Pulling Stitches


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Pulling Stitches
Synopsis Sonny and Teo have their first night in the new place, despite the fact it's been rented for awhile. They talk Phoenix, Sonny pulls stitches and Teo gives a gift.
Date March 9, 2009

Connor and Teo's Apartment

It's been an awkward and busy week or so. Sonny's been forced to wrestle with concerns of his life that seem trivial while dreading the issues that don't. He's been walking mostly in a haze, oscillating between the life of Connor Kinney and that of Dr. Bianco. Each have elements of reality. Each has aspects that are more him than the other. It's a mindfuck.

The dual apartments have added to the confusion. This one in Chinatown has been furnished as if a man that doesn't really exist lived here. He went as nondescript, as middle-of-the-road as his expensive taste could handle. But it's all fully furnished now. There's a simple brown sofa with a cream area rug, simple but sturdy wooden furniture. There's an artful map of the world framed, that fills one wall and a computer desk with a high end, but not top of the line laptop. The bedrooms are currently more sparsely furnished, especially the 'spare' room that still has an unassembled bed and furniture still wrapped in plastic. The master is more neatly stowed away, with a large mattress and a leather-wrapped headboard. It's all high end Sears as opposed to high design.

Sonny is himself, even if the worn jeans and black t-shirt with white collar and cuffs is more suited to Kinney. He's dozing on the couch with the TV on low. It's LCD, but not massive. A compromise.

A key grates in the lock, reverberates through the door too faint for a drowsy man to hear, before it swings inward in front of one Teodoro Laudani. He looks better than before. More tired, less injured, somewhere between ruddy from the cold and greedy for the heat. "Buona sera." He boots go flying off his feet, jettisoned; his coat almost hits the floor before a quick jerk of his elbow halts it a few inches short. He peels the garment the rest of the way off, swings his green messenger bag onto the floor with a swerve of his shoulder. "I got you something."

The next moment, he arrives neatly on the couch on top of Sonny, where 'neatly' is constituted of limbs sprawling lawlessly everywhere and his spine gone completely posture-slack, slumped into the concave of the older man's stomach. He smells of cigarettes and yesterday's soap. "I like this couch," he decides.

Sonny jerks out of his groggy state at the sound of familiar Italian words. He blinks a bit blearily, but before he can stand to greet Teo, there's a weight on top of him. "Mhmmm. Take it you're feeling better?" He scrubs his fingers over the Italian's shaved head, then inhales. "Eugh. Ashtray boy. But, the water pressure's good here. So that should scrub right out."

He lifts his arms and squeezes Teo in a friendly, almost playful hug. "Y'back for more than a few hours this time?" He isn't imagining it's the case, but the doc can hope. His fingers gently probe at the spots where he knows there are injuries. Hey, he's still a doc.

Poked, Teo shifts, pulling his limbs out of the way of this tactile intrusion, leery of pain despite a lack of actual fear of it. "'M gonna sleep here tonight, if there's room," he replies, trying to peel off his socks without using his hands. It kind of works. His feet kick and flail a lot before his toes manage to hook in, steered by his bristly head craned forward.

"Feeling better," he confirms. "Want to get my fucking stitches out soon, if that's doable? It's a pain in the ass not being able to bend around properly because the threads won't let me, and that isn't even a dirty joke." He cups two rough hands over his face and breathes on himself to check his breath, before sticking his nose into his sweater collar. It's true. He does stink. Not enough public health bulletins on Staten Island.

Sonny wrinkles his nose again, then reaches down to gently slap Teo on the backside. "Why don't you go get a shower? I've got a frozen pizza that I'll throw in the oven. Then I'll have a look at your stitches, see if they're ready to come out?" His hand lifts to rub and massage over Teo's neck and shoulders. It's one place he knows he won't encounter stitches and inadvertantly hurt.

He draws back far enough to smile at Teo. He needs a trim, or to magicaly shorten his hair up a bit. He's getting a serious Italifro. He leans in and kisses Teo's nosetip. He'd mouth-kiss, but he has a feeling the Italian tastes like ashtray as much as he smells like one.

