Paradise Sickness


delilah_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Paradise Sickness
Synopsis Teo is melodramatically drunk in a bad part of town for the second time in 48 hours, and someone else deceptively small, deadly, and peculiarly pure of heart comes to his rescue. Then suddenly there's a severed hand right there for some weird reason, and poignance occurs.
Date February 10, 2009

Staten Island — Inland

It is early evening, and Delilah is somewhere she probably should not be. While it certainly wouldn't be the first time, it is probably the worst of any. She has broken curfew, gotten stuck in the middle of Staten Island somewhere, and the city is going bonkers around her. Not to mention that the redhead is practically a beacon, wandering around the backstreets on her old red Vespa, the tinny machine puttering along like a faithful dog. It's nearing night, and so the teenager is realizing that she either needs to find a place to rest, or somehow stay awake through the night.

Coming closer to one of the short overpasses that hangs above a lowering street that dips into the earth, there's at least something amiss to her about it. Delilah's coasting down the asphalt is halted as she gets underneath, the Vespa coming to a stop at the edge of the side with a squeak of brakes. It turns off almost immediately after, and the redhead wiggles off of the seat, the mid-length dress she wears bunching slightly above her knees. "…Hello?"

Projectile alcohol is the red Samaritan's reward. Splish. It misses narrowly, which would have been impressive if Teo were aiming at all. He wasn't: he isn't awake. There's a man in the dark, lying in the pavement of the overpass, the tips of his boots and gloved hands laying just short of the end of the pavement, where Vespas or automobiles might otherwise have crushed them in passing.

It takes Dee's eyes a moment to adjust to the steepness of the shadow cast by the lamp-light, but the details emerge eventually. Perhaps a day's worth of scruff on his chin, buried in the fabric of his jacket, eyes closed, the round dome of his buzzed head oddly vulnerable and apparently impervious to the rough concrete wall he's propped it up against.

He's young, though not as young as she is; looks the part of a thug, down to the bottle of stinking vodka oozing out by his hand.

Uuuuuugh. Dee takes a precautionary step behind her scooter, putting it between herself and the man on the ground. After a few seconds of observation with her eyes becoming accostomed to the light, the girl steps back around the other side of the scooter.

Hose darken her knees and calves, down to the short heels of black shoes. Over everything is her coat, the furry hood pulled down. Her red hair is still being pinned to the back of her head, and as Dee creeps closer to Teo's form, some pieces sway around her neck. There is a pause on her part again while she takes in the bottle, and she leeeans closer to peer at the young man's face, one hand along the concrete wall. "Hello?" Attempt number two, go.

At first, there is nothing, really, in the way of a response. After a moment, the air over Teo's lips turns too white to be attributed entirely to a sleeper's breathing, and a single verbalized syllable seams into hearing. Fffff. Eyelids crack open, releasing a lucent sliver of near-white iris to the thin light; another moment, and his pupil pools dense and black into view. By the fourth blink, something like fifteen seconds have already passed, and Delilah slides into some approximation of focus. "Hhhhh," he tells her, emphatically.

The redhead that gets at least some bit of focus has been patient with this. Even if he is kind of creeping her out at first, Dee doesn't feel like just leaving him be. "Hello, numbnuts." Well, that is one way to say it again. "You might roll on the road, you know." Her accent seems like music compared to Teo's grunts and raspberries. "'S not a good idea to be drunk off yer knockers over here."

By now, the teenager has crouched in order to reach out and tug the bottle away from the stranger. Nobody ever says she's the sharpest knife in the block, but at least she is honest enough to not let bad ideas bother her much.

Knives get blunter the more times you apply them to the block anyway. That was Teo's excuse, after the initial standardized test results came through and indicated that he was actually a rather intelligent little kid. A long time ago, and an ocean away from his current pile of frost-rimed limbs and dented scalp. His other eye cracks open. He stares at the woman out of both, waiting for her to establish a solid and recognizable shape and consistent palette of colors.

"Nnnnope. Sssstill feel 'em," he offers, by way of polite but earnest disagreement, a reeking gust of breath that aborts into a sharp syllable. "Hey. Smetterrre—" Bottle! Bottle. She took it. In case there is any confusion about the subject of his interest, one gloved hand pops up to point, narrowly avoiding taking out Dee's eyeball in doing so. Fortunately for everybody involved, that motion segues fairly quickly into a windmilling of his arm, a sort of crippled helicopter's effort to go…


Delilah narrowly avoids being smacked in the eye by a drunk, and her smirk can't decide if she wants to pity Teo and laugh at his disagreement or not. The girl stands up and a step back, finally coming out of that close encounter with a bottle. Which she promptly curls up and oooooover her shoulder. It flies, in slow motion, to the middle of the road. SMASH.

