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Scene Title Me-hi-co
Synopsis Southward bound, to save the world and Flint Deckard respectively, Teo and Abby spent a little time together with companionable cake. Then Teodoro springs upon her his plan to keep her alive even if the world is not saved, while Abby requires of him A Promise to bring all of the Apollo operatives back safe and sound. Despite some incompatibility of hypothetical scenarios, both blondes commit.
Date January 5, 2010

Piece of Cake Bakery

Just outside of it!

Believe it or not, the hybrid Teo inherited his penchant for sweet things from the ghost, rather than the younger counterpart. 'Sweet things' are not to be mistaken for genteel or spun sugar behavior, naturally.

Today, he and his former-now-current roommate are at the Peace of Cake bakery, making a supercilious examination of the young assistant working the counter from across the floor. He is new. Kind of hamfisted. Put a notch in the wavy cream mountain of Teo's meringue with his careless handling, and gave Abigail the wrong change. Stiffened like an offended cat, Teodoro has mumbled secret suspicions that this shadey character is stealing from Hadley's till. Abigail (correctly) surmised that the Sicilian's behavior was making the younger man nervous, so now they are sitting on the slender bench just outside the bakery's homely-lit front window.

Fat jackets, a companionable huddle, paper boxes and plastic utensils. There are too many cars going past to make a game of counting, even if he does only red and she does only blue. "Your barber looks white," Teo says. Not that he ran a background check or anything. "Are you sure he's who you want to take to Me-hi-co?"

"He's going to be fine. Plus, he's Flints friend and if things don't go well down there, he can at least be a shoulder for Flint after I've broken his heart" Abigail points out with her fork before then pointing out two blue cars that pass. She's ahead right now in their little game. Her toes wriggle beneath the woolen sock to keep blood flowing. Her utensil drifts over quickly to partake of Teo's treat with an offer for him to do that same if he so wishes.

"Besides, my stylist has family down there. Not right where Flint is, but he speaks it fluently and if all goes to hell, he can sing us out of most every pickle. I mean, there's you, but you have to be ready to go at any moment I don't think Elias would like it is I asked him to drop you off in the middle of a carrier ship. I think that might freak him out. And Veornica, well, she's occupied elsewhere in the world and Brenda, well. She's stated she can't cross the border, something about some marijuana charges crossing the border, I didn't tell her she didn't need to worry about the border"

So many borders. Teo closes and opens his eyes, permits his friend A Bite of his precious (if war-wounded) meringue. Complying with good ol' American quid-pro-quo, he then makes off with a few prongs' worth of chocolate fudge from hers. 'Me-hi-co.' Occasionally, Teo's foreignness rears its wee idiot head with failure to distinguish between 'official' metonyms and cheesy personalized nicknames. Weezyanna is more often the victim of this trend. "I wish I could take you," he admits, after a moment, but she already knew that, and they both already know that the carrier awaits, even if Elias is unavailable for chauffeur duty. Flint hits his girlfriend, a nuke named after a half-pint Englishwoman goes missing, terrorists and governments join hands, and the little blue world merely shrugs and keeps on spinning. The countdown keeps on ticking.

He glances down. Up again. Misses two red cars in the process.

"I figured out a map of small-to-mid-sized that probably aren't going to flood if the poles go melt," he blurts, suddenly. His thumb squeezes quite around plastic. "Near Mexico and near 's possible to here. And generators, known Ferry larders— money won't mean anything in an economy that's an eighth the size of ours."

That brings about pursed lips while blue eyes stare down into her death by chocolate concoction before she just nods her head. "Let me guess, this is your … back up plan for me, this go around but with far less needles and much more urging to spend my money on non-perishble goods and stock up em before I head on out to Mexico?" She remembers the last apocalypse and the vial of antidote that he sent swirling through her veins all in the name of having a second chance.

Her fork bites down into her own desert to add chocolate to other sweet that traces across her tongue and then to squint at Teo with a resigned sigh. She'd been trying not to think of that, of impending doom, nuclear danger and possibly having to swim for it. Idly it crosses her mind whether she should start walking around with a garbage bag taped around her cast in case at any given moment, tidals of water might come swirling between buildings. plaster for broken bones will be at a premium post flooding.

