All Debts Repaid


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title All Debts Repaid
Synopsis The Company has a chance to catch their man when Albert Winslow, spooked by the Company's discovering his residence in Red Hook, goes seeking his daughter to make amends before he is captured.
Date March 21, 2010

Upper West Side

Peyton's Apartment

We are, if anything, creatures of habit.

Outside the fifth story window of a pish Manhattan apartment, the skies are merely a sheet of slate gray as opposed to the oppressive winter white that has been blanketing New York City for several weeks now. Here behind the confines of glass and brick, plaster and wood there is both shelter from the cold and shelter from the world outside. Amidst the confort of her home and the company of her mother Peyton Whitney has found herself to treat this home as a bastion against many things, and one that has been infiltrated too recently by operatives of an organization searching for a man she didn't even know existed— her father.

Drawn to the safety and comfort of the familiar.

Five stories below and a street away, the bitter cold of winter's seemingly everlasting chill sinks into the bones of those brave enough to venture out from their homes, or those who have no home to call their own any longer. The latter of which is a man with eyes set fixated on that fifth floor apartment window, and in a brown woolen jacket with the collar lifted to the back of his neck, Albert Winslow tries to both hide mask his identity behind the collar and the trim of his forest green scarf, but also conceal his identity from those searching for him.

But what happens when the familiar becomes unsafe?

Stepping off the curb when the traffic lights turn and the walk signal chirps out a melodic tune, Winslow's booted feet carry him in brisk, even gait across the street towards the towering apartment complex. Spotting the black and white of a police cruiser on that same streetside, Winslow tucks his chin down into his scarf, brows furrowed and dark hair toussled by the icy wind.

When the fear that we have desperately been trying to avoid…

Moving up the concrete steps towards the front door, Winslow can feel the eyes of the patrol officer on his back, and though he can't hear the squawk of his radio reporting in, the ages-old man ascending the icy steps knows that his time here is limited. These glass doors he pushes open give way not just to a marble lobby, but in all likelihood to the end of a long and ever-winding road.

…finds us where we live.

The fifth floor apartment has a new feature, specifically the smell of baked goods in the kitchen. It's something simple, cookies from a box, whipped together in a bowl and dropped into the oven to bake, but the smell of it has filled the small apartment. There should be more than enough for the two women, and possibly the illusive roommate that has been mentioned. But for the moment, it's just the two of them. Faye pulls the hot tray out, with a towel protecting her fingers, as she sets it down to cool on the counter.

"First batch is done, have you picked the movie yet?" she asks through the open doorway leading to the rest of the apartment. There's many, many things they missed out on doing in the twenty-one years they didn't know each other. Watching a movie while eating chocolate chip cookies that she just baked in the oven would be one of them. There's some flour on her clothes, which she dusts off. No aprons in the whole place, it would seem! It never hurts to make up for lost time— especially when there's a reason she might want to spend extra time with her daughter.

A reason that's unknowingly walking into the lobby.

Peyton's got the stack of DVDs she rented from the shop down the street when it was clear she was going to be laying low. She is flipping through them. "I don't know. I picked up pretty much everything from the New Releases wall since I haven't seen a movie in months," the clairvoyant says. She's dressed casually, though at least not in pajamas today — skinny jeans and an Abercrombie sweatshirt, though her feet are bare, showing off a new pedicure with navy blue polish. A girl has to keep busy.

"You can pick… The only one I've watched so far is 'Up.' Oh, and not 'Revolutionary Road.' It looks, like, suicide-inducing depressing, and I'd rather something a bit more cheerful. I didn't know what it was about when I picked it up." She heads to the bowl of cookie dough, opting for a fingerful of that rather than one of the fresh-baked cookies.

The interior of the apartment is warm and pleasant, a crackling fire in the fireplace and cups of hot cocoa on the coffee table, marshmallows already melted and floating on top.

"You're just like me when it comes to that. I used to make cake mix just to lick the bowl," Faye admits with a grin, at the sight of her daughter favoring the uncooked dough rather than the freshly baked stuff. "I'd say we should watch District 9, but it was obviously both a commentary on South African Apartheid, plus the possibility of how the governments may end up treating Evolved, eventually. I've heard someone say the mechs the aliens use remind them of our battle gear in FRONTLINE. Our stuff is pretty much right out of science fiction." Even if a hundred years ago, space shuttles and submarines were things of science fiction.

Moving across the room, toward the stack of DVDs, she picks through them. "No, I don't think we need to see a movie about Antarctica when we're practically living there now," she says, dropping a very white covered movie down next to the 'no' stack. "Or a disaster movie," she adds 2012 to the pile. Like they need to see the world get destroyed. The time travelling romance also goes onto the no pile, considering… what she just found out about her teenage rendevous. "This is a tough decision."

The younger of the two brunettes looks at the discard pile and snorts. "Bad year for movies." The mention of Antarctica gets a little shiver. Too many people died there. Too many people thought to have died there have come back. "These seriously suck." She shakes her head and flips through the rest of the pile. "Here. Video games coming to life… that can't really happen right? Don't tell me this happened to you at some point in your life, or we have nothing to watch that I haven't already seen fifty gazillion times," she says, popping out the disc from the case and heading to her media center.

As she kneels to pop the disc in, there is a knock at the door. Peyton stands, tossing her remote control to her mother so Faye can cue it up to the actual start of the movie. "I'll get that," she says brightly enough, though there's a slight furrow of her brow. Does no one ever call anymore? She's had more visitors in the past week than she has in the past month, and none of them have announced their intentions to visit. Well, Cardinal's forgiven. It's hard to call or send a calling card when one lacks hands.

