As the Coast Unwinds


bai-chan_icon.gif brian_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title As the Coast Unwinds
Synopsis Brian and Eileen make a discovery.
Date February 3, 2009

The Lighthouse

Individual paths cross, diverge and then come together again — the way in which lives intertwine is not unlike the dirt roads unwinding along Staten Island's coastal region. On a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean, two figures meander lazily along one such path that cuts through the tall grass, one of them tall and one of them short, one with sandy hair, the other with long curls so dark they appear almost black in the dying light. Sunset paints the sky a colourful blend of gold, yellow and orange that deepens to purple where the night sky has begun to seep through and speckle its canvas with stars.

"I'm glad we found each other," Eileen says to Brian, her voice soft, earnest, but not so soft that the wind whistling through the grass takes her words out to sea with it. "Holden, de Luca, Sylar — everyone else I know is gone. I was starting to think I was all alone here."

Releasing the small little hand after taking the leash off of the dog that walks up in front of him. The border collie mix starts to run ahead as soon as released and the little boy who was walking at his side runs after the dog as well.

He gives a small smirk in response to Eileen. "I told you. If we weren't.." He gives a gesture as if to make up for his lack of a word. "We would be friends." He gives a dry chuckle, a laugh without any real joy behind it. "Do you have a place to stay?" He asks quietly, a question he's been asking a lot of people lately.

Eileen watches the boy and dog with a small, rueful smile on her face. It wasn't so long ago that she and Brian were Joe's age, and the smell of the ocean combined with the distant cries of the gulls brings her back to an earlier, happier time in her life. As the wind whips through her hair, she reaches up with one hand and tucks several stands behind one of her ears, gray-green eyes lidding halfway shut. "There's a street doctor who owns a business in the Rookery," she explains. "Constantine Filatov. I've been staying with him for the last week, helping him out around the clinic in exchange for room and board, but I don't know how long he's going to tolerate me being around. What about you? Teo? Abigail?"

"The whole world seems like it's going to hell. I have a few contacts that aren't in the spotlight of any authorities. Safe. If you need a place to stay. I can swing you something." Brian says softly, though he doesn't look at her. Even in her holding cell he was more hospitable, kinder, than he is now. Even though he's offering assistance, it's delivered in a cold, and distant tone.

He gives her a look. "The rookery?" He asks, tilting his head at her. "Are you sure it's safe to stay there?"

"I know it's not, but when you've spent as much time around thieves and murderers as I have… it loses its edge." Eileen notes Brian's tone but keeps hers warm, gentle while his grows hard. "In any case, HomeSec won't set foot here, so when you think about it, it's really the best possible place I can be. Away from things."

"Gotcha." Brian says softly, tilting his head back he looks up into the sky as he walks lazily at her side. "Well if you do need something. Just let me know." Brian looks off after Joe chasing the dog, and the dog chasing back.

The young boy falls every now and then, though it doesn't seem to bother him much, and he never bears any scrapes or scratches. Glancing over to Eileen, "So what are you going to do now? With everyone.." Gone. "You're going to help at a clinic?"

"For as long as Dr. Filatov will let me," Eileen confirms. "After that, I don't know what I'm going to do. I guess it depends on— who's still alive and who isn't." There's a tiny hitch when she speaks, but she's quick to recover, smoothing out the rest of her declaration with as much verbal dexterity and grace as she can muster on such short notice. It didn't hurt nearly as much when she said it in her head. "You were on the bridge. You saw—"

Eileen stops dead in her tracks, the hand that was at her ear moving up to shield her eyes from the glare of the setting sun. There's something rising up from the pinnacles of rock in the distance, partially obscured by the undulating waves of grass that surround them, a splash of red on white standing out against the thickening umbra. "What is that?"

"I saw you fall." Brian affirms, his eyes following Joe closely wherever the little kid runs. "I saw.." He gives a nod. Everything. Stopping once she stops, he looks at her first, then to where she's looking. "I dunno.. a something." Brian mutters, gesturing towards the whatever. "Let's go check it out."

"Call him back," Eileen suggests quietly, reaching down with both hands, fingers buried in the fabric, to hike her dress up to her knees so she can avoid stepping on the hem as she quickens her pace and hurries after Joe and Brian's dog. A sudden drop, broken glass, forgotten coils of barbed wire fencing lurking like rusty snakes in the grass — the closer they draw to the building, for it is a building, if what appears to be an abandoned one, the more things there are that can go wrong. "Toby! Toby, heel!"

Brian tilts his head at her, not seeming to realize the danger of the situation. "Toby." He calls, unenthusiastically. Giving a snap to call the dog, it usually works. But not always. Especially when the dog is busy running around exploring the brave new world.

