Playing by the Rules

Participants:

eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif kain_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Also featuring:

manny_icon.gif vasya_icon.gif

And with special guest appearances by:

kazimir_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing by the Rules
Synopsis Ethan vs. Sylar. Round One.
Date March 4, 2009

Pancratium


Crack.

His head rotates to the other side, his eyes watching his fingers flex through the darkness. Another crack and popping sound lets out from his knuckles. They haven't said much to him since he killed those two people. They probably were pretty sore about it. Since then he hadn't had much action at all. Pressing his back against the back wall, he lets out a yawn. Finally he goes to his feet, and meanders his way over to the door. Pressing his arm against the surface near it.

No way to tell what time it was. He had gotten very tired of speaking with that kid the cell over. He was an annoying little fucker. Pressing his chin against the surface. He waits, waiting is all he can do. Waiting for the next time they decide to show him off.

Maybe, just maybe, she will be there. Maybe she will see him.

Ethan takes a deep breath.

Shuffling footsteps move along the floor of the cage hall, where involuntary fighters are kept and penned before their performance. But the man visiting these barred halls isn't a familiar face, he isn't a regular down in the pens. "'Dey want you t'fight tonight…" It's been a while since Ethan heard a Russian accent quite that thick, it brings back familiar memories of snow, gunfire and bloodshed — happy times.

Moving over to the bars, the weak and yellowed lights overhead give the old man in the hall deeply cast shadows around his face, and the dark-lensed glasses covering his eyes make his overall appearance something startling — for just a moment his sagging face and wavy gray hair looked like another old man Ethan was, a time ago, far more familiar with.

"'Dey wan' t'kill you, boy." He moves in slow, swaggering steps before leaning a shoulder on the concrete wall near the front of the cage. "'Dey will pit you 'gainst 'dere best fighter, to'night." His shoulders rise in a shrug, "I can offer you drink, make you suffer less, maybe…"

Wrapping one arm around the bar, Ethan leans forward, placing his forehead against the bar as his eyes take in the man in front of him. He simply watches him casually for a moment. Wetting his lips Ethan examines the man as one might examine an unwelcome Jehovah's Witness at the door. You should at least hear them say their opening lines and act polite before you shut the door. Except Ethan has no door to shut. "You 'ere to take me out, old man?" He asks quietly, sizing the man up.

"You know what 'appened to the last guy that brought me out?" He got a broken nose. Ah, memories. As to the best fighter and his suffering and less of it, Ethan gives a little smirk. "Thank you for the concern, old boy. But you're losing it." He brings up one finger to tap at his head.

"I am their best fighter."

The old man's lips creep up into a smile, head tilting down in a bow of reluctant acknowledgement. "One of," he mumbles, "One of." Reaching inside of his button-down vest, the old man removes an aluminum flask, unscrewing the top to sip at the contents, smelling like they were made in a still somewhere on Staten Island. "But no, I am not the man who'll bring you out," he looks over his shoulder, to light spilling in front a dusty stairwell, "I am just entertainment to crowd," his tired shoulders shrug, "storyteller…"

"Vasya." He adds, identifying himself with a motion of the flask to his chest. "You are th'only normal person who's survi'vd th'fights." Dark glasses dully reflect the light from the hall as a yellow stain on smoky lenses. "But this man they have, he turns men to dust an' bones in shadow…" Vasya begins to turn from the cage, "Best of't luck to you, I tried m'best…"

"One of." Ethan repeats coldly, watching him quietly as he takes up his flask. He smirks a little bit as he reports his place and his role. "You're a storyteller." The Wolf remarks. "I'll give you a story to tell.." He lifts a brow. "Vasya." The man straightens up, dropping his hands to his sides. He smirks as the man starts to make his way back. "Dust an' bones in shadow?" His smirk grows a little bit.

They're pitting him against one of the only people in the world he could call friend. Vasya and the rest of these boys are in for a surprise tonight.

