No Reason To Get Excited


deckard3_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title No Reason To Get Excited
Synopsis The thief, he kindly spoke.
Date September 10, 2009

Safehouse in Manhattan

The weather is shit. Sudoku is shit. There is also shit in the loo, which was apparently broken for half a week before he and the low-level hydrokinetic who takes care of the Garden's garden through the drier weeks of summer fixed it, only now it is broken again and the lassitude of heat has drained Teo of any real will to do anything about it.

He's seated on the floor, as he's so often wont to do, propped against a wall with a bent plastic dart hanging loosely from his callused fingers, a scab on his knuckles from where he clipped himself moving boxes around Ghost's caches, checking and rechecking locks, parts, and casings, and some Thai mixture of peanut butter and paprika drying on his breath, hair still damp from the shower, a forgotten mug of tea tilted slightly over a contused floorboard nail, its poorly mixed contents separating gradually into stratification of cheap powder and chilling water. The television is on, though turned down nearly to mute: some show planted firmly in the fantasy genre that's failed entirely to blossom into anything original within that context.

His eyes are glazing over. He couldn't tell you if he was bored or merely tired, but doing nothing seems to be rapidly resolving itself into the ideal agenda for the next few hours. Doing nothing is almost like reaching equilibrium, stable over a low center of balance.

The weather is shit. Warm rain and colder wind announce the imminent onset of fall earlier than most might like. So it is that Deckard's dampness has nothing to do with his having showered before coming over here — short buzzed hair and the shorter bristle of his beard growth still lagging behind from when he shaved it all off plastered dark to his already gaunt skull. He snuffs to himself like a worn out old horse at the door, accepting the offer of a wadded up dish towel from a resident to scrub over his head and neck once he's hefted his soaked overcoat over onto a spare hook near a window open to the porch.

A kid slides past on shoes half converted into roller skates — wham-wham-whams up a stairwell that branches up off the kitchen without so much as a sorry or excuse me or hey, Mr. Deckard. The lady that offered the dish towel looks apologetic. When Flint holds the damp cloth back out to her, he tries only half-heartedly not to look annoyed.

Doesn't take long for him to meander his way into the dreary duldrom state of the living room, all stale air and the hazy stink of bad breath and toilet when Flint drags a ratty pillow up off the bit of furniture nearest the door and flops it bodily over onto Teo's barely conscious self.

The pillow hits Teo on the head, and the reaction is instant, though the instant reactions aren't particularly impressive. He scrunches up his face into a scowl, creases laddering down between his eyes and making a horshoe around his mouth. Self-consciousness and a belated appreciation for the potential runoff of eating spicy Eastern cuisine yank his arm up, over his mouth, covering up to his nose, pale eyes belatedly marking the path of Flint's entry and the hall space outside.

There's that kid clonking around on those ridiculous shoes and a lady moving around with a manageable burden in her arms. He closes his eyes, reopens them, and his pupils flatten out to refocus on the nearer stalks of Deckard's legs towering over the floor. He picks up the pillow with his knee, or starts to, except it his fat and his leg is not, so there's a moment's toppling and he has to snatch it up before it lands on a surface slightly dingier than the one it came from.

"Buo—" Teo lapses. Hazards a glance at the nearest window, the tightly-seamed gaps of light between boards, before finishing: "Buona sera, vecchio. What's up?"

"It's raining," says Flint, bristle brush hair turned up in uneven starts where the towel did its thing. It's raining and he's wet, though the coat he was wearing seems to have kept the worst of it up off his shoulders and back. His boots are damp and the cuffs of his jeans are worn dark and ragged with dirty moisture at his heels, tracking in grit for someone else to clean up later.

If there's anything else going on, he doesn't seem to think it's important enough to be worth sharing. Trouble with Abigail. Elisabeth. Tarot readings. Hallucinations of French guys and snowy woods. Bad dreams. Antidepressants. It's all encompassed in a hazy beat of banal, unfocused and undefined dejection that lazes over into a slow sink onto the couch he stole the pillow off of.

"I have an apartment."

