Fools, Drunkards And Children


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Scene Title Fools, Drunkards And Children
Synopsis One of these men fits none of those three categories, and one of them fits all three. A bouncer talks to two bar patrons. One of said patrons ultimately winds up asking the other one if he needs help. The question itself is not ironic, but a lot of things about the circumstances otherwise probably are; grimly.
Date December 18, 2008

Harlem — A Bar

There are always going to be a few local bars that seem to fill up respectably every night. This one isn't quite one of them, but the dimly lit booths and stools do appear to hold about half of their capacity. The television bolted up above the bar is turned to a night-news channel, and at least a couple of men at the bar look to be watching it and commenting half-heartedly on the State Of Things. Off to the side of the bar, in a booth to himself, sits a rather huge, dark-skinned man that also happens to be wearing perhaps the Largest Polo Shirt Ever. Dixon sits on the edge of the booth, his legs partially outside of the booth; he seems to be winding down from something, with a heavy black coat slung over the side of the booth and his attention on a wide tumbler on the table. Up above, the news begins to rattle on about SCOUT and Evolved Police.

There's a keen-faced, dark-eyed young man off by himself at the bar, right by Dixon's booth. He looks weary and grim, eyes haunted. He's dressed nicely enough - white oxford, dark pants, dark overcoat, and doesn't look unkempt, but there's an odd aura about him that'd sit better with one homeless and a little deluded. Dantes glances up at the news, brow furrowed, and then down to his drink, as if it might offer advice. He bought a whiskey just to cuddle, apparently, since he hasn't drunk from it in a good long while.

The bartender has probably noticed, but the man with crow's feet and a dirty glass in his hand has nothing particular to offer. About now, the television goes on to elaborate on men and women in public service that have been victims of the rising violence- and one of them is none other than the man in a fake face at the bar, but even Felix Ivanov's mention on air is made with tentative words, as are the rest of the names.

For lack of another thing to pay attention to, Dixon has turned his attention up to the screen. His lips purse to the side and his brow lowers. He's not really sure what to be thinking about all of these terrorists; he was before their time, and is still at it. Though Linderman is obviously a more subtle man. "Do you really have to keep it on the news all the time, Harry?" Though it is a rhetorical question, the man's rumbling voice actually sounds like a small earthquake because of the quiet clinking and clacking atmosphere.

It's horrible, really. To hear himself mentioned in the past tense that way. Fel deliberately avoided his own funeral service. This isn't Tom Sawyer, where he and Huck get to chuckle over others mourning them. It only heightens that terrible sense of being lost and adrift, a ghost haunting the remains of his own life. No way to speak to his friends, without his job to pin him to the day to day world. Enough to make you feel like a dybbuk. Dantes eyes the newscroll with a rather glassy stare, even though he's not even finished that one whiskey. He's in dark coat, white shirt, dark trousers, watching the newscroll on a wall-mounted TV. Which has just listed his old self among those slain in law enforcement.

One of the men closer to Felix seems to take just a mild offense to Dixon's dislike of the news. He has a classic case of misunderstanding, and turns his head over to Dixon at the middle booth. "Just 'cause you don't care doesn't mean the rest of us don't." Dixon tosses back a universally exasperated look.

"It's not that I don't care, it's just depressing." The giant man on the bench even mouths out the word in his trademark boom(dee-press-ing) for the mildly drunk man, who scoffs and goes back to his drink. "I spend all my time worrying about dying, I don't need to hear it on the news." The man glances back again at the extra reply, suddenly looking a bit more downcast from it.

"He has a point," rasps Dantes, quietly. "People come to bars to forget their troubles, not be reminded of the strife outside. I watch news at home. Not when I'm drinking. Bartender's discretion, ultimately," He seems to recall his whiskey, and dispatches it, lifting a languid finger for another.

Teo has arrived.

