Maybe There Was An Emergency


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Scene Title Maybe There Was An Emergency
Synopsis Abby and Teo come home after Dreyfus' visit and discover the scene left behind.
Date April 26, 2010

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

The brownstone home, number 57 on West 11th Street, is three floors tall, all old brown brickwork as the name implies. A curving stepped stoop leads up to the door, wrought iron barring it off from its neighbours, with the building's number in brass nailed into the painted wood without any glass inset to give a glimpse of the space within.

Once inside, the immediate hardwood foyer offers space to hang up coats and set aside shoes, with a wooden, open flight of stairs curving up into the second floor. The first opens up into three designated areas — a spacious livingroom with a rug of earthern tones thrown in the centre, a generous hearth set into the wall with traditional log-burning capabilities. The walls are exposed brickwork, lined with shelving of a slowly growing book collection. Next to it is a dining area defined as such by an oval dining table, generous and able to expand to sit up to eight people, and usually littered with too many things to be good to eat at until cleared. The kitchen is barred off from the rest with a counter, all stainless steel appliances and a sliding door that leads into a modest backyard. Tucked away to the right is a laundry, cramped but sufficient.

The second floor has more walls, closed off areas — a master bedroom with a connecting bathroom, a hallway that slides between the stairwell and said bathroom, into unfurnished open space that provides linen closets and such storage. The third floor is similar, if reversed, and almost designed to be its own separate apartment, with a bedroom and bathroom at the back of the house, an open social space with a squat coffeetable, and an open, unfurnished space with a balcony hanging off it, street-side. The stairwell spirals all the way up into rooftop access.

Key scrapes lock in the sturdy grip of Teo's gloved hand, but the tumblers don't shift and the door doesn't come open because it was already sliding against the forming rim of slick ice of refrozen meltwater at the base of the door, a mild, half-inch's symptom what winter has crept a little too far into the brownstone house than it should have been allowed to.

"Careless vecchio," is out of the Sicilian's mouth, a fond and complacent complaint, a split-second before that sour chord of unease starts in the back of his head. "Apparently the E.R. paged him. Or something else important. He left in a hero's hurry."

Sometimes, it doesn't pay at all to know you're too paranoid. You don't trust your instincts, even if you don't trust anybody else, either.

Early morning floods sunlight the foyer in golden rhombuses for the ceiling and the floor, exhales a crisp breath into the stale fold of centrally-heated air. He drags the door wider to grant Abby ingress. The two cut a silhouette familiar to many, by now, and the house is one of those, the man with the hooligan's pelvically-dislocating saunter swinging round-shouldered through his frame, and the girl with a full head of the sun's hair and a demeanor well-suited to its warmth.

"I'll call him," he says, phone clicking flat in the grasp of his hand, keys jingling snagged as they are on the hook of his finger. "Either wake his ass up in bed, or make him bring home breakfast. What do you wa—?"

The words die. His breath with it, and an arrhythmic jolt of his heart. The Sicilian's eyes meet the roostertailed shape of the unlikely shadow slashed scab-brown across the wall.

"Maybe there was an emergency Teo. He is allowed to have emergencies without us around. Abigail hasn't taken fresh painkillers yet, drawing it out with Advil so that she's not loopy until she gets into bed. The door is closed with a tap of her crutches, the two homesec's who surfaced partway through their return back to normalacy are left out in their van in the cold.

"Be nice to him. He's probably had just as long a night as we have" She leans her weight to one side, start peeling off hat and gloves though pauses when Teo's words are cut off. A shift of weight again brings her to follow his gaze and her own heart stops. "Blood"

Crutches make a quickened thud on the floor as she ptiches forward at a pace she didn't even know that she could do, heading towards the brown drying liquid. "FRANCOIS!" She calls out, unknowing of whether he could answer or not.

There is of course silence, save for the sudden cacophony their presence brings with them. Up until that point, the house had been at peace, though they don't know exactly how quiet it had been until they'd stepped inside.

