Good Graces


eileen_icon.gif varlane_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Graces
Synopsis Magnes (?) sets up camp where he knows one of his targets will stop by.
Date April 15, 2011

Staten Island: Abandoned Garage

At around 8PM, around two hours after his disaster of a meeting with Huruma, Mr. Varlane has decided that what would make him feel better is meeting his one true love. And what better way than to greet her with a meal?

There's a small circular wooden table with a white cloth over it, and there's a single candle in the middle. A bottle of marlot with two glasses on each side, as well as two small roasted birds on each of their plates is what they'll be having. It's hard to tell at first glance what exactly these birds are, especially with the heads cut off, but at least they smell delicious.

Hair slicked back, goatee in place, denim clothing (except the grey shirt) and cream colored Oxfords are what make this particular Varlane, much different than the Varlane she slapped for being a dumbass. He's already cutting into his bird, around the time that he expects her to arrive, eyes closed with a serene expression on his face.

Delicious is not the smell that should be wafting from the garage on the edge of Staten Island's Outer District — Eileen expects oil and engine grease, wet concrete and the rich, earthy stink of rotting wood. Although the Remnant never claimed this building as its own, they've used it often enough to repair their trucks (and, once, to store Gabriel's Jaguar for a brief period of time while it was still a surprise) that the Englishwoman has come to view it like a fox views a cache. It's a safe place to store additional ammunition and other supplies in the event that she needs them.

There is a metal locker on the far side of the garage with a rifle in it and two medium-sized boxes of bullets in addition to a first-aid kit and six bottles of water still in their plastic packaging. She came to the garage with the intention of taking the weapon and returning it to the Dispensary for routine maintenance and cleaning, which would be much less necessary if the garage's roof didn't like and she wasn't worried about moisture seeping into the locker.

She was not expecting to find anyone else here, but her ritual of ghosting into the garage pays off; she becomes aware of Magnes' presence before he becomes aware of hers. Two glasses. That's interesting.

"Trying to get back in Elaine's good graces?" she asks from somewhere off behind him and to his left.

"Hello Munin." Varlane motions to the seat across from her with a calm and collected smile, starring at her in the way that she might have caught him staring at Abby or Claire in the past, but somehow he does so in a much more regal manner tonight. "Have a seat. You're looking as lovely as ever." And at the mention of Elaine he just laughs and shakes his head. "As if I'd consort with Ferry trash."

Eileen's footsteps carry her around the table at what she deems a safe distance and toward the locker. She's dressed for spring rather than the receding winter, jacket worn open and layered upon light wool cardigan and some variety of shirt that buttons down, paired with jeans and sleek leather boots made for horseback riding. They have a minimal amount of mud on their soles — in wet weather, she keeps to hard, flat surfaces when she can. It's harder to track someone across pavement than it is loose soil unless the tracker has a hound with them, and the situation in the Outer District is not so dire she has to worry about that just yet.

It's kind of him to say that she's looking lovely, because she doesn't particularly. Generalized anxiety and lack of sleep have aged her and painted shadows under her pale eyes, which are a little pink around the edges. "Then we probably ought not to be speaking," she says.

"You're their leader, aren't you? You're in a position to know what members would benefit us the most to use. It's not too late to recreate Kazimir's dream, I lived his dream, it's better than any possible future we can ever have in this world if things continue on the way that they are." Varlane finally stands, walking over to her, then reaches out to touch her shoulder. "I love you too much to give you anything but the best. You're smart, you're pragmatic, your father and my mentor gave us all the mental tools we need to save the world."

"I'm not so important as that," Eileen says, and her shoulder tenses at the touch. By now, she's arrived at her destination and already has key in hand — she slips it into the lock and turns it, rewarded with a dull click and the creak of rusty hinges. The bluebird at her collar, hidden until now the loose curls of her dark, windswept hair, mantles its wings and spits out a sharp, warbling note of warning at the hand as Eileen is opening the locker. "And neither are you."

"You're still very strong-willed in this world, I like that. I don't want you to break. We loved eachother, but then there were those other guys, the ones you thought were more sensitive, or met 'emotional' needs. And then they had to die, every single one of them. Why do I have to kill everything you love to get your attention, Munin?" Magnes quickly reaches out, trying to grab the bluebird by the neck, fully intending on snatching it away very roughly. "These damned birds. I gave you everything, and in the end all you did was roll over and give up. I got your body, but I didn't get the strong Munin that fell in love with me, that I fell in love with. What has this world's Magnes done? I bet he doesn't even care that you consort with that serial killer."

