Angels and Monsters


amato_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif munin_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title Angels and Monsters
Synopsis Tempers flare during dinner at Ethan's apartment; accusations are slung and ultimatums made. No threat is empty.
Date October 29, 2008

Dorchester Towers: Ethan's Apartment

Dorchester Towers is home to many upper class, or more wealthier inhabitants. This apartment seems to be no exception. First impressions of this place, give a homey, and well furnished feel. Lamps are put in the right place, decorations here and there. The living room consists of a large green sofa facing the wall of windows, which has a large flatscreen TV in front of it. Speakers are installed all around for the Surround Sound feel. Next to the TV is a cabinet full of DVDs. Most of these movies include a gun of some sort in each of them. A small coffee table sits in front of the couch, a few magazines spread out on it.

The kitchen is well stocked, with a microwave, coffemaker, and of course a toaster. There is an overhead pan rack hanging over the stove which has many pots, pans, and other utensils hanging from it for easy access. Three doors lead away from the kitchen and living room. Two are large, comfortable bedrooms, complete with posters on the walls, and one is a room that is furnished with a stand up punching bag, dumb bells, a treadmill, and other types of work out equipment.

For the -extremely- well trained eye, or for someone who knows what they're looking for it would be apparent that there are little things off about this apartment. Reinstalled panels, etc, that would suggest whoever lives here has done some rennovation work. Overall though, this spacious living area has been well taken care of, and kept very tidy.

The smell of chicken permeates through the apartment. Ethan has been rather busy lately, but he has taken out some time for dinner among friends. Naturally, Amato was not invited. But Munin and Wu-Long were. Standing in his kitchen, the Wolf is currently in the process of deep frying chicken. A loose black shirt, slacks and black dress shoes the man looks like he has just returned from a day in the office.

It's getting towards evening time, and there is light rain fall pattering against the windows outside. The TV is on in the apartment, a news program talking about the upcoming election and debate. It goes mostly ignored by Ethan. The door is unlocked, as Ethan is expecting guests, but that does not mean that he is leaving himself vulnerable. As usual a powerful handgun is tucked into the back of his pants, and there are probably several other weapons hidden among his person.

The door's handle turns, followed by the sound of creaking hinges as the first of Ethan's guests arrives. Munin steps into the apartment, her body dripping rain and dwarfed by the size of the entryway and much of the furniture and equipment within. Her hair, though wet, is pulled back by a plain white scarf, leaving only a few curly strands plastered to forehead and cheeks. Dark smudges of kohl make her eyes look even more tired and sunken than they really are — her mascara, too, is running, and her cheeks are flushed enough to suggest the weather outside isn't fully to blame. She says nothing as she unbuttons her pea coat, revealing a knit cardigan and blank tanktop beneath, slips out of her ballet flats and crosses the living room like the walking dead. For once, she doesn't stop to greet Ethan with her usual cheery smile and daughterly kiss to the very bottom of his chin. Instead, she heads straight to the bathroom, her gait clipped and hurried.

A shadow passes through the Towers' looming shadow like a shape cut from the same cloth. It moves at the pace of a running man, bounces over an astoundingly well-kept dumpster and circles around the gardens, the white stone edifice. As darkness falls and rain falls faster, Wu-Long has taken to the mode of transit that'll get him in on time and spare him the indignity of squelchy shoes. Or so was the plan.

Inconveniently, he swarms up to the appropriate floor only to find that the living room window is latched, shuttered, and locked against the damp-fingered intrusion of the weather. He clings to the sill for a moment, disconsolate and silently amused, before easing along a tiled ledge and over to the kitchen window. Ethan's inside, absurdly domestic until you see the gun.

A dark tendril curls politely against the glass, offering a dumb but ineffably polite knock-knock, though the rhythm is briefly staggered by the momentary distraction. He saw Munin rush past, and though he doesn't know her well, he knows enough to recognize that was out of character.

