WAKE UP

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hana_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title WAKE UP
Synopsis First of all, don't wake Hana up. Second, if you have to wake Hana up it had better be fucking brilliant. Last, don't wake Hana up. Worst, anything that brilliant comes at a cost. And such cost.
Date February 16, 2009

Primatech Paper Facility


Despite that curfew is only a technical detail on Staten Island, the reality of it has forced Teo's bio-clock into something approximating a normal sleep schedule. Approximating. After a long day ashore Staten Island, he found himself privileged with the kind hospitality of one whom few people would associate with that phrase, kind hospitality. Some part of him hated to intrude and blamed it all on fidelity, but in the end, Hana Gitelman's stronghold had room enough for another sleeping bag in one of its empty underground rooms, so it just made sense, logistically.

An hour spent hurting his hands against the punching bag and then hurting himself on the floor at her feet, and her graceless padawan seemed about ready to lie down permanently. He seemed only about civilized enough to take a shower, offer evening salutations, and avoid walking through all the walls between him and the space she had alotted him.

Four hours later, and he's wide awake again, laptop open, wireless function switched off from some vague notion he ought not disturb his hostess while tooling around on the local drives. The first ten times he looped through the staticky video footage was just groggy restlessness, a futile effort to get his brain to focus. The next three came after the audio bite, and he started to think. After a few more minutes, he actually was thinking. Which wasn't to say that Teodoro was experiencing an uncharacteristic amount of presence of mind, of course; giving a boy a notion rarely results in that.

"Hana!" He bursts in through the doorway, bare-foot, toes splayed from the kick he'd used to bounce the door the rest of the way open, his T-shirt in a skew only marginally more haphazard than his track pants. There's a laptop perched on his hip and no real sense of time or propriety in his shaven head. "I—"

There's this problem with bursting into rooms unannounced. It tends to startle whomever is in the room. Especially when said person was curled up, not in a sleeping bag, but on one, with a lighter-weight blanket haphazardly rumpled across her form. Teo has just enough time as his shout resonates through the room to glimpse Hana's face as it never is waking, in unguarded aquiline profile framed by a fan of straight dark hair. Gentle, in a way the woman who has made herself a living weapon fails to be.

The operative word, however, is was.

Before Teo could take two steps into the room, even were he inclined to move past the threshold, the Israeli woman is on her feet, and off them again — in that movement requires lifting feet from concrete floor, and there is surely movement involved in Hana being suddenly in Teo's face, steel glinting in one hand, the other automatically driving towards his shoulder. The laptop is possibly not noticed; definitely not given any consideration of care or value.

Recognition is almost as immediate as her reaction, and the knife doesn't come up enough to pose the Sicilian any threat.

"Laudani." The single, three-syllable word is identification and expression of gruff, disapproving, irritated disgust all at once. "You idiot."

Death by steel and vengeful Jew is an uncomfortable prospect, even to a man who's more or less shrugged off having been shot in the face and dropped into the sea underneath a falling tanker. The squidlet almost inks himself. Manages not to hurl the laptop into the air and duck underneath the cover of his hands, though.

No, at least Laudani reserves enough dignity to keep his bowels unevacuated and his person upright, his fingers gone white around the edge of the portable computer, his shoulder flat against the make and texture of a wall that probably would be showing the beginning of a dent if this weren't a Primatech facility and they try to avoid making their walls out of stuff that dents easy.

Not that Hana hadn't given it a good try, by the estimation of Teo's shoulder. It rings slightly in the bone. Shoulder aside, he looks extremely surprised, which is an accurate representation of his feelings on the entire subject. It takes him a moment to bend his face out of this pale configuration, but he does, with a sudden daub of red across his cheeks and a grunt of embarrassment. "Uh," he says, intelligently, and skims the rest of his vocabulary in search of valid options. Teo finally settles on: "Yup."

Steel rings more loudly upon concrete, Hana tossing the knife aside with little care for its continued good condition — though the fact that she tosses it into a corner suggests at least some concern is given for their skin. Sliced feet are inconvenient. So are students who disturb what little rest the teacher gets.

Hana stands there for a moment, looking down on Teo for all that he has the edge in height; her jaw sets, its stiffness precluding any greater expression of her annoyance than the dark glower the Sicilian is treated to. Though it, adrenaline giving way to ice, is more than expression enough.

Ice breaks in a sharp rush of outblown breath, air hissing between teeth and lips in frustration that has a target but isn't lobbied very effectively in his direction. Not like Hana could do. It's left to ripple through the room's atmosphere instead, as the Israeli turns away from Teo and departs through the doorway with only slightly more-controlled energy than what he had entered it with. Fortunately for the door, it's still open. Bare feet can make a surprising amount of noise on concrete when the brush of skin on stone is being used as an outlet for displeasure — though stomping is too emphatic and childish a word to describe anything Hana does. Even in dark gray sweats and a loose ivory tee, loose disordered hair swaying en masse across her shoulders with each stride.

