Gentle into that Good Night

Participants:

colette2_icon.gif constantine_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Gentle into that Good Night
Synopsis Things get worse before they get better.
Date February 25, 2009

Filatov Clinic


It's a late hour of night when the door to the street clinic is rattled, then knocked upon by a harsh, demanding fist. Hours of business are unusual in this corner of the city, but that doesn't mean it's any less safe to just open the door beyond the witching hour. Perhaps the edge of desperation that makes the door shake and clatter might indicate the nature of the visit, and besides, what trouble could a doctor attract?

Teo isn't a fey thing. Rather the opposite, not so different to Tavisha's own build, maybe a little shorter, a little more wiry, and this brings absolutely no comfort to the dark haired man who watches from a few feet back as Colette tries to get someone on the other side of the door to open up. And silently, he wills her efforts along, even if he remains utterly stoic and nonplussed on the outside. An arm wrapped around a Teo-leg, the other up to grab a handful of shirt, he tries not to give in to the temptation to sort of just. Rest Teo down onto dirty pavement like a particularly heavy backpack. Or roll his eyes.

At least there's a little selfish comfort in the knowledge that Teo is having a more uncomfortable night than he is.

"Hello!" A small hand raps loudly on the door to the clinic, followed by a hissing breath as Colette takes a step back and kicks it out of frustration, wincing a moment later before taking her weight off that foot, "Damnit, the— aren't places like this always open?" The girl hisses out, looking over to the idiling car parked not far away, and the discretely bowed head of Brian standing nearby. Being as public as he is with the lighthouse, now, he can't risk having himself associated with Teo in public, not until he knows who was trying to carve him up like a thanksgiving Turkey.

The car pulls away, Brian's "brother" driving back to the Lighthouse. Colette's eyes flick up to Tavisha, brows furrowed and teeth tugging at her lower lip, "Maybe— Do you think we should just," she looks around at the adjacent buildings, "They'd understand if we just broke in, right?" Her mismatched eyes drift from the door to Tavisha and back again. "Teo's…"

The slim figure that answers the door doesn't belong to Dr. Filatov. Its silhouette is a little too waspish around the waist and a little too narrow at the shoulders to belong to a man even though the dress shirt hanging off its bony frame was clearly tailored for one. The pale contours of Eileen Ruskin's bare legs appear to glow in the moonlight, lit up like the snow that covers the sidewalk outside, but roving eyes are more likely to be drawn to the pistol she holds in her hand and the luminous flash of glinting steel as she pulls back the hammer with an audible click.

Even with the clinic's interior candlelight spilling out onto the street, Eileen has a difficult time identifying the faces on the other side of the door, but when she does she lowers the weapon and adopts a more bemused expression, apprehension etching deep creases across her face. She isn't sure who she's more surprised to see, or if what's mystifying her most is the fact that they're together. "What's happened?"

Breaking in is sounding more and more like a good idea, Tavisha subtly shifting the man draped across his shoulders in search of something comfier. Alas. "Bleeding a lot," he agrees, trying to keep irritation out of his voice. He knows Teo's bleeding a lot because, quite disturbingly so, he can feel Teo bleeding a lot. But his heart is still beating. He's still breathing, lungs mostly cleared of water - the liquid now settling on the floor of Brian's car, undoubtably - if hindered by both damage and this particular position.

Then, before he can agree that perhaps a little breaking and entering wouldn't go amiss, Tavisha's gaze switches sharply from Colette and over to the door, a few moments before any audible to normal ears movement occurs. The door handle, the squeak of hinges, and even the definite click sound of a gun being cocked. He stays very still as Eileen's eyes glint a little in the light provided by nearby streetlamps, until she can see no one means her harm. "We found him," Tavisha says. "Teo. He needs— " He doesn't complete the sentence. What they need is made clear by their presence. He takes a step forward, lifting his eyebrows at her as if to ask please.

Colette's expression is one of dumbstruck confusion, eyes going wide when at first it's a slim and rather harmless looking you woman emerging through the door, slowly shifting to confusion as she recognizes, "E-Eileen?" And then a yelp as the gun is drawn and the hammer is cocked, throwing her hands up as she ducks to one side, stepping partially behind Tavisha, as if he'd interpose himself to protect her, of course.

"H-Holy shit, you — Oh my God it — " This is insane, and it has Colette's eyes drawing up to Tavisha, mouth agape before focusing on Eileen once more, head shaking slowly. "T-Teo's — he — he's hurt we — " Colette, jaw tense, steps around from Tavisha again and maneuvers to Teo's side, mimicing Sylar's expression that implies asking for assistance, her's just a bit more towards the rainsoaked kitten spectrum than his.

"Is he conscious?" is Eileen's first question as she moves away from the door, making room for Colette and Tavisha with Teo in tow. She tries not to let her gaze linger on their patient any longer than necessary, though she finds that she has a hard time tearing her eyes away from Teo's face once they've settled there. The last time she saw him in such an ashen and lifeless condition, she was the one responsible — and while she can't take back what she did to him, she can maybe make amends by lending a hand in ensuring he lives through the night this time as well.

Without waiting for an answer from either Tavisha or Colette, she sets the pistol down on a nearby table and throws a long look over her shoulder. "Constantine!"

Late night calls are never the sort of thing that Constantine particularly enjoys (although with Eileen around to lend a hand, they've become tolerably short, by and large). But the sort where someone shouts his name in the dead of night are the worst, and it's nearly a minute before the disheveled doctor still in the process of tying his robe comes walking into the front room. Close on his heels, unsurprisingly, the plodding, lightly snorting Ranger, for a change looking to be in better shape than his master.

