Existential Direction


felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Existential Direction
Synopsis Felix gets a few answers to paste onto the gaping black void of his amnesia, and Teo makes an appeal.
Date March 30, 2009

Staten Island — Hotel

He's in the blank room where Teo more or less deposited him. Cold enough that he's wrapped in a blanket, despite hoodie and jeans. Bare feet, curled up on the bed, trying to read an ancient copy of 'Treasure Island' he's dug up somewhere. Who knows where - books seem to just manifest in Ivanov's presence. He looks oddly young and still terribly lost, blue eyes vague and bleared. There's the remains of takeout from the

There are only hours to Moab, and this is a habit slow-turning into a tradition that Teo has inherited from his mentor: of mentally preparing himself for wetwork by sequestering away from the normal creatures and comforts that normally occupy his day. Salvatore hates it because it seems like his boy is preparing to die. Salvatore is right, of course, but you can't think straight enough to get the job done if you're busy freaking the fuck out about the possibility of dying.

"Felix." The door wheezes open on rusted hinges. The frame is painted the same lumpy shade of blue with which the giant swordfish on the facade was colored in. There a subtle sort of surprise in Teo's face, at the zombie Feeb still being here. Some part of the Sicilian had expected Logan's people to have reappropriated somewhere in the course of his absence, for their arcane and subterranean intentions. Either that, or for Ivanov to have Jason Bourned it out of here. "How are you doing?"

Unlike the formidable Jason, Fel doesn't remember his skills. He looks up, politely sets the book aside, but doesn't smile. "I'm fine, thanks. I don't remember your name," he adds, with a tinge of apology to his voice. He just gives Teo that owlishly blank face.

The hapless owl chick meets the scrutiny of the not-so-pristine choirboy he had deflowered some— how many months ago? These metaphors and short encapsulations suit them very well. They didn't fit very easily into straightforward categories. White knight happens to be a terrorist, the Fed a gormless good man. Traitors, both of them. Felix's lack of resemblence to what Felix should be is almost as annoying as their similarities. After a moment, Teo remembers not to frown.

"Benito," he lies, kicking off his shoes.

"Why are you- Benito, then," he says, calmly. He's being lied to, but that's okay. "Did you want the bed?" he adds, arching his brows, and uncurling from where he sits. He's still got the blanket over his shoulders - the heater in the room is none too effective, clearly. "There's kung pao chicken - it's still warm." Sort of a feeble attempt at hospitality, really.

Teo closes a long hand over the back of one rickety, padded chair, tries not to think about the ghosts of scrubbed stains still in the fabric as he drags it over to the bedside. Swiveling it to face the older man, he drops himself into the seat, dragging his jacket off in a series of clacking buttons and growling zippers. He takes a moment to pull out cigarettes and lighter, but not apparently because he needs to smoke.

Emptied, his jacket is thrown at the erstwhile Federal agent, underhand, by a grip on its collar. "Teo," he offers, a half-beat later, in a voice that might be a little nicer.

Fel looks blank, fora moment. And then puts the jacket on. It hangs loosely on his frame. "Thank you," he says, quietly, letting the blanket sag back to the bedcover. "Teo," he parrots back. It makes the lines in his face ease, if only a little.

"What happened to you?" Stupid question. Insane question. Or merely cruel, Teo doesn't know. This situation lacks precedent, even for a boy who took a revolver round to the brain two months ago and has had various and sundry incredible experiences since. Underneath his jacket, he is wearing a hoodie and a shirt. Underneath the question, there's a dark, folding sea of suspicion, at odds with the curiously casual feet that he picks up off the floor and sets on the bed's rumpled edge.

Fel's huddled in Teo's jacket, over t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie, on the worn coverlet of the hotel bed. Still shivering, now and then, like some of the chill of the ocean water has become permanent. His hair's in spiked disarray, as if he'd been sleeping. There's a worn copy of 'Treasure Island' sitting by him, broken open at the spine. Stubble glitters on the long jaw, as Fel scratches at it, idly. "I don't know," he says, simply. "I woke up in a motel this morning, with that young woman keeping watch over me. Bebe. I……" He shakes his head, and closes his eyes, as if to ward off that nameless fear. "There's nothing beyond that."

