Witness Protection: It Sucks


conrad_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif hana_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Witness Protection: It Sucks
Synopsis Conrad, Teo, and Hana sniff Deckard out in the armpit of New York, debug him, and gallantly bear him off to safer digs in a stolen car. Possibly in hopes of squeezing information out of him like you would soapy grey water out of an old wash rag. He isn't as grateful (or helpful) as they might have hoped. Big surprise, amirite?
Date November 23, 2008

Another One of Deckard's Crappy Apartments

Apartment #4. A single open kitchen/living/bedroom with a closed off bathroom. Close enough to Midtown that Deckard might be putting his future ability to have illegitimate children at risk by squatting here, this one does at least have 100% of its walls. Even so, all is not well. Ash and dust layer thick over the room's interior. The walls, the carpet, the ceiling. An old television. They all have a faded, sickly look about them.

As with most of the places he's been squatting, the linens on the bed are fresh, so there's that. Two briefcases and several larger gun cases are stacked against one wall. Crates with various WARNING: FLAMMABLE type stamps on them adorn the opposite wall. Deckard himself is fresh out of the shower and not in a suit, for once. Brown leather jacket, jeans, dress shirt, and ratty towel on his head comprise his wardrobe when he exits the bathroom and leans to sweep his cell phone and gun off the foot of the bed.

Outside the squat, a cop car pulls up to the curb. Black and white, it's got no light bar on top, no numbers on the side, but there are curiously bare spots where numbers and decals USED to be. It's one of those decomissioned numbers a department sells on the cheap to people after they're done with it.

It's basically is the Bluesmobile.

Con boosted the thing and somehow did it by aquiring the keys, so no hotwiring needed. It makes scary noises when you turn the steering wheel, like something's grinding, but it moves and runs. Where it pulls up, he keeps the engine running for the moment and looks to his passengers saying, "This is the place, kids." and looks toward the building he believes Flint's in.

The one broken window Deckard has two stories up is dark. Then again, so is the rest of the building. A cat with more bones than meat winds in through the door downstairs, open to the street, and fades into the murk beyond. The architecture itself is slouching. Depressed. Everything is grey.

"I can do tomorrow night instead. Sure. Same time?" Deckard is on the phone, now, semiautomatic pushed down into the holster under his jacket while he talks. Currently oblivious to cat and car and Conrad and company.

Teo believes Flint's in it, too. Primarily because Wireless believes he is, and Wireless tends to have a certain factual accuracy about her that leads one to believe that her aim with global positioning is good, among other things. His long-limbed boy-frame is jammed into a sweater jammed into a jacket jammed into the back seat when the car pulls up, looking a little bit pale and a little bit gaunt in a way that has nothing to do with the watered-down trajectory of the autumn sun or a general lack of appetite. Abigail had healed his scrapes, cuts, and whatever had made his ear bleed out, but he retains a residue of a different nature.

His hand is colder than the door handle he closes it on. "How close do you have to be to kill the wire?" he asks the woman. He has a newspaper under one arm, a .45 in his waistband, a pen in his pocket; the equipment Conrad's intel had projected as necessary, just in case. He unlocks his side with a clunk of metal under metal.

Riding in a car someone else is driving isn't Hana's favorite thing to do. So the second it becomes clear they aren't driving any further, she's out the door, shoes to the sidewalk. The ex-operative wears the black leather jacket and even blacker jeans that are her preferred 'business' clothes, especially when the business is something not taking place in an office-type setting. Clothing conducive to her personal collection of concealed weapons.

The car door is left open, since the other two are still in the vehicle; a good decision, in light of the words Teo directs towards her. Wireless lifts dark eyes to the building before them, her gaze coming to rest on the second floor. "Yes," she confirms of Conrad, voice muted. "I can hear it," the technopath adds, perhaps for Teo's benefit. "I can silence the transmission from here."

The car shuts down and Conrad gets out, taking the keys with him because that's a mistake the last owner made. The power locks don't work, so he doesn't bother with it. Just closes the door with a slumpf. And works his way around the vehicle. Today he's in an Oakland Raider's jacket, which of course is kinda black. But also kinda white and silver. Still, where he manages to find all these jackets…

Concentrating for a moment, Con looks up in the building and seems to scan it himself, then says, "He's talking, but I think it's on the phone. Just him. He's got the only heartbeat I can hear so far."

