sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Backslide
Synopsis Sonny has decided to break up with Teo. That and other healthy decisions inevitably yield to deflected guilt trips and toxic anger, and they crawl around full circle.
Date January 25, 2009

Really Nice Area: Upscale Housing — Sonny's Apartment

There is a small war room in planning for this evening, mostly constituted of Teo and a nervous waitress who has the Evolved ability to steal Bruce Lee's soul, trying to figure out how to get onto a gigantic freighter boat and kill everybody plus a cannister of supervirus. Another few hours of practice out of the marina before that, too, he thinks. Before that, however, he decided to build a few hours into his schedule to see how his housemate was doing. His housemate hadn't seemed to be doing that well the other night, at the steakhouse. Possibly a symptom of having sensed the impending apocalypse.

There's a lot of ambient stress around.

His key grates into the doorknob, and he pops himself a few feet of egress. Spills into the apartment and sets his route for the kitchen. The process of boot removal barely hitches his stride en route. "Buongiorno, bello." His clothes aren't the ones Sonny saw him in yesterday, but they smell of day-old cigarettes, faintly, when he comes to park in front of the stove and peer at the omelette in progress.

Sonny looks up and at Teo. He actually looks a bit surprised. "Uh, hey." That's a fairly lukewarm reception. But he's had a lot of time to think. Especially when he woke up to no sign that the other Italian had been back. His nostrils flare. Even over the sizzling pan, he catches something is amiss. "You smell like cigarettes." There's a beat, then he adds so that it doesn't sound like an accusation, "…you should take a shower."

The eggs are poured into the pan to join mushrooms and onions. There's a pleasant sizzle that follows. He sets the bowl down and goes to shredding mozzarella for the middle.

"I did," Teo answers, pausing, glancing down at himself, hooking a finger into his shirt, pulling it back to sniff. A quaver-beat's pause. Not because the scent of cigarettes is especially difficult to trace or decipher, but because he's weighing the appropriate reaction and response, even as he tries to determine the attitude and sentiment behind the other man's observation. His gaze shifts between the egg and vegetable mix cooking on the pan, then up to Sonny. Back down again, and to the floor, somewhere between meek and sheepish. "I'll change clothes." With the intervening layer of sock cotton between his foot and the tiles, he spins easily, retreats back for upstairs. Won't be long.

When he comes back downstairs, Sonny's sitting on the couch with the radio now off and the TV on. He's eating the omelette and watching an episode of CSI - the show that is always on, even when it's a Sunday morning. There's a strange, oddly blank expression on his face, like he's not sure what to feel and even less sure of what emotion he wants Teo to receive. He chews slowly and takes occasional sips from his coffee.

In a few long strides, the television is replaced by Teodoro's rumpled head in the older man's field of vision. To do this, the Sicilian has seated himself on the coffee table. Fortunately, he's donned track pants and there's little concern that the rivets to his jeans might nick the surface of the designer furnishing. Elbows on his knees, he studies the good Doctor out from under an uncharacteristicially protuberant hang of his brow. Though he's as stubborn as his next countryman, he gets into the business of others less often than one might otherwise expect.

Predictably enough, his skull lists aside after only a moment, surrendering Sonny a portion of Gil Grissom's profile, dramatically underlit, a clever punchline on his lips, seconds from the science montage. "You don't look so good," he observes. "Did something happen?"

There's an uncharacteristic, disconnected sheen to Sonny's eyes. He looks numb, lost in thought. That doesn't change when Teo interrupts his field of vision. He chews the mouthful of omelette, then sets the plate down in his lap.

"Yeah," he says, softly. "I made a mistake." This is followed by a rough, humourless chuckle. The doc looks down and away.

Like most of his relationship with things external rather than wholly indigenous to his inner life, Teo's understanding of personal space and property tends to be a little hit-or-miss. Again, Sonny's field of vision is interrupted, this time by the reach of one of the other man's work-rough hands, snagging the handle of the fork. There's a stippled streak of scabs healing on the back of Teo's fingers: rope burn. He lifts off the coffee table and squats by Sonny's feet, instead, so much the supplicant— or would be if he weren't stealing omelette straight off the porcelain dish by him. "I do that a lot," Teo hedges, all ignorance and no glamor, by way of reassurance. He bites a wedge of fluffy batter and onions off of stainless steel prongs, then offers Sonny the next piece. "It's okay."

