Torn Down


ghost2_icon.gif sal_icon.gif

Scene Title Torn Down
Synopsis They may be done fighting, in light of the upcoming battle, but there's a specified absence of peace of mind even when they finally play at something that resembles acquiescence.
Date July 19, 2009

Greenwich Village — Safehouse

Although Sal has never directly acted in any of the large-scale attacks that Phoenix has been involved in, he's always busy behind the scenes. Infirmaries at various Ferrymen and Phoenix-related safehouses need to be stocked and made ready. A misplaced syringe or piece of equipment can mean the difference between life and death when the injured start rolling in.

So, the doctor is in his guise of Sal Silvatti is doing an inventory of a medicine cabinet. He marks down what they need more of on a list, so he can stock up. He's been quiet lately, distant, neither moping nor happy, but some flatline state in between.

Life differs for the schizophrenic psychic entity who hitchhiked back through time to embark on his horrifically bloody crusade— or else, it's alarmingly similar, but no one really wants to contemplate that. He finds Sal because of his cellphone, the GPS chip marked out on a throbbing red marker against the canvas of Hana's awareness, mapped out against the physical dimensions of the city, its named parts, and forwarded in the alphanumerical string to the ghost.

Along with an admonishment. Not a warning, of course; Ghost would never heed those.

"You look better," observes the voice — now perhaps as painfully or more painfully familiar than the Sicilian's itself, from the door. Filters in through the bitter antiseptic stillness of the medbay's presiding ambience. "You get some sleep?"

Sal tenses. The voice that Ghost is using may not be familar, but he made it. He knows his creations, especially the ones made from scratch. And it makes his shoulders tense. He only glances at the other man out of the corner of his eye, then returns to his inventory.

"I hope that you're here by coincidence." Though from the way he says it, he's fairly sure it isn't. "I'm not in the mood for more tearing down. So you can save your breath."

With a flick of his wrist, an expired bottle of pills hits the garbage can and pops open, spreading little white tablets over the bottom of the bucket.

"You'd wish I wasn't here at all," the ghost responds, his voice dry, sober. He walks in, and his feet don't make a damn sound— more like his call sign and namesake than the clanky, loud-laughing young man with whom he shares his actual name. He's dressed similarly, too. Black coat, shirt, slacks. The calvacade of somber, functional New York monochrome that Teo had always insisted, if not in so many words, that he remained too young for.

"That's good. I'm not in the mood for being torn down either." He glances over at the splay of fresh garbage at the bottom of the can, the corner of his mouth curling downward like a thing wilting out of shape.

"Then why are you here?" Sal's tone is dull, flat like a dull desert. There's no spark of passion either to the side of hurt, or righteous anger. It's the kind of tone that tastes like boiled potato.
Notably, he doesn't look at Ghost, just moves around the infirmary and continues sorting medical supplies, making notes on a list or straightening up things that have gone out of sorts.

They've been here before, but things were so very different then. It feels like another lifetime, and it's only been a few months for him, not ten plus years like it has been for Ghost.

"Al told me why you came back." The tone remains dull. For a man who has shown a great deal of passion lately, of chest-thumping grief and frustration, it seems a minor miracle that he's managed to leech all emotion from his tone. "I suppose you want your face back."

Mystification is a rare visitor to the ghost's face these days— while there are plenty of things he doesn't know, he's rarely impressed by their revelation, given the magnitude of the realizations he's been privileged to in the past— but here it is now, darkening, tightening the knit of his brow, before it pries the left one up into nonchalant asymmetry.

"Al has no idea why I came back. Maybe a four percent fraction of the truth, possibly— I seriously doubt he's bothered to ask anyone. He's as insular as you are, in his own way." That makes the ghost wonder about something, but nothing either one of them would think it wise for him to mention, The subject of his face is accepted or dismissed with a shrug of his shoulder.

"What did he say?"

"He said you were together in the future. And that he died. He also told me that he was with you when he was in your time." Sal opens his backpack and goes through his emergency kit, restocking it and adding more supplies. Bandages, antiseptics, adrenaline shots. This is his war kit.

"Why are you here? Do one kind thing for me and just say it, and then leave. Whatever parting shots you'd like to give, whatever 'tough love' bullshit wisdom you want to impart before you run off on a suicidally dangerous mission one more time." His controlled tone waivers a bit, but still remains surprisingly neutral with the occasional inflection.

One more time. Those three words stand out like a bullet wound on the flat of otherwise untampered flesh. C.O.D. apparent. "Want his face back. Before the one last suicidally dangerous mission, but it's all right if we put it off until then, if you're worried. I'd just prefer to be the closest thing to me when I meet the man who ruined my life. Possibly you can empathize."

Sal had come as Salvatore on the bridge the other week, after all. There's no cloying expectation to the ghost's tone.

Nor is it as inert, as artfully grayed out and pixellated as Sal's working to make his own, but his affect falls somewhere in between, simplified, cold, give or take a visible glimmer of annoyance at Alexander's little adventure with verisimilitude. "I hope it isn't bullshit because it's tough."

"It's bullshit because you think it means you care. You used to hate yourself, now you just hate everyone else and want them to hurt as much as you do." Sal finishes packing everything into the sack and throws it over his shoulder.

For a moment, it looks like he's just going to brush past Ghost and keep going, but he pauses and grabs hold of his arm. It seems like a gentle squeeze, but it's accompanied by the familiar, but strange slackening of facial muscles, the tingling to skin and throat. The doctor keeps his eyes cast away as he looks. He doesn't need to look. Doesn't want to.

Within a minute or so of uncomfortable transition, the apparition of a man now looks Italian and twenty-six again. Sal still does not look.

"Goodbye, Teo." Anglicized. The proper pronounciation is a sign of familiarity. And he doesn't know this man.

He strides out quickly, without ever looking back at his former lover.

Grabbed, reflex coils in the strength of Ghost's arm, Teo's boyish physicality conditioned, honed, brought to its exaggerated zenith by the intervening decade of hard work and vicious play. He doesn't lash out, of course: that would be part of his discipline, too, and at least where the good Doctor is concerned, he knows when to wait and see. Wait and see. Wait—

And he sort of wishes he could see himself, now. There's a pause, a slow intake of breath; a lull that Sal exploits by rerouting out the chapped-framed door in a retreat that couldn't have gone faster or more ugly if Sal had tried to make it on a run while blinded by tears.

"I don't hate you," he points out to a sterile and vacant room.

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