Don't Pick


deckard3_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Pick
Synopsis After the blood and chaos of piracy, Deckard wants to help and Teo stops him because he thinks he's greater than the good thing he wants to do. Awkwardness ensues!
Date September 23, 2009

Staten Island — On The Dutiful


It's the ass or armpit of the night, now, almost into the small hours of day. The yacht rocks gently against the dark dock's harmlessly toothless, tire-rimmed gums, groaning quiet fiberglass on wood, rubber on cement. Logan is somewhere with Satoru, and Kase is somewhere with the little bits of McAvoy, either aboard or nearby. Zheng is still kicking it with Morpheus.

Teo is with Flint right now. A battle-scarred radio unit that somebody scavenged out from the lower deck without getting blown up in the process is cackling and hiccuping a mix of snow static, 90's music, and news bites, cycling whenever Teo remembers to hit the Search button.

It's small, blocky shape rests on the saloon room's coffee table along with a lumpy mass of unfinished explosive device parts and the tools that the able-bodied have been using to trick through or else brutally gut the vessel's bowels and bowels. Hard at work with fixing himself, Deckard has been smearing blood on the adjacent furniture, discoloring the thick creamy fabric that binds its luxuriously poofy contours with ungainly pap and menses smudges.

Teo's occupied sweating like a pig, now, jacket wadded up under the clinch of one knee, one indiscreet boot up on the bar's varnish surface beside the translucent specters of previous prints. He's picking at the new scab on his forearm, trying to cool off by doinnnng — nothing, besides the picking, and forcibly radiate heat through the grime marked up his arms and cheeks.

The Triads weren't going to want this thing back after they were done with it anyway, probably.

"I also found a can of beans," he says, appropos of the last thing they'd said but discontnuous of anything. "If you need fast carbs," and if beer ain't doing it.

Having repainted the couch into a veritable work of shitty modern art (is there any other kind?) with blood he doesn't actually have to spare, Deckard hasn't had much to say up until this point. Too mute even to make disparaging comments about hygiene and the promise of infection Teo's picking presents, he sits with a beer open on one knee and his chin scuffed coarse into a rest between starkly defined collar bones.

He's staring at nothing, eyes (definitely eyes now, even if the ball of the left is still clouded murky off-white without discernible iris or pupil) unfocused past the wide angle of his knees and breathing slow. While no one else is in here to watch him close up the extra orifaces the Triad was kind enough to donate to his cause, the unworn eye patch is looped lazy around a bony wrist.

"The beer is helping," muttered after too long a pause, he forces himself to squint some actual attention over Teo's way. He could be lying, but the odds are better that he's simply mistaken, what with current blood to booze ratios decidedly in the beer's favor. "A couple of the other guys looked pretty bad off."

Yeah? The inquiry isn't so much a word as a grunt, and an articulate shuffle of Teo's eyebrows on his forehead. He has to pause to remember. Nobody's dying, or seems at particular risk to cross that semantic threshold from 'in a shitload of whining pain' no matter how vehement that whining pain happens to be. He would remember dying better than whining. So— "Yeah, Satoru's shoulder.

"Logan looked kind of roughed up. Running head-first into a fucking audiokinetic would do that to you." He is sleep-deprived as of late. Also distracted by the sporadic twitter and grunt of the radio. nother rash of graffiti marks the Suresh Center as the potential loca asked not to venture within a four-block zone, and further blockades and traffic diversions are being impos— If he weren't, Teo might be doing better tracking the heavy hints and trajectory of this conversation.

As it is, he doesn't even think to ask: 'Why?' "You all done?" he queries instead, thumbing the radio's knob over another few seamless increments. White noise flows, gurgles, coughs into a few fractioned notes of Debussy. It matches the furniture, the glossed aesthetic of the room, until Teo pushes past it.

Thoughts already distracted, Deckard only has so much focus to spare, and now that he's decided to draw himself back into the present from wherever he was before, Teo's getting the bulk of it. Reports coming in through bubblewrap static all sound the same until the Italian starts fucking with the dials, and after a moment — helpful — Deckard reaches his free hand out in silent 'let me try' offer of assistance.

"Nearly." Nearly finished. The wiry arm he has stretched out towards the radio is no longer dribbling blood through his fingers and his slouch no longer possesses quite the sickly hunch it did before, while it still felt like someone'd rammed a length of rebar up through his guts.

"I was thinking…"

"About leaving the mountaineering to Tom Cruise or Daniel Craig?" Har har har. Teo tell good joke. He folds his hand into a square fist and leans over with it sticking out on his straightened arm, gently pool cues the radio, sli-iiding along the flat of the table's surface into the radius of the older man's reach.

The joke is a little bit at Deckard's expense, mmmaybe, but there's no real heat behind it, a small smile that means relief after the tense few bars of worry that had decrescendoed undercurrent to the chaos of the yacht's deck a few hours ago. He decides he wants a shower, try and slough off some of this matted sweat patina that's giving him a greenhouse effect. Can't remember if he saw a stall while he was wandering around.

