Laundry Day


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Scene Title Laundry Day
Synopsis "Gabriel" and "Eileen" have a friendly discussion at the local laundromat in Long Island City nearby Cliffside Apartments.
Date October 22, 2008

Duds 'n Suds, a laundromat in Long Island City

The local laundromat doesn't see a lot of action and why would it? It's not a few blocks from Cliffside Apartments and not overly busy when Sylar steps inside, moving towards the coin operated machines to stake his claim. He seems bored, and not noticing of those around him, dressed not unlike the other inhabitants of this part of the city. Just another guy. Only his glasses are distinctive, identifying him as quiet Gabriel who lives in floor two in Cliffside. Setting down the bag of clothes he's come with, he moves towards the attendee at the counter to buy a packet of washing powder, having not really stocked his apartment full of such necessities.

Laundry day. Everyone has them, even serial killers. Hell, especially serial killers.

Seated nearby, perched atop an occupied washer that's busily rumbling away, is a young woman with a tangle of dark hair and a slim build. Her long legs, clad in a pair of form-fitting blue jeans faded from excessive wear, dangle over the side of the machine and end in black ballet flats. She goes sockless, but to protect the rest of her bare skin from the blustery weather outside, she also wears an oversize cardigan that appears to be just a few sizes too big for her small frame, coupled with a cashmere pashmina in varying shades of green and pink. Eileen Ruskin, or Munin as she is sometimes called, tracks Gabriel's progress the same way a lazy cat might eye a bird from the other side of a glass pane — inquisitive, though not overtly so.

The clothes are pushed into the front loader, nothing particularly suspicious - just clothes, from anyone's vantage point, and not even any mysterious stains. Disappointing. The machine shut, the powder applied, Sylar deposits a couple of coins and— time to wait. Flipping the machine on, he stands back from it by about a foot, hands sliding into the pockets of his slacks as he does exactly that — waits. Most people might go and read a magazine but Sylar is content to stand right there for the time being. And only then does he notice that he's being watched. His head tilts up and towards the teenager, raising an eyebrow when he meets her gaze almost accusingly. Yes?

Most people might trip over themselves apologizing, or at least avert their gaze when they get caught in the act of staring. Not Munin. Instead, she offers Sylar a small smile and a softly voiced explanation that carries quite well in spite of the ambient noise around them. "I've seen you around before," she says, "Cliffside, righ'? Second floor? Gabriel? Your surname was all smudged, last I looked." Without moving from her roost, she extends one slender arm, diminutive hand outstretched for him to take. "I'm Eileen, three o'five."

Sylar seems as though he's contemplating just ignoring the girl for as long as his laundry takes to clean itself, but after some hesitation, he instead lets a smile finally pull at his otherwise cold features, peering at her through his reading glasses. He takes a step to the side so that he can better clasp her hand in his. "That's right, Gabriel, 204," he says, shaking her hand briskly before letting it drop. "I haven't yet met everyone in the building, I only moved in a couple of weeks ago."

"You've been there longer'n me, then." Munin curls her fingers around Sylar's hand, her palm smooth if a little bit cold to the touch. Either she has poor circulation or her skin is just naturally chilly. "We just started to unpack last nigh'." As nosy as she might be, she doesn't let the handshake go on any longer than is necessary or polite. Careful not to scratch him with her nails, she lets go and drops her hand back into her lap. "Shouldn'ta waited to do laundry 'til after the move. I've enough things on my list as it is."

"Then welcome to Cliffside," Sylar says, returns his hands back into his pockets. "Enjoy it as much as you can, it's not the nicest of apartment buildings around." Now that Munin has captured Sylar's attention, it's on her one hundred percent, generally intense gaze settled on her as if studying her face, committing it to a superhuman memory. "Did you move there alone, Eileen?"

"No," Munin says, shaking her head. "I don't think I could stand it, to be perfectly honest. New York's s'posed to be one o'the biggest, busiest places in the whole wide world. A little too big, a little too busy, maybe." Beneath her, the washer comes to an abrupt halt and interrupts her train of thought with a low buzz. Laundry's done. "Everybody I've met so far's been so caught up in the hustle and the bustle they haven't really had time to say hullo. It's a sad thing, really. Lonely thing."

Sylar moves around so he can lean a hand against the machine he's taken for his use, watching the girl as she talks and only absently feeling the vibrations of the thing travel up. "Well you could say it got cut down to size just two years ago," he says, serenely. "And it's interesting, the people that it left behind." He glances down at the washing machine, checking it's timer as if he weren't discussing something quite so fatalistic. "But at least you can rest assured that everyone who ignores you are probably just as lonely."

Munin slides off the machine, touching the very tips of her toes to the rumpled linoleum floor before shifting the rest of her weight forward. "There's a difference between ignoring a person," she says, "and being so fixed on what's straight ahead that you just don't notice. Like blinders on a horse, righ'? World's not so scary when you knock out their peripheral vision. Keeps 'em from getting spooked."

"Ah. And so they don't stop to say hello," Sylar muses, smirking down at her now that she's on her feet, a hand raises to adjust the glasses he's wearing so that he can peer at her over the top of them, as if inspecting the young woman. "You don't seem so scary to me."

"Looks can be deceiving, don't judge a book by its cover, etcetera." As Munin pops open the door and begins unloading clothes from the machine, it becomes apparent that it isn't a washer at all — it's a dryer. She slides Sylar a sly look, the corner of her mouth tugging up into contrite sort of smirk. "For all you know," she murmurs, "I can shoot laser beams outta my eyeballs."

"And for all you know I'm immune to laser beams," Sylar says, the hint of a smile on his face even filtering into his voice this time. If it wasn't for his steadfast gaze, he'd almost seem amicable. "Believe me when I tell you that I don't walk around with blinders on."

"O'course you don't," Munin agrees. "You caught me watching, didn't you?" Most of the articles of clothing she piles into the wicker basket at her feet look like they're designed for a man rather than a woman — dress shirts, black slacks, wool and nylon socks, a handful of gray boxer briefs. Whoever she lives with in her unit on the third floor probably isn't another woman. "It was nice meeting you proper, Gabriel," she says. "I'll see you around." It isn't a question.

The nature of the items she unloads don't go missed on Sylar, glancing down in them and easily filing away the information for later. You never know what comes in handy. "You too. Thanks for introducing yourself," he says, gaze back up to her as she makes to leave, smile returning for the brief moment of her departure. "And yes I suppose we will." And with that, he's content to going back to watching the machine his clothes are in.

Munin gathers the basket into her arms, not without a little difficulty given her size, and tips her head by way of farewell even though she knows he can't see it with his back turned. The jangle of the bell above the laundromat's door marks her departure and heralds in what is sure to be an otherwise quiet hour.

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