Love Is


abby_icon.gif teo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Love Is
Synopsis Like this, in macabre parody. Ghost visits Pila and Abigail, and tells her everything and nothing at all.
Date June 10, 2009

Greenwich Village — Village Renaissance: Abby's Apartment

An average middle class apartment, it's populated with decidedly not middle class furniture. A solitary red suede couch occupies the immediate living room, with a battered coffee table and side tables as it's companion. A decent sized TV sits on a cupboard with a stereo, DVD player. The kitchen sports a relic from the 70's, with matching chairs that still seem to be in decent condition. The two bedrooms off the hall are distinguishable from the other, one bearing a gold cross nailed above the door, the other not.

In the corner of the living room is an ornate cage on a bird stand, a blue budgie within it's depths. In another corner is a massive cat tree house, and often occupied by a black cat with a red suede collar. It looks barely lived in, like the owners are not yet investing their effort quite yet to move in.

Love is waffles on a Saturday morning, two bodies in one bed making a game of their toes, jukebox music and steering a bicycle one-handed while holding a pinwheel spinning in the other. Love is also Pila, further aliased as the Empress of the World and avian locus of Teodoro Laudani's sanity. One of them, anyway. It is troubling to think about her death of old age impending in one year, so he doesn't do that. He only puts his finger through the cage bars, speaks Italian. The blue bird bops closer, recognition dawning in her lollipop-sized head first, and then sharp, scolding annoyance. He's been gone too long.

He broke into her apartment. Falls in line with the message of warning Elisabeth had sent her, though the glass is in the window and the doorman still lives.

Indeed, were Abigail not about to arrive very shortly, Teo probably would have left entirely unnoticed. His figure is infinitely recognizable. Lean, tall, one tattoo peeking out of his shirt, the more generous breadth of his shoulders slightly stooped over the hanging home of his avian friend, though his hair is shaven down to the blondless dark of its roots, shorter than she's seen it since the last time he got shot in the face and he is wearing a conspicuous amount of utilitarian black.

There's no ringing phone to warn of said immanent interruption, of a front desk clerk calling to notify that someone is coming up in the elevator to call upon the female resident. There's just the sound of the key in the door of the two locks before the former healer opens the door and lets herself in. Yoga pants, tank top, she's been out and about learning more self defense from Xiulan possibly, or practicing in the park. She's oblivious to Teo's presence, or impending doom. She's home for lunch, shower, gather books and head to class. Everything off because of Helena and Claire's visit. Thank the good lord above for afternoon classes.

Head down, grocery bags in hand, and assuming she's alone, Abigail doesn't notice, even as she's turning around to toe the door closed and use her fingers to turn the locks. Keep the world at bay and out of her home. There's a fresh line of that psuedo tattoo, another one, that Teo can see and the red hair is gone. Golden honey locks instead. Abigail's stopped hiding it would seem. Maybe. The sneakers are kicked off next, humming some little ditty that is usually heard on sunday's and she heads for the kitchen with the unerring instinct of where the kitchen is that comes with living there. She's stopped only when she see's Teo, to her it's Teo, playing with his bird.

His bird seems to think that it is Teo also, and being the infallible Goddess of War, one might put some stock in her judgment even if her little striped head is very small. She chirps with a vengeance. Where the Hell have you been! What do you think you are doing here, do you think I will just take you back just like that? It goes on, the barrage of extremely relevant questions. By then, of course, Ghost is only half paying attention.

The door is unlocking and it draws his attention even though he doesn't turn his head. He doesn't need to. The instant Abigail's eyes glimpse and snap-click into focus on his shape, he's in her head and watching with her through the frame of honeyed locks.

"For you," he says, suddenly, pointing with his free hand as long as the other remains occupied coaxing at Pila. On the door handle, the opposite side faced away from where she can see and, perhaps alarmingly, closer to her, there is a string of jewelry. A lariat, walnut leather, rose and smoke quartz and black lacquer-inlay jumbled in a handful of carved hearts, a single cross. His explanation, when it comes, probably doesn't make a lot of sense without context. Teodoro is rarely accompanied by context, these days.