Teo's a little drunk. Which is to say he should be a lot of drunk if he weren't physiologically primed for drunk, but after some accidentally sobering conversation, a big cup of coffee and peeing in the gutter slush once already, Teo's really not all that drunk. Just enough to make him — so the English hooligans had once said — hard; it's called liquid courage for a reason.

Important business. Hopelessly world-at-stake kind of important. He has a bus to catch. He's a little too early for it. Knows it. Knew it when he took off from the apartment, and is thinking about that as he walks among the other drunk assholes rambling through Harlem tonight. Through some miracle of coincidence, he catches sight of a now-familiar profile through the window. Without particularly thinking about it, and conveniently forgetting Christian's tacit admonitions, he swivels on his right foot and clomps through the door.

"Amen." Dixon can raise the rest of his glass to that, Dantes, and he does- putting the last drops down with a frustrated sigh on his breath. Luckily for everyone, the news turns to something less dire(something about skateboarding miniature ponies), and Teo happens to come a'clompin' through the bar entrance. The big man at the booth lifts his eyes from his wristwatch at this, but keeps to himself about the fact he thinks Teo has probably had enough of bars tonight. Some people just can't help it, can they? That's why they make Anonymous Groups.

Dantes lifts his head, rather wearily, like a beaten horse from the trough. Only to have his gaze sharpen considerably as he recognizes the blonde. Well, in a way. A brief and rather unpleasant acquaintance. But Teo's a friend of an ally, and thus vetted. So there's not another Glock-laden gesture of greeting, merely an expectant look - he's about as expressive as a plaster saint, but the dark eyes are alive.

A decidedly Catholic upbringing has left Teo with a sixth sense that tingles whenever he's being judged. Right now, he's being judged. Tingle-tingle. Automatically, he follows the tingle until his pale eyes detach entirely from the original target of his attention and he winds up staring at Dixon's peripheral vision in that blankly attentive way, entirely unlike the Russian's marked unreadability; the expression of an otherwise expressive young man who's busy expressing that he hasn't made up his mind what to think about being judged.

Kicking an almond-sized chunk of ice off his shoe, he roves over to plant himself in a stool a companionable distance away from the giant black man and the angular vampire-white one. He sits his fist on his chin and requests, with a little too much dry mirth in his voice: "Tonic water, please."

Too late! Dixon has labeled Teo as a drunkard. Especially with all that attentive staring he is doing thus far. Maybe it is something about the way Dantes looks at the new arrival, or possibly something about the way he suddenly appeared in all his hurumphing glory, but Teo has a pair of watchful eyes boring into him from the booth. Dixon is paid to watch people- plus he knew what to watch for even before all of that. It is habit and natural curiosity that makes him keep an eye on the Italian. "It seems a bit late for watering yourself down with anything, doesn't it?" Why yes, he is involving himself in your business. Did you notice?

What Dantes orders and what Dantes gets this time is not whiskey. It's something a virulent green, in a slightly taller glass, accompanied by a smaller glass of pure water. He patiently dilutes the former with the latter - the green liquor turns pearly and paler, little by little. "Did your drinking somewhere else and came all this way to keep me company?" he says to Teo, affably, despite the wary, wolfish gleam in his eyes. He glances at Dixon, and notes, "Well, we're all of us here instead of safe at home in our beds, aren't we?""

Momentarily, Teo lets his eyes go disfocused as if his attention has rotated inward to conduct a series of systematic checks. The next instant, he blinks his eyes back into focus and offers the mountainous suit a cheeky grin that makes him look, at best, fourteen. "Nope. No hangover yet." His gaze widens, a parody of earnest anxiety topped off with the glittering, good-natured suspicion that Dixon's self-insertion isn't entirely because he's being a professional or a prick. There'd be a tone, otherwise. Teo has been judged frequently enough to tell subtleties. "I'll have to be quick, but I still have time.

"Grazie." That's for the bartender, once the tonic water actually happens. He drinks half the glass before answering Dantes with a shake of his head. "Nope. This is just barely short of tripping over you passed out in a gutter. God protects fools, drunks, and children, eh?" He probably missed a connecting thought there, but. He is working on his tonic water.

