Coliseum Diplomacy, Part II


deckard3_icon.gif logan_icon.gif muldoon_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Via Bird:


Scene Title Coliseum Diplomacy, Part II
Synopsis The twenty-four hour deadline arrives and an agreement is miraculously reached.
Date March 5, 2009

Shooters Bar and Bistro

A place that used to be a cafe and is making a slow progression towards being a dive bar. During the day, the balcony and a good portion of the sidewalk is taken up by outdoor chairs and tables, where people can enjoy a beer as well as a sandwich or whatever else is on their menu - a decent, if simply array of bar food. During the evening, unless it's a warm night, these are taken inside, and the kitchens are closed. A wide variety of beer is available, along with hard liquor and maybe a few wine labels, but nothing fancy. The interior decor is similar to traditional British pubs, with a hardwood bar and brick wall. There's an old pool table towards the back, along with a dart board. The building is actually two storeys high, but whatever is upstairs is inaccessible to the general public.

Take two is set on the same stage, same cast — though this sparrow happens to be a boy, roughly the same time, all props in precisely the same position with the exception of the shotgun above the bar, which has lost a fraction of an ounce of dust in favor of gaining a fraction of an inch's movement to the left inside its bracket holder. Ironically, the thin audience crowd of yesterday has thinned further today.

Apparently, word had gotten around. Some secrets are so important that everybody knows about them.

Teo's knees are tossed out in a lazy V-shaped sprawl underneath the table's edge, shoulders slouched back, the lines of his posture relaxed in a way that is at odds with the reverberation of tension through it. It had taken a good deal of his presence of mind not to ask the old man to Trust me, though he'd mentioned in a clumsily sheepish, desultory mumble, that he had A plan.

It was a bad sign and blatant, that Teodoro hadn't volunteered any details — but Deckard's kind of used to that by now, anyway. In any case, the motley trio that Muldoon and Logan find themselves regarding from across the table does not sport strangulation bruises or stand-ins for deserters. Salutations dispensed, the first thing Teo requests, blankly polite, is—

"Would you restate the terms, please?"

Most props are the same as well, although Logan has taken to wine this time, a moderately priced bottle of reisling set aside and out of the way on the table, a helping dispensed into the wrong shape of glass but Logan is either not inclined to complain, or doesn't actually know any better. His jacket is draped over the back of his chair, the sleeves of his shirt rolled up to the elbows as if he were coming to the end of a long night, although in actuality, it's only the beginning of his work day.

Head tilts a little at Teo's request, a glance towards Muldoon as if looking for a cue to speak. Whatever cue that is, it's unreadable to the other two gents at the table, but Logan answers all the same. "You pick your champion, we pick ours," Logan says, blandly. "Whoever you desire. If yours wins, you get your girl back." A flick of a glance is given to Deckard, and he adds, more to Teo, "And everyone else. If we win, you drop it and leave this alone. And we let you walk away."

His nose wrinkles a little, hand going out to pick up his glass. "Bit've a win win situation for you two, really."

Deckard is less attentive today. At least, less attentive to the things that matter. His eye traces the white-blue barrel of the shotgun, which doesn't line up against its brackets the way it did yesterday. He's wearing a different suit. Different mostly in that the blanch of fading around seams, shoulders, and elbows is distributed in a distinctive pattern defined by all manner of hardships incurred over the last decade. On the bright side, no burn marks tonight.

He doesn't trust, or hope, or particularly want to be here. Fortunately the blend of all this results in an expression of conglomerate misery that isn't too far off from his usual default displeasure. Ill-suppressed hatred lines in hard around his mouth when he feels Logan's eyes on him, but he keeps his attention elsewhere for now.

Muldoon's long gloved fingers stroke through the fur along his squirrel monkey's back. In contrast to Deckard, he's dressed sharply in an ink black business suit beneath his woolen greatcoat and the heavy scarf he removed when they first sat down, then draped over the back of his chair. Tonight, he isn't smoking, and instead works a toothpick from one side of his mouth to the other, its wooden point rattling against his teeth as it rolls over them.

"If you have any stipulations," he adds not long after Logan has finished laying out their proposal, "we might be willing to entertain them."

For a protracted moment, Teo seems to have forgotten how to move his face. His hands are moving, though. Thumb pushing against each of his fingers in turn, popping the middle knuckle of each, pinkie to forefinger, forefinger to pinkie, long after there's no more noise to be cricked out of any of the joints. Logan's observation drops the corner of his mouth. Win-win.

That's disgusting.

