Going, Not Gone


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Going, Not Gone
Synopsis In which times are hard, Teo is difficult, and Sonny challenges him first to stay and then to go.
Date May 11, 2009

The Expensive Part Of Manhattan — The Bianco Residence

There's still a fingernail sliver of yellow above the jagged, snaggletoothed cityscape, still glare enough to hurt your eyes if you look. Teo tries not to, turning his shoulder against the heavily curtained windows that he files past them, dragging his distorted reflection across varnished stone and his furred shadow over the dense patterns of carpet, his bristly head slightly lowered. It's been awhile since he's done something as stupid as break into the Mayor's house, even if in the brief window of opportunity afforded by its master and mistress' departure by limo. It hasn't been a long time since the last time he did a thing that was stupid, of course. Just— not this stupid.

It's not like Hana's going to yell at him. She's too busy with her other padawan: the one who's lost her body.

Losing one's mind is an altogether different business, and one that Teo conducts quietly, his shoes muffled by the roll of his tread, his fingers wringing at the cuff of one his sweater sleeve, the grip of a gun still cold in the other. His breath is quiet, jaws locked around it until he inquires, of the emptiness at large, "Salvatore?"

The Bianco house is large and well-appointed, but not to the point of extravagance. Harry is a Democrat. The appearance of moderation has to be maintained.

It's been hell being back at his folks' place. But even a rebellious nearly-thirty man understands the reason for it. It's safer to be here until the press have latched on to the next scandal. And he has a reprieve most evenings as his folks flit off to one event or another.

There's the sound of low jazz music coming from the top of the stairs. The bathroom light is on but the door is closed. There is the faint sound of water sloshing from beyond the door. The music mutes out Teo's call.

The tick of nails splices into the music after a moment: Teo's fingertips grating on the door, tap-tap-tapping a small, quiet, almost timid rhythm against the varnished surface. He leans his elbow into the handle, the mechanics snicking and clicking under the gentle nudge of his weight. A single pale blue eye blinks in past the doorjamb, pupil widening then sharpening as he looks in for the sole electronic signal that had stood in representation of the Bianco household, and the light he'd seen on between panes.

"Sala?" Tense as a bowstring, he hesitates. Flattens his shoulder against the door's frame, bumping his knee forward, his weight shifting uneasily between heel and toe without ceding his center of balance.

Sonny is laid out in a large soaker tub, a towel balled up behind his head. The lights are low and Ella Fitzgerald belts out low, soothing tones.

The raps fail to knock him out of his reverie, but the squeak of the door and the low uttering of his name cause him to sit up. He blinks and shifts, water sloshing slowly in the tub.

"Tay?" His face splits into a grin and he reaches out towards the Italian. "What are you doing here? My parents are out, but…" It's dangerous and reckless. He should've known Teo'd come here for that reason.

"Well," Teo says, in pointless prologue, "I wanted to see you." He sidles in through the door as if that would matter, his shoulder scratching past wood and profile staining out its unsteady colors on the condensation of the mirror glass. He smiles at Sonny as he walks closer, closer, until his shoe toes an eddy of ruche wrinkles in the bath mat and he drops into a squat at the edge of the tub.

"Pretty shitty way to leave off, wasn't it?" The gun goes back on safety with an audible shifty-clickety of metal parts, hidden by the rim of the tub, and then there's just Teodoro, two long hands folded fretfully on the lip of procelain, two ears bigger now against his fresh-cut hair, and two eyes skating this way and that, ridiculously coltish the lot of him, young and Puritanically furtive, as if he hasn't seen Salvatore naked before. Or isn't supposed to anymore.

That probably wasn't what Sonny had meant, of course. "Not the best circumstances under which I've met the parents before."

There's a squeak of naked body moving in the tub as Sonny stretches forward, awkwardly in the tub. But he's not worried about that. He leans in and loops a wet hand around the back of Teo's head to haul him in closer for a deep, eager, and relieved kiss. He clearly has not regressed into thinking the Italian is no longer touchable.

He pulls open the drain with his foot and the water starts to circle the drain and suck down. Then he's grabbing for a towel and scrambling out of the tub. "I'll be out of here soon. It's made my mom feel better having me close by, but they know that keeping me hidden will look bad. I should be back in the condo by the end of the week. You still have a key, right?" He's almost out of breath and smiles keep tugging at his lips.

When kissed, Teo catches Sonny's shoulder on a rough-edged hand, for balance. Or else, to otherwise anchor himself amid the imaginary static, dislocated stars and giddy delight of being kissed by Salvatore Bianco while the bathtub is sucking out all the pale green water through the drain at the bottom and huffing steam up his nose while it's doing that. Lucidity reasserts itself with a twitchy flutter of eyelids. He opens them properly.

