Assassin's Tango

Simon quietly ascended the steps to the top floor of the ARCH. It had been some time since he had been in the facility and was curious to see what theme it was carrying. Not an overt art lover, Simon still relished the quiet murmur and relaxed surroundings.

He tugged at his jacket sleeve as he entered the top floor's exhibition which appeared to be Egyptian themed this week. The square footage of the top landing covered at least four thousand feet; the walls were lined with sarcophagi and the lighting, although dimly lit, spot lighted each coffin. Nine feet high wall dividers separated each sarcophagus, each with an above plaque with an inscribed description of each long dead Pharaoh.

Simon stood in front of the first sarcophagus, his grey turtleneck and matching dark grey jacket blended handsomely with his trousers. His good looks were not lost upon the women on the Arch top floor, but he quietly ignored his surroundings and continued with his stoic viewing of the dead kings. It was the tickle at the back of his mind that triggered next the alarm in his head, but it was probably the small hand that touched the small of his back that tipped him off.

Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Leaning forward Ellis read the description on the plague above the dusty, grey tomb.

He is best known for his campaign through Palestine, as recorded in the bible. Shishaq had provided refuge to Jeroboam during the later years of Solomon's reign, and upon Solomon's death, Jeroboam became king of the breakaway tribes in the north, which became the kingdom of Israel. In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign (commonly dated between 926 and 917 BC), Shishaq swept through the kingdom of Judah with a powerful army, in support of his ally. According to 2 Chronicles, he was supported by "the Lubin, the Sukkiim, and the Ethiopians." Shishaq captured a number of cities of that kingdom, including Jerusalem, where he pillaged the temple and the royal palace, and carried away the shields of gold which Solomon had made. Although Judah was humbled, hostilities still continued between the two kingdoms; yet this was the only recorded intervention of a third party into the affairs of these two kingdoms during Rehoboam's reign.
'You know, that sounds like its straight out of the Wikipedia?'

Ellis had followed him into the ARCH, blending quietly behind him but staying just out of his range - or what she thought was his range, she never could tell anymore. On occasion he would stop short as if he noticed something so she would hang further back till he continued on. He seemed to be less focused as he entered the ARCH so she casually followed him up the staircase to the very top floor and stood close enough to smell his cologne.

Coming out of her blending Ellis reached up and put her hand on Simon's back, slowly inching her way up to the middle of his expansive back. She felt him stiffen and it made her smile; it had been a while since she was able to surprise him - other than coming back from the dead and all.

((quote shamelessly or rather shamefully stolen from Wikipedia))
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Her touch caused his nose to wrinkle up in irritation but he refused to acknowledge it. Instead Simon tilted his head slowly to the right and raised his eyebrows. Ellis apparently felt like talking, but at the moment he did not want to encourage her. He moved away from her touch and onto the next tomb; if she followed, he did not pay her any attention.

The situation between them was...awkward. His position was precarious with the clan to begin with but now with Ellis returning, trying to kill him then saving his life, his choices were few. The clan would need to be notified and informed of his decision, one that he suspected Ellis already knew. How could he call for the death of the woman who was not only his creator but savior? In fact, he asked her that.

'So I was thinking to myself just do I justify not killing you where you stand?'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Ellis squinted her eyes in deep thought and then replied to his question with a brilliant smile.

'I'm guessing the me saving your life part is what's holding you back. Boy, that's ironic...isn't it?'

She followed him to the next Pharaoh and hooked her left arm around his right. Squeezing it gently she stood quietly as Simon finished reading the description. The floor had become just as quiet as the dead kings laying in their tombs; there were no patrons within earshot or even within view. Despite Simon's body language, Ellis ignored his resistance to her arm hug and rested her head on his shoulder. Her three inch heels already gave her five foot nine statue quite the lift so snuggling up against him was more than easy.

Ellis turned her head and rested her chin on his shoulder; he refused to look at her and remained focused on the exhibit ahead of them. She was close to mentioning Carol but knowing Simon his reaction would be more than animated so she let it go for just then, instead she skipped to her next train of thought.

