The Final Corruption


elisabeth_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Final Corruption
Synopsis Teo's a bad influence!
Date Apr 7, 2011

Maison d'Allegre

Elisabeth slips down the stairs from the shower, her hair wet and a hairbrush in her hand. She's been spending nights at the Endgame safehouse, which she told Teo was primarily for the house's safety — Norton Trask is there and can negate her when she's waking screaming. It's an embarrassing admission. She walks toward the kitchen yanking the brush through the nearly waist-length mass of wet blonde strands seeking coffee. Hot coffee. And maybe whatever can be scrounged from the fridge too.

The fridge has much for scrounging. Leftover stirfry in cartons and sliced fruit in tupperware, a great deal of yogurt, and rabbit food in excess, as well as a slightly asymmetrical amount of chocolate, presumably either for the purpose of inspiring fabulous gay buttsex or to shore up on missing fats. Anyway.

Teo is already up, or he hadn't gone to bed last night. He has a notepad and a book at the dining table.

So far, the Sicilian hasn't seemed to overly mind that Elisabeth tends to spend nights elsewhere. Is pleasant, familiar, not overly polite, a little quieter than she remembers. Obviously impatient for Francois' return, despite that the subject of the Frenchman never comes up. She has located at least four (4) different weapons stowed variously around the house thus far, which has less to do with poor concealment, more to do with the fact they're all in convenient placement and she has some paranoid ninja instincts, too.

"Hello." The reading glasses are new. He pushes them away with a forefinger and blinks at her.

Tilting her head to study him, Elisabeth nods in his direction. "You know," she says quietly as she makes her way toward the fridge. The chocolate gets immediate attention. She's stressed to high hell, evidenced by a faint hum that seems to accompany her everywhere of late at very low volume, and chocolate is the food of stressing women everywhere. "I'm never quite sure what to say. None of you…. really made contact with me when you got back. And I didn't want to presume because they told me … there was more than one, and I wasn't entirely sure which, if any of you, knew me anymore." She nibbles on the chocolate, her blue eyes still trailing over him. "Are you the Teo that came back from 2019?" she asks quietly. "Or are all of you amalgamations of Teo?"

"The latter," Teo answers. He drops his pen to pull his glasses off his head entirely, sets them down with a shuffle and click. "Sorry. I mean I don't think I can apologize on their behalves and my behalf is pretty different, but we're. They— uh. Te—"

A beat.

"Things are complicated," he finishes, finally. "Even before the clusterfucks with temporal displacement and belonging. The little one— your Teo. I think he quit this life. You know, baby-terrorism."

Elisabeth grins at him. "Things are always complicated with us, my darling," she teases softly. She walks past him and kisses him lightly on the temple. "It wouldn't hurt my feelings if one of you got out of this life," the blonde admits as she sits down in the chair next to him. "You don't have to apologize. I'm just as much at fault. Francois told me I should come see you, and I …. " She hesitates. "We haven't really seen one another since you found me in the harbor." Her tone is a little hesitant. "I guess I didn't want…. to give you bad memories any more than I wanted to face them."

'Her darling' lifts his head for smoochies then grins, propping his chin up on his hand. His eyelids hood thoughtfully as he listens to what she says. He doesn't comment on the lack of Richard Cardinal around for the past few days, that he hasn't been mentioned despite that Trask was. It's true. Things are complicated, though he's been forcibly simplifying his own life for some time now. No harbor visits.

No dead girls. "People almost stay dead around me all the time," he says. "No post-traumatic flashbacks here. I leave the emotional complications to other people. My bullshit's all cognitive."

"Oh good. That must be why they all landed on my head," Elisabeth quips back with a faint smile. "I'm glad… that you're doing okay, Teo." The sincerity in that tone is clear. "How's Francois recovering out there?" she asks curiously.

Teo leans over sideways and pushes the adjacent chair out, slaps his palm down on it to get the woman to sit. "He's recovering fine," he answers. "He's up-and-at-'em like a fucking pitbull. Pollepel, Staten. Mostly Pollepel, I guess. Every other day he's being held up at gunpoint or holing up in a safehouse somewhere bloody coincidentally while the news suppresses some story about twenty armored government douchefags — " a beat. "No offense — getting gunned down by terrorists. Always on a boat to somewhere. He's doing good. More than enough power for the cause. More than three Teos together, I bet."

Elisabeth settles in right there with him, leaning back in the chair comfortably. Her wet hair is trailing down the back of the chair and it's dripping a bit on the floor — so hard to dry! But she smiles at the description of Francois. "He's a busy boy," she murmurs. "And no offense taken. Lord knows, someone needs to do good out there."

"Have a cookie." Teo pushes over a small plate, bearing several little round cinnamon confections and a chocolate chip thing that appears to be studded also with raspberries. He sets his elbow on the table after, leaning his jaw onto one coarse-knuckled hand. "Not that you don't spend all your time doing good, right? Ryans wouldn'tve taken that time out of being James Bourne if you weren't worth it."

Elisabeth shrugs just a little, reaching out to take a cinnamon cookie to nibble on with her coffee and the chocolate she absconded from the fridge with. She's quiet for a long time, and when she looks up at him her voice is a bit tight. "Not sure I d-d-did good this t-t-time," she admits, unable to quell the very slight stammer. She clears her throat. "Feels sort of like I just took our deck of cards for a fucking game of 52 Pick-Up." Her hand turns the cup on the table restlessly. "Do you ever…. doubt… what you did when you came back?" she asks him, not really out of the blue but perhaps a bit abruptly.

