Melancholy Chicken



and Felix?

Scene Title Melancholy Chicken
Synopsis Sleeping awake, Teodoro meets a Ghost of off-seasons' past who, defeats him at gay chicken, and all manner of rhetoric and self-appraisal.
Date March 12, 2010

Staten Island — The Old Dispensary: Teo's Room

Nondescript room is undescribed.

After he brushes his teeth, some point in the afternoon, he discovers that the dispensary is empty except for him. Or the closest that he can guess without having a superpower to verify. No one walked, flew, or slithered inkily down toward the scent of bacon, anyway.

He has a few damaged freebie pieces from the Ichihara storeroom in a loose stack on the bedstand. With it, or what likely the reading material was supposed to provide distraction for a number of vague notions are shadowing his ragged blond head. That he should be over at the brownstone organizing the mess he wedged into Francois' pantry. Or handholding Odessa through another one in her infinite supply of crushing personal crisis some more, or sponging Delilah's brow between her intervals of mumbled Limey curses. He could have his pick of responsibilities. Things that are his fault, things that are definitely not his fault, and problems he's managed to cause in the course of making friends and saving the world.

He'd rather read a book. Or think about reading books. His head is turned on his dingy pillow, cheek flat against the thin cotton of the case and eyes blankly scrolling and rescrolling the tower of bricklaid novel spines trooping up toward the ceiling. The lamp behind it buzzes from some sticky, broken connection of miniscule proportions, hangs a baleful glow and a corresponding neon blue spot burning into his cornea. Meh.

The sponging of fevered brows seems to have mostly fallen upon Alex's shoulders. Evo or no, he is proving steadily resistant to the deadly advances of the virus. He's with Dee, now, holding a limp hand, doing what he can to make her comfortable. Not that he's ignored his beloved Teo - there's been more than one time when he proved to be the shadow looming at the bedside.

But he's not the figure that appears silently in the door now. It's a smaller, younger, more lithe version of the Fed - hair clipped close, but dyed that unnatural royal blue. There are silver gypsy's hoops in his ears. They gleam as he cants his head consideringly, standing hipshot propped in the doorway. Like Peter Pan wondering if he can get that shadow safely away from Teo before the Sicilian grabs him in return. There's that flicker of the tongue, as he runs the stud against the teeth, making it click. "You look bad, dorogoi," he says, gently.


"—you," Teo finishes, unevenly. Both the blink of his eyes and the cadence of his breath falter slightly in astonishment, confronted with the blue-haired spectacle in the doorframe. Not Raith. Not— not—? He picked a book, and it's caught between his thumb and forefinger right now, the title or image or matched set of colors or perhaps even the remembered synopsis that had caught his eye immediately burned from his memory. He resists the urge to wind back his arm and throw.

Winds up walking himself up to sitting with his elbows, roughing one dense sweater-sleeve over his bearded face. "What the fuck, Gabriel?"

"Felix," he corrects, as he detaches himself from the door, glides forward to settle his hip on the edge of the bed. He's a funny little epicene thing at that age, fey and narrow-eyed, without the pounds of muscle or that wary, watchful air. A slender hand drifts over Teo's forehead, and he sighs. "You know me. You haven't forgotten me. Not really. You may not -like- me, but you remember." IT's almost more of an invocation, in its way. He's even in his uniform - the black pants, the white shirt with the seal of that parochial school embroidered on it, the striped tie.

The unbroken corner of Teo's mouth sinks slightly, petulant in his displeasure, if only displeased at being confused. Not that that's exactly a rare situation for this particular blond expatriate in New York. He turns his face when Russian jailbait coasts his hand over his brow, checking the smooth-skinned integrity of the hollow of Felix's palm with a push of his nose, baring canines against the cut-glass heel of Felix's hand.

He doesn't believe those words. Not in terms of a correction, anyway. There's only one man he knows who might have that sort of hippocampal access, as well as the ability to cast illusion or shapeshift, and Teodoro is just familiar enough with the relevant limitations, of the abilities, of Gabriel's oreitnations and moods, to know he'll have to push them to break this stupid little game of whatever and whyever. "You'd better hope not. That would mean I'm going insane."

