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Scene Title Go Home
Synopsis A search for truth brings Victor closer than he expected.
Date March 6, 2009

The Rookery

After the bomb, Staten Island grew to become a haven for undesirables. If the Island is their home, then the Rookery is their playplace. Equal parts gritty and decadent, it boasts dark alleys, bright lights, and every pleasure that one could imagine. Provided you know where to ask, of course.

Some areas have fared better than the rest of the island; some have fared far worse. For each well-tended brothel or gaming house, there's at least one creaky, crumbling structure left over from the days of pre-bomb suburban glory.

The population is considered universally distasteful, even by much of the rest of Staten Island. Criminals, refugees, victims of radiation poisoning… Those who have nowhere else to go often end up here. The most common method of getting out is to have your body dropped in the river, followed closely by being left wherever it is you got killed.

Good luck.


The movie Fight Club was nothing like this thing that Victor went to see this past night. He came in with the rest of the scum and had a surprisingly easy time of blending in. All it took was not talking to anybody any more than strictly necessary and causing absolutely no reason for anyone to pay him any attention.

THAT bit in particular surprised Vic, since it was just outside this building that he slammed Mailbox Man into that mailbox after hauling his butt down the block fast enough to break land speed records. The times that Vic kicked himself in the butt for that particular public display of his ability? Many.

But tonight it should pay off, he thinks. Armed with a printed out photo of Gabriel Gray, he showed up at the Pancratium looking for that face and well aware he would not be likely to hear the names of Gabriel Gray or Sylar associated with it. If it were THAT easy he would not have been spinning his wheels for weeks trying to find the man so far. Lucky breaks got him here, not good information.

The fights themselves appealed to that visceral part of any human who thrills at conflict and its resolution, but Vic being a fundamentally nonviolent guy…a greater part of him found it repugnant. And was mad at himself for that fraction that enjoyed what he was seeing.

In all the night seems wasted so far, because he's seen no hint of the face he's tried to burn into his own memory (who could miss those eyebrows?) and feels a little guilty for participating even in a strictly limited way in the spectacle of egging on this human suffering. Worst of all? Victor Childs has begun to wonder if he's not just being a naive child about his concern for that suffering. That part of him that genuinely cares is bruised, and he's felt it slipping away lately. It's frightening.

Or alternatively, getting swept up in the crowd is enough to batter at the boy's bruised sense of caring and morals, and that's not so bad. Just a temporary dose of corruption, and mobs sure do make it difficult to disagree with them. And this one is a lively bunch, cheering throats raw throughout the night, and in Victor's audible periphery, trading money and bets on the fighters up there to showcase their talents, whether willingly or not.

The oppressive crowd has thinned some, many people sidling out the door once whatever fight they had come to see had ended, and they leave with lighter or fuller wallets than before. By now, the smell of blood and sweat on the air has that kind of metallic, barely perceptible scent that rainstorms leave behind, and the cheering has dimmed, the murmur of conversation a beehive hum above Victor's head.

Searching eyes will find the repetition of the faces of strangers, more men than women, until they land on something familiar, something that might demand a double take. Eyebrows. Basically. Among other defining traits which manage to stand out through the strange lighting of spotlights focused on the stage and washing out everything else in shadow. A man identical to Victor's print out stands on the other side of the cage, the two males separate by two layers of bars and the bright wash of spotlight between them. Like Victor, Tavisha rubs shoulders with those of the Pancratium, save for the fact he's moving, walking through them and gently urging people to create a path for himself.

At first Victor doesn't even believe he sees this. Enough disbelief really that he even pulls out the paper from his pocket and unfolds it to give it a look. Okay, it's not just the eyebrows, it's the face. It's the nose. It's everything. Well, hair's a little different but hair changes, right?

He puts the paper back and immediately begins playing catchup through the crowd. This is not an easy task. Vic's working a path around the ring, figuring his quarry will be doing the same. The only question is what exit he'll go for. Urg! If only he dared use his speed, but not here. Especially not here, so close to the guy and in this crowd. Who knows what'd happen?

Vic is a very spry young man though and does allow himself the unconventional choice of walking over emptied seats and hopping banisters to cut past the mingling people that bar his way.

