Out Of The Devil's Water


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Out Of The Devil's Water
Synopsis Swimming brings solace. Tequila, less.
Date January 14, 2008

Extremely Fancy Apartment Complex — Indoor Swimming Pool

He had left a note. Unlike most notes that disclose one's current location to one's roommates, Teo's wasn't very declarative. Did you know you have a pool?

I hope I can replace this tequila without selling a kidney.

A false sky is mosaiced above the sixty foot stretch of water, a stylized sun peeking out of one end of the border and a rock candy moon depicted on the mirror opposite end. It lends the impression that time does not exist here.

The artificial firmament is seemingly held up by two pristine pillars that sink straight into the seemingly limitless sapphire blue depths of the pool, whose standard rectangular shape defies that to exceed standards in most other senses of the phrase. The door in from the changing room hallway opens out atop a small staircase fringed with ferns, their clay pots matching the warm sand tones that the poolside loungers, the Italian Travertine floor in a complex irregular pattern.

The floor is discolored by splashed water runoff at one end, where an actual Italian is perched, feet in, beside a bottle of tequila and at a safer distance from his ever-present cellphone, after dozens of laps that proved a little too short to properly burn out his energy.

You can tell how much a guy is paying rent when the lifeguard ignores the presence of bottle and absence of proper attire. The closest thing Teo still owns to swim trunks is a pair of light canvas trousers whose pant legs, from the knees-down, can be zipped off and removed. He's in those, soaked through, his hair ragged and dark from waterlogging, clear beads of moisture geometrically laid out on his tattooed skin and systematically evaporating off the oblique muscle of slouched shoulders.

The delirious quiet is interrupted only by the regular clink and slap of water. If Teodoro is drunk, he isn't being noisy about it.

Sonny did indeed know he had a pool. Has he ever made use of it? No, not often. When you grow up with pools about, their mystique and novelty disappears fairly quickly. The doc came home from work only to spot the note. It makes him grin, then he goes to change into his own things. Hey, when in…Rome? Or rather, when a new person comes to Rome? It's like visiting all the landmarks. You never do it until someone comes to visit.

So after a ride down in the elevator and a stop at the desk for a complimentary pair of big fluffy towels, the second Italian enters the pool room to spot Teo. Of course, the whole place is deserted otherwise, and usually is. The fact that people can swim is the status symbol in and of itself. Most of the people who live in this building are too engrossed in their busy and/or superficial lives to bother to make use of it.
The doc's wearing swim trunks, but he's got a light cloth robe over it. "Teo," he calls out. Then he walks around the deck, towels in hand. "Was wondering how long it'd take you to notice this." Or rather, for him to push the elevator button labeled 'pool.'

It is a big shiny button. Apparently Teo has been too insane over the last few scattered days to properly process any information on the panel besides the numbered level that Sonny lives on. It happens. Insanity, that is. When called, he looks up, raising one wet hand in the air, fingers splayed in greeting. "Sonny," he says, first, before launching unabashedly into commentary, pointing at said pool as if it were not large enough to stand in evidence of itself. "This is fucking fantastic.

"Perfetto. I haven't gone swimming in like, fuckin'… I don't know, years. I think. I used to sail. You almost have the fingers of God in here, the way the lights are set up." The tequila is snagged by the neck, the butt of the bottle swing out at Sonny, offering, generous with Doctor Bianco's own stash, and perfectly aware of it. "I'm an asshole. I'll feel guilty about this soon, I promise."

"Feel guilty about what, Teo?" Sonny seems amused. "Well, it's good to see you relaxed, at least." He drops the towels on a deck chair and sheds his robe. Then he takes the bottle of tequila, sits beside the other and drops his legs into the water. Perfect temperature, of course. "What, no limes?" A chuckle, then he takes a swig from the bottle.

"You sail, huh?" a beat, "I have a sailing yacht. In drydock right now." Very casual. Like saying 'I have a panini press.' "We'll have to go out on the water sometime."

Wonderfully, Sonny manages to kind of answer his own question. There's a brief spate of laughter from the doctor's counterpart, a little incredulous, entirely sincere. Teo looks at his feet at the point where the water breaks them into wobbling halves, then begins to pull them out, the left before the right, tucking his heels in against his rump, knees under his chin.

He looks a little like a twelve-year-old fishing at the docks with a thread tied around his toe, and a little like he's embarrassed about— something: the small, dark knife-scar at his belly, older scrapes, meaningless braggadocio of tattoos he probably should have grown out of, never got rid of, and won't; maybe just the fact that he's getting his damp feet all over Sonny's hospitality.

"Ehhh," he exhales. "No limes. Figured I'd already…" He describes the magnitude of his trespasses with a finger flipped through the air around his ankle. "Thanks, though," he says, suddenly, his eyes going squinty with a smile before they drift. Despite his failure to connect the sentences, he can't imagine his train of thought couldn't be extrapolated. "You hear about Rickham?"

"Jesus, Teo. Do you actually feel bad about drinking a rich guy's booze or using the pool? You'd have to do a hell of a lot worse than that to impose on my hospitality." Sonny chuckles and shakes his head. He takes another swig of the tequila and passes the bottle back to Teo.

No scars on him. No blemishes either, save the occasional freckle. His face could be excused as the fact that cosmetic surgeons need to look good. But his body reveals more of his vanity.

The question of Rickham makes him frown. "Who doesn't? My dad called me up and ranted for twenty minutes. Nobody sneezes in politics that I don't hear about from him."

Bodies warrant staring at. Nothing terribly blatant, but not particularly discreet either, one part simply inquisitive, judicious, almost asexual, familiarizing himself with another object in space; another part the measuring study of a lifelong athlete; the last, well. There's nothing particularly sophisticated or worth explaining about that. "Yes," he says, though he accepts the bottle anyway. Salutes with it. "I do." Feel bad, though his expression implies he's aware that's a little retarded.

But Sonny isn't Lucrezia, isn't family, isn't offering anything Teo could excuse as practical, and their friendship— assuming that's what this is, new enough that Teo experiences some mild form of self-consciousness at setting the tone for what's to come. Mild. It probably matter that much; just a feeling. "Yeah?" he swallows tequila and blinks. "Even Mayor Bianco? I could hear all my co-workers' hearts breaking from across the island."

Sonny glances to Teo as well, though his looks seem more casual. Either that or he's just gotten good at not being obvious. Hey, he's a doc. He has to learn to hide these things. "Your body's like a book." Loaded? A little. He takes the bottle of tequila again, swigs it.

"Dad couldn't afford to officially throw his weight behind any candidate in the election, not and hope to keep the city together, to keep the appearance of being moderate. But once Rickham was elected, he started in his 'rah rah stand behind our leader' speech. And he means it, too. He believes in democracy and that he he has to listen to the people. So the fact that Rickham resigned…well." he hisses air between his teeth. "He doesn't know quite what to say to the reporters." A beat, "But. Let's not talk politics, okay? I hate fucking politics."

