If You Have Something to Say


eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Have Something to Say
Synopsis Then say it.
Date January 15, 2011

Old Dispensary

They might find it difficult if, someday, things change for the better and what's left of the Vanguard moves back into civilization to claim lighted apartments with central heating and air, more sophisticated wiring and a power source that connects to the grid and not fuel-burning generators in a dark, cobweb infested basement that they also use to store more weapons and ammunitions than most people see in their lifetimes. For one thing, it's quiet out here. There's no traffic sound, only the whisper of falling snow outside and the soft crackle of firewood burning in the hearth.

For another, it's private, and privacy is something that they all enjoy to various degrees. Eileen takes her tea in the morning, often before anyone else is awake, decompresses in hot baths that steam up the bathroom mirror, and reads by the fire at night before it goes out, reduced to embers that glow red under the ash. It's where she normally would be now, sitting in the wingback chair with a drab quilt draped over her legs, a bundle cradled in her arms and hunchbacked raven perched above her head.

She isn't, though Bran is. It's the warmest place in the Dispensary after dark, and when he hears the front door groan open, he merely twitches his head in that general direction, a vague kind of hunger in his glittering black eyes. He knows who it is before she appears, her dark hair and coat peppered with flakes of crystal-fine snow. She left a few hours ago after a phone call from Brian Fulk, but is back now: a few minutes shy of midnight.

The area surrounding the Dispensary is clear. They have more to worry about from the local military over by Miller Air Field than they do a rogue animal telepath attacking boats. She shuts the door behind her, one arm cradled against her breast as if injured. Her scarf is missing. "I need help," she says, without sounding particularly hurt, and hopes her voice carries.

It's a miracle that Jensen Raith is ever rested: He sleeps so lightly that he typically wakes up several times every night, although considering the kind of life he leads, this is not really a bad thing. It makes him difficult to surprise in the dead of night, if nothing else. But tonight, Eileen's voice doesn't wake him up when it echoes throughout the old building. It simply gets his attention.

It's been no small amount of time that the ex-spy has been down in the basement. Conditions are not optimal, and moisture is not uncommon, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, moisture and smokeless powder don't get along well. Neither do moisture and high explosives, and the last thing any of them want to do is pull the trigger of their weapon and be surprised with a face full of shrapnel. Thus, the need for Raith to inspect their stores and eliminate from the immediately usable pool anything that might have been compromised by the weather. It's slow work, and a break is welcomed, and this is why Raith bothers coming upstairs at all. "What is it?" he calls back before he appears, at his own pace, at the top of the stairs leading down. "You need a spider smashed or something?"

Gabriel, for once, is not sequestered in some unknown corner of the Dispensary by the time this scene opens. He is seated in armchair in plain sight, long limbs a-sprawl and loose, head tilted off to the side and eyes half shut. It's probably a little too early for a man of his age to be conked out as he is, but he's also had a busy night. And it's also true that he isn't quite himself.

The powerful flap of wings has the brown and white spotted owl whipping through the door just before Eileen can close it. There are other entrances and ways inside, true enough, what with Tavisha's occasional visits. The bird soars through the space with the wingspan of a creature not used to being inside, and lands heavily on the back of Gabriel's arm chair, wings out to balance before folding. He lives, then, breathing in deeper and a hand twitching, fingers curling inwards.

A knife twirls easily in one hand as Ethan's boots slap thickly against the ground. Making his way by Gabriel's armchair and his birdffriend, Holden goes to tuck the blade into a sheath hanging from his belt. Wearing black trousers, boots, and only a gray tee despite the cold the man gives Gabriel an apprasing look before giving him a light tip of his chin.

Raith's voice has his attention drawn to the other man and his daughter, his features softening considerably. She doesn't seem to be in major help, so Ethan doesn't come rushing. Tucking his thumbs into his belt loops he takes a few lazy, wandering steps towards the girl. His head tilts to the side, remaining silent to wait for Eileen's request.

Hopefully it's not a spider. Yuck.

