The Morality Police Have Left The Building


abby_icon.gif alexander_icon.gif cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Morality Police Have Left The Building
Synopsis Members of Phoenix gather at Piccoli's Deli
Date November 13, 2008

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

Al is….really tired of that whole faux homeless schtick. And he's just off an early shift bouncing at Rapture, so at the moment he's in his suit, albeit sans tie, and with his shirt open at the throat. So he's here to grab a late meal, and catch up with some of his fellow terrorists - munching his way through a sandwich as he waits for Abby.

If you call, I will answer, yes indeed. Abby's striding through the door of Piccoli's dressed for weather, new purse and a drugstore bag in her hand. Left. Right, Straight ahead. Bingo. Alexander. Supposedly. Likely. Her steps are hurried, so she can let the door close behind her before others can complain about a draft and plops down opposite the man. "Well. How many have you thrown out so far. And your looking very good tonight Al"

""Thank you," he says, once he's swallowed that mouthful. "Nice of you to say. Thrown out what, though?" he wonders, before reaching for his coke.

"People" Abby explains as she peels off her scarf and jacket. Someone swings by to ask her what she wants and Coffee and some form of sustinence is ordered. "Not nice. It's the truth. How many numbers have you gotten so far too"

"Today? No one, happily. Slow night. What'll you be having?" Al wonders, careful not to get sauce on his cuffs. "Numbers?" Someone's a little slow.

'Numbers" Abby digs into a purse and pulls out a notebook and flips it to a page where, there's a signature, and then tada, the phone number of some guy. "Beef dip. I need iron. Running low. All this walking. You need it too, or some vitamins at least" Abby's looking at Al a little concernedly. 'You okay?"

'I'm still beat," Alex admits. He's got soup there, as well, tomato bique. "But you're right. Numbers for what?"

"Never mind" Abby answers. "Eat your soup" She speaks with a grin, shoving her notebook away. "Maybe I should stop by the club again. Think I still have my ID somehwere. Is.. the woman… Izzy who works at the bar, still there or did she take off from working there yet?" BE good to know, seeing as the woman has her old contact numbers. "Gimme your hand Alexander" Her own palm up andout."

Alexander is in his suit, post-Rapture shift, apparently. He's got his tie removed and his shirt collar open, and is working his way through tomato soup, while looking rather blankly at Abby.

Alexander is in his suit, post-Rapture shift, apparently. He's got his tie removed and his shirt collar open, and is working his way through tomato soup, while looking rather blankly at Abby. But he does offer her his hand, as ordered.

"Keep eating" Softly ordered to the man opposite her and abby takes his palm in hers. Much like she did for ygraine, she concentrates while she massages and maneuvers her thumbs against the flesh of his hand, a breathy prayer uttered as she worked her vodoo on Alexander.

Someone told Teo they'd be here. Those Public Librarians, they have big mouths. Or, you know, merely like to keep tabs on one another, with Sylar afoot and apparently seeking the companionship of those equipped for electronic warfare. The bell rings above the Delicatessen door, and glass throws reflected light off the wall as he stamps in, red at the tips from cold despite multiple sweaters and his hands jammed so deep into his pockets they wouldn't have stayed on if he wasn't wearing a belt.

There's a conspicuous absence of curses from his lips, however, as he looks at the counter across the room. It's hard to read the expression that crosses his face when he sees the little brunette girl working the register. Grunting something under his breath, he turns on a heel, locates Abigail and Alexander even as he insinuates himself at their table, one long hand reaching to spin a chair around for him to sit on, backwards, his eyes immediately peering in search of spare food. "Buona sera," he calls.

Al looks more relaxed, face going a bit slack as Abby does her thing. But he brightens up as Teo appears, blue eyes more cheerful. "Hey, paisan," he says, extending his other hand to Teo. "Colder'n' a witch's tit in a brass brassierre, innit? Join us. I'm done, but can do another course, and she's just ordering. How's it going?"