Raining wet, Teo catches up on through a tardy blink and skew of pale eyes at the half-moon tracks sidewindered across the floor. More of a disturbance of texture than color stains, despite Deckard's best effort to be disgusting or juvenile or whatever. It's cool. He knows about Elisabeth, can guess at Abigail, antidepressants and bad dreams. Even knowing only half the constituent ingredients of Deckard's inner-life of late, Teo figures it tastes bad enough that mucking up the floor a bit between safehouse rounds is okay.

It's not like Teo had taken his shoes off because somebody had told him he should. "Yeah?" he mooshes the pillow between his hands and stops thinking about microbes after a moment. He mooshes the pillow again, like an accordion between the callused breadths of his palms, tries to remember one of the three or thirty things he was probably supposed to talk to Flint about, next he saw him. "That's cool. I haven't had one of those in awhile. Where is it?"


There's another pillow lumped over onto the far side of the couch, so. Flint reaches for it. Drags it coarse and understuffed over into his lap to wrap an arm around like a boneless toddler he's only passingly interested in keeping from tumbling ass over elbows onto the floor.

"It has two bedrooms."

The weather's gotten to him, too. The weather, or the season, or the lack of any pressing apocalyptic disasters to fend off the weight of his personal life smothering thick and retarded at his senses, and especially at clarity of thought. He's tired and thin and greying and most of all aimless, which all would have suited him just fine a year ago where it keeps him awake at night now.

"And the toilet works."

"Sweet." It's kind of like an invitation! Teo examines it from a variety of angles distances without actually moving his head or any other part of himself. He is not suspicious, because he is Teo and Deckard is Flint, but he is hesitant for all the predictable reasons, unfamiliar with accepting help or needing it or being offered it unasked, or maybe something about the residual strain between himself and the lanky blondling that Deckard's sleeping with.

There's always a room in Abigail's house for him, one that he is most pointedly not taking advantage of, lately. It is weird how that has everything to do with Deckard, and simultaneously nothing at all. Teo had actually stopped smelling the toilet about half an hour ago, but its mention reminds him again. He laces his mouth tight shut over a frown, or a smile, or some too-wide grimace that combines both with the same sluggish rolling-pinned compaction that he's giving this pillow. "So—" his brows fiddle between levels on his face. "Is it like a safehouse thing in reserve, or could a guy sign on?"

"It's not a safehouse." It's barely even a house at all, what with the one couch and the no tv and the fact that the second bedroom doesn't actually have a mattress in it yet. Deckard's mental review of the furniture shortage culminates in a sidelong tug at the corner of his mouth and a distracted scrub of one hand after it. He hadn't actually done much thinking about the bed situation until now, apparently.

"If I'm late with rent again…there's. I dunno. You know how it works." With the eviction and. The homelessness. He sketches that same hand once loose around his temple, illustrative of nothing save for maybe the fact that he's not sure why he actually cares.

This is the part where the hero rises up on the sunset, all glistening armor and sublime posture, and shouts something inspirational that carries all the way down the hill. Except that Teo is just making an unhinged crab scrabble to get his ankles under him, and shunt his back up the wall with a frictioned snag of cotton on wood that probably just takes the years out of his garment instead of recovering his physical distance or emotional wellbeing.

"That can't happen," he says, as if he hasn't been shut up in here with sewage for the past however long between bathing or sleeping or eating Thai or whatever. "That's no good. I need a place. I could… I have money, I could put my name down. If that's okay." He reaches around behind himself to pull his sweater straight, flattens down the front with his palm. There isn't as much fidget waiting in his digits as usual or else he'd be digging over his scalp and sidling on his feet. Instead, there's a little bit of a sway to his figure, and he drags his thumb down the coarse bristle of his chin. It sounds slightly dislocated and more than a little bit lame, a doll limb fitted to the wrong joint, when he adds, sort of asks/, "Please."

"Sure." You'd think Flint might sound a little more enthusiastic about the idea of having Teo move in and help with the bills. Unless you actually know him, in which case there's really nothing to be expected beyond an up-and-down search as if to check and see if Teo's being straight with him about the money thing and a firmer grasp on the pillow looped into the crook of his right arm.

"I already have two keys. Told the bitch that owns the complex someone might be moving in. Shouldn't be any problems putting your name on the lease." No clarification on if he assumed from the start that someone might be Teo, but. He's satisfied with whatever he sees in the younger man's reasonably unfidgety stance across the living room, too blah himself to bother with fumbling around with his crooked collar or one rolled sleeve.