"I would think he protects them so they'll have a chance to change for the better- and then he really won't have to watch them anymore." Dixon grumbles back and has a whole other way of looking at it. He may also have passively called Teo a fool, but that's unspecified. He's only a bit of a prick, sometimes- but right now he sounds more like the burnout, bummer parent than one.

"I'm fine," says Dantes, widening his eyes. "Honestly. What's your- what shall I call you?"" he asks, before sipping from his glass. As if Teo were some sort of fairy tale beast not to be called by its real name. The stuff is perhaps not as bitter as rumor paints it, for he doesn't seem to mind. Dixon gets a bitter pike's grin, and Dantes makes a little gesture, as if chalking up a point on an imaginary scoreboard.

Well, fact paints the drink a toxic shade of green. Teo looks at it while its owner is busy miming in the air, and his right eyebrow goes up. Pff. And Dixon was worried about him. "He doesn't know how to cut His losses, I guess," he muses wryly, angling a glance back at the bouncer over the rim of his own glass. Diligently, he maintains a grip on the tonic water. And keeps sipping from it, even as he sticks his gloved right hand out at Dantes, lifting his head only long enough to say, without real ceremony. "Teo." Hello. I'm the man who shot you. I was sober then. I probably wouldn't feel it if you broke my arm right now, but I would sincerely prefer not, as long as I'm convincing myself I don't severely dislike you on principle; my principles are better than that.

"Edward," says the darker man, taking the offered hand without hesitation, and shaking it. "If not well met, then better met than last time," he says, wryly, and makes a good deal of the green liquor vanish at once. Apparently he's not sufficiently comfortable to stay, however. He fishes tab and tip from his pocket, and drops it on the counter - a scatter of golden dollars, mostly, funnily enough. And with that, he's pulling himself up from his seat.

Sure, Edward. Whatever you say, Edward. Teo turns up the corners of his mouth as politely as is physically possible for him — fairly polite — and retracts his hand. There isn't a quaver-beat's hesitation. "I need to talk to you."

"What about? Does it need privacy?" Edward enquires, all politesse himself. If he's afraid or nervous, it no longer shows. Like he's passed beyond some finely drawn line where survival doesn't matter quite so much any more.

The tonic water goes down like— well. Water, and Teo's left peering through the damp distortion of glass at the older man, before he palms the empty container away with a sinewy flick of wrist; it hits the bar-top with a clack. 'Fuck life.' Words to live by! "General query. Yes," he nods his head.

Dantes inclines his head towards the door, even as he shrugs his coat on more comfortably. But beyond that, he doesn't wait, heading for the door with a sure stride.

With celerity not unlike that which the older man had shown, Teo figures out where his wallet is in, price and tip in a single shuffle of movement. Inclines his head at Dixon; farewell. "Nice place you have here, signor. Buona notte." With a flippant little flip of his hand, the Sicilian stumps off after the guy he shot a few days back.


The Italian is enough to make him grin reminiscently to himself, though he was never properly his prey. Dantes lingers only a little, beating a slow pace along the ice encrusted walk. It's terribly cold, and the bitter watches of the night - he hunches against the chill.

Behind Dantes, chunked ice and broken frost comes rattling up, smashed loose by the careless — or hateful — fall of Teo's feet. He really hates this weather. Getting him out into dense snow requires forklifts and a lot more alcohol than he's imbibed tonight. A few long paces, and he's drawn even with 'Edward,' pauses long enough to look up, down, and across the street, either perfunctory or practiced, it's hard to tell before his squint settles on Dantes. Then, with all the subtlety and grace of a child: "Do you need help?"

There were a million questions Teo might've asked. Some of which Dantes might have anticipated. That was not among them. "Do I need help?" he parrots back, clearly a little bemused. "Well, I do, in many ways, arguably. Why do you ask?"