Meanwhile…

It's become a familiar routine. The crowd is thunderous to his ears, although tonight his hearing still retains a deafened edge to it, so it's not as bad. But the atmosphere is unmistakable, shakes the senses, especially when you get into the cage. Teo had advised him not to perform under this name, but Tavisha doesn't have a lot of choice. It's too late for that. The lights are bright, cash passes from hand to hand as bets are made. Apparently, he is to fight the one human whose made it out alive of this cage.

Which puts an interesting perspective on things, but Tavisha knows it only ends one way. Scuffed boots leave prints in the packed-dirt floor of the cage as he moves under the lights, alone for now. Dressed simply in black pants and a black wifebeater, the circular tattoo standing out against paler skin on his right forearm. Said arm lifts up just a little, fingers spreading, and he lets glowing rays of blue-green light shooting from his fingertips to make black marks across the ground, trailing smoke, and up over the heads of the crowd— harmless light, but some duck all the same.

Tavisha's not an entertainer, but it's not hard to put on a show.

Incidentally, a show isn't what everyone in the Pancratium's audience has come for tonight. Somewhere in the crowd, Eileen Ruskin observes Tavisha from her bench-side perch, and while she may be safe from whatever might happen on the other side of the cage's bars, she isn't entirely untouchable — which is why she's brought along Manny for company.

Whatever Zarek decides to charge her for his bodyguard's services will be money well spent. John Logan is, after all, still alive, and the Rookery is his home territory. She'd be a fool if she thought she could set foot outside Filatov's clinic without risking the fate she intended to deliver him courtesy of one Barbara Dahl.

"So…" Looking up from a nail file that is carefully manicuring his right hand, Manny Calavera shifts his eyes to the side, giving a leering stare across Eileen. "This fella' out in the cage," he pauses to blow across his nails, one hairless brow raising in scrutinizing examination of them, "you're lookin' at him the way I've seen scored lovers look at Mista' Zarek." There's a crooked smile on pale lips, "Ol' flame a'yours?" He asks in his perennial Brooklyn accent.

From down on the arena floor, moving like a wave up from the closest seats, chanting begins. It starts with a thunderous stomping that eventually finds unison in crushing rhythm. Fists are thrown into the air, feet slamming on the floor like the rythm of war drums in ancient times.

SY-LAR.

SY-LAR.

SY-LAR.

It's this name drumming in Ethan Holden's ears as he's escorted thorugh a double set of steel doors, hands shackled behind his back, and a noose around his neck, attached to a long metal pole that keeps him well out of arm's reach, like a rabid dog.

SY-LAR.

SY-LAR.

SY-LAR.

The bruised and bloodied man guiding him out dabs at his split lip, glaring daggers at the back of Ethan's head. Through the rusting bars of the cage, Ethan can see the man the crowd is cheering for, and much closer, an old man sipping from a flask, cigar pinched in his free hand. Behind smoky-lensed glasses, he watches Ethan's approach.

Green Mile indeed.

No eye contact is made across the crowds, even if Tavisha could see past the stage lighting beaming down on him, warming his shoulders, obscuring the audience around him to anonymous face. He doesn't know she's here, besides, he's not sure he'd want her to be here. The lasers jump out from his fingertips with ease, his brief and startling lightshow making dangerous swoops over the heads of the audience, searing the metal of his cage, encouraging them to cheer his— well. That name.

His back faces the doors when he hears them open, and he lets the lasers die, turns to look at what he's up against. There is absolutely no recognition in his eyes, posture almost lazy as he drags his gaze up and down Ethan's form when it's shoved into the nearby lights, and he lifts his arms to the audience, a kind of shrug: this is what they bring me? and an accompanying smirk twisting his lips.

"Not very articulate, these people, ey mate?" Ethan asks to the man behind him. A little smirk rides on his lips as he glances back at the man behind him. Continuing to walk like a sheep to slaughter the man returns his attention to the path ahead of him. "Would it make you feel better if I said I was sorry, boy? Think you could forgive me?" Just talking out of his ass, walking casually towards his death. No tension, no anger, no shock. He looks ahead coldly, trying to locate the man that the rest of the crowd is crying out for. And then he spots the lasers in the distance.

Once the noose is let up around his neck and the cuffs unlocked, Ethan turns his head back, feigning an attack at the man just for a scare. Giving a smirk he walks away from the man and towards Sylar.

