francois4_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Impatiens
Synopsis Francois comes back from the dead.

Impatiens (pronounced /ɪmˈpeɪʃənz/) is a genus of about 850–1,000 species of flowering plants …

These plants derives their scientific name Impatiens (Latin for "impatient") and the common name "touch-me-not" …
Date January 21, 2010

Old Lucy's — Upstairs

Though one might remember when a certain fiery woman lived here… Now the living area above Old Lucy's has changed hands. The open living room and kitchen are homey, a commingling of two people's tastes. The leather couch sits kitty corner to a one of red suede and a bit smaller. A large bird cage for it's budgie inhabitant takes up it's own corner beside dark paneled walls. Bookshelves with literary pieces of a variety both academic and not take up another small section.

The kitchen is large, with a rolling wood and black marble island to give more counter space to work on. Pots and pans hang from the roof and track lighting keeps it not gloomy. A proper oak dining table has been set up with matching chairs instead of the 70's castoff that the residents have been known to own and a bowl of fresh fruit sits in the center.

Down a hall lay's multiple doors. A master bedroom occupied by the oldest resident and occasionally have a pervading smell of whiskey and smoke coming from it when the door is open. A second door with a cross above it, a third with no marking that is occupied by the third resident of the premises. Two other doors lead to a linen closet and bathroom - Decorated in a very strong pirate theme - respectively. A black cat with a red velvet collar and a little swarovski charm dangling from it can be found meandering at will.

"—near Bayonne," Teo's voice is so alone in the inert gloom of the bar's back room, it almost constitutes an object in the empty space. Hours before it opens for the evening, Lucy's is by and large quiet and uninhabited, its employees wiping down tables up front, and its normal residents blond (pink?) and avian and feline gone abroad.

Teodoro is left, neither here for wage nor precisely to call the place home, striking his snow-wetted boots on wood and blinking raw-rimmed eyes uselessly at his blind grope along the wall for the switch. "But the details of her current location are need-to-know and— not that important. Look. She's in holding. She needs monitoring and parenteral nutrition, not dialysis and shit. She's stable. Yeah. Yeah— but she can't wake up there.

"We can make it happen. Yeah, I'll take care of it. What? Five hours last night. What does that have to do with fucking anything?" Annoyance prickles brightly into the Sicilian's voice. The defensive kind of annoyance. While he would ordinarily detour briefly into the front room to say hi to Brenda, he's in no kind of mood, and not quite self-aware enough to recognize that things haven't been ordinary for so long that he's quite alone in regarding salutations and familiarity as ordinary. "No, I'm fine. Sorry. Yeah, we're on the same page."

Keys for the upstairs jingle between his densely-callused digits, ringed around Teo's middle finger, and he breathes deep of unheated air, scuffs a worn jacket sleeve across his nose. He gets the switch with his thumb, pauses briefly to stick his teeth and tongue against a scab healing on his knuckle. "Uh huh." Of course, if he were really fine, he'dve checked at least casually around the corner, secured the perimeter.

But Teo isn't; hasn't been; doesn't. He swings a long, blue-trousered shank around the tight curve, clops toward the narrow incline of stairs with his bearded face hung down in his collar and his elbow grating irritably at the bad angle his bag strap has caught around his shoulder. He doesn't even look up.

At the top of the stairwell, there's a jangle of lax limbs making odd shapes in half-light — a back curved to rest a shoulder against the wall, head tilted there too as if tired, a comfortable position found and settled into as if he could well just fall asleep where he sits. Legs splayed down the stairs, ankles loose, gloved hands settled in his lap and eyes half-lidded. Kind of like a marionette being jerked to life, he twitches once, bodily, at the sound of feet kerthumping around the corner and up towards the stairwell.

If Teo was who he expected to see— well it's hard to tell. Someone familiar, maybe. Anyone. And for Francois, that's a limited selection. The lights from downstairs glare up the stairs, reach far enough to light up the angles of steps and the man on it. A hand goes out, grips onto the railing, levers himself stiffly up to stand.

