Things Forsaken


deckard3_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Things Forsaken
Synopsis One uncomfortable conversation is diverted into even less comfortable territory.
Date October 2, 2009

Old Lucy's: Upstairs

Though one might remember when a certain fiery woman lived here… Now the living area above Old Lucy's has changed hands. The open living room and kitchen are homey, a commingling of two people's tastes. The leather couch sits kitty corner to a one of red suede and a bit smaller. A large bird cage for it's budgie inhabitant takes up it's own corner beside dark paneled walls. Bookshelves with literary pieces of a variety both academic and not take up another small section.

The kitchen is large, with a rolling wood and black marble island to give more counter space to work on. Pots and pans hang from the roof and track lighting keeps it not gloomy. A proper oak dining table has been set up with matching chairs instead of the 70's castoff that the residents have been known to own and a bowl of fresh fruit sits in the center.

Down a hall lay's multiple doors. A master bedroom occupied by the oldest resident and occasionally have a pervading smell of whiskey and smoke coming from it when the door is open. A second door with a cross above it, a third with no marking that is occupied by the third resident of the premises. Two other doors lead to a linen closet and bathroom respectively. A black cat with a red velvet collar and a little swarovski charm dangling from it can be found meandering at will.

It's somewhere around 8:30 AM, and Deckard awake and in Abby's kitchen and sober in a pair of neutral faded pajama pants and a brown t-shirt. Short hair grizzled and bristled flat around the back and one side, he either teleported here with a carton of milk and a box of frosted flakes upon waking or he slept here somewhere not the couch and not Joseph's bed.

In any case, he looks like he could really use the flakes. Whatever muscle he's retained is lashed down like strips of iron and leather taut over long bones and narrow down his back while he pours, sickly thin and pale and all around in a shitty condition. Classic rock is piping in at a tinny murmur from somewhere — probably a radio alarm in Abigail's bedroom, and he's muttering along with Joe Walsh with as much enthusiasm as he can muster for the hour multiplied by the deterioration of his physical condition over the last two weeks. Which is to say: not much.

Inevitably, a door somewhere opens, and with the sound of shuffling— well Deckard doesn't get company right away as the bathroom is first detoured to. But after that, bare feet scuff along carpet and the sound of something trailing. A blanket, actually, which Joseph has secured around himself, hands clutching onto the fabric from the inside in a cacoon that only half conceals grey sweatpants and a rumpled T-shirt for sleeping, whether there was success in that area or not.

He's tired. Not like someone just roused from a decent night's sleep, but someone who has tried and failed and is currently regretting it. A hand emerging from his cacoon to pat and scratch through his hair, he peers towards where there's the sound of life within the kitchen, expecting to see Leo, Abby.

Neither. Standing in the doorframe of the kitchen, Joseph squints blearily at Deckard. Blinks. This is sort of like Christmas morning, except he doesn't summon up enough energy to smile when he greets with, "Hey."

By contrast, for all that he looks like he might've spent the night in a coffin, Deckard is well-rested and reasonably bright eyed when he glances back over his shoulder after the sound of Joseph's shuffling approach. "Hey," fielded back automatically, he resumes crisping milk over flakes with a dragging flourish (Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through) and thumps the carton aside to reach a little stiffly for a pre-acquired spoon at his opposite side.

Life's been good to me sooo faaaar~

"Frosted Flakes? Rice crispies? …Psychoactive highly addictive brain damage in injection form?" Spoon into flakes, bowl in hand, the lean crook turns to rest his back against the counter so that he can look Joseph over proper like while he considers. "I think she has bananas too."

There's a fleeting look of panic that crosses Joseph's face, cutting through the overtired haze that had him twisting to look over his shoulder on the off-chance anyone else has decided to emerge this early. "Flint," he sighs out, exasperation and worry in his voice, before he edges further into the kitchen. His mouth goes into a line, and he rolls his shoulders to tug the blanket up higher around them.

