Suicide By Cop


felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Fracture
Synopsis Teo temporarily fractures under pressure and, despite gunpoint, confessions, and clear verbal instruction, Felix fails dismally at doing his job. Bad decisions all around.
Date March 14, 2009

ChinatownCanal Street Market

Day or night, Canal Street is busy in Chinatown. Perfumes, purses, produce, pork, and poultry are all sold side by side in busy open storefronts. One entire portion of the street is dedicated to nothing but jewelry stores catering to various price ranges. Box vendors sell all manner of sizzling foodstuffs to passing pedestrians, some of it identifiable, some of it better left unexplained. The ambiance is one of business and pleasure.

Lee remains….as particular as always. Honestly, it's that culinary fussiness that gives Felix the faintest thread of hope Fel's not what he fears he might be - a simpering queer pining after a straight guy who'll never have any idea. Or might be disgusted if he did. Which is why the Fed is haggling patiently with a spice merchant over some particularly rare imports, now and then consulting a list written in his own spidery script but dictated by the cop. He's in his overcoat and suit, clearly having stopped off after work on the way home.

Home is close by. Sonny. Chinatown. The gutters smell more like chow mein and soy sauce than slush and motor oil and instead of epileptic old neon, there are false electric lanterns swinging their ribbed, red paper corpulence overhead.

Teo had been on his way home from work, too, which means he is cleverly disguised as a civilian. On the way, he'd tripped over a bar somewhere along the way, a friend from school next, and then five seconds in a smokey club where a seventeen-year-old Chinese working girl in a cheongsam was riding up and down with a condom tucked into her little panties just outside.

By the time he sees Felix, he isn't quite himself. He cuts across the street on a stump-stump-stumping pace, ignoring the cab that almost caves his hip in, and halts just beyond the Agent's shoulder, insinuating himself without invitation. "Tai gwai la," he tells the salesman in the tone of lethargic authority.

The man gestures at Felix. "Li go hai New Yo'k's zoi youmang di gingchaat. Koi duk bei dou di cheen."

"Youmang m'ai youcheen," the Sicilian says. He shows the Chinese man a smile that doesn't reach his eyes until he angles his head sidelong at Felix. "He look like he has money?"

Home is close by. Sonny. Chinatown. The gutters smell more like chow mein and soy sauce than slush and motor oil and instead of epileptic old neon, there are false electric lanterns swinging their ribbed, red paper corpulence overhead.

Teo had been on his way home from work, too, which means he is cleverly disguised as a civilian. On the way, he'd tripped over a bar somewhere along the way, a friend from school next, and then five seconds in a smokey club where a seventeen-year-old Chinese working girl in a cheongsam was riding up and down with a condom tucked into her little panties in the elevator just outside.

By the time he sees Felix, he isn't quite himself. He cuts across the street on a stump-stump-stumping pace, ignoring the cab that almost caves his hip in, and halts just beyond the Agent's shoulder, insinuating himself without invitation. "Tai gwai la," he tells the salesman in the tone of lethargic authority.

The man gestures at Felix. "Li go hai New Yo'k's zoi youmang di gingchaat. Koi duk bei dou di cheen."

"Youmang m'ai youcheen," the Sicilian says. He shows the Chinese man a smile that doesn't reach his eyes until he angles his head sidelong at Felix. "He look like he has money?"

"Don't let the fancy suit fool you," Felix says, drily, cutting his gaze back, and turning just enough so Teo is presented with that stark profile and the Frankenstenian stitch scar that curves back from his temple, a little series of dashes and curves like someone with a scalpel decided what Fel really needed was the beginning of Arabic calligraphy on his scalp. He's got next to no hair - it makes him look like a discharged marine, and does nothing whatsoever for the harshness of his face. "I only dress like this because Mei Lan the tailor over two blocks owes me a serious favor. I'm on a government salary - the gratitude of the people of New York doesn't extend to monetary remuneration. Five bucks for the half-pound, and that because i'm feeling maganimous."

The Sicilian and the Chinese man exchange looks. Their respective right eyebrows go up in almost comically syncopated timing. Teo shrugs one shoulder, faintly apologetic— insofar as that he's always apologetic, and it's just faded out this time. "Koi hai gong daiwa, ji koi m'ai gongsiu. Mm kwai hou daifong. Aww jo zi."

