1963-11-15 - The Fox & The Lion
Summary: Namor calls upon Skali to act as muscle in an investment deal. Afterwards they discuss politics. Content warning for violence, sexual overtones and swearing. You know, the usual.
Related: None
Theme Song: "Hold Me Down" Halsey
skali namor 

The message read "I need you." and then an address of a painfully expensive hotel in midtown, room number included. It was obviously from him but he hadn't signed it, instead he'd probably swiped it along a skin gland, and left a chemical signature that would be easy for her to pick up but virtually unknowable to the confused man delivering the card.

If she came, the room was empty of humanity, a large suite that had signs of being briefly lived in. A man's trappings, scattered about delicately in recent arrival. Fantastically expensive woman's business attire draped on the bed, waiting for her to notice. Her size, and sickeningly complimentary to the color of her skin, eyes, and hair or that of the form she typically took.

The suite was adjoined by another, the door closed but not locked. Men's voices rumbled from the other side, among them: his.

"My attorney has just arrived." he explained, "She will join us shortly, until then, let’s keep this civil. You may think that, as an Atlantean royal, you can talk down to me however you see fit. I assure you that my attorney will rip out your throat if you continue this line with her." and then there was the silence of anticipation.


With her boss having returned from his travels, Skali’s residency in casual opulence came to an end. Fortunately, the Prince had made good on his word and seen to the necessary repairs, the finer details of which she explained as the result of pipe bursting and water damage. ‘It was covered by your home insurance. No reason to concern yourself.’ Thus the note found her at work, the militant tic-tac-tap of fingers flying across the keyboard ignoring the messenger even as he continued to clear his throat until finally she asked in an unkind tone if he needed a lozenge.


Everything about the letter was unremarkable, which piqued her curiosity. The effect irritated her, some semblance of familiarity allowing him to appeal to her motivations, and thus she left work early. Papers to the printer, letters to deliver, and still have to be home in time to walk Bragadin; of course Mr. Enpeecee understood. Thus when Skali let herself into the hotel room with an ear already turned to the source of the voices, ascertaining the purpose for her presence, her smile only grew.

A man had his appetites, but Skali only hungered for information and mischief. Both of these needs seemed satisfied in full as she strode through the door in the provided attire, all curves and thick thighs with the authoritative click of heel descending, the purpose in her stride murderous. When she came to stand beside the man who had summoned her here, she glanced down at the paperwork held in the lee of an arm as if it were of utmost importance. She glanced briefly over the rim of it to the other individuals they shared the room with as if they were an inconvenience instead of the reason for her presence


Her voice belonged in the adjacent bedroom, flowing from lips set beneath golden eyes that cut mercilessly through their entourage and found them wanting. She continued with a listless interest, “Proceed.”


"Gentleman, this is Tanya Borland. Tanya, this is Arthur Sable and Christopher Argent of Becker and Stillman, they represent R.B.I. in London indirectly. As you already know Tanya, Atlantis is courting foreign investment and opening our natural resources to speculative interests in order to increase certain financial metrics and be admitted into the U.N. as a sovereign nation. Our aim is to diversify this foreign investment as much as possible to prevent any one source from having too much interest." and she could see the carefully controlled contempt in Namor's eyes, the rage tooled down to a fine point, waiting behind his gaze, it was in the way he gesticulated, the way he'd crossed his legs. It was in the level of his broad handsome shoulders. He'd just rather break these men than talk to them, but that wouldn't solve anything.

"But Becker and Becker is fronting for a financial instrument called a hedge fund. This means that they use landslides of money to drive influence where typical mutual funds cannot." And in truth, the first hedge fund had come to life in 1949, but the first real performer wouldn't come alive until a Fortune Magazine article in 1966, hedge fund at this time was almost a secret weapon. "They want the majority of our mineral rights, and a list of unreasonable demands or they are going to inject corruption into this process at key points and sink our effort."

Namor took an annoyed breath as the pair of Bankers looked on smugly, "Tanya, will you please tell these men what we do to people who threaten the sovereign interests and security of Atlantis?"


