Pick Your Poison


bryan_icon.gif elle_icon.gif

Scene Title Pick Your Poison
Synopsis Elle pops by Bryan's office to simply drop off something, but the atmosphere quickly becomes more … charged than that.
Date September 3, 2008

Primatech Research

A soft instrumental jazz tune, turned down low in some gesture of congenial office etiquette, fills Bryan Buckley's otherwise quiet office with a lazy sort of air. There's really no reason for the un-partnered agent to have come into the "office" today. Still, trading one boring, empty set of walls for another where there is at least sentient life /nearby/ is trading up. In a way. At least by Bryan's standards. He sits in a chair he can't really claim as his own, his fingers interlaced and hands resting on his stomach. His eyes are closed, and for all accounts, it looks like the assassin is asleep on his…well, in his office.

The atmosphere isn’t going to stay so tranquil for long, looks like. In a company like the Company, it’s wise to keep one’s toes up in case something /unexpected/ shows up at any inconvenient hour. In Bryan’s case, this has appeared at his door in the form of Elle – who hadn’t bothered to knock before sticking her head and shoulders in. Dressed in a softly-belted, dark yellow sweater jacket and jeans, she appears to watch the older Agent’s closed eyelids for a long moment before speaking, one hand gripping the doorframe as she peeks past it. An amused smile that does not reach her eyes is on her face. “Sorry to interrupt your nap, sleepyhead.”

"What nap?" Bryan asks without missing a beat. He keeps his eyes closed, but it's not hard to place Elle's voice, identifying her as his visitor. He remains otherwise still a moment more before he sits up, the chair coming with him, and turns to face the partially open door. "Miss Bishop," he says in greeting, knowing which side his bread is buttered on to some extent as well as falling victim to general good manners. "Do you need something?"

Elle does not appear sorry at all as she sweeps into the office more completely, leaving the door partly ajar behind her; good manners, of course, are a matter of form and not feeling. “Actually, /you/ need something, Bryan. Dad sent me to give this to you.” A thin pile of papers had been clutched in her left hand, which she produces in front of his chair now with something of an earnest flourish. No explanation as to what lies in there, but Bryan will know what to do with it surely enough. It appears to be additional paperwork.

Additional, of course, is a relative term. Bryan's eyes light up a bit when he sees the folder. He does his best to disguise his excitement as he reaches out to take the collection of papers. "Thank you, Elle." After all, if she is going to forego social formalities, why should he cling to them? "I hope you've been kept busy," Bryan says as he starts to idly flip through the file. Now that he has this, things are sure to be more…active. At least for a little while.

“I have, yes,” Elle answers in a slyly clipped voice. After a pause, she goes to stand right behind Bryan’s chair so she can look down on the files as he flips through them. She folds her arms as she does so, long ponytail swishing behind her. “Everybody needs something to do. /You/ look happy about getting more to do for some reason.”

Inside the folder is a dossier of a man who has some tie to The Company. A tie that needs to be cut, but Elle may or may not know that. Bryan closes the folder when Elle comes up behind him, not wanting to invite too many questions. It's no mystery to those within The Company what he does, what he's used for. "What is a hammer when it simply lies on a workbench, unused?" he asks, the glint of a smile in his dark eyes.

It doesn’t matter if Elle does, really; presumably, she might have done a little peeking on her way over as a messenger. She stays exactly where she is nonetheless. “You must really like what you get to do, Bryan,” she observes with a shading of interest, reaching to grip the back of the chair and tilting her face so it’s close to his, but not intrusively. The reference, of course, is to those fangs inside that mouth.

Elle is rewarded, if one could call it that, by an actual smile - one that reveals those fangs, courtesy of The Company. "I'd rather do what I was made to do than be a strangely shaped hunk of metal." It's an awkward metaphor, but too good to go to waste, as far as Bryan is concerned. "We're not all as…jubilant about our work as you, though." He's silent for a moment, then turns his head to look at Elle as best as he can, though it is still out of the corner of his eye. "Haven't you ever done it quickly? One big burst, like Old Sparky?"

The reply is a close-lipped smile that might almost have the effect of a glower, if it wasn’t also mischievous. A fingertip is extended to touch Bryan’s cheek, arcing a bright-blue ZZZT between air and skin right as she presses it there. It will hurt, certainly, but it’s meant to be a teasing jolt and nothing more harmful. “Lots and lots of times,” Elle confirms mysteriously. “Sometimes, though, it’s much more fun to let it linger.” Does Bryan have this option with his venomous powers? She does not know.