Of all the innocent possibilities that could have been behind the door, what Peyton Whitney ultimately finds when she pulls the door open just enough to view through the narrow space the taut security chain allows is not another government agent or even something as innocuous as a delivery boy. Standing in that hall, dark hair tossed by the wind, beard growing back in full again and eyes squinted in nervousness and against the light of the wall sconces to either side of Peyton's door, Albert Winslow is a heart-racing sight for the young woman, and for all his tension and anxiety, there is something of a helpless smile that crosses his lips as he sees the young woman that answers the door, sees his daughter for the first time through something other than the lens of a camera.

"Peyton… Whitney?" His voice is just as sharp as Faye recalls it, and even if she's across the apartment from her daughter, Winslow's distinctive tone of voice and inflection to his voice dredges up enough old memories to be a sharp warning in the back of her head. "I— I know this might seem a bit strange, but, I— I was wondering if I might have… just a moment of your time?" He has no idea that she knows just who he is, just who the forty-year old man standing on her doorstep could possibly be.

"I'm… I'm an old friend of your mother's and— and there's something I wanted to talk to you about." Jaw set and lips downturned into a frown, Albert Winslow's expression remains something bordering on guilty tinged with the reverence of a father viewing his child as if for the first time.

"No, nothing like that," Faye says with a grin, as she moves toward the DVD player to stick chosen DVD inside. The screen immediately goes black, as it autoloads, and begins to cycle toward the main menu. A logo pops up and starts to play, but no sound comes through the speakers as she looks over at the now open door, where she hears— that voice.


It's been a good twenty years since she heard it, but that doesn't mean she has forgotten it. Some things stick with a person, as the years tick by.

Gold winding gears begin to appear on the wide screen, a hint of music in the background, as the logo for the distribution company plays. She doesn't bother to pause it, and instead looks briefly toward her coat. No— she doesn't thinks he could stop him with force if she wanted to. But they know people are watching the apartment…

"Al, you shouldn't be here," she suddenly says from across the room, where he's viewing his daughter for the first time. She understands wanting to see his daughter— it's how she felt the first time she knew for certain. But at the same time… She glances toward the drape covered windows, then back at them, while a ad begins to play for Blu-Ray DVDs. The one that promises clearer pictures and bigger explosions.

Perhaps it was her mother in the room behind her, giving a sense of security, that made Peyton simply open the door rather than peek through the peephole. Would she have opened it at all, if she had seen Albert Winslow on the other side? It's hard to say — but Peyton takes a step back, more in surprise than in fear, lips parting and her brows knitting together at the man's words.

"I … you can't be here… they're probably watching!" she whispers. Even as Peyton speaks them, the words surprise herself: at some level of her subconscious, she wants him to be safe. Far from here, where he is anything but.

Her mother's words come at the same time as hers, and she glances back, over her shoulder, to the mother she has only known for mere weeks, to the father she has only just learned. Indecision reigns for a long, breathless moment before she reaches up for the chain, closing the door gently for a moment, then opening the door again a second later, stepping aside to let him in.

She gestures to Faye. "They might have bugged the hallway," she explains, for Winslow's sake, as she'd already warned her mother of her worries they had left a device in the hallway or her room. "In here." She nods to the dining room. "I don't think it'd pick up there." Her eyes go back to her father, wide and uncertain. "They might already know you're here…" There's worry and fear in her hushed words.

"It— doesn't matter." The hitch of Winslow's voice seems non-comittal to the notion of evading capture. When Peyton moves into the apartment, he follows in at the same pace, moving with a mercurial swiftness from the hall into the apartment, looking wordlessly over his shoulder as Peyton brings the door shut. Thick brows furrow, and Winslow's expression as he watches Peyton is a troubled one, lips downturned into a frown and eyes tracking from his daughter towards Faye. "I'm… I'm sorry, for coming here for…" Winslow's eyes deviate back towards Peyton, jaw trembling. "They already came to you, then?"

Chin tilting up, Albert recognizes the recognition on Peyton's face, the lack of surprise by Faye at his youthfulness, some decade younger than he was when they met, even at their already disperate age divide. It's strange, now, they're almost perfectly matched in years. "There was a police officer outside, I… I have no doubt he saw me. I didn't come here because I thought it would be safe, but I've become… become so tired of running." Swallowing tightly, Albert's eyes dart back towards Peyton, his shoulders hunched forward and struggling to keep himself composed.

"They raided my hotel room, they— they're coming for me, as they in all rights should." Tired eyes can't stay settled on Peyton for long before the weight of guilt drags them down. "I can't keep running like this…" he turns to look towards the blinds closed on the windows, then back towards Peyton. "You deserve at least answers. For— for everything." He can't bear to look at either of them, neither the one woman in his long lifetime to bear him a child, nor the progeny of that union. "I owe you both so much…"

Nearly an hour away the call placed in to Fort Hero, re-routed through the NYPD's switchboard indicated a positive identification of Albert Winslow being sighted outside of Peyton Whitney's apartment building on Manhattan. With the word out, the closest responding agent— Benjamin Ryans— had only the short haul from the Bronx to arrive at the exterior of the apartment building in his car, rolling up to one of the several street-side empty spaces.

For Agent Henry Webb, however, being located all the way across the city an hour away at Fort Hero, there are other — equally fast — methods of conveyance that while unusual have become necessity by merit of time involved. Maria Delgado has been many things, but a passenger liner is not one of them, and even if the caloric burn of the additional weight she carries is profound, it's their bullet-fast approach through the freezing Manhattan skyline towards where Ryans' automobile can be seen that makes their entrance all the more dramatic.

