Now Hurting


abby_icon.gif francois_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Also featuring:
NPC by Ellis.

Scene Title Now Hurting
Synopsis By courier, Francois receives a gift, both a token worth keeping and a petulant insult.
Date March 13, 2010

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the black and cream risque wallpapered walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar.

Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the back room and owner's office and a stairwell that leads the residence above the floor above the bar.

The forecast threatened sleet today, and the radio advised New Yorkers to drive with caution come nightfall. For now, it's simply overcast, making the day seem older than it is with sunlight pressing bleakly against the windows of Old Lucy's. Many businesses aren't seeing business, and the clientele is slow enough that conversation with Brenda up near the bar is loud enough to probably fill the space, which is why they have their voices down. It's not quite library quiet, this place rarely is.

The clink of the flat bottom of a wine glass connecting with the top of the bar is part of the punctuation that makes up its conversational audio ambiance, pale yellow of riesling about the size of a coin at the bottom of the glass after Francois' last sip. Resident Europeans chose to occupy the young barmaid's slower shift with witty conversation, what with nothing much better to do— or perhaps with better things to do. Frost still not bothering to thaw from the morning chill makes patterns on windows, none so painstaking as the patterns of the wallpaper.

"There are a few mountains where it snows," Teo is saying, tilting his pintglass to and fro, to and fro, allowing its amber contents to click sloshing from wall to immaculately curved glass wall. "But just the mountains.

"Mount Etna, for instance, although Italy has more options. My aunt took me up to ski once and I liked it for the five seconds it felt like I was flying before there was a terrible accident up ahead and suddenly a guy in half around a tree. I think he never walked again. Anyway, I'm a very sensitive and impressionable young man—"

Loquacious, too, and moreso when he's drinking beer and has a handsome and intelligent French superhero he is sleeping with and a heinously modern, stylish girl who, maybe if he didn't have a keloid-fringed hole in the side of his face, he'd want to want to sleep with him too. Fortunately, the keloid-fringed hole keeps a little humility in him. He has no such aspirations.

But his attention and intellect are their usual hummingbird energetic, zipping from one topic to the next, cross-pollenating from the most mundane of topics (weather) to the most swaggeringly morbid (spinal injury) to whatever he was getting at with being sensitive in his youth. Coincidentally, he was lying. About the generalized sensitivity, that is; not the paralyzed skiier or his aversion to cold. He gestures grandly.

"That's also why I won't cut my hair. Protection from the fucking cold."

"Spring will come around and you won't have a choice. I'll borrow some succinylcholine from the rig and paralyze you and cut it off myself" The blonde with her hands around hot tea. "It bugs me" And it will keep bugging the blonde roomate as she sits on the other side fo Francois, content to have a relaxing moment in her life without needing to scamper off after Odessa, scamper in Peter's wake, keep an eye out for Russians or just plain worry for too much on any one subject. It's been a long time since she sat beside these two men and just talked.

Well, no, mostly listening. Parental units were shipped back to Louisiana and therefore, she's not spending all her time with them. "We should go climb the adirondacks, when there's not twenty feet of snow" She murmurs. "It's not your Mount Etna, but it's a pretty nice mountain I've been told. We could all go camping" Does Caliban camp? She doesn't know and that's probably something she should ask.

It would be tempting to kind of shrink into his slightly oversized sweater and listen to Sicilian and Southerner talk over head, kind of like a pleasant radio station, easy listening, allow them to fill up the quiet of the emptyish bar as much as the Frenchman has his moments of verbose as much as the other two. Sleepy from wine if not a lack of sleep itself, Francois tips his glass back and forth absently with his brutalised knuckles making a bridge over the glass rim and fingers pressing against its clear sides.

"Camping deliberately would be a novelty," he puts in, eyes crinkling with a smile, and offering up no defense for Teo's hair. He's allowed to wear it whatever length, apparently, on account of being old, or French. "I'll admit to being charmed at the concept of staying in one city of any length of time, however, even if Antarctica followed me home."

By now, Teo's beer must be getting warm. He's nursing it with paranoid covetousness, thanks to the bells and whistles endemic to the religion he keeps a hamhanded grip on these days. Lent. You're supposed to give up something you really like on Fridays. Teodoro has mostly-given-up a lot of things he likes; the only measurable category of nouns he refuses to change his exposure to is his friends. Even if they are threatening him to chemical paralysis. "You wouldn't dare."

