Bridesmaid and Best Man


f_deckard_icon.gif f_teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Bridesmaid and Best Man
Synopsis As the only standing witness to the Deckard wedding, Teo is presumably both.
Date April 17, 2019


Somewhere out of the way of the actual chapel and the actual bride and the actual priest and whatever else is actually necessary to have a wedding, Deckard is in an understated darkly decorated dressing room. He's also in a tuxedo. It's his — the same one he wore to the Gala, and probably every tuxedo-relevent event prior to that for the last three or four years, matte sable and tailored to long limbs and lean construction.

At current, the white flash of his dress shirt sleeves are unbuttoned beneath blacker cuffs, and his tie has been tied a little fumblingly at his collar, twitchy fingers failing to make certain minute adjustments here and there. Initially he was waiting for the booze to calm his nerves before he tried again. A glass and a half of whiskey later, his thoughts have had time to drift elsewhere. Both bottle and glass lay open next to the sink and before the mirror Deckard is squinting at himself in, blue eyes clear and mellow behind the cigar smoldering thick in the corner of his mouth. Weird day.

A face swivels into view over the austere angle of Deckard's suit-clad shoulder, small from the distance of the room's measurements. It is a familiar face, if one that has become gradually, gradually, less so over the course of the past decade. Teodoro Laudani's gotten a little older, but his tendency to shear his hair down close and his beard into nothing at all leaves him looking younger than he is.

Or that might just be the size of the grin on his face. Shit-eating humor, bright and scimitar sharp, that hearkens back to every legend you've ever heard about the wicked tribes of Sicily. Well, look at you. It's facetious, as is the leggy saunter that takes him over, in casual counterpoint to the acceleration of heartbeat that's been giving Teodoro's platonic facade lie for years, now. Chances are, Deckard doesn't even have to turn around and turn his eyes on anymore to know that it's there, that abrupt, awkward, adolescent rhythm that bewitches the constricting muscle in the hollow of Teo's chest whenever he sees his old friend.

His face says: Old, old friend. "I'll help you," he offers, holding up his callused hands as if he actually knows what to do with them.

He's in a suit, too. Not a tux. There was only so much he could crap together on fifteen minute notice.

Deckard's face hasn't changed much in the last ten years. Deeper lines here and there, no more brown to sully soot and steel, but overall, healthier living and multiple close encounters of the healing kind have allowed the age he is to catch up somewhat with the age he appears to be. The presence of a couple've days worth of fine salt and pepper stubble could probably stand to go given the occasion, but it may or may not be the middle of the night and there's really nobody here to care. Except, just as he's unplugging his cigar to take a longer sip from his glass, suddenly there is.

"Teo." He doesn't look or sound surprised, slate blue eyes adjusting over the few necessary degrees to meet the younger man's reflection. Unexpected, yes. Surprising? Not particularly. He even smiles slightly (very slightly) — a sliver of smug amusement masked into a shorter sip before the whiskey is abandoned for good. Which is probably for the best, considering. He already looks like he's fast approaching a balancing act in the way of not screwing this up for himself at the last second. Whiskey and cigar smoke are thick on his breath, even as he turns and lifts the cause of the latter out of the way to avoid unintentional burnination.

"Do I need help?"

"Si." Teo insinuates himself because he's still Teo, and maybe, maybe also because it is true. Closes the remaining space between door and mirror in somewhat more economic strides. There are hands in Deckard's collar, then, intercepting the trajectory of his rotation, abruptly and efficiently unknotting the length of silk, thumbing the creases and wrinkles smooth before he adjusts the proportions bent around the older man's neck. He is looking at what his hands are doing, but the mainstay of his attention is elsewhere.

Not like that. "Glass of water and a piss before you head out there, eh?" he says. It is not his inadvertently-daddying voice, which Deckard has heard before; nor is it his furtive-hopeful voice, which Deckard has crushed into disappointment with a heavy-browed scowl before. Teo is merely making fun. It's terribly commonplace.

"Mmm." Stogie prodded back into his mouth, Deckard lifts his chin and tolerates the work of Teo's fingers at his tie with a lazy kind of inebriated dignity that becomes him more than, say, running around crazy in the streets killing people for tips. "A breath mint probably wouldn't go amiss either," observed at a muffled and pragmatic remove, he manages to expel oily smoke from the corner of his mouth in such a way that it doesn't blow directly into Teo's eternally dumb puppy face.

"You the only one?" is asked with less difficulty once the tie is taken care of and he can lean back into the counter to start on his cuffs.