This is the best way to travel -ever-. It takes no money, it takes no time to deal with security, and at the very least, you are up close and personal with a pretty, pretty girl. What more can you ask for. "My hero," murmurs Henry into Maria's ear, even as the wind of their passage whips tears from his eyes. This is totally permission to drop him into the Hudson, Maria.

He might very well get dropped into the Hudson, along with the flying woman herself. When asked/ordered to provide transportation, she was wide-eyed. "You must be joking." Eyes close, she takes out a power bar and quickly chomps it down, then tells the man "Go wait on the roof. Wear thick gloves, I'm going to fly by at high speed and toss you a sturdy rope, snatch you off at high speed to keep momentum going. Because I don't think I can get airborne with you."

Then she proceeds to do just that.

A moment is taken, as the car goes silent, to check of his hand guns and the tranq gun nestled in holders. Then fedora pulled low on his brow, Ryans blue eyes have a dangerous look to them, his lightly stubbled jaw is set tight, as he slips out of the car. This is it a moment he's been waiting for, it's been years since he's been in those sort of position again. There is an excitement too it, an exhilaration that made him stay with the Company so many years and regret his retirement.

A glance goes to the windows as he shuts the car door, it's the look of a predator. His breathing is measured, plumes of white mist blowing into the air, he looks calm, but his heart though is racing. His head tilts back to look for the flying pair, frowning slightly that they are not there yet.

Yes, the senior agent is impatient and he has a right to be.

"You can turn yourself in," Faye says, moving away from the window and walking to put her hand on Peyton's shoulder in a sign of support. There's also a soft buzz in the back of her daughter's head, a reminder that she's there for her, even if…

If only she'd seen him in different circumstances. Who knows if they would have even liked each other now, under the circumstances. "If they were accidental or self-defensive uses of your ability they might go easier on you," she says, trying to think of it from what she knows of law enforcement, from her time in the Coast Guard. As FRONTLINE she can't arrest people…

But she knows places he can go. It isn't the reunion anyone would want.

In the background, a preview for a action movie about a guy with an electrical heart who has to jump-start himself is playing on the screen. Good thing the volume is turned down.

"I have … I have connections. There are places you can hide, especially if it was self-defense or accident," Peyton adds, standing between two parents. "You don't have to keep running. They could help you go somewhere, where you could stay. They can make you fake papers, that sort of thing. I'm … I know people." She's a felon herself, though not a murderer, after all. Her words conflict with her mother's, no doubt making the reunion all the more confusing.

The clairvoyant studies her father's face, her own contorted slightly as it does when she's trying not to cry. Her teeth catch on her lower lip as she looks up at the man she does not know, the man she should fear but strangely doesn't. There is a still moment, taut and tense, as she considers what else to say, but finally reaches out with a shaking hand for his.

"There was no accident," Winslow notes with a quiet tone of voice, and it was the one commonality between the two women's words. With a furrow of his brows, Winslow offers a shake of his head, voice heavy and shoulders slouched. "Five times now, I've killed someone out of fear of my own mortality. I— I don't know how much the agents told you, how much they even knew about me, but I figure Benjamin didn't share much with them…" There's a tensing of Winslow's jaw as he finally looks up to Peyton, then over to Faye. "Five times, and some of the people may have deserved it, it wasn't my place to make that call. I didn't kill them because they deserved it, I— killed them because I was afraid. Afraid to grow old and die like a normal man…"

Running his tongue over his lips, Winslow takes a step back from the two women, his head shaking slowly. "When I met your mother— when I met Faye— I was a lonely man at the end of my rope. Your mother," Winslow glances up to Faye, trying to smile but unable to complete the expression, "was as sweet and beautiful as you've grown into…" Winslow's eyes drift to Peyton. "I honestly loved her… and that— that's why I left. What sort of life could I have offered to her?"

Rubbing at his forehead, Wunslow bites down on his lower lip, staring at the floor. "I considered getting in touch with her once, reconnecting… I used contacts of mine in law-enforcement to pull up information on her, I— I snooped where I shouldn't have, and that's how I found out about you." Winslow's eyes drift to Peyton, lips crept into a weak smile.

"I've… I've never truly left your side, Peyton. When I heard you'd been kidnapped, I came out to New York looking for you. I— It— never amounted to anything, but I never— ever gave up on you. I— I was content to just watch you from afar. Watch you grow up and older as I…" Winslow shakes his head slowly and turns his back on Faye and Peyton.

"Is she like me?" Winslow asks nervously, his voice cracking near the end of his sentence, eyes settled on Faye over his shoulder, before he turns to look at Peyton with the ghost of a smile in his eyes. "I'm— I'm so sorry if you are. It's— I never wanted to burden you with my life, or what I am."

Out on the street, with Henry deposited on the sidewalk and Agent Delgado still airborne, it boils down to the senior agent in this three-man detachment— Benjamin Ryans— to call the shots on how this goes down. From the call placed, Winslow went in to the building, and there's only so many ways he can escape now. With Maria here and the weather clear, this time he has a much smaller chance of escaping.

It's like he's flying away on his own balloon. Only, the balloon is another Agent, and Henry is left dangling. The panorama of ruined, frozen New York beneath him is amazingly distracting, but he's got his game face on, once Maria's finally gotten them in range. And he lands with perfect aplomb, as if he'd done this every day of his life. Gotta play it cool before his elder/perhaps mentor. "Here we are, sir," he says, all but at attention, before he promptly spoils the effect by having to dance around a little to get some feeling and blood back into his toes.

