Covalent Bonding


abby_icon.gif raith_icon.gif


Sleeping Beauty


Scene Title Covalent Bonding
Synopsis Fails, but a small fraction of headway is made.
Date August 23, 2010

Tailor's basement, Estonia, Europe.

Estonia evokes the image of 'Old Europe' for some. A small, idyllic town by the sea, where life moves a little bit slower than the rest of the world and the architecture has been carefully maintained from two or three or even more centuries ago. In the Estonian cities, this is far from the case, winding jungles of concrete not at all unlike New York City. But far from the cities, in the country resort town of Haapsalu, this image isn't too far from the truth (although there are more cellular phones than some might guess).

Besides a nice place to vacation, it's also not a bad place to lay-low after a run-in with a corrupt government institution leaves friends wounded and in need of recovery. Jensen Raith doesn't speak Estonian: He never had the time to learn (so he says). But things just worked out that, despite this, he stills has a contact inside the town, from before he'd left the CIA. A contact that he's managed not to alienate, which is even better. Although a tailor is not the same as a doctor, he proved nevertheless to be more than willing to let Raith, as well as Abigail Beauchamp and the injured Noah Bennet hide in the basement of his shop for a few days. The situation is brighter still, thanks to the August Blues Festival, held every year in Haapsalu since 1993, bringing a little taste of America into town, and more importantly, bringing hosts of people into town. Business will be good, and hiding will be easier with the extra tourists around: No one will notice a couple Americans.

The basement's a bit cramped for three people, especially with one of them infirm, but they make the most of it. As the afternoon wears on, Raith returns from an outing of a couple of hours. After he finishes upstairs assuring Andrés that, even though they are hiding, no one saw or followed him back to the shop, he reappears downstairs bearing gifts for both Abby and Bennet, even if Bennet is presently a bit too unconscious to enjoy them. A few boiled potatoes, pickled herring, a bit of jam and a loaf of black bread. "Sorry I was gone so long," he says once the cellar door is shut behind him, "The festival complicates everything."

Pickled Herring.

Jesus, something else that Eileen and Raith have in common. Noah's blocked off from sight by a folding screen, Abigail in clothes - instead of the Haitian's jacket which was given back at some point - and coming out from behind the screen with her taser in hand and aimed towards the Vanguardian in case he was someone else.

"Festival provides cover, camouflage and entertainment that can be heard through the walls" Not that Abby much cares for blues. "Noah's sleeping, I just gave him his next round of painkillers, he should be out for a few hours" Away goes the taser, tucked out of sight onto a table behind the screen. The gun Ivan shoved down the back of her jeans had been lost in the fight. "He should be good to home, in a few days, provided he doesn't get an infection." Down over to her little cot in the cramped confines, the blonde thumps down, knee's almost up to her chest.

"It's a tourist town. If he needs antibiotics, we can probably get them." Much as Abby might prefer otherwise, Raith's own cot is practically right next to hers, on account of the confined space. "I seem to recall Eileen saying something about you and pickled herring," the ex-spy adds as he takes his own seat and deposits the goods next to himself. "How about a potato and some leib instead? Estonians don't fuck around with their bread, you know. It's the cornerstone of the meal. Hey, let's add a chat on the side, too. I'm kind of wondering what it feels like to be made of fire."

"Pickled Herring is something I'll eat if there's nothing else to eat. I'd probably sooner boil some stones in water and eat stone soup before I'd eat pickled herring. I'll take the bread and potatoes please" Or some of them at least. Elbows on her knee's arms wrapped around arms, there's a hairy eyeball on Raith when he inquires about what it feels to be fire.

"It feels… I don't know how to describe it. You'd have to turn into fire to know. It's not hot or … I don't know. I don't often turn into fire. Little hard to practice when you live in a metropolitan area and you're not registered as a fire mimic"

Raith does not thrill her, and no, his close proximity doesn't thrill her either. Not her ideal choice of being stuck in a basement with but she's pretty sure his medical training might not be as high as hers and she wasn't about to abandon the Ferryman. "He'll need them. I'd feel more better and confidant in what we've done for him. I had some in the pack back in Russia" But there was no going back for that well stocked pack.

