One Hundred And Eighty Pounds


gabriel_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif and …

Scene Title One Hundred And Eighty Pounds
Synopsis Teo is introduced to his new self. It has opinions.
Date July 17, 2010

Staten Island: Abandoned School, Formerly St. Joseph Hill Academy

When it's over, it's less horrifying somehow, maybe because the new Teo— this thing built to enhouse him— is born in the morning. Fresh light on everything, even if he has been thinking about this for far too long for everything to be in a new light. He waits outside for the quarter-hour while Gabriel is getting his clothes back on, and hopefully, his shape as well. The inside of his mouth tastes like an ashtray, with a similar consistency coagulated in with the soupy saliva. He'll have to stop smoking so much for a little bit; Francois doesn't find it attractive when he spits.

The fifteen requested minutes stretches out to twenty-three before he rouses himself out of his hallway stupor, wiping himself nervously up and down the face with his palms, first. Despite the familiarity that has mounted in the various supply and paranoid surveillance visits since their first Jag ride over, he finds himself checking very carefully to make sure he rounds the right corners, passes closed doors, until he's at the medical bay again, his boots ringing hollowly on a pace subconsciously measured on the exact meter that Francois flips through his flashcards on.

When he looks in there is slatted sunlight, the smell of that same sickly sweating, but the first thing he realizes— the first thing he really notices, is that Gabriel had not copied the scar on his face.

Gabriel is dressed, and himself, looking pale and a little weak, but probably no where near as bad as could have been imagined. His back to the door, Teo will catch a glimpse of that tattooed span of flesh — the lack of mark where that— dare we say this word— umbilical~ monstrousity had grown from it a little strange, probably. That kind of transformation seems like it should leave something behind. It's no where to be see, thankfully, everything mostly packed up into duffle back as Gabriel works to pull on a navy blue hoodie, movements slow and cautious.

The thing is on the bed, still, kind of blank-eyed. His torso is entirely free of both scars and tattoos, his face whole as noted, though the lengthy of his hair and the scraggle of beard remains. Hands in his lap, which is clothed still in bed sheet, palms upward facing. He seems to be observing his fingers — or more accurately, his fingerprints, which are normal ones and all. Just. Distinct.

Sensing a third presence, Gabriel glances over towards the real Teo, scans his expression for verdict. What he sees, he interprets as disapproval, but says nothing — raises an eyebrow and continues packing up.

"He's perfect," isn't hasty, belatedly slapped-on reassurance. It's sincere. From across the room, anyway, Teo thinks so, eyeing his mirror image with about as much trust and understanding as one of those dumber primates do their literal, physical mirrored reflections, edging warily between obscure aggression and being quite straightforwardly flabbergasted. And maybe just a little bit envious. This ) ( much. Not much at all, if you think about it. "Jesus fuck, Gabe. Thanks.

"Hello." An awkward concatenation of words, but what wasn't going to be? Teodoro takes the grizzly bear approach to social tact, going over there slowly, yanking up a damp, wrinkled linen into his hands like he is planning to fold it but that particular motivation loses momentum over the course of the next three steps. He then takes a three-pronged approach to the question, which is to say: he pokes the Gabriel that looks like him, thrice.

Far from the half-grown hairless thing it had been on the first night, the clones is in working order — blinks at the right time, breathes, fine hair on the back of his arms and fingernails all where they should be as opposed to growing on his eyes or something gross. It's actually been its true shape for quite a few hours, by now. It's the internal workings that take the longest to reproduce in this method, the functions of an adult human, although right now, it doesn't seem to have a lot of those going on, a kind of cattle animal mellowness as he drops his eyes to look at the hand that's poking him.

Although that could be the drugs, too, or whatever carry over effect that their intake during the process seems to have. Not brain damage. One hopes.

"You're welcome," Gabriel says, pushing his feet back into shoes, a hand coming up to rub at the back of his neck. "There are people in the Rookery that can mark him and not ask questions, probably." Whether he means scars or tattoos is probably up to Teo's interpretation, crouching now to do up boot laces.

