Now You See Me


dantes_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Now You See Me
Synopsis Teo needs Deckard to make a decision about Dantes, like, right now. Disinclined to be rash, Deckard seeks a private audience with the Fed. In the end it all boils down to a matter of trust.
Date December 10, 2008

A House That Is Safe But Only In The Past Tense

Deckard has been awake for an hour. An hour that was spent in the dark and in the shower, staring dimly at the white angles of narrow piping in a black wall amidst invisible steam. When he finally drags his way back into the bedroom in jeans and an undershirt it's to finish getting dressed. Only there is a problem. His shirts are all wrinkled. He stands and stares at them in a pile on the floor, eyes still hollow in his head, narrow features pale and drawn. A cruddy cough muffled out into the back of his hand, he stoops after the shirt pile and picks one randomly off the top to put his arms through. The silver chain around his neck rattles when it catches on a button at the collar — he tucks it back under the collar of his undershirt, where it belongs.

As ordinary, Teo's footfalls precede him. Thuk-thuk-thuk, Dopplering a little as he momentarily breaks stride to wedge a finger into the back of his shoe, trying to locate the whatever thing that's digging into his foot. Unfortunately, said shoe was built for winter and its ankle comes up high, proof against depth of snow, and he just ends up scraping the webbing between his fingers. Irritated, he falls clumsily back into gait and further around the open doorway that he had, coincidentally, been aiming for.

"G'morning," he delivers to the figure protruding from the mountainous laundry. His voice hasn't improved much, thanks to the insidious conspiracy of overexertion in cold and the other thing, but it has improved. Enough to mock Deckard's biological clock and current state of disarray with, at least. "Your friend's awake." By default, also alive.

"Thanks," says Deckard, whose voice is coarser than usual in turn, "for not killing him." He sounds like he could use at least two more days worth of sleep, which isn't all that bad given that he looks like he could stand to stay in bed for another week. "And for dragging me back here again." Sincerity is lacking in his posture and tone, but gratitude is gratitude.

A quick glance flickered over the Italian, he sniffs and turns to pace for the bed, where the black leather of Miles's jacket rests next to more familiar brown across unmade sheets. He opts for the brown.

Not only is gratitude gratitude, but it's also a little disconcerting. Not to be examined closely. Gift horse, strong teeth, bad breath— something; Teo merely inclines his head. "I'll pass that along," he says, dispersing credit in the direction of nebulously-defined other people. All justified. Had Hana or Tania felt differently, Teo thinks he would've had to feel a lot more strongly than he remembers being capable of. He glances at Miles' jacket after glancing past the linear glint of silver across Flint's nape and the ugly color that's taken up residence on the other side.

"We need you to make a decision about him," he says, finally. "Need to know if you mind whether or not he knows where you're staying for the time being. Have to clear out, if you don't."

Silver is sloughed out of sight by the heavy fall of Deckard's jacket across his back, effectively muting the only bright thing about him. He's trapped at half speed, thought and motion alike forced into a slight delay by the ache in his skull and the gristle in his lungs. "You need me to make a decision."

Flint and Teo have this thing. Where they repeat each other. A lot. This time it's apparently in disbelief. Hard to tell, because he keeps his back turned while he grates a desk drawer open to fish out a squat glass and a miniature bottle of whiskey. "Has he said anything?"

"Asked me some questions, contradicted your story." To be fair, they do ask a lot of each other, even if proxied by their associates. Repeating shit can help! Comprehension is a process. Save me from the Vanguard. Save me from the Vanguard. Who are the bad guys. What are their powers. What do you want. What do you want. What do you want. Teo coughs once, shreds air into a fist raised to his mouth out of politeness; as if a few more airborne germs or odors could hurt the room or its occupant.

Teo hangs his shoulder against the doorframe. "He's still here. I'm taking him to a hospital as soon as Tania finds a car. The bullet went right through, but the hole on the other side is pretty big." Ugly, too. He and Tania had a good time plugging those ends up.

Whiskey to glass, glass to sip. Deckard squints out through the window, working his way around the harsh mix of alcohol and toothpaste residue in the back of his mouth. Hehasn't bothered shaving. He's not going outside today, if he can help it. The empty bottle is turned over in his left hand, then tossed carelessly back down into the drawer. The 'clink' that answers the gesture is pretty indicative of what else is in there.

"I wasn't lying." There's a very stiff little period on the end of that sentence, and it's possible the bad taste in his mouth is no longer limited to the chemical reaction between Crown and Crest. "Can I talk to him?"

