gabriel_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Carpentry
Synopsis Teo asks Gabriel for a favor or two, is granted perhaps one and a half and more than he's probably earned, lately.
Date June 23, 2010

Staten Island — The Old Dispensary: Garage

It's been a couple of days, since Gabriel's put the engine back in where it's meant to go, but so far, there has been a distinct lack of engine growls and exhaust fumes from the garage. The vehicle could be that fucked up, or Gabriel's power might not be what it was — more likely, assuming faith in his talents, he's taking his time. Crouched like a gargoyle over the engine, hood pushed up to expose the innards of the engine within. With a funnel in place, clear gasoline is gently tipped inside, and over there, waiting and ready, would be a new car battery.

Relatively new if not necessarily purchased with actual money or anything. Serviceable.

It's a hot day, and it doesn't get comfier within the baking garage. Sunlight comes streaming through grimy windows, and the whole place smells like— well. Car. Of oil and metal and the faded scent of something that might have caught on fire at one point. Gabriel will come in stinking of the same, eventually. Blue jeans are belted firmly at the waist, with a loose, age-stretched grey wife beater tugged over his torso, showing off the edges of a tree tattoo spread in black lines over his back where girls might have angel wings printed instead.

The other, older, only slightly more voluntary tattoo on his arm is half covered from the gloves that go far up his wrists. Setting down the container of fuel, he takes a step over towards the battery, hefting it up. The room is filled mostly with the sound of his movements, and the piercing whistling he's producing through pursed mouth, birdsong and tuneless, but thoughtful.

Teo enters the scene. He does not do so with particular effort to secrecy, but unobtrusive enough, a cigarette protruding from his teeth, lit and burning, a wind's current whorled into the ragged threading of his hair. There is an inscrutable brown stain notched into the shin of his left pant leg, and a scab healing on the side of his hand. Two guns on him, a knife, a lighter, wallet, and some sentiment lurking in the icy points of his eyes that sits on the border between apology and curiosity. Never a good sign.

"Want a beer?" His voice breaks the cadence of metal friction and whatever cognitions and preoccupations happened to be tick-tocking through Gabriel's head. By then, his voice is emanating from the lefthand side and slightly downward a few degrees, because the Sicilian is squatting. Just past the bumper, the gremlin to the gargoyle, one eyebrow eloquently lifted and his fingers monkeywrenched loosely around the necks of two dull green bottles. "It's from Germany. Hard-fuckin'-core. Kind of like the new ink."

That wasn't gay at all, surely. Staring up the back of Gabriel's riding sweater.

Rather than look up when Teo enters, Gabriel focuses on installing the battery — not a very lengthy process. Put the thing in the thing. Hook up other stuff, poke and prod until his instincts are telling him that it's fine, stop touching. In fact, from a stagnant standpoint, everything looks okay, but what remains wrong with it will sing better when it fails. Itching his nose with the back of his hand, Gabriel casts a distracted glance Teo-wards, a quick roaming look that ends with the offered German beer.
"Thanks, I think." About the ink. "It came with a power." Peeling his gloves off and casting them to the workbench he dragged on over at one stage, he then reaches to steal a bottle from Teo's hands as silent answer to the offer. Yes please.

In another life, Gabriel wasn't the type to sport any tattoos at all. Or try out the whole grease monkey thing by restoring sweet cars. Probably, becoming a serial killer was slightly more likely, considering such archetypes as Norman Bates and all. He doesn't need glasses to shove a battery in its place, though a bulky-framed pair do rest nearby, out of the way of car parts and potential accidents. "Can you turn on the ignition?" he asks, articulating the query almost as soon as he thinks of it.

