Spoon Tunnels


bella_icon.gif deckard4_icon.gif

Scene Title Spoon Tunnels
Synopsis Bella pays a visit to Deckard, who is once more effectively confined.
Date June 2, 2010

Fort Hero

Deckard's quarters.

Flint is in bed.

He has been almost all day — prone amidst a scatter of dogeared novels — save for when someone with the infirmary came along and prodded him out into physical therapy like a zoo handler with a very long stick. One room into the next. They didn't make him take his bath robe or his pajamas off so he's still wearing them, Queen rattling tinny through a small radio he salvaged out of a storage closet somewhere around the facility in recent days.

The door of his quarters is open, inviting company (or more likely, distraction) like a hook tagging along in a current with no bait. It's been approximately as successful. Currently he's snoring, spread eagle across the sheets, arms and legs too long with a pillow hooked against his side by the crook of his left elbow.

Someone's left him a tray of food on a collapsible table. A sandwich that he dissected in search of suspicious powders and a coke that's gone warm and pill cups that stand conspicuously empty.

Bella felt it necessary not to approach Deckard again in his hospital room unless specifically asked for - the circumstances of her previous departure were dubious enough that she'd rather not exacerbate the situation by taking any specific initiative. After enough time uncalled for by Flint, she went back to her other job, but it's only a matter of time before the good Dr. Sheridan returns to the charming halls of Fort Hero. She only has one job here, and it's one no one has specifically assigned her, but she'll damn well do it.

She's dressed in a suit, jacket and skirt and everything, with low heels and a relatively sunny demeanor, though there's something hard in her eyes. All is not well, but she'll be damned if she'll let these assholes see it. Which assholes? No need to go into specifics. Her leg has only gotten better, and thus only someone who knew to look for a favoring of one limb over the other would likely notice. See, Deckard? Physical therapy does work.

His door is open. She'll bite. She knocks on the doorframe and leans through, head peeking inside. "Flint? It's me. May I?"
Homely plaid looks comfortably normal on Deckard, all soft geometric neutrality against the wiry rumple of his hair and unshaven jaw. He could be someone's unemployed father, sans deliberately ugly slippers and booze on his breath. The latter not so much by choice.

The flint-knapped chisel of his lupine face muffles the illusion somewhat once he's lifted over onto his good shoulder to squint at her. The bedroom's dim save for a slant of sallow warmth from the open bathroom door and his eyes stand out like coals, blue light that doesn't bleed enough to trace the sharp bridge of his nose or the hatched length of his jaw. Stiffness remains locked in taut through his side and shoulders — she can hear it rather than see in the careful way he rustles upright enough to lean after the bedside lamp. Click.

Some fumbling for his alarm clock follows, bony knuckles bumped to metal and wood. There's no formal invitation. Just grumpy silence.

A grumpy silence taken for grumpy assent. Bella steps into Deckard's room, her hand going out to close the door behind her. She moves over to his bedside, fingers lacing in a loose cup before her as she looks down at the plaided man. The hardness in her eyes is gone, and her smile is tinged with weariness. Deckard doesn't appear to be one of the assholes Bella's concerned about hiding herself from. He's a special asshole.

"You know, I'm not going to stop coming until you explicitly insist on it," the psychiatrist informs him. Her eyes flick up and down his wounded side, taking in a very preliminary assessment of his condition. Next, they assess the surroundings. The books. The radio. Freddy Mercury's impossibly high voice running through the cheap speaker like old threaded steel. "What have you been reading?"

There isn't much to see without x-ray vision. Gauze is lumpy under his robe sleeve and somewhere around his side; the bruising flushed up the side of his neck and near the ring of his collar has faded greenish yellow. He looks okay. Groggy and ill-tempered as a mule, but decently rested, fed, watered and sheltered.

One of the books in question slides off the far side of the mattress as she asks, yellowed pages and cracked paper cover landing with a musty whump somewhere out of sight. "I dunno. I started a few," is a boring answer. As for Infinite Jest, its sky blue binding is one of four that remain up on the actual bookshelf. Everything else has been dragged out around the apartment like a dog left home alone for too long might scatter a sack of feed given the opportunity — disorganized stacks sorted onto furniture with individual volumes discarded pell-mell in the spaces between.

