Sticks And Stones


deckard_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Sticks And Stones
Synopsis Deckard has a bullet wound. Eileen fixes it and asks what happened. Both are duly flippant about Felix's murder, until Teo unloads both barrels, verbally. Not even fag digs can bring back the buzz!
Date March 27, 2009

Staten IslandThe Garden

The living room takes up half of the front of the house on the ground floor. It is beginning to look civilized. The windows are new, the walls have been freshly painted off-white and the floor's bamboo. The place has two mismatched couches and a few armchairs, all well-loved, along with floor pillows in a variety of colors.

The Garden is aptly named. Outside, Jezebel's army of greens and flora clicks branches and whispers through the voices of a hundred timid new leaves and conifer fronds. The safehouse itself stands far back from the open stretch of the road, hidden and bleakly barred away by vertical trunks.

Despite this secretive stage choreography and the fact that it's night-time, Teo is looking out of the second story window, his eyes fixed blankly at the gaps of asphalt that show. Paranoid of him, maybe. Either that, or he's just tired of the existential conflict of picking a facial expression to wear while studying the gaunt old man lying on the bed there.

Deckard's been relieved of his weapons, jacket, shirt, shoes, and his wallet more by accident of gravity than malicious intent. His shoulder is stopped up by wadded gauze and tape, his pain by liquor and medication that probably didn't go together perfectly.

In lieu of an anxious Sicilian, an IV stand crowned by a plasma bag stands sentinel over him. The tube is still coiled up, not yet applied, hollow needle sealed away until the proper specialist arrives.

They haven't really spoken. As if the prospect is more awkward than hours and hours of silence.

In the best interest of everyone, Deckard still has his pants. And his socks, which are (both) tan to offset the washed out brown of his slacks. Bristled chin tipped down nearly to his sternum with the aid of a pillow propped up behind his back, he inspects the hole in his shoulder for the fifth-hundred time tonight.

It hurts. It didn't at first. Like — for the span of time he was unconscious. Then he woke up and the ache of it began to spread down his arm and up the side of his neck, staved off semi-effectively by booze and whatever else he was told to swallow. It's not so bad now, though. The entire situation doesn't really seem that bad. More like something happening to someone else, and he's reading a book about it. Or he would be, if his attention span was currently healthy enough to manage that much concentration.

There's more mass to him than might be expected for a guy that looks so decisively vertical when all six feet whatever of him is leaning around fully clothed. There's muscle built flat across his chest and rigid in his arms, though it gives way unimpressively to the poke of scarred ribs further down. Apparently the last time someone tried to poke a hole in his torso, they used a knife. Tattoos Teo has seen before peer fiercely up at the ceiling in the form of disembodied eyes beneath his collar bones. The right is still intact beside the thick coil of serpent around cross at his deltoid. The border of the left has been disrupted by the bullet.

A dull scratch at the scruff on his chest leads into a hazy look at the unused IV, and then past that, over at Teo. What's in the bag? It'd be nice to know. But then he'd have to say something. Instead, he…tips his head back down to look at his shoulder again, possibly having forgotten that he just finished doing that.

The door opens on rusty hinges with a low, creaking groan, and a moment later Eileen Ruskin steps into the room, dressed in tones that can be described using the same words someone might use to illustrate the expression she wears on her face — dark but neutral, eclipsed by shadow. Gray-green eyes shift from Teo at the window to Deckard in the bed before her gaze eventually comes to settle on the IV and the loose loops of medical tubing snaked around it. The corner of her mouth pulls up into something that might be the beginnings of a smile but is more likely meant to mean—

"What do you need me for?" There's a slight note of admonishment in her tone, though nothing quite so serious as the injury that brought her here. Her footsteps sound against the hardwood floor beneath her flats as a smooth series of strides carries her across the room to Deckard's bedside. "He doesn't look too bad."

"If I gave it a few days, he'd probably start moulding, and Jezebel would tell me I have to move him by myself," Teo replies. He had already spun his head around, of course. The moment he heard her coming. Her feet going thud-a-thud, her featherweight balanced across swan-neck angles long before her voice delivered its drove of crisply accented syllables. He inconveniently forgets to smile. Lifts a hand in a wave that has no actual waving to it.

