Honey and Vinegar


sylar_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Honey and Vinegar
Synopsis …and the difference between. A start of a beautiful friendship, no doubt.
Date October 19, 2008

Harlem Morgue

The cold air and the strong odor of antiseptics carries all the way though into the entrance hall, going together perfectly with the strong lights, sterile whites and smooth metal surfaces. The cleaning products do a pretty good job at masking the lingering smell of death, but those who already know it will surely come to recognize it. As morgues go, this one isn't terribly special. The entrance hall has little else to look at but a sign that reads "Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae." Or: Let conversations cease. Let laughter depart. This is the place where death delights to help the living.

For those who have the authority to wander, the hall connects to four small offices, a large autopsy room, and a cold chamber. The latter's temperature dips well below freezing point and is only accessible to the morgue's employees.

The hour is late, and the room is empty. Sylar's kind of time of night. How'd he get in here? He has his ways. Scary is the idea of a man who can take and use multiple powers. Scarier still the man who knows how things work.

He's dressed darkly and currently focused on his task. The autopsy room is kept dim, no need to turn on the lights - the half-shielded windows provide ample lighting. He stands at the filing cabinets, very carefully sliding the drawer open and brushing his fingertips over the paperwork within. He's, perhaps, not paying enough attention to the outside world as he should, focusing instead of letting his left hand glow a radioactive looking orange-red - lighting enough to read. The lighting wavers, wobbles, through the room into depths of shadow in flickers, but it will do.

Has he made noise? Of course. The grind of metal as drawers are slid open and shut, the simple sound of footsteps. Sylar ignores these details. He can take care of anyone who finds him, after all.

There are many things Zachery is known for in his line of work, but… timing is not one of these. Overthinking something, however, is. And it's precisely because of that that he finds himself pushing the front door to the Harlem Morgue open, as though on a typical morning instead of past any sane man's working hours. The recent Harlem incidents have given him plenty to think about, and the thought of having overlooked something obvious weighs heavily on his mind. So much so that he almost doesn't notice the sounds coming from the autopsy rooms, and only stops when he's already well on his way to get changed into his scrubs.

Eyes wide, he listens. Every sound draws him closer, slowly, carefully, until he reaches the autopsy room and stands in its doorway. Wait a minute. That's just one guy. With a… flashlight of some sorts? Failing to look more closely, the coroner promptly snaps, "You're not allowed in here."

Instantly, his hand ceases to glow, the light extinguished, and Sylar looks up. A change in plans. That's fine. Evolution is all about adapting to change. Gently, Sylar replaces the file he has in hand back into the cabinet drawer, and closes it - as if this were all some big mistake. However… it's not his mistake. "I'm sorry, doctor," he says, stepping away from the filing cabinet, the black coat his wears making a fabricy, rustling sound as he moves. His hands raise, as if in defense, or surrender. "I think you've made some kind of mistake. I'm allowed to be anywhere."

Zachery eyes Sylar's every move, hands flexing idly by his sides. "Yes, well, that's a lovely thought and everything," He answers, frowning and starting to fumble for something in one of his coat's pockets, "but that really only pertains to public places, now, doesn't it?" A cellphone is retrieved, and - turned on rather hastily. Considering the situation, the happy jingle that pops up with the welcome screen is a bit too overly cheerful and loud, and the device receives a glare.

Though Zachery can't possibly know this, it's actually the little welcome jingle that makes Sylar hesitate from taking any initial action, head tilting in amusement. Very slowly, the killer meanders his way across the autopsy room, towards Zachery, hands now lowering to his side. "I suppose it does, in some circles," he almost purrs. "Who are you calling?"

Zachery 's downward glance at the phone keeps him from directly noticing Sylar's approach, and when he looks up from waiting for the welcome screen to disappear, he takes a startled step into the doorpost. "W-who do you think I'm calling?" An attempt at sounding confident is almost entirely successful. "Those files you were going through are classified." He steps sideways and into the autopsy room, though makes sure to keep facing the intruder. He shoots a few brief looks down to the phone, though never takes his eyes off of the other man for very long. Unfortunately, his fingers seem to think he should have stayed in bed, and fail to hit the right keys in order. Come on.

"That would be why I was looking through them," Sylar says, and then raises a hand. Two things happen. One, the door to the autopsy room suddenly slams shut as if pushed so by some invisible wind, sealing the two men within the room. Then, with a twitch of his finger, that cellphone flips from Zachery's shaky grasp and goes spinning across the room, colliding with the wall and falling on to the floor. "But perhaps you can save me some time."