"What?" the doctor demands, "What is it? Why can't this wait for morning?"

The last time Eileen exsanguinated Teo, she'd used a blunt knife and had been careful not to push too hard. Whoever did this number on him wasn't trying to pull punches, apparently. In the improved light, when the light does improve, his mouth shows in a gorey red asterisk; his lips are split in multiple places, he's short at least one tooth and the shape of his tongue is more crimson and more ragged than the tissue should be.

The warmth from Brian's car encouraged the blood to return to the surface of his skin and it's accumulating there now, lurid, one eye swollen in and brow riven where Jack had favored one foot over the other, a veiny lattice of subdermal haemorrhage expanding green and blue over his cheeks and jaw. The rest of his frame is relatively unscathed, insofar as that somebody apparently tested a full set of steak knives out on him and his clothes stopped some of it.

Or at least soaked up a great deal of its evidence. His right knee has yet to blimp up like a grapefruit, though that's coming on gradually, tastefully concealed by the tube of his pant leg. While that builds up, his leg merely folds over Sylar's arm at an angle slightly more awkward than the rest of the beleauguered corpus the former serial killer is toting.

"Because he won't," is Tavisha's answer, and whom he indicates is, well, indicated by him struggling Teo off his shoulders and onto the nearest, most suitable flat surface nearby. A muffled thump, hopefully Teo handled a little by helpful hands nearby, because Tavisha certainly doesn't have the extra limbs for the endeavor. And he's not too ashamed to grip onto his own shoulder as he backs up a few steps, wincing as the sudden lack of weight spikes a brief amount of pain through previously tensed muscles, but it's gone quick enough, arms coming to rest at his sides. "We found him like this on the beach, I think he must have been— stabbed and dumped into the water, or something."

A glance to Eileen, another to Constantine, both people familiar for different reasons. "Left for dead," Tavisha finishes. His hands are dark red, stick with Teo's blood, and some of it has collected into the wool of his coat, smears at the nape of his neck as well, a streak along his jaw from the general maneuvering of the unconscious man.

Letting Tavisha move in first, Colette is quick to follow, closing the door behind her as she looks up at Eileen with a silent stare that asks too many question of her to be clear. She's quick to look back to Tavisha, following in the darkly dressed man's shadow until the sound of Constantine's voice fills the air. The girl hesitates — the first unfamiliar face she's seen in a while — and looks over to Tavisha with one raised brow, then to Eileen's state of dress with it arching higher.

"He — Jesus he's bleeding, I — " Keeping her voice down, mostly out of anxiety, Colette circles around the table that Tavisha deposits Teo on, wringing her hands in front of herself, even as she unzips the front of her suede jacket, unwinding the pale blue scarf from around her neck.

"He — I was — " She tries to calm herself down, think her words through clearly, "I was walking on the beach, n-near the Lighthouse?" Her half-blinded stare flick over to Constantine, then Eileen, then back to Teo, "He — He was washed up on the beach, I — " She swallows tightly, finally seeing Teo's body in proper light, a small hand coming up to cover her mouth, "fucking Christ," she whispers, "I found him while I was — it doesn't matter. Just— just help him."

Uneasy eyes lift to Constantine, the girl's jaw giving a momentary tremble before her focus shifts to Tavisha, a thankful expression briefly softening otherwise terrified eyes.

Eileen's feet make very little noise on the hardwood floor as she crosses the clinic, strides smooth but brisk, and begins running some hot water in the sink. When she returns, it's with a syringe pursed between her lips like a horse chomping at the bit and a shallow basin of water held in her arms. She sets it down on the table beside Teo, procures a damp cloth from the bottom, wrings it out and begins cleaning the blood from the young man's face with a steady hand while she keeps an eye on Colette in her peripheral vision. As soon as she's able to determine that the blood is still fresh and oozing from his wounds, she sets the cloth aside, removes the syringe from her mouth, rolls up Teo's sleeve and injects its contents directly into his bloodstream via the soft dimple of flesh on the inside of his elbow where the two halves of his arm meet.

It's fortunate they have two extra sets of hands tonight, even if Eileen can't yet bring herself to ask for help from one of them. Carefully avoiding Tavisha's eyes, she glances over at Colette and lifts her chin, gesturing with a slight tip of her head to get the girl's attention. "I left a pair of scissors by the sink," she instructs, her voice soft in spite of the severity of the situation, though there's definitely a commanding quality to it. "We'll need them to cut his sweater off."

Taking another moment to clear the sleep from his eyes, Constantine then does what should have been done first and foremost; he turns on the nearly too-bright overhead lamps, making everything in the room clearly visible. Then ambling over to the examination table and donning a pair of eyeglasses, he spends only a moment assessing exactly how badly off Teo is. That moment is all he needs; there's a lot of blood and that's probably the least of his problems. "Fantastic," he says, before he turns and makes his way immediately towards the cabinets where he keeps the rest of his supplies. Needle and thread, antiseptics, antibiotics and, perhaps most importantly, an IV full of blood volumizer. "How long has he been out there?"

Even as this happens, Ranger rises to his hind legs and grips the edge of the table, briefly observing what he sees before giving a snort and leaving, finally settling down on the floor at Tavisha's feet. Seems like a safe enough place to stay.
It takes this long for Colette to parse what it is Eileen said, not out of any inability to navigate her accent, but rather out of the mild confusion that she's being included in on what is going on. Enough time sitting on the bench — of her own accord or not — made her feel largely useless. The young woman furrows her brows after a moment, biting down on her lower lip as she nods, backpedaling away from the table and thankfully away from the grisly sight of Teo's injuries so clearly displayed under candlelight.

