Twice Bitten


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Scene Title Twice Bitten
Synopsis In which past mistakes are reviewed, re-evaluated, reconsidered, and one of them repeated. There is little anecdotal evidence of any limitation on collective humanity's ability to sabotage itself. Poop!
Date November 17, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries and research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

The frown is visible in the twitch of diminutive muscles around Trask's eyes and brows. Teo doesn't stare at it. Watches the would-be Russian's hand instead, as it takes the letter from him, relinquishing his hold to put his hands in his hoodie pockets. Slouching in his socks, muzzy from sleep and carrying messages from erstwhile diner waitresses, he hardly looks the paragon of… whatever it is Helena apparently saw in him. "Si. She did. I said yes." He looks at the sentry from out of a squint. Framed in the stark shadows of the hallway, Trask's disapproval looks somewhat more foreboding than it might have otherwise.

Trask opens the letter slowly, using his gloved hands he starts scanning it. "good…she could use the support. We have a bad habit of….burning through those who accept responsibility. i don't want tos e see that happen to Hell.

Trask stands in one of the Library halls reading a note, Teo standing opposite him, it's late evening.

Disapproval or its absence. Teo's expression doesn't change out of deference to either, though it may be hard to tell whether that is due to the fatigue, big brass ones, or idiotic post-adolescent indifference. Whatever the case may be, his face does change after a moment; softens with a smile, sharpening his expression through the wrapping-gauze of cold and deranged bio-clock. "Sola would be fine," he states softly, less because it's true than because he needs to say so. Then, "What do you think?"

The letter, he means.


'Holed up in Staten island, at the garden. That Detective. Judah. Can you find out where he lives, if possible. I want to heal him, but I don't wnat to.. do it stupidly. If you can help, it's great. But if you can't then it's fine as well. Thank you Sergei. God bless.


There's the sound of feet on distant stairs - Al can be stealthy when he wants, but when he wants is apparently not now. He's in parka and fatigues and boots, like he's thinking of going out, but he pauses to eye the other two, gaze flicking between them.

To be fair, it could be later. Teo's probably going to be up until the wee hours of the AM again after awakening from a nap at 9, which is sort of what got him into this mess in the first place, but it could be worse.

For instance, PARIAH could have blown him up with a bomb, which was what happened to the last dozen people Abigail healed under his careful watch yesterday. "I have the suspicion I ought to be questioning the wisdom of helping her go around with the indiscriminate recklessness that got her removed from Phoenix, but the truth is… well.

"It's not really my question to answer. And there's probably some shit she — we — can learn from this. Doesn't hurt to check the situation out, anyway." The step down the hall elicits a glance. Recognition registers; he straightens and raises an arm, a little hesitantly in greeting.

Trask crumples the paper in his hand, and nods slowly, "Indiscriminate recklessness? " He shakes his head, "I will look into it. See what i can find out. I don't know exactly why Abby left…or was kicked out, but I know that' He sighs, "I know that her power is very draining on her, and she has a problem with feeling used."

"Did we remove her, or she herself?" Al wonders, arching a brow as he slouches over. His gate is casual, a little loose. "What're you lads up to?" he adds, with another of those conspirator's glances between them. He's already got fingerless gloves on, as if pondering heading out the door.
The Sicilian's blue eyes shift back to study the visible half of Trask's face before flipping to Alexander, and back again. "I think her departure was mutual," he says. "Hel wanted her to… uhh. Restrain herself, with who she heals. Being a danger to herself, you know. She refused to — at least on the terms she was given. Or some shit like that." An articulate shrug. "They disagreed. She's gone for now.

"I don't want it to last," he states frankly, folding his arms across his chest. Callused fists curl against his own sleeves for warmth. "Grazie," to Trask. "Although I'm sure she'll want to tell you that herself." Half a grin, and he looks at Al. Less than half, then. He looks at the hobo handwear. "What's up?"

Trask nods, "I'll take a look at this…Is there anything else in particular you need me to do?"

"I don't know about y'all, but I am gonna go out drinking, or get some booze and come back and drink here, I'm thinking," Al says, matter of fact, and perhaps a little defiant, even. He jams his hands in his pockets, like a recalcitrant child. "I see. She still work at the Nite Owl, or…."
Teo looks at Trask and then his socks. Then back at Trask, Alex, then his socks again. Trask's question strikes him as bizarre for a number of reasons, mostly because he was rather hoping to convince somebody to stock the cabinet with beef-flavored ramen, but he gets the distinct sense that that wasn't what their double-agent meant.

