Days Go By


f_deckard_icon.gif f_teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Days Go By
Synopsis In the future, fourteen people died and Flint Deckard is babysitting Teodoro Laudani, a role-reversal no one would envy. There's carrying, feeding, burping, and thanklessly difficult questions.
Date June 12, 2011

Manhattan In The Future — Lou's Pig

A classy joint for drinking.

Lou's Pig is closed down for the night. Was. They make exceptions for heroes, though. Capitalized letters, bold font, eight-inch article— HEROES, accompanying photograph that takes up the rest of the page kind of heroes.

It is almost as good as the free California rolls at Seiko's and other random tokens of gratitude, from top-offs at gas stations to oversights by the IRS. Shooting some evil men with an agenda of larger-than-average geographical scope is an awesome everywhere-anything-however-much coupon, if somewhat late coming. The only real real-life nuisances Teo has really had to put up with, lately, is difficulty finding honest work and an outstanding library fee from his alma mater's Burke Library of Theology.

The former is merely ironic. The latter persists like a gnat of cruelly dramatic trope, bearing a surfeit of meaning on its tiny, iridescent wings and more pernicious energy than one would normally attribute to tiny insectoid mandibles. He wasn't in the mood to go back and pay it because his friends died on the stairs up in front. It had taken him a week to get back to the city from Atlanta in time for the big service. By now, it's been a month.

Teodoro is underneath the table, long limbs stretched out with drunken abandon despite the fact that the floor is mottled with dubious stains. He hasn't shaven in a few days, but he had seen Abby too recently for him to look especially mangey. From here, he can't tell whether Deckard is still paranoidly timing his beers between his anti-depressants intake, or if he moved onto cranberry juice.

"Your socks don't match."

Heroes. Deckard doesn't really fit the bill. He's given up on coloring his hair at some point in the last couple of years, not that he ever really succeeded at keeping up with it before. He's in his mid-forties and grey has already taken firm hold over dusty brown's last stand. Something else to thank his parents for, along with the last name and the x-ray vision.

With the table between Teo and himself, he is…looking at his watch. The last beer he ordered remains largely untouched despite having soaked through the napkin at its base with ammassed condensation. No cranberry juice. Just conscious, tired moderation. He has a class in five hours. He should probably take a shower at some point before then. Change out of the sports jacket he wore to class yesterday, at the very least.

"So?" His scruffy head tips forward in the supportive brace of his left hand, elbow propped up against the table. Teo's skeleton is still visible beneath thick wood. Slightly drunker than he was the last time he looked, maybe. "Maybe I'm making a statement." Two or three beers in and he feels like he's had seven or eight, forehead heavy against his palm. "About socks. You planning on staying under there all night?"

"Yyyyup." To add empirical support to this statement, Teo stretches out further. Would have, anyway, if he wasn't already testing the elasticity of his limbs against the amount of snagging and scraping that the grain of the floor and its loogie-sized rough patches are doing against the texture of his skin and his clothes. His clothes are…

Blurry, he finds, when he peels his head up and stares down — horizontally, across? — his front. He had put on a T-shirt, miraculously right-side-out. Corduroy pants, which he actually finds ridiculous, but he was running out of clean clothes and stalling at the prospect of Abigail going through his suitcase.

His feet are sticking out of the table's shadow slightly to Deckard's left and, despite the contradiction of sensory inputs, apparently still attached.

Whunk, and his head rejoins the rest of him in wanton capitulation to gravity. "What's there to say about socks? There's noth'n' to say about socks. Excccept… they.. come in—

"Except for stupid metaphors. Ah." The latter is a grunt of complaint rather than a noise of satisfaction or of respect. With a slithery noise, his skeleton and protruding feet roll over onto his front. He was either aiming for that shotglass to stick his tongue in or he meant to flatten his nose on the floor. His ankles say hi. And his socks match.

"No metaphors. Just. Laundry." Teo is spared a more in-depth explanation of his lack of organization as it applies to the sock sorting process. "Nice pants, by the way." Deckard's pants are blue jeans. Probably a pair he's had for long enough for them the apply for some kind of sentimental value. An assortment of empty glasses gleam at him from the table side opposite, crystalline clear, just like they've been for the last couple of hours they've been sitting there.

He closes his eyes, breath held for one uncomfortable, irritable moment. It passes.