"Ello princess!" Ethan says in greeting as Munin enters, his arms start to raise up to give her an embrace though she walks straight past him. His arms drop to his side and he looks up wtih a confused expression on his face. "What's wrong Mu-" Knock-knock. His eyes dart to the window where he gives a frustrated expression. Moving over to the window he unlatches and opens it. "Do they not have doors in China?" Comes the question in his normal cockney accent. He motions him to come inside and close the window behind him. He returns to his cooking though he does give a confused look over his shoulder to the young woman in the bathroom.

Munin at least leaves the bathroom door open. Even when she's upset, she isn't the type of person to slam things — especially not to get her point across. She stands in front of the mirror, a square of tissue paper pinched between her fingers as she dabs at the skin under her eyes in an attempt to make herself look a little more presentable. Her scarf comes off and dozens upon dozens of inky ringlets of hair so dark they appear almost black, weighed down by water, go tumbling across her neck and shoulders. A moment later she's leaning over, her elbows on the edge of the counter, wringing them out over the sink with her tiny hands.

The skein of blackness whispers in and collects on the floor. Wavelengths shorten, steepen, molecules constrict, Wu-Long's density fluxes; he pulls himself a body together and his shoes connect solidly with the floor. He turns, grips the window frame and shuts it, locks it with a little clunk of metal on metal. "Not ones with glass in them. Just bamboo frames," he answers lightly, reaching to pull his coat off.

Heavy folds of leather slide off onto his arm. He's pushing it into a roughshod origami bundle by the time Munin returns to empty her hair into the sink. The girl is subject to a brief moment's study from the Chinese man, before he glances expressionlessly at Ethan. Occasionally, he'd wondered what he would have done if his children had reached their teens while under his guardianship. He'd never been under the impression that would have gone well. "Baobei," he calls out to her, after a moment. "Will you be all right?"

Turning off the stove with a click the man straightens and lets the chicken sizzle as he half turns. Frowning at the woman in the bathroom, he brings his hands up to each other, a cracking sound is emitted. Another click sound is made with his teeth as he walks through the kitchen towards the bathroom. Glancing to Wu-Long he jerks his thumb over his shoulder. "Be a dear and set the plates, would ye?" He asks, making his way into the bathroom. Before he enters though he calls out to Wu-Long again. "And lock the door!" Then he slips into the bathroom behind the girl. Raising his hands he places both of them gently on each of her shoulders. "'Ey love.." He tries to make his gravely voice soothing. "What's wrong?"

"I'm fine," Munin calls back to Wu-Long, though a slight hitch in her voice suggests the opposite. She tucks several pieces of hair behind her ears to keep them from getting in her eyes, and tosses the rest over her shoulders. The fabric of her cardigan should absorb some of the remaining dampness. "It's good to see you again, Wu-Long." Her quarrel apparently isn't with him, but her entire body grows rigid and stiff when she feels the Englishman's hands on her shoulders. She watches his reflection in the bathroom mirror, pale green eyes bright with an emotion that isn't often seen in them. Fury. "Don't you play dumb with me, Ethan Holden."

The door opens before Ethan's order can be carried out, admitting the tall, pale, and lean figure of Amato Salucci. His face is drawn and his lips pinched, but he doesn't say anything upon his arrival. Oh no - there is too much to listen to. He does, however, snap the deadbolt once the door clicks home again before he adopts a position leaning against the doorframe with his arms folded across his chest.

Through some minor miracle of agility, Wu-Long conjured three plates onto his right palm. As he starts out of the kitchen to oblige the rest of his assignment, he sees the pale Italian man step in. Looks him up and down without moving his eyes. A quaver-beat. "Salucci got it," he calls out to their host, who no doubt heard the door close at the very least.

Compelled by the table manners passed down to him from ancient dynasties past, he pulls out another plate, a proportional amount of silverware, and goes to set the table. He momentarily subtracts himself from the gwai lo and their white people drama, but it isn't the most luxuriously-proportioned apartment. Unless they take up their discussion in whispers, he can hear every syllable.

