The End


abby5_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif francois4_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title The End
Synopsis All good things must come to an end. Thankfully, bad things do too.
Date January 29, 2010

Somewhere in Mexico

Most people don't ride on horses in business suits.

Then again, most people don't have as much experience in arms dealing as Flint Deckard.

He and Chopazo are on their way back from town at a loafing walk that occasionally picks up into a trot that weaves around stunted cactus and eerily abstract struts of weathered rock. Occasionally a press of ankle and knee weaves the big seal brown brute into a figure eight around a rusted hubcap for no readily apparent reason, save maybe that Flint hasn't actually been riding horses so long that he's gotten over his amusement over the fact that he can do it at all. No one's out here to see him dicking around like a thirteen year old anyway, happily sexed-up, well-fed and well-rested, two rifles snuggled into a saddle pack on the left side and a shotgun with God only knows how many shells on the right.


They prance around the hubcap twice, one way, then the other, then backwards. It's midday but not as sweltering as it could be, seeing as it's also mid-winter and there's a breeze sweeping cool air and gritty dust in from the north. The sun washes white overhead, a thousand times brighter than its own reflection against corroded chrome while Chopazo gives an uncertain flick of his tail and almost-but-not-quite hops over the near corner of the thing.

Flint backs him up to try again.

At a more determined pace, eating up distance with each long legged stride, there's another equine creature coming up quickly on the scene. The dun gelding had been driven at a sedate pace, endurance making miles go by more than speed, but now, legs urge the animal on, all dilute, tawny colours, white feet and black mane. The clip clop canter sound of hooves when they strike desert rubble slows its pace, the jangle of metal and leather of saddle and reins quieting at the easier walk with which the horse approaches.

Her rider is familiar too. In this setting, too much so. Desert dust has made Francois' jeans a less true blue, but a brown jacket against the slightly cool wind blowing clean across the landscape doesn't do much to show up dirt. He's still pale, jaw dark with unshavenness stubble, eyes squinting and aching against the bright sun that is blocked not at all.

Also, he doesn't appear to be armed. Just tired. If there's anything wrong — imperfect hands, a bit missing from his ear, his eye colour— these are not details that come up right away.

Attempt #4. This time Chopazo has a running start, black hooves thud-thudding against sand and hard-packed desert rock, and this time, he jumps. A little. Enough to clear the plate across its modest diameter, haunches drawn up into a skittish brake that lashes into an ill-tempered kick. For all that Flint is letting himself grin a little, his horse looks fucking pissed, nostrils dished and ears flat, and he gives up the game there to soothe the animal before he gets bucked off into the sand and left to walk the rest of the way himself.

Both man and horse are breathing hard, blood pounding in their ears such that it takes both longer than it should to register the rhythmic strike of a second gelding on the approach. Chopazo turns first, one ear flicked ahead of a white-eyed look back over his shoulder. Deckard has to twist in his saddle to follow with a glance, sunglasses barred from black to brilliant white under the sun's beat before he thinks to nudge Chopa's rear around into a hoof over hoof turn. Still breathing raggedly past the dulled edge of his grin when he pushes a hand down to scuff reassuringly at his mount's shoulder, he has the presence of mind to look wary while he squints after indentification.

It takes him a beat. Maybe two before his brows knit and his spine straightens up and his knuckles bind in a little stiffer on the reins. "Seriously?" The lapels of his suit tag gently in the breeze, sun-faded pinstriping just visible at a distance. Chopazo looks uneasy. "I've been on my best fucking behavior."

Francois' horse— whatever his name is— mostly looks unimpressed, head dipping down to analyse the dirt with a grizzled, velvety nose. Swish swish, the silken black tail beats back flies that don't exist yet in this weather, and the Frenchman straddling the steed doesn't need to do much to encourage it to halt, and halt they do and Flint is already speaking. Which is not how Francois envisioned it would go, back ramrod straight and expression a mute kind of puzzled. Suspicion overt, and he shifts where he sits. He didn't really have an opening line, to be fair.

"You think I am here because you deserve it?" The question is tentative, in the way one tests water when they have no idea what the temperature is, and Francois' right hand grips the reins a little firmer when the gelding lists to the side in a restless step.

Broad sides rising and falling in vast, foamy bellows, Chopazo keeps his head up and his eyes wild, jaw and overlarge horsey teeth working nervously at the sweetiron bit set deep in his mouth. By awkward contrast, upright posture and white knuckles aside, Flint hasn't yet detected anything unusual enough to react reflexively or otherwise. If anything, he's winding down, breaths easing out at a slower pace to match the gradual decrease in definition through the lines carved into his face.

