astor_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Hemorrhaging
Synopsis Gabriel and Eileen treat Astor's injuries at the Remnant's river house and resolve to investigate his identity and connection to Feng Daiyu after he regains consciousness.
Date January 20, 2011

Staten Island: River House

It's dark by the time the horse breaches the fog rolling off the water behind the Remnant's Staten Island safehouse, several miles inland from the Dispensary and far outside what has become known as the island's Outer District. Very rarely do the soldiers stationed at Miller Airfield venture into the Greenbelt where the old, derelict building is situated, and even if they did the trees provide them with plenty cover, and much like the Garden there are no paved roads that lead through the dense woodland surrounding it.

It may be the safest place to hide in New York City, which is probably why both Messiah and the Ferrymen chose its general vicinity for their triage center following the attack on the Institute's hospital facility last year. The military didn't find them then, and it won't find them now, even if it isn't the government that Eileen is running from.

Thick ropes of vapour snake from the horse's nostrils as Eileen's mouth, her lips pursed as she slows the animal down, then brings it to a stop a safe distance away from the riverhouse. Moonlight reflects off her skin and hair, gathers in pools in the horse's eyes and causes the metal on saddle's buckles to shine bright silver like some sort of winking beacon in the mist.

She's not sure it's safe, and her hand not gripping the reins instinctively tightens around Astor's wrist, his arm looped loosely around her waist so he doesn't fall. The severity of the situation has her taking a risk she might not otherwise; she calls out Gabriel's name into the gloom, her voice a hoarse, fox-like bark.

Everything is a trap.

This isn't, turns out, but determined only after Gabriel has made some precautions. Whatever those might be. He appears through the walls of the river-side house, a kind of silvery, smokey shimmer unfurling around his shape as he passes through it effortless, moving towards her at a neutral kind of pace. Eileen is paid only a second of fleeting attention, but it's to the young man depending on her support that he scrutinises silently, a flicker of astrally projected empathy unfelt by Astor. He moves, across the distance that acts as a safety buffer, boots easily navigating the slick incline of forest ground.

His mouth pulls in the beginnings of a grimace when he senses a familiar damage, coming to a halt. Explanation is demanded only in silence, to be rewarded with, potentially, his help. She's hurt too — it's not that Gabriel doesn't see that. He just wants to know why. And where the fuck was he.

And who the fuck is this.

Astor's the handsome lump haggard stooped over where the saddle horn should be, facedown on brown fur. The brave bay horse beneath himself and Eileen is being remarkably good-humored about this whole thing, which is good, because really. Somebody should be good-humored about this. Granted, being unconscious and rapidly accelerating toward the crumbling edge of death means that humor has very little to do with anything. One is unable to tell good jokes, or groan at bad ones. Or even particularly regret this impromptu experiment in horseback riding.

He doesn't dream. It's all black where he is, silent. It isn't even cold.

There's a scrap of cloth that probably used to be pale and soft to touch knotted around his shoulder. Now it's hideously red shade of black, dyed through with so much oversaturated pigment that it's runny and thick, liquidly fattened to touch. Still-warm smudges leak sporadically the horse's heavy shoulder.

And God knows how far apart the drips he left were behind them, scarlet on the snow; not that horse hooves aren't obvious enough. Nothing a little flurrying won't cover up, but for now, the weather's worthy of a tactically inconvenient Christmas carol, and his face is a color like someone mixed too much bleach into a latte to finish a proper poison-assassination of anybody but the most imperceptive idiot. He volunteers no name, his hand a slack disturbance on Eileen's skirts.

"Daiyu," is the most succinct explanation Eileen has for her disheveled state, the blood running down her legs and the spattered gore that's transformed her breasts and the front of her torn nightgown into a Rorschach test. Unfortunately, it also requires some elaboration because two syllables do not account for the young man slumped in the saddle at her back. "I don't know how, but he wasn't alone this time. I'd not have made it out if it wasn't for this one."

By this one she means Astor whose name she hasn't asked because she doubts he's capable of giving it. He's in much worse shape than she is, and she's so cold she can hardly speak. Her bare feet are dwarfed by the size of the saddle's jangling stirrups. She can't stop trembling. "Daiyu shot him when he was trying to help me," she says, and her voice is tight instead of halting and shuddery. "He'll die."

