eileen_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Entreaty
Synopsis Teo seeks representation in the ring.
Date March 6, 2009

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain - first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

It's March. The weather could at least try to be a little less frosty. Absolutely no warmth, however, is offered in this environment. The breeze blows icy off the water, passing through equally frigid angles of jutting, broken down boats and ships extending like broken rocks on a particularly rough coastline. It brings with it the scent of water, ozone, and rust. It's not actually a bad place to be, come to think of it - truly abandoned, now, no longer any kind of attraction. Not since, Tavisha supposes, the Midtown explosion, and even less since the fall of the Narrows bridge. Now the boat graveyard truly is exactly that, which helps him pick up the sounds of movement and life nearby, should it ever come.

And he expects it will, if the little note he received is to be of any indication. Attached to the weathered stalk of a bird's leg which only waited patiently because he asked nicely as he removed it. A message from Teo, via the woman he had finally obeyed to stay away from. Strange how that works out, or rather, doesn't. The note is pinched between his fingers, kept uncurled and by now a little worn from where he'd boredly picked at the sides, and now, as he hears heart beats and footsteps in the distance, distinct rhythms of their own, independent of each other, he lets the note flutter away to get lost amongst the salt grass.

He sits upon a bench of concrete and wood, stripes of red and white graffiti marking it as the forgotten property of some bored youth. A coat covers most of him, a thick grey scarf, leather gloves, boots now awkwardly tucked under his knees as he folds his legs up onto the wooden slats, Tavisha searches out the approaching figures with the help of distant roadside lamps, the ones that do work.

The two that blink into view of lamp-light cut nearly as lopsided, mismatched a silhouette as the erstwhile serial killer and genocide's girly mascot had, back in the day, when Sylar and Munin coasted the streets of Manhattan Island for whatever arcane purposes Ethan Holden required of them. The previous chapter of blood, deceit and chaos is, however, very much over. Manhattan's picturesque ruins and guerilla intrigue have given way to…

This shit.

Gutted boats rotting in shallow water, the Rookery a spit's distance away, Eileen in chunky secondhand boots, every eighth of an inch she trades in for height seemingly balanced by a pound's loss of weight and paler every day, Teo looking incrementally worse for wear every time they meet — the way that boys are wont to. Sylar isn't Sylar anymore, his personality abbreviated, and trademark preference in black clothes given up in favor of a fluffy scarf.

A few things remain the same, though Pancratium's poster boy has a limited frame of comparison. Teo was this polite the last time they met, and the first time as well. "Buona sera." He raises a hand, delivers a wave to go with the shout he pitches ahead of him. His sailor's register cuts through the sea wind like a good paper plane. "Thanks for your time."

Eileen's incursion into the boat graveyard goes largely unnoticed by its denizens — the scaly barnacles ensconced within rotting hulls, the gulls whose rancorous cries disparage and bemoan trespassers during the daylight hours — but there's very little she can do to conceal her presence from Tavisha as she winds her way through the maritime necropolis several paces behind Teo, her diminutive shape camouflaged by the combination of shadow and dappled moonlight.

Whether he remembers what she was to him or not, there's familiarity in the cadence of her footsteps on the sand, the hiss of her breath through her teeth, straining against the cold — this has all happened before between them, and it will happen again. Silent, stony, she lets Teo handle greetings for both of them. The only reason Eileen is here is because he beseeched her company. Gray-green eyes are dark, fastidious, studying Tavisha with openhanded disregard.

If her companion doesn't compel her to speak, she won't.

The process of unfolding himself, getting up to stand, takes a few moments - his limbs are stiff in the cold and his legs are reasonably long, feet finding the ground before levering himself up, pacing away from the bench and facing them, gloved hands seeking out coat pockets to settle in as they near. No intention to rest comfortably here, somehow Tavisha doesn't sense this will be a very long meeting, whatever its nature. This isn't the kind of place people want to remain for awfully long, not with its chilliness, decor of cement and metal and sand.

