Playing Favorites


gabriel_icon.gif grigori_icon.gif kazimir5_icon.gif

Scene Title Playing Favorites
Synopsis Kazimir makes good on his promise to Gabriel.
Date January 7, 2009

USS George Washington

"…and then, they can go about their assigned tasks."

It's a cunning plot, one befitting of Kazimir Volken's often times overly complicated scheming. Heading down the stairwell from the midship deck to the brig, the long walk has given he and the taller man following at his heels time to discuss the future, and time to discuss just why it is so important that Gabriel Gray follows his instructions. Rounding the corner of the stairs at a landing, Kazimir grows silent as he passes by a soldier coming up from the brig. He has permission to come down here, and perhaps he's leading Gabriel to be locked up, there's nothing suspicious about his presence at all, not until he flashes a smile once the solider is well past him.

"My cooperation with the government's flailing attempt at finding the bomb has solely been to utilize their resources to set about that plan. It was by sheer serendipity that I was able to be present in Argentina to ensure that Hector Steel was taken, and even more fortunate that his sense of self preservation seems to have coerced him into cooperation. The man we're going to see, however, is less likely to listen to my requests. You are a picture of pliability, Gabriel," Kazimir pauses on a step, looking at the tall man over his shoulder, "in comparison to him."

Affording a grin, Kazimir returns to his descent, moving down to the bottom of the stairwell where he wrenches open the metal door to the brig, opening it into the long hallway flanked by barred cells. "I only request you be quiet, Ethan is down here and— it's best if no one but you and I know what's going to happen."

Having left his tension behind somewhere in the engine room, the equally cramped confines of the brig are roamed with the kind of ease of someone who is at least reasonably sure they won't wake up on the wrong sides of one of these doors. Gabriel shadows Kazimir— or whoever he happens to be— with a wandering kind of nonchalance, his hands pushed into pockets and making a good show of appearing like he isn't particularly peckish. Casting a look into the hallway of the lock up over Kazimir's shoulder, Gabriel doesn't act shocked that Ethan Holden is held down here.

He does react, with a soft snort. "Do you know what happened the last time someone tried to keep Holden in a cage?" he asks, obediently keeping his voice quiet. "He killed everyone involved." He would know — he gave him the means to do it, even if he wasn't sure about what he was doing at the time. "I can keep things quiet. You," and he pauses, meaningfully, head tilting as he observes the back of Kazimir's head, "never mastered Wu-Long's ability. I did."

The mention of Wu-Long makes Kazimir stop walking. Ethan's eventual murderous rampage is almost anticipated, but reminder of his time with Zhang's power makes Kazimir tense, brows crease and eyes avert to the floor. Quietly, Kazimir begins to walk again, less announcing his presence with each step and tap of his cane, eventually forgoing the entire object to tuck carefully under one arm. He does not deign verbal response to either sentiment; his pause is answer enough.

Further down the hall, Kazimir stops and looks to his right, into a darkened cell, swallowing anxiously as he looks to the blonde young woman curled up on her cot, asleep. "Darken that…" Kazimir whispers, motioning to the thin girl's back, "she does not need to wake up and see this." But it is the cell directly opposite of Yvette's that Kazimir turns to look at next, a cell containing an old man, strapped to a medical gurney with a respirator on his face, intraveinous tubing slid into his left arm and bags hanging from an IV stand beside the bed.

Departing from the middle of the hall, Kazimir produces his keys from the inside of his jacket, quietly going about unlocking the door while he waits to ensure that Yvette won't be able to witness what comes next.

With barely a blink of an eye, the space that is Yvette's cell blanks into darkness, thick shadows like a vertical standing murky lake brushing up the bars of her cell, but not before Gabriel has at least looked her way. But his focus is rapidly on Grigori, and as Kazimir attempts to quietly push key into lock and rotate the mechanism, Gabriel casually steps through the bars and into the space beyond, flesh changing without cue from something insubstantial and back to solid flesh and bone. His eyes glimmer, reptilian, his mouth gone small and narrow as he regards the man set out before him.

Easy prey. His nose wrinkles, but you don't look a gift horse in the mouth. "Tell me about her," he says, without glancing back at Peter's silhouette, hands now moving from his pockets, something gripped in his first. His thumb shifts to unfold the small pocket knife, the kind one would wear on a keychain as opposed to murder.

Blue eyes narrow when Gabriel phases through the bars, and Kazimir watches the serial killer with a marked level of scrutiny in his approach towards Grigori's prone form. "No," Kazimir states in firm assertion to the question of Yvette, "there is nothing you need to know of her. I have already given you one daughter." Blue eyes narrow, and Kazimir tucks the keys away, moving to stand close to the bars, but sees no need in entering the cell for himself.

"Adjust that tube," A black gloved hand points towards the flow valuve on Grigori's IV, "I want him to be awake for this." There's not just cruelty in those words, but a sense of righteous indignation. In the other members of the Vanguard, Kazimir had shown his own brand of cruel mercy, equally responsible for the monsters they had become as their willingness to follow through had made them. But Grigori was — and still is — different.

