If Not 'For Life'


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title If Not 'For Life'
Synopsis Sonny brings himself and Teo a gift of two lovebirds in a cage that has two halves, one of which is empty so Pila can move in also. It is pretty fucking sweet, man.
Date April 21, 2009

Chinatown — Connor and Teo's Apartment

A shag pad furnished with remarkable humility, if you know anything about Connor Kinney at all.

It was one of those random, serendipitous things. Sonny wasn't actually out shopping, and he's not usually on the street with the petshop. There's also usually kittens in the window, not pretty winged creatures. Whatever it was, the perfect alignment of events caused him to get an idea and walk out of the store with a caged pair of birds.

That of course, lead to more shopping in the form of the perfect home for the pretty little birds. By the end of the day, the large, lovely, wooden cage with two separate sides is set up on a table by the window in their apartment. Both sides have been kitted out with all the birdly accoutrements.

In one half twitter a pair of lovebirds - one lime green and one pale blue. The doc wasn't really aware of the whole 'mate for life' thing when he chose them. He just asked the pet shop clerk for a pair that get along.

Sonny's currently on his knees at eye level with the cage as the birds flutter around their sizeable new home and make curious birdly sounds.

As ignorant as a big Italian kid is wont to be, Teo is stomping home with his forehead in disconcerted lines and sharp-cornered wrinkles, smelling very faintly of kennel and of hot chocolate from Central Park. He's had a reasonably good day. Mixed news, between Deckard's ugly new habits and foreboding visions, God's solemn oath he's getting his people back and Delilah and Sacha's bright companionship and persistent wellbeing.

He walks into the door to open it, as he's often wont to do: old habit of living at a place that was so shittily put together that the door was slightly too big for its frame. A bright blue eye hiccups into the gap, and then a weary show of teeth. "Sala," he calls out, kicking his first foot in and the boot off that one in a single motion. "'M home. I—"

—am struck dumb, blinking, feet arrested in mid-fumble and eyes clicking between the other occupants of his humble abode. Now numbering thrice as many as he had originally anticipated.

The doc is like a little kid eager to give a gift. Except this one isn't made of elbow macaroni. Sonny stands up and beams over towards Teo. He steps aside to allow a good view of the lovely, large wooden cage. "Well? What do you think?" His face is going to start to ache if he keeps smiling like that.

He's not sure why he's so positive this will cheer Teo up, or why it makes him so happy as well. His parents never let him have pets, not even a fish. As a consequence, he laps up time with animals. It never occured to him until this morning that he's an adult and allowed to purchase his own furry friend.

Astonishment pulls Teo's mouth into a small 'o' and squeezes it out so far from his face that he looks like he's trying to do a fish or bird impression despite the limitations of his own incompetently human anatomy. He starts to take his jacket off, in ridiculous herky-jerky mechanical motions, as if rote and muscle memory are responsible rather than fluency of coherent thought. Which would be about accurate.

Unshod, he makes his way over to the Doctor's side with some amount of difficulty.

Stops, stares at the cage of birds, his lips compressed tightly around a smile that threatens to explode into carbonated soda-pop laughter, his right hand looping out to hang five grubby fingers on the bottom hem of the good Doctor's shirt.

Varnished, expertly carpentered wood frames the birds with the care of a house made a home. The couple therein share the same branch for now, their usual high cries tamped down into conspiratorial murmurs, dark faces pressed together in the curious symmetry of a kiss. "I probably owe you a few swooping orgasms," he decides, when he locates his voice somewhere in the region of cloud nine. "Mostly inconvenient 'cause they're going to be loud as fuck come early morning."

"That's what the pet shop guy said, but we both usually have early mornings anyway," Sonny looks, ironically, like the cat who caught the canary. He shifts towards Teo and sets a hand along the Italian's cheek.

It makes him happy to see Teo happy, even if he suspects that the grin will be chased away soon enough by a cloud of responsibility. He enjoys it as long as it lasts.

"This side's for Pila," he says quietly as he touches the empty side of the cage. "If you want to bring her. I read that these birds don't get along well with other breeds."

The other man's eyebrow cants high, curious, a touch of wariness mingling with the unequivocal joy of having birds back in his home again. Teo leans his face into the curl of Sonny's palm. The coarse velvet of his encroaching beard flattens along the firm, smooth-skinned pressure of the doctor's skin, until his mouth finds purchase for a kiss.

Muffledly, he points out, "They're probably going to outlive us, you know." It would be like Teo was raining on their collective parade except that his smile remains unremitting, eyes pinching helplessly into crescent shapes of high cheer above the edge where Sonny's hand ends. Abruptly, the doctor finds himself yanked in by the waist.

"Lovebirds, Doctor Bianco?"

Sonny rolls his eyes. "You don't plan on living to forty? That's…okay, don't answer that." He rolls his eyes skyward and then leans in to kiss again.

When he's pulled forward, he encircles Teo's shoulders tightly and squeezes their bodies together in a familiar configuration. He whuffs laughter against Teo's neck and draws back. "Just thought they were pretty. These two were hand-raised and I got them at a very reputable shop." Probably high-end too, knowing him. "I read that these guys will sit on your shoulder all day and will even take a shower with you."

