We Can Be Heroes Forever And Ever


francois_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title We Can Be Heroes Forever And Ever
Synopsis [OOC] Teo says, "man our titles have gotten less fruity"
[OOC] Francois says, "yeah i was ciurcling around that exchange"
[OOC] Teo says, "something fruity!"
[OOC] Francois says, "rofl"
[OOC] Francois says, "WE CAN BE HEROES"
[OOC] Francois says, "FOREVER AND EVERRR"
[OOC] Teo says, "hahahahahahahahaha"
[OOC] Teo says, "yes"
[OOC] Teo says, "omg >.>"
[OOC] Francois says, "i will name the whole title that if it fits and no one stops me"
Date March 21, 2011

West Village: Maison d'Allegre

He was playing Pacman on Francois' phone for about an hour before even the gruelling anxiety of waiting for any of the Pollepel boat operators or his favorite barmen in the city to call back gave way to the grinding bleep boops of the tiny character zapping ghosts and eating lives. Fell asleep on the couch. His head is at an awful angle now, the kind that is going to leave his neck feeling like someone applied a blowtorch to a bolt that's stretched out of alignment and he'll feel it with the burning effulgence of a thousand suns against the adjacent vertebrates as soon as he tries to get upright again.

There's stubble fringing his mouth, which is hanging idiotically open. The television is on some morbid Discovery channel documentary about parasitic and symbiotic sea animals, lampreys and pearl fish, flickering electric blues and vague shapes across his winter-paled skin and the gray canvas of his hoodie fabric. The phone hanging out of his fingers has long since hibernated down to a black screen, and the gun he'd been holding in his other one is digging a small well into his kidney.

Chonk. The clock beside the rooster poster declares the hour 3:00 AM. Teodoro doesn't awaken.


Is the door, its locks and its hinges making the usual pattern of noise that indicates invasion, but by someone with a key. Rain isn't hard enough, by now, to make noise against the windows — it had before, and it was primarily from that bout of rain that Francois is still soaked with to the point that even robust brown leather jacket couldn't do too much for him. Behind the wall that cuts off foyer from the most of the living space, Francois shucks jacket like he's taking off armor, eyes heavy lidded, mouth small with tension, hands pink and white from the cold.

Boots left behind, too, grey socks peeled off his feet, but he's still making some noise as he directs himself for the bathroom, having cut wine out of his plans at a midpoint between Chelsea and West Village and gone straight towards hot water, bed, sleep. But it's the drone of the television set low that gives him pause, has him looking back.

Something tightens in his chest, and releases again.

Prying his hand off the wooden railing, Francois scuffs fingers through hair shiny and black with rainwater as he stands in indecision. He looks a little like hell, with two days of not shaving darkening his jaw and throat, and fresh bruises coming up storm near an eye, and the corner of his mouth, and all pale skin around these shades of shadow. Tongue runs along broken inner cheek before he slowly approaches where Teo lies. He will at least disarm sleeping man, even if he doesn't wake him. The pistol shifts, where it's been kept.

Graaahkaratehands! Kind of. Teo's senses are dull from something he is wary to assign a name to. Exhaustion would be nice, pedestrian but believable, and entirely appropriate. Love-strickenness. Or some other hyphenated phrase with love in the front. Maybe. It's hard dating a terrorist, is the dominating theme of the past few years of his life in New York. Anyway his fingers flip like stunned fish, making a knifehand out of his left and then a lunging grab with his right.

He is deprived of his gun before he can think about it, but has a grip viced around Francois' wrist a few inches from the weapon a half-instant later. Pushing it aside. Saying nothing, the eerie silence with which housecats kill, except that real perception registers the next instant, burning off the cobwebs that have the curtains drawn behind Teo's eyes. He stares at the other man in silence for a long few seconds, holding a gun by proxy pointed past his own ear. He swallows.

And he sees almost before he's done properly looking. The fatigue, the rainwater, the stiff blocks the cold has made out of his knuckles and the subdermal haemorrhages clotting discolorment around the edge of his face. "Will I be attempting murder on someone?" he asks. His voice is thick from sleep, but only because his mouth had fallen open. The question is, he thinks, reasonably lucid, as is his deduction that someone had started something they'll want to finish.