Whiskey. Teo's tempted. Doesn't ask for any, of course. His hands start getting cold, so he folds his arms and jams them into the insides of his sweater sleeves, squeezed into the crooks of his elbows. He has enough of his faculties back that he can afford to spare a little hate for the weather, so the day must be looking up.

"That's nice to know," he answers, honestly. That Deckard wasn't lying this time. By now, the Sicilian already knows that, but it bears saying. "But I'm busy pretending I don't give a fuck either way. Can you talk to him?" The voice behind Deckard is empty of sarcasm. Silence. "If you don't tell him anything about us, sure.

"Have about… half an hour, forty-five minutes," he says, his voice slowing with guesstimation as a thinking furrow shadows his brow. Which had already been somewhat dark with trying to navigate the probabilities and possibilities dammed up behind the next hour. He has only a tenuous deduction, guess, hope, that if Flint can trust this man, the Ferrymen don't have to worry about him. "I'll give you a blanket to bring him."

"I don't know anything about you." Deadpan, Deckard downs the rest of the whiskey like a shot, jaw stretched open into a wide yawn that concludes in a stiff shake of his head. Time to wake up. Long fingers flexed and stretched around his glass, he peers down into it after the promise of residue in its bottom, finds none, and drops it back down onto the desk. About face.

He turns on his heel, as ready to go as he's going to get, and gestures for Teo to lead the way. "He doesn't need a blanket."

Always one to oblige, Teo hauls himself up off the doorway and returns to upright with a weighty shuffle of himself. He answers the older man's proclamation of ignorance with a smile that doesn't reach his mouth, a tautening of eyelids that should embarrass them less than verbal gratitude or further questions, if his feelings of earlier were any sort of telling. He starts down the hallway with the sort of brisk, leggy stride that poor people use for their main form of transportation. Which slows only when he remembers who he's towing.

After a few extra flights of stairs, a narrow hallway with exposed ceiling pipes, and Tania's burly figure pausing-by only quick enough to jettison an armload of blankets at Teo's head, they're at basement level.

The Fed in there. Other than him, the room's concrete floor is shared by a sizeable medkit, a bolted table and a dubious, rusted drain. Their guest's wrists are cuffed to opposite corners of the short end of the furniture. "His name is Edward Dantes," Teo offers, politely, handing Flint a double armload of folded cotton as if he expects the man not to do something inhumane with it.

Dantes is shirtless, and sitting up, propping his back against the wall - it's about the most dignified posture you can manage when you're nearly chained to the table like Frankenstein's monster. There's the new bullet wound in his shoulder, and the older one in his arm, as well as a pair of long-since healed ones on the opposite side of his chest. He looks weary and pale and rather cold, but not otherwise dismayed. He looks up quickly at the sound of the feet in the corridor outside.

Deckard isn't in any kind of hurry. He falls behind at first, long strides not enough to make up for their relative lack of speed, but manages to keep closer pace once Teo slows himself down. Enough so that he's there to receive folded blankets in the forklift of his arms with a nod for Tania and a mildly annoyed look for Teo. He said no blankets. NO BLANKETS.

He keeps walking anyway, blankets and all, until they've reached the threshhold of Edward's temporary digs. Then the blanket, fresh and sweet, are dropped down onto the floor just inside the door. Well out of reach for the man they're supposed to be for.

He looks like shit. Hair still damp from a recent shower, it sticks up in ways that hair should not stick up, and the circles around his eyes would make a raccoon look twice. But hey, he's here, and dressed like a normal person in jeans and a leather jacket over an open dress shirt. Rather than show off his own fascinating constellation of scars, he's seen fit to put on an undershirt under that. A fact for which we may all be greatful. "Hi."

Teo's head follows the blankets as they hit the floor with a fabricky little plop. Intelligently, he blinks. Doesn't emerge from the doorway; chooses, instead, to retreat out of the hallway and dig up his cellphone. Car, hospital, prisoners of war— he has things to see to.

Dantes looks expectantly at Deckard, expression mild, dark eyes curious. "Hello," he says. His voice is deeper and raspier than Felix's was, though the harsh features still have something of that immobility to them.

Hmm hmm hmm. Deckard glances around the room while Teo's footsteps fade, then twists to look over his shoulder to confirm that he is, indeed, gone. That done, it's only a few short steps over to Dantenov, and a few narrow degrees down into a hands-on-knees stoop that shortens the distance between fed and felon to a few spare inches. He watches the other man closely, blue eyes boring past brown and into brain.

It's his fist that seeks a more intimate perspective, so enthusiastic in its investigation that it might just qualify as a pretty solid sock to the face.

