bella_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Relief
Synopsis The third therapy session would appear to be their last. Bella does a little psychoanalysis on the Greek hero, but it's Teo who brings the curatives for her ills. And, coincidentally, a certain cane.
Date October 18, 2009

Staten Island — A Barge

Awful dingy in here.

Bella did not like doing her surgical rotation. The blood, the torn flesh, the hair raising precision it required, all made her very glad hers was a psychiatric degree in the end. She had hoped to put forceps and surgical thread behind her, to say nothing of scalpals. But now the first two, at least, she's had to reaquaint herself with.

The stitch on her leg isn't exactly top knotch, but that's what happens when you perform an operation on yourself with no real anesthetic. Special forces badass and Batman can handle this sort of thing no problem, but she's a civvie. It's a wonder in and of itself that she's come out of shock as quickly as she has. Because she got shot, if you hadn't heard. Her captor shot her, in the leg, a fact that, even if the pulsing pain under the bandage were not sufficient to stop her from forgetting, the bullet lying on the ground in a small, dark pool of blood would be quite enough to remind her of.

The first aid kit Teo, the aforementioned captor, brought to help fix the damage he caused, lies open and in serious disarray on the bed next to Bella, her initial foray into its contents being one if not of panic than of extreme shakey-handed nerves. But here she is, more or less intact, looking pale but still quite alive, her pale eyes staring in unfocused fashion on a point on the wall just next to the doorway, her breath in syncopation with the very subtle sway of the water way beneath the floor.

It was harder to hear Teo when he'd come in before, because he walked quieter before he'd made a gimp out of his captive, or because her senses are somewhat more finely attuned than they had been before, or some peculiar amalgam of reasoning. He's easy to notice now. The door is loud at the other end of the barge cabin, a ringing scrape, sheet metal and fatly mushroom-headed bolts erupting noise and channeling kinesis through molecules of alloy and rust. He shuts it with equal clangor. Doesn't bother locking. It's been night out for awhile now, so the bleached cast of his skin and hair passing underneath the hallway lights, drawing rapid approach, is the brightest thing she's seen for as long.

Nocturnal activity doesn't seem to suit him, insofar as that he looks tired and damp. Nothing nearly so bad as how being shot in the leg doesn't suit her, of course. It would seem that he has something for her besides the promised change of clothes and medical kit, however: in his hand, carried, there's a three foot shaft of tubed steel, lacquer-black, one end tipped by a wrought silver wolf's head with its muzzle bent around a snarl, a walking cane that the regularity of his gait, however fatigued, assures that Teo himself has no use for it. He stops at the door. "Buona sera."

Bella's eyes snap pretty quickly to Teo when he appears, but only once he appears. The sounds of his approach didn't seem to get to her, register, or at least draw a physical sign of attention. The focus returns to her eyes. She's not catatonic or anything, just letting her mind wander since it's not hobbled. Her tone is flat when she replies, the tone of someone conserving energy.

"Sorry. I took French in high school," is her reply. She notices the walking cane, just sort of stares at it like 'what the hell' only not incredulity so much as puzzled blankness, produced by a tension between two 'what the hell's, one 'what the hell is that' and the other 'what the hell is that for'. The tension isn't resolved. She just looks back up at him. "Any word from Dalton?" being the only question she's really interested in having answered, at the moment.

"I've let her know I'm coming in to—" —What day is it? Teo's features ease briefly blank. "Today." It only takes him a moment to finish, and when that moment is over he lifts his foot above the edge of the hatchdoor's frame, comes clopping in on a gait only a little bit gentler than a horse's trot across cobblestones. "With any luck, she'll want to talk. Or, you know, at least pin me down and telepathically gut your location out of my head before actually shooting me in the head." He's making allowance for her best case scenario, as it differs to his, which is kind of like generosity, not quite an apology by any stretch of the term.

The cane flips in his hand like a baton. He stoops to lean it against the wall adjacent the foot of her cot, carefully, carefully, though not carefully enough that he doesn't have to catch it and adjust it a few degrees of rotation before it stops threatening to skip down and bang onto the floor. It's a walking cane. For walking. In case she feels like walking.

There is a gleam of hope, an instant of suspicion, then the simmer of consideration. All this in the handful of seconds after Teo confirms that yes, he has heard from Sabra Dalton. Bella inclines her head slightly. "With any luck, we'll both end up with what we want," she says, politely refusing his offer of her best case scenario for the more diplomatic compromise. Such magnanimity. The engaged, conversational affect in not entirely present in her voice. She sounds like she's reading off a script she isn't really enthusiastic about. Not exactly high school Romeo and Juliet aloud level dead, but bored and a little absent.