She hastily moves to the sink, looking around in the dim light without much difficulty, navigating the deep shadows and furniture with a quick enough pace. She picks up the scissors from the sink, reflexively deciding to snip-snip them open and closed before turning to head back to the table. She looks up at Eileen, then down to Teo's motionless form, then up to the doctor, "I— I don't know he— " She shakes her head, swallowing tightly, "I don't know…" She reaches for an answer, "Too long?"

Her eyes focus on Eileen through the bright glow of the glaring lamp as she offers up the scissors to her, presuming she's the one that's going to be doing this work. "We— it's about a fifteen minute drive from where we were. It took, christ, ten minutes just to — t'figure out what t'do with him," she starts to mumble, one hand smoothing over her mouth again as if she was trying to rub it right off her face.

Candlelight was unequivocally more flattering to Jack's handiwork. Teo's vanity is going to have a lot to recover from. Ew.

Wordlessly, Eileen accepts the scissors from Colette with a nod and uses them to slice through the fabric of Teo's sweater with the precision of a sailor gutting a fish — the only difference is that Teo's guts don't come spilling out when she's finished. Instead, his chest is laid bare for Constantine to survey as his assistant peels back the layers and maneuvers his arms from his sleeves. She discards the blood-soaked clothes in a nearby bucket and resumes washing Teo's body, the liquid in the basin turning pinker and pinker until it has become so cloudy with blood that it resembles something other than water.

She only half-listens to Colette's explanation, glossing over the details she provides at Constantine's quiet urging. If she says something important, she has no doubt the doctor will make her immediately aware of it. Right now, her mind is elsewhere, preoccupied with puzzling out unspoken possibilities. Teo has many enemies — Eileen knows, because once upon a time she was once of them — but there are very few people who are bold enough to go after him here. Only one name springs to mind, and she mouths it to herself without making any noise, perhaps so as not to distract Constantine from his line of questioning, perhaps because she's having a hard time finding her voice.

Even had Eileen's muttering been audible, Constantine likely would have ignored it, if only for the moment. When he rejoins his assistant, he brings with him everything he could possibly need immediately. Luckily for Teo, however, Constantine doesn't have to deal with this problem as a mere mortal; if he were a watch, anyone caring to watch would see the ticks of each second stretching longer and longer. Time may not be on Teo's side, but it is in the doctor's corner, slowing down the flow of blood to something more acceptable. And despite this fact, habit forces Constantine to search for a vein in Teo's arm. "Girl," he says, most likely meaning young Colette, "Come here. I need more hands."

The light casts no mysteries, now, and Tavisha has time from where he's standing quietly and rather unhelpfully towards a corner, simply trying not to get in the way. His arms are folded across his chest, as if to curl in on himself a little, his serious brow lowered and, well, serious as he regards Teo's injuries now so much more visible with wet clothing peeled back and basked in light. He cranes his neck a little, gaze darting worriedly over the hacking and slashing, and if Eileen is murmuring a culprit's name under her breath, Tavisha is thinking one too - less syllables, more accuracy. But it's not something he wants to believe, anyway, mind steering from the notion but inevitably pulling back to it, like a moth circling a lightbulb in a confused spiral.

The dog is resting at his feet, the steady panting steam-engine-like and continual, enough that Tavisha glances down a little curiously. It's the Rookery, so of course dogs are allowed in clinics. The lack of rules and decorum is exactly what this place is about. Even so, some ingrained sense of decency doesn't have him fumbling about for his pack of cigarettes - mostly because his hands aren't cleaned, but that isn't really the priority right now.

And if he notices Eileen's careful gaze steered from him, well, it's difficult to, what with his gaze steered from her in turn. Except maybe he sneaks self-conscious glances, and otherwise endures. Finally, Tavisha steps away from the dog, and asks the doctor's assistant: "There's a sink through here?" Only out of politeness, seeking permission, even if he's already walking towards it. May as well clean up too.

Again, a delayed reaction when Colette is addressed, dully snapping her focus up to the doctor with wide eyes from where she stared at the exposed wounds on Teo's bleeding form. The girl nods before even considering the repercussions of that agreement, freezing in mid-stride before looking at the doctor again, then Teo, then back up before abortedly nodding her head once more in some reflexive gesture of yes, Sir.

Colette moves, inchingly, to Constantine's side, teeth tugging at her lower lip as she reaches up to unshoulder her jacket, turning around in a full circle before spotting a rolling chair to throw it over the back of, the same repeated with the faded blue scarf she unwraps from around her neck. "I— Y-yeah I— What do I…" Her eyes are wide, brows raised beyond the low fringe of her bangs as she stares at the doctor's grim search for a vein in Teodoro's arm.

The muscles in Eileen's neck and shoulders grow tense when Tavisha addresses her, but she does not look up from her work. A small part of her is grateful that Teo is in such a piss-poor condition — if he wasn't she might not have an excuse to look the other man's way when she answers him. "In the back," she says, somewhat surprised to discover that her words are as steady as her hands.

"He's lost a lot of blood, but it looks like he'll probably pull through," Eileen adds, though this assessment is made more for Colette's sake than the doctor's. He can see well enough for himself. "Are we going backwards or forwards?"

What is that supposed to mean?

"It's better to go forward, let the body heal itself." As he speaks, Constantine presses of tube of, ointment, ostensibly, into Colette's hand, whether she's ready for it or not. "Girl, spread a small amount of this on his gashes. I follow immediately after you and stitch them shut. Eileen, go to the walk-in, get the bottle labeled F… uh, seven-nineteen, it should be to the right of the door. Get a syringe, also." Even in the age of modern technology, the good ol' doctor prefers good ol' needle and thread. How quaint.

