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Scene Title Datura
Synopsis Sylar continues to make good on his promise to show Odessa every ability he possesses.
Date November 26, 2008

Condemned Tenement - Rooftop

While some parts of the roof are less structurally sound then others, someone seems to have sorted out which areas are dangerous and blocked them off. Some overhangs have been jury-rigged up to block a direct aerial view that gives definite indication of the presence of squatters - a rooftop garden, clearly meant to provide sustenance rather than aesthetic. Tubs full of dirt are situated to take best advantage of the light despite the overhangs meant to keep them from prying eyes. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, even potatoes and onions and chili peppers are carefully tended, little laminated labels indicating what each row of planting is. There's a separate section for a small variety of herbs, and a sole small window sill style planter that houses the one concession to beauty; a row of sunflowers, and even these can be harvested for their seeds. Here and there decrepit lawn furniture has been scattered to give the illusion of abandonment; a stone bench here, an ironwork table with chairs there, one of those latticed metal fold-up chairs leaned at an awkward angle in a corner. Aside from the overhangs, the rest of the roof is open to the sky, providing a view of the city and the span of rooftops surrounding the tenement.

An illusion of abandonment is not what this place needs, because the neglect is obvious, seeped into every crack of cement, the murky puddles thanks to stuck drains, the dust long since crusted on broken furniture. Neglected but not left alone - cigarette butts litter the ground, a beer can rolled into the corner, signs of life of people coming and going for separate reasons. Notably, the flowers remain untouched - long dead, cracked husks, drooping withered leaves and petals.

Sylar wraps his hand around another sunflower stalk and pulls.

This task has been going for a few minutes now, but already his hands, his sleeves are smeared with dirt both wet and dry, and fingernails are nearly black. At his feet, abandoned, dead flowers and plants lie discarded as he pulls them up from where they've been formerly planted with love and attention, and combs his fingers through the loose dirt as he goes. Absolutely not dressed for this, in jeans and a dark blue dress shirt, it's clearly an impulsive decision while he waits, one that probably won't see completion. But we all have our quirks.

There's no sound of footsteps to herald the arrival of the blonde. It seems as though she's simply there. Though the door to the rooftop does swing closed audibly to announce her presence.

"Those must have been pretty once," whispers Odessa Knutson. "But everything's prettier when there's someone about to look after it and provide love, hm?" The neglected portions of the city look sad, while the lived in parts, aged and crumbling and decaying as they may be, still have a certain something that gives them a quality the young doctor will label as pretty.

Sylar pauses when the sound of life, of presence suddenly reaches his ears without prelude, and he turns his body to look at Odessa over his shoulder. There's the slight feeling of being caught with his hand in the cookie jar - or the tubs of dirt, as it were - before he shakes it off, and dusts off his hands, pieces of dirt showering down onto his sensible black leather shoes and the torn up, long dead flora. "The opposite being that neglected things grow uglier?" he asks. "Or are the two outcomes not mutually exclusive?" He turns his back to her to tear out the last dead sunflower, and simply throws it over the side of the rooftop ledge.

"Neglected things wither and die. Though I suppose there is some beauty in that." She of all people would think so. "It seemed an appropriate thing to say," Odessa admits. "Anyone would have simply nodded." Doctor Knutson smiles brightly and approaches the man with dirt on his hands. "I should have known better. Had you said the same to me, I'd have responded in kind."

"Maybe I just thought you were right." Sylar moves to lean against the ledge just next to the packed dirt, his back turned to the most excellent view of destruction and renewal alike. Almost dangerous - anyone looking for him could easily aim a sniper rifle his way in a nearby building and squeeze off a few bullets and just like that, one of the most dangerous, broken men in the world would be dead. At least, it would save Sylar a lot of decision making. "How are you healing?" he asks, not really looking at her as he attempts to pick the dirt out of his nails, little black crescents at the tips of his fingers.

"Well enough, I suppose. I… could use a little help, though." Odessa's used to being the mender, not the mending. "Moving is… not fun." And yet, she's here. "I swear, I am green from throat to waist." Not that he could tell it as bundled up as she is. "You'd better kill him soon. Because if I run into him again? I don't care how badly you want to do it. He's dead."

Sylar snorts quietly at that, a small, suppressed smile given in response. "It'll have to happen soon," he confirms. "I killed one of his own just the other day." His gaze meanders back up to meet Odessa's, and adds, because he'd guess she'd be interested, "I drowned him with water from his bathroom in his loungeroom. How long do you think it will take Peter to respond?"

