In Truce


felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title In Truce
Synopsis After the debacle at Burlesque, two cowardly exeunts fall into step and get to talking about the easier things in life~ like Chinese ninja assassins, former terrorists, treason, and all that.
Date August 15, 2009


Brooklyn is located on the westernmost point of Long Island and shares its only land boundary with Queens. The East river borders and defines the borough's northern coast, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Manhattan beach are to the south, and the Narrows separate it from Staten Island to the southwest.

Downtown Brooklyn is one of the NYC's largest business districts. Between the Bridge and Prospect Park, brownstones, townhouses, and high-end restaurants are dominant. The culturally diverse communities of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are snugged against the East River to the far north. Close by are far more criminally active neighborhoods such as Brownsville, Crown Heights, and Bushwick. Regardless of the social situation, the so-called Borough of Neighborhoods is packed to the gills in post-bomb NYC.

IT's relatively cool out here, and Fel turns that starkly angled face to what traces of breeze he can get, sighing. He's still ragged looking, despite that sharply cut suit, with the scar on his temple and his buzzed hair. He pauses once he's gotten almost a block away, and raises his chin like a hound scenting the wind.

The fox is standing on the other side of the street, limned first in green and then in yellow, as the street lights command a change in traffic that has already slowed down near to nothing. Curfew, soon.

Too soon for anybody to be going anywhere, though not too soon that there are any civilians racing the speed limit to safety. Cleverly disguised as a civilian, and perhaps even one that has somewhere to go, Teo's standing across the street, waiting to cross, hands in his pockets and a stillness rimed around his tall figure like ice; the fearlessness of a wild thing that would have no way of knowing any better, encountering a hound, despite that the Laudani kid surely does.

Fel's response is a limp-wristed shooing gesture that removes any possible doubt (not that Teo has had an iota since that fateful evening in December) what his inclinations are. Like Teo's a pigeon on his windowsill threatening his clean laundry. "Don't tell me you're going to shoot me," he says, wearily. "I'm tired of it."

He punctuates this statement with a series of contemptuous, jerky motions, an abbreviated and ungraceful version of his usual languid ritual for lighting a cigarette.

The halfway point of dishevelment that the Fed finds himself warrants an unblinking stare far plainer than the one that Teo had been carefully focused on not betraying inside Burlesque's clenched walls. Some intrusive sentiment spreads his fingers into a brief flex at his side. He blinks. Ice-locked in the striated crystal radii of irises, his pupils have a hard time constricting down to useful size, but he gets there eventually.

"I didn't shoot you last time," he points out, uncomfortably. Not even he knows what he means by last time. The last time Felix pulled away from Ghost, the last time he fought with Teo. Both. Either. Neither.

It's too hot out to be in a full suit. Which is why Fel begins that patient corporate striptease. First the glint of cufflinks removed, dropped dismissively in a pocket, and then he's patiently unknotting his tie. How he hates them. Always has. "Teodoro," he says, and his voice is sweet, polished to seastone smoothness by some suddenly unbearable burden of ennui. "What do you want from me?"

"Nothing." The answer carries none of the self-awareness necessary for choreography or real deception, but there may or may not be the probability that it is False wheeling and clicking in the invisible machines that constitute this plane of reality. The iconograph on the opposite side of the street tell Teo to Walk.

He doesn't. "Not so loud, will you? I think there are some suits around here who'd actually do their job, if they figured me out."

Felix makes an odd little gesture, exposing his palms to Teo like a magician demonstrating he has nothing, nothing, up his sleeve. And then with that, he turns on his heel, and walks away.

Teo's pale eye swivels with the speedster, follows him a few brisk strides down the unraveling stretch of seamy sidewalk. The left corner of his mouth twitches downward, a frown that stops short with the severity of snapped steel. His head stoops once, briefly, acknowledgment for the magician and his departure. There's no more ceremony, a subtle settling inside the webbing of holsters and the weave of coat, balance recentered: he crosses the street.

It is worth noting that Fel does not hurry away, vanish like a djinn into his bottle. There's only the rasp of leather dress shoes on the sidewalk. Fel's head is bent a little, still as if under that weight. He's proceeding at a pace not too hard to catch up with.

Teo is, typically, a brisk walker. Doubtless not nearly as quick as Felix can be, when Felix wants to be quick about something, but his years in captivity landlocked on Manhattan have left his pathological restless to manifest in other, miniaturized ways. He just walks fast, whether when crawling the dusty bones of Midtown or passing through the territory of predators on Staten Island.

He catches up without necessarily meaning to. And then there's a hand out, abruptly, snatching at the cigarette jutting from Felix's lip as quick as a dogbite.