His eyes hood before moving back to the old grave-robber in question. Deckard is a sinewy tree of a man, felled, inert, and seemingly unavailable for proper conversation. Or so Teodoro might prefer, at least. "Kit's over there," he adds, pointing a hand. Big white box on the chapped-legged chest of drawers at the foot of the bed.

Conscious and present enough to take note of Eileen's entrance, Deckard lifts his head to track her progress across the room for him. There's a hint of a loll to the lax way mussed hair falls back against the pillow behind it. Oddly, even carelessly comfortable with the situation despite it being what it is, which is anything but. "Hhey." The drag registers in his ears and he swallows, brow knit against it. Wow. He didn't sound like that before, did he?

A deep breath later, he exhales what sounds like the bastard child of a snore and leans weight over on his right elbow to prop himself up a little more. A sidelong look cuts over at Teo somewhere in this process. Dad's mad.

The first thing Eileen does after taking a seat on the edge of the bed is place the back of her hand against Deckard's forehead, feeling for a temperature. It's not the best way to gauge whether or not he has a fever, but it's the easiest and the most readily available. That done, she pauses to smooth his hair back, an idle gesture more than anything else.

She's noted Teo's uncharacteristic indifference and is choosing to ignore it. For now. As off-putting as it is, it's not that different than dealing with Sylar's aloof self or even the late Zhang Wu-Long — if anything, the manner in which he coolly regards them is a return to normalcy.

"What happened?" she asks, and this time the question is directed squarely at Deckard, spoken just a little bit louder than her previous statement. For clarity's sake.

Teo's mad. The kind that he isn't wholly incapable of biting down on, given a lot of practice with coping with indignities like 'everybody getting arrested for saving the world' and a large quantity of existential insult suffered at the age of seventeen— also, the fact that he's Catholic and classically accomplished at repression. Less so at suppression. His mouth flattens faintly at the sound of Deckard's voice, disrupting his momentary attempt at stoicity. Sorry, Eileen. You're working in a different genre of criminals now.

"Fire-fight. Deckard won."

No doubt, it is very arrogant and in an unattractively snide way, insinuating himself in the middle of this particular conversation, but Teodoro is out of sorts for reasons that he has yet to explain to vast and uncomfortable length. The ledge of the window sill creaks slightly underneath him as he crosses his arms, leans his head on the glass.

No fever. Not yet, at least. Just a cool, clammy pallor, whiskey breath and a pulse that's still trying to catch up with the events of way too many hours ago. His eyes are dialated, vacant black ringed by narrow bands of ashy blue until she smoothes at his hair and they pull into a more natural field of focus to better study her increasingly familiar face. Huh.

He opens his mouth to answer, as is polite, but Teo's interjection sees an intake of breath spent on nothing. There are not enough drugs in the world to provide the amount of ignorance necessary to not notice that this is kind of an awkward situation. Awkward and bad. Or. Mostly just bad. His right hand lifts to feel over his jaw, the incriminating ridges at the pad of each finger pushing numbly against the grain of grizzled growth. His eyes skim elsewhere, away from both of them. "Felix is dead." The way he says it you'd think it just kind of happened.

"Oh," Eileen says, as if that explained everything. In a way, it does. She doesn't look at Teo, not explicitly, preferring to keep his slouched figure in her peripheral vision while she works on the immediate task at hand: patching Deckard up. Her nails slip under the tape plastering the gauze to his wound and then peel it back by the nearest corner, careful not to aggravate his skin more than it already is. The bloodied clumps of bandages, meanwhile, are set aside, discarded somewhere amidst a sea of tangled sheets and swallowed up by its cotton folds.

"You're going to need antibiotics," she says, "but that's all right. Better we put you on medication now than wait it out and chance an infection. Not even a wiry old rat like you'd bounce back from something like that — blood poisoning's terrible stuff."

Incidentally, so is dying. You'd think Eileen would be able to muster up some sympathy for Felix Ivanov, but such is not the case. Instead, she cracks open the box and retrieves a length of surgical thread, a silver needle and a pair of scissors that glint cheerfully in the half-light. "Is there a particular reason why?"

