Choke Chain


abby_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Choke Chain
Synopsis Deckard lets Abby sleep off her adventure into the lion's den over at his place. She awakens when Teo arrives to find out what went on. After the telling of that enthralling story, highlighted by the temporary domestication of a psychopathic murderer and an examination of the Vanguard's loyalties to Eileen and Kazimir Volken respectively, Abby and Flint then fight very wordily about Abby's way of life, during which Teo wusses into silence. After she's gone, the boys share a few more secrets and Deckard begins to appear queasy.
Date January 5, 2008

Deckard's Safehouse

It's simultaneously incredibly late and incredibly early. In Manhattan, the sun is just beginning to grey the surrounding black, various shades of dreary blue distinguishing architecture from asphalt, parked cars, and Deckard. He drags himself inside with the slogging weariness of a man who hasn't slept in twenty-four hours, disarming whoever's on watch with a nod in a glance in his second return trip this morning.

Out of the entrance hall, up the stairs, through the crack of his bedroom door. The lights were off when he dumped Abby off here earlier. Whether or not they still are, he doesn't know.

Decoration here is as sparse as it was at his last place. A desk, a chair, a bed, a closet. Gun cases. If the sheets were ever made up on the bed, it'd be hard to tell someone lived here at all.

Phonecalls were made. None actually connected, but between voicemails, texts, and the subway tunnel's guillotine of radio interference, Teo managed to figure out where he's supposed to be at 5 AM on the fifth. By now, he's been awake for two hours, just long enough to walk off the haze of yesterday's alcohol and check in on the diminutive seer resting in the Cathedral.

He bangs in past watchguard and through the door a few minutes after the older man, just in time to miss the sight of Deckard's long gray figure easing in through the equally severe lines of the threshold in the bleak light of dawn. His strides fall behind Deckard's fainter than an echo, separated by the distance of a hallway, then a flight of stairs, then another hallway.

Teo catches up in the end, naturally. There's a Sicilian leaning on the doorframe then, his rumpled head drooped in to look through the room's Spartan furnishings, squinting to locate its occupants. "I miei amici?" Despite the query, he's already seen the splash of blonde across the pillowcase, and Deckard's dim figure, his voice low with something that isn't cringing deference to the cold outside.

Not all that eager to shrug out of his coat while the warmer air of the safehouse is taking its time to sink in, Deckard considers the empty space ahead of him, then Abigail in his bed. The look is sidelong and doesn't linger. It's weird to stare at people while they're sleeping, and he's no Edward Cullen.

At the sound of footsteps persistent behind his own, he drags halfway across the room to occupy its middle. The lurid glow of his eyes isn't much more helpful than the weak brush of dawn through his window in lighting the room, but it shouldn't take long to adjust. It isn't that dark. "I don't know what that means."

"'My friends.' You'll have to forgive me." Teo's still waiting for the coffee to kick in properly; he forgets to elaborate what it is he requires forgiveness for: indiscriminate usage of the word, 'friend' or unthinkingly puking Italian on him at a time when the meaning of his words was not self-evident. It doesn't take long for his eyes to adjust, either. An unsteady blink, eyelids narrowing with scrutiny. At Abigail first and foremost, though his head jerks upright the next moment, trying to discern whether it's fatigue or some other feeling that encumbers the older man's limbs. Everybody in one piece and intact. That means everything and tells him nothing. "What happened?"

Oh. Friends. Deckard grants forgiveness in the form of a bleary nod, mulls something over, and continues on for the desk. What happened? Funny that you should ask, Teo!

The process of dragging open a drawer and prying a wad of money out of the interior of his coat to toss it in with various notebooks, cartridges, and bottles of booze may qualify as a form of procrastination while he decides how to answer. The National Bank of Deckard.

"I met with someone," he decides after a minute spent shuffling crap around to better hide the cash from any casual riflers through his belongings. "I met with someone who says things are going to get biblical." The rough edges to his voice are sanded down enough that the threat of inadvertently waking Abby and have her tell on him are somewhat lessened.

Which is just what happens. The voices, no matter how low some are, the opening of the drawer pulls the healer from the land of nod and into the land of now. The former really quite probably more preferrable. "What time is it?" Blearily from Abby it comes. "Flint?"