Felix lets him take it, doesn't bother to fight or argue. He just cuts a glance sidelong at Teo, as if it were a matter of course that they walk together for a little while.

"I got stabbed," Teo says, without really knowing why. Cigarette held between his lips, he shuffles the sleeve up his right arm, pulled back, to show the knotted black ridging of stitches up the middle of his forearm, parallel to radial bones. The notch up his inner-arm is briefer, by far, though their alignment implies that the puncture had sunk straight through.

There's playful expectation in his asking, then, the familiarity of a joke older than Felix can remember their friendship being: "How about you?"

"Eileen Ruskin hit me in the head with a peregrine falcon. The bird, happily, while upset, was uninjured," Fel explains, glancing over at the wound. "I know a healer, if you can't getto Deckard." And then he strikes his forehead with his palm. "Nevermind. She can only affect Evolved. Who did that to you, and why?"

For a long moment, Teo says nothing. He is waiting for a punchline that doesn't come. When it really, definitely doesn't come, there's a twitch of surprise realigning his brow, incredulity.

Okay. Sure. That makes sense. Eileen Ruskin hit him in the head with a peregrine falcon, and the bird, while upset, was uninjured. Happily. "Humanis First! operative," he answers, after this stilted peculiarity of a pause. "Though that feels melodramatic to say. I think karma's after me." This statement is a dead weight in the air, disjunct with Teo's understated self-loathing and Ghost's cruel mirth, a stagnant observation of fact. "Why'd she send a fucking falcon into your head?"

Fel's lip curls at the mention of Humanis First. "Where'd you encounter one of those? In the case of HF, the enemy of my enemy is most definitely my friend, so please, let us help with that. Or funnel info." He sighs, softly. "I tried to bring her in, after she came to tell me about this bastard named Feng Daiyu. Apparently there's a Waffen CIA/DIA/other alphabet soup group tasked with hunting them down. And I don't mean hunting down to bring in for trial."

This bastard named Feng Daiyu concerns Teo on a day-to-day basis somewhat more than any given arrangement of soup characters. He pulls cigarette out of his mouth, exhales a tendriling plume of smoke. He thinks better than to object to Felix's attempt at arresting Eileen, knows better, but still, it looks a little out of place there, the smile that quirks a hollow into his cheek at the news.

Eileen has her gift back. That's good news to Teodoro Laudani. "Random fucking encounter. At a bar. He isn't supposed to fucking know me— I don't know how he knew me." Arther Petrelli's vengeful machinations lay somewhat beyond the scope of his imagination, for now; dead means out of mind. There's a twist of silence. "There's an HF cell moving in on the Ferrymen. Going after the rustlers, though not the refugees themselves yet, far as I can tell.

"I'll let you know if we can't handle it, or I hear anything related."

Fel grunts at that, not at all pleased. "Yeah? How do you intend to deal with it, if I can ask?"

"Same way I dealt with you, once." Only— you'd think, maybe, with Humanis First! on the other side of the line and no sympatethetic old grave-robber to step in last minute, these bullets might stick. They might. Teo proffers the cigarette back. In a different voice, then, quieter, "How did you know it was me?"

The Fed has his shaved head still bowed, but he straightens a little at that question. "What do you mean, how'd I know it was you?" His glance is hawkishly direct, for once. He waves away the cigarette with a negligent flick of long fingers. It belongs to Teo now, seemingly.

Lung cancer for free. What's not to like? The cylinder is clinched in between Teo's molars again and he glances down at his feet without slowing them. "You know I'm not Evolved." That's a little like merely thinking Teo isn't Evolved, but that's neither here nor there. What's important is— "You know I'm not him." Ghost. Ian. The shit-eating cop-killing wreaker of vengeful havoc. "Guess he did promise."

And then something occurrs to Felix, and he abruptly reddens. The curve of his ear that Teo can see flushes. "Do you remember what he did while he was in control?" he wonders, trying to sound artless and failing utterly.

Nothing from Teo, for a protracted moment. Recollection stretches him out between two poles so deeply divergent he feels the seams in his head creak, before he snaps back together in an elastic wrinkle. Fatigue spits him out. The cigarette helps, if only a little; the jangle of nerves is different, at odds, rolling, rhythmic against his inner-ear. "Yeah," he answers, presently, his tone an inscrutable mix of too many palettes at onces.

"I don't understand. Why did he seek me out?" And seduce me, is the unspoken tagline. Not that Felix the EverWilling needs much more than a wink and a beckoning finger on the best days. He's a funny, lean figure in his suit, with his nearly-shaved head, blinking forlornly at Teo.