When the sodden sweater sloughs off Teo's arms, the gash marks that show look like the angry, red mouths that fit Shakespeare's metaphor for Caesar, so much surprised flesh and abbreviated vein, though not a single one in and of itself fatal.

Some of them interrupt the simple black skin art patterned over his arms, a cross here, a scrawl of words there, as if some particularly vehement tattooist went through and criticized their decidedly crude, unsophisticated designs and layout with the equivalent implement to a literary editor's red pen. The only one left untouched is the small, solid silhouette of a horse's head on his upper chest.

When he breathes, Teo sounds like a rheumatic old dog.

Tavisha is out the door, towards the 'back' where he'd heard Eileen running the tap before. His coat is taken off, tucked into a corner somewhere perhaps to conveniently just leave behind, but for now it serves him to peel off the clammy presence of the thicken woolen fabric at its scent of blood. Water is run at a lukewarm kind of heat, watching as the blood trails down towards the drain, spattering on metal and porcelain. All the while, listening to what's going on in the main room with easy clarity, as well as Eileen's footsteps when she moves away to do her employer's bidding.

He wonders, not for the first time, if anything in his unknown arsenal could help at all. If he truly isn't a monster, there has to be something not quite so selfish or destructive under his capability. Easily he could ask Eileen, and yet his doesn't, just focuses on cleaning dried blood off his skin for now, hands scrubbing vigorously under the noisy rush of water into the basin.

Ointment. Colette stares down at the hastily slapped tube, blinking repeatedly before looking over to— "You want me to— " Her stomach tightens, neck tensing as she stares down at the bleeding wounds with her mouth slowly coming open. "A-Are— " Her words cut off when she looks back up to the doctor, holding needle and thread, and her gaze flicks to Eileen as if to find some form of sympathetic expression, only to see her just as focused on the work.

She should just drop it and walk away, that's what her gut is telling her.

The cap flicks open with a motion of her thumb, "I— Y-Yeah I — okay." Her hands are shaking as she looks down at the tube, ridiculously inspectiF ng the instructions before ducking her head in a sheepish gesture once she realizes he already told her what to do.

There's some familiarity here, and the young, confused girl begins approaching Teo, squeezing out the ointment onto her fingertips before biting down on her lower lip, shakily smoothing out the thick gel into the wounds, wanting to look away, wince, recoil all the same at how the chilled texture of the ointment mixes with the warm viscosity of blood. Eileen's been that girl before.

As Eileen's footsteps move away from the clinic's main room, they move toward Tavisha. She passes through the doorway, gray-green eyes flicking across his face and chancing a cursory glance on her way past the sink. If she knows something about his gift that he doesn't that might help Teo, then she keeps it hidden behind her stony poker face.

She comes to a halt in front of a large steel door, fingertips resting on its overlarge handle as she reaches down the front of her night shirt with her other hand and retrieves a long silver chain from around her neck. Two things dangle from it: a key, which she uses to unlock the door with a sharp twist of her wrist, and what looks like a polished antique pocket watch.

A moment later, she disappears inside, presumably in search of the bottle marked F7-19 and a fresh syringe.

Constantine has little difficulty determining that the situation is making Colette decidedly uncomfortable. And despite that, she presses on. "That's the way," he says. Simple, quiet encouragement. "Good girl." As soon as she finishes a single gash, the doctor has already started needlepoint with Teo's skin before she's moved onto the next one, binding the injury shut and preventing it from bleeding more. He'll pull through, and hopefully his recovery will be short. "Good girl."

The woman's silence is palpable, and Tavisha just keeps his eyes on his task, turning off the faucet and flicking his hands dry, using the sides of his pants as he wanders back towards the room. He passes Eileen by, ignores her in turn, as much as he kind of just wants to shake her. To make her acknowledge that— something. It doesn't matter, not as much as what everyone is focusing on right now, and when he moves back into the room, he steers clear. Perhaps, in the end, Eileen is just concentrating on her task, or grim because her friend was found near dead.

Overall, it's worrying, but seems to be perhaps on the right track. Tavisha leans against a counter, hands braced against it as his gaze flickers over towards where Colette is attempting to help, to do as instructed, and Filatov's gentle encouragement. It's. Pleasant. His gaze dips down towards Teo for lack of anything better to watch, you don't see someone mauled with steak knives every day.

And then all at once, people will feel it. Kind of a pins-and-needles prickliness over their skin. Uncomfortable, mostly certainly, bordering on painful and dry, and the light above seems to slow-motion flicker, dimming once before wobbling back into clarity. If Tavisha notices any of this, he doesn't indicate as such, keeping to himself.

"Colette," she offers as a measure of distraction from the shiny mixture of coagulated blood and clear gel stuck to her fingertips. Her hands have stopped shaking, at least. "He's— " her eyes divert from the sight of the wounds being sewn shut, lips pressing together and throat tensing as needle pierces flesh and winds the makeshift suture through. The sensation of the prickling in her fingers only encourages her to get this ointment and blood off her hands.

She smiles up to the doctor, more of a grimace really as that prickling sensation grows a touch stronger with the flicker of the lights. This is her nerves, this is all because of her anxiety. She tries to brush it off, backpedaling away before hesitating, her stomach lurching as that feeling only seems to grow just a bit more intense. Her right eye twitches, brow over that eye doing the same before she looks back at Filatov uncertainly, "I— Can— Um, can I go— wash this off?" Her words are so halting, uncertain of what tone to use to address the stranger she was helping patch up a bleeding friend.

This really isn't Manhattan.

