ethan_icon.gif francois_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Misinformation
Synopsis Francois corners Ethan to confront him on mole-like allegations. It all goes swimmingly!!! … 8(
Date December 12, 2009

An Alleyway in Russia, Ryazan

It's evening, in Ryazan. The sky's gone as dark as the slick cement and dangerous black ice lining the murkier roads of the quaint city. Rain from a few days ago has frozen solid and never thawed out, making misguided foot steps dangerous in places as innocuous as cunningly placed banana peels. Cars grease uneasily along the roads, splashing light and spraying ice, ever so occasionally peppering the evening with tie squeals.

Hard to find a bad end of town in a tourist city with its fluffier suburban bufferings, but Ethan Holden is probably more than capable of discovering it. And Francois All├Ęgre is more than capable of following.

It took patience and some time, and then precious little information. Unless the Vanguard stronghold relocated to a strip club with three brightly red X's in the title, then stands to reason that Ethan's record is clean if this one fragment of half a day is telling of any deceits and agendas. Francois can't feel his toes curled somewhere in dense socks and thick boots, but trusts they're there as he crosses the street Ethan had crossed long enough ago. He'd last seen the burlier man duck into shadow, and trusts after the shortcut through urban Ryazan, avoiding the halo of streetlamps as he goes.

It didn't take too long for Ethan to maneuver himself in good with one of the nicer looking Strippers at club something somthing xXx. A few sentences in Russian, a slightly aloof chuckle, and Ethan's face, and the Wolf had it in the bag. Though she couldn't be seen leaving with a client, the man has a small slip of paper for the woman's flat where he is to meet her. All in a hard days work for a man trying to save the world.

Another corner is turned rapidly as this fun little jaunt to a stripper's hideyhole is becoming something different. Getting hunted by a Wolf is one thing, hunting a Wolf can be something entirely different. Holden stomps through the alley, reaching under his jacket to rest his hand on the pistol there. He doesn't glance behind him just yet, but the man is becoming more and more certain of one of two things.

One: Sapphire Bubbleboobs or whatever her name is decided this would be a threesome without consulting him… Two: He is not alone.

No one wants to be out in the cold for very long. No one remains idle on the streets, jetting instead for their destinations with hands tucked into elbows or pockets and chins dipped inwards. It is, as has been well established, freezingly chilly. Which doesn't mean that pace isn't observed, the rise and fall of distance kept in mind like a fisherman clutching to the line, feeling give and slackness as subtle as they may be.

Francois curses under his breath, steam curls, more visible than audible, even as he chances shouldering around the corner after the Wolf. There's the shift of ice, a subtle crunch of snow underfoot somewhere behind Ethan, one nighttime sound in many. Upon looking back, however—

There simply isn't anything there but the gap of the alleyway's mouth and the shadows that line the walls, the insets of doorways, metal railings that will have icycles come morning.

The crunch of ice, has Ethan leaping forward and ducking behind the next corner. His back slaps against the wall as he reaches into his waist he pulls out his pistol and holds it in both hands. Lowering his chin, he slowly leans to the side to check the alley— nothing. Sweeping out from the alley, the gun is levelled at the nothingness that fills it. Stalking down the narrow corridor of street quietly, Holden presses himself to the corner where he thought he heard ice crunching. And then.. Leaps out!

Nothing. The gun swings the mouth of the alleyway, his breath comes out slightly shocked and slightly disappointed. The gun is slowly tucked back into the front of his pants, safety on. Pulling his jacket close he glares at Mr.Shadow and continues back down the alley on the path he had set out.

Being paranoid may waste some time, but it has saved his life a few times in the past, so shrugging down the alley, a puff of steam exhales from his lips. Turning his next corner a fist comes up to bounce off the side of it twice. Bump bump.

Ethan makes his way down the alley without event. At least, until a certain point. The creak of metal isn't exactly eventful, nor even the shudder of gathered snow slipping from it with the scuff of a boot, but even if they were and Ethan's instincts have him turning his head somewhere just beyond his left shoulder, it's more the sudden slam of both momentum, gravity and strength propelling Francois' shoulder into the other man's back to send them both down towards snow and cement.