Abby is quick to move her drugstore bag off the snatched chair and drop it at her feet. "Bona Serah" Abby tries her hand at Teo's greeting. "He's still under the wea…" Alexanders hand is slapped, a glare at the language that pours forth from his mouth, and it looks like she just might stop her trick, but then she carries on. 'And you know why you got that" Abby informs him. "I have a beef dip coming, you can have half" She knows Teo's stomach well.

It's probably the gravitational center of their spiral galaxy, Teo's stomach. It's fortunate he knows something about cooking Italian, or else he'd be emaciated starving, broke, or both. As it is, he gives Abby his biggest and brightest smile, two rows of picket-perfect teeth exposed in all their enamel glory to the electric light. He reaches over to give Alexander a fist-bump, though his fingers flex once, mid-air, when he briefly considers snagging the older man's hand and leeching the warmth out of it with his own greedy palms and red knuckles, cold as they are. It's only a brief thought.

Passes. "Your accent's pretty good, bella," he tells the Southerner, approvingly. "I'm a'right. Sleep schedule's gone to shi…" He got it. He has it! Safe! "—very very bad," Teo finishes, glibely, "but that's what happens when you make friends with a nocturnal Fed, I guess. I got an A on my neuropsychology exam. What about you two?"

Alexander peers at Teo at that. "Wait, what? What about a Fed?" he wonders, voice dropping in his alarm at the very idea. He makes a moue of apology at Abby, even as he knuckletaps Teo.

Abby has some measure of alarm too at the word of fed, even as she switches her hands from Al's to teo. Though this time, just to help warm them up. "Congratulation on your exam. We should celebrate that, after you explain about the F E D"

By now, Teo has his hands up in front of his face, breathing life back into them. From over the tops of his fingers, he looks left and right, between Abby and Alexander with some figment of wariness. Oops. "It's okay," he says, muffledly, before he takes his mitts down. "Really.

"I met him by accident dicking around on a construction site the other week. He says he's trying to hunt down PARIAH. He's trying to get that new group— Phoenix," on the off-chance there are any accidental civilian eavesdroppers available who missed the recent captions, "to help. But I don't think it's going to happen just yet. He isn't ready for it." And nor is Phoenix, he realizes. In retrospect, he realizes that all sounds somewhat insane, so he winces, scrubs his nails through his hair. "It's okay, seriously. He's teaching me about radio stuff, and I looked him up by Wireless. He isn't a bad guy."

Yet. The three Phoenix operatives are sitting around a table, Alexander drinking soup and Abby is finished writing phone numbers on his hand, which Teo would be taking more notice of if she hadn't moved on to helping him get the blood circulating in his hands. He's sitting backwards in a seat, perched like a vulture, fully prepared to scavenge off Abigail's plate.

By now, Teo has his hands up in front of his face, breathing life back into them. From over the tops of his fingers, he looks left and right, between Abby and Alexander with some figment of wariness. Oops. "It's okay," he says, muffledly, before he takes his mitts down and giving them to the Souther belle. "Really.

"I met him by accident dicking around on a construction site the other week. He says he's trying to hunt down PARIAH. He's trying to get that new group— Phoenix," on the off-chance there are any accidental civilian eavesdroppers available who missed the recent captions, "to help. But I don't think it's going to happen just yet. He isn't ready for it." And nor is Phoenix, he realizes. In retrospect, he realizes that all sounds somewhat insane, so he winces, scrubs his nails through his hair. "It's okay, seriously. He's teaching me about radio stuff, and I looked him up by Wireless. He isn't a bad guy."

When you need a hot pastrami sandwich on a chilly autumn day, the place to go is Piccolo's. Well, there are other places, but Piccolo's has both ambience and a certain nostalgia. So in comes Helena, a ragamuffin of a Madame Alexander doll. Taking the seating area in, she smiles when she sees the crew, and heads to the counter to place her order before going to their table. "Shove over." she orders with evident pleasure and to no one of them in particular.