"I didn't get around to getting you something pink this year."

"You got me the coat" Abigail points out. "Probably being worn by one of John Logan's pretty flipskirts. It was pink" One could argue that it was salmon colored, technically. She doesn't know about future Teo, she doesn't know about the ghost. She only knows to be careful of him, so they say. But when has Abigail ever actually listened to orders and instructions from others?

Her parents.

But little else. "Is this a peace offering in the hopes that I'll not smack you upside the head and ask what you've done now that's got them all a tizzy? Because you didn't come for healing, you know that I can't do that anymore. Maybe you came for Pila. But I know you're not living in Chinatown anymore since Sonny turned to Sal. So i'm doubting there's room for Pila in that beautiful cage beside the love birds" Teo in combat gear in her livingroom is not detracting from the fact that she's weighted down with groceries. An armful of which are held out in his direction, an unspoken order to help unload them. If you're here looming in my livingroom, you're going to help Teodoro Laudani. "Kitchen"

Gladly. Rewarded with a poke of Pila's little nodule tongue between the curved halves of her beak, Teo withdraws with a soft word of salutation and lumbers off in the direction of his erstwhile roommate. He takes creaky plastic bags off of her hands, transfers them to furniture with a slithery thump and pries out cans and the bags within the bags. Even now, he remembers the order in which she prefers to file away her goods in the cabinet, the refrigerator's plastic shelves. "Lovebirds have a different home for now.

"You can ask. I don't mind if you ask, though then I guess I'd have to come up with a fucking answer. I'd rather not get smacked upside the head, though," he admits, cracking the refrigerator open. Pressure hisses, funnels cold air up his sleeves. "Never fun. You've put on weight. Looks good on you." A stick of butter goes up inside its transparent compartment, and he thumbs the tabasco sauce bottle aside to put in the pepper jack.

"Kept eating like I still had god's favor. Is topped, but the weight stayed" Abigail points out as she's unloading her own bags of food. Enough to feed an army of one combined with some non-humanoid companions. There's coffee back in the apartment it seems as well. "They're looking for you. I'm supposed to call if I see you, or if you show up. Mind explaining why? Or is this a thing that I probably shouldn't know, for my own safety, and so I can plead ignorance Teo?" Fruit is being shuffled into a bowl, an old tangerine dumped that looks questionable. There's cat food in there somewhere and some new toys for Pila to be hung in her cage.

"For that matter, do you want me to call and let them know you stopped by? And why do men keep giving me jewelry? Really. Husbands are supposed to do that. Not cops, and friends" A tub of cream cheese is tossed onto the counter, as well as a pound of baloney. Something she makes in the future quite often. Something that no one else other than the golden clone that was her daughter could ever stomach or grasp. Not even flint. The ingredients for baloney cake. Someones in self pity/wallow mode.

A shrug makes both of Teo's shoulders go up. Though Ghost is, by now, perfectly capable of delivering the classical Gallic shrug which says nothing, this shrug is wryly noncommittal. "Husbands are supposed to give you diamonds. Quartz and leather are fair game. That is a shitload of calories, signorina." Sounds a bit gay when he says that, frankly, but he is regarding the ingredients for baloney cake in the manner of one who is very vain and must watch his weight. At thirty six, his metabolism had started slowing down enough that he had, indeed, begun to.

Vegetables go into their base drawer, the spare meat shelved above with a rump-a-dump roll of its dense, cylindrical mass roiling momentum across the plastic. "You can call them if you like, though preferably after I leave. Trying to keep contact minimal. This time, you're not the only one being strapped into the high chair and out of harm's way. However infuriating I'm sure all this bullshit is." Ghost has the good grace to look faintly rueful at that. He pauses. Glances down at the packaged mushrooms in his hands, before adding those to the cold box.

He closes the door. "I'm sorry about your ability. There might be a way to fix it, soon."

