The Hippocratic Oath


gabriel_icon.gif kinney_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Hippocratic Oath
Synopsis What all doctors must abide by, even when their lovers drag in serial killers for medical attention late at night.
Date May 1, 2009

A Ferryhouse in Queens

"— andaged him up with a sweater but he looks like his leg was shot three times— "

Car doors slamming, the sedan's roof blocking out the slow spin of stars.

"— enough plasma in storage and an empty cot— "

The coat is hiked up higher over the line of Sylar's profile, concealing conspicuously bold eyebrows and his gaunt pallor from the windows, or the possibility of civilian witnesses somewhere beyond the radius of the warehouse's wreckage and the desolate properties, abandoned since, around it. Deeds of ownership had once demarcated the outlying brush, dust-riddled storage spaces, and concrete-paved lots, but since the Vanguard fallout and the anemic economy after it, there's been little interest.

"— know you don't trust him. You don't have to."

The flip of the lightswitch is loud like something is being broken in half. The empty room has only one door and only one window, the former on the Northern wall, faced by a narrow, dusty-paned oblong eight feet high: designed for light, not for the view. The bed is a cot on jointed metal struts in chapped black paint, a wafer-thin mattress on top, an IV stand secured to it by translucently white plastic zip-ties. There is plasma baggied up, wheels of tube, needles, painkillers by the bottle and syringe, basic medkit. It smells of recent bleach and antiseptic.

The building is unmanned. They haven't seen another human soul for twenty minutes, not since that homeless beggar flipping his sign around on the curb, a Crayola yellow smiley face on one side, a blue frown on the other.

"Abby can be here in about four hours. Is he going to be okay until then?" There's a Sicilian covered in somebody else's gore standing at the foot of the cot, wiping his cheek with the back of his hand. He's looking between Gabriel's motionless face and Sonny's. He looks worried and sorry, both. There's a scratch hanging in the fabric of his sleeve.

It's not Sonny's face, rather Connor Kinney's. Despite what his lover seems to think of this man, he doesn't trust Gabriel enough to show him his true face. A man like this - an unpredictable man - is not someone he wants to know about his exploits.

This whole situation is the first true test of his doctor's oath. Sure, he's worked on criminals in his days in the ER. They were gang members and petty thieves who came in with gunshot wounds. But the man in his care now is a serial killer, a man who once threatened to take everything from him in a careless manner. A man who threatened him into erasing another man's death.

If anyone other than Teo had asked him to help Gabriel, he would have said no. Biancos don't like to be threatened. That's something he has in common with his dear old dad.

He's been wearing a near constant frown since he picked up the pair in the inconspicuous sedan he uses as the Phoenix doctor. "Don't know," he murmurs, his tone deeply distracted as he helps to get Gabriel onto the bed. "Jesus. What happened to him?" The doc hardly knows where to begin.

He shrugs out of his jacket and pushes the sleeves up high on his elbow. Despite the risk of shock, the wound to Sylar's chest has to be dealt with first. He sets a hand on it, then grabs hold of the man's uninjured shoulder. The pain that follows is likely enough to jolt him into at least semi-consciousness as he transfers the gaping, seeping hook-wound to the chest to a gaping, seeping hook wound on his uninjured shoulder. "Get me some light," he says urgently as he goes over triage protocol in his mind to prioritize the massive network of injuries. "Tay, put pressure on his shoulder. I need to stitch up this injury I just moved."

Gabriel has woken up in similar situations before. Radiation burns over sixty percent of his body, eyes creaking open to the faces of Company scientists and doctors. More recently, morphine keeping him under as a woman with red hair had sauntered in like a cat and took away even more than whatever had wrecked his body that time. And again, not a day later, brain reset and waking up to the smell of cigarette smoke permeating off a criminal business man and listening to the practical, economical words of Dr. Filatov.

This is worse. He'd never liked the slow crawl back to consciousness under the protection of painkillers and sedation, but it was there for a reason. Eyes snap open only to squeeze shut again against bright lights, bruised and bloodied face contorting into an expression of simple pain. It takes his breath away.

Wait, wasn't he meant to be dying gracefully in Eileen's arms not a few moments ago? Goddamn.

A raw grunt chokes out through his throat, consciousness peaking into something of shock-fueled heightened clarity, wherein he can feel everything, and a wheezing, pleading protest that might be 'no' slips through gritted teeth. But the suffocation of a collapsed chest is gone. Now his shoulder is just on fire. Not really registering that this is an improvement, his body jerks once, eyes blinking rapidly before it goes downhill and sensation starts to slip away once more, eyes hooding, until it can be needled awake again. No pun intended.

