20100212 - Sad News and a Meeting

Sat Feb 12 08:47:34 2011 - Winter

Yellow Bungalow: Living Room - Taylor Street: Little Italy(#5577RA)

This likely used to be a small living room and a smaller dining room, but it has been opened up to a single space. The floors are old wood that, though recently stripped and waxed, show years of wear. Windows face the drive to the south and open west to the front porch. At the east side of the room, an arched opening in the south corner leads to the kitchen, and a hallway on the north side runs to the back of the house. The walls are painted off-white, almost cream, and show signs of having been patched.
A Mission-style hall tree with mirror, storage bench, and hooks for hanging coats stands next to the front door. Beyond it, a brown leather couch and matching oversized chair form a sitting area around a red and green Oriental-style rug, with a side table for the chair and a low green chest serving as a coffee table. These face the shelving unit that holds a television, audio equipment, a sparse rack of CDs, and a few, mostly practical books. A round table set with four ladder-backed chairs sits in front of the bay window at the west side of the room. One picture hangs over the couch, another over a shallow table holding a cordless phone that is set against the east wall.



Robert had left Jack a message, his voice serious, and now the man is at home, sitting in front of his television, quietly watching the figures move on it, a bottle of beer in his hand. His face is set into the comfortable neutral lines, and he is wearing a pair of jeans, his chest and feet bare.

There's a knock at the door, and outside is Jack. The man's looking similarly neutral, waiting a step or two back from the doorstep proper rather than crowding the door.

Robert moves then, turning the television off before he moves to the door, opening it. "Jack." He steps back, letting the man have space to pass him. "Thank you for coming."

Jack steps in at the invitation, with a nod. "Robert," he replies, then adds, "Barbara Streisand?" There's just a touch of a smile on the Englishman's face, but it's laced with humour rather than anything else.

Robert glances at the screen, and reaches to turn it off. "Must have come on after the football." He murmurs, a light undertone of humor to the man's voice. "I was asked to pass on a warning. A group appears to be targeting our kind, and the police felt it necessary that we should be warned. I believe they expect more deaths." He moves onto business, avoiding the tricky topic of films.

"Right," Jack says drily, then nods. "I'm aware of what's been going on. The police sometimes call me in on preternatural stuff - I was a consultant for 'em before I was a rat - and I'm usually kept up-to-date on what's happening."

Robert glances towards the kitchen, making a brief gesture, adding, "Coffee? I received a message today from my police contact, but I have been unable to make contact with her. I fear it means another death." His face is grave, the humor bleeding from his eyes.

Jack nods. "Coffee'd be great, thanks. Milk and two sugars?" He seems to mull the topic of another death over for a few moments, then nods. "I was up there for a few minutes before I came over. Two deaths now."

Robert moves into the kitchen, returning with two mugs, taking his black and unsweetened. He offers it to Jack, with a tilt of his head. "Two deaths? Do we know who?" The serious expression deepens and a sadness lurks in the back of his gaze.

Jack nods. "The first one was one of the Pard, a teacher from Monterrey." He takes the coffee. "Thanks. Want to take a seat?" He drifts towards one of the chairs that doesn't have a bottle of beer next to it.

Robert tilts his head, a brief narrowing of his gaze as he settles in his seat. "Yes, the police mentioned her. Our previous Ulfric's death is deemed not to be part of this." He leans his elbows on his knees, resting the mug between them.

If possible Robert's face becomes more neutral, but there is a flicker in his eyes as his beast moves through them. Behind the mask though, the man feels it strongly, a combination of rage and pain at the woman's death, and he drops his gaze to his coffee mug, hiding the hint of the beast, his habits of privacy too strong to break. He is silent though, not trusting his voice.

Jack sips quietly at his coffee, the sharpness fading from his eyes. "Normally I don't really give a shit about preternaturals dying," he says quietly, "But these killings are just seven shades of *wrong*. I'll be doing what I can to get these bastards. Legally. Tell your lot to keep their eyes open, especially the girls? I do *not* want to have to see another corpse like that." Jack's normally-blue eyes are glittering black with rage. Apparently for him, it's gone personal.

