Blue Sky, Green Grass


eileen4_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Blue Sky, Green Grass
Synopsis In which Peter asks Eileen to help him explore himself.
Date September 3, 2009

Outside the Foxhole

Modern cinema has done much to make subway platforms uncomfortable places to be. Suggestions of serial killers or monsters lurking in the tunnels brings that primal fear of the dark, the underground, and the unknown. Compounding this back-of-the-mind fear is the current condition of most of New York City's subway systems. Particularly, the stretch of subway beneath the broken streets of Midtown.

Without proper electricity and with the distant dribbling drip of broken water pipes, this paricular subway platform seems particularly cavernous. Power cabling of a newer occupancy runs along the tiled ground, coiling around a support pillar where distantly spaced lanterns shed flickering and uneven light through the tunnels. Not far from here, the Foxhole lies in quiet subterranean seclusion.

With the Ferrymen meeting concerning Maxwell Quinn having ended just minutes ago, Peter Petrelli is an unlikely ghost to be haunting this place again. His eyes are focused on the abandoned subway car tipped on its side in the dark tunnel beyond the platform, a place he called home once. His eyes narrow, head tilting down slightly as his gloved fingers fold in his lap, seated on one of the old green benches where once commuters would wait for transportation across the city.

Now, only the distant murmur of conversations, the drip of water, and the hum of generators are here to keep him company. In a way, everything has come full circle in a year's time to bring him back to this very place again. Now, more so than ever, he feels a sense of emptiness where there should be sentimentality.

The sound of reverberating footsteps underscored by leather soles eventually joins the platform's dismal ambience, and a few moments later a dark silhouette comes into view, emerging from behind two concrete pillars. From delicate neck and narrow shoulders all the way through the concave curve of its back, Peter will recognize the figure's shape as belonging to Eileen Ruskin even before she moves into the light and shrugs off inky shadows like a snake sloughing skin.

Faded denim sits low on her hips, creating a sliver of pale midriff between belt and the hem of the shirt she wears beneath her leather jacket, unzipped. Her shoulder holster and pistol are plainly visible as she approaches the bench, and though the silver rings on her fingers and the slim chain around her throat produce a faint glimmer, there's no flash of a knife to accompany them. Firearm aside, the other weapons she carries on her person tonight are well-concealed.

"You wanted to talk, Petrelli?" she asks in a breathy voice reflected back at her in the form of a faint echo, so much softer and less pronounced than the staccato click of her boots against the platform's cement surface or the pointed look she sticks him with the moment he's close enough to appreciate the scrutiny of her stare.

Blue eyes lift up from Peter's position on the bench, quiet and thoughtful, tempered by some distant thoughts that afford his expression a softer cast than earlier. He's silent for an awkward period between the end of her words and the beginning of his. "I need to ask you something…" his voice is a bit quieter than it was inside the meeting room, less stiff and standoffish, perhaps because he's had time to think. "I— " he swallows back his words, breathing out a heavy sigh afterwards, gloved hands planting on his knees as though he were about to push himself up out of the bench, but the tension ebbs and he remains seated.

"Is your mother's name Sophia?" The question comes with Peter's gaze diverting from Eileen's, as if he can't quite bare the brunt of whatever stare she's going to give him back for that question. His gloved fingers wring together, shoulders crooked and lips pressed together tightly, as if regretting he ever asked the question.

Eileen doesn't need to give Peter a verbal response in order to provide him with the answer he's seeking. The sharpness in her facial expression intensifies, drawing stark lines across its features and producing creases where there were none. She comes to an abrupt halt in the next instant, not half a meter away from where the man is sitting, slim shoulders squared and drawn back, a cobra rising out of a wicker basket, prepared to strike.

Her tone is venomous, too. When she remembers to speak. "Who told you that?" she asks, and it's spoken like a demand instead of a question, hissed from her mouth, the edges of her words honed to razor acuity. Her mother's name isn't something that has ever come up in conversation, not with Ethan, not with Teodoro, and certainly not with Gabriel; she doesn't know where Peter might have obtained such information, but more unsettling than the dubiousness of his source is the fact that he genuinely seems interested.