Gabriel's face reflects what he thinks of Daiyu — a mix between getting the news that a particular cancer has returned, a sharper hatred that flares dark eyes to life, a grimace of do not want. With invisible and unknown panickiness, psychic radar sweeps the place again for signs of life, but there aren't even any bugs chirping in the icy bushes, let alone ninjas stalking the trees. He makes a sound, wolfish and dissatisfied, and then he moves towards the horse.

A hand reaches up and grips onto Eileen's wrist, the other seeking out a fistful of the stranger's sleeve, and all together, they vanish into an inky cloud that rushes for the house and its precarious lurch over water that is freezing but not frozen. The horse has some problems with this, but not enough to run away.

The house is just as inappropriate for surgery as it was before, but at least, Gabriel has already gone and dug up the basics stored there for these emergency fallbacks. A lantern, for one, already lit by the time the three of them are transforming into solid flesh. Astor stunned to life as he phases back into pain, feeling the front of his blood-soaked shirt tight around his torso when it's used to lower him down to lie upon the surface of the thick wooden table, Gabriel's fist already smeared red. They're in a kitchen.

Gabriel 'Sylar' Gray's hands, while he's covered in blood. Lovely circumstances to reach consciousness in, again. However sordid and complicated his childhood was, Astor can't say he's ever been here before. He finds himself with enough animation in his brain to seriously consider panicking for a moment, but he fizzles out about halfway down the fuse to genuine fireworks, only gets so far as to drag one foot across the table-top, streaking ice crystals across the wood. He tries to say something but it's gurgly and disgusting. Apparently the bullet didn't go in as low as he'd thought, or maybe it's just a little nick at the top of his lung; he still has enough volume in their to wheeze:


And he has no idea where he'd been planning to go with that. His head slams back down into the table before he even realizes he'd succeeded in lifting it, and his eyes swim, pupils dilating and shuddering shape in the muddy hazel of his eyes as he swerves a stare across the ceiling, and then the next groan that comes out seems to have iron hinges or a dragon's belly to it; doesn't sound human at all. Two seconds after he's level on the table, there's enough blood to agree with the definition of the word puddle underneath his bandaged shoulder."

There are no birds in the kitchen. Eileen's hand seeks out the edge of the table, and she trails the tips of her fingers around its corner, then drifts them across to where she approximates Astor's head should be. She smears dark hair away from his brow, and if she could see how pale it is in the lantern's harsh glow, the frown lines around her mouth might be deeper than they are now, and they're already carving up her face with bruising beneath one eye courtesy of Flint Deckard and a lower lip mangled by her own teeth.

"There's an exit wound in the back," she tells Gabriel. "The bullet blew straight through, so we don't have to go in to look for it. He's lost enough blood that I'm not sure he's going to survive without a transfusion." Which is a lot to ask of him and she doesn't directly. Instead what she says is, "We need to stop the hemorrhaging first or anything we put into him is just going to pour back out again."

There's a flap of wool as Gabriel gets rid of his own woolen coat with impatient jerks and twitches of his hands, shoving back the sleeve of his shirt before looking across at Eileen for all that she can't see him do so. "I'll stop the hemorrhaging," is on the verge of a snarl. It is, indeed, a lot to ask for. "You work out how to keep him breathing." Assuming that's the intended goal. Blood stops leaking out from Astor's injuries with barely a thought on Gabriel's part, who glances over the blood lining his hand in absent study of its type.

It's Astor's lucky day — not that Gabriel's blood, set to O negative, doesn't work for everyone ever. Placing the silver edge of a knife to his own arm, Gabriel numbs out his own sense of feeling in favour of slicing cleanly, dark red welling to the surface. There are other similar marks patterned over his flesh for this same purpose, and this one is fresh, ruby red winding up in a telekinetic'd river and winding through the air towards where the bullet had punctured through Astor's shoulder in the front.

There's a dull, aching pressure at the wound as blood is forced, slowly, into his system. "Where did he come from?"

That feels terrible, Astor has to say. Think. Staring in a rare moment of genuine surprise— or confusion at the stream of blood flowing in defiance to gravity or physics, into a tidy distribution into the hole punched through his torso.

