At Bidding of Vast Formless Things


cardinal_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif xiulan_icon.gif

Scene Title At Bidding of Vast Formless Things
Synopsis Cardinal and Xiulan sit Deckard down to explain that it's what's on the inside that really counts.
Date July 26, 2009

Green Dragon Tattoo

"Okay," Cardinal reports, shutting down the phone and glancing over towards the tattooist from where he's sprawled back on the couch, legs stretched out with one foot resting over the other, "I've called the old man, he's being a grouchy bitch but he's on his way. He's probably either drunk or hung over, so, toss a double strong dose of coffee in that pot."

"From what I hear that is pretty much the norm isn't it?" Kicking back in the tattoo chair, Xiulan is going about the business of polishing off a carton prok lomein, the chopsticks steadily bringing noodles to her lips as one booted foot taps lightly on the arm of the chair. "Have you considered just getting him more drunk? I mean, if he's likely to be more agreeable I can whip out the good scotch." Hell, she could use a drink, truth be told.

"I usually seem to catch him when he's unconscious afterwards, drooling on the floor," considers Cardinal, one hand raising to scratch under his chin in consideration of the matter, "Maybe we should toss a shot're two of whiskey in that pot too." He pauses, before admitting wryly, "Actually, I'm sure we should. He's not gonna be terribly comfortable with what we've got to tell him."

"Huzzah." Rolling her eyes Xiulan sets the lo mein down and rolls out of the chair, a sigh spilling past her lips as she crosses the room to spike her coffee pot with scotch. "This guy is going to /hate/ me you know. The last time I was supposed to meet him Abby was shitfaced and ready, willing and eager to jump his bones. He did /not/ seem pleased on the phone."

"Of course not," Cardinal rolls his eyes, "Flint's never happy. If he ever became happy, for only a moment, I think the world would— " Pause. "— Abigail was what?"

…and time passes, as they wait for Flint Deckard's arrival.

Deckard has seen better days. Granted, this is usually the case with him, but he's looking worse than he has in weeks with a black, crusty-edged tag snipped thick out of his right ear and similarly bordered burns marred across the ridge of his cheekbone on the same side. He's already gaunt, if not deathly so, narrow jaw sunken in beneath grizzled scruff and the grey patched in on either side of his chin. Cables of wiry muscle read out too readily through the back of the arm he raises to push his way in through the door, strapped down taut over long bones beneath a reasonably crisp dress shirt and jeans. Sleeves rolled, revolver holstered on his belt, he's clean for all that he's not particularly healthy. …And he's already way ahead of them on the whiskey thing, if the smell that follows him in is any indication.

Xiulan is back in her chair by the time Deckard arrives. Course, this time she has a beer with her and the lomein is about gone. Course, the beer comes to a halt just shy of her lips as she stares at the man one brow, then the other slowly ticking upward at the sight presented. "No way. Dude, look I'm closed and I don't have any lomein left." He /has/ to be a bum, right? Right? The 'right' look is cast toward Cardinal cause…. really, /that/ is the dude Abby is spun up in a tizzy of carnal thought about? "No…. Are you /serious/?"

Oh no. Cardinal's already pushing up from the couch as Xiulan makes the assumption that a bum's just wandered in, his voice wry as he notes, "No, this is him. C'mon in, old man. We have coffee." Beat. "With whiskey in it. Irish coffee. You look like a fucking metal man ran over you."

Back straight and shoulders sloped down away from the wires in his neck, Deckard looks to Xiulan first, clear eyes bright in the hollow sink of their purpled sockets. Odds are, this is not the first time he's been mistaken for some random homeless guy wandering in off the street. Maybe for that reason, he has the grace or doesn't have the energy needed to look only vaguely annoyed at her assurance that she doesn't have anything for him, scruffy jaw clamped and chill glare slow to turn over onto Cardinal. Still lingering near the door, he drags in a little further at the promise of spiked coffee, nodding once as he goes. "Great. What do you want?"