"I'll do what I can. Andrés might know someone that won't ask too many questions." One potato, wrapped up in a heavy paper napkin on account of it still being rather warm, and a hunk of the bread loaf are passed over to Abby. "We're stuck here for a while longer," the ex-spy says rather suddenly, "And knowing what I do about this kind of stuff, it's likely to not be the last time we get stuck together. Now, neither one of us is naive enough to think that we should be friends with everyone we meet, but that doesn't change the fact that we're stuck together, so I have to know.

"What is it, exactly, that keeps us from having a professional relationship that goes beyond only working together when the circumstances force it?"

"You killed Tanya"

The potato is taken carefully, unfolding arms enough to close a hand around the warm vegetable with a soft thank you followed by the bread. "You killed her and took a bounty on my head. Pardon me if I don't get the warm fuzzies for you like I have for Eileen. At least she never tried to actively kill me, only threatened to"

Both portions of food are drawn back, placed in her lap so she can wait for the potato to cool a fraction more, fingers tearing at the bread instead. She'll wet some with water later and mash up some potato to feed to Noah when he's awake and more coherent. "I don't cavort with John Logan, I don't cavort with Gabriel, I don't cavort with you"

There are a few moments of silence that passes as Raith mulls over this information before he gives Abby a reply: "Never said I was one of the good guys." Perhaps just to undermine himself, he goes straight for the herring. It's just one more thing she doesn't cavort with, so what's he got to lose? "Never pretended I was either. Times were tough in those days. Needed to make money to keep people alive. Buildings don't insulate themselves. Food doesn't just appear on the table. It's in my nature to survive, by whatever means necessary. Contract killing was necessary then. Being one of the bad guys was necessary. It still is, and I don't feel any shame admitting it, same way you don't feel any shame being one of the good guys. Gals." A bite of herring ends Raith's statement and frees the air for Abby to add her two cents. Possibly her four cents, really.

"I'm not one of the good ones anymore Raith. That stopped a long time ago" A chunk of black bread disappears into her mouth to be chewed quietly, a glance to the screen and the man behind it who rests in a drugged sleep to help facilitate his healing better. "You do, what you have to do, to put food on the table for Eileen and the others, wherever that table ends up being." Shoulders hunched inwards, gaze dropping back to the bread in her lap. "Doesn't mean that I have to like it, approve of it or applaud it, not when you take a job that means putting my head on the plate, or when you take the life of a poor woman who was working her third ever shift at my bar and her only fault was taking a smoke break"

Another piece of bread disappears, rolled into a little ball and popped into her mouth after being nibbled on first. "You and Gabriel and Teo were at the fountain. In central park after Eileen was attacked there and shot. Who took her and how long was she gone? You asked Teo and Gabriel for a week and your help covering something. How long was she gone and where was she"

A change for a topic Raith would rather not talk about. The fact that he sits and watches Abby for several seconds idling chewing a mouthful of herring. But finally, he swallows his food and decides, at least on some level, that Abby is someone that particular information can be shared with. "She was gone too long," the ex-spy replies, "Long enough for Gabriel and I to start getting at each other's throats, just barely. Worst part of it was she was practically right under our noses. Old vet clinic on Staten Island, practically in plain sight. You want to really emasculate someone, hide their people in plain sight. Nothing hurts worse."

Finally. Someone's talking. "I got a post-cog. Two of them. One showed me you and the boys talking, it was shown in our heads. I hired another to go further back and saw her get shot. Four people all in all attacking her but someone took her away" More bread and this time a little bit of potato as she unwraps it and digs in with her fingers.

