Holiness & Selfishness


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Scene Title Holiness & Selfishness
Synopsis Reunion. Less gay than it sounds. A little.

Guenever grew slowly, not less blooming, but angrier. A storm gathered in her. Holiness? Selfishness, she cried to herself — selfish to abandon another soul so as to save your own.

The story of Bors, allowing the twelve supposed gentlewomen to be hurled from the castle turret rather than save them by committing a mortal sin, had shocked her to the heart. Now Lancelot was doing the same thing.

[…]But it took two to make a renunciation, just as it took two to make love, or to make a quarrel. She was not an insensate piece of property, to be taken up or laid down at his convenience. You could not give up a human heart as you could give up drinking. The drink was yours, and you could give it up: but your lover's soul was not your own; it was not at your disposal; you had a duty towards it.

T.H. White,
The Once and Future King
Date July 7, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

The sky is yellow and pewter, a palette of light that renders the Grand Central Terminal in the texture of mould; clearly a combination that is only attractive if you have a rather bleak sense of aesthetic. Teo does, but he isn't here for the view. He's mostly here pretending he has work to do, unloading a series of bundled linens, each one the size of a haybale and seemingly just as light and full of air, taped up, covered in sheet-plastic. The back of the truck is open, its ramp clangoring under his boots. He hasn't checked his cellphone even once to see if it's time for Deckard to be here yet.

But probably. Verging on evening. He had decided it was socially irresponsible to invite the man out into the ruins of midtown once it was night-time proper, maybe because he half-expected to get shot once there wasn't enough light in the sky for human eyes to track movement, maybe because his gay boyfriend would be sad. Teo had a cigarette for dinner, and he's having another one now, the thin scroll hanging out between his teeth and uncurling meaningless symbols in the air.

He slips slightly under the bulk of bundle number two. The sole of his boot hurdles a rolling fragment of asphalt, trips him up slightly. The plastic catches on the sleeve of his T-shirt, and he's left grumbling, recentering himself with a wrang-wrang-whok of heavy boots on corrugated iron. Ugh.

Deckard is later than he should be, not having yet readjusted to the idea of fixed scheduling determined by someone else that is "subject to change" when there's more shit to be done than someone who wasn't paying attention initially expected. That is to say: he is late and worn out on account of bureaucracy, pinstriped cuffs flared crisply open at the terminal ends of dove grey jacket sleeves that he is still fingering blandly when he steps scuff scrape down into the terminal's shadow.

His eyes resolve into tell-tale rings of lurid blue when the rest of his long face cedes crisp lines and sharp contrast to the murk. The ridges of his skull lose some of their hard-hewn edge and grey dusted into increasingly distinct patches of his chin loosens its hold. His boots (black, today) are clean of all but old ash and chalky concrete dust.

He looks healthy, wealthy and wise. So. Out of place and suspicious, brow hooded when his head swivels after the scatter of Teo's uncoordinated effort with linens. "Hello?"

Teo stops very suddenly, and nearly drops the cigarette from his mouth. Doesn't, though, and the bulky wad of plastic and carefully bleached bedclothes stays balanced between his foot and his hand, too. He breathes a few times, wiping his nose with the heel of his hand because he's classy that way, thinking slightly more than strictly necessary about the fact that Deckard's voice had come from around the corner of the truck's cargo area, broadside it, maybe. It seems important to be sure, before he puts his ragged head around to look.

"Hey," he says. "Wireless gave me your number." Obviously. Obviously.

But better than leading questions, right? 'Do you want to shoot me,' 'Did Joseph give you your diary back, or tell you I'd read it,' 'Think Abigail likes you or me better, now?' Teo doesn't tan as easily as his penchant for hot weather might lead someone to think he would. His aquiline profile is characteristically fair, the scar in pale, webby relief around the hole in his cheek. "What's up?"

Freeze, nose-scrub and steadying breaths all studied in acute silence, Flint leaves no room for pretend searching to find Teo's stupid face when it finally angles out from around the truck. The unholy line of Deckard's glacial glare is waiting precisely on point, focused even before Laudani's eyes have time to tell his brain that there's an uncanny valley kind of eye contact going on across the intervening space.

