The Wrong Man


aude_icon.gif felix_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Wrong Man
Synopsis Teodoro Laudani comes to turn himself in to the NYPD.
Date October 21, 2009

Financial DistrictNYPD Headquarters

The New York Police Department Head Quarters is an old stone building, rennovated many times over the years. The plaster walls are not as cracked and in need of repair as the various Precinct buildings around the city. The fluorescent lights give the room a rather sterile glow. Old posters, civic reminders, duty rosters and newspaper clippings are tacked up on the walls, rustling every time one of the doors opens. A high, wooden desk sits on the north wall, manned by two clerks, who records all visitors and arrests.

The way out to the street lies to the south, while doors to the offices of the Head Quarters lie to the northwest.

Monday morning is a slow start anywhere you go, even if law enforcement is an industry that never actually goes to sleep and rarely suffers for lack of demand. There's a shift changing now. It's visible in the tidal rhythm of traffic, a handful of uniforms snagging jackets off furniture and trooping downstairs, while a small siege carrying coffee cups moves in through the doors, voices rough from sleep, ill-temper, and imperfect syncopation crashing into plateglass and steel-framed doors like gulls' cries, and the susurrus of worsening weather outside not entirely unlike the circadians of a bleak sea.

Teo is coming in behind two cops. He's off-blond, young— though not nearly as young as he looks, clad in scuffed jeans, chipped boots and a ragged-edged onion layering of hooded outwear and shirts that define him neatly within the stereotype of a starving college student. There's a wolfish stiffness to his stride, unrealized confrontation ridged in his shoulders and the paranoia of someone who has eyes on the back of his head and has, too often, been wont to use them.

However antithetical that happens to be to his visit to NYPD HQ on the third Monday of the month.

"Patricks!" Aude yells across the main room as she pops the lid off her coffee and stirs in a packet of sugar. "Patricks! You at the last chocolate dip! You know what that means!"

She'd passed off the papers on Bella, some detective sure to pick it up and start dealing with it. "Yeah yeah Castalides. Means I get to be your bitch"

"You bet your ass. Your wife is gonna kill you, cause that means I'm making you take me home for dinner. I want some of Mary-Ellen's shepards pie!" There's a rude gesture from the tall man that can only be meant as friendly instead of really rude and Aude takes up her spot again at the front desk along with two others. Teo's eye'd once, twice, three times before she raps on the counter to get his attention. "Hey you. What did you need?"

One Federal mascot, general pain in the ass, and categorical gimp - he's all these things in one conveniently bitchy package. Fel's got a temporary prosthesis on, small enough that it almost passes for normal when dressed up in a worn Doc Marten oxford, with a sock over the polymer ankle. He limps on a cane, hobbling along like a peg-legged pirate. He's heading in and through security, presumably for the badger-den safety of his little cubicle, coffee cup in his free hand, vicious squint on his face. He's coming up to the desk, presumably to check something with the sergeant on duty….and immediately chokes on his overpriced mocha when he sights Teo. "Laudani, what the fuck?" he gasps.

Rap-rap-rap. The noise of a knocking hand catches Teo's attention as if he were an orca behind glass; he turns his head with a saccadic jerk, winces when the muscle knotted in the side of his neck objects. "To talk to an offic—er."

The answer he'd meant for Aude stretches itself too long and bends awkwardly around when Felix snares his attention from the side; he blinks his surprise. His face is damp from the grisly irregularity of the weather, refracts fluorescent light in a way that doesn't quite get him as pale as the shock of revelation and self-correction shouuuld have. Sorry, Russia: he would appear to be here quite intentionally.

A brow hooks low, the urge to chastise the Fed for going against Doctor's order suppressed on the vague realization that the Doctor's orders have probably timed out by now. For a time-traveler, his temporal sense is a little bit of a mess. "To confess to a crime," he finishes, instead, swiveling his head back to Aude.

Right. Turn himself in. Okay there. Har har, it's not april fools. Aude's brows go up and she regards Teo with a waiting look. Waiting for the 'gotcha' to come out. It's only after half a minute passes and Teo doesn't confess to it being a joke, that the littlest officer takes it for face value. "And what crime did you commit Mr. Laudani" She heard and saw Felix. The name that he called the other guy.