"No. It's not a problem." There's a plastic crackle when Deckard's grip hardens around the phone, and the smile he casts over into the receiver is a little wolfish, but a customer is a customer. "Sure. Just — call me if anything else comes up." Click. "Asshole." Still oblivious, Deckard claps the phone shut and drops it into his pocket to head back into the bathroom. Dirty clothes to kick into a pile, basin's of vaguely warm water to empty.

Teo slings his frame out of the car and doesn't shut it behind him. Yanks on the panels of his jacket, as if they're crooked though they aren't, and glances up at the sky for a moment before his gaze scales either end of the street without spinning his head too much on its axis. It's brass monkey's, out here. Kind of hurts. Every year, he hates winter a little bit more. "Would you do it now?" It took him a fraction of an instant to remember not to use the word Could.

He steps across the pavement with one long stride and runs short fingernails down the edge of his jaw, out of sympathy for bruises he forgot that he's no longer wearing. His eyes fall to Conrad. He doesn't recognize the sport team; knows better than to bring it up. "Guess you should knock and introduce yourself first," he says, garnishing the request with a fraction of a smile. "You're friends, right?" His tone would imply that the question was rhetorical, though Conrad's jokes are, as ever, welcome. And for no particular reason, he clarifies: "He asked you for help.

"I'd rather not get shot." Blue eyes swivel to the intercom beside the door, metal jutting from curly peels of paint like the ironclad heart of some decadent urban flower.

Hana closes the car door with an absent, yet quiet, care, and looks over the vehicle at Teo. A dip of her head in assent, and… technically, the wire's still transmitting. The signal just doesn't go anywhere anymore. She doesn't fidget with her clothing, all of it being comfortable enough for the fit to fall below her threshold of attention; the building, the lot, and the street to either side are all given one last sweep with eyes and mind. Dark eyes follow Teo's words to Conrad, and the woman simply waits.

Con just nods and heads into the building, going where he knows to go. The place is so nasty and ramshackle, it's hard to really see how anybody would wanna live here. "God damn this place is a fuckin' pit." he grumbles, climbing stairs. When they finally get to the closed door he boot-knocks it. Boomboomboomboomboom! "Con-Man! Brought friends." he calls.

Boomboomboomboomboom, thump. It's becoming a predictable one-two pattern. Jolted out of a lean for his big bucket o' water, Deckard trips over the toilet and manages to catch himself against the sink. Fucking — fuck. He manages to wincingly extract himself from the bathroom without any audible cursing or complaint. Just the scuff of gun metal out of his holster while he side-steps around the bed for the door. "What kind of friends?"

"The kind that'll keep me from bein' haunted by your ghost." Conrad says through the door from the hallway.

Repressing the urge to ask if anybody minds if he smokes takes more effort than it ought to have. Teo manages to keep his face shut. He falls in line behind the older man, looking for all the world like a misappropriated duckling behind a particularly belligerent and expansively-festooned turkey. And further stalked by a lion, if Hana's going to fit into the metaphor somewhere. He isn't concerned about the car they leave behind, not really. With its door ajar, NYPD logo, and erstwhile passengers bludgeoning their way into some shit sty of an apartment complex, it looks like one part of a scenario that most of the local constituency would be far, far too wise to interrupt.

When Conrad proceeds to offer his dainty salutations, Teo parks against the frame off to one side and conspicuously empty-handed. Not that the older man's answer is a bad one; Teo merely sees fit, at length, to add to it: "Abigail's."

Hana brings up the rear, a silent shadow in the dark halls. At present, comparison to a panther might be more apt than lion — but both are very far from the technopath's mind anyway. She adds no words to those of Conrad and Teo, merely watches either end of the hall and waits for the person on the other side of the door to do whatever he's going to do. Her hands are empty, for the moment, but the left hovers just a touch too close to her coat, the fingers of the right hand curled loosely by the woman's side.

Deckard squints through the door, now only a foot away from the flat of its opposite face. Conrad is checked first, then Teo. Metal plate in the head guy. Hana is last. His eyes narrow there, but slowly, reluctantly, he flicks the safety back on and pushes the gun back in under his arm. The towel is still on his head — he snaps it off with one hand and leans to unlock and open the door with the other.

