Look At You


eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Look At You
Synopsis Ethan takes his daughter for a morning walk on horseback.
Date December 21, 2010

Pollepel Island

The cigarette is pulled from his lip, a light puff given.

"Everything I've applied myself at, my entire life. I've been able to excel at. I've become exceptional at every skill I've tried my 'and at. There 'asn't been much in my life that's been difficult for me. Not much I 'aven't been able to complete with ease." The Brit pauses in his monologue to reinsert the cigarette onto his lips. "Except for blowing fucking smoke rings." The cigarette is taken out as Ethan purses his lips and tries the billionth time to make a tiny ring. But it doesn't work. It never works.

"Motherfucking smoke." He growls. And with that, Ethan gives an accusatory look to his companion. "This may seem out of order. But, that made me think if I was an Evolved, I could 'ave smoke manipulation and finally be able to do that fuckin' trick. Which makes me think. My old man was evolved, you're evolved. What th'fuck? Does the stupid gene skip a generation?" The Wolf growls. "I know I'm the fuckin' shit. But if I could make birds eat shit on my watch life might be a bit easier, as well." Ethan pauses, pulling the reigns of the Sorrel Eileenwards. "How are you Princess?" The tone breaks his normalcy, momentarily breaking through the front that he keeps up most of the time. A spark of his genuine heart surrounded by an ocean of diarrhea.

The morning will come soon, a light fog has rolled through the forest. Ethan's vision obscured somewhat, making it difficult to read his daughter's features. The coast is near, the fog seens to gather thickly at the edge of the island. The two mounted Holdens guide their horses near the outskirts of the treeline, overlooking the river beyond.

Winter makes the ground hard. Copenhagen's hooves would sink into the dirt if it was spring, meltwater transforming the trail into mud and slush, but the ice glittering in the trees and on the water ensures that the mare meets plenty of resistance underfoot. A wool blanket, leather saddle and the reins Eileen holds in her hand are plain, and so are her clothes: heavy coat worn over functional sweater and denim jeans tucked into high leather boots with a flat heel. Bran sits on the saddle's horn, crystalline flakes of snow clinging to his feathers, Eileen's lashes and her long, dark hair.

She likes these rides in the indigo hour before dawn and feels most at ease when the sky starts to get pink but the moon and stars can still be seen behind silver clouds. "Aching for the Dispensary," she answers with a knowing kind of smile, wry and mirthful, and in a voice comparable to something sleek with whiskers. An ermine darts across the path in front of them, a dead mouse dangling from its jaws, and pauses at the edge of the bushes to twist a look back at the pair with glittering black eyes and one paw raised off the snow. Then, with a flick of its tail, is gone.

"I've plans for Christmas this year."

"Whot kind of plans?" Ethan asks plainly, his attention levelling on the young woman on the horse. As he surveys her, thoughts compile themselves on top of one another in his mind. What if Grace hadn't died? What if she had lived to be Eileen's age, what would he have expected her to be at this age? A leader of a resistance group probably doesn't make the top five of most desired outcomes. But here she is, the Grace that lived, blinded because of ties that he made. In a city more or less because of him. Well that can be argued at least…

"We've 'ad Christmas plans before." A nice dinner, time with Vanguard associates. The old team. They've had good 'family' moments so the insinuation that this is something new makes Ethan's face sad. The Wolf's attention darts to the disturbance before them, his hand about to move before registering that the movement is not a thrat. Bringing his hand back to the cigarette, he pulls it out, smoke flowing from his nostrils.

" M'I invited?"

"Well," says Eileen, "I'd like you to live with us again. Teodoro did for awhile, but he's gone now." Bran turns his head to look over at Ethan, solemn and expectant. The old raven remembers what nice dinners used to be like, too, and would sympathize with the man if he could; instead, he sympathizes with Eileen who is cold in spite of the many layers she has on, and is looking forward to taking tea in front of the hearth in the dining hall when they return to the castle.

He lets out a low croak of reassurance anyway. "We haven't had a proper Christmas for two years. And I don't mean hanging up anything by the fire or cutting down a tree. Only being together. That's all I want. You and I, Gabriel, Raith. I'll get us some red wine and enough firewood to burn straight for a week. We can play cards."

"That sounds like a lovely Christmas, princess." Ethan leans forward on the saddle, looping his forearms around the horn. His eyes deliver a thankful look to Bran. Understanding birdspeak or not, Ethan's gotten along with the old bird more often than not. He's been a good friend. Even though sometimes they have their unspoken arguments. A light smirk is delivered to the bird in thanks before his attention returns to the avian telepath.

"We could cut down a tree. And we 'ave plenty of socks. Don't really 'ave to 'angem by a fire. We can just 'ang 'em anywhere." He grins slightly at the fantasy Eileen has orchestrated for him in his mind. For some reason, the sinking feeling that it won't actually work out burrows deeply into his chest. "I've got to get off this island, love. I'm gettin' tired of sittin in this castle. It's not what I do. I'll stay in the city.. But. I need somethin' t'do love. No wife. No job. All I 'ave is you, Eileen." His hands readjust on the reins as he lowers his gaze for a moment. "An' I'll fight th'fight you're fightin'. But I need t'know whot we're tryin' to do. You don't exactly 'ave Kazimir's resources 'ere. Tryin' to take out a government is.. Problematic."

"I don't expect we'll take it out," says Eileen. "Messiah's in the business of change. Our focus is survival. Helping those who need it, either by offering them shelter here in the United States or by making arrangements to get them out of the country. When we engage the military, it's to derail prisoner convoys. Sabotage their supply lines to buy our people — and Messiah's — just a little more time."

