til the blood runs red

/ By kaitoXi [+Watch]

Replies: 29 / 1 years 78 days 16 hours 25 minutes 58 seconds

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Behind him, the table was flipped out onto the dance floor as the other lycanthropes tore their way out from behind it. Lech didn't waste a second looking back; he already knew what he was going to find. Instead, he beelined for the back door. The kid wouldn't know about it; it'd be a good way to let him get away alive . Two ordinary wolves were a survivable threat, if extremely dangerous. One pissed-off Mick was not.

Mick barreled after him, half-wolf, mindless of the innocent patrons he was knocking aside like so many cardboard cutouts; Lech glanced behind him in time to see the man bounce a hefty woman off his shoulders like it was nothing at all. Lech was losing time on sliding through the patrons rather than barrelling through them--how ridiculous was that? Common sense just didn't come into play when Mick was in the building.

The back door had been replaced by an emergency door--the kind that told him, in no uncertain terms, that he'd have to press on it for fifteen seconds before it opened. Lech slammed into it, intent on not waiting for a single second, let alone fifteen, and it flew wide open and sent him stumbling across the alley behind and into the wall across from the bar from the residual force of his blow. One of the bartenders was crouched back there, smoking something that didn't smell like tobacco; he furrowed his brows at Lech, at his torn jacket and mangled arm. "You can't be back here," he managed half-heartedly.

"I don't intend to stay," Lech fired back, pushing off the wall and racing down the alley. Bare seconds later, Mick crashed into the door; rather than bother with such inconveniences as a push-bar, the door gave way with a great wrenching of metal and crashed against the alley wall where Lech had been moments ago. At that, Lech found speed in him that he hadn't even known he'd possessed, the way he was. Common sense didn't even come into the equation when Mick was around.

"Hey, boss," the bartender muttered, as Mick raced after him.

Someone drew up alongside him. Lech's heart jumped into his throat, and he spun, expecting another wolf--but no, it was Kaien. Damn! The only [i worse] possibility. If he got the boy killed, he'd get chewed out worse than if Mick caught him right here and used him as a chew toy! Wasn't like he gave a shit, but at the same time, he'd like to avoid it.

"Go high! They can't sprout wings or climb ladders with paws!" Lech snapped, like it was obvious. If only a convenient fire escape would materialize itself...
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 309d 19h 15m 5s
There was something oddly mesmerizing about watching a situation escalate without any incentive whatsoever, calculating the possible end-scenarios in a detached ‘watching your friend’s parents lecture them and wondering when it’s your cue to take the nearest exit’ sort of way.
Kaien leaned back against the plush leather couch, noting the gross off white color to it, exchanging glances with Lucas every few seconds and watching for signs of recognition on the blond’s tightening features. Lucas was confused, you could see it on his face, but Kaien himself knew exactly what was coming the moment he caught note of the distinct sound of breaking knuckles and protruding canines.
He was out of that chair the instant Lech gave his sign.
There was no god that could’ve kept his ass fixed in that seat any longer, not after seeing that wild look in Mick’s eyes.
He was daring, sure, a lit match in a circle of gasoline, but death wishes were still very much [i off] the menu.

Tearing through the accumulating crowd with practiced proficiency, he leapt behind the bar counter just in time to avoid a clean sweep of the dance floor, compliments of Baldy and his table-turning butterfingers.
“Oh jesus shit,” he cursed, ducking below the ensuing onslaught of glasses and pressing up against the inner-side of the bar, just below the counter. He counted the glasses as they fell, eternally grateful he wouldn’t have to be the one cleaning up the mess later on.
Well, there was little cleaning he could do if he was dead and fixed to Mick’s prize-wall.
Running was probably a good idea at this point.

Using the screams as a guideline of where [i not] to go, he went lower into his crouch, wrapping around the cold marble until he could see a clear path towards the door, blockaded only by a few stiletto-donning brunettes.
Then he took off running, barely managing a glance at his back as he gripped the doorframe on his way out. Oh, [i oh they’re right there], his inside voice supplied helpfully, just before he bolted through the ajar exit and into the cool night air. The club was a shabby spot, so its surroundings had to be too. Neighborhood practically void of life, it was basically the best place for leaving dead, chewed to bits bodies in dark unexplored corners. He really, [I really] didn’t want to be one of them just yet.
He thanked any and every celestial spirit above for his Sasquatch genes, because his long legs vaulting over the side fence and across the empty streets were the only things keeping him from becoming a cheap chew toy for Baldy to toss around.
Running was easy, running was what he was good at, had [i always] been good at, but running [i away]? Yeah, not so much, especially not from two very [i hungry] looking lycanthropes.

