Failure To Communicate


abby_icon.gif teo_icon.gif vinnie_icon.gif

Scene Title Failure To Communicate
Synopsis Ethan is trying to send Deckard a message about sending Helena a message. What starts out as a brief notice of intent extends into a clumsy and somewhat more comprehensive exploration of the list of things you can do to a guy without killing him.
Date January 16, 2008

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

Simply put, it's a ridiculously cold night, perhaps the coldest it's been in the last few years. Despite layers of clothing, no one in their right mind would get caught out in this cold weather for very long at all.

Outside of a well-known establishment loitering about is that former british army man, perhaps not known by many but consider that he is a fugitive at this point in time anyone that watches the news enough might be able to recognize the man if he weren't wearing a scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face and a hood pulled over his head. His hands tucked into his pockets, fondling a couple of those pocket-heater packets to keep his hands warm as he waits patiently just a few feet from the door, keeping a wary eye on the patrons that enter and exit the bar rather intently.

A patron is exiting now. It's one that Vinnie's been looking for, though not the one that he was looking for here. Teo, as he's named, stands at six feet disincluding off-blond hair that reacts to the flux of frigid outgoing air by jumping on end above the scowl that instantly strikes through his angular features. Of course, there's no reciprocal recognition in his eyes as he glances across the sidewalk, pausing only momentarily to look at Vinnie's face where it measures above the scarf wrapped around the lower half of his face.

The way he wears it merely reminds Teo of one of his own co-workers. Catching himself staring, the younger man inclines his head, courteous, inimitably polite and perfectly immune to the irony of his action, before shoving his fists into his coat pockets. Snow and shattered ice grate underfoot; he turns toward the street and begins to navigate down the sidewalk at a leggy gait.

It takes Vinnie a moment to realize that another one of his targets has appeared before him, he tilts his head forward slightly, narrowing eyes on the man studyingly. He grins a bit to himself beneath that scarf, he too begins to move — following behind Teo.

He's not intent on trailing the man all over town, oh no, he doesn't waste any time in catching up to him in fact. Not letting the man get very far before approaching him from behind, bumping into him rather rudely, or so it might seem, but as he does brush against the back side of the man he says with a deep british accent laced with murderous undertone,"Teo isn't it? I have abit of something to deliver to you."

At that point, Vinnie has already removed his hands from their cozy warmth in his jacket pockets out toward Teo, cautiously assuming some kind of reaction from the man.

The reaction is instantaneous: the lines of Teo's body go sharp and rigid, feet set wide on the treacherous terrain, and the shoulder that Vinnie had set against his finds itself rebounded by the shove of a startle reflex inculcated after years of idiotic territorial disputes back in Palermo. They did that to each other a lot, the teenagers who bled and fought and died on a criminal stratum somewhere just above the level of the mafioso who truly reigned over the city.

Rounding, Teo scowls. A remarkable sanguine expression, given that the cold feels like it sucked most of the life and mobility out of his face the instant he stepped out of the doorway. Oddly enough, the words that come out of Vinnie's face change his expression; drive him backward a step, pale eyes flaring with surprise, the greater part of his attention on Vinnie's hands rather than his face. His hand's on the small of his back, tensed.

"Who the fuck are you?"

Vinnie has in his hand one of those pocket-heaters, but it's very unusual…. It's glowing, strangely enough. But considering the evolved known in the world today, that probably isn't that strange to a man like Teo.

"I'm the bloody fuck'n Pope, it doesn't matter who the fuck I am. You're going to do what I tell you, cause you see this?" Vinnie holds that glowy pocket-heater up infront of Teo,"I will blow yer fuck'n ass up, so shutup and start movin' into the alley there."

A man like Teo sees hands glow on a semi-regular basis. He also sees people make good on their threats to blow you up just by thinking about it hard enough. His best friend can do it, more or less. His co-leader. And he alone stands oddly undefended, the sidewalk underneath him and the spectacle of incandescent hands burning a light spot or five into his corneas as he studies them with a strange approximation of intellectual curiosity. The preternatural light sends weird shadows up the angles of his face.

After a half-beat's consideration, his hand clicks down from the small of his back. There's a gun in it. "I can write down my E-mail address with my other hand," he offers, stiffly.