It's an immense relief when she lets go of him and feels the weight ease away. She's just five feet three inches short and one hundred twenty-five pounds. The airborne Maria rises about fifty feet above the surface swiftly once unburdened, and is thankful not to have contributed to whatever fantasy visions Henry may have entertained about riding her aloft and speaking into her ear on the way over. She takes out another power bar, and another, eating them with gusto as she tries to boost fuel reserves. The binoculars are held with one hand and trained on building to watch for the target emerging, the sniper rifle with trang darts and laser sight still slung over shoulder. Surveillance time.

The oldest of the agents doesn't look when the other two show up, he's watching that window, there is nothing on his face, thoughts going back to another time and place. There is a toughness in his voice when he says. "Delgado." With the snows dampening the snow, combine with that deep rumble, it always carries."Don't let him get away." Then she's gone, leaving him with Henry, good loyal Henry. "Webb…" Finally, intense blue eyes, shaded by the brim of his fedora, move to the smaller younger agent, "You ready for this?"

His head goes back to the window, "Don't let him get a hold of you." Reaching into his duster, the tranq gun is removed. "I don't want him dead.. I want him sleeping" The orders are matter of fact and filled with that calm. "And for god sake… Don't let him kiss you." It sounds like a joke, except he sounds completely serious.That said he starts towards the building. "Else you'll be a dead man." And how does the old man know that?

There were lots of reasons why they didn't work. The age gap being one of them, the fact it wasn't even legal… But Faye doesn't add in that little bit, head dipping down so hair falls into her face. It's the closest she can get to blushing there. It was a fond memory of years past, that ended up giving her a daughter— even if losing her as soon as she was born caused her to pull away from just about everyone. "I think she's more like me," is what she says to his question, looking back up and squeezing the young woman's shoulder tighter.

Somehow, this will be all right. Even if he killed five people in his lifetime to avoid his own demise… This can't end well.

"What are you planning to do? They could be here any minute. You shouldn't…" She cuts off, and really wishes she could project her mental thoughts outside the link. From the look, she's practically warning him. This could go very badly… And it's not something she wants her daughter to have to see.

The young woman the two have in common stands between the two, eyes fixed on her father as he tells her what she already knows. He played God — those are the words she had put it in — but the motivation was so very mortal, so very human. Who isn't afraid to die? Who isn't afraid to age? When faced with immortality of an option, who wouldn't kill for it, if given the option? Very few could know for certain their answer unless actually faced with the opportunity. Some part of her knows this. Some part of her forgives him.

Tears stream down her cheeks, and she drops the hand that was not taken, wrapping her arms around herself, as if to embrace what he will not. "I see through other's eyes," she says quietly, in answer to his question. She doesn't know what else to say — there's a whole lifetime to try to put into words, but time is short — she just doesn't know how short. Peyton chews her lower lip again, and shakes her head with frustration. "If you're turning yourself in — I … I want to know you. I want to talk to you and know what you're like, because you aren't just your power. None of us are, even if yours is dangerous. I want to know the ways I'm like you. Don't do anything stupid when they come — maybe there's a way…" she knows it's pointless, that with a power like, his he's more likely to be placed in a dark hole where she will never see him again. But in her dark eyes that are perhaps a blend of his and Faye's, there is a flicker of hope — which surprises her, once more.

Sadness tints the silence that Winslow offers Peyton, the creases in his face far less prominent than they were in Faye's oldest memory of him. It's so odd now, how he's younger then than he was when they met, and how time has caught up, how it might have worked now if the world had been different, and if Winslow had made different choices in his life. "I'm going to do what I did twenty years ago when they caught up with me the last time… I'm going to put myself at their mercy. We'll see what hand God metes out this time." Voice tight as he tries to control his emotions, Winslow looks to the door of the apartment. "I have fair doubt that the situation will resolve the same this time as it did back then."

When once more his eyes fall to Peyton, there's a tiredness in his sadness. "I… was an artist, when I was your age. I restored paintings, furniture. I worked with my hands, I— touched up damaged portraits, refreshed old masterpieces that had begun to fade with age, brought life back to that which had none. My hobby, my— my passion has never quite stuck with my work though; I'm a photographer. Not because I do it for a living… because doing what you love for a job takes all of the life and enjoyment out of it. I— I take pictures because it fills me with a sense of worth and happiness… something only one other person— " Winslow hesitates, looking from Faye to Peyton, "two other people have ever given me."

Searching the space on the wall near Faye for answers that won't quickly come to his mind, Winslow can feel his heart racing in his chest. Nervous eyes drift towards the apartment door, and his lips hesitatingly creep up into a smile again. "You… you look so much like your mother," he comments in hushed appreciation for the young girl, the corners of his mouth wavering up and down as the smile falters some, and Winslow's stare settles back on Faye. "I'm glad you found her again…"

Coming up the stairs to the building, Agent Webb and Ryans move into the apartment foyer, where three NYPD officers are waiting in the lobby, holsters opened and waiting near the elevators. When the agents are spotted coming in, one of the men approaches Ryans, recognizing him with a nod. "Agent Ryans, we've got security camera footage from the lobby. Your man came in through here, hit that elevator," the detective motions to the elevators at the back of the lobby, "then headed up to the fifth floor. It looks like he was let into the apartment belonging to Peyton Whitney. Do you need us to go up with you?"

As irony has it, Richard Cardinal was coming here tonight because he finally realized where he'd heard the name 'Agent Ryans' before… and the check he had run on the badge numbers confirmed his suspicions. Benjamin Ryans. The Company agent that Abigail'd run into. It wasn't much of a surprise, but he thought he'd come in and let Peyton know exactly who'd been checking out her house…

…and of course, promptly ran across a small army of police officers, and the agent himself, in the foyer. Fuck. He risks discovery as he flits across the floor, a shadow that darts over and beneath the elevator's edge - into the shadow, slithering upwards towards the fifth floor.

