Not A Cyborg Anymore


abby_icon.gif sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Not A Cyborg Anymore
Synopsis Put Humpety-Dumpety back together again.
Date January 29, 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.

Thanks to the efforts of James and Anne, along with surgery arranged and performed by Sonny to remove the plate's pressure from his brain, Teo is out of the danger zone. Although he's far from healthy and very likely brain damaged, he's not in immediate danger. He's still hooked up to various machines that show vital signs, an IV drip and a respirator to help him breathe, although it's not needed so much now.

It took a lot of bribes and traded favours, but no nurses or staff have poked their heads into the room. There were a few close calls, but Sonny's smooth talking and offer to work in the hospital has kept the room private.

The private hospital room has two beds, on one happens to be Dr. Bianco. He's sleeping, or more accurately, napping fitfully. He's still wearing the lab coat, dress shirt and slacks, but it seems he did have enough energy at least to kick off his shoes. Seeing as he doesn't trust any of the staff to check on Teo, he hasn't left the room in the past twenty-four hours.

Word has gone out to the Ferrymen and Phoenix that if anyone's looking for Teo, they have to ask for Samuel Trent. If that is requested at the front desk, they're directed to room 402.

It was thanks to anne getting ahold of cat, that Abigail knows to look for Samuel trent and within the hour and a half the blonde was there in the hospital. Fifteen minutes later the door to the room is opening, blue eyes peeking in. Terror, worry, fear. She'd been told he was missing, presumed dead, and then.. he's alive but in desperate need of her. Sonny's seen, after the gauze swaddled teo, dozing on the door. Everyone looks worse for wear it seems. In she slips, feet near silent, door closing with the faintest of clicks behind her as the healer starts for Teo's hospital bed. "Oh, God."

Sonny has only been sleeping lightly, so her entrance makes the doc sit up abruptly and blink with clear weariness. He puts a hand to his head and pulls a sharp breath. "Oh, Abby, thank god. We managed to stabilize him and he's out of the woods, but there's not much…" he pulls himself off the bed and finds his shoes with his toes. "…not much more I can do. Not without getting a team of surgeons in here."

Once his shoes are on, he moves towards Abby and sets a hand on her shoulder. "Are you all right?" He checks her over for signs of injury with a doctor's (albeit sleepy) eye.

It's a testament to how freaked out she is, about seeing Teo the way that he is that she doens't move away from his touch. Abigail herself looks tired, about ten years added to her thanks to the ordeal of the past few days. "I fell in the river. Oh god… Sonny" ANother indicator, his first name used instead of the proper polite one. Her hands cover her mouth to muffle the sob. What happened to him? She's stuck where she is, not moving forward yet instead turning into the physician.

Sonny shifts in such a way as to offer Abby a hug if she wants it, but he's not going to force anything. "He…got shot. In the head. But the plate saved him, stopped the bullet from killing him. I managed to extract it and move the plate to remove pressure from his brain, but…" he looks towards the unconscious young man. "…he's also suffering from the after-effects of hypothermia and has a fracture in his left arm."

The doc looks to the floor and his jaw sets. "There's some brain damage. You're…the only one who can fix that."

"Oh God." That seems to be the extent of her vocabulary as she takes the hug then pulls away, hesitant steps towards the hospital bed and the equiptment that works to make Teo comfortable. "The plate… My healing, it'll.. mess with the plate on his head. The bones, it'll hurt him"

Sonny gives Abby one brief, comforting squeeze, then releases her. He walks up to the foot of Teo's bed. His stomach does a flip. "How…fast can you work your healing?" He keeps his voice low and turns his head towards her. "Because…I can remove it. If you can heal him as soon as I do, if you can regenerate the bits of his skull…" He trails off. Very risky. It takes a lot to remind himself that Abby can literally work miracles.

"Fast.. he won't die." She works the rail of his bed, pushing it down so she can carefully ease herself up, to sit at his side, the tears wetting her eyelashes, darkening them and dampening her cheeks. "Dear sweet Jesus, Teo."

"Can you really repair the damage?" Dr. Bianco's not so doctorly now. He's too tired for the brusque, professional demeanor. He's just Sonny. "Is there anything I can get you? To make this easier? I think the vending machine in the hall might have Red Bull." He pulls up a stool near the head of the bed and sinks into it. He swallows to try and stop the anxiety from rising in his stomach.

"I can," spoken through it all, her hand reaches up to brush at his forehead not obscured by gauze. "I can. I will. This is Thursday. He promised we'd see each other on Thursday. And that he'd row a dinghy in Louisiana so I could show him to my little island covered in Kudzu and we could watch the stars" Her lips tighten and she wipes her eyes on her sweater. "Get what you need. Catherine stocked me up with Red Bull. I have another miracle for Teodoro Laudani. I always have a miracle for the man who's breaking my heart."

