Interdepartmental Cooperation, Part III


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Scene Title Interdepartmental Cooperation, Part III
Synopsis Audrey Hanson approaches Eileen Ruskin about the Sylar case. The interdepartmental part goes considerable better than last time.
Date March 4, 2010

Fort Greene: Eileen's Apartment

The phrase 'interdepartmental cooperation' is largely understood to be an oxymoron in Audrey's line of work, but sometimes other agencies really do pull through. In this specific instance, she has Agent Sarisa Kershner of the CIA to thank for her most recent lead on the Sylar case: an English transplant named Eileen Spurling who is rumoured to have connections with Gray.

Sitting across from the agent at her dining room table, a pot of tea billowing steam and two ceramic cups between them, she doesn't look the part of someone who willingly associates with serial killers. Her mouth, split and bruised though it is, has a gentle shape that does not quite form a smile but is nonetheless very kind. She wears her right hand in gauze bandages and her arm in a makeshift sling while she uses the other to pour the other woman a cup of fragrant, thin-bodied tea with strong floral tones that fill the apartment's small kitchen and lend it some much-needed warmth.

Either the radiators don't work or they don't work very well, but at least Eileen is being cooperative. "What can I do for you this morning, Agent Hanson?"

"Well Ms. Spurling" Audrey had settled into the seat opposite the other woman, the file on the table between them having long since made it's thump when she set it down before eschewing all proper manners and putting her elbows on the surface of the table, fingers poised on the corners of the folder. "Little bird told me that you knew someone I'm looking for" Her tongue pushes against the inside of her upper teeth for a few moments, gauging how the woman across from her is going to take the bird comment. "Goes by the name of Sylar. When did you last see him Eileen, may I call you Eileen?" She's going to call her Eileen regardless. The gold disc at her throat never wavers, hair tucked behind ears and the navy jacket she's wearing open to display an equally navy suit beneath. So far, she hadn't quite made a reach for the tea that's being served.

It's just as well. Eileen serves her tea piping hot and would risk burning the roof of even her own mouth if she were to drink it so soon. Instead, she places the pot down on its knit pad after filling her own cup, picks up a small silver spoon from her saucer and dips into a small bowl of granulated sugar.

If she minds being on a first name basis with Audrey, she does not allow her complacent expression to reflect it. "It would have been last November," she says, measuring out a modest amount of sweetener into her tea. When she stirs it, her spoon tinkles cheerlessly in the bottom of the cup. "Just before your Thanksgiving."

"Last November. Really. Haven't seen him since way back then" It's certainly not a question as Audrey leans back, drawing air through her nose quietly, lowering her gaze from Eileen and her stirring in of sugar to adjust the file on the table, forefinger and middle ready to flip it open. "Who else did he hang about with, beside you? He have any acquaintances who seemed to take a unhealthy interest in his extracurricular activities?" Anyone take an interest and notes in how to saw off the top of a persons head? "Besides Agent Ivanov" Or herself.

Agent Ivanov's name inspires a reaction that the 'little bird' comment could not. Green eyes lift from her reflection in the tea's rippling surface and rivet to Audrey's face, dark brows low and lashes heavy. Clink goes the spoon, laid down on the saucer with more care than is probably necessary. "It's possible there were others," Eileen admits, "but the nature of our relationship was private, and so were we. I'd go weeks at a time without seeing him. No explanation. It wasn't ever needed."

"So you had a thing with him. Well, some people, they like that kind of thing right? Women write to men in prison all the time. I never understood it myself but hey. Like I said" The reaction to Ivanov's name is noted, marked away to be ruminated over. As of November, her whale was alive. That was good news, in a way. That left only the uncertainty as to whether between November and now, he was alive.

