Wounded Ego


abby5_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Wounded Ego
Synopsis The reunion features a little and a lot.
Date February 12, 2010

Old Lucy's: Upstairs

Though one might remember when a certain fiery woman lived here… Now the living area above Old Lucy's has changed hands. The open living room and kitchen are homey, a commingling of two people's tastes. The leather couch sits kitty corner to a one of red suede and a bit smaller. A large bird cage for it's budgie inhabitant takes up it's own corner beside dark paneled walls. Bookshelves with literary pieces of a variety both academic and not take up another small section.

The kitchen is large, with a rolling wood and black marble island to give more counter space to work on. Pots and pans hang from the roof and track lighting keeps it not gloomy. A proper oak dining table has been set up with matching chairs instead of the 70's castoff that the residents have been known to own and a bowl of fresh fruit sits in the center.

Down a hall lay's multiple doors. A master bedroom occupied by the oldest resident and occasionally have a pervading smell of whiskey and smoke coming from it when the door is open. A second door with a cross above it, a third with no marking that is occupied by the third resident of the premises. Two other doors lead to a linen closet and bathroom - Decorated in a very strong pirate theme - respectively. A black cat with a red velvet collar and a little Swarovski charm dangling from it can be found meandering at will.

School. Has. Ended.

Last class, no more. Binders and textbooks have been moved from their customary places on the table to the bookshelf. Grades will be handed out the next week but folks were told their scores. A job faire - small as it was - was held and people matched with potential employer's, resume's passed out and interviews held in cubicled area's. What comes of that, who knows.

Abigail's already spent a few hours downstairs putting in some work and eventually back upstairs to stick her feet up and stare at her pink nailed toes with their little white dotted flowers and flipping through page after page of fashion magazines. 11 days to find a dress that won't break her budget or bank account. Decide whether to hang all her tattoo's out or have Xiulan hide them. She'll pay a visit to the chromokinetic regardless because she's got pink roots and that's not gonna cut it. Already worried that she'll look like southern white trash with the tattoo's, the pink roots would only exacerbate that.

Chunky sweater, yoga pants, wool socks and a tall glass of hot tea, she's pausing at a red dress and showing it to the cat. "Think he'd like that? Could you see me in that? I dunno. You can see her breasts, I don't want that and the slit, Lord on High save me Scarlet, it is up to her thigh" She tsks before turning the page with a sigh. "Baring breasts and cooters to the world. Ridiculous"

It's the soft part of dusk when Teodoro finally comes back to the nearest semblence of a home he's had in months or years since he can remember. Lavender in the sky and brackish pewter gray on the sidewalks, except where snow lakes things a cathode blue or in darker sand-matted clods. He doesn't like this time of day in the winter. Means the cage of curfew is coming down, gradually, and the weather's dropping down from miserable to fucking intolerable.

Even worse when his cheek is slit open, and this time for more than stupid facetious vain reasons. It actually hurts, if only a little.

Upon finding the backdoor unlocked, he literally runs inside. Very quick, very stealthy. Very alarming: the trucker for whom the door had been left open almost drops his big box of peanuts and starts to yelp about intruders. Fortunately, Brenda's still alive and right there to clear up the momentary misunderstanding. She pointed Teo upstairs as if actually expecting an argument— God knows why, and upstairs is where he is in another moment, key in the lock and shoulder walked forcibly into the flat of the door.

"Abigail?" he asks loud enough for the whole house to hear, just in case Francois is in and wants to avoid him.

Scarlet is being asked her opinion of a purple dress, flowy and thin strapped when the familiar sound of shoulder to door that really doesn't need the shoulder to the door since it doesn't stick echoes through the front room followed by the summons. Someone, is back from Palermo it seems and whether it's a good thing or not, remains to be seen.

