Won't You Invite Me In?


felix_icon.gif leland_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title But Won't You Invite Me In?
Synopsis A bloodsucking creep shows up on Leland's doorstep and Felix lets him in. Teo has a minor cosmetic favor to ask, but it causes a great deal more fuss than that.
Date November 10, 2009

Le Rivage — Leland and Felix's Apartment

Fel is, again, slaving over his books. He looks contented, stowed in his old bedroom, ruined foot stretched out under his desk. He's in a polo shirt and khakis, the former with the Bureau seal embroidered on the breast. Lee's in the kitchen, patiently working on dinner. It's a quiet evening.

There's a knock on the door, some two minutes after Teo discards the idea of climbing up the outside wall under cover of dense blue dusk so as to minimize the risk of subtracting ten years off the life of the little old lady who lives in the apartment directly below the officers in question.

It isn't until he's right outside the door, squinting at the peephole in reverse and shuffling some vague effort at tidying his military-style jacket, tar-rimmed boots and scratchy hair from its perennial, I'm-a-terrorist-living-out-of-a-hole-in-the-wall travel-rumpled state, that he realizes there are two people in the house. He blinks. Takes a moment out of his regularly-scheduled blond brain static to deliver a brief mental curse at his ineptitude with Ghost's ability, and straightens, trying to remember whether he knows Leland, how well Leland knows him, and how much he forgot. It's too late for alternatives: he's already knocked.

Goddamn Sabra fucking Dalton.

Leland moves a pot from a burner and flicks the heat off. The whole apartment smells warm and welcoming. The meaty, comforting aroma of pot roast wafts from the oven. When the knock comes, he peers towards Felix, then towards the door. "I'll get it." A piece of pepper from the cutting board is popped into his mouth as he moves towards the door.

There's a pause as he gazes through the peephole, then a deep frown creases his mouth. He tugs open the door and says, "The fuck do you want?" Such a warm, welcoming man, thoug the words are more reflexive than a purposeful insult. He doesn't really have many reasons to be warm to Teo. And he doesn't know a thing about the former affair with Felix.

Lee's gruff. But he usually doesn't greet Girl Scouts or trick-or-treaters or whomever with such effusive welcome. The sound of Felix's pen stops, and is followed by the three-beat thump of him heaving himself up and coming to see who it is, poking his nose around the corner of the kitchen.

Which proves to be Teodoro Laudani. Felix blanches, and says nothing. Lee's said it for him, at least for the moment.

Normally, when a Sicilian in black drops by someone's front door with no weapons a half-second from the draw, it is a little bit like receiving a raven-winged and skull-faced harbinger of death. Teo has a tendency toward bringing bad news, irrespective of whether or not he is the bad news. For asking help, also. He does neither now, the tall shape of him nervy and misfit in the confines of the doorframe, either too large or merely too prone to mobility to find loitering on a threshold comfortable.

He doesn't ask to come in, though. Might not want to. "To borrow something from your—" Vocabulary slot machine rings and cycles through. Teo picks, "Roommate. Please," he adds, that last token politeness pleated in slower than he used to say but far more easily than he has over the recent months. There's nothing like a dissociative episode at a morgue to remind one about manners.

Leland makes himself as big as possible. He's already a big guy, so it doesn't take much. His frown deepens and he leans on the doorframe, jaw set. "That depends on if he wants to talk to you." He's like the Fed's own personal bouncer. "Felix?" He doesn't look away from the Italian.

Borrow something from….what? Fel points at his own narrow chest, utterly bemused. "Lee, it's okay," he says, gently. "I'll talk to him. You can let him in." His own personal Cerberus, more likely. He limps forward, as gracefully as he can.

The awkwardness inherent to this request does not make the awkwardness of everything else much easier on one's delicate sensibilities, so Teo regards the enormous cop's protectiveness in a relatively sympathetic light. He turns up the corners of his mouth, does Lee the courtesy of holding his gaze until Felix is done gesturing at himself and comes out of hiding in his hitching gait. "Sorry to interrupt," he adds, neatly, his mouth in a rueful tug. He pays the chef a nod. "Dinner smells good."

