How Not to Eavesdrop


ethan_icon.gif munin_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title How Not to Eavesdrop
Synopsis Ethan comes home to the apartment to discover something amiss, and reveals his Friday night plans to Sylar, unaware that someone else might be listening.
Date December 17, 2008

Dorchester Towers — Ethan's Apartment

The apartment Ethan returns to is two things: dark and cold. A breeze blows in through the open window, and gently ruffles through the living room curtains, plunging the temperature so low that a layer of frost has formed on the inside of the pane. The only source of light seeps out from beneath the door belonging to the master bedroom, and even this appears as a sickly yellow glow, no doubt emanating from the attached bathroom. Maybe he forgot to turn it off on his way out this morning — more likely, someone has been rummaging through his personal belongings during the time he was away, tying up the loose end that was once Danielle Hamilton.

Elsewhere in the apartment, an antique steam radiator buzzes and clicks, struggling to fill the vast expanse with what little heat its shining silver coils have to offer. Everything else is silent.

The door closes softly behind him, his eyes scanning the apartment rather quickly. He quickly goes into a crouch, a gun is quickly drawn, and equipped with a silencer, the man goes to a very silent stalk through his own flat, the gun preceding every way he turns. He doesn't leave windows open. He doesn't leave lights on. Though it is very possible one of those living with him has… Precautions should be taken. You don't live as long as he has doing the work he has done without precautions.

Surveying the room carefully, gun pointed at almost every inanimate object in the flat, the silent Wolf makes his way to the door of the bathroom. His palm touches it gingerly, feeling for heat, feeling for anything. And then he raises up, gun pointed forward. His shoe comes up to kick the door open.

The gunshot sound of a foot colliding with a door is enough to wake Sylar from an admittedly restless sleep. In the bedroom that Sierra vacated by, well, dying, Sylar's head lifts up from the pillow, and in a flurry of motion, he kicks off the bedsheets to investigate. Because even in this apartment, people don't kick in doors without a good reason, right? But at the very least, they have reasons to be paranoid, and Sylar is no exception.

Upon opening his bedroom door and stepping into the hallway, he is at least dressed - comfortable pants, bare feet, a white undershirt and, rather regrettably, a medical looking sling that supports his left arm. He appears healthier than he has upon coming back, clean shaven and bright eyed rather than drifting fatigue, and despite having just woken up, his voice is alert as he asks, "Everything alright?"

The door bangs open under Ethan's boot and light floods out into the master bedroom and hall, illuminating the sharper edges of Sylar's tall, lean shape as he emerges, but inside the bathroom there is no sign of anyone or anything — except perhaps the house spider that has been living in Ethan's shower drain for the past two weeks. More sensitive to the thunderous vibrations than it is to the shadow of Ethan the Wolf Holden looming over it, it skitters back down into the dirty pipes, a blur of dark brown movement almost too fast to be caught by the naked eye. Or a flying shoe, which would really be its primary concern if spiders were capable of thinking about such things.

The gun is quickly disassembled and replaced as the man turns to face Sylar. His stoic features seeming carved out of stone as he studies the other man. The man's hand goes to flick off the light of the bathroom then close the door behind him. He scans Sylar once more, before stepping around him and walking into the living room. No, everything is not alright.

"Someone left the window open."

Sylar steps back as the man moves out, raising an eyebrow at the non-answer he gets, before following Ethan out into the main of the apartment. He doesn't say anything, just moves to lean against a wall with only a trace of discomfort, watching Ethan in misplaced wariness. Once noticed, he explains, lightly, "You said we had a lot to talk about."

One of the benefits of being Evolved, as Sylar is, is the increased likelihood of noticing things that normal human beings don't. The third heartbeat, for instance. Distinct from Ethan's and his own, it busily patters away at a frequency only Sylar can hear; given that there are only a few people who have access to Ethan's apartment, it shouldn't be too difficult for him to figure out who it belongs to. A more pressing question might be why it's coming from the master bedroom, but that can be addressed later.

The window is promptly closed. Ethan turns to Sylar, inclining his head just a moment. "Can you hear anyone else?" The man asks, making his way into the kitchen.

Sylar pauses and Listens as requested, head tilting to the side as he does. There is another heart beat, which isn't very curious, but more curious is the rapid rate, and the direction it comes from, although Sylar doesn't spare said direction a glance. There's a pause, a quick decision made, and his gaze slides to look back at Ethan. "No," he says, simply, and follows him into the kitchen.