Felix is completely trying not to hyperventilate - he's the sort of shade of pasty generally only used to put up wallpaper. "He's wanted….or was, for the cop killings over in Jersey." Like Jersey is the back ass end of beyond, or Ultima Thule. "He's wanted for god only knows what concerned Phoenix - used to be a CI of mine." The cheap pasteboard coffee cup crumples, and Felix's hand is immediately doused with coffee. Not so hot as to scald, but enough so to have him launching into an obscene diatribe in Russian. When he's done, he demands, "What the fuck are you doing here?"

The former CI of Felix's crystallizes a stubborn expression off his face, shoots Felix a sidelong look of immense annoyance. For the fucking interruption. One's enumerated list of cardinal sins and subsequent Don't cry for me, New York rhetoric sounds much less impressive when you're just repeating after somebody else. Somebody who spilled hot coffee and incomprehensible curses all over the situation. Sucks the poetry right out of it.

"What he said," he tells Aude, stiffly, lifting his head. The sterile glare of sunlight coming in through the thunderclouds and the needled rainfall hurts in his peripheral vision like it's trying to sharpen the monochromatic blur there into something he should be paying attention to, but he keeps his attention forward, steady, focused.

Cop killer. She'd heard through the grapevine, the rumor mill. The sudden solving of it and her other favorite grumpy bastard detective who'd been on the case. Thinly veiled disgust crosses her face. "Give me your name, i'll run you through the system, go take a seat over there" A desk is pointed to, one surrounded by cops who are all taking a keen interest in the man at the counter.

The hell was a guy doing coming in and confessing to a crime already solved. Aude looks over at Felix to see what the FBI Agent is gonna do as she draws up the appropriate program on one of the computers at the front desks and types in the last name Laudani.

Felix is going to do his best to roast beef the hell out of this, of course. He has that look on his face the Feds get when they are about to piss all over local jurisdiction. "He's ours," Fel says, with an apologetic tone to his voice that really… isn't very convincing, let's just say. "Counter terror. And the Jersey stuff - that's not NYPD jurisdiction. I'll deal with him. Get some guys up from One Federal."

"L-a-u," Teo tells the lady cop, even as he starts his step over to the desk with its siege of other cops, and feels every single one of their cold, stone-black eyes weighing on him like he's a sheet of paper.

The metaphor only really holds because— because he's feeling a little light, a little uneasy, a little more unsure he should be doing this than he had been only two days before, but people keep talking to him even though he's avoiding the ones he knows he wouldn't want to listen to.

Isabella Sheridan, Sabra Dalton, Sadie McEwan, the unlikeliest, most unexpected sources of contradiction. By some (another) obnoxious fart-joke of Fate, Felix is here. There's a weird wind snatching at the mobius corners of him, making him waver like he's balancing on a very thin edge and flutter like there isn't enough mass to him for inertia, every step a conscious effort. Outwardly, it isn't nearly as melodramatic as all that, of course. Teo is merely walking. One foot in front of the next, his face raw from fatigue and wet from barometry.

Eyes narrow, teeth bare, Aude is notpleased. Terrorist her ass. There's something and she wants to make some smart assed comment about how the FBI agent is on desk duty and that jersey it may be, he's turned himself over to the NYPD and not the federal bureau of intimidation.

"All your's there massa" Sweetly offered off of her tongue, a gesture for Teo to join the crippled fed. Doesn't stop her from still looking up Teo's name, checking to see what she can get. Nor does it stop felix from maybe hearing something else and Teo included. "Why couldn't he have just finished you off, fucking emile"

Felix's lip curls, and he gets that annoyed-weasel look at the gibe. And then turns to motion Teo to one of the interrogation rooms. He retorts something in Russian, something obscene, stumps after him, cane thumping at every step. "Get the SAC on the horn," he says to the desk sergeant who has begun to puff up with annoyance and indignation like a toad swelling with venom. Ah, Felix. Making friends where-eve he goes.

