The Skeleton Crew


brian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Skeleton Crew
Synopsis No one's jumping ship.
Date February 3, 2009

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Once upon a time, Teo heralded the gradual approach of sunset with the enthusiasm he showed anything that made his job marginally easier. Fewer accidental eavesdroppers out, more distractions for the police force. The institution of curfew changes things a little. Makes scheduling annoying as piss, reduces the available hours in his day to spend moving through Manhattan island. There's still time today: four hours' worth.

It's hard not to keep counting and recounting them over and over. Anyway, typical work hour in the day of a terrorist — he's sitting in a statue shrine in the park and reading a book. Ostensibly, he's waiting for the snow to stop falling. In actuality, he's waiting for Brian Fulk to pop out of the falling white.

Popping out of the falling white, Brian's gaze is kept low as he marches towards the statue, hands in his pockets. Walking purposefully towards Teo the man's features are grim. His brows slightly narrowed.

Once he arrives at Teo, he simply stands by him silently. "I'm glad you're okay."

The Sicilian's rumpled head pops upright, his features coming peacefully out of their studious knit. He gets that way when he reads or E-mails Homeland Security. A young man's way of paying attention. Like Brian, Teodoro is rather blatant when he pays attention. "Me too," he admits. Not to be selfish. "I hope you are. Want to sit?" He tips an ear downward at the wooden slats left vacant to his left.

"Two more times." Brian says softly. "Conrad's dead." He mutters, "Helena and Al got captured. I got Elvis. Taking a step to his side he goes to sit next Teo, placing his elbows on his knees. "I got Anne. I haven't seen Abby. Or Gillian." The young man rattles off, hanging his head somewhat sadly. "I've been staying at Old Lucy's with Isabelle. And.. a friend."

Two more times. The book closes in Teo's hands, dangles from his left while he scrubs the long fingers of his right through his hair. "I'm sorry," he says in a voice gone low and slightly awkward with sincerity. Where he comes from, sincerity isn't packaged in gloss or varnish, nor framed in many elegantly chosen words. "I heard about some of that. Sergei's missing, too. I'm thinking of how to get them back. The ones I know are still alive. You be careful around Izzy, all right?

"And your 'friend.'" There's a ghostly curl of one corner of the older man's mouth that says he could guess the nature of that friendship, though he won't make statements or insinuations about it. And like so much ectoplasm, the smile fades. "Two out of six isn't exactly what I heard."

"One is gone.. My connection is just.. gone." Brian says, raising his hands as if frustrated by this. He doesn't understand this at all. "The only thing I can figure out is they have a negator. So our connection is gone." He shakes his head before looking up at him slowly. "Cat ran out on us Teo. Al and me. She bailed, left us for dead and to be captured. She should be punished." Brian says, hints of anger edging through his voice.

She should be punished. How Teo sucks at that shit. To his credit, however, he doesn't grimace or balk or throw his book at the ex-Mormon's head and run the Hell away. He thinks about this, his brow slightly furrowed. Negator.

It would make sense. There aren't a lot of people who could take Alexander out without killing him, never mind keep him down. "Fuck." That's about the missing Brian. Teo slouches on the bench, his shoulders falling underneath oblique angles. He aborts out of thinking on that conundrum for a moment, glances up. "I'll talk to her. What do you think she should have done instead?"

"You'll talk to her?" Brian asks, angrily. His head whipping around to face him. "I would have helped Alex, if I could, Teo. If we switched places I would have done everything I could have to try and help them. I would have made at least an effort. I wouldn't have ran, and acted like I was a fucking hero anyway." He practically snarls. "As long as she's in Phoenix. I'm out."

Teo doesn't grimace, balk, or throw his book at Brian's head. He does, however, scowl. Mostly at the stone archway straight ahead, outside which flakes and blobs of crystallized water are hurling down hard from the sky. "I don't know whether Cat thinks she's a fucking hero for running away and it's disgusting if she thinks she is.

"And if there was something she could have done, I sure as shit want to hear it. But let me get this straight." Pallid blue eyes click up to study Brian out of his peripheral. Slower, he turns his head to look at the younger man. "You wouldn't have turned your back on Phoenix for HomeSec last week, but you'll leave now? After Hel, Al, C-Conrad," fuck. "And three of you are gone?

"I can't fucking believe…" His mouth finds a thin, white line. "Brian. Don't do this to me."

His gaze goes over to Teo, his features screwing up for a moment. Anger coming to the forefront of his mind. He couldn't say why, but there is a very strong urge just to ball up a fist and crack his chin. Not because he's Teo, not because he did anything wrong, not because of abything like that. Just because.

But he resists, and looks straight forward. "I got a kid Teo. With no place to go. Family.." he waves a hand dismissively. "Dead. He's Evolved. What's going to happen to him? Now that HomeSec is royally fucking us over. Hel's gone. Al's gone. And we all know you were never very excited about your role Teo. What's going to happen to us? What are we going to do?"