Grigori Zukhovsky had become a traitor to the cause, something that Kazimir seems to share no grudge towards the likes of Eileen or Ethan for, but perhaps it is ithe selfish reasoning behind Grigori's betrayal that has him most disheartened. Perhaps that is why he wants the closure of last words, why he needs to speak to his most difficult quarry one last time before the end.

There's a look cast over his shoulder, now, one that communicates a certain lack of agreement for the idea that Eileen was given. Or even taken. But it's not an argument for now — not the time nor the place, and not with Eileen's latest words still circling in his head like preying vultures. An eyebrow lifts at that command, and the knife on the end of its chain is flipped back into place to settle in his palm with a casual flick of his wrist. "If that's the way you want to do it."

Apparently, Gabriel doesn't have much in the way of objections. He steers around the gurney, moving towards the familiar tubes and bags of medical equipment leaking into the prisoner's system. The drip is adjusted with unhesitating fingers. "That was all I needed to know anyway," Gabriel states, conversation, steering a look back out the bars and tilting his head towards the blackened, shadowed cell of Yvette, a feline smirk growing on his face and dimming as subtly as it began.

As Gabriel's smirk dims, the pallid blue eyes belonging to the man on the gurney seem to brighten as his vision struggles to find focus. Grigori Zhukovsky is old, though not as old as what resides in Peter's body — mottled age spots pepper his balding scalp like the markings on the shell of a quail's egg. Silver hair grows in thin, wispy tufts at his ears and is bristlier around his mouth and jaw, lending his face a pale cast. When you go into a hospital at his age it usually means that you aren't coming back out again, and while the brig of the USS Washington is far removed from the infirmary where Gabriel spent his first few days after returning from Madagascar, the machinery that Grigori is hooked up to is reminiscent of something he might find back in New York City at St. Luke's. Primatech. Pinehearst.

His pick, really.

Vanguard's Russian cell leader recognizes Kazimir immediately, his dry lips cracking into a humourless smile utterly without hope. Even with the negation drugs coursing through his veins, he knows why he's here. Stories of what became of Ramirez and Rasoul have been circulating the ship for days.

No humor is reflected on Kzimir's face at Gabriel's smile, but that singular admission of Yvette's identity was as much warning as it was informative; she is as dear to Kazimir as Eileen, for whatever that could possibly be worth, considering what he did to her in Gabriel's body. But those were different times — mad times.

"It has been a long time, Grigori." Old friend does not quite fit their very business-like relationship. "You were always, and in some ways yet still are, one of my greatest adversaries." There's begrudging respect there, from Kazimir's more youthful countenance to the old man bound to the hospital gurney. "The only quarray ever hunted by the Vanguard to take nearly all its members to capture…" it's like a reading of a condemed man's crimes before his execution, but with far less righteousness. "I had hoped this day would come, and you and I could work side by side again. Alas, I do not feel it would be wise to extend to you that measure of trust." And yet somehow, it is wise to extend it to Gabriel; the lesser of two evils has very large horns yet.

"I did not wish to do you disservice," Kazimir admits with an incline of his head, "to let you pass from this world without last words." His gloved hand waves in the air, fingers splaying outm indicative that now, if ever, is his chance.

Gabriel backs up from the drip, watching Grigori regain his consciousness, and with one last glance to Kazimir, that's all the attention the two old men get from the Midtown Man. Keychain knife dangles, is caught up against his palm in a rhythmic, restless swing, fidgeting, but his movements otherwise are anything but nervous, or brimming with anticipation. Lethargic, Gabriel moves around the cell, only a fleeting interruption between Kazimir and Grigori as he crosses their line of sight.

He only lifts his eyebrows, cynical, at this apparent kindness in allowing the man last words before an inevitable end, but he makes no comment, just slowly paces around to the other side, free fingers trailing metal and cement walls and bars as he goes.

"Playing favourites again, I see." One bushy white brow lifts, creasing the wrinkled skin of Grigori's forehead. Crow's feet appear at the corners of his eyes. Whatever the dosage of the drug in his system, it's enough to prevent the old man from posing a threat, but it isn't enough to completely still the subtle ebb and flow of his ability. No illusions — only the innate instincts that accompany them and make Grigori's ability unique among his kind. "Even after word of your death reached us in Russia, Dreyfus, Kozlow and I continued to look after your little Yvette. He lost his son, you know. Carlisle. And yet you still favour him."

Blue eyes move from Peter's face to Gabriel's — or at least what little of it he can see from his flat position on the gurney, the serial killer's profile illuminated by a solitary sliver of light. "Interesting. What makes you think he's capable of using my gift as effectively as I do? He hasn't the imagination for it, I'll tell you that."

"Carlisle…" Kazimir murmurs, breathing in deeply before looking down at his feet, "Carlisle and Sasha," he murmurs quietly, looking troubled, as if he had forgotten something, a piece of the puzzle left out on the edge of the table, only noticed in its absence once the rest of the picture is in place and a portion of the border is left broken and undone. "I had all but forgotten about them," he admits in a way that is perhaps a greater cruelty.

