Prossima Volta


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Also featuring:
Mrs. Mayor Bianco

Scene Title Prossima Volta
Synopsis Sonny lies in a hospital bed with seven shades of shit kicked out of him, and is privvy to a late night ninja visitor, who appropriately freaks the fuck out when the Mayor's wife suddenly walks in.
Date May 5, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital

St. Luke's Hospital is known for its high-quality care and its contributions to medical research. Its staff place an emphasis on compassion for and sensitivity to the needs of their patients and the communities they serve. In addition to nearby Columbia University, the hospital collaborates with several community groups, churches, and programs at local high schools. The associated Roosevelt Hospital offers a special wing of rooms and suites with more amenities than the standard hospital environment; they wouldn't seem out of place in a top-rated hotel. That said, a hospital is a hospital — every corridor and room still smells faintly of antiseptic.

It's been nothing short of chaos at the Bianco camp since Sonny's parents received the call at a charity dinner that their golden boy had been mugged. It took no time at all for the wagons to circle and handlers and publicists to start looking in on the situation. That leaves mom and dad free to sit and worry as their son's jaw is wired shut and the ligaments of his left shoulder sewn back into something resembling its natural configuration.

The Biancos have money to spare, so Sonny is housed in the Roosevelt Hospital with all the comforts and amenities of a hotel suite. Every effort has been made to make the space seem as un-clinical as possible. The rich can afford to try and deny that they're sick.

The pretty Salvatore looks like hamburger. Both his eyes are black, one swollen shut. His haw is wired closed and a neck brace restricts his range of motion. His left hand is bound in a cast and his left shoulder is swaddled in bandages. Flowers decorate the rooms, from his patients and father's campaign contributors.

Getting into any other part of St. Luke's would've been a damn sight easier, frankly, but it isn't entirely impossible. He hadn't even had to make a point of calling on Anne, which was probably just as well— the workload the teleporter has had to take on lately leaves her looking stretched thin and gray underneath the chocolate skintone.

Instead, the Sicilian was left to make the most of what the Ferry's contacts knew of the scheduled night rounds and observed of the Biancos security detail. He slides in between toilet breaks, benefiting from the momentary distraction provided by an extraordinarily pretty orderly asking after the bodyguard's gun. The door swivels shut soundlessly behind him, deftly steered by a callus-notched hand. After he's in, Teo doesn't know what to do for a little while.

For a little while, thusly, he doesn't do anything. Stands there, staring, some embarrassingly glassy heat accumulating behind his baby blues.

Still, even when conducting an exercise in unrepentant sentimentality, Teodoro Laudani is a do-what-you-gotta-do kind of guy, and right now he gotta remember there isn't a lot of time. The seconds hand on the analog wall clock closes in on forty seconds, and he moves. A grating of fingernails up the line of Sonny's right forearm, a mumble that sounds suspiciously like asshat and a kiss that manages to find its mark above the edge of the neck brace despite the shaking.

Harry Bianco would be furious to know that someone managed to slip in so easily. Teo could have been a tabloid reporter or some other malicious entity. They're all just lucky it's a worried lover who penetrated their defense perimeter.

Sonny's breathing doesn't sound very healthy, but that has more to do with a broken jaw and a busted nose than any problem with his lungs. He aches in a dozen places, but the most serious danger was the blood loss from the wound in his shoulder. He's out of the woods, but is going to take awhile yet to get better.
At first, there's no indication that the doc knows Teo is there. Then, his one good eye opens as the kiss brushes. He startles, then suddenly looks both worried and sad. He can't speak, but the good hand that reaches up and clutches at Teo's shoulder says it all. You shouldn't be here.

Sonny's hands are as large as Teo's, so the combination maps in odd symmetry despite the disparities in texture and skintone. Which would be lost in the half-dark of the room's low light, anyway. Teo snags his lover's hand down from his shoulder, thumbing the hollow of his palm in gruff brush-strokes, an uncertain rather than hesitant expression of stuff he hasn't put into words.

"You're not gonna see me anymore for awhile anyway." It's a mumble. Coherent, barely audible; wouldn't have been if it wasn't so quiet in here.