"As ready as I'll ever be, sir," Henry says, staunchly, even as he squares his shoulders like a player in the huddle. And then….what? Kiss me? Henry's look of chagrin is comical. "Does he do that, often, this guy?" Apparently he slept through that part of the briefing. The bit about possibly deadly homoeroticism. But he pulls his own tranq gun, and moves to flank Ryans. The NYPD…he doesn't brush them off, just looks to Ryans to answer.

"Just trust me." The Senior says sharply, his attention on the fact that they are losing time. His duster flutters around his legs as he approached the officers, his strides long and with purpose, his jaw works some as he turns thoughtful. Did he want to risk it? A hand lifts to push the hat back a bit on his head, his eyes cast upward as if he can see through the floor. No, they might not like what the Agents have to do. Company has a bit more leeway.

Finally the agent looks back at the officers and points at the men, "I want the three of you to stay down here." With how this man's ability works, if he goes after one, the others can take him out. Or… so he hopes. These were only police officers after all, they tend to be skittish. "We want him alive, but don't be afraid to shoot him. Understand, he is a dangerous man."

Then the agent is headed for the elevator, the firm order of. "Webb!" It's barked, but instead instead of riding it up, he goes past it to take the stairs. He'll be thankful for those daily jogged miles, but his knee won't thank him later.

"To be honest, she found me," Faye says quietly, looking sad as she watches the older— but no longer drastically older— man. It's so difficult to imagine how things could be if they'd been different. How she'd made him laugh, made her feel special. It wasn't appropriate in many ways, but at the same time if it hadn't happened at all…

"Listen, I'm in FRONTLINE." she says, though she's not expecting it to be a surprise. Her name had been in the paper a few times, and magazines. And other such things. It's not the same as what will be decending upon them, not in the least. In fact they're the type that would be called in when shooting is necessary… "I might be able to help you turn yourself in, so there's not a fight. That way… Peyton doesn't— "

Have to see him be kill or be killed. Either thing… She deserves a good memory.

An artist. And, from what she already knew, a lawyer. Peyton listens, grasping at the small scraps offered, the small details of a life that she would have otherwise not known — knowing that they might be all she has with him. There's not much there she feels akin too — she hasn't made anything worth keeping in her life. It brings a sad smile.

"I'd like to have seen your work," she murmurs, then turns from father to mother and back, her dark eyes pleading with Winslow to listen to her mother, to find a way to live even if he is sick of running.

"We can call and arrange it — peacefully. That should buy you something… if you go to prison, maybe at least I can visit you…" Peyton whispers, though again, that cynical part in her laughs, mocks the words. There aren't happy endings in this world. Not for her. There are just endings.

"Don't worry…" Winslow offers in a hushed tone of voice, "you don't need to risk yourself for me a second time, Faye. I— I've always had everything under control." There's a weary smile that tries at the corners of his mouth, but the expression Winslow wears isn't entirely a confident one. Rubbing a hadn over his beard, he eyes the apartment door, then offers a look back over to Peyton. "You're your own girl… your own woman now, you weren't raised by me, Peyton. You just— we just helped bring you into this world. You just…" Winslow brings a hand up to his brow, fingers massaging over his temples, "… deserved to know the truth. Everyone does, few people recieve it."

Turning from the door, Winslow takes a few steps over towards Faye, offering a hand out to her as a weary smile spreads across his lips again. Winslow's eyes haven't changed, in all these years. When Faye was younger, and when she found something in those eyes that was not anywhere else in her life, they seemed so many years beyond hers in wisdom and fatigue. They've not changed, even if Winslow himself has. The simplest gesture too, and offered out hand, he is so painfully formal.

"Afford me this one last consolation? A last wish?" COndemned often do make them, and not often are they granted to the letter. Faye's aware which letter this one is, his eyes can't hide that, nor can the sadness in them.

Elevators are far faster creatures than tired old man climbing five flights of stairs. Agent Webb has the misfortune of getting to watch the elevator's dial counting up slowly from one floor to the next, while his erstwhile and older partner takes the stairs, making sure every avenue for escape is checked. There will be no escaping this time.

"Winslow!" A sharp, sudden hiss from behind the man, as a form made of tatters and scraps of shadow, Peter Pan's lost half long forgotten and ruined over time, washes up over the door's flat surface, that echoing whisper of voice, "What the hell are you doing here, they're right downstairs— they're coming up, are you trying to get yourself killed?" Killed…

Richard Cardinal's sudden appearance will likely be a surprise to at least one person in the room.

Lucky Henry. He's bouncing on his toes, impatiently, as the elevator rises. Like that might makes it go faster, you know. And as soon as the door's even cracked, he's out, pattering down the hall for the door to Peyton's apartment. Here I come, ready or not.

It's a few more moments before Ryans comes out of the stairs, chest heaving some from the walk, a hand moving behind him so that the door shuts softly with only a light click. He really hates getting old, but he can't linger on it, as he moves after Henry, a hand dipping into his jacket to pull out his tranq gun. This isn't some one he wants to kill, but there won't be the same show of mercy either.

"Webb," Though he speaks softly, the words are loud enough to for the younger agent to hear. He lifts the tranq gun as the move softly down the hall, and gives it a wiggle, this is the weapon of choice. Better this then letting the young woman inside have to see her newly found father die. "Shoot first when you see him, watch out for the civilians."

It doesn't even have to be said outloud, and it's not because she's a telepath. Which she is, but she's not that kind of telepath. Faye takes his hand almost as soon as it's offered, leaning close and up, as if to kiss him one last time— something that they've not done for twenty-one years— when she suddenly hears a strange voice washing along the floor. Brown eyes blink wildly as the mood is quickly broken, and she looks down and around—

And sees no one. Just a flicker of a shadow near the floor, where the voice comes from. She steps a foot up, as it slides near her feet, as if worried about stepping on it.