Gloves, a sweater, a jacket. Jeans, boots. He's a collection of winter clothes in neutral, unexciting colours, skin pale in contrast, eyes their familiar dark green. In many ways, he hasn't changed. "Teo," he says, stupidly, in greeting, relief first and foremost flooding his tone of voice.

That's not so very stupid. That's not— so very stupid. That is, after all, Teodoro's name.

His eyes are very wide in the dark. The voice on the other end of his phone conversation continues to twitter for a few bars, cycles around into a coda, before the Sicilian straightforwardly excuses himself and kills the conversation with a thumb on the red button. His first action is decisive and suspicious but largely invisible, pitching a brief astral eye-spy through Francois' mind and sifting through the mesh and palette of the other man's perceptions in search of flaws, telltale traces of trickery.

It tells him nothing. Everything! Nothing. That Francois Allegre has two gloved hands, two shod feet, eyes behind his two green eyes, and that the thick curl of his hair is firmly rooted into the curvature of his scalp, his voice is chambered into two lungs hale and deep and the cover of skin, scaffold of bone, and manifestation of his… his relief are all real. As real as body and mind can be, anyway. Teo's hand is already in his jacket, but the pistol fails to emerge.

White as a sheet underneath his beardy scraggle, Teo stares up the stairs as if there's the spectacle of numinous pearlescent gates and a choir of angels visiting from its height. Or like he's staring at a ghost. Or or or. An unfinished movement twitches through the sinew of his neck; he aborts his initial urge to bounce his forehead off the doorframe, forcibly refocus his brain on a likelier semblence of reality. "Was it Nakamura?" he asks, in a toad's voice.

Francois Allegre also has a hand that aches, bone deep, stinging from winter despite the wool. Like he said, it hurts. Both hands dangle at his sides, clasping into loose fists, and he decidedly takes a step down, though he'd prefer to be going up. His hair and clothing are both still damp from winter falling of ice and water, and his expression is one of concern. For Teo. He bleats out a breath of laughter at that question between a thin smile, and shakes his head. "No, not Nakamura," he says, then trails his eye line away from the pale half-moon of Teo's face and down to his own hands.

"They found me. The Company." One gloved hand goes up to tuck into the collar of his coat and sweater, smoothing against the patch of skin that hosts the isotope marks. "Perhaps the next day, I don't know."

It's tempting to tumble his way down the rest of the stairs, body poised as if he might just do that, all numb feet and exuberant, European embraces ready for launch. Francois takes a breath, lets it out, and even in here, it comes out as thick steam from the ice hanging in the air, and he manages a more sincere smile, the kind that goes up to his eyes. "Come upstairs?"

Absurdly, it takes nothing more than that two word invitation to sting him forward and up onto the first step. The second, next, his eyes round in their pits, making saccadic skips up and down the older man's frame, as if expecting the familiarity of that shape to bend, warp, and implode like a bubble under the pressure of his proximity. It doesn't. The situation holds. Teo begins to suspect he hasn't begun to hallucinate from sleep-deprivation, but finds himself encountering considerable difficulty trying to count the days since Amundsen-Scott.

They couldn't have told him? They couldn't have told Magnes, either. Fucking Company, Teo thinks, without inconveniencing himself with the reminder that he's gone days, now, without debriefing Abigail, leaving that to more capable (less cowardly) hands. Teo's mouth flattens out on his face, stretches grimace-wide from the pressure that compounds white between his lips, brows stooping down, and a weird inhale chafing audibly inside his long nose. O-kayyy. Okay.

Okay, he's coming up. Clomping like molasses, and then an accelerated thup-thud-thud, a new puppy gathering momentum above its cartoonishly oversized feet. Teodoro empties his hand of the Glock's grip in favor of handfuls of stupid French frock coat and yanks.

Two hands come down high on Teo's chest, creating rigid distance between them — mere inches unlike the miles of snow, ocean and land just prior. It's an awkward place to be, dubiously set feet at the top of a staircase without looking at them. The grain of stubble along his jaw speaks of maybe three days without shaving, and the scar given by Sasha is still there, sewn up white tissue along the curve of his ear.

