And Then There Were...


edgar_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif nick_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title And Then There Were…
Synopsis Ethan increases the Remnant's number by two.
Date March 6, 2011

Old Dispensary

Sheltered by dense trees on one side with a view of the Atlantic ocean on the other, the Dispensary is derelict old building with a dark brick facade and tall, narrow archways decorated with crumbling white plaster accents that hark back to a much earlier era. The property covers several acres of waterfront and woodland, and is surrounded by a rusty chain-link fence that was erected after the main building was abandoned but before the bomb, and from the road dissuades trespassers with antiquated windows like dead eyes with a view of everything.

To the Dispensary's right, a smaller satellite building has been transformed into a large garage with a door that pulls down and fastens at the bottom with a simple metal padlock even though a skylight in the garage's ceiling provides an alternate point of entry but is also covered with a metal grate as an additional security measure, and there are many.

Behind the main building, stretching out into the Atlantic, a concrete pier used to tie up boats is in an apparent state of disrepair and covered at low tide by barnacles when the stone supports are visible and the water laps against the rocky shore, which is protected by a natural outcropping that forms a small cove with a hidden entrance.


Always shooting.

Since Ethan's been back on his feet, he's been walking around the facility of their old home made new. Feng was finally dead. Which meant no looking over his shoulder for that tricky little viper. They wouldn't be compromised anymore by the prick with the annoying voice. Now the only problems they had were Evolved Terrorists, Non-Evolved Terrorists, an increasingly antagonistic public, as well as a secretive death dealing government. But at least Feng's not on the list. The members of the Remnant have moved back to their old home. Recently invitations went out to trusted individuals. Offers to join up with what was left of Vanguard: The Remix.

Nick and Edgar were told where they could find the old location. Told to show up when they wanted to. And to bring their toothbrushes.

The early morning is disturbed by the stark shot of gunfire. A few times over. Finally the shooting stops. Pan in on the 'back yard' of the Old Dispensary. Patches of snow are scattered about, the heavy boots crunching through frost laden grass as Holden makes his way towards his usual log. "You 'ave to get used to the sound if you're going to live wit' us." Ethan gives an apologetic look down to his companion. A small piece of sausage placed down on the log. Straightening back up, Holden then holds the gun towards his hand. "Watch this."

Another bang rings out through the still woods surrounding the rear of the Dispensary.

His hand clenches into a fist as Ethan looks very pained. Fist swinging away from the pistol. "Fffffuck." He hisses, before his palm opens. A flattened bullet resting in the cup of his palm. A little satisfied smile curls up his lips before bullet is dropped rapidly. Reaching into his jacket he goes to lay down another sausage in front his confidante. Positive reinforcement.

The pistol is holstered in his jacket, going to take a seat on the log next to his raccoon companion. The sun rose just a few minutes ago, Ethan is clothed in his black peacoat, looking down at his best friend in the world. Thomas. "I know. I know. Don't worry, I'm still on your side." Holden growls lowly. His arms loop out behind him, bracing himself against the log. "Should 'ave some friends comin' in today. Startin' our slumber party. But I'm gonna 'ave to leave. Little boy who's gonna kill my daughter 'as to die. Or did kill. I don't fuckin' know. But I know I need answers. Not sure if you're coming yet. You keep up this good attitude and maybe you will." Reaching into his coat pocket another piece of meat is laid out for Thomas' hungry little raccoon face. Ethan smiles faintly down at the animal.

"Watch. People are going to come out and yell at me soon for shootin' this early in the morning." He grins a little broader. "Don't fuckin' laugh."

In the distance there's the purr of a motorcycle that comes to a stop still some range away — Nick isn't altogether sure that this isn't a trap; he and Ethan seem to be on okay terms, for whatever reason, but invitations are taken with a grain of salt and all gift horses are looked at in the mouth. Nick's a little shy after accepting one invitation too many on trust.

Crunching through the snow, he carries a duffel on one shoulder, making enough noise that his approach won't be mistaken for anything stealthy. When Ethan and the raccoon come into view, Nick arches a brow and gives a short jerk of his chin upward in the universal man language of 'hey.'