"It's been a while." It's not said loudly. And no way could it be heard over the crowd. For anyone except for Tavisha. "Is she with you?"

It's hard to imagine lovers being anything but scorned where Kain is concerned, and a fleeting smile, though it does not last, touches Eileen's lips when Manny makes the comparison. "Maybe in another life," she murmurs, her voice soft and subdued, so quiet that only he can hear it. Not that anyone sitting near them appears to be interested in eavesdropping — everyone's attention is fixated on the ring and the lean shape of Pancratium's most infamous contender.

Eileen, on the other hand, is looking past Tavisha, pale gaze tracking Ethan as he approaches. The expression on her face undergoes a swift change, the slight quirk of her mouth turning down, gray-green eyes growing wide and bright as she recognizes the fighter they've decided to pit against Sylar tonight. Horror settles over her features. That's—

WOLF.

WOLF.

WOLF.

Amid the cheering, the old man slips into the ring, white hair falling to his shoulders, eyes eclipsed by those dark lenses. Then it happens, the preface to all Pancratium fights, a horrible shriek from the crouch, followed by faster, slamming drumming as Sylar's name is ripped from their lips. The old man — Vasya — raises a microphone to his mouth, murmuring into the receiver, "To'night," he slurs his words in drunken Russian, "Th' spirits of th' dead call out for brothers to join them." The ground begins to crack and split, clawed, skeletal hands grasping up from the ground as gaunt and silent, skeletal figures draw themselves up from the packed earth like zombies crawling forth from the grave.

"To'night, we see off th' only human to sur'vive th' cages to his end. To'night, th'Wolf…" As he speaks, these cadaverous figures wrench spectral and ghostly versions of the implements of death from the walls, turning on one another in a horrifying display of violence. Bones shatter, skulls split open, fingers reach, grasp and pull at entrails like magic scarves pulled out of a magician's hat, "…faces off a'gainst th'Midtown Man — Sylar!" Vasya waves his hand into the air, and the horrible specters throw their hands up, faces contorted in screaming visages of pain and anger as flashing lights blossom like silent fireworks above the cage.

"To'night! We wel'come them to th'Pancratium!" As his voice echoes amidst the cheering and screaming, Vasya begins to make his way across the hard-packed earth pit, slipping out of the cage with a quick pace before bringing the mic up to his lips one last time, "Those who ar't to die!" His voice rumbles through the building, "Fight!"

The man approaches Tavisha, that isn't too irregular. Sometimes they want to shake hands, sometimes trade insults, threats, bravado. Tonight, however, is different, and thick eyebrows angle in a look of confusion as the man approaches him like a friend. It wouldn't be the first time outside the ring, but here

He opens his mouth to speak when the ground seems to crack, to rumble with Vasya's illusions, and Tavisha doesn't bat an eye, studying Ethan now, up and down. Trying to wring anything like a memory from his appearance, but it's as blank as a dreamless sleep. It's why he's even here. To work for it, to get it back. Tavisha throws his gaze away from Ethan, taking in the crowd and the nightmarish illusions, feelings that trickle of adrenaline through his bloodstream again, the chanting, the stamping, the cheering making the hair at the back of his neck stand on end.

As the door of the cage goes to swing closed, Tavisha raises a hand, and Ethan is rewarded with a telekinetic shove, the invisible hook passing through his torso and yanking him back, letting him stagger and right himself. "Don't talk to me," is the harsh reply, only loud enough for Ethan to hear, and Tavisha steps back, and back, a hand up again, and on the signal to fight, his fingers twitch—

And one of the weapons dangling from their hooks comes tumbling down, a scratched up, well-used fire ax landing at Ethan's feet, both a token gesture and an insult, in a way.

Ethan doesn't move at all at the ghouls coming up around him, though it does make him a bit angry. Maybe Kazimir had a point. This was demented. Even more so now that he was at ground level. He tilts his head at the man and then he's being shoved back by telekinesis. The man glances down at the axe blankly before flicking his gaze back up to Tavisha. "Whot are you doing? Stop messing about. Together we can kill our way out of 'ere, find the girl, and get the fuck out of 'ere." Ethan growls, glancing down at the ask that tumbles at his feet.