Teo winces slightly. He's never liked the sound of a dislocated limb going back in. It's crunchy and wet in all the wrong places, and that's even without vocal participation from the sufferer. Gabriel seems to have that covered for the moment: suffering. He unstraps his flashlight from his wrist, thumbs the button, adding the hard glow of its beam to the uneasy fluorescence that fills the room from the ceiling.

"Okay." Rounding the corner of the mattress, the torch is offered out to Salvatore while his own hands go to wad up gauze and linen underneath his palms, latticed fingers, pad the ragged gape of shifted injury visible through the rent remains of his shirt. He leans into his arms, adds pressure. This, too, sounds wet and painful. It isn't nearly as bad as the riven mess of splintered bone and surprised flesh that Sylar himself made out of Allen Rickham's chest, once upon a healing to which Teodoro was horrified participant, but a lot closer than usual. He holds Gabriel Gray down now like he'd held the President-elect down then.

"There's some fuck running around — ally to the Company somehow, keeps shifting people's abilities around. Gave one of the Ferrymen the power to reopen old injuries." A dispiriting squelch emerges out from underneath his palms, wet oil-black thinning out to discernibly crimson trickles over the backs of his fingers. "Turns out, Gabriel has a lot of those. She attacked him."

There's no such thing as dying gracefully, there's just death. Doctor Bianco knows. He's seen it. Though not much in recent years. But his stint in the hospital, in the ER especially, is burned into his brain.

When Gabriel convulses, Kinney's there to try and hold him still. He wastes little time in setting up a morphine drip and an IV. Then he hooks his foot around a rolling tray, drops to his knees and begins to stitch up the hooked arm as best he can.

"Jesus, Teo. I…I don't know if I can stabilize him. He's fucked up." There's a crack to the normally confident doctor's voice. There's a reason he became a plastic surgeon rather than an ER doctor - Evolved ability aside.

Trying to stabilize Gabriel is like bailing water from a boat with a thousand holes. Over the next hour, he moves from one injury to the other, moving some to less critical areas and patching up others. At least there's no bullets to fish out. That makes the stitching up process easier.

Finally, there's no more he can do. He's covered in blood and gore. He looks utterly exhausted. His fingers are numb and he lost track at forty stitches. Gabriel looks like Dr. Frankenstein had a go at him rather than Dr. Bianco. Some of his stitches are messy and crooked, because speed was more of a factor over neatness.

"I've done all I can." His voice cracks out of a dry, parched throat as he adjusts the flow of morphine and starts to clear the blood away and disinfect the areas he stitched up. He's set Teo to bandaging up the areas he's already cleaned. The first one that was secured is already beginning to seep blood. It takes a near steady supply of plasma to keep Gabriel from bleeding out.

"If Abby doesn't help him, he's going to die. I've done all I can, but I can't fix him."

There is a lot a body can go through before it simply quits, when pushed. This is certainly pushing it. The injuries themselves and the procedures of treating them alike. His eyelids are almost closed but the shifting of eyes behind them is visible, mouth slightly parted, somewhat parched, and he's breathing in long, slow pulls too subtle to really detect.

The painkiller flooding his system is probably one of the thin tendrils stringing his soul to his physical form before it can float free and drift to wherever human souls go after death. Creates a barrier between the pain, but can't quite mask everything. But enough, enough that he braves opening his eyes. Instantly regrets it as he sees mostly just colours like the trip he never experienced in his cautious teenagehood, and Teo and Kinney's faces distorting in a kaleidoscope focus.

He's awake. This is something he's gonna have to grudgingly accept. Licking his lips, Gabriel's fingers curl against his palms, and there's a strange twist of chemical giddiness inside him. He listens, head shifting to the side so as to see who's talking. Kinney. Okay. To the world in general, comes the harsh, rasping question, "Where'm I?"

There is a hand sneaking into Salvat— Connor's. A soldier's rough-calloused digits wrapped tight around the good Doctor's knuckles and a square thumb squeezed into the webbed gap between his and forefinger. A diaphanous molecular layer of sterile soap fragrance and hygiene is compressed in the clasp, transferring heat and the skin tension of worry.

Teodoro is well-aware that that wasn't easy for the other man to do on any number of levels. There is only half an hour before Abby should be here.

