In The Barracks


leonard_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title In The Barracks
Synopsis Important relationship conversation, attention, ding ding ding. Also there are recent terrorist issues.
Date September 18, 2009

Old Lucy's: Upstairs — Leonard's Room

It's night. Teo probably won't stay over— he so rarely does, and Abby's called him on it before, will call him on it again, always while diligently avoiding any specific query into why he won't. Pathological restlessness, residual distrust, some other notion of home or the roommate he's supposed to have waiting there for him; it's not the sort of thing he discusses, much. He's here now, though. It's evening and Abigail is putting the pans away outside, clunk-clink, the faucet buzzing briefly as it shoots columned white water into the sink.

Television on outside, late night programming — some blockbuster where compressed gasoline explosions are frequent and character entrances are made in fashionably silhouette with rock chords presiding over the background. Black cat's twining around Teo's one ankle, the other leg propped up kneeling on the bed, reaching over to tug the book down from Leonard's face so he can see. "Pay attention to me."

He's finally dared buy a real bed. Trusts his control enough to make it worth it. Got a good mattress somewhere,and added absurd layers atop that. One of those memory foam things, a faux feather-bed over that, like he's trying to build a nest against the winter coming on. Leo's had his nose buried in a book. Not Huck Finn. All The King's Men, this time. he politely sets it aside, blinks a little at Teo. He's propped himself up against the wall the bed is pressed against, long body pillows arranged behind him to make it something of a fake couch, a daybed. Lounging in nothing more than faded pajama pants and his dogtags. "Sure," he says, with a fractional smile proffered. "'What sort of attention do you want?"

"Important conversation attention, ding ding ding," comes the reply, his tone halfway something playful, feathered by ease. Teo sits down on the bed, one-legged. Socked foot toes-up in the air, his butt at an odd angle against memory foam and ludicrous bunches and hillocks of pillow. The gun at the small of his back digs into his spine wrong at the angle, so he has to tilt, making a squashy wallowing pig-in-shit mess out of the edge of Leonard's nest. Sorry, Leonard.

"Jesus." He flounders, all elbows and coltishly stilted knees, peering this way while tugging the trapped pillow that. Scarlett chirps and scratches her way toward the door. "You're like cat."

Leo is not left at ease by that. A few watts die out of his grin, before he makes it rally, flings it up like a wounded pigeon urged into the air. "Okay," he says, quietly, making room. "Put the gun on the night stand, will you?" he urges, nodding at the little unfinished pine endtable he's put to use that way. "You sit like an old man with hemhorroids otherwise. What do we need to talk about?"

A ninja never goes without his gun. Teo makes a face like he's… a four-year-old being deprived of his pop gun, instead of an old man with hemhorrhoids, which is an improvement of circumstance, sssurely. Right? Anyway: he refuses, with an emphatic fling of his arms back over his head, folding them underneath his skull in the loudest visual declaration possible that he is perfectly comfortable.

"You," he says. "And me. And… other people who do stuff I don't. You know: it's confusing being me right now. I didn't mind puberty, but this time for me kind of feels like what other people spend their pimpled and itchy years complaining about. I don't know me. There are many things I don't know," he looks sidelong, his face frank as day, over his bicep and at where Leonard's seated and all scared. "But I know that I loved you, and I've never been very good at moving on. I want you to be happy."

Leo immediately puts on his puzzled chimp face. It's only half in jest. He doesn't like the past tense there, but there's no use in argument. "Your old self did, yes," he says, tentatively. "I'm happy." The 'enough' is unspoken. He scoots back, puts himself back against the literal wall, sitting on the pillows, rather than against them. There is, for once, no subliminal hum of stress, nor subsonic rumble. The glass of the windows does not shiver.

Which means either that this is an easy, simple thing to talk about, or that Leonard doesn't care too much — which is almost the same thing, but not quite. Teo is very still for amoment. Watching, his buttom lip worrying up and whitening under the lid of his picket-perfect teeth. He doesn't think Leo is lying, exactly, only sparing them both the embarrassing discomfort of the truth.

Fuck subtlety. He's Italian.

"If you want to sleep with or" unexpected difficulty interrupts his vocabulary. "See other people, I don't mind. He told… uh. Ghost" misappropriated fragments of identity tumble, clash, warping a fluffy confusion of nouns and pronouns like popcorn. "Ghost told Teo— pointed out that it's… it's lonely being with him. I think that I'm kind of like him. In that way."

"I don't want to see other people," Leo says, with calm finality, like the shutting of a book after the turn of the last page. "Thank you for…." uh. What can he say there? "Being accomodating?" It's accompanied with the flex of brows that's usually seen on a student in a spelling bee trying to remember how to spell 'syzygy'. "I wasn't lonely when Iw as with you. Him. Whomever. Whatever our problems, that wasn't one of them."

That sort of short-circuits that argument, not that Teo was trying to argue or anything. "Oh," he inputs, intelligently. "Well." Nothing. His word bank comes up empty, and he lacks further notions. In lieu of the spoken word, he stretches a long forefinger out and puts it down in the dimpled groove that 'syzygy' had put into Leonard's brow, his mouth flattening into a quizzically froggy face. "You're…" Uh. "Welcome."

