Friends First


abby_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Friends First
Synopsis —last, and for-fucking-ever. For better or for worse. Scene paused.
Date September 14, 2009

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

It is past curfew and Teo was on his way home, where home is Chelsea, these days. His course had been halted, aborted, his peace of mind accosted by a sudden warning flashed in his mind's eye, a glimpse of headlights with his physical ones, curfew's blasted reinforcements threatening around the curb and sending him running with arms pinwheeled (not exactly) at his sides as he sought shelter from incarceration without trial, police brutality, a crippling fine or, you know, at least a sharp reprimand.

In other words, he collides in through Lucy's door. There's wind and an extra, pocket-sized weight lopsided in his jacket, a brief glimpse of the gun under his arm, his cheeks ruddy from the effort of scrampering and the arcs his heels trace arcs only slightly lopsided from more generalized fatigue. "Buona ser—a." The jolt comes through the second word when he sees it's Abby, a touch of awkward grown familiar since the Milwaukee incident, despite that there's nothing superficial about the smile he puts on his mouth.

There's a reach for a shotgun behind the bar at the barging through of someone through the one unlocked door, the wood and metal weapon lifted, leveraged under her arm and finger around the trigger as it swivels towards the door. Fears that it's someone opting to come rob the bar or worse.

Turns out that it's less as blue eyes regard blue eyes and after a moment, the muzzle is dropped and the gun finds it's way back to it's home. "Leonards upstairs, might be getting ready for bed. You know the way up" She tears her eyes away from the Italian at the door and back to the bottles, shifting a bottle of patron to guess how much is left in it.

There's an unwonted reflex, pale eyes flipped up at the ceiling and Teo's awareness extended past the normal parameters of sight, hearing, and the confines of the architecture. "He's brushing his teeth," he answers, after a beat. Another awkward quaver, and he adds, "I think. Yeah, I don't know.

"I might…" A thumb jogs up over his shoulder, at the staircase that leads up to the apartments, but he neither finishes that sentence nor follows the direction he's pointing in to fulfill that half-spoken remark. Instead, his jaws square into neat close, and he watches the girl over the counter for the duration of harmless speculation. Breathe in, breathe out. Then, suddenly, almost a blurt: "How are you?"

Another bottle of patron is shifted, followed by some Johnny. "Worried for Joseph. Ivanov, wishing they hadn't taken so much blood from me this morning. Planning my day for tomorrow and when i'm gonna do what with regards to my homework. I'm good" She's good. A number is scratched down before she goes up on toes to tip the bottle of midori.

"You? How's the.. friends first thing going for you and Leo?"

"It's being worked on— but you knew that. Me, too. Me too." He didn't need to repeat himself, but there's a little bit of that going around: Teo either uncertain that he didn't get it out properly the first time around, or it's spoken once for her and the second time to himself, making sure that all of his feelings are still where he'd last folded and shelved them. Sometimes, things sneak up on him. Something about having two extra psyches crush-packed into garbage compactor of his brain.

Which abruptly jams its mechanics, short-circuits, croaks to a juddering standstill when the erstwhile healer pops her other question. He stops very suddenly at the bar, his hands splayed on top of it. His ears turn red first. He isn't sure what mirror he fell through, to wind up inside an alternate university where he is going to have to suffer seven years of misappropriated indignities like having Abigail sleep with Flint while he and Leonard are doing the 'friends first thing,' and they are talking about it in casual words.

Must have been an important mirror. "I don't know. I'm fine, I guess: I'm busy. 'S usual. Has he— uh." It's bizarre how easily, conveniently you forget that other people still have functioning organs when your own peepee is broken. He glances up, furtive as an idiot child. "Has he said anything?" Of course he had.

She isn't supposed to know.

She lived around the two of them enough. Abigail knows only not in the same way that Teo knew what was going on in the hotel room before he'd even stepped foot in the bedroom. Same as Abigail knows the exact details of said broken pee pee thanks to a few days of Teo - infirm and unconscious for lack of better term - in a ferryman safe house and being tended by his two closest female friends.