"How 'bout I start with tea?" The words are edged, tense and less than friendly, but he does as he says he'd do - moves to set the water to boil, motions one handed for the sake of the blanket and slow. Then, with some amount of apology in his voice, he asks, with a look up and down, "How're you holdin' up?" It's code, for the fact Deckard looks like he isn't holding up much of anything.

Abigail's downstairs being Important and Flint has yet to see Leonard. It's just Deck and Jo and a bowl of Frosted Flakes in the kitchen. And the milk carton, which he has probably already drunk out of (and will continue to drink out of.) Ronch, ronch, ronch go flakes against teeth. Clink clink goes the spoon against the sides of the bowl. He eyes Joseph while he chews and the pastor makes tea, coon-eyed and hollow-faced in the white morning light flooding scattered through the nearest window.

"Great," is his inevitable reply for inquiries into his well being, spoon pausing onlyy long enough for him to elaborate with, "I started a new diet," on his way to the next bite. "Your shit's in a briefcase next to the couch in Abigail's room. She's probably already suspicious about the case; I'd move it into something else."

That pauses Joseph's movements, the idea of it being in Abby's room, but concern doesn't manifest into actual words, or really anything past that hesitation. It doesn't ultimately matter. He sets out a mug, eyes the milk carton Deckard is possessing, and decides again it, merely spooning out some sugar over the teabag inside the porcelain. "Well, you can keep the case. I'll— go grab it in a sec'."

Lifting a hand to rub at his face, Joseph leans against the kitchen counter, and if he could flip a coin over what to say first, he would, a conflicted look measured at Deckard beneath a serious and tense brow. Then, with a slip of a glance down to kitchen lino, he asks, "Would you do it again? If I asked?"

Ronch ronch ronch… ronch-uh. The mechanism of Deckard's crunching through cereal slows into a bovine grind under pale eyes and knit brows, which is about all it takes for casual banter about drugs to take a dive into unsettled reproach. There's literally no disguising the way unease warps tension into stringy muscles or draws him in on himself when he looks he way he does, like a fox hunched thin and grey without any fluff with which to fend off snow or awkward social pressure.

The span of time for which he doesn't say anything is probably sufficient in itself to ellicit a response or — a move to greener pastures. He hasn't taken a bite in a while and he's eyeing Joseph like drivers eye homeless people on the side of the road when they don't have any spare change but eye contact is inevitable.

There's no response or movement just yet, Joseph's own animal metaphor sinking into the tried and true shape of a deer caught in headlights. Frozen only for a couple of seconds before the need to put an end to it manifests as it does in the form of fidgeting and shuffling, readjusting the blanket around himself and turning towards where the water is boiling, curls of steam making moisture on the wall. "Never mind. I won't.

"Thanks." Eye contact long gone and sinking into his future tea. His hand curls around the kettle's handle, flicking it off before he pours it with clunky sloshes of boiled water into the mug, his shoulders tense between the softer effect of the blanket swathed around them.

When Joseph moves again out of his flash frozen state, so does Deckard, if at first only to furrow his brow still further at the turn of Sumter's back while he tends to boiling water. There's a spoon in his hand. He recalls as much when he glances down after the ache setting in at the hitch of his shoulder and lets it rest back into the bowl with a final tink, appetite sublimated with the sudden spike of awkward silences thickening through the kitchen air.

"Abby took me to heal someone that had been doing Refrain three or four weeks ago," muttered with more caution than he rationed out for the initial announcement, he tilts the sit of the bowl in his left hand enough for the spoon to slide its way around to the opposite side. "There was something wrong with her brain. The doctors thought she had cancer."

There's no choice but to listen, as Joseph stirs around the hot water with the teabag leaking clear brown, steam rising with the aroma of Earl Grey and sugar granules dissolving. There's a clink as the metal spoon is left to rest against porcelain as his hand goes up to rub the back of his neck, nails raking through hair. "Well. It won't get that far." The words are muttered almost too quietly, before Joseph is moving to the sink to clatter the teaspoon inside, picking up the teacup and resettling once more as he regards the other man.

Brings the still steaming beverage up to sip. Halts. "I was told Ivanov's still doing like more've the same. No real improvement past what's normal." Siiip, and now a familiarly concerned look is traded across the kitchen, confusion looped in with it.