And worrying about a child stepping on glass, when a bullet bounces off his skin. It's a good thing that Brian is the 'parent' of the one kid in the world who can't get hurt. He might be in trouble otherwise. Drawing closer his eyes go a little wide. "Wow. It's like off a movie." He murmurs as his feet go to stop in front of…

The Lighthouse.

And perhaps a smaller detail, the lighthouse they find is not entirely abandoned. In a few minutes, the sky will be dark enough that the figure perched on the top of the lighthouse might disappear into shadow, but not quite yet, though the details are lost in silhouette.

Whoever it is, he's certainly a child, legs long and thrown carelessly over the side of the tower with his bare feet braced against the rough wall from where he's perched on the precarious ledge. His torso huddled in perhaps an oversized sweater for warm, or maybe a blanket. He seems to be looking out over the water, and doesn't at first notice anyone's approach, but then Eileen gives her order, voice cutting through the silence, his head snaps in her direction.

A moment later— the spidery shadow of the boy suddenly flings himself from the edge, hand reaching out to catch the wall, and as if he found himself a hand hold, he swings himself again and out of sight. He was wearing a blanket over better fitting clothing, and this now falls to the ground in sudden abandonment.

Eileen's first instinct is to retrieve the fallen blanket, which she does, crouching down to pick it up and then drape it over one of her arms. She's wearing her regular pea coat over her dress, buttoned all the way up to her chin, so she can only imagine what the crisp January weather must feel like on the skin of someone who isn't properly clothed. As she rises, she looks in the direction that the little figure disappeared, frown twitching at the corners of her pale-lipped mouth.

"Do you think we should go inside?" she asks, but it's a rhetorical question. Already, she's beginning to move toward the lighthouse door, one hand reaching out, the other curled loosely at her side. There's a child in there — a small one — though his sudden disappearance doesn't mean he's alone, which is exactly why she—

—knocks. "Hello?"

"JoeJoe." Brian motions the boy closer, and finally manages to clip the leash back onto Toby's collar. Reaching behind his back the gun in the back of his pants concealed by his jacket is eased in it's place as he eyes the lighthouse. "Kinda neat." He remarks, walking alongside the wall as he looks up. "Why are you knocking? What are we going to say if someone answers?" He asks, blinking at her.
The blanket is given a long look though. That is pretty weird. Instead of knocking, Brian decides to take a tour of the building, walking around it, taking Toby and Joe in his wake.

The young boy is busy scaling the wall of the tower downwards, towards the roof the flatter building on which the tower rises from. The most Brian will see by the time he moves around is the lithe boy dropping a couple of feet and out of sight from ground vantage point. Silence after the thud of bare feet touch down on wood and concrete, then…

"Ren ma?" is called out, worried sounding, and defensive, sharp. "Nishi shei!"

Eileen, meanwhile, having received no answer from inside the lighthouse, uses her shoulder to carefully force the door open. She wouldn't normally be so bold, but she normally isn't armed either — Ethan's pistol shifts against her breast on the inside of her coat as she moves, one hand slipping inside to touch the weapon's cool metal grip. She sincerely hopes the boy is alone.

It would make this so much easier.

Eyeing the roof, as a little something drops down. Looking down to Joe, he arches his brows. "You speak Asian?" he asks, only to get a bewildered shake of the head from the little boy. He looks back up. "Eileen?" He calls back out over his shoulder. When there's no answer, he gives a little frown. He did a lot of travel in Asia, and picked up on the languages. Hopefully they're the right ones. He runs the words that he heard over in his head, nope not familiar.


There's a long, judgmental pause as Brian offers up his greeting, and then, the sound of running footsteps, a flash of the boy coming into vision before he darts out of vantage point once more. He's dressed warmly for the cold in a hooded sweater, save for the fact he's barefoot and his pants cut off at the knee, showing off bruised, dirty shins. Through a grimy window, Eileen will see the boy suddenly leaping past it as he scales the wall, disappearing once he lands in a crouch. The sound of palms slapping against the wall, then feet landing.

Then, the little Asian boy peers around the corner at Brian, firmly planted on the ground. He speaks again, a very bossy tone of bravado in his voice. "Gei wo zouqu!" he says. It sounds like a command. Then, warier. "Niqu huozhe wo jiu qu." He bites his bottom lip, and then slowly, his voice heavily accented, he says, "You go. I go."

Brian arches his brows, placing his hand in front of Joe's chest as if to protect him, or keep him from running around. He gives a little smirk at the hostile words of the child. Going to one knee, "What, you assume I don't speak… that?" Brian asks, his hand remaining on Joe's chest who is currently watching Bai-Chan with a confused and awkward expression. Toby on the other hand is practically running out of the leash towards the boy, though Brian keeps his hand on it tightly.

