Three May Keep A Secret


bella_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Three May Keep A Secret
Synopsis If two of them are dead. Or brainwashed. Teo breaks into Bella's apartment to excavate intel on the same night Deckard gets drunk and swings by with (slightly) less untoward intent. Unfortunately for Bella, she happens to be home.
Date February 11, 2010

Bella's Apartment

The only thing that has anything approaching personality in this apartment is the file named: DFLINT08020910, which takes up an inch's breadth of monitor space and glares luridly up at his face as Teo stares at it.

It was probably too much to hope for, that Doctor Sheridan's home was going to have anything of tactical or criminal significance in it. Not that Teodoro had put many eggs in that basket, really.

It is not like he needs an excuse to terrorize. He hasn't really liked his erstwhile psychologist in a good while, though, which made abducting her and shooting her in the leg considerably easier, and he has liked her a great deal less since learning out about the experiments she was conducting on guarded abductees, so— ignoring any and all morbid irony or the humility that would confer— he broke into her house and started poking around while he waited for her to get home. He's vaguely wanted to do this for awhile.

He's only been here about eight minutes so far. Knocked on enough walls and the spaces around the more accessible electrical outlets to assure himself nothing fancy was fancifully concealed, rooted around her closet for matchboxes, napkins, coasters, or diagrammed diabolism scribbled on innocuous napins, and then went for the great black fossil of the computer in the study.

Raith probably would have gone for the computer first. Raith would be ashamed. Teo has suffered a recent excess of father figures, however, so he is content to spend the armpit of his evening trampling around heavily-armed and resisting the urge to let the blithe spirit o' trespassing spill over onto the psychiatric profile of someone he regards as a friend. He leans chin onto hand, squints unhappily at the screen. Hhhhh.

This is not the only file with a recognizable name in the folder where the confidential psychiatric information is kept. How many MVARLANE's could their possibly be out there, and how many of them are likely to see an Evolved psych specialist. Curiosity and satisfaction can rarely have such a convenient short circuit, and it takes only the swish of the cursor and the mouse to pull it open. If Teo was at all worried, the file makes it clear that Magnes is essentially a quite healthy young lad with all his anxieties in the right places. Issues with self confidence, self image, sense of responsibility and crises of masculinity are, as the file notes with a certain motherhennish tone, garden variety and expected. They're working on it.

This doesn't quite account for rather large spaces of time marked out but filled with no notes besides the words 'refer to main file'. Which means that this must just be a secondary file. Does she have a work computer, maybe? Teo doesn't recall seeing any such thing when he was last at her office. Fucking Company people. Make you run all over the place.

Bella herself feels a bit run around, having made rounds to all points of her professional stomping grounds, which points include her office, the facility, and Fort Hero, and while she's been kindly escorted from place to place as per her request, which request was spurred on by a growing concern over her own personal safety, she still feels the fatigue of one who has been on the move all day. Time to get home and relax. Time for some 'her time'.

At least, that's the ideal. She turns the key in her lock, and uses her tired self as a weight to push the door open. Not being the sort to possess any 'sixth sense', not having the alertness or energy to notice if this or that cushion might not be where she last put it, the psychiatrist flops onto her couch and pushes off her shoes, kicking her stocking'd feet up and onto the IKEA coffee table and letting out a satisfied sigh, one belonging to a woman who has had a long and productive day.

That she has a house guest does not remotely occur to her.

Footsteps in the hallway pry the Sicilian's head up by the ear. He lets go of the mouse and picks his gun up. Bops a forefinger against the milky glow of the monitor's power button, for politeness' sake or something like it, and climbs out of the plumply upholstered chair very carefully, pulling himself one hand over the other so as not to accidentally make noise.

He'd feel better if he still had his astral projection on him, just because— well, convenience, security blanket, the ready application of psychic tasers to most situations. Partly also because he'd be able to tell Bella was fuzzy and tired if he could see through the gummy rims of her eye, and that's always better than having to deal with someone who's appropriately paranoid.

Teo's fingers appear on the edge of the door a few inches above Bella's little ginger head, securing it against funny ideas, and then the ugly black nose of his Glock levels at the middle of her torso. "Hold your breath."