The Frenchman already has his gun in his hand, a grunt of breath expelling from his own lungs at the collision and the butt of the weapon coming around to connect somewhere painful, hand gripping onto the back of Ethan's jacket.

When you're a Wolf, you can't be hunted. You do the hunting. Things don't sneak up on wolves, wolves emerge from the darkness and leap through the shadows to rip off rabbits little heads. Wolves are always aware of their—

Aw fuck.

The Wolf's feet go out from under him as he starts his rapid descent towards the ground, bouncing against the hard pavement, he lets out a cut off bark of a scowl. His free hand flops into the slushee street, immediately grasping. Grasping at ice, snow, dirt, whatever is available on the side of the alley. Whoever got the drop on him, obviously doesn't want him dead, or at least not immediately. That means they want something, most probably armed. So when facing an assailant with a weapon who will threaten you for something what do you do?

Refuse to recognize the weapon. Without even looking back, Ethan's other arm braces him against the street, his head starting to open from the fall but that pain must be ignored for now. Whoever is back there is getting up, but one boot delivered swiftly and powerfully at the side of the knee ought to alleviate that. In the same motion Ethan flips himself to his back, flinging ice-snow-mud-hobo piss in the direction where Mister Shadow's face might be.

There is a sharp grunt of pain as Ethan's foot lashes out, boot connecting with the side of a knee that buckles but doesn't completely crumple, no white hot snap of ligaments. In contrast, there's ice and dirt flung at him, flinching away as it peppers at eyes, hair, sinks into his collar. "Holden." Francois' voice, rough like sandpaper between sheared sharp consonants, is as recognisable as the rest of him when Ethan gets his bearings, the Frenchman crumpled against the wall in which he'd staggered upon the kick.

Which doesn't mean he isn't pointing a gun, shaking his head once in a brisk and doggish manner to free himself of clinging ice. "Don't move."

Laying on his back, Ethan glares over at the French man, his lips thinning. "Francois?" Holden asks, more like an accusation than a question. His hand is on his stomach as he stares over at the gun pointed at him. Baring his teeth, the man shakes his head a little. As if disagreeing with Francois' command. His hand slowly sinks down his abdomen towards his pants. "You going to shoot me, Francois?" The man growls darkly.

His hand continues to creep, albeit slowly, hovering above the handle of the gun stuck into his pants. "Because if you are, now would be a good time for that." His hand hovers, threatening to clasp it.

The safety is already off, recklessly so, on Francois' weapon - so there's no room for any kind of dramatic warning click of metal thumbed into place. His jaw sets with regretful stubbornness, other hand back to help lever himself up the wall as Ethan slowly tracks his hand towards his pistol. Hot fire of bruises and stressed muscle tweaks in his leg, but he still steps closer, aiming blankly towards the other man's torso even as green eyes dart down to his hand.

Back up to his face. Pushes on. "You started the fire at the clinic. You are working for Grigori. You are what Volken made you to be. I will shoot you if I must."

"Those don't sound like questions." Ethan growls, scrutinizing the man from his back-laying position. The look he gives him practically screams a thousand insults, ranging from his hussie of a mother to his poor fashion sense, to the funny gait he uses when walking (which makes him look kind of effeminate). But there is no time to voice all these brilliant sassy comments because guns are involved, and guns always cut out the chaff of dialogue. One finger brushes against the handle of his gun. Then his middle finger. "So you've already made your decisions. If that's so. You should pull the trigger."

"But if there's any doubt in the rapidly thickening skull that sits on your neck there, you should pull the gun away before I kill you." Ethan snarls, his motion only slowed but not stopped in hovering over his gun.

If only the rest of Team Charlie knew that holding Ethan at gunpoint stripped down his dialogue considerably. "I intend for us both to walk away from this," Francois informs him, voice brisk and taut with tension in his throat, as much as his hands don't shake. "But I want all you know. If I am right, you will tell me about the Russian cell. You will tell me of your arrangement with Grigori."

Another step closer, dark jeans spattered now from the damp and grit of the alleyway floor. "We have a spy among us, and I need reasons to know it is not you. I have none, monsieur. So be honest."

Back still pressed against the ground, Ethan lets out a tiny little laugh. "Grigori and I are going to take Munin and dig a hole to the center of the Earth where we will launch it into the core so that all the world's volcanoes go off. If the U.N doesn't pay us one million dollars, we will destroy the 'ole world." He smiles lightly, tilting his head. And then kicks Francois' wrist.