Yes. Teodoro doesn't voice his answer aloud, though, he merely gets up, moves to cooperate, hitching the cigarette sideways in his mouth without using his hand. An ember jumps past his shirt collar and lands on his sleeve as he hauls the door open with a faint squeak of hinges. Ducks his head underneath the edge of the handsome vehicle's roof, slings a leg in, and settles one butt-cheek onto the seat. Something occurs discreet-fingered behind the steering wheel, theoretically nothing too mysterious. The engine clears its throat, an evacuating whoommm of particulates and hot air, trembling parts beneath Gabriel's hawkish eye and sending a sinosoidal ripple through the meniscus of his own beer.

It liiivesrrnnghk. It dies only because Teodoro turned it off, of course, fiddling the key off again.

"Can I ask you for a favor?"

Despite the obstruction of cigarette and the flaw of scar, Teodoro's voice comes through clearer than the layer of laminated windshield glass that has interposed itself between himself and the erstwhile serial-killer. A second, maybe a second and a half, too brief to hasten or compel an answer out of anything like 'manners,' which was probably the point, given the next instant he is grinds the key in again, reawakening the engine with a stirring whisper and then the same throaty hooooomm.

Gabriel's gaze only flicks up with edged tolerance when Teo kills the engine prematurely, silent and waiting and the Sicilian doesn't need to be told. Like trying to find a missing puzzle piece, Gabriel only watches as the engine growls back up again, slow to turn over but it does, in the end, like a deep-throated carnivore's rumble, and excitement trickles through his system with enough nonchalance for it not to show on the outside save for a self-satisfied smirk. It could be better — he's not finished — but he fixed it.

Peeling off the bottle cap with some edged metal tool, Gabriel's vague hand wave is supposed to indicate that Teo can twist the key back to silence again, turning his back momentarily as he paces away from the jag. On his shoulder blade, there's a small splotch that seems different to the rest of what parts of the tattoo is visible. Fading and a little smudged, it's still there, where someone!! drew a bird's silhouette settling on a branch in black marker.

"What kind of favour?"

Teodoro used to draw stuff on people he slept with until one of them got a high-caliber round through the brain. It is what comes to mind when his eye flits through the marred windshield and finds the diminutive creature landing geared on Gabriel's back, but it isn't what he decides to say. Why rain on a guy's parade, right? "I was wondering if you could make me a clone," he says, "so that when I find Elijah 'Doc' Carpenter, I can ask him to dub my brain into him.

"Not sure how to get my nose and tats in there and all that shit afterward, but— I'd prefer as close as a copy as possible." It is as if he thinks that an absence of intonation will short-circuit any melodrama inherent to that particular declaration, nonchalant, nearly neutral, like he would just as soon be fixing the snaggletoothed hinges in the dispensary's first set of bay doors or putting the kettle on. "It's pretty important. To me.

"I'm trying to bring them back." Finally, Teo pulls the cigarette out of his mouth, puts it out on the side of his boot. It's getting too hard to talk with the thing threatening to jump out between syllables and collide, combustably, with engine grease-slick, gas vapor, or whatever the fuck happens to be the streaky substances conspiring with sultry weather to make pedestrian fantasy out of Gabriel Grey in a wife-beater.

Teodoro gets out of the car, too, to finalize this announcement, his arm over the top of the driver's door, beer swinging in fingers, heroic posture, close-up, which hopefully the former serial-killer is going to turn around and appreciate any moment now. Or at least to take the car keys that Teo is going to be lobbing at his back.

He does, turn around. After a slightly aborted sip of beer, head bobbing to follow the abrupt departure before he twists enough to cast a fish-eyed stare back at Teo beneath a slightly more expressive brow, thick lines making curving paths to communicate a certain amount of wha? or similar. The keys make a silvery arc through the air, distracting Gabriel for long enough to awkwardly catching in his right hand, smarting his palm before slipped into a pocket.

Ideally, he'd like to say how he can't do that, but— the little god-given computer in his brain is already putting it together, running over what abilities he has and doing the math after an unconscious once over given to Teo. They are of similar heights and builds, even. It wouldn't be too diffic—
"You really want me to make another copy of me? I'm having a hard enough time trying to keep track of the ones in existence. Besides, they're gone." Vanished into thin air, says Gabriel's tone, meaning: the other Teos. His tone also says he's not entirely hundred percent on that — it's been more than a year, since he was trapped in Teo's head like a reptilian voiced genie in a bottle.

