Face To Face


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Face To Face
Synopsis A truckload of time-travelers deposits back in 2009, and Teo is busy watching Sonny strut the catwalk in his new skin. It's almost really as light-hearted as that, too.
Date May 14, 2009

Chinatown-Tribeca — Safehouse

The one with the balcony that Salvatore was sulking on before.

The safehouse is familiar, but it's not really home. The home they had started to build had to be abandoned, just as Sonny's had to abandon the identity of Connor Kinney because of a foolish breach and a hasty trip for milk after a fight.

Despite all that, Sonny feels better than he has in days. Everything's still turned upside down, but now at least, there is a plan. And that plan involves a whole new life for himself. A total life instead of just a fragment of one that was painfully and unsuccessfully balanced with another.

So far, both of his parents have been told a lie, that he's going to spend some time at the family's private retreat in Barbados. Once a little time has passed, he will come to Melinda Bianco and ask her to help with a lie. Sonny Bianco will officially be in Peru, in a village high in the Andes helping in some remote village with Doctors Without Borders. The truth is, Sonny will be doing something far more selfish - living a life away from politics, with Teo.

A new life requires a new face, which is what Sonny has been working on behind the bathroom door for about forty five minutes now. It's tricky to find a face that will not jar him every time he looks in the mirror. A face that he can still see himself in, but one that could never be mistaken for the mayor's son. He thinks he has it, though he remains fairly uncertain.

"You ready to see?" he calls out to Teo from behind the closed door.

"Yyyyup." Teo is slightly drunk. That's where the drag on the consonant comes from, probably. He's seated at the counter, his legs runged on the horizontal bars at the sides of his stool. Cleaning salt off the rim of his shotglass with a rough forefinger, the half-empty tequila bottle seated several inches away from his elbow. The lime wedges on the dish have all been flattened out and scoured by the crescent-shaped clench of teeth; it's due to go into the sink along with the aftermath of supper, soon. "Come out. Twenty six years ago, me, handsome, golden, born ready."

He cranes his head and tilts slightly, his neck finding an oblique angle around the corner of the wall. There's a rip at the hem of his left tracksuit pant leg and the T-shirt he's wearing stretches slightly around his shoulders because he wasn't the one it was bought for. It's a slipshod remake of their previous microcosm of domesticity, but all the more convincing for it: their previous home had lacked for polish, too.

Sonny shuffles out with all the confidence of a child showing a parent an outfit, or a particularly outlandish Halloween costume. But this is neither. The young man that moves from the washroom into the kitchen is still dark-haired, still bushy-browed, still with large, blue eyes. Other than that, many things are different. The hair is free of curls and cropped into fluffy spikes, his skin Irish-pale rather than olive. He's made a few adjustments to his frame as well. Though his height still hits an even six foot, his shoulders are broader and his bones in general slightly bulkier.

He shuffles forward, barefoot and clad in black track pants with a gray t-shirt. "Okay?" he asks in a stranger's voice.

The stranger wearing his boyfriend's soul is subjected to a long scrutiny, Teo's eyebrows contracted around the tactlessly grim sort of earnest that so often characterizes him when he is taking something seriously. He's a straight talker, more often than not, even with his mouth shut. The problems tend to arise when he lacks for words or refuses to say them.

Not a problem he suffers for tonight, it seems. "Thought you'dve picked something prettier," he says, but there's a smile pushing up the sides of his face that says that this isn't a problem. He reaches a hand out, long fingers squiggling greedy in the air, beckoning: come here, I want to touch. When compliance comes— and he hadn't really thought it wouldn't— his nails carve briefly into the handles of Sonny's clavicles, before his thumb troops up the side of his throat, playing the shape of his Adam's apple until he finds the trajectory or the courage to clasp the other man's cheek with his palm.

They've always had tripped over their own ironically complementary paranoias with Sonny's metamorph ability. The shifter himself worried at the creepy, plastic inhumanity of his malleable flesh, his lover with his nervous fidelity issues.

Paler and taller, heavier built, curls shorn but baby blues kept, and a half-shade of androgyny shed. It's like someone had run a soup strainer through him and taken all the tabloid photography out. This isn't an ideal by Sonny's standards; Teo can tell that much. He wonders why the other man had selected the traits to keep and which to dispense with. He doesn't ask. Smiles, instead.

It was a conscious choice to not make himself into another man capable of gracing the covers of GQ. The elegant, metrosexual beauty is a piece of Sonny's old life. He is like the noble shedding the silk clothes and donning the garb of a common man. The man who stands in front of Teo is practicing an act of humility. Or, at least trying to.

He grins a bit awkwardly. "I…well, I've been pretty for nearly thirty years. Thought I'd try handsome for awhile." One brow quirks and his lip pulls into a half-grin. It's an expression that is recognizable as Sonny, even though the features are different.

