"Tch, if you think my dad would care about that you’re mistaken, his brother never wears clothes." And his uncle ‘M’ probably already knows given the man’s habit of -ahem- ‘keeping an eye’ on people. "But yeah…I suppose he’s been portrayed in a variety of ways. Though, uh, I’ll admit, the extent of my knowledge about him is pretty much caught between that Don Bluth movie and a book that talked about his surviving cyanide poisoning wasn’t all that surprising considering the methods of poisoning at the time. Focusing his eyes on the tattoos he suddenly look very deep in thought, racking his brain for even the tiniest bit of info in that finely tuned and vast memory of his.
"….I want to say Babylon. But that might now be right?" He looks suddenly younger, wide brown eyes searching Victor’s for some form of approval. "My dad once took us to the Pergamon Museum when we were visiting my grandmother and they had the Ishtar Gate on display…I, uh, I only really remember because I’d never seen people equate Aurochs and Unicorns before and it kinda…pissed me off a bit when the guide explained the connection between them as ‘sacred animals.’" He gives a small laugh, realizing what a silly thing that is to fixate on but hey, that’s what happened when you were raised surrounded by paper horses and silly pastel pony cartoons. It also didn’t hurt that he tended to relate the wispy, one-of-a-kind equine animals with himself and feeling compared to a lumbering ox wasn’t quite as flattering as the glimmering creatures of Greek and Indian antiquity.
"Why would you…want those etched into your skin until you rot? I can kind’ve understand your Rasputin ink but…What’s so great about an old garden and a bigarse gate? From what I saw it wasn’t much more than what every other gate is. Big ol’ archway with a gate instead of a door."
"Ding ding ding, we have a winner. Babylon is correct." Victor gives Sheehan a proud smile like a father does when his son starts walking or talking. And he is pretty proud- with his student for making an effort and actually trying to come up with an answer- as well as with himself for keeping Shee interested. "So you saw it in Germany? Ah, you’re lucky. I haven’t had the chance yet to go to Berlin and see it myself. I haven’t traveled as much as I wanted to in the past due to…certain issues." At the question he pauses to think a moment, sipping from his tea again. "You don’t know anything about Babylon do you? It’s history and it’s place in history. It was one of the most important cities in its time back then, has seen wars and occupation and yet also has been throwing off unwanted powers and rose like a phoenix from the ashes, the king rebuilding the entire city at the peak of his power. Its influence in culture and architecture made it one of the seven wonders of ancient times."
Victor took a deep breath, trying once again to create the image of a prosperous ancient city, filled with people and with eight gates similar to the Ishtar gate leading into it. “It was maybe the biggest city of the world in its time. Most likely even the first city ever to reach the two hundred thousand mark of inhabitants. Just imagine how huge it must have been. And its name was still important enough for Alexander the Great to make it the main city of his empire after he took over. Babylon means as much as ‘Gate of God’ by the way. The city is mentioned not only by various writers of the old world but also in the bible though there it isn’t exactly seen as a place God would love. After the war in Iraq the US-army tried to protect the archaeological site of Babylon so that nobody would plunder it and destroy timeless artifacts. Not many cities are this well known for their past history and the many texts written about it. So…to me it is a prime example of how history changes a place, how an empire grows from a small town and ends up in ruins.”
Victor needs another moment to calm down again, throat dry from talking himself into…not a rage but he seems quite mesmerized when he’s getting into monologues like this. Finishing his tea he waits a moment, letting the information settle before he puts his cup down and lifts his shirt to reveal the odd writing tattooed thee. “This is my favorite tattoo. It is a quite from Genghis Khan, written in the language of his people- Uygur. It reads as follow: “If you’re afraid- don’t do it,- If you’re doing it- don’t be afraid!” I found this quite to be helpful in the past as it allowed me to push myself past situations that otherwise might have broken me.”
She could practically see the wheels turning inside his head and finally he asked the right questions. “Don’t worry, baby, I’ll handle it.” she winked and grabbed the two bodies before teleporting the hell out of there. She decided that dropping them in the bottom of the ocean would be the easiest way out for her, no mess and it took less than a second.
She returned back to Victor’s place, she could hear him with his dog in the bedroom. Meg leaned down and picked up the door, pushing it back in place. She was not responsible for the broken door and she wouldn’t spend time fixing it properly. It was standing now at least.
She sat back down, crossed her legs and waited for Victor to return. She didn’t owe him anything, but it was always fun to tell people that some nightmares were real.
Leashing Genghis Victor decided to take the Stafford along this time. Not that he would use him to protect himself. But he couldn’t have him whine and bark like mad in the bedroom and scratch the paint off the door. Petting his dog gently he finally returned to the living room where he almost let go of the leash when he realized the bodies were gone. “How…how did you..?” he stammered before sinking into his armchair, looking utterly devastated and defeated, Genghis growling quietly at Meg before Victor told him to sit and be silent, which the dog did by laying across its owner’s feet, eyes never leaving the female demon.