Frozen pizza? There's a smiling, "'Kay. Fine." And then there is a beat's stare. Framed by the riotous hooks and curlicues of his lengthening hair, Sonny looks a smiling face in the middle of a black rose. After a moment, Teo gets up with what appears to require effort, a grip on the armrest and a stiff shunt of his torso, partly because he hadn't been kidding about the stitches, and partly because he doesn't want to get up if he's become privvy to shoulder-rubs.

Nevertheless, he will do this thing. Salvatore's withholding. Unacceptable terms. Though hygiene tends to be a short-lived state of being when he gets to come home, the getting clean part isn't what he particularly relishes. His footfalls are uneven, stumping toward the bathroom.

The baby terrorist stops only to drag some of the other man's pyjamas out of a drawer he identifies easily after having observed Sonny's habits for some time. His feet slap against bathroom tile and the light goes on, flinging a pale rectangle across the floor before he blocks it out with the door. He leaves behind a trace of cigarette smoke and two socks discarded on the floor in front of Sonny's feet, like a wink of facetious mockery.

Sonny would have pulled Teo back down after that look and the fingers in his hair. He would have, were it not for the unpleasant halo of cigarette smoke. It's harder too, being that he's an ex-smoker himself. It smells as tempting as it does offensive.

And yes, frozen pizza, bought voluntarily. Not gourmet, not take-out. The kind you preheat the oven, maybe add a little bit of extra cheese to, and bake. Which is what Sonny does while the water runs in the shower.

As he putters about the kitchen, he can't help but smile to himself. Despite the fights, the angst, the differing concepts of what the relationship is and their incompatibilities, he's still fairly content. Because when it's good, it's good.

By the time Teo's finished the shower, Sonny's got an oven mitt on his hand and is sliding a piping hot, store-bought, rising crust Delisio pizza out of the oven. The scent of pizza fills the apartment.

And there's an overgrown child cross-legged on one of the dining chairs, a green towel wreathed around his neck and his brow stooped low, grimly serious, humorless as war, squinting hard at the stitches trooping up his arm even as he worries with the threads using the fingernails of his other hand. "They're totally fucking ready to come out," he insists, withdrawing his hand in order to hold his wrist up to the light, the better for Sonny to see, despite that Sonny has his hands full of piping hot pie right now. "No blood, no infection, and I'm all waterproof.

"And this sucks." It is a most compelling conclusion to his argument, surely. He folds his arms up in a macho-man posture, manages to hold it for all of three seconds before his limbs collapse into a lazy cross pillowing the back of his head, holding himself upright until the pizza comes in range to blow at. Teo's breath smells of spearmint.

Sonny winces as a bit of hot pan catches his wrist as he sets the pizza down. Chef he is not. But hey, it's neither burnt nor undercooked! That's what happens when you read the directions. "Hey look, look." He trots back into the kitchen, then opens a drawer. With a flourish, he pulls out a pizza cutter, then returns to the table, triumphant. Hey, when your pizza comes pre-sliced from a restaurant, there's no need to have one of those. He probably bought the frozen pizza just so he could use the cutter. Tada!

He sets it down though, seeing as Teo's being insistant about the stitches. Surgeon's fingers encircle Teo's wrist as he pulls the arm towards him for inspection. "Mmm. A few of these can come out, but not the bigger ones. They still need some mending. D'ya want me to fix the scarring afterwards?" The offer is casual.

Through some stroke of restless genius or possibly an aneurysm, Teo ends up with one hand in Sonny's grip and the other experimentally wielding a pizza cutter. Fortunately, his physical coordination is good enough that his lover isn't in immediate danger of losing curls or eyeballs or fingers to the implement. "Damn.

"I can't believe we have one of these. I don't know anyone who does," he says, holding that up against the light too, studying the yellow illumination as it limns the rounded blade. He glances down at the stitch currently undergoing examination, frowns at the assessment and, leaning in, he looks for a moment like he's about to do something really stupid — like try to saw the black zag open with the cutter in question, but he stops with a brutish caveman's laugh.

