Jephthah's Daughter and The Return of the Prodigal Son
/ooc Yes, I'm having a biblical sort of day . I apologize for my pretension.
The first thing she noticed when she stepped outside and looked down the long walkway was that, even at a distance, Marthinus looked -good-. Very good - there was color in his face and he seemed to have filled out where before his trip he had looked as though he were fading away. It was something about the way he walked, though, that really caught her attention. While he moved along with no sign of his age or recent health troubles, he went slowly, with the gait of a man who had resigned himself to carrying the world on his shoulders. He had always been dignified, unfailingly so - now he looked almost fantastically regal, like an aging king wearing an ill fitting crown.
Trusting that she'd given enough time for security to do their thing and make sure he was alone (not that she really cared either way), she paused only for a moment before breaking into a run down the path, the change in her pockets jingling like little bells in the otherwise quiet night.
"Marthinus!"Â? Forgetting to be careful, she launched herself at him, full-on throwing her arms around his shoulders in a gesture that was half hug, half collision. "I thought you'd -left-."Â? Not knowing what else to say, and completely unwilling to let go, she simply repeated herself, softly but emphatically. "I thought you'd left."Â?
/ooc permission to bear hug Marthinus, as well as to perceive various things about him. Roz plz smack me if I got anything wrong :X
He looked up at the sound of a familiar voice yelling his name. Lowering his hands he couldn't help but grin as he saw Nova barreling out towards him, yelling his name. His eyebrows furrowed a bit. Goodness she was running, he thought to himself when she suddenly threw herself at him, hugging him so hard that months ago it probably would have broken him in half but now he found himself holding her as she kept repeating the same sentence over and over again.
Marthinus steadied them and he hugged her back, as hard as he could. His dear Nova, the one who literally carried him to the hospital and read to him while he lay in his death bed, his body slowly rotting itself out. Her coppery red hair and roguish smile, always with a sizable chip on her shoulder and a right hook to settle any argument. And what an amazing mind. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her hard.
Marthinus whispered into her hair, trying hard not to let the moment choke him with tears of his own. 'I'm here, dear. I'm here.'
She sniffed, not quite crying but close to it, and gave a little laugh at Marthinus’s assurance. “Yeah…you sure are.”
That he’d given a few people cause for alarm with his arrival, she chose not to mention. Instead she pulled back, but kept one hand on his shoulder.
“And you’re better,” she asserted, “aren’t you?”
It scared her to think what that must mean. Eternity. Unless the werewolves…
…but that didn’t even bear considering. Besides, she wasn’t even sure she believed in ‘the big bad wolves’.
There were many things he could say about his recovery but being 'better' wasn't one of them. He felt the wind chafe at the skin around his mouth. It was a soft, scaled pink from the memory of his first kill's blood running down his chin. Even now he was fighting the urge to wipe at the imaginary blood. Smiling only made it more noticeable to him, but he kept trying to remember Hammerthynn's words. He'd get over it, he needed to embrace it but how could he when he was so repulsed by what he was.
Marthinus forced a smile and took her hand on his shoulder, holding it up to his mouth and kissing her soft skin gently. 'I'm healthy and well, yes.' Better?
Not by a long shot.
'And what of you? How is Mr. Evans?' Marthinus tipped his head and gave her a cheeky grin. 'I hope the Starburst treatement is doing well for him?'
“That’s…good, that’s really good…” She wasn’t, in fact, at all sure it –was- good, but she forced her doubts down once again. It was stupid to worry about why he was healthy and what was wrong with his too-chapped lips and what he might be hiding – none of that was as important as the fact that he was here.
She looked down at her shoes, grinning in spite of herself at the mention of Evans. Why did Marthinus take such an interest in the two of them, anyway? Was it because of the way they’d met, in his hospital room? It hadn’t occurred to her until that moment that Marthinus might have reason to be offended by her taking a shine to the reporter, considering the way Kyle had treated him, and she thought to be relieved that he seemed to approve instead, mysterious as that was.
“He’s doing good. Lost some weight but he still looks good na…he’s healthy otherwise.”
