Autobiographical Retrospective Featuring Bagpipe Flamethrower


felix_icon.gif ghost_icon.gif

Scene Title Autobiographical Retrospective Featuring Bagpipe Flamethrower
Synopsis No bagpipe flamethrowers, just jaded Bond references and the Hollywood illusion that being thirty/forty years old makes you old-old.
Date May 24, 2018

The Bunker: Common Area

It's a very bare and industrial space that serves the Bunker as kitchen and dining area. Wolfhound's not like the military, in terms of formal mealtimes. So Fel's there now, cleaning up in the aftermath of some attempt at cooking. It smells good, at least, rich and savory. How odd, to see him being domestic….and that here.

He's clad in a plain t-shirt, fatigue pants, old boots. The war was not kind, clearly. His hair is wolf-grizzled now, there are scars on his head and arm that weren't there those years ago. But his eyes are clear, and his movement is easy enough, as he stands at the sink scrubbing dishes and utensils.

The Ghost walks in. He's quiet the way cats are quiet when they're at home, incidentally and without deliberate effort, though he might easily knock some other people's shit over and be unapologetic about it. He's dressed in black, because that's what ninjas do, a tanktop snug around his athletic frame. He has tattoos that the original formula of Teo never did— some tribal shit, canny tribal illustrations of knives and motion, a few jokes and lines of poetry in Italian, French, something that looks like Thai.

"Bon soir, little Russian," he says, looking toward the older man. (Is Felix older now? It's hard to tell; the Ghost has nine years that don't show on his body.) "Did you make enough for a charming and well-meaning guest?" He's optimistic. He's already beelining for the table.

Not so much the years as the mileage, as the saying goes. And it's definitely been a hard road in the intervening seven years or so since he last saw some variant of Teo. There's utter surprise in his face as he turns around to face the one greeting him, brows up, lips parted. A few beats of silent shock, as he holds the dripping sponge clenched in one hand. At least he doesn't drop it.

It takes a little while for his brain to reboot enough to supply some of those fractured memories. "Teodoro," he breathes, softly, as if afraid this might be some sort of hallucination, or a spectre banished by the harsh light of dawn. "That….that is you?" He remembers more than one. And then belated manners kicking in, and he turns back to the sink to set aside the sponge and rinse his hands. "Sure. It's, uh, it's Russian stew. Solyanka."

"Mmmmmmmm," says the Ghost, drawing the chair out. He drops himself into the seat with casual aplomb, and manspreads in a way that's somewhat less offensive in public but still screams about a certain attitude of entitlement. It's the kind of attitude that periodically results in your murder victims popping back into existence against improbable odds, but he doesn't know about all that just yet. He's just a man with a powerful metabolism who desires some soup. "Soup.

"Is this what life would have been like if you'd chosen me?" His voice is glacial, mellifluous. Honey on ice. "Don't worry, I haven't been." But he looks at Felix's ass anyway, as the Russian man putters about the stove, an automatic quality to it, but not unflattering if you're into that sort of thing. This kind of person. "What's in it? Beets? The blood of your enemies. Communism."

By the way he's moving, he has no idea whatever to make of this. Memory is being distinctly unhelpful - it's like trying to re-read the multivolume diary you once kept after someone threw a grenade into the library. "Chosen you?" he asks, and he sounds sheepish - definitely off-balance. "I'm sorry," he says, as he gets bowls out of the cabinets. "My memory's completely shot." No need for explanation - the ruiner's all but left his signature in keloid scribed in and among the short hair. Trust Felix to be walking around wearing the marks of wounds that would've had someone else six feet under.

A brief laugh at the question. "No. Meat. Vegetables. Dill. Other herbs, tomatoes, onions." He's ladeling out a measure into a bowl, two bowls, to be heated back up in the microwave. "No actual beets," he adds.

Ghost doesn't mind. The color of beets is fun, because he's creepy, but all of that sounds hearty and healthy and good for him, and for all his dysfunction, he's always been interested in taking care of himself.