Pale eyes flit upward, settle with what appears to be difficulty, off-balance, as if it were a question of finding center somewhere on the mutilated contours and swelling and oblique twist of Sonny's mug. "Should be okay. Ferry's hospital contacts got me in— they know we're friends ever since the little problem with me getting shot in the fucking head."

And the bribes, the favors exchanged, the hastening of his comatose body to the other medical facility. They've been in this situation before, and it was memorable enough to enough people that there's a rickety skeleton of a protocol intact for managing. Teo curls half a hand around the edge of Sonny's face, carefully, carefully, and another kiss alights clumsily on his forehead.

There's a lot of things that Sonny would like to say to Teo if his mouth would cooperate. Not the least of which is, What do you mean I'm not going to see you anymore? He thinks he knows what Teo means, but he also knows that his lover has a tendency to blame things on himself. That whole stupid business about it being dangerous to be around him. Teo didn't make gang wannabe kids knee him in the jaw.

He squeezes Teo's hand in a kind of desperate way, the way he might hug if he had the strength. Then he paws upwards, to stroke along the familiar line of the Italian's jaw, then up to the velvety texture of his still-growing hair. The movement makes his arm ache, but he ignores it.

There's stuff Teo would never do if he thought about it too much. Like— joining Phoenix. Leading Phoenix. Sleeping with Feds, carrying unmarked weapons, breaking into hospitals, befriending former terrorists— that is, real terrorists, and getting himself into a relationship. The former items imply surprises like artillery ambushes and sting operation traps.

The latter is an altogether different kind of trouble. Teodoro finds himself disconcerted by the realization that he's come to rely on Sonny so much. That the hand on his face and through his hair does, ridiculously, manage to bring him some modicum of reassurance and that the smell of his lover's great woolly ringlets calms him down after he's buried his face in them, sighing inanely at nothing in particular.

Muffledly, "I'll clear most of my shit out of the apartment, try to figure something out for the birds."

Somehow, Sonny manages to find the strength to grab hold of the back of Teo's neck, to hold him firmly in a way that communicates how very much he dislikes that idea. He wants to say that they'll find another place, or live in one of the safehouses until they can sort something else out.

With all that's happened, he doesn't want to feel this, feel like he's losing Teo. Like he'll be pulled back into the plodding artificiality of his other life. He makes a grunting, desperate sound of protest, and holds the other to him with as much strength as he can muster. He ignores the protesting pain that arches through his body as a result.

The door clicks. Slowly, the shape of a woman moves into the room, quiet like a mouse. Melinda Bianco startles at the sight of Teo and nearly drops the cup of coffee clutched in her hand. She doesn't say anything, doesn't call for security, just watches her injured son and Teodoro Laudani.

Sonny's eyes widen at the sight of his mother, but his hand doesn't immediately drop from the back of Teo's neck.

"'S just awhile," the younger man is trying to reassure the mess of black curls pressed up against his nose and eyes. Pulled in, he winds up ploughing a hand into the rumpled linens on the other side of Sonny's scrabbling body in an effort to hold himself up as much as to get close. He doesn't hear the door; can't, over the thunder of Sonny's breathing and the lack of distance to anything here. "Your family's gotta be pissed the fuck off from this.

"There'll be questions—" irony of irony. So many questions; none of them yet asked aloud by the maternal figure in the doorway. "'Bout Kinney and Chinatown. It will be okay." There's a stress on that word: will. Makes it a promise. Teo has a bad habit of making ones that he can't keep. "I will see you again."

Will. I will see you again. Conveniently blinded by darkness and emotion long since soiled by sentiment, Teo fails to look up, or to pull out of the clinging hold around his neck, the silhouette of his bent shoulders strangely solid against the hall light.

"We do have many questions. But you're the variable in an equation I'd already figured out." Melinda Bianco is a scientist. It's hard to tell just how the woman is reacting to this embrace between her injured son and another man. The room is only half-lit. Even if he could see her face, well, she's a politician's wife. Her poker face is immaculate.