A beat, and Teo's brow creases with consternation. He thumps an elbow down on the bar-top, leans jaw into palm, stares at Abigail as if only now coming to a proper recognition of her ruthlessness, efficiency, and prowess. Would you? You wouldn't. Would you? The internal dialogue Pongs briskly in minute shifts of his expression, before he cracks a rueful grin that almost shores his lopsided mouth to symmetrical.

"No, you'd just bat your baby blues, break my heart and I'd think a haircut was my idea all along," he says. "I could go camping. I'm not very good at camping, though. Not even in like a decade.

"But camping can be really different now." He swivels his eyes on Francois, his expression either entirely earnest or entirely disingenuous. No doubt, his pending description is wont to be completely disgusting to a man who's done the real thing, before: "There are tiny portable stoveburner things and you can bring dehydrated foie gras. Four wheel drive also helps, and the tents are big as houses. That's how my aunt used to go camping, after she watched Top Gear in Antarctica."

"Camping would be a necessity to stave off a nomadic feeling, or the oppression of the city. It's why I keep a hunting license and my shotgun registered. So that I can go hunting if I really need to. Plus, you can rent cabins so that you don't really end up camping so much as just roughing it a fraction and still be able to shower."

She lifts her honey laced tea with it's floating lemon disc in it up to her lips to sip from. "But I'm a fevrent believer in the tent and campfire sort of camping, with marshmallows and graham crackers, a little chocolate and singing songs while you carve at your hiking stick and have to dig a hole to go to the bathroom in. I'm old fashioned. So sue me" She offers a grin to the two before laying her head on Francois's shoulder in contentment. "And I would Teodoro. The moment Francois complains about the scratchiness, I would" That is pure teasing now, meant to incite a blush from either.

One moment the doorway is empty, and the next there's a scruffy young man lingering on the establishment's threshold, hiking boots caked in snow and denim jeans rolled all the way up to his ankles. He taps his heel twice against the door's frame to dislodge some of the sludge before he takes his first step into the bar proper and gives the fur-lined lapels of his corduroy coat a sharp tug to straighten them out and give him a slightly more respectable appearance.

He's not dressed for the weather. Probably isn't even a native New Yorker. He carries a fiddle case under his head and wears a leather cap pulled down over his eyes, which aren't much darker than his skin, which is a deep olive brown. Buskers come the city from all over, intending to make a living by performing at famous landmarks like Central Park in the hope that someone will recognize their talent. Some do. Most end up moving between hostels, gravitating toward work that guarantees them a minimum hourly wage or disappearing altogether, oftentimes back to where they come from.

This one can't be older sixteen, but his eyes are glittering hopefully as he approaches the counter with a plain white envelope flapping between his fingers. "Hey," he offers, coltish and halting. "There a Francois here?"

Francois would like to object to the idea that anything Teo is describing right now counts as camping, as the Sicilian can probably tell from the crinkle in the Frenchman's brow as if to curl a question mark around but what is the point. Then Abigail has her head resting heavy against his shoulder, and he obligingly lifts his chin, angle of his jaw fitting neatly against her skull and huffing out a breath of laughter at her comment, making looser blonde strands sway along with the exhale.

He wants to slide a look to Teo to make sure he is aware as to who really holds the power, before his name is being spoken up. Back straightening, a gentle movement to nudge Abby up and off, he sets down his glass. Green eyed gaze swoops up and down the messenger boy before offering back, "Yes, who is asking?"

Francois of course, wears the pants in that relationship. Maybe, possibly. Or maybe they share them! Who knows, only these two do and Abby's not in the habit of asking who's who. She's more polite than that. Reluctantly though, Abigail is removing her head from his shoulder after it just got so very comfortable with an aggrieved sigh as if it was so very labouring to do it. But when people come in asking for Frenchmen that not many people would feasibly know the name of. Well. Abigail straightens, peering around Francois but remaining silent for now and interested.

"Dunno," says the boy, booted feet tracking wet prints across the floor. When he comes to a stop, it's to offer Francois the envelope he's holding, arm outstretched. In the bar's dim light, the material of his coat appears dark pink, though there's no telling what colour it's meant to be or if it was originally tailored for a woman and recently snatched off a rack at one of the local thrift stores that specializes in vintage clothing. His damp hair and skin smell a little like patchouli, soggy cigarettes. "Some guy asked me to give this to you."

He rubs the heel of his hand against the back of his neck to work some of the tension from the muscles there, scrubs his sleeve across a wet nose. "Said to make sure you got it direct-like."

"Merci." Polite, courteous enough, Francois leaning off the bar to extend his good hand out to steal away the envelope, turning it inwards to observe the predictable fact that it's both unmarked and sealed, and the Frenchman isn't readily offering the young man a tip. Hopefully whoever sent him on this errand pays generously. His back to the bar, he turns the item over in his pale hands, caught up on it enough that he doesn't start asking the young man important questions or even offering him a fare well and safe journey through the bitter cold.

