eileen_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Indiscriminate
Synopsis Teodoro brings Eileen some bad news in the form of a file folder. She has some, too.
Date February 27, 2010


A flashy little strip club, its name advertised in bright neon pink above the door in swooping cursive, with the figure of a woman outlined in the same seeming to kick a leg with each flash of the light. Two bouncers stand by the door, which is a reflective chrome and stays closed unless opened by the security duo, with a red carpeting extending out onto the pavement. They will check you for I.D. before permitting you entrance. You'll be greeted by a woman in full burlesque regalia, with exaggerated makeup, a corset that barely keeps everything in, fishnets and feathers. Provided you can pay the cover charge, she will show you to a table, offer to get your first drink of the evening, and leave you alone to enjoy what Burlesque has to offer.

The main room's focal point is the generous stage, a circular platform with Broadway lights around the edges, and a catwalk that extends further out into the scattered round tables where patrons can sit and drink. The lights that shine down on it are never particularly clear, often shards of pink, green, blue, which hide as much as they reveal. There is almost always a dancer on the stage, even as even more girls move around the room to give more intimate shows on tabletops. There's a long bar that crawls along one side of the room, with a couple of bartenders behind it, a counter of black glass with rows and rows of liquor on display on glass shelves. Leather booths are tucked away towards the back, offering some privacy for whatever purpose.

Despite the proposed theme of the club, impressions of burlesque only factor in with the permanent staff and particular shows of featured dancers. Otherwise, the tunes are standard for any kind of strip club, and the girls will wear what they like. There are private lounges for more expensive, personal shows, and a darkly lit, obscured staircase leading up to both dressing rooms and the manager's office.

All the girls who work at Burlesque have a stage name that is distinct from the one on their birth certificate. The one with stiletto-clad feet crossed at the ankle in Teodoro's lap goes by Violet while she's on the job, but has in the past answered to Munin and Tiny as well. To the club's security personnel, it looks like she's busy flirting with a new customer in an attempt to secure his patronage rather than enjoying the company of an old friend over a lit cigarette and squat glass of amaretto, scotch and ice.

Opulent is the wrong word to describe her style of dress, though it's certainly lavish and overwrought with all its glittering sequins, winking rhinestones and black lace trim laid over rich purple fabric designed to pay tribute to her botanical namesake. A heart-shaped bustier with steel boning that laces up the back through silver eyelets exaggerates the shape of her slender body by reducing her waist and drawing attention to gently flaring hips so as to give her a more traditionally feminine figure than the matchstick-thin creature he remembers driving a dinner knife into his belly.

She hadn't been wearing a top earlier. Where Ghost comes from, only Eileen's husband is permitted to see this much of her body stripped bare at once, but this New York is not Ghost's New York, and this Eileen is not Ghost's Eileen.

She isn't Gabriel's either.

"I take it this couldn't have waited for tea and coffee at the Nite Owl," she's saying.

Rarely does the Bright Future seem so far away as when it is so dark. Not the dread lightlessness of snowfall at midnight in the shadow of a ruin's lopsided bulwark, nor— clandestine moral compromises, of course: the Bright Future had had plenty of ruins and mortal ugliness, too. Sometimes covered up in green, other times marked off and roped to show ticketed visitors, but the Bright Future didn't have Eileen at the Burlesque.

Where's it's dim by virtue of sultry electric lighting, smells of nicotine smoke, middle-of-the-market French perfume, and Eileen's eyes are kohled like designer bruises on her delicately hastate face. Believe it or not, either version of him was equally out of place at strip clubs. You know. Between Mossad-partnered operations, and knockoff good Catholicism worn like fake fur over the rest of his humble costume.

Fortunately, strip clubs were designed for easy and intuitive use, as long as you are not entirely asexual. (Teo isn't.)

(Really.) And ergo, he manages to make it look easy as breathing, sitting stooled at the bend of the bar, away from the nearest next clump of drinking patrons and, ergo, away from the bartender as well. So much the shabby sophisticante: he'dve made Lucrezia a proper, pampered son, once. Slight slouch, Oxford shirt undone the top two buttons and what might even be knife-creases fading out of his trousers underneath, one duffle coat sleeve bent elbow-down on the counter, a cup of orange juice masquerading as a screwdriver at one hand.

His other is extricating a manila folder from his coat, rough fingers in a clasp around the grain. It's faintly dog-eared and softened at the corners despite its newness: evidence that Teodoro's already been through it three or eighty times.

