In the Midst of Heaven


claire_icon.gif julian_icon.gif rupe_icon.gif

Scene Title In the Midst of Heaven
Synopsis Rupe proposes the latest incarnation of the new world order to Claire and Julian.
Date December 21, 2008

Rupe's Home

Rupe's home is an imposing, historic Manhattan stone affair. It's the kind of sturdy structure that has stood and will continue to stand the test of time. It's a home that reeks of old money. It's a fitting structure for the eccentric and wealthy academic. But that's not to say that the home is not secure. The windows are covered in decorative bars and there are cameras poised to cover all angles of the walk up to the door. Rupe relayed to Erim that anyone interested in learning more about the Shedda Dinu were free to come by his home for a chat. He's always home.

Snow falls in circles towards the ground, and Julian wastes no time in leading both he and Claire towards the front door, boots crunching and slipping through the ice as they go. It's not that he doesn't take in the security that surrounds this place like a blanket, it's just that it's really fucking cold. And it's not as though the name of this man fell on ignorant ears. "Uh, you knock," Julian says to the brunette at his side, rubbing his hands together to get some warmth in them, despite being encased in woolen gloves. He's dressed for the weather, in a coat spattered with mud both old and new along the bottom hem, and beneath that, layers of protection against the cold of winter.

Claire rolls her eyes and raises her fist to pound on the door. "Pussy," she mutters under her breath and wraps her arms around herself tightly to keep warm. She does grin over her shoulder to her companion, however.

The sound of the knock echoes into the large space beyond. There's the sound of quickly moving footsteps descending stairs and heading up to the door. There's the sound of locks being turned, an interior door thrown back, then finally the one in front of them opens.

There stands Rupert Carmichael in all his ruffled academic glory. His hair's slicked to one side, and despite the copious amounts of money at his disposal, he looks like his shirt was pulled from the hamper. The odd man smiles when he sees them. "Julian. Claire. Please. Please come in." He motions inwards. The whole place is pleasantly toasty warm. Which is an accomplishment considering the house is fucking huge.

Thank Christ. Julian makes sure to wipe his feet before entering, stripping his hands of gloves and stuffing them into his pockets as he casts a glance about the place. He doesn't make a comment, however, as if not quite impressed by the show of wealth, or at least unsurprised, shouldering off his coat and hanging it up. This man, after all, is known for nothing if not his cash, as far as Julian is concerned. "Mr. Carmichael," he says in greeting, gaze quickly looking the man up and down with obvious uncertainty. "Hope we didn't come at a bad time, Erim didn't specify much."

Claire smiles faintly when Rupe answers the door. "All that money and he answers his own door." She nods, "I approve." She peers into the home curiously for a moment before she actually steps inside. Ah, blessed warmth.

"No, no. Come in, please. You're welcome. And please, please," he puts his hands together in a prayer motion briefly. "…just call me Rupe? Can I…can I get you something? Just put your coats anywhere. Come to the…the den here. Where the fire is." He motions towards a cozier room that was likely once a drawing room back in the heyday of the building. A woman with curly blond hair moves through the foyer and stops at the sight of visitors.

"Rupe?" The woman's holding a bucket and is wearing a white apron. If she's staff, she's dressed quite casually.

"Oh, Christa. Can…can you please put some coffee on? Or…or tea, if you'd prefer." That last bit is said towards Julian and Claire.

Christa just nods, gives the two another curious look, then moves towards the rear of the house.

A glance towards Claire, before Julian is moving as directed. "Coffee," he says, simply, a glance towards the hired help but not much else. In the den, he's quick to find himself a place to sit, sprawling comfortably in a seat nearest the fire, and this time he's forced to say, "Rupe it is. It's a nice place," with a haphazard gesture around. If only because he's now comfier. "Can we skip the pleasantries, though, I'm awful at those."

"Coffee," Claire responds in unison with Julian. She doesn't sit just yet, reaching out toward the fire to warm her hands. Maybe a little too close, but she doesn't seem bothered. "Real nice," she agrees. "What can we do for you?" she asks over her shoulder casually.