"You can bring your crap by whenever."

Most days, Teo doesn't do too great with sofas, but he approaches this one now without visible aversion to the prospect of sitting down on it. He folds up a leg, drops down sideways into the furniture, prompting a sine-curve bump through the concatenation of stuffed cushions that stops, stifled, before it does more to Deckard's enervated sprawl than jostle the nearest knee. He is still carrying the pillow, wadded up underneath his arm. "Grazie. For everything."

Quiet grows stale in the air in an intervening lull of conversation. On the television's lined screen, swords clash, and a man is struck tumbling from the withers of his steed. A picturesque lake flares out, a carriage reflected in the flawed mirror of its water, hooves storming dirt clouds in through green-spoked wheels and gilt trimmings jostling above the level of the road.

His fingers squirm awkwardly, trying to find room against the corpulence of his pillow's side enough to dig up cigarettes. "Some shit happening lately. Feng Daiyu's still around. Beat the fuck out of Ethan Holden in an underground station, or something," he says. "Phoenix is trying to figure out what it's supposed to do with Humanis First!."

A tip of Deckard's long face serves as vacant acknowledgement of Teo's thanks. Sort of. Enough to show he heard, if not enough to really constitute a 'you're welcome' or even a 'no problem.' He's still staring at nothing, flat mouth carved down enough at the corners to read as a frown while blue eyes skim unfocused past the toe of his own boot to the tracks he so recently laid down over the dusty floor.

He is a creature of quiet in all its forms, from brooding repose in isolation to the much more common awkward silences that tend to plague his interactions with other human beings. It doesn't bother him, kind of like fantasy and television don't interest him. His foggy absence of an attention span never even begins to drift in the muted set's direction.

"Probably deserved it," is finally muttered on the subject of Ethan and Feng. He doesn't look over automatically at the tell-tale muffle of a cigarette box being rummaged for. Just sprawls his bony knees out a little wider away from each other, taking up still more space that he doesn't really need. "Why don't they just do what they usually do and blow them up?"

"Probably." This agreement is uneasily imparted, with Eileen on the back of his mind and the usual set of alliances balanced precariously on the front. Teo looks at the couch for a moment, plucks and picks at the seam of the cushion. There's a thup-thup scrape of fiction, the weave and stitch lipping over the round flat of his nail. "I don't know. Well.

"I think he's just that good, that they— can't, somehow. Eileen thinks he's after all of them, all the" what is the term again? "remnant.

"The cops can't seem to get their hooks in him either, from what Eileen's gotten them to do. From what I can tell, he's said he's everything from Interpol to CIA and gotten away with it so he must have some kind of resources. Peter Petrelli ashed half his fucking face the other month and then he was just…" His eyebrows flick high, the shrug that seesaws through his shoulders mimicked in the arch of his brow. "Fine."

A deep breath lifts long and slow at the rickety cage of Deckard's ribs while he listens — subtle in a way few of his sighs are. His pillow is hugged against his side in a knot of wiry old muscle and corded tendon, tension wound in firm and released slack when he drops it into the short span of empty couch at his side. "You want to help them."

Maybe it's odd that Deckard evidently doesn't. "He nearly set me on fire, you know. That night you found me." His hands twine loose between the wide angle of his knees, dishearteningly casual while he thumbs through various file folders labeled RESENTMENT stuffed wall to wall within his skull. "We saved Eileen from Logan. Helped recover the Midtown Man from Pinehearst. We've trusted them implicitly with knowledge of the Ferrymen and safehouses, and they still kidnap me when one of them has a booboo."

His head turns from profile to full on squint on a hawkish swivel, chilly eyes too blue and bony face too lean. "Even Helena and Cat try to ply me with booze. I didn't heal Feng, if that's what you're wondering."

"I didn't think you would've healed Feng." A knot is stuck at top center of Teo's face, like he'd been in the process of sifting a new expression through his face but the shuttle gets itself stuck on this inconsistency. He pulls his nose with his fingers, momentarily distracted from the fidgeting processes of lung cancer, sniffs. Looks across the table in search of an emptied Thai carton that he'd long since discarded. "Not after the night I found you."

