Midnight in the Garden of Morally Gray


cat_icon.gif eileen3_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Midnight in the Garden of Morally Gray
Synopsis Helena and Cat meet with Gabriel and Eileen to discuss the time travelers from 2019 and what should be done about them. No definitive conclusions are reached, but Helena manages to find a loophole in her promise and allows a few secrets to slip.
Date May 25, 2009

The Garden

The Garden is one of Helena's favorite places. Definitely her favorite safehouse, and the reasons why are obvious. Even if she's not actually in the garden area at the moment, no doubt later she'll be asking Jezebel later if she needs a climate tweak here and there. The only thing that makes Helena happier than a garden is a kitchen.

Right now though, she's waiting with Cat in the living room, expression thoughtful as she considers who they're about to meet up with. She remembers her promise, and she also remembers what she knows of their future - a future she's fairly sure no longer exists such as it was, but that doesn't mean certain things can't happen again. Still, it makes her wonder if it will make her look on this Gabriel - and this Eileen - with new eyes.

Near a window, looking out over the grounds, Cat's calmly pensive. She came here armed with her brain and the data in it, as well as a backpack with some other things. The police file on Tyler Case being one of them. It's on the floor by her left foot.

She's running things over and over in her head again, speculating on agendas, thinking with gathering strength that she's done what Edward wanted her to, just by seeing Father and asking questions. That he'd known it'd only take that, regardless of her thoughts.

The back door scrapes open on its hinges, heralding the arrival of two individuals who move in relative silence through the safehouse, careful not to disturb its tenants as they navigate the Garden's darkened floor plan and wind their way into the living room where Helena and Cat are waiting.

Eileen's diminutive shape appears in the doorway first, her washed out skin and inky black hair making her immediately recognizable. As usual, her gray eyes are bright and alert, but there's a heavy sort of languidness weighing down her movements when she steps out of the way to make room for her companion.

Shadowing along behind her, Gabriel is slightly more sizeable than any shadow Eileen might cast, but dressed appropriate for such an analogy. That is, black on black on black, wearing also a look that can be described as guarded as well as a gun in his pocket. And why shouldn't he be, this building has the unfortunate position of being both Phoenix ground and Staten Island soil, pleasant garden nearby or not.

He doesn't completely enter the room, at first, simply filling up the doorway and resting a shoulder against the frame, a hand coming to rest against the wood there as his gaze flicks from Cat towards Helena, and then on towards the back of Eileen's head, as if to ask her the same question he's been asking her since she'd made the offer for him to tagalong.

Helena's eyes lift. "Eileen." She offers a little nod. Been a while since they've seen each other, and the last time wasn't pleasant. But then, "Gabriel." The way she says his name, like it's his name, and not just a veneer that's been used to cover Sylar, is a change. She doesn't rise from her seat, she simply waits for the two of them to commit to their entry fully and have a seat.

Turning from the window at the sound of voices, Cat faces the others. "Eileen, Gabriel," she greets in a calm voice. "Thank you both for helping. I'm glad we've all made it back." It's pure truth, she having not seen either of them since the day of the raid. She bends at the waist to pull the police file from her backpack and straightens after, standing there waiting for the pair to take seats and say they're ready to start.

Eileen opts to remain standing, at least for the time being. As the two women make their greetings, she paces further into the living room, circling around the couch to take point near Cat and the window. Out here on Staten Island, little to no light illuminates the property's forested grounds now that the sun has set and night has laid claim to a starless sky thick with cloud cover; there's nothing to see except for the skeletal outline of trees and the alien shadows their branches cast across the window's warped glass pane.

Her eyes flick to the file Cat holds in her hand. "You're welcome."

"One way or another," Gabriel says, not exactly bitterly. It's not for him to judge how quickly they might have fished him out of Africa had he not had a Teo by his side, and at this juncture it hardly matters. Moving further into the room, he does opt to take a seat, adjusting his coat around as he does so and then letting an arm rest lazily over the arm of the couch, far more relaxed in appearance than he is otherwise. He seems healthy and whole, if sleepless, and a pattern of bruises from something or another makes light markings high on a cheekbone, but other than that—

For the most wanted man in America sans powers, he's reasonably okay. Even his hand has healed from an ability gone wild several days ago. "Looks like we all want the same thing again."