Vinnie has a keen eye locked on the man before him, he laughs rather maniacally, shaking his head in disbelief,"You stupid motherfuck. You think I'm play'n wit you? If you try anything, if I release this, then it goes BOOM. You wan to die motherfuck? I don't think so… Alley. NOW." Vinnie states again, firmly.

"No," Teo responds, frowning with the sincerity of his sentiment. It makes him uneasy. Death, Hell, the distinct awareness that Romero is going to celebrate with two bottles of red wine then come and piss it all out on his grave. "But if I'm going to fucking die," and by all appearances — the lurid crimson glow from Vinnie's hands — he will, "I'd rather get all over everybody's fucking windshields than the rat dung in some fucking alleyway no one's going to watch or check afterward. I've had a weird month: you aren't the only asshole running around here who isn't in the mood to be discreet." There's enough tension running through his frame to power a truck.

To all appearances, however, he's bought into Vinnie's threat. The difference in reflex speeds, or the possibility that, should the bigger man suffer harm, the ability — whatever it is — will go off anyway.

Vinnie takes a step back, looking the man over intently, he then starts to lower his hand — along with the energized red 'bomb' in it. "What is it with you damn americans? I tell you you're going to die and you decide to grow a set of big bad shiny brass balls… either you're really brave, or you're really foolish. Either way…"

Vinnie only energizes the object in his hand to a tenth of it's possible capacity, or at least in his best judgement, give or take… he then quickly throws the object at Teo with an underhanded swing, trying to catch him off guard. "Catch." he says mockingly to the man.

Given he had already been told that the light, if dispatched, would explode and probably kill him, the logical thing for Teo to do is to get out of the way. He does this, or attempts to, eyes wide and a scramble of long limbs hurling him to the side. Unforunately, he doesn't do well with snow.

He's never done well with snow.

Or any other aspect of winter, period. The projectile explodes, and Teo's already falling before that, his heels out one side and an arm out to catch him. The explosion rocks through his teeth, sends him careening into the brick wall not far from the alleyway's leering, toothless maw. "Ow." Dizzied blue eyes stare across the pavement at Vinnie, cutting a series of rapid eye-blinks through the flash of light. "I'm not fucking American, you Limey cunt. Who the fuck are you?"

Vinnie is shaken a little from the blast himself, but unlike his victim, he is however a bit more stable on his feet cause he's wearing boots — you know, the non-slip kind of treading. He then moves in swiftly after the object explodes and is pretty much ontop of Teo at that point, waylaying a few punches like a petty thug as he mugs the man without any remorse.

"You're stilly a bloody idiot. You dumbfuck." Vinnie stands upright, taking his foot and swiftly aiming it for Teo's mid-section and head randomly, trying to stomp a mudhole in the man, even aiming a kick for Teo's arm to prevent him from grabbing his weapon. "You tell yer friend Flint to do what he's told or suffer the consequences…."

Weapon's already in hand. Was coming up, but the one kick catches Teo squarely in the forearm, dropping gunmetal into the icy pavement with a haphazard clatter of sharp corners. Fortunately for everyone involved, it doesn't accidentally go off and put holes in the wrong thing. The next kick catches him across the forearm, in an abortive, half-formed aikido maneuver that Hana would neither have disapproved of nor particularly approved of; not fast enough to see completion, but quick enough to spare him the utter loss of air. It's moot point, of course, when the ball of Vinnie's foot catches a glancing blow off Teo's temple.

Fucking great. Neon blobs flood the sight of the street and he catches his balance with a hand on the wall. It's on the tip of his tongue to tell Vinnie to tell Flint yourself but, upon realizing the validity of this suggestion, he restrains himself, staggering a step backward, then two, as profoundly aggravated by the older man's restraint as he is by the threat of more. "Andare all'Inferno," he recommends.

After a several relentless assaults and assumingly getting his point across, Vinnie's attacks come to a hault and the man says,"Yeah. You have a merry fuckn New Year too." He then reaches up to pull his scarf down just so that he can spot on Teo mockingly, then pull the scarf back up to cover his face. "Dun forget what I said." He then gives Teo another deft kick at random and starts to walk off. He stops to pick up and gun and shove it into his jacket and then proceeds to leave.

