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445 All The Big Boys Are Here

 Once the police had apprehended the criminal, they took Dave down to the police station so he could give them his statement about the reason for the assault on his home and everything that had happened that night.

He didn't want to get Zoe's uncle caught up in this so he opted to have his case filed without their knowledge... but alas, with all the ruckus caused by the gunshots, the paparazzi had finally received their long-awaited scoop. Faster than Dave realized, they had done their job in a superb manner, and before it was midnight the entirety of New York had learned about the armed assault on Conquest's favorite Undead.

Dave's phone suddenly rang while he was at the police station.

"THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!" was the first thing he heard from the caller. He'd never expected to be on the other end of Samuel Silvana's screaming. Heck, judging by how level headed and how calm he always was it was a wonder he even could behave in such an 'unsightly way', nevertheless it put a smile on Dave's face. He knew that the lawyer was only this angry because he cared about Dave's wellbeing.

"I'm coming over! Dante and Zoe will come on their own. Don't say anything to the police officers without me being there!" Samuel instructed Dave.

"Aren't I the one who got attacked? Shouldn't the other guy be careful what he says and wait for an attorney?" Dave questioned. Yet he was immediately silenced by Samuel's resounding "No!"

"You know the saying 'Anything you say can and will be used against you'? Doesn't matter if you are the victim or the one who's responsible for the assault. Anyway, just wait for me. I'll be at the precinct in five minutes."

"Got it I'll keep my mouth shut then," Dave replied.

"Good, as you always should! Think before you act, and act only once you have considered all possibilities. You should know this better than anyone," Samuel advised before he hung up.

Exactly five minutes later, Samuel Silvana walked into the police station where they were holding Josh in custody. Samuel had donned his black working suit and had a leather briefcase in hand. He walked with complete confidence without anyone having to show him Dave's location. None of the cops present dared to stop him to question where he was going. After all, he was New York's number one prosecutor.

Once he opened the door to the room where Dave was sitting in, he began asking him questions concentrating on the smallest of details since everything could be used.

Eventually, a female police officer knocked on the door, before she came inside to inform them that Josh Reddington had admitted his guilt on all accounts. This would make Sam's job much easier.

Not five minutes later, just when Dave and Samuel were out in the corridor about to leave and wait for the rest of the Silvana family outside the building, a middle-aged couple had walked into the station. The woman was crying while the man was holding her with a grim look on his face.

Dave immediately recognized them as Josh's parents. The resemblance between father and son was just too striking. After they were informed of what happened, the woman went toward Dave crying.

"Please don't send my baby to jail, please!" the woman begged Dave with teary eyes and a snotty nose.

Dave was baffled. He didn't know what to do. How was he supposed to tell a crying mother, that because of him her son would go to jail... fortunately, he wasn't alone. Samuel Silvana was used to being the bad guy. He had seen his fair share of parents who couldn't believe how their precious child could go down the wrong path.

"Mdam, your son has committed a grave and serious felony. We aren't talking about a petty theft, but first degree attempted murder. This is no laughing matter. He endangered my client's life in the safety of his own home. Had things gone any different, my client may not even be alive anymore. Your son is going to jail, and Mr. Ruster here has no say in it, willing or not. So please spare us the tears."

The woman's world crashed in front of her, her tears grew thicker but her voice was cut short.

Her husband was about to turn aggressive before Samuel added, "Sir, I understood that this is much to take in, but this is already beyond Mr. Ruster's capabilities. Once a murder has been attempted, the state gets involved. You'll be facing the state and not him, so if you have anything to say, you'll have to do so in front of the prosecutor. My client here will most likely get called in as a witness, but your son has already confessed on account of all charges so it should be an open and shut case."

A man in a gray suit came up behind them and said: "He is right, you know. I'll try to get the court to give him the minimum punishment for this offense, five years in a minimum-security prison. At least he will have more visiting hours and rec time. The only silver lining here, is that this is his first felony charge and his cooperation and early confession will be taken into account, otherwise, he would have spent at least twenty years inside."

"Isaac," Samuel nodded toward the man in gray.