"The bird." Helena says suddenly, memory snapping into place. "Yes. I knew that was you." she looks toward Eileen, and then Gabriel. "And you were there, in Red Level. Thank you," she says, without making it bitter or sardonic, but genuine. "Both of you." She leaves it at that, returning to silence and seeming to be inclined to let Cat take the lead.

Following Eileen's eyes to the file in her hands, Cat lifts and opens it so the contents can be looked through. "Tyler Case, circa 2009," she begins. "I heard about him from a police source after he was connected to murders in Chinatown and the details got weird. People with abilities were killed with their own abilities, and Mr. Case had been sighted in the area. It also got him on the Company's radar. A double whammy, with the police wanting him for the killings despite it seeming the only thing he did was self-defense. They eventually caught him, and having done so, the Company was able to claim him under their pretense of being DHS."

"One incident in all of this involved a Case sighting by two company agents. They attempted to grab him, and got a surprise. The non-evolved agent suddenly had the power of the Evolved agent on encountering Tyler, but it didn't last. Afterward, there was a liquid mass identified as human in origin. DNA tests suggested there had been several copies of the non-Evolved agent present, as if she had been duplicated. The evolved agent has that ability."

Eileen listens to Cat's explanation, reverent, and does not speak until she arrives at her conclusion. When she does, her voice is soft and somewhat breathy, its accent clinging whisper-like at the edges of her words, "He introduced himself to me as John when we ran into each other. I'd never met him before in my life, but he knew who I was, where I'd be. I—"

There's a brief pause as her gaze angles away from Cat to Gabriel's lean figure seated on the couch. "We," she corrects herself, although she refuses to directly meet his eyes as she says it, "were targeted specifically. I want to know who by, and why."

Gabriel's gaze flits over towards Helena at her genuine gesture of thanks, not exactly with suspicion. He even nods to her before his brown eyes track on over towards Cat, happy to move on to what they had come for. It's a bitch to try and retain information with a mundane memory, but it will have to do, and he glances towards Eileen at her point of inclusion. "And where we can find them," he adds, which perhaps is ever so slightly optimistic— but important.

Helena has been feeling oddly superfluous to the conversation, until now. "I don't know what either of you saw, or how much you know about what happened at Moab when eight of us disappeared." she says. "I know several of you got knocked forward time, a few minutes, a few hours, maybe a few days? But ten years in a possible future, fugitives locked up in the facility managed to go back in time to this now, because they were hoping to change the future they came from. "Among them were future versions of Dr. Edward Ray, Nathan Petrelli, a man named Doyle, a woman whose name I don't know…a few others. But one of them was this man, Tyler Case. I think he's been wreaking havoc at the behest of that future's Dr. Ray, but I don't know that for certain. As to where to find them," she shakes her head. "Pinehearst wants to get its hands on them very badly."

Picking up on Helena's thread, in response to Gabriel and Eileen's desires, Cat shares more detail. "The woman's name is April Bradley. She makes force fields. Her present self is a Company agent. Others in the group are the future Allen Rickham, the technopath called Robin Hood, and Niles Wight. The first thing they did, it seems, on arriving was to switch Hiro Nakamura with Nathan Petrelli. I don't have to guess at the reasoning there. Switch him fast so he can't track them down and put them back. That's just common sense."

"A few days later, the older Edward comes to visit me, and asks for help in protecting the Company from Pinehearst, because Roger Goodman was going to expose data, make it crash and burn. But he offered no evidence to support doing that, it wasn't like the current one who showed up prepared to make his case. He just said stop Pinehearst, told me to meet with Father, and said there'd be consequences if I did anything he'd call dangerous."

"So I did. What I've learned since… it's tons. Tyler calls himself John, Eileen, because after the Company got him his memory was erased. Not just bits and pieces, days, events… they took out his entire life. He doesn't even know his name. Your targeting could be because of some role played in the future Edward wants to block, or because you're linked to people who might interfere with his plans. Maybe both."