It's also that she's screwing Flint - though she calls it making love or having sex, not screwing - that she's being slightly casual about it. "He says that he's okay. He can do friends for right now. It works" She looks over for a moment, hesitant before she sighs softly and the clipbaord is slid with little sound onto the counter. "Do you drink anymore? If not, what can I get you to drink."

There's a figment of uncertainty on Teo's face: either unconvinced or worried that it won't work for long, but a side-effect of severe temporal-travel sickness is the ability to live in the moment, timeline abbreviated behind and before. He lets it go. Sits himself down at the bar, one leg slung over before the other. "I drink. Not too much, but I drink. I ate, so I'll have whatever you're having."

That's like. Illegal, or something, but they've been so far past those terms that flirting with the border with underaged liquor imbibement at the cusp of midnight hardly seems like it ain't any thang. "I moved in with Deckard," he changes the subject, because it seems like the natural progression, while they're talking about mutual acquaintances.

They've done the ones who've been effectively raped by life lately, the one who coincidentally isn't— letting himself get any, which leeeeaves… "'M kind of nervous I'm gonna fuck it up. He doesn't trust me anymore. Not since my sociopathic analogue came in and shovelled a second helping of shit into his life."

"Teo, I don't even know where Flint lives" She points out as Abigail ducks below eyeline. Blonde hair sprawls from her back to over her shoulders as bottle of ale is brought out. A well placed smack of her hand to the top of the bottle as it's pressed to the counter and the cap comes flying off. Head spills over the top just a fraction as it's passed over. "You won't fuck it up. It'll be me who fucks it up. Just… I dunno. I'll pray for you and your roommate situation."

Some part of her is a little upset that Flint opted to live on his own instead of take up the room upstairs, but then, he's a grown man and sometimes, pride plays a part in what you do. "Your sociopathic Analogue lied like a son of a bitch when I asked whether he'd give you back to us unharmed. I'm a little unhappy with that. Because the Teo I adored would never have walked in on us in that hotel room when I left blatant clues that I was fine and that I was with Flint."

She's got swamp sludge in her own cup and wasn't about to pass some over to the other man even though she's watching him even as the white straw makes it's way into her mouth for her to suck on it. "Nor have the nerve to say the things you said in there"

There's a twitch of the corner of Teo's mouth, widening its span on the middle of his face. He glances down. It's neither a smile nor a frown, quite. His eyes fall. His hands, too, hanging down between his knees as if he'd just taken it too far when his mother rebuked him for putting his elbows on the table top. "I don't know. I, um." His throat works down a swallow. "Well.

"The Teo you—" adore, but jealousy's already brought too much bile between them, so he's leaving it out, now, "—know wouldn'tve waited to find 'clues' before he came after you. I guess— on the other hand, the sociopathic analogue son of a bitch wouldn'tve come to Milwaukee at all after picking those clues up.

"'M afraid what you've been stuck with is… a," he's trying to make a joke of it, a comely pretense, capsule around the bitter medicine, wry to cover up the obnoxious choke of paranoia in his stomach, "kind of a sleep-deprived mathematical average between the two known quantities. Sorry I was such a raging cunt, but I think— I do think you 'nd him are going to be okay." He closes his fingers around the ale, fits circular glass between his molars.

"I'm starting to wonder now who got the shit end of the stick this last go around. You or me" The straw pulls out of her mouth with a scrape of front teeth against plastic and she puts the cup down. "Maybe I can only hope that the best of both of you remained, and the worst got lost in the laundry?" She's not happy about it, about what she was just told. Her Teo is…

He's something.

"Besides, you were always sleep deprived. I think that's why you run around like a Italian fool chicken with your head cut off at the neck. Never staying in one place. Even when you did live with me, you were barely there unless it was to make sure my head was still on" Abigail sighs softly before leaning over the counter and slinging an arm around his neck, pulling him in tight. "Lord I can't stay mad at you for long or even disgruntled. I will love you even if you grew two heads for each of you or if you smacked me silly."

Teo finds himself effectively roped into a hug. It isn't as uncomfortable as other forms of rope might be, wrangled around one's neck, but he's always been an awkward fit in the young woman's arms, made more cumbersome by self-consciousness than his physical size would otherwise have warranted alone.