"Yes, right…Right." Rupe fidgets a bit, then seats himself on one of the rather ostentatious sofa. Despite the decor of the house, the man himself is not the picture of opulence or wealth. In fact, he's very…tweedy. "Erim talked to you, did he? Told you…the basics? He seems to agree with my ideas. I think it will be safer. More effective. And first…things first." He holds up a finger and bites the edge of his lip. When he looks at them both, his gaze hardens. "…we get back at SCOUT. Quietly."

Julian nods once, a trouble looked crossing pale features and just as pale fingers coming to clasp together in his lap. "Erim… told us enough," he agrees, haltingly. "Y'want to get your hands dirty this time round, 'stead of just give us the means. An' y'want to help us rebuild." A half smile. "Y'work fast and rightly so. If we weren't scattered before, we got people leavin' our ranks faster'n you can blink." He glances to Claire.

"Quietly?" Claire glances once to Julian and looks bothered for a moment, choosing to move on quickly. "Quietly… I like the idea of blowing the bastards up, but… If it'll be slow and painful, well, I suppose I can live with that." She shrugs one shoulder. "They need to pay for what they did to us."

"That's…that's exactly it." Rupe wages a finger towards Julian and makes a sound that's almost like a laugh, but not quite. "I want to contact those who don't want to fight anymore. I want to make sure they can be safe at the very least. Otherwise those…men…" the word 'men' has contempt to it. "…might hunt them down."

Christa comes in with a tray. She must be used to this because it's deposited on the table in the middle of the room. She leaves with only a glance to Rupe. Years of being exposed to his influence and the woman has no desire to ask questions.

"I…hope you both are with me on this. I could really use your help." He sounds very earnest. It helps that he has a solid reputation for helping the cause. He might not have been at the raid, but he might as well have been.

The academic looks towards the young woman. "Claire. We'll make them pay. If all goes to plan, they'll lose their funding, be dubbed untrustworthy and eventually the whole city will see them as the monsters that we know them to be. They will be thoroughly broken and humiliated. That…" he slaps his hands to his thighs, "…that, is a far rustier, duller blade in the gut. Slow death."

Claire's eyes all but sparkle as she listens intently to Rupe's proposal. The subtle flames from the fireplace dance shadows across her face that give her a slightly darker look than usual. "I'm in."

Julian finds himself nodding along before he can help it, but it does make sense, and at that last comment, his mouth twists into a more malicious smirk. Claire is quick to voice her allegiance, which actually makes Julian hesitate for a moment. But then, "I've never been one for fireworks and blazin' glory anyway," he says. He shuffles forward so he can pick up a cup of coffee, readily depositing sugar into it. "No offense t'Karl and that, may they rest in peace. Sure do hope y'have a plan, Rupe."

"I have…a lot of plans, Julian." Rupe's eyebrows arch. He does sound terribly earnest for a man discussing death and destruction, anarchy and blackmail. "I've been forming plans for years. But I need you. I need as many of you as are willing. Even our enemies are potential weapons. Did Erim tell you about Marchant?" He rolls his wrist. "I was lucky I could get to him. What I need from you, is to bring them to me." He reaches forward to pour himself a cup of coffee. Claire gets a grin. "I'm…so glad. Really. You're both very talented. And you deserve normal lives. But we have work to do before that can happen. We have some bastards to kill." He says those last words in the same casual, soft tone as he's said everything.

Julian nods at the name, settling back with his coffee which he sips from despite the still too-hot temperature, as if maybe that will stave off the chill that Rupe's too-casual last words bring on. But still, he's in agreement, if the lack of protest is to be of any indication. "I'm willin' to go along with your plans," he says. A normal life. Isn't that the ultimate goal? He suspects that they lose sight of it on occasion. "I got some of my own maybe you'll be int'rested in helping me with in time. For now I guess the question is, who do y'want?"

"Anyone who is willing to put the destruction of the past behind them. People who are smart and not just angry. We can't afford loose canons. We need to be…" Rupe touches a finger to his lips. "…silent. As far as anyone else out there is concerned, there is no more PARIAH, no -version- of PARIAH. It's gone. But of course, we know better. Ah ha. Yes, we do." The finger is motioned through the air. "You have everything, Claire. Both of you. You're smart. You're capable. And you know how to use your talents. You also have experience fighting. I also need your ideas. Your strategies. Your thoughts. There's only so much I could do as one man." Even with his wealth and his ability.

