Lying by Omission


eileen_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Lying by Omission
Synopsis There's a lot of it going on.
Date March 5, 2009

The Rookery

After sunset, when shadows swaddle the streets in inky darkness, the Rookery becomes one of the most dangerous places in New York. Not many people travel alone once night has fallen, and they almost certainly don't do it if they've slighted one of the neighborhood's most powerful political figures — but to every rule there is an exception, and tonight that exception is Eileen.

The distance spanning between Fresh Kills Harbor and the Filatov Clinic is great, at least by Staten Island standards, and yet she's made it all the way from Point A to Point B without running afoul of Logan's people. This might have something to do with brisk pace at which she's traveling, or — much more likely — it's a product of the clandestine route she set out to take, using the island's poorly-lit side streets and back alleys to her advantage. There are some benefits to living in a world where most everything has fallen into disrepair.

As she approaches the distance and closes the last few blocks that separate her from the safety of the clinic, Eileen finds herself in a warier state of mind than she can remember being. If there's an ambush waiting, the most logical place to expect it is close to home. A fox always returns to its den.

If there is an ambush waiting, it comes in the form of a solitary, shadowed figure waiting outside the clinic. Which in itself is a danger, there could be more of them waiting in the nooks and crannies of this particular road, preparing to emerge at the slightest of signals. A long coat to ward off the chill and dampness of the evening cuts the shape of this shadow, head bowed as if observing the inky puddles on the ground, slouched against the wall with the glowing ember of a near-spent cigarette at his fingers. It comes up, there's a whiter puff of smoke that disperses in the time of a second, and the cigarette is tossed aside, snuffed out on damp concrete.

It becomes clear, after a moment, that this is Tavisha. Encountering Sylar on a nighttime street might not be much of a reassurance, save to very few, and Eileen can probably count herself amongst them. As if knowing her approach, he takes his weight off the wall and steps forward enough to fall under the eye of moonlight and nearby neon signage a building or so down the road, beating back shadows to reveal who he is.

Some shadows remain, though, in the form of bruises, some of which she witnessed getting dealt. A smattering of them go across his nose from where Ethan had tried to break it with his forehead, and a few more darken the shadow already offered from a lack of clean shaving low on his jaw, towards his chin.

Overhead, a night owl might pick up on Eileen's senses, wheeling overhead before flapping powerful rings back in the direction of the Greenbelt. Perhaps he didn't just use his ears to detect her presence.

Long black stockings and a heavy woolen coat define Eileen's matchstick figure — if Tavisha experienced the same doubt about her identity that she did his, then it is dispelled by the glow reflecting off the wild waves of her glossy black hair, not unlike the feathered back of the raven whose company she keeps during the daylight hours. Upon rounding the street corner leading up to Filatov's, she comes to an abrupt halt in a pool of dirty lamplight and draws herself up, spine curving to form a graceful arch anchored by the shape of narrow shoulders, perfectly squared. She stands there, rigid but poised, a wealth of nervous energy scarcely contained in a five foot nothing frame.

When Tavisha reveals himself, Eileen visibly relaxes but does not immediately resume her trot towards him. Instead, she looks back over her shoulder as if expecting to see someone coming up from behind, then back to where he's waiting. Tall. Lean. Almost wiry. It's easy to understand how she might have mistaken Tavisha's shape for John Logan's, and easier still to recognize she's still somewhat on edge. "What do you want?"

"Good evening," Tavisha offers, at first without irony, before he gives an awkward half-smile, a voiceless chuckle barely audible from where she's still standing, but seen through the sudden breath of steam into cold air. He walks a little closer, smile melting away as he regards her with more uncertainty now.

Which isn't so unusual, considering all past interaction, but the wariness might be somewhat off-balancing, her question rendering him about as self-conscious as someone like him can get. "Are you okay?" he finally asks, still approaching her at a slow pace until they're within conversational distance, the accusatory, colour-draining light of street lamps passing over him as he goes.

As Tavisha draws nearer and can better discern what kind of physical condition she's in, it becomes evident that Eileen is relatively unharmed. One of her small hands is wrapped in bandages, its bony knuckles standing out beneath the gauze, though no blood stains the dressing's flexible material — it's the sort of injury one gets from cracking one's hand against another person's face without pausing to consider the ramifications of such an impulse.