A quiet ‘tsk’ sound was made between her teeth and cheek, lips splaying apart in a smile that consumed her beauty with intractable hunger. The paperwork was set on entryway table, her focus upon the preparation of leaded crystal sloshed with bourbon as Namor spoke. She turned with the drink perched in one hand, looking quietly between the prey he had asked her to trail and the man who parlayed with her leash. A slow swig was taken, even as her tongue traced lips before sighing.

“Oh, I’m sure you’re being dramatic. Nobody with a hint of business acumen would demonstrate such folly. Mr Sable and Mr. Argent seem to have offered an aggressive approach to obtaining the power you wish Atlantis to wield.” As she spoke, she weaved through the room, the carpet sucking away the click of her steps until the unnatural prowl of her motions became unsettling instead of sultry. Instead of drawing a hand across the shoulders of such powerful men in a play for seduction, she hovered an unsettling distance just to the left, easing in with a huff before shaking her head and moving onto the next one. Finally, she selected the largest chair and turned it to face them, reclining back with a cross of her legs and a chink of ice resettling in the amber liquid.

“There’s a fine line between security in these proceedings and extortion. While I’m sure Becker and Stillman can utilize some of our material resources effectively, the entirety would be far too great a burden. It’s an immortal task to fully capitalize upon all the wealth that Atlantis has to offer. Diversification is the only way to effectively bring our bounty to the surface in a mortal lifetime. I’m sure this is all a misunderstanding. Any fool can see that.”

A thoughtful little ‘hm?’ dared either of the men to protest, little bread crumbs leading to the trap Namor wanted them to walk into. If they wouldn’t press down the trigger pan, then they could hunt. Her fingers chased each other across the arm of the chair in a quick rap-tat-rap. It was the only tell of nerves in her otherwise smiling composure.


One of them spluttered, "God damnit Namor, I was sure she was a stripper and you where winding us up. What is this nonsense about? You expect me to believe your chief council is a woman?!"

Namor blinked a few times. He was dumbstruck, and he didn't know what to say. What could he say, even if he revealed her identity, they'd never believe him.



The woman stared openly at the men, not shocked per say, perhaps disappointed. Then her legs re-crossed and she settled into her smile with a low noise of satisfaction, her gaze turning to the half breed who had summoned her with a pantsuit and two misogynists. It was shocking there was no pentagram on the floor or half burned candles, for there were few other things that could endear her so quickly to someone. In her eyes when she met his own was a flicker of contempt, a mutual dissatisfaction with the present company, something she could remedy.

Quietly she stood, turning her focus back to the two men with a falsified kindness and a trill of laughter. “Of course not! That would be ludicrous, wouldn’t it? Imagine, me trying to think of big boy things with these just – clouding my judgement at all times.” As she spoke, her fingers flicked open the first button of her jacket, then the second, the third, her shoulders shrugging loose the fine fabric as she stepped forward with a rocking of her hips akin to that of a boat in idle waters. ‘These’ were obviously her breasts, teasing just against the neckline in a mound of cleavage that begged to be loosed. The heels abandoned with a nonchalance and mischief in her eyes that begged any mortal man to let his mind wander.

“And you know how we can be, so…Emotional.”

The space between the two men was cut like a knife in a blur of motion, one of the two seized by the wrist and pressed hard into the wall with enough force to make the plaster splinter and his head snap back. The elbow was locked with a practiced ease, forcing the man’s arm behind him as Skali used it for leverage to keep his open and panting mouth whimpering against the dust of impact as she fixed her gaze on the one left unattended to.

“How about this – for every piece of clothing I take off, I’ll remove whatever part of you I find most appealing. You sweetheart-” It was the poor bastard who had made the stripper comment, still reeling untouched and likely shocked as he watched his comrade take in a shuddering and pain-staken breath, “-I want your tongue. It’s so clever. Your friend here can barter whatever piece of him is worth my panties. It will be a wonderful game.”

And just as the man she held hostage began to find his voice, she wrenched down on the joint, threatening to pop it out of the socket with as much ease as most pop the lid off a beer bottle. His sudden gasp of pain made the hair on her arms stand up and she smiled in a way that seemed to split her mouth open, a low growl rumbling in that partially exposed chest that was anything but human. With a hitched breath, she finally managed, “Or we could cut the shit and you can treat the Prince of Atlantis and whoever he chooses to promote to his representation with common dignity and respect.”