This is Him. Deckard. The Man. Yeah, Xiulan is polishing off her beer in record time in an attempt to regroup. Spilling herself out of her chair, she casts Cardinal an apologetic wince as she slips past and makes a beeline for the whiskey spiked coffee pot. Right. Irish Coffee coming up. With Deckard looking way less then pleased with his greeting, Xiulan clears her throat and just extends the bottle of scotch. Might as well save the coffee for later… Right? Course, another apologetic glance is slanted toward Cardinal as she slips past him and flips the sign in the window to closed before locking the door. "Should I order food?"

"Siddown," Cardinal instructs the other man with a vague gesture of one hand to the available seats, "There's some… important information you need to know about yourself. Well, 'bout your power, anyway, which… isn't quite the same thing." A smile's flickered over to Xiulan, "Yeah, probably. This could take a li'l bit."

Xiulan's scotch is received with an automatic close of Deckard's hand around the bottleneck, as more responsible people have a way of automatically taking hold of babies that are thrust upon them with little warning. Can't just drop it. Even so, it doesn't seem to do much for his mood. Resignation fuzzes into the lines around his mouth, preferable perhaps to the threat of starker anger that works at the knot of muscle behind his jaw when he sinks down into one of the indicated seats. Bottle on his knee, fingers splayed wide across the glass, he says nothing for the offer of food and looks blandly across the room at Cardinal. What?

Oh, yes this is going to go well, Xiu can see that already. "Right, on it." More lomein coming right up. Course, she does slant a glance at Deckard, her brows twitching slightly at the look on his face. Envy Cardinal, she does not. Instead, she goes about the business of calling the local hole-in-the-wall, the whole conversation uttered in rapid fire Mandarin. Hey, they might not speak English, but the food is off the hook.

What indeed. Cardinal sinks back down onto the couch, leaning forward to rest an arm across his bent knees as he looks at the other man rather seriously. "It's not… it…" Shit, how do you explain something like that? He looks up, frustrated, "Okay. Xiulan here just got back from a lovely trip with Hiro, who was bopping around time like Marty McFly, and found some things out. Met some people. You might remember one of them." That serious gaze falls back on Deckard, "Kazimir Volken."

Drink your scotch like a good alcoholic, Deckard.

Xiulan was with a hero who went on a field trip through time to learn things and meet Kazimir Volken. What a testament it is to the state of Deckard's life that he doesn't drink. He slouches back into his chair a little, bearing faint resemblance to a kid a third of his age forced to endure a lecture about the Dangers of Pot or condoms or whatever in the principal's office for whatever reason. Non-plussed, he scratches at the back of his tattered ear and tips his brows up in tired inquiry. Aaaaaand?

Hearing her name, Xiulan glances over at the males, her lips twisting in a faint grimace at the mention of Volken. The voice on the phone, however draws her attention back and she finishes up in unintentionally curt Mandarin. It is once she clicks the phone closed that she folds her arms atop the counter (Conveniently placed between herself and the males) and notes. "You cannot get rid of it."

"Kazimir's power is a hell of a lot older than he was," Cardinal says quietly as he rests folded arms on his knees, returning the other man's weary gaze steadily and seriously, "So was its twin. Which you're carrying around now. Abigail wasn't the first to have it, and you're sure as hell not the second. I don't even know if they're the same thing as our powers."

Blue eyes muddle back over onto Xiulan at her insert, automatically challenging that assertion despite the fact that Deckard's made no effort to rid himself of Abby's ability on his own. Up to this point. Maybe unconsciously, his thumb hooks itself up around the cap on his booze, callouses buffing against the ridges there while he tries to mull this over. "So…" So. His brows stay canted, skeptical while his bristly jaw slides into a faint jut, "Kazimir told you this?"

"No," Xiulan states frankly. "Francois, the guy who had your power before Abby told us about this. See, it's not really like a power so much as an entity meant to counter Volken." Fully aware that that isn't terribly comforting, she clears her throat and slips around the counter to fetch a beer from the fridge. "On the upside, while your 'entity' can hurt his 'entity', his 'entity' cannot destroy yours." Course, that doesn't mean he couldn't torture Deckard horribly for some time (As he had been doing to Francois when they spoke to him) but Xiulan isn't about to mention /that/. "It's like," she provides as she twists the bottle open. "They were meant to counter one another. Sorta like… Erm… Well, you get the idea."

