Come Full Circle


hana_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Come Full Circle
Synopsis At the scene of a bus accident all too reminiscent of her past, Hana and Teo talk themselves entirely around the subjects that really matter.
Date June 10, 2010

Williamsburg Bridge, between Lower East Side and Brooklyn

Beneath a dreary sky, the injured are tended to, this effort spearheaded by familiar faces in the absence of emergency services; Abby's off-duty, she doesn't count. The gawkers don't contribute to the charitable work, but at least they don't get in the way, either. Sirens howl out of the city, their ululations weaving around the blaring punctuation of distant car alarms; and small knots of people congregate to discuss the bizarre event, their conversations a muted background murmur beneath more artificial sounds.

Hana's figurative ears are subjected to even more — a deluge of worried texts, astonished IMs, and frantic phone calls. She manages not to listen to them, narowing her own focus to three things. In the present, the sight before her, an ungainly transit bus somehow balanced over the side of the bridge. If she goes without blinking for long enough, it even seems to sway, just a little bit. In the past, a bus some twenty years older and different in every technical specification except its purpose; a location whose cliffs bear no resemblance to any terrain in or around Manhattan… though they might be imperfectly echoed by the city's bridges. More than anything else, that bus, that cliff, defined the woman Hana Gitelman is now.

But in the future?

Is that what she saw?

Long, slender fingers folded around her own shoulders, Hana stands apart from the medics and their patients and their audience, implict self-imposed bulwark of distance surrounding her. She looks at the ruined vehicle, regarding it steadily even as the rhythmic sound of footfalls indicates an approach. The Israeli woman's shoulders rise with a deep indrawn breath; fall again as she speaks.

"They say things come full circle," Hana observes softly.

There aren't any cameras pointed at him, but Teo is not particularly surprised that Hana noticed him coming. Abigail gave the order, after all, out loud. And she'd seen him, heard him hollering down the crippled bus. Plenty of rationale under that column header, and maybe a scribbled margin-note about — well, fuck, where else would he go?

The medical personnel are given space to do their thing, the injured and variously traumatized to clump in family units, hold hands or sit shoulder bricked against squared shoulder, to converse in hushed tones or to ruminate in private about the slow-sharpening psychic disclosures of this impossible mass event. As he crosses the asphalt, the young man known as Teodoro Laudani still has no idea that his experience of the past fifteen minutes was as divergent from the vast majority of those around him. He is primarily occupied with the moment at hand, its physical reality and historical context. It's been awhile since they spoke. Well.

Longer since she'd been available for response when he happened to be in earshot and talking at her prone frame in a medical cot. Time makes-believe it has been kind to both of them. The rip in Teodoro's cheek has nothing to do with age, and Hana seems all part of her recovered and robust after the harsh wear and atrophy of captivity at the hands of the government of the United States of America. He scratches to a halt beside her.

Cranes his head over the metal ropes and into her peripheral vision, peering down into dizzying space from under the strandy shadows of his bangs. His hair is too long, impractical for anthing other than vaguely obscuring the filetted-fishbelly gleam of the wound in his face. "Is that why you sent out that text message?" he asks, before he even remembers consciously that he had received one at all. "Did you hear it?"

She doesn't turn to look at him as he approaches, or even when he sticks his nose into her field of view; Hana has lots of practice at giving the appearance of disregard. Sometimes it's even fact. But the query of her sometime-student causes her head to swivel towards him, failure of comprehension flickering briefly through dark brown eyes. A moment later, her hands fall to her sides, shoulders squaring; enough self-indulgence. "Did I hear what?" she asks, postponing the required answer by assigning Teo a question instead.

Her torso twists, just enough that the woman might look at their allies in the momentary silence, they who are busily patching up such superficial injuries as were received. A jerk of Hana's angular chin indicates one in particular, the tall form of Catherine Chesterfield. "Cat said she came at my direction," she remarks, returning her attention to Teo as she does, "but I gave no direction."