Bella gives a sharp little gasp of terror, the breathy inhale that civilian chicks always make when surprised. At least it's a break from the hard boiled one liners people with more experience at either ends of guns are liable to make when you get the drop on them. One can almost hear the canary-wing patterpatter of her startled little heart, to which she lifts a frightened hand. She takes the order at face value, the tight sound of fear being the last sound she makes for a good long moment, until she finally gives a wheezy exhale. She's good with voices, but she's wary of her own paranoid projections - she's not putting any pathology beyond herself what with the whole leg issue. Which leg is currently experiencing what feels like a low grade cramp. God knows what it would feel like if her suspicions were confirmed. Her gaze is pointed dead ahead, at the blank face of the TV, and she remains stalk still. Well, mostly stalk still. Her right hand slowly creeps towards her purse which rests beside her, trying to sneak its way to her phone unseen.

New York is a big city. There are thousands of people, hundreds of dark alleys and dozens of concrete, iron and steel city blocks on Manhattan island alone. It's only logical that unfortunate coincidence should play a role in one or two of the stories to be told therein tonight.

Not that this situation is entirely ruled by chance. Deckard's been around the complex for a good hour and a half now, alternately smoking, drinking, reading a week old copy of the times and looking at centerfolds in the front seat of his el camino parked at a meter some ways down and across the street. Centerfolds in the porno magazines he also brought with him, that is. Not the classified section.

She wasn't in when he originally went up, and it'd seemed a little too boundry-crossy to pick the lock and let himself in. He was more sober then than he is now, squinting bleary-eyed at oncoming traffic in waiting for a break long enough to hustle across the street. Evidently, he saw her go in.

Doesn't take him long to get up the stairs, even if it probably should from the way he shoulders awkwardly through the door into the hall. His overcoat drags thickly after him, only narrowly avoiding being caught in the automatic shut of creaky hinges at his back while he makes a fumbling effort to tug his snow-dusted collar straight around his neck. He realizes how numb his fingers are in the process and stops to squint at them, all pale skin and knuckle and then sheer bone in a flicker. Doesn't look like any of them are likely to fall off.

Right, what was he doing?

He remembers which apartment is hers because he's thought about it a lot, probably, and hesitates before knocking, as ever. It's partway through that hesitation that it strikes him to check up on what she's doing in there. What she is doing in there is having a gun pointed at her by a skeleton whose lengths and hollows are so inimately familiar that approximately no span of months unseen or amount of alcohol will fool his memory away from immediate recognition. His boot shoves itself through her front door at the knob before enough thought happens for him to wonder if he shouldn't, belching splinters and drywall in ahead of the door's rebound off the adjoining wall, and lookie here, he remembered to bring his gun too. It's bit hard into his right hand while the left attempts to lever the door shut behind him again, only he kind of broke the jam so it just bounces dejectedly while he glowers.

Teo was about to issue some very simple, easily followed instructions that would have helped defuse the situation. You know. 'Hands in the air.' 'Don't move.' 'I'm going to check if you're armed.' He would have kicked the purse into the television stand, safetied his gun, switch on another one of the available Ikea lights, and huffed, puffed, postured a little, got as much of his swagger on as he could have without unhinging his balance too precariously. He didn't really have a plan for what happened after that. Possibly, a constructive conversation.

Maybe it actually occurred to him, that abductions and drug experiments on what would appear to be known addicts weren't nearly as immoral as the death and vinegaaaar that Kaylee's been screaming into the wind. Maybe. They aren't bound to find out for another few minutes at best, however, as the door is suddenly imploding and it's all Teo can accomplish in the time afforded to make a few steps toward the couch then jerk the muzzle of his Glock out of line-of-fire with Bella and stare.

He knows that guy, too. It takes him a moment to remember that Deckard can't scorch their retinas out with high-frequency radiation yet. Later tricks for an old dog, and it's hard to tell with the living room light that's already on whether he's using his ability orrrr his eyes are like that because he's reeeeally, really mad. One trick Deckard's had as long as Teo's known him, though, in his life or the next: between the two of them, the old man's the better shot.

Right. What is Deckard doi—?