He bounded for a familiar alleyway, hoping to ditch the two there, but then there was Lech with Mick on his tail, and suddenly they were running side to side with Kaien turning sharply to regard his partner in death. “How do you outrun them!” This wasn’t his area of expertise. More importantly, [i this wasn’t what he’d signed up for, holy hell]. “High or low, what’s better!”
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 309d 21h 48m 18s
Kaien looked like a chihuahua facing down a big dog, that skin and bones frame trembling in his seat, bug eyes darting, trying to decide if he should piss himself and run, or just run. So he recognized Mick too, huh? Didn't do too well on the whole stay cool thing, did he? Lucky for him, Mick was more concerned with Lech, at the moment. Lech managed a smile that was more like a grimace at that. Just perfect.

Mick was a big guy. Always had been, and the few years that had passed since they'd seen each other hadn't gone an inch towards changing that. Lech was pretty sure Mick could crush his skull in bare-handed, if he so desired; he was also sure he'd given Mick plenty of reason to desire to do just that over the years. His black hair was still as jet as ever, his muscles just as grossly overworked as ever, and the only difference from when Lech had last seen him were a few new scars on his knuckles.

"'Enjoy' might be an exaggeration," Lech said, grimacing at his beer. Mick chuckled and clapped him on the shoulder, the usually friendly blows heavy enough to rattle Lech's bones. He wasn't even sure if Mick was trying to hurt him, or just so strong that his 'friendly' was Lech's 'painful.' "Just here to take in the ambiance," he said, gesturing around the filthy, grimy interior decoration.

Mick's grip on his shoulder got tighter. "My boys done you wrong?" he asked.

"Not at all, in fact. Quite the contrary. And we were just leaving," Lech said. He tried to rise again, and Mick effortlessly kept him in his seat.

"I found one of my boys, the other day," Mick said evenly. "Bottom of a ventilation shaft. His neck snapped. Whole building reeked of him. And you know who I smelled, all over that building?"

[i Shit.] Lech could already see where this was going, and he didn't like it. "No idea," he said, stiffening. They might have to fight their way out of here--exactly what he hadn't wanted. At the moment, he couldn't see another way out.

"Really," Mick said. He was smiling, but it didn't look like a smile. It looked a lot more like he was baring his teeth at Lech. And those teeth were starting to look a lot less human. "Because I'm pretty sure you do."

Lech glanced at Kaien. They had run. Now. He tensed. Mick's hands felt like claws. He glanced over. They were claws. Fuck. "I know you won't believe me, but it wasn't me," he said. Mick's eyes were wild. He wasn't going to listen. The other two men at the table were looking decidedly more wolflike; Lucas just looked confused.

"Now!" Lech shouted, and he jumped up, tearing his own suit and flesh as he yanked his arm out of Mick's grip. He sprinted for the door, hoping Kaien knew to follow.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 350d 17h 50m 38s
Just to clarify, when he’d said the whole ‘hope their boss doesn’t check up on them on Thursday nights’ bit, that’d [i been a joke]. Nothing could’ve prepared him for the full view of Mick rounding the table and taking a seat across from them, and he was pretty sure the nausea he was feeling wasn’t thanks to the piss drinks.
Kaien’s eyes flitted over to just below Mick’s chin, swallowing down the need to slide out from in between Lech and Lucas and make a discreet run for it.
He was so big. Why was he so big, so ridiculously overwhelming? He was about as tall as Kaien, but where Kaien stuck to a delicate build, just lean enough to not arouse suspicion or evoke trepidation, Silver Mick’s body was a literal slab of mushed up muscle, and the very thought that he spent his day carrying all that weight around was enough to ensure the respect he knew he’d earned long ago. He pulled off the entire mobster look effortlessly, and he was definitely scary enough to warrant the droplets of sweat trickling at the small of Kaien’s neck.
Just his luck, because [i of course] Lech and Mick knew each other. [i Old friend], he’d said, like they were old war buddies, or something. Just how old was Lech exactly?