His gaze slides up to the man he used to know as Sylar. He takes a few breaths as he watches the other man. He spoke, with his vocal cords. Rather than through that mental thingy, his old favorite way of communication. "Don't you know 'oo I am?"

"Traitor." The voice is rough and harsh, coming from the bars behind Ethan, where a tall and black silhouette stands, weathered fingers wound through the rusted bars. But Ethan cannot hear the gravelly voice of Kazimir Volken, he cannot see the man shrouded in shadows and darkness backlit by the glow of a floodlight, blue eyes almost glowing amidst the silhouetted black of his features.

"Take what you need from him…" The voice demands, ephemeral fingers squeezing tightly against the bars, turning wrinkled hands white with tension. "Kill him."

The crowd is roaring for it. And now a ghost demands it. The blood of the man in front of him - or rather, his ashes. Tavisha tilts his head, mouth drawn into a line. "I know who you are," he responds. A hand moves, a more elaborate handwave than Sylar had ever done when harnessing his telekinesis, and Ethan will find himself hurtling through the air until his side connects with metal bars, barely inches from a wicked hook where a meat cleaver dangles, too beaten and blackened to shine in the even these spotlights. The ex-soldier is pinned there, a silhouetted figure tangling up amongst the metal, unable to move as bars make bruises into his body, Tavisha's arm extended.

"If you want to get out of here," Tavisha says, underneath the current of screams and cheers from the crowd, "then you'll have to go through me." His hand gestures, Ethan is spun around, back slamming into the bars, forced to face him. Tavisha isn't so unlike the man he knew - save for the unrecognition, the cold disengagement from all they had been through together - all he had learned from this man. "Just like everyone else."

And Ethan is released, dropped to the floor, and Tavisha paces like a caged tiger, searching out that ghost again, as if looking for someone in the crowd.

HIs knees hit the ground and his hands fly out to catch him before he goes all the way down. He's fairly certain he liked Sylar better when he did what he was told. This new throwing him around with telekinesis thing was not a welcomed development. Grunting, the man glances up at the hook that he had just barely missed. Then returns his gaze to Sylar, his lips thinning. There is no way he's going to be able to overcome him physically, not in this pit. Where he was far too limited.

His mind races, how do you bring down such a beast. You don't, not without planning, not without careful consideration of the target, not without weapons, and backup plans. All Ethan had was a rusty fireaxe and his mind. Shoving himself to his feet, he rubs his hands off on his pants. Preparing himself for the fight of his life.

"You don't 'ave a fucking clue." Ethan snarls back. "Whot are you even fucking doin' 'ere?"

Eileen can only sit and watch for so long — her legs command her to stand and stand she does, rising to her feet and hiking her skirt up around her knees to avoid catching the material on the bleacher's sharp metal edge. Of all the living people in the world, these are two of the three she cares the most about. Remaining on the sidelines while one courts death at the hands of the other causes her physical pain and twists her belly into gut-wrenching knots.

"Stay here," she instructs Manny, though she doesn't so much as glance back over her shoulder at him. Her destination is clear in her mind, and as she begins making her way down the aisle, strides long and purposeful to make up for what her legs lack in length, she cuts a path with all the speed and swiftness one of her birds on the wing.

"Stay— " Manny blurts out, looking over to where Eileen was sitting, eyes blinking behind his red-lensed glasses, "'Ey!" Quickly, the enormous Italian is up on his feet, palming his nail file before shoving a wiry young man out of the way, "'scuse me," he shoulders past another standing on the stairs, "move it chubby," one of his feet kicks over a beer bottle balanced on the steps, sending it rolling down as it spills frothing alcohol in his wake.

"Man, what a flighty broad," Manny mumbles, rubbing a hand over his head as he pushes another spectator out of the way, trying to spot Eileen in the crowd. When he does find her, he chokes back surprise, "Fuck she's quick for a little thing." Then begins pushing his way through the crowd again.

He can't well leave her alone, not when she's his responsibility.