The term 'loaded,' by definition, indicates excess. Teo rubs his nose with his thumb and turns up the corners of his mouth, the way one might when confronted with a remark that doesn't readily identify itself as either a compliment, criticism, or something more esoteric. The image of Al's scars— gone, now— comes to mind, fleetingly, then goes away, taking some of the sincerity from his smile with it.

"No politics," he says. "You have a… 'cool dad,' though. I always wanted one of those." Teo drapes an arm over his knees, glancing across the pool water a little more absently than even the pool water warrants. "There must be something else to talk about," he says, abruptly, shoulders squaring. "Where've you sailed before? How'd you find the Ferrymen? Or did they find you? Have you ever punched a paparazzi?"

Sonny chuckles and smiles the smile of a man who is laughing at something connected to the trigger in the here and now. "Dad's…well, he's passionate. He's a good leader. But all those things kind of conflict with being a good father. Apparently people say I'm like him. But I think they might just be grooming me for office." Then he glances to Teo, eyes half-lidded, "Shoot me if I ever think of going into politics." Deadpan.

The thought of running for office makes the doc want booze. He swigs the tequila. "As if the pressure of being an outed Evolved isn't bad enough. I wouldn't want to be the first openly Evolved running for office. Shit." And then the questions come, and Teo gets a smile, a warm one. "Oh, I have a map of all the places I've been. My cousin's really in to it. The boat's actually half his. We usually take a week in the summer and sail somewhere. Mostly around the Caribbean though. Down to South America a few times." He shrugs. "And to answer your other questions, the Ferrymen found me, and if you keep firing questions at me like you're the paparazzi, I might have to punch you." He leans his shoulder into Teo to jostle the other.

Jostled, Teo sways. Manages not to fall, by merit of being a ninja under the tutelage of one General Gitelman. "Mi dispiace," he says, failing — for once — to look entirely repentant. He reappropriates the tequila bottle with a reach of hand that is probably a little less, looser at the joints than the average fight finds him in.

"Maybe you'd be good at it because you hate it," he hazards to guess. "It applies to some professions. None that come to mind right now. Maybe that was just romanticized bullshit. Anyway, I can't shoot you. SCOUT, the Caribbean tourist industry, and Wireless would hunt me down, and there would be no pool."

Half-relevantly, half not: "I used to pretend this represented the Bermuda Triangle." He taps his left bicep, the tribal triangle inked in there above the cuff of upside-down text, four lines of it, that encircles his upper arm. A bedraggled half-beat. Intelligently, he points out, "You said 'no politics.'"

"I'd leave a note that would say it was a mercy killing," drawls Sonny. He kicks at the water. "Complaining about politics and discussing politics are two different things. I'm pretty much already a politician just by virtue of being related to the big man of New York. I have to watch what I say, who I go out to dinner with - fuck, what parties I go to. Which journalists I give quotes to. You wouldn't believe how restrictive…— " he stops himself. "I'm sorry. Tequila makes me bitchy."
The doc takes one more swig, then drops backwards and leans on the deck, legs bent at the knees and submerged in the water. He looks up at Teo, at the tattoo. "Pretend, huh? So what does it really mean?"

The notion occurs to Teo, errant, and much like his best friend's scars had, that those restrictions undoubtedly apply to this, too. Whatever this is. It wouldn't do for Doctor Sonny Bianco to be seen all that frequently with the likes of him, which isn't actually all that self-aggrandizing, he thinks: he's a terrorist. "That's kind of funny. No— it's good. Go ahead and bitch. Only other time I've ever seen you get mad is yelling at me for being a world-class douchebag, so. Seriously.

"That one?" A glance lapses downward at his arm. The diamond lattice of the pool's underlit surface trails a line across his jaw. "Nothing. It looked cool," he admits, something uncommonly shameless about the laughter that deepens the corners of his mouth. The other ones might mean more: the eagle on his shoulderblade is a football insignia Sonny might have seen before, and the crucified ship and words from the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

Probably not, though. They're old, by the looks of them; graying faintly with age, though quality enough that they haven't turned that slimy algae shade of green. He'dve been too young to have paid for tattoos that meant something.

Sonny could offer to clean up the tattoos, make them vibrant again or remove them altogether. But something stops him from even offering, though the thought lingers in his head. Logically, Teo knows what he can do and thus could ask if he wanted it. But more than that. Like he said; a book. Alex was different. He's starting to get to know the other Italian.
"I got one. When I was in med school. It was a caduceus on my hip," he touches a spot, just above the band of his trunks. "Stupid, cliche' medschool thing that everyone got. Once I realized I never really liked any of those people, once they started looking down on me for being Evolved and using my power and not my skill, I got rid of it."

"On your hip?" Something about the way Teo articulates that indicates either that he doesn't think that's very masculine, or that he's had enough tequila to think that it's funny if he pretends so. It may be hard to tell. He's spent enough time being under the influence of alcohol as a practical means of hardening up for a fight or loosening into his social graces to play better than a sloppy drunk. He looks down at the indicated part of skin, as if searching out some subtle variation in the texture and grain there that would imply the shape of the mark that once decorated it.

"I don't know what's worse. That you thought you were the same, or that you decided taking it off would make you different."

He doesn't mind either way. In a moment, there's a tequila bottle in his hand, a mouthful going down his throat, and then he's pitching backward onto an elbow, the line of his spine flexing with all the grace of a biting whip. He plants a bare foot squarely against the base of Sonny's back, locating the older man's center of gravity with the ease of far too much experience, and proceeds to shunt him into the water and roll, backward, onto his own feet in the same blithe movement.

"Hey, we had to make sure it was completely hidden. Something about doctors with visible tattoos that was a big no-no. Implies that we're actually human beings or something." Sonny snorts. His eyes drift closed, which is why he has no inkling of what Teo is planning to do. "What do you mean, I'm not the…hey!" And then he feels the foot, but it's too late to stop it. He rolls neatly and falls into the water with an anticlimactic 'whoosh' of displaced water. He does get a mouthful though, and he spits.
"Hey!" he calls indignantly, but without any real malice. He splashes towards Teo, then proceeds to back-stroke away.

Long, short, fewer inhibitions tend to mean that Teo's more of a dick when he's drunk. Not much of one, most days, but there's something decidedly irreverent about the young man stalking along the edge of the pool now, bottle swinging in hand, no visible discomfort betrayed at the canvas cloth torquing, sticking to his hip and knee as he goes. "You're not the what?" he asks, his voice lifted a few levels above conversational in order to carry it over the splatter of water churning around the doctor's limbs and eddying past his ears. Evidently, if Sonny feels he's owed an apology, he'll either have to wait or claim it more proactively.

It seems Sonny's not seeking an apology, or a continuation of the previous conversation. If Teo's looking for a fight, he'll have to try harder than that. The doc's content to backstroke towards the other end of the pool, even as he's stalked by Coach Teo and his tequila. He's got good form. Well, he did say that he'd grown up with pools.
When he hits the far end, he ducks over backwards, then springs off the end. He's a shiny trout-shape under the water before he surfaces and slides easily into the breast stroke. The few moments he does tilt his head for air and Teo gets a bit of a shit-eating grin. He knows that's not the response the other Italian was looking for.