Meanwhile, life seems to spark in baby blues, pale eyelashes less dopey in heavy lids. The clone staples his hands against he thin mattress, shifts away from Teo with some building wariness in placid expression, thought and intelligence lurking somewhere in there. Prey's instinct to fucking run is probably what accounts for building tension in its long limps, but it doesn't spring from the cot. "I'm— " And it breathes in sharply when this syllable is released. First words? Maybe. Teo's voice. It meets the warning glance that Gabriel delivers it; folds up his mouth in a line of consternation.

"It thinks it's me. But it's going to have to get used to a few ideas," Gabriel explains, eyes back down to his task. Left foot, now. "Like learning Sicilian."

"It doesn't— he," Teo corrects himself with effort, retracting his poking finger. "Um, he seems a little fuckin' disoriented. More than you are, even. Is that normal? Poor," he lapses. "Thing." His brow furrows as soon as he's said it. Really, like being disoriented is the worst of fates that this creature is going to face. He suppresses the urge to drop into a crouch and talk to it very slowly. As meat-suits go, it is going to be perfect, as long as they get the ink, maybe some of the scars. He wants to check its hands for calluses.

Doesn't. "That's a funny joke." He takes a half-step backward, takes the effort to look at Gabriel. "Can you help me take care of him awhile?"

Rather than get up out of the crouch he's descended into upon tying shoelaces, Gabriel pauses there, arms folded on bent knee as he glances from one duplicate to the mirror version, as if attempting to find out the flaws himself. There is a certain new quality to the clone, one that could take a little while to scrub away, but maybe you have to look to find it. Neither man within this room would know for sure, though, having been up close and personal to how the thing in the room came to be.

Hawkish amber eyes switch from clone to the real copy. "How long?" he asks, neutrally. Practical question.

The clone is at least aware he's being talked about, even if he doesn't have much to contribute to the conversation. His brow crinkles, hands coming up to rub at his face, fingertips around his eyesockets, before these come down again to square a hard look on Teo, the same brand of accusatory intensity that Sylar is good for. He says: "I'm hungry."

Teo stares at the clone. ('Real copy' is an oxymoron, he hopes the audience is aware.) He lacks much of the data that would be necessary to answer that question in conventional terms, of how long until x, y, or z fulfillment of conditions and plan phases go: he doesn't know when the next part of the plan is doable. He does, however, know what his own learning curve is like, the kind of adaptivity to abrupt changes of conditions and creativity are things he has worked hard on honing. "Just a few days," he says. "While I figure out how to do it by myself.

"I reported to Britain you're doing me a favor to do with my family," he adds, looking back at the clone to check if the light of marvelling has dimmed in the dusty corner of his own mind. It turns out: not yet. He pops the collar on his jacket, rummages in until he finds the fat, wadded foil packet, still-warm aloo paratha smelling savory of potato and spices in the air, proffering it to the clone instead of its original recipient. "Figured that's as close to lying as I needed to get."

The warring instincts of fleeing, suspicion, some minute spark of incoherent fear: these things blink out for a moment as the food is offered out, and the clone takes it with both hands and some hint of gratitude in the glance up from it to eyes and back down again. Foil is torn with fingers and spiced bread to torn with teeth — very human, to be clear, no doggish or caveman enthusiasm that might allude to a lack of higher brain function. Just hunger, legs coming to fold at a more relaxed pose beneath sweat-stained bedsheets, back curved as the clone's focus settles on his breakfast, shoulders in a kind of defensive hunch.

Being talked over.

"She'll still ask," is less accusation, more warning for Teo's sake as opposed to his own. Gabriel has dealt with larger, stronger, faster issues with her, himself. The territory of brainfucking and manipulation seems to be unsteady between herself and the Sicilian, but then, I guess, clones didn't go down so well either—

Anyway, it's all Teo's idea. "I can help," he remembers to agree, back to watching the clone with a little bit of dusty dimmed marvel-light of his own. "The drugs I took will mean he won't be as much of a problem as the last time. I don't know what he'll be like in a few hours."

