A Rubbish of Human Rind


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Scene Title A Rubbish of Human Rind
Synopsis In shoring up in one of his rat holes for a quiet night's sleep, Deckard trips over a Teo that isn't Teo or the thing that's been living in Teo's brain pulling his strings.
Date July 26, 2009

Staten Island: Condemned Building

The building derelict has been one for so long that it is no longer truly possible to tell what its original function or furnishings were meant to be.

There's a pile of rubble where the dividing wall between one interchangeable portion of basement and the other one used to be, nothing but crooked metal visceral parts and turned-up rivets protruding from the concrete where a boiler and other machine units once resided. Storage crates, a bag of cat food and a wide pan of water, dust— some of it in the water, and a legless heap of couch preside the corner opposite the descent of a paint-scarred staircase.

It looks better in here than it does outside, believe it or not. Staten Island is as much about appearances as the next urbanized chunk of map in New York State; at least outside, the damage of graffiti, boarded windows, the single Halloweenishly color-themed KEEP OUT sign tacked on the door, looks deliberate, somehow. Choreographed. Atmospheric.

In here, the most incidental of found objects happen to be the ones that are breathing. A young man of Sicilian descent is toppled up on ragged sofa cushions, his head tucked low on the armrest with a thin layer of cotton, his hoodie, keeping the incline of his cheek separate from the furniture. On his lap, there's a one-eyed and burn-blackened kitten, enjoying the thoroughly padded and metabolic furnace that its unexpected companion is. Both remain asleep, their breath moving stale air in miniaturized coos.

It's sweet, really. Would remain so, if it weren't for Flint Deckard's optimistically predicted, tragically inexorable, and just imminent arrival, and the fact that he's a jerk.

The front entrance has a door with a sign that says KEEP OUT. The rear entrance doesn't have a door at all.

It's close to midnight when the lank shadow of Flint Deckard fills the shambled slant of the open space that is there, white shirt painted in blurry swaths of brown and blue by the dark. The rest of him is black against light pollution and a few smothered stars, tall and lean and characteristically suspicious in the pass of one hand over a recent disturbance chipped into the soot charred across the tilted doorframe. Somebody's been here. Or is here.

Either way they weren't invited.

Backpack shrugged off with deliberate slowness, he creeps his way in through the debris-strewn kitchen in much the same fashion, boots seeking precise, familiar purchase around anything that might crunch or crackle tell-tale in the shadows. The tug of a revolver away from his belt is second nature — the pale, paranoid sweep of his eyes across anything that even looks like it might move less so. He's breathing faster than he'd like, fear prickling cold at the back of his neck and energy reserves already worn dangerously thin. It's dark. He can't see. And someone's here.

There's nobody in the kitchen. Nobody in the bathroom. Nobody coming down the stairs. And then there is a cat, one green eye glancing flat against the sweep of a flashlight Deckard had just worked up the nerve to pass over the living room. The light clicks off as fast as it flared on, and if that in itself wasn't enough to wake the sleepy visitor under the cat, the familiar tch-click of a hammer being drawn in close proximity to his head might.

SKGLSgsg hhh— and awakeness finds Teo in a jolty, saliva-slimed blur, all palpitating eyelids, working throat, and bruised-rib breathing, something of audible size sucked back up through his nose where it had been flirting with the fabric of the couch, some unwanted… moisture. "Wh—" He puts a hand up, out, a little pointlessly.

Doesn't go for his gun, though there's an intimation of the threat, there, an unrealized thought, in the sleep-clumsied flare and clench of fingers in dust-dry air. "Fl'nt—" Oh God there's a fucking loaded pistol pointing at his head. Aaah. Heavy from drug-induced sleep, he doesn't get up, stays underneath the kitten, strays his eyes up the cyclopsian barrel of the weapon leveled at his head. Blinks, hard.

Wow. Of his considerable list of 'worst ideas ever,' this one deserves a multiple-tiered cake. "Uhh," he says, squinting his eyes small and raw under the light. "'M sorry I fuckin'… I f—fell asleep."