Anger is like motivation. Nearly motivated Teo to a premature demise a dozen times before; it isn't about to stop working just because he came as close for legitimate reasons more recently. "Cazzo." Even if you don't speak Italian, it's pretty easy to tell what that means. Harsh syllables, ugly sentiment. "Vaffanculo!" That one too. Even if you don't speak Italian, it isn't hard to tell: Teodoro isn't being terribly imaginative right now.

He lurches up. It's like watching a dinosaur pry itself out of a tar pit, except that the tar pit is Teo's own body and the gravitational pull of Earth, and almost that exact same instant, he's sloughing back to the hard, cold pavement, hitting it with one butt cheek before he stumbles backward enough for his back to meet the overpass' foundation. "Aaaugh," he says, wrapping an arm around his cold nose, muffling his voice.

His eyelids sag shut as he threatens to sag back to the pavement. "J'ss leave me alone t' diiiiiiiie."

The strange, ghost of a girl lets out a giggle as he gets angry in tongues, and then fails to pry himself up. It's not a mocking laugh, by any means- just amused at the acts all alone. But she cuts it short when Teo wraps up his cold nose and continues on to tell her that very depressing demand. Delilah is frowning down at him, suddenly sad for the Random Drunk Man. He's not even that much older than her, and he is down here, drinking to die?

She skirts around him again, leaning down to at least make sure that if he's going to sag down onto the ground, it won't be with a smack. "That seems like a silly idea, if you ask me."

Maybe he's just being melodramatic. Sometimes young people do that when they're drunk out of their mind, and Teo is teetering on that point, for the first time in at least a year. If not two. Since exam period two semesters ago, evening of the naked quad run, if he remembers correctly.

The chances of that are rather slim, admittedly.

"Wha' d' you know? Yoooou've no idea who I am," he points out, his long legs steepling awkwardly against the perpendicular jut of the overpass' wall. He points with a finger as he does that, at her face. Animatedly. With his free hand; his other arm is still hunkered around his face, staving off the urge to retch. His voice emerges through the padding of muscle and cloth. "D'—no the things I've done. Ggk. F'ck. G'nthrowup." Back still planted firmly against the concrete, he slides sideways toward open street to look for somewhere to do just that. It elicits a sound like a potato sack of corpse parts dragged across the grater.

When her gaze is met with an accusing, animated hand and pointing finger, Delilah just parts her lips in a tiny smile back at him; she has since tucked her calves underneath in order to sit down on her heels, cold, dirty concrete be damned. "You're right. I don't. But I'm not selfish enough to leave someone that might need help all alone. Under a Staten overpass. In the middle of curfew." Add, add, add. "Besides. If it's something this bad, You've got what- sixty years to make up for it? You only look a few years older than me. Put on your big girl panties and deal."

The redhead leans forward when Teo slides to the grate in the street in order to spew what is left in that stomach of his onto it. Her hand also reaches tentatively out to touch his shoulder. Delilah is somewhat like a pigeon drawn to a chunk of food dropped on the sidewalk- bothering in her presence, but probably tolerable.

The results of Teo's actions are disgusting. Hurk. Retching, wetly at first, drier with each progressive heave and racking cough. Teo hadn't eaten much before purchasing his bottles, so there aren't a lot of solids or even semi-solids falling to the snow-scudded earth, mostly the fizzy slime of stomach acid and poison forcibly reversed up his system. He's too busy holding himself up on the edge of the overpass' bulwark to pay much mind to the kind-spirited invasion of his personal space.

It takes him about a minute and a half to realize that nothing else is coming up and that he's just breathing upside-down and dizzy in the freezing cold air. Slapping one gloved hand across his face, he succeeds in either just pushing his snot around a lot or actually wiping some off, it's hard to tell. His nuts aren't numb, but his other extremeties kind of are. "Ehhh," he exhales loudly, cranking himself up to an approximation of upright.

She'll have to pardon the smell. "Sixty?" he repeats, very belatedly, and with a stumble to his voice as if that hadn't been the word he had originally invested in. "'S fuckin' optimistic, signorina. Well. You're young." He has to shake his head a little to remember what was. "Wha's your name? You c'n liiie, won' mind." He beams crookedly, and starts to step right into the new puddle he had created.