«I see you are home. How is your mother?» She's trying out her fledgling italian and hoping she doesn't screw it up. Mood set to neutral, navigate carefully. "No one's home, just me"

Her Italian may be fledgling, but it manages to stay aloft well enough to bring a crooked smile to Teo's face. And that's only a little bit humoring. He shuts the door behind him with a press of shoulder and elbow, pops the collar of his jacket with one thumb while he starts shedding his boots with the other.

His rituals for The Return Home are as fixed and ceremonial as the tea rites of geisha in other lands. "«Weak, but recovering. Delilah and I brought her home on the last day and she ran around sticking her fingers on things, apologizing that there was almost enough dust that we could see it against tissue. It's been a long time since I saw her. I'd forgotten how well you would have gotten along with her.

"«She and Lucrezia are twins.» Twins," he translates, in case that particular word hadn't found its way into her vocabulary yet. Despite that Teo doesn't dumb down his sentences much, keeping them as long and colorful as he's normally wont to speak, he keeps his speech slow and articulates with offhanded care. "«Thank you for telling me to go.»"

Much as she's a little miffed with him - in as much as Abby remains miffed with anyone - she's grateful that he's slowed down his Italian and no, twins hadn't reached into her vocabulary yet. She was only 3/4's done the at home learning program. She switches back to English though, not confidant enough to keep it up. "I would have evicted you if you hadn't. I still might. Francois has the master, Leonard is home and looking to go back to being Alexander. Couch is yours or there's the inflatable bed and you can set it up in my room. Till you and Francois learn to kiss and make up for being stupid men" For putting things in places they don't belong and keeping secrets from one another. WOunded ego's heal so slowly.

'On that note" Getting down to business even as she's flipping pages, dismissing anything black, or white, or tropical colored. "Do you have something you want to tell me?"

There's the sound of boots on the stairs. He always walks like he's got something to prove…or is coming to serve a warrant. The door drifts open, rather than bangs, preceding Leo's appearance with arms full of groceries. The power's handy that way, isn't it? And then there's Teo, and he literally leaves the bags hanging in midair like something out a cartoon - just unhands them and strides forward to sweep the Sicilian into a hug from behind.

When he is accosted, Teo was in the middle of doing something important, presumably. Like changing extravagant colors. White, first, from surprise; red from embarrassment, maybe veined with a little extra purple around the gills from guilt. A peripheral flare and coruscating spark of residual anger, almost instantly squelched out and drowned under more guilt still.

You see, Teo had known Abigail a long time before Ghost's tragic course of development had taught him to judge men for their deeds, but Francois wasn't so lucky: it's been an exceptionally challenging few months and some of the time-traveling assassin's more haunting traits have—

—popped out of the woodwork and ambushed him with a hug. Squashes away whatever Teodoro had been about to say. There's a cough. For whatever reason, he had thought that was Brenda clattering up the stairs to make sure they weren't about to start fighting anymore. Something in her manner while they were downstairs. Teo's face goes from livid to a Luhrmann shade of pink; he grips the front of Leonard's arms, then throws his own backward so far they almost pop in their sockets. Wrangles Leo's head behind him. "My sweet fucking Christ on a stick," he says, unthinkingly.

Swearing and the lords name, in one. Scowl. The pale pink dress is dismissed, though a red one ripped out of the page and put to the side. "Thanks for getting groceries Leonard. I just was exhausted after today" She's not even looking over at the two of them and the topic of Francois has died on her lips now that there's a third person into the mix. Maybe later behind closed doors the two of them can have a talk about making moves on people that they know the other person likes. Effectively cutting off that person from the pool of potentials for the near future, or future.

"Roberts taking me to the Corinthian opening. If either of you want to go, I can spring tickets for you" She's switching topics at hand. "Teo, don't squash him please"

The groceries head meekly for the kitchen under their own power, landing with a rustle of plastic on the counter. Leo kisses Teo behind one ear, and then buries his face in the Italian's shoulder with a sigh. "That's more than I aspire to, darlin'," he says, and there's no hint of Brooklyn in his voice, just the slow drawl of the Georgia coast. "Been too damn long."