"What the fuck are you doing here?" It is not the most cordial salutation in Teodoro's vocabulary, and probably constitutes a step back from impromptu manhugs in the middle of Antigua's desert, but, the guns and the split-through doorframes and doe-eyed psychiatrists were going to make this a hard situation to redeem anyway. Teo stays parked stiffly in front of the study.

Bella's first reaction is to be very impressed with the speed and capability of her bodyguards - they busted through the door without her even having to send a warning! That she should be upset about them letting Teo get in in the first place doesn't really occur to her, which really says something about her generosity of spirit and unwillingness to play the blame game. Or maybe she's just not really thinking straight because two of her clients are pointing guns at each other in her living room. Which realization corrects her previous bodyguard assumption.

The shrink uses the momentary but monumental distraction to curl herself up on the couch, tugging the purse under her, shielded from easy outside view. Her cushion-side hand starts to rummage in the purse for her phone. For the moment, she keeps her mouth shut. Teo's question is a valid one, and she doesn't want to interrupt. Maybe, in the process, Teo might mention his reason for being there as well. Then her curiosity will be satisfied. Hopefully help will be on the way by then, as well.
MAIL: You have a new message from Kaylee. Subject: Re: I'LL BE YOUR HERO! <3

It is a valid question.

Deckard's inebriated enough to be stymied by it for a good second or several, omniscient gaze ticking off sideways against vacant insecurity over his inability to recall whatever rationalization he had an hour and a half to come up with. Either he forgot he was supposed to come up with one in the first place or it fled him the instant he hit the door. Both possibilities seem equally likely, and as it turns out, trying to remember the means by which he no longer has an excuse doesn't actually accelerate the process of remembering what that reason was.

…If he had one to begin with.

Dust still stirring lazily around the white-mottled black of his coat, he takes a hard step deeper into the apartment, left hand bracing the right around his grip on the gun. "On the ground." The growl of his voice is ragged in his throat, coarse as the neckbeard bristled around it when he greases back the hammer with a sweep of one thumb. He doesn't notice Bella going for her phone because he's busy giving Teo the kind of looks rabid lab monkeys give their handlers through the bars. Only instead of bars he's looking down the barrel of a gun, which monkey handlers everywhere would probably argue is not an improvement.

Apparently Teodoro is the only one in the room who is tasked with the difficulty of keeping his attention on two equally problematic problems. Everybody else is just leering at him like he owes them money. Or a bullet wound in the leg, maybe some personal happiness; neither the younger, cuddlier incarnation of himself nor the time-traveling assassin had been unfamiliar with the realization that they brought misery wherever they went.

The rest of him is stiffened up, immobile as a mummy, as Teo's eyes go left, right, left, right, the whites of them going like a strobe. Decision-time is—

—not so much, thanks to the variables at hand. Maybe if Deckard was sober, or Bella weren't obviously doing something with the thing, or if he didn't have tangible, tactical reasons to need to be whole and not shot and alive later. He throws the Glock down.

Even puts his hands in the air, too. About at the level of his head. He glances at Bella, and at this angle, now, it's obvious that the past few months have taken their toll on her former captor: there's an inch-long slit extending the corner of his mouth, ridged and shiny scar tissue patterning its edges like reptilian scales, the leer of an alligator, a handful of picket-white teeth permanently exposed. Not even the extra inches of beard and ragged hair, desperate efforts of vanity, can fully conceal the damage wrought.

"She works for the Company," he then takes the opportunity to say, now that the physical distractions are away. Not to be a defensive child or anything, just. The better to dive out of the window? "I thought you'd stopped seeing her."

Yes, yes, the jig or foxtrot or charleston (if you like) is up and all that. Bella's veils of secrecy have been torn away one by one, despite her pointed use of actual veils. First it was Magnes breaking into her home and referring to her as 'Agent' of all things, now it's this. She'd go back to handling Magnes any time, but at least Deckard seems to be aggressing towards Teo, instead of her. Her fingers close around her phone just as she hears the gun strike the ground, and she starts, gripping the plastic casing with white-knuckle tightness. Once she realizes, theorizes, what that sound actually was (she can't see because her head's tucked down by her purse), she regains herself enough to flip open the phone and dial to her emergency contacts. She slides the selector to 'BBB' (personal joke, inside as in 'inside her head'), the panic option that'll alert the protective detail she requested who're parked a block down, and her thumb hovers over the 'send' button.

