Pink And Black


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Scene Title Pink And Black
Synopsis Contrary to the poetic insistence of Italian patriotism, home is people.
Date October 28, 2009

Long Island City — Laguardia Community College

Joseph is doing better, and Abigail's secure enough to have gone to class again. Easing off the mother-henning, and giving him more time alone. So a quarter to ten, Abigail's easing out of the building where she takes her classes in Long Island City. Messenger bag cross-ways, duffel bag with supplies in one hand. Her bubblegum pink hair the topic of many a look from classmates, approval and laughter being the range of reaction.

So it's not that hard to see her when she emerges beside a tall dark haired man. "Take care Abigail" "You too Johan. Try not to run over any squirrels on the way home yah?" Keys are dug out of her pocket as she head towards the west parking lot and her pea green SUV.

Automatic skepticism greets the name and figure assigned to Abigail's companion from the figure at the other end of walkway, a flattening of the brow underlit by the ember of his cigarette. Not that Abigail's companion ought to be particularly concerned about the figure at the other end of the walkway, even with a reflexive scowl being involved. Teodoro Laudani looks about the right age to be here anyway, interchangeably good-looking, clad in jeans and a hoodie with green canvas messenger back hanging over one shoulder heavy with what one might imagine could be books.

"I always liked pink," Teo calls out, craning his head past her leggy frame and over at the throng of classmates diminishing into the distance, with their other, more homely concerns. Of hair dye, due dates. "My reasons are legitimate and unfaggy. The football team I threw punches for when I was a kid was nicknamed rosanero for their colors. Pink and black. Back in Palermo. How are you doing?"

Teo. Teodoro. The reason for her roommates depression and anger. One of her perpetual worries. At the sight of the smoking italian and his approval of haircolor, the former healer breaks into smile and alters her path so that she ends up right beside him. She's oblivious to why Teo might have reservations about her classmate. Some people don't know the supposed future. "You. A ghost it seems. Leonard is a mess. What did you do this time to him" A hand rises to tug and pull at his ear like her own mother has done so many times.

Teo, Teodoro, is taller than the girl enough that the pull on his ear bends his head in the appropriate direction. This much is normal, as is the big, blondly dopey grin that creases his face all the way up to his eyes, the grunt of abashed, instantaneous apology, all properly Teo's, a way that ignores any distinction between Ghost and the carolling thug who'd squatted drunk on her kitchen counter in the past. Departure comes an instant later, a furrow in his brow and perplexity marking his features when she mentions the other guy's name. Leonard. His confusion is quite easily taken for deliberate obtuseness or some minor variation on the eternal trope: men are pigs. Yeah, ahh.

He scratches his head. The side of his head that she doesn't have leashed by the earlobe, anyway. "I had a plan to go away and pay— some penance for the things that I did. It backfired. Many people are upset, but I think my alternatives are either to pile my shit onto a boat and disappear or… or stay. I think I'm going to stay. But there are complications," because he's blond, and this is New York City dying in the cesspit of a dark timeline, and if life were easy, Abigail Beauchamp wouldn't find training to be an emergency medical technician her recourse. "I don't remember things. A lot of things. It was to protect people, and I know that that must seem like another mistake, but—

"I remembered you were here," he rambles to a halt, finally. Teo always had an odd way of reflecting people's vebal habits back on them. More taciturn with Alexander, blunter in tack with Helena, constipated silence with Deckard, the occasional flood of admission and cog-jammed explanatory explosion dumped on Abigail's lap. He lifts his brows. "And that you do things with your hair."

"Do you rememeber anything else other than my hair almost always being a different color?" The smile has been summarily wiped from her face, sloughing away like chalk on the sidewalk that's being washed away by rain. It's it's wake, worry rises. "You always have loved boards" Love, not like, big difference. She's seen how he is near boats, around boats, never in a boat, but it is a great love of his. The ear tugging has long since stopped and her hands now rest on the strap of the messenger bag as she looks up to regard him with equally blue eyes.

"What can I do to help you Teo?" Because that's what she does. Even when he was possessed by his future self, or prone in a bed and brain damaged, that's what she did, what she does.

There's a sinewy tic in the line of Teo's jaw that's almost a frown at that, bashful, uncertain that it might have been a joke: of course he remembers things else other than that her hair's always turning colors. He scratches a callused forefinger up the side of his nose, exhales. He always loved boats. "It's the secrets I made myself forget. The ones that could get people in trouble. Uncompromised safehouse addresses, a few names and false IDs, that sort of thing. It was very practical.