Teo. Deckard's left hand enters the mix in an automatic seize and twist at the younger man's wrist, dragging him up off the couch like a a zookeeper manhandling a hungover chimpanzee. The extra span of exposed Italian leaves more room for the revolver's cold muzzle to burrow itself into the soft skin at the join of his neck and jaw, ideally placed for the blowing out of traitorous, manipulative brains. The flashlight goes bouncing away across the floor in the same swift movement, yellow shaft swinging wild across peeling paper and dark wood while the ginger kitten tumbles back across the couch cushions. He'll deal with you later, kitten.

Flint looks bleaker in the dark than he did when he was underlit by the flashlight's wan reflection off Teo's dumb mug, the black angles of his face and glittering eyes all honed harsh against the battered backdrop of the safehouse. The hand at Teo's wrist is all tendon and bone — no meat to mitigate the iron clamp of long fingers and blunt nails squeezing harder than is strictly necessary even for restraint. "What are you doing here?

'Nothing' only seems like a good answer because Teo is on pot. Fortunately, knowing he is, that he had taken to this last resort after the sawing teeth of insomnia had about done his patience is over the past three days, helps him keep a lid on bad answers carefully disguised as good ones. Rocketing around from the momentum of forced standing, his brain slides around insode its bony socket like a traitor, but less with the manipulation. If he could feel his ribs, they would be hurting more.

Nevertheless, everything sucks right now. He should be asleep. "I came t'…" Halting. He wipes his eye with blunt fingers, drags a bleary eye back to the round nose of the firearm despite the temptation to follow the bounce-bounce-skew of the flashlight making its hiccupy progress across the floor. His wrist doesn't try the grip of Deckard's talons. "Friends need your help.

"Phoenix. Someone's missing a hand, s'mebody a leg— and I wanted to see you." The sort of statement that tends to elicit incredulity these days, Teo knows, but it's an automatic reflex, first to tell the truth, and second to make more mercenary requests somewhat more palatable. "Don't be mad."

The pressing silence that accompanies Deckard's expectation of a timely answer has a side effect. Stuttered at first, then stronger, stagnant warmth buzzes soft through the bite of his hand around Teo's wrist, creeping in through skin and muscle like silt turning slow from an unsettled river bottom. Flint glances quickly to the contact, annoyance rankling at the bridge of his nose until dialogue snaps his attention back to the prod of the revolver into jaw and neck.

The kid's drowsy swing and blurry confusion don't escape his notice; a gruff sniff is all that's needed to suss out the source. Rather than ease off, he digs the gun in deeper, seeking to set off the pleasant drift of Abigail's healing and perhaps inspire a more intelligable response — which he gets. Sort of. Friends need his help. He wanted to see him.

It's probably for the best that it's dark, because the look on Deckard's face does not become him. Even cloaked in shadow it has all the makings of an animal snarl, teeth bared white and eyes narrowed. Pulse and respiration pick up and his finger flirts with the trigger, curling down past the guard when his teeth sliver out of sight and a furious quiver shivers down through the lock of his grip. It's the last line that stays him into a shaky breath and a twitch at his brow instead.

The last line was the one that Teo wouldn't really have expected to work. No one would have. His breathing changes, less because he's afraid or even in pain, under the grinding pressure of metal composite, than because he is being healed, unexpectedly and inadvertently. His eyes half-shutter, flinching away from the feel of Deckard's anger, translated to tactility in the tremor of pistol muzzle. "Uh," he says. "cazzo. Look—

"Ghost is gone." This is the first thing he should have said. Or not something he should have said at all. From where he's standing, in this anatomically inconvenient position, stretched out between fingers no softer than the bone contained within their scarred skin and the ruthless metal promise of death, it is difficult to tell what he should be saying. "Kinda. Hey—

"You're wasting it on me," he mumbles, sudden with realization. The fingers of his captured hand splay a sudden, ginger spasm of movement, protest that falls short of objection. The sine curve twitch of nervous and tendons channels up into the cuff of Deckard's death grip enough for the old man to feel. His use of that verb— 'waste' falls somewhere between humility and ordinary logic.

