completely innocent and; well. Looked like prostitutes. Something niggled at the back of his mind- a spark of recognition somewhere, itching his brain. He ignores it, and just makes sure Frankie knows if the person he’ll eventually target is actually guilty or not.
- "And the women!! Lookit em all! Pretty as'a flower garden- ah here, come'er so I can get a better lookat ya, sweetheart, " Frankie calls kindly to a girl with dark hair and velvety eyes full of terror. She looks desperately at a man across the club for help, but he shrinks down and tries very hard to be invisible. "Common now, I won't bite~" She minces over, eyes down until Frankie pulls her chin up. "Gorgeous!! And not'a day over thirteen, if I'm any judge!" He surveys the crowd with camaraderie on his face- we're all guys here, right? But murder is in his eyes as he slings an arm around the girl. "Look, mack. This isn't purple district, we're allowed to have... p-parties...." The green stepper meets Frankie's eyes and trails off. The dark girl starts to cry.
- Sweet starts tutting with a smile on his face, seemingly paying a lot more attention to smoking his cigarette than to his surroundings, but the set of his shoulders betrayed his full focus on every movement in the room. Oh, he’s in his element. Outnumbered twenty to two, proving their worth by beating the staggering odds. He feels a faint nostalgia, is reminded of his childhood fondly- woah. That feeling didn’t belong there. He pushes it back, annoyed-what the hell was that? Back to business.
- ”Tut tut tut. A shame, boss, a damn shame. People like that...” he trails off, feeling murderous as he sees the girl cry. He wants to send her an assurance, tell her she wouldn’t be harmed with his Vibe, but they had an image to maintain. Besides, her fear added a delicious tension to the room. Frankie’s at his best like this. No one could pull the charming murderer move off like he could. All he could do was compliment it from the silent killer side and watch art happen.
- "It is, Mister Simon. It really is," he agrees briskly before turning to the outspoken man. "Sir, I must say, I simply adore parties~ Even us stiff mafioso know how to cut loose, ya know?" he smiles pleasantly and performs a graceful spin with the crying girl that chars the floor. The crowd backs up, some looking around desperately for escape. Frankie snarls at them. "Oh? You don't appreciate my moves? I don't think they appreciate my moves, Mr. Sutler. But that's alright. I'm always happy to give further demonstration.” He casually sends a flickering bolt to the mouthy bandito and a wide space forms around the writhing stepper.
- "Speaking of, I heard through the grapevine that you fella's have some'a the finest party favors in town~!" Frankie reaches for his pocket, and the room holds it's breath. The mafioso flourishes an elegant little purple silk bag- his own ambrosia stash. "So I'd like a little demo- Oh, no, not you dear," he kisses the captive girl's cheek when she whimpers, before releasing her back into the room. Two older women hug her as she bursts into sobs. "You, sir? Please, if you'd be so kind?" He nods to the man that had ignored the young prostitute's silent plea. His voice transforms, soft to steel. "Come here."
- Sweet exhales two thin, white trails of smoke slowly through his nose. The man takes his time in walking over to them, but hurries a little when he catches Valentine’s eye. When he finally reaches the pair, Simon takes a drag, throws his cigarette to the floor and stamps on it before twirling his lead pipe around his hand for a better grip, but only raises it to rest it against his shoulder like a baseball bat. Slowly, he falls in step behind the terrified man and lays a hand amiably on his shoulder. The terrified man stares at him with wide eyes, and he smiles at him. Well. It’s not really a smile, more just a baring of teeth. He lets go of the shoulder with a squeeze, and steps back, still close enough to be menacing and blocking the way to the exit. No way out.
- Frankie can feel his fear. Any lingering doubts on Simon's initial assessment are laid to rest when he plucks one vial, a beautiful withered blossom resting inside, from out of the silk. The man tries to back away, but meets with Simon's solid form and that horrible smile- He turns back to Frankie, back to the flower. The audience stares at the delicate paper-thin petals, some simply terrified, others with an unmistakable knowing horror. Light slashes through the air and a woman who tries to run collapses. Frankie's eyes never leave the bandito. "You know what this is?" The man shakes his head. No. Frankie slaps his face with a booming crack, leaving a vivid red burn as the room echoes with a scream. "You know what this is?" The bandito nods as his eyes well up. "You know what it does?" The man chokes, but as Frankie raises his hand to strike him again. "NO- PLEASE- IT'S FOR VIBE-please no-!!" Frankie beams. "What particularly does it do, though? You see, I consider myself a kinda... expert, if ya will, on these matters. But you fella's you went and made somethin special~!" He holds the vial up to the light, delicately uncapping the glass. An deep sweet scent fills the air. "So. Demonstrate for me." He offers the tiny flower between his gloved hand.
