Not Even A Mouse


griffin_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Even a Mouse
Synopsis Russo has a break-in, but the culprit is an ally.
Date December 25, 2010

Dorchester Towers — Russo's Apartment

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house…

Bradley Russo's house is quiet tonight. It's three in the morning, Christmas Day. Everyone who isn't a night owl or a criminal is at home, happily snug in their beds, getting their rest before the busy events that Christmas almost always brings.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

Well, unless you count the tall, lanky fellow who has invaded the private abode of Bradley Russo on this holiday night. Brad made it rather easy, really. It was as simple as leaving a window unlocked. One can certainly understand the false sense of security that being on the fifth floor might provide. Most people wouldn't be able to make it this far up, not with the wonderful security systems that are installed.

But then, Griffin Owain Mihangle never was like most people. He got in from the roof of the apartment building, drifting down and opening that conveniently unlocked window with those telekinetic arms of his. And then, he slipped into the apartment quietly, in the dead of night when nobody is watching.

The man slipped into Russo's room in complete silence; indeed, his feet, with the shoes removed and left by the door, didn't even touch the carpet until he settled in to the dining chair opposite Russo's bed. He sits there in complete silence for a while, as well, eyes glowing bluish-white in the light.

Then, with one of those lovely telkinetic hands of his. the covers are slowly pulled off of the slumbering Bradley Russo.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Sleep hadn't come easily this night, everything had left Brad unsettled. When he'd finally fallen asleep, he'd been face-down, lying on his stomach with his hand resting beneath his pillow. Thanks to his already unsettled nerves, it doesn't take much to make the television host stir. The sheer motion of the sheets has his eyes twitching in their closed state. A single arm tugs around his grey v-neck t-shirt while the other remains underneath the surface of his pillow.

In the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

With a single fluid motion, the host twists around while grasping the gun (which he's slept with since Cardinal broke into his home only days earlier) solidly in his hand, aiming it at the intruder. "Who the hell are you and what the fuck are you doing in my home?" he hisses, his voice still croaky with the sound of sleep which he fights through the hiss.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

"That is a very bad idea." A gravelly voice offers Russo his answer as the gun is levelled at him; then, the groggy fellow will feel the gun, quite suddenly liberated from his hands by unseen forces. It quickly flies across the room, and onto the floor next to Griffin. Well, then.

While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

Once certain that the gun is quite out of Russo's reach, Griffin leans back once more, watching Russo with those illuminated eyes of his. "I'm an ally. Someone who has similar goals to you, sent by The Red King." He tilts his head down toward Russo, thoughtfully watching the groggy fellow.

"Does Colonel Leon Heller ring any bells for you?"

And I in my kerchief and mamma in her cap;

With the gun gone, Brad's jaw becomes heavy set; the notion of choice actually proving the importance of his former actions. His pale blue eyes cast a steely gaze to the intruder, solid and unwavering while he just watches, unsure.

Had just settled in for a long winter's nap,

Some might expect a terror response, but instead, Russo actually stifles something between a snicker and a scoff. "Are you? Are you really?" He pulls the rest of the sheets off, revealing his overworn red flannel pyjama pants as he slides off the bed, not reaching for the gun this time, already noting the futility of that action.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter,

"If you are sent by the Red King you already know the answer to your question," he replies gruffly while his fingers comb through his bedhead, only ruffling it further. "And if you were sent by Heller — " he manages a mirthless smirk, "You'd still know the answer."

He turns to face the open window, the smile fading as he mutters, "Rosa…"

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

He reaches over to the window and promptly closes it, taking care to lock it this time. "Heating bill is astronomical— "

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash,

Griffin raises his brows, watching the man raise to his feet with a thoughtful look on his face. "I assure you, Mister Russo, that I'm your ally. I have to apologize. I take offense to guns being pointed at me." This is stated in a calm, matter-of-fact tone, like he doesn't mind one way or another. Not your fault, you didn't know.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

"Sent by Heller?" It's Griffin's turn to offer something between a scoff and an outright laugh. "No, I'm afraid that if I was in contact with Heller, I would likely be very dead, rather than sitting in your depressingly underfurnished bedroom speaking to you." He shakes his head slowly, fussing at his own hair, though his is long enough that it stays fairly neat on his head.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer!