Good answer, insofar as that it means Teo isn't going to shoot anybody over just that. Bad answer, in that it doesn't help a lot, otherwise. The Sicilian articulates his feelings on the subject with an ill-humored grunt. His knees jack-knife up in the air, briefly, and he scoots down on his chair to fit his shoulders in the embrasure of the padded seat.

There, he relaxes. Sort of. Not really. Felix's huddling is contagious. "You'll be home tomorrow," Teo says, hooding his eyes. "The cops and everybody should be able to knock your brain back in with psychometers and telepathy or something. The shit they can do these days with daisy-chainned Evolved abilities, 's pretty cool."

Fel worked Vice long enough that 'daisy chain' has another meaning entirely. And it lifts the corner of his lip in something that's almost a sneer, almost a grin. Though he promptly frowns. "Good," he says, politely.

Felix looks more like Felix when he's enjoying stupid cop in-jokes. Teo's left eyebrow contuses upward briefly, before his features lapse into a weary half of a smile, too small to reflect mirth, though not a single fraction of an inch is disingenuous. Dimly, he is aware that it's no less absurd than his first question when he asks, "Something wrong?"

"I think I ….worked for Treadstone," Felix finishes, after a pause left on tenterhooks for a little. "You know me, I don't know you. This means you have the advantage. I don't know anything. People tell me to go to the cops, for all I know, that's a trap."

Sounds like something I'd say, Teo thinks, wry at such abrupt, automatic suspicion of law enforcement. He rubs the first two knuckles of his hand into his eye, blinks at Felix from around his laddered fingers. "When you get back onto Manhattan Island, you can stop at a library and Google yourself or some shit. You're famous.

"Felix Ivanov, hero FBI agent." Teo mimes a big headline with his hands, before sniffing empty air like a great stupid canine. "'S why you need to fucking keep your head down while you're on Staten. And it's why I figure the fact Bebe's people were taking care of you was fucked up.

"Seems like organized crime has something on you now."

The last few days are likely the last time he's been out without his cop's mask in a good ten years. Which makes his expression of shock all the more comical, before it turns jaw-jutting truculent. "You're fucking with me," he says, without hesitation. "And why? Who are her people? If I'm what you say, and the mob had me in its hands - any mob - I should be wearing concrete shoes. Not waking up to some nymphet offering me grapes, or whatever." His accent is almost more purely Brighton Beach than it has been, between the Academy and Quantico polishing the edges off.

For a moment, that truculence finds an approximate mirror on Teodoro's face. He doesn't really like lying. He has commensurate distaste for being called a liar— especially when he is not. The corded line of his jaw stands out, stark, and the arms folded across his chest harden and square like wind-blasted granite. Then—

"Okay." Almost sullen in his annoyance, Teo lets both pale eyes crease shut. His hands knot under opposite arms and he exhales, slow. Surfeit irritation staves off the sensation of cold.

And that has Fel stripping the jacket back off, handing it back. "Looks like you still need it, big guy," He settles back, propping his weight up on his hands, half-sprawled, eyeing Teo with challenge in his eyes. "What's my story, then? I'm Melvin Purvis, I'm out here chasing Dillinger? And someone knocks me on the head and I don't remember? The girl is a moll, and I'm now a Manchurian candidate?"

Eyes closed, Teo can pretend that he has no idea what that noise is. Besides, you know. Felix not shutting his stupid trap and drawing from a half a dozen literary or media references that he has no idea about. How can a guy remember all that but nothing about his personal life or how to how to conduct himself? Christ.

He ignores the jacket, wherever it lands. Annoyingly, he can still hear the challenge Felix sneers at him even if he can't see it. "I don't know. My sense of humor and I arrived too late to party. Little bit of Google and the Bureau will clear you right up." There's a quaver-beat's interval of pause, then—

"I shouldn't even be here," Teo mutters, more to himself than the gangly old man.

"Why are you?" Felix asks, more calmly, after one of those nostril-flaring long exhales that make him look like an irritated racehorse. "I have protectors whose names mean nothing to me," he says, tone flat, with only a lacing of puzzlement.