Changing trajectory isn't much work, goes quick and without ceremony. Teo doesn't object aloud; doesn't say much of anything, following where the Russian points. Into the interrogation room. This looks familiar, not because he'd ever found himself hauled up in chains and dumped in one but because not even his fine literary and expatriate sensibilities are entirely immune to the genre of television to which such settings are endemic. He sits down, tugging long fingers against the soggy string to his hood.

"Did you burn your hand?"

"My hand is fine," Felix says, bluntly. "Listen. I gotta cuff your hand to the table," he says, reaching to suit the action to the word. "Teodoro," he says, leaning in, peering into the Sicilian's face, pale eyes fixed on blue, completely puzzled. "You turned yourself in. What are you thinking?" Miranda rights, what Miranda rights?

There's fluster, discomfiture chasing Teo's gaze away, his brow knotted up and throat closed. He says nothing for a little bit, a few beats of time that are filled up neatly by the buzz and click of cuffs finishing their circle around his wrist.

There's an experimental tug against the connective chain, ticking metal on segmented metal, before he lets his arm go slack, elbow thumping down on the polished surface, forearm slack under the damp wadding of jacket and hoodie. It's fortunate that he has that preference for heat, because peeling layers off would be a comical absurdity that doesn't really suit the sobriety of the setting. "You'd be in another line of work if you fundamentally disagreed with the point I'm trying to fucking make," he points out, finally. "And that bitch out there is Humanis First!. Must be. You heard her."

Fel shrugs at that. "No. She's a cop who's familiar with what happened to me, and she has reason to dislike me," he says, evenly, all his former ire gone. "Hating someone because he's a prick isn't a hate crime, it's common sense. Unless you know different? You've got compelling evidence she's a mole for Humanis? Listen. We've got…..hmmm. Forty minutes at most before a whole squad of G-men comes storming in here and starts weaving a case around you. You gonna talk? Gonna give us some leads, buy yourself a plea bargain? You're not a citizen, Italy doesn't have the death penalty, extradition can be arranged. This is weird, though. You got tired of crusading?" It's Fel, bizarrely, who's sweating a little, thin and nervous in suits that no longer quite fit.

"She's on first name basis with a terrorist. You're supposed to be good at reading people." Teo turns the corners of his mouth down, finds himself stumbling over a pause blocky in his mouth as he takes a moment to read Felix, who's sweating a little, thin and nervous. He remembers Felix being thin, but was not aware that the Russian was physically capable of producing sweat. Perhaps the intravenous fluids from St. Luke's redistributed his body chemistry enough that that changed.

He remembers something about that. He remembers a little: Christian, who's dead, the Mexican standoff over burning lamb chops, a different face, the axe Fedor had aimed at Gabriel's neck, a future amorphously defined by that contradictory term. "That question sounds rhetorical, coming from you," Teo answers. "Would you believe me if I said yes?" That he's tired. Of— what. Crusading?

"Everyone in this building is on a first name basis with Mr. Emile Danko, in that sense," Felix says, quietly. "Do you really think she's HF? Any evidence, any lead?" It's bleeding into an air of resignation. Like it's Fel who's the prisoner. He takes of his glasses, polishes them with his tie. "What're you turning yourself in for? What crimes?"

It's true enough: there's nothing particularly resigned about Teodoro cuffed to the table, despite what they've said is to come. He's watching the window to the hall like an outdoors cat cooped up, and the mail trolleys and raucous uniforms passing outside are birds. "The Jersey precincthouse, the Humanis First! operatives out in Flushing. The old man and the little girl. Should be enough. You think?" For whatever reason, that question's a genuine one, marked by the sincerity of sudden eye-contact.

"You were possessed," His voice is firm. Like he's trying to coach Teo for his own defense. "What old man and little girl?" he asks, peering nearsightedly over at the Italian.

The absurdity of the Feeb's defensiveness does not escape Teo, nor the jittering scrub of silk against curved lenses. "There was a news article about it. More than one. Are you okay?" Enough bizarre questions and they might open up a rabbit hole in the space-time continuum that will take them to a world where Felix has a redundant backup foot and the crusades ended before the 1300s.