From the last time Eileen had seen him, he'd looked very much like he'd run into a metal pole a couple of times, and he had. Tonight, not a trace of the marks are left, looking as whole and healthy as ever, if under slept and, apparently, unhappy.

He locks eyes with Eileen for a moment, confusion reading in the tightness of his jaw and angle of his eyebrows before sweeping that gaze back over to Teo, almost entirely forgetting that the man had greeted him politely. Tavisha offers him the greeting Eileen had given just a couple of nights before: "What do you want?"

Some part of Teo has learned to really, really, really hate being underinformed. It makes his job harder — balancing a dozen triangles of truce one on top of one another. He gets the sense, staring blankly into the space between his companions, that he missed some crucial memo. Bringing Eileen along was supposed to improve upon Tavisha's mood, not the opposite.

There's tension here. The bad kind. The Sicilian winds up scrubbing his knuckles into his brow, with enough force to rip the skin of anybody less fragile, probably.

Still, the older man's transition to business suits both these unwholesome revelations and his original predispositions reasonably well. Dropping his hand, Teodoro nods his head. The wind slaps sends his breath blowing translucent across the side of his face. "I'd like you to win a fight for me on Wednesday night. John Logan has several fighters and other people captive — against their will. Some of those people are friends of mine. He and his partner have agreed to set them all free if you win.

"One-on-one, fight is called at the first knock-out. What do you think?" Honesty may seem like the bull-in-china-shop approach to criminal negotiations, but for all the complaining he's done about everybody else lately, Teo doesn't ever seem to know better himself.

The acuity with which Eileen appears to be listening to Teo's proposition is underscored by a salient silence. In hindsight, it would have been kinder to inform him of what transpired outside the clinic several nights ago — if she had, she might've spared them all the discomfort.

As soon as the entreaty has been put forward, she turns her gaze away from Tavisha and casts an acrimonious stare out across the water, focusing on the sound of waves licking the shore, saltwater bubbling up over the rocks before the tide pulls it back out again. Either she doesn't want to distract, or she herself is in need of a distraction. The breeze blows through her unkempt hair and buffets the bandage she wears on her left cheek.

Teo had expressed incredulity when this had first been pitched to him - as he should, it's an alarming and ridiculous deal that shouldn't work in the real world. It doesn't draw the same sort of reaction from Tavisha, seeing as such deals work on Staten Island, which only has a few similarities to what counts towards the real world, and it's all he knows. His eyebrows raise a little, but that's about it for several seconds, glancing towards Eileen as if inquiring as to what she thinks, but her gaze escapes him, retreating out towards the water a stone's throw away.

So, back to business. "I think that… I hope you have a plan B," Tavisha offers, voice mild as he looks towards Teo, studying him. "But I can fight, and I fight to win." Generally. Save for that one time, due to the slip of a girl standing next to the Italian, who gets another unsettled glance. Tavisha distributes his weight partially from foot to foot, soles scuffing against coarse ground as he backs up a step, not to retreat, just out of a fidgeting movement. That simple and honest response distributed, he can't but push: "What friends?" Beat, and he addresses them both, whether Eileen wants it or not. "Ethan Holden?"

"No. Eileen's been pretty kind, not asking me to do anything for Ethan." Which implies a little more of the antipathic history between whoever Teo represents and the party that once backed Eileen and, implicitly, Sylar, once upon a time. Teo's hands curl where the hang, one on either side of him, his balance perfectly steepled between his feet, neither casual nor defensive; the closest he ever gets to true neutrality. "Other friends. Just as involved in saving the world the other month, by some weird coincidence.

