felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Sufferance
Synopsis Sorry, Felix, but if Teo were one to get the Hell out when he should, he'd be halfway to the moon by now.
Date January 28, 2009

Rundown Hotel — Felix's Room

The neon blinks, preserving the same cadence it has for years, casting a play of shadows on the curtains. Felix is sitting at the little table, as he so often does, but he's not really reading, despite the book open before him on the tabletop. A copy of 'Heart of Darkness', funnily enough. He's mostly staring into the dimness, gaze fixed on some indeterminate middle distance. There's also a bottle of very fine vodka and a shotglass before him.

Teo's knee bumps into the door, sending the jamb shuddering further inward before the sweep of a speculative eye. He looks relatively normal, dirty blond hair up in insouciant angles and winger-width furrows, his face ruddy from cold and bright-eyed in a way that might be either well-rested and trained acuity or enough nerves and caffeine to serve in equal capacity. He whuffs a loud breath in through his nose. And, despite that he's only ever here for two things, neither of those are readily apparent in the tone he asks with: "Signor?"

Fel blinks, and turns, rather more slowly than is his wont, and says, quietly, "Teodoro, come in. What's up?" His expression is pleasant enough, if a little sad, a little rueful.

"I have some shit for you. It'll either mutate you into a porpoise or protect you from the Shanti virus— I'm not sure how accurate molecular replication is, but there you have it."

He yanks one boot off his foot then the other, discarding both with a rump-a-dump-thump where he is, and shuts the door with his elbow as he crosses the room, expedient, not-quite-minimalistic with his movements in that way of someone just beginning to learn how to hack the fat off his energy expenditures. A syringe rattles out of his hand and onto the table. And then his hand is on top of Felix's head, and the younger man is leaning over his shoulder, looking at the book. "Ever seen the movie?"

Fel smells of soap, shampoo, and some faintly cool, spicy aftershave. His hair is neatly cropped in oneof those haircuts that needs a minimum of attention, but is longer than Al's buzz. Much as he always does. He eyes the syringe, rather bemusedly. "You have a vaccine for the virus? Really? How- nevermind." He's a firm believer in that axiom about needing to now. "Good. If you mean 'Apocalypse Now,' I have. Both versions, though I prefer the long one."

Long hands rough from the notches of infinitessimal scars and the ridges of broken finger-bones go through Felix's hair, carding dark strands and white scalp with a little too much greed to be entirely impartial. Teo shrugs one shoulder, acknowledging the wisdom in the older man's decision to not ask. "I think they hit all the right notes with the films except for the Intended. Kurtz's fiancee? She should've been in there.

"Call it sexist bullshit, gender dichotomy or whatever. The monstrous vaginal entity of darkness which drives and lures men to go to war. At least they got the line in there though, eh?" The horror, the horror. The whore, the whore. The corner of his mouth goes up humorlessly. Cold emanates out of his clothes, which Felix could probably feel, if he was feeling much at all.

"Yes," Felix agrees, smiling thinly. There's a scar hidden under his hair, a thin line left from a brick's impact, back when he was in uniform, and dealing with a riot. "This is the end, beautiful friend, the end," he sings, lightly, mockingly. It's a surprisingly pure tenor. He reaches to pick up the syringe, eyes it. "Does this need to go into vein, muscle, or just subcutaneous?"

The thin edge of Teo's thumb nail finds the scar. He shifts his hand, traces it with a trigger-finger instead. Head injuries. Inch for inch, burns hurt more, but these are supposed to make you crazier every new one you score. "Vein to be safe. You know how?" His eyes haven't lifted from the book. When Felix moves to snag the plunger, he reaches out to keep the book tented open between forefinger and thumb.

"I do," Felix says, quietly. "You got a rubber tourniquet?" He wonders, turning to eye Teo. The blue eyes are calm, strangely lucent and clear. He's already rolling up a sleeve in preparation.

Conrad was a sexist fuck, Teo decides. He lets go of the novella and pops the collar of his jacket. The tourniquet comes out in its ugly yellow coil. A quick yank of twist-tie, and it's out, noosing, knotting shut on the fattest artery of Felix's arm.

