|Characters:||Damas, Pan as ST|
|Summary:||Damas recruits a fighter with... issues.|
|Disclaimers:||Romance. Alligators. Tears.|
Saul: hey heard you were looking to put together one of your clubs. Saul: I've been living in Slidel, I could help you with a fighter. Saul: There's just a problem I need your help with first. Saul: But I can't explain over the phone, you wanna come out?
Beck's place is...isolated, to say the least. Slidell is a good 45m out of New Orleans, and getting to the house takes another twenty navigating tiny dirt and gravel roads to get to the isolated place, separated from the road by trees and a tall wooden privacy fence. The actual house is nice, two stories, in good repair, landscaped lawn with a koi pond in front. Frogs sing mating songs in the darkness when Damas arrives.
After a brief glance at a map, Damas takes an hour or so to walk onto a lot and just... buy an SUV, just for this. He registers it to one of his many off-shore corporations, pays the salesman a bonus of a thousand dollars for making the transaction take less than an hour after 8 PM, and heads... for Slidell.
The boring 2013 Toyota Highlander, now dust-covered and with a few dings and scratches, pulls up, parks, and, because Damas has a sense of the dramatic, sits. The car's great selling point was its almost illegal level of tint. No one can see in, and he can see out just fine. He eyes this house intently.
When he emerges a full minute or three later, it's with a calm face which gives nothing away. He heads for the front door to knock politely.
"COME IN." The voice bellows from the interior house, and Damas will find the house dark and quiet, save for a single lamp in the living room off to the left of the foyer. The living room is lavishly appointed in dark leather and hardwood with lush rugs. Sitting on the couch is a figure with their feet in an inflatable kiddie pool where the coffee table would usually be. The figure is wearing naught but a pair of blue and white striped boxer shorts, and has a full blender pitcher of margarita in his left hand. The right hand is holding a joint, lit, giving off the smell of weed. The figure's shoulders are shaking as he sobs into the kiddie pool, leaned forward.
The figure is a ten foot tall alligator man. When he speaks, it's with the voice of Saul Beck.
"She's GONE, Cas! She fuckin' left me! She left me alone! She took Audi and she left and she went to stay with her mom in Beaumont." The figure's crying takes over again, and he tilts the pitcher of margarita mix back into his elongated, toothy maw.
This is Saul Beck. When Damas saw him last, Saul Beck was 5'7" and weighed 130 pounds. He was not, at that time, an alligator man. He was also married to a rather gorgeous blonde named Madge.
Damas comes in, and stops. With a slow tilt of his head, he takes in the picture Saul makes. His attention drifts downwards, drags up with the kind of perusal some might consider invasive. He considers. He holds his tongue. And then... the vampire steps forward, and takes a seat on one of the leather chairs across from Saul, not too close lest he get... cried on. "What happened, Saul?" His voice is pitched low, sort of soothing, an attempt at reassurance when there is literally nothing reassuring about the unsmiling man. The questions are making themselves known loud and clear in his mind, but he doesn't ask, not yet. Let Saul spill what he wants to.
"I don't know, man! I don't know! Everything was going so great. We retired early, moved out here where everything's cheap and the money would go further, got this -house-, we were makin' it work! Then she said she couldn't take it anymore and she'd met someone new and she was leaving and I'd have to talk to her lawyer. Then her lawyer came around, man, and he wanted me to sign some papers and like, I just, I got so -mad-. I got so mad, you know? What else was I going to do, like, after you bite a guy's arm off? You just let him go after that and it's all just more problems, so I had to -finish-, you know? And now she won't talk to me at -all-, says I'm dangerous and I scare her. She called me a -monster-, Cas! It was just a fucking lawyer! I'm her husband!" The alligator man punctuates each sentence with a wracking sob.
It cannot be overstated how much Saul Beck was not an alligator man when Damas last saw him, and how little he is currently addressing that he's an alligator man.
The sigh, when it comes, is for effect. Damas doesn't have to breathe. He could have just... slumped or something. But no, he sighs, chooses to sigh, because that's not the answer he wanted to hear, and clearly Saul should know that. "I see. You got... angry." The blink is catlike and calm. His lips purse together. "What else?" Maybe if he keeps Saul talking, the truth will come out.
"THAT'S NOT ENOUGH?!" Beck surges to his feet, splashing the water of the kiddie pool, and some of the margarita sloshes out of the pitcher. Saul sees that some of the margarita has spilled and collapses back onto the couch, crying. "I'm almost out of food. And booze. And the ice machine is broken. Madge did all the shopping. She did -everything-. And now she's gone, and I'm alone." And an alligator. Which probably explains why he doesn't do the shopping.
And the money's probably running out, or he'd use instacart. "Saul." Damas levels a stare on the alligator man for a long moment, waiting for the emotions to simmer down to the point where he can be addressed. "Why did you call me?" He can guess. Hell, it's bleeding obvious. Nevertheless, perhaps it's something Saul needs to say, or realize, for himself.
"You can go talk to her! You can get her to come back. You go talk to Madge, you get her to come back to me, and then I fight for you! It'll all work out, right? You're persuasive!" Well, Damas can -lie-, at least. "Maybe you can use some kind of like, trick? Like a...you know." He shifts joint and carafe of margarita to his right hand and uses the index and middle finger (ring finger? he's only got three fingers now) to mime fangs. Despite the fact that Beck's fangs are -much- larger than Damas's. "Some kind of trick. And get her to come back."