Trust Gabriel's ego to be the most supportive function in the equation of baby duck's life ambitions. Common sense and self-preservation are rather cruel subtractors. Detractors. Whatevers. Sicily scratches at the back of his own neck, considering the pluses and numbers involved, which ones to draw circles around. "More like I want to make a copy of me," he says, "into a copy of you, so he'd be easier to track, I think. I mean, I'm Teodoro Laudani.

"Not exactly hard to follow." He is not entirely sure what he bases this particular summation off of. Frinkle-baby's pathological white-knightism, possibly, or the ghost's faithful if rather chaotically violent and elliptical approach to seeing his little cause through. Or maybe his own penchant for, how had Raith said it? 'Bookish dismissiveness.' The remnant, go figure. Pack of carnivorous still-criminals fucking around drinking beer in a garage together between objective murders. Allegiances necessarily make a man more predictable.

Or so goes the thought and the appearance, which can naturally be deceiving! While they're being frank together, though. "You heard of the 'Doc?' He was one of White's stoogies, evolved, ex-con. Clones and imprints human consciousnesses. I'm not sure how I'd need to time it or anything— I haven't been able to find him through the Ferry circuit. And I'd imagine your clone would be born knowing the plan and put up a fight." More minuses. Only coincidentally making room for Gabriel to solve for n, surely. A coincidence of vocabulary.

Coincidentally also: Teo isn't drinking much more of his beer.

Whrrr goes the little computer, fan fully functional and processor always the latest in upgrade, and Gabriel brings a hand up to knuckle at his brow in silence as he thinks. The doggish line of his jaw his tense and closed, eyes wandering, before he sets the beer down onto stained wooden work bench, just next to where he put down his glasses. "Given time and the right sedatives, they can be more— obedient after they open their eyes," he admits, with a shrug enough to swing his arms a fraction. "In theory.

"I can't do the scars and tattoos. Except maybe manually," is possibly meant to be humourous, even if it's delivered without a smile and spoken in a tone of wry sarcasm that Gabriel pretty much always speaks in anyway. And everything sounds partially like a threat, with his brown eyes catching their gaze on the Nike tick of scarring lacing up Teo's face.

His chin goes up in a quick nod towards him. "What happens to Ghost? He and I didn't exactly get along." If Ghost got along with anyone.

"I guess that's up to him, you, and the other people around him," Teo answers, after a few seconds taken out of the timeline to think. Of course, taking time out of the line doesn't mean other people don't notice the awkwardly ponderous pregnancies of silence. He drops into a crouch rather suddenly, just outside the driver's door of the car, still ajar, squatting on concrete, beer in hand, looking all the world like a junkyard urchin. Maybe a foot taller than the classic Dickensian archetype, and a little bit smarter. "I think he'll have learned some shit from… from— the past few months. I can't take what I did away from him, like I couldn't forget he's been a piece of me.

"He could probably have used some horse tranquilizers or something, while we're on the subject." They had been. Kind of. Teodoro isn't sure what to make of the probability that an in-vitro application of mood-altering chemicals could make any version or template of himself more docile, or obedient, or what that would mean after the Doc's dub. He doesn't even know where the Doc is. "Too bad it doesn't really work that way. I don't think it'd germinate him another body, when I go and get those one—" he points at his own head, "rewound through effects, or he could probably use a little marking-up. I know you were being funny."

He says that last line like he really does believe in it. That he'd been joking. It's the kind of a joke that's a joke because it isn't joking around at all. Of course, Gabriel has done a great deal more than put a couple more keloids on another bad man before. There is nothing inherently facetious about that, and something about Teodoro, maybe just the fact that he isn't actually mentally retarded, implies that he doesn't think that Gabriel wouldn't if he should.

