Misplaced Trust


eileen_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Misplaced Trust
Synopsis Eileen put it in Phoenix, Sylar put it in Eileen; there is disappointment all around.
Date December 20, 2008

Condemned Tenement: Abandoned Apartment

It's cold. Maybe not mind-numbingly cold, but definitely seriously-considering-pissing-my-pants-just-to-keep-warm cold — and while Eileen hasn't quite gotten that desperate yet, she's doing all she can to keep the tips of her nose and fingers from freezing off. Bundled up in her pea coat, scarf and an old blanket that she traded for the last of her cash, she sits in the corner of the abandoned apartment with her back to the wall, knees drawn up into her chest and her eyes squeezed tightly shut. Newspapers line the windows, stuffed into the gaps between the glass and sill to keep the snow from blowing inside. She'd start a fire if she wasn't afraid of burning the whole building down, and with it everyone else who's taking shelter from the storm.

That she isn't alone provides her some small comfort; she can hear others moving elsewhere in the condemned tenement, both above and below, their footsteps causing the floorboards to groan and creak. On the bright side, if things ever get too bad, she can always knock on an adjacent door and ask one of the vagrant families if they have room for one more.

At least she isn't stuck in fucking Antarctica.

In this weather, it's hard to find anyone. At least night hasn't fallen yet. It's going to get really cold when it does. Up ahead, barely visible in falling snow, a hawk wheels around above the tenement. Not for long, the bird quick to depart when dismissed from his duty, and a lone figure dressed in woolen black enters the building familiar to him.

Eileen is still alone in the room when Sylar makes his presence known.

I didn't think you would come back here of all places.

Eileen exhales long and slow, her breath leaving her nostrils in the form of a fine silver mist. There are only two people in New York City who are capable of finding her this way, and one of them has already been apprehended by Homeland Security. Her heart rate picks up just enough for Sylar to separate it from the other sounds inside the building, pinpointing her location should the hawk's directions prove poor. There's no point in getting up. For one thing, she's comfortable where she is. For another, she suspects that attempting to evade him will only make him angrier than he probably is.

If he's angry at all. It's hard to know for sure when all she has to act on is the silent sound of his disembodied voice drifting through her thoughts.

And she doesn't run. Sylar's not sure what that says about him, but… the stairs creak underfoot as he makes his way to the room, using her nearly racing heartbeat as a point of location. I should probably not have come here, his voice echoes again through her head, too ethereal to pick up on tone, on impression. But then again… His hand touches the handle to her door, tilting his head, and he doesn't bother trying it. The lock scrapes like a key is undoing it but of course, there is no key. It wouldn't be the first time I took a risk for you.

The door swings open, bounces on its hinges and connecting sharply with the wall, Sylar a dark presence in the frame. A thick coat is spattered here and there with snow not yet melted, a grey scarf now pulled down away from his face, which shows no readable expression as his gaze quickly takes in the room, then the huddled creature in the corner. His head tilts again, and he steps inside, damp footsteps left behind. The doors swings shut with a final snap.

It occurs to him that he can't improve a cold room. He could make it damper or drier, he could make it even colder, but not warmer. Not without possibly poisoning the other inhabitants. Speaks volumes, really. His hands slip back into the pockets of his thick woolen coat, moving further inside despite being uninvited, though he doesn't say anything at first.

It's just as well that Sylar doesn't speak aloud. Eileen has enough to say for both of them, though she's not sure where she should begin — or even if attempting to justify her actions is the right course of action. Deciding that he deserves an explanation at the very least, she shifts her gaze from the bare wall to the new presence in the room. On top of it being cold, it's also dark; dressed in black, Sylar appears more shadow than he does man, and Eileen has difficulty identifying his shape at first. When she does, the expression on her face undergoes a subtle change, her skin paling even further while her eyes — a cool, grayish green — grow just a little bit brighter in anticipation.

"I made mistake," she mumbles, lips numb from the cold. While wetting them might help her to enunciate better, she does not dare. If she can feel frost beginning to form in her nosehairs, she fears what would happen to her mouth. "It wasn't supposed to happen."

Sylar stays still, despite the desire to pace - for warmth, or to walk off restless energy, hard to say. He doesn't want to communicate anything about himself he doesn't have to. After a moment, he walks towards her, a looming figure of shadow although as he passes the window, even with its newspaper, dim light picks out his features. A shaven jaw, the definite line of his brow, but shadows in the right places hide the important parts. Eyes. Mouth. He comes to crouch about a foot and a half away from her, clothing shifting audibly with the movement. "What wasn't supposed to happen?" he asks. "What didn't go as planned for you, Munin?"

"Phoenix." Eileen tracks Sylar's progress through the apartment, her senses finely attuned to his movements and the sounds they make as he adopts his position, catlike, within spitting distance. She can't hear him breathing — the wind whistling through the hallway outside is much too loud for that — but she imagines she can, her mind taking over where her ears fall short of its expectations. "They promised not to hurt you if I gave them information about the work, about Kazimir." She swallows, mouth suddenly very dry. "I didn't tell them what you were going to do, or why. I didn't. Rickham's name. The date. That's all."

