eileen_icon.gif kazimir3_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Easy
Synopsis Sylar returns, victorious. Of course, it can never be that easy.
Date January 9, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Daybreak. Despite the rosy light filtering through the remains of Midtown — ruined monoliths stripped down to their base parts, twisted skeletons of broken metal, warped glass and melted asphalt — there is nothing divine about the glow that illuminates this particular stretch of road. Beneath the snow and ice, chunks of concrete rise up from the earth at sharp angles, providing plenty of pinnacles from which to look out across the wasteland that was once the heart of New York. No longer does it pump traffic through the city's veins and arteries, no longer does it beat; Eileen sits alone on the hood of the car where Sylar last left her, waiting patiently with only the sound of wind whistling in her ears to keep her company.

It's been hours since he left, and hours since she first began to wonder if encouraging him to take a leap of faith was the right thing to do. He should have been back by now. Sent word.



The bitter winter cold is the only thing to keep Eileen company out here in these morning hours, a cold that numbs her ears and fingertips, a terrible cold that seems to pass right through the fragile young woman. But this wintry isolation can only last for so long, because her hopes for an answer, any answer about what happened do eventually come.

At first the answer is just a black smudge against the snow-crusted streets, a slowly approaching silhouette of dark colors. As he draws closer, Eileen can make out the detail of Sylar's features; dark hair, thick brows, prominent nose. But there is something he returns with, that he did not leave with. Carried in one hand, touted around like a scepter more than a walking aid, is the wolf-headed cane of Kazimir Volken.

Sylar's approach is slow and tired seeming, even his posture seems to have a worn-down quality to it, presumably related to the arduous task of killing a man who cannot die. Once the sound of his shoes crunching in the frozen snow is heeard, Eileen can make out the confident smile plastered across Sylar's face, an almost snering expression that says that wasn't so tough with wordless efficiency.

The cold of the winter dawn is muted, the feeling of snow crunching underfoot as distant as thunder. Where Sylar really resides is somewhere darker, but he can't help but ride along. There's really not much else to do. But he can stop paying attention, continually fighting some internal struggle to twitch a finger, force his eyes to close - a wealth of things and all of them impossible.

After a time, he notes where they're going. Access to a vast and perfect memory is substantially limited now, but he recognises these streets, and he certainly recognises the figure perched on the car. In the depths of his mind, he says nothing, having given up on conversation some hours ago, refusing to speak or become one of the wailing voices in the vortex of Kazimir's presence. It'd be too easy to fall into.

He is awful tempted to ask what the point of this is, and the close union of his mind with Kazimir's would inevitably betray some of this sentiment, wordless as it is.

There is no sudden flush of relief to pinken Eileen's cheeks, no boisterous cry to herald Sylar's — Kazimir's — return. Instead, she plants both her gloved hands on the hood to steady herself as she stretches her legs and touches the toes of her boots to the frozen ground before shoving off the car completely. The expression on her face is solemn, somber; no matter how much they both might have wanted this, it doesn't change the fact that someone had to die. Someone Eileen once respected, revered — loved.

Kazimir Volken is dead, or so says the relic he carries. It's all the evidence she needs. At first, Eileen's gait is slow and measured, cautious as she approaches the advancing figure, but as the distance between them closes she increases her pace, completing the transition from a leaden walk to a stumbling sprint in the time it takes for the full gravity of the situation to sink in.

It's finished. Vanguard is free.

"You waited for me." There's a bit of a scratch to Sylar's voice as he speaks, a dryness that is likely the cold weather's fault. He stops in place, several feet from Eileen, holding up the cane in one hand with a raise of one brow to match. "The old man is dust and bones," and to the credit of the deception, it is the truth. The old and ragged corpse of Richard Santiago that was kept animate by Kazimir's profane power is now little more than a pile of dust and bones.

But now is the moment when masks are tested, when false faces and forked tongues must be put to work. Just how convincing can this face of Sylar's be, "I'm glad to see you're alright." Sylar opens one arm, as if in offering of an embrace, not entirely a gesture becoming of him, but this is a moment of celebration. Though not in the way Eileen expects.