Her emotional state is a little more difficult to read, even after the distance between them has closed. Gray-green eyes lit up like a nocturnal predator's track Tavisha's every move, narrowing to cattish slits when he ventures a little too close for Eileen's comfort. "I'm fine," she assures him, but the cagey tone of her voice suggests this, like so much else, is a lie. "Why are you here?"

His gaze darts down to her hand, but he says nothing. One, it'd be minutely hypocritical, with his bruising, and two, it's not his place. This much, he can gauge. His hands find their ways into his pockets, shoulders slouching a little bit as he studies her, allowing for an uncomfortable moment of silence to stretch between them, to become taut until his voice breaks it.

"Ethan's not dead," Tavisha says, tone strangely flat, and stays that way. As if frustrated with the small woman in front of him. "I was intending to find him and talk to him, and I figured you'd have input."

Frustration is at least familiar, and for Eileen there's some small comfort to glean from it — while she fails to detect any real heat, his tone is more reminiscent of the man she knew, back when he didn't have any reservations about tearing her down or compounding verbal lashings with physical force. She's less concerned with second-guessing herself when he's irritated.

"You won't find him out here," she tells Tavisha, pulling her sleeve down to cover her wounded hand in what could be misconstrued as a self-conscious gesture if it wasn't so cold out that breath leaves her nose and mouth in the form of vapor. "He's on an even shorter leash than you are."

"Looks like," Tavisha agrees. Not happily. It's confirming the worst of the rumours about how Muldoon does business, things he saw first hand and forced himself to ignore it. Now he can't, not really. "I didn't come here to ask you where he was," he amends, shaking his head. "I can find him myself." Through his employers, if no one else, and he casts a glance away from her, lets out another aborted, mirthless chuckle, more steam in the air than noise. "I threw the fight for what you said," he says, reining in that initial irritation to explain. "Losing fighters don't get pay checks. Taints your reputation. A man with no powers overcame the man with every power."

He raises an eyebrow at her, pausing in this attempt to make her understand. What might feel important to him, what would likely be taken for granted by anyone steering clear of the dealings and workings of the Pancratium. Instead, he just says, "I'd just like to know why."

A pause, and he adds somewhat bitterly, casting his gaze down, "Gillian said he ruined her life."

"Gillian needs to reexamine the facts," Eileen shoots back. The words are out of her mouth before she even realizes she was thinking them, and true to form she lacks the discretion to backpedal while she still can. "You should ask her who killed her sister."

It's late and the dark circles under her eyes are a result of not only a genetic predisposition to them, but several nights without sleep as well — she's used up all her prudence navigating her way around the Rookery and is starting to become careless as finally exhaustion catches up with her. "What else did she say?"

Shoulders come out of their slouch, back straightens as he narrows his eyes at her, brow low and serious. If snippishness were a battle, Tavisha did draw first blood, but he still seems reasonably ruffled by her response. Then, he says, "That he broke into her house, nearly broke her wrist and threatened her. Made her feel like he owned her." A pause, tempted to leave it at that, before he hears himself asking, "Why? Who killed her sister?" The bait was there, and he couldn't help but grab it, no matter what hook lies beneath.

Eileen receives the confirmation she was fishing for, genuine surprise flitting across her features. Gillian hasn't told him. Of all the things she thought the other woman might share with Tavisha, she expected her sister's murder to be at the top of the list — she did, after all, put a bullet in him for it. "I don't think I have any business telling you that," she answers, scraping what little grace she has left from the bottom of the barrel.

What isn't a revelation is the fact Ethan treated Gillian poorly. Eileen had always suspected as much, and her earlier conversation with Cat is further evidence the man needs to work on his social skills. "Whatever Ethan did to Gillian, he did it with our best interests in mind. You knew about, too. Don't you think you would've intervened if she'd really been in any danger?"