Maybe he should feel something, looking at the mark on Felix's head. A fate he's escaped, more than once; in more than one timeline. So far, at least. Maybe he does feel something. But you'd never guess from his face, his jawline squared to neutral, his pale eyes sitting like broken glass in an impasse of pavement. He puts his elbows on the table, the bulk of his shoulders settling comfortably.

"Do you remember that we were friends?"


There's a moment where Fel's back is to him, fingers splayed on the counter, as if dizziness had hit, or it required the suspension of physical movement, resources devoted to balance retasked with trying to find something in the archives. The microwave hums along, needing no tending. "I remember a little," he says, not looking back.

Then he's levering himself away from the counter to get ice for glasses. "You want something to drink? There's water, juice, lemonade. Beer or vodka for something harder." Three guesses where the latter came from.

"Water. I'm trying not to stress Hana out," the Ghost answers, amiably. "Thanks. But you should drink what you want." He is probably aware that Hana's current stress levels are based on events that overshadow one of her old companions and contractors having a finger of vodka with dinner, but sometimes he experiments with being considerate.

By the time Felix turns back around, he's stopped examining the way that the ass pockets of Felix's pants sit on his rear. Instead, he's looking over the rest of the kitchen, at the cabinets, the counter space. It's not a formal military space, but it's as pristine as one. Not hard to guess a lot of people here are ex-military. "You like it here? You miss the suits? The extra forty percent of red tape." Wolfhound certainly contends with more red tape than Ghost ever preferred, as a former terrorist, but. He knows that it's still nowhere near as tedious as the FBI.

Ice water for both, set before Ghost, first, then his own seat across. The microwave chimes, and Fel returns for the bowls of soup. He did wait tables, once upon a time, as a punk kid scrabbling his way through NYU, piercings and dyed hair the plumage of another extinct species entirely. "I like it here so far," he says, voice mild, as he goes back to rummage the silverware drawer. Proper soup spoons, even, and paper napkins. "It's less red tape. I don't miss working for the government directly." Tone politely neutral, the papering over of a whole assortment of feelings that don't bear that kind of rummaging. Then, as he hands off the silverware and napkins, "You? What've you been up to?"

There's a moment's silence, not exactly guarded, where Ghost seems to be gauging whether or not Felix's interest is sincere. A long unblinking stare, then a smile. "I'm here when the team could use another body," he says. "It's not too often these days." The bunker's getting full, Felix has observed. "Out there, I have a few things going.

"There's a fighting ring on Staten Island that could be fun for you. Evolved combatants only." He smiles, shows teeth. Accepts his fork, his napkin. He actually un-manspreads in order to put the napkin over his lap, then spins his spoon in his hand like an enthusiastic toddler. The room smells unbearably good. "Some good shit. I don't really fucking read anymore, but I've been dating a couple of musicians." 'Dating.'

'Friends.' "It's good to try something new. How'd that happen, anyway?" He pokes his own head with the spoon, where Felix's scar is.

Felix seats himself with a hint of that old primness. Never one that loose and at ease with himself, always walking like a dog straining against a leash. He meets that gaze levelly, expression bland. A hint of the old cop's mask, though the interest seems sincere enough. The mention of the fighting ring makes him flash a grin, rueful. "Nah. I've been beat on enough, and I'm not desperate enough for money to. That's too bad about the reading. I still like to," Of course he does.

The soup is actually really good - rich and hearty and filled with varying kinds of meats and vegetables. Comfort food. Fel takes a few bites before answering. "The war," he says, simply, and then clarifies, "Government soldier tried to brain me with the only thing he had handy, which was a wrench."

For a long moment after Ghost gets his soup, he's pretty busy eating his soup, spoon cutting easil through the thickness of fluid and making short work of its solid contents too. He likes it. It's tasty, rich. He had never been much one for comfort, giving or accepting, but in nutritional format— he'll take it. Most vices, he'll take. Unsurprisingly, it doesn'tt cost him his appetite to talk about old injuries. Maybe that's the ex-terrorist in him too. "He get lucky, or what happened, speedster?" he asks, a mild note of ribbing to his voice when he does. Emphasis on speedster. As in, faster than the oridnary man, shouldn't you be?