- Simon pulls up his nose at the scent of burnt skin- disgusting. The itch is back. There’s something he’s not catching, something... He turns his head to look at the crowd, for anything that might help him identify the feeling- but has to push it away again when the bandito man nearly starts sobbing, making no move to take the flower. He puts a firm hand on the man’s back and leans in conspiratorially to whisper: “Mr. Valentine does not like to be kept waiting, ser.”
- The man whimpers, but Sweet only releases him when he’s taken hold of the flower with trembling hands.
- Frankie continues to smile fixedly, but the hesitation is met with the building drone of static. The man looks wildly around for help, please anything but this, someone has to help him for the love of god- "You're losing your audience, sir~! Please hurry, for the szzak-ke of szzhowman szzhi-p-p-p," The bandito flinches but doesn't proceed. Frankie's smile fades. "Did you not-t hearme? You pathet-t-ic piece-'a szzzzit, EAT-T THE GODFORZAAAK-KEN FLOWER NOW" The terrified eyes of the captive man look to the flower, then back up at Frankie. His mouth opens for one last plea- Frankie explodes with vibe. A number of banditos fall to the ground in howling, twitching pain, but the man on display is not nearly so lucky. Frankie smacks him again unceremoniously, and he collapses. "Well that waszz jusz-t-t an awful performance!" Frankie's vibe dies down and he plucks the flower from the dead man's still twitching body. "YOU. Get over here, NOW." A small women in green sprints over immediately. "I'm not'apart of this, mister please I jus' joined yesterday please don't kill me-" Frankie shoves the tainted ambrosia in her face. She takes it in her hands instantly.
- Simon tilts his head up, and looks the woman directly in the eye. She knew who she was dealing with, here. He chuckles, slowly, and wipes a spark from Frankie off his jacket casually.
- ”Y’know, it’s a bit insulting that even if people know my reputation, they still try to lie.”
- Slowly, he looks over to Frankie and nods. The woman’s act slips considerably, but she still tries. “No, please, I’m not, I swear...” she pleads. Simon raises an eyebrow, and she falls silent.
- "It's tough, I'd have to agree." He nods tragically. "Here darlin, let me help ya with that," he murmurs to the weeping bandito, the tenderness in his voice so out of place, she looks up at him with the slimmest hope- and meets his unforgiving eyes. The club is dead silent as Frankie raises the flower to her lips, brushing them lightly as a lover might. She presses them closed. "Come now darlin, let's keep this clean. Go out with dignity or go out like a piece'a steak." His voice is hardly audible, a stage whisper. The girl takes one last lungful of air. Faint hope remains in her eyes, and her mouth parts softly. It's clear she has no plans to swallow the poison, but the effects are instantaneous. She utters a small cry as her vibe builds. Her silken hair sweeps into long, elegant vines, her soft skin becomes shiny, strong bark. But her plant mimicry vibe does not stop. The woman very quickly is reborn into a gracefully tall tree, digging up the club floor, down into the rich dirt of the island and bursting through the club's low ceiling, so thick that the gloom of the club remains despite the bright moonlight outside. Frankie's quiet voice interrupts the trance that the still growing tree has laid over the room. "Lovely. I believe she hoped her vibe would protect her, but these fella's made quite the product. And sent it to my family."
- Sweet flicks out his trusty butterfly knife and walks over to the beautiful tree. He admires it for a second- honestly, awe-inspiring- before starting to carve the FM logo on it while Valentine does his monologue. He lets out a dry laugh that sounds more like an angry bark at the last part, and shrugs as he concentrates on his carving. “Honestly, I’m surprised you’re even surprised we’re here.”