That he doesn't seem to think there's anything all that unusual about a Frenchman galloping up to talk to him in the middle of the Mexican desert is probably telling. It's a little while before he answers, though — some subconscious register in the back of his mind picking out a key note tinkling out of tune. Somewhere, somehow. "…Are you?"

The reins go taut again, the dun horse again makes its irritation and unease known. Francois doesn't remember the last time riding a horse was this much of a fight, but neither is he paying much attention to it. He's not petting it, either, bare hands away from flesh and fur, and for now, he offers a smile across at Flint, and shakes his head. "No," he says, and this time, he allows the gelding his wrestlessness. The horse paces around, circular, feet crunching rubble, and the sun shimmers off its tawny hide. "You do not deserve my ability, in the same way I do not deserve this one."

Blue eyes. Brighter pale than foresty green, slightly more obvious if only in their glassiness, some wildness in their glint as he focuses on Deckard. "But you do deserve to live, I think," he adds, as if in reassurance. "And I suggest you try."

The gun he pulls from his waistband, leveled now somewhere around Deckard's torso, is a simple handgun that doesn't belong to him. If he regretted anything now, Francois might well not pull the trigger, and so there's no rue shown on his face when he does, if not before dispensing probably the only piece of advice that sums up every hallucination up until this point; "Heal."


Dull shock writes itself into the slack of Deckard's scruffy jaw. The impact is registered before pain — the sensation of something passing through him no more uniquely experienced than one might be able to describe what it's like to be slapped in the face with a shovel. He didn't even have time to reach for his gun.

Blackish backblast is scattered at a gelatin glob and glisten across the rear of his spooky horse and the desert beyond that. More vibrant stuff blotches through the not-quite-white of his dress shirt.

It's not the only source of warmth around his person. Healing heat eminates from his heart with involuntary intensity while Chopazo backsteps into the awkward beginnings of panicked retreat, and it's with a red-misted cough that awareness of the desert glare sinks back in through the static. Jostled off balance by the headier reaction of his horse already committing himself to a gallop, he keeps reflective lenses on the blurry conglomeration of shapes that is unquestionably Francois for as long as he can before they're well and truly off and running.

His hand crosses his middle as he lets himself fall into the rock and jostle of the saddleback beneath him, reaching thoughtlessly after the .40 holstered under his suit coat. It's slippery with blood, and by the time he's drawn it out, the sucking hole in his chest has ceased the worst of its bubbling.

The last thing Francois' horse wants to do is give chase, to be honest with you, but if there are any kind of animal Francois likes, it would be the useful ones. Belated encouragement ensues, legs urge, chase begins. His own heart lurches what feels like to the left, roiling guilt, but there's not very fair to have after he put a messy hole in someone and the emotion is summarily shelved, jaw locked close and pale blue eyes blazing. Blood and trenches dug by hooves are left behind. Lets panic become giddiness as he fires off another shot, and this one aims to miss.

And it does, skimming a foot to the left, before Francois almost drops Teo's gun in an effort to stay on his horse. Missing is not a hard thing to do on horseback, admittedly, his back bowed, balance precarious. Dying and the magnetic pull of healing is something he can almost feel, even now, and it spurs him on.

Flint ducks like a dog from the sizzle of a second shot, ears ringing shrill over the cottony muffle of hooves eating up dry dust and sand at a gallop too erratic to ride with gracefully. He doesn't have control of his horse. He's not all that sure he has control over himself. Instinct or impulse clicks back the hammer and he twists back to fire once, twice, thrice at Francois' breakneck pursuit. Pain brands hot through the lean muscles rigged up his side and across his back, plain on his long face if not in poise when he manages to keep the gun jouncing around a level long enough to get another shot off.

His sudden dedication to murder in kind costs him. When Chopazo bunches and uncoils into a leap over a dry stream bed cracked winding and rocky into the dessert terrain, he's still facing backwards. What happens after that is likelier easier made out from Francois' perspective than his own.

Upon landing, he's slung hard to left and backwards with a whiplash-enducing snap that sees him bouncing off his horse's ass, rolling once in midair, and landing hard against the lip of the stream bed. Chopazo falls as well some ten or twenty feet later, dust thrown up in a weightier roll that throws him down onto his shoulder and side with momentum enough that he's nearly able to rock right back up onto his hooves after it.

