Let Down


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Scene Title Let Down
Synopsis Disappointment in all its soul-crushing variation presides when Teo asks Flint to heal someone he well and truly hates. Involves a lot of falling down, anti-Evolved 'racism,'f Teo employing ninja tactic #3592 also known as crying like a little girl, and Deckard getting kicked out of his own apartment.
Date September 28, 2009

Chelsea — Deckard and Teo's Apartment

More furnished since the Sicilian signed on.

It's simultaneously late and earlier than Deckard usually gets home on Monday nights, made all the more unusual by the fact that he's not in a suit or. Slacks. Or even a dress shirt and a decent pair of jeans. He's in his beaten up leather jacket (brown) over a faded t-shirt (red) and jeans he probably bought when he weighed fifteen pounds more than he does now. A belt keeps them from hobbling down around his ankles when he turns to lock the apartment door behind himself. Habit, now that he actually has a lock to bother turning.

That taken care of, keys are rinsed out've his hand onto an end table next to the couch that wasn't here when he moved in. Just like those posters weren't here before. And the x-box without a TV to grease its snubbed little plugs into. That plenty of open space still exists across the living room is likely what's keeping the peace re: new additions, and Deckard squints only briefly at the thermostat at the entranceway in passing.

No adjustments are made, and after a moment's dithery consideration over whether or not it could stand to be a little warmer in here, he nudges off for the kitchen.

Someone is already home. A slash of light underneath Teo's bedroom door, no noise. Means it's quiet enough inside that the Sicilian can hear what happens outside. He gets up. Legs move column-shaped shadows splayed by perspective across the mustily carpeted floor. Click, small mechanics rolling and knocking home. He pulls it open, steps out.

There is lint in his hair, a rueful heap of mechanical parts visible on the table— that's new. Some kind of homemade stereo-in-progress. Even his most typical of attempts at recapturing proper living space domesticity are inevitably crippled by vivisective electronics experiments and scavenged parts off dead things. His sweater sleeves are pushed up past his elbows, proof against the uncomfortable and worsening chill of autumn. "Buona sera. Chinese in the fridge."

Quiet as Deckard is in padding boots across wooden floors past that singular silty jangle of his keys, stealth is not a point of expertise for him and probably never will be. He squints dimly into the light cast off past Teo and Teo's open door, taking in lint and disembowled machinery with interest that is best described as passing.

A yellowish piece of paper in his hand crinkles further into a fold so as to better vanish into a jacket pocket and he nods. Hey. Chinese in the fridge. Great. He'll just — sidle on over that way, then.

Teo watches him do that. His face is blank— blanked, really, small muscles laying reticent close to the bone, the pupils in his eyes expanding and contracting in fractioned jots like some creepy cyborg with cameras embedded in the pits of its skuuull. He isn't one of those, of course. He is far more sanguine. Characterized by nefarious soft bits. Worse for it, sometimes.

Crossing the floor in a few expedient strides, silent and unshod. He sits on the couch because they don't really have any other furniture built to carry people in here. Some surfaces. Teo picks his feet up and sits it on the cushions, sits half the weight of his butt on his heels.

He suspects that Deckard already suspects what he wants to talk about. Of course. They are both reasonably intelligent. Know what's happened before, the long grisly history bridging viral apocalypses and Staten coastal shootings, the abducted martyrs and the burnt church. "I've only seen Ivanov since we cut them down," he says, linking his fingers between his ankles, "but I heard Pastor Sumter's stable."

When devoid of feeling, Deckard's visage is a long conglomeration of hard hewn, sheer drop offs and stony overhangs, austere and incisive and starkly natural as a sun-bleached skull when he turns from the light of Teo's room to drag himself into the gloomier kitchen. The muffled hmmmm of the refrigerator is echoed by a slant of yellow light across the floor. Flint's shadow crosses it before it snips off into darkness again.

Then there are various rattlings and foil unwrappings and forked prodding at rice that's had time enough to harden against the cold. He doesn't say a fucking thing.

The moisture evaporates or something, or at least that's been Teo's theory for as long as he's been a bachelor scavenging off his own refuse for nourishment. You have to soak the rice a little while before heating it up again if you want it to be any good. This, and similar things, he would pick himself up off the couch and hen-pick his way around the kitchen to do on Deckard's behalf, partaking in Deckard's business because it would be more polite than rude, any other evening.

His jaw hurts after another second or three, excess tension winched into it by the creak and pull of tendon and sinew. These seconds are spent looking at the carpet some more. It isn't until the microwave door pings shut that his eyelids draw an anemic skitter and Teo looks up again, perhaps remembering that he isn't alone, or that he'd forgotten to turn on the light. Kind of ruins the subterfuge of casual interest.