"I guess 'practical's always been my excuse." Rue thins his mouth close to white. His elbow chugs at his side, a fidget squelched, his weight leaned against an arm rested gently on the railing. For killing people, stealing things, wiring bombs. Joining PARIAH was practical, too, insofar as cowardice can be. "I need… um. This is—" weird. Different. Teo's gaze stilts away momentarily, moving between trees turned skeletally skinny by the onset of cold weather, cars showing like the carapaces of hibernation-huddled insects in the car park. "I kind of need stuff to do while I work things out. So I was wondering if you could still use some help with those old journals you were looking at.

"And I was wondering if you had a number for J— Alexander. He left, right?" His eyes settle on her again. His irises are blue like hers, but have always been short of intensity of hue, more frost than halcyon sky cerulean despite his sincerity. He doesn't know if she'll think that's a good idea. Any of it: that it might be too dangerous, somehow.

Teo thinks Alexander left.

Abigail stares at him for a handsbreadth of time before she takes up his hand, moving straight for her vehicle. "You really don't remember…" Abigail murmurs. "At all. Get in the car Teo, we'll drive, find some place to pick up coffee because I really don't know how to tell you about.. about."

A button's depressed on the keychair, front lights flashing and a beeping soudn to indicate doors are unlocked and car is ready to be occupied. "Alexander is still in the city, and you saw him quite frequently Teodoro. Only, he's had to go by the name Leonard shelby now and he had to have his .. face changed, to protect himself, protect you and others after things happened" Teo's deposited by the passenger side and she herself skirts around to the drivers side to start getting in. "Leonard is Alexander. Leonard lives above the bar Teo."

This seems inconceivable. For this reason, Teo opens up shotgun and slings his long frame into the seat, folding up denim-clad legs and jerking the bag out of the way of his butt without saying anything, or cursing, or anything-anything, his mind a blank, feeling like his whole brain just double-took a look back on the events of the other evening. He remembers the bar like he remembers the journal. Abstracted, categorized vaguely under places to go and stuff to do, neither sensitive enough to have warranted a telepathic scrub, not dangerous as long as he isn't a danger to them.

Not much about upstairs, but a little Isabelle; nothing on Leonard. Not a thing, though that makes sense, with the telekinesis, Logan's mysterious recommendation, the look on the man's face when they were in the alleyway. Leonard is Alexander. Leonard is Alexander. She wouldn't say that if she weren't completely and utterly certain. "I met 'Leonard' the other night," he finally confesses, pushing his seatbelt home. Click. Dragging the door shut: clunk. "He was really fuckin' upset, and after I told him why I might not remember why he was upset, he left."

And thus, she knows the reason for the mood that Leonard is in. Abigail slides the car keys home but doesn't turn on the vehicle, runs her tongue over her lips and sighs softly. "He's still upset. How much do you remember Teo? Do you remember Sonny at all? Salvatore Bianco. Doctor" She shifts and turns in her seat enough to regard him across the way and over the arm rest. "There's just holes in your memory? What do you even remember of me?"

"A lot. I think a lot," Teo hastily amends, leaving room as ever for the possibility that he fucked something up. It's growing in him: the sense that he fucked things up. Also, coincidentally, the certainty that he would like to give Sabra Dalton a firm shaking. It doesn't occur to him that it's odd, that a shaking is all he particularly wants to give to Sabra Dalton. A mood for apology often comes accompanied with a few extra degrees of forgiveness. He glances up at the rearview, then hunts his gaze across the windshield. "I remember Sonny. Dating him," he decides, when he decides that 'dating' is the correct term. "I remember he's dead.

"Which is probably why I didn't erase that. No practical necessity," he says, and the word is weighty again, loaded, uncomfortable with emphasis that doesn't register in the actual volume or stress of his voice. "I remember how you were in the future— where Ghost came from. I remember the Verazzano-Narrows bridge," Teo says, skewing a brief glance at her profile. "Being in Chinatown when PARIAH bombed the Financial District. And I remember forgetting— that you said you'd call me as soon as you landed in Weezyanna, visiting your parents. When Logan took you. I remember remembering, too.

"I think Deckard almost shot me," he says, his voice corkscrewed in the constriction of his throat. More mistakes. Teo's mistakes, rather than Ghost's, and not one of those grandiose semi-fictitious dramatizations he added to his personal crucifix, but real error. Oversight. "And your fucking swamp sludge sundaes. You got the recipe from Sala."