Pineheast. Roger Goodman. The Company. Cat may as well be speaking Swahili; Eileen gleans what details she can from the older woman's explanation, committing to memory the pieces of information that affect her directly while tripping over the rest.

She can always ask for clarification later.

Helena receives a look that's difficult to decipher, but there's nothing unkind about its accompanying tone. "Teodoro told me you were gone, but he didn't say where. When." She directs the blonde's attention to one of the dimly-lit hallways leading out of the den with a casual roll of one narrow shoulder. "Niles Wight is asleep in the next room," she says. "I spoke with him earlier today about his future self, but I didn't know he was associated with Case. That— changes things."

As Eileen exhales, her body seems to deflate, perhaps in resignation. It's not just difficult for her to keep from asking the question she has balanced on the tip of her tongue — it's impossible. "What was it like?" The future, presumably. "If Ray's gunning for us because of something we haven't done yet, I think we deserve to know what that something is."

Some of it makes more sense to Gabriel than it does Eileen, but in fragments, scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that he's not sure how to put together - especially with a memory where information is divided into fleeting scraps that may or may not occur to him. At one point during Cat's lecture, his jaw tenses in something like annoyance— as if he wants to ask her to slow down but of course, the words never leave his mouth.

At Eileen's words, he gives a snort. "Perhaps I kill him," Gabriel says, bitterness now edging his voice which is otherwise musing. "This wouldn't be the first time Edward Ray's done something to— " Aaand he cuts that sentence off there with an irritated, restless sigh, and an expectant look goes towards Helena.

"There are two Niles Wights." Helena points out. "The one from the future, and the one who's still a kid. The one from the future asked that something to be done to make sure kid version doesn't turn out like he does. Which suggests to me that he's not altogether down with how the future Dr. Ray wants things to go. Maybe we could hold off on the killing?" She gives Gabriel a tenative look. "Just a thought." Her attention goes to Eileen then, and her question. Her lips part, and at first now sound comes out as she decides what to say. "In some ways it was better. In some ways it was worse. Pinehearst pretty much controlled everything, but the Evolved were fully integrated into society. The Linderman Act had been repealed, legislation was focused on how to work with Evolved rather than persecute them…registration still existed, but it was voluntary, and people could even market their abilities. FRONTLINE exists in that future too." She notes, her expression thoughtful and straying briefly to Gabriel before looking back to Eileen. "Pinehearst had perfected their formula to help people gain synthetic abilities. It was not widely known."

"I know someone who may be able to help with the younger Niles," Cat shares. "She's a person who in the future crossed the older Niles. He tried to kill her, at a theatre. He was blocked from that goal. The woman is a telepath, she said she helped train him in his abilities, but at some point his mind got damaged. Something associated with one of his replicants went strange. She thinks she can help put it right. The problem will just be finding her."

Cat's eyes rest on Helena during a brief silence. "The older Edward told me the Company would soon crash, and what takes its place, Pinehearst, would be far more oppressive. But he had no proof, no exhibits, just a request, the threat, and pointing me at Father. I haven't seen what you saw. I must be dead then, or you didn't find me, since I didn't send myself back tons of data."

"Edward's a probability manipulator. I hate this. It's all guesswork, like we're just pawns on a chessboard to him. Helena, can you think of anything you saw in the future which might tell you who else could be targeted for switching, if anyone?"

It isn't often that Gabriel cuts himself off like that. Eileen's eyes narrow a fraction, suspicion swimming in the cloudy gray of her irises, and while she chooses not to pursue his train of thought through spoken word, she does so instead with a very pointed look and finely arching brows. You know Edward Ray? Really?

To Helena, she says: "I don't think Gabriel was suggesting we kill anyone, but it's an option that needs to stay on the table. Ray obviously can't be trusted, Wight's other self is prancing around the city like a fox in a henhouse, and the longer we leave Case to his own devices the more difficult it's going to be to reverse the damage he and his friends have already done. The time travelers are a threat. You neutralize threats."