There's no cry in pain, just the thud of fist in flesh, and a corresponding grunt, and then hissing breath from Dantes. He shakes it off, after a moment. "What's that for?" he wonders, voice even lower. He can't raise his hands to ward them off, or touch the flesh already purpling on his cheekbone. His gaze searches Deckard's face, but there's no real recognition there. Did they mindwipe him as well as give him impromptu plastic surgery.

"Do you know how hard it is to find people willing to hide someone who's being hunted by a psychotic cult?" Right hand curled within the cradle of his left, Deckard straightens up and glances around the room again. Hopefully not with intent to find something heavier to hit him with. In any case, once he's finished nursing his hand, he reaches into his pocket after his sunglasses. Two steps and a lean later, there's a deliberate flick, and the light falls black.

"Yes, I do," Dantes says, in that flat voice. He leans his head against the wall. And then it's dark, and he frowns. What's the point there? How creative is Deckard gonna get? Under x-ray vision, the old healed fractures are visible - a broken finger, ribs shattered that presumably mark the path of the bullet that still sits snuggled by his spine, not far from a shoulder blade.

There's a thunk and a rustle from nearby, when Deckard drops himself down onto the table Dantes is handcuffed to. Scooting back a few inches gives him room to swing his feet beneath it — an action that is stayed until he's had time to lean over and extract something from its snug rest near the base of his calf. A sinister cuh-fhlick indicates that he's done so successfully.

"Is there a particular reason you're so determined to fuck this up for me, then?"
"No," He moves back from the sense of a body at the other end of the table, drawing his legs up as best he can, putting his hands at the table's corners. Nothing beyond that.

"You know what they say about curiosity and cats." The knife tips over in Deckard's fingers, and he lifts a brow over at Felix in the dark. Invisibly companionable. "Christian wanted me to come in. That your doing too, or does he just really like radios?"

There's silence from him, only the muscles of his throat working. "I don't know what you're talking about," he says, finally.

"Oh, you." Cynical good-humor drips thick from the fork of Deckard's tongue. The pad of his thumb brushes coarse of the edge of the switchblade. "What were you doing up on that roof last night, Mr. Ed? Hanging Christmas lights?"

Well, now they get down to it. Almost relief there, after a fashion. "I can't say," His tone is firm, as if glad they've gotten to questions he might have a chance of answering.

"Were you…drunk?" Helpfully suggestive, Deckard turns the knife over again, this time to thumb the blade back down into the handle. "Hoping to get my number? I'm not into the whole stalker thing, in case there was some kind of miscommunication that night in the bar."

Dantes replies, quietly, "I was not drunk. Your number might be nice," All entirely blase, though ears made keen by the darkness pick up the brush of the blade. It makes him cock his head.

Matter-of-fact again, Deckard tosses the closed knife from right hand to left, then back again. "Christian has it. You should talk to him." Fhlick. The blade triggers out again. There is a pause, then:

"I already know enough to get you killed." His tone doesn't change, but his knife tips up helpfully at his own temple to indicate where this knowledge has been stored. Helpfully if it wasn't pitch black, anyway. "Maybe someone asks the right question in the right situation. Maybe someone pokes a knife in the right place or rigs me up to electricity and fries my nervous system until I talk. When you're fucked, you're fucked. Why are you bullshitting me?"

"What do you know that could get me killed?" Dantes' tone remains one of polite inquiry, though he is clearly unconvinced.

There's an audible intake of breath, as if he's about to answer promptly. Only, he doesn't. "Wait. If I tell you, you can just change those things and then keep lying to me. You almost got me!"

His smile isn't visible, since X-rays don't betray the motion of mere flesh, really. But it's audible. "Then we are at an impasse," he says, with courtly formality.

The knife has been audible for the last few minutes. Now it's tangible. The air is cold, and so is the metal that eases across the side of Edward' throat. There is no pressure — not even enough to leave hesitation marks in the flesh there. Just a brush. "I've had a really shitty couple of days, Ed. Why don't you explain to me what it is about your life that makes it more important for us to preserve than mine?"

There's a shiver, and goosebumps are raised. "I don't know that it is. In all actuality, it's likely not," he admits, tone remote. "Now. How did you do that without groping, or slitting my throat?"

"That would be telling, and so totally beyond the confines we've established for this conversation." Cynicism again. The tip of the knife pokes at Ed's temple, bristling lightly through the sideburn nearby before it's pushed back down into its handle once more.

There's a rasp of laughter from him. "You see in the dark. That's how you spotted me." He sounds pleased with himself, as if glad to have the puzzle resolved. "Stop playing with that thing, will you?"

"Is that what I do?" Deckard sounds curious! The knife flips end over end and lands flat in his palm so that he can point it at the door. "I could go get my gun and play with that instead."

