Matteo Carducci

Bakkhos Champion??

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January 21, 2021 - 2am

@Thomas Gallo

 

This isn't a good idea Gaspari…

 

The frown knitted down hard as the dark Italian gaze flicked to Tom and then back to the head of Bakkhos. Arms were tightly folded over his chest as he leaned against the front of the bar eyeing Gaspari as the older man sat in the leather chair with his glass of whiskey resting on the arm. What the hell was he thinking!

 

We 'ave a million clauses signin' away that the death of fighters aint our fault for a reason. We have no idea if both fighters would even walk out of the ring openin' night!.... hell dunno if ANY fighter walk outta first fight!

 

Hands threw up in the air in frustration.

 

And what if he accidently kills the opponent? Then we are the bad guys… and if he loses on the openin'  night??..... the "champion" o' Bakkhos defeated by a street fighter? Then what happens with our rep? Geez Boss… this is just a recipe for disaster.

 

This was NOT what he had expected when he got the 1am call dragging his ass out from between a pair of extra long gams attached to one hell of a tight ass, a fact not apparent in his appearance as the slacks hung neat on his hips, the leather bomber still over his gray turtleneck, gun flashed as he gestured his frustration. Gaspari wanted to bill Tom as the Bakkhos champion and toss him out as the "fighter to beat" on opening night, help drum up business. The head of Bakkhos never did anything rash but damn if this didn't feel like a wild throw. Yet there the guy sat…smirking at the Senior Capo's complaint as he sipped his whiskey.

 

The dark eyes met Tom's with a "come on…back me up here" expression.

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He knew he should have brought Roderick. The full moon was in a week and Tom was seething more often than he wasn't this week. He didn't bother Roderick once he had received the summons. If Gaspari called, then it must be serious.

 

Today had been a good day to this point. Shipments arrived when expected. Payments were received, orders came in...everything in the Thyrsus machine was running as smoothly as possible. This was good. Otherwise, Tom was afraid that he might have made some rash mistakes. 

 

Everything bothered him. The phone rang too loud. The lights were too bright. Nobody moved fast enough. The rational part of Tom's brain knew that this was absurd. Little by little, though...piece by piece...calm and cool Tom was being replaced by this beast that dwells within him.

 

He had been getting ready for a jog. He had discovered that physical exercise was helping him cope with the beast a bit better. That, coupled with Roderick's help...the rage inside was forever a passenger...however rarely the driver. The poor timing of Gaspari's call tweaked the beast inside. Annoyances skipped straight ahead to become offenses these days. Tom took a long calm breath and reminded himself of who it was calling and the importance of keeping this beast contained...lest he lash out in violence against someone who didn't deserve it or look for it.

 

When Tom was let in, a low growl was allowed to escape his mouth before he caught himself. The stench from the silver in the Bakkhos rings poked at the caged monster inside. He exhaled sharply. He should have brought Roderick. 

 

He listened to Gaspari's proposal of having Tom as a champion at Satyr Stadium with skeptical eyes. Tom was never known as one of the fighters amongst the capos. Matteo, if anyone, scrapped more than he likely ought to have. Matteo appeared to share some of the same thoughts as he protested.

 

And what if he accidently kills the opponent? Then we are the bad guys… and if he loses on the openin'  night??..... the "champion" o' Bakkhos defeated by a street fighter? Then what happens with our rep? Geez Boss… this is just a recipe for disaster.

 

Tom took a long moment before replying. Matteo had good points, but Gaspari had something in mind. Tom wasn't chosen randomly. With Derrick, Matteo, and a few others...Tom was one of the ones least likely to fight unnecessarily. Tom wondered why Gaspari had picked him out. Was it because he knew that Tom would heal soon after and likely have no lasting damage? The idea of a capo going through a grueling melee one hour...and be cleaned up and smiling at a business meeting the next would create an aura of power around Tom...and by virtue of that, Bakkhos. Would this become a regular thing?

 

Tom was not pleased with this prospect. Tom's life thrived on order, structure...everything in its place. Another part of Tom seemed excited by this. Maybe this could be his new outlet for venting out the beast! It was certainly worthy of experimentation. If people were signing up to be his punching bag, maybe it would be worth a shot. He still had some questions though.