"Language." Admonition, soft and quiet. "But you don't remember Leonard. Oh, Teo." Sorrow, sympathy as she reaches over to slide her hand into his or try to at least, hold it tight. "Lots of holes. Do you want to remember things or do you just.. just want to start, from this point forward and start over?" She can see starting over. Leonard started over but he had a fresh face, new name, credentials.

"It's good that you didn't choose to run away. I don't know how many more broken hearts you'd leave behind if you did it. I don't think I'd blame you if you did but, I'm glad that you're choosing to stay. I can pay you a bit of money, if you want to translate the rest of the french bits of the diary. There's not much and I haven't really.. been reading it lately."

Decakrd almost shot him. When was tha- Oh. Right. That day. She remembers that day, though there was likely even more days where Deckard would have done that. I can also use some hands with bar paperwork on monday's, if you have a head for numbers. I could never remember if you were good at math or no. Or work in the bar, you could do that too"

For the nth time, Teo's left wondering for a moment what it was he'd forgotten, but this time he resolves with a tiny seedling's confusion that it wasn't that, so much as he'd missed it. Either that or he's reading too much into it, but whether or not that's true on the parchment, the subtext is what it is in his perception, carved in between the lines of possibility. Abigail Beauchamp would appear to have given some thought to starting over. Though she chose not to run away.

It's another oversight, it seems, something else he should have noticed. Pain, grief, fear for and value of life, all the things you find on the labels of canned soup, that bear acknowledging even in or especially in the slaughter and mayhem of urban war. "I don't think I get a clean slate just because I forgot some things. Probably isn't safe for me to work at Old Lucy's. I'm all right for money, or I will be, I think: got a job offer recently, too. From a guy called Raith. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

"Sounds like it's going to be good ol'—" a swear word audibly deleted, "— superheroics, but with different people. But regardless." He straightens his shoulders. "Whether or not I do. I think it might be better for my head if I keep a few judiciously laid roots in with you, and your journals, patients, and the good work you do, that people bring to you. So I don't lose touch. That make sense?" He props his boot up on the fuzzy incline underneath the dash, a shuffle of parts, automatically restless in the confines of the car. Though a very lovely car it is.

Abigail chose to run away in a fashion. She'd changed her hair, and took up ownership of a bar and everything else that could be construed as running the hell away. Conrad might call it running away. "OKay. Well, I don't know who this Raith is but, you just be careful Teo cause as much as Leonard is upset with you right now and as much as you might have forgotten what it is that you have, had, with him, I don't think he could take you running away in the end or even passing on."

There's that sigh that she learned from another paramedic not so long ago. "And no one ever gets a clean slate. You can wash away a chalk board, but there's always some small little bits of talc and all that, that cling to the board. or someone else remembers what you wrote on it and can write back over and show you" The keys are finally turned, the ecologically friendly vehicle thrumming to life that seems too big for the woman to be driving.

"You're my friend. Whether you are… beign suppressed by your future self and scaring the bejesus out of everyone, or you're in trouble and need a place to stay or you're hungry and need some food. You're my Teo" Tayo, taydoroh. Reverting for the moment back to how she used to say his name till she learned the proper way to say it. "Whatever you need Teo, to erstart you're life, even if it's some half remembered one, with people mad at you, I'll be there. I can have the journal left at the bar, just come in the back and they'll pass it to you."

Long Island City

Long Island City, a run-down neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, just across the water from Manhattan. From here, the skyline that was changed forever by the bomb is a constant reminder of what once was. A window into the past as well as a scathing reminder of the present. The waterfront is a largely industrial area, riddled with freight train stops, warehouses and shipping companies; the vast majority of which have ceased operations or gone entirely out of business in the wake of the the bomb. While this neighboorhood was spared from the disastrous nuclear fallout, it was crippled by the equally disastrous economic fallout. Businesses closed left and right, leaving blocks of abandoned facilities all across the neighborhood. As the property values took a steep nose dive, so too did crime in the area rise. Now, rife with gangs and refugees, the once bustling region looks more like a ghost town.

It's not as if that Southern twang could possibly use correction in any sense of the term, as far as Teo is concerned. When she learned the proper way to say it, it wasn't because he'd seen the necessity of a lesson be taught. Someone crosses the stretch of sidewalk in the mouth of the parking lot, and it cranes his head, disfocuses his eyes, briefly, checking. Just checking. No need to scare the bejesus out of anybody, yet; he isn't in trouble. Yet.

