A Bit Much To Swallow


amato_icon.gif elias_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bit Much To Swallow
Synopsis Welcome back, Amato.
Date December 7, 2008

Confucius Plaza — Amato's Apartment

The current resident of this apartment has either just moved in or lacks the time or motivation to decorate.

The result of this is pretty much a blank slate of a space. Living room, kitchen, bathroom, and both bedrooms retain their blank, waiting white walls, but there is a great deal more furniture in this living space than there was in the last one this specific person occupied. The living room houses a small FM radio in addition to its table and paired chairs, each obviously picked up at a flea market like the rest of the furnishings. The only appliance added to the kitchen, along with a rudimentary set of dishes and cookware, is a coffeepot. The bathroom has a compliment of nondescript necessities and a single towel which has seen far better days. Each of the bedrooms has an iron bedframe and a simple mattress.

It is clear that whomever lives here does the primary amount of living outside of these walls.

It has been quite some time since Amato has been out of his apartment, and it is hard to say what exactly has kept him in his few rooms these past few weeks. It could be any number of things, but the likelihood that it is the combination of stresses, concerns, and self-inflicted (perhaps saving up penance for some future sin).

Having just finished a meal of rice, vegetables, and the smallest amount of actual chicken, Amato stands at his kitchen sink doing the dishes. His shirt sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, and his collar is unbuttoned, due to the absence of a tie around his neck. The once-monk may be in the confines and comfort of his own makeshift home, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have to make some sort of an effort when it comes to dressing.

It may be dressing that Amato puts effort into (among other things), but however small the effort may be, the magic trick of appearing from thin air is what Elias pours his energy into. Primarily because of the extra cargo he's brought with him; instead of a sandwich, for a change, he's brought Wu-Long along with him. It's not often that Elias simply appears, or at least not often to anyone's knowledge other than his own, but when he does, usually it's important.

Even without a sandwich, however, he's not 'unarmed'. If Amato didn't hear the soft breeze of their arrival, he will most likely notice them when the air i split by the sound of Elias opening his can of Cherry Coke.

The ripple of displaced air carries with an acrid tang of cigarette smoke, despite the fact that Wu-Long had stubbed his out at least a minute before he caught his ride over. It hangs on the leather folds of his coat and sweater and breath, adding a slightly rawed-over edge to his characteristic stare and quiescent expression. "Wan an," comes the greeting, even as he turns his head to track the sound of the faucet running against cookware. "Salucci.

"It's been some time." Always one to be polite, he cedes Elias a step's worth of personal space, even as he glances through the apartment's unprepossessing furnishings and decor.

Though Amato tenses at the new smell and the crack of aluminum followed by the fizz of sugary beverage, he quickly regains his composure. It is only Wu-Long and Elias, afterall.

And yet…

"What do you have for me, then?" he asks in an only slightly interested tone of voice, his attention on finishing the last of the dishes and draining the sink. There can only be two reasons for such an unannounced visit.

And then, it comes; the hard part. "Yeah, what we have for you," Elias says, "Listen, Nightshade-" Nightshade? Tomato, right- "Kill the water, huh? Seriously, you maybe should be sitting down for this. It's, um… heavy." Taking his own advice, Elias moves himself into one of the chairs resting at the kitchen table. That doesn't leave many more places to sit in. "But first, before we tell you anything, there's something you have to promise."

The look that Wu-Long gives the teleporter borders on querulous, and probably could be safely construed as such if the two other men didn't know him a little too well for that. The Chinese man tends to forego ceremony whenever it isn't the rote tribal shit he picked up during childhood in Tianjin and this probably comes across as such to him.

No further uncertainty or quandary is implied by his face or manner after that, however; he crosses the floor with a resounding cadence of combat boots and parks his back on a wall. There aren't many places to sit, it's true. Assuming Amato needs one, he'll take none.

This, of course, was the possibility that Amato had not expected. The Vanguard was too careful to warrant news bad enough for sitting. Drying his hands on what would appear to be the kitchen's singular towel, Amato considers Elias carefully. He is silent for several prolonged moments as he folds the towel and crosses to take the seat beside the American, more to humor him than out of any need. Truth be told, Amato might be more comfortable taking bad news on his feet. "What has happened?" he asks, looking from Elias to Wu-Long.