He's about to say 'thank you' or something similarly, ignobly inadequate, when he hears the question leak into the air brokenly out of the head of the cot. Teo turns his head to look, finds himself obscurely surprised that Gabriel is now awake. That seems inappropriate somehow, despite the physical logic, that he would have regained consciousness the closer he crawls toward final darkness. There's a jolt of visceral, almost guilty practical relief that he hadn't awakened earlier.

Moving injuries is not, after all, an ability that Connor Kinney is supposed to possess. "Still in Queens," he says. His voice is funny too, more from disuse than stress of effort. "Abby's coming. Gillian's been wondering where you are, so she should be here soon, too." He releases the Doctor's hand to nudge him toward the sink mounted to the other wall, encouragingly. Drink something: you sound worse than me.

Dr. Kinney wraps his hand around Teodoro's and pulls it to his cheek for a brief moment. He moves his face away moments before Gabriel starts to stir. "Stay still," he murmurs in a low but insistant voice.
Then he looks to Teo and says quietly, "I gave him as many drugs as I safely could, but the shock's wearing off and the pain's leaking through. I don't want to risk knocking him into a coma by giving him anything stronger. Just in case that leads to brain damage that Abby couldn't heal."

No, he's not supposed to have the ability to move injuries. It's not something he even considered when faced with a need for that particular facet of his power. Hopefully Abby will heal the injuries away entirely before Gabriel places historical injuries with spots on his body and starts to think something is amiss.

The good news is, there's so many drugs in poor Gabe's system, he probably won't even remember whatever he says to either of them. It's likely to all meld together with hallucinations and fractured bits of memory.

He smiles at Teo in a tired, somewhat strained way, then stands and squeezes the Italian's shoulder as he moves to the sink to get himself a glass of water.

The most vocal reply Teo gets is an expulsion of air through mouth and nose, a hitch in the pattern of breathing that might not actually be a response to words at all. His brow is a tense knot, skin creasing in some unknown effort, but his hands are loose on the ends of his arms, which lie useless and completely still against the mattress. His leg, similarly, is wrapped too tight and too swollen to even think about moving anyway, but the other shifts against the mattress in defiance of Kinney's suggestion, trying to some degree to curl up, but never makes it that far anyway.

He won't remember this. He might have, once upon a time, when a crystal clear memory recorded everything, even things fractured and split apart from drugs and pain, but not anymore. No acknowledgement of Abby, and this question of Gillian wondering about him is met only with bleary confusion in his eyes before his addled mind turns it over again.

Gently, he lifts his head to cast a look down his body, grimacing at the horror show of motley bruises and jagged stitches. Neck loosens, head falls back again, a low groan drawing out from the bottom of his chest. By the time he opens his eyes again, and more tears start to streak from the corners, panic is evident.

"I can't stay," he grits out, the slur even more obvious in his voice this time. The pain is coming back, tide of morphine like waves on a beach, masking jagged rocks in rhythm only to expose them again. His hand attempts to grip at the mattress, finds nothing, nails scraping against the white, cottony plain, shifts to try and find the edge. "Not— staying, you can't— " His body shudders, an effort to get up quickly aborted, but he's insistent. "Can't keep me here."

That is bad. No, no. Teo puts his hands out and scuttles the distance to Gabriel's bedside in haste, flattens his palms on the man's scrabbling arm. Tries to weigh it back into the mattress, dissuade him from moving in a way that is hopefully not completely terrifying and won't lead to hallucinations about crushing carnivorous monsters bearing down to eat him. "Hey, Gabe. That's a bad idea. You shouldn't—

"You're safe here, all right?" Would this be more believable if he leaned close, or better from stretched out far away? Teodoro has no idea: ends up hovering around in the middle distance a few feet away from the man's head. He fetches a glance back across the room to where Sonny's running bubbling water into a glass, and then back at Gabriel again. He's pale under the massed distortions of Sylar's addled brain chemistry. "You're safe. I swear.

"You're safe staying here."

The minute adjustments of phrase probably don't help, and Teo knows it. Creases his face with self-consternation the next moment. His cheeks puff out into circles, blow out a sigh like a very melancholy set of bellows. Fretful as he had been over a box of ailing kittens, he pats at Gabriel's shoulder, tries not to stare directly at the glistening tracks of saline out of the man's darker eyes. "You can stay."

Kinney swallows a mouthful of water, then quickly sets it down and moves back to Gabriel's bed as the man starts to try and move. He grabs for his kit and seeks out a syringe, which he loads and prepares expertly.

"Teo, hold him still. M'gonna give him a muscle relaxant. Might take the edge off the pain enough for him to sleep til Abby gets here. If he tries to stand up now, he could pull the stitches. And we're almost out of plasma. He'd bleed out."

