Old Faithful


abby_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Faithful
Synopsis Abby asks Teo to come for her, which he does. They proceed to talk about — or around — recent events and the people entangled in them.
Date December 14, 2008

Upper West Side: Lobby of Hagan's Apartment Complex

There's something inherently akward about staying in hagan's apartment, so when the guy went to the bathroom, a note was hastily scribbled and Abby took off to go sit in the lobby. No way to get ahold of Teo again and no guts to ask Hagan for money to get home, the brunette just waits down in the lobby for a few hours. Each time someone comes walking through, her attention perks, looking for the familiar Sicilian. But it's a series of disappointments one after the other.

Never fear! Teo is here. Or— possibly that's less reassuring than he would like it to be, but anyway— after some traffic problems and something that resembled a fist-fight, the Sicilian finally spills in through the doors of Hagan's lobby in a scatter of shivering limbs and damp-edged clothes, his nose cold and his hands uncomfortably sticky inside their gloves. How he hates this season. "Abby?" the word is out of his mouth even before his eyes are on the girl, though those aren't much later coming. His grin, afterward, is huge. He barrels over like a labrador, gallumphing, arms open.

Not a mirage, nor a hallucination. It's Teo. Abby's up in a flash from her spot by the mail boxes, making for the sicilian right quest. Right this moment her whole aversion to being touched is flung out the window as the brunette in Elisabeth's clothes latches onto the older guy. "Oh Sweet Jesus. You came. I ran across a customer and he brought me back here to his place, get me warm, something to drink, eat, but I slipped out because it's sorta embarassing and I didn't want to be an imposition." her warm cheek pressing to his cool one. "You're real. I keep thinking it's some dream."

If David and Goliath were friends, they'd probably cut a shape as disparate as Abby and Teo do. Boys are dumb anyway, and young Miss Beauchamp should probably be chucking rocks at hers any day of the week. Until that day rolls around, however, he's wrapped around her double, thanks to the length of his arms. He squeezes and teeters her with enough enthusiasm to make his shoes squeak rubbery on the floor as if he has rodents strapped to his feet.

He doesn't say anything for a moment, just makes an exasperated groan at the world and lets his heart hammer on her coat until he remembers to let go enough to kiss her on the cheek. "Oddio. You're proof I don't have a finite capacity for worrying my shit at everything. Jesus fucking Christ." His pale eyes flit up, down, left, right across her face, checking she's all right.

"I told you I'd be fine Teo. Just get me home. I don't have my purse, and my phone or anything. She turned me out when I couldn't fix it, middle of brooklyn in.. just.. not a really good area. I've done alot of walking and I want to be in the apartment and I want to gorge myself on the food in the cupboards, and you can tell me what i've missed" Not a snap or snarl that he tacked on a swear word to a religious invocation. Hold on a moment longer, Abby squeezes back before reluctantly letting go. 'Want to be in my own clothes not.. someone else's." She looks about as layered as Teo. Elizabeth's clothes peeking out from under the sweatpants and sweater, topped by Elisabeth's wool jacket and boots. Eveyrhting perhaps needing a really good wash.

The white edge of Teo's teeth peek out over his lip, biting back something like contradiction. Told him she'd be all right. Well, she had, but her foremost concern had been the possibility of others being hurt during extraction and he remembers that with uncomfortable clarity. Other things, as well: the idle threat of selling her into slavery, the radio silence that had followed, Elisabeth's cold comfort the one afternoon he and Conrad came to get her.

He shakes his head, empties his head of those memories lest they displace the present. "I'm sorry you couldn't fix her, mia cara. And I'm glad she let you go. Let's go home, then. Wozniak lent me a car," he says, angling her a grin sidelong. Mindful that hands aren't for holding, he gently tweaks her hair before starting back toward the door.

"I'll have to thank Conrad that he lent you a car. We can talk more in it. Where there's not walls with ears" A head buts against his, mindful of the plate that's in his. Her steps are quick for the door, hands digging into her pockets. "I'm back, I'm alive, I'm well. yes, I checked, you'll probably want to throw all these clothes away and burn them or give them to wireless to check them for anything. I'll buy Elisabeth a new coat to make up for it" Abby's mind start whirling, kicking into gear. The feeling of being frozen down to the bone gone and her brain can function again.

Though one of Teo's brows hooks high in genuine surprise when the first stop her mind makes is at security protocol. Which makes sense, given the last few days — weeks — months she has, but nevertheless was not expected. Reminds him of what Eve said earlier in the day: that they're changing. For the worse, maybe. "I'll text her now." He nods his assent and leads the way, managing somehow to push buttons on his cell without slipping on the hateful snow and breaking his head open on the curb anywhere.