Fel stares at him again, laughs incredulously. "Why are you turning yourself in? I've worked as a cop of some kind for fifteen years now, and never had anyone just walk in like that…..are you actually Teodoro Laudani?"

"Of course I'm Teodoro fucking Laudani," he answers, with a snort of all the constituent arrogance that white knights were ever forged out of. Where arrogance covers, in its own bizarre way, the good Catholic guilt complex that fuelled it and the peripheral but steadfast vanity with which he'd maintained his reasonable good looks, both. He's never needed anyone's approval but his own, and hadn't succeeded in gaining that as long as the Russian had known him.

He flicks his attention across the room, irritated by the Fed's equivocation, characteristically restless— albeit for now finally truly with nowhere to go. "I'm turning myself in because I deserve to go to fucking jail. Possession has nothing to do with it."

The Russian leans in, something odd in his gaze. "Where are my scars?" he asks, suddenly. "And what piece of jewelry did I never take off?" It's barely more than a whisper, and the blue eyes are very intent.

Perplexity stares back out at Russian through retinas glassed in blue, large despite the disconcerted wrinkle notched in between Teo's arched eyebrows. He doesn't understand. There's something about the nature of the question, the urgency of Felix's gaunt face, the allusions of 2015, that makes him think he might not understand because he'd deliberately chosen not to. Anything that important, tacitly intimate, he must have asked Sabra t— "Why are you a cop?" he asks, instead, brusquely. The verbal equivalent of a palmful of sand flung in an antagonist's eye. "If you didn't want to be one, you wouldn't be here with half a foot and thirty pounds less than your anorexic mean weight ought to be. Keep your priorities in fucking order, Ivanov."

Felix waves away Teo's ire, and doesn't flinch at the comment. "Answer the question, Laudani. Those are both things you should know. You shot me once, I wore the scar, among others. Where were they? I don't think you are who you say you are."

"What—" Teo brakes into an unsteady silence, brow furrowed with concentration, recollection unwilling in the fluorescent-lit austerity of the interrogation room. Maybe if the chair were more ergonomically compatible, he'd be having an easier time of it. "I shot you in the torso somewhere. Shoulder. It punched right through." There. Remembering where he shot somebody shouldn't feel like such a triumph, but it's one of those sad realities about being a mass-murderer and erstwhile terrorist: you shoot a lot of people. They die of it, more frequently than they don't. "Who else would I be?"

"And when you helped tend that wound, later, you saw where else I'd been injured, previously. Not to mention, not long ago you returned to me something I'd lost. Where else did I have scars? And what else did you return to me?" He shrugs, lazily, settles back in his chair and shoves his glasses back up his nose. "I don't know. I'm increasingly sure you're not actually Teodoro, though."

Those Al-Quaeda shitbags didn't have to worry about cosmic butterfly nets swooping in to intercept the motherfucking Boeings. What. Mild incredulity cants Teo's features, before they settle with the sluggish banality of sediment ceding to the lassitude of gravity at the bottom of a river. He sets back too. The cuffs at his wrist stretch out to their furthest extent, leaving his fingers splayed loose on the table-top. The chair wheezes rivet against rivet as it takes his lean-shouldered weight against the uncomfortable rectangle of its back panel.

His features fade to neutral, eyes downcast, the line of his mouth fixed over silence for a long moment. "Then what does it fucking matter to the FBI?"

"Because we do enjoy catching the actual criminal. Not a wannabe," Fel says, mildly, brows arching. "You aren't Laudani, are you? You may even think you are, but you're not."

Teo's features were always a mobile set. Unless you were conversing with Ghost, of course, in which case they merely moved in directions contrary to the truth of the matter that might well facilitate homicide. To the combination thereof, Felix's words make as much sense as they make none at all. Teodoro scowls at the ceiling, which has his aquiline profile bleached out under cold white light. "That's the deductive equivalent of an MC Escher drawing," he points out, flatly. "And it doesn't matter. I'm Teo. I have been since I was born in Palermo twenty-six years ago, and I was when I went to New Jersey with the wolf-headed sword cane."

That's classified. Is supposed to be classified.