He has most of an ear on his left side, enough to hear the wasp-buzz of a bullet whipping by too close. Francois flinches, managing to draw in a singular shuddering breath and grimly kick his feet loose of stirrups before the next bullet hits him. Even if he wanted too, swerving his charging horse out of the way was utterly out of the question, and so he runs head long into open fire, and it fells him like a Western. His body jerks as if shocked, holding onto nothing except his weapon as the world tips him over.

Instantaneous snaking tendrils of shadow erupt from the wound in place of blood, his skin gone ashen by the time he hits the desert floor. His wrist snaps quite neatly when he lands on it wrong, eliciting a piercing cry from Francois as pain flashes white in his vision. His horse is in a frothing panic as if some the sudden presence of lashing ashy smoke registers on a primal level. It's okay. Francois doubts he's going to see anyone ever again, let alone his horse.

Arm bundled against his stomach, he's focusing on getting his legs under him to stand, tasting copper in his mouth as restless smoky shadow coils around him, tasting the desert floor for life to leech.

In the limestone-strewn ditch Deckard's rolled to a rest in, life sputters and flickers with an intensity that fluctuates in fits and spurts between barely being there and aglow with molten incandescence at its core. The ability doesn't work when he's unconscious, but he's coming out of it with a quickness spurred by mind-bleaching pain or adrenaline. Or sheer necessity. Sometimes it is hard to tell with human survival.

A dazed Chopazo limps, brittly off balance in the background while Flint shudders and flounders in the dirt, blood matting grizzled hair to his skull and staining down the length of the arm he's compelled to lift and brace against the dead stream's slope. Seconds pass without him being present for them, like miniature jumps forward in time. He's on the ground, he's on his knees, he's on his feet with displaced ribs drawing themselves back into place under his side and the stink of bloody vomit fresh in his sinuses. The sunglasses are gone and so is his gun, suit in dusty tatters and eyes so vividly, inhumanly blue as to appear somewhat ridiculous in their draconic draw towards the feeling that represents Francois rather than the sight of him.

By the time he's put feet under himself, and numbly pushing a finger around the trigger of his gun, Francois is trying to figure out where in his body he was hit. Red marks only a vague spot. It hurts. That's all he cares to know, right now. Like a gravitational pull, blood in a swirling sink full of water circling inevitably for the drain, wafting shadow reaches for Flint, sensing life, needing it, desiring to smudge flesh back together, knit bone in place. Not eager enough, to be honest. With a sneer, the Frenchman clicks safety on the gun before he—

Well, tosses it at Deckard's feet. Metal and plastic clatters on stone, skids to a halt. He's getting out a knife from a pocket, the break in his wrist very painful, but that hand was always going to be useless anyway.

He doesn't have enough spit to say the words, you're meant to win. Hopefully Deckard won't need encouragement. Francois moves forward around the same time as degenerative energy is driving knives into Flint's flesh, seeking out that gory bullet hole to further tear apart and— burning back from healing light.

There's a werewolf, transformative wrench to the way Deckard's left arm realigns bones into appropriate joints and binds them there with a rope of replenished muscle when the gun lands at his feet, and he's still bleeding. Out of his chest, out of his nose and mouth. It stains his teeth and his neck and pretty much is all over the goddamn place even as he seems to be steeling himself into wholeness, if not wellness.

Evidently, it isn't meant to last.

Francois' advance shocks another icy pick of pain through his system, jerking him back half a step and then forward in turn. Rather than stop at a single step, he accelerates into a full on tackle, with little heed paid the snarl of polar abilities against each other until they're back on the ground again.

Ash soaked thick with blood heaves and sags out of his widening bullet wound in muddy clots only for fresh life to sear in white-hot around its borders, back and forth with a tidal pull that simultaneously blackens split knuckles away from ligament and bone clawing into Francois' neck. There's a pulse under there somewhere, Flint knows — or something in him does — something that can be smothered and crushed even as dribbles of damp ash push through the hole in his shirt to plop plop pat warm between them.

A knife tumbles aside to reflect high noon sun a hand's grope away. Francois' are occupied.