"We have an assignment." We not I have a job for you, not I need you to do something. A team. Two beers are retrieved from the cooler, one handed off to Sylar, kicking the door closed. Taking the beer into the kitchen, the man goes to sit on the couch. "Are you well enough?"

The beer is accepted and Sylar moves to sit in the armchair, a small use of telekinesis ensuing to open the thing to avoid the awkwardness. He shrugs a little with his right shoulder. "As well as I'll be for the next few months," he says. He twitches the arm in the sling a little. "I can get rid of this." The phrasing of this assignment 'we' will do isn't missed, and he waits attentively. If Ethan is any good at reading people, however, there's a little guarded wariness in Sylar's body language.

"We are assigned to assassinate…" Ethan pauses, peering at Sylar. Even through the darkness, there is something wrong. The Wolf remains silent for a moment. Studying the other man. "Is there something you need to tell me, Sylar?"

His gaze lowers for a moment, studying the Corona in his hand as if that might tell him what he should say, before Sylar simply shakes his head. "No," he says, putting a healthy dose of quizzical confusion into his tone. "Nothing. Who are we assigned to assassinate?" He takes a pull of beer.

Ethan arches his brow for a moment, peering at the other man. His own beer is opened as he takes a pull from it. "The President Elect." The Wolf says simply.

Sylar doesn't choke on his beer, at least. He does pause and lower the bottle, gulping down the liquid deliberately specifically so he doesn't react in such a way, and in the semi-darkness, he shoots Ethan a look. "What did he ever do to us?" A sardonic reply, but then he cants his head to the side and more seriously asks, "When?"

"The last installment of Phase Two." Ethan informs, "This is my last assignment as the Organizer in New York." The Wolf explains. "The last act to inspire the world with fear." He looks at the man for just a moment. "Tomorrow."

Comprehension flickers over Sylar's features, chin lifting a little. "The memorial tour?" he confirms, raising an eyebrow. That's a little more public than most of their missions, but then, it is the President-Elect. Hard to go undercover with that sort of thing without getting yourself very firmly killed.

"Yes. I would like you to go undercover as one of 'is assistants, or bodyguards, or whotever the fuck. I'll be giving you cover, of course. I will 'ave you guide 'im in front a particular window." Ethan explains, "And I will take the shot." His finger points out, his thumb springing up. Making a kapow noise, moving his gun hand as if he was firing it.

Sylar's gaze flickers towards the pantomime Ethan makes, then back to his face, nodding just once, subtly. If he has any objections to this, moral (ha) or otherwise, it's not at all plain - although he's obviously giving this information some thought, eyes hooded for a moment. "Simple as that?"

"Nothing's ever as simple as that, Sylar." Another pull from the beer. "But we can go over the details later." He motions with his head back to the room. "You should get your rest if you're going to be a stunning woman or some shit when the sun comes up." A little grin.

"'oo opened the window?"

A resentful glance is cast Ethan's way, although it borders on mockingly so. He can take a joke. It's a quality you learn. Levering himself up with his good arm, Sylar takes his beer with him as he starts to head back to his room, not before glancing from the now shut window and back to the Wolf. "I don't know," he says, eyebrows lifting a little. "I was asleep until you kicked a door." There's a little accusation in his tone.

"Really.." Ethan says coldly. Standing up, the man makes his way through the flat, his beer set down on the table as he makes his way down the hallway. The door is opened to the master bedroom, he nudges the door open with his foot, giving it a scan before he walks in.

Beneath the sound of Ethan's footsteps on the carpet, the heartbeat in the bedroom picks up, steadily pumping louder and harder, harder and louder. A cursory glance of the room yields nothing but shadows, though this is probably to be expected — nobody pops out of the closet and nobody springs out from behind the door.

Even if she had a good reason for it, trespassing on Ethan's most private and intimate space probably wasn't the wisest idea, but Munin — because it is Munin, wherever she is — has enough sense to stay put rather than bolt out into the open when she senses Ethan bearing down on her hiding place.

Sylar's back straightens a little at Ethan's cold answer, and then, with more wariness, he watches as their leader heads towards the sound of that heartbeat, which only heightens in volume and pace. He mostly follows, but stays near the other side of the hallway, head tilted in a show of curiousity.

