joy_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Unsettling
Synopsis Joy officially meets Teo and the two share a drink or two. See? She's really not so bad after all, right?
Date February 24, 2010

In and Around Old Lucy's

Dutiful a roommate as ever, Teo is taking out the trash. This may be credited less to proactive virtues than the fact that there are a lot of used condoms residing inside the translucent plastic along with the various cartons, rinds, and scraps of tissue that constitute residential Old Lucy's normal output to the landfills. The very least Teodoro can do, he thinks, is to clean up after himself.

So it goes. The erstwhile ninja clunks a shoulder against the wall and hitches his shoulder against the dangerous squeak and creak of the straining bag gripped in his callused fingers. He has a boot wedged up underneath it, trying to balance, off-balance, even as he fiddles his jacket zipper with his other hand. It's brass monkeys outside, as Eileen would say, and he isn't looking forward to braving it, no matter what domestic responsibility he's taken for himself.

"Ciernera stupido," is ground out under his breath, clinched between his molars. The grip of his gun digs uncomfortably into his armpit and the tiny tab gripped between his fingers won't budge, glinting a vicious taunt in the mirthless light of the afternoon.

To Teo, it seems as though someone has gotten the drop on him. To anyone who would have been paying attention, not that there is any such person in the vicinity, a petite blonde has simply appears from thin air. She watches the man struggle with trash and tab alike, tilting her head to one side.

"Here, allow me." Joy's voice is smooth as is the movement of her fingers, deftly pulling up the zipper of Teo's jacket. Blue eyes lift from the pull and to the man's own. "Italian?" Something has clicked. It brings a smile to Joy's lips.

Oh, that's nice. Now Teo can't get his gun.

There's a knife in hand instead, steel tipped outward, the grip snared tight in black-gloved fingers, but the tip nowhere near the temporal manipulator— or no nearer than she is to him already, anyway. He stares at the woman in her face. Familiar: he knows that face, two versions of it, two gradually diverging histories behind it. He resists the urge to look for a katana.

"Knutson?" Right woman, possibly the wrong name: Teo knows how it goes, even if he has no idea what the fuck she's doing here. Fortunate that the trash bag is tied off; supported by only one hand now, it's rocking queasily on its overbulked axis.

There's a flare in Joy's eyes, a sort of glee that momentarily brightens deep blue. She resists the urge to say something along the lines of Oh, you've heard of me, then? Instead, her smile stays in place, despite the presence of a knife. "That was a lifetime ago," she settles on. "A different person." She takes a step back. "I don't believe we've been formally introduced. I'm Joy Saint-Jacques." These days. She offers her hand, after showing him both her palm and the back.

To shake or not to shake. Teo flips a mental coin and, after a moment, there's a crawling rub of plaster on plastic, the over-stuffed garbage bag hauled up closer to his side and wedged in underneath the staircase railing. Installed there, so that he can free a hand and exchange a clasp with the temporal manipulator. A different person. Aren't they all, these days? "You look better," he says. "Life outside of Moab Fed Pen will do that to you, I figure.

"Mind if I deal with this?" The garbage, he means. He releases her hand, snags at the crinkling fastenings of the load clumped up against him. It's added almost like a footnote, as if this isn't the beginning, final, and core question: "While you tell me what you need."

"Who says I am in need of anything?" Joy steps back and to the side to allow Teo past so that he can deal with the trash. That really has so many connotations, doesn't it? "Well, I am in need of things, surely," the blonde admits, "but I didn't come to you seeking anything."

Full lips purse as Joy watches Teo's movements passively. "Since you mention that awful place, I suppose you could say it was a turning point. Or a wake up call." One could say that. It might not be true, but it could still be said. "What I could use are allies. Connections. I find it rather difficult keeping things on the up and up, as they say. Can't open a bank account, can't take a job…" Not that she really cares to do the latter, but the former might come in handy from time to time. "Simply existing can be quite the conundrum for me."

Lucy's back door opens with a rack and click of chipped metal on metal, and Teo yanks it open with a breathy pop against frost and compressed heated air. Frost cracks underfoot.

The garbage bag is dragged out with him, of course, and by the time sunlight is touching down on his tall frame, there's no naked knife to shine on. "We already know a lot of the same people. Ruskin, your other former allies. Gather you flipped on Monroe or some shit, too, so that probably limits some of your connections under the table.

"Considered selling your soul to the government?" Rattling-bang, and the mess is summarily disposed of swung easy over-arm into the dumpster's gapped doors. Teodoro apparently finds no particular necessity to restrain his voice calling at the woman through the open door. "It's all the rage lately."