Bryan winces, if only to give Elle what he considers her desired effect. Leaning his head away, Bryan lifts his hand to rub at his cheek where he was zapped, his former smile sliding into a smirk. "I can't imagine it being very…subtle. You could cause such a ruckus even your old man would have trouble cleaning up after you." Bryan's rubbing doesn't last long. He sends his upraised hand out to snatch Elle's wrist. He brings his face close to her hand once again, but his teeth are bared. Lucky for the 'little' girl, Bryan's had his meds today. But that doesn't mean he can't tease just as much as she can.

It surprises Elle when she’s grabbed, focused as she had been on monitoring for a reaction. Though her blue eyes reflect baleful astonishment for a split second, it soon fades back into a shadowy quirk of a smile. “Depends on what you mean by subtle, Drac. Do you know why some people take /so/ much longer to die in electric chairs than others?”

Bryan can't help but laugh at the nickname, and the sound comes from deep in his chest. He lets go of Elle's wrist and leans back in his chair before touching his fingertips together in an arc, mocking the posture of a count. "I have no idea, Elle. Why?"

“It’s because they burn to death from the inside,” Elle says lightly, replacing her hand with a casual swing to its former resting position on Bryan’s chair as if nothing had happened. “The lucky ones have their organs fail right away. But if there’s not enough of a shock to kill fast, those organs end up sizzling like stuff that’s been in the oven too long.” There is apparent relish in her voice, or at a patient least lack of the opposite. First-hand recounting, this.

That laugh rises up again. "We're not too different, you and I, Elle." Bryan seems wholly amused by this. "Tell me," he says, settling back in his chair so that he can look up at Elle rather than over at her. "If I were to bite you, and you had a choice as to where I did so, what spot would you pick?"

Elle raises her eyebrows and settles her lower lip into something resembling a pout; she seems less pleased by this question than by the former. “What makes you think I’d let you bite me?” she inquires girlishly. At least Bryan can’t /shoot/ venom, like a snake. The male agent would be a lot more dangerous.

"Oh, Elle," Bryan says with a mocking sort of sigh. "You aren't /any/ fun when you refuse to be hypothetical." Biting the 'boss's' daughter would be a bad idea. A very bad idea. Even if Bryan were harmless at the time. It's hard to imagine Old Bob taking that very well at all.

It’s hard to imagine Old Sparky taking it well, either. Control freak, yo – among other issues. “Don’t you have work to do?” Elle reminds the man peevishly as she leans, though she makes no move to leave. She lets her eyes settle on different items of interest around the office, noting how monotonous it all is. “We’ll have to get somebody to improve your office a little. A lot.”

"You're changing the subject," Bryan warns, but he doesn't press any further than that. "Why? he then asks, arching an eyebrow. "I don't really have what could be called a 'desk job.' Why pretty up a place where I don't spent that much time?" Not that he would stop the little blonde. And it isn't too bland. It's just…efficient.

“Why not?” is the glib and easy response, as Elle is still letting her gaze rove around the room. It snaps back to Bryan’s face as the warning registers, her own eyes hardening on his at the same time as a small smirk. “Fine. I’d let you bite my hand so I could shock /you/ wherever I wanted, once your head was distracted.” She snakes one palm out, just a little to pick at a loose strand of thread at Bryan’s shoulder, where her thumb and forefinger loop around and around, mockingly.

Bryan can't help but smile when Elle finally decides to play his game, even if she does end up playing with his sportcoat as well. "Alright then. Assuming I get enough into you before you fry my brain, it would take you some time to actually feel the effects. You wouldn't be able to clot, for one, so those little pinpricks," and he pauses to smile a broader smile, showing off those fangs once again, "would bleed. But then that blood - those cells? - well, they'd break down. Stop up your veins. Cut off the supply to limbs and organs, causing them to start to decay. Then it'd stop up your heart." This, of course, is textbook knowledge: Bryan's never stuck around to see it happen.

Though she doesn't withdraw her fingers, Elle periodically pauses them as she listens to Bryan's explication. Her lips grow only wider as he nears the end. "Yeah, I'd fry your brain, first. I don't think I'd like to die that way," she says dryly, thoughtfully, shaking her head as she tilts it. "So can you pick how fast the victim dies, or does that just depend on how much venom's there?"

