Out Of The Fire, Into The Doghouse


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Scene Title Out Of The Fire, Into The Doghouse
Synopsis Fresh out of Rapture, the drunken PHOENIX operatives wind up at a diner— where a Company agent starts to recognize Alexander. Practical measures lead to comedic insanity.
Date November 3, 2008

A Late Night Diner

Far be it for Teo to dispute the majority vote. He is, after all, among Americans. And shit. Mussolini joke here. He mutters one aloud and drags his corpus off after Helena and Alexander. Some fifteen minutes later and they've slipped out of thin traffic and pulled up in front of a diner proudly boasting OPEN in orange boldface, the microblonde is a comatose heap across the entire backseat of Al's cab, sleepily murmuring her order to the two men. Teo thinks she rather sounds like a pigeon cooing.

"I want to die," Teo announces. Gravity kind of pours him out of shotgun and he lumbers around the nose of the car, waving abstractly at Alexander through the windshield even as the telekinetic climbs out.

Al cracks the windows, and locks the door. They're parked right in front of the plate-glass windows, so he'll be able to see anyone touch the car. "She'll be okay. I'll just let her sleep," he says, thoughtfully, as he shoulders open the door. "Gotta head off that hangover, buddy," he says, giving the Sicilian a fond look. "Listen, hoss, you sure you ain't with the Mob?"

Late nights and busy work. The blonde is out because it gives her time to think. She's dressed oddly for a late-nighter…business suit, heels…she looks like she ought to be going into a board meeting, not a diner. But at the moment, she's in the diner in question, and she's got a cup of coffee sitting near her hand, if no food. Teo might not know her, but Alex may well recognize her from a certain unfortunate raid.

"What the fuck makes you ask that?" Despite the curse word, Teodoro's tone isn't harsh; by the time anyone's made more than his acquaintance, they'll have realized that he has a mouth on him and he frequently doesn't mean anything by it. He puts one foot in front of the other, crosses the diner floor until he reaches the counter, automatically keeping Niki in his peripheral as she goes. He's too tired to tell whether it's the terrorist or the boy in him looking at her, with her unexpectedly sharply-tailored outfit and coiffed hair.

His attention shifts away before he tells it to, and then he's craning his head backward, studying the menu blankly. "I'm not that drunk. I'm not that drunk. I'mnotthatdrunkI'mnotth— see, coordination's good." He gives a thumbs-up to no one in particular. Maestro. The woman at the register is obviously suppressing a smile.

"I thought it was, like, a law. When you born in Sicily, you gotta join up, if you're not a priest or a woman," Is Al serious? Possibly. And then he spots Niki, and goes rigid for just a moment. Oh, hell. But rather than flee, he cuddles right up to Teo and mutters sweet nothings into his ear.

Alexander whispers, “She was imprisoned in the Company facility we raided. She shouldn't know me, I had my face covered.”

Niki is lost in her own thoughts for the longest moment, until she does finally hear the voices, and it draws her out of brooding long enough to at least look up with that "oh, people" sort of bland investigation. She looks over, and while Teo doesn't draw so much as a moment's notice, her brow furrows just a bit at Alex…it's that "hey, don't I know…" sort of expression.

On the verge of addressing the diner lady, Teo suddenly accosts his friend at his shoulder. He sways a half a degree before catching himself, rigid, as tensed as his state allows, scowling at what Alexander said aloud before he abruptly squints at what he'd whispered. His eyebrows launch almost off his head when Niki then speaks up— sobering as fuck, that remark. It's like glacial water dumped over your head.

Fortunately, he still has his back to her and the rest of the room. He turns his eyes sideways in their sockets, peering at Alexander, expression blank. The next moment, he plants his hands squarely on Al's bicep and shoves the other man off; not far enough to constitute a brawling move, but enough to impress the point. "Stronzo," he snaps. Punches the man's arm. "L'ho saputo. I knew it. I knew it. You fucking cheat: it's always what it looks like."

Alexander staggers back, perhaps more unsteady than he should be, really. "No, no," he says, lifting his hands in that gesture of placation. "What?"

Okay…well, the "I don't know" is now more one of even more confusion. Because now there's a shoving match going on in the diner. But that voice…that night is very firmly in her memories, and she still has that vague uncertainty. She stands and starts to approach the two.