Sonny looks at Abby with wide, but tired eyes. He examines her in a curious way, then glances back to the unconscious Teo. The doc nods once, then backs up and goes to the sink to scrub his hands and change into an operating gown. He blinks several times to force back the dampness in his eyes, then loads up a cart with sterilized tools and fresh bandages. The cart is rolled over to the bedside and the overhead light is flicked on, then directed towards Teo's skull.

A gloved hand picks up a scalpel, steady by a miracle of his own. He looks to Abby again. "Ready? I'll remove the plate as quickly as I can, then nod to you when you should start." He swallows. His adam's apple rises and falls in a constrained motion. He reaches down to remove the bandages from Teo's forehead to reveal stitches from the earlier surgery to remove the bullet.

While Sonny's getting ready, Abby's getting ready herself. This is more than Felix's bullet removal. Three cans of redbull gulped down, bringing her tally today so far about 8 more than likely. "Okay" Trying hard not to get any tears on Teo. 'Thank you, sonny. For saving him. Getting him to me. I can't ever thank you enough for that. He's… He's important to me. I'm ready, when you are. Her hand around his, careful of the tubes that transfer much needed liquids and medicines into his body.

Sonny chews on words that he would like to say. But this is not the time for those thoughts to come out. "He's a very brave guy," says the doc, though the words are hoarse. He makes a few adjustments on the IVs, then gently cleans the caked blood away from Teo's forehead. He removes the earlier stitches carefully. Little bits of blood trickle, but it's controlled.

"The…the plate's from here…to here," he indicates with his fingers. His voice has gotten tighter, more hoarse. It might be attributed to nerves, but he's performed dozens of surgeries.

Slowly, he opens up the earlier incision, revealing the dull metal glint of the forehead plate beneath trickles of blood and bits of flesh. Very carefully and very slowly over the course of the next few minutes, he pries the plate free of Teo's skull. The fastenings are removed with a special tool, and eventually, he lifts the bit of surgical steel free. Dark, almost black blood trickles, but not enough to cause any immediate danger. He nods once, very sharply to Abby, the moment the plate is a quarter of an inch clear of the young Italian's forehead.

"Oh, God." There's no fainting on the blondes behalf. She's had her hand in worse. SHe'd wear a glove, if she could, but she can't. "Benedict, when the storm rages around me, and I can hold on no more, when the waves of tear engulf me and I am weary, battered and sore, take me then and steer me storm-tossed, broken and afraid, into the arms of your safe harbour safely home" Hushed and reverent, she doesn't close her eyes. The blue eyes are focused very much on Teo, the plate and his skull beneath. Her hands leave his hands and slide to either side of his face, a twisted position, the little gold cross dangling over Teo's chest as she lets the healing grow, leave her, course through him. little invisible threads that work to repair the damage of the bullet. Slow, his brain needs slow. delicate work to repair his grey matter. THe prayer ends and into song she slips, softly. "If you not have fallen, then I would not have found you, angel, flying to close to the ground. well I patched up your broken wings and hung round for a while. kept your spirits up and your fever down…"

Through all of this, Sonny can do nothing more than keep an eye on vital signs and swab the blood from the wound. Other than that, he stays back, stays quiet, lest he interrupt. He stomach stays tightly wound in knots, anxiety and helplessness constricting him until all he can do is stare at the healer and at Teo as the healing is worked. It's almost enough to make him believe.

But her healing doesn't work on other people's faith. It doens't even work on faith. It's all in her head. Faith is her conduit. Like Sonny's hands. Her thumbs stroke along teo's cheeks, brushing away invisible hairs. "…I knew some day that you would fly away, cuase loves the greatest healer to be found, so leave if you need to, but I will still remember, angel, flying to close to the ground" Inevitably, Teo's gonna get tears on him, as her blue eyes go from his face to his mind.

Careful work, the song helping her to spin it out and use those invisible evolved threads to stimulate his body, recreate those specific missing brain cells, put them back where they should, fix and smooth over blood vessels, on and on till soon enough his brain has no trace at all that the bullet had hit. "Plate. Be careful. I'm going to fix the bone" nto that the edge hadn't been growing in while this was all happening but now, now she kicks it up, the pace with only her sniffling and Sonny the sounds that make it out in the room to accompany the pump of the ventilator…

It's like time lapse photography. THe seed sprouting from the soil, pushing itself up, leaves forming off the stem, the flower bud coming into being and on and on. Except it's bone that grows, the diameter of the hole becoming smaller and smaller till for one brief moment you get a glimpse of teo's brain, the seat of all his knowledge, personality, memories, everything is hidden behind Dura and then bone. Sealing up as if the plate had never been needed and a bullet hadn't buried itself within his mind. Skin starts to reseal now as well. Stitches will be pointless, no scar to ever indicate that he'd even been hurt. All in a days work for Teo. "Wake up Teodoa laudani" Murmured to the man, pressing a kiss to his forehead then pulling her face back, waiting, on hand left on the side of his face. A shuddery inhale as she wipes a tear that splats against his cheekbone. "Rise and shine Teodoro. We're waiting, and we're worried hmmmm, I know it's nice where you are, and you probably don't want to go away, but Sonny needs you to wake up Teo, and I need you to wake up."