Throwing his weight back, Ethan's boot launches up at the other man's gun-hand in attempts to knock it away. Long enough at least for Ethan to push himself forward, sliding in to deliver another powerful kick at the other knee Ethan did not yet kick.

There's no time for correction, in terms of what Francois does and doesn't know. Fingers go numb when the kick connects, gun clattering against concrete, sticking in snow around the time Ethan his driving his foot around again. With a harsh curse, slithery French syllables than never quite form a word, Francois manages not to put resistance against the delivered kick, letting it knocking his leg aside rather than bracing for impact.

He lands hard, hip to ground, hand slapping down so as not to knock his head. Ice glances off a kick as Francois thrashes around in an effort to reach his gun, propelling himself towards it without regard to whatever Ethan happens to be doing.

Ethan is quickly clambering up to his knees, and then to his feet. Hastily sliding over the ice slicked street, his boot thumps against Francois' gun quickly, sending it skittering across the street to the opposite wall. He lets out a grunt, now that bullet wounds in his head are less likely to occur. Taking a step around the man, he goes to send a swift kick into Francois stomach. A step back as he reaches up to his skull touching at the light cut that he got due to Francois' shoulder-ram.

Frowning deeply, he drops his hand from his head. "You made me less pretty, you fuck." Ethan's own gun is now drawn. "Maybe the whore will like that I'm tough and killed a Frenchman in the alleyways over to 'er flat." He frowns, looking down his barrel at Francois. "Now stand up, Frankie."

Spine curves inwards in time of Ethan's fourth kick of the night, protecting against a fifth, Francois managing to clamp down on anything verbal, litany of cussing or groans of pain or otherwise. Focuses on breathing. It's cold, down here, and he hesitates for the time it takes to lift his head again and observe where he last saw his gun. A sweep to and fro of sea green eyes confirms that he probably won't be able to get up, go get it, point it back at Ethan in the time it would take the other man to—

Well. Shoot him. There's a rough kind of huff from the Frenchman, not quite laughter as much as his mouth turns into a flickered smile. Then, he sets his hands against the ground, and wonders on each twinging bruise as he gets to his feet, dusting his hands down his clothing to free it of dirt and snow. "Je m'appelle Francois," is muttered, if only out of tribute for a running theme.

Ethan's fist balls up and flies at Francois' face, all the while the gun in his other hand stays centered on him, pointed from his chest. Bringing his fist back, Ethan frowns deeply. "Frankie." Dropping his hand down, he simply points the gun at the other man. "You come out 'ere. Accuse me of a few things. With a gun. Implying that I would answer your threats, that I would be afraid of you." Ethan darts forward to tag the man again with another fist.

This one less to the face and more to the shoulder in a way a brother gives his younger sibling a deadarm. Jerk. "You little fuck." Ethan growls. "You really think I'm going to answer you in any way? You think I give a bleeding shit about wot you think? You can go your 'ole life thinking I set the clinic to fire." He starts to circle the other man. "Maybe I am working with Grigori. But I aint no fucking mole you twat. And if I was working with Grigori it would be to turn this thing on 'im, never liked that prick. And if I didn't tell you people it would be because… You would all fuck it up. I thought about telling you but.." He shrugs. "You just fucked up that semi-competent thing, retard."

Ow. It won't be the first time Francois' been smacked in the face, but it will be the first time he can't simply heal the developing bruise away before it begins. Cradling his jaw, he stumbles back a little against the second blow, enough that he can feel out the railing behind him. "Most men— " His hand drops, and he spits on concrete and snow between them. It's too dark to really tell if spittle is tainted with red. "Most men fear death."

His spine goes straight as he listens, and as much as he would prefer to be on the other side of the pistol, this isn't a far cry from what he'd been after. There is a stony kind of silence, before, despite his position, acidic words go slicing out at the other man, accent thicker as a result. "And you think, what, we are doing nothing, here?

"We are here to uncover information and your tracks were found - it is not my fault that you almost got yourself killed tonight because of it. You expect trust but give none."