Robert's control, to the eye, is impressive but his beast curls around him, stalking angrily, matching the rage inside the impassive man. "I will warn them all. I believe it is time we assisted the police in this. Joliea was the weakest of us, one that I held grave concerns for her sanity. Yesterday she spoke to me of reading in a library, but she was not known to be one of us." There is the tiniest hint of the growl in his voice, the man's eyes finally bleeding to wolf as he looks up at Jack.

Jack pulls a notepad out of his top pocket and a pen from the pad's spiral binding. Rage is channelled, set aside and focused as he starts to write. "So she was going to the library when you saw her," he confirms. "What time was that?" Whatever he's writing in, it doesn't look like English. It's an array of squiggles and dots.

Robert's gaze flickers to the notepad, and he makes an effort to reign his beast in, the effort costing him, and he focuses on the facts, speaking in the low rumble, the hint of the growl still there in the undertones. "She was going there to read to children. She needed something to aid her in moving on from a personal issue. I warned her to conceal what she is, and to be careful out there before she left." He rises then, walking towards a window, to stare out of it, his back to Jack, his fear that he might fail to control his expression mingling with the emotions he feels.

Jack's pen moves on the notepad as the man makes another note. Jack stays silent for the moment, letting Robert part with information at his own speed.

The man is silent for a long moment before he speaks, the growl gone from his voice, control reasserted. "She intended to wear this costume. It made me laugh." His voice is neutral, carefully picking his words, before he turns, giving Jack a direct look. "I had warned her that her behavior, erratic as it has been, is a danger to the pack yesterday. I believe that would make me a suspect, disagreeing with the victim on the day."

Jack's gaze is even as he meets the direct look; his eyes are back to blue-grey again, and his own expression has returned to impassive. The pen dances as he speaks. "What time did you last see Ms. Oldman?", he says quietly.

Robert takes a moment to think before he replies, precisely, "Twelve twenty five. Our meeting was brief. We discussed her behavior and I informed her of my expectations, that she would apologise to those she hurt with harsh words, and that she would work with another wolf to aid her to move past her crisis. And then she left for the library." Robert tilts his head slightly. "My office location has a recording of her leaving the building. I will provide you with my whereabouts."

Robert releases a breath slowly, "Robert." The correction is automatic, and he makes a tiny shake of his head before he speaks slowly. "Joliea was the most fragile of my wolves. She lost her mate before we came here and mourned him most fiercely. I feared for her sanity at times." He moves back to the couch, sitting with his elbows on his knees, his gaze on his hands. "Since I saw her, I was with my wolves all day. There are a few others I can name to confirm my whereabouts. A man called Derrick called on me, and Eden was here, and Karmen. I visited Erin and Robi was there." He lists his locations neutrally.

Jack's pen goes back to dancing, making notes in lines, squiggles and dots. He absorbs everything that Robert wishes to tell him in silence, and his notepad absorbs it all. And then, at the end, "Is that everything, Robert?"

Robert considers, his mind clearly going over the days, the weeks. "Only that she was distressed that another wolf had left our pack. She often fought with everyone, her pain made her lash out." He lifts a hand, rubbing it over his face, before he gives Jack a direct look. "I can think of nothing else."

Jack nods. "If you'll excuse me a moment, I'll go grab some witness statement forms from the car? Sorry, wasn't expecting to be doing this now, or I'd have brought 'em in with me."

Robert nods slowly, returning his gaze to his hands, the movement hiding his eyes but the beast moves around him, pacing angrily, a contrast to the impassive features of the man himself.

Jack steps outside, returning a couple of minutes later with a briefcase. It's opened and a sheaf of papers is brought out, Jack starting to write (in English this time) and confirming everything that gets written. If he senses the Beast's pacing, he doesn't acknowledge it yet.

Robert confirms his words with a brief nod at each point, his gaze resting on his hands, his face utterly neutral despite the fury and pain he feels inside at her death. The beast is held as close as he can but the hackles are there in his energy, the wolf's need to defend his pack.

Jack finishes writing, then presents the sheaf of paper for Robert to read and sign each sheet. There's a building sense of energy about him; anticipation, almost, his own Beast awaking again as soon as the paper's in Robert's hands.

Robert speaks abruptly, lifting his gaze to Jack, his voice a low growl. "If this group targets public shifters, tell your police that I intend to give them a target worthy of their efforts. They can come after me, and then we will see." He takes that paper, signing it before he returns it, the wolf staring out of his eyes, a practical, brutal creature.