"Are…you going to be okay with this?" The words are asked on the exhale. "If this is gonna work, I..can't be switching back and forth. I've got to commit to this." To this life. "But it won't be worth it if you won't want to touch me." He remains largely unaware of the true reason for Teo's discomfort with his ability to change his face.

"That's balls. I'll a'ways want to touch you." That isn't a lewd joke, either. Teo makes a lopsided grin, shows a thin edge of teeth out of one side of his face and darkens his eyes, thin. He grasps his thumb and forefinger on the point of the stranger's chin, pulls at the elasticity of skin. Checks his teeth, briefly, and then reels his head backward a few inches on its stem to study the way that those features fit together around the animus of Salvatore's soul.

It works. The quizzicality of slanted eyebrow, smile too authentic to fit the symmetry of the tabloid cover template he'd flattened and squeezed and cut himself off at the knees to try and fit for so long. It's all there, still. Or, at least, so thinks Teodoro Laudani, who believes every human soul is unique and irreplaceable and his boy's carries some peculiar potency that is— always, so far has been— able to hold off the night.

"Look," he says, peeling both hands back. He wiggles his fingers in the air, lapsing into a silly parody of surrender. "I was totally touching. What's with the getting taller? I don't let you on top often enough?" He spins a nonchalant eye up to the elevated roof of Sonny's head.

"M'not taller, Tay," says Sonny with a dramatic roll of his eyes. "S'in your head. Or my hair's fluffier." He sets a hand on top and presses down the puff of hair. "Was thinking I'd go by Sal. Y'know, Salomon or, some other name that shortens to Sal. So things aren't totally disjointed." And Teo can still call him Sala, a nickname he's grown fond of.

He bares his teeth like a prize stallion up for inspection, then gives his lover a quizzical look. The look grows more serious and he stands, arms folding lightly over his chest for a moment. They drop again and says in a soft voice. "Kiss me." He makes no move to initiate. He wants to judge just how comfortable his lover is about this. Teo's making jokes. That could be covering up discomfort.

It doesn't take Teo an instant's thought to connect the newly chosen name with the loving pet one. His eyes and mouth spark upward at the corners. However, as with the other man, it fades in proper deference to the gravity of the situation, or at least the considerable discomfort that failure may pose. He doesn't want it to be difficult. He doesn't want to be difficult. He folds his fingers where he has them held up, studies Sonny with his arms folded and his governing air of expectation. Though poignantly aware that this isn't supposed to be a challenge, and if it is one, it's one that by nature has already been lost.


There's some strange figment of uncertainty, as if he isn't sure how to do this or hasn't hundreds of times before. Hands? No hands? To calmly list forward or to drag the other man in with greedy handfuls? Would closing his eyes send the wrong message? Is Teo overth— yes, of course he's fucking overthinking it. To start with, then, it's an awkwardly tender thing, confined to the meeting of mouths. It tendrils in a huff of breath, grows warmer, exploratory if ingress is granted to the roll and shove of tongue, braced on a grip on Sonny's shirt collar.

There is a long moment when Sonny's not sure that his lover's going to move forward. And if he does, it will be awkward, stilted. A kiss to a stranger and one kissed under duress. It would not be pleasant or reassuring to be on the receiving end of a kiss like that - but he needs to know.

The time Teo takes and the uncertainty in his body language starts to crease a hint of a frown across his lips. When his lover finally does move forward, he's a little startled by the tenderness of it. Startled, but relieved.

He sets his hands on Teo's hips and tugs him gently forward as his lips part to admit the tongue and to meet it with his own. His face might not be familiar, but this is. Out of habit, one hand snakes under the back of Teo's shirt, to flatten a warm hand against the bare small of his back. He hesitates a little, worried he may be pushing things a little too quickly. A kiss is enough to prove to him that this might work. This will work. He wants it to, very badly, on numerous levels.

"Thank you," he murmurs as their lips part. A stronger nose nuzzles against the Italian's and he pulls back far enough for them to look eye to eye.

It's true: the kissing is going well. When it finishes up, they're forehead to forehead and Teo is being thanked for some easy, simple thing, or maybe deeper implications that he's too full of heady cheer to process their full depth. It isn't too hard to get his engine running, particularly when he's been in tequila. Who is surprised? No one is surprised. Sonny's gratitude is uncalled for, but rewarded a grin, instant, pristine and filthy, large and hungry.

Here it is, then. The fragility of the house of cards exchanged for a game in earnest, a gamble at brutal stakes. There are worse things.

Ring ring. The unwelcome intrusion of the electronic twitter emanates from the green messenger bag heaped strappy on the corner of the floor.

Ironically, the caller bears good news, for once, indeed, some of the best that Teo's bound to get all year, but they'll text if it's important, and there's an interval between now and then in which Phoenix's noble leader could while away copping feels and licking the creases in fingers and sharing of whatever other iniquity is salve to the insults of Spring. The season of renewal tends to remind one of things that wear away or fade out, but he's probably overthinking that, too. "Ignore it." For at least a little while, they do.

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