The folder is finally flipped open, a couple sheets with text and official looking innocuous documents on top. She's not searching for those though but the picture that's beneath them. "You ever seen one of his kills before Eileen? I know, I know, the whole what we had was private thing, I understand. But still. Sometimes, men, they like to share their conquests, brag about them. Be a man." The folder is flipped closed with one hand, while she re-orients the picture she's holding to slide it across the table to the telepathist. A nameless woman face down on subway tracks. Top of her head removed and the brain quite obviously missing.

Eileen's eyes flick down to the glossy photo, studying it in the bright light of the kitchen, and she pretends to be more interested in the way it refracts off the blood than the blood itself. A shallow sip of tea provides her with a few more moments to compose her thoughts, though there's something about the way she's treating the crime scene that strongly implies this isn't the first time she's seen these images — or at least something like them.

"I think you have me mistaken for someone else, Agent," she finally murmurs around the porcelain rim of her cup. "I was nothing more to him than a warm body and a soft mouth. We rarely spoke."

The Englishwoman layers lie upon lie with practiced expertise, but Audrey is no fool. There are subtle signs that point to the opposite of what she's saying. The way her fingers curl around the handle of her teacup and clasp it tight. Her refusal to look at anything except the photographs as she speaks.

However guarded, an emotional attachment is present.

"I think your trying to bullshit me Eileen. Audrey leans forward again, arms parallel to the table and one palm layered on top of the other. "I was told you'd help me. That you had a connection to Sylar. I see you pour me tea and you say 'oh no Agent Hanson, I was just a warm body, he didn't tell me anything' and yet, I see something quite different" Her tongue traces across one the left back of her teeth as she rises from the table, head cocked to the side.

"What do you see in that picture Spurling. Cause I see a dead girl who bears a very striking resemblance to your warm body's MO. I see the way you're holding yourself and I can read the little things your body is doing. Tells me that you know something and that you're not telling me. So how about it Spurling. Why don't you look at that picture and tell me what you see" Though her body's pitched agressivly, Audrey's managing to keep her tone conversational, expectant, jaw pushed forward and forcing the sides of her lips to pinch inwards.

Eileen is not a large woman. Neither is Audrey, for that matter, but her bird-boned build, the delicate weave of her fingers and the fragility conveyed in the curve of her spine all make it very difficult for her to compete with the agent with it comes down to physical presence. That's not to say, however, that she can't be intimidating when the situation calls for it.

The white carnation she wears in her hair will have withered by the end of the day. She does not. "Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark," Eileen says, lowering her teacup to place it on the saucer without untangling her fingers from the handle. "I have an abundance in him, and I don't care what it looks like — Gabriel didn't do this."

The heels of her palms remain on the table, but they bend upwards as if to say 'so' as her shoulders rise. "So then enlighten me spurling, how do you know he didn't do this? Because it sure seems like he did it and he was in the area not that long ago to have a turkey and cranberries with you before he took off. I got a jane doe here with his fingerprints all over it"

Which is a bluff in and of itself, she knows it but wants to hear why Eileen thinks it's not Gabriel work and someone elses. "I'm more than willing to listen to why you think he didn't do this"

Eileen remains seated, the fingertips of her bandaged hand resting lightly on the table's clothed surface. Apart from the teapot, bowl of sugar and two cups, Audrey's still untouched, there is only a vase of flowers fastened at the stems with a length of what looks like black silk ribbon, their blooms a contrasting seashell white. For whatever reason, she neglected to bring out the milk.

Unfortunately, none of these observations lend Audrey any valuable insight into the pallid young woman draped in cashmere and lace, a cigarette tucked behind her ear on the side of her head opposite the carnation.

Eileen plucks it — the cigarette, not the flower — and brings it to her pursed lips, fishing around in her cardigan pocket for a book of matches. She's probably not supposed to smoke in the apartment, but every rule has its exceptions.

"You aren't," she says. "Not if you're anything like Ivanov."