The interior of the apartment is as grey as everything else in this place. Deckard himself seems infected by the same absence of life. He's bloodless and drawn, eyes pale in their hollows when he looks over the lot of them more directly. No words. Just staring.

Spreading his hands, Conrad stands in the hallway and looks at Flint, "I'll let my friends introduce themselves. But they're good people. What's with the towel?" He points at Flint's head. "You believe that bullshit on Total Recall?"

"You can speak freely," Teo supplies, despite the vague suspicion that that's generally not instruction one ought to be giving Flint Deckard. "Your wire is off right now." A beat. And then, with all the awkwardness of a young man who spontaneously tackled a man into an open grave, once, "We've met. I'm Teo." And you look as terrible as I did, he thinks, studying the older man framed by the door. There's barely any more color in Deckard's face than the backdrop of the room behind, casually banishing the notion of lingering bacteria and evolved virii in favor of the large and equally disheartening probability that everything inside these walls is dead. More becaues of rote than this train of thinking, he then offers Deckard a handshake.

Dark eyes consider the stranger. Then the room. Followed by another level, considering regard of Flint. Hana inclines her head just slightly as he flicks the safety on and returns the gun to its resting place. "Hana," she offers, since introductions seem to be going all around — but that's all she says, the two syllables clipped short. Her hands settle in front of her just as the woman settles herself against the opposite wall of the corridor, watching. Always watching.

"…Haven't seen it." Deckard drags the towel the rest of the way off and tosses it back onto the bed, the hand he tossles up over his damp hair the only concession made to the fact that he looks like shit. "Teo. You hit me in the face." His hand is taken anyway, sales-pumped, and dropped. "And Hana. They'll know. Or they'll notice. Some kind of GPS thing…" the marker in question is pried out from beneath his collar and flicked irritably out at them. "What do you want?"

Con crosses his arms and says, "Pack your things." He figures that spells it out pretty succinctly. Let the others explain the rest of it.

That would probably fall to Teo, then, despite that his vocabulary feels somewhat more underwhelming than normal. He blinks once: eyes squeezed shut, popped back open. Yes, this would be the one; he hit Deckard in the face. "We're going to take you somewhere they can't find you," he says, appearing to have very little doubt that he phrased that correctly despite the lack of conditions or strings otherwise attached. He lets his face stay earnest, or as earnest as it can underneath the stiffened pallor of lingering shell-shock.

As far as he's concerned, they don't need to be making threats, here. Or at least not now. "Then I hope you'll help us figure out who 'they' are. Someone's been framing PARIAH and asking after Phoenix." He volunteers them as facts. Though uncertain about whether or not Conrad or Hana specifically agree that they are, he feels fairly certain they won't equivocate right now, anyway. "You were there for the first thing and the instrument for the other. I'd appreciate your help." Finally, he pushes himself off the doorframe with a shove of his shoulder.

The woman remains little other than a statue that breathes as the men hold their little palaver. A statue that observes. After they've all said their pieces, however, she does straighten away from the wall, gaze flickering just briefly to Deckard's bug. "GPS 'things'," she remarks, tone cool and detached, "are only as good as the signals they send."

"Okay, then." Dry, Deckard is satisfied enough to take a couple of steps back, clearing the doorway for them to come in, if they're so inclined. "Two suits and a coat in the closet. I can live without the guns. Didn't pay for most of them anyway." An absent gesture indicates the collection of plastic cases while he paces for the bed to drag his trusty shotgun out from underneath it. Probably marginally less trusty now, with all the dust. "The big black one and the green case, I need." The 12 gauge is slung up over his shoulder, leaving his hands free to collect the steel of his briefcase and another, smaller gun case. He says nothing very promising to Teo's assertions that he might be able to help them in return.

Making himself useful, Con goes to pick up some of the things Deckard indicates. Namely the green case. That's all he's gonna carry. "Got a fresh car downstairs waiting. Why don't you do us a favor and leave your bugs here." He doesn't ask after the notebook. It's obvious Flint wouldn't forget that himself. "Still not hearing anybody else so far." he tells the others by way of report.

