The Escapist


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Escapist
Synopsis In which Teo offers a temporary solution in the form of a vague suggestion, and Sonny unwittingly asks for the same one because he can't honestly believe Teo had meant it. Three cheers for emotional health.
Date May 12, 2009

Fancy Pants Manhattan — The Bianco Digs

Sonny can't help but feel like there's a storm on the horizon. Last night, as welcome as it was, didn't answer any questions. The inevitable has only been postponed, though he isn't really sure what that inevitability is.

He didn't sleep. He spent most of the night on his side, staring at some indistinct part of the wall. He heard his parents come in late, walk past his door and down to their bedrooms. He dozed a little, but woke again when his father stirred only six hours later to head off to work. He knows his mother will sleep a few hours more.

Now and again he glances to Teo, but every time he does, a lump forms in his throat. His head hurts. His stomach flips. He fears what the Italian will say when he wakes.

Eventually, Teo does awaken. Slower than the sun rises, which is maybe to his detriment; proper terrorist protocol would divide his psyche into neatly dichotomized states of awake or asleep, one exchanged for the other on a hair-trigger of necessity. Instead, his feet stretch first, tendons creaking, and his toes make a climb of Sonny's right calf, pinching at the thin curls there before his eyelids jerk, flag shut again, and his arm shifts on Sonny's belly, tracking undulating creases across the linens rucked and splayed across them both.

He's marked up, a little. None of the bruises had carried enough incisored confidence to make them trophies, for either of them. Teo's been doing this long enough to tell when somebody's giving him what he wants just because that's how he wants it. Rarely, however, was it done out of love.

"Bu'ngiorno." It's an almost unintelligible mumble against the pillow flattened up on the side of his face. His fingers flex into a clutch on Sonny's hip.

That and to show Teo that he is capable of being something other than surgeon-gentle. Plus, well, he's had a bit of frustration to work out over this entire situation. Sonny smiles, though it's a sad expression, dulled by the hazy light in the room. "Morning." He cranes his neck. "Dad left a few hours ago. Mom might still be around. But…" well, she's not really the worry anymore, is she?

"You sleep all right?" It's smalltalk-pillowtalk. He reaches out and rakes fingers through Teo's hair and watches him with a sad expression as he does so.

Small-talk pillow-talk. Lighter fare than what they'd been choking on the night before. Teo's eyes half-close under fringy eyelids, shuttered by the pressure of fingers on his scalp. He breathes out through his nose with enough force to nudge a visible dent and eddy into the cotton over the pillowcase. It's a sigh, at least partially. He knows that Sonny is capable of being other than surgeon-gentle. He's capable of being furious and inscrutably sad. "I slept fine. You didn't."

Even with the stress and an undercurrent of wryly familiar humor, the accusation is half-hearted at best. Teo braces an arm into the mattress underneath him, pulls closer. His fingers slide a fan-shaped relief underneath the linens, up from Sonny's abdomen, over Sonny's heart. After a few carefully gauged heartbeats, he begins to look sad, too.

"No," Sonny murmurs. Part of him feels warm for the fact that Teo noticed. They've shared a lot of nights in bed together, many of those hours just sleeping. He rubs the back of his hand across Teo's cheek, touches the corner of his eye, the edge of his nose, the curve of his lips. He's touched his face before, but somehow he feels the urge to do it again. Gentle, tactile exploration of the familiar planes of his face.

When he speaks, his voice shakes, though he fights to make it stop. "Is it really so hard to be with me?"

If Teo said 'No' he wouldn't be lying, not exactly. Of the various reasons he had enumerated, every single one had been fortified by pragmatic rationale and founded on benevolent logic. There weren't difficulties, only impracticalities, which is far too heartless a reason to separate — and though Teo probably does have problems with his heart, they are as likely to be those of its absence as they are issues of physical health. He blinks hard, and not because of anything accident of Sonny's fingers.

"Yes," Teo admits. It would be harder of he thinks a lot, but he only thinks about it sometimes, but he can't regret dragging it out this long; he's selfish like that. He gathers Sonny up, a shuffle of movement that changes very little, his fingers trapping the man's elbow and then raking up the jumbled recalcitrance of black ringlets, turning his face away from the sketch of Sonny's fingers in order to mark his earlobe with a kiss, adjusting the margin of contact between them because there's no more actual space to close.

"Run away with me."

Sonny shouldn't have asked that question if he didn't want the truth. It's always too hard to be with him. That's how every relationship, meaningful or not, has ended. The only people who thrive in the spotlight are those who are self-serving and uninterested in him as anything other than a means to gain publicity. There's too much pressure, too many expectations, or, in this case, too much secrecy.

