By The Way


deckard_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title By The Way
Synopsis Post-meeting, Deckard informs Teo that the bogeyman reoccurred in his life and wants to talk to Helena, Or Else, effectively proving that no news is occasionally good news while reaffirming that any news he has to share is almost always terrible news. Depressing speculation about coups, probabilities, and the possibility of an inevitable future follows.
Date January 13, 2008

Outside a Safehouse

Deckard is not so much a hooligan as he is apparently doing his best impression of a homeless guy trying to get a job in a bank somewhere. He's quiet on the way down the hallway, all the way to the back door, where his overcoat, cap, and gloves are all still tossed over a chair where he left them on his way in. The coat is shrugged stiffly on first, the cap is pulled down, the gloves tugged into place. Then it's out into the cold. It's a little like being slapped in the face with a cold piece of ham, if the ham had nails in it.

"I'm not sleeping in the safehouse anymore," is the first thing he says, but probably not what prompted him to focus on the chair in his earlier address. The last bit of warm air held in his lungs is forced out into a cough when it meets the cold, and he nods out away from the house to walk…where? Wherever. They don't have to go far.

For the Mediterranean kid's part, he's steadfastly refraining from speaking or breathing much precisely because of the cold, taking his time acclimating to the steep fall in temperature after he parts ways with the doorway's rectangular shadow.

This means he stamps his feet once, scowling down at the skewed footprint his big blunt boot smears onto the powdered ground, and feels the force channel up through his own leg instead of the frozen earth with barely a scuffle of impact. Unsatisfactory. He looks up, scrubbing gloved palms along the angles of his own cheekbones, jaw, ears, exhaling a slow plume of breath turned white with winter, unsure if pain or numbness is preferable.

'Not far' suits him. They're out in 'wherever' already. "Okay," Teo says, first. "Why?" he asks, second.

"Ethan found me." Deckard's gotten a little easier to find, recently. Being obstinate about maintaining the mess of his face has probably made him easier to tag at a distance. Not to mention the scruff and the…hanging around familiar strip joints. After a moments open-mouthed consideration, he decides not to go into the way it happened.

"I shouldn't have even come here. I don't know if he's having me followed." That part comes out as more of a disclaimer than anything, followed by another hazy hesitation. Deckard glances back at the safehouse, maybe at Christian and Minea's skeletons muttering about him, jaw slung briefly over into an uncomfortable sideways set.

At this, Teo looks discomfited where he probably should have looked dismayed. Unhelpfully, he darts a furtive glance about the street and its thin traffic, to and fro, a new shadow weighting his brow. Obviously, if they were being followed by one of Ethan's men who intends to shoot him in the face, that isn't going to help his situation much, but— whether because of other knowledge or deeper faith in the competence of Feds than, arguably, their past performance has warranted, he's not about to fling himself down through the doorway again and shriek to abandon house.

He just looks, and then looks back at Flint. "Thanks for letting me know," he says, drolly and expectant. Could have done at a more timely fashion, but either Teo's taking his suicidal streak for a jog or being more inscrutable than normal for other reasons. "Are you okay, vecchio?"

A vague tip of Deckard's head is followed by a twitch in his shoulder, together constituting the ghost of a shrug. Could be worse. He's hard-pressed to draw his attention back off of the house again, and even less inclined to look at Teo. His spine is stiff and his head is stooped, tired, or just persistently avoidant. "He wants to talk to Dean." A scuffing gesture at the back of his head pulls the cap down another inch or so over dusty grey. "He said a lot of people were going to die if she refuses."

Breathe in, breathe out. Noticing the pallor of his breath dissipating the longer he's out here, Teo reaches into his jacket— same as he had done five photographs ago, though this time it's a box of cigarettes he summons out, a cheap lighter. Ethan Holden warrants at least that much of a reaction, if you've had the sort of acquaintance that the Italian kid has had, with him.

It's not very funny, how much of a difference one or two more dead and tortured girls weigh on the conscience. "That kind of sounds like him," he decides, extinguishing the tiny flame after his first drag. Palmed in the hollow of his hand, he shuffles the lighter back into the recesses of his jacket. "Do you have his number?"