Teo hadn't expected much more than that. He attributes this prompt cooperation more to the fact that the other guys must be magnificent assholes more than to the strength of the bond between the stranger and Conrad or altruism, but gives no particular thought as to the margin of difference, perhaps because the power of friendship compels them, or because he can worry about that later. For now, he offers his gratitude in the currency of a smile, and steps in. Deckard stays in his peripheral vision for as long as it takes to reach the closet, or as long as it takes for his companions to configure themselves around Deckard and his— hovel. He pulls the clothing out, folds them over one arm, doubles them again. Conrad's sitrep elicits a brief reply: "Okay."

Conrad assigns himself the small case to carry, and Teo takes the clothes. Is there something just a little off, here? Hana speaks to none of them, merely steps into the room long enough to wrap the fingers of her left hand around the handle of the 'big black case'. As she does so, she casts a sidelong, pointed glance at Teo, one dark brow arching. He doesn't even have the excuse of being injured anymore. Hana lifts the case then, retreating back out into the hall with little evidence of strain, for all that she's stubbornly holding it in one hand. But then, she's only been carrying it for a matter of seconds.

No argument, there. Deckard reaches up under his shirt to snap the black wire cleanly off of his person with approximately no hesitation. It's flung onto the bed, followed closely by the metal briefcase. He needs the free hand to etch, 'FUCK YOU :)' in large finger-painty letters across the dust-coated wall that looms over his sheets. That necessary task complete, he recollects the case and nods towards the door, ready to go. Travel light when you're running for your life. That's what he always says. Though he doesn't actually say it now — he just waits for them to lead the way out after Hana. Because he's polite, or because them getting mowed down by any machine-gun fire that might be waiting could give him an extra second or two to jump out a back window.

Con doesn't wait for the others. He just heads down to the car. Partly he's quick to get there just to make sure it's unmolested, but also to throw this case in the back and get it started. By the time the others make it down he's in the driver's seat fiddling with the radio and trying to find Howard Stern.

And now Teo's trying not to laugh. Derangedly. It would be more deranged to actually laugh. Anyway, his expression wobbles dangerously and he bites down the urge to sheepishly offer to switch. He hauls ass too, after one last look around the room, derived from habit of travelling than the possibility he might actually spot something that its occupant forgot. The newspaper scrunches audibly under his arm as he turns and heads, finding Deckard's preference to bring up the rear perfectly acceptable. He takes the stairs two by two, as he's wont to do, suits bouncing on his arm, momentarily forgetting to give the gravity of the situation the proper recognition. The next moment, he's slid into the far end of the back seat, laying down the armload of fabric beside him. "We're not cops," he calls out at Deckard, when the man arrives into line-of-sight of the vehicle. He knows he didn't really have to.

It would be far more dangerous to laugh. For Teo. Hana just hauls the case downstairs and drops it in the backseat. Though the seat she actually claims is the front, taking advantage of Deckard's unwillingness to be anywhere but at the tail of the troop. He can sit with Teo, since they seem to know one another. The radio, whatever Conrad manages to get it set to, receives as much regard from the woman as so much else has this trip — which is to say, none. She hears them all anyway. Hana directs most of her attention outward, at the street around them.

"No shit." Deckard flings the gun case he was carrying into the trunk after the others and slams it shut. Not normally one inclined towards haste, he is definitely hustling in the here and now. He practically teleports into the back seat opposite Teo, briefcase dragged in onto his lap. No complaints. No complaints until he's slammed the door shut after himself, at least. "If you're going to make me listen to this I'll kill myself before we get there," is announced loudly to the front, and he fastens his seatbelt.

"Fine. Fuck the radio." Con says simply, sniffing and turning the thing off altogether. He puts the car in gear and pulls off. "So! I know I asked you before Flint but you got any other clues on how they're finding you? Or is it just the GPS gadgets?" He starts taking a short tour of the town before heading roundabout to the appointed safehouse they've agreed upon.

There's something very slouch-inducing about sitting in the back of a PD squad car. Teo shunts himself down a few inches in his seat and turns his head to study Deckard while the man is thinking of an answer or refusing to. As they make a right-hand turn, his head knocks into the window. His skull neither recoils or rebounds; he lets himself lean while he listens for what he suspects are relevant details.