She lived(s) in the huge Trailer Park. The smell is Nothing. While Teo sits himself up, she is opening the top of her coat. "If you drink like that, thirty or forty, and that is still twice as many years, right?" Delilah pulls on something under her coat, and now she is tugging out a dark blue, soft woolen scarf from low around her chest.

It looks handmade, and very well made for that matter. Unless Teo finds himself wanting to slap her away, the teenage girl lifts up the scarf to wrap it around the back of the man's neck. It is still warm from her, and cozy in the first place. "Delilah, you silly bald Samson. But I'm not gonna sell you out for gold or anything like that. You're looking pretty bare already." Not much hair to cut off, huh?

"Biblical ref'rence," Teodoro identifies without difficulty. Thinking about the Bible is probably alotted the same self-automated part of his brain as regulation of breathing and blinking his eyes. "Classsehhhh. Delilah. Lilah. May I call you Lilah? Youuu shouldn' be out here. I don' mean curfew, a'though there's 'at, but I mean. Cazzo— there's… you broke my bottle. Oh." He stands up straighter when he finds himself unaccountably wreathed in blue cotton, and stiffens, as if trying to assess whether or not this is an extremely cleverly-disguised garrotte.

Terrorist, you know. Never can be too careful.

Or so thinks the twenty-six-year-old terrorist cell leader guy who's drunk off his ass in the socioeconomic rectum of New York state, no offense to the indigenous persons who live here. It has its charm. Anyway, now Teo is standing in his vomit with a blue scarf around his neck and, finally having recovered enough grace to do so, looks very sorry for having put himself in this situation. "Don' you have fam'ly sh'd be with?" He peels his foot out of the gummy mix and sighs white in the dark.

"Sure." Lilah, as Teo will now refer to her as, simply wraps the scarf up in a tidy knot there around his neck. She peers down at the shoe-in-vomit for just a moment, delicately avoiding stepping it it herself. "Walk in some snow, love. It'll come right off." She also obviously avoids the better question first, thinking on what to say.

"I do. I could be with them, but I'm not- and that's because I want to handle this business on my own. If I don't, then I'll never learn how. So, here I am, wandering homeless until the Trailer Park stops being covered in rioting. And hoping that my trailer isn't ashes when it does."

Despite the fact that Lilah is like, as high as Teo's knees and red and clearly has a lot of bad ideas, like the sincere and edifying belief that approaching strange men on Staten Island in the ungodly hours of evening is a good idea, Teo decides to follow her instructions. With the getting away from the vomit and walking on the snow, that is.

He picks a direction seemingly at random and leans into it, allowing gravity and inertia to do most of his walking for him until the relevant motor region part of his brain catches up. A wind starts up from the North, blasts his shoulder, sends the ends of her scarf fluttering underneath the bristly line of his jaw. He only scatters into a pause to look back over his shoulder, an expectant air about him. That she will follow. And continue speaking.

The Vespa behind them warrants a brief stare, but his brain fails to make the connection between its owner and… well. It. Or the possibility that she would not want to leave it alone in the wreckage of the urban ghetto.

It only is that way when she is led to them by Fate. No, really. That is what it is. She feels as if she was supposed to find Teo. That there was a reason she saw him. A glance between the tall Sicilian and the rickety old Vespa ends in her strolling over to it, but only pulling it along after hiking back the stand and cutting the brake. Two figures, and the scooter now between them.

Oh, she'll keep speaking. That cold wind that sucks underneath the overpass does bristle at her lower legs, but somehow Lilah emboldens herself through it. "I'm guessin' your name ain't Samson. What is it? Or are you just not going to say?" AT that, she also grins, and it is a sweetly goofy expression on her freckled cheeks, made pink by the cold.

Normally, Teodoro would need to be doing a lot of steeling himself against the insults and insinuations of the temperature, too. He is lucky tonight, however. Like, really drunk and too absorbed in other, more existential poisons to really pay attention to the dry sting of wind or the sloppy tilt of the snowy earth. He tracks vomit along with his feet and tracks the progress of Vespa and redhead with his ears. "Tay-oh. Or Tee-oh. In Italy, the former is correcterrr: 's short for Tay-oh-doro. In the States, I think the latter sounds better.