('Something' is a polite euphemism for assassination. You know. That thing Francois runs into, sometimes.)

Francois doesn't start, but does tense up for the split second it takes for her brain to catch up with his nerves. The gun has its safety on and pushed off to the side. He is wearing his own still, a pistol snug into holster over damp wool. His plan to walk away halted, Francois instead takes a knee by the couch, letting his wrist be held in a slight parody of tense confrontation — parody because his other hand settles somewhere affectionate on Teo's other wrist.

He'll wait a polite amount of conversation before seeking warmth potentially under Teo's clothing. "Non," he says, with wry honesty. "Probably not." Green gaze slides towards his phone, and there's a— guilty? Tip to his head as he goes to take it out of Teo's distracted hand as well.

"I'm late. Sorry."

A dent touches down between Teo's eyebrows, categorical dissatisfaction with that choice of response. He stares at the Frenchman, obviously expecting more words to follow, but when there's only an irritatingly adorable apology, he frowns harder, and removes his grasp from Francois' gun-hand.

The other one of the Frenchman's hands is drawn up under his shirt. Teo's belly is warm. Warm enough that chilly fingers force a shiver from it, but as gamely as idiot baby gangsters burn cigarette butts against the flesh of their inner-arms as proof of manhood, so he takes his lover's hand to warm in his clothes.

"What the fuck," Teodoro says. He makes the mistake of moving his head more. Winces, and then immediately stills his features back into a glare, lest Francois associate that instant's tic with concession, like the fact that his stupid hand is a second from falling off frostbitten. "Is this your tired kind of laconic or your withholding kind? Or both?"

Gun is set down on carpet near his knees, and Francois is quick to take miles when given inches — his other hand squirms up Teo's shirt too with a quick smile designed to stave off protest, and only then, once warmth is within grasp, does his body wrack with a shiver, recognising its own stupidity. One hand splayed on stomach, the other coming to squirm between the press of Teo's back and the sofa. "Both." He glances over his shoulder at the television, or more importantly, the clock on the Blu-Ray beneath it.

"I got in when I said I would," for the record, "but I encountered Flint Deckard at the docks in Manhattan. He took me back to his place where Sheridan was waiting. They asked me some questions and we redefined the terms of an agreement. I had reneged on a thing. A deal I made, I don't know if I told you."

Despite that his boyfriend is cold and disgusting and all the nervous in his handsome six-something self cry to get away before it gets on everything, Teo holds his ground. Or holds the couch, as it were. Puts some faith in his metabolism and the fact that they have central heating, reassuring himself that the equilibrium they settle at will be more comfortable for both of them, although frankly, seriously, it's like Francois replaced his blood with slush or something; his core temperature feels closer to winter and weather than to human right now.

Hhhh. "If you did, it was short on a few essential details," Teo says dryly. "Like: how the stakes of any fucking agreement could've been high enough for them to punch you in the fuckin' face a lot and reroute you from Pollepel at ass o' clock in the fucking morning." His hand tightens around the row of knuckles he's holding to his belly. He shifts his hip, to sandwich Francois' arm against the couch without crushing it.

"You've revised the terms?"

First part gets a shrug even as it bothers him the most, too tired to argue or even agree. It's depressing that he looks visibly punched in the face and sparking anger— a flickery, pathetic version of the dull cornered rage of an hour or so prior— does something to chemically warm him, but Francois doesn't move his hands yet. "In return for lying for my cover to get into the Institute," Francois begins, his voice going strange, even more stilted in its formality than usual, a little dull too, "I promised her I would give her Ghost. Is not a thing I was planning to comply with — she just had a gun at the time."

Slowly, Francois goes to slide his hands back away — he hasn't yet leveled up to a normal kind of temperature, but he knows about Italians and the cold, specifically this one, and this kind of cold. This has the added benefit of letting him retract in on himself some.