"I don't just mean last night, Teo." Sonny waves away the fork and passes the half-eaten plate of eggs down to him. "I…don't think this is going to work." In contrast to the first bit of contact on his part, his leg shifts away from where it contacts the sitting Italian. "I'm not kicking you out. But I think…we need to forget about…" he makes a motion in between them. He's notably avoiding eye contact. He seems a bit pale and restless and swallow frequently. "We should just be friends."

And Teo feels like his whole mind just blinked. The plate, bearing omelette and fork, is offloaded onto the coffee table behind him with a double-clink of one edge of the base and then the other seesawing down to touch. His lips grip a line, thin and tensile enough to have split a razor wire in half, automatic temper constrained by the rigid grille of teeth. Anger is easier than the alternatives. Rarely reaches actualization, though. Rarely. "What the fuck do you think you did?" There's a callous twist to his choice in emphasis there, an inchoate sneer that pre-empts someone trying to spare his feelings by manufacturing self-serving or unequivocally retarded lies.

The anger is a bit surprising. Then again, Teo manages to surprise Sonny with his reactions fairly regularly. "What I did was want too much from you. More than you offered. More than you want to give. It's not fair to you and I don't think I can stop it." He stands and scoops up his coffee mug and moves to the kitchen under the excuse of filling it up. The real reason is to give some physical space and some time to think, even if it's only a few seconds. Hot coffee is sloshed into his cup and bits of cream and sugar are added. But he lingers in the kitchen as he straightens up the cooking remnants.

If you'd been left as many times as Teodoro has in the past two weeks, you would be angry too at this experience. It will have gotten rather stale.

If you had made people leave as many times as Teodoro has in the past two weeks, you might among other things turn the same shade of ash as his face is now, growing gaunter after the rapid recession of the two crimson dashiones of color that had accented the angles of his cheekbones, and harbor this sickly buzzing in your inner-ear like there's an insect trapped in it. But the insects are elsewhere, and whatever tactical value it would have offered, Teo can't physically crumble apart and blow away, and he has yet to be able to fully articulate what it is, the weave and material of this common thread, where he makes them go away. Be it otherwise by motorcycle, higher calling, or more beautiful companionship.

"Ironically," he says, in lieu of a dangerously obvious question, "you refusing to give yourself another chance looks almost exactly like you refusing to give me another chance. And pussyfooting your way around saying what you fucking mean like a spineless little shitheel." Teo hasn't left the couch, but he's turned around. Watching Sonny's shadow rove the floor of the kitchen.

There's the sound of the mug thumping down in the kitchen, though Sonny's partially blocked by the kitchen divider. Sonny walks back out into the kitchen, bare feet slapping against the floor. "And what exactly do you want from me, Teo? Cause I gotta say I'm a little confused. Maybe I don't have a right to be, but that doesn't change it. Do you want me, or do you want a convenient fuck?"

The doc stands not far into the living room, hands on hips for lieu of anything better to do with them. Those words should have been angrier, his voice louder. But it's not. "I know I had no right to be hurt by the fact that you didn't come back last night. But I do. Now you tell me what the fuck that means, huh? Cause to me it sounds like I want to make this more complicated than you do. And that raises up a damn red flag."

It does. Hoists it up there, crimson flare. More like a matador than a cautionary symbol, actually. "It means," Teo answers without staggered pause, standing within the straight lines and right angles of a perfect soldier's posture. If looks could kill, all of Sonny's furniture would be riven to pieces and bleeding. "It means you didn't give one fucking thought about what the fuck I get to put up with when you need a date to one of your stupid fucking charity balls and I'm just… It means you think I'm a slut who can't make the same fucking distinctions as you can and have every day since you've met me.

"Or it means that you didn't.

"It means you're too much of a fucking coward to say anything, never mind go after what you want, which I guess makes sense, that's your modus operandi— letting your little diamond collar wring every last drop of blood out of your carcass. Jesus." As closing epithets go, that probably wasn't a very strong one but Teo is pretending to be past caring. He turns for the staircase, his own feet, still layered up in socks, drubbing a rhythm that sounds like it should have dented the sleek floorboards.

"I haven't been on a date since you've been here. Cause I did give a lot of fucking thought about how it might make you feel." Sonny rubs his forehead and paces over a section of the living room. He picks up a throw pillow and well…throws it. Across the room. It knocks over a glass of water and it breaks and spills across the floor. For once, his first impulse isn't to go and pick it up. Instead, he leans against the wall and makes a fist. He punches the wall, but not hard enough to hurt himself or dent the wall. Just enough so that he feels something.