"Samuel, good to see you. Or should I say, as usual, given the circumstances? I suppose you'll take part in the procedure," Isaac questioned.

"I might listen in on it, depending on when the court date will be, but this case is outside of my jurisdiction. Another prosecutor has the claim to this case. However, I'll be assisting the prosecutor so that my client won't find himself disadvantaged in any way."

The two lawyers began speaking and as Dave understood, despite him actually being involved in this matter he personally had no say in the matter, except for whatever Samuel told him to say.

What Bone Breaker... no Josh did was off-limits and certainly could have killed him, but he couldn't help but feel sorry for his mother. It was a sad fate that one stupid decision would most likely haunt their family for years to come. Still, one should be prepared to do the time if they did the crime Dave thought. Samuel was right, had things gone any differently, maybe the headlines would be about him being found dead in his home. Getting all worked up over a game, no matter how great a game it was, should never be worth pouring one's frustration out in real life.

A police officer came and took the couple to see their son.

More people entered the office, this time with a massive ruckus.

Dave could hear Zoe's voice from inside the station before he had any chance of seeing her.

"I demand to see him!" she shouted with the same oomph as her uncle had demonstrated on the phone.

"No one's stopping you from doing so!" replied a friendly police officer. "We just need your identification and signature on the entry form first!"

"Ah, my bad," Zoe replied meekly, and some moments later she walked in on the group.

Zoe's eyes ignored everyone in the room and directly jumped on Dave, her body following suit, kissing him on the cheeks and crying, "Are you okay?" She hugged him tightly, making sure he was still there, causing the young man to feel embarrassed.

Dave nudged her "There are people here," he whispered into her ear despite enjoying the bear hug.

"Oh, sorry," she replied, finally regaining a bit of self-awareness and letting him go... but not before grabbing his hand seemingly making sure he couldn't run away.

"Dad is here too... alongside a few unwanted acquaintances," Zoe informed him with a pout on her face.

"Now little Zoe, how could you call us 'unwanted acquaintances' when we are practically family?" came the voice of a gruff sounding man.

Dave turned around to see a man with a bit of a weight problem. It was nothing too serious though. He was wearing a black suit and behind him were two other men in black that Dave was more familiar than he'd like to be. How could he ever forget Bodybuilder and Door Prop?

The man in the middle didn't need any introduction given that the two behind him were standing respectfully and at a distance made his identity clear.

Dave stood up, tilted his head, and pointed forward, "You must be Tivo Giovanni."

"Put your hand down, chum, else ya want it cut off!"

"Shut up, jackass, no one asked your opinion," Dave snapped at Bodybuilder.

"No need to get angry," Tivo smiled. "I'd say it's about time we finally meet in person. Unfortunately, you did 'not have time' when I offered to see you the previous times to clear up our little misunderstanding." At this point, he glanced at his ill-gotten nephew.

"My daughter has spoken a lot about you, David Ruster. I have just come here to personally make sure that our business partner is safe. "

"He never needed any help from you, Tivo," a man spoke up while patting the mafia boss on the shoulder.

His entrance was sudden, not even the two bodyguards had noticed him going past them and appearing right next to Tivo. Yet the latter didn't even flinch or turn, "I know Dante, but I've felt the need to come here personally to pay him some respect. Not everyone is so lucky to survive their first assassination attempt, especially on their own and without any protection. This kid is more interesting than I thought." Tivo smiled revealing a golden tooth at the side of his mouth.

"Kid, how are you holding up?" Dante asked.

"Not bad actually. I seem to have grown used to the stress in-game. Even real-life excitement isn't enough for me." Dave laughed it off.

"You're a little monster. No one's asking you to empty your bowels, but after the adrenaline stops pumping most people would at least be shaking even now. I mean your life was on the line and all," Sam had seemingly finished the talk with his old acquaintance and also come to join their little troup.

Yet another person walked into the room to add to the atmosphere, "That's why the Pakhan says, he would be great for our business." The man spoke in a thick Russian accent, stressing every vowel.

"Vlad, what brings you here?" Dante asked.

"Pakhan Demetri asked me to check up on his new friend. This should not be happening on your turf, Tivo."