Hands on his thighs. "Now I have promised instead to make effort to protect her if the Institute finds out about what she did. Or if she is in trouble with them for other reasons." And that's the mechanics. He doesn't speak on Deckard, even as the heel of his hand comes up to brush on mouth to check the nearby ruin of flesh.

The mention of other-him brings a scowl to Teo's face. One that only deepens when Francois hermitcrabs up into his own personal space. Not that being in a relationship precludes personal space, of course, that's one of the first thing one learns about being with someone else— that everyone needs some time to be by oneself.

But this is an awkward time for that time, if the Sicilian should say so himself. He sits up finally, in painful, stiffened inches, raising a hand to to clamp down on the back of his own neck and squeezing the abused muscle there. He doesn't reach out to touch Francois again, or not right away. Gives those words space and room to breathe. They are considerable in weight and mass. And portent, maybe. Isabella Sheridan once kidnapped Joseph Sumter, which gives a lot of people who have guns reasons to use them on her.

He's never really liked thinking about how to balance the value of his own survival against sins done to a man like the good Pastor. Or even what it says about Flint, that he's still fraternizing with — her. Despite that aversion, he does think about both those things for a few long moments, his face very still in the half-light of the room. "I didn't realize she wanted Ghost," he says. Also, "I can talk to you through the shower curtain."

Scowl. Francois isn't so withdrawn that he doesn't see the frown cross Teo's face, and his hands twitch like he might chase after it with fingertips, but he broke off some access way there by retracting before and can't bring himself to try. His attention tracks down to the black shape of the gun on the floor, and instinct has him picking it up, placing it aside, whether for Teo to take or to leave it be, beside the sofa. Too much silence limps by after Teo's words, as if maybe Francois didn't hear him.

Did, though, as signified in the eventual look back, the 'hm' of absent agreement. A twitch of his head to shy the dark, wet strands of hair off his forehead before both hands go out in request for help up, to initiate contact once more, with the brief effort of a smile.

"Neither did I, before I broke into her house that first time. I learned during. But I don't want any part of you being hurt."

It's a strange thing to hear, and it puts a momentary strangeness on the look of Teo's face, too. "Thank you," he says, after a moment. "That's compl— thank you," is what he means, or at least what he decides he means. The fact that the ghost is being held accountable for his own trespasses is kind of complicated, he meant. And it gains uncomfortable reinforcement from Francois' willingness to protect the other man too. But there's no way around the fact that that's all still awfully, orfully sweet.

"The feeling is mutual though," Teo adds. His hands tighten around Francois', and he pulls the other man hhhup onto his feet. He steps nearer once Francois has gained them, pressing a kiss to the bearded incline of the other man's cheek in lieu of hugs that would have occurred if getting in the shower together didn't sound like a foolhardy exercise of fatigue and cold-addled limbs. Hand-holding occurs directly after the kiss, and a pull. It is more romantic than usual because he doesn't stop to pick his gun up off the floor.

A guiding hand, substantially more pleasant than a black gun in the rain, pointing towards your spine. Francois is happy to follow over being made to lead, and he opts to tell Teo that I have to go back to Pollepel Island again in a day or so in the morning— as in, the kind of morning with daylight and at least a few hours sleep devoured, as opposed to this kind of morning, wet and dark. He will do it accompanied with orange juice and fried things, vegetables in bacon fat. Right now, all Francois has to offer in apology is cold hands and romantic overtures that are a bit creepy.

Right now, Francois wants things, and he can analyise this curious guilt over leaving again later. Teo with a crick in his neck on the couch. "I will try hard," he responds, with a slightly crooked smile, and a squeeze of his fingers.

Teo installs his boy in the shower. Undresses him like a toddler, with the egotistical Sicilian presumption that the Frenchman is being too 'complicated' or at least tired and cold to protest properly. Coat dropped on the floor and then the sweater peeled loose, leaving the Frenchman to pick at the shirt underneath that while callused thumbs make short work of his belt. Teodoro's eyes are downcast under a fringe of lashes.