Cheated, Teodoro begins to frown. It doesn't stick, of course. He's having a good day — or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Frankly, Sonny Bianco's company is an improvement on that. "I sailed across the Atlantic once." It's phrased a little like a boast, but he's so out of practice with making those that he doesn't get the tone quite right. The tequila tick-tocks against the transparent walls of its prison. "You would've been an asset. Or at least you wouldn't have drowned. Good job," he says, wrinkling his tall nose before he lets his expression smooth again. Good job. He evidently doesn't merely mean Sonny's flawless execution of strokes. "Did you ever compete?" Swimming, sailing; he could mean either.

Sonny surfaces at the side of the pool and rests his arms on the edge. He mops wet hair back out of his face. "Compete? Yeah, swim team in high school. But I haven't really kept it up. I come down here maybe a couple times a month." He makes grabby motions towards the tequila bottle, even though he's already looking a little peaked. Physical exertion after several shots of tequila is a good way to get that booze running through the ole' system. "Why'd you sail across the Atlantic?" Since Teo doesn't seem like the pleasure cruise type.

The bottle is handed over, though Teo's careful with it, unwilling to let the transition of glass slippery from wet hands end in some sort of horrible bloody disaster, the likes of which he has experienced multiple times before. He does this without stooping, lest there's still enough water on his face or in his hair — grown long enough to retain some, now — to stick Sonny in the eye with unexpected drops. "I thought it would look good for grad school applications. Except," his brow furrows. "I wasn't really planning on going to grad school. Because the opportunity was there and I missed sailing? I guess.

"Needed to clear my head. I think it was finally sinking in that I wasn't going to really change, no matter how hard I studied or how far around the world I got from Palermo, so… Made peace with it." There's a lot of details missing from that summary, and Teo's vaguely aware of it, but it seems like effort to retroactively explain — he's terrible at explaining himself anyway — particularly when the relevant detail seems more like, "The bomb would've killed me if I hadn't gone."

Sonny takes hold of the bottle, then launches himself up onto the edge of the pool without dropping anything. A feat. He weaves a little, looks a little glassy-eyed - a testament to the power of straight liquor. He hesitates a moment before swallowing a mouthful of the burning amber liquid.

"What were you trying to change from? Ah, but wait, don't answer.." he holds up a hand. One of his neighbors pads through the deck area on the way to the sauna. He looks up at Teo. "Let's go back upstairs." He stands, then wobbles a little as he goes to the deck chair to retrieve one towel. The other is tossed to his fellow Italian.

The towel is caught by Teo's head, when he bends at the waist to catch it across his skull. He opens doors and smacks into doorframes that way just as frequently: a bad habit, according to Abigail, who's caught it from him somewhere over the course of their acquaintance. Straightening, he pushes the edge of the terrycloth above his eyes so that he can see Sonny. See Sonny teetering on his feet, that is. And then to look at the neighbor, whose feet are slappity-slapping along the tiled side opposite. Teo's expression turns inward and he turns his face away, a shrug of his shoulder tumbling the cloth down to cover his tattoos. "Thanks," he says, swiveling on his feet to follow.

Sonny grabs his robe, shrugs it on, then uses the towel to cover up the tequila bottle as they pad with damp feet towards the elevator. He manages to walk fairly straight, but the combination of tequila and a few laps of swimming is proving to be a bad mix. The world's a bit…muzzy around the edges.

He manages to hit the right button once they're on the elevator, but it slows to the stop on the main level. In enters a woman with platinum blonde hair and wearing a fur coat. It's like she's trying to be Marilyn, if Marilyn was underweight and had obvious implants. Her eyes are hidden by a pair of oversized sunglasses, but her collagen lips smile at both young men as she strides on to the elevator. Both get rather appraising looks, but she says not a word. At least, not until the elevator stops at her (notably lower) floor and she steps off. Before she disappears from sight, she looks back over her shoulder and makes a very obvious, exaggerated sound of appreciation, peers over her glasses, winks and sashays away.

The moment the elevator doors close, Sonny's shoulders start to shake with silent laughter. Laughter that quickly becomes audible. A hand goes to his mouth.

If Teo weren't testing his eyesight by alternating between winking his eyes at the elevator buttons while standing with his back against the furthest wall, he probably would be laughing too. As it is, he's fairly distracted by this somewhat tequila-hazed appraisal, paused only to offer the woman reciprocation in the form of a blank-featured stare out of his left eye, before the doors ping! shut and Sonny's hysterics necessitate him rub his face clear with both hands from inside the makeshift hood of the towel slung across his head and shoulders. "What!" he says. "What, did… I didn't fart. Did something happen?" He contorts his face into a momentary look of paranoia — which holds for only about three seconds before inverting into a stupefied grin.

Same Building — Sonny's Apartment

Sonny is laughing in the way that drunk people often do. The initial thing might not have been terribly funny, but the laugh catches like wildfire anyway. Tears are streaming down his face before too long and his body's shaking in silent laughter. It's all he can do to straighten himself up when the elevator arrives on their floor.

"Oh Jesus. That was Mrs. Bethune. I think we just gave her enough fantasy fodder to last until she's sixty." He shoulders open his apartment door. Apparently he didn't lock it. Once they're inside, he flops on the nearest chair. He doesn't care that he's getting it damp. "Oh man. My head's swimming."

"Liiightweight," Teo says. Pauses, upon realizing he had dragged that syllable out way too long for him to be as sober as a terrorist should probably be when unarmed and on unfamiliar territory that may or may not be being watched by people prone to drugging and abducting the Mayor's son. Ahhh. Fuck. At least he— remembered his phone, he realizes after a moment, pawing briefly through the half-dried recesses of his pants.

"I used to be a dick," he announces to the world at large. It's a very belated answer to the earlier question, which he probably would have forgotten if it didn't lie so close to his preoccupying thoughts of every day. "I'm supposed to be different now." He mashes his toweled head between his hands and scrubs around until he thinks his hair is as close to dry as it's going to get while he can only coordinate that strenuous an effort to make himself so, squinting blearily at the window.

"Hey…" begins Sonny. He peers at Teo, hair curled almost ridiculously by the pool water. "I keep meaning to ask…are you Evolved?" It's one of those things that's somehow never come up. He sets the tequila bottle down on a nearby table, but doesn't reach for it. He's had enough for now. Or rather, the stuff he had earlier is finally hitting him. He's forced to close his eyes for a moment.
The doc's caught a chill, if the goosebumps are any indication. But the world's fuzzy enough to not prompt him to stand and find warmer clothes. Or to dry himself off with the towel that sits nearby.

That can't be healthy. Something awful would happen if Sonny were to come down with hypothermia. For one thing, Phoenix couldn't use and Manhattan's socialite aristocracy would make good on the mass suicides that have been threatened since the good Doctor started his vacation. Teo pulls his towel off his head with a claw-fingered yoink of a hand and flings it haphazardly onto the older man's chest, before shuffling over to the other towel, the dry one, and adding that to the forming pile of terrycloth atop the man who owns both, and so much more.

"No," he answers, scritching a thumb nail across his eyebrow. "My brother is, though. And I think my aunt too. Probably."