Alexander looks puzzled. "Wait. A Fed thinks PHOENIX is gonna turn on PARIAH, that's what you're saying?" he wonders, picking at the crust that remains of his first sandwich. "Man, I tell you, Feds are a bunch of suit-wearing pricks," he adds, with eloquent disgust, even as he hitches over to make room for Helena. He's a suitwearing prick himself at the moment, post-bouncer shift, as it were. He absentmindedly takes Teo's hand, and starts to rub the blood back into it, even though his gaze is on Helena.

"The day Phoenix turns into Pariah is the day that I have to walk away" Abby murmurs as she leans over to blow warm breath over teo's ahnds and then chafe them gently. But then, time to make room again. 'Evening Helena" Huff, huff, huff. At this rate, teo's hands will be warma nd blood flowing once more. That is, until abby's coffee comes and she guides his hands to around the hot cup. "there. use that"

"The Company's a bunch of suit wearing pricks." Helena mutters sullenly as she sits down. Fortunately, a wave of warm air comes with her. "We're not turning in anyone, and they're not turning in us." At least she hopes not. "Jennifer's new girlfriend wants to join our band of Merry Men." she remarks. "I met with her today, actually knew her from when I worked at Alley Cat."

Don't get Teo wrong. He likes being spoiled as much as the next clueless twenty-five-year-old asshole. Except, you know, that he actually finds that much attention uncomfortable after a span of time, and rarely moreso than when— when. When, well. There's no need to be embarrassingly blatant. Suffice to say, he yanks free of his friends' hands after a moment, coloring like a kettle thrown to a furnace, muttering the Sicilian equivalent of I'm fine, I'm fine, before his insistences give way to English, then fade to quiet. "And PARIAH's a troupe of mass-murderous asswipes," he points out, lowly. Glances up when Hel comes, offers her a half a grin by way of greeting.

"What's this putative new girl like, then?" Al wonders, hopefully. He doesn't seem offended by Teo's response, merely going back to his soup.

No complaint from abby, just takes her cofffe and puts her own hands around it. "Jenniers girlfriend? What sher name? Have we met her before?" Abby looks to Helena for revelations upon said subject.

"Ygraine. You know her Alex, she works at Alley Cat." Helena semi-repeats. "I'm sort of waffly on her, but I think it might be smart for me to get past that. Just because someone kind of rubs me the wrong way doesn't mean they have no place with us."

Curling his fingers in his pockets, Teo regards the weather witch for a protracted moment, his thoughts focusing with little effort. Benefit of the warmth that follows her around like a fond puppy. "Was it something specific?" he asks, finally, crooking a grin to blunt any critical edge implicit in his word choice: "I can't tell if you're being vague in the interest of politeness or if you can't put your finger on it. Does she know the kid Abby's talking to?" Samir. Pale eyes shift between blondes, quizzical. Always a small damn world.

That's another interesting shade fo red that Abby's turning at the mention of the name. "Yrgraine? Accent.. used to be an athelete… What kid am I talking to?" Now it's confusion.

Apparently Al does know her. Or of her. He nods sagely to that, and finishes the last of his tea, before stifling a huge yawn behind his hand. "Wise of you to realize that. But like he said, what's your objection, other than conflict of personal style?" he wonders, toying ith a cufflink.

"I don't know if she knows Samir, I didn't ask." Helena frowns in a moment, considering. "You know how sometimes Cat gets this kind of…lecture-y tone, very I-know-what-I'm-talking-about, and generally she kind of does because hello, ability? She was kind of like that, only without the ability."

Teo looks, for a moment, like he's trying not to laugh. He doesn't do a very good job of it: he doesn't hide his sentiments well unless he's making a point of actually lying, and there's no need to, in this company, about this. It's the alpha female shit, he suspects. Which isn't shit you'd mention aloud, if you particularly value your life. Testicles. Life. Same difference. "If she's smart, she'll lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way," he says, leaning over the table, a comfortable slouch. He glances sidelong at Abigail. "I'll talk to Samir if you can't get to him," he offers. It's been a little while since Southie was assigned the kid; he figures, if their schedules haven't meshed in that time, they won't.