Despite that putting holes in thin, peaky people seems fairly consistent with the Bible's modus operandi, Teo gathers that the older man hadn't invoked that term for a crucification joke at Eileen's expense— which was the most, all he'd heard. It isn't very funny that he asks, is it? He watches the money come out of the inner recesses of the old robber's coat, starts to ease a step in through the doorway. And close the conversational distance between them, though Abigail's awakening sort of renders that less necessary.

He aborts his course toward Flint in order to lope up to the bedside instead, dropping promptly into a squat by her head. "It's five, bella. Five in the morning. Seems like you've been here awhile." There's a wary catch to the end of that sentence as he glances back at Deckard, as if seriously considering asking that they stow the sensitive intel for later. He does seriously consider it. Winds up saying, "Who's someone?"

"Five-thirty," Deckard corrects without much energy, pushing the drawer closed with a rankle about the bridge of his nose for the fact that she's woken up anyway. The pillow smells like booze and so does he, that kind of cross-contamination inevitable after a few weeks of regular Locard exchange.

"Someone," he says again, clarifying…nothing. Beyond the fact that he isn't inclined to clarify.

"Teo?" Blink once, twice, three times to ascertain that it's him before she shifts quickly to sit up in the bed. She's a good girl, she won't make a comment about the pillows or sheets. Just maybe tell the proprieter of the safe house. "Fuck" comes softly from her. "You called him?" She looks accusingly at him, bedrumpled hair, wrinkled sweater and her sling has made it off her arm. "Fuck."

Teo frowns at the correction of time. Not directed at Deckard, inevitably: Teo doesn't like how the hours keep getting away from him these days. There's a grating noise of rubber boot sole on floorboard as he teeters back on his heels to sit his ass on the floor, reach down to pry his phone out of his pocket, glancing down at the tiny lid window. Not because he questions Flint's comprehension of time, of course. No calls. Heaving a sigh, he pushes off-blond hair out of his eyes and watches Abigail haul herself upright, prepared to offer help if she needs it, unwilling to insist if she doesn't.

A slight swivel of his head betrays whom he's actually addressing, however: "'S that how you introduced me to them, too? 'Someone?'" There's nothing particularly dangerous about the tone in which he asks that question, even if the answer itself lacks for innocence.

"I didn't call anyone." Bland statement of fact from the lean blue-eyed apparition that is Deckard across the room. He doesn't actually bristle until Teo asks his question, and even then it comes in the form of a negative space in his end of the conversation. Silent irritation hunched into the stiffness of his shoulders when he turns to set about shrugging out of his coat.

"I called…" process of elimination. Makes sense, after the fact. She looks at Teo with confusion, then to Deckard. "Do I need to go back to sleep?" Something she's willing to do, though admittedly, perhaps somewhere else other than Decakrd's bed. "so you both can talk?"

Though there had been nothing hard in the outline of Teo's shoulders, he seems to relent anyway, a slight give to his back and the pull of his mouth. "Sorry." It's been a fucked up few weeks — months — for everyone; he knows there's nothing just or logical about hurling testy questions in Flint's direction. He drapes an arm over his knee, returns his attention to Abigail first.

He doesn't know that Deckard is keeping quiet for her sake. Wouldn't put it past him either, though. Leaving that mystery of motivations to sort itself out, he says, "Unless you really need to go back to bed, I'd like to know what happened with you, first. Eileen got fucked up somehow. That's all I heard, I don't see her here." A spin of a long forefinger through Deckard's room. He hasn't checked the bathroom, granted, but the only real reason he'd expect to find the littlest Vanguardian in there would be if the Ferrymen were sawing her up for a landfill. Though that seems— hopefully— unrealistic—

"I did?" Things you do when half asleep and sinking well on your way to unconciousness. "Someone attacked her. Stabbed her in her belly. Shoulders dislocated, Her arm.. wrist? both maybe, broken" She's waking up by degree's "Wu-Long came to Old Lucy's. Asked me to help her" She looks over at him, adjusting the sling and sliding her arm in before her shoulder can think to protest. She's also waiting for the tongue lashing.

Another twitch of Deckard's wind-ruffled head, another bland dismissal. Past the rustle of wool over his suit and then onto his chair, he's quiet, leaving Teo's questions to be answered by Abby and Abby's questions to be answered by Teo. The occasional glance he levers their way is hard to miss while he eavesdrops. Glowy eyes are cool but not exceptionally subtle.