He's not angry, though. No more than the average redtail with its talons sunk deep into a fencepost is idly wishing it could tear the face off a fresh, fluffy pink baby despite all outward appearances to the contrary.
He's cleaner shaven than Teo's seen him in some time, stubble reduced to a dust of grizzled texture across the narrow clamp of his jaw. On the rebound from nakedness. Otherwise he's windblown but decently shorn and cared for; his hair's been cropped short recently and his eye sockets are bruised only by sleeplessness in the stead of meaty fists. "Yeah," he says to news of
Wireless. He like.

Asked her to.

"I wanted to say thanks," is the followup, coarse and quiet as dry mulch, like he's afraid his graciousness may carry somehow. "And sorry."

It's some combination of verbal gratitude and tonal graciousness that puts a cricking knot of tension into Teo's back. His eyes close and open numbly (dumbly) on the front of his face, and he does nothing, for a moment, besides stay. A notable distinction from leaving, anyway. It is highly apparent to him that Deckard remembers something. That he isn't punctuating (or punchlining) it with firearms is…

Weird. Erodes the entire basis of their friendship. Has the unsettling side-effect of settling something in the corner of his head that's been a little off-center for the past few months. It is terribly contradictory, especially framed in the fact that his nerves are about to snap like tethers and leave him in a fainted pile of fag at the base of the ramp, suffocating gradually under plastic wrap that coincidentally fell on his face.

He decides not to disagree. Or to fall. Instead, he takes a step downward, hitching up his cargo under-arm, navigating around the flecks and pips of concrete that had tripped him up earlier. He gets a better look at Deckard from next to the cart than he had up there, and does not try extremely hard to appear like he isn't checking Flint out; which doesn't mean he is. He's just.

Sicilian, still. "I don't think you know what I did," he says.


Too addled into awkwardness by the implication that he's about to find out something that may negate blood-from-a-stone gratefulness to react with anything more visceral than a gloomy downturn at the corners of his mouth, Flint sways his wrought iron framework into a subtle shift of weight further over onto just one leg.

Hangdog in the fashion of kids who don't really want to have their heroic impressions of Uncle Dan smothered by confirmation of their most secret of suspicions that it was him who drowned the barn cat's entire litter, he falls quiet and stays that way. There are no kittens, though. Just Deckard looking down at fractured concrete while he waits to get reality checked.



No. Teo wouldn't know where to start, anyway. Stuff. Shit happens. Sometimes you have to get a wildly dysfunctional serial-killer psychically reprogrammed to function better in human society, after you shot each other to make some non-fatal points on the street. Maybe Deckard wouldn't care. Maybe it wouldn't change anything. Maybe that wouldn't be any better to think about. "I just drove," he says, after a moment. "I figured you'd killed enough time being homeless, and Corbin seems about as reliable as his people get.

"Don't tell Wireless I said so," Teodoro adds, blankly, like his brain made the joke and it started going out of his mouth too fast for him to stop but he aborted out of inflection early enough to make it more poorly-told than strictly inappropriate. And then, because he is ever the bringer of revelations, "You look better."

Deckard's brows work further still, twisting uncomfortably at the ramp when Teo finally finds words. Poor ones, given that everyone and their Uncle Dan seems to know he was killing more than time by the night they finally shot each other and Teo took him to the pound to be re-socialized and fed and given all his vaccines.

The fact that the Italian claims only to have driven does not particularly faze him. Not enough to retract his temporary manners, anyway. Here until the sun goes down and he is freed up enough to swing into Burlesque for the remainder of his evening. His time.

"Okay," is sort of like quiet agreement without concession — Flint recalls more than simple driving. But he also says, "Thanks," regardless of whether or not he agrees, deep breath cut it and out short of full on sigh status. He even sneaks a mundane look to see if Teo is Looking. Capital L.

It's hard to tell with Teo sometimes. He's always looking, and the state of the first letter in the term tends to be in a deliberately squidgy kind of font, complicated by the elaborate curlicues of foreigner-habits and personal hang-ups. He's probably just looking.

"You seen Joseph by now?" he asks, bricking linens onto the plump stack. That done, he wipes his hands on the legs of his jeans, and then promptly has absolutely nothing to do with them. Where did his cigarette go? A glance over the ground assures him that it isn't starting fires on the Grand Central Terminal. His hand stops halfway down to his pocket, stilled by the memory that he met his nicotine quota for the day. "I helped him move some of your shit.

"From the hotel," Teodoro adds, as if Flint might not actually remember which shit he had bequeathed upon the big-browed pastor. "There was," he says, "a variety of effects."

Deckard's seen Teo looking before.

