Not the Perfect House Dad


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Scene Title Not the Perfect House Dad
Synopsis The zealot discovers the sobering extent of his rival's hatred for him. The dark knight discovers how deeply his brand of violence can affect a little bird. The shadows discover a discrepancy between the reality perceived and the actual. The void assesses business as usual. And the doctor has finally come to realize what locking her away in her cellar was meant to protect her from all these years.
Date November 11, 2008

Dorchester Towers: Ethan's Apartment

Dorchester Towers is home to many upper class, or more wealthier inhabitants. This apartment seems to be no exception. First impressions of this place, give a homey, and well furnished feel. Lamps are put in the right place, decorations here and there. The living room consists of a large green sofa facing the wall of windows, which has a large flatscreen TV in front of it. Speakers are installed all around for the Surround Sound feel. Next to the TV is a cabinet full of DVDs. Most of these movies include a gun of some sort in each of them. A small coffee table sits in front of the couch, a few magazines spread out on it.

The kitchen is well stocked, with a microwave, coffemaker, and of course a toaster. There is an overhead pan rack hanging over the stove which has many pots, pans, and other utensils hanging from it for easy access. Three doors lead away from the kitchen and living room. Two are large, comfortable bedrooms, complete with posters on the walls, and one is a room that is furnished with a stand up punching bag, dumb bells, a treadmill, and other types of work out equipment.

For the -extremely- well trained eye, or for someone who knows what they're looking for it would be apparent that there are little things off about this apartment. Reinstalled panels, etc, that would suggest whoever lives here has done some rennovation work. (Note:Ethan has 'toys' hidden throughout his apartment, in case of 'emergencies'.) Overall though, this spacious living area has been well taken care of, and kept very tidy.

Late afternoon, it is a semi drab day outside. A light fog rests just outside the windows of Ethan's apartment. The heat is pumped up to a comfortable setting, so there is no need for coats or jackets inside. Unlike most of the time, the apartment is surprisingly vacant. The usual occupants all gone on different errands or purposes. So it leaves Ethan with an unusual position of having his apartment all to himself. Mostly. Odessa had been brought here for rest and recovery after her.. traumatizing introduction to Kazimir. So she rests soundly in Ethan's bedroom.

Ethan himself is in the kitchen. Cooking! He wears a dark blue shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. A pair of freshly pressed black slacks, and slick black shoes. The smell of ground beef floats through the apartment and towards the bedroom. Ethan is making enough for several even though there are only two present for now. You never know who's going to show up. The only thing that keeps Ethan from being the perfect house dad, is the Desert Eagle firearm that protrudes from the back of his pants. Music is playing lightly in the kitchen, emitting from an iPod cradle that rests near Ethan's cooking station. A light, quick melody, most likely British in origin.

Surely someone as trained as Ethan should hear the telltale signs of the woman in the bedroom rousing. Hear the falls of her feet as she weaves her way through the apartment and toward the kitchen.

But he doesn't.

"Is there coffee?" The feminine voice that chimes from behind the cook is heralded by no other means. Odessa smiles faintly, leaning in the framed entry to the kitchen. The blonde is wearing one of Ethan's dress shirts, rather than her own sweater dress. So, not only is she seemingly adept at sneaking up on the man, but she's also good at stealing his clothes.

Spinning around armed with a spatula, the man's brows arch slightly. His reaction time is quick even if his senses weren't entirely good at picking her up. Interesting. A slow nod is directed to her as he studies her and his shirt.. Hm. The spatula is pointed at the coffee maker. "Not fresh, I could make a new pot, if you want." He says in his native cockney accent. With that he goes to turn back to his cooking. Though her soundless actions makes him a tad wary, with his free hand the gun is shifted from the back of his pants to his side. "How was your sleep, Doctor?"

"As well as can be expected, given the circumstances." Even given the way she gingerly traces a finger over the gruesome wound over her throat, it's obvious that Doctor Knutson is supremely pleased with herself about something. "Coffee can reheat. I'd hate to trouble you." Somehow, she seems to know exactly which cupboard to go to in order to retrieve a coffee mug for herself. "What is it that you can do, Ethan?"

"You mean, my Evolved ability?" Ethan asks with a grin. His eyes watch as she goes straight to the cupboard with cups and mugs in it. Noted. His mouth opens slightly as he takes a moment to observe her over his shoulder. "It's no trouble.." He says his voice somewhat softer now. "If you want me to, I can.." He says, there is a hint of puzzlement in his voice. "What is it you can do, Doc? PsychoMugLocation?" The man asks with a brow jerked upwards.