Tink. Flink-flick, and he finally manages to spark up a tiny hiss of flame enough to light cigarette with lighter. "I didn't know they'd fucking kidnapped you." It isn't the same as denial— about wanting to help, but Teo's voice would be in the same register if he were, disapproval, somehow unambiguous and inoffensive at the same time. The cigarette box wags at Flint's shoulder.

Teo didn't know. Satisfied with that answer enough to loose cinched crow's feet and a few of the lines carved in hard over his brow, Deckard sinks a little deeper into the couch. The cigarettes get harder to ignore when they set to wagging, and finally he's forced to look down after them with something like patience for the pursuant effort to…share. Or whatever. It's an odd look on his face. Odder maybe for the annoyance that nips after it when he looks forward again. Away from the couch, and away from Laudani.

"I quit."

He quit. The bone-knuckled wind of his fingers lifts and falls once between his knees, bobbing twice to a rhythm entirely irrelevant to this conversation. "Hadley might have. Unless he's human."

It takes Teo like five whole seconds to realize what it was that Flint had quit. He scrubs his thumb up his cheek, around his ear, a self-conscious skitter of fingernail against the grain of facial hair. He quit. If he hadn't already lit up he'd probably have put his back in the box out of some misplaced sense of brotherhood.

Instead, he breathes stinging, stinking particle matter down the front of his shirt. "I think he's non-Evolved." The politically-correct verbiage. "They found some of his blood in the subway, along with Holden's. Not one red flag marker went up between the two of them, and there was enough forensics guys droppering through it.

"Not too many Registered Evolved healers around the city. None of them turned up random dead in an interesting way between the dates, either." He scrubs ash down into the nearest tray. It already has too much ash, too many crippled stumps protruding from them.

Yeah. He quit. He doesn't look much healthier for the effort. There's a little less crud in his voice, if one were listening for it. Maybe. He's quieter, too. Less wheezing. Smells — well. Smells like an alcoholic still. Just an alcoholic that sleeps in a bed as opposed to in a giant ash tray like the one Teo's currently cultivating. Flint gives the matted plate of spent smokes a sideways look, but there's no health and safety lecture waiting in the wings, here. They have other things to talk about anyway.

"Great." Non-evolved. Normal. It isn't lost on him that he and Hadley aren't the only healers in town either, for all that there are precious few of them. Again, the chilly blue of his eyes drifts sidelong onto Teo, checking for unspoken suggestion. Some kind of hint that he knows what he's asking.

"Why are we helping them, again?"

When Teo pulls the cigarette out of his mouth, there's nothing left in it. His jaw works, molars mashing something that has no substance or flavor between them. Maybe it is a saucy query as to Deckard's choice of terms— 'we.' Why are we helping them.

"I dunno. I woke up, puking up my stomach with the fucking mothership of all migraines in my head— after Liz, and she was there. Eileen. I asked her what was going on—

"I guess I feel like I owed her something. After that, and Moab— I don't know if you heard about Moab." The Sicilian scuffs the back of his wrist up the side of his face, sits back, wadding his shoulders down into the ugly upholstery of the misshapen old furniture. He hoods his eyes, glances over the wall, the new plaster mottled in pitted cream-cheese reliefs around the power outlets. He doesn't know what he's asking.

That's terribly Teo-ish of him, and if he knew it, he'd be embarrassed and possibly not Teo. "You don't have to do anything. I'm just talking. Waiting. Too many homicidal maniacs shitting on friends and acquaintances, too few leads. I guess I could read a book."

"No." Nobody ever got around to telling him about the whole Moab thing. But Flint didn't ask then, and he doesn't ask now, knuckles bobbed up and down once more while he searches blandly across Teo's face without looking for anything specific. He's pretty relaxed. Has been since he crushed the life out've that one pillow, narrow jaw slack under its protective bristle, grizzled head tipped back over the couch cushion behind it in a lazy loll.

"You could." Read a book. The option's always there, as little as Deckard takes advantage of it these days. He sighs again — there's a rustle as his hands fall away from each other, then the dry rough of one of them insinuating itself bony and warm around the Italian's near wrist. "Are you still all fucked up?" He probably should have done the asking part first.