The clatter that follows shortly after Nick's not so stealthy entrance is brought on by a blur that whips around nearly every inch of the place before coming to a stop between Ethan and Nick. While he's still not comfortable enough around the other Englishman to actually wear a housedress in front of him or even parade around in his tighty whities, he's not above inspecting his latest find in front of both men. Very tiny pants. As in underwear.

"Y'go' sum real little people 'ere doan'cha," the speedster says casually as the frilly ruffle bottom panties are sling shotted into the air. They make a glorious arc and land next to the raccoon companion and when Edgar finally spots the creature, he takes a step or two back from it in alarm. Animals don't like him. Not cats, not dogs, not even sewer rats.

Ethan is right about something: There is without any doubt someone coming to yell at him, if not for the exact reasons that he might be expecting. Or the people he might be expecting, although it's apparently not Nick, who he was probably not expecting, or Edgar, who he might also have not been expecting. It's not Thomas, either. Rather than Eileen, it's Raith that comes half-stumbling out of the rear door (and likely only half because he's a light sleeper to begin with). And even when he does, it takes him a moment to realize and appropriately register the fact that it's not just Ethan making a racket. Although admittedly, the blur he caught a glimpse of had sort of clued him in on that.

"Ay, don nadies," he says, purposefully using a language other than English because he knows, or at least strongly suspects none of them will know what he means. Maybe they'll puzzle out of from the context. "I think it's great, that you're all, you know, getting along. Friendship's fucking magical and all that. But you know what time it is, right? I'll give you a hint. It's 'Jensen ain't getting up yet, so keep it the fuck down' thirty."

Ethan glances up from Thomas to Edgar's arrival. HIs lips turn down at the prize Edgar has found. "Are those my daughter's…" He closes his mouth, letting out a light sigh from his nostrils. He doesn't want to say the word panties. That word makes him sad. Watching Edgar for a moment, "Don't go into people's rooms without permission. We don't steal from each other." Holden growls slowly. He would. But that's different. He's the leader. He decided that the other day. He frowns pointedly where the panties were sling-shotted. Then he looks around her to the man who just arrived on motorcycle. A dip of his chin in greeting to the younger man.

The hand that had caught the bullet goes to scoop up Thomas and hold him to his chest. Pushing himself up his log, he takes a step past Edgar. "Go choose a room." He shoves his thumb in direction of the Old Dispensary. Before Jensen is walking out. Oh bla.

"Puta." He greets simply.

"No one likes you, Jensen." Ethan mumbles waving Thomas in his direction. "Go make a bicycle to make eggs or whotever th'fuck it is you do."

Dark brows knit at Edgar's arrival holding panties and Nick's pale eyes dart from one British man to another, then the damn yankee shows up, and Nick gives a nod to the familiar face. "Hey," he says, then turns to regard Ethan again.

"Choose a room? Look, you know I'm happy to help you guys with whatever needs done, but I don't know if living with you all is…" he shrugs. A good idea goes unsaid, and he stands, awkwardly holding his duffel bag and glancing toward the building and back. "I got an apartment in Brooklyn. And once I got Walsh figgered out I'm probably off again, anyway." The American accent's been dropped completely; if Jensen tells him he's a crappy spy for not keeping up with his legend, Nick'll point out his undercover job with the Irishman was blown to hell when Walsh tries to blow Nick to hell.

Edgar points from Ethan to Jensen, his eyes darting at twice the speed blur between them a few more times before the carnie actually speaks. "'E's yer butler 'r sumthen? Jensen, tha's a good name fer one bu' I don' like servitude Ethan… So I 'ope he's paid."

Taking a few steps toward the grumpy man in the door, Edgar doesn't exactly confirm that the ruffle bottoms are Eileen's, he doesn't deny it either though. It's easy to figure if you know someone well enough, you know what sort of underwear they'd wear. Which begs the question, is Eileen a ruffle and lace sort of daughter?

"A pleasure t'mee' you, Jensen…" Edgar begins as he sticks a hand out to Raith for a shake. "So you make eggs wi' bicycles? I 'ad a chicken one time, 'ad teh eat 'er. She kept peckin' a' my face." Then it actually sinks in, the whole 'arrangement'. Casting a cautious glance between all the men, the juggler raises his hands in surrender and shakes his head. "Look, I dunno wha' kind'a ideas y'got 'ere, bu' I'm a married man. I can't jus' go shackin' up wi' the prettiest boys in town."