Victor needed a long moment to regain his composure, still not certain what exactly he had witness and while he was still afraid she could send him the same path his usual curiosity broke through again as his eyes wandered over her face and body. “Who are you really? And…what are you? We spoke about demons and angels and religion earlier. Does that mean you’re…? And were those two men..hunting you? If so why? What did you do that your own kind -they were like you weren’t they?- would try to kill you?” He leaned a bit forward, hand resting on Genghis head as he waited for an answer with baited breath. He couldn’t fathom why she was still here. After all he was useless to her. A mere mortal with no special powers. Unless she was some sort of succubi….? Victor’s cheeks flushed suddenly red again at that thought. But she had been flirting with him, so who knew?
He was fine? Sure, Meg could believe that obvious lie if it just kept him quiet. She studied his reactions as he got up, he’d clearly never seen something like this in his entire life. Aw, she’d taken his monster-v-card, how adorable.
She eyed his bedroom door, she was sure his little pet would come running out and attack her if it opened and she didn’t really want to kill Victor’s only best friend. She could easily pin him down with her powers though, but it was so easier to just snap its neck, stomp on it, whatever.
"I don’t mind leaving pal, but are you sure you want me to leave without these two?" she asked, looking down at the bodies. "You’re looking at a life-sentence here if you just keep ‘em rotting. Your call, Vic." she said sweetly.
Victor stopped halfway to the bedroom door, not turning around as his breath got caught in his throat. She was right… He couldn’t send her away while his door was blown out of its hinges and he was left with two dead strangers he had never seen before. Ending up hugging himself he tried to come up with a solution to his current problem but his head was pounding, his entire body aching from being tossed against a wall and he had trouble to think straight. “I…then what do you propose we do about them?” he asked then, trying to keep his voice flat and from shaking. He was still terrified of how easily she had killed these men in cold blood. How even now he felt threatened by her mere presence. And there was nothing he could do, nothing at all. In the end he did step towards his bedroom door after all.
"i..I will calm Genghis down, then…we should talk. And if you can put my entrance door back up I’d be really grateful." He tried to recall if the bodies had left blood on the ground but he…didn’t really want to think about it as he opened the door just enough to grab the Stafford’s collar, holding him firmly as he pushed his way into the room. Sinking to the ground at the door he felt Genghis’ tongue lave over his face, the dog more than happy to see its owner, whimpering softly now as Victor ended up burying his face in his companion’s short fur. "My life is fucked, buddy." he murmured then, "completely and utterly fucked. There’s two dead men and..she..I don’t know what she is. I can’t escape her if I want to get rid of the bodies. I’m so fucked."
Meg finally had some time to check on Victor after she got rid of the two demons. She turned to look at him, one eyebrow raised. “Yeah God..not so much.” she smiled, pocketing her blade. “You okay there, hotshot?” It was pointless for Meg to keep her act up now and she was back in her more normal way of speaking.
She walked over to him and ..why did he look scared? It wasn’t like she’d just kicked his door in or thrown him against the wall. “Looks like it’s just a cut. Doubt you’ll need stitches.” she said nonchalantely and moved on to the dead bodies in Victor’s living room.
"Why do you assholes keep popping up.." she muttered darkly to herself, pushing one of the men gently with the tip of her shoe to see if the vessel was still alive. Apparently not, which was good. Less hassle to get rid of the bodies later.
She looked back at Victor and smiled sweetly. “You better play nice or I might have to kill you and wasting unnecessary blood isn’t something I’m into anymore.”
Victor’s eyes were wide with evident fear as she approached him, body stiff, not daring to move a muscle or even scream. He could hear Genghis go mad in the other room, barking and howling and it were those sounds that got him moving again as he slowly pushed himself back to his feet. He..didn’t know much about demons, didn’t know how they were called into this realm. That..that’s what she was, right? Now this talk about God and religion made sense and he was angry at himself for not realizing it sooner. “I..I’m fine..” he lied as he stumbled back into the living room, staring at the corpses as he pressed a hand against his mouth.
What had he gotten himself into here? And then she threatened him, downright threatened him and Victor felt sick to his stomach. Even if she sounded reluctant about bloodshed he felt frightened by her words. He kept moving towards the bedroom, not just to calm his Stafford down but to grab his first aid kit. “I..I won’t scream… You should..go now. I…don’t want you here any longer.” Bold words after she had said he should play nice but he couldn’t think of anything else but the blatant brutal truth. “J-Jesus…what a mess….” How could he explain those two dead bodies? No, there was no way he could explain them.
Shee looks deep in thought at his teacher’s words. Victor really wasn’t budging on this point at all was he? Well, in this case he does have a point, there were many aspects of science where the flaws inherent in the scientists themselves had lead to decades, even centuries, of false information. But physics, biology, those things made sense to screw up, who could’ve predicted that the human eye alone could alter results so greatly? The smallest amount of light could obliterate decades of research in a moment? History was just…old stories, men making shit up as they go based on a few scattered bones and pots, right? His father liked it though, and his grandfather’s entire job revolved around it so maybe he should give it more credit instead of just obsessing over mathematics and physics and what made the stars tick.
