In Thy Dark Streets Shineth


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Scene Title In Thy Dark Streets Shineth
Synopsis …the everlasting light. Some Christmas miracles take place in Midtown.
Date December 24, 2008

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

At this time of year, the thick snow that falls in spirals towards the ground like ash is almost enough to cover the scarred remains of Midtown. With everything coated in fairytale white, you can pretend that the broken buildings and streets are fine just the way they are, and that the lack of people roaming them is only due to the cold of winter. It gets oppressively worse the further inwards you go, but at this distance (and on route to the library, as it happens), the illusion is maintained.

A building largely abandoned but taken over time and time again on different nights by homeless, criminals and vagrants, Sylar is quickly discovering that he's not invincible and things don't just heal like they should. The shoulder wound has started to bleed again, and there's a sharper, hotter pain that could tell of infection - he's not sure, the wound is messy enough for it all to blur together. Wrapping fresh bandages clumsily around it, he hisses a little when it only goes to red, a sort of unhealthy stain that, now aggravated, bleeds into his shirt. He'd been avoiding hospitals - even if he changed his face, they ask questions when it comes to bullet wounds which this undoubtably is. Too bad.

With heavy, almost clumsy footfalls, Sylar moves downstairs and out into the empty street, gripping his left arm and almost as pale as the snow that falls.

She forgot some things. Namely, presents. Since it looks like for sure Al and Teo aren't going to be at the Apartment, Abby's trudging her way through the ruins (who cares about radiation when you can heal it up) to make it towards the main area's so she can hit up a taxi. She'll blow money on a taxi tonight. Drafting across the air is the young blondes voice, when she's well enough away from the library, starting to sing. "O little town of bethlehem, how sweet we see thee lie, above they deep and dreamless sleep…" A song fit for a choir and it echoes against the ruined monoliths. Sylar for the moment, not noticed, so intent in her path to make it out, hands deep in pockets, backpack on back and blonde hair shining in the moonlight.

Sylar does pause when Abby's voice starts to bounce off the buildings. With his hearing, it doesn't take much effort. Almost surreal, considering his surroundings, the sheer pain of a wound that's decidedly bleeding out, and the harsher cold of winter. It's a sweet song. "Yet in thy dark street," he mutters, not even singing, just murmuring the words along with the girl's song as he resumes walking, "shineth the everlasting light…"

He steps around a corner, onto the street Abby trudges along, a very obvious figure dressed all in black, a stark contrast to the brightness of snow around them. "The hopes and fears of all the years…" Sylar grits his teeth together, letting that lyric trail off into nothing. Maybe he could just… sit down. And he does. A stiff-legged move towards the blasted-black stairs of a broken building, and he sits, ignoring for now the cold. A dry laugh at his own predicament echoes down the vacuum-empty street, save for the two occupants
Abby spots the movement, the stiff figure as it eases down, the black on white followed by his laugh. For one moment, something in her head tells her to keep moving on, keep away, go on your merry way. Nobody good walks through the ruins. But then again, she's walking through the ruins. Her song falters, trailing off to nothingness as is words not lyrics that comes across the snow to him. "Merry Christmas Sir, Ma'am. Thought I was the only one here. Probably shouldn't go too deep. The radiation" Abby's steps stop in the snow, watching from afar.

Sylar turns his head to regard the woman properly now, gaze flicking over her. His right hand clutches his left arm, shoulders curled inwards in a posture not so strange for someone protecting himself against the cold. "I was moving outwards," he confirms, in a quiet rasp unfamiliar to Abby, but notably distinctive to some of her friends. Such friends that aren't with her right now to warn her to indeed listen to instinct. A glance up and down the street, as if hearing and looking for anyone else, but no, they're very alone. Unbeknownst to Sylar, that would probably be to his advantage considering who would otherwise accompany Abby, but he sighs. "I was just— resting."

She can read body language. a few years of working in the diner, she's adept at spotting it. "Your hurt" A guess, educated. THat alone draws the other woman closer. 'Trying to make your way to a hospital?" Her steps now alter, going off the trails she wa sfollowing, to forge a new one towards the stranger as she unsheathes her hands from her pockets and starts to peel off a glove.

