Yellow Cage


sonny_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Yellow Cage
Synopsis Somehow, Sonny's exploratory interest in his boyfriend's life has sublimated itself into an application to join a terrorist organization. Teo reads into Sonny's stubborn insistence, and Sonny refuses to acquiesce to Teo's.
Date February 27, 2009

Staten Island — Ferrymen Safehouse

At this angle, there's only one narrow slice of Staten Island's purple sky afforded by the numerous gaps between blinds. It drops orange light into Teo's eye, which is what initially awakens him, wrinkling his face like a Kleenex and snatching his head backward on its stem in reflexive retreat. The back of his bristly skull bumps into someone's nose.

By default, Salvatore's. Without looking for a cellphone or clock, he nevertheless already knows that he hasn't accumulated enough sleep yet; the room has Eastern exposure, and sex at the pace they were going at takes forever.

Not literally. Nor necessarily a bad thing, he isn't sure; he's left groggy, clumsy like his fingers and brain are taped up, muffled inside skeins of cotton and soft, self-regenerating heat, at odds with the concatenation of new memories preserved in technicolor, with startling clarity. The momentary sparks of machismatic suspicion he'd felt at being treated like he was made of glass had been only that: momentary.

Are you awake? is what he meant to ask, anyway. What he says instead goes something like, "'Reynway?"

Salvatore, not Connor. Aside from the bad vibe he was getting off Filatov's, the other good reason to move to the safehouse was the lock on the door. That means that he can afford to let his guard down a little, even in this den of thieves.

It takes awhile for the doc to respond both to the bump to his nose and the half-mumbled question. But the fact that he's not alone in bed brings a smile to his drowsy face. The bed bounces a little as he roll over and slides his arms gently around Teo. He throws one leg over and tugs him close. The cold tip of his nose presses in to the base of his skull, but that discomfort is followed by a warm pair of lips. "Go back to sleep. S'early."

Ignoring the tug of new stitches, Teo squirms with all of the elegance of a walrus above the line of the surf, lifts his hip to let one arm get in under his waist before the other finishes the circle around him and twisting his shoulders when the point of Salvatore's nose finds its way, again when kissed.

"Sun's 'n my eye," he responds, petulantly stubborn in contradiction to an imperative, however gently it was phrased or consistent with his predispositions. He is predisposed to sleep, it's true.

His eyes stay open. Teo's hand is coming into focus, curled on the pillow; he stretches it out, splaying it like a starfish, sees if he can tell the difference in temperature between the bar of sunlight intensifying across his palm and the cool of shade that paints in the rest.

Sonny's slow, dozing breathing brushes against the back of Teo's neck. One hand gropes out blindly for the edge of the comforter, which he pulls up and over their heads. There. No more sunlight. Just a tent of warm breath and body heat. His hand rests on Teo's shoulder and his thumb starts to rub in slow, gentle circles. After a minute, it drops down to splay over the young Italian's stomach. He makes a rumbled sound of contentment. He's missed this.

Most animals, when injured, do well in a warm, dark, and enclosed environment, are soothed, find themselves better physiologically focused on the subtle processes of healing and recovery. Humans are a little different. Overendowed brains just as often create new dangers out of the void of sensory deprivation, wasting imagination and vigilance on what isn't, but could be or will. Not to say that Teo's brain is very big.

Large enough for clutter. Four rough piggies spread over Sonny's cheek, curl, following the subtle grain of incipient facial hair. "Three months ago," Teo says, carefully, steady with something that isn't as simple or edifying as conviction, "one 'f our operatives told their girlfriend who we were fighting, 'nd a few things about them. Girl did some nosing 'round. They both got caught. Ours got out fine, but the civvie got all the fingers of her left hand cut off so our leader could hear it on the phone, 'n' then she was shot when we wouldn't give Wireless to them."