From the back room into which Eileen vanished, there comes a loud clatter, followed by the sound of busted glass — a bottle splintering into a thousand broken shards, though only Tavisha with his superhuman hearing will detect the individual notes of each piece tinkling against the clinic floor.

The prickling doesn't escape Constantine's notice, and there's far more panic in him from the flicking light than from the unaccountable sensation. When the power doesn't fail, he relaxes a bit. He tenses again when there comes the sound of shattering glass. "Some of those are caustic!" he shouts, as if he hadn't told Eileen the same information more than once already. 'I know,' she'll say. "Yes, go ahead," he finally says to Colette after a moment, electing to ignore his immediate surroundings to focus on his patient.

His surroundings, of course, are easier to ignore than the low growl coming from Ranger's throat, which might actually be intimidating if he bothered to lift his head off the floor to do it.

As oblivious as everyone else is, Tavisha is even more so. The physical sensation is lost on him, the fading light dismissed as the power threatening to fail, and even the dog's growl— well. Dogs, they growl. He shifts a little so as to free up Colette's path to the sink in the backroom around the time it all just seems to get worse, and absently, he lifts a hand to hold against his head, as if feeling something if different to what everyone else does, dog included. A film of shadow descends on the room, as if the shadows were attempting to fight back for once. Skin feels like it's tightening, aging, flaking, the back of throats suddenly goes dry, parched, and something deeper, a horrible, gut-wrenching sickness, stabs nauseous knives through bowels.

And something changes with Teo. His paleness doesn't go away - in fact, it's enhanced in this light, the veins beneath his skin going a stranger kind of black, as if filling suddenly with something apart from blood. His wounds remain, stitched and gelled on his skin, but it's inside that gets repaired, very slowly, lungs healing from the damage breathing water can bring, the deeper nature of some the slices beginning to close from the inside out, if not visibly.

There's a ghost of a smile when Constantine gives her permission to depart, but the sound of shattering glass gave the poor girl a bit of a startle. She looks in the direction of the noise — the same direction of the sink — and her ghosted smile turns into a grimace all too quickly. She wanders across the open floor, mindful to give the rumbling dog a wide berth, eyes nervously focused on him until she reaches her destination.

It's hard for the girl not to focus on the doorway Eileen had disappeared into, so many questions she wants to ask her; About Felix, about everything she was told about her birds, about where she's been. But Colette remains silent, shaking her head as she sets the tube of ointment down on the side of the sink, using that clean hand to turn the faucet on, fingertips testing the temperature of the water out of habit before beginning to rub them together to wash the sanguine mixture off of her skin.

Curiosity controls the girl though, causing her to peer over her shoulder at Teo, watching him in the pale cast of bright light on too-pale skin criss-crossed with thin lines of red. A deep breath, exhaled slower than inhaled steadies the shaking of her hands, and only then do her eyes track back over to study Tavisha.

It's at the moment her eyes meet his, when the pain in the back of her throat starts up. She coughs, dryly, one hand moving up to hold at her neck before mismatched eyes open wide on the veil of swirling, foglike shadows coalescing on the ground. Panic quickly sets in as the sickened wave of nausea rolls over her. She leans against the sink, wet hand slipping off of the porcelain before the girl slides down to the floor with a crash on her side.

"Shit! Oh shit!" She has no idea what to make of any of it, legs kicking, trying to scramble away from the black fog that is everywhere. The girl grabs at the wall, trying to pull herself up, even as panic sets in, and all of the color in the room begins to drain away. It starts with blues and purples, slowly draining down through the spectrum of visible light, desaturating the room to pure shades of black, white and gray, beginning some ten feet from Colette, and ending at the girl, making it look as though the color is sucking up into her.

In the back room, doubled over, one small hand gripping a shelf so tightly that her knuckles stand up and strain against her skin like the ribs of emaciated but alive, is Eileen. She had begun to sweat before, but now her face has adopted an ugly sheen, slick and wet, plastering curls of raven black hair to her cheeks and brow. It's only been a few weeks since she last felt this sensation, and yet she could say with complete certainty that a thousand years might pass and she'd still recognize it in the time it takes her heart to skip a beat, entire body seizing up with the effort required just to quell her gag reflex.

The hand not clutching at the shelf presses against the bandage she wears on her face and dimples her skin where her fingernails press into the flesh of her cheek. Pain, not all of it physical in origin, takes control of her features, twisting her mouth into a terrible scowl, eyes squeezed shut with tears swelling in their corners.

"Kazimir—"

Whatever force or health Tavisha ruthlessly sends guttering through the room, it helps. To awaken the hapless patient, at least. When Teo's veins ease back to green and blue, a rattle of big boy-feet on the table and, further below, a jarring jerk channeled down to the furniture's legs against the hard surface of the floor.

Artlessly, a pulpy, minature geyser of dead red — gray? — water hacks out of Teo's mouth first, a syllable of salutation swallowed in the same breath that tries to carry it out of his lungs and broken jaw, a sound like a rotten cabbage getting run over by a car. The whole thing goes on the list between Michele's fax machine and Patrice's crabs; he fails, at least for the moment, to appreciate that he's alive to appreciate it.

His right eye opens a little, if just a little, a sliver of glistening pupil between swollen eyelids, locating the indistinct, bizarrely desaturated relief of Tavisha's face and figure against the flat canvas of the wall. The limb that is threaded to the eye of Constantine's needle skews haphazardly as Teo makes a noodly effort to either impale his hand on stainless steel or grab at something offensive or reassuring, it's hard to tell.

