Wrong Sleeve


elisabeth2_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Wrong Sleeve
Synopsis They just wish Kozlow was down a well. Preferably with both ankles shattered, alone, unhappy, and with no access to regular food or heat. Out of everyone who deserves it—
Date May 4, 2010

West Village — Maison d'Allegre

The brownstone home, number 57 on West 11th Street, is three floors tall, all old brown brickwork as the name implies. A curving stepped stoop leads up to the door, wrought iron barring it off from its neighbours, with the building's number in brass nailed into the painted wood without any glass inset to give a glimpse of the space within.

Once inside, the immediate hardwood foyer offers space to hang up coats and set aside shoes, with a wooden, open flight of stairs curving up into the second floor. The first opens up into three designated areas — a spacious livingroom with a rug of earthern tones thrown in the centre, a generous hearth set into the wall with traditional log-burning capabilities. The walls are exposed brickwork, lined with shelving of a slowly growing book collection. Next to it is a dining area defined as such by an oval dining table, generous and able to expand to sit up to eight people, and usually littered with too many things to be good to eat at until cleared. The kitchen is barred off from the rest with a counter, all stainless steel appliances and a sliding door that leads into a modest backyard. Tucked away to the right is a laundry, cramped but sufficient.

The second floor has more walls, closed off areas — a master bedroom with a connecting bathroom, a hallway that slides between the stairwell and said bathroom, into unfurnished open space that provides linen closets and such storage. The third floor is similar, if reversed, and almost designed to be its own separate apartment, with a bedroom and bathroom at the back of the house, an open social space with a squat coffeetable, and an open, unfurnished space with a balcony hanging off it, street-side. The stairwell spirals all the way up into rooftop access.

Teo is rattling dinner around in the kitchen, by the time the woman rings the bell, and the whole house smells sharply of basil, garlic, and some variety of reasonable quality— if, of course, frozen— seafood. He's pretty good for a bachelor cook, but he's still no gourmet: his pasta sauce is going to be amazing, but it's still only pasta sauce. There's a reason for that, of course. Pasta sauce, in general, stores well in bricks as long as you have a freezer, and all of fucking New York City is a freezer, these days.

He's a familiar figure ushering her in, always slightly out of place in any nice place, and somehow frequently in a nice place. Wearing a pair of scratched-up jeans and probably the extra bulk of trackies underneath, a hoodie, and a scar rifted through his left cheek. Socks, of course. It's probably slightly surprising he isn't wearing his boots indoors, given his antipathy toward winter weather. "C'mon in, signorina. Francois isn't back just yet."

Elisabeth is bundled up for the Arctic, including the face mask. She pulled all that off when she hit his doorway, grateful for the fact that he's got a generator that allows them to have heat and lights. "I hope they're bulking up security on the building," she says quietly. "Things are getting really, really scary out on the streets, Teo." She slips out of her jacket, and even takes off her boots at the door before following Teo toward the kitchen, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek as she slides into a chair. "Smells fabulous. You have no idea how good home cooking sounds right now. I've been eating at the base, and it's abysmal. And when I do get home, I have nothing in the apartment to cook," she grimaces a bit. "How're you guys holding up?"

Teo takes the kiss on his face without flinching overtly, though there's that stillness, always: presiding vanity. Yes, the world may be going to Hell, version of the unfortunately frozen, fraught with bigotry, social warfare, and battered by Arctic temperatures, but he will always have enough time to wish he was prettier. Maybe, he's just really good at multi-tasking. "We're good. Peter's new healing ability seems to have some pretty fuckin' heavy costs, but he sorted Francois out, and I think he's still on-tap.

"I think I heard Cardinal's name mentioned in that context?" There's still an algid chill in the air, even after the door has been wedged shut again against the crush of powder snow. "Francois, me, and a frugal quantity of posessions are about all the security this particular building has."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "I'm just glad that Peter was able to help Francois. How bad are the aftereffects of the healing abilty?" she asks. "I never really knew whether Kozlow did what he did to people …. on purpose. You know?" She's always been very matter-of-fact about Teo's scar — it's a badge of honor in terms of what the man has given in this fight.

And then she goes very still. "Peter is going to try to heal Richard?" Elisabeth asks quietly. She's afraid to hope. There's a moment where she can't even breathe with the hope that chokes her, creating an anxiety effect that she only suffers in relatively rare moments nowadays. A hand flies to her chest and she tries to hide the struggle to take a deep breath from Teo as she asks, "…. CAN he?"

