1965-05-16 - Romancing the Rosetta Stone?
Summary: Morbius consults with Doug a second time on matters, this time on a new inhabitant to Monster Metro who has trouble communicating. They soon realize that they have far more in common than any man should honestly like to when six degrees of separation becomes ridiculous.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
douglas morbius 

Evening settles on New York city, still trying to find summer in the back and forth mediocrity of false springs and brisk mornings. Nobody has heard of A Vampire In Brooklyn yet, but we're not in Brooklyn. The charming little tea shop sits in Manhattan rather securely in Greenwich Village, and tenders to a quiet sort of oddity client%<232>le. From wizards to alchemists to, well…

Michael Morbius sits in a back table while the very mundane and sassy Mrs. O'Riley putters between the back room and the front. Wiping down tables and blinds and cups. making sure her stock is always at peak performance and her customers don't cause any trouble, the tough as nails woman doesn't seem to mind the pale-as-death man sitting separated from the rest who come and go. Sitting with neatly layered books around him as well as a notebook he scribbles in. At least he's dressed as a person; dress shirt, tie, waist coat, jacket. He looks like he should be preparing for a lecture he's giving somewhere over at Columbia, but the books are oddities themselves, and with his tea steeping nearby, Morbius leans back in his seat and exhales a long breath. Stretching his back. Wicked fingers digging into the corneas of his swimming-red eyes. That's the look of mental fatigue.

Morbius sent word to the omnilinguist to meet him. They've consulted once before and their relationship seems to be rooted in academic processes and information exchange. So, whatever it is, what are the chances this is a social call?

Doug arrives, dressed incongruously — he's wearing a snug Rolling Stones t-shirt under a light spring jacket, jeans, and a hat pulled down over loose blond hair, and a pair of thick (unneeded) glasses besides. He makes his way past Mrs. O'Riley and into the back, before he clears his throat, and says "Ah — Doctor Morbius?" It's polite to get someone's attention before you sit down, after all.

Still rubbing a spindled pair of fingers high on the bridge of his nose, Morbius looks up at Doug's approach and at least attempts a polite smile. "Mister Ramsey." Getting to his feet with a scoot of his chair backward, a pallid hand extends to Doug. "Thank you for meeting me. I apologize for my state. I am…" He sighs and looks down at his books. Myriad diagrams, circles, mathematical expressions…no. No, no. That was something else. The symbology was different. This was alchemy and spellslinging bullshit. But to Doug it may as well be step by step instructions on how to fuck the world. "I am preparing. This is my attempt to multi-task. Please. Sit. I will clear you a space."

Doug quirks his mouth. "Hmmm-hmmm. Just Doug, please. Douglas if you've really got to be formal." He has a seat, and leans forward in his chair. "Well, to be quite frank, you look exhausted, so I'll skip the small-talk. How can I help you?" He rests his fingers under his chin.

Carefully plucking up books and closing some of them, stacking on the far edge of the table, Morbius is riddled currently with a sense of unrest. Exhaustion, yes, though beneath the surface of his skin he seems ready to tear something apart—more than usual, actually. Someone has done something to wrong him or his on a personal level, and though his facade is good, Doug has gifts beyond his.

Sitting down, Morbius collects himself, dragging his long fingers through his hair. "Douglas, then." His accent, cultured but fracturing Doug's name half way through as Greek tends to do. He needs a moment to drag his brain out of what he was just doingwhich seems to be a collection of tracing, summoning and spellcraft to do with hell and demonsand coming back to what he needed with Doug. "It is fine. I'm afraid that there is no rest for the wicked in this case and quite honestly, speaking to you on something aside from my current issue is a relief in a way."

He's out of his depth.

"We spoke once on mythological matters and creatures. First, let me ask, did you find a solution to your conundrum?"

"Which one." Doug says, with a slow inhale, "I have so many. And they only seem to multiply, you know. Did anyone ever tell you that being an adult would be easier…?"