And suddenly they are holding hands! Teo almost embarks on a half-hearted attempt to make humor of this, lift of a brow and a glance down at the half-clasp around his arm, maybe a shit-eating grin, something with a perverse quantity of teeth in it. He doesn't. "No, no— I'm fine. It was just like a bad bout of motion sickness. I'd save it for somebody really in trouble.

"Give or take— the kidnapping part of the invitation process." He motions, his fingers unconsciously choreographed still as if he had a cigarette to brandish, some unresolved memory of an only half-finished cigarette still fixed in the ether of his memory, before he frees his fingers of that feeling with a wriggle, and tugs at the captured wrist with a dead fishy boneless flip of his forearm. Relaxed is kind of cool. Different.

He considers talking about Abigail, then decides not, covering her up under the same tesseract of willful ignorance as the rug that Moab was swept under. "If you still drink, though," Teo says this as if he can't smell the alcohol redolent down the folds of his garb, "I think Phoenix is scratching together a second Miracles project."

"Mmnh," says Deckard, either not entirely pleased with what he feels or — who knows. He doesn't force the issue though, wrought iron grip falling away without a struggle when the arm it's bound around tugs away. Temporarily freed up of obligation, his own arm falls lazy back across his leg, long bone across long bone with not nearly enough cushion in between.

Willful ignorance is easy when there's only silence to worry about on the other end of the conversation. Flint's taken to scrubbing absently at the scruff layered up in a sandpapery gradient across his throat, which is apparently sufficient excuse in his universe for him not to talk while Teo fishes around for fresh subject matter. That he ultimately settles back on Phoenix is cause for a lifted brow. A dubiously lifted brow, to be clear, with similar skepticism a little harsh in the Look that follows it.

It isn't quite middling, the look that Teo answers the Look with, but the discerning eye might identify individual strains of Ghost and his younger analogue in it. He pulls his lips into his mouth, sucks them in between his teeth as if rue is biting into them, all clumsiness and sheepish remorse, except his eyes stay a fraction too large for that, goggle-wide with parodied nonchalance that isn't as soullessly blithe as the banished specter's charming attempts to endear and get along used to be. Oops. He made a mistake.

Just a little one, surely. Abruptly, he yanks the pillow out from under his left butt cheek. It makes a skizzy rasp noise of friction, dragged against the rivets of his jeans and the abrasive texture of denim. Stuffs it in under his arm. "Anyway, they might come and ask you soon," he says. Look: a heads-up. It's what comrades owe each other. Friends. Roommates. "Why'd you quit smoking?"

"I dunno," is a lie. Not one with a whole lot of effort steeped in behind it either. His jaw banks in and hollows out; his nose rankles after something gone half-formed and unspoken through his thoughts. "Maybe it's a miracle." Sarcasm is a thing manifested in the finer points of his expression rather than in tone or specific emphasis of the sort that comes in italics. A narrowed eye here, a dry lift at the corner of his mouth there.

"Phoenix didn't trust me when I was scraping around in a cage in the belly of The Invierno. They don't trust me now, unless they need something. They would not trust me in a box. They would not trust me with a fox."

Meanwhile Flint's become very interested in his cell phone despite the fact that the battery died some…two days ago. Apparently he's only just now noticing.

"Who was the guy at the meeting with the…bigass scar?" There's probably a tactful way to ask that question, but he didn't come upon it in the three seconds he spent trying to think of it, so.

One ought to eschew the use of sarcasm when talking to teenagers. Which means either Deckard's doing something wrong or Teo's about to do something right. Yes, that is a mean joke about somebody's maturity levels. His eyes slide in and out of focus twice at the television screen. In the show, they are doing a blurry first-person camera view of the princess awakening after a stuporous bout of blunt trauma concussion. There's a troll right up in her face. Teo rubs his eye.

"I don't think what you say about Phoenix is fair," he notes, after a moment. "Or different. Nobody trusts each other unless they 'need something,' these days, or when they're needed. Giving and taking help's all you do when you're a good guy. It's the only available currency and the balance of… of power. I mean, you expect somebody to be straight with you and hang out kind of trust, you probably need to ask somebody who has more free time." In some effort to be charming, Teo turns this into a deprecating joke at his own expense, makes a V with his hands that defines the space around him with a sort of a box. He is Exhibit A.