The bowl of Teo's head rolls against the flat pane of glass, bumps into the wooden stripe that separates it from the next, and then gets in the way when he tries to twist his eyeballs in their sockets far enough to see a star-spangled slice of nocturne sky. It turns out, normal human physiology is not equipped to see through one's own skull. Not wholly unexpected.

He's either trying not to listen or trying not to betray the fact that he is doing so with nerve-puckering intensity. Either way, Teo fails miserably.

"Hurts," Deckard warns without much feeling while Eileen pries muddied bandages away. His head turns to follow her efforts, likely impeding her progress without any real intent to slow her down.

Yes. Of course there are reasons. Justice first and foremost. Responsibility. Nobody else was rushing to take care of it. To make the world a better place. Or simply to streamline the state of his fucked up life.

In the end, bullshit is all the same isn't it? "No." The flat of his chest rises and falls quietly, the resultant sigh sinking out in boozy silence. There's no reaction for the gleam of the needle or talk of infection. Blood poisoning. Whatever. He isn't interested. Doesn't care. "S'just. I've been needing to kill him. So." His brows tip up at each other, tired lines honest in their flat etch across his forehead.

The thread passes through the eye of the needle and loops back around into a knot. Eileen gives the ensemble a brusque little tug to ensure nothing is going to come loose. It doesn't.

She begins to sew as far away from the wound as the injury appears to be deep, using her fingers to pinch the skin together and decrease the distance the needle needs to travel with every pass. A steady hand and a firm grip reduce the amount of suffering he has to experience during the process, though there's ultimately only so much she can do to minimize the pain it sends lancing through his shoulder.

"I wish you'd have waited 'til he struck my record like he promised," she remarks in a conversational tone, not the least bit unkind in spite of what her words imply, "but I suppose you've really done me a favour, haven't you? He wouldn'tve stopped hunting us. Was silly of me to think otherwise."

The long, jointed lines of Teo's fingers fold up into a boxy fist. There's too much tension coiled up even in the smallest of tendons and muscle there to keep up convincing appearances of physical relaxation. His wrist is taut, his forearm clenched around the point of his knee, shoulder pressuring an alarming creak out of the glass and wood screen behind him.

He is staring somewhat melodramatically at the edge of the ceiling, still. Not deliberately posturing: he just gets stuck that way for a moment, until some vertebrate in his neck gives, faintly, a jolt of pain that spurs his head upright and unfolds his left leg to the floor. There is blood on his clothes, clotted, stiff, having sort of inadvertently and inexactly immortalized the shape of Felix's carried corpse on his person.

He had found spare pants that fit in the wardrobe but no shirts, put his jacket away to soak, and didn't have the composure to wash that last scrap of and join Deckard in sitting around shirtless in a bedroom for hours while it fucking dries. He'll have to turn it inside out before he goes.

"You're both fucking unbelievable," Teo snaps, helpfully.

"Jesus." The muscle in Deckard's neck and gut clenches in protest, brows knit and cold sweat started anew while he watches her work. Tolerable pain multiplies at more invasive alien contact and sharpens his senses, ragging at the edge of faster breaths and fresh tension in both shoulders, damaged and undamaged. Don't push on it.

"S'matter of time," agreed through his teeth at a pant, he swallows hard. Distraction in the form of Teo's opinion is almost welcome, even if it hardens the haggard angles of his long face and hollows at his jaw. Resentment, accusation, contempt. It's all there in the dull shank of his eyes and the drug-softened hood of his brow.

"I'd prefer not to spend the rest of my life in prison, Teo. Which is exactly where Ivanov intended to put me, along with the people I care the most about." Eileen fastens the wound, drawing it shut with one last pull of her bony wrist and scissoring flourish. "I don't see what's so fucking unbelievable about being relieved I have one less person to be checking over my shoulder for."

As she speaks, she takes Deckard's arm in her small hand, using her thumb to seek out a vein on the inside of his elbow. It's time to put that plasma to work. "How many guards do you think you'll kill when you and your friends storm the Moab Federal Penitentiary, hm? How many Felix Ivanovs are you personally going to put down? One? Two? As many as it takes to get to Alexander?"