It all happens very fast. Magnes' fingers snap around the bluebird as it's launching itself off her shoulder, ending up in a snarled tangle of bent wings and rigid matchstick legs poking out between his knuckles, but the locker is already open and rifle brought up to bear in a much clumsier sequence of movements than Eileen prefers. Sparrows crowd around the lip of the garage's skylight, jostling for position and the best view of what's happening directly below them.

She can be certain now of everything that Jensen told her. What's presently on her mind is whether or not this confirmation is worth the danger she's put herself in to obtain it. The rifle's butt backs up against her shoulder and she levels it with Magnes' chest, which provides her with a larger target than his head.

"Eileen. I've not gone by Munin for years. Who are you?"

Varlane holds the bird firmly, but he's not going to hurt it yet, it may be the only thing standing between him and a body full of bullets. "Magnes J. Varlane. I come from a Vanguard Utopia after an accident with Gillian and a black hole. I have no way to get back, and if I can't get back then I'll have to save this world instead. And in my world, you are mine. Other women are alright, they're fun, but no woman can be you, no woman comes close to you. You are the apex of what being a woman is and I will raze the very planet and kill everything around you until you realize that. What, are you going to kill me? I was taught by Kazimir for years, you don't think I have something horrible prepared in the event of my death?"

Eileen takes the opportunity to reestablish the distance between herself and Magnes, skirting along the edge of the lockers, all of them empty except for the one she opened with her key, glimmering now on the floor like a fishscale. She does not show him her back — her rifle remains on target with minimal wavering of her aim. It seems foolish to argue with him whether he believes he's telling the truth or not; later, she can determine whether Magnes has known Kazimir for years as he claims or only a few weeks, but right now her focus is on the nearest exit and the shortest route she can safely take to get there.

"If you and Kazimir are so close to one another," she says, brushing alongside the table, "then surely he's told you everything there is to know about my ability. What was it meant to be before I manifested?"

"What?" Varlane asks, a bit confused. There are probably a few ways to answer that question, a few conclusions to make. Kazimir's ability jumps, but maybe that's not what she means at all. He's never heard this about Eileen, it could be a trick question… "What are you talking about? And if you don't put that gun down I will snap this bird's neck. Do we need to get in the habit of me killing your birds in this world too?"

"Kill the bird and I'll blast your heart clear out your back." Eileen feels her shoulders bump against the metal frame of the door she came in through and stops. She's limited to what she can see through the bluebird's eyes, and the eyes of the thronging sparrows; her perception is not perfect, and while her voice is confident and her hands steady, her chances of actually hitting him if she pulled back on the trigger are not quite as high as she claims.

"What was his sister's name?"

Varlane's eyes narrow at her question, going quiet for a long moment. "Kazimir doesn't have a sister." he decides after his bit of hesitation, looking over to the food. "Just put the gun down, I'll give you the bird back, and we can eat, spend the night together. There's no need for this hostility."

That's when he does it, he releases the bird from his hand, and in that very second his other arm flings to the right in an attempt to mentally send the gun flying into the wall, and he goes running for her while reaching into his blazer for his own Company-model gun. "You're the one person on this Earth I won't kill, so calm down or I will kill every bird within one mile. I will do it one by one, and I will make you watch."

That's not Magnes' ability. That's—

The sound the rifle makes when it collides with the wall is like a gunshot itself, scattering sparrows and the solitary bluebird buzzing up toward the skylight and the sliver of moon it can see between the branches of overhanging trees. It seems almost impossible that the bang of the door thundering shut on Magnes should be louder, but it is.

Eileen does not waste time retrieving her rifle or pulling her knife on him — she's already off and running across the parking lot, pavement wet and slick, gleaming silver in the dark.

Varlane kicks the door hard, with the force of his ability and all behind it, trying to run after her while she has quite a head start. He may have to replace these damned Oxfords with something a bit more practical, but he didn't think he'd be chasing anyone tonight. "Munin! Get your ass back here! You're nothing without me, nothing! Kazimir is dead, I'm the only one who can bring back the Vanguard and save this world!"

Suddenly, out of some crazy blind rage, he fires off two shots, but misses the moving target at this distance. "They're doves! I ate a dove!" is the last thing he shouts, finally stopping and catching his breath, watching as she gradually disappears from sight.

When the fog rolling in swallows her whole, he knows she is truly gone.

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