Yet relief sets in in a haze that's visible on his features, despite that his face is all pinched agony and anemic pallor; his head thumps down for the second time, eyes drawing figure-eights with his stare across the ceiling. He is breathing. Little wet raspy gasps, and then he coughs rather suddenly, so there's blood making new slender tracks out of the corners of his mouth, wicking in the notch of his upper-lip, so he looks like he has something like a fleshy little red starfish growing parasitic out of the middle of his head. His hair looks lanky, nearly brown in the light here. He blinks rawly at Eileen for a moment, then closes his eyes.

"N'dyinnnnNNh—" They reopen again, but just for an instant, a flash of whites, expanded pupil; a throb of shock setting in with a last cough, voiding his lungs of freeze-dried outdoors-air. But he'd had to say it, or else: to ask.

Eileen wipes off Astor's mouth with the sleeve of her coat, then his cheek. Her hand cups his chin and she angles his face away from the injury, preventing his eyes from rolling back in the direction of Gabriel's work. He does not need to see what they're doing to him, only be reassured that they're trying to help. "I don't know," she says. "He called me by my registry name. Spurling. But I don't recognize his face, and all that's left of the Ferry is split between Pollepel Island and Grand Central Terminal. He's not one of their operatives."

Summoned from the shallow hollow of spindly beech tree, a fat little wren wings inside, sails over Gabriel's head and lands on the collar of Eileen's coat with a nervous flutter of its drab, moth-brown wings. Focusing on Astor's pulse supplies her with something to do that doesn't involve fighting the muscles in her face, for all the good that does. No matter how flat she makes her mouth, Gabriel will still feel the tremor of anxiety wobbling like a musical note held too long.

She's scared, though not for Astor. What happened at the Dispensary has left her shaken, and the tone of Gabriel's voice does not have the calming effect that she hopes hers does. "You're not going to die," she creaks out. "Not yet."

The power that winds blood unnaturally through the air is the same power that replenishes his own supply by a factor of 40%, which is plenty, one would imagine, especially now that it's unable to draining right back out. "Then I guess we know what we're asking when he has anything to say worth a damn," is growled somewhere above Astor's head, the air choking of coppery, organic smells. Blood is messy, even when it's being tamed into a thin, floating rivulet of greasily slick black-red.

Gabriel shows teeth a little as he restores to himself feeling, to get a better sense of how much he's giving. "I can take this out of you again," he casually tells the other man, voice low and intended only for him instead of, say, Eileen, "if I don't like the answers."

He flicks a glance to her, and it's in that direction when he adds, "Did he touch you?" Daiyu, presumably.

Make no mistake: Astor had touched her to, in fact! Not something he's going to share, y'know. What with big brother here looming shaggy-browed over his dilated pupils, and threatening exsanguination. He almost smiles, more of a rictus or maybe a grimace, bared teeth showing red under the light, more of a sticky gleam than a brilliant flash. "Hnnhhgy," is probably some obscure translation of 'okay,' judging from the fact that it's the Gabriel would prefer to hear, and that he doesn't apparently want to die. He tries to lie real still after he says it. Concentrate on staying alive.

Air in, air out, with ironclad regularity; no panicking, which is the refusal to panic. Maybe he's done this before. God knows, young men found wandering armed on Staten Island with a notion of how to cover forest terrain at maximum velocity tend to run into the possibility of death more often than others. The seams of the jacket strain slightly with the movement of respiration through his broader shoulders. He's thin around the breadth of his bones, though. And fading in increments, toward sleep, death, or some place between.

"'Ntbreathe," approximates helpful, though. You know. If they're in any kind of mood to swing the needle toward the former. Eileen kind of owes him, says the thickly lidded eye that twitches back at her.

"No," Eileen clarifies. Not Daiyu. Not any of the men with Daiyu, either, but there's a certain tenseness in her posture when she says it that wasn't there before and isn't indicative of a lie. "I'm untouched," and realizing, maybe, how close she came to the opposite being true. She uses the knife she found under the snow to cut off Astor's jacket, dominant hand wrapping bloodied fingers around its grip, the other taking a swift fistful of fabric. The blade makes a sharp sound like a zipper, and his shirt is next.

