A Modicum Of Trust


brian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title A Modicum Of Trust
Synopsis Brian wants to take Deckard for a walk. That would come off as a lot less alarming if he weren't framing it in requests for no questions and lies of omission.
Date November 30, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries and research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Once they finally get back to the library, Brian has more or less gotten over the fog that his depression alcoholism put him in. After the passwords are said and the two walk into the library, the younger man looks over his shoulder to his companion. "Can you tell me about this guy, Deckard? That we have holed up at that place?"

It's nice that the fog burnt off, mostly, except now the middle of Teo's face is throbbing. His nose is quite a large proportion of it, so when it hurts, a lot of his face hurts. Fortunately, Brian hadn't hit him exactly in the middle of his head. If it's broken, the break wasn't big and when Teo checks his reflection in the medbay mirror he's gratified to see an eggplant shaped and colored bruise forming across his cheek. That entertains him stupidly. His mother used to make a very good stuffed eggplant. "He's…" Teo glances over his shoulder, brow furrowed. "You've met him a'ready, right? Handed off those books? I mean, what do you want to know?" Straightening his head on its axis, he turns on the faucet.

Then steps tap against the floor of the library and soon another Brian is approaching the two. A paper is produced from his coat and just like that he melds back into the former Brian. His clothes drop to the floor like they were never on anyone at all. The only Brian left now has the paper. "Yeah, he wanted you to have this paper." Handing it over, he tries to hide his smirk. "What are we keeping him for? Are we keeping him prisoner or something?"

The arrival of other-Brian warrants only the briefest of double-takes, before Teodoro remembers. Right. No need to worry about brain damage, then. Or, you know. Not more than he'd started the afternoon with. Teo gets water on his face, ridding his skin of the last seams of scabbed blood and dried smears. Gargles once and spits out a mouthful of faint, translucently filmy pink, before wiping his hands on— himself, because he's classy like that, and taking the paper. He unfolds it with both hands in concert, and stares at the artistry penned within.

The right corner of his mouth goes up. Down. Up. Down. Teo clears his throat. "We're keeping him because he's in trouble with mass-murderers," he answers, at length. Wipes his mouth on the back of his opposite sleeve, his fingertips blot damp transparency on the grain of paper. "He needed a safe place. You like him?"

"Kind of an asshole." Brian says in response as he eyes Teo, going to find himself a seat. "He told on me to the mass murderers. So are we treating him like a prisoner or something? Not going to let him leave? Maybe beat him up a bit, or whatever?"

After a moment's consideration, the beautiful drawings are folded up along the same creases that Deckard had originally placed them in and Teo unzips his jacket to stuff them into an inside pocket. It takes him another moment to remember that the library is heated, so he doesn't need to resecure his clothing. "From what I understand, he had a wire on him," he answers. Turning around, he drops himself onto the floor: his preferred place to sit, generally.

The cabinets behind him offer his back support, and he lets his legs sprawl as long as Brian isn't filling the room with hazardous traffic. "If he asked you leading questions or otherwise tricked you into giving those dipshits information on you, I guess you're within your rights to be mad and hit him, or whatever, but I'm pretty sure he'll hit you back. He isn't our prisoner, he's a friend of Conrad's. And I think— I think," disclaimer, "he might have kind of helped save the world, or at least all the Evolved in it.

"So…" he raises a shoulder, lets it drop; as agreeable a half-shrug as Teo's capable of offering. "You do the math." His brow goes quizzical, then; he grins faintly. "Good to see beating shit up helped you out."

"Give me a couple hours and I'll be depressed again." Brian says, even that comment sounds a little sad. "Might have helped save the world?" The young man asks. Sometimes he forgets Teo is not evolved, just assuming the other man is 'one of us' in every way. It takes him a moment to realize how incorrect he is. "No.. I don't think he's a bad guy. Just.. a jerk." A shrug of his shoulders.

"So if he wanted to.. He's free to go?" Brian asks, trying to sound as disinterested as he can.