"I'll— we'll get them back. Can't say it'll be easy, but I'm pretty sure the bottom line is that simple," Teo says, because he can't merely deny anything the younger man said without lying. HOmeSec is royally fucking us over. Hel's gone. Al's gone. And Teodoro Laudani never wanted to be here anyway.

Things could be worse. He could be in Hell. Brian could be leaving, instead of saying us, and discussing the bleak future that stares at them over the cold-pummelled horizon. "I'll find Gillian for you. Maybe if she's amping you up, and you learn to control where her boost goes, you can force open a telepathic line to your dupe. Enough for us to learn something. Your kid— the Ferry could help you look after him awhile.

"Find you some space. Getting him out of Izzy's place would probably be healthy, no offense to our trigger-happy pyrokinetic. I'll figure out the rest.

"We'll figure out the rest," he corrects himself again, scratching his jaw through the fabric of his glove. Now wouldn't be the time for Teodoro to forget, that he needs Phoenix as much as, if not more than Phoenix needs him. Blankly, "Didn't know you like kids."

"I'm not keeping the kid at Izzy's." Brian corrects. "I wouldn't take a kid to her, man. That's bad parenting." He shakes his head. "No. I'm not giving him to the Ferry." He says, a little edgily. "I'll watch him myself. I'll figure out the rest. I'm just saying, I don't want Phoenix.. I don't want people like Cat in his life." He glances over to Teo when he starts talking about Gillian.

"You're going to need help keeping track of things, and I'll be fucked if I start taking orders from Cat."

This warrants a sigh. Not of exasperation, but agreement. "'M not putting Catherine in charge. She drives too many people crazy. Worse than me," by way of clarification. From Teo's tone, he means: that's not easy to do. He fills the conversational lull with a kick of his boot out on the frost-rimed concrete. "I didn't mean you should give him to the Ferry."

Though the possibility had crossed his mind, fleetingly, until he realized that Brian does actually like kids. "I meant they could help you find space to keep him in. Volunteers from St. John's Cathedral to help, maybe other kids to play with. You're not the youngest dad I've ever met," he adds, quieter, by way of encouragement. God knows, they'll all need things to pass the time.

Until it's time. For what, he isn't even sure. Ripping out HomeSec's throat seems like a good idea. "You have other ideas? For keeping track of things?"

"You don't drive anyone crazy Teo." Brian says, in a resigned tone. Giving a sigh in agreement with Teo's. Though he gives a sharp glance when Teo mentions the word dad. He hadn't exactly thought that this whole watching the kid thing would last more than a month or two. He hadn't really thought that far ahead when he was planning it out. He lowers his head a bit, clasping his hands in front of him.

"I'll find a place to keep him. That is not with Isabelle." He clarifies.

"First thing's first. We need to gather everyone together. We need to celebrate." Though how he says the towrd does not imply any happiness to celebration. "Honor Conrad. What he did for us. Al, and Helena, the sacrifices they made. We celebrate for them. No matter how much it hurts. Then we talk, we make a clear agenda on what we're going to do. We'll brainstorm, whatever we need to do. We make new rules, we make new positions. And then, we get them back."

The last thing Teo wants to do is celebrate. Well, possibly not the last. The last thing Teo wants to do is tell his mother that her sister is dead, to have to grieve over that. Despite the odd gloss that covered the world he had reawakened to, that wound punches right through and continues to bleed out, sluggish and black, leaving a scabby, sticky patina that slowly but inexorably reminds him of Conrad, Alexander, Helena, the other Brian.

As if he would have forgotten. "Register it under a name that isn't yours, okay? Hana can help you cook up a fake ID if you need a new one." To keep the kid, he means. Phoenix is a different matter, and Brian's ideas welcome. He nods his head thrice, his chin bobbing against his jacket collar, expression slightly blank. "We lay low the week then meet. Shoot for Friday?"

"Friday." Brian affirms. He makes no reaction to Teo's suggestion of registering under a false name. He just continues to stare straight ahead. "Leave the place to me, I'll find us a safe place to meet. And we shouldn't tell anyone where to meet until the day of." The young man goes to stand, bringing up one hand to place on Teo's shoulder as he goes to stand. Taking a few steps away from the older boy. "Oh, and Teo?" Turning on his heel, he goes to make eye contact with the Sicillian.

"If you don't mind," though possibly even if Brian does mind, "I'd prefer to know by Thursday. But that makes sense. Nobody else 'til Friday."

They can fight about it later, if Brian Fulk insists on staying Brian Fulk when he is raising an Evolved child stolen from a crime scene on property known to the New York Registry of Deeds under Homeland Security's nose. Teodoro doesn't react to Brian's lack of reaction, though he isn't rude enough to forget to rise and raise an arm in salutation when the younger man proceeds to leave.

His hand is arrested halfway through an arc good-bye. "Si?"

Turning fully, Brian places his hand on the man's shoulder once again before dropping it. Taking one step back away from him before turning his back fully and making his way from the leader of Phoenix. He says only a few words over his shoulder when he leaves, they are sincere, and soft.

"I'm sorry I forgot the knife." And with that, he leaves.

February 3rd: I Need My Momma
February 3rd: Just Add Water
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