The slap of chlorine-soaked terrycloth brings Sonny at least somewhat back to the present. "Well. Just goes to show that you don't need a superpower to be a badass." He chuckles, then rubs his hair with the driest towel. "Ugh. I'm gonna go grab a quick shower. Are you? Maybe it'll get my head back together."

He gets up, but weaves a little. The wall steadies him. He burbles laughter. "Fuck, man. You keep seeing me drunk or drugged. You've barely seen me normal."

"'M not a badass. 'M some tattooed drunk guy with enough issues to prove all of Freud's work in a single longitudinal study of… fuckuppetry," Teo proclaims, daring to dip into self-pity for once. A sigh gusts out of him, deep enough to make the lines of his ribs stand out despite the healthy layer of muscle between them and his skin. "Shower is smart.

"Chlorine does fucking Hell to everything." Not his most articulate moment, most likely, but he figures Sonny probably has a better grasp of the poison's effect on human physiology than he does, thus preempting any genuine need for explanation. He pats Sonny on the shoulder. Or aims patting at Sonny's shoulder without focusing with his eyes, and hopefully ends up doing roughly that. "I got you drunk," he points out. "It's okay. 'Normal' is overrated."

Sonny helpfully reaches out to guide Teo's hand to his shoulder for patting. Two of them should manage to make that gesture work, right? "Y'wanna use the downstairs one or go up?" Yes, there's more than one shower in this condo. "You didn't get me drunk, man. You didn't hold the bottle to my mouth and tip it back. I'm a big boy." He weaves a little. "Just…I didn't eat. And the swimming. The swimming. That was a problem. You want pizza? I want pizza. It'll be here by the time the shower finishes."

Then Sonny's to the phone and dialing down to the front desk. "Yeah, hey Vincent. Salvatore's. Tuscan special. A large. And some breadsticks. Thanks." He doesn't even have to order his own damn pizza. What a life.

This warrants a stare that lacks dignity, one of Teo's eyebrows up almost vanished into the crazed nest of his dried hair. "Your whole life is fantasies. The fantasies of trophy wives and fat kids. Everyone. That's kind of awesome," he observes, apparently as unconcerned by the innuendo he's tripping over now as he was by that which he had incessantly blundered through every other minute in Sonny's company. He rubs a laugh out of his face with a thumb on the side of his nose, shakes his head as he assesses the local geography of the apartment. Two of them had succeeded in making the gesture work.

"I'll go up," he decides. "If you do, you'll die. Ciao, amico." There's a thumbs-up, sideways, which he manages to execute successfully all by himself.

Sonny hangs up the phone and blinks at Teo. It takes a moment for those words to soak through his brain. He blinks, then murmurs quietly, with surprising thoughtfulness. "You're right." It is a fantasy. And fantasy is a thing without substance.

But then he's in the bathroom with the door shut. To take a cool shower and clear his head. That and to wash the chlorine down the drain. He's going to have to petition for a mineral pool.

By some series of events (perhaps the tricky controls of the dual showerheads in the upstairs ensuite of Sonny's bathroom) he's finished before Teo is. He's dressed in a pair of exercise pants and a white t-shirt. Seems he got it into his head to shift the couch around so that it's actually a comfortable distance from the slick LCD TV instead of being on an awkward angle. It messes up the flow, but hell, it makes the space a bit more livable. He's got a pint glass full of water in one hand and he's taking rather generous sips.

Despite possessing more intelligence than he gives himself credit for, Teo does manage to conquer the showerhead controls eventually, and walk through clean clothes besides. He thumps down the stairs on conspicuously bare feet. Given the proposed nature and limitations of his stay at the suite, his clothes commit a little more fastidiously to outdoors: jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a windbreaker zipped up over it, two pendant chains twinkling in parallel stripes down the nape of his neck where the clothes are skewed off-axis, even as he tries to straighten them with lazy hands.

The TV moved. That strikes him as odd for some reason, pulls the corners of his mouth up far enough to shift his ears a perceptible fraction of an inch. He crosses the floor and drops himself onto his rump next to Sonny's feet, like a dog finding its place beside its master. Though the metaphor might hold up better if Teo had anything servile about his demeanour, sprawling on the floor as imperiously as a little prince would his throne, elbows up on the furniture cushions and eyes on the screen. He permits silence until it decides to do something else with itself.

Sonny stares rather blankly at the television as it flickers images of an episode of The Simpsons. One of the classic ones. One of the ones everyone could quote from memory if they really tried. It's perfect for when you don't really want to pay attention, but you don't want to stare at a blank wall, either. The silence seems charged. There an odd tension to his body, to his slouched posture. Half the time he seems to forget he has the pint glass of water. When he remembers it's there, he swallows a mouthful until there's none left and his stomach sloshes audibly when he moves.

There's the sound of a chime right around the part in the episode where Ralph discovers that Lisa Choo-choo-choooses him. Sonny reluctantly gets to his feet and pads towards the door. He opens it on a neat, uniformed doorman with a large pizza and no bill. They know where to charge it. "Thanks," he murmurs, then takes the box. He shuts the door and remains standing, pizza in hand. He looks at the box and inhales its gourmet aromas. Then he looks around his apartment, then to a small piece of modern sculpture nearby. His shoulders tense. The pizza is dropped heavily onto the table. He stands there, jaw cleansed. "You're right." About what? He tosses up a hand, then lets it drop. "It's all bullshit."

"You sound like you're overthinking something," Teo observes, his voice muffled by the fact that his face is halfway into the pizza carton. He inhales the scent of cheese and olives, meat, tomato, before he sticks both newly cleaned paws in through the gap between cardboard to peel out a slice for himself. Only to stop halfway through the motion, when he observes that Sonny seems to be genuinely fucked up about something.

"I can't remember what I said," he says, the moment before he remembers what he said and his brow knits around an unverbalized Oh. "I— there's nothing wrong with it. Money is a tool. That isn't bullshit just because it's easier." Abbreviated by the lip of the box, his wrists are motionless, waiting, matching the concern in the face upturned at his host. He isn't sober yet, but the haze isn't thick enough that he doesn't notice the tension reverberating almost audibly from the lock of Sonny's teeth.

Sonny's eyes snap to the sculpture. He stares at it for a moment, nostrils flaring. And suddenly, in a burst of passion that Teo's only seen once before, he grabs hold of it and lifts the sculpture up. For a breath, it seems like the floor is going to soon be scattered with hunks of polished stone. But, it doesn't happen. Instead, he slowly lowers the sculpture, looks at it, then carefully sets it on its spot again.

"I can't do it," he mutters. "You know why?" There's a rough laugh, partially truly amused, partially disturbed with a healthy dose of drunk thrown in there. "I met the artist. A…man anyone in the art world in this city would kill to meet, but I'd never heard of before he gave me an original fucking work. Why did I deserve that? Because I chaired some bullshit charity ball that raised money for the arts." He exhales. "It's all so fucking stupid. Who'm I? Who the hell am I to have all this shit?"

Note for the future: tequila brings out Sonny's self-hate.