He moves the needle close to a vein in Gabe's arm, but he needs the man to be still before he can inject him. Sure, it's dangerous to drug him up, but he's starting to get used to pre-Abby stabilization. He doesn't have to worry about the long-term effects of drugs or surgery, so he can do whatever it takes to save lives in the short run.

The arm Teo pins down locks up like steel beneath his grip, before finally relaxing likely out of the fact that muscles contracting out from a damaged joint is probably too painful for it to be worth it. A sound escapes Gabriel's mouth, tragically wordless, a keening growl and neck arching, twisting away in denial as much as this should be reassurance. Reassurance that when he next opens his eyes, he won't be hooked up to even more tubes and restraints, or he won't be able to recall his name, or he won't be on a flight for Moab, or find out that it's all just some hallucination, a cage for Kazimir to keep him inside.

His heart is beating too fast for what little blood is in his system, and his struggle against Teo's hold is weak at best, half-hearted. Barely able to move let alone able to want to, but it's there, little tremors of resistance before he finally gives up. Safe. He's safe. His breath comes in short starts and stops, unfocused gaze slightly wide as he stares up at the ceiling, and that's when—

Things get weird. Weirder. Around the time Kinney gets within two feet and goes to touch needle to flesh, the proximity too close and Gabriel too awake and some invisible psychic line is thrown out to sink a hook into the nearest thing. Gabriel's own flexing hands start to glow a deep purple, and to match, his brown eyes turned the same saturated hue, glowing a supernatural light and whatever is making him do it is making him gasp like a fish drowning on air. A new convulsion as what energy he has is poured into Kinney; a helpless, shuddering cry from the former serial killer sounds like a motor failing to start.

Fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck-fuck—

"Sal." Saying this is a mistake, if one with a limited fallout range thanks to the mess pureed out of Gabriel's genetic code. Teo releases the patient's arm when he realizes that pressing down on it really isn't helping accomplish a damn thing, jostles across around the cot on a few haphazard strides, reaching at his lover's shoulder with panic, though even in the throes of that panic, he thinks and knows better than to touch skin.

He knows Gillian's ability almost as well as he does Sonny's. "Fucking sto— are you okay?"

His fingers shut a jointed circle around Sonny's elbow, pull, an arm around the man's torso, pull, his eyes flashing a white-ringed arc of fear down at the syringe sticking out of the clutch of the doctor's hand. He's going to get Salvatore out of here. Into the hallway, another room, if not all the way home. Should the muscle relaxants are necessary— and before Abby gets here, they likely will be, then instructions will have to do.

"Augh!" That…that does not feel right. Is this what other people feel when he changes them? The moment he touches Gabriel's bare arm, it's like an electric jolt. The syringe that was poised to insert deep into his patient's vein drops to the floor and bounces on the ground. He doubles over and drops to a knee, hands to his head as if touch would stop the crawling sensation under his skin. It's the feeling of his ability spiked out of control.

The man that Teo pulls to his feet doesn't look like Connor Kinney, doesn't even look like Sonny Bianco. He has, in a split second, transformed into a perfect duplicate of Gabriel Gray. "No, no. Don't touch me, stay back, Tay." Gabriel's voice too, pitch-perfect. He's got a splitting, pulsating headache. It's hard to focus. "I…don't…fuck. Agh." He stumbles backwards, trips over one of the few pieces of furniture in the room. His shoes pinch, the belt bites into his stomach. Nothing feels right. And he can't change back, can't stop the tingling or his head throbbing to see his own pattern underneath Gabriel's and pull himself back into his own body. He's starting to panic a little.

The glow dies around the time Kinney puts some distance between he and Gabriel, but not enough to completely avoid the unseen tendrils of energy reaching out to nudge his ability into something more haywire than he's used to. Blinking eyes that have returned to their usual rich brown, Gabriel shuts them against the commotion, released, free to do as he chooses.

He lies still. By the time anyone thinks to glance back to Gabriel, the muscle relaxant lying on the ground has proven useless, gone under a tide of energy draining that's joined forces with a ludicrous amount of painkiller to put his consciousness's feet in cement, wrap it with chicken wire and hurl it into the Hudson.

Chickenwire stops pieces from coming back up. You learn these things.

Either way, Gabriel is out once more like a light, lying crumpled on the thin mattress and as pale as any long dead thing should be, chest rising and falling in the minute movements that argue he is in fact alive.