"Grazie. I'll try not to disappoint." About the journals, the whole abandonment thing, fresh start, talc-scarred chalkboard, the measure of new opportunities and reappropriated tools he's been given. There's no point in insisting to himself that he's only here for lack of other options anymore; there's always a choice, and he remembers making this one, crossing the bridges into Long Island City, staring up the school's concrete facade. "You or—" His name is supposed to be Jesse. "Leonard."

"You'll disappoint me Teo, but that won't make me stop loving you any the less" Her eyes go from the dashboard, taking in the monitors there, that she's low on what gas this vehicle does use but that it's nothing that she needs to worry overmuch about - to the man in the passenger side. "I'm a disappointment at times to my parents, but they still love me. Leonard… maybe he needs time to come to grips with whats happened. Beneath the new face, beneath the change in voice and all that he's still Alexander."

The same as Flint is still Flint and…

Abigail's lips purse. "The same as Flint is still flint, no matter what's residing in him and that sometimes, things happen and you have to accept that it's gods plan. No matter how… much you might hate it. Leonard will have to accept that you did what you did, if that's indeed why he's upset with you. I don't see you having purposefully erased your time with him but maybe you did. But now, maybe now you can start all over with him. You can court him properly, yes? "

She's far too young to be comparing herself to her parents, in Teo's opinion, but he doesn't object on such grounds due to some mental abstraction of propriety. He's regard any fatherly feelings from Al— Leonard with as much skepticism. "I think I did. I think i erased him. For the same reasons he changed his face and his name, and I didn't really expect I'd be back, so…" Shaking. Hopefully Sabra doesn't have any delicate prosthetics, or they'll come rattling right out. "Shit.

"Last I remember, I got him out of Moab, and we were friends. Just finished fighting. Sal was being fuckin' neurotic, even before the ghos— older-me came back and douched everything over for his vengeance saga. Fought with him, too." There's a palpitating half-beat of perplexity as far as what's residing in him goes, but Teo doesn't ask for clarification, dismisses this a little warily with the distinct conviction he'd probably say something wrong, trying to defend Deckard's character flaws or posit about his strengths, given he probably forgot something extremely important about the older man's current life situation to which Abigail is referring.

Teo really has no idea how right he is.

"Me and Leo, huh?" His voice is turned thoughtful, slow, hanging thready in the air like spent spiderfloss or that amorphous category of precipitation halfway between rain and mist. It only ever occurs on land; one of the few times he actually prefers it to sea. He remembers also, but doesn't say, that Leonard went to John Logan because of him, and all the killing that came with it was no good; he's never good if what you need is to get away from that sort of bad. "Guess I should talk to him at least. Did he show you anything about a letter? One I wrote?"

"No, I haven't been home really this last week and weekend. I've been trying to help a friend get off some really bad drugs. But looks like he's over the worst of it and i'll be able to let him be and free him from my nannering and fussing." Both arms slide over the steering wheel leaning against it and staring up at the sky that is clouded over with the smog and debris that comes hand in hand with living in New York Area. "That's… a long chunk of time to be missing Teo" She glances over, resting temple to steering wheel when she arches her back. "You think you'll be okay?"

It's supposed to be reassurance, however thin: "I'm not missing all of it. Just segments. I haven't lost a sense of time passing these past few months, or anything like that. Saw the days get longer, then shorter again. You went through red with your hair, did something crazy with security up in Old Lucy's with help from Alec. Humanis First! has been fucking around a lot. Nearly got Liz.

"And Joe." The pang that Abby's words bring with them aren't mere memory. Really bad drugs: he knows, he knows, he knows.

Two more of his mistakes, sort of a drop in the sea. Teo turns his head, ducks its bristly roof down low enough to peer up, through the speckled transparency of the windshield and into the sky. Clotted with cloudcover, the threat of wet break constant and gray, even after the atmokinetic's wrath had strewn and terminated its havoc of unexpected storm patterns out from its epicenter at Staten Island. He can barely make out the tiny angled fleck of a gull cresting atmosphere up there, lights coming on over the bridge, with halos conferred smooth by his unscratched cornea. He remembers the conversation they'd had about that, too, and it isn't gone from them now, even if she no longer possesses the ability that had cured his physical ills so many times before.


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