Teo's jaws go slightly ajar with surprise. They stay there for a moment, dangling into a silence that might lead one to believe that he doesn't think the story actually ends there, though in all likelihood he badly hopes it does. When no more words and crazy people names emerge, he's left blinking oddly in the shortage of light, his breathing an awkward fit in his throat, half a dozen different sentiments fighting out across his face. No single winner emerges victorious. He isn't tired enough to look weary, or resigned enough to dismiss it, nor arrogant enough to flip his temper. Not without a few more drinks in him, anyway.

It's audibles a few times under his breath. Fuck. Fuck. Fuckety-fuck, before his lips draw a line as fine as wire. He's trying to think. It isn't easy. Deckard looks like something of a demon, staring out of the shadows. "Who was there?" he asks, finally. Adds, "Please."

"Sylar, the teleporter, Wu-long, Sylar, there was a blonde woman. Eileen" And yet, here she is, alive. In one piece. "They asked. They didn't kidnap me. If I'd said no, they would have taken me and i'd have been powerless. Deckard would be dead." Because he'd been between her and Wu-long. "I struck a deal. Sylar leave me alone till end of next week, they leave Flint alone, and I wasn't touched while I was there. I'd like I'm a really good piece of cake, but" Abby shrugs, then regrets it, but it relays the rest. She's here.

Watch, watch, loom, loom. Deckard manages to be both starkly unobtrusive and very much present in his lingering observation. He is a demon in a nice suit. Or, it was nice until damp from walking through dead grass and deader snow stained it dark around the legs. No tie. So far he's managed to resist that particular stain of civility. There's a guilty drop of his eyes back to the desk somewhere in there. A distracted push of paper across the desk.

Annoyingly, Teo knows already. Figured. The instant the Vanguard's men were mentioned. They've slaughtered children before. A bar full of Happy Hour drunkards would have been no sweat off their collective noses, and with a probable temporal manipulator on their hands, they might have merely waited an extra half hour while Sylar took the woman's ability for himself. The end of the week— he rubs his eye with his knuckles, hard enough to hurt. There's something wrong with the picture she's assembled inside his head. Either Eileen lied about her lost allegiances, or…

"I get it," he assures her, blearily. "I understand. They hold all the cards and asking was merely polite. If you're not going to revise your entire lifestyle and ethos now, you never will. Other people live and die by the sword. I get it." He doesn't have to like it, but there's no argument in his tone, only an undercurrent dry, hopeless, quiet, a papery, crackling susurration, a small fire almost spent. Wasted sentiment. He smiles, small, and means it when he says: "I'm glad you're okay. You too, vecchio." Old man.

"More than merely polite. I don't know what it was. They didn't have to. But, he jsut walked right in and … said that Eileen got hurt. A stomach wound and that she needed me. Teo, something's up with them. Why would they have asked? Why didn't they just take me?" She looks over to Deckard before shifting again, to get out of the bed, in case he wanted to sleep or sit, or lay down. "Something's really wrong. Sylar would have been all over me like calorie free birthday cake. Instead, they were getting me what I needed, they agreed to my conditions for the most part, and …" Abby shakes her head, trying to make herself look presentable. "They said they owed me. Something's happening. They're not looking for Deckard, Sylar couldn't have cared less. The guy handed me a Red Bull from my purse, and told me he had other things to do than take a poke in my brain. Someone hurt Eileen and they were all hunkered around her like.. like thier daughter was on deaths door. Or baby sister."

While Abby makes herself presentable, Deckard follows his own protocol in the opposite direction. The suit coat joins his overcoat, soon to be followed by the shirt under that. Once his still-cold fingers manage to fumble their way through all of the buttons, anyway. His eyes settle briefly on Teo (he's glad he's okay too) searching there for a spare second or two before they knife back at Abigail. There's a pull at the corner of his mouth, expression as unintelligable as the silence in the poor light.

A slight furrow weighs into Teo's brow at that. More than merely polite; that sounds dangerously like naivete talking, to him, despite that he probably shouldn't have expected any less. The more she speaks, the darker his brow grows, but this time less out of concern for her the state of her head as for the situation she's sketching out. If his mind hadn't already started toying with the notions already, he might have studied her notes with less incredulity than curiosity, but it's the latter sentiment that dominates him now. Hmmmm. Hnnh.