His eyes widen when he knows the harsher side of his former power, driving fire under his skin as Deckard's clawing hands seek his throat once both men have crashed to the ground. Even Kazimir's eyes can communicate a certain amount of shock and pain, and they do, hands coming up to grip on Deckard's shirt front, the other splaying the uneven set of fingers, warped knuckles, to the healer's throat. Skin turns deathly grey beneath that touch, his own brand of healing setting his wrist back together even as—

Well it's akin to a branding iron, repelling as much as his own ability floods out of him like a broken dam, blood blotting thicker inside his jacket, smearing up as high as his throat and pooling in the shallow dips of skin around Deckard's fingers. Also, he can't breathe, and his mouth gapes silently.

Like dust kicking up, light-bending shadows of billowing ash billows around them, one lone patch of spikey grass withering towards the right of them; shooting spirals of wild degenerative energy. The chorus of screams can be heard contained with them, a continual pitch and sigh of the however many souls this power has bulldozed over in however many centuries. Among them are possibly the lives of the men who tried to dig him out of the ice, and certainly Kazimir — all three of him — but there's no making sense of it as it swarms around the two, stinging bug bites against Flint's flesh.

Sharply, a knee comes up, an attempt to drive the taller man aside, world fuzzying out in Francois' periphery. Despite himself, an effort made for survival is pitched, when it shouldn't be.

Feral terror is as naked in tempered blue eyes as hate, but Deckard can't disengage himself from this anymore than he can go back in time and shoot John Doe in his fuzzy head before any of this was made possible. They're killing each other, and around him aspects of Kazimir's ability that he's never heard of, much less imagined shriek in his ears and make the little hairs at the back of his neck stand on end.

At this rate, healing hurts as much or more than accelerated necrosis — it licks orange and white against ash at its leading edges, searing in repairs before soot can slough in to gain ground inches at a time. At one point a ragged breath gusts through his trachea with force enough to blow an ashy airhole out for itself where gripping fingers nearly falter on through the cave-in. Faster and faster he's falling apart, with repairs accelerated where he needs them to keep functioning only.

Finally, Francois' knee sinks into him like a thumb jabbed to damp bread and he rolls slackly aside, gasping through his freshly reformed throat in time to cry out against the rotten mess they've made. It's more incoherent sob than hope for help from God or Teo or any other three-lettered entity that cares to put him out of his misery.

Francois rolls with the movement but doesn't follow, just gets on his side and tries to gasp in air like it might mean something. Retches, turns his face downwards against a bent arm, and even from here, with that tenuous link between himself and his own brand new ability, he can sense, that eventually, Flint's will win. It has to. The rush of ash lifting off his flesh, from under the hems of his clothes, through his eyes and eventually out of his mouth as if it had a will of its own, ejecting itself artlessly.

Cold, too, Antarctic ice setting back in in the middle of a Mexican desert. A miserable groan leaves him, barely audible in all the shriek of his ability running rampant as it tries to pour itself into a body that can't take it.

Deckard isn't getting up. There's a lift at his spine while he writhes where he lies in sand gone mulchy with blood and ash, silent agony raking trenches into sand under the push of his bootheels. His hands claw at nothing, curled into fists and stretched open again amdist snarls of inky soot and unholy screams in dozens or hundreds of voices not his own until one snaps itself down into a bind at Francois' near arm. Teeth ground to breaking point, lean muscles in his neck corded into steel under the arch of his spine, he flexes and twists in the sand like an eel, granules pasted fine into swaths of blood at the surface and glimpses of deeper wounds exposed wet and black to the white smudge of the sun.

He isn't healing anymore, but he isn't getting worse either. The yin to his yang belches into his chest and out again like a dirt clod exploding into dust against a stone wall, as of yet unable to penetrate or find purchase.

Miguel had said there was a pill for this. Teo's Spanish deteriorates considerably when he's been charred and literally deprived of lifeforce by insidious gene-based superpowers, so he suspects that he more communicated something along the lines of 'No; you are stupid, shut up and drive' than 'You are very mistaken sir, but that is improbable; my problem is very rare.'

Not that the old banana merchant would've had a hard time believing he tends to grapple with weird circumstances, probably. Not many white boys with emptied-out shoulder holsters show up around here with dismembered steering wheels cuffed to their wrists and a wad of dolares to pay for a six mile drive out of Antigua. There aren't a lot of drugs in Antigua, or hookers, or anything that would have otherwise accounted for Teo's interest, and Teodoro isn't inclined to explain that that was, actually, someone else's point in this expedition— not as long as the money serves as a prophylactic to questions. Miguel doesn't ask any. Not until the featureless horizon that sandwiches the road is interrupted by the punctuating silhouette of a fistfight. Two bodies. Sprawled clinch, the blood and shadows obviously, already unfathomably strange even at the distance.

