((On a scale from ‘complacent’ to ‘fires of Hades’, how mad do you think Cohen would be if Roland Russell did a cover of ‘You Belong to Me’ and made a fortune from it?))
"Aye, that’s correct." He answered as he looked around the studio. "Doctors." He muttered in annoyance. Damian began to walked around before noticing painted footsteps on the smooth plywood floor. He found it amusing which made he tried to follow them but all it did was irk him more. Finally, returning his attention he looked at Roland Russell, "Damian Grantham. Damian is fine.."
A reddish brow furrowed when he told him he would know him. “Who are you?” He asked seriously. “Not to be rude.. Its just I don’t hang around this crowd.” The crowd he was talking about was artistic crowd. He heard about Sander Cohen, Grace Holloway, Ava Tate, and other celebrities through rumors but he never seem them in the flesh. “Oh wait.. Are you that boy that play the piano?”
Damian smiled, “Mad skills.”
It would’ve been a bold-faced lie if Roland had said he wasn’t intimidated by his newest student. It also would’ve been a lie if he said he wasn’t mildly insulted by the other’s ignorance to his popularity and position. Piano indeed!
"Er, no no. You’re thinking of Mr. Fitzpatrick, perhaps? Hangs around one Sander Cohen quite a bit?" Eager to get started, Roland cleared his throat, rolling up his sleeves. "Right then. I’m known for singing and dancing mainly. And a bit of acting here and there. I’m not much for instruments at all. Alright then, Damian. Why don’t we start with something simple? I think a waltz will do, since you’re going to be mingling with high society, I assume. Those are very common at upscale events. Waltzes are very simple: The motion is a box with closed steps, two partners. Here, watch as I move…"
Roland then stood of straight, making the aforementioned motions. He moved smoothly and elegantly, his feet sweeping and stopping to make four corners he’d explained to Damian. He repeated the steps to complete the box three times.
"…There. Does that make sense? Do I need to repeat anything? We can try it together now, if you’d like. If you’re comfortable."
"White chocolate chip." She said with a wide grin as she pulled out the bag. "I would’ve gotten regular ones but a kid grabbed them before I did." She laughed as she pulled the rest of the stuff out then sighed as she looked at him. "I mean unless you were expecting something else…." A wicked grin found it’s way across her face and she bit her lip seductively. The night was going either one of two ways and she felt bad if it didn’t go as the other had hoped. She had after all put on the skimpiest thing she could find and then brought cookies. The mixed signals surely would confuse the older gentleman and she honestly felt bad now.
As far as the little entertainer was concerned, food and sex were two of the greatest pleasures in the world. And if he were to have a fair amount of both in the same evening…?
Blinded by his own primal lust, he hadn’t paid much mind to the younger woman’s slightly hesitant attitude towards the latter desire. He also wasn’t above noticing her change of attire. If he didn’t know better, Roland would’ve assumed she’d changed on purpose, to entice him.
"Oh honey, I’m not partial to any kind of cookie. As long as it’s food or sweet, I’ll love it!” Only then did he catch the last but of her reply. “…Somethin’ else, eh? Well…” the entertainer grinned seductively. “Now that you mention it, you wouldn’t have dressed so er, nicely, for me if you didn’t have some desire to further this evening, hm?”
It took one slip of the wrist and a bit of leaning too far for Lin to finally catch it - scars. The sight was there for a split second but he caught it nonetheless.
It made sense. Rapture was dangerous for everyone but surely in a well protected place such as Olympus Heights, a celebrity need not fear for his life. Even if they were involved with… less than legal activities. Rapture was full of those types anyway and everyone knew it.
A city corrupt to the core did nothing to hide this.
That was when Lin hesitated - finger lingering just on front of the weapon the actor had pointed to. They retracted, then reached for it again. Grabbing the machine by the handle and placing it gently on the glass table.
He stared at it for a moment and he realized what he was enabling that man to do. It was no different than any other purchase, what he sold only ever had one purpose anyway, but this felt… different. Because this time the perpetrator and the would-be victim were both standing on front of him.
"Same brand, different model." Lin explained quickly. "Longer firing range, hence the longer barrel. Its louder, but its more efficient at what it does."
He looked away. “Same price, though.” He heard himself say. Those words were spoken as casually as any vendor would have delivered them. Normally, this did not bother Lin. This time, it left him nauseous.
But nausea didn’t change a goddamn thing.