Jack takes the papers, opening the briefcase in order to tuck them away carefully. When he closes the briefcase again, he's pulled a large bottle of Scotch out of it. The rat looks back at the wolf, two intelligent entities looking out of one set of eyes in what is, to some, an eerie display of being at one with the Beast. "I'm hoping they come after me," he says quietly, with a tooth-baring grin. "It'll be nice to show someone just how a crippled Brit became a US Marshall. In the meantime, care for something a little stronger than the piss you Americans call beer?"

Robert glances down at the scotch and then back to the rat, returning that gaze steadily. His grin is met with one of his own, a baring of teeth that speaks of the predator in both. "I believe we may do business, Jack. And yes." He rises, putting his coffee mug aside, returning to the other man with two glasses. "He is a coward, and we will bait him. I intend to contact the press, and offer an interview." The neutrality fades under the beast, the soft growl in his voice a warning note.

Jack shakes his head. "They," he says quietly. "They are cowards." He opens the bottle, and pours two measures that aren't so much stiff as rigid. The bottle gets set down between the two chairs. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," Jack adds, his rat chittering with dark amusement, "But if you do, take pictures."

Robert takes his glass, taking a swig before he speaks, "If I do, I will invite you to not do it with me, Jack." His normally impassive face holds more of his beast that seen before, his eyes bled to wolf as he studies the other man, the head tilt pure questioning animal. "They are cowards." He concurs, softly. The two men have been talking, and there is evidence of Robert's evening before this. A bottle of beer abandoned in favor of the hard liquor.

Distantly there is a stirring from down the hall. Light, but careless footsteps that don't care for stealth. Moving into the kitchen. The soft tink of bowl. The low sound of cereal hitting it. Time of day? It doesn't so much matter. The fridge. All done with a light, easy regularity.

Jack nods. "My job means there's a lot of things I can't do," he points out, "And you might want to avoid taking pictures too, damnit. Either way, I want these fuckers as badly as you do." The Englishman glances towards the sounds of movement, quiet as they may be.

Robert glances towards the movement, hesitating before he speaks. "Jack, that may be Eden. My houseguest." His voice is low, between the two of them alone, before he lifts it to call out. "Eden, I have a guest." The warning is given in a neutral tone, his beast sliding behind his eyes, "I will do nothing that is easily proven to be illegal." The words are carefully chosen, the flicker of that smile showing.

The sounds pause as Robert speaks, the soft haze lifting a bit. Warmth filters into the young man's emotions and he lifts his voice just a bit. "Ok!" The fridge door closes once more before he starts out of the kitchen towards the livingroom. It will be as he nears that he starts to get a sense for something. Uncertainty filters in and as he steps out into the livgingroom, he pauses. There and his eyes gravitate to Jack. HIs lips purse and his uncertainty fills out, as easily read on his face.

A nod shows that Jack understands, his own Beast slipping back inside his skin. "Thanks," the Englishman replies quietly to the second part. "I'd hate to have to actually do something. Normally I'll go after anyone who harms a human, but these - they aren't human. They gave up those rights." And then there's an Eden, Jack nodding a simple, "Hi. Grab a glass if you want something to drink." There's something odd about Jack's eyes, jet black in a face that demands a paler colour.

"One of them is not human, one is my kind." Robert's upper lip lifts, a curl of disgust and scorn, pure wolf. "Eden, this is Jack. He has come with news of one of my pack." The words are neutral, steady, the man's gaze remaining on Jack. His beast curls around him, a growling thing with hackles raised, Robert's eyes bled to his beast's. "Jack, this is one of my guests." He says nothing more about the pair.

"Hi.." A low, shy response from Eden. And a soft confusion touches him as he glances towards RObert and takes in his words. Still, it takes him a few moments before he actually moves. "I don't drink," he murmurs as he makes his way around slowly, giving a bit a berth to the two as he heads for the couch. His eyes linger on Jack as he does so and his mistrust becomes palpable and easily seen in his eyes. Hiding his emotions isn't something he does well.

