A Tea Party


brian_icon.gif diogenes_icon.gif

Scene Title A Tea Party
Synopsis Two highly friendly and understanding individuals have an overly pleasant conversation over tea.
Date October 11, 2009

Brian's Apartment

It's about time he got his own place of operations. Sure he has plenty of places to lay down his head, but no real place to call his headquarters. Base of operations. While his scattered shacks and storage containers throughout the city are good places for equipment, they're hardly suitable for company not to mention unberable for doing hours of work or study in. It's not like he can conduct his clandestine operations at his home with Veronica, not all of them, that is. Nor can he do them at the Lighthouse, what with all the kiddies around. Even his place with Bebe wouldn't be up for the job.

And so it is that Winters has found himself an apartment in Chinatown. Something about the room drew him to it. As if he already knew it. Some items from the previous tenant were still buried deep in the closet. Girly things. But for some reason he felt at peace in this particular apartment.

Boxes are strewn about the place as Brian seems to be moving in. But they're not the type of boxes that are moved from one residence to another. All new things. New couches, new computers, new television, new books that he will never read. It is clear he is still decorating, but there are two couches. One in the middle of the living room facing the windows that have a spectacular view of another building and a loveseat against them.

It's night, Brian is still dressed as sharply as ever though. Patting his side to make sure the gun is still there, he goes to sit on the loveseat. A little glance to the closed bedroom door before he folds one leg over the other. He's ready.

Having attained a modicum of attention as a consequence of his actions, Diogenes is even more paranoid than usual, and it might seem as nothing short of a miracle that he has agreed to be invited by Brian to a place of his choosing. It is much more comfortable when you are the initiator of a meeting, and you choose both its location and time, especially when you live on the edge. Still, while paranoid, Diogenes is still a man of a (relatively) sound mind. Not everyone's out to get you. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, and a self-replicating Evolved conspirator is just a self-replicating Evolved conspirator.

Despite the hour, Diogenes is hardly in a hurry. It's as if there is no curfew in his world. No alleys, no back-to-wall tactial relocation. He is but having a stroll. As such, he might arrive slightly earlier than Brian might have expected, yet he still arrives. Amusingly enough, he knocks. An archaic method of letting one's presence known, but what if the doorbell is wired to some explosion that will create a singularity event and suck in— Okay, you get the point. Diogenes is awfully paranoid. Not that it shows. He seems quite a normal, extraordinarily creepy young man in his early twenties.

"Do you have tea?", he would ask the moment the door is opened. The random question actually has its psychological purpose. He is not as crazy as everyone thinks, and that's an advantage he still has.

"Peppermint, lemon, or I can make you authentic chai." He motions to the couch. "I lived in Asia for a while." Closing the door behind him, Brian locks it and turns. "I'll get to the point, Diogenes. You're a very strange man, and I wouldn't want your strange thoughts to go to strange places and bother me while I banter about my family or whatever…" He shrugs taking a step in. "Sit down. I'll tell you right now, it's only because of Isis that you're not dead already." He makes his way to the kitchen, going to grab his kettle and fill it with the water. "I know about your ability and so I have taken the necessary precautions to see that you don't paralyze me then pee on my face."

"So sit down, I'll get your tea. And we can talk, like one nice guy to another crazy guy."

An absent-minded nod is gifted to Brian. "I'd like something simple, if you don't mind", he muses, "so a cup of lemon tea will suffice."

As if walking on clouds, he slowly (and somewhat) eerily steps deeper into the apartment, his eyes gliding over every detail, no matter how insignificant it might be. It's quite long before he actually heeds Brian's invitation to sit; the sofa directed at the windows is his choice. Seems he is quite comfortable with his back facing Brian. Or so it seems.

"What a coincidence", he comments, "It's only because of Isis that you are not dead. She really is something, huh? Women. Saving lives only to ruin them themselves since the Garden of Eden." It's safe to say 'strange' is an understatement.

