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Scene Title Unexcused
Synopsis After the bloody Triad job, two mercenaries catch up only to find that induced amnesia and horrific personal betrayals get in the way of that.
Date October 26, 2009


Though it's less than two miles square, Chinatown is home to some quarter of a million residents. Cramped, ancient tenements are the norm, though the fourty-four story Confucious Plaza standing at the corner of Bowery and Division does boast luxurious accommodations by comparison. Mulberry Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway are home to streetside green grocers and fishmongers, and Canal Street also boasts an impressive array of Chinese jewelry shops.

One thousand one hundred dollars isn't a bad take for the evening. Teo's barely given enough time to count the contents of his envelope before the Samoan's slamming the door shut, one halfbreed corpse and a Briton safely installed inside. Which is to say, Eloni isn't actually waiting for the thugs to check and be assured that they have all of their money: Teodoro merely happens to be quick enough at fingering and squinting wads of money to ascertain the bill count is correct, even despite the darkness and the visor of his motorcycle helmet still shut across his face.

A good night's murder. Not that he's hurting for cash, but when you're as far adrift as he is, it never hurts to have more. "Brava," he says, over his shoulder. It's a compliment and a salutation in one, tossed out after the rest of the Staten Island thugs. Interchangeable strangers, long-legged and clad in leather, denim, cheap cotton, bundling their pay and guns away into their jackets. Teo shoulders his two rifles, tries to remember if there's room enough in his duffel bag for both; navigates away, down the alley on swift strides.

There's the sound of booted feet behind him. A pursuer, making no secret of his approach. The black haired thug boy who did such terrible execution in the club. His money is safely tucked away in the leather pouch that serves him for a wallet. "Teodoro," he calls, as he hurries up, trying to keep his voice soft. There is, bizarrely, hurt in his face.

It's late enough in the evening and few enough hours of sleep for Teo that he doesn't but wonder, only momentarily, that the other hooligan knows his name. Even if that other hooligan did so much shit back at the club— shared mercenary interests don't tend to be problematic until competition's the question and Teo doesn't find himself overly and immediately concerned that Leonard's about to slam him into the ground and take his money. Instead, he asks: "Yeah?" Slows, but doesn't pause in his stride until he finds his motorcycle. It's where he left it, the Panhead's matte-black shape listing heavy shoulders in a small gulf of shadow between shallows of sodium lamp light. Keys flicker between his fingers.

Leo's pale, weary, all but staggering. He's even got a nosebleed. "Teo," he says, and his voice is vibrant with something like grief, a bruised tenderness. "Teo. It's me. Leo. Where've you been? You left me that letter, and then you turn up here…" He holds out his hands, pleadingly.

There's recognition, finally. Not enough of it, a candle's flicker where there should have been a Biblical pillar of light: Teo halts, one knee up on his bike, eyes wide behind the visor. Reassessment comes quickly, though not nearly as definitively as he otherwise would have liked. Logan had said, the other night on the phone, that Leo was coming. There's a face to assign to that name now, though it elicits nothing, not even templated with the terrific proportions of Evolved ability or his voice, never mind the crushing weight of sentiment contained in that choice of words.

This is awkward. Silence holds Teo in square-shouldered tension for a moment. Honesty rarely seems like the best policy when you're a terrorist, but rareties seem to find Teo more often than they're wont to. "I'm sorry," he says, slow with precision, pushing the visor up out of his eyes with his thumb. "II'm sure, this… is not something you want to hear, but. I had my memory wiped a few days ago." If there's a nice way to say that, he doesn't know it, but at the very least the delivery comes without malice. "Do you need a ride?"

Leo's face crumbles at that - thuggish anger overlaid over weariness, all eroding like sand at high tide. It finally resolves into bewilderment and despair. His mouth works dumbly, goldfish confusion for a few heartbeats, before he finally manages to get out a monosyllable. A last gasp of air. "What?" he says, hands curling and uncurling at his side.

Once upon a time, not long ago, Teo's resolve would have crumbled with that look. It's awful to look at even without memory to provide proper context, heartbreak; the Sicilian visibly stops the urge to glance away, spare them both the stupefying embarrassment.

He doesn't have to remember who Leonard is to recognize what that look means. God knows he still retains enough similar recollections. You left me knocked up and barefoot in the trailer. Girls, mostly. A lot of girls, then a few women who'd hurt worse than the girls had, Eve post-miscarriage, Delilah in polka-dots under the dappled canopy of Midtown with Walter in hand. Sonny, before, though the Mayor's son tended to roller a plaster layer of Hollywood over to mask it, nothing nearly so raw-pink and denuded as the shape of Leonard's unhappiness.

Teo doesn't know what to say. It is pretty clear that Leonard doesn't require repetition. "It was for security or something. I was gonna go away. But the bitch queen of black ops and Evolved politics 's cock-blocked me, it looks like, so— I'm still here. I can give you a ride, if you want?"

"For whose security?" Leonard's expression seals over into… nothingness, really. Like Teo's a stranger, a recent acquaintance? Why did you do that, and where did you intend to go?"

If Teo were a stranger, a recent acquaintance, he wouldn't owe the other man an answer. "It's private, or I figure I might've told you." The assault rifles are stowed away inside black canvas. "I made a lot of mistakes— anyway. You coming? I can drop you off somewhere neutral. You look like shit," he adds, because— that seems appropriate, somehow, an acceptable level of callusness and averaged familiarity.

Leonard is still clearly utterly shellshocked. And that last offhand excuse makes him flinch. Apparently he's numbered large among those mistakes. "No, no, I'm good. I'll walk," he says, already turning away - moving like his head is a glass brimfull, which might spill if he didn't walk carefully.

Oh Christ in Heav— "I don't think that's a good idea." Teo heaves the bike upright and secures his leg over the other side, begins to walk it after the way that the telekinetic is moving with such unwonted delicacy. It's some farcical caricature of some no-good lad on a bike, harrying a target who'd already said she'd much rather walk. "Come on. I didn't mean it that way. It's close to curfew and you're not well."

"No, Teodoro," says Leo, with exaggerated patience. "No, thank you." He doesn't look at the Sicilian, merely heads back for the alleys he emerged from at a fast clip. Not quite a doubled march, but it's close.

There's a metallic cough when the bike's engine comes to life on the twitch of a key. A shuffle of denim on leather when Teo reseats himself, resignation in the shift of his posture, hooking shoulders over the arch of handlebars. "Okay. Probably for the best. I don't know, if you're…" an uncertain breath shakes back in through his teeth. "Phoenix, Ferry or the Vanguard remnant, eh?" It's unsubtle, but patching over earlier errors might be better in plain speech, you'd think. Hope.

Leonard gives him a flat, defensive look over his shoulder. "No, you don't know," he agrees, and that's all he says. And then he's ducking around the corner into an alley, vanishing fast as a rat into a dumpster.

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