Teo has probably never seen Deckard looking back (however warily, gingerly, briefly), which might be why it's so difficult to interpret the low linger of the older man's stare hooded out from under the overhang of his brow before it brushes uneasily off to the side. One of the buttons at his left cuff is already loose when he fidgets at it. He's hard on expensive clothes. Part of the reason he never used to wear them.

Breath shivery in his sinuses, he abandons his sleeve to scuff self-consciously at his nose instead, jaw worked into a hollow clamp that in turn has to work itself deliberately back into indifference. "I've seen him a few times," muttered with less distraction, he swings his glare over into neutral territory to study the truck, one shoulder hitched belatedly into an awkward shrug. "He didn't mention anything."

Teodoro's ego is as disproportionate as ever, mind you, but yeah. Kind of hard to make that deductive leap when Deckard's face is rather specifically engineered for sulking and there are no historical precedents to go off. The Sicilian is left to wonder if that was some kind of lie. "We should get it back for you," he says. "I mean, the stuff that wasn't dispersed through the Ferry. I can't remember what all of it was." A function of being preoccupied with the raging hate chickenscratched into diaries.

Inscrutably disincluded in interactions with Joseph, apparently. Teo closes one long hand on the handle of his cart, and his arm tightens in a way that indicates he was about to start pushing before he stopped. Realizing, about two action-potentials through the decision, that he simply expected Deckard to follow, or something fucking ridic— "What are you," he pauses, apparently to wipe saliva off the edges of the ragged scar on his cheek, roughing hard enough to dry the edge of his beard, too. "What've you been doing?"

Indifferent to his corroded core, Flint can't summon up enough energy to look interested — innate curiosity effectively smothered by the one-two slam of restless dread of what his prior belongings may imply and enough medication to mellow out a blind wolverine. Related runoff diverts into a distracted touch at truck metal, as if chrome's chipped texture is of greater concern than old knives and photographs and jackets crusted stiff with tarry blood.

What are you? is a valid question, meanwhile. One that Deckard acknowledges with a wary sideways look and a frown that's less private than it's intended to be, like he suspects he might be being teased.

"I dunno," is the answer. Slow in coming. Also inevitable. Nearly as inevitable as a second cut of his glare away across the terminal, where skeletal rebar and electric blue detritus fades into the same ominous black that defines the farthest reaches of his vision in every direction. "Whatever I'm told to."

That could be more encouraging. Less. Teo isn't sure what he was hoping would happen once the old man got into Company custody.

But this seems bizarrely close. New threads, some— somehow-induced calm, flawed recollections, a lukewarm approach to the Grand Central Terminal and Ferry operatives who happen to be standing out of it with the makings of a slumber party tarped for transfer. He didn't exactly expect James Bond. Or not James Bond dumb enough to let on what he was, under the fine new threads, anyway. "I haven't told anybody except maybe three that you're with the Company," he says, suddenly, partly because it's relevant, and partly because of another dozen factors negatively principled less upon what they 'should' talk about than what they shouldn't.

"Doesn't seem like the time." He doesn't know if it ever will be. With a push, the hard little wheels crack and click against injured concrete and, out of some peculiar notion of something peculiar, Teo starts to angle closer to the older man. His hair is sticking to his forehead. "You know?"

Quiet resentment etches its way into the lines carved long around the flat of Deckard's mouth, less fuzzily obscured than usual in what little light the sallow dusk has to offer. His brow knits lower after a downward turn at his chin — tired chagrin not dissimilar to the subdued flinch Hana coaxed out of him across the internet two or three weeks ago.

"I didn't know," is a poor excuse for all that it's also a croakily honest one, voice gravelled and clagged with faintly irritable responsibility for the invasion, if not quite guilt. "They thought it was better that way." Until it wasn't.

Chilly eyes searched vacantly across Teo's shoes, Flint holds his ground, with a fleeting glance or two further up along knee and hip, mutt-like. "I'm trying to limit contact. But I want to help." There's a pause, then: "Please don't tell anyone else.

Teo is looking at the blankets for a long moment, apparently quite taken with some aspect of its fatly-taped topography, or maybe there is a fly buzzing around in front of his nose too far away for Deckard to see. Breath goes in, breath goes out. If this feeling had a soundtrack, it would be the wet choking of a storm considering the processes of its own conception over the edge of a mountain, darkening slowly, waiting to descend. You'd need much less than that to knock over the little house of cards he begged and bratted the Company into building around Flint Deckard.