'Or even disgruntled.' That choice of words gives him a smile to hide in the tow-colored weave of her hair. "I guess I always was," he concedes, unwilling to dispute the one thing given sh—she still loves him, and of all the women he's known in this life or any other she's never been one to lie abou tthat. He's faintly hoarse and it feels like that's because he'd swallowed something wrong, but he hasn't eaten in awhile. "You're all right this go around? I mean, apart from having to babysit my comatose ass, procedural conflicts with Flint."

"I'm okay." She releases him, dropping a kiss to his forehead. "My personal life is getting better little by little, getting things in order. No more snapping and loosing it. I'm done that for now" She lets a hand rest on his head, let it linger and run her fingers over the strands before letting go. "But it's not my life that's fallen to pieces, but yours it seems. So you're both and yet one?" Abby frowns at that.

"What can I do to help you Teo of the two minds. I mean it. Because surely, it can't be easy with whats.. happened to you and you were there to help me. Now it's my turn to help you"

Red again. It's always been Teo's favorite color. He scrubs his cheek with the heel of one hand, grins at her, a little gamely, a little uncertain. "I'll be okay: I think we've just traded places, a little while.

"I've done some snapping." His eyes fall briefly. Hitch, catch; he lifts his gaze back to meet hers again. "Chased Sonny back down the ass-end of hiding a couple weeks ago. Haven't started eating swamp slime, yet, though," and he's teasing her with that. A show of teeth, brief, a dry intake of breath. "Deckard and Gabriel don't— really— know how close to let me come, anymore. Hel and Leo I guess— wish I'd let fucking let them in. I don't really know what to say to anybody. There's some stuff I have to do by myself. You could take care of Deck and Leo for me while I do that.

"Not 'cause they need that much looking after," he says, quickly, not to do anybody such disservice, despite that the truth of the matter is— both the reinvented healer and the traumatized telekinetic probably do need that, "but it'd make me feel better. You know them nearly as well as I do. Probably won't be long in this timeline before you know them better."

"Define taking care of them? Like, spending time with them? Forcefeeding them? Entertaining them? Because really, I have the manual on how to entertain flint deckard and that seems to include maybe a trip to like some triple X boutique and a can of whip cream. Leo. Well, I can drag him out to movies and make him cook dinner" Abigail stepping foor in a erotic boutique has about a chance in happening as a snowflake in hell does of existing for more than .00001 seconds but she's hoping it'll make him laugh. "Sonny, will either survive this and become a better stronger man, or he'll.. he'll continue to be Sonny. People come and go, with a purpose to their entrance in your life and you in theirs. Maybe.. maybe he taught you what you needed to learn from him and now it's time to part ways? What did he teach you?"

Fatigue is setting back in, now that the adrenaline from the RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY FROM THE POPO song has drained out of Teo's circulatory system. His head rests at a lazy angle, where the push of her pristine fingertips had nudged it over a few degrees, teetering precariously on the joint of his neck as if he lacks the strength to set it upright again.

He says nothing for a long moment, something turning over in the recessed depths of his eyes before folding down, occulting itself beneath the reflective surface of easy irony. He shrugs one shoulder, and uses his funny voice: the one he does when he's parodying vanity. "That no one loves me as well as they think, never mind as well as I fucking deserve." He grins. Remembers his ale, takes a pull. "Movies and food work for Leo.

"Flint's a little different, I guess." A brief pause jams itself in between sentences, hesitation: he isn't sure if this is diverging off-topic or goes against the physics of bromance, to speak such things with a bro's ho, so to speak, even if she probably knows, already. In the end, Teo says it because he thinks she could probably do to know she isn't the only one who suffers under these uncomfortable understandings. "…Ropes himself down a lot, for somebody who hates cages 's much as he does."