The kicks don't slaughter Teo quite as thoroughly as they would have weeks ago. Nor does the footing. It still hurts like a son of a bitch and sends his bones ringing inside his skin like tube chimes. Despite the ugly haze of temper descending across his worldview as his intellect rambles on to realize what it is Vinnie was ordered to accomplish here, he's fairly pleased to see the man going when he decides to go. Counter-attacks minimal, a swelling bruise or elbow slammed into the shin as it rammed into him, a shove, wordless. It might have ended there.

But Vinnie's taking his Para-Ordnance.

The younger man promptly tackles him across the middle of the back. He moves with far more celerity and grace than anyone in his state — cut, bloodied, bruised — has the right to, and then there's a gruff snarl, below the distant crescendo of ordinary pedestrians and barflies shouting alarm. "Gimme back my fucking gun." He's had the thing for four years.

Vinnie is taken to the ground, he certainly wasn't expecting any sort of retaliation, but he's well equipped to say the least to handle himself against the attack. Vinnie quickly tries to spin and manuever himself, grabbing for Teo's wrist and arm and attempting to pull as he twists his body, leg's lifted up to wrap around that arm if the man doesn't manage to counter or break free before he does so then he'll find himself in some serious trouble as Vinnie tries to lock him into an armbar.

The bulwark of Vinnie's torso was too big to make hugging him into submission a viable plan to begin with. Not that Teo had much in the way of a viable plan. When you are kicked in the head, thinking of those is difficult. Teo's arms pop loose like someone had jabbed a seatbelt button, allowing Vinnie's legs to swerve over and away from him in a malestrom of crushing muscle.

It's the strangest sight, the two of them, a wolf's burly shape writhing around the rat pinched against its abdomen with tiny claws and teeth.

And rat-like, indeed, Teo's tousled head emerges after the wild swivel of limbs, his cheek turning red where Vincent's calf had scraped him down the side and blood trickled from the edge of boot cutting into his forehead. His right eye isn't focusing correctly. Symptom of a concussion.

There's a knife in his hand. Too long and sharp to be entirely legal, surely; Vinnie might laugh to know that it was a gift from a Federal agent. The blade is closer to Vinnie's torso than Vinnie might prefer. "Want my fucking gun," Teo pants, the syllables bitten out so quickly Vinnie might not have been able to decipher them if it wasn't a repeat of his earlier remark.

Vinnie just holds the man for a moment, narrowing his eyes on him intently, a rather emotionless glare from those steel blue eyes that depict years of many pain, death, and suffering. The british man says, he's almost licking his chops as he speaks,"You want it back huh?" Vinnie scowls, then suddenly he pulls on Teo's arm, bending it like it wasn't meant to be. This man doesn't care about the knife that Teo's holding against him, his grip tighting around Teo's sleeve, the man's hands start to glow and then Teo's sleeve starts to as well.

"You have the gull to threaten me?! I will blow your ass sky high motherfucker. Go ahead, stab me, I will let go, and BOOM." Either this man is incredible stupid, off his rocker, or very brave .. it's kind of hard to tell at this point though.

Both. Either. Sentimental attachments: Teo doesn't have many of them, and the one he has to the gun his old friend gave him is probably facetious at best. And yet it's all he can think about right now. That was his. The .45. It predates the stupid fucking virus, his retirement from college, the paranoia, apartments, heartbreak, Ethan's stupid fucking cell — the rest of it, anyway — and he wants it back so badly that the realistic probability of his arm blowing up in its socket doesn't seem entirely unaffordable.

"It's not gall." The words seethe out through his teeth, pain and temper and his arm going all wrong combining to set his voice on the wrong register. Their faces are close enough that Vinnie can see pupils dilated almost to the rims of his pale irises, his sympathetic nervous system gone pretty much off the chain. "You can fucking call your master for fucking permission if you want: I want it back."

Vinnie narrows his eyes on Teo intently, he then slowly releases the man, the red glow dispersing from his sleeve. "Take it then." Vinnie lifts his hands, keeping them in a position to defend himself, but allowing the freedom for Teo to reach for the gun that is inside his jacket pocket now.