New to the gig. It shows. "Nnnope," he says after a moment. Repeats to Alex, "Nnnnnope." He reaches up to scratch the back of his head abashedly. "Hiding from Colette, among other things. She quit her job, left Phoenix, got a scooter, moved to a Ferrymen safehouse, is operating under a fake ID, and is going to dye her hair. I put my vote in for red.

"It's like some kind of Southern Baptist spirit journey to 'find herself.' My brother went backpacking across the Eastern hemisphere, once," he mutters. Girls. And Romero. Teo has never been so arrogant as to pretend to understand. He frowns at nothing for a moment. Then, "Are you going to invite me or what?" At this point, he'll be frowning at Alex.

Trask nods and shrugs, "Let me know if there is anything else then….you two have a good night, let loose a little…" He stuffs the letter in his pocket then turns away.

"'s why I told you," Al says, cracking a grin that makes him look more like a fox than ever. "Where're you thinking? Sergei, you're invited, too," he adds, with a gracious inclination of his head. He blows out a sighing breath at that explanation of Teo's. "Unh. Well, damn." He grins at that idea. "Girl needs to learn how to raise some hell," he adds, scratching his scalp.

It's true. "Told her she was born with an inherent ability to break hearts," Teo says with a grimace as childish as he's wont to be, despite the fact that his concern for their healer is anything but. "We were right next to ground-zero at the explosion in the Financial District yesterday. She was pretty tanked by the time she got through healing everybody we could get to past the yellow tape. She's probably still sleeping it off." And thus, "He's right. You should get out, ragazzo, before your next sentry shift. Fit a straw underneath there, or something." He bobs a finger around at Trask's scarf-masked face, before crooking Al a grin.

Trask shakes his head, "I don't drink on duty… I promise to go home and relax."

"Awright," Al says, clapping Trask on the shoulder genially. "You do that. Definitely a bit uptight, boy," He pulls a sympathetic face at Teo. "Poor thing. She definitely needs someone ta take care of her. T, you want to go out and buy and drink here, or elsewhere?"

Although Teodoro's curious about which duty the man's referring to, he thinks better than to ask. No doubt, a promise to 'go home and relax' is more than Trask normally volunteers. His facial expression ventures to mention that he seconds Alexander's opinion. Uptight, and so on. However, if they were all the same kind of people, he understands that they would all be dead. "Dobroy nochi then, Sergei." His fingers flare a wave, even as he wheels around on one foot and motors back down the hallway. "I have to get shoes," he calls back. And his .45, but that isn't something you mention in casual salutations. "I don't know where I put them. Ummm." His voice reverberates around the doorway; his head pops back out. "I don't fuckin' know. Preference? Monetary concerns? What were you going to do?"

Trask has disconnected.

"I think I want to get really fucking drunk, and we might as well do it here, where I won't need to drive back, or worry about someone hearing me sing 'Danny Boy' at the top of my lungs," Al says, thoughtfully. "We'll just go get some booze, unless you got something stowed around here I can pay you back for."

From around the corner, Teo listens to that progression of logic while he studies his shoes. It would be work to put them on, it's true, but given how it went the last time he broke out that beer in here and the recent discussion of wisdom both conventional and not, he decides to make the effort. Steps into his shoes. "We need to restock anyway," he says, re-emerging, a tangle of tousled hair and arms protruding from the jacket he'd snagged off his work chair. Yanking the lapels straight, he drive-by snags his friend by the sleeve. "Come on," a smile. "Let's get you really fucking drunk. I want to know how 'Danny Boy' goes."

Well, so much for that cunning plan. At least for now. Al sings, voice surprisingly pure, "Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling From glen to glen, and down the mountain side…." He lets himself be dragged along, unprotesting. "But you're right. What'll we get?" he wonders, more perkily.

"Too much PBR," Teo replies easily, putting himself through the doorway first, Al in tow. There's another doorway after that, too narrow to wedge themselves through diagonally in tandem, so he lets go of the older man then. "Maybe the local default ale, whose name I forgot somewhere between putting my shoes on and getting to this part of the fuckin' library. "That's a nice song," he decides, glancing over his shoulder a little more furtively than the compliment would warrant.

Al sings well. "What the fuck's it about? A mountaineer who got really lost?" He jams his fists back in his pockets and exchanges nods with the next sentry over, before kicking his way out the door and into the great outdoors. Which instantly freezes his nose, with stiff breeze and a disgruntled noise; he extricates one hand from his jeans, wraps his arm around his face and slows to syncopate his gait with Alex's.