"You can strap me to the high chair, but you know me. Someone always comes along and lets me out. Purposefully, or accidentally."She has perfected the other kind of shrug. The southern dame one in which both go up ever so slightly while curving inwards then finishing on an outswing. "And it is. but I don't care. I wanted it." Very rarely does she want something, and right now, it was a want that she could fulfill as opposed to praying for in vain. It was a petty selfish calorie laden want that she could justify to herself at a total of 7 bucks and change. Some would call it more satisfying than prayer.

"Won't call them. Cat will be coming soon enough to harass me about why I didn't tell her that I don't have it anymore. everyone will make promises that it will come back, that it can come back. That it's meant to come back" The last of the boxes of pasta are put away she grabs a plate from a cupboard, turning it upside down so the curved side it facing up. "She'll stare at me when I say that it's gone, that I can't heal, and then there will be everyone trying to scientifically understand how Tyler Case took it, and gave it to Flint, but no reasoning as to why when he's managed to switch everyone elses, that I got nothing. Then she'll do what others have done. Leave and not return. Or only still when it's needed." A butter knife comes out of a drawer. "God will fix it Teo. If god wants it fixed. The lord giveth and the good lord taketh away as he doth see fit" No. She hadn't told her parents yet. Abigail had gotten good at keeping secrets from them.

Rationalizing such things with God is something that Teodoro has long since stopped wasting his time with. If fate and coincidence are wont to be just as capricious and painfully mundane, personifying the culprit as some deity seems sort of lazy and too much work at the same time. Not that he is going to mention this aloud. No, now he is closing the refrigerator, leaning on the counter. Scanning the area again, as regularly scheduled, riding briefly through Tanja's mind as she moves supplies out of a commercial lorry out back and Catherine runs lacquered fingers down the strings of her guitar.

Dropping back into his own mind, he then pulls out a chair. Places himself in it, long legs in a lazy sprawl that isn't quite in the diligent chef's way, rests his jaw on his fists. The ghost sits pale eyes on the butter knife in Abby's hand and wonders if Teo is awake. "Hel and I spoke recently about ways to reverse negation. Claire needs, at least. I figured you'd — have other considerations. I'm a little worried about all three of you. Hel seems as bad about sharing as I am, these days, and she can't be that way if she's running Phoenix. Claire— 'least she has you two, I take it.

"What are you going to do besides eat pie?"

"How'd you know about Claire…" Abigail's brows furrow. "Teodoro Laudani if you are bugging my apartment I will be very unhappy and I WILL have wireless sweep it" She dips her knife into the cream cheese after pointing it at him while grabbing a slice of baloney so she can spread a thin layer of the cream cheese across it's surface. "And what considerations do I have Teo? No one //needs/ their gifts. We're just used to them and feel off and vulnerable without them. We live, we go on. The world doesn't stop turning because Claire can't regenerate, and I can't fix your boo boo's or give that company agent back her memories. That Deckard can't see the gold in fort Knox from outside it's walls. The world doesn't care. The bad guys don't care" The piece of meat is slapped down and she sets in on making the stack of cake in earnest. Even if it looks and tastes strange to those without southern tastebuds. It won't be edible until later tonight anyways.

"It sucks. It'll suck until the day god tells me why, or until I somehow miraculously get it back. IT won't ever stop sucking, but at some point, I'll suck it up and grow up and get over it and accept that a shitty thing, in a long ling of shitty things to come I'm sure, was done to me, to a bunch of us and I'll get on with my life as a not so special creature of God's and I'll get married and have lots of little babies and I'll not have to worry about 3 am phonecalls about Felix Ivanov at deaths door or someone in phoenix is shot, or that pretty fly boy got his wings clipped and needs them back. I'm going to eat my fucking pie Teo, my baloney cake, and I'll hate Flint Deckard and god and I'll take a shower and I'll go to class and I'll look for a new job and I'll… live" She's slapping the pieces down with no small amount of force, venting some small manner of anger over everything into safe conduits.

Ghost scrunches Teo's face up into a four-year-old's defensive grimace. He slumps over the edge of the table, deeper into the prop-upright provided by his hands and arms. "I told you I talked to Helena," he points out. "I wouldn't bug your apartment without asking you and Wireless first." He forebears to demand asking what kind of asshole Abigail thinks he is, lest she guess something overly accurate; he doesn't particularly relish the prospect of lying to the Southern belle. Never has.