Miguel gives Teodoro a sidelong look. Teo tells him to stop driving, forces open the pickup's powder-blue door and falls out on the road before the tires have worn into a halt. His mouth's a healing scab and his eyes glittering pits dug into his sunburnt face. Miguel has seventy pounds on him, but decides to take him seriously when he rams a coarse-knuckled fist into the door and snaps, "Vayase!"

He does. The U-turn snarls up an arc of dirt that catches the back of the Sicilian's clothes as he starts to sprint, a tiny manikin in Miguel's rearview, peeling his vanishing point toward the two in the dirt. Miguel takes his eyes from the mirror, scratches sweat-rimmed nails sheepishly at the back of his neck. Pushes back the grimey suspicion that one of them, garlanded in dust and bloody, had looked familiar.

Deckard doens't hide his key's very well, or maybe that's a purpose when it comes to tow others in the town with him and that maybe Abby might need the run down POS vehicle. The gunshots had gone off, Abigail's head going up like a meerkat rears it's head out of the hole carefully to see if it's friend or foe. When Raquelle doesn't come running and hand flailing about men with guns coming to rape the women and pillage the cooler - because there's really NOTHING out here to steal except an expensive sleeping bag - She's snatching up her shotgun, a handful of shells and instructing the other man to stay behind, get the phone and be ready to call Elias for an emergency GTFO of dodge teleport.

It took her a few minutes to snatch the key's, get an estimate on where the shots were fired and within moments, El Camino was fired up and a heavy foot to the floor as it roared off Over to the rise, the highest point of where they are so she can lean out the window with her shades on and look. Horse. Chopazo, small figures on the ground and another vehicle far off. Religious epithets roll off her tongue as she throws the car into reverse and starts off down the road and soon off road towards whatever is happening. SHotgun for once, is loaded.

The grip that clamps down on his forearm is something like an electric shock, muscles siezing. It's not the way Francois ever used his ability, overflowing healing warm instead of a surgical honing in— maybe Deckard got better and maybe this is just a really bad day— but there it is. The same compulsion that kicked Deckard away drives through him once more, frazzles nerves like frayed rope on fire, which is almost exactly what it feels like, what it must have felt like for Kazimir.

Blood and time leak by. A few seconds, and Francois is on his knees, a hand coming to grip against the one clinging to his arm as if to tear it off, but he doesn't. Red paints down his front, not just ash.

Shadow meant to represent the souls of dead men tornado around them still, as if lost. They shriek and drown out the sound of engines.

It doesn't let go. Abigail's power, that is, no matter how much Francois might want it back. Instinct and Kazimir's own ability batter at it like a flag caught in a windstorm but it never flies free of Deckard, only burns itself through Francois without a chance of healing, scouring through as if it were purging Kazimir's from him, the most important injury he carries. Whatever thread kept it tethered to the Frenchman is sliced through, leaving him alone.

And very human. Surprisingly, an alive one. With a shudder, Francois' grip firms on Deckard's arm, as if he could pull him up, green eyes dazed. They should probably flee the storm of degenerative energy still trying to invade the healer. Save it.

As ignorant of company on the approach as he is anything but the most basic awareness of what the fuck is happening with the pain and screaming and black swarming through and around bars of desert sunlight, Deckard discovers that his legs still work by trying them out in tandem with the sensation of someone trying to drag him to his feet. He trips, stumbles, gets his overlong legs tangled near the ankles and nearly falls again.

Just as healing heat scourged only the most visceral and insidious hurt from the Frenchman's person, whorling decay sloughs itself into and up through Deckard's spine without taking hold there. The flow's leading edge tumbles back out through his chest in a pyroclastic blast that ignites ember orange at its fringes — black withering back in on itself in volcanic flickers of heat and light that wail and shriek as if literally burning. Light eminates from prolonged contact as the stuff rolls silty across his shoulders, white hot and erratic as that same searing line of molten glow sears itself across his jacket and against Francois' grip on him.

The last overall impression is one of an electric short or malfunction — the last of a healing ability older than all of its hosts combined purging itself in a clean, punctilious tongue of greenish flame at contact while its opposite screeches and struggles and contracts in drawing its own dessication out as long as inhumanly possible.

Six feet of Sicilian tangles and untangles muscle and bone in his madcap flight across shadow and dirt, running in steps proportioned so far apart he seems to be flying more than any normal gait. The balls of his feet seem to barely touch the ground, skim it, connecting only sporadically with his rangy shadow, as if Teo had managed to somehow decorporealize through sheer strength of will.