She steps forward with the gentle click of heels on the polished floor. She sets the mug of coffee down on a table, then looks to the face of her son. "Oh Salvatore. I knew you were hiding something. Hiding…a lover from us to avoid…well." She smiles, but it's difficult for her to wear that expression. "I suspected."

Sonny's hand stays up even when his mother enters the room. It's too late now. No denying what that gesture was, or why Teo snuck into the room. His hand slides down his lover's chest, then drops to the bed. He pinches his eyes shut and draws in a shuttering breath. He feels ill. And he can't explain himself.

Melinda reaches back and clicks the lock on the door, then moves to her son's bedside, her eyes on Teo. And then, she offers her hand to the Italian, her eyes damp with held-back tears. "Hello. I'm Melinda, Sonny's mother."

What. What— whose voi—

Somebody's here.

The effect, though obviously not nearly as instantaneous as a ninja would have liked, is sudden when it occurs. Teo jack-knifes partway into the upright, his head half-turned in the half-circle of Sonny's embrace, breath caught up into a choke in his throat and fingers tight on the linens, a single eye showing bright over the line of his bicep. Released, he backpedals.

Physically, mostly: there's nothing to say out loud, not for a moment, so he scoots up against the wall, yanking the hood up over his head with a hasty hand. Hides his face. Mostly. Not that there's a real point. She notices everything she needs to. He's young, white, rather uncouth in dress, half-shaven, haircut, and she's never seen him before. Teo stares at her hand as if he comes from a tribe in which there is no such custom.

A variable Melinda has already figured out. He hopes not. Teo's already making a piss-poor terrorist tonight, without that aspect of his identity being blown wide open.

"Hello." His voice comes out wrong, the incorrect shape and size, scratching where it meets his throat. When he attempts the handshake, that is wrong too: his palm closes briefly on the tips of her fingers, releases after a squeeze that lacks strength if not physical warmth. "Please don't tell anyone."

The way that Teo startles and jumps back causes a whuff of surprise to issue from Melinda's mouth. Like she's ashamed to have provoked that reaction. "I'm not going to bite. I promise. And I'm not going to tell." She drops her hand back and holds them together in front of her for a brief moment as she closes the distance between the door and her son's bedside. She reaches out with a mother's tender fingers and combs through her son's curls.

"It's all right, baby, shh. Don't worry, my love. I won't tell your father. You were right to hide it. He would want you to hide it." Because what Harry Bianco doesn't know…

Sonny closes his eyes, frozen under his mother's touch, willing the last two days to just rewind and be erased from history. Everything's falling apart like wet bread.

She runs reassuring fingers down her son's face, then grips his hand in both of hers, kisses his fingertips. Then she releases and circles the bed, to stand in front of Teo. With heels, she looks about five foot seven. She looks down, purses her elegantly red-painted lips and then up at Teo. "Young man. If you want my help, you need to trust me. And trust that I have no desire to hurt my son or my husband's career. I have nothing to gain by outing your secret. In fact, I intend to help you keep it."

The line of Teo's neck, bent back to the furthest, creaking constraints of his hood, is so stiff that it seems to threaten to snap in half as he stands there staring at the woman. He's self-evidently as uneasy as fuck. That might come of fucking the Mayor's son. He hopes his self-contorting tension passes off for that sufficiently.

Probably not. Most young men, however desperately in love, wouldn't have made it past the Roosevelt's reception area, never mind into the private wings.

"I trust you to take care of your family," he volunteers eventually, awkwardly, accentless. "I trust you to help him. I just need—" Lapsing into silence, the Sicilian's eyes travel unsteadily between walls and woman. "I just need to go, for now. I'll be back for him after all this shit is over. He knows my number."

Sonny isn't watching. He's got his eyes closed to try and stop the sick feeling from actually resulting in sickness. His stomach wasn't exactly stable before, what with the cocktail of painkillers. Now it's positively churning at all the repercussions of this meeting. Maybe when he opens his eyes, his mother and his boyfriend won't be having a chat.