Again with the walking stick, which she knew from the start was a walking stick but hadn't begun to connect it with herself, particularly vis a vis her using said stick. She's still new to this whole only-partially-functional leg thing. Still, she seems a quick study, reaching out to pull it up onto the bed with her, laying it gingerly across the uninjured half of her lap. She rolls it back and forth on her thigh, keeping it steady with her palms, the cylinder cooly sliding from the heel of her hand to the very bottom edges of her fingers. The wolf's head spins, like something at a grim carnival. After a moment she looks up at Teo again. "Did you get this from a Romanian castle somewhere?" It's a joke! Not necessarily a good one, but it's a sign there's something still rattling around in her head, making resonances.

Courage in the absence of anybody recognizably sane enough to appreciate it is much more admirable than courage in the presence of somebody making with bare-toothed snarls and blustering intimidation tactics or companions who would benefit from seeing a stiff upper-lip. Teo thinks it is admirable, anyway, and the fact he shot her in the leg for not entirely unrelated matters does not diminish this fact. Such magnanimity. "Nah. A gay English pimp. Until he went into a different line of work, anyway. Still gay, that is; different wares."

It's heavier at one end than the other, but there's no shift and give between the fashioned handle and the sheathe thanks to the application of a little bit of serious adhesive. Nothing that would stand up to a fastidious wrench if she really meant it and maybe vised the thing between her knees, or a brush of solvent, but enough that the decorative weapon is reduced to strict decoration. Teo watches it rolling-pin across on her lap for a few seconds, standing at the end of her bed, motionless, tall, as misplaced as a hat rack. "What did you report to your superiors about me?"

Bella blinks once, twice, as she tries to make sense of his question. Another pair of blinks takes up the time she needs to put words together in her head to answer: "Nothing," she says, staring down at the walking stick. This turns out to be a rehearsal of her answer, because a moment after she looks up at Teo and answers, in a much more direct fashion. "Nothing. You're filed in my private practice. I never reported on you," she pauses, "Which, considering who you are will probably make me look very stupid, or potentially like a spy. I'm not sure which I'd prefer." She'd rather be clever than loyal, pretty much any day. Though loyalty tends to help with survival rates in a way cleverness does not. The way she holds the walking stick does not suggest she has any idea it has a weapon function, beyond being an improvised bludgeon.

It's like they're making friends. If Teo were still the man he was this time last year, that might be a somewhat more feasible prospect: some of his closest associates had been on the receiving ends of semi-automatic rounds and, uh, bedposts back then, after all. Oh, well. Oh well, oh well, oh well. "I find that hard to believe because future-me could remember having hearing your name before. And he generally only did that with Company affiliates if they had been executed. Generally, the guillotine favored operatives who reported with reasonable faithfulness to their superiors.

"I don't really think you're lying," he adds, after a moment, in a tone of voice that affords a wry margin of room for the self-awareness that that makes all those other statements kind of pointless. It's weird though, he thinks. Even for him. Worthy of remark. Though the grammar comes dislocated, the thoughts unconnected with the rationale previous, Teo adds in the tone of belated explanation: "The Columbia 14 went off in both timelines. Enough to make a man believe in Fate." There's an unfriendly intimation somewhere in there, but Teo's subtleties have probably thus far probably established themselves to be relatively insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

Bella frowns slightly, the slightly distant deliberateness that's marked her discourse thusfar continuing relatively unabated. Her quickness has gone. Her comments are no longer borderline quips, even the snide ones. "I'm not required to report on my private practice," she explains, slowly, "Particularly if they're not evolved, and I hadn't confirmed either way with you. You were a pet project, Brandon. I plan to write a paper once this is over. Your desire to destroy your own memories in order to resolve the unbearable contradictions of your life will put a real feather in my clinical hat."

There's a lengthy pause. "Which man? You?"

"Well, it would be really mean if I took that away from you," Teo says, and it's his turn to be a little bit snide, now, his brows set at a distinctly quizzical angle. His 'unbearable contradictions' are going to decorate her metaphorical hat thing. 'Pet project.' That's just awful. If she weren't shot in the leg and going on whatever endorphins and basic pain pills were available in the handled box he'd left with her, he would assume that she was fucking with him, but her quickness is gone. Left with the austerity of undecorated optimism, it isn't in him to cover it up in the dark and deny its transparency. "Yes. Me.