There's the sound of something slithering inside, metal and light enough that it doesn't bend paper under its weight, and gently, Francois chases the outline of it with his fingertips, expression neutral if curious.

Sicily had gone quiet a few minutes. He gets that way sporadically when people talk about who he sleeps with or who he sleeps with talk to him and who he's sleeping with is a man, either in public, or in public with somebody he knows. It's somewhat irregular and probably says nothing particularly helpful about who has the power in this relationship, and more about the various and sometimes unfortunate things that have power over him.

And he blushed, predictably, and was glad of the distraction posed by the urchin with the leather hat coming in, the threads of conversation plucked about envelopes and things while he occupied himself sipping from his beer. Through France is distracted, Teo offers the boy a wave good-bye when he moves off, lifting his ruined face from the glass. Swallowing, he cranes his head to look.

It sounds denser than paper, whatever it is. Too small to be a bomb. Not that Teodoro would think of such a thing, of course.

"What if it's a bomb?" Street kid is eye'd, the coat is eye'd to see if it's familiar before she turns her attention back to her friend and his package that just landed in his lap. Not literally mind you but… "I can call the cops in, I'm sure they can get the bomb squad down here in a heartbeat" Paranoia maybe a wee bit high. "Hold your breath when you open it, remember, anthrax is a cinnamon colored powder, not white. White is usually cocaine"

Abigail's talk of weapons, combustible and biological, as the boy thumbing the brim of his cap and worrying his lower lip in his teeth. Clearly, none of the possibilities that the blonde has presented are ones that that he took into consideration when he agreed to this errand, and by the time she's talking about calling a bomb squad down to the bar he's on his way out the door with nary a glance behind him. Curious about the envelope's contents though he may be, there's very little that's worth being tossed in an interrogation room.

Francois looks at Abby for all of two seconds before— rip. He cleanly tears off the end of the envelope, closing an eye as if maybe that might protect him from the lethal explosion that such an action would trigger. Doesn't happen, of course. What he was feeling within the paper did not equate to explosives, because he his has his mind in a world where things are done the old fashioned way. A slight shiver from the envelope reveals no blossoming of powder, brown or white.

"No cocaine," he informs them both, with a note of facetious disappointment in his voice as subtle as his accent, before he slips the contents of the envelope into his palm. The gold chain coils there like a snake, tangled up in a crucifix of the same material, a gleaming pearl set into its cross section. Flawed, too, chips from age, and the subtle flakes of rust more readily identified as long sinced dried blood painstakingly not wiped away.

The urge to run after the messenger is what is making the Frenchman's shoulders tense, but the need to look down at the item overriding it. Which is just as well. The last place the messenger is probably meant to go is back to his message-sender.

Teo's mouth is already seamed open, around the beginning of an automatic reassurance: 'It's too small to be a bomb,' unless by bomb one meant firecrackers, or a dispersal agent for one of the biological weapons that she had named, which was always possible and it's probably just as well that he doesn't say anything. Turns out it's none of those things. One might suppose it's worse.

It's the recognition of blood that drives him up to his feet. Brownish, reddish, stiff-dried and coming away in thin, fragmentary layers. His boots thump the ground with the scrabbling celerity of a trained labrador told to fetch, despite that Francois hadn't said a word, hadn't moved, or thrown rubber objects at the door. Despite, even, that there's snow beyond the door.

Teo does not trust bomb squads or interrogators to do much more than he can do himself. However slight the benefit or disproportionate the effort of scrabbling down the block is going to be, despite the fact that the the pursuit presented was one that the boy's employer had taken into consideration when he asked him to do this errand, Teo's going. Jarring the door open, twisting his head this, that.

His voice thunderclaps in the crisp afternoon air: "Hey!"

"Is that… her's?" Her. That woman that she and Francois got drunk over, a poor woman who died at the hands of some russian asshole likely all because she had the misfortune of having know Francois and shared something with him. Abigail's pushing away too, following on the heels of Teo though she remains at the opened door so that she can look around outside the door, up to rooftops, windows, balconies and fire escapes for a grinning jackass or god forbid, even a sniper rifle.

"Ah, oui." And he's not stopping either of them, even if his attention jerks up as if he might, might grip onto Teo's elbow or reel Abby back away from the doorway but Francois just kind of stands there instead as if he himself had let the two loyal hounds off the leash. Swallowing dryly, he bends the envelope to gape open its end, slip the necklace simply back inside it rather than cling like he kinds of wants to. Belatedly—

Just a little belatedly, "Be careful, Abigail. Where is he going?" Messenger boy or Teo, really, whatever is most informative. Francois' expression is more mask than actual feeling, stepping away from the bar and worriedly drifting in their direction.