"You don't have to worry about your friends," he offers, then, reassurance unasked. "We're making more. It won't be ready until after the strikes, but… as long as they have their cellphones on, there's a reasonable chance you'll get to choose a handful who get to live. You might want to write down their numbers, just in case." Just in case you don't, he means. He watches the green line in Felix's arm broaden.

Typical of the age. Fel watches the veins swell with that studied impassivity. "I understand," he says, quietly. "Judah Demsky. Colette. Elisabeth I assume is already on the list." It's rather….dismaying, really. Realizing how few people there are that he knows well enough to say. "How fast can it be made?"

"Fast enough." There's an apologetic note in the Italian's vague choice of words. He would simply prefer not to divulge more about Phoenix's resources than he absolutely has to. No offense to Ivanov himself, but the people he works for might have fewer compunctions about fucking Teo's duckies over and using the knowledge locked up in the speedster's head to do it. Then, "One more drink, then stop?" Hard to say whether it's sincere deference or mere politeness which makes the words a question rather than an imperative. "I'll get you a banana bag to head off the hangover."

It's a rather disturbing deftness Felix has, as he injects straight into the vein. Well, if Teo wanted him dead, there've been a million opportunities before. And well, a rather 007ish death could be better than some. "I'm already drunk, so sure," he says, easily. "You're welcome to some, if you like." He recaps the needle, and reflexively looks around for a proper sharps container, which of course, is not on hand. He delicately lays the syringe on the tabletop, alongside the little rubber strip.

Already drunk. A loud sniff, directly roughly at the volume of air in front of Felix's face, and Teo says, "I know." The younger man's eyes go slightly crescent-shaped with amusement. He straightens, reaches to take the vodka bottle with one hand and the shotglass in the other. "And you have to be ready to fight in twelve hours. You'll have to excuse me for being a little concerned, signor." And for drinking anyway. Clink. Glass meets glass and vodka slops in.

Felix levels one of those looks of feline amusement down his nose at Teo. Even though he's sitting and Teo is standing. "I'm Russian and a cop. I have more tolerance than you'll ever dream of. I'll be fine. I swear it," he puts a hand over the medal beneath his shirt, as if to call Saint Michael to witness the oath. "That's why I'm done, now." There's no sign of reaction to the vaccine. Teo didn't poison him.

"I've seen you hungover," Teo responds wryly, glancing down into the shotglass. Knocks it back; grunts, his brow furrowing at the bottle. Okay, that was good stuff. He will take another. "It was embarrassing." Turning away, refill in hand, he winds a few long strides to the bed, drops himself rump first onto the covers without spilling anything. From the adjusted distance, he verifies that Felix isn't turning into a porpoise either. Everybody wins. Blankly, then, "You and Judah..?"

It is good stuff. Pure as an angel's heart, with a kick like a gun's recoil. "So you have," Felix concedes, still with that mandarin serenity. "Judah and I what?" he says, rising to delicately pluck the syringe up, and dispose of it in the bathroom trashcan.

The Sicilian pulls his socked feet up off the floor, never one to tolerate sitting pretty if he can help it. He pretzels his legs, Indian-style, and stares at the carpet from underneath the strandy shadow of his hair. Despite his youthfully snotty insistence and practical gifts, for the other purposes and intents, he ever waits at Felix's sufferance. "Just friends?" His breath fogs the shotglass. He drinks.

There's the faint thud of the syringe hitting the side of the trashcan. "Just friends," Fel affirms, quietly. "Good friend, but that's all," He is not, however, able to keep the barest hint of wistfulness from his tone. He leans in to the mirror, hands on the sink, for a moment - but only to rest his forehead against the cool of the silvered glass, rather than indulge his vanity. "I had a visitor today. A dark haired woman. She called me Dantes, and herself Mercedes. She knew about you and I." His tone is neither angry nor accusing, as his reflection raises its gaze to Teo's.

And the confusion and wariness that registers on Teo's features is, unequivocally, one of ignorance. "I don't know a woman named Mercedes. Dark or otherwise. And I haven't tol…" he lapses into silence, the knit of his brow finding a thinking thread. A dark woman who tends to know his secrets, irrespective of whether or not he told them to her. It reminds him of someone. Of just one. His shoulders hunker up around his ears as Teo leans onto his fists. "What did she want?"