"I don't want you to stop coming." A slight bounce on the mattress is kind of lively in that it's livelier than him lying there in a puddle of drool. Which, by the way, he thinks too late to scrub from the corner of his bristly mouth. "Think I'm being paid for this?"

Bella dignifies Deckard's sardonicism with a laugh, then looks around for a chair. She's forced to move a number of books resting where she wants to plant herself, and she lifts the stack to eye level in order to get a look at the titles. "It's embarrassing," she comments, "These old 60's and 70's paperback covers could make Proust look cheesy." She sets the books down to one side, amongst some brethren, and pulls the chair closer to the bed, taking a seat and crossing her legs, smoothing out the skirt with both hands before letting them rest on her topmost knee.

"I'm glad to hear it," Bella says, "Whatever the reason. As to pay on sick leave… I'm sure there are laws ensuring you receive salary after receiving fire in the line of duty. However, since our whole operation is extra-legal, I can't say I know. This is the trouble with working outside the hum drum guarantees of a normal, honest, nine to five. Well, one of the troubles, at least." Her head tilts and, since it's not following something he said, must precede a question from her.

"You're back in your room again. Surrounded by books. No fortifications this time. Still, how do you feel? Does this feel different than last time?"

"Friendly fire," elaborated for her after a distinct pause, Deckard glances into the splay of his open hand after drool crust before swiping it down the sooty grey of his underlying t-shirt.

He's quiet again after that, brow hooded and face downturned after thoughts Bella's not yet privy to. Reticence more in line with their first couple of meetings than later episodes. Maybe not a bad thing. At least he wasn't vivisecting people back then.

"I'm tired of being underground." No hookers. No drugs. No petty crimes to commit. No gambling, no bars, no dark alleys to tempt fate in. A restless twitch of motion sees him collecting the alarm clock again, old metal turned over in the stronger of his hands so he can fidget at a dial with the other.

"I feel bucolic," he says eventually, clockspring twigging against too much pressure under an exploratory thumb. "Tractable. And sick. I found a thesaurus." At some point, anyway. No telling where it is now.

"So you might describe your state as generally agrarian?" Bella says, "I think you do need to get outside. Though, to be honest, you're not yet missing much. Snow, snow and more snow. Slowly abating, though. Thankfully." Are they talking about the weather now? That's the bottom of the conversational barrel.

"When conditions are better, both yours and that of the world, I'll
press for your having some proper recess," the redhead continues, more businesslike, "I think you need to keep pressing ahead, but I do think you've been badly misused. I understand - the circumstances around your injury could hardly have been foreseen," well, at least not without a precog, "But I can't help but feel they are creating an environment that is hostile to your welbeing."

The earth is an environment that generally seems hostile to Flint's wellbeing. A fact which has not escaped his attention, though he opts to argue with a sideways glance rather than full-on pessimism in the yellow light of his latest manifestation of a living space. When conditions are better doesn't seem to fly with him all that well either. He wants out yesterday.

There's an ugly spike of tension slashed through the hollow of his jaw — an electric shudder of something terrible arcing within his skull from one pole to the next while he stares at her.

Flint swallows it thickly down nearly as quickly as he let it show, hangdog guilt underplayed beneath more resolute calculation. The backs of shipping trucks. Empty crates. Tunnels dug with spoons.

"What did I say?" Bella says, brows arching up in the middle, "I'm trying my best to be helpful, but I do need input from you, Flint. This isn't something I can do without you."

Her suit wrinkles in the middle, loosening at the shoulders as she leans forward, elbows sliding to rest on her knee, her chin upon her clasped hands. "I admit, this is perhaps too personal. You know, already, how badly I feel for breaking your trust. But there were reasons for that, reasons I understand, ones I can use to - on some level - forgive myself. But what I can't so easily excuse myself for is letting you slip from between my fingers. In all honesty, perhaps this isn't the wisest course of action for me. This kind of commitment can compromise one's objectivity."