It's difficult to miss the sound of gunshots, whether day or not, and although the woman who emerges from the door behind Raith wasn't asleep when the shooting started, she's still dressed in her nightgown — a flimsy thing made of white cotton that's entirely inappropriate for the weather but is worn beneath a heavy coat of darkest blue wool, and maybe she'd have beaten the man to reprimanding Ethan if she hadn't stopped to pull on her boots.

Her dark hair is loose, snagged and blown freely about by the wind, and she reaches up to tug it away from her face. Eileen hasn't been able to get much rest since the house call she and Gabriel made to the Garden; to occupy herself and distract from exhaustion, she's sequestered herself in one of the spare rooms with a map and a radio and spent the previous night charting military patrols based on quick snatches of conversation she was able to intercept.

She's beginning to think she should follow Delia's advice and invest in a sedative now that she knows she's sharing a body with somebody— something else. Emptying her energy reserves in order to ensure an uneventful sleep is not a long term solution to the problem. Neither is withholding this information from her loved ones, but if her acquisition of Pollepel Island is any indication, then Eileen's ability to plan ahead is limited to designs for other people.

Excuse me says the arch of her brows, and perched on the roof a magpie watches the scene playing out below with eyes that glitter. The hand tangled in her hair moves to the small of Raith's back in a placating gesture. "Generally," she tells Ethan, "I find that he helps Gabriel and I hold things together while you disappear for almost a year at a time. Bicycles for making eggs optional."

For several long moments, Raith stares at Edgar, his expression dead flat. His gaze drifts over to Ethan, then back to Edgar, and- for no easily understood reason- over to Nick, and then to Eileen once she appears, the sole voice of support for his efforts. Finally he settles on looking at some undefined space approximately in between all three of them, and a vaguely appropriate reply: "Chupe que, maricas." Exactly what Nick has done to deserve his scorn remains a mystery.

Ignoring the men outside, he turns his attention to the woman behind him, to whom he is markedly more pleasant. "Bonjour, mon cher," he says with a kiss on her cheek, "Le cafe est pret?" Maybe his plan is to use crazy moon languages until everyone else disappears in frustration, or stabs him out of spite. Knowing the mix presently in the dispensary, either scenario is equally likely. Lokking back over his shoulder, the ex-spy's next question is a simple and pointed, "What do you fags take in your coffee?"

Angry bitch daughter. Ethan smiles brightly at the presence of his offspring. Glancing back over to Nick, he gives a shake of his head. "Go choose a room." He repeats. Apparently he's skipping the argument. Fast forwarding to where he wins and tells Nick what to do. Thomas is held over to his chest. Glancing over to Edgar. "Smythe. This is my daughter, Eileen. That's Jensen, and the annoying fuck.. I forget his name." Ethan throws a hand of dismissal at Nick as he makes his way towards the back door of the dispensary. With the raccoon in one hand, Holden goes to hold the other door open. "Breakfast if you want it, boys." Holden looks back to Raith.

"If Nick says stupid things again I'll pay you a box of Lipton Iced Tea to shoot 'im in the kneecaps." He murmurs conversationally, leaning forward to try and press a kiss to Eileen's cheek. He doesn't answer Raith. Raith already knows what this fag takes in his faggy coffee.

"Uhh…" Edgar just stares after the duo as Raith guides Eileen back inside. Turning to both Ethan and Nick he raises a hand and rests his fingertips alongside his lips and delivers a hoarse whisper. "I think 'e's tryin' teh win me over wi' 'is charm. Don' let 'im know bu' et's workin'."

Tucking his hands into his pockets, he looks between Nick, the ruffle panties, and Eileen's retreating back. Then he sucks his tongue against the back of his teeth, making a tch sound. "Don' worry sport," he says, clapping the younger man on the back. "I won' tell 'er tha' they're yours." The hand is removed almost as quickly as it lays assault on Nick's shoulder and shoved back into the pocket of his courdoroys. "Fag? Oh, no.. bu' thanks for the offer, I don' smoke."

