Goddamn Pigeons


eileen4_icon.gif felix_icon.gif

Scene Title Goddamn Pigeons
Synopsis Eileen attempts to fight fire with fire by enlisting the help of Agent Felix Ivanov in her latest crusade against Feng Daiyu.
Date August 7, 2009

On the Edge of Central Park

Welcome to the land of Swelter. Fel's got his suit jacket off and slung over his shoulder, his tie off, the throat of his shirt opened, even for the evening's short walk to the various fancy grocery stores Lee insists he visit. Very GQ, save for the pistol at his hip. The mundanes can deal with the sight of the gun for now, by his lights. Fel's trudging along grumpily, pausing now and then to consult a piece of paper which is both list and directions.

She's seated on the concrete stoop of the tenement with the red door — the one that Felix has to pass every day on his home from work. There's nothing special about it, really. Apart from the paint on the door and the gnarled azalea bushes that grow on either side of the steps like a pair of flowering gargoyles, there isn't anything to differentiate it from its neighbors unless you're familiar with the face of Eileen Ruskin. As the fed approaches, she does not rise from her perch at the bottom of the steps, but she does lean forward to rest her elbows on her knees, a length of silver chain dangling from between her fingers.

"Agent Ivanov," she says in passing, her tone casual, perhaps to avoid drawing attention from the other people on the street. Generally, when you're a wanted criminal, discretion is a good idea.

The first thing out of his mouth is a grumpy question, like he's forgotten something and hopes she'll remind him. "Ruskin. Why shouldn't I shoot you right here?" he asks, tone conversational. Deckard's right. He really is a worthless faggot. A well-fed worthless faggot, these days - he seems to be prospering and has lost much of the gauntness that used to give him that permanently famished air.

"Federal agent slays unarmed witness in cold blood. News at eleven." Eileen holds up the chain for Felix to see, though it isn't the chain itself that she expects him to be interested — it's what she has attached to it. A rhinestone catches the light and glints silver as the dog tag's momentum spins it in a slow circle. "I just want to talk."

"Federal agent kills wanted terrorist," he amends, lifting a finger admonishingly as if she were a student who'd forgotten her lesson. But the glint of the tag has him pausing. He's only just now recalling he idly gave it to her. "And what do you have to say, then?" he says, with the lazy cruelty of a cat who's sure he sits before the only exit on that particular mousehole.

Eileen seems content, at least for the moment, to play the rodent to Felix's cat. If she had whiskers, they'd be twitching. She retracts the chain an inch at a time, reeling it up, up, up until her fist closes around the tag and the length attached to it. A light toss sends the whole thing wheeling through the air, aimed at his chest. "Catch."

The method by which he snatches it out of the air is perfectly normal. No hint of any particular power. His face softens a little when he realizes what it is he's caught, and he looks wry. "Thank you, I suppose."

The closest thing Eileen offers to a you're welcome is a faint twitch at the corner of her mouth, threatening a smile. Her eyes, on the other hand, are stony and solemn. "If you had a choice between sentencing me to death or life in a federal prison for my involvement with the Vanguard, which would you pick?"

"Asking me if I'd be judge and jury and maybe even executioner. It'd depend on where we were in terms of the hunt for the rest of the Vanguard and Gray. I'd not pitch a fit if you plea-bargained your way into a life sentence if you could be useful in that endeavor," he says calmly, but there's that puzzled furrow between his brows. "Why do you ask?"

"Your Central Intelligence Agency has put a hit out on everyone who was even peripherally involved in Volken's operation," Eileen explains, noting that furrow with a few faint creases of her own. "So while you might not be judge, jury and executioner, I thought you ought to know that your government is breaking its own rules and going after us on American soil so it can avoid bringing our case to trial." She wrinkles her nose. "I can't claim to know you as well as Teodoro does, Felix, but from the things he's told me about you… you strike me as the sort of person who might frown on it."

"I should hope you don't know me as well as Teodoro does," Felix says, in a lazy drawl. That's a hell of a gamble she's just made, counting on his overinflated sense of both jurisdiction and his own rectitude to restrain him, since she's more or less announced she's on the High Value Target List and thus fair game for a badge and a gun. "Got a fatwa on you, do you? They've had a High Value Target List since…..before Gulf War II." he notes, eyeing her with that feline glitter in his eyes. "Do you want asylum? If I take you in, let them know you'll cooperate with the hunt, we can keep you out of their claws. I meant what I said about the plea bargain. You'd get life imprisonment, most likely, but you would get a trial. Hell, you're not even an American citizen, you'd be extradited, eventually. And there's no death penalty in the UK, though they might make an exception for you. All the CIA will give you is an assassin's bullet, and while I can raise a stink, I can't stop them, not fast enough to save you or the others. The Bureau and the Agency have been at daggers drawn since they were the OSS, and we defend our turf. But….considering how the bureaucracy works, what I can do to the CIA is denounce them sternly."

Eileen regards Felix coolly, studying his face from behind the veil of her lashes as he speaks. There's no anger in her expression, no frustration or ire pinching at the corners of her mouth or pulling it down into a frown — she didn't come looking for him with high expectations, so it's difficult for her to feel even a twinge of disappointment when he presents her with his alternative. "I've been thinking about turning myself in since the start of the year," she admits a little ruefully, "but I worry that if I were to do it now, I'd end up in a pool of my own blood on the floor of a prison cell and my death ruled a suicide. You can't promise me anything. You can't protect me from an assassin's bullet, either — not even if I let you take me in today."

There's a pause as she braces her hand against the steps and finally pushes herself to her feet, boots scuffing against the pavement. "They shot me up with heroin. Tortured me for Holden's phone number."