But she doesn't press it. Deckard is here, for whatever goddamn reason, and Deckard is helping, for whatever other goddamn reason. And if she calls this trouble in, he'll be the one they find armed and therefore the one they're liable to shoot-prior-to-proper-interrogation. And that… that seems like it'd be poor thanks, and pretty bad for their therapist-patient relationship. So the thumb hovers, but does not depress. Her head pops out of its tucked position, turning, and she has to blow strands of red hair out of her line of vision before she can see just what's going on. She tries to appear calm, a feat, however successful it may be, that is undermined by her near-fetal position on the couch. Her eyes dart from man to man.

She's going to let them talk this out for the moment.

Flint watches the heavy flop and clatter of the liberated glock with a penetrating intensity that would be ironclad if not for the unsteady weave and yaw of his shoulders. For all that their wiry set is solid, his center of balance seems irreversibly skewed, and he only narrowly avoids bumping into the entryway wall when he breaks his glare off long enough to glance warily down after his footing. The floor, as it turns out, isn't actually moving.

He steps for the gun. One and tt…two paces closer to warm metal and Teo's permanent sneer beyond that, paranoia and radiation picking the twin points of his eyes out of evening ambiance like hot coals. It's been a while since Laudani's seen him this angry, and Sheridan never has, but x-ray vision is hardly necessary to translate the way stringy muscle stands out in his neck or veins knotted thick across the backs of his hands. He's breathing hard, through his sinuses and then through his teeth, silent up to and past the sound of Teo's voice. The Company.

Deckard's brows twitch, not immediately comprehending. Condensed tension shivers all the way down through a tangible rattle at the end of his gun, and all too quickly, his demon eyes have swiveled unblinking from the Italian to the Psychiatrist. And her phone. In that instant, he is promoted to being the worst person in this room to be holding a gun in this situation.

Let's not be too hard on Deckard. That really depends on who you ask. Teo would probably still vote for him over Doctor Sheridan, no offense; he has no desire to be appropriated for horrifying experiments. Or the subject of blasting vengeance. Yes, the margin of preference has diminished considerably, but you know, he used to do a lot of fighting while drunk too and—

Try as he might, his Suresh Linkage Complex doesn't revive itself in a violent eruption of teleporting ability. His head buzzes slightly. He begins to get genuinely nervous that something untoward is going to happen, either despite or because of Deckard's drunkenness, and it is beginning to feel like a bad thing rather than good that Bella is lying on top of her perfectly concealed hands. Maybe that's paranoid.

Probably not: he'd probably take abductions, shots to the leg, et cetera just as badly. He foregoes the urge to clear his throat or try to gesture a request for permission to put his hands down despite unspent adrenaline burning up the sinews of his carefully squared shoulders.

"I can just go," he volunteers, abruptly. "I wasn't going to kill her." You shouldn't just kill her. If Bella turns up dead, her goons are going to be mad, and with nothing but a pit full of weakened and disoriented drug addicts to take their tempers out on, well: Teodoro isn't completely irresponsible. That is almost like a good reason to lie. "Thought I could scare it out of her if she knew what the Company was up to. They've been giving the cattle-rustlers forewarning and advice."

Deckard's swinging attention and ever more obvious intoxication demands Bella intervene. Teo, she feels firmly, is very good at convincing Deckard to make very bad decisions. One of the most toxic relationships in the whole pack of rogues he runs with. It is her sacred duty as the warden of Deckard's mental health to do something before the despicable Sicilian does makes Deckard do something both she and he will regret.

"He's right, I do receive Company funding," she admits, right away, in a show of good faith and honesty. She slowly slides into a sit, keeping her knees tucked up against her, concealing the phone she holds clutched and ready in her hands, a posture that will hopefully look too girlish and harmless to point to the otherwise obvious fact she's hiding something in her hands. "They are interested in my focus on Evolved psychology. I do assessments of their agents, try and reduce their mental stress. They need therapists as much as everyone else. But that has nothing to do with our relationship, Deckard. I promise you that. I have a private practice, and it's unrelated, I promise. You can check your file. It's on my computer." She nods in the direction of the study from whence Teo emerged. Which reminds her…

Her eyes cut to Teo. Which proves to not be a very good idea. Her face immediately contorts into a grimace of pain and she gives a groan as her eyes start to water. "Shitshitshitshit…" she mumbles, "Why are you here? Pleasepleaseplease just leave me alone please leave…" Not precisely eloquence, but pitiful blubbering is the most viable tactic she has available to her considering the current emotions she has to pick from.