It's all something of a trashy murder movie scenario, but no one ever said that the Vanguard weren't into dramatics, or cleaned up after themselves. The splintered wine glass landed somewhere on the hard wood of the foyer just a few feet from the bottom of the staircase, and starbust out its fragments from there, and the stagnant merlot is a brighter red than the blood that's becoming flaky and stiff on the ground. Looks browner, but unmistakeable. It's messy, various smears where it hasn't allowed to just spatter in droplets or even pool like it does in one place.

There's a lot of it, and rather than expand from the foyer, it goes up the stairs in a myriad of patterns. Dripping, smearing, dragging. The walls and railings remain clean. The usual notes of aroma of the house — cleaner, freshener, the burn of wood and occasionally the individual scents those that live here take with them — are tinged with the uncomfortable scene of a short lived battle field.

Gunmetal is grinding and clicking out into ready between Teo's hands before he's even snatched together the bemused retort to say, "He's supposed to call me if there are emergencies." He is. That's how relationships work, particularly ones prone often to emergencies, where 'emergencies' is a fairly specific term, and not to be used lightly. Possibly, Abigail hadn't meant it that way. That's neither here nor there, though, because Francois isn't.

Francois would appear to be spattered, streaked, and smeared everywhere, and it's like someone had tapped his vein and shoved a spigot into Teo's wrist, the way his face drains as he stares across the blood. Absurdly, it is Abigail who reacts first, and it isn't until her crutches have hit the floor that Teo's feet have left it.

His boots hit the planed wood like a drum. He almost slips when he turns on the landing, the rubber teeth of his sole greased through by a raking mess of gritty slush, his wrist banging a divot into the wall because Abigail's using the railing, his legs roping the steps four-by-four until he lands on his knee, ignores the floral burst of a bruise promising to open up on the joint, and even that the Para-Ordnance nearly went off and pegged a round into the hallway wall.

Teo hits the door hard enough to strangle a whine out of its hinges, and the shower curtain's rings sing like a xylophone against the knob's banging rebound.

"Francois" Abigail bleats repeatedly, crutches abandoned to the first floor as she follows Teo up teh stairs, not caring that she's not supposed to be putting weight on her foot even remotely yet. Most of her weight on the rails and forcibly hauling herself upwards and following the trail of blood.

Teo beats her, due to his mobility and she sits at the top, letting Teo find and locate the frenchman first, digging out her phone and stabbing at the quick dial to the agents parked in the van outside. A courtesy really, to let them dial 911 and come barging in. "Come on, pick up!" Yelled into the phone, any and all care to remain calm is promptly thrown out the door when they answer. "Call an ambulance, there's blood everywhere. Francois was here" Could still be here, is likely here. The line is left open, dropped to the floor so she can crawl after him to the bathroom.

In Teo's loping wake, the trail leads up onto the carpeted second floor, bypasses the bedroom to make a direct route into a bathroom with door now bullied open, a glove-fingered smear on its clean surface when it was batted at one stage or another.

The glistening silver piano wire that extends from the showerhead is almost thin enough to go unseen, but catches the light inevitably, down to where it wraps tight around Francois' bent, slashed throat, digging into torn skin gone scarlet. He hangs from the garrote with his legs useless and crumpled beneath him, unconscious or dead with skin the approximately shade of white ashes where blood hasn't soaked it.

Blood being an assault both on one's sense of smell and the sight of it, turning his torn blue sweater a murky, muddy colour, staining down the denim of his jeans as far as his ankles, and pooling richly in the bathtub he hangs in, feet as useful as dead things in the slippery surface. His arms are clearly bound behind his back, if unseen by what from this angle, but when seen, his wrists are lashed together with the same breed of metal wire, tight enough to cut when he struggled, and he did, apparently, with his sleeves soaked in red. If he's breathing, he's not doing very much of it to be noticeable from there, and there are other distractions — a fresh head injury, the usually proud line of his nose broken, black and blue bruising out to beneath his eyes.