"Who's -they-?" Felix wonders, quietly. "If we get you to Quantico, they can't get you. Not even the CIA. The bureaucracy, whatever its flaws, generates a paper trail. If we make enough noise now, they don't dare try the sneaky shit. I don't have a lot of power, but I do have notoriety on my side, and I can go up more or less to the president if I must. If you run loose, you are fair game. Anyone with a gun can kill you, and it will be nearly automatically ruled self-defense. Did you escape from being held somewhere else? The spooks are fuckers, and they do play even dirtier than we do, now that Hoover's dead - while that sounds like the shit they'd do in general, if it was the actual CIA that had you, with you on the HVT, we'd not be having this conversation. You'd have a bag over your head and would be face down in a tank of water." He takes a deep breath, polishes his glasses on his cuff. "You have every reason in the world to hate me, but I swear to you, if you turn yourself in and agree to cooperate, I'll defend you to the death."

Silent laughter shimmers through Eileen's small frame. "You're running out of lives, you know. I don't think I could ask you to do that for me. Not in good conscience." As she steps away from the stoop while maintaining her distance from Felix, the denim material of her jeans rustles, low on the hip and tight around the knee. There are very few places she could be concealing a weapon on person, but if she's still in possession of the ability she had the last time that she and Felix crossed paths, then it isn't likely she needs one. "I can give you the name of the agent who interrogated me," she offers. "All he cares about is finding Holden. He shot a man I was with without confirming his identity first — innocents are going to start getting caught in the crossfire if someone with authority doesn't step in and do something."

"I've started over. I'm at nine," Fel says, solemnly. "And who is this man? Now, how do you know he's actually CIA? This sounds like some very dodgy shit, the spooks don't issue badges like we do, and anyone can claim to be anything. Who'd he shoot? You can come in and press assault charges." He might be joking - that angular pokerface reveals little, as he pushes his glasses back up his nose with a gesture that is far more adorable when Hiro does it.

"He shot Gray." Best to get that out of the way first. "I don't have any evidence that he's with the CIA apart from what he told me, but he had contact information on his phone for someone called Director and someone called Autumn." Eileen shakes her dark-haired head and glances down the street, past Felix, to where a bus is idling at the stop on the corner and a large black bird sits with its feet hooked in the back of a bench. "I wouldn't believe it if I didn't know him. We used to work together — he's a former Vanguard operative himself, Feng Daiyu."

"Did he work intel when you knew him in the Vanguard? Was he part of any intelligence agency then? Because if he's CIA now, I'll eat my hat," Fel says, flatly. "But if he was Vanguard, he's definitely on the Bureau's shitlist."

"Daiyu dabbled in a little bit of everything, far as I know. He's been hanging out around Staten Island, bribing people for information on our whereabouts." Eileen's mouth grows tight, lips thinning out. She gives Felix a mildly exasperated look, but the tone of her eyes matches that of her voice; more pleading than accusatory, she keeps a firm clamp on her temper. "If you'll look into this for me, I'll give you all the information I have on those of us who are already dead. That includes Volken."

Fel sighs, equally close to a loss of patience. "Interesting, but not what's needed," he says, with a shake of his head. He's not as quick as he was, no longer supernaturally so. But the gun leaps into his hand with an unnatural alacrity, safety already off. "I tried asking nicely, Ruskin. I'm not going to ask again. I meant what I said about defending you, but you spend tonight enjoying the Bureau's hospitality. You can't call your Hitchcock buddies before I put a bullet in you. End of story."

Eileen raises both her hands in a gesture of surrender with the gun comes out, the silver rings on her fingers flashing like teeth as she places them on her head — a picturesque example of obedience. The expression on her face is apologetic, too, though not for the reasons Felix might think. Something jangles, metal tinkling against metal, though she wears no jewelry on her wrists or around the slender column of her neck.

A heartbeat later, the reason for the sound becomes painfully apparent as wind rushes through a set of wings at close to sixty miles per hour and a set of wickedly curved talons slam into Felix's temple. If he'd been one of the pigeons perched on the concrete lip at the edge of the tenement's roof, the federal agent would be dead before he hit the ground in an explosion of bloody feathers. Fortunately, he isn't — the most he has to worry about is dislodging the falcon from his head as it screams in his ear and buffets his face with its wings, the bell on its jesse clamouring wildly.

It's the mother of all sucker punches, as if she'd pulled a hammer out of some other pocket dimension like some kind of cartoon rabbit and socked him with it. Hard enough to almost knock him out. Fel goes over like a piece of downed timber, only barely managing to keep a grip on his gun. Instant concussion by bird grenade - had it come from a full stoop rather than merely trying to scare pigeons, he'd be dead. He ends up with his unwounded temple cuddled too hard into the concrete, a set of parallel slashes on the other side bleeding liberally, and a very, very confused peregrine clinging to his shoulder and screeching in triumph. She looks around, beak spread in a pant, and then looks fiercely up at Eileen - promptly mantling over Felix and sinking her talons into the wool of his suit. This is the biggest goddamn pigeon I ever killed and you aren't taking it away from me. He groans and doesn't rise - his glasses lie shattered on the pavement, shards glittering.

"I really am sorry," Eileen says, her boots crunching through glass as she steps around Felix's crumpled shape and glances down at his face to assess the damage done before continuing toward the bus. She doesn't hang around any longer than it takes to make sure that the fed is still breathing and the falcon hasn't suffered any life-threatening injuries.

His promise to defend her to the death, whether or not he meant it, apparently counts for something.

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