He needed to get out of here, catch a breather or two or five, but wasn’t too keen on leaving Lech alone. He couldn’t just stand up and leave, either, unless he wanted to catch Mick’s eyes and start a conversation he frankly didn’t want to have. He hadn’t gotten recognized yet, so there was that, at least. Thankful to his genes and the vast number of changes his body’d gone through in just six years, he surrendered himself to the situation.
“Evenin’ boss,” Lucas greeted, straightening up. “Didn’t expect you here so early.” Okay, [i okay], as long as Lucas didn’t endeavor to introduce him, he was probably still in the green lane.
“I had to check up on you and make sure these two weren’t giving you too much trouble.” Mick smiled, one of his ‘if there’s a vote for best boss I better be at the top’ prize-winners, before setting his sights on the two outsiders.
“Lech,” he began, reclining against the lone armchair he’d occupied. “It’s a surprise seeing you here. I didn’t take you for the type to enjoy cheap liquor.” Baldy’s brows scrunched up in doubt, but he let the comment slide, smelling the tension between the two … old friends? “You here on business?”
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 350d 19h 27m 7s
The kid handled it surprisingly well. Lech didn't care for the glances that flitted between Kaien and the blonde, but maybe that was just a little bedroom eyes before whatever happened later tonight.

Skinny shrugged. "Cheap," he said. "Shitty booze is better than nothing, yeah?"

"There's cheaper beer down at the docks," Lech chimed in.

"But this is home turf," Skinny replied with a knowing smirk. Nothing Lech didn't already know.

Baldy nudged him, and Skinny rolled his eyes. "What? Don't be so twitchy. We're relaxing, celebrating junior's upcoming promotion, aren't we?" He reached out and clapped Lucas on the back.

Lech smiled and leaned in. "Congratulations," he said. "Do you all work together, then?"

"Yeah," Skinny said, leaning back. "We move stuff, mostly. Do a bit of selling." Baldy elbowed him again, but he ignored the warning.

"Around this area?" Lech asked. "You know, I have a friend, used to do some moving in the area."

"Did you? What was his name?" Skinny asked, suddenly interested.

Lech considered for a moment, trying to remember the name of her boyfriend. "Matt, Matt Song," he said. "I haven't spoken to him recently, but last I heard, he was in the area."

Skinny squinted at him; he didn't know. Baldy's eyes widened, and he nodded, then caught himself. Skinny noticed, though, and looked at him. "What?"

"Matt's been missing a few days now," he muttered to Skinny. Lech's eyebrows raised. So the boyfriend was one of theirs? And the plot thickened. It seemed like the wolves hadn't been the ones to kill him, then...or maybe they had. There was any number of reasons Mick would terminate one of his own men.

A thick dog scent suddenly permeated the air--one Lech personally recognized. He stiffened. Shit. Shit. The boss was here. Mick had entered the building. "Been lovely chatting, but..." he checked his watch. "We've really got to be on our way."

He started to rise, and a thick, meaty hand pressed him back into his seat. "Leaving so soon? The night's only just begun, old friend," Mick said, gravel-deep voice rumbling. Lech forced a smile, stomach dropping. Just when it couldn't get any better...
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 351d 8h 2m 37s
The kid handled it surprisingly well. Lech didn't care for the glances that flitted between Kaien and the blonde, but maybe that was just a little bedroom eyes before whatever happened later tonight.

Skinny shrugged. "Cheap," he said. "Shitty booze is better than nothing, yeah?"

"There's cheaper beer down at the docks," Lech chimed in.

"But this is home turf," Skinny replied with a knowing smirk. Nothing Lech didn't already know.

Baldy nudged him, and Skinny rolled his eyes. "What? Don't be so twitchy. We're relaxing, celebrating junior's upcoming promotion, aren't we?" He reached out and clapped Lucas on the back.

Lech smiled and leaned in. "Congratulations," he said. "Do you all work together, then?"

"Yeah," Skinny said, leaning back. "We move stuff, mostly. Do a bit of selling." Baldy elbowed him again, but he ignored the warning.

"Around this area?" Lech asked. "You know, I have a friend, used to do some moving in the area."

"Did you? What was his name?" Skinny asked, suddenly interested.

Lech considered for a moment, trying to remember the name of her boyfriend. "Matt, Matt Song," he said. "I haven't spoken to him recently, but last I heard, he was in the area."

Skinny squinted at him; he didn't know. Baldy's eyes widened, and he nodded, then caught himself. Skinny noticed, though, and looked at him. "What?"

"Matt's been missing a few days now," he muttered to Skinny. Lech's eyebrows raised. So the boyfriend was one of theirs? And the plot thickened. It seemed like the wolves hadn't been the ones to kill him, then...or maybe they had. There was any number of reasons Mick would terminate one of his own men.

A thick dog scent suddenly permeated the air--one Lech personally recognized. He stiffened. Shit. Shit. The boss was here. Mick had entered the building. "Been lovely chatting, but..." he checked his watch. "We've really got to be on our way."