"I came to you, about Susan. She has something to do with this. Clark and Damon away and not returned yet, talking about choosing central park to do something and then Eileen attacked. I've gone to Kaylee, she's checked to see if Susan messed with me in the head but she didn't. I want her to take a look at Noah, when we return. I don't know what the woman is up to. She's been sniffing around Odessa, Kaylee says she was thinking not good thoughts about Odessa. I don't trust her and I wouldn't be sitting on the council with her if Eileen hadn't told me that she needed me to."

Potato is broken up and a bowl grabbed so she can start mashing it with her fingers in the bowl and get Noah's meal ready for him. "Kaylee's going to go to people I trust and ask if she can look to see if Susan's messed with them"

"I have my doubts Ball's involvement runs as deep as you think," Raith remarks, "Since the individual that took Eileen away was in no way affiliated with her, and Odessa's dead through no fault of Susan's." But that's all for that. "As for the rest of it… it is a rather strange coincidence, what you heard, what happened and who's missing. Maybe it's only a strange coincidence. Maybe not." A shrug ends that thought.

"Who else knows besides us, Thatcher, and your pre-cogs? If Susan is to blame for even part of that clusterfuck, we need to keep the fact that someone's investigating it a complete secret. If it's at all possible, it stays inside Special Activities until there's enough evidence to know for sure one way or the other. That alright with you, mon cher?"

"Odessa's dead?"

No. No. Odessa can't be dead, means the religious blonde failed in keeping the heretical blonde safe and alive and Hiro's going to kill her. This is not good news and Abigail's kicking herself. So caught up on ferry stuff, the bar, life, trying to work her ability so that she can actually touch her boyfriend and Odessa's dead.


Susan stuff temporarily abandoned in favor of needing to know, her hand coming to rest on Raith's knee and squeezed. "Where? How? I need to know"

For several more moments, Raith watches Abigail, less out of a want to roast her a bit and more out of wonderment that she didn't know. He thought everybody knew. "When we hit the hospital, last Friday. Lot of people made it in, fewer people made it back out. Price didn't. Eileen was pretty clear about who did and didn't make it." Perhaps to heighten the tension, Raith leans forward, closer to Abigail. "Why so interested?"

"I was supposed to protect her. Keep her alive" Not good, not good at all, it's written across her face as she pulls her hand back, bringing her thumb up to chew on it, a light fever springing up that isn't something that anyone wants on Noah or much less Abigail, much less with a lack of negation drugs for the young woman.

"I failed someone. Someone I trust, in keeping her alive" What would be the repercussions to this? Could Hiro fix it? could the right Hiro fix it? "Kaylee, whomever else Kaylee might have checked already. Peter knows but that's because he had connections to a post-cog and I told him to bugger off about going any further. Francois, Melissa, Lacombe, Risa, his post-cog. They were all witnesses to you, gabriel and teo talking. But beyond that, only the second postcog knows anything happened to eileen. Eileen visited and insisted nothing had happened so I haven't been really… pursuing anything. I didn't know who to go to that I didn't sound like a crackpot."

Shit. Shit, she should have kept better tabs on Odessa.

"Cat's sniffing around. I sent her to Kaylee"

Kaylee this, postcog that. Abby finishes saying her piece, and while he hears everything, remembers everything, he shoves most of it aside. "Abigail, listen to me." A pause, just to ensure he has the woman's complete attention. "When we went into Panama in eighty-nine, twenty-three Americans died. Three hundred fifteen were wound. Some of those wounded, one of those dead, were guys in my chalk. That's hard when you're twenty-six in your first combat theater, because those guys are your brothers. You were suppose to protect each other, and you let them down. Except you didn't."

"There's not a day that goes by where I don't wish I could've done something different, got everyone out alive and unhurt, and there won't be a day that goes by where you don't wish you could've saved Odessa, or Tanya, or whoever. But you've got to accept that you did everything you could."

