There Is A Time For Everything


colette_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title There Is A Time For Everything
Synopsis But don't miss it. Don't miss your chance.
Date February 19, 2009

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 — true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events — most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone — non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.

Over the course of nearly having been shot a few times, Teodoro has come to the realization that the magical ninja terrorist appear is only good for the ego and dramatism until one pisses one's pants. Despite the fact that most people in Colette's acquaintance wouldn't think that evacuating one's bladder was in the cards for a surprise confrontation, but then, most of those people probably haven't had a palm full of firelight held up against their face either.

The sun is still up, a shining orange circle set a few inches from the edge of the sky, seemingly propped on the mantelpiece of a flat, streaky cumulus cloud like a trophy, the sky a flat wall behind it, purple-gray and otherwise seemingly featureless, neither any blue nor any depth to it. Pollution, probably. At least it leaves a palette of colors to color in between the island's man-made lines. The cathedral winks gold out of a hundred eyes, every single one bright with conspiracy.

He stares up at it. Back down at the church's tall ingress, eyes roving the laddered pews, and blows white condensation out into the collar of his coat. Wheeeeen the Helllll—?

"It's not that big of a deal, really. I'm sorry for getting so upset at you, I just…" It's a touch of a familiar voice, one Teodoro has heard a few times, but can't quite put his finger on when. There's been so many voices inside of his head lately, not all of them nearly as conversational as this one. "I was worried, after the news reports and…" Just coming into view, a young man in a brown leather jacket with a gray scarf wrapped around his neck stands by one of the square pillars supporting the buttresses of this enormous worship chamber. His voice carrying over the cathedral hall as though he were right next to Teo; such amazing acoustics here.

"Yeah, look — " That fumbling voice is far more familiar, and far more femeinine, "Look, I — I don't want to talk about it, at all. I just — " She strains out a sigh, covering her face with one hand. With a half-step to the side around Trent, it's clear as day by the dark hair and fur-trimmed suede coat that it is Colette Demsky standing on the other side of the pews.

"How long…" Trent rubs one hand over the back of his neck, "How long have you known? I mean, about — "

"Coupl'a of months."

Trent reels at the quick response, pacing away from Colette, "Jesus christ — and you didn't tell me — " He stops, running his fingers thorugh his hair as he turns to look back at the young girl. "Christ. I — There's people I could have contacted, I — I could have…"

"No. Trent I — I don't — " She leans up against the column, letting her head rest against the brickwork, eyes half lidding, "I… don't know if I want anyone involved with me like that anymore. I — I just — " It's obvious she knows, about Conrad. And it's even more obvious to Teo, that it's eating her up inside.

Fucking A.

One long hand shunts up the panel of Teo's jacket, an automatic grab for cigarettes that stops halfway through the reach. His fingers curl, not into a fist; just away. He has to go in. Soon. Eventually. He isn't going to smoke inside a church, and it seems like bad form to let the duration of a cigarette be the determining factor of when he does get his ass in gear. If he isn't going to hold himself to some sort of standards, who will?

It comforts but does not surprise him that the GPS coords were right. Hana doesn't make mistakes, not with this kind of thing, and it would have been bad form, too, to drive by the Demsky household lest patriarch and policeman happened to be in. Or, perhaps worse, Felix. Better to stalk the little girl while she was out of the nest, right? Though this undertaking — and Colette's artless ignorance of the cathedral's acoustic projections — do remind him, with a pang, of the man who ought to have been hear, bending her voice into a harmless whisper, guarding her back with his sway over sound, holding back her darkness with all his hard-won wiles and tactless wisdom.

He dawdles at the threshold for a moment, uncertain of whether or not he should interrupt. Hesitating. His first footfall rings out with a click on stone and his second segues into its echo. He doesn't look at the pillar or the kids around it until he's five strides in, and then as if he just noticed, offering both a passing smile by way of salutation, beatific, neither entirely true to his character nor intentionally deceptive. Colette's seen that before. He continues apace and finds a pew to sit on, heavily.

Trent kicks one brow up as he watches Teo pass, lips slightly parted. His eyes flick over to Colette for a moment, and he goes to just continue their conversation until the young girl raises a hand to Trent, pressing it against his chest as she sweeps around the pillar, shoes scuffing the floor until she comes to stand beside where Teo sits at the pew. All Trent can do is give Colette a silent, puzzled stare and watch the two from a distance.