- The horrified daze lifts from a couple in the crowd as the two men speak. "Y-YOU'RE MONSTERS-" a girl screams and leaps into a dancing frenzy, her features becoming owl-like, her shrieks horribly ear piercing, while the man next to her breaks it down himself. A breathtaking, vengeful angel slowly manifests over the second dancer, and her faint, heavenly music rallies the other banditos to their side. "Would appear these fellas want ta party after all. Guess the performance put them in the right mood." His tone is that of calmly dismissive hatred, but he begins to swing when a scream from the woman sends blood pouring from his ear..
- Sweet feels a small trickle of blood come out of his bursting ears, and shuts the woman up swiftly by coming up behind her and smashing his pipe into her head, producing a loud ‘crack’ everyone in the room winced at. She collapses onto the floor, and Sweet lights a cigarette. It’s all showbusiness- making himself look more bad-ass and being seen as such. He spreads his arms wide, as if stretching wings, and starts moving in his trademark ballet style as all hell breaks loose- a man leaps at him like a lion, claws extended, and he beats it out of his way like a baseball and ends the move with cracking an elbow against a girl who was glowing white- a sharp pain, suddenly, comparable to but not as powerful as Valentine buzzing his mind. Shit, a telepathy-kind vibe. His Vibe scrabbles out of his mind to attract his boss’ attention and set the glowing woman as a priority target- he couldn’t get close to her, so he backs away to dig his knife into the stomach of a man whose arms had just turned to rock. Should’ve done the whole body.
- The angel falls from the air to cradle her charge, who is gasping air through a slit throat, still twitching from the metal blade full of vibe. Frankie is in the midst of a lively Charleston that takes down the large square-dancer who had seemed impervious to his sharp knife and the bludgeoning from a table, but not Frankie's electricity, when Simon's vibe hits him. Across the room- Frankie surges through a very toxic looking mist, filled with sudden urgency. He ploughs through the couple frantically flamenco dancing and emitting the poison, leaving their burnt bodies as he sweeps the woman up into a perfect waltz. She looks horrified at their touching body, tries desperately to pull away, but even as a terrified man calling out her name slows the mafioso with a thick grey light, the woman falls limp to the floor.
- The man who had cried out lunged towards Frankie in a fit of rage, but fell to the floor when Sweet cracked him on the back with the lead pipe, and once he was down, once more to the back of the head. He flashes a grin at Valentine; he’d felt his employer’s momentary emotional hiccup, and needs to make sure he’s back on track. “Thanks, boss,” he says, and brings the pipe down hard on someone’s neck. “Keep up,” he challenges.
- The itch is getting annoying. It felt afraid and... disappointed? But happy, too... Shit, now he’s the one who’s slowing down, and he grunts when a fucking ice block finds his face at high speed and cracks his nose. Blood starts streaming down his face, and he starts humming “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” as finds the one responsible for the attack and makes sure that he’s dead.
- Frankie shakes off the grey light, nodding coolly to Simon before sending a charge through an invisible little waif of a thing that had tried to sneak up and strangle him. The boy falls to the ground, fully revealed. Frankie raises an eyebrow at Sutler, who is promptly hit in the face. He dances away to finish off three men trying to flee when Simon's voice hits him. Much of the vibe he's sent to the traitorous murdering sons of bitches evaporates into harmless light, and the men are only stunned as they fall into a group of traumatized whores. Frankie curses and darts over to them, around the tree, where he quickly and neatly electrifies the bunch. "Nice song, Max," he calls to Simon unconcernedly over the womens' screams. He surveys the room for anymore killers among the terror stricken women. Looks like Simon finished off the last of them- "??" Frankie looks up to a noise in the tree. No pulse, he hadn't even noticed. Undead vibe?? Frankie pales as something slithers down- bone, no flesh. Vibe, no pulse or heart, no soul- oh god-. "Mister Sutler? I'd like ya ta take a gander up at Miss Tree, if ya'd be so kind??" His voice is empty of fear, but his eyes betray him as he watches the massive bone dragon descend towards the pile of bodies.
- Sweet’s cigarette falls out of his mouth when he looks up. “Oh, hell.” He backs up, raising the lead pipe defensively. If it attacked, he could maybe shatter some of its bones. He turns his head to the group of huddled-together working girls. “Out ya get, gels!” he shouts, and they all stumble over each other in their hurry to leave the building. He doesn’t watch them go, though, because his attention’s back on the dragon thing. “Your vibe any good against it?” he asks his boss calmly, not making any sudden movements. And the itch is still fucking there.