Wrong. At least, as far as he's concerned, that doesn't fit. Tavisha's head tilts a little, now keeping her firmly within his line of sight. "Ethan came to her home with a knife because he was looking for me," he says, his voice almost tentative— not so much hesitant, but testing. "She had said it was during when I had disappeared. So presumably I wasn't around to intervene. At least not then." He shakes his head, that irritation resurfacing. "And don't ask me what I would think about the past, about what I would have done at any given time. I don't know, none of it makes sense. People act like I'm a completely different person. I came to you to find out about this man, but I think I'm wasting my time." A pause, a more deprecating smile, a shrug. "Or wasting yours."

Tell me, Munin, Kazimir's voice rings in her ears, as taunting as it is rough and gravelly. Will you betray the one you love, too? Turn on him when it is convenient? When you disagree with him?

It occurs to Eileen that she's walking a very fine line. For all the effort she's expended just to keep him in the dark, she's coming dangerously close to ruining it all — and for what? To drive a wedge between Tavisha and Gillian? To complicate the one relationship he's been able to reestablish and revitalize?


"I don't think I have a lot of time left to waste," Eileen says, the lines on her face deepening, becoming more vivid and severe in the lamplight. Shadows do nothing to flatter her gaunt appearance — if anything, they transform her into a caricature of herself: large eyes framed by thick, arching brows, buttoned nose and pale mouth just a little too soft and yielding to fully convey the resentment behind her scowl. "What I told you at the Pancratium is true. Ethan has answers that Gillian and I don't, and he's the sort of man who'll part with them for a friend even if he knows he shouldn't. He's going to tell you things you probably won't want to hear. Are you ready for that?"

"I never am," Tavisha answers, honestly. "But it doesn't matter. There are things… Gillian wants to know, too, and if I never get my memory back…" He trails off, gaze on her sharpening for a moment, mouth closing before adding, ruefully, "And I know you think I should let it go. And I may have to. But forgetting things isn't the same as getting over them, starting anew. I've tried it, just like you said I should. Like they all have. But it's just…"

It's just, and he struggles for a moment to put to words what it just is, and he only realises it when he says it. "It's just lying." Which, in the light of murder and genocide, isn't the worst of all sins, but it's a dirty one, especially when it's necessary, and it rules your existence. Tavisha swallows, all at once looking almost as tired as the girl in front of him, and he goes to ask again, Who killed her sister?, and in defiance of what he just said, he can't bring himself to do it.

He'll go home and ask instead.

"I lie to you every time I see you," Eileen says, and for all the passion she feels she utterly fails to express even an ounce of it. Her tone is as flat as his was when he told her Ethan wasn't dead. The meeting with Logan and Muldoon at Shooters, her earlier encounter with 'Leeds' at the harbor, Tavisha's unpleasant reminder that things aren't working out the way she visualized them — it's all come together and drained Eileen of her capacity to feel anything except an overwhelming sense of helplessness and defeat.

"Not just with words," she continues, "but with my eyes, my face, my body. You think this is hard for you? It's hard for me too."

Thought renders him silent, expression troubled - anger, some hurt, confusion. Eventually, Tavisha says, with a surprising lack of venom, "I think it'd be a hell of a lot easier if you told the truth. If you let me make decisions. Let me choose who to— " This isn't safe territory, made all the more rocky by their apparent tendency to cut each other down, and he takes a step back.

Whatever answers he had come for lie broken in the presence of all the questions newly erected, unpleasant ones. He rubs a hand over his bruised face, then holds that hand out, showing her his palm - a gesture that is often accompanied with a telekinetic wall of aggression, but here, it simply means surrender. No more, please. "This was a mistake. You were right, I…"

His hand drops again, he shakes his head more at himself than her. "Goodbye." His boots scuff against the damp pavement, moving to go by her, to leave.

The telekinetic wall of aggression would have been preferable. Eileen doesn't move as Tavisha passes her, doesn't turn her head to glance over her shoulder at his retreating back. She's paralyzed with remorse, trapped in a cage of her own making, and when she wakes up in the morning she's going to find that self-loathing has finally staged a coup and triumphed over regret as dominant emotion.

She keeps her gazed fixed straight ahead, saying naught, eyes locked on the clinic's door until the sound of his footsteps have faded away into nothing.

March 5th: Everyday
March 5th: Skint
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License