"None of your business," is Tavisha's sneering answer, turning his back as he moves towards the opposite side of the cage. The lead pipe is unhooked, drawn across the bars in hollow sounding metallic clanks as he moves around the periphery. "So you can take down the fighters here without any powers," he says, voice raising now, enough so that those in the audience close enough could catch his words, gaze focused on Ethan as he runs the pipe against the bars, coming to a halt. "Show me." He throws the weapon, but it moves with a too-fast kinetic quality, spiraling through the air to clip Ethan's shoulder, to hit the bars behind him with a loud clang.

The shoulder dips, allowing the pipe to fly by, as he does his brows crease at the man. Anger obviously evident there. He takes a few steps away from the bars on the perimeter, his gaze set sternly on the man facing him. "It very well is my fuckin' business. Stop takin' a piss, and do what you're fuckin' told, runt. You work for me." Ethan reminds sternly, walking forward purposefully. The shirtless man moves steadily and heavily, but calmly, as if there wasn't a man who could kill him with his thoughts straight ahead of him.

"Now, fuckin' tell me, boy. Where is she?! You keep messin' about this way and I will show you." The Wolf growls, standing straight in front of Tavisha. Weaponless, powerless, and helpless.

"Where is she?"

Echoes, whispers, hisses, the voice disembodies with no physical form to give it coherence. It is just the serpentine hissing in Tavisha's ear, "He will kill you.

Tavisha stands as tall as his straight spine will allow as Ethan approaches him, gaze darting up and down the man's form as he comes closer and closer, talking to him still as if they weren't in the middle of a fight ring, as if they weren't supposed to be tearing each other apart. "I don't…" he starts, confusion lacing his voice which had previously held such snarl. He's about as tense as a cornered dog by the time Ethan repeats his question, breathing becoming more shallow when that whisper comes beneath the sound of the crowd and Ethan's questions. His heart beats faster, from both fear, and indirect anger.

He tilts his head, as if trying to loosen his neck. "Can't say I didn't give you a chance," Tavisha says, almost vacantly, before he moves forward, a leaping step, hand out to grab Ethan by the arm, that prickling feel of degeneration scratching at Ethan's skin almost before contact is even made.

"You don't whot, boy? You don't 'ave a fuckin' clue what you're doin? That would be a good statement to make, you fuck-ing puff." Ethan growls. "I taught you. I protected you." His eyes flick across the man's body, taking in the small changes. The little movements. He still has no clue at all what the hell is going on, but Tavisha doesn't know that. He hopes. And confidence comes as easily to Ethan as hair loss. His lips twist up as Tavisha tilts his head.

"Can't say I didn't give you a chance, Gabriel." As if the two were in exact synch, when one moves, so does the other. The arm being reached out for is practically given to Tavisha. A very easy target, the arm isn't jerked away, or swung away from fear of contact. It's offered. Bait. Stepping forward and slightly to the side of the other man, one leg sweeps out behind the other man to be used as a lever. Pulling powerfully down on Tavisha's grip, Ethan positions himself to go low. And move up.

Thrusting powerfully off his back leg, the Wolf launches his forehead up towards Tavisha's face, aiming with the help of his leg to send Tavisha sprawling back with a little souvenir of a broken nose.

There's not a lot of security this close to the cage — for one thing, it's dangerous to be standing so close to the bars and, for another, anyone in the audience would have to be completely out of their mind to interfere with a fight already underway. Unsurprisingly, Eileen receives more than a few incredulous looks when she attempts to do just that.

Contrary to popular belief, being small doesn't necessarily make one agile, and it's with no small amount of difficulty that she clears the barriers standing between herself and the arena, Manny be damned. And while she has no way of reaching Ethan or Tavisha from the other side of the bars, she can batter her fists against them in a feeble but desperate bid to get their attention before something in there goes horrifically wrong.

"Ethan!" she screams, her shrill voice smothered by the rumble of the crowd. "Ethan, stop it! He can't remember!"

