Neither Saints Nor Heroes


felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Neither Saints Nor Heroes
Synopsis Felix and Teodoro come to an understanding, about where the lines in the sand are and where they stand.
Date April 24, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital is known for its high-quality care and its contributions to medical research. Its staff place an emphasis on compassion for and sensitivity to the needs of their patients and the communities they serve. In addition to nearby Columbia University, the hospital collaborates with several community groups, churches, and programs at local high schools. The associated Roosevelt Hospital offers a special wing of rooms and suites with more amenities than the standard hospital environment; they wouldn't seem out of place in a top-rated hotel. That said, a hospital is a hospital — every corridor and room still smells faintly of antiseptic.

This hospital room really does have his name on the door. Honest. Fel's again in stupid skimpy hospital gown. At the moment, consciousness has assembled itself from the glittering mosaic of pain, drugs, and disorientation, and the Fed is rolling his head from side to side, trying to figure out what day of the week its is.

There is no blood in Teodoro's clothes, no fray or rips that can't be attributed to normal wear and the abuse of hard use. Felix had thought him a hallucination the night before, and the young Sicilian's appearance now, tired but whole and unmarred by secondhand bleed-off seems consistent with that idea. You know: other than the fact that Teo is here.

And that Felix Ivanov lives still.

"Ciao, dolcezza." Either Teo fails really hard at irony, that being the domain of other Europeans, or he intended it without. He's a long shape with a long shadow stooping over the railing, pale eyes pinched narrow by some species of pain. "Abby's coming soon. I promise."

Might be the drugs, might be sheer weariness. But his face is unguarded as it so rarely is, and the crinkling of his eyes will serve as a smile. Take notes, this may not happen often, if ever….he's pleased to see Teo. And presumably not just at the news he brings. "Hey," he says, gently.

It is a faint sting of reminder, that months ago, Teo's presence didn't automatically trigger wariness and anger. Before he started palling around with Sylar, before he blew up Moab, before he had a small guard of HomeSec operatives cut down like trees, before he left the hotel room and stopped coming back, and before somebody, somewhere, or elaborate combination of events reminded Felix where the Federal Bureau of Investigation stands on the subject of so-labeled terrorists. Or fucking them.

Teo glances at the electrogardiograph. Down again. He isn't smiling with his mouth either. "You're doing really well for a man caught between a bullet and a slamming door."

"Ruskin opened me up like a can of sardines," Fel says, in that breathless whisper, too tired to suck in enough air to give it more resonance. "Mostly bloodloss. I'll be okay.."

The bottom catch of Teo's jacket zipper clinks against the hollow metal of railing as he shifts his weight back on his heels. Puts his hands in his pockets. "I'm not sure it was her," he answers, quietly. "I tracked her down. Girl said she was out hunting the Vanguard. Caught a gunshot for her trouble." There's a cant of one eyebrow: inquiring.

"She caught a gunshot from me," Fel's voice is an airless wheeze, but the anger doesn't need the spiking lines of the EKG to describe it. "She lied to you, Teo," he says, fingers twitching on the sterile sheets as if he'd drag himself up right.

Yanked abruptly out of pocket, one hand closes on Felix's shoulder, discouragement in simple terms that ought to be interpretable as such easily even to the Russian's drug-hazed senses. "Maybe," Teo mutters, dropping his eyes in characteristic rue. "Probably: everyone does. Or ought to. The punchline is— whoever she is, I don't know why she left you alive. That says something unflattering to at least one of us. Not sure who."

He's in sad shape in that hospital bed. But the fire of obsession - that burns bright, no matter how battered he is. That zealot's gleam is in his eyes. "She left me alive because if she stayed, I'd've blown her brains out," Felix asserts, voice a gravelled rasp.

"No." Teo's eyes narrow fractionally, some figment of reciprocal passion sparking up in ill-tempered obstinacy behind his face. He releases the older man's shoulder in a saccadic jerk of movement, barely remembering to check the urge to shove. "She— he— could've waited. A little longer, you would've been helpless. You died once. As old injuries go, you've taken some pretty fucking bad ones. You were spared. Again.

"Why the fuck were you out there by yoursel—"

His teeth click shut on a prematurely razored-short end. Yeah, yeah. Like he has any right to talk.

"I had enough strength in me to aim and pull the trigger. A dying man can kill you yet, I've seen it happen, Teo. I don't know if what's in there is still Ruskin, that was never her power. But it's close enough. Gray is in jail, so's Petrelli, and nothing else out there that I know can both shapeshift and degenerate. I don't know what you talked to, but if it's wearing her face, it did this to me. I was out there because I have this crazy fucking thing called a job, and it doesn't pay enough to let me hire an armored car to be my cab if I have to get near Midtown," Felix says, with a hive's worth of waspishness in his voice.