"Unfortunately. I'm harder to kill than those homeless people you wacked." The kettle is placed on the stove before Brian's features light up a bit. "Never used the stove before. It's a great experience to use one's stove for the first time." The knob is turned and the flame licks up. Winters turns to watch Diogenes with a light smile. Once Diogenes sits, facing the windows, in those windows he will spot several tiny little red lights shining in the distance. But those little red lights continue, stinging through the window and resting on Diogenes' chest.

"Here's how this is going to go Diogenes. You're going to stop making witty comments so I can feel superior and not counter any of my insults at you." He smiles gently, taking a step forward with his arms folded over his chest. "So I am going to make a… business proposal to you. When I say proposal, I mean demand. And you're going to accept. If you don't accept at first, I will beat you up. When you try to use your power, I'll either have the boys across the alley shoot you or have my buddies bundled up in the closet and in the bedroom comes poke you in the face. Possibly with their penii." He takes a few steps over, arching his head at Diogenes. "If you don't accept the second time, I will beat you up some more. And so on and so on until I accidentally kill you." He gives a shrug of his shoulders, 'what you gonna do'. "But it doesn't have to come to that. I just have some stuff you need to do, and stop doing. Howsthat sound, buddy?"

In response to the homeless people and who prematurely ended their Fate, Diogenes cants his head to the side and arches a single brow. The pulsating red lights catch his attention. "It's a sensation nowadays, isn't it?" A miniature smirk appears on his visage, although it soon slowly fades into a frown. Not in the least because of Brian's ultimatum, but rather there's something about the blinking lights that distract him, and he can't quite put his finger on it. A heavy feeling. Spontaneous, inexplicable nostalgia? He has no idea.

The 'offer' Brian gives to Diogenes whilst doing his best Don Vito Corleone impression is looked at rather casually. The young man tips his head to the other side, his gaze dropping to the ground. It seems as though he is actually pondering, as if he has a choice. In truth, fairly different thoughts surround his mind. Eventually, he lifts his dull desaturated eyes to regard Brian. His smirk returns, greater and far more condescending.

"I think your definition of 'nice guy' is skewed", he remarks as he leans against the back of the couch. "You're fun." These words couldn't have possibly be spoken with the amount of venom Diogenes injects them with. A chortle escapes his lips. "If you were in a book, you'd be the 'anti-hero' type, I assume. Getting things right, no matter what it takes. Converting the angst and spite to weapons of good." There is a pauce, and then Diogenes adds: "If you were in a book, that book would suck, you know."

"I think your definition of 'skewed' is skewed." Not really having a point there, Brian just thought saying that would be delightful. And so it is, "There are plenty of anti-heroes, superheroes, rogue vigilantes, all those in this city. As there are delluded would be villains. I don't think I'm any of these. You're just stepping in some places where you shouldn't be stepping. You can be a crazy serial killer all you want, Diogenes. But when you start doing stupid shit that threatens my interests." He gives a shrug, "That's when I get involved."

"I don't know why you do what you do. Maybe you weren't breast fed. Or maybe the bigger kids beat you up and made you oh so angry. Whatever it is, I don't care. If you're bored I can give you stuff to do, people to kill."

The kettle starts to get steamed up and we all hear it shout, so Brian tips it over and pours it out. The hot water flows into two mugs before he sets it aside. Reaching up into the cabinets, he brings out two packets. One peppermint, one lemon. Dropped into both, Brian glances to the couch. "Sugar?" Waiting for the answer he continues to talk. "And if you were in a book you would be the annoying guy that dies in the beginning and no one cares about." He turns a fraction. "Don't be that guy, Diogenes."

Pain is one of the things Diogenes is incredibly fearful of. Death, on the other hand, is something he has dwelt on so many times; having considered suicide on more than one occasion, and having looked in its all-consuming jaws more than once, both from his own perspective and of others, the man's mind ticks a whole lot differently when it comes to death. He is not immortal to Brian's degree. Or to any degree. And yet he certainly acts like it. It may be just a mask. It is. A mask similar enough to his real face that it's very difficult to discern just what goes on in that mind of his.

