Ninth Ring of Hell


felix_icon.gif ziadie_icon.gif

Scene Title Ninth Ring of Hell
Synopsis Ziadie and Felix talk, but answers? Those can come tomorrow.
Date January 13, 2011

Hamilton Heights Apartments: Felix's Apartment

It's a pleasant, airy apartment, with pale hardwood floors and high ceilings. The front door leads into a little entryway with a coat closet on the right and the door to the miniscule kitchen on the left. It then opens out into a living room crammed with bookshelves - there's barely enough room for a plain entertainment center and a dark green couch. Beyond that a short hall leads to the bathroom and two bedrooms, the second of which is more an office and spare room, judging by the desk and the weight bench stored there.

Overall, the decor is spartan at best, with little by way of personal touches. The only decoration in the kitchen is an antique icon shelved high in a corner, where the Mother of God smiles benignly at the infant on her lap. A blue glass vigil lamp burns before it. Over the doorway to the back hall is hung an officer's sabre; no mere trophy, it bears the mark of long and constant wear. There are a handful of posters and prints - mostly landscape, though a few are fencing-related.

Fel is…mostly out. The apartment's spartan for a reason - he doesn't have time to acquire stuff, despite his jumps in paygrade. No inclination to, either. His TV is old enough to be an embarrassment, a cathode ray tube monster in the cheap IKEA entertainment center. Mostly, his entertainment seems to be books - the place is crammed with them, on myriad subjects; mostly English, but with a good fraction in Russian. He cooks, though, for the both of them - slow cooker stuff, generally, rather than takeout or TV dinners. Neither of those would stand up to the demands of his metabolism. Generally, the place smells of tea, since he drinks it nearly constantly, something cooking, or the faint rose and myrrh fragrance of the vigil lamp. It burns before the icon in the kitchen, and is one of two things that Felix has requested Ziadie not touch. The other being the sabre over the hallway door.

For the most part, he's placed no strictures on Ziadie's comings or goings. The old cop has been given a spare key. There's no liquor in the apartment, but that seems to be merely his habit, rather than some arrangement made for Z's issues. Most days, Fel gets up very early, and is gone before most wake, to return lateish in the evening, weary but pleased, most days. A few were bad enough that he had the low bloodsugar shakes as he hangs up his wool overcoat.

Tonight wasn't one of those. Fel's at the kitchen table, reading a Times, sipping from a bottle of soda and working patiently on a bowl of soup he doesn't seem to have much appetite for.

The door clicks open, and Ziadie steps in. It might actually be a bit closer to stumbling in, really. The older man looks bedraggled and weary tonight, though he nods in greeting, leaning his cane in a small section of empty wall, and hanging up his coat. Before he hangs up his coat all of the way, though, he removes the flask from the pocket, and brings it to his lips, then putting it in the pocket of the heavy wool sweater he's wearing before crossing over to the kitchen.

It makes a muscle in Felix's jaw jump. Which is….pretty visible, considering the bone structure involved. He takes off his glasses - he still uses them if he's reading for any length of time, and says, "There's Italian soup on the stove, if you're hungry." You'll probably want the liquid to stave off the hangover, he does not add.

Ziadie nods. He moves slowly as he takes down a bowl, and sets it on the counter next to the stove. He pauses to take out the flask again, and only after he's had another sip of whatever's in it does he fill the bowl, picking it up in both hands to move it over to the table before getting a spoon. From the movements, and such, there's no question about the fact: the old man is drunk, quite possibly more drunk than he's been in the past week.

The Russian rubs his eyes with thumb and forefinger, squints a little, and then lays aside his paper. He's never been good with the social inconsequentialities, and having someone else share his little anchorite's cell…..he's not entirely sure how to deal with it. 'What's wrong?'….well, it's obvious what's wrong. "Did something happen?" he asks, eventually, blinking at the older man.

