A Long Way from Home


bf_eileen_icon.gif bf_molly_icon.gif

Scene Title A Long Way from Home
Synopsis Molly sets a course.
Date November 16, 2014

Unity Park

There’s a layer of snow blanketing New York City, pieces of ice clinging to the windows and the tires of cars. It really felt like the beginning of the holidays with the coming of snow. At least for Molly Walker. The young woman loved the snow, making snow angels (when she was younger of course), making snowmen. And there is enough snow to do that on this morning in Unity Park but Molly doesn’t do those “childish” things anymore in the park. She runs.

Her pace is even and measured, she’s not in a rush. Having sprinted earlier in the wee hours of the morning this was an endurance jog. It wouldn’t do to tire out, she had a marathon to run. That she was already running. The sound of her breath coming in slow inhales followed by quiet exhales, her blue eyes straight ahead. A light black backpack sits snugly on her back, black suede ear muffs covering her ears, her clothing maroons and gray. All workout material, thick sweats. Strawberry blonde hair tied back into a high ponytail.

It was the beginning of Winter Vacation and Molly was booked on a flight to Paris in a few weeks. She wanted to see the world.

Molly doesn't hear the owl's wings because that's not what nature intended. She does, however, see the bird as it sails into view in a low swoop some fifty feet ahead of her. Its plumage is white like the snow clinging to the skeletal branches of the trees that line either side of Molly's path, but its camouflage is not so effective that her eyes are unable to track its flight. Talons hook into the bough of a creaky, Norwegian maple, dislodging fine pieces of ice that tinkle harmlessly to the ground below.

Snowy owls are a rare sight in New York City, even in the harshest grip of winter. Yellow eyes like great golden lamps turn their gaze on the teenager as she approaches.

The curious sight of the owl grabs Molly’s attention, she’s never seen one before. Not in the city. Losing it for a moment, her concentration broken by the sight the woman begins to slow down, snow kicking up at her feet as she blinks as the owl lands. Blue eyes widen a fraction as she nears the tree that the owl has perched. A hand on her hip. She’s having flashback to her “test”, shuddering at the image of the dead birds the woman wipes her brow.

“You’re a long way from home.”

Whispering more to herself than the.. Well birds don’t talk back. Taking in it’s form with a gaze that studies it’s beauty. Those yellow orbs absorbing her attention.

"A home can be anywhere," says a voice from behind Molly, "sometimes it's a physical place, other times it's who you're with, but you're always there as long as you're choosing to live in the present."

Molly will recognize the voice even before she turns around, and probably is unsurprised to see the speaker standing a safe distance behind her, bundled in a heavy wool coat and black headscarf knotted snug beneath her angular chin. Eileen Gray holds two disposable cups, one in each hand, both with their own dangling string and plain paper label.

"Will you join me for a stroll, Ms. Walker?"

She knows that voice and she knows that face, very well. Molly’s demeanor changes and her back stiffens, her neck snaps around as she wheels to face Eileen fully. Of course Eileen had her own way of surveillance, Molly knew that. She didn’t think the woman would be watching her in return though. That gives her pause as she runs through her options before, “I wouldn’t want to look back in the past either if I shared a bed with him.”

Tone dripping with venom as nostrils flare, she’s not ready for this. It’s why she’s only been watching. Huruma’s words strike a chord in her heart. Fear kept you alive. Beneath the anger it was there, slowly enveloping her from the inside out. Stray strands of hair cling to her cheek from the sweat that’s catching up with her as she stands still now. A walk? Eyes squint and Molly adopts a comfortable posture, silently settling her nerves within.

Walking forward just a bit, eyes on the cup before she’s walking past Eileen. It appears, she’s leading. No movement to take the cup that is in her hand. The clairvoyant doesn’t look back to see if Eileen would follow, it’s what Eileen’s been doing after all.

Molly hears Eileen's flats crunching over the densely-packed snow under both their feet. "That's fair," she concedes, without following it up with a counter-argument, because then it wouldn't be a concession. The owl stays behind, content to settle in for the afternoon, sheltered by a threadbare canopy and the strange shadows the park's trees cast.

When the Englishwoman broaches the silence again, it's in a quiet voice a half step behind the teen. "I've spent most of my life too afraid to even glance over my shoulder," she says. "I suppose you must think that makes me a coward. Or complicit."