Zachery turns instantly when the door is shut, staring at it until he finds himself staring at the mysteriously flying phone instead. Well, shite. His shoulders roll back with a sharp intake of air, and he starts backing away in considerably more of a hurry. A few unfinished mumbles of words later, he asks timidly, "What do you want from me?"

Better. Sylar's hands lower, and he rewards the other man with a smile. It's not particularly comforting. "I don't want to hurt you," he says. Seems to be saying that a lot lately. "I just have a few questions, so you can calm down." When you can hear a heart beat from across the room, you know when it can afford to slow down. "I wanted to know if the Evolved that have been dying lately from those most mysterious murders have seen the interior of your clinic. And if you have them."

Zachery's eyes momentarily flit to a large metal cabinet nearby, before his attention returns to Sylar. "I…" He pauses, attempting to gather up some of that lost courage. "I don't think so. They were moved." A lie, but not an overly poorly executed one. Then again, that heartbeat might be a hint.

Perhaps Zachery is convincing after all, because Sylar seems to tsk in annoyance at this new inconvenience - even if he does glance towards where the coroner had darted his gaze. "Well gosh, that's annoying," he says, maintaining that very smooth tone of voice, the kind people can only achieve when they know they're in control. "Is it true, what the papers said? Were they mummified, or something similar?" See? Just questions. He's behaving tonight. For the meantime.

Yet they are just the kind of questions Zachery is not supposed to answer. He's taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself, and nods. "They appeared mummified. No bodily liquids, their skin was like… burnt human jerky." Despite his fear of the morgue's unexpected visitor, there's a definite fascination in his voice as he speaks about the victims. "Ah— I think there's a more in-depth report in my office. I can get it for you."

So you can attract flies better with honey than vinegar. Interesting. Slowly, the door opens once more, pulled by invisible strings, seemingly. "Lead the way, doctor," Sylar says, taking a step forward. It could be a bluff, after all, and Sylar is fully prepared to call him on it, gaze never wavering from Zachery now. "And hurry, we have other matters to take care of."

Zachery wavers, before leaving the room with a nervous glance toward the door. "Y-yes." Figuring there's little else he can do at the moment, he does as he's told. He walks slowly, however, uncomfortable with having his back turned, but… mostly, taking a moment to concentrate on something else. His ability effortlessly kicks into action, and starts Sylar's body on a mentally scan for faults. Anything. "Other matters?"

Well Sylar's body seems to have gone through a few hurts, but nothing so serious. A barely healed broken nose, severe bruises to the body that indicate a blow, and a landing that may have been related to that blow. Minor weaknesses, but they exist. Someone's a brawler, perhaps. It's the previously healed injuries, the ones that have long since gone, that are the scariest. Extensive burns have that affect. If Sylar is aware of Zachery taking an inventory on past and present injuries, he doesn't show it, just follows him. If Zachery walks slowly, that just means Sylar walks closer. "Aside from the crispier Evolved you have in your freezer, I'm interested in the others."

When the pair reaches a particularly dreary, and grey office, Zachery reaches into his pocket again. This time with a metal jingle of keys inside. He doesn't look at Sylar anymore, but keeps close to the door as he fumbles to open it. "I'm going to go out on a limb here here and say that it wouldn't matter much if I told you I couldn't show you those."

"I could probably find out myself," Sylar says, now moving further into the office. He actually takes Zachery's seat, making himself comfortable. as he glances at the items of the desk, then back to the coroner, hands clasped politely. "And kill you instead, but I'm assuming you wouldn't want that at all, and it would waste more of my time. So in a word, no."

Zachery stays right where he is, watching on as he further attempts to calm his nerves. "Well, if you're going to insist I show you my little collection either way, you might as well be a bit more… pleasant about it." He finally steps forward, using the same bunch of keys to open a filing cabinet. "Though I suppose threats will get you where you're going in the long run, anyway."

The doctor earns a sharp look from the killer, as if perhaps, he were offended… then he just gives a wider smile, a chuckle. From his position, slouched into the chair, he seems almost harmless. But his figure it still lanky and broad shouldered, his gaze still sharp and studious. "Yes. But if I were any nicer, would that make you move any faster?" The door to the office shuts behind them, smoothly and efficiently.

Zachery shoots the door a look as it closes, frowning. "It might." He runs his finger past the tops of the files, before pulling them apart to look at the labels. One of them is pulled out, and held up at head-height. "Let's test this theory, shall we? I'm Dr. Miller. What's your name?" His jaw clenches.

