Complicated

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raven_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Complicated
Synopsis Munin tests a theory about the ability she now shares with at least two other people in New York City.
Date November 29, 2008

Cliffside Apartments — Rooftop


On the rooftop of Siann Hall, with its half-hearted attempt to be accommodating, Sylar is alone. Considering the doubt that's underlined Gillian's every word and heart beat, he's made an effort to not act suspicious, to not go out without a word, to not do anything that would imply he has anything to do. But sometimes he has to get out, and so he's retreated here, where the late afternoon light is filtered through cloud that is heavy with water but doesn't fall with rain just yet. He's brought nothing with him, reclining in the outside chair at the table - not even a book, or a newspaper. He has enough to think about.

The good thing about a perfect memory is the ability to analyse. Eyes half-closed, his replays what he wants in his mind. Kazimir's voice rings through his head as loud as if the elderly man were standing right there.

It's a mask, Gabriel. You wear it to hide who and what you really are, so that any affront to you can be attributed to the mask, not the man behind it. To protect yourself.

Fast forward.

That is an intriguing possibility you have presented me with, Gabriel. Perhaps proof positive that the plans being set into motion, the gears that are turning, are not stopped. This means we're on the right path.

Like he'd told Jenny Childs - right and good don't go hand in hand. Perturbed, Sylar hunches over, elbows resting against his knees and head in his hands. The want to be good isn't exactly a motivation familiar to him, but how evil can one get before it doesn't even make sense anymore? It would be so quiet if Kazimir got his way. It'd be so lonely.

Lonely like the rooftop? Like the street below with its thin but steady trickle of foot traffic? Or the distant Manhattan monoliths standing tall and solitary, silver obelisks glowing gold in the light of the fading sun? Loneliness is a relative term — New York is a city of millions, but it may as well be a city of one as long as Sylar is sitting alone up here. A large black bird drops out of the sky, wings spread, and drifts down to settle on the roof's concrete lip, perching near where the gutter meets the drainpipe. Or where it would, if it wasn't blocked off by several handfuls of dead, dried leaves.

Bran, if it is Bran, lets out a low croak of greeting, curling his toes around the ledge to anchor himself to his perch. He's heavy enough that the breeze whipping across the rooftop doesn't blow him away, but the weather is still so blustery that it's better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps surprisingly, the raven's appearance doesn't herald the familiar scuff of ballet flats against concrete or the rusty creak of the door that separates the rooftop from the stairwell inside. For whatever reason, he's come alone, unannounced, without the young woman whose shoulder he seems to adore sitting on so much.

Sylar raises his head at the sound of the raven landing and calling his greeting, a look of blank incomprehension on his face as he wrenches himself out of his meditative thought perusal. The wind beats at his clothes, tugs at his hair, but he seems as still as any statue as he regards the bird, listening carefully for the accompanying approach of the light footsteps of Munin. They don't come.

The metal legs of the chair scrape coarsely against the cement of the rooftop floor, and Sylar gets to his feet, approaching the bird with an air of caution. This is a power he hasn't entirely tamed, and the last time Bran - or a raven similar - had come knocking, he'd been bombarded with memory-visions, and so it's with a little trepidation he sends a telepathic, wordless greeting the raven's way. Prepared to fill its tiny mind with warnings of death just in case this is some trick of Peter's.

Not Peter, comes the disembodied reply from the raven. The response, first of its kind, might be unexpected. Even intelligent birds like Bran don't have the brainpower to formulate complex thoughts — never mind simple sentences. As Sylar approaches, Bran springs back into the air and, with a singular beat of his wings, lands on the man's shoulder. Eileen. The voice drifting through Sylar's head can't belong to the bird. For one thing, it isn't male. For another, he already associates it with somebody else. Somebody who should be here with her messenger. Careful, it adds. Have not done this before. Only you.