It's clear from his tone of voice that he's not just excited because Teo's happy. His eyes are bright and excited and he keeps casting glances over to the colourful pair who flutter around their new surroundings.

"You read all that and missed the 'mate for life' clause?" Teo asks, a rough-rounded murmur two inches from the good Doctor's ear and oven-warm pretzel interlace of arms encircling Sonny's waist. When the doctor squirms a look back over his shoulder, Teo helps prop his neck into its corkscrew turn by resting his own face in the glut of black ringlets.

He stares a single bright eye out from amid that luxury of interlocked geometry, smelling of sweet clay and things. He likes it that Sonny's happy. Is also entirely amazed that he did this, on a dozen levels of varying neuroticism, insecurity, and simple satisfaction. There's even a half of a cage for Pila. "You name 'em yet?"

"S'not life. Well, not in the wild. Things I read just said 'a long time.'" Well, that's a little better. "That and I'd already fallen for 'em by the time the guy got around to explaining the finer points." See? He's innocent! This isn't the bird equivalent of an engagement ring, he swears.

On the question of names, he says, "No. Haven't had a lot of experience naming animals. Thought you might have some ideas." He stops birdgazing because right now, Teogazing is actually more satisfying. It's nice to see something other than serious gloom set into the Italian's features. He slides a hand up the length of the other man's body to pull fingers through his hair and stroke in slow motions.

Like a cat under caress, or a dog under petting, or— any other creature of nerve and sinew subject to self-sabotaging erogenous zones on their person, Teo's eyes lid under the pull of fingers on his scalp. His head tips forward on its axis, a tidal breath easing out from between his teeth. This will be the better part of his day. Innocence has nothing to do with it, and intention everything.

"We could name them after food. Or 'Cog' and 'Wheel.' Or— what were those only two Italian words you knew? 'Ciao' and 'Prego?'" It's impossible to tell whether or not Teo is being serious, primarily because the subject is not. Serious. Not very. "'Filomena,' 'Tito.' 'Fat' and 'Skinny.'"

Sonny chuckles in a deep-throated, warm way. He leans forward and presses his lips to Teo's forehead, even as his fingers continue to comb gently through his hair. He drops his arms after a minute and enfolds the Italian tightly. There's a big, bear-like squeeze and he transfers weight from foot to foot. "I read that they have pretty strong personalities. Maybe we should wait and see if they tell us, hmm?"

A beat, then, "You hungry? I found this site that lists a bunch of recipes that uses only ingredients the birds can eat too." What's better than a teenaged boy with a new puppy? A grown man who just bought a pair of lovebirds, apparently.

Certainly a trope that ought to be explored more often in literature.

"I don't think I got as excited about Pila as you are about these two for months," Teo says, wryly amused. That analogy probably works for other things. None of them rush to the forefront of Teo's thoughts very quickly, between getting squished with the ursine strength of affection and considering eating bird food. That is super weird. "Yeah. I'm starving. Spent the morning carrying kittens and Newfoundlands around, the afternoon trying to keep up with a teenaged girl with a scary-ass superpower.

"Takes more energy than you'd think, not actively waging war." Teo pops his arms loose from their grip around Sonny's body, releasing him unto the Earth. Insofar as he then instantly yokes the good Doctor around the shoulders and lumbers off in craned-head search of an open laptop or signs of recently purchased groceries.

"Website says that they can eat just about anything we can eat. Just a few things that aren't good for 'em. Like avocado, strangely. And also chocolate. But who the hell feeds chocolate to a bird?" Seriously!

There is an open laptop on the kitchen counter. The browser has four tabs open, all to pages about lovebirds. Someone's been putting that med school research training to good use. "Also some recipes for bird bread." A frown, "Don't think I'll be baking 'em bread." His enthusiasm stops at learning a new culinary technique, apparently.

"How're the kittens? Did the shelter seem to think they can find a home for 'em?" Cats out, birds in.

Birds in, and Teo's just short of forgotten of the cats, except for just one. Red-haired, taciturn of demeanor. "The kittens are fine. Si, the shelters were very hopeful— they're young, you know. Everybody loves kittens. Even bitchy, pathologically weepy ones. If you're not careful, your face is going to get stuck like that.

"I'll be too creeped out to remember what to do with you naked," Teo points out in elaborate good humor. In easy juxtaposition, the lurch up against the kitchen counter. Easy, because they're roughly the same size, their legs measuring almost equal strides; also, from some practice. The point of Teodoro's chin brushes his shoulder as he swivels to glance back at the birds paired there, in their half of the cage.

He remembers about the avocado, and the chocolate. He remembers Pila when she was new and he was feeling spectacularly old in his early twenties. He is thinking about neither visions nor revisions. He isn't even really worried about what would happen to them— to the lovebirds— were they to lose their masters. There are two of them, and it is like Benito had told him about Pila, giving him the alternative to giving his heart away in blaring exasperation: with two of them, they can take care of each other.

"Pick a dish or three," Teo suggests, righting his head out again. He sets the side of his head against Sonny's and peers into the laptop's brightly ribboned and illustrated text. "If we can avoid making fires, and you're extra good, I'll show you how to get them up to step onto your hand."

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