francois_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Missed
Synopsis Teo goes on a magical adventure through time and finds his missing boyfriend, Francois!
Date Spring 1954

Vallejo, California — A Motel

Teo is waiting outside, which looks a touch dubious but the staff at the motel are accustomed to that sort of thing, if the staff of any place ever would be. He'd been more than a little concerned his money was the wrong shape or color so he's fucking hungry by now, less concerned about that than he should be, having some faith that a certain someone is going to buy him a meal. The energy bars that fill the pockets of his unseasonally dense coat are being conserved, make pudgy shapes in the drape of the cloth over his arm. The sweater he's wearing stands out less, and the boots pass for hiking gear. He's foreign, that's all. He can speak in Italian; anyone would believe him.

The temperature promises to drop like a stone anyway. No moisture out here. Irrationally, he doesn't want the first thing Francois to see of him be a nosebleed. This is actually an improvement. About two hours ago, he didn't want the first thing Francois to see be the ghastly white pallor of realizing he'd stabbed a space-time tesseractor through the leg and possibly ergo nearly killed— threatened to kill— his one real shot of going back home. Unfortunately, sometimes, the value of a man is what he can do.

(This is a lie, but he'd have to know much more about Reynard to know that.)

Having some faith that an anachronistic choice of cigarette brand won't be noticed by the average pedestrian, however, he's smoking one of his Japanese menthols right now. Hemming in the appetite, stilling the nerves. Maybe he should have worn less guns.

(But he never wears too many guns.) (Shut up, Cardinal.) Dropping the slim cancer stick, he grinds it out with a heel— thank God for the environmental sensibilities of '54, or lack thereof— and pushes back in through the door; only belatedly realizes he was remember, expecting, entirely the wrong model of car. He darts back toward the hazey translucency of curtains, ducks his head, squints like a blind man.

The gunshot slam of the cardoor closing comes after only seconds of an engine getting killed with the twist of the key, dark haired gentleman levering himself out into the parking lot, and alone. Hertz has been going since before World War II, so for all that the car is not a shitty car, stolen documentation claims that it is likely to be a rented one. The details and particulars all of which maybe don't matter when it comes to the fact Francois is locking the vehicle, back nearly turned to the room in question before he's moving up to it.

Leather shoes, slacks, a shirt tucked in that could be shorter sleeved but this detail is disguised by the light woolen jacket pulled over that fits him kind of roughly around the shoulders. Old man clothes except only in 2010, and there's a somewhat sternly suspicious stare that Teo can vaguely make out that travels from the door of the room to the window barricaded in curtain lace.

But he isn't stopping — in fact, his pace picks up even as he keeps his footsteps naturally light and quiet.
There's a limbo moment of time where Francois disappears out of sight and then is heard through the scrapes of the door handle twisted, opened, shouldering his way in with a certain amount of confidence that have his foot falls come heavier. That his hand traveled somewhere to the small of his back is the part the Sicilian missed.

"Francois," Teo says. Already he should know better. He isn't part of the fictional genre in which the heroine can run out into the dark stair crying out to her princely fair, windmilling with impunity. "It's me."

He's more of a Jason Bourne character, really. Where people get stabbed and shot up on a regular basis, the government can't seem to cash in its cluepons, public opinion is in general a plot device or conversationally awkward deterrant from making a lot of friends, and one has a whole catalogue of mental and behavioral problems regarding felonious violence, regular deception, and a life carefully constructed from parts borrowed, counterfeited, and thieved from others. Plus a child. Bourne didn't have a child. Bourne knew better than that, probably. Teo, in comparison, tends to forget.

It's been awhile, see. He appears abruptly in the narrow slot of opening between doorjamb and doorframe, eyes a callused hand coming out, ash still streaked on his pant leg to match the boot-tracked smear of the dropped butt on the concrete outside. "I've been waiting hours— if you got a fucking job here, I don't even—"

Cold metal only leaves that sensation behind after the fact — the impact of weaponry coming up under the Sicilian's chin is sharp and quick, snapping Teo's teeth together. The door closes off against the waning light outside with a thud of boot hell once Francois has pushed his way into the motel room completely, and furthered set into its frame with the thud of the younger man's back being driven into it, swung on the axis of a fist in his winter jacket. The nose of the 1930s Beretta presses somewhere high at Teo's chest, a weapon which has as much historical value as it does capability of blowing holes in the chests of fellow Italians.