He doesn't say anything for a few minutes, considering Flint Deckard's willingness to participate in the vengeance of his woman, and while you can say many noble and handsome things about Teodoro's ability to choose the high road over escalating a bad situation to hyperviolent retardedness, it does leave Francois with bruises on his face. He shuffles aside to let Francois step out of his pants, giving the exposed curve of one wind-chilled butt-cheek an affectionate slap of a palm, before leaning across to turn on the shower water.

It's a good house. Steam fills the room in a matter of seconds. Teo leans on the sink and says, "I feel responsible."

Holster and gun get hung outside the room, though should Teo wish to check, he'll note the pistol is completely loaded. Which, in some cases, is encouraging.

Metal rings and plastic sheet clatter as the curtain is pulled just enough to not flood the room with shower run off, as opposed to any pretense of modesty. Under the spray of harshly warm water, Francois bows his head like he's praying and lets it hit him at the nape of his neck and stream in rivers down his back. The replacement of rainwater to showerwater doesn't take too much time, and only a little slow in converting his cold-fish flesh into something resembling human. He hears Teo, too, even as the shower beats water percussion on his skull.

Fingers track over his mutilated ear, rubbing away the sting that comes cold to warm, as he thinks. "Prego di continuare," is said in Italian with too-correct diction, to keep the bid for continued confession light.

Teo's fingers scrub pointless patterns on the thigh of his pant legs. He peers at the tiled wall past Francois, and at the smaller, slightly warped Francoises mosaiced in the reflections. He decides to wash his hands, less because they'd come into contact with the mess of the outside world via proxy, something of a nervous fidget. Rinse rinse. Rinse. "I took her because I needed her as a bargaining chip. She was working for the Company, and I wanted their help to…

"…to— clean out my head of sensitive information, so I could. Go to jail." His silence twists for a long moment, possibly embarrassed with how terrible and convoluted that sounds. "The Company ultimately had other ideas. But she paid for it. I even — shot her.

"It was a dark time for me," he finishes lamely. He dries his hands on his pants, like he's thirteen and doesn't know any better.

Draining the last of the shivers out of his bones comes with properly washing himself, hands moving on automatic, distracted otherwise by listening to Teo's acoustics through the fall of water. Well. Francois clears his throat when silence rules once more, fingertips seeking out belly scars as he thinks about how to phrase this. Elaborately, maybe, and with a lot of unnecessary words before he confesses. Sounds good. "When I broke in, they were both there, or arriving. It was unfortunate timing. I was overcome, and made to state my pupose. I opted for honesty, about what I wanted. I did not knew she knew you, in any other capacity than your Institute imprisonment, but even then, I doubted that.

"I told them you had been copied, and the nature of your copies. Sheridan asked me— she asked me which one was responsible for doing her harm." A beat. "I said that it was the Ghost. Or that it probably was. I said that so that she did not feel she was assisting in the rescue of someone who had hurt her, not because I wanted harm to come to him."

A hand drifts for the tap handles, but hesitates, soaking up stinging warmth a little longer as he glances in what he can hear to be Teo's direction. "Was I wrong?"

Was he? Teo's face is blank. The dumb puppy kind that Deckard used to find really annoying. Or maybe that's just Teo's face period. Anyway, everything annoys Deckard especially if it's handsome, so that's not really Teodoro's fault.

"Wrong? I don't think so. I'm not sure. Some part of me prefers to think that you just lied." Teo looks up finally, watches the water crashing into the back of Francois' head, bursting white sparks against molasses-colored hair, and a mobile sheen over his fair skin. Francois has a really nice back, for the record. "Not about— wanting me to be hurt, I mean. About that the ghost was the one who'd hurt her.

"I understand about using people," he says, after a moment. "I think if I was less of an asshole, I'd almost feel bad that it's happened to Dr. Sheridan on my behalf twice. Or more. As it is, I'm annoyed that your cheek is purple."