Julian glances towards Claire at the idea of PARIAH being gone… even if it's not. Gone in the hearts and minds of the people who need to think so, not them, but all the same. Something about that rubs him the wrong way, but all the same, everything Rupe has to say sounds appealing. He taps his fingertips against the cup of coffee in his hands before he sets it down again, and just casts Rupe a slight, quirky smile. "Well I won't shake on it," he says. "But like the lady says, I'm in." Otherwise… where else do they have to go? "I got ideas. I'll share'm with you when I know this isn't gonna end as bad as it did last time."

"I'll offer whatever I can." Claire shifts her coffee to one hand so she can rest the other on Julian's shoulder, still not having a seat yet. "You shouldn't shake on it anyway," she quips with a squeeze. "So, what are you offering us aside from revenge and a chance at a normal life? What can you give us that Karl didn't promise?"

"Changing our methods is the only way to…be sure that doesn't happen, Julian," Rupe leans forward and looks the other man in the eye. "PARIAH got peoples' attention, but in the end, with someone co-opting our name, it was the wrong kind of attention. That's what we have to avoid." He glances from Julian to Claire. "To feel useful? I doubt either of you are the type who would just burrow into a hole and hide. If we expose how much we're being persecuted in a way that causes the general public to accept…well, then one day, one -day-…" He sits up straighter. "…they might just accept us."

For whatever reason, Julian's eyes narrow a little around the statement of their nature being unwilling to hide, looking down at the carpet. That last sentiment, however. He only nods. It's the outcome worth fighting for. Or… whatever it is Rupe wants them to do. Then, he turns around just enough to look up at Claire, talking quietly - not too quietly for Rupe to miss but it's clear he's addressing the woman directly. "Perhaps we should talk 'bout this," he murmurs.

"That's the ultimate," Claire agrees with Rupe. "If we can just get people to see…" See what? The seeds of doubt are there, if silent and invisible. She tilts her head downward to address Julian in that same hushed tone, "Sure. If that's what you'd like."

Rupe sits back and holds his hands up. "Please, please. Don't feel like you have to give me an answer right now." One hand goes to his chest, over his heart. "I'm just glad you've both been willing to hear me out. I have my own ideas, but I do want to know how you both would like to do things. What goals you would like to achieve." A beat, "Isabelle has said that she'll help me. Erim is with me, and so are a few others. But take your time. Talk it over. And know if you need a safe place to stay, my doors will always be open to you regardless of what you decide to do."

"Not surprised," Julian says, now moving to stand up, absently straightening his clothes although as rumpled and worn as they are, there's really no point. "They cut out the heart've us in the raid. Everyone's lookin' for a leader." There's a pause, and it goes unsaid: himself included. He casts the academic a half-smile. "Sure you're up to it? I'm pretty sure it's a cursed position now."

Claire looks down at her feet. Cameron, then Karl and Melinda. But she knew this was going to be a tough path when she chose it. They all did. "I hope you can cut it." She smiles faintly, downing her coffee smoothly, despite the temperature, and setting the empty cup down.

"If it's cursed, then I'm cursed, Julian." There's something intense behind Rupe's words. "And I'm going to go down fighting, just like my predecessors. Even if this world never knows my name." Honest words. True commitment. These aren't illusions created by his power. "But I want to earn your trust. I don't expect it to be given outright."

"You'd be barking up the wrong tree," Julian lightly agrees. Apparently, he's decided he's heard all he needs to hear, and his hand goes out to find Claire's. "We'll be in touch, Rupe." The request nickname isn't hard to grow accustomed too. Anything else sounds awkward, coming from him. With a glance to Claire, he starts to lead them out.

"Thanks for the coffee." And the hope. Claire laces her fingers easily with Julian's and heads with him toward the exit.

Rupe stands as the two move for the exit, but he doesn't follow them to the door. This isn't an occasion that calls for perfect manners. He doesn't say anything more to the two of them, just stands in the doorway to the drawing room, fire crackling behind him. He murmurs, softly, too quiet for them to hear. Like a prayer. "And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen. When of the gods none had been called into being. And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained. Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven."

December 21st: Associates
December 21st: A Display of Trust
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