"Nah. Some mopey song about a girl dying before her soldier can come home," Al explains, as he fits himself through the door. "What about hard spirits? I'm thinking whiskey or vodka…."

A laugh. Brief, incredulous, pleased. "It's the weather for vodka," Teo admits, after a moment, his voice coming out pinched through the nose until he loosens his arm around it. Sniffs once, glancing up at the distant glitter of electric lights strung along the top of the crosshatched fence that circumscribes Midtown. "You learn it before or after you joined the army? The song."

Alexander's smile is oddly soft. Wistful, in fact. He slants a look at Teo, as he slips himself out of one of the former fire exit doors and out into the crisp, cold air. "Long before. My grandmother used to sing it. Her family was Irish, way back, and she loved all those sentimental old songs," he explains, raising his head to watch his breath cloud on the air.

Well, that explains the hair, among other things. Son of the Eire. Teo knows his stereotypes, enjoys playing to them when it suits him. "Maybe you shouldn't drink so hard, amico," he says, with mock-critical curl to the corner of his mouth. "You probably have alcoholism in your blood." His stride lengthens, quickens, pursued by the weather. Unwilling to outpace his companion, he pauses only long enough to cut through Al's vapor cloud with his fingers.

Alexander pff. "I don't drink that hard. I was brought up fire-eating Baptist, and they exchew demon liquor," he says, drawl suddenly slower, haughtier, and higher-class - emulating some long ago acquaintance. He saunters over towards the lovingly maintained cab, and unlocks the doors. "Saddle up. And that's why I'm such a lightweight," he adds, with no shame.

Teo calls shotgun without bothering to mention it out loud, pulls it open and puts himself in one limb after another. Seats himself with a slant to his spine, one shoulder leaning on the door and a leg hunkered over the other. "'Demon liquor,'" he repeats, amused. He can't remember a Sicilian-Italian equivalent to that phrase— at least, not one that his mother hadn't invented while cuffing him about the ears. Suspects there ought to be one. "You are. It suddenly puts everything into harsh clarity." It takes him a moment to remember to put his seatbelt on.

Alexander snorts. 'I gave up being Baptist, but haven't made up for lost time," he explains, starting the car and driving a ltitle ways without lights before flicking them on. The better to somewhat obfuscate just where that cab came from. The dim lights of the city in the distance make the planes of his face look that much starker, even with that peaceful expression.

Unafraid to approach Trask in the dark, Teo is little different sitting in a car that sloughs a path through the lightless ruins. It might be testimony to arrogance or a certain amount of trust in Alexander's driving ability. Difficult to tell. Leaning on the car door, the window pane a pleasant concave plate against his head, he watches the snaggletooth skyline, dense with cavities and stains, begin to parallax past. "I don't know what you mean," he admits, at length, grinning with a little rue. He turns his head awkwardly, refits it in the nook beside the seat to look at the white severity of the other man's profile. "Haven't made up for lost time?"

"I didn't drink until I was twenty four and in the army. I mean, ever," Al explains, quietly. "I don't have as much tolerance for liquor as you might expect, and I haven't drunk heavily even since then. I don't grudge it to others," He turns smoothly towards the nearest of the more populated areas. Still a very rough district in its own right.

Probably, he's more surprised than he should be. Teo blinks his eyes, four times, almost audibly and makes a noise like a reply that aborted a quarter way through the first syllable. He's met one or two teetotallers, but had made and stuck to the decision since age sixteen or abided carefully by such a religion. He's met a few who started late, too, but not that late. He walks along that train of thought and stops in that engine room. "Oh," he manages, intelligently. "What happened when you were twenty four? If you don't mind me asking." In retrospect (there's always a retrospect), he feels a little odd thinking that was odd. He glances through the windshield when they turn.

Alexander purses his lips, as if mentally groping for an explanation. "I…I'd just seen enough. I'd been a soldier, been a cop, and I wanted a little temporary oblivion," he admits. "Maybe you're right about the drinking so -hard-," His voice is momentarily almost shy, and the road is a convenient excuse for not looking directly at Teo, for the moment.

"Vodka's a hard spirit," Teo acknowledges, dryly, in a tone of voice that easily acknowledges the fact that Al was aware of this. Or at least, they're going to pretend this is the case, despite the fact that some of what he had said some two minutes ago precluded this knowledge, just as he's discreetly conceding the point now. Teo smiles because he doesn't know what else to do with his face, no teeth: little joy, more innocence. "This is kind of awkward I guess.