"I'm not sure," Odessa answers honestly. "But Eileen should watch herself, I would think." She pauses for a moment, then adds, "And your Gillian." Whoever she is.

Sylar reaches out a hand to brush his fingertips through the dirt he'd just churned, almost making patterns although in this light, it's hard to tell what. "He found you all so easily," he says. "I wonder why he doesn't just find me. I don't think it's out of cowardice." Which might be the first generous thing he's said of Peter for a while. "I think he's enjoying it like this, a hunt. I never knew he had it in him."

"You could find our torment a little less amusing, Sylar." Odessa narrows her eyes faintly, but her ire lasts only a moment. "You're right, though. I never would have expected anything like this from him. I was so certain it wasn't him. Something isn't right. That isn't the man I left behind at the Company." An impostor? She takes her bottom lip between her teeth, worrying it for a moment. "I do have to give you points for creativity. I'm sure the police are positively baffled by your handiwork. I'm sure Petrelli will only seek to retaliate further." She tips her head toward the sky, "I dare say he'll find it amusing." Then, she's back on Sylar again. "Picked up a new trick, did you? A man does not drown on humidity." And last time she checked, that was the only ability he displayed for her involving moisture or water of any sort.

"I can play with water now," Sylar says, hand rising from the dirt, hand spread. The dirt seems to become damper, a puddle quickly forming, as he draws the water from within it to the surface. "I told it to fill his lungs and not stop until it did. It's very obedient." His fist closes, and the puddle seeps back into dirt to slowly settle once more at the bottom. "Do you really think he'll find it amusing?" His eyes on her again, a look of annoyance on his features. "If so, he…" He trails off, comprehending that Odessa might not realise what he knows, or rather, what he painted and heard second hand accounts of. "Peter split into two people. One of them is the goody two shoes Company agent, the other is the… man you encountered. Both of them must be broken people. I wonder if there's another one of me out there somewhere."

"There was no trace of good in that man," Odessa assesses. "You are not wholly unredeemable as he was. It is my professional opinion that you are the one and only." It's meant to be reassuring, but maybe the young doctor is the one that needs reassuring. She steps forward and then kneels down to examine the dirt Sylar had been raking his fingers through. "Show me again?" she asks, head tilted up to regard with wide, curious eyes and a hopeful smile. "Please?"

Sylar finishes making patterns in the dirt, deep gouging ones as she talks, curves, almost a flower pattern, in a way. At her request, he doesn't hesitate, just pulls his hand back so she can see the water rushing back up to fill the gouges he'd made. The water, it's easier to tell that the pattern isn't wholly random, if rough. It's a biohazard symbol, although for all intents and purposes, it seems accidental. Sylar doesn't take much notice, just lifts his hand up, and in thin ropes, the water streams up through the air, as if someone were pouring it and then sent time reeling backwards. "It's a beautiful ability," he says, letting the water collect into a floating, inverse bubble in the air, about the size of a golf ball. "The woman I took it from was beautiful too."

Slowly, Odessa reaches out toward the water collecting in the air, wondering to herself if it'll pop as any bubble. "Will you say the same of me someday?" The tone is conversational enough, but still reflective of the woman's apprehension. "It is beautiful," she agrees.

Upon being touched, the bubble of water ripples, and doesn't break, Sylar watching it almost lazily. Her question, though, forces his gaze back towards her, simply staring for a moment, as if unsure of what to say - but it's clear he has some things to say. Then, he stands up, and touches a fingertip to the ball of water, which instantly freezes over. It starts to fall, but his hand spreads, catching the thing with telekinesis before it can shatter. He points with his other hand, towards a nearby building. "Choose a window."

Odessa looks up at Sylar and smiles a wide and toothy, quirky smile. "Are you going to break a window?" She moves around so she's behind the man so he can follow the line of sight down her pointing finger. "That one."

"Gonna try. Testing a theory." Sylar bends his knees a little so he can see where she's pointing properly. "The third from the left?" he clarifies. "Fourth floor?" His hands moving as if to cup the ball of ice, which is smoothly solid and likely very dense. It starts to vibrate in midair, before it zooms over the ledge of the building. It doesn't take off as quickly, like a bullet from a gun, but picks up speed all the same— only to smatter against brick wall just an inch shy of his target. "Hn."