"All right," he says, straightening in his chair. The bundle of cream and coffee colored feathers shifts on his collar, diminutive toes and claws bracing against the transfer of the avian's weight. Eileen, of all of them, would have seen this coming; it hadn't surprised Teo at all, that she hadn't seen it as particularly necessary to put her new phone to use. "One-on-one, whatever — props or shit you see fit.

"Match is called when the first fighter is knocked out, and before anybody dies. Everybody you set free is done doing business with you unless they specifically want to, and you leave them alone. I guess you'll do our best to enforce this, and we'll be polite too." Almost inadvertently, he shifts his eyes to the haggard old man beside him.

A clean, long-fingered hand makes a casual and languid gesture. As if to say, deaths happen, but Logan keeps this vocalisation of his point to himself. "As my associate pointed out last night, the Pancratium has more than its fair share of employed fighters," he says, voice a tad singsong as he continues with, "The others go free, and we don't touch a hair on their heads ever again."

That's the plan, anyway, and Logan states these intentions with superficial sincerity. His voice gains a harder edge when he pushes the challenge back at Teo. "And in both cases, it would be best that once this thing is settled, we all go our separate ways." Pale wine dances around in his glass as he swirls it casually, one slim shoulder lifting in a shrug.

Deckard turns his glass around in one slow, full circle, amber whiskey warm in the absence of ice to muddy the volume tonight. His focus has tipped directly down from shotgun to shot. It might be difficult for him to express more clearly that he thinks they are fucked without literally saying as much — Teo's gaze studiously (and perhaps faithlessly) avoided.

There's no booze on his breath or clinging to the worn fabric of his suit, for once. Nothing to muddy the meaning of the birth of an agreement making its way into his brain through his ears.

Muldoon removes the toothpick from his mouth and, without removing his gaze from Teo and Deckard, snaps it between his fingers before discarding the two broken pieces in the table's ashtray. "As a gesture of goodwill, we'll even allow you to pick your representative before we choose ours."

Logan's reminder elicits the acknowledgment of a distracted nod. Not to be insulted or anything; there's just a lot going on, despite the relative peace of Shooter's past Happy Hour. Pallid eyes swivel back to study the Englishman, dipping briefly into the yawn of the monkey's mouth and the pale fluid in the wineglass.

Skin crawling and temper kindling faintly at Deckard's faultless incapacity to help, Teo hesitates for all of two seconds, before he is seized by the necessity — if not the urge — to move perpendicular to hesitations. "Thank you," he answers Muldoon, politely. "We'll take Tavisha, then. You know." He bobs a forefinger, as if to magically dispel confusion. "Sylar.

As a gesture of goodwill," and there's no obvious mockery in his parroting the words back, "we'll allow you to pick the date?"

There's a lot going on beneath the surface, as can be expected. Beneath Teo's polite words and the fact Deckard just isn't saying anything at all, and similarly, Logan doesn't immediately balk at this choice. Muldoon, after all, let them choose. In fact, as soon as he did give such a gesture, Logan's head turns to fix his companion with a look - one that doesn't break when Teo makes his choice, only seems to grow more pointed.

Well, bollocks. Not trusting himself to say anything that would break the facade of civil conversation, Logan settles back into his chair with only a slightly sullen slouch, and sips his wine.

A brow lifts at Deckard's corner of the table while he dips his middle finger down into warm alcohol, then lifts it to the corner of his mouth. A sideways look etches over at Teo, narrow and fleeting on its way back to Logan and Muldoon. He wasn't in on this. It reads in the slack of lines around his jaw in tandem with a new knit to his brow while he scrapes around for a reaction in either of the other men's faces. He still doesn't say anything, though, almost suspicious for how heavily the odds seem to have just tilted in Teo's favor.

Although Muldoon raises both his fair eyebrows at Teo when he makes his decision, the rest of his face doesn't indicate surprise. Of course he'd pick the Midtown Man. He might even have been banking on it. "Very well," he agrees. "In that case, I'll have to take stock of our line-up and ruminate on my decision. Where Sylar is concerned, I can't be too hasty, now can I? As for the date—" His gaze shifts from the two men on the other side of the table to his business partner, searching his expression for clues. Whatever he sees there, whether Logan realizes it or not, helps him narrow down the date that he's presently puttering around in his head. "Next Wednesday. The eleventh."

"What time?" Teo remembers to glance back at his companion in time to receive that look. He knows that look. It falls into a broad category of appropriately paranoid looks. The baby terrorist quells the urge to drop a reassuring wink, which probably wouldn't be very reassuring anyway. He turns his head to look at the Englishmen again, catches a faint cheep out of the attentive ball of fluff under his earlobe.

"I'll be there. In the event Tavisha wins, we'll want the address to your facility right after the fight. Make sure nobody gives your guards any trouble." It's a reasonable facsimile of being considerate. He's good at that.