"Yes," he answers, lapsing into a momentary silence to watch the good Doctor fold his olive skin up in the white terrycloth. Teo has to blink again, and then get up, snagging at his discarded gun as he goes. "Yeah, I do— but— I don't think I should use it." Haplessly, he follows the man across the tiles, skidding slightly over the bathmat this time. He is probably getting dirt on everything. "Shit's gotten complicated. Abby told me about the clusterfuck with your dad, and with Pinehearst and everything else—"

"Teo…" Sonny stands in front of the other man. He drips water from his nest of curls and on to the polished marble of the floor. He lifts a hand and slides it along the side of Teo's head. He tugs him forward and holds his face so they look eye to eye. "All the dangerous shit you do, all the trouble you get into. Surely coming to be with me, to keep you grounded, to let us both have a few moments of relaxation, surely that is worth the risk. If shit's about to go down? We need each other more now than ever. I'll meet you at a safehouse if you'd rather. My building's huge. No matter how well my father or the press monitor my building, I can still slip out without them knowing it's me." He'll change his face to a different one every time if he has to, or take on the guise of one of his neighbors.

"I am not letting you pull away from me now." Because Sonny fears it would only be an excuse to curl back inside himself. And that might mean he does something stupid because he's depressed. "I'm too used to you. And I get set in my ways." His lip curls up into a wry smile.

Clamped in place, Teo's head weaves slightly, experimentally applying pressure against this sudden deprivation of personal freedom. Which is a metaphor that could apply on other levels, and probably does. He finds himself unable to meet his lover's eyes for a moment, or to think of something to say. Silence presides in absence of real peace. His eyelashes meet in a ragged splay of thread, blink open again. Finally, he twists his line of sight up again. "You hate the things I have to do. You could get sent to Moab II for being party to it, or—

"Jesus fuck you should've seen yourself in that damn hospital cot. Your father can't protect you forever. Not from the things I deal with. I can't fucking protect you." His forehead shifts, a point of hard, blunt warmth balanced between Sonny's eyebrows, his own ones tugging down, a tangible brush of fuzzed bars on the creast of Sonny's eyelids. He sucks a long breath in through his teeth, closes callused fingers on his lover's wrist, a thumb stroking the small bones. "I'm not trying to sound condescending."

"I am a grown man, Teo. I'm not a fragile thing that needs to be protected, that…is best up on some high shelf where nothing can get at it. Cause the problem with high shelves is that it's a long fall down." Sonny makes a face at his own description. He exhales in a whuff. "What I mean is. Those guys were stupid-ass criminals who are only going to bring smack down on their heads for attacking me. I could run across stupid criminals anywhere. I'm not going to live my life afraid of running across some trouble now and again. Cause shit happens whether you look for it or not." He looks down, then up and in Teo's eyes.

"I'm not asking you to protect me. I'm asking you to be with me. And we'll deal with whatever comes at us. Do not push me away because of some misguided attempt to protect me. You should know by now that I'm going to stay involved whether you and I are together or not. I've seen too much of what goes on out there to go back to my gilded cage now. Because now it really does feel like a cage. Don't punish me for getting hurt by staying away from me. Please."

Better than he is taking it, is the optimistic theory. Optimism is becoming for a terrorist. Kissing death's fragranced cheek and war's ringed fingers, hoping to go away with favor instead of rebuke. Sonny's right, of course. Teo isn't exactly even-handed with his distribution of practical effort. He walks up to the dresser.

"I'm trying, okay?" He didn't mean to sound so reproachful, but he does, cracked at the edges and weary to the quick, self-pitying, self-righteous, self-effacing, selfish with his personal hoard of tribulations and, not for the first time, stung at Sonny's willingness to quantify those things and try and balance business on the scales against l… whatever this is that they have. "But this…

"This isn't my fucking fight, Salvatore. It's yours." Five fingers flatten on Sonny's chest, a thumb on the grooved rift between pectorals, tracking moisture under a nail. "I know you're tired of your gilded cage or silver spoons, but— in the end, you and me, and— the trailer farm. Doing stuff with steel and pewter. You've split your metaphorical drawers in half so you can eat with both. But you can't fucking have everything, and if I don't tell you that, something's going to make you listen.

"What— what are you going to choose when you have to?" He drops his hand, shuts his eyes so tight his whole face goes zagged with wrinkled lines. Teo doesn't have enough anger in him to make this conversation easy.