"I have information." He tilts his head toward the window, the shades suddenly drawing down and closing as he does so. Then, with a shark click, the light switch is flicked on, spilling light over the bedroom. "Colonel Leon Heller is the leader of the Staten Island division of FRONTLINE-OS. He is a dangerous fellow, and there is much more to that team than might meet the eye."

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick,

Running a palm over his unshaven face, Russo sighs quietly, disceringly, even as his eyes close amid a veil of dark lashes. His hands are rubbed over his eyes, trying to remove the bleary sleep-feeling contained within as he sighs again, finally managing, even though his own information may tell Griffin nothing new, "Heller is … dangerous." The frog in his throat begins to clear with the chatter. He twists around, away from the window to face Griffin.

"What team is it? Look, I know what they did on the rooftop of that parking garage, but I don't have the evidence to blow the case open. And…" his palm presses firmly against his forehead only to trace down to his neck, "I'd rather keep my head attached to my neck." With a whistle his gaze casts downwards momentarily, "We're doing what we can and being as subtle as we can in doing it, but more than one life is already in danger. And I suspect even more will be on the line if we don't pursue him." There's a pause, "What do you know?"

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Griffin leans back in his seat, quietly watching Russo with a silent, thoughtful expression on his face. As the man gives his own information, Griffin leans forward. "FRONTLINE-OS. The FRONTLINE team that has been in charge of Staten Island security." The man raises his eyebrows. "But they don't seem to be only restricted to Staten Island. I already know that he's dangerous. I've seen it first hand."

He's quiet for a long moment. Then, he reaches into the pocket of that scruffy hoodie he wears, withdrawing a picture. This floats through the air of its own accord, coming to hover right in front of Russo. It's a woman, perhaps related to the man who has unceremoniously intruded into Brad's home. "This is Marjorie Mihangle." A pregnant pause.

"She's my sister. She was murdered in cold blood by Colonel Heller. She made him tea, he broke her nose and shot her in the head. My son…my son, Owain, was able to hear everything, from the argument to the gunshot."

Then, Griffin leans foward, letting Russo get a good look at him. "And I am Griffin Mihangle. A known terrorist, member of the remnants of Messiah, and wanted for the murder of federal and FRONTLINE agents. Come tomorrow morning, they'll be blaming me for a good portion of what happened at d'Sarthe's, I'm sure." A grave expression rests over the lanky man's features.

##bfa877|"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

"I know about Heller because I'm one of the people he is after. The Red King— he told me that you and I could help each other." A glance is cast around the barren room, Griffin raising his eyebrows. "Tell me about what happened on the rooftop of that parking garage. You and I…we can work together to bring him down."

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,"

The picture is examined carefully while Russo quirks a single eyebrow. Hurt or damaged family is something that wears on him. His fingers move to his temples, gently massaging them while he allows this very early morning information to roll over his thoughts. Finally, the one question that eats him is asked, "She was evolved, wasn't she?" His lips press together unceremoniously, already certain he knows the answer based on all of the information he'd already put together.

So up to the house-top the courses they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too,

His gaze finally moves from the picture to the man again, not content, but certainly determined. "I met Heller in a parking garage after the studio got an anonymous tip about an en mass evolved execution." His nose twitches as his hands are shoved into the pockets of his pyjama pants. "Something went down in the garage, and I'm inclined to believe the tip, but…" he sighs, "it's gone. It was bought out by the army and was torn down."

He hmmms quietly, "We hired a PI. Heller has a history of violence, but with martial law I can't even begin to expose what we've found unless I have solid proof, and even then? We'll need a technopath to stay on the airwaves. K and I are sticking our necks out for this one, but the reasons we're doing it… it's the right thing to do. My passions aren't ignited as yours, Mister Mihangle— frankly, right now, with what happened, passion makes a person a liability rather than asset. But the American people need to know what their government is doing and move away from this fascist state."

