Peace, Reassurance, Pleasure


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Scene Title Peace, Reassurance, Pleasure
Synopsis Ghost really sucks at offering these things and at finding them, but this conversation goes better than the last. (Poem from CS Lewis' As The Ruin Falls.)
Date July 9, 2009

Manhattan: Greenwich Village — Or Not Far

It's like all his time squatting on the fringes of the city has made him some sort of weird urban Mowgli. Too used to wandering in the wilds to sleep tamely in a bed, even in so sweetly domesticated a home as Abby's. So he's out sitting on the edge of a ruined building, looking at the wreckage of the city under the full moon. His expression is thoughtful, rather than brooding, and he's lazily cutting, shuffling and bridging a very worn deck of tarot cards. More, presumably, to give his hands something to do, than to tell his own fortune.

Mind you, Salvatore can change a lot about a man. Teo— Ghost, rather— would know that better than most. Still, there are a lot of things that weren't remodelled in the physicality of Jesse Alexander Knight or the artist formerly known thereas.

He sits the same way. Unconcernedly lazy as fffuck, but incapable of shedding the discipline of a dedicated athlete and former soldier, besides, so there's always something a little to straight to his spine, sharp about the crook of his ankles, even when he's thugging it. Or playing with cards. Tarot, or the normal set.

It's mostly by chance that Ghost finds him tonight. On a psychic scan out across Manhattan after a few hours' brooding meditation, a glimpse borrowed through the eyes of a skulking homeless man whose own senses had long since acclimated to the pervading reek of his own urine and chapped thighs.

In Leonard's pocket, his phone rings.

He leaves the cards sitting poised in mid air, in the middle of a magician's arcing shuffle, as if they were frozen in amber. Snatches the phone out of his pocket and flips it open. "Yeah?" he says, not bothering to glance at the number, eyes already roaming as if he might somehow spot the caller.

The caller isn't immediately visible. Probably. Maybe? There's a throng of homeless people warming their hands over an oil drum full of burning garbage, though, either because it really is that cold to the sensibilities of everybody who isn't an old war veteran, or because they're making a game of it. Of burning old things, making a proper ending of things for which being thrown away wouldn't suffice.

Maybe Leonard can sympathize. "What's up?" He knows the voice, the barbarically nonchalant attitude. Somewhere out there, Ghost has half a smile on.

Leo stiffens, bristles like a pit bull who's just had his chain yanked. "Not much," he says, affecting a casualness he in no wise feels. "Listen," he says, more quietly. "What is it you want? What is it you're trying to accomplish?" The cards begin to flutter gently down, reassembling themselves into a proper deck for tucking into a pocker.

Through Leo's eyes, the ghost watches the cards flit around like birds that, he suspects, the telekinetic hasn't yet gotten out of the habit of arbitrarily killing, when the fancy seizes him. This, he remembers with a dull ache of affection. "Oh, you know. Peace, reassurance, pleasure, equal return in investment.

"There should've been a memo kind of circling around lately— I'll leave once I'm done. Shouldn't be more than a few weeks, the way the fuse is burning on this whole clusterfuck."

And Ghost will feel the icy runnel of fear that ripples down Leo's spine, followed by that bitter tang of despair. There's not even the sound of an indrawn breath over the phone to betray, it though. "What exactly does that mean?" he wonders, voice oh so careful.

"If there's anything left of you and him left after Arthur Petrelli's done in this war, you get your boy back. And I piss off." Teo always had a way with words. A function of being Sicilian, maybe, something about passion or about knives. "A little luck and Gabriel will get his body back too. Happy ending. Or the nearest facsimile thereof this fucking city ever gives me.

"Whose cards are those?"

"What about you, then?" Al persists, quietly. And then he freezes, and immediately ducks back into the moonshadow cast by an airconditioning unit. The cards have collapsed into a bright spill, colors washed out by the lack of ambient light into dim smears. "Where are you?"

Two good questions. One Ghost has already answered once, recently. Has the answer at ready, but Eileen hadn't really known what to do with it when he'd given it to her and he has no particular reason to suspect Jesse will be better pleased, so he holds off that, instead. "Few buildings over.

"Hey— hey, easy, all right? Don't… flip your shit. I'm not running around with a sniper rifle right now. Just astral projecting. I'll even stop, if you give the word." That isn't even a dirty joke. Not really.

There's one of those wolfish grunts in response. He looks around, as if the disembodied Teo might suddenly appear like one of t hose apparitions of the Virgin. "You haven't answered my question," he persists, wearily.

Dutifully, the ghost responds, as if he has done this before: "'Not sure. Figure I'll either be dead or nearby. Either way, you shouldn't have to worry.'" Concise and to the point.

There's a clumsy or inattentive click-a-beep of Ghost moving the phone across his shoulder, accidentally rubbing his cheek into something that didn't quite manage to untimely disconnect the call. He isn't sure why he adds these latter two words; they seem to extricate themselves out of the gruff of his throat out of their own accord: "I promise."

"You'll understand why I'm a little dubious of any promises you might make, honey." It's weird - with the abruptness of a chick pipping its shell enough to let the light in, he's lost the pseudo-Brooklynite accent, and the old slow drawl is back in place. "I want Teo back. In whatever form."

The drawl— honey. That almost gets a laugh out of him. Bit pity they're a few weeks past the probability of Ghost asking for doll instead, and getting it. Also unfortunate, that he's a few years past going into ridiculous butterflies and curly-toed knots when Alexander does that whole thing with the thing.

There's a catching kind of quiet, a slow breath, while the ghost remembers who, where, and when he is.

"I understand. And will do my best."

One of those nomcommital 'mmh' noises down the line. Not quite agreement, but acknowledgement at least. Worldweariness is there - not so bitter as real despair, but a concrete weight nonetheless. "You do that," he admonishes.

"You're very fucking welcome." There's a trace of irritable humor in Ghost's saying so, a twinge of facetious jealousy which somehow fails entirely to undercut the ludicrously convincing semblence of sincerity that's screwed so many of his friends over so far. "All right. I was just checking in." And then, for no other reason than because he can, he adds: "Miss you and your stupid face, too. Good night."

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