Je Pas Devenir Fous


francois_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif


teo2_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Je Pas Devenir Fous
Synopsis While making weekend plans and plotting against murderers, Teo goes a little insane. Francois fails to notice.
Date March 18, 2010

Greenwich Village: West 11th Street: Francois' House

He couldn't tell you if asked, at what point a bed made for two no longer felt too big to lay on — as long as there's somebody else in it too. It is probably a transition that involved other people, once, and maybe Teodoro takes pleasure in not remembering, in for once being incapable of mathematically tracing unease or quandary to historical fact, observed tragedy, or overwrought detail, the messy parcelling of what thought came from which half of him. The bed is just big enough.

And it is bouncy.

"See? Not swollen." Teo is not only incorrect, but he is lying. The ankle stretched out over Francios' lap is slightly larger than that of the other foot, the skin pulled over the round bone and the folded bridge slightly too pink compared to the adjacent length of fuzzy calf muscle, shin bone, or the monkey squirm of his squarely-trimmed toes, all denuded and scrolled up at the pant leg for the doctor's perusal. Teodoro bounces again: an impressive feat of abdominal muscles, given he is completely prone, perpendicular the Frenchman. "And you're getting aloe all over me.

"I smell like a particularly desperate fourteen-year-old's been wanking all over my leg. Maybe it's your hands we should be looking at. Aloe is your anti-poison agent, isn't it? Aren't you laying it on a bit thick?

"Pun intentional." He's in good spirits, self-evidently. Despite having been at gunpoint less than twenty-four hours ago, on a murder site. In contact with plague patients, not in contact enough with other plague patients, subject to a few misperceptions of reality that should lead him to think he's turning an all-new brand of crazy, evil Gabriels (as opposed to the original recipe) and the distinct entity constituted by his copycat, and murderous Russians remain afoot.

Teodoro Laudani has simple tastes for an uncomfortably complicated young man. They'd ordered in, the thermostat is working, and what meager physical pain he's in at the moment is forgettable, after his prior experiences with outgrown titanium skull plates and broken fingers. Life is unrepentantly— okay, right now.

Francois has had less to worry about. Mostly how to browse through online medical journals after he learned how to use a touchpad mouse, groceries in brown paper bags to fill a working fridge bought too late before the blizzard hit, discussions of security systems and of course, murderous Russians remaining afoot. Pun intended. "Fais gaffe à toi," is quiet rebuke for bouncing, seeing as Teo has his foot in his lap and weight distribution dictates— distribution.

"It talks a lot," he observes, hands lifting off a swollen ankle and resting higher up his leg. He's addressing the room at large, rather than the man adjascent to him in the bed. "Perhaps I should get another one."

Settling back against his elbows, Francois' smile is small, though it usually is anyway. "You do know that if you had stayed in bed for a little bit, it would not be swollen at all. And my hands," he turns them on his wrists, glancing down towards the one at his left. There are marks where blisters were, reddish — they'd been much uglier a couple of days ago, little discs of fluid-filled hills pebbling smooth palms. It's like the universe knows he liked his hands and their prior scarlessness. "My hands are fine."

With lugubrious effort, Teo begins to drag the set of five piggies, the attached foot, and socketed leg down off the older man's lap. Swivels the rest of his body as he does so, moving like the hand of a clock to bring his head somewhat closer to where Francois is wearing a very small smile on his.

The configuration of his seat, however, and the locus of his butt, means that his head falls several inches short of easy eye-contact, leaves him struggling against the necessity of craning his skull back to peer up the bed and up toward the ceiling to find Francois. His hair unfurls raggedly around his scarred face. There is a fleeting figment of canine anxiety in his stare when it searches the shape and substance of the Frenchman's expression.

A different kind of concern, when his gaze drops to the webbed keloid tissue and squashed-spider skewing of those fingers. The universe was just jealous, he thinks. Who wouldn't be jealous? Teodoro's hands have not been so nice since he was an infant, and back then, though smooth, they were stumpy malformed starfish baby-fat things.

Possibly, the abuse ever wrought upon them afterward was some form of vengeance. He hurdles himself up onto his near elbow and reaches over to pry Francois' thumb out for verification. Visual, first, though then he's dragging it over his own face, sniffing the hollow of the older man's palm through the big white triangle of his nose, checking the texture and grain of scar with his mouth. He blinks up between hostaged fingers, at Francois, then— briefly— past him.