It takes several minutes for Ziadie to answer. He does acknowledge the question, but he's also acknowledging the fact that there's soup. He's probably had more meals in a day than he'd had in months if not years, thanks to Felix. Slowly, he puts the spoon back down. "N' really." His speech is slurred, too, and no longer is he even bothering being careful enough to hide that. Previously, even when slightly drunk, Ziadie tried his best to hide it, to act alright. Not so tonight.

Cops sort of have a license to crawl into the bottle. Doubly so if they're Russian. But Fel doesn't seem to drink, not really. "There anything to be done?" he asks, more gently yet.

Ziadie shrugs. He does look up at Felix, before continuing to eat the soup, but his gaze is unfocused and vacant. Eating does seem to make him a little more settled, but the older man drums his fingers on the table, almost restless. There's no definable cadence, or rhythm, but Ziadie's not sober enough for that, so. "Don't know." This time, the flask comes out, but Ziadie doesn't drink from it. He just sets it on the table to one side of him, and starts tracing the edges of it instead of drumming his fingers on the table. There's still half a bowl of soup on the table, but it seems perhaps forgotten for a moment.

"Never works, you know," he says, half vacantly, a hint of resignation in his voice. He might be talking about the alcohol. He might be talking about things to be done.

"The booze, or rehab?" Fel wonders. He doesn't seem inclined to argue it. What point would there be, after all? He's canted his head, and his expression is very curious, if not without sympathy.

"Both." Ziadie winces and rubs his head. "Neither." Drunk as he is, the older man is having trouble figuring out a truthful way of stating things. And apparently, it's making whatever headache he has from the alcohol worse. A small period of silence passes, and Ziadie returns his attention to the soup in front of him. "All of th' 'bove."

Felix just nods, as sagely as he can. Perhaps not very. "Why'd you start?" he asks. He can't critique. His old partner had some very borderline fits, really.

Ziadie tilts his head a bit, thinking. "Made it easier." One spoonful of soup follows another, and Ziadie's eating carefully over the bowl, because he's not doing too well at this using a spoon thing at the moment. Yet he'd never drank to excess before his retirement, even if he did have the occasional drink, especially after he'd had to listen to people for paperwork all day. "Then … then … everything." He shrugs.

Felix lays his hands on the table, sniffs a little, and blinks. He cants his head at Ziadie, that funnily birdlike gesture. "I see."

Ziadie nods, slowly, and opens his mouth slightly but doesn't speak yet. It's like the older man is searching for the words for what he wants to say. "My … ability." There, that's how to put it, isn't it? "I can't turn it off. Never could." Ziadie leans on one hand, tiredly. It's clear that whatever doesn't work, the person he's become isn't a person he always likes being, and he's at that point of being drunk that the person he's become is all too clear, and possibly all too exaggerated in how he sees it.

The Russian sits up like a dog who's heard his master's step in the hallway. "….if it's not prying, what is your ability?" he says, picking up his spoon again, but not taking a further mouthful. The blue eyes are very keen.

Ziadie once again seems to be searching for the words to say it. "Can tell when people're lying. Being false." It's an ability that served him well when he was with the NYPD, but seems to have made him bitter and cynical since then. "Little lies … they sound wrong, and twinge." The older man pauses, once more paying attention to the soup bowl, and staring off as though staring into a place and time long gone. "Bigger, though…" The words trail off, as if that's where the problem begins.

"Oh, my god. I'd drink, too, if that were my ability," Fel says, startled into bluntness. "New York City must be the ninth ring of hell for you." The narrow blue eyes have widened. "Have you ever thought about going on some kind of suppressant? I know they're out there. It might make it easier."

Ziadie nods, and manages half a smile. "People. People in gen'rl." He puts his spoon down again. "Firs' rule of bein' a cop. Firs' rule of anythin. People lie." He pauses, and looks at the younger man. "Hate t' ask, Ivanov, but. Could you ge' me more soup?" His bowl is empty, in fact. "An' … water?" The older man must be tired. Usually, he's reticent about letting anyone do anything for him. "World's only been a more dishonest place recently."