Spanish, Nick doesn't speak, but he's worked with Brooklyn dock workers long enough to pick up a few words, and his eyes narrow a little at Raith's. Didn't he save the asshole's life or something? Of course, the debt was repaid, so apparently it's a wash.

"Spieprzaj, dupek," he mutters, an angry twitch in his jaw at the word fag, but he gives Eileen a nod just as Edgar makes the joke. Nick's hand comes up to shove the older Englishman's away and he steps back and away.

Blue eyes a little wild, he seeks out his sister's face. "Did you need me for somethin'?" he directs to her, not moving to the building as directed by Ethan, not answering the question as to how he likes his coffee from Raith. The tense posture suggests her answer will direct his next motion — toward the building or toward the bike parked in the distance.

Two cheek-kisses in one morning and her boyfriend isn't even awake yet — Eileen should be smiling, but she's sensitive to the tension in the air. She doesn't turn her face away from Ethan when he leans in, however, and reciprocates only with a brush of her knuckles along his jaw while he's face is still there. "This isn't going to work," she murmurs in a voice low enough that it's for her father and her father alone, "if you aren't willing to at least entertain the idea of respecting other people and treating them as equals rather than doormats."

Which is why she calls down her magpie from the roof, holding out her wrist for it to perch upon, and lifts her chin to address Nicholas over Ethan's shoulder, her voice cordial enough but still a little chilly. "You should eat while you're here. Decide whether or not you want to stay when you have something in your stomach."

The advice that Eileen gives to Ethan is lost to Raith: He's already moved inside of the dispensary again when Ethan is moving over to follow him. Or to just coincidentally follow the same route as Raith, whichever. Surely, some hot food and coffee and tea will relax the tension in the air. That remains to be seen, until Eileen decides whether or not she will cook.

Raith has been permanently barred from making breakfast for anyone other than himself after serving 'garbage' one time too many. But coffee and tea? Those he can handle, and anyone who takes coffee will find a cup ready for them when they arrive. Tea will take a bit longer. And through it all, neither Franklin nor Clay are around to help speed things along. Too bad.

"I'm just playin' wit' 'im. Boy needs to put pants on for once, Jesus Christ. Can't call him a cock sucking cockroach fucking cunt without 'im gettin' 'is feelings all 'urt." The word in italics is said like it's something weird and foreign. Not something that normal people usually have. He brings up one hand to Eileen in concession. "Fine. I'll play nice." As he walks inside and away from Eileen, Holden's arm spreads out and wraps around Edgar's shoulders. Pulling him in close as he enters the building. Face going to lean in towards Edgar's ear. Hushed whispers fill the man's ears before he gives him a little pat on the shoulder.

"Wait ten minutes then go slice 'is tires."

Releasing Edgar he goes into the kitchen with Raith. Going to join him before Eileen and Nick get in. "Hazing?" He asks with a light smile. If they can get along on one thing, it's the terrorizing of other people that's not each other.

Wait. Wait? Did Ethan just tell him to wait? Out here? Like— no he's taking the raccoon inside. Everyone is going inside, except for Edgar. Jaw dropping, the speedster seems a little hurt by the request. It's cold out here, relatively, and there's no one else to share it with. Regardless, the speedster sets his jaw and nods once to Ethan, pulling a knife from a sheath at his back and thumbing the blade.

"Righ' then… I'll wai'." The last two words are said with a little bit of a grimace as the speedster looks around for something to do, or some kind of excuse why he's not following the rest inside.

Whistling a little ditty, he trudges over to grab up the ruffle bottoms and wave them around like a flag. "I'll jes' be out 'ere, got'eh.. uhm…" He's not that swift on the excuse making but when he swirls the tiny undies around his finger a little too fast, they go flyin'. "…find my pants. Yeah, got'eh find my pants. Back in a while— I fergot other things too, like… my uhm.. wife."

Ten minutes later, Nick's tires aren't slashed as much as completely gone.

Nick's hands reshoulders his duffel bag while giving both a one-shouldered shrug along with a contradictory nod at Eileen's words. While it's warmer than it has been, 50 degrees on a motorcycle is still cold and he could use the coffee — especially if he does choose to turn around and leave again.

Not that he can, but he doesn't know that.

