While He's Down


claude_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title While He's Down
Synopsis They say that dangerous men seem to find their way to Pancratium. Two others who may well qualify catch wind of it.
Date February 19, 2009

Staten Island — Coast

The coast of Staten Island is as much of a presence as its inland, with rivers that invade right into its heart as well as cutting off the circulation of transport from the rest of New York City. The coastal regions reflect a lot of this borough's rural nature, with rough shores and plantlife, broken brick, and general abandonment. The harbors are left to the devices of those that freely come and go, a conspicuous lack of official presence - a number of them notably overrun by the developing crime syndicate, but there are still quite a few, particularly on the coasts nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan, that are accessible to the lawful public.

The beach seemed like a good place to meet. Primarily because broad strips of ash-colored sand and wrinkling surf precluded most eavesdroppers, and secondly because he loves the sea. Even when it is all ash-colored sand and wrinkling, pewter surf. Teo is eating a cold burrito out of a foil package held between long hands, walking along the terrain of coarsely granulated stone, denting the innumerable dips and lumps further with the read of his boots.

Within the concealment of his clothes, he's carrying a phone, cigarettes, lighter, weapons, a mix of identification, cash, and a small tin packet of painkllers lest the Mexican choose to test the mettle of his constitution. Here, he looks calmer than he otherwise might at the vast majority of venues. A distant lamp picks a few details out of the his figure he casts against the dull, vespertine gleam of sea foam and the stars wink overhead.

No such luxury for Claude. The man who has been invisible for about ninety-nine percent of his waking time is, once again, not within the visible spectrum. That's not to say the beach is doing him favors, with the one-way footsteps behind him easily betraying his location, a little further from the waves. A location that Teo has been moving toward for a while, now.

"There you are." A location that could have been kept secret had he not just gone and opened his mouth. "Enjoying the view?" Rhetorical question, surely.

Pathologically Italian, Teo doesn't notice the rhetorical nature of questions. To some people, the shore of Staten Island would be a dreary spectacle indeed. To him, New York's saving grace is that it ends; best of all, that it ends at salt water. "Wh— si." Though startled, he manages not to drop his burrito in the sand or start pointing guns at empty air. It takes him a second or two to school his eyes down from dinner-plate size; he squeezes a hard eye-blink out of them.

"I am. Buona sera," he tells the empty column of air. It's fortunate that it's dark; the minute shift and drift of his gaze, haplessly struggling to determine what altitude would be polite to direct his voice at, is hidden by that obfuscation. As far as politeness goes, however, he manages verbally where Claude's Evolved ability thwarts the rest. "It's good to finally meet you. Mr. Rains?"

"Claude will do." The disembodied voice answers, amusement present in his tone. He comes into sight unannounced, wearing slept-in clothes and looking his usual unkempt self. Maybe even moreso. Spending the night outside in a place where it is really quite ill-adviced to sleep outside will do that to a man. Yet… he's still grinning smugly. Gotta give him credit for his cheerful disposition, at least. Or maybe it's just that he scared Teo a little. Who knows. "Good to meet me, yeah? Haven't heard that one in a while."

A grin splits Teo's face around its sharp white corners. "It isn't a line, signor, I promise you that," Teo answers gallantly. Foil crinkles in his fingers, folded up over the gnawed end of the burrito. Craning his head down, he installs the thing in his jacket pocket. He's almost as rumpled and shabby than his counterpart. Running around this part of town and looking anything other than shabby is asking somebody to come up and leave you in worse shape than you set off in.

"Claude, then. I'm Teo." Tay Oh this time. Though their respective home regions of Europe are divergent, they're un-American enough that he automatically proffers the proper pronunciation of his name. "Anne tells me you're looking for Trask. How's that going, and anything else?"

"Teo. I'd gathered." Claude answers simply. He's lurked enough, no doubt, to at least be able to figure out a name without having been told directly. "Ran into Cat and Jezebel scrounging around for clues earlier." he then continues, taking a few steps closer in a beeline around Teo. "All signs point to our dear Sergei having been stuck in the ring somewhere. A fight club. We can only hope he's been flung a towel, too."

He pauses, looking up toward the skies for a moment as he stretches his arms forward in a lazy sort of motion. "I've got a number should I figure out where he is, exactly." There's something else on his mind, someone else, but he'll let this subject simmer to a stop first.

It's either outright deception or Teo's expressions are as loud and bright as day. Word of Trask brings instant relief, eyes closed, a sigh that puffs his cheeks out round as a child making dandelion wishes; his shoulders fall into a slump and he nearly doubles over with a laugh.

Not to jump the gun, he knows there are no promises yet — but God, that news is good news. "You think?" His jaws click audibly, sealing off too bright a grin. "You found some sign of him, Sergei his-fucking-self alive, or is this the best and highest mathematical probability of missing persons and Evolved gone missing on Staten Island?" Oh, he knows it's no rare event on Staten Island.

He's been chasing down nowhere leads and corpses for weeks. It's wearing. The someones else on the back of Teo's own mind don't help, either, but as long as they have a list they might as well start at the top.

"Two simple words, friend." The last word of that sentence appears more tacked on out of habit than anything else. Claude grins as though he's pretty happy about the news himself, though it's certainly more than bordering on smugness. "Deductive reasoning."

He then swings an arm out toward the sea. "He's not in there, he's obviously not still half dead on the shores, and as far as I could make out he's not yet fully shuffled off his mortal coil either." He sniffs, then turns to properly face Teo again, his tone now solemn and matter-of-factly. "I've been sneaking around here for over a week. The club's our best bet." He pauses, frowns, then adds in somewhat of a mumble, "Well, if we assume he's still alive."