"I don't know." Even more washed out looking in the fading light of late November, Deckard unfastens his seatbelt again so that he can manuever the butt of the shotgun across his back down against the floorboard. He's not thinking all that clearly, obviously, and his movements have a jerky, uneven edge to them that isn't helped by the frequent glances he casts out the windows. Aside, ahead, and behind. He blinks hard, and pops he latches to his briefcase. "They just showed up. But if they knew where I was all the time on their own, they wouldn't need the gadgets."

"Hey watch it back there, I just stole this rig today, Teo." Con adjusts the rear view to get a look at the back seat passenger who knocked head on the window. He doesn't bother questioning Deckard too much. Just says, "We'll figure something out." And keeps driving.

After a while, they get where they're going.

At that, Teo picks his head up a fraction of an inch. "Mi diaspace, Conrad," he says, grin going lopsided as he reaches up to put his fingers around the curve of the offending skull section. He notices Deckard's furtive paranoia by its signs, mostly because he's suppressing the urge to do the same himself. Pedestrians fail to be pedestrians, and every apartment or shop window of Manhattan seems dark with conspiracy. An unhappy illusion to persist under, and worse if it's true. In silence, then, they go until the Ferrymen's lot pulls up. A few wilted blades of grass suffer the abuse of Conrad's ride steamrolling them, pop up afterward.

Teo gets out promptly and glances over the tenement. If there's anything to be said for it, it's that it's better than Deckard's digs were. Barely. He snags the man's clothes in his arms and looks across the top of the car, its quiescent blue-and-red strobe, to where he assumes Hana's head will either pop up, or already has. He says, "Thanks."

Hana doesn't dawdle in the car when they arrive at the safehouse, either. Quiet through the ride, without the jumpiness of either Teo or Deckard, she's also quiet as she looks across the vehicle at Teo, nodding once in acknowledgment of his gratitude. "If you need anything else," the woman replies, "let me know." And she turns away to walk down the street as though she does this every day — sets off alone and on foot through unknown and probably unsafe territory. But then, it's probably everyone else that isn't safe.

Deckard is in sunglasses by the time they get there, likely retrieved from one of the many fascinating compartments his briefcase contains. More expensive than his usual. New. He's been uncharacteristically quiet on the way, and remains so in his departure from the police car. The door is closed quietly behind him once he's retrieved the 12 gauge. Click. A held breath spills hazily out into the increasingly chilly air, and he looks to the others. Then after Hana once she's started off on her own. This is kind of unfamiliar territory.

If Conrad feels unsafe, it's hard to tell. He sets the keys on the roof of the car just in case anybody else wants to take it and make his life easier, then takes one of Deckard's bags and says, "I know it's gonna chafe, buddy, but if you run off and ditch this place chances are real high these assholes will find ya. It's not their style to sit on you or say you HAVE to stay, or whatever. They're not prison keepers. Just giving you the cautionary. You gotta cooperate if it's gonna work." Glance at Teo. "Am I right?"

"Yes, on the staff. As for the rest, I think so," Teo corroborates, softly, turning his eyes away from the ex-Mossad's departing figure, "but I haven't met these guys." He doesn't have to add: Deckard has. It's the sort of eerie, atmospheric sentence that ends itself. Classy. Either that, or he merely forgot. Shutting the door behind him with a hand a knee, he then circles around to the end of the vehicle to help get the trunk open and divest it of its contents. "I did some of the electrics for this place," he remarks, abruptly, indulging himself a peculiar moment's pride, even as he draws into the shadow of the complex.

There's a woman watching from the first story window, wide and densely built, characterized best by her hook nose, waist-length ponytail, and an apron. She smells bizarrely of cookies and doesn't address Flint directly, though Conrad is subject to a narrow-eyed look. "Who taught you to park?" Her voice seems to operate on some frequency of seismic activity; a smoker, from the yellow of her fingers. She holds the door open before a staircase up.

The wide woman is eyed, followed by the rest building in its entirety. It's possible Deckard is used to people passing him over in conversation. He is unabashedly scruffy and criminal. Maybe not exactly the kind of person relatively normal souls want to play pattycake with. But that doesn't mean he can't return the favor and ignore her back, even going so far as to turn his back to her to better address Conrad and Teo. "So…what. I have to hide in a closet until you figure out who these assholes are and kill them or get killed by them?"