"He said he'd be in contact." Something that was going to get added on there…doesn't. Deckard is being careful — a departure from his usual delivery notable for the fact that he actually takes time to think about the words that pop into his head before he spits them out, gristle and all. "But that's enough of the terrorists I know personally using me for their own gain that I think I'm down to Kazimir, Sylar and the police at this point. So."

As far as personal threatdowns go, that actually isn't too bad for him. Considering. "He didn't mention anything about the other coup. Good for us if he doesn't know about it and he's independently launching one of his own. Bad for us if he doesn't know and it's an ironic trick. Bad for us if he does know and he's trying to figure out who's passing notes under the door. Bad for us if he knows and is just trying to take advantage of whatever trust he thinks you have for them." Lots of potential bad, as told to the frozen ground and Teo's damp boots.

Smoke tendrils up out of Teo's nose and stings his eye when he peers downward to follow the older man's line of sight to his boot. Nothing there to see. Maybe. Maybe there is: Deckard would be the one to refer to on that, he knows, though that isn't the reason he's looking downward. He lacks good reason for doing so.

"Do you think it's good or bad for us if he thinks we're stupid enough to trust any of his people enough for him to leverage?" he asks, a little blankly. Rhetorical question.

Teo grunts. Rocking his skull back upright, he pulls the cigarette out of his lips and scrapes a forearm over his eye, blinking once, twice. "We have teleporters. We could hide you again. It wouldn't be a problem." If Teo were capable of looking heartless, that might have seemed so: Deckard had mentioned the threat recently enough. He doesn't, though. His expression is subtly, sub-consciously shuttered, straight-faced, the grim simplicity of a trapeze artist.

Left foot, right foot. 'Kill a lot of people' is a stupid threat for Ethan to make. Hana rolled her eyes at the thirteen casualties plus potted fern at a bank, once.

"Two independent disruptions seems a little flagrant for a bluff." The idea of the Vanguard thinking Phoenix is stupid enough to need two possible white flags to get its attention is almost worthy of a laugh. Almost. Deckard breathes out something that might qualify in warmer weather. In this wind, it's just a dissolute rasp at the younger group's expense. "I think something's wrong. Assuming psychopaths don't get cold feet, now that it's crunch time, Kazimir could be having problems with employee satisfaction."

The offer of a teleporter inspires little more than a reticent shake of his head, as if Teo had offered a Tylenol instead of another get out of jail free card. "It doesn't matter." Judging that the sound of that might be more fatalistic than he might have intended, Deckard shrugs the one shoulder again. "I go out. They'll find me, and we'll talk or I'll run away until I trip and it will just have been more wasted energy. Do you think she'll meet with him?"

Over Teo's dead body, maybe. "I think she'd talk to him," he hazards to guess, finally. His face acquires a few new lines as he scrunches it up around his cigarette, apparently finally tiring of the clumsy patina of sensory deprivation the cold has laid into his skin. "I think you're right.

"You heard the figures. Ninety percent of the world population. It's might be kind of a… leap, but based on the progression from the initial newspaper headlines to this new information, it seems like Volken's target population jumped from 'only' the Evolved to something a little less discriminate. I can see why one of his non-Evolved lieutenants could take issue with that." And there's that whole thing with Eileen.

Abducting the other team's mascot was a pretty low thing for Phoenix to do, but maybe not as grievous an insult as the other guys' headmaster lighting the thing on fire in the assembly hall. Not something Teo's about to get into. Instead, in short, "Infighting. You think that's exploitable?" Teleporters, hiding— those topics are set aside for now.

"I think it's a possibility you should seriously consider when at least two of them are willing to not kill me long enough to request favors. Assuming that's what they are." And not mean tricks. A sigh furls warm through the older man's sinuses. It's frustrating how valid that is as a possibility.

"Especially given that you're desperate enough to ask feds for help. Or me. Where did the pictures come from?" The change in subjects is chased by a sideways look that is, at least, more direct than any of the other looks he's given him so far.