'I suppose we should talk about the werewolf situation.' She felt stupid even uttering those words, the mere idea of something supernatural living in the dark shadows of the modern world seemed ridiculous. She paused a moment and snorted softly; boy her life was full of ironies lately.

'Who was the tall, well endowed fellow with the one eye?'
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Inwardly he groaned at her choice of words. She always felt compelled to annoy him, taking small jabs at his pride and trying to instigate a fight. He wanted to pull his arm away from her, he wanted to do a lot of things to her and nothing at all about any of them was polite. Simon raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips just the same.

Hammerthynn's knowledge of Ellis, as someone who had slighted him and his people, had been confusing him. He honestly did not recall ever seeing Hammerthynn's face - such as it was. The sickened reaction to the werewolf blood was familiar but after over a thousand years of traveling with her, he honestly could not place where it had happened before. If she was asking him, she knew far less than he.

He did reward her with an answer though and gave it in an half interested voice.

'His name is Iov Hammerthynn and, if you'll believe this, is the XO public relations of Stafford Enterprises.' He smiled softly and finished, 'And not surprisingly he wants you dead.'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Ellis made a face and glared at him slightly.

'Yeah well, I seem to be getting a lot of that lately.'

She was done with this particularly dead king and tugged on his arm to move him, but he resisted, planting himself much like the three thousand year old pyramids. Ellis shifted her weight on her feet and rolled her eyes. Her heeled opened toe shoes clicked on the tile floor and she rustled her A line skirt, watching the white colors of her dress reflect off the mirrored marble slabs. The winter in the north east had gotten to be unreasonable and quite cold, forcing her to wear a cashmere trench coat the exact shade of ivory. It reminded her of Angie Dickinson's white outfit in 'Dress to Kill' although she wagered she would not end up in a taxi cab with Simon anytime soon.

'I don't recall where we know them from, but what are we going to do about them?'

She gave him an audible sigh and waited for him to move on. He finally turned and looked at her, giving her an incredulously look.
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
'We? There is no 'we', E.' Simon disengaged from her arms embrace and moved past her to the next exhibit but not before he looked in her in the face and growled, 'You stop being my problem a long time ago.'

He felt his jealousy rise and it made him angrier. After all this time, after everything that had transpired in the past year and a half since the fire, she wanted his help again - she 'expected' his help. Simon reached with his left hand and smoothed his right sleeve, seemingly trying to wipe her warmth away. He rolled his shoulders trying not to let her goad him into another fight or whatever she had planned.

Simon was done with her. Done on every level he could possibly have with her and he could not wish her away fast enough.

'I have my own set of problems now with Hammerthynn and his troupe of fools. I don't and won't worry about yours as well.'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
'Oh please. I don't 'need' your help. I'm doing you a favor.'

Simon stopped and his jaw literally dropped.

'Don't bother with your psycho babble about my selfishness and your undying loyalty being taken for granted.' Ellis stressed the word, giving it every implication it could possibly possess. 'I think we both know that your idealism is just as tainted as mine.'

Ellis crossed her arms and stood her ground with her ex lover. Whatever happened with the werewolves, he was just as part of it as she was. Ole one eyed had said as much, but that got her thinking suddenly.

'Just how do you know this Hammerthynn?'
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Simon was never prone to angered emotion unless it had to do with newbie vampires or Ellis, but mostly it was Ellis.

'How can you even compare my ambition to yours?' Simon had now lost his temper and he jabbed a finger in her face. 'You were the one who conspired with Megan. You were the one that developed the machine and you were the one that turned your back on me.'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
'Oh ho HO! So this is what this is all about!' Ellis pointed her finger at Simon and then twirled it around in a huge circle. 'This is you just not fucking getting over the fact that I didn't love just YOU. It wasn't about YOU. That's it, isn't it? You drop me into boiling molten steel because you got your chip knocked off your block?'

Ellis slapped her hands onto her thighs and slumped her shoulders. 'Has nothing changed for you, Simon? In the past millennium has nothing changed? Are you still that...knight in shining armor trying to save me or some shit?'