Ideally Deckard would be able to focus on both of them, hear, interpret and assess every word there spoken and make a responsible decision about how many times he should pull the trigger (and at who.) Except he's drunk and now there's the third element of the computer with his 'file' to think about. Maybe she talks about how he has nice eyes. …People have said he has nice eyes.

Upon rejoining reality, he realizes he is staring Teo blankly down again. All eyeshine and ice and battered trust faltering stupidly against the walls of his thick skull like a drunken elk. She says it's just funding. He had a gun to point. Now she's crying or something all curled up on the couch and there's still a gun on the floor and he finds himself sidestepping over with the exaggerated care of the dubiously self-aware to pry after the fingerbone-obscured cellular phone in her grasp with his left hand. The right keeps his the gun tracking around kind of sort of in the region of parts of Teo that would hurt if they were shot.

"You abducted her before. Shot her. A few days or…weeks after the shit you said, trying to distance yourself. Fucking up. Always." Doing whatever infuriating things Teos do when they're trying to save the world. His hand is hard and cold in its fumbling, unapologetic grope after the phone he knows is there, feeling it out with only a single quick downward glance to gauge its position.

"I just explained why I was here," Teo says, with exasperation that does not do wonders for his portraying himself as anything other than a sullen child or a psychopathic bully, but he did! Well: he lied. Sort of. When you were making it up as you went along your home invasion and potential burglary, disclosing why you were here is bound to require some—

It would be wildly impractical to disclose the circumstances and existing knowledge of Joseph's current situation, so somehow Teo opts to prioritize relevant tactics over his immediate wellbeing or good standing with his erstwhile (current?) best friend. Also, he is actually intelligent and self-aware enough to realize that this does not exculpate him from anything Deckard is currently hissing about. Tension knots visibly up in Teodoro's shoulders, but he still isn't trying to make a break for it. He sidles a narrowed glance at the excavations that Deckard's hands are trying on the evil shrink, and frowns, at least with the one side of his mouth that he can.

"I thought she was evil," he says, his irritation carefully corralled down to a mutter, this time. "She lied to me. The chief of field operations went around handing her business card off to another Phoenix operative who knew better'n to have more than one session with her. The Company isn't a fucking bank or a grant association. I was fucking pissed off." Teo finishes on this note because he can't think of a better one, mostly. It feels necessary. He can't tell whether Deckard is getting drunker as more and more alcohol cycles into his system, pounded through by his heart, or whether it's gradually passing out.

Finally, he chances a step forward. Diagonaling, to give the couch a wide berth, but very markedly aiming at the door. "I don't want to talk about it in front of her."

Deckard's hand is shrunk away from out of sheer gut instinct. That Bella doesn't have to act frightened is great, since it's very convincing. It's not so great because she's actually scared. And her leg hurts, so when Deckard's arm bumps against it she gives a cry of pain. Shouldn't that be healed? When his fingers grip the LCD screen she gives a quick yelp, not out of pain but out of startlement. "Don't press 'send!" she warns, though she lets him take it. She doesn't explain why he shouldn't, but the streak of panic in her voice makes it clear it's a suggestion she doesn't feel two ways about. She hugs her legs against her, wincing with pain, but apparently willing to endure it for the comfort of the position. Her red-wreathed face peeks out over and between her knees, and her eyes slide between the interlocutors. Correction: they remain mostly on Deckard, only darting over to Teo in nervous 'where the fuck is that psycho' type updates, before going right back to Deckard.

It still seems like these two have a lot to talk about between them. Bella considers carefully whether or not it would be wise to say anything more, to moderate in any way, as is her usual function. She decides, after some thought, not to.