Sonny closes his eyes and draws in a deep sigh. "That's terrible," he murmurs. "But." A beat, then, "You tell me I'm any worse off than the people who're already fighting with you. That I'm underqualified or not powerful enough. Otherwise…" His fingers flex and his face moves against the touching hand. "I'm in no more danger than the others who fight. And I want to know what's going on so stuff like that doesn't happen to me. I'm safer knowing than being in the dark and grabbed one day because someone found us out."

His wrapped limbs give a squeeze, gentle but firm. "S'an illusion that I'm any safer in Manhattan than I'd be with you. I'm the mayor's son, Teo. And I'm about to speak up against an anti-Evolved group who may very well be terrorists. My life isn't safe. Knowing about what's really going on? That can only make me safer."

What is wrong with illusions? Leadership is exactly that, according to Helena Dean: smoke and mirrors. So are half of Phoenix's security measures. Also, "Y're wrong." Teo glances back over his shoulder from between fuzzily narrowed eyelids, barely makes out the shape of Sonny's curly-haired head silhouetted against the thin leak of light between the pillows and the comforter's edge.

His torso turns slightly, shifts; makes looking easier, even if it doesn't help him to actually see. "You'll just get in deeper 'nd deeper," he replies, his breath trickling over the edge of the other man's face. "'S what happened to me. 'Nd this whole pro-Evolved spokesperson thing's a whole other bucket of insane risks; you're s'posed to be lying low as Salvatore Bianco now you're Connor Kinney, not…"

"Mmmgmmm…" rumbles Sonny. "M'tired of being safe. Gilded cage is what it is. I need to do something." He shifts and leans in to press a kiss to Teo's fore head. He runs his hand over the stubbly hair and rests it on his neck. "Go back to sleep, mmkay? We'll talk later."

His eyes fall closed again. There's another gentle squeeze before his whole body relaxes. His foot rubs against Teo's and up his calf, then he tangles their legs tightly. "Go sleep," he murmurs again.

"How'mm I s'posed to sleep?" comes the desultory grumble, disjointed syllables and disgruntled voice. Teo just got through describing a chick with all the fingers of her hand cut off and now he's supposed to sleep. That doesn't make any sense, unless he's a different kind of asshole than he is, and given he can only be the kind of asshole he is.

For a protracted moment, he struggles with some diarrhetic explosion of sentiment, frustrated, inarticulate, diction and emotion clunking hopelessly around and into one another, unsure of how to coexist in cramped quarters and foul weather. "…Fff." Like air escaping from a punctured balloon, his ribs cave within Sonny's hold. It's kind of like acceptance.

"M'too tired to argue right now, Tay. Hey…" Sonny opens his eyes and flattens a hand along the side of Teo's face. "You're not gonna convince me to go back to Manhattan and back to my old life. M'sick of it. I was sick of it before I met you. You just made me realize how tired of it I really was." He inhales slowly, then exhales and presses a little kiss. "Now. Within that framework, I'll listen to your reasoned arguments. But…not right now. Mmmkay?"

There's a lackadaisical beat's silence, a duckling-wing brush of fingertips across Sonny's mouth, in lieu of a response from his own lips. "I said 'fff,'" Teo replies, finally, two parts petulant and one part acquiescence. "Means 'mmmkay.' Means you can sleep."

Means a lot more than that, actually, but he has to regroup, reassess, pick new weapons and fashion new rhetoric, explore other options, figure out why the fuck Salvatore hadn't simply started backpedalling the instant he ultimately asked whether he wanted to join, figure out what happens if he means it and examine his remaining capacity for guilt if — or when — it goes wrong and…

In the meantime, the lassitude of Sonny's fatigue is a wave broad enough to start sinking the young Sicilian's stubbornly braced feet underneath him; not enough to inundate him, but soothe his temper the way the susurration of ocean always does. Fff. Teo's eyes go half-mast in the dark. "Dormi bene," he murmurs, in lazy confidence that Sonny will.

February 26th: Messiah Complex For Two
February 27th: Mutual Assured Destruction
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