"Something like that," Odessa responds cryptically, with a sly smile over her shoulder to the man of the house. "You're sure it isn't too much trouble? I just can't function without my coffee. It gives me focus."

"I prefer to know the capabilities of all those 'oo work fer me." Ethan explains as he turns off the burner under the pan. Crouching down, a cupboard is opened and another pan is produced. Laid on a separate burner the man shakes his head. "No problem at all." He insists as he goes to change out the pot of coffee. Dumping it in the sink he watches her out of his peripherals. "I am not an 'Evolved'." He murmurs to her. "I'm the Batman of our superhero gathering." He says, as he makes a new pot of joe.

"Someone had to be, I suppose. I guess I just assumed…" Odessa shrugs her shoulders slightly. "No matter. It explains why he hasn't killed you yet." Though she doesn't exactly specify which 'he' she's referring to. "But let's get one thing straight," she begins in a very cheerful voice, with a smile to match it. It's as though one can feel the cavities forming from all the sweet. "I don't work for you. I work with Sylar. No one owns me anymore. No one tells me what to do. You can ask, and chances are good that I'll only be too delighted to help. But all you really need to know is that so long as you don't try to cross me or Sylar, my ability will only be used to benefit you." She nods her head once, brows arching up toward her bangs. "Sound good?"

"'E can't kill everyone, love." Ethan explains as he places the pot into the coffee maker. He listens carefully as she explains her mandate. Whether he appreciates her spiel or is affronted by it, he makes no real reaction to. He goes back to his stove, where oil is poured into the pan. Then, tortilla's are produced from the fridge. With a sizzle one corn tortilla is dropped onto the pan. Turning around to face the woman, his only response to her words are:

"Do you like tacos?"

"Yeah, but I like flour tortillas better." Odessa shrugs as she shifts her gaze between watching Ethan cook and the coffee drip from the maker and into the pot. She absently tugs at the hem of the button-down shirt she borrowed (without permission) from the man's closet and hms thoughtfully. "I don't know, though. I think he could kill everyone if he really wanted to. He'd probably like to. He's like that."

"Flour." Ethan says with a frown. "Flour is for burritos." The word said in his cockney accent is awkward, and very comical. "Corn, you can make a bunch at once." There may not be anyone else in the flat right now, but with Vanguard they will show up rapidly. "I don't think you know 'im as well as you think you do." Ethan says matter-of-factly. Turning to face Odessa, he tilts his head. "I bet there's an interesting story there, aintit?"

It's Munin's key that rattles it in the door, but the tips of Amato's thin, gloved fingers push it open, his arm arching over the petite young woman's head. He's dressed for the weather, but as he enters Ethan's apartment, he begins the process of taking off his wool coat, peeling off his gloves, and unwrapping the scarf from around his neck, revealing a crisp black suit beneath. Both are carefully laid across the back of the couch before he ventures into the kitchen, leaving Munin to tend to the door.

His eyes go immediately to Odessa, as she is the reason for his visit, but his brows furrow at her current state of dress. He coughs, then takes a deep breath, as if trying to keep himself from going into a rage. Those eyes of pale blue eyes, much like their master's own, yet filled with a younger man's vigor, settle on Ethan. There is a burning judgment in that look that leaks down into how precisely he annunciates his words. "I've come to take a closer look at the new member of the flock," Amato states rather blandly, keeping his eyes on Ethan rather than Odessa. "I do hope you haven't beaten me to it."

"Burrito or taco, I still like flour best." Odessa's attention turns fully to the coffee maker now. "More interesting than you might guess, I think. He's an amazing man. I have an incredible amount of respect for him and all that he's seen in the world." When Amato and his little bird enter the apartment, the woman's head lifts sharply, fixing her gaze on the two. A closer look? She isn't sure she likes the sound of that. She traces the cauterized wound across her throat, expression almost vacant, if not for the way her eyes track the blonde man.

"Princess." Ethan says, directed towards Munin. The man turns his back to the stove and sets down the spatula as the tortilla sizzles. He folds his arms over his chest. He wears a dark blue shirt, a few buttons undone at the top and his sleeves rolled up to the elbows. "Whot did I tell you bout 'im? You can't bring 'im 'ere so much. 'E's gonna think it's 'is 'ome and just wander over 'ere all the time lookin for food and someone to throw a ball for 'im." Ethan gives an exasperated sigh as he walks towards the man. He then acts as if he's going to charge the man, or swat him, much like one would do to scare a dog. "Now, out of the kitchen you! Out!" He then looks over to Odessa. "Sorry bout 'im. We try to teach 'im the rules.. I've been thinkin bout sendin' 'im to one of those training schools." Ethan says dryly before returning to his cooking. "How are you feelin' lovely?" Another one of his pet names for Munin, he doesn't need to look at her to make it clear who he is speaking to.