The salesman's expression flattens out, but he begins to measure the spice out on the small stringy balancing weight he has sitting on the mottled plastic of its counter. "Five dolla's." The herb pours out in a diaphanous cloud of fragrant particle matter. This part of the exchange seems bound to go through expediently and without fuss.

Teo's smile fades to blank.

The bagged supply joins little plastic jars, in getting shoved into a reusable shopping bag Fel has produced from a pocket and unfolded. He pulls a worn leather billfold from the inside of his suitjacket, and hands over the five dollars. "Thanks," he says to the herbalist, and to the Sicilian, without about the same amount of warmth. Which is to say, just that reserved for passing acquaintances. "Evening," It's apparently farewell - Teo's not on the list of things Felix is terribly willing to deal with at the moment. He's achey, he's in the middle of withdrawal from a couple of favored drugs, and there's a cop waiting at home with dinner that'll be far better than anything else found this evening.

Unfortunately, the Fates — or their lanky dirty blond sapien representation — seem determined to ruin Felix's next few minutes or something like that. Teo picks up his big silly boy-feet, angling the China man an uncharacteristically wan smile farewell, and proceeds after the Agent at a distance that is neither companionable nor far away enough. The salesman's eyes burn an itch into their backs until the edge of his window blocks them out of sight and mind.

Once Fel has established that Teo is just going to dog his heels, he ducks into a convenient alley. Not attempting to dodge pursuit, just making sure whatever business it is Teo's so determined to conduct won't be out in the public eye. It's between two apartment buildings - the space between fire escapes is festooned with drying laundry, despite the chill. Fel looks baleful, waiting in his dark coat, gloved hands in his pockets, head held carefully as if keeping it poised just so on the end of his spine might ward away that oncoming headache. He doesn't speak, but his lips are thinned out in expectation of something less than pleasant, making him more of a death's head than ever. Lee's determined feeding hasn't upped his weight, not yet.

There do seem to be a lot of potential headaches around. Enough to constitute a sea, with unpredictable tides, treacherous undertows; standing to the full extent of his height and very straight might be just enough to keep the little Fed above the level of cranial agony. It's possible. Remotely. People who aren't experiencing pain tend to stand taller.

Teo doesn't have to pull his own posture out of its lazy, hooligan's hangdog slouch in order to meet the other man's eye.

There seems to be something slightly wrong with the baby terrorist today. Granted, Teo's is rarely entirely right, but the hue and bristly lines of his face are further off from peace and health than usual, the wisdom of a murder of ravens casting his eyes in an unusually darker shade of quiddity. He sniffs once, loud enough to hear, like a dog. And then he pulls a gun on Felix.

They never learn. Not the important thing, which is that to take this particular cat's ninth life, you have to catch him by surprise…'cause when it comes to straight ahead high-noon gunslinging, the deck is always, always stacked in his favor.

There's not even time for Teo to take the safety off before Felix explodes into that blur of motion. One sharp blow knocks the gun from his hand, the following strike knocks him back, and the grip that comes after whirls Teo around. He'll find himself with his face pressed to the rough brick of the tenement whose fire escapes they stand under, and neatly cuffed. "What the fuck are you thinking?" Felix hisses in Teo's ear, leaning his weight on him to keep him pinned. "You know better than to threaten me that way." There's blood seeping from the stitches, after that little spike in blood pressure, but the wounds don't pain him enough for him to take any notice. This close, he smells of freshly laundered wool, whatever aftershave he wears, and the metal tang of blood and gun oil.

That's not a bad question. These days, Teo thinks a lot more than he used to but that sort of thing probably requires practice — he still probably isn't very good at it. Mortar and stone bite hard into Teo's cheek, and harder when he reflexively bends his cheek around a short-lived, manic rictus of a smile.

Gravity and curiosity pull his wrists to the limits of the handcuffs' steel constraints. "We got Deckard out." It isn't an answer and he doesn't sound like he thinks it is one; his voice is a rasp that smells faintly of alcohol, cigarettes, whatever he had for dinner. Which would be alcohol and cigarettes. Soap, detergent, and someone else's exorbitantly-priced cologne add unexpected notes to that redolence; notes that don't quite fit. He doesn't sweat much during winter.