Whiskey breath burns stale at the air between them, uncomfortable mainly because there really isn't enough fresh oxygen to go around while he's in such close proximity. Deckard's grip doesn't relax. Neither does the gun, though there's a lift of pressure that feels a little like some of the tension in the shoulder behind it might be second guessing itself.

The kitten rustles around on the couch in the meanwhile, claws pricking at the warmth Teo's shoddy corpse left behind before it settles down in a familiar-looking lump of shadow. Flint watches it at a distracted remove, relentless attention span faltering for a few critical seconds. …Is that his cat?

There's question in the cant of his brows when he turns his long face back to Teo, only hazily discernible in the difference between pitch black and blue-grey. Where did he find his cat? A short pair of breaths later, he suddenly releases his grip on Teo's wrist, stepping back in the same movement to center the gun on the block of his chest instead.

That seems like an improvement of circumstance, even if the contents of Teo's chest is as essential to his ongoing being alive as that of his head. Mean jokes aside.

Finally released back into his own custody, Teo unfolds his arm out of its unpleasantly acrobatic configuration, flexes out to find some semblence of comfort in hanging down the side of his torso. The pulse doesn't stop jouncing with rabbity irregularity in his neck, but it's his heartbeat he's feeling now, hammering loudly self-conscious on the level of Deckard's barreled pointer.

He doesn't look at the cat, too, though there's temptation there, to find some sort of pleasant, common subject for conversation. Divert from apparently unsavory topics as putting Phoenix back together. Leonard. Ghost's persistent paranoia keeps his eye on the gun, though there are none of the specter's brilliantly malicious distraction ploys making themselves available through the furring static of being stoned.

Not that Teo would. Would he? "Say something." It's almost a plea, not quite an order. The Sicilian would be in position to do neither.

Breathing harder than he should be for such a short-lived and relatively anti-climactic confrontation, Deckard opens his mouth as if to comply, then closes it. Then opens it again to breathe, but. No words sift out with whiskey-tainted air. He's too self-conscious or flustered or confused or all of the above. Also: dizzy. There's a sideways tip of his shoulders that falters at the wide stance of his feet and a hard blink that doesn't do much to clear the static fritzing in around in his eye sockets but does keep him from falling over.

His grip on the gun wavers, barrel tipping briefly down before it secures itself back at a sturdier level. He doesn't look convinced either way. The reefer, the Italian, the dumb, pleading informality. It could all just be Ghost fucking with him again. "Prove it."

Even in the dark, it doesn't escape Teo's notice that his companion is somewhat — fucked up, in plain speech. Between the sepulchral grip only just released from his arm and the irregularity of the respiration moving smell against his face, there is quite clearly something wrong.

Regrettably or not, the Sicilian can't hold that many thoughts in his head at once; that one merely slows his effort to choreograph an answer to the monosyllabic demand gruffed at him. His hands are still floating like dandelion clock cotton skein in the air around his sides, as if he were treading water. In some sense, he is. "If I was the ghost," he says, then stops. If he was the ghost—

He wouldn't be caught dead stoned, for one thing. He'dve found some way to Jedi mind-trick himself into sleeping. He'd be out murdering somebody at this regularly-scheduled hour of night. He'd reappropriate that firearm, he'd… "I wouldn't tell you," Teo says, lit by sudden inspiration, "I wouldn't tell you that I'm not Teo either."

It's hard to quantify something as a wrong answer when Deckard wouldn't know the right one unless he heard it. Even so, 'I'm not Teo,' falls pretty safely within the bounds of things he Doesn't Want To Hear right now. The flashlight makes one last turn, throwing wan light and long shadows across haggard frustration that's really begun to define the way lines fall around his face.

"Wrong answer," Deckard informs just in case that much wasn't obvious in the hesitant lift of his aim from chest to head again, voice hoarse and gun grip irresolute. His aim tips up, down. Somewhere in between with the ebb and turn of his temper into and away from a desire to cut the mystery short on sentient terms before having to guess makes him snap. Problem being that it looks like Teo, and sounds like him, whereas Ghost only tended to manage half of that equation at a time. If that.

