On the Lives of All My Family


teo_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title On the Lives of All My Family
Synopsis Teodoro departs semi-unexpectedly for a backwards trip.
Date January 3, 2011

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

The text came in at four AM in the morning, and he hadn't capitalized.

Got an address location starting pt for f if you have an idea how to get there

The second text came ten, twelve minutes after that.

Becas i dont.


The lights are on, making the tall old home stare out at the blue of the January-at-night like a Jack o' lantern. The contrast dims slightly as dawn intensifies ambient blue, gleaming off the snow clumped in the gutters and textured in the sand mottled densely here and there for the grip of tires. It's remarkable how the whole damn world's at war and there's still enough infrastructure to maintain the roads in sleepy near-suburbian Manhattan. The front door is carelessly ajar, an arc scratched through the frost of the front step where it's been opened and shut twelve times in the past few hours.

Twelve is a pretty precise number — not that there's a number which isn't — but it means more to the hinges to which the door is affixed than it does the man mounting the front steps, crystalline flakes of snow glittering on the obsidian black of the leather jacket he wears paired with denim jeans, a scuffed set of work boots and a sweater several shades darker than the russet orange of his hair. A hand splays fingers across the front of the door and, after a short pause in which Walter lifts his head like a fox scents the breeze for danger, pushes it open the rest of the way so he can shoulder inside.

He has the courtesy to knock off most of the snow from his boots against the side of the door frame before he sets foot on the hardwood with a muted clunk-clunk that also serves to announce his arrival.

His nose is looking better. "Laudani?"

Footfalls and then Teo emerges from the shadows, rather literally. The foyer light is on but the living room one isn't, the house cut up in sharp edges of high contrast.

"There you are," he says, blinking a little tiredly. "Welcome back." His hair's grown out a little and he didn't shave yesterday, so his beard is expanding out of stubble and into shag territory, not quite ragged hobo chic but approaching it. His pale eyes move herky-jerky saccadically from the younger man's hands to his nose, meet his eyes again with a blink. There's vagueness to the jerk of his thumb over his shoulder as he reaches to shut the door behind him.

It's a few degrees warmer in here. Maybe the heat is on. Was on even with the door open, so— that's good priorities. "You want a beer?" he asks in the same moment he offers the redhead a folded piece of paper, thin and white enough that the scrawl of his handwriting shows reversed through the other side.

"Dark or light?" asks Walter, feeling guilty about the residual moisture he tracks into Francois' home, but not so guilty that he stoops to take his boots off at the threshold. The cold outside flushes his cheeks red and makes his knuckles appear raw and swollen, his skin chapped and mouth cracked. He drags his teeth over his lower lip and makes a snuffling sound at the back of his throat. Scrubs a sleeve across his nose.

The kitchen is where the beer is, presumably, and that's the direction he's headed regardless of Teodoro's answer. What he could probably use is a cup of piping hot chocolate, but that's more his mother's forte than his father's. On his way past, he accepts the piece of paper, snagging it between his fingers, and flips it open.

It's an address, some forgettable riverside city in California, or maybe not if you're from Vallejo. In 2011, it has a zoo. God knows what it will be like 1954 besides, presumably, sunny and dry. In Teo's script, the writing threatened to slither up against the edge of the paper and starts curving downward to find room to finish.

"Light. American shit," he says by way of excusing himself. "You know. Your nose looks better." Belated comment; he'd been staring at it before, but it's over his shoulder, and taking a can out of the ice box, then the other. He shuts the insulated steel door with his hip and glances down, a belated check about the shoes. Maybe he was a terrible dad off in The Future, too. He passes it over then makes a motion at the table with his emptied hand. "Did you have to set it or anything?"

"Why? D'you feel guilty?" It comes off a little more brusque than Walter probably intended, but there's a playful, almost lilting note in his voice that softens it, polishes the edges into something facetious but respectable. He sits down at the table, note in hand, and studies Teo's handwriting with a quirked mouth. He recognizes it, of course, and any tightness around the corners of his eyes that comes from squinting his just for show.

He's not supposed to have familiarity. "West coast, huh?" He places the paper down on the table, smoothing it under the heel of his hand with a slow, steady application of pressure. "What's the plan?"

The Sicilian's pale eyes flit upward, catching light like one of the markers on the edges of the highways. He remembers to smile. Now that Walter's actually here, he doesn't feel hurried, exactly. What the fuck was he going to do, anyway? Haste doesn't really make sense given the space-time continuum's relationship with Francois Allegre's disappearance. Still, he isn't his usual magnanimous hostly self— if he's ever a magnanimous hostly self. "A little," he admits, after a moment. He turns a hand palm-up, leaning his hip on the edge of the table. "It was just a fucking box."

That just HAPPENED to be one of the LAST REPRESENTATIONS of Francois and his bond with the Frenchman, but you know, as long as he's being nice about it. "I don't have one. Catch a time-traveler by the toe? It's not like I'm just gonna take a walk and trip over one on the fucking street. I was hoping you knew somebody; Eileen seems to trust you."