Namor stood, inspired, incensed, and unrequitedly turned on. He found her wolf form disquieting, abhorrent, nightmarish. When she made violence in her human shell it was intensely erotic, blatantly sexual, and he knew this was madness and stupid, and blatantly unsafe; but he couldn't help himself.

He stepped across to one of the men and drove his fist into the man's face, and to see him do it the effort looked like a delicate tap. The man's face exploded, he emited only a sickened "Gawk!" before he fell unconscious. The nose broke, as if to say 'oh pardon me, let me get out of your way' and concussive tears split across the man's face, into his flesh, spidering out in all directions. There was so much blood.

Namor fished into the pocket of his jacket, standing up tall and proud. He flapped open his wallet, and showed the identity that bore his sullen face. The words 'United States of America, Department of State' burned across the top of the card in bold golden letters, below them his name and likeness and the hash black letters that read 'Diplomatic Immunity'. He pushed this into the face of the man who Skali was wrenching, whom no doubt was unable to speak from fear, pain and shock.

"Did you even -tell- anyone where you'd be today?" he said, and in one sentence of braggadocio he indicated that he could kill the man, let the wolf consume him, without repercussion, but the man didn't know Skali from an angry stripper so he stuttered and then laughed, "You can't…you…" he looked to Skali, back to the blood dripping from Namor's fingers and down his ID card. "You…" and he went silent, as if he was ready to be dictated to now.


There was a grace to restrained violence; a poetry of motion that Skali had learned through the decades when playing with mortals. In the military, she flirted with discipline as it suited her just as her time spent penning memos for powerful men constructed falsities of submission. To see her now, carefully applying pressure as her feet resettled in the thick carpet for better leverage, so as to lift a leg and smash a knee into the side of this man’s thigh should he make a move – it was surgical in contrast to Namor’s sudden brutality bursting into existence like a star imploding.

The smell of urine mixing with blood flooded her senses as the man she held hostage loosed his bladder in terror, the complete abandon to fear sparing her attentions to the mayhem being wrecked behind her. The display of power was observed, a faint smile teasing her lips before she ran her tongue over them and chuckled softly, “Oh, you made him mad. That’s unfortunate.”

As Namor concluded his discussion with the other man and drew close, she considered him with something akin to affection. If this was the middle ground he had alluded to seeking, the way her toes ground into the luxurious carpet and her pulse visibly pounded against the delicate lines of her throat indicated satisfaction with such a truce. To the man’s weak pleas, she finally tore her attention from the Prince to intone without gloating emotion, “We can. We have. This is a different jungle than your polished desks and sniveling underlings. The rewards are greater than you could imagine, for a man who knows humility. Is that man you?”


The remaining man looked to Skali, sensing something about her that was different. Namor was acting his part admirably, but something about Skali was more sincere and thereby more dangerous. She was enjoying this, and she had a hungry look on her face like she wanted more.

"Tell me what I have to do to leave this room alive." he said, voice cleared of mucus with some trouble.

Namor relaxed, found his seat again and a boring negotiation settled over the room. Facts and figures, details, commitments. Money, money, money. Namor showing some talent at letting the other man talk, and then looking sternly to him, and getting him to talk more. To Skali's eye he didn't know much of the art he was forced to do here, he was getting by mostly on his looks, stern and imposing, or handsome and disarming; mostly the former. He knew enough to interject curtly, to direct and shape, and he wielded the other man's expertise as his own, forcing him to elucidate when he needed him to, and constructing thoughts on the fly. Namor was a fake, and a thug, but a good enough thug to make him not quite so fake.

"What do you think, Tanya?" he said finally.


A hand set the remaining banker in the chair she had formerly occupied, little cups of blood coloring his shirt red at the cuff where her nails had dug in during the initial process of restraint. While Namor spoke, her hands remained on trembling shoulders, occasionally leaning down to whisper in his ear something in gentle tones that suggested cooperation. Never once did she seem bored or cease to smile, the humor persistent despite the nature of the discussion being financials alone. When necessary she would elaborate or interject, add a new clause within the agreement that would be painfully binding and permanent. Although lacking in business acumen, trickery ran in the family.