He started to rise, and a thick, meaty hand pressed him back into his seat. "Leaving so soon? The night's only just begun, old friend," Mick said, gravel-deep voice rumbling. Lech forced a smile, stomach dropping. Just when it couldn't get any better...
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 351d 8h 2m 50s
Wait, hold up -- Kaien’s brows rose to argue Lech’s implication -- no, nono, that wasn’t the deal they’d made! Kaien didn’t do interrogation, he couldn’t!
He waved a waiter over, ordered a different drink , all the while going through each and every possible outcome for the upcoming conversation. He would flunk, that was a definite yes, but maybe if he played his cards right, they wouldn’t necessarily have to exchange their salutes in front of the hospital?
“So,” he began, mildly impressed at the steadiness of his voice, accepting the ordered drink with open arms. “ Lucas tells me you come here to get drinks? No offense to the bartender, but they’re a little … ” He offered a mild grimace, swirling the murky liquid in his glass before tipping back a few sips. Cheap as it was, [i damn] was it watered down.
Skinny glanced at the thicker man, exchanging some sort of message that made the other sneer, and shook his head. “No one comes here for the drinks, pretty boy. The whole bar, including the owner, knows the booze’s shit.”
[i Then what the hell do they come here for], Kaien thought, tossing minute glances at the internal décor. It looked cheap, a mixture of muted browns and greens, yet none of the customers seemed to mind, or even pay attention to the damp wallpaper peeling off the sides.
“Why’re [i you] here then, kid?” Baldy asked, eyes narrowed at Kaien’s seemingly relaxed posture. God, he hated these types, all squinty eyes and suspicious inquisitions. It tended to be a front for something else, something tamer, but that didn’t make them any less difficult to deal with.
“We’re here on recommendations,” he said, coming off as interested as he physically could with two damp rags for conversation partners. Lucas in turn wasn’t saying anything, and neither was Lech, both content with observing the somewhat amicable back-and-forth between the trio of two older men and one Kaien. “We were supposed to meet two of my friends here,” his eyes slid to Lucas’, and recognition clicked in green eyes. “,but it looks like they’re not coming.” [i The bastards].
Kaien finished off the last few drips of his drink and bent forward, resting elbows on knees. “How about you guys? This doesn’t look to be that exciting of a place, so if not for the drinks … ” he gestured ambiguously at his surroundings. “What else is there to do here?”
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 351d 9h 44m 34s
Lech raised an eyebrow at the kid's exclamation, but he explained himself quickly enough. He sipped his drink, secretly agreeing with the kid's take on the beer--maybe they watered it down with something. So the wolves recognized the kid, huh? Well. The night was going sideways already. He sat and pretended not to notice while the kid flirted with the...the man; not that he didn't know the kid's proclivities already, but it was another thing entirely to see it play out in real time. Nothing against it, he supposed. Maybe they'd get more info this way, what with the kid being friendly with one of Mick's new prospects.

The kid was smooth, at least, though Lech flinched when he invited Lech along as well. If Mick's men recognized him, there'd be no amicable chatting; they'd have to progress straight to the shake down. He turned slowly, apprehensive, but he didn't recognize any of the faces, and from the bland once over they gave him, they didn't recognize him, either. He gave the prospect a thin smile and followed the kid over, sitting at the table; with Kaien and the prospect, the table was crowded. The men smelled like wet dogs; wolves, both. But fresh enough they didn't remember the last raid, it seemed. His smile got a little broader, and he tipped the beer towards them in a half toast as greeting.

"Friends of yours, Lucas?" the skinny one of the men asked, eyes narrowing. Lech gave the blonde a wink, asking to be included in his friends. The man nodded, and the skinny one relaxed.

The other one leaned forward, staring a little too intensely at Lech. "Feels like I've seen you somewhere," he said, thinking.

"I hang at the bar a lot," Lech offered, sipping again. The man frowned, but let it go. Maybe he wasn't too young yo remember the raid, then...but a wolf's memory was blurry. He might be able to avoid detection by playing it cool.