Teo's mouth goes flat as the edges of a brick. "You didn't have the strength for anything when I found you," he retorts, with all of the rhetorical complexity of— a brick. "The FBI isn't hunting anything in fucking Midtown. And if it was, it wouldn't fucking send even their Sprint Cup holder in alone and off-radio.

"If you're just bored or fucking insane, you could at least have the decency to admit it to people who get to pick up the bloody pieces and reassemble them into your skinny old corpus." The warmest the actual color of Teo's baby blues ever gets is the approximate palette of a robin's eggshell. On the other end of the spectrum, where he is now, they're bleached out like ice.

"I don't confide everything I'm working on to you," Felix says, irritably. "And I've contacts who won't deal if I show up with a partner or another goon at my side. When I actually want to kill myself, Teo, I'll just fucking put a bullet in my head. What, I'm lying to you because I just sort of habitually wander around the ruins at night?"

There's a mild wrinkle of surprise on Teo's brow at the absurdity of that notion: that Felix confides anything he's working on with him. "You're lying to me because you switched excuses between your job and habitually wandering. It doesn't matter. I don't give a fuck." As long as they're lying, the sentence stands— he can only give so much of a fuck. "Alternatively, you're an idiot."

A beat.

"Sorry." It takes Teo about four seconds to actually look it, but after four seconds, he actually does. His gaze drifts downward and he steps back, retreating from the bedside, circling like an outdoors cat toward the blinded window. "Not my business."

Felix concedes, blandly, "No, you're right, it isn't, in fact. Thanks for helping me out. Arguably, yes, I'm various species of fool, but that's also not your problem either."

Teo lifts a hand. Pries a gap in between the blinds, slices a thin bar of electric street light into the room. Nothing anybody can see from outside. He doesn't say anything for awhile, studying the world outside Felix's window in a squint. It is still dark out. God knows how he'd gotten into here, without a visitor's pass and before curfew has lifted. Cars move outside, swiveling a ghostly dilution of high-beams across the ceiling.

"Why do you get along with Liz and not with me?"

That question….not out of left field. From another sport entirely. There's only the insectile beep of the varying pieces of medical gear for a few counted heartbeats before he answers. "I don't know," he says, made thoughtful. "Or…..Liz is a cop. Cops….we all have an understanding, if we're not total rogues."

"'M pretty sure that's bullshit." The blinds click back together with a tremor of movement that shudders along the whole sheet of them. Teo turns on a foot, walks along the wall to the endtable huddled in the corner, squinting at the accumulation of brochures there. "Liz and I agree you make decisions like a dumbfuck. About Deckard and— whatever. I guess she doesn't say it to your face. Maybe I'm a bad diplomat. Or she's a good one. Both would make sense."

"All of the above," he says, simply. "Liz is an excellent diplomat, and is likely wasted as a cop, really."

Despite that the influence of the drugs have obviously worn off their ability to completely neuter Felix's temper or other negative emotions, Teo remains peculiarly forthright; perhaps because there's nothing to guard on this subject. Not really. "No, she's a great cop. She's meant to be a cop." He's Catholic. They believe in that kind of thing. 'Meant to be.'

Felix notes, "But she could do better in other less demanding fields. I shouldn't have leaned on her to come back, but I did," He's gone limp and drugged again, eyes beginning to cloud.

"She does more good in this one." Just beyond the older man's peripheral, there's a returning squeak-squeak cadence of feet on mirror smooth-mopped linoleum. Teo checking on the scrolling line of the EKG. "'Spite all this bullshit, I wish I could be your friend."

He just looks at Teo, apparently disarmed by that. "I….do, too." he says, finally. "I am very foolish. But this is my job. I don't know what to tell you. You won't give up what you do, I can't give up what I am."

It's either the screen of drugs, more and more opaque by the moment, or Teo suddenly slapped his game-face on. Maybe 'all of the above,' again. The kid is harder to read.

For instance, there's no real heat to his voice when he points out, "That's not fucking fair: you don't make Liz choose." Elisabeth Harrison is a miracle of a balancing act, acknowledgedly. In as deep with the New York Police Department as she is with Phoenix, a dozen counts of treason and a world saved on the edge of her sword. "Probably shouldn't have slept together, I guess.

"That's probably what screwed everything up. If you feel bad about it, you shouldn't: I'm a mistake a lot of people make a few times." Satisfied that the stupor coming over Felix is chemical and of medical intent, Teo turns away from the box, his blurred profile stark, aquiline against the ceiling light.

"Liz is a cop. She does what's needed. And she keeps an eye on you for me. She's my canary in the coalmine. When the day comes that Liz truly has to choose between her job and her extracurriculars, the gloves come off," Fel says, in a sigh. Likely all the warning Teo will ever get. "I still don't know why you did, other than that you knew it'd be a disposable relationship. I guess I can feel good that I wasn't so awful in bed I turned you off queer sex for good." He's gotta find something to reassure himself with.