Michael's lips curve slightly. There is no glint in his eye, but amusement reads all through him. More amusement than is necessary. There's a history there somewhere. "No. No I do not believe anyone ever told me that being an adult would be easier. But," a hand lifts and gives a vague wiggle before resting again on the table top. "I grew up in an occupied country. Nothing was easy. And after this…" He gestures again, slowly, to himself. "Well, nothing was easier."

"I believe we were speaking on the matter of Koschei the Deathless at the time."

"I uh. I think he went back to Russia." Doug says, scratching the back of his neck. "Either that or someone made rabbit stew and an omelette out of his stuff and he died?" Then he says, with a sigh, "Oh right. Hungary. Things wouldn't be easier there."

"So uh, I guess that one took care of itself." He gives a little shrug. "I don't—have a better answer for you."

Morbius tilts his head lightly to the side, a forgiving, generous gesture, but the difference is /important/ to him, as it is with all Greek people. "Greece. Democratic People's Republic of Greece, the Kingdom of Greece, Greece…Eh." He shakes his head, frittering away those differences. "I believe my passport says Kingdom, but who can say at any time. Continuous war will do that to a place." And yet there is still a national pride there for whatever reason.

"Whatever happened to the issue, I'm glad it is no longer /your/ issue, any way." Morbius expresses no upset over Doug not knowing certain specifics. The problem went away for now. That's all that matters. "All manner of creatures are always popping up, which is something of the reason I have asked you here. You…understand the language of the world, correct? I'm not sure how to put that in less pretentious sounding ways, I am sorry. I've been spending too much time with mages and their language is more antiquated than I like."

"How did I miss that?" Doug says. "I could've swore you were Hungarian. I'm never wrong—" He frowns, apparently deeply concerned by the mistake. It is not, as they say, a mistake he makes. "Well, I used to. I'm suddenly not so sure. Yeah." He taps his temple. "It's just intuitive. I've studied linguistics and semiotics, but I just — do it."

A spike of concern radiates from Morbius. Not doubt. Not suspicion. Not irritation. It's concern first from the doctor. Then comes some of that seeping doubt as to the flawlessness. "My accent may be off. I do have some interesting, ah, palette issues." Morbius bows his head while he speaks around his fangs, bulging lips moving very minimalistically. He then squints and thinks on it for a moment, eyes narrowing. "I may have been taught English by a Hungarian man. Was he? Lord, that area is such a mess, who can say any more?" His memory isn't flawless after all.

Listening closely to Doug's explanation, Morbius curls a hand around his tea and leans back, holding the warm cup and saucer near to his chest. "Intuitive. So if one wanted advice on how to communicate with a non-human who struggles to use language, you would be of little help because you simply read it on them. Like a conversation."

"Well, yes. I could certainly translate for you, and I could *absolutely* give you a rosetta stone for a written language, that's easy." Doug says, with a gentle shrug of his shoulders, "And I could definately give you live translation and clue you in on what certain words and phrases mean—I suppose it depends on what advice you wanted me to give you."

Morbius nods slowly, thinking it all over and appreciative of the brainstorming. The suggestions to solutions. He seems a solution based individual at heart. "Well, if I can be candid, I have someone who transforms into a great beat with a separate mentality, motivations, urges and wants, who struggles speaking but more than that, struggles to…restrain himself." Michael hesitates there. "We cannot tolerate a creature who cannot be trusted, and trust is largely a matter of communication. Understanding one another. I am looking for ways to bridge that gap with this individual. I thought to myself, who better than someone with the gift? Otherwise…" He hesitates and takes a long drink of his tea.

Otherwise, they'll have to kill him.

Doug considers this, and lances his fingers together. "If you must know, I was educated with a Lycanthrope. Not a true werewolf, I suppose, since she was — is — a Mutant, but she ticked off all the other boxes. So I have some experience dealing with people with… alternate drives and modes of communication. So." He says, "You just tell me what you need from me, and I'm willing to help."