Salt water. Amadora used to say that her boy was born for it. It makes sense, on some level, that he'd reawaken to the same, smeared down the sharp bone of his cheek and gauze-framed brow. Trying, but—

Consciousness keeps driving on by. He flags it down with a flutter of a fringy eyelid. Twitch.

Fffnghk. A shapeless, graceless grunt of a groan chokes up into the tube, lurches with a scrabbling, spidery jerk of jointed fingers, the IV lashed to his wrist snaking haphazard across linens. The marionette reattaching his strings. Ffmmmh. It's warm now. The roof over his head isn't diamond-latticed blue with the shadow of a tanker closing in in one great, black brutal bite. His right eye flares open before his left, pupils too wide to see.

There's a white-knuckled grip on the ventilator tube before he really knows what he's doing. A surly yank, tape snapping and peeling, and the length of clear rubber emerges out slick and sticky and trailed with a rattling gasp. The skinhead look isn't good for him, and the matters aren't significantly improved by bandages, linens, plastic, and his effort to sit up right fuckin' now.

"Teo, Teo…easy, easy…easy…" Sonny lurches forward to steady him, to stop a Matrix-like tearing of the various tubes and IVs. He pushes the ventillator tube away and presses a hand on either one of the young Italian's shoulders. Then there's a startled, relieved bit of laughter, and unthinkingly, his hands go up to cup his face. He looks down at him, grins crookedly and says, "Welcome back, buddy."

Then he starts to carefully remove the sensors and the IV drips from his arm. He glances to Abby. "Are you all right? It's a goddamn miracle. Teo, how're you feeling?" He can't help but reach up and touch the spot where the bare skull was not long before.

"Teo." She's moving to restrain the young man as sonny does, but give up when she's obviously not in the state to do much of anything. Instead the blonde slips off, thump down into a chair, wave off Sonny when he directs and answer at her. She's not the one that was just fixe dof massive brain trauma. She just curls up in the uncomfortable hospital chair. She did her job, now it's Sonny's purview. That and she's tired again. Tired and somewhere, she still can't shake the cold feeling. From half lidded eyes the blonde watches. Quietly.

And all the King's horses and all the King's men. Pushed, Humpety-Dumpety lies on his back because he has unaccountably been reduced to the physical prowess of a new kitten, not because he was feeling especially cooperative. Faces segue in and out of his focus. He closes his eyes, squeezes them, reopens before his eyelids can even think about sinking shut again. He's had enough darkness for a lifetime.

His breath traces the curl of Sonny's hand, and he tries on a facial expression. A smile. Half of one makes it up, recognizable, crooked, boyish, makes him look as young as he is, despite the bleak loss of hair, the scabs, the twisted residue of sterile adhesive where gauze peeled off. He figures out how to see.

Picks Sonny out out of the mealy blur. Abigail, who's further away. Who must have brought him back, crying, her grief still cooling on his skin. "D—" he coughs, a ragged flush of air out of a windpipe rough from disuse. "Di' we win?"

Sonny looks to Abby for the answer to that question. He doesn't really know what went down, and he hasn't had time to ask anyone. If they'd even tell him. He glances back to Teo, then grabs for a cloth to start swabbing away bits of blood and adhesive. "Well," a beat, and his tone has turned wry. "…we're all still here."

The relief he feels is almost enough to make him nauseous, though he's trying his best to keep himself steady. "Abby's a real miracle worker. You're damn lucky she's your friend." A kind look is sent the young woman's way. "Do you want to lie down?" He nods towards the other bed. "No one will bother us in here."

"He's dead Teo. I killed him. Cat.. can tell you more" because she's not going to talk about it. Not yet. Abby nods to Sonny, peeling herself from the chair to stumble for the bed, hand to wall to make sure she doesn't fall. "Sonny will take care of you now"

The relief Teo feels, on the other hand, is burdened by the nausea and quiver of a dozen other shocks. It comes through in a jolt, a distant reverberation. The Lord of dust and sand is dead, his dainty, canary-haired nemesis who sent him away remains — approximately standing, and the rest is safely reposited in Catherine Chesterfield's head. If Catherine Chesterfield's head is still attached to the rest of her body, that is good, too.

The rest can't be so bad. "Help her?" Good manners turn instruction into query. Unhooked from his IV, his hand bumps into Sonny's elbow, urging the older man toward the faltering healer. He doesn't have enough energy to make grotesque childish faces at being wiped clean anyway, and he'd rather have those.

"You stay put," says Sonny. He seems to have recovered some of his doctorly authority now that Teo's out of the woods. He moves towards Abby and reaches out for her elbow, to help guide her up and on to the bed. "Can I get you anything?" he asks her gently, then pulls back the wrinkled hospital blanket so she can get under the covers. He keeps casting glances back towards the young Italian to make sure he isn't defying sound advice and trying to stand.