In the moment of confusion, a link awakens between her and Winslow. Almost on instinct, a flood of a connection that opens up in a fork, much like the one she shares with Peyton. As she looks back up to meet his eyes again, there's finally some sign of emotion— she'd been keeping calm the whole time… But all this talk of 'trying to get himself killed'… They both hear her voice, whispering in the back of their minds, much the shadowy voice that rolls along the floor. Perhaps she doesn't even mean to send it.

I don't want you to die.

Peyton's tears continue to stream down her cheeks and into her parted lips and when he asks for them to grant this last wish, she shakes her head vehemently, no. No. She's only just found him and even if just days ago she thought he was a monster, she isn't willing to let go of him that easily. She can't speak, can't move, just shakes her head until that tattered form bursts into the room.

Whirling, she looks at Cardinal's shadow, a pleading expression as if to ask him to somehow protect her again, as he seems to ever be doing — somehow get her out of this nightmare, and protect her father at the same time. But he can't envelop them with darkness and absorb the dangers here.

"He knows," she whispers, backing up and looking at the door. Is it … she didn't even lock it after letting him in. Not even the deadbolt will give them an extra few seconds.

Surprise dawns on Winslow's face, first at the shadow and then at the voice he hears in the back of his mind. Eyes wide, Winslow stares down at the shadow slithering across the floor, posture becoming tense and brows furrowing. "I did not ask you to follow me, phantom." Wrong pulp hero but close enough. "I appreciate your concern for— my daughter," the words seem alien to Winslow, "but I can and will take care of myself." Squeezing his finger around Faye's hand, Winslow offers a look to the younger woman, reaching up a bare hand to brush against her cheek, thumb stroking beneath one eye as if tracing out the lines of her wrinkles she's gained.

Winslow dips in, his nose brushing her cheek and lips touching hers. There is the faintest, briefest glimpse of an exchange of breath between Winslow and Faye, a vaporous emerald light that swirls past his teeth and into her mouth, the direct opposite that Cardinal had seen him do to the mugger in the park, but not nearly as intense.

Those wrinkles that Winslow just touched begin to fade, creases soften in her skin and a tightness returns to Faye's cheeks and the sides of her eyes. Parting from the kiss, tiny green sparks crackle between their lips, and Winslow closes his eyes and squeezes her hand once in his. He always knew she was special; just not in this way.

"Everything dies," Winslow telepathically infers to her thorugh their link, "very few get to choose how." Relinquishing his grip on Faye, Winslow takes a few slow steps past the tattered shadow, offering it an askance look and a furrow of his brows that so very clearly states look out for my little girl in a way that only a father's glare could.

As Winslow moves to Peyton's side, he hesitantly reaches out for her cheek, brushing a thumb over the tracks of tears, stepping in to gently wrap one arm around her shoulders and draw his little girl into an embrace. "I never got to know you, more than in pictures…" Winslow whispers into Peyton's hair as footsteps come thundering down the hall towards the apartment door, "but one single picture is worth a thousand words, save all but one." There's just a nod of his head, slowly and solemnly. "I love you."

At that exact moment, there is a crack of a wooden frame, a door swinging open and inward into the apartment. AGent Webb's broad-shouldered silhouette emerges first into the doorway, only to find Albert Winslow with his arms wrapped possessively around Peyton. The moment the jarhead agent comes storming in, Winslow turns, like a dancer with his partner, interposing himself between the young agent and his daughter, beginning to raise his hands in surrender.

But when the leonine profile of Benjamin Ryans slides thorugh that doorway next, tranquilizer gun raised, his eyes meet a man's twenty years lost. Winslow's expression hardens, brows furrow together and his hands lower, as if in some sort of act of defiance on seeing Ryans there, despite the words he manages to have time to utter; "I still owe you."

Damn. Damn, damn, damn… as the door crashes open, the silhouette slithers back down to the ground, and Richard Cardinal falls silent. Nobody here but us shadows. There's only one way this is likely to pan out, and he watches, helpless, from his corner.

Touching. Very touching. Does it move Henry a whit? No. All that amiability, that hail-fellow-well-met air is gone; the young man sufficiently flustered by a pretty girl as to drop all his business cards on the floor has vanished. He's got his 'game face' on, and it's not a pleasant one. There's a neutral intensity, like it's not human beings he's disturbing at home, not actual people - only the blue eyes alive and those predatorily so. This, perhaps, is why he has value to the Company. Targets, like a video game. No need to surrender or monologue, I have a dart for you right fucking here. He stalks in and fires, without giving tongue or offering warning.

"Aye. You do." Ryans states in a rumbled growl, tranq gun raised, blue eyes hard under the brim of his fedora. However, despite what he said to Webb, there is no telltale Thwip of his tranq gun, the old agent actually hesitates. The senior agent had been so much younger the last time the two met, yet, Winslow seemed the same, it is a shock to the older man. After a meer moment as Webb steps in from behind him, there is a slight narrowing of the man's eyes, deeping those lines that clearly show his age. Even as Henry fires at the man, Ryans doesn't right away.

"And you said you'd stop." Jaw tight with anger over that bit of betrayal, but his voice never looses that calmness too it. The tightening of his hand on the grip is the only warning before Ryans suddenly fires his own tranquilizer.

He looks older, she feels…

"Al, what…" Faye softly says, before he looks the doorway gets a new shadow. She opens her mouth to make protest, but it isn't in time. The now much older man speaks first, says his words. His hands start to go up. The sounds that followed could have been particularly horrifying. But it's a relief that they're not the concussion sound of gunshots, or even the silent pift of a silenced shot— But still.