Eileen isn't the only one caught in a terrible memory, but for Constantine, it isn't the feeling that stirs up the dust and old emotions, but what he sees. The shadow that descends over the room and the black that appears in Teo's veins are what does it. He's seen this sort of before, not in the frame of a few weeks, but of over 60 years. 60 years and he still remembers.

And it's because he remembers that he allows the needle and thread to hang limply from Teo's arm while he backs hastily away from the table, not only to get away from the shadows, but to get to where he keeps a loaded pistol that he never imagined he would need for a situation like this. But it isn't Tavisha whose body might soon acquire new air conditioning; Constantine's immediate belief is that Teo is to blame for this.

He can kind of feel it, distantly, some higher sense of current, but current of what escapes him. Just the ebb and flow of something— but he can't really focus too hard, what with. Everything going on. The sudden draining of colour, vaguely familiar to what he kind of saw on the beach not so long ago. The reactions of those around him. Everyone but him. The swirling fog of ashy shadow now vaguely spiraling in the corners of the room.

"Wait," Tavisha says, his voice echoing thinly in the room. Epiphany. He's doing something. And it's woken Teo up but— "Wait, stop— " Fuck. How does he— A hand lifts to perhaps focus himself, to stop this, but it's like trying to stop water flowing down a drain as life flows into Teo, the current pulling towards him and away from everyone else, and to keep the analogy going, Tavisha is merely a rock jutting out of the river as it chooses its own course. Fuck. He's not sure who to go to, the reviving wounded man or where Colette is sinking against the wall or Eileen is bent-doubled in a different room or Constantine— moving for something, a flash of a gun—

Something smashes as Tavisha's hand moves - books off a shelf, perhaps, maybe something more expensive suddenly hurtling towards Constantine without a lot of accuracy, really, but perhaps it's distraction enough. It's distraction for him, anyway, the field of entropy lifting, relenting, the lights glowing brighter once more.

Scrambled towards a corner, Colette slams her shoulder into a shelf, hands trembling as she looks down to them, then up to the room. Her brows knit together, watching a book go flying off of the shelf towards Constantine. She doesn't see if it connects, she's already on her hands and knees, scrambling across the floor, keeping down at the sight of a gun, eyes wide.

Once she's beside the table Teo is laying on, the girl draws herself into a ball, looking down at her hands again, noticing the fog has lifted, thinned. But she can still hear scuffling, noises— Teo's gurgling breaths. "Stop, stop, stop!" Her hands curl up into her hair, fingers winding into her hair until there's an awkward shimmering, a clear fish-eye distortion of Colette's entire body, and then—

—she's not there.

Somewhere in between Teo's unexpected revival and Colette's disappearing act, Eileen emerged from the back room, steel door thundering shut behind her — and for once, rather than contribute to disaster, she's there to help narrowly avert it. Intercepting Constantine, she seizes the wrist of his hand-toting hand in one of hers, wrenches it up over her head and grasps at the front of his shirt with the other.

It's a precautionary measure more than anything else. Tavisha already has the situation under control, and his aim is haphazard at best, but just to be on the safe side she heaves Constantine's body abruptly against hers, staggering backwards several steps. It's only after the flying object clunks harmlessly against the nearest wall that she realizes someone is missing, and even then there's not a lot she can do about it except scan the room, eyes wide and frantic.

"Colette?" Eileen's voice is hoarse, aching, desperate. How could they have just lost somebody? "Colette?"

There's a library flying around and the brunette top of somebody's head fading out of view over his elbow. Honestly, Teo had thought there would be more red here. That's a storybook— sorry, Biblical story or three ruined in the mud. His left eye is having trouble deciding whether it wants a hair-rising close-up of Constantine's pistol or a wide-screen view of the room's dynamics, squealing girls and combative men and all of the medical facility and its off-white furniture spanning the distance in between.

Colette? Colette?

Befuddled by the sudden Gaimenesque nature of the world he finds himself in, he insipidly puts out his hands, as if that might stop the firearm's rounds from otherwise knocking the rest of the life out of his body. Constantine's discarded needle dangles, winking, from his arm.

With the sudden expression of Tavisha's rolodex of abilities, it was panicked remembrance that sent Constantine running for his sidearm. But when Eileen rushes out and seizes hold of him, it's military discipline that keeps him from panicking further and lashing out. The book that narrowly missed him makes enough noise when it lands to snap him further back to reality. That's right, doctor; it's not 1942 anymore.

But while Eileen preoccupies herself with trying to find Colette, Constantine fixes Teo with a vicious stare. "What did you do?" he demands, "Who are you?"

The light is glaring in full force, the current no longer felt. Slowly, the affects of degeneration wear away, until the claustrophobic, feverish feel is to the air is gone, the temperance between terrible cold and the heat of sickness. Heart hammering, despite it being over, Tavisha backs up until he's nearest the wall. He wants to say no, no Teo didn't do it. He wants to point out where Colette is, the sound of her easily discerning her location to him. He wants to help.

But more importantly, Tavisha wants to disappear, and for a moment, the edges of his body appear to blend in with the wall before restoring back to normal colour again, lacking the knowledge and concentration to complete the transition. He says nothing, gaze dropping to the ground and hoping no one notices him.

It's only Eileen's concerned voice in the absolute blackness of lightness invisibility that brings a hushed response from Colette. No one is screaming, no one is shooting, nothing is trying to suck the life out of her. The air by the side of the table ripples like a heat mirage, bands of distorted light fading away, revealing a terrified looking young woman peering up over the side of the table, mismatched eyes wide. From around her, as she gradually begins to calm as pain subsides, color begins to seep back into the world.

It starts in reverse, painting the world a deep shade of crimson and vermilion that bleeds out from Colette like so much blood on the floor. It shifts to hues of orange and yellow, marking the room with shades of fire that contort and bend to accomodate blues and greens, all but normal again as indigo is added to give depth and contrast.