"Not Thai. Too bad, if you spoke Thai, I could order fried rice or soup from you." He murmurs, casting a glance over to Joe, he then looks back to Bai-Chan. He tries to summon up any word he can. But, he can't think of any Chinese. Giving a look over his shoulder, the young man assures that Eileen is not there before looking back to Bai-Chan. Slapstick is a universal language, God knows Brian has used it to communicate across cultures before. But, hell no, will he allow Eileen to watch him do it.

Pulling back on the leash, Toby automatically moves forward again, tugging against the leash. Brian gives an 'oof' and makes an impressive showing as if the dog pulled him completely off balance. Falling on his chest, in an over exaggerated manner. It warrants a chuckle from Joe, though Brian won't look up immediately to see if it will break Bai-Chan's wall at all. That will ruin the act.

Bai-Chan steps completely away from the corner as Brian suddenly falls down, his gaze currently focused on the dog, however, mouth set in a thin line as he studies the happy creature— and only then looks at the fallen Brian. He glances first to Joe to gauge out his reaction, and then gives a bright smile— he gets it from his father— that shows off pearly white teeth, broken up only by a gap of one having gone missing, as they're wont to do at this age. He crouches down nimbly, head tilting to peer at Brian. Then, just to check, he picks up a pebble, and pitches it at the man, taking care not to hit the dog.

Making a flinch as a pebble suddenly collides against his shoulder, he blinks into the ground. What the hell. What the hell kinda kid throws rocks at people. On the ground! But, he's worked with a lot of kids, in a lot of different countries. He'll roll with it. So his body slowly slumps to the side, his eyes closed. His head thumping against the ground rather lifelessly as his grip loosens on the leash.

Toby moves forward instantly, to inspect Bai-Chan. Sniffing at the boy intently, as Joe already goes after to retrieve the dog's leash. Which earns another what the hell in Brian brain. The kid would go to the dog first? Come on. But for now, Brian is dead by stone, and Toby and Joe are inspecting Bai-Chan.

Well then. Checking that he's alive apparently killed him, but suddenly Bai-Chan has a dog to worry about, the boy visibly tensing as the collie sniffs his hands, up his arms, look of mirth vanishing and he shrinks away from the friendly animal, then peering up at Joe. He pushes Toby away, hand to muzzle, and gets to his feet, studying the other boy with dark eyes for several moments.

Dirty from adventuring through the wild of Staten Island, and obviously a little cold, although he hasn't been without shoes for too long - a boy sized pair of trainers are tucked somewhere within the lighthouse, along with a few small possessions. Eileen, currently, has his blanket too. He is, however, ready to leave these behind, taking several steps back. Obviously, they're not going anywhere.

"I go," Bai-Chan tells Joe, with great resignation.

Upstairs, one of the old windows pops open, and a flock of house sparrows explodes out into the dusk, banished from the lighthouse roost by the young woman who appears in the flaking wooden frame. Eileen, her survey of the building complete, looks down at Brian on the ground, a bewildered but delicate series of furrows appearing on her brow. As if she might be able to get a better look at what's going on below, she leans out the window, arms rigid, and curls her bone-like fingers around the sill to keep from gravity from pulling her the rest of the way.

"Brian? What in the world?"

Seriously, what the hell. Brian starts to climb to his feet. "No one's going to check on me, really? Really?" He asks, giving an incredulous look to Joe and Bai-Chan. And most of all Toby. What a dick.

"Okay." Joe answers with a little smile in return, watching Bai-Chan with with interest as he holds Toby's leash without so much interest. But when he picks up that the other boy is not a fan of this newfound canine attention, he pulls back on the leash. "Toby bad." He mutters in a very serious tone as he tugs on the leash again.

Giving a look up Brian's eyebrows arch. "What?" He says in response. "He attacked me." He says with a little shrug. Then he looks back to Bai-Chan, shaking his hands. "No go, buddy. Let's get your parents." Looking up to Eileen. "Did you find buddy's parents?"

Parents. Either Bai-Chan knows more English than he's letting on, or he knows that word in particular, because his expression turns severe. "Bu!" Brian should know that one. No. "Wo meiyou fumu." His arms, spindly under the thick sleeves of his sweater, fold across his chest defiantly, looking past Joe to Brian. "No parents," he translates simply, crossly, then back to Joe. Maybe taking more to the boy of similar age than the adults who threaten his equilibrium. "Zaijian," he says to Joe, gently. Also common. Goodbye. And he takes off running, bare feet leaving prints in the dirt, careless of the gravel and grass underfoot. He'll come back for his shoes, once the lou wai have vacated his hiding place.