"At least I'm not nagging you about getting a girlfriend— or boy, and an actual apartment, and wearing a shade that isn't black, and giving people a Goddamn phonecall before you go underground. That would be more awkward." He squares his shoulders, stretches his spine out a few inches, lengthening his back muscles almost double; indolent to go with his playful tone. Painting the elephant in the room a neon shade of pink.

Al's face goes…still, in that odd way that leaves him looking more like a marble portrait than a real live boy. It ages him strangely - the stillness in his face, with the haunted look in his eyes. "I wear more than black," he says, gently. "I didn't have a choice. I thought Sylar was on my trail, and didn't dare check in. An actual apartment might be nice," A shrug at the comment about the booze. "I know. But I don't actually like the taste of beer. Vodka's purity is oddly appealing."

Al's face goes…still, in that odd way that leaves him looking more like a marble portrait than a real live boy. It ages him strangely - the stillness in his face, with the haunted look in his eyes. "I wear more than black," he says, gently. "I didn't have a choice. I thought Sylar was on my trail, and didn't dare check in. An actual apartment might be nice," A shrug at the comment about the booze. "I know. But I don't actually like the taste of beer. Vodka's purity is oddly appealing."

A silence elapses. Longer than conversational, not long enough to ring any alarms that hadn't already begun keening already. "Va bene. My gift, then," Teo says. He pats his wallet, palm on hip twice, brisk with something like cheek, before relaxing back into the same casual posture he had worn before. There are half a dozen fights he could pick, but Alexander doesn't look like he could take it. Teo watches the empty pedastal of an erstwhile statue trail its shadow across the limned angles of Al's profile before looking at the way ahead. It wouldn't be much further.

And that's one benefit of the population drop. More parking. No competition, as Al swings out of the driver's seat and heads for the door of the brightly lit liquor store. "Thanks," he says, quietly. His posture's a little hunched as he moves, for once not feigning the would-be gangster's swagger.

Teo, on the other hand, forgets to feign to be something more; he saunters as a young man's wont to, the line of his lean shoulders seesawing as if to take up more space with motion if he can't be as ostentatious as he wants to be with mere mass. He follows the older man. It takes about ten seconds of watching Alexander's back move before he registers the subconscious embarrassment and straightens his posture, making a little face. Pushing through the doors, he dogs the older man's heels companionably close, as if on the end of an invisible tether. He forgets, after a little while, to let his own silence bother him.

Al's not there to chat. With a certain brutal efficiency, he gets a couple bottles of decent vodka. Not even a mixer, for decency's sake. And then he looks expectantly at Teo. Pay up, right? He's straightened up a little, face cool and proud again.
That does not appear to be a player.

Disquiet turns over in Teo's eyes, an evanescent coruscation of light or feeling in the way that a fish's belly would barrel-roll beneath waves of water. It drops back into the depths again, and then there's just Teo, nodding, Teo glancing away, Teo paying for Alexander's vodka — after a brief show of ID, and Teo murmuring soft Italian thank-you. He pushes his hands back into his hoodie's belly pockets again, fingers fisted, either from apprehension, cold, or both.

Alexander murmurs his thanks, and makes his way back out to the car. There are occasions when Al's a genial drunk, but apparently not this night. His gait is more of a stalk, now, not tense, really, but not a slouch, as he opens the car doors. "That should do us," he says, with a certain grim satisfaction. There's something almost predatory in the way his gaze cuts to Teo, though.

And Teo almost jarrs to a halt when he does, as if he'd just twanged into a tripwire and can't tell if it's attached to a lot of waterballoons or an IED. Of course, nothing happens in the space of time it takes for him to stop, assess where he's going, and assemble his expression into an infantile what are you looking at? scowl, his eyes going partway crossed, before he blinks them straight again. "You're quite welcome," he says, hunching his shoulders up around his ears, now uncomfortably warm.

And Al's smile turns positively Sphinxish. Run, Teo, while you still can, right? He starts the car, and pulls smoothly out into what little traffic there is, taking a different route back. "You're very kind," he sayas, in his most genteel drawl.