Lycanthrope is dropped and Morbius' brows twitch. Impressed. Hey, good enough by him. What DOES he need, however? The academic fellow thinks a moment.

"I need a simple mode of communication with a non-verbal, man-eating chimera-esque creature." Well if you're going to put it that way! The vampire sets his tea down and gestures a rough shape with his hands. "I need someone who speaks this man's language and can tell me how to learn the basic framework of communication so if there comes a time when he becomes dangerous, or something happens, we can protect ourselves /and/ him appropriately."

"Man-eating." Doug says, before he exhales under his breath. "Man-eating I can handle. I thought for a second you were going to say 'Man-something-else' and let me tell you my personal life is just a big wriggling mass of 'It's Complicated'—" Doug cuts himself off, and then says "But basically, I'm pretty sure the person I'm running with just met their soul mate, and I'm *really* happy for them, but wondering where I stand. Long story short, I need to work, so bring on the monster."

Man-eating isn't the problem? Huh. That isn't as Michael expected, and it shows. Though the rest of it causes a little flicker of surprise and interest while his hands slide back around his tea cup and pull it toward him. Sympathy in a simple smile. No. Empathy in a smile.

Morbius' eyes lower, amused. "Try being in love with someone mystically bound for eternity to someone else. The futility of it truly lays bitter on your tongue." His cadence is slow and musical in his accented fashion. But it /burns/ beneath his skin. An emotional vampire is not really a good thing. For anyone. "Especially when they begin sleeping with everyone else in the tristate area without mentioning it to you, and you only discover these facts when people begin barging into dangerous secluded areas in the middle of mystical danger, expecting answers as if they are entitled to them because they once found their way to bed." Disrespected. Injusticed. Insecurity. Protectiveness. Over-protective. Possessive. Oh yes, he pings ALL of the fun marks of a jilted lover with the added flair of a vampire. "So yes. Work. I can appreciate that."

"And I mean the other person's just as sweet as pie, so it's not even like I'm jealous — just kinda resigned. I'm never a verb, just a conjunction. Maybe that's by design." Doug rests his chin in his hand, and then says "Anyway. Work. You just tell me when and where, and I'll bridge the gap between you and, uh… Manimal."

"Ah. Well. At least you /like/ the other person, that must be something," Morbius inhales a deep breath, his shoulders lifting with it. "The one I have the most issue withbecause there are multipleis this insolent little whelp. Just a smudge of a man. It's exasperating. Between him and the man he is bound to not taking proper care and the several others, well." He falls silent a moment, then smiles blandly to Doug. "You even use metaphor as terms of language. How interesting." His brows lift and fall quickly, sipping his tea and setting it back down. "Resignation is a quiet killer. Do they know? I apologize, I don't want to pry. And his name is Fjorskar, by the by."

"Fjorskar, huh? Rahne was Scottish. And I think one might suspect. But they're so happy — I don't know what to do. I *want* them to be together. But I don't know if I'm cut out for the polyamory thing… I have a lot of questions I need to ask myself." He shakes his head, "This was all so much easier in the fifties I bet, when everybody was repressed. Haha. Ha." Doug rubs the back of his neck.

"Things were certainly easier," Morbius reminisces thoughtfully, glancing over the pages of a nearby alchemy book, feeling a little shame for his own incapability to deal with it. "It's difficult when you see the good that another pair brings out in each other. Something you cannot necessarily provide, but want for them. How is one supposed to accomplish that? It was easier before I fell in love with them, undoubtedly. Sex is sex, but attachment breeds complication." Inhuman eyes fall on Doug, curious. "My advice? And it is ironic to say this to you, but it is the largest complaint I have in my current situation; talk to them." Morbius basically reeks of regret and longing when he gives that advice. "Simply because you can tell in a glance what is happening, you have the challenge of remembering that not everyone has that. If you do not make it obnoxiously apparent, some will never pick up on it. Believe me. I have had to do the exact same thing, and while I didn't like the outcome, I at least now know where I stand."