"I think I killed a Fed doin' it." Teo scrapes his forehead, turns his head to glance back over his shoulder to look, pillowing his face against the wall. Red hair, he thinks to himself but does not say.

"Teodoro Laudani, shut up," Felix says, "You know what? I don't care. I'm not HomeSec, and I am trying very, very hard to have this not concern me. I'm not your confessor or your lover. Go home to your boy and leave me out of this." His heart is racketing unevenly, making him tremble like a grayhound at the gate, and try as he might to keep it even and controlled, his breath has gone ragged, his face pale and bloodless. Too many drugs in his system for him to do what he just did with any degree of safety.

The bones in Teo's right hand are still reverberating like the keys of a xylaphone where the special agent's foot had collided into it and knocked the handgun out of his grip. His fingers curl again as if the pistol's handle is still there fit to the hollow of his hand. It isn't. His fingertips scrape through, past the fabric of Felix's shirt, instead.

"Fucking hypocrite." Guttural, a stop-start, halting growl that's the wrong shape for Teo's voicebox. "You threw Flint under the fucking bus. Be better if you throw me, and you fucking know it. All the shit I know. The people I protect.

"I'll do worse if something doesn't stop me." Blood shudders through his veins. Warning comes in the sudden but silent explosion of his pupil in the disc of his iris, and he shoves backward against Felix's grip.

It's like rebounding off a wall behind him - Felix apparently quite happy to bounce Teo's head off the brick until the Phoenix op behaves. "Deckard doesn't have brains enough to know when he should play ball. None of what happened had to, if he'd just ponied up in the beginning like he ended up doing to Harrison. All his defiance was to no point." Felix says, and there's a catch in his voice. There's also the click of a safety coming off, followed by the cold kiss of steel under Teo's left ear. "Why are you even here? This isn't even your fucking country, Teo. I'm not interested in Phoenix so long as it isn't a threat. Which you've gone out of your way to make it be. HomeSec brainraped Deckard, Teo. You are all blown, you have to know that. Why are you talking to me? Do you want to be arrested, or was this supposed to be suicide by cop?"

As last memories go, it could be worse. White hands flashing impossibly quick out of the dark, the sterile chill of metal and the acknowledgment of indifferent blue eyes. Anger. Long silhouettes blurred on frozen slush.

His head slams into bricking, daubing his profile with a bruise; he exhales a trace of pain, blinks wearily in the dark. "If you hadn't fucking shown up in the beginning, none of that shit would've happened. You and your fucking ego almost let HomeSec bury a good man alive, 'nd all of us with him, asshat. I—"

—have started laughing, when that final query catches up to his mind's ear, surfacing from the undercurrent of adrenal thunder. Teo doesn't laugh long, though. Short, miserable bark that ends with a translucent tendril snapped short between his teeth. "Was. Is. 'F someone's gonna, ought to be you."

"Why aren't you all scattering to your respective holes? Or did Deckard not know enough to make it a big deal?" Fel's voice is mild, rather distant, adrenaline and anger shut down, for now. At least to all appearances. But he steps back, and there's another flicker of motion from him. Teo's uncuffed, his gun is back in his hands, and Fel is without his - the Sig holstered under the black wool. "I went to Deckard because people are dying around Tyler Case, and it looks as if more will, including Case himself," He wipes impatiently at the blood from the stitches, flicks it at a patch of already filthy snow in the alley, like a fighter shaking off sweat in the ring.

The renewed weight of gunmetal on Teo's hand throws him more than the air returned to his lungs. He looks down his arm as if it had mysterious attached itself to his shoulder socket at some point while he was being inattentive. Unlikely. His hands bear the same notches and wear of use as the rest of him.

"Deckard isn't Phoenix," he answers, automatically cooperative despite himself, "and Phoenix didn't think you and Liz would be fucking stupid enough to try that. He hates you.

"You blew his fucking safehouse with the Vanguard and hung him out to dry, almost shot him in the head—" His features go into hard white lines, as dislocated thoughts and crippled motivations tumble back into a heap small enough for him to wrap his mind around. Teo looks at the blood on Felix's head. "You don't think I'd shoot you?"