"And I'm not destroying them because of that." It's difficult to say that without betraying a small note of defensiveness. Too difficult. Absurdly, Teo wrinkles his nose at her.

"Right. Like you said, dangerous information, secrets no man must know. Only you're all too aware, I'm sure, of the fact that Evolved healing can reverse Evolved memory wipes. And considering your lifestyle," Bella gestures at the room around them, the rusty barge where she has been held in captivity, "Time will come that something happens, and you get healed, and all that dangerous information will return. This is about relief, I can tell. About a man with something he can't carry, not because it's dangerous, but because it hurts," she lifts one hand to her head and taps, with two fingers, twice, very lightly, "Up here."

Her hand drops again and she's quiet for a moment, eyes on the projected vector of a beam starting from the tip of her dangling foot. She has to draw the line with her eyes and then she's still not certainly quite where that vector would meet the floor. Frustrated in a small, vague, silly way, she looks back up at Teo. "What do you mean by Fate, the one you believe in?"

If her tone of voice were off just a degree or two off to the left, that would be some really asinine sarcasm, you know. Teo has his face scrunched up already, as it is, but he relaxes it slightly around a sincerely searching (suspicious) squint. "That some things are freakishly inclined to occur no matter what happens. I don't mean like the seasons or circadian rhythms or salmon spawnings or shit that operates on measurable cycles."

He shifts away from the wall, measures the distance to the counter again. Turns on the faucet to wash his hands, appropos of nothing that you would generally expect to precede such functions. He isn't preparing food for either of them this time. "By the time the dangerous information returns, it'll probably be irrelevant. I'm not that green. And I'm not look for a carte blanche, if that's what you're implying: I'm putting myself away after this. I'm going to jail. Or so's the plan.

"I guess that doesn't necessarily mean you're wrong about relief," Teo offers, after a moment, on a register that implies concession but more firmly establishes itself in weird and deliberate calm. Uncouthly enough, he wipes his hands off on his sweater, turns to lean against the counter's edge.

"I consider questions of Fate moot. But that's because I haven't done any time traveling," Bella states. She turns the walking stick in her hands and sets it's bottom tip on the ground. That's the whole of the motion; there's no motion to get up. The metal-on-metal sound, a resonant 'tock', strangely hollow, punctuates the quiet after her observation w/r/t Nornish inevitability. She speaks on the fading tail of that sound. "I'm sure you'll do perfectly fine in jail. You look large enough to take care of yourself. And the facilities will be better than," she gestures at the rusting mongery around them that passes for a safehouse or whatever. She doesn't, in fact, produce a noun, letting the gesture serve on its own. "Why are you seeking imprisonment?" she follows up, intonation interviewish. Research for her paper, maybe?

Mmmmaybe. She isn't hurling applause at the ceiling or good riddanceing yet, which feels sort of— unnecessarily polite from where Teo's standing. He studies her interviewish intonation from the distance of the floor and her handling of the cane, too, his physical balance and postured equilibrium equally stable. Annnyway. He doesn't mind helping her out with her paper at this time. Or allowing her to kindle the hope that she's going to survive this one. "It's a unifying compulsion, I think. And thus the only thing that seems to make sense.

"I do— have done terrible, legally culpable shit— that seems to be the time-traveling sociopath proportion of my inclinations. And then I figure I should face the music for them, which would be the more popular of my halves talking." Even saying it very slowly doesn't make it sound any less deranged, but it's the truth, or as close to it that he can think to serve up without writing it down and sealing it an envelope for his infuriated sweetheart to read. Poor infuriated sweetheart.

Poor Jesse Alexander Leonard Shelby Knight; as if he doesn't have enough disintegrating on him. Teo scratches the bridge of his nose with his thumb's rim. "I've given life out here a shot. It hasn't really worked out."

"So the desire for incarceration will be a closing in a number of different ways?" Bella continues, retreating now into her scholarship as a primary means of coping, a fact she does not by any means fail to notice, but also not a fact she has any real feeling about. She is, at this juncture, very much the pragmatist. "A closing of your crimes, since you'll be seeking appropriate punishment. A closing of your life in a world you can't seem to cope in. And a closing of the gap in your identity, the 'unifying compulsion' you described," a pause, "I'm not sure if I believe that you believe this will work. May I suggest a fourth closing?"