After a brief moment's consideration, the pizza slice is extricated. Teo takes a bite out of it as he watches this feeling seize Sonny. Emotion, until emotion drops the e and turns into motion, wild, almost violent, almost carried through to its final deafening, shattering conclusion. The Sicilian's eyes cut downward, sharply, preempting the statue's fall and forcible decomposition. When it doesn't come, he lifts his gaze, blinking as if the light had gone strange around Sonny's curly head. After a moment, he looks at the statue, scaling its abstract lines and arcs with eyes that haven't been educated to truly appreciate aesthetics, but—

He manages to, all the same. "He cares about art. You did something good for something that was important to a man who makes beautiful things. That can't be…" he trails off, before screwing up his face at himself: a grimace. God, he gets stupid when he leaves off talking for too long while drunk. Twisting in place, Teo jams his elbow into the couch, pushes himself up onto his feet, pizza slice still in hand minus one crescent-shaped bite chunk.

Shoves it at Sonny's face. It's better than telling him to shut up.

Sonny's gaze is somewhat wild looking, somewhat lost and more than a little glazzy around the edges. It's a change, a complete change from the man who broke down into a fit of giggles not an hour before. He stares at Teo for a long while, longer than society would dictate as polite, then looks down at the pizza, then back to the other Italian. "I didn't do it to be generous. I did it because it looked good. Like all my fucking charity." He turns away, steps off and pushes fingers through his damp hair. His body's still coiled like a spring, with energy that needs to go somewhere.

Left to its own devices, the pizza ends up being eaten, in a few expedient bites that probably would have taken a person's finger off if they'dve been stupid enough to get anywhere near Teo's grille while he watches his host twist and growl in fine temper. There's nothing in Teo's face that indicates that he thinks that this thinking is ridiculous, but there's a knot to his brow, a shadow through pale eyes, that indicates clear as the sun in the sky that he disagrees. "Not all." The heel of his hand shifts grease away from the corner of his mouth, and he sniffs, once, the haughty authority of a cat staring holes into Sonny's back. "Not all."

"Yes all of it. Or the stuff that people don't see is to try and wash the shit off my own guilty conscience. For living like…like this." Sonny tosses up a hand to indicate his apartment, then paces over towards the window. Along the way, a throw pillow gets kicked and bounces off one of the windows. He rips open the curtains and leans against the window, breath fogging against the cool glass.

Right now, Teo is pretty sure he doesn't have enough faculties to give this subject the proper treatment. Has to try, though. Sonny's draping himself tragically against the glassed skyline, his silhouette somehow no less sophisticated and oddly aesthetic in its cut than the sunlit neighbourhood behind him, the curtains radiating creases in their odd nimbus from him, or the apartment he's chosen — if temporarily — to reject, despite that he's clad in only jogging sweats, a T-shirt and the world's most geometrically perfect curls. He frowns. Wipes crumbs off his hand and onto his hip. A caveman might have more grace.

"There's no such thing as altruism to its absolute philosophical definition. Even people who do something they hate are getting off on it somehow. Don't beat yourself up because you're human, amico. You're one of the better ones I know." Either Teo is willfully making a vast overstatement based on far too little experience, or he knows some truly terrible people; it's hard to tell anything except that he believes in what he's saying. The unwavering stare, square shoulders, stubborn jut of his chin assert that much.

The energy, the passion seem to bleed away from Sonny as he stares out the window. There's guilt in even throwing a tantrum. His shoulders sag and his hands drop away from the window. When he turns back to look inward, he just looks tired. Then he shuffle steps through the apartment, past Teo to the pizza box. He flops two slices onto a plate. "Just feel so…trapped." The admission is almost breathed, it's that quiet.

He paces back to the couch and drops heavily down, but the pizza sits uneaten for a moment. "Sometimes I think about changing my face and just…disappearing."

"Where do you want to go?" Despite the concern that this line of conversation merits, the curiosity behind that question is grudgingly sincere.

Teo rotated his head to follow the doctor back to the couch with his eyes, links sinking in and out of his cheeks as his jaw chugs with irritation at his own helplessness. He doesn't do well with helplessness under the best of circumstances, never mind the condition of being actually drunk. A different man might have laughed at the idea of the over-privileged brat prince who doesn't even order his own pizza disappearing alone, self-sufficient, into the woodwork of human society, but Teo is — at least for the moment — incapable of that.

The cushion to the left of Sonny's leg sags under the Sicilian's weight when he flings one foot over the back and steps onto the couch from behind. He doesn't sit, perhaps afflicted by secondhand physical restlessness even though it seems, momentarily at least, to have abandoned its original host. Balling up his fists in his windbreaker pockets, he scowls down at Sonny, worried, pensive.

"I'd never do it. Because I'm too much of a chicken shit," mutters Sonny. He still hasn't touched the pizza. "And I like all of this stuff. I like having money. Except when I hate it." Hey, perfect logic is not required when one is moping and ranting. "I don't wanna fucking get married, have kids, go to Martha's Vineyard or the South of France in the summer. Pretend to like all the bastards and backstabbers around me who are just as miserable in their own lives. End up as some city councilman, the poster boy for the Evolved."

Sonny scrubs at his face in a way that has to hurt a little. "Or spend the rest of my life pumping air into the tits of women to match the air in their heads. Have a string of meaningless fucking flings and probably end up dead one day when I try to feel like life is real and do something stupid. Or get my ass kidnapped and mouth off to the wrong people. End up dead that way."

The crook of Teo's ankle flexes once, twice, bouncing him up and down in subtle fractions of distance, childish anxiety. His attention darts between the parts of the living room, chasing nothing in particular. If he frowns any harder, his face might get stuck like that. He's well-aware that there's no point fighting off this malaise with logic. If it were that easy, he wouldn't be Catholic. Or heartbroken. Or working with Phoenix. Even people who do things they hate get off on it somehow.

The bit about air was funny. Boobs, head. Feeling life is real, well.

Personally, that's always been interchangeable with near death experiences or suicide-inducing levels of angst, but to each their own. "I think it would make you feel better if you punched me," he says, presently. By the time Sonny's eyes emerge from behind the abrasive scrubbing of his hands, Teo's squatting in front of him, roughly eye-level, his lip twisted wryly. "Sometimes fighting helps. Usually."

"Ha. I'd probably break." There's laughter in it, but not entirely filled with humour. There is the sense that Sonny is talking shit, talking out frustrations. No option is seriously up for consideration - not running away, not falling into a life of crime or a life of mediocrity. He's having a mid-life crisis at 29.

He considers Teo for a moment, then tilts his head. "Is that why you've got so many dents in you? Dr. Laudani, punching bag therapist?" Then his eyes flit away and he rolls them skyward. "I must sound like a whiny fucking brat to you."

"Deserved most of them," he answers, of dents. Draped over his knee, Teo's fingers flare once, a spidery jerk of bones and joints. His stare is searching, mostly for his own reassurance, admittedly: he doesn't think it would be a good idea to run away, fall into a life of crime, or of mediocrity; they all sound like such infinitely terrible things, even if he's done them all and come out no more impressive for any of it.