Paranoia has Francois only barely breathing, hands tight on the grip of the gun and frantically searching Teo's face for something recognisable and that he isn't finding it might be a.

Glitch. In the plan. His gaze breaks towards the window to see if he missed anything outside, any friends, maybe, of the man found in his motel room, which is decorated ugly and cheap and old behind him, and further washed out in the yellow sunset. He doesn't say anything yet, a swallow working. No scarring at his throat pulls. Entirely free of those, actually.

Whop. Somewhere between the air shortening in his lungs from impact and the ground tilting under his feet, he notices the scar and remembers that Francois Allegre was alive a great long while before he was borrowed out of the timeline and overlap existed in mathematical logic with his exeunt timed to Abigail Caliban's childhood. He perseveres still. Nice to know, really. Minus a few scars, plus a Beretta, and minus again any recollection of carrying Sicilian assbabies, or whatever it was he joked about last time the Frenchman had slapped his arm.

Last time, last time. This would be a piss-poor last time, he thinks. Anyway his hands are up now, palms-out, jaw lifted. Inside his head it's like trying to balance on a ship that's being eaten by a giant kraken or something. Lurch starboard, roll to port, the wood under so much stress the rivets sound like they're tearing. As soon as he thinks he got the wrong Francois he thinks he surely didn't. Hiro just did something. He found a healer and he found a mentalist. If anybody would know where to get those in '54, or on a pit-stop to '54, it'd be Hiro fucking Nakamura. Or maybe Reynard.

Maybe Reynard will find a few to put his shit back together again after this. He resists the urge to stomp his foot and complain. Just because he's alive in 2011 doesn't mean a misstep in 1954 is going to leave him unmarked. "Hello," he says, trying not to think about paradoxing his home time into the blackness of void. "Bon soir. Je m'apelle Teodoro. Please don't shoot."

Teodoro isn't a very American name, nor French, but very Italian which might do him few favours, although distaste doesn't actually show in Francois' face. Some tense and necessary seconds pass wherein nothing happens, gun lowering a not entirely encouraging couple of inches as Francois takes a wary step back, the dull pressure of pistol muzzle alleviated. To further banish the Hiro-is-a-dick theory, Francois does seem younger, like his thirties were his twenties wherein he was less comfortable in his skin.

Over dinner, in the future, Francois mentioned not being a ninja, and it can be seen in how fear is something that motivates the aim of his gun. He drags another step back, if not far enough that Teo might imagine he could get out of the door he has his back against. "Hello," he responds, accent a jarring addition to his voice that is otherwise how it's remembered to sound. "Why not? This is my room.

"«Who are you? American?»"

"«I'm,»" Teo falls awkwardly silent for a moment, a blink jolting through dark-fringed eyelids. "«I'm. I'm trying to find a friend of mine. He's been taken by someone with a power and I found notes about— »" Bullshit. He finds himself hating the lie as if he's twenty-five years old again, scarred with guilt and burdensome responsibilities too big for a man like him. It was Phoenix back then. It's a timeline and a steady (…steady) boyfriend, now. "«I'm from Europe. Italy. I think he stayed— in. Some part of France you might know about. I mean you no harm. I don't want to know anything you're doing now or going to do.

"«I just need to find him.»" His voice sounds unflatteringly scratchy there at the end. He clears his throat and doesn't drop his arms, or make for the door, but recalibrates through force of will, redistributing his balance across his feet. "«I know you must find this very strange,»" he tries to add, pale eyes shifting once toward the window, before making an ill-advised close, squeezing shut. Reopening. "«But this sort of strangeness is exactly the kind of shit I've been living for the past few years. Any compassion you can find in yourself— I would appreciate. And I'd owe you.»"

There is a steel cage shut off going on behind Francois' eyes at someone with a power, suspicion hard and unfriendly, but he isn't pulling the trigger. He's listening. And his shoulders and wrists are starting to hurt from sheer tension but remain unmoving as he listens to easy French. His fingers adjust their grip, a soft creak from the mechanism. "«Strange,»" he agrees. "«And many people already owe me.»" Blink blink, and then with an abrupt sweep, the gun is leveled floorwards. A show of trust or time or.