"Did he really piss you off?" he asks, looking up. "I know you saved us, in the end."

Gabriel raises an eyebrow, gaze swooping downwards simultaneously to convey a certain amount of ambivelance or consideration, or both. In contrast to Teo's comfortable squat on the ground, Gabriel remains long limbed and stiff backed, thumbs catching in the loops at his jeans and heel scuffing on ground. "I wanted to save Teo," he admits, after his own lengthy pause. "The one that came before. But I don't mind how it worked out."

Which is almost a compliment, could have more depth if Gabriel looked at him. "Ghost didn't seem like a real person. Some— malevolent projected imitation when his body died, like Kazimir. Not really sentient. I knew better when I got in your head, but by then— " His mouth twists into half a smile. "Teo was a friend. He used that, the things Teo knew and the things he went on to know, to try and hurt me. Fair game but I don't make many friends.

"So I don't understand why you want to bring him back."

Tink-tink. Teo lifts his bottle o' beer and puts it down again, miniscule taps on the concrete, fidgeting ripples the like of which gauged Tyrannosaurus' strides across the motion picture, once upon a time. HIs eyes are blank with thought, which might look a little less disingenuous than a trained stare, blinking, occasionally bunched into a smile would have been. "Well the little one was okay, right? The psychotic jackass had a few things in common with him. One became the other.

"Then decided he was going to do something better than that. They're the ones that this meat-sack belonged to, and they're the ones who… want it back. A life the kid didn't live, the death the older one never died. All the shit they were going to do in this world, all the love they'dve made and the… the battlefields they were going to claim— that I never will, because I'm too preoccupied with the notion that it isn't mine. And I shouldn't have to carry it around.

"I know how that sounds. Sometimes it does feel like I'm just taking the excuse to be an irresponsible asshole. I'm going to have a kid, you know? But he doesn't feel like he's mine, 'cause the toolbag, Ghost, he had one too. Same mother… it's like that. Every other little action I take feels like it's carrying momentum from something the other ones started. I can't shake it, or the feeling I can't be the one to finish what those two fuckers started." He splays his hand on the side of his head, feels what seems to be his brain pounding through the wall of his scalp and the thickness of his hair, the thin patina of bottle condensation.

You on the other hand never seem to suffer an instant's existential doubt, no matter how many people— he doesn't say that. Kind of wants to. Instead, he clears his throat and admits, "I don't know how to explain it, exactly. For some reason, I feel like your clones could say it better, or like you already know because you're… you're— Gabriel Prime."

Gabriel thinks Teo should be able to shake it, says the knot his brow's turned into and his static silence, but— can't argue with can't. Not won't or doesn't know how, just can't, and that's something he can relate to. He doesn't ask, so what happens to Teo?, because sure, a guy deserves to live the life he started carving for himself, and there's something profoundly disturbing about this lookalike speaking of him like a separate being, one with even less of a voice.

Mistake. "I see," he gravels, and he just might, too. He's turned side on to Teo by now, facing his work bench and picking up his beer bottle. For all that the table is more of a plank of wood, chipped and stained and scratched and abused, his hand smooths over where a circle of water has gathered, brushing it away with unconscious annoyance.

The beer gutters in the glass neck as he takes a pull from it, lips curling in when he's done. "It takes a couple of days," he explains, at a mutter. "So you'll have to let me know ahead of time. And how many you want."

Teo, at least, remains cognizant of Gabriel's wrinkles of discomfiture. They are kind of charming. He smoothes his palm on the side of his own neck, his palms grating the fuzz of his beard until it loses momentum somewhere around the notch of his Adam's apple. "Just the one. I mean, I don't think there'd be anything wrong with it. One is all I need. I have one last lead for getting the Doc, and once I've figured it out, I'll let you know. Grazie, Gabriel. Really." Relief knifing around behind the mobile canvas of his face. "This means a lot. More than I can…"

At this point, the average protagonist will have trailed off in consternation upon realizing the size of the debt that this favor will have cost him. Teo crabbing around no the floor, inhaling airborne particulate motor oil, on the other hand, apparently fails to make that logical leap. Instead, he discounts his own ego and is obviously, obviously guessing privately at why the older man is doing this at all. It is legible in the upward blink of his pallid eyes, the wondering twitch of his brow, inchoate sentimentality concaving the his cheeks, both the one with the puckered rift and the whole one. It is nice that he hasn't lost the ability to wonder, even if it's nothing that Walt Disney would have appreciated.