She stares across Teo's prone form, half-crouched behind the table, eyes wide and focused on Constantine.

Her eyes flick over to Tavisha, watching him ripple and blend into the wall before returning back to normal. That look on his face, the helpless expression — "N-nobody… shoot— no guns." She tries to help, in a stammering fashion.

As Colette reappears and colour seeps back into the room, Eileen loosens her grip on Constantine and releases her hold on his wrist, arm falling limply back to her side. The bright smear of blood on her forehead might belong to Teo, or it might be evidence of a personal injury acquired on the edge of a broken piece of glass back in the walk-in — either way, she appears to be unhurt except for the exhausted expression her face has adopted. Tremors only Constantine can feel ripple through her muscles, violent aftershocks that decrease in intensity with every pass as the adrenaline in her system recedes, replaced by a foreign, numbing sensation that isn't entirely unpleasant.

"It wasn't him," she murmurs, voice thick, tongue feeling strange and alien in her mouth when she speaks. As if to make sure that it isn't just her imagination, she reiterates, slightly louder, "It wasn't him."

Confronted by a question that has a hundred answers and about three available vocabulary words in his concussed brain, Teo just stares at Constantine for a protracted moment. There's no stuff flying in the air anymore. Guns or books. It's turning red instead, drawing his eyeball toward the rippling canvas of ceiling and down the other side.

Hey. Heeey. Colette, he thinks again, this time with a full-stop, an internal statement of recognition rather than a cognitive fart of confusion. He still smells like sea, permeating even above the clogged channel of his smooshed-up nose; he remembers where he was, if not where he is. Gingerly swabs a cut on his lip with his tongue, which feels more harmful than it helps. Buona sera, he'd say. What're you doin' here?

He rolls his head back over to look at Constantine, wonder at Tavisha, and listen to Eileen. Coincidentally, that rocks his blood pressure back inside the bowl of his skull, and he promptly passes out again.

Thunk. Tavisha winces a moment as Teo slumps back down against the table. He's not even sure if he helped the man apart from forcing him awake for a moment, hand lifting to nervously rub the back of his neck. Eileen's decree - it wasn't him - kind of jolts Tavisha back to life, and a little too loudly, he announces—

"I'm sorry."

His hand drifts back down, thumbs hooking into the belt loops on his jeans, shoulders curled in on himself. "I think I tried to heal him," Tavisha adds, to clarify. "I don't— I'm sorry." Seems best to leave it at that. One step. Two steps, towards the door. Probably a good idea to leave entirely. His expression is a little drawn, casting a glance towards Eileen. As if apologising, silently, for his presence here. Three steps, four, okay, decidedly not looking at anyone else as he builds a rhythm and forgetting his coat, Tavisha heads to leave. Kind of. At least go for a cigarette outside, or something, and the pack of such items pulled from his pocket might indicate as such, along with a lighter.

Eyes focused on Teo, then on Tavisha, Colette's breath escapes her in a ragged, shaky exhalation. She swallows tightly, one hand pressing on the corner of the table, looking down to Teo with a weak, worried expression. What Tavisha says doesn't entirely track with her, she's not sure what the black fog was, but it certainly wasn't what Abigail does.

As he makes his way out, forgetting his bloodstained coat, Colette's mouth opens in an unspoken call for him to stop. Her eyes focus on Eileen and Constantine, then Teo. A quiet whimper, tired and confused rumbles in the back of her throat. She even looks to the doctor's dog, as if hoping he would chime in with some kind of canine advice.

In lieu of such, she stands up straight, hustles over to where Tavisha's jacket was hung, forgetting hers in like return, before rushing to the door, "Hey! Wait!"

Did he tell her his name? She doesn't remember it.

The young girl bounds out of the door, hitting the door casing awkwardly with her shoulder as she does, the bloodstained fabric of his jacket clutched between trembling fingers. She really could use the space outside herself.

Not him? Tried to heal? "You're a telekinetic…." That's what he thought, at least. For the moment, his attention is focused completely on Tavisha, breaking only for a moment when Colette speaks up. "Yes, wait," he says in agreement, "Don't make the mistake of thinking you can simply walk out the door after that display. Two abilities in one body. And for the other to be that ability." That ability being the one that could have possibly killed everyone. "How exactly did you come across it? From your grandfather, perhaps?"

That's, an awfully specific question.

Tavisha's unspoken apology, the one directed solely at her, does not go unnoticed by Eileen. It strikes a chord, causes the muscles in her throat to tighten, her voice losing strength and the will to be heard. What can she possibly say to counteract what just happened?

Fortunately, Colette is close on his heels, his coat bundled in her arms, and any flimsy excuse Eileen might have manufactured to justify following him out slips away with the teen before she can even really think about grabbing onto it.

Later. She can explain everything to Tavisha later.

Eileen swallows, turning her attention back to Constantine and the now unconscious Italian sprawled across the clinic table. He's looking a lot better than he did a few minutes ago, but there's still a lot of work to be done. "Let them go." She makes a vague gesture with her hand. "Fresh air. They need it."

Constantine's words do little to stop Tavisha - slow him down, slightly, but he can hear Eileen's murmur and hope that covers any impoliteness that might come from ignoring the man, and he disappears out the door, the rhythm of its swing interrupted by the pursuing Colette. Outside, it's cold, obviously, moving away from the door as he lights the end of a cigarette up with a protectively cupped flicker of flame, and he remembers his coat around the time he turns to look at the girl and the bundle of green fabric in her arms.

