Summer Wine With The Spider Queen


helena_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title Summer Wine With The Spider Queen
Synopsis On a hot summer night, Helena and Lucrezia discuss Teo, the Vanguard, and Pinehearst over wine.
Date June 21, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Fourth Floor Safehouse - Lucrezia's Apartment

Summer nights in New York City can be awfully uncomfortable. Fortunately, the Village Renaissance building has some rather excellent climate control, and so hopefully, any misery on Lucrezia's part won't be because of the heat. Unfortunately, a potential source of misery in the form of an annoying blonde person knocking at her door may still mark the passing of an evening without peace.

Air conditioning is one of those modern conveniences that anyone who happens to be twenty-five years old and younger can't imagine living without. Lucrezia, however, is of sufficient age and humble upbringing to recall the novelty of her first night spent in a hotel with air conditioning that didn't come in the form of an electric fan and a block of ice. Sicilian summers were not only hot but also exceptionally heavy with humidity. It's one of the little luxuries that she never fails to give thanks for whenever she's on her knees before that nice Man with nails in his hands. In the summer months, at any rate.

All the same, when the knock arrives, she sends an eight-legged spy to determine the identity of the person come to call and then takes her time in winding her her from the den to the door. When the latches are all finally unfastened and the wood is parted from the jamb, there's Lucrezia standing in all of her casual glory in the living room, sufficiently more dressed for the sake of company than she was some few days ago when she let her cigarette smoke choke up the almost empty hall. "Buona sera."

"G'Evening, Lucrezia." Helena replies. Jeans and a tank top serve for a hot summer night, even in a building with climate control, her blonde hair coiled at the nape of her neck. "May I come in?" It's very hard to read Lucrezia, and so Hel just sticks to honesty. "I've got a lot to tell you about what's been going on with Teo. And other things I'd like to talk to you about, if you're inclined."

The door is allowed to swing wide and the Italian woman gestures to the interior of the apartment with a practiced grace that comes just as naturally as breathing and blinking. "By all means," she says, waiting until the invitation is accepted before closing the door behind the blonde but without latching the locks.

Lucrezia is attired similarly to her young companion, although the camisole top she wears may also double as genuine lingerie, but her modesty — ha! modesty — remains intact. She indicates the couch in the living room before making the standard, "Can I get you anything to drink?" offer.

"Anything cold would be lovely. Anything alcoholic and could," Helena adds wryly, "Would be awesome." She makes her way in and takes a seat, past Lucrezia, who can now see the flame/phoenix/tribal motif tattoo on the girl's shoulderblade. She takes a seat and seems inclined to watch Lucrezia move, not out of any sense of paranoia so much as the sort of curiousity that a young woman has in trying to unravel the mystery of an older, more worldly one. "Has anyone told you much about what's been happening with Teo these past few weeks?" she asks from her seat.

After her strange attempt at seduction with soda from the other evening, Lucrezia recognized that the libations made available to her were insufficient in both variety and alcohol content and so had issued a very polite request for something more suited to her taste. Without a proper (fake) ID of her own nor any access to money that might rightly be her own, she was at the mercy of her hostesses. What she got was Franzia — some sangria in a bloody box — but she wasn't about to complain.

The dark-haired angel of uncertain doom disappears off into the kitchen for a few glass-tumbling and ice-fetching moments before she reappears with two tall cups of a red beverage that may just as well be considered the fruit punch of the Mediterranean. With one offered over to Helena, she finally finds a reply to the young woman's original inquiry. "Not as of late." It's technically true. Bugs aren't people; they do not quality as an anyone so much as an anything.

Helena accepts it with a murmured thank you, peering into the liquid like it's some kind of oracular mirror. Or maybe she's checking for insects. "Someone's gone wrong." she says, beginning at the beginning. "Weeks ago. Teo had gotten together with his boyfriend at another one of our safehouses. And then attacked him, and stole… some important things. Thing's he's been doing since, they don't add up."

Boyfriend. The term makes the Italian woman's lips purse ever so subtly as she draws the rim of the glass up to greet her perfect teeth. She lets the brief story unfold in a sip and then echoes, "Some important things." The sangria is then set aside as she scans the room for her fancy cigarette case; it was one of her few personal effects to have been salvaged from the aftermath of the raid on her suite, kept safe in the hand(s) of a sentimental priest. It isn't far away but it is out of reach. She points to it on the end table next to Helena's elbow and asks, "Could you…?"

She's then back to the conversation at hand and continues, "What sort of things?" That question could rightly be finished with either 'did he take?' or 'has he been doing?' since the same word was used interchangeably by the blonde. Lucrezia is probably seeking the specifics on both matters, of course, but taking a stab at either will serve just as well.

Helena reaches for the cigarette case, snags it, and holds it out in a downward claw to drop into an offered palm. "Samples of the formula to create synthetic abilities in people." Helena says frankly. "Before we made it to the roof right before we came back from the future, I took as many samples as I could carry. But only three samples survived the trip, and Teo stole them."

Oh. Oh. Well then. Those are important things. Lucrezia's expression becomes much more enlightened even while her deft fingers seem to work independently of the rest of her body in order to open the case now retrieved and fish out a dark-papered clove cigarette to smoke. With the unlit stick held between her fingertips, she wagers a gesture with it before burning begins, pointing to nothing in particular as she asks another question. "How long ago was this?"