There's a faint stilting, a slowing in the navigation of Teo's hands as he invokes some power other than his eyes to verify his answer prior to delivery. "Yep." A quaver-beat. "Just me." An eighth. "Breath mint," he agrees also, repeating after Flint in habit oddly reminiscent of old patterns, except when they used to repeat after each other back then, it was in tacit criticism. A note of incredulity stuck in somewhere like a bramble barb. Not today.

No, today is explicitly reserved for bliss. Abigail's, more specifically, though she seems to be experiencing as 'complex' an interpretation of that sentiment as her fiancee is. "Who'd you expect?" The bow is complete. Symmetrical, firm, crisp as the final pull and parting flick of Teo's fingers can make it. He steps back, swivels his eyes toward the mirror to see whether or not his handiwork meshes with the rest of the composition, or if maybe he should give it a firm yank askew for consistency's sake, or something.

Heh heh. "The Grays? Ivanov?"

"Whoever she could get ahold of in the amount of time she disappeared for," delivered with dry affection, Deckard manages to get another smile onto his face in the space of five or so minutes that have gone by. For as sober and sane as he is, it could be a record.

The cigar is making it hard to talk, and as they don't have much time, he concedes to push it back down into a grip between his fingers that only serves to impede the progress of his cuff buttoning. "The Grays are busy fighting crime and whatever. Felix either gave up and is trying to find someone else's relationship to ruin or he's going to drop out of the ceiling on cables in the middle of the ceremony." Frghhh. He can't get the buttons done. Nevermind the cuff links in his pocket somewhere. "Here," directed with a forward lean, he extends a bony wrist from his rest against the counter, "do me."

It is kind of impossible to have any kind of fluency in English and not to recognize that double-entendre from Flint to known man who's fucked men. Teo twitches into a smile without moving the upper half of his face. He swivels his eyes parallel to the stretch of the old man's arm, acknowledges touche with a glance even as he reaches up with his fingers to do as requested. The dainty picks and nubs of silver slot in neatly, find themselves wedged tight by the deft ministrations of fingertips.

"Or whatever," Teo answers, far as the Grays go. Ivanov's thing with the thing makes him squint though, even as he places a hand atop Flint's forearm and pushes it down and out of his way as if it were the peg of a set of bellows. He tugs at the man's other arm instructively, stored silver winking in the hollow of his palm. "Little pinko the one driving you back to drink, then?" It isn't a guilt-trip. If he wanted to try a guilt-trip, he'd know to do it at a time when Deckard hadn't innoculated himself with the very same vice in question.

"He'd like to think so. I've set my sights a little higher. Ragnarok. The end of days. All that good stuff. —Thanks," tacked on once the first arm is pushed out of the way, he puffs out another heavy drag before his second wrist is available to receive the same treatment. He doesn't seem upset. He's not angry, or tense, or bitter. Maybe slightly, shadily depressed in the brood of his brow and the slow work of his jaw until he gives in and exhales, smoke painting its rank way out through his sinuses.

Then he belches. Quietly, granted, and with his free hand lifted in a fist to block the worst of the stank. Brows lifted at the taste, which roughly qualifies as 'awful,' he runs his tongue over his teeth and glances back at the sink. Maybe he should just go ahead and brush them. "He showed up a week or two ago and told Abigail I killed him."

There's no immediate change to Teodoro's outward demeanor as he fastens the other cuff shut with its tiny spark of jewelry. The world is ending some more, again. He remembers Flint doing this the other time too.

These droll thoughts are not to underplay the fact he thinks the likelihood of this Ragnarok panning out is high. Precogs have known to be wrong, but only if made so with considerable effort. Precogs have known to be aneurysm-inducing levels of symbolic, but whatever whistling, featureless void blackness is supposed to symbolize, it's probably nothing awesome good. Presently, Teo frowns. Pulls the man's arms together to check that the cuffs are folded to the same length, lets go.

"And Abby believed him, didn't she?" There's a marked note of wonder in his tone, asking that, and if he's aware that that is failing to pay proper recognition to the fact that Flint Deckard had murdered Felix Ivanov once, he doesn't let it on. Instead, Teo looks at the sink also, turning his head very slowly and precisely to do it.

"In her defense, it sounds like something I'd do." Teo's manhandling of his arms doesn't go entirely without resistance, but it's an automatic, familiar kind of stubborn dislike of being pushed around. The root of it resides deep in wiry muscle more than it has anything to do with what he's thinking, and odds are it's nothing personal. Especially with the lifted brow and twitch at the corner of his mouth that sketch after Teo's touche glance on a calculated delay.

He still thinks he's funny. At least that hasn't changed.