"Aren't you going to rest?" Ethan asks, moving his chin over his shoulder for a moment. With that, he steps further into his own room, slowly walking through the room and scanning for anything slightly out of place. Any clue. Any hint. The dresser and closet are opened, a quick check given to both of them.

Although nothing is missing from the dresser or the closet, Ethan's clothes are not quite the way he left them. There's a subtle difference in the way his shirts and pants are folded, and the articles dangling from the hangers have been shifted several inches to the left since the last time Ethan saw them. One of the heavier coats at the far end of the closet is still swinging, though the motion is impossibly faint — a mere ripple in comparison to the way the curtains were fluttering when he first stepped inside the apartment.

Taptap. Taptaptap. Tap.

Sylar doesn't need to be told twice. Long fingers hook into the door handle to his temporary bedroom, twisting it open before the tall man is swallowed up by the darkness, letting the door swing shut on its own.

The gun is once again produced. Taking a single step back, the man holds the weapon in both hands. "Come out, or I'll blow the shit out of you." The gun is held up. "Slowly."

Taptaptap. Tap. Tap.

The noise isn't coming from inside the bedroom. Rather, it's coming from directly outside the window, accompanied by the distinct clap of raven's wings against the glass.

His eyes go to the window, the gun slowly lowering. A foot sweeps quickly through the closet, aiming to find anything that doesn't want to be found. Once that is finished, the man goes to the window, going to open it smoothly.

As the window opens, a large black bird hops from the cement ledge outside onto the sill and ruffles its feathers, sprinkling clumpy flakes of snow all over the front of Ethan's shirt. Bran offers a low croak of greeting, raking his claws across the surface upon which he stands the same way a man might wipe his feet on the doormat before — in a flurry of motion — he brazenly transfers himself to Ethan's left shoulder.

On the other side of the bedroom, Munin's lithe shape slips out from under the bed, her dark-haired head turned just enough to get a glimpse of Ethan and the raven in her peripheral vision as she takes advantage of the momentary distraction and makes her escape.

To where, she has initially has no idea, but in the instant she has to decide between veering off into the living room or taking shelter in one of the bathrooms, she discovers that there's one other route that's been left open to her. Shoving her fingers into the gap between the frame and Sylar's door to prevent it clicking shut at the last possible moment, she maneuvers herself into the last place she suspects Ethan will look: the spare bedroom, already occupied.

The creak of springs as Sylar sits down on his bed may just well disguise her faint footsteps as she enters the room, and he looks over his shoulder, simply watching as she slips in quickly and quietly. Don't close the door completely, he advises, opting to project his words into her head than voice them out loud, before he occupies himself in removing the sling his left arm was trapped in and setting it aside. What did you find. He's not sure what she was looking for, in the first place, and doesn't really expect an answer.

Munin follows Sylar's advice and leaves the door open just a crack. She doesn't dare raise her voice or even open her mouth to speak — this strange, disembodied form of communication will have to do until Ethan stops prowling the apartment in search of imaginary intruders. In response to his question, all she can do is show him her empty palms and shake her head as she moves around the side of the bed and takes a tentative seat on the floor, out of direct sight of the door.


Sylar watches Munin's further trek into his room. There's nothing critical about the way he does so, inviting her as much as he doesn't invite her, and slowly, he eases himself to sit against the headboard of the bed. He lied for her, though for the life of him he could not say why other than some sort of strange sense of allegiance (that is likely completely misplaced in time and space), and so there's really no point in not being willing to hide her, too.

He raises an eyebrow at her response, then turns his head to Listen carefully Ethan's movements. No foot steps approach, however, so he only reaches over and turns off the bedside light with his good arm, shrouding the room in near darkness. Proving that Munin is one of the few people Sylar trusts not smother him in his sleep, or perhaps it's just better to try than to stare awkwardly at each other in the light without a word. Of course, he doesn't sleep. Not one bit. Her heart beat too loud and her presence too tangible.

On the morning of Friday, December 19th, the following note appears in the dropbox Munin arranged for Teo:


December 18th: A Goodnight To Lost Love

Previously in this storyline…
Like the Odessa File

Next in this storyline…
To Save Rickham, Part One

December 19th: Some Hours Later
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