Tavisha has a better time of getting through - a familiar face to some, they generally step out of his way, and to others, he's broad shouldered and tall enough to angle his way through without getting shoved back. It's almost ludicrous that the most infamous face known to New York is wandering so freely, through so many people, but that's the whole point of Staten Island, really. He seems distracted, if Victor can catch his expression or is bothering to note such a thing, and is dressed darkly save for the lighter grey of a scarf hanging loosely down his chest.

Luckily for Victor, it's a public exit he leaves through, disappearing under the cover of shadow for a moment down the upstairs hallway that leads for out. The neon pollution of the Rookery slants through the door as he levers it open, disappears outside into the dry, cold night.

Vic is actually afraid he's going to lose this guy once he's out the door. Once the man vanishes outside Vic even counts six bodies that follow before he can get to the same doorway.

And then suddenly, once outside, he finds himself a little worried. What if he was too obvious? Quick, look around.

Of course at this point he's got a million thoughts at once. Catch up to him and say something? What?

Excuse me, are you Sylar?

My what nice eyebrows you have.

Stay the hell away from Gillian?

Hi, I'm Vic Childs, did you kill my sister?

It doesn't take long for Vic to realize that he is in an incredibly stupid situation here. But he's here, so he might as well follow it through best he can.

Perhaps that first one might just lead to Victor getting the print out signed with an autograph. The second might get a few odd looks but perhaps the same result. Three and four, dicier. Not that Tavisha is aware of any of this conflict, or even aware of Victor. There are too many people to take notice of one thundering heart beat out of a few hundred, although on the street, that may be different.

For now, Tavisha has somewhere to be. Perhaps. There is determination in his stride but he's looking up at the sky, shoulder-colliding with a passerby and only offering a murmur of apology as he moves down the sidewalk, further away from the activity of the Rookery's heart, past Shooters, the Happy Dagger an eyesore of neon and silk across the road, the more homely presence of the clinic and the antique store passing him by as well.

Foot traffic thins all the more as he goes, making following a more dangerous task, but he seems enraptured by something and finally, that something becomes clear as he comes to slow on an open-street market that has long since closed up for the evening. Or. Moderately clear. Either way, Tavisha offers an arm forward, and in a low swooping, a large, pitch-black raven ducks out of the sky and lands heavily on the offered wrist. They're similar beings, in a way, with Tavisha's black coat and his own hawk-like profile, dark hair slicked back and glossy as feathers.

With a wash of relief but a stab of apprehension, Vic finds his quarry again and begins walking after him. Hands in pockets, stride careful not to gain or lose ground with the other's, he tries to look like he's looking down. Face is angled down, anyway. But Vic's eyes are up and pretty much fixed on the guy, this Sylar. Necessarily part of this entire effort is in doubt that the man even IS Sylar. Maybe he should ask?

And what for? Would he get the truth? And if the answer was 'yes', then what? No, best to say nothing just yet. Vic isn't ready to confront this guy.

So he continues to follow simply until they get out of the heavy foot traffic and Vic finds himself having to watch from a greater distance to remain inconspicuous, or to stick to out of the way seeming angles. That's problematic lest he lose the man, but so far he's managing to keep up. He stops altogether to stare with knitted brows at the raven. That's a HUGE black bird for this area. Don't those belong in the country? Great. Sylar talks to birds…

The bird is indeed out of place, folding its large, ungainly wings and giving a gravelly, low caw. They stand together on the pavement, Tavisha's arm braced against the weight of the raven as his other hand fidgets with the bird's leg - a message attached, it seems, and the raven stays still and patient until it's removed. Once it is, he doesn't fly off right away, hopping up Tavisha's arm until he can find purchase on his shoulder, the former serial killer curving his back just a fraction to allow for this.

Reading the note barely takes a few seconds, a tiny slip of paper likely invisible from Victor's vantage point, indicated only by the fact Tavisha is holding and reading something.

Then, something happens. Maybe the wind shifts in the right direction, allowing a snatch of something not at all audible to drift his way. Tavisha looks up, abruptly, not in Victor's direction at first - just blinking across the street, but he turns, very much to look right at the young man. In the same moment, the raven launches himself off the midtown man's shoulder in a flurrying flap of black feathers, beating strong wings and apparently flying straight for the speedster.

