A Conditional Ally Of Mine


deckard_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title A Conditional Ally Of Mine
Synopsis Francois arrives to better entangle Deckard in a random suicide mission.
Date October 4, 2010

Chelsea: Maison de Deckard et Bella

Deckard is bored.

He is also lying supine on the floor in front of the (blank) television — a fallen angel, overlarge feet at a wide V, hands curled open far over his scruffy head. An open carton of milk is going lukewarm next to a box of cereal and an empty bowl at his side.

There is some porn abandoned open on the couch. Evidently even one of his most worn-out editions of Barely Legal is not enough to shake a case of the Mondays this deeply and foggily ingrained. His back is starting to hurt. He can hear a watch ticking somewhere but he's not wearing one. Breeze through an open window was nice to begin with and a little too chilly now, but.

He can't be bothered to get up and close it.

As if to jolt an interruption through the space and wake it up, a sharp knock tatat's against the door, two sharply polite taps and then uncertain silence thereafter. The tentative touch to the door handle doesn't have any rattling or twisting, just thinking about it before resisting.

Francois is knitting his fingers together in front of him, rocking back a step, making a lazy kind of note of how tense his shoulders feel and how his back teeth are aching a little from a clamped jaw, without actually rectifying these symptoms particularly. He has a cellphone in a denim pocket, a slim wallet, a set of exactly two keys on a ring, and no gun in sight. Not beneath the flap of his jacket or strapped to an ankle, nor tucked into waistband. It's as much of a white flag as he can offer, probably.

Since last time, his bruises have cleared, and he hasn't retained any new ones. Scars are plenty, from the line of puckering at his throat, to the necro-black handprint on his shin, to stab wounds and a bullet puncture. That's one way to celebrate mortality.

All neck deep in malaise, it takes Deckard a beat to twist his head around enough to squint at the entry from behind crooked sunglasses. Grizzled hair bristled coarse against wood flooring, he does the requisite check for weaponry stashed here, there or anywhere before he finally draws in a long breath and rolls creakily over off of his spine. Then it's just a matter of pushing from side to all fours to threes to the rough pads of his bare feet, dusky grey t-shirt now dustier on one side than the other despite Bella's best efforts to keep everything crisp and clean.

He acquires a leather shoulder holster complete with semiautomatic on his way past the coffee table, looped straps shrugged into and blue jeans zipped and buttoned as a lazy afterthought on his way to dragging for the front door. Which is locked.


So is the bolt, which he undoes first. Then the second bolt, and the chain, silky metal clattering at a skitter when he turns the lock and opens the door, opaque sunglasses still seated crooked on his skull. He looks a little hungover. Also not happy to have company.

Maybe to match, Francois looks like he spent yesterday hung over, so a little ahead of the curb in that area — but tired. There's a brief flash of gratitude when the door gives, a darting gaze of green eyes from Deckard's sunglasses, to the shape of a holster, then back to the other man's face. Having spent his energy reserves on practiced eloquance for the month, there's a brief pause that is stilted on Francois' end, possibly's expectant on Deckard's. The rippled seam of his neck scar shifts as he swallows

A hand starts to go out, but ends up hovering uncertainly a few inches from him. Prepared, maybe, to keep the door open. "Can I talk to you?" A glance past Deckard is a half-arsed search for company he's probably not interrupting.

Francois' hand hovers, so. Naturally — Deckard swings one of his own up to grasp it. Naturally. That there's a razored edge of maliciousness in a slight show of his teeth into something that might narrowly qualify as a smile may or may not be related to the fact that washing his hands wasn't one of the things he stopped to do on his way over to the door.

"Of course," he says, a knit of his brows somehow enough to let sunglasses fall back into a more natural sit across the bridge of his nose, "any conditional ally of Bella's…" is. Likely to be around whether he likes it or not. So he leaves it there, grip released and shook out so that he can turn to lead the way back into their possibly mildly irradiated abode.

Tension locks up from Francois' wrist to his shoulder, a twitch of protesting frown pulling his mouth, and he retracts his hand in the same motion that Deckard stops touching too, vaguely unsettled. Enough that he hovers in the hallway for a second longer than someone who wanted to visit might, but inevitably, his foot falls reverberate the floor of the apartment, and he's closing the door politely behind him without touching the locks. "She has my gratitude. If she will have much more than that is yet to be determined," is free and frank, apparently quite certain that the apartment is empty of her.

Probably the paranoid stake-out outside had something to do with that confirmation. "I was hoping to make an ally out of you also." Turning back to the main of the apartment, Francois wanders in a little further, no closer to making himself home than he was while locked outside in the hallway, or with a gun pointed at him.

