A Better Frame of Mind


eileen2_icon.gif warren_icon.gif

Scene Title A Better Frame of Mind
Synopsis Warren receives a reprieve.
Date February 11, 2019

A Basement in Providence

Warren lays there, lays propped up and stretched out against the wall as he lays his back against the floor, eyes reflecting the ceiling like mirrors despite saying he'd stop using his ability for a while.

"Did she know I was her stepson? Am I her stepson?" he asks himself, no longer hearing voices talk back to him, so now it's a more normal talking to himself. "It was betrayal!" He lowers his legs, rolling over to sit with his legs crossed now, careful to keep his chains from tangling. "I shouldn't feel confused, I think Mort was kind of soft. I can't remember why he thought she was so nice. Don't just show me something and then kill me for it! You should have known, you're a fucking genius!"

He sounds kind of riled up, but he occupies himself by trying to explore his memories, with nothing better to do. "Fuck you Michelle, fuck you and your machine!!! I wish you drowned, I'm not the dumb me, I know you're an evil bitch!!! I saw what you did!!!"

Speaking of evil bitches, depending on who you ask, that’s maybe Eileen’s cue.

She descends the steps of the basement on feet as light as an owl’s wings; Warren doesn’t notice she’s there until she’s arrived at the bottom, scrutinizing his prone form from the relative safety of a shadow. He’d called her messiah but she isn’t that. She’s just an ordinary woman on the smaller side of average whose presence in a room could easily go missed if she didn’t assert herself.

And Eileen isn’t asserting herself right now.

Instead, she plays the role of an observator: solemn, silent, and for the moment without judgment.

"Richard is blinded by having a mother." Warren decides, his tone calmer. He does seem to be genuinely thinking out loud, as he isn't waiting for anyone to respond, or responding to anyone. "My mother went insane and tried to drown me, and she's still better than Richard's evil genius mother! Plus I think that was Edward's fault. Richard stop listening to my father who made my mother crazy!"

He just seems to be shouting his frustrations, forced self-therapy. But soon he stops entirely, his back straightening as he feels a shift in the basement's meager air current. "Oh! The giant bird! No, hold on."

The chromium in his eyes recides, and he blinks a few times as his eyes refocus. "Oh you're that girl, the one everyone hates." he slips for a moment, then quickly raises his head. "Wait wait, no no, sorry, I'm remembering a different version of me's memories again. You're the messiah."

Even for someone as aware of other people’s poor opinions of her as Eileen is, there’s still an inescapable sting when reminded of those opinions or upon hearing them spoken aloud. She remembers the last few weeks on Pollepel Island and, as Sibyl, what was written about her in the books that followed.

No reproach, though. No argument against Warren’s assessment of her character.

It’s difficult to fight facts.

Messiah, on the other hand—

“Just Eileen,” she says. “Please. My dying never absolved anyone of anything.”

"Sorry, I didn't mean to insult you. I get confused, my brain is a time loop, and a cross loop, and now it's like… a church mirror!" Warren tries to describe things in understandable terms, trying to keep himself somewhat grounded. "You summoned that god thing, it sucked my life out. But I like Eileen better than messiah, being a messiah is overrated. People start following you, and then you have to remember everyone's names, so you give everyone numbers instead. It's too much."

"It's boring down here, so I turned my ability on. I was letting myself think. Harper said my brain fixes itself, so I'm trying to see if my memories get better if I leave my ability on longer. Plus I'm bored!" He stares at her for a long moment, since this is the first time out of the other two times that he's gotten to see her in a non-confrontational situation. "You seem different from the version of you in my memories. But that version is very hazy, I don't think that me knew her. Who knows!"

He motions his head at her. "Something's strange about all of this. I'm good at patterns, telling when things make sense. Well, mostly machines, but you know, even though my brain might be a bit addled, I'm pretty good at observations." Staring up at the ceiling, he considers things, the situation, just, well, everything. "I've been down here for a long time, which is kind of strange. I said I wouldn't leave, but I understand the security reasons for keeping me down here. But I'm also still alive. I don't know! It's weird. Come tell me about yourself."