It takes Teo a long time to answer. Too long, maybe; it's the kind of pause that other men use to think of a good lie. Either that, or it was obviously a difficult question as it was.

Finally, he slivers one wintry blue eye open. His pupil dilates and contracts like a tiny black hand testing its grip on the shape, size and color of the other man opposite. "We're friends, I guess," he answers, eventually. "My name might mean something to you later. When you get your brain back." He drags a foot along the top of the bed, pushing the clumped jacket with socked toes. Frowns.

"Then thank you," This even more quietly, as another wave of that vagueness threatens to roll up over him. He huddles down against it, like another physical chill to be fought off. "I'm sorry I don't remember," he adds, tone weary, offhand.

There's a noise in the back of Teodoro's throat that falls loosely into the category of complaint, though inarticulate at best. He gets up in an ungainly series of falling feet and a push of hands. Snagging the discarded jacket again, he hurls it gracelessly at Felix's head, before thumping off to look at the thermostat. The device is toggled with a poke and pry of fingers, furrowed brow.

"Don't worry about it. You probably wouldn't want to, anyway."

"I don't need that. I'm not really cold," Fel insists, even as he simply gets under the covers, fully clad. Liar. "Why not? Was it a bad breakup?" he wonders, brows climbing. He's teasing. Mostly.

The thermostat is already pretty close to maxed out, indicating something either wrong with the heater or else the central organization to the place. Cheapskate managers, probably: it is Staten Island after all, and winter is declared over a lot sooner than the Sicilian's sensibilities would agree. Teo scowls at it, swivels back to Felix, stumping back to his bedside perch.

For whatever reason — mangled sympathy or physical discomfort or otherwise, Teo has unaccountable difficulty aiming himself then. Moves straight past the chair he'd dragged up, drops himself to sit onto the edge of the mattress. "More than one, I guess," he says, a ruin of a half-smile, without looking.

"Oh," Felix says, a wealth of confusion and chagrin in those words, even as he looks keenly at Teo to see if he's being mocked. "For whatever I did, then, I'm sorry," he says, fingers curling into the bedcovers, loosely, giving Teo a closer looking-over now. As if there might be some cue to remind him.

There isn't, naturally. Their chapters of intimacy had been — relatively brief, extremely furtive, and characterized by indulgence in character flaws that Felix apparently temporarily without. Easily concealed and deliberately forgettable, entirely without sentimental reminders or domestic habits. Well. You know.

Other than the shitty hotels and clothes strewn everywhere in various states of damage or repair, anyway. "It wasn't like that."

He leans the mainstay of his weight on one hand, studying Felix with clinical curiosity not unlike that which Felix is studying him. A thoughtful scowl etches new lines into his eyebrows and he lifts a scar-notched forefinger, hesitantly, taps at his own chest, over own heart, to mirror Felix's scarred torso. "Someone hurt you. You know that, right?"

There isn't, naturally. Their chapters of intimacy had been — relatively brief, extremely furtive, and characterized by indulgence in character flaws that Felix apparently temporarily without. Easily concealed and deliberately forgettable, entirely without sentimental reminders or domestic habits. Well. You know.

Other than the shitty hotels and clothes strewn everywhere in various states of damage or repair, anyway. "It wasn't like that."

Teo leans the mainstay of his weight on one hand, studying Felix with clinical curiosity not unlike that which Felix is studying him. A thoughtful scowl etches new lines into his eyebrows and he lifts a scar-notched forefinger, hesitantly, taps at his own chest, over own heart, to mirror Felix's scarred torso. "Someone hurt you. You know that, right?"

He's not particularly shy. Apparently after that revelation. Without further ado, he strips off both hoodie and shirt, leaving his own hair rumpled, short as it is…. and Teo is confronted with that whole array of scars. "Which of these are new?" he says, gesturing at them with a spread hand. "They all look old. Are they?" Assuming Teo's familiar with that particular topography. "And what was it like, then?" He sounds….almost disgusted, lips tightening, eyelids lowering, as he looks down and awayfrom Teo.