"I'm sorry." The man's — boy's, really — words bubble up through the cold air after her, dissolving in the wider arcs and eddies of her sigh. Teo meant to say he forgot. You know. That she sleeps. And eats. Feels cold, although she doesn't, really, he's seen her walk out of blizzards in a form-fitting sweater and leather before. Or perhaps he hadn't really included in his paradigm of reality the possibility that she would sleep despite that he were under her roof, harmless though he is, simply by logic that she's never like that when he's around. You know.

When he'd come right in, she'd been there. Hair flat out in graceful deference to gravity, the unmoving — unmoved — scrimshaw cut of her face and perpetual vigilance of dark eyes permitted their moment of serenity. He hadn't forgotten the rest of his sentence because she put him in the wall. He'd been surprised before.

As if repeating himself would help with the show of sincerity, he does that. "I'm sorry!" Raises his voice to cover the distance she's growing between them, even as he stumbles around the door, computer bunched against the spars of his ribs, neither his feet nor his heartbeat quite steady yet, drubbing the swept hallway floor. "I'll knock. Or send a text. Or wait." Waiting seems like a reasonably intelligent idea. If asked, he couldn't really offer a good explanation why he isn't waiting now. "Next time, I won't— it won't happen again."

The tread of Hana's feet stops as she spins around; the soles are callused enough she can do this with impunity. Dark hair flares with the motion, settles back against her shoulders. The woman frowns, her lips pressed into a disbelieving line. "You are an idiot." Or he's just a kid, trying to set right an offense given without knowing what reparation will repair the damage. Scrabbling at straws in the hopes they'll transform into brick. There's not much difference.

A twist in the opposite direction restores her course. Hana doesn't ask for explanations, doesn't give any indication overt that the apology — either one of them — is accepted. Walks across the gym to another room, what was once a break room; now it approximates a kitchen. "Well? Get your ass over here." No kindness in the demand; only the demand spoken not even over her shoulder, but to Teo's ears nonetheless. He woke her up. Next, he gets to explain why.

Di— did she just swear at him? Teo's face wobbles between incredulity and nervous laughter. In an effort to straighten his features, he ends up overcompensating too much for a moment, bending his brow into a stupendous scowl, frowning his mouth so hard it hurts the scab of his bottom lip. A cough sets his voice right, and a hasty shuffle catches up the rest of the span of hallway between himself and her staccato gait. Sometimes, promising to be better repairs the damage. Other times, doing better is the only thing that works.

It's too late for do-overs, though. There are no 'do-overs' with Hana, so — Teo is left to cooperate, bouncing to a halt just behind the shoulder she wasn't bothered to glance over. "The prick that the other uniforms were sirring when they raided the Public Library in your surveillance footage. "It seems like he was the guy you caught on the cellphone. 'Carmichael.'" Edward's quarters had been less thoroughly prepared and evacuated, both, so it had been difficult to distinguish one goggled and armored figure from the next, but the way they held themselves had been obvious.

One General striding behind squirrelling soldiers with shotguns. Ironically, everything that Hana and Teodoro are not. "He probably knows something about Helena and the others. Something we could use."

A cup of water, the obnoxious beeps a microwave makes as one punches in the time for it to run. The gadget hums along in the background, Hana sitting in a nearby chair to wait impatiently for it to conclude. Teo's on his own if he wants a drink. Or anything else, for that matter.

She doesn't look at him as he explains, but the tapping fingers cease to move, and the Israeli's dark eyes narrow to thin slits. "Carmichael." Spoken in a hiss, all of the rudely-awakened lioness' discontent abruptly transferring itself from Teo to the more distant Homeland Security agent. Most likely to the former's relief; he isn't forgiven, but this is an issue.

Her lips press into a thin line, and Hana lapses into silence. The microwave speaks instead, flat buzzer cut short by a reaching finger. A bag of black tea is dropped into the hot water; the cup is left on the table to steep. "He's in deeper with the Company than Parkman." Two fingers press against the blue lines on the side of her neck, half-hidden by unbound hair; a moment later, they fall and a hawk's intent stare is fixed on Teodoro. "What about him?" Other than what he might or might not know.

"He seems to be in charge of something," Teo answers, unlidding the laptop with two hands that seem somewhat too large for the diminutive and sleek lines and measurements of the machine, scratched and well-used as it is. His hands stop about halfway through this scrabble of motion before starting again, moving the monitor over hinges, setting the computer up on top of the counter. That disconcerts him. The Company disconcerts him more than HomeSec alone. One or the other is horrifying enough. Both combined fill his head with adrenal static; he glances over his shoulder at her, as if waiting for a punchline, take-backs. Just kidding. No?

Nnnnope. He swerves his gaze back to the camera images, the audio program window peeking out behind the corner. "High-ranking enough to have access to information on the whereabouts and circumstances of our three missing operatives. Information I'd like," he clarifies, as if that bore mentioning. No. He's nothing like Noah Bennet, not really. "Kinson and Cat have been discussing the potential of using the boy's Persuasion as a means of interrogation as well as erasing the target's memories afterward.