"Are you indoctrinating me?" he suddenly wonders.

“I’m trying to save your life,” she answers, “but you’re making it very difficult.”

She sinks down on the bottommost step, literally stooping to Warren’s level. One arm drapes over her leg. The other she folds across her midsection.

Tell me about yourself is a tall order. Eileen tries anyway: “I used to be called Munin. You might have read about me in a book, The Wolves of Valhalla. Richard probably has a copy hidden away somewhere with the rest of his documentation. He’s very organized, your brother.”

She pauses, not for any lack of things she could say, but because she’s still uncertain what else she’s comfortable divulging to this person who is almost a stranger yet not quite.

“I know a few things about dangerous abilities,” she finishes, “and compulsions. The kind that drive people mad. I think you do, too.”

"Hugin and Munin fly every day over all the world. I worry for Hugin, that he might not return, but I worry more for Munin." Warren suddenly recites, very poetically, then immediately begins to consider abilities. "That's why I'm here. I need to see the armor, because it's… it's like a seed. I saw a little bit of it, like deja vu. I have to know how it works, once I know how it works, once I understand what I did in that world, I'll feel better and I can forget about it, or something."

"I don't know! It's like I'm in love with it, it's burning a hole in my heart and mind! If I could just see it, I'll escape and never come back." he offers, because, well, it's an offer. "Though this place needs so much stuff, you had a broken generator! I want to fix things."

“You don’t need to see the armour,” Eileen rebukes Warren gently, her tone soft, borderline conversational. “You want to see the armour, and your gift makes it challenging for you to understand the difference.”

"It was so complex. Not like the giant robot thing, that was like… it was like looking at television static. But the armor, it was perfect, it was so much better than my current designs. Not knowing how it works… it's painful." Warren admits with a genuinely pained look in his blue eyes, averting his gaze to the floor. "I don't know what to do. It feels like it's better to die down here than not see it."

“Lucky for you, our feelings don’t always reflect reality.” Eileen slips a gloved hand inside her coat. “If you die down here, Warren Ray, the culprit won’t be heartache.”

This is the part where someone else might pull out a knife, or a pistol. She produces neither. A moment later, she’s tapping a package of cigarettes against the inside of her thigh.

“You sound like an addict.”

"What do you mean an addict? I just need to understand it, I don't normally have this problem. I mean, okay so usually I do take things apart and figure them out. Fuck!" Warren sounds rather frustrated, mostly because he's good at putting pieces together, and it's very difficult to lie to one's self when you can quickly undo your own poor logic.

"I accept that I'm in intellectual checkmate, but I don't know what you expect me to do. I can't just not need to see it." Warren stares at her cigarettes, his eyes already beginning to fill with chromium, searching the carton for some sort of understanding. "I'm not thinking of what I could do with the carbon collected from the smoke of your cigarettes, you're thinking of what I could do with the carbon collected from the smoke of your cigarettes!"

His eyes quickly shift back to blue, and he frowns. "Sorry, I'm deflecting. I deflect a lot."

Eileen raises both her eyebrows at Warren’s outburst at the same time she’s withdrawing a solitary cigarette from the package. She steers it into the corner of her mouth. “You remind me of Gabriel Gray,” she says around the filter, “back when he still went by the name Sylar.”

At some point during their conversation, she apparently palmed a lighter, because she has one in hand to take to the end of that cigarette. “Every little thing he did, every decision he made, the company he kept— it was all in the interest of acquiring more abilities to add to his personal collection. It was about the power, certainly. All that raw potential. But it was also about knowledge. Understanding.”

The cigarette lit, she snaps the lighter off again and slips it back into an inconspicuous pocket. “He let it rule him until he didn’t. He learned to recognize the difference between his needs and his wants. You can, too, when you’re ready.”