"No," just as casually, belying the odd glance he casts upward, "but thank you. Hey! You burned yourself," he adds. He puts the pointy object down in order to snare Sonny by his own afflicted limb, turning the network of their arms and hands into an odd polygon of tender study. It could be worse. Occasionally, things are good. In the tone of great authority, Teo says, "You should put cold water on it, Doctor."

"I did not burn myself. I touched a moderately hot pan for a fraction of a second. That doesn't even fall into the category of burns. I know, I am a doctor." Sonny says that in his best 'soap opera' voice, complete with one dramatically lifted eyebrow.

He reaches out to snag the pizza cutter from Teo's hand, as if he's actually worried it'll be used to saw out stitches. "I will remove most of these after we eat, okay?" Then he leans down to claim a kiss of minty freshness before it's contaminated with cheese and pepperoni. He shifts forward and cups both sides of Teo's face and lets the kiss linger for a few indulgent moments.

Someday, Teo will be badass enough to get rid of stitches with a switchblade, and then… and then they'll see. Until then, the pie-cutting instrument is surrendered to gravity and Sonny's grasp without objection. Teo's hands have better things to do. There's a grip on Sonny's T-shirt to discourage parting, and a neat row of four, freshly-scrubbed fingernails weave the line of Sonny's neck and the apple of his throat, grating a tactile thrill out of thin skin in an effort to get the other man's mouth open. Just a small gap and brief are acceptable parameters; it's just been awhile since Teo's tongue curled up in someone else's mouth and it was beginning to worry it had forgotten how that worked.

Like riding a bike.

Five seconds of time surrendered and six inches of personal space regained, Teo then has his grabby mitts full of pizza. Very politely, he says, "Thank you for the food, signor. How was work?"

No objections from the doctor. In fact, the only objection that Sonny does give is when those six inches are given. But yes. Pizza first, then it's time to ride the bike. Ahem.

He sinks into the chair next to Teo and tugs out his own slice of pizza. "Mmgh. It was…work. The usual. Nothing exciting. The trailer farm stuff's going okay. Not quite how I thought it'd be, but I'm figuring it out. The being a different person thing's harder than I thought." He takes a bite and then frowns around a mouthful of pepperoni and cheese.

"Heard your talk with the other spy fella went well, at least," Teo remarks, seguing neatly from being consummately adorable or horny or whatever to the business half of their relationship. He cants a half a grin up from the lumpy horizon of his pizza slice, sits back in his seat above the pretzelling of his legs. He pulls his head back, chews his mouthful up and downs it before continuing with ease that indicates, perhaps surprisingly, that he honestly does believe it had gone well.

Not that that locks this conversation strictly inside demarcations of pleasant. Teo drops his gaze to his pie slice, thumbs a strand of hardening cheese aside. "Guy didn't tell me anything I hadn't kind of figured — or you hadn't told me. You're not so much up for running around and shooting to kill, but you'd be good as long as you don't have to get in too deep. Sound about right?"

Surprise registers on Sonny's face at those words. Well? That wasn't the impression he walked away with. "Really? That's what he told you?" He rubs at his chin and laughs disbelievingly. "It…felt like I was being interrogated. He kept throwing questions at me about whether I'd kill and under which cirucmstances I'd kill and if I knew ju jitsu or some shit. I thought I gave off a very poor impression." What with getting defensive, flailing and refusing to answer questions.

He looks down at the pizza slice, then sets it down and runs his hands over a napkin. "Tay…" He sets a hand on Teo's knee and squeezes gently. He bites the edge of his lip. "Maybe I was wrong to push this." The words are spoken quietly. "I…pushed you in to just…being with me. Now I feel like I'm pushing my way into this other side of your life. S'not right. If I'm gonna do this, I want it to be because you want me there. Not 'cause I elbowed my way in."