Giving Teo some rope on which to hang himself, seeing as Francois' posture remains tense and expectant and he doesn't put away his gun. "«Who else— »" His voice wavers uncertainly, stepping back a few more steps to give Teo some room, yielding the centre of the room. Whatever that question was, it's discarded as he considers Teo, head to toe, in a long sweeping gaze. A twitch of his head is meant to encourage more talking.

Compassion he can do, but not without no small amount of frustration at being found or caught or whatever this is. A sideways walk for the window, twitching curtains back to finally sate his curiousity, before they're properly yanked over the glass again, throwing the place into dimness, gun held one-handedly.

Look, no counter-attack. There would be if Teo was a different Teo, probably— a gun sent shattering through the window or a valiant attempt thereat, axe-kick, elbows out, teeth bared, trying a choke-hold to short-circuit the regenerative capacity of Francois' healing gift. He merely stands there propped against the door, breathing in the mingled dust and cleaning fluid chemistry boxed in with him in the motel room.

It catches him nearly by surprise then, the disappointment. Almost choking. "Um," he says, and sits down rather suddenly right there on the floor, his back up against the wall that the gun had pinned him to, his knuckles rubbing up on his forehead. It isn't the dead faint of the aforementioned heroine, again, but a rather heavy drop, to go with the sigh that seesaws through his shoulders. Wind out of sails. Boat metaphors: always relevant.

So is the act of hitting something with his head. Which he does, albeit backward this time, just once. Whud— probably loud enough to startle.

"«There's no one else,»" he replies flatly. "«My driver isn't coming until tomorrow.»" Tomorrow is forever in Teo years. It feels like time wasted, even if time's irrelevant. "«You don't have to worry about that, although I understand why you're— suspicious.»"

Any amount of sudden movement will draw bristling wariness and suspicion — even half-collapse. Francois' gun twitches up, and then relaxes again when he's turning from the close of the curtains to look down rather than slightly up. There's an awkward pause, there, a small amount of scrutiny to see if Teo is hurt or something, before Francois shakes his head. "«Now I will be gone by tomorrow,»" he says, with a small amount of prim irritation. He's barely just settled, with the bed showing evidence of at least one sleep, everything else more or less untouched. He'll have to get another car.

"«You thought this would be a friendlier meeting?»"

Again, a certain amount of testing the waters, Francois crosses the room, gun slipped into his belt, and easing himself out of his jacket. Shirt sleeves end at a conservative cut just an inch above his elbow, fabric rumpled where it's been tucked in tucked out tucked back in his waistline, his back half shown to Teo. "Italien?" he prompts. Not so much for the answer to quasi-rhetorical question. The other thing. Friends.

"«No. A Frenchman.»" About your height. Weight-class. Coloring. Hair. Eyes. OH THOSE EYES. Teo stares dispiritedly at Francois' knees and thinks about punching something, but he doesn't want to get shot. He'd seen the swing of that gun out of the corner of his stare, don't think he hadn't. "«I guess he must be in France. It's weird how I.

"«Missed,»" he concludes, after a few disoriented seconds, blinking. Somebody is going to yell at him for having 'missed.' Perhaps just himself. Abby will be astonished. Frinkle will care; Frinkle always cares, sometimes for stupid or inscrutable reasons. "By a small…" he pinches his forefinger and thumb near each other, measuring a distance. "Fuck." He should care more about having messed up Francois' new hideout but it's difficult, a conscious effort and has a ring of falseness to it when he says, "I'm sorry to worry you. You don't have to move, though I can't prove that except by saying."

English is translated slower than fluency, picking up on basic enough notions. Apologies have a universal tone to them even if 'sorry' wasn't an easy one to pick up on — among the smattering of words Francois got from American soldiers. 'Cigarette' is already a French word, and it might have offered one to Teo had he not since the crushed out stub just outside. "«I came here from Russia. It has been some time since I saw France,»" he says, sitting down on the corner of the bed that takes up most of the space. Gun back out of high-waisted slacks and into his hand, balanced on a knee.