"Gabriel… we had an interesting relationship. I think, a loooong time ago, I tried to recruit him to a cult. But it's hazy, one of those memories with lots of weirdness." Warren seems to be temporarily occupied with remembering Gabriel, his shoulders and face relaxing a bit. "And then I had to help stop him for some reason I can't remember. I built a clockwork ball thing to distract him! But it didn't work very well. I thought his brain would be exactly like mine, but I guess we have differences."

He watches her smoke, something about it seemingly drawing his eye, watching the way the smoke moves and interacts with the air. "We became friends eventually. He helped me beat up my gang, we had fun! Richard was there, before I knew he was my brother I think. I liked Gabriel, he understood me, though he was kind of stiff. Not as bad as Hector though, Hector has a robot claw right up his butt. I don't know why he hates me so much."

Either way, he returns to the subject at hand, after his mind finishes wandering. "Are you saying you want me to leave?"

“You don’t belong here,” is Eileen’s way of saying yes. “Your company tore open a rift in space and time because your brother’s heart is louder than his head. People died. That’s something neither of us can take back.”

The tip of her cigarette crackles, burns orange— or maybe it’s gold.

“What you need Warren, is to go home. Back to Richard, to Kaylee. Your family will have noticed you’re missing by now, and I won’t have my family put in danger just so you can start work on your magnum opus.”

"I like you, you're a good person. You did try to save the world." Warren admits, then sighs, seemingly in defeat. "I still want the armor, but I don't want you to be in danger. I don't want anyone to come after you. So… I'll leave if you promise to come visit me and talk about the armor."

Staring at the cigarette, he knows she had to light it somehow. "Leave the lighter and put my arm somewhere I can easily find it, then I'll be gone."

“It’s not that straightforward.”

Eileen blows smoke through her slightly parted mouth, through her nose. “We can make it look like you escaped, but it’ll need to be on my terms, not yours.” She taps ash onto the damp basement floor. “Tonight, when it gets dark, you and I are going to take a long walk to meet a Mr. Rainier. He has your arm and a truck, which he’s going to use to drive you back to the Safe Zone.”

The Englishwoman drags her teeth over her lower lip in thought. If Warren didn’t know better, he might think she was making this up as she goes along. “When you get there,” she continues, “he’ll make sure you check yourself into the Benchmark Recovery and Counseling Center. You’ll tell no one where you’ve been these past few days, or who you’ve been speaking to. Instead, you’ll ask for Lynette Ruiz or Joseph Sumter, and get real help for this— affliction of yours.”

Her hand not dangling a cigarette reaches up and tucks a flyaway strand of silver-streaked hair behind one slim ear. “If Ruiz allows it, I’ll visit you there. And we can discuss the armour when you’re in a better frame of mind.”

"Full disclosure, my motorcycle and most of my vehicles can be remote controlled, so you might want to destroy it for security reasons." Warren admits, but otherwise seems amicable, nodding in agreement. "Alright. Richard thinks I'm on vacation. I'll just say I was trying to kill Harper or something, he'll believe me. And he won't care because Harper deserves to die anyway."

"I won't mention you at all, he'd be pissed anyway. And don't worry about my sister, if she tries to read my mind or something, I'll turn my ability on and trip balls!" After agreeing with her terms, he takes a deep breath. "I guess it's easier to agree to stop doing something crazy when I have to think about other people. I can be selfish a lot, I guess I get it from my father."

Eileen braces her hand against the stairwell’s wall and rises to her feet. “Good news: You get to choose what bad habits you inherit from your parents. Selfishness isn’t like your nose. Or the colour of your eyes.”

For the first time during this conversation, she doesn’t sound entirely convinced of what she’s saying.

She thinks of Astor, then. Of the track marks on her son’s arms and the insides of her own. Of Gabriel’s ability and the nature of addiction.

Something only Eileen can hear whispers, and she turns to look back over her shoulder, searching the darkness for the source of the voice.

Sees nothing. There is nothing.

A steadying breath reclaims her composure, and she begins to climb. If there’s nothing, she can pass it off as exactly that.

“Good bye, Warren. It was nice to really meet you.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License