Contradiction comes swiftly and stubbornly, Teo's face all sharp angles of denial. "You didn't fucking push me into doing anything." Whether or not that's strictly speaking true probably lies a lot with semantics and his rather shakey Catholic interpretation of free will, period, but when he says it, he certainly believes it. When his knee is given a squeeze, he picks it up, straightens his leg and flops it out across Sonny's lap, apparently unwary of stinging missiles of hot cheese or other dislodged pizza components.

Half-turned, his elbow ends up tossed over the back of the chair. Teo shrugs. "Had to remind him we're not all the same departments all the time, but yeah. Otherwise, really. 'S what he told me." A red disc of pepperoni comes loose between his thumb and forefinger; he glances between it and the other man's face a few times before ending up, finally, on the pork. "People don't join Phoenix because I want them there. That's never the point. Why do you want to be there?

"I mean, you've talked about your gilded cage and hero complex and shit and I get it, that's cool, but I mean if what would stop you is…" Me, he thinks; doesn't say. "Doesn't sound like anybody else's membership application I've ever read—"

Sonny takes a deep breath and scoots his chair forward a little so that the leg is not in such an awkward position. He scrubs at his chin and the faint hint of peppery stubble there. "I want to be there, because I want to help. I want to do something worthwhile. I want to be a part of the fight that others like me've been going through their whole lives. I've been…stuck apart from it, partially by my situation, but these last few years, by my own choice."

He exhales and picks up his pizza slice again. But he pauses before the slice has reached his mouth. "If you said you didn't want me there, I'd find a way to help in a different way. I've made up my mind that I'm not gonna keep on like I've been these last few years. It's driving me crazy to sit on my ass while other people make a difference. You…you're part of that. And I want to be part of that too. And not just because you're there. That's one part of it, sure. Being in the dark bothers me. But that's not the only reason. If it wasn't Phoenix, it would be some other way." The other way would most likely involve Teo being in the dark or not always aware of what it is that Sonny's doing.

If not for long. Teo has a way of finding things out about people— part of his job. Part of his character, by now. Don't think he's entirely unaware of that subtle threat; it's been there lurking behind every fuckin' time Sonny goes all guilded cage Bruce Wayne on him. There's a slight narrowing to Teo's eyes as he munches pizza, listens, or at least gives convincing appearance thereof.

An argument seems imminent in the knot of his brow and the sharpening lines of his shoulders. Eating pizza pie becomes, momentarily, a very stiffly mechanical process, down to the cut and sawing of his own jaws. Teo gets quiet in that way he does when he's obviously somewhere else. It doesn't happen often, but far more than it used to. And then—


The look, the tension, all of it - it causes a knot to form in the pit of Sonny's stomach. He drops the pizza to the plate and wipes his fingers off on a napkin. "Don't give me that look, Teo. I rethought this because of that look. Now you're giving me it again. What is it? Just tell me."

The doc grits his teeth, twists his jaw and leans one elbow on the table. "What should I do? Sides go back to the way my life was and being totally miserable, but safe?"

"Nothing, I just…" The last segment of crust is shunted back into Teo's mouth with a brusque push of his thumb. He bites down, molars eliciting a crack as if he were gnawing through cartlidge. He wipes infintessimal crumbs off the corner of his mouth with his knuckles, making a slight face at the scrape of carbohydrate granules on his skin. "I just—"

Am selfish, says the guilt marching loud over Teo's face as he bows his head slightly underneath the ceiling light. "I liked having someone outside what I did for a fucking living. Someone who was just —" he pauses, inarticulate, struggling to balance the vastness of the sentiment and the smallness that his egocentrism deforms it to, "mine. Y'know?" He shades a glance up at the other man then tilts in his chair, pulling his leg back. "But I understand.

"You want to do something right by the world, and you want it as bad as any other Phoenix operative I've ever met, so… You're in." Teo's bare foot dangles to the floor and he gets up to find himself a glass of water.