"What?" Teodoro's pretty good at arguing. He's Italian. Even if the fight is completely fictitious and the opposition has no idea what's going on— well. Especially when the fight is completely fictitious and the opposition has no idea what's going on. Though, in truth, he kind of wishes Alexander would catch on already. He doesn't raise his voice, but he looks irritable enough: "You want me to say it in English? Fine. I'll say it in fucking English.

"'You're sleeping on the couch tonight.' Fucker. Oddio, now she's coming over here," he hisses, glancing over at Niki's approaching figure. "Great. Fucking great. Go," his voice blares a fraction louder. He takes out his wallet with a jerk of a wrist. "Talk to her then. She can have you. Go away: I'm hungry."

Oh, no. Recognition dawns in Al's face, followed by horror, and then contrition. "No, no, no, honey," he says, hurrying after Teo, reaching out a hand to put on the Sicilian's arm. "You know I got eyes only for you. I don't know her. I just thought she was that actress….."

Niki gets a little closer. To interrupt, or not to interrupt. Oh, what the hell? Maybe if she does, it'll at least stop the argument. She moves up to "speech distance" from the other two, and looks to Alexander. "Excuse me…this is probably going to sound really strange. But I have this feeling that I know you from somewhere?" Her voice and expression are both uncertain.

"That is bullshit." Possibly the grain of aggravation in there is overly-sincere even for the yong man playing the false part, but hey, every little bit helps. "And she's talking to you," Teo states, syllable by syllable, in a tone so acid it's almost visibly exfoliating the face of the woman behind the register. Or she might just be morbidly fascinated by this social car-wreck occurring slow-motion and bloody before her. She makes no move to take Teodoro's money, which makes sense, because he looks pretty distracted.

And thinks that spending enough time here to eat would be a bad idea. "I can't believe you're still pretending. Do you think I was born yesterday? Asshole. Oi, zozzona," his head snaps toward Niki, eyes narrow. "Where was it? Office desk? What? Some vulgar American pizza delivery scenario?" He shrugs Alexander off violently.

Al goes white. Which is quite a feat, considering his original pallor. And then he's red to the ears, the very picture of apology. "I'm not going down on my knees here in public," he hisses. "Maybe at home. But you're throwing a fit, when you know damn well I'd never cheat on you." He rounds on Niki. "I'm a cabbie. Maybe I gave you a ride once?" he offers. "I mean, a plain cab ride. A real cab ride." Yeah, he's babbling. "Listen, I hate to be rude, but you've set off my boyfriend. He's real jealous. So, please, tell him we don't know each other. In a Biblical sense."

Niki looks from one to the other. "I'm…" Confused. She looks to Teo, and then back to Alex. "I'm sorry. I just thought I recognized your voice. It's been a long day…in a long month…and I'm probably just imagining things. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to stir up an argument."

It's physics. When Alexander goes white, Teodoro goes red. It happens this time like any other. "Dick." He stares profoundly. Or as profoundly as he can considering he's half-dead on his feet from exhaustion, partially intoxicated, and paranoid out of his mind.

"You're talking to—" —his lips seal into a line so thin it could divide the molecules of a diamond lattice. "Jesus fucking Christ. You should date women. Why are you corroborating his story?" He stares at Niki, gives her about point-six seconds to not defend herself. "You're planning to do it again, aren't you? This is incredible. Okay. Perfetto.

"I see. Why not tonight? Come with us. I'll sleep on the fucking couch." He puts his wallet away and bends his mouth around a smile. It almost gives off the groan of twisting steel. "I just changed the sheets today, I want you to enjoy them. She doesn't look anything like the Transformers actress." He stares at the front of Niki's head and states, flatly, "She's prettier."

That's enough. "I know," Al says, miserably. "ANd thus way out of my league, you idiot," He snags Teo by the upper arm. "Let's go home. I'll make it up you. I'll even be on the bottom this time." He's apparently quite sincere.

Phoenix> Staten says, “The funnier part is…Niki can't be sure she hasn't slept with Alex. :) It's the whole Jessica/Nathan thing all over again. :)”

November 3rd: All She Wants To Do Is Dance
November 4th: Signal to Noise
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