"I saved his life from the Vanguard," Felix says, quietly. "They tortured me to find out where he was, threatened Colette - when I knew very well, and I didn't betray him. I think he and I are even on that front. His opinion doesn't interest me, at the moment. I don't doubt you would," The Fed is bizarrely calm, blinking at Teo at the light coming in from the mouth of they alley. "Are you going to?" By his tone, the matter is academic.

To Teo, the matter is anything but academic. It probably doesn't help that Felix is either chronologically confused or just wrong. "Being a two-faced bastard who selectively murders and arrests based on who's coddling his fucking arrogance any given week, I understand," he says, the corner of his mouth seizing sharply upward. His smile doesn't last. "Staying so fucking self-righteous about it, I don't. Probably.

"If you don't shoot me first." Teo breathes in. Sounds like a sledgehammered engine doing it, rusted parts and cloyed air. This time, the safety does click off. "Come on, Felix," almost a drawl. Teo's neck oscillates over his right shoulder. "Do your fucking job."

"I don't murder," Felix says, even more quietly. It is, quite clearly, a lie, somehow. The noise of Chinatown is loud beyond the alley, but this part is strangely silent. Like all the residents of the little tenements hear nothing, and remain mute, even though the blue glow of a TV a story or two up flickers on the brick, and the pulse of the green neon dragon down the street alternately paints the blood on Fel's temple black, picks out the line of cheekbone and brow, and then leaves him in shadow. He's got his hands in his pockets again, but he's not hunched - just regarding Teo from that remote and impartial distance, expression almost thoughtful. "You first," he says, lazily.

There's no tremor or noise or sweat-shimmer of nerves to betray that the baby terrorist is hesitating on the brink of some actual cogent decision or desire. For once, Teodoro fails to look organic enough for any of that. Dimly, he does realize that Felix — and a lot of people — are probably due some sort of explanation. About the fact that his aunt is gone.

Ex-Vanguard, probably arrested, knows everything; that he loves her; that he has no real failures left in him and the whole thing reminds him of when he was younger, inexplicably restless and then generically angry, kept trying to kill something but the thing wouldn't die until he accidentally stepped on it and doesn't have the composure to fucking notice because he was too busy puking up whiskey in the sink.

Had whiskey tonight.

Felix will dodge. Or something. Or he won't and that is separately incomprehensible. "Like some idiot fucking punk rock song," he says, almost exasperated. The .45 comes up, his arm linear, elbow locked, so as not to waver; his vision already is. "Nine times out of ten, you take the pain away. The tenth, you won't. You're the worst cop I've ever fucking met."

"No doubt," Fel, despite all the speed that's in him, is completely patient - there's none of that poise that tends to indicate him prepping for fight or flight. Killing people is hard, he knows that. "I can't kill you, I don't want to arrest you. Not if it means your little mutant mujahideen show up and slaughter more cops to break you out. So stop talking and do what you mean to do," he says, with a touch of rough impatience, like a teacher with a particularly slow student. "Teo, you fight slower than you fuck, and god knows -that- took long enough."

There's a quizzical list to Teo's eyebrow, almost querying: in what way does this resemble a fight? He's never been much one for quickies, though, it's true. That insult bounces harmlessly off the invincible girth of his ego, and somewhere on the peripheral of his consciousness, he is thinking about going to church tomorrow morning. He was kind of hoping he wouldn't have to, in that feckless back corner of his conscious.

The pistol discharges. Eats a chunk out of the wall just around Felix's head, shocks a feminine shriek from inside the building above, a resident somewhere. "'M drunk," he offers, by way of explanation, studying the gun instead of its target.

“Your aim is terrible. Try again," is Felix's only response. The Fed has not flinched, even as brick chips bounce off the shoulders of his coat. He lifts a finger, admonishingly. "One more chance, Teo," he says. AS if this were a test the Sicilian had to pass or fail.

Though Teo has a stronger sense of self than a lot of far better-adjusted young men, he doesn't especially like being made fun of when he's already blurry and stupid and fucked up from grief drinking. That isn't nice.

His eyes focus past the gun and back on his target, ill-humored lines steepening his brow; he blinks harder than he needs to. It does not seem right to kill a man who won't kill you, even if that is precisely why you want to kill him. There's a logical error in there, somewhere, lost amid trivialities and inconsequential things.

