Between Movements


helena_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Between Movements
Synopsis Helena calls on Teo, per Abby's advice. There is talk of what has been going on, and the merit of re-connecting.
Date January 1, 2010

Old Lucy's

When he found a voicemail about setting up a meeting, Teo had for whatever reason found himself angling his boots toward the bar, his thumb magically thumping a textual response. Disjointed logic rattles through his head. Haven't had dinner yet, anyway.

Fifteen minutes later, he's gone through one pintglass and is taking his time with a second, tucked into a booth in the corner which allows him to stare blankly at the doors and windows of the establishment with a little easier access granted to the back alley. By now, he's figured out how to drink and eat while gouting very little accidental excess out of the rip in his left cheek, which goes a long ways toward gaining confidence in eating and drinking in relatively public areas.

Still keeps his profile turned to the room, though, naturally. Vanity somehow coexists, if uncomfortably, alongside his penchant for shabby peacoats and jeans. Teo shakes his head when the waitress slides by.

Helena seem surprised to that the meeting was agreeable - as she told Abby while sitting with her in the Chinese restaurant, they'd said awful, awful things to each other, and she'd felt like - well, maybe it's best not to assume. After all, she's here, walking in the door. She starts looking around for him right away, wondering if he's changed so much she won't recognize him. Then, "Teo…"

It's hard for the name not to come out of her mouth without tracings of relief and earnest and hope, even if for the most part it is main flavors are uncertainty and caution.

"Buona sera." Teo lifts a hand, a gesture of invitation or mere assent, alotting her the segment of booth bench on the table opposite from him. He looks the same. Or— well, not the same as she'd seen him last, but recognizable enough, with the longer-haired shag that he tends to grow in when he's either preoccupied with other things or merely bracing for winter, though it's never been quite this long before. Stubble's threatening to develop into a full-fledged beard.

Scruffy, somewhat sleepy — or residually raw from insomnia past and coming, carefully veiled in shadow. There's a scab healing in the ring knuckle of his left hand. Teo's eyes flicker up briefly, angle back off into the nicotine-hazed patrons; he doesn't remember where that waitress went. "You want something to drink?"

Instinct involves flinging herself at him for an embrace, instinct is battered down with ferocity. She slides into the seat across from his. "Sure." she says, "I'll have a Red Stripe." She spends a few moments studying him, and then with a forehead wrinkled from concern, "Abby said you got hurt in Russia. I hope you're okay - that you'll be okay." Careful topics, for the moment. She's not sure if friendship is dead, or if this is something new, or the coda, or whatever happens between two movements.

Tousled and scraggly, Teo looks the furthest thing from intimidating, dangerous, toxically angry, and whatever else the atmokinetic's slight shrinking would lead one to suspect she had expected. On the other hand, he doesn't look as effusive and forwardly expectant as he tends to, either. Not exactly reaching across the table to get his fingers into the metaphorical work-work-work pies. Russia, it would seem, had taken a little energy out of him, if not his actual wellbeing.

The waitress is flagged down, asked for the beer in the same motion that Teo spends checking no one else is within earshot. His ability is handy for that. Not that anyone would take him seriously, overhearing: "I should be fine, assuming the world doesn't flood. Grazie. What can I do for you?"

An act between movements then. Possibly a coda. "Well, aside from wanting to know you were okay, Abby said you needed friends around you and - " she fiddles a touch with her fingers now, "There's something going on that she said you may be able to help with because of what you can do." She too, looks to check for earshot and then says quietly, "There's a person who's invading people's dreams and making them do things to themselves, or others. He got to me and Delilah at least once each. I almost took a walk off a rooftop, and Dee lost control of her ability."

"Holy fuck," Teo responds, always one for Eloquence. Though he'd never been an active participant in any of Delilah's ability-related misadventures, he's well-aware of what the girl is capable of, and walking off a roof is never a symptom of particular sanity, with no offense intended to Helena's ex-boyfriend or anything. In dreams? It's a quick deductive leap to arrive at the conclusion that she means all of these deeds were committed while those that did them were fast asleep. And thinking something awful.