He glances at Edgar a little warily — they've met in passing before, which comes as no surprise to Nick. Really, he'd be surprised if he didn't know him, at this rate. "See ya," he offers amiably enough before moving into the building.

Extensive travel during her time with the Vanguard has lent Eileen some flexibility in the kitchen, and while the Remnant's budget restricts what they can buy, she's picked up enough tricks that their diet doesn't have to be quite so limited. Fortunately, she's already gotten a start on breakfast — a few quick, minimal adjustments will prepare an ample early morning meal for six instead of the anticipated four. She emerges from the kitchen as people are settling with a plate of open-faced sandwiches slathered in butter and cuts of hard cheese, pickled herring fillets with sliced tomato, hardboiled eggs, and preserves made from raspberries harvested from the Greenbelt last summer.

Deep bowls of cottage cheese, plain yogurt topped with some sort of fruit paste and savory rice porridge flavoured with strong-smelling broth warmed on the stove join the spread on the table a few minutes later.

"I've got the molasses and the spiders," Raith says in reply to Ethan, before anyone else shows up to listen in, "You get the fire ants." But for the moment, that's the end of the discussion on hazing.

Hazing may even be forgotten by the time Raith is kicking a chair aside to make room for himself at the table. Or maybe not, it's hard to tell. Whatever his thoughts on that matter are, he seems content to, for the moment, clam up and let Ethan do the talking. If he does any talking at all. Breakfast is a tricky time when it comes to talking. Particularly when it involves food that is easy to throw.

Going to pull out his own chair, Ethan goes to take a seat. Holding the raccoon to his chest. Another piece of sausage comes out of his jacket, handled over to the raccoon. Holden relaxes in his chair, glancing up to Nick as he moves into the kitchen. When the younger man looks away a sly smirk is delivered over to Raith. "So." He starts, glancing over to Eileen. "Sent that boy to the island, did you?" Holden asks, leaning back in his chair some while he allows the woman to work. As it should be.

Glancing at spread on the table, Nick stands awkwardly a moment, looking toward where Eileen finishes the rest, as if wanting to ask to help but knowing it's not the right thing to do. A hand runs nervously through his hair before he moves to sit, staring down at the plate in front of him while waiting for the others to start eating and for Eileen to sit down. The chair he takes is deliberately away from the other empty chair — unfortunately it places him between Raith and Ethan.

Unsure of what else to look at once the plate grows less interesting, he peeks at the raccoon. "That's not some sort of telepath, is it?" he murmurs, eyeing the creature a little nervously.

Eileen sits down at the table last, coaxing her magpie from her wrist onto the back of her chairs. A papery flutter of its wings keeps it righted. "I did," she says of Astor, "and you're going to leave him be. I don't care what you and Amato think he did, or didn't do — he saved my life. He's also very sick, so whatever you're planning to do to him you can do to someone else instead, unless it's thanking him sincerely."

"Your hunger is clearly making you delusional and paranoid," is, from Raith, and likely everyone else, the only reply to Nick's question about exactly what the raccoon is. Jabbing a finger at the younger man's plate, the ex-spy states, orders, "Eat, jughead." Then, he busies himself listening to the conversation between Eileen and Ethan, wondering which of them will assert their dominance first.

He raises his hand to Raith and Eileen. "'old it." It's mostly to Raith. About the raccoon. Glancing down he looks back up to Nick. Eileen wanted him to be nice. "No it's not, but that was a very intelligent question, and I respect your critical thinking." Ethan gives a light smile that manages to not sound sarcastic. Holden looks up Eileen. He bites down on his lip for a moment. She just invited him to hurt someone else. "Alright." He responds cleanly. "You know I've saved your life a few times." He glances around the room. "'E probably 'as too. Maybe even Thomas. Don't see you being so nice to us." Says the man to the woman making him breakfast.

A brow is arched at Raith, but jughead is less offensive to him apparently than marisco or fag so Nick doesn't mutter anything back in Polish this time; a fork pokes at the fish gingerly, but he's not going to be picky, nor turn away anything his sister made for them. Ethan's words earn him a snort and a roll of Nick's eyes, but the young man begins to eat, table manners much more polite than his upbringing would have had them.