Miserably, Teo wipes his nose. Straightens his gun arm again, though it's getting tired. He's getting tired. First thing he's felt in a few hours. "Why the fuck do you want to die?"

Felix retorts, without hesitation, "Why do you? God, Teo, letting you fuck me wasn't use enough, now I'm supposed to be your means of suicide? I knew you were Sicilian, but that's cruel, even for them." He steps in, hands coming up - the gun rests firmly against his solar plexus for a moment, before he brushes it gently aside, nearly nose to nose with him. Assuming someone's just called in shots fired to 911, even in the center of New York, there's a few minutes' grace before they need to be really gone.

"No offense, pupillo, but it wasn't supposed to be difficult for you." Teo pronounces the words with slow precision, not because he doubts their veracity but because he's checking every syllable to make sure of it. To make sure he thought so. He did. Somehow, Felix is suddenly right up in his stubbly face and the browning is nosed off into a harmless trajectory.

His pupils can't seem to decide whether they want a soft-focus close-up or a harshly defined macro out of the older man's face. He can smell the shit and sugar in everything. No spices, though. "I fucked up." It always boils down to that, in its simplest terms. "Lucrezia's missing. No PD radio noise, no scandal in the papers. I don't know what to do."

"How is putting holes in me going to help you find her? I'm really no damn good at investigations when I'm in the hospital," Felix notes, mildly. And he's taking Teo's gun again, more gently this time. "Chuvak, come on, let's get out of here. We can talk, if that's what you need. I don't know what good I can do you, and honestly, I should quit right now, considering what it means that I'm not arresting you."

There's more resistance than merely token, but the firearm then once again parts from its owner. Teo is left to stare bleakly, as if he has momentarily lost too much of his English for the Special Agent's instruction to make any sense. It doesn't, really. He should be under arrest right now. Or conveniently, and far more easily dead. "Of all the fucking times to cultivate weakness, Ivanov." He breathes in, turns his head, closes his eyes. Wishes he had a map. He's good at maps.

When the gun goes into Felix's trousers, Teo winds up being privvy to the uncomfortable echo of memory — Deckard's words wry in the back of his mind. You'll shoot your ass-cheeks off. He doesn't share this gem of wisdom with Felix out loud, falling instead into step, abruptly, temporarily docile. Paper garbage and organic moisture squash underfoot. "I don't know.

"She— she's Evolved, I think." They had never assigned words to it. Unusual, for him, a practical creature at heart: genetic psychometer, cyberpath, projective empathy, such lustreless terminology normally comes easily to him. "Her place was fucking trashed. The fucking Ritz.

"You don't want to help me," he adds, then, blankly, stopping suddenly on the concrete. Felix's arm bends around the sudden and stiff severity of his shoulders. He presses an elbow gently into the side of the older man's body, trying to get some sorely-needed distance back into things before the itch behind his eyes makes irreversible progress. "No one should."

"I want you to stop killing people or trying to find a way to kill yourself," Felix says, gently. And then grunts in pain. Still tender, after Deckard slammed him in that door. "That doesn't sound like the cops, and I've heard no news on the grapevine about it. "I want the violence in general to stop so SCOUT doesn't have to go chasing after you and your people. What do you mean, no one should?" He doesn't relinquish his grip on Teo, however, still urging him along. "Listen. You know anywhere private here we can talk? Me being seen with you is not such a hot idea."

Teo doesn't move forward. Not for a moment. Is left standing there, digging his heels in subtly, his breath timed in the palpitations of a panicked heart. "'M just finishing what they fucking started. The Vanguard, Homeland Security. You. I can't not do anything unless I'm dead. I don't know why I'm trying to explain this to you. Phoenix isn't a fucking knitting circle.

"I don't know how to knit. Wait— just wait a minute." His balance isn't great; the insistent pressure of his companion's grip drives him into a halted stumble, a hand catching on the the lapel of Felix's overcoat; he squeezes his eyes closed, fights down the increasing noise and static of uncertainty. "No one should help me because I want to help her.