Sonny watches Teo move off to the kitchen. His expression is deeply thoughtful. His fingers splay and loop through his messy curls. "Didn't bother you? Not feeling like you could tell me what's going on with you? Feeling like I had to stay on the outside?" He inhales slowly. "I don't plan on fighting the ground war. And I still have responsibilities I can't get away from. I'm never going to be fully in it like you are."

He looks down at the pizza. Clearly, he's not particularly hungry. "This is still going to be a respite for you, Teo. With me. I promise I won't get so deep in that we both can't escape it. All I'm talking about is being one step more aware than I am with the Ferrymen. Just knowing, not always doing. So I can help you if I'm useful in some situation. Make it safer for you to do what you do. To be on-hand to patch people up if you know shit is going to go bad."

"It was good having something else to talk about. Besides—" Inside the kitchen, Teo motions vaguely with one hand. There's a cold glass of water clasped in his other. "Girls getting their hands cut off because we won't let terrorists kill the world's most powerful cyberpath. You know. Shit gets ugly. And we don't— really talk about it that much inside Phoenix, anyway."

Maybe they should. Or maybe it's merely, pathetically telling, that the Sicilian kid has learned to become as used to keeping secrets from his circle of comrades as he is from his civilian lover. Helena Dean had told him, after all, that leadership was all smoke and mirrors. Lucrezia Bennati had told him, separately, that he ought to, safest, happiest, either let the right one in or strike them out of his life in entirety, but one way or another, to choose.

It might be the lazy way out, that he's decided to let Sonny choose for him. Teo comes back on a slap-slap tread of bare feet, first across cold tile then onto old wood. He puts his butt on his chair again, and his toes on the edge of Sonny's, ten piggies curled up underneath the edge of the good Doctor's thigh. "'M sorry. I'm just really— paranoid."

Sonny scoots his chair close again as Teo returns, so their knees touch when he's turned sideways. "I can handle shit getting ugly. I should handle it. You guys are fighting for people like me. So we don't get the shit-end of the stick. I wanna know what you're doing. Besides, I'm a doctor, a surgeon. I worked in a New York City emergency room for almost two years. I've seen all the horrible shit people do to each other. And I've had to patch them up."

He reaches out and slides his hand over the side of Teo's face as if tucking back long hair that isn't there. "You're a hell of a strong man, Tay. But you gotta lean your weight a little, else I'm scared you're going to buckle."

There's a trace of an insolent look at that. Buckle. Despite being a language nerd and enamored of poetry, Teo has enough residual machismo — or self-loathing, whatever — running around in his brain that his first reaction is to scoff at such well-intended fears.

He twists his mouth, staring steadily at Sonny for a moment, visibly suppressing the urge to insist his lover is simply and dismissively being dramatic.

Instead, he glances away, at the forsaken pizza with its sharp-cornered pieces missing and scent dissolving slowly in the air. "I guess it should come as no surprise to you that I'm one of Phoenix's leaders." His tone almost isn't one. Toneless, mirthless, factual. "Right now, I'm the only fucking one, because the other — our real boss — got shipped off to Moab Federal Penitentiary. And I have to get her back."

"I didn't think you were the type to take the back seat, no," says Sonny. But those words are fond. He continues to work surgeon's hands gently over the side of Teo's neck, over the bristly hair and down his neck. His other hand reaches out to squeeze one of the Italian's, fingers threading gently.

The news about Teo's desire to break into Moab elicits a blink and a faint look of surprise. There's a moment of pause, then, "Let me help you." His eyes drop to the stitches on Teo's arm. "Still want me to take these out now?" The last is an afterthought. He's afraid of pushing now that he's become aware of how much he's done it lately.

Teo's eyelids cast downward, halfway narrowed in a way that could be termed neither dozey nor alert at the press of fingers at his neck. He's gotten physically — if not psychologically — used to carrying a few ounces less metal around in his head, but that hasn't quite brought an end to muscle tension.

"Yyyyep," he replies, after a moment too long. He lifts his head, and the gallows' humor twist of his mouth evens out into a smile. A nice smile. Reaches his eyes. "That'd be good. It's fucking irritating not being able to move around like I want to."