The heels of Teo's shoes drag the floor until the hit the wall underneath him, his ankles locking around acute ankles. Deckard's wordless judgment and Eileen's words combine forces to achieve an effect that he probably wouldn't have spared either of them, had they been enacting their respective hostilities alone.

He looks angry. The red kind, both physically — the spate of dilated vessels through the arrogant cut of his cheekbones — and metaphorical. Some people do the black kind of angry, but that's never been Teo's color. The glare he settles on Eileen's chalk-scratch face is probably unnecessary embellishment, but warranted. Alexander. There's always been a line there, underscoring those eight letters, an arrow taken voluntary through the heart. It curls Teo's lip. "That's cute, Eileen. Classic. Dry British understatement. You'd prefer not to rot?

"It's probably morally suspect or some shit, I know, but the truth is I wouldn't give as much of a shit if Deckard actually killed the fucking bastard to protect his life or liberty or his economic interests or because you realized you deserved better. But you didn't, did you?" His eyes jolt toward the old man, too much verve in the shift of gears; he misses his mark, blinks back. His breath is transparent ribbons, his voice too loud, tactless as a windmilling of fists. Which is pretty much what this is, no doubt. His gun stays holstered, his butt parked. "You hate yourself.

"You both fucking hate yourselves, and that would sound ridiculous if I hadn't seen both of you going suicidally spineless on your respective love lives, or whatever bullshit attempt at that. You wouldn't want anybody to shed a fucking tear if either of you died. It's fucking pathetic, this stupid, stupid cold, callus — bravado being some bowel function of inadequacy. Jesus fucking Christ. At least Ivanov had the fucking decency to regret his fucking kills. And he had a dozen opportunities to kill or arrest either of you.

"And dumb cunt he was, he made up excu— I— you're—" Fluency gutters in Teo's throat like a swallowed torch. Insensate frustration; already choked by the opening pangs of regret, he slams a fist sideways into the wall adjacent to the window with enough force to propel himself upright, onto his feet, split a hairline crack running through the surface coat of paint. There have to be cigarettes around here outside.

Deckard's arm is slow to relax in Eileen's grip, wires and cables going slack one by one with the welcome ebb of the pain in his shoulder back to its duller origins. The look he turned on Teo doesn't last long. He's sluggish; distracted once more, gaze turned blankly back to Eileen for her mounting a logical defense in his stead. A line creases in between his brows. For an evil, bony little spy who tried to help destroy the world, she's kind of growing on him.

Then there's Teo.

Caught off guard, Flint listens in silence, ashen eye contact broken off not long after his diatribe turns to him specifically. His mouth opens once, only to close again more firmly in a removed, furrowed frown when the younger man keeps going. He's trying not to look at Eileen hardest of all, which is a feat given that she's right there at his bed. Kind of embarrassing.

Suicidally spineless. There's one Eileen hasn't heard before, though now that she considers Teo's apparent disposition toward making her feel even smaller than she really is, she shouldn't be surprised to rediscover just how good he is at it. He did it before, back when their people were standing on two disparate sides of the same line, and now he's doing it again with that same ruthless efficiency, wielding words and brandishing truths like a maniac with a knife.

English is Teo's second language. It's Eileen's first. Logically, she should be able to find something to say, erect a verbal barrier, no matter how flimsy, to defend herself against the slew of accusations he's hurled at them both. Right?


Saying nothing, Eileen inserts the IV into Deckard's arm, and unlike the searing pain delivered by the stitching needle, all he'll feel is a tiny pinch as it slides smoothly up his vein and begins feeding fluids directly into his bloodstream. She's very careful to keep her gaze trained on her hands as she works, though the majority of her concentration is expended on keeping her voice perfectly steady when she does find it. "When what you have runs out," she says, "switch him to a saline solution and bring Abigail around as soon as it's convenient. I've done what I can, but it's pretty much shit when you compare it to the treatment he'd get at someplace like St. Luke's."