"Doesn't matter how fast you can go when you're cuffed to a chair. I'm not fast enough to outrun an explosion shockwave. You hit me with an RPG round I don't see coming, that's that. Same as when I got sniped. I got captured," Matter of fact, in the way one has to be. It's old news, water under the bridge. Another injury, another scar, another improbable survival. All nine lives used up.

The Ghost's stare seems awful bright in the light of the kitchen for a moment, and then dull with thought. Sharpen again when he arrives at a certain conclusion, which may or may not seem terribly egocentric when he says, in the end:

"Seems like your memory isn't that bad."

There's a question tacked on in there somewhere, unspoken as yet. He isn't sure if he wants to know what Felix remembers about them, or why he's pretending to forget. But he just puts another mouthful of soup in his own face, casting his stare down into the murk of food with easy interest.

Speaking of old injuries doesn't dull Fel's appetite, either, it seems. But then with that metabolism, can he ever afford to be squeamish. Another bite or two, before, "It's patchy. Things are gone. Things come back." He looks up from his bowl. "I do remember you," he says, again. "Some of it. There's more than one of you, somehow. I don't know that I was ever clear about how that happened, but I'm not now. Sorry," There's a freight of weariness in that apology. So many ragged blanks dragging in his wake. "And yes, I remember Deckard killing me. One of you put my body in the water. You had the medal and you gave it back to me, and then you asked for it again. I don't know if you ever gave it back." He's still for a moment, body tense, as if memories were mice he had to sneak up and pounce on like a fox. Braced against it. "We were lovers once."

Speaking of old injuries doesn't dull Fel's appetite, either, it seems. But then with that metabolism, can he ever afford to be squeamish. Another bite or two, before, "It's patchy. Things are gone. Things come back." He looks up from his bowl. "I do remember you," he says, again. "Some of it. There's more than one of you, somehow. I don't know that I was ever clear about how that happened, but I'm not now. Sorry," There's a freight of weariness in that apology. So many ragged blanks dragging in his wake. "And yes, I remember Deckard killing me. One of you put my body in the water. You had the medal and you gave it back to me, and then you asked for it again. I don't know if you ever gave it back." He's still for a moment, body tense, as if memories were mice he had to sneak up and pounce on like a fox. Braced against it. "We were lovers once."

Instantly, the Sicilian man's face crinkles with laughter. But he doesn't ruin the moment by having a chuckle out loud at the older man's expense. "You're like those action movies that they used to put out before the American economy went to shit. And took the film industry with it." He moves some of the contents of his soup around. Slices of this, thick, delicious rivulets of that. "The hero enters the business and is fully qualified for murder somewhere in his thirties. He's used up by his forties. They make much of how he's aged. Slower cognition, poorer eyesight, the pain of old scars.

"But he's still fuckable." A wink, but neutral as an eyelid closing over a puppet's glass eye; no intent. Hardly professional, though. "War and Hollywood have so much in common, you know? You should think about writing a novel. Find a ghostwriter."

That has him blinking at Teo. Still, clearly, unsure how to take it. At least the first response isn't knee-jerk offense, considering he's a creature of mostly pure reflex. Fel offers a bemused smile in return. Mockery but how much malice? "I don't have any kids for someone to steal as a reason for me to come out of retirement," he points out, voice a little dry. A shrug of his shoulders.

"James Bond didn't have kids," Teo points out. A beat. Then he acknowledges, "That he knew of." You know, you know. "And he had an accent, too." Jovial. It's hard to tell with him how much malice he has driving any given sentence. His tone remains unchanged. This is light conversation. And at least it's fairly obvious he's not out to publically humiliate Felix in front of any sort of audience.