Wrong. Naturally. If Teo was the kind of kid who was inclined to run when he ought to, he wouldn't be a Non-Evolved member of PARIAH, then Phoenix— Hell, he'd never have come back to New York City at all, once upon a nuclear explosion. "I'll be fucking canonized before I'm through," he agrees: vanity tends to come to mind the instant he's at a loss for an intelligent reply. Generally, it's entertaining. Accordingly, the corner of his mouth goes up; he exhales a sigh, cheeks puffed out, sits and stares at the dashboard for a moment, counting the seconds on the digital clock below the dashboard.

"Evading the deportment officers as soon as my student visa is up," Teo answers with cheer that is neither sarcastic nor altogether facetious. "Giving away everything I own. The tangible items, anyway. Educating the young. There's a saint for lost travellers too," he notes, gaze turning inward with recollection; the good-humored kind. He wasn't good at remembering his saints when he was small, but he had favorites. Rita. "Hey." He glances up, momentarily sharp with urgency. "Will you come to my graduation? In May?"

Alexander is surprised into gentleness, even as he coasts into a shadowed alley. "Of course," He picks up the bag with soft clinks. "I'd like that." He leads the way into the back of the building, boots crunching on the broken glass and gravel.

At that, Alexander is rewarded with an enormous smile, all teeth exposed, a beaming rictus that makes the Sicilian look — about — six years old, maybe. Self-congratulatory over getting mud into Clelia's hair and winning all of those Ampelio's boats in the gambling toss. "Thanks," he says. The yellow door clunks shut behind him, and he runs to catch up, fragmented concrete and window tumbling underneath his shoes.

Al wends his way through the dark store rooms at the back. "Where do you want to drink?" he wonders, pausing just inside the little zone that's guarded by sentries - a kitchen hallway dimly lit by a candle lantern. The rewiring hasn't made it this far.

Instinctively — or merely seized by a more whimsical mood, Teo reaches a hand out, two long fingers bracing against the rusted metal frame for a fraction of a second before the pressure of his flexing knuckle knocks the thing back into a sonorous seesaw, dashing low light back and forth through the hallway, illuminating one wall only to slap darkness over the next. "Kitchen? Start there. We can move afterward.

"I'm just a little hungry right now." He looks up, his eyes empty of guile. "Realized I haven't eaten since dinner-time, and I'm bound to be up until at least midnight. Waiting for a call," he says, craning his head to look past derelict doorways and tarp-bundled furniture.

"Works for me," Al says, graciously. He retrieves glasses from the cabinets - clean ones, even! And then searches around for a chair, and more of the little candles that the lantern uses. It's a tricky, shifting light. "What'll you have? And what call?"

Suddenly aware of his klutzy oversize, Teo steps back to seat himself up on the counter. His heel clanks off a cabinet below and his shoulder scrapes itself with a sandpaper sound one above, jostles his knees wide to sit, uncouth but at least not uncomfortable. "Whatever you'll have," he requests, reaching up to open the nearest compartment. Arm bent up, backward, he manages to snag a bag of something involving salt, carbohydrates and sugar, pulls it down to undo the clip.

Takes a loud sniff of its contents, before sticking his face all the way in. When he sits up, he has a miniature Krispy Kreme snack in his teeth. "I was late to work today," he remarks, from around the confection. "Damn bus broke down because of some accident. Think I'm going to get a motorcycle soon. Can't keep doing that or I'll get fuckin' fired."

Alexander rummages in the fridge, and comes up with a pot of chicken soup. "I guess someone wants to make sure we don't get a cold," he remarks. He ladles out some into bowls to be reheated - there's an actual working microwave. "Likely a real car'd do you better," he remarks, even as he pours out generous measures of vodka into the glasses.

He hands one off to Teo, and clinks his own against it. "Cheers," he drawls.

Vodka straight, Teo identifies, after a moment looking into the glass from over the wrist he uses to wipe crumbs off his mouth. "I guess you'll be working on that thing where you don't drink too hard starting… tomorrow?" he guesses, looping his mouth around a smile that's both a joke at Alexander's expense and one at his own. Stops and scratches it out the next moment; exchanges the toast to nothing at all and drinks. That—

Hurts. The next moment, he's straightened, shoulder jammed into the underside of the cabinets to keep him from falling off, coughing— laughing, a fist hammering his own chest, blinking at the glow wavering from the microwave. "Cazzo. What would you know about what does anybody good?" he asks, exhaling, wagging the glass as if it were Exhibit A.

"Tomorrow," Al says, smoothly, with that cool smile. "And I know enough." He's standing right before Teo, now. And then very calmly leans in, putting his hands just above Teo's knees, though not leaning his full weight on them, in order to kiss him firmly on the mouth. The microwave's beeping is summarily ignored.