"What's… up?" There's a hesitant tone to her voice, and Colette is quick to cover the awkward silence that comes with faltering words, "I — If you're wondering why — " Her brows tense together, tongue twisting in a knot of failed sentences. "I haven't called her yet. Or… anyone. I — I don't know." She's as bad at this as Teo is sometimes.

It's a minor miracle that Trent, young and well-adjusted as he is, has weathered so much at the Demsky girl's side as it is. Something about troublesome girls and troubled men, grief the glue and violence the solvent. Maybe Colette takes after her sister.

Not that Teo would know, of course. The only family he has mentally assigned to her is purely adoptive, and he's being stared by a young man who seems to pass for a brother now. Aaaah. How he hates being stared at. He refrains, somehow, from scrunching up his face and glowering back at the Ferryman, choosing instead to steel his eyes obligingly up to Colette's face, inimitably recognizable in its asymmetrical hang of hair and mismatched eyes, both.

"Not much — right now," he says, for no better reason than because she asked; his own tongue trips over the two words that bring his answer back from the brink of an actual lie. "Quiet day." He watches the knots build in her words, in her brow. Feels mildly appalled. "It's fine," he reassures, automatically. Finds himself pulling out of his bench, correcting the rude inequality of their positions by—

A profound and probably just as disturbing inequality of their heights instead. Wonderfully. He tries not to loom. "I —" don't know how it is she knew. Don't want to assume. Figure it's the same in the end: "…just thought you liked Wozniak better."

She isn't sure how to answer that, and Trent isn't sure how to react to seeing the two of them together, conversing in what could at best pose as casual. "I um…" Colette's brows furrow, scrunching up as her teeth tug slightly on her lower lip. The girl's weight shifts to one foot, and she looks up to Teo with those distinctively mismatched eyes of hers. "He… wasn't a total jerk." Said mumbled and without entire confidence, it's evident that Conrad's death has been a sucker-punch to the girl's confidence.

"I — " There's a moment of faltering, and Colette looks up at Teo again with one brow raised, "You know her." She mumbles, more to herself than the Sicilian, "Ygraine." That's not exactly a name on the top of Teo's list these days, or one he'd entirely expect Colette to blurt out. "She — She told me what happened. I…" Wrapping her arms around herself, Colette just turns to stare down at her feet, shoulders rolling forward as her eyes finally fall shut to keep whatever emotion she's experiencing from slipping out.

"I don't know if I want to keep learning. She — Ygraine wants to… to help, but — " Colette just looks away, exhaling a slow breath out of her nose. "Too many people get hurt around me." She tries to muffle those words, murmuring them into her collar. But from the rather rueful look on Trent's face, he heard.

Ygraine. As Colette's face caves behind the flimsy shelter of her coat collar, Teo's eyebrows scale up his forehead so high they nearly jump off the top of his shaven scalp. Christ. Everybody in this city knows everybody else: it's like the whole of Manhattan is populated by fifty real people, and the fellow running the newspaper stand, or the one who pegged him in the face on Staten Island are just cut-out filler. Or something.

Stupid way to think, probably get you killed, but he doesn't know how signorina FitzRoy could've met the littlest Demsky. It's too late to deny that, of course. His eyebrows did the 'what the Hell' kind of hike, not the 'who the Hell' kind of furrow, and his face is painfully blatant most days. No less so when her next words sting his surprise into retreat, behind white lips and a mask of unhappy tension. "That's probably because you live in Manhattan," he offers, after what feels like a long time.

This whole time, all Trent has done is watch. Now silet and leaning up against the square pillar, his arms have folded across his chest, head tilted to the side as he observes the display going on between the young girl, and the de-facto leader of Phoenix. His head is given to shake from side to side, briefly, at the absurdity of the whole situation, as if he can hardly believe what he's seeing.

"You don't usually come here." Colette's observation is a little pointed, maybe she saw the brows raise and read them correctly, maybe she didn't. "I mean — church." The whole of her line of conversation has sidestepped the issue of Manhattan being dangerous — right now there's nowhere else she can be, espescially not with the people she's found. "Did… you come here to tell me about him?" Conrad, she can't even bring herself to say his name. It's painful to even think about, really, the amount of people that have come and gone out of her short life far too quickly. Like she's some revolving door leading to the afterlife.