Sylar goes rather still as the bird hops up onto his shoulder, talons easily felt through his shirt as the bird grips for purchase, but it's not painful enough for discomfort. His arm even lifts a little to give the bird more room, concentrating on the voice in his head. Either he's going crazy or— "Eileen," he says, glancing at the bird. As if fascinated, his other hand lifts to brush his fingers against the raven's glossy wing. "I don't understand, are you in there or…?" He allows the sentence to trail off, unsure if he should be thinking this at the bird, or if talking to it out loud would suffice. Either way, it doesn't matter - there's no one here to see.

There's a pause as Bran — Munin — seems to consider the question, head cocked at an inquisitive angle. There's no emotion in the raven's eyes, and if its face has an expression then it's very difficult to read. The voice too, somewhat distorted and faint, sounds like it's coming from the other end of a very long tunnel. Inside, is what she eventually settles on. Sort of. Ethan's. But also here. Feeling Sylar's hand on her host's feathers, Eileen lifts the wing and stretches it out to its full length of two and a half feet. Complicated, she concludes.

Hard to duck from something standing on your arm, but Sylar attempts it anyway, leaning back when those wings show off their length, arm completely out now. Something like a smile flickers to life, but likely from this vantage point and through this medium, it would be hard to tell. "Complicated," he agrees, and his head cants to the side, almost a birdlike gesture himself. "What is it like?" Apparently, this interruption from his thoughts is a welcome one.

Bicycle. Maybe she's serious and maybe she isn't — without the curve of Munin's mouth or the light in her eyes, she's difficult to read. That wing folds back against her side, and she uses her beak to ensure that all the feathers are laying the way they should be, skimming through them like a blunt black comb. You could learn, she adds, something sly about her tone as she looks back up at him through one beady eye, head turned to the side. I could teach someday, maybe. This good for now. Peter can not use.

"I thought you said that birds didn't make good company," Sylar says, tone almost as sly, and he comes to lean against the ledge of the roof, watching the bird comb out his feathers, unsure if those actions are Bran's or Munin's, but it's fascinating all the same. "How do you know Peter can't use this?" A pause, as if reluctant to add, "He's used this ability more than I have." The slightest suggestion that maybe Peter is better at it than he, but then, Sylar is used to powers coming under his instant control. This is unfamiliar territory.

It takes Munin a moment to realize that her statements need clarification, dull as they are. She's having difficulty articulating her thoughts into words — all her past experience with her ability has been communication between human and bird, never communication between human and human through bird. I talk, she explains. I talk, and you— listen. You hear. You hear because we share it. You. Me. Peter. We share it. No one else.

A nod, although it's followed with an, "I see," because god knows seeing through a bird has to be somewhat more difficult to hearing, or at least, that's Sylar's take. "I'd like to learn it," he admits. "I've never flown before. I always thought that seemed fun." So it's not Peter's ability to leap into the sky at sonic speeds, but it's something like it.

Will teach, Munin promises. Later. Once she has the hang of it, because she doesn't yet. She's gone on plenty of reconnaissance missions while in possession of Bran's body, but this particular aspect of the ability is as new to her as it is to Sylar. I go. Dangerous to stay like this. Vulnerable. She must be getting the hang of it though, because her vocabulary is already growing. Be safe. Sylar. Gabriel. Careful not to jostle him more than she already has, or apply any unnecessary pressure to his arm with her claws, she launches her host's body back into the air and wheels once around the roof, steadily climbing higher with every thrust of the raven's wings. Whoever you are today.

Obligingly, Sylar shifts his arm in urge when he senses the bird about to take flight, hands coming to rest against the ledge once he turns to watch her go, following her wheeling about the building before heading up into the cloudy sky. Both, he suggests, projecting his own voice towards the raven, but who knows if such a thing would work. It's of no consequence as once again, he's left alone on the building, freed from his own thoughts and left to regard the view he's been reintroduced to.


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November 29th: Blame Game
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

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November 29th: A Modicum Of Trust
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