For what it's worth, the distance doesn't take for much time at all, collapsing like a bridge succumbing to too much pressure, and he puts his arms around Teo's shoulders, chin resting on the edge of his shoulder, calculated if not actually cautious. It's the side with the face slash. "Je suis désolé," he breathes out, gloved hand clenching around coat material high up Teo's back. "I came here as soon as I was back in the city."

The calculations are expertly constructed and result in the desired result: Teo isn't about to try and kiss him with the side of his mouth that's been gouged open past the gums. Of course Teo isn't. What's a little more surprising is that Teo dimly flounders in the wake of the urge before having to overturn it with conscious effort.

Reassessment is abrupt and quickened by irritation with himself. Stupid! Silly. It isn't the end of the world anymore, and the man was just dug up by the Company who knows after how long; these things moderate principle, desperation, and ergo conduct. How desperate would you have to be to—? Ah, so Francois' state of unshavenness is given his attention instead, peripheral and somewhat befuddled. His fingers go white on the older man's lapels for a moment, before hiccuping open so he can rope him into a full embrace about the arms. Squeeze.

"'S fine," he answers, roughly. "You just came back from the dead: this really isn't my apotheosis, or about me. Are you hungry?" He's grinning, suddenly, huge and faltering, uncomfortable with the tangible tug and squirm of his overexposed teeth on Francois' profile view of him but haplessly incapable of quelling his pleasure for reasons that— frankly— shallow. The housekey slots between thumb and forefinger, and he twists his head to look at the door over the slope of Francois' brow.

Yes. No. It's complicated. Hunger shouldn't be, but is, enough for Francois to hesitate before simply shaking his head, letting go of Teo in tandem with letting go of a breath. "No, I'm fed," he says, with a rueful smile, gloved hands seeking out the wooly pockets of his coat, shoulders studded with melted snow. There's a rosier tinge to his face staining paler flesh, and to him, anyway, the distance he sets up back between them is just as chill as Antarctic snow. Not hungry at all.

"We're all back from the dead, mon ami, I am just lagging behind," he says, then tilts his head towards the door to urge the Sicilian towards it, the smile that comes after not completely forced. "As per usual, I think."

"Humility's so fucking boring," Teo carrols back, easy enough. Pointed in the proper direction, he shuffles forward with only a half a beat's hesitation, pinching the key's cut metal between thumb and forefinger before he shifts over to unlock Abigail's door. Abigail isn't behind it, otherwise he might look closer at this situation, but gift horses and Trojan horses and all those other equine metaphors are only proved by the circumstances under which there's no business looking too closely. Francois is his own person, and there's no city to invade and sack from the inside.

There's barely anything in the apartment at all. Dust gathering slowly in the beds, flatware sardined in drawers, inert curtains and frost-eaten window panes, empty sinks and the Sicilian's half-unpacked luggage bags. Teo flings keys down on top of the dining table, expecting Francois to draw the home shut behind them. "I was just here before Antarctica, but it seems like shit got worse. Abby sent me messages about how Flint— ran off. There are at least two Ferrymen missing. One of them's in medical care, comatose." Braindead, but Teodoro trends toward ignoring such semantics. "No idea on the other, but I think we have an idea of where both of them are, so I guess it's good we didn't get back a moment later.

"New York City couldn't hit the fucking 'pause' button until we got back, eh?" Teo wipes his eye with a thumb, then his split cheek with his sleeve, drops his boots off one after the other with a callused grip on the heels and goes bustling toward the kitchen. The light, when it comes on, has a chlorinated greenish cast to it and seems sluggish in space, as if it's out of practice moving through the Beauchamp girl's home. "Seems like Kershner was good for her word, though. Records on everyone I know are wiped. What's your deal?

"I'm making you tea." Conversational lily pads. Hop-hop. Water strikes the bottom of a kettle with a flurrying splash.

On the plus side, ocean water isn't crashing up the sides of skyscrapers, but the news does write deeper, wearied lines in his face — and Francois doesn't even know these people. He takes his time, shedding his coat, managing to veil hesitation before he's sliding off his gloves too and pushing them into pockets. The sleeves of his sweater are fidgeted with, pulled over his knuckles before moving to follow into the apartment proper. "Thank you," he says, on the subject of tea, moving up towards the table and edging out a chair as he peruses the apartment with his eyes. Familiar, now — he'd come here a few times, and it seems like a long time ago, as if time itself has hit the breaks and trundling along at a screech ever since losing his power.

