Blood Oaths


eileen_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Blood Oaths
Synopsis Eileen tests out her new ability on an old friend. Or not.
Date April 23, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Spring in the ruins of Midtown isn't much different from winter in the ruins of Midtown — the streets are cold, desolate, and while there isn't any snow or ice left on the ground to impede travel, the debris remains as difficult as ever to navigate, providing plenty of cover for strays to hide. Once upon a time, this was Peter Petrelli's stomping ground. With PARIAH out of the picture, there's no way of knowing who or what has taken over the territory in his absence, but it's a good place to look for society's cast-off scavengers: a description that fits one Flint Deckard perfectly.

Rainwater paints twisted spires of metal and winding concrete pathways in a glassy sheen that reflects Manhattan's distant glow and what little moonlight is able to break through the heavy cloud cover overhead and filter all the way down to earth. The conditions for hunting fugitives are far from ideal, but these days — what is?

It's not as habitually dangerous for cops as Staten, but still, enough so that Fel creeps along as quietly as he can, moving at the wolfish jog-trot that indicates he has a good deal of distance to cover and in a decent amount of hurry. He's dressed in unexceptionably drab clothes, wearing his glasses, for once. Whatever meeting with a contact he just set up doesn't seem to have obtained him what he wanted - he looks decidedly discontent.

Droplets of rainwater bead and dimple on Felix's lenses, making it harder to distinguish the shadows from the shapes casting them. Maybe he should have brought backup. Then again, the chances of finding someone willing to accompany him into this part of town at such late an hour are so miniscule they may as well be nonexistent. Not everyone, after all, has more than one life to spare — and history has proven that Ivanov is especially lucky in this regard. It's just as well too, because his good fortune is about to run out.

Up ahead, bathed in a dappled pool of ambient light, is a figure about fifteen inches too short to be Felix's quarry. Smaller than Deckard, spindlier than Deckard, Eileen Ruskin appears to be waiting.

Oh, she's his quarry, still, Abby's truce not withstanding. Just not the game du jour. Fel's gun does not glint, being blued. But it's there in his hand even before the conscious realization of who it is waiting for him hits his forebrain. She's not running. "What do you want?" he says, bothering with neither greeting nor preamble.

Eileen wants a lot of things. The ability to walk down the street without having to glance over her shoulder every few minutes. Karmic take-backs. Her birds. The list is too long for her to pass down orally, so she instead skims what's most important off the top and holds up her hands in a gesture of surrender as if to prove to Felix that she's unarmed. "Information," she says. "Specific to your wants, my needs. Do you have Holden in custody or not?"

"You'd've seen an announcement if we had," Felix says, tone flat as the top of a crypt. The pistol remains fixed on her, a dark, unwavering eye. "Why."

"He's missing." Which means either Felix's people have him or he's run afoul of another surviving operative. Velasquez., maybe. Leeds. There aren't a lot of names that immediately pop into Eileen's head, and the majority of those that do haven't yet set foot on U.S. soil as far as she's aware. The possibility that the last of her family might've spirited away and out of New York City while she had her back turned is too terrible for her to even fathom.

There's a long pause, as Felix tries to fathom why she's telling -him-. Of course he's missing where Fel's concerned. If Fel knew where he was, he'd go get him. "I imagine he is," he says, still as toneless as a recording.

Eileen hasn't yet lowered her hands. She studies the expression on Felix's face, looking for a more telling indication of truthfulness than the unreadable tone of his voice. Apart from the gleam of his glasses and the wetness clinging to his skin and hair, she's able to yield very little except for vague hints in the creases on his brow and the tension at the corners of his mouth and eyes. After a few moments of solemn silence, her gaze sweeps downward, following the natural curves of his body from his sloping shoulders to the long, lean bow of his spine. What she finds there is considerably more significant.

"You'll forgive me if I'm not sure whether or not I should believe you," she says. "We haven't exactly been honest with each other in the past."

"Someone may have taken him. I, personally, don't know," says Felix, with a complete lack of concern. "You can believe me or not, as you feel inclined," He doesn't quite sound bored, but more as if she's something of a distraction on his way to his goal.

"I'm inclined to make sure you're telling the truth before you go all slippery fish on me again." Eileen's left hand falls back to her side, fingers curling into a loose fist. The other remains held out, palm splayed, the pale skin of her bony wrists and knuckles appearing to almost glow in the faint illumination. "Teodoro isn't too happy with you either, for the record. Something about wringing blood out of your oaths."

Felix's voice remains perfectly even, save for the increasingly clipped quality with which he bites off each syllable. "I'm not interested in Teodoro's opinion of me. Give me reason to think you're an active threat to me now, and I'll kill you. You stand here free now because I owe Abby, but even my gratitude isn't infinite."