"You have anything you want to talk about while you're down there?" It's a casual, open-ended question. Conveniently so, maybe. His free hand flattens back down over the table, long fingers curled beneath the edge of an unoccupied coaster. "See any interesting stains? Smell any interesting smells?"

Everything has metaphors! Teo means to insist, seized by a sudden, dislocated profundity, but instead there's a disgruntled kick because his mouth is terrifying close to the interesting stains and interesting smells that Flint had mentioned and he isn't so far gone that a brief mention can't bring back a visceral jab of prudish paranoia — or some pedestrian sense of hygiene. All right, that is acknowledgedly disgusting.

"Maybe we should go," he offers, the line of his voice weaving up and down a sine curve like a disconsolate groan. Or maybe it is disconsolate groan? Something.

Something-something. Teo tries to pick up after himself. Ends up knocking the shotglass over with the outer-edge of his hand. Fortunate that, with its diminutive dimensions, it doesn't have very far too fall. He squeezes his eyes shut, and reopens them experimentally. The receding forest of assembled chair legs remains inappropriately furry.

"Think so?" There's no malice to sarcasm's automatic presence. Deckard is decidedly a mild iteration of himself tonight, even-keeled and even-toned. Gosh. He almost sounds his age.

Fingerpads pushed deep into the socket of one eye, he settles back away from his palm's support and glances to the one guy left toweling off glasses at the bar. There's some tap-tap-tapping at the cash register back there a few seconds later. This routine is potentially becoming familiar. Flint scrapes his chair back in the meanwhile, right leg stretched straight in whatever under-table space that isn't occupied by Teo before he stiffens up onto his feet. Arrrooound the chair, all the way over to the bar to shuffle his billfold out of his back pocket, and a legitimate rectangle of plastic out of his billfold. Some hazy math and a scratchy signature later, he's back at the table again, this time to hook an arm up under whichever of Teo's pits is most available at whatever stage of the standing process he's managed to achieve on his own.

"You need to puke before we go?"

Teo is accosted mid-lurch. Kind of heading into a homo habilis stage of upright, with the legs crooked to querulous obtuse-angles and his back hanging off of his hackles at an oblique angle. Stick-figure man with joints of paper-mache, except his frame proves strangely solid in the grip of the old man's arms. Yaaar. Upright! Upright we go.

His arms protrude like penguin flippers. He angles a gaze down over his right, tries to make sense of the paper money and receipt stacked and inadvertently skewed like the slats of a half-folded fan there. That's nice! He doesn't remember getting his wallet out.

"Sounnnds like a good idea," Teo agrees. Breathing is harder when his ribcage is hoisted up inside the skin of his torso, but remains shakey even after he puts his hands back down. The furnishings up here are even furrier: a dismal state of affairs for persons with allergies. Deckard's suggestion flip-flops uncomfortably in his stomach.

"Wouldunn wanna throw up on a crime scene."

Deckard is solid in turn, if more iron rod or mesquite tree than soldier, all uncomfortable angles and dubious warmth. Same as ever. At least his breath smells a little better in the future. The single crisp green bill he tugs out of a side pocket to toss down onto the receipt around Teo is more than it should be. Then again, seeing as they're probably about to make a mess of the sidewalk outside, maybe not.

"Ookay. Come on." Paper mache joints make the task of looping one of Teo's arms around his shoulders easier than it would be otherwise, his hand gripped around the younger man's wrist while his left arm braces at his back. "Say the word and we'll stop so I can hold your hair. If you hurl on me without any warning, I'm dragging you the rest of the way by your feet."

That was an important update. In the future, Teo has hair! Which is, actually, neither a free buzzcut grown out or a ten-dollar porcupine job. It's longer. It's— a grown out ten-dollar porcupine job, the asymmetrical halves of it hanging off to the right of the dorsal line of his scalp after a fashion that kind of sort of mimics a pageboy thing, except it's… asymmetrical. Ragged. Brackish, as blond goes. Brings out his eyes, Abby had said, being optimistic about it, symptomatic of being herself.

It isn't actually long enough to need holding out, unless he tries something exceptionally innovative versus gravity.

Getting outside is a series of collisions and near-collisions that feels longer and more challenging than it is, but not long enough for him to come up with anything innovative to do with his vomit. "Th'word," he says. Once he is given his other hand back, he puts both on his knees, stoops his body around the shape of a hasp, steadies, and waits expectantly.

Nnnothin' happens.

