For Flint

Participants:

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Also featuring, via cellphone:

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Scene Title For Flint
Synopsis There's only one person Teo knows of who can and will get Flint out of his latest clusterfuck.
Date February 22, 2009

The Text Message World


Earlier that evening—

Felix: 'Deckard and Abby are being held in the underneath the Happy Dagger.'



Teo: 'Says who?'



Felix: 'Says a shadow who paid me a visit.'



Teo: 'The Hell?

'Tell him to call me in half an hour.'



Felix: 'Can't. No contact info. He knows you, though. Saw us at the Dagger, named you specifically.'



Teo: 'Fuck. Okay. Talk to you soon.'



Felix: 'Let me know what you know. I expect to hear from Mr. Cranston again soon. Seems he's got a wild hair to clean out the dagger.'



Teo: 'Who?'



Felix: 'Kids these days. Never heard of that old pulp hero, the Shadow?'



Teo: 'That shit will rot your brain, sweetheart.

'John Logan lied to my face and got weird about my name. He owns the Dagger. I asked Deckard to look for Abby so he probably got caught. I'm pretty sure that's on me.'



Felix: 'I'll bet they're both there, just as the Shadow said. Listen. Gotta sign off, but if you find out more, tell me.'



Teo: 'Okay.'


Somewhere In Manhattan: Leah's Apartment


When Leah comes home at night, it is typically to a mess — this piece of laundry flung randomly over the back of that chair, for example. The dishes accumulating in the sink are a small colony, but still might soon be courting evolutionary beginnings of their own, and there is a sculpture constructed of empty beer bottles and soda cans on the coffee table, beginning to resemble a fairy tale castle at least in the mind's eye of its designer (to the unpracticed eye, it probably looks … like more mess). The old smell of marijuana smoke intermingled with incense tends to cling to her furniture: the sofa is extraordinarily luxurious, buttery dark leather in direct opposition to the dilapidated state of much of the rest of her apartment. For the moment, there is also a strong, crockpotty smell of chicken, like she threw some food in a crockpot in the morning and then literally forgot about it for a full day too long away from her personal, Leah-infested rathole.

Now, as she trudges down the hallway of her apartment building towards home, she is looking particularly dour, mildly haggard with rumpled hair, the long sweep of her coat a trifle more battered than usual. Perhaps she accidentally took a nap in a Dumpster, or perhaps she came close to some familiarly flavored misfortune. If the sound of rattling keys can carry any sign of a lady's mood, this one might suggest a certain … malaise. If it can't, it might still reveal some mildly uncharacteristic fumbling around. Come on, fucking keys!

The jingle of keys through the ragged-edged door sends a subtle jolt through Teo's frame, where he perched, haphazardly on the edge of the couch's expensive hide, seesawing between being sweetly and kindly unwilling to sully Miss Deckard's only nice furniture and being somewhat appalled and magnetically repulsed by the other options. He's been living between Abby, Sonny, and establishments that are required to provide at least passable service to attract patrons as of late.

He had forgotten how it works, the whole bachelor shag pad thing and the various animals and odors that it breeds. On the other hand, when you're a white knight, it's good to have a reasonably accurate replacement for dragons. Roaches have carapaces and audacious attitudes. It takes him only a moment to relate the fuss he hears through the door to the home he broke into. This makes Teo get up.

Mysteriously, the doorknob clicks and scratches before Leah manages to dig her keys out. Hinges squeak, and his voice precedes the sight of him, at arm's length: "Flint's friend," he hastens to reintroduce himself. He's dressed almost the same now as he had been then — too many layers of old, dark, cheap clothes to protect his Mediterranean sensibilities from the cold, subtly at odds with his scalp all buzzed short. "Buona sera. He needs your help."

