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What Not to Do (Kallisti)
Color him shocked. He didn’t expect an actual answer. It was hard to hear. He had to lean his ear nearer her lips to catch it all. Not that she probably minded. He laughed when he finally pieced together what she was saying. Mocking gods was all well and good. Though knowing Nox, the guy didn’t strike Jaxen as being all that deep. Which was probably what made him fun to be around. Far easier to splash through shallow puddles after all. Dangerous things lived at the bottom of the blacker ones.

Those expressive eyes flicked up toward the stage. Brows rising high. Seriously contemplative for a moment, but it passed quickly. Contemplation didn’t shadow Jaxen for very long. 
“More like he’s mocking Disney. Poor fuckers,” he laughed. The little demon imps were fat and slobbery. The villainous cartoons tripped, danced, kicked and carried the weight of the show’s physical humor. Probably the best part of the whole thing. That and Nox’s interpretative dancing. 

Forgetting pink lady for the moment, he twisted to lay his forearms on the back of the seat that currently propped up Bindi lady. He propped his chin on his arm and looked up when to his maximum surprise the girl offered him a drink.

“Beluga gold vodka. Lime. On rocks,” he said immediately like a good Russian boy. It wasn’t lost on him that an empty glass was taken away from the table as the server departed. She wasn’t drunk enough to slur her words, but the night was still young. There was plenty of time for that. She didn’t sound Russian in return, and he was immensely curious which poison she would select for herself.

“I’m Jaxen,” he added, hoping she’d test his name on her lips. It was one of his favorite sounds in the world. But what would her name be? Something Hindu? She didn’t look dark enough to be of the blood. New Ager? Something else? He waited like a patient pup to be regaled.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
[[ there was no singing except for Mist (Persephone) lamenting in this scene it's all musical. Nox does not sing, he knows his limits ]]

Zef knew better -- she knew the boy god was mocking the gods. He was born and raised Atharim -- American Atharim but still Atharim. He had been taught everything like she had -- but yet he'd chosen to survive. Would she do the same? Why did his parents let him live? That was a question she might delve into -- did he kill his own parents to save himself from death? But she didn't contract the reborn god, he was pretty proud of his own insights. And he was right, the likely hood the boy could sing as well as dance was small. He was awkward, stumbled a time or two but his eyes glazed over and he looked lost in thought not here and now.

The man, Jaxen, ordered the typical thing a rich Russian might. Flaunting his extravagant taste? Maybe. But it didn't matter she hadn't stipulated and it would be paid for none-the-less. The girl returned with their drinks, her own rum and coke slipped on the table on to the napkin. It was mostly coke -- she was here to observe, but he didn't need to know that. Zef smiled at his introduction. "I know who you are Jaxen. There aren't many in my circle who don't know of you at least. Your own Cabaret was better than this I expect. I didn't get a chance to see it." Jaxen was an escaped god -- he'd eluded their grasp with some strange magics -- naga magic if the retellings were true. But let him think it was different circles in which she spoke.

Zef reached her hand behind her as she said her own. "Zephyr. Tell me Jaxen, does your light do more than this?" She waved towards the stage where the sequence was moving on. Poor Persephone, stuck in underworld with her husband. There were worse fates for a god.
((Fixed. *Grovels and Grins.))

And with that, Jaxen brightened like a flower in the sunlight.

His grin beamed with pride. The Cabaret was his masterpiece. Such a fucking brilliant good night. On retrospect he might have skipped killing the lamb on stage. Too gross. And also might have smuggled Boda out of town. The old queer would have been pissed, but kidnapping him and throwing his old ass in the back of a truck might have saved his life. Still, knowing Boda, he went out doing what he loved. If only they could all be so lucky.

Too bad the Cabaret was basically erased from existence. He would know. He checked a shit ton of times. Voxel checked too. He might have asked Wicked Truth to dig up what he could, but he knew there was no point. The Custody was pissed, which meant Ass-candy himself knew about the performance. Jaxen almost giggled with delight just to imagine Ascendancy seeing it for the first time. So no proof it remained, butut memories lasted. There had been hundreds of people in the audience. They all walked out with images in their heads not so easily deleted. And apparently the tale had snaked its way to the ears of the girl in front of him now.

He shifted to pluck his chin on his fist, elbow propped on the ledge that separated them. That cheesy grin hovered.

“If you know who I am, then you know the answer to that,”
his eyes rolled toward the stage. He stared at Nox for a minute, then licked his lips and summoned the Ancient Power.