Huuuuh. "You're probably onto something. Wasn't Ethan or his men who Eileen was willing to betray," he says, finally. Gripping the frame of the bed with one hand, he pushes himself back up onto his feet. Manages to miss Deckard's obnoxious little not-smile entirely. "Either that, or an overelaborate trick.

"Hell, we're already willing to hold hands with fucking HomeSec for this. Our tolerance for assholes apparently goes up when ninety percent of the world population is on the line." Either he's completely forgotten that Deckard's here or he's relying on enough grains of salt to choke this tidbit of information before it does any harm. It is probably less likely that he feels like sharing secrets with the old man now.

"Teo… are you thinking of asking them to… work with Phoenix on something?" There' confusion on her face at his words. "They're hunting the guy who did what he did to Eileen, which is alot. I mean… really, someone worked on her to even get her to the state she was in when I came. I think it was the blonde." Abby looks over to Deckard and starts to describe Odessa to Deckard. "Do you know her name?"

Deckard's head tips, absorbing off-hand comments regardless of their salt content, as he has a way of doing. Finally finished unbuttoning, he leaves the blue of his dress shirt on over the off-white wife beater beneath. Maybe for the sake of being polite. Even if that seems kind of unlikely.

"I never met any that were blonde."

A shrug hunkers through Teo's shoulders, his left shifting up a moment after the other. "Maybe. Between the precogs and the probability estimators, it looks like we're going to need more than we can get." And that Eileen's destined to join Phoenix in the foxholes, if not to die with them there. If destiny is the term for it. "I'm not sure what would motivate the guy who took out Midtown to change deals, though. Figure he joined them for a reason. They all did.

"I'll guess we'll see what happens." He has to talk to Eileen. Isn't sure he should. Whether she'd be willing, or why. Phoenix nearly killed some of the people who apparently saved her life the other night, and weighing all these variables is giving him a migraine. He steps back from the bed, ceding her her space, glances at Deckard inquiringly.

Abby chews on her upper lip for a moment before she dares to put the words going through her mind into real coherency and give it sound. "Do you want.. me to see if someone will speak to you, while I have my .. bodyguard?"

"These people are psychopathic, murdering super criminals. They're either lying to get to someone here, or they're way better at doing whatever they're doing than you will be if you try to get involved." Brows pressed low over x-ray vision that keeps idle track of the steady squeeze of two hearts and the swell of four lungs, Deckard is stone-faced and distantly irritable in his assessment. "Either way you should leave it alone."

Teo's eyes open and close in noncomprehension. "'Bodyguard?'" he repeats, stupidly.

"Wu-long." the name rolls off her lips shortly after Deckard gives his two cents. "That was the condition besides Deckard here, that wu-long protect me, for a week, from anything, up to and including Sylar. Was how I managed to get there, heal Eileen and get back out. He's going to show up at some point I guess and give me a number, or, I don't really know, I don't have expect them to follow through, or I can call in the favour the teleporter professes that they owe me for 'taking care of one of theirs." She's not commenting on what Deckard said. Nope, not touching it. It's up to Teo. she's just.. nobody in the scheme of things.

From Deckard, there is a pause. It's not really a long one, but it is an entity unto itself. Solid and pointed in the wake of Abby's explanation. "Abigail is going to die if you don't put a leash on her." Might as well point that out while he's being helpful.

Temporarily unable to process that other, preceding information, Teo subjects the old man to a sharp glance. "You put a leash on her," he says, the paragon of maturity. Or not. His jaws click shut the next moment, he exhales, retroactively filing away Flint's advice in with the rest of his Better Judgment for closer examination at a later time.

Studies Abigail's face for a protracted moment. "No thank you, bello. I'd rather not have them think they can get to us through you. They're smart enough to know they can, already, but there's a whole other genre of messages they could think to send with you, and give my druthers." He offers her a crooked grin, but his gaze holds steady until she voices her assent. Or argues. He's nobody too, of course, but more of one than she is, in his scheme of things.