Teo straightens in his seat, scratches his fingers through the off-blond straggle of his hair. He notices the stammer but it takes him a second or three to lean over and hang his arm over her shoulders, mooshing into a hug that's two parts lazy canine comraderie, one part reserve. He was always a little reserved around women, though. Less to do with being a fag, more to having a self-flattering distrust of his own ability or tendency to hurt by accident. "What do you mean? I've done a lot, and I've come back a couple of times."

The hug is far more appreciated than he might realize. Elisabeth leans into it, resting her head on his shoulder. Her smile is faint as she recalls a night where she entirely lost her shit all over her kitchen and her poor friend Teo got the brunt of it. She's not that bad off right now. Just… worried. Heartsore. Weary. "The future that you came from… had a lot of bad things in it. Nothing is ever perfect," she says quietly. "But sometimes… I wonder if we'd have been better off if we'd left well enough alone. To save a few lives, we changed everything. And… we've killed so many already, I just…. wonder if changing it was the greater evil," she confesses.

The Sicilian's eyes go squinty. "I'm the wrong one to ask about that," he answers. "That'd be me-number-three. And I don't think he regrets anything. His future's done, far as he's concerned. There's a you out there who's a single mom, cop, proud soldier. Possibly never let Cardinal touch your vagina. She's still there. To him." There's a figment of doubt in him that it's true, but he isn't the same. He knows he isn't. Not the same steel, for better or worse now.

The ghost might say: diluted. "There are timelines that have more corpses than this one, too. I think me-number-three's too jaded to give much of a fuck anymore. I'd almost wish that on you if it'd bring you some fucking peace."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Really? You'd wish me that jaded?" she asks curiously. "Peace is overrated, Teodoro." She leans up from where she rests on his shoulder like that and kisses his cheek. "This timeline is the only one that matters. The one we live in now. And in the here and now… I don't know if I've done a damn thing that I'm proud of. Guess I won't know that til I die." She is quiet there. "I find peace in this moment. In dealing with what's in front of me. In having a clear-cut choice and making it with a simple criteria — is it for someone else's good or my own? If it's just for me? Then I need to not do it."

"That," Teo concedes, "and Casper doesn't seem nearly as at peace as he pretends about. But you know. Boys are stupid." He kisses her cheek too, though up slightly— right near the corner of his eye, then straightens, leaning over the table to retrieve his mug of tea. It's mostly empty and cold by now. "You might not know if you die. All you can do is your best, Liz— and you've always done that. Come a long fucking way from a music sub keeping your nose out of Phoenix 'cause Conrad and Trask figured the big girl pants were too big, eh?"

That brings a burst of laughter from her. Elisabeth can't help herself. She moves to sit up, toying with the cup again. "Well, I sure as hell found my big-girl pants, didn't I? Showed 'em all. Didn't even have to get shoved over the line this time — no, I went and torched my life all by myself without a shred of….. " She rolls her eyes. "That's a lie. There's a lot of regret. I'm scaring the shit out of my father. I'm spitting in the face of every damn cop and soldier I ever worked with. I'm pissing Richard off like no one's business." She pauses and smiles slightly. "And for the first time in ages, I actually think we have a chance of making things better. Sometimes… back to the drawing board is the way to go."

Sometimes. Teo looks at her askance, then shows a brief grin on his face. He's paler than he 'should' be at this time of year; getting less sun than Laudani had normally been wont, but one would suppose, them's the breaks when you're sharing an identity with two other equally (if not better) qualified candidates. "I am the back to the drawing board," he answers. "So you're not going to hear any argument from me. What time are you heading out again? We could watch some television or shit, if you want. News. You're nationally infamous now aren't you?"

With a cheeky grin, Elisabeth says, "I don't need to be out for a while yet. I figure I'll…. brave my phobia and wander home after dark. In the tunnels. If I don't make it back to the safehouse, you'll know I'm sitting in a corner whimpering mindlessly and it'll all be over anyway, right?" She winks at him. "Sure, let's watch something. We'll see what wonderful lies they're telling that I can refute when my own plans go viral."

"They'll probably get a girl half your age to play you when they finally make an autobiographical film," Teo says, wryly. He stands up, tea in one hand. There's a touch of hesitation when he offers her his other, but offer he does. His palm is warm and fingers callused, familiarly still. More than frinkle's had been, less than the ghost's. He's an easy, almost reassuring median in many ways. "Come on. I'll leave you some marijuana to bring to the terminal— maybe you'll be able to sleep tonight."

Taking the hand, she leaves her drink on the table and brings the chocolate instead. "For Christ's sake," Elisabeth retorts on a chuckle as she stands. "You do know that … well, at least as far as I know, I have never smoked a joint in my life, right?"

Teo drags the pretty lady over to the couch. And not to shimmy a hand into her jeans either— because he's a good person and stuff. "It'll be fine. I'll give you a one-hitter," the man reassures her. "Sleep aide. I mean, don't go smoking that shit multiple times a day and stop going outside, but I don't think you'd manage to ration out less than a gram. Also," a sidelong glance at her, ineffably wry. He sinks into the couch with a cottony thump. "I don't think anybody's going to arrest you for it."

Elisabeth is … giggling softly as she drops onto the couch next to the man. "So.. now you're just out to send me tumbling over that last 'I've never done it!' line. Drugs." She rolls her blue eyes and snuggles into his side to watch television with him. "Sounds like fun. Maybe getting entirely shit-faced will be good for me!" she laughs. "No more Miss Goody Two Shoes for me, I tell you." It's nice to have friends who just plain get it. It's good to have places where … you can just be you. Teo is one of those havens, and Elisabeth isn't sure she'll ever be able to tell him so. She hopes he knows.

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