"Thanks," he murmurs, quietly to Eileen, for the breakfast, an aside not meant to derail the conversation about some man who saved his sister's life.

"I don't seem to recall any of you sticking your necks out for me before you knew who it was you were really sticking your neck out for," Eileen answers Ethan. "There's a difference between what we've done for each other and what Astor did for me. It's really quite distinct, and I'm not saying that you're wrong to be suspicious, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that your tactics aren't working — the more you and Amato push, the less likely he is to cooperate, and the less likely he is to cooperate, the less useful he's going to be.

"Did any of you ever bother to ask whether or not he even has an ability?"

"If he does, it's not helping him leave Pollepel," Raith interjects before he begins attacking his food with his own fork, "Or he's just putting on a show about wanting to go free, otherwise he'd already be gone. Tragically, I can't watch him all the time, since I don't have an ability, so until the Council decides what they want to do with him, my hands are tied." Raith places only a slight emphasis on 'Council,' but not enough to call attention to it unless someone is listening closely. It's either his way of expressing irritation at not being able to do anything, or his way of ducking responsibility for not doing anything. Take your pick. "He has access to medical, and I know for a fact he gets the occasional visitor. He has not been much inclined to do anything else except bemoan his present circumstances and throw Amato out windows."

"Bullshit." Ethan growls lowly. "I've always cared about you." Ever since she tried to Wonka his Willy. "So fuck you for tryin' to give 'im that. And there's no difference. You 'ave this weird fuckin' affinity for giving complete strangers weird and baseless reasons to trust them. He had 'is purpose. And by the way I haven't spoken to the boy." He lets out, glaring at her. "It's been Amato. I didn't tell Salucci to do shit. I got information from 'im then 'e did 'is own thing. If you've forgotten, I was stuck in a fuckin dome."

"You just assume I would push." Ethan looks down at Thomas, going to feed him another piece of sausage. "M'daughter doesn't like me, Thomas. You like me, right? You little telepathic raccoon." Smile.

Blue eyes dart up once in a while but stay mainly on the plate. Nick's scarred hand rakes through his hair nervously again, and he suddenly stands, lanky limbs uncoiling as he moves to bring his plate to the sink. "I need a cigarette," he says to no one in particular. "Thanks for breakfast." He cleaned most of his plate — though there's a few bites of fish left. He never did like fish.

Long legs take him across the small room to its exit, and a moment later the front door is heard closing. The duffel bag is left where he set it, so it seems it's just for the paradox of a smoke and a breath of fresh air, rather than a more permanent escape.

"You don't do anything except push," Eileen snaps back, allowing herself to sound as irritable as she feels once Nick has left the room leaving her alone at the table with Ethan and Raith. "You extended your trust to Gabriel when we first came here to America. I'm willing to do the same for Astor, and do you know what? It's for precisely the reason you've brought my brother and that Smythe fellow here. Teodoro and Petrelli aren't with us anymore — the impact we can make is directly proportional to the amount of firepower we have. I'm willing to respect your choices, Ethan Holden. The boy is mine, provided he's at all interested. If he isn't, then he's free to leave, regardless of what the Council might think." She looks to Raith. "This is not a Ferry matter. It is between us."

Raith pushes too. The difference is that what he's pushing is his chair, and where he's pushing it is away from the table to allow himself to stand up. "Well, this is clearly a matter that will require careful consideration," he says, perhaps feeling the consideration will need to be more intensive than the consideration he presently gives to Eileen and Ethan, "But Nicholas? He's onto something, I think. A little tobacco sounds like it'd be pretty tasty. You two should think about it yourselves." Whether or not Nick is, in fact, onto something is irrelevant. What to do with Astor in the long-term may be between the Remnant, but what to do with him immediately is clearly a point of contention between father and daughter. And the ex-spy knows it's better to excuse himself and traverse outside than to risk interfering with that particular dynamic. Especially when one of them can bounced bullets off his chest.

"And all you do is hate everything I've done." Ethan hisses, it waits until after Raith has left. "I'm sorry, princess. I'm fuckin' sorry I got involved with th'Vanguard. I'm sorry you got involved with th'old man. I'm fuckin' sorry your life is what it is. I never wanted this for my children. Nothing like this. I realize much of this is my fault." Holden's feet slam against the floor, his own chair scraping against the ground. His hand climbs up over Thomas' ears. Cover them.