If Trent hadn't been too busy giving his younger friend the cold shoulder that day, he might have noticed similar absurdity in the basement the other month. Plus a handful of firelight. That's neither here nor there, though. Teo has an unfortunate feeling in his head, an incipient ache, pre-emptive fatigue, some progression of pessimistic logic having worked itself out somewhere in the scope of his total intelligence without yet emerging into his conscious realization.

He's already figured something out, though he doesn't know what yet. The corner of his mouth twitches upward at her observation. He doesn't usually come to church. Should, though. He should. "Si," he answers. He puts a closed fist up against his forehead, scrubs at it, as if boring through the substance of his skull might get this unhappy thought out where he can examine it from an objective distance. "Yes. I was going to tell you. Explain — that he was gone, and there's a… there's — there's a marker for him now. In Queens.

"But I can't remember why." When he drops his hand, his skin has gone all red around the bar of his eyebrow, in lieu of a blush that forgets to march across the middle of his face. This should be embarrassing on some level. Apparently, he has no idea what he's doing here. That's awesome. A-plus for baby terrorist. "It's not like you feel better knowing he didn't just — fuckin' — ditch.

"Probably shouldn'tve given you Liz's number, either. I mean— you've obviously… She's a cop. A good one. I remember what you said about good cops," he adds, blankly. She'd been talking about Judah when she said it. Good cops just die. His jaw stretches forward half an inch, jutting, knee-jerk annoyance catching up to him as he squares another glimpse of Trent from around Colette's head. "You mind?"

"No — er, no—yeah, it's…" Trent reaches inside of his coat, plucking a slim cell phone out as he gives a shake of his head, "It's alright, I gotta make a phone call anyway." Already dialing as he gives Colette and Teo a moment of space, the young man apparently learned well from the Ferrymen how to not be obtrusive while having a conversation, the hushed tones of his words swallowed into the cell phone as he makes his way for the front of the church and the doors.

He doesn't say goodbye, either because he's an ass or because he isn't leaving entirely.

Colette's banking on the former.

"It's not her fault, it's — I've… got a lot on my mind right now." And Teo's about to get all of it, because when the opportunity arises to unload her emotions, espescially with Tamara as a sounding-board gone, she's going to lean towards the most familiar face that isn't her erstwhile friend. "I— I don't remember if I showed you this picture before." Her fingers fumble around in the pocket of her jacket, retrieving a square picture of some rather attractive brunette woman in her mid twenties, and Daniel Linderman which she seems entirely uncaring about. "That's… my sister, Nicole." She smiles awkwardly, leaning over towards Teo to hand him the photograph.

"I — I've been dealing with a lot, lately. Um, she — she's been missing, since…" Teo's eyes focus on the picture, one brow lowering slightly more than the other. She looks familiar. "…since the bomb, I mean — I hired a private investigator to look for her" and she afforded that how? "and he ended up disappearing." Fabulous. "And… and a professor at Columbia, um, Gilbert?" Anselm Gilbert, of the Ferryman, "He was helping me find her too and — and he's — I — I don't know." Furrowing her brows together, Colette finally comes to sit down on the pew Teo had evacuated.

"I… ran into someone a couple of weeks ago who — she's — looks just like Nicole." Eyes close in a squint, "She… I don't know, she's — I don't know…" One hand reaches up to rub at her face, palm pushing her right cheek up in a squished position before coming to rub gently at her blinded eye. "She doesn't… remember me or… there's some things, but — she's got a family, a different name I — " Her head hangs, unable to vocalize just how confusing this all is any more than it likely will be to Teo.

Lean on the nearest face is a somewhat awkward juxtaposition of phrases that sort of implies errant elbows skewing in to make unexpected black eyes, which makes sense on several levels in this situation: Teo does look confused, many shades of it. It's not Liz's fault, but he'd known that: he meant, he didn't want to give her another teacher in a high-risk occupation who was just going to go all KIA, but now there's this photograph, with fucking Linderman on it, whose profile he remembers with crystalline clarity since meeting the man's ginger-topped niece, missing persons.