"What she said." Cardinal leans back a bit, hands sliding to rest on his knees as he lets that sink in for a moment, adding dryly, "Not that we have any fuckin' clue where either of them came from. From what I've been told, Kazimir's… experiments in Germany were mostly intended to figure that out."

An entity meant to counter Volken. Unease isn't an expression that's typically easily discerned in Deckard's long face, but it'd be hard to mistake it for anything else now. He sits up straighter in his chair, rumpled collar rustling against the back when he looks between them. Being unwittingly fashioned into Kazimir Volken's mortal enemy isn't the kind of thing anyone with even a ghost of lingering sanity wants to have to deal with. Even when he's dead. "Kazimir's dead," Deckard then feels compelled to remind them, as if saying it aloud further establishes its truthiness.

"Yeah, well… Maybe not." Yes, Xiulan knows that that is the last thing Deckard probably wants to hear. "I mean," she adds quickly. "He probably is. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the entity that was in him was destroyed, too." Pausing for a swallow of her beer, she clears her throat before noting in tones that are meant to be apologetic. "Practically speaking, if these two entities were meant to counter one another, it would seem logical that when one was destroyed the other would no longer need to manifest." The fact that it is still manifesting? "So, on the off chance that Volken's entity is still out there, it is probably safest that Francois stay with someone we know." Particularly since the last known location of Francois' power was in Abigail. Yeah, she /so/ doesn't want to point that out, but still… "We don't know how much sentience this thing has, Flint. It could just be attracted to it's counter part. Or, it could come back looking for the last host known to it…"

That, yeah… that isn't the sort of explanation that anyone familiar with the situation wants to hear. Especially the person that's currently carrying around Francois's legacy inside him. Still, it's somewhat necessary! "Also…" Oh no, an also. Cardinal slides a hand up the side of his neck, fingers rubbing rueful at the back of his neck, "…ah. Edward did this on purpose, John was working on his orders when he forced it to jump to you. He never did anything by chance, or whim, there was a reason. I suspect his plans went a hell of a lot further than Pinehearst, and you're part of them. Which tends to suggest there was a purpose to putting it in you." Yeah, finish the logic chain, Flint.

Deckard listens to both sides in distant silence, worry creased in dull between his brows when they keep going on. And on. And on. About the logic behind it all and Kazimir's entity still surviving somewhere and this all being on purpose. It's that last thing that actually makes him frown to himself, face downturned and shoulders slack. A minute or two passes without him saying anything, which doesn't seem very promising. He doesn't take a drink either.

Xiulan isn't sure what to think. She does, however, realize that this isn't looking all that good. Of course, he isn't cussing or drinking or storming out but somehow that only makes less comforting. Such being the case, she sets the bottle of beer on the counter, her teeth nibbling her lower lip as she slips out from behind the counter and pads over to drop to one knee next to the couch. "I am sorry to tell you any of this," she admits. "I wish I could say 'Go ahead, get it gone'. But if it helps, at all, this entity seems inclined to pick really worthwhile people." Not the best comfort really, but it's something?

On the other hand, John Doe did kind of force its hand there. Oops. Now it's in an alcoholic gunrunner and former organlegger. "Anyway." Richard clears his throat after a moment, regarding Deckard with open worry in his eyes as he doesn't even reach for the drink, "I thought you should… know that shit."

"The entity didn't pick anything. Edward did." Trust Deckard to come back around to that conclusion with a quickness. He still doesn't look angry, so there's that. Just black in the shadows that sink into the pits of his eyes and pull long at the sides of his face. Like stuffing Excalibur into a scabbard of saltwater and shit in hopes that it might rust. Chest rising flat across the leading edge of a sigh, he recalls the bottle braced on his knee, glances at it, and leans to set it aside so that he can stand himself up.

Yeah, well, Xiulan wasn't about to go down that road. Course, the men did. Go figure. Drawing in a slow breath, she sighs and slants a glance at Cardinal completely uncertain what, if anything to say.