There is a new ringing clatter as the keyring slips from distracted fingers to rattle against the toe of her boot. The rush of adrenaline seizing in her gut, Leah's hand is halfway to the piece hooked against her hip, inside her coat, by the time the words progress beyond meaningless sounds in her ears and resolve to something like meaning. For a moment she stares, wide-eyed, into her home. Her own personal squalor, damn it! Heart hammering, she slowly extricates her hand from the depths of her coat.

Her fingers flex for a moment, her lips closed in a tight press of internal warfare. The ripple of a shudder runs down her spine, a battle won (or lost) that doesn't result in a mad attempt to shoot or strangle the intruder on the spot but instead in a white-knuckled grip on the outside knob of her door. Leah leans against it despite its tendency to sway. "What," she starts to say, and the crack that runs through her voice is thin and bright, a quiver that dances on the slender line between fury and laughter. "Fuck!" she says instead. Classy, right?

Problematic. Teo's eyebrow goes into a knot of consternation. It's difficult to conduct heroic business when people are experiencing hysterics of indeterminable emotional origin instead of answering the summons for help with immediate attention and the kind of 'oh no, yes, immediately' that you'd think familial love would warrant. He has long since decided that diving away behind the wall and kicking the door shut won't be necessary.

Also, that maybe an itchy trigger-finger is good anatomy to have on-board for a crusade like this. There seem to be other physical circumstances involved, however. Problematic ones. He steps back, releasing the door, volunteers an apology for his intrusion formatted in a stoop of his head. It is an emergency. He would explain— and he will explain, but first he really has to ask: "Uhh." Not that. "I'm sorry — are you high, signorina?"

This reaches her, washing her expression blank of the stuttering panic that claimed her and replacing it with something brighter: a spark of life, warming dark eyes with a shadow of an unvoiced laugh. "Not at the moment," she says, and kicks her keys past the threshhold with a cheery jingle of metal and plastic. Ot "Not that I'm aware of." Curling her free hand into a fist, she reaches up to knock lightly against her own door, favoring the young man inside with an expression of suffused irony. Then she shrugs in past him in a whip of coat, shaking out her hair. "God, what the fuck. You broke into my house." The fact that it is not a house, but a crappy little apartment covered in filth appears not to have any effect on the reproach in her voice.

This reaches her, washing her expression blank of the stuttering panic that claimed her and replacing it with something brighter: a spark of life, warming dark eyes with a shadow of an unvoiced laugh. "Not at the moment," she says, and kicks her keys past the threshhold with a cheery jingle of metal and plastic. It is a cheap keychain. "Not that I'm aware of." Curling her free hand into a fist, she reaches up to knock lightly against her own door, favoring the young man inside with an expression of suffused irony. Then she shrugs in past him in a whip of coat, shaking out her hair. "God, what the fuck. You broke into my house." The fact that it is not a house, but a crappy little apartment covered in filth appears not to have any effect on the reproach in her voice.

She tangles her hands in her hair, turning about in a slow circle once she is inside the room. Her expression alters, not so much outraged that her privacy was invaded as chagrined at the /state/ of her privacy. There is probably an inverse proportion between your level of familiarity with a houseguest and how horrible your place is allowed to be when they are there, and on some core level of social programming, Leah is appalled. "Jesus," she mutters, fighting a new urge to apologize to her samaritan burglar. She pinches the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger. "So what kind of bullshit has my stupid big brother gone swimming in this time?"

Right. Though momentarily jabbed out of his rhythm, Teo recovers like a pro, insofar as that he's pretty used to being interrupted in the middles of things: abducted friends interrupt vast terrorist conspiracies interrupt his traumatic love life interrupts the illegal imprisonment of his loved ones interrupts seeing to his abducted friends. It's some big clunky, crooked loop of accidents and violent hilarity.

"A pimp in Staten Island found him snooping around for a missing girl and locked both of them up underneath his whorehouse." There's a quaver-beat's pause. The soldierly posture he had momentarily adopted gives slightly, capitulating to the ludicrous weight of reflection. "I was hoping you could get them out. The girl is Abigail Beauchamp — that lanky girl healer who fixed you both up the other month. It's…" he finds himself instinctively glancing around, following her line of sight as she looks over her sculptures and accumulated — stuff. "Kind of a clusterfuck."

