We Were A Beautiful Fantasy


ghost2_icon.gif sonny_icon.gif

Scene Title We Were a Beautiful Fantasy
Synopsis Teodoro and Salvatore have one last fight.
Date July 7, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

There in an hour. I'll wait another half. The text rang in five days after Sal had proposed the original meeting, which was perhaps an oversight on Sal's part, leaving out the specific date, or politely deferring to the ghost's preference.

At the hour mark, the bats are already long gone, having left twenty minutes ago. What's left is the faint redolence of guano and the reminiscence of other things, a lavender tinge to the dewy blue of encroaching night time, the silhouetted hollowed husk of the ruins. One of the lamps that had remained functioning the last visit Sal had paid here has gone dead some point in the interim. Its inert glass stares milkily downward like a cataracted eye.

For the first seventy yards, it looks like no one is on the traffic bridge. The next step, and there's an edge of a leg-shaped shadow hanging carelessly out underneath the stoop of a tilting apartment complex, its owner leaning his weight carelessly against dust-scarred concrete, empty-handed and blank-eyed.

As a member of high society, Salvatore Bianco is a master of being fashionably late. But he's never been late when it comes to Teo, or, it seems, variations of him. The figure that approaches is not Sal Silvatti, the southern man from the Staten bar, or even Connor Kinney. Dark curls peek out from the edges of a hoodie that's pulled up to shade his face somewhat. He's also wearing a pair of aviators that he removes when he makes his way down to the familiar spot.

He's wearing clothes that are part of Sal's wardrobe. Nothing but mid-priced jeans and t-shirts. It makes him look younger, somehow. Especially with the hooded sweatshirt to protect against the cooler evening air.

His footfalls stop a few steps from Ghost. A hand slowly lifts to pull back the hood. His face remains schooled into a tight expression, but his eyes can't help but be expressive given the size they are. He doesn't say anything and seems to be waiting for the other man to speak.

Teodoro Laudani as he is at thirty-six years of age is rarely out of a mood these days. You'd think that might make shorter-lived, more situational spates of temper easier to hide, like hiding a needle in a stack of other needles, but as Salvatore Bianco draws close, the specter who lurks in these ruins doesn't bother to.

Helpfully, he scowls. Grooves etching down between his brows, the corners of his mouth, a decade's worth of criticism sardined into the distinguished lines that Sonny had wrought into his face last month. It makes him look younger, too. Teo was — is — always cheerfully blatant about scrunching the front of his head around, as unmindful to the cost of his skin's elasticity as he is to those who interpret excesses of expression as weakness.

No, he probably doesn't really have to worry about that with Sonny. By now, the good Doctor is well-aware that his erstwhile lover has become quite the accomplished liar, down to the details of every physical mechanic. He says, "Fun, isn't it?"

"Fun?" Sonny's eyebrows arch. He takes another half step forward, but otherwise keeps his distance from the man who isn't as much of a stranger as he believed him to be. He studies Ghost's face, as if searching for something. Something familiar. Something of his Teodoro through the changed face, through ten years of bitterness and hate.

He has a hard time finding it.

Others have found him in this man, with a great deal more ease than he has been able to. He's not sure what that says about him. About them.

"Haven't had fun in a long time. You're the one who seems to be having a good time. Shitting on everything you used to be." He laughs, but it's a humourless sound. "I always knew you hated yourself, Teo. I didn't realize how much."

That conclusion lands far enough from the mark that the ghost merely spends another second, maybe five, blinking at Sonny as if waiting for disambiguination. When it doesn't come, there's a stoop of one dark brow, a shrug rolled backward through the lean breadth of his shoulders. On the other hand, he isn't surprised that Sal keeps his distance. If he were Sal, he would be keeping his distance, too.

"I like myself. I don't like you very much, right now, but I get that the feeling is mutual. I was referring to your face.

"Dragging it around in bad places and dark times like these— I resemble that decision." He turns on one boot, sharded concrete grumbling and rasping his sole despite the bonelessly light distribution of his weight across them, an offhanded grace that his younger analogue wasn't yet capable of. He glances away. Out. Either watching or looking for something. "Good job."

"I don't give a fuck what you think of me." Sal crosses his arms over his chest. "I won't give you the lecture that other people have tried to give you. I know it won't do any good, and you've made it perfectly clear that my opinion, that I don't mean shit to you." His tone is surprisingly cold, and his gaze has gone flat as well.

"I don't know what you think you're doing. I'm not going to try and understand what justification you have for killing and betraying your friends and fucking up a life that isn't yours. You had your chance. And if it turned you into this fucking prick, then you made all the wrong choices."