A glance back to Cat and Eileen lapses into silence. She's just as interested in the answer to that question as the woman asking it.

Helena's pointed comment to him gets a quirk of a smile from Gabriel, the kind that doesn't really reach his eyes, and his head tilts a little at Eileen's presented solution. Couldn't hurt. Well, except for the people it's meant to, obviously. "I wasn't," he agrees, slowly, then raises an eyebrow. "I'm wondering why he'd pointed Case at me." And Eileen, and Peter, and Gillian, but he's— being focused. "If he's afraid of what will happen when he starts changing things, and the same goes for whoever else he's going to try and neutralise."

Any pointed look from Eileen goes missed, eyes on the two women of Phoenix. Cat gets a lingering look on her comments about Ray, but no real response from the former serial killer, sweeping that gaze back on over to Helena. Spotlight's on you, princess.

Helena gets a momentarily frustrated look. "Cat, I told you already, you're alive, okay? In that future, you were alive. So was Teo, so was Abby, and so were the both of you, but - " she holds up a hand. "There are reasons I can't talk about certain things. In some cases I was asked not to." She lets out a breath, calms down, and goes back to matter-of-fact. "I don't know who he else he'd target. He's already gotten to Gabriel. Maybe you, Cat? I don't know who else, to be entirely honest. We might be able to deconstruct some of his choices…" again her eyes stray to Gabriel, and then Eileen. Peter, and Gillian. Oh. Ohhhh. "Shit." she says, and shakes her head. "Nevermind it - " she cuts off, and then continues, "Phoenix was supposed to raise awareness, encourage people to accept the Evolved, not let the government lull them into accepting violations of their rights. Kazimir's plot was so big we couldn't not act. But it needs rebuilding, and I don't know if we have the capability we had before to handle this. I want to be able to." A pause. "Pinehearst wants our help, but I'm worried that we're just being looked at as cannon fodder."

"Hiro and Nathan; Gabriel, Gillian, and Peter; Eileen and…" Cat trails off, not knowing the other side of that one. "Unless there are others we haven't heard about yet." Always possible. She stays silent to think of what Helena just said for a time.

"Maybe that was part of the plan Edward had," she muses. "At the time of most of them, maybe all, depending on when you were switched, Eileen…" Her eyes flick in that direction questioningly then, "we were short people, and the targets included people we might have turned to for help. If he wanted to switch me, he would have. But I think it was more important to get me asking questions of Father, who turns out to have been with the Company at one time, and now is working with Arthur on making that formula."

"Our best path, in any case, is to form some idea who he might go after next, if anyone." She bristles inwardly at the comment about needing to rebuild, as if it seems a slap at how she and Teo operated while she was gone, but that won't be spoken of here and now.

The way Helena is looking at her and Gabriel leaves Eileen with a queasy feeling in the pit of her stomach that twists through her bowels like a basketful of snakes. Her hasty attempt at backpedaling doesn't help the situation much, either. "What do you mean, 'shit'?"

She moves forward, slowly but with blatant purpose, gaze locked on the weather witch. No attempt is made to stifle the sound of her footfalls as she did when she and Gabriel first entered the safehouse, and as she approaches the couch the floorboards can clearly be heard squeaking beneath her weight.

"You'll forgive me if I respectfully disagree, Catherine," she says, voice steady, though there's an uneven hitch in her breath when she next exhales. "It doesn't matter who he's going after next if we're stuck on keeping secrets from each other. She knows something."

Gabriel doesn't get up from where he's seated. In fact, he doesn't even change his relaxed pose, just watches Eileen with a very unreadable expression - unreadable in that everyone has secrets, not just the resident blonde in the room. In fact, if sympathy could be expressed on Gabriel's face, it'd show in a glance towards Helena. It can't, is the problem, so it's more a look of study. There are always reasons, when it comes to time.

However, he's not the one to reel Eileen in. He's curious too, and stays quiet, for now, fingernails picking absently at the threads of the couch beneath his hand.