A shrug jimmies awkwardly at the line of Teo's shoulders. He's almost embarrassed about this. He remembers the antidote scenario. "You know me pretty well, signorina." That would be a Yes. Every time the world ends, he proposes a course of escape that happens to require, indirectly, stepping on other people's heads to get there, but though he can imagine doing different, he can not imagine his actions or agendas ending any better.

Not even for the Queen of England, Megan Fox, or his mother spared instead. "If you have a hotline to Elias, that'll make movement easy and fast enough to keep abreast of… the, uh, catastrophic panic and riots and clusterfucks that blow up once people realize something's coming from the sea. Traffic will turn to slogging shit. I've never seen an paramilitary effort like Operation Apollo, though: maybe they can stop it. It's possible. I'm just being…" 'Silly' seems like the wrong word. Teo's brow knits, perturbed, in the middle of his face.

The mutilated rift in the corner of his mouth continues to smile, maniacally blithe, but it doesn't do much to detract from his troubled expression. No doubt, the cake counter boy could corroborate.

"You wouldn't have said it if you didn't already know the answer to unspoken question. You know that I'll start moving things to wherever, and take stuff with me to Mexico just in case. I have Elias's number, I'll warn him so that he can get the folks he cares about safe first. I'll tuck away a copy of the ferryman stashes. I have faith though Teo. I have faith that they can pull this off, that we won't be swimming and that the lord will see fit to make it all work out for the better"

She always has such blind faith, no matter how buried it is under other mountains of emotions and worry at any given time. It pushes through it all like some small fragile plant through topsoil. Like the chocolate vine that thrives along the one wall of the home above the bar did through the soil and cement that Daphne coaxed it from.

"I'm going to hold you to the same promise Teodoro. You have to promise to live as if there is tomorrow. Not like we'll be underwater. And if you do live, you need to see Flint. You need to see him about the side of your mouth. He can fix it and give you back your smile. I know how vain you can be and why you're growing that shaggy thing you call a beard but… You need to smile again"

For a moment, Teo's mind's eye almost chime-flicks into double-vision, a sense of deja-vu so sharp it almost hurts. It's nothing serious. Just— you know. After Leonard died, he grew his scalp and face out in 2012, and that sort of drive Abigail mad then, too, despite that the grace of Southern good manners prevented her from actually creeping out of bed from Johann's side and ambushing his mop with scissor-bladed retribution while Teo slept on the couch or anything like that. He grins, suddenly. Without even really meaning to.

"I don't need vanity for that," he points out, and though a shade of wry timidity shades over his mirth the next moment, the 'smile' does hold, as it were. "Okay. Promise. If— assuming," Teo switches over. Assuming, "there's an 'after,' I'll see Flint. And hopefully his buddy ol' pastor, too. 'Nd Hana. Assuming there's an 'after,' everyone's going to finally fucking come home for a little while."

"Joseph's not with him. I don't know where Joseph is and that worries me. I'm worried that maybe he gave in to that blue devils liquid and he's passed out somewhere with a needle in his arm" Her dislike of Refrain is plain as day on her face. He's made it to the top of her prayers since finding out Flint was hoofing it out alone in the deserts of Mexico. "Girls have orders to call me if he surfaces"

Her concoction is placed down to the side, having hit her limit/fill of sweet treats and oblivious to the double vision that Teo is receiving with regards to her behavior mimicking what her counterpart in a different future behaved like. Despite that the two are obviously very different people. She could heal from where he came from. Here? Here she's mundane, like everyone else and Teo is the special one.

Abigail inhales deeply in the cool winter air. "If we make it, the lot of us, I'm going to blow money. I'm going to rent some place, somewhere, I don't know where yet. Maybe I'll get Caliban to help me find some place." Somehow Russia has altered things between her and the Linderman PR rep. Whether it was that stolen caress in the park or the willingness to sacrifice herself for him, it's changed. "If the world is how it should be like it is right now, I'm going to throw a party, big party. A happy legal age Abigail, the world is whole party. Be a fancy thing with fancy food and music and … and everything."

Or maybe she'll just not, and just celebrate it like she did the year before, with a quiet night in a karaoke bar where half the people in attendance had fake identities and everyone enjoyed themselves and forgot about the last impending doom above their heads. Damocles's sword has been, always is a constant companion for many in their social circle. Hell and damnation right around the corner and waiting with the hangman's noose.