Teo squints. He reaches down into his pocket, pulls up cellphone by long fingers framing its slim edges, thumb wound around the stubby protrusion of its antennae. It's a simple, blocky unit, cheap, matte blue and silver, more sturdy than aesthetically pleasing, but still its display shows clear as day when he rolls over to the text message. Its single word, which he helpfully reads aloud:


"Might be Rebel," he adds, blankly, a little slow on the heels of Hana's input. Seems like something Rebel would do, the tagline, timing it with catastrophe. There was some kind of insane orbital mutant attack that hospitalized Parkman for a week, the other week. "Seems like the whole bridge was affected. Maybe the nearest borough New York too, judging from the smoke." He isn't looking at the smoke, dangling stringily into the sky on the horizon. He's looking at the bus, which is partially an excuse to look at her. "Ghost used to have an ability kind of like that, in terms of net effect. He could knock people out.

"I'm glad you're all right." No statement is too obvious to her kid Sicily. "I can imagine what it looked like, in there." What it looked like. Not how it looked. He doesn't know if she remembers, leaves the words to sit halfway into the gate marked No Trespassing. Beware of Dog. Maybe he didn't get the memo, about enough self-indulegence. His face is marred, but his voice hasn't changed.

Hana closes her eyes, bringing a hand up to rub at her face as the word, that word, recollects other memories. In their way, they're just about equally unpleasant in connotation. Turning, she steps to the rail, trusting that — or not caring if — the bridge's edge is sturdy enough to bear up under her weight. It's nothing compared to the cars it carries, but cars don't normally lean elbows on the guard rail, looking out towards the sea, especially with a hole punched through the security bulwark not fifty feet away. "No. No," the technopath admits, "that was almost certainly me."

She doesn't notice his looking, doesn't seem to notice much at all as she stares towards distant gray water, a scattering of boats, the feathered brush of seagull wings against the air. Marine wind slips intangible fingers through the woman's dark hair, pulls strands forward. "It sounds like… all directions around us, yes," Hana remarks, listening to digital communications. "Don't have the resolution to determine where exactly; the air's thick with confusion. But whatever it was… whatever I… it's not isolated to here."

Silence again, a different one, something more reflective than listening; something that turns inward rather than outward, towards memories whose edges seem negligible in their familiarity. They aren't. "I don't know what it looked like," Hana says softly. "I didn't wake up." But she, too, can imagine.

She has imagined. Teo wouldn't have, otherwise. The Nightmare King only invents so much. One can not tailor demons without first the supplies, fit, and complexion supplied, and that particular misery had been beautifully articulated. Teodoro inhales. Smells salt, cold, carcinogens and bloody rust leaving a patina way in the membranes at the back of his too-big nose and the canine snuffling that resonates acoustically through that chamber.

"Time to get ready for anti-terror wave round two," he observes, stiffly unhappy in his wryness. He may be one of the worse heroes ever, but the least he can do is revile human devastation and its repercussions when it occurs. "The countdowns until the second Midtown Man. Rabid legislation. Talk of the next wave hitting the airports, cause of collisions. Fun for the whole fucking family." He might mean the Ferry, though he probably isn't audacious enough to press that she ought to regard it as hers.

There is reflexive concern about the railing she's resting herself against, a third pang in a progression, but Teo fights it down the third time too. It might be obvious, increasingly so, that he doesn't realize there are so many other questions he should be asking, about this, about what happened, insofar that they are questions that arguably shouldn't be asked of Hana, but that he would. Teo merely circles back to the pragmatic and peripheral. "Where were you going?"

"Two?" Hana echoes, and it doesn't sound nearly so facetious as his wry remarks. "Is that all we're on?" The word family is left untouched, neglected as the off-limits subject it generally is, in her book. Doesn't help, in a sense, that he's shown such knowledge of her history; anything she might be inclined to say in other settings, here there is an implicit assumption that he should know. Why waste the breath when it isn't needed — when the impression of shared understanding is far preferable, be it true or false. No matter what she tells herself, Hana isn't quite done with self-indulgence.