- "It don't got flesh ta burn or'a heart ta stop," he mutters as he sends a burning trail up the tree. As he suspected, the bones are illuminated, but as the creature roars silently, it's clear that it isn't the least bit affected, "You heard the man, it's after our pretty faces, not yers," He grabs the small fearful girl from earlier, as well as the two who had comforted her- Strangely familiar- "Ladies, please-" All try to flee the blood covered mafioso, but Frankie manages to forcefully guide them to the door where the other women are leaving with frenzied panic. "Not'a chance you can make it sad or somet'in? No?" Well it can't fit through the door, but the ceiling- fuck fuck fuck- They need to escape... Frankie quivers. It's a dead thing. No pulse, still walking, still launching itself at Frankie- Unholy. He gasps as he flickers to the other side of the club just as the dry, razor sharp teeth snap closed. This filthy thing killed his family. "Mister Sutler, if you'd be so generous as to rile me up, I do believe this stepper would like a throwdown!," he calls, already glowing with the clear beginnings of rage.
BOSS FIGHT MUSIC
- “It would be my pleasure, ser!” he calls back, and starts to dance, opening up a link to Frankie and siphoning any anger in him over to his body. He throws a fair bit of confidence as well, for a boost. The things comes at him suddenly, and he swings his pipe at it. It’s not very effective... One of the ribs break off, though, and the creature makes a horrible sound that doesn’t come from anywhere; he keeps sending, though.
- Frankie's body becomes blinding. Every outlet in the club explodes with flames as the grid eagerly races to Frankie's call. He's invincible. And that thing is dead- again- Frankie laughs wildly, a screeching inhuman electrical noise. Everything is very slow. Simon swings lazily, and the bone shard drifts through the air. Frankie walks over calmly to catch it, and it turns to ash in his hands. The monster leaps at Frankie, who smiles bitterly as the thing crashes down on him, slow as a deflating balloon. For a heartbeat, the bone skull keens with triumph, filling the air with ghostly noise, but the sounds are joined by electronic laughter. The monster crashes to it's belly as half of it's ribcage is melted into ash and charcoal. The block fills with eerie hollow cries of agony, but the thing is still alive, as much as it can be. It backs off, shedding vertebrae and a leg in the process, before it rears up to spew green and gold flames at both men. Frankie dismisses the threat and walks through towards the beast, but ice fills his electrified body where the fire touches, and hopeless depression shoves his burning anger uselessly aside.
- Sweet shivers, he can feel the ice just as much as Valentine even though he’s not hit. God, what a horrible thing. He runs over to drag the man out of the way of the blast, feeding him his Vibe in the meantime- confidence and anger, although he doesn’t feel much confidence anymore. Keeping up the link, he runs around the beast, hitting it whenever he isn’t too busy dodging. Suddenly, he gets clipped on the arm by the end of a broken bone, and it costs him the biggest effort not to drop his weapon because it’s sharp, goddamnit, and starts bleeding profusely.
- ”Sir!” he shouts as he strikes bone with a significantly weaker blow, and tries to ignore the significantly stronger itch. “Don’t got a fancy fighting vibe- kinda need your help with this!”
- Let me die, God please- but Frankie can't find the energy to form the words to Sutler as he drags him out of the fire. He's ready to lay down. Just allow him to slip into this freezing numbness forever. It would be a kindness- RAGE. PAIN. Without the confidence to keep it all in check, the fresh vibe becomes a volatile mess inside the mafioso, whose booming shrieks send violent tremors through the entire club. With a burst of searing light, Frankie is back on the creature, dancing across the maze of bones. The air fills with acrid smoke as the beast crashes back down to the burning floor, charred and broken. The blackened pieces fall away to reveal a half-formed, mutilated stepper, weakly screaming as Frankie claws against the last remnants of it's armored body.
- Sweet swears, and cuts Frankie off from his vibe as soon as the problem’s taken care of. Suddenly, he gains access to the thing, which is now a person- the fear hits him and he feels a bit nauseous, seeing the disgusting form writhing on the floor with his boss still going at him. Calmly, he lights another cigarette, takes a thankful drag, and steps over a few bodies to get to the last one alive. He raises his pipe, and brings it out of it’s misery. There. It’s done.
