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Brian Derossi

A New York twenty-something of Italian descent who pays his taxes, leaves good tips, goes to church every Sunday, and is about to become demon slayer, extraordinaire.

0 · 392 views · located in New York City

a character in “DCCLXXVII”, as played by ViceVersus

So begins...

Brian Derossi's Story

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Three days later, Brian heard a knock on the front door of his apartment, and he knew.

Knew what, he wasn't sure. That what had happened that Wednesday night was about to be explained? That things weren't going to be the same since he brought that stake down on the man in the alley?

The vampire, Brian corrected himself. He had been in the process of fixing himself something to eat, but closed the cupboard door, and crossed to the entryway.

"Impressive," Brian said when he pulled open the door and found the well-dressed man there standing patiently, "you didn't even need me to ring you in."

"Oh, I probably should have done that, I suppose," Legion sounded anxious as he stepped past Brian and into his apartment, "I hope you don't think me rude. I just forget things like that."

"No, no, don't worry about it," Brian gestured vaguely, "make yourself at home, I guess. Say -- where's shotgun girl?"

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"Shhh .. "

Brian let the curse trail off as he spun around. His hand jumped to the back of his neck. "Do you always do that?"

Once he got over the initial shock, though, Brian seemed to settle. He glanced outside -- his window faced the fire escape of the neighboring building. "I guess it would be pretty easy to get in here. Thanks for not breaking it."

Not that she would have needed to. It was open a sliver, she would just have to wedge her foot and wrench the thing upwards. Brian crossed his arms over his chest, and then swung back around to where the woman, and the man in the expensive suit had made themselves at home.

"Since I told my dad that someone was trying to break into the restaurant, my uncles men have been posted around the building. Will these vampires try to attack again? At night, at day? What can I tell them?"

Legion tilted his head to the side. "That they are in danger?"

Brian grinned. "They're Derossis. What else can I tell them?"

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"No." Brian said shortly. "And feet off the coffee table."

He sat next to her on his couch, bodily removed her legs so that they thumped back to the floor. "And I figured about the daylight thing -- what kind of vampires are we talking about, here? Twilight vampires, Van Helsing vampires? Can they go outside, but they're just not --" He felt slightly ridiculous, "--powerful? Or do they actually erupt?"

"That all depends, believe it or not." Legion said in a low voice. "The commercial perception of vampires likes to portray them as one blanket ideal -- when really, as far as vampires in the city go -- they're more like predators than .. " The ex-demon searched for the word.

Brian raised his eyebrows. "Models?"

"I suppose .. "

The young man stroked the line of his chin, feeling three-day-old stubble. "And I can't say I know what they're up to. My whole life I've made a point of staying out of what it is they do on the south side -- but if it comes down to it, I could help you find out."

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"Which is unusual in itself!" Legion put in helpfully. "Your usual inner city vampire can't be bothered with turning to dust, or needing permission before accessing a building. This says to me, at least, that whatever it is your uncle has found himself in -- it's not just involving any sort of vampire."

Brian smirked at hearing the words 'usual' and 'vampire' in the same sentence. "So by day we're safe. That means for the last three days, what? They've just been .. rallying? Thinking of a new strategy besides just walking in circles around the restaurant?"

"It is a mystery." The ex-demon said, tweaking his tie.

"A mystery. I can deal with that." Brian put his own feet up on the coffee table, now, his smirk turning to Anya. "I'll talk to my uncle. It's feasible that after I came so close to danger, I'd want to know a little bit about what went on the other night."

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Brian wrinkled his nose slightly, thinking of vampire dust getting into people's homes through their windows, causing hay fever and sneezing. He would have wrinkled it again upon hearing how Anya was going to 'stalk' the Derossi family, but that would have been silly.

"Good luck with that. On paper, the Derossi family is nothing but a list of penal code violations, but all written in pencil. There's little definitive proof, or else there'd be less business for me, and more of my family members in jail." Brian shrugged. "Dig deep if you want, though .. but you won't find anything from the outside. I'm your man if you want information. I'm what you call a favorite cousin."

"Anya has pools of information that are a bit .. outside the usual use of law enforcement." Legion said with his usual delicacy. He toyed with his cuff links, and if he wore a watch he would have glanced at it. "But you do make a point. When can you get this information?"