"He's surrendering!" she yells, voice finally cracking with emotion. It's not broken, but it's still a crack. Something that she's often avoided showing— except perhaps when she met her daughter for the first time. "He's not hurting anyone."

But what about those words of defiance?

The little girl in question is lost as she stares at the father she's just found and about to lose. She lifts her chin as he touches her face, and her arms slowly come up around his shoulders when he hugs her. The words he whispers into her hair are answered only by a sob — she hasn't had enough time with him to know if she could love him or not, but she knows that there will be a hole when he is taken away, as strange as that is… to miss someone she never really had.

When she is spun out of the danger of the men at her doorway, she gasps, and tries to step around the taller form of her father, to put herself between him and Webb and Ryans. "Stop! He'll go with you!" Peyton cries, echoing her mother in intent if not words. "He's done running. Don't hurt him. Please." Dark eyes search first Webb's face, and then Ryans'.

Lurching back from the strike of the dart to his shoulder, Winslow drops to one knee, the brushed metal tube and red cloth plumage on the end protruding obscenely from his shoulder where its needle sinks in deep to meat and bone. "It's— okay, Peyton." Fingers curl around the metal, his body trembles and he can already feel his hastened pulse pumping narcotics into his system to bring him down, lay him low and knock him out. " It'll be okay." Winslow's old and tired eyes stare up at Ryans, hand trembling where it grips the dart in his shoulder, eyelids bobbing up and down slowly.

This is how the Company does it, bag and tag, this is how it gets handled. Even if they don't handle the actual containment of prisoners now, the apprehension is still their task and their task alone. Hunched forward, Winslow's hand comes unwound from the dart, his eyes unfocused as he stares up at Agent Ryans, voice slurred as he tries to talk.

"I was weak." Winslow shakily admits, struggling to keep his eyes open from the sedatives coursing through his veins. "But, thank you…" Winslow breathes out with a distant expression in his eyes, "for… all these years," he swallows dryly, "you let me have." Breathing in deeply, Cardinal can feel the sting of illumination on his ephemeral body of shadow, and as Winslow prepares to exhale a full and heavy breath, there is an issue of green-white light that roars out of his mouth like a geiyser being unplugged. A swirling torrent of emerald smoke swirls up and out of Winslow's body as hair turns chalk white, skin wrinkles and shrivels and nails elongage.

"It only takes a moment, form the howling swirl of greenish light to completely surround Winslow and Ryans, a full exhalation of some ephemeral breath that Ryans had been hunting him for decades for stealing. But when that green light slowly fades, there is just a suit lying crumpled on the floor where Albert Winslow once was, a suit and a pile of dust and bones just over two-hundred years old. Agent Ryans seems far less worse for wear despite the torrent of life energy expelled from Winslow.

Twenty years is what Benjamin Ryans had given to Albert Winslow once, twenty years to change his ways and find a new path in life. Now, in his last act of defiance, Albert Winslow returned those twenty years on loan to Agent Ryans. He said to Ryans, all those years ago, that he would repay him for letting him go when he could have turned him in. Now, it would seem, Albert Winslow proved himself to be a man of his word.

He couldn't fade away and die back then, because he had a little girl to live long enough to watch out for. Now, it seems, Albert Winslow can finally move on; all debts repaid.

"That…..was fucked up," says Henry, and it's every idiot fratboy in the world in that tone. The threat's gone, the quarry's gone, and he has no idea, -no idea- what he should be doing. And then he looks to Ryans, and says, "Jesus, man, you look good."

As the greenlight assaults him, Ryans unburdened hand comes up in front of his face to ward it off, eyes squinting against the brightness of it. When his vision clears, he doesn't see the gnarled and scarred hand in front of his face. In fact, it looks like he's looking at someone else's hand. There is a blink, as he turns the hand that is alien and yet familiar to him. Then it lowers as he looks down, expecting to see Wilson, but only finds dust. He's quiet for a moment, his expression unreadable.

"Webb." The order is sharp, much like one calls a dog to attention. The words are clear, not filled with that roughness of age, yet that familiar rumble is there. "Go out.. tell them to stand down. Call headquarters." He looks at the women in the room.

"I'm.. sorry." And it actually sounds like he means it, "I planned, simply, to take him in… not… " He motions to the floor, eyes pained for a moment. "Not this." The words are softly spoken.

There's one thing about her telepathy that's added onto her registration file, a warning that had been included. If Faye is connected to someone when they die, she feels it and suffers ill-effects. It only happened to her once, but being very thorough in her assessment of her own ability, she'd included it. As the man she once loved turns to dust, she falls to her knees, reaching out towards the suit in bones, feeling the link decay away. It's a quieter pain than a violent death, but it's still a pain.

The link with her daughter— the lingering connections with her teammates. All of them collapse in on her, there's unsteady breaths, and then she's slumping over toward the floor, blood dripping out of her nose.

Now a decade younger, she's healthy, healthier than she probably was, stronger, faster, how she'd been when she was still a member of the Coast Guard— but she's also fallen unconscious. She won't be able to comfort her daughter, as she might desperately wish.

But it means they can comfort each other later. When they're alone.

"How?" is the last word Peyton cries to her father. How will it be all right?

And then her world is reeling, whirling, topsy turvy, strange and surreal: green light rushes out of one man and toward the other, and in the end Winslow nothing but a husk and her mother collapsing — none of it makes sense.

She stumbles to her knees, reaching to try to catch her mother.

"Look what you've done!" Peyton cries over her shoulder at Ryans and Webb, her worry now for her mother instead of her father.