The younger man bares his teeth, a brief flare of a rictus that probably shouldn't be mistaken for a smile. Teo refrains from raising his voice, but he chances the momentary drama, because it's relevant, and it still makes him want to break things with his forehead: "Feds didn't kill my fucking kids." The look that accompanies is also more direct than the other ones Teo's given Deckard in the past forty five minutes.

It's gone the next moment. He squints at the skyline, then higher into the sky. "The future. Somebody's future self sending shit back to the present self. I don't think time-travel's in his actual spectrum of abilities, so I'm not sure who the messenger was." There's a quaver-beat's pause.

Perhaps spurred by nicotine, his train of thought zags before it zigs, back to where they'd started, thoughtful. "When we were talking with Abby, you suggested leaving them alone. Ethan's guys, I mean. You said— something like, if they're throwing a coup, they're better at that than we are anyway. Leave them to it. Why do you think different, now?" Honest curiosity makes Teo's baby blues bigger than a squint. It might not have been desperation that compelled him to ask Deckard for help.

The way he's talking, it's like he thinks Flint is smart.

"They didn't do anything to stop it, either." Not that he did. Then again, stopping people from killing kids isn't in his job description any more than helping people kill them is. As he has a fair amount of hatred for the government and all employed by it lately, eye contact is not difficult to maintain while they're butting heads over it. But there's plenty of crap to worry about. Deckard breaks off first, jaw working visibly under grizzled stubble against the impulse to keep digging.

"So, what you're saying is that — for all you know — it could be Kazimir who sent them." That's a cheerful thought. Eye contact has returned inevitably to scrape out any indication that it's a possibility, so far as Teo is concerned. "The first guy specifically told me to keep it on the down low, I'm assuming so that you don't blow their cover. The second guy is opting for a more direct approach. Neither of them mentioned each other. Nothing is different. I'm just doing what they ask."

Like most terrorists, Teo feels better when people trust him more than he trusts them. Fortunately for most people, he doesn't tend to want to fuck them over. Unfortunately for himself, ninety-nine percent of the time, he has absolutely no way of knowing where that balance hangs. As Deckard speaks, he lapses in and out of a brooding posture and expression, pensive in that unironic and breathless, staring off into some oil canvas horizon or Flint's face, alternating. Ffff.

He is beginning to hate this job. "We verified the identity of the present day recipient and there happened to be accompanying math notes — equations of probability — that Volken couldn't have wrapped his head around. And it's held up so far. Been consistent with reality." Teo frowns, then inverts that into a smile, both expressions small on his face. Fuck. "You're right. Could've been Kazimir."

Possibility noted. Cheerful thoughts, all. Teo's eyes blink duller from the intrusion of orange hue from the setting sun. "Nothing is different." It makes more sense when you say it out loud. Unnecessarily, he taps ash off the cigarette that the wind was already shortening down for him. "They would've tried," he says — insists, really, without looking at Deckard. For that moment, he resembles a stubborn child. If asked, he couldn't say why.

He hates cops, too. "I'll ask signorina Dean to give Ethan an audience."

"Thank you." Why thank you and not just, okay? Deckard fails to elaborate or explain, as he often does. His own eyes are colorless against the warm light, dead grey in their trace over Teo's. Telepathy would be a useful ability to have. Probably in everyone's best interest that his voyeurism is limited to purely physical offenses and invasions of privacy, anyway.

"There's also the possibility that none of this matters, because whatever happened in this future version of the world happened even after…the future of that…future sent back the photographs. If there's only one earth and only one me and only one you," Deckard lifts a brow, happy dialogue drifting soft in the instant before it's taken by the wind, "it's basically just a polite heads up to let us know how fucked we all are."

There's a moment of silence on Flint's part there. It seems deserving of such. Then: "I'm going to go get drunk. I'll call you if Ethan comes knocking."

'Thank you' warrants squinty consideration, but Teo is bad at prying sometimes. The pessimism, he expected. Understands. Sympathizes with, up to an extent. He inclines his head in acknowledgment, salutation, or both. Stupidly, he adds, "Stay out of trouble, Deckard."

January 13th: Muster II
January 13th: In the Shadows of Angels' Wings
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License