"What would your ghostwriter have to conclude about Leland, anyway? If you were being honest. Is he here?" Teo knows that he isn't here here. He puts the spoon back in his mouth, loaded with vegetables. And a scoop quick after that.

Still a raw point, all those years later, by the way something shutters behind his eyes. "I haven't spoken to Leland since before the war," His voice has gone, soft, dull, his face still. He knows all too well how transparent he can be, and the best Fel can do is to try and iron out the reactions. "I don't know where he is."

Teo doesn't blink for a long moment, watching the Russian's face. Pain is hardly a stranger to the lines graven around Felix's eyes and mouth, as familiar to Teo as the shape of his ex-lover's nose or the green spider of veins articulate in his fingers as he eats his food. Ghost actually finishes his serving right around then. Quick, expedient. Also, and not to be Hella raunchy, but he's always had a real big mouth, har har har.

"Sorry to hear it, Felix. But I think he's still out there. If you want to find him someday, there's gonna be a day you can do it." A beat's hesitation. Then, perhaps surprisingly, he reaches across the table and grasps the other man's— shoulder, a friendly gesture, his own hand warm as ever. When Tavisha copied him, he did a marvelous job cloning him down to the ferocity of his metabolism.

Surprised indeed. The same old sinewy creature, bone and muscle dense under that hand, gone a little rigid, as if braced for something. Confused, maybe, if that furrow in his brows is any indication. "Thank you," he says, polite by reflex. "Maybe so." Then Fel's looking down at his own dish, nearly empty, before glancing to Teo's. "I'll take that, unless you want more?" Hospitality is what it is, whether in a dusty camp in the California desert or the relative luxury of the Bunker.

The Ghost seems to think about it for a moment. But irrelevantly, he glances over his shoulder, over at the doorway, as if considering the other people in the building and they who might also be interested in some of this splendid Russian repast. In the end, though, he just says, "Nah, I'm good. But thanks." With a smile, leaving a warm spot on Felix's arm when he lets go, because that's his superpower, apart from monstrously hijacking his own past self's body and running about on a murderous rampage. An Evolved can have more than one. He pushes the empty bowl over to the cook.

"When are you gonna retire, anyhow?" It would be the right change of topic if they had run into each other at the salad bar in 2009. "Don't tell me you're gonna go for a desk job. Mission control. Train the next generation of Wolfpups. You don't need kids to have a future, or so the gays have told me."

He finishes his own soup by the expedient of lifting the bowl and tipping the last down his throat, pragmatic. Then Fel's getting up, taking the dirtied bowls to return to the sink. "I don't know," he says, simply. "I don't have any plans on that front. I just got here. We'll see how this plays out." Simple platitudes, as he dips under the sink to come up with dish soap again. There's the sharpness of synthetic lemon scent to spike the rich scent of cooked meat and the underlying chill of bare concrete. "What about you?" It's all very civil, catching up. But he hasn't lost that disconcerted air, like he's sure there's a punchline to a joke he's missing. Lost in translation.

He's not wrong to feel off about it. The original Teo, the one that Felix knew years ago and left his little tracks all over the speedster's memory, was considerably more of a gentleman when it came to handling himself in social situations, of making the people around him about as comfortable as one should be given the often extenuating circumstances. You had to ignore a whole lot of cussing, but that aside.

"Not to be dramatic, but I already had my future.

"Probably more of them than any one asshole technically deserves to have." The answer comes from closer to Felix than it probably should have. A few feet behind him. Teo had always been taller. He's looking down over the bird-boned crook of the older man's shoulder, watching the water pressure push debris out of the bowl. "I already got married. Have a kid. There was this time I owned a home. Saved the world. I guess I've never had a cat, and it's been awhile since I taught. What do you think? Would it suit me?"

Answers he did not expect, by the expression on his face. "Depends on what you were teaching, and to whom," Felix says, as he scrubs out the bowls. The main pot is back in the fridge, for now. He'll eat it over the next few days, even if the other Hounds make no dent. "Congratulations," he says, "On marriage and fatherhood."