"Faye…" her voice gentles, no longer screaming but soft and tremulous. "Call 9-1-1… do something useful," she hisses to Webb as she cradles her mother's head on her lap. Through her tears, she glances over at the remains of her father, and sobs once before biting down on her lip, willing herself to be strong for Faye.

None of it does make sense, not now, not in this era. Two decades ago the seeds were sown for something to happen today, but the reinstatement of Benjamin Ryans, the raid on the Speakeasy, Cardinal's presence and his influence on Albert Winslow all added up to what ultimately became the tragic scene played out here in ashen luminscence. Even here, amidst the dim light of Peyton Whitney's apartment, the dust hasn't even remotely begun to settle yet, and already one man has dies and two more people have had the sands of time turned over for them, an hourglass now operating on a different scale than before.

Outside the apartment, hanging in the freezing cold wind, staring down the scope of her sniper rifle Maria Delgado is unaware of the armor-plated white vehicle rolling up to the front of the building. The back hatch of the truck opens in three segments, and two men in biohazard contamination suits emerge, sliding out on rails a large matte black coffin-like structure from the back of the vehicle. The passenger's side door opens, and a man in a buttoned black jacket emerges, fingers pressed to a bluetooth headset perched in one ear.

"We're here," he states to whomever is on the other line, "waiting for the Company to come out with him. We've got NYPD on-scene and a full extraction crew ready to handle him." Staring up at the building, Desmond Harper notices Maria in the same moment she notices him, but his attention goes elsewheres, and quickly. "No— scratch that. Winslow's dead, I can see his remains…" Harper's eyes are unfocused, looking to the men in their containment suits. "Go in for cleanup only."

Inside Peyton's apartment, five stories up from the street below, the dust has only just begun to settle. Though mentally broken from the psychic onslaught of Winslow's death, Faye Crawford will live to survive this with her daughter, and hopefully come out stronger..

The shadows in the corner move but slightly — fluttering edges that might have come from some piece of cloth near a lamp somewhere. Inwardly, they rage against the Company agents, even while wishing he could go and comfort Peyton. But he can't. Cardinal doesn't even have an arm to put around her shoulders.

Oh, uh, man. This doesn't get any better. So Webb nods crisply to Ryans…..and excuses himself, as fast as is seemly.

The reaction of the man's daughter doesn't surprise the…. well… not so old anymore agent, Ryans just looks at her with that calm expression. A glance over his shoulder confirms that Webb is gone, "What I did, young lady…." The agent says in those rumbling tones, ".. was allow a man to watch his daughter grow into a woman." Blue eyes cut to the dust on the floor. "We were both new fathers back then." He pulls his duster out enough to shove the tranq into it's holder and turns towards the door.

"I didn't ask him to give me back those years, Miss Whitney." Ryans gives a slow shake of his head, hands curling into fist, the only real show of emotion. "I would have rather taken him in alive." He doesn't wait for a reply, only moves for the door, not even noticing the aches in his knees were gone. Two decades, that case weighed on Ryans' shoulders. Twenty years to wonder if he had made the right decision.

For the Company agent who dedicated almost thirty years very loyal years, Winslow was the one he let get away.

"Get out of my apartment," Peyton hisses to Ryans, "and get me an ambulance." Her voice is cold — Ryans' words do little to console her — she's lost a father and her mother lies limp in her arms. The agent's motivations mean very little to the clairvoyant as she stares down at Faye, the daughter's tears dripping onto the mother's face. Now they look more like sisters, but it doesn't change their relationship.

She will wait for the ambulance to come and take her mother to a hospital, while the men in bio-hazard suits take the remains of her father to — who knows where, and tell who knows how many lies to her neighbors. She'll have to call Aaron to warn him to stay away from the apartment — hopefully he can find somewhere else to go. For now, though, nothing matters but seeing Faye's eyes open, to know that she hasn't lost all that she can call family in this tragic night.

We are all, at our cores, the sum of our fears.

Out in the hall, Agent Webb's phone call to the Company headquarters at Fort Hero carries off amidst the sound of confused neighbors and concerned tennants of the apartment complex. Officers of the NYPD emerge up onto the fifth floor, most still downstairs keeping watch. Even as the Company agents that have already done their damage make a split from Peyton and Faye, calls are being placed in to medical personnel for Faye Crawford, and unfamiliar men in gas-masked suits are emerging onto the floor, urging residents to stay clear "for their health," carrying heavy plastic cases and hosed equipment. As the NYPD move in to check on Faye and her young daughter, they tread carefully around Winslow's ashen remains.

To embrace destiny, we must inevitably face those fears,,,

Urges by the hazardous materials team and the NYPD insisting that Faye be moved to safety for her health bring with it the presence of their equipment being set down in Peyton's home even as she's being escorted out by law enforcement with her mother. There will be no news of this biohazard team arriving, no news of the violent Evolved put down by the Department of Homeland Security, only a scare of an H5N10 outbreak occuring in the Upper West Side that was "ultimately harmless" gracing the evening news' last few minutes.

and conquer them…

"…yes, sir. No, Winslow's dead." Out on the street below, Desmond Harper paces back and forth by the armored van, head bowed and head shaking slowly. "No, the crew isn't going to be bringing his remains back. We're putting together a cover story now for Albert Winslow's death in his local paper. Right… okay."

Harper exhales a sigh, glancing over to the snowy curbside of the apartment building, brows creased together. "No sir, the Company agents did their job to the letter. Yes, of course. Thank you, sir."

…whether they come from the familiar…

"I agree sir, it was a tragedy. He would have been valuable to the Institute."

…or the unknown.

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