"It has to be a lethal dose," Bryan says with a shrug. He might as well be discussing the finer points of the jazz that still ebbs from the one personal touch he's given the office. Bryan stands then, moving slowly, as if approaching a wild animal. He doesn't let his eyes leave Elle's. As if about to dance with her, he takes one of her hands in his own and sets the other on her side, in that perfect 'non-perverted-uncle' zone of propriety. "What would kill you wouldn't be enough to kill your father, for instance. Close, but not quite," he continues, his voice more of a whisper as he brings his face closer to Elle's ear. Bryan pauses, repositioning as if to perform that Dark Kiss of lore Elle alluded to earlier. "If I were to bite your neck, like old Vladimir himself, you'd die before you hit the floor." Let's just hope that Mr. Bishop isn't fond of watching the tapes of Bryan's office camera. What's a little harmless dancing, anyway?

It is with a look of sarcastic, expectant boredom that Elle allows Bryan to effectively place her into a ‘ballrooming’ position, her smile curling darkly at its edges. That, and her personal feeling that she has everything under control. “So you prefer it like /that/, do you,” she pronounces matter-of-factly after a stare, suddenly seizing one of Bryan’s free shoulders while wrenching tighter her grip on the hand that he’s holding. “What’s to stop you from doing it right now?” As she speaks, voltage pumps through her closed hands and simultaneously into Bryan’s shoulder and palm. To avert the first instinctive response of jerking, she tightens her clasp on those areas like talons, her eyes locked like steel into his as she does so. The electricity that flows is violent, enough to cause contractions in Bryan’s muscles, especially if he’s tight. Still not enough to leave lasting damage – she knows what she’s doing - though it might leave a reminder in pain.

Bryan 's breath hitches in his chest, but he closes his eyes tightly and grits his teeth. That sound is undoubtedly audible, with as close as his face is to the girl's ear. "You know as well as I do that they don't /dare/ let me hang around here or anywhere else with any potency," the assassin says through gritted teeth. At least as far as /that/ is concerned. "Believe me," he coughs out, "I'm no threat to /you/, Miss Bishop."

“Don’t flatter yourself that I’ve been concerned about /that/,” Elle replies, a hint of smugness smattered with cool delight detectable in her voice. Her head turns towards their entwined hands, of which she makes a turning motion with a slight flourish. “I like you, Bee. You can be cute when you want to be.”

Even though the current has been switched off, Bryan is still tingly in places he'd rather not be. He breathes a bit heavier, but masks it with another deep-seated laugh. "Glad to hear you think so. It's not something I practice at." He grips her hand a bit tighter, then turns her, as if they were in a dark club rather than a bland office. "I think I liked 'Drac' better than 'Bee', though, but I have to point out I'm in no way like either."

Elle 's heels squeal silently on the bare floor as they pivot, though the slim woman holds a steady look into the dark-skinned man's face right before she untwists abruptly. The expression there is derogatory, disrespectful, though it's anyone's guess that she's enjoying herself greatly as the impromptu moves unroll. "Sure you are," she says with the tiniest one-shouldered shrug during a pause. "Baby vampire."

"Calling me a vampire implies I drink your blood," Bryan answers in a slightly offended tone. But he catches Elle all the same and begins to actually dance with her. The physical reflects the mental, as it were. "Which I don't. Vampires aren't poisonous, either. It'd be like calling you a lightning bug."

“You bite people. Doesn’t make a lot of difference to me why you do it.” Partnered dancing isn’t exactly Elle’s forte, however, and before Bryan has time to do too much else she comes to a halt by herself. Though the stopping is gradual, the actual /stop/ might take Bryan by surprise, for it’s rather sudden. The hand that had been resting on his shoulder had been creeping up to the back of his neck sometime in the process, where it rests for a moment, stroking teasingly. “Really. You /should/ be getting back to that desk, hm?”

It's when they stop that Bryan notices the hand on his neck, and it is quite jarring. He sets his teeth and then glances down at the folder where it lays on his chair. "But my work is elsewhere," he muses with a smirk. "Still, I concede the point." Releasing Elle's hands, the older agent nods his head, a vestigial gesture of a simpler time.

It doesn’t take long for Elle to head back in the direction of the door once they’re done. When she reaches the doorframe, she steps beyond it before swinging herself back again, at least partway. Five tiny blue lines gather at her five upheld fingers, positioned as though they’re in a wave, though her elbow remains at her side. She extinguishes them all by snapping her hand closed, and in the same motion a neatly lopsided smile appears. “See you around, Bee.”

September 3rd: A Change of Pace

Previously in this storyline…
Philosophy and Popsicles

Next in this storyline…

September 3rd: Remembrances
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