The man nodded, seeming to relax, and Lech smiled. His eyes slid to Kaien. He'd let the boy take the lead. He could use a little experience at this.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 351d 10h 51m 5s
“This beer tastes off,” Kaien commented offhandedly, nail tapping against the side of the glass while he listened in on the buzz. He’d gone to this place once or twice, when he’d been younger, and the beer’d [i always] tasted off. Was that why he’d stopped going?
It was a miniscule change, the moment three wolves filtered through security and made their way inside, but a wolf’s body made [i distinctly] different sounds to that of any other species, and coupled with the wet dog smell, it was decided. Their idle wait was officially over.
Kaien sat up and turned, utilizing the excuse for a bathroom break, and upon setting his eyes on the group of three, promptly switched back and slid into his previous seat -- all in the span of five seconds.
“Oh my fucking god,” he was so sure this was some sort of prank. It had to be. This entire thing being a practical joke was the only thread of conviction keeping Kaien from standing up and getting the hell out of there right that instant.
Instead, he bit down on the rim of his glass, eyes pointed strictly to the front. Okay, thinking logically, there was still the slim possibility that this wouldn’t spiral down, and that it wouldn’t necessarily be his fault. At this point, the club had filled out, and he wasn’t the only tall brunet there, so there was a perfectly plausible chance he wouldn’t get singled out among the -- [i ‘Kaien!’]
He cursed underneath his breath, fixed a smile, and turned to regard his ex. “Hey, you,” [i namenamenamename,] he leaned back against the bar counter, allowing for a blatant once-over of the blond’s progress. He’d thinned out in all the right places, and Kaien didn’t make too much of an effort of hiding his appreciation for a job well done. “I didn’t take you for the type to hang around this crowd, Lucas.” His smile tightened, a book example of [i fond reminiscing], mimicking the other’s warm welcome.
‘Yeah, yeah … ’ Lucas tossed a quick glance at Lech, just green enough to get noticed. “Guess I didn’t tell you about it, huh.” He scratched his chin nervously. ‘Mick’s been takin’ care of us real good, it’s amazin’. First time I saw him, thought I was gonna shit myself,’ he laughed, recalling a keen memory. ‘He was bustin’ that café you, Shado an’ I used to visit.’ [i Used to rob], he meant, and Kaien nodded, setting his glass aside.
“What’re you going here, huh, Lucas? You’re no drinker, and I know you haven’t started since I last saw you.”
Lucas’ eyes flickered back to the other two men seated on one of the plush couches, neither of whom looked to be playing attention to the trio at the bar. ‘Some sort’a initiation … or somethin’. They weren’t all that specific when they were explainin’ it. I think they just came down here t’ have a drink.’
[i Perfect,] Kaien thought as he stood up, amicable façade still firmly in place. “You wouldn’t mind if we joined you, then? We were supposed to meet some people here, but it seems they’re not showing. Two’s not much of a company these days, yeah?” He trailed an index and middle finger down the length of Lucas’ shoulder, passing him by before he even got the okay. Lucas didn’t know how to say no, anyways.
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 351d 11h 16m 13s
Lech lounged against a wall, relishing the cool shade the tall buildings cast in the late afternoon. The kid took his sweet time to arrive, and when he did, he smelled faintly of coffee and sugar. Lech gave him a look, but didn't say anything. Wanted to wash out the taste of Lech's coffee shop? Well, he didn't blame the kid. It was pretty awful stuff.

Sunlight filtered through the window of the antique shop he stood beside, turning the dusty air inside golden, dust motes glimmering as they danced. He liked antique shops. The idea of preserving even the least pieces of history, of mundane items that had gained worth and value by simply existing for longer than other items...it was comforting, in a way. Maybe it was a good portent, the kid suggesting they meet here.

He nodded at the kid and gestured him on, walking away from the antique shop towards their destination: a skeevy-looking gentleman's club with bricked-over windows and a very, very muscular bouncer at the door. It wasn't Silver Mick's headquarters, but it was where his boys liked to go any time they got a minute off. He'd go in, see if he couldn't have a nice little chat with his boys--maybe just listen to some gossip--and they'd be headed home for the night.

"We're going to have a nice little chat with these gentlemen," he told the kid. "Keep your hands off the ladies and stay close to me, and we should do alright." With that, he sauntered up to the door.

The bouncer gave him a hard look, then nodded. Lech gestured over his shoulder. "Kid's with me," he said, and the bouncer narrowed his eyes, but let the kid in.