"Maybe it was becuase of her… breast augmentation. I would imagine that she's on some heavy painkillers to counteract where she was cut into" Abby answers. 'Drugs sometimes throw you for a loop. Maybe go back and talk again in a few days?" She looks to teo and nods. "You can, if you like. I haven't managed to get ahold of him. He's… elusive"

Alexander has pasted on the perfectly bland expression so very useful in boot camp for keeping your sergeant from knowing what you're thinking. Man. T hat soup. Fascinating, right? Al finishes chewing the last of his fries, and stifles another yawn.

Helena blinks. "Wait, breast augmentation?" She blinks. "Oh my god, her chest was bigger than I remembered. I mean, it's not something I look at…what'd she go and do that for?" Helena sounds dubious. Though she does nod at the 'lead, follow, or get out of the way' sentiment.

The door opens, through it comes Cat. She's absent the guitar case and backpack for once, it seeming to not be a day she plays a gig somewhere. Perhaps she'd planned an evening in and is simply hungry. Wearing jeans and a slightly aged Yale hooded sweatshirt, she strides toward the counter and waits in whatever line is present.

Finally, Teo's mitts come out of hiding. They're accompanied by a meek expression, a little too exaggerated to be sincere, reaching once, twice, then again toward Abby's dip, shyly asking to be granted permission to, you know. Eat her food. Which probably makes him a horrible, selfish schmuck, but he can deal with that in small doses. "I'll look him up," he answers. Catches Hel's nod out the corner of his eye, and drops her a wink, before the movement passing behind Alexander's head prompts him to straighten. Conveniently forgetting his cultural context, he proceeds to holler across the restaurant: "Tetes hautes, Catherine." It elicits a series of Looks from two adjacent tables, mostly from the guy who just missed out on a garlicky mouthful from his pretty date, but they're fortunately spared the annoyance of being kicked out of the Delicatessen or something melodramatic like that.

"Just, probably count that maybe? Becuase she was… pretyt under the influence. I tried to help some. She'll heal faster. And because she loves jennifer. I give my vote to yes Helena. In fact… If it becomes unanimous, i'd be glad to bring her in. She offered me a place to stay for a bit at their place but I turned it down. Offered to help a complete stranger" Abby's starting to take an interest in her coffee now that it's cooled. "Oh go ahead and it it Teo. Not like I'm starving" There, permission granted.

Dessert. Time to ponder dessert. Al runs his eyes over the menu, and announces, ingenuously, "Man, I wanna cookie." Apparently he's not capable of much repartee beyond that. Cat gets a wave, as he bumps Helena with his hip to let him out of the booth.

Helena's food comes - a hot pastrami sandwich, fries, and pickel, along with a Dr. Brown's cream soda. She puts a fry each in front of Alex and Teo respectively; Hel's Boys do require tribute. "She got a boob enhancement because she loves Jennifer? That makes no sense. Shouldn't someone love you for who you are without sticking saline in your chest?" She scoots out at Al's bump, but shakes her head. "Whatever. It's not my problem, as long as the new flotation devices don't smack her in the face when she needs to get physical."

Standing behind the small number of people ahead of her in that line, Cat turns toward the sound of the voice when it reaches her. In French. Heads up? For what, she wonders. "Buona sera, signor," she replies with a chuckle. "I'll be over shortly. Soon as I make my pickup." She turns back toward the counter, as one of the persons ahead of her handles his business and moves away, leaving a woman of about forty-five next in line and stepping up to order.

Intelligently, Teo remarks, "Lesbians." Given chips and fries, he displays little compunction about eating them, sopping up the last of Alexander's soup once he's off to partake a new prize. He folds an arm, loose, across the top of his reversed chair and discreetly listens to them talk about lesbians.

"Who are you to judge Helena? Who are any of us to judge what we do for the ones we love? Maybe they discussed it with each other? Maybe it makes her feel more better about herself? We'll never know why, becuase we're not Ygraine, but just beauche what sits on her chest is not what god sculpted, doesn't make her any less a person and deserve such speaking ill of her in that fashion" Abby purses her lips together. "You wouldn't even have known until I opened my mouth, and for that, I surely owe her an apology"

"Lesbians are HOT," is Alex's considered response, as he returns with cookie in hand.