"She asked me, quite bluntly, to stop fucking you," Fel says, casually, running cold water over his hands, wiping his face. "I told her I intended to." He turns away from the sink, eyelashes spiked with water. "YOu didn't tell her?" He watches Teo quite closely at that, waiting for his answer.

A scowl reconfigures Teo's features with something like certainty. He is extremely sure he's annoyed. About that revelation. Both revelations.

Sighing, he lurches off the bed with a bounce against the springs, onto his socked feet, his jacket lapels and hood swinging loose around him, scrappy as a boy is wont to be. "No. She won't hurt you," he reassures, first. "You'd better not hurt her." The bathroom's whiter lights bleach a little of the sanguinity out of his skin as he comes to lean on the doorframe, a slouch to him, the hangdog hooligan's defensive and eternal air of skulking. He watches Felix watch him in the mirror for a moment.

Then, reluctantly, he straightens. Turns to look at himself in the mirror with a rare strain of vanity in the tilt of his head and search of his eyes. And, betraying either his relation to the intriguing stranger or the further demarcation of the trust he's granted the FBI agent or both, he asks quietly: "Am I like her?"

"Is she as vain as you are?" Felix wonders, teasingly, eyeing Teo with a mingling of affection and something darker. Not quite possessiveness. "I have no intention of hurting the lady. If you didn't tell her, how'd she find out what we were doing? I haven't told anyone," he says, not trying to brush past Teo into the room at large. "And what is she to you? Your jealous lover?" He's teasing. Needling, really, because he can.

The question, however facetiously — or mockingly put to him, makes Teo think. "Not as bad. Differently. Similar." Fleetingly, he looks pleased at that. He takes that as a Yes. You are. Very much so. He doesn't look away from himself, for once failing to cringe away from close scrutiny of the knight errant in the mirror, too much like his father and with none of Paolo's redeeming qualities. It lasts all of two seconds.

And then his eyes are on Felix again, and one answer for two questions. "She's my guardian angel." That is how she found out, and that is who she is.

"You're not leaving this because of her," he realizes, slower, and slower to say so. "But you might both have the same reasons, I guess." 'Some sort of danger.' Teo lets his head loll into the door hinge; manages to look anything but impressed by the array of reasons Felix has yet to provide. Refrains, at least, from jutting his jaw.

Fel's close now, too close, though Teo can still peer past him at the mirror. "I see," he says, amused, breath warm on Teo's skin, as he momentarily rests his head on the younger man's shoulder. "I am not ….I am going to end this. Because if we both survive, I am immediately your albatross. And I don't bear you any malice, even though you shot me. You don't deserve to end up in a HomeSec cell because of your bad taste when it comes to choosing your lovers."

"You're going to end it because of a stupid bird metaphor." 'It.' 'This.'

Cautious as the next poor schmuck with a broken heart, he refrains from the first or second person, refuses to make this about me or you. Teodoro is still looking at the mirror, though mostly to examine the pull of the older man's back underneath the thin fabric of his shirt as he steeples his weight this way and exposes the line of his neck to the hard light above the reflective pane.

He forgets, at least temporarily, to defend his choice in shooting targets, to remind of the circumstances of their initial encounter, to quarrel who else's taste is obviously at fault here. He's scowling, warm from his temper, and other things. "That's stupid," he repeats. "I can keep a secret. I've kept Harrison's. It's my job."

Fel is, as always, just a hair too thin. The bones of the spine like a string of beads, under the cotton of the dress shirt. "I'm going to end it because I'm not enough of a selfish bastard to ride this until we both go down in flames," Felix says, stepping away, to end up bumping against the counter. Not a lot of room in the bathroom. "And you may be able to. Your angel? Will she? I like you, Teodoro. But I love my job."

The boy closes his eyes when the man turns away, just for a moment. One that shakes slightly and has trouble righting itself out, but merely a moment. He's managed, thus far, not to shift out of his elaborately casual posture against the door, his head still hanging bonelessly against the edge of varnished wood. "You're phrasing that all wrong.