"Well, sir. Step into my office. I will be with you in a moment," Sonny puts on his best 'doctorly' voice, then smiles warmly in return. He stands and then releases the hand after giving it a squeeze. "Take your shirt off. I'm just going to wash up and grab my tools. You might want to pop a few painkillers. This might sting a bit."

The subject of helping with missions is set aside for the moment. He'd like to enjoy this bit of quiet time before his lover's off to tear himself up again, only to limp home again.

It's hard not to know what Sonny's thinking when he's stumping around like that, pasting optimism over the gaping injury meted out by past demands and future blood. Teodoro isn't in the mood to dwell either, though. Nor is he in the mood for painkillers, for that matter, but he knows where he stashed his prescription and goes to get it while Sonny trawling the rest of the small space for the appropriate implements.

By the time the doctor is ready, so is the patient. Granted, the patient didn't have to do a lot. Ate his pills, drank his water, stripped off his shirt — currently hanging off his knee. He's holding something else across his lap, however, taped up in clear plastic that scrunches audibly when Teo lifts it up and flaps it at him. "For you," he says. There's cloth, cream-colored, a trace of a complex print pattern throwing a sharp black curve across the folded edge.

Sonny grabs hold of one of the kitchen chairs as he's walking by and positions it in such a way that his shadow won't be blocking the light. He drops a kit with sterilized instruments down on the table and snaps on a pair of rubber gloves. He's about to reach for one of the stitches when the package is produced. He blinks. "Oh, you were serious. I thought my present was you jumping into my lap." He curls a grin that he manages to make boyish, despite the fact he's nearly thirty.

Sonny sets the surgical scissors down and snaps off the glove so he can take the package. "What's this? And…why?" Not that he sounds anything but pleased. Aww.

"'Cause you don't have enough cool shit, and this way, even if you're Kinney I'll know you by your 'fro." Teo's laughing at him, now. Salvatore would have to be a lot denser than he is not to know it, but it's the harmless kind of laughter, silent behind two rows of white teeth and earnest light behind the Sicilian's baby blues, fuzzy from painkillers. Teo's stitches show stark black against his winter pallor.

He doesn't ask Sonny to open it, but that's probably just because he's nervous or something. Sonny probably should anyway. It's just a T-shirt. The sort that would give a boyish thirty-year-old instant street cred among a demographic of boyish thirty-year-olds. Jimi Hendrix's curly head is printed across the chest, and he's haloed in a post-modern nimbus of sandy, distressed textures, rust reds, paint spatter and lines that mimick wrought steel. For all the rock and roll and use of visual noise, the pattern is centered, colors faded, almost minimalistic — arguably tasteful that way.

"He's like, the only American singer I've ever really listened to," Teo admits, scratching blunt nails down his tattooed bicep.

"Is that your way of telling me I need a haircut?" Sonny squints and purses his lips by way of feigning indignance. He reaches out and gently paws the side of Teo's face. Bat, bat. Goober.

Then he looks down at the package and opens it up. He unfolds the shirt and holds it up. There's a moment where he looks it over and then says, with a quirked grin, "Groovy, man." And that's not just being goofy. He means it. "Nice. Thanks, babe." He leans in and presses a quick kiss. "My present to you in return. Some pain! Hold still." He folds the shirt and sets it well out of the way, then snaps the glove back on and picks up the surgical scissors.

Never one to fear pain, precisely, Teo doesn't squirm or get squeamish on his companion; he laughs. Out loud, this time. Stretches his arms out, bare against the wood of the table.

There's that newest tattoo at his upper-chest, its shade lacking the density that comes with multiple inkings, the stylized-simplified silhouette of horse's head. The bolder black letterforms of Vivaldi's poetry twist slightly as he turns, figuring out where to put his appendage that Sonny's scissors and light might both have access. He avoids staring, somehow resists the urge to hook his fingers back into the older man's shirt and haul him close again.