Fingers spread, not in perfect alignment, and what trifle piece of resistance magnetised his hand away from unnerving affection dies out. Francois' eyes hood a little when he decides it's not so unnerving— doesn't have to be unnerving— and his fingers curl, skim the tips of them against a high Sicilian cheekbone, following the curve of the eyesocket just above it. He glances at the pattern of scarring, like rivulets of spilled milk frozen and preserved in skin, pinching it. He rocks forward his gravity to press an almost aggressive kiss into Teo's shaggy hair.

See, he doesn't care. "Last I heard from the Suresh Centre, they are putting out a call to a surgeon willing to take a look. Evolved complications are— complicated, apparently. Perhaps I should have lied."

Heels dig into bed covers so that Francois can scoot down to a level more even. "I was not trying very hard," he admits, captured hand wriggling in emphasis. It might not be completely out of self-centredness that Francois does not notice any looking past him — it could also be rude to try and command attention, though he does unconsciously tilt his head to do so silently.

It is not that they are totally hopeless at conversations. They talk about good and important things, sometimes. Exchanges of interesting ideas, salient information, funny jokes, during which time, historically, Teodoro has paid plenty of attention to the words that have come out of Francois' mouth. Sometimes, even when the Frenchman didn't have a palm physically barricading over his own.

It's the wiggle that brings him back, and even then, that only serves to underscore that Teo had been for a moment somewhere else. (Not very far. The third man is on the bed too, seated cross-legged, mattress dipped under the weight of his pretzeled feet.)

(Is younger than Teo is, better-looking because he is whole, clean-shaven, watching Francois with his eyes motionless around that look, that would have made the Little Match Girl look warm, well, and wanting for nothing in comparison. If he were really there, Francois would be able to feel it; breath tickling cricket-foot on the other side of his neck.)

(But Francois does not. Yet?) "What day's your consult?" he asks, muffled by the squirmy extremity he captured for himself. "Maybe I can go with you. Or is that too soon? I don't know about this kind of thing very much." Medicine, he might mean. Or on being with somebody, a part of their life and attending all the medical mutant complications that come thereof. This is, in theory, different to a trip to the dentist's or a haircut. Maybe he is supposed to come with.

If Francois fully understood the psychic engineering that made up the only Teodoro Laudani he's known, maybe he'd contemplate what he'd say to the younger version (if he could comprehend an even younger version without feeling creepy) or imagine what It Would Be Like. No one is going to find out today, however, because a third presence on the bed doesn't register for the Frenchman, as if, maybe(!) it wasn't even there.

The tickle of words mumbled against his lined palm has his hand shifting, thumb following with grizzled swoop of Teo's jaw before pulling that limb away again, observing scars. "Come with me," he invites, after a second to think about it. "You can hear what they have to say too and tell me it's not so bad after all." There's even a script to go with, facetiously offered though it might be. "Monday. Nothing bad happens on Mondays.

"Are you alright?" Slightly abrupt diversion, although it lacks the sharp concern that would needle the point home if Francois really thought something was wrong. "I have a feeling I'm boring you."

"Hey, no."

This answer was not initially meant for Francois but (actually, for the twenty five-year-old layabout who abruptly dips a tentatively curious nose to harvest the soapmilk and cologne notes burgundied into the older man's hair) he has honed a remarkable talent for catching himself, at lying, adapting his behavior to the ever-evolving circumstances of shit happening. Teo ropes a long arm around his lover's waist and—

—summarily snatches Francois out of the way of the other Sicilian's uninvited intrusion, rolling over France own person and back to the mattress the other side. Winds up half-walrused onto Francois' lap, his shoulder set to rest on the other man's waist, and other arm steepled territorially over his far hip, his nose and his kiss-mussed hair pushed into the rumpled fabric of Francois' sweater over his belly. Teo offers his younger facsimile a cyclopean glare from under Francois' arm, then twists his face up to look at the Frenchman himself.

Bon soir, Allegre. Je pas devenir fous. (The other Teo winds up halting himself with one hand on the covers, blinking at a cubic gallon of empty air, then blinking at him. "You know—")

"I'm not bored," he clarifies. "Surgery just creeps me out. Hospitals and shit, a little bit. You know. My mom looked awful last time I saw her, and I've been in a couple comas my life. I mean, I wasn't lying: that's why I want to go. I don't know how you feel about hospitals. I know you went a long time without having to be inside of one."

This is all very normal — Francois doesn't feel stolen away from anyone, because this doesn't slot uncomfortably into lounging around rituals, physical affection when it's not embarrassing i.e. in front of other people. Settling with an inevitable creak of mattress springs and a smile, Francois winds his fingers through Teo's hair, a mild grip at his scalp that would loosen easier if blonde hair was back to the brushy trim Abby keeps threatening to shear it back into. "True.