"I care," he answers. "I'm in the world." Also, according to recentmost updates which Abigail is mysteriously not privvy to, one of 'the bad guys.' "That's kind of like the world caring. You know, I bet the Ferry could help you find a job you'd like, if you wanted. Maybe you can't stuff people's innards back into where they're supposed to be with your magic fingers anymore, but there's always refugees who need somewhere else to say, someplace to stay, someone to organize safehouses and shit, a medic who knows her way around bandages and thread.

"Which isn't to say I don't think the marriage and babies thing isn't a great plan. Or the pie." Which looks delicious, and reminds Ghost that his metabolism can handle it for now. Thick yellow butter gives way, baloney tilting in stacked slices away from the deft management of her blade. He watches this with a drowsing hawk's hooded stare. "But I've known you awhole, gioia, and I think you'd rather be inside the burning house with a bucket of water than flipping past it on the news. And trust me— I've done a little research.

"It's going to burn."

She's gotten used to the feel of the flames licking at her skin, standing beside people in that very metaphorical house. He was right. Teo was always right. She liked feeling useful, even if she was treated very much a commodity and everyone took risks they wouldn't have if they didn't have her "Joy" She murmurs, a little less vigor used to put this slice of baloney down with it's cream cheesed compatriots. "Gioia means joy" Someone's been learning Italian. "They could, if I told them. But I'm not Ben and I won't be for 6 months in the least" The Abby he knows is stuffed in a little corner much like the Teo she knows. Only it's voluntary exile as opposed to forced sequestering that he endures.

Down goes another inch. "How bad?"

"Pretty fucking bad. Worse, without preparation." Ghost pulls his hands off his face, the steepling of his limbs folding down as collapsible as a card house. His chin nests on top of forearms. It is a horrible slouch: his mother would be ashamed.

Teo, in the meantime, apparently isn't. He listens to her identify Italian words and it makes him grin, sharp-cornered, not one bit insincere. "I think Staten Island's clock is ticking. Phoenix and the Ferry probably oughtta come up with a way to close shop there soon. Luckily— 'nd I'm sure you don't hate him enough to think it isn't— Flint should be able to come back to live on Manhattan okay.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen yet. Too many fucking variables at play. But I'd bet money that the Linderman Group is going to crawl out on top, and I'd rather not see our friend boatswains and birds fail utterly while the dogs enjoys their spoils of war." It can't entirely be attributed to muscle memory, the thoughtful knit of Teo's brow, the grim face that adorns every young hero when they are quite ready for their close-up and melodramatic crescendo of orchestral accompaniment. Ghost's thoughts are not entirely unalike to those that used to occupy the baby terrorist's mind.

He's annoyed, more than a little. This isn't the war that he came here to fight.

"He won't come to Manhattan. I already offered to give him Al's room. He turned it down" Abigail's lips purse, proof that she doens't realy hate him, just more the circumstances surrounding them. The tower of baloney a palms width tall gets one last layer slapped onto it. Now comes the fun part. Covering it. 'Good riddance to bad rubbish" Staten Island that is. a glop of cream cheese is slapped on top of the stack as she begins to ice it with the stuff as if the baloney really were a cake.

"What do you need me to do Teo? Because I can't heal anymore. I don't know how to be anything but their miracle healer. That's all I am, all I was and that's no more"

That question strikes Ghost as absurd. However deluded or confusing he may be about many of his perceptions, he remains distinctly aware that he is not exactly in the prime position to be imparting advice to young people even if, technically, that is precisely what he has been doing during his seemingly secret exchanges with Helena Dean and even what he's been marketing to John Logan. That's different, somehow, from speaking to Abigail Beauchamp in the depression of her existential dead-end over a baloney cake.

"I don't think it's really my place to tell you I need you to do anything," he says, with a lopsided half of a smile, all parts rue. He scratches at his chin with a crescent-shaped thumb nail and watches the sculpture of decoration progress prettily, lacey across the roof of the unlikely confection. "But when the law comes, the disenfranchised Evolved will.

