Victory Is At Hand


ethan_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Victory Is At Hand
Synopsis Ethan and Francois learn how to fight mermaids, should the need arise.
Date December 10, 2009

Ryazan University: Library

That Francois takes Ethan Holden along to a trip to the library is a sign of bad decision making, if only in whom he chooses for companionship, with the Wolf ranking second on this year's Most Dour list. Or maybe not. It's a vague time of day, with sunlight struggling through high windows, catching itself on dust as much as it does on the spines of books and those that wander through the university library. It won't be his first, second or even third trip here, and maybe not even the last.

The book of Russian folklore lies open in Francois' palm, balanced by his other hand as he scans the tiny print written on thick pages. Ink drawings of twisted mermaid shapes have a minor caption, and the entry is small and repetitive. Still, he reads, finishes the entry and draws a breath through his nose. The musty scent of paper is familiar and not unpleasant, and he goes to push the book back into place with a rustle of his wool-lined denim jacket.

"«Always get these two characters confused.»" Guess what, Ethan is complaining. But it is in Russian so it's okay. Holding his own book, Ethan decides that the letter problem is too much of an annoyance and it's shoved back into the bookshelf. "«I hate reading Russian.»" Ethan groans, bringing his hand back to his chin. Scrubbing his stubble, he lets his finger trail along a few titles before glancing over to Francois.

"This is retarded." He reminds, that is researching Russian folklore. Placing his palm over his lips, he narrows his eyes slightly at the masses of books. A light hum is let out over his hand, taking a single step back, bouncing on his heels.

"Oui," Francois agrees, forehead crinkling as he regards the shelf. It's not a section of particular magnitude, and so, dutifully, he selects the next most promising title he scans, taking a step back from the shelving as he flips it open. "But it is better than doing nothing. Miss Kolosova, of the doctor's clinic, said that he saw a rusalka - and unless river spirits have become as real as magical abilities, then there is reason to believe it was an illusion."

The pages flick dryly through his fingers, licking the corner of his thumb as he goes to turn pages, sending a glance to Ethan. "My memory of the folklore is not good. I can't think of why Grigori would use such an image, just now."

"Just because it is an illusion. Doesn't mean it's Grigori." Ethan murmurs as he examines a few books, deeming them unworthy of grabbing. "One thing I've learned from 'unting your type is that there's plenty of every type, crawling around in the cracks and whatnot. Could be another party." He pauses for a moment, thinking about what just came out of his mouth.

A sharp, short laugh, makes other library goers have sour faces.

"It's Grigori." He grins, shaking his head. He gives Francois a look then, mirth slipping off his features. "Maybe someone should ask him."

Francois' head tips a little in concession. It could be another. He doesn't go to put his book back, however, stepping away enough to lean his back against the opposite shelves as he reads. The bark of laughter, however, does snag his attention upwards, brows lifting in amusement which is soon replaced in polite bafflement. "I imagine we'd have a great many other questions to ask him, if we had the opportunity," is spoken wryly, searching Ethan's expression.

Eyeing a few books Ethan gives a sharp shake of his head. "We aint gonna find answers to why Grigori is a weird fucker, 'ere." Ethan growls, pulling out another book in spite of his most recent statement. Though he does little more than skim over the table of contents before putting it back. Maybe it was just for dramatic action or to make him seem smart but, "And whot kind've questions would you ask 'im, Frankie?"

"My name is Francois," is a gentle reminder, eyes turned back down to the page he reads as he braces a boot against the lowest shelf. "And the only questions I have would be, I imagine, ones he would not answer. I've spoken to few men and women of the Vanguard, but what they have to say is often the same thing, similar truths and lies. This chapter says something about rusalka being restless ghosts who will be at peace if avenged. It also speaks about how they will die if their hair stops being wet."

Fwip. Francois sharply shuts the book with a shrug of his shoulders at Ethan. "I understand you knew him, Grigori. His name is after my time, like yours is. Did you know him very well?"

"So we should carry around blow dryers set to max power." Ethan murmurs, tilting his head down with a light shrug. "Victory is at 'and." He takes a few steps away from Frankie, nodding. "Roight, Francois." Though the last syllable is a little over exaggerated as Ethan starts to shift into full-ass mode. One finger traverses the bumps and curvature of books on the row as he walks the length of the aisle. Stopping only at the end to turn around and speak.

"Killed a few in 'is cell. The old man liked to 'ave me offin' our own men every now and then. Mostly for crossing lines, breaking rules, failure. It's why they started to call me th'Wolf. But.." He tilts his head to the side. "Sometimes it was less discipline and more message if y'catch my meaning." He lets out a light sigh. "'ad a few run ins, but never really got t'know 'im, no." He lies.

The book is slid back into place, and Francois tucks his hands back into his pockets rather than automatically go for the next one. There'd been a glimmer of mirth for the first comment, but now he only listens, head tilted in attention. "Ah, I see." And he does, at least, on the subject of what gave Ethan his name. He shows his back to the other man, as much as he's good at schooling his own expressions. Surgeon fingers wander down the spines as he steers himself away a few steps. "That must have made you popular."

"I was the coolest boy in school." Ethan says wryly, folding his arms over his chest as he examines the end of the bookshelf without any particular passion. Glancing at the man's back he jerks with his head. "This is pointless. We already know we need blow dryers, let's get th'fuck out of 'ere."

"And what is that you are doing that is so important?" The sharpness in Francois' voice is unmistakable, now, angling a look back at the other man, making no move to walk away just yet. "Was there much point, in staying locked away at the Spektor house rather than perhaps finding any hint of information about the ghost Grigori had Kozlow see? Is not the nuclear weapon named after mythology also? We cannot know something is pointless until it is checked, monsieur."

After watching Francois for a long moment, a flare of recognition bursts in his eyes though it is quickly dampened. And disguised as just a casual angry Ethan look at the Frenchie. Scowling Ethan waves a dismissive hand, "Then check it out, fuckstick." The man growls, taking a step back. "I'm 'eadin' back to get locked up at the Spektor 'ouse." He lies again.

"I am done," Francois declines, his tone oddly brittle compared to the warmth he generally tries to exude. The only effort he makes to leave is to follow Ethan a step. "You were Volken's hitman for his own people, and so you know what deceptions men are capable of. I am as well." If there's more to say on this point, he holds his tongue instead, studying the other man across from him before fixing his jacket. "I would like much to trust you. It is not easy. Come, let's go."

Tucking his hands in his coat pockets, Ethan goes to walk with Francois instead of whatever short-cooked plan he was plotting in his head. Ethan smirks a little, dipping his head in concession. He tilts his head this way, then that as he joins Francois' side. "You know. Someone once told me I was an untrustable man." He pauses, brow furrowing on he thinks about who this person was.

"It was me." And with that, they leave.

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