'Are you sure?' seems like a rather trite and unhelpful response. He roughs a callused forefinger across his nose, swallows a nauseating pang of internal suspicion. He doesn't manage to think of anything to say before the waitress arrives again, sets the brown glass bottle down at Helena's hand with an obnoxiously cheery clink, and clicks away. Abigail's roommates tend to get only the best service. "Okay. I'll see what I can do.

"Probably can't be much though," he warns. "That isn't really my— specific area of expertise. More of a dabbler." Euphemism for being awful at it; Teo suspects that the ghost could have done more. "I'm not built like the— Ichihara store manager is."

"There's more to it, if you're willing to hear?" Helena says tentatively. "Hokuto Ichihara is the one spearheading the effort to stop him. But there are ways to go about it, apparently. There are rules, in dreams. I helps to know them. And the more of us who know what to do, the better, I think. Abby said it was important that I tell you."

Quizzical curiosity lifts through the Sicilian's brows. Rules, in dreams, tended to be more fluid and irregular than those of the corporeal world— he doesn't even have to be a particularly good dream manipulator to know that, but then again, any living being has patterns of behavior, habits and protocols that cohere into a personality, so it makes sense this murderous subliminal brainwasher would engender relatively reliable codes of conduct.

There's a nagging suspicion, also, that the style of his rules would shed a little light on what he is. Another motion of seawater eddies through Teo's long hand, a different invitation. "Shoot."

"A lot of this is probably going seem very Jungian," Helena admits, "But it starts with the idea that every mind has both a Shadow and a sort of um, Avatar. Like a patronus, I guess. Anyway. The Shadow is…everything ugly. Shame, secrets, parts about ourselves we don't like and are afraid of. The Nightmare Man - that's what he's called - likes to take those and use them in our dreams, in some kind of embodied form. The patronus, or the avatar, or whatever you want to call it - well, that's the opposite. As it turns out, I've made mine manifest before. Back in Moab. If people can learn to bring out theirs in their dreams, they have a chance of getting the Nightmare Man out of their heads. Hokuto has found a way to give me access to other people's dreams and help them. I suspect she is doing so with others as well."

What's a patronus? Teo momentarily casts through what he remembers from his psych and child development courses, but turns up nothing at all. All right. Never mind. He knows a little more about Shadows and Avatars, though he finds himself momentarily sidetracked, floundering to wonder if that isn't slightly oversimplified, or the Nightmare Man— the Nightmare Man— doesn't use people's Avatars against them, too. Some people do, for instance, like themselves a little too much.

Back in Moab. Those words remind him of Leonard with a jolt. He swallows hard on his next mouthful of beer, his fingers tightening around condensation-clouded glass. "Have you figured out who the Nightmare Man is, in terms of… legal identity and that shit?"

Helena only knows what she knows, sadly, as she understood when Hokuto explained it to her. That the Nightmare Man uses the Shadows, and it's the Avatars that can fend him off, if properly focused. "No idea." she admits. "The first time I spoke to Hokuto about it, she mentioned that Angela Petrelli had once fought him, but when I went to her, she made it clear that she didn't want to help. Or maybe that she didn't want to help me, I'm not sure." Helena shrugs. "The whole dream travel thing isn't without risk, either. Hostile minds can mess you right up. Telepathic minds can lock you in, and apparently being inside someone's mind when they die is a really bad idea, there's a good chance you die, too." See? There's rules.

"All true, as general rules," Teo agrees. "I tend to leave when death is imminent." Even when it's his own body. There was nothing more alien to this incarnation of Teodoro Laudani from his former self than the realization that his future-self, merry madman that he had been, had been as comfortable without his own sack of skin, muscle, bone, flesh as with it. No, he tends to be a little more hesitant to discard the thing he walks around in.