"There's also a genetic psychometrist I know who might be able to find pertinent memories without ever coming in direct contact." Which is slightly at odds with the livewire tension in Teo's frame, his apprehension of Hana's temper mangled by a certain somewhat self-evident desire to cut the skin off Carmichael's back or shoot him in the face after he's through with use. "Do you think these angles would be worth pursuing?"

No, no take-backs. "He answers to someone else," Hana muses, reflecting on the overheard phone call. "Someone in the Company. I wonder if his superiors know about that." She has a name; chooses not to share it. Wrapping both of her hands about the cup instead, the woman looks sidelong at Teo, weighing his suggestions. "He's Evolved. Registered. Can paralyze you and anyone else within range. If the Company is being even slightly paranoid — and they usually are — they will be watching. He has a teleporter on speed-dial." Maybe not literally. It doesn't really matter. "If you are even a hair wrong in the approach, in the time of day, in the position of the stars, you will lose more than Helena, Alexander, and Brian." Her eyes are level, dark, intent. Teo is tense; Hana is utterly still.

"How badly do you want the information?"

Though Teo has no way of knowing that Goodman's name is already available for the cyberpath's processing, he's already well-aware that she knows more than she's letting on. "I doubt they do." Of course: especially where the Company is involved. A teleporter on speed-dial, eh? Ironic, maybe, that he isn't the only one.

And that's about as facetious as Teodoro's train of thought is going to get tonight, probably. His features go bleak with paranoia, desperation, stubbornness, ill-temper, some chimerical mix of inherently ugly sentiments at monstrous proportions. It would have been uncouth and stupid to spit out the first answer that came to his mind, but it feels worse to have to think about it. Infinitely worse. Finding the scales, the standards of measurements, assigning value and proportion.

"Phoenix is nothing without her," Teo grinds out, finally. The words catch on the back of his teeth, rasp the interior of his throat, slow from reluctance that has nothing to do with appallment at his inferior value. "Helena. I can't do this for long. I'm only doing this now because she told me to. I can… fuckin'… abduct and interrogate little girls, E-mail cops, fix a broken sink and figure out how to keep people fed and armed, but it takes more than survival to keep Phoenix alive.

"I don't have her vision. And I don't think I have a choice." He's wrong, of course. There are always choices, but it's the pathetic plight of humanity, that one can go all ways yet see only one. He stops looking at a notch in the floor tiles, raises his head to stare at her. All of the raw effort it takes to subtract his personal investment in their missing persons makes his face stiff, even as his hands ball up, go to his pockets, restless. "Do I?"

The Company is not a subject Hana has ever been inclined towards full disclosure on. She waits as Teo weighs the query, silence broken by the sound of a sodden tea-bag thwapping against a trash bucket. She doesn't drink the tea.

"You always have a choice," is Hana's impassive reply. The words say nothing; in a way, their very flatness says everything. Teo struggles to remove his personal investment, to see clearly. Hana's fights have never been anything but personal. Phoenix. Helena. Teo.

Chair feet scrape across the break room's thin carpet. The Israeli woman rises from her seat with more grace than she'd used to get into it, when she could afford to be irate about being rudely jolted from sleep. "Very well," Hana states, as she steps past Teo, walking out into the gymnasium. The very center of it. It's where he usually finds her when she's practicing. When she's using the familiar, automatic motions as a focus to let her thoughts run freely.

Abandoned like so much diluted herbal beverage, Teo ends up staring blankly at the tea for a long moment, commiserating with its sad state of affairs. They're both equally doomed, he thinks. To vaporize. It's only a matter of time. Of course, it's also a waste of Teo's to be idling around, trying to empathize with a cup of tea, so he stops that after a moment, takes a hapless step after Hana that aborts into stillness as her figure recedes down the distance of the hallway. She's either going to bed or she's going to—

Work. Work, he realizes with a pang.

Of guilt, inevitable with the sharp-edged memory of the sight of her sleeping. He ends up in the chair she had vacated, sloughing onto the plastic with his forehead falling down, down, down, until it hits the kitchen counter with a thud that resonates down the linoleum and all the way to the mug, triggles a ripple through the surface tension of tea. He can't fucking believe himself, sometimes. After a moment, his right hand flops out, blindly groping its way toward the laptop. He nudges his thumb into the wireless switch; brings it back On.

Teodoro Laudani can take stock of his blessings and be thankful, for he is not a telepath. The forms of Aikido do nothing to reveal Hana's thoughts, the barest beginnings of a nascent plan taking shape behind her eyes. He's guilty now for waking her up; he'd be horrified if he knew what she considers, something she would do for no one else but Teo and Helena.

The first step in catching prey is to flush it out into the open. When the prey is also a predator, the best method is by judicious application of bait — and there is no better bait for this task in Phoenix's arsenal than the ex-agent herself.

Besides. No one else has a better chance of weaseling out of whatever goes wrong with the plan…

It's certain something will.


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February 15th: Batman's Sidekick
Previously in this storyline…
The Hollow Men

Next in this storyline…
Red Herring

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February 16th: Stretched Too Thin
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