Casual Solace


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Scene Title Casual Solace
Synopsis Eve returns from her hiatus and catches up on recent events with Teodoro at PARIAH's new base.
Date October 25, 2008

New York Public Library

It took Teo half an hour sitting with his books to realize that he wasn't in the mood to study, and fifteen minutes running through the ruins of Midtown to realize he really wasn't feeling that, either.

An hour later, he edged around the rad zone and pulled into the Public Library with a backpack full of tools and wrapped parts he would use to construct a detonator. Probably, he thinks, he'll be in the mood to do that. At the very least, he's taken to PARIAH's new home pretty comfortably over the past week, between crawling around the grungy iron viscera of its plumbing and wiring the generator up, the basement full of military-grade weapons and plastique explosives. It's a good place. He always finds it easier to concentrate at a library.

The sun's just set as he stops by the carved lions that stand sentinel in front of the derelict establishment. As daylight fades, the statues stand chiaroscuro against an inverted sky, the clouds blanching pale against the darkening firmament. Slinging bag over shoulder, he pulls out a pack of cigarettes, half of them already gone. Shakes one into his teeth before pulling his lighter out. The metal wheel kicks futilely once, twice, before a diminutive tongue of flame licks out. Although he's normally a social smoker and nothing more, he hasn't been feeling that the past few days. Normal.

It is a particularly silent night in the area of PARIAH's new HQ. The silence is broken as a 1967 Ford Mustang with red racing strips and a black paint job roars up to the front of the library and then parks off into one of the alleyways that are near the library. When the engine is shutoff, Eve Mas exits the car and shuts the door and leaves the alley. This Eve looks like a different Eve than before. She is wearing a deep black dress that rustles slightly when she moves and a pair of black leather boots. Around the dress is a long black leather jacket that is belted in the waist. Her hair is down and free and her facial expression is somewhat peaceful. Her heels click softly against the pavement as she makes her way towards Teo.

The first drag off a cancer stick has always been a little bit like drawing that first breath in SCUBA for him: requires a small leap of faith, despite that he knows better. Death or injury wouldn't come with the first inhalation for either of those two past-times. Smoke curls away from his face, and he watches the acrid stuff float out in twisting, curlicue relief against the flat sky and its artless cotton-splotch clouds before Eve's arrival takes his attention.

He studies the vehicle with the wary interest of a motor enthusiast who also happens to be a terrorist, before the sight of the woman stepping out of it hikes his eyebrows up. Surprise. "Looking good, signora," he calls out, after a moment. In part, he means that she looks better. Other than that, it's a straightforward compliment and accompanied by a sincere smile.

"Thanks signore," she says with a light smile and she comes to a halt in front of Teo. Her eyes are the brightest that they have ever been and she looks relaxed. "How is the moving in going?" Eve asks and tilts her head at the man. Nothing is said of Cameron, the recent changes of PARIAH, Helena, nothing. Eve seems content for the moment. "I know I've been gone, I just had to get myself together. The job at the Orchid Lounge has been paying me pretty good so I fixed up my little beauty Rosanne and got myself a little apartment" she says.

That makes one of them. Being relaxed, content, pulled together. Suddenly susceptible to a moment of self-consciousnes, Teodoro falls back on boyish humor, a smile curling his mouth crookedly around his cigarette as he stoops forward to look into her eyes. "They're like new constellations," he observes, bemusedly. He straightens, putting himself and his little zone of carcinogenic vapor back into his personal bubble, out of which he watches her through whimsical blue eyes. "The moving in is going good.

"On-schedule. Turns out we didn't need the tunnels after all; Abby's already brought groceries in, stocked the fridge. The water is running. The basement is already full of a lifetime's worth of crap, if 'life' has anything to do with it." He cocks his head fractionally. Grins, shows teeth. "Congratulations. I'll have to use my deductive powers to figure out the appropriate housewarming gift. Or you could just tell me."

Eve grins at Teo's compliment and she nods and listens to what Teo has to say and gently puts a hand on his shoulder, "How are you holding up?" her voice is full of concern and she smiles in response to the question of a gift. "Whatever you think I would like." Her teeth show as well.

"Could be worse," Teodoro answers easily. "Family trouble, and I'm eight years out of practice dealing with that shit." He appreciates her concern; he reciprocates enough warmth to make that obvious enough. However, more than that isn't for him to say. Not yet. Not— something. He breathes smoke, a silent caricature of laughter, answering her preference in gifts. That's like a trap. He thinks to ask a belated question, remembers only then that he'd inferred her good health and mood from her threads and composure. "You? It paid off, I take it?"

"Family troubles? Siblings or something?" The talk of siblings makes her expression grows somber but that quickly washes away. The seer nods her head at Teo and smiled, "The crowd at the lounge has been very receptive to me, feels good to sing. It helps" so that is how Eve is dealing with everything, the arts are helping her through it. "Maybe you will come to one of my sets one night, when you aren't to busy? I'm sure Helena has you doing all sorts of tasks. How is she?" her head is cocked to the side and she looks towards the sky. "I feel like I haven't been needed here lately."

Arts. Not something Teo's ever found personally accessible, but he wouldn't be Italian if he couldn't appreciate the solace such things can bring, and he's given to understand that natural talent doesn't hurt, either. "Brother," he answers in brief, more of a foot-note than to carry the subject further. He inhales nicotine and nods. Singing. "I believe it. Catharsis, they call it." A beat. "Or wallowing, but I don't get that sense from you." He taps off forming ash with an absent-minded forefinger.