It won't get that far. Skepticism creases into fuzzy lines around the flat of Deckard's mouth, shadowing close behind persistent resentment's hood at his brow. A second tilt sends the spoon scraping back around in the opposite direction, ridiculously loud within the quiet context of the kitchen.

Then they're off from one uncomfortable topic to the next, and Flint has to check a little too carefully over Joseph's face to ascertain whether or not this particular leap might have been made on purpose. "He might die."

No segue, no particular logical tangential foray into the topic of Felix's health from the topic of drug use and people nearly dying from drug use. If anyone can recognise such artful deflection, it could be either man standing in the kitchen right now. It doesn't, however, show on Joseph's face. It had been the other side of the coin as to what to say to Flint and concern is true, of course it is. Even the clasp of his hand around his tea is worried.

"I know," Joseph says, a brief shake of his head, his brow knit with anxious curiousity. "And he doesn't have to die. I've seen you bring back a man drownin' on his own blood on the floor of my church. Why's Ivanov wastin' away in a hospital right now?"

"I dunno," says Deckard in the saw-edged kind of tone that insinuates he is about to detour into offensive and/or potentially rage-inducing territory with this line of thought (which is almost like forwarning). "Maybe it's because there is a God. And he thinks Felix is a worthless fils de salope who should've died and stayed dead one of the first five or six times it was an issue."

Blasphemy, harsh words and French all present themselves in baffling formation that leaves Joseph forgetting the tea in his hand, with the other still gripping closed the blanket that keeps his tremors at bay. He can almost forget the nagging insistence for what's in Abby's room, by the couch. Normally that look dealt to him from Flint would have Joseph backing up but he blinks across at the older man as if he couldn't pick up such cues.

"Are you— you're serious, aren't you?" A static pause, Joseph shifting his weight from foot to foot as he starts again; "Whatever this is, you know God ain't got anythin' to do with it. The man lived, Flint. He got hanged by the neck and he lived and you're just gonna let him die? After this whole month, he's going to die. In a hospital."

It's ridiculous, and Joseph's voice breaks over the incredulity of the situation. His focus is about as sharp as it's been in the past week, squared on Deckard.

Baffling for Joseph, maybe. There's a harsh, polished clarity to the blue of Deckard's eyes across the kitchen, points of color glassed bright against purpled sockets and deathly pallor. He's still holding his cereal, more solid through the stack of his spine now that the pastor is rounding on him and he has cause to stiffen and bristle as well as he can in his sorry state, head held upright and focus honed sharp.

"He's already died at least once. No breathing, no pulse. No heart. Seeing as neither of us is Jesus," Flint lifts his wrist as if to check a watch that isn't there, "I think he's probably past due for final judgment."

He sets his drink down with a dull thunk of porcelain against wood, that hand brought up to rub weary over his face, fingers trembling at a fraction that can't really be seen across the kitchen unless it's looked for. The hand smooths back to grip at his neck as Joseph levels his attention back towards Deckard as those last words come, and he's quick to respond. No tense silences or awkward pausing. "Don't do this. Don't let 'em win this."

It's true that he doesn't know Felix very well at all, not really. Not like Deckard knows him. Joseph clutches closed the blanket with both hands. "They made sure I'd live and I don't want to be the only one who gets outta this. I can't be, not after everythin'. It don't matter if Ivanov dies in St. Luke's or if he died out front my church, they still win."

Deckard falls back into silence. It comes naturally, as most silences do for him, with crow's feet cinched slight at the corners of his eyes through the process of scanning over Joseph from rumpled head to toe. Sizing him up, calculating reason against personal bias. And fear.

By solid contrast, he's dishearteningly removed from any influence emotion might have over a decision one way or the other. If anything he's incredulous, slatted ribs rising and falling slow against talk of winning or losing or. He doesn't even know.

"Would we be having this conversation if it was one of your captors on his death bed?"