Considering the woman follows Teodoro through the open door, raising his voice is hardly necessary. Her high heels are ill-suited for the weather, but a staple of her wardrobe. "Beholden to the government? Surely you suspect I wouldn't be standing here if I wanted that." Joy folds her arms under her chest, her frown only a flicker. "I didn't flip on anyone. He threw me out when I refused to tell him where to find one of my patients." There's a small shrug. What can you do?

"'S called flipping. When you refuse to give your boss something he wants." Teo claps his hands together, loosing away an eddy of trash stink or bits of particulate. "Not that I'm altogether against flipping on people who are huge cunts. Take your friends and the former tyrant king, for instance. I'm a big fan." He steps back from the dumpster, his mouth in a crooked grin — that would have been crooked even without the extension of the scar-rimmed slit through his left cheek.

Suppose Teodoro suspects a lot of things. "Linderman would have work for a woman of your talents. I know at least one of his patsies is hiring. People around selling reasonably convincing IDs and shit, too, if you can pay in cash. I'd even forward you without a fee." Generosity shown in favors, or something like that. His smile reaches his eyes, gone squinty in the sunshine.

"Perhaps if he had been my boss, I would agree with you." Maybe Adam Monroe had Joy on a bit of a retainer, but naive creature that she is, she never truly considered herself an employee. "I did flip on Kazimir," she concedes. It draws a small smirk in return.

"But, I don't have any friends. Not anymore. They've all died." It's not said as though it's something lamentable, but rather stated as fact. "I don't know much about that Linderman fellow," Joy admits, "but what I do know… Well, it's my gut feeling that working for the man would be asking for a fair bit of trouble. In my case, at least." Her smirk reaches her eyes, making blue crescent moons. "You seem a decent fellow," she assesses. "I must confess, I didn't expect you to offer me such hospitality."

Ah, that's something that half of Teo can empathize with. The bad half, they say, but who listens to them anyway? "I really fucking hate it when my friends all die." He doesn't sound like he's making fun, anyway. Too decent a fellow, they'd say. Surely a gentleman with a nose of such proportions could not be insincere.

"Giving some business associates some more business hasn't cost me anything yet," he answers, humbly enough. Closing his gloved fingers, he stuffs them in his coat pockets and lopes back toward the woman before the open door. His exhale sheet translucent from between his teeth. "I think I know where you could find Peter, too, if you're looking for him. I don't know what he is to you, if not your friend."

Joy's brows furrow at that last offer. The last time she saw Peter, well… "That depends on the colour of his eyes." That might seem an odd thing to say, mostly because it is. Blonde head tips back to indicate the building whose door she stands in, "Share a drink with me? Talk of old friends has me feeling nostalgic. I feel like sipping some whiskey in honour of the fallen." Though it wasn't a point of sorrow before, Joy's smile has turned into a sort of sad one.

"Peter is…" Hard to put her finger on. "I'm not sure what Peter and I are to each other, to be honest." Joy shrugs, one spindly heel clicking on the ground absently. "We've been allies and enemies both."

Sounds good to Teo. Sun's up: must be late enough for drinking, and there are a few hours yet before Ferry errands call him to the righteous cause of plumbing and menial transportation duties. He holds the door open for the woman, gestures down the hallway to where the back rooms open up into the bar. Brenda and the rest of the day shift won't be all that surprised to see him and a mysterious woman wandering out from the wrong end of the establishment.

Glossy-finished wood and the redolence of warmth. Old Lucy's is how he remembers it, and probably how Joy does as well. Teo opts to sit at the bar lest the woman object. First round of whiskey's on him, because he's in a good mood, or as close to one as a temporally-displaced assassin ninja out of a job and the side of his face ruined at Kozlow-point can be. The shotglasses brought up are a lurid shade of crimson, matching, glow like crystalized blood.

"To your friends." Teo pinches it upraised between two callused fingers.

"Cheers." Joy raises her glass, clinking it briefly to Teo's before drinking down the contents in one smooth, well practiced motion. It takes the edge off of the itch in her veins. One vice to replace another. Self-rehab is a slow process.

"How do you do it?" Joy asks casually, resting one elbow on the bartop, her cheek against her open palm. "Finding purpose is so difficult." And normal lives are for chumps, in Joy's opinion. "Though I suppose your situation is more conducive to day to day survival than mine." Not that she elaborates on how she suspects their lives differ. Perhaps the two aren't as different as she suspects.

Glgh. Teo doesn't actually have as thick a lining to his throat as she does. Deckard has priorly been an observer of his relatively poor tolerance, as far as hard-drinkers go: he can guzzle beer all day, but the harder stuff still does register as harder to Sicily. He has to clear his throat, a coarse noise of coughing, followed by a chuckle at his own expense. He passes the back of his hand over his mouth.

It should probably perturb him that she knows that he does 'do it.' Find purpose. Have purpose. Live with purpose. Purposes that he can probably get arrested for. He should probably be perturbed about a lot of things, but she showed up as abruptly as a cat with no bell on her collar and has spared him a knife through the neck.