Ridiculously, Teo finds himself bristling slightly. Really, of all the censure that could be leveled on Felix Ivanov, who or what he did in bed wasn't it, and he doesn't take kindly to that criticism.

Somewhat defensively, he frowns more. He is frowning a lot tonight. Something to do with his psychotic lover coming back from the dead in a state so pristine that he's divorced enough from his former self to dislike it. Not that Felix resenting himself is very new, but at least back then, he knew why.

"The one there isn't." Teo points again. Over the heart. His own, though he's studying the ruined skin over Felix's musculature instead. It's right there. The final blow that Deckard had delivered: the bullet ripped right through the core of the former Agent's being.

Fel looks up obliquely, as close to shy as he ever gets. "Not like that," he says, more gently. "I mean….you're not exactly jumping all over me with open arms, so I'm guessing we aren't lovers now. And while I don't remember what I did to you, I'm guessing it wasn't all that nice, from the way you're reacting. I suppose I'm lucky you don't add to that assortment." It's an impossible scar, a star of keloid that was the exit wound. He looks down, touches it with uncertain fingertips. "That…." Puzzled, he reaches back, over his shoulder….and the confusion sets deeper, before he shifts to try and see his back in the mirror. Like a vain girl tryingto determine the fit of a dress. "That's an exit wound. Nothing survives being shot in the heart."

"I started seeing someone, and we had practical differences. You nearly kicked me out half a dozen times.

"All that being said, I probably would," Teo admits, slow with distraction, staring at the ruched up skin and distorted grain in its extravagant points. His stomach cringes in on itself and he can feel his nerves and pores pucker, ripple, march in retreat, threatening to tear right off his skeleton in an effort to get more space. It's very hard to breathe here. He's gone a blue shade of white, as if he can't breathe at all. "If it wasn't for that."

Fel's giving him that intense, canine look of confused concentration again, even as he lets his hand fall. "How so?" he asks, voice oddly rough, almost smoky, in the air of the motel room. "Why do you look so sick?" he whispers, as he hitches the covers up around his shoulders again, settles down to a half-recline underneath.

The edge of Teo's hand scrapes down the edge of his face then up again, abrading a hint of color back into it. His pinkie ends up in a rough curl underneath his eyebrow, dragging feeling back into the his eyelid. Breathing is work, and ever lungful he sucks down seems to want to come back up on a gout of nausea. "Felix," he says. "Hey.

"I have to ask you for something. It prob—fuck. It isn't going to make any fucking sense to you right now, but— I…" Teo's eyes swivel upward. The thin light from the ceiling refracts off his irises, raw as new ice. "If you'd just listen, I think— you'll understand."

It's got to be giving him double vision. The live Fed, curled obdurately under cheap sheets, and the body lying shattered on the sand, eyes fixed unseeing on the hazy night sky. "I hear you," he murmurs, blue eyes fixed patiently on Teo's.

With effort, Teo turns where to sit sideways, pulling one bent leg up onto the mattress while the other stays below, trailing his socked foot on the floor. His hands are fists, white-knuckled, blunt fingernails carving crescent-shaped incisions into his palms between the pleated arcs of life line, fate line, health line, and the diminutive runs and webs of prints and skin grain.

He had run out of good words yelling at Deckard and Eileen the other day. He's been irritable and disjointed since. Still, he has to try. Thinks he does, anyway. He might die at Moab, and then he won't have time for any words at all. "I think," he begins, thickly, "we're kind of alike. You and me.

"There are a lot of things we'll stoop to doing that people don't get. Sometimes, we catch flak for it, 'cause it looks like we had a choice and made the wrong one. But we don't, really. We took our oaths, swore our— allegiances. 'Nd long after we've run out of ideas, logic, or personal wants, there will be a mission to follow. Doesn't make sense to anybody else, and doesn't have to. In a sense, we're the lucky ones. It makes life easier.

"But there are a lot of poor fucks out there who don't… get… existential direction handed to them on a silver plate.

"They get lost." Teo's gaze trails the line of Felix's profile, down the oblique edge his jaw and then lands, downcast, on wrinkled linens. "Make mistakes. I know that doesn't mean they shouldn't pay for them, but I'd— appreciate your understanding. Or at least your trying to."

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