"Jesus Christ. You know what?" Do you know what, Teo? The gun veers off, shakes out once to disengage the butt from the jut of his open sleeve cuff, and redirects into the wiry grizzle of his own sideburn with an exaggerated bend at his elbow. "I'm not myself either. So here's this: you either snap out've it and give me a decent answer or I'm going to repaint the walls with my brain and Abigail's half of the yin yang."

Yyyes he knows what. Exasperation makes a vestige of priss out of a face ill-suited to it, and there's worry fleeting in Teo's demeanor that Deckard is really going to make good on that threat, which is only funny because Deckard really would. He sits down suddenly. Heavily, jouncing the cushions up into odd contusions underneath the squeaky-rasped complaint of the kitten clutching the harsh weave.

He doesn't apologize. Scores the flat of his palm upside his own face instead, dragging his eyelids into a brief twist, making sandpaper cacophony out of the contrast of textures between stubble and callus. "Something fucked up when Gabriel got out of" Teo's, my, their, the, "this head.

"I remember things from both of them. I remember fucking everything. Madre, Aunt Lucia, pre-'09, languages, Krav Maga, your preference in peanut butter, all the way through 2019, the bit that overlapped, the shit they said to each other while they were both locked up in here." Thup, thump, thok, he point out the chamber in question with a blunt forefinger jabbed into its bristly curvature. "But I don't really feel like I own any of it. It's all like stuff I just fucking memorized. I haven't been able to sleep, and none of it's wearing off.

"You ever read Brecht?" He looks up again. Finds the trajectory of the firearm somewhat useful, far as locating the desired target of his attention quickly, but unpleasant to all other purposes. Notches wrinkle in between his eyebrows, troubles the easy equilibrium of being wrapped up in one's own Linkin Park angst. He coughs, once, against the grating soreness of inhaled smoke after too long without.

Outwardly true to his promise, Deckard moves only to lift and resettle his fingers along the revolver's grip. He listens with all the worn through patience of a teacher demanding to know who wrote 'SHIT' on the chalkboard while he was out, gun barrel scuffing against the bristly grain of his hair all the while. No ground is given for the exasperation in Teo's abrupt sit. Who cares how long a week it's been for him. He wants his fucking answer.

In the end, Teo's answer doesn't make sense. It has a lot of details though, some weirder than others. Flint's eyes narrow in their washed out pass over the younger man's face, hard-pressed to scrape honesty out of the shadows blocked in there. Has he ever read Brecht?

"No." Figures that would be the first thing he bothers to answer in turn. Brows tipped up after a deep breath, he thumbs the hammer into careful release and drops the gun vacantly into whatever debris happens to be cluttered to his right.

The pupil on the hot seat knows who wrote it, and it wasn't him, but he can't explain properly about the ninjas and the sticks of gypsum they had so articulately wielded though he tries. It seems highly improbable. He is painfully aware of this, and the weight of his knowledge sags in his frame even as he watches the old man discard the pistol away to his right. Would be Teo's left.

Mind you, he'd figured Deckard would answer that first. He'd asked the question so that Deckard would have something to say. "There's this series of plays. Man ist Mann.

"It's… it's…" he flounders, self-conscious, made clumsy by this desperate and perfectly accountable need for conversation, which is not excused by Deckard's need for answers, and in turn fails entirely to meet Deckard's need for answers. He looks up.

His fingers are laced together, petal even, cog-teeth. This is either something he should be doing sober or with a few more drinks in him. He dwindles first into silence. Second, gamely, into words. "It's about a man in India who goes to a market to buy a fish for dinner.

"But there's a pack of soldiers there, who lost one of their comrades while robbing a church. They recruit him to take the man's place. It starts simple: bribing him to put on the uniform with cigars, but it gets bigger and crazier, fake crimes, selling an elephant, a false execution— they stress him, drive him crazy with pants-pissing fright, brainwash him. They all go to war together and destroy a village.

"It's about the… fungibility of human identity, and war, and identity and stuff. That you can make and unmake a person like they're just made of mechanical parts." At some point between 'mechanical parts' and church-robbing, Teo started talking to the floor instead of Deckard's harsh, lupine face, past his hands, an accumulation of cracked and splintered concrete parts in roughly the shape of New Zealand's primary parts. "That's how I feel about Teo and— Ghost, or whatever he was. I can see the progression.