"That would be clever," Logan agrees, with saccharine sincerity. Much like Deckard, he too is suspicious of the odds in Teo's favour, but likely for a completely different reason, and he's better at keeping it off his face. And Teo's also not calling the Midtown Man by his stagename, which isn't necessarily Midtown Man as it is, in fact, Sylar. "Friend've yours?" he asks them in a way that isn't completely a question, nor is he really that interested. An accusation of something, but of what in particular is kept hidden. Logan stays silent on times, that's Muldoon's realm.

"He tried to kill me once." Not friends in any real sense of the word, though there was that one time in the men's room. Deckard's eye turn to Logan there, matter-of-factly suggestive about the them being in some sort of, 'better luck next time,' club in their individual quests to snuff him.

"Then I suppose it's a good thing you won't be the one facing him down," Muldoon tells Deckard. He's noted the way he's looking at Logan, and whether it's some misplaced sense of protectiveness that causes him to cut in or something else, he leans forward, placing his arm on the edge of the table for support. Sidelong, he glances over at Teo. "Nine o'clock. I'll let Tavisha know you're requesting his services, unless you'd like to handle that yourselves?"

Besieged by accusations some of them verbal and most of them not, Teo keeps his composure. Insofar as he doesn't do or say anything for a few seconds, partly because he's surprised at Deckard, and mostly because he's trying to gauge the weather in England. Hard for him to tell; he'll blame it on being Italian. "We'll take care of it. I'll tell him to talk to you in case he has questions I can't answer. Thank you both. You've been very kind." Really, really kind. A house full of prisoners freed, Abigail home again, first pick of fighters—

Hard to tell who's more fucked. Almost unthinkingly, he lifts a hand up to his shoulder, nudging the curl of his hand against the subtle hollow of the sparrow's bone. Instinct and balance conspire to pop the bird upright, automatically, into stepping off its original perch and onto the young man's knuckles. "Is there anything else we can do for you?"

"I don't think so," Logan says, blandly. The meeting has gone well. Relatively speaking. Perhaps he would have preferred to deal them both a couple of bullets rather than a silver platter but that's just the way he does business, and there's a reason Muldoon is wealthier. Plus, there is the distinct impression that some of this is somehow his fault

…which is ridiculous, but there is only so much he can bitch about when what mistake has been made is being effectively handled by his once-benefactor. Muldoon gets a sideways glance, then back to Teo and Deckard.

"I do hope there's nothing more we can do for you," he says, chair legs scraping a little against the floor as he shuffles it back, picking up his glass to drain it.

Less eager to give thanks, Deckard resumes stony silence with the barest twitch of a frown. His expression has faded back into inscrutability otherwise, eye casting aside again after liquor and salt. Nothing to input, save perhaps that he'd really appreciate it of Logan killed himself. That much is departed in a glance rather than spoken word, fortunately for the illusion of peace currently in play.

As Logan rises, so too does Muldoon, monkey at his shoulder, scarf gathered around his wrist. He drapes it around his neck once more. "We'll take that as a no, then."

Sparrow watches the monkey and its master go from its relocated perch. Teo watches the monkey and its master go from over the sparrow's small, round head. "Sounds about right. Have a good evening." He fails to manufacture a smile despite appropriate social cues this time, choosing instead to glance down at the plump triangle of the little bird's body, a gesture not to be mistaken for docility or timidity though he's not about to make a machismatic fuss if it is.

Done and done. Logan offers no goodbye - it's vocalised in the clink of glass to wood when he sets down his wine and then distribution of weight from chair to feet as he gets up. Not to be outdone, Deckard gets one last glance sent his way, one of evaluation. There's likely some other deal to be made, but it's not sealed here. Not tonight. And it's not one Logan is sure has a happy ending for anyone. So he promptly leaves, along with Muldoon, a vague wave to one-eyed criminal and bird telepath (or whatever the hell) with a flutter of his fingers, and for the second time in 24 hours, of the door of bar comes to settle gently behind the two Englishmen.

Deckard doesn't look up again to watch them go until they're very nearly out the door. Man, monkey, and pimp. Shoulders sloped lax despite the context of the meeting that just occurred, he doesn't suddenly get talkative once they're gone. Rather, he leans into a slow reach over the table to retrieve Logan's wine glass, sniffs at the remaining contents, and takes a testing sip, fingers curled with lazy pretension beneath the curved swell of its base.

"It won't be as easy as that."

"The fucking terms are acceptable. We'll just need to enforce them, that's all," Teodoro replies with something that passes for ease. He watches the two businessmen leave, squints slightly when the large and frightening members of their security entourage disengage from the other booths, stools, and ambient shadows that they had been lurking in, in order to follow their employers back to their respective snake pits.