It's like coming out of a dream. He watches as Eileen runs towards him like it's some distant vision rather than the reality, or maybe that's just wishful thinking. It's when he feels himself talk that forces him properly aware, a spike of that familiar fury boiling up for a moment before petering out again at the futility of it, replaced by savage bitterness. Stop this, comes that murmured voice in Kazimir's mind, as rough as barbed wire. What are you doing? The idea of this man pretending to be him is insult even more than being possessed.

To say that Eileen throws her arms around Kazimir would not only be a cliche — it would also be a massive understatement. The force with which she collides into him might be enough to knock a weaker man off his feet, but Eileen is very small and the body Kazimir inhabits is very large; a solid center of gravity keeps him on his feet in spite of his injuries but does nothing to decrease the pressure the young woman exerts as she encircles him in her arms, digs her nails into the stiff fabric of his coat and buries her face against his chest.

She didn't need the invitation.

I am testing the limits of my new body, Sylar. Again, no pretenses of calling him Gabriel, it truly all was some twisted ruse, a lie doctored to create sympathy for Kazimir and obedience. Though it is no small compensation that I am also enjoying your squirming. Had he taunted Santiago as much? Had he broken that man's will with his internal conversations? Fifty years of being a prisoner of Kazimir Volken; Richard Santiago's death must have been a blissful release, even if it was so horrifying.

The proffered arm wraps quietly around Eileen's back, returning the silent embrace as the man who stole Sylar's face lowers his head down, pressing his nose and mouth to the top of Eileen's head with an almost paternal measure of a kiss to her crown. "Did you think it would be this easy?" There's a crooked smile, a knowing smile, one Eileen isn't privy to the punchline of yet. "I didn't."

There's not much he can hide from Kazimir, and the flare of anger is as clear as day to the man mastering his body at the moment. Sylar "says" nothing, back to the mode of silent-treatment, enduring an unwanted hug from Eileen, enduring himself returning it with that kiss. He wants to taunt Kazimir back, point out that Eileen is too smart for this, has to be too smart for this to continue on much longer, but the best for her, he knows, is to say nothing. Allow this game to run its course. Or else she could easily die here tonight. He remains a silently seething presence of consciousness, hardly there at all.

Eileen is so overwhelmed by contradictory emotions — grief and exhilaration, remorse and adoration — that the familiarity of Kazimir's gesture completely escapes her. It isn't something Sylar has ever done, nor is it something she ever suspected he might do given their strange relationship and the circumstances surrounding it. The warmth of his breath in her hair causes Eileen to lift her head, and when she tips her face up to get a better look at his, her eyes are wet and watery, more gray than they are green, though no tears glisten on her cheeks or gather in between her dark lashes.

"No." Her voice, hoarse, comes out in the form of a low croak reminiscent of the feathered company she normally keeps, but she compensates by swallowing hard to help smooth its crackling edges when she next opens her mouth. "We should've gone with you," she says. "Ethan. Elias. Wu-Long. We could have helped."

"Oh, I don't think that really would have changed anything." Sylar says in a smooth voice, letting his arm that wraps around Eileen's waist lift up to brush the matted hair away from her face. "They'd have just gotten in the way," he adds with a smile creeping up on his lips. "So, what do we do from here?" Letting his hand slip away from Eileen's face entirely, Sylar circles around the girl and takes a few steps away from her, letting that bitter winter cold fill the space where the warmth of their proximity once was.

Are you enjoying this? There's a sense of something whimsical, a sadistic and delightful glee in Kazimir's echoed voice that seems, even to Sylar, unlike himself. He is slowly adopting mannerisms, methods of speech, and body posture unlike his former self. Is this the way it was when he possessed Santiago? Was there such a drastic shift then too?

"Because I, for one, have plenty of unfinished business." Both dark brows raise with the statement, and Sylar slowly turns to face Eileen, resting the stel tip of his cane down into the snow with a muffled clink. His hand grips the wolf's head, letting his thumbnail idly trace a notch in the steel wolf's forehead.