Leland pushes the door closed behind Teo and circles around the back of the Italian like a wolf regarding a stranger in his territory. As he moves towards the kitchen to check on dinner, he murmurs to Felix, "Watch out for that manipulative rat bastard." Then he goes to check the potatoes.

Oh, Leland. You have no idea. Fel's expression is politely puzzled, all save for his eyes, which are intensely bewildered and very nervous. "You're welcome to sit, Teo," he says, gesturing towards the couch. Long enough for a tall cop to doze on. "What can I do for you?" It's a weird neutrality - Teo's not currently wanted for anything, which is presumably why he dares beard this particular pair of pigs in their pen.

On the other hand, Teo had a pair of big brass ones on display back when he was wanted for everything under the sun, as far as consorting with Federal agents and their friends go. Of course, all of those agents are now dead or crippled and staring at him with a certain edge of terror, so the daring is open to creative interpretation.

Teo comes in, bobbing his head polite as you like. One will have to forgive him for toggling his ability to eavesdrop for that brief instant the chef pauses to whisper at his roommate; if the Popo are going to call the Popo, he ought to know about it. The Popo are not going to call the Popo, however, and the warning Leland murmurs instead has Teo glancing deliberately away. That wall over there is pretty cool. "It's okay, I don't think I'm staying long.

"I was wondering if I could borrow Saint Michael." It's rather abrupt, yes, but Teo suspects that is technically less rude than some great meandering lead-in. He flicks a pointing finger at Felix's chest, then, as if mimicking the Fed's earlier 'Who me?' moment of incredulity. He looks up, and again and still, eighty percent of their common history is missing from the sentience behind his wintry eyes, but his gaze his steady, his request frank. He remembers that.

Two things happen with that. One, how would Teo know about that? Two, why would he want that, especially something so personal? Leland's jaw clenches and his eyes narrow and harden. He doesn't disguise his hostility. "The fuck kind of request is that?" His words are barely words. They're more like a series of discontented rumbles. His gaze slides over to Felix. Something flickers in his eyes.

Oh, no. The Rottweiler is upset. "He knows because he found it on Staten, after…." How do you put this politely? "….after Deckard murdered me." There's no good way to let your BFF know that the other guy in the room looted your corpse. "He returned it to me not long ago. I owe him," Fel's tone is very gentle. He reaches back into the soft folded collar, drags up the steel chain and unfastens it. There's a threaded magnetic clasp on it, now, for double security - and the chain itself is new. The silver winks in the light. But he doesn't hold it out to Teo, not yet. He eyes it wistfully. "Why do you want to borrow it?"

"Crisis of faith, some people trying to kill me, number's bound to grow with the Volken loyalists making noise again. The usual sitrep. I've missed a lot of church." Teo doesn't mean to sound facetious, but it's difficult to phrase the words in a way that won't come off like that one way or another. Nothing is going to sound graceful after 'He found it on Staten after Deckard murdered me,' and Teodoro isn't about to expend hysterical gestures or exhaust his vocabulary trying. It is what it is. He doesn't reach to take it, though. "You don't owe me anything, but I'd appreciate it."

"Buy your own goddamn medal," mutters Leland. There is something that smells very invasive about this request, and the rottweiler has gotten a lot more protective of Felix in recent weeks. Understandably. And Teo didn't exactly make a shining impression on him. "It doesn't belong to you." That statement is pointed and his gaze on the Italian is unflinching. He steps up beside Felix.

He wants to reach back, pat Leland, reassure him. Can't in front of Teo. "Well, he sort of dropped the ball where I was concerned. But being general of the Heavenly Host has to take up a lot of your attention," Fel says, wryly. He does, however, scoop the little pendant into his palm, and proffer it to Teo, nonetheless. There is no nervous request that Teo return it when he's done.

There are two long steps to take before Teo's close enough to grasp the proffered jewelry. It's creepy how quiet Teo moves sometimes these days. The metal weighs warm in his hand: despite his own voracious metabolism, the speedster's is something else. His relief is instant but subtle, a difference in the recurved line of his shoulders, fingers tightening white around the metal's machined contours for a brief moment, before he offers his gratitude.