Brian shrugged. "I don't see why I can't go down there today. Now, even. What -- are you guys gonna come along? Tag behind me, or something?" He imagined invisibility cloaks and walkie-talkies. "You know what? Never mind, I don't wanna know."

He rose to his feet, ripped the half-eaten box of chocolates away from Anya, and headed to the closet where his coat was. "I'll be taking the subway down. I assume you'll follow me, but the address is on South Clark street anyways."

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"You're a real charming woman, you know that?" Brian gingerly lifted her coat off the rack as well, not wanting to send off any, say, pressure-sensing explosives, like. He was glad to deposit it into Anya's arms, and he was also glad to put the chocolate back in the cupboard.

Legion had risen to his feet by the time Brian shouldered his way into his jacket. Brian tilted his head to the side.

"So, dude in Armani and lady with the shotgun. You know, I never actually got your names .. "

"No." Legion said in a soft voice. He tweaked his tie one final time. "No, you didn't,"

Brian nodded. Fair enough. He zipped the jacket up part way, walked to the door, flung it open and would have escorted them both out -- but he had to grin at Anya.

"If you're going out the same way you came in .. " The man said, "make sure you leave the window open about three inches. I like a good crossbreeze sometimes."

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Brian left his building and joined the usual crowd of midday lunch-goers. It was a short walk up the street to the light and the subway station. He tried not to glance over his shoulder where he thought he might see a gentleman in a suit or a lady with a gun in her car, but the urge was hard to ignore.

The only time he allowed himself to sneak a glance was when he was trotting down the stairs and to the lower levels. There was nothing, nothing out of the ordinary. Of course. That sort of thing only happened at night, right?

His metro ticket was in his pocket, it was quick work to feed it in through the machine, and make his way into the main terminal. This had once been just a routine for Brian, but now he couldn't stop thinking -- what if the woman reading the paper on the bench were a vampire, and what if the man sipping sprite by the information booth had a wand, or something equally ridiculous hidden in his sleeve?

Wind rushed through the tunnel as the brown line to State Street made it in on time. Brian let the trickle of passengers off as he shouldered his way into the car.

The trip to the south side was one Brian rarely made -- and when he did, he was usually with one of his cousins. It took a brave (or stupid) man to go strolling around down there cool-as-you-please, but Brian had to admit .. since staking that vampire and finding company in those two strangers, he wasn't exactly sure what his limits were anymore.

It went fast, though. Brian mostly fiddled with his phone the entire time. By the time he was nearing the final station, he had called his uncle -- and let him know that he was on his way.

I'll send someone to meet you.
had been the reply, and Brian knew right there in that moment that whatever it was that had happened three nights ago was weighing heavily on the minds of his family.

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"Brian!" Luis Karpowicz was there, waiting on the platform for his old friend the second the train's doors closed. "Good to see you."

What Luis meant, of course, was 'good to see you here.' Brian and his uncle's associate stood still as people flowed around them. He licked his lips. "Let's go."

Luis had a car waiting outside the station. That was only safest, he supposed. Brian ducked inside the lincoln and the larger man followed.

"Bad things happening everywhere, kid. Everywhere." Luis started things off as they pulled away from the curb and joined the rest of the New York traffic. "Your old man's place .. your uncle is kicking himself. He never meant to bring trouble down there."

"I know." Brian said automatically. He clenched his fist, and he found he didn't need to pretend that he was upset. "I was there, though. I scared those guys off. I want a piece of this, Luis. I want to know -- I have to, now."

"Yeah, I suppose you do." Luis' forehead clenched in thought. "You know, your uncle always said he'd leave you out of it if you wanted it. And you always did. Now -- "

"-- now, I just want answers."

"Course, course. You can ask him yourself."

"And you don't know what's going on?"

"Not enough .. not enough to say," the man frowned.

Brian ran his fingers through his hair. "Just .. give me a rough idea."

"Weird stuff, kid. That's all I can say." Luis shrugged, as though he were embarrassed to explain what was really on his mind.

"I hear that .. "

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"How's things at the restaurant anyways?" Luis kindly tried to divert the conversation, "before, you know."

"Good, they were good," Brian said so honestly. Despite the situation, he had to grin, "my dad was extremely excited. Something about a new write-up in the Times."