Munin pulls the front door shut behind her, keeping her back to the trio as she slides the deadbolt into place, hikes up onto the tips of her toes and peers out through the peephole to ensure nobody followed her and Amato up from the lobby. Like her blond companion, she's dressed in accordance with the blustery afternoon weather outside; her dark gray peacoat, though form-fitting, makes her body seem a little larger than it really is — a phenomena similar to ruffled winter plumage of the raven perched on the kitchen's windowsill on the other side of the glass, staring at Odessa and Ethan with beady black eyes that do not blink.

She carries a package under one arm, about the size of a loaf of bread — if loafs of bread were flat, wrapped in brown paper and fastened with a length of plain twine. "Leave him alone, Ethan," she mumbles tersely, though her chiding is half-hearted at best. "It's been a long day."

Ethan has said a great many deplorable things to Amato. He has insinuated, mocked, and outright insulted. All of those previous infractions have been graciously blown off for the sake of Munin, Kazimir, and ultimately the Work. But this joke, brought on by Amato's attempt to do his own duty within the structure of the Vanguard, is a step over the line that Ethan has danced at for as long as he has known Kazimir's second. Even Munin's grumbled rebuke isn't enough to calm Amato's already fried nerves.

The rage in Amato's pale eyes erupt into an icy blue fire, and his right brow wrinkles with a mixture of shock and wrath, as the left side of his face is obscured by his bandages. "Voi sacco ignaro di carne fetida," he snarls in Italian the second before he lunges at the more muscular man, his hands going for his shirt in an attempt to grab and force him against the kitchen cabinets.

"Whooooaaaano!" The waiting coffee mug has been suddenly abandoned to the counter top so that Odessa might catch Ethan's arm and drag him back out of Amato's reach before he can grab him. Loudly, she poses the question as though to be heard over the roar of blood that no doubt fills Amato's ears, "Is wrath no longer a sin?"

Stopping at the stove, Ethan's brows perk up. And his lips almost curl into a smile. Amato has never spoken him to that way. The two have been involved in something like a sibling rivalry for so long, it was only a matter of time before it came to blows. Unfortunately for Amato, Ethan is a highly skilled, and highly trained professional. He works out to boot.

Spinning on his heels, Ethan's training kicks in. Odessa's arms are noted and avoided. Stepping to the left, Ethan slips away from Odessa's grasp. Going into a slight duck, Ethan quickly sends his right arm curling around Amato's back, pushing him forward. His right leg remains stationary and is used as a level to push Amato over into the stove. In fact, if it weren't for Ethan's left arm darting to grasp him by the hair, he would most likely be having a very interesting conversation with the pan. Probably mostly consisting of 'AAAGGGHHH'. How it stands though, Ethan has his compatriot in an interesting position, letting Amato's head hover inches from the pan. Be careful of that spray..

Eyes dart to Odessa for a moment before returning to Amato's back. "You need to learn to control yourself Amato." The Brit says coolly. "Can't let your emotions get the best of you. Ever. See the problem is, every time you fuckin' come 'ere, you ruin everyone's day. And we 'ave a new fuckin' guest Amato. Imagine the impression we're making now." Ethan says as if speaking to a child. His eyes remain level on Amato's head, before his head comes closer to the blonde man's ear. Despite their years of unpleasant history, despite his jealousy of Amato as Kazimir's right hand, despite all that.. Ethan whispers inaudibly to anyone but Amato. "Calm down. Deep fuckin' breaths." Not said at all in a degrading manner, but moreso in a soothing way.

Which is, of course, about the time there's a knocking at the door. Because timing is everything! Dina's out in the hallway, impatiently announcing her presence. As it did before, this involves some fairly heavy pounding at Ethan's door.

It's like watching a play unfold on an elevated stage — none of what Munin is seeing feels real. She remains rooted to the spot, ballet flats glued to the floor by her own decision. Does she interfere? Does she call for help and hope someone friendly is nearby to hear it? Or does she just keep standing here, pale green eyes as wide as they'll go, blind terror etched across her features?

Only when Ethan is holding Amato over the stove does she snap out of it, roused back to her senses by the sizzling sound of hot food frying mere centimeters beneath the Italian's nose. This has gone far enough.

"Ethan!" Her voice is as shrill as it is urgent — sharp and strident, even on the other side of the door where Dina's standing. "Stop it! You're hurting him!"