Brows furrowing, Peter closes his eyes and lets his head hang, bringing one gloved hand up tiredly to his forehead. A slow, tired sigh rolls out from between ihs lips, one that seems to deflate any attempt at proper posture where he sits. "No one told me anything…" Peter admits in a quiet tone of voice. "I think you have a— sister? Or— a brother? I'm not sure, evolved though— hurt you somehow. It's— " scrunching his face up, Peter shakes his head and looks back up to Eileen, expression changed from inspecting to pleading now.

"Who's Father Boulle?" Narrowing his eyes, Peter hopes against hope that somehow the unfamiliar name rings true with Eileen, but unfortunately she was born several hundred years too late to make the connection. Though given her genetic particulars, perhaps it's fortunate that she was born into the era of a different witch hunt; at least they've yet ot start burning people at the stake in America.

Eileen is on the move again, not to show Peter her back or to reclaim the distance between them, but to slither around the rear of the bench, circling. There's a sibilant exhalation of breath pressed past pursed lips, and as she loops behind Peter, the smell of cigarette smoke and sweet tobacco comes off her clothes and hair in waves, mingling with her perfume or whatever it is she's wearing on the insides of her wrists, behind her ears and the hollow of her throat.

When she stops again, it's behind him and a foot to his left, fingers curling talon-like around the bench's back until her lacquered nails whiten under the pressure. "I have a brother," she eventually concedes. Then, "Nicholas. I don't know any Father Boulle."

"Something's wrong." Peter murmurs as he rubs at his forehead, keeping his back to Eileen as she circles him like a vulture. "I don't want to go to Gabriel, I— I don't think he'd honestly know what to do. I wanted to ask you a favor, because I'm worried that something might happen, something I won't be able to control if I start trying to figure this all out on my own." Reaching into his jacket, Peter brings his gloved fingers around something. Nothing as brutish or primative as a gun, but rather something irridescent, something that sheds a pale blue-hued glow into the dark of the subway in the way a glow-stick would.

"I want to try this…" he holds up the syringe of Refrain between two fingers to show over his shoulder to Eileen, "to help figure out what this is inside of me. I— I've been having nightmares, dreams— memories are coming to mind, I'm saying things I shouldn't know or do. I'm worried that I'm getting— that something's stirring, and it gets worse when the ability is starved."

Starved. He's talking about it like it's an animal. "I want— I want to look inside. I heard that's what this does, but I wanted someone to— to keep an eye on me. If something happened, something— " he cuts himself off, looking over his shoulder to Eileen with pale blue eyes catching the light of the Refrain, making them look almost luminous on their own. "You'd know Kazimir if he talked to you."

Eileen might have been able to refuse Peter himself, but when he looks at her she finds herself riveted, unable to say no to those eyes. She lifts one hand from the bench and closes her fingers around the syringe, prying it from his grip. While the abandoned platform and the subway's dimly-lit interior affords them some privacy, the whisper of other voices drifting in with the wind down the tunnel is a constant reminder that they aren't alone in this place.

As the breeze rustles through her hair, she comes full circle, takes a seat on the bench beside him and begins removing her jacket. "Refrain is addictive," and the sky is blue, the grass is green. Peter doesn't need to be informed of these things; he already knows, but Eileen feels obligated to provide him with a gentle reminder as far as the drug is concerned.

The jacket is folded and slung over the back of the bench, and her pistol removed from her shoulder holster in a series of precise, practiced motions. He's right, of course. She would know Kazimir if he talked to her, and the last time they spoke he had murder on his mind — you can never be too cautious. "Roll up your sleeve."

The look on Peter's face shows he's biting his tongue, something on the tip of it clearly a withheld barb given how Eileen handles the needle. Instead, he forces something of a thankful smile, and unshoulders his suit jacket, laying it over his lap before unbuttoning the cuff of his right sleeve. "I didn't expect you to help," he admits as his fingers curl around the charcoal gray fabric, rolling up the sleeve past his elbow and up to his bicep. His blue eyes level on the girl, watching her carefully before resting his arm down on the armrest of the bench, flexing his fist in a pumping motion a few times before angling the arm in offering to her. With a black leather glove on the end of his fist, there's a sharp contrast of pale skin and dark veins on Peter's arm.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Peter admits with a furrowed brow. "But I'm sick of being teased by the snake with an apple, so… I thought maybe this might be a better way at finding things out." From his shaky tone of voice, he's not so certain.