"I'm movin' it sister, don't get your panties in a wad." Conrad replies snidely to the woman, carrying the bag he's claimed. In answer to Deckard's question he says, "What were you doing anyway?" He nods toward Teo, "He's the man with the plans here. I'm just facilitating."

Teo doesn't visibly balk at the notion of killing these guys. It takes him a moment to realize he had forgotten to balk at all. Blinks almost audibly when Conrad gestures at him with his head, and resists the urge to look down at himself to verify and confirm. "I guess so," he says, at length. Deckard's plan doesn't sound altogether terrible. A half-beat, and then his features go wry. "Want to make it go faster? I have a pen." He takes out the pen and holds it up between forefinger and thumb, helpfully, motions up at the staircase with it. "And some time." Not a lot. He's developing a headache in the upper-left region of his skull, suspects he has some hysteria to catch up on, but until then.

"Fuck you." Deckard's jaw sets distinctly off center, but he manages to avoid an actual glower. Or eye contact. Teo, though. Teo represents a softer target, if the way he doesn't seem inclined to look away from him once Conrad's pointed him thataway is any indication. He spends way too long trying to stare the younger man down before he finally moves to help with the rest of his junk in Conrad's trunk, sweeping past close enough that the shoulder brush boarders on a shove. "I want to make it go faster. Do you? I mean, can you really afford to spare the time when you're so busy blowing people up and spraying graffiti all over the place?"

"Depends on how many of em there are, huh?" ass Conrad, not giving a damn if Deckard's happy or not about this. He's grinning. "Don't worry, Flint. I'll bring you some books to read and shit. With pictures. Maybe some scratch-an-sniff Hustlers." Somehow one figures there may just be such a thing, somewhere.

For an instant, Teo looks stricken. It isn't an expression he can hold very long; exchanging blank-eyed stares with the older man had fit more consistently with his running pattern of behavior. Shoved aside, it takes him an extra moment to recapture his balance, his fingers closed on the raised trunk top as if he might have needed that to brace on. Remembering to breathe, he fails entirely to inflate his lungs or to remember what it was he'd drawn the line between too much information and the other categories of thought that your average terrorist segments his life into. "I was a teacher.

"They killed my kids." Eight words. English being his second language, he finds himself momentarily unsure if he arranged them into anything grammatically correct or coherent or correctly stressed or, perhaps a separate quandary entirely, whether he managed to convey his meaning. His throat moves, and he finally gets around to offering him the paper, which has more words, better ones, words that somebody edited, proofread. It was on the front page.

"I've only seen five. Maybe six. There could be more — I don't know." Distracted by the effort that goes into dragging the largest of the gun cases out of the trunk, Deckard is further diverted by the idea of scratch-n-sniff Hustlers. He stands up a little straighter, earnest in his consideration of the offer, and has to ask, "…They make those?" before acknowledging that Teo is having a moment, and hefting a newspaper at him. Mouth set into a skeptical line, he tips his head down enough to peer at the article over the upper edge of his glasses. He reads quickly, skimming really, before his eyes lift back to the Italian, any reaction well-disguised behind black lenses. "This article says 'they' is 'you.' Or are you telling me this place," the lighter of his two cases is lifted at the safehouse, "was funded on candle and candy sales?"

"I dunno. But the article's wrong, pal. We're not PARIAH." offers Con with a wink, "You believe everything you read? Where's the freakin' room at? I wanna dump this thing." He's had enough of carrying this bag. Time to get out of here soon.

"Upstairs, 301. Tania's supposed to have the key." The enormous woman filling the doorway arches an eyebrow and politely refrains from tapping her own wrist. She does, however, raise a hand; the keyring's there, dangling from a pinkie as wide as most people's thumbs. Deckard's answer goes in through one of Teo's ears and then circles around to reenter through the other; the younger man blinks a few times. Wonderfully, the first thing his brain then latches onto is logic. His eyes drop to the article, the photograph, failing to reprocess either the newsprint or the pixelly images that he's already nearly committed to heart. Five or six.