Sylar's chin lifts a little in response to this challenge. New game? New game. He holds out a hand to accept the file should it get handed over and does not yet use his telekinesis to whip the file out of the man's hand. Not yet. "Sylar," he reveals, calmly. After all, he doesn't really picture this man's future extending past the next half hour.

Though Zachery cracks a grin at that answer almost immediately, it is quite possibly one of the most nervous-looking ones Sylar has ever had the honor of witnessing. "R-right. Well. That would do it, wouldn't it?" The file is promptly handed over, and he returns to the file cabinet to search through the files again. This time, quietly. At least he seems less shaky now. Just sick to his stomach, that's all.

The nervous grin is mirrored only with a satisfied, small smile, although the look Zachery gets is also curious. Sylar accepts the file, kicking back in his stolen chair as he opens the pages to look at the information written there - keeping an ear out for any suspicious activity from the other occupant of the room. "So you know my name? That's intriguing. What's your first one, doctor?"

"Does it really matter?" Zachery replies, though doesn't look up to meet Sylar's gaze, picking up another file. "I mean, assuming the realistic, you won't want to leave any traces of you being here. Especially not any live ones." Statistics are easier to accept than what-ifs, for someone who specializes in malpractise cases.

Sylar looks up again, contemplatively glancing off towards the side, then back to the doctor. "That's true," he states. "Dead people can't talk, I'm sure you're well aware." He reaches out his hand for the second file. "All things considered, you're being very cooperative."

"… So I am." The coroner answers monotonously, as though just recognizing it. He folds the second file under his arm as he finds and takes out another one, looking through it. "When I still worked at a hospital, I once had to tell a patient they had terminal cancer. They had a year to live. The man panicked for two weeks, and then promptly dropped dead." He decides to leave it at that.

"Are you making a point, Dr. Miller?" Sylar asks, still watching him. There's a rustle of paper, and the file Zachery had stowed under his arm is briskly removed, fluttering almost whimsically over towards Sylar, who snatches it out of the air unless Zachery makes an attempt at intercepting.

There is no attempt to snatch it back. Instead, there's a tensing of muscles and an annoyed glare at the file Zachery is still looking at. Better at it, than at Sylar. "I am only saying calmth is underrated. Panicking begets mistakes, mistakes beget a shorter lifespan. It's all very simple. Would you rather I run around in panic and get nothing done?"

Sylar snatches the file smoothly out of midair. "Not at all. I'm interested in working together, Dr. Miller, for as long as it takes." Which probably isn't very long. Sylar rather delicately licks the edge of his thumb so he can more properly flick through the sheets within the file, gently swaying the office chair back and forth. "Tell me, what do you know of the Evolved you have stashed away?"

"Some of them, nothing." Zachery stands up straight, after fishing two more files out, and turns to face Sylar with an expression that is neatly in between fear and… doubt. Doubt as to what is not quite explained yet. "Some of them, everything. Not just about themselves, but whether they have parents, siblings or children with abilities of their own. And how… useful they would be." With only a quick breath as a pause, he adds, "But I have a question for you, now."

The second file, barely glanced through, is placed neatly atop the first, Sylar apparently having every intention in taking things home with him. He starts to extend his hand for more of the hardcopy information handed his way, but hesitates. "Do you?" Sylar asks, thick eyebrows twitching a little in vague interest. "Then ask it."

Zachery finally moves from his spot, wandering the along the length of the desk. The two last files are held up, despite the knowledge that they could be yanked away just as easily as the first. "I think, maybe, I'd like to live that hypothetical cancer out until the end." He frowns, taking another deep breath. "These people are already dead. It would be a victimless crime. They will keep coming in. And if I'm still alive when they do…" He leaves the sentence hanging, and shoots a lingering look at the other man. "Would you rather have a handful of treats now, or… the promise of many more, given time?"

He could indeed yank those files away, but Sylar doesn't. In fact, his hand lowers as Zachery speaks, and he listens. This is certainly a sharp turn from the way he'd intended this night to go, and not a completely uninteresting one either. He tilts his head, just a little, a characteristic twitch of a woman once known as Dale as he attempts to listen much closer to the sound of the man's heart - that's where lies are found, after all. Slowly, Sylar rises from his seat, files still in hand, though he keeps the other one free, and raised just a fraction. "And how am I meant to trust that you won't alert certain authorities to my presence, here?" he asks, honestly curious.