If Teo didn't have a bad habit of running toward the scary noises, he would be in another country by now. He doesn't leave Sonny, only fetches a brief, wide-eyed glance over at the sudden silence of Gabriel's bed to verify that there isn't more blood fountaining out of injuries sealed, keeps pulling until his boy is pulled upright and being steered bodily out the door.

This is absurdly familiar. Gabriel Gray's oversized body stumbling at his side, weakened and disoriented and out of temper, leaning on him and caught up in the half-hoop support of his arm. Teo kicks the overturned furniture out of their way, eases him toward the doorway with a murmur of reassurance. "Calm down. It's temporary— I'm sure it's temporary," he says with conviction.

He's lying, really, but that's the one brand of dishonesty one should know better than to put past Teo: the well-intended kind. He isn't sure. He promises, anyway.

Eileen doesn't really like it when he does this, but Teodoro doesn't speak entirely in ignorance, at least. "I've never seen Childs' ability do anything that couldn't be reversed, and that was hers. It'll be okay.." His fingers tighten on the fabric of Sonny's abruptly misfit jacket, his shoulder a solid counterweight to their stumbling progress into the hallway. It smells of bleach and new plaster out here, too, but there's a bench to sit on and a clock on the wall. "Don't forget to breathe."

"What…what was that?" Sonny with Gabriel's voice sounds very shocked and definitely disoriented. He's too out of it and the pain thumps too strongly against his temples to argue or fight against Teo pulling him bodily out of the room. Safer for everyone that Gabriel doesn't see him like this, especially while the former serial killer has that many drugs in his system.

He relies on Teo's strength a great deal to hold up his weight until he can drop onto the bench. Both hands go to the unfamiliar face and fingers bury deep in bristly hair. Pain like a nasty migraine stops him from even focusing properly on the world around him. He reaches up to loosen the belt around his pants and kicks off the pinching shoes.

"I look like him, don't I?" He doesn't need a mirror to know that it's true. Slowly, the pain starts to ebb, though it remains as a dull pounding. He turns his hands over and reaches up to feel the strong nose bridge and bristled stubble. "Fuck." He glances sidelong to Teo, though he has trouble focusing on the Italian.

It's a few long, painful seconds of hesitation before Teo reaches out to touch Sonny where the cloth doesn't shield them both from further accidents. Callused fingertips card through the shifted hair, a thumb tracing the arc of the reformed brow to the temple. "You do," he admits, with a little difficulty though no real despair. "You look exactly like Gabriel Gray.

"Your head's doing its jackhammer migraine thing again, innit?" By now, Teodoro is almost as familiar with his lover's ability than Salvatore himself is. Most of all, he remembers that the transitions don't come easy.

His palm soothes the lines of someone else's forehead, as if it was possible to touch flesh and reach mind, cup the troubled soup of Sonny-thoughts and keep it from eddies and pollutant bullshit. He's worried. As he scrapes closer, he kicks past a discarded shoe, glances back down the hallway to the room where the serial killer has slumped into exhausted repose. "Gabriel has augmentation. I— I guess it spiked—

"I'm sorry," he says. Miserable baby blues try to find Sonny's despite the screen of sensory disorientation between them. "I should've warned you." Never mind he'd had no way of knowing: Gillian had said her lover had been stripped of his abilities, failed to mention the possibility he had retained one or maybe even—

"I can't think," Sonny murmurs in someone else's baritone. "My head hasn't hurt like this since my ability first manifested." He closes his eyes, hand to face. If he had more of a brain right now, he might make something of the fact that Teo's not hesitating to touch him. That's a bit surprising not because it's Gabriel, but because he's expressed hesitation even with a face as familiar as Kinney.

"Maybe you coulda," he murmurs. But there's no cruelty in the faux Gabriel's voice, just regret. "Wouldn't have made a difference though. He still needed my help. Agh…" He hisses air between his teeth as a shift in movement causes another headache spike. "Is he all right?" He addressses it to the floor, then slowly looks up, meets Teo's gaze with one eye closed and the other half-squinted.

To be fair, Connor Kinney is rarely experiencing as bad a day as Gabriel Gray is now— and by 'Gabriel Gray,' Teodoro mentally specifies the one sweating bullets into the half of his hand rather than the one that Sonny's asking about. The circumstances under which Teo will not sacrifice some personal comfort to try and help another are few and far between.