He spends a few long seconds looking at his shoes, which do not match his pants, and then at the notched iron of the gutter grille, before glancing up to check that Deckard has come around to his side, lest some late-night-early-morning pedestrian types get the wrong idea.

"I lived in an 'partment 'round here back when it was dangerous," he says, spinning half-open eyes around the strip of Harlem. "'Nd cheap." Small-talk. You know, while they're waiting.

That didn't take long. As semi-promised, Deckard stops and allows Teo to do the same, the brace of his left arm across his back falling away only to snatch at the back of his collar as an afterthought. A sort of curled knuckle and corded muscle anchor in the off chance that he should start tipping too far forward, land on his head, execute a full roll and wind up trying to vomit up onto himself.

Stranger and messier things have happened.

"Oh yeah?" Outside the bar's neon sign shudders black. Deckard's eyes stay lit, stark blue in the chill of too-early morning without sunglasses to mute their ghostly glow. He'll keep watch while he waits. He's good at that. Also, more patient than he used to be. Especially given the context of what they're standing here waiting for.

He is standing to the side, subconscious correction of their prior positions for the sake of propriety, if not so much because he particularly cares what anyone roaming around at this hour thinks.
A few beats later, he tightens his grip on the back of Teo's collar and gives him a shake. "Anything in there?" Ok, so. Maybe not that much more patient.

"Ahhh," Teo says in damp protest, a startled monosyllable stretched out by the lethargy of his jaw's hinge hinge-joint. His left hand slips of his knee and he almost does go nose-first into the sidewalk, but by virtue of having his self-buttressing intact and the sturdy if somewhat jerkface grip on his collar, he doesn't actually execute a full roll and wind up trying to vomit up on himself.

He's merely shaken about like a recalcitrant pup, lacking strength enough to fight Deckard off. His hair hits his face. Fuck. "Okay, oka—y," he says, clawing off-blond strands back, smearing stiffly salt-rimed fingers over his nose. Fffuh. Fwwhhf.

"Okayokay." His left hand struggles crabwise back onto his knee, and he tightens his fingers there, focuses for a moment. Takes up his left hand again, after a moment, and rams his finger down his throat.

There she goes! Teo had eaten a bigger dinner than you might have expected, considering the state of him. It looks kind of like an afterbirth and gets on his shoes, a bit.

Okay. Deckard sucks in a deep breath and stops the shaking. "You need a haircut," he judges from on high a moment later, eyes gone briefly dim. One brow presses down almost before he's finished saying it, like he isn't sure why he thinks so or why he'd say so out loud even if he did. Then there goes Teo jamming a finger down his throat. Preposterously, rather than use his own convenient biological screen against such spectacles, he watches until the last of it seems to have blapped and pattered its way thickly down through the grate.

"Seven out of ten. Bonus points for size." He sounds genuinely impressed. Then he gives his former illustrious leader (formerly a leader and formerly illustrious) another gruff shake, maybe hoping to dislodge whatever might be clinging to his dumb puppy face before it's in close proximity to his shoulder again.

"That it?"

This is some preposterous role reversal, isn't it? Teo's supposed to be the grown-up in this relationship. Also illustrious and the leader of some'ing. The turning point had come somewhere between the prime-time television exposure and free pass for California rolls.

"Seven?" Teo sounds mildly offended. He cleans his face on the back of his forearm.

'Clean' is probably the wrong word for it, and lucky for both men involved, he uses the one that isn't wont to go back up around Deckard's neck. He doesn't say anything else for a moment, because horking out those two syllables tasted pretty bad. Especially the first and last consonants. "Oddio." Already, he's sounding more like his old self. Bitching heartlessly aloud at the ugliness of the American language in bite-sized… bytes from the homeland. "What else do you want from me?"

Teodoro makes a face. Not a dumb puppy face, given dumb puppies are wont to make friends with their own dung and puke and everything until they eventually connect the unpleasant cooling of sticky substance with their physical orientation and calibrate accordingly, and then… they're smarter puppies.

Anyway, according to the streaky picture that Teo's eyes are sending back into his brain, Columbia University is over there. He is either going to walk over or make out with that parking meter, judging from the haphazard paraboles traced by his trodding heels. Off and away! Corduroy express.

"I dunno. Wheels would make you easier to drag around," if he's taking requests. It's not a complaint, really. Just Deckard being Deckard, brow level and eyes too bright while he reassumes the position and takes some of Teo's weight back onto his own. He doesn't actually need to see the sprawl of Colombia ahead to know it's there. Unless it moved while they were inside, anyway, and Teo's winding them in that direction would seem to indicate otherwise.