It's dogs rather than spiders that have Eileen clawing up the walls, and she can't ask Raith to smash his. Either way, it's a good thing that he left them with Smedley for the time being; if he hadn't, they might bowl her over to get at what she's carrying in the crook of her bent arm. Whatever it is, it's wrapped in the scarf that had been draped around her neck when she left, and it causes Bran to let out a low croak of inquiry as he tilts his head this way and that and asks Eileen in their private language whether or not the Thing is for him, and if it isn't may he please eat it anyway?

As she crosses the room, headed toward the warmth of the hearth, Ethan and Gabriel, the raven snaps his beak once in irritation. That probably means the answer is no. "I need one of the plastic bottles you used to nurse your litter of terrors last year," she tells Raith, her voice a little more clipped and pert than usual, "and a pan of warm milk mixed with an egg if someone's able."

It is with no small amount of puzzlement that Raith looks from Eileen towards the kitchen, and as a consequence, to Gabriel and Ethan as well as he turns his head. The brief glance he afford them doesn't tell him whether one of the other two men know why she's asking for what she's asking for. He assumes they do not: Only Eileen truly knows why Eileen does anything. "Sure, I guess," he says, vanishing back down the steps. The basement is more than simply workspace and armory. It's also where they can store the things they have no use for, but refuse to throw out because they might, feasibly, need to use them again. The bottles used for feeding the dogs before they were able eat solid food fall into the last category. In what way they might have been used was not clearly understood, but it doesn't seem like wasted space now, does it?

A hand up to grind fingertips around his eyesockets, hand turning out in something like a wave of acknowlegment at Ethan before resuming the task of Gabriel settling inside his own body again. The owl kind of ruffles its feathers irritatedly, but doesn't instantly take flight beyond swiveling a stare at some of the moving bodies in the room with the same fix furious/surprised expression his species are known for. Especially whatever is in Eileen's arms. And, for that matter, Bran.

Gabriel curls forward to sit on the edge of his seat, running a hand through hair that is both black and silver. Not an especially new thing, some obscure symptom of an Evolved attack that he is not vain enough to dye away. "Where are you going to put it?" is the kind of valid question one asks when one lives here.

Ethan glances over to Gabriel, then back to Eileen. His eyes widening slightly before brows dip down in blatant disappointment. No spiders involved. Mooshing his lips together he lets out a light whistle of air passing through his tightly pursed lips. Watching Eileen for a long moment, his watching devolves into simple staring. Brows knit together then sofften apart.

"I'll.." He drolls out sounding a little reluctant. Dipping his head down to stare at the ground, Holden brings a hand up to press to the side of his head. He's waging an internal war. But finally he concedes. "I'll get an egg." It sounds like a monumental task when he finally agrees to it. One that has greatly inconvenienced him. Turning, he gives a snarl at the stupid birds in the room. Always birds. Everywhere.

Grak, says one of the stupid birds, and maybe this means Fuck you too, Baldie. The world will never know. "Thank you," is what Eileen communicates, taking a seat at the edge of the hearth itself rather than one of the unoccupied chairs, beneath the words written across the fireplace's mantle in charcoal the day Gabriel first brought them to the Dispensary. More than a year later, it hasn't faded, though some of the letters have suffered a small amount of smoky smudging around their bold edges.

"I was thinking I might pull one of the drawers out of my dresser," she tells Gabriel, "and line it with an old blanket, then shut it back in. Little darling probably won't last the night, but I'd like to give it a fighting chance."

Eileen's plan, involving her dresser drawer, an old blanket, and possibly a miscellaneous third item is missed by Raith before he returns from the basement (although he may have conceded the third item to be the bottle he is fetching), but it's likely it won't matter. When he does return, it is indeed with an old bottle that was once used to nurse a puppy until it could eat solid food. "I assume you have this worked out, what your plan is," he says. He doesn't linger once he crests the stairs, but continues on straight towards the kitchen, although he's careful not to walk up behind Ethan for the same reason he doesn't walk up behind a horse. "You're sure it's not rabid? Or poisonous?"