"He's fuckin' dying," Teo replies. He splays his fingers in between Sonny's, ignoring the incorrect size of the palm and density of knuckles with a figment of conscious effort, "but he will be. Abigail will get here soon. It—

"You don't have to worry about him." Guilt is a familiar note in the Sicilian's voice and stoop to his brow. Quiet now. Ah, shit. His Salvatore: always so good, and honorable, and generous, more rather than less with the hesitation he has to fight through to do so. "Just… focus on getting yourself— together. There should be painkillers around here somewhere." He always does this. Where 'always' indicates having to do so 'too often.' In times of pain and panic, problem-solve. "I could get them for you. Maybe you could concentrate better on shifting back if your head wasn't fucking exploding."

Teodoro's grip tightens, his breath squeezed out through the grille of clenched teeth in a wobble.

"There's some migraine pills in my bag. Look for naproxen. It's labeled on a ziploc with a sharpie." Sonny pulls in a sharp, pained breath and tries to focus on something other than the throbbing behind his skull. He places a hand atop Teo's and squeezes, then very gently pushes it away. "You shouldn't touch me right now. Don't know if this is done fucking with me yet." And Teo knows by now that a headache is sometimes a result of holding an image in his head - an image he might pass on to the Italian with skin to skin contact.

Very carefully, he lifts his head and leans back against the wall. "I better get out of sight before Abby gets here. Don't want anyone thinking I'm him." Even for a second. Whether Gabriel has reformed or not, one can't really blame him for that. There's a hell of a lot of people in the city who would take great pleasure in killing him while he looks like this. Sure, Abby is not one of them, but the thought of anyone looking at him like a serial killer brings pain to the pit of his stomach.

Nor is it pain that makes the mule kicking inside his head any easier to ignore, it seems. Teo bites his lip hard enough to insinuate the sharp purple line of an impending bruise and gets up to do as instructed. "Naproxen." Okay. He can spell that out in his head and go get the bag with his hands. It doesn't sound too difficult. The baby terrorist cuts a hapless figure shuffling sideways down the hall, his gaze lingering with fastidious paranoia on the bizarrely familiar shape of the man slumped into the wall, until the doorframe winks him out of view.

Teo is less than a minute returning, naturally. Bag in one hand, the cup of water that the doctor had abandoned earlier in the other. He'd stopped only long enough to fling a fleece over the real Slim Shadey's inert corpus. Buckle and strap click and flip in his hands. Seating the cup on the bench beside Sonny, he scrapes the zipper open, finagles out the Ziploc.

His hands aren't shaking, but there's a haphazard frenetic energy to them, too much force and distance to each small movement. Popping the seal, he offers the strew of chalky pills out to Sonny's grasp. In his head, he is still apologizing.

Sonny spends the minute or so Teo is gone trying to find himself through the pulsating haze of pain the boost caused. He can't, not yet anyway. It's with relief that he takes the cup of water from his lover, and three of the small white pills. He pops and swallows the whole cup of water and then inhales a steadying breath.

"I'll be okay, Tay. Unless that jolt he gave me canceled out my powers, I'll be able to change myself back." He just might not have himself as a default form anymore. Which would be highly problematic, but there's no need to worry him just yet. He tries to smile in a warm, reassuring way that doesn't look like an expression Gabriel Gray should be giving to Teodoro Laudani. "You're blaming yourself. Don't. I'll be fine."

"I'm taking responsibility for my own actions," Teodoro grinds out in chagrined contradiction. 'Blaming himself.' He sounds so tiresome when described, sometimes.

It isn't supposed to be that way, but things so rarely are, these days. Closing the bag, Teo reseals it with a sliding pinch of forefinger and thumb, plastic clicking against plastic as he does so. He's economically quick to tuck the drugs back into the bag before he resettles again, feeling useless, his face dark with worry, lips curled inward as he absently sucks on the small spot where he'd hurt himself.

It takes a few seconds for his mouth to wobble into a crooked approximation of a smile. It is not entirely steady, but it's genuine because Teodoro's smiles always are. His mother taught him that much. "I know." He laces his hands together, hangs them between his knees. "I already told you that. That's my job."

"You can tell me that, but doesn't it make you feel better for me to tell it to you?" Sonny quirks a slow grin and closes his eyes. The painkillers will take a few minutes to work through his system, but the thought that they're in his stomach, breaking down, ready to spread medicine, takes the edge off the pain. Ah, psychology.

"You asked me to help a dying man, Tay. That's nothing to regret. And…" He looks Teo in the eye. "M'glad you feel you can ask me for help." There was a time when he was kept at arm's length, after all. Even when he could have been useful.

If he could think more clearly, he might dwell on how strange this must be for Teodoro. Strange for him too, but he has the distraction of a migraine.