Amato has never been as physical as Ethan, and while he has always considered himself the better man when it came to exercises of the mind, it would be a lie to say that now, at this moment, he doesn't wish for a competitive body.

When the Brit's hand grabs at Amato's hair, the lankier blond is flooded with images – Ethan's sins. Most of them, Amato has seen before, but even those coupled with the new, predictable offenses, aren't exactly easy to digest.

Ethan's tactics are as disorienting as they are effective, and when Amato finally forces his eyes open to find his face inches from the heated, sizzling surface, they widen and his nostrils flare in tense surprise.

And then the man talks.

That resentful rage swells inside Amato like a fire being expertly fanned, and the words intended to soothe act only as kerosene on the blaze. "You," Amato hisses, "are the last soul that need lecture me on professionalism." Though quiet, his voice is clear, like a whisper heard only because its words are so well pronounced.

The Italian's rebuttal is punctuated with a sharp, upward lift of his knee aimed at racking Ethan's most sensitive and masculine areas up into his abdominal cavity through that convenient hollow of his pelvis. At the same time, Amato pushes back against Ethan's grip on his head in an attempt to use that split second of blinding pain on the part of his rival to free himself from his own precarious position.

"How's it feel to be the sanest white person in the room?" asks the Asian man, stooped over Dina's shoulder, ear brought as precariously close to the door as he can with the former IRA agent standing between himself and it. He doesn't even need to be that close to hear the hysterics; Munin's ordinarily low voice with its charming little glottal stops and errant consonants gone stark with hysterics. "I don't think we'll find out tonight." A callused hand closes on her slender shoulder. Abruptly, the Irishwoman's her leather-clad companion wisps into semi-tangible blackness, curls like smoke inward, inward underneath the door.

In the blink of an eye, his flesh pulls back into being, molecules arranging themselves back into corporeal configuration almost identical to how he stood beside her across the threshold. Wu-Long reaches behind him without looking, unlocks the door with fingers unguided by sight and yanks it open with a loping sideways step. All the while, he stares at the spectacle before him. Finally cocks his head, takes a step forward, boot ringing against expensively carpeted wood.

Someone once told Odessa that when two boys, of any age, decide it's time for fighting, it's best to simply let them get it out of their systems. She's already made one attempt to avert this current situation and she isn't about to make another grab for either man with the sizzling pan so close by. She opts instead to take two slow, backward steps away from the scuffle before turning to dart past Munin and toward the front door. When the shadow suddenly blocks her path, Doctor Knutson stops on a dime with her hands outstretched before her in surprise, dropping to her sides the moment he reaches back to yank open the door. It's easy to tell that the young woman's gauging the merits of attempting to dart past the newcomer and into the hallway. Glancing down at her lacking attire seems to seal the deal for her. Running off in only this borrowed dress shirt may not be the wisest course of action at this time. It seems that Wu-Long's puppy is staying put for now.

A downside to Ethan's apartment being the hot hang out for their little group. Any confrontation will be seen by practically everyone. Any conflict that Ethan takes part in that does not end in his opponent's death is an embarrassment, this is certainly no exception. Munin is glanced to. "It's alright Princess, I'm not gonna 'urt 'im—" His words try to reassure and calm the young woman and then Amato takes the cheapest shots of them all.

For a moment his hand on Amato's hair grasps even tighter, almost pulling the blond hair out of the scalp. Thoughts rush through his head, such as pressing the other man's face into the pan and pushing it hard there for a long joyful moment. Or simply throwing the man down and beating the shit out of him till he yields.

Those are the thoughts that rush through his mind as Amato's knee slides up his leg. A grunt escapes Ethan's lips and his whole frame trembles for a moment. A rage floods through him, though the Wolf favors himself as a cold, calculating creature. He will not react. Not now. Though this circumstance will only bring all the more joy to the man on that day he waits for. The day he places a bullet in Amato's skull. Slowly the man releases Amato's head and gently pushes him backwards off of him. Standing at his full height, he gives Amato a level stare before turning back to the stove. Grasping the spatula he flips the tortilla off of it and onto the platter next to the stove. "So." He says loudly, over the chatter noise of fleeing and the inevitable cursing that Dina will bring. "Will you all be stayin' for lunch?" His eyes go to Odessa. "Please, I'll make a flour tortilla." It seems that the situation is done with, by the finality that Ethan places in his voice.

By the time that Dina steps in, the situation seems to be handled. She looks to Amato, and to Ethan, and finally to Munin, noting Odessa only as a new person, though she makes sure to position herself between Odessa and Door. It's Munin she addresses, and looks to for an honest answer. "What's goin' on, wee bit?"