Ethan's brows narrow as soon as Munin begins to speak. Then his gaze flicks over to the new entry at the door, his brows narrow even deeper. Who invited.. No time for that now. Ethan looks right back at Munin. He's either not intimidated or pretends not to take much from Munin's unusual tone of voice. "Not a play princess, what's gotten into your bum?" He slowly takes his hands from her shoulders, watching her in the mirror.

Either Munin doesn't mind being overheard by Wu-Long, or she's too upset to realize that the apartment's acoustics renders her voice as clear as bell. "Gabriel Wilkens," she says, grasping at the edge of the counter so tightly that the blood drains from her knuckles. Salucci's arrival hasn't been noticed yet, or if it has she's choosing to pointedly ignore him. "That name don't mean anything to you? First Amato tells me to stay away from him, an' then he just disappears? Which one of you done it?"

"You give us far too much credit, my dear one," Amato calls from the doorway, eyebrows lifted in interest. "The complete truth is that we were going to consult the Master to see what he wished concerning your Mister Wilkens, but if you had seen what I had seen…" Amato pauses, tightening his jaw, "…you would be just as fearful of him as Ethan and I are."

Amato nods to Wu-Long as a place is added for him at the table, and he slowly moves toward it to help arrange the dishes and cutlery in the proper manner. It's not that Wu-Long is doing it incorrectly, but many hands make light work.

Looking down at Munin the roll of Ethan's eyes could not be more condescending if he tried. He pulls his head back and sighs deeply. "That's what this is about? You're upset about a sweet guy? Friend of yours?" The words pour out on him. "Why Munin? Why do you care?" To the last question, he looks even more annoyed. "What do you fuckin' mean, which of us done it?" Ethan gives Amato an irritated glance. "First of all, if any of us had fuckin' done something it would be me, obviously." Seems Ethan was offended that Amato could have done a job like that over him. "But, no Munin. I didn't kill your murderer boyfriend." Ethan walks hastily out of the bathroom towards the table. He straightens his sleeves on his way to the kitchen, obviously irritated.

Nice plates, these. Sculpted glass. Wu-Long lays them down on the table-top with a faint clink each time. He certainly accepts help in arranging the cutlery, ceding Amato the forks, spoons and knives with an unceremonious hand. His trenchcoat is installed on an endtable for now.

Underneath, he's wearing a simple cotton sweater and trousers, blue and black, dark but unremarkably so, not a knife nor a firearm in sight. He listens in pleasant silence, which he breaks only to inquire at the Italian, sidelong: "Someone I should know ab—?" he aborts into silence when Ethan roars up into response. 'Murderer boyfriend.' That's sort of sweet, he thinks, vaguely. He steps away to retrieve glasses.

"Boyfriend? Are you really that dense?" Munin whirls on Ethan but does not pursue him out of the bathroom. She stays right where she is, arms at her sides, cheeks a brilliant shade of self-righteous pink. "Wilkins knows about us, about Kazimir! He told me he even got to look at the bodies! I was s'posed to be watching him!"

Once the silverware is set, Amato makes his way cautiously toward the bathroom door. There is wary curiosity in his eyes and the lines on his face as he peers at his young ward of sorts. "Munin," he says carefully. "In your watching, did you ever see him with Gillian Childs? A girl about your age, with tattoos and dark hair?" Amato's voice is calm enough, but there is a thread of haste and fear that cuts ever so subtly along his words. They all lived in the same building, and if Gillian has spoken with Gabriel "Sylar" Wilkens regarding her recent "mission" of sorts, there could be a mess of trouble waiting to blow down their door.