He looked again at Nox, eyes narrowed just a little. After about 20 seconds, his face rearranged into that of the star. There was no blue flaming hair because frankly he needed to get a closer look to see how that was done, but the effect was obvious.

He winked at Zephyr, whose name was pretty badass, then glanced over his shoulder. Pink hair lady looked up, glimpsed the fake-Nox, then gasped quite appropriately. When Jaxen looked back at Zephyr, his face was his own again.

“See?” he then reached out to snag the glass of vodka. The crystal bubbled with condensation on the outside, ice cold. He took a long drink then gasped satisfied afterward, licking the drips from his lips as he did.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
Now wasn't that a neat little trick. Zef smiled appreciatively at both the trick and the close up of a face she's stared out many times to try and understand his motives. Why betray everything you are? Obvious reason was he was the number one reason they existed in the first place. Rock meet hard place. But the answer should have been simple. Death to your family and yourself. That was the way of things. But he chose the cowards way out -- Zef was more upset about that.

But here was another god preening and flaunting his ability with no remorse. He was arrogant and mischievous. He knew of us, knew what we were and yet he hadn't heeded the stars words. He was brave or foolish and either of those things would work in her favor. She only had to appeal to his selfish nature. But what to test it on. That might take some thought beyond the now.

But first trust. Or at least a facsimilia of it. That she lacked with Durante. He didn't trust her. Neither did this one, but he was arrogant enough to manipulate with his own ego. Her eyes followed him tongue across his lips and fell into that daze of wanton need. Lust, was easy. He was attractive. And there was no harm in fun while you worked. Her voice dropped and she let go of just a little bit of her control. "Handy little trick. Tell me, Jaxen, what has been your most impressive guise with the biggest bang for the buck? Posing as the Ascendancy only brought upon some notoriety. Surely you do more than flaunt and preen your gift like this ameature show. Master thief such as yourself."
Now that was twice in as many minutes that Zephyr said something odd. The first time she mentioned her circle of friends, Jaxen assumed it was the same society bullshit that everyone who was anyone in Moscow brought up. Circles. Networks. Friends. Whatever. On its own, not all that noteworthy.

But calling him a master thief gave him some pause. Nobody should know that about him. Unless she counted stealing hearts panties. She had said she knew who he was. Just how much did she know?

A contemplative flicker fluttered his expression, but it wasn’t an ominous response. It was curious more than anything. Behind him, the pink haired lady had scooted farther away, so Jaxen decided to abandon her altogether. No point barking up that tree.

He snorted an amused little snort, then hopped up and rounded the barricade that separated their seats. In a flash, he was next to Zephyr, sliding in from the other side of her table.

“Alright. I’ll play. A thousand dollars if you can guess where this guy showed up,” he winked, licked his lips, and went still for about 10 seconds.

Again, his face rearranged, but this time, it was into the dour and gruff Mr. White. He was a good looking bloke despite the stick up his ass. If she guessed Baccarat Mansion, he would know all he needed to know. 

Besides. He was good for the money after all.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
A hefty sum. A game he thought to win or lose though Zephyr couldn't figure out. The face was familiar, but she didn't know from where. "I prefer your natural one. But while familiar I do not know from where." She leaned forward and smiled softly. "Perhaps you'll tell the tale in a more quiet place. After the show. I assume you want to watch your friend finish his performance." It was a gamble, on both parts. Durante and Marveet hadn't been seen together other than the Cabaret, but why would either of them show up to the others performance? They floated in two completely different circles. Did all these godlings know each other? And if there were two here now, how many others sat in idle contemplation heading the words of their star performer? Zef didn't glance around, her full attention on the man before her while she waited with baited breath for the man to accept her invitation of later.

His new found proximity mad her smile genuinely -- to know he'd left his intended mark for her. But there was still a game to be played and Zef wasn't sure who was playing who. The guise he took sounded more like she should know. He was toying with her. But truly and honestly did not know the man he portrayed. She smiled at him again. It is a good thing this was not a bet. I don't think I could fair the loss of a thousand. We'd have to come to some other arrangements then."