"My ex said 'Tay-oh' is 'pretty.' And apparently you people can't figure out the difference between pretty like a lad or pretty like a lass… sssso. So…

"Your hair reminds me of somebody. I hope your trailer hasn't burnt down," he adds, jumping between topics like a frog between lilies. He squints over his shoulder in order to make his statement earnest with the weight of his gaze. The wind flips up the edge of her scarf as he does so, blotting his cheek with cheerful color. "You are a nice person. For a destructive thief and harrasserer."

Delilah walks along with her hands on both handlebars of the scooter, making sure as a precaution to not track it in any of his vomit-trails. Throughout this entire explanation and pandering words about his name, she has a tilted head. Tay-oh, Tee-o, Tay-oh-doro.

"You people?" She even snorts. "Girls, or Americans? I'm obviously only one of those, man." The redhead finishes that retort only to flick her gaze down to what strings of hair are loose from the pin. "Oh? Who? And…I doubt it will." On thievery: "If you have enough sense to buy one bottle, you won't be bothered to buy another. It would have ended up as piss in the same gutter anyway." Point. "I try to be decent. People need to try it. So… what name would you prefer that I use?"

What? There seems to be either fallacious logic in Lilah's words or just a far too advanced concatenation of ideas for Teo to follow when he is in such a state. One bottle? Two? Pee-pee? His gloved hand ends up bobbing nonsensically through the air, counting items off on long fingers, which then fold into a sine wave in the air to illustrate the flow of urine down… something, he forgot what he was saying. "Either one," he says, his hand falling. "You can call me either.

"Girls. Non-Italians. Not American, I know you're not American. Englannnnd, eh? Been there before. Shit weather. Fish 'n' chips. I need water, my breath tastes like fishy cootch." The next instant, his expression creases into unadulterated disgust; apparently that evoked a memory that he would rather not revisit. He trips around a cracked tire half inundated in dirty white powder.

""'F I giiive you five dollars will you get me a bottle-a' water that costs lessssss than five dollars and keep th' rest?" He is squinting at the distance ahead from under one flattened hand. There must be a gas station or store or something around here.

Too many things! Dee blushes slightly as he tries to keep track of them. "Teo. Teeeeooo-" She tries both. The Tay-oh sounds more like Taaaao. "Teo. I'll use the one that isn't Italian." There. Now if he ever wants a Chinese name or anything like that, she can just call him by the other one! Tada.

When he trips, Lilah does jerk into a pause, just in case he falls on his face. She'd probably let him. Might wake him up. "Oh? Yeah- I mean- wait." While she's not walking, the girl wriggles out of the backpack whose straps over her shoulders until now have been perfectly camouflaged. A few zipper noises later, there's a mostly full bottle of water in her hand, that she promptly motions over to Teo.

Teeeeoh. Teo shapes the words after she does, but without putting his voice in it, mouthing them at the open air. By the time he's done and figured out that she's made her decision, there's a bottle of distilled water bump-a-thumping, contents seesawing in her hand. He studies that for a moment, before glancing down at the wallet still puffing out the seam of his pocket. It seems that a few steps were missed in the process he had proposed.

Hesitantly, he reaches out, closes his fingers on the ridged plastic. Securing his grasp, he moves it into the circle of his personal proximity, unscrews the cap. Drinks, loud, gracelessly, the chug of water noisy down corded jaw and the small bones of his throat. When he finishes, it is with an exultant hiss and gurgle of satiation, as unsubtle as a man his age is wont to be. Boy. Man. Whatever. "Y' need somewhere to stay tonight?

"'M not hitting on you," he notes, waving the near-empty bottle once, as if the belated salutation would compel more than the verbal reassurance. "I mean. Raping. I couldn't get it up right now without, like, waaaaay more Viagra than I have enough humil'ty to invest in. But I know a place. 'S a woman runs it. Signora Jez'bel. She migh' take you, or… know 'nother place.

"And I would go somewhere else." He points in a random direction, but probably did not mean he would be staying on the moon. "So no rape."

Delilah just …stares at him. Sure, maybe she was busy looking him over when he was busy drinking- now she's just squinting back. Somewhere to stay, hitting on me, not…can't…get it up- why is he talking about that.

"What, like a halfway house?" But wait! Lilah starts again. "I think even if you wanted- I mean- I'm tougher than I look." And I have Toxic Spit. "So you're not hitting on me, just talking about not raping me?" The redhead can't help it- but she laughs, despite the fact he is completely serious. "Do you not find me pretty enough to hit on?" Still laughing. LolTeo, ur funee.