Frustration and anxiety are a lot like strength of will. From here, it looks like Deckard's on fire, and he can't hear anything except the trainwreck combination of wind outside his ears and blood within.

He's upon them very suddenly, barely brakes, and the first thing he does is run the severed steering wheel into the side of Francois' head. It's a wild swing, twinges his elbow with hyperextension and lays much less power into the connection than he had supplied into the kinesis, but it still goes in with considerably more force than the Frenchman's ear wanted to take. Especially that ear, already the buckled-keloid victim of abuse at Kozlow's hands. Francois can barely hear him when Teo yells: "Don't touch him!"

Teodoro could probably do to take some of his own advice, but he fails to truly gasp what's going on here. Flint's in pain; there's wrong light and leprous injury warping his skin, no deciphering his voice or the spectral chorus of others shot through it, and anything in everything he's ever been told about either Volken's ability or Abigail's tells him it's because Francois is touching. So he sets his fingers on the pinstriped lapel and wraps an arm around his shoulders. The steering wheel dangles from his wrist as absurdly out of place as a rubber duck boiling in the imploding seas above the Titanic's posterior.

Teo doesn't really figure out something's wrong until he chokes on whatever his salutation was going to be, runoff pain lancing his temples, leaks on him that ugly incandescence that defies the sanguine stare of the sun.

The car's engine roars, bad brakes squeal and dirt kicked up in it's wake as Abby brings the vehicle to a stop not far from whatever is going on. Intent on getting to the scene of the crime, that she's not paying much attention to what exactly is going on and who exactly is involved. "You god forsaken ess oh bee's you get your hands off of him" She's yelling even as the door is flung open with the business end of her shotgun easing out first followed by the rest of her. Brown hair back in a braid, hiking boots, khaki shorts and a tank top. Abigail at a glance, though one leg not as tanned as the other. Safety is flicked off and she pulls the trigger, gun aimed over the heads of people.

Her fingers work to prime the shotgun again for another shot when the sight before her registers at a dangerous level in her head. Last time she'd seen something like this had been on a bridge in New York and her hand had been in the middle of the maelstrom. This time though there's a person, one individual at the center. Two others are near and another split second brings recognition. Teodoro, the blonde and… a dead man. Which makes the person in the middle …

"FLINT!" The shotgun is thrown to the side as the young woman puts feet to ground to head for the trio and to the one engulfed in darkness and light. "Flint! God! Help him!"

Not dead yet, actually, not even wishing he was— oh, there was that thing in Antarctica, wasn't there? Francois registers Teo's approach only after getting clocked in the head, going with the momentum and releasing Deckard's arm without a fight. A still warped hand flies up to clap over his ringing ear, more important than righting himself though his right hand does splay out wildly to catch against breaking his face against desert floor. Down here again, and that scorched feeling on his palm isn't going away yet.

Legs work like malfunctioning machinery, but all it does is put a foot, a foot and a half, two feet more distance between where Flint and Teo are, turning enough to sit rather than sprawl and lowering his hand from where he'd been struck, inspecting his palm.

There's the pounding of feet against the ground as someone is running over to them, and context and the shrill of her voice being recognisable enough that Francois doesn't have to look, but he does, to know it's Abigail. Green eyes shut, open again to take in the sight of Teo with the steering wheel, and laughs once at his own misfortune, cutting off briskly because it hurts to do. Finally, he looks up at Flint — stares, actually, instead of skimming gaze and glances.

If Deckard is or was on fire, it's only for a fraction of an instant. Barium green licks itself clean down his sleeves without sign of smoke or soot and is gone by the time Teo's on them, clouting Francois in the head and jostling at his shoulders.

Too disoriented to put up much of a protest, he stumbles with movement reinforced by muscles not his own and stares blindly ahead. Tarry blood has resumed its crawling soak through his dress shirt, moisture clotted with sand and grit across the broad of his back and down his side. A wet cough produces nearly as much ash as brackish red phlegm, and when the present registers enough for him to grasp, he clings stupidly at the warmth of Teo against him, bony fingers tangling into cloth with a death grip intent enough to be painful.

Elsewhere crusty ash cracks and falls away from wounds without taking vast stretches of skin with it. Gashes ooze at his left arm and across his neck, but he seems remarkably — stable — for all that he is in shock and bloodsoaked.

