No Trouble At All

ARTS - Scarlett's Apartment

A lot neater than the studio, the little apartment is cute, quaint, and cozy. A tiny bistro set is nestled into the kitchen nook, only enough room for two people to enjoy coffee or a meal. Though small, the kitchen is fully equipped with a small refrigerator, stove and microwave. The room acting as the living room-slash-bedroom consists of a large futon, at least twenty pillows of varying colors and sizes, and a large comfortable looking chair. A small television and entertainment system have been set up opposite the futon.

There was an unprecedented phone call; Helen sounding actually a bit concerned. She waits now for her brother, hanging out in the apartment where Scarlett has been so kind to put her up. Traces of Helen are pretty much everywhere, like her bag all but exploded. Currently, she's curled up on the futon, flipping absently through the television channels, never lingering on one for more than a few seconds. Either there's nothing good on, or she has even less focus than usual.

Ivan has been an exceptionally busy lad as of late. Now, he's always busy to some extent or another, but he's usually fairly reliable about keeping in touch - with Helen at least, if not Scarlett. Even if it is in the form of a quick phone call, or a fleeting appearance, he makes himself available once every couple of days.

This week has been very different. This week, Ivan has been a ghost, gone, distant, the vaguest memory. However, when Helen calls, the man picks up, sounding sober and quite, uncharacteristically grim. The phone call does not last long, with Ivan telling the blonde that he's sorry, but he has to go - and that he'll drop by studio apartment later, if she's still awake. And the time is now. As the clock strikes 11:34, there is a ringing of the doorbell from a somber Ivan. He is dressed in a dark suit, looking quite sharp and dapper - like he has just come from doing business.

His absence from her life has not helped with the worrying any at all. It's late, but she's made it a point to stay up, even as she slowly began to lose hope he'd actually show up. The sound of the buzzer has Helen up out of her seat quick enough to send the remote clattering to the floor, the television left on whatever random channel her roulette-surfing had stopped at. It's only a few seconds later that the door is open, and between that and her slight breathlessness, it's clear she must have really booted it. His dapper self is taken in for only a moment before she moves forward to give him a hug. "Where have you been?" she asks while doing, the chiding light, but still - definitely chiding.

"I've had some things to take care of. Been busy," Ivan grunts noncommittally, frowning down to the sibling only to find himself taken by surprise by the hug. His lips are wet thoughtfully, and his expression softens as he lifts up his arms to draw around Helen. "Sorry, squirt," he offers over to her with a sigh. "Things just got…hectic for a little bit. I'll be around more now. I promise. That's…that is why you called, right?" There is an inkling of fear to this question, the lad growing almost desperate and uncomfortable with the thought that some of his enemies might have tracked down the sisters he goes so far to protect. "Everything is alright here, right?"

"I called because I'm worried!" Helen replies, trying not to allow herself to be distracted from this current course of action. "Everything here is fine. We're fine." She gives a little sigh of her own, dropping the hug now to gesture him inside. "What's going on? Are you really getting yourself into trouble with vampires?" She at least drops her voice a little at the latter questions, giving it a secretive and cryptic air, and she's giving him a most anxious and unwavering look. She really isn't the one for sticking her nose in his business, but something has her riled up this time.

Ivan follows after Helen, his hand places circumspectly on the small of her back after the door is shut behind him. The apartment earns an idle look, its appearance being taken note of, but the majority of his attention is on the youngest of the Fontane brood. His brows are furrowed in contemplation as he looks at the young girl. "Fine? Good." This is one grace that he is alloted. However, the inquiry she follows the assurance up with is troubling in its own right. "What?" He asks, alarmed. "Where've you been hearing that, Helen? Why do you think I'd be in trouble with vampires?"

"From a vampire?" Helen replies, as though that should probably be obvious, his alarm not helping to calm her down any, all things considered. "He said he knew you. A lot of people know you," she adds, that thought coming back to her randomly, before she waves it off to get back on topic. "Are you really threatening to have most of them killed if they don't do things your way?" It just doesn't sound right to her, and her faith in her big brother is such that this was just some sort of misunderstanding.

This prompts Ivan to sober considerably, his expression turning dark and almost murderous. "Who was it? Are you being approached by them? Helen, listen to me. I want you to stay as far away from vampires as possible. They don't have the same priorities we do, being dead. It's dangerous. More then you know." His gruff is low, a near growl that leaves no room for leniency. He doesn't sit, instead beginning to pace. "I am dealing with them the only way they respond to."

That's not the denial she was hoping for, and Helen's eyes widen as she watches Ivan pace. "I know it's dangerous, especially if you're going to go around threatening to all but make them extinct." She crosses her arms over her chest, her expression troubled. "Ivan… Are you in trouble?" It's such a simple question, but she's quite sincere, and watching him ever so closely to make sure he doesn't just brush it off or, worse yet, try to lie.