 

I am honored that you would think of me, but may I ask why? The Family has many competent warriors...many of whom fighting is simply what they do. What brought your attention to me?

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Fuck he should have stayed between those thighs. This was insane! And it didn’t help that clearly Tom was "agitated". Was a moon coming? He wasn’t really good at keeping up with that. Toni usually reminded him.

 

At least Tom got that this was insane….. right?

 

I am honored that you would think of me, but may I ask why? The Family has many competent warriors...many of whom fighting is simply what they do. What brought your attention to me?

 

Mouth nearly gaped open at the Capo. Honored?.... he didn’t exactly sound like he was going to push back on this asinine plan.

 

The head slid out of the chair with the fluidity of a feline, last of the liquor slipping between his lips before walking to the bar.

 

Gaspari:…. They don’t need it….. you do…..

 

As Gaspari set the glass into the sink behind the bar the Senior Capo was trying to digest this comment, dark Italian eyes flicking to Tom with a faint quirk of the brow. Needed it? That put a different spin. He should have known Gaspari had an "angle" here.

 

Matteo was normally fairly observant. He knew the lycanthropes had a tough time near the full moon. But Tom wasn’t the only lycan the family was harboring….so why him. Brow remained faintly furrowed as hands shoved into the pockets of the dark slacks, gaze flicking back to Gaspari.

 

So let's say we do this……. Ya know might turn int'a constant head hunt…….people comin' outta the woodwork to take 'im on.

 

He already knew this was a done deal. Gaspari wouldn’t have drug him out of bed in the dead of night if it was a discussion.

 

Fuck.

 

Hip moved to perch on a stool at the bar, gaze flicking to Tom again as head shook slightly.

 

Might bleed into every day huntin' him too… not just in the arena. Bring the crazies right to our doors.

 

He knew Gaspari had thought of all this. But damn it needed to be said aloud.

 

Gaspari:....yep

 

And with that the head of Bakkhos grinned, saluted faintly "good night" and headed to the back offices leaving the Senior Capo frowning at the Capo. Shit this was fucked up.

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Gaspari:…. They don’t need it….. you do…..

 

He was right. It made sense to him. Tom nearly lunged at Matteo for arguing with Gaspari. Tom's temperament was getting worse. It was becoming harder and harder to remain calm, no matter the help Roderick provided when he was around. Still, he should have brought Roderick. 

 

Matteo was correct. This was likely to inspire all sorts of additional conflict for Tom. The arena would be a good outlet. He always felt his best the day after transformations were over. He knew it had to do with still having that residual anger that abandons most lycanthropes after the change; however that exertion, that outlet cleared his head and he was usually at his best. 

 

Those feelings of clarity were short-lived. It never took long before the mundane took over an the daily struggle resumed. Was Gaspari intentionally setting Tom up for unsolicited provocations from which he would have to defend himself? A steady diet of violence to keep the beast in check? If that was his play...it was either genius or insanity. Whether or not it works would prove to be the judge on that. It was an uncertain play...Tom didn't much like that. However, it was evident, Tom wouldn't be of any use to the family if current trends held. Change was necessary. With that change...certain risks were unavoidable. 

 

Matteo...I think I know what he's suggesting. You are correct. I don't like it much either...but I don't see another solution. I don't speak of it much, but since the Event...things have been harder for me than most others that share the same condition. I'm no fool...I know you have noticed. The others in the family don't react the same way that I do. Timing is different, severity is different...because I am different. 

 

Tom paused and walked over to pour himself a drink. Most in the family kept their demons to themselves, no matter how obvious it was what they were. A sign of pride or strength, or maybe just foolishness...Tom no longer had that luxury. 

 

I believe Gaspari is looking to feed these head-hunters to me to bleed out some of the violence that is bubbling at the surface. As much as I hate to admit it...as long as I continue to live...violence is going to be my drug of choice.

 

He raised his glass in a mock-toast to his new prison. He didn't like this change. Not one bit. He knew that didn't matter much, either. This was his life now...better to make the best of it. 

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