Of course, death is not a hoop you jump over. It's not an obstacle that is easily overcome, and as such Diogenes doesn't jump up to tell Brian to 'do his worst'. To be afraid of death is not rational. However, so is not being afraid of it. He is silent, and listens to Brian as calmly as ever. Mockery is not answered. The question is, however. "Is that a trick question to get me say how many lumps I want?", he quips once again, leaning forward in his seat. "I prefer sweet tea. A couple of spoonfuls, please."

"You are someone who has overcome many obstacles. You've encountered enough people to know how to manipulate them, to know what drives them. That is truly commendable. But you have to realise, that once in a while, there comes an obstacle that is unlike anything you've seen. I'm the first." He falls silent again, waiting for tea to be served. Serious discussion such as these must be complemented with tea. "Considering these words to be shallow bragging will be your first mistake tonight. You don't win me over by senseless violence. You win me over with intellectual challenge." Still, he admits: "I admire your perseverant planning, however."

Brian groans audibly as if Diogenes is on the verge of making him completely board. Several spoonfuls of sugar are lumped in, the spoon kept in the mug. Bringing both of the mugs in, he goes to set one in front of Diogenes. "Don't have coasters yet, so don't worry about it." He sets his own mug on the table though he doesn't quite sit yet. "I like sweet tea, as well." Brian smiles… sweetly.

"Listen, Diogenes. I've dealt with a lot of guys around here. Especially ones with powers. And even though I clearly have the edge you want to keep insisting how you're special bla bla bla.. That's typical. I really don't care what you think of me, and I'm not here to win you over. To me, you're either useful or you're dead." He goes to sit at the couch with its back to the window. Those little red lights dancing alongside his head every now and then to remind Diogenes they are still there.

"If you want to be dead. Fine. We can go that route. It's not as exciting as you think. I've died plenty of times, nothing exciting happens. I don't care if you're bragging or not. I'm sure you have a mind like no other. But really Diogenes, I'm not here to make or meet a challenge. Really. I need you to be on my side, or I need you to stop being not on my side." He goes to take a sip. Pausing. "Hot." He warns gently.

Again, Diogenes is distracted by those miniature lights. How could something so morbid and threatening instil such confusing tranquility? He inhales deeply only to heave a sigh. He lifts the warm - bordering on hot - mug, hugging it with his hands to warm himself. It's rather cold outside. Not as cold as it usually is at this time of year where he hails from, but he's dressed too lightly. He looks down at his tea, as if answers to mysteries eternal were hidden there.

"'Having the edge' is not measured by immediate and momentary dominance", he murmurs, slowly rising his eyes towards Brian. These depressing orbs now signal utter disappointment and perhaps a tinge of exhaustion, if not boredom. "I thought you were smarter than that. Turns out you aren't. Perhaps you're even incompetent enough to sacrifice the lives of many just to get me out of the way." His cell rings. Brilliant timing. Coincidences are, at times, quite convenient. Considering he isn't showered with lead, he would answer his phone to only say one word before hanging up: "Troy."

Now, assuming the cell phone is not taken away from him before he utters that word, he would add sternly: "Define 'not on your side'."

"Really?" Brian looks wide eyed at Diogenes actions. His hand stretches out across the distance, his palm opening up. Obviously he wants the phone. He shakes his head sadly. "Diogenes. I don't care if I'm stupid, or if you're stupid, or if I'm incompetent or whatever. Pointing out mistakes and flaws isn't as imposing as you think it is. I can be however incompetent you want to think of me as. Only thing I care about is that you get on my side, and not put your serial kill-y little hands in places they don't belong." He lets out an aggravated sigh. "Believe me Diogenes. If you don't want to be my friend, I will kill you tonight. And if you go back on your word, I will you another day it's that simple. I don't care if you're a Joker style mastermind. I know how to find you, I know how to point a gun, and I know how to pull a trigger. And you can't kill me."