"Put a leash on me?" Abby's gaze goes to Deckard. "Like Brian offered? That's what that ring was, that one now in my closet. Fake engagement. He offered to keep me like a pet, like I deserved, he said. So I wouldn't need to work, and have everything I want and be safe. A real ring for some fake engagement that he thought would distract people, excuse his being around me and protecting me. But he's been busy, elsewhere, and he's been ordering me around like that ring means something. You saw it in the park. Or have you forgotten?"

Abby moves, finding her jacket and slipping it on with a bit of work. "I don't want a leash, and most of all, none of you here are my parents. I'm understanding what the hell is going on better than I did when I first stumbled over Helena and Phoenix. I also know that for the next week, that i'm not going to be going home to our apartment. I can't risk going home to our apartment. They know where I work and short of… moving back to Louisiana or changing my face, and never touching a person ever again to use god's gift, they're going to know who I am. This is who I am, this is what I do. I help people until I can't help them. I didn't go there to help the Vanguard. I went there to help Eileen, who phoenix kidnapped, and who helped Phoenix stop the president from being killed. It was owed to her. I've changed my hair, i'll change it again. If you are afraid that you'll die, trying to protect me in you way that you do, Deckard, then stay away from me. Stay away from my bar, and then, you won't risk having yourself gutted or your head sliced open when they come for me. I'm not stupid. I walked into that knowing full well that if I didn't take some power, they would just kidnap me anyways. Like Jessica kidnapped me. Like I'm sure many more will in the future. But I'm learning. I'm going to learn how to better wield his gift, and learn how to better protect myself. Help me do that, instead of standing there and saying that I need a leash."

Teo's sharp glance is met with bland 'not in my job description' indifference, frigid bioluminescence fading gradually against the creep of early morning's more powerful chill. Then Abby is talking. She has a lot to say, and Deckard is disinclined to interrupt. He watches and listens with hollow-jawed distaste written plain in the shadows there and around his eyes, glancing to Teo only once she's stopped long enough to breathe. Possibly to make sure his proximity didn't leave him with singed eyebrows or anything. "You're either insane or in serious need of a spanking, Beauchamp. The sooner you die, the fewer people you can help. The more risks you take, the more people worry. You can't ask people to not care when someone your age with some potentially serious issues gets her kicks healing terrorists because it's the right thing to do. You're one of the most selfish and self-righteous people I've ever met." Exasperation strains its way into an incredulous baring of his teeth too derisive to pass for a real smile.

"Get a fucking clue before you get someone else killed. You're not the second coming. You're a…stupid little girl from Louisiana."

In an uncharacteristic exercise of wisdom, Teo decides against insinuating himself in this particular dispute. He's there when Abigail moves to put on her jacket, a tug on one corner of fabric, to help ease the web of seams and panels over her beleaguered frame. That is more words than he's heard either of them assemble together in a long time. They both make a lot of sense to him, which is perhaps readily visible in the way he fails entirely to summon up any anger to put on his face. Eyebrows intact, he lets his hands fall to his sides and glances between older man and younger woman, knowing himself well out of the crossfire, a little pained.

"I'm an intolerant volatile self righteous stupid naive woman Deckard. I get it. it's been spit in my face before. I'm a hellfire and brimstone baptist who works in a bar serving alcohol while women dance on the bar around me. I'm insensitive and a bitch for asking that people don't swear in front of me. I'm going to hell in a handbasket and the way i'm going, screw whatever the vanguard has up their sleeve, Sylar's going to have my faith and his fingers in my brain the moment the week is up" She slips her boots on, working with one hand. 'Thank you for your bed, and for waiting. Thank you for offering to go with me, when I fixed Eileen" Shoes on, the blonde makes her way wearily to the door. "Next time, someone comes after you and I have a chance to make sure they back off you, i'll be sure to not slip that into the conditions"

"Don't forget martyred." Deckard just wants to be helpful! That's all he ever wants! It would be a shame if she accidentally left that one off. Jaw joints creaking and popping when he grinds them near past their capacity for grinding, he looks away at just enough of an upward angle to be bringing God into this. However privately, and just long enough to get the point across that he does not appreciate his dickishness on this matter any more than he does most matters.