Abby's running for them and Francois is on the ground. Flint stares back between them without comprehending, blue eyes washed out pale against the desert while the last of Kazimir's legacy flops and rolls and dwindles sickly in upon itself in a splutter of greasy soot and choked sparks at his back.

There is a small component of Teo's brain whose primary function has always been reserved for assuring Abigail Beauchamp that things are okay, but despite that its action potentials squirm and blorp eagerly through the chemistry of gray matter in his skull to impart this message, but the progression gets jammed up and halted in the spasmodic clench of his jaw.

It's like a static shock, nothing worse. Twitch of muscle, jump of nerve. It's fortunate his tongue hadn't been between his teeth, but that's all. Something happened here, and he's too blond to figure it out; the greatest evidence of its peculiarity is the fact that Deckard doesn't, for the moment, seem to particularly mind touching him. "Humngh," he says to Abigail, instead, an unhelpful ungulate grunt, an effortful clearing of passageways rubbed raw by running breathing and inhaled dust.

He looks like Hell, chapped gray at the mouth and bloodshot in the eye, a lobster-colored strip down his nose. Obscured by the steering wheel, his hand is notched over with irregularly intervalled scabs and patchily-peeled skin that seems to pay little respect to the Mexican sky's baleful eye. Rumpled. Tired. It seems impossible that Deckard is alive and Francois isn't still trying to kill him, so Teo remains where he is, stubbornly suspicious, a watchful but otherwise useless sentinel, cuddled up against blood-stained pinstripes with disapproval graven into the line of his brow.

Holding his breath, straggling a few pages behind everybody else on the script, blond.

"Where's Kazimir!" Abigail yells, coming upon them all finally, the trio all on the ground in some state, limbs entangled. The brunette's feature conrted in some form of anger as she reaches arms into the pile of flesh in it's varying degree's of injury. One hand grabs Teo's jaw uncaring of whether doing so might bring harm instead of a turn of head and a peering into eyes. Teo's look no more blue than they usually are. Her other hand closing around Deckards to make sure the same shade of Vibrancy is there.

Process of elimination means… the dead man. Belatedly she realizes that she should have leveled a gaze that way the first time around. "Was the same as on the bridge" Not quite, sorta. Stallion and S.I.G. are abandoned so that she can stomp over to Francois and repeat the gesture. Slender hand reaching out to seize jaw and look in the eye. Green. Not blue which produces confusion now. "You're supposed to be dead. What the hell is going on here? What in sams hill are you there DOING OUT HERE?! I've been MOURNING you!"

He hadn't had Kazimir's ability long enough for flinching from all human contact to be a true instinct, but there is a minor twitch, and then a more patient hand being placed on her wrist, pushing aside her hand as tellingly green eyes blink up at her. Francois' voice sounds exactly like one that comes from a crushed windpipe, all sandpaper rasp and strain; "Kazimir is gone."

That seems to be the most important question to answer. Francois swings his attention back towards the crumpled figures of Teo and Deckard half-tangled together. Selfishly, he adds, "I killed him," because damnit. If anyone had a score to settle—

His hand drifts down towards where the bullet had impacted, and it doesn't feel as bad as it did, in the same way his left wrist only feels tender. Somewhere in there, healing happened. Francois couldn't pinpoint when and how much if he tried, but he's bleeding less and dying less than he expected. There's a gun tossed over —-> there, and a knife around here somewhere. Hand goes up again, some kind of splayed fingers gesture towards the two men, meant to convey peace or surrender.

He's done. Tired.

For all that Flint's eyes are a pretty, striking shade of blue, they're also blue within the realm of human possibility. If anything they look too light, slate trending towards whitish grey around pupils too wide to be outside midday while he looks at her, through her, past her. Once her hand has scuffed away from the blood-sticky bristlebrush of his chin, it dips back towards his chest and he swallows, knuckles twitching in their bind at Teo's shirt. He shivers, swallows again, ignores the blood that runs out his nose when the angle of his long face tips down. Grizzled hair matted with blood and suit tatty and stained, with his legs crooked out at awkward angles away from his cling to Teo he vaguely resembles a retarded sloth.

Disbelief tangles in the etch of Teodoro's brow for a long— few— seconds. Gives way on the last, with a breath that sounds like something stilted out the wrong end of a farm animal, ends with a rasping cough. If Francois' gesture isn't enough, then Abigail's hamsterwheeling back and forth across the desert's bleak horizon seems to be indicative enough of a change of tempo. It's over. What hangs in the air now is merely the particulate and biological residue of battle spent, not dread.