A doubtful glance to her, down at the bundle, before his expression softens a little and he extracts the cigarette from out between his teeth, other hand reaching for the stained garment. "Thank you," he says. Hesitates, then asks in quiet, obligatory tones, "Are you okay?" Obligatory, not because he doesn't care, but he almost doesn't want to know.

The immediate response Colette gives to Tavisha outside is first, handing him his jacket, second, punching him in the chest with a dull thump of a small hand. Her head kicks to one side, dark bangs swishing to fall over her good eye, which draws a hand up to tuck the errand locks behind her ear. "I'm— " That's actually a good question, but the easy asnwer is the best right now, "I'm fine." The girl's stare is, for once, remarkably persistant, not navel-gazing like usual.

What she asks next has less of an edge to it, less of an accusatory tone of what did you do to me. "Are— Are you okay?" He's the first person she's ever met that both has a power, and has a hard time controling it like she does. How life sucking darkness and refracting light go together, she hasn't quite pieced together yet.

And he's punched in the chest, which does more to surprise him than harm him. Like getting headbutted by a kitten. Despite the blood, Tavisha finds himself putting the thing on - it's mostly just flaky dark red spattered along his shoulders, now, and he's had worse. "I'm fine," he offers back, a lie for a lie, around the stick of white out the corner of his mouth, the glow of orange dancing a little with the movement of speaking. It's extracted again once his coat is settled, pinched between fingers, and he blows out a small cloud of smoke. "Ever seen a doctor go from trying to stitch someone to trying to shoot them?" That's how he is. Cynically conversational. More kinder, as if actually genuine, he adds, "Welcome to Staten Island."

Staring past Tavisha for a moment, Colette can't find Brian across the street where he was earlier. A slow sigh slips out at that, and her mismatched eyes focus back up at the considerably taller man she's standing in the looming shadow of. "People— " A moment of insight not quite like her, "They— Do stupid shit when they're afraid." But at least she knows from experience.

All of this conversation though, is just some social lubrication for what comes next. Glancing over her shoulder, not seeing the doctor or Eileen come out, she turn sher focus back up to Tavisha, lips drawn into a tense and wary expression. "You— did what I did," that doesn't quite make sense, "disappeared, I mean, sort've. I— " She can't fathom the waves of blackness, and claiming to heal Teo. It doesn't make sense. But the look in her eyes, expectant, clearly indicates that out of some self-serving desire to find out more about herself, she wants to find out more about what he did.

Pick yourself up, and dust yourself off.

That's what Grace would say. It was good advice then, and it's good advice now. She can't always be a slave to her fears.

Afraid. Tavisha's gaze breaks from hers and down to dirty pavement, shuffling a little to the right so as to lean a shoulder against he outside of the clinic. Fear seems to be the it currency. He manages to keep his emotions plainly off his face, but not so much his posture. A hand comes up, fingers curl to scratch his jaw a little, watching as she tries to articulate, cut herself off before she can. His brow twitches, draws in. He did what?

Not a new experience, and he shakes his head. "I can do a lot of things," Tavisha tells her. "I don't always know what they are." His shoulder not pinned to the wall lifts up in a shrug, a little hopeless. He could have killed three separate people (and one dog) and it's almost old news, now, and not as interesting as Colette's avid gaze suggests. Burning interest, though, has to be met with something and so, awkwardly, he offers his name: "I'm Tavisha, by the way."

A lot of things.

The notion makes Colette close her eyes, one small hand rubbing at the side of her head to try and wrap her mind around that. It's possible, and that huge book written by that scruffy Indian guy Conrad had her read did talk about it, but— "That's fucking weird." That about sums it up, really. Even as sharp as those words sound, there's no bite to them. Colette's been exposed to more confusing and contradictory experiences in the last two days than she has in a long time.

"Tavisha…" sounds like a girl's name, but miraculously she keeps that to herself. "I guess I won't forget that," her eyes divert down to the blood on his shoulder, one hand reaching up to pluck dried flakes of it off of the green fabric, fingers flicking other bits away. "So… you know — " She nods back to the clinic, implying either Teo or Eileen, or both. "That's… really fucking weird." The young girl hangs her head, teeth pressing into her lower lip.

Finally feelin gthe cold, all of the excess heat she built up in her panic having faded out through the corded wool of her brick-red sweater, Colette wraps her arms around herself. She still watches Tavisha, puzzled, "I… think the doctor might want you to— " stay the fuck out of his clinic. But agan, going unsaid. "I'm hungry," is instead her response, "I saw a Chinese place on the way here. You… I think— Teo'll be okay. I— whatever you did to him, to— us— " She looks down to the ground, then back up again, smiling away the end of that sentence.

"Cigarettes aren't dinner."

The name Tavisha is Hindi, alternatively, but he doesn't have a chance to sing this usual refrain as Colette holds back. He glances a little towards where she tries to pick off dried blood from where Teo leaked on him, and through the melancholy of almost accidentally a clinic, amusement breaks through. As time goes on, feelings mean a little more, attached to longer bouts of memory - but he's only lived a month, in a way. It doesn't take a lot of work to distract him.

The not so subtle hint draws soft laughter from him, even, a shyer kind of uncertain smile pulling at his mouth. "Then I guess I could use dinner," he says, a glance wandering over Colette's head towards the door, listening to the vague sounds of Eileen and Filatov finishing up what he inadvertently started.

Let it go. "Come on, it's this way." And he takes a step towards the Kitchen, letting Colette keep pace with him as they walk.


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February 25th: Autoerotic Mutilation
Previously in this storyline…
I Know Him

Next in this storyline…
Everywhere You Turn

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February 26th: The Missing Intern
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