elisabeth2_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Mousetrap
Synopsis Chatter and Intel.
Date Mar 9, 2010

Elisabeth's Apartment

Days go by, and eventually Teodoro does show. Looking slightly more sleep-deprived than his normally catastrophic levels of sleep-deprivation usually leave him but otherwise hale, a cardboard coffee cup in one hand and a sheen of frost— perhaps real frost?— clinging to the scruffy dark hairs of the beard around his mouth.

He's dressed in garb that falls neatly on the halfway point between Ghost and baby-him, a double-breasted peacoat gone slightly threadbare at the elbows, jeans, the folded collar of an Oxford shirt peeking out underneath the felt hoodie he pulled on between them. His key to surviving Winter has always been layers, and they are sure as shit in for a terrifying specimen of the season, this year.

"You heard about Delilah?" is the first thing he asked, stooped over the corner of the kitchen table, clawing strudel apart with fork. "Kozlow, and she has the mutant 'flu too."

Elisabeth came by her apartment to pick up a few things, and since it's convenient enough — or something — for Teo to make the stop there, she simply told her father that she'd be having a friend pop in. He's taken himself off to the bedroom he's using, though, still peeved with her. He's about to draw his line in the sand about being cooped up in here, but he won't do it while she's got company. Abby's got her parents with her at the moment. Liz herself leans on the counter, her comfortable jeans and a black top enhancing the vaguely pale face. "I heard," she tells him as she sips her coffee. Feeding Teo was as natural as breathing.

"Passed it along already." Elisbeth blows out a breath. "Eve Mas is down with it, too." She bites her lip. "Have you figured out who Dreyfus is hitting now?" She wasnt' sure he knew.

"Cat said you. I don't know why she said that, apart from a… process of deduction," Teo flicks his eyes at the closed doorway behind which her father is ensconced. "But judging from the news, recently, she wasn't wrong." He is probably talking about the kids. Of course he's talking about the kids.

Well; of course he's talking around the kids, with the vague and unhappy arm's length at which a ninja learns to examine such things as the corpses of familiar children, at least, whenever there isn't any point in making use of the forensic details, dander, prints, blood-spatter patterns left around their ragdolled shapes.

His eyes hood slightly, and he scrapes the handle of his fork at his jaw. There's an audible rasp. "Now, I don't know."

"She said me because he said 'it begins and ends with Harrison,'" Elisabeth enlightens him darkly. "And yes, I was talking about the news." She shoves a hand through her hair. "You know we can't cover all the kids. I had over 200 of them just in music classes, and that doesn't count the ones that I subbed for in the English and Social Studies departments."

She bites her lip and murmurs, "I considered setting my dad up as bait, if he was willing. It scares the shit out of me to do it, but…. "

The corner of Teo's mouth hooks downward, sharply. Well, the corner that hasn't been torqued by an unseemly rending of scar tissue to leer perpetually upward, amid the acheing musculature of his face. Fortunately, that hole happens to contribute better toward manifesting unhappy moods than it does to making him look like he's having a poorly-timed giggle at anybody's expense! Something about battle-wounded uglification.

"Dreyfus would send his people in expecting a trap, in that case. He's a pretty smart guy. The ambush team plus your dad would be looking at any range of attacks, from Feng's psychotic gymnast kung-fu to demolitions. Didn't know he'd said that." He blinks at her for a long moment, a furrow creased in his brow.

"Best we can do is warn the kids, one way or another. Make mention the Washington Irving kids seem to be getting targeted by 'extremists' lately." He squeezes two air apostrophes out of callused fingers. "'S interesting, the majority of attacks seem to be coming from Skoll."

It's something Elisabeth hadn't really caught. But now that he mentions it, her brows pull down. "Well, so here's the weird thing. If it begins and ends with me, it has to be Dreyfus pulling the strings, right?" A pause. "I've considered whther it could be Yvette Volken. But Dreyfus is the one who makes sense. As far as I know, I haven't personally pissed off anyone except Dreyfus. But I like the idea of warning the Washington Irving kids."

"No, Dreyfus is involved all right." Teodoro streaks frosting across ceramic with the curve of his fork, takes a last bite, and then stands to carry his eating utensils to the sink. "I'm saying, it's interesting that he isn't making the kills himself. I mean, yeah, he's older, not as physically agile or strong as he used to be, but he's still a competent killer. Some subsets in that skill don't atrophy.