Jack nods. "I understand the rules of hospitality," he says quietly to Robert, then offers Eden a smile. "Sensible," he says of the not drinking. "It's only polite to offer, though. I'm Jack Green, and I work with the police. Robert invited me over to talk about something I was already aware of, and we decided at the end of the discussion that getting drunk sounded like a plan." While he's explaining things to Eden, the colour of his eyes changes, the black draining away into his pupils to leave irises of blue-grey behind. There's still a sense of two beings looking out, but the inner one has decided to stay out of sight.

Robert offers Jack a look of apology, a brief nod. "Yes." He glances at Eden, before he tosses that Scotch back, reaching for the bottle. For once, his emotions bubbles to the surface, and the wolf shows clearly, as he pours another, offering Jack the bottle after. "One of my pack has been murdered." The bleak explanation is spoken for Eden's benefit but to Robert's glass, as he lifts it once more.

Eden curls himself into one corner of the couch. Ostensibly the corner furthest from Jack, but the effect is more cosmetic than useful. His cereal goes, for the moment, ignored as he watches the two and listens to what is said. "Eden," he reiterates to Jack, polite but still mistrustful. Robert's words garner a stronger reaction and his eyes widen a little at the news. "Oh.. I'm sorry," he says to Robert and he is, inside and out.

For some reason, Jack doesn't seem at all wary of the idea of a drunk and angry Ulfric. Instead, he knocks back the contents of his own glass and reaches for the bottle he's offered. "I used to be a soldier. I've seen a lot of bodies. But this - well. Let's just say that I'm hoping they'll involve me fully on this case." And then a snarl, "I want *blood*."

Robert seems intent on getting thoroughly drunk, and he releases the bottle before he takes a long swig of his glass. "I offered the aid of me and mine to the police on the other murder." He comments, his voice a low growl, and he glances at Eden, accepting the man's words with a nod, his beast curling around him, hackled and snarling from his gaze.

Eden does seem a bit concerned as his attention focuses on Robert. "I think you shouldn't drink anymore RObert," he says. His voice not firm, but most certainly concerned. His eyes flick towards Jack for a moment before he returns his attention to Robert. "You shouldn't do anything you might regret later."

Jack finishes refilling his own glass and offers the bottle back to Robert. "If Robert wants to wreck his house, that's up to Robert," he says, with a trace of amusement. "Robert won't hurt you, either way. Not with me here. Unless you're one of the pack, at which point you already know how it works."

Robert takes the bottle, glancing at Eden. "I have never lost control enough to harm a table, Eden." His voice still holds that growl, and the wolf is clearly in his eyes, but he pours himself another glass, taking a swig before he puts the bottle down. He looks at Jack, the slight head tilt a purely wolf gesture. "I may regret nothing that I do."

Eden frowns, his attention shifting to Jack. "I didn't ask for your help," he says, his lips pursing. THe first flare of his distrust melting into more overt action. His attention shift back to RObert then and he says. "Just remember, you're public now. You're suppose to give a good impression. You should be careful." Not offering more than the general note. And is concern, of course.

Jack looks intrigued by Robert's response. "Really? I regret a lot that I do. But then with my job, I reckon it's better that I regret what I do than have someone who doesn't regret a thing doing it." He blinks. "If that makes sense." A faint smile in Eden's direction. "You didn't ask for my help, but if you need it I won't have time to make sure it's okay by everyone if I give you a hand. That and you're nervous, I can smell it from here." Not that he looks capable of much, the perfectly average Englishman slouching in a comfy chair with a glass of Scotch in one hand.

Robert lapses into silence, his quiet focus involving the Scotch and his glass, but his wolf prowls around him, restless and angry, and the gaze that studies the glass in his hand is pure beast, down to the shape of his eyes. He leans back into the couch, the glass lifted, considered and then he takes a long swig.

Eden focuses on Jack and his soft frown holds. "You're here to claim me. I'm only talking to you because Robert wants me to. So you should just say what you want to say so we can get this over with. So long as you won't bother me anymore and I can just live my life without people hunting for me." Cereal? Soggy.

Jack blinks at Eden in raw astonishment. "Huh? I was here 'cause Robert invited me over to talk about other shit. And that stuff about the laws of hospitality? That was him asking me not to try claiming you right here and now, and me agreeing. Right now, under this roof, you're a guest of Robert's and a bloke I just met. Anyway, I don't believe in claiming people against their will. It doesn't lead to a happy nest."