A crumpled cigarette packet is taken out of the breast pocket of his shirt, one of the cylinders picked out one handedly, before he nods in a chin up. English: "Lighter?"

Russia? Dismay colors Teo's features briefly. He puts a palm to the panel of his jacket, a pang of an urge to check if he brought the diary with him, but he hadn't. He'd been so sure this was going to be him. Francois in the States— already?

Russia had seemed more likely, indeed. France. Even the Netherlands. Somehow the capacity to travel oceans in the 50's had seemed unlikely, somewhat too advanced to the simplified thinking of stress haze and existential fatigue. "Yes, sure," he allows, eventually, getting up in what seems to be a sequence of badly-learned motions. Boot goes clunk, then his leg bends up. He flattens his hand on the wall and hitches himself upright. Shuffles closer. "Here." He digs into his pocket, slowly, and brings it out, flicking a flame out on the careful discharge of butane.

Up closer, the strangeness might stand out. The unlikely cut of his trousers, his eccentric choice of words. "Fucking A. I really thought." His eyes skim the older man's profile again, and there's a hard blink of flinty blue eyes. "Ah non."

"«I know the way from Perpignan to Bordeaux and home again. Paris to Normandy. If you missed, where did you begin?»"

A finger slips through the guard of his gun, muzzle sort of pointed hazily towards the younger man's knee as Teo stands. Francois follows suit only to duck and lean to make use of fire, crackling hot orange the tip of cigarette which won't start being bad for people in another decade or two. Analytical study is there in silence exchange, but Francois knows too little about powers, time travel, American idioms and fashion to leap to any death defying conclusions save to only put him further ill at ease.

Even beyond knowing his name, breaking into his motel room and other such sins, he isn't sure he likes this Italian, if he ever met an Italian he liked. A subconscious uneasiness — he's met strange people before. This kind of strange.
Pocket crumpled pack of cigarettes is pocketed again. "Ah non?" he repeats.

'Yes it means oh, no,' would be too snide even considering Teo is now in A Bit of A Mood. He shakes his head and tries to pick up. Gunpoint usually makes him work faster, but it's been a long month or two. "«With the dates,»" he answers, stiffly, but that isn't very helpful. He roughs a palm along his bristly jaw and makes his brain think, stomach forgotten now, at least until it voices a faint gurgling growl.

Which the Sicilian doesn't even have the composure to acknowledge, never mind appear embarrassed about. "«He left me some clues but he couldn't make them too obvious because there might have been people looking for him.»" Not like you, there's the impulse to add, but no doubt Francois already finds the fruits of his research thus-far revealed alarming enough. Not Volken. But he doesn't want to get shot. "«I saw mention of palaces, cathedrals, marches. I don't know. France is covered in those, isn't it?»"

He's being pessimistic and he knows it. He pushes an irritable sigh out of his lungs and returns his lighter to the inside of his jacket. "«I'm tired of looking and I could do it forever.»"

There's enough parallel there for green eyes to go a little dull in sympathy, even if it's only theoretical sympathy. Trying to find people, exhaustively, following clues— Francois knows. Maybe, then, this Italian should know better than to put an unnecessary obstacle in his own sequence of searches, an obstacle the exactly same height, width and breadth as Teodoro. Merde. "«You know my name, you know who I am, and I am not easy to find,»" he says, once smoke is exhaled in a head tilted direction away from Teo.

"«But you have made a mistake, coming here? I can see that much.»" He lists to the side so that, now that Teo is more within the room, Francois can edge around him, hand locking tighter on the grip of his gun. There's threat, there, hidden like a razor in fruit flesh. "«Provide a compelling reason for staying, or— »"

And now the black pistol is used for gesturing, short muzzle pointing towards a lurking shape near the end of the bed. A carpet bag, more or less unpacked save for replacable bits and pieces. Not heavy. "«Get me that.»"

"«I'm tired?»" Existentially fatigued? Emotionally exhausted!! Teo could whine more, but it sounds just this side of emasculating enough to complain about it in two words so he doesn't elaborate. Instead, he moves over to get the bag, more aware of the gun pointed at him than he would like to admit. It's vanity for him to think that his temporally-dislocated romantic woes. He goes over to the bag, though, closes his fingers around the little handle and picks it up, peering curiously at its contours.