"Not over a fuckin' decade, anyway." Faucet water hisses down white, and Teo peels crumbs and sticky residue away from the dish with his thumbs. "I'm just saying, there's something pretty fucking weird going on in Dreyfus' head. He's staying away for some reason. From what I could pull together about Kozlow, he's been as mercenary as Grigori was for at least a decade. He isn't the believer.

"He's probably just a tool. Probably the same for Feng. I'd guess that whatever the pièce de résistance is with you, Dreyfus is going to show up for it personally." Dish goes into drying rack, the gleam of fork in with it. Teo glances up to study the woman, a pensive scowl knotted in his brows.

Teo would know, though Liz doesn't say that aloud. "Well, I suppose that is comforting. Being able to explode his head personally will just make my whole year. I can add that image to my nightmares." She grimaces. And then she studies his face. "You may as well tell me the rest of whatever it is. It's written all over your face," she says gently.

A rueful shrug pushes up the outline of Teo's lean shoulders, and he leans forward to yank his coffee cup off the table. "Unless some the clairvoyants comes through for us in a big way, or they leave a bit of biology around that the Kershner bitch is willing to do you a favor with, I don't think we have a lot of options. Stay alert, play defense. I'm hoping there's actually some chance Kozlow can be bought.

"Probably because we're going to sell him for parts to a butcher in the end, rather than his services, but." Another shrug. He's never done the whole unreadable, Gallic gesture that 'says nothing'; his shrugs tend to mean 'I don't know.'

Plus or minus 'Jesus fuck this sucks,' I would like to kill something with my hands, no disrespect intended to the sensibilities of your nightmares. "John Logan knows him. They've spoken. If you can get surveillance detail on them without compromising the possibility of scaring either of them off, that's another mousehole to watch. But I think that's all we have: fucking mouseholes."

"Fft," Elisabeth says softly. "Kershner and Lancaster - over at Homeland - they're both supposedly doing everything they can to cover my father. And I've got every cop I know and everyone else I know looking for them too. But you're right. We're pretty fucked." She leans on the counter and looks at the ceiling. "I'll look into the Logan idea. Perhaps Richard can watch him." Her brows pull together again as she says it, her worry over the man of shadows chasing itself across her face.

"I'm told that you and Eileen had Peyton trying to hone in on Gabriel." Elisabeth looks at Teo and says quietly, "Want to fill me in on that one?"

The blunt of Teo's thumb drubs hollowly against the coffee takeaway cup, once, twice, knocking out an uneven seconds count. Kershner and Lancaster doing everything they can to cover her father. That sounds nice. A lot nicer than anything his parents are enjoying, notably, but Teodoro only ever feels jealous about petty things so he doesn't mind that.

Richard could work. But she's asking about Gabriel, so the shadow man gets no more acknowledgment than a slight lift of brows before the erstwhile serial-killer is scrawling Teo's scarred face over with a grimace. "Ivanov's case. Seems like Gabe—" this is an endless source of reproach and amusement for various people. That he calls Gabriel 'Sylar' Gray, 'Gabe,' "has a copycat, so he asked me to talk to his old associates, and see about clearing his name. Whitney also has a big fucking mouth," he observes, dryly.

There's a faint smirk. "No, not really. She just works for me," Elisabeth says just as dryly. Tilting her head, she adds, "And frankly, I'm grateful that you turned to her and that you're looking into it. The MO wasn't sitting right with either me or Ivanov — a few things were off — so I'd wanted to see what you had in your intel that might help prove or disprove the matter. If it's a copycat, I have to admit…. I'm grateful. The idea of Gabriel going off the deep and and having Hunter's ability scares the shit out of me on a lot of levels."

"I'll keep that in mind," Teodoro answers, and his expression makes a turn for the wry: irony and reserve are some of Ghost's more harmless personality traits. They fade, too, quick enough into Teo's more characteristic earnestness, emotions simplified into sentiment. He goes from concerned to thoughtful. "For now, I'll spare you the cagey-coy girly fucking evasion, trying to deny the man's alive. From what I can tell, he is.

"Or close enough. Don't ask— I don't fully understand it, myself. Powers complicate things, you know how it is." She does. She'd said his name, a second ago: Richard. "I don't think he did it. I spoke to him. Yeah, I know.

