The Defenestration of Pollepel


amato_icon.gif astor_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title The Defenestration of Pollepel
Synopsis Raith and Amato pay a visit to Astor, who is quite adamant in his wish not to see anyone.
Date February 22, 2011

Bannerman's Castle

Spirits lightened, just so, when the dome collapsed, if only because those that had been trapped inside were freed again. But even with that, spirits did not lighten much. The dark specter of disease haunts every inhabited space on Pollepel, and other poetic nonsence. Jensen Raith has never been one to dwell much on poetry unless he had to, and at this moment, he doesn't have to.

To say that things haven't been great on Pollepel is an understatement: It's never a good sign when surgical masks are becoming less and less common as time goes by. But these are the times that the Ferrymen are living in, and they are times that have not left Raith with enough time to address everything that has been given to him. If there was one less thing he could focus on, then immediately, everything would fall into place. And finally, there is a way to achieve that reduced focus.

Outside influences haven't had much effect on Astor's, or more correctly, Eileen's chamber, perhaps. But to his credit, Raith has upheld his agreements with the young man. A some point in the past week, a working radio with batteries has found its way to him. Better than nothing, probably not enough to help with the tenuous relationship they've always had (admittedly, Ethan Holden probably did enough damage to it to prevent it from ever being more than 'tenuous'). For the second time, there is a knock on the door that comes early for one of the usual 'check ins,' and probably like the last time, Astor will be in no mood to receive any guests. A fact of which Raith chooses to ignore or doesn't care about, because he doesn't wait for a reply before he pushes the door opened.

Astor is sitting in the corner of the room on the floor, wadded blankets underneath his legs and plumped up to fill the curve of his spine against the wall. He looks better than he did the last time Jensen saw him, but not by much; his face is still thin and chalkily pale, a stringy quality to the hair dangling down his brow and curling on his shoulders, his most recent efforts to shave punctuated by a notch of a scab on his jaw. He has his arms hanging down over his knees, radio beside him, and a book open on his feet. Either the book is that raptly fascinating or Raith is right— and he isn't interested in visitors.

He doesn't look up very quickly, and when he does, there's a foggy, abstracted dislike showing in the off-green of his eyes. If he didn't look like an urchin hiding in an abandoned squat, there would be something faintly aggressive about it; feral. "Go away," he requests, bluntly.

The presence of a surgical mask over Amato's gaunt face serves to do more than just protect him from airborne pathogens. Not because he's that weak, or even that susceptible. He's just that paranoid. It also keeps him from chewing on his fingers - a habit he's picked up over the last week. Thankfully, the red ring of sleeplessness around his pale eyes can be attributed to plenty of things not associated with troubling, nonsensical visions. It's fitting, in a way, that the darting glance that Amato shoots past Raith's shoulder to Astor is somewhat predatory.

"Epileptic fits used to be perceived as a mark of the devil," Amato instructs more than simply says, foregoing any greeting and outright ignoring Astor's request. Even so, the steadiness that normally accompanies such a tone has been replaced with obvious unease. "Those were much…simpler times. You're no more a witch than me, or even the smallest among us. But-" and Amato pauses to swallow and reassert himself, though he lingers behind Raith's broader shoulders. "Now that you're feeling better, it is perhaps time to glean answers." His eyes dart again, this time moving to the book, to his shoes, and then to the wall before they find Astor again.

"Sure, glean, great." Astor isn't interested in visitors at the moment, and apparently, Raith isn't terribly interested in answers at the moment. "I have six kinds of shit to do, so I'm going to try keeping this as brief as necessary. By now, you've probably gotten used to ignoring me unless you need something, so we're going to shake things up." With one finger point, Raith jabs his hand out and towards, not Astor, but Amato. "Feel free to start ignoring this guy unless you need something. Or don't ignore him or, really, do what you feel is appropriate. Point is, he is your second line of communication and acquisition." Information delivered, Raith retracts his hand, opting instead to fold both his arms across his chest. "Questions?"
Astor's eyes flatten, then sharpen again. He stares at the pale Italian with some unkind facsimile of recognition. No doubt, the after-effects of having been grabbed in his sickbed on Staten Island weeks ago. Arrogance shows in the cut of his features the next moment, jaw tightening, cat's-eyes slicing up and down Amato's frame. If looks could kill, Amato would at least be bleeding sluggishly out of a few superficial cuts.


It dangerously resembles adolescent passive-aggression, the way Astor opts to speak through Raith instead of to Amato directly. He huddles closer over his knees to grab his book up, and pulls it onto his lap. Runs long fingers over the edge of bandage— fresh, he must have been changing it himself— over the flesh of his shoulder. Then, to either or both of them, tonelessly: "Don't you have people to save out there?"