For people with too much time. And secrets. "Peter Petrelli," Teo adds, eventually. Cordially. "Scar across his face. Helena's ex, the actual Midtown Man. It's a complicated story, mostly told by politically-motivated liars. He didn't used to be that unrepentant a shitbag. Not when either 'f me knew him."

"I'm not a good guy." Simple, succinct. Deckard hooks a thumb up to scratch at something caught between his teeth, considering Teo's knees and the pillow in his lap at a skewed angle until he goes back to sizing up the wall straight ahead instead. There's a lot of space between his words now, like he's actually thinking before he says them. Against all odds.

"I'm not a vending machine either."

Whatever he was after with his thumb proves too resilient to scrape free. There's nothing under the blunt of his nail when he glances at it and a rasp of tongue over teeth comes away similarly empty. "Maybe I am. Fuck you, either way."

The couch creaks — that's the sound of him pushing stiffly up onto his feet — and his knuckles crack twice at the work of one hand over the other once he's up and trying to roll lethargy out of his shoulders. "I'm home and awake nine to eleven most nights. Longer on Sundays."

This calendar is marked down mentally in Teo's head before he realizes that that is kind of irrelevant because he isn't really home that often and they have cellphones. Kind of. Whenever Deckard's isn't dead they'd have cellphones. Pale eyes rock a haphazard arc at the last known location of the tiny handheld's inert carcass, mapped against the recent changes in topography rendered by Deckard getting up off his skinny ass. He scrubs a blink over his corneas and then, only then, reviews that concatenation of logic the other way around. If he has a home, maybe he will go to it sometimes. Maybe there will be less need for cellphones.

"You're not a vending machine," he agrees, after a moment. He doesn't know whether or not he should get up too, so he stays where he is, his spine stretched out a few inches too long and a few degrees too uncomfortably stiff around the unrealized automation to follow, or else, to stand and acknowledge Deckard's departure with that polite but rrreasonably unceremonious salute of posture, ears pricked and eyes blinking in anticipation of some gesture, dismissal, an expectation jerk of a flat slate eyebrow. Fortunately, somewhere between awkward social instincts and socially awkward interruptions, he forebears to make the easy joke about the whole 'fuck you' bit.

"Eleven is early."

Unconvinced and dimly angry and maybe even confused in the hood of his brow and the long pull of a glower at the fuzzy lines around his mouth, Deckard gathers himself in the manner of an ominous looking thunderhead that can't be bothered to do more than loom grey blue on the horizon. So, exactly unlike the ones that are still dumping dirty water in heaps on the street that's waiting for him outside.

Rolled sleeve pushed down level with the unrolled one, he sizes Teo up in a last glance over his shoulder before he starts for the hallway, in no more hurry to leave than he is to stay. "Is it?"

It is! It is. Don't even have to cheat curfew to get past it. That's sort of irrelevant, though, with the disbelief, dim anger and maybe even confusion picked into the skinny hew of Deckard's face. Teo is hopped up halfway onto the sofa's armrest now, his knee buckled up over its overstuffed shoulder and one foot ground in to the crevasse between seat pads.

He is frowning. Grim, the way kid-him was whenever he needed it to be understood that he was taking something seriously. He juts like a meerkat out of the edge of the doorway after Flint is through, but he doesn't fall over, somehow. "Nine to eleven is good," he says, finally. "That's late dinner or second dinner."

"Great. You can bring Chinese," muffles down the unlit hall in Deckard's wake. His coat is still wet, but it's also still waiting for him, so he shakes it off once to little effect and shrugs the unwilling sodden shape of it black up into his shoulders. The look Teo gets down the grey tunnel of the hall between here and there is subdued. Luke warm, maybe, but probably preferable to outright abrasion and gone entirely in the time it takes him to turn the lock and let himself back out into the rain.

Text message from Teo to Eileen:

Asked Deckard for help with Feng.

Old man said you people kidnapped him for healing the other week and probably deserve all the Chinese you can eat.

What the fuck?

Trying other contacts.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License