He lays it up on top of her braided shins, right where the cut-glass of her knees meet in an intersecting weave of fishnet, allowing the weight of the file to balance itself in the shadow of the bar-top. "There's that," he says. Makes a gesture out of his eyes, but there's no label and— "But first, I was hoping you'd have the patience for a hypothetical question"

Eileen places the faux crystal tumbler on the bar top, creating a brassy sound caused by glass coming into sharp contact with the metal coaster beneath it that would be much more audible if Teo didn't have to strain his ears to hear it. She does not abandon her cigarette so readily. Instead, she steers it into the corner of her mouth to free up both her small hands, lacquered nails painted a deep carmine red so dark they appear almost black in the club's bleak lighting.

This is a lot less inconspicuous than making it look like she's rubbing the side of her foot along his inner thigh. Still, no complaints; the edge of one glossy nail separates the folder's cover from its contents and peels it back in order to glimpse at them. The fake lashes she wears on top of her natural ones look like they might be made of the same feathers that adorn the flower-shaped clasp in her hair, its edges outlined in silver, and veil her eyes from view as she succumbs to a cat's curiosity with lips slightly parted so smoke may leak out through her mouth like fumes rising off the muzzle of a sleeping dragon.

Her response comes in the form of a soft but noncommittal noise made at the back of her throat. "Mm."

It doesn't escape Teo's attention that her attention is slithering on its smooth-scaled belly elsewhere. Nor does it escape his attention that, with her waist cinched up like so, Eileen actually has cleavage, but that is neither here nor there. A middling sort of distance.

Neither of them can be blamed, really. In the folder, there's Jane Doe with her skull sawed open by what's extrapolated to have been a seven-inch blade, along the same line that Gabriel 'Sylar' Gray once occupied himself with cranially bifurcating himself more Evolved abilities. And inside the sumptuous clasp of bodice, there's a figure that Teodoro has never tested the feel of, regardless of what context or shapeless jacket he's long since grown accustomed to in association.

It's a good thing for both of them, that they're both sitting down. "If Odessa Knutson was following my ass around and building a nest with a few of our mutual friends, what would you recommend I do?"

His knuckles peak briefly white around the columned glass of his cup, squeezing his handprint in the condensation. He takes a long pull of chilled fruit juice. When he seesaws his foot on the rung he perched it on, Eileen's skirt essays up a fraction of an inch, and he doesn't look.

"I would sit up and take notice," Eileen suggests, and she's doing the same thing. Figuratively. The club's lights make the glossy photographs attached to Jane Doe's file appear even more grotesque, ruby droplets of blood beading along the delicate curve of the dead woman's jaw, which hangs open to reveal a sliver of velvet tongue behind small white teeth stained pink by still more of the tacky stuff. Clots of gore in the corpse's hair plaster it to her face like the adhesive glue holding Eileen's extra lashes in and make it impossible for her to identify the body.

Of course, it isn't the victim that Teodoro is anticipating she'll recognize, now is it?

Eileen's lips purse around her cigarette's filter and would go white if it wasn't for colour she applied to them in front of the dressing room mirror fifteen minutes before the start of her shift. "Knutson stayed with the Ferry for several months the first time she tried to get clean," she continues when she's sure her voice isn't in any danger of snapping, painfully tight though it is. "Last I heard, she'd shacked up with a bloke named Campbell and was living in Chesterfield's building down in Greenwich. I suppose it's possible they could've had a falling out."

Her face changes, and it's less because the bouncers are going to notice than because Teo does that he reaches over to push a stringy black lock of hair back over her ear. Freed of his gloves after so many hours of transit in the cold of the outdoors, his fingers are now less coarse than they might otherwise have felt against the smoother curvature of her face, even at a most tangential friction.

"I didn't know she was on anything," Teodoro answers. His arm falls back, folded at the elbow atop the counter. He streaks an index through the beaded track left by the base of his glass, and turns his scarred mouth around a plastic smile for the bartender who glances over. No doubt, marking the look on Eileen's, going chalkier underneath the careful sculpture of makeup and bones fragiler than the winter window frost patterns, but a stripper's distress isn't significant unless it stays. "The future Ghost came from, she was an assassin. One of Arthur Petrelli's favorites. Stronzo that he was.