"Yeah. I always wanted to go down there, but let's be honest. A man like me would stick out like a sore thumb." Luis looked without question like your stereotypical mobster. He raised a grizzled eyebrow at his young friend. "Anything else new?"

"Not -- " Brian found something in his pocket. It was small, and prickly. He pulled it out, and looked at the little red beeping thing. "--yeesh .. "

"What's that, kid?"

"Nothing." Brian shoved the bug back in his pocket. He didn't think Luis would be all to chuffed to hear that he was wired, more or less.

"Seein' anyone?"

"Not lately."

"What was the last girl's name, again?"

" .. Amanda."

"I liked her, you know. Liked her a lot. So did the rest of us. Shame, you know. That it had to end like -- "

"-- just stop."

"Sorry, kid."

They rode on in silence. Brian released his hold on the electronic thing.

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Brian's uncle lived in the top level of the Kay Building on the South Side. It was a four-story walk-up and he had never been a fan of the elevator, as the grate always slammed shut too hard and had reminded him of a prison when he was a kid. So he walked up the stairs. All of them.

"You know I have to ask you .. " Luis said in an offhand manner when they approached the main door.

"I know, and I'm not," Brian shrugged, but he removed his coat anyways, ready to be searched.

"Just go in there." Luis shrugged. He took up his usual post outside the door. "I won't bother."

Brian found his uncle and a few men he did not recognize sitting in the kitchen. He waved away cigar smoke. Everyone looked up. Brian lowered his hand.

"Hey, Uncle Ed .. "

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If Brian smelled a bit of electronic smoke, he wouldn't have noticed it. Everyone here seemed to be enjoying some sort of cigar. The young man figured making a crack about how this looked like a painting he had seen at the Art Institute wouldn't be his best bet for making friends.

Fortunately, Uncle Ed had that covered. The man practically leaped to his feet and crossed the kitchen, arms outstretched as though greeting the prodigal son.

"My boy!"

Brian was wrapped up in a hug, a good Italian hug that left his heart hanging out somewhere with his kidneys. When his uncle finally released him, Brian coughed a few times, then made mental note to re-inflate his lungs.

"This is David's son, my favorite nephew!" His only nephew, "he's a good kid and takes care of his father at our namesake restaurant on the West side. Those sons of bitches attacked David's restaurant last night, and that is not acceptable."

The men around the table, the red-faced beefy men all raised their fists or their mugs of beer and gave a rousing sound of agreement. Brian tried not to stare at all the pistols on all the belts he saw, and he tilted his head and whispered in his uncles ear --

" -- I'd like to know a little more about those 'sons of bitches' if you don't mind."

"Of course, of course .. " Uncle Ed murmured back, and then he raised his voice to his friends, saying something short in Italian that the others nodded collectively to. Brian felt his uncle's arm wedge under his own and he was compelled from the room like a checker piece on a checker board -- through a living room, across the hall, and into his uncle's study.

"Sorry," was all Brian could say once the door had swept shut behind them, leaving them both in the mahogany office, "if you were all in the middle of something."

"Nonsense. I was behind anyways," his uncle shrugged, and came to sit in the large chair behind his desk, "honestly, I expected you to drop by sooner. What a week, huh?"

"I'll say .. "

"You fought them, Brian. You fought them off, and you protected us. How can I never thank you?"

"You can start by telling me who they were, and why they were so fast."

Uncle Ed's hand paused on its journey to the scotch glass. The man looked up, black eyes focusing on his nephew.

"Come on, uncle. I stared these things down, and I almost died for it. What's going on?"

"Now -- now Brian. You know I am a God-fearing man -- "

"Yes, uncle."

"-- and, well, and how there are some things .. that .. that not even money can explain away?"

Brian licked his lips almost nervously. He had never seen his uncle so uncomfortable before. "Yes .. "

"They're .. " his uncle fell into his seat, a different man than he had been out there in the kitchen, "well, they're something else. I have to say that."

"Uncle Ed, you're not making any sense."

"I bought property on the lower east side, contracted someone to clear out the building. There was .. there was something living there, in the tunnels of the office. Old, abandoned thing. I thought it could be a new hotel or -- or something. On paper, the property looked perfect. But -- "

Something was living there.