He even smells like Felix….what Felix smells like under the tang of gun oil and soap and aftershave. His hand is cool. "You're not insane," he sighs. He's got that accent, still the trace of the old country on his tongue, before Brighton Beach and assimilation abrade it away. With a sigh, he settles himself on his side, head propped up, regarding Teo patiently. "You've been insane for a long time. Are you -delusional-? I'm sure you're not."

Hard to tell whether this particular line of questioning is offensive, or if the fact that Gabriel is carrying on with any kind of line of questioning at all is a summary insult to Teodoro's intelligence. To his own intelligence. To— "You're sure I'm not," Teo says, trying not to sound defensive and failing utterly. You're the one with three versions of yourself, variously polarized, running around and trying to kill your old friends because they care too much.

No, even Teo knows that, assuming those stupidly ludicrous set of circumstances is actually true, knowing it is makes you not-delusional. As far as psychoses are concerned, people can not be held responsible for their situations, only their perceptions of them; one's life can be insane without oneself actually being insane.

It's just very annoying. Few qualifiers necessary. His eyes lid; he delivers Felix a hooded stare. "Pravda?" He nudges Felix's hand aside with a brusque shove of his ruined cheek, unmindful for once of what the snarl of his exposed teeth might be touching. "How are you so sure?"

"Da, pravda," Felix verifies, quietly. He traces the bridge of Teo's nose with a fingertip, smiles at Teo almost fondly. The nascent version of the smile Ghost knows so well. "Because I know you. Better than you think." His hand drifts down to follow the line of the Sicilian's hip. It's not seductive. More that absent affection. "Can't you relax?"

Few people look at Teo that way. He may build friendships of great durability and resistance, and familiarity that occasionally achieves almost painful degrees of visceral honesty, but few of these gentler and self-moderated things made to last even in the corrosive bite of sea air. Conflict is the unifying force in a lot of his relationships. You know. He's Sicilian, is how it's meant to be.

Or something. Ergo, it doesn't make sense at all: he does relax, for all of two seconds before he catches himself, winds up tight as a spring again, with as much effort as knuckled fist gripped around the handle of a winch. "You're bothering me," he says, throwing himself down on the bed again with enough force that his ragged head bounces. "I can't believe you even did the hair. He didn't get around to explaining until 2014, about the blue being Russia's bigot pink."

Fel, or his facsimile, correspondingly refuses to tense. His smile is lazy, feline, as he catches Teo's hands, brings them to his mouth for languid kisses. Still almost more formal, despite being supine next to Teo. "I'm not bothering you," he says, stubborness still firmly in place behind the languor. "Just lie quiet. You're sick, and you'll make it worse, fussing like a toddler."

"I'm not sick. I'm hale as a fucking horse," Teo says, and he does actually— absurdly— sound offended, this time, out of all the available things he could be getting prissy about. "Even if I do hate this fucking weather." He slants a gaze across the the oblique line of Felix's uniform shoulder, and curls his coarse fingers against the kisses sweetly delivered into them. "You are too bothering me.

"Just because you're snide enough to say otherwise doesn't make it so." He wriggles one hand loose, splays callused digits, turns his wrist precisely as clockwork to interlace them gently with the boy's left hand. With his other thumb, he pushes captured forefinger and middle into a neat, bird-boned angle, the points of two fingernails poised for his speculation, for a few long seconds.

They are so absurdly small. Felix isn't exactly an enormous guy to begin with, but as a teenager, he was a slight and strange little man. The corner of Teo's mouth twitches upward, wry as gallows humor, and he brings the Russian's nails up to scratch experimentally into the skin of his own neck.