It's only a few degrees warmer inside the river house than it is out in the fog, but bundling Astor in blankets is the very last step of this operation, and she very much doubts that the cold is making him more uncomfortable than his injuries are. Eileen wishes that Ethan and Raith were here; if they were, they'd have more hands and a pail of hot water to wash him with before long. Someone's coat folded up like a pillow to put under his head while she and Gabriel work.

"You can breathe," she tells Astor. "You're breathing now, but it's hard, I know." A moment later, he'll feel the press of her jaw against his chest as she angles her head to listen for the sound of air entering one side, and then the other. Her mutter of, "No codeine," is more a note to herself than it is a request that Gabriel withhold medication, assuming they have any. Codeine.

Moving around the table with that stream of blood offered constantly, adjusting itself as a living chord of fluid. There's a groan of interior design protesting in its disuse as Gabriel hefts himself up to sit on dusty kitchen counter. Finally, the last of the red breaks from open wound to ribbon its way within bullet wound, with a last flicking splatter that sends beadlets glistening across the table. Gabriel shifts his sleeve back over the wound that crusts over with a thought.

Ethan might be about as useless as he is, except with less privilege. Gabriel can already imagine Raith moving around with earnest if still casual competency, barking orders and saving Astor's life with a kind of matter-of-factness seen in emergency rooms and battle fields.

"We have needle and thread. Some antiseptic if he wants to keep his arm. I don't know what comes next, but he won't die from blood loss."

There's a breathy rasp of annoyance from Astor. He closes his eyes, feeling the lids burn where they touch. He feels less weak already, but swimmier somehow, and there's a different kind of hurt in his arm in addition to the old one. A strain of veins under their new burden? Maybe the Institute will figure it out someday if they get to dissect a haemokinetic and what he or she can really do. "Mmn," he burbles a bit, resenting instantly how faint his voice sounds, whether that's because his voice is giving out or his ears are, he doesn't know. But he decides to finish anyway: "Hold me up."

Possibly jumping the gun, he sits up about then. Possibly risking death, he makes a haphazard swoop in Eileen's direction, deeming the female the overall more sympathetic of the two, lands himself heavily against her thin chest— and yet there's no malice to his bare-knuckled hands or cold fingers; he doesn't even reach. His head clonks his jaw shut on her shoulder and he gets another slick strand of blood in her hair, before his eyes close and the agony of his shoulder abates very suddenly, drowning out into a neon-staticked decrescendo, resting himself in the arms of Gabriel Gray's girlfriend.

And then he's merely unconscious.

"Delirious." It was a good call; Eileen is so sympathetic that she's making excuses on Astor's behalf. Either that, or she's making excuses to make herself feel a little more comfortable about the head of dark hair resting just under her chin and the mixture of blood and saliva streaked across her collarbone. There's a lot of bodily fluid being passed around here, and she's not entirely sure what is what: spit, sweat or tears.

He isn't bleeding anymore. Gabriel has taken care of that, and made sewing him up marginally less of a priority than it was a few minutes ago. "I'll close him," she says then. "There are clean blankets in the bedrooms upstairs. Sheets for the cot in the spare room. We can make a trip to the Dispensary tomorrow for more supplies, then figure out what to do about Daiyu."

As for Astor— "I don't expect he'll be lucid for another day or two. Gauze and antibiotics now, questions later?"

"You'd be surprised how often lucidity and lying go hand in hand." Don't mind Gabriel — he's eyeing the scene before him with obvious dislike, for all that Astor is too unconscious to notice, and Eileen too blind. Still, he apparently ranks at least two things of higher priority than shaking down a mysterious saviour for answers — keeping it alive, and doing so quickly enough that they can get back to important things, like Feng Daiyu, even if— one might argue— his whereabouts might lie in the hands of the one man Gabriel can identify as able to track him.

He's currently shivering and pale in Eileen's arms, and not in a state Gabriel wants him to be in should he wish to take his memories. The serial killer expels a snort and, with an adolescent roll of his amber-brown eyes, vanishes into ink for best mobility, slithering away to do the lady's bidding.

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