Good Intentions


abby_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Intentions
Synopsis Abigail corners Teo while he's killing dust bunnies, so they can talk like adults.
Date May 21, 2010

West Village — Maison D'Allegre

This is arguably not the advisable time to be vacuuming, what with city-wide resource shortage, but as long as le maison d'Allegre is equipped with a generator and there's that abandoned car 'round back he's already stolen half the gas from the tank of, Teo doesn't see why not.


It isn't a very large machine, for as small as it is. Red and blue plastic and a white power cord swinging out behind it, a peculiarly patriotic affair not only for their hosting country, but for Francois' home one. Teodoro can not remember where they got this thing, but he is mildly annoyed that it really isn't very powerful. He had to go over that fleck of bread like three times before it went into the machine, and when he tested it by running it over his socked foot, there wasn't much of a tug. Fortunately, with Dreyfus so recently evicted from the list of problems in Teo's life, this does not elicit a disproportionate amount of grief.

VVVVVUHHHMMMMMMM— around the coffee table's wooden shoulder, before he drops into a squat, fingers tightening on the vacuum's handle, angling it down to poke beneath the couch. This level of stir-crazy, for him, is moderate.

This bodes good for Abigail, the stir crazy, the cooped up. Means he can't flee, can't run away when she does what she promised she would do for Francois. Something that admittedly, she doesn't do often because she doesn't need to often do it. But from the third floor she's taken her time coming down, holding onto railing. Her footsteps disguised by the little 4 am motor that whines it's displeasure at having to actually work.

She might have ordinarily sunk down to sit on the bottom step, watch the Sicilian work away at keeping the not so humble abode clean or she might even pitch in and help. So when she swings around the couch then levers herself down carefully, it's to put a hand over his on the vacuum and slip a finger to hit the off button.

"We need to talk Teo"


The machine chokes off into dismal quiet, interrupted only by Abigail's voice. Teo doesn't raise his head from where it was angled downward, searching for dustbunnies that he could point and shoot at. Not immediately, anyway. The quiet dwindles for a second or three, mostly spent by him trying to determine where she's standing and whether or not he's actually done with this couch, before priorities reshuffle themselves in the front of his brain cortices. This is not so much one of those put-off-for-ten-minutes-able 'needed' 'talk's, like when Francois comes in waving an envelope from the bank, or a brochure to a restaurant, or a Ferryman scratches the door requesting a cup o' joe or length of wire.

Strangely, this is far more immediate than finances, feeding, warmth or technical repairs, at least in light of Dreyfus' departure from significance in their lives, the shotgun having been taken down from the front door, and Teo's being a little less armed when he goes to the bathroom lately. His ankle-bone pops faintly as he gets up, winding one arm behind his back to stretch the stiffness out of his shoulder. Peers down at Abigail, from under the strandy shadows of his hair. He is not smiling, except for the keloid-bunched rip up through his one cheek.

"Do you want to sit down?" Teo glances at the couch, then the other two stuffed chairs. "There's tea."

"Tea would be good. Would give you something to do with your hands, give me something to with my hands and maybe we can get through this conversation without… me bursting into flames" Bad joke, appropo one, but bad. Her hand stays on his for maybe a fraction too long, too tight, before she releases it, lets go and takes her slender digits back. "But… we need to talk, so that Francois can stop being Switzerland and so that I know what I need to do and where I need to go. Because this is your home and his home and I won't stay if it means that you avoid here and him, because I'm here."

One shoulder goes up before the other: a shrug, but Teo trends toward asymmetry with such things, so probably that shouldn't bear too much reading into. "Okay, have a seat." He motions vaguely around the living room, its various sittable surfaces, and then releases the vacuum machine deliberately, no herky-jerky movement or too much white in the knuckles peaked around the handle. Socked feet start toward the kitchen, and it is only a brief distance's walk before he's clanking around in there, fizzing water into the kettle, putting that up. Shuffling paper packets of tea around. "I'm at home whenever I want to be," he calls out. "And I don't really talk to Francois about you.

"If those are your primary concerns, you can feel free to take your time." He knees a cupboard shut with an audible clack.