Folding her hands over the rail, the Israeli woman shakes her head a bit. "It doesn't matter now." Plans change when the enemy arrives, and whatever just happened, there is undoubtedly an enemy lurking somewhere. By Hana's paradigm, there always is. She doesn't look at Teo when she continues speaking; and that lack of redirection is as pointed in its way as a look could be. "Did you see anything?" the woman asks, voice low and muted; unintentional and inevitable echo of the conversations Teo heard in fragmented passing. She didn't hear them; but even for her, the question has to be asked, at least of one other person.

He, on the other hand, had heard that talk without listening. Her question jogs his memory, palpitates a backward glance over his shoulder, back at the throng of victims. (Somehow— and this is still true, despite a greater number events to the contrary than 'two,' certainly— he still hasn't gotten around to mentally alotting himself or Hana space in that category.) Bandages. Some EMTs in the distance, made distinguishable by their somber uniforms and the fact that they are having to carry over way too much shit on foot, the traffic is jammed up and fucked even despite the cordoning and traffic diversions in progress.

He notices her redirection, too. Goes with the flow, and fails entirely to wear it like surrender. "Nothing I can remember right now," Teodoro says, scratching blunt nails down the underside of his jaw. What would be a musing gesture on anybody else is an idle fidget on him. His attention reframes her, palpably as rain fastening to a stone. If he were physically as much dog as his psychology, his ears would be pricked toward his sometimes-mentor. "Do you mean like a dream?"

He never does, or so it seems, in the verbal arena — withdraw and regroup, perhaps, but not surrender. "More than that, I think," Hana replies quietly, still looking out at the bay, dark gaze tracking a seagull's soaring flight. She can feel the weight of his attention anyway — resigns herself to it, for now, because it was her choice to invite it. "Dreams don't normally feel so strong. Not in a way that —" She breaks off, looking down at her arm; fails to pick the thread of that sentence back up again.

Instead, the Israeli lifts her hand to her face, brushing back bits of windblown hair, hooking them behind her ears. Afterwards, she taps two fingers at her temple. "They don't include so much data either. Maps, camera feeds, police scanners — there was too much detail to hold, but it was all cohesive. It all tied together." Lowering her hand to the rail, Hana closes her eyes. "Listening… No, nothing so simple as a dream, Teo," she concludes, sounding abruptly weary.

The moment doesn't last long. Her head lifts slightly, eyes coming back open. "Speaking of listening," Hana observes, tone changed to something brisker, impersonal. "I believe your attention is wanted." For the second time since the blackout, Teo's phone chimes receipt of a message.

A furrow reworks Teodoro's brow, some kind of introspection if not specific displeasure, although his attention never seems to withdraw entirely inward. Sharpened in their ice-colored discuses, his eyes rove the wrinkly pewter sea below, before scaling the mingled line of haze and Brooklyn's silhouette, rocketing away from the far end of the bridge. A vision? "So you think you were just listening to realtime feed while unconsci—?" But the mutter is submerged by warning, and then the twittering MIDI bell of his arriving text message.

"Huh?" is Teodoro's predictable rejoinder, always the eloquent one. He jerks his arms off the railing that he had settled a distrustful arm upon, and he reaches back into the jacket pocket he had stuffed the device in so carelessly in the process of peeling his face off the steering wheel. He flips it open with a callused thumb, squints down into the tiny monitor and its frenetic questioning from a certain, infinitely recognizable Frenchman, whose haste in sending the message had left autofill to plug 'me' in where he meant 'of,' and a handful of other errors.

"Can you tell him I'm fine? Please. D'lilah and Cat are, too. Didn't see anybody die on the bridge, far as I can tell."

Hana inclines her head. "I can do that," she affirms — and Wireless does just that. Teo asks me to say he's fine; Delilah and Cat are also. Didn't see anybody die on the bridge, as far as he could tell. She turns away from the rail, pivoting to face the Sicilian; the wind, coming from the wrong direction, blows her hair forward over her shoulders, ends flitting about the woman's face. The only notice she pays it is to narrow her eyes slightly. "Is there anything else I should relay?" the technopath inquires; folding her arms across her chest, her stance is casual, distant in the way she habitually assumes.