Leah presses the heel of her hand to her forehead, staring for a moment at the castle of bottles and cans on her coffee table. Clusterfuck. What an ideally descriptive word. She sucks in a long breath through her teeth, turning back towards him in a pivot on her heel as she folds her arms over stomach. "I don't know," she says. Her expression is vaguely hunted, weariness twisting the curve of her smile and lending a weight of dryness to it.

She looks him over with a hint of something quizzical in the twitch of her mouth at one corner, in the sweep of her gaze. She tightens the close of her fingers around her arms, shoulders hunching with her slight shrug. "I can try," she says finally. "Is this a whorehouse with, like. Fortifications?"

The look on Leah's face is mirrored roughly, inadvertently, on the front of the young man's head. Hunted, weary, wry, though there's only a faded shade of that lattermost quality in Teo. He is pathologically earnest.

True reserve belongs to the British. "Wasn't talking about your apartment," he notes, brief and low, raising his hand to drag blunt fingers down the line of his jaw. Stubble's growing out; his nails snag, rasp. "Bouncers, video surveillance. Maybe some Evolved — given kidnapping them is a regular modus operandi, I wouldn't be surprised if signor Logan invested in those. You should probably cover your face, if you're…" He faes to blank.

"The place is being watched over. Has been for the last… twenty four hours, a little less than that. Nothing notable so far, I think. Somebody found them — your brother and Abby. He probably knows the layout to the whole fucking place, but I don't know where he is and he didn't leave a contact number or any shit. I can ask a teleporter to meet you at some pick-up point outside, but she can't get in without a map or some shit." His expression tenses, flattens out, tenses again, visibly biting back the urge to ask if she will.

Pessimism is an unattractive quality on him, but it tends to color most of Teo's perceptions these days. He manages to keep his face shut, but he can't help but think that can is a separate thing.

Her smile quirks her lips when he claims not to mean her apartment, an expression that says uh-huh. Uh-huh.

But Leah's body is more communicative than her face, and it speaks of restlessness. She moves as Teo speaks, clearly listening from the cant of her head, and the saccadic flicker of her eyes towards his face and away; half pace, half wander, she scrubs her palms together, building random friction. She takes a deep breath into the moment's quiet after he's through, gauging the admission she is about to make before she turns back to face him again.

"Look," she says quietly, "the thing is." Leah swallows, marks a heartbeat's pause. "I can't move that much mass at once. I may owe the girl a debt but it's not worth my life to me. Flint's my priority." What she'll risk for him she shows in a gesture that is more admission than she probably allows herself to realize, palms up as she opens both hands to Teo, defined brows lifting over bright dark eyes. "Like I said I can try. You can see what you're getting, though, when you ask me."

That shuts Teo up pretty good. He doesn't like the whole quantitative comparison parts of these tests. He's a little better at geometry and verbal. Fedor had asked him stuff like this just the other day, and the bitter taste wasn't out of his mouth yet. I mean if this boils down to a plus or minus sort've thing, which do you want me to go for? I dont anticipate any great drama, but I'd like to have these decisions made ahead of time. How the fuck do you respond to that?

"Sounds right. He probably should be. They're keeping Abigail alive for a reason, but your brother…" this decision leaves a different flavor in the slime of his gullet, no less sour, just as ugly. Moreso, for how much clearer the tethers are between himself and the elder Deckard sibling and Abigail Beauchamp. Sylar and Gillian, he might be able to do without. Maybe even Trask. It's an odd thing, to realize how different his sense of responsibility is, between those who chose Phoenix and those he chose. "There was something off about the pimp when I met him, I think—"

The shadow below Teo's cheekbone chugs uncomfortably, swallowing something too moist and nauseating to be merely air.