"Get the blood off my hands?" Though, she doens't really mean it in the real sense. She means it's more in the mental sense. But there is blood on her hands and she doesn't lay down on the bed yet, reaching for a kleenex from the table beside the bed so she can blot teo's vital fluids off her hands. "Things are going to be strange for him. I made new… brain. Not fixed old brain.. I don't know what was where the bullet was.." She looks over at Teo, offering her hands up to Sonny when there's still blood after wiping. Watching him, tears still wetting her cheeks every minute or so.

The woman's words evoke no real reaction from Teo's face. He doesn't remember. Not yet, anyway. Bullets, blood, that seems par for course when you're stopping a viral apocalypse. He only remembers water, darkness. Abby's face is more water and darkness.

He can't fix that from all the way over here. Aborted on the cusp of movement, rough fingers dangle empty in the air past the railing of his bed. Broad-shouldered and knotted by linens and fatigue, he remains turned to watch his loved ones — the phrase not facetiously invoked — talk about him as if he isn't right here. His smile takes a moment to fade to concern; he meets Sonny's eye with a figment of a query in his own.

Sonny reaches for a disinfecting cloth to wipe the blood from Abby's fingers. He eyes the scar on her palm. "I can take care of this for you, if you like?" Then he moves briskly to the sink to wet a cloth, which he brings back for her to more thoroughly clean her hand. "Better?" He reaches a hand up for a shoulder-squeeze, then goes for a small cooler. He pulls out a bottle of water and a nutri bar, which he waggles it questioningly towards her. It's a surprisingly mundane offer given the situation.

He looks back to Teo, the grin on his face somewhat lopsided with relief. "You hungry, man? I've got some snacks and things here. or I can make a trip to the cafeteria."

"No, no I'd.. I need to keep it. Or I would have gotten rid of it already" Abigail's exhaustion keeps her docile, letting Sonny clean her hand and remove any trace. The water and Nutri bar eyed with surprise and they're taken from the doctor, a motion with them for him to see to Teo as she opens her water. "He's the patient. I'm just.. i'm just a nurse. Take care of him, or I'll…" She'll what? She'll do something. The water bottle tilted up to drain nearly half of it before she juggles it with the bar to bring her feet up, lay down on her side and start to eat the bar while watching the two men. She looks ready to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, much like down in the library with the former President-Elect.

Something truly terrible happened here. You don't have to be fully-alert or recovered to be able to tell that. Teo still remembers tracking Allen Rickham's blood across the library floor. Never seen Abigail this exhausted except for then. Not even after rescuing too many grave-robbers and recalcitrant Phoenix operatives and drunkards in too few days. His frown deepens fractionally, then fractionally again.

He doesn't ask. She doesn't look like she could bear to answer. "Get me whatever you're going to get," Teo says. In his humility, he conveniently forgets that Sonny is generally inclined to foie gras, gourmet pizza toppings, and seasonings worth more per pound than the flesh on his body. Or so he'd have originally remembered without looking at the expenses, monetary and otherwise, that his injuries have racked up thus far. He nudges his head deeper in his pillow and blinks over the bulge of stuffed linen. "Eat with me?"

"Abby, do you want me to close the curtain so you can get some sleep?" Sonny's tone is kind and he looks on her with warmth and concern beyond his simple bedside manner as a doctor. He may be a cosmetic surgeon, but that doesn't mean there's not the desire to care for the injured and sick. He became a doctor before he truly understood his ability, after all.

He moves back to clean up the instruments he used to slice Teo's head open. The cart is rolled over and he takes a minute to scrub something in the sink. Then he carries over the battered metal skull plate and sets it on Teo's lap. He reaches up to touch the spot on the young man's skull where the plate previously was. "We had to remove it. You're not a cyborg anymore." There's a gentle chuckle, then, "I'll be back in a few minutes. I'm going to see what's edible in the cafeteria."

"I won't notice the light in a few minutes. Thank you though Sonny" Spoken around a mouthful of nutribar. "I'll watch over him, till your back" The water bottle is held close as she pulls the blankets up to near her neck, reclined, quiet, nearly meditative one could even say. "No more banging your head on the doorways Teo."

Biological muck and surgical implements warrant a long look from the Sicilian, who exhales slowly, reaches up to plant a palm on the top of his head, briefly sandwiching Sonny's fingertips between his skin and his own head. The plate is gone. He is no longer a cyborg. He reviews that combination of notions a few times. Needs to, in order to come to terms with a change in a circumstance that has followed him around for more than a decade. He nods at the Doctor. He doesn't have enough hair to make a scrunched mess of against the pillow, this time.

Teo watches him go.