He doesn't know the rules or the stakes of this game, but he knows he's already playing, and to throw his cards in now would likelier be to throw the game than to achieve any kind of successful departure from the table. He picks up one shoulder, a gesture that is as ever far from the Gallic shrug that famously 'says nothing.' His says, 'I dunno.' "I dunno. Earn some money. Follow empathizable causes around like a lost dog. Inertia, some of it. It's easier to care once you've started."

"You almost make it sound easy." Joy winces and rubs at one eye in tandem with a tickle in her throat that makes her cough against closed lips. Whiskey is a cruel mistress, no matter how she has gotten used to the way it burns going down.

"I've never really been empathetic to a cause," the blonde realises on the fly. "I just sort of take them up because they seem to make sense." Joy's lips tug into a thoughtful frown. "Though I was rather passionate about the cause of netting myself more cash. Right up until the point it landed me in Moab, I suppose." One shoulder rises and falls in a shrug. Huh.

The smile that bends Teo's lips is an odd hybrid of an inward sneer and a simple grin. Jack o' lantern, Cheshire, tired and self-exasperated. Oh.

Almost easy. "It isn't— exactly. I just don't know how to take credit for effort since I think it was mostly just bad shit happening in just such a pattern. Coincidences, interpretations of events." In general, there's no accent to his voice: it's weirdly neutral, like he comes from nowhere at all, purged by years of careful study and education, but liquor adds a stilted candor and cadence to his voice.

Teo makes a vague motion of fingers; ends with the heel of his hand set against his cheekbone. "You don't seem that interested in selling your skills to the highest bidder, this point. FRONTLINE pays pretty fucking well. So's Linderman."

"Both seem like synonyms to signing my own death warrant," Joy explains. While the girl may be completely inept at making friends, it seems she's rather adept at making enemies. "It isn't just about the money. I mean, it was for a while, but…" Robbing a bank for cash is much different than actually earning it, even if what you're doing to earn it is of just as much dubious legality. "Who are you working for these days? I heard the government broke up much of the lot that took down my last employer."

There is something underelaborate about Teo's next shrug: more 'I don't know's, but this time of a 'that is complicated and embarrassing' subcategory. Who he's working for these days. "There was a woman. Ichihara. She owned a bookstore I was doing a few shifts at, part-time, but I haven't really heard anything ever since she went under. I do some stuff for— charity, I guess you could call it. Cattle-rustling. And freelance work for one of Linderman's associates, sometimes.

"I've fallen out with the burning bird a little, it's true. I'm not useful to Youtube videos the way that our Lady Goddess of War wants. And maybe there's some personal shit caught up in the wheels too. You know." He smiles more with his eyes than his mouth, glances down into the lurid sinkhole of the emptied shotglass. Miniaturized and inverted, the reflections of pedestrians passing outside race around the rim.

Teo manages to sound unrepentant: "I'm boring."

"Perhaps," Joy allows with a small tip of her head. A gracious gesture. "But you allow me to feel just a little closer normal, I think." Not that she considers Teodoro Laudani to be normal by any stretch of the imagination. But if she can find some sort of kindred spirit in him…

"Normal is choking, though. I tried that. Living in a studio apartment, being a girlfriend, cleaning house and fixing," largely inedible, "meals. I don't think I am the type." There's a small self-deprecating huff of laughter. "I don't think my first life much prepared me for anything like that. I think was probably intentional." Much like addicting the woman to morphine was intentional. Forced dependence on another entity acting as a leash.

Blue eyes look somewhat akin to a stormy sea. "We need beer."

The bartender looks up at that keyword as if someone had rung the dinner-bell, and she might not even have been eavesdropping on purpose. Teo's eyes swivel at her, and there's a lift of his brows, says nothing more or less eloquent than, You heard the woman.

Though he'll wait 'til the server clicks away with Joy's order before he mumbles, "Amen." Lifting a pinkie underneath his jaw, he scratches once or thrice, moodily, against the grain of his beard. "When I play house, it ends in homicide. Not my hand, but probably my fault. Well," Teo's smile is ineffably benign. A long finger hooks the splay of ragged bangs out of his eyes. "Apparently, you know where to find me if you need someone to give your money away to a good cause."

Joy shrugs. So her methods of contact are little intrusive. She at least seems to mean well, even if her etiquette leaves much to be desired. "Say, while I'm thinking about it… If you're still in touch with Ruskin," one corner of Joy's mouth twitches downward, "don't tell her I've been 'round to see you? She tends to threaten me with bodily harm. I swear I don't know what I've ever done to deserve it." That might even be the truth.

When the frosty mug of beer is set in front of her, Joy's quick to lift it in toast. "To us," she offers, "and never settling for normal."

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