A familiar face, though that single anchoring thought is beset in the jumbled tide of connotations that that — family — always invokes in the kid from Sicily. Too much of his own has found its way into an occupational industry otherwise known as terrorism. Importantly, Romero left Manhattan still hating him. He stares at the drooping top of Colette's head blankly for a long moment.

He opens his mouth to start to reply, but nothing emerges; his jaws open and close like a fish-face asphyxiating in open air, and his gaze roves the pillars and pews, either to verify to himself that Trent is gone or to reassure himself that no one else is still here. His teeth find their way into his lip. He turns his eyes up at the sanctuary's far ceiling, the swooping concave of stone providing a reasonable facsimile of Heaven for him to beseech. It clicks into his head, finally, the inchoate thought he had conceived moments before.

There's no fucking point.

Still, he's reseating himself. Flattening his boots on the stone, hands dangling between his knees, shoulders hunching up around his ears. Leaving Conrad behind because they're talking about Nicole now; because the girl is sad; because he can't not ask. He can't ever just not ask. "Does your dad know?" His gaze is sidelong, gone all still, pensive, scowly with something that bears no resemblence to a prissy request for parental consent. "'Bout you finding her?"

"My dad can rot in hell." Is Colette's succinct reply, "If I'm lucky he ate a gun by now." She looks down to the picture she handed to Teo, brows tensing, and then she finally puzzles out the real person he was speaking about, and she just stumbles all over herself, raising both hands and looking entirely stunned, "O-Oh Judah I — " That's complicated sounding, "N-No I…" Eyes divert away from Teo, head shaking, "I… he doesn't… talk to me much." That seems to trouble her, more so than anything else has. "I… I'm kind've in his way I think."

Colette's eyes close and her head gives a small shake, "I mean, I — We've talked about stuff lately, more than usual?" She doesn't seem entirely reassured, "I try to make time for him but, he's just… I… don't know." She's like a lost kitten, mewling at whoever will give her than reassuring scratch behind the ears. At least right now she's not rainsoaked and pathetic as she was months ago. "I don't know what to even tell him. It's probably not even her. She's like, I dunno…"

The look on the front of Teo's head indicates that he does not especially approve of wishing suicide on anybody, at least not while they're in a church. "Oh—" Mostly because he jerks a sudden glance around, to and fro, as if to check that no priests nor God are anywhere immediately available to deliver punishment. For lack of that, he's left to school his features to some semblence of kind and earnest care.

For a reasonably nice guy with a generally tactless face, his bedside manner is not always what it should be. Hapless sympathy is rarely reassuring. Having somebody to exploit can be, however, and no matter how her self-esteem may fare, Colette's a bright enough girl to have harbored that notion at least once before. Teo's all intent, now, earnest the way he'd been when she had first made his request and he his initial insistence. "He could find out, though," he proposes, after a laggy beat.

Haphazardly, he closes his fingers on the theory of Nicole like it's driftwood in a foaming see, practical, where Judah and family relations thresh and spin and drown hopelessly beyond the radius of his expertise. "He has access to police records, si? Your sister would be a missing person — that's his business. And Evolved co-workers who have abilities that could be used to determine whether or not this woman is your sister. Or traditional DNA tests. He's your—" Brain-mouth filter. "I'm sure he'd want to help you," Teo finishes, softly.

"I'm worried…" Colette mumbles, reaching up for the picture with one small hand, "Worried I'll hurt him. Worried that — " Her head shakes slowly, bangs swishing across her brows, "I'm worried I'm wrong, and — and that he — "Her hand lowers, both moving to her face to hide it away from Teo. "I'm worried if… if she is Nicole that — that Judah'll… give me up and — and he — " The girl's legs draw up onto the bench, arms wrapping around them as she presses her forehead to her knees. "I don't want him to push me away, and be alone." The guilty thought of Judah sitting in his apartment, staring vacantly at a wall while the house remains silent cuts her heart out and squeezes it dry.

It's obvious, somewhere down in there, she loves the old man. But neither of them seem willing to admit how they really feel, and how much each of them need one another. Just how much they don't.

Genocidal terrorists and Bomb-scarred bachelors are better at this kind of shit than Teo is. He's noticed this before. He notices it again now.