"Yeah," is an insufficient answer, but the most graceful out of all the insufficient answers that he can think of. Teo's shoes twitch like clockhands around in the dirt when he makes up his mind to turn around and look at Flint looking at them. "I know what that's like. I'll let Eileen know. I guess," his shoulders lift slightly, a long inhale, quizzical lilt of his eyebrows. "If Hana has a problem with it, you'll find out kind of suddenly."

Flint's shoulders have fallen off into a more characteristic lean-to slope, clavicle and scapula suspended by trapezius from the thickened stack of his neck. There's more muscle to him. More mass to be derived from regular meals and exercise made mandatory where he might huddle in a shelled out skyscraper with a few cans of soup for days on his own schedule.

He's gone quiet, though. Some habits harder to break than others now that business has been formally addressed and he's run out of things he's supposed to talk about. Teo's shoes move and he looks away from them too. Uncomfortable even at easy agreement. Or maybe moreso because of it.

"You were good at your job," click-click, rrr, scratch. "Infiltrated— uh, far in enough to find this place, no harm done, and now Dalton and some of our people are on vague speaking terms, I think…" Teo bumbling along three, four more steps before he halts again. There are skinny tracks dragged out behind him, defining a steady three-foot width between donut-sized wheels.

He stares at the gulf of stairs going down to the terminal, trying to remember which side the chute was, for the dumping of random objects down the fast way. Resolving that he'll have to rummage around cluelessly for a few minutes, instead, he turns his shaggy head to look at Deckard from this slightly adjusted angle and closer vantage point. Looking, with that case-confused 'l.' Good, good. Great. If there was ever a decent rationale for lying through one's snaggled teeth, it would be getting Deckard a ghetto booty.

Whilst apparently keeping his sense of civic duty intact. Yes? Maybe? You can blame the ghost, that he's wondering if, maybe, this is some kind of tra— "What are you going to tell everybody?"

Disagreement and disbelief are related reflexive responses to warped praise; predictable as the bristle at the back of his neck for reassurances read as false. Asspats at a distance. His eyes ring back into shrill focus out of the all-consuming gloom, and again there's an undefined ambiguity wavering unsteadily there under more familiar irritation.

Quiet still, he shifts his weight again, this time into more even balance between his bootheels while his hands seek worn leather jacket pockets and find finer stuff, which he tries briefly and abandons with a closed rankle at his nose. Less room for smashed cigarettes and spent casings and bits of interesting junk littered around Midtown like easter eggs discovered months after the fact.

"I told them you found help." It's the truth, more or less. Barring some unacknowledged betrayal and several nights he doesn't really remember spent chained up in a basement.

Water, bridge. Y'know. "Well, that's good. Sounds like me." Teo manages not to like, spit when he says that, stopping on the edge of the terminal's shadow, his eyes moving restlessly across faded graffiti and cracks that probably go as deep as his arm. He listens to Deckard's quiet like sailors watch the skyline. Every little thing means something big. You didn't tell them what kind. "I'll second that and be all deliberately mysterious if they ask about the details. Abigail will probably want to know.

"She and I are fighting a little," he adds, blankly. "Phoenix is ashes. For good this time, I think. Magnes is dating someone new, and there's this cartel of lesbians going around. The Ferry's getting organized, councils and conferences and shit. Are you up and up on all that stuff?" He settles his hands, manages somehow to repress the urge to twiddle his thumbs, and looks at Deckard's—

—shoes, this time.

A slight shake of Deckard's head serves as negative as tenuous as it is distantly grim. Didn't know they were fighting, thought Phoenix was already ashes, ignorant of any details concerning Magnes's love life. Nothing too out of the blue.

His overlarge hands are idle, right thumb etching circles around his index and middle fingers on the same side; left working itself open and closed independently until the right follows uneven suit. There's probably an underlying suggestion here that he share what's new with him in turn. Bella. Abigail's letter and his inability to live anywhere for more than a few days at a time. But none of it is all that cheerful and all of it is incriminating.

So. He kind of just stands there and breathes, stare diverted intently back over on the truck.

Granted, if Deckard were to stop standing or, worse, breathing, Teo would be more disturbed. The absence of voice in air is about normal, peculiarly reassuring in its own way. "You want to help?" He is not being abstract, actually. He puts out an arm, waves it up and down a bit, like a traffic gate, eye-catching enough even without the klaxons or flashing yellow lights. This is cheerful. He's bringing seasonally-appropriate bedclothes to the tiny adorable little refugees.