"We all judge, Abby. Even you." Helena doesn't seem off-put by Abby at all. "I'm entitled to my opinion so long as I don't let it divert from how I'd treat her based on how she interacts with me. If I need you to be my morality police, I'll let you know." She chomps on a fry. "Hey, Cat."

The forty-something woman ahead of her handles her business at the counter and turns away while the group at table talks beyond her earshot. Cat steps up and passes over an amount of money. It's taken and she's handed a receipt along with a bag containing wrapped food for two people. She frequents the place and called ahead with her order, it would seem. Once the goods are in hand, she's making her way over. Helena's greeting is returned as she approaches, given the public venue it doesn't come in the usual way. "Helena."

And now the Y chromosome conspires to drop-kick Alexander and Teo's respective intelligence quotients. Which might be better than joining in the current discussion. It's hard to tell. "I'm not sure what I ever did to deserve you," Teo says, for no particular reason other than because it's true, looking at the Southern belle from over a dip-laden chip. "You're always feeding me. Hey," a nod for Cat, incoming, while he eats his mouthful. Before Hel's prodded out of the way by another gesture of hipbone, the Sicilian straightens suddenly in his chair. Cranes his neck, ducks his head, examining Alexander's fresh prize with curiosity that can't be entirely intellectual. He scoots his chair, partly to follow, and partly to make room for Catherine.

'I don't know what you did, but, enjoy it. You can have my seat Cat. The morality police it seems, should be some place other than here. I have to find a way to get some beer, so that I can get a scooter. Going to see if I can risk dashing into my old place and grab some things as well." Abby reaches beneath the table to fetch her bags and stands. "See you all later"

"I gotta go," says Al, rather morosely. 'I'm fading out," he says, taking the cookie and stashing it in a jacket pocket. "I'll see you all later."

Helena makes an approving noise, taking one half of her sandwich and shoving it in Teo's hand. "Yeah, I gotta run too. Don't mean to abandon you Cat, sorry." But she does rise, apparently with places to be as well.

She looks bewildered as, on reaching the table, three of the group are bailing. "Oooookay," Cat replies quietly, letting her eyes wander among the trio. "Morality police? I… definitely missed something. What's going on?" No move is made to secure a seat, however, she simply wonders at whatever caused the sudden departures.

Disappointment is followd by resignation, before ceding again to curiosity. "Addio, you two. Wait why are you getting a scooter?" Teo's gaze parts from cookie with an expression of determination, which dims only marginally when he studies the style and speed of Abigail's departure. "I'm going to get one," he decides, raising a hand to start clambering out of his seat— only to have a sandwich appear in his palm, much to his surprise, and somewhat more consternation than free food normally warrants form him. "A'right. Buona notte, Hel," he says, taking a dispirited bite out of his — his, now — sandwich.

The right side of his face bulges as he chews, gestures Cat to sit. Shrugs for his initial answer, before he finishes his mouthful and swallows. "People get disgusted with people who get disgusted with stuff. Human nature, eh? The subject was breast implants. Do you have a stance?"

"I'm not exactly small," she replies with a slightly bewildered laugh, "so it's not something I ever considered. I can't speak for others, but I do wonder at the self-esteem of those who would have such a surgery. I think maybe the world beats them down until they believe they're inadequate, won't be happy as they are. But it's each person's body and decision to make, in the end." Her backside settles into one of the now empty seats, fingers place the bagged and wrapped food on the table.