"This was not what I ever wanted when I was growing up. To be a girl who ran around, trying to plug holes, save the world, jumping from one catastrophe or devastating situation to the next without a thought as to what might happen. I didn't dream of being kidnapped and of viruses running rampant through the world or of somewhere there would be a bomb and my friends would be racing towards it in the hopes of being there to stop it before the red lights say zero zero zero zero"

She looks down at the rooster that peers above her sock. "Or a french cock on my leg"

Teo opens his mouth. Closes it again. French cock on your leg; he's experienced worse things, and found that one to not— be— yeah, anyway.

"I love parties. And fuck, hey, you're right: if Apollo goes off all right, there's a whole seventeen-point-three percent probability that the government really is going to wipe Phoenix and the remnants' records clean, so they could go to your party." He exhales through his teeth, tries not to smile harder since that makes the wall of his mouth and the severed muscles of his cheek feel weird. He likes that, though. The idea of Abigail having a huge party for her 21st, fraught with debauchery and the unseen delights previously obstructed by her legal age. Which for her, probably— means a bigger budget and a few more cocktails. He doesn't think Flint can fix his face, but that doesn't mean he's afraid to show up anyway.

Maybe Teo's vanity isn't all dead yet. "I think this is what I wanted to do when I was growing up," Teo says, after a moment. "Then I grew up and wanted to become a schoolteacher. Never can have too many surprises, non?" The vast majority of the meringue is swabbed up with a rake of his fork, leaving only a puffy whorl of citrusy cream.

"I was gonna be my momma. In my dresses and my apron and making cake for church socials and making my husband happy" Domesticated, happy homemaker with a handful of children around her feet and her husband coming home to hot dinner, a clean house, shirts pressed. A stepford christian wife. The age of 15 changed all that of course when her parents found out what she could do. What she wanted as a child would never come to be. Even now, it won't ever come to be because it's not the way her heart is wired any longer.

Even now, her hands still itch to rest on someone and dreg up that familiar feeling that she won't ever feel from this side of her skin. Her box is closed, put into a plastic bag so that she can pick it up once she's done reaching for her crutches and anchoring her hands around the cool aluminum. If you asked her if right now she was happy, she couldn't tell you. SHe'd tell you she used to be happy, and feel useful. Now she feels something else.

This isn't the bright future and there is having of cake and eating it to. In this place, Johan is a fellow student and Flint, Flint hurt her in anger. In this future there's no children, no healing ability, no brownstone in brooklyn and no nursing job side by side with Eileen and dinners with with Gabriel.

It's dark. "Come on. I want to go to the movies. If you're gonna take off soon, I want to spend some time with you. I want to see Nine, and people singing and then we can go out for ice cream or we can get some KFC for the ferryhouse with all the kids and go channel our inner child and let them decorate my foot. Francois's rooster is lonely" And she doesn't want to dwell and be sad.

No-one-knoows the trouble-I've-seeeen. Teo's eyes narrow slightly and the line of his mouth can't, for a moment, decide whether it wants to be a smile or a frown. In this future—

It's too soon to tell. It's always too soon to tell. Changing the future is as pointless as making the attempt is inevitable. Maybe Arthur Petrelli would have come 'round. He can only imagine the number of time-travelers, mages, probability-plotters and maladjusted young men and women have gone into making and remaking the timeline that he now lives in decades or centuries back in a history that no longer feels relevant. Maybe Abigail was going to be okay, when the power finally got to Arthur's head. Maybe Johann'll get to live, in this one. Maybe.

It's the price Teo has to wonder about, and he can't do that without remember what the ghost was willing to pay. "Nine," he says, before his expression locks too far in with the dwelling and sadness that Abigail is chasing out of this situation with her crutch's tinny click and ring, like warding off bad spirits.

She could say she felt happy, back then, but she was as often frightened too, grass is greener, though it certainly was easier for her to save lives, back then. Easier to heal. Maybe easier to kill, too, that was to condemn the little troupe of temporally displaced Phoenix operatives to death at Petrelli's hands instead of Volken's with her own, but only because she had more to fight for, then. There is blood, chaos, and hard decisions in every chapter they write. "Is that the on with the ragdoll people? All movies are called 'nine' these days. District 9 with its relevant commentary, Nine Yards—" Teo's gotten this one wrong. It's The Whole Nine Yards, and it's old. "And I can draw too.