Oh wonderful. Pitiful enough to garner the help of complete strangers. Or maybe this woman is just nice. Either way, Sylar has to appreciate the irony and it tugs at the corners of his mouth in a bitter smile, although now, through the haze, he also has to recognise that this could go badly for him. Even if there was an ambulance to spare at this hour and for this part of town, he hasn't 'shifted yet and— his eyes narrow a little as she takes off her gloves. Curiousity forcing him to hesitate rather than automatically move on. "No," he says, watching her approach him with all the guardedness of a cornered animal. "It's a gunshot, I can't go to a hospital without questions. Don't call anyone." It's Christmas, he can offer her a headstart of a warning.

Just nice. She kills with kindness. "Gunshot? Robbed? Or were you doing the Robbing?" Doesn't deter the young woman. Inf act it just draws her nearer. "Won't call anyone, I promise" Crunch goes the snow beneath her feet, the glove being shoved into her pocket, and then off goes her other one, plucking at her fingers to peel off. "How bad?" ABby's voice is lower as she approaches, knowing how words echo in places like the ruins. The dark works in his favor right now, she can't see him fully.

Sylar's eyes linger on her bare hands. In this weather, it's something to take note of, and Sylar is nothing if not a man of details. And his gaze draws up to her face, shadowed eyes giving nothing away when he studies her features. An amused sound, the beginnings of a chuckle, emerges from his throat at her guesswork. "Mugged," he confirms, head tilting back a little to regard her. "A few days ago. It's not getting better." If something clicks into place, he doesn't show it outwardly - save for a willingness to cooperate. His good hand moves to unbutton the thick jacket he'd forced on, pushing it back. It's hard to see in this light, but a darker stain has seeped through the dark blue hoodie he wears, spreading from his left shoulder and towards his chest. "Pretty bad."

"Fate" Abby murmurs, spotting the spreading with a wince. "That can't be good. Can I touch you?" Abby sinks down in the snow, knees hitting the cement stairs besie him as she cranes her head to take in the wound. "I can take it away. You won't need to go to a hospital" It's quietly offered to the man. "A christmas present you could say, if you want"

A shiver wracks Sylar for a moment, coat opened to elements and temperature making quick work of sapping away the gathered warmth, but it's a pretty fair trade. His eyes widen a little at what she proposes, intrigue obvious for a split second, and there's no doubt, anymore. "Please do," he murmurs, almost at a whisper, about as harmless as a tone of voice could be. Part-pleading, part-gratitude. It's a carefully constructed mix of the two.

The colds not going to bother him for much longer. With his permission Abby settles her warm palm near his collarbone. It's slender and light, the hands not smooth,s he's worked and her hands show it through their texture. She prays then, quietly and under her breath, pleading to god to grant her this and that, in the name of the father, Amen. No big flashy show. Four words into the prayer it starts, warmth and tingle, likely the same that Ethan felt. Radiating from where her palm was and towards the bulletwound. Ending it's way to other places as well, seeking out injured tissue to make whole little by little. The prayer ends, but the healing doesn't still chugging along slowly.

The warmth, not only for what it represents, is appreciated. Sylar's eyes slide closed for a second, almost in reverence of the prayer she starts - but then he can feel it, the pain sapping away as the wounds begin to slowly heal. Not just his shoulder. The twinges, various and varied, all start to leave him too, and the fingertips in his gloves burn for a moment, Sylar drawing a breath inward, but gone again. It's like a purging. He peels back one woolen glove to observe his hand, the previously blackened fingertips clear, new again, feeling. "That's amazing," he breathes out, the fixes Abby with a look. It could be read as grateful, or awed. 'Fascinated' might be a better word. "You have an amazing gift."

"Gods gift. I do his bidding and heal those he places before me. Your more than shot" She glances down to his fingers when he draws the gloves off, the turn from balck to normal flesh. "Frostbite, bad" Trails of weariness coast through her voice when she speaks. 'Be a few minutes, but you should be good as new afterwards. Best I can do for you this evening" It's a satisfied smile, seeing, feeling the wounds slowly disappear, things return to their proper state. "Where were you heading, if not to the hospital?. Do you need money for a cab or the bus?"

The smile Sylar gives Abby is warm, almost shy. He's had a lot of practice. "No, that's okay. You did great," he commends her, pulling his glove back over the hand as the the frostbite ebbs away, slowly but surely. He lifts that hand again, as if observing it, then turning a look towards her, smile fading even if that sharp look in his eyes remains. "It's kind of like a gift that keeps on giving." Two fingers twitch and suddenly, Abigail will find herself drawn up and up, an invisible chokehold around her throat, her shoulders, and Sylar gets to his feet. "And giving." Her own feet dangle a few inches above the snow, Sylar's arm stretched out, fingers partially curled as if they were physically around her throat. "And giving. It's nice to finally meet you, Abby."