"Well," Bella says, giving a slight laugh, "Now that I've been completely inappropriate and confessional, would you please do me the courtesy of a quid pro quo?"

The moment she says the thing about you know how bad I feel bloodhound skepticism furrows into Flint's brows opposite the arch of hers. His eyes are too pale for steaming lamplight, too — pupils too pinned and overall countenance corrosive. Straining to call her bluff or searching for some evidence that there is one in hazy threat read into talk of unwise courses of action and compromised objectivity.

Very still all of a sudden, he opens his mouth and closes it, frustration
muffled out through his sinuses a beat later.

"I want to get out. See people I know. Nothing is resolved here. I don't know them. Their problems are — " something that makes him wish he hadn't misplaced the thesaurus no doubt. The expression hardened into the hood of his brow looks a lot like contempt, though.

There is a flash of fellow bitter feeling in Bella's face as Deckard fails to find the word he's looking for. That je ne c'est qua Deckard frowns upon is something Bella seems to feel herself. Though she doesn't supply the missing piece. Maybe vocalizing it would render it empty.

And she can't overstep. Confessions about the relationship, that's one thing. Confessions about her own steadily declining confidence in the Company she saw her future in… at best it's gossip. At worst, it'd be turning this into her session. And she's not yet that far gone.

"Please," Bella says, "Tell me what you mean." It is her little secret, how much, personally, she wants to hear this.

"I dunno what I mean." Frustration deflates into resignation past a clench of his teeth and Flint levers stiffly to his feet, mattress creaking relief after him. A book selected at random rises with him only for him to lose interest in it nearly as soon as he's up. He tosses it back down behind himself and stands in robe, shirt and pajama pants, rumpled and sore.
"Do you think Ayers and I were really friends?" It's an earnest question. Also an uneasy one; he doesn't look at her when he asks, or after.

Bella leans back, arms reaching behind her chair, hands clasping, the pose stretching her shoulders. She frowns up at Deckard, not sure how to answer, and only because she doesn't know.

"I don't know," is an honest answer, therefore, "I've never interacted with him meaningfully. I've never seen you together. I can't judge," her head tilts, indicating a coming question - inevitable, really, "Why do you doubt it? I am assuming you have doubts, since you ask."

"I dunno," says Deckard. Again. Forever. Restlessly unsettled through the work of his jaw and one hand, fingers flexed like mandibles at his side. Nothing to grasp. "I haven't seen us together much either."

The wall yields no answers and neither does the lamp or ceiling, so eventually he drags past her towards the bathroom to peer critically at his reflection. It's approximately as gaunt, wire bristled and blue-eyed as as it was when he checked it last, all angles and lengths until he fumbles aimlessly with his toothbrush, sweeps at the shower curtain and reappears again Lurch-like at the door. "Are you afraid of me?"

Bella's arms return to her front, crossing before her as she looks at Deckard with a gentle puzzlement. It's all directed at him, though. She engages in no introspection. She doesn't have to think about her answer as she shakes her head.

"Of course not."

It's probably important that Deckard tries to take her at her word. This means no skepticism in the furrow of his forehead. No doubt or frowning or interrogation about why or that's what you think you have to say.
It's probably not so bad comparatively speaking that his nod is at an insecure diagonal. Also that he's made a temporary fort out of the open bathroom door frame.

He folds his arms back at her.

"If you want to get in the shower with me I'll tell you how I feel about shooting Richards."

Bella gives a light chuckle, shaking her head, "I don't mean to sound conceited, but I'd expect quite a bit more from that quid pro quo." She gets to her feet, "Which I guess means I'll have to leave, to avoid sending the wrong message."

Remarkably, Deckard does not look offended or surprised. Or disappointed. He watches Bella get to her feet at an impassive remove, long arms still locked in their fold and long face turned only briefly to mark the distance to the door. His mind's already turned elsewhere. Most likely to the amount of trouble he's going to be in once he's figured out how to leave the premesis prematurely.

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