Watching in horror as Eileen scrambles over the barricades of saw horses and railings blocking off the path around the cages, Manny tries to shout out a warning to the girl that is drowned out by the cheering of the crowd. Cursing to himself, the lumbering oaf of a man begins more forcibly shoving his way through the crowd, pushing men and women aside like a bull at a parade. "Outta' my way!" Manny growls out, pressing his enormous palm into a man's face as he drives him to the ground, finally making it to the barricade as he watches Pancratium security coming running around the cage.

"Shit," he hisses out, reaching inside of his jacket, fumbling for a form of identification that won't get him shot. Fumbling with a leather folio, Manny just vaults over the barricades with one hand planted on them and a push of his legs, landing with a heavy stomp of his considerable weight on the other side.

When he lands, the Pancratium security come skidding to a halt, two raising a pistol the other slipping a sawed off shotgun out from under his jacket. Holds up his hands, even as he tries to make his way towards Eileen, "Don' shoot y'morons!" His booming voice barely heard.

Up in the balcony, enjoying the fight, blonde hair and a black suit move like greased lightning up and out of a high-backed chair, rushing to the edge, fingers gripping the railing. Kain Zarek's blue eyes focus down on the bald man by the ring, jaw clenching shut as muscles flex beneath tanned skin and stubble. "Son of a bitch," he snaps, turning to look at the scantily clad woman in silks lounging in the chair next to his, "Ah'll be right back, babe."

That was fast. Tavisha's grip loosens around the time Ethan dictates it, the smell of blood almost detected before the pain, only aware of the ground he staggers back against when he's suddenly breathing in dust. Dark red streaks of blood coursing down his lip, across his cheek, and he blinks rapidly as his visions swims, and recollects.

What did he just call me— ?

He's quick to recover as soon as he realises he's down, rolling on his back and thrusting out a hand, batting Ethan back with telekinesis as he tries to gather his thoughts, get to his feet and gauging deep tracks in the packed earth from his efforts.

Eileen's thin, wailing cry from the side of the ring is a distraction, his hearing demand he pick it up beneath the rolling cheers of the crowd when first blood is drawn. Ethan. Ethan Holden. She had said to him, to look for—

Holy shit.

It's a bit like being dunked in ice water, shaking off the bizarre compulsion these memories— ghosts of memories— bring him as he looks over at the other man, a hand up to wipe away the blood as he does so, which only helps to smear it. On Tavisha's side of things, the fight is at a standstill, even as the restlessness coming from the crowd is palpable.

"You're gonna use 'is power on me?! You little fucker!" Ethan hisses, examining his arm which is quickly going back to normal. His features set into what seems like a permanent scowl. His arm is dropped as he glares at the prone figure until, his hand flies out. Ethan lowers his shoulders as he flies backward, hitting the ground first with his back, his hands go back, tucking himself into a roll to recover from the fall.

Skidding to a stop, the Wolf throws one foot up to pause his momentum. On one knee, his gaze remains on Tavisha. "You little fuck." He calls out, his hand going back to pick up the lead pipe which had been flung before. Going to stand, Ethan's gaze remains on the man as he takes a few steps to the side.

His foot tucks under the shaft of the axe, and with a sharp movement of his leg, the axe flies up to be caught in the man's other hand, dust shaking off of it as it does. "I'm going to fucking cruci—"

What was that?

His attention is practically flung at the woman he caught in his peripherals. His features softening ten fold as he catches sight of her. It can't be, but it is. His grip on both weapons loosen as he simply stares at the young woman banging at the bars impotently.

"Princess."

The words are mostly mouthed, and slightly whispered. The Wolf takes a few steps forward, his back turned to his opponent. Fuck the fight, fuck everything. The reason he was still clinging to life was right in front of him.

She's alive.

It's too bad Ethan might not be for much longer. Eileen didn't have a plan when she threw herself against the bars — her only goal was to get them to stop fighting, and now that she's apparently succeeded she has no idea what she's supposed to do next. Pancratium's proprietors aren't about to let him just walk away from a fight with all the money they have riding on it.

Oblivious to security, oblivious to Manny bellowing somewhere behind her, oblivious to Kain up on the balcony, Eileen stops raging against the bars when Ethan looks her way, and for a moment he's the only person who exists. Her eyes meet his and her fingers curl around the mesh separating them, her grip so tight that the blood drains from the pronounced ridges of her knuckles, leaving them bone white.