Waiting for the phone, he finally defines. "No more serial killing in New York city. You might kill someone I know. You can kill Humanis First members. Or members of the Linderman group. Or members of the Triads but… That would be more of a challenge than bums. Leave 'Lola' alone. Consider this a restraining order. And I want you going after Humanis First. If you stop talking long enough to show me you're actually capable and not just a mouth, I will give you stuff to do with Adam and company."

Diogenes wags the bone before Brian in a relatively teasing manner, holding it by the edge with his index finger and thumb. "I need this. Another phone call incoming in ten minutes", he elaborates, stuffing the phone back into the pocket of his pants, rather than handing it to the other man. He then leans in, his hand that had held the mobile phone now returns to holding that warm mug; he moves to sit on the edge of the sit, but makes a point of not moving out of the way of the telltale lights.

A grin is plastered on his lips. "I don't work for anyone, and I especially don't work for idiots who think they're omnipotent. Apparently, you have a power that renders you either invincible or immortal, and you keep trying to sound like the King of the World. You're not. You're just a man who thinks he is an immovable mountain and foolishly shrugs off the words of others. Know how long you would last with such an attitude if not for your power? Not long, my friend, not long." He takes a rushed sip of his tea, frowning momentarily as it's still rather hot, yet bearably so.

"People call me a… a serial killer. I can now rest assured you're not part of law enforcement, considering you too have fallen for that trap. A man who commits a series of murders - continuously - over some period of time is a serial killer. Me? I'm just a young man who has made a mistake and killed as part of a personal agenda. You do that all the time, no doubt. Humanis First, people 'not on your side'. You are an animal, submitting to primeval motivational engines. You keep on killing. I have much more important matters to deal with. Those homeless were, in part, a mistake. A mistake I won't do again."

Another sip. "I have no idea who is Lola. Unless you are referring to Marie. If so, I will only leave her be if she keeps her mouth shut. Like you."

Brian lets out a deeply irritated sigh as he lowers his head. "Okay. Okay. I'm stupid, I'm incompetent, and I rely on my power all too much. I probably have a super tiny penis too. You win." Reaching inside his jacket he brings out the glock with the silencer already attached. "You can be smarter than me, you can be better at tactics and strategy. I don't fucking care." He goes to raise from the loveseat slowly, his mug getting set on the table.

The gun dangles at his side as he lowers his head. "Okay. You made mistakes. Whatever. No more mistakes, Diogenes. And you will work for an idiot. Or you will suffer a lot, and then you'll probably die. Or be comatose for a while. I don't know. So what's more important?" He smirks quietly. "I will say one thing though, it pleases me to no end that you do exactly the same thing I do, while insulting me. Because you think more about it and use bigger words…" He shrugs with a delighted smile. "Doesn't make it different. I will talk to Marie. And if you're on my side, I won't want you in jail. But… if you're threatening me." He sighs quietly. "Just don't do it again, okay? I have to prove that I have a penis, after all."

"Oh, for fuck's sake, shut the fuck up already", he groans, aiming to interrupt Brian even before he would voice his desire to prove his manhood; with the scrunched up grimace Diogenes has put up the moment Brian mirrored his opponent's words, it's truly a wonder that he hasn't burst earlier.

"Is that all you can do? Voice faulty reflections of another's words, then whip out your dick - sorry, Glock - as an extraordinarily subtle cue? You don't scare me. In just a few minutes, I'll receive another phone call, and unless I say the code word, a lot of people will die. And they're not homeless, isolated individuals. People with families and cute lil' kiddies that are waiting for that new Playstation 3 game this Christmas. If that's the price you're willing to pay to get rid of me, go ahead." Brian was getting to Diogenes in more ways than one. It was much easier to mask concern for his life with irritation caused by the replicator's words and demands.