As Raith talks, his voice loses the edge it had when he first spoke, softening a bit as he is forced not only to give Abby a new lesson, but to remind himself of an old one. "You don't decide who gets shot and who doesn't. I don't decide who falls out of a chopper and why. It's not up to us. That's just war. That's all. What is up to us, is what we do now. It's not up to us what happened then, but it is up to us and no one else what happens next. Whether they die for nothing, or die for something? That's our call. That's what we do decide." Another pause, this one to let everything sink in. The ex-spy can feel the fever starting to rise in Abby's hand, even through the fabric of his jeans, but all the same, he rests his own hand on top of it in a show of solidarity, heat be damned. "Okay?"

"I do decide. I decide when I pick up a handgun and fire it, when I put my hand up and I burn a person whether it's with the first gift, or with the second that I now have. When my actions cause the death of another. I didn't do everything. I let her move out, I didn't insist she come live with me, come by often to Gun Hill. I'm responsible for my actions and my actions impact on others. I answer for what I've done, here and when calvary comes. Keep her alive, that's all he asked me. Keep her alive and keep her off Roosevelt Island. I failed the first, and don't need to worry about the second anymore"

Her hand is pulled away, potato and bread hauled up off her lap and put onto the cot, opting to slink away from Raith and sink to the floor. Knee's bent, wrap one arm around her knee's and the other to her forehead. A method of self soothing and attempt to lower her own heat. "Ninety people died and how many of them were at my hand, and how many hurt. All to save Teodoro and the others. Noah is hurt and I don't know how well his arm is going to heal, and you and Eileen and Gabriel had to come haul our rears outta the fire, and if you hadn't that woman woulda played with me till I burned out. Now I don't know what's waiting for me at home, whether it's gonna be parkman with an apology and cuffs, or… everything will be fine, or I gotta go to ground."

Fire mimicry is not the sort of thing that Raith is an expert on, nor does he pretend to be. Calmly, quietly, the rest of the pickled herring he picked out for himself- only a small piece, really- goes into his mouth, and he rises up from his cot before trekking the short distance to the jug of water supplied for them, kept cool thanks to the calm, ambient temperature of the cellar. The ex-spy fills a single ceramic mug with liquid and then returns to where he was before, kneeling down to the floor and offering a drink to Abby, figuring that if she's feeling overheated, a cool drink is sure to help.

Huruma and Peter have seen her do this, the not quite curled up in a ball and lips moving as she prays. Quite a different set of rules that she has to master for this ability. The sound of his footsteps coming close and eventual kneeling down of the remanent don't go unnoticed. Palm rubbing at the bridge of her nose, eyes closed, he's not the first to have offered her water and she'd prefer ice at this moment but it's something likely a scarcity.

"Drinking it doesn't help Jensen"

If drinking doesn't help, then Raith simply places the mug on the floor next to the woman, leaving it to her to decide how best to apply it. He, in the meantime, wheels around slightly to sit on the ground next to her. "These a pretty scary and uncertain times right now," he says, "Took the Institute down a few pegs, but who knows what the consequences of that will be? Stopped a couple doomsday plots, which would be more comforting to know, except we shouldn't have had to do that at all. We're even at a point where ol' Uncle Sam doesn't have our best interests in mind anymore. That's a dark place to be in. But here's the fact, Abigail. You're not in this alone."

Raith's last attempt to dig Abby out of a dark place was an glorious failure, although it probably didn't make the situation worse. "Me, Eileen, Kaylee, Teodoro, Hana, Noah, Eric, this list goes on. You've got every one of us in your corner. Now, I'm not promising blue skies forever, or even the exact outcome from all this that you want. I am promising the best outcome you can possibly get. We'll all fight for it, no matter what." The even tone of his voice is doing well to mask the internal nervousness that Raith feels clawing at his brain, telling him he needs to be some place other than where he is right now: Some place that isn't right next to a bomb.