In reply the teen looks over her own shoulder at Eileen, gaze traveling up and down. It’s intrusive. It’s hostile. The earlier concession is noted. Eileen is not here to fight but of course she isn’t instead she’s probably getting ready to do yoga or just finishing or helping out a friend as ‘normal good people’ do. Eyebrow raised as she keeps her pace forward while glancing at the older woman. “Cowardice is lack of bravery. Shying away from danger or doing the right thing in some cases.” Her gaze centered on the woman who she can see so much of herself in, to the point where it angers her. She knew what it was to be forced to do someone’s bidding due to the nature of your ability. “You didn’t seem to lack bravery when turning on your masters then.”

A turn of her head as they continue moving among the park, people in the distance. The step-stair sculpture still there in the distance, a symbol of optimism and hope. Molly mostly felt sadness and grief.

“Why are you such a coward now?” Her stomach rolls as she imagines, kissing him, loving him. “Was it love?” Disgust sliding in over her emotions.

Let there be no question: Molly's blows land exactly the way she intends them to, not because Eileen couldn't have anticipated her attack, but because she's opened herself up to it.

Which is even rarer than seeing a snowy owl.

"You've read the court transcripts," she says, "so you know that Volken arranged for me. I'm here with you right now only because he thought he could selectively breed abilities and wanted someone small and vulnerable he could mould into a shape that pleased him."

It's a very delicate way to explain the circumstances surrounding her birth and the subsequent twenty-odd years that followed. It's also very difficult for her to discuss with a relative stranger, and she finds herself pausing to recollect her thoughts as she finally falls into step beside Molly.

"I was fifteen when he caught up with me. My ability wasn't what he wanted, but he still used it to hurt other people. I was complicit then. Not like I am now." Eileen's focus remains exactly where she needs it to be, which is ahead of her. "Gabriel," not Sylar, "was the first person who showed me kindness without expecting anything in return. Grudgingly, in the beginning. Our lives aren't a fairytale. We weren't struck by love at first sight. We fought each other like animals."

She had.

Eileen’s own personal way of explaining things does tug at Molly’s heartstrings, she’s not a monster, yet. Pulling at her sleeves, uncomfortable with Eileen being the subject of her pity. “I was younger than that would the Company came for me. When your Sylar did.” Facts, calmly stated. “After awhile you just feel like your ability and that’s all. I was the Walker System,” a snort as Eileen falls in beside her, she’s not freaked out. She’s bitter. “You were Munin. They take your name, assign you a duty. Who cares what you would want?”

“You’re a monster because of your environment. Sylar was born that way, monsters like that? They don’t deserve to see the sun rise or fall.”

Her shoulders bunch up and she sighs a frustrated tone. “You think I don’t see him? Watch him? Making amends. Fighting that sick hunger that ripped my parents out of my life?” The admission that she watches Gabriel is easy, she wants both of them to know. She wants both of them to know that she wants them to know. A wave of emotion washes over the teen’s face. She’s that little girl again, hiding under the stairs hoping the Boogeyman doesn’t find her.

“And do you think I care?”

"No," Eileen admits, "but I'm asking you to try." She fights the urge to reach out and touch Molly's arm. Ultimately, it's the fact both her hands are already occupied that prevents her from initiating that first touch — probably for the best. "I'm not asking you for Gabriel, either, or for myself. I'm asking you for the boy."

Zhang Bai-Chan. The small child with his mother's silky black hair and the darkness of his dead father's eyes. Molly knows because she's seen him as often as she's seen Eileen and Gabriel, when she cares to look. Once, Gabriel held the boy's hands in his much larger ones and taught him how to take apart a radio so the two of them could put it back together again. Another time, Eileen's fingers traced up and down his spine while he rested with his head in her lap and she read Roald Dahl to him, coaxing him into wonderful dreams of giant peaches, fantastic foxes, and big friendly giants.

"He's already lost two parents. I know you understand what that's like, Molly. I'm so sorry. Please don't take another from him."