When the old Englishman points at the sea, the young Italian automatically turns his head to look at it, despite that no unexpected developments have arisen since the last time Teo did. He wobbles between relief and stiffly pessimistic expectations, his expression hardening over and simultaneously cracking like packed snow. If we assume he's still alive. That is, after all, the assumption. Seems like a pretty fucking big assumption. Some part of Elisabeth hates him for making it, and some part of himself doesn't honestly believe in it.

But it's something to do. It's better than doing nothing, while other plans clank forward, crippled by zero information and a thousand reasons for paranoia. "A'right. Okay. What is this club?" he asks, wiping five long fingers across his jaw.

Claude does not look concerned in the least. Which isn't that surprising seeing as he barely even knows Trask. Or… knew him, perhaps. Either way, he continues in much the same impersonal, factual way. "To be honest, I know about as much as you do. Places like that are usually packed— not the ideal environment to move about unnoticed. I wasn't even all that sure it was worth considering, until I remembered my new, Evolved, friend had attended the party there, too." He straightens, sticks his hands in his pockets and appears to watch Teo's face for a response as the waves calmly crawl over the sand behind him, and back into the sea once more. "'Tavisha'. Ring a bell?"

Yes. More of a gong, really. Teo's expression clicks from blankly hopeless to alarmed, pupils dilated and square-shouldered, his back straight as if someone had stuck their boot up his ass. He inhales a breeze that smells of brine. "Si," he answers, after a protracted moment. "If you mean Sylar.

"You've met him?" It's evident that he doesn't know how to feel about that. A half a dozen different emotions mix and blur on his face, a mobile palette of an unsteady portrait. Claude calls him a friend, no visible sarcasm, finds Trask's missing status a higher priority than the fact there's — fucking — Sylar. In a fucking fight club. Pancratium, Eileen had said. "What do you think?"

Something is suddenly very amusing to Claude, if his shameless grin is anything to go by. His priorities may be a bit screwed up, but then he has never much cared to reallign them to something more socially acceptable. He is merely an ally to Teo, and not part of his merry band.

"I've met him, yes." He laughs, remaining perhaps strangely calm considering the words that next leave his mouth. "He's tried to kill me at least twice before. But now? Docile as a pup. Went so far as telling me what some of his powers were, while I was pretending to be his bestest friend." There we go, have some snark. He'd sneer at the fact that he talked nice with Sylar, were it not for the fact that he's so entertained by the ordeal. The fact that maybe he should have told someone in Phoenix about this earlier doesn't seem to surface in any shape or form.

"I could have him killed," Teo replies, blankly. The fact that maybe he should have told someone in Phoenix about this earlier doesn't surface in any shape and form, but he knows it. "Now. Tonight. Soon. There are people who could do it, who have enough training… Who think it's right. And they're probably right, si? Man's done a lot of bad things." His head lists on its axis, pale eye catching a slice of moonlight, the pupil in his iris shrinking in instantaneous reflex against it.

"You could try." Claude knows better than to disagree. And he doesn't, in so much that he knows a stick of dynamite wrapped in a woolen blanket of amnesia is still capable of blowing you to itty bitty pieces. Yet his grin falters slightly, and his words don't seem to come as easily as they should. "Does seem like the time to strike, doesn't it? Hit a man while he's down." Despite slight sarcasm and sudden reluctance in his features, he knows very well that the people Teo is talking about would be right to kill, to jump at the opportunity. As if to prove just that, he adds a few more words, "I'd purchase some new toys, if I were you. Something sound-based."

They could try. Maybe Teo should let them. The Russians. Let them try — and pay the consequences when the serial killer, not-Midtown-man shrugs off the crater caved into his head and decides to pick a side. "Hit a man while he's down," he repeats, his voice low from fatigue that can not be attributed to physical expenditures. "It doesn't sound like a good idea, to me." His expression fades to weary. He stares out across the undulating darkness of seawater, and his jaw tightens, fractionally.

"I'll look around. See— the fight club's Pancratium. That's what it's called. I'm going to walk around, get the other kids to do the same." Kids. That's either self-deprecation or a gentle jab at the Englishman's relative age. Both, maybe. He's a young Catholic man. No reason he can't manifest trace self-loathing and cheek at the same time. "Soon, we're going to have some information to move on with Helena and the others, too. I'll keep you in the loop?"

Kids indeed. If the gentle jab deserved to be protested against at all, Claude doesn't show it. That may have to do with the fact that he's been treating the larger part of Phoenix like children anyway, consciously or otherwise.

His eyes flitting down to the sand in either boredom or idle contemplation at Teo's further explanations, the older man's grin fades entirely. When the subject changes, he looks back up and pays some proper attention. He may not admit to the degree of it, but it's clear that information on Helena's condition and whereabouts are of some importance, as is clear by his quick response. "Yes you will."

For a moment he simply stands there, eyes narrowing slightly. People to care about. What an alien concept this has become. It's a mere shadow of what it once was, before he defected. Before the hiding. Speaking of which— a second later, without warning, he's out of sight again, his footsteps on their way inland once more.

"Buona notte, vecchio." If Teo was at all startled or pleased by the shift in the Englishman's demeanour, he doesn't let it on — or otherwise darkness provides enough of a veil for the space between them. A bared hand flits up in the dark. He waves, it seems, at absolutely nothing.

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