"We're not PARIAH," he repeats after Conrad, mostly because that fact is new enough that it doesn't hurt to repeat it. "Nor are they." He nods his head down at the front page story and looks at Deckard's shades without the shift and waver of somebody trying or failing to see through them. "The Financial District was PARIAH. They pulled a fire alarm, got everyone out before they dropped a fucking computer store into the fucking sewer. St. John's Cathedral was PARIAH. Gloating in front of a fucking camera. There is no fucking way this was PARIAH." Teo's voice got louder until that last noun; plummets quiet with a half of a cough.

"Then who the fuck are you?" The gun case is getting heavier, and Deckard has to adjust his grip on the clunky thing before he can swing it around to follow after Conrad. "Con aside, I'm sure you're all fantastic people, but I've gotta tell you — I'm really getting sick of being dragged around New York like a clingy piece of toilet paper by shoes I can't see."

"I feel ya, brother." mutters Con. But he also doesn't try to answer the question. He is, however going up to 301 and dumping the bag next to the door. Deckard can get it the rest of the way inside himself. "Hey by the way Flint, you know some chick named Marla? Turns invisible? Kinda bitchy?" he calls after going upstairs.

The newspaper gets dropped into the trunk and the last armload taken before Teo shuts it with a shove of his elbow. He doesn't answer, either. Either uncertain about whether or not Conrad hasn't gone ahead and said it, or stuck on the 'stop' part of his start-stop tactic to talking today, it's hard to tell. Deckard's suits skew haphazardly over the top of the haphazardly-gripped luggage and he brings up the rear, studying Conrad's footsteps.

It's kind of a crappy suit anyway. Why Deckard would bother having something that looks like it's been put through a washing machine with boulders dry cleaned is anyone's guess. The other suit is better, but hardly new. Hopefully the safehouse has an ironing board somewhere.

Meanwhile, their lack of a response hardens frustration into the lines around his mouth, but he doesn't ask again. He just carries on until he too reaches 301 and drops the case with way less care than should probably be taken. Whoever is underneath them probably really appreciates it. "I don't know any invisible women, no."

"Dude, don't gimme that look." Conrad points a finger at Flint outside the door of 301. "You told me to help. Here's your help. It's not costing you money or anything. And you get to live! And go your own way eventually and go right back to whatever it is you wanna do. Hell, we can go out to Exotica or whatever you want. I'll even go with you while this is all going down. Buddy system type shit. So relax."

There's a fire escape outside, the ladder already pulled up, and a faint seam in the aggressively-wallpapered ceiling where one might imagine a hinge is concealed, unless they happen to be Flint Deckard, in which case he's perfectly aware there's a trapdoor there and another on the floor vertically below. Ways to bolt. Deckard had made a fairly apt assessment. Ferrymen property probably isn't funded through sales of candy or lambs. Teo knees the door further open. Despite the residual urge to drop the heavy shit, breakage be damned. Instead, the suitcase touches the ground with a gentle thump, and the suits layer, haphazardly, haphazardly, over the top of the single visible chair.

Deckard, still accommodating, gives Conrad's finger the look instead. "I'm not complaining." It's almost like an apology. Just, in the shape of a lie. It reads pretty clearly on his long face that he's not happy to be here, even as he turns his head marginally aside to account for some unique additions to the surrounding architecture. "I feel like I'm in a fucking animal shelter," muttered to himself more than to either of them, he tacks on a lighter, "As long as you promise to take me for walkies I'll try not to piddle on the carpet," once he's retrieved the gun case and shouldered into the room after Teo.

If Conrad has to take Deckard out for a walk now and then to keep him happy enough, apparently that's a price he's willing to pay. "You gotta deal, pal. But not tonight. I gotta check up on a friend. Just try to get some sleep." He stands akimbo in the middle of the room and says, "Hey, it's not so bad!" His own lie. "Look, you got your very own floor. And chair. And walls. Wow. Isn't This Neat?" Every word accented in the way of someone being patronizing as hell.

An electronic bleep-a-bleep comes from Teo's little station by the chair from where he's holding a cellphone. Gazing down at the tiny monitor, he keys a text message in in deft strokes, shifting occasionally to the round arrow pad to let the device's tiny computer fill in parts of words he can't be fucked to finish the hard way. After a moment, he clicks the thing off and stuffs it back into whichever unimaginable place he'd extricated it from. Looks up, and a little blankly between the two older men. Whizzing on carpets, strip clubs, complaints; for a moment, he considers phasing back out of the conversation.