Could one person hold onto a memory so fervently and with such a grip that it burns a heart black? She asked herself of Simon but she suddenly wondered if maybe she shouldn't be asking herself that question. Why was he holding onto something that was so fleeting compared to the other 1000 years they were together.

She thought out loud, 'To hold onto a love that wasn't really there.'

There she had said it and the moment she did, she regretted it.
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Simon had turned away as she belittled the part of him that he held onto for years. Yes, he was holding onto it since there was nothing else she ever gave him to move on to. He began to walk to the opposite side of the floor as she followed him, berating him as she had always done when she finally said it.

It was like a semi-truck in his mind, slamming its brakes to avoid a massive pile up but she crashed it, wholeheartedly and without remorse. Simon turned on her with his liquid speed and grabbed her arms, pulling her to the side and up against the wall. He slammed her so hard against the wall that her jaw vibrated loudly and she blinked her eyes, trying to clear the dizziness. He waited until her eyes focused on him, two water green pools ready to snap.

Simon shook with a fury he had briefly been privy to once and that was at the mall as he tried to crush her beautiful little mouth with his bare hands. He wanted to do so once again but he looked at her instead, his hazel eyes smoldering with anger and pain, his fingers digging into her arms so deeply that her face winced despite her indignation.

He put his face close to hers and held it there, letting her see the full force of what she had started with her careless words.

'I held onto it, Ellis, I held onto it for years. I let you use me to get anything you ever wanted and you know what...I was ever so glad to do it and you know why? Because I was stupid enough to love you.' Simon leaned in close enough to almost kiss her but her eyes knew the contrary as he tightened the grip on her arms enough to make her eyes water.

He finished again with a quiet hiss, 'Did you not see the significance of my finally letting you go, both figuratively and in the literal sense?'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Ellis held in the sobs that were bubbling up from her chest as his fingers dug deep. She could no longer keep the stone cold face and she felt her eyes twitch and her lips tremble from the pain - but neither one prevented her from hearing Simon's words.

What was it that was making the tears spill from her eyes? Was it the pain or was it that he had really written her off. Her jaw clenched as she tried to overwhelm the emptiness with rage. Her lips pulled back and she bared the tips of her fangs as she demanded in a whip like whisper.

'Let go of me.'
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Simon watched as her face crumbled for a moment and then rebounded with the show of fangs. Part of him wondered just what had happened to her in that fiery grave he left her in. Simon watched her fight whatever inner struggle she was going through and he relished the fact that he really didn't care.

His eyes narrowed at her demand and he pulled her a hair's breath away from his lips, off the wall, then shoved her back again. Simon stepped back, fixing his sleeves and straightening his jacket collar. He turned, giving her a dismissive look.

'I already have.'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Ellis reached up and grabbed her head, the anger welling up in her and blood lust brimming when he gave her the dismissive look and cut the blade even deeper. Her eyes narrowed but she remained quiet as she regained her composure. Ellis watched Simon straighten his clothes after beating the wall with her head and she felt the tables turn on her, losing her grip on what had always been a rock for her during the bloody in house clan wars and dismissal from the Council. She watched as Simon asserted his control over her and she didn't like it one fucking bit.

Still, she had to bide her time with him and he explained to her why just then.
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
He had turned away from her and was speaking to her as if she was an underling and it thrilled Simon more than he could ever possibly imagine.

'You exist within the city on my word alone. Tacharan is mine and they will act when I say so. The Council will see fit to hear out your explanation for the clanless harvesting and maybe, just maybe, you can find someone else to throw under the bus. I'm guessing you'll take advantage of Megan being out of the country.'

He looked back at her and saw the surprise on her face at the mention of Megan, the Evenhet leader.

'Did you think I didn't know? Your one flaw, other than the cigarettes, was you were too trusting of me, Ellis. Why do you think this all happened? I'm suppose to stand idly by why you destroy something I built? Now Hillman...there you covered your tracks really well. I really did not see that coming although your buddy, Lykaios? He was very forth coming with the information on Hillman.'