"You'll probably get to meet them later if you all want to." There's some macabre irony there, between latent plans to infiltrate Moab Federal Penitentiary and Abigail's self-immolating desire to be Biblically correct, but understatements and belligerent lack of detail aside, Teo is being perfectly factual. He smiles, small, bleak with understanding. "There's a plan B. It'll be happening at the same time as plan A. I'd tell you more about it, but—

"I don't know all that much about it, either, and I figure it's better that way. I'll be at Pancratium to watch your fight. Figure our parts are two of the easier ones to play." Fight. Watch fight. Try not to be murdered in a seething den of blue-collar workers and thugs. Run away or bluff before plan A and plan B mix like so much plastique chemistry and fire under pressure and people start losing body parts.

Ethan's name draws the smallest of sighs from Eileen and saps some of her resolve. She can feel Tavisha's eyes on her, fleeting as his glance may be, but it's not the tightness in her chest or the interminable effect this has on her that ultimately causes the young woman to yield — it's what Teo says in response.

"Let me handle Holden," she murmurs, though it isn't clear whether this is meant as reassurance or if it's a friendly admonition in disguise. "The Vanguard can take care of its own."

Tavisha listens patiently, to both of them, and gives away none of what he's thinking save for perhaps an impression of thoughtfulness itself. The fidgeting motions have died, giving away to statue-like stillness, no matter how much the insistent river breeze plays at his clothing, his hair. "You're right, I'd rather not know," he tells Teo, with the slightest lift of a rueful smile. "Whatever it is you decide to do, if it's something outside the deal you made, I'm risking it being lead back to me anyway, if he— " Presumably James Muldoon, even if John Logan's name has come up— "knows I'm fighting for you. That's a bridge I'm not ready to burn yet."

Although the complete lack of bridge might be a worry, but that's his own personal mission for memory and doesn't completely affect either person standing in front of him, or so Tavisha is inclined to believe. "I'll try not to lose," is his last confirmation to Teo, shoulders lifting in a shrug. And like an itch he's desperate to scratch even when he shouldn't, he can't quite let go of what words Eileen's finally offered to the conversation. He lifts an eyebrow at her, and simply states, flatly, "Can they?"

Given Teo's vast and assorted networking of relationships, he probably isn't one to criticize anybody's choice in friends. Doesn't mean he doesn't want to, though. Logan's cost his people a tongue, an eyeball, more than a few ounces of blood, a few hundred hours of sleep, and God knows what else before the week is out. The Italian curls his lip slightly, ducks his head in assent; by the time he lifts his eyes again, his mouth has flattened out into a reasonably polite smile.

"Never said that," he points out, by way of tacit reassurance. There's nothing to know, as far as Tavisha is concerned. No problem.

And there goes the ex-Vanguard's weird rama again, flaring up in odd colors, hard voices, and threatening the fungal cold of the coastline with sparks. Teo has an inkling of why Eileen doesn't want Phoenix anywhere near Ethan Holden, of course. He kind of wants to murder Ethan Holden himself. Still, that's the one known quantity in an equation choked with shit he doesn't understand and is beginning to wonder if he ought to be concerned about.

His eyeballs badminton-match back and forth, between the dark-haired girl and the erstwhile serial killer. "From the perspective of an impartial third party," he chirps, somewhat awkwardly, a hapless effort to head off — whatever, "they did okay."

Eileen's posture grows stiff and rigid, the bow of her back straightening into a taut, taciturn line. Dark brows lower, eyelids droop beneath the weight of their lashes, and lips pinch into an irate expression that utterly fails to communicate how close she is to cracking an open palm against Tavisha's face. Only two things stop her from giving in to impulse: the distance spanning between her body and his, and Teo's ineffectually unobtrusive presence on the beach.

The fingers of her leading hand curl into a tight fist, nails dimpling flesh and digging into the v-shaped dip that separates her thumb from the rest. The pain stemming from her busted knuckles and the split skin stretched so tightly across them anchors her feet to the ground, but no distraction, no matter how excruciating, can will her into keeping her mouth shut.

"Take Beacon Road south for a few miles," she tells Tavisha. "Don't stop until you cross the stone bridge and the houses start to thin out. There's an old drainpipe by some trees. You can find the answer there."