"He is a man of his own doing. Long suffered and misunderstood" Abigail murmurs. "I'm trying to make what I give him less a cage and more a .. sanctuary and a reserve. That he knows that I don't want more from him than he can give, than he wants to give" Bleu eyes meander across the bar till they meet up eventually with Teo's face. "You'll tell me, if there's something I need to know, to help him? He said the other day that my gift, it was screwing with him, fucking him up. Pastor Sumter told me about a vision he gave flint too, that said he had seen me helping him" And she's been trying.
"Can my gift, screw him up Teo? I mean.. he's changing he has changed. I'm worried about him, and what the toll that this all is taking on him. He's trying to do what I learned to do and did in 8 years."

This is where they exceed the limit of Teo's understanding of Flint Deckard, previously acknowledged, and get into the stuff that he'd have no fucking clue about despite ten extra years of acquaintance smooshed into the recesses of his memory. Where Ghost came from, no one had ever held Abigail's ability except for her. "I'll tell you," he hedges. "But only if I know. I'm not sure I do.

"I mean, I know you don't have to like yourself to be sure of who you are," and the corner of his mouth lifts, sardonically: he's had a little experience with that. "And having that change on you is a magical experience comparable to being locked up in a house during renovations."

Shadows wick themselves into the knit of his brow, an incipient scowl that's interrupted by a twinge in his forehead. He puts a palm up to his face, scoring down his skin with calluses. "I don't think you gift would hurt him, by itself, but healing tends to steer people toward a lot of fucked up shit. That might be what he means," though nothing that Deckard's said, of course. And there's the other rub.

"He's having strange dreams, he's not drinking the same, dressing the same, smoking the same. Elisabeth joked that I domesticated him but…" But she doesn't think that it's her. "Is it killing him? I mean not physically, but… " There's a pause. "He was asking me If I was suicidal" She shakes her head, pushing back from the bar so that she can pluck up the clipboard again. Inventory has to be done.

"Told Leo that, the night on the steps of the church and I was talking with gabriel, he asked me if I thought that when he got my gift whether it would change him, whether by having it, he would do good instead of what he was doing" She's probably getting her answer now. "It does change you I think. But when you loose it, does it mean you revert? DO you become less than what the ability made you to be? As I am now, is this how I would have been if he hadn't done what he did when I was five and given that gift to me?" Abigail looks over her shoulder to Teo. "If flint ever gets rid of it, god firbid it doesn't go back to me… will he go back to what he was?"

Strange dreams. Not drinking the same, dressing the same, smoking the same, and these are all things that Teo would have known, once, or he thinks he would have. He looks away. Feels rather small and disliked, for a moment clenched with protracted discomfort. A fidget flares through his fingers, drumming them down on the counter in sequence from pinkie to thumb. Fuck. Whatever. Fucking whatever.

"If he ever gets rid of it, I think he'll change, but I don't think he'll go back to the way he was. That isn't really how the mechanics of the world we find ourselves with the privilege of living in work." Teo never really used to do sarcasm unless he was shouting angry, either, but that departure is so small Abigail might not mark it at all. He pushes the ale bottle aside with his elbow. Doesn't spill, somehow, even when he leans over to look her in the face. "You're not less. Any stronzo who thinks you oughtta be more, after all the shit you've done and what you've had to do— can try and take it up the ass from the next viral apocalypse if they want. You're not less to me, Abigail Beauchamp."

Abigail marks it, but like he said, he's this mathematical average between the two. Little things, she assumes, will be off. What isn't off is the affirmation at the end that earns him a roll of blue eyes that don't have the life and vibrancy that they did when she was the purveyor of said healing gift. "Wrong. I am. In some fashion. In a way that counts, maybe not, but I am" Her free hand comes out to pat his shoulder like he's some little boy who's just tried to dispense wisdom and along the way got his proverbs mixed up and said something real cute.

"I shoulda killed the Teo from the future and let the real you get back in control." Change the topic to something else. "I'm sorry I didn't, maybe if I had, you wouldn't be in this mathematical average and.." And seeming like you're just not fitting in the body you've been given.

"What you're short is an ability. Albeit a pretty fuckin' neat one. Fledgling EMT, Ferrywoman— you're more in a way that may or may not matter, too, so all things balancing out—" Teo sits back on his stool, heels hooking on the rung of his stool, assesses the roll of her eyes, replays it in his mind, finds himself— unsettled. "I don't think I'm more because I have his." Who is, apparently, the new subject of conversation.