"Shit," he says to the vacated doorway. "I get one solid night of sleep, and look what happens. I don't even know." A pallid eye swivels back on Abigail, squinting out from underneath dark brows. "Grazie. Again."

"You say that now" Abby murmurs, watching Sonny depart and then back to Teo. The plate in his lap, back up. "It's Thursday. Here we are. Despite.. the odds, it's Thursday and here we are."

Here we are. Teo almost closes his eyes, but the shadows that threaten him there flick them right open again. Without looking, his fingers find the flat, cold edges of the metal resting on his lap. The titanium turns gently in his touch, skewing against the knit of linen.

His thumb slides down the machined curve that once mimicked the convex of his temple, exploring, experimental, trailing the smooth grain of brushing. Only to hesitate before reaching the twisted lips of the bullet perforation set in its center, flat fingernails and the wrist going motionless, still, as if he knows there's something just a little too fucking crazy in there for him to think about yet. Not just yet.

"Everybody?" he asks. "You and me, or everybody?"

"I dunno. Home… homesec has Helena, I think. I saw her go down before I lost my grip and fell into the river. Al.. is with them too. Catherine knows more. She visited to find out what happened on the bridge and to bring me some redbulls to get me through the next few days. I knpw Ivanov is here, somewhere, I need to visit him after I sleep, or at least after a nap" She swallows hard. "Jessica saved me. I broke into where she kept me, called her. She.. climbed into a bed with me and kept me alive, warmed me up" Beds are close enough that Abby extends a hand, reach across the way to Teo and offer her pale palm, the jagged scar running across it.

The beds seem far apart, though. Teo lets go of the metal on his blanket. Lets one hand go out to her, rabbiting, fingers threading through empty air. His index and forefinger find a hook, snare the newly roughened line of her little palm.

His grip is warm and surprisingly sure after his jelly-boned surrender to the push of her hands mere moments before, but there is something mechanical about the motion that brings it to her, inorganic, as if it was artificially transplanted onto Teodoro's otherwise natural course of action. Which would have been to lie there, staring, momentarily disbelieving. Helena, Alexander. Bridges. Jessica's out again. Homeland Security let the schizophrenic sociopath go, and took—

"Maybe they'll let ours go, too," he says, stupidly.

"Maybe" What few fingers are hooked around Teo's are hooked tightly. "I'm alone again Teo. Back the way I started. Except with a cat, a bird and an apartment I can't afford. I won't be able to afford" A deep and tired sigh. "We'll figure it out. The world will right itself and be the way it should be. You should turn that into a candy bowl" A look to the titanium plate. "Sylar's alive. I think. He went over into the river I think, a bunch of us did. Vests are so heavy"

Sonny re-enters with two trays and a bag containing a salad and a sandwich. The warm scent of mashed potatoes and some variety of meat wafts ahead of him. It probably smells better than it tastes. He stops once through the door. The handholding makes him feel as if he's intruded on some private moment. "I uh, got the special. It's roast beef and mashed potatoes. Abby, I brought you a sandwich and a salad in case you're hungry later on."

There's nothing especially self-conscious about the way Teo lets go of his friend's hand. His thumb scrubs the distorted grain of her scar, his fingers weaken, and he falls away, leaving him lying facedown on a cot with a blanket hiding the naked bar of his back through the hospital gown. "I'll bring him back," he tells her, despite having failed entirely to demonstrate any capacity to this fact. "I'll take care of it. Don't worry.

"'S my job." Which is, perhaps, a less oblique reference than anything he should have shared with the Ferrymen's loaned Doctor just filling into the doorway, but it might still be vague enough to conceal, or merely necessary enough to be worth the potential damage. Teo's crawling upright now, jammed against the railing, a scowl worked into his brow, casual consternation for his own weakness even as he looks for the food.

Nor is there to Abby. She's oblivious to whatever is between Sonny and Teo. She doesn't know that Teo's been bunking with the more monetarily endowed man. She lets his fingers go before drawing her own back, a weak smile managed for the plastic surgeon. "I'll need it. Agent ivanov is here. But if I go to him now, I'll do more harm, than good. I'm jsut going to go to sleep now. my body still thinks it's in the river. Take care of him" A jerk of her head to Teo before the nutri bar wrapped and now empty bottle of water are put on the bedside table and she starts to shift around on the adjacent bed, get comfortable, curl up, let sleep overwhelm her. She promised she'd watch over him till Sonny got back and now that she's done that, she can sleep.

"I'll just put your food in the cooler here," says Sonny. He moves around to Teo's bedside and swings the table around. He then uses the controls to gently adjust the young man's bed up to a seated position. One of the trays of food is set down. "Here you go sir. Special of the day." Smiles to cover anxiety, to smooth past awkwardness. He sets his own tray down on a nearby table, then slips into the cooler to tug out two more bottles of water. One is placed within Teo's reach, the other is set by his food on the table.