The sound of glass shattering a bottle explodes somewhere in the crowd jerks Eileen back to reality, and with reluctance she tears her gaze away from Ethan and looks back to where she last saw Tavisha sprawled out on the arena's dusty floor. With his superhuman hearing, he has a much better chance of understanding her than Ethan does, and so she focuses on reaching him instead. "He can tell you everything!" she shouts, growing raw and hoarse. Her voice wasn't meant for shouting. "Who you were, where you came from — what we used to be! Please don't hurt him!"

Two members of the security team rush Eileen, grabbing the frail, thin girl by the arms to drag her away from the cage, "Back here darlin'," one man snarls as he yanks Eileen back by the arm, peeling her away from the cage with the cold steel of a pistol pressed up against the small of her back.

The other security guard approaches Manny with the shotgun raised, motioning for him to hand over the identification. The enormous thug rolls his eyes, flipping out the folio. The guard looks down at the identification card inside, brows furrowing, "St.Godiva's Manicure Salon Platinum Member— " His words become a slur of flapping skin and cracking bone as Manny lays the guard out with one ham-sized fist. The bald thug shakes his hand, sausage-link fingers flapping around as he looks down to his knuckles with pursed lips. Guy had a bony jaw.

The cheering has subsided, some still chanting determinedly, but mostly the restless murmur of complaint is growing around them like angry bees in a hive. Tavisha can ignore this for the time it takes for Eileen to stop screaming, to be dragged away and eaten up by the crowd. This has turned into something more complicated and naturally, he has no voices to help him now. Brown eyes take in the assembly of security, of the confused crowd. He has to act, and hopefully it won't end in bloodshed.

Too much bloodshed.

Ethan is shoved invisibly once more, pressed and held against the bar. Not as harshly as before, but firmly. Listen. Now that's familiar, the rough-smooth telepathic projection into Ethan's mind. We fight our way out of here together, people die. You'll die. We play by the rules, we get to talk. I promise. Understand?

He only hopes this stranger has sense, and he's released, Tavisha still and ready by the time he's looked back at.

Princess

His grip on the axe almost completely releases as his eyes follow Eileen quietly. Not just her, but his wife, his two kids are there with her. Everyone who's ever mattered. His lips part slightly as if he were to say something else. To cry out to her. But no words come. The man just stares, no sounds come into his ears, and no one in the world, not Sylar, not the crowd, not Kain, no one matters.

And then he's being pressed against the bar. Letting out an irritated tone, his grip on the two weapons is redoubled. Pressed against the ring he lets out an exasperated sigh. "You just now grow a brain?" He growls out. Once released he slowly goes to turn, his eyes flicking to where Eileen was. Disappointment floods him, but there is a task at hand.

His lips close tightly, though he presses his words out through them as loudly as he can. "I'm coming at you. Right 'and 'igh, left knee at the gut. React accordingly." He points out, walking forward purposefully, weapons hanging menacingly at his sides.

Eileen would feel a lot better about the situation if she was aware of what was going on back in the ring. Instead, she's stuck with what's most immediately familiar: the muzzle of a pistol digging into her back through the heavy woolen material of her coat and the vice-like grip of someone's hand on her elbow. The last time anyone manhandled her this way, it was Kazimir, and he had his fingers in her hair as well as her arm. As much as this hurts, she is at least comforted by the knowledge that she's been through a lot worse.

"All right," she hisses through her teeth, upper lip curling into a snarl, "all right."

Shit. Manny watches Eileen dragged off into the crowd, stepping over the prone form in front of him, watching as a flash of blonde in a black suit comes down out of the stairwell leading to the private skybox seating. Manny quickly makes his way through the crowd, moving towards Kain even as security is rushing from the other direction. "Manny!" the thug winces at the tone of voice used, "Did y'have t'lay out our own damn security guys?" Kain waves one frantic hand, looking in the direction of the matchstick brunette disappearing in the direction of one of the back rooms.