"Like— like a halfway house," Teo agrees, impervious to the intensity of her scrutiny. His feet find an approximately regular rhythm, scraping and knocking through fragmented ice, packed snow, his breath steaming translucent tendrils back from jaws left slightly ajar because he accidentally sniffed water up his nose. "'S good you're tougher'nnnn you look," he adds in a tone of unequivocal approval. He's Italian. They have a fine cultural appreciation for physically and emotionally powerful women.

"I" His brain gets confused about the difference between halting verbally and halting physically; he slows down, pads a crooked circle to peer at her, his face washing orange from embarrassment in the piss-colored light from the nearest lamp. The contrast is highlighted by the band of blue enclosing his throat. "No, but disrepdisrah—" Syllables. What. Consonants. He creases his eyes shut, squeezes, opens them again.

"You're vurry pretty," he finishes, lamely.

The redhaired girl turns her head to watch Teo when he reaches the point of slowing down and turning; Lilah is still watching him when he tries to speak again and seems to lose his concentration with word processing. Only when he actually is able to spit something out does the girl split her lips in a laugh. It is lighthearted, and quite full of giggles. Giggle giggle.

"I'm glad you think so. Thank you." Not that she might have put him on the spot or anything. Women are notorious for that, remember. 'Don't you love me anymore', 'does this make me look fat', 'don't you think I'm pretty'? Et cetera. There's never a right answer. "If it makes your face go back to it's normal color, I think you're very handsome too, Teo."

Well, if she had intended the opposite effect, she succeeded. The orange intensifies across his cheeks and takes up residence in his ears, which look all the more protuberant, easily spotted with all his hair buzzed off. When sober, Teo is incredibly bad at concealing anything unless he's consciously, specifically trying to construct a lie. When drunk, pitting him against an audacious and happy redhead is a little like leaving an especially small muffin to combat a train.

"Hmmmm," he says, then has to reach up to rub the back of his wrist under his nose. 'Hmmmm' is a word that comes out of the nostrils a lot, and he'd had water up there; it is better to prevent accidents. "I mean — grazie. Cazzo. Fuuuck.

"I d… don' have any more plan. I was going to sleep. Under the… bridge thing. 'N' be… fucked up, and wait, and… sulk. Brood," he amends hastily. Men brood. Boys sulk. "W's gonna brood. You— you," his eyes narrow in a manner that fails entirely to terrify. He points the water bottle at her. "Interrupted my plan. Now'm lost. This is problematic." Reaching this conclusion, he starts to take another pull of water, only to discover the plastic is perplexingly empty.

Maybe she was. Either way, when he starts to resemble someone from the Orange Man Group she does try to hold in her tittering noises. Cute, but maybe too cute. Now Teo can't even get a word in! Lilah seems to have broken him! Oh noes. Brooding? Who broods anymore? The redhead squints back at him when his eyes narrow on her. "If I hadn't, someone else could have. Someone with a boot instead of a scarf and some water." One hand finds a spot on her hip, and though the gesture is sharp, her tone is more gentle.

"If you want to brood and fall asleep in your own vomit, be my guest. But seeing as I don't have anywhere to go either and you seemed so keen on not being where you belong- maybe we should just stick together instead. I can keep you from drowning, and you can just keep making that face."

But Teo isn't making a face. He puts a palm on his cheek to check; isn't especially surprised when it comes off empty, but it's annoying anyway, that he still isn't sure what she means. He fails to connect blushing with making a face. "Ffff."

His head droops forward on its axis, directing hazed blue eyes toward the snow ruched in front of his boots. "Si," he acknowledges, finally. A concession that Felix had failed to get out of him. "Someone else could-a'." Teo's face is arranged around contrition by the time he lifts his gaze again. "A'right. I'm drunk.

"You pick direction. We both go," he suggests finally, pointing one flat hand this way then that to demonstrate. For example, they could explore that iced-over ditch or the derelict gas station. He starts to pich his arm back, throw away the empty bottle, but stops mid-motion. Shouldn't litter. Blankly, he adds: "I don't recommend it."