"You'd likely shoot yourself in the foot, Wyatt Earp," suggests Dantes, sweetly. "Now, what is it you want from me? Why waste time?"

"To answer that I have to know what you want from me. And so far, mum's the word." From the opposite coat pocket, a shotgun shell is picked out and bounced off of Dantes' head.

"You're being sought. And from the records I have, I don't believe you're guilty of what you're accused of. That's why it was one man following you, and not a whole popo carnival," says Dantes, as he winces at the shell.

Next is a condom. Deckard has to squint at it to make sure it isn't one he shouldn't be flicking away, then — pop. It ricochets off Edward's ear. "The whole popo carnival doesn't know where I am. Unless you tell them."

Dantes points out, "I could've called it in. But didn't." His attempt at dodging falls flat. At least it's nothing deadly, almost irritating. "Who's Christian?"

"You were involved in an epic chase scene, at the conclusion of which you were shot," Plink. The next one is a penny that thumps soundly across the patched over bullet wound, "in the shoulder. Maybe you didn't intend to call until you could be sure of where I was staying."

"That was what I was thinking, yes," he says, stifling a pained sound at that.

"What makes you think I wouldn't shoot four people and burn down a building to hide the evidence?" The next penny is withheld — perhaps depending on the nature of Felix's answer.

Dantes hesitates. And then says, lowly, "Others whose opinions I am inclined to believe insist that you didn't."

"Interesting." The penny curls down from the tips of Deckard's fingers and into his fist. He glances to the door. "If I tell these people that you can't be trusted and we need to move, the next time you follow me back to where I'm staying, you won't survive."

"Am I wrong? Did you do what you've been accused of doing?" There's finally urgency in the dark-haired man's voice. "It didn't make sense. You're not some random fool of a terrorist. And unless you suddenly caught fire with ideology….I doubt it."

Two sentences after Deckard turns his head from the doorway, there's a step in it. The light-switch reverses with a deft poke of Teo's finger, flooding the room with the same yellow light that he and Tania had used to squirt sterilization fluid and apply bandages by. "Car's here. Five minutes. Vecchio, what the fuck did you do?"

Pale eyes flare on their way past the random bric-a-brac decorating the floor, then Deckard's beleaguered frame and knife, all, to Dantes' beleaguered face, and Teo bends his face around a scowl that's only about as altruistically concerned as it is petulant about shit not going smooth. Shit never goes smooth. Otherwise, he seems as apparently impressed by the blade glistening in Deckard's grip as the subject of his interest. "Hurry the fuck up. And decide!" he adds, waving irritably as he retreats back out the doorway.

"Should I be flattered that you aren't sure?" Deckard tugs his glasses away at the question, spectral blue boring past unfamiliar features with all their usual unblinking intensity. "Do you really think I'm enough of a badass to pop a cap in little Sally Joe after doing her parents and older brother?" It's kind of a loaded question. And: CUE THE LIGHTS.

There's zero reaction at the fall of yellow gold that angles across his face and washes out his eyes — Deckard's head doesn't turn away from Dantes until Teo's voice enters the mix. His brow furrows irritably once it does. He watches the following inspection in heavy-browed silence, looking at his own bruised knuckles rather than either of them once it's over. "Vecchio. That's a new one." The knife waggles a little (Toodles!) and Teo is followed back out again with a slack-jawed look that quickly sours into a grimace while he pushes himself up off of the table. "We can't stay here. There are kids, and you're an asshole."

Parked at the base of the stairs, Teo takes Deckard's amalgamated answers and insults without changing his expression to anything more or less agreeable. There is one brief twinge of regret, though. For a safehouse lost. Though Hana had spared him a reaming, his internal monologue more than shored up for the lack. "This sucks. We have to try harder, signor," he says, in the end. Momentarily ignoring the poison-slick of Deckard's personal bubble bulging precariously close already, he reaches over to claps Deckard's shoulder once, salutation. He turns to take the stairs two by two.

"The Deckard I knew of wasn't. But people change, and these are strange times. I personally don't believe it, but that might be because I am a naive and sentimental person," Dantes winces at the sudden advent of light. He's still pressed against the wall, like he can melt back through it and get away. He's shivering hard.

Deckard puts his sunglasses back on, and just Looks at Teo. Looks at him, for the shoulder clap. He does linger on the bottom step outside, eyeing Felix that isn't Felix for longer than he should, but nothing further is said. He turns and starts up the stairs after Teo, dissolved into nothing again as quickly as the flick of a buck's tail fades into the forest.

December 10th: Exit Wound
December 11th: Jumping at Shadows
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