Evasive Maneuvers


deckard_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Evasive Maneuvers
Synopsis Teo and Deckard meet at the Pelican for drinks and awkward conversation.
Date February 9, 2009

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

Having determined that Deckard's GPS dot placed him squarely in a dingy Rookery alleyway practically overlapping with another GPS dot, Teo— decided not to think about that too hard and chose not to appear like a magical terrorist ninja out of the thin screen of blown-off exhaust and fog that the sea air had cast over Staten Island lest end that clandestine dealing along with his life at the end of a bullet. So he didn't. Called ahead instead, all mannerly Italian and agreeable nature. The Angry Pelican? Teo didn't know where the Angry Pelican was.

An hour later, he was much illuminated and possibly regretting this.

Canvassing the shoreline bar felt a little retarded, given it had roughly the same physical dimensions as a camping tent, albeit with three times more the capacity for clutter and furniture to for drunkards to break their heads against. It's okay. Teo doesn't mind being here, despite the nearness of alcohol poisoning the preceding day. He had awoken to lingering paranoia that the older man would write him off as… whatever the elaborate American slang is for somebody who pals around with cops.

That's hard to imagine, leaning on the Pelican's wall now. He's exchanging stares across the room with a giant model swordfish, counting and recounting the plastic crabs and dustbunnies that cling to the wilted fishnet decorating the adjacent wall. He looks refreshingly sober, albeit still with that block of titanium conspicuously absent from his shorn crown.

Deckard is here. Late, scruffy as ever, and fresh from sorting out the kind of business that comes more naturally to him out here than it does most places, but undeniably physically present. He moves for the bar first, already having established enough of a presence at the Pelican that the sleepy-looking asshole on duty starts pouring before he gets there. Whiskey. No ice, because they don't have any, or because Deckard doesn't tip well enough to be worth whatever they do have.

A sideways glance is enough to pick Teo out among plasticized sea life — none of which would likely be able to survive more than a few seconds in the scummy green water that sludges up onto the shoreline nearby. The same glance stretches over onto a couple of derelict desk chairs under the wooden cover, and Flint heads over to drop himself down into the larger of the two once whiskey has passed from tender Pepe's on into his own.

Thus, the Sicilian kid is left to take the baby chair. Which he does so with a characteristic frown of observation without objection. The chair legs scrape the splintery slats of the floor, adding another few grooves and ragged-edged flaws to the hopelessly scarred floor, and nailed joints squeak slightly as he fits his lean frame in, settle his weight, snowboots grating uneasily to an even stop. He finds their usual two inch disparity in height stretched out to four.

Makes him smile, wryly, even as he glances down underneath the table, half expecting to find a new gun nozzle pointed at his crotch. More than half. "Buona sera, Mike. I wanted to apologize for my display yesterday." He buries blunt nails in the back of his ear, scratching like a dog fights back fleas. "And the consequent clusterfuck. It was a weird day. How are you doing?"

The frown Deckard sports is distracted, eyes squinted to slits behind black shades while he examines the rim of his glass for anything so suspect as lipstick. There are a few smudges, and there's a chip missing out of the far side, but apparently nothing terrible enough to put a full stop to the sip that follows. Whiskey's not bad either, all things considered. He likes it better with a little water to thin it out the burn.

One knee bent up under his chair while the other creaks out straight ahead of him, he balances his glass under the cage of his hand over the corresponding arm rest and listens. That's about the only thing he does, really, expression devoid of irritation, acceptance, or anything worse or better. The sunglasses make this easier — a minor pain in the ass themselves for their persistent existence despite the haze of fog in the air and late hour. "Nice haircut."

As per habit, Teo automatically tries to, starts to follow the older man's line of sight to the subject in question. He can't really see the roof of his skull from here, though, so there's merely an abortive flicker of pallid eyes upward, before they click back to Deckard's face. "Grazie. Surgeon's design, not mine. I'm told it makes me look like a thug." It's a disjointed progression of response; he isn't unhappy with looking like a thug.

The mainstay of his vanity is about that. Being pleased about his looks no matter what minor marks or adjustments beset them. It's his curse. "I figured out what you meant," he adds, clumsy in pacing from some species of embarrassment, his attention roving the top of the table and seesaw of whiskey inside the alarming translucency of glass. "When you asked what I was missing. I remembered this morning. The surgical plate, si?"

"You remembered this morning, or when I told Felix because…he had a gun to my head?" The name is dropped without real care for who might be listening. An intentional lack of care, even, malicious in the way Deckard's teeth bite gently after each syllable. Knuckles crack somewhere under the table, tension that doesn't reach his face displaced in a quiet series of pops. A twitch of his brow leads into a sideways look after a couple of bruisers on their way past the fine establishment that is the Pelican, one of whom is at least passingly familiar.