She gave a look over her shoulder, wondering if they would get some kind of signal that it was okay to head in. Seeing nothing obvious, she turned back to Marthinus.
“So…” She laughed. “Shit, it’s cold out here – I think it’s probably okay for us to go in, I’m sure we’ll hear guns cocking if not…” She tried to play that last off like she was mostly kidding but she wasn’t honestly certain of what Simon might be doing up in his office. Her slight smile faded and she shrugged a little. “…yeah bad joke. Everything’s pretty crazy right now, I guess.”
Hesitantly he reached up and absently wiped at his lips, 'I'm not sure why I'm here, Nova.' His voice trailed off. 'It might not be a good idea right now.'
So why had he come? Why leave the protective warmth of the pack, granted a group of people he didn't know, to come back to a place where he didn't belong? Because it was familiar? Because it was home? The thin line between two worlds was effectively tearing him apart and he didn't know what to do about it. Instead he just stood where he was, hands in his pockets.
'Probably not a good time,' he said wistfully. Time being all that he had.
She put her hand around his arm, as though to lead him inside. In all honesty she wasn’t certain he was even talking to –her- any more – he seemed a million miles away.
“Hey…” She said, softly, then again. “Hey, yeah, sure you should be here. Things are just a little weird, I’m sure it’ll all get straightened out…” She frowned, then gave the arm a little squeeze. “I’m really glad you came back.”
'MARTHINUS!!!' Carol ran up and jumped up on him, hugging him as hard as she could. 'Oh!'
She dropped off him and then gave him a puzzled look. When she last saw him he was half dead in his hospital room, his sheets covered with blood from the bullet wounds and the huge bite mark on his neck. He was old, pale and dancing precariously close to death's door but here he was now, standing tall and straight, a small smile on his healthy colored face and...
'Oh my god.' Carol took a step back and looked at him head to toe. 'You're...sexy? What the hell happened?'
Without his trademark tie he was standing there on the road, light colored pants and shirt that was opened at the throat. His sleeves were rolled up and Carol immediately noticed the muscles on his arms. Reaching out she grabbed his arm and pushed the sleeve up further revealing a rather muscular arm.
She pointed at him, shocked and dismayed. 'You got hot, what did they do to you!?'
Marthinus blushed profusely as Carol ogled him, touching his arms and accusing him of being attractive. He crossed his arms in front of his chest in an attempt to shield him from her eyes but it was something he had noticed almost immediately as well.
Standing in front of his bathroom mirror at the Den he had noticed his body change in subtle ways. He had become incredibly stronger and his body leaner. Only standing at five foot eight, he carried his weight well but was extremely lean - he had not lost that physique but now his body resembled not his many years but maybe half that. His abdomen had tightened as did his chest and now the muscles underneath could be seen; the skin on his body retreated and no longer sagged. His narrow hips developed significant muscle definition and the transformation was literally from head to toe. His muscle mass must have easily tripled. Even his fallen arches recovered but alas, he did not regain his hair.
With a self conscious smile he rubbed his bald head. 'As usual, Carol, you leave me at a loss for words.'
Disquieted, she faked a chuckle at Marthinus and Carol’s exchange and looked up at the sky, speaking loudly enough to be overheard.
“Oh, I don’t think he wants to share his beauty secrets.” She realized after she opened her mouth that her statement probably came off as passive aggression. Usually she was just aggressively aggressive with some extra aggression thrown in but she wouldn’t dream of using her usual slightly bullying methods to get information out of Marthinus. She gave him a wink to let him know she was at least half kidding. “Wants to keep them all for himself, he does.”
With that, she took a step toward the domicile, then paused again, still speaking loudly. “I think about fifty guys would breathe easier if we just went inside without causing any waves. I don’t think anyone is STUPID enough to HURT you but if we’re going to be watched we might as well have the watchers in plain sight, don’t you think?”
Simon wouldn't reject him, not after the fight he put up at the hospital, Carol wagered. Marthinus was blood and as far as she was concerned, could always be trusted. She could feel him resisting her pull the tiniest bit but she ignored it and smiled back him.