"Maybe I am a fucking coward."

A finger appears briefly over the top of the dividing wall that is supposed to stop inebriated rich idiots from falling off the staircase and smashing part on the first. "Way to hold the fucking line, Salvatore. Hero of the fucking hour. You haven't gone on a date for a whole week.

"I guess that means I'm getting exactly what I fucking deserve." It is what he deserves, on a lot of levels. He's merely looking for things to throw at karma while it rolls toward him on crushing spokes, existential crockery, sticks and stones and words. "And the rest of this secretive bulshit and you tragically draping yourself all over the couch with an omelette on your lap instead of telling me what's going on isn't a sign of a complete clusterfuck."

Teo is pretty good at yelling at people. It is part of being native to Italy, maybe. He doesn't even have to be in the same room, or on the same floor, and he isn't even really shouting, but the volume is there, carried from the gut. No door slams, and whatever he's doing makes little in the way of noise.

"I don't know what the fuck's going on." True enough. Sonny really doesn't. Before Teo walked back in, he thought he had it all sorted out. Which…basically boiled down to him running away. But now that's being made difficult too. He turns and leans back against the wall, then slowly slides to sit on the floor to the left of the base of the stairs. That means he's out of the line of sight should Teo look down.
Arguing is not his strong point. He doesn't argue with anyone. He does what his family says. He does what the PR folks say. He has no siblings. That means he's ill equipped to a war of words with the likes of Teodoro Laudani.

As arguments go, this probably can't be categorized as a persuasive effort to get Sonny to stay. Or to get Sonny to get him to stay, if he were to be terribly roundabout and womanish about it, but he isn't: he's leaving as instructed, and angry enough to sow discontent and aggravation everywhere in his wake. It takes him five minutes at most.

To swap into jeans, to gather what personal effects he had brought here. Bloated with clothes, his duffel bag bangs against his hip, the strap of it chafing his neck and his hackles too high to let him notice. He proceeds down the stairs loud enough to make the plaster reverberate at the older man's back. His host's absence elicits one word: "Vigliacco." Practically spat. He thumps onto the landing and swerves to find his shoes.

Sonny scrambles to his feet once he hears the thumping of feet down the stairs. He watches Teo for a moment, then moves quickly forward, towards him to throw his weight against the other and shove him hard against the wall. A small painting leaps free of its hook and crashes down at the force, but it only gives him a moment's pause.

"You're not leaving like this. Not now. You tell me why the fuck this pisses you off so badly. What did I do, huh?" Despite the firm way with which he presses himself against the other and the tightness of hands on the other's lapel, there's a note of desperation in his voice, a crack to it. He takes hold of the duffel bag and chucks it as far as he can one-handed. Then, slowly, his body relaxes, and it becomes more of a lean against him than a hold.

The back of Teo's head meets a wall with tooth-rattling force for the second time in two days. Probably the least significant source of brain damage in just as much time. There was a ghost of movement there, the telegraph of self-defense or counter-attack, indellible instinct and new muscle memory conspiring to bloody Sonny's nose or box his throat in. It doesn't happen before he realizes Sonny's real intent, and it doesn't happen at all when things turn to questions and the gentle draw of gravity. By then, he has also been deprived of his luggage. He has no clear idea of what he just did: invoked a Catholic guilt trip, or somehow diverting the urge to break everything in the room — and the room itself — into a rational argument.

"You were an idiot." Cymbals crash in Teo's chest, barricaded by three layers of cloth and a hundred pounds of emotional armor; his eyes moves from Sonny's face to his bag, and back, then to nowhere. The look on Sonny's face hurts. "And a thief. Neither was convenient. I didn't fucking mind."

"A fucking idiot. A coward. Someone who doesn't know what the fuck to do with…whatever this is. You don't fit, Teo." That's not an accusation, rather it's an expression of frustration. He exhales and relaxes, bringing his entire weight to bear against the other. He clenches his fist and punches the wall, rattling another picture down the way. The fist unfolds and drops to cup the side of Teo face. He buries his own against the curve of his neck and draws in a sharp, shaking breath.

"Please don't go."

There is a tug of oddly unmarked skin on the point of Sonny's ear; Teo's throat moving, in spite of the lack of anything to say. Where physical and verbal aggression failed, he goes still now. He is uncomfortably aware that he smells at least faintly of someone else's soap. If Sonny were any better at arguments, he thinks, he would have seen the innumerable holes in the ones Teo had constructed. It's bleeding marbles.