"You don't. You sound like… you… fuckin'…" whether it's second language fluency — word choice he's struggling with or the abstraction itself is hard to say. "…wish you had more choices." Are bored by, alienated from the ones he is limited to. No perfect state of being, final satisfaction. "Like you're— hungry." Teo props his elbow up, and his hand describes a nothing-shape in the air, before he sets his fingernails in the line of his own jaw, drags them against the grain of forming stubble. "Means you're not old yet.

"The fun part about fighting is finding out you aren't made of glass. It isn't like being robbed or caught in a car accident." There's no real insistence in Teo's saying so, but at the very least, it's an explanation.

"Hungry? Maybe. Maybe wishing I had more than all this superficial shit. I don't know how many times I've said 'nice to meet you' and actually meant it." Sonny laughs, but it's humourless for the most part. "What they don't tell you about money is that you have to pretend to like people. Well. That's not true. That's the truth about society and money."

Sonny tilts his head to one side and scratches his scalp. It sends little droplets of water flicking out like a shaking dog. "I can't make myself stay mad. I feel it all building up, feel it…" he touches his chest. "…then I just give up. I flatline. Then I feel numb."

Teo remembers. His favorite aunt has money and, oh, how she lies. His eyes smile slightly remembering, a deepening of the corners; he glances away at the slices of pizza sitting like fraternal twins on the round disc of porcelain. "I don't stay mad for long, either. It's okay. That whole toxic anger syndrome, Achilles menis and all that shit? Overrated character flaws. If you have to have a tragedy, it's probably healthier for everybody if you pick a different one." The sentence ends a little abruptly, and Teo's right eye shutters halfway, blinking awkwardly once. Struck by the runoff from Sonny's hair, he reaches up to wipe a stray droplet out of the nook of his tearduct. Half distracted but entirely sincere, he says, "It was nice to meet you."

"Yeah, but you sure do remember the bastards who're full of toxic anger, huh? Literature itself is built on it." Sonny exhales and puffs up his cheeks, then blinks at the statement. "You too." He sounds both surprised and grateful for the sentiment. "You're a good guy, Teo. I admire a lot of things about you."

He glances again to the pizza, reminded of the food by Teo's earlier glance. He picks up a piece and chews slowly. "Damn good. Though sometimes I just want a big…fucking greasy slice of deep-dish from some shithole."

The couch creaks faintly as Teo sits back on his heels. His toes splay precariously across the leather, apparently indifferent to the possibility of causing damage to the furniture or the awkward protest of his own anatomy. "Nobody fucking reads anymore. That doesn't say much for being remembered," he says, his tone light with verisimilitude. The sky is blue, jam comes in jars, and people are forgotten.

It's kind of shitty but, in Teo's recent experience, being seen and marked can be far more harmful to one's health and psychology than going unnoticed, so he offers his reassurances the only way he can: artlessly. "I admire a lot of things about me, too. I have nice eyes and my accent in Cantonese is pretty decent. I could take or leave the rest." 'Greasy slice of deep-dish'— "That sounds like a euphemism for slummy sex in the public men's room." Drolly. He's being funny. Maybe. Almost; depends on whether or not that warrants a smile, if not a laugh.

Sonny does laugh. A real laugh, not just one of irony. "I…guess that's pretty apt too. This…" Sonny holds up the piece of thin-crust, gourmet pizza. "Delicious. Pretty. Perfectly balanced. Safe. Predictable. You bite into the greasy deep dish, sure, you might get food poisoning or heartburn, but there's something a lot more satisfying about it." Okay, so maybe he didn't think the metaphor entirely through. And that causes him to laugh again. "Jesus. I sound like a perv."

More than a little, according to the expression on Teo's face. It's all right. He can overthink the metaphor enough for both of them. After a moment, his highly quizzical eyebrows come back down into view and he's left to grunt, turn to look at the television again over his shoulder. He doesn't recognize what's playing now any more than he had what was playing then. "You be careful, amico. The man in the next stall might be an undercover officer. Maybe this is just predictable for you," he adds, indicating the slice of gourmet pizza, thin crust, all organic ingredients, and cheese that probably cost more per pint than Teodoro's blood. "But it's all jokes and games until someone gets a rash."

Sonny shakes his head. "Nah, I don't actually do it. Few times, maybe. In med school. I try for the middle ground. Too much of a scandal waiting to happen. Which is also the reason I never have any damn fun at all. For things that aren't actually scandals for normal people." He closes his eyes again and takes a few long breaths.

"You know, when my dad first got elected, all his PR people gave me a list, a list of places I should go to, and a list of places I should never go? They wouldn't say I shouldn't see certain people, but they sure as hell made a lot of noises when they didn't approve."

"If they approved of certain people, you'd look for ones they didn't," Teo remarks, after the fashion of a young man who spent much of his own childhood being precisely that sort of obstinate dick. Which makes sense: he had confessed to as much earlier. "That's Al, me, and the Ferrymen, isn't it? 'S the whole forbidden fruit archetype. Either survival's too easy, or life is too hard.

"Either way, we need excuses to fuck around. Literally and otherwise." The last three words sound like an afterthought tacked onto the end, framed by the bleary curl of a crooked smile. Teo tilts on his feet, seesawing, ungainly, finally sits himself down on the couch but only backward. His feet end up tossed up over the back, his torso upside-down. Small wonder he's always seating himself on the floor, really: he really isn't very good at making proper use of furniture. "I don't do that either.

"I think I prefer— taking my time?" it isn't really a question. He stares at the ceiling. The flat paint and neutral shadow casts his eyes in their true color. Or, arguably, would if color wasn't by nature subjective. "I should probably go soon, huh?"

"Hmph. Probably. But I maintain that I've got more restrictions than your average guy. They actually prefer me being a bachelor, I think. Keeps me attainable. Keeps the socialites interested. Not that it would really make me seem any less attainable if I had a relationship or a ring on my finger." Sonny takes another bite of pizza, but he chews it in an uninterested way.

What's far more interesting is Teo's little upside-down, entirely contrarian manner of sitting. He leans in, over the other Italian, so he's blocking the view of said ceiling. "You're like…a cat." he sounds a bit perplexed, then a grin appears. "Never seen you sit normally on anything." And apparently, this is a compliment. "You…can stay as long as you like." Then, a rough chuckle. "…as long as you can stand me, I guess." He stays hovered above. His hair starts to drip after a moment. Like curly-haired rain.

His view blocked and personal bubble trespassed, Teo looks upward in a manner that is one part feral and at the same time mortifiedly human. Creatures that don't know mankind well enough to have learned to be afraid have that same fearless stillness when approached, less like courage than the distrustful indifference that one would greet the sudden arrival of an artificial tree. At the same time, he tends to squirm under scrutiny, albeit now with greater subtlety and less warmth than he does when sober.

At the first needle of water, he flinches his right eye closed, before it opens again; his smile doesn't hold but fails to fade; his throat moves, and he shrugs his right shoulder, much to the chagrin of the stuffed leather he's propped up on. "All right, princess. Your cage is smaller than mine," he concedes, after a moment. "That's what I meant. Scandals and shit. You aren't worried about bunking with a terrorist? More people know about me than they did last month. You're one of them."