Yeah. Even the settling of incipient middle age doesn't leave Fel anything other than wiry and lean. His teenage self, before the grant of muscle you get in your twenties, is almost birdlike. "You're sick," he reaffirms, patiently, letting Teo play with his hands. His eyes half-lid - they look almost slanted, above the angle of those cheekbones. Obligingly, he scratches Teo, very lightly, as if to soothe an itch.

There's a look of the most intent concentration on Teodoro's face, his eyes slid into a glassy, iced-over disfocus as he strains against some threshold of sensation that has become important enough to contract the whole of his attention and energy around. And there it is. The prickle of nail against skin, not only touch but an inkling, the faintest shimmer of actual pain.

Its discover pushes Teo from the grousing tot stage of his mood into a harsher jut of annoyance. He releases Felix's hand too suddenly— so suddenly that there's an intimiation of actual violence in the mere act of retreat. By contrast, the arm he then folds around the boy's hip is relatively placid.

Which the reader may take to mean: not placid at all, but nor is it hurtful. It would have been familiar to Felix-actual, to be seized and rolled around like a piece of rawhide, long since turned supple by dog-boy's covetous teeth, until Teo stretches himself out on top, his broad-shouldered frame a familiar crush of mass, in its metabolic heat and the soapmilk scent of his chin. No cigarettes. It's Lent.

Let the gay chicken begin. "I'm going to kiss you," Teo informs him, brightly.

That should be the test, right? Not a queer atom in Gabriel's body. Assuming he never stole from….let's not go there. Fel was oddly, almost ever pliant. The old cliche held true - the more demanding his job became, the more submissive in the bedroom. Save for occasional fits of feeling compelled to try and reassert dominance. "Good," he says, placidly, and closes his eyes for a moment. AS if daring Teo to do his worst.

This just in: gay chicken doesn't work when you're doing it with a man who is actually gay, and as Teo stares down at the nubile young thing he has pinned to the surface of his rumpled and unkempt terrorist-nest, he begins to wonder. Maybe this is not wise. What if Eileen walks in? Sure, she and Gabriel are fighting recently. How would Francois feel about gay chicken? He doesn't actually know how Gabriel would feel about gay chicken.

He's rather indifferent about queers, last Teodoro checked. Certainly more indifferent that Teo is himself. At least, while he thinks they're both talented liars, the Sicilian does a tidy job masking his uncertainty with a sluggish act of savoring, trails his nose up the side of Felix's. Doesn't close his eyes, watching for the traitorous twitch of disgust through Felix's eyelids, or the sidewindering line of a barely-restrained yowl of protest up the incline of Felix's heroin-chic cheek.

The scarred rift in his cheek squeezes shut over the broken gleam of his teeth when he finally closes his mouth in. Careful. Suspicious, brashly sensitive as a strong swimmer treading thin ice.

It's very definitely Not Working. There's no flinch of revulsion, far from it. There is, however, the extremely interesting station of a little titanium ball applied delicately to the shell curve of Teo's ear, in time with someone's warm breath. This apparition isn't going to merely lie there placidly and accept his usual mauling. There is also a narrow hand insinuating itself under Teo's shirt, exploring the muscles of his belly with the surety of a blind man reading Braille.

Teo's belly is as cut as Felix would remember it, except, of course, that this isn't Felix and ergo the exploration of white, compass-slight fingers is—

—wrong? A good bluff. Fun, as bluffs go, other than the inevitable irritation of the bluff being a bluff. He brindles his fingers down the supine muscle of the boy's side, ladders the notch of his hip and then closes a grip on the curve of one pert little handful of gluteus maximus, full-palmed and with enough strength in his fingers to pull the cradle of the blue elf's pelvis up and meet his own. He fits his teeth into the curve of Felix's shoulder, grits his molars against the creepily nice sensation of that piercing on his ear.

Okay, okay. Okayokayokay. And then Gabriel says..?


Well, maybe Gabriel is curious on this front. Because he's not stopping. Nor is he disinterested. That wandering bead heads south, to the hollow behind the lobe, tracing the line of the carotid, down to the little v-notch at the base of his throat. The Russian was ever this wanton….but surely no illusionist would push this thus far, would it? His heart is pounding against Teo's chest from behind the thin cotton of the uniform shirt.