As tea is brought he moves Genghis out of his lap and takes one of the cups, sipping it casually while Victor fetches biscuits then starts asking questions of his own. “Hawthorne effect.” He states simply, eyes closed as he takes another long sip of tea, feeling instantly at ease. Goodness, that was a deeply ingrained response, clearly James had imprinted a sense of relaxation connecting directly to tea over the years. “‘A form of reactivity in which subjects modify an aspect of their behavior in response to the fact that they know that they are being studied.’ Tattoos have multiple purposes throughout human society, ranging from irreversible religious adornment to ‘I got drunk when I was 18 and its seemed like a good idea.’ You’re passionate, openly, about your job and you wax poetic about your subjects in the same way my dah does when he talks about his days in India so clearly you’re both intellectually and emotionally connected to them just as he is to that ancient, sweltering country. But the wide range of reasoning that comes with tattooing yourself means there’s information to be gathered in your images of choice and even the art itself, things beyond just what you admit to being interested in. Better artist, straighter lines, deeper color, means higher price, more effort, which means the image itself was more likely to have been thought out in advance as opposed to ‘put this on me it’s pretty.’ Scrappier, more faded and less complex ink points more to a spur of the moment decision. ‘Stick-and-poke’ tattoos can mean either you’ve been visited cultures where such thing is the norm or that you’re impulsive and stupid with the health of your skin. People tend to only show off tattoos they’re proud of or that have a meaning they’re willing to share, that corrupts the data. I don’t want to gather what parts of yourself you’re proud of or willing to share, that’s select pieces. I want a whole picture and that requires you having no verbal say or awareness that you’re being observed. So I tricked you.”
He places the cup back on the tray, giving his teacher a neutral expression, neither guilt nor joy in the explanation he provides, though he does look and sound more like an adult than he truly is which is…eerie. “It’s always in my best interest to know more about those around me than they know about me. I, uh, just didn’t anticipate you having anything truly ‘new’ to me on you. I have moments where I get….hyper focused and sometimes sort’ve…disassociate, when I find something I’m not familiar with. Sorry about that.” He laughs, embarrassed smile spreading across his face as he shrugs weakly, looking genuinely apologetic and once more like an awkward teenager. Then he stares at the skull design he’s been provided with. “….Rasputin?” He’s not that educated on the man but he remembers Anastasia and his poisoning by cyanide was mentioned in one of James’ books on plant-based poisons, in the same chapter that discussed the death of Socrates. He’d really only read it for the information of toxins though, the historical aspects were inconsequential at the time.
Victor looks downright startled at the response he’s given to what he deemed a simple question. But simply question don’t mean they’ll be given simple answers too and the longer Sheehan talks, the more the older man realizes just how brilliant the teenager is but in a strange tragic way as it seems to turn him into an adult way too early. There’s just something off and a bit eerie about the way he sits there and recites all these things he read and learned. Of course he understand what his student is telling him, can grasp the concept and finally gather why his tattoos were of interest and why it caused such an unfortunate reaction. But for a brief moment he just wants to snap his fingers and have Shee go back to being a smart mouthed teenager who yet had to understand (and maybe never would although it was obvious that Victor was trying his hardest) why history was amazing and who had this somewhat haughty expression when he spoke about himself and how smart he is. It just feels less off than this tiny adult who talks about the Hawthorne effect like others his age spoke about the latest supe hero movie or CD from their favorite artist.
He’s strangely relieved when Sheehan finally slips back into being the teenager who gives him an embarrassed and apologetic look and Victor relaxes again, offering a smile back. The boy would either ruin him or open new ways of thinking and understanding things for him. Or maybe a bit of both. “It’s okay but..you do understand why I’d rather prefer this would be kept private. I don’t think your parents would particularly be in favor for my teaching methods if they end up with you seeing your tutor naked. Not that being naked is something shameful but…ah you know what I mean.” He gestures into the air then reaches down to pet Genghis head as the dog wanders over to him to get more attention from his owner. “And Rasputin is correct. You would say that he’s just another dead guy and you’d be right. But his person and life have fascinated me since I was a teenager myself. He’s been portrait as a monster and as a holy man. Where does the truth lay then? It was the first time I wanted to study history and find my own answers.”
He reaches up to pull down the collar on the other side of his shirt, to reveal the flower and the blue gate with the odd looking lions. “This is a nod to the hanging gardens of Semiramis and the Ishtar gate. Can you tell me where I would have found either of these? Although a lot of historians believe these days that the hanging gardens, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World might not have existed at all or at least not at the place where they had been described to be built. It is interesting when you find writings of several Greek and Roman writers depicting the gardens and then to think of it as only a romantic ideal of an eastern garden.” It is quite obvious by now that each correct answer is rewarded with a new tattoo and also serves as an impromptu history lesson to test his pupils knowledge.