"No. It's not just about him and here. Kozlow, and what I did and that I didn't tell you the truth, just skipped around it and…" The night she returned from Las Vegas and the angry Sicilian that stomped up the stairs. She'd never seen him like that before. "Teo…" Abigail shifts on the couch, stuffing a pillow behind her back, propping foot up on the coffee table. "I just.. I need to make things right between us, if there's anything that needs to be made right between us" A burning building and the belief that she might be dead can change a lot of things. "I need to apologize for turning Kozlow over to Logan and not telling you what I was doing"

There is a small black-lacquer tea tray thing that Teo suspects was actually left in the brownstone by a previous tenant, as he can not recall having purchased the thing and, despite Francois' rather elegant sensibilities and cultured demeanor when it comes to many things, he doesn't generally have the wherewithal to go out and actually spend money on a tea tray thing. Sugar cup and spoons go onto it. Teo doesn't come out of the kitchen while he waits for the kettle, and the kettle seems determined to take it's sweet damn time despite that it is plugged up at the spout and squatting goblin-like over a very lambent blue gas-flame.

Maybe Teo does not mind. He never used to be this difficult to read before the ghost, and even when he was the ghost, his features and voice had never served up so little to read. Slow seconds tick past, most of them spent thinking as he watches the tiled floor between his feet. Then, "It bugged my shit that I told you I'd be happy to give him over to Parkman soon as Liz tried talking to him. I hadn't fuckin' realized I was coming off that unreasonable or determined to see Kozlow die in a fucking basement."

"You weren't determined to see him die. But he was. Maybe. He was hurting himself and who knew when Liz was going to get there. I remembered… what Logan could do and that the Linderman group was adept at taking in murders and getting information from them, using them or getting rid of them in fashions that wouldn't hurt us" She wedges her unburdened foot under her thigh, knee bent and relaxes into the cushion, left eye twitching at the pull of stitches that settle down.

"I called Parkman so that if anyone asked me, I wouldn't be lying and I thought he might be bale to trace Kozlow back to Logan and get him that way too. It worked, at least, Logan getting information from him. But.." Her pink tongue darts out to wet her lower lip. "I should have told you what I was going to do, and maybe… if things hadn't had gone the way they did and Francois wasn't on deaths door and Peter hadn't used Magnes ability on Kozlow and Kozlow hadn't nearly killed peter then maybe… maybe it would have gone different, but I wasn't thinking past a day when I did it."

The Sicilian doesn't move or make any noise for awhile, listening. Toward the end of her explanation, the kettle finally gives a coppery shriek, and he turns it off promptly, so as not to interrupt.

She draws to a close, and he picks up the kettle to fill up two mugs, move then to tray, carry the assembled materials out into the living room where the girl is sitting. Being a rather physically predispositioned character has its various benefits, balances out what would otherwise be a self-cannibalizing tendency to think, settles him into comforting patterns of domesticity when he would otherwise be uncomfortable enough to puke on this nice polished wooden floor.

The floor goes without blap. "Gone different?" he asks. Slides the tray a few inches closer to her to pick a mug, first, and make her choice out of green tea, white tea, peach melba and Earl Gray.

"I would have left well enough alone, gone to Liz, or maybe just kept my hands out of the pot and let you all do what you do best and do what I do best which is stick my head in the sand and ignore that something is happening so that I don't get asked and can say I don't know"

Out comes a hand, settling on the Peach Melba, wanting something more than plain tea and nothing that she needed to sweeten. It's drawn close, fingers tight around the handle, other hand hovering close to soak up it's warmth. Since manifesting, she was no different than the others in the house. The fever it seemed, had left her.

"I am sorry Teo. I should… I should have told you the whole truth and not parts of the truth when you phoned and asked. You deserved as much, and I… I cheapened what we have by not telling you the whole truth and I deserved you getting mad at me"

Teo ends up with green tea, but he doesn't try to sweeten it and he doesn't need a spoon, as such, but he takes one anyway.

Maybe just so he has something to do with his hands, steering the slender stainless implement through the warm fluid in small nonsense circles that issue the occasional tink. His eyes pass over her fingers hoarding greedily of her own Peach Melba mixture's mug, perhaps noting that she is no longer generating unnaturally excessive heat. In any definition of the phrase. "Most people—" he starts, then stops.

Blinks, and his scarred head jerks over toward the right, a reflexive search for something to whack his forehead on. There is nothing suitable, fortunately: the coffee table is too low, the arm of the couch too puffy, the cup in his hands too fragile. The net effect of this deprivation is not tremendous. His head is just fuzzy still, not very good with words. He winds up roughing the heel of his hand down his jaw instead, scratching a bent finger at his eyelid. "Most people, I'd yell, throw shit, swear a lot.