"If Felix thinks you're the real deal, I guess I do too. He's my hero."

If Teo knew the full number of his informants whom the FBI agent in question had and continues to plan to murder or arrest for whatever reason, he'd probably be— more alarmed. As it is, the indistinct fear that had filtered through the lens of liquor is a slow-fading memory that maintains roots in the bedrock of regular paranoia and affection-flavored stuff. Real friends pull guns on each other to make sure they aren't insidious doppelgangers.

In Phoenix, they do. Teo stops looking at the bruisers, focusing with effort. "All the best parenting books eschew the use of sarcasm with teenagers," he says blankly, shrugging his shoulders up underneath his ears. It isn't very warm in here. "I remember where you stayed in November.

"I remember you moved in December and why. You saved his life. Felix's. What could I say to make you believe me?" When Teo's being earnest he looks like he's focusing very hard and angrily on sighting down the barrel of a weapon to try and shoot somebody in the head. Youth means being serious means looking humorless. Going all-in, grim, no room for irony; not even when he sees himself in Deckard's shades. "Do you want to?"

"I've never had cause to read any, for which I suspect the world is grateful. Though," he lifts his glass, swallows, lowers it again, "I have to admit I'm a little concerned that you have." It really isn't very warm in here, but Deckard's been out in it all afternoon. The lazy slouch of wood and netting overhead that keeps the wind off is welcome. He can tolerate the rest on his own.

"I dunno." He doesn't bother specifying which question he's answering. The first, the second, both. 'Neither' seems like a stretch.

There's a shift of his weight against the chair, which makes less noise than it looks like it should, and the leg he has bent under it stretches stiffly out to match the other. Teo's effort as a whole is eventually enough to provoke something like a smile in the lines around his face, though it fails to develop much of a presence in the region of his mouth. "Does it matter? The world didn't end. You could be Kazimir himself and I'd still be dead from unrelated causes before you got around to trying again."

That leaves Teodoro precious little to go on. Might be more frustrating if he weren't used to that by now. Homeland Security doesn't like cyberpaths rooting after their high-sensitivity prisoners, and Flint Deckard wouldn't mind if he were Kazimir, which possibly goes to show that Teo hadn't debriefed him adequately on the old man vampire's abilities. Like rubbing salt into a void. Hard to say why it stings. He's Catholic. Everything stings.

His boots drag noise out of the floor, restless already after five minutes spent restricted to proper seating configuration. "Maybe not. I guess not. You don't need…" That sentence ends in a blank long enough to reverse through time and subtract the preceding sentence from time. "Yesterday, it seemed to matter.

"You took away all my shit." Guns, he would have said. Knife, but the bruisers are still sitting there and their reaction to Felix's antagonism, however subtle, registered in his scintillating terrorist senses as good cause not to plant himself on the other side of the fence. The lines between his brows relax fractionally. "Glad you're in one piece."

"Yesterday," says Deckard, only to stop himself short. One eye screws itself back into a squint, lines drawing themselves back into a more comfortable configuration across his brow while he reconsiders what he was going to say. "All my troubles seemed so far away. But…now it looks as though they're here to stay, so."

He really does not seem to be taking this conversation very seriously.

Eye contact avoided in the persistently indirect angle of his narrow face across the table where he could probably get away with closing them or looking at something else, he forces a smile at the company they're keeping several chairs over. Hi.

It's probably better this way. The last time they tried this conversation, Deckard seemed to be taking it seriously and led many people to believe that Teo was about to be shot. An adventure Teo would rather not repeat, despite the fact that he frequently seems about to.

"Well, I don't know why you wanted me to come here if all you were going to do was look at unattra—" The Sicilian manages to clamp his jaws shut around that surfeit irritation at Deckard's wandering attention and has grace enough to color. Barely turning his head, he slides what might pass for a discreet glance over at the patrons the older man was looking at.

Blows a sigh out of his nose and picks up one knee to prop against the table's edge. He's contained himself enough that he manages not to exert enough force or weight to send the rickety furniture tumbling end over end into Deckard's person. "Read any good books lately?"

One of the bruisers — the one that was trying to get a better look at them over his shoulder, actually — snorts and goes back to the conversation at hand over there. Something about pit bulls, possibly. Or some other P word. Deckard isn't actually all that interested. Teo's peculiar word choice is enough to draw his attention back to their conversation.

And it is peculiar. Forehead distinctly furrowed, he kind of looks like he hopes he heard wrong, but doesn't actually think he did. Impressive how much one can convey with just the right tip of the brows.

…Moving on.

"Just today's paper. I've been a little preoccupied." The apocalypse, killing a guy, a week in a cage, more angst over killing a guy, new job. He looks healthy enough, anyway, having recovered fairly cleanly from his stay aboard the Invierno. "You called me."