Abby's still mad at him, then. Small string of alarms goes up in the back of Teo's head, but there are other things in there too, jostling for space, and it is hard to pay enough attention to any given one. It's one of the ranking priorities that Leonard's still on his good side.
Physically speaking, that is. He can't help but notice the token of affection puckered on the back of his ear landed on the right, and it takes a little more conscious effort than it should for the Sicilian to admit to himself he is probably going to have to look at the telekinetic in the face some point soon. Left is his bad side. On the other hand, Teo isn't quite stupid or self-ignorant enough to think physical beauty's the only part where he's come up short, recently.

"That one's perfect," he says, instead, pointing at the red gown displayed across Abby's newest choice. With one arm, he squeezes Leonard's head but careful not to squash. With the indicating finger, he tries to make friends with his girl again. At least, as well as they can without actually talking about— anything, yet.

«That one is well over three thousand dollars. I can't afford that Teodoro. It's by someone called Marchesa» She could, a one time purchase. people pay triple for their wedding gowns. But even Bright FUture Abby didn't go fully traditional on her own wedding gown the second time around and the first time? Bargain. "Don't know why I agreed to this. I'm gonna look like southern white trash beside that man and they're going to pity him for taking me. Tattoo'd white trash" The magazine is tossed to the side with a wrinkle of her nose and a push off from couch towards the kitchen so that she can deal with unloading groceries. "Can't even dance. don't own any jewelry and I have sensible heels" She has an imitation chanel suit and pearls and sensible black heels worn to a Dr. Bianco's funeral. That is the extent of her pretty formal worthy clothing and she can't wear the suit.

"I'm tattooed white trash now, too!" announces Leo to Teo, voice just brimming with pride. He peers over Teo's shoulder to the image in question. "That's real pretty," he adds, before making a little wince at the price. "Damn," he says, before eeling around Teo to try and hug him that way. The half Glasgow smile that the Sicilian now sports also gets a little wince, and a canine frown of commiseration, even as he wraps his hands around Teo's forearms.

'Marchesa' doesn't sound familiar, but then again, it's been a few years since Teo was part of the whole Euro's fancier party circuits on his aunt's arm. His armload of self-congratulatory tattooed white trash is adorable, and something about Leonard's doggish sympathy makes it easier than usual to not stare fixedly at some indistinct point of wall while his eyes make first acquaintance with the half Glasgow grin raggled scarred up his cheek. Abigail's monetary concerns are wryly endearing in a wistful way.

It's been a long time since he bought her that coat, and he finds himself regretting he still isn't in enough money to do it again. Everybody is adorable. Except maybe Caliban, whose presence, intimated and hinted at is already a souring influence. "Maybe," he says, squeezing Leonard experimentally to check he has been eating and warm enough, "your gentleman inviter should foot the bill for the gown and the shoes. You aren't going to look like tattooed white trash.

"You have jewelry, too; you mentioned all us stupid boys giving you shiny shit a couple months ago, and I think those probably gifts speak more of you than anything you could dig out of a catalogue. You're to thin." This lattermost remark is, no doubt, directed at Leonard rather than the girl in the casual yoga wear. "Uomo."

"I have matching crystal cross necklaces and a big real engagement ring for a fake engagement. That, Teodoro is the extent of my jewelry and robert is not buying my dress, or my shoes, or my jewelry. I bought my own ticket even" She's going dutch in other words. Dutch to a charity ball where admittance is 300 dollars and she doesn't know if that includes drinks. Abigail surmises not. It is very out of her element. "I'm going to look like I don't belong at least"

She misses that jacket. It's likely on the back of some hooker or whore from Logan's brothel, cleaned up and dry cleaned. If she let robert buy her dress and everything,s he'd feel probably very much the same way. Even after being nearly wall'd in the alley like one of John's former employee's. She has dignity and self respect somewhere. The red dress would be pretty. Cans meet counter as she calls out "He's right you're too skinny"

"It's been a long few months," says Leo, sounding shy, contrite. It's….sort of weird, really. Like that jaunt across country has rubbed some rough edges off. "What is this you're talking about, Abby?" he wonders, having apparently not absorbed this saga in the last few days. He reaches up to touch Teo's cheek with gentle fingers - the unmarred one, an absentminded caress.