The brightening prod of dawn guides Teo's face toward the window, briefly, before he turns back to Abby. Watches her put her boots on without comment, listening as she soundtracks it to her retorts. Concluded neatly in Deckard's response. "Where are you going now?" The question disguises itself as practical, despite a certain amount of hovering paranoi — uh, guardianship, that ever characterizes his attitude toward the young healer. "I'll get together some of your shit and bring it to Old Lucy's." He offers her a half a smile, which grows bleak as he turns his head halfway back to the old robber man.

"Oh right, lets not forget that! Make sure that's on my epitaph please. Make sure the Vatican gets my request for sainthood. God knows, I'm gonna be a shoo-in for that huh. I'm going to the bar. Isabelle lives above it. I can hunker down there, then I'm going to ask Niki if I can crash with her. Because you know, there's another person that I need to not get in bed with, but I already am. Bunking with super secret company agent slash bartender. If I can't stay there, I'll just ask Isabelle. She's offered. OR MAYBE… just MAYBE I'll take Brian up on his offer to be a pet." Right, like that would happen. Her purse is snatched up, taken and slung over her shoulder. "I have my phone, I'll grab some red bulls. I'll be fine."

'Old' is more accurate than usual. Deckard looks approximately a decade older than he actually is. The line of his brows is flat over his eyes, almost human in their austere study of the preparations she's making on her way out. No correction on her impression of what martyrdom might mean for her — just a bald roll of his eyes back to his desk. The rest of him follows suit, bluntly turning his back on the problem that is Abigail while she's still in the room with him. A bottle of vodka is lifted, turned over, and replaced. It's a little early to start. Even for him.

That's a lot of prospective nutcases to stay with. Teo wobbles a bit but holds. Nods his head. Phone is good. GPS tracker will locate her quickly enough barring, you know, the very small possibility that she might be relieved of any means of contact should psychopathic villains abduct her. Again. "I'll bring you some stuff to the bar. If you need anything special, put it in a text?" He glances at the stern silhouette that Deckard cuts against the blinded window. Teo's teeth show briefly, a bar of dawn-blue against his winter tan. "Call you in the evening, if that's okay with you." He must mean Abigail. He's failed entirely to move toward the doorway himself, not just yet.

"Just a few changes of clothes, and my bible. That's all" Abby leaves then, leave the two to talk business as through the halls of the safe house she trods.

The cross of leather from shoulder to shoulder across Deckard's back makes a neat target, dark against the lighter blue of his shirt. For lack of anything better to do with his hands, or anyone to shoot, he tugs the gun out from under his left arm, drops the magazine out of the bottom, and racks it once to clear the chamber. The cartridge spat out in the process skips across the desk and onto the floor, where he can't be bothered to pick it up. All of this fails to acknowledge that Abby is going, going, gone, or that Teo is staying, staying, and still staying.

"Grazie. For looking out for her," Teo volunteers, after either long enough or too long. Though there's the remote possibility talking is too soon anyway. Abby's still hanging in the air, soap if not perfume, the exhausting fear for her life dense as dust or cobwebs in the air that strains through his lungs. Coping isn't the hardest thing he's ever had to do, but it's far from the easiest. "Is there anything else you need to talk about? Or," a dry tock of his boot against the floor, angled toward the door without necessarily any real intent of departure. "Anything you need?" 'Cause then he could go. And get it. Or stuff. If he's shooed.

Clunk. The .45 is dropped heavily down onto the desk, jarring everything in and on it. That taken care of, he opens a drawer — a different one from earlier — and draws out a smaller, matte model, which is checked over and tossed onto the bed. Click click click, whump. He is a creature of sound effects and sparse conversation.

"She's right about something being wrong." The holster is dispensed of last, straps draped carelessly over the rest of his laundry. "Wrong about everything else." No shooing. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

The sound effects invite no reciprocation from Teo's side of the room. "So something's wrong," he says, after a moment. "But nothing that you'd even begin to consider being exploitable?" The question mark would have to be inferred; his tone of voice doesn't lift at the end of that sentence. He doesn't seem about to retreat out of Deckard's space, nor to press forward with a repeat or revision of his earlier queries. Deckard must have met someone interesting, though; Teo's eyebrows are inclined a moment, considering this, before he angles a glance out of the doorway Abby had vacated. It's finally getting warm in here, but he doesn't move to peel off his jacket.