He slides his arms around Teo, squeezes tightly, almost desperately. When the Italian makes his request, he huffs out a bit of disbelieving, yet hopeful laughter. "You can't run away, Tay. You wouldn't be happy sitting somewhere on an island, not knowing what was going on back here." There is a beat, and then. "I…will run away…to you." He pulls back and looks Teo in the eye. "I'll tell my parents I'm leaving the country, that I need to get my head together. My mother…" he hesitates. "…she might play along. Then I get fake ID, create a new identity. And take on that identity full-time. No more pressure to go to my father's functions. No more…protesting. I'll just be a medic. For the Ferrymen." It's not a permanent solution, but there's really no such thing as permanence in their world. "But we can run away for awhile first, if you want to. We can go to Bermuda, or…to the Greek Isles. Somewhere with lots of water and sail boats. A vacation." He dares himself to think of that, even though he knows in his heart it's only a fantasy.

It's another small tragedy, that since their acquaintance, the truths that Sonny's heart knows are the same as the dried factuality that his mind should have told him once. Only a fantasy. Teo closes his eyes and breathes in the fragrant incline of the other man's cheek, his fingertips stirring nonsensical little circles on the plateaued skin of Sonny's back. Sometimes, it's convenient that all of his most noble efforts are based on crude weaknesses of character. He can't ever seem to make the wrong decision. Abducting little girls, hoarding his lover, cutting his legitimate careers off at the knees.

A year ago, he hadn't yet realized that the white knight necessarily lives in ambiguities of gray, as a function of refusing, ever, to concede to the existence of true darkness. Someday, this is going to make him feel old. "Run away to me," he — apologizes, in a canine snuffle in the crook of Sonny's nose, his mouth grazing shapeless kisses across Sonny's eyes, reverent, greedy for the confirmation that his lips will come away dry. Yes; that's what he'd meant. "Maybe later, I'll figure out how to be happy while remaining seated."

"I could help with happiness while seated," says Sonny as a way of trying to add some levity to a situation that is painfully lacking in it. He smiles, softly. "So. Will you let me do this?" A for-now solution. Delaying the inevitable once again. But maybe in that delay, they'll find a few more of those precious moments of joy. Neither realizes that happinesss should really last longer than a few days, a few hours at a time.

Other than this, he's all out of ideas. No other solution seems feasable to let them be together. And that's exactly the problem that Teo sees. But the doc's a particular brand of stubborn in that he won't give up one of the few things in his life that's felt real. It's misshapen in its own way, unstable, perhaps unsafe, but he feels like himself in this fragment of a life.

That would work. Sonny has talent for happiness in this and other departments, whereas Teodoro seems rather limited in his specializations. He's good at those— only, he thinks, not good enough. To last longer than a few days, a few hours at a time. "I will let you do whatever you fucking want. It's the least I can give back to you." There's almost flippant braggadocio to his saying so, an expansive generosity whose insistence on being that is traitor to its own humility. He's perfectly serious, mind you, only disguises it with a joke. Underneath that slapdash camoflage, it isn't funny.

That he keeps Sylar's company and won't let Salvatore have that of his parents. That he's banishing Sonny Bianco because Teodoro Laudani is already in self-imposed exile. It isn't very funny at all.

His face changes slightly. "I don't know what else to do."

Eyes as blue as a baby robin's enamel bassinet watch the wall for a moment, sliding haphazardly out of focus, absentminded, the ordinary intensity of his regard diluted by distracted thoughts. His heartbeat doesn't slow down. "Whenever you change your mind," he says, unevenly, "whenever you change your mind— you just let me know, okay?"

"This will work for now. Give us time to think about other solutions." Without totally smashing what they have. Sonny Bianco and Teo Laudani might not be forever, but neither man really needs the dash to their psyches that a break-up would cause. Not right now. There's too many complicated motives behind a possible separation, too many possibilities for permanent hurt feelings and the seeds of complexes. This may be just forestalling the inevitable, but at least it gives them breathing room.

"It'll be like a vacation from myself, rather than just a weekend getaway." He tries to make it sound like he's looking forward to it. In truth, he's talking about crafting a whole new life for himself, a real life, not just a face he wears for a few hours at a time in front of strangers.

Sonny shifts, meets blue eyes with blue, then shifts down and pillows his head against Teo's chest. He splays a hand over his lover's abdomen and starts to stroke, gently. "We both need time. This will give us time. Without being apart."

It's not really healthy, but this has never really been a truly healthy relationship.

Sonny's lying to himself, but Teo lets him. It is easier, if no more honorable, than lying to Sonny himself. "I'm sorry I pissed you off, caro. And scared you.

"'Nd all that shit." Romeo oh Romeo, and his gift for gab. The stars cross and the Bianco family residence takes up a part of Manhattan that is fairer than most; some corporate faction and cell of vigilante terrorists is feuding, somewhere. They had their balcony scene, before. So many maudlin, interchangeable tragedies.

Teo rolls in the circle of his lover's arms, hides his face in the side of Sonny's neck, his stomach tautening under the bars of Sonny's fingers, brief, his breath crashing caged thunder against the back of his teeth, fingers tight on the linens, massed up with the frenetic, static-electric energy of a hackling wolf. He relaxes just as abruptly. Allows himself to be soothed down by long, competent hands.

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