Don't worry Raith, you'll get five seconds warning. Smoldering clothing first before implosion and explosion. Enough time to grab Noah and bolt if Renee isn't slinking around somewhere. Which he is. Somewhere. "Right, because everyone wrestles with the same moral turmoil that I do. Flaming Baptists every last one of them"

No smoking clothing yet, no warning of orange irises when she opens her eyes to grab the cup. Face upturned, cup upended to let it's contents splash against her face and run down the sides with closed and mouth gaping at the uncomfortable sensation that doing such brings with it. A shower would be better, but that would probably be asking too much. A toss into the sea might not hurt either. At least for everyone else. Might for her. "More" They can get more drinking water easily enough and this corner of the basement is devoid of things that might get damaged from water.

A nod is Raith's reply, even if Abby's not looking at him to see it. More sounds like it might be a fantastic idea, and so the ex-spy rises once again and makes his way to the water jug just as casually as he did previously. This time, however, he returns with the entire jug rather than a mug. It may only be half-full, but that's still enough perhaps to keep Abby cool until she calms down enough to get herself under control. "Ready?" Warning might be nice before being drenched, and when she is, Raith pours the water out onto her face slowly, careful to hold it as close to her face as possible to minimize any discomfort. It'll be easier explaining a puddle on the floor to Andrés than an inferno where his shop used to be.


In the end, there is a puddle surrounding the medic, dark pants and top having soaked up a fair share of the water he drenched her with, blonde hair wet and bedraggled from the impromptu attempt to do what Renee or negation drugs do. It leaves her shivering in the middle of the whole thing and wiping at her eyes with the back of her hands but no licking flames or raging inferno. It's enough, to kick things back down to normal instead of ignition and the cellphone that had started bleating it's warning has quieted.

Back onto her ass she thumps, wetly, with knee's still bent and looking off at the wall. "Don't suppose he knows anyone with anti-depressants or xanax?" Which might mildly explain the state she's in and the funk a little deeper than back in New York. Possibility of being outed notwithstanding. "Or you happen to have some tucked away with whatever handgun's stashed somewhere on your person." Thank you will come, at some point, when she's done shaking drops of water off her hands and taking stock internal and external.

"I can ask, but that's about all." The jug is set aside, and Raith reclaims the seat on the floor he had earlier, even if it does now put him right in a puddle. "Otherwise, the best I can do is a couple glasses of wine, which I know is not what you were hoping for." Fair's fair, after all. A beat. "Feeling better, just a little bit?"

"Alcohol just enhances the mood that you're in. I'd like to not devolve into suicidal thanks" Or so all her school tells her and what she's seen. Sometimes it really does do quite the opposite. "I'm not gonna explode and better is subjective, thank you for the drenching. Mel just tosses bags of ice at me, or peter dumps me in the shower and shoves the pills down my throat" It's not easy being Flammable, much less green.

"You can back down off red alert, it's not going to happen. All I'm going to do now is get a headache" And be in need of dry clothers. "I'm sorry. I must be scaring you, the magical imploding woman, only at two and four, get your tickets fast" Self deprecating, there's a glance down the front of her shirt to make sure the monitor isn't doing something funny.

"Abigail, I worked for the CIA. The possibility of exploding really doesn't bother me anymore." A tiny lie: The possibility of exploding may not bother Raith anymore, but the prospect of being turned into a fine red mist does. Figure that one out. "Echidnas, however, I find fucking terrifying. We're going to have a problem after you become an echidna mimic, not before." If speeches won't work, distractions might. And what better distraction than something terrifying? Like an echidna.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"What's an echi.." She can't even say it properly. "Echinadas?" A bug, watch it be some sort of bug, or some anime creature that magnes would know about. There's a glance to the screen and Noah, worried he might have woken in the ruckus and when he hasn't, there's abject relief and she starts pulling herself up off the floor, water dripping from hems and sleeves, plopping to the ground.