"He could've lied to my face, but he denied the two murders and then admitted to another couple recent messes, after a fashion," which is a euphemism for trying to kill Eileen, "so I honestly don't think so. I might be able to get you some psychometric evidence that could help, but I'd rather not remind the world he exists if he has nothing to do with this shit. Hell, Hunter's corpse should be enough for Kershner to go off of."

"You know what? At this point, I have decided that believing ANYONE is dead is a waste of my energy," Elisabeth retorts ruefully. "No body, no dead." She grimaces. "And yeah, I'm pretty sure there's going to be all hell breaking loose, but I'll point out that so far, the only people Kershner knows have survived Antarctica are Danko — who got out on the fucking US's dime — and Francois, who got out on Kazimir's dime. So… for all she knows, Gabe's dead too." He'll probably bare his teeth that Liz is using the diminutive, but it simplifies things. "If you believe him, knowing all that you do about him, I'll believe it too. The trick now is figuring out who's doppelganging him. It's either a shapeshifter or illusionist or something, though, it sounds like Felix has video that caught someone who appeared to be Gabriel leaving the scene after Hunter's death, though a witness puts Eileen at the scene. And from what I gather, she wasn't nearby and can prove it. So … I don't really know what to suggest other than shapeshifter."

The furrow deepens itself in Teodoro's brow. He glances at the audiokinetic, pauses to scrub callused knuckles across the underside of his chin. "If Eileen was seen leaving the place after Wendy's death, but not seen entering, that actually— sounds like it might have been Gabriel, doesn't it? Either that, or someone who knows him and all of his own well enough to start knocking off their shapes in a bid to wipe shit on his rep."

Not that there's any shortage of shit on 'Gabe's 'rep' already, but one will have to pardon Teodoro's vocabulary trends. He gained a lot of words since sixteen, but he didn't let go of many of his old habits; still drops curse words as randomly or neutrally as anyone else might say 'Kleenex' or 'water,' is as prone to SAT words as arbitrary pillaging of slang. "Shapeshifting makes sense.

"I don't know. This point, it could be anybody from an HF! bigot to Arthur Petrelli's vengeful revenant."

Elisabeth takes a sip from her coffee cup, one hip resting on the cabinet and her arms wrapped around herself. "Gabriel was seen entering, if I understand Felix correctly, at a time when Hunter's death was already taking place. And Ruskin seen leaving. Now… unless Eileen killed Hunter and wanted to frame Gabriel for it, it seems to me that we're looking either for a shifter or an illusionist or a master of disguises or…. well, the list does go on, but the point is we're not looking for Gray himself. Just someone who can mimic him — except that they also have medical knowledge."

"I'm trying to get Gabe interested in helping us find the motherfucker, but." Teo pulls his features around a ginger sort of squinting. "I think he might be distracted by some personal problems. If the Feds aren't actively looking at him anymore, that's great. I have no idea whether there's still a warrant out on his name, or if he got his shit cleared along with Phoenix and the rest of the Remnant."

It's a taller order, he realizes. Getting the Midtown Man a new slate, especially when the Midtown Man is the fall guy for the President's baby brother. Teo pries the lid off his takeaway cup, peers down at the mellow depth of cooling coffee. "But I'll see what he's willing to do."

Elisabeth shrugs slightly. "I'll at least pass the word that we're looking for a doppelganger or some kind of … Christ, multiple personality issue or something." She rolls her eyes. "I'm getting tired of this bullshit. You want to know why I want to be a cop? Cuz it's fucking simple. Situation in front of you, shoot or don't. I hate this." She wrinkles her nose. "I'm bitching in your ear about it because you're here and quite honestly? I can't bitch in RIchard's, his problems are far fucking bigger'n mine."

Cold coffee. Yech. After a moment's sad contemplation, Teo resolves to drink down the contents of the takeaway cup anyway. It isn't as awful as he thought it would be, but still somewhat unpleasant. His problems are, of course, absolutely huge. Cold coffee: it's awful. "I think it would be a pretty bad idea to pass that word around," he cautions. "For all we know, the real killer looks and acts nothing like Gabriel. He engages in body disposal, uses knives.

"Comes and goes without revealing him or herself to surveillance cameras that— somebody who does shapeshift didn't bother to evade. You're looking at two different bogeys on that site. Only one of them murdered anybody. Definitely not the one who bullshits around in front of cameras.