Fortunately, in the part of town denser with apartments, there are parking garages that aren't completely unaffordable. Popping a few dollars into the machine, Teo gets permission to take their new (stolen) ride out. It's Volkswagon's remarkably inconspicuous Rabbit, an interchangeable black, small family vehicle with a trunk that — Teo knows this from personal experience — is deep and wide enough to store a dead man's body in. After a moment taken to remind himself of which side of the road he's supposed to be driving on, he pulls them out of the parking slot.

Abigail remains fairly quiet the rest of the way to the car, a bit of a surprise at the sigh of it. She didnt' figure Conrad for this type of vehicle but then again, she doesn't expect or suspect that it's been stolen. When they're safely ensconced in the car though, she starts the river of words. "Her name is Jessica, she has multiple personalities. There's the origional. Then there's Gina, but I don't know who Gina is. I know that Jessica was the only one that I ever dealt with. She works for the Company, she was found out by them and taken. THey deemed her too dangerous to let escape, so they kept her and eventually got her to work for them. They will be very very upset if they found out that she had me in her posession and didn't turn me over" She folds her arms around her, not out of anger or anything. More out of habit the last day, for warmth.

"Fuck. It was her?" That is the only interruption forthcoming from the Sicilian, who otherwise listens without moving his eyes from the road: a good driver, or at least responsible and possessing decent reflexes. Slush and snow slurp out from under their tires, and the city reflects sunlight down on them off the mosaic of a thousand windows, pedestrians going past carrying things like MP3 players and bags of food, a spectacle comforting in that impersonal way that Manhattan knows best. Berzerk Evolved one week, kidnappings the next.

Life goes on. His mouth tightens slightly at the mention of the Company, but he is neither surprised nor more displeased for it. 'Dangeorus.'

Teo has a lot of friends who the Company and HomeSec would both consider such. The line that separates his beloved comrades from categorical sociopaths like Jessica seems to be getting blurrier every damn day… and that isn't the only line that is. When he gets around to speaking, his voice is low with inherent apology. He knows this is going to be vague. "I think a woman is going to die because of what I chose to do, and I'm not sure I was wrong. I don't know what the fuck that means."

Abby looks over. Vauge is an understatement. "Eileen?"

Teo's breathing doesn't change; he doesn't look. "Eileen's still going strong. She's home, now. But it was that decision, si. The one I made: to take her."

Abby turns her face to look ahead, a frown marring her features. "We make mistakes Teo. If we don't answer for them now, we answer for them later."

"That's the problem, signorina." Rue again, a frequent visitor to Teo's manner, attitude, tone of voice. "I'm not sure it was a mistake. Either way doesn't matter right now," he hastens onward as if that could provide reassurance, quiet albeit swift. "It's done. God already knows who I am and what's going to happen. We're left to see what comes, and I'll try to finish what I started. But I don't know what that makes me except maybe the wrong kind of person to be standing at Helena's shoulder." Slowing at the yellow light, he accelerates again afterward.

"You're not." Her blue eyes dart to Teo, his face. "You are not Teo. She needs everyone she can get, to help her. Don't say those words every again. I don't know what went on while I was gone and I don't know what goes on with you all since I left, and I'm better off not knowing, but she leans on you and you are there to help her and support her. So erase those thought from your head do you hear me! Before I erase them for you physically. I'll take that damned plate off your head and fish around there myself"

Certainly, Teodoro's the wrong kind of Christian to be running around and bleating in holy panic about the end of the world. His first reaction to that is, apparently, to kidnap girls and consider the logistic probability of shipping personnel to Providence. His second reaction is to hang onto the steering wheel really tightly and stare at the back end of the taxi cab in front. If this feeling had a sound, it would be dry, rattling, tinny and thin, the sound of a bottlefly — a pest — trapped and left to starve and dry out inside an abandoned home. He's known for years he's going to Hell; he isn't used to thinking, maybe, he doesn't deserve

"How did you know about the plate in my head?" His eyes blink robin's egg blue in the rearview; finally, he glances sideways.

Abby unfolds an arm to wriggle her fingers. 'And your head makes a funny sound each time you thwack it on the door jambs. You do that alot, when your nervous, bored. One of these days it's going to start to hurt. A little bit of what I do goes around there each time."

Absurdly, Teo almost laughs at that. Turns his head forward again, his chin brushing the top of his jacket collar. "That explains a lot," he says. "My shrink — back in Palermo I had one, helped with this one grieving time. She said all the hits I took to my head when I was younger probably scrambled my brain around some and did weird shit to my personality. You know, the more punches you take the easier they get to throw. I think, maybe, things have felt different since I met you. Maybe you do make people less crazy. Sometimes." He gives her a smile that doesn't quite reach his mouth, deep around the eyes. Further North they go.

"Maybe. Maybe not. maybe it's you settling into your life." Abby responds. "Maybe it's God. or maybe it's the healing, maybe.. maybe it's space dust. It's not me. I bring more terror and fear into your life than calm. How many midnight phonecalls have been because of me? Screaming that someone's chasing me."