Robert finally lifts his gaze, moving it between the two men, his expression sliding into neutrality. "Jack is here purely on business, Eden." The words are almost empty, and he leans forward to reach for the bottle, adding another finger or three to his glass. "I invited him to warn him of the dangers, and he informed me of the death of my sister." The slip to referring to Joliea as his sister is unnoticed by the wolf, as he takes a sip of the Scotch.

Eden still seems mistrustful, even after the last that Jack says. "Why wait?" Though he pauses then as Robert speaks again. Despite his obvious wariness when it comes to Jack, the young man can't help but soften some at what Robert says. "Oh.. That's horrible." He seems like he might offer more, but he remembers company and leaves it there for the moment. He glances down at his bowl and frowns a little, a touch of annoyance that his cereal is soggy. But he starts to eat it anyway.

"Why wait? Because I'm on the personal territory of an upset Ulfric and he asked me to. If we were in my house, he'd do the same for me. And like I said, I don't claim people. Come to me or go with the Independants, I don't particularly care which as long as someone's responsible for your safety and your behaviour." Jack sighs, neutrality disappearing into worry. "I don't recommend trying to go solo, especially not now."

Robert pauses in the drinking for a moment, a quick movement of his hand causing the amber liquid to swirl in its glass. "Solo is a danger right now, Eden, it is true. If they will attack one of my people…" He pauses, his upper lip lifting in a snarl, the wolf's growl in his voice clear. "Then you alone are a target." He empties the glass, a single movement as he bends to take the bottle once more.

"I don't need anyone to be responsible for me, I've been traveling alone for months," Eden says, his eyes still lowered. Though as Robert replies, he looks towards him and says, "I'm not alone. I'm here and I feel safe. I don't understand why I have to have anyone else but me responsible for how I behave. Normal people do it all the time." HIs eyes lower again and he eats his cereal again.

"Welcome to the world of being not normal," Jack says shortly, his tone neutral. "I've noticed certain trends over the years. A loner is more likely to start hurting humans. And a loner is easy meat for anyone who doesn't have scruples. Want to be a vampire's toy, doing whatever the depraved, twisted, sick fuck wants? The Ulfric can't keep you forever, sooner or later his wolves will tear you apart."

Robert stirs himself to speak, a hint of the alcohol showing in the man's speech, "If you were a wolf in my territory, unprotected, you would be Rogue." He listens to Jack's words, acknowledging the truth of them with a slow nod. "There is a limit to my protection, Eden. When I offered it, I was not Ulfric." He sighs, leaning his head back against the couch, closing his eyes, the gesture weary.

Eden looks up, obviously insulted by the part about hurting humans. "I'm not like what's in me," he states, a low sense of disgust in his tone and emotions. The expression is less overt than the brief curl of revulsion in his emotions. Though as he glances at Robert, he's a bit confused and uncertain. "Why would they want o hurt me? That doesn't make any sense. Karmen is very nice.. and Raymond. I don't really like vampires anyway.. I stay away from them. Except for Memory. She's been very nice and even gave me warnings."

Jack smiles faintly. "Yeah, 'cause who in their right mind would want to be like one of those clean, intelligent, sociable things called rats? I'm afraid our PR department was busy building a place for us to live when the wolves and the leopards were noising how peak predators are the only things for a real man to aspire to. If you think I wanted to be a rat, you're having a laugh - but when it came down to it, out of all the vampires and shifters and terrorists I've hunted, it was a rat that got closest." He leaves the point about the wolves to Robert to answer.

Robert doesn't find that easy to answer, particularly in the pickled state he is working on, with the heated emotions inside the man. "Eden, you are predator too, it is true. But wolves hunt. Our beasts see you as weaker. Some may see you as food if they lack control. There will be many wolves in and out of my home and without protection from Jack or Charley, …" He lifts the glass, considering it before he empties it.

Eden lets his cereal fall to the back of his mind again as he looks between the two slowly. "How is this magical protection going to help me if someone wants to hurt me? I don't understand.. if someone wants to hurt me, they just will. No one can always be there.. I understand that. For whatever it costs, it doesn't seem like it's worth all that much to me." His eyes flick towards Jack. "Everyone keeps talking about family this and family that.. but I don't know you.. or that Travis person. Or anyone else with you. The last 'family' I was with betrayed me, putting this.. thing in me." HIs lips are pursed tightly after, but his eyes remain lifted.