It is strange. Teodoro and Gabriel may have made great progress in their friendship over the past few months, but they — still — somewhat lack the intimacy that Teo has with his own lover. Obviously. Teo overthinks it a little, whether or not it is his 'right' to be perturbed, before he goes back to overthinking something else.

Or not. After a moment, his smile evens its keel, a slow tilt back to symmetry. "It does," he admits quietly. He is comforted; there is no point denying it.

Nor that he used to be much more of an asshole about his trust issues. There are lots of prior experiences that Teo could blame for that paranoia. He'd abducted Eileen Ruskin to try and save the world, and Alexander had exploited a fifteen minute window alone with the prisoner to torture her. Abigail's life has gotten harder since he's known her, Deckard's turned to murder for hire, Eileen seems to be evolving into something monstrous and while none of that is so simple as to be his fault, all of it happened because of exposure to his world.

With repeated invitation. After a moment, Teo picks his feet up off the floor, sets his heels on the bench underneath him, his arms a loose circle around his legs. It's the squatted, Puck's posture of a boy poised on the lip of a jetty and hearkens back to the fact that he never uses furniture properly anyway. "Yeah," Teo says. "I know I can."

One would hope that Gabriel and Teo don't have the same level of intimacy that Teo and Sonny do.


Sonny tilts his head back against the wall and closes his eyes. Like the tide going out, the pain is slowly receding, leaving a numb feeling behind. Welcome relief, because he can start to sort out just what damage that boost did, and how he can get back into his own shape.

"Glad you think so," he says, tone quite genuine. And then, laughter. His hand goes up to touch his mouth in a bit of body language that belongs to the man buried beneath the appearance of Gabriel Gray. "This is kind of funny in a really fucked up and twisted way. And also terrifying to think if I walked out onto the street right now, I might end up arrested for his crimes." Because, come on. Who would be stupid enough to impersonate Sylar on purpose?

"Orrr, as bad if not fucking worse than that," Teo says softly, his fingers curling inward in a little twitch of recoil reflex, suppressing the urge to touch again. "They find out that you are Salvatore Bianco and you've had exposure to Gabriel Gray's physiological template under circumstances controlled enough for you to get away alive. That would lead to a fuckload of uncomfortable questions.

"I think." He smiles a little with his eyes, mostly because that isn't going to happen, or so he believes. This would never actually prevent Teodoro Laudani from preparing the worst case scenario anyway, but for now, he's content to make little faces at the morbid scenarios that the other man's experiencing mild hysterics at. He sucks in a deep breath, cheeks poofing out round, before he blows it all out in a sigh.

"When are you going to try again?" he finally asks, hesitantly, lifting long fingers to the front of his own face to sketch out the blur and movement like shifting.

"Right. All good reasons for me not to leave this safehouse until I can get this face off." Sonny reaches up and touches his - Gabriel's nose. "Quite the honker, huh? Maybe I should offer him a nosejob." A grin, lopsided and wry. Yeah, he's trying to lighten the mood. Watch it or he'll start pulling goofy faces like a two year old.

"Painkillers are starting to work. Still feel kind of off though. I'll try in a few minutes. Just going to wait for the pain to dull a little more. I can actually open my eyes now, which is a good sign." He rocks to the side and bounces his shoulder off of Teo's. Yes, trying to make light of it is overcompensating. But it stops him from freaking out, lets him keep his head and the concentration he's going to need to find his own face again.

There's a half-shuttering of Teodoro's baby blues, a tiny gesture of acknowledgment to go with the fractioned curl of his mouth. Okay. Yes, you're funny. No, really. That is hilarious. Make fun of Gabriel Gray's nose, why don't you, that's relevant to absolutely nothing! Gah.

"I think it's going to take Abigail some time to heal all that damage, so I have to go and set up a cot for her. Should I do one for you too?" His gaze trail to and fro across the modified topography of Sonny's face. Inwardly, he grudgingly acknowledges that Gabriel's beezer really is quite magnificent in its proportions. "I know you probably don't— want to share a roof with him for even a little while, half-dead or depowered or no, but… neither of you are doing too hot right now."

Sonny makes a face and shakes his head. "No, I don't think it's a good idea. I think he could…have a bad reaction if he wakes up and sees me like this. Might try to come at me or it might do something else to him. He's on a lot of drugs." That and if he desperately needs to sleep before he can change back? Then he'll be worried.