"You'd have to say you were too much a selfish bastard. Besides, you don't trust your job. You trust me more than you trust the FBI, and that's pathetic. She won't hurt anybody who's with me. Not unless they want her to, anyway." There's a lilt to that sentence, a touch of sincere of dark humor, a bitter joke with an absent friend. He straightens, finally, looks at the man instead of his reflection.

Felix has seen that frown before. Not mere petty self-interest— which comes and goes as erratically as Teo seems to remember his age, but a shadow of something deeper, if not greater. Thoughtful.

Alexander eyes Teo, calmly. "Perhaps I am," he says, carefully, before he lowers his gaze. An odd gesture of humility for him. "But I go back to business as usual, if there is a business as usual, when we're done with this," He leans his weight on the counter, hands on the edge, looking at the cracked tile on the floor. "I infuriated her, because I refused her," he adds, casually, still not looking up.

"Maybe you shouldn't have." There is no possessiveness in Teo's voice, either, despite the default pang of territoriality that goes as swiftly as it strikes; he only has to wait it out, a breath, a blink of wintry eyes. "She's beautiful and she knows it. That's how it works." One disparity between the Sicilian and his angel, perhaps. There's nothing in Teo's ill-concealed injury and belligerent braggadocio that's ever implied that rejection could harm the real flesh of him, or that it hadn't wrecked him utterly.

He walks to the counter. Or rather, to the man leaning on it, sits the heels of his hands against the edge of marble to either side of Felix's hips. Leaning, the minor disparity of their heights vanishes utterly.

He blocks the cracked tile with one foot. "Terms haven't changed, signor. If you want me to go away, all you have to do is hit me. No slang," a smile deepens the corners of his eyes. Doesn't reach his mouth. "Or tell me there's someone else. Straightforward, I think." A man never looked so cocky teetering on the precipice of humility, injury, the dawn of a viral apocalypse, except that one afternoon before.

"She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen," Felix says. He has that odd air of not being able to make that a compliment. It's always a diagnosis, rather than mere praise. His gaze searches Teo's face, as if for some sign. "No," he says, quietly. "I can't hit you. And there is no one else. But we're stopping, nonetheless. Thank you, it's been great, but it's done." His muscles are tight, despite his relaxed posture. And he raises a hand, as if it weighed too much, to shove at Teo, palm over the Sicilian's heart.

There's enough physical strength there to jolt Teo upright, his hands falling pendulum to his sides. "Use your fist," he says. His hands — fists, now — find his pockets, a casual list to his head. He keeps his face still. His heart, of course, keeps right on beating. "I promise it'll work."

He pulls back a hand as if he'd do just that. It comes to rest there more gently, though, this time. The struggle is visible in his face. Resolve vs want. And then his fingers curl into the fabric of the boy's shirt. He neither pulls him close nor shoves away. "You need to go, Teo," he says, voice low. "I'm sorry."

"You're surprisingly bad at being selfish." This perturbs Teo, evidently. He walks his eyes over Felix's face as if the angles were steeper, more difficult to scale than the mere point of a man's nose, than the sculpture of his brow ought to be. He'd managed to hold onto his resentment for a remarkably long time, for him. It's falling through his hand like so much water or sand. When he relents, it isn't that, quite. A fractional concession, at odds with the work-roughened hand that closes on Felix's wrist over his shirt. "You really want to be alone tonight?"

Loss of control. He hates it so much. And were Teo not who he is, he might hate him for it too. "No, I don't," he admits. "Tonight of all nights, no. You have to understand, Teo. You have to." It might be a plea. His fingers uncurl, slowly, but he doesn't try to pull out of the blonde's grasp. There's something odd in his face, a softness, something like fear, as he meets Teo's eyes. Tomorrow….and nothing beyond it.

Lucent blue eyes go dark when Teo lowers them to look at nothing in particular. It's his only alternative to glaring knives, a boy's way of stating, on no uncertain terms, that I don't want your pity — even if he may well need it.

He tightens the curl of his fingers until it's too small to keep clasp on Felix's wrist, nocks his nails lightly into the back of the older man's forearm, instead, scoring a few inches up and back. "I understand," he grinds out, finally. Like pulling teeth. And even, it'll take more than understanding, but Felix would have to know less about Teo to believe otherwise. Teo would appreciate if he'd just pretend.


January 27th: Quartz
January 27th: Fighting 101
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