Holden You Inn


eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Holden You Inn
Synopsis Eileen broaches the truth with Ethan and is spared a firsthand confession by bad news from Pollepel.
Date November 24, 2010

Hudson River Shore


"Mm?" The grunt is made without any vocal direction to what he is meaning. He allows his hand to do the talking however, his arm outstretched with the apple slice palm up. It's directed back at the young woman on the horse behind him. The offer is left out for her for a long moment, his eyes flicking to the bird then back to the young woman.

"I won't get used to that, princess. I'll cut 'er fuckin' 'ead off." The Wolf growls. Sitting astride the bay mare, Ethan puts his knife away taking the rest of the apple he leans over to feed it to Sorrel. Leaning against the neck of the steed, he watches the young woman for a long moment. "Fuckin' bitch."

It's a cold morning. The darkness threatens to give way to dawn soon, so the patrol is nearing a close. The two have avoided speaking of anything 'major' until now. Leading Sorrel a little closer to the shore, Ethan peers out over the water.

On the horn of Copenhagen's saddle, Bran watches Ethan intently, his rumpled feathers fluffed against the cold. Wind pulls at his plumage and Eileen's hair and clothes, blowing fog across the river's surface and the path unwinding ahead of them. The Englishwoman is well-protected in her wool coat of darkest navy, lambskin gloves and the long skirt she wears with her knit stockings and knee-high leather boots laced good and tight.

The events of the last year, during which she and Ethan were apart, have aged her in ways that the passage of time alone could not. Eileen does not smile very often anymore, and when she does her mouth is sad and her eyes glassy, rueful. It would be difficult to mistake her for a teenager now; Munin is gone, and has been for a long time.

She grips the reins loosely in her left hand, her right curled loosely at her side. "You and Gabriel and Jensen are the only three who know. I think others have their suspicions, but I've not said anything."

"You shouldn't be 'ere princess." The Wolf says abruptly. Half turning in his saddle, he glances over at his shoulder at her. "You looked better and were 'appier when you were on the other side." The side of killing people, of being a bad bad person. This being good thing is taking a toll on her. "You don't 'ave to stay 'ere." He murmurs quietly. "Ye don't owe these people anything. You don't need to be a 'ero 'ere Munin." He purses his lips after he says the last bit. "Eileen." He corrects.

"You could leave with me. Get away from these assholes. Get the fuck out of 'ere. Go buy a small bed and breakfast. Call it the Holden' You Inn. You could make people sick with cookin'… I could rob them while they sleep." He pauses. "Fairytale shit." Letting the steam come off his breath, Ethan's hand goes to brush the back of Sorrel's mane. "I could get an iPhone…" He continues with the fantasy, tilting his head to the side. "Bet they 'ave an app for running a bead and breakfast."

"I owe these people everything," Eileen corrects Ethan, and although her words are gentle, there's an underlying firmness to them like densely-packed sand. "All the things I helped you and Kazimir to do, how far we were prepared to go for him— that's the kind of debt you never pay back in full." Her grip on the reins tightens, leather wound round the weave of her slender fingers. Far from an accomplished rider, she is comfortable in the saddle but not so comfortable that she can give Ethan all of her attention with confidence. The rifle strapped across her back gleams white under the moonlight when she passes under branches with gaps between them, narrow bands of shadow scissoring across her skin like schools of inky fish.

"You're right about not needing to be a hero," is the one concession she makes, after a stilted pause in which her mare tosses its head and blows out a misting breath through its nostrils. "The Ferry has men like Benjamin Ryans for that. I'm an amateur strategian at best."

"Listen to your stupid voice." Ethan answers back somewhat sharply. "I'm an amateur strategian at best." The voice is molded to what Eileen's voice sounds like in his head. Giving her a long considering look, he leads Sorrel back towards Eileen. He hasn't been on a horse too many times in his life, but like most things (except for whittling) he picks it up rather swiftly.

"Well if you wake up in fuckin' antartica. Don't get mad at me for rescuin' you." The Wolf says levelly. Leaning to one side on the saddle, Ethan looks down at the forest ground. "So what's the plan, princess. Live on this enchanted castle for the rest of your life?"