"You flipped your shit on me yesterday," Teo says. He's young: it comes off like a retort even though it isn't, doesn't particularly balance the fact that he had indeed called Deckard. You don't call somebody for drinks because they pulled a gun on you. You call somebody for drinks— when— you're trying to catch up, or something; he can't exactly remember, having failed to partake in this social event or like for some time.

He might just be trying to distract himself from the fact that Deckard hadn't heard wrong and that eyebrow is overly profound. "Preoccupied," Teodoro repeats after the older man the next moment, lapsing back into a pattern he can't consciously remember adopting. His right shoulder finds an oblique angle, his elbow propped up on the edge of his crooked chair. He never remembers to be self-conscious or ironic when he asks, "Do you need help?"

"I'm not flipping my shit now." A fact that cannot be argued with because it is indisputable, though it has little or nothing to do with the fact that he was flipping his shit at some point yesterday. He sips serenely at his whiskey as if doing so proves something, and lets his eyes skip back to tweedledee and tweedledumb over there at the other table again, possibly for the sole purpose of seeing if Teo will say anything else illuminating.

"Preoccupied," is agreed at length. Kindly perpetuation of an old habit that almost makes the contents of this conversation seem normal for a minute. There's something about the question that follows, though. The particular phrasing, maybe. It tightens at Deckard's jaw and doesn't quite manage to release on the slow breath he forces out after it.

Theirs is an odd lexicon. The vocabulary is like anybody else's, featuring swear words and occasional literary titles, a splatter of Italian and a few firearm discharges. Their silences read a little differently though, maybe. It takes longer for awkward to register, more time to determine whether there is mood or sentiment to be conveyed by the negative space or if that was merely a belligerently stubborn omission of fact.

Generally, Teo's come to expect a grocery list, sometimes including hookers, or a glibe fuck off when he makes that offer or similar. Want me to bring anything next time? There something else you want? Do you need help?

In other words, that quiet feels like a Yes. A really loud one. Blares in the younger man's face with such sonic force that his cheek ripples slightly and he winds up with one side of his face squinty, as if there's an eye-watering blur to have to cut through. "You going to drink that, vecchio?" he asks, glancing down at the cup in the man's hand.

This pause is a long one. Longer than most, given that they both seem to be participating. It's eventually concluded on Deckard's end by a short shake of his head, and on Teo's by the question of whether or not he's going to drink the rest of his whiskey.

There isn't that much left at this point, really. Half a finger, maybe a little more. Deckard looks down at it, frowns, and mulls. Probably, if they sit here for long enough. He offers it over anyway, brows lifted out of their contemplative stoop over his sunglasses, hand steady. Not like there's a shortage of the stuff here if he decides he needs another one.

Maybe Teo should be worried about germs. Not because of Deckard, who has suffered enough of Abigail's goodness to have lost most contagions, Teo thinks, but this place is horrible. On the other hand, drinking poison out of a dirty cup is probably safer than sipping orange juice from the same, so before he overthinks this, he is going to grasp the cut of glass, just like this, lift it up in toast, draw it back to himself and down the remaining contents in one swallow.


His throat closes before he can get a cough out of it, so he is left so sit there for a protracted moment, five fingers clutching the now-empty glass too tight for his own good, given one of said fingers is still nicked from that disasterous effort to pick up his open switchblade the other night. The scab does not reopen. His eyes open and shut.

Eventually, coughs, shifts forward, lays cup back down on table, sucks air through his nose and drags a thumb down the shadowed line of his jaw. "Something happen?" he asks. The knuckle-rub he sets into his eye typefaces the question to feel more casual than it probably actually is.

Did something happen? "A lot of things have happened." Slow to settle back into his seat after passing the glass over, rather as if instinct is telling him he should stand and walk away instead, Deckard fails to appear apologetic for giving a vague answer to a vague question. If anything, his resolve to be uncooperative coalesces and solidifies, reticence taking up more formal residence in the level of his brow and clench of his teeth.

"Seen Edward lately?" It's like a subject change without involving a change in subject, despite every appearance to the contrary. Boozeless, he traces the splay of his hands down rickety armrests, then on down into his lap, where they twine lankly together and fail to inspire the sort of innocence he might wish accompanied the question.

Some disjointed part of Teo's brain suspects Homeland Security is going to sail in through the doorway — or the walls, they probably have the physical coherence of paper mache — with guns blazing and take them all away, the way Deckard's twitching. When the rat's instincts are telling him to run, the terrorist wouldn't be wise to stick around. Fortunately, Teodoro is very selective about exercising 'wisdom,' or whatever. He watches the residue of whiskey flatten, even out on the bottom of his glass.