"I stand here free because you owe me," she corrects the fed, irritation beginning to fray the edges of her own voice, simply low and hoarse until now. "Abigail Beauchamp might not even be alive if I hadn't helped Teodoro recruit Sylar and negotiate with John Logan." Just as Felix's gratitude isn't infinite, neither is Eileen's patience. As she speaks, she rotates her outstretched hand, swiveling her joint at the wrist. Pain lances through Felix's shoulder, alighting every nerve ending in his arm until the right side of his body pulsates with it. One bullet hole, long since healed over and courtesy of the very man of who they speak, splits open into a fleshy yawn and stains the front of his shirt in red.

Wise of her to take the side with the gun hand - it makes his shot go wild, before the pain makes him drop the gun. It does not, however, stop him from lunging for her at the height of his speed. Apparently he's counting on his swiftness to beat her unconscious before she can open him up like a tin can.

The bullet ricochets off a nearby lamppost, bent at the middle, and punches through a slab of concrete with an amount of force comparable to Felix what exerts when he collides with Eileen. As quick and nimble on her feet as she is, there's no competing with someone whose physical prowess and velocity surpass that of the fastest land mammal on Earth. She slams into a burnt-out husk that was once a Chevy Oldsmobile, back first, and leaves a human-sized crater in the door before slumping forward against Felix. Not unconscious, but something close to it.

Fel's temper is completely off the chain, for once. He's as close as a lover, one hand on her throat. "What the fuck was that? Who are you?" he demands, breath hissing out from between clenched teeth. That he should go get his gun hasn't apparently occurred to him.

Blood seeps through Felix's clothes and onto the front of Eileen's woolen coat, though if she notices she doesn't seem to care. When she speaks, it's in the form of a thin, choking rasp — there's hardly any breath left in her lungs, and the hand at her throat prevents her from pulling much more down to compensate for what she's lost. "Were you expecting— birds?"

He shakes her, with the casual brutality of a terrier with a rat. "Of course. So what are you? Not Gray himself, hm?" he says, in that mad conspirator's whisper.

Clunk goes the back of Eileen's skull against the door handle. Her upper lip curls back, exposing a sliver or pearly fang tinged pink. "If I was," she spits, "you'd already be dead." Fingers clutch at the front of the fed's shirt, nails biting into his skin, and yet the wound on his shoulder doesn't open any larger or bleed out any faster. "Besides, you arrested him — didn't you?"

"I did. What I thought was him, anyway," Fel says, hesitantly, doubt in his voice. "How'd this come to be, then? Are you something else wearing Ruskin's skin?" he asks, a little breathlessly, as the stain spreads. Like sand running out of an hourglass.

"Yeah." The fingers grasping at Felix's shirt flatten out and spread over the left half of his chest, directly over his heart. "I'm a real live monster." Eileen siphons energy through her arm, out the center of her palm, and pours it between the fed's ribs, causing tiny fissures to appear in the bone, microscopic fractures that begin to expand and widen, spreading haltingly like cracks in a pane of glass. "Now let go of me!"

There's a last blow, slamming her against the wreck of the car, before he crumples, breath catching. The sound of the fractures spreading is audible, faintly so, like the rustle of blown grass. He's groping for his gun, nearly down on all fours.

Eileen is in no shape to make an attempt to beat him to it. Reeling, she hauls herself to her feet with the aid of the door handle but isn't able to remain standing for more than a few moments. The closest escape route involves her throwing herself across the hood of the Oldsmobile and rolling off the other side. A wet thump signals her collapse on the concrete behind the opposite front tire, followed by the sound of her body dragging itself through gravel before, finally, footsteps stumbling away in retreat.

The Fed's face is an inhuman mask, lips pulled tight over his teeth, as he finally finds that Sig. There's the terrible finality of him racking the slide, once, to make sure there's a round in the chamber, and them him shambling after her.

Putting distance between herself and Ivanov is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, she stands a better chance of getting away. On the other, her newfound ability loses its effectiveness outside of its fifteen foot range and Eileen has to resort to squeezing off two shots at Felix's pursuing form with the pistol she keeps inside her blood-drenched coat.

They aren't intended to act as a warning. She misses anyway.

He's fighting with his offhand, and in desperate pain. Those shots are enough to warn him off - bleeding like that, his speed's no good to him. Instead, he takes cover behind the wreckage of another car, after firing off a couple rounds of his own.

Two bullets blow out a windshield and shower splinters of glass down on the rain-slick pavement. A third wallops its mark, rewarding Felix with a low, catlike snarl ripped from his quarry's throat. As far as injuries go, however, it must not be very grievous because Eileen is up and running again a moment later, her shape impossible to distinguish from the other shadows dripping off every jutted angle and corner amongst the rubble.

And that's enough, for now. He slumps back down in the relative shelter of the destroyed car, breath ragged and uneven. Oh, this will be fun to get out of. Assuming he does. He's already punching in the number for an ambulance.

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