"And I can… I could— I can't unshoot the villagers or buy the fish, b-but I don't have to wear the uniform, I could lose the number, leave the war, and— what do you think?" Were this Ghost's choreography, it would have to be utterly ingenious, from the carefully engineered redolence of cannibis to the employment of that question. This rather cunningly leaves room for the possibility that it isn't.

Teo's breathing dust, and has that face on: a cringing species of defensive, a dozen conceivable reactions slugging it out for dominant probability inside the amphitheater of his head. An applicable metaphor for other recent psychic phenomena also.

Deckard is quiet. Silence is one of very few things that he's good at, save that the absence of speech on his part is marred by the hush and wheeze of empty air rushing in and out through his teeth. His lungs are still playing catch up, cold sweat sheening light off the flat lines in his forehead while he tries to focus enough to listen and follow. It's been months since he's read anything at all.

Ghost is gone and he's not getting Teo back. That's the most basic and least forgiving of conclusions for him to come to. Breathe in, breathe out and he looks away after a pause in the wake of Teo's question that's already stretched way too long. All he wanted was some dark and quiet to sleep in. Why is he asking him? The dejected tilt to Deckard's brows and the turn of his face convey doubt. The dragging slouch at his shoulders denotes the lack of energy he has available to deal with it.

"You're in deep no matter what you do. And according to him, he was as much Teo as you were. He…was." Pronouns and tenses jumble and he can't be bothered to untangle them. "Everyone knows what you are. Where all that potential was headed. If that's not what you want…I dunno. Leave it. Take off the uniform. Try to follow a better path. If you're just sad everybody's pissed at you because you're a bastard, I don't know what you want me to tell you."

"No one's as pissed as me as you are." That is the unwanted answer to the unspoken question. Why Teo is asking him. Teo manages to sound dejected when he says it, but then again, he finally got some sleep, smoked himself a bowl, and Deckard's effort to stay awake looks painfully sober. He scrubs rough knuckles back and forth across his nose, bending the long axis of cartlidge to and fro once, twice.

Whatever that lays onto his hand, it probably isn't going to do the kitten too much harm when Teo scuffs a gentle set of petting fingers along its brackened ginger spine. A wobbling susurration of purr adjusts the flat quiet. He gets up, with difficulty, extricates a wrinkled plastic Ziploc scroll out of his pocket. There's still some vegetation crumbled up piecemeal green along the bottom.

He proffers it. The irony in the accompanying words is entirely coincidental, but probably difficult to ignore, when Teo points out, dully: "You can't talk about me like it's inevitable and tool around like happiness isn't for you."

Deckard, in turn, manages to look even more dismayed and standoffish in the wake of his 'everybody's being correctly and deftly translated into 'I's with minimal effort. Rather than take the offered pot, he tucks his hands down into his jean pockets and frowns at it (and Teo, by proxy) like a dead tree. He doesn't argue — just stands there, brow hooded, expression and shoulders closed against study. It's highly possible that he is the most pissed of anyone involved.

…And just when his breathing had finally evened out into a regular beat again, reference to the whole bright future thing spikes at his blood pressure. The bottom of his facade drops out in a blast of rank breath, hate shining bright in the gleam of his eyes despite himself. "Don't."

Too soon. Too soon, dude. Maybe like cracks about Tienanmen Square is always too soon. The subject is dropped.

The pot also, and Teo's gaze the third of falling objects, shunted downward to the unspeakable recess of floor all at once. "Sorry." Mumbled, and inevitable, like the maudlin drip of monsoon atmosphere before it gains the distinction of rain. The cat creeps in his peripheral vision, but even with one occupant remainder on the couch, there's enough room now to take its owner. He shuts his eyes, squeezes tight, reopens them. "I just… I'm not."

A shake of Deckard's head brushes off the apology and any ensuing justification that might be on its way. Not interested. Either because he really doesn't care to hear it or he doesn't care to keep getting angry. Regardless, he takes a pair of steps for the couch, near enough to hook a hand up under the midsection of his tattered and blackened kitten so that he can hoist it over into his lap once he's turned to sink into a seat on the next moldering cushion over.