[[ ooc: Zef wasn't in Moscow to meet Hood and he's just a consultant so not exactly someone she'd run into often. Unlike Nox she doesn't know every Atharim by sight -- there is no need to know them. eHehe but I knew that was the one you'd go with Smile ]]
So Jaxen’s wad of money was going to stay in his account. He might have been smug about winning the one-sided wager but for the implications of what it meant. Perhaps Zephyr wasn’t Atharim after all. The hints pointed to her, but surely she would have recognized the guy implicated in their HQ break-in. It was possible the Atharim was holding that embarrassing little breech of defense close to their chest, but the fake Mr. White interacted with a lot of Atharim henchmen that day, and the whim of Rumor was a bitch to control. If she was Atharim, she should have known about it.

Guess he was twice barking up the wrong tree then?

So Jaxen might have the wrong person. It was entirely possible Nox was flat wrong about his assumptions that Atharim were in the house. Nobody else seemed concerned with the flaunting of his power, either indoors or out. Though, come to think of it, maybe they were but were too intimidated by a powerful and sophisticated bloke like Jaxen Marveet to bother confront him? Now that was definitely possible.

With a smirk he glanced at the stage. Zephyr made all kinds of the wrong assumptions about Jaxen’s priorities.  He barely knew Nox, and ‘friend’ was a generous description of the guy he did know. So Jaxen made the universal scales-of-balance signal with face-up palms. 
“Sausage shaking it on stage? Or a hot girl?” 
and playfully winced with the absurdity of the comparison. He winked at her, then nodded toward the exit.

He stood soon after that, but not without finishing off the vodka. Beluga gold was too damn good to leave behind.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
He seemed a bit confused by her reaction, but he was game none the same to leave with her. Or was she leaving with him? It would have been nice to taunt Durante, but perhaps a lesser trained Atharim and more flamboyant god was in need? Zef wasn't sure it was the right gambit -- but at least this was not a fight she couldn't win. At least it hadn't turned that way first. And a girl's got needs too.

Zef dropped enough credits on the table for their drinks and the tip. And followed Jaxen towards the exit. The show continued on in the macba synthetic music of the puppets on stage. She spared their star one last glance before putting her hand on Jaxen's hip and followed him out. It wasn't so crowded as one couldn't walk without stepping on someone else, but the boy had brought in a crowd. That viral video did more than it's job. Maybe it would be fruitful on her end of the spectrum as well.

Pushing through the doors and their swing shut silenced the noise except for that which was outside. The buzz of the lights returned to normal, the soft red glow highlight everything. The line was much shorter now than when she arrived, but there were still folks looking to get in despite the show's inprogress status. Zef snaked her arm around Jaxen's waist and shouldered him in jest "So you have the hot girl outside. Now what ever are you going to do?" There was a game to play, but trust was gained in other ways sometimes -- and trust was required for what she had in mind for later.
Jaxen read the vibe.

He was more than happy to be the meat for Zephyr’s paws. Even leaned into it when she dug those fingers into his hip. Of course, he had to peel himself away long enough to retrieve his coat from house-check. The feathers still plumed satisfactorily around his neck, but the layer wasn’t for warmth. As he followed her outside, the chill air prickled his chest. After the heat of the club, even the stank of the Red Light District was fresh as mountain air.

He licked his lips once more, scanning the street. He had a car drop him here, and it would only take a short summons for it to return. If they needed it. Zephyr was hitting the nail on the head, though. Playing into the roles. He approved mightily.

“You’re the one hitting on me. You tell me what you want to do.” Oh he knew what she wanted to do. But Jaxen wanted her to work for it, at least a little.

There was no need to lean out here, but he did lower his voice just enough to offer a suggestion. Granted, it was illegal. Not that he really cared. But the drama built the bad-boy intrigue she was clearly into than actual worry over getting arrested. Not like it would be his first night spent in a holding cell.

“But I have an idea. Ever done P?”

He watched her reaction to see if she’d heard of it. There was a place they were sure to find some. And maybe the fun kind of dirty sex as well. If she was into that. If not, he kept a good stash of the street-legal recs in the kitchen cabinet.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
She watched transfixed, head a little tilted as she absorbed it all. "Oh, I know that film,” she murmured of the dancing animations. It was even older than Ephraim. But the flaming blue hair made sense, then. Visha had come entirely without context. "Not my favourite, though,” she added. A frown rippled and then vanished from her brow. Mostly she was enamoured of the magical performance on stage, though after a while she leaned back to Seven and asked in a surprised whisper, "how are they doing all that?”

[[As a general aside, Heracles/Hercules murdered a significant number of Echidna’s children, including the hydra. I don’t have much to add, but didn’t want to hold the thread up]]
[Image: visha-echidna.jpg]
 Visha | Echidna  

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