"And I'll need a ride home when it's done also," he adds. "I do not think it will be dramatic. Elective surgery for wrong healings is a normal procedure." Osteotomy for bones that could do something unexpected, changed as they are, is less so.

Which sounds grim, on paper and out of Francois' mouth it could sound less so, but he keeps it to himself. His hand falls away, elbows against the bedcovers, body shifting under what parts Teo has resting and leaning against him. He has his green eyes focused downwards and on Teo's upturned face, heedless of anything dividing the other man's attention.

"Have the others gotten back to you yet?"

("Lei sa," you know, and the younger man sets his chin on the heel of his hand, gives him a grin that's a backward parody of his old, sheepish rue. "Every good thing you started out with was mine. Questo è un po'egoistico, non è? What do you think I'll do? Screw it up?" His eyes drift at the ones Teo has latticed around the small of Francois' back, the curve of his hip. His face changes slightly. "I don't even have hands.")

Teo doesn't look at the other one's face. Refuses to. The other one's face is unworthy. "Abby and Cat so far," he answers. He traces the rim of one thumb down the inside of Francois' wrist, stops long before the wrist spreads and swells into the bifurcated curve of his palm or the scrawled-icing mess of scar tissue there. He keeps his shoulder in a curve, so that his drumming heart throbs mutely out into nothing but quiet, empty air. "Felix is probably off hunting serial killers or something, but he'll get a breather in to thumb us a text message soon. Looks like we're on for Friday.

"Catherine pitched her place. I dunno if she also called to let you know." To be fair, Teodoro is making substantial efforts not to let his attention be divided between France and anything else. "Which leaves Saturday and Sunday for glassworks, yoga, or cooking classes, if you want to do that." A beat. "Or I could show you around Summer Meadows and the Den, if heroing is your idea of a vacation.

"I don't know if Abby's been there yet, but the nature of the Ferry's lent itself to a lot of plague victims." Some girls like to do rock-climbing and hiking dates. Shiny shirts seemed like as much effort as either of them were accustomed to putting into romantic overtures. Obviously, this is what occupies the mainstay of Teodoro's thoughts. Shiny shirts. Hobbies he can share with his sweetheart. Homicidal Russians. "Are you wearing her crucif—ix?"

A snag, tonal. (Because Ghost is craning his head over from behind, descending the warm air with phantom fingers to pick at the fabric of Francois' collar, checking for him. Nodding at the younger one over there as he remarks, "I don't know why you still wear his.")

Unfortunately for Ghost, Francois is moving before his fingertips can snag, or not, on his collar. No glimmer of gold chain, though, visible on his neck — just two ticks of black so that a certain organisation in the world can find him if they so choose. Why they might want to is anyone's guess. Back to movement, though — his body pushes back against Teo's, a leg coming up and over the sprawl of clothed thighs and resting his knee on the other side. The more youthful of the four might have to move over a little.

It's not that plague victims turn him on or anything. "It's in the dresser. I would not want you to get the wrong idea." He just doesn't want Teo to have the wrong idea. "That sickness that's been in the papers? I can help, oui, if they need it. You know, in my spare time." A generous commodity, is what a quick smile communicates.

Shrugs, curls arms around Teo's shoulders. "I'm going to ask the others if they wish to take a look at new Vanguard— " Strongholds seems an inaccurate term, and though he's very much a literate man, there's hesitation of combing through his English vocabulary for the right one. "Places. Dens. People, too — I have spoken to Eileen a little. Do you know others?" New Vanguard notably means Vanguard newer than he's used to dealing with, but as defunct as the broken remains of Eagle Electric.

Fortunately, phantoms define themselves with morbid ease in terms of space and time, and the littlest Sicilian doesn't have to do more than shift his hand away, roil back like the cloudy edge of some inscrutable death magic at the pricking of sunlight. Which is about as nasty and gross as real Teo thinks he is. This entire exercise is profoundly discomfitting, and it's likely a good thing that the Frenchman put his arms up. Teo's fingers have nothing to dig into except, harmlessly, the weave of his sweater.

It's on the tip of his tongue to ask if the Frenchman can see them. The other-hims sieging the fucking bed. Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future, leaving Scrooge clinging like a treed cat to his lover, his face stuck in an expression of kindly interest and breath measured out with painstaking, mathematical care. A moment, and Teodoro scoots his head closer. Pushes Ghost out of view. Pretend, pretend.

There is no one in this room except for Francois and him. There is no space outside Francois' arms and there is nothing wrong except for the accumulated environmental stressors of life lately. "Um," he says. "Yeah, I was kind of adopted by them. Jensen Raith, Gabriel Grey, Ethan Holden. Odessa— Joy used to count, but I think she's trying hard to leave that part of her life behind now."