Teo's ideas have a funny pattern of making people crazy, and mad in other ways also. "Oh, I see," he answers. The drugs. Manageableness. That sounds— biologically feasible. "If you want to go for a few hours, I put the Jag outside. The motorcycle rack is pretty easy to take off, I'm pretty sure you could work it out whenever you get a couple minutes with a wrench." A beat. "I didn't ding it." Just putting that out there.

He puts his hands in his pockets because he doesn't know what else to do with them, and the light through the window-boards draws new tiger-stripes down his jaw whenever he looks at the clone. "Grazie, Gabriel. Really."

"You should stop. Thanking me." Levering himself to his feet, Gabriel is, apparently, 100% onboard with getting some air. Probably getting something to eat, too. His gaze swoops back towards the Teo-Gabriel-copy thing, which is watching him out his periphery, pretty sure, with most of his attention stll visibly on his food, but— "Stay," is a firm order, and apparently designed to work as opposed to make a joke, and the clone mostly responds with a neutral glance and a crumpling up of foil and tossing it aside.

His footsteps sound abbreviated and sharp as he moves across the room; echoed out in the hallway and dwindling as he moves for the outside, leaving sickbay and administration offices. Later, a growl of a Jaguar.

Teo almost thanks him again, but decides, last minute, that it would be too sincere to live up to its proper intent. He doesn't. Merely watches Gabriel go, sidelong, managing not to flinch when that firm order is delivered as if the clone was merely a dog. Maybe he is in some functional or technical perameters. He makes a vague mental note to himself to get the 'scrip for Delilah, post-birth, because he remembers what his Terrible Twos had been like. "So," he says, sitting down.

On the floor, inevitably, shuffling so that he won't squash the beaten canvas of his green messenger bag. Einliter has been dead at least a year, now, and still his legacy of carting around highly dubious shit lives on. "How's that work, anyway? You think you're him, but he was right there. You saw him. Probably woke up right there next to him." Teodoro should probably know better than to poke at the mechanics of the lie that are functioning at his convenience, but he has some faith in Gabriel's choice in drugs, maybe. Teo gets a bottle of water out, next. "You think you're a—"

The last of boiled potato and shreds of sweet bread are cleaned from his teeth, tongue sweeping over pearly whites as he watches the vacated door with a hint of calculation, but the clone seems inclined to stay more than make a break for it. Reluctantly, he drags his attention to Teo, a little blank-eyed as he's talked to before crinkles of consternation work through his brow once more, quirks his mouth in a frown. It takes him a little while to think it through.

His hands go anemic and bloodless as he makes tight grips on bedsheets, unconscious. "I was helping you," he says, after a moment. His accent is Sylar's, too, a little Queens but more universal. "I woke up, and he was there, for you. Except his— he has my tattoos. My scars. I did this to help you and now I can't change back.

"I guess I know what that means. It's hard to think right now."

How problematic for tiny dumbGabe. Now I can't change back. Teo's mouth forms a thin line, except for the hideous ruche and twist where it goes up on the one corner, anemic like the clone's hands have become. Teo puts the bottle on the bed next to his handsomer twin, and his hands link on his own lap, feeling the brindling of denim where his inseam scrapes against his knuckles, and there is a certain conviction scaling, needly, down the nape of his neck, that when these drugs wear off, the clone is going to remember and be a lot angrier for it. Probably.

Not even Tavisha had particularly craved the experience of death or overwrite, as Teodoro remembers it. "Yeah?" his voice is quiet, not faint, and the distinction is important under these circumstances. Outside, the wind blows and the sun shines, but the clone was told to Stay. "What's your best guess?"

"That I'm supposed to be you." Doesn't sound so much like a guess as it does reluctant knowledge. Kind of sucks. You make a clone for a guy, wake up to be that clone, some M. Night twist that this one doesn't appreciate being the main character in. There's a curl of disdain in his voice and his mouth, arms coming to fold across bare chest, uninked, skin smooth without looking so new as to be unnatural. Hard to know where the line is drawn between duplicating freckles but leaving behind the slash up Teo's cheek or the bullet marks on Gabriel's chest.