"It's a horrifying cross between an ant eater, a chicken, and a porcupine." So far, so good. It seems Raith's found an approach that might actually work. "Australian, which might explain why it looks everything that wants to kill you had sex with everything that can. Everything's messed up there, you know. They have spiders there with legs that are a foot long. Just the legs, a foot long, and they like to hide behind clocks."

"Lord and I thought Mexico and Flint throwing scorpions on me was bad enough" Horror on her face, brows pulling down, frown lines, picturing this Echidnas without actually seeing a picture of it. She's at least talking to Raith now, which surely is a great improvement than sullenly taking potatoes and bread and slumping around the basement and not venturing outside.

She still slumps around the basement, moving to liberate some dry clothes from the extra set that the tailor had been kind to dig up for her in exchange for some money - at her insistence - to supplement what else had been scrounged. Raith can imagine, she's hard on clothes these days. It takes her mind off her ability, not too much off Noah and cycling her back down to where she's willing to talk. "Can you turn around please" She's going to change and his name is not Caliban or Francois. Even francois has to turn around still.

"Sure, sure," Raith replies, pulling himself out of the puddle and having a good look at the wall. "Camel spiders are pretty bad, too, but coconut crabs are the worst, hands down. If there was ever something other than an echidna that made you stop and ask, 'What the fuck is that?', it's coconut crabs. You find those in Indonesia, mainly, which is otherwise a very nice part of the world. You should go someday, take a vacation there."

"Are you trying to make me ignite again Jensen?" When he stops talking, wet shirt hitting the ground with a slap, followed in due time with second and the rustle of clothing. "Because if you keep talking about bugs the size of mosquito's that I find back home, that is surely going to make me go up in flames" One arm goes in, sliding against fabric and pulling it over her head and settling the blue fabric into place. The shorts not long after, long limbs through each opening and buttoned up.

"Sorry. It's just, when you see things that should not be, your natural instinct is to tell other people about them. Especially people from the States. The fauna we have there is pretty boring in comparison." It's enough that he distracted Abby for the time being. Raith doesn't need to go any further than this with stories. "I'll go up and see about antibiotics in a bit, maybe. Haapsalu's a nice place to visit, but I'm done with traveling. I'm ready to go home. Or to France. I could settle for France."

"I'm ready for normal. Normal can come along and stay for a while. It's safe to turn around now" Wet clothes being tossed to the corner where she can deal with them later, hang them up. "But normal's not coming to stay, not anytime soon" Adrenaline slowly making it's way out of her system, no need for Renee to come flapping hands down here - That'd be a sight to see. Fingers do go to temple and rub as she settles down on her cot to look over at the downed company agent. "I still don't feel like cavorting with you Jensen. I find it a little hard, no, pretty hard, to… countenance that you took money to kill me when you knew who I was" She thinks he knew who she was.

"Well, that's the funny thing about contract killing," Raith says as he picks himself up completely. Despite the seat of his pants being wet, his next move is not to sit down on his cot again, but back towards the stairs that will lead him up. "Most of the time, you don't know who the contract is for. Who they are, where they come from, anything about them. But then, sometimes, you learn those things, find out who the hit is actually on." A glance back over his shoulder. "And that's when shit gets real. Going to have a look around for some pills. Be back in an hour." Maybe that doesn't settle the matter, but as Raith moves on up the stairs, it occurs to him that really, it doesn't matter. She doesn't have to like him; just trust him not to shoot her in the back. "Don't go anywhere."

"I haven't gone anywhere since we've been here" Idly tossed back as she moves the cooling food, opting to do what Noah is doing, being a lazy bum and sleeping, only minus the injuries. The taser is gathered before she tucks herself under the blanket and pillow, a glance to the door and Raith's path there. "Xanax, anything of that sort. It'll help. If you can find it" If not, she'll tough it out till they get home. Won't be pretty but she can do it. "My cellphone is on, call if something goes wrong" Trust, well, so far he hasn't shot her in the back. That and he's a close friend/family member of Eileen's and a member of the Ferry. He has those things going for him at least.

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