"I'll come listen," he agrees, instantly pleased. He squints against the sun's final parting shot, one dust-red ray of light over the towers. "Helena is doing well. Stressed, handling a three-man job by herself, but handling it." He smiles. "There's always something to do. Maybe not life or death stuff right now, but not everything has to be," he adds, essaying up the library tall steps sidelong, a rustle of sneaker on stone. He glances around the street once, not quite furtive. Gestures. "Come."

"No wallowing for me and I'll remember that you said that you would come." She listens to Teo and nods as she follows the man up towards the library. Her dress rustles and her head turns once when she looks behind and she continues to walk in a graceful, mellow sort of way. "Helena can handle it, always could."

It's not hard to get in. Past the chained doors, he shows her musty hallways, tall French windows blinkered by boards, electric light showing a clean, healthy white from the bulbs rigged about the ceilings and corners of the rooms. The library's abandoned bookshelves and dilapidated furnishings still carry layers of dust, whereas PARIAH's additions bear no fewer marks of use but less of damage. Someone forgot a coffee cup out on a table, and there are toolboxes glowering out of one shadowed corner of the erstwhile reading room. "We'd thought the same thing about Cameron," Teodoro answers her, simply, without looking up.

The basement is barricaded by another set of locks for which he has the keys. Blue tarp covers most of the weapons truckload that had come in days ago; he gestures at it vaguely, explains briefly and with an appropriately idiotic, boyish smile — how he loves blowing shit up — before showing her to a wooden crate.

He gets the lid off with a bare hand, unmindful of splinters. Inside, sits more than forty-thousand dollars value in gold, all of it transmuted engine parts, of all things. Pistons, turbines, crankshafts, preserved down to the finest detail in solid, glistening aureate. "We need dealers and-or melting and casting equipment. Discreet," he adds, with an almost apologetic half-smile; he doesn't mean to patronize, but it requires saying. "Think you have any helpful contacts?"

"That we did," she says in response to Teo's comment of Cameron and nothing visibly shows when the name is uttered. As she is shown around the new HQ, smiles and compliments are given and when they reach the weapons and gold, Eve is in heaven as well. Hello gun fanatic! She gazes at Teo often with a look of admiration and she laughs at the times when he talks about blowing stuff up. When asked of contacts, "I'll see what I can do to help with the gold. This is a lot of money, Teo," she comments and walks around the room and then backs up as she takes it all in, "Seems like we are doing well at getting back on our feet." She bumps into Teo lightly but doesn't try to move away. Her eyes are up towards the ceiling and she smiles.

Smiles are reciprocated in kind. The compliments, cheerfully shuffled off at Alexander, Abby, the others who've more than pulled their weight around here, pooling contacts and lending their better-than-layman's knowledge to the project. Really, Teo says, I was fucking around the whole time. A euphemism for school. He sets his shoulder against a wall, lazily playing at lacking the strength or fortitude to hold himself upright.

That's completely untrue, of course, and when she knocks into him he doesn't sway even an eighth of an inch, the edge of his tall frame as steady as it is solid. He doesn't step away. "I think Hel would like it if you knew someone who could help," he remarks, blandly good-natured. He never got into that whole thing, between those two, but making that statement isn't meant to indicate that he's about to. He nods, assenting. "Yeah. It's a Hell lot of gold to shift." He pulls another drag off his cigarette, follows her gaze up to the ceiling a moment before smoke filters out of his mouth, scrawling eddies over whatever it is they're looking at.

"You be careful out there, per favore." He adds this belatedly, quiet. Machinery drones dimly through the walls. "Hel sent a bulletin: it was murder."

Eve chuckles at Teo and says, "I'll do my best to find someone that can help us with it" she says and runs a hand through her hair. She looks up at Teo, "You know Teo, you are cute" she says with a wink and then pushes herself off of him wink a grin her hands go in her pockets and she yawns. "I'm going to crash here tonight" she says and then begins to walk out of the room, "The killer of Cameron should watch out, because if I get my hands on him" she doesn't finish and her expression briefly becomes one of rage and she quickly takes a few deep breaths and is soon back to normal. Good thing her back was to Teo, she then turns around. "Would you mind showing me to the place I can sleep? I don't even know where the beds are" she says and then smiles at Teo.

Cute? Teo considers himself. "That could've been more emasculating," he answers agreeably, half a smile on his face. He steps after her in the style of a proper host, despite the football thug's gait slouching audibly in his hard shoes, backpack swinging on his shoulder. There's something almost acceptably Catholic about vengeance. God can get behind that. He doesn't have to see her face to guess at what she's thinking between his being cute and the monster of a man, whomever he is, who had taken Cameron's life.

"As long as he doesn't get his hands on you," he replies simply. When she turns to look at him, Teo's features are still, pleasantly blank, and something too much like kindness to be steel keeping his gaze from wavering when he meets hers. "Si. This way, ragazza." He angles his shoulder past her and motions with a jerk of his jaw, digging keys out of his pockets. Ashes drop on his shoes, warm, but sterile in a way his voice is not. "What do you sing?"

October 25th: Trolls and Bridges

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 26th: Our Right to Resist
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