The blonde masks her disappointment well and pats Sylar on the arm. "Baby steps. It'll do you good to actually practice something, don't you think? I should think it's fun to test things out." Odessa backpedals quickly and holds her hands out in front of her, wiggling her fingers. "C'mon. Now throw one at me."

Out of the atmosphere, water is concentrated into another sphere to hover just above his outstretched hand, as Sylar's obvious and ruthless annoyance at himself dissipates into interest at Odessa's proposition. Practice? With a gentle sound of cracking ice, the sphere frosts over, and without further fuss, it goes rocketing towards Odessa, aimed for her throat.

The ball of ice hurtles through the air toward Sylar's intended target and then simply stops in midair. Odessa smiles with her hands held out as though poised to catch it physically. She then squints at the stopped projectile in intense concentration. Her right hand lowers to her side, and with her left, she makes a motion as if to throw or push back the ball. The thing resumes at full speed, however, and slams her in the throat. Odessa goes flying back and is left sprawling on the ground, gasping and wheezing for air. Her legs kick at the floor to vent the cry she doesn't permit herself. "Ffffff…!!"

Sylar tenses as soon as it appears as though Odessa plans to do something in retaliation— and his shoulders relax as soon as she's nailed by the ice ball. "What was that supposed to achieve?" he wonders out loud, although doubtless Odessa will have a hard time answering him in the immediate future. Casually, he walks on over towards the fallen woman, reaches down to take her arm, and helps her to her feet. "I didn't think you'd let it hit you," he says, in place of an apology, defense edging his voice.

"It wasn't supposed to," Odessa croaks. "We both need to practice, it seems." She leans against Sylar's arm and holds her throat with a heavy groan. "Oh, gosh." Cough. Sputter. Wheeze. "Next time, let's aim for the gut or something. Ow."

"Carpe jugulum," Sylar says, steering her towards the slightly broken down but serviceable outside bench. "Go for the throat. I don't have a lot of practice when it comes to holding back so my apologies." Allowing her to sit down, Sylar gathers water on his hands this time, rather than gathering it into one place, it just collects on his skin. This, he uses to wash away the dirt on his hands. "What grows in the winter?"

Odessa shoots Sylar a look. Very funny, mister. She takes her seat and massages at her throat, bruises blossoming over scar tissue. "I don't know," she replies honestly. "I've never seen winter before. I suspect holly, though. I mean, that's what Christmas music leads me to believe." She swallows once and then looks away with an almost wistful expression, eyes fixing on the window that should have been broken. "What was Christmas like in your house, Sylar? I knew what it was, but nobody ever… I never celebrated. I just knew it was the time of year that people were most angry that they were saddled with looking after me — when I was young and still needed looking after."

"They could have still celebrated it with you," Sylar muses, sitting down on the bench just next to her. "But I guess that defeats the point. It's meant to be a family holiday."A glance her way. "I don't know. It wasn't so special from any other day. Christmas morning, there'd be presents and then later, we'd sit down and have a proper dinner. I always thought that other families probably did bigger and better things but you're not meant to complain, right?" His hands cup the air again, gathering water once more. Out here, in this time of year, there was no lack of it.

"Do you miss them?" Odessa asks quietly, her gaze turning back to Sylar. She knows it's a delicate topic, but she's hoping the sympathy in her expression will help smooth some of that impropriety.

Sylar slowly shakes his head, eyes focused on the growing ball of water. "No," he says. "I don't miss them. They were a burden. Love is chains and weights." Ice freezes water, making the immediate area that much colder. "Should I try it again?"

Odessa frowns faintly. "But you did love them," she assesses. "You wouldn't be who you are without them. I wouldn't be who I am if I'd had parents. A family of any sort. I'm jealous of you. Even if you still hated them in the end, you knew you would be able to break free. You can look at your parents and know where you got certain little quirks or habits." Doctor Knutson brushes a finger under one eye, ridding herself of the tear that formed before it can slide down her cheek and betray her. She glances to the new sphere of frozen water and nods he head once. "Yeah… Go until you've smashed them all."

The bench shifts a little when Odessa is left alone on it, Sylar walking away towards the ledge to face the building. He has nothing to say to her assessment, no reassurances or defenses. What else can be done about scars, after all, other than cover them up, ignore them? He has his own too. His arms raise, and he concentrates, vision enhancing to reduce the distance in his mind, and without a sound, the sphere of compact ice goes rocketing away. A distance smash of glass indicates he finally hit his target, but he doesn't celebrate, just repeats the process.