"Of course I know things." Helena says, looking up at Eileen, unafraid. "I've been in the future - a possible future, I've seen what could be. If I'm holding back, believe me I'm not doing it out of a fit of pique." Still, some details…she could see would be useful to know. Her eyes dart back and forth between Cat and Gabriel and then back up to the woman in front of her. She considers and then says softly, "Take a walk with me in the garden, Eileen. I'll tell you. But not Cat. And not Gabriel. I'll even tell you why I won't tell them. But understand that I'm not doing this just to make a show of things. I have reasons."

She hasn't anything to say right now, Cat simply observes, eyes moving between Eileen and Helena as they speak and the offer to walk in the garden is made. She's curious, of course, but decides not to ask, just as she eschews asking who Eileen was switched with and what ability she has now. Maybe someday…

In that silence, Cat opts to settle into a seat and wait. Maybe she and Gabriel will talk while the other two are gone.

For a few moments, Eileen appears to seriously mull over Helena's proposition, her facial expression stony and solemn. One gloved hand comes to rest on the back of the couch, fingers curling around the furniture's frame, dimpling the fabric. It's tempting in the same way that looking to Cat and Gabriel for their input is tempting, but she ultimately manages to hold herself back. "There isn't anything you can say to me that you shouldn't be able to say to them," she says finally, some of the irritation draining from her clipped tone as she speaks. "When it comes down to it, what do you think matters more? Respecting the wishes of someone who doesn't even exist in this timeline, or sharing information that might salvage this one with those of us who do?"

Still— "Who asked you not to say anything?"

If Eileen did opt to look back at Gabriel, she'd probably be able to read the affront there. Subtle, but there. His relaxed posture stiffens some at the notion that specifically there are things he can't hear, for whatever reasons Helena's has. Paranoia, that's there too.

It helps, vaguely, that a trusted Phoenix member is being given the same treatment, but only just. "If you're afraid of hurting my feelings…" Gabriel says, voice sardonic. The implication being he doesn't have any, as well as a verbal prod for some kind of hint.

"Cat remembers everything, you think I want to burden her with the details of a future that is already being changed?" Helena asks Eileen, and then turns to regard the man present. "No, Gabriel. I'm just keeping the word of a promise you asked me to keep."

Her eyes rest on Helena as she speaks, head tilting to one side in slight betrayal of wondering what there is to be shared which applies to this situation, but Cat opts to hold her questions until another time.

Eileen gives Helena a flat look at the mention of personal burdens. Whatever she was about to say next, however, is cut abruptly short by the revelation that comes next. It would be Gabriel, wouldn't it? "Typical." Gray eyes flick across the couch. "Ten years into the future and you still can't see past your own nose."

Helena is getting a look from the former serial killer that says something of disbelief, having not expected that— imprisonment, maybe, or some fate he'd be desperate to run from and wind up changing things the Phoenix leader doesn't want change, but not carrying out the wishes of some future incarnation of Gabriel Gray.

It does sort of sound like him, though, and that look is turned towards Eileen, transformed into a narrow eyed glance as if to say must you? "Then we'd better respect my wishes then," he says to the room, one shoulder lifting in a dismissive shrug.

Because he doesn't care, right? Or so his posture is attempting to convince them.

Helena rises from her seat, looking over at Cat. "I know you, okay? I'm worried that you'd become obsessed with that future, with what may or may not come true, and the minutae of it all. You carry everything fresh as if it were yesterday, and I'm not doing that to you." She leaves it at that, and looks to Eileen. "So are we taking a walk, then? Because you can lecture me and disapprove all you like, but I'm sticking to my word." And Eileen is under no such obligation, but Helena doesn't bother pointing that out.

With Helena leaving, and possibly Eileen too, Cat glances in Gabriel's direction briefly before turning back to the blondest person present. "Interesting," she remarks simply, then goes back to letting her eyes wander. Maybe she can find something to read, a source of information to absorb.

While there might not be anything Helena can say that Eileen believes she shouldn't be able to share with Cat and Gabriel, the circumstances of the situation change when no further protests are offered. She removes her hand from the back of the couch, straightens her spine and looks over her shoulder toward the shadowed hallway — past that, the back door and the fertile darkness beyond. "I'll walk with you."