"And if you knew a damn thing about me," a conceit that Felix seems to be gratuitously puffed up with, speaking as the artist known as 'me,' "you'dve figured out that I'd only come here not knowing something about you because it's better for at least one person that way."

His hair scrunches ragged on the machined edge of steel, pillowing itself on an angle that leaves him with the distinct conviction he's going to straighten up feeling like someone had unscrewed a crucial bolt out of his spine even with the residual muscle memory of making itself comfortable on Fel's bony hip and shoulder. "Maybe you should take the compliment and let the rest go."

"Not if you're the wrong man," Felix reiterates, quietly, but now there's doubt in his voice. "You're saying you had your memories altered?" Presumably to protect him, and others. Most likely the others.

Most likely.

Most likely. Teo kind of wants to ask what he seems to have forgotten, but that would be— pointedly— the wrong thing to talk about, all things considered. He breathes in, breathes out, and the passage of air blows staticky in his inner-ear. "What. Doesn't seem like something I'd do?"

Felix admits, easily, "It doesn't make sense. Last I was aware, you were working with Phoenix. Against Humanis First. That threat isn't dealt with - why now? Why here? It sounds more like something that was done to you, but that I can't figure. I'd imagine most of your enemies would just ckill you."

There's a thinning around Teo's eyes, though they don't contract their focus anywhere near the other man. "I do remember— we have a mutual friend who'd be rolling his X-ray eyes and telling me 'I told you so,' listening to how fucking incredible it is to you, the idea of somebody accepting responsibility for their own bullshit. Is due process only right and honorable when you don't want it, or what?"

"Considering the example in question, yes, it is," The Fed's voice remains mild. "People don't suddenly decide to repent their evil deeds. Not until they get caught." He wipes a hand down his face. "It's likely they'll go for the chair, for you," he says, and now his voice is sad. "You want me to get you your lawyer?"

Jurisdiction and statutes are a subjects that Teo has done passing research on and consideration about, in the past few months. He doesn't know that that's right, necessarily: the chair. On the other hand, he doesn't doubt that the telltale gene marker in his blood will weigh in, somehow. Politics. He was a pro-Evolved terrorist for a little more than a year: he keeps up with the politics.

He decides not to mention them aloud right now, or Felix's rather unbecoming cynicism. Felix doesn't look healthy. When you're missing a foot, you're allowed to say gibberish about lawyers and chairs and go undisputed. "Think it'd be rude to waste their time," Teo remarks, after a moment, pulling his head upright. He wipes a palm up his own face, and it comes away with rainwater. One could almost mistake it for a joke, when he asks: "Could I get some water?"

No, Felix does not. "Sure," he says, and gets up to go get it. He was never graceful, per se, but he had a confidence in movement that was almost a substitute. Which is long gone, now - every step is painful. He returns in a little, bottled water in hand, which he opens and hands off.

In retrospect, it was maybe a little bitchy to make the gimp go get him beverages. Whatever apology Teo was going to administer, however, is interrupted by a throat cleared by the door, a monosyllabic string of greeting, the SAC recognizable to Felix if not as recognizable as Felix is to the majority of New York City, but they all have their crosses to bear.

Some representative of the DHS with him, according to the identifier, though God knows, there's clandestine organization or two that supply badges and ID numbers that would read just as authentic to the PD's database. Part of that ludicrous underground black-ops more-classified-than-classified ninja lifestyle that Special Agent Ivanov is limping away from, and Teodoro Laudani's apparently given up. Teo waves at him before the door closes. Just a lift and flex of fingers resting on the table, a salute of polite inches. Thanks for the water.

Felix has other things to worry about, anyway, that biting gnat's cloud of unresolved crimes, criminals who don't actually want to get caught. The file making the rounds today is about a little girl who killed a half dozen people by accident at the club the other night, unregistered Evolved, first manifestation eruption event by the looks of things. Tragic story, really. Always with the fucking tragedy. New York City, with the banquet he cultivates his nightmares of to this day. They're trying to find her mother, a woman by the name of Jean Arquette Aniston, but it isn't her name that Felix recognizes. It's her face.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License