'I know Simon will be happy to see you're feeling better even if he doesn't say it. You know how he is, Marthinus.'
And Carol kept telling herself that as they slowly approached the Domicile.
As they reached the hidden entrance into the Domicile, Marthinus felt his heart begin to race. Months earlier he would've immediately reached for his glycerin pills in his pocket and actually broke out into a quick sweat at the thought, then he sighed remembering that it was just his healthy heart beating with anticipation. Or maybe it was the realization that he was walking into unfamiliar and potentially unfriendly territory as something so different, so far from his old world considered natural.
It was hard to take solace in the heartbeat of his repaired heart when it no longer felt like his own.
Well, she supposed Simon’s reaction wasn’t the immediate problem – right now she was much more concerned about one of the boys (and girls) getting trigger happy. Being surrounded by gunmen was hardly a good situation to be in.
She took Marthinus’s offered hand and walked alongside the two humans (they were both human, right?) to the entrance, where Marthinus at the very least would no doubt be searched for weaponry.
Continuing to keep her voice raised loudly enough for anyone listening to hear, she shoved open the door and announced their presence.
“I think we should be fine, as long as no one gets jumpy.”
Simon tried to focus on the positives of the situation. Marthinus had returned, but he knew it would not be for good. Was it a show of good faith on Hammerthynn's part? Did Hammerthynn even know about this return? Probably not, he wagered.
Still, Simon stood stoically in the center of the lobby room, where the stone merged to steel and he waited for his grandson to return.
The entryway from the elevator curved slightly inward to the right when suddenly Simon's tall figure appeared in the center of the lobby. He hadn't seen him in his hospital room but Hammerthynn had described his vampire visitor as insulting, imposing and arrogant - not at all words he himself would use to describe Simon but as Marthinus approached the patriarch, Simon overall exuded a different kind of presence. Curiously Marthinus found himself agitated.
Along with the pain of waking up from gun shot wounds, Marthinus was acutely aware of his surroundings, the sounds and smells were intense and over powering but it aided in his honed ability to read body language. As an orator and businessmen, he could read people like an open book and immediately he felt every signal in his body begin to twitch. Something was wrong, very very wrong. He did not feel it with Nova or Carol but as he approached Simon's unfeeling expression, he felt hairs on the back of his neck threaten to turn into hackles as he reached out to shake Simon's hand.
'Simon.' Marthinus nodded, his hand steady but his heart racing. He slowed his breathing to help control the flutter of his heart and as he felt the rushing of blood in his ears, he could see that Simon noticed it as well. The taller man's eyes narrowed down at Marthinus, concerning replacing indifference.
'Very good to see you again.'
As the words floated out of his mouth, Simon's hand connected with Marthinus and every inner alarm went off. He pumped Simon's hand once and pulled back quickly, looking at his hand for a moment. He could smell Simon's scent and the warmth of it surged up his arm. Something about Simon...something was telling Marthinus to react and slowly he began to feel it.
He was going to change, right there, in the Domicile.
We shouldn't have come inside.
She stubbornly fought against that notion, telling herself it was ridiculous - this was Marthinus's home. And see, they were making nice...in their way. But she couldn't shake the sense that something was very wrong, and it would be extremely unwise to ignore that feeling. Was her perception picking up on the general tension of the situation or was it something else - that was the question.
She turned to study Marthinus, looking for an answer, and noticed his breathing had gone shallow. Frowning, she stole a quick look at Simon, then reached out to touch Marthinus's arm.
"Hey...you need to sit down maybe?"Â?
Marthinus had been a very sick man not too long ago, and in Nova's mind it made perfect sense that he would try to appear better than he was. The gig was up now, though - he must still be sick.
/ooc lemmie know if what she picked up on is not okay
'What the hell is going on?' Carol asked Simon, for the first time since he snapped at her in his office. Quietly, but quickly she sent it to him so only he could hear. 'Is he going to do what I think he's going to do?'