Ivan turns onto Helen, something impassioned, enraged within his gaze. "No, Helen. You don't know. You don't know what they're capable of. You're too trusting, and they look mortal, but they're not. Staying alive all those years? They think differently then us. They admittedly think differently then us, and often times cannot even recall what it is like to be human. I need you to promise me - to promise me to keep as far away from vampires as humanly possibly. Promise me this." Hard. Unfaltering, he fixes his attention onto Helen without relenting, waiting for the promise to come.

"Am I in trouble? No." He sounds honest, at least. He's not in trouble - in over his head, perhaps, but not in active trouble. "But they are. And so help me God, they will be made accountable for their actions or they will die."

Helen meets his gaze for only a moment before dropping hers, backing down a bit, like the wind has been knocked from her sails. She really was trying not to end up with this turned around on her, but something in Ivan's tone or expression is conveying this isn't the battle she wants to fight. "All right. I- I'll try, okay?" she replies more quietly, before looking back up at him, her eyes wide, watchful, and still concerned. "But I don't understand what's going on." At least his honest reply gets her to calm down a little, but only just. "Okay, but you can't just go around threatening them… Will you at least talk to this guy? That's the message. Dietrich Eberle wants to talk to you before- Well, before you do something stupid."

Ivan looks to Helen, something guarded about his expression. When she mentions the fact that she doesn't understand, he ends up lowering his gaze slightly - his hands balled into tight fists at his side. Slowly, carefully, he walks up to his little sister, putting his hand upon Helen's shoulder. "I know you don't. And I'm not sure if I can give you the whole story, but I owe you something. My girlfriend. Faith? You've heard of her, at least?" He begins with a sigh. "There was a vampire she trusted. Her hero. He drew her out in the middle of the night and fed from her. And if that wasn't enough, he took more then just her blood. He raped her, Helen. And this was someone she trusted - her friend. You don't want to know what a complete stranger could do to you - they don't have the same priorities as we do."

"I'm not going around, threatening vampires. I don't even associate with very many. That man - Dietrich? He's a kook that likes to think of himself as someone important when, in reality, he isn't. Hey…" Beat. "Perhaps you shouldn't admit to being my sister so openly, at least not to vampires."

Helen looks back up at him as he puts his hand on her shoulder. She's quiet, hearing him out, though as he speaks, her eyes open wider, her expression turning more aghast. "That's horrible," she finally speaks, her voice quiet, laden with sympathy. And it definitely does help to explain his feelings about these creatures of the night, though she doesn't come right out and mention that part. Instead, she leans into give him another hug, this one meant to be comforting. Her chin tilts up to regard him again, eyebrows lifting at this proposal that she keep their familial bonds on the down-low around vampires. "But … I thought you weren't in trouble," she points out carefully. "I'll be careful, I promise. But you need to be careful too."

Ivan accepts the hug, drawing his arms around her and holding her into the embrace. "She's…well. She's not fine, but she's better. She can leave the apartment now. She smiles and laughs now. I've been at home, this week. Taking care of her." This ought to explain his absence, and grimly, Ivan nods once she offers her promise. Reluctantly, he loosens his hold on her, pulling away so that he can fix her with a humorless smile. "I'm not. Not at the moment, at least. But do you really think they're held to the same standards of morality that we are? Now that they live forever? Now that they see us as their food supply? Now that they've already cheated death? I'm not in trouble, no, but am I guaranteed to be trouble-free forever? No. I absolutely believe that, were it beneficial to them, they would turn on me. And if they don't know you're my sister, they can't use you against me."

"Of course you have been," Helen replies, not at all surprised that he's been taking care of his girlfriend. And yes, that does clear up at least one mystery, if not a few others. She meets his gaze as he pulls away, her expression still troubled as he explains. "Okay, I won't go around advertising it," she promises after a moment. "But I'm not going to lie. And you seem to be really well-known around here." Frankly, if the idea of putting her in potential danger forces him to be more careful, well, that's a bit of emotional manipulation she's not feeling particularly above at the moment. "I don't really like the idea of you being all mixed up in this. I get it, but I don't like it. Maybe you should have Scarlett do up some extra protection for you?" she suggests rather hopefully.

Ivan eyes Helen, clearly displeased by her answer. His jaw is clenched thoughtfully, and he ends up letting out a low sigh. "I suppose I can't ask for more then that. Alright. Just be careful, squirt. You're too important to me to be in danger. I love you, you know that? And I need you to stay smart and stay safe." Idly, he ends up running his hand through his hair idly. "You know what? I don't like the idea of me in it either. If I could, then I'd avoid it altogether. But I need to make sure you'll be safe here, in my city. I need to make sure Scarlett, and Faith, and all the rest of the humans are safe, because no one else can."