The brittle wad of ginger doesn't struggle in his grip, probably used to being manhandled. There's a comfortable, alien warmth flooding its way into its system anyway, plying at crusted sores and crackled bones. "What are you going to do if you quit everything?"

Deckard is sitting down and kind of— making conversation. This is somehow remarkable, so Teo is careful not to say anything about it. Remains where he is, instead, idling on his feet, trying to erode the remaining cloy and sediment of being stoned, injured, and not rested enough out of his head. "D'no. I'm open to suggestions." His voice comes through strong enough, at least.

Not that that's hard, or anything. It's quiet even outside, in Staten Island's decaying grip on urban geography. It's silent as a fucking tomb in here. Speech stands out like neon. "Teo" too late or just belatedly, he realizes he's talking about one of himself himself— in third person, ends up stretching a hyphen thin over the ensuing pause of hesitation. "Teo was gonna go home. Sicily.

"Take up— teaching again, maybe, or pitch in at… an orphanage. He didn't know. He felt bad about shit. What would you do?"

Flint's left hand scrubs carefully at the space between and around tufted ears more intact than his own while the right seeks purchase around frail ribs and narrow withers, holding the purring cat in place while healing does its thing. The second eye doesn't seem likely to come back, but the arch of the kitten's spine under his hand already has more flex to it. There's less to be done about the fur. It'll have to clear out on its own.

"Learn how to fish. Find a desert island to live on." The unhealthy crackle of the purr that had been buzzing at Teo earlier fills out into a healthier, softer sensation against his leg. It's kind of nice. Especially since the fucking cat isn't going to thank him. "I could move into a ghost town. Somewhere without cell phone reception. Teaching is boring." More boring than wasting away in the middle of nowhere with a cat, a thousand crates of whiskey and a lot of sand, apparently.

That's kind of like wasting away in the middle of nowhere with a cat, two ounces of weed, and a lot of masonry refuse. Teo has one of his eyes squinted shut, a half-formed syllable on his lips, but he thinks better than to snark about this stuff aloud. Not when Deckard's halfway into a coma, putting himself deeper in to heal the creature construct of velvet and bone on his lap.

Would be the wrong time to mention Ghost had the hugest crush on him for the longest time. So, in a brief window of clarity, Teo doesn't.

"Sarcasm isn't going to put meat back on your bones," he says, instead, with equally sincere feeling, a little bit optimistic, a little bit annoyed, a little bit frustrated with the assiduous lethargy that he could, maybe, walk off instead. "You're all patchy and fucked-up looking, still. I'm going to get some food after this." He forgets to make it a question, but there's one hovering there in the incline of his tone, anyway, in lieu of a pen poised over paper pad.

"You think I'm being sarcastic," isn't quite a question, though it has the makings of one. Deckard doesn't think he's being sarcastic. There's ridiculous honesty in his eyes and in the tired slant of his brow when he settles deeper back into the couch cushions, dragging his sooty cat along with him. He doesn't push his point, though. It sounds nice. Maybe it doesn't snow in ghost towns, if you go far enough south.

About as healthy as it's going to get short of an overdue meal, the cat meanders up across his chest and shoulder onto the couch back to better make its tottery way over to Teo again, all shivery tail and delicate touches of pink nose. "There's soup in the kitchen. Unless you ate it." He might have. Seeing as he's a dick and all.

Nnnno, the soup is news to Teo. Perceive: his surprised face, shortly followed by a suspicious glance quirked over his shoulder. There's something awkwardly onerous about the stoop of his back as he leans in to scoop up a double handful of kitten, finds himself stumbling awkwardly in the stygian flow of memory trying to recall how heavy the infant feline had been when he'd first found it among siblings in Chinatown, extrapolate to how heavy it ought to've grown to be now. Heavier than this.

There's a kitchen? And no sarcasm. What— "Soup isn't going to put meat on your bones either," he points out irritably, grouping his fingers around the tiny peak of the kitten's shoulderblades. "I'm going to bring some real food. I could teach you to fish." He jams a silence in here without having expected himself to. The end of the word 'fish' buckles oddly under the misdistributed pressure.