Said eyes are not dead-fish open and staring, at least, slid shut as if asleep.

There's nothing to shoot, which is problematic. Teo has a gun to use, nothing to use it on. Or maybe it's just as well: he's tired, and out of order somehow, almost drops the semi-auto without safetying it. He gets an arm around Francois' knee, winds up with one of his legs troughed awkwardly into the bathtub, running brown water across the bottom of the ceramic while he gropes a hand up and up to snatch at the shower rod.

It comes out of its sockets with a cracking squeal of splitting solder, then a ridiculous, throaty whonnnng of noise channelled through the hollow metal in the obnoxiously beautiful, sonorous note of a wind chime, and bouncing echoes across the blood-caked tiles. Teo's knees bend slightly, precarious in their diagonal sprawl through the bathroom's cramped quarters, tub sticking up against one calf, bath mat bunched stickily under his other boot, what would appear to be a corpse lying cello against one shoulder and the world's unlikelist bow glinting in his grip.

He gets a forefinger out, prods it against the slick, rubbery bar of Francois' throat, hooking it on the wire. "Francois is here," he corrects, three seconds late. Clopping, and then a slithering thump of two bodies making a decelerated fall onto the floor; Teo's leather-clad foot jabs into the peripheral of the girl's vision, out through the doorway. The weather probably can not account entirely for the fact that Teodoro can't feel his fucking face right now. "Abby. He's been hanging by the fucking neck."

"Felix was hung! Felix lived!" Abigail barks out at him, displacing anger as she makes her way in on her knee's, caring very little about what it will do to her clothes or to her cast where it sticks out above woolen layers of socks. Felix had a healer to help him, and a regenerator. They don't have a healer. Not at all.

She finishes pulling her gloves off with her teeth, spitting them to the side so she can put two fingers on his neck, aim to try and get a pulse from his neck, all her being focused on the hope for fluttering under her fingers.

Of which there is

"He's alive… Teo, he's alive. He's alive, lay him down, lay him down on the ground, and find.. he's got medical supplies somewhere, find me gauze, find.. anything you can okay? IV's, bags of saline, I know he has those, I've brought some for him." Hurt and injured she may be, the EMT still is a part of her and she's getting things in order, working on how to stabalize him and keep him that way till the ambulance can get here.

A butterfly winging flutter beneath Francois' clammy skin is Abby's discovered pulse, and the gash in his neck grins like his slack mouth can't right now. He's dead weight on the ground, arms awkward under his back and skin cold to touch — breathing, though, which seems kind of like a senseless automatic function, some appliance switched on while people have meanwhile left the house. There's not even a reaction, no matter how tiny, when his left leg jars during the necessary movements it takes to get him to stop hanging by the neck.

Down here the damage is more overt, in that the fabric around his left knee has stretched tight around the swelling of an obviously dislocated joint, which is the least of their collective worries. If there's any more to him than the breathing in and out of air or the weak pump of his heart, greasy bleeding from the wrists and throat that's slowed a worrying amount, it certainly doesn't show behind a pale and bruised face.

Teo scratches the zipper down his jacket, is fighting his way out of it in brusque movements that nearly get in the way more than they help, catching around the bend of his wrist, creaking at the seams. He shoves it away, off into the corner, and starts ruining the fabric of his sweater. Splits off one scrap, two scraps, wide enough to cover— to cover what? There's blood everywhere, Mary mother of God, what the fuck is he supposed t'—

His wrists, then. Teo sends wire shimmering out of the way just far enough to wind up with his fingers doubled over the wadded cotton, applying enough pressure that his tendons stand out under the skin of his arms, the other strip flattened down on the severed column of throat. Obscurely, Teo realizes that his leg isn't providing the flat of Francois' back with a very comfortable padding. Maybe Francois is alive enough to notice.

Abigail wouldn'tve made up the 'alive' part, anyway. He acquiesces to shift it out of the way, leaving Francois in his roadkill sprawl in the frame of one bent leg. "They should be in the closet," he says, his voice a croak, nodding at the door across the hall from them. How convenient. "Below the towels. Next to the dry sheets."