"I don't know if he can," is Teo's honest answer, his features troubled. He leads her the way back into the living area, motions for her to grab a seat at the dining table while he percolates his brain-thoughts and pours out some coffee into two mugs. Little cardboard of sugar cubes with it, tweezers, creamer in a palmful of those cheap, ribbed plastic cups. Of all things, it's the creamer that's peculiarly warm to touch. "But he did cure Francois of fuckin' stone petrification, once.

"I think the transformative properties of his ability are different to what Abby's where. Or even Volken's. Neither of them could've made a man of stone back into flesh again. Popular theory is that Kozlow's personality twisted his ability so that he gave out exaggerated side-effects, scarring, botched anatomy, so on. Francois, so far, is good as new. He just has a scar on his leg in the shape of a hand." Teo scrapes a chair back with his hip, and then raises one of his own hands to demonstrate, digits splayed, spreadeagled. Like this.

Moving to sit down, Elisabeth bites her lip hard. Blowing out a couple of slow breaths, she looks up at him and says softly, "God, Teo… I don't even know whether to let myself hope for that." She reaches out to take the coffee from him, her hand trembling as she does it. "Christ," she murmurs, shoving her free hand through her hair as she rests the mug on her leg to steady it. "He's… not doing too hot," she admits softly. She doesn't even know if Teo's seen him. "Still coming up with the useful intel, though," she grins slightly. "Were you guys planning on telling me what you have up your sleeve?" Looking over the rim of the cup as she sips the hot brew, Liz studies Teo. "Are you using Kozlow as bait now, or did you have something else running? Cuz frankly, I'm out of fucking ideas aside from standing out in the middle of the street and inviting that motherfucker to bring it," she admits.

Hey there's some more shitty news. Teo's features go from troubled to a four-year-old's oh god casserole grimace. Granted, the situation with Kozlow missing, and the orbitally-nuked safehouse, and Matt Parkman typing snotty E-mails at him while Rebel can't be bothered to capitalize is somewhat more serious than oh god casseroles, just. Well, this is a conversation a couple days coming.

"I can't figure out where he is," he says, plainly. "Nor can Homeland Security or Rebel, last I read. But I appreciate your optimism.

"I'm not sure what we're supposed to do with that whole situation. I guess he isn't really the problem 's much as Dreyfus is, now," Teo muses, vague in that sort of way he gets when he's very tired of various deaths and mayhems, and the all-round pain-in-the-ass of prioritizing one incredibly bitch-tit situation over another. "In theory, it's only him and the Chinese shitheads, right?" He wraps his scar-notched hands around his own mug, tips a mouthful of beverage in to swallow. Unbeknownst to him, he's due for a sputter.

Elisabeth blinks. Several times. And carefully sets her coffee cup down, her blue eyes never leaving Teo's face. "What?" she asks. And usually when it's in that very deadly quiet tone, it bodes ill. She waits until he swallows to say flatly, "What the fuck do you mean you don't know where he is? If you didn't stash his ass at the Corinthian, who the fuck did?"

At least, the coffee isn't audacious enough to actually reverse out of his gullet and make with the spew across the table. Teo stops at the end of his mouthful, his eyes satellite-dish in their sockets, his fingers locked into position around the handle of his mug in a way that is all white knuckles and the promise of some rather painful cramping. "Wh— y— wh— the Cor-?" It's been awhile since she's seen him start-stop, abort and trip over half-formed words like this. More reminiscent of the substitute teacher than the hybrid, never mind Ghost. "With— John Logan?"

"Yeah," Elisabeth says dryly. "With John Logan. I've had Richard keeping tabs on him because he's been in Dreyfus's company. So he's been shadowing the place, if you'll pardon the pun." She frowns. "He told me just before we hit the Vanguard the other night that he'd seen Logan bring Kozlow in — I assumed you'd moved him from the safehouse just before it got hit and put him there for later use, though for the life of me I couldn't figure out why there. I meant to check in with you about it, but we ran the op, the blizzard rolled in, and I forgot all about it in the frenzy," she admits.

There's a motion of one hand hastening around next to Teo's head, like he's either… swatting flies, or exculpating her of the blame. It certainly isn't her fault, after all. He has no idea whose fault it is, but no sooner is that idea in his head that the realization lights on him. Logan's, of course.