"Most men 'aven't lived my life, fuckstick. Watched my family die, and went on to kill more than…" He shrugs at lack of analogy. "A lot. I think about killing myself every night. I flirt with death all the time, you think I would shy away from our first snog?" He takes a step forward, bringing his fist back once again as if to strike another time.

"Expect trust? I don't expect a fucking 'ello when I come in the door. I don't expect fuck-all from you fuck-ups. You come over 'ere to 'old me up with a gun. It is not my fault that you suck, and that I'm going to shoot you in the foot and tell you to go 'ome."

There's a molared crunch and slithering skitter of crystallized parts outside. Not that Ethan and Francois aren't— technically outdoors, at the moment, but the newcomer's energetic tread is definitely exactly that: a newcomer's. Perhaps more importantly, it lacks the delicacy of dagger heels, or of a body much lighter than a full-grown adult man's. One might suppose that an effort for stealth would be a suicide, blundering into a situation like the one that lies around the curve of the asphalt here, so.

Maybe Teo's clubfoot is on purpose. And maybe he's eavesdropping, through means more dubious and suspect even than one's average invasion of privacy. "Hey. Stronzi!" A broad-shouldered silhouette stacks into Ethan's peripheral, pale face and rumpled dirty-blond crop. Teodoro isn't exactly windmilling, but there's anxiety etched in the spring-jointed swing and salute of his arm. He looks at the gun. "What the fuck, guys?"

Francois tenses when Ethan raises his fist, hand coming around the railing behind him as if requiring something steady, but otherwise doesn't shy away. His posture stiffens instead, that arm tensing as if holding himself back from doing something even more retarded, like flinging fists at a man with a gun. He settles for squaring a look across at Ethan with bridled anger, mouth pulling into a sneer where blood's now more clearly painted on his teeth. "If not trust, you expect us not to act if told you are a double-agent— "

There's the crunch of boots in the snow, Francois not looking while his mind goes over agonising possibility over agonising possibility. The police. An innocent. Vanguardian backup to bely Ethan's words. That it's Teo isn't a source of particular relief. Quick observation will display one of the missing pistols from Caliban's stash, huddled against the opposite wall when it had been kicked and abandoned.

"Ho-leee fuck." Ethan doesn't fully turn to face Teo but just frowns in general. "If I wanted a dumb little girl to come tell us to 'Oh my god stop!'," This part said in a high-pitch, "I would 'ave asked Abigail." Ethan's gun remains steady on Francois. "As I said, Frankie, I don't give a fuck wot you do. You can treat me like a double-agent all you want, but next time you should just pull the trigger from a distance. Because you're a spaz." Ethan finally clicks the safety back on his weapon. Slowly crossing the distance to reclaim Francois' weapon.

Glancing over to Teo, he growls slightly. "Fill 'im in, bumboy. 'e thinks I'm workin for Grigori. And that I set the fing on fire." He shrugs, motioning for Teo to fix it all. Hurry up, bumboy. He then turns to rest his gaze on Francois, "You don't tell any of those other fuck-ups, right?"

At the very least, Teodoro is relieved that the Englishman does not make good on his threat. No fresh gore-rimmed holes appear in Francois, and the Sicilian would have proceeded to congratulate himself on the dubious wisdom he'd presented in not coming out armed and pointing said arms everywhere— only—

Adjacent that relief, however, there's a pang. One that, coincidentally, has very little to do with his brand new nickname, or the uncomfortable scrub of freezing weather down his hackles inside his hastily fastened jacket. He didn't have time to pull on enough layers, and even if he had, probably, the words would have gone right through him. Thanks, Ethan. Way to implicate him in… whatever the fuck he's doing. Now that's two of them, with trust knocked six pegs down.

"I didn't tell anybody about anything. I was going to," he adds, which is true, but probably doesn't matter to Francois at thissss ppppoint. "Telepathically— keep it down-low, work up misinformation, and—"

Probably not helping. His shoulders lift uncomfortably and he finds himself avoiding Francois' gaze which is, ironically, easier when he begins to fix his attention on the bloody disruption Ethan's— fist? Foot? made out of Francois' mouth, and there's an unresolved grasping motion in Teo's fingers that fall short of the Frenchman's chin. It's good to hear the flick of Ethan's gun returned to safety. "Dreyfus knows about your deal with Zhukovsky, somehow. Or some mole.