"I'm going to stay up until I can shift back. I think I might still have some more 'information in the buffer.' That's why I have a headache. That plus, well, whatever he did jolted me pretty good. You go and get it set up. M'just going to sit here a minute." And try and find himself. "Tell me if his vitals are off from the record I was keeping. I might have to go in and adjust some dosages. And pray he doesn't wake up."

"Sounds good, tesoro."

Teo's face is tense. His brow, lips, a dozen different sentiments and urges restrained behind lines turned rigid from tension. It's a rough week that's been taking its toll. Not too much 'worse' than usual than any empirical measure, absurdly enough, only more— personal. Refraining, somehow, from smooching Sonny on the cheek, he drops his feet back onto the floor, eases himself upright with a tug at his shirt to straighten it.

He kisses his forefinger instead, reaches over to brush it gently against the neatly-hemmed corner of the collar of the good Doctor's shirt. He straightens his shoulders like a proper soldier, and turns to step swiftly down the hall, down the receding row of doorways. "Be right back." He lifts a hand over his shoulder even as he scoots down.

Right back ultimately occurs on the end of about— twenty minutes. The linens and terrycloth towels weren't stashed where Teodoro had thought they would be, and he additionally decides to attack Gabriel's blood-scudded floor with a mop because he finds one inside a pail of unspent soapwater leaning on the wall of the room Abby is designated for. He takes to menial chores surprisingly easily, Teo does. Little surprise, though previously undiscussed between the two of them: terrorism, for him, used to entail being a glorified plumber who could shoot stationary targets, and nothing more.

He's toiling back after, a smudge of loose powderpaint on his cheek and his hands smelling brightly of soap. He has another glass of water with him, held out toward Salvatore with an air of trepidation about him. "Qualsiasi cosa?"

The touch-kiss gesture brings a warm smile to the face that doesn't belong to him. "G'wan," Sonny murmurs, then forces his shoulders into a more relaxed posture. Then his eyes drift closed.

The time moves very quickly for Sonny. Each minute that passes is a little bit less pain he feels, until it's leveled out at a dull ache and he can finally think again. His hands flex and relax as a way of focusing himself as he rests in a meditative state. Not even the banging around of Teo in the next room disturbs him.

When Teo does reenter the hallway, he'll find a man who looks for all the world to be quite calm, almost zen-like. "Almost got it, I think," he says in a distant, detached tone.

His own image is there, deep inside him, not quite where it's supposed to be. And Gabriel, a very clear image of Gabriel is blocking the way like a stone in the middle of the road. He has to peer around it, move behind it in order to find the familiar, ah. Got it.

The transformation back to himself happens much more slowly than the power-boosted transformation into Gabriel Gray in the first place. Reassuringly though, within the space of thirty seconds, coarse dark hair, bushy brows and a strong nose have been replaced with a mop of curly black hair, uh, still, bushy brows, olive skin and conventionally handsome features. His clothes fit again too. Slowly, he opens his eyes. He looks to Teo, then breathes a sigh of deep relief. "Oh thank god."

"Shouldn't use His name in vain," Teodoro admonishes, now a lean shoulder pushed up underneath the Doctor's arm and two arms wound around the other man's waist, folding around the flat of Sonny's ribs so that they're bent double, almost; would be if Sonny were small, but even with Mr. Gray's exaggerated proportions having been shed, he isn't small.

There's a Finnishly-proportioned nose snuffling audibly into the neat fold of his shirt collar, a mouth making contact point affection that the brush of a finger had stood in for seconds ago. Not to be clingy, of course, and not to be weak; Teo is just somewhat relieved that all the worst case scenarios they were joking about get to stay just that. Jokes.

He sighs too: a puddle of warmth into the nook of Sonny's clavicle. "Gabriel is stable and I got a call from Abby. She's almost here. You should take the day off work."

"I was thanking the big guy. That's allowed, right?" The same smile that Sonny used only a half hour ago on Gabriel's face looks…well, not entirely different on his real one. He sounds exhausted despite his attempts at good humour. The embrace is returned quite enthusiastically and firmly. The amount of which actually gives Teo an indication of how worried he really was. But it's okay now. It's all over.

"Mmm, gonna do that." What he's not telling Teo is that he still doesn't feel entirely right. The headache lingers and there is a sense that something has shifted with his power. He's going to have to spend some time rediscovering it, to learn to trust it once again.

"My disguise for getting out of here is going to be an old fashioned pair of glasses and a hood up over my head." The last thing he wants to do right now is shift into another face, even if it would be to the safety of his Kinney identity.

He turns his head and presses a gentle kiss against Teo's, mouth closed. "M'okay, babe. Promise."

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