He's not sure what time is supposed to be like now. Francois raises a hand to tentatively rub at an eye, before manouvering to sit down. "Humility is appropriate. No one really understands what happened— or they didn't care to tell me— but I certainly didn't help. That I survived my own error is nothing to be proud over."

Self-pitying is probably boring, too, no matter how matter-of-fact you make your tone. Apology lines it, too, around the last few words, giving a shrug and a noisy sigh, bumping his back against the curve of the chair. "My deal— I get to exist again, officially, and do with that what I may. I haven't decided. Abby sent you messages?"

A hale blue gas flame spins up under the kettle, and Teo takes a step back, studying the working stovetop with a blurry satisfaction. Cupboards swing open next. He finds the tea, a shallow plastic bucket full of various colored tags and packets, alights on the table by Francois hand after a gentle toss. He next targets the refrigerator for something he can reheat for himself. So nice of the Company to have fed the Frenchman already!

Among other things. Teodoro motions with a hand, dismissing errors and things. You can't begrudge a man being stupidly heroic about his antics when the world's at stake. Unless you're Ghost, but that would require fostering pernicious personal grudges. "Mmm, I wouldn't rush deciding.

"My best friend tried to get me to and I overthought it so much I spent another couple of months with business as usual with the mercenary stuff and the staring at ceilings in agonized boredom." The inscrutable stiff paper carton ends up shoved into the microwave, green LED numbers beeped to glowing before irradiating heat comes on incandescent yellow.

He then looks for a fork. A square of paper towel. Teodoro's sort of lurching through these motions, employing gravity and inertia to take care of most of his movement for him. "Yeah. She found Flint. Raquelle— he's this— really glam-rock barber friend of theirs, uh. He went with them too. Vacation in Mexico."

Oh. There is some amount of disappointment to swallow, there, dark eyes steering down towards the bucket of tea packets for want of a distraction, asymmetric hands going out to tik-tik-tik blunt nails against the opaque, curving sides. "It's good that she found him," Francois notes, and it isn't a lie, and doesn't sound like one either. It would be bad to lose Flint and the thing he carries with him, a nagging sense of responsibility mingled with loss at the idea of what Hiro called the kami being flung that far away from him.

He flips open the lid and releases it a moment later, irritatedly ruffling fingers through hair to unstick it from itself, the clinging damp scuffed at before he settles. "Do you know where in Mexico? How did Abigail find him? It is not a small place."

There is a lack of simple, straightforward sentiment that Teo picks up on, rather than the disappointment, relief, or restlessness. He glances back over his shoulder, his fingers curling reflexively against something that isn't as simple as cold. It stalls what he was going to say by a few seconds and, forgetting what he'd been about to say, he starts to say something else. "Not far from…" Squint. "A city that actually shows on a map. I forget which one. It took us like a week and a half a dozen of Abby's employees to figure it out. I wrote it down.

"Would you like to see her?" Teodoro tilts his head slightly. The query is bizarrely innocent. He knows the two had been close, that they wanted to be closer, and that Abigail has had this whole thing with Flint laid out on the chopping block for a few weeks now, so as long as he's being objective there's some room to inquire after how Francois would like to celebrate his second return from death. Despite what he says, the journey would appear to be much more arduous as well as slower for Francois than the rest of them.

Metallic bell-tones and a gassy hoot from the stove jab Teodoro back into action. He tilts away from the counter's edge, assembles a small army of mugs and plates and greasy Chinese things across the polite distance of the table.

Emerging some from his shell, Francois manages to look past himself just enough to study Teo, but whatever he's looking for his hard to find concealed in the matter of fact clatter of getting tea ready, the pulling scar at his face showing the shine of teeth until the Frenchman focuses on the centre of the table again. "Of course," he responds, a shrug in his voice, though it never manifests as its motion, shoulders slumped and relaxed beneath indefinite wool. "She's my friend.

"But I would also like to see Flint. He has something of mine, you know," he adds, offering up a brief smile.