He glances around to Abby, then pulls the curtain around her bed. It doesn't block sound, but it might make it easier for her to sleep. "How're you feeling, man? You doing all right?" Now that Abby can't see them, he feels more comfortable dropping his hand to Teo's to squeeze it gently.

The buzz and hiss of hospital bed machinery is not unknown to Teo. Because— well, evidently, major head surgery isn't unknown to him either. Despite a residual twitch and fidget of nervous energy and restless paranoia, he manages not to do anything stupid until he's been posted in a roughly upright position and is otherwise treated like a gigantic child. Or a recovering trauma patient. Either description fits.

He's looking at the titanium plate.

Through it, rather. And then he's looking up again, not quite startled by the touch on his hand or the stir of Sonny's voice in the quietude of air-conditioning and deactivated monitoring equiment. He doesn't look at Abby's curtain. "I'm okay. Want to get up. You're going to stop me, I know. Someone brushed my teeth," he points out, not irrelevantly, the right corner of his mouth trying on an upward tilt.

"Yeah well. Your breath smelled like rotting tuna," says Sonny wryly. "You can get up after you've eaten, how's that? But you shouldn't leave the room. There are cops around, and I don't know if they've got your information." He takes a deep breath. "It's a mess out there, T. Road blocks. Riots. Bloody…curfews. The city's going crazy. But something tells me it's not as bad as it could've been."

He pulls back the wrapper on his food. It's cafeteria fare, moderately better than most, but still just this side of edible. The potatoes are the instant variety and the beef is dry, made palatable only by the moderately tasty gravy. Ugh. "I haven't eaten food like this since my residency."

You have to be alive to be crazy, so— yeah, by Teo's understanding of the term, things could have been worse. He looks at the array of meat and tuberous mash, democratically blanketed by the beige-colored congealation that Sonny's psyche refers to as 'gravy.' He doesn't seem too upset by that. He doesn't seem too upset by the description of the city that lies beyond his room's windowless walls, either.

The Sicilian picks up his fork with better coordination than anyone in his current condition probably has a right to. Tightens his hold, experimentally, to test the strength in his thumb. Is rewarded by the sight of his skin going white from the lag of circulation. After a moment's consideration, he drops his elbow on his tray, and reaches over to grasp Sonny's shirt with his other hand.

The tip of his torso slides the punctured plate down his lap, hides it in the torque of blankets. "I know the timing on this probably makes me a bad person," he says, his tone even, stare steady. "But." He'd like a kiss. 'Subtlety' didn't work. Sonny will have to figure out how not to get cafeteria crap down the front of his shirt or, alternatively, how to explain that to the nurses in the halls.

Or, he could, as Sonny does, reach out to right the plate and swivel the tray just out of the way. Handy, those swivel trays. He looks down at the hand gripping his shirt, then corners a gaze towards the curtain, where Abby is hopefully fast asleep. "You sure?" he asks.

But really, he's not going to protest too much, even given the circumstances. There is a closed curtain between them and the door, so there's a barrier should anyone walk in. "I suppose…the man that just came back from death gets a request." He leans in.

Or Sonny could be clever and spare himself various brands of humiliation. Whatever works. Teo's fingers bend a sine curve into the line of the older man's shirt, neither particularly rough nor particularly patient. The kiss is same. Not obnoxiously protracted or ludicrously wanton; ends with Teo having to swallow the beginning of the burning of shortness of breath, blinking eyes open. "I don't think it's that," he admits, after a moment, some odd solitude in the depth of his regard. "That whole 'just to feel alive' thing. 'S different.

"Thank you, too, amico." Added without segue, glancing down the crooked line of his hospital smock to where one tattoo emerges black on skin whitened by fluorescence. "I know it wasn't just Abby."

Something about the kiss allows Sonny to believe that Teo is alive too. Alive, and still the same person, despite the regenerated gray matter. The shortness of breath and general look of weakness has him concerned. He checks for his pulse with a pair of fingers at the curve of the young man's jaw. He sets the back of his hand against Teo's forehead to check for fever. "You need to take it easy. Abby's magic or not, you've been through a hell of a lot."

Now that he's starting to relax, the exhaustion he's experiencing starts to make itself known. The stubble claiming his cheeks like advancing moss, the dark circles under his eyes, the paleness of his usually dark skin, the way his hand shakes ever so slightly as it counts Teo's heartbeats.

"Sit with me." As reckless as he is paranoid. Teo know show it would look. The Mayor's son, found in bed with one— whoever the fuck he's registered in here under. Or if Abby woke up, flipped past the curtain. He would be embarrassed for her if it happened. He'd be embarrassed for Sonny, as well. As yet, he hasn't noticed the mild alleviation of the cumbersone shame that he's borne for almost a decade, so he doesn't realize he might have room to be embarrassed for himself, too.

Instead, there's an insistent pull on Sonny's sleeve, a sideways scoot along the mattress, a brief kiss pressed to the ragged flat of the older man's jaw, cajoling. "Fifteen minutes. We'll eat. Then go back to pretending. You're tired. Come on, come on." And Teo's sentences are too short, choppy, rusted over to conceal the fact that he is a little, too.