What a low blow. The truth hurts and the boy is a truth that Molly would rather not think about but there Eileen is, the mother telling her not to do it. Not to rip him from his new parents. She had gotten new parents, after the ones she lost. Was it fair to the boy who didn’t wrong her? To Eileen? The monster who fell in love. Molly’s eyes widen and her lip curls back in anger, body vibrating with it. “How dare you.” Hot tears run down her face as she squints at Eileen next to her, emotions running high. Breath coming in short stops, a hiccup. She’s pissed.

She had thought about him, the boy. What would happen, if she had any right to take away his happiness. A happiness she wasn’t all that sure she would ever truly see. No, that’s a lie. She has Daddy Matt and Daddy Mohinder. And Mama Kay. A new family, they loved her. She wouldn’t know them if it wasn’t for Sylar. How sick that she could thank him for that.

“It wouldn’t be fair if I killed Sylar wouldn’t it? That’s easy. I’m sure you’ve removed a gun from his mouth once or twice already.” Her tone curt, her eyes staring deep into Eileen’s as she backs away a bit while shaking her head. “Why would I want it to be easy? No.. We’d have to be square.” Drawing the shape in the air with a finger, the chill on breath as it rushes out of her. She’s dreamt of this moment Molly has, to confront Eileen. Woman to woman.

“Square would be him coming home to your broken body on the floor,” she chokes with a fist curled up into a fist. “Square would be walking up the stairs and seeing the last thing he loves in pieces before him.” The muscles in her jaw twitch, “Square would be forcing him to live with that, for the rest of his life.”

Molly's threat receives another long stretch of silence from Eileen. Also: A reaction the Englishwoman can't internalize in spite of her best efforts, which manifest as an abrupt change in her expression. Her mouth grows tight, jaw set with teeth set together.

It might be difficult for the teen to see through the haze of her own tears, but Eileen suddenly is crying too. She keeps her lips pressed into a hard line to keep the taste of them from filling her mouth, so they plaster flyaway strands of dark hair to her flushed cheeks and throat instead.

"All right," she croaks, finally. All right.

"If that's what you need— what you need to be free, then. Then try. I won't make it easy for you. God knows Kazimir didn't make it easy for me."

There’s closing of her eyes and she dips her head in a nod, Molly flicks them open she doesn’t want to wipe away her tears, she doesn’t wanna seem bothered by them, another choked sob betrays that though and Molly hates herself for it. She hates that she feels the need to do this anyway, that she was forced in this direction at least that’s how she sees it. Plenty of other people in the world have witnessed their parents death, most of them don’t get to enact revenge. Never a chance. The clairvoyant pushes those thoughts away and she nods again looking at Eileen, if she wanted to back away now Eileen’s all right further cements her position.

The cold makes the tears freeze on her cheeks, she wasn’t thinking of the taste and so the saltiness makes her tongue feel strange and she looks off to the side biting the inside of her cheek. It is what she needs. What she thinks she needs. “I’ll try to make it quick. I don’t think he took his time with my father.” she whispers, red rimmed eyes meet the woman again before she’s backing away slowly. “Don’t make it easy.” A plea. All she asks. “Neither will I.” There’s a stabbing pain in her chest, her heart beating fast. Sucking in a ragged breath.

"I'll see you again," Eileen promises. If it's a threat, it doesn't sound like one.

Just a sad statement of fact.

She holds her ground, because it's a defensible position. Because it gives Molly the distance she needs.

As she backs away, she gets a better feeling for the amount of space Eileen takes up. Very little. She's shorter than Molly is, all slender limbs leading into narrow shoulders and tight hips. Her physical sphere of influence seems like it's compact.

There are lots of ways Molly might do it. Few of them are painless.

“Count on it.” Her own malice gone from her voice, Molly already sounds tired. Holding this grudge for over half of her life but she has to keep going. She made a promise to herself. She wasn’t going to break it. Eileen’s compactness is noted by the sweep of her gaze over the woman. She looks fragile but Molly isn’t fooled, not completely. Though there is something there for the woman, a respect. A woman that understands what she’s feeling and why she has to do what she has to. The younger woman doesn’t turn her back to Eileen, not for a long while.

It’s about respect, face your enemy. Look them in the eye.

She is almost out of earshot before she begins her turn to get out of there, every way from the memories. From the woman who didn’t have the face of someone who deserved her rage.

“I’m sorry you didn’t fall in love with a better monster.”

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