Done and done. Gabriel's gaze drags towards Cat when they are indeed condemned to a room together for however long it takes to give a brief history of time. Eileen gets one last look, unreadable if only due to the fact they no longer have a common talent that enables to read each other a little better, before Gabriel is simply waiting for the two women to depart. The sooner they go, the sooner they come back, and— he's not sure what happens then.

Does Cat have questions she might want to ask Mr. Gray? It seems she might, her eyes drift over to him a time or two after Helena and Eileen have gone to the exterior, but she doesn't give any of those voice. Instead she takes a different tack. "Is there anything you'd like to know about Pinehearst, are there questions you'd like to ask me?"

Gabriel's watching them go and disappear out into the garden when Cat speaks up. No amount of straining to listen will have Helena and Eileen's conversation drift back to him, as used to the luxury as he might be, and so with reluctance he stops trying to see through walls— and he didn't even have that ability— and back towards the Phoenix operative, considering. Then, "Do you trust them?" Perhaps not the information he should be squeezing from her, but opinions are just as helpful. Especially when, within all the data, no one really knows what's going on.

"I do," Cat answers, her eyes remaining on him as she speaks, but not in an other than calm and conversational manner. "You don't?" she asks. The woman's head tilts aside on that point, a touch of curiosity showing.

Gabriel lifts his hand from its lazy rest against the couch arm, as if inspecting his nails, fingers extending. "If they're at war with the Company, they get points," he states, flatly. "But who's to say Edward's lying?" A careless shrug. "I don't want to save the world. I want my powers back. If all else fails, maybe they're my last option. You remember everything?" It's an abrupt change of conversation, derailing it sharply, although Gabriel doesn't seem to think so.

"The Company serves no useful purpose in existing anymore," Cat opines. "If we were still a secret, maybe they might, but we're not. There's no reason people needing to be locked up can't be handled openly through the law, instead of being darkholed with no trial, simply disappearing."

"At the same time, Pinehearst isn't at all pure. Evidence says when the Company falls, Pinehearst intends to replace it, and having that power makes them dangerous. Far better if the Company crashes and burns, Arthur fails, and nothing replaces Primatech."

The question which changes the tack is handled easily enough. "Yes. Didn't you?"

A nod, is all Cat gets for her assessment. Gabriel and authority don't exactly go hand in hand and no one needs a new Company. Especially not him. Nothing he says out loud, however, and his head tilts a little at her question in turn. "I did," he says, the past tense words coming out clipped, before he adds a wry, "Among other things."

"I was slow," Cat admits, "I learned about him too late, failed to find him before the police did. What was done to him, taking away all of his memories, it would've been kinder to just shoot Tyler Case. Right now I've no idea where either of them might be. An abandoned building is the obvious thing, but there's so many of those finding the right one requires more luck than we have. It would make a sort of sense if they're here on Staten Island, but also not. Most likely their agenda would have them somewhere in the other boroughs for ease of moving around, not needing to make water trips back and forth so often. Even with Nathan able to stop time and teleport around."

How much time does Gabriel have to haunt abandoned buildings? What time does he have for anything else? It's too much luck to count on but— it wiles away the hours. "It's easy to find people when you can capture the eyes of any bird in the city," Gabriel adds, contemplatively. "They took that away, threefold. I've been searching." And turned up nothing, aside from an unvisited grave and no clues. Except for— "I think I met the women you mentioned. April Bradley. I didn't get anything useful," is what he's quick to say before Cat can ask and he's forced to admit it after the fact. "Except for the fact she didn't seem willing to stop me should I try to stop them."

"She's got Company agent in her," Cat remarks. "It can't be easy for her to let people she'd probably lock up roam free, or whatever else Edward wants. I'd have to guess her basic purpose is saving the Company, and little else matters. Her personal interest, basically, since she works for them. I wonder how much control Edward has over them, if he even wants to herd those cats. Might be banking on just that, they're cats and will make splashes."