Delilah moves her old scooter closer so that she can reach over to take the bottle. Give me that. It's easier to refill them! "And why not? You just told me to my face you couldn't get it up. Besides, if you try anything like that with me, you're liable to kick the bucket." It's hard to tell if that's a joke or not, because she does sound so serious. "I'm cold, tired, and I have nowhere to be. Plus, there's probably a faucet you can test in there." Point! Her finger is gesturing to the gas station. "I bet your mouth tastes like ass and vodka, doesn't it?"

The ditch is closer, according to Teo's admittedly wobbly measure of distance. The empty bottle clops hollowly into Lilah's small hand with a mumbled word of gratitude, appropriate humility, while the man proceeds to rotate his feet toward the empty storefront. Fortunately or not, somebody already shattered the windows in. Probably means it's going to smell like hobo pee, but that's okay. Most things are, right now. "Not… 's not what I meant. Ass'n'vodka and…

"Not— liable what?" Kick the bucket? This warrants a somewhat speculative stare, though Teo promptly then banishes his inaccurate mental ratio of probable Evolved as further paranoia, having no way of knowing how otherwise correct he would have been. He lurches several yards' progress toward the gas station and clarifies, rather ambiguously, "Men're dogs."

Delilah has turned her scooter and is now wheeling it along towards the gas station alongside Teo. She tucks the empty bottle into her coat pocket for now, watching the man in his quest to successfully get to the building with her. If Dee wasn't holding onto her handlebars, she might be trying to direct him so he'd walk straight. Still, she keeps an eye on Teo in case he finds the ground up his nose.

The stare he had made was met with a mental shrug and as innocent a face as she can make. Not me! Now, Lilah turns her head when he remarks once more. "I guessed. I've never had many chances to find out, but god forbid I don't have eyes and ears. Now you, you're not so bad. Drunk, anyway. I hope you're not much different sober." And there's that giggle again. "What do you think?"

For a moment, it looks like Teo is going to undertake some disasterous attempt to climb through the broken window instead of the broken plateglass door, the way his legs tense, partway into a squat, and his eyes kind of sort of focus on the ragged-edged hole in front of him. The next moment, something apparently registers in is alcohol addled brain, before even Lilah gets over there to grab his sleeve.

He straightens, sheepish, smiles crooked in the half-darkness. "'M horrible. Even when 'm sober," he insists, extravagantly. "Worse, I guess. 'Cause then my dick works and 'aaat's never good. But I do talk gooder then, which 's sort 'f — better.

"I think—" he pokes his head into the gas station, wrinkles his face when ammonia curdles his senses. Withdraws. "Ladiiiiiies first." He dips forward into an approximation of an elegant leg, minus the elegance, and pops out an arm sideways toward the door.

"I'm sure if it causes that much trouble, people put it in its place." Delilah comments halfheartedly on the topic of him being more virile with just a bit of wariness this time. She sticks her head through the empty door, giving a cursory sniff before she picks up a leg, delicate and careful, to put her foot down on the inside. The smell is nothing, when you get used to it. "There should be a manager's office in here, right?" Her bright voice echoes in the emptiness, and even just that makes it seem shinier.

It does. Echoes slightly in the acoustics of the place, silver and resonance. Teo doesn't have too much trouble tracking her, even though he's temporarily turned away, scooted off, busy with getting his fly open for reasons completely unrelated to any thus far discussed. Though his liver and bladder have seen a lot of work over the decades he's been alive, there are physical limits and he's met carrying capacity. Mentioning that aloud had seemed too embarrassing.

Which probably means he's getting more sober. Where 'more sober' doesn't nearly approximate sober, but hey. "Si, I think so," he calls out. Tinkle tinkle. God, it's cold out here. "Be a minute."

"It's all dusty. And there's more glass. Oh, I found the office. Someone's gone and left a mat in there…" She echoes out of the building at first. Then, all of a sudden: "Are you taking a piss?" Even before Teo says he'll be in and to give him a minute, Dee is poking her head out of the window nearest him. If it's in back of him, Lucky Teo. If it's in front(!), Lucky Delilah.

Sideways, actually. The building is rectangular, parallel to the sidewalk; Teo had escaped around a corner in search of, you know, relative privacy given he's still standing on a roadside in New York.


He jumps a mile and corkscrews away at the same time, which probably looks hilarious and ungainly, but at least succeeds in getting his tomato-colored face and evacuating regions out of her view. Hopefully without splashing anything he has on, although it's too dark to be sure. "Sei pazza?!" Fortunately, he's far from the Vespa. "Yes, I'm pissing.