It occurs to him that Gabriel expects him to ask anyway. "Why?" That question, at least, Teo can own. He thinks he can.

Gabriel watches the visible manifestations of Teo's relief out the veriest corner of his eye, nose wrinkling a little before smoothing out again. There's a restless twitch of his shoulders when that question is asked, pulling them inwards and taking a breath that raises his torso on his spine. "Because you asked, and I can," is an obvious one, turning now to lean a hip on the work bench, the glass bottle on his hand taking on a pendulous and contemplative swing from his careful fingertips.

It could probably be as simple as that. Might be, fundamentally, beneath overtures of friendship and duty. It might be the case that these things are more important. "Or I get having pieces of yourself and carving one from the rest. I'm willing to wait and see," he says, a glimmer of a smirk beneath ever shark-blank eyes as he raises up his beer to swig from, "if it works for you."

It didn't for him, is the implication, and his gaze flits away as he takes a nearly finishing pull of beer, sets the glass down with a clunk.

Can, therefore do. Italy can get behind that. Italy is unsurprised to hear that there's more to it, though, and listens to this feeling a little apart from himself but rather close to the cogs and wheels of those remarks. It is always interesting to see somebody dissect themselves. Obscurely, he remembers that this gift is not one that Gabriel's ability gave him. It came later. It was probably the younger version of him, the self-flagellating Catholic boy who'd noticed it first, tried to draw arrows and Venn circles between himself and Peter, to get him to come to Moab. That feels like a very, very long time ago.

He is not altogether certain whether it's a comedown or an upgrade, that Gabriel has since deigned to peer into the anatomy of his psychic construction. He likes to think the latter, though. He has seen Gabriel and Eileen clinched white-fingered and tight-voiced in the quiet dust of the old dispensary a couple times, memory preserved in a self-regenerating microcosm of idealization and mmmostly-undirty keepsake. He had recognized that as empathy, that one might as well call love. "Works for me." Belatedly, Teodoro takes a pull from his beer as well and gets up, creaking like an old man, an audible pop in his left knee as he goes. "I, uh, wouldn't suppose—"

Leapfrog, combination jump, pacing the hurdle. Teo pauses, bringing his train of thought into the station at a more sedentary roll. "While you're in a carpentary mood, you've been tracking Abby's new situation?"

His eyebrows go up at that diversion, and down again quite swiftly in peripheral annoyance. Fingernails find fractures in the wood to dig into, and a shrug makes his bared shoulders twitch. "She called me," Gabriel admits, although his tone doesn't convey any real degee of admittance. His gaze tracks back down to the table, chin remaining up. "About her power, the new one. She's got it in her head that I can help her — a lot of people make that mistake. That's about all the tracking I've been doing."

The fact that he never returned her call is probably— inferred, to a degree, if Teo has enough interest in the subject, already figured as much, or can read the weird version of guilt for things left unfinished or untouched in the way Gabriel pronounces his words and the adolescent sneer around the mouth. And if all that wasn't enough; "I've been busy."

"It's a pretty cool ability to have," is Teodoro's first point, shrugging with elaborate nonchalance, all the way down to his elbows. "And a lot of headache, heartache, and maybe first degree injuries on Eileen's part saved if Abby doesn't accidentally take out a block that happens to have a Ferrymen safehouse right in the middle. They do bat for the same team, and I don't even mean about sexual orientation.