There probably is one, but he is disinclined to get up in the middle of a 'conversation,' if it can be termed that. Deckard remains, as ever, difficult to maintain a verbal rhythm alongside. As ever, he has to prompt: "What's up?"

"Ha," says Deckard so utterly without humor that he seems briefly in danger of wringing another ten years out of his shabby grey self when the radio stops solid against his palm, and…*click.* He flips the on switch a little too solidly into the off position, killing out static and sputtered song alike.

He was thinking.

"I could help them." Is what he was thinking.

For all that the lead up was a little flat and too the point, lacking in true hesitation or uneasy avoidance, he looks less sure now that the words have droned low through the little bones in his ears and registered as speech. The silenced radio is withdrawn with him, back into the sink of the couch all blotchy with blood while he frowns at his beer and black blossoms, cinches and constricts slow into the fetal beginnings of a pupil he didn't have five minutes ago.

The stillness that this proposition engenders in Teo's seated posture is wholly predictable, as is the sudden weight of his scrutiny, diverted off the deactivated radio and whatever momentary chagrin its deactivation had elicited. His eyes close and open. Close and open again. He closes his palm over the stubbly point of his chin, contract around the crease in the middle, another pointless effort to clean off some part of himself with the other, but this time the movement is excess without sincerity, a fidget, a momentary diversion lest Deckard catch him looking too closely at something he'd rather have acknowledged at an arm's length.

Transparency isn't always a bad quality to have in a friend. "You could," he hedges, the stress on that second word careful, slight, judiciously applied. "But that's a Hell of a cat to let out of the bag. Kind of a— fuckin'— zoo exhibit, vivisec— I don't really trust him, personally." He concludes this without finishing off the pill's shiny sugar coat. Bitterness seems to suit Deckard better, anyway.

O. Radio in lap, beer on knee, neck bunched loose at his throat where stubble is still making steady progress, Deckard does not immediately object or accept. He processes, which is not all that odd in and of itself. The glossy drawstring formation of clear blue around a pupil that's shuttered itself off into pinprick invisiblity is a little weird, yeah, but he's chosen his words carefully before.

"I don't trust him either." His voice is dishearteningly matter of fact, like he'd already factored it into the overall equation of suggestion and potential consequence. Brows hooded a few shades lower than before there, he works his jaw into a hollow, salt and pepper dusted clench, unclench and reclench. Then he draws in a long breath and nods — maybe a little too rationally. "Okay."

Okay! His thumb trips flatly back over the radio's power switch, toggling off back into on.

Static spits up, fizzes, croaks and muffles under the brush of Deckard's hand. There's unwonted tension residual in Teo's frame, a finger jammed in between pages seconds before the book is summarily slammed shut on the case. This isn't over. This— should probably be over, but something in Teo is wont to hover over it with tiny hummingbird wings and its frivolous appetite for sweetness. Dishearteningly matter-of-fact is a matter of perspective.

In another life, selflessness could imply generosity, not a certain fuckit disregard for one's personal wellbeing. And stuff. Teo's eyes make a saccadic hop-a-skip up and down his friend's lanky frame. A radio drama segment splices into hearing, a woman's contralto paced in monologue. He constructs and discards three or four other things to say, before settling on audaciously frank: "You're more important." His nose bends around a loud, canine sniff. He presses his thumb into the half-peeled scab on his arm, flattens it down to the level of his skin.

The start of the book from open to shut in Teo's hands earns a twitch of grey-touched brows that isn't quite a wince and isn't quite apologetic either. For bringing it up or asking or for being weird about it or whatever. Tick, the radio goes off. Tick, the radio goes on. Tick tick tick tick and tick, he lets it fall off his fingertips onto the couch cushion next to him in dreary hangdog silence while the aperture of his left eye winds itself carefully open and is whole.

Warm buzzing and black hole drain drift out of his system as one and after a solid blink to clear out the last of the blur surrounding refreshed depth perception and peripheral range, Flint reaches up to draw the eye patch back down into place anyway. 'Says who?' seems like probably the wrong thing to say, so he slumps into the too-soft couch and sips his beer instead. "I'll check in with Abby tomorrow."

The lattermost remark seems like a pellet gifted unto the rat who pushed the right lever. The rat takes this pellet with twitchy hand-like paws, turns it over speculatively, pleased though not actually hungry. Teo's fingers are fine. "Great." The word manages to be inadequate to the sentiment that accompanies it as well as a goofy token's exaggeration. He watches Deckard shutter the freshly-sealed dumpling sac of his eye back away, forgets to flinch— or even to smile, for a moment or two.

When he does, though, it's all clean teeth and sincerity. Great. Teo closes his lips over the enamel row again, and glances down, sinking his head an inch. It's kind of like a nod only, you know, consistent with the theme of the evening, yesses, nos, and sentimental concessions cleverly disguised underneath random interest taken in dirt and broken things.

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