In the way. Superfluous.

"That is my advice from someone older and just as…well, frustrated as you may be. To that unpleasant non-sequitur."

"I came here to talk about work, and I'm talking to a vampire about my love-life. No offense." Doug says, "I really loved Dracula, and I hear distressing rumors he's an actual person and not a lot of fun—" He holds up his hands. "Right. Right. Okay. Work." He rubs the back of his neck. "When. Where. You should probably feed him first." Then he shakes his head. "But you know…" He snaps his fingers, "Elmo really is a great guy."

"Oh no, he's terrible," Morbius confirms the matter of dracula factually and face forward. "His wives were worse in a way. If you ever meet one Doctor Stephen Strange, do yourself a favor and do not mention them." Morbius rubs his thumb and forefinger together thoughtfully. "He had a bit of an…issue with them. But they won't be coming back to New York any time soon, I don't suppose. Thankfully. I rather like not having competition in that manner. And yes, I will feed him. Normally he's a very nice scholarly fellow, actually. Teaches anthropology at Columbia. It's stress and danger which triggers the transformation, so you can imagine a beast born from that is—"

Morbius stops and tilts his head slowly as he fixes that unsettling stare on Doug. If those elongated ears could set back like a cat's, they would be. His eyelids flutter. "I'm sorry. Did you say 'Elmo'?" Danger prickles through the air palpable for someone without Doug's gifts. "That wouldn't be Elmo Rosencrantz by chance, would it be?"

Doug looks up at Morbius — at angry, red-eyed, dangerous Morbius, and gives an elegant, omnilinguistic response. "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. *Shit*." That means 'yes', b ythe way.

Morbius purses his lips at the response, anger flaring within him for an instant, but it is not directed necessarily /toward/ anything. It's flash in the pan, and with some effort, he looks away and forces wicked-looking hands to ungnarl before his claws dig grooves into the table and Mrs. O'Riley takes it out on his hide.

Instead, with visible effort, he breathes and straightens his poise, reminding himself that he is a /man/ first and monster second. Muttering in Greek a very quick, "You must be fucking kidding me". A hand flattens down his tie as well. As if he could iron out the wrinkles in his reaction. "I apologize, Douglas. I was surprised. I'm sure you've gathered the lion's share of it, but /that/ is the very same person I was talking about. He is one of the newer acquisitions my partner has taken, and the one I clash with the most."

Doug purses his lips. "Really. So Jay's his man on the side, huh." He shakes his head, "Kid's a sucker for a sad story. Guy shows up upset and Jay falls all over himself—" Doug frowns, and then says, "Look, I'm sorry. This is all getting really… really weird. And I am so, SO uncomfortable right now. Let's just set up an appointment for me to meet Fjorskar and get started on this for you, okay?" He holds his hands up in front of him. "Because I've got a lot to think about."

"Well, I can't say how satisfying the relationship is to Mister Rosencrantz considering how /fucked/ all of this is, but honestly, none of this makes anything any—" Morbius tries to brush it all away but he stops again and squints curiously at Douglas. Jay? The name rings many bells and the circle of madness frows more loops, but he says nothing. No. He REFUSES to say a damn thing about it because it's all too strange. Instead, there's a quick nod of understanding, rather rapid considering his usual poise. "Absolutely. I'll call you again and we'll set it up with him once I figure out a good time and place." Refusing to acknowledge the weird, he slides his hand neatly over the cover of a book. Oh dear god books, comfort me. "Thank you for coming, Douglas. Think, but also remember to speak. It seems I have to do a bit of this myself. Good night."

Doug gets up, and taps the table. "Good night, Doctor. You know how to reach me." He straightens up, and turns, to walk out, with a frown, wondering what exactly he's stepped into.

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