"Obviously I'm referring to the possibility of your empathic duplication and mastery of psychic control, rather than…"

Oh, look, Sicily thinks he's being cute now. He draws a forefinger across his own forehead and gurgles the sound effect: gggkkk, of bone and muscle slipping open around the inquest of Gabriel's favored implement, of halves sloughing apart. He doesn't laugh, though. He's smiling, the kind that fails to crinkle the clarity in a man's eyes. "But I sure as fuck can't argue with busy, 'specially with everything else. That word ain't no joke in this house, these days."

"When I copy a power empathically, I'm about as useless as the one who got it in the first place," Gabriel states, although, like before, there is some reserve in his voice, some errant confidence that he'd still be way better at controlling powers than the original haver, but his tone is still honest. "The only guarantee of being able to know it completely is if I break open their skull and take a better look, and lately I've been really into shortcuts." One last down of the beer, teeth showing as the bitter, frothy taste makes his tongue tingle and stomach turn over a little.

The empty glass bottle is set down, gleaming green, his shoulders rolling back. "Eileen is sick and I have to go blow up things for Messiah soon. But I can give her a call if I change my mind." These words stated flatly, in a final kind of sense.

Flat and final are acceptable presentations for the answer to this, and Teodoro can accept them with about as much grace as he is capable of. Which is tons of grace, let me tell you. He steps forward to pick up the empty bottle, get it out of Gabriel's way so that it won't fall and break and minefield pointy tearing pices of glass everywhere, or worse still, leave a ring-shaped mark of residue on the floor of his workspace. "Great. Really— grazie.

"She'd understand." Tacitly, Teodoro already does. He squeezes the bottleneck of his own drink into the crease of his palm, idly enjoying the odd vacuum seal that closes up between the two surfaces. He turns his head to look at the Jaguar. Its surface is still dust-marked and stippled by the friction of hands, tools, cloths, but knowing that there's a working engine in that thing, a live battery, the circuitry and connections required to make it Go changes it from an inert and useless dinosaur fossil to an automotive accomplishment of impressive scope. He had already said Thank you.

That leaves Good-bye and I'll get out of your hair, Do you want me to get Eileen? Want another beer? I really owe you. Sorry, I didn't mean to ask you for like five favors in a day, I don't deserve a friend like you. What emerges from his lopsided mouth, instead, is: "Should I get the orbital car buffer, or 's there still other shit you have to do inside that thing?"

Gabriel's attention is dragged back to the automobile awaiting more attention. Through the wilds of Staten Island is not terrain one would want to drive a classic Jaguar, but he'll look forward to it anyway. The last time he had any kind of sportscar was the one he stole on his way from a plane crash, left to turn over into a ditch somewhere in the Greenbelt, and pray that a similar fate does not befall this one. The corners of his mouth curl up in a subtle smile at what he hears to be tacit praise.

"Not yet," he denies the offer. "But thanks for the beer." Goodbye is communicated in Gabriel simply reapproaching the levered open hood, a hand coming to rest up on its lip and showing the nape of his neck to both room and Teo as his head ducks in to study the metal innards of the vehicle and maybe pick out where it had rattled wrongly upon start up.

Descends into a quiet crouch a moment later, hands reaching.

Teodoro takes a hint. Parses that with correct translation, does not propose to bring another drink. Instead, he watches the other man for a long moment, hooked over the lip of the Jaguar like the Reepicheep of annelids flirting with death at salmon-maw, but nothing cartoonish. Merely impressive. Teo knows a lot about machines, languages, and other things, but he'll never have as much fluency in anything, he thinks, as Gabriel will have in the inherent mechanics of every fuckin' thing.

Other worms merely crawl retreat. And survive being divided into two, and may be secure in the knowledge that he wasn't about to accomplish anything more or greater with any other course of life, anyway. Teo salutes backward with a bottle, not expecting the other man to see. A faint creak of door hinges pricks at the back of Gabriel's scalp, behind the ears, and then the aspiring mechanic is left alone.

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