"And rumor has it you swore to her on no facetious terms you'd put her in the ground if you ever saw her again. Hypothetically." Disclaimer upon disclaimer. Teo looks at the photographed corpse upside-down. There is no real 'upside-down' for corpses, though, especially not one whose arrival before forensics was unchoreographed, without design or art. Fish-bites, algae, her clothes in an unkempt twist, the sea certainly hadn't give a fuck.

Threatening to murder someone is the sort of thing Eileen would usually remember, but there are still large gaps in her memory that time has yet to fill. In her rented room at the Red Hook Speakeasy, there is a journal under the mattress that contains a disjointed account of the last year, and nowhere amidst the squalid details is there any mention of Odessa Knutson in such a context.

"Morphine," Eileen says, and although she closes the folder, she keeps one finger bent between the pages to save her place. "She got hooked at Moab, and her ability makes it easy for her to feed the addiction without putting her up against the same difficulties someone else in her situation would face. Walk in, take what you want, walk out. I doubt she's ever paid for it."

Her eyes lift from the folder's drab cover and fixate on Teo's face in an obstinately scrutinizing fashion that has nothing to do with the scar tissue making an ugly mess of his mouth. The fingers of her free hand pinch her cigarette between them and remove it from her lips, filter compressed and ringed in garish red lipstick that competes with the shimmer of her nails for the Italian's attention. "Why are you showing me this?"

The curl of Teo's tongue runs the short track across his upper-teeth. He glances down at the orange juice, tips the glass toward him a brief moment, before allowing its meniscus to rock back, vessel clicking the liquor-dark lacquer of the carpentry. "Gabe's been fingered."

Gabe. Always that impertinent diminutive. "Not a sure thing, but the MO bears similarities that the Bureau isn't apparently likely to ignore.

"I want to find out if— if he's alive, if he did it. If he didn't, then who the fuck is wiping their ass with his…" 'Good name' feels like the wrong phrase, to begin with. For Teo, anyway. There is much more to Gabriel's name, or at least what it means to him, than the Wanted sheet and the cavalcade of half-skulled corpses from whom he had amassed his original powers and mystique. Teo owes him Abigail, Trask, Helena, Alexander. Teo owed him all the Vanguard scalps he'd hitched to his belt in the Bright Future. Teo owes him two averted apocalypses, a couple drinks, and maybe a few increments of frinkle-boy's redemption.

No. "Good name," is precisely the phrase he ought to be using. Whether or not it had started out 'worthy,' in his estimation of personal debt or the qualitative value of six billion lives saved.

"Ivanov put me up to it. Or that's what we're content to say," he adds, after a moment. Reaches over to close the folder because the bartender's scuffing nearer, leaves five long fingers splayed on the surface of the manila, a weight on the Englishwoman's lap. It passes off a different kind of intent. "He wants a list of abilities Gabriel already had in exchange for this." A twitch of thumb across the folder's unlabelled surface: this. Under the table. Wholly illegal. Not for their consumption, not a tall. "He thinks I'm going to fuck him over."

Felix's name earns Teodoro a more reproachful look from Eileen even as her hand, lit cigarette billowing silver smoke, settles on his own. Her skin is several degrees cooler than another woman's would be and as smooth as the lily petals her fair complexion resembles and tonight's perfume smells faintly of. She is not, however, soft. As she traces the raised network of veins that makes a sinewy web of the back of his hand with her curving thumb, the feel of her is more reminiscent of cold marble than it is female flesh.

It is entirely possible that Teodoro has solved the mystery of the Venus de Milo's missing arms; Eileen is borrowing them. Her fingers close around his in a cinching clasp, squeeze tight. Are you? is what she should be asking him. She may have cut Felix down when Danko tried to lynch him, and while it's true that they set aside their differences to work together on the final phase of Operation Apollo, he continues to have a haggard effect on her breathing when his name comes up in conversation.

"If I give you my trust," she says, "I may crumble into dust if you break it. Do you understand?"

The Burlesque caters to all manner of clients, apparently. If you're into big pillows or hard edges, there's something for everybody. If you're into a cast-iron maiden who doesn't blink at chalk outlines and photographed brain cross-sections, they have that too. Teo's lopsided leer evens out slightly, a smile too small to concern anybody about its artificiality, surely. "I thought about killing him for one minute, but that was a kneejerk reaction." His knuckles contract in her grasp, tighten, relax again. Who would have thought it that Venus de Milo had a mothwing pulse and a feverish clasp?