And then, in a twinkling, I heart on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

"Honestly? I'm so disenfranchised with what they're doing, I'd believe someone in their ranks set up the entire November 8th riots just for martial law to be enacted. Even as the media, our hands are temporarily tied. At least until we can find something solid. And even then? They could have our necks without trial." He snaps his fingers, "We'd disappear. Last night my show had a fundraiser for veteran families. We want the attention. Because if push comes to shove— " he sighs, choosing not to finish the sentence. "— my best advice? Investigate. Get some solid evidence. We're doing the same." Beat. "And from there? From there we expose it. But we do it smart." Maybe even anonymously, as much as Russo would kill for the scoop, whether he'll die for it remains to be determined.

*As I drew in my head, and was turning around,**

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound,"

"She was, yes." A frown creases Griffin's features. "She could create force field. She saved my son with it when she manifested…" A frown creases his features, the man shaking his head slowly. "But…she sent me a text message. Told me that Heller was there. That he was looking for me, and that she was scared." He sighs. "I didn't get there in time.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

The man leans back, watching Russo. Nodding slowly, he rises to his feet, moving over to the window with a frown. "I may be impassioned— but I'm also determined to make this right. I have a son, one who is depending on me. Depending on my success." He closes his eyes, resting a hand against the wall. "I can't fail at this. I can't give up."

Glowing white eyes turn to peer quietly at Russo for a long while. "Mister Russo, count me in on the efforts to raise awareness of the rather disturbing situation our country finds itself in. As a former prisoner of Moab, and as someone who fights the government anyhow…I'll give you any information that I can."

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

"He has a problem with evolveds. I don't know who his targets are, but if the tip we got is to believed, he shot people in cold blood— it was unprovoked." Brad's eyebrows knit tightly together while his fingers lace in front of him. "Look. Your passion will do you well, but you have a son. Who is short one aunt because of Heller. You need to be as covert as we are. We hide in the open, attract attention where we can, and try our best to do things under cover as removed as we can make them until we have evidence."

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow,

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

Brad shifts his weight from one foot to the other, the small crow's feet wrinkles on his face wearing a little deeper as he frowns with an unsettled appearance. "And I'll take the help. God knows we need it— but you need to be even more careful than we are. Heller knows we were onto something with the parking garage. If he's already looking for you, then you're on his radar. You need to keep him and his people at bay even moreso than us."

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly,

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

"But honestly, I want to nail him to the wall. I want him, and this government, to be exposed for what they are, but I'd rather not completely fall off the map for treason— " not that being tried for treason is completely out of the question with such matters.

Russo takes a step towards Griffin while his eyes narrow, "The world isn't as it should be, I don't think anyone would deny it's true, but I'm sorry for what happened to your sister." With a shake of his head, he groans, "And she won't be the last. Not from what we've seen and what Heller seems capable of— "

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

A slow nod is offered to Brad. "He shot my sister in cold blood. She made tea for him, you know…there was tea made, and one cup was missing." A frown. "I don't know what happened…Owain won't talk." He sighs faintly, raising a hand to his face and rubbing at the bridge of his nose. "Hiding in the open isn't an option for me, sadly. I have a place that is safe— as much as any place containing many who resist can be, in any case." His eyes fade from their glowing state, leaving green eyes that look over what city he can see below.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

The man turns his green eyes toward the concerned Russo, his head tilting to the side as he regards the man with a dismayed expression. Something may tell Brad, however, that this expression doesn't leave Griffin's face very often these days. "The world has never been as it should be, Bradley. It never will be— not while there's still those who turn the other cheek. Not while we let those who make it as it is continue to exist."

The man takes a breath. "I have a technopath searching for information on Heller for me. If there is anything that you can think of, any direction I can point her in to make things easier, then let me know." A small frown.

"Heller will pay."

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

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