Eileen turns her head as if to regard Ethan in her peripheral vision, but it's the raven that studies him, his beak parted around a stern reprimand that never finds a voice. Ethan won't feel the same dull sting of betrayal she experiences, but Bran does, and righteous indignation has his feathers bristling and his claws flexing, even if Eileen won't let him speak.

"No," she answers evenly, "I'm leaving for New York again as soon as Gabriel is recovered, and I'm going to find a way to hit back. Hard. Not just for the eighth, but everything that came before it. Danko in Amundsen-Scott. What they took from Antananarivo. My memories."

"Relax Bran. Relax Eileen." Ethan murmurs, somewhat soothingly. Leading his mare next to Eileen's, he lets the reins drape around the horn. "Hit back 'ow? Gonna go 'it the president in the shoulder? Kick 'is bollocks?" The ex-Vanguard Lieutenant leans back somewhat. Staring up at the receding darkness.

Leading the horse on, Holden goes silent for a long moment. "You got a place for me in all this princess? Or should I go back to… Whatever I do out there."

"When I couldn't be there for the network, Gabriel took my place so the transitions I wanted to make would go smoothly," says Eileen, "and when I was put in immediate danger because of an error in judgment, he sacrificed his new start and came back to New York to protect me from his own mistake. I think it's time I reminded him that I'm not ungrateful."

Bran's feathers flatten, and he makes a low croaking sound at the back of his throat at Ethan. You relax. "I want you here. I want you with me, helping Gabriel accomplish what he's set out to accomplish, but there's something you need to read first."

"You know 'ow I feel about staying still, princess. It's never a good idea." Placing his hands loosely in his lap he gives a light shrug. "Don't have nothin' you can't walk away from in… Something. I fuckin' forget. That one movie." Ethan waves a dismissive hand. Glancing over at Eileen he frowns tightly. "I won't say nothin' more about it, love. And I won't say 'I told you so' when you're dismembered. But just know, I don't like you stayin' 'ere."

Glowering at Bran for a moment, his attention is returned to Eileen. "Read? Princess. You know 'ow I feel about words on paper." He gives a tight tsk before finally conceding. "Fine. What's my homework? Jesus Christ. I'm here a couple days and you're already having me read. Fuck."

The sound of hooves on loose soil and the wind in Ethan's ears is initially the only response he receives. Water carves a path around worn rocks along the riverbank, and the few leaves that are left in the trees rattle uneasily. Copenhagen's ears twitch this way and that, but the mare gives neither Eileen nor Ethan any reason to believe they aren't alone on the trail.

Caution is not what keeps Eileen quiet. "The Vanguard safehouses in Warsaw and Prague are gone. One demolished so the city could build a park. Daiyu cleaned out the other. Kazimir's flat in Munich was as he left it when I visited in August. We found one of his journals."

The silence sets in, and goes on for another long moment. Bearing down on Sorrell, Ethan looks at a spot on the ground contemplatively. Straightening back up, he looks down at his hands. "What was the place like? Still there? What's in the journal?" Ethan asks, somewhat eagerly. The man he served for so long, the man he tried to kill at the end. The sentimental old man left something behind after all… "What is it?"

"Eugenics," is possibly not the answer that Ethan was expecting. Eileen keeps it short and to the point, or tries to. "He wanted a precog for the work. It's why he was interested in your father. You."

"My old man was…" Ethan claps his lips shut tight. "'e didn't come to kill 'im." He pauses for a long moment. It makes sense, the pieces fit. Yet it is what he had believed for years. People don't often pull the wool over his eyes. Lowering his chin, Holden rotates his head to fix on Eileen. "There's nothin' out 'ere. I need to see this book."

The crackle and snap of a goshawk alighting in the trees overhead draws Eileen's attention upward, flakes of bark drifting down and gathering in her hair like snow. A rustle of wings is the most sound it makes, but it does not need to shrill sharply at her to communicate. Whatever message it relays has her swinging her mare around with enough swiftness that it's clear to see something back on Pollepel Island is very wrong even though the cracks in her composure are so fine that Ethan will catch only a twitch at the corner of her mouth and the troubled shape her brows take.

Benji Foster is missing.

"I'll show you," she clips out. Then, coaxing Copenhagen into a balanced forward trot, "Let's go."

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