Honest or not, Munin has no answer for Dina. She's still staring at Ethan, incredulous and disbelieving. If it weren't for the adrenaline that's still coursing through her system, it would be easy for her to pass the whole thing off as a hallucination brought on by the stress of the last few days. She blinks a few times to clear her vision — her eyes bright, wet and on the verge of tears — and reaches up with both hands to wipe at its corners.

Threatening Amato with scalding burns from the kitchen stove might not have been the wisest move on Ethan's part. Especially not in front of someone whose history is rife with incidents of domestic violence involving hot coils and tiny hands. "Bollocks," she breathes hoarsely. "You fucking piss-head."

And, of course, all of these thoughts are shared with Amato. He can see as Ethan imagines pushing his face against the pan. He can see down the barrel of the gun with the bullet intended for his skull. Of all the things that occur in these few seconds, these images are the most sobering. Amato's steps once he is released are therefore slower than they might otherwise have been, and he wordlessly goes into the living room to collect his things. He can get dressed in the hall, and Odessa's screening can wait.

Perhaps Ethan was on to something. Perhaps Amato shouldn't visit the wolf in his den anymore, even if it is to do his part in the Work. Perhaps…

By the time Amato reaches the door and is met with its Irish guardian, his scarf is wrapped about his neck, and he pulls his gloves on as he gives the young woman a leveling stare. "Dina," he says in a low voice that is as stern and forceful as it is quiet, opting to use her name rather than his nickname for her, "Step aside, please."

Sidelong, Wu-Long watches the Italian man assemble himself and start for the doorway where he's confronted by the woman he'd just let in. He doesn't concern him with that, not immediately. Knows Amato well enough to understand that, if authority needs to call on him, he would answer. Clinically diagnosable zealots are that way, last he shot one. Cadent boot-steps take him around the edge of the couch. He stops by Odessa, first, ineffably black eyes tracking up and down the fair stuff of her skin for a moment, checking that she is unharmed under circumstances where he, like Dina, wouldn't quite trust anybody to merely say what was wrong. Air parts around a callused hand, reaching out at her, bending the invisible skin of her personal bubble until it breaks: he pats her shoulder.

"You should have a seat," he recommends, indicating the couch even as he walks by and into the kitchen. Takes off his shoes at the threshold, toes pulling them off without pausing to unlace; he nudges them aside of the walkway with an agile ankle, and steps soundlessly onto cold tile.

"Where is Sylar?" Odessa demands, shrugging off the pat Wu-Long means to be reassuring. "I want Sylar." She doesn't know these people or understand this chaos. She wraps her arms around herself tightly, fingers flexing restlessly against her arms. She does not take a seat, but she doesn't try to run again, either. Something about the woman standing at the door with the firearm is putting her off of that plan.

"Doctor." Ethan says softly, "Sylar has appearances to keep. I am deeply sorry for whot you just witnessed. I assure you it won't 'appen again." The man tries to say soothingly to the woman. "I will get Sylar 'ere as soon as I can. But for now you'll 'ave to make due with me, and I am very sorry for that." The man who just had another man with his face near a stove top sounds remarkably reasonable.

"Princess." The Brit says as he turns to face the girl. "I'm sorry." He says sincerely, lowering his head a bit to her. "I'll make it up to 'im later." Doubtful. But possible. And finally he turns to Wu-Long.

"Always enough for you." The man says with a surprising cheer as he goes to finish making several more tortillas. "'Ow goes it, Wu-Long?" The man asks of one of his more favored compatriots. Dina, goes ignored.

With no reply from either Munin or Ethan as to it, Dina steps easily to the side for Amato. "Take care." is offered his way, quietly, as he passes. She closes the door behind him, and then looks to Odessa once more, then the other two. "Who's the whiny bint?"

Crow's feet wiggle their toes at the corners of Wu-Long's eyes, inappropriate or no. He steps back, giving the Englishman enough room to maneuver even as he turns himself, leather flaring past his leg. "New recruit. Sylar's idea. She's a doctor from the Company," he summarises easily, his accent softening the avalanchey register of his voice. As he moves, Odessa's continued state of nervous hovering gives him pause. So like a girl; so unlike his wife. Disappointment touches his features briefly, is dismissed with an oddly public motion of his hand, uncharacteristically available for all to see. Never mind. "I will be supervising her for now. And find her pants." He starts a beeline toward Sierra's room, reaching up to pull his hair back into a ponytail with the rubber-band striped around one sinewy wrist.

November 11th: So It Was Written
November 11th: Bullet List
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