The departure of the majority of their party leaves Teodoro looking slightly enervated, drooping over the top of his chair in a pleasantly boneless sort of manner. Fatigue; not the bad kind, for once. Despite all kinds of Hell promising to break loose on the horizon, between PARIAH, national outrage, and the fact that Sylar's made friends as fucked up in the head as he is, Teo's feeling all right. Chalk it up to youth or stupidity, an empty stomach or the unflagging optimism of one who doesn't understand Catholicism well. "I think

"I'm same. Or similar. I have tattoos, though, so my opinion's probably informed by that. I got them young, so I don't really believe in the shit they stood for anymore, but I don't mind keeping them. Sentimental value, although my family hated the idea of me running around as a seventy-year-old with greenish stains on my skin." Fortunately, his life expectancy is half that at best, now. "Those are about as permanent as silicone implants, last I heard." The sandwich disappears in fractions about the size of Teo's jaws. "How've you been?"

"I'm good," Cat replies quietly, one hand resting on the bag. "You?" Her eyes move over the man slowly as if seeking evidence of the body art he just spoke about. Her voice lowers so only he can, hopefully, hear it as she shifts into French. "I'm still researching that plant.

A nod of Teo's head. "<You may want to coordinate with Wireless on that. Whatever she finds out, I'm sure Helena would want you to know.>" For safekeeping, in as close to a permanent sense as he's aware of exists. There are back-ups, hard copies, and then there's Cat Chesterfield's memory. The sandwich is gone two seconds after his answer is done. He brushes bread crumbs off his hands, shedding rough dots of grain onto the table. He notices her looking; it's the ordinary response. "I'm wearing too many clothes. Next time," he says in the tone of an offer, grinning, wolfish comraderie. "I'm pretty good.

"Met the new kid called Brian, who could use your help finding some housing, if you know of anything low-income. Found out I did really well on my exam last week, so I think I'm going to find somebody at the frat house to mooch booze off and wipe every last memory of the brain's constituent's parts from my mind." It's all he does, apparently. Mooch. "You want to come?"

"Which University are you attending?" Cat asks, following up with "Come where?" Her hand moves the bag a bit as she adds "Got someone at home waiting on the food I called ahead for." Her search for tattoo evidence concludes with the statement about them being hidden by clothing. She's curious because knowing what they look like could work as an added security measure. Just like words that aren't likely known by impostors, body art is something not seen by the general public in his case.

It's only after a moment that she reflects on his comments relating to Wireless and Stormy and realizes they talked about two different things. Her memory is accessed to call up whether or not he was with the group when graffiti featuring two varieties of plant in the crater was painted.

He wasn't. Plant, as terminology goes, seemed as readily applicable to the Russian left behind in the wake of the most recent Sylar clusterfuck as something that actually photosynthesizes. Realizing that she's off thinking about something, Teo studies her with a furrowed brow a moment, curious. "Columbia University," he answers after a beat's staring. "And come drink out of a keg floating in a bathtub full of ice, was my original offer, although I get the idea that's not your scene annnnd you have other commitments." Nevertheless, the accompanying smile remains beatific. He pulls his arms back, finally hauling himself out of his atrocious slouch; gives his back an almost audible crick.

"Ivy League," Cat replies with a smile spreading, not giving away that she'll have to ask Helena another time about how much she wants to tell both Jennifer and Teo about that prophetic artwork. It's very likely to her he doesn't know, otherwise he'd not be speaking of someone whose forte is electronics in connection with it. Unless… well, okay, Wireless could research too. "It's not Yale, but hey, it's better than Harvard." The bag of wrapped food is pulled over and picked up as she adds "A kegger sounds fun, really, but I've got food and my lover is waiting at home. Dani needs to eat."

Lover isn't the word choice most women would use. Teo considers that for a moment, idly, in favor of pursuing whatever secret involving nebulously-defined 'plants' that Cat is withholding, a moment before he decides to do something else with his head. Like— turn around and contemplate the shelf of cookies back over there on the counter. He's going to go get one of those, now that he's eaten half of everybody else's food. "Bon," he says, lifting four fingers in a wave. He drags his leg out from the side of his chair and eases up onto his shoes, flicking a fragment of bed off the front of his hoodie. "Give my regards to Danny, please. And I'll see you around. Buona notte." He flips his wallet out of his pocket and lopes away, beelining for the baked goods, chocolates, and confections.

November 13th: Tea and Sympathy
November 13th: An Offer for Eve
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