feng_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Feng-Shui
Synopsis Feng Daiyu comes home to find that someone rearranged his furniture.
Date June 26, 2009

Staten Island, Feng's Safehouse

The skies have turned a navy blue on the eastern side of Staten Island, though still a pinkish glow manages to persist in the west, those last few vestiges of daylight that creep over the overgrown front yards and peeling shingles of so many residential buildings. Old power lines sag uselessly and too low off of telephone poles, burned out cars lay parked in the middle of the street. It is places like this, scenes like this, that define exactly what Staten Island as a place is — unwanted.

Keys jingle together as they are whirled around by the keyring on a calloused finger. Every revolution, a hand grasps at the keys, stopping their spinning. It's a nervous gesture, one of many subtleties possessed by Feng Daiyu. The hard soles of his dress shoes click against the concrete walkway leading up to the front door of the house, briefcase in his other hand. The keys grind and click in the lock on the front door, and were this any other island, were the buildings across the street not long since gutted by fire and the car in the driveway not up on cinder blocks, it could be an ordinary evening anywhere in America.

But no, this is nowhere but Staten Island.

The door clicks unlocked as Feng turns to look one last time towards the street outside, dark brows pressed together before his shoulder edges against the door, pushing it open as he makes his way inside the safehouse.

The life of an outlaw is never truly an easy one. Even if this wasn't the case for Feng, it still wouldn't be easy, going out to track down his former comrades, some of whom might be quite dangerous. Fortunately, all of them can be dealt with; not only does Feng know what he's dealing with, from 200 yards away, even the mightiest of Evolved can be brought low with a well-placed bullet. "Safehouse" might not be the sort of thing that Feng really needs, since he has everything under control. Everything except, of course, for wild cards. The things and persons that he wasn't expecting, or could not have expected. And when he pushes open the front door, perhaps it's only fitting that he should confronted by a wild card.

The wild card in question is not a cloud of smoke or ball of fire, or heavily-armed assassin death squad lying in wait. It is only a man, dressed nicely enough to show he means business, but with just a few extra features to show, for certain, that he means business as he sits on the plastic covered armchair in the middle of the front room, moved to face the doro directly just for this occasion. The dark overcoat, sure, why not? On occasion, those can be intimidating. But what might be most intimidating is the pair of rather distinctive, round-lensed sunglasses covering his eyes, unnecessary inside, even with the lights turned on. But those glasses move from unnecessary to sinister when combined with hands neatly folded, one inside of the other, and held up as a support for the chin, elbows resting on the arms of the chair. But add in that grin, that dark, plotting grin, and the whole picture comes together to spell out 'dangerous'. Dangerous in a way that only Jensen Raith, whether Feng realizes who it is or not, can be.

"Well, hello my friend," Raith says, almost too warmly, "So nice of you to make time for me, we have so much catching up to do." All the while, that grin never fades, never even falters. It might be less bothersome if it wasn't quite so predatory.

A hissed curse in Cantonese slurs past Feng's lips as he freezes in the doorway, one hand moving towards his jacket to reach inside, but he stops, eyes darting around the room, wishing now he had eyes in the back of his head to see what's going on outside. He takes one step inside and to the right, moving out of the framing of the doorway, briefcase clutched tightly in one hand. "Who are you?"

Brows tense, words spill out strained thorugh clenched teeth, and Feng Daiyu's eyes continue their flitting about the living room. It's a simple enough question, and from the tension all up and down Feng's form, this is not how he expected his evening to go. A man like Feng, a planner? Once those plans fall to shit, once the absolutely unexpected happens, then tend to panic.

Raith is very unexpected.

"Oh, of course." Raith says this, casually. As if an introduction had simply slipped his mind and it was inconsequential. "I'm the King of Swords, a pleasure to meet you, stranger. And what a stranger you are. You've been most unhelpful to me, do you understand that? Believe me, Gladys understands that, and she's not terribly happy with you. But, oh, I understand much more than she does. You get in the way because that's what you do best. It's vexing, but nothing we can't work through, I'm sure."

Lazily, languidly, Raith eases himself from his relaxed position into a more forward-leaning one, moving from a position to threaten and into one to broker. "So let's talk," he continues, "Just, what are we going to do with you, and your harassing my associates? I'm certain you have better ways to spend your time than slinking around the city like some criminal, even if that is what you are. How does that sound, hm? A little chat."

Feng's expression, usually inscrutable, shows clear his notions of lunacy in his guest. There's a disbelieving expression of abject confusion spread all across his wordless stare. Blinking his eyes a few times, Feng circles around the room, shoes making noiseless report on the worn out carpet underfoot. "You need to be more clear on who your associates are," Feng notes with an arch of one dark brow, "because I do not think you have the right man."

