A Cat In Hand


felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title A Cat In Hand
Synopsis Is only marginally easier than the one bleeding out in a pathetic heap underneath a derelict Chevy.
Date April 23, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

It's Midtown. By default a haunted wasteland, despite the gleam of the living city in the distance. There's a somewhat familiar form curled in the relative shelter of a burned out Chevy, trying to to use the shreds of the t-shirt he's wearing as a bandage, and mostly succeeding in fumbling and tearing the cotton to little useful effect. His breath sounds like an engine in need of purging itself, thicks and rattling. There's only the occasional glint of his glasses to betray his presence visually, though - he's all but hidden in the little pool of shadow.

Some contrivance of circumstance— called accidentally the whole fucking curfew and being unwilling to pester the Ferry's sole operating teleporter now that Hiro's away when his boyfriend isn't even really expecting him home tonight brings Teo to Midtown.

It's comfortably quiet here in the company of wuthering early spring air, thieves, one's own guns, and rats, beyond the ragged edges of martial rule's net of influence of not quite out of its jurisdiction. There are a few places around here he knows he can curl up and sleep for a few hours. Alcove off the derelict subway tunnel, basement of a blast-hollowed bank, a pigeonhole apartment room here or there with enough locks on the doors and strength in the floorboards to keep a man safe from more pedestrian threats. Most of them used to be Alexander's and tacitly available for his convenience, if he was smart about it.

Teo rarely is, however. "'Lo?" He's a long-limbed silhouette creeping out from the row of rusting, ruined automobiles, bristly head and lean shoulders low, his eyes twinned narrow in the distant light of street lamps; a coruscation of gunmetal in his hand. "You in trouble?"

Shit. The one voice he's not a hundred percent eager to here. Worse than a stranger, in a way. The Fed goes silent, curls slowly into the little shade he can find, all but creeping -under- the Chevy's front end.

That seems to be wildly inappropriate, given Teo's a sucker for anybody who needs anything and Felix is in dire need of— something. A lot of things. For the timebeing, however, the Sicilian man is left in convenient ignorance that that scuffling, dragging retreat is the sound of his erstwhile lover trying not to die. Frowning at the dark, he hazards a step closer, tipping his head low beneath the dull metal lip of the Chevy's bumper.

They didn't— nobody crawls underneath a car unless they're really— "If you're okay, just say it," he requests. The hairs stand up on the back of his neck. He adds, quieter, "Please."

Like a rat creeping off to die in a drain. The Fed's breath is an uneven leaky bellows' wheeze, and Teo can smell the ferrous sweetness of blood on the asphalt. He doesn't answer, beyond a rasp and a cough. As if not certain the Sicilian is Eileen's bodyguard, or merely some hallucination.

"Amico, that sounds fucking disgusting," Teo's voice points out, never one for diplomacy unless the outcome of a whole viral apocalypse is hinging on it. "Come on.

"Whatever's wrong with you, I know people who can help." Either he isn't a bodyguard or he's the worst bodyguard ever visited upon that particular department of industry. Which might well make sense on several levels. Prior impressions being wherever they may, however, that doesn't stop the silhouette of Teo's paired feet from blackening and broadening as he lowers himself down to huddle, squint, see. The squint doesn't last, of course.

As soon as his eyes adjust, Teo is staring. Almost breaks line of sight to look around, half-expecting the figurative jaws to shut now he's taken the bait, but he doesn't. His eyes waver fractionally, the lines of his face standing out in tactless shock. "Felix?"

…..That really is Teo. Fel is, of course, now filthy, considering where he's wedged himself. And if Teo looks about, there's the blocky silhouette of the discarded gun not far from one of the rotting tires. He turns his face enough to see, and there's the dim glint of his glasses. "Laudani,"he says, finally, in a dusty whisper.

Teodoro Laudani does eventually manage to jerk his eyes this way then that. Notices the shape of the discarded firearm, before his gaze snaps back at the shape of the beleaguered Fed collapsing in his own fluids. "Come out," he says. "Fuck, Ivanov—" his shoulder slams into metal. Ringing, percussive; he reaches a hand out, inadvertently blocks the light required to see it as he does it. "Get your skinny ass out here.

"I'm going to call for a fucking ambulance. Or an airlift. Or whatever the fuck it is the hero of Manhattan deserves for blowing up the whole fucking Vanguard tampon-first." His other hand is in a mad scramble already, fumbling for the phone always somewhere on his person. His gun is ditched— somewhere, a distant clatter.

Fel isn't coming out under his own power and of his own free will, clearly. But Teo's flailing hand will encounter a limp arm, a thin shoulder. And Fel'seffectively stopped fighting enough that if Teo tries, he can be dragged free, without protest. There's only that asthmatic rasp to betray that he's alive.

"Why didn't you call someone?" comes the first of the completely pointless questions that it isn't really the time for. "Why don't you ever—? Hello?

"Yeah, I have an emergen—cy." The last word breaks into two uneven, splintered halves with a grating snarl of fabric towed against asphalt. There's nothing inherently gentle about Teodoro on the best of days; adrenalized by the terror of concern and somewhat misappropriated investments, he's a rough-handed jostle, hauling Felix out from underneath the car. "Special Agent Felix Ivanov. Southern edge of the ruins, West 38th and 8th. Madison Square Garden isn't far.

"I think he's dying." Striated-quartz irises barely rim the black dilation of Teo's pupils as he looks down. Transfers the phone to his shoulders, starts to rip at the fabric of his own sweater to find something to staunch the brackish blood laking into everything he can touch. "Alone. I don't think he can talk."

It's the wound Teo gave him, ironically enough. The gift that keeps on giving, as the old tagline goes. Fel is looking up at Teo, with something searching in his face. Not despair, not begging for help. He's just making those trapped animal, back-of-the-throat whimpers, though he doesn't seem to be coughing up blood. His breath hitches at each of Teo's rougher movements.