"She was…" both brows are up now. What's the word? Probably wise to be tactful on your wedding night. He swallows, looking full back at Teo now while the cigar roasts forgotten in the curl of his right hand. "She was fine with it. Granted, I might've gone thin on the details of related recreational activities, but." Suddenly reminded of the immorality that lies as hazy around the arrangement as smoke does around the disemboweled corpse of a smoke alarm overhead, Deckard glances sideways at his drink. After a few shoddy seconds, he puts the cigar back in his mouth instead. "Anyway." Anyway. This suddenly feels all awkward and serious. He sighs. "I'm glad you made it."

Teo is looking at himself in the mirror now and he just sees a man wearing a black shirt, slacks, jacket, shoes, socks. Funeral clothes, day clothes, wedding clothes, winter clothes. It takes him a few seconds to remember he was being vain, and he straightens, smooths the creases and fabric of his arms with long palms, drags his nails down his jaw to verify that there is no incipient stubble to be worried about, though he wouldn't have had enough time to shave anyway.

They're both going to stink like cigars at this point. For once, Abby will be too stricken by emotions to notice, but Teo feels obscurely bad about exploiting her in her moment of vulnerability.

"You only skimp on those because the whole truth would require actual emotional transparency. She'd be okay with it." Mostly, he means, the fact — or at least the ne'er-waning belief— that Flint never had been. Souls are like gold. Proved by touch, by purity and weakness. Which is pretty awkward and serious, and Teo makes a face at the air funneled by him when the old man sighs. He looks again. "Grazie. Me too. Would you brush your teeth, please?"

"I skimp because I'm not sure if it would be better if she was okay with some of the things I've done. In a relationship involving two already dubiously sane people I think certain lines are better left ambiguous." Particularly those involving the slaughter of innocent people for their organs. Cigar stubbed out against the metal brace of the sink drain after one last long drag, Deckard flips it carelessly into the nearest trash bin and stoops after his duffel bag.

Some hazy shuffling later, he manages to come up with the brush and the paste that goes with it, pale eyes gone blind to his own reflection in the mirror. And Teo's. Possibly intentionally, though he can still make out the tagging edge of one arm involved in the preening process when he reaches to turn the faucet on. "How long do you think we have?"

A shrug lifts through Teodoro's shoulders, sending a zig-zag sheen of wrinkled fabric across the top of his suit jacket. "'Til they leave. Something happens when they leave," he clarifies after a moment, blankly. "I don't know. Maybe the future slides back into focus. It's possible. I barely know jack and shit about temporal physics, but it's possible, if things fucked up because they came here, they might settle once they've gone.

"Arthur Petrelli doesn't want them to leave, and Peter always always listens to Arthur so that's one route back cut off. I don't know. If they're trapped here, we might be too." He misphrased, probably. Teo probably didn't mean to make their world's continued existence sound like a greater curse of decay than its implosion into pixellated black, negentropic nothing. He's faintly distracted, head turned slightly over his shoulder. Listening to something through somebody else, or watching. Wedding preparations, or Abigail in a mirror.

"You have trouble remembering what you were doing in the middle of 2009, don't you?"

Maybe the future slides back into focus. Maybe they're trapped here. In the bright future. Of brightness. Deckard can't quite keep a chuckle out of his rank breath while he squeezes toothpaste out across white bristles. It sparkles.

"I'm not a physicist either, but I think the odds are probably in your favor. Time travel seems like it would be easy to fuck up." And that's what Phoenix does best! The insult is silent, carried over in a glance from his chilly-eyed reflection that loses little of its resignation in the secondhand transfer. Fortunately further ragging is put off by the push of the toothbrush into his filthy mouth. He exchanges toothpaste for a convenient miniature bottle of scope with his free hand while he brushes, attention pushed firmly down after the warning label stripped across the back while the time between Teo's last question and the absence of an answer for it stretches conspicuously long. Then again, he really needed to brush his teeth, so.

He brushes.

The time eventually comes when he gives into the fact that Teo isn't going to mince off to fawn over Abigail, and he leans down to hawk out a hot glob of rancid blue foam without care for who might have to see. Or listen. Then he spits again and scrubs the back of his hand over his mouth. No towel.

"It was ten years ago. I was old then. I'm older now." Minds go, memories fade. It's a natural process.

Like Hell it is. Apparently either pleased or at least not compelled to go and interfere with whatever it was he was spying on, Teo leans back against the opposite wall. Meets Deckard's eyes in the mirror, without bothering to conceal that he had intended to do so. No need to be shy. "You're less crazy now," he points out, with the tact of a particularly mild-mannered and well-intended jackhammer.