"I've made mistakes in th'past. I've fucked up lives." Killed how many? "You're all I 'ave to make right, princess. And if you're not going to let me look out for you, then fuck you for not lettin' me shoot myself." Thomas' ears are uncovered, hand dropped to the side. Staring at her blankly, Ethan looks down to the food she has prepared then back up.

"I'm going to talk to th'boy, princess. Because I 'aven't yet. My tactics 'aven't been used at all. I would like your blessing, but I won't wait for it."

"The only person responsible for what Kazimir did is Kazimir, and he's dead." As Ethan rises to stand, so does Eileen, though there's no boot slamming or chair scraping involved. She conveys her anger instead in sharp movements, communicating quiet fury through their precision. "There is nothing left to make right between us — I'm an adult, older than you were when you joined the military, and I don't need someone to look out for me if looking out for me means going behind my back and doing something after I've explicitly asked you not to."

Now there is a bang, the sound of her palm coming into abrupt contact with the table. Her magpie startles. "This isn't the Vanguard. I don't answer to you, and neither does anyone else. We work as a unit. Everyone here has an equal say."

Thomas is held up in front of him, reaching into his coat he brings out the last piece of sausage. Holding it out in his palms he holds it up for the raccoon to nibble at. He watches her silently in her return rage. Standing still he smirks quietly. Ethan cradles the raccoon in his arm easily, taking a step away from the table. "Y'never asked me princess. You told me what I would be doing." He watches her hand connect with the table. "Our family Eileen, we 'ave a long 'istory of 'aving one characteristic in common. We don't take well to authority."

"If we 'ave equal say…" He rolls a light shrug. "I vote I go speak with th'boy. Amato seconds. Edgar thirds. Nick and Raith abstain. Gabriel eats some yogurt. Eileen votes no. I'm not going to fuckin 'urt 'im. I'm just going to talk to 'im. Calm th'fuck down. You always get angry for me treatin' you like you're a child. If you want me to accept that you've changed, you might want to think on allowing me the same courtesy." And with that he turns on his heel. He and Thomas are no longer hungry.

Eileen's hand remains flat on the table. It is the only way to keep it from trembling. The volume of her voice goes down instead of up, and when she speaks again there's an edge to it that wasn't there before. "Going outside for a smoke because they can't stand to be in the same room as you doesn't count as abstaining," she says, her words articulated razor-fine. "If I find out that you and Smythe have set one foot on that island without us discussing it as a group first, then the consequences are going to be very extreme."

"Fuckin' 'ypocrite. No one is in charge, but 'ere you are laying down the law. You can talk to 'im any time you'd like is that right? And if I made a fuss about it, it's a group fuckin' decision." He pauses in his stalk out of the room. Turning around to face her. He glares hard at her. "I'm not killin' anyone. I'm not 'urtin' anyone. I'll be a team player, Eileen. But if you expect me to sit in a fuckin' cage and wait for your approval on everything I do…" He doesn't finish that sentence. Most likely because that kind of sentence ends with things rhyming with 'Flow Puck Borself.'

"It's called a compromise, dear daughter. I'm not 'urtin anything. But you are if you think you can control me for no good reason. I just want t'fuckin meet th'boy 'oo has visions of my dead daughter." Ethan snarls as he looks over at her. "I accept it, Eileen. You've grown up. I'll listen t'you. But I'm not sittin' around 'ere, waitin' for a group discussion for a talk. If y'push this. Y'push me." Away, he tries. Again with Thomas in tow.

And Eileen is alone in the room.

She waits until the birds lingering in the naked trees outside tell her he's out of earshot before snapping her hand to the side and knocking one of the discarded cups of coffee off the table. It hits the floor with a small explosion of porcelain shards that scatter in a nonsensical pattern at her feet, and maybe — somewhere out there — there's someone whose gift allows them to look at the broken mug and coffee stains and intrinsically see the future in it.

It might feel nice to do away with uncertainty, but for now Eileen has to settle for what small fraction of pleasure she's able to glean from breaking things.

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