Recovering from a cringe brought on by the violent motion of Raith's gesturing hand, Amato's expression - at least from the mask up - is one made of slightly narrowed eyes and furrowed brows. But the hunch of his thin shoulders as he steps around Raith and into a neutral spot in the room is more jackal than wolf. "Of course," he answers Astor in a thin voice. "Tactics, young man. Tactics and prioritization." Though far from near enough to actually touch Astor, one of Amato's hands sneaks out of the grip of it's fellow to curl fingers against the air for a moment.

"It shouldn't hurt, but if there's anything you require to make it more…comfortable for you, then I'll try to accommodate." Truth be told, given their last meeting, Amato is far from sure if Astor is as unknowing a participant in his ability as the myriad of others he's seen the memories of. "You've really nothing to be afraid of." Sneaking another, slightly more wary glance at Raith, one of Amato's cheeks twitches in the direction of a smirk. "You'd have to do much worse to scratch of the mark that's left."

Jesus Christ, Amato," Raith says with an exasperated roll of his eyes, "You make it sound like you're going to stab him with needles, or something." At least there is perhaps good news in that, unlike the threats made days, weeks earlier by Ethan Holden, any hints of physical violence here are just hints at little of anything. "And don't take that as a suggestion. You try it, and the bosslady'll be pissed the hell off."

"Blood's as good as hair as good as skin," Amato mutters under his breath, his shoulders hunched anew at Raith's sharp words. He glowers somewhat, sheer madness shining through whatever semblance of sanity he's cobbled together to serve as an exterior. The fact remains that Astor is different - or perhaps he is too much the same. Whatever the logic is, it's one of the few things holding the frail man together at present.

He draws himself up, his hands still curled and grasping each other at chest-level. "He fought me last time," he says more clearly, accusing as much as pointing out the simple fact of it.

"There is plenty to be afraid of," the younger man answers impassively. Where 'impassively' is obvious annoyance, but probably no great divergence from Astor's default state. Attention drifting away from the bandage on his shoulder, he roughs long fingers across the underside of his jaw and hooks a glance out of the window again, either wistful or trying to find something distracting, less loathesome to set his attention on. "I don't want you to keep touching me," he adds. Possibly because it wasn't obvious enough. "I didn't do anything last time except wake up. This is stupid.

"Some weird man saves your friend, gets shot up doing it, so you give him free quarantine and an inquisition that's making you glaze over discomfort? Stupid." He pulls the blankets up closer under his ears and glances down inside his ankles. "Does whatever you do work on corpses?"

"No. Corpses." That's as final as it can possibly be. But it's clear that if Astor is annoyed, even irritated, Raith is not far behind him in this feeling. "Listen, you want me to leave you and your boyfriend alone?" the ex-spy asks very directly of Amato. "I can get some candles, if that helps. Put on a little Barry White. But no. Corpses." Just as he had before, Raith jabs out with one finger pointed to emphasize his point. "That goes for the both of you. There will be no murdering in my House of Doom."

"Hair is dead," is Amato's simple answer to Astor's question, delivered with the shrug of his shoulders. See? They can get along just fine. "You could shave. But I think I would see the same thing - similar things. Strange things. Dead things." The last of this is pointed directly at Raith. Amato's used to ignoring comments regarding his sexual orientation, or lack thereof. Raith's voice might as well be a comedic trombone. After staring at Raith a moment, Amato's eyes narrow in what can only be a gentle, if not strangely saintly sort of smile.

"I'd prefer to keep my eyes where they are, thank you."

Astor recoils slightly like a kicked dog, and the stare he levels on the psychometer is a cat's unmistakable distaste. After a moment, his jaw squares. "If he tries to touch me, I'll hit him," he answers, finally, acidly. "Or try. A lot. I'll make a note to try for the eyes. This is stupid." Possibly if he says it enough times, Raith, Amato, or both men will agree. Oddly enough, he fails still to invoke particular use of moral dichotomies. Not evil. Or wrong. Just stupid. No curse words, either. "If I survive this imprisonment I think I'm going to let girls die next time."

Finally, he heaves himself up to stand on his bare feet. He doesn't have to use the wall to get up anywhere, but he looks far from robust, still, thinned underneath his voluminous winter clothes, hair in a black snarl above his scowl. Not another word; he stares at Amato with obvious expectation, his gaze as cold and flat as machined steel.
Again, Raith rolls his eyes. "This whole drama thing isn't really for me," he says, "So get to it. Poke him or kiss him or whatever it is you have to do to make magic happen, just get it over with. I have a lot of shit to do, and not a lot of time to do it in." Unfolding his arms, finally, the ex-spy stands up just a bit more fully. "And you-" he adds with a look directly at Astor- "Deal with it. Recovered fully, half-dead or whatever, you're staying right here until Eileen says otherwise, and if that makes this a prison, then I'm the warden. If she turns up, I'll be happy to send her over so you can tell her that you're leaving, but do that at your own risk. If she wants you to stay, you'll stay even if she has to kneecap you."