"You were going to do this whether I agreed to help you or not," she states plainly. "I won't be held responsible for what might happen if someone isn't here to spot you." Eileen thumbs off the pistol's safety and sets it aside for the time being, one hand maneuvering the syringe between her fingers, the other coming to clamp firmly down just above his elbow. The cap comes off between her teeth and is spat into her lap, discarded; the syringe is only good once, and neither former nurse nor former heroin addict lacks the presence of mind to use it twice.

The hand at his elbow feels for a vein with the pad of its thumb as she speaks. "You're going to feel a little pinch," she tells him, avoiding his eyes, "and provided this isn't a diluted batch, you'll start feeling the effects within a matter of minutes. If you react poorly to it and start getting violent with me, I will put a bullet in you." Now she does lift her gaze to his, green eyes meeting blue, steeled and steady. "You're sure?"

There's a sudden rush of air as Peter watches Eileen grab onto his arm above his elbow, "Wait— " but the warning comes too late. There's a delayed reaction when her fingers come down to touch on the bare skin of his arm. His own veins darken and seem to squirm beneath the surface of his skin around where Eileen's hand touches his arm. The pin-pricks and tingling felt in her palm come a mere split-second before the sharp and searingly hot pain of a familiar injury starts to wash over her palm.

Like a child who's learned the pain of a hand on an open stove burner, Eileen's reflexive jerk away comes within sinewy threads of black smoke clinging to her fingertips like tiny parasites trying to worm their way out of Peter's skin and into hers. Her fingertips and palm come back bruised, as if she slapped the concrete floor as hard as she could; purple and blue bleeding out to yellow and green around the edges, with the points of contact being a paler shade. Too brief of a contact to be anything more than an injury that will take a few days to clean up, the pain though opens up old wounds that wide and worried blue eyes do little to cool.

Eileen makes a sound under her breath and balls that hand into a sudden fist, flinching abruptly away as if burned — and in a way she has been. It doesn't even begin to compare to what Kazimir once did to her cheek, but she reflexively reaches up a moment later to trail those same fingers along the curve of her jaw, feeling for an injury that isn't there and hasn't been for many months. No skin flakes away under her nails; her face is still whole.

Whether or not she should be the one apologizing, she murmurs a thick "Sorry," in between grinding teeth and preps the syringe again, her cheeks flushed with colour, pulse thundering in the carotid artery at her neck. "That was my fault. Do you still want to do this?"

Despite himself, Peter seems a bit more at ease after what amounts to feeding an unruly animal. There's a tensing at the side of his neck as he looks down to the syringe, then up to Eileen, something playing in his eyes is an expression of guilt at the sight of her hand bruised the way it is. "No…" he starts, then closes his eyes and shakes his head, "No it— maybe this was a bad idea." Maybe the sky is blue, maybe Eileen's hand is purple, the tone of his voice is nonchalant though tempered with discontent. "I'm— sorry, about hurting you. I— " the words come out too earnest, too concerned, "I never intended for that to happen the way…" Peter's focus goes distant, confused looking. He swallows, eyes wrenched shut and head shaking as he rolls down his sleeve.

"No you're right, you would put a bullet in me if something went wrong." Somehow it doesn't seem like the fear of injury or death is his reason he's rolling down his sleeve. "Then what would happen?" Blue eyes lift up to Eileen, brows furrowed in a manner that creases his scar more, makes it look deeper, starker in contrast in the light of that blue glow. "If it doesn't go to you, then what, someone else here? Hides in a rat until it finds its way to god knows who?" Perhaps seeing reason, perhaps being paranoid, Peter starts buttoning his cuff again. "I'm— that came out wrong…"

There's no change in Eileen's expression or the way she holds herself, but there's a subtle shift in the less detectable facets of her body language that suggests Peter's decision has given her some measure of relief. "If you change your mind," she says, withdrawing, retrieving the syringe's cap from her lap and placing it back on the needle's glittering point, "you tell me." It's not a request, and to drive this point home she rises from her seat on the bench and picks up her jacket, tucking the syringe into its interior pocket.

Peter isn't getting it back.

"You don't want to go to Gabriel. That's fine." Eileen's pistol is next, safety slid back to the on position before she fits the weapon snugly in its holster. "I won't tell him what happened here."