There's a momentary pause as he sets the briefcase down on the coffee table in the middle of the room, "If you do, then we have nothing to talk about." His neck muscles tense up, how did he gets caught in this position, he wonders. "Our conversation will end with a bullet."

Raith leans, or nods his head to the right once, just slightly, as if to agree. "I hadn't thought of that," he says, unfolding his hands and holding them up, palms outward, to show he is no threat, "And here I am, unarmed."

But he isn't unarmed, and he most certainly isn't a threat. Small as it may be, Raith holds in his hand a remote control of the sort that uses radio waves, rather than infrared. With only a single button, it's plainly suited for turning a lamp on or off and not much else. But what makes that tiny remote control so dangerous is the fact that Raith has taped his finger to the single button with duct tape, and taped his hand to the remote itself. With one hand hidden inside the other, as he'd had them, nearly impossible to notice, especially considering Feng was more worried about other things.

"Oh, right. I did think of that. 'Dead Man's Trigger,' they call it. Can you guess why? Because even if I'm dead, my finger isn't able to do anything except blow you into tiny pieces. So even if you manage to get me, I've still got you dead to rights so believe me when I tell you that talking this matter out is in your, best interests. have I made myself clear, or should I say it again using smaller words?"

There's no way—

He wouldn't—

Who the hell is—

"What, exactly, do you want to know?" Feng finally sorts out something to say to Raith outside of his blistering frustration and abject embarassment at being caught with his pants around his ankles. There's a tightness at the corner of Feng's eyes, and he looks down at the remote again, then up to Raith, then back down to the remote one more time.

"Why not start with what you're thinking?" Raith suggests, "I surmise, for example, that you're thinking that maybe, just maybe, if you're faster than I am, you can keep me from clicking the button while you crush my throat. The thought crossed your mind, at the very least. Rest assured, that's a terrible idea.

"No, what I want to know, is why you're simply so insistent upon bothering my associates? Following them around, shooting their arms off, all that good fun. But maybe, that's not what really matters. Maybe what really matters, is that you know that upsets me, and you're going to stop. Leave them alone, and let us go back to being violent vigilantes, doing what we can to keep this city from drowning in the puss from its still-festering nuclear wound. Or, is that too much to ask?"

Shooting their arms off.

Feng's eyes grow wide, back stiffens, who the hell is this? He breathes out a slow, patient exhalation, trying to calm himself now that he has at least a little understanding. But if that black smoke he saw pouring out of that wounded man was— no— the notion is too terrible to imagine. "I'm hunting for Ethan Holden," there's a pause, he's waiting for tells of recognition of the name, "once he's dead, I'll be… out of your hair." That, right there, is also a lie. From the sound of things, this neither began, nor will end with Ethan.

"If you know where he is, no one will need to be worrying about any switches."

For a brief moment, Raith's grin widens into a comical, but quickly returns to what it once was. What reason does he have not to grin, after all? He's in control. "Isn't that the damnedest thing?" he exclaims, "I'm looking for Ethan Holden, too. What are the odds? Sure, I don't plan on killing him, but what are the odds?" With a half-shrug and a chuckle, it seems this is simply the world's greatest joke.

Until a moment later, when it suddenly isn't. Even Raith's grin is gone, replaced with dead seriousness. "Level with me, Shui," he says, "Why Holden, especially with the killing? What, he stand you up at the pictures or something? Never returned the promise ring you gave him? Oh, I know." Raith raises his unoccupied hand and taps his head three times, to indicates just how sharp and perceptive he's pretending he is. "Every single time, he'd always conveniently forgotten his wallet. That's what it is." being in control isn't seemingly a good thing for this man; he takes it as his cue to mock his adversary mercilessly.

Feng breathes in a sharp breath and turns his head to the side, glancing at the open door, then back to Raith. "Holden and I have something personal, something to settle. Once that's out of the way, then I'm either dead, or I'm alive." Dark brows rise up slowly, "But I won't get that answer until I find Holden."

But then, Feng has to make a venture, has to try and shoot for something to sway the conversation back into his favor. "Were you Vanguard?" There's caution in the way he approaches the topic, "If so, who was the arms trainer in South America every member was sent to once they joined?" It's as close as a control question as there can be. Rico did know everyone in the Vanguard.

Raith does not give a verbal answer, not at first. He turns his head slightly to the side and leans back just slightly, giving Feng a scrutinizing look, in the way Kazimir Volken might have if he wore sunglasses. And then, almost suddenly, he 'get it.' "Oh, you mean those yutzes that blew up the bridge, right?" Raith asks, "Oh, yes, I'm with them, because blowing up bridges is just the sort of thing I like to do in my spare time. What do you think?" That would be, most likely, a 'no.'