There's a moment where she might point out that he's not got plaster wrapped around his foot and can move without hindrance. But he's Teo's lover and significant other and so she wheels around, going out of the room into the hall so she can grab the doorknob, twist it and let the door open. Inside is the towels, sheets, the first is thrown back towards the bathroom for Teo to use and get them out of the way so that she can grab the kit. "Up here!" She yells, in case the agents are coming in.

There's what she wants though, grabbing it and up she goes, using her hand on the wall to get up and bend over, drag out the container marked medical supplies. Sprawling back into the bathroom she goes, more bruises to be added to her own collection. "Scissors, scissors" cold fingers snap off the lid, looking. This isn't her case, if it was she'd know where it all would be. "Get.. get him on IV's and we can.. we can load him into their van. They can get him to a hospital faster than if we wait for an ambulance" She'd normally advocate waiting, but this is Francois and she doens't care and nor is she on duty to worry about protocol. Scissors.

They're brandished and she's quickly slicing up his pant leg, avoiding going for his arm. Maybe another day she'll blush about where she's going to be shoving some needles on his inner thigh. "Grab gauze, Around his neck Teo, now and start yelling for the agents to find us."

Teo isn't sure what to do with the towels at first; takes them, though, and figures the rest out intuitively as he goes along. Pads the width of the Frenchman's shoulders as if to try and stoke some semblence of living warmth back in his cooling skin, one-handed, while he uses the other to pack slow-dyeing cotton around Francois' broken hands, first, and then gauze around his neck, the apple of Francois' throat cupped in his hand like a Biblical story, and he has some difficulty registering what's happening with the pant leg and the flash of needle before the woman's ideas filter through clear as a bell.


"Homeland Security! Help!" He has to stop, then, because his voice is grinding at funny angles off the inside as his throat, so he has to clear it with a cough. "Assholes— hurry up. Don't make me shoot my fucking gun through the fucking ceiling." Teo will, too. It's right there, and no doubt, the flash of muzzle and resonance of the gunpowered discharge would bring them running even if Teodoro's voice can't quite reach.

In goes one needle, two attempts needed, Abigail's hands shaking, praying that whatever she's got, it's sure as hell not going to manifest in a touch with Francois. BUt she gets one in, tapes it down. Check, recheck, attach the saline and then squeeze the bag for all that she's worth to get the liquid into him faster.

"«He'll live Teodoro. He'll live. I promise. I won't let him die»" Lapsing into Italian in a vain attempt to comfort him. "«You'll be making love to each other in no time»" Elsewhere in the house, two men are barging through, guns out and clearing rooms on their way to the trio upstairs.

"I'll get Peter Teo, I'll get peter and we'll take Sasha's healing and we'll fix Francois"

Nerves and tense situations combine to produce the strangest of psychological and psychosocial effects, sometimes. The second line of Italian that trips Abigail's rapid-firing mouth. Did she just—?

He'd always thought it was a little odd, how her defining modesty and prudishness abruptly vaporized at those certain times when sex in the context of his relationship with Francois arises. There are a number of ways Teodoro could interpret that, but he doesn't have the concentration enough for the vast majority of them or the subtleties of their intimations. An absurd smile cracks the front of Teo's face instead, flares gummily pink-fringed through the scarred rift in his cheek.

Teo's head falls forward, even as he hears the distant thunderclap of the front door opening, footfalls. He doesn't have to see the gun to picture them. His forehead pillows itself briefly on Francois' shoulder, a moment before he takes a breath, smells the organic stink of blood and another algid metallic undertone that insists, contrary to common sense, it's the steel of drawn wire. At least he doesn't laugh.

Dreyfus needs to be a long while dying. "Promettere?"

"Promettere" Abigail speaks, gaze dropping to Francois and checking his pulse again even as help arrives. "Promettere"

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