That's enough to throw him off right there. The image of a picket fence life, even if it's wildly inaccurate….not one he'd ever attached to his mental picture of Teodoro.

"Don't look so surprised." The Ghost definitely laughs then. He touches Felix again— this time on the shoulder. A clap of force, enough to jostle the cleaning! It's very bro-y. "He's a bastard, and I think the married me is in some shit."

But he doesn't laugh about that.

"We could have a melancholic conversation about the improbability of happy fucking endings. End the night on a real good note." He puts his hands back in his pockets, rolls his head over his shoulders, loosening up muscles tense from something worse that happened in recent history than this conversation is going, probably.

Too late. Felix is definitely surprised. He's finished with the dishes for the moment, setting them in the counter rack to dry. No shrinking away from the touch - he seems to accept them with equanimity, if more of that confusion.

"So," he says, reaching into the fridge to see if he can grub up a bottle of soda, coming up with actual root beer. Two in fact, one of which he proffers mutely to Teo. "So, you're not the one that's married. Musicians, you said. Number one is married with kids, you're number two, there's….a number three?" Voice prompting. "And well, if there's anyone who can outbrood a Russian, a Sicilian might be it. Though I thought you guys were more for bitter vendetta, if we're gonna play with stereotypes." He pops his bottle open with a bottle opener magneted to the side of the fridge, leans back against the counter to eye Teo. "Night's young. If we can to end it in melancholy, we should start real drinking now."

"Do I look like the brooding type to you?" the Ghost asks with a half-hearted expression of mock outrage, his dark blond eyebrows climbing up his face. But the next moment, he laughs. Why wouldn't he be the brooding type. He's a part-time helper outer on an organization called 'Wolfhound' that hunts anti-Evolved war criminals. Sounds like the right time to brood, really.

"Grazie." He accepts the bottle of soda, pausing to look at the label. It feels like someone else's childhood in his hand. Cane sugar, fizz, the sassafrass, or licorice pretending to be sassafrass. They didn't have this in Sicily when he was growing up. But he reaches over to click the bottleneck against Felix's. "One is married without kids. The other is unmarried, in Sicily, with kids. I'm number three. Cheers." Hup. And then he drinks.

"Not really, no," Felix replies, with a little grin. He clinks the bottle against Ghost's before taking a sip. "Cheers. Part time. Do you live here, in the Bunker?" he asks. "I've only seen a fraction of it." No asking where the married one lives.

He brushes past the Ghost to head back to the dining table, sits back down, facing the Sicilian.

It takes the Ghost a moment, but in the end he comes over to the table too. He pulls out a chair and slings himself down into it, settling, drawing his feet under the chair, collecting himself the way that water picks its form, discreet surface tension over a placid ease. He drinks more soda. "I sleep here now and then," he says. "But I have some friends I stay with." 'Friends.' Winkwonk. "I'm not a ful hound, though. Not like you and the other girls and boys." He motions around with the neck of his bottle.

This is a tasty dessert. He can see how it would have made sense with stripey umbrellas and a poolside in summer, somewhere. He can imagine it. Sonny had probably dreamed about it when he was sad about living the wrong sort of life. Alexander had maybe enjoyed himself a more impoverished version of it. He wonders if Delila gives root beer to Walter, if her mother had given it to her. "Sometimes I think about heading out West. Try my luck in the new wilds of America, you know? I could always keep in touch with Hana. One of the easier things you can do."

There's one of those little moues from Felix, not quite a pout, the mobile mouth pursed in thought and then back to that usual flat line. An upnod, as he settles back in his chair. Something canine and boneless about that relaxation - even before the choice of an employer with the perfectly apposite name, he's always seemed like one of those Russian sighthounds, all sprung ribs and wild eyes, ludicrous and gangly unless at full stretch.

"You could," he concedes. "I thought about it. There are still major police departments on the West Coast. LA, for one." There's something remote, wistful in the blue eyes. "But I can't be a cop again, unless it's New York. And there is no NYPD now. Parts of the desert are very beautiful, though."