Ethan is getting eggs. An egg. Raith is returning with feeding equipment. Eileen is talking about a drawer presumably in a bedroom. Gabriel's dark eyed stare ticks over Ethan's departing back, Eileen's quiet stoop at the heart and Raith's return with an expression that communicates they might well be the worst terrorists in the world, but then again, baby woodland creatures don't fall under terrorising purview. The owl hops down onto the arm of the chair, not quite bound enough to the ways of humans to know to hiss at Ethan's comment, and attracted to the minor sounds and scent of dinner. No attempt is made, though. Gabriel knows a little about restraint, and teaches the predator the same with a thought.

"You can tell when things are rabid, can't you?" says the guy raised in the city even if he was not born there.

"Y'ever play that game where you throw the egg, then back up t'see 'ow far y'can throw an egg without it breaking?" The small white oval is tossed up before landing back into Ethan's cradle of a hand. Looking over to Eileen he arches a brow high. Then to Raith. Then to Gabriel. Who wants to play?! Dodging around Raith, he goes to rest one shoulder against the wall. The egg goes up again and then back down.

"'Ere Princess." And Eileen wins the award off the egg fflying in a gentle arc towards her. Smirking as the egg goes flying at her, he watches with vague amusement to see if he passed on the correct hand-eye genes.

Whether or not Eileen inherited her father's coordination is ultimately irrelevant. The eyes she's viewing the world from belong to the raven on the top of the wingback, and while Bran might be watching Ethan and can follow the egg's sailing arc through the air, the distance between woman and bird and the angle his head is twisted at are two points distinctly not in her favour.

She makes a grab to snatch the egg out of the air and is grateful that the toss is at least gentle. Her initial fear involves egg shell cracking between her fingers and stringy whites with the consistency of phlegm dripping down the front of her coat, but she misjudges the egg's trajectory, and ends up with not only a sodden coat but a dripping wet face and hair as well.

Her mouth gapes open. Closes. No sound comes out.

The egg sails, shatters, and splatters Eileen. And while to his credit, Raith does not burst out laughing, he doesn't rush to help either. He claps, the applause purposefully slow and mocking, arms moving in exaggerated arcs to fully emphasize how horrific this particular failure was. Whether he is mocking Eileen or Ethan is, as expected, unclear all around. "I'll get the milk," is all he adds before moving on to do exactly what he stated he would.

Lols from Gabriel tend to sound a little like something with creaky hinges, the effort of it louder than the actual voice that backs it — at least when he's not trying to be sinister, which would be now. He is also dating her, which is why giggles don't get past the first bar and a half, splitted grin waning with effort and facial muscles. Conveniently, the owl doesn't have him in its periphery, though the same may not be said for Bran, as far as he's aware.

"Nice work, dad."

Gabriel's creaky hinges are joined by Ethan's electric bass solo. His quieted giggles sounding a lot like someone strumming: d d d d d d d d d. The laughing goes on a little longer, because he is not dating her. And she is obligated to love him. It's a rule. Ethan pushes himself offf the wall, taking a few steps over to Eileen. Leaning over some the man goes to plant a gentle kiss against her egg-y forehead. Which causes him to spit on the ground a moment later.

"Bran." Ethan admonishes as he turns his back on the way to the kitchen. "You're gettin' old. Losin' your touch." On his way to the kitchen to get either a towel or another egg or both, Ethan's departure is rather fast. He gives Gabriel a glance on his way however.

"Thanks, dick." He smiles.

Eileen hides her insecurites behind splayed fingers as she raises her hand to wipe the slop from her face, which acts like glue on her lashes and has her trying to blink the stickiness away even though it doesn't affect her vision. It's either out of embarrassment or her proximity to the fire that her cheeks gleam pink and she ducks her head, piecing her composure back together with the same fastidiousness that she plucks broken shards of creamy-coloured shell off her forehead. It would have a small crater in it if Ethan had thrown, say, a rock instead of an egg.