"This magical protection tells them that if they touch you, I'll have their hides," Jack shrugs. "Wolves see rats as weaker, but that doesn't mean we are. I'll bet that I can deal with half a dozen non-alpha wolves at once by myself, or two alphas." It's not a boast, it's delivered as matter-of-fact. "Me against the Ulfric, that'd be a fight to see. But the winner wouldn't be determined by animal, because he may be bigger but I'm nastier." A faint smile. "Families? Yeah, I've encountered some groups I wouldn't call anything other than an opportunistic egomaniac and his lackeys. But the Chicago Rodere are about individuality with a common cause, a desire for peace and friendship, and telling the pinnacle predators that we aren't prey so they can sod off back to their own territories - oh, and telling the vampires that we're not going to be made into pets. That too."

Robert gives Jack's matter of fact statement a nod, agreement. "The protection of my wolves says that if anyone touches them I will kill them." The statement is soft, with a slight edge of a growl to his voice, "Although it is rare these days to need to use death to make my point." He softens the words, tilting the empty glass with a considering look. He lifts his gaze to Jack, assessing the man's body thoughtfully. "If it came to a fight, I do not know. I prefer that we never need to find out, Jack. Do you not allow your rats to donate blood if they choose?" The question does have an edge of interest as Robert reaches for the bottle.

Eden purses his lips faintly as Jack speaks. At least considering the words offered carefully. "It didn't sound like it when Travis was telling me what was what. He said you'd come hunting after me if I didn't go to see you. It sounded like something -he- would do." A soft spark of anger and fear going with that he. "And how would anyone know? Some kind of.. mark or something?"

Eden purses his lips faintly as Jack speaks. At least considering the words offered carefully. "It didn't sound like it when Travis was telling me what was what. He said you'd come hunting after me if I didn't go to see you. It sounded like something -he- would do." A soft spark of anger and fear going with that he. "And how would anyone know? Some kind of.. mark or something?"

Jack shrugs. "My folk're free to donate blood, but to be honest, we haven't been asked. The vampires prefer to forget we exist, I think, and I can't say I mind. We embarrassed them a bit." And then to Eden, "I'd have come looking for you, but then Robert found you. All rats in the city are assumed to be under my protection, unless they go to the Independants. If you aren't under my protection I just make it known, and whatever happens to you is not my problem. You get 'til the next full moon to decide what you're doing, though - just stay out of our territory if you aren't signing up?" A faint smile. "The main rule of the Rodere is that you do not harm so much as a hair on a human head. Kill of Infect someone and I will kill you. Other than that, whatever you get up to, Don't Make Me Care."

"Travis?" Robert repeats the name, casting a glance at Jack as he offers the other man the bottle. The single word is spoken before he sips the glass, at least slowing down at his drinking, and the low growl in his voice is less, the man's eyes nearly human once more. Jack's Rule Number Two makes him chuckle, before he leans his head back, closing his eyes, the gesture weary. He dangles the glass between his fingers, the bottle held in his other hand.

Eden frowns again and says, "Why would I do that to anyone?" Shocked by the very idea. "I don't hurt anyone. I like to make people happy." Firmly asserted so there is no mistake. His eyes flick towards RObert and a bit of concern comes forth, but he forces himself back to considering Jack. So.. if I just say.. ok, I'm with you, you'll leave me alone? I don't have to do anything?" His words chosen carefully.

"Travis is a good sort, but he likes the idea of rodents going solo even less than I do," Jack explains to Robert. And then to Eden, "You may not want to hurt anyone, but things happen. We can help you to make sure you don't shift when you don't want to. If you want to join us I'll expect you to come to dinner at some point, to make an effort to meet the others, and come down to the super-secret nest site for the full moons. I was intending to bring Pierce with me when I came to meet you - she lost everything to Infection, and she's a lovely girl, very good at helping people adapt. You'll just have to settle for coming over and trying her cooking instead."

Robert's contributions fade as the man's eyes stay closed, the bottle moved into his lap, almost empty, and the glass balancing precariously in his hand, dangling over the floor. The wolf settles, his energy dropping as the previous week takes its toll and demands rest from the man. A week of all nighters, hard work, meetings and now death, and then… sleep.

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