(Ghost remarks, "There's a lot of that going around." Maybe it's worse that Teodoro can't see him from here. "How many pretty doctors have to have psychotic breaks about Jesse then get shot in the head before you fucking get with the program, anyway?" There is the noise of drawer sliding against its rails, a clopping as it stops to its full extension. A riffling of long fingers through cloth. Singsong. "Don't know about you, bambino, but maybe you should get over here and make sure.")

("Troppo tardi," the baby one says, hugging his knees. His voice sounds tired. He means: about the wrong idea. "But you didn't mention Delilah.")

"My friend Delilah's one of the plague vicks," Teo adds, glancing down at the bedspread. "One of Phoenix, but not the ones who would've known anything about fighting them. I— you really Dreyfus is camping out at one of the old sites?"

"That would make things easy, right?" Francois agrees with a huff of laughter, showing white teeth in a smile that doesn't really get all the way to his eyes. Maybe if he'd never seen the professor's name on the stupid door in the stupid university, none of this would have happened. Or maybe it was an inevitability and they benefit by knowing who they are dealing with. Maybe maybe. "I don't know what I expect but I know I have nothing more useful to do. And that I will go armed anyway."

His fingers toy with the hairs bristling at the nape of Sicily's neck, as if helping keeping his distraction focused to things in the very very immediate vicinity. Less his armoire getting poked through, the pearl-jeweled crucifix tossed into a sock drawer without too much thought of honour— for a romantic, he can be surprisingly lame at romance. It's not like she gave it to him, anyway.

Francois nods at the name, and thinks over the list prior even if Teo's legs may start to go numb beneath his weight. Oblivious to that, and other complaints. "Would one be interested in trying to make contact with them, I wonder? At our request. We seem to be missing who they target, perhaps we are looking for an in from the wrong direction. Eileen has already been approached."

That's a good idea. Teo's brow furrows. He is genuinely impressed. This does not take away from the fact that he is also disoriented and frightened and increasingly uncertain of how happy he'd really been ten minutes ago, but— "That's a really good idea." His left eye goes slightly bigger than the other, either out of comedic ahh ernnngh at the circulation being cut off by Francois' old man posterior, or a comical exaggeration of said admiration.

His features smooth the next moment. He shifts his feet slightly, reconfigures his knees and still-recuperating (!) ankle under Francois' sit while taking careful mind not to upset his balance. Their balance. Aloe or no, those fingers are a welcome distraction, sawing at the corded tension trapped in his neck. The good side of his mouth tugs upward.

'Tired's the easy excuse, and blue-Felix's words erode back into his far recollection. Sick. Nothing hurts, though. Well, all right. Not nothing, but there's no pill for the butterflies or uncertainty. "I think Ruskin would do it," he answers, blinking unsteadily in the obnoxiously warm light of the room. "Raith, probably. It'd be the right thing to do, and maybe also for me."

Obligingly, Francois replaces most of his weight to his own knees, hips shifting along with fidgeting and remaining as such. "If you would like to talk to them," he suggests. "I could go with you." Because it was his good idea, compliment along those lines getting only a warm smile. Yes, I know. Except that Francois would actually agree if he'd thought of it earlier, if anyone had thought of it earlier. That it's too little too late has also occurred to him.

"You're not alright," he finally assesses, fingers pressing a little harder against muscle above Teo's shoulders. He's even less gentle with actual sick people, only picking out tension as opposed to trying to identify the root of a problem. "We can have a rule. No work in bed."

"I would like to talk to them," Teo says, in that automatic recitation voice suited as well to a man being led around by the tab of his fly zipper, which means it's — something of a parody, really, but one well-intended. Keeping it light. Teo thinks it is important to keep things light right now, self-moderation.

Pretending nothing is wrong is kind of like the placebo effect. Teodoro cues contrition up at what feels like the right moment. "Weird couple of days, I guess," he says, in a tone like acquiescence. Yeah. Yes, that is it. Work. Russians. Ayers, Ichihara, the looming threat of unemployment and Ivanov Ivanoving into the Sylar situation before Gabriel figures out what he wants to do with it.

His arms tighten on impulse, corralling the narrow girth of Francois' waist in with fastidious hands, comforted by the solidity of Francois' person and the geographic memory of that rooster tat. The mask slips a fraction because it is contiguous to the act to do so, briefly. Breathe in, breathe out. When he looks up again, he makes an exaggerated sweep of the room.

And it's fucking empty.

"I don't see work," Teo all but chirps. "Do you see work?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License