To say Teo hadn't thought it coming would be fallacious and quite possibly mentally retarded, when he's neither an especially competent liar nor as stupid as, at times, he'd prefer. He doesn't move. Can't, for a moment, transfixed by some eerie kind of longing and besieged by urges a good deal more tawdry besides, fear trapping his hands and closing his eyes. Uncomfortably gradual, he returns the kiss. Or starts to. By the time he actually is, he's stopping, streaking sugar against Alexander's cheek as he turns his nose away and tries to exhale an ache; all that comes out is air. His emotions fail to resolve themselves into anything recognizable, a blizzard of static and inchoate images he's momentarily incapable of hammering into anything continuous, meaningful, whole.

There's not even drunkenness as an excuse. They haven't touched the liquor, not yet. Perhaps Al should've waited. Perhaps not. But lack of overt protest is apparently permission enough - if Teo wants it to stop, he can say so. But Alex persists, kissing along the line of his jaw…and then nipping his throat, albeit gently, still leaning in.

Words. Yup. Words make it fair. So Teo will look for some. He had a few a moment ago. It's taking him longer than normal to remember, considering he's normally very good with words— or perhaps it's only what one should expect: there's always been a bizarre kind of schism between knowing the words and conveying one's meaning, with him, which is probably why he's still brushing up on his Hindi and occasionally pauses in the dorm halls when something stupid is playing on TV.

Object, verb. Skin, smell. Teeth, nip. Wha— "Stop." He rasps, not quite Grace's rust-guttural register, but not far. He puts his cup of vodka down and backs up all of about a quarter of an inch before he's out of room.

Wonder of wonders, he does. But Al remains nearly nose to nose with Teo. "Why?" he says, quietly, though there's the faintest edge to his tone. "Why? You seemed eager enough the other day." His grip on the muscles of the younger man's thighs tightens fractionally.

Various answers come to mind, none of them reaching verbalization. Teo's less drunk than the other day. He's grown up since the other day: turned twenty-six, actually. There were less clothes last time. He wasn't co-leader back then. There was no microwave bitching incessantly in the corner. The circumstances, they've changed. In other news, he's really glad he's sitting down right now. "Changed my mind," he says, more clearly this time. "I'm allowed.

"Free country. God love America. Sorry." He tries to concentrate on creating a full sentence for a long moment. Gives up. His arm hitches up from the counter top, staccato, slow; he lays a kiss on the back of his own hand. Turns it around to push Alexander away, so careful he's almost playful, inimitably gentle.

The grip tightens a hair more, and then vanishes, as Al heaves himself away with the strength of muscles alone. "Right," he says, curtly, but his face is now nearly as red as his hair. "Sorry," And with that, he's leaving both booze and microwave to Teo's tender care, and vanishing into the hallway that leads further into the more cavernous rooms of the building, tread surprisingly quiet.

Teo sits stuck for a moment. Leans forward the next, taking a breath, and then another, a third before Teo remembers he needs to breathe out, stooped, disoriented by the unsubtle ministrations of white fingers and otherwise feeling ridiculously dysfunctional. He feels like an asshole. Commonplace enough, for him. Unfortunate, funny thing about the way that works: there's always a fifty-fifty chance that the rancor will turn outward, something to try and avoid, but you don't always win.

He glances up at the shape of Alexander's back, departing. And speaks before he knows it, and grates out a low voice: "You're not a whore. Don't act like one."

Al visibly bites back something scathing, but the blue eyes are furious as he glances over his shoulder at Teo. "What do you mean?" he asks, voice utterly flat. There's an odd stillness in the air, like that of rooms unopened for too long - Al's clamping down so hard on his power it's obvious.

Al could flatten him like a bug. That would, he believes, be preferable. This is a stray thought amid the jumping sparks and dark noise of Teo's temper. "You're the ex-Baptist chasing oblivion into bottles and some guy's pants. You fucking tell me, asshole." It's hard to say which word comes through heavier with acid. Oblivion, bottles, or some guy. The inflection's almost gone from his voice, like he couldn't be fucked to even put that in. He thinks he has his legs back, but he hasn't moved.

The flush is gone, leaving Al pale as marble again. He doesn't reply, this time. He's just gone, line of his back utterly rigid with anger.

November 17th: Motorcycle Mamas

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 17th: Ken and Barbie's Big Night Out
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