"Grazie." It goes in his pocket first, more for Leland's sake than for that of anyone else's, and he keeps his hands installed there, hidden, in proper posture for stepping back out into the cold. "Let me know if you change your mind."

Leland is getting uncomfortable with all of this. And discomfort leads to an increase in grumpiness and glaring. He doesn't say anything, but he practically radiates the exact opposite of hospitality. It says something that a pot is nearly boling over and he doesn't go to tend to it.

"I will," Felix says, very quietly. He's leaning on his cane, weight distributed all wrong and off-kilter. "I hope it works better for you than it has me," he says, simply. He glances at Lee, glances at the kitchen, and then moves to go deal with the pot himself, hobbling like a man twice his age.

It may be because the Russian's timing for departure was totally ingenious or a natural cycle of Teo's mind— and its constituent parts— as inexorable as the turning of tides or the phases of the associated celestial body, but Leland's increasingly prickly demeanor finally warrants a response. A frown notches faintly in between the Sicilian's brows.

When he finally finds his voice, it's even, the mathematical precision of a balancing act. "I've been protecting your people and your boy for about as long as you've been punching yourself in the nuts over being too inadequate to do it yourself. I'd appreciate it if you could remember that, 's well as everything I did to piss you off. Should I show myself out?" His head rolls half an inch on its axis, nudging back at the door through which he'd come.

"You tell yourself whatever the fuck you want to about your supposed heroism, Laudani. I know your type. You get off on holding shit back from people and taking 'the burden' on by yourself. Got a goddamn martyr complex and you think people should admire you for it. You're just a vigilante with some deep psychological problems. And I'd appreciate it if you'd stay the fuck out of my face." There's no flying fists from Leland Daubrey. In fact, those words are delivered in a surprisingly flat tone. "I take it that you're some kind of friend to Felix. Or some debt still hangs between you. He's seen enough violence lately. I think you'd agree. So yes. Show yourself out."

Wow. That's….a strangling level of restraint from Leland Daubrey. There's the clank of the pot being set on the trivet, and then rapid hitching, followed by an alarmed Felix sticking his face back out into the living room. "I owe him my life, Lee," he says, quietly. "More than once. Please. Let it go. Both of you." 'Your boy.' Felix is blushing. How's he know that?

That word again: debt. The corner of Teo's mouth curls down under the ugly weight of it. He neither likes nor trusts it. No one holds their end of a bargain when it comes to discrete units of favors owed, Felix Ivanov least of all; if he has anything on the man, it's out of grace or guilt, and at best an optimistic, unreliable long short in the dark. The glance he levels on Felix's head when it suddenly prairie-dogs out of the kitchen is short on warmth but curbed in its heat.

Those assumptions. "I think you're talking about your type, Daubrey. Between the three of us, I share with the class, stay discreet, and stay alive.

"Good night, both of you." He turns around. Lopes toward the door, his tread different, now, clopping civilian noise revisiting the sawtoothed tread of his boots and his broad-shouldered posture. He opens the door with a click-clack of mechanics in wood, eases it open to let himself out into the night cold.

"I gather that, Felix. That's the only reason his nose isn't broken right now," murmurs Leland. He hears what Teo says, but he doesn't rise to any last dangling bits of bait. Instead, the Italian will hear the clap of a deadbolt and the slide of the chain lock once he's out in the hall. Only when the door is secured against intrusion does he let the tension show on his face. He stands facing the door, jaw clenched.

Once Teo's gone, Fel limps up to Leland, puts a hand worriedly on the larger man's shoulder. "Come have dinner," he says, simply. As if he were the one responsible for what's in the kitchen.

Leland glares at the door for a moment longer. Then, he rocks a step back and moves towards the kitchen. He starts the job of carving the roast. Hacking a slab of meat to pieces is somehow therapeutic. "Open the wine, would you?" The words attempt to be casual, though the tone reveals his mood.

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