There will probably be dinner. People who will be happy to see Deckard again. A few lists of things that the old man can help them get, or at least, the pervading expectation that they will be seeing him again, perhaps structured again within some kind of schedule, with things like duty and assistance ascribed to each slot. "I don't know where the supply drop is," Teo admits, scowling faintly at that stumpy fire hydrant over there, blunt fingers going over the top of his head. "I forgot."

Delayed a beat in recognition of Teo's address, Flint snaps out of it with a twitchy seize of his shoulders, nostrils flared around a steep breath that does little to clear off the fog blanketed in muggy around his brain. He can help. At least, there's no good reason not to.

No good reason other than the one where he's a murdering, government-employed secret agent probably sent here as a spy.

But he can see the supply drop. So there's that. Right hand lifted in vague reference to the chute's position once he's picked his way near enough across shattered concrete for it to matter, he maintains at least that arm's worth of distance. Near enough for another significant change to be apparent: he no longer smells like the sidewalk just outside of a dive bar.

Teo smells, rather gayly, like Francois, but lacking any real frame of reference in that department, Deckard doesn't have to deal with that on an intellectual level. The Sicilian, on the other hand, is available to appreciate this olfactory manifestation of the improvent in Deckard's circumstances. How great. He really hopes that Corbin made good on the arrangement, because shooting his friend in the face would be really awkward, at this point. "Great," he says, with just enough enthusiasm for a boon of this magnitude. "Thanks.

"I've been reading some more books. If you still need stuff to read. I'm trying to get through T.H. White's little King Arthur book, right now, but that shit is dense." Teo's voice bounces persistently off the cavernous space presiding over the stairs, and the cart wheels give a tinny rattle that channels just as far. Around to the service side, the discreetly slotted hole excavated out of concrete and marble.

"I met up with some college friends recently, and there was one who was saying how Lancelot was his favorite in the book. Have you ever read that one?"

It's probably for the best that Teo's voice carries and echoes and fades soft to better fill the Terminal's gawping breadth, because Deckard's contribution is limited to the bone dry rattle and skate of flaked concrete away from the smooth shod of his boots. King Arthur isn't really Flint's style. So far as he knows. Dust spat from a dig of his heel, he likes Teo enough to feign half-hearted interest all the same, spectral eyes cut out of the dark at a glance that lingers only as long as it feels obligated to.

He hangs back, too - long gait slowed to account for the shitty cart and all its contents, breath warming maybe a little too close at Teo's shoulder now that they're both moving. Must be a little like talking to your cat. He seems approximately as likely to talk back.

At least on the subject of Book Club.

"You should." Teo navigates around that huge chunk of asphalt that seems slightly further away from the Terminal proper every single time he comes here, without anybody ever getting around to shift it out of the course of traffic entirely. Really, they should eventually just slap some Ritalin into Magnes' mouth and crop him into tumbling the thing away. "You'd like Lancelot. Not the conventional interpretation of the character. He's the ill-made knight— he goes through his whole life knowing there's something really fucked up with him, deep down, and he tries really hard at being good.

"His son is the one who's actually perfect, and there's something eerie and dead with him because of it. I dunno. I think you'd appreciate it. Camelot is all about fatalism and shit." The cart jumps an inch to the left, and Teo hitches it short with a small tug, noses it back toward the jagged grille. "Like, no matter how many holy swords and wise seers and badasses in armor there ever are, inevitably, everything ends with entrails and rubble in the grass."

"God is love," quotes Deckard, distant ambiguity hazed warm and quiet in flat affect and the hard level of his brow. Love and viscera glistening in the grass. If he sounds exasperated, it's probably not wholly with Teo, even if he does slow down into even more of a laggard linger, like he's not all that sure he should follow him all the way down after all. His hands try to find their ways down into his pockets again and succeed this time, sleek fabric bunched off course by the intrusion.

"Everyone likes Lancelot," he says (reasonably), chilly eyes pricked out of the murk across whatever intervening distance, "not just his squishy queer friends."

Teo can lift blankets by himself. Push that a little further and it's a flattering gay joke. He hitches the topmost block by the duct tape, and then shoves aside the great dumpster lid that covers up the great dark gulf of the chute. Like staring down into the mouth of Hell, except, for some reason, it never smells like anything at all.