"I could draw a hen, and a skinny old scarecrow sulking near her," he offers, picking himself up. Box and plastic utensil, too, his own before reaching to assist with hers. Teo's smiles, doesn't show teeth— except for the scar-brindled slash already wrenched through. A few minutes too late, it occurs to him maybe it's as much that Deckard couldn't fix him as why he'd try. A backward glance sends the shop boy ducking away inside the bakery. "I like chicken fried, too. But the film first."

She had everything to fight for then. Ten years from now her world revolved around two children, a man who married her - Because the world was ending and it gave him the courage to do so - and her father. She doesn't remember then, Teo's n ever told her much maybe in the fear of altering at least something that seems - seemed - to be panning out. She had been willing to stand aside and watch Gillian die for the sake of her babies and her world.

"Musical. About a director who's making his next movie and is having troubles. It's set in Italy. Penelope Cruz prances about in a corset" She dangles the bait in front of him. A movie about italia. "Fergie from the black eye'd pea's sings about being Italian. One of the girls at the bar said I should go watch it. I think it would be a good thing to watch with you. Being your Italian" There's a tease in her voice, an attempt to lighten the situation and bring it back away from the brink of nuclear bombs, displaced abilities residing in other people, cats and dogs working side by side for the common good of mankind.

She pauses verbally at the comment about a hen and a scarecrow on her leg which drawns down dirty blonde brows and shoots Teo a wondering look. "A hen and a scarecrow. Is that supposed to be a joke about myself and flint?" The box is given up without protest to the sicilian to carry. It free's her up to walk properly. Soon, maybe, she'll be in a different kind of cast or if she lets him touch her, no cast.

Key's are dug out, buttons pressed to make the vehicle start up on it's own accord half a block away so that hopefully by the time they get to it, it will be warm and delightful, toasty as certain hybrid Italians enjoy the weather. Doors unlock at a click of a button and she carries on hobbling.

What should I do. When I get there? Should I send someone to get him? Go to where he is? Wait a few days and then head on out. It's not like I go chasing into deserts after missing people on a regular basis" She really doesn't. That's Teo's job. Finding people. Making them see common sense or rescuing them. she's usually the rescuee.

Flint wouldn't let Teo rescue him if he folded a helmet out of tin and tied a lace kerchief perfumed with Abby's choice in fragrance to the muzzle of his Glock. Teo's skills will be useless in Me-hi-co. From here out, it's all Abigail— to Abigail's benefit, hopefully, or the Sicilian can't see a different way about it, anyway. Flint may have abandoned Manhattan in the winter with her unaccountably adrift in Russia, but he didn't leave her locked out behind reinforced steel alone in the rain.

"I don't joke about you and Flint!" he answers, companionably. His features go still, though, considering that; finding it true, he chooses sobriety. He has finished his cake. Faces are what you make with your face when you joke. The answering chirp of her car lifts his head briefly, despite that he knows where it is and what it looks like, that it's whole, and he's already by default called shotgun unless he feels like lounging full-body across the backseat and getting his socked feet all over the metropolitan road safety rules. "When you get there…

"When you get there, you— tell him you care about him. And he can't just scare you off of doing different from what he wants with an open hand like some stupid kid. Try and figure out why he's in Mexico. What's in Mexico; or what isn't. 'Nd whether or not—" Teo has spoken all of this in the tone of speculation, low, his shoulders squared up like hackles and his chin sunken slightly as if in defense against the cold. "And whether it's better for him to be there, I guess. I'd like the fucker to come home, though. I would. But whether you bring him back, or ask him to… Well. That's the other thing you have to do, I guess, but for you, not for him. Fuck. I could leave the scarecrow out," Teo adds, after a moment, with a rueful sort of effort.

"I'm good at drawing eagles, actually. US Citta di Palermo's, anyway: my old football team's mascot." He delivers boxes and biodegradable plastic into the nearest trashcan, then squeezes his hands around the cellphone hibernating in his left pocket, the warm lint in his right.