Fucker's been— "John Logan's been fucking us a little too hard over the past couple months. I'm going to ask him what the fuck is going on here. I'll bring backup. Promise." It's obvious he's hedging, hesitating on the edge of actually picking her out of the line-up and dragging her over to harrass the former pimp specifically, but he knows she's busy. The snow only slows down so many dangerous Evolved criminals, and her face is more public than ever, these days.

Pursing her lips, Liz asks quietly, "You sure you want to do that in such a…. forceful manner?" She tilts her head. "Given that I didn't know what was going on, I asked Richard to look into it. Perhaps we ought to let that play out and see what information it nets us. Frankly…. I'm a little concerned that if you and Francois weren't the ones that moved him, then we may have a larger problem. How the fuck did Logan even know where he was to go breaking him out?"

"I have no Goddamn idea how he found out— my best guess is he's had someone tailing some of us, and there are a dozen other fuckin' safehouses compromised.

"That one wasn't too valuable, and Abby'd mentioned she was going get Parkman there if we couldn't get Kozlow to cooperate soon, but Parkman said he was already gone by the time he and a wagon-load of hyper-violent mutants showed up." Teo tosses up his hands irritably. By now, fortunately, there is coffee in neither of them. In a moment, his hand is in one palm, however, scaring against the bristly line of his jaw and the ruched scar tissue of his grievous injury. "No.

"No, I guess I'm not sure I want to do that in such a forceful manner." This is his tone of admission, fairly familiar to the audiokinetic. "I mean, I'd like to, but— Christ, what a shit-fuck."

"Yeah." Elisabeth sighs and picks her own cup back up to take a swallow of it, considering. "Richard was planning on possibly having a contact go in. Take a look-see, find out what the fuck is up. Someone that can slide under Logan's radar a bit that he'd talk to. Interested in letting it play out? Considering the fact that the weather will jam-pack the place, I think it could potentially actually go smoothly." She pauses. "In the meantime, as I mentioned previously…. I'm down to the last straw on plans to hit Dreyfus. I was actually considering planting myself on Logan's door and waiting for Dreyfus to come get Kozlow's ass," she says dryly. "Cooler heads have prevailed on me that it's a fuckin' death wish, so…… any other bright ideas floating about in that devious little mind of yours?"

Besides cutting Logan's fingers off, kicking him in the stones some more, and otherwise conveying the meaning of proportional response to the littlest ex-pimp that could? "Rape a couple samples of Logan and Kozlow's with Kershner's ability, is all I've got. In all honesty, shadowing them is still a good idea, I think. It's just been awhile since we asked Cardinal to start doing that, and the pay-off has been pretty fucking minimal on that front.

"Might be time to start pushing, a little. I don't know. It was indicated Kozlow wasn't working with Dreyfus completely voluntarily. While punching faces might not be the best tack, no, I'm beginning to think we can't just sit and wait much longer." Or float, as the case may be for noble Richard. Teo's features ghost back to sympathetic, and he meets Elisabeth's gaze for a staccato moment's discomfort, before glancing down at his coffee.

There is a moment where Elisabeth sorts through several responses and has to bite back certain aspects of her reply, forced to sort through what was said and how so as to determine that her instinctive flare-up perhaps needs to not happen. See? She is trying to grow up. Her tone is very carefully calm. "I'm pretty sure that what you meant by that is that it has not been worth Richard's time to watch Logan because Logan's not done anything worth watching on this front, yes? Because my instinctive reaction here was that of a hypersensitive woman watching the man she loves disintegrate in front of her very eyes like toilet paper in a bowl full of water and being able to do nothing about it." See? She is trying to grow up and not immediately assume the worst out of Teo's words! And when her blue eyes meet Teo's sympathy, she has to look down into her coffee cup not to start crying.

Taking in a deep breath, she looks up again and says quietly, "I'll have Richard ramp up his surveillance if he can. He's been losing time, so… I'm not sure how well it'll go. He lost a whole week not too long ago where even he didn't know where he'd been. But he had sort of a plan, and we'll see if he can get his guy in there. If he doesn't think it'll work…. shit, Teo, I don't even know," she says quietly. And then she smiles at him. "And you promised me home-cooked dinner." For a change, it's him cooking and not her. "So…. how about we just sit down like two friends and eat a meal without…. drama? Without trying to work through all the logistics tonight? Because when I leave here, I'm going back on-shift, and … it kind of sucks." She moves to stand up and hug him. "Let's eat. Francois can join in when he gets here."

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