This is beginning to become problematic, potentially. Teo's eyes blink, inkbrush against the boy's eyebrow. He is unsure of how he should proceed which, as normal, comes completely at odds to how he knows he would like to proceed. You know. If Felix were— well, maybe not even Felix, but some other bright blue-fringed thing, painlessly pretty, with no bearing on who Teodoro ought to be making out with or—

"Vi khotitye sandvich?" Teo immediately regrets not having cleared his throat first; his voice comes across a note or two off, too much air and bass in it, but finally he's beginning to wonder. Gabriel, you see, does not speak Russian.

It's a matter-of-fact monosyllable, not a beat's hesitation in the reply. "Tui" Delivered with a chuckle behind it. Well, this apparition does. And its mastery of Russian is idiomatic and distinct, because what follows -that- is a very explicit request, in time with him rolling onto his back, and tugging Teo over to follow.

Breath goes in, breath goes out. Teodoro's eyes blink a robotically brisk shuttering on the top of his face, and his elbow crashes into the mattress, catching himself before the possessive pinning of his weight on Felix's smaller frame turns into something even…

…more naked? "Jesus fucking Christ." His voice is too loud for the dispensary's quiet, miles as they are away from any figment of society beside the bleak sets of footprints mottling the snow outside. "Fuck—" no, that isn't confirmation. Teo's knees skew into the linens, and he peels himself off with a concerted effort of muscle and scrabbling hands, pulling himself away from the pretty baby. His face is redder than a fever's ever made it.

"Fuck. I'm crazy. I'm— I'm delusional. You're a delusion." His voice is near to accusatory. He throws his feet over the side of the bed and his socked toes hit wood. Callused hands rough up and down his face. 'I can't do this,' says the punter, the husband with the unfaithful heart, the scandalized and hormonally frustrated pre-marital Mormon. 'I want to, it's not you.' None of these archetypes particularly fit the stoop of his shoulders, his back turned.

Light hands, as yet uncallused by pistol or blade, come to rest on the back of his shoulders, and there's that insinuating voice in his ear. "I'm -your- delusion," he murmurs, tenderly, before he leans his weight against Teo's back. "That's all," There's his mouth against the back of Teo's neck, teeth trying his nape, as the fingers on his shoulders dig in.

"Am I asleep?" Teo finds himself musing aloud, not quite indifferent to the invasive squirm and touch of smaller hands, or the cheap cafeteria snack that Felix has on his breath. He usually goes for older guys, you know. Sometimes disproportionately older, even. He is, however, completely incapable of surprise that he has a libidinal hangup on all phases of development for one of the first couple guys he groined with.

He's probably had statutary rape dreams about a younger, pudgier, less perfectly self-designed version of Salvatore, too. Perhaps one that dissolved into nightmarish rot, leprous hands and kisses that tasted of serous and tears. He pans a hand back, automatically, catching Felix by the side of his leg lest he fall. "I don't feel sick."

"You're dreaming in one way or another," says the Ghost of Boyfriends Past, airily, before resuming his explorations of the space behind Teo's ear. There's the flick of jewelry there, as those hands slip under his shirt again. "Might be you should enjoy it," he suggests, in a whisper.

For a lucid dream, Felix is pretty handsy. This alarms Teo slightly, but then, he isn't used to feeling pain in dreams either and, no, the reader is correct in determining that what the little Russian's tongue and fingers are meting out on the back of his person does not feel very much like pain.

He rolls his shaggy head back a fraction of an inch, trying to relieve himself of that damp niggling behind his ear. "I think that would be admitting to something— in the approximate— area of personal demons. How old are you supposed to be?"

"Seventeen," There's no hesitation there, at least. "The year I turn eighteen, I end up with my head shaved. Too much bleaching and dying, it all came off." He removes his hands, only to lay siege to Teo's shirt. I want this off.