Swallowing awkwardly, Peter nods his head and looks over to Eileen, watching her pocket the needle. "I don't know if I'll reconsider, but— there's things inside of my head right now that I need to get at. That guy," Peter nods his head towards the way Eileen had come from, "the one at the meeting who was sitting next to the blonde girl with the southern accent," he actually doesn't know Abby, he may well be the only person in all of New York City. "Do you know him well?"

The question itself is a bit awkwardly stated, and even Peter notices it, even if his blue eyes are distracted by the gun being holstered. "I— saw him in some sort've… hallucination? I— I don't know. I've been having memory lapses lately, waking up places and not being entirely sure how I got there. Dreaming about people I've never seen, and reflexively answering questions I shouldn't know the answer to. It— I'm worried about what'll happen unless I figure out exactly what it is I'm dealing with."

"I know him," is all Eileen will initially commit to on the subject of Flint Deckard. Then, "He's a good man. One of the best I know." This may not be the greatest praise she can sing considering some of the people she associates with, Ethan Holden and the alleged Midtown Man included. She folds her jacket over her arm. "If you're playing host to more than just Kazimir's ability, Refrain might be the best option you have," she adds, a grudging note to her voice as she finally steps away from the bench. "Maybe you'll have a good trip, maybe you won't."

She touches her fingers to her face again and this time they linger, tips curling in on themselves. "Gillian was right about one thing. Everything we do is a risk. It's up to you decide whether chancing the needle in your arm is more dangerous than waiting to see what happens next."

Gathering himself to something less shakily composed, Peter's eyes remain focused on his lap, head dipping down into a slow nod before he looks back up at Eileen with a different kind of humility and remorse in his eyes. "I still owe you…" the words come a bit more hushed than Peter intends, but from the uncertain way they're spoken there's a slight chance they almost weren't. "What's the proper way to apologize to someone, for almost killing them?" It's hard to say who's talking there, be it the spirit inside of the man on the outside looking in. Peter reaches for his jacket he laid across his lap, slinging it over his shoulder as he rises up off of the bench, eyes downcast to the ground.

"If you ever think of the answer," his brows crease his scar, blue eyes finding Eileen's smokier and more inscrutably colored ones, "let me know." That's delivered in the same way as Eileen asking after Peter and his plans for Refrain. But no answer is given to that topic, to the topic of risk versus reward. It's a difficult road to walk down, especially when he's not entirely sure what it is he's risking. "For what it's worth, I am sorry."

"You don't owe me anything." Eileen's responsive is reflexive. Instinctual. Like flicking her hand off that burner again. She does not hesitate, and she does not give him the opportunity to argue, turning her head away in tandem with a long breath released through her nostrils. "Owe Gabriel for agreeing to guide you through this. Owe Gillian and Helena for wanting to stand on either side of you while you do it. Owe anyone else, for Christ's sake, but not me."

His apology is met with a few heartbeats worth of stilted silence in which her hand falls away from her face and settles somewhere between her hip and bottommost rib, nails dimpling the skin beneath her shirt as she clutches at her side and tries working some of the tension from her fingers by squeezing. "You're not the one I need to hear that from," she says lowly, tight. "Even if you have his eyes."

Words are swallowed down, an awkward and bitter pill that catches in his throat as blue eyes track away from Eileen. He opens his mouth once, tries to form something that makes sense, but nothing but a whispering breath comes out. When his lips close, Peter's jaw tenses and the other words spoken by the young woman lay heavier on him, names mentioned that he'd rather not have to deal with, think about, or consider. Curiously among that list Gabriel has somehow become the most tolerable person among them — it's like some sort of bad fever dream.

In the end, maybe silence is what she wants from him; what she'd prefer to confronting the mismach of voice and eyes. Sliding his dark suit jacket over his shoulders, buttoning up the front cumbersomely with his gloves, Peter's brows furrow and his eyes fall partway closed as he turns his back on Eileen. In that way, eyes averted, Peter says no farewell and no parting barb. She neither wants the former nor deserves the latter. As he starts to walk away, hi shoes click against the concrete floor, echo in the way Kazimir's strides through Eagle Electric were wont to do. The devil is in the details of his mannerisms, even the length of his stride changed to that meteronome-like pacing.

In a way, that's how they say goodbye to her.

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