Thoughtfully, Kazimir looks up form his feet, past Grigori, and up to the ceiling. "You looked after her because it suited your needs, not because you felt behooved to honor my last words. She is not without her uses, and even a man too lost in the fancy of art can discern her cutting edge." Tightness plays at the corners of Kazimir's eyes as he says those things of Yvette and Grigori.

"As for him…" Those blue eyes drift down from the light on the ceiling, watching Grigori with mixed compassion and contempt, a measure only Kazimir Volken can somehow keep in precarious equilibrium. "What he lacks in imagination," there is a conceding of the point in a nod of his head, "he more than makes up for in intuition."

It's Kazimir that Gabriel has come to watch, his back settling against cool concrete, his scratched up arm crossing over his midsection, elbow of the other one resting against it. The blunt side of the knife grazes against his slightly unshaven jaw, both metal and eyes managing to catch the light made dimmer by Wu-Long's ability, though not nearly as oppressively dark as Yvette's corner. His fingers wriggle, to call attention to himself. "I'm still in the room," he says, his voice a tone of mock offense, though quiet so not to rouse the others within their cages. He shares none of their gravity of the situation, not for Grigori's last words, and not for Kazimir's apparent shift in agenda.

A sneer replaces a smirk, taking his weight off the wall. "This doesn't have to do with creativity or intuition, and I'm not his anything. I just have something to live for, old man."

"He's frightened," Grigori says. The sound of thin, rasping laughter fills the cell — still, his gaze does not flinch away from Gabriel, even as he can feel Kazimir's eyes on him again and, in his own way, sense the sension thickening in the air. "Just a scared little boy seeking approval from his absent father and dead mother." As he speaks, he flexes arthritic fingers and siphons what energy reserves his body has left into the act of tapping the younger man's subconscious.

"You're putting all your faith in a whelp who can't even control himself when the lives of his loved ones are on the line." He rolls excess tension from his shoulders and breathes out a long sigh through his nostrils. What he's doing, Kazimir knows, takes a great deal of effort even if it doesn't show on his face's craggy surface. His eyes lid halfway shut. "Ask him what he chose in Madagascar."

Neck muscles tighten when Kazimir is brought to consider Gabriel's level of control, and it's only in that observation that his breathing falters and his lips part, something not quite Kazimir slinking up into his vision at the narrowing of his eyes, a weakness of emotion that Kazimir must struggle to swallow back down and regain control of. Blue eyes become fast focused on Grigori as his jaw sets, "This worked once in Russia," Kazimir admits with a tightness in his voice, "you may have been able to coerce Daiyu, but he and I bear little semblance to one another."

Steeling himself, he finds no poetry in the two fingered motion he makes towards Grigori. Fingers raised as if poised to signal something to happen, but Kazimir's shoulders square, back stiffens, and for a moment it looks like he may well falter. But in feigned coldness at the back of his throat, Kazimir motions towards Grigori as sign to Gabriel. "You are the only one I am not sorry about."

Yet, for all the tension in his voice, every single sylable lacks conviction. One last seed of doubt to be planted, in too fertile soil.

Gabriel's expression is made up more of shadows and light than true emotion, a sharkish blankness in his eyes as he considers the prisoner held prone in front of him, and a sliver of teeth show when his lips pull back in the way dogs do. In one way, it rescues Kazimir from any immediate doubt, the serial killer's attention stolen and focused on Grigori, and upon the gesture, he doesn't particularly mind that he appears well-trained, in some way, to make his kill.

Perhaps he's just being polite. Pausing, Gabriel looks down at Grigori, body angled somewhat away from where Kazimir stands, before he seems to take a deep breath through his nose. It's not the scent of water, metal, chemicals and human sweat that he's detecting, however, shoulders rolling back a little, satisfaction flooding into place to replace what had been tension and anger.

"I'm not the only one who's frightened," he says, voice nearly a hiss, before he places a hand on Grigori's forehead, and sets the knife to his temple. With that shimmer of strength gleaned from fear, he pushes the dull blade through skin, piercing bone with a sudden jerk, and blood flows rapidly.

The noise Grigori makes is strangled — a wolf caught in a baited snare — but rather than snap, snarl or attempt to twist away, he rolls his eyes up at Gabriel, showing him their whites. Some of his victims scream. Others are too shocked by what's happening them to do anything but open and close their mouths around harsh gasps for air. This one is a combination of both, sickly and wet, his lips moving to form words that spray warm spittle.

"You're going to die in Niflheim," he rasps, choking. "No one will avenge you. No one will mourn you." As the blood from his scalp spills down Grigori's face, filling his vision, his nostrils and mouth, he lifts his chin as if welcoming the cascade. Terror swells in his heart until it's about to stop, burst. "You're right— Gabriel. You don't— deserve— You don't deserve to be—"

Whatever word might have completed that sentence dies on Grigori's tongue when he does.

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