"You know what?" Tavisha says, his response coming in smooth tones, barely giving Eileen's words a second thought - inevitably he will, later, but his own anger sparked from the few nights ago, not yet dead, flares too hot for him to consider them now. "I don't think I will." There's a finality to his words, set in the heavy way he says them. Whatever answers she has, he's finished accepting them, for whatever reason that might be as clear as mud to only one person here, maybe two.

A step is taken back, as if unconsciously aware as to how close Eileen came to lashing out at him, and he looks at Teo. Tension is betrayed in his shoulders, around his eyes, the set of his jaw, that wasn't there before. "Why did you bring her? I thought we'd all agreed it was a bad idea." Or at least, that's what had been said last - actions had ignored this, mostly, but it was at least spoken.

There's a stinging glance of not-really-rebuke cast down Teo's shoulder at the diminutive Englishwoman, before he turns his head, snatches his gaze back up at the other man. He's gotten better at telling people off this week, but that's always been one of his greater weaknesses. Hurt his career as a teacher, once. He does Eileen the good grace of deleting drainpipe's description from his relevant memory.

"I think I'm a homicide away from making a crack about couples therapy. I brought her because she's been helping me get those people safe and you are too. Also 'cause I thought you were were— fuckin'— friends, or something. And if you didn't believe me you might believe she only w…" the line of his mouth draws thin with consternation, like a wire pulled taut between pincers. Then, curt with honesty, "I don't fucking remember agreeing to that. Last thing I do remember was both of you keeping me alive."

Footing his clinic bills, giving esoteric Evolved abilities a whirl. Teo doesn't ask for an explanation; contrary to popular consensus, he can tell when something isn't his business — and occasionally, he allows that to factor into his decisions. "Mi dispiace. I asked her to come. My mistake."

His mistake. If the way Tavisha lambasted her didn't terminate Eileen's participation in this three-way dialogue, then the final two words out of Teo's mouth did. She turns her head just enough to tip a sidelong glance up in his direction, searching his face in her peripheral not for some sign of candor — he's being honest as he is earnest, that much is plain — but for something else, something less apparent. Whatever that something is, however, it isn't immediately observable, and so she pivots on a heel and turns away from them both.

Wordlessly, Eileen raises one leather-clad hand in a flippant gesture of farewell as she sinks back into the shadows from which she and Teo first emerged. Darkness swallows her up, the hoary-gray of her woolen coat blending in with everything else. Retreating footsteps signify her departure from the graveyard, leather boots crunching crudely over sand and gravel.

Fluffy scarfs aside, the regret shown on Tavisha's face as Eileen turns her back is yet another difference between who he is now and who he was, rolling his eyes even if internal rebuking occurs simultaneously at his show of annoyance. Women, right?

Kinda. A sigh escapes him, watching her retreat even as he tells the other man, "I don't know what we are. Friends isn't one of them. I don't know why she agreed to come with you tonight." His voice is just loud enough for word to catch in the wind and blow by Eileen's ears, but they're not directed to her, exactly.

Gaze shifts back to Teo's, apologetic now. Tension that had been building in him since their arrival now snapped in two. "Maybe to humour you," Tavisha adds, a little wryly. Beat, wherein something unspoken makes the pause heavier for at least himself, and with a dull voice, he adds, "When's the fight?"

When the tension snaps in two, Teo and his overinquisitive mind, morbid proclivities, are let to pick up the halves and sort of furtively figure out how they had fit together without any real desire to resurrect that dark cloud. He doesn't get walked out on very often anymore — he's careful, in general, not to give people the chance.

The sharp-edged shape of Eileen's departing back hurts, but not as much as it could have.

"To help me," he offers after a moment. An alternative. And then a shrug, and another alternative: "Because she missed you. Fuck, I don't know. According to my aunt, experiments in selflessness don't tend to turn out well for people who think they aren't good at it.