"How do you know?" Ghost puts down the bottle and its empty, a hollow whunk against the wood. He flicks his fingers against it, and it manages to scuttle three inches toward Felix without tipping over. He relaxes his hand the next moment. Blunt nails splayed loosely over the damp ring where the bottle had sat, an array of brutally clipped half-moons. "Did you go out and look at the pretty desert?" His eyes go up briefly to Felix's head, where the scar must sit.

Felix puts out a hand to pick up the empty bottle, leaning over to get it, then stretching to one side to drop it into a trashcan. "I did," he says, "While en route to California. I'd ended up in the South during the war, so when I went west, it was through the desert states - Arizona, New Mexico. I'd never seen anything like it. We were hiding in the canyons, it was one of the few places Hunters seemed to have trouble finding us."

Hmh. It's the start of a laugh, exhaled through Ghost's nose. "I guess you already lived the Western I was talking about," he says thoughtfully. The banditos hiding out. Fleeing from— well. Not the law. It depends at what point Felix had been running, whether or not that had been the law. The lines were scarred in deep, erased, and redrawn so many times during the civil war that the definition of illegal didn't seem useful at any given moment. Killer fucking robots made sure of that.

"It's funny to me, I say I'm thinking of going West, and the first thing outta your mouth is law enforcement."

Fel laughs at himself, nearly soundless - a faint flush of embarassment, and the scars are all the brighter for the contrast. "Sorry," he says, tipping the neck of his bottle at Teo. "One track mind. What would you do out there?"

Teodoro seems to think about it for a moment, putting his head to the side. "Climb some fucking rocks," he says. "Catch some fucking lizards. Be so far away from people that I can't jump out of this body into something new." He claps a hand over his chest with enough force that it sounds like a drum. "See what's still hiding out there. Somebody must be, right?"

The old smile, always a hair too wide for that narrow jaw. "Sounds good," he says, gently. "And yeah, I bet you're right. I know there are. There always are, it's one of those kinds of places, isn't it?"

He's looking at Teo with that bemusement returning, the sheer improbability of this person, this meeting, here. It lends a certain incredulous tilt to his brows. "I used to rock-climb, but only up in New England, long time ago."

"Sure." The Ghost smiles lopsidedly. It looks good on his nice broad jaw, if only because most things do. "Either I'll be the thing that doesn't want to be found, or I'll find something else that is." He drinks his non-alcoholic drink, a big pull that renders it nearly half empty. It thunks! hollowly as he puts it back on the table. "Learn to rock climb. But I think you're not supposed to do that by yourself, right?

"You go with a partner. For the belaying. Someone you trust to pay attention."

"Right," Fel says, smiling back at him. "Exactly. 's mostly why I did it, at least at first. Because the friend didn't want to go alone. I never was much of an expert, but I learned enough to keep from killing myself, or him, for that matter." Only sipping his root beer - it really is dessert, of a sort - as if afraid finishing it will remove his excuse for lingering here.

It's hard to imagine little baby Felix. The Ghost often doesn't bother putting much imagination into other people anymore, to be honest. Especially not the imaginings of how people were, how they used to be, rumblings that only have the most distant relationship to who they are now. He's more tactical than sentimental anymore. But it still makes him smile.

"How old were you?" he asks. "And were you guys an item, or just friends? That would've been back in Russia, right?"

He blushes, at that, but doesn't deny. A look, as if Fel really had forgotten how much of his history, romantic, erotic, or merely foolish, he'd confessed to the Ghost's template in the bitter watches of the night, in rooms neither of them owned.

"Twenties," he says, after a pause to collect himself. "We were. And no, I was here, then. I came over when I was eleven, I'd been naturalized already. I ran around in the mountains in Russia as a kid, but….more hiking, not so much climbing."

That's a sweet story. Ghost's eyes unfocus a moment, then sharpen again, finding Felix's face in the stark light of the kitchen. The older man's sharp-boned face looks softer, less ghoulish than it probably has any right to.