He could describe Logan's flinch at hearing his name, or that scream. He does neither, and doesn't finish that thought: I think this is my fault. He diverts his attention back through the recesses of her apartment, glances back at her. "A woman who doesn't need much to survive? Perfetto. We should get in transit, and I'll call the teleporter."

Leah nods once, almost smiling but not quite — the ghost of an expression warming her eyes with rue, touching the curve of her mouth before she looks away and it flattens. She scrapes her knuckles along the curve of her cheek and the line of her jaw, her hand pausing to rub briefly at her neck. "All right," she says, peculiarly extending the latter word on a breath.

She pauses, looking blankly around the apartment, at the clumps of mess here and there, the weird food smell, the weird other smells, as though one last glance about will remind her of something she's forgotten, which she'll desperately need when she's … about to make some kind of crazy assault on a guarded whorehouse. She checks her hand against the comforting weight holstered at her hip, and then checks her smallish black purse to make sure the stick of deoderant is still there. Priorities. Then she moves a few paces to squat and retrieve her cheap plastic keychain from the floor.

"Okay," she says, looking up at Teo with her elbows balanced against her thighs. Her grin flashes, quick and crooked, as she rises from this undignified crouch. "Lead on, Macduff." The inaccurate quotation could earn her some disapproval from her absent brother, but hey, he's not here.

No, Flint isn't. Yet, anyway. He'll probably prefer his sibling's hospitality, after she finishes rescuing his skinny white ass, to that of the stupid child who got him held hostage by hookers. Or maybe he's happy down there, tied up, the subject of a pleasurable torment by big-breasted women…

Sure. Why not! The smile he shows Leah is slightly — greenish. He's kind of pale for an Italian. Gives a clear canvas for all other colors to work with. "Uuuh," he repeats again, helpfully, by way of assent. The kid nods his head and turns for the doorway on a heavy cadence of boots. For all that things are going well so far, he emerges from the threshold looking about as gaunt as he had going in.

"I probably owe you both a lot of beer." A beat's pause. Holding his shoulders up under his ears, Teo adds, feebly, "Sorry for breaking in. I really needed to catch you."

"It could've been a lot worse," Leah replies with grim humor, dragging the door shut behind her. She tugs at the sleeves of her long coat and then straightens the fall of her purpose with absent-minded jerks of her hands, lifting her head boldly to face the hallway. Understatement mild, she says: "These days I don't get a lot of company." Because he couldn't tell that from the state of her living room.

"And the company I could've had, well." Shaking her head, she shoves her hands deep in her pockets and starts off at a brisk clip down the hall. Although she is clearly more at home in motion than in anything approximating stillness, the buried note of tension in her carriage lingers like a quashed warning of future panic. "Beer'll help."

Sounds like a story worth listening to, and Teo's left wishing that these were circumstances under which it wouldn't feel completely moronic to ask. Of course, if wishes were horses, he'd probably have the world inundated under manure or something. "You could have shot me," he says by way of agreement. "That would've been a lot worse."

He doesn't miss the trembling line of paranoia that modifies every cocky stride she loops over the hallway floor, but he doesn't stare, comment, and he sure as fuck isn't going to tell her to relax. Time and place for everything. Ten minutes to teleport wouldn't be the right moment to relax.

That is the ETA as far as he's concerned, typing with one thumb into the cellphone with little apparent difficulty navigating the diminutive interface; he's barely looking at the monitor. Kids these days. "But if you see her," he says, picking gingerly, clumsily at a thread of conversation long since discarded. "If you Abigail, if you could tell her, uhhh… even if you can't take her with you.

"If you could tell her…" His face wrinkles in the middle, hopelessly. Boys. It happens. He glances at Leah, sidelong. "Pila's gonna be happy to see her again."

Fade.


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February 22nd: Paranoid Hallucinations
Previously in this storyline…
The Green Mile

Next in this storyline…
Hold On

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February 22nd: When Girl Cops Go Wild
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