"Deckard needed help. We helped him. I think that's a fairly straightforward concatenation of logic." Some of those words had a lot of syllables. Teo's almost impressed with himself. Would be if he were in a better mood. Hollowly, he watches Dantes while the cold makes his eyes have to blink.

He's still obviously weary, but there's a faintly puckish look to him as he pauses in the middle of the sidewalk, hands in his pockets. "Deckard. Who did he tell you I am?" he wonders, ducking his head a little, and eyeing Teo from under his brows.

Dimly, Teo entertains the image of wedging a crowbar underneath those fake brows and breaking them off. It is far too cold for anyone to be playing coy right now. "Guy from the FBI," he repeats. "I was gonna look for somewhere for Chris to hole up, anyway." Qualifications. Explanations. Making this sound logical, though it isn't, not really: Felix Ivanov fucked up and, by most rights, ought to be dead. Is dead. A shrug raises the Sicilian's right shoulder. "Answer the fucking question, please?" Absurdities accumulate. Curses, manners.

Felix Ivanov is dead. And soon, too, shall be Edward Dantes. It remains to be seen if another phoenix can be coaxed to rise from those particular ashes, or if there will be a corpse in earnest to match the discarded names. "I do need help. I am confused that you are the one offering it," says Edward, reaching slowly into his coat pocket for cigarettes and lighter. Not his beautiful pewter case, not the lung-searing black things, but a packet of cloves and a cheap Bic. "I don't know who you are, Teo, or what side you're on. And have you told anyone, in turn, that you've met a Fed?"

"I know lots of Feds," Teo responds flatly, screwing up the right side of his face after a sudden slice of stinging wind; he raises his hand to run the rough tips of his glove down the edge of it. "You all seem to be equally insane and-or incompetent douchebags, but you bleed as red as the next poor fuck who doesn't kill unless he has to, so—" Why's he trying to explain? He doesn't even know. He has a bus. Obscurely, he remembers that the place he's trying to get to will be locked up for the night. Distinctly, he remembers deciding to take a five hour walk through Little Italy in the dead of evening. "I can see if they'll help you." 'They,' suddenly. 'We.' 'I.' Interchangeable: he's no one.

"Let me surmise that the name Deckard gave you for this face was not Edward," Edward says, wiping his hand wearily down his face, before nipping the cigarette neatly between his teeth and shielding the flame with both his hands. Talk about a metaphor for all his life. "It may seem like a niggling detail, but it matters, to me, anyway. Help me what? Once upon a time, I had a fantasy I'd help catch the bad guys, but that's been somewhat derailed of late. Your kindness is well-meant, and appreciated. I live, I'm free, those who'd see me dead think me so already. Do we have the same enemies?"

Teo sighs. A huff of air, cheeks puffing out like a disappointed kid staring at a biology projected that wilted dead on day three. Either that, or somebody who hates the cold, even if he isn't feeling as much of it as he otherwise would right now. "Flint didn't rat you out. You should trust him more," he states with audible exasperation that probably isn't directed entirely at Dantes. Point-three seconds later, he can't believe he said that himself. Eh. "Help you stay hid. Maybe catch the bad guys. The whole fucking world has an enemy in common right now.

"Which is something you'd know if you'd get your head out of your a…" he locks his jaw around what might be the beginning of an apology as well as the end of a curse. He doesn't end up verbalizing either. "Chris has my number."

Dantes lifts his hands in a gesture of apology. Or, more accurately, surrender. "Yes. I know," he says, patiently. "I've gotten that lecture a lot, lately, and have deserved it every time. Good. I'd be glad of whatever help you might give," What's that, humility? Surely not.

After a moment spent studying the hands of surrender, Teo's features adopt contrition. He lowers his gaze insipidly to the pavement, sensing his — uh. Something. Wasn't as graceful as he otherwise would have liked, between the cursing and the impatience and the distinct suspicion that everyone's more of an asshole than he's trying to convince himself they are. His throat moves, and then he graduates a step backward. "Stay alive," he says.

December 17th: Meeting James
December 18th: To Make an Omelette
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