"Not to him," Teo answers, though it takes him a few seconds to do so. Maybe he thinks he should have. Sometimes, he has rather vivid ideas about what he should have or do. Somewhere on the spectrum diametrically opposite of 'thought,' there's a lifted hand, callused fingers splayed, flicking at the locks of hair that taper at him like ribbons or churned molasses. Doesn't push them away, precisely. Nor, of course, yank on them or anything like that. It's been awhile since she hit him in the face, you know.

Call it nostalgia. "Pretending there are such things as black and white with you," and that's either a joke, or not one at all, quietly, "was what you saw good or bad, you think?"

It has been a while — and, so far at least, it seems like it might be a while longer yet. At any rate, Hana merely watches his hand bat about for a bit; then she reaches up and collects the errant mass of hair herself, twisting the brown strands into a single thick tail and tucking its end into the back of her shirt. Far from secure, but it'll serve for now. As delaying tactics go, this is an unfortunately short-lived one; and when its time is up, his question still hovers between them.

She turns around, walking forward in a way that isn't departure — three steps, four, thought in motion or else just shying from what was asked. What she saw is too fresh for Hana to have a prepared answer — and the events of the past while have pulled in too many directions for simple anger to rise as a wall. Looking at the cityscape without seeing it, in the end, the woman sighs inaudibly, exhalation visible in the minimal fall of her shoulders. "You think anything I see," and the bleak acerbity of her voice lacks even self-deprecating humor, "could be good?"

It occurs to Teo, almost absently, that yes. He thinks so. Subjectively-speaking, and he'll be the first to admit to bias.

'You could have seen me.'

But what were going to be the odds of that, anyhow? The closest of intimates is not all that close or intimate, in Hana's paradigm of things, and he isn't her Teo, or even quite the Teo that hers had become. There are so many strange and unhappy truths, unwieldy changes that might be made and courses of action undertook, that find their start and end in these basic circumstances. He remembers that she never even cut her hair for Israel.

Whatever her dream was about, and whatever he — surely, merely forgot that his was about, it can't be altogether surprising they hadn't intersected in them. Teodoro winds up shaking his head, coughing out a laugh. "You'll have to pardon that. Optimism," he says. "Goes with my hair. Were you on your way to something Ferry? Will you go on?"

If Hana were more inclined to be rationally objective at the moment, she might even agree with the words Teo doesn't speak. Needless to say —

Her back still to the Sicilian, Hana remains motionless, her posture a string tuned so taut it seems just shy of vibrating on its own accord; but her feet are still on the pavement of the bridge, her hands resting quiescent at her sides. Objective is not the word of the day, and as for surrender —

"Yes," the woman says, lifting her chin an infinitesimal but nonetheless discernible fraction. "I will go on." Surrender isn't an option.

She doesn't move her feet, but twists around, dark gaze sweeping slowly over the various acquaintances gathered down by the bus. Over the bus itself, her expression almost entirely inscrutable; it becomes so when her eyes finally come to rest on Teo, lingering a moment. And then Hana nods, a single brusque dip of her head; turns back, and begins to walk, glass fragments crunching underfoot.

'By herself,' is the way she ends that sentence without having to say it. Teodoro is rational and objective, and perceptive enough to see that. He passes his palm over his jaw, and then ends with his thumb under the point of his chin, scratching at the bristle that he keeps around to hide the mess on his face. He closes his eyes, squeezes, opens them again. By the time he's accomplished that, she's smaller and further into the vanishing point than she had been.

But she'd looked at him. Given him the nod. Just like the old days, or at least some indeterminable point of time between the point at which he'dve been hovering fretfully on his feet, dithering, smiling uncertainly at her from the wrong end of a telescope, and the latter days in which he would simply have fallen into place behind her, following. Categorical responses to trailing a comet on Earth.

Do not touch. "Ciao, Hana," he calls after her. And then, despite that she's leaving, "Good to have you back."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License