He pitches his armload in. There is a faint rump-a-dump, sliding of plastic against metal, as the thing makes its way down, down. "Maybe I'm Lancelot in this analogy," he says, trying not to feel weird about having both his hands occupied and in-motion and with his back-turned while there is an armed crackshot of a Company agent standing right there. "Christ, you got egocentric while you were gone. Nobody is liked by everyone." The good corner of his mouth goes down slightly.

The other is still twisted upward, of course, bunched sloppily around mucus-production membranes, the ropey ruche and distortion of grain where his beard was supposed to flow in one direction. "Theres this great passage with Guinevere where she practically hates his guts, for example."

"In this instance, I use the word 'like' loosely to denote people unlikely to shoot me on principle." Wisened and cracked dusty dry as the shoddy stuff he's standing on, Flint watches Teo do the heavy lifting like the kind of rangy gargoyle he so resembles. He doesn't actually look any less miserable for all that he's half-stoned and of healthier overall construction, either, jaw clamped taut with wiry cables and glare unwavering.

Actually he looks kind of resentful. Sensitive territory in there somewhere stoked to feed a glower whose coal fires are more literal than most.

There's no gun, though. Even if he had one, his hands keep to his pockets and his posture stays lazy. He doesn't ask if he's supposed to be Guinevere.

Linens lump number two goes in over-arm. Bop-a-bop, thumping before the rebound stops and gravity proceeds to draw it downward into the deep black of nothing. "I mean, it has parts that are like, women-centric and pretty cool," Teo clarifies, after a moment, a little awkwardly, but just a little. "I'll let you know if it reads well— I'm mostly going off hearsay and, uh, the fact that it's regarded as 'literature' or whatever.

"I'm also not going to shoot you," he adds, with conviction, despite that he's turned around and looking at that mark on the wall, there, then the dubious stain on the lip of the chute. "I don't really want to, I mean.

"I know a lot of people who don't. You know a lot of people who don't. We can be tragically hung up on something else if you want. Do you…" he runs out of linens rather abruptly. Is left with hands drifting, wondering when the turn of his shoulder to the erstwhile serial-killer became a form of insistent reassurance rather than a practical coincidence, and he turns his head with what feels like concerted effort, blinking at severity of Deckard's wrought-iron silhouette against the ridiculous sunshine. He punctuates the question with his head canted back at the entranceway.

Having bent himself to the challenge of trying to count how many he does know, Flint comes to the inevitable conclusion that most who aren't ready to pull the trigger don't know the full story. Raw tendon belts rigid across the back of the hand he has lifted to scrub at his head, rangy muscle buckled stiff as a board from wrist to forearm when he hunkers, hesitates, and finally drops himself into a dumb sit on the concrete. Suit, tie and all.

This is probably one of those things he shouldn't have dedicated time to thinking about.

"I'll wait," isn't even a well-spoken lie. It is not articulate or convincing.

"Okay," Teo reassures the railing of the cart thing, while he fixes his hand shut around it. A yank, and it unbrakes enough to skew backward, with him, when he takes a step, rivets and bolts jarring in rust-edged friction and clangor despite that the whole thing winds up traveling in roughly the same direction anyway. "I'll come back up with coffee or something, see if there are any memos going out to Eileen and put you in." They went over that, but it's always good to reestablish plans of impending social relevance.

He gets back out into the sun pretty quickly, more careless now that there is nothing to balance on the metal floor of it. The back of his forearm goes across his nose, streaking a faint condensation of dust across the bridge. He looks past the scarred arrow painted in the asphalt, at the truck with its ass still hanging out. "Need a ride anywhere?"

"No." No he does not need a ride anywhere. Content to sit where he's settled, back against a block of concrete hefty enough to support such things and bony knees bent up into lazy angles before him, Deckard studies the invisible skirt of a cockroach under a similar lump of rock instead of studying the truck. Or the arrow, or the cart.

Teo's answer is a grunt. Nothing elaborate. He pushes the little trolley up ramp with a running shove of his boot. Sends it zooming back into the back of the truck, and then shuts the truck up, too, after checking that the residual smell of cabbage is not due to the fact that there are any actual cabbages left after delivery. He bolts it shut and turns around again to check whether or not Deckard has disappeared like Batman, or else, achieved some kind of embittered Zen vegetative state during the interim, tugging a scratch at the sweat patch forming on at the collar of his shirt.

Fade. Afterward, Deckard is not there.

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