And Teo, in the meantime, is all rough corners and prickly awkwardness. Oh hey, fingers on his face. His face. Leonard's— and Abigail, and— Francois, somewhere around here or there with the fighting and the casual things that turned into formalized war. And, of course, his face.

A short wreck of half-formed trains of thought rear-ends to a jumbled halt in Teo's head, and he tugs his head out of his friend's reach. Perhaps to conceal the avoidance or because he felt like he owed the telekinetic some rough affection anyway, he closes thumb and forefinger on Leo's nose, tugs his nose downward so that he can deliver a comedically fat kiss to his forehead, exaggerated enough that the ragged hole in his cheek billows in before out.

Teo parts ways about then. Goes to poke through the grocery bags, move their contents to the proper places. "When's the ball?"

"Twenty Second" Abby replies. "Ten days" Ten days to chicken out. Ten days to find a dress and shoes and see if she can't find decent fake jewelry. Or.. no, she doesn't know anyone who she can borrow from. Maybe if Bianco had been alive she could approach him, see if his family had something she could put collateral down to borrow for the evening. Cat's always.. conservative. Besides, you need to know what you're wearing first.

"we're talking about a Hotel and Casino opening that Robert Caliban has invited me to. Formal as formal can be."

Leo's a little perplexed by that, a bit put out. It doesn't manifest in one of those old thunderous scowls, though. Just puzzlement, a bit of sadness - he turns a questioning look on Abby, like she's gonna explain it all, of course. Then, "Oh, hm," says LEo, oh so eloquently. "You going with someone?"

Caliban. Teo doesn't like him either, just so you know, but his suspicion of Linderman's goon is nothing compared to the objections he'd had to the Vanguard and Sylar back in the day, and he never got in her way back then, either.

Plastic rustles. He paws through the grocery bags, fetches out vegetables and cans and ends up having to get the refrigerator handle with his elbow. "Amato and I got some of zia Lucrezia's stuff out of her hotel room before HomeSec's housekeeping burned and bagged the evidence. I know where it's in storage.

"There might be something you like, could be taken in in ten days. I'm sure she wouldn't mind." Teo sets down the hot sauce, tabasco, and then knocks the cabinets open. "Do you want to have a look?"

She's letting menfolk do the putting away since while the kitchen is nice sized, 3 people in one area might be overkill. "Robert. I bought my ticket already" She grabs the milk from the fridge and a glass from a cupboard before retreating to the table in the kitchen. Heel's perched on the seat's edge and uncapping the blue lid to the white plastic jug.

"I'll think about it. If I can't find anything I like in a store that won't kill my wallet. Ticket was expensive but it goes for charity. So" There's a twitch of her nose that speaks more volumes in regards to borrowing and altering a dress from a famous italian movie star. What works color wise on a woman with black hair, won't necessarily work on a blonde. "Maybe if there's some jewelry in her things. That might work." Her offer of a compromise. "Won't have to alter that"

Leo looks dubious, but rather vague. Like there's no immediate threat for him to growl and bristle and posture at, and that leaves him somewhat at a loss. He just blinks owlishly, steps around Teo to get at milkand cocoa.

"See what happens when you go away?" Teo is asking, his head slightly muffled by great huge cabinet doors and the fact he's arm-deep in one shelf trying to figure out how much space or spiders are in this one. "Abby winds up partying with millionaires and wearing celebrity jewelry.

"Sure thing, Abigail." The compromise is some sort of symbol. An optimistic one. No, they still haven't managed to Talk about Anything that deserves such Capitalizations, but as efforts to make friends with your friends go, that could have been a shoddier olive branch. "I'll text you the address and we'll go by." Pulling his arm free, Teo alights all of one loaf of bread into the shelf, and then closes it up. "I'm glad you're going. It sounds like fun."