- Frankie's mindless attack slows into violent shuddering as Sutler's vibe fades away and the numb cold fills him again. He stares at the unidentifiable mess beneath him, and the amplified hatred for the dead stepper keeps Frankie from falling back into paralyzing depression. He stands up. "...Autumn Leaves. That's the song." He gaze drifts from the burning tree to Simon. Time to go.
- Sweet exhales out of his nose, and nods. “Well, yeah, I would’ve known that.” He follows his boss out of the club, and- “Oh- ‘s snowing.” Big, fat flakes fall down on the pair of them, and the icy wind makes his cracked nose and slashed arm smart like hell, but he ignores it, looking up at the sky with a frown. He doesn’t like the cold. He remembers huddling together under a ratty old blanket with Jane, Rid and- he shakes his head violently- where the fuck do these thoughts keep coming from? The itch is starting to take over his entire brain and suddenly, he realizes he hasn’t moved in a while. It’s more than a bit frustrating, and he apologizes to his boss and moves to follow him again.
- “Um,” he hears a woman behind him, and he doesn’t spare her a second glance, too preoccupied with being annoyed. “Yeh, it’s over, luv, go’ome, yeah?” “Sweet-” “You ‘eard me, clear off!”
- He freezes, and the itch centers in. He knows exactly where it’s coming from. He wheels himself around and sees a girl- one of the girls from in the club, he saw her- and she’s gorgeous, jet-black hair falling straight and long across her back and shoulders, in a dress that looks too cold for this weather and a scar that looks like an acid spill caused it on her left arm. He forgets to breathe for just a moment. Both his cigarette and lead pipe fall to the ground.
- “Hi,” she says nervously.
- Stepping outside, Frankie doesn't notice the frigidly cold night air- it's even beginning to feel rather warm, sleepily comfortable with each shivering step away from the smoldering building. As if from a great distance away, he can hear Simon halt, and he turns back, vaguely irritated. He needs a vendy, he's got to tell Sweet- The woman crosses his vision. Her glossy ebony hair strikes the words from his lips. She's so familiar, it stabs him through his shock, but like the song he'd heard a thousand times, he can't recall a name. Frankie joins Sutler, staring dumbly at the beautiful woman as snow dusts their bloody forms.
- "Min," Sweet whispers, and the girl smiles, a bit nervously, not sure whether this was a good idea or not but before she can turn around and run away, her brother has already scooped her up in a tight embrace, burying his face in her hair and inhaling deeply because he needs to make sure this isn't a dream, eyes open wide. "Min," he repeats in a whimper. Slowly, her arms come up to return the hug, and a loud, extremely uncharacteristic sob issues from the man, who's completely undone in seconds. He presses his mouth hard to her snow-kissed hair, then retreats so he can look at her, tears streaming across his face. She's crying too, and grabs hold of the back of his head, pressing their foreheads together and kissing every part of Sweet's face she can find, and he does the same to her, murmuring frantically all the while. "I can't believe-" "Oh Christ, we thought you were-" "-Never see you again, I-" "Min-" "-They told me, I thought- The Mafia?" "I can't believe you're-" "Alive." Their lips press together and through Sweet, everyone on the entire block feels such an intense relief that a great part of the people affected start crying along with him. They pull their faces apart to stare at each other, grinning and crying. "You're alive," Sweet states, and Min nods. "You're alive!" he exclaims, and he lifts his sister from the waist and spins her around, laughing and whooping and generally ruining his reputation of being emotionless to everyone observing. He doesn't care. She shrieks in delight like she used to and it's the most wonderful sound he's ever heard. He sees his boss while he's spinning and suddenly remembers where he was, and that the other man was even there. He doesn't put Min down and she laughs wonderfully as he grins at his boss. He vaguely registers that the man looks horrible and probably needs to get to a Vendy pretty quick, but he can't really think about anything but the woman in his arms right now. The injured one screams pain through his body but he finds it incredibly easy to ignore. "Sir, this is- oh, jesus- This is Min. My sister." He shifts her to sit on one of his arms, hers holding on tightly to his shoulders, to wipe away his tears- a moot effort, since they just keep coming as if they've just been holding back all these years and now the floodgates have opened.