The next, he realizes it's practically finished, anyway. This part of it. Another life saved, or at least prolonged. God ought to be proud. "If that's it…" He stuffs his hands in his pockets and glances out the window, or at least the gap of it that shows between blinds. The day is brightening. Teo finishes the sentence when he figures out how to. "You going to ask how Abby's doing?"

"It really is! Thanks, Dad. You're the greatest." CLUNK. Deckard drops the gun case again, and despite every effort made towards good humor in the face of teasing, when he half-turns back to face akimbo Conrad, the wiry muscles in his neck look taut enough to snap. His hands clench into fists at his sides, but go slack again quickly enough. Maybe he doesn't have the energy to start shit.

Regardless, Teo's question pulls his attention in the opposite direction, and he tugs out his own cell phone to turn it off. "How's Abigail doing?"

Conrad doesn't seem to care how Abby's doing. Or what she's doing. He does point at the cell phone in Deckard's hand and says, "Might wanna get a new one of those. Why not toss it and we'll get you a new one." He glances at Teo and says, "I'm outta here bro. Anything else you need from me?"

Propelled by the force of impatience, Teo's already made a step back toward the door, his features closed in on themselves, expression blank, visceral reactions tamped down in favor of directives from… whatever it is he has rolling around in his head that isn't metal. There's time for more questions, and other questions that probably ought to be answered first. Probably. When Conrad mentions the phone disposal, he offers an open hand to catch: he can get rid of it. The next breath, his eyes flit back to Deckard's face as if he'd been momentarily distracted from the query. He hadn't been. "She had herself a good day. Want to pass anything along?"

"A bottle of Crown." Deckard takes the liberty of assuming he qualifies as a bro, and…tucks the phone back into his pocket. "I have numbers in it I need to write down, first. Don't worry. I promise not to make or take any calls the bad men could listen in on." Now it's his turn to be condescending. His nose rankles after Teo's movement across the room.

It takes him a moment to react to news of Abby's happy day. One that he spends thinking and staring, blue eyes stark behind dark glasses. If only you could see a person's buttons with x-ray vision. "Tell her I said I'm sorry. About the nose."

"I'll take care of the Crown." offers Con, giving Deckard a nod and a grin. "Be back later." He claps Teo on the shoulder in passing and turns to go see if the bluesmobile is still there or if someone took the hint and stole it with the keys laying out for everybody to see.

A self-guided palm claps Conrad across the bottom, absent-minded. "Addio, Con." Teo tells him without looking. The bluesmobile is still there. It may have a thief's corpse laying next to it, throat fountaining and Tania's teeth-marks in it, but the vehicle itself ought to be intact. His own tall frame stays angled toward the door, head still pointed at Deckard, watching despite that there's nothing there that he can read. "Not going to add her an explanation?"

Conrad makes a "woohoo!" noise down the hall as he leaves, after getting his ass slapped.

There is a pause, there, because he definitely just saw Teo clap Conrad on the ass, and it takes time to clear that kind of thing out to make room for thought again. "I had to punch her in the face," says Deckard, finally, left hand lifted in an indecipherable sort of…you know. Gesture. "Because there was a guy that was going to kill her. Possibly. …Look, it's complicated, okay? Fuck you."

Teo's expression is flat. Flint has no way of knowing that his erstwhile victim— beneficiary? Has no way of knowing that Abigail had no recollection of the evening, or that the news was really that new to him. Anyway, it wouldn't be very good to punch somebody you just put in a new flat, and Teo's nothing if not good, so. So. Skepticism aside. "Good talk," he concludes. Offers a chuck of his head in salutation, in a style he never grew out of even after the football riots and shit. "If there's nothing else…" He'd already said this part, he realizes. "Take care of yourself, signor." He shuffles out, head stooped hangdog.

Vexation is winning over again anyway. At Conrad, Teo, the Safehouse, himself. Everything. 'Good talk,' gets acknowledgement in the form of a chin lift. The rest just gets a glance before Deckard turns and paces deeper into the room. There's not really much to poke at, but he can pretend to be interested for the short term.

Deckard is no longer bugged, although confined to the house. Feel free to make fun of Ethan's momma in his presence without fear of a horrible death.

November 22nd: Hold Your Liquor

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 23rd: Black And Blue
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