Just then, as if the moment wasn't already escalating beyond her control, the Domicile alarm began to go off. It was the first time she had heard it, but she knew there was an alarm system in the Domicile, in fact it had just been upgraded by Alec. Suddenly a Merc came running from the elevator on the opposite side of the entrance elevator. Approaching Simon, Carol walked towards the Merc and held her hands out?
'What the fuck?' The Merc looked frightened, quite a feet considering their training, Carol thought - only one person could...'OH man, you have got to be KIDDING ME!'
The Merc looked at Simon and then at Carol, backing up to the computer panel on the wall. He logged in and showed them the cause of the alert.
'Why, Marthinus? Why right now?'
Marthinus shook his head and grew more irritable, more agitated as he began to scratch his chapped lips. His pupils had dilated to the size of dinner plates and he seemed to - radiate something. Simon's perception went off the scale as he began picking up the bodily changes in Marthinus. His heart rate, the pheromones he was emitting, the musky smell...no this was going to be bad and when he thought it could not get worse, it did.
The Merc came flying in and showed them what the cameras had picked up on the outskirts of slaughterhouse district. Coming from the same direction as Marthinus, was Ellis.
Simon grabbed Carol and ushered Nova and Marthinus back to the top side elevator. This was not happening, this was not...happening. Carol began to open her mouth but he put his hand on her shoulder and spoke to her with his mind.
'I don't even have the time to explain this. Just trust me and do not question me.' Carol closed her mouth. Simon checked the computer panel inside the elevator and tracked Ellis down again, she had begun to move quickly up the dirt road, blending in and out on purpose. He knew what she was planning on doing, god damn it. Always has to make an entrance. She blurred again and the cameras lost her, just as the elevator doors opened up.
“How do we stop this? Can you tell us what to do?”
Her instincts were to get him to the hospital facilities in Duibne but there might not be time for that. It didn’t look like Marthinus was going to be much help and they were dealing with a complete unknown as far as she was concerned, though Carol and Simon seemed to have a better handle than she did. Maybe one of them knew what had to happen next to stop whatever was about to happen.
At that moment, though, the Merc came in – she had wondered when that would happen – but instead of bolting up to Marthinus he seemed to have a different goal entirely.
Simon reacted to the new information instantly and authoritatively, directing them all to the elevator. She took Marthinus’s wrist as they moved, feeling the racing pulse under his skin, and tried to radiate calm even as dread, belated but present now, settled in.
The coded signal he never wanted to hear had been sent out. Ellis was coming home.
He sent a quick acknowledging signal that would show his location to the poor unfortunate soul that happened to be in the ops chair right now. Of course, none of that mattered - for whatever reason, Simon had pulled her from priority. It was Ellis. He'd place money on her walking in through the front door. She'd know the landscape had changed. She always had. On the bright side, everyone was already in position because of Marthinus.
This night certainly sucked.
Sending a coded message to Simon, he asked for direction. Until then, he'd need to buy time. Managing not to vomit from the tension, he became fully visible and waited next to the entry. On the bright side, he'd look like he had balls of steel on the footage downstairs.
"Bonsoir, Madame Duban."
He didn't need to see her. You can feel the heavy eyes of the predator. It is just a matter of whether or not you can escape their jaws.
Ellis took a blended step closer to Alec and with a whisper made herself visible as she brushed up against the amnesiac vampire, running her gloved right hand along the width of his back. 'Hello hello, Alec. Long time no see.' She let her words purr as she brought her lips close to the back of his neck as she passed. 'I see the perception is doing better - that is fabulous.'
She circled him slowly, her eyes looking him up and down. She stopped in front of him, her hands in front of her with her fingers laced together. The picture of innocence wasn't her strong suit but she always got the feeling that she made Alec nervous - but then she got that feeling about a lot of people. Funny what little things you notice, but you always seem to miss the obvious 'I'm going to kill you' vibe.
'So...that was a pretty quick response time. I'm impressed, unless...' she pause and smiled, 'I came at a bad time?'
Just then the hidden elevator entrance vibrated softly and she turned just in time to see Marthinus having what could only be described as 'having a massive cow'.