"She also says time heals, but I'm pretty sure she's lying about that one." Women. Teo's reply sounds harsher than he intended it to be, and probably louder as well; he means nothing unkind about the girl who's taking herself away, and he honestly means nothing but comfort to the other man she leaves behind. It's been a long week. Month.

Year. "Wednesday night. Muldoon said nine o' clock in the evening. Do you think I should come alone?" It isn't a trick question, just an impossible one, as far as Teo is concerned. Tavisha doesn't know what Plan B is. He does know that Muldoon and Logan are susceptible to insult; that this round of bloodsport is them not only indulging their enemies' apparently considerable capacity for retaliation, but also protecting their own reputations. There are always risks, Teo understands. Acceptable losses, also.

Other times, he's just out of ideas. He rubs his eye again, and counts the sound of Eileen's footfalls.

Shoulders shrug, Tavisha's expression reads that he doesn't care if Teo comes to the fight alone, with hookers on each arm, or with the entirety of Homeland Security in his wake. However, he does respond: "It's probably not a good idea to go alone." As a general rule. Everybody needs somebody, whether because loneliness hurts, or because it's good to have a friendly set of eyes on your back before someone less than friendly can stab it.

"She does that," Tavisha adds. "Lie." Well, she said so herself just the other night, and he shakes his head as if to dismiss how harsh that judgment could sound out of context. "To protect people, and herself. I get it. You're wrong, anyway, she doesn't miss me." A pause, head tilting a little in something like a shrug, gaze wandering away. Not his problem, or Teo's, or something. He'd tried to stay away and that worked for about two or three days, and is probably going to continue to fail. Staten Island is only so big, and people are only so small.

Even the most petite kinds. This time, when Tavisha takes a step back, it's one with purpose, giving Teo a nod. "Take care of yourself. I'll see you Wednesday."

There's a tilt to Teo's mouth that is neither flattering nor insulting, remembering the man that Tavisha is truly referring to, if not 'me.' He imagines the same ignorance inspired both the serial killer he used to be and the rueful amnesiac he is now, in shrugging off Homeland Security and hookers alike. Nor had Tavisha had to say that aloud for Teo to understand.

"She might miss the other guy more," he concedes, after a moment. "But I think it's kind of a stretch to say you inspire utter fucking indifference and she takes no pleasure in your company. Not that I'd know." Not that that apparently stops him from jawing, anyway. A sore stiffness has taken up residence in the lines of Teo's brow and jaw, an incipient headache kicking his inner-ear. "She wouldn't be the first to confuse self-deprivation with generosity.

"It's really—" the staggered beat's pause there indicates, clear as the weather, that Teodoro is looking for a word that describes an exceptional height of meaning, and that he isn't being trite when he finishes, ruefully, "nice that you still understand her. You too.

"'Nd thank you." He draws a step backward, too, conceding the other man his retreat. The wind pitches his voice toward dead ships, and pitches the groan of ghost ships back at them. There are fewer stars out here than you'd expect, despite that civilization looks very far away. "For helping me the other week."

Who knows. Tavisha doesn't seem sold on this idea that she takes pleasure from his company and just shrugs again. If her words are anything to go by, he's pretty sure his presence inspires the opposite. But there's not a lot of point in laying this on Teo, it's something to be figured out with the girl no longer present, if at all.

And besides, maybe she wasn't lying about time's healing properties. So we'll see. Either way, Tavisha drops this line of conversation, including how nice it is he understands her— which at least does bring about some of that comfort Teo was striving for— and looks vaguely surprised when it's his turn to be thanked, and even smiles a little. "You're welcome."

A gloved hand extracts itself from his pocket, a brief wave that begins and ends in a single arc, before hiding once more, and he's turning his back and heading away.

March 6th: Go Home

Previously in this storyline…
Coliseum Diplomacy, Part II

Next in this storyline…
Thank You

March 7th: Very Cosmopolitan
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