That. Stops Ethan dead in his tracks. His eyes go wide for just a second. The comment about him being dense goes ignored for now. It might come back to bite her later. Who knows, with Ethan. Turning slowly on his heel, the Wolf directs a cold stare through the flat to the bathroom where Munin remains. He glances to Amato as if for confirmation. Then back to Munin. "Why was I not informed? And, how did he know?" Another glance is given to Amato. "Our man watching Gillian reported that she left the building with a man fitting Gabriel's description. I can only assume she was running away." The Wolf looks back to Munin, awaiting an answer.

Four cups. Wu-Long checks that there are wineglasses in the cabinet but doesn't extract them for now, unsure of how Munin's keepers feel about alcohol imbibement in her presence, whether she's feeling unusually volatile or no.

He snags the regular drinking glasses between his fingers, wanders out of the kitchen with a query about wine on the tip of his tongue. It never reaches verbalization, of course: he may be several shades of insane, but only the kind that incorporates itself fairly well into practical interests, and he has no real interest in moving up his spot on Kazimir's death row at this particular moment in time. He stares at them. That would be an F for communication, unless someone has specified interest in keeping their respective hands in the dark about the activities of the other, in which case—

"Diu," he mutters to himself, slipping into Cantonese for the space of one monosyllable curse. The mysteries of Volken's motivations can wait for another time. He sets the glasses down and finally speaks up, a straightforward question: "Is your man still tracking Childs?"

Munin draws her lips into a thin, unimpressed line and folds her arms across her chest. Silent. There's no need for her to respond to Amato now that Ethan has more or less answered his question for her. As for how he knew and why Ethan wasn't informed? She's not about to touch that one with a twenty foot pole, no sir.

Such silence sends Amato into a controlled fury, but a fury nonetheless. He grits his teeth and takes a deep breath, his eyes narrowing as he looks at the girl. "I can know," he utters in a harsh whisper. "I can know in an instant, Munin. Absolve yourself and tell him. Why didn't you share this information before?"

Could Ethan's teasing remark really be true? Could Munin have feelings for such a cold-blooded person - the most demonic of all the Evolved they have hunted? That only compounds the frustration and anger that wells up inside the Italian, bitten back by his clenched teeth.

Standing tense, the man keeps a level stare on Munin. "I know where they are. But that doesn't matter. I will deal with Wilkens and Childs. Alone." Ethan says firmly, making it clear that he will not budge on this matter. "Wu Long." Ethan says coldly.

"I'm giving you an assignment. Take Elias, or Yancey, or even Amato if you must. Find Gillian Child's sister. Last I know she was in Boston. Though a visit here could be likely. Find her, get in your suits and take her. I won't interfere this time. Be as rough as you like. No one can see you." The order is given matter-of-factly, like it was obvious that this is what must be done. "Amato." The Wolf continues. "Return to Gillian's flat. Get in and flip it. Make it look like someone was looking for her. Drop a cuff link in there somewhere. Don't place it in an obvious location, but don't hide it well enough that she won't find it. Take a partner if you're scared to go alone." Another quip? Or was it an actual concession. These are frightening times, after all.

Finally his gaze returns to Munin. "As for you. You're going to tell me exactly why you didn't tell me you were having play dates with a serial killer." Then his tone lightens up a bit as he turns around, dumping the last bits of fried chicken onto a platter. Gripping a bowl of salad with one hand and the chicken platter with the other he turns to face the table. "Sound fun, everyone?" Smile.

Any feelings that Munin has for Gabriel are of compassion rather than desire or even romance. She does, however, blanch at Amato's threat. "You all like to treat me like a child," she replies, her voice sounding much steadier than she feels, "but I'm not. I'm an adult, same as any of you. I didn't say nothing because there weren't nothing to say. Lay one hand on me, Amato, an' I'll make you regret it." Ethan's order finally draws her out of the bathroom and into the kitchen proper, her bare feet making soft slapping sounds every time they come down on the tile. "You can rant, rave all you like about Wilkins being a murderer," she says as she takes a seat at the table, "but you're all monsters. The bloody lot of you."

