eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Attitude
Synopsis Ethan visits Eileen and reminisces about the incident they don't talk about. As times change, so do people.
Date January 6, 2009

Confucius Plaza: Wu-Long's Apartment

The door closes softly behind him, his black shoe guiding it slowly back home. His hand deftly locks the door as his eyes search the room. The Wolf enters quietly, nigh without a sound. Surveying the room he pauses to listen for a moment and look about. One person home.

Stepping deeper into the confines of his Chinese compatriot's quarters Ethan brings his hands up to brush against the walls as he goes. Finally arriving at the bedroom, he kicks it open gently. Moving to peek through.

The wolf is dressed in all black, save for a dark green scarf. A long black coat and even a pair of bulky aviators. The sunglasses are taken off as the man enters. His jaw looks as if it was set in stone, he says nothing.

It's been a full day and night since Abby came to visit, and Eileen is already up and moving — if tentatively. Ethan catches her in the process of pulling a tank top over her dark-haired head as she sits on the edge of Wu-Long's bed with her back to the door, sinewy chords of muscle shifting beneath her pale flesh, shoulder blades protruding at hard angles like the bones of an emaciated animal. Her movements are slow but deliberate, almost pained in their arduous execution; of all the miraculous things that Ms. Beauchamp's healing touch can do, curing lingering aches and pains, the result of being laid up in strange and uncomfortable positions, is not among them.

Eileen hears Ethan before she sees him, but waits until the tank top is covering her skinny frame before she slides a long look over her left shoulder. She isn't dressed apart from the top and a pair of panties hugging her hips, though she seems not to care as she rises from the bed and moves across to the dresser where the rest of her clothes are laid out and waiting. "You have good timing," she remarks lowly, "I was just leaving."

"Yet another excellent decision in your latest and greatest series of logical and well thought out choices." Ethan says dryly, tilting his head a little bit, tucking the sunglasses into his coat. He watches her idly as she makes her way to get dressed. Stepping fully into the bedroom the man closes the door behind him.

"Will you at least let me give you a few things this time?" Ethan asks, his voice a little softer now. Going to lean against the doorframe, he gives a quick glance around the room. Though he makes no obvious reaction to her only wearing tank top and underwear, Ethan would rather not look at the half-naked young woman.

"I'm not leaving permanently," Eileen clarifies. To be fair, she didn't leave permanently the last time either, though this was through no fault of her own — had she not had her unfortunate run-in with King on Staten Island, she wouldn't be standing here right now, bathed in the dappled light of the late afternoon sun as it filters through the bedroom's blinds and creates long bands of shadow on her long legs and arms, reminiscent of a tiger's stripes. "I just want to go up to the roof and see about my birds." Breathe some fresh air, feel the wind in her hair and the sun warming her face in spite of the chill. "Refusing your help the last time was a mistake, and if Sylar hadn't found me when he did… then I wouldn't have been given the opportunity to correct it." It's never easy to admit when you're wrong, and Eileen carefully avoids making eye contact with Ethan when she speaks. "I'm sorry I hit you."

"You should wear a 'ood and sunglasses." Ethan suggests lightly. His eyes remain off of the figure of the girl and instead on the blinds. The man makes his way over to perch himself on the bed, setting his hands on his knees. Ethan won't force her to admit he was right and how wrong she was. Not right now, anyway. "You shouldn't stay 'ere either." He intones gently. "We don't know 'ow many 'others' 'e 'as. Don't know 'ow paranoid 'e is." He says nothing when she apologizes.

"Where do you want me to go, Ethan? There is no place else." Frustration and exasperation creep their way into Eileen's voice. Her anger she keeps in check. "He tracked me all the way to Staten Island and slunk his way past the sentry I'd posted — that's how good he is." As she speaks, she climbs into her jeans and pulls them all the way up to her hips, fastening the zipper and button with a few deft motions of her fingers. "No matter where I go, no matter who I stay with, he's going to find me again eventually. And when he does he'll want to finish the job. I don't want to be alone when that happens."

His jaw tightens for a moment. He does sound very good. Whoever this man is, he's obviously very talented. Ethan's eyes slowly slip over to Eileen. His mouth opens though he says nothing. Standing up, the man approaches her quietly from behind. His head half lowered. "I won't let that 'appen Princess." He concedes, "I won't let you be alone."