Sure, it's harsh. But Salvatore Bianco is tired of being understanding, of being a doormat. Now he's starting to get angry. "I didn't ask you here to talk to you. I want to talk to him. Or at least let him listen. You let me do that, and you won't hear from me again."

A gesture of objection flits through long, flickery fingers, bobbing through from pinkie up to index. Well— either objection or dismissal, but the latter would require acknowledgment, so probably not.

"You're giving me the lecture that everyone else has been giving me," Ghost answers, if not loudly. "You just prologued it with, 'I'm not going to say.'

"Fantastic rhetorical style." Sarcasm, not sarcasm, it's difficult to tell; the ghost is an expert at deadpan, these days. "If you're not going to try and understand, and you don't care what my opinion is, I'm not sure how you already know what's going to do any good or not. Evidently, you don't know jack shit. Between undereducated guesses, you probably should've worked out, by now, that this isn't the approach you should be taking, though.

"Leave voicemail. Teo isn't awake right now, anyway. I'll pick up when he is." There's an inclination of Ghost's head, something like salute. He tracks the distance of paces between himself and the shifter out of his peripheral.

"You won't even fucking give me that?" Sal's voice is quiet. And suddenly, rather broken sounding. "You won't even let me say goodbye to him?" He laughs, but it's a broken sort of sound. "I never thought you could ever become such a bastard." He exhales slowly. "But I'm starting to realize I never knew you at all. And I held on to you anyway." And then he murmurs a darkly bitter, "I guess I should apologize for that."

There's a sharp tug of movement on the physical parts of Ghost's attention. Jerk of his ragged head on its stem, pale eyes contracting on the shape of the younger— younger man with some mangled, fond annoyance trying the cast of his features. "You're still passive-aggressive as fuck as you get older, just in case you were wondering. When you sulk.

"Sweetheart," not tesoro, and Sal might even know half of why, "let me explain. You don't get to be a rude, self-righteous little bitch who proudly announces his assumptions and rectally blinded ignorance to the world in one breath, then ask for favors the next. Whimper like I kicked you in the puppy face when I decide to take leave of your company.

"I don't like knowing you'd sooner say good-bye to him than hello to me. I'll fucking tolerate it, but I don't like it.

"Telecommunications technology seems to work just as well for all of our purposes. You have to deal with less of my impatience, I have to put up with less of your sulking. 'M pretty sure it's the closest thing to happiness that is going to happen in this situation. Not very," he will be the first to admit, flatly. Not very close to happiness; not at all. "But better, don't you think?"

Sonny laughs again. It's almost a demented sound in its looseness. "You want me to know you? Fucking hell. Then maybe you shouldn't have bullshitted me, told me what you wanted to hear and then electrocuted me. Jesus Christ Teo, you could have waited til I went to the goddamn bathroom. But you decided to do it in a way that would crush me and utterly humiliate me. And you expect me to want to know all about the man Teodoro is ten years from now? And you're calling me self-righteous?"

He takes a half-step towards Ghost. "If I meant anything to you, ever? If any time we spent together affected you, made you happy at all? Let me talk to him. Because from the way you're going, you're both going to get fucking killed."

For the first time, there's a chink in his passive-aggressive, then angry armour. Concern. And not just for the entity locked inside his own body. But for Ghost too.

There's something predatory about the regard that Ghost gives the good Doctor's face now; distinctly greedy, lapping at the dregs of concern left for him. Abruptly, the next moment, his gaze cuts away, as if he'd caught himself on the verge of a sin, whatever that might qualify to a wanted murderer and thief of some notoriety. "I don't want you to know me.

"I wish the situation were such that you could. Same for the others. Even Richard fucking Cardinal." There's a humorless kink to the shape of his mouth, then, a stretch, a smile, grimace, or neither, the wry acknowledgment that those words are pointless. The urgency of concealed and subterranean motivations is such that they necessarily remain concealed and subterranean. Even when outright labeled as such.

He's stopped, though. Standing on the concrete, hands at his sides. Watching Sonny, now, with no hint of momentum or flight implied by the stance of his boots. "You were always going to be crushed and humiliated, Sonny. There might've been a better way to do it, but let's not pretend the distinction was ever going to make this good. You can speak if you want.

"He'll remember it later, but right now he isn't… in." There's a beat's quiet, brow furrowed in concentration, turned inward. Reverie breaks with a blink of pale eyes. "I'm not sure why."

By a strange twist of fate, Sonny's recently become acquainted with Mr. Cardinal. But of all the issues on the table, well, that one is a bit down the list. Besides, he doesn't know where Ghost stands. It might be counter to what Richard has in mind.