"Then what do you want with Holden?" Feng's dark eyes scan the windows as he moves towards the sofa, glancing under the coffee table wher ehe laid his briefcase, then into the darkened kitchem before settling his attention back on Raith. "I told you what I want, now perhaps you could explain why you want Holden, and we can meet somewhere in the middle. Or," he tilts his head to the side, "perhaps you could leave."

"It's a dangerous business, vigilantism," Raith replies, keeping his eye on Feng as he moves about the floor. He's searching, trying to guess where the explosives are hidden, "So, I only want to hire professionals. I hear Holden's a professional, I want to hire him. pretty simple, don't you think?"

"Professional backstabber," Feng adds with a bit of vitriol and a heaping dose of hypocrisy. "He killed his former employer because he didn't buy in to the new program, I'm not entirely sure Holden is the kind of man you're looking for." Dark eyes narrow, moving back to the dead man's switch, then up to Raith. He starts to edge closer to the chair now, around the coffee table and away from the sofa.

"What is it you do?" He's getting bolder, starting to think the switch is all a bluff now. Something about this, about the man seated in his chair, it doesn't quite fit with the questions he's asking. But right now, Feng is bereft of answers.

Raith leans his neck to the side, working kinks out with a 'pop pop pop!', before he leisurely pulls himself up and out of the chair. "I'll let you figure that out for yourself," he says, "There's a pretty big clue for you, though, in the fact that I won the game." Yes, the 'game,' whatever that is. It's beginning to seem like this stranger in Feng's home is losing interest in sticking around.


Feng's eyes nearly cross as Raith gets out out of the chair, eyeing the seat cushion before looking back to the man who evacuated it. There's just enough tension to keep Feng from lashing out, just enough uncertainty at the dead-man's switch to keep him like a dog on a short leash. Nostrils flare, and Feng's eyes narrow as he watches Raith's movements.

He says nothing, no smirking remark, no sharp retoer, just a furious and deadened stare as his neck muscles tense and teeth grate together. Raith really did win this game, didn't he?

"What, no guess?" Raith asks, "Not even a little one? What game were we playing?" The grin is back, and the man's tone has changed, teasing and taunting, as if this really were just a game. "If you won't even guess, then it's no wonder you lost. Come on, one teensy, little guess, it won't hurt. But I get the feeling you aren't the kind who likes guessing games, so here it is. It's one of my favorite games, actually. It's called, 'Who's the Better Spy?' can you guess why I won and you lost?"

Feng's lips pull back into a snarl, eyes darting down to the dead man's switch again, then back up to Raith. "Because the rules were skewedin your favor, like any good game." Dark eyes wander to the door, then back to Raith, then down to the dead man's switch and finally to the briefcase.

"Something like that, yes," the apparently 'better' spy replies, "But, lucky day, this is the last time you're going to see me, barring any sudden changes. But let's keep playing, shall we? If I find Holden first, I get to keep him. You find him first, and he's all yours. That's fair, don't you think? I'll even make it more fair, I'll tell you what the rules are this time. I stay the hell out of your house. All of them. But you? You stop bothering my people. Pretty simple rules, yeah?" Not yet finished, raises his hand, one finger extended up towards the ceiling. "But…."

"You break that simple rule, and I'll come back into your house, and we'll play a different game. That game's another one of my favorites. It's called, 'Who's the Better Killer?'." Raith allows any implications to simply hang in the air, widening his grin momentarily. "It was nice talking with you, Shui. Did you enjoy our little chat?"

Venom rises up in the back of Feng's throat, a vein throbbing at the side of his head as he watches that shit-eating grin spread across Raith's face. His hands both tense, calm entirely lost. "It was wonderful," Feng states with a tremor of rage to his voice. Raith's confusing, seemingly mad demeanor is underlined by some remarkably clear sanity that seems to juxtapose itself against the lunacy in a manner that keeps unbalancing Feng.

"But I assure you, if we get to round two," his jaw is trembling, "you will not find victory there."

"We'll see, Shui," Raith promises, "And for my next trick." With no further fanfare, Raith proves that, in fact, the remote did do something besides look intimidating, setting off a small aluminum and perchlorate charge he'd hidden in the room. The immediate result is sudden, intensely bright light and deafening sound, enough to temporarily blind and disorient someone who was unprepared. Someone, for instance, like Feng. Neither effect lasts for more than a few seconds, but those few seconds are enough time for Raith to make his exit, disappearing almost like a shadow with only some lingering smoke, burns along one wall to indicate that he'd ever been there at all. Feng's good, and so is Raith, but the question on hand is not which of them is better than the other.

The question is which of them is better than Ethan Holden.

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