"And she was on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge the night Kazimir Volken died. She's Evolved. And she isn't Phoenix." His eyelids split open like surprised flesh under the edge of a thin knife. Pain makes his pupils the size of his irises, almost. He stares at Felix.

"You can go home to Sicily, and forget all of this ever happened, is what you could do," Felix says, quietly. He pauses, turns to face Teo, puts his hands on the younger man's shoulders. "What are you saying? She was Vanguard?" His voice is a conspirator's whisper. "Or just a bystander?" One hand comes up to cup Teo's cheek.

There's a rasped, broken intimation of laughter blowing against the harsh line of Felix's face, and Teo volunteers the wreckage of a smile. "Vecchio, all the best parts of my life hist'ry are scarred out on your body and I almost wish they weren't.

"I don't have to explain why I can't do that t' you, do I?" Fitted to the hollow of the older man's palm, his skin is warm with something that isn't merely health. He's no good at maintaining eye-contact tonight, and his gaze is swivelling off into the distance again. No sirens yet. His voice comes out thin and crackly as cellophone: "We didn't talk about it."

"I refuse to believe that either shooting me or having sex with me constitutes a high point in anyone's life, much as I might like to believe it," Felix says, drily. "I…..if she's Evolved and was Vanguard, HomeSec'd have her. Because if it was us, they'd've been up in my face about it as soon as it happened. HomeSec, unlike us, doesn't share info if there's any way they can at all avoid it." He smoothes Teo's hair with a hand, an oddly unwilling gesture. And then he puts it at the small of the younger man's back, and urges him on again. ""Teo, you don't move, I will have to fake arresting you, or we're both going to end up dead by cop. Even in Chinatown, you fire a round, someone'll come. Not fast, but they will. You're drunk or sick or both, and you need to get off the street."

"Saving Deckard, guarding a safehouse, ending the Vanguard. Constitute important points in my fucking life." Teo's feet beat out a rhythm on the ground. Scratch-scratch, ridged rubber on concrete.

Walking again. With what appears to be a destination in mind, from the dry-eyed blink he points at the street sign when they emerge out of the other end of the alleyway. He hangs a left. Someone on the sidewalk up ahead decides to cross the street to the opposite side and continue over there. Probably advisable. Teo's drunk or sick or both, and even he knows that. "If I meant to flatter you, I would've."

Felix nods, expression haven't settled into that sphinx-like repose again. "Mhmm," he agrees, finally reaching up to dab at the drying blood with a handkerchief pulled out of his pocket. He doesn't look all that prepossessing either - tallish, gaunt, scarred. Now he's a half-pace behind, following, hands laced lazily behind him.

Somewhere in the back of Teo's mind, he finally gets around to remembering that whole speedster circulation and metabolism, which belatedly slides the sluggishly forming scab on Felix's head into perspecive. He remembers trying to gauge the frenetic cadence of Felix's resting heartrate. He remembers harboring the distinct suspicion that the FBI agent owed him a knife in the back.

Yet here they are, and onward he goes, back turned.

He pulls his hoodie up after a moment, pockets his hands, the furtive cast of his posture falling somewhere between his default thuggish braggadocio and the timidity of an adolescent prone to stretching their sleeves out as if their fingers were something to be ashamed of and hide. Confucius Plaza comes up. The shape of it and surrounding neighborhood are familiar enough to the Russian.

Teo has a key. Inside the apartment, there's a cross fixed to one of the bedroom doors, a bird cage hanging by the window, its diurnal occupant silent, and no one home. Scarlett thinks better than to emerge.

"I used to live across the hall," Fel says, a sand-dry thread of amusement in his voice. "Very nice place for the price." No, no knife in the back. And once they're safely locked in, he hands Teo the gun back, flipping it neatly around to present the grip. One last invitation to take that shot, though there's nothing in his face that indicates he thinks Teo will, now.

Five long fingers close around the gun's handle, take it back. Teo checks the safety, more by rote than any sincere belief that the FBI agent would indeed have risked shooting one of his ass-cheeks off. "Friends used to live here," he says. The gun goes onto the lamp table just beside the tomato-colored couch, a solid clunk of metal and sturdy, secondhand wood. He's thinking about Abby, a little. Saw her yesterday. She'd been fucked up, too.