He then puts the sparrow on his head. Mostly because he's distracted and falling into the same habits that he keeps with his own pet. He glances at the wine bottle in the older man's grip. "They don't know how much we do yet." A quizzical twitch of his brows. "Or they don't seem to, anyway." Addresses, allies. As long as he can get to Sylar— "It'll work out."

"Why leave your biggest guns out ripe for the taking if you don't have a contingency? They know I've seen him there. Ripping off arms and turning people to ash." Wine swirled light in the base of his (Logan's) glass, Deckard watches it a moment before setting it aside again in favor of his whiskey. Not really his thing.

He can't really make himself sound worried. If anything it sounds like he's pointing out the flaws in a plan that have no bearing on his life at all. Like they belong to someone in another dimension. "How are you going to stop him from killing whoever they put in with him? You realize they could choose Abigail just to be assholes."

A shrug pushes Teo's right shoulder up, a shrug that fails to be either philosophical or dismissive. "Then he'd smack her upside the head once and lay her out, and we fish her out. Teleporter. The outcome of the fight doesn't determine a fucking thing. We've done being polite.

"Fight night, those two will be out of the way and if they're going to sweat over losing a few henchmen, they're in the wrong fucking line of business." His eyes scroll upward, locate the dark bar of the sparrow's tailfeathers poking out from his hairline. "He's in their line-up. Probably owes them a few things.

"They probably figured they could get him to throw the fight, or that I wouldn't be stupid enough to choose him knowing that. I mean," he drops, swivels his gaze back to Deckard. "'S why you wouldn'tve picked him, right?"

"I wouldn't have picked him because he's a psychopathic murderer and can't be trusted not to kill everyone he has a conversation with, but. You know," Deckard scratches at his sideburn, keratin over sandpaper while he echoes Teo's shrug with a mild brow lift, "that's just me."

Whiskey lifted then, he downs it in a single swallow, teeth clicked closed ahead of the burn of it down the back of his throat. His left hand lifts again, this time to scratch a little closer to the still-healing hole in his head. It avoids actually passing under the patch, but only just, and he's back to staring down at the table again.

The further away the pimp and fight-club owner go, the more relaxed Teo appears to get, which is either him gradually extricating himself from careful choreography or evidence that he's dumb and really doesn't belong in the Rookery.

Heh. "I know." His mouth tilts woefully. "But we didn't really have a lot of other options. If I sent somebody of mine, they'dve picked him. If we said no, Abigail dies before we have time to do something about that. And he's… different, now. Ever since the Vanguard started turning. With—" a flit of his eyes upward. "Eileen.

"You don't have to believe that," he says, hastily, with a grimace directed at the table. "Just that we don't have other options. 'S almost as good as optimism." His hands form a triangled peak above his head, gathering the brown bird once again, returning him to his original vantage point. There's a quaver-beat's pause. "Do you want to be there?

"When I — or we, go to see him?"

"He doesn't know who he is." The correction comes slowly. Pointedly. Accompanied by a hard look that requires him to turn his head all the way around. For more reasons than one, Deckard doesn't look like he appreciates Teo's version of Sylar's situation. "The fact that he doesn't know he's a psychopath doesn't mean he isn't one. I dunno if you've ever seen the look on his face when he's in the zone, but it's gonna take more than a bump on the head and a few hugs to get that out of his system."

There's a grating screech — the sound of Deckard's chair legs scraping back from the table. "I have some things I need to take care of while I'm on the island. I don't think I'd be much help if he went Dahmer on you anyway."

The Sicilian's right brow creases slightly; the hard look pushes down on his forehead with enough force to add lines to Teo's bruised features. Point taken. Sort of. Not conceded, however; he's either too optimistic or stubborn for that.

Teo's objection is brief when it comes: "There's more to it than that, vecchio. And it started before he forgot who he is." Not his finest reassurance, but he knows they're past that point and it's better, probably, than the details. The phrase 'test of character' would elicit, at best, more skepticism. Mentioning Moab Federal Penitentiary would probably just make Deckard break up with him entirely.

Neither he nor the sparrow bother to hide the wince that the scrape of chair triggers. "Call me if you need anything."

"I'd tell you to save your faith for God, but frankly I don't think he's paying very much attention." Deckard pushes to his feet, overcoat dragged off the chair back and slung up around his shoulders in a familiar series of movements while he frowns down at Teo's little bird. One nasal sigh and hazy nod for the thing about calling later, he's on his way out, flipping up his collar as he goes.

March 5th: Mr. King Would Like a Word

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

March 5th: How Was Your Day, Dear?
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