Then he gave her the wrong sales pitch. There's tension at his eyes, the corners of his mouth dragging into something of a slight frown. Probably should have just shot her between the shoulder blades and called it a night, and he's reasonably sure he would have, perhaps if a conversation with Eileen had come just a little sooner. Bait, of kinds, and if they're anything like the Vanguard— it could have worked.

"We can assume they have a common goal, but they could be waiting for the opportunity to fragment. Not that that isn't too much to hope for," Gabriel says, a little dully. "Edward isn't a leader, and splashes— it's what he wants. He's smart enough to count on what they'd probably do, not their loyalty." Because he sure as hell didn't win points from Gabriel by sending him to Antarctica, and yet— it worked.

"Playing chess against Edward Ray… He'll always win. He can see more moves ahead than I could ever hope to," Cat admits. There's distaste in her face and voice, this isn't a woman who has any comfort with being boxed in. "I'm almost tempted to send a message to Robin Hood for Edward, basically saying he made his point and can put things back now."

"Then perhaps Eileen has it right," Gabriel says, with all the flat casualness that one should expect from him when speaking of murder. It doesn't seem Cat is particularly squeamish anyway, in speaking of the kindness in shooting Tyler Case. "About what you have on the table to work with. I've seen Edward survive an apocalypse and he'll know you're coming, but that doesn't change the fact that you are."

"Any action requires finding them first," she mutters unpleasantly, "which we can't. Yet. But we will." Perhaps Cat believes that, perhaps she doesn't. Or it could be she's made up her mind to force that belief on herself because it's better than dwelling on the opposite. She's a pragmatically proactive kind. "Or we'll figure out when they'll come at us and be ready. Somehow."

Helena makes her way to flip the lights off and move to reappear in the doorway of the room Cat and Gabriel are occupying. "We're finished." she announces solemnly before moving to sit back down in her former spot.

Eileen isn't far behind.

Somehow. Gabriel says nothing more to Cat as the sounds of footsteps start to fill the space, and on cue— Helena's curt announcement gains a glance, but his eyes are more towards Eileen, as if the future could possibly be written into her expression and posture. "So are we," he replies, and his recline into the couch stiffens a little, as if to suggest getting up in the near future, although he doesn't yet. "And unless we have any more flashes of inspiration as to what to do next— now that everything's out in the open— " And the slightest sneer goes there. "— I think we all are."

Her eyes settle on Helena as she returns. Cat's words are simple. "We're still in info gathering and analysis mode." Which means, she knows, not in any way ready to take action, or having concrete ideas on how to do so. There is the most definitive lack of inspiration.

Helena gives a small shrug, crossing her arms in front of her and trying not to shiver, despite not feeling cold. She doesn't seem to have further to add herself, and is content to listen.

Cat doesn't get a response at first - really, the question was directed to time traveler and the one who'd demanded more information. Gabriel looks between them, before sparing the third woman a look. "Fair enough." He gets back onto his feet. "If I find anything…" The offer for information sharing is left to trail off into nothing. It's not the first time he's worked with Phoenix and while that doesn't even close to mean that such things can go assumed, there seems little point in spelling it out. "Thanks for your time."

It's a mutter, but it's a thanks all the same.

- fin -

What transpired in the greenhouse during Cat and Gabriel's discussion about Edward Ray and Pinehearst…

Helena knows enough about the garden of the Garden to get some illumination. Once the greenhouse is lowly lit, she spares a moment to take in the foliage with pleasure, quickly dismissed by the task at hand. "In that future I experienced," she begins, getting down to the nitty gritty, "Gabriel is rehabilitated, for as much as I could see, completely. He's one of FRONTLINE's best operatives, and I'm pretty sure he was responsible for some of those eight being captured in the first place. It's possible that you were just the unfortunate victim, but possibly not - you and he had a connection."