Discomfiture turns Teo's face to that ludicrous shade of red. Blush. Nigh virginal, really, or merely Catholically repressed in that sometimes-fetching, sometimes-frustrating way, depending on how public any given lover of his has made their relationship. He and Felix never had those sorts of problems, of course. He and Felix. He and Felix. He wasn't supposed to know that particular detail about Felix, he thinks, though it does make sense.

Maybe he made it up. "No, no.

"Next thing you know I'll be wrist-deep in a baby's gutted torso, thinking I'm… I'm doing—" Teo can't tell if he's both hot and bothered or merely bothered and cold, and it doesn't help that he's completely convinced his shirt is peeling. This must be Ghost's ability, or perhaps even Ghost himself. Sent back through time and aneurysmed brain anatomy to fuck with him. "I have to go outside. You can—" He stops. Stares back at the boy. Finds his fingers garlanded around Felix's wrist, thinner at the joint than a wishbone. "You can read the books if you want."

"Stay," the Russian says, and it's barely a breath, but it bears the weight of command. There's something hieratic, imperious, in the face that's without the lines that twenty years on the meaner streets will give it. Without the mercy those two decades grant, either. He draws back that bound hand, somehow turns the grip to draw Teo's hand to the little embroidered seal over his heart. Queen of Angels was the name of the school, apparently. He's very warm, almost feverishly so. The other hand's held out in supplication.

For once, this temptation and dalliance offends no one except Teodoro himself. A man's allowed to dream, just as a man's allowed to feel fear, even when he might admit to neither: the former merely polite, the latter courage.

"What's it fucking say about me if I do?" he wonders, drawing his thumb along the taut green veins inside the child's wrist. "You're as young as those kids Dreyfus killed the other week. And you're that pig. And the cunt I don't want to become loved one of the better versions of you.

This is the worst explosition in the world," he decides, one foot on the floor, the other failing to stir to join it. He lifts his eyebrows. In a tone of absurd revelation: "I am a huge pervert."

Under his thumb, the pulse flutters, fast and thready. Hands smooth, unworn, even as one keeps Teo's over his heart. "What is that to me?" he says, quietly. "You may be. What I become isn't what I am now. Why am I here, now, if you don't want me? If you don't want the idea of being -first-. And you do like the idea of being the one on top." It's delivered with brutal casualness, and a complete lack of uncertainty. The pale eyes are dreamy, fixed on Teo's mouth.

Teo doesn't answer at first. He doesn't actually answer at all, his lips closed around a line thinner than their generous proportions look comfortable doing, eyes hooded, but as pale as ever. Paler than Felix's, maybe; or just lacking in color. The age of consent in Sicily is sixteen. A fact that may be either salient or totally irrelevant, as one chooses.

"I'm a very important person, you know," says the very important person, with a long forefinger prying down into the V where Felix's jacket lapels meet, his thumb pressuring button through buttonhole, sluggishly, either hesitating or very precise. His eyes flit restlessly up and left, back again. Outside, a lone gull is nagging the air with its cry. "Sometimes I save the world in my free time. Or read fine literature."

"I know," he says, with great deliberation, even as he lies back against the pillows, hair a vivid contrast against the pale cotton. "So do I, or so I hear. We used to discuss books a lot. You favor Garcia Marquez, I like Chandler and Tolstoy. We've got that in common….." He trails off, puts one hand behind his head, elbow jutting out. Very much a pose, that casualness - his stare's turned hot, impatient.

Teo doesn't answer. Doesn't have to. They both know the automatic association with that author's name: Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

It's a very good title, after all. Callused fingers wind into the coarse knot of Felix's shoelaces, tug and pull them loose, stripping the neat black footwear off of Felix's neat black socks, before he denudes those, too, steady, as brutally efficient as his grip and knives are when he's fileting the bones from a sea-caught fish. Left shoe first.

Then the right, and then he scales the inseam of the boy's pant leg, meandering until the waver goes out of his arm. He rolls off his hip and onto his knees and crawls up.

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