Inside, the club was still mostly empty; it'd only just opened for the night. The scent of wet dog lingered, just on the verge of conscious awareness. He sat down at the bar and ordered a beer; it wouldn't do much, but it'd keep him from looking suspicious while he waited. "One for the kid, too," he said, flicking his fingers at Kaien. Oh, Kaien, that was his name. Excellent. "We're waiting for some friends to show up," he explained with a thin smile.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 351d 17h 5m 12s
Ready for an altercation? No, not particularly. Willing to participate? No, probably even less than with the first suggestion. Still wanted to receive his paycheck?
Kaien cursed internally, inside voice [i strictly], and nodded into the mic. “Don’t suppose I have much of a choice.” Okay, so the prospect of going up against Silver Mick and his groupies didn’t especially excite him, no less than the idea that they’d be doing it as a two-man team.
“I’m down by the docks, but I’ll meet you at the crossing of Richard’s and Steppe’s, by the antique shop. I’ll get ‘round in about fifteen minutes.” He still had to check in with his family. He hadn’t seen them in [i months], and considering he was already more or less nearby ... two birds with one stone?
He left a curt ‘see you’ and swiped the call to its end, pocketing the device to take a better look at the thickening traffic. Cars zoomed in and out of view, rudimentary to a late afternoon on a work day, but all Kaien could think about was finding a feasible way to explain his current living situation to his mother and seeing her brows scrunch up in discontent -- something he liked to call ‘worry’, or at least the closest thing she could manage without vocally expressing it.

Faded amber set upon his childhood home, a shabby cafe nestled between two run-down houses, and for a few minutes, all Kaien could really do was stare. Customers flitted through the doors, a beacon for a good business, his sister’s uniform-clad form cruising through the place with practiced ease. Even at this distance, her smile was a radiant flare, and Kaien found his lips jutting in return. She was a hard sight to see, but he was glad she appeared happy. Unlike him, she wasn’t that good of a liar.
Kaien took a breath, pulled his hands out of his pants to rest them at his sides, and strode forward. Boy, would this be an awkward ten minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, as promised, Kaien rounded the last corner and waved his casual hello as he approached. “Silver Mick’s boys, huh?” He’d met the man a few times, back when he still followed in Aries’ steps. Wherever the boss went, there was a sure chance Kaien’d be there too. Silver Mick was an older man, but the only thing that betrayed his age was probably his government issued id. Dark hair, even darker facial hair, he kept his appearance trimmed and in prime shape, so much so that Kaien never would’ve guessed his species had Aries not warned him beforehand. He [i looked] strong, if the suit he always adorned was any indicator, but Kaien’d never seen him fight. A picture-perfect example of a charming businessman, with just enough underlining intimidation hugging his person to clue in on his shady background.
“Let’s hope their boss doesn’t have a tendency to check up on his men on Thursday evenings.” Fighting a group of wolves was one thing. Butting heads with a mobster with anger management issues was another.
“Aries used to do business with him, so I sort of don’t want to make him angry.” Disregarding the fact that, on Kaien’s thirteenth birthday, the man’d dropped his palm down on his shoulder and promptly put the fear of god in him with nothing other than a firm shake and friendly smile.
“The stage’s all yours.” Lech could do what he liked and how he liked it, but Kaien wasn’t in it to kill anyone. That’d been his single condition for taking this job, and if he’d pulled through so far, he was politely confident this round’d be no different.
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 352d 13h 34m 56s
The kid took off. Still in the rebellious stages, it seemed. Well, good. It wasn't any fun to play with a whipped dog. Better to have some spirit to rouse up. He took the number and gave it a cursory glance. He didn't often use his phone. His contacts usually weren't the types to use them. Another way the kid was wet behind the ears, he supposed. He nodded his goodbye and took off to the streets.

He went around to all the regular places, dark alleys, musty bars. Some places he listened, some places he talked. But no one had heard a thing. True, he hadn't spoken to any wolves, but wolves were... well, to put it simply, there was no love lost between him and wolves, and it was a well-known animosity. Even the loosest-lipped mutt knew better than to talk to him.

He'd exhausted all his resources but one, though he was reluctant to call on that one. Some creatures were, by nature, destructive, and to ensure their survival had no recourse but to kill. By rights--by law--they ought to be put down like the rabid dogs they were, but usually, those selfsame creatures had centuries of practice at lurking in the shadows and going unnoticed--or were so incredibly powerful that even he would hesitate to take them head on.

And this monster was all three.

A wooden signboard swung over the bar, outdated by a few centuries but lovingly kept up, depicting a black widow prominently on its front; the Black Widow Bar. He only went here when he was desperate, really running dry on a case. He supposed he should have expected it, dealing with wolves; but even so, he wasn't ready.

A deep breath steeled him, and he stepped inside. A bell rang merrily over the door, and the barkeep looked up from scrubbing the bar. "What'll it be, sir?" he asked.

"Lady on the rocks," he said, and the barkeep smiled and pressed a button under the bar. Lech tossed him a twenty and slid through the tables, past the few patrons at this hour, to a door at the back. Up a flight of stairs, through a door, and there she was, waiting for him. Gabriella.