Something echoes very faintly off the buildings and back to Sylar's sensitive Hearing, already in the later stages of decay by the time it reaches his ears. It's similar to the noise heard at their trip to the boatyard. Behind him, Odessa has risen from her seat and she's watching each window break with a grim satisfaction that's apparent in her posture and in the lines of her face. It's as though it resonates from her, the catharsis the shattering glass brings.

His head turns slightly at the tail ends of those echoes, but waits until after a fourth window has been knocked out, and the voices of people from within the building start to sound, before he says anything. "I think I'm understanding your power now," Sylar says, turning towards her, leaning against the ledge. "Not everything, but some of it."

"It's my gift," Odessa says quietly, moving know to kneel by a barren patch of earth, pulling off her gloves and letting them rest on the ground beside her. "It's all I've got." She combs her fingers through the dirt and holds up a handful, considering. "We might be able to grow datura here."

"We're the sum of our powers," Sylar agrees, watching her. "You know this is usually the part where I'd kill you. No one's watching and maybe you could stop me but it doesn't mean I wouldn't try. The urge to just take is like blinders, you don't see anything else. But I'm scared of what would happen if I took what you could do. I'm scared of the decisions I'd make." A pause, eyes going towards the churned earth. "Datura, that sounds nice."

"You could try," Odessa echoes, rising to her feet again after brushing the soil from her hands. "I wouldn't let you. Not just because I want to go on living." Without saying as much, she acknowledges the choices he would make if he were to acquire her ability. "If I could let you try it, I would. If I could give you just a taste, I swear to you, I would be more than eager to." Boldly she steps forward. "I wish you could feel it the way I do. It's so obstinate." Absently she glance down at her watch and then starts unfastening the band. She holds it by one delicate clasp, goldtone peeling away in places. "It's slow again."

"You should get something better," Sylar says, reaching out a hand to take the watch. It's not so much that he's aware of the time its poorly keeping, just the inaccuracy, and he brushes his thumb over the glass face of the little watch. "I'd like to take it home, fix it properly," he says, glancing back at her, remembering that the last time, he'd simply shown off his telekinetic prowess. "And don't tempt me. You don't understand."

"I don't want something better," she explains, "I like what I have." She seems to consider his offer for a moment before she nods. "All right. But it means a lot to me. I do want it back." Odessa presses her lips together, trepidatious about parting with her timepiece. "You're right… I don't. I want to be something greater than what I am. I mean, it gnaws at me. But… I don't have the means to reach out and take it the way you do. I can't imagine what that's like." She pauses and turns her attention to the broken windows, imagining the flustered people inside. "You won't tell anyone, will you? What you've been figuring out?"

He slips the watch into the pocket of his jacket, carefully. "I won't," Sylar agrees. "Wouldn't make a difference if I did. Just like I won't tell them that sometimes you scream in places no one can hear it. Except for me."

Odessa's head snaps back, but not in a shocked way. "You could hear that." Of course he could, you dolt. "I forget sometimes…" She blinks a few times and rubs her injured throat gently. "I learned two things very early on. Always keep your secrets, and never let them see you bleed. I'm not very good at either of those things anymore."

"It doesn't work that way out here," Sylar agrees. "Now it's just about damage control." He rolls his shoulders in a restless gesture, as if his muscles were stiff, and a flicker of annoyance crosses his face before he looks back at her. "Hey, want to kill someone?"

Odessa's caught a little off her guard by the question and so her head tilts to one side slowly. "Will it help you feel better?" She drops down to a crouch to retrieve her gloves, tugging them back on slowly.

"I think it'd be therapeutic," Sylar confirms. "It doesn't matter much. We can make it quick." He thinks for a moment. "And we can find someone who deserves it," he adds, this just occurring to him.

"It doesn't need to be quick," Odessa assures him with a gentle smile as she straightens to her full height once more. "We can take as much time as you need." The smile turns to a smirk and she muses, "Someone who deserves it? Yes, I think I'd like that very much. It needn't be quick at all. I have all the time in the world."

Vanquishing a villain, just like a hero should. Sylar smirks a hand reaching to touch the center of Odessa's back in a gentlemanly gesture to lead them down off the roof, a shadowing presence over the woman as they move through the tenement, a man who's far from a protector with a woman who needs no protecting.

November 26th: The Nature Of Fear

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 26th: Little Sunshine
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