Probably, Teo's elbow is going to be the size of a grapefruit by the time he gets anywhere that he can take off his jacket. And then his jacket sleeve will be stuck because it isn't big enough to house a grapefruit. The first thing he feels is pain. The second is suspicion, the paranoid understanding that this is probably a trick. It should be a trick. It is a stupid request for him to make and stupid for Vinnie to believe he isn't going to just take the gun and do something nasty with it.

His breath thunders in and out, twice.

He reaches slowly, half for precision, half from shaking agony, and half because he expects to have his skull blown up if he doesn't stick out an arm to get blown up instead, an erratic kind of logic. Barring that sort of incident, however, he gets the gun. Takes it. And the third thing he feels is relief. Maybe too soon, but relief all the same. "Grazie." It's an ignoble mumble; he starts to crawl off, resisting the urge to curl up in the gutter and find blessed numbness in hypothermia.

Vinnie doesn't have any trouble getting up to his feet unlike Teo there, whom is crawling on the ground. Vinnie isn't pleased that the man assaulted him, so he is far from done with him. The volatile Brit was already reaching into his pocket pulling out that second pocket heater, it began to glow, Vinnie tapping into the dorment kinetic energy within the object while he pretends to walk away… and then Vinnie turns sharply, and simply tosses it very effortlessly and aimed to toss it to the ground next to Teo's head about a foot away — it wasn't meant to be fatal or the like, just enough force hopefully to knock the man out this time. Vinnie doesn't make it obvious what he's doing, he just does it quietly and quickly before Teo realizes what is going on.

Teo is distracted. By sirens, rocketing in and out of hearing in the distance; people yelling. His arm on fire, the gun in his hand, and there's sticky stuff congealing down around his left eye that's preventing him from seeing out of it. He's locked himself up in stay conscious mode but it's a troublesome and inconsistent thing, the camera view in his unblinded eye flickering, spasming, staticky, distorting Vinnie's figure as the man seems — at first — to be retreating backward through the darkness. The girls of Old Lucy's are going to come out soon, wielding fire, shotguns, God knows what, and that'll be horrifying: he doesn't want anybody to die here, and Isabelle once, nearly—

There's a flash from his shoulder and then darkness. He's out before he hits the ground.

Vinnie smirks beneath that scarf rather vindictively, he moves over and pushes Teo's body over with his foot rather haplessly and reaches down to take the gun AND the knife away from him. Vinnie pulls the scarf down and says to the unconscious man, "Pleasant dreams, sweetheart." He then turns to walk off down the street, getting out of dodge before anyone catches him.

Abby has arrived.

A miniaturized pandemonium reigns. There's a parked car with all its laminated windows shattered inside its frame, car alarms whooping, people running shrieking from the shape of a giant Englishman doing his best to melt away into the anonymous crowd, snow blasted up and against the walls, and a certain Sicilian's long-limbed corpus flung down on the ice and snow with more red on his face than there probably should be. It's something of a departure from the state in which he left Old Lucy's, less than fifteen minutes ago. He'd been upright, back then. Talking.

Someone coming in and saying there's been an explosion, someone was hurt, is enough to draw the blonde out, no time to grab a jacket from the back, her dingy off white bar apron still wrapped around her waist. Outside Lucy's she stands, arms clutched about her, looking down the street. That is until she spots someone on the ground, near said car. "Someone call 911, get a blanket from upstairs…" Before she scurries down the street, rubbing her hands to keep them warm. What the hell had happened. The scurrying is picked up to a full out run when the coat on the downed person is recognized when she's close enough. "Teo? Teo! Oh god…" Please don't be dead please don't be dead as she drops to her knees beside the older guy, hand to his neck to check for a pulse, take in what she can see.

The red was deceiving. Teo's pulse drubs steadily against the woman's careful touch, fierce with either attachment to life or the residue of adrenalized anger. Possibly both. The rest of him remains unresponsive. There's a rucked-up cut on his forehead responsible for the more dramatic ooze in his eye, a scrape down the other half of his face, and no visible promise that he hasn't suffered a little beating to the rest of him. His eyelids twitch with something that probably isn't dreaming.