"If I could walk away from all this without ruining my father's career, I'd do it," says Sonny. There's surprising little hesitation. Like he was expecting that question. "It doesn't make me happy. It doesn't fulfill me. I wouldn't miss it." There is a time when that wouldn't have been true. But now? Now he's discovered the happiness of a modest apartment, spaghetti dinners and a pair of birds. He hasn't missed his plush condo, the indoor pool, the Mercedes. The old sedan gets him around just fine. "I would miss you."
He keeps his eyes cast downwards, as if the dresser top held all the answers. "But I can't fight for us all by myself. If I'm going to have to hold onto you with my nails dug in while you squirm to get away, tell me now."

The younger man looks terribly young, all of a sudden, his features downcast and his eyes too gravitating down at the reflections blurred on the polish of the furniture as if the depiction there offers a more accurate gauge of the situation than anything he could see on Salvatore's face. It takes considerable effort to stay on the topic. He's a sucker for this kind of thing— these tokens of sweetness, oaths and frank verisimilitude, elaborations offered up unasked, filling out the flesh and color of those three other words. He'd be soulless if he weren't.

"That isn't an 'if,' Sala. You have to choose. Or you will. Unless life were to suddenly fucking get easy, and it doesn't fucking do that, obviously. It— I don't know if I can just pretend you aren't seconds from razing your old man's home and career to the ground.

"I don't understand how you can. It's bullshit. It doesn't make any fucking sense." Except that Sonny always has, of course, and it's worked out well enough. THeir house of cards. Stood up under the lunacy of Gabriel Gray's presence, the bloodshed of unnamed dozens, Jesse Alexander Knight's looming specter; even Teo's secrets for months. Salvatore Bianco is an expert at changing the subject.

"It always comes back to this. 'Sonny, I can't take your long hours.' 'Sonny, your power is too weird for me.' 'Sonny, I can't take the press.' It's never worth it for anyone." The doc isn't someone who lets himself be self-pitying very often. So it's perhaps significant that he is doing it now.

He pushes off the dresser and paces away, back to Teo, shoulders slumped. "It's not about my father, it's not about his career or my career or what's best for me. It would be easier for you for us to not be together. You could go back to what you know. Back to not believing that you deserve to be with anyone who cares about you." A beat. "Go then. If you really think I'll be anything other than fucking miserable without you, if you think there's absolutely no way I can keep my father's career intact and be with you? If that's what you really think, then go. You're the one to leave me. But if you think you're doing me a favour, then you're deluding yourself. It's never fucking easy when you really care about someone, Teo. It's not supposed to be."

There's this cringey almost-cowardice to Teo standing there, armed to the teeth and seeking inspiration in a Democrat's choice in furniture. Teo wipes his finger across his left eye. It comes away dry. He rubs it against his thumb anyway, just to keep his hands busy, sort of a fidget, while he creeps across the floor the rest of the way to where Sonny is, privately admiring the bristling choice of words arrayed against him, each one pointed at a different part of him with the surety of an expert marskman.

Mind you, he is right. Sonny is right too, but Sonny isn't also wrong. Acceptable risk is a subjective. Self-loathing, too easily recognizable to be anything but objectively pathetic.

In the head, among other things. He slings his arms around Sonny's neck when his feet trample him into range, and kisses him once, twice, pressing a third in without gapping contact from the second, open-mouthed insistence that the other man's lips grant him a fissure through which he might ply his tongue to do something other than deliver the honest brutality that Teo dimly recalls teaching him.

There is tension across Sonny's shoulder at the touch, and for a minute it seems like he might pull away. He's afraid that it's a hug goodbye, then a kiss goodbye. But he doesn't move, instead cranes his neck to allow the kisses, then turns to touch mouth to mouth and return the deeper one.

He may be accepting the kiss, but in the pit of his stomach he fears it's a prelude to an exit.

He wraps his arms tightly around Teo and squeezes with a desire to communicate that he doesn't want the other man to go, doesn't want to lose him. But he's starting to think he never had Teodoro Laudani in the first place.

It's a prelude, but only to another thing entirely. Teo's tendency toward physicality is, perhaps, more often a crutch than a cure, but one-legged men tend to be beggars more often than choosers.

So here he is: terrorist in the Mayor's home, pushing his lover back into the bed, his knees digging divots into the comforter, pulling his mouth away to bridge five long fingers over Sonny's mouth and while he hikes his other palm in underneath the towel. "I'm sorry," he says to Sonny's ear, as sweetly as he is capable of, very sincerely. He leans into the pressure of Sonny's fingers and urging him up on the roll over when it's time for that, figuring his clothes out when the other man goes to lock the door.

He will be here, for certain, at least until morning.

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