"We have talked about getting some personal bodyguards for Mr. Ruster, but Dante here firmly disagreed. I suppose you should blame him." Tivo calmly stated.

"I just wanted for the kid to have a normal life. Our lifestyle is not compatible with him. We don't want him moving while looking over his back every time he crosses a street."

"I guess it is too late now. This is a serious matter," Tivo said.

"Hold up, why are you all talking about me like I'm some sort of sheltered princess? Shit happened, I dealt with it, we move on. There is no need to cry over spilled milk," Dave interjected. Too bad the grown-ups had different ideas.

"Who can guarantee this won't happen again? You might have gotten away scot-free this time, but what if someone professional comes after you next? Mr. Ruster, your actions in the game have brought real-life heat to your life." Vlad pointed out, "Pakhan Demetri has ordered me to get you a couple of bodyguards. He said he can't have his golden egg laying goose go to waste this early."

Dave frowned at the man's last statement, but the man clarified.

"Well, he didn't say it in those terms, but you have to understand, your life is no longer only yours. A lot of people depend on you, and it is your job to secure your safety as it is ours."

"No one will be following Mr. Ruster around," Dante declared firmly, giving Dave a breather. He didn't want to have people walking around him securing every room before he entered or doing stuff like eating his food to check for poison. Stuff like that only happened in movies and it was cumbersome more than helpful.

"But he might run a risk, Dad. With the Devis and the Eastern Guilds so riled up because of the Eastern Kingdom, and especially since Dave told me he had a serious Quest coming up that might even cause the world of Conquest to change if he succeeds. Things like this might happen again," Zoe said meekly.

"Damn, when did things turn this way? I just wanna play a game in peace," Dave sighed.

"We can help, I can have Sebastian and Bob secure David Ruster's whereabouts, you won't even see them. This is the least they could do after all that happened in the past," Tivo offered.

"Hell no! I'd rather bite the bullet than have your guys following me around. Zoe, that time when I was in the hospital, those two guys that came with you, what were their names?"

"Nicolai and James. They are good buddies of my dad. You want them around?" Zoe asked.

"Just to get this over with. I don't want to burden anyone, and if things get serious, they can help out. Ralph told me that they kept my old apartment safe from some scavengers. So in my book, they are cool. Besides, I trust their integrity a whole lot more than the alternative." Dave stated while evil eyeing Bob and Sebastian.

"Yeah, Nicolai and James are free, I'll tell them to be as discreet as possible when following you around."

"Right then. So this should be over, yeah? Thank you all for coming to see me, but y'all can go away now."

Dante couldn't help but crack a smile, David Ruster was shooing away the Mafia and the Bratva like they were little kids, and he liked it. Around the big boy's table, one had to act as the top dog or they would be eaten alive.

The same could be said for Tivo, he liked the spunk the kid had, and the way he declined the proposition of the Giovanni family and the Russian Bratva made clear who the kid's allegiance was truly with. He would not turn his back on the mob or the Russians, but at the same time, he would not walk hand in hand with them. It proved the young man had a good code of honor to his chaperon and great decisiveness. This only made him more valuable in the eyes of Tivo.

As for Vlad, he regarded Dave as purely a business partner. He would report to Demetri about what had happened and let him decide what to think of it. He had done what he came for, so now it would be time to leave.

"Good, now that this is over, let me remind you, gentlemen, that my girl's birthday will be held at my mansion next week at 8 pm. I'll be expecting all of you to show up." Tivo said.

"Oh shit, I nearly forgot it's almost time for Caitlin's birthday! It's always great and festive! We have to go, Davie," Zoe was already picturing what outfit to wear for the occasion.

"Yeah, sure, why not. Ralph will be there so I have to go too," Dave agreed almost absentmindedly.

"Ralph..." Tivo uttered the name and all of a sudden, his expression changed from the non-caring friendly uncle everyone could get along with to someone with serious anger management issues.

"Boss," Sebastian cleared his throat.

"Oh, right, apologies. Yes, I suppose my daughter's boy-... Ralph will be there. Dave, if you see him, tell him I said hi."

Dave gulped hard at the 'smile' Tivo had on his face when making his request.