Stupid subterfuge anyway.

"I would like you to heal him for me. I'd be grateful." He doesn't realize until after he's said it that he forgot to specify proper nouns, but he doesn't have to say 'I don't mean Joseph' for Deckard to know he doesn't mean Joseph, so he doesn't add that on. Leaves the sentence hacked off, abbreviated and abandoned in the dark like the thorned scraggle of something you'd accidentally caught your boot in on your way home, though the silence at the other end offers no real shelter, is neither reprieve nor conclusion.

In 40 years of eating leftover Chinese food, Flint has a trick of his own. It involves a plastic ziploc (tm) baggy and rice pried apart enough to be tumped into it, sealed, and tossed into the microwave by itself for (boop boop) 30 seconds (beep.) The microwave's hmmm is baser and more gutteral than the refrigerator's drawn out automaton gasp and the faintly scruffy outline of his head is visible in the intervening space as an aloof bristle of shadow against muffled yellow light.


He opens the translucent door again with three seconds left on the clock, tosses the now puffy and fogged rice baggy onto the counter and sets to fumbling around for a paper plate to receive this fluffy white bounty, along with the stainless steel clatter of his fork.

All of this and a scruff of blunt nails at the back of his head and he still hasn't made any indication that he's heard.

There's no way Teo was expecting a different reception, neither warmer nor— louder. This had been understood, predictable, reasonable, if not altogether acceptable because of personal derangements. Still, Teo finds himself ill-equipped to handle the staticky buzz and decay of the presiding pretend deafness. It is so immature.

And contagious, though Teo bites down on it, has to translate the restless fidget and bristle of irritation by rubbing his hands on his arms and mouth-breathing for a few raspy cycles.

Petulance threatens. Reason has been absent for some time. He gets up again. Walks up to the counter, which is sort of like walking into it: his knee bangs once into the lacquered parallel of cheap wooden construction, reverses to drop the ball of his foot onto the queasy molt of the carpet. This is worse than hitting on the wrong girl, a piano recital, and borrowing money from a man who finds you irresponsible and socially awkward, and somehow also all of those things at once.

Attempt number one at meeting Deckard's eye lands somewhere on the laddered crease of the man's gaunt forehead, below the hairline, sinkholed in the disturbingly shadowed cleft hollows of his eyes. "When've I ever asked you for anything?"

For all that the fork in his tongue would occasionally hedge otherwise, Deckard is pretty good at the quiet game. Tension winches up the ridge of his spine on a steady crank; takes corded hold through latisimus dorsi and trapezius on its way to binding haggard deltoids into a wrought iron ridges under the shabby barricade of his coat. Tendon and sinew steels in his hands and still he nudges picked over bits of General Tso's Chicken onto resteamed rice and paper plate with a blunt fork and an even blunter knife.

His eyes don't life to Teo until knee bumps to wood, and even without benefit of any kind of spectral glow, there is a certain intensity ringed in around them that manages to draw immediate attention down to the knife he's gripping. Also the fact that it'd probably have an easier time poking in through parted ribs than say, a loaf of bread, which has the good sense not to have structural resistance.

His last ssscrape of chicken to rice is slow the way overly dramatic things tend to be. Teo's eyes are on his forehead, his eyes are on Teo's eyes on his forehead and he is not blinking nearly enough.

Them's fighting words. Fighting— eyes. There is something flinching about Teo's second attempt at reaching eye-contact, and the flinch is where it falters, drifts down the sepulchral nock of Deckard's cheekbone, coasting indecisively through empty air. He steels himself, and it is like the steel rallying in the backs of Deckard's hands and wrists, that same stringy winch between disparate parts that seem lesser than the torsion between them.

That was probably a little tasteless, as cards to pull. There was a reason Teo— the younger one— never did.

Backtrack. Rewind, whirr. Creak-snap to a stop, cycle forward, load the new track, play. "If you did this, you'd end it— not even he'd come at you again. He wouldn't dare. He isn't soulless; he just didn't used to think sometimes, he was impulsive and didn't realize how bad it gets on our side of the fence. But you could end it. All this hate and… and fucking lunacy. Everyone would be better for it, Flint. Please." Entreaty on entreaty. Better-constructed, this time, if lacking the structure and coherency enough to stand without buckling under the pressure of a well-placed breadknife.