Simon slid his hands into his trouser pockets and tilted his head at her.
'Oh and he's dead by the way.' He began to walk away and he gave Ellis a wave of his finger for her to follow. In the corner of his eye he saw the glare from her as she pushed off the wall and followed.

'Whatever your plans are now, E...I really don't care. You walk alone now, or rather you have your Asian friend as your only back up.' As soon as he said it, he mentally smacked himself. He didn't have to see Ellis' expression to know that she had at least one thing to dangle in front of Simon to get him riled up. He would have to speak to Alec and see if he could figure out who the Asian boy toy was.
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
She hoped he could hear the smugness in her voice as she replied, 'His name is Tai, if you haven't figured out yet.' Ellis sidled up next to him and continued to gloat despite being on the less advantageous side of the conversation. She still excluded Carol from their conversation, hoping he'd notice; she would bring up the petite blond later when it most mattered.

'Fine fine, Simon. If that clan is what you want, by all means you may have it. There are more promising avenues of destruction I can pursue without having to please the Elders.' Simon gave her a penetratingly annoyed side glance.

'Not that I plan on breaking anything.' She held her hands up. 'Honest injun.'

They continued their walk through the Egyptian exhibit in silence, both no doubt reflecting on everything but the beautiful sights before them. Ellis remembered then that he had not answered her question about the one eyed wonder.

'So what about this werewolf Hammerthynn? He knew you, how?
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
'I heard you the first time you asked,' Simon replied without looking at her. He wasn't sure if she even deserved an answer, what with her literal enslavement of his namesake all these hundreds of years so he struggled with what to tell her. In the end they were both involved in whatever hatred Hammerthynn seemed to have for them and she did reach out to him when he needed it most.

Her act of compassion still puzzled him. It was most definitely not in her nature, at least not something she would have done for anyone in the past thousand years he had known her. It wasn't in her to care beyond what directly benefited her. What had turned her heart so black and insatiable in its devour of everything that could bring power? He could barely remember the way she was when he had first met her; but in retrospect he could barely remember himself.

'After your fall the clan splintered. There was a surge of outside Tacharan that had come to the city but there were those who had left searching for help.' Simon stopped and turned to look at her as they stood again near the entrance back to the stairs. He watched stray patrons make their way up and down the spiral staircase as he fidgeted with the sleeve of his jacket.

'Marthinus had left the company as CEO, as you may well know.' Ellis nodded slightly but did not interrupt. 'He was in South Africa trying to renegotiate a deal with Stafford Enterprises...'

Ellis snapped her fingers and nodded. Prior to the raid Duibne Industries had faltered, showing signs of slowing down after spreading itself so thin. The laundered money from the profits of Eternity could not be filtered back into the company quick enough without causing suspicions. Distributing it would take time and the vultures made their appearance earlier than anyone in D.I. could imagine. The company had begun entertaining mergers with outside larger companies when Stafford made itself known. After the scandal of the raid, Stafford had pulled out and Marthinus had returned to its home base, and the family's, to rekindle the deal.

'Marthinus returned with Hammerthynn after a local militia had stormed their home office.' Simon paused, still himself struggling with the next unpleasant facts.

'Marthinus was injured and returned here in tow with Hammerthynn and his men. He' of them now.'

Simon rolled his shoulders and sniffed loudly at the disgrace. Marthinus was one of them.
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
Ellis held her hands up, her mouth agape with disbelief.

'What do you mean he's one of them? What does that mean? He's...what the fuck did you do to my clan, Simon?!'
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Simon blinked slowly as Ellis became hysterical.

'Oh, your clan. Because you took such interest in Marthinus or anyone else.'
Ellis Duban 14 years ago
'Well I don't recall letting anyone in the clan become another species altogether, Simon. Where is he? he? What the fuck is going on in this city? Does the Council know? Did Alfarinn know or is he busy playing hide the fruit with his Anantya boyfriend?'

Ellis' shoulders slumped exasperated. The world had turned upside down and no one told her to hold on. Beautiful, this was beautiful.
Simon Huntington 14 years ago
Simon grumbled through gritted teeth.

'This was completely outside my control.'