It isn't a warning Teo feels need to heed: he's already been told what Elisabeth would choose if she had to. At least thus far, Phoenix has the luxury of moral purity, while the Police Department the necessity and compromises of social and political responsibility. The day Liz turns on Phoenix— or so at least the boy believes— is the day he does, too, for all the tar on the bird's feathers and use outlived.

He quirks his mouth faintly. A smile, but it seems too small to be anything butt sad. "What would you do if you were me?" Teodoro asks, finally. A beat's pause. "Nnnot asking for advice on sex." Felix knows. He's asked the younger man same before. It's never been advice either seems likely to take, but somehow valuable enough to request anyway.

"If I were actually you, likely the same as you're doing. If I were -wise-, quit this. Head back to my homeland. You're neither American nor Evolved, you have no dogs in this fight," His tone is matter of fact.

Denial lifts Teo's left shoulder and drops it in a shrug. "I have my friends. Liz being one of them," he adds, remembering to afford Felix a lifted eyebrow of Some Significance. "So don't hurt your fucking canary."

Felix remains as impervious as a stone sphinx. "She's my friend. I won't," he says, bluntly.

"Would you rather I was wise?" The trajectory of the question is adjusted, slightly, in an effort to deduce whether this is that whole 'do as I say and not as I [would] do' loop of logic or if there's something other than the known quantities here for him to know. Despite the question posited, Teo's attention seems to have wandered off again; back to the door, a blank-faced study of the shadows moving outside its tiny, gridded glass portal. "You could ask me to turn in Eileen. Or Flint. Somebody you hate. That is what this question is for."

"Would you actually? I should've arrested you long ago," Fel's voice is flat, as if poring over childhood regrets, not his current transgressions. "Eileen is partially responsible for untold deaths. Flint now for the murder of who knows how many government agents. So, I suppose, are you, if you were in on his rescue."

A slow exhale of breath through Teo's teeth. "Flint didn't touch any of them. I told you who did when I asked you to shoot me." The honesty required to hold this conversation is beginning to grate. He thinks he was probably right: sex screwed everything else up. Friendship, working relationship, blah blah, cry more. Teo shoves his hands back into his pockets. "I should've let you die. I dunno. You ask me for my opinion on shit without making use of it."

Felix just regards him with that distant patience. "You could still smother me with a pillow," he suggests, deadpan. "I don't know why you haven't. "

For a moment, Teo seems to be seriously considering that idea. The next, he screws up his face like a ball of Kleenex, an abrupt seize of overt sentiment at odds with the distracted dilution that the young man's shown for the past few long minutes. Yeah, right. Smartass says he doesn't want to die. "Yes you fucking do. Or at least, you have a lot of ideas why.

"Some of them are probably right. You know me about as well as you probably could with the material you've been given." Teo's head tilts to the right, fractionally, too slow and gentle a segue to give the impression of hawkish intensity or anything lightweight enough to give any birdlike.

"Know you, yes. Understand you, no, not really," Felix says, splaying long fingers over the coverlet.

The last patch of novelty wears off and the moment that remains sits with its scratched-raw surface, without luster or light, even reflected. Teo stares down at the older man in obscure silence. His head tips back on axis. "I thought you were hot. Honorable. I'm the kind of thug who hated cops because I was disappointed that the ones I met weren't living up to the duty. I tend to worship heroes. It's a flaw."

Felix turns his gaze away, to contemplate the hillocks and mountain ranges of folded cotton that cover his legs. "There are cops who are very much worthy of that sort of admiration. I'm sorry you tried it on with one who wasn't."

"My favorite discussion of heroes was in Tom Jones. The Foundling?" Teo's voice lifts into query without actual interest in whether or not the old Feeb had read it. "Differentiated between heroes and saints. The latter being— godly, I guess. The former as… great people. Psychologically great; physically larger. Who therefore consume more, at the cost of others. Be it food at the table or, I guess, the fallout of violence. That makes sense to me like saints never have.

"I don't think you can say you don't understand me if you'd be doing the same fucking thing in my shoes."

"Too often they seem to skim on, past the wake they leave among others," Felix says, dreamily. "Saints, I don't know any. I don't deny their existence, but they are beyond my experience," he notes. He looks to Teo, mutely.

Michael might disagree.

"I'll go away now." Teo turns away, hands rooting into his pockets. He manages to hike his collar up protectively around his throat and jaw without touching it; a shrug of shoulders twists and shuffles the fabric of his garment up without him having to. "By the next time you get around to dying again, you'll probably 've managed to do something that means I should let you die. Keep your phone on you, a'right?"

Felix murmurs, head rolling to one side, "By then I'm sure I'll be tired enough to want to stay dead," He's limp as a kitten, under the bedclothes. "I will."

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