He doesn't hesitate, but hops up and gets first the glass of filtered water, and then more soup. Crackers, too, set beside Ziadie. He did grow up in a culture where you take care of your elders, after all. "I find that hard to believe," he says, with a faint chuckle. "But if anyone knows, it'd be you."

Ziadie picks up the glass carefully, with both hands, and takes a slow sip, and then sets it back down. Weathered hands remain wrapped around the glass, though. "Bigger lies, oft pol'tics … then's a headache. Same, though, if I try to make it stop." Ziadie begins to eat the soup, slower this time. Food has already begun to counter how drunk he was when he came in, and he manages to eat without spilling most of the soup back off the spoon and into the bowl.

"Seriously, though, would you consider a suppressant?" Felix urges. "It might help." His face is alight with interest.

The older man is thoughtful, picking up a cracker and flipping it between his fingers, a motion that might once have been deft and quick but is no longer so. Eventually, he nods. "S'pose it might, yes." He sounds uncertain, but not overly so, and picks up the flask from the table, taking a small sip. "I … anything as would help." The flask is put back on the table, and Ziadie nods once again.

Felix looks away, gaze distant in the way of a man trying to dredge something up from memory. "I'll look into it. I've never really considered 'em, myself." His power is so easy, simple by comparison.

"Thank you." Ziadie is silent for a time, watching Felix. He takes a sip of water, and nods. "It wasn't ever so bad, when I had more a' occupy myself, too." There's a lot unsaid, still, but for the moment, Ziadie just manages a bit of a smile, and works on continuing to eat the bowl of soup in front of him.

Felix nods, quietly. And then he says, suddenly, "Do you have enough to share?" What, he decided to get his own drunk on?

The older man nods, though a little obviously surprised, and tilts his head in the general direction of the guest room. "The red bag. Glenlivet 12, and a bottle of Gordon's." It would seem that a not insignificant portion of Ziadie's pension check often gets spent on alcohol. "There's some Guinness, a' well, I think."

The Russian makes a little uncertain gesture. "Do you mind if I…." He trails off. Share? Get drunk, too?

"'d get it m'self, but if I get up …" Ziadie says, sipping from the glass of water. "Might be a few types of gin in the bag, actually. Can't r'memb'r."

Fel nods. He's had water and soup himself. It's going to take some work. But in exchange for providing shelter and board…..he heaves himself up, long fingers splayed over the table, and goes to get a bottle. A clink of glass later, and he returns with the Glenlivet.

Ziadie rubs his temples with his fingers, and then looks over at Felix, and grins, albeit tiredly. The expression seems vaguely silly and more than a little out of place on his face. "'s a good 'nough Scotch, that one." He nods as he says so, almost to himself. "Smooth."

"Good," Fel says. And he gets himself ice, and pours himself a generous measure. This may be something both cruel and unwise to do in front of an alcoholic. But….sometimes even the monk there needs to get his brain blurred.

Ziadie doesn't ask questions, really. Even if he might later, he doesn't now. Instead, he picks up the flask again, unscrews the top and sets it on the table, and raises it in Fel's direction. "Sláinte." Answers? Those can come tomorrow.

"Nazdorovye," Felix says, in return, though it's scotch he's lifting, not vodka. His grin is too broad for his jaw, and rather lopsided, already.

The older man brings the silver flask to his lips, and tips it back. When he puts it back down on the table, Ziadie traces the edges of the flask. "M'wife gave this t' me," he says, half absent-mindedly.

"Did you like being married?" It's a childish, disingenuous question. Fel's not even drunk enough to have an excuse.

Ziadie picks up another cracker, sticks it between his teeth and lets it hang out his mouth for a bit. There's a silver ring on the ring finger of his left hand, though very plain and obviously very worn. It's possible he hasn't taken it off in 45 years. "I loved her," he says.

There's raw envy in the younger man's face, and he nods, simply. His lips have thinned out, as if he wants to keep silent.

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