Her grip on the reins tightens. "I'm a little old for trees and socks, but maybe one day. When you're a grandfather and I've got a husband and a babe with rosy cheeks that get pinker still when you pinch them." The corner of her mouth slants down into a wry, cynical expression that isn't without humour, though her eyes are sad. "If you need to get off the island, go back to the Dispensary and wait for us there. We'll join you in a few days. There are generators down in the basement. Hot water. I stocked up on supplies before the eighth, so you shouldn't go hungry either. Your things are still in your room, as you left them."

"Maybe I should be a Messiah." The Wolf smirks, before looking a little aghast at Eileen. "No one's ever too old for a tree, stupid. Socks maybe, trees? Bite your tongue and spit it out on the grass." 'Wheeling' the horse around, he drops his chin to hover over his chest. "Fuck that. I'm tryin' to get my 'ead around being a dad again. Try not to get knocked up anytime soon, alright?" He asks, sounding a little irritated. Even though she has displayed no reason to make him suspicious of becoming a baby factory, his dislike for the notion is so strong he is taking out what belongs to Future-Eileen on Present-Eileen.

"Dispensary. Right." Ethan lets his head wander off in what he assumes is the general direction of the dispensary. He glances over his shoulder for a moment at the castle. "Whot are y'going t'do Princess? These people can't stay huddled up in this place forever. Sooner or later, someone's gonna fuck up. And this place will be found."

"It'll be found sooner than I get knocked up." Eileen's voice tight, her tone clipped: a little defensive. Her horse circles his, and for a moment or two she's not sure what she should argue first, or if she should argue at all. Telling your father that you have no intentions of ever getting pregnant and having children is an uncomfortable conversation to have, but so is discussing the future of the Ferry should Pollepel fall.

One, at least, is certainly more important than the other. "It will be the council's responsibility to plan that far ahead," she says finally. "This island and everything on it is my contribution. They'll have other ideas about what we ought to be doing once we've a better handle on the situation. There's time yet."

"Look at you." Ethan murmurs, giving her a sort of sad look from his saddle. "Whot if I could go back. If I knew Sophia was pregnant. If I took you away from 'er. From Nick." He bobs his head towards the castle. "Whot would you 'ave wanted in life? If you 'ad a chance at normal? If you werent' an ex-terrorist spy, now fugitive harboring council-member. That talks to birds."

He leans forward on the saddle to watch her quietly. "I wouldn't let your eyes get plucked out by a retarded fuck I used to bang." Not that they were actually plucked or that Odessa was actually retarded. Bringing his steed in closer, Ethan reaches out to attempt and take one of his daughters hands gently.

"She'd never have gotten the opportunity to pluck out my eyes," Eileen reminds Ethan gently, "because without you or I, Kazimir'd have succeeded and we'd all be dead, and even if he hadn't— I don't often like thinking about what could've been. Nature, nurture. I was a queer little thing, Ethan. Chances are that if the Vanguard hadn't picked me up I'd probably end up spending the rest of my life in a musty old flat too afraid to leave it most of the time. I've seen more in almost my twenty-two years than most people do in a hundred."

She curls her fingers around his when he moves to take her hand and gives him what she hopes is a reassuring squeeze. "Look at me. I've three wonderful men who love me: a father, a partner and a friend. And as long as there are birds, I can still see. What's so terrible about all that?"

"I'd like you to be able to have a daughter of your own Princess. Namely so you can go through this." The squeeze is returned. Whether 'this' is positive or negative. He doesn't explain, he simply squeezes her hand once again. "I made some more figurines for you. I got better." Releasing her hand, his own dives into coat pockets.

Plucking out a few wooden pieces they are compacted into his fist, and then shoved albeit carefully into Eileen's hand. Closing her fingers over them he gives her time to examine them. Either with Bran or her hands will do. The first is a woman with a bird perched on her shoulder. The second, a wolf. And the third, a skunk.

Two may be meaningful, but the third.. "I didn't know whot animal Gabriel would be.. So I made 'im into a skunk."

Eileen wrinkles her nose around a breath of laughter, showing her teeth like a fox shows fangs at the start of a snarl, though there's no anger at all in her expression. "They are better," she agrees, admiring Ethan's worksmanship not with her eyes but her hands, curving the edge of one thumbnail along the skunk's back. Bran cocks his head sharply to one side, as if not getting the joke.

"I think he's an eagle," she says, then. "Gabriel. His eyes are gold like that, and he's got a bit of a nose, you know." Nonetheless, she presses a kiss to the top of the figurine's head, then slips it and its companions into her own coat pocket after giving them each equal amounts of attention, though the wolf is the last to go, and she seems more hesitant to relinquish it. "I wasn't serious about the baby. It's difficult to imagine bringing anyone else into the world as it is right now."

"But that's what you're doing. You're making the world a better place. A place for your kind to live." It's still weird. So many Evolved died at his hands just because they were evolved. Others died because Evolved existed. And yet he still lives, now playing for the other team. Funny, how things work out.

"An eagle?" Ethan grunts roughly, scrubbing his chin as if never having thought about it. "I think skunk's just fine." He gives a nod before securing his hand around her wrist. "I'll be gone by the end of the day, love." He assures her, his voice jumping from playful teasing to immediate seriousness. "But.. I'm sure I'll see you at the Dispensary." Probably.

"I'm Holden you to it." The saddles and the distance between them makes it impossible for Eileen to lean over and kiss Ethan's cheek the same way she's kissed the top of the skunk's head, but the desire is plainly there. She can be teasing, too, albeit in her own more demure way. "Thank you. For coming out to ride with me."

She raises her hand and kisses the backs of his knuckles instead. "Please be safe. If I ever do have a daughter, I want her to know you."

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