On the other hand, she'd also be unconscious, so. It would have at least spared her some quiet mortification. "Don't touch me," comes out sounding flat and devoid of anger, probably because it isn't anger that she's experiencing, though this doesn't stop her from smearing her fingers across Ethan's face and pushing him away after he's delivered his kiss and come away with lips coated in yolk.

Bran flicks a glance in Gabriel's direction quick enough that he catches the tail end of the smile, and Eileen is blind, not deaf; creaky hinges coming from a throat are hard to miss. She presses her mouth into a thin line.

"So you're sure it's not rabid?" Raith asks again. He brings the milk out of the cold box, kept cold largely by the chill that normally accompanies winter at the dispensary rather than electric motors, as well as perhaps some snow packed into the back. "It sounds like you're saying that, whatever, isn't rabid." Egg, milk, food fight, whatever. "Okay, look, let's just assume it's not rabid. I can work with that. But you know what else I have to work with? Bullets, and rabid or poisonous is just as bad as a cartridge malfunction." So sayeth the ex-spy. The milk is left on the counter, and Raith begins the process of leaving the kitchen, bound for the lower level once again. "You three can figure out what to do with the bundle of wet. I'm going to make sure we don't accidentally blow our hands off. The last thing any of us needs right now is a surprise funeral." Boots echoing against the floor, both Raith and the sound move into the stairwell, and out of sight.

"I was laughing at Ethan," Gabriel offers, after a sufficient amount of silence descends in the wake of Raith's departure, thick eyebrows crawling up in a look of innocence only Bran's narrow view can appreciate. Especially, with a final sweep of palm down spotted wing, the owl lifts off the armchair with a gust of wind from its wings, sailing off in some recommended direction where it can find the way out. Unless it forgets, then they all have a new friend.

He gets to his feet to go pick up the milk, decides it probably would be funny to only him if he were to fling that on her too and propose a bake sale (until the realisation that he'd never get laid again sets in, that is), and so declines to do so.

Grabbing up a towel in the kitchen, Ethan flicks a glance over to the other man. (He thinks it would be funny too.) And a suggestive look to a glass and then back to Eileen almost says as much. But Ethan resists. Bringing the yolk-towel off his face he makes his way back towards Eileen and Bran.

"Surprise funerals are my favorite type of funerals." Holden murmurs over to Gabriel. It's not so much that he has a desire to make jokes about what Raith is saying. It's that he wants to joke about Eileen's stupid egg-face. But if he did, a seagull would eat his testicles or something. And so he lives vicariously through other jokes. His hand going up to dab at Eileen's face, his grin broad.

Eileen twists the towel from Ethan's fingers. Maybe she would think it was funny too, if she wasn't still in the process of learning how to laugh at herself again, but she also doesn't scowl or steer reproachful stares their way, much as she might like to. Even Bran doesn't show any sympathy, perhaps wondering why the Englishwoman is so upset about a broken egg. It didn't have her smell on it, and eggs are delicious.

The trembling ball of gray and brown fur wrapped in her scarf pokes its muzzle out from under the fabric and lets out a frightened bleat that sounds like a tiny motor trying to start. It's hungry, and takes a few feeble licks of egg white off Eileen's knuckles when she offers them to it with one hand and finishes wiping off her face with the other.

"If you have something to say," she suggests, "then say it."


Oh my god Gabriel has never been tempted by anything more in his life other than the brains containing powers of other Evolved. His hands go rictus around milk glass, his posture as tense as one might be when navigating a very dangerous precipice of a moral dilemma, flicking a glance from Ethan, to Eileen, to Ethan. Then, his hands move on their own accord, or at least that's one of the many things he might say when asked what the fuck

Fwoosh. White milk mostly gets in the hearth behind her and splatters beadily on her coat, Ethan's sleeve, but inevitably, the neutral-sweet taste of milk will get detected as something a lot nicer than egg yolk. And to her credit, even a seeing person can't catch it.

Gabriel already laughing. To the point of sickness.