"And you're bitching now, but you always knew this was coming. It's why you went for Detective. Nothing's simple with criminal investigations, not once you've graduated from parking tickets and domestic disputes. Not saying you shouldn't bitch.

"Just saying you can do this. I believe in you." Absurd, Hallmark card, trite words to say in earnest, performative by common experience, but Teo says them in earnest. He straightens slightly, the big shaggy, off-blond retriever boy she met years ago, and is still the boy she met years ago, despite the hole in his cheek and the vague penchant for grown-up clothes. Teodoro smiles at her, and it isn't insincere, no matter how they might disagree on the culpability of multiple personality disorder doppelgangers.

She just needs a place to bitch like mad. Seriously. Elisabeth smiles a little at him. "Keep telling me, okay? I get damn tired, and I really need the pick-me-up. I don't even know if I believe in me, so … if you can believe in me til I'm on my emotional feet again, it'll help." She sighs and shoves her hand through her hair. "And fair enough on the doppelganger issue." She frowns. "I'm too tired and too stupid right now to figure out if I should even know what the hell we're dealing with. Point me at something and tell me to fight it, flee it, feed it, or fuck it and I'm your girl." She's ….. sort of being facetious here. Mostly. Kind of. Maybe not. Even she's not entirely sure at this moment. And people wonder why she's stressed. Ha!

"Take a nap," Teo suggests, fitting the cap back onto his cup with a push of his palm. Click and thok. "Get you back on your…" He gestures vaguely with the emptied cardboard vessel, even as he swings one socked foot up to nudge his discarded chair back in under the table. He still takes his shoes off when he enters somebody's home. "Your physical ones before we start worrying about your emotions' bits.

"In the meantime, I'll be around. You know how to get me." Even if his appearances do come somewhat tardy. He runs callused knuckles over his right eye, then flattens the bushy flat of his eyebrow with his thumb. "Let me know when the high school kids get notice," he requests, "and whether or not you're going to keep Logan tailed. Per favore."

Elisabeth snorts slightly. "I'll see what I can do about getting a shadow on Logan," she murmurs with a faint smile. "The down side to the situation is that even if he sees something, it's not like he can just call and let us know." Completely intangible, you know! "A nap's why I'm here, actually." She sleeps better here or at the library — Red Hook's not 'home'. "I'll talk to Kershner about the warnings for Irving kids." She studies him and asks softly, "Do you think it's going to do a bit of good?"

No, not really. "Yeah, I think so. Mice have to come out of the fucking holes some point," Teo says. Cup stowed in one gloved hand, he claps the other down on Liz's shoulder, a comradely sort of Hello or acknowledgment. "Between HomeSec and the remnant, we have a solid chance of gassing them out. You really should see if Kershner will be willing to use her ability for forensic investigation. Off the records, even.

"Just don't mention me, or she'll shut you down faster than you can spit." Teo might even be trying to sound regretful, but he isn't succeeding in the slightest. He stuffs a scarred fist into his coat pocket, ambles toward the uneven stack of his boots by the door. He favors his left ankle only slightly, by now. Doesn't have a cast on it, either. "I'll take you and your dad out for dinner some time."

Elisabeth chuckles. "I won't mention you. I don't mention anyone's names to her. I just give her what information seems useful to give her." She moves to hug the Italian boy who usually flails about now. "That'd be nice. I'd like that a lot. Let me get off the 24-hour on-call thing. The snow is kicking my ass out there."

Cue miniaturized windmilling. Teo is still embarrassingly predictable, on a lot of levels. There's one breath of laughter against the curl of her ear, an awkward crease of hands around her waist, tentative at first, before he straightforwardly lets go and wraps both arms double around her. Squeezes like he's willing a burst of toothpaste out of the roof of her head.

He smells of nicotine, nondescript soap, the apples she'd baked into her strudel, and someone else's cologne. Something with musk, sharp spice oils and a few other indeterminable notes to smooth the arpeggio in between. "In bocca al lupo, Liz. Luck."

Correction to scene: LOGAN was seen entering by a witness, but cameras actually showed Gabriel. Eileen seen by a witness leaving, and again the cameras showed Gabriel. So the conversation about doppelgangers took a turn more toward illusionists — and whether the Vanguard's bastard illusionist might still be alive, cuz… well, everyone ELSE keeps popping up alive.

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