"What was his name?" he asks. "Did it have a good rhyme for romantic poetry?" His eyes crinkle. Teasing again. But this one surely has less bite to it.

Age or wear has mellowed him - the lines aren't all harsh. Wistfulness and humor help, and they're certainly present. The memories Teo's kicked up aren't bitter. "Robert. But I called him Robbie, or Rob." A name Teo may remember, depending on his own memory. Fel's first boyfriend post-college, a firefighter who died on September 11, and a memory never alloyed, but only with that halo of martyrdom to it.

"Robbie," the Ghost repeats. It's hard to say whether the name is spoken with recognition, or merely amusement for Felix-that-was and his twee nicknames for past lovers. "That one. Living the fantasy life every stage of your career as a bisexual man, I see. First a firefighter, last a burly clap." He leans back in his chair and laughs, picking up his liquid dessert again. "In another life, I'm pretty sure you're married with a sweet kid. No braindamage. No scar on the ceiling of your head. Can you imagine?"

Fel snorts, gives him something that's the echo of his old waspish look. "True," he agrees, lazily. "I even got to live out the fantasy of being a straight boy's first. That's a queer merit badge for sure." He spreads his hands. "I can imagine," he says. "Hell, I'd'a married Liz, if I coulda. But that's another life."

That— gets a laugh out of the Ghost, spontaneous and bright. It sounds oddly out-of-place late night in the bunker, if not out-of-place on the smooth-talking and generally unflappable murder ninja that this iteration of Teo now believes himself to be. It's true. He can't debate that. He knocks back the rest of his soda then, and pushes back his chair. "You're doing better in all your lives than I am," he says, without sounding too upset about it. "Best I've succeeded in is divorcing a Frenchman to marry the mountain in question. And abandon my kid to live in Sicily. Don't think I've ever deflowered anybody in a way that'd fit on a sash." He steps over to the trash can and drops his empty bottle in.

"Hey. They say we have more life than we can live. But I wouldn't give up trying, even if you don't have the. Dubious fucking luxury of having three bodies." He flashes Felix a grin, and swings an arm out to the older man, for parting handclasp. It's very masculine.

"But I'm living mine sequentially. This is number three? Four?" Fel waggles the neck of the bottle, indeterminate. "Not simultaneously. I don't know how you reckon better. Never married, no kids, no career. Alive, though." He rises in turn, politely. "Pfft. I'm sure you were a medal-winner with someone's first. My first being someone's first, let's put it that way."

The handclasp is appropriately firm, but never anything of a pissing contest. He looks into Teo's eyes for a moment, though, as if trying to get a final read there. Old instincts deserting him, perhaps….or signals crossing on wires broken and spliced too many times.

Clasp and release, to make matters more confusing? Or not less confusing, anyhow. Ghost's smile tames itself down to something manageable and ordinary. "Flattery will get you everywhere with me," he says, amiably, ambiguously. But they both know that he's not that person anymore. That twenty-something-year-old with the stylish regret and the righteous drama. There is very little about him that is righteous anymore, and even less that's capable of regret. He's not that person anymore, but if he's close enough—

—that'll be for a different night. He takes his hand back, brushes a kiss on his own thumb. Reaches over to tap Felix's cheek.

The old gesture. The one he'd shared with any number of friends whom he had never slept with, but nevertheless it couldn't have been entirely without intent. Teodoro had always been that way. Why would it be gone from him now? "Buona notte," he says. "I'll see you around." He turns away, hands installed in his pockets, where they cannot do any more good or harm.

What's Fel then? His own self-righteousness given a mercy killing somewhere in the irradiated deserts of the west? Without badge or hierarchy behind him. Enough to be again bemused by the gesture, but not irritated.

At least he hasn't settled into cranky bitterness. He snorts at himself, at the farewell. "I'm sure you will," he says, with that quizzical lilt. "Sleep well." Left to watch Teo go, not turning away until the Ghost is out of sight.

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