"That's going to be awkward," Teo says, with the subtlety of a truck wreck. He hits his chair with an almost literal plop, starts to unbutton his jacket. The heat isn't on high, but there's enough of it that it seems the good-mannered thing to do. Normally, he would be uncomfortable under scrutiny, but there are enough things causing enough discomfort that that's— really quite negligible, all things considered. "But I guess it's hard not to be awkward with Deckard unless you're Abigail or Brian or taking money for services, these days.

"And I'm not sure about Brian." Look: he's trying to be funny. The half-Chelsea turns Teo's grin into a leer, rewarding the shapely twists of Francois' own, somewhat subtler injuries in kind, before he's turning his attention downward again, shuffling fork through fried rice. "I was going to head down, myself. In a couple days. Just have a few things to take care of."

Steaming tea is groped for, and Francois pretends like he doesn't notice the strange map of his left hand skewing fingers along heated porcelain. Either he didn't care to or forgot his vanity in bandaging up the healed wound, but it's easy to see now — the seam of a scar travels up between index and middle finger where a bullet had entered, webbing out and twisting the skin of the back of his hand. Knuckles make uneven ridges, and fingers work in unusual tandem, middle finger angling a subtle degree arwy. It's laced over with sound fingers, both hands clasping the mug as he brings it up to sip.

No sugar, no milk, no need. "He nearly killed me, the first time we met," Francois says with sandpaper rough casualness. "It was going to be awkward always, but." Oh well. "You will let me go with you?" A pause, and he adds, quieter, "I think I would insist upon it, even if I had no desire to see Abby and Deckard."

Try as he might, Teodoro can't remember what he was told about the circumstances of Francois and Flint's first meeting, annnd he isn't trying that hard, honestly. Food goes into him in great shovelled bites, tea as well. Something decaf, for him, though it would probably take a little more than that dilute chemistry to kee him up for more than a few hours at the rate of his forebrain's collapse. "Weather's a lot nicer down there now," he answers, by way of agreement. His voice doesn't get any quieter in saying so. He's either missed the point or elected to make another. It's hard to tell, in this 'tween hour of day. "It'll be good to get away from the fucking snow. There's a teleporter who could probably take us, or we could pay the air fare.

"I didn't read about Mexico in any of your diaries," Teo adds, a slow note of realization sifting through his voice. He cants an upward look, over the lifted panels of his carton, his pale eyes conspicuously casual through the hazey translucency of the rice steam. "But it's not far through Louisiana. You ever been?"

Missed point has Francois letting it go in kind, letting his attention focus on the opaque settle of tea in his mug and the steam curling off its surface. "Last time I went to Mexico, I drove," he offers, with a wry smile. Helps when you have stretches of decades ahead of you and no particular goal at the end of it. He navigates the pad of his thumb along the porcelain rim, keeping his focus centred there for a while. Eyes and skewed mouth are harder to stare at without expression.

"I spent some time there, but Volken tended to remain deeper south than that. Somehow I think my purposes differ greatly from Deckard's. What are his?"

Virtually inhaled, the tea seems to do Teo some good. It should do Francois some good, too. It's warm, at least, and fills the trapped air of the apartment with something akin to actual fragrance. Teo's fork ends up stuck in its ricey bed like a conquering flag, and he leans back in his chair with the emptied mug in his hands, sapping up the residual warmth into fingers that are going to be warmer than the ceramic in a matter of seconds, likely. Teo trends toward grim when he's thinking, and he's grim now, his brows digging down under the effort of recollection.

"I think he's tired," he determines, at last. "He made jokes about doing something like this back in the summer. I thought he was joking. It didn't seem possible. He fuckin' loves it here normally. The— ruins, city falling apart at its fucking seams, cops with their attention stretched thin as wire and, uh. Catalogue of— skeezy buyers." He doesn't actually know if he used the term 'skeezy' correctly there: his familiarity with English slang is touch-and-go, barring the curse words he tends to favor. "Maybe scared. I don't know. He doesn't like the things he's done here."