Teo tap-taps a gloved forefinger thoughtfully on the wheel. "I didn't say calm," Teo answers, lightly. "I said different. More scared when I'm scared, I guess. Happier when I'm happy. I'm not sure, but maybe. If I had to pick words, I guess I'd say it's like the calluses broke off." And now he bleeds everywhere whenever he hits something, but that's pushing the metaphor further than it was meant to go.

Enough about him, he decides, after a moment. He sets his mind further afield. Remembers with an unpleasant jolt and something akin to sadness. "Brian's having a hard time."

"Was that a subtle way of saying that I probably need to find another place to live Teo? That I wasn't fitting into the apartment? Did he get the clone from the hospital? He's not getting over the other death?" It's a car, there's not very many places to look so she keeps looking ahead. "I can't help him Teo. It's not something physically wrong, that I know of. It's probably like Jessica. In the head somewhere."

There are a fair number of theories on what happened to Brian's head to make him the way that he is. Flint Deckard harbors a few. Suppressing a snicker of an altogether less kindly sort, Teo shakes his head. "It's not that. It's not a sickness, I think. He's just— sad. Doesn't know what he's doing, feels… underappreciated and shit. I don't know what to do about it, but I keep feeling like there's something. Everyone makes mistakes, like you said. He's a good boy. Brave.

"Things shouldn't be so hard for him." Somewhere between the beginning and end of talking about Brian, Teo realizes that there wasn't much point to that. Words, words, words. He doesn't mind wasting them anyway. "I don't do subtlety very well. I think you should stay. I would prefer it if you stayed," he declares with about as much tact as your average fire truck. He crooks a grin at her.

"He kept trying to apologize, in the church. Trying to say he's sorry for how he acted. he's depressed Teo. It's like.. it;s like a sibling dying, I think. I don't understand it so well, I didn't have brothers or sisters. But I'd think maybe, that's what it's like. like missing an arm. They make drugs for that though and maybe… maybe he needs to go on them for a bit" She tucks her hands back under her arms. "I dont' think i'm going anywhere. Not for a bit. I need to make some descisions. I know that much. Need to write down everything I know about Jessica for you guys, so that you have another piece of puzzle"

More information on the Company never goes awry. Teo nods at that. "Grazie. I think Elisabeth knows some, as well. But they're friends — or in each others' confidence somehow: I don't feel right dragging information out of her because of that. Not until it's tactically relevant. I think she'd go ahead and tell us if the time came." He isn't sure, though. There's a little trust lacking between the Phoenix operatives, with the family having expanded as rapidly as it has. "I think he's gotten better since Peter killed one of him.

"It's something different, now. A different family problem. We'll figure it out, I guess," his voice dissolves into a mutter, the sort of introspective, pointless open-endedness that overtakes Teo whenever he's just realized he's started on about Phoenix business that she would — perhaps should — rather not know. "Deckard moved," he adds, after a moment. "Fed problem. I'll give you the new address soon."

"His shirts are probably wrinkly again" Falling in the familiar banter rut. "He'll have to iron his own." Abby uncurls, rubbing at her face. "I need to rest. I need, I need a lot of things. I wanna be in my own clothes, sleep in my own bed, and walk around. I wanna find Brian, and tell him I forgive him, I need.. I need my stuff, did someone get it from the hospital? I need my hospital bill, find out how much i'll owe them now… I have too long a list."

"You'll have it." He says it as if it's a promise, which may be a mistake on his part given the mean rate of failure for any given resident of Manhattan, but. "All those things. Brian will be happy to see you're intact. And Connie. I'll make a vat of pasta. Before it's time to run and hide some more and… all that shit, anyway." A glance down at the clock then up at the nearest road sign, the traffic conditions, and Teo maths out their ETA in his head, his eyes crinkling good-naturedly at the sleepy bear riding shotgun. "You could get some shut-eye before we get there," lightly. "I'll wake you up when we're home."

"No hot dogs, and no peanut butter. I don't want to touch those for a long time" Back to crossed arms though she turns towards the window, to rest her temples against the cool glass. "Thank you, for coming to pick me up Teo."

The Rabbit comes up under a red light, allowing Teo enough time to check on her again, once, dimly concerned her head is going to squeak across the window and smack into the edge if she doesn't place it at an angle just so. Satisfied that she is in no such danger, he realizes his person has finally reestablished a comfortable temperature. Reaches up to unpop his own jacket button, zipper, momentarily divesting a glimpse of the bizarre new bruises he's wearing across the line of his throat.

"Sempre," he answers and that, too, suspiciously resembles a promise as well. "Always. Ferryman brought your stuff over a few days ago, so it'll all be waiting for you. And Pila." He hangs a right. Sunset dashes across the snow troughed in the gutters and the frost on the windshield, trails fuchsia spidersilk patterns down the line of her cheek. He hopes she's dreaming about something pleasant.

December 14th: Breathe Her
December 14th: Out of the Loop
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