Instead of remarking on how much he knows about Francois, he is momentarily occupied observing: it's a bit ladylike.

"«Here you are,»" he captions, unnecessarily, holding it out for the Frenchman to take. He tries remember anything he'd read in the journal that wouldn't sound like he read it from a journal, and it staggers his voice a little, makes the question come out slow: "«What were the parts you remembered best of France? What'd you like?»"

Cigarette cinched between teeth, and then the thing is taken, and tossed in almost the same movement to thump down near the door and rid himself of the burden for now. Because Teo is mistaken — Francois needs the compelling reason to stay, evidently. He steals out cigarette from his mouth, cylinder clamped against index finger with middle, and uncaring of the fall of ash onto carpet that's probably seen much worse than that. "«Tired? This place is paid for two more evenings,»" he says. "«I do not think anyone will care if you occupy it instead unless you give them reason to.»

"«Ille-sur-Têt.»" This added after more hesitation than a mere line break implies, warring pragmatism— i.e., Teo needs to be unconscious five minutes ago, but maybe he won't have to be, if he's tired— against requested compassion. "«Castles and cathedrals. It is north of where I used to live. You will not find anything there. Perhaps sight-seers, and monks. My jacket,» s'il vous plait?"

Oh. Upon realization, Teo begins to look like he's feeling rather self-conscious, and then regretful. Ille-sur-Têt; that's handy, makes him wonder for a moment, then wonder if he remembers. "«Where would you live near there?»" The jacket. In his other hand, thumb pressed over the lapel. He feels bad rather suddenly, and more awake, feeling a touch raw in his head, unwilling to let Francois go just because he isn't the right one.

"You really don't have to go. I won't— nobody followed me. I swear." Incompetent and illogical reassurances, that go rather poorly with the coat that he holds out to the other man. Insufferable Italian that he is. The coat falls the inch to Francois' hand, and then Teo's return to his sides, hanging empty at his thighs, his stare a little wider than it really should have been for a jaded time-warrior his age. He looks at Francois' face like it just peeked out from a fluffy white cumulus for the first time in an Arctic winter.

It doesn't make very much sense at all. Perhaps less than Teo does on average.

Francois doesn't have family there. Doesn't have anything there. A hidden journal. Familiar marks in the floor. Some city people renting it to other city people. It's with no sense of loss that he reveals in stilted, heavy English, "Camélas. You want to know my house, now?"

That's a joke, as signified by the half-smile of which there is an only slightly unsettling detachment between it and his eyes, having not quite shaken off Dachau and the long, abrading Russian winters. But it dims at that look he is getting, taking jacket from Teo's clasp and slinging it over his shoulder, careful to navigate around burning cigarette that he puts back between his teeth to better dig into a pocket, take out the key to the room. In lands next to soundlessly on the bed.

"«Not everyone knows if they are being followed,»" he points out, belatedly, around bitten filter. Point in case: Italie. His voice does that thing it does when he is somewhat offended by hidden implication, that Teodoro might be aware of something he clearly got on the jump on Francois with, a proud soldier tilt to his head before he glances again for the gauzy square of the window. The bag is picked up by its brown leather straps, all the while, Beretta remains fixed. Ladylike or not, the bag probably contains a clip or two extra.

He opens the door behind him, and only now does he tuck the pistol back into his belt, nestled small against his back. Moon eyes are making him unsettled.

Moon eyes used to work. Maybe you have to be properly in your mid-twenties not to vibe bizarrely with them. Teo manages not to pout, at least, tries to rally his face into some sort of dignified face-like thing. His emptied hands feel terribly empty. "«I understand,»" he allows, finally, and then without even the slightest tincture of irony, he adds, "«Yes, I would like to know the house. You don't have any plans to return, do you? I mean, I won't— I just. I—»

"«Well I'm from the future where I know you, but you were taken; there are now two of you in 1954, and I'm trying to get you back to fix the creases,»" he finishes a little unevenly, where 'a little unevenly' understates in an attempt to describe the Tower of Pisa or the bombing of Hiroshima or something. He has gone peculiarly raw around the eyes and is sitting again, this time on the foot of the bed. "«I think I may have broken a few things doing this. Actually I should stop talking. But now I wonder if… if you remembered me when we really met, or if you forgot. It is going to be a long time until then, even for you.»