Him. Sort of. Ghost, but also the original model, and the one who's sitting here, now.

Not the real one, by definition. He stiffens where he sits, suddenly, genuinely surprised by what she just fucking said, and then surprised again by the bracing thrill of flatteredness he has to suppress down underneath it. He takes hold of his ale again.

"Yeah," he answers, after a moment, because it's easier than explaining he isn't an average, he's a soul unto himself or the nearest facsimile, and that what she's proposing would have been the abortion of an embryonic thing on its cusp rather than solving for fractions. They could both use the easy thing, for a change. "I miss control."

"I miss a lot of stuff." Her attention goes back to bottles. One by one, tipped, contents judged, scratched on the pad, put back. The process repeated over and over as she goes, but she carries on the conversation as she goes. "Four months. Give or take somethign disasterous happening that barr's me from going to class. But in four months i'll be the proud bearer of an EMT 1 certificate and can get hired by someone. I put in 6 months time and if I want, I can take a year and become a paramedic proper"

One year and a half. That's enough time to change a lot about yourself. A fifth of what it took to turn Teo into Ghost, give or take a few months and a shitload of tragedy, or so he recalls. "Cool." He lapses into quiet, lips flattened around an expression that's close to a smile. He scratches his fingers over his scalp and watches the bottles replace themselves on the wood, knocking out their quiet report, ripples reverberating through the fluids contained in each. "What do you miss?"

"You want something specific, or just, in general?" She fires back at him quietly.

Teo steers his eyes between bottles, notepad, and girl. "Specific. Even if it's 'a lot of stuff.'"

"I miss being needed at three in the morning. I miss being perpetually tired but eternally filled with something I just don't have a word for" Scotch next, couple different kinds of bottles, tequila. "There was always you and Leo on the couch, I miss picking up both your clothes and making breakfast for you both then hauling my butt into bed and hearing you guys outside my door trying hard to be quiet." There corner of her mouth lifts up. "I miss just …" She licks her lips wetting them as she squints at some Gin.

"I just miss being in the middle of everything, even when I didn't want to. I miss the burning buildings and the screaming and the adrenaline I guess." Thin shoulders lift then fall. "I can't have both I guess. A steady life that doesn't involve loosing my tongue and other bodily injuries or one that's perpetually noisy and busy and I barely have a chance to know what is up before I'm being pulled back in and down again and no time to think just time to do."

Describes life as usual these days, as Teo's experienced it often enough, but he understands in some divorced, detached, dislocated way that she misses it and why. He's been having dreams about that. Nightmares, you might call them, of suburban decay out in Georgia's provincial boondocks. "In the future that the— other me came from," he says, "you kind of have both."

He inhales, whistles it inward through his teeth, and his smile is kind of a spasm. "Probably a bad thing to bring up, I guess. It won't be like that here. But I think it'll be closer than you think. Between your EMT training, the Ferry, and the whole fucking world crashing in its pyrotechnic handbasket. You're not really bored, are you?" His eyes tilt glassily in sockets raw from fatigue, blink twice for clarity. "I guess you are. Could be. It's not a skill that ever atrophies, despite everything."

Ten years from now, she has both. Somehow Abigail doesn't know whether to believe him or not. "Ten years from now, do you lie to me about things or do you still tell the truth to me?" Back and forth between bottles and best friend she looks and somehow she knows the answer. "Would I have liked who I became ten years from now?"

There's ten more bottles to do and she goes through them easily enough. Tomorrow morning will be inventory in the basement and tack on the new delivery and she'll be caught up. "Not bored. Just… getting antsy from the quiet and waiting for the other shoe to fall. Things going too well in my life that I start to wonder what's coming down the pipe because surely the lord is not done with me and the trials whether I can heal or can't. And saying that, means that it's sure to be bombs going off and guns and likely someone trying to burn down my bar" She reaches out, rap's her hand on the lacquered wood of the bar top.
The clipboard is shoved beneath said counter a few moments later and very unladylike and very unabby-like, she clambers over the bar and with a protest from the leather covered stool that her ass makes contact with she folds her arms and lays her head on them, face turned towards Teo. "You're going to make it Teodoro" That name mangled by her accent. "There but for the grace of god, you'll make it. Even if us - your friends - need to walk a step behind you and sometimes carry you like you did for me"