"I'm sure he wouldn't— he chose you, right? And you chose him. If you choose to stay with him, then there shouldn't be a problem, and you'll be fine. Family isn't supposed to be either-or. It should get bigger, not—" Relieved of the photograph, his fingers interlace, hands hanging between his knees as heavily as Colette's head is on the wilted stem of her neck. He looks at the rounded zag of his knuckles, yells at himself inside his head for a few seconds.

He puffs out a sigh too big to fit in his face, ballooning his cheeks for a brief moment. His gaze lapses back to the picture in her hand. He finds himself trying to remember, and jarrs to a stop against the stern railing of the realization that it's none of his business in the end. "Your dear Padre doesn't know how lucky he is," he mutters suddenly, gruff with something childish. Might be envy. "What you'd give to keep him."

Genocidal terrorists and Bomb-scarred bachelors are better at this kind of shit than Teo is. He's noticed this before. He remembers it again now.

"I'm sure he wouldn't— he chose you, right? And you chose him. If you choose to stay with him, then there shouldn't be a problem, and you'll be fine. Family isn't supposed to be either-or. It should get bigger, not—" Relieved of the photograph, his fingers interlace, hands hanging between his knees as heavily as Colette's head is on the wilted stem of her neck. He looks at the rounded zag of his knuckles, yells at himself inside his head for a few seconds.

He puffs out a sigh too big to fit in his face, ballooning his cheeks for a brief moment. His gaze lapses back to the picture in her hand. He finds himself trying to remember, and jarrs to a stop against the stern railing of the realization that it's none of his business in the end. "Your dear Padre doesn't know how lucky he is," he mutters suddenly, gruff with something childish. Might be envy. "What you'd give to keep him."

Muffling a snuffle with the back of her sleeve, all Colette can do to Teo's adivde is bob her head in a slowly accepting nod. The young girl's lips purse together, eyes falling shut as dark lashes brush down against her cheeks, trapping the dribbling tears she doesnt' want to shed over something like this. "You're a jerk," she mutters out, choking back an emotional laugh as one hand comes upt o rub at her cheek, fingers trying to dry her blind eye. "You're a huge jerk, Teo."

Her mouth stretches and distorts, lips pressed together despite her body trying to force them into something between a smile and a grimace as she looks up at the Sicillian. With her eyes open, the redness around them and the watery, glass-like look they have is clear as day, no matter how much she wants it not to be. "But you're… a really smart jerk." Quivering lips creep up into a weak smile, and Colette's weary eyes divert from Teorodo, studying his boots as if they wer eth eanswer to her family situation.

"Would you believe any of this, Teo?" She asks in a rough voice, struggling with her emotions. "A sister who just— vanishes? And… shows up later, with new memories, a family she… hardly believes she has, and… she's just…" Thin and pale fingers curl against the fabric of paint-stained jeans, "I know it's her." Colette's voice has a faint tone of adamancy to it, she wants to believe herself, but it's hard to. "But — but why? How — " How indeed.

The ordinarily sanguine young Mediterranean man blanches slightly when labeled thus; his eyes dart to the left, meander the stretch of wall, before the gravitational weight of her other words, questions, drag it back. "I do believe it," he answers, gruffly. "And I'm not a…" Jerk. Smart. Both. Either.

"Not right now." An important amendment. His skin curdles from proximity to her grief; he reaches into his pocket in search of tissues that he had remembered just two minutes ago that he had not brought. A search of his fingers verifies the thought that had dropped out of the bottom of his memory. "I just think— family is supposed to take care of each other. It's what my mom told me about my baby brother years ago. I was born first to protect him.

"Maybe sentimental but uh. Wouldn't… make sense otherwise. I don't generally like cops, but even they have family. And I" His hand returns empty, ends up dragging through his equally deprived scalp. "I don't know. There are a lot of people out there who do retarded and arcane things. Who" he locks his teeth against the end of the question for a moment. One that doesn't last. "Who is she now? You mind me asking?"

"Stev— " Colette shakes her head, nose wrinkling. She hates the nickname, "Stephanie Ciati." For all of the blood that could drain out of Teo's face earlier, this name should turn him as ghostly white as Colette. Steve Ciati, the press secretary for Allen Rickham, the woman Sylar impersonated at the assassination attempt… she's Colette Demsky's sister.