"An eagle it is. A french resistance symbol and then a soccer teams mascot. The kids can fill in the rest while we all get greasy hands" She's replying to the light hearted stuff first while she gets oriented with regards to getting into her SUV, crutches tossed into the back and things adjusted. Seatbelt goes on with it's whine of fabric and then a click. Some jerk has come by and smacked her side mirrors and being the anal person that she about the little things like that, she's reaching over, adjusting it.

"Language" By rote she speaks it, tweaking the mirror up a bit more, using the car parked behind her as her target. "He hit me Teo. It did scare me away. It angered me so bad that I had to hide in a bathroom an hour later and try to muffle my crying so that Francois wouldn't come in" He'd haunted outside the door instead unsure of what to do while Abigail had her moment in private. "He's run away is what he's done, but he left the map. Left the map after I left him a letter forgiving him" Partially forgiving him. She can't do it completely, her father and others would never forgive her if she did.

"I love him Teo. I love him but… " Abby shakes her head, pulling her hand back and letting her palms curl in her lap as she looks out the windshield and the lights, people, cars that pass by. But. She turns to look at him, a deep breath sucked in as if she were gathering courage. "I told Sonny once, when he asked my help with you. I told him sex complicates things. I don't regret what I had with him. I love him, I really do and I loved who he was behind the doors, when there was no one there and after he'd relaxed and just put that mask to the side." Had. past tense.

"Joseph chided me. I don't think he ever approved of what we did. My parents alone wouldn't and I haven't told even my Dah what I do. I tell my Dah nearly everything, even about helping Phoenix and everything. But I never told him about Flint. I'm dating Flint. Flint's just fucking me. And there's the difference. I'm in love and he's in lust and-" Abigail cuts herself off, mouth opening and closing like a fish fresh from water and not yes desperate for the liquid yet. "I think I need to go down there and decide whether I'm walking away for good, whether I'm choosing to take the pain now, or whether I might hurt later and keep on as we are and hope that what happened… doesn't happen again" Hope. Because that's what it will be. Hoping that he doesn't loose his temper or whatever it is that he did, again.

There's a moue of her lips outward and a shrug of her shoulders. "Or maybe everything will be flooded and it'll solve everything and it won't matter what happens in Mexico, we'll be fighting for our lives and not our hearts."

Real surprise makes Teo's eyes bigger in his head. He stops halfway through buckling his seatbelt, his reflection dulled near to nothing and skews in the curved, beetle-dark sheen of her car windows. "He loves you," he says, in the tone that one would declare the sky is blue. Fair weather. Obvious, inscrutably true. "I don't know that that's enough— since he hates himself, and I'm given to understand dating a guy who genuinely hates himself is pretty fucking difficult." Don't think he hadn't heard her. 'Language,' he always hears her. But— "Turns us into… egocentric fuckers, 'n a sense.

"Shitty behavior seems par for the fucking course, somehow. He's beneath you, ashamed of it somehow, proud to be with you, greedy for more, easily— dismayed. Extraordinary feats of heroism are appealing and kind— stabilizing, I guess. Sometimes. When you have the skill to pull off something great. But skill's one thing: the grand cause. It's existential— stamina we're missing. Decency over time. When things go back to crap, it's crap you can trust. It's fucked, I know.

"But it isn't… incurable. I'm sure it isn't. There's some chance, good chance— he can turn his temper into something you can love and respect about him. That you could convince him restraint's as honorable as… purity, if not moreso. Things you win as much worth having as the sanity so many people get to have handed to them.

"And." And it's like he's talking to or about himself, now, or one version thereof, so he has the self-awareness enough to stop, glancing up at the dark drift of her dyed hair. He isn't sure how to broach the subject of sex with Abigail. It seems like the kind of thing that would make Deckard want to shoot him, resentfully reminded of Ghost's boasts of the-future-that-isn't, or maybe it has nothing to do with Deckard himself, and Teo himself is resentfully reminded of Ghost's boasts of the future-that-isn't. It's not the kind of thing a man takes pleasure in remembering. "Anyway.

"I'm sure he loves you. If the world ends, I think he'd rather you fight for your life than for his or his heart, though." Click. He squares his shoulders into shotgun and moves checks his beard in the rearview, the whole side of his face for longer than the ruin.