Eileen shakes her head. "I need to start taking responsibility for myself," she says. "I'm almost twenty," The rebuke is a lot more gentle than the last time she decided to remind him of her age. Softly-spoken, almost resigned. "I'm the one who should be making sure that I'm not alone. Not you." She can sense Ethan's approach, feel his body blocking the light from the window as he comes up behind her. "If you want to help, then I'm happy for it. I just— need to be making my own decisions, whether or not you think they're good ones."

"You're a young woman, not a girl, right." Ethan concedes, though he doesn't sound entirely happy with the admission. "Do you really think this is the best time to become little miss inde-fucking-pendent?" The Wolf asks, cocking his head slightly at her. "One of the most dangerous men in the world is after you, Princess, and you're trying to come into your own. I support you, love, but maybe this isn't the best timing." He chides gently in response, one hand coming up slowly to rest on her shoulder.

At the hand on her shoulder, Eileen visibly tenses and sucks in a sharp, sudden breath through her nostrils. She isn't entirely happy either, if for different reasons. The sound she makes when she exhales, shaky and thin, is one of longing as much as it is hurt, and it isn't the first time he's heard it.

It had been darker then, in the early witching hours between midnight and rosy-fingered dawn almost three years ago. He was in the bed instead of standing adjacent to it, and the window framed a perfect portrait of St. Paul's Cathedral in place of New York's brilliantly-lit cityscape — London, early January, 2006.

She appears as a silky, ethereal thing in the doorway, less dressed than she is now with the English moonlight reflecting off her skin and casting her naked body in an almost inhuman glow. Amato shouldn't have left his ward in Ethan's care overnight; she's sixteen, dangerously unpredictable and only beginning to grow into her adult shape. If he knew she was crossing the room on stealthy feet so not to wake the man half-asleep in the bed, he'd be banging on the door and screaming terrible epithets rather than languishing alone in some other part of the city.

The bare chested form of Ethan lays with his back to the young woman, his eyes closed. There are several matches put out in a ashtray on the dresser by the bed. Though there are no cigarette butts. The trash can sitting by the bed has plenty of ashes in it. Burnt photographs. Only one picture remains unscathed. A picture of Ethan and his family. The only one left. The man has not yet set fire to it. And now he slowly drifts off into unconsciousness.

Munin knows Ethan's name and his face, though his disposition and relationship to Kazimir Volken remain an elusive mystery to her. The untouched photograph earns a brief glimpse from the slim-limbed girl, and she actually pauses to reach out and brush the very tips of her fingers along its edge. He has a family. That makes doing this slightly more difficult than it already is.

She turns the picture over so the faces of Ethan's wife and children are hidden from sight as she shifts her attention back to the man himself and places a hand on his naked chest. Leaning in to press her lips to the sensitive patch of skin between the back of his ear and neck, her long hair spills around his face and shoulders, and she whispers his name as Amato first taught it to her when they were introduced only a few hours ago.

"Mr. Holden." Though her actions are bold and brazen, her voice is much softer, almost timid in comparison. "Mr. Holden, wake up."

His eyes spring open as the hand comes to his chest. Someone's gotten to him, he's become too soft. He hasn't been in this organization for very long, and already he's done? Though in those small seconds as the small warm hand fixes itself to his chest, he realizes it's a woman. A small woman. His hand kept under his pillow quickly pulls out, a small silver revolver is drawn as the man starts to shift his weight.

Just as the kiss is planted against his neck, the man throws himself around to face the girl. His hand flying up to grab the wrist that went to his chest. The pistol goes to the girl's forehead as the suddenly alert Holden tries to figure out what the fuck is going on. She's naked. Assassins don't usually work naked. "What are you doing?" He growls.

Something she's not supposed to be, apparently. Munin's face goes deathly white, all traces of colour draining from her lips and cheeks in an instant. Never having had a gun pointed at her face before, she's at a complete loss for words — and even if she could formulate a comprehensible response to Ethan's question, she doubts she'd have the courage or strength to give it a voice. Her heart rate picks up, pulse jumping beneath his grip on her tiny little wrist, and she lets out that same sigh: trembling and thin, hurt and hungry. Mouth suddenly feeling very dry, she forces herself to swallow, the fingers of her captured hand curling fearfully against Ethan's hold. "Please, don't."