Helen is not quite so willing to just go with the flow on this one, so while she can tell he isn't too happy with her answer, she holds her ground on it. "I will be careful. I promise." That much she can offer, and quite sincerely, even if her own definition of 'careful' might not match his. "And I love you too. Which is why I don't want you getting into trouble either." She lets that sit for a moment before managing a small smile. "You always were the protector," she notes with some fondness, even if it can drive her nuts at other times. "I understand you need to do this. Just be careful. And I'm going to hold you to that promise of being around more." If he falls off the radar again, she's going to really have to worry this time.

Ivan's hand is drawn to the nape of his neck. He rubs the base of his neck gingerly, his lips pulled back into a wry smile, soft and somewhat amused. "Always? I…don't know about that. I just do what I can, is all. And, I will. I promise. And if I'm not? Well…you can call me, and demand that I take you out to dinner or something sweet. That being said…if you want, I think it would be fine for you to drop by, every once in a while? I've got hamsters now. A pregnant hamster, at that. Would you like one?"

"Ooh, a carte blanche to demand sweet things?" Helen replies, shifting gears as the mood shifts. "And … yeah, you know, I might. A hamster could be fun." She gives him a softer smile, nodding her head. "And I might just. Drop by, that is. Make sure you're being good and all. And I still need to meet your girlfriend, whenever she's feeling up for it." She's careful to keep any pressure out of her tone there. "Where'd you get hamsters, anyway?"

Ivan grins boyishly, glancing down to the younger woman with his slight exhaustion ringing out. "It ought to be. It's a less high maintenance kind of pet. You still get to have companionship, just…mini-sized. Like you." The tease is followed by the good-natured nudge Ivan gives his youngest sibling. "And, you do. I meant to have you, actually, but…then that happened. I think she's good enough to meet other people now. So…if you get a call from me this week, you shouldn't be surprised." There is a blink, followed by another. "Where? Oh - oh, they're hers. Her sister was holding on to them, but I figured she could use the comfort of her pets, considering…yeah. Besides that, I'm not sure if she's going to move anytime soon, so I might as well get all her things to make things more convenient."

Helen gives a quiet laugh as she's nudged, her worry not entirely abated, but putting on a good show for his sake. She isn't oblivious to his exhaustion, so really, lighter subjects seem a better idea for right now. "Maybe mini-sized is the best sized of all," she replies with a knowing nod. "Okay. I mean it, no rush. But I would like to meet her." Her eyebrows lift just a little at the idea of him getting so domestic with this woman, though it's merely light surprise, not disapproval. "Especially since it sounds like you're getting pretty serious…" There's a question in the statement.

"Pretty…serious?" Ivan inquires, brows arching as he stares at Helen. Automatically, he begins to shake his head, smiling faintly as he begins his customary denials. "No way. I mean, I don't know what you consider serious? She just…lives with me and I just…" love her. He falls silent, eyes widening a little as he takes the time out to really consider his relationship with the Tyler. It's as though, for the first time, he's giving thought to just how quickly it happened and just how serious it actually is. "…Things just…happened. I guess. Ahem. But, yeah, you should meet her. She's beautiful, and an incredible girl."

Helen offers an indulgent smile as she reaches out to pat his arm reassuringly. "It's okay. Was bound to happen sometime," she teases him ever-so-lightly, before turning more sincere. "But really, if she makes you happy, then I'm happy for you." Not really the brush off it could be - she means it. "It sounds like she's very special." There's a grin with that, before she's rather suddenly distracted, noticing the weird, random channel she'd left the TV tuned to. One of those frightening, surreal pre-schooler shows. With a quick shake of her head, she drags her attention back to the conversation. "Anyway, yeah, definitely need to meet her."

"I should…get going. Check up on…" Ivan is rattled enough to keep him from wanting to plug in the 'her' that he means. It's bad enough that Helen's getting the wrong impression of his relationship with Rose - but is she really? Or is he the one that's just a bit slow on the uptake? After all, he did recently open his home to not only her person, but her pets. "Yeah. It's getting late. Listen, it was good seeing you, Helen. But you should be getting to bed." He leans forward to semi-embrace his little sister as well as plant a chaste kiss upon her forehead if allowed.

The kiss isn't fended off; Helen merely returns the hug, giving him a slightly tighter squeeze than usual, all things considered. "Go do what you need to do," she replies with a small smile, not bothering to argue about bedtime, or the fact that she's not twelve and therefore doesn't, strictly speaking, have one. "I'll talk to you soon, yeah?" Just a little final reminder of his promise. She gives him a small smile. "Night Ivan."

"Definitely! Definitely. If you don't hear back from me in the next couple of days, call me, alright? Hey - tell Scar I said hi or something. Sleep tight, little sis." And with that, Ivan retreats from the apartment rather swiftly. After all, he has many things to do - and even more things to mull over in the silence of his car ride home."

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