"I dunno, she… she says she's got family, and…" Her brows lower, apparently not even remotely aware of how significant the name is. "She — She has family photographs, and… I — D'you ever think that maybe," The girl's brows crease together, "If you want something bad enough? If you wanna' believe in something enough, you'll see it everywhere?" Her eyes divert from Teo again, towards a painting hanging on a far wall, "I read a book once… about that."

Colette's line of sight prompts the man to start to look that way, but Teo stops with his head halfway through the motion. Partly because he knows that's dumb, and also because his neck is stuck, head swimming with a weird sense of vertigo. That's a big name, Stephanie Ciati. Headlines-sized. Maybe not page one, but the readiest association with her was. Some people are so important that nobody knows about them.

"Don't kids your age watch the news these days?" Others—

Teo can't fit his lobes around this one. Probably couldn't even if he had the brain matter to spare. "Maybe you sh…" He creases his eyelids into a hard blink, and swings his face around to look at her again, an agreement comes with a pang and a swift memory. "Yeah. Everywhere. Fuckin' — everywhere," he agrees with a gust of sigh, leaning back against the pew. His legs are too long to sprawl right; his knee ends up clunking into the wood in front of him.

It's not quite the reaction the young girl expects, and wiping at her eyes with her sleeve, she affixes her gaze on Teo again with creased brows. "I — I don't, anymore. It — I used to get, really… anxious? I — um, post-traumatic… bomb shit." The girl shakes her head, swallowing awkwardly as she rises up from where she sits, talking the half-step required to clear the space over to Teo, letting one small, frail hand come to rest on his shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. Affording anyone, let alone someone like Teo, a measure of physical contact is a huge step, and one that he's so unaware of.

"I — you don't look good." Teeth gently tug at her lower lip, and Colette's hand squeezes at Teo's shoulder again. He seems so harmless, like a wayward puppy just wanting a cookie; but he keeps stumbling and tumbling into things on the way there. "You… I'm sorry, um — the marker?" It's a jarring shift of conversational gears, enough to give Teo verbal whiplash, "You said it's in Queens? I — want to… could you tell me where?"

"I missed that one," Teo replies faintly. He's talking about the Bomb, but fails entirely to clarify and is probably obfuscating that fact accidentally. 'That one,' because there are so many other ones. It doesn't make sense for the Vanguard to have installed Stephanie Ciati at Allen Rickham's side. Linderman — maybe, though why is the conundrum and somewhat beyond the scope of his expertise.

However overburdened and hurtling it feels, the train of his thought is derailed completely by the minute pressure of the girl's little hand. He seesaws slightly, away before swaying back, disoriented by fingers smaller and more luminous than those of a birthday cake and as ever disconcerted by his own awkward size. "Oh, si. Yes. Cavalry Cemetary. The marker's under his real name. Conrad Wozniak. Uhm. 'S toward the North. It's called Maple Grove, although there aren't any.

"Trees," he clarifies. There aren't any trees.

Smiling sadly, the young girl gives Teo's shoulder one more squeeze, then hangs her head in silence as that hand falls away. "I'll — tomorrow. I'll — I don't know, bring flowers or — " She smirks and breaks out into an inappropriate laugh to match her forthcoming inappropriate words, "Maybe a porno or something, he'd be more appreciative." The girl's expression is tempered by emotion, lips drawing back into a look that says she hasn't quite gotten all of the grief off of her shoulders about Conrad just yet.

"Thanks, for… you know, telling me, Teo." The young girl's lips creep up into a hesitant smile, "It — It means a lot to me, I mean…" Her hands fly up suddenly, waving in some spastic motion as she blurts out, "Teo. What the fuck is going on?" Mismatched eyes peer intently at the Sicillian, and the young girl takes this odd moment to cut through a layer of bullshit with a forked tongue. "Ygraine told me — how he died. What the fuck is going on," her voice drops, whispering, "Who the fuck are you people?"

"Jus' people trying to help," comes the answer, unclear and somewhat confused. Teo pulls himself up in a sudden motion, a grip on the bench in front of him and his shoes drubbing clumsy noises on the floor. "'Cause your government wasn't doing its fucking job. It's over now, anyway. The shit that cost Conrad his life.