It graves the scowl deeper, makes him look momentarily bulldoggish, before it relaxes. "Okay. Did we have something else to talk about?" Usually a question that disingenuous and followed by a 'no' ends in an orgasm for some one. But that's in days past, so now Leo just paints on the sort of helpful and quizzical look generally unique to librarians and retail help.

That's a bulldog Teo used to like to haul around the yard by the pits and chase birds with. The sight of it invokes the ghost of a smile across his features, something irreplicably fond, the nostalgia of two summers that Leonard can't remember having shared and the boyishly crooked satisfaction with quantities of cake, cigarettes, and drinks that he can. He straightens his face again. "I've thought about what you said and talked to Liz, a little.

"'M gonna try and convince Helena it's all right to get involved in action against Humanis First!. The assist. It's her fucking dad, after all."

Cue the record scratch noise, and naked confusion write large on Leo's face. "……what?" he says, flatly, peering at Teo. "What are you….oh, shit," he says, sitting up, spine gone rigid. "Her father hates her over the Evo thing, but he's part of Humanis?"

"Christ. Someone hasn't been keeping up with his Catabase reading," Teo observes, wryly. He finally unslings his arms from around his head, kicks a cotton-skinned foot over, turns up his ankle, flips onto his front, elbows bracing his weight above the decadent morass of Leonard's bedding. "Yeah. Ranked pretty fucking far up there, too. Tell you a secret?" His eyes flit up. Down again. A line inlays his own brow, hesitating. "She asked Richard Cardinal to kill him."

There's that funny deserted emptiness on his face now, the bewilderment of the refugee, the confusion of disorientation. Not a flashback. Not yet. "I'm sorry," he says, unhappily. "That it comes to this." He's from the part of the country where they still remember the war fought over rights for one class long denied, brother against brother, father against son. Nice to know he's on the side of the blue, even if they have even less chances than did the gray.

Klaxons and flashing lights of warning in the silence and incandescent clarity of Leonard's reading light. That's not a good look for Al— Leonard, even if it isn't a flashback yet. Teo doesn't overreact, or make particularly much of a reaction at all, despite the frown toying with the corner of his mouth and watchful cast that frames itself on his face.

"I'm sorry too," he answers. "Lot of people in on this again: by now, Humanis First!'s had a pop at the FBI, the Ferry, random civvies. It's different to fighting the Vanguard somehow, though. Fewer people you can trust, fewer people who care. It's not the world in peril this time: just your kind." It's a mistake or a notion that he perpetuates unthinkingly, that he still isn't a part of the Evolved demographic. "Says nothing sweet about human nature."

Leonard just nods, ducks his head like a dog trying to avoid petting. "Yeah," he says, quietly. "It never goes end. I wonder if the South'll make it to DC again, this time. I sorta hope not. It was damned close last time."

Even Teo understands the reference, its significance in the history of the country that's adopted him. In some other timeline, he finds another when the United States is done. In this one, the unlikeliness of that prospect is a twisted frustration and reassurance. "Can I stay with you t'night?" he asks, sudden and non-sequitur like he hadn't really intended to, but when he remembers to look Leo in the eye, he doesn't take it back.

That startles Leo out of bitter reminiscence, and has him blinking at Teo. "If you want," he says, without hesitation, though by the uncertain look he wears, he's not sure what it'll -mean-.

Nothing, not much, lots, if not everything. "I'll probably wake up in four or five hours," Teo is saying, failing it would seem to process that there might be more to be said here than what he is saying. The time for serious conversations might be through, "but I'll try to be quiet. Do you have stuff I can wear?"

"Oh, uh, yeah," Leo says, pushing himself off the bed to go rummaging in the plastic chests of drawers that serve him as a dresser. "I've got a set of sweapants that might fit you, or some shorts, if you want. Definitely a t-shirt…." He uses hands on one drawer, as the others open of their own accord. Like this is the Beast's castle and Teo is Belle, invisible servants summoned for him.

Rather unsightly Disney princess, all things being equal. Teo's kind of hairy, but he's rolling over and grinning, sitting up, as brightly pleased as a pretty cartoon and her entourage of talking squirrels and birds would be at receiving the royal treatment. "Grazie." He takes the clothes in rumpled wads between his hands. Drops down, off the bed in a tangle and bump of bare ankles, heads for the bathroom, the tube of toothpaste and shower stall there. He knows the bed is new: it wouldn't do to sully it with nicotine-tarred drool and a lazy patina of sweat, after all.

A little later on, and he's the heap drowsing nose-down in the pillow, half-suffocating and comfortable that way, scar-notched fingers tangled in the linkage of Leonard's dogtags. That habit is almost, if not quite familiar to him, too.

Leo, on the other hand, is oddly awake. He's waited his turn in the shower, settled into oddly demure pajama shorts and t-shirt, though between Teo's body heat and the sheer fluffy volume of bedding, it's more than warm enough for bare skin. He lies on his back, hands resting lightly on his belly, breathing the rhythymic, slow breaths that means he's meditating. Or trying to.

And of course, he smells of that frankincense and myrrh soap again. Really, the whole bed does, subtly. He's found a detergent that matches?

It'll be six hours before Teo awakens, this time.

And when he does, Leo will be asleep, soundly, after having rucked off his shirt, and taken up more than his fair share of the bed. Of course.

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