Even Felix was different, once. Teo distinctly remembers the period of celibacy that he had brought an end to, some point late in 2008, an apocalypse on the horizon and a recent death behind them. The pig had even put up a little bit of a fight, before giving in. There'd been vodka, an initial rejection on emphatic and incontrovertible terms of No.

It's the Sicilian's turn to redden faintly, Teo's sensibilities giving foolish human tenderness— weakness, perhaps— to the memory of Ghost's animalistically pragmatic appetites, all of it knocking clumsily into this Teo's new hangups. "I d'no." A beat. He pulls the sleeve back down over his maimed forearm, gingerly. "You were friends or something. In the future. Think he liked you."

That's….surprising. Fel blinks at that, wipes at his eyes at if there'd been grit in them. Maybe his contacts are bothering him. Argument. True. Not that it was much more than token considering. "Really?"

Uncertainty changes its grip around Teo's shoulders, visible in the shift of posture. He's seen Felix's contacts bother him before, insofar as Felix's contacts don't bother him. It doesn't make a lot of sense for him to reach out now, that he's pretending he isn't Ghost, never has been and never will become, but he winds up doing this anyway. Drops a brief kiss on the heel of his palm, reaches over to clap it around the side of Felix's head. "Forza, old man," he says, sweetly. "You're not that bad."

Fel grunts in reply. A sound taken directly from the cop lexicon. "I'm not old, either, you little bastard," he says, gruffly.

"No." There's a ridged sort of pause, clicks and scrapes against the steady passage of time. "He was older than you are." I am. Teo folds the cartlidgenous curve of Fel's ear briefly under a thumb, drags his arm back, careful with the injury healing through its flesh.

The Fed tosses his head, impatiently, like a startled horse. "How old? My age?"

Brow furrowing slightly, Teo tries to do the math. Ironically, this is not so much a failure of interfaced memory as the fact that the ghost had stopped counting his birthdays in the intervening years, just as he had stopped celebrating them. "Thirty six."

"I thought so, since you're ten years younger than I am," Which has Fel making an odd face. He'd conveniently forgotten that. At least even the original thing was Teo was way beyond the 'am I a pedophile?' horizon.

This reminder that Felix has been through his criminal record and other files at least once before draws a blink out of Teo. He doesn't say anything for a few more seconds, spent finishing the cigarette. Fishing it out of his mouth, he flips it down forefinger over thumb into the pavement ahead of him, grinds it out with the ball of one boot as he crosses it, flattening a smear of pale ash and reconstituted tobacco out of the stubby remains of filter. "Any regrets?"

Fel's face softens into something odd - a mixture of tenderness and humor. "Oh, so many, chuvak," he says, softly. "Why did I ever lay a hand on you?"

"'Cause I" stop-start, Teo's brows pinching together in momentary consternation at how to word this. "…snuck in under. Them?" Like the snout of a dog, though that metaphor doesn't work so well, given its representative subject is another body part, or series thereof, insinuated with just as much lonely cunning and, really. There's a thin smile. "If it helps, I don't think you compromise much because of it.

"Set the PD and DHS on me for a fuckin' month, just now, didn't you?" It is nice to be able to talk about this as friends. The serial-killing, the manhunts, the rust spatter all over the Fed's reputation afterward, the eventual slowing and spiral into the usual confusion and paperwork disarray that bizarre Evolved cases tend to throw law enforcement into. Teo doesn't blame him. Or if he does, he keeps it out of his voice.

Fel inclines his head graciously, as if he'd just been paid a compliment. It is a weird echo of the last time Future-Teo saw him, in the corner office, sporting a splendid suit, a neatly trimmed beard, and the burnished aura of justified arrogance.

The similarity is noted. Marked. Inspires an insoucient half-grin that's belies the corkscrewing pang of memory in Teo's gut. Memory that he still refuses to believe is truly his, doesn't think he should be forced to carry.

"A'right—" but changing the subject aloud budges secondhand recollection out of his mind. "I'm this way. Or at least that's what I fucking say so you have a legitimate reason to turn a blind eye to my giving curfew the finger." He tips his buzzcut head off to the long right stretch from the intersection. Overhead, the light says SLOW.

And next time, they'll toast the blood of Humanis First! operatives. Or vice versa. Teo slings his first stride into turning. Pauses. Tries to look noncommittal, with eyes cast away and a reinforced restraint to the long fingers entrenched in his hands, but probably achieving precisely the opposite. "You look nice," he says, finally. Technically repeating himself, but in the noise and crowd of the Burlesque it hadn't been so clear.

"Thank you," Fel says, quietly. There's something like kindness in his voice, and a good deal of confusion.

Teo smiles, and that, too, is just like him. Picking up his boots, he scratches away, around a skinny, desiccated tree, past a lopsided trash can, his carriage changing as he recedes, into the swagger of a thug.

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