The glow emanating from the overhead lamps drives the shadows into corners and under leaves, providing Eileen with enough light to move around comfortably as Helena speaks. It's not as humid in the greenhouse as she was expecting, but the air is still thick and heady enough that she finds her fingers fumbling with the topmost button of her jacket. "FRONTLINE is a terrible idea," she says, nostrils flaring to inhale the familiar scents of damp, packed earth and thriving greenery. It was a long winter. "But I can see how he might get behind it. Did he tell you why he wanted you to keep this a secret from him?"

"He'd asked me not to tell him, in case it was false hope." Helena says as they walk. Easy as that. "For what, I'm not sure, but he was pretty serious about it. Peter and Gillian worked for his father, at Pinehearst. They also…had a connection." She spots a few flowers that look in need of moisture and restrains herself from providing it. Jez will kill her if she tries anything. "I'm willing to bet Peter was somehow tied up in their capture as well, on behalf of Pinehearst. Maybe Gillian, too." Thoughtful. "I don't think an Evolved security force to police against criminal Evolved is a bad idea, but in the here and now, that's not their application. As they are, you're right. It's a bad idea."

False hope. Eileen's gloved fingertips brush across the backs and bellies of exposed leaves, and though her gaze tends to wander, moving from pot to pot, plant to plant, the majority of her attention rests squarely on the woman strolling alongside her. She's listening — it just doesn't look like it. "You told Catherine that Teodoro was still alive. Is that true?" she asks, lifting both her dark brows into a mild expression that's only marginally more accusing than her tone. "Or are you lying because you want to protect them?"

"No," Helena's smile is brief, but thankful. "Teo and Cat were both still alive. A few of the Vanguard - not many, but a few. But others were dead, yes. It made things complicated." The air around the pair of them is like a pleasantly warm spring day. "Is there someone particular you want to ask about?"

Maybe not a particular someone, but a particular something. What little trust exists between Eileen and Helena is fleeting — she has a difficult time unwinding the words from around her tongue and reshaping them into sentences that won't divulge too much. "I've been having— dreams, ever since you and the others came back. There's a brownstone somewhere in Queens with apple blossoms growing outside. It's wet, and it's dark, and Teodoro is there, but he isn't supposed to be. He's killed someone. I don't know who. I wouldn't even think anything of it, but there's something he says that sticks with me."

"That's where Teo was staying, yes." Helena confirms. She wasn't told about the attempt on Alexander, or Teo's part in sabotaging it, or that both Teo and Eileen in that future had died in the resulting altercation. "That Teo was very mobile, moved around quite a lot." She stops to turn and look at Eileen, her puzzlement showing on her face. "But what you're talking about doesn't sound familiar to me. Sorry."

Eileen studies the expression on Helena's face, every crease and wrinkle carefully scrutinized for sincerity. What she sees there must meet her satisfaction, because she soon drops her eyes and moves her gaze back through the foliage, allowing it to settle on the distant shape of the safehouse on the other side of the glass, its outline made visible only by the dim lamplight seeping out from the living room's solitary window. "Coincidences, then."

"Probably not." Helena's willing to say, "But nothing I can help you with." As they make the round and start walking back, "Are you going to tell him? I've stuck to the letter of my promise, but you don't have that restriction. I'm not sure how it serves him, but then, I'm not sure how it doesn't, to know." She shakes her head a little.

"If he asks me and I'm in an accommodating mood," Eileen tells Helena. "To be honest, I'm not sure he'd believe me even then. Peter. Gillian. Pinehearst." She blows out a short snort through her nose, followed by a breathy murmur of something that isn't quite laughter. "If I loved someone like he loves her, I wouldn't want to hear about their connections with the people I consider enemies. Knowing Gabriel, he might even turn his nose up out of spite."

Helena is silent at that. She has her own opinions about how things will or won't turn out, and she'll ill-inclined to hear Eileen's opinion of them. "I'm out of my league." Helena says quietly, instead. She doesn't expand on that just starts walking quicker, back to Cat and Gabriel.

Eileen trails several steps behind Helena, watching the muscles in her back move beneath her shirt as she leads the way back to the house. "I know what that's like," she replies, just as soft, though it's possible — probable — the other woman won't hear her over their footsteps crunching along the gravel path.

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