"Ivanov's a whole different breed. He's a greyhound, all speed, head down, gotta catch that rabbit or die trying." She doesn't know how true that is for Felix in actuality. "Sometimes, you have to wait, be patient. Eventually that rabbits going to come right out and you can come on up behind him. I'm a pointer" The folder is flipped open again, a few more pictures fished out of the same crime scene and the woman. "You say it's not him. Why? Don't feed me lines of poetry or any other bullshit, cause while you're probably a bit better normally at hiding your body language, i'm guessing that whatever you're taking for whatever it is that the guy who beat the shit out of you did, is affecting that part of you. Making you a sight easier to read. So come on spurling. If it's not sylar then what's it gonna hurt to tell me why it's not him"

There's a bottle of prescription painkillers in Eileen's medicine cabinet next to the Paxil. Audrey is very perceptive. On the next exhale, the Englishwoman cracks her match head against the striking strip on the back of the book produced from her pocket, creating a brief surge of heat and light confined to the cradle of her hand. It bleeds out gold through her fingers, casts strange shadows across her face and its pastel pale skin.

She lowers her eyes as she brings the lit match to the tip of her cigarette, which bobs in her mouth like a stiff rod with a fish at the end of the line as her lips form words around the filter. "Do you know who Emile Danko is?"

It takes Audrey a few moments to register the name then compare it mentally. She takes the time to step away from the table, give Eileen a little breathing space now that she's seeming to co-operate in the information area. The tea cup however is coming with her and she starts to peruse the room. "Humanis First. Burned down the Guiding Light Baptist Church in greenwhich, tried to lynch the pastor, the greyhound and another woman. I've heard of him. You're gonna tell me that this is him?"

"He and Gabriel used to work together," Eileen says. "Irreconcilable differences caused them to split." She shakes out the match with a brisk shake of her wrist and lays it down beside her spoon on the saucer. "If I was Danko, I could think of no better way to cover my tracks than to disguise them as somebody else's. I have address if you don't believe me — stake it out and see for yourself." As she removes the cigarette from her mouth, her lips leak fluid smoke. "Surveillance is what your branch of the government is best at, isn't it?"

"We're good at a whole bunch of things. Danko." She wraps one arm across her midriff, leaning her hip against the counter and gesturing to the pictures with the cup of tea. "Anyone else you think it could be?" She pushes her tongue against the back of her teeth again before lifting the cup up to her lips to take a swallow. "I'll check in on Danko, take that address too" She digs into a pocket of her jacket long enough to pull out a little black fliptop book with a pen clipped to it. She has to put the cup down, but she flips to an appropriate clear page and wait with a pointed look to the younger woman.

Eileen accedes without protest. Normally, she'd be taking the pen from Audrey and moving it across the top of the page in brisk, swift little strokes like the toes of a bird scratching in the dust. Her handwriting might even be legible. Barely.

Her injury makes this difficult, and so she recites the address aloud instead as she curves her thumb around the edge of her cigarette and idly toys with it between her fingers. One of them is missing a nail. "Is that everything?" she asks.

Audrey's got her own brand of chicken scratch that's hard to read if you don't know it. When Eileen's done, Audrey parrots it back with drawn down brows to ensure she's got the right address. "How'd you come by this?" She'd check it against whatever address they might have on file for him. With a flick of her wrist, the book is closed, a click, the pen nib retracts to the safety of it's plastic and she's tucking it away. Time to collect the pictures and slip them into the folder. Not done yet it seems.

Eileen holds her hands in front of her body, palms up, and crosses one wrist over the other with thumbs hooked together and pointed up. When she gives a faint flutter of her fingers, the dark silhouette on the wall behind her flicks into flight.

For the first time in Audrey's career, someone answers a direct question with a shadow puppet.

There's a huff and a shake of her head. "Figures" The birds. "I come up with anything else, I know where to find you." She juts her chin towards the other woman's various injuries. "Hope you left your dance partner crying on the floor. Don't get up, i'll see myself out" Because the doors about five feet to the side of her.

She's got an address to let some little lackey punch in and confer with others.

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