eileen_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Distractions.
Synopsis Or: how to lose friends and alienate people. Very short, but confrontations often are.
Date August 16, 2010

Old Dispensary

A short list of sounds that cannot be mistaken for any other: the engine under the hood of the Remnant's 1961 Dodge Pickup, the rusty pop of the passenger's side door being pried open from the inside and four sets of paws crackling across the gravel drive as Clay and Franklin come lurching around the side of the Dispensary to greet Raith and Eileen with bright eyes, black lips peeled back over sharp white teeth and long, lolling tongues that betray their Chow-chow heritage.

The Englishwoman slams the door shut behind her with enough force to send her magpie sentries scattering like monochrome leaves blown from the tree she'd instructed the flock to perch in before she left, back when it was still dark. Mid-morning light filters through the branches, diluted by bruised cloud cover: all that's left of the last storm front that passed over the island.

Her hair and clothes are damp, face streaked with blood that doesn't strictly belong to her but nonetheless runs through the dark network of veins beneath her unnaturally pale skin.

She hasn't spoken a word since setting foot outside the river house. Not one.

The driver's side door pops open and then slams shut shortly after the engine cuts off, and Raith takes a moment to scratch the ears of the dark-furred, more energetic and reckless Franklin. Clay, the more cautious of the pair (if only just) instead follows after Eileen keeping his distance only momentarily before trotting up alongside her and the into the lead, Raith and Franklin bringing up the rear. "We can't stay at the nature center forever," the man says, "Eventually, we have to leave, so it would be nice to know the plan for that." It's the first thing he's said the entire trip, too, although in Raith's case, it has much less to do with being angry as it does with not inciting Eileen's wrath. But that can only last so long before the needs of the Ferry must be addressed. Especially with the National Guard actively looking for them.

On any other day, under any other circumstances, Eileen would have an answer for him. This morning, she does not. That she seems to be tolerating the dogs more than she's tolerating Raith is the first of many warning signs. Something about the clipped manner of her gait, her jaw's steely set and the moisture in and around her eyes that should have dried by now but hasn't.

She keeps walking, kit in one hand, the other curled protectively across her midsection. The cigarette she kept tucked behind her ear for the operation's duration is gone, smoked in the misting rain while Avi, Abigail and Raith debated what to do with Nick and where to send them. She'd be more offended that she wasn't included in the conversation if she hadn't deliberately excluded herself from it.

Five seconds go by. Ten. "Okay, fine, no ops talk." Raith can work with that, even if he finds it irritating and irresponsible to gloss over when it's important. "Let's talk about that necktie and other accessories you've got." And he's not talking about literal fashion items, a point he makes absolutely clear when he quickens his pace and maneuvers to cut Eileen off, refusing to let her duck out of this one. "You can start by telling me who you pissed off enough to warrant mutilation, and you can start right now."

The heels of Eileen's boots dig into the gravel, producing a low scraping sound when she grinds to a halt within arm's reach of Raith. One of the magpies drops down and hooks its claws into the concrete lip above the Dispensary's front door, wings spread and tail fanned for additional balance. She needs it more than the bird does, ultimately, because her reaction to having her path blocked isn't the one that he's anticipating unless he expected her to grasp the kit with both her hands, finger splints and all, and crack him across the face with it.

It's not at all the reaction Raith is expecting, least of all at the dispensary where he is supposed to be at home. The kit slams into skin and bone solidly, and the ex-spy recoils and stumbles backwards, holding his face with his braced hand. It'll probably a lovely, line-shaped bruise later, all set to accompany the lip that was nearly healed and has been split again, if not nearly as badly as it first was. "What the fuck is your problem!" He recovers quickly from the assault, but much less quickly from the shock that Eileen Spurling, the woman with ice water in her veins, just gave him the medic's equivalent of five across the face. "What the fuck!" Both the dogs, even, have been shocked into standing statue still: This sort of thing isn't exactly normal, after all.

"You knew!" is a succinct accusation, but there's nothing particularly measured or clean about the way it comes out. Although she already spent most of her emotional energy back at the river house, there's still enough left in her body to fray her words and make her voice tremble, shifting volume and pitch against her will. "He was here in New York and you knew!"

"Yes, I knew!" There is absolutely zero point in trying to deny what Eileen knows is true. "And if two certain somebodies hadn't fucked things up, you wouldn't have! You two never would have seen each other, never would've known the other was here, he'd fuck off to wherever, doing whatever, and everyone would've been happy! Is it wrong to want to resolve shit like this quietly? Without hitting people with the medkit? I don't think so!" Unlike Eileen's voice, trembling with emotion, Raith's is bursting with anger, less at Eileen than at a situation he is confident would have, in fact, resolved quietly if Nick Ruskin's identity had not been made known.

The chances of landing another blow to Raith's head are so slim they might as well be nonexistent. Her likelihood of hitting him below his shoulders is only marginally better. "You'll go with Gabriel to Baltimore so he can confront the man who pretended to be his father, but when my brother turns up in the same fucking city you decide I'm better off uninvolved!"

And from a logical standpoint, maybe that wasn't wrong of him if this is the way Eileen is going to react when confronted with her personal demons. "You think you know better than me, Jensen? You think you're smarter?" The toe of her boot kicks up gravel and sends it bouncing harmlessly off his pant leg. "Fuck you! Fuck you and your fucking superiority complex you stupid fucking prick!"

It's no secret that Raith is furious about what has just transpired. But unlike the last time that Eileen struck him, he doesn't swing back. He doesn't keep yelling, either. Doesn't smugly grin or start weeping and wailing. He simply graces his once again bleeding lip with his tongue, spits a small wad of saliva onto the ground and says, "Fine. Maybe I did think I was smarter, and you caught me. Or maybe, I wanted to keep it a secret so it wouldn't distract you from doing your job."

The next sound from Raith is the sole of his boot grinding into the gravel, followed by the other as he begins his walk around and past Eileen, back towards the truck.

"Don't walk away from me!" Eileen shouts at Raith's retreating back, but at the same time she doesn't make any move to attack again or even pursue. She pivots instead, approximates his location based on the crunch of his boots and what the irate magpies can see of him from their new perches, glossy feathers rippling with the anxiety they experience on behalf of the woman standing in the drive. "You're not allowed to walk away from me!"

"I'm going to go do my job," the ex-spy snaps back, opening the driver-side door maybe harder than he should, given its ancient state, "Give me a call when you want me around again!" The only noise to cut the air more sharply than the slamming of the door is the dull roar of the diesel engine starting up. All things considered, the dispensary is the last place he wants to be right now. Maybe he didn't try to do the right thing. But, indeed, if this is how Eileen insists on reacting to the news, he almost certainly tried to do the smart thing.

And there's no way he's going to wait around to be yelled at for that.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License