Most of Flint's scars are difficult to distinguish under the slack sit of his shirt. Genesis 4:14 inked into the scruff of his neck stands out more than lines of bare skin raked into his neckbeard or a stiff patch of pink partially obscured by the fit of his right sleeve. A narrow split at his cheekbone is little more than a tick of fading pink; most of the slices at or across his knuckles have long-since gone pale.

Porno rag rolled up off the couch and flung carelessly sideways into the gloomy pit of his personal quarters, Deckard steps past the abandoned milk carton and cereal with about the amount of care one would expect on his way to the kitchen. "You're pretty old to still believe in hope."

Francois follows. A little. Drifts along a few steps in the same trajectory as Deckard, anyway, bringing up a hand in a nervous fidget of index finger nail ridging along the white scarring at his chewed ear, before he forces his hands in pockets. "Oui, that is true — but not figures of speech. Evidently." There is a twist of a smile at his own remark, but it's soon to fade as he comes to a halt in some interstitial apartment space between the front door, the living room, the route towards the kitchen. "I need your assistance. I thought I would do better with asking you than breaking into your home again."

It's probably at least more polite.

Once in the kitchen, Deckard finds that there is nothing in there for him to do that is sufficiently distracting from Francois' presence somewhere at his heels. He doesn't feel like drinking, already muzzy-headed from medication he's taken too late in the day. The dishes are done.

He resolves to tip over the salt shaker he left on the counter earlier before he moves to the sink to scrub at his hands, soap tabbed out've a flimsy dispenser that's probably in need of replacing. There is a towel around here somewhere, he knows, so his next task is to collect it from some four or five feet away, dripping as he goes.

It's a little like watching a screensaver with fish — his restless passage from one side of the open doorway to the other, each trip more pointless than the last. In actuality he more closely resembles a long-legged coyote pacing a cage three sizes too small, but the first comparison is less likely to end in attempted murder. He doesn't reply.

In comparison, Francois is a static presence, silently expectant as he watches the pantomime of occupation going on beyond the kitchen door. Not patient, in his silence, with an inhale through slightly crooked nose upon the realisation that he may need to do more if he wishes to break any ice. He closes in on the doorway, a trapping sort of stature with an elbow leaning against the doorframe, a hand placed against the opposite side, fingernails set against the wood.

Not to make the cage smaller or anything. "How powerful are your eyes? Enough to see into buildings from the outside? Can you tell one person from another?"

Trapped, more or less. Again. Cornered as well, so far as the specific nature of his registered ability is concerned — the look he levels across an island counter nearly as poisonous as it is radioactive. With nowhere to go, he draws back into himself to watch from the kitchen's furthest corner, away from the slatted cut of afternoon light through open blinds.

"Depends on the building," is honest. And resentful. "And the person."

Francois chooses to hold his position, because why stop a winning thing. He nods, fingertips tap against wood. "I, ah. I have found the building, that they have Teo in. Teo, and possibly Ghost's body. I really only have a week, maybe a little longer, before I won't be able to maintain the cover that Sheridan has helped me with, and it can always be broken even before that. Confirmation of where he is, or— " He stalls out, uselessly and wearily grinding the ridge of his knuckles against his brow.

His shoulder slips off the doorframe, stepping aside and into the kitchen. "I am not asking you to do anything for me, you understand," he clarifies, reluctantly, drifting to stand opposite him at the island, hands setting against the edge.

The lines carved stark into Flint's face are all well-suited to the expression he's wearing. Skepticism, dislike, mistrust. Even with his memories murked indistinct, in some places where they matter most, his recollection of Mexico and the events that occurred after it has had time to fester.

"Who are you doing it for?" wouldn't necessarily be as loaded of a question as it is if not for that specific emphasis, delivered over the absent scuff of his right hand after a flattened box of cigarettes in his right pocket. One goshawk glance to the abandoned entranceway is all that's needed to judge the distance from here to there.

"Same as you should be," is quiet delivery, without a blink at the question, loaded or no, although that it hits some mark is clear in the unease. A shifting green gaze away, fingers curling into arcs against the edge of the island. At least, maybe, Francois isn't enjoying himself especially. His posture improves again at that sizing up from Deckard of his own positioning to the exit of the kitchen, as if tempted to preempt and cut across.

Resists, ultimately, and instead clarifies; "Teo."