"You don't have to worry, bambina — it's dangerous. Obviously." Otherwise Conrad had an accident with a rolling pin? "And you have your fair share of shit to worry about, right?" He remembers to make eye-contact around the same time that he realizes that he probably doesn't seem very honest right now. "Mi disp— I'm sorry. This must seem very patronizing.

"But I'm not trying to be a prick." Ends up looking Hell of uncomfortable doing it, shoulders steepled under a ludicrous weight; he looks at her, thinks of the wingless little Renaissance cherubs that were all his homeland ever had in the way of mythology. More innocence, less joy.

Somewhere between then and now, Teo started to look slightly less horrifically pasty. "If you don't want to tell Judah about your sister yet, I think you should ask another cop you know. Someone discreet. Liz, if you want," he says. Hesitates. Adds a tiny telepathic nudge at the one Russian they have in common. Keeping his face still is making his skin tired. "Or anybody else you know. There's a guy they could get to. A cop.

"Detective Murdoch. He's good with figuring out genetics and shit like that." Though he isn't scuttling anywhere on squeaky rubber soles, every line of his long frame is angling toward retreat.

"I— " Colette's eyes fall shut, and the girl looks away. Her imagination had dreamed up a wonderful cavalcade of answers Teodoro could have given, none of them quite match the rather painful reality she finds instead. "I'll see about it," she girl murmurs, looking down at the photograph in her hand before tucking it back into the pocket of her jacket.

"I should get going… Trent's giving me a ride home," her mismatched eyes look up to Teo for a moment, lips pressed together in a thin line, neck tense. "You… should go home too, rest. You look like Judah used to — strung out." She manages a faint, weary smile of her own as her hand settles once more on the Sicillian's shoulder. "Don't… do what he did to himself. Otherwise, you know — regrets and all that."

There's an easy laugh, wry rather than mirthful. Teo forgets entirely to review his past answer to check for errors. He dips his chin fractionally, accepting her token of kindness even if it seems to be rooted in stony sediment that's cut herself all up. "I'm sure I have no idea what you mean, ragazza." This is his best Rhetorical Question voice. It isn't that good. "Loving daughter, meaningful job in service to the public, all his own teeth.

"What does he have to regret?" He reaches back, more by habit than necessity, to grab his hood and tug it up over the roof of his head, even as he cranes it to search out Trent through the pillars. Can't hear him yet, no echo and rebound of the Ferryman's phone voice off the sculpted stone and gilded wood. It's good, he thinks, that she has someone to take her home. Maybe to Queens, too. It's a long way. The wind might blow her into the sea while she's walking.

Colette smiles quietly to Teo, letting her hand settle on his forearm, giving it a gentle squeeze before she closes her eyes and shakes her head. It's in moments like this, where the young girl's exceptionally short but harrowing life-experiences give her some semblance of age, where she seems — for once — not to be a completely inept and stuttering kid, but a young adult. "Pushing himself too hard," she answers with a tone bordering on apologetic, "and not spending enough time… with the people who matter, before they're gone."

She doesn't want a response, or an answer. The words she affords Teo are answer enough, as is the pained smile she offers. Colette dips her head down, in a silent nod as she begins to catch up to Trent, breaking away from Teo as the last bits of the Ferryman's conversation as overheard. "…right, yeah. That's probably for the best. I'll keep an eye on it, lemmie' know if she's going to do anything." He hastily flips the phone shut, offering a crooked smile to Colette, and then a distant, inspecting stare to Teo. "I was about to leave without you, kid."

Just like a girl: last words in. The boy is left to frown thoughtfully at her, until Trent comes out of the woodwork and prompts him to flip the expression upside down lest the kid's protectiveness mistake his attitude for something worth making a fuss about. He bites back the urge to defend himself against an accusation that she neither voiced nor intended. Essays a step backward, raises a hand.

Waves at both of them. "Ciao," he says first. "In bocca al lupo." He shuts himself up with a grimace. Translates, with an indistinct motion of his hand in the air in front of him and a shake of his head, erasing the Italian previous so that he can overwrite it. "Good luck."

Title refers to Ecclesiastes 3.

February 19th: Trust or Punishment

Previously in this storyline…
Trust or Punishment

Next in this storyline…
Hit and Run

February 19th: Boo
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