To say she's surprised, is an understatement. Of all the times that she thought she'd met him, she's run away, dialing for help and screaming her head off. But when she actually meets the real deal, and not with a crowd of people and lots of cops, she can't run away screaming or dial. Her hands reach up almost of their own accord to try and grasp at the invisible hold around her throat. "Sylar" Sylar. The boogeyman of all evolveds. "It's Christmas Eve" Their spoken quietly to the other man even as she dangles helplessly, her backpack a heavy weight against her back. Blue eyes seek out his in the moonlight. He won't care that it's Christmas Eve and that she has people she's taking care of, that she's got things to fetch. "Your going to take my faith, aren't you"

"I know," Sylar murmurs, head tilted to the side and up, the minimal light in this area finally showing exactly who he is, just watching her for a moment. Ethan's Angel. She seems angelic right now, golden hair blowing free in the breeze, hovering over the snow, and he can appreciate the beauty of it… even if she's struggling. "Your faith?" An eyebrow twitches up, and he nods slowly. "Yes. It's going to be my Christmas present to me. You know how it is. Sometimes you— " He falters for a moment, but continues with, "You just can't help yourself." His other hand rises, arm able to do so as her magic works on the wound that had incapacitated it, a finger pointed. Not for the first time in the last few days, he starts to cut. The red blood will fall onto white snow and maybe her screams will break the silence of Midtown, driven from choir chorus to the purity pain brings.

Abby'd already started the prayer in her head, the moment the finger is pointed at her. SHe's switched it to self healing, pushing it, making it swirl, ready for the searing pain of whatever it is that lets him do it. The first trickles of blood start their downward journey, only to be sealed up at first by the blondes gift in it's wake, but pain has always been a disruptor, and the first inch heals but the rest stays unsealed flesh as Sylar works his way across her forehead and what should be screams, are bellowed prayers to god for help. Even now, she's still relying on her faith to save her.

Faith is fickle, some would say, and it appears Abby's efforts are to no avail. Or are they? Does faith cause inanimate objects to rise effortlessly from the ground and into mid-air? Apparently so! Because there is is - yards behind Sylar, a large piece of brick lifts from what is left of a sidewalk. It doubtfully floats for a few moments before it arches sharply back and then suddenly whizzes forward. Precisely in, as it happens, the direction of Sylar's head.

A Christmas miracle? Perhaps. Or perhaps a frequent, sneaky visitor of the Midtown ruins is still holding a grudge, and would like to hit two birds with one stone.

Thunk! The brick glances off Sylar's skull, which does two things. Abby is suddenly dropped gracelessly down onto the snow, her forehead ceasing to be cut through. The other is that Sylar's world suddenly splits into double and he, too, falls on his knees. (Oh hear the angel voices?) Blood trickles through hair to stain the collar of his shirt, and he shakes his head, once, to clear it and cling to consciousness. For a moment, he only looks towards Abby, bewildered, before struggling to his feet.

No need to look a gifthorse in the mouth, or in this case, a miracle. Abby's feet hit the ground, followed by her knees and her hands. A moment, two, her eyes meeting sylars, even with the red that rings the part of her forehead like some strange coronet and the womans gone. She's dashing through the rubble to try and get away, towards the city, not the insides of the ruins. She's not questioning how this came to be, she's just taking advantage of it. The prayers have obviously stopped.

But before Sylar has even managed to get to his feet, new footsteps crack the white powder around him and his victim, forming a hasty trail. Then it simply stops, a while in front of Sylar, and a voice that is familiar to at least one of the two other individuals sounds. Prompt, like a command. "Keep running!" Apparently, God's little helpers have a Northern English accent! Whoda thunk it. Quieter, with the footsteps realligning to point directly at Sylar again, the voice continues. "Really? On Christmas bloody Eve?!" Someone is disappointed and furious all at once.

By the time Sylar's standing, he recognises the voice. It's rather hard to forget, even if he could, and that perfect memory of his offers up a name as well. "Claude Rains," he says, blinking both to keep the snow out of his eyes as well as to clear his hazy vision. A hand is lifted to touch the back of his head, before he looks over his shoulder at Abby's retreating form. It's all he can do to not roll his eyes. "Yes, really. Could've been worse. Could've been Christmas bloody morning," Sylar snarls at where he can only guess Claude is standing. If he had hackles, they'd be up.