"I'm not worried," says Sonny. "Or rather, I'm tired of worrying, how's that? If you are, that's different. But if I thought you needed to go so I could protect my image, I'd ask you to. Or hell, I wouldn't have invited you here in the first place. So…" he pulls back a bit, aware of his hovering, aware of the strange look on Teo's face. "You're welcome to stay as long as you like. Or to come and go. My door's open."

Not literally. Though Teo scrolls his eyes upward, tilts his head back to check, which isn't very bright but— he has the time and moment to spare, before he's settling again, an outgoing sigh, even as he picks up his knees to set his feet against the couch, mimicking his earlier gargoyle's crouch albeit now perpendicular to gravity. "Reckless," he observes, a note of mirth stealing into his voice. His face changes fractionally. "Pushing the line. Risking fame and wealth for your lousy bastard hobo charity case. Living dangerously. What's that like?"

"You tell me. You're the terrorist." Sonny chuckles, then pushes at Teo's legs. Take the knees out of the gargoyle. and he'll fall, right? Except not when his weight's being supported by his back. "Not really risking wealth. I'm not a trust fund baby. My money's my own. If I ended up in disgrace, then I could just buy an estate somewhere warm and really live out my life as a spoiled bastard."

Pushed, Teo's legs sway to the left, before rebounding at the same speed and easing back upright. He lifts one foot off the back of the couch in order to stamp a barely-damp footprint on Sonny's T-shirt by way of retaliation. It is pretty embarrassing-looking, an effective revenge. "I forgot. You could afford a pretty decent lawyer and get out of jail free, too. Good deal." He pulls a hand out of his pocket and rubs his eye with the heel of it, hard enough to uproot a single eyelash that ends up stuck to the bridge of his nose, latching onto a pore somewhere too far beyond the deep angles of his own features for him to notice.

"Thank you," he adds, blankly. "Being at home is driving me crazy. And sleeping at work isn't always better."

"Never sleep at work. Then you don't get away from it. I kept sleeping at the hospital during my residency. Baaad idea." Sonny looks down at the wet foot-brand that has been left on his shirt. Then, he reaches out to hook his hand around both Teo's feet. An attempt is made to rather forcibly right him, to spin him around so he's sitting like a person. Two can play at the manhandling game.

Previously, Teo had assumed he was better at said game. What with being all tattooed, strong as a little ox, and semi-regularly getting his ass beat up by one Hana Gitelman, that is. This turn of events — and his person — has him somewhat taken by surprise, however: despite a substantial history of stabbings and strangulations, one rarely expects one's feet to be the target of an ambush. He's caught with a stupefied blink, a syllable of protest cut short when the room executes a crazy swerve around him and the tequila-leadened blood that gravity had gradually pulled into his skull is forcibly dumped into his feet again.

"Ffff—" Whhf. Assailed by neon polka dots and vertigo, his hands jump up around his head and he fails entirely to remain upright, slumping on some weird diagonal, one knee under his jaw and the other foot wedged between cowskinned cushions. "Oooow," he complains despite the absence of actual pain, laughter undercurrent. "Lei e un stronzo maledetto. Cazzo. I'm going to need an aspirin."

There's a hand on the middle of Teo's chest as Sonny pushes him back against the cushions. Then another hand to push his head back. "Close your eyes. Relax. Now you know what I felt like when you went all Prince Charming on me." Oh, so it was revenge. Then there's another one of his habitual cheekpats. "You want some water? Here." He finds his pint glass from earlier that still is half full (optimism.) He picks up Teo's wrist and puts the pint into his hand.

"You weren't— fffucked up on tequila wh…en I lifted you," Teo points out, muffled by one hand, while the other tries to get a grip on the cold glass that touches his palm. He manages after a few spasms of his fingers, as if trying to remember where they are. "I should beat you up." When he remembers how to coordinate his movements into movements. Predictably enough, the pat on his cheek elicits a grimace, as if he was four years old and confronted with a particularly pungent brand of cough syrup.

Gneh. He puts his head back as requested, though not before squashing himself down on the couch half a foot, his hair tracking a damp mess down the leather. He drinks the water, but not before bumping the rim of the cup into his nose. Coughs into a fist afterward, cracking an eye open despite the doctor's advice. "'Ey," he says, thickly. "You wan' know what happened with me and Alex?"

"No, but I was fucked up on drugs and exhaustion. Produces the same experience you're having right now," Sonny's words are almost smug. Then again, he wasn't just swung around ninety degrees. Plus he's already got a pint and a half of water in him to cut through the tequila. "If you tried to beat me up now, it might be the only set of circumstances where I could conceivably win."

He too leans his head back against the couch and closes his eyes for a moment. He opens one at the question. "Sure."

More water is good, although Teo isn't looking forward to the prospect of having to get up and pee. The couch is comfortable, he swam a lot, and all of this on three hours of sleep. Or four. Maybe it was four. He decides to go with that number: it feels somewhat less dismal. "I was gentle. My experience is worse." There is no room for argument in his tone of voice, although it sounds the more bedraggled for the fact that he's burbling it through the contents of the cup while he drinks.

He breathes in and out, opens and shuts his eyes a few times, as if to squeedgee them clean. "Can't tell anybody, 'kay?" Teo yanks his foot out from the maw of stuffed cowhide and tries to find an angle for his leg on something that is neither cold nor pinching. Can't find one. This is why he doesn't do couches. "'S not professional. Or nice. Or — fuck, I d'no. Probably shouldn't say anything." He remembers that eye-contact makes people commit. Swivels his head to make it happen, only to find that Sonny is pretending to have fallen asleep.

Pretending? Not so much. More like stopping the room from spinning. He opens one eye, then the other. "Not gonna tell anyone, man. You guys wouldn't be pulling me in to so much shit if I couldn't keep a secret." And his kidnappers relied on that too. The eye contact is freely given, with eyebrows that compete with Sylar's arching up towards curly hairline. He snatches the pint glass of water from Teo long enough to take a mouthful, then he returns it.

The pint is accepted again with both hands and Teo plugs his face into it to polish off the rest of the water. Which might have been unwise; there's a dash of spillage on the front of his jacket by the time he's done. "Not Al either, okay?

"He has enough to deal with." Heading up a strike team against the apocalypse, but Teo doesn't elaborate on that particular facet of their professional lives. He glances down at the small splash with a frown before pulling his sleeve over his hand with his teeth, reaching down to dry it off. "Told him I had a thing for him. He said he didn't think of me that way. And thennnn," he rubs two blunt fingers across his face, moving the errant eyelash up his forehead, "he had sex with my aunt before I got home again.

"I tried to hit him." That last sentence, Teo produces in the tone of confession. Shouldn'tve done that. Shouldn't threaten to beat up the Mayor's kid, either, but he's used to getting things wrong that he isn't particularly impressed by either of those individual mishaps. For this reason and others, he puts a smile. "Soap opera du fucking jour. I want more water." Plaintively, he holds out the empty cup.