"Some weeks." Helena admits. "The fact that I even had those samples isn't widely known to most of Phoenix's membership, much less that they were even taken. He hasn't done anything with them, hasn't given them to anyone. The way he stole them, though - it was like he was a different person. People think he's been possessed, or it's a shapeshifter, but…" Helena shakes her head. "It's him. He tried to turn over one of our contacts to a particularly nasty crimelord on Staten, and he's been on a cop killing spree. But he's also been talking to me, and when he does it - he talks like Teo, but different. I can't put my finger on it."

Perfectly-plucked black eyebrows lift as the first curls of smoke roll off of the Italian woman's tongue prior to any offered words. "Can't you?" she wonders, somewhat rhetorically, though there's significant enough a pause given to allow the younger woman to chime in with something, should she so choose, before Lucrezia cares to follow up her query with anything else.

"It's Teo." Helena says, giving Lucrezia a wary look. "But it's not. I've told people to stay out of his way. But I don't know how to explain what's going on."

"You're right," she replies simply. "It is." A drag is stolen from her spiced vice before she waters down the flavor of cloves on her tongue with another sip of sangria. "Although, technically, I supposed we should say it will be…"

Lucrezia can't help it. She's feeling infinitely superior in this particular moment and it shows through in her expression which, eerily enough, echoes the far more familiar face of the man they're currently discussing. She's showing off the progenitor mask of Teo's seldom seen 'sometimes I even impress myself' facial expression.

"He came to see me," she goes on to explain. "I wondered why he used the window…"

"It will be." Helena echoes, frowning and looking off to the side, "It will be…" She blinks. "Are you saying that Teo - from the future? The future we were in? But how, he didn't jump back with us, and he'd be himself not in another…" she trails off yet again.

"He is, as they say, a man on a mission." And that's seemingly all the further insight on the situation that Lucrezia cares to share until she imbibed a bit more smoke and sangria. In the silence that ensues, she keeps a sharp eye on Helena, observing the young woman's mental machinations with the same sort of fascination one might bestow upon a playful pet or a very intriguing piece of art.

Helena's expression goes from being a process of working through a thought to being very aware that she's being regarded like a poodle who's just done a backflip, and what will that crazy canine do next? "I'd like to ask you something." she says. "A few somethings, actually."

"Mio ragazzino is perhaps more clever than most might give him credit for. I feel sorry for anyone ignorant enough to underestimate him." This said in the space of a moment before her next breath of sickly spiced air is sucked in.

A few fingers splay out as Lucrezia wield her cancer wand and rolls her rest in a gesture that might be magnanimous if it came from a queen or the Pope or possibly someone not currently clad in a camisole and someone else's jeans. She's too busy swallowing smoke to muster up anything verbally but her hand says 'go ahead'.

"Why did you join the Vanguard?" Helena studies Lucrezia a moment, letting it occur to her that she's allowing Lucrezia to make her feel small, and she doesn't have to. There's a subtle straightening of her spine.

"Why did you feel compelled to oppose them?" Them. Not us. While it's sometimes a sign of weakness to answer a question with another question, in this particular instance, it's clear that the answer is assumed to be the same. Sweet smoke continues to curl from the tip of Lucrezia's slowly shrinking cigarette as she inclines her head ever so subtly to the young woman seated opposite her.

"Because I wasn't interested in seeing ninety-eight percent of the world's population die." Helena says. "First and foremost. Because he killed Cameron. Because his people caused death and fear and pain to so many people, including people I care about."

"Because you wanted to save the world," Lucrezia sums up the cliche. It isn't as bitter or biting a summary as it could be. "Well, so did I. The method of execution— " The double entendre is delivered naturally and without contrivance; she isn't tripping over a poorly-chosen word in the translation that takes place somewhere between her mind and her mouth. "— may have been different, but the intention was still the same."

"How hard would it be," Helena asks softly, "For you to infiltrate Pinehearst with your insects? Provided you were willing to do it."

"Infiltration is never the problem." Which naturally implies that something else left unspoken is an issue but Lucrezia isn't apt to expose her weaknesses so easily. "The question is… what would I be looking for?"

"At the moment I'd want details about blind spots in their security, any idea of how and when Arthur leaves the building, and who he interacts with. I'd also," there's a swallow, "I'd also like to know the status of his son, Peter."

Lucrezia finishes off the last of her cigarette and says, "I can do this. Ideally, I'd like to be closer to the facility than here…"

"In order to get your minions in the right place?" Helena asks. "I'm sure a drive can be arranged for a nice, sunny day."

"Something like that," Lucrezia says, sipping the dregs of her sangria and not bothering to go into the intricacies of just how she does what she does. It's complicated. Just ask Gillian.

"Would you be willing?" Helena asks. She's waiting to see if Lucrezia wants something in return.

"To gather information for you? That depends…" Empty-handed and without something to keep her fingers occupied, Lucrezia is ill-at-ease simply sitting still. Instead, she rises from the couch and clutches at her empty glass before likewise eyeing the one Helena was given to see if she's sufficiently lubricated or if a refill might be in order. "Was I your last resort?" she asks over her shoulder before disappearing into the kitchen again.

"No." Helena admits, "But you were a sudden inspiration. I'm not sure if you consider that better or worse. I don't know where you stand, and I don't want to make assumptions. It's a mistake, to just think people are going to do anything because you see it as being the means to something right and just, or even necessity. I don't know that your question has any good answer, but for what it's worth, that's the honest truth."

Honesty has never been so sinister or alien a thing to Lucrezia as some folks might like to reckon. Truth — like lies — has its place in the scheme of things and both can be the honey with which to catch flies… or a woman who can control them. She returns to the living room without haste, a fresh refilled glass of wine in hand, and offers only, "I'll consider it." But, that, too, is the honest truth.

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