"I wouldn't take you lightly." He meets her eye when he says it, his sincerity now a creature akin to though not exactly the same as that of the boy she'd stabbed. There is the same clarity of gaze, careful register of voice, slow because he's checking every syllable, proving his sincerity and honesty in the process of speech.

There is, however, brief lull, filled in by proximate glassy clicking, a bass growl of lewd entendre, and giggles in a spun sugar soprano. He isn't sure if it's too early to elaborate, and there's a hideously pragmatic part of him that wonders if it'll reinforce his pitch or if it's better to withhold it, adding modifiers or definitions to what 'trust means. In the end, he says it: "If we disagree, you'll find out about it the moment it happens, and from me."

Eileen understands kneejerk reactions. Her decision to take his hand was one such impulse. So is the abrupt release and removal of her feet from his lap, legs folded at the knee as she draws herself up in her seat, swings her bent arm across the counter and deposits a clump of powdery ash into the mouth of the nearest glass receptacle with crystal grooves for teeth.

They're still close enough that when she swivels in her seat and picks up her tumbler again, her left thigh and calf brush then press against his. Beneath her perfume, she smells damp like sweat, saliva infused with tobacco, rain — listen closely enough and you can hear it battering the emergency exit from the outside.

"My parole officer and I worked together in Madagascar," she says around the rim of her drink. "Avi Epstein. You know him as the man in the glasses, Jensen knows him as the King of Pentacles." The potency of the amaretto and scotch has been diluted by the cubes of ice tinkling in the bottom of the glass and makes it go down smoother than it would have a few minutes ago when she first ordered it, but she still requires a few moments between speaking and swallowing to untangle her tongue from her thoughts.

"He started coming around a few days after we got back from Apollo. Bullied me. Threatened me. Warned me to stay away from Jensen. Some of the things he said about Gabriel made me think he knew more about what happened than he was letting on, so I started pushing back. Went to see Danko at Holliswood." Eileen tilts the tumbler on its axis. "There was an argument," she hedges. "He wanted me to work for him, and when I refused he told me he'd raid a Ferryhouse for every week I held out, so—"

More rattling ice. The Englishwoman gives her drink an irritated little shake, indicating that she'd either like to do the same to Epstein's neck or does not have the degree of control over her hands that she would probably like. "I shot him.

"I should've known from the beginning that something was wrong. He wasn't the same man I fought with in Mandritsara and Antananarivo. Too aggressive."

Too aggre—

The cold that her swung feet had left on his lap spreads to a gooseflesh prickle down the back of Teo's spine. His eyes close and pop again of their own accord. Avi Epstein. He's heard that name once before. In the context of Raith's blithe idea: we'll kidnap him, Kaylee will take a psychic can-opener to his head, and he'll tell us what he wants with Eileen. And that is a great context to realize the world's most powerful serial-killer in, let me tell you.

"Ho-ly fuck." Teodoro has rarely wanted a drink so direly as he does now. Partly because he could use the psychological benefit of inebriation, and partly because he is suddenly sieged by many paranoias about appearances. Both theirs, and those who might be watching them.

Christ, and he'd thought having the woman who had killed Hiro and stolen his sword had been concerning. He is left to knock back his cuppa citrus with gusto, and scrub a palm down his bearded jaw, a carefully restrained gesture, his real reaction knotted up and aborted in the musculature of his neck. He wishes there was something to whack his forehead against. Rattle things back into perspective. Perspective proves elusive, and this time, it's not because of the sensory stranglehold of perfume and tobacco.

"I take it you didn't get this revelation because he— swept you up in a bearhug and squeaked 'You got punk'd' at the end, and beer's on him." He scores a thumb across his eyebrow, glances at her. "Doesn't sound like a Gabriel I ever got to meet."

Eileen touches a hand to her ribs through the silken material of her bustier, mindful not to singe the intricate lace overlay with the tip of her smoldering cigarette. If this was a private room and Teo was a real customer, its flickering point would illuminate the bruising there in shades of autumn gold and orange, but she's wearing clothes so one can only guess why she's treating that side of her body with such frail sensitivity.

It's still a little sore. So is her pride, for that matter, but she stymies any outpouring of emotion with a sharp intake of breath and simultaneous drag from her cigarette, nice and brisk. "Aristophanes had a theory," she says. "All humans consist of four arms, four legs and a single head with two faces. Fearing their power, the King of the Gods split them all in two so they'd spend their lives searching for their missing half."