"If the world ends, do you really think that I wouldn't fight for his life whether we were together or not Teodoro? I fought for Roberts in Russia and all he's ever been is a Representative of the Linderman group who's been there when I need something, no questions asked or showed up at my door needing a stitching." She's not told anyone about what happened outside the Ryazan Hospital and why she walked back the whole way instead of getting driven back or finding a taxi.

The cars heated up enough, she's sat enough in the seat and with all seatbelts on and things adjusted she starts the process of driving off, relinquishing parking spot to someone who's waiting impatiently - but not yet used the horn - for the ever elusive open spot in New York. She falls silent after, gaze focused ahead and navigating the streets. A big vehicle in New York is not common unless you have money and want to showcase your wealth. or you're Abigail and know that the propensity for danger, action, drama and intrigue in your life necessitates a vehicle with body filling capacity - Live bodies. Or you like to escape now and then and hunt and instead of open to the elements you can push down the back seat and make a bed. Cart home dead deer. Get naughty.

Finger tighten on the wheel as she ruminates again over what Teo said, over Flint in the last few months. A thumbnail digs into the fake leather steeringwheel cover, running over the contrast stitching as she puts her foot on the brakes to comply with road safety and the red light. "Has funny ways of showing he loves me. Love isn't yelling and hitting and walking away and saying sex only, nothing more. I don't do that' like he did. That's not love."

"Is if sex is the only thing you're good at, or have to offer," Teo croaks, as if his spirits (or at least his voicebox) are squashed under the onerous weight of that same, too-personal misery. It's annoying, how much he had— has?— in common with the skinny old degenerate who cuffed Abigail around the head, for sympathy if not empathy, and cringing imaginings if no compass' certainty on the wild and mysterious directions Deckard's temperament may take. "And yelling and hitting's something you do when you lose control of your anger or— or.

"You lose — the belief in your capacity to be heard any other way, I guess. Which would be why parents do it to scare kids off shit like playing on railroad tracks or knocking over vases. You were almost lost in time with lunatic terrorists, which I guess is better and worse than the other two examples."

There's a gangly stretch of silence as Teo contemplates what he just said and then a skein of unease across his face, the algal creeping of possibilities even Ghost preferred not to contemplate. He wipes his fingers on his beard, abruptly, finds they come away clean. Maybe that's the wrong concern to harbor. Maybe there's none at all. Maybe when Flint left for Me-hi-co, he was leaving more than New York. May—

"-be you're too different," he mumbles, finally. "Or similar. Both- fuckin' stubborn and so insane from honor you're barely human, for better or worse. I don't know. Sala used to break his heart all over how much I work, the trouble I used to get into, the risks, secrets, tantrums, and maybe that was just him doing his doctor shit— worrying, except even J— Al got that way. Even Al. Who keeps his expectations for me and being with me about as high as your average squatting toilet. But I loved them. The in-love kind, even. Cross my heart.

"Fuck," the word is almost exhaled. "I've made Alexander cry. Not even Italian Teo, in all of his Italianness, and various relationships both formalized and failed. Perhaps the Director can show us the answer." It's a fumbling effort at humor, a gently offered 'out' to this increasingly hopeless conversation. Not even his psychotic incarnation, with ego twenty times the size and sturdiness of this vehicle had felt truly confident dispensing romantic advice. He shoots her a crooked grin, sideways.

She should take offense at being called stubborn and insane from honor.

"Maybe we're not meant to find someone Teo. Maybe our lot in life is to just be alone in that fashion" She can't fathom that there isn't someone out there for her, who fits her perfectly be they her opposite or her identical. "Maybe the Director has the answer. Musical's always have answers" Mind you, by the middle of the musical, the good christian girl for all that she's considered good anymore, will be blushing redder than a lobster at the content and where hands keep moving in the movie. The implication that all Italians have mistress's and it's an accepted thing. Maybe that's why teo is the way he is. Incurably Italian.