Wonderfully, Teo recognizes that one. Or close enough. God knows he'd hovered above it with an armload of First Aid kit as Tanja stoically went about plugging the hole, stitching the parts, and diplomatically ignoring the baby terrorist as she'd done so. "//Gunshot. At least one to the shoulder.

"He's bleeding out like he was probably using his fucking ability when it happened—" One among numerous things a civilian shouldn't know about the mechanics of the Agent's body. Frantically trying to keep abreast of the need tos necessary to keep the Fed alive, he almost misses the instant's lucidity of Felix's regard. Spares the man a look, before nodding pointlessly at the operator, until the woman's tinny voice tells him to do something that snaps a scowl onto his face.


Only a grunt, before he snaps the phone shut. That, too, hits the tarmac with a rattle, freeing Teo's hands to reach around the older man's torso in an embrace somewhat more unwieldy than some of the others they'd shared before, checking that the exit wound needs staunching too.

It definitely does - his shirt's a sodden ruin, and his skin beneath is already starting to chill. Fel cries aloud as he's lifted, before biting his lip to keep from doing so again. He doesn't clutch at Teo, though, instead trying to keep his arms wrapped around his ribs, as if that might help.

Self-evidently, it had been extremely convenient last time Felix passed out upon being shot. There's probably still time for that yet, between now and dying. The unexpected cry of pain slows him down a little, tripping over the urge to back off and do no harm; Teo's never had much faith in himself to be gentle without elaborate thought or guidance. When the alternative is doing nothing, though, he's never had much talent for that, either.

Coming out of a nervous stall, he mutters something Italian at the unmanageable twitch and grasp of the other man's limbs, and tries to bind Felix's shoulder with the stretch of ragged-edged cloth he had broken out of the weave of his clothes. The jacket's shed next, flung over the bleached pallor of the other man's torso, one hand stayed underneath to pack pressure against the wound.

"'S there anything else?" The question comes out choppy. Teo is breathing too fast: from fright.

"Ribs're cracked," Fel manages, teeth chattering, though it's not all that chill a night. "Why're you here?" And then he brings a hand up to clutch futilely at Teo's collar, what's left of it. "Something….Ruskin is changed. Not herself," It's all coming out wrong, and English is slipping beyond him. He says something intensely obscene in Russian, in frustration.

A line darks in across Teo's forehead above Felix's hazy vantage point: his thinking face, when he's thinking about something categorically shitty. Often, these days. Cracked ribs explain the mess of breathing and the fact that having pressure applied to opposite ends of a bullet trail hurts still more than it was normally wont to. "She shot you?" he asks. Can't quite bring himself to sound incredulous, not between Eileen and Felix, but there seems to be more to it than that. Cracked ribs. His grip tightens, his hands in starfish relief against the black runoff of blood at night. "«Try Russian.»"

«That's your wound, boy,» Fel says, lapsing with relief into his cradle tongue. «And Deckard gave me those fractures. She pulled open old wounds. Some of them, or I'd be a corpse, now.»

Yes, and Teo stiffens upon remembering. The hand on his collar is suddenly laced through with the choking musculature of new meaning, and the pale chill insinuating itself in Felix's skin the same. He darts his eyes away, telltale something too complicated to tell any tales that can be read without reading a whole lot into them. "Old wounds." He says it in English. To make sure he understands, though he doesn't sound like he believes it.

The Fed's muscles've begun to slacken, blood warm under Teo's hands. "Da," he affirms, not following the switch back. «I'm sorry,» he says, suddenly. «Tired.»

"«No you aren't.»" Occasionally, when Teo is asleep, he gets to dream he managed to arrive in time to do a damn thing about anything. He understands sometimes it's harder to be awake. Glancing up, he scans the mouldering, snaggletooth line of the ruins to the South because rescue will come from there. Twists his head to look over at the North, where his first and last instinct is to run. "La poliz— «they'll come for you. I'll get Abby to meet them.»"

«No,» Fel's tone is adamant. «She can't. It'll kill her.» Apparently he's misunderstood the restrictions that Mu-qian's healing has put on him. He's already blinking wearily up at Teo, as if wondering why he won't be permitted to rest.

The cant of Teo's eyebrows indicates without margin for doubt that he has no idea why that would be so, unless this supposed degeneration is to Abby as she had been to Kazimir Volken. He doesn't believe that. Has no reason to.

And he doesn't mention it. "«You can sleep,»" Teo says, carefully. Words picked out of Russian staggered from disuse. "«You'll wake up feeling better.»" Blood squelches on his pant leg, hands, shirt as he shifts, tilting Felix on his side so he won't drown in his own blood as others do vomit in their sleep.

He shouldn't. Teo's……there's that rift between them. Unthinkingly, though, Fel curls around Teo as much as he can. Human warmth, instead of the chill of concrete. He sighs once, trustingly.

Teo doesn't want to be here if Felix is going to die again. That seems to take higher precedence than being here when the PD comes for Felix at all. Of course, inevitably, in exasperating spite to logic, it doesn't manage to be sufficient counterweight to the mass of the Fed's own body, lumped onto his lap like some terrible extended metaphor of why he hasn't fled to home or high seas since last year, and Teo can't move away without disturbing him.

"«I meant,»" he says wearily, "«you could sleep over there.»" There is a lot of concrete around, after all. The fingers of Teo's right hand end up walking unaccompanied across it, skimming the ground for his phone, bypassing his gun.

Fel is apparently beyond caring. Or he figures Teo owes him at least that much. The bleeding has slowed, at least a little. He's limp, apparently unconscious again, breath a tidal rasp.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License