Sonny reaches out and takes hold of Teo's hand. He tugs it up to press a kiss on the back of it, like the night he was carried up the stairs. "Just one second." He moves quickly, both to pull the curtain entirely around Abby's bed and to, click, lock the door. Abby finding out would be embarrassing, but not life-shattering. A nurse wandering in? A bit more problematic. Sure, the hospital staff have keys, but a doorknob rattling would give them warning. And so far his bribes that they be left alone seem to be holding.

That done, he moves back to the bed and slowly peels off the white lab coat. He drapes it on the nearby table and slides into the bed with self-consciousness Teo's not seen before. Then again, they've never dealt with displays like this in public before. It's all been in the safety of his plus condo. He makes himself as small as possible on the narrow hospital bed so as not to crowd the other. There's a tension in his body, paranoia, but there's no signs of backpedaling.

In Teo's recklessly paranoid understanding of things, the condo wasn't all that safe either. It might seem like a smaller stretch for him, who has less the sense of home, greater an investment in freedom and invisibility. He's used to making time and stealing moments out from under the hard bird's eye of the public. All the same, he understands the stiffness and uncertainty that stilts Sonny's climb into the bed. He waits. No sudden movements, a smile kept small enough to hold.

Straightens, afterward, to swivel the hinged table back to them to use. Their meals laid out in intervals of distance that are obnoxiously perfect in their choreography. Forks, spoons, trays between. "Your family," he says, picking up his fork. "They're okay?"

Given the lack of space, Sonny has little choice but to drape one arm around Teo. Not that he minds, really. The closeness is as comforting as it is disconcerting. He runs a hand over the stubble that used to be Teo's hair. "Sorry about this. Didn't have much choice." He turns his head and kisses just to the side of the young man's ear. "I can grow it back for you?" Hey, he understands vanity.

He looks back to his food and uses his free hand to scoop up a bite. He chews the mashed potatoes, or rather swallows the watery, semi-gritty reconstituted potato flakes. "They're fine. Dad's having a fit, but they're safe."

The young man's ear answers the kiss by shifting upward a fraction of an inch: a smile, in no way half-hearted. "Maybe. I might keep it for awhile," a glance upward as if Teo can see the roof of his own head. "It makes me look fucking serious, doesn't it?" Instead of like a puppy rolled out of the laundry. Hearkens back to the Spartan minimalism of the military, no time or hair products wasted on vanity. Even if Teo wasn't one to expend either for his vanity.

"I'm glad." He pries his wad of potato apart and swirls it through gravy, helps himself to one bite, then two. Isn't much perturbed by the fact it tastes horrible. He hadn't departed Columbia so recently that he was entirely weaned off cafeteria food. "I guess your dad's pretty powerless with martial law and shit."

"You look like a thug," says Sonny, but there's fondness in his voice. If Abby was awake, she'd be hearing some rather private, intimate tones. He flattens his hand and runs it over the top of Teo's skull. "Porcupine head."

He returns his attention to the plate of food and takes small, but frequent bites. It might not taste very good, but it suddenly occurs to him that it's been a long, long time since his last bite to eat. The hot food feels good in his stomach, even if the flavour leaves something to be desired. The fork is jabbed into defrosted green beans. "Mmm. Where's the cobbler? You know, where bits of it get mixed in with the potatoes?" Hey, his parents were only upper middle class when he was a kid. He's eaten TV dinners in his lifetime. He doesn't address the question of martial law. That can stay outside the doors for a moment.

Cobbler is an equally good question. Teo cranes his head over to check Sonny's tray, before remembering that his tray is exactly the same. The plastic fork is reversed in his hand, handle outward. He pokes through the square plastic container along the edge of the meat setting, trying to determine its contents by how much it jumps around when he jabs at it. It is sort of helpful, actually. "I think it's pudding," he says, at length, squinting. He forks a piece of roughly-hewn beef into the side of his mouth. "Sorry."

For once, Teo actually picks at the meal with less vivacity and enthusiasm than his counterpart, his appetite diminished by drugs and biological shock to an intellectual concept and an absence of satiation instead of real hunger pangs. "'M probably going to have to work a lot these next few weeks." There's an undercurrent, there, of his previous apology threading past the more limited topic or trespass of inadequate dessert. "What're you going to be doing?"

"Working here," says Sonny around a mouthful of food. "I've…-" a beat, "…I told them I'd help out. Seeing as they're short-staffed and there's a lot of injuries coming in." He won't point out that it was in exchange for the secrecy of this hospital room. "There's some political stuff with dad. Appearing with him. Political solidarity and all that." He takes a deep breath, then glances to Teo. "Homeland Security will probably be looking for you. If anyone saw you doing…whatever it is you were doing." That blew up a bridge and left a hole where the power plant used to be. Still, he asks for no details.