Too late. Deckard's already caught the stink of desperation and the depth of feeling driving it shivering acrid under Teo's glossy hood. Hot metal and gasoline vapor coat oily down the back of his throat through flared nostrils and the hard sheen of pupils drawn too wide in the dark, bitter to taste and harder to swallow. It should probably come as no surprise then that the feral bristle about him shows no signs of slaking its thirst on the olive branch of full on reverse and change of direction. If anything, it's the too-quick retreat and turn about that coaxes a reflexive rankle in at his nose when he straightens appraisingly away from his side of the counter and sets the fork down. But not the knife. Baby steps!

"The only way this could be better for any of us is if he'd asphyxiated before someone cut him down."

It's odd how he can stand there and look the way he does right now, an impulsive twitch away from a shanking and manage to sound like they're sitting on the couch discussing this over a muted episode of The Tonight Show. There's no aggression in the rough of his voice, even if the period at the end of the single sentence he sees fit to share has a hint of serration about its edge.

Desperation, as is the way with extremes, has a funny way of volunteering equal proof of human soul, goodness, the marshmallow fluff of existentiality, and its absence at the same time. Teo is caught red-handed. He locks up where he is, stiffening all the way from the set of his bare feet up to his shoulders, ridiculous guilt or, perhaps more trite still, self-consciousness tenting his clavicles and shoulderblades out underneath thin fabric and pale skin like the jut and right-angled grid of scaffolding.

It doesn't make sense, isn't nice that desperation weakens his case with his friend instead of strengthening it. Insofar as that crazy fucked up nasty nonsense is fairly consistent with their prior relations. Teodoro doesn't fully understand why it is working out this way, though. Deckard is suddenly looking down at him with coldly carnivorous resentment, an owl determining the fate of an insignificant toad. Most of the time, he doesn't really notice when people are taller than him. It doesn't happen often. Deckard is really fucking tall, though.

"He'll be different if you put him back. Things like that change a man. That has to mean something. I'm asking—" It's obvious what he's asking, artless and crude, foolish with sentimentality, incriminating because he used to sleep with Felix Ivanov. Teo's fingers tighten, until he rubs them on his hip, the metal rivets of his jeans catching and striping scratches down the sides of his hands. Already, he is wondering why he'd thought it would be better once Deckard finally started fucking talking, but he asks another question anyway. "Why won't you do it?"

"Alliance hasn't changed him. Neither has formal recognition of his heroism. Compliance, defiance, your intervention, death, resurrection, revenge. He's the same piece of shit he was a year ago. Nothing has changed. He doesn't change." They've been around like this once or twice before, bared teeth after bristled tail on the subject of Abigail's capture or cost benefit back and forth over offering Maxwell shelter. Stiff spine and locked shoulders are taken in as a single unit, measured out and calculated for before he sets the knife down and turns his head after the counter's corner some two or three feet to his side.

"Dead people should stay dead," is his eventual answer for the only part of Teo's words that constituted an actual question. There's a dish towel. He reaches for it. Scrubs idly at his hands while he addresses the refrigerator with the cold drill of his stare. "Unless you think I regret killing him the first time around, I don't think there's any element of mystery to my reasoning."

This fight is beginning to smell like Kung Pow chicken, the mixture of spices and oils filtered through titration physics into the cold air of the living room. It is kind of a homey smell. "You have no way of knowing that."

The room is kind of homey too, what with the random vintage art Absinthe poster and a bare handful of arbitrary photograph prints scavenged, but tastefully, off a gay shag pad in Chinatown. You know, maybe if Deckard would expend some of his street shrewdery toward buying a television, they would be having this conversation over The Tonight Show. It is another evidenciary exhibit for the case the Sicilian had been making earlier, before he retracted it on account of being an asshole.

There's some of that going around tonight. "Do it for me?" he says, all at once, and it is difficult to say whether it's his pride that galls worse under the coarse choice of words or his characteristic compulsion to do the giving, notwithstanding a weakness for Abby's cooking or Helena's subtropical microclimate. "He'll be different.

"Shit like that changes a man." That line has the taste of repetition but Teo doesn't stop to consider how closely this retread falls within the print of the previous. It doesn't matter. Deckard's getting tired of his equivocation, he with having to equivocate, the surface of civil counter-top conversation fragmenting but kept in piecemeal place by the lamination of something callllled… habit. Or mutual respect. "Or— I swear, if he'd ever come after you— or Phoenix, whoever you care about again, I'd kill him myself."

There seems to be some sort of interference here. Something that's obscuring the message: bending his speech into something that might be swayed and rusting through the iron rods and steel cables tempered into the rigid lock of lean muscle over long bones.

Maybe it's the counter.