"Were you really going to shoot each other?" Incredulity marks Teo's features with different lines; he turns a haphazard glance at the second weapon that Ethan is pulling out of the snow.

"Non." The click of safety is signal not to worry, and so he works on that. Francois lifts a hand to wipe out his mouth, streaking translucent pink onto his palm without looking at it, eyes focused on Ethan with a vibrant kind of energy that longs for an outlet as much as fear had paralysed him. It's switched to Teo, avid and bright with betrayal and anger now redirected at the Sicilian, but a less dire betrayal than the notion of a Vanguard spy in their ranks.

Something simpler. Snow crunches under his heel as he takes a step back from both— well, sideways, still pegged there at the wall from the former threat of a gun. "I am not a murderer of men who have information. Or truths."

Fuck this. Francois doesn't ask for his gun back, only waits for Ethan to continue on to the hooker he was visiting, or shoot someone, or hit him some more — mostly whatever comes first.

"I can't be the mole." Ethan murmurs, "I 'aven't moled anything yet. So if someone is getting information about us." He shakes his head, "It aint me. Not yet, anyway." Holding up Francois' gun, "I'm suspending this, until…" He gives a broad shouldered shrug. Tucking the gun into the back of his pants. Turning he glances back to Teo.

"Though it's likely the real mole would think all of you would assume I am the mole. I guess I could be pretty convenient in that way." He pauses. "No one knows about me an Grigori, except you two fuckers." Ethan takes a few steps away. "Now is there anything else, or can I go fuck a 'ore?"

The murders of men who have information or truths eye each other at length, one of them rattling off the probability of other moles, the other very deliberately not looking at Francois. It takes Teo a few seconds to decipher what Ethan's going to fuck, recognizing the verb for its definitive use, just this one time. He rubs his nose with a hand, considering. "Just one thing.

"I think the Russian Vanguard has kids in it. I mean: younger recruits, newer than Orlova, Zhukovsky or Dreyfus. There was a girl, maybe. Really pale. Albino? I don't know, she might have helped attack Kozlow. And Dreyfus' kid, Robbie. Carlisle almost herniated something yelling at him tonight. He's been out and about a lot, and his old man's really worried." Teo drops his eyes to the faint crease that the weapon Ethan had deprived from their comrade makes in his coat, but doesn't ask for it.

Teo isn't looking at him, and he isn't look at Ethan. Francois takes his weight off brick and metal, suppresses the urge to spit the taste of copper out of his mouth. "It isn't mine," is spoken flippantly back at the Englishman, before Francois is flipping up the collar of his jacket. There's talk of new Vanguard, and it's nothing he knows. Nothing he can share. What's now known by him is known by Teo.

And without so much as an au revoir, Francois moves off the way he had come. Which is to say, directionally, not climbing up onto fireescapes and hiding in the shadowy insets of doors. Just walking in a cautious and sore line for the opposite mouth of the alleyway.

Glancing at Teo for an irritated second, Ethan lets out a exaggerated sigh. When he asked if there was anything else, he wasn't actually wanting there to be anything else. Listening, Ethan looks at Teo sternly for a moment, features unreadable as he digests the words. Looking back at Francois back, he narrows his brows slightly. "Sorry for punchin' you in the arm, Francois." But not the face, he deserved that one.

And with that Ethan goes to shoulder past Teo. "There's a big breasted Russian bitch I need to fuck. Questions can wait. I need to be punctual." Running his fingers over the light cut on his forehead, the man starts down the alley in the direction he had been going. Leaving Teo all alone with his thoughts.

Teo is just this side of 'bright enough' that he knows, knew before, of course, that Ethan didn't want there to be anything else. Only, there was. His jaw squares stubbornly when Ethan rattles on like a pugnacious brat; he knows he doesn't have to retract the information for the Englishman to ignore it, so he neither apologizes nor moves out of the way when Ethan shoves by.

In place of salutation, there's a mean-spirited inward wish, that the woman's muff-taffy be discreetly colored but contagious with something harmless if occasionally aggravating. When Teodoro turns around again, it's to pick up the pace behind the way Francois went, rounding his shoulders down in quiet fortification against the renewal of the wind outside the alley's mouth.

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