That might have been the case a week ago. But considering he was almost gone permanently, Sonny's more apt to notice long absences and an empty bed. He closes his eyes again, swallows and leans his head into the pressing hand. "I've been thinking about that," he murmurs. "I'm…thinking of retiring from the Ferrymen. Officially, anyway. And I'll help you through a different identity. Only a few of you can know that it's me. I think it's safer that way. For everyone." He opens his eyes and shifts slightly towards him. "Do you think that would work?"

"For at least a little while," Teo concedes. Lacking volume, his tone is encouraging rather than outright enthusiastic. "Until somebody who knows who you really are and what's going on sees you use your ability.

"Maybe. I don't know. Guess you've nnnnever tried…" There's a humorous lilt to his tone, then, neither serious nor completely facetious. "A body double? Holographic puppet?" His palm stretches along Sonny's cheeks, sandwiching his head, rough fingers fitting into disheveled curls. A fingernail traces the underside of Sonny's right eyebrow. "Retiring from the Ferrymen, entirely?"

"I wouldn't be using my ability unless it was an emergency. Strictly doctoring. I know it wouldn't last forever, but it's definitely safer than being around your people as myself. Not that I don't trust them, but it's always safer for both sides if we don't know that much about each other."

He turns his head slightly in the grip, seemingly unbothered by the touches. "Mmm, what do you mean, body double?" He arches his back, unsettling things in the narrow bed for a moment before he settles back in and draws in deep breaths. "Officially retired, yes. I'm…-" he stops himself. "…we can talk about all this later." He glances towards the curtain, beyond which Abby sleeps. "I…maybe I should get up. It wouldn't be fair for her to find out like this," a beat, "…she cares for you. A lot."

By 'later,' Teo might even be able to construct effective arguments for breaking up, retiring from heroics entirely, what the actual safest courses of action ought to be. He's quietly aware that now is too soon; separation, death, the triumpph of villainy too near.

He lets go. Scrubs the lingering tickle of thick curls and broad strands out on the fabric of his hospital gown, his toes flexing the air. Glances over his shoulder at Abby's curtain.

Abby. "We're good friends," he says, after a moment, trying to break down Sonny's voice into simpler component notes. Unable to discern whether it's something or nothing, he merely pulls his leg back and scoots down in the bed, allows the older man to get up if he really does so chooses to do so. Looks up. "I'm sorry you don't get along."

"It's not that we don't get along. We've never been anything but civil. We just…clash," Sonny smiles ever so slightly. "Religion and science. Oil and water, fundamentally, I think. But she's very brave, and I think we have more in common than we think we do."

It's with some reluctance that he backs up from the bed. There's evidence of stiffness in his motions, in slowness and favoring of certain muscle groups over others. "As soon as you feel ready, we should move you to a safehouse. I don't know how much longer I can keep people out of here, especially with so many wounded coming in from the violence on the streets." He reaches for Teo's hand to give it a squeeze, then leans in for another kiss. "I'm…going to go crash. They keep a cot for docs on call just down the hall. Room 412. But don't come out to get me unless it's urgent." He nods towards the phone at his bedside and a pad of paper with his cell phone number on it. "I'll keep the ringer on in case you need me."

There's unequivocal agreement in Teo's expression when they get to the point about Abigail's courage. It's true. Of course it's true. The other parts feel less so. "I have religion," he points out, throwing his arms back, above his freshly buzzed head and then underneath it, extravagantly unconcerned by the possibility of the public and its ravening inquisitors of every stripe.

Or merely tired. He accepts the kiss, returns it, acknowledges both the reminders and new information with a blink of lucent blue eyes. "Okay. I'll go when you're awake. Did— Hana leave a cellphone for me?" The blankets tent over his lifted knees.

Sonny could respond with explanations about how Abby feeling like her power comes from a deity goes counter to modern medical practice. How the whole idea of faith healing tends to get people killed when miracles like Abby's don't materialize. But this hardly seems the time or the place, so he lets it lie. He stays leaning against the bed for a moment, close after the kiss and still reluctant to draw back. But he does, with the necessity of looking for the phone.

"Uh, yeah. She did. It's…here." He goes to his jacket and pulls out a cell and sets it by Teo's bedside. "If you don't sleep, wake me in about three hours." Then the doc's backing away and heading towards the door.

Suppressing the instinct to grab at the phone immediately isn't easy. Letting the doctor shuffle out isn't, either. Teo manages. Lets his arms rest in their derelict halo around his pillowed head. He'd prefer not to talk about Abby now, too. It's an odd thing, reconciling the disparate pieces of one's life, and rarely moreso than after said disparate pieces joined forces to knit together the riven parts of his skull.

"Okay. Three hours," he says, glancing up at the wall clock. Three hou— fuck, how long has he been asleep? "Ciao, caro."

January 29th: Hell And High Water
January 29th: Making The World Perfect Again
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