Fists clench a little tighter, previous earnest frosting over in confused silence when he doesn't immediately have the answer that would better his point. The conversation turned around somewhere, doesn't matter aware, but effortlessly wrested free of Joseph's dubious control over it. Tea cools, ignored for now. If Danko, or Dean, or Harlow lay dying. Slightly too easy to picture. The breath he takes is steadying, before speaking, "If whatever the heck Ivanov did to you measures up to what they did to me?"

That rhetorical lead in never finishes, never meets whatever point Joseph was trying to reach, giving a soft snort of cynicism with his mouth drawn into a grim line. Tea is picked up, a sideways step for the door that never really makes it either. "I told him he wouldn't die. You can't blame me for tryin' to live up to that. Or blame me for thinkin' you'd do this. I've seen it."

"It doesn't matter, does it? What he's done to me? What I've done to him. What he probably will do, if he lives long enough." Ignorant of the injustice of asking a question Joseph can't possibly know the background of, Deckard gives the bowl another lazy spin, thieving fingers fleet around the base until it's finally set aside. Spoon and all. Clink.

"You commiserate with what you've seen of him. Abigail doesn't want anyone to suffer. Teo thinks a tight ass is a terrible thing to waste."

The fact that he's talking to himself more than he's speaking strictly for Joseph's edification probaby isn't all that fair either, especially since he's looking right at him, judgment carved cold into the haggard length of his face. "Teo thinks he'll be better this time. On sait jamais. Maybe the third reserrection's the charm."

Talking to Joseph or not, Joseph listens, confusion writ plainly in his expression and huddled stance. Eventually, his gaze drops back down into his drink, from which he takes a tight throated sip, as uneasy as he's been around Flint if without including the time there was a gun involved. "I've heard his confession," is offered, and there is almost a wry twist to his tone that's quick to die out. "It was long. Not my practice but at the time, it was the least I could do for him. Anyone can be better, Flint. I've seen that too."

A look back up towards Deckard hopefully turns that subtext into text. Conflict is a brief glimmer, about what to say next, about what to say at all, before— "Did it ever occur to you that this gift you got ain't supposed to be easy? If it was Danko or Dean or anyone of 'em lying on their deathbed, I'd pray I'd be stronger then either one of us are bein' right now."

The held breath that gusts out through Deckards's sinuses once Joseph is finished doesn't have enough force blocked up behind it to constitute a snort. For all that disdain is easy to read in the downturn at his mouth, honest-to-God anger is relegated to a cold burn frosted wraith-like behind his eyes, gone in the time it takes him to wrench his attention off sideways onto the coffee maker.

His nose rankles, twitches; he glances quickly down at his own bare feet. When he finally gets around to forcing himself to look back at Joseph again, he still hasn't said anything, and he doesn't look likely to either.

Drawing himself an inch or so out of his slouch, Joseph remains silent for the time it takes Deckard to steer his gaze back towards him and by then, silent anger meets silent anger, climbing at a much slower pace than Flint's but certainly there. The pause that follows is desperate for someone not Joseph to fill it in, but when they doesn't seem like it's going to happen—

"Damnit, Flint." He has words, better ones than that, but stringing them together into coherency is a task much harder these days than it was a month ago. Patience burns, sparks. "If you can't do this for yourself and you can't do this for us, and you're sure as hell not gonna do it for Felix, then God help you."

It's almost fear of snapping even more that has Joseph moving for out, rather than true disgust, or not wanting to hear a reply. Another urge drives his intended destination, but Deckard is, at least, afforded some peace as the pastor takes blanket and tea both and stomps his way for the door.

"He won't," may or may not be a succinct reminder that He hasn't lifted a finger to help Joseph either. Whether or not it's intended as such as is hard to tell, but Deckard has already iced down whatever coals Sumter had managed to scatter beneath the surface. Remnant irritation is cool as slate in his voice, weathered down into sullen apathy and sore temper that's becoming an increasingly common theme about him of late.

When Joseph moves to leave, he remains. His cereal is already soggy and the milk isn't cold enough to be worth drinking from the carton. All that remains is to pour the former down the sink and close the latter back up into the fridge to await Abby's return. And maybe to do the rest of the dishes, while he's in here having a sulk anyway.

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