"If you wanted me to understand why you've been doing this, you would have tried to explain it to me. Instead you made sure that I would think something evil had taken you, that I would hate you. Pushing me away. Again." His tone is flat. He's realized a lot about himself, about them recently. "So forgive me for feeling according to your plans. You know me well enough to know how I would react."

He looks away for a moment and inhales a long breath. Then he glances back to the face he created. He can feel the real face beneath, even from this distance. He knows it too well. "I wanted to tell him…" his teeth grit. It doesn't feel right doing this through a proxy. He wanted to know at least that the Teo he knows is listening. "That I can't hold on to him anymore. Even if things turn out in the best possible way and you let him free, if you disappear back where you came from or…" he waves a vague hand. "I've realized that we're never going to have what we had again. Because I never thought, for all of your flaws, that you could be a man who would hurt the people who love you so badly. That you could be so damn callous and cruel. I saw the way you looked at me the night I changed you. Before you knew who I was. You would have killed me and never felt regret. Maybe even enjoyed it. And I know that the Teo I loved probably never existed except in small moments. That I knew so little about a huge part of you that…"

He lifts up a shoulder, then lets his hand fall back down. "I turned you into what I wanted you to be. And I kept my claws in you and maneuvered to stay in your life even when you wanted away from me and back to him. And I've realized that I deserve better than that. I deserve better than this. I want Teo to have his life back. But I know that life is not going to be with me."

He inhales slowly. "I have things I need to take care of. My family. My career. My life. I'm letting you go. Maybe it's something I should have done a long time ago."

For a little while, Ghost doesn't say anything. It is the sort of quiet that is founded on the distinct certainty that there is too much to say than could possibly crammed into words. "Over the past few months, I've been given a lot of veiled criticism about judging the present based on my past. I find it ironic that the paragon of pro-Evolved righteousness and other nice things is susceptible to the same shit, just inversed.

"Nice." Except, you know, judging by the razor edge to the stranger's voice, it isn't really nice.

There's a scorching curl to the edge of his demeanor, here, which the good Doctor may or may not find faintly familiar; Teodoro had a way of revving and steeling when he was about to explode swinging into a viciously earnest fight. Ghost doesn't, though. He clamps down on it, forces a freeze-over, lays a weight down against the bristling, upward seizing of hackles. He ducks his head, once, briefly.

"Well, that's three good reasons to break up with a guy. I'll let you know what he says if or when he has something to say, and I figure he'll get back to you when he's himself again." When. If. Ghost doesn't bother elaborating on the distinction, this time, or defining the terms and conditions of such a return. Salvatore hadn't been wrong: their life expectancy isn't great in any sense of the term.

"You and I both know that even if you hadn't done what you did, that we still wouldn't have made it. Didn't, in your version of events, from what I've heard." Sonny is speaking frankly now. The passion's leaked out of his voice, as has the anger. There's a stoop to his shoulders and a set to his features that neither version of Teo has ever seen before. It's a more guarded version of the man he came to know.

"Your problem is that you expect me to a better man than you are. To be some kind of pillar of righteousness that I never pretended to be. I'm a privileged rich boy with an expensive education, a powerful family and more money than I could ever spend. You always shirked the title of white knight. Well, I'm not one either. I'm a flawed fucking human being. And you seem to blame our failings on me not being perfect enough. On me not being moral enough, or forgiving enough. And if you need someone to be that for you, well, there's another reason that we would never last."

He looks down at his feet, then tugs up the hood of his sweatshirt. "Ciao, Teodoro. Eravamo una bella fantasia." He starts to pick his way across the ruins.

Discontentment carves Ghost's brow deeper this time. He doesn't chase Salvatore down, which could be telling of a dozen things. That it isn't his place; that he doesn't want to; that he doesn't care. Occasionally, his inactions are as inscrutable as the decisions and overtures he does choose to make.

"Whatever makes you feel better, Doc," he calls out, instead. His voice is different. He doesn't drop piecemeal Italian into things. Here, he does not bother to maintain the illusion, or he's playing at another one altogether. The knit of his brow darkens momentarily, a low exhale sheeting through his teeth. Now the sky is black. "You should know— over in 2019, we're still friends. 'Bout as close as we can stand to be."

"It would make me feel better if he heard what I said," says Salvatore. He knows that Ghost meant to bait him, to make him rise to it and answer passionately. Or maybe that kind of response is just a Teodoro reflex. But he knows to watch for it now. That kind of reaction to him trying to make final statements kept him from breaking things off more than once. Kept him around long enough to shout some more, stomp on a few feelings and then make up, most often with the best sex of their relationship. Not this time.

He pauses for a moment, but doesn't turn back as he says, "Well. You came back to change the future." And then he picks up the pace as he shuffles off towards the glow of what's left of New York's civilization.

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