The gun is slowly withdrawn his eyes piercing through the dark and remaining on her, every motion she makes. If this is the way Volken makes welcomes, then maybe he's better off going with his original plan before he stumbled upon the old man and his zealous puppy. The pistol is tucked back under the pillow as the man slowly decides there is no threat here. He'll have to remedy that, he can't be caught off guard again. Though a naked child is preferred to a trained killer with a knife, this is still quite peculiar. His hand does not remove from her wrist though. He simply stares at her, not saying anything. If she is going to explain herself, she needs no prompt.

Munin mistakenly misinterprets Ethan's small concession for something more significant, and takes this as permission to continue what she was doing before the pistol came out from under the pillow. She traces the fingers of her free hand along the curve of his stubble-heavy jaw, listening to the scratchy sound it makes when her nails catch individual bristles of hair on their way to his mouth. Her touch is more hesitant than it was before, but it's no less tender — the distinctly sexual overtures of her movements haven't changed a bit. "You're a man," she explains softly, "and you work for Mr. Volken, so I thought—"

Slowly releasing her wrist, the man starts to raise up more. Sitting straight on the bed now, his eyes follow her. He doesn't move to stop her, as her hand goes along his jawline, though his jawline noticeably tightens. His instinct is to backhand the silly girl and go back to bed. But several things rush through his head at once. It was obvious that despicable creature Amato had a liking for this girl. He could certainly use this against him. "You thought what?" He asks icily. "I would fuck you because I'm a man?" Holden asks.

It's a fair question. It's also one that Munin doesn't like to hear. With only a few simple words, Ethan strips her of her confidence and renders her utterly mute. Of course that's what she thought — she's never known any different, never expected any different. The taste of rejection is bitter and strident in her mouth, causing her to swallow hard and avert her eyes from his face. Shame brings the colour back to her cheeks, and she burns pink with embarrassment.

His eyes narrow as he watches her, but then they flick over to the dresser beside the bed then back to the girl. His hand slightly lessens its grip on her wrist though he does try to lead her take a seat on the bed next to him. The sheet on him is lifted and pulled over to offer to the girl. "You're very young. Why are you 'ere?"

Munin gathers the sheets around her body, cocooning herself in the semi-transparent material as she follows Ethan's lead and sinks down on to the mattress, resigned. She's in London so their master can make use of her ability. She's in Ethan's flat because Amato instructed her to sleep on his couch while Kazimir sent him off on important work elsewhere. She's in his bedroom because she wanted Ethan to like her, and foolishly assumed that offering herself to him was the best way. His query is so open-ended that she spends several moments sullenly mulling it over before settling on a solemn answer that's as vague as the question itself. "I don't know what you mean."

His face remains emotionless for a good while. He says nothing and does nothing before finally standing up off the bed. The man is all but naked, wearing only boxers. His eyes go to the dresser. To the last picture to be set to fire. His hand swoops out to take it, sliding it off the desk, he then opens the drawer and slides it in. She doesn't need to see that. "My name is Ethan." He says softly, "For you. Not Mr. Holden. They called you Munin, is that right?"

"Eileen," Munin corrects Ethan gently in a manner that suggests she has to make this distinction more often than she's really comfortable doing. "My name is Eileen, but Munin— Munin works too." She pulls the sheets a little tighter, drawing her feet up onto the edge of the mattress, her bony knees hugged to her chest. "Anyway, you can call me whatever you want. They do."

"That's not a very good attitude, is it?" He asks, arching a brow at the woman. His lips tug into a little grin as she pulls the sheet up tighter. "Very modest all of the sudden." He quips moving through the room to pick up a pair of slacks and slide into them quickly. One that is done he goes to take a seat by her once again.

Munin studies Ethan's face, hoping to find sincerity somewhere in the lines at the corners of his mouth and eyes. Unfortunately, at least for someone with her gift, it's impossible to uncover absolute truths about someone just by looking at them — she isn't sure whether Ethan is being serious or making fun of her, and her reservation is obvious even if the reasoning behind it isn't.

Back in the present, Munin — Eileen — has turned to look at him much the same way. Her face remains unchanged, eyes as baleful and somber as they were all that time ago. It's been years since she made any advances toward him. The hunger she feels now has nothing to do with being liked or feeling the muscles of his chest and thighs beneath her small hands; she's older, yes, and wiser too, but she views him as her father more than anything else. I support you, he'd said only a few moments ago, but maybe now isn't the best timing. "That's not a very good attitude, is it?" Turning his own words back on him, assuming he even remembers saying them.