When you put it that way, it does kind of suck. Teo does not wince, although he kind of wants to. Merely stares at the younger one, a little searching, a little sad. Not apologetic, because that would be…

…trite. "I wouldn't be a fan either," he says, because somehow that is less trite. He doesn't press the clone to stave off dehydration. Instead, he occupies his hands with shuffling through the narrow panels of his bag again, fiddling through what would appear to be an enormous cavalcade of Starbucks napkins to find fabric, clothing. "Want a shirt?" he asks. It is pea-green, the one he winds up pulling free. "I brought some clothes, just in case. It's clean. And," he pauses. "Not mine."

There's hesitation, before clothing is deemed a necessity enough for him to unfold a hand from the crook of his elbow and snag the T-shirt out of Teo's, but pauses there too, and his other hand goes out to snag Teo's wrist. Not roughly — there is demand, but it's needy, urging. He shakes loose the other man's grip on the green cotton to turn his palm ceilingwards, letting his other rest next to it in an upsidedown interpretation of flattening palms together to test the shape.

His hands are smooth. Not to a ridiculous degree, but marginally underworked. His mouth twists.

Not really a smile, but he takes the clothing , turning away to pull it on without much acknowledgement for the fact the ritual tends to go pants first. Either the clone wasn't quite together enough to get dressed before, or Gabriel didn't do much in the way of offering — some combination of the two seems likely, although the duffle bag left behind might hark to supplies and other such basic needs.

He's sliding out of the conjoined cot to put the rest on, his movements a little ponderous, cautious, no particular element of shyness in the process of getting dressed, and once done, his toes curl against the cool ground before he sits back down again, eyeing his own legs. Gabriel and Teo are approximately a similar height, a similar build, but some proportions are different.

"A few days, huh?"

It isn't an easy win, but in the end, squeamish Catholic decency does triumph: Teo glances away. The image is still polarized, dodged-and-burned with freakish clarity on his corneas, though, along with the peculiar notion that Gabriel's ability at least, uh, really got a good look at him, and that's a curious thing that has nothing to do with the erstwhile serial-killer's own cunning or acuity of perception, he'd imagine.

There's even that tiny ridging of stretch tissue just above his knee. Formed when he'd started running with the football clubs too much as a kid right, and around the growth-spurt, jacking his skeleton up taller six inches before the lot of it started bricking horizontally with lean mass. It's weird. He clips his bag shut again, then thinks again, so weird. "Yeah. A few days. Then you can make your break for it." Joke, maybe. Bad joke. Teo glances up, unfolding his long legs, hauling himself back to upright. Claps dust off his hip with a flattened palm.

"Good to know," doesn't sound like a joke at all. The clone is kicking up its newly denim-clad legs up onto the cot, which groans and creaks in protest of Teo's weight. He folds his arms again, and as long as he's obeying Stay, he may as well do it comfortably. He turns away from Teo, the side of his face that should be marked by scarring but isn't clear for observation, and rests his head back against concrete.

Conversation over, evidently, though he does pick up the bottled water a moment later, and twist off the cap like he's breaking something's neck.

By 'something,' Teo construes this to mean a metaphor for 'someone,' maybe because he is cynical like that, or at least understands the fundamental mechanics of human nature enough to suppose. He glances down at his bag once, then up at the supine creature's back.

He sighs and steps back. Another slant, shift, reconfiguration of tiger-stripes as he reaches his hand into the other lapel of his unseasonal jacket, then, extricates a small gun, Airsoft, though it looks roughly as mean as the heavier black composite on his calf, and he sights down at the smooth gap between the green shirt's collar and the ragged fall of off-blond hair at the base of nor-Gabriel's head, pulls a trigger and the dart flecks into existence suddenly as a horsefly's blink-now-there landing.

The next three seconds, he spends alternately waiting for a grizzly bear backlash and wondering how drug interactions are going to fuck up the Xerox.


He holsters the weapon with a flip of the gun, turns. Casts a scowling stare through the room, back into the hallway, illuminated dust, sentimental inreptetations of childrens' echoes and library smells, and wonders if he is going to be able to find a bucket around here for the kid's toilet.

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