- Frankie watches, like a painfully beautiful play unfolding, but it's real. Happening to his family, his brother, his sister who he'd heard of only once, and only that she'd died. The burning heat in his shuddering body forces uncontrollable tears to his eyes, and Frankie pulls clumsily against a wall to hide his shame. But even as the wetness spills publicly, he's just so happy. Like receiving a letter after decades that told him his family- his blood family- was doing wonderful and beautiful like this flushed gorgeous girl. Min. He can't remember any of his other siblings' names right now, but in the heavy joyful atmosphere where nearby, perfect strangers are hugging one another with piercing sobs of relief, Frankie can't see how it matters.
- He's being addressed- Frankie slides slowly from the wall to look at the two little angels, full of jagged, artificial nostalgia and heart-aching emotion. Sparkles fill the street thickly to slightly warm the snowy night air, and Frankie pulls off his jacket as sweat soaks him. "'S an honor, Miss Min," His bloodless lips part into a debonair smile, though tears still fall. "It is.. It is my d-deepest pleasure to meet Mr. S-Sutler's family."
- Sweet's grin fades a little. Min raises an eyebrow and mouths Sutler? at him- he shakes his head pleadingly and she nods and he doesn't know if it's his vibe that helps them communicate wordlessly like this, a thousand words in one look, or if they really could just pick up where they left off. As if they never forgot. He puts her down wordlessly and pulls her back into a crushing, desperate embrace, and she just knows and hugs back just as hard. He doesn't know what Frankie's situation was with his family. He could pick up on a lot of things- that he feared some and protected others. Probably younger. Sometimes, when his boss was in a mood and pissed off his arse, he caught the man look at him in a way that made him quiet, and then he'd promptly refill his glass. He can guess. It was when he was really little, when the communication and travel from and to the island was completely cut off, and he doesn't remember a lot of that time, but he can vaguely remember the sound of a woman crying, pleading in Russian. Valentine would've been around his age, then. At least they could be alive, a nasty voice in the back of his head supplied some times when he thought about it, whereafter it was swiftly silenced, and then he poured another glass."He needs a Vendy," he hears Min say and he nods against her shoulder and pulls away. He wipes his face again, and thinks about how they really shouldn't be crying, two grown intimidating men in the street. "C'mon, sir," he says, leaning down and throwing Valentine's arm around his shoulder, pulling him up by the waist to help him walk. "Let's get yer fixed up, ey?" And so he starts walking, carrying his boss on one side, Min clinging weakly to the other, as if she was afraid he'd disappear if they stopped touching. He's afraid of that too, so he's glad for the contact.
- "Hush'n shush, love, m fine, happy'sa... clam," he waves the words off, but doesn't resist Simon's support. Frankie can't interrupt this beautiful thing. He stumbles along with the two, trying to be silent, and trying recall for if there names are Abby and Lucas or Min and Simon... ."Somehow managed to survive without me, didn't ya," he mumbles. "'s better than a letter." He could finally give them all he'd worked for, every cred he'd saved for them, years after he thought he'd been wasting his time and ruining his soul because of course he'd never see them again. The man glows golden, his benevolent vibe pouring opaquely over the two objects of his deepest love. Distractedly, he tugs his waistcoat off with stiff fingers and bleary eyes, desperate to remove the articles of stifling hot clothing. They were family. Surely they'd understand? He trembles in his wetly-transparent silks.
- Sweet lets Valentine's wonderful vibe wash over him, and he grins back at his sister, who's trying to wipe away her mascara tracks. "You grew up fit," he comments, and she laughs at him. "You didn't," she replies. She doesn't slip on the snow, even in those heels, and he has to admire her a bit for that. "Look at yer. A fuckin' mess. Got a cigarette?" "Left pocket." "Ta." Min reaches into his pocket and pulls out two white cylinders- putting one between her own, masterfully painted lips and one between Sweet's. "Short hair don't suit you" "Please. I look distinguished." "You look a right tit." She pulls out a lighter from god-knows-where and does the honors.
- Thankfully, they reach a Dr. Vendy's pretty soon, and Min holds open the door as Simon walks Valentine in. "Alright, ser. Get you fixed up in no time." He punches in the commands, puts in the cred, and activates the machine. When he turns around, Min's sitting down next to the machine, smoking absently in the snow. He sits down next to her, sees the goosebumps on her skin. He throws an arm around her for warmth. "Honestly," he tuts. "Don't tarts own jumpers?" he asks. She snorts with laughter.