The more he stared at the silvery machine of execution, the more it was beginning to appeal to him. In the entertainer’s warped mind, the only true freedom was suicide. Such power, such independence…and wasn’t that the cornerstone of this city? All that talk about “the strong not being constrained by the weak”? The ability to forge one’s own path without oppression or regulation? While Roland wasn’t a man of science or business, he was a man who craved a certain amount of power. And what better way to exert one’s power than to chose to end their life at any given moment? Depression or hopelessness aside, to be the decider of one’s own fate was in itself an intoxicating feeling. And one Roland Russell often found himself becoming drunk on.
He reached out for the pistol slightly, but pulled his hand back. If the owner had wanted him to touch it, he would’ve handed it to him already for inspection.
"Mm…" grunted the performer as he only caught the tail-end of the gunsmith’s comment, eyes still devouring the pistol. Eventually, he found himself and answered Mr. Ruan. "Excellent. I’ll take it." Roland reached into his jacket, fishing for his chequebook. He’d released it though, remembering that procuring a firearm was only half the battle. "Oh! Wait…I’ll need ammunition as well, won’t I? Nearly forgot. What sort of rounds does this take and how much do they go for? I er…won’t need that many, at least I would hope I don’t, so I hope I don’t have to buy a whole box or anything.”
There was only one thing Roland Russell enjoyed more than performing…and that was food.
Not surprising, as the entertainer had grown up in total poverty. He and his small family of three had spent their days scrounging for money and food, more often than not having to dine on a potato and a loaf of bread between them all. The same had carried through into his teens and adulthood, especially when he was busy with class at university. Now that he’d achieved a certain degree of fame in the city of Rapture, Roland took every liberty to indulge himself in all kinds of edibles. So much so that it had affected his waistline a bit.
And so, sitting with the other high-ranking members of the studio he was employed under, Roland Russell was as happy as a clam, waiting for the okay to start at the buffet that had been laid out. They had been invited to an evening gala celebrating some of the top institutions in the city, Banks & Barrow Studio having been chosen as the finest talent agency. Once the speaker had ended his speech, Roland was the first one among his group to stand. Eager, though a gentleman, he hoofed it over to the long sets of tables but allowed the ladies who had beaten him places ahead in line. The caterers that had been hired had outdone themselves. Platters and tins heaped with delicious-looking food lined the tables, elegantly and strategically placed. Once he arrived at the first platter, he instantly began piling his plate. An impossibly large smile wound itself across his face. This was the stuff he could only dream of on the surface.
"So! Pretty good spread, wouldn’tcha say, friend?" laughed Roland, turning to the man behind him in line.
Teagan had gone through much of his life feeling isolated- coping with loneliness by filling his head with drugs and daydreams, waiting for the inevitable hour where nature would finally rip his mind in twain. Only then would the young engineer find solace- forever stranded on a rocky beach, in a grave wrought with sea foam on some distant astral plane.
It was all he had ever wanted to hear. Sincerity. Compassion. This was too good to be true. He knew what the catch would be, but god how he wanted to savor the moment for what it was. The young man so desperately wanted to believe the words his lover spoke- to convince himself that such soul-crushing agony could be dulled by Roland’s genuine sentiments. Teagan leaned into the other’s tender caress, allowing his cheek to brush against his beloved’s wrist as it dropped down to his waist once more.
“I do.” He murmured, voice slipping into sorrowful whisper. “It’s what… I’ve always wanted. What I’d give everything for.” The engineer’s hands found themselves resting on Russell’s shoulder, giving them a light squeeze as he continued to speak. “I’m very fond of you, if that wasn’t clear enough.” Blue irises remained locked with viper green ones, sinking his teeth into his lower lip to drive back the tears that had begun to well up in his eyes. “…and I trust that you mean everything you’ve said. And I truly, desperately want to. I really do, but there’s… more to it. I’ve been really vague, there’s a reason- and you deserve to know why.”
He sucked in another deep breath, exhaling through his nose. His lips tightened, suddenly fumbling over the words that desperately needed to come out. There was no possible way this wouldn’t be a deal breaker.
“On the surface it was a lot more simple. Mostly just a waiting game, until the fits would finally pass, but down here…” Teagan heaved another quivering sigh, the grip on his lover’s shoulders tightening. “The plasmids make it… horrible.” His voice cracked audibly, and he bit down mercilessly on his lip again in an effort to steady his slowly unraveling composure. “It’s like I can’t control them. I just… check out of reality, and by the time I get back…” He trailed off, envisioning the many instances he had snapped out of episodes to witness what Electro Bolt had reaped in his momentary . Light fixtures blown out, grandiose chandeliers that had loomed on the ceiling above shattered into a million pieces, reduced to nothing more than a smoking black spot on the ceiling. Or worse. That lesser of two evils being when he was alone.
“I shocked the only person I used to call my friend in this whole fucking city. And if you’re going to be around me, it’ll happen to you, too.” Teagan uttered softly, before swallowing hard in his throat.