"They'll need food, shelter, medical attention, organization, a good shotgun arm, favors and connections. I think your Pastor Sumter is going to be solicited for his services soon— or volunteer," and God knows how Teodoro would have any idea of that, "and he'll need someone he can trust. You know the trouble the church has seen lately." Humanis First!'s interests seem to have slackened off recently, but it is impossible to tell how brief this reprieve might be.

"It's always been your place" Bleu eyes focused as well on the path that her cream cheese takes, covering all the pink of the meat so that one never knows that it's not really a cake. Maybe it's just a really round log, standing up on it's end? She isn't sure if she can be that. THe strong shotgun arm, the .. everything. "I can try" Right? She can always try. She all she's ever had to do. We needs you to kill Kazimir. She can try. We need you to heal this person. She can try. She offers the cream cheesed knife for him to lick when she's done. All so she can freeze the confection for the requisite hours. Freezing is what makes you able to slice it like cake. Enjoy it like cake.

There is probably some nightmarishly lewd joke you could make about Teo sucking cream cheese icing off a knife, but fortunately, no one immediately available is the sort to make one. He happily grasps knife by handle and goes about his business with teeth and tongue, while the young woman turns away and places the cake inside the freshly-stocked refrigerator. Pila continues to remark, unabated, in the living room. Ghost refrains from pointing out that the last time they had spoken, she hadn't thought so; last time they had spoken, they'd fought.

A whole other can of worms, that. It is kind of nice to be agreeing again. Obscurely, he wonders if Walter has gotten her to come around in 2019, 'yet.' If he had left a corpse around anywhere they could find it, that probably would have sped up the process somewhat. Ghost has no way of knowing how long this particular incarnation of their friendship is going to last.

Scratch of chair legs, and then he clops over to the sink. Begins to rinse saliva and smear-whorled dairy off the dull blade, squirting a little detergent in underneath the wipe of his thumb to help. "You'll always be a lot fucking more than a charming anecdote in my Phoenix scrapbook. You know that, right?"

Walter probably has, but then again, maybe she'd moved with flint to some place not New York and start over their new life away from stuff. Who knows, it's not 2019. The bright future could have winked out of existence. "I'll be a charming paragraph" She manages to joke as the lid of the cream cheese is sealed and tossed into the fridge to remain cool for when she has a desire for a little extra cream cheese on her slice. "I'm sorry Teo, I'm all sorts lost right now ad trying hard to find my way up. North. It's hard, and I don't have a right to complain. But it is, and i'm.." She's what? "How's Sonny taking your.. behavior?" Deflect onto something else, even as there's voluntary contact from the blonde to Teo's head, rubbing at the velvet stubble and enjoying the feel of it against her palm.

The deflection is not precisely welcome, for unhappy reasons that would probably send Sonny himself into convulsions of rage. "Not well." An understatement, no doubt. "I haven't really been around to see him.

"The shit I'm doing can't be associated with Phoenix for the usual array of fucked up reasons." It's absurd and stupid forever, that the appointed white knight has always been the one treading the moral grays of Phoenix's business. The velvet bristle of Teo's skull planes under Abby's fingers, familiar as ever; even the faint knot of layered scar tissue, invisible to simple sight, where she had closed up his forehead after the extrication of a bullet and a buckled titanium plate, before. Touched, he holds a little more still and that, too, is familiar.

"I hope we can sort it out but I don't really expect forgiveness from him. Or anyone else, honestly. I owe a lot of people better explanations than I've got." Including several to Abigail herself, but as long as she isn't asking for any, Ghost is left to assume that she doesn't yet know. He angles her a sheared-off fragment of a grin over his shoulder and dries his hands on terrycloth, pulls his jacket straight over the webbed crease of the holster underneath.

"There anything you need me to do?"