Cold right now isn't touching her as ABby shift, carefully lifting Teo's head, sliding her legs beneath his head, cradling it in her lap. One hand to the side of his face, the other sliding beneath his layer sof cloth to touch his chest. "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." over his head her body bent, shield his face from the wind, little cross dangling like some holy pendulum above him. Almost with the very first word, the healing starts, coursing through him with a mighty speed. For Teo, there's no slow and steady.

Slow and steady might have kept Teodoro out of situations like this. Might have kept him out of this situation, surely. But for returning health—

It's not like his system hasn't suffered its greater share of shocks before.

His brain heals first. Neural bruising soothing over, tissue knitting, concussion soothed away in a single radiating wave of healing. The cut shuts on his head and the texture of his skin curdles, smooths. It looks worse than it is, really, and Abby can feel it when there's nothing left there to heal of his big silly boy-head but the ancient fracture in his skull, the pieces of bone there still riven from the rest, held together only by surgical steel plates and screws that have borne the brunt of countless impacts since the first.

It's that one that awakens him, suddenly, a guttural yelp: both eyes fly open, his right mired in a wiery red tangle of veins bulging, dilated from the inflammation of corresponding nerves. "Sto—!" Stop, he means. There's little doubt what he means. Yet she's not done yet, and she can feel it, the bruises of both his arms and torso vanished in an eyeblink but his left elbow is a ruin of over-taxed tendons and eroded bone.

The warmth dissipates in a flash, healing grinds to a halt, Abby's hand from his face pulled off at the order, hovering an inch away, his shirt pulled up as her hand is pulled away, but trapped by the layers of fabric. "I stopped, Teo, your still hurt, there's still.. oh heavens.. oh lord, Teo.." Tears spill over, splashing on his forehead, her voice shakey with a hint of whine to it. "I can't.. there's still more.. oh Lord…"

Even with only one eye left unpolluted by the mess of having been stomped on the head and the other one lolling like a drunk person's in its socket, Teo can tell there's something wrong with this image. Abby's face, upside-down, dripping salt water on his. His natural assumption is that something happened to her. His gun is missing, he remembers belatedly; so is his knife. There was a psychotic Leviathan of an Englishman outside Old Lucy's, trying to leave messages for Deckard, and in the moment that Teo logically deduces that he doesn't need to warn her that Vinnie is here is the moment he realizes that Vinnie hadn't come here for him.

His head really hurts too. His heart kicks into the hollow of Abby's palm like it's trying to hide inside its little curl. "La polizia?" his mind's skipped tracks. Not irrelevantly. He pulls a glove off, though it takes him two tries; holds it up to her runny cheek, clumsily, even as he begins to struggle and right himself up. "P'lice."

"Someone's called them." There's pressure, as Abby tries to keep him down, but then, that's probably pointless, he's stronger than her anyways. His heart is left to beat, without her hand against it, slipping out from beneath the layers, support him, bend her knees to give him the boost. "Your arm, Teo, I need to fix your arm, please." The pressure switches to her chekk pressed against his palm, trapping it between her cheek and shoulder.

There are too many things to be afraid of out here. Men who fill objects with red light that can explode, police that Rickham may no longer protect them from, being unarmed. Teo's used enough to having his guns and knives on him, by now, that feeling lighter for their absence registers to him as quickly as a stone in his shoe. He's left bewildered by pain, a dozen faceless fears, impermanent blindness, and the young healer's proximity. It's the latter that makes him go still, distinctly aware that if he thrashes around, he's going to whack her by accident and he can't have that.

He cuts an eye-blinks through the electric light. "They'll lock me away," he says, as if he's trying to explain, punctuated by a rasping cough of white-cold air. Down the sidewalk, there's a man in a suit stepping backward from him, horrified by something he sees. "'T hurt," he adds, ignobly, quieter: apologetically. If he were stronger, he could probably take it. Instead, the arm's bloating, hanging useless across his knees. He quotes her as if she can't remember: "'Can't co—ntrol where 't goes.'"