An olive branch that's lit with diamonds and sapphires and rubies instead of the just the dark glossy leaves. There's a grunt from Abby as she relinquishes the milk to Leonard so that he can make with his hot cocoa. She just wants a cold glass of bovine byproduct. "Tuesday. We can go then. I have to hit a few other stores then. Maybe see if Eileen has any taste in formal dresses. Cause I don't want to rely on Brenda for her taste"

Now that's irony. Asking a terrorist about her taste in dresses. It's a measure of whatever alchemical transformation that's turned Leo into something mildmannered that he doesn't grunt or scowl or protest aloud, just nods to that. He's not the one to ask, considering where and how he grew up. He offers Teo a chuckle, but it has a weird air of token offering.

The absence of growling and temper doesn't go entirely unnoticed, but Teo can't figure out if that's a good sign or bad. Not at first, anyway. After a few seconds, he decides that Leonard's new quiet is nuanced differently. Less brittle, more pliant? Less enervated and blankly miserable, more— what's the term. Tranquillità. It sounds better in Italian, he thinks, as words are wont to do.

"Eily's going too?" This both surprises and doesn't surprise him. She hasn't been back to the dispensary in days, and all of her participation in black operations thus far have been strictly third person. Third— bird. Long-distance. Something about her fucking parole officer, jigging around on thin ice. It's mildly irritating, an unhappiness mitigated only vaguely the recollection that, in the other future, the two women had been friends too.

"She's probably going to really want to take a load off by then."

"DUnno. Where'd she get the money to go? She's just.. Liz is busy with Frontline and … I don't have many female friends. I figured Eileen could use some company and … if she got pardoned like everyone else, she could use a friend and I mean, she can't pick a dress any worse than I would" If anything, she might temper abigail's probable choices that would include covering up to the neck and all the way to the wrists.

"UNless you want to try. You did pick out that jacket" That wasn't what she would have chosen but in the end, it worked. A lift and then replacement of the glass to the table leaves it with half as much as it had in milk and abby cleaning a milk mustache off with her tongue.

Water to be heated in the microwave, Leo to still try and find a place that's comfortable. Too long out of the loop, it's a bit awkward still, trying to reconcile past and present. He loiters by the microwave, folding his arms across his chest like he's not sure what to do with his hands.

Ruby-encrusted olive branch is a go. "Yeah, I'll look around. The winter collections and all that shit should be going on sale, right? Or closest thing couture has to a 'sale.'" Teo gives the girl a smile that's brighter in his eyes than it is in his teeth. "Eileen's on parole. Or whatever the baby-terrorist equivalent to that is. She has to keep her nose clean, is all I know. I've been staying with Raith and the rest of them off and on for the past few months and she hasn't been around lately.

"Just her birds." There's a sidelong glance at Leonard, then, remembering his eye, but his brow soothes away any trace of a scowl after a moment. "Liz and I had a huge fucking fight when she told me about FRONTLINE. I was trying to explain about— how Kershner's secret psychometry had kind of fucked a lot of security holes into our lives, but somehow she took it to mean I was disappointed in her or something. I don't know. We haven't really talked since." There's a note of admission in that. Teodoro trends toward either confrontation or avoidance. Working stuff out isn't his forte.

"Miss feeding her birds. Knew about the fight with Liz. seriously, get her flowers, some chocolates and just… prove your not. Because she realy does think you are" There's a magazine and mail on the table and she grabs it, flipping through to see if there's anything for her. "How's it coming on going back to being Alexander Leo?"

Leonard spreads square hands a moment, mutely, before plucking the mug of hot milk out and stirring the powder into it. "No news," he says, gently. "And Abby's right. Go talk to Liz. Her heart's true. Hell, depending on what she says, maybe I'll actually consider Frontline. If it's open again, eventually." He doesn't sound all that definite.