Ethan's face contorts into a scowl. Eileen is one of the few people he allows himself to show emotion to. Shaking his head, he resists saying anything at the moment. Those years ago he had been encouraging her to fend for herself, to stand up for herself. Now he's trying to get her to just do what he says. He pauses, shaking his head in disbelief of her tactics. Apparently he's at a loss for words.

"I don't know what you plan on doing," Eileen says, pulling her winter coat on, "but even if you don't act, there are others who will. Phoenix. Homeland Security. Kazimir isn't going to succeed." Her leather gloves are next, followed by a seafoam green scarf that she bundles tightly around her throat. "I love you, Ethan. You and Sylar, Elias and Wu-Long mean everything to me, but I can't just stand idly by if there's something I can do to help prevent Kazimir's vision from becoming a reality." Amato, too. But she isn't sure she should be bringing the Italian up in Holden's presence. "If he wins, we all lose."

"I'm not going to let anything 'appen to you, Princess." Ethan murmurs softly. His hand drops to his side as he takes a step back. "That was the plan the 'ole time. I'm going to protect you." Even though she mildly fucked it up by being pubescent and nearly getting killed anyway. "'oever 'armed you, I will kill." He raises up one hand to go on her shoulder. "I won't let anything else 'appen to you."

"Things happen whether or not we let them." Eileen allows the hand on her shoulder and even goes so far as to place one of her own atop his, giving it a brief squeeze. "You can't control where I end up any more than you can tell the rain where to fall or the sun when to set." As if to demonstrate her point, she pulls away from him and moves toward the bedroom door on her way out, presumably to the roof where Bran is waiting. "If there's a safer place you think I should be staying that isn't outside the city limits, let me know and I'll look into it. There's nothing you can say or do that will convince me to leave New York." Short of locking her in a shipping container and sending her to Canada. She doesn't want to give him any ideas. "Besides," she adds, tone taking on a cautious edge, "Odessa needs your protection more than I do. She doesn't know the first thing about surviving in the real world."

"I'll take care of Odessa." Ethan mutters as if deflecting an attack. "I'll keep in contact." He says softly. How does one keep in contact in this city. With no cell phones, the birds having been compromised, communication might prove very difficult. Though Ethan does have at least one card up his sleeve. Though taking her with a taser and shoving her out of a crate does sound somewhat appealing. "I 'ave something for you."

Eileen pauses in the doorway and casts a glance back over her shoulder at Ethan. The last time he offered to give her something, it didn't end well. This time, at least, she appears willing to hear him out if nothing else. "What is it?"

From the inside of his black coat, Ethan pulls out a small weapon. A silver revolver with a black handle. A weapon that Eileen has history with. He tried to give it to her once before, it was also the first gun that was ever pointed at her. His hand holds the gun out in front of her. "You know 'ow to use it. If the time comes, remember what I taught you, an' pull the trigger."

Eileen takes the revolver and rubs her thumb along the grip as if to get a better feel for the way the weapon handles, but she's really just reacquainting herself with its weight. It's probably about time she started carrying a gun again — whether or not she's any good with it, she can't afford not to. "I will," she promises.

"Good girl." Ethan says approvingly. Raising one hand he places it on her shoulder, giving her a level look. "No matter what 'appens Princess. I'll give my life for you, you got that? Fate took one daughter and gave me you. I'm going to set everything right, love. No matter whot 'appens, remember that."

He has a shirt loosely draped around his broad shoulders now as he returns to the bedroom. A mug of tea in each hand. He's allowed her to stay on the bed and has done his best to entertain her — without doing what she had originally intended. Setting one mug on the dresser for her he goes to reclaim a seat by her. His hand tucks under the pillow, withdrawing the silver pistol. He gives it a few twirls in his hand. "You shouldn't be livin' like this, Eileen—Munin. Wha'eve'. You're a beau'iful girl, you don't 'ave to beg anyone for anyfing. People should be comin' to you, right?"

Bringing his tea up he takes a sip. Bringing the mug down he takes a breath. "Because you're a Princess." He remarks, giving her a faint grin to try and lighten the mood for her a bit.

Munin takes the tea, using the porcelain mug to warm her hands. It's cold enough in the flat as it is — never mind what it must be like for someone wearing only a sheet and tousled curls of sweaty black hair around her neck and shoulders. She looks as though she might laugh, though no sound bubbles up from inside of her. Instead she begins to shiver with mirth, a small smile curling at the corners of her mouth but never quite reaching her pale gray-green eyes.

"My da used to call me that."

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