Eileen's mouth is feeling very dry, parched by smoke, but she swallows anyway. The muscles in her throat contract hard enough for the spasm to be briefly visible, a clenched fist caught in her trachea. "I don't believe in soulmates," she stipulates, "and I don't believe in Zeus or Mount Olympus either, but there are men who can throw thunder and lightning from their hands, and that's enough for me. I love Gabriel. He has every right to hate me for the way I've treated him — whatever happened between us wouldn't have reduced him to that."

That is accompanied by a flourishing gesture that indicates the folder and its gruesome contents. "If he killed her," and even Eileen can't deny that it looks like he did, "then there must have been a reason for it. He isn't indiscriminate, Teo. He isn't that monster anymore. Hasn't been since the Narrows came down."

"You could argue he'd never been indiscriminate," Teo points out, eyeing the ginger contact of her fingers with bustier with this frown on his lips. Tiny thinking twist, grim; no actual argument in the expression itself or the tone of voice with which he'd said it. You could argue, but isn't trying to start a fight. He gives the manila corner a pinch with long fingers, lifts it a half-inch and makes an inquiry out of his brows. He'll take that back, if she doesn't mind.

Something to distract himself with, while she's slouching— as well as a corset allows— over what unimaginable toxin of sentiment is roiling around in her gut. It'll go back into his coat. "He doesn't have telekinesis anymore, does he?

"It's why he might have actually used a knife." Teo roots callused fingers through the sandy strands of his hair, once, a puckering jerk against his scalp before he heaps himself into a slouch over the counter's edge. The seam of his sleeve catches briefly on some infinitessimal flaw before he skids it irritably past, unwary of the damage it might do to his clothes. He didn't come here to strut his shit.

He didn't even come here to squeeze a list of Gabriel's existing abilities out of Eileen, really. He's just — retreating to that particular objective, however unpleasant, because he already knows that he's going to ask, and suspects she knows he's merely hesitating, balking, a showjumper before a terrifying combination of crossrail, "You want to confront, don't you?" Teo's smile is helplessly wry. He slides it at her sidelong, and wishes he felt it was his business to ask: what happened in Madagascar, but he doesn't. Not so soon after he tainted himself with association with Ivanov.

There's a lot that Eileen wants. A lot that she thought she wanted but has since discovered doesn't fit the lifestyle she's adapted herself to leading. Take the apartment: it's small but suited to her unique needs in every way except for the fact that it's owned by the same entity the Ferry opposes. She's struggling to keep up with her classes at Columbia, too; there are only so many hours in a day, and she spends most of them shirking her academic responsibilities in favour of her other ones. French, Anatomy, Dance, English Literature — all fall by the wayside when the restrictions placed on her movements and the people she's allowed to associate with make her so desperately unhappy.

The Paxil doesn't help with that.

"I want to be with you when you do," she corrects Teo, because there's no doubt in her mind that he won't. "I also want you to promise me you won't tell Ivanov about any of this until he's had a chance to explain himself to us first."

And if he won't tell us? Teo resists the urge to flipperhands at the girl. You know, sometimes the boy in question gets things like 'amnesia' and 'personality regression's, according to history that both of them remember very clearly. He'd met Gabriel when he was Tavisha. What if there is an anti-Tavisha? What if, what if. What if he explains and then wants to cut their heads off, no offense intended, that is just how he happens to be hard-wired right now, ever since the last bout of blunt trauma wracked the harddrives, so while his RAM may be intact all his memory is burnt through holes and—

Teo gets that look off his face. She knows the one. She has worked with enough children at the Lighthouse— Brian may or may not count— to know the look. But but but. "I'm not going to tell Felix," he answers, abruptly, when he realizes his moment's obstinacy could have been misinterpreted. He ticks his forefinger on the bar-top, twice, and finally scoots his orange juice across the table. "This'll be interesting. We can just walk into intelligence agencies' public service areas now, did you know? ID, casual clothes, maybe even a registered handgun.

"Feels like stepping into the fucking Twilight Zone whenever you do, but we can." It's a weak joke, if not because of the observation and content themselves, then because Teodoro does not find this whole situation very funny. Not the circumstances of Gabriel's resurrection, though mind you, he's glad he's back. And the idea of coming anywhere near the Central Intelligence Agency still turns his stomach, as any should any good football hooligan's.

"Too bad the only psychometer I know of who's still around works in the adjacent corner office."