The only thing there's left to do then is to circumnavigate its clean length all neutral tan and junk mail registered to the puerto rican guy with a sharpei who lived here before them, so. Deckard circumnavigates. Deliberate without being painfully slow, he paces to reposition himself on Teo's side of the counter's end at the kitchen entrance, eyes adjusted enough now that the relative darkness is no longer flattering to his age or energy deficit. Grey is ashed in around the sides of his skull down through clipped wire stubble. Lines crease out of the hardened hostility carved in under the hood of his brows and etch flat across his forehead, breathing penned in slow and infuriatingly steady against appeals to emotion and potential and promise.


"Fuck you." Teo doesn't want to hear it again. He sure as fuck doesn't need to see it clomping around the counter and reared up in sharp-focus macro close-up, every detail contused out into nightmarish relief and warped proportions, spiting his sensibilities with the utter lack of purchase he finds on the bulwark of Deckard's stubbornness. Not an inch of give, not a scratch, no impression.

The Sicilian breathes out of his mouth for two or three iterations, his regard focused on something other than Deckard despite Deckard's generous gift of proximity, his fists squared, jaws creaking, face shot red, baby blues gone glassy and posture brittle, completely unraveled and incapable of caring any less. The lull is afforded with the vague and ill-conceived expectation that is Flint is actually going to elaborate. Add insult to affront, make an acerbic monosyllabic mockery of past fornications or feelings long since outlived their relevance.

Flint doesn't, of course, which leaves something unexplained and the rest worse for it, and that is the moment when Teo hits him: first with his elbow and then with his knee. Third with the edge of the shitty chipped PVC counter, two hands on the older man's lapels, makes a wild swing with him, Deckard's captured center of balance and dishtowel and mulishly gangly limbs flung back, sideways, over the fulcrum of his own feet, slammed down on the kitchen furnishings around a spine-cocking corner.

Physical contact isn't unexpected at this point. Even violent contact, quick as it comes, is anticipated such that he's trying to wrest himself into gaining a grip of his own by the time Teo's elbow splinters itself past his shoulder into his sternum. Manhandling him is like trying to sling around a rusty old chair; he's lighter than he has been and should be, but his rickety limbs still catch and hook stiff where they find purchase around available furniture. The hard shove of a mule kick against the flat of the refrigerator mid-sling nearly sees them both driven too far with Teo's momentum — down onto the kitchen floor rather than bolstered back against the counter edge where he winds up anyway. Cold rice scatters clumped behind the jangle and tink of a fork jarred free of the carton. A bag of chips and junk mail crinkle and sift; something ceramic clatters and cracks.

Of more immediate concern to Teo is the skeleton fist Flint slings at the side of his fool head and the crisp flick of a switchblade trigger depressed nearer the soft push of viscera concealed behind his middle.

The floor hangs a crooked horizon, not quite perpendicular to the rocking wall and latticed sprawl of Deckard's legs coming up like chaffy pinstraw caving to the wind. You'd have a better chance of keeping your footing on the piecemeal fragments of autumnal canopy fall while it was still falling, and Teo doesn't even have feet right now, his knees skidding tile and bare feet squeaking the elasticity of his skin around a painful, puckering stretch. Rice sticks to his sleeve, smears the starchy gunk of flattened grains across squared tiles.

Despite this, the noise, the ringing clap of fist in his skull head, and confusion of proximity and darkness dirty watercolor across the ceiling and indistinct reflections on Deckard's too-human eyes, memory in psychically knit excess, he hears it in perfect clarity when the automatic knife pops.

"You're no better." Dilation has eaten his pupils nearly right through his irises, turned them black against his silhouette, and his voice is a venomous hiss, fork-tongued but spittled anyway, his face knotted with veins and so mad with metabolic heat spite that he's nearly unrecognizable as a person, logic fried-circuited and the herky-jerky robot mechanics left of him are left to yank at Deckard's arms and pin, but nothing more. "You're no fucking better, you worthless, selfish Goddamned son of a bitch. After everything I've given you— I've given you everything.

"Everything I fucking have— my life— this isn't my fucking life, this shithole apartment, freak DNA, insanity— to protect your worthless mutant unicorn kind. But you're a waste of my time. You're all a waste of my fucking time. You are the self-entitled soulless little monsters they're poaching. I should have let you rot on Staten fucking Island f-for— for. What do you give me? What the fuck do I get? A knife in the fucking front?" Fingers tighten on Deckard's arm, indicative, but there's only there's no physical demonstration for his second example, only the haphazard calculation of words, in hopeful reference to memory: "A bullet in my brain?"