His grin returns to adorn his face, although only for a moment or a couple. He takes another sip of his tea before he sets the mug down on the coffee table in front of him. "First, you say to not get in your way is sufficient. Now, you demand that I am on your side. How long before I become your personal secretary and you tell me to wear stockings to work?", he remarks as biting as he often does. "You must value me greatly if you're so desperate to get me on your team. Now, I am sure you want to have the final say, but reality doesn't work that way. Nuh-uh. Tell me what you need help with, and I might help you, if it is aligned with my interests. And my interests reflect the interest of the long-term effects. None of this petty squabbles between factions everyone's concerned with. I grew up out of this kindergarten shit."

Brian lets his head hang back, eyes almost rolling right out of his head. "You are like the most annoying person on the earth." He practically whines. "Aren't we past your games yet you stupid fuck? Go kill your playstation 3, whatever the fuck you want to do. I don't give a fuck. And my demands didn't change. I've been saying the same thing the whole time princess. You're too busy trying to look intelligent and not listening. I understand you're a brain. I understand you want to be superior. I understand Diogenes. But tonight you're not going to be superior. You're going to humble yourself for just a minute and say yes to the terms I already said, Mister Not Listening, and then you can walk out the door. Humanis First. You're going after them. Find a member, interrogate kill. When I see you can handle yourself, I'll bring you in on Adam."

"But as for now… You're coming back to the playground, I'm going to wave around my proverbial dick. And you're going to submit." Brian takes a few steps to the side. "You can make your plots for later to sabotage and kill me, what the fuck ever, do all your crazy shit. But right now Diogenes. You're going to lose a little of your precious pride which you pretend not to have."

Perhaps Diogenes isn't too far from Brian's estimation. To compare him to the classic villain that is the Joker is perhaps too much, but he certainly is not entirely of sound mind, for as Brian talks, he emits a low, guttural cackle rings rather silently, but gradually evolves to laughter. It's not genuine, although it certainly sounds like it, considering how many years the man has practiced this false emotion in order to function in society. He leans against the couch towards the end of his laughing fit, looking up at a Brian with a colossal grin. His most triumphant one this evening.

"You are a very funny man. So desperate to have the upper hand, and projecting his primitive need for dominance unto others. Here you are, with a gun, your back watched by numerous others. Every drop of water measured with surprising diligence. Oh, yes, I annoy others. Everyone I've met hates me, and those that don't are masochists. You, on the other hand, are annoyed because I won't budge before all your senseless might. I was serious when I said I am unlike anything you've encountered."

An amused sigh adorned with his voice escapes into the air between the two men that are having a penis swordfight. "So, you want information. Murder is something I won't do unless I deem it necessary. Information, however, could prove worthy to me. What would I be looking for?"

"My parents always thought I was funny too.." Brian takes a few steps forward, waltzing around the couch. His gun dangling from his hand, taking a deep breath. "It is too bad for you, you are unlike anything I've encountered. If I can't beat you…" A soft sigh escapes his lips as the barrel of the silencer rests against the back of Diogenes' head. And then the sharp thwip as the silenced bullet penetrates through skull and exits out the front, blood spurting out and splattering against Brian's brand new carpet….

But it only happens in his mind, his back going to slouch against the wall. Oh how he would love to enact that little fantasy. But there would be Isis. "You're the genius mastermind. Find out what you're looking for. Angry features, Nazi insignias or signs saying 'Humanis First' might help. There are a few well armed connected cells of Humanis in New York. Find a member, search the internet, follow people, however you want to do it. Find a member, and get me information on the rest of the cell. And then kill him. The necessary means being that you don't get killed later." Brian clicks his teeth together. He grins a little, "A guy who just threatened to kill a little kid is saying he won't commit murder.. That's kind of funny. No, please, please don't explain. I understand your retarded reasons. Necessity. Right."

No doubt, Diogenes sprawled on the carpet tainted with his blood is an imagine that the younger man indulges, as well. He was walking on a very thin razor's edge, playing Russian Roulette with the Grim Reaper himself. To say he is not affected by all these threats and the imminent danger would be rather silly and far from the truth. His indifference is but a play. A play even Shakespeare himself would be envious of, but a play nonetheless.