Deckard drags his heels, slowing their progress into the beginning of a subtle u-turn.

"Hungry at all? I can make toast. I have a toaster." How domestic.

It is already complicated and taxing for Teo, trying to balance his self-interest against reciprocal care for his poor, beleauguered sitter. Two fistfights already averted, uncomfortably conversational opinions like the cost of burials these days caustically summarized, and look — there — the edge of the sky, the day is so young! He lacks coordination for fights or complex arithmetic now. He is trying to make up whether he should let himself breathe through his mouth, that the pork oil and acid taste might dry off or numb away, or whether Deckard deserves to breathe air reasonably unpolluted by Teo's ventilation.

About five strides into the U-turn, he decides to breathe through his mouth. Asshole.

"Do you have anything to put on the toast?" Talking is horrible. Teo inflates his cheek and his incipient beard stands up on end under the bulge of his skin, ejects air in one raspberry fart. Sucks air in again. Spring seems to mock him with its warmth, breezey, all quiet caresses trembling through the mobius contours of new green growths on the street-side trees; he forgets that it's actually summer already. "Do you have tapwater? 'Nd a TV?"

Predictably, Deckard rankles his nose against the hot blast of Teo's acrid breath so close to his own intake. He's not 100% sober himself. An aborted impulse to shrug the Italian off into his own mess is made tangible in a shift of muscle over ball and socket shoulder. That would be kind of ungracious, though. After everything. Decidedly.

Deckard's inner dialogue continues this argument with himself for longer than is probably necessary as they walk, with drowsy disinterest eventually winning out over both sides. It doesn't actually take him that long to get used to the stink.

"I have…peanut butter. Also, regular butter." In case he was hoping for a variety of substances with the word 'butter' in them. Aware of the fact that a broader selection might be more appealing, he inhales, tries to think of something else he has that could be applied to toast, lifts a brow, and decides to keep that particular option to himself. Hm. "I have tap water and bottled water. And yes." By which he actually means no, he doesn't have a TV. But a radio is kind of like a TV. And he has the internet, which these days is likely more or less the same thing.

For Teo, breathing out of his foul-tasting mouth becomes a war to establish equilibrium against a sudden pressurization of excessive mucus threatening to come up out of his nose if he doesn't snort it back in time. The noise is telling to Flint Deckard's ears. Almost embarrassingly so, perhaps for both of them.

"TV's important," he says, despite having no real suspicion that Deckard is lying. He had merely felt the urge to explain his greed for luxury items above toast, condiments, and tapwater, even if he finds himself incapable of doing so. He needs to keep up with the news on Humanis First! because — if he didn't, that would be humiliating too. It would appear that Teodoro has no strong preference regarding textures of peanut better.

There's a rock in his shoe. Hurts a bit. He doesn't know how it made it past the fortifications of unattractively narrow-cut corduroy. That should be physically impossible.

When it does come, the change in the register of Teo's voice is almost geometric, folded in, pinched, wet, very suddenly, very precisely mapped against the outward Kleenex-ball mash of his face. "I want my boy. Where the fuck is he?" Walking without the ability to see doesn't bother him enough to stop. Possibly because Deckard can, on average, see well enough for three of him.

Oh boy. Yeah. Deckard knows that noise. Odds are under normal circumstances he'd probably go a little stiff. Try to hail a cab, call someone else. Pretend he didn't know what time it is. Anything. But he's on drugs with warning labels on them that say 'don't drink alcohol with this stuff' and that's precisely what he's been doing, so. Muzzy-headedness in the arena of decision making is probably to be expected.

All the same, he's fallen conspicuously silent well before the inevitable crumpling of Teo's face and the question that follows. He stays that way too, having no answer that sounds halfway comforting to his judgmental inner ear. He's there. Warm, sturdy, outwardly unbothered by the upset and mostly human by some (lax) standards. Therefore better company than an empty room, if you're into the whole support system thing.

Keys are jangled out of his pocket — Teo's, presumably acquired earlier in the evening. The bike isn't far. Assuming he can make it there and convince him to hang on without the start of this thing escalating into physical collapse mode, they should be okay.

God help any paparazzi bold enough to have tried hiding nearby.

<date>: previous log
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
Unexpected Gifts

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