"«I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm telling you this.»" He normally doesn't tell them anything. Normally, at least according to the lifespans and influences of his two other analogues, he made relatively few professional, practical, tactical, obvious errors in judgment wherever his loves were concerned. Compartmentalized Sonny, turned away Alexander, broke it off with Felix, non-disclosed to his family, refurbished Deckard's mind. Never let the food on his plate touch, before.

Now Nakamura's going to slip out of the ether and cut off his head with a katana, probably. Teo scratches his nape and tries to care.

The door is a few inches shy of being easily stepped around and disappeared through, but it remains as is, with Francois' hand gripping the edge and watching Teodoro stammer his way through ill-advised explanation with a certain European aloofness. He has a Nazi demon to hunt and doesn't have time for this shit, more or less, an awkward intersection of stories and priorities, both stymied by one another. And yet Francois doesn't physically run away and instead listens, and when there's nothing left to listen to—

He blinks. Also almost audibly. If not as audibly as the door shutting closed again, with Francois still on the interior side of it. A gentle thump as he drops the carpet bag, looking vaguely annoyed about doing so.

Beneath cheap carpet, there are floorboards that'd probably be more attractive uncovered, and they creak as he takes a couple of steps forward, regarding the stooped figure on the end of the bed. If it's a lie, it's an elaborate one, and one he'll be pissed about remotely buying should it turn out to be so. "You know me," he says, in carefully navigated English. "Then say things you know." Which is something of an unfair history lesson, but he hasn't made that kind of deductive leap yet.
To Francois, it's a simple request — proof.

Teo's breath sounds funny going in, and out again for a few iterations. Maybe two. He wrings his hands together on his lap and looks down at his shoes past that, thinking to himself, the bile of uncertainty in his throat and the discomfort of having been temporally displaced ever since he was technically conceived very, very near and make it a little difficult to see anything else. With the possible exception of Francois' face which, despite a few subtle subtractions and things, remains painfully familiar. Of course, and then as happens whenever fears begin to crowd the Sicilian, he's seized by the urge to move perpendicular to them.

Which does not confer the ability to stand on his feet just yet. He rubs his face, and looks up.

"You're a healer," seems easy except it's terribly faint in his voice; English. He sounds a little stronger in French. "«And a doctor, and a soldier. You have a tattoo of a rooster on your back, or you will someday, because— because. It's the one bird who sings while standing in shit. You save people but sometimes they had to go back to Germany anyway, frog-marched at gunpoint I guess. I think you have a thing for blonds, though there was this — lady. Will be. You believed in God then I think found people more reliable, which probably says something. Inexplicably you can ride horses. You always wear your hair a little long, but your real vanity's in your hands and the fact your breath doesn't smell manky in the morning. You snore like a turtledove. You are— will be—? more of a wine person than a beer person, red over white.»

"«Most of the time, you'd rather work alone because you'd rather work with people you can trust; I think it's your way of keeping yourself honest. You don't know anything about maintaining a house. Like— nothing. Like I go 'where the fuck is the grout cleaner' and you go 'what?' and forget about talking to you about the plumbing. This is mostly only a problem because you're pathologically bossy and occasionally get ageist. But it's okay. I don't mind, even when you bitch about my swearing too much. You like dinosaurs because they're the closest things to the dragons you were born in the wrong genre to slay, and writing because you always had so much to say and no way to say it. Flattery will get anybody a fair distance with you, but there's always a little something— I think there will always be a little something I'll never see. It's not even armor, I think, or arrogance, or a long leash, or indifference. Just this separation.»

"«Well that's okay with me too.»" Teo appears to remember that Francois is not a piece of furniture around now and his expressive brows fall into a squint, a smudgy illusion of self-consciousness.