Finally, the column beside Salvatore's head thrums words. "You don't mean that." His English has gone strangely stilted after the speed and fluency that anger gave him. "Shouldn't. That's more idiotic, not less. I'm— I am a slut," he points out, a lurching, faltering, club-footed confession that ends with a downward stoop of the dirty straw hair and profile in — away from Sonny's hand, only to bring his nose up to the other man's ludicrous treasury of curls.

Maybe. But all Sonny really registered is that Teo was yelling at him and he feels like he did something wrong. There's a reason he's a doctor and not a lawyer. If he'dve gone to law school, he would've learned how to argue.

There's a rough laugh. "And if I was half the slut I think I am, then we wouldn't have a problem." He makes a rough, low sound. "I don't know…" he leans away from Teo just enough so that he can snag an arm tightly around the other's waist. His right arm slings around the other Italian's neck. He squeezes fiercly, with almost painful tightness. As if he were some kind of human lifeline. "Stay."

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Sonny hears that voice telling him it's a bad idea. It's the same voice that yelled at him before this whole thing started and he ignored it then. He continues to ignore it now, even though proof of it being a bad idea stared him right in the face. Part of it is fear. Fear that any pain or distress their parting might have might cause Teo to be distracted or do something stupid when it comes to facing whatever it is he's about to face. He's angry at himself for being selfish, for complicating things when he knows there's something bigger than both of them that's about to happen. Everything they need to work out can be dealt with when this is all over, when they're both still alive.

Though it takes some courage, the doctor pulls back far enough so he can look Teo in the eye. He tilts his chin down and loosens the snare-hold. He looks guilty, though he's not even sure why. "Go put your stuff away," he murmurs, mouth barely forming the words.

When they're both still alive. Teo isn't sure how much of his recent behavior could honestly be a carpe diem reaction to the coming disaster or whether they were the accumulated refuse from previous ones of small but, selfishly, little less import. Getting his hands up isn't easy, but he's there eventually, another pair of awkward arms in the tangle of awkward arms.

His hands close on the sides of Sonny's face, fingers slotted through coal-black ringlets, thumbs running the bold lines of the man's brows with the grain of the hairs, down to the corners of his eyes. There's a question required for clarification here. He should simply ask. Words are, however, easy to give; to deceive with; require cognition, give room for thought, or second thoughts. Teo already knows the answer he wants and he leans forward to take it, tilting his head to slant mouth on mouth with insistent hunger that can not be characterized by the preservation of friendship.

Sonny would agree with the deceitful nature of words if they were having that conversation out loud - seeing as he just failed to use them to their intended effect.

Doctor Bianco may have many facial expressions he wears with regularity, but 'vulnerable' isn't really one of them. It's a dog eat dog eat political career and reputation world out there. The soft underbelly is usually guarded jealously. Said rare expression is the one Teo gets as he touches his hair, his eyebrows. He looks like he might want to say the same thing, but then action proves more powerful than words.

This whole thing might be a mistake, but few mistakes cause quite such an enjoyable reaction as that kiss. If there was any doubt whether or not Sonny's changed his mind, that should evaporate rather quickly with the strength and firmness of his reply and the full weight of his body once again pressed against the young Italian. His fingers flex and grab a handful of Teo's shirt, while the other hand rakes up his side, tugging up the side to seek contact with bare skin. He inhales entirely through his nose, leaving his mouth for more important things. Like sucking the air out of Teo's lungs, and his tongue with it.

That was pretty much it. The right answer. Teo is pleased with it, judging from the monosyllable that comes crawling out of his throat to match the scrabble of fingers up his skin. He arches like a cat under the caress, shoulder shoving away from the wall just far enough to yank the jacket off his shoulders and arms. It hits the floor behind his heels, a slithering clap of zipper and canvas weave at odds with the muted click of saliva and the frenetic abrasions of skin, mouths, hands, torso. He had been dressed for the day, Sonny still in the loose cottons and elastics of sleepwear.

Because of the disparity in clothing mass more than anything else, he lets layers of his clothes ride up and shed off first, eyelids cast down and casting a temporary illusion of passivity, allowing some vague equilibrium of available clothing to be achieved before he swallows enough air to blink the strange stars out and begins to haul off Sonny's shirt and slide his hands down the curve of his spine. Eighteen hours, give or take. As resolutions go—

Could be worse. They have excuses.

January 25th: Eurotrash
January 25th: Aftermath
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