Teo doesn't say anything for a few awkwardly protracted seconds, apparently genuinely surprised at what one of them said. Since he's looking at Leonard right now, one would suppose he's surprised at what Leonard said. He doesn't say anything about that, and his silence might well lend some credibility to Elisabeth's concern. It may not be skepticism, exactly, but he certainly isn't all rainbows and champaigne bottles and dinner's on my tonight!

He's never liked cops. Cops with superpowers as well as special weapons and tactics and General Autumn's vested interest is different to that. None of the old concerns about individual corruption and defiance of rightful law really hold there, anymore and Teo isn't sure how to articulate it. So instead, he says, "I'm sure they could use you. And I'll talk to Liz. I've always thought she was a fuckin' rock star in the crusade for justice, so— I guess I owe her a reminder."

"She doesn't need a reminder" Abigail tosses down a phone bill, mental note to take care of it. "You're not the only one who's reminding her. She's had a bunch of others who have taken it upon themselves to remind her. She hasn't forgotten who she is, and where she's from. She may be wearing a different hat these days, but it doesn't change what's under that hat" Okay, that maybe came off a twee bit terse.

"And you should Leonard. I think you'd be good in a third Frontline. You'd get to do what you love and not have to hide what you can do"

The telekine bobs his head to that, settles himself a little creakily at the kitchen table. Sonny, bless him, wiped away all the outer traces of the IED….but some of the internal stuff remains. There's the faintest of winces, before he raises dark eyes to Teo. What? I was always a cop. Sort of. "I'll see what she says. If it proves to be a disaster, well…." He shrugs shoulders under thethin cotton of his t-shirt.

Teo puts his hands in his pockets, straightening his jacket with a tug. He doesn't look at the former healer as he pads around the kitchen's island. "I'm going to remind her, that I think well of her and the work she does. I'm pretty sure she needs that 'reminder.' As for the other 'reminder,' I can see how that would be really annoying.

"You want to get something to eat? I think I need some air." He hooks a thumb over his shoulder, toward the door. The staircase angling downward somewhere past it. He says 'fresh air' but probably means some other kind of decompression. "There's this new Bangledeshi place down the street. If it's good, we can drag Harrison out when she gets back into the city." Look. Socializing. Like normal people. Teo's even going to brave the public with the giant ragged hole in his cheek, though hard to tell whether he's spurred to do so because Leonard's back or being inside has turned unpleasant.

"You take Leonard" There's a piece of mail in her hand she's not putting down. "I got some bar stuff to do, and all that. Accounting. But you and Leonard should get some fresh air. More fresh air in his case. Besides, you forgot the icing and the peaches. You should go watch amovie or something. The world stopped ending for five minutes. You can breath, pretend to be normal"

Pretend. That's a good way of putting it. Leo offers a smile at that, and it has an air of chimp grimace. Right. "Sure," he says, quietly. He plants hands on the tabletop, heaves himself up, game to follow - there's a coat by the door that he snags, his worn army parka, with its zillion capacious pockets.

The mail fetches a brief glance, curious, but Teo doesn't twist his head around to read it. Nor can he steal a peek through her eyes, either. Not that he would, of course. He isn't Ghost. Only half, at best.

"Bring you some luchi. You might like it, although it's nothing like Doreen's bread." He steps into his boots, and gets the door with a yank of a callused hand. His own coat's still on, naturally, the last of his onion layers against the perpetually offensive cold. As he holds it open for Leonard, Teo's footfalls filter hollowly out into the air above the stairs. There's a hesitating beat's pause. "I'll take the couch. Won't be back 'til late, anyway."

"And cream cheese and Baloney. A couple packages of the Oscar Meyer and philidelphia. I want cake" The kind of cake that neither man touches, but she eats like crazy. Maybe she'll introduce Francois to it. The letter glimpsed in passing, Laguardia community college. Most likely her grades. "Have fun"

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