"He has an easy way to make up for it," Francois points out, finally lifting his look up from tea to Teo. Still green. Deeper than usual, actually, but maybe that's a detail too thin to make note of, even after coming back from the dead.

He considers saying more, then thinks again, elbowing the subject matter of Flint Deckard aside with a shrug and a sip of tea. It tastes— like tea, and it's warm, which is it's main attraction. If he'll gain any sustenance from it is another thing, but it's not coming apart like ash on his tongue. The cup clicks back down against the table. "I don't know if you told me what brought you to New York City in the first place. Mostly what has kept you here," he says, head tilting bird-like. "Do ruins appeal to you too?"

A shrug pushes up through Teo's shoulders and he shuffles himself down in his chair in the same motion, bringing the open collar of his jacket up to his ears. It is a negatory sort of shrug. "The bank blew up, but my home didn't. I stayed to work and to get my money back, and then I stayed when terrorists held me up at my workplace and effectively assimilated me into their number. It's a pretty weird story.

"I think people died in it who didn't have to, but it's turned out for the better, I guess." It is not so great a stretch for optimism when you've saved the world! You can write off any singular misery or error along the way as a broken egg that went into that cake. Shouldn't stop you from harboring a few regrets for the sake of humility, but all the same. The world's still here. With its kidnappings, it seasons, its many languages and its teas.

He tightens his fingers around the ceramic, lifts the loop of his arms up to wipe his ruptured cheek on his sleeve again. Teo doesn't really need to worry: by now, he's perfected the art of not getting even his drink everywhere when he sits down for a meal, but it's the sort of paranoia that vanity breeds, like keeping one's pretty dark hair down obfuscating one's mutilated ear and staying subtle with one's hands. "There's a spare bedroom."

Speaking as a former broken egg into the cake, Francois doesn't— actually— have much to say. Weird silence descends, he sips some tea, and then glances off towards the bedroom as mentioned. For reasons that are probably too convoluted for the simple exchange, and the simple ones prior, heat rises a little in his face, but it's warmer in here than in the hallway, too. "Merci," he says, and hesitates for too long before he braces his heels against the floor, and squeaks the chair out from under the table.

"I should get out of wet clothes. Sleep, for that is not something I've done much. Maybe you can help me find new ones tomorrow." Clothing, presumably.

Or a residence. Something harmless like that; something that probably would not disclose its implications to Teo even if he had his full intellectual faculties available for him to probe.

For once, he isn't suspicious enough. Nor paranoid. He is going to go to sleep in the same house as a man who's come back from the dead, with the world of enemies he has, and a not inconsiderable catalogue of peculiar behavior, but Deckard's emancipation from reality is a little contagious, maybe. It's been a stressful couple of months. "Don't suppose they told you they dug anybody else out of the snow there, did they?" he asks, rising too. Deprived of its contents, the takeaway carton drops out of his hand and hits the trash bin with a hollow thup. Mugs gather in his hands, clinking clay shoulders, seeking strength in numbers.

Needs that these two mortal men are, fortunately, rather immune to. Teo nods his head, either— or both confirmation and direction down the hallway, though Francois has of course been here before. He knows the way. The beds are already made. Abigail left the whole house made up, and Teodoro's barely moved a thing.

Francois hesitates over that question as he levers himself up to stand. There'd been nothing but white and rock on the horizon by the time he'd managed to run, stumble, crawl his way some miles from the wreckage, hoping ash blows away as fine as ice dust comes off the winter-like plain, and then finally the wasps of helicopters buzzing in the distance. He lies in that he doesn't know, but he can guess; "No. Sorry. Just me."

Leaving his coat hanging by the door, gloves included, Francois has to curb simple, handsy impulses when he navigates around the table and heads for the hallway. He remembers there's a lock on the door, and a bathroom to the left. "I'll see you tomorrow."

It's only slightly plaintive, the gulf of quiet Francois leaves behind him. Teo fills it, with some effort, sincerity pursuing the Frenchman into the passage: "'Least there's you." The first word carries emphasis, a slight correction imposed on the other man's original declaration. Apology. Thing. There's no need to apologize. The sink goes susurrus with clear tapwater and the heavier slap of desaturated teabags dug up and cast down.

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