He's gone left. Both 'he's, both the snagglefaced European and his slight, leather-capped quarry. 'Hey' had gone off like a gunshot into the air to scare the ducks into flight, and as Abigail slides into the doorframe, they've flown. A flicker of a boy-shaped silhouette shocked out of the pattern of regular pedestrians a few dozen yards along the vanishing point of the curb.

Teo's leggy stride is bounding across slushy snow compacted by dozens of walking feet, and his hair flops a ragged, reckless abandon contradicted by the steadier, patterned pump of his fists through frigid, exhaust-cloyed air. In a moment, he's gone.

"Going after the delivery boy" Abigail calls over her shoulder, watching the two disappear with a sigh. One last look to around, up, down, this way and that before she's retreating back into the bar proper with a close of the door and a flush of her face once cold air is washed away by the warmth of the central heating of the place that's running more often that it should these days.

She retreats back to Francois's side, meeting him halfway so she can lay a hand on one upper arm and look up into the frenchman's face. "Fuck him Francois" There's the f-word from the blonde. "Don't let him get to you. He's only doing it to get a reaction from you. Don't let him win" She murmurs, worried for the frenchman.

Rattling the envelope a little in a useless fidget to settle the token deeper in the paper crease, Francois is then inspecting his hand, stretching fingers, although there's certainly nothing there to observe. Abigail might feel ignored if not for the Frenchman finally glancing up at her just before she might feel moved to prompt him, a certain amount of storminess in his expression. "I am not sure how I am not losing," he says, quietly, folding over the envelope and shoving it into a pocket in his jeans. "I am not sure how Laurel did not lose, oui? This is his reaction."

Turning from her, he's pacing back to the bar as if maybe he might finish his wine or get a refill, but it's clearly just restlessness. Maybe running after the messenger would have shaken it out of his system by now, as he runs his palms together instead.

How does one react to such? She knows he's not angry at her. The anger is at someone else and so, the blonde doesn't take it personally, just moves to the bar so that she can stand beside him, lean over to wooden counter so that she can grasp the neck of the bottle and place it beside Francois. "Do we need to mourn some more Francois?" Another night of drinking?

"Ah, oui, getting soddenly drunk is not defeat." He is not so irrational that Francois is going to backhand glass bottles and pity clear off the bar. He likes Brenda and Abby both too much to do that, although no doubt he'd be the one with the mop in his hand, but he does bring up a hand like he might like to, but instead scuffs his fingers through his hair and pushing his glass back away from him with the other. "Poisoning ourselves and visiting our wounded friends and trying to live within the fences they are building around us. All of this is letting them win, if there is any such thing as winning and losing for fish in barrels."

"Then what do you want to do Francois? what can we do? I'm willing to listen. Homeland is trying to find them, they managed to almost catch them" But because not everything was checked and the addition of Feng, they escaped. "the CIA is trying. But you know Dreyfus, and you of all people know how the Vanguard work and how they went for years and no one knew what they were up to except for you. If you don't want to drink, then we won't drink, if you want to get our jackets and go chase down Teodoro, then we can do that too Francois." Her voice remain quiet and soft, but she refrains from reaching out to touch him as if she's afraid that he might pull a Flint.

Francois opens his mouth, closes it. Unsure what to say to that because she's right, he should know. And he doesn't. At this moment, anyway, although that's clearly where his mind is headed as he looks down and past her, breathing out a sigh more through his nose. It at least gives him a moment to climb his temper back down, shoulders rolling back beneath wool. "I don't know," he says, almost in apology, again grinding the tips of his fingers into his palm. "I am not sure what we can do, I haven't even talked to— merde!"

With an anger that seems to spark back up out of nowhere even after calming down, he takes out the envelope and sets it down onto the bar with brisk movements. "We should pass this along to your friends in the authorities, but do not touch the crucifix, I think he treated it with something," is muttered, voice sounding clipped and accented heavier in general pissed offness as he inspects his palm.

Say what? Abigail's immediately looking to his palm, separating his hands so that she can examine where it touched his skin. "What's happening?" Brenda's already heading for the door so that she can open it and hang out the portal and wave for whomever's on 'duty' today over the blonde and the bar's residents. "Do we need to take you to the hospital Francois" It's time for her to worry, suddenly on high alert with a glance to the envelope and then back to Francois's hands.