"A little bird said you were coming, so I got all dolled up for you," she said, fluffing chestnut curls. "What do you think?" She leaned forward, her loose-fitting sequin-bedazzled dress providing him ample view of the bra she wasn't wearing.

"A girl's been bitten and her boyfriend's gone missing," Lech said, sitting down at her table. "Wolves. I thought you might have heard something."

Gabriella smiled and sauntered over, swaying her hips. Like earlier, the perfume she wore was thick enough to be sickening, but unlike earlier, it was a pleasant, expensive scent. "And if I have?"

"The usual," Lech replied.

Her smile widened, showing a few too many teeth. "Lech darling, you know I love you best," she purred, stroking his chest with red-painted nails. "Could you throw in a little extra? It's good, what I know."

"I'm not in the mood," he replied flatly. A lie, but one she wouldn't call. That was the boundary of their relationship. One she constantly tested, but one he wouldn't bend.

She smiled just an inch, lips as red as a poisoned apple. "Then I'll simply have to pine away," she said, tongue slipped between lips. "Tread carefully, Lech. This is dangerous territory."

"I know," he said. Coming here was always dangerous.

"Do you, I wonder," Gabriella mused. Then she smiled. "But you'll always be safe with me."

"Hardly," he replied, and she giggled and leaned in close, apple-red lips pursed to tell her secrets.

---

The phone rang a few times before the kid picked up. "The wolf," he said, scratching his nose, "The wolf that bit her. It's one of Silver Mick's boys." It was all Gabriella would give him, thanks to his refusal to give her his body--and something else, something that made her smile. She knew everything that was going on--she always did--but she didn't like to spill her secrets. [i Spoils the mystery,] she'd say with that irritating little smile. Which meant this was hardly the end of the line. Just the beginning.

Lech smirked at the mouthpiece. "Ready to go shake down a wolfpack? I think it's time we got answers." .
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 354d 7h 12m 7s
“What?” By [i god], didn’t this guy ever slow down? “Wait -- shit, [i wait],” he ground out in a long exhale, slipping to catch up with Lech -- was he claustrophobic or something? It’d explain his abhorrence of the main office, for one, low ceilings and all. He still couldn’t clue in on the reasoning behind that bad attitude, but they’d work on that.
“Listen, okay, here ... ” he dotted down a succession of numbers, handing the slip off. “That’s my number,” he said, clicking his pen back into inactivity before tucking it back into his jacket pocket.
“Call me if you find something, because I’m not going to keep following around you like this.” Frankly, it was sort of stressing him out, the whole ... flippancy of the situation. He liked order, liked [i direction], but not at the price of being stringed along like some newborn pup, fresh out the kennel, eager to explore but too disoriented to take the lead. Aries got away with it on account of his position, but until Lech started signing his checks and Christmas bonuses, Aries was the only one who [i would].
“Good luck,” or something. “I’m going the other way.” Digging fists into the pockets of his jeans, he did just that, turning on his heels and striding down the street.
If all else failed, and it had, he’d just return home. There were bound to be several people who could give him the information he needed.

“Hold it there,” Kaien said, positively exhausted. [i Physically] speaking, he was more than ready to rid this guy of all his front teeth, but [i mentally], he needed to sit down and take a few cooling breaths. “You’re not making any damn sense, alright? None. The story you just shit out has nothing to do with what you said before that, they don’t just [i disappear]. First, you’ve got the scent, that doesn’t just vanish, not something that distinct. Second, the markings – remember these guys are [i wolves], they don’t sit at a table and drink chamomile until it’s bedtime. They’re violent, and they show it. Third, packs don’t move for no reason.”
At the other's discernible confusion, he elaborated. “Look at it like this, why’d you move out of an apartment that’s working for you? Cheap rent, a nice little old lady for a supervisor, no vermin ... see where I’m going with this? ” This wasn’t worth it. No pay check was worth this headache. No wonder no one’d work with him back at the office -- living in this shithole’d probably drained the entirety of his brain matter. He was lucky he still knew how to write his name down properly.
“Get it?” His phone rang, [i finally], an excuse to leave, and he flicked his wrist at the appalled redhead, shooing him away. Hopefully, his partner’s patience had proved more lucrative than Kaien’s lack thereof.
“Yeah?” he spoke into the device, beginning up the path back to the main street. It all smelled a little too much like death here, and he still hadn’t washed out the taste of that bad coffee. “Did you manage to find anything?”