It's only from the body language that Victor can tell there's some message involved here. That and the fact he's as familiar as the next guy with the concept of birds with messages tied to their legs. So long as the other man's still and with his bird, Vic isn't moving a muscle. And tries hard not to appear to be looking at…oh shit.

So it's highly possible Vic's been spotted. And the bird's coming for him. But it's just some big bird and couldn't hurt him, right? So Vic stays where he is but has his eyes on the bird as it flies in close. Crap…don't run. Don't run because that'll make them chase you. Except that's dogs…

Nonetheless Vic stays put, just staring at the bird as it swoops in.

It's not even Sylar's bird, not really, but sudden curiousity and suspicion spurrs the raven on from some silent urging. Tavisha's eyes shut for a moment, around the same time Victor seems about to get a face full of aggressive black bird, but in the next instant, it's gone again. Feathers ruffle hair, briefly, the sound of beating wings a distant soundtrack, up and up and around a building and invisibly into the night sky.

Tavisha shakes his head, looking lost for a moment, before the message he received is pocketed. A narrowed eyed look is cast towards Victor, long seconds draw by - perhaps the blonde goes unseen, perhaps just ignored - before Tavisha is turning his shoulder, and walking away once more. At a slightly slower pace than before.

In spite of himself Vic throws up an arm at the last minute before the bird swoops away, then looks up and around franticly just to see if he can see where it went. What if it comes for another pass?

So busted. Vic just knows it, but he's also thinking this guy isn't SURE Vic's been following him. Else something other than the freaky bird thing would've happened. Like you know, skull-cutting or some other evil hideousness.

Unless this guy isn't really Sylar? Yeah, well that's part of it too. Vic has to find out.

Even if he's not Sylar the guy could be dangerous, so Vic lets his quarry get out of sight before looking up and around at the area, and he spots something he's looking for. It's a gutter going up the side of a building to the roof.

A brisk trot up to the side of the building and Vic fixes his fingers to either side of the gutter and easily begins scaling the wall using it as a handhold all the way up. His finger strength and skill level is up to it, but more importantly he's very well motivated. Vic is a free-runner as a hobby, and who ever knew that kind of hobby would help him right now? Once he gets to the roof he shouldn't have much trouble using his speed and breakfalls to hop from roof to roof and watch the man from a much more improbable angle. Just hope that bird stays away.

The sky appears clear of birds, it seems, or at least the ones hell bent on swooping people. There is a good stretch of rooftops to go by, Tavisha headed towards the coast if Victor has any sense of direction. After a time, once a corner is turned and Victor is forced to make such a leap boosted by his speed, Tavisha's walk seems to pick up in speed, a long striding determined saunter down the road, passing a few people by as they, instead, head inwards for some criminal nightlife.

Long minutes pass, before Tavisha lets out a breath of a chuckle, inaudible from Victor's range and likely unseen, considering the angles, but there's still a slight smile. Exasperated and a little joyless, but it's there.

Go home, kid. A voice, low in tone, graveled at the edges, sounds with semi-clarity in Victor's head. There's an echo to it, a little disjointed, but the words and the sound of it manage to get through. Whatever it is you want… you won't find it with me. Not tonight.

Yeah, he was made all right. Vic had just gotten done rolling from a jump and peering over the edge of a roof down at the man when the voice came into his perception. There can't exactly be a conversation here, can there? Just in case there could, Vic says aloud but where only he could hear it, "I have to know."

He's done with this for today. For what it's worth he's actually made a lot of progress. But it appears that this particular chase is over with. "I have to know…"

Go home.

Chase over or not, the inky black of Tavisha's coat floods with ambient colour, distorts the light around himself until he blends into his environment in a near perfect camouflage, barely a blur as he moves and leaving only footprints in the wet cement behind, but even these, after a while, simply blend in with all the other tracks a city of people make in the span of a few minutes. Lost once more, he slips away, thinking he's doing someone a favour.


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March 6th: Dinner and a Movie
Previously in this storyline…
Domino

Next in this storyline…
Pay Up

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March 6th: Entreaty
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