At no point does Francois wish to interrupt Teo, not even to sneer at healer, because please, or correct things, like about the rooster tattoo he doesn't have, or that his horse riding is not so inexplicable, really, not really

He did, however, drift back enough steps for his hip to nudge near an angle of furniture that probably can't take his weight, laying down distance between himself and this stranger with his eyes gone a little wider. Spooked, some, for the first time beyond simple paranoia and distrust. There is a lot of wrong or incorrect or nonsensical things in the words being rattled out to him— he's never had to maintain a house— but they're intimate ones, ones that don't sound wrong.

And oh yeah he sleeps with men sometimes? Or just one, at this point of history. Importantly enough.

Another few blinks, quick like moth flaps, before Francois forgets a little about eyeing the window, and the shape the gun makes in the back of his trousers. He feels like he's breathing too loud after all that talking, feeling the pressure of it being his turn to talk. "«Do you have a pencil? Paper?»"

"Oh." Teo blinks, startled by that particular response; possibly because it's far too boring to appear appropriate, no offense, but it sounds practical. He could probably use the counterweight to his impractical whining right now, he supposes. He reaches slowly into his coat to check, and finds a clicker-pen, as well as an improbable receipt that lists cabbage among other things. The year on that is all wrong, December 2011, and that wasn't even on purpose. He just hadn't thought to bring anything upon which to take notes.

These two things sandwiched between thumb and flattened fingers are presented thusly. At least this time his deductive powers arrive in time to party. Address? Map? More clues? He's getting something that'll help, anyway. "«Pen,»" he says. But he's sure they had pens in 1954. Pretty sure. He meets Francois' eyes for all of three seconds before the window seems the likeliest target for his attention.

There are pens. Most of his journal entries are in ink. Leaky, early ball-points. Felt-tips don't exist yet. This one is unusual also, fidgeted between his fingers before he shares that last second of wary eye contact and finally drops his attention onto the thin paper he's provided with after he mashes his cigarette out in the ashtray left to his hand. The receipt is pinned to a flat surface in one hand, pen poised as memory works, and then finally, Francois makes his careful marks, all the while thinking too much for his eyes to focus.

It's a map, and then a few words in French, or. Just French words. Places. A road.

"«I sold the horses when I sold the property,»" he says, after a couple of long minutes. "«The latter to a woman,»" and oddity in itself, and this can be heard in his voice, "«named Corrine Dupont, and her family. If this does not serve you well, you can ask for her.»" But he doesn't pass the receipt back right away when he's done, a hand pinning down part of it with the heel of his palm. Blinks down at it, pen marks and barely see-through printed American dollars and domestic supplies and the four digits that tell the year Teo is from, and it doesn't even occur to Francois that it could even be the date.

That's such a long time away. It will be the 1900s forever.

Finally, it and pen are folded together, tentatively offered.

It's taken with a mechanical close of fingers, bend of wrist, retracted, but his grasp firm enough that the pen digs another shallow crease into the paper. He immediately pulls it wide to look at the marks thin, scrawly-faint on the shiny contours of the wrinkled 'page,' the diagram and letters mapped over them. What if he just broke time? What's the point? Maybe he'll live in 1954 forever with his honeybunches. That would be okay. He'd just have to slap some ho when she comes after his man with her mink furs and diamonds or whatever the impression he'd gotten was. He doesn't have to know who to look for to keep an eye open, anyway.

That would be hope stirring bright, scaley wings in his belly. (Don't touch them. If the scales come off, the butterfly's crippled; flightless; doomed.)

"Thank you," he says around a slight stumble, mumble, gripping the translucent scrap of paper tighter. He doesn't know how he's going to get to France but he supposes he could wait for Reynard. Should. It would be fastest, despite requiring a fair amount of patience; there are still hours yet before the red-haired man is supposed to arrive in California. He repeats, "Merci. Graz— I mean. Uhm. I know this can't be easy for you," he adds, finally, placing it in his pocket.

Francois doesn't really catch that last part, and it probably shows in an uncertain pause before deciding that it, like most rambling English, probably isn't important enough to parse. There's a wondering shake of his head. "De rien," sounds ironic on his tongue, like he severely doubts he gave Teo anything useful, and severely doubts the medium average of sanity in this room, but. There are some people in the world, not only limited to certain circles in 2011 New York City, that take precarious, off-balance and often confusing leaps of faith.