Calling her into final agreement, her head tilted to one side and she lightly patted the head of the seated man, “If that arrangement is agreeable to you and the nation of Atlantis, I think we are done here.

Stepping over the cooling body of the other Banker, she neared the bar and refilled her own bourbon before sloshing amber liquid into two more glasses. Upon her return with drinks in hand, she continued calmly, “We’ll see that your friend here gets into an unfortunate car accident. I trust his affairs are in order, which makes these congratulations two-fold.” A glass was relinquished to Namor but she kept the other in her possession, leaving the man seated opposite of them alone and surveyed by instincts that begged him to run.

She stood close enough to Namor that he could see the small of her back shudder with a tremble as she steeled her nerves in a long draft of aged rye.


Someone else was handling the mess. That’s what wealthy nobility does. They make messes and someone else handles it. Skali and Namor we back in the first suite, cleaned up, changed clothes. No real ovations made, in fact when she came back into the suite proper from the palacial bathroom, he was sitting in the entirely too comfortable and overstuffed chair and seemed contemplative.

"Thanks for coming." he offered prospectively, "Not kicking you out, obviously, dinner my treat? You can take the suite tonight if you like. What are you in the mood for?"



There was little ceremony to her tone, the ever-present humor tracing her lips into an alluring curve as she leaned in the doorway of the bathroom and toweled curls dry. The steam from the shower still hanging heavy in the room, the scent of juniper and old magic could even be tasted by his weakened senses. A nonchalant shrug was tossed skyward as she finished rebuttoning her blouse, entering the room proper without further ceremony to approach his chair, circling it with her fingers tracing the line of his broad shoulders.

“I did not expect you to have less self-control than myself when it came to violence. What irks you so? To be so close to the edge of carnage? Balance so fragile… You seem tense.”

Down the line of his neck, her fingers drew, pressing into the muscles in a surprisingly soothing fashion given her ability to snap the spine. She continued to find the places where he had tensed, her ministrations practiced as his anatomy was explored in a unique way whilst she awaited whatever confidence he wanted to give.


Namor rolled back into it as if he'd forgotten who she was, and then remembered and tensed in sequence to assume a proper posture.

"Those men are fuckers. Capitalists. Nihilists. Fuckers." he spat angrily. "Financial power of that magnitude can only be put back in its place by violence. So, now they had violence, and maybe they'll have more."

He trembled a bit beneath her finger tips. "I just started to feel powerless." he admitted this as the anger wafted from his skin and hair into her nostrils.


“Nihilist is high praise coming from you.”

The wolf chuckled, her voice darkening as he tensed and she paused in her motions to murmur softly, “Do not fear me, Namor. It makes you seem all the more intriguing as a chew toy.” The sudden wash of rage smothered whatever brief anxiety had been sensed and the emotion was far more palatable to her current desires. Such a mortal emotion; it hung thick over the senses like chains, emphasizing how excruciating a struggle was that only existed because of the emotion. Her hands lowered, pushing him forward so she could access his lower back as her cheek came to rest on his shoulder, breathing in his scent as she lightly licked one of the glands his sweat secreted from.

“Why do you suppose this is? That violence supersedes financial power? Could not money buy security? Could not honor be paid for if one possessed enough resources? You are beginning to sound like an Asgardian, My Prince.”


Namor remained pliable but it did seem like an effort of self-control, "Because fuckers play the high game, the longer you play the high game the more removed from the physicality of what you wrought. Bring the physicality back and suddenly its shocking, terrifying."


“There are different rules, more pretenses in society; it creates an illusion of equals that a battlefield cannot tolerate. One can be a game. The other will always be life and death.”

Skali’s hands completed their circuitous and casual route across his back, lingering again over his shoulders where muscles dwelt that promised of deep places under the crushing weight of thousand pound waves. A thoughtful noise was made in the back of her throat, even as she moved to face him, lowering herself into his lap as if he were a part of the seat. Reclining across his thighs, feet dangling over the arm of the chair, she looked up at him and smiled with her teeth, the circumstances begging him to slide a hand up her skirt though the glint in her eyes suggested caution.

“You must be both and all. Coin counter and politician, warrior and assassin. The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”

And though the words were from the 1400’s, the riddle of power seemed ageless when her lips uttered it.

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