Perhaps it would be easier if the voice in his head resembled something of the old man Kazimir had once been. But no, it's his own. Sylar only wishes he could react in some human way - a glare would suffice, instead of naked emotion and reaction. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer, he mutters, if muttering were possible in this circumstance. Stay away from her. She's nothing. Powerless. You can have everything you want and she can't stop you. Why this sudden protectiveness? It admittedly has a selfish streak - Kazimir playing this role is disturbing, maddening, and Eileen's presence, waiting here for him, only highlights his own failure.

Avoidance. Denial. Rationalization. coping mechanisms, all. There's definitely something off about Sylar's behavior, and if Eileen knew the truth she'd also know this is because he isn't Sylar at all, but her reluctance to question the miracle standing right in front of her lends strength to Kazimir's charade and allows it to continue. Acceptance is easier. Safer.

As Kazimir moves away, Eileen resists the urge to follow, to argue at his back. Get in the way? The others have never gotten in the way before. He's never refused their help, at least not in her presence. Why the change in demeanor? Why so cocksure?

Eileen chalks it up to Sylar being battened upon his victory. It isn't until he's facing her again that she steps forward, reclaiming the space he just put between them. Her hands, covered in the soft leather of her gloves, seize his face and pull him down to her level. She studies him intently, uncertain, though none of the doubt etched across her pale features has anything to do with his identity.

There's something else on her mind.

It's the touch of the gloves to either side of Sylar's face that truly indicates to him exactly what Eileen is thinking, that gentle draw of his face towards hers. And to Kazimir, he begins to realize just what this girl may have begun to mean to Sylar, and what this ego-crushing act will do to the mind imprisoned within his own. There is a gentle, almost coy smile that crusl across Sylar's lips as he leans in, letting his eyes fall shut as they meet Eileens.

For a moment, they are just cold, as chilled as hers are by the cold dawn air. It is this momentary physical contact that gives the mind of Kazimir Volken pause, for even the kiss to the top of Eileen's head hadn't truly crossed his mind, that he was able to make physical contact with her without killing her, it was reflexive, it was intuitive. This was Sylar's true gift, understanding, mastering.

It makes what comes next, all the more vile.

The kiss itself is something that is fleeting, almost awkward feeling. The inexperienced motion of fumbling lips, perhaps to blame from the cold, but in reality due to Volken's own inexperience in intimacy, due to his unique curse. "Did you really…" He whispers against her lips, forehead touching to Eileen's, "Think it would be this easy?" Those words trail across Eileen's cheek, moving down from her lips to the left side of her jaw, where another kiss is placed, far colder than the last. This time, though, the touch of lips elicits something else, something painful, something not Sylar. The moment those cold lips touch the girl's skin, there is a numbing sensation, followed by a prickling of the skin, and then a dull ache, followed by the sensation of searing heat as the skin around where Sylar's lips pressed to Eileen's skin begins to wither and decay. Veins blacken and flesh blisters from the tainted touch of his caress, and soon that shock of numbness fades, giving way to the intense pain of rapid dessication. Just enough to leave a palm sized disfigurement on the side of her face.

"It wasn't that easy." Sylar whispers, fingers wrapping in the back of Eileen's hair as he draws her head away from his, straightening up to stare down at the girl with narrowed eyes.

The intimacy is suffocating, and alien in this context. Whatever relationship had been built between serial killer and bird whisperer, it had been one of awkwardness, some reluctance, kinship and then a deeper bond born of shared experiences, memories, ideas. And in the end, trust. Sylar says nothing to Kazimir as a kiss is shared, one he distantly feels as his own, and he only wishes he could shut it all off and allow himself to fade into oblivion— but it's a fleeting wish, one he's sure Kazimir desires him to make.

And then he can feel it. The pull of power, destruction, the poison-death touch of Kazimir's power on Eileen's skin. Sylar tries to pull his own hands away, to take a step back, to do anything that isn't wind his fingers through Eileen's hair and smirk down at her in such a way. To show her that there is a semblance of himself in there, that she needs to run away five minutes ago. He can't do any of these things, except curse quietly in the back of Kazimir's mind.

Sylar has shown cruelness toward Eileen several times before, but not even his most violent act inflicted the amount of pain that Kazimir Volken's kiss does now. One moment her lips are brushing his, murmuring Sylar's name over and over as he speaks — the next, the nerves on the left side of her face are on fire.