"First, you have to promise you won't freak out and do something stupid," Elias says, as if to scold Amato in advance for something he has yet to do, but inevitably will. It's an assumption on his part, for sure. How *else* should it be explained when Amato doesn't really have a history for this sort of misbehavior? "Then, we'll tell you."

Far be it for Wu-Long to get in the way when his hierarchical equivalent is busy questioning the professionalism of a superior. Black-on-black eyes shut then open, and he looks at Amato expectantly.

"The only reason I may have to 'freak out and do something stupid' would be if one of you," meaning one of the more active members of the Vanguard's force during Phase Two, "were to have already done so and somehow muddled up what should be business as usual. Now what has happened?" To his credit, Amato's voice is calm. The only sign of tension is the digging of his fingers into his thighs, though they are hidden by the table's edge.

Elias begins his explanation of the situation by taking a long drink from his can of soda pop. Long enough that the bubbles start to burn the back of his throat and his tongue, giving the clearest signal possible that he'd better stop before he hurts himself. He only needed a moment to finish gathering his thoughts, to figure out the best way to say what he came to. There is no 'good way'; no matter what, it's going to ruin Amato's day like a tornado through a trailer park.

"Eileen's gone," he says as calmly as he can, "Gabriel's missing, and we're out a lot of money. That, uh-" Elias pauses a moment to consider other news that may be relevant. There's none- "That's about everything you need to know to be completely caught up. Or if you prefer a summary, situation is FUBAR. You are now free to react."

The color in Amato's pale face nears what can only be described as vermillion, his eyes widen, and his nostrils flare. He looks this way for the span of a moment, then licks his teeth and inhales slowly, sharply, and silently before he speaks, his voice a controlled whisper.

"Did it occur to anyone that Sylar might have absconded with-" but Amato's voice catches in his throat, and he has to pause to compose himself, "…her? What has Kazimir to say? And, for the love of God and all that is holy, how?"

Helpfully, Wu-Long adds, "We have leads on Eileen. Phoenix has her. There is no current intelligence on the latter." He then defers to Amato's opinion on the current events, thinking to himself, he must have seen it coming. Or something that looked and stank similar. "No.

"Sylar was here when we discovered Eileen was missing. He—" Wu-Long knows how this is going to look. His features tighten. "He learned of her disappearance from Bran. He has her ability. He does not understand how, but we are convinced he has not killed her." Though, to be honest, the primary reason this ex-soldier had thought so was that Sylar wouldn't have been stupid enough to return to the Vanguard if he had. Exhibit A is now conspicuously absent.

"And besides that, we're not talking like the usual sort of 'she's gone', we haven't found her yet," Elias adds, as if to make this point even more clear, "Dead people leave bodies. Live people leave evidence. I've been looking, and I haven't found a trace of either. When I say 'gone', I mean 'abracadabra'. One night, she's out looking for Deckard, and that's the last any of us saw of her. Sylar *was* accounted at that point, and now, he isn't. Abracadabra."

It takes all of Amato's effort to form his words and not snarl them out at Elias and Wu-Long. They are, after all, only messengers. "Why was she out looking for Deckard? Why wasn't Ethan doing that? Or one of you? Or even Dina or his little hound?"

Wu-Long's lip bends around something that isn't quite a curl. Pointless questions. Pointless. He lays a stare on Amato that might be like taking the weight of a leper's hand; not comforting, no matter what sentiments might be mingling behind it. "We should come back in an hour," he states, flatly. He's well-aware that what they should do and what they will may not necessarily align here.

In Wu-Long's direction, Elias raises up his hand, index finger extended. "Un moment," he says, focusing all of his attention back on Amato. "You asked a lot of 'whys' there, and the answer to all of them is, 'Who cares?'. *I* don't care why this happened. Doesn't matter. What matters? Finding her, and getting her back, that's what. Take a few minutes and breathe, because getting mad won't fix anything. Once you calm down, and you're ready, give me a ring, and tell me you're ready for your sandwich, and we'll start making a plan. Do *not* try and do this on your own, capisci?"

A moment passes where that same tension is evident in Amato's jaw and neck, but in a relatively short amount of time, it passes. When he speaks again, it is in a solid voice, but one that seems somewhat hollow and removed, not unlike what some might consider the heart of the Vanguard.

"I have already eaten."


December 7th: Telling Tales
December 7th: Dinner with SCOUT
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