Just like Richard. Like Elisabeth. "Help Flint. He's having a hard time with it. He's gonna waste away Teo. He's so skinny, he's gonna be worse than I was coming off the island. His eye is probably sucking away all of his energy" She allows herself one more swipe of her hand across his head, memorizing the nooks and crags beneath the flesh, the gentle rasp of it all against her palm before she turns him so she can wrap her arms around him and bury her face in that shadow between shoulder and neck. "Pray for me Teo"

Behind the fourth wall, an entire auditorium of viewers shrieks. Don't touch him. Don't touch him. Get away, run. He'll—

Hug you right back, inexplicably gentle, as tentative to do this now as he was then. After ten years' training in brutality, he certainly wouldn't be any less wary of his own capacity for destruction. No. Though Ghost's general sense of self-worth has replenished in full and then some, he's under no illusion about the genre and nature of his ego's investments. You can't be win them all, and you certainly can't be good at everything. Teodoro Laudani still isn't the best one at hugs.

Bent almost double around her torso, even if she's fatter now, his arms are a clumsy but well-meaning fit. He smells of acrid things: gunmetal, motorcycle exhaust, grease, and of recent wash and sparingly-applied cologne. His nose sifts briefly through the soapmilk of her hair, familiar and warm, not yet complicated by the algid cling of hospital chemicals. It is difficult to remember, though not bad, that she is more the girl who told him not to scratch at his mosquito bites under the dappled kudzu than the mother whose family he had threatened with a whistling apocalypse. More because of this than because he has found his faith again, he says:


They're both bad at giving hugs. On her part because she's an avid avoider of physical contact through years of necessitating the lack of contact through inability to control that which she no longer needs to worry about. He smells deep down, still like Teo. Though without the occasional whiff of Al's soap, or the underlying scent of Sonny still clinging to him. Wether he's actually carry through with the praying for her is something else entirely. But it's tight this time, not a stranglehold or a bear hug by any means but it's lacking the fleeting quality that it had before. That it still had in the years to come. It's a wonder to many that she even had enough personal contact to even produce children. That did mean touching. Generally. <Insert Conrad Wozniak comment about all you need is love, and a turkey baster.>

"Be safe. I don't know what you did to get them in a tizzy and I probably don't want to know. Careful around Pinehearst. There's a man named Adam Monroe around. He's dangerous too. There's probably a thousand other things I should warn you about, but odds are, you know them already. If you get hurt, go to flint. He'll heal you. I know he'll heal you because you're like me. You give a damn about him"

He'll have to explain, soon. About what he really knows, of how it goes with Abigail and with Flint, of how flawed their happiness persists or how happy their flaws remain, somehow, barring police ball clusterfucks and God knows what else. When they eventually round up enough of a mob and get their pitchforks and torches and demand blood, explanations, or some chunky red puree of both. She isn't wrong: she doesn't want to know.

"I do." He roughs the agreement down in her ear and gently pulls himself away, first the solid plateau of his chest and then his arms, one by one. Making fists out of his hands, he pockets both, angles off toward the living room to offer his farewells to Pila. Glister and click, the lariat string of quartz draws his attention, very briefly. His voice floats over, uncertain the way that hope definitively is. "You know I love you, right?"

"With all your scruffy Italian heart" Abigail calls back, hands on the counter and looking down at the remaining baloney. "You know I love you too yes?" There's few who can lay claim to her love. Her like, yes. Her love, no.

Either this isn't the time to be maudlin, or it's the best and only. Teo and Pila regard each other in short-lived silence. "Yeah," he says, presently. "I do." And he never forgets; it's what had made their last conversation so difficult, that deceptive good-bye, and Walter's soccer season coming. His shoulders square. He prods Pila once, gently down the breastbone, begins to slink off to the door. "Oi." Ghost's objection starts out facetious. "Ragazza, my heart isn't scruffy. It's just—"

He doesn't finish that thought.

She comes to the doorway of the kitchen at his objection, wiping away at something just inside her eyes. "It's just?" She comes further out to take up the lariat and study it carefully, her thumb caressing the cross and in turn the hearts as she turns it this way and that. "Your heart just is Teo" walking to the door, since presumably that was the way that he came in. In her mind. <Stay safe my friend> in broken Italian, the cadence of one who is learning it not by osmosis from immersion in the culture but from a computer screen and textbooks. <Visit when safe>.

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