"Nonsense. I'll put you on the guest list. I'll say you're a cousin." Melinda's face cracks a small smile. "He has many cousins." She tilts her head and examines Teo, whether he's avoiding her gaze or not. "If you run away because of me, he will never forgive me. Boys never forgive their mothers for things like that." Her voice is quiet, indicating that although she knows her son can hear, she means that for Teodoro.

Later on, she'll be hit with the reality of this, of how complicated this makes her son's life. But for now she's being a strong, understanding woman who wants to do what's best for her family.

"I'll give you ten minutes, then the guard will be dismissed for five. That should give you enough time to leave." She looks back to her son. "Salvatore. I'll be back in after that, all right?" And then she turns for the door. "If you want to come back, say your name is…Marco Bernini. Diana has so many boys that no one can keep track."

"Okay." The acquiescence sounds mechanical, and in a sense it is. The cog turns, the wheel spins, and the metal parts clink and clank until the words produce themselves with acceptable make and flimsy material, off the factory belt. Teodoro's difficulty with lying is proportional to his difficulty with expressing himself. He knows a dozen languages and he's garbage, still, at saying the right thing.

'Okay' works, hopefully. He watches the woman leave in a panicky, nerveless sort of stiffness, his legs rigidly steepled on the floor, still balanced on the balls of his feet as if on the brink of flight. Security would have cut him down seconds in, probably, unless he invoked the panic button, but his instincts are honed to this after so many months. If you can't fight, you get the Hell out. Last resort, comes the self-destruct. Despite the static bleeding into his hearing and the sloppy shadows in his eyes, Teo knows that this isn't time, yet.

"Your mom seems nice."

It sounds much dumber out loud than it did in his head. He glances down at his lover's sickened face in the pillow and puts his hand on the coverlet. "Should I believe her? Don't just say 'yes' because—" Because you don't want me to leave, he was going to say, but he does not. That, he realizes, would be far too great a discourtesy than anything Sonny deserves.

Sonny doesn't open his eyes until he hears the sound of the door shutting in his mother's wake. He opens his eyes, pulls in a deep, shuddering breath and tilts his head as much as he's able towards Teo. His eyes move from his lover to a pad of paper and a pencil at his bedside. If he wants a more complex answer than a movement of his eyes, Sonny's going to have to write it down.

He doesn't fear for his health. The doctors here know he's a doctor, so they didn't sugarcoat his diagnosis and spoke in medical terms about just what his injuries are. It will take time, but he'll recover, will feel better with each passing day. The bones in his hands are the most damaged, but given his power, he should be able to right them once he's healed. No, the damage here is to his relationship with Teo, and to his reputation.

Sonny hadn't been the only one of two who didn't want to believe this conversation had to happen. Teo is a long moment stalling and watching the stationery at the bedside before he finally takes them up. The pad of paper, the pencil, his thumb keeping the two sandwiched into portability as he brings them over. Rests them on Sonny's stomach gently, before reaching to shift the doctor's hand over and stop the writing implement from rolling off.

Tilting backward a half-step, he glances to and fro. Locates the panel of cot-side switches, studies their simplified iconography a moment before he hits the one for the light. It blinks on to the first and dimmest setting, though another courageous nudge of his finger brightens it to the second. It's almost embarrassing, how much faith that simple act takes of him; he's watching the door all the while.

Sonny winces as the light invades his eyes. He blinks, takes a moment to focus, then looks down at the pencil and pad of paper. Thankfully, it was his left hand that was shattered. He can still write, though his handwriting is shaky at best. He scratches out a few words across the page, then taps at the pad so that Teo can read it.

Mom won't tell.
Knows how to keep secrets.
Didn't tell him about my power until I was ready.
This would hurt dad's career and me.
You can trust her.

He watches expectantly as Teo reads what he's written. His hand clenches and relaxes, then reaches for the button that delivers a much-needed dribble of morphine into his system.

"A big block-letter 'Yes' would've done the trick," Teo says, cracking a wan half a smile. In the improved light, however slight that improvement was, the expression is visible despite the obfuscation of the hood dragged up over his spiky-haired skull. His eyes are smiling too. Always a good sign, though Sonny has never actually seen Teodoro try and fake one of those before.