The volume can only be sustained for the middling half minute or so of that, before his amphibious croak sets in, devolved. Air comes foul out of his lungs, the ghost press of a half-regurgitated poltergeist smothering its fungally cold hands over Deckard's face.

Being capable of witholding speech does not — unfortunately — come with a built in aptitude for ignorance so thorough that Deckard's brain can't register the words being forced into it. Given that he's the unwilling bottom in this arrangment of body to body and spine to floor, bristled head and bony shoulders forced up at a hard intersect against closed cabinets, there's really nowhere for him to go either. His left arm is snarled up before it can land another blow; the right is caught against the floor, wrist driven to tile and knife blade ajut at stained ceilings without any color of its own.

He jerks once, all the pressure seized up across the flat of his chest and stretched like harp strings taut over his ribs lashing animalistic against restraint. But Teo's already spitting fire and he's already listening whether he likes it or not, breaths hitched quick through teeth clenched but not bared and blood pounding thick in his ears.

The wrestling stops even if tension doesn't, cold shock left bare behind the bleed of hostility from pale eyes and hatchet hewn jaw.

It takes him a few beats to doubt what he's hearing. Unconscious uncertainty creeps into a knit at his brow while his breathing slows and the slightly open slack of his mouth closes itself off into a flat line against contaminated air. Then he's still some more, and staring, wrist bled white behind the death grip he's retained on his stupid knife.

Teo had already said a lot. Further deluge is stymied by the simple fact that Teo is coming short on stuff left to say and lung capacity, vocabulary with which to say it. The room is distorting through the liquid excess of… well, you know. He knows, too.

It's what ultimately beats him into a retreat, given the likelihood of stabbing or punching seems diminished with the slackness of Deckard's jaw, despite that said jaw isn't directly connected to either arm and he ought to know better than to think that the momentary desertion of verbal response or action in a man's teeth still leaves a lot of other parts in which motivations might be sardined, compressed, a stink or explosion in wait. He lets go. Gets up, bumping his knees into floor some more, dragging a gray-sleeved arm roughly across his face. Even this gesture lacks the endearingly uneasy pinch and corkscrewed tension of embarrassment. He hasn't remembered himself yet.

Or else, he hasn't buried himself again, his sour discontent and piteous, everything else still uglily denuded, inappropriate, hanging out there. Teodoro installs himself against the wall, out of arm's radius, his face concealed by a conveniently oblique angle, watching for attack or maybe just waiting for Deckard to go away. He wipes his nose with his fingers.

What just happened, here? Deckard continues to look unsure even once Teo's weight has lifted off of compressed ribs and sore wrists. He's slower to pick himself up, head ducked and stance unsteady where a knee bent the wrong way against something solid on the way down, jacket fallen back off one shoulder and crooked on the other.

Teo's crying.

It's hard to pay him the courtesy of pretending not to see when they're confined in such a small and crappy kitchen. There are only so many other things to look at and none of them are interesting or even colorful, everything washed in the same base neutrality and then further dulled by the murky absence of light. Once upon a time he would have just turned his face off.

Now he's relegated to focusing vaguely past scattered junk mail, hemmed back into his cramped corner of the counter space by Teo standing too close to the only way out.

Way out. Back in. Escape, as ever, seems unlikely in New York City. Out of New York City. He went all the way to Israel, once u-pon a life-time. "Get out, asshole." Exasperation is a— not altogether unforseeable note in Teo's voice, but different to the blank, black prejudice that had run rife through his voice minutes before. It seems impossible, insupportable that he be made to put up with Deckard's selective interpretation and framed in ever-convenient psychoses of his own, after all th—

"Can you fucking hear me? What, no masturbatory wannabe-f-freak girlfriend t'—?" That's a snap, of such physical velocity that it flips his arms up into the air, an abortive sweep and gesture of amplification. His right arm claps in, folded across his chest, left elbow perched on it and fingers screwed into the bony ridge socketing the socket of his left eye. Wetness rims the lids, forks into tributaries around the pressure of his thumb, doesn't stop, and that is insufferable too.

Oh. He's supposed to leave. That makes sense with — the dampness and. The near stabbing and the words that happened before and between, except. This is his apartment. Technically. Mostly. Apparently not 100% sure that 'get out asshole' means 'get out asshole,' Deckard casts a furtive glance in Teowards for confirmation before he slinks his way through the intervening space and out've the kitchen.

The girlfriend comment gives him pause enough that it looks like he might come back in again. There's a flash of eye whites over rumpled shoulder in the dark of the living room, a harsh intake of breath — then he's moving again, out and away for the door, adjusting the crooked sit of the .40 holstered at the small of his back as he goes.

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