- Frankie tugs at his shirt and mutters dismissively as he's guided into the vendy. His vibe persists even through the closed glass door. The little jaunty tune serenades Min and Simon. Inside, Frankie gasps as fire rolls through his veins, burning away the fog to reveal agony throughout his body, but in an instant, that's gone too, along with the delirium. Frankie stares out with clear eyes.
- Simon. Min.
- Through the joy of vibe, his freshly healed guts twist with stabbing disappointment, acidic jealousy. He should be happy for the boy. He is happy for Simon. Yet the scene claws at his heart.
- The Mafioso replaces the garments he'd tore off in his paradoxical undressing. He forces his glitter back. Happy. Not devastated that his own siblings are still gone. Frankie steps out of the machine with an easy stride. "Alright, we'll I don't know what act this boy's been sellin ya, but don't think for a minute he didn't get some ouches, madam," Frankie hams it up for Simon's guest. "Up you get kiddo, time ta see the doctor, if you'll spare him for a moment, sweetheart?" He offers a hand to Simon, a picture of camaraderie.
- Sweet nods in admittance at his boss, and pulls himself up by his hand. He is feeling a bit faint- his entire left arm is drenched in blood and his nose looks like a mangled mess. “Wait- let me,” Min says, and stands up as well. Simon raises an eyebrow at her, but she rolls her eyes and puts a hand on his nose. “Ow,” he protests, but she just snorts and starts shimmying her hips to generate power. “Ow ow ow-” He can feel his bones readjusting, puzzling the shards of his shattered nose back together and gluing them together again. When she pulls away his nose is really sore, but good as new. He stares at her. ”Thanks,” he says, and she shrugs back in a don’t-worry-about-it gesture. “Better do a Vendy anyway, though,” she advises. ”Can’t put the blood back in your body.” He smirks, nods, and steps inside. Min waves at him through the glass, then looks up at Frankie. “Did you get him out?” she asks quietly. She’s not stupid, she sees things. Sweet wouldn’t have gotten rich without help, and this guy looks right well off.
- Static grows from jealousy and protectiveness- seeing the girl dance so close to the kid with who knows what vibe-! A flash, Frankie calls the electricity back in a fraction of a heartbeat before it hits the girl who is just helping her brother. Of course she is. He’s disgusted with his own paranoia. "A healer, huh?" He smirks as Simon follows Min's orders, showing none of the nasty emotions lacing his thoughts. He's about to continue the show, to flirt with the pretty girl and pretend he'd never thought those bad things about Simon's only family, when she breaks the mood of the reunion herself with a pointed personal question. He does not trust her just yet, but a healer is valuable, and someone close to Simon? A weakness, he thinks evilly, and wants to die alone in a ditch for having thought it.
- "Mister Sutler got in my good graces all on his own," he lies humbly while propping up Simon's rep. He still feels like a dick. "Clever as anythin, but of course I don't have ta tell you, yer Miss Min!" He takes her hand and kisses it lightly. "He keeps to himself, but he’s mentioned you. Very happy ta meet ya, dear. And was that some kinda healin vibe I spied?"
- Min laughs sweetly when her hand is kissed, immediately pulling up the mask she always wears when a man is present. “Oh, nothing quite so special, Mr. Valentine. I can disassemble and reassemble matter at will- like this,” To demonstrate, she takes off one of her large rings (handy for self-defense) and crushes it to a fine dust in her delicate hand with seemingly no effort at all. She does a twirl, and brings her hand up to Frankie’s ear, conjuring up the same ring from behind it. “I can do some healing with it,” she continues, “but it’s a bit risky. Better for healing bones than open-heart surgery,” she winks.
- Her laugh heightens the vague adoring feelings that Frankie had inherited from Simon's vibe. His gold comes more easily as he twinges with the urge to hug her. Frankie settles for squeezing her hand fondly. "Oh my goodness, ain't that a lovely thing??" He laughs at her magic trick and imagines the woman disassembling a heart, or reassembling the ring inside a man's lung. Frankie winks back at the lovely woman. "So, beautiful, where you been cooped up all these years?"