There are two distinct possibilities: either Sylar has been playing her all along, preying upon her emotions the same way he once preyed upon others like them, or he failed in his task and the man whose mouth is burning into her cheek is the man who is supposed to be nothing more than a fine pile of ash and dust in the middle of an abandoned warehouse on the other side of the city. Unfortunately, all Eileen can think about as Kazimir tangles his fingers in her hair and pulls her face away from his is the simple fact that — no matter which way she chooses to look at it — she is utterly and completely fucked.

"Nn— !" Now tears do sting at the corners of her eyes, if for entirely different reasons than before, and she lets out a strangled cry, one part terror, one part blind fury. "Stop!"

"Stop?" Eileen's words are echoed with the sneering tone of Sylar's voice, with a rougher, more sharp edge to it. "Stop?" His lips curl back, revealing his teeth in a half-snarl, half-smile. "Oh, my dead Munin, I've only just started." Yanking the girl by the hair, Kazimir pulls her away from him, holding her out at arm's length with a tilt of his head to one side, appraising the dessicated mark on the side of her face where the skin has blackened and blistered away from the muscle. "You have been a remarkable disappointment, Munin. But I digress, there have been some misunderstandings between us, I had never intended for King to… Mmnh, be as liberal on you as he was."

Beginning to walk, Kazimir continues to firmly grip Eileen by the hair as he drags her away from the car they stood near, instead moving down along the street towards a row of burned out cars, and one further down the street that looks much newer, and is noticably running. "I thought that putting an end to you might be the best recourse, but now I think that is going to change." He's all but ignoring the voice inside of his head now, letting silence be met with silence. This is how it was for Santiago as well, enough personalized torment, and he lost his will to fight back, to rage against Kazimir's mind. He always thought Sylar would fight harder.

"Instead, you're going to be spending some time with the mother of the Vanguard. She's taken an interest in you."

Raging only does so much good. Sylar concentrates on what he can barely feel, the way his fingers clench in Eileen's hair, trying to loosen them, trying to get himself to stop talking, trying to regain control back over his physical self. The impossibility isn't setting in as quickly as it should, trusting in his own ability to take control, to understand how abilities work, to find the weak link somewhere and dig his fingers in and exploit it.

It's not working.

But information fills in and Sylar pauses his struggle, listening to what Kazimir says with his own mouth. He's not going to kill Eileen. Honest confusion shimmers through his portion of subconsciousness.

Eileen could struggle, she could kick and thrash and scream — but apart from Kazimir, apart from the empty air and the otherwise deafening stillness of this forgotten place, who would hear her? Instead, she suffers in relative silence, breaths coming out in the form of ragged hisses spat out through her nostrils. Her nails sink into the skin of his wrists in a futile attempt to either pry him off her or make him bleed; at this point, she'd be equally satisfied with either. Wrestling her toward the car won't be much of a challenge for Kazimir, even if all he's been able to retain are Sylar's body and memories rather than his abilities — Eileen is small and frail, the mouse to Volken's cat. All she can do is put up enough resistence to satisfy the furor raging inside of her.

"I'll kill you," she snarls, voice shrill with pain, slurred by tears, "I'll fucking kill you."

With every step that brings them closer to the car waiting down the lane it becomes more and more apparent precisely how out of place it is — clean, expensive, running and occupied. Eileen's profane outburst serves as the cue for the doors to unlock with an audible click. The rear driver's side window smoothly rolls down half-way, more than enough to allow for a warm gust of air to escape and spill over both the girl and her captor, but affording them only a view of spacious black leather interior and no passenger until — a flash of color, something gold, and a buzzing noise…

…a single bumblebee emerges from the gap and momentarily dances on the lip of the lowered window just long enough for a positive visual identification to be made before it merrily makes its way with buzzing haste over to Eileen, whereupon it alights on the girl's cheek. "Such language," comes a woman's voice from inside the car. A pair of bedroom eyes peer out at the pair as Lucrezia at last reveals herself. "…is unacceptable. I see I have my work cut out for me."

January 9th: Totally Fucked
January 9th: The Presence Of Angels
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