"Cut that to pieces with a lot of piss, vinegar. I have a bad temper sometimes, I think, and I tend to try to hurt. I can't bring myself to do that with you." He sounds tired underneath the grim, a bedrock of displeasure somewhere unsteady underneath the slump of shoulders, minor fidgets. "Am I cutting you off?"

"You're not Teo. Cutting me off. I'd forgive you anyways if you did. Like I forgive you nearly everything. Teo, you swore. Every fourth word that night I came back was… the F bomb" She'd flinched nearly every time too that the word fell from his lips. She didn't even say her customary 'language' to admonish him for using it not two minutes ago.

"Thank you, for not… throwing stuff or hitting or all that. I think you don't do it with me because I already have others who have done that." Because a cowering Abigail is not a pretty sight, far more sad than anything. "though I likely would have deserved it, setting him loose like I did…" Her thumb strokes along the handle, following the top of the curve that bellies out before meeting up with the stoneware again her own eye's dropped down to look at the tea and the steam that rises into the air.

«Can you forgive me?» It comes out in her adulterated Italian, hoping that by switching to his mother tongue, he might realize how much she means it even if right this moment she can't quite meet his eyes. «For what I did that day while you were busy with Francois»

Teo draws a sip of tea, then a proper mouthful, swallowed with a little difficulty that has nothing to do with the heat. He wipes his mouth on the back of his wrist instead of on his sleeve, and puts the mug down. He divulges no particular guilt at having cursed, back when, but it probably means something— it's probably deliberate, that he doesn't curse now. "No," he says, after a moment. "Not yet. Sorry. I understand that you're sincere, and you feel really— terrible, right now.

"But I don't think you fully understand why what you did was offensive, and that hurts your case because I think— by now, you've had time to think about it. You avoided lying to keep your conscience as much in the clear as you could, to convince yourself that it was the responsibility of the others who were foolish enough to believe you.

"You exploited your reputation as a fundamentally honorable and sweet person, and you're doing it again— now, even after your check just bounced. You nearly got Parkman and his fellow Agents killed, and you lied to me afterward, which is more of an accidental coincidence of misfortunes than anything, maybe not your fault. But then again, I don't feel like the fact Kozlow agreed to tell Logan anything Logan then told us was credit to you, either, but you found that worth mentioning.

"Lying did work. From what I can see, telling the truth would've also accomplished exactly the same thing.

"But I'll get over it," Teo says, lifting one shoulder, a gesture that never quite falls into a complete shrug. His eyes have fallen, venture across the floor, uncomfortable and unhappy and unwilling to see this report careen, impact, mushroom on Abigail's face and frame. "Because you are a fundamentally honest and sweet person, tesoro. And because my ego is enormous, as is my faith in you. But you're just also a self-deceiver, who made larger and different mistakes than what she would like to admit, and you made a gullible moron out of me. I'm not ready to do that again. Just not yet."

Twenty twenty being what it is, looking back, telling the truth likely would have ended up with the same result but lest bloodshed, less hurt all around. He was right, she had danced around the truth in part to keep her conscience clear, but that much like Francois had said, she expected to get caught.

Pale cheeks flush with color, turning lobster red as Teo speaks, forgiveness denied but assurance that he'll get over it because it is Abigail. Eyes close, lips pressing together as she tears up by the end with a breath escaped through her lips. Words have ever cut so much deeper than any hand from Teo. She told Francois once in another country, that the men she loved or respected, knew how to hold her or hurt her through words alone and not so much physical actions. She could protest that no, she never intended to make that of him, that she was following the adage of easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

In the end, she choose the Flint Deckard route. No 'okay' or grunt, just silence, hand around the teacup and looking down into it's pale colored waters. Stay calm a quiet mantra in her head.

Teo waits a few seconds, too, patient the way a coiled spring braked and cinched with iron is patient. Kinesis trapped in the right-cornered folds of his legs, straight shoulders, closed teeth, the fingers bridled around the circumference of his mug.

Restraint is difficult. He's from Sicily, you know. He was supposed to have done that with an inculpatory amount of screaming, the hurling of objects, vicious insults that lanced her through the heart only to hit the people she keeps around her. He had brought Abigail herself up to hurt Francois, before, and twisted Delilah's sexuality to hurt Magnes, before.