With his usual feline arrogance, Fel moves to pour them both glasses of water, setting it firmly into Teo's hand. "So, you went to see your aunt, and found her apartment trashed?" he says, eyeing the glass after lifting it up to the light, as if none too certain of the water's purity. And then he glances past it to Teo, and then down, as if ashamed.

"No. But close enough. I a'ready told you enough for you to tell me to fuck off about, I think." In other words, too much. Secrets have the same volatility, temperature, and tendency toward explosion as molten rock, and eventually the faultlines and seismic unease add up. Teo's sorry, though. He just forgot to say so.

Half his tapwater is gone, and that which remains leaves a layer of residue withering in trickle lines down the wall of the glass. He watches Felix watch him until Felix isn't anymore. "You probably should."

"Yes, I should," Felix agrees, smoothly. But of course, he doesn't. That'd make sense, and sense more or less departs Felix Ivanov's world when Teo Laudani enters the room.

Unfortunately, cruelty, lust, greed, and weakness do not. Maybe that can explain what he does next, which is to put down his own glass on the counter by the sink, and advance the few paces necessary for him to put his fingers under Teo's jaw in order to lift it for a kiss. It's tentative, that silent question - he's fully expecting an open-palmed rebuke by way of answer.

It's the back of Teo's hand, actually. Only, not until after a brief kiss managed to hang itself together in the lukewarm air from the heater, awkward from genuine clumsiness, the Sicilian's coordination and strength no better for retaliation than it was for amorous contact.

Hard to tell which gesture was actually heartfelt, until the glass in his hand goes skidding onto the table after the gun and he's up in Felix's face again, nose to nose, an apologetic mumble smudged out in the cinnamon flavor of some brand of cigarette filter and whiskey. Misfortune, cruelty, lust, and greed are peculiarly pretty words for vulgar things.

Some of Teo's interests are probably mercenary. Probably. Probably not. It would never work in the real world though, granted, he hasn't been to that place in a few years.

The real world is filled with the delicate tinkling sound of Felix's cherished career being demolished. He rolls with the blow, a little, it'll only leave a slight bruise on his jaw. "Oh, Christ," he says, under his breath, before Teo's mouth is on his again and speech is once more theoretical. It's followed by a stagger back, until he can prop his weight on the counter, both hands going behind him for support.

That's all the protest he manages, though, before they come back to start fumbling at Teo's clothes. He's far from his best, either - there are still the huge bruises in that diagonal line across his body, courtesy of Deckard, and he moves with the stiffness of someone much older. Even blind lust isn't sufficiently strong an override.

On the other hand, someone much older would probably have something to envy in all this, though it's plenty pathetic, two grubby and clinically insane people sticking against each other like parasites in an abandoned safehouse while a bad-tempered cat glares lambently yellow-eyed from the sink cabinet and a sweet girl's golden crucifix glints at them with the spectral meticulous acuity of crosshairs.

Scabbed blood comes off in Teo's mouth, under his fingers, a scratchy facsimile of a pilgrim's blessing sliding down the edge of Felix's face until he locates the other man's mouth again and allows himself to be pried out of his clothes before he sets about extricating Felix from his. Two last sets of stitches show on his ribs, a new tattoo below his collarbone.

Pitiful indeed, cop and prey. There's the rustle of wool, the too-loud thunk of Fel's own gun denting the wood of the floor. "There has to be a bed in here, or the couch," he mutters. Too old to be happy with the floor. "God, who did that to you?" Felix demands, pausing, hands over those stitches. "Looks like you've been to the wars." He's still too thin, though Lee's determined feeding has helped a little, the bones less stark beneath the skin. The bruises are awful, leg and flank and shoulder. Deckard's signature.

"Logan," Teo replies around a mouthful of neck, his nose bent against the small bones of the other man's throat. "Same set 's before.

"J'ss deeper ones." The marks on his arms and shoulders are, by now, almost entirely healed. The roof of his head brushes the underside of Felix's jaw and he inches his teeth along whatever surface of skin tension happens to be available, no special effort to maneuver around the hideous purple of bruises, before he tugs the smaller man off the counter and walks him across the floor in an uneven shuffle of shoes and half-fastened pants. "Your pick."

March 14th: 36
March 14th: Searching for Serenity
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