"You recommended her to me. You gave me her number." Anger and accusation finally flare the croak of Flint's voice into something more robust in a spittle-flecked snarl, staying his efforts roundabouts Bella's clutches for the length of time it takes him to check his temper back from reflex. The flank of his semiautomatic lifts to press flush to his temple as if trying to force clarity in where obnoxiously loud and blurry ~feelings~ muffle around like retarded muppets.

He stands like that for too long, eyes squeezed shut while gunmetal and pressure carve a crescent into his temple that's solidified into an oozing split when he whunks himself solidly in the side of his head with his own weapon.

The phone's extracted after that, device flung wordlessly away out of easy reach with little care for the chance that it might somehow land squarely on the warned against 'send' button in the process. He is pissed. At everything, really, but Teo most of all, left hand retracted with a quickness once Bella's having cried out registers. "Fuck you."

That seems like more head trauma than one's daily recommendation. Ha ha ha. The moment that thought crosses Teo's mind, he realizes that he's really— really not any good at summoning up any kind of guilt when somebody who's even worse at is right there in the room. One of his greater failings, and one that has encumbered many of his social interactions in the past few weeks. His eyes disfocus slightly. His mouth flattens, and despite that his progress toward retreat was meeting distinct success, he stops after four shuffling mummy steps.

"Then I abducted her and shook her in front of HomeSec 'til they gave me what I wanted. I'm sorry I didn't—" He doesn't remember this part well enough, but the fuzziness of his remorse isn't a direct derivative of induced forgetfulness. Looking at Bella's snivelling, hands-wringing shape jiggling like Jell-O on the couch is doing nothing for his humility, even if in retrospect maybe the bullet in her leg was a little extreme.

Maybe. After all, she isn't Colette Demsky. Nobody is Colette Demsky. The average small female abductee does not go all Midnighter with flare guns, lasers, suicidal ingenuity. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you when I found out. I don't know why I assumed you'd—"

Or maybe he should know, but there's this little ash pile shoveled up in the corner of his head of memories and details that he had once deemed incriminating evidence was vented out after incineration. Teo doesn't even remember what he's supposed to remember. Apparently he'd said some things. He does that a lot these days, too. He doesn't remember what his excuse was back then, but more recently, it's been his face and the raggedly stitched bullet hole in his mother's ribs.

"You can keep the gun." When he finally gets around to inventing that salutation, he finds the grace to sound as weak as that was.

There's a numb rush after the clout of the pistol — momentary clarity that lets Flint slow his breathing and buckle down on whatever a disproportional response to having your therapist terrorized by your friend (for the second time) consists of. Shouting, shots fired. The world will never know.

Six feet of grave robber turns itself around to sit itself down on Bella's couch, spine hunched and scruffy head bowed to the scuff and push of one hand clawed open, the other still wielding a lightly blood-wetted .40. He's more careful not to touch her than he is not to bleed on anything, if he's noticed he's bleeding at all. It's only been a week or two since those kinds of minor problems stopped taking care of themselves.

He doesn't say anything. Doesn't look at Teo or outwardly give him any benefit of the doubt. Granted, with the amount of pressure he's shoving back into his eye sockets between the heels of his hands, odds are he'd be hard-pressed to look at anyone until red and blue static is kind enough to clear itself out've his system.

Teo doesn't know what to say to that. 'Okay.' 'Are you all right?' 'Can you start being mad at someone else for a few minutes?' None of those sound sufficiently gracious or diplomatic. His lips compress and dwindle in shape and color down to anemic bars on mute. There do not seem to be many recourses of action left available to him besides a speedy departure, unless he wants to get unnecessarily creative, and Deckard is still armed. And angry.

"Buonanotte," he says, shortly, then perhaps thinking it too short, he elaborates, "I can tell you the rest later." He drops his arms because the grave-robber isn't looking anymore, takes the liberty of shoving his fists in his pockets and concealing his jaw in the stiff twist of his jacket collar.

The time-traveling assassin terrorist moves at the door quickly. Despite that his plans have been waylaid as much as those of anybody else here, there isn't an single inch of sway eroding any of his footfalls and the only moment his boot admits any noise is when it lands on a fat chip of plaster busted from Deckard's magnificent entrance. It splits out a noise like cereal.