Peculiarly, Abby deserves better than that. That isn't irony. That's to say: this could have gone worse, probably. After a moment, Teo stands up again, slowly, deliberately, the tendons in his knees and ankles creaking in a way that he can hear inside his own skin, it's so quiet here. "I understand if you don't want to stay. I even understand if you still believe I'm wrong, or I'm being cruel, or harsh. I'm not as nice as I should be." He grasps the vacuum machine again, but there's no movement toward the power button, merely a plastic squeak of wheels as he tugs it away.

"You're not wrong. You're not cruel. I deserve it all and more" Comes quietly from the younger woman, one hand moving away from the cup so that she cap wipe her wrist across one eye, drag away the dampness that's gathering there. "You're speaking the truth and you have every right to not be nice to me Teodoro. Nice doesn't have a right to enter into this conversation after what I did to you and made you feel and seem like"

The cup is placed ever so carefully back down on the tray, handle turned just so and it's contents untouched. "I think I might go to stay at the Village until power is back to the Rivage. If I trigger again, I don't want to burn down Francois's house and Cat gave me pills that negate abilities." Cat's place, it seems, is okay to burn down.

"I need to get Scarlett and Pila from Peter and start getting my things in order. Get a new car, rebuild the bar, just a lot of things to do and it might be more comfortable for Francois and for me, if I didn't live on the third floor until… you get over things and I have a better handle on what I can do now"

It is nice to talk about it like grown-ups, but also giving Teo a headache. No cathartic rush of adrenaline, throat-cracking passion, a sneer to use up the unused energy that's buzzing around in the musculature of his face. "I'll let you know if I can think of a better teacher or something for you than— than you have," Teo finishes, awkward as a lamed thing slouching along a racetrack. He glances down at the fruit tea, wobbling its uncertain meniscus inside the mug until it seesaws to a halt.

He is obscurely surprised that she is leaving, although the words that she speaks makes sense in a big way. Francois will probably be less actively uncomfortable. Out of sight is not always out of mind, with the lives they lead and— the tendency for their enemies to be stealthy and talented murderers, but sometimes, losing a roommate does make the house easier to breathe in. It is unfortunate, Teo thinks, that he and Abigail know this from prior experience as well. But maybe it's okay.

That got better, too. It took time. If his heart had stayed broken then, he wouldn't be feeling it twist in his ribs now. "I'm going to put this away." The vacuum machine, he means. He's cleared enough air today, even if there is still a mite-riddled lagomorph or two under the furniture, there. The cable rattles in the yank of his grip, and his tread falls quiet toward the hallway.

Bobble headed agreement. To the putting the vacuum away intoned by the Sicilian. "I should go pack" She doesn't know whether she should stay down here, go upstairs, take her tea with her, or take the tray into the kitchen for him. Dust bunnies are not a worry of her's. All her's burned up a couple days ago.

So he walks off, she turns, twists, slides to the edge of the couch after putting her foot down with a soft thunk, using her hands to lever herself up and off the couch. Leaves the tea right where it is so he can go back to his own cup when he's done tucking the low suck vacuum into it's hideyhole. Doesn't quite Slink off to nurse her wounds both physical and emotional, give Teo and Francois space to be themselves and Teo time to get over it and for herself to get over it. She slinks off to stand by the stairs, and watch the Sicilian tuck away said vacuum.

It is impossible for Teo not to notice he is being watched. The weight of Abigail's stare is like a pound of frost that somehow managed to unlatch the windows or shimmy through the vents, fill the air. He doesn't look up, though. Merely drags the vacuum machine along behind him, the pronged cord head swinging lazy circles in one hand, pretending relaxation, or merely acknowledging that he is beginning to feel absurdly tired, now. The brain kind. He probably isn't going to finish that book.

Or know how to explain this to Francois. Which is consistent with what he'd told Abigail— that he'd tried keeping his thoughts to himself, the past few weeks. He eases the closet open with a whiny protest of the hinges, puts the machine away, shuts the door with a palm flat on the jamb. Pads back into the living room, swiveling around the door frame. The sound of ceramic shifting on lacquer shimmers briefly in Abby's hearing, and then that too is gone.

And so is she. Up the stairs, hand clutching the rail as she goes and beginning the careful trek up the stairs. The upside to staying at cats might be the lack of stairs that she will have to deal with on a daily basis. It's just for a little bit she tells herself. Till she gets things under control, till the two of them get over it. Only this time, she'll actually tell Francois, instead of letting him find out after the fact.

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