"Saul," Damas says, and pinches the bridge of his nose. "How did you turn into an alligator?" Despite his seemingly relaxed state, he's hyper-aware of the gator-man. If Saul gets 'angry' again, he's going to be... not there, in a heartbeat.
"What?" Saul has the audacity to be -surprised- by the question. "What, uh. Oh, you're like. You're not on my Facebook? Uh, yeah. I made a post about this like a year and a half ago? I pissed off that swamp witch? She got so mad that I sold her hut after she'd been foreclosed on that she turned me into an alligator man. That's why we moved to Slidell? Like, we sold the house and cashed in all the stocks and bought this place. The taxes on it are basically nothing, it's -fantastic-, it's like $150 a month. We put the pool out back but we haven't let any of the inspectors see it, just keep the fence up and they drive by and we don't let them come on the property or anything so."
"Well. Sounds like you've done well for yourself," Damas says, and settles back, resting his hands on his thighs. "Let me ask you something, Saul. Is this... besides the situation with Madge, is this..." A gesture to the room, the rest of the house, the fine yard, and so on, "What you want out of life?" That piercing stare lands on Saul intently.
Damas's vampiric powers of observation reveal the depth of Saul Beck's character, what empowers him (his patience), what holds him back (his laziness), the depth of his desire for his wife to love him and want to be with him, but his absolute inability to cause her harm, whatever he'd do to her lawyer. Damas is good at reading people, and becoming a vampire only made him better at it.
"What do you mean? We're living in -paradise-, Casimir. Have you -seen- the pool out back?"
The corner of Damas's mouth quirks. "You're satisfied with country life and quietness. I've met Madge. I think she likes the whole world. I suspect she wasn't as happy with isolation as you are. I'm going to talk to her, but I need you to do something for me." That piercing stare is back, compelling and yet somehow... more approachable. "I want you in a tournament fight. If you think you can control yourself."
"I don't know what else I can give her! Cas, you really should see the pool. I've got a smoker out there that would make Pat Martin jealous." Is Damas educated on Nashville barbecue Pitmasters? Probably not. "Last fall we put in a -brick pizza oven-. The parties we throw at this place are -insane-. You should come, we do barbecue, pizza, sometimes we do lua style pig with a big bonfire--" He pauses. "Okay maybe not on bonfire nights? But you'd love it, it's -amazing-." For a homebody who cares mostly about eating delicious meats. "But yeah, that's the deal, Cas. You get Madge back for me, I fight in your club. I know I was never much of a brawler but the curse made me strong as hell, I won't let you down."
No, Damas is not a giant fan of barbecue. Ruins the blood. "Not quite what I have in mind." A pause and Damas folds one knee over the other. "Here's the deal. Your Madge is a... bird of a certain feather. She's beautiful, cosmopolitan, and she's not interested in a good smoker. You made your paradise for yourself, not her." A pause, a level look. "What I'm going to do is turn you into a star. I'm going to call you the Gator Man of New Orleans. I'll come up with something snappier later. I'm going to give you a few soft-ball easy fights, find you a trainer, get you smarter, faster, more deadly. And then I'm going to make you dangerous. Women /love/ danger." Damas leans forward to eye Saul directly. "And Madge will be in the audience. She's going to have a taste of danger, but the kind of danger people enjoy, like roller coasters and paragliding. She's going to realize that you are /not/ just a homebody who loves to cook - you're /her/ protector, her knight in shining scales. And she'll /want/ to return." Damas smiles to himself. "What do you think?"
"You're just trying to get me into the ring without doing the work, Cas. She already thinks I'm a dangerous monster! She was so mad at me for eating the lawyer, man, you don't even -know-. I'm not gonna fight unless you get Madge to at least come see me first." He finishes off the pitcher, and tosses it carelessly into the pool. The joint is long since burned down and pinched out between scaly fingers. "And I'm -not- the Gator Man of New Orleans. I'm from Miami."
"Florida Alligator Man, then," Damas says with a wave of his hand. "I'm going to talk to her right after I finish talking to you, Saul. The work will be convincing her to visit an underground fight ring. I don't propose this because I want a fighter, I can find some werewolf or other, there are always more. I'm proposing this because you want Madge, and if you want her, you're going to have to work to win her - and that involves waiting, putting in the time, becoming something /more/ than just what you are. You need to be what /she/ wants. Do you understand?"
"I want her to want -me-," the Florida Alligator Man says, voice threatening to collapse back into sobs. "I want her to love me."
"Saul," sighs Damas, "That woman is already in love with you. Why do you think she went to her mother's? You don't do that when you've got another person on the side, you go live with them." Never mind that she could've lied to protect said other person. "But if you truly love her, you need to be able to let her go, and you need to be willing to better yourself for her sake. If she doesn't take you back, you're still a better person. If she does, you're ahead of the game. You want it to be her choice. Make it /her/ choice. Stop wallowing, come do something with me, and let me take care of Madge. She /will/ see you. She married you for a reason, remember?"
"All right, Cas. All right. You do your part, I'll do mine, okay?" Saul sounds...defeated. It's not the sound of someone who hopes for success, but someone who knows there's no other choice."Okay. Pack a bag." Damas looks around the place. "I've got a vehicle I can take you in, and a room to put you up in." Probably better not to leave Saul alone tonight.