She doens't need to be told twice. Occasionally her feet slipping at the ice hidding beneath the snow, her bare hands scraping against this and that, but she pauses, only enough to look behind her before keeping up with her escape. God provides, that is clear enough in her mind. Ask and ye shall recieve.

If Sylar looks really closely (not to mention past the brick induced headache), it's not /too/ hard to see where Claude is standing. Snow disappears upon contact with his clothing, and movement is made clear by the footsteps quickly crunching down around Sylar. Perhaps in preparation for use later - it is easier for an invisible man to tread undetected with a path already made ready. A second into his slow circle around the killer, there is a sound of brittle rock scraping over rock. Another crumbled brick suddenly pops into existence, coasting freely toward… no… past Sylar's head. A sure miss. Aha! … Now if only that wasn't meant as a distraction. A beat after the brick happily flies past, an invisible fist follows its example. This time, with considerably better aim and a fair deal of anger behind the name that goes with it. "Sylar!"

Round two. Fight! Sylar instinctively ducks a little as the rock goes zooming past, effectively distracted because the next moment, a fist connects with his face, turning his head along with the blow and forcing a stagger, the darkly dressed man slipping on the ice and crashing against the blasted stairs he'd been slouching on not a few minutes ago. Rather different from the fiery predator that had picked a fight with this invisible enemy originally, if only because of the dull throb of a brick-induced headache at the back of his head.

It doesn't stop him from defending himself, however, rolling onto his back and bringing both hands up. With a vocal snarl, a sudden shockwave of raw telekinetic energy goes rocketing towards where he can barely make out Claude's form in the snow, sending the invisible man flying before he slumps back against the stairs, eyes shutting against the falling snow. Bringing a hand up to wipe along his mouth, blood smearing, Sylar gets back on his feet, feeling more hunted than hunter, and not liking it one bit. Darting a quick gaze about the snowy urban landscape, he starts to retreat - away from Abby, further inwards of the ruins.

Abby's halted, far away enough that if sylar even thinks of going after her, she's far enough away to have a head start. Considerably less energy thanks to healing the boogeyman's health. She blinks away, then wipes away the blood watching Sylar battle something invisible, someone invisible? But then he's fleeing, inwards towards the ruins. And Abby stands there, watching, the healthy part of the city at her back.

"Hng!" While the absence of a man might be hard to spot, the absence of cause is really quite clear in this case. A layer of snow previously behind Claude gives away under his weight as he is flung into it by the telekinetic wave. Two bricks blink visible as he loses his grip, and drop to the ground with a pair of 'clunks'.

The man-shaped hole on the snow stirs as Claude attempts to regain his footing. Though not in any hurry, apparently. "You feel that?" The anger from before is still in his voice, though something new has joined it. It becomes clearer with the next statement, that Claude is, in fact, grinning while he speaks to the killer. "That is fear. Caught you at a wrong time, didn't I?" There isn't even time for an answer before he stands, and adds, in a suddenly much more serious tone, "I'll be watching you…"

Slipping footsteps in snow come to a halt when the man dares to address him, Sylar whipping around to face— to face the direction Claude must be in, gaze frantically searching. He shakes his head again - a brick to the head is nothing to scoff at - and this time, he snarls Claude's own words back at him from that first meeting: "Don't follow me." The way he says it, it sounds like a warning. Now, Sylar leaves at a staggering run, to a dark, warmer corner where he can collect himself.

Abby can't hear them, and seeing sylar take off for good, abby turns herself, scoopsing snow to press to her forehead and hightail it as well, find some warm place to collect herself much like Sylar plans to. "Thank you god"

Another day gone invisible, but not entirely without conflict. It is only when Sylar has disappeared from sight that Claude allows himself a shudder. Partly due to Sylar, partly due to his ill earned victory, but mostly? Mostly it is because there's invisible, melting snow dripping unpleasantly down his neck. He'll return to visibility some place safer, warmer, but first he has to get there. Abby, though gone by the time Claude even looks in her direction, gets a drawn out sigh, and a bemused sounding two words.

"You're welcome." Sarcasm was never so well timed.

December 24th: The Devil's Due, Part VII
December 24th: Composure
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