The moment the milk cascades into a swirly creamy explosion on Eileen's face, Ethan's lips start to wage a war. The war jerks up and then down then to the side then back up. It looks like Ethan was watching too much flashing Japanimation and was thrown into a facial seizure. Either that or someone just threw milk into his daughter's face after she said something all stoney like.

It's the second one.

Ethan loses the war on his face as laughter blasts out of his mouth, his feet dancing backward. Because he's losing balance as people often do when milk is in or around the nasal passage. Shoulder slamming against the wall, Gabriel's laughter is echoed by Ethan the pair devolving into a lovely couple of hyenas. One arm tucked around his stomach the other raising up towards Eileen as if trying to speak to her.

But he can't. There's no room in his voicebox for words.

It sounds like Ethan is attempting to say something in his fit of laughter. But he's not doing a good job.He might be attempting an apology.

Eileen's first instinct is to pitch the baby raccoon at Gabriel's head and mentally will it to stick. Fortunately, she also knows a thing or two about restraint, and she passes the bundle off to Ethan when his arm goes out toward her. She rises stiffly amidst the laughter, which is in itself strange and disconcerting — when do they ever laugh like this? — and for a moment it looks as though she's going to storm from the room, blow up and through the stairwell like the world's smallest hurricane, and sequester herself in her room until she's ready to forgive.

Fuck that, though. Rigidity gives way to abrupt, forward-flowing movement, and Eileen's coordination is much better when she's the one taking someone by surprise and not the other way around. This brings the total number of times that she has tackled Gabriel to the ground to a grand total of two.

There are about a million things Gabriel could do in the face of stick thin British girl tackling him about the middle and to the floor. He could stop time, maybe, disappear into ink, phase and let her stumble right through, freeze her feet to the floor—

He does none of these things.

Maybe laughter is a weakness.

"No," is grated weakly out of Gabriel's throat as he's driven to the floor, hands up to defend himself from eggy, milky rage, still grinning despite his predicament from vertical to horizontal, laughter guttering low in his chest, scratching in his throat.

Oh, hey. There's a racoon in his arm. Bringing it to his chest, the laughing continues to rack his body. Leaning into the wall, Ethan slowly slides down to the ground. A single tear makes its way out off Ethan's eye as he tries to manage words. His voice comes out very high pitched in the midst of laughter. "Milk and then.. it was egg.. and milk in her faaace!" And then another explosion of laughter after his detailed recap of what happend and why it's funny.

Vaguely aware that his daughter has tackled a serial killer to the ground, Ethan can only look up. Perhaps by instinct, his arm begins to rock the critter back and forth gently.

"Aaaaaa.." He croaks with a broad smile, watching the ceiling.

The last time Eileen did this, she didn't know what to do with Gabriel when she succeeded. The same is true now if for entirely different reasons. She can touch him without hurting him, but she's not sure she wants to touch him without hurting him. Love, though, is a lot of things, and in this case it's wrestling herself out of her coat while straddling his chest instead of grabbing a fistful of his hair and trying to bash his head against the floor, and wringing the milk out of it onto his face in the absence of any other weapon.

Except the pistol in her leather shoulder holster she wears above her blouse, or the utility knife that clatters harmlessly to the floor during this elaborate effort. In Ethan's arms, the raccoon makes quiet chirps of protest at all the noise, which now includes the thundering wing beats of the raven still rooted to the back of the chair. Bran is rooting for someone and it may not be Eileen.

She twists at the fabric with the ferocity of a predator tearing into its latest kill. He's going to get back every last drop.

No what why is this happening. :(

Gravity works, even as Gabriel grips onto her clutching at her coat, white rivulets of milk skimming over his knuckles and onto his face and chest. Still weak with giggles— what a time to develop a sense of humour— it's only after a few moments that he manages to get a grip on her arms and lever himself up enough to tip her leftwards with a scissoring kick of legs and momentum. Gabriel gives a canine shake of his head, bringing a sleeve up to wipe his face off.