Eileen shakes her head. "From what I can tell, nobody's lived here for years. There's water damage in the kitchen and the pipes don't work — no electricity. Paint's peeling everywhere and the floorboards downstairs need to be replaced. On the bright side, there aren't any bottles or cigarette butts either, so I'm thinking it's fair game."

She watches Bai-Chan go, heart aching — refocusing her attention on Brian, Toby and Joe is all she can do to keep herself from calling out after him. Or worse: jumping down and attempting to chase. "Do your people need another place to hide?"

"Okay." Joe says again, giving a bigger smile at Bai-Chan as he decides that he can't stay here anymore. And redoubles his grip on Toby's leash.

Brian frowns and looks up at Eileen. No parents. "Should I get him?" He asks, taking a step forward. He's pretty sure he could run the boy down, even if he is a little spider monkey. But bringing him back might be an irritating ordeal. He waits for the support of team spirit (Eileen), before giving pursuit.

"He'll be back," Eileen assures Brian. She glances over her shoulder at something unseen, then adds, "he left his shoes." Looking back at the small gathering down below, her eyes move from one face to another and take stock of the somewhat bizarre situation they've found themselves in. "We should stay here for the night. The roof's in good shape, so we don't have to worry about getting wet if it rains." Or freezing to death if it snows. "There's a fireplace downstairs."

"Uh.." He looks Bai-Chan's direction who now is getting a large lead. "It's not safe." He retorts with a little defiant frown up to Eileen. Then she's talking about camping out in the haunted lighthouse of abandonment and Brian practically balks. "Stay in there?" He gives her an incredulous look, before placing his hands on either side of Joe's head, covering his ears. To which he tries to resist, but the replicator does not relinquish for now. "We have a kid, Eileen. Sleeping on the ground of an abandoned building.." He looks over his shoulder at the setting sun and can already predict her incoming argument, and so he just gives a reluctant sigh.

Removing his hands from Joe's ears he goes into the crouch. "Buddy, we're gonna camp out tonight, okay? So you take Toby and run up to Aunty Eileen, okaaay?" Sonofabitch.

Eileen retreats inside, pulling the window shut behind her, then fastening the latch. She'll be the first to admit she has ulterior motives for spending the night at the lighthouse — if Bai-Chan does come back, she wants to be here when he does. More importantly, she wants him to see that she and Brian don't mean any harm.

Less imperative but more pressing is the fact that it's getting very dark very fast, and it won't be safe to retrace their steps with only the moon straining against the clouds to light the way.

Joe leads, or is led by Toby into the front door of the lighthouse, his head tilted back as he goes into a trot to keep up with the dog. Brian gives a pointed look up at the shutters, putting balled fists on his waist before going around the corner and heading towards the door. Shutting it behind him he scans the room warily, giving a little frown.

Stepping deeper into the lighthouse, he goes looking for Toby, Joe, and Eileen. "How big was that blanket, Eileen?" Brian asks as he goes to make his way up the steps.

"Big enough for Joe." Eileen isn't a mind-reader, but she is — if nothing else — intuitive. She can guess what Brian might be thinking, self-sacrificing young man that he is. There was never any doubt in either of their heads about who among them needs the blanket the most. As Brian makes his way up the steps, Eileen makes her way down, gesturing to one of the other rooms with a slight dip of her head. "I'll start a fire," she says, though she does not pause in her descent. "Whoever kept this place up before things went south kept some wood in the cupboard under the stairs. It should still be good."

"Do you have a lighter or are we going to bash rocks together?" Brian asks, his gaze following her. "You and JoeJoe can share the blanket." He murmurs. Going to unzip his jacket, he makes his way up the steps. "I bet there's a million spidersnakescoyotes in here.." He says a little warily, casting a glance around. Because all the bad animals just classify as one, really.

"JoeJoe. Come on buddy." They can share the blanket and Brian will just cuddle with the dog, whatever. He's had it worse, after all. Following her back down the stairs, he frowns. "What are we going to do until we're ready to sleep?"

Eileen pats her coat pocket in response. It isn't clear whether this means she has a lighter, a box of matches or some other method of summoning flam — only that she can, and will. "Watch the sun set," she suggests, voice getting fainter and fainter as she weaves her way through the lighthouse, floorboards creaking beneath her slight weight, "listen to the waves licking the shore…"

"Sun watching and shore licking." Brian repeats, giving a look to Joe as the boy approaches, Toby taking the lead. "Hey bud. Go help Aunty Eileen, alright? I'm going to go find where the TV is." It gets a little chuckle from the boy. And with that Brian goes on his own exploration mission.

February 3rd: Quid Pro Quo
February 3rd: Gameplan
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