"'F you th… 'M not your brother or anything, y'know! Why—" he starts to turn around. Thinks better of it, jerks back around to face the street. Oh, his blushing chastity. "Why you lookun for a fucking office, 'nyway?"

If she meant to do that, she has done her job. Delilah shrinks back just enough behind the wall around the empty window that all that peeks out is her eyes. Laughing, giggling. It fills the building, and is obtrusive in the darkness. Dee hasn't had fun like this in a long time, even if it is only harassing a poor, drunken Italian. "The further in, usually the safer it is. Generally. Most people just kinda… take a look around and go away if it looks empty. 'S blending in."

Teo is so happy he could be the vehicle for her little girl mischief. He thinks to himself, how he never realized how narrowly he escaped suicide back in Sicily, that all their neighbours had sons. He conveniently forgets of the family full of daughters who had moved in next door only to flee before the ensuing month was over, at the traffic of tattooed boy-thugs through the upper floor windows. It was a bad scene. And as long as Teo's grumbling righteously to himself, not one he cares to recall.

"Ooookay," he acknowledges after a long, sullen silence, counterpoint to the fading peals of ginger mirth. "Y' fin' any water?"

"Yes. That must be why someone else came an'left." Delilah sways just inside the window, picking her feet up and stepping around on that side, the sounds of glass beneath her shoes. "But I didn't see nobody around now." She picks up a loose piece still in the windowframe, dropping it to the outside. "It's weak an'all, but it's still water."

"Are you feeling bettahhh?" Lilah swivels on her heel and disappears into that room again. A few seconds later, her voice pops up again. But this time, it's not a giggle or a song, but a squeal of fright. Uh oh.

Fortunately, Teo was already putting himself back in his pants, or the haste with which he zips up probably would have led to a pitchy scream of his own. He doesn't go through the door this time, or even back around to the building's facade. No, he twists on a heel, seizes the frame of the window out which the Englishman had looked a moment ago, vaulting both snow-crusted boots up over the lip of rusted metal and crashes into the floor in a slithering crouch. His blue scarf flails like a cape.

And a switchblade glares naked through the darkness in his gloved hand. "What the fuck?" he asks, intelligently.

If she were looking, Delilah would be very impressed at his chivalry. Her back is visible in the next part of the room, and the red strings loose from their tie point downward to follow her eyes. Nobody else there. After a second of Teo probably looking at her back, Dee turns herself back around again. Hopefully if he's coming over she won't knock into him.

"Uh!" Eloquent. It's not clear what startled her, actually.

Teo's first thought is of rats. Beady-eyed little shits. He has a gun, so, actually, it would probably be a bad thing for everybody involved if it was a rat, because he'd actually try to kill it with bullets.

Failing to spot any skinny pink tails or beady black eyes down on the level of the floor, however, he instead proceeds to lift himself off it, his long, denim-clad legs stringing out like the jointed parts of a puppet. He has to use the wall a little, but only a little. "Nyuh?" he inquires intelligently, pointing the knife away from himself and her, both, as he lumbers up behind Delilah on heavily shod feet.

No rats! Thank god. Delilah might be a bit disturbed if he were to start shooting at them. She does, however eyeball his knife when she's facing him. "Oh, dear, I don't think you'll be needing that." Her hand lifts just enough to pat-pat him on the chest before she inches around on her toes to look the other way. Point. Her finger waggles in the general direction of the dirty floor, mouth pulled in a grimace; she doesn't wait again, shuffling to where she was pointing and putting her toe to something on the ground there. Poke. Poke.

What is that? A dead rat? Cat? No, wait, nevermind it's just some dude's hand. Just the hand. Smells like Ew to me!

For a moment, the Sicilian thinks he is hallucinating. Almost exactly forty eight hours and two alochol binges after he spent his evening hacking the hands off dead dudes, some dude's hand turns up on the floor, reeking as bad as the mess he'd used half a jug of bleach to rid the motel room of.

He goes white as paper underneath his winter tan, blue eyes taking the motionless pallor of dead ice; his brain staggers five shades closer to sober. "Jesus fucking Christ," comes the mumble, and then a crackling sclurry of Italian. His hand finds the girl's arm, a tug toward the door — or at least to jostle her out of range that her foot can continue moving the damn thing around on the floor. "Need t' go. Those things don' fall off by fuckin' accident. C'mon. We gotta go."