"Son of a bitch," Kain mutters, grabbing Manny by the collar before shouting over his shoulder at the security, "Ah've got this under control you morons! Get back to the cage!" His eyes scan the fight, brows lowering before he turns back to Manny. "Let's go get your little dame outta' the lockup you numbskull."

If Tavisha had known this would— turn out like this, perhaps he would have done less to make Ethan mad. Even as the larger man comes at him, the axe and lead pipe both dangerous in their own right and hanging from tight fists, Tavisha can't help but quickly search the crowd out for Eileen, but she's gone, and in the hundreds and hundreds of thundering heartbeats and voices crowding the arena, there's nothing he can do about it.

Not right now, anyway, especially as the pipe comes up in a vicious arc, as if to finish the job in breaking his face. Tavisha reacts accordingly, just as instructed, back arching to let the weapon sail by just as Ethan's knee comes up. He brings down a hand to take the brunt of it before it can do much damage, and brings up his own elbow to the man's jaw— without warning. Sorry, is murmured, a little flatly, distracted. He lets lasers dance out from his fingertips, purely for show and barely singing the hair on Ethan's arm.

Letting his attacking arm fly through, the man lets out a harsh grunt as the elbow makes contact with his jaw. Though his brows go very tight when lasers fly out over his arm. Be careful where you point those stupid things. Taking one step back, his forward foot sweeps low at Tavisha's leg. Aiming to force the other man forward, Ethan's pipe hand flies forward once again. This time, no warning. The pipe takes one sweep at his chin, before following through and aiming another strike at the back of his head.

After the second strike, the pipe is dropped though Ethan continues to move. The axe is swung around towards Tavisha, as Ethan moves behind him. Swinging up, the blade narrowly misses the man's throat so that the long shaft of the axe bars itself across the man's neck.

Fully positioning himself behind Tavisha, his free hand flies back up to grab at the handle. Back pressing to back, the man uses his own body and the shaft of the axe to create a very tight pressure on his former co-worker's throat. "Me too." He growls through his teeth.

Thwok! Tavisha's head snaps to the side as the metal pipe connects to his jaw, feeling like it rattles teeth, and then his vision goes momentarily bright, brilliant white when the pipe swings and hits the back of his head. Ow. The pain is only really registered when he feels the shaft of the axe go under his jaw, pressed hard against his throat until he's pinned against a brick wall with arms. Or, Ethan. His own hands fly up to grip the weapon, a small, instinctive struggle of strength, face blooded and veins standing out on his hands, knuckles white.

The growled apology makes Tavisha's eyes roll, which doesn't help for clearing his vision as the spotlights beam down on the struggling men. He could laser cut through the axe. He could turn the man to ash. But he's shelving his powers and doubts he has much else to work with, so chokes in gasping breaths and snarls voicelessly back until someone with authority calls the fight ended. Any time now, thanks.

"Zhenshi diu lian, lao pengyou."

Through the bright keening white in Tavisha's head, the aftershocks of brain trauma, a sliver of darkness stands out like an inkstain. There's a man there. Asian. Black trenchcoat, cowhide; black hair, curly; black eyes, not bruised. He is an island of motionless solitude in the threshing sea of screaming spectators, neither faded nor distorted by the bright light and the heat of swelling, internal and superficial. He curls his lip slightly, affronted in a way that implies just a figment of true and honest rancor in a man who rarely feels anything.

His voice carries over the distance for no other reason than because he isn't actually there. Such a loss of face, old friend.

Pulling against the axe tightly, Ethan's grip remains resolute. Counting silently, his eyes search the arena for any sign of the girl that had shaken up everything, just minutes before. Swaying this way, then that way as he goes to send Tavisha off into unconsciousness, the grip is finally lessened when he is called off. Ethan's handlers, equipped with his usual noose, pole, and cuffs are already enroute.

The axe is released, then flung carelessly to the side. His back pressed against Tavisha to give him a gentle nudge, to the ground. "We'll talk soon, Sylar." He growls through his teeth. Stepping away from the man, he goes to send himself back to his little cage.


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March 4th: Coliseum Diplomacy
Previously in this storyline…
Coliseum Diplomacy

Next in this storyline…
Inconvenience

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March 4th: Inconvenience
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