"It's good at that there are individual lines of defense against the Nightmare Man. I'll take a look around, see if I can't track the thing down for a conversation. I get some pretty lucid evenings. I'll try then and let you know," Teo answers. He runs his knuckles along the bristly underside of his jaw, reaches up to nudge his sleeve at the side of his mouth.

"Be careful if you do?" Of course it need be said. "Abby said she couldn't talk about Russia. Can you? I haven't heard from anyone, not even Cat." She takes a swallow of her beer finally, letting it wash down her throat and chill her body a little. She cants her head to the side, studies him. "Is there anything you need? Anything I can do for you?" It's a small something, maybe a start, maybe a reparation.

His head's canted, too. Off to the side. Concealment, but not out of really conscious intention. Teo's jaw sets evenly on the heel of his hand. "Vanguard came back." One beat, a radar ping fired out into the barroom. No one listening. Top-secret government business remains top-secret. "Volken's legacy, his Plan B for decimating the population enough for a reboot with his people at the top of the food chain. There was a government initiative.

"Cat and a few others have struck deals on behalf of themselves but a number of loved ones, too." Teodoro's eyes thin, a minute gesture at Helena herself, even as he reaches into his jacket to find his cigarette box. "In theory, if there's a world left to come back to when the operation's done, you'll be a free to walk the streets. Albeit preferably with a Registration card in your wallet. I just beat up some bad guys."

"Came back." Helena echoes. "Eileen, Ethan - whoever's left of their crew? Or was this like a whole new team? Volken…" she trails off, starts to ask about Peter, and stops. Subject change. "I was forcibly registered." Helena admits, and nods as well. "Abby mentioned the deal. Which I - if it happens, that would be great." She's a bit wary, a bit skeptical. "Why did you come back before everyone else? Because you were injured?"

A shrug seesaws through Teo's shoulders, which is not a Yes nor a No, preciiiiisely but something wedged into the space between. He did get injured. He has a hard time remembering how he felt before he had, though; doesn't think he'd really been thinking about it much, about what was going to happen after Russia. "They're just waiting for the next phase.

"I might go and wait with them awhile in a few weeks, but I think my part is done, you know? Wouldn't want to get underfoot. Not when their fucking destination is," Teo frames air with his hands, cigarette box snagged between fingers. "'Saving the world.' I like the world. You should drink that before it gets warm." He inclines his head at the beer before her.

Helena tilts the bottle in hand, she's at least had a swallow. She takes another, dutifully. "They'll succeed." she murmurs, because maybe saying it will help make it so, and if Volken's plan comes to be, well, she's likely not going to be alive for it to matter to her. "Would it bother you if I stopped by to see you and Abby a bit more?" She feels like she's grasping at conversational straws, now having gotten the give and take on the important stuff. That she can think of at this moment, anyway.

A quaver-beat. Teo starts to shake his head; doesn't. "Non. Though, if you're looking for something to keep yourself busy and connected in the face of all the psychic, social, and political bullshit drowning New York, I'd recommend the Summer Meadows project. Volunteer projects tend to be short on volunteers. And we'd probably owe the Ferry if they ever cared to count up our fuckin' debt." There's a dry note of self-deprecation there, instead of rancor.

The Sicilian starts to slide out of the booth, motioning with his smokes by way of explanation. Though there's a pause, hesitation setting down a stumbling block in his otherwise smooth exeunt. He glances up. Better light and the turn of his head divulge a vague curdling of scar into view. "And it's a good idea. To stay busy, and connected."

"It's taken awhile." she says. "Re-connecting. I'm working on it, promise." She doesn't say no to his suggestion, though. Short of bringing the right kind of snow, she hasn't had much to do with Summer Meadows. Which is rather odd, considering it's the kind of attempt at utopia she'd support. "Let me come with you." she says conversationally of his urge to go out and smoke. There's another long pull from her beer bottle, some cash left to cover it, and then if Teo doesn't object, there can be a hopefully comfortable silence as he smokes. Perhaps some small touches of conversation.

It's a start.

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