- Min laughs again, and subconsciously touches the scar on her left upper arm. She smiles and looks down coyly, taking a step closer to the club boss. “Tell me, sir,” she breathes. “Where’s it look like I’ve been?” She smirks, as behind her the Vendy door opens and Sweet comes out, looking better but threatening. “Don’t even think about it,” he says, pointing at Frankie before taking his sister by the hand and twirling her to him. “Your Vibe got really cool,” he murmurs to her. “Thanks,” she replies. “And you actually have one. Who knew.” Sweet rolls his eyes but grins at her, but turns back to his boss. “Need help getting home, sir?”
- Frankie smiles warmly as his eyes trail down to the scar and his heart turns to ice. The family reunion had distracted him from where he was, and what had happened in this city, and how he had failed to fix any of it. "Think about what, Sutler?" he asks, almost teasingly, but there is a hint of danger. "Ain't a fella allowed ta thank the lady that got his sorry self to a vendy?" He grins boyishly at Min as the siblings exchange compliments. He knows what this is. Simon has a family now. He doesn't want her to have anything to do with Frankie's. He'd always hated the mafia. Even if it can protect her and make her life easier. The stubborn little prick. "I'm quite alright, thank you Mister Sutler. I’ll give you two some time ta catch up, but I’d love to invite you and your charming sister to dinner later this week~”
- Sweet puts an arm around Min to keep her from the cold. His hand rests partly on Min’s scar, and she doesn’t even flinch. Usually, when someone touches it, she’d have their eye out. But Sweet’s body language, and maybe a bit of his Vibe- marvelous though, he’d always had a knack for communicating wordlessly, but everyone was sure he was- never mind- were reminding her of an old rule they lived by. There had been lots of rules to keep them safe. All of us have scars. If you hide yours, it’s an insult to the rest. She rests her head on his shoulder. Simon smirks woodenly at his boss- the smiling had come easily for a while, but it was time he moved on. Except for when he was in front of Min, though. He looks at her, raises an eyebrow.
- “I’d... love to,” she says. But her face falls. “But I can’t. It’s, um. Technically still my shift. If I'm too far behind the other girls, I’ll get in trouble.”
- Sweet squeezes her a little, alarmed. He turns to his sister conspiratorially, and murmurs: “Min, you can’t just leave. Can’t you just... get out of it?” She shakes her head, and Sweet can feel in her the fear that comes with her kind of ‘getting in trouble’. Fuck. They both know what needs to happen, and it’s really awkward. He leans in closer and lowers his voice- Valentine could probably still hear him, but that’s not the point. “Look, I’ll pay for your time.” “Simon-” “You have to stay. I need you here.” “...Fine.” Min pulls out a cellphone from god-knows-where, sends a text, and nods. Sweet grins and turns back to his boss. “That’d be nice, ser.”
- There is something painfully fake and unfriendly about that smile. Frankie grits his teeth to keep the fury down. Yes, he wants to get to know this girl, but he's not at his best, with anger and jealousy impeding his ability socialize. He turns away as the siblings mutter to one another, to give them privacy, but also to fish his flask out. A mouthful to steady his nerves... They're still chatting away... the canister is much lighter when he replaces it. Good, they've finished squaring away her whoring, he thinks to himself bitterly, and smiles wide in return to Sutler's grin. "Alrigh kids! Let's get outa this rats nest!" He pecks at his phone. One of his cars pulls up within minutes.
- Sweet kisses the side of Min’s head, and leads her into the luxurious car. She smirks at him-posh. He grins back and sits down next to her, her head immediately dropping down to his shoulder and their hands entwining. His heart pounds. He feels like he’s thirteen again, fucking around and having fun carving their names into other people’s stuff. At the same time, though, he knows that this night isn’t going to last forever. They can’t just start living together immediately- they probably wouldn’t even want to, even though Sweet wants to have her with him forever. Steve probably wouldn’t be too happy about that, though. He beams again at the idea of telling her about Steve, and asking her about her life. He squeezes her hand and she squeezes back. They’re silent for the entire trip, for a change.
- The car rolls along with soft music and happy silence of his companions. The distance between himself and the two is nothing remarkable, but to Frankie it feels like a chasm. He hadn’t felt this alone in a very long time. His eyes slide to his pale reflection in the window, then back to the two steppers.
- That was what the war was for. Thatright there was the point of everything. He had no right being miserable. Frankie leans his gently spinning head against the glass.
- The car stops at Sutler’s apartment and the two depart after a cordial goodbye. A bottle of scotch in hand, Frankie settles back into his seat, watching the two dancers until they disappear on the horizon.