Zachery's heartbeats speed up, but only when Sylar stands. He knows perfectly well what he's doing, and his promise seems truthful enough. Now obviously straining himself to stay calm, unable to break eye contact with Sylar, he answers, "I used to have a perfectly reputable business. The last few months I've been bribed, only narrowly survived an investigation and questioning by Homeland Security, then bribed again to join the ranks of a completely large and utterly frightening association against my will," With every word, he seems to grow a bit more confident, a twitchy grin reappearing on his face. "I'm perfectly screwed either way. And now, a serial killer's come knocking on my door. I know you could find me if I told anyone. Your reputation preceeds you, Mr. Sylar. But at the very least, you're giving me a choice. And that, I'll accept." Putting words in the serial killer's mouth? Maybe a little bit.

Fun game. Sylar maintains a perfectly stoic mask as he listens to the coroner, only giving the slightest of reactions at the news of a frightening association - a slight lift of his chin, an involuntary indication of recognition. "You're right," he says, finally. "I would find you, Dr. Miller. Sooner than anyone you tell would find me." A touch of a smile. "But it seems we have a few things in common. But let me get this straight. You're willing to give me the dead Evolved that come through your little butcher shop and in return, I don't kill you. Interesting."

"Not all of them." Zachery is quick to answer, in a breath of… relief? He's not quite sure. "I mean, not all of them stay here. Some of them are shipped off for proper burials, and I couldn't get away with a— " He swallows, then motions halfheartedly to the top of his own head with a single chuckle that sounds strangely kind of… off. "I'd assume that's the part you'd need." He waits for an answer before continuing with the rest of his explanation.

Sylar simply smiles, just a smirk. "All the answers lie in the brain," he says, simply, in affirmation.

Zachery nods once. "Right." He moves away again, looking uncertainly at the closed door before reaching to try and open it. "I can find a way to be more, ah, liberal with the cadavers meant for the oven over here, I'm sure. At least some of them. You'd be surprised how often no one shows up for the burning of their relative or friend."

Sylar shakes his head at this point. "You know how this place works, Dr. Miller," he says, tone still smooth, controlled. "And I can trust you to figure out the details. You have more riding on this arrangement than I do, I have plenty of ways of gaining new toys. This is just a cleaner method." With a papery flap, the files remaining in Zachery's hands whip out of his grip, fluttering over towards Sylar who snatches these up too. As Zachery tries the door, he'll find it's kept closed, as if some great weight were leaning on it, though the handle works fine. "Is this everything?" Sylar asks, holding up the documents.

Zachery nods once more, looking briefly to the escaping papers before keeping his eyes down on the door handle, which is pressed down and stays there. "Yes. But you'll need my card and a code to get into the cadaver keep without a fuss. I'm sure you understand if I say I want to keep those to myself."

Sylar pauses, as if thinking this through, and rather abruptly, the pressure on the door is released. "I can compromise," he says, with just a hint of reluctance, but the overriding tone is one of 'see? I know how to handle a deal'. Threats, after all, don't always get you everywhere.

The door opens a bit more forceful than it was supposed to, showing how badly Zachery wanted to get out of the office. He leads the way again, this time to a heavy, thick metal door. A card is swiped through a small device on the wall next to it, after which a code is entered on its keypad, his free hand shielding the first from view. The door opens with a hiss of air, the freezing temperature within flowing out like a wave. Zachery steps aside, still a slightly out-of-place nervous grin on his face. The blood seems to have drained from his features, and he points to the files. "Those four. Don't make too much of a mess. I'll be back in half an hour, and I'd appreciate it if you were gone by then." Before Sylar even has the chance to answer, the coroner's already walking off again. This likely has to do with the undigested food that's finding its way up his at the moment, and he'd rather not have it do so onto the hallway floor.

Not so fast. Zachery will find himself unable to go much further, that same mysterious force clamping down on his chest, his back, leaving everything else free but keeping him in place. "Courage," Sylar says, with amusement in his voice, as cold as it is. "I've never met a squeamish coroner before. But before you go, I have a question. How will I know when to come back, or would you prefer me to make random appearances?"

Urk. Zachery winces, no longer looking any kind of amused. "Not so much squeamish. More… preferring not to watch the reason I'm going to a hell if there is one." His fingers curl into fists. "There's a spare pager in my desk drawer. Don't forget it on your way out, now."

And the pressure lifts, the doctor actually urged forward by a gentle, invisible push. Sylar turns his back on the other man, making for the human-sized sliding drawers. "I won't forget," he reassures. "And if there is a hell, at least you'll have company." And Zachery will hear the sliding of metal, a sound made loud and violent, as Sylar telekinetically opens multiple cabinet doors at once.

October 19th: Confessional
October 19th: Sparring and Pizza
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