"I know somebody," Walter concedes, "but, ah." Ah. "I guess it's stupid of me t'ask how important this is to you," isn't a question, "but I'm gonna ask how far you're willing t'go. Say I got this somebody, yeah?" He lifts his eyes from the paper and searches Teodoro's face for sincerity, some glimmer in blue eyes the same shallow ocean shade as his own. Where he comes from, he knows he can trust his father because his father knows he's his son. When it comes to stepping back in time, all bets are off.

'Reynard' isn't a friend. Still virtually a stranger even though they became acquainted through a scuffle upstairs in Francois' bedroom. "Can I trust you not to go telling people what they can do? Allegre's a given. Circumstances and all, but you can't tell nobody else. Not even Miss Ei-leen."

Indeed, there's scandalizingly little familiarity in the expression of the father looking at son. He drifts toward the table, finally, passing a long-fingered hand over his cheek to jaw, rifles nails briefly through his hair, fidget fidget. Vain fidget, or merely self-conscious, uncomfortable with his limitations. Frinkle was better at working inside them. "Yes," he answers, finally, not too slow as to let Walter think he's hesitating to commit, but not so quick that he didn't put some thought to it before hastening ahead to recover his favorite lay. Perfect mathematical average between his analogues, if you want to know.

He nods. And then he sits down. It's either a little dramatic or he's just doing everything out of order; maybe both.

Maybe Walter should have consulted Astor about this first. His friend is uncannily perceptive when it comes to separating the good ideas from the bad ones, and not just because he can. He wrinkles his nose at Teodoro across the table and makes another attempt to discern whether or not he's going to regret following through with the decision that he's already made.

"D'you remember how I mentioned how teleporters go from side t'side, and that what I do's more— back t'front?" It's a rhetorical question; Teodoro can tell because Walter doesn't give him the opportunity to answer it. "I'm not gonna leave you there like Allegre got left. I can give you a few days t'do what you need, find your friend, but you're coming back with or without him. That clear, amico?"
Teo has reconnected.

For a few seconds, Teodoro's face is stiff and blank and insipid with too much fatigue, grief, mindless make-work, all the time he's killed, the time that passes. Disbelief registers next, makes his eyes big under the strandy shadows of his forelocks, pieces rolling together to form an image fraught with odd gaps and a pixellated image. It's like watching a thaw in timelapse photography, the feeling coming back into the Sicilian's expression, age falling off like rope. "You know someone who can fucking time-travel?" his voice is loud. "I won't tell a fucking soul. I swear on the lives of all my family." A fist to his chest. He forgets, for a moment, that the Laudanis wouldn't— technically— regard him as family.

The distinction's stranger for 'Reynard,' no doubt. And then the Sicilian's getting up rather abruptly, moving to grab the boy into a hug, except that the shortage of familiarity again has him stopping, hands adrift in the air flailing for a moment that fails entirely to do justice to their true competence, his eyes too bright. "I owe you," he says, and it takes precisely his (or Walter's) features, a Disney prince when viewed through foul weather and in dark times, that it doesn't seem paranoid or suspicious, curiously humble when he asks,: "Is there something you want?"

It occurs to Walter that there probably should be. Most people in his position wouldn't provide their services free of charge, but then— there aren't any people in his position that he can think of except for himself, and his mouth slants down around a rueful smile that shows sharp teeth. "How about a favour," he suggests. He picks up the piece of paper again and turns it over between his fingers to confirm the address, the year. Things he remembers well enough from the first glance, but one can never be too sure about these things.

The irony of Teodoro swearing on the lives of all his family is not lost on Walter. He has to clamp his front teeth together to keep from questing that the favour be he take this back. "Time'll come when I need t'cash in on it," he hisses out. "Not today, though." He rises from his seat at the table, movements much more fluid and smooth than Teodoro's sudden ascent. "Anything you wanna bring with you, you put it on."

"Okay," Teo says. Just like that. He smiles, a grin that'd remind a few people of the one that occasionally features on 'Reynard's face; he grasps the younger man's arm a moment, squeezes, thanks. "Absolutely. When can you get your friend? Should we go to him or her?" He takes his hands back and tidies himself rather abruptly, palms passed down his sleeves, trying not to look a mess. Astor would recognize it as wasted effort, nerves, if not in any useful excess. The Sicilian steps back and the beer he takes into his hand seems like an afterthought, pretending he isn't balanced with painful eagerness on the answer.

"We'll go," Walter concedes. Where they're going he doesn't say; he reaches out as if to take the beer from Teodoro as his payment, but his hand ends up closing around the other man's wrist instead in a loose clasp, and there's a moment where he might be able to piece together what's about to happen before it does.

But it's only a moment. The time it takes to blink, or draw his next breath. Certainly not enough to twist his hand away, break physical contact and wrench himself free.

They're standing at the table and then they're not, it's that simple, and where they've gone not even Molly Walker will be able to find them.

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