She's been talking about killing him in the existential womb and now she's here, saying about saving him, monkeyed over the bench in an acrobatic feat of agility as such that her trousers rock disturbingly low across her posterior, enough to drive his eyes to the right, away, as if her modesty still requires protection. Some things, no Teo has— might ever grow out of. He rubs his finger down the bridge of his nose, and finally reaches into his jacket. He produces a careworn rectangle of leather, singed paper dog-ears sandwiched densely between, chapped, cracked gold lettering marching across the cover.

God's book is recognizable, despite that its battlescars are new, and its absence has, by now, old enough to have become familiar. "He was going to give this to you," he says, perfunctorily, then stops, not knowing what else to say.

For some people, what Teo just handed over might well have been a 3 carat ascher cut diamond set in platinum with half carat diamonds ringing it and attached with a will you marry me for the way that her breathing seems to come to a grinding halt and her face pales. Abigail's right hand comes out to hover over the leather cover, almost afraid to touch some holy relic of her life. Last she'd seen, it was haphazard on the basement floor of a brothel as a man was taking a straight razor to her tongue.

She is afraid to touch it, worried that it's some joke. She'd given up on it when even Cardinal hadn't managed to spare the time to take a run through and she'd seen the place burn. The insides of her blonde brows furrow inwards and salty tears start to rim her eyes as she stares at the bible with her name embossed on the corner that was given to her by a man long dead beneath the ruins of a power plant.

Trust Ghost to leave a legacy that would yank salt water out of Abigail's eyes. Except, you know, it's not all that bad. Not these tears. He thinks; he isn't sure, can't be sure until she says anything and she's busy being a girl, right now, set up on her bench and choking up while the Holy Book hangs out of his hand.

"Uh," he says, helpfully. Sits a little straighter, scoots an inch closer on his own stool, as if the fractioned difference of physical proximity might help her realize that this is meant for her, now. "There's telling the truth, being honest, and then there's full transparency. I've never been capable of the lattermost out 'f those three things, with you.

"But — generally," that word has unwonted emphasis on it, each syllable tracked out with unusual care, a flimsy disclaimer held up under the breaking storm of predicted objection, "that was okay. Might be the curse of Christianity, we're pre-programmed to taking some things on faith."

"You do realize that everything you've said between when you brought the book out and right now has been like-" She makes the sound of the adults from the peanuts cartoon specials, the whah whah whah and the hand motion to go with it even as a few drops tremble precariously on her lower lids before spilling over.

The book is taken with both hands finally, gently as if it were the shroud of turin or the something else equally as holy and clutches it to her chest. "He, is you and you are he and so you both have given it to me and I cannot ever.. ever tell you just how much this means to me, that someone got this back for me"

He's subjected to another choking/wringing of his neck via her arm as she leans over, peppering his cheek with kisses then just pressing her cheek to his. "«Grazie così tanto»"

Ffgk clobbered again. Kissed: Teo turns red, mumbles something that fails to produce the coherent syllables like Huruma or Logan, the explanation about the empathy, the conditioning, the creature they wrought out of her worst enemy and what the ghost did to save him. If he were a more honorable man, a creature of greater integrity, he might have served those words up garnished with his head on a silver plate.

Instead— oh, and don't think he doesn't feel a little bad for it, but nevertheless— he lets her hold him, kiss him, scatter her sweet Italian like pennies around the corkscrew, cartlidgenous wishing well of his ear. One arm hooks awkwardly around her shoulders, alights a fretful pitter-patter of flustered pleasure on her shoulder.

"Though hethinks, milady," he mumbles, half-heartedly, "you are too easily bribed."

"I have always been easily bribed Stronzo" She doens't know what it means but he uses it enough when talking to others in earshot. One last kiss to the cheek and she's releasing him yet again with a sigh and so she can wipe at her eyes with her sleeve. "Staying the night or fleeing?"