“I mean it when I say that I’d never, ever want to hurt you. For any reason, so… If that’s going to be a problem, I won’t take it personally. At all.”
It wouldn’t be pure bliss and convenience if there wasn’t some sort of catch. Such had seemed to be the way with Roland’s life, whether it was true or not.
The entertainer felt all the joy and pleasure slipping away from him, replaced by raw terror. He slipped into a cold sweat, his throat feeling tight as a gnawing pain set into his stomach. He took a step back, out of instinct, not really thinking. Roland then stepped back, keeping his hands to himself, not wanting to offend his young lover.
"Well I, er…" It was difficult for the little man to string together a sentence immediately, unsure of what to say. He didn’t want to offend Teagan or scare him away, but this was a serious matter they needed to address. "…I’m glad you brought this up so quickly, Teagan. Before there was even a chance for anything to go wrong. I…
…As much as it pains me to say it, yes. I am terrified of electricity. Deathly afraid, actually. And the idea of a plasmid that allows one to conjure up electricity…oh my gosh, I’m shaking.” He clasped his hands together to try and quell his tremours. “This all stems from…my time in the asylum. They…issued me electroshock therapy and gave me too much once and-” His vision was beginning to get hazy as memories of the incident returned to him.
The light. The heat. The buzzing. The incessant buzzing.
Russell grabbed at his head, trying to calm his breathing. “I…I need to sit down. Quick! Talk about something else! Ask me anything! Anything else!”
Rapture Family cuties goin’ for a stroll through Arcadia or something.
(Teagan belongs to me and Roland belongs to rapturessweetheart,)
“Of course I remember.” He whispered, almost surprised that the words had come out of his own mouth. Such details would evade him, normally- but in this particular instance, he had replayed the first night of their encounter over in his head a million times through. How could the young man forget?
He slid an arm around Roland’s waist, pressing his palm against the small of his back to pull the entertainer into an embrace. “I know what it’s like, these… shocks you speak of.” Teagan said softly, his other hand finding itself resting on his lover’s shoulder, fingers lightly massaging at the thin curve of muscle. “I tend to get something similar, at times. It’s difficult for me to describe in its entirety but… along the same lines. Being agitated by something that’s clearly a delusion.” As their eyes locked, the engineer knew he wanted nothing more than to show the other that he understood. The world demonstrated nothing but stigma towards those that reaped this particular strain of damage on their minds and bodies. Never in his life had he expected to hear such utterances, especially from anyone down here, of all places. Teagan’s hand slid down over Roland’s chest, listening intently as he continued to speak.
His heart practically sunk into his stomach, his appetite completely snuffed out at the words that followed. To hear Russell admit his aversion to electricity almost made him sick. That was what he’d become, essentially- ever since he’d finally succumbed to the sweet embrace of ADAM. It was almost second nature, to pick up on the hum of currents that whispered in the wires through the rock of rust and metal. Electro Bolt was his mistress, seducing him with the power to stop the city’s arduous ticking with the crackle of his fingertips.
Teagan adjusted his voice, turning his attention back to the liquor that stood silently on the counter. His tone of voice dropped to a dismal murmur. “No, you’re fine. I mean… it’s kind of important, anyway.”
It was becoming increasingly difficult to Roland to make light or happy of the situation. With each new grim detail, the entertainer found himself slipping further and further into despair. Biting his lip and feeling hot tears welling in his eyes, Roland reached up, cupping one of the boy’s cheeks. Stroking the soft flesh with his thumb, he lifted the other’s chin up, letting the other know he wanted to look into his eyes.
"Oh, Teagan, I…I don’t know what to say. I can only imagine how terrifying that must’ve been. And all the procedures and things I’m sure you had to deal with afterwards." His hand slid up, gingerly touching the scar on the other’s scalp. The performer pulled the other into a hug, nuzzling his shoulder. "I mean…I know what it’s like to constantly be in and out of hospitals and institutions, but…for different reasons." He let him go, staring back into his eyes, holding onto his waist again.
"This is…going to be quite a journey. We’ve both got our fair share of issues, but…I just want to let you know that I really, really like you, Teagan Ainsland. I’m rather fond of caring for my loved ones and, well…if you’ll have it, I’d certainly love to take care of you. I just want to make sure you’re happy and at ease. At least, as happy and at ease as one can be down here, in your condition. I’ve never really met anyone who has episodes unlike mine but, if you just tell me what I need to do, I’ll do my best to help if and when they happen. Alright? I mean…if you want." The little man paused, swallowing.
"That is…if you want to be with me as badly as I want to be with you."