Distractions from distractions from work. "Read your Pause article," Teo says instead, glancing toward the television's silent face. "Warmth, eh?"

Sonny is a gentle doc and he has steady hands. It doesn't exactly tickle to have stitches pulled, but neither does it produce eye-watering pain. His eyes stay wide and focused as he pulls gently at the black threads, snips at knots and deposits the filaments on a nearby tray. Once one set of stitches have been removed, he dabs the area with a cotton swab and a bit of stinging alcohol, then moves on to the next.

"When'd you get this?" the doc asks as his gloved fingers slide over the image of the horse. Then he's back to his careful stitch-removal, face only inches from Teo's skin, breath coming in warm exhalations. He smells like a new shampoo - something almost honey-like. Probably from a high-end salon.

The mention of the article brings a chuckle and another brush of warm air against the bare skin. "Oh, fuck. You know how many times my publicist and my dad went over that article? I couldn't exactly say 'smoking hot Italian boy with tatts and bedroom eyes' now, could I?"

"Little while ago," Teo replies. His head is tilted a few degrees, gaze angled down past the line of Sonny's intent profile, watching the scissors' steel bite through fibers with serenity that fails to be funereal. It stands to reason, of course, that a young man wearing as much ink as he is has no fear of needles or blades. Neither tend to elicit the gooseflesh and odd breathing that the surgeon himself does. "Figured that white knight bullshit deserves to be immortalized as much as the rest of the crap my life carries around," he explains, belatedly.

Something bumps into the side of Sonny's head, without enough force to do more than leave a slight impression on curls that rebound almost instantly. "You were supposed to talk about qualities," he points out glibely. "'Smoking hot Italian boy with tats and bedroom eyes' isn't a fucking quality."

Sonny laughs and shakes his head. "Hey now. Don't go bumping me when I've got pointy little scissors an eigth of an inch from your skin." He dabs another one of the wounds and dresses this one with a bandaid. Bleeding a little. He shifts the chair and works on the next.

"Don't think I could break you down into a list, Tay," murmurs the doc in a fond, warm way. "You're…you. And you do things to me. How 'bout sexy…" snip on stitch. "…poetic. Heroic. Broody in a way that makes me want to slap you sometimes and rip your pants off another." He lifts a shoulder. Snip goes another stich. "Exotic. Intelligent. Should I keep going? I'm sure you can translate those all into qualities. 'Exoticness'?" Another small laugh.

That probably can't be attributed entirely to Teodoro's virtues, though. He's pretty sure. There are a lot of things you can do to Salvatore Bianco. Everyone knows that. The list in Teo's head is simultaneously gaining length and focus while the good Doctor sets about replacing thread with sterile bandaging.

"You don't have to keep going, signor" Teo says, always the paragon of being very polite — whenever he isn't beating the shit out of somebody or vice versa, anyway. His toes flex visibly from where he has his feet pushed in underneath his shins. Blood smudges translucent and sticky across his arm. "I think it's distracting you.

Lots of things, yes. But a shorter list that Salvatore would consider highly pleasurable. "Just one more. I have to leave the two big ones a few more days at least, maybe longer. I know you said you didn't want me removing the scars, but this big one on your side is going to have some scar tissue that's probably going to be uncomfortable."

He stays in doctor mode just long enough to pull out and swab the last wound. "There." And then the gloves are snapped off and the scissors set aside. He wastes no time once his hands are free and leans in for a long, lingering kiss that is anything but chase. How's that for bedside manner?

It's really good for bedside manner, or so says the erstwhile football hooligan, who probably isn't qualified to comment, really.


The word comes out a little muffled, both delayed and abbreviated by the press of eagerly open mouths that frame it both both physically and temporally, but Teo's delighted acquiescence is otherwise obvious enough. There's been enough talking conversation. Though the alternative has no real power to hold back darkness, it's the best way he can think of to spend it. Later, maybe, they'll climb back up here and Sonny will give him his legs back, too.


March 9th: Bowling for Muldoon
March 10th: Apology is Not an Option
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