"We're angels, Munin," Amato says in a softer tone as he moves away from the door and to a seat, which he pulls out for the girl. "Doing God's will. We are outside the moral spectrum, as are the demons we fight against. The world we cleanse is not for us."

But Munin knows this. This is old hat, as it were. They are all words she, Ethan, and undoubtedly Wu-Long have all heard before from the once would-be monk/priest. He nods to Ethan, a silent affirmation of Phase Two's coordinator's order.

Wu-Long pulls himself up a chair, reducing himself down at the corner of the dining table for a moment. He can make out Amato's wiry figure, trembling, furious in the hallway like a crackling line of caged lightning. Around the corner, Ethan's large frame drawn in sharp-angled contours, Munin a short, stubborn dash. He's fairly fluent in body language. He read the fucking book.

There's a fractional change on his tanned face when Ethan declares his own actions, either relief or approval. Childs and Sylar both being tracked, then. Either that, or Kazimir's a flunkie short. Though he notes the salad bowl traveling around in his peripheral, he knows better than to look at it; he accepts his own assignment with a nod. "Sir." He accepts Munin's scolding with much less ceremony, eyes blinking crows against a flat white sky.

Setting the platter of chicken and bowl of salad on the table, Ethan returns to the kitchen. He picks up a pitcher of water and walks back to the table, setting it down he motions for the two men to sit. He makes no reaction to Munin's tirade yet. Taking his own seat the Wolf calmly reaches over to the plate that would have been Munin's place and quietly shoves the plate off the table.

The plate crashes against the ground, breaking into many pieces. "I would do anything to protect and take care of you Munin. But if you so hate me, please." He flourishes a hand towards the door, and waits his eyes forward.

If there is even a shred of hate in Munin's heart, it isn't for Ethan. She startles at the sound of the plate breaking, her feet reflexively shooting off the floor so she doesn't cut her toes on any of the broken pieces. For several long moments, she remains seated at the table, her gaze locked with Holden's — two combatants poised on the edge of battle. If she were to back down now, she might forever remain a child in his eyes, too old to be shoved on someone else, too young to be treated with the same respect he shows his equals. She wants him to see her as a young woman and not a waifish teen, and so she has to put her foot down. Literally.

Never breaking eye contact with Ethan, she rises from her seat and places both her bare feet down on the tile, resisting the urge to wince when she feels the broken pieces of porcelain slice shallow cuts in her skin. Only when she leaves the table does she look away from him, back toward the bathroom where she left her coat.

Amato remains behind Munin's chair as the plate flies, his eyes widening in surprise and astonishment at such an action. But he doesn't say a word to the other man, nor does he feel he must. He wasn't invited to this swaree, after all. The only communication Amato lets run down the wire after his initial shock is a cold glare which forms on his face before he turns and moves toward the door, assuming that Ethan's feather-ruffling has inspired her to fly. Someone needs to look after Munin in this state, in such a city as this. He unlocks and opens the door, then takes a moment to adjust his suit-jacket as he waits for Munin to appear again.

"She's growing up," goes Wu-Long's murmur. He's sitting with his back perfectly straight, his feet flat on the ground; a buddha would not have sat with better balance. His voice doesn't reach the bathroom, but his eyes don't move from the shape of Munin within its narrow doorway. The men can hear him. They were intended to. His accent rusts the consonants over with something akin to wisdom. "Girl to woman, lying with her body, voting with her feet."

He means it as comfort, in some strange, sociopathic way. Ethan shouldn't think she hates him. He should, however, realize that she is no soldier either, not of God or evidently anything else. He doesn't remember her conscience ever having been so loud before; he wonders if covering his ears would allay this silence.

Glancing at Wu-Long, Ethan regards him for a moment. Looking down at the glass and now the specks of blood on the ground, Ethan frowns slightly. Did he act wrongly? Apparently dealing with young women is not his forte. The Wolf slowly stands out of his chair. He walks silently behind Munin, following her to the bathroom. The man goes to fill the door to the room with his frame, barring her from exiting once she has her coat. Though, malice or anger are not on his features, he doesn't say anything yet, he just eyes the young woman for the moment.