"Oh, ouch." Sonny's expression looks pained and he pulls in a sharp breath. Then his face softens to something more sympathetic. "That's rough, man. But I mean, sounds like Alex might be trying to prove that he really doesn't have any feelings for you. Not that I know fuck all about relationships. I mean…" With some effort, he gets to his feet and takes the pint glass from Teo. "…I can't even think of any of my relationships where the other party didn't A…" he flicks out one finger, "…want something from me - be that money, a nosejob or more or to date me as a way of social climbing, or B…wasn't completely and utterly meaningless."

Sonny shuffles to the kitchen and fills up both the empty pint glass and a second with water. Then he moves back to the living room and hands the full glass back. "No wonder you needed some air." He drops back beside the other Italian. It makes his glass of water jump and spill on the leather. He mops it up with the bottom of his sweat pants, but otherwise doesn't really seem to care.

While his host is off being a good one, Teo doesn't move, inert, tired, his chin coming down toward his chest and shoulders relaxed into oblique angles against the couch. Sympathy isn't the most comfortable thing for him to confront, but he does so with more aplomb than he could have. Turns up the curners of his mouth, a grin that isn't entirely insincere. Not because it's amusing to have one's best friend grind their heel into your exhausted carcass, but because Sonny's getting him water and putting up with his morose — whining stuff. "He did a good job of that." Providing proof, that is. Teo takes the new glass two-handed again. "I don't even think I want—ed. Want?

"A relationship. I suck at those too. I don't date, don't miss it. Honestly, I have no fucking clue what I expected when I told him. Just— not that. You know what I mean?" Teo's face blanks. "Well I mean. You can extrapolate." Squinting his right eye shut, he peers at Sonny out of the other, and hides his nose in the pint glass again.

"Hell, who expects that? I mean, you know, sticking his tongue in my mouth to get a rise out of you is one thing. But boffing a relation? Jesus. Makes me want to punch him for you." Then Sonny holds up a hand. "Don't worry. I'd make up some other offense."
He leans in to gently press his shoulder against Teo, to jostle him. "So fuck man. Stay here for awhile. I swear I won't boff your relations while you're under my roof." The Hollywood smile makes its way back from being repressed the whole evening.

It is a pity Teo doesn't smile like Hollywood, although the expression that registers now is somewhat uncharacteristic of him as it is, a shade more self-conscious than the front of his head is normally wont to be. Even when he is turning red from having fucked up or is otherwise constructing an apology. He grunts articulately into the pint, funneling fog into the inner walls of the glass. "S'okay. Grazie. You'd probably change your mind if you saw her." It's an errant notion, the timing of the sentence disconnected from the gratitude he had voiced before. He glances down into the quivering meniscus of the water, and then up again.

"And it'd be fine. Whoever you like. Not my fucking business." Hard to say what would be more absurd: if Teo were lying about thinking so, or if he weren't.

Either way seems of little consequence to the younger man, however. He's fading, gently, visibly, lulled less by the alcohol percolating through his system or even the texture of the couch — the bed upstairs had been just as luxurious to rest in — than all those things, massed together, and a different sort of relief besides. "I'm the worst guest ever, but you mind if I…" There's a vague gesture up and down the length of the couch that remains available, which is either an 80's dance move that never was named or a request of a meek but hopeful nature.

"What, you want to crash on the couch when there's a four grand mattress in your room?" Sonny's brows go up again. "Come on then. I can't carry you. But I think you had more booze than me. Up." He stands and reaches a hand down to the other Italian. "If you try to sleep there, you'll wake up in the middle of the night stuck to it. And when you move, your arm hair'll rip off. Trust me. I know."

That sounds remarkably like a threat. Teo glances down at his arm pensively, shifts his gaze up to study Sonny's face, as if to ascertain whether there is a clever deception occurring here, underneath his nose, and he's just too drunk to see it. "'My room.'" He's learned a few of Deckard's bad habits; repeating pointlessly after somebody in lieu of an articulate disagreement is one of them. Nevertheless, he begins to acquiesce, teetering his weight forward over his knees before he lumbers right off the couch. Gingerly, he removes one hand from the pint glass to snare his fingers through his hair.

"Probably," he mutters, angling himself around the coffee table. Then, pausing at one glass corner, he glances back over his shoulder with the most earnest pair of eyes he has available. "You going to eat?"

"What, do you want me to call it 'the spare room' so you don't feel like you're tied down here?" Sonny shakes his head and chuckles briefly. He stays close enough to offer a shoulder if Teo teeters, but doesn't make a move to hold on to him otherwise.

"Eat?" a beat. Oh right. Pizza. "Yeah, I'll eat. I'm going to be up a bit longer. Not… too tired." One shoulder lifts. "I'm off to work bright and early tomorrow, then I have this stupid cocktail party that my father wants me to go to. Something about the family showing a 'united front' in the face of this stuff with the President-elect. I'm gonna try and get out of there as quick as I can."

Then he's heading towards the stair, staying in-step with the other in case stumbling occurs.

No stumbling occurs, though nearly. As soon as he's done watching Sonny, Teo is watching himself, gauging the length and height of the steps as he puts one foot on them, then the other, ascending toward the sleeping area with the hair-raising precision that Sonny's less Evolved competitors would envy. "'A united front' is important," he remarks without appearing to have heard the context. "Don't let 'em see you sweat. It's all smoke and mirrors." His voice slows when he employs that phrase, as if to insinuate silent speech marks around it. "My boss told me that when I first started out doing this shit." Stairs complete, his bare feet hit the wood floor with a solid report, hollow. He puts the pint glass up to his face and, in some careless experiment, clinches his teeth shut on the rim to see if it'll hold after his hands let go.

Sonny reaches past Teo to push open the door to his room. The experiment with the pint glass is concerning. He reaches out to take hold of the cup. "That's what it's all about, all right. Make it seem like everything's under control, even when it's not." He pats the other on the shoulder and rocks a half step back. "G'night, Teo. Sleep well." He holds out the glass of water in case he wants to take it into the room.

The glass slides out of Teo's teeth with a bump-click that is more audible inside the Sicilian's head than outside. He's left running his tongue across his teeth, ridding himself on the odd sense of cold there and checking for scratches or physical damage, despite the fact that his face has suffered far worse over the last few years. "Isn't night," he replies. Reserving the right to ignore the glass proffered, he takes a step out of the space between them and loops his arms around Sonny's curly head, indifferent to the wet wool of the older man's mop in favor of tucking him into a hooligan's rough embrace. There's a mutter in Sonny's ear— Grazie, bello— before he's turning away, stumping off, his limbs heavy from sleep that won't last.

Sonny is more than a little surprised by the sudden hug, though he can't precisely say why. He's tense, with breath held through the duration of the contact. The Italian words tickle his memory and dig up dusty lessons his grandmother tried to teach him. Wait, what did Teo just call him? "Sleep well, man."

Then there's the sound of feet thumping down the stairs as the doc goes to claim his pizza. And, despite his own warnings, fall asleep on the couch after awhile.

January 14th: She Remembers Flowers
January 14th: Running Into Strangers
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