Still grinning, other hand off to try and fend off other attacks. "But you like cake." Or maybe that's just him.

Still racked with giggles, Ethan shakes his head looking down to the raccoon. "Come on, Thomas. Let's go get you an egg and milk beffore they start 'aving a fuck on the floor." Pushing against the ground with his legs, it's a wonder he's able to lift himself up. Miraculously able to get his feet under him, he gives a shake of his head.

"Love you, Princess." He manages to moan as he carries Thomas back deeper into the Dispensary to their kitchen. Another egg, another glass of milk. And then Ethan and Thomas will be laying down for a long Winters nap.

"I'm a female, not a meringue!" And meringue doesn't have milk in it, only whipped egg white and sugar, but the only details Eileen is paying attention to are where her arms and legs are in relation to Gabriel's, and how she might be able to get around his defenses. She makes an attempt at smothering him with her coat without actually trying to smother him, operating on the assumption that if she covers his mouth then he will stop laughing, and talking, and then she can suffocate him into submission.

She will come for her raccoon in the morning. "Ffffff—" may or may not translate to Love you, too, but it's safe for Ethan to assume. Teeth snap, graze the back of Gabriel's hand. She was aiming for his sleeve.

Never has he known such a violent reaction to a simple thing like smiling— well no. That isn't true. But maybe not this kind of smile. It doesn't disappear, just becomes smaller, a close lipped twist at the corner as his hands wrestle to get her's. Her palms hit the ground with his clamping over the backs of them— "stop stop stop"— and her coat kind of left flung over his shoulder. Stop stop stop because Gabriel needs a moment to breathe in, breathe out, before he suffers another bite.

Hokay. "While the cat's away, huh?" is said, voice tripping still over the last of giggles. Coming, at least, to conclusion.

Eileen makes an effort to do the same, and it's easier when he's holding her down and she isn't able to physically work herself up with the same intensity. Her breathing slows after Gabriel's does, following his lead, and she curls her fingers fingers around his as if to bite at his skin with her nails instead of his teeth even if she isn't pressing very hard — just enough to dimple and produce a faint stinging sensation.

She stops. Stops stops stops, if you will. The mixture of milk and egg plasters hair to her cheeks and brow, tugged from the prim twist at the nape of her neck, and has her flaring her nostils as if she might huff out what she accidentally snuffed up into her nose. Unable to free her hands, she resorts to blowing at a particularly annoying curl close to the corner of her mouth in an attempt to dislodge it. When that doesn't work, she has to use her tongue.

"You," is both accusation and retort.

"Ethan started it and I was aiming for Bran," is half a lie, so unabashedly stated that Eileen probably doesn't even need to worry about calling him on it. Gabriel's hands inch off Eileen's, out of a trust she won't start in with the slappings at this time. They all tease vicious, and retaliate something worse, so it wouldn't be unlikely. He rolls to sit properly, cleaning himself off — a little redundently, with milk distributed from the front of his sweater to his sleeves.

Up on his feet, then, moving to tug Eileen up the rest of the way herself with a flex of upper body strength and her own slightness.

She calls him out on it anyway. "You were not." But she also doesn't slap him, and not because he's in the process of helping her up. Her hands grip his sweater a moment later, smoothing it, straightening it. There's some residual tension in her fingers, no longer egg-slick, like her body is thinking about giving him another swat despite what her brain has already decided, and that's to behave. Mostly.

She steps on his foot. "I expect an apology in a form to be determined. Look what you've done."

"Ethan started it," Gabriel tries again, this time without outlandish lying, brow crinkling at pressure on his foot when midget Englishwoman tries to hurt him. "And he has your raccoon." Bran's raccoon. Whoever gets it first. He eases back a step and out of range, and out Bran's narrow range and to Eileen's ears, he's taking off in the same direction as Ethan had, either to diverge paths and head for, say, the nearest bathroom where he expects she will be.

Or helping feed the raccoon, with farming products distributed safely in a warm pan instead of in her face. It could be interpretted as a form of apology.

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