He's a happy boy underneath it all, or simple enough to pass for it even when shit is happening in overly creative permutations and unimaginable quantity. He watches the good Doctor toggle his painkillers, his shoulders tightening up around his ears as if he's huddling against the sudden intrusion of cold weather. Only, there's been no change in the air filtered into the room. "So I just have to make sure she believes I'm not a threat. How hard could that possibly be?

"Don't start." They know each other well enough that he can say that before Sonny starts to scribble some sort of retort, spreading his fingers over the pad of paper to waylay it. They also know each other well enough that he can make it sound playful, almost, the tiredness of it a joke as old and familiar as Teodoro's habits because Salvatore's are syncopated responses to them. He's dangerous, but nothing is his fault. "I'm glad."

Sonny cracks a smile too, though that's difficult to do given the wire in his mouth. He picks up the pencil again and writes,

Started out on a good foot.
You needed to see I was okay.
Got in her good books.
Try to stay there.

Those two words are underlined twice for emphasis. He pauses long enough to write,

Stay away from dad.
He'll ask too many questions.

There's a pause as he considers what he's going to write next. Then,

Don't let Abby heal me.
She doesn't need this publicity.
I'll be OK.

"I think she'll insist, publicity or no, but I'll try and make sure they keep it on the down-low." Teodoro's eyes move back and forth between the unfilled margins of the page, rerunning over the short lines scribbled out by the blunt of his lover's fingers. His mouth finds a thin line, tense, before relaxing. "I'll try," he repeats. "Staying on your mom's good side.

"And out of your old man's way…" His expression purges gradually, and he angles his gaze back over at the door, uneasily. He's yet to take the clock out of his peripheral vision at all. "She's going to fucking figure it out, isn't she? That your guy isn't exactly… security in here isn't complete shit. I don't exist. I'm— she's not asking questions, but how hard is it going to be to figure out that Ian Rowling from the lease doesn't fucking exist. She's smart like you're smart.

"Oh, Christ." Teo segues out of speech as unhelpfully as he had spilled into words. "It'll be fine." Grimacing faintly, he leans in. His shadow wrinkles over the stretch of blankets over Sonny's torso, and he's more careful this time, force and arc of movement carefully restrained to match the brutal damage framing his lover's sealed jaws. A peck to the lips.

Sonny picks up the pencil again. He looks from Teo to the paper, then turns the page.

She won't ask questions she doesn't want the answer to.
Please take these pages with you.

Otherwise he's just written a transcript of their conversation for anyone wandering through to read.

He almost drops the pencil, but then pauses, eyes his lover and writes.

I'm sorry baby.

Then he drops the paper, moves his lips faintly under the kiss and lifts a hand to cup the side of Teo's cheek. He closes his eyes and runs his fingers over the familiar line of his face, the scratch of faint stubble. But then it starts to ache to hold his arm up and he reluctantly lets it drop. He doesn't pick up the pencil again, but his eyes say it for him. You should go.

Hardly the most titillating token of parting affection Teodoro could come up with, but given the parental walk-ins and trainwreck of injury made of Sonny's anatomy. He closes long fingers close on the pages. There's a wrench of his arm, twist, and the paper parts from its binding with the adjustment of pressure.

Makes a tearing sound, leaves a ragged edge of severed sheets. Teodoro folds them between the forefingers and thumbs of both hands, shuffles them away into the inside of his jacket. "Me, too," he says, and it's a different kind to his usual sort of sorry. Pale eyes shift back over his shoulder again, swinging the door into the middle of his vision and out of his blurred peripheral. There's a thin breath out, screened through his teeth; he rubs knuckles across his face and refrains from striking something blunt with his head.

The absence of visible shadows outside the door invites him to move through it. He waves once, briefly. "Fino alla prossima voita."

Sonny doesn't know what Teo said, but the sound of the Italian is enough to make him smile, even though it hurts to do so. He lifts his hand one last time in what could be a reach towards him or a wave, depending on your interpretation.

The drugs are making him sleepy, despite all the new things he has to think about. At least his stomach seems to have calmed.

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