What? What? It's just a hand! Dee opens her eyes a bit wider when she is taken by the arm and tugged away. Her feet might be away from it, but her head is still trying to turn and look. "Well, the guy it fell off is apparently not coming back to get it! What's the matter?" That is so cool, it's a human HAND.

Teo, however, is the bigger and stronger of them, and so Delilah does listen to him and keeps from trying to poke it again. "You look like you fell into a cold pond, Teo."

"I don't think he cut 't off himself," comes the uneasy rumble, like thunder flickering over the edge of the horizon. Teo's breath sheets pale through his teeth, ghosting up toward the musty ceiling before dissolving into an intangible eddy of air. Too large a breath. Hurts his lungs, a little. "Don' like being in places where people fucking cut off hands.

"It's not 'n easy 'r quick thing to do unless you have a fucking machete, and—" It smells in here. A miniaturized version of how it smelled back there, in the dumpster clogged with sea-bloated bodies. His hand hangs on her arm a moment, attention riveted, morbidly fascinated by the spidery shape against the floor. Then, "Please." Hypothermic-white, he turns his face at her.

Delilah has put her own two hands down in front, and they intermingle nervously there. She listens, and watches, attention rapt. "Okay. Okay. I'll get out." Her brown eyes seem bigger in the weak light, and her top teeth have caught the edge of her lip. When she frees herself from Teo's grasp. the girl backs up and away from him, skirting her way back out the front door.

Appalled as she is, it might well be refreshing to little Lilah that she gets to be alone on the outside for half a minute as Teo takes his time dragging himself out. Cracked glass cracks further underfoot, and he emerges into view empty-handed, the automatic knife long since spirited back to whatever unimaginable place it had come from. He said to much, and he knows he's said too much.

Might be why he fails entirely to step out of the hollowed door, as if the distance of the pavement strip and a few more steps improves on the situation. He tarries like an unwanted child, squinting at her against the glow of distant street lights, the street, Staten Island's cheerless skyline, as many skeletal trees as ashen buildings.

He opens and closes his eyes against the dry cold. "'Re you okay?"

Brown eyes keep watching him. especially once he reaches the door and sticks there like he moved into a spider's web. If she is suspicious of anything he has done, Lilah says nothing. He came jumping in the window after her, so how bad could be be without the vodka?

The lights on the street flicker once, blinking Delilah's half-silhouette into focus. "I'm fine. Just kinda surprised, is all. Wan't expectin' that." Just for effect, she blinks her eyes open wide for a second. Definitely not what she expected.

"The hand?" Teo is nodding his head wearily in the dark, as if in agreement. "Cut-off… hands. Not… I wouldn't expect that either. You… have big brass ones, signorina," he observes after a moment, squinting at the exaggerated circles of her eyes. She isn't really that frightened.

The look is all for show. The— that's the most bizarre thing, he thinks, his eyebrows inclining so far up that they would have disappeared underneath his ragged bangs if he still had enough hair to have ragged bangs. His gaze drops to the powdered glass and errant snow in front of him. Hesitantly, he takes another step across it. Another. Manages to keep a roughly staight line. "I'd-a' shitted myself, your age," he mutters, conveniently forgetting he has no idea how old she is. Not really. 'Giggly' is a long phase, for some girls.

Some of them never get out of it! "Brass whatsits?" Still eloquent. "Well, it's a hand- and it belonged to someone, but he ain't gonna miss it, I guess…" So then it's not a big deal, right? She'll probably have it sink in much later. "It was gross, but I've seen dead things before…"

Delilah takes a half step forward and extends a hand to Teo. Come away from there?

This hand is subject to a look of mild incredulity from Teo, which may not be that surprising, given the state he's in. Words are difficult. Gravity perplexes. Time is out of order, and Lilah's offering him a hand — one that is precariously attached to the rest of her, as if she forgot having drawn away and fled from him minutes ago.

Staring, Teo puffs out his cheeks, rounding them out for a long moment, a sigh that he never quite expels. He begins to reach, barely, but his arm pendulums back to his side. Another two seconds, he wobbles on the precipice of hesitation. Finally, his glove drops onto hers. He picks up his right foot, and tips forward, out of the abandoned station store. Totters slightly, out onto the snow to join her. The air is cleaner out here. The scarf she gave him moves gently in it, and gently again when they go.

Title reference to the anime Wolf's Rain, because the characters Cheza and Kiba seem oddly analogous to 'Lilah and Teo.

February 10th: Live Alone, Die Together
February 10th: The Girl In Question
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