Her fingers tighten on her steering wheel as her right foot depresses the gas and the SUV picks up speed with a hum and a whine. "I won't know, until I get down there. Worst? He'll tell me to fuck off and hit me again" The best? She doesn't know. She releases a sigh a wriggles her fingers against the wheel. "They say your first, you never forget"

'Never' seems like an extravagantly long time, but Teo is inclined to agree with the old wives' version. He isn't very good at getting over people at all. This seems both consistent and inconsistent with Nine's portrayals of his countrymen, and explains Sonny's penchant for giving others his steadfast regard and fastidiously-maintained monogamy not at all. Teo goes rather quiet, if not quite shiny-eyed, remembering his former lover. One, then the other. They probably count as his firsts, except—

Well, there was this Russian, who stands rather contrary to the hypotheses that have been pitched. He almost makes a joke about telepathic mindwipes. Doesn't. Of all the firsts Teodoro Laudani has accumulated over the years, peepee in pooper is, peculiarly, probably the least significant out of them all except for the trouble it brought. "I don't think that's your lot. I don't think it's his, either.

"If he hits you again, I'll be pretty fucking pissed off," he adds, after a moment. Not that that wasn't obvious or anything! But, notably, he gets less pissed when people hit his other friends. Even his lovers. Perhaps because they're men; perhaps because Abby was a responsibility before she became his friend. But they all have their own derangements, be it honor or loyalty, Abby's way of the former counter-balanced by a certain negligence to communicate her desires to go charging off into horrifyingly dangerous situations— or to consider not doing it, Teo's way with the latter counter-balanced by the fact he can't seem to keep his thing in his pants. Crazy's just a term for unusual enough, far enough along the bell curve of average human behavior. Virtues count.

Virginity is one thing. Other virtues, you never lose. "Maybe," he says, at last, picking his shoulders up under either of his ears. "Maybe this musical will show us different." He isn't going to blush. He's going to try not to think about drowning cities and the loose fittings in the generator's external panels, larders, what ravening refugees might do to Abigail to get supplies from her without having anything to trade or what the Vanguard might do to those who defy their new order.

He likes Penelope Cruz, though, and he likes Abigail. "I wouldn't mention me to Deckard, unless you really had to. We're in a fight. As usual, I have made it worse by not being sure what it is about."

If the world floods and people don't have anything to trade, Teo knows that Abigail will share. Because she's not selfish in that respect. That and animal life will still survive and she can still shoot a deer, or an alligator with a gun and gut it, skin it, break it down and save it for meals. "God knows what my lot is and I have to trust that he'll show it to me, when the time is right" It's spoken with a certainty that Abigail alone seems to muster when it comes to God's will time and time again. Bad things happen and she claims that it's God's will and a test. John Logan, Staten Island, Ethan Holden and Russia.

Tyler Case, and the alleyway. If she still had her cross about her neck or had gone out and replaced it yet, her hand would be around it and driving with one hand on the wheel while uttering a hushed prayer of thanks. She hasn't been vocal about it since the incident in the alley, but she still believes, still hasn't changed in that respect. God comes first. God gets his due.

And the movie won't have an answer for them other than too many women in a sex life makes it complicated and you loose sight of the one who's important. Maybe it will have the answer. "You're always fighting with someone Teodoro. I don't think you can survive unless you are at odds with someone. It's you. It's like breathing. Why I love you. You're you, unabashedly you and…" Her hands tighten on the wheel as she hits the brakes gently once again for a red light, eyes starting to water. "Just. Just stop that thing from going off and come home safe. The fat lot of you or I'll never forgive you. At all. I swear it" She'll forgive them, it's a bluff. One sleeve rises to deal with the tears that well but haven't fallen. "Just bring the others home safe too. Francois as well, make sure he knows… he knows that he'll be missed. Someone will miss him"

Making such promises before an ill-conceived operation to Antarctica to rescue an old nuclear warhead from the clutches of kamikaze genocide cultists would be extremely unwise. And so it is predictable, perhaps! That Teo answers, presently:


But she saw that coming, in focus as painfully harsh as her awareness that none of them can see the future past Wagner's D-Day. It's a little like being let off the hook, they're both so familiar with Teodoro's limitations; but it's something to aspire to, to keep him afloat in the stinky semi-liquid steamer that is his post-mutilation unhappiness and its easy predisposition to violence. Okay. Gotta live. He remembers how it is, and he remembers to crack her a sidelong grin, even though the driver's side is his bad side. "Non problema. I'll bring 'em back."

Okay. Abby hates that word. To her it's like saying 'yes dear'. Hears it so much from Flint as his stock answer to everything. Abigail frowns at the Okay but takes the non problema and nods. There's a movie to go see and find out that even Director Contini… Doesn't have the answers either.

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