Again, she doesn't wait for permission. She just plows ahead. "A closing of your freedoms, your will, because every decision you make ends up blowing up in your face. So, like a Greek tragic hero who's been trying to escape his Fate," while the repeated reference to Fate is obviously significant, her voice affords it no audible recognition of said significance, "You've finally decided to accept this tragic fate, since all struggles against it just magnify or defer the tragedy." She finally makes a tiny, tiny smile, and it's about as sweet as a dusty lime. Which is to say, way bitter. "This is all just inference, of course. I don't really know much about your life. You were never very forthcoming in therapy."

Teo lifts his eyebrows up almost into the ragged thatching of his odd-angled hairline. It's impressive she can put together that deductive progression with her very first bullethole scabbing over in her leg, though one would suppose that the fact her very first bullethole is scabbing over in her leg was her excuse for psychoanalzying him out loud without, you know, waiting for permission. "We only had one session," he points out, presently, visibly disconcerted by the fact that her analysis was. Not very nice, among other things, which is often contiguous to verisimilitude. Not to be cynical or anything. "I guess.

"Could be worse. Sounds like I'm gonna win either way," he decides, rocking his shoulders inside the confines of his jacket like a bird preening. Or a reasonable facsimile of winning, in any case, in this context. "All right. I'll go with that. Insofar as that no incarnation of me I've ever been aware of has landed in jail, but— that sounds too pretty to discard. I like it. You shouldn't publish the paper, though," he notes, always one to be helpful. "You'd be laughed out of business."

"Oh, I won't present it like that," Bella replies, with the trained cordiality of one defending a work from criticism during the editing process, "I'll use technical language, couch it in cognitive terminology. But that's the essence of it. I don't know if humans are just naturally wired to behave like this, or if we all just grew up watching too many Greek tragedies." She smiles again, showing teeth this time, a grim looking smile.

"I think I'd like to have something for the pain, please," she continues, apropos of nothing being discussed, but it turns out this line of inquiry feels just a bit more urgent. "There wasn't any morphine in the first aid kit. Just some fucking aspirin, because just what I fucking need is thinner blood, am I right?" She hasn't stopped with the toothy smile through this, though it's pretty much entirely converted into a grimace.

The grimace is uglier to look at than the toothy smile would have been, but Teo refrains from being an asshole about that. Verbally. Yes, she's a mess because he shot her, but somehow insults would be excessive where injury and, you know, incidentally forgetting painkillers — aren't. He shuffles his hand into his jacket lining, pulls out a round pill bottle, yellow transparent plastic with a ridged white cap sealed down on the top. The prescription declares it's codeine and the tablets are round, flattened, not particularly distinct in their color and markings, but the per-pop milligrams are sufficient and appropriate lowest denominations to the best of Bella's recollection.

Which is probably fuzzy from blood loss, making the fact that Teo did this whole conversation before remembering empathizable, surely. "I need to get some sleep before I see Dalton later today. Any other requests?" He roots his hands into his pockets, stiffens one leg toward the door.

Bella gives the pills the most cursory of examinations, but her experience with prescription drugs allows her to pretty thorough pretty fast. She tries to catch the bottle that was tossed her way, but her hand-to-eye coordination isn't very good, so it bounces off her butterflied hands and lands on the ground, where it starts to roll away. Her reactions have the speed of the desperate, and she quickly jabs the end of the walking stick in its path, halting it. It's still out of reach, so she inverts the stick, using the wolf's head to draw the bottle back to her feet, whereupon she leans down gingerly, wincing, and grabs up the bottle. A twist and a toss and she has a pair of pills in hand that she knocks back and dry swallows like a pro. She replaces the cap, and closes her eyes, praying for them to work fast. She doesn't answer Teo. It appears that the pain meds speedy metabolization is all she really wants, and she can take care of that herself.

Despite that Bella doesn't offer a verbal answer, Teo is nodding at her as if she had. He doesn't have a verbal caption to add to that, just turns around and starts to go away, clopping and shuffling in a way that would be terrible for his shoes if he didn't wear the kind that can take that and far worse. She gets his back, receding on long strides, well outside the radius of the cane's metal-tipped swipe but not beyond any verbal barbs or salutations that the psychiatrist might see fit to loose off his way.

He doesn't expect any, business concluded. Codeine was a deliberate choice over morphine, useful for its side-effects, nothing nasty, only particularly bad for the shrewd cognitions and such that she might have begun to apply her mind to without pain in the way. It's the clearest thought he's had since yesterday: he really needs to go to bed before visiting the DHS again, and he can't figure out where exactly he's going to find one.

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