To further simulate his apathy, he leans in to pick up the mug again and have the sip. By now, the temperature has dropped to 'just right'. He relishes the taste, taking a second, longer sip, temporarily closing his eyes. And then he sighs, content. He loves tea. It's a pity he has to enjoy it under such circumstances. "Try as hard as you might, I am not working for you. At best, I am working with you. Kill me, kill hundreds. Spare me, and you just might have one of the best allies you've ever had. Then again, I doubt you have enough brain cells to properly appreciate my methods, and will continue to leak your Alpha Male dominance, despite knowing full well it is lost on me. Would work if I were gay, probably, but, alas."

He leans against the back of the couch once more, craning his neck to look behind him with a lofted brow. "I do not kill children. I said they would be left without parents. So, which one of us really isn't listening? You have to realise I'm no ordinary killer with a higher sense of justice or anything like that. The sooner you realise that, the sooner we'll have a fluid conversation, instead of this farce. For example, were you not so preoccupied with shoving your dick in my face - figuratively speaking - I'd have told you that I have already been looking into Humanis First."

Going to place himself back on the loveseat, Brian gives a long aggravated sigh. "Holy fuck. How many times do I have to say it, I don't care! God fucking damnit. The only thing that bothers me is your wasted breath in your insistence at my inferiority. I don't care about my dick size, I don't care who you think wins this god damn think. I don't care whether you work for me or under me and most of all I don't care how powerful an ally you are."

"Because Diogenes, do you want to know why I don't care? Because you don't matter. All you are to me is a talking mouth. A very annoying talking mouth. I can appreciate skills, if there really are skills, yet all you've done thus far is kill defenseless people and be annoying. Granted you're really annoying. I give you credit for that. But for all you want your precious pride to be respected for me to recognize how different and great you are, how much you want me to see that you're really skilled. You don't matter. I'm supposed to take care of you. I make you useful or I make you dead."

"Then look into Humanis First better and find a member of a connected cell. Give me a call when you do." Pointing at the door. "You may go now. Or you can continue to drive me out of my brain, which you are very good at, by the way." He pauses with a little smile. "Thanks for dropping by, buddy."

"As many times as you keep on wasting your breath insisting your superiority", replies Diogenes as Brian offers yet another long-winded rant, the young man's annoyance apparently nothing short of epic proportions. The two are equally obstinate, it seems, and both seem to be hellbent on having the upper hand and the last say despite the fact that neither state such intentions. "I'm willing to work with you, provided I get the resources I require on-demand, you don't delude yourself into thinking I'm your bitch, and your interests are aligned with mine."

It seems he is not intending to go anywhere until he addresses all the issues and maybe, just maybe, have a chance at worsening Brian's night even further. "Homeless", he mutters with a scoff. "It's a keyword for 'helpless three-legged puppy of society' these days, isn't it?" He shakes his head. "How little you know." He reaches out to grab the mug and in one swoop drink all the tea up. He'd set the mug back down afterwards with a content sigh; he would then rise up from his seat slowly, so as that him on the bloody floor does not become a reality.

Still, there's rigid firmness in his poise, and his tone is as unshaken as it was throughout the entire evening. "If you aren't going to tell me just what it is you want me to look for, don't cry like a spoiled little princess when it turns out I didn't ask a Humanis First member something you wanted me to", he notes, after which he seems about to head off. But nothing is ever that simple. Especially not between these two. "Oh, and… Your immortality only covers you, right?", he seeks elaboration, although mockery is evident. "Just making sure if I decide to destroy every fragment of your life if you put too much pressure on me." A threat? If one looked at words, it certainly sounds like one. If one looked at the tone, however, it makes it more difficult do discern whether that wasn't just a morbid jest.

The phone rings yet again, and Diogenes is quick to answer it. "Athens", he says, and then hangs up. In truth, it was but someone random he had paid to make calculated calls. Spontaneous temporary henchmen were often better than long-term ones. Either way, Diogenes offers Brian a nod that signals departure, and with "Thanks for the tea" murmured, he would wander off towards the door and leave.

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