Abby nods, bobbing her head up and down like some little bobble head." Come on, lets go, go somewhere, need to find you someplace safe" She can't bring him into the bar and she doesn't have the key for the basement. "Safehouse nearby, i'm sure, somewhere, come on" There's a hiccup or two in there, using one hand to wipe at her face and clear her eyes, help him stand. "Keep your head down, blood's disguising it. get somewhere.. we can call someone" Her phones in her back pocket, keeping it on her when in the bar in case she's needed. "Lets go quick okay, Teo? Cops won't like me either."

Getting up isn't too hard, thanks to the spate of healing that balanced out his brain chemistry, leaving Teo with but a small fire gnawing ferociously at the bones around his eye, brow, forehead and the ungainly blimp of his arm. Despite a twinge of complaint, he steers his eyeballs toward the young Southern belle. He begins to walk, unsure of where they're going. He shades his face with a suddenly bare hand. "Everybody likes you," he contradicts insensibly. Tries not to bang into her as he measures his strides across the snow and ice.

"The Captain of SCOUT doesn't like me." She hurries along beside him, keeping a grip on him, disappear down an alley first, then work their way from there. "Church. Near here. Miriam's church, Ferryman, we can go there Teo. Part of their network."

Nobody likes the Captain of SCOUT either, Teo thinks to himself, irreverently. He stumbles in her wake, remembers finally to try and wipe his eye clean to get a little depth perception back, but he has to let go of his other arm to do it. Christ, that hurts. Vinnie had a grip like a fucking hyena. "That's smart." The Ferrymen. If you can trust anybody, you can trust the Ferrymen, at least until— "I w's stupid, Abby. 'M sorry."

"We all do stupid things, Teo." Comes the blondes voice in the dark, perpetually looking behind them, then forward, as if it were Wimbledon game. But it's not. "You live to die another day Teo, by the grace of God. Lets get you out of the cold." Get her out of the cold, in only her tank top. Goosebumps set in a long time ago. "Church isn't far."

Only her tank top. It's an inconspicuous detail that begs Teo slow his stride and start shedding his jacket, a mess of clumsy fingers and ginger shrugging, a spate of outgoing breath as he comes to terms with the uncomfortable fact that endorphins haven't quite kicked in yet. His arm falls out of its sleeve like a dead fish out of newspaper wrapping, and then he's flapping his jacket at her, beseeching. It'd be more trouble than it was worth, getting himself into that again, anyway. "God di'nt save me," he says, hoarsely, following like a hapless dog. He brushes the alley wall, staining his sweater with grease. "Ethan spared me."

"I'd hate to see what killing you would look like" Abby grabs the jacket, sliding her arms into it one by one, but not slowing down to zip it up or anything. "Isabelle's gonna kill me. Just shut up and keep walking, you can tell me about it when we're at the church… dogs.. how do we loose the track of dogs Teo?"

Ethan's grace. Teo isn't sure what's more embarrassing about that. The fact that he lost his gun anyway, maybe. That he can't fight with only one arm. "It'll be gross," he agrees, diplomatically. "Fire. Gas. Throw off the scent. They won't send dogs. You don' have to be scared of that, bella." He's either sure of himself or crazed. It may be hard to tell. By way of reassurance — or qualification, he adds, "No one died."

"No dogs. Oh if my mother could see me now" Abby mutters under her breath. Downt he alley, take a left, Cut across another alley, trying to place where the church is in her mind. "Serving alcohol, living with men, dashing down alley's with bleeding people and trying to avoid the police. Oh the things we do, to stay alive. We'll be there soon, I can fix your arm. Fix the rest of you. Lets be quiet, in case someones following okay?"

"'F you have to go—" gracelessly, Teo slows himself down. This involves plummeting toes-first into a snowdrift at the mouth of the alley, sending an audible rattle through the higgledy-piggledy conglomerate of cans and waste underneath, before he maneuvers awkwardly around it. He hangs a weary hand on his pocket: his phone, the line between him and the vast and varied network that keeps him alive. Whenever sweet Fortune and Lady Luck — or the pale, shaking blond who works miracles in her stead — aren't there to peel his pieces off the battered asphalt. Guilt is an obscure weight in his stomach. It will gain clarity before the night is out. "I can find my way."

Not that he really expects she'll let him, and he isn't surprised when she doesn't.

January 16th: It's Been A Tough Week
January 16th: Give Me Liberty, And Give Them Death!
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