Good question, Francois allowing her to inspect his hands without allowing her to touch the skin of his fingers or palms. "Je ne sais pait, I have not been allergic to anything," he says, with a shake of his head. "It only itches, I— ow." Stinging, would probably be a better word for it, skin slightly red in places. "Salaud. Do not say 'I told you so' or I am going to share it with you."

"I will beat it out of your hide later" She's got him by the wrists, not touching his palm at all, leading him around the bar at a quick pace and towards the sink behind the bar. Not good. "Brenda, tell them he touched an unknown substance and is reacting to it. See what they want to do" Francois knows exactly what she's doing. Going to dunk his hand under running cold water and keep it there. This would likely shut down the bar for the night, but… the snow was already doing a great job of that. "Itching, now hurting" SHe latches a stool for him to sit on with her foot and drags it over as well. "You're the doctor, what should we do from here on?"

A long-limbed silhouette pinwheels across the front windows, hurls its upside-down shadow across the ceiling a moment before the door whuffs Teo in, his nose bitten red by the cold, his breath in tendriled condensation and too-long hair stiffened by the cold. His hands are numb. Not even clapping them would have helped, and he had been too busy squeezing a poor boy's coat sleeve to clap his hands.

"It was Dreyfus. Kid knows his face, met him near Central Park, that's it. We might be ablet to ask Hana about traffic cam—

"What the fuck happened to your hands?" The cold hasn't even melted off the fit and sensation of his own skin, and Teodoro has already noticed, frowning at the sight of Abigail's hands in the sink with the doctor's.

It takes him a split instant to calibrate to the probability that it isn't her hands that have gone dubious places, nasty jokes about nobody-somebody British Linderman goons aside. He walks over fast, his face going fraught, worry bleeding through despite the easy retreat that bad temper provides.

"I have no idea," Francois tells Abby, quietly, and that gets a quick smile, even if it has gritted teeth and a look of distraction in his eyes as Francois helps steer the afflicted areas under water. Worst doctor ever? Possibly. But he can make a neat and strong row of sutures. He sits down, breathing out a sigh as cold water runs over his skin. "Ahh, non, we wait. Observe what it does." Which seems to be a running theme when it comes to Dreyfus and his own, and he wriggles his fingers thoughtfully beneath the glassy stream of icy water, wrinkling his nose at the sensation of too-cold water flowing over prickling skin.

Looking up towards Teo, he gives the Sicilian a halved-smile. Tense. Francois would rather be shaking answers from messenger boys than limply putting his hands under running taps. "Revenge for dead sons through practical jokes, that is all. Do we have any anti-allergy cream? I don't know what this is but it might help once this is clean." If he doesn't suddenly collapse, choking on his own inflamed airpipe, or something.

"Benadryl, cortinsone cream later. Antihistamines before the steroids. The ferry kit is up in the hall closet, there's antihistamines in there and the lord forbid, if we should need it, epi-pens as well" Various ways of combating allergic reactions till the appropriate authorities can get her and something can be discovered about the cross and what was on it. "Well Francois" Abigail offers a tentative smile. "Life is never boring, is it" The corner of her mouth going up into some semblance of a weak smile. "Teo, can you help him keep his hand under the water and I'll go get it all?" Since she's the non-afflicted medical personnel.

Teo is upset. Obviously. Whenever he isn't actually lying, he has a frightfully expressive portrait caricatured on the front of his ripped-up head. He nods at Abigail, confirming, even as he navigates around behind the bar. This just in: the worst doctor in the world is still perfectly capable of physically holding his hands underneath the faucet's frothy column, so Teodoro is, for a moment, confounded as to what his described duty really construes.

Instead of into tapwater, he hoops an arm around Francois' waist and fishtails his fingers across the folds of his sweater, warming the flat of the older man's belly with the flat of his palm. With his other hand, Teo tugs sleeves further up his forearms. Keeping his clothes from getting wet. Being—

Here. Which is not easier to do than fumbling around jokes about what they do in bed, but his slowness has everything to do with precision and nothing to do with hesitation. He peers down at Francois' hands.

It's not uncommon, for the sick to take care of worried family. Itchy hands is not that bad, all things considered, uncertainty aside, but the pattern holds enough that when Francois leans enough to rest his head against the bend of Teo's shoulder, he could be seeking comfort for either of them. "Merci," he tells Abby before she can go, eyeing the angry red on his hands with a distant kind of curiousity that speaks more about the fact he's thinking about Laurel's last moments on earth, and if she had the mind to touch Kozlow before she was killed.

And if she saw anything, and would she have been able to tell them all the sins the healer would commit.

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