A short silence before Sylar's voice, at its customary quiet rasp, breaks it. "And that's all it takes." And it's hard to tell, but is it getting colder in here? Yes, it is. While ice doesn't actually touch the huddled girl, it spreads from beneath Sylar's feet from where he's crouched like a gargoyle, spreads up the walls. The glass of the window makes an ominous cracking sound though it doesn't break. Sylar's breaths come in thick clouds of steam. "What did you expect to happen? Either way, we were walking into a failed mission. I understand why you did it." And now the crux of it, and his voice suddenly gains volume. "But why didn't you tell me?"

As much as it stings, it's a fair question. Eileen winces as if struck, though she does not flinch away from him — with the wall at her back and Sylar at her front, she has nowhere left to retreat. "I don't know," she hisses through her teeth. "I wanted to, I was going to. There just wasn't any time. Ethan didn't give me a big window of opportunity, and by the time I decided I had to tell them— you and the others had already left." As for what she expected to happen? Eileen's eyes grow dim, fear beginning to creep across her sunken features. "They could have called in an anonymous threat. Delayed him elsewhere. They're supposed to be smarter than that."

The sneer itself is hidden in shadow, but Eileen can likely hear the soft snort of breath that accompanies it apparently at the idea of Phoenix doing something smart. "They're heroes, Munin," he says. As if that explains their behaviour totally. Silence falls, the kind that does so when someone is thinking, contemplative, trying to sort through and understand one's own head. He shivers once, a product of his own power, the spreading ice making newspaper crinkle audibly. "You should have told me," he finally settles on, uselessly, not bothering to mask the betrayal he's been busy cultivating.

"Yes," Eileen agrees, voice crackling with what is almost certainly remorse. "I should have." What more is there to say? She's tired and she's cold, everyone who means anything to her is upset and the only reason she isn't crying is because she doesn't want her tears freezing to her cheeks. "I'm sorry," she says finally, words coming out in the form of a thin, breathless rasp. "I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong." And just in case there was any question… "Whatever you plan on doing, whatever it is you've decided needs to be done, I'll stay out of your way."

Quietness descends when Sylar gets what he wants, or what he was imagining he wanted. It even sounds sincere. His head turns, no longer looking at her with the intent gaze he had been, although his attention is once more drawn back to her at those last words. "What I plan on doing?" he repeats. He doesn't sound like he knows, his tone almost young, lost. His uncertainty had been plain not a few days ago when he'd gotten back from Antarctica, too, but in this numbing deep-freeze, he seems to reach a decision. "Nothing. Except to make Kazimir keep his promise to me." The harshness leaves his voice, eyebrows raising. "Don't worry, Munin. You live to see it."

Dying? Is that what he thinks she's afraid of? Now it's Eileen's turn to snort, expelling the air through her nose so sharply and suddenly that it almost turns into a cough. She shakes her head, silent now, at a loss. Her leather gloves creak softly as she tightens her fingers around the blanket, pulling it up over her head like a tattered cowl. "Everybody dies," she observes, a faint hint of bitterness edging its way into her tone in spite of the fact she knows she has only herself to blame for her current predicament. "Some people sooner than others. Doesn't matter whether I live to see it or not. Might even be better if I didn't."

"But you do," Sylar insists, eyes widening a little in the darkness. He talks at a quiet murmur. "I've seen the future. I went there." She knows this. He gives a little more than that. "Everyone was dead or dying, but you…" He trails off into a pause, starts again. "Kazimir lied to me." His voice takes on a note of quiet anger. "He doesn't want me to succeed him. He wants to possess me and take my abilities. I'm not going to let him do that. It's probably a good thing you've left the Vanguard. That only ends in a tangled mess. I think I can do better."

"Possess you?" It comes out a little hollow, empty with disbelief. Eileen studies Sylar's face — as best she can see it in the half-light — but sees nothing there that might indicate he's lying to her. More bewildering is his candidness; were she in his shoes, she'd be hesitant to trust herself with such sensitive information after the stunt she pulled with Phoenix just a little over twenty-four hours ago. The only thing that isn't surprising is the revelation that Kazimir the Master Manipulator lied to him. "Are you sure?"

"You told me so," he says, with some irony his his voice, although it sobers when he confirms with a, "I saw it." And he leaves it at that. No need to go into the nightmare visage of those tendrils of darkness invading a room, suffocating it, only to see himself so battered, weathered, aged. He stands up, hands coming up to adjust his coat around him. There's little he can do for the ice he only half-consciously created, breath still coming out in steam like they were standing inside a freezer. The thin layer of frostiness even cracks underfoot as he starts to make for the door, unsure of what else to say to the girl. Although he does pause, not really looking back at her when he asks, "Are you staying in New York?"

If Sylar had asked Eileen the same question five minutes ago, her answer would have been an immediate, succinct, "No." Now, it causes her to hesitate, her gaze sliding away from Sylar toward the window and the shreds of ice-encrusted paper sticking out from the sill. She can't see anything beyond the frost that covers the glass, but if she could she'd be looking out across the cityscape. "Ethan and the others won't know I'm here," she says when she settles on her answer, "but you shouldn't have any trouble finding me." If you need me.

And that's a pretty big if.

Answer received. Sylar continues towards the door, a hand reaching out to pull it open the manual way— and it takes some doing, the wood frosted in place. After a harder jerk, it breaks free. "You should find somewhere better," he notes. "It's cold in here." This is said with such disdain that one might think cold means something else entirely. He steps out of the room, the door left partially open, as if expecting her to vacate as well in the near future.

December 20th: The Barflies and the Healer

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
Prelude to Armageddon, Part I

December 20th: We Put the Fun in Dysfunctional Family Dinner
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