Amato inches toward Astor, encouraged by Raith's threat yet wary of Astor's. "You know the brothers at Mt. Moriah," he says, in a perhaps vain attempt to get Astor to talk about the things Amato has seen. "You know them, and yet you have seen so much…death." There's really no better word for it. He takes another step, turning slightly sideways toward Raith as he does so, fingers picking at the pilling cuffs of his borrowed sweater.

"I could," and he reaches slowly out with one hand, fingers splaying slowly like a pale sea monster descending on some hapless fish. "Or you could explain. You could lie, but then I would know."

"I don't want to tell you anything," Astor answers, flatly. He settles one narrow shoulder against the wall and starts to clomp toward the bed on bare feet, the book still in his hand. His expression is tight. He seems to be about as interested in the whole drama thing as Jensen Raith is, but having somewhat less smaller physical presence and ginger gait to him, it isn't surprising that his demeanor seems to lack eloquence as far as Amato and Raith's perceptions are concerned. "The stupidness of this whole situation is really getting on my nerves and I'm beginning to think I'd rather die.

"I would say that is melodramatic, except I'm being wardened and interrogated and randomly touched by people who are grimly ironic about how honest that is. And I know both of you, like Eileen, and most of the Ferrymen, aren't exactly new to killing people. So I guess I might as well hurry the process along. I guess you could tie me up now if that's what you need to do." He flattens his back on the wall, apparently giving up on going to the bed for the timebeing. Glares at Amato coldly. He's had far too much time to contemplate his circumstances, cooped up in here with his radio, apparently.

"Well, when you put it that way, I guess this whole song and dance is pretty stupid," the ex-spy says in agreement, "You know what else is stupid?"

"You are!"

It's no secret that Raith has limits to the amount of anything he is willing to put up with. He has apparently reached one of them. "If we wanted you interrogated and dead, we wouldn't have wasted valuable medical supplies on you from day one! So maybe you should drop the sanctimonious, woe-is-me bullshit and come to grips with the fact that you're going to stay alive whether you like it or not, and maybe then I'll be more inclined to adjust your situation so you can get more frequent outdoor exercise, you jackwagon!"


Amato's glare over the edge of his mask is as bored as it is stern. But he doesn't hold the pose for long before he's closing in on Astor, his hand outstretched without the full extension of his arm. "You'd do the same," he says in a softer tone, eyes half-lidded. "If someone performed a comparable act for someone you cared for. You would want to know why. You would want to know so many things…"

Astor stares at both men with undisguised resentment, tension making stiff, sulky geometry in his lean shoulders. "I don't want more frequent outdoor exercise," he answers, primly. "I want to leave." But he can't leave. He knows that. They know that. Even Amato's hand, or especially Amato's hand, rabbiting across the air toward him knows that. His eyes flash underneath the handsome cut of his brow.


It is as fast, as seamless as a thought sleeting through the coils of networked neurons, the way Astor moves. Suddenly at a standstill, his fingers beartrapping shut around Amato's wrist the next, the Italian's lanky body hooped up like a stretch of elastic over his shoulder, bent at the waist, tilted, his center of balance captured as simply and methodically as the sinking of plastic peg Battleship, and then suddenly Amato's feet are in the air and his shoulders are swiveling around perpendicular to the floor, the whole of him hoisted up, aloft, and flung—

—out the window. Which shatters, as windows do, glass blowing outward in shards and triangular. Nicking a thread or two out of the weave of the Italian's coat, here or there, but otherwise harmless as a handful of glitter accompanying Amato's descent, down, down, down.

Whump. Into the fat Beluga shape of a snowdrift. And Astor left behind, out of breath but scowling fiercely all the same, trying to recapture his breath and straighten his now-skewed sweater at the same time.

It happens fast. It does not happen so fast that Raith is incapable of adapting to it, moving with it. But he doesn't, because of all the things he had expected Astor to try to do when backed into a corner, 'judo' was not on the list. It wasn't even on a second list. This is the reason why, right after it happens, Raith is left standing dumbstruck for several seconds. But after the several seconds have passed, he walks very deliberately across the floor not to Astor, but to the radio, which is picked up. After another moment, Raith finally speaks about the matter: "You're grounded." And then, he's walking back towards the door leading out to the hall.

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