See, Cardinal was hoping he wouldn't make that connection. He should've assumed, though, Flint is great at finding the worst possible conclusion to things. Oh god he's putting the scotch down this isn't good. "So. Uh." He's still regarding Deckard with an unhidden look of worry, "I'll… keep an ear out for anything that sounds like… Kazimir's power cropping up. You gonna be alright, old man?"

"Always." When is he ever not alright? Head scratched and scotch abandoned, Deckard stretches all the way up onto his feet. He cuts a look over at Cardinal's concern, but it doesn't last when he sees what's there. Instead, he forces himself to nod at Xiulan — belated greeting and farewell rather than acknowledgment or acceptance of the entire conversation that's occurred in between. "Nice meeting you."

"Nice meeting you, as well." What else can she say? Xiulan does, however, slant a glance at Cardinal, her head tilting toward Deckard in one of those 'maybe you should go talk to him' sorta gestures. She, however, has done enough damage and rolls to her feet to retreat back behind her counter with her beer.

Mmhm. At the glance, Cardinal pushes himself up to his feet, shoulders rolling back in a bit of a stretch before stepping over to the door to open it, apparently intending to step outside with him. "So," he in an ever-so-subtle change of subject, see how slick he is, "What're you doing these days, anyway, aside from the healing gig?" And, you know, the crippling depression and alcoholism.

Apparently. Jaw worked and glare hooded by latent suspicion, Deckard eyes Cardinal's post at the open door. He might've missed the look, but there's no mistaking the heeeyyyy let's have awkward man talk body language that's waiting for him there. …Great. He takes his time in dragging his way through and out the door, right hand hooked around to retrieve a smashed box of cigarettes from his back pocket as he goes. "Dunno." Inspiring as ever when it comes to conversation about himself, he lights up with all the vigor of an alligator slothing its way out of a swamp to rot in the sun until it rolls back into the murky water. "Working."

"Mm. What're you doin' these days?" The man's pursued out the door, Cardinal's boots thumping down the steps to street level. It's night, but this is Chinatown; there's still lamps burning in certain windows, and still bodies bustling in the street here and there on errands, just not as many as during the day.

"More of the same." Given that sparse answers seem to be breeding more specific questions rather than respectful silences in this instance, once Deckard finishes molesting his lighter he tacks on an equally toneless, "Hookers and guns." Meanwhile, his cigarette tastes as bitter on his tongue as the last five or six, and after a drag or two spent trying to force himself to enjoy it, he flicks the full stick of it out into the street.'

"Nice." Dry, the response. Cardinal has, of course, never been particularly respectful of Deckard's personal life, space, or generally anything. One supposes the ability to randomly slip into people's homes breeds a lack of such. A sidelong look to the other man, silent a moment before venturing, "Y'ever need anything, man. You know."

Deckard in turn has come to expect such drynesses and disrespect. The sidelong look and accompanying offer are more alien, slowing down his response times and muddying the blandness of his expression with the baffled brow knit equivalent of an awayward lean. "Sure."

A grunt answers that. There, that's enough friendliness for one day. "Anyway, I'll… let you know if I hear anything," Cardinal allows, looking back the other way down the street, "I might have some work for you at some point too. I got your number."

"Super." Deckard looks really excited about the prospect of hearing anything about Kazimir and/or the invisible hand that's been stuffed up his shitter for the last couple of centuries sock puppeting him around. That is to say, he tries to swallow the dryness out of his mouth and looks away again, face stark in lantern traced shades of yellow and black. "You know I'm good for it."

"Yeah, I know." Cardinal rubs uncomfortably at the back of his neck for a moment, turning just enough to regard the silhouette of the other man's face— and then his hand falls, and he takes a step down the street, "Anyway, I've got some shit to do. Take care've yourself, old man."

"You too." Moderately polite despite the absence of feeling behind his words, Deckard focuses back in enough to note that Cardinal is turning to go his own way, which leaves him free to go his own way in turn. He continues to watch instead, chilly gaze tracking distracted after Richard's retreat for several beats before he finally moves off in the opposite direction. Always plenty of good news to go around with these two.

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