"A Teo," Deckard corrects, slyly even, knuckles curled to block the cigarette box back into a shadow of its former rectangular prism to better knock a fresh round out into the square of his adjacent palm. "The one you're interested in." You're. You are. You. Further emphasis feels unecessary while he separates his lighter out from a crinkled old pair of ~Washingtons~ and a spent .357 casing in his opposite pocket.

Correction goes as well as can be expected — a cold stare across at the younger man, a beat long enough that Francois has a chance to think before he speaks, fingers curling fully into fists. When words do come, they fly short and sharp. "Oui. A Teo. One you have known longer than I have, but I have lived with him since March, and slept with him before that also. A Teo, who still tried to crack my skull open to get me away from you in Mexico, and whom you shot when he came looking for you months later.

"And he saved you. Merde, he asked me how to fix you while I was stitching him together. And as you are now walking a free and sane man, he succeeded. They keep him unconscious and use telepaths and dreamwalkers to torture information from him. I don't care if you do not like him as much as the other."

"Well. Walking at least," eventually agreed too easily, if all muffled and coarse and coldly cavalier 'round the filter opposite a struggling ember, Flint smokes into his (their) kitchen with enough carcinogen smog to fog the ceiling off his leading drag alone. "Mexico" growled less coherently after that, he retreats into himself enough that escape to the exit hardly seems necessary for as long as he's capable of glancing light off his sunglasses after scattered paths of spilled salt.

"He's not Laudani," is the only conclusion he can force himself to ocme to once he's thought about it, smoking his cigarette more like a pipe, with concentrated deliberation. "You've never met him. No more than you've met me. The Institute has him?"

Scars shift as Francois swallows again, as if eating words instead of just gulping air, patience in the slow blink as deliberate as the play of smoke being worked over there. "Yes," always sounds like he's pissed off when he says it in English, as he does here. Of course, pissed off on Francois is an understated thing, all quiet faux-meekness and an expression that is free of lines, if too over the mid-30s mark to be much like stone. He has sleep shadows, and inconsistent shaving.

"Okay," says Deckard. His cell phone joins his lighter in his right hand, screen flipped open to mark the date and time before he claps it shut again. "Contact me when you have a date and time and I'll see if I can slot you in before my next random suicide mission." He's bound to actually die on one of them sooner or later, if he eats his vegetables and keeps trying real hard.

Maybe not so true to genre, this easy agreement casts more cynical doubt than it does reassurance. Francois raises an eyebrow as he looks towards the cellphone in the man's hand, twitches a stare up at his face, as if maybe he could read for signs of imminent betrayal.

Doesn't move from his lean against the island. "The other two are probably coming," he says, after a second. "The Ghost, and the younger one. Before that, I am leaving for Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon to resume my cover, but I would like to invite you to come with me and see what you can see from the outside of the facility. Would this be useful or non?"

"Probably not." Squarish screen reflections snapped abruptly out've both black lenses after a quick doublecheck of the calendar, Flint pauses on his way to tucking the phone back out've sight into his pants. He has to take a few brittle seconds to review, then:

"You said the other one was being experimented on."

Before. That's what Francois said. The more miliseconds he has to think on it, the more concretely, suspiciously certain he looks short of an actual accusatory point of his finger.

D'accord. Okay. Not useful. Francois head bows a little — less concession, more weariness, before his shoulder blades knife up a little to ease himself of tension as he takes his weight off kitchen countertop, hands adjusting the sit of his shirt. Come to rest on his hips as Deckard has that second statement, vaguely off-guard before his head tips a little in gesture of yes. "He was kept at the Staten Island facility, before it was burned down. I think they were going to cut into his head.

"I could tell him where to find you, if you would like to enquire yourself." He rocks half a step for out — out the kitchen, anyway, but a hand kind of goes out, palm upturned, a gesture that turns that statement into offer. It's not his home, after all. "Or the other way around."

Naturally, after another unsteady beat of silence, Deckard shakes his head no. Neither way around is probably for the best.

Ash flicked carelessly off into the sink to mark a reluctant return to the more pressing problem of an evil frenchman in his kitchen, Flint gives Francois an unappreciative Look that has nothing to do with anything obvious and turns to busy himself with opening a window.

"«Fifty-seven, west eleventh street. It is a house in the West Village, and not a guarantee. But you can try there, should you change your mind between now and the day,»" is quick French, shruggingly casual. There is a brief and vaguely immature Cheshire smile at Deckard's turned back, vanishes as quick as it came, before Francois is leaving the smoke-riddled room, set on a course that will have him clearing the apartment entirely. He can show himself out. He did the last time.

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