Ah. He wipes her cheek with a querulous finger of his own, after a couple false starts that weave his index futilely in the air before landing. He scrapes away one trail of water, which is all too quickly filled in by the runny glitter and slick of the next, but it isn't long before she has it covered by herself. Of course. It's been a long time since Abigail's started the practice of cutting her own wrists loose from the train tracks, rescuing herself from the men behind the wicked masks.

"I don't know," he says, which means— inevitably, and she doubtless knows this even before he's finished translating his bumbling humility and expatriatese, "Staying, I guess. Drop in on Leo, maybe: we have… some shit to— talk about. Apparently. Are you all done here?" Teo's right hand reaches without even pausing to look, without remembering to ask permission, to fetch up the notepad she'd been ledgering in.

"You won't stay. You'll stay long enough till we're sleeping then you'll leave. But yes, all done. The rest i'll need someone else to help me in the cellar and then add the new shipment to the list and then i'm done for this month. I don't know how Izzy did it" Abby shakes her head, eyes still a bit damp as her thumb strokes along the singed leather that's still pressed to her chest. "I still gotta figure out what to do with her sister and her offer" Abigail wrinkles her nose. "Come on, i'll walk you through the new security and give you your keys. Third room is yours or Flints, whenever either of you stay over" Mind you Flint is usually in her bed and not the spare room's bed.


Not going to think about that, with rooms in direct and proximate evidence of themselves: they both remember what happened last time he did that. Teo gets up, pulls himself off the stool, limb over limb. There's a sidelong glance, a glimmer to his eye, like he's considering what she'd said a challenge, of a sort. To stay past when they're sleeping, to restrain himself from the urge to leave. It'd be a different thing entirely, to propose he wouldn't find himself awake or restless.

"New security?" he is immediately alarmed and commensurately curious. The notepad is flipped underneath his armpit, and there's some aspect of hovering in the hold of his shoulders, halfway into their vulture-winged spread protective around the young woman who no longer— or doesn't, at the moment— particularly need it. "What, like— retinal scan or some shit? How's Pila?"

"Pila misses her owner. That's how Pila is and it's a snake pit, Replete with rolling rock." The corner of her mouth turns up into the facsimile of a smile. "A friend of Liz and Richards came and took my money and beefed up the apartment after I had an unwanted visitor who stole my statue. You know the one that cost a lot of money and came from Adam Monroe? Jesus healing the blind" Couldn't miss it since it did have a place of honor in the home despite who it came from.

"This woman who works for Linderman Group. I ran into her back home, she stole my wallet and my cross right off my neck. Anyways, I realized that if she could get into my place, Lord only knows who else. so he redid the windows, doors, put in this.. space age security system that I swear is more complicated than our coffee machine. He's done a few other things and it cost me a pretty penny but I think it'll be worth it. Flints already got the information for it, Leonards got it, liz. I won't worry about Richard" That left just Teo to be inaugurated. "I swear he woulda put in something called Biometrics if I would have let him. And the snake pit"

She peers at her inventory, now under his arm and raises her brows. "Planning on finishing it all off for me or double checking, or trying to make sure that I don't continue working through the night Teodoro?"

Both. Either. Not until she goes to bed. It's odd that he knows how it works because the ghost had known how it worked: he'd been there during the Dancing Boar's inaugural years. The pad of paper is wadded up under his armpit, protectively, and he fixes her with a hairy eyeball that cedes to a crinkle too soon to even carry the full of the joke. "Either way," he says, "you'll sustain neither the insult nor the workload until tomorrow morning at the very latest.

"C'mon. I'd like to see what's happened after some dumb son of a bitch put his fingers on your goodies." He could have phrased that better, but there's no real lewd or harm intended in it: he's just tired, thready around the edges. They're all tired and thready around the edges, lately. "I want to see the motherfuckin' snake pit." He forgets to apologize for cursing, and somehow she'd known he would. He hunkers a shoulder up, the wad of paper pinched close against his ribs. Angles a long step after her, under the bar, toward the backroom, and up to a place he'd be so flattered as to call home.

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