That goes both ways. Teo has managed to place himself in a life situation where it's entirely impossible for him to forget that Evolved are, without exception, human too. That may say as little for humanity as it says as much for his super-powered companions. "Might have helped save the world," he repeats, after a brief period spent staring at Brian and the rut that the younger man is grinding into this line of questioning. "Bad shit is trying to happen, and we'd know a lot less about it if Deckard was more of a bad guy. I'll try to be around in a few hours," he adds. He drags one of his feet close, knee bending upward to relieve the pressure on his tailbone. "Amico. What?" Blue eyes sharpen, expectantly.

Brian looks this way and then that way. "We don't know each other all that well, Teo. But.. I want to tell you something. And I need you to just trust me. Can I tell you something without you asking any questions right now?" The young man asks, looking very expectant and hopeful. He tried to manipulate a little bit, turns out he's not very good at it. Better at begging.

Either he's not very good at it, or it's just a difficult one to pull right now: no one wants Deckard out on the street. Least of all Deckard himself. Teo raises an eyebrow, and then raises both eyebrows, shifting his entire forehead upward by a considerable fraction of an inch. "I reserve the right to argue with sentences that end in full-stops and exclamation points," he states, after a moment, letting his forehead go back to its normal configuration with a hard blink of his eyes. "If you're okay with that, si. I have your back."

Taking a moment Brian nods. "I need you to let Deckard go. Let him get to Midtown. For a day. Then come back." The young man says, letting those orbs rest pleadingly on Teo. "Please Teo." Comes that desperate tone in his voice.

Maybe not 'least of all,' then. Teo stares, for a protracted moment, into the younger man's bizarrely luminous lamb-eyes. And then he asks a question, which is sort of breaking his promise, except it isn't that kind of question— so technicalities aside. "Alone? Some established haunt, or some other shitsty he frequented much?" Practical questions, or so he would imagine.

"I can have one of mine go with him. Or some of mine. Whatever makes you comfortable. I'll take care of him." Brian assures. Though he doesn't answer the second question. Because he's not exactly sure. He watches Teo intently, lacing his fingers together in front of him. "I swear we won't get caught."

Picking his lapel open, Teo locates cigarettes from the compartment the carton shares with the paper. Pushing the lid open under his thumb, he snags a stick between his teeth and unearths his lighter from one pocket without having to check the other. "It's fucking weird he asked you instead of Conrad, or me himself," he states, with the subtlety of a jackhammer. "And it's fucking weird he's asking permission to leave when he's been free to do so with a chaperone and has once or twice already.

"Because it's fucking weird, I'm going to see him before you guys set off on your little field trip thing," amorphously defined by a cigarette filter waved in the air, "but truth be told, it sounds fine so far." Twist of his torso and pulling his feet in under him, and Teo shoves himself back up to his feet with a shoulder on a cabinet hinge. He glances fleetingly over Brian's face. Is concerned. Says nothing of it, shrugging lightly. "I want to know what he thinks about the books."

"He called you an ass. I don't think he's much of a reader." Brian says, spreading his hands out while he shrugs. "Okay." He'll have to speak to Deckard and make sure the man does't tell Teo WHY he is going out. Or at least that it was Brian requested and not Deckard requested. He gives a little shrug to Teo's comments on weirdness. "Maybe we have a special connection.."

The pet name earns a toneless monosyllable of amusement, teeth shown like a coyote grins. Teo replies, "You called him an ass. Everybody is a little, no? I'm going to get a smoke in before I head. Should be back in a few hours. There's a punching bag rigged to the basement ceiling, if you need something to do." The night is no longer for sleeping. The possibility of a special connection is left without specific comment. Teo's gait takes him around two gurneys, stops him halfway back to the doorway. Paused, he studies Brian for a moment. His frown isn't one of disapproval, not exactly. "All you have to do is tell me it's personal business, if it is. That works unless we're friends, and I figure if we were there'd be less need for theatrics. Yeah?" He swivels his pinkie, a miniature salute as long as his hands are full.

Brian watches Teo for a moment. Tilting his head back the young man sighs. "I.." He pauses then just shakes his head. "Thank you for trusting me, Teo." He says quite softly, giving a nod he turns his back to the man and starts to walk away. "I hope I can do the same for you." With that he makes his way to the basement, most likely for the punching bag.

November 29th: Complicated

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 29th: Light On Water, Part II
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