"You should be sarcastic. That's a terrible plan."

"Your opinion might carry more weight if you hadn't already proposed going back to Italy to volunteer at an orphanage as an alternative." Relieved of kitten and cold-burning anger and the work involved in having to stay up on his feet, Deckard is as close to normal as he's going to get, slumped back into the couch with eyes heavy lidded and knees set wide apart. He should change into more comfortable clothes. And eat. And find his gun again. But the sink of this couch is oddly comfortable and the temptation of sleep is muffling warm at his temples.

"We got Sylar out okay." Something else to talk about — words forced out into silences he'd normally prefer to marinate in. "They're all fine. The kid too."

The boy opens his mouth to object, highlight the difference between saying what Teo was going to do and what he is. He doesn't, in the end. Not because he thinks he's Teo all of a sudden, and that teaching kids is a great idea when you've been doing black ops the past decade you can remember, but because Teo going back to save the children is probably a nicer notion to sleep on than that.

"Colette," he says instead, blinking remembrance, biting down on a twinge of guilt at the nasty thought he'd dispensed in Tamara's direction in the reactor room, the other week. "She's practically an orphan too, y'know. I'm glad." The cat is relocated to the inside of his jacket, the gun onto the couch beside Deckard, after safetying, then the flashlight. Pot scooted aside with toe.

"There are a few Phoenix operatives in rough shape, but no one's still critical. Pain, mostly. Leonard— I don't know if you remember Leonard," Deckard's telekinetic bookend, post-Felix, once upon a beach, "'s got a fuckin' hand missing.

"I don't even know how that happened." Rambling. Small talk, reciprocal; Teo always did have an odd habit of mirroring people back on themselves, a— generally benign effort to put them at ease. It escapes him entirely to realize he is behaving rather like a maid, harried housewife, or one of those tragically well-intentioned daughters-in-law, any of these pitted against a male counterpart's open-kneed lassitude on the couch. There's just so much stuff around. And it's dark. They could trip. No X-ray vision, between the two of them. "I'll bring burgers."

"I think she's afraid of me." Colette, practically an orphan and for some reason alarmed to discover that there's an insane arms-dealing 40 year old alcoholic living in her basement. Being weirded out is probably not an unusual response to such stimuli. And yet! Deckard finds room to sulk about it in his removed way, the corners of his mouth downturned while he watches Teo bustle around like he's on some kind of payroll or on his period or whatever it is that inspires people to be neurotic about clutter in a condemned property.

The revolver is taken up on a delay, safety double-checked before the muzzle is pushed somewhat uncomfortably down into the holster at his hip. The flashlight battery is dying; Deckard turns it off without a second thought once it's within reach, pitching Teo's remaining efforts into a more complete kind of darkness.

"I'll go tomorrow."

The way he says it isn't terribly convincing. Like he's promising to take out the trash without any actual inclination or intention to do so when it'd be way easier to just let it overflow and rot and be someone else's problem. But hey! Burgers! "Great."

Whoosh, up. Zooom down. The kitten doesn't seem to be overly bothered by the jostling that occurs with Teo bundling around being the help. Kitten's had a hard life, it seems. He manages not to walk into anything immediately or audibly when the darkness bites the room out, finds a wall with long digits, rakes subtle likes of denudement through dust and gypsum-crumbling paint.

The darkness confers the additional benefit of obfuscating any ugliness of Teodoro's doubt or suspicion, as regards to Deckard's social responsibility. His feet shuffle along, their trajectory pointed in the general direction of exeunt. He floats a salutation back in a murmur, in English.

Deckard's eyes are slow to adjust this time around — as lazy as the rest of him. Teo's a black shape shuffling carefully across the wall, kitten in tow. Light pollution slivers in through cracks in boarded up windows. The pot is starting to sound like a better idea now that he's about to have some alone time, and before Teo's all the way out, he may catch wind of a tell-tell plastic crinkle from the region of the couch. Where he will probably still be when he returns.

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