When Munin attempts to reemerge from the bathroom with her coat, her expression is as steely and hard as it was when she stepped inside. Had she heard what Wu-Long said, she might be wearing something softer, something more serene to reflect his words — as it is, all she can hear is the blood pounding in her ears. "Get out of my way, Ethan," she says in a tight, overly cordial voice. It's the first time she's given the cold shoulder to any of them, but if Wu-Long is right it almost certainly won't be the last. "You gave me an invitation to leave. I'm taking it."

But Amato heard what was said by their Asian compatriot, and he would be the last person to deny its truth or the bundle of fear it brings with it. "Ethan," he calls from the open doorway, his voice projected into the apartment to save it from going too far into the hall.

"She wants to leave." Far be it from him to advertise discord in the Holden home when it is in such a nice building as Dorchester Towers. Who knows who the neighbors might be. "It will be alright. No one is going to do anything they do not wish to do or have done to them." It is more a promise to Munin than anything, but Amato's negotiating tone of voice makes it appear to be directed at Ethan as well.

Wu-Long isn't one to fight his superiors' battles for them. Well, not unless he's ordered to, anyway, and for now, Ethan and Amato's difficulties with young Munin are for them to finagle without his exotic Eastern epithets. He remains seated, silent, his gaze neutral, moving across the room in a series of idle saccadic glances, noting the cooling food, the Italian's movement, the worsening of the weather, the progress of time as remembered by the wall clock. He isn't distracted; he merely isn't staring.

Looking down on her, Ethan makes no reaction immediately. He simply considers her. For the last few years he has simply been the blunt instrument with which to destroy. Removing him from the fairy-tale life he had what seems ages ago. What would the married man have done, should a problem arise in his family? What would Ethan Holden have done before he became the Wolf?

Raising one hand slowly, Ethan attempts to smoothe back a strand of errant hair on Munin's face. He brings his hand down, though he trails it, giving a light squeeze to her shoulder should she allow it. Then his hand is dropped. Taking a step back and to the side, he removes himself from her path. Remaining silent and stoic.

Munin remains still and statuesque when Ethan reaches out to touch her, but she does not resist him in any way. "Thank you," she murmurs, though it isn't clear whether this is in response to him smoothing her hair or stepping aside. Staring straight ahead, she moves past him to the front door where she pauses to slip on her shoes before she wraps her scarf around her neck and steps out into the hall. Amato doesn't get so much as a glance. She probably doesn't want to be anywhere near him, either.

Even without a glance, Amato follows Munin out the door, closing the door as softly as he can behind him. He keeps his distance, seeing himself as much a guardian as a possibly, opportunistic punching bag. Really, it's whatever Munin needs most at this point, and whatever Amato feels compelled to give.

Wu-Long sincerely believes that if they could distill and enrich post-adolescent female scorn, figure out some sort of targeting system and then mechanically manipulate it to reach supercritical mass whenever they needed it to, they would be much further along with the cause than they are now. Look at that stuff. He looks at Munin as she leaves, lacks the compulsion to request she meet his eyes.

He feels the door close as much as he hears it. The room exhaling in some subtle way, with something that isn't relief. "I can take my food to go," he remarks, finally, rising to his feet. They have work to do, and Ethan's mood seems somewhat less than festive now.

Watching her go Ethan closes the door to bathroom, not before clicking the light off. Conserve energy! With the door closed, he walks back towards the table and the shattered plate. Looking down at it, then over to Wu-Long the Wolf smirks. Reaching with one hand behind his back, the man pulls out the gun that had been there. Holding it in front of him, he examines it idly. "Yes. That'll be fine." He says quietly. It's time to pay Gabriel a visit.

October 29th: Dayhawks

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 29th: From the Ashes
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