// kaien doesn't know how to deal with him at [i all], and i love it ahah.
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 354d 7h 58m 47s
He cocked his eyebrow higher at the kid's untimely proclamation. Had no one taught the kid the basics of interrogation? Seemed a waste, honestly, with all that height. He considered himself tall at 6'; anything more was just excessive. To have that height and not exploit it was a loss. Then again, some just weren't cut out for it. And judging by the shout, this kid was one of those.

Aries didn't seem too pleased at getting handed off the lady, but once Lech pulled him aside and explained a few of the young woman's particulars, particularly cluing him in on that wolf bite that someone should really look at, he seemed to settle down to an angry simmer. Honestly, they were doing better than most of his interactions with Aries at that. No one was threatened, nothing got thrown, no guns got pulled. It was almost like they were friends.

The kid listed off their progress so far, and Lech shook his head. "She's lying," he said. "I know it. I can feel it in my gut. She left something out, or fuzzed something... women are like that," he said, glancing aside at the kid. Then he sighed. "I'm not going through any musty old files again. I'm gonna hit the streets. See if I can't drum something up. You're free to come with--or you can hit the files if you'd rather," he added with a sneer. What'd the kid think he was going to find? There was nothing [i to] find. The bitch had lied. He was as sure of it as the sun came out in the day.

"Maybe he died there. That doesn't mean she got bit there," he said, giving the kid a look. "And it certainly doesn't mean wolves did him in. I'm going to go poke around, see if anyone's got information on a fresh bitch. The wolves can smell the turning ones; probably why she wore that horrendous perfume. If it's a wolfbite--our kind of wolfbite--chances are someone knows who did it."

With that, he started back out of the office building, whether or not the kid followed him. He didn't want to stay here another second. There was nothing he hated more than being stuck inside a musty old building, playing the office drone. The streets were where he belonged, where he felt at home. If there were clues to be found, they wouldn't be in the files. They'd be out on the streets. Or so spoke his intuition. And his intuition was rarely wrong.

//ooc: please feel free to come with or stay behind. This is Lech's abrasive personality, not my desire to force the path of the rp.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 354d 8h 49m 46s
Interrogation was [i not] Kaien’s strong suit, evident by his contemplative silence throughout the entirety of the back-and-forth push and pull. It wasn’t like he disliked them, or something, because he imagined there had to be a [i reason] his seniors fought tooth and nail to land the right to question their clients. Aries himself enjoyed them, said they made him feel more like an investigator and less like the assassin they all knew he was.
For Kaien, the determining factor was his youthful, more or less approachable exterior. Sure, he was sort of a giant, towering over most of his coworkers at an impressive six foot three, and [i sure], he had the [i voice] to pull it off theoretically , but it all came down to the fact that, what he made up with his looming appearance and shady history, it all still fell short before the fact that Kaien just [i wasn’t intimidating at all]. Didn’t try to be, didn’t want to be, wasn’t expected to be on [i any] side of the dice.
It wasn’t a necessity, as far as he or his boss were concerned, and he didn’t think it got in the way of his ability to conclude a job, or his capacity as a bounty hunter, so he didn’t understand [i why] -- [i wait wait wait] hold the phone, Kaien glanced sideways at Lech as way of confirmation that, yes, she was hiking her dress up and doing it of [i her own accord].
Incredible, was the word, but Kaien lost it at the tip of his tongue the instant his eyes landed on the festering wolf bite. Holy shit. He’d never seen one of those so [i developed], and [i holy shit] did it look nasty.
“Holy shit,” he announced, breaking the accumulated silence in the room. “Guess that means she’s not lying.” Which meant they still had a case to get to the bottom of, which meant he’d still get those forty fucking percent. Maybe things were starting to look up for him after all, minor complications aside.

“So, okay, correct me if I’m wrong,” Kaien began once they’d left Aries with a curt explanation on why he was now expected to keep the company of a distressed and positively enraged young woman for the next six hours when it was [i the two of them] that’d disquieted her in the first place. “But ... we don’t have any leads. The building was a bust, busting the client was a bust too, and all the evidence we [i did] have doesn’t make much sense with the case we have [i now],” he listed off, raising finger by finger with each announcement, spreading their blank cards in front for careful consideration.
“Unless we missed something back at that building,” He sure hoped not. He wasn’t particularly looking forward to the concept of being back there. “Or you’re willing to visit every wolf this side of five milli town populous, I’m not seeing a path.” Another few moments of silence, then, “Want to consult the files again? Look to see if there’s something we might’ve missed in the report?”
  cigarette smoke / baliit / 354d 9h 10m 21s
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