Hn. "Me too. But— "

Francois scissors off his words, an exhale funneled through nose and mouth, before he flicks off the water, cutting it off as sharp as his own sentence. A quick shake of his head does someone to spray excess water against tile and shower curtain, before it's pushed back the necessary inches. He steps out, taking towel to wrap loose around his body, high on his waist, a passing glance for bruised face in the steamed mirror. Frown. "When you're in the room after being dragged across the city to atone, and seeing them together— "

Hands splay, helplessly. "Deckard said a thing. He wondered if I ever thought that I was not the hero of the story." Hands that then go out, reaching for Teo, as if to pay back prior warmth with shower-heated skin. "Qu'importe — we've revised the terms, to something I can deliver, and isn't about you. Even if it angers the network a little. I will try not to but they owe me besides."

This sort of moisture is okay to get on him. Teo steps within range of damp piggies, and ends up with a shoulder and hip pressed into the warm slopes of Francois', winding an arm around the other man's waist. He noses the other man's earlobe, then the crook of his jaw, and winds up with his head sunk briefly against into the nook beside the Frenchman's neck. Trust The Hero to make 'Don't be so arrogant; this is about me~' the words of absolution.

It is one difference that few know them well enough to acknowledge. Teo never really thought of himself as the hero. The ghost was the categorical asshole who got shit done, characterized by a certain sense that the world owes him something rather than any inherent superiority. Frinkle hates himself lots, and that's all. And this one isn't quite the mean equidistant between the two, but he wouldn't look half so good as Francois on a horse, and Flint always found him inferior to them anyhow.

"I think you've wondered if you weren't," he says, glancing at the doorway. He supposes they will have to go out of it shortly, but the soapmilk on Francois' skin smells warm and pretty and it'll disperse really fast out there. "Mostly when you had to force yourself to do nothing, rather than when you had to choose."

"Oui." Astute. Both arms lock around Teo, hand around wrist, and his head tips to the side to allow for the press of his head near his neck. "I do good things," Francois rumbles, chin lifting to mutter against Teo's hairline, "and then also bad things." Sometimes he is also more eloquant than that, but he isn't interested in being so when he can fit his body against Teo's instead, as insistent as a feline, and travel the tips of his fingers up the ridge of spine felt through fabric.

"I care more about being your hero," is mentioned, flippant enough to come with a smile.

Teo had almost said those words actually! Which probably would have been more eloquent. Myyy heeeroo. As a hand rabbits around on the meadowed territory of his back, he wonders why he hadn't. Francois is totally into that stuff. Admittedly, he's totally into that stuff. It's why so many people are into Francois, right?

"I'm willing to work my debt off on my back," Teodoro says. "But I wouldn't want to tire you out." A pale eye flits across what he can see of Francois from this vantage point. His neck reminds him of the abuse he put it through a few minutes ago, so he lifts it again, winds up with his forehead slumped against the Frenchman's. "Or weaken my position on disputes in the near future such as, 'will you bring your fucking phone to Pollepel?'

"How tired are you anyway?"

"We are not allowed phones on Pollepel," is what Francois says, even if it's a future dispute, and he puts 'hen pecked' into his voice even as he places a kiss beside and against Teo's nose. Hands up, petting through off-blonde hair, before he angles Teo into a kiss as his hands make grips of small fistfuls. How tired he is might be that this is an answer, in the same way that he is denying how sore his face is in kissing, a slow slide from gentle to insistent.

Then to the corner of Teo's mouth. "So your position is already weak." Jaw, throat. "Je suis desolee."

Now it's hard to think. It's very humid in here, which doesn't help— or hurt, either. He leans in, belly to belly and chest to chest, taking the fact that Francois' face must hurt as an excuse not to quarrel or press for dominance. It is like being generous, sort of. He does consider arguing further, except that 'hen pecked' is not the sexiest shade that Francois ever cast upon his voice, no offense to Francois. More excuses to hold his peace. Their current choice of body wash goes really goes well with his skin chemistry. It's a bit dizzying.

Which sort of kind of doesn't quite conceal it, when Teo cants himself toward the door. Reaches out with one lean arm, to snag the holstered gun off the door with one hand, and draw the other man out with the other, fingers cinched around the edge of wrapped towels. "Ce n'est pas grave," is the answering mumble. Then, a little darkly, but not darkly enough to be a misappropriated slight regarding Francois' ability to defend himself: "Pun intended."

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