He steers his fingers into his pants pockets, eases them in until the seams enclose all calluses and scar notches up to his wrists in warm black silk. He only moves his eyes to check that there are no unseemly blue stains on the cuffs of Deckard's sleeves now, before returning again. He notices the insult, of course, despite that Phoenix isn't his anymore; isn't anything anymore. He often perceives ones that aren't even there. Old predispositions like those and Flint Deckard are a difficult time dying.

Old, old Deckard.

"In my favor," he repeats. This time, the repetition does imply disagreement. Then, "You could send yourself a message in a bottle or some shit like that. It's not like you spend the words on anybody else."

"I'm also taking enough medication to mellow out a rhinoceros." Failed tact is fielded and returned in kind. So is ongoing eye contact in the mirror. There's even a tell-tale rattle from the interior of his bag to confirm once he's tossed his toothbrush back into it and reached to uncap his mouthwash. Some swishing and spitting later, he's about as minty and fresh as he's likely to get. The whiskey that remains in his glass is offered a little carelessly Teowards.

"Dear Flint, you might recognize this handwriting because it's yours. I'm in the future, just letting you know that if you can hang in there for another decade, Abigail might let you touch her tatas. P.S. You should start keeping a diary so that the conversation I'm having now is less awkward in your universe, if it ever happens. And Teo says 'hi.'"

The scope goes back into his bag with a twitch of unnecessary force.

The glass is taken and knocked back without pausing to check which segment of rim has been the least smudged by Deckard's mouth. It could be hot if it weren't kind of gross. Anyway, the whiskey goes down in an easy swallow, leaves Teodoro wincing only slightly in the burn of its epilogue. He drops the glass on the table, clink.

"That," he points out with an important wag of forefinger, "would give far lesser men hope."

It is not a strict requirement for the adjourning of this session that Flint concedes the point, but Teodoro seems convinced. He swivels his arm through the air, ends up folding his fingers into a pistol pointed toward the doorway, only a fraction of a second before an usher pokes his balding head through it and says, We're ready for you. Teo pulls the trigger. Nothing happens, except that the balding man goes away.

"I could talk to Felix. There might be enough time left that it'll matter," Teo says, leaning into a stride toward the door. He stops before making another, angles a look over his shoulder at first just to see what if Deckard is doing something else with that bag, though he then rotates himself all the way around the next moment. Reaches out to tug Flint's jacket shoulder straight, once-over him again, then twice, his eyes narrowed critically. He's been to a shitload of weddings over the last decade, so he has the qualification of experience at least. Surely. "I'd say 'Ciao.'"

The rest of the whiskey bottle is the last in. One last zzzziiip seals the deal, and Deckard is left without anything to occupy his hands. Until. Until Teo makes pistol fingers, and it occurs to him to reach under the lapel of his tuxedo coat to tug out the solid weight of the Saturday night special he picked up while Abby was busy suffering from verbal incontinence. It is both black and — well. Warm. Probably best that he remembered it out here, though.

More tugging is necessary as a result, both with his free hand and whatever hands Teo has to offer in the process of intercepting the revolver Deckard is pushing into them like he would a cell phone he'd forgotten to silence.

"The me of 2009 isn't going to want to wait a decade to be happy. The me of 2019 didn't want to wait that long." Voice dropped to a mutter to evade the ears of any other bald ushers that might be lingering, Deckard drags in a shivery breath and blinks hard. Passably sober. Possibly passably. "I don't care about Felix anymore. And thanks. Again. For…" being here and helping with the insanity thing and a list of whateverisms that he doesn't look overly inclined to go into while his eyes linger on Teo's shoulder rather than his face.

A decisive nod to himself later, he turns to trail baldy mcgee out into where he's supposed to be.

The hard part is over, Teo thinks, optimistically. Flint already popped the question. Now he's liquored up— not marijuana, so Abby probably won't feel too bad,, likely— and, uh, unarmed, and scared of something that's bigger and more brutal and awhile off, for now. Teo gathers the revolver, manages not to look too exasperated about that. Puts it away exactly where the old man told him not to, almost eleven years ago.

"I don't know about 2009, but you do look happy." This answer is delivered with the tone and shaded musculature of actual honesty, and the implication, also and perhaps more importantly, that Flint Deckard looks presentable, by the aesthetic standards of a sort of a gay man, albeit one who tends toward oversimplified monochrome and desert khakis rather than subscription to fashion trends. There are no blue on Flint's cuffs, his jacket hands straight, and his bowtie is as symmetrical as Clark Gable's teeth.

Four rooms down, Abby's done touching up her mascara for the eighth time. The stuff is never really waterproof. "Anytime."

Teo watches the man nod without response, and then follows when led, his shoes clicking crisply on the hallway two yards behind Deckard on his way to the altar, far away enough to see.

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