It's over. Kazimir is gone. The last of him, unreplicated, no shred survived.

Teo's shoulders loosen into a slump of relief. He starts to let go of Deckard before realizing that Deckard isn't holding onto him because he's scared and in desperate need of Sicily's dominion or protection, or anything like that, but because he's cold. This has the ironic effect of being somewhat less flattering, overall, but elevating the obligation to stay, all the same. His fingers tighten and the wheel glints whimiscally at his wrist. His voice sounds like a garbage compactor: "Everyone okay?"

Nothing. Nothing but Francois's very much alive hand batting hers away and shivering men, bleeding men, injured men in the Mexican desert. Teodoro's got a steering wheel attached to one hand and she's staring at the three of them back and forth as if she can't believe that on her last day in the desert dead men are walking. "What are you all doing? What in God's dry desert are the three of your doing. Loook at you! Teodoro Laudani you have a steering wheel hanging around your hand and Flint, for god's sake you look like you're parked in the middle of the ice pack."

One hand wheels around, forefinger pointing to Francois. "And you" Eyes are watering as she notices the blood and injuries for real and turns on a heel to head back to the car and yank the first aid kit from there that Raquelle threw in. "Where's Kazimir? Hmm? If I find out he's done gone FLITTING into the town after Flint done burned him up and take up residence in Raquelle I will take my shotgun and beat you all upside the head. Answers! Now! Come on, i'm waiting" When she comes closer, thevolume doesn't stop, but she's grabbed her shotgun at least as well and both are tossed down onto the ground followed soon by her crouching as she digs through the blue pack.

squares of sterile gauze, bottle of rubbing alcohol, strips of rolled loosely woven cotton mean to hold packing in place, medical tape all come flying out of it and onto the sand beside the barrel of her gun. "Why can the dead not stay dead! Do you know how much energy it is to cry over dead men? Do you? No one saw fit to PHONE ME? Flint!" She snaps out. "How bad? Can you heal yourself or should I see to you?"

The curtains were meant to close by now, so forgive Francois if he's lacking the script for this next part, arms come to wrap around his midsection as he watches Abby yell, throw things, stomp, crouch, snap questions like whip cracks. Cool winter wind blows across the desert, tugs at the collar of his jacket and ruffles his hair which is peppered with desert dust and what could be ash from when Deckard's throat had come apart above him. His left ear is still ringing and his genetics are scrubbed raw, but at least, unlike some of them, he expected this. To a degree. Her last questions shot at Deckard have him looking on over, doubt written on his own blanched features.

He drags a hand down them, and answers Teo's query instead; "Oui."

Flint doesn't answer. Granted, unsociable silence is not really all that out've the ordinary for him, but it's a little different when he doesn't seem to have heard her ask at all. His mouth has fallen slightly open. Mucousy blood drizzles shocky red from his nose. Mainly he does a lot of blank staring and holding onto Teo, maybe as much because he's there to glom onto as the fact that he feels cold.

Teodoro's lips move for a few seconds before his voice catches up and vents through them: "We should go in the car, Abs." He is obscurely pleased to realize that, no matter how off everybody else would appear to be in the head, Abigail's responses are perfectly normal, for her. He endures the impossible barrage of her questions with something near to relief and, not long after he produces his idea, he begins to move toward it.

There's something different now. He doesn't think it's because Volken's dead. Aside from the repeat Sword of Damocles of apocalypse that that lunatic's existence tended to float above Teodoro's head as a function of being a career superhero, the final dissipation of the enemy shouldn't have meant that much, but the air smells cleaner, somehow, and there's a lightness to his head that can not be entirely attributed to hormone wash.

Brain trauma, Teo decides. He sucks hazed air through his teeth and starts to get up, cocking a haphazard glance down at Deckard's face to check— something. "Sorry I di'nt call.

"There was a lot of lying." He forgets even the weight the last word with particular emphasis or venom; doesn't look over at Francois to see if it manages to nick a mark. Digging his arms in under Flint's skinny frame, he throws his axis this way over the fulcrum of the center of his balance, sinks his heels into coarse terrain and lifts with his knees hhhh-up. He can see enough flat skin underneath the holes in the suit to know the old man's healed, but he forgets to reassure about it aloud. It isn't until he's creaking toward the car, one mantid step after the other, that he realizes Flint's frame isn't as skinny as it was before.

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