Bella remains totally still, even when Deckard sits down next to her. She gives the impression of one who is willing herself to disappear, either in reality, or simply in the perceptions of those around her. A woman doing a no-one impersonation. Her gaze snaps to Teo, who she has otherwise avoided looking at, as he heads for the door. Seeing him leave appears to cause her no pain.

To make everything worse, once he's lifted his long face enough to squint after the door and the empty hallway beyond that, the room is still spinning at a winding, redundant skew that might make Deckard laugh if he was somewhere, somewhen or someone else. Here and now it just makes him feel kind of sick.

Eventually, there's a rustle when he turns his head enough to look her over. No breaks, no bullet holes. Cloying silence fills in the blanks once he's facing forward again, gun hand lowered to let the firearm dangle impotently from the crook of one finger through the trigger guard while he works up enough resolve to get himself donkey punched again. It doesn't take as long as it could.

"You want me to stay or are you going to call someone else?"

Bella closes her eyes, takes a few deep, slow breathes, getting her heartrate back down to normal. In, out. In, out. She might have kept at this for some time were it not for Deckard's question. Her eyes open, and she turns her head towards the man sitting next to her. Her lips purse and her brow wrinkles minutely, making her the very picture of both thought and vulnerability. Her phone, unfolded, sits somewhere beneath her TV stand. Too much trouble, really.

"Please, stay," she says. "It's…" the least she can do, she's about to say… but she senses in this moment, in his emotional state, such transactionary comparisons won't win favor. She truncates this line of expression, lets a pause draw out then amends, "That'd make me feel safer."

Automatic skepticism pulls down at the flat line of Deckard's mouth, but he scrubs it away with a deliberate push of his free hand. The same hand bristles his wiry hair into further disarray once he's settled back into the sink of far arm rest and cushion, and a long exhalation that reads as a release of tension at the surface has undertones of unconscious relief.

Bella tilts her head, giving Deckard an investigative look, the pain in her leg slowly ebbing away, gone as unaccountably as it arrived. She extends a hand to touch against his shoulder. "I'll go air out the guest room, if you'd like," she says, "We can talk too, if you need to. And not if you don't or rather wouldn't." Her brows furrow once more, just for a moment. "Thank you. I'm sorry you had to find out about my involvements that way. I'm sorry you had to find out at all. It will never be an issue for our professional relationship, I promise."

"If there's anything you want to tell me before he does," says Deckard without looking back at her, "we can talk about that. Otherwise…." The door is broken and he stares at it, apparently entranced by the translucent split and splinter of snarled wood snaggled around the lock. He should probably try to fix it temporarily, but unless she has a spare lock plate lying around, nothing brilliant comes immediately to mind. His shoulder is locked tense against her touch, old iron cords pulled taut under coat and shirt and tattoos and self-conscious reticence.

"The guest room is fine. Otherwise I can stay in here."

"Whichever you'd prefer," Bella says, getting gingerly to her feet. She also regards the broken door, pads over to it and examines the fragments on the ground. "I don't know what else I can tell. Anything you might want to know I couldn't tell you, for reasons of confidence. Just the same confidence that would prevent me ever handing your information over to them. If the connection is too much for you, I'll understand if you want to terminate our sessions. Otherwise… I think we have a lot of valuable work left to do." Said to drunken, armed man with the self inflicted wound, this may seem an understatement. She moves over to the kitchen island, just another part of the apartment's main room. "I'm going to make some camomile tea. It's the only way I'll possibly get to sleep tonight."

Joseph made him tea, once.

Almost exactly one year ago after he broke into his church and nearly shot him over a dry place to sleep. The memory seems oddly out of place here in the warm-lit confines of his therapist's home. Clearly the breaking and entering part is familiar enough. Just, previously without the involvement of mental healthcare.

"Tea's fine."

Bare knuckles passed through the tacky black run of blood gumming at his far temple, Flint frowns at the stuff once his eyes have dimmed back into a mundane, sapien shade of slate. The .40 is wiped off on his coat and returned to its holster a little stiffly against bandaging from his last gun pointing exercise and he settles back once more, in no hurry to decide about his sleeping arrangements. Or anything else.

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