"What was the address?"

"Brian, you're not going down there!"

"Why not?" The young man raised an eyebrow.

Uncle Ed groped in his front pocket for a hankerchief and dabbed at his forehead. "These things .. you escaped them once, but they're deadly. They're fast. Do you realize how foolish I looked the other night, trying to explain this to your father? That there was something coming after our family, something .. something I couldn't even -- "

-- so that's what the meeting was about? Brian leaned forward.

"Uncle. I have friends. We can handle this. Just .. just trust me, alright? I'm more than just your brothers son," what was he saying? "There's a reason I survived the other night."

"God help me if you get killed, what David would say -- well, he'd say nothing, he'd never talk to me again -- "

"I won't get killed." Brian's voice was gentle. "I need that address."

Uncle Ed stared at his favorite (and only!) nephew for about thirty seconds until he reached down with a trembling hand for a pen and a piece of paper.


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Brian closed his eyes. He didn't like to think what this would mean -- but the youth jammed his finger on the speaker button, and found himself replying, "yeah, come on up," anyways.

The ex-demon had left about an hour ago, leaving Brian there sitting in his apartment, at a loss for what to do. His mind whirled with what going to the Godfrey Building could mean -- not only for his uncle and the vampires, but for himself.

No, he didn't think he was going to die. Brian had realized that ages ago. That wasn't it. There was something else, though. Was he excited, curious, terrified? Maybe a mix of all three, and just a pinch of that last one.

He estimated Anya would be knocking at his door sometime soon, now. Brian leaned one shoulder against the wall, and stuffed his hands in his pockets while he waited for her. What was he getting himself into?

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"Hey!" Brian called after her, just as the door snapped shut, "make sure you clean up after -- "

Not that she'd listen anyways. Brian made his way back into the main room, and he gave a long low whistle.

He wasn't sure how long shotgun girl would be, so he paced a few times, tried to watch a little TV, and wondered what he was supposed to wear to this sort of thing. Anya's coat was there in a bulky heap, thrown onto his couch. Against his better judgment, Brian took a few steps closer to it.

When he lifted the coat off the couch, a hefty pistol dropped from some hidden pocket, bounced off the cushion, and onto the floor. Damn.

Brian tossed the coat back to its original spot, heard something else clank, and decided he didn't want to know any more. He knelt to pick up the weapon, though, and had to pause and stare at the thing in his grip.

Nice.

Though it could have been the clanging of pipes somewhere else in the building, Brian thought he heard the water shutting off in the bathroom. He placed the gun back under a fold of the jacket (probably near the arm) and wandered away to his kitchen.

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"I was thinking shotgun, unless you wanted me to drive," Brian strolled back into the main room, taking in Anya's new look in one glance, "or be a trunk monkey. Doesn't matter."

What was he wearing? Jeans and a button-up. Nice, decent attire if he were hosting at the restaurant but maybe -- he didn't know. Was it the sort of thing vampire killers wore?

"Is this .. " he gestured down at himself, " .. is this okay?"

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Brian was used to the flashy cars his uncle sometimes lent him, but this was something different. He gave his signature long, low whistle as the displays winked and beeped back at him.

"James Bond? That and Batman," he said, sliding in.

Legion. So that was the man's name? He should have expected the tall fellow in Armani wouldn't be a Jim or a Nathan. But Legion? Was it a code-name or something? And why did he always where sunglasses all the time?

"Am I allowed to ask questions, here?" Brian's tone let Anya know that his hesitation was more of a joke than anything, "Where's that guy Legion meeting us?"

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"What's the plan, then? If they are older and more powerful vampires -- " Brian had no idea what he was saying, and a part of him, the sane part felt slightly childish, " -- then what are we gonna do? Tell them to clear out if they've been there first? Kill them all, every last one? Doesn't seem too .. "

He was about to finish that sentence with 'doesn't seem too sensible' but then again, nothing was making sense. Add that to the fact that there was a literal arsenal behind them in the back seat, Brian didn't think that Anya really had any other plans immediately in mind.

And yet, even as they hurtled along towards the darker and more abandoned parts of New York, Brian didn't feel afraid. He couldn't quite describe the odd sensation, but he felt ready.

"Aw, hell. The least we can do is go poke around the wasps nest, right?"