"I don't think it's very likely he'd be using Epstein as a cover at this point." Eileen snuffs her cigarette out in the ash tray and gives it an extra twist for good measure. It joins half a dozen other crumpled butts, some smudged with lipstick and others not, all of their filters stained yellow and brown like the teeth of someone who goes through multiple packs a day and subsides entirely on coffee, tea, red wine and a diet of strong curries. "He doesn't want anyone to know he's alive, and with that identity compromised he'll be looking for a new one if he hasn't already found something.

"There's the Walker girl," she suggests instead. "Maybe Whitney. He has to sleep somewhere, sometime. The Ferry has a small supply of negation drugs we can lift from."

There's a dragging sort of silence as Teo turns over those suggestions. He looses a sigh through his teeth, and it tastes something between a citrusy tang and the bland, chalky nothing of his pain medication. Fucking ankle. Fucking Epstein. "They're going to notice their agent's missing, pretty soon," he says, finally. "I'll try to get in touch with either of them. That aside, we should probably consider dropping the advantage of surprise—" sometimes not an advantage of all, with Gray's sensibilities. "And try asking.

"Last I recall, you two had an ability in common." And it's what brought them together, the last time Gabriel survived an apocalypse and came out with his personality recomposited with deeper scars and more missing than his skin would deign to hold. "The clairsentients first, birds second?" Teo manages not to flinch when he looks back at her, blinking against the bleak wink of rhinestones, dread with conspiracy, balancing his mind on the neutral imagery between the territories of exposed bruises and flaunted breasts.

There are worse things than living a life made of sutured parts. She's good with sutures. He's good at pretending that the Bright Future hadn't been all that. "I can probably get in touch with Walker and Whitney tonight. Though I heard the latter's been busy keeping tabs on the bigot creep you visited the other week." It has the register of 'rumor' to it, hypothesis, speculation. God knows, few of the Ferrymen were comfortable with Danko walking somewhere amongst them.

"Either we surprise him," says Eileen, "or we wait for him to initiate. There's no middle ground, Teo — if he wanted to speak with us, he wouldn't have spent the past month and a half pretending to be someone else while we fucking mourned him." She drains what watery liquid remains at the bottom of her glass, situates it back on the coaster and uses the back of her hand to push it away from her.

This would usually be a signal for the bartender to mix her another, but she's reaching down the front of her bustier to retrieve a small clip of cash which she uses to cover the cost of her drink and what amounts to a charitable tip. They're both employees here at Burlesque — who's going to look out for them if not one another?

"Gabriel's not had my ability since Pinehearst," she tells Teo. "If he did, I'd have known it was him. I can still use my birds to look but it's a futile effort unless I know what shape he's taking. The drugs are only a precaution."

In the corner of Teo's mind, he is marking down avian telepathy as another one of those gone. And more's the pity, isn't it? He flattens the lapel of his coat with his palm, feels the harder-edged contours of his manila folder underneath it, its corners nibbling at the sweater he has on underneath. "S'pose this is little better incentive than to get him to fucking stay, once we have him cornered," he says. Both of them are going to stack their decks toward the former, then. The probability of Gabriel initiating seems unbearably slim.

Teo digs out the leather scrap his own wallet. It's not exactly fat with cash, but he lays down a twenty and then another five: more than twice the worth of his orange juice, but he'd gotten more than his orange juice during his patronage. A beautiful girl on-duty, a conversation long and involved. Wouldn't go amiss to be thought well of, here. He flattens the thin-worn bills with his fingers, pushes them across to finalize the transaction.

Where the bartender can see it, though the man's too well-trained to come over and grab it, while the customer and the dancer are still talking. "Maybe Knutson will help with getting the needle in," he says, swiveling his knee wide. He sets his bad foot down on the floor, ginger with the latent heat of his swollen ankle. "I'd trust her ability over most of the snipers I know."

"Trust her ability if you like, but don't trust Knutson. Not with this." As Teodoro is rising, so does Eileen. Her hand, made even colder by the ice in the bottom of the discarded glass she'd been clutching, finds the marred side of his face and traces the bottom edge of his lip with its thumb. The stilettos strapped to her feet lessen the disparity in height between them, though it doesn't make much of a difference when he's a full twelve inches taller than she without shoes on. What it does do is make it easier for her to cradle his face and place a chaste kiss on his mouth.

"This stays between us," she says without pulling away any further than the distance she needs to speak, and what she means is Remnant. "He's one of ours."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License