Clocking him over the head is the more difficult choice, too. Teo is taller than he his. Has what looks like a solid head. Uncomfortable again, Francois takes a step back, and then sideways. "«I will stay, a time. If this was an elaborate ruse to keep me here, then shit. I deserve to be found.»" In worlds where found sounds a lot like killed.

He also isn't ordering Teo away, because nagging, insufferable curiousity won't let him, but there is some expectation that the younger man will leave.

That is a funny joke except that Teodoro knows that Kazimir isn't no joke and that he just made the certainty of the future he's acquainted with that much— less certain. A nervous hand passes up the outside of his sleeve. "No no, you don't have to worry about that," Teo says quickly. "«I mean, I guess you are naturally going to worry about that, but… ah. My ride will be here in three hours. Do you have any money? I could get you something to eat. Us, something to eat.»"

Probably, Francois now thinks that he must have been a lot smoother when they met in real life. Little does he know: he's wrong! It's a miracle anybody puts up with Teodoro Laudani, really. "«I'm just concerned my money has the wrong dates on it,»" he explains, lest the Frenchman think that he makes a habit of eating and living out of his money. :D :D "«I hadn't been planning on staying very long. Or I guess I hadn't thought about this very clearly. But this could work. You could— I could.»" He lapses into an awkward silence, suddenly on his feet and wondering, indeed, what they'd talk about if he stayed long enough to eat.

"«I mean, if you weren't going to do anything tonight.»"

Francois hesitates. He's not sure how he's supposed to feel about how there's another man going to the ends of the world for him, which is sort of what he's doing for Kazimir but differently one would hope. One prepared to hang out for an extra three hours and. Green eyes reflect temptation made manifest as curiousity, about who this man is and who Francois turns out to be and does he get Kazimir in the end and other such spoilers, but breaks, ultimately, a glance away that isn't pragmatic, like looking out windows — just off to the corner and down. There's still smoke lingering in the air, and he could do with some more.

"«I don't think that's a good idea,» non?"

Disappointment crystallizes like frost on Teo's face, but it could be a lot worse. Already the other man must suspect that he is a creature that occasionally experiences moments of precariously little restraint. He has enough reserve to get his features schooled in no more than a few seconds.

"Si," he agrees, after a moment. "It's probably a bad idea." Effort for a few seconds, then he manages a smile that is mostly gratitude. Also mostly sincere, period. Almost stiffly, he puts out a callused hand, palm turned sideways, a reliable gesture of salutation. "We should at least wish each other luck."

That would only be polite, wouldn't it? Francois starts into motion and steps forward in a single, crisp movement, hand clasping Teo's. The other goes back, settles instinctively on the handle of his gun poking at his belt, but not to draw it, simply a place to be.

Callusing isn't exactly injury for healing, but still, one might imagine immortality to be a certain preservation — his palm and fingers are only a little smoother than they are forty-odd years later, even if it's been several months since Teo's been in a position to judge them. "Bon courage," he offers, as fortune and well-wishing, in France, is characterised by bravery.

"In bocca al lupo," Teo returns gallantly, because fortune and well-wishing in Italy is characterized by being in the jaws of an evolutionarily refined carnivore. He squeezes the hand that's offered and gives one firm shake, down and up again, a squeeze, a grin that makes him look younger and better but can't remove the strain of the past few weeks that still squats at the corners of his eyes like an imp left footprints on his face. He lets go and turns away, measures the distance to the door in perfectly even footsteps, snatching his coat up.

Opens 'er up. It's a lot colder outside than it was a few minutes ago, or maybe that's just his imagination. It chills at the tip of his nose and makes him realize he should have brought a more medium-rating coat. He lets go of the doorknob and waves. Stepping through the threshold subtracts half the color from him.

Wave is turned from at a midpoint, Teo's last glance under the swing of the door being Francois taking gun out from its snug position at the small of his back and reaching to set it down with a dull click of metal to wood. Dry Californian air greets the Italian chilly and sucks some of the warmth of the room out with him as an unintentional parting gesture. Francois has a journal, that he might write about this in. The other one, the one that comes before it, is in France.

This would be a good time for Francois to go haha I'm kidding, cheri, that was amazing, what took you so long, but it doesn't happen.

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