Looks up again. "Non," he answers. "Last I knew, he took a handgun to Washington DC — or wherever he was going. Scuttled off like a spineless little heel, didn't return to his job. Fucked if I know what he's doing now." He holds Deckard's gaze for another moment, his features adopting the lines and angles that characteristize the beginning of an apology, the dregs of guilt stirred up again. This time, Teo refrains. "You're first in line to put your foot up his ass if we hear from him again."

Deckard isn't really an angry man, per se. Hateful, maybe. Resentful, yeah. Bitter, frustrated, trodden upon. The flat rise and sink of his chest that trails after the news of Edward's disappearance has something distinctly poisonous about it, though. Something about the cinch at the corner of his eyes or the slow sideways slide of his jaw. He might like to do things to Edward that go beyond breaching his butthole with a boot.

The promise of future violence is limited to unconscious body language, but the bartender is watching a little more carefully than he was before, having served here long enough to be aware of that air of bad mojo even from afar.

Time for another change of subject, clearly.

"What's the deal with you and Felix?" There's a rasp in his voice, a burr in his throat that's cleared out with a sick-sounding swallow and another upward twitch at his eyebrows. "Pal around with the FBI often?"

The bartender watches closely when Deckard's posture shifts. The whole fucking bar experiences a subtle paradigm shift when that term hits the air — FBI, slowed perhaps only by the thickness of alcohol and sweat vapor in the air. Being one of very few entirely sober people sitting here, Teo is afforded a reasonably clear perspective on this occurrence. Pal around. That's one term for it.


Teo isn't generally a very good liar. The monosyllable, flatly spoken and accompanied by the steel edges of a scowl, does not particularly look like one. Whatever the Hell the Feds are to him, 'pal' would be the incorrect term, he's fairly sure. Terrorists don't have pals. Not ones who haven't magically wound up buried in a HomeSec-operated tar pit, anyway.

"Va' al diavolo," he adds for good measure, unambiguously aggravated despite everything else lost in translation. His jaw juts an inch outward and he shoves his chair back drags himself upright and out of it.

"Sensitive subject?" It looks like it might be. Sounds like it might be, though the words Teo chooses are not ones he's heard enough to fathom the meaning of. Another deep breath is dragged in and kicked out, whiskey stink not yet having taken too much of a hold on the resultant haze. Irritation etches into crow's feet and fuzzes into the lines around his mouth when the younger man grates the chair back and stands.

"Sorry." It is an apology, however non-specific and a little terse. Eyeline turned down onto the table, he doesn't actually move much himself.

Now Teo is standing and everybody who was subtly looking at him is now deliberately not looking at him. Or perhaps that's his paranoia talking, triggered by the term FBI on Staten fucking Island. His eyes narrow so close they almost shut, pallid irises showing in two sharp gleams between lids creased in a perhaps uncharacteristic show of temper. With effort, he has to remind himself. Deckard doesn't know how tight the noose has drawn.

It takes effort, psychological mastication, but Teo chokes back his temper in the end: it's not Deckard's fault he's an asshole.

It's a miracle Teo's survived this long, yes, he's aware. Got shot in the head the other week. Anger gives way to exasperation; he glances over his shoulder, through the dingy shoreline bar. "I'll buy you a bottle of something, if you want," he offers. Manages to hold his voice even. "But I'm getting the fuck out of here."

Deckard opts to join the others who are definitely/probably trying very hard not to look at Teo, slate blue kept to the table behind reflective lenses. The ability to detect certain kinds of looks boring into his hide via tangible, neck-prickling sensation alone has become something of a second superpower for him. One that sees a lot of use despite the fact that it isn't exceptionally useful.

Another slight shake of his head answers the offer a bought bottle. Not necessary. Not necessary and he's getting a few non-looks himself. He can feel those too.

That had been an invitation. Maybe Teo hadn't phrased it very well. Wouldn't be the first time. He ends up staring down at the old man, trying to determine what it is he should say next. Or, arguably more importantly given the style and theme of his pending dramatic exit, what he shouldn't. "Next time," he offers, finally, casting a hand up near his head before gravity drops it down on a lazy arc back to his side. "Watch yourself, eh? Vecchio.

"You're too old to be fucking up the same way twice." Glibe as a child is wont to be, he bends his mouth around a half grin. Stoops his shaven head, briefly, in salutation. He turns on a heel and lopes toward the door.

No miscommunication. Disinterest, refusal, distraction. Something more like that, further imbued in the way Deckard keeps his eyes elsewhere. Right hand lifted back up over the table so that he can scuff it against the side of his head, he drops it down next to his empty glass with his sunglasses hooked along for the ride. The left hand takes over, pressing into the hollow shadows around his eyes with more force than is probably necessary while Teo's footsteps fade past his left side for the door.

February 9th: Who Dares, Wins
February 9th: Stupid
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