On average, it doesn't take Teodoro a lot of doing to do something that will make him feel bad. He has done a lot more than average to this conversation. Despite the pinching, stinging beginnings of regret setting in now, his temper is still filling his ears with suppurating static. Alternatively, that is the noise of complete and utter silence.

He can't remember where he put his fucking cigarettes. They're nowhere. Chest of drawers, nothin'. Maps on the desks don't seem to be resting on top of something at that altitude. Teo can distinctly remember taking the little box of Reds out of his jacket pocket before steeping it in the stopped sink full of water. Fuck. Fuckety-fuck.

Other room. Downstairs? Maybe—

The change of topic is not unwelcome, but sort of, subtly, fails to be one. "I'll bring Abby," Teo answers, remembering his words mid-stride, about three-quarters the distance to the door. "And I swear on my Lord God, if you fucking run from her—" His mouth flattens. He clarifies who 'you' are a moment too late, a dart-sharp glance hurled at Deckard's face, wherever Deckard happens to be pointing it right now.

Incapable of articulating himself further, Teo finishes walking out.

More dead air greets the insertion of IV and the angry groping around after cigarettes, which Deckard does not offer up any information on location-wise if he can see them in here. He'll bring Abby.

Downturned stare turned only semi-logically to the window from the blood bag, he lets it fall back to his own belt buckle when Teo tacks on the bit about running from her. Somehow he looks even more miserably uncomfortable now than he did half a minute ago, when they were still getting browbeaten.

Breathing as quiet as the rest of him, he's still until Teo is out the door. Then he's still some more, a more awkward silence settling like dust in their corner of the room. For his part, anyway. The hand at the end of his IV'd arm curls, flexes open, resettles with a faint rustle at his side. "Thanks."

Eileen doesn't completely relax when Teo leaves the room, but his departure is marked by a visible softening of her features. Her grip on his arm, too, grows a little more slack before she releases him entirely, dominant slipping into the front breast pocket of her pea coat to retrieve an unmarked bottle of prescription antibiotics, which she places on the nightstand beside the bed.

Teo's curtailed threat regarding Abigail Beauchamp doesn't go unnoticed. It does, however, go politely ignored. "I owed you one," she tells Deckard as she rises from the bedside and moves to occupy Teo's previous lookout by the window, settling in at the sill. "Not just for the fed. For the kids, too."

On a delay Deckard realizes that the absence of Teo probably means no more booze, which is kind of a pain given that he could really, really use one right now. Something like anger ghosts into a rankle at his nose and a downward twitch of one brow, but he doesn't have the energy to maintain it. He sinks lower into the bed instead, a socked heel pushing bunched sheets further down away from the rest of him. His feet are numb. Why his feet but not his shoulder? Or his head?

"I didn't…" do anything. Not really. But protest on the subject now feels remarkably like playing directly into Teo's stupid hand. He trails off accordingly, left hand lifted carefully to splay at his neck. The feeble push of blood through his system is still tangible there, despite the last four or five months. He swallows. "I think they were fucking."

They? Eileen turns her head just enough to glance at Deckard sidelong, one dark brow curving into a mildly perplexed curve. There are a few moments of uncomfortable silence in which she replays those five words twice over and attempts to assign them meaning.

Felix and Teo. Fucking.

Well, that would certainly explain his volatile reaction to their shared attitude, wouldn't it?

She blows out a snort of laughter through her nostrils, shakes her head, eyes lidding. "Suicidally spineless," she repeats, devoid of all mirth. "No wonder." And while it might put Teo's accusations in perspective—

— it doesn't make them any less true.

Speculation followed with a sideways look to get a read on Eileen's reaction, Deckard leaves it there. No explanation of why or how he thinks so. Nothing to support the claim, for all that it eventually seems to be accepted.

Her repetition of one of Teo's better lines earns a cheerless half smile, and…that's about it. He falls quiet again. The entire day has been quiet. Suits him fine.

He has a lot to not think about, anyway, half-seat maintained until Eileen heads off on her own, leaving him to maneuver himself carefully over onto his undamaged side. With any luck he'll fall asleep before he starts to sober up again.

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