"If your strategy is based purely on a numbers game, it might be possible to get Kazimir to kill a few of his own people." Was Deckard told about Kazimir? It seems unlikely, but his tongue doesn't trip over pronunciation and there's nothing else to suggest weirdness about it. He does turn to brace his backside against the front of the desk a few seconds later, and he does narrow his eyes just a twitch. Watching, measuring, ready to snare any subtle reactions the name might evoke with his too invasive stare.

"Unfortunately, given that his resources are apparently worldwide, snuffing them out one by one doesn't seem like a wise way to go about it."

Teo's probably going to have to learn to take his poker face away from the poker table, at some point. His reactions could be subtler. Spine straightening, shoulders finding a sharp-angled square to lock their dimensions into. He considers the probability of having to slap Brian with a shovel. Though that wouldn't be it. Not with what Deckard said earlier, the way he said that; the way he's staring now. The Sicilian's eyes narrow, glinting frostspurs in the porridge-colored light of dawn.

Most noticeably of all, his heartbeat accelerated.

Kazimir scares him. Teo may be dense, but he has enough braincells between the walls of his skull to be afraid. "No," he says, after a moment. "Unless you get the right one."

Deckard smiles. It's a thin, flat, irritating thing, fitted naturally into the lines around it by virtue of its feather-ruffling intent and insincerity. His fingers rap once across the desk at his back, and the smile vanishes, not to be seen again for God knows how long.

"And his warehouses full of rocket launchers. And the people still loyal to his cause that we don't know about. And his plans before they act on them in his stead. It's beginning to sound like the world might end if you screw up, too. So. No pressure."

The words carry a tinny, melodramatic echo with them in Teo's ears. Still loyal to his cause that we don't know about. Well, that's something. Deckard has his own friends over the other side of the fence, ones that corroborate Abigail's story, and the world might end of they screw up. "We," he reminds, after three more breaths. They had drawn the line in the sand weeks ago, and it's still there. The tide is still coming. "We'd better not fuck up.

"Don't forget." He's terrible at this whole chastisement thing, a talentless teacher at best; probably a good thing that he switched day jobs. Dropping his gaze to the floor, he watches his meltwater shoeprint progress another few seconds into drying out. There are a lot of guns over there, on Flint's side of the room, he notices. Then, "I'll tell you more."

"We're going to." Fuck up. It would be irresponsible to assume otherwise. The 'we' is taken up with the reluctance of someone who only uses it when it works to his advantage, padded with cynical emphasis while he rests more of his weight back into the desk. His legs are tired of holding him up, like his neck is tired of holding his head up, and his eyes are tired of staying open. He's washed out in the morning light, as grey in its presence as he was in the absence of it. Maybe even moreso.

"I don't have anything else to tell."

"Next time, I'll tell you more." Teo says it like it's a promise, but that may well be attributed to careless phrasing. Whatever it is, it doubtless isn't an obliging pat on the head, thank-you-for-your-spy-work. He's thinking so hard his brain is going to explode or walk in the way of a moving bus. Deckard knows the look. Young men look grave as funerals when they're taking something terribly seriously, irony and realistic expectations forgotten in favor of impossible conundrums.

Teodoro could probably use with a beer and a lie-down, himself. Can't; he reminds himself that he just got up. "Thank you. Be caref—ul." The urge to say the obvious and the awareness of that redundancy converges at a clumsy angle and he manages to trip over it without falling.

Teo inclines his head, either by assent or salutation, possibly both; it's difficult to say, given it took him a moment too long to do in both cases. He looks at the desk, as if expecting to find something there without specifically remembering to look for it, and rotates himself toward the doorway.

"I'm always careful." This is a lie. Not meant to be convincing, if the accompanying upward tilt at his brows is any indication.

The desk surface is not terribly interesting in itself. Old, scratched, scuffed, it supports various personal notes and papers with no readily apparent system of order. Vodka, .45, and a few pens complete the collection with a natural sort of randomness. The drawers he didn't open remain mysterious, but given the temporary owner, that may be for the best.

But, Teo is leaving, with the promise of a more educational next time. Strangely enough, Deckard watches him go without complaint for the delay. Either he's adopted a more take it where you can get it type philosophy, or he's literally too worn out to bother arguing anymore this morning. "Night." Morning. Whatever.

January 5th: Absconding Assholes
January 5th: Partners in Crime... fighting?
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