Our Own Fate


eileen_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Our Own Fate
Synopsis Sylar and Eileen clear the air before his fateful trip to Eagle Electric.
Date January 8, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

Sylar went into a building. And then, he came out of it worse for wear. A day in the life.

It's cold out, obviously, but it's dry save for the remaining slush of dirty snow and ice lining the wrecked streets. It's not a place designed for comfort, or even designed at all, but Sylar finds a place to sit. The blasted husk of a car, abandoned in the middle of one desolate street, creaks a little as he rests on the hood of it, his coat peeled off and lying beside him despite the cold. The sleeve of his black dress shirt on his right arm is rolled right up so he can observe what he's done to himself this time, and lets out a short sigh. He doubts he'll bleed to death, but the deep cut on his forearm is doing its best to try, and a myriad of smaller slashes decorate it as well. Hard to see in this light, but, he makes do.

Rolling his eyes up at the sky in irritation, as if this wasn't his fault, Sylar clasps one large hand over the worst of his and bends his arm at the elbow, keeping the forearm moderately elevated as he tries to decide where to go next. The wind that blows through pierces through the fabric of his shirt, drawing a shudder.

He can hear their approach. No foot steps, not heart beats at this range, but the soft flap of wings in the sky. Sylar welcomes their company with silence, and chooses to wait there.

A large black bird lands on the roof of the car with a mighty whumph! punctuated by the sound of claws skittering on metal. Bran takes a moment to right himself, wings spread wide, beak parted ever-so-slightly in a ruffled expression of annoyance — he's not the young raven he used to be, and his center of balance is noticeably off as hops forward several paces in search of a suitable place to perch before settling on the bent remains of the car's antenna.

A few minutes later, the tinkling of pebbles and the delicate crunch of day-old snow beneath a very light pair of feet trickle down to Sylar's ears. If he couldn't Listen, he probably wouldn't be able to detect Eileen's presence at all; the supple material of her boots absorbs most of the noise she makes as she navigates the rubble using Bran's directions, dressed in an overlarge woolen coat fashioned for a man who is most likely Ethan Holden. There are leather gloves on her hands, an unremarkable black scarf wrapped around her pale throat and the lower half of her face so as to shield both her nose and lips from the cold, her identity from the world.

"Bran," Sylar says, out loud. He's not really dressed to allow for birds to go climbing on him, claws can tear through this kind of fabric with some ease, or at least pinch through it, so his uninjured arm isn't offered to the raven. He watches his progression towards the antenna, however, then pitches his Hearing out to hear the inevitable approach of the bird's companion.

When the small figure of Eileen comes into view, there's really only so many people in the world it can be. Sylar doesn't call out to her, just waits a little longer as she makes the trek over towards the car. He's obviously cold out of his coat, perhaps a little light-headed but this, he keeps to himself, masking it as much as he can't mask the streaks of black-red that climbs along his forearms, sprouting out in a ruby web from where his hand his covering the injury.

"Eileen," he says once she's close enough to hear it. There's a hard edge to his voice. "Why are you out here?" There's dangerous people out here.

There are — she's even walking toward one of them. Fortunately, while Sylar might be dangerous, he doesn't pose an immediate threat to Eileen; her gait is relaxed, movements smooth and practiced, not unlike a stray animal picking its way through familiar surroundings under the cover of twilight.

"Because you are," she returns coolly, her breath leaving her nose and mouth in the form of a fine mist. Her eyes go to Sylar's bloodied hand as she draws closer, and her brow forms faint creases of worry when she recognizes the liquid's unique colour and sheen. There are only a few things those stains could be. He's hurt. "Don't lecture me about staying out of trouble if you can't set an example."

"I'm not the one being hunted," Sylar says, sharper, dropping his gaze to his arm. The blood has dried since he'd put pressure on it, and now he draws his hand back to inspect the gash. It could be worse. His voice loses that edge as he sighs out a long breath of steam. "Just the hunting." A desolate sounding chuckle ensues, as he starts to roll his shirt sleeve back down to his wrist, neatly doing up the cuff button with bloodied fingers. Now he looks at her again, gaze going from her eyes and dropping right down to her shoes, then back up in a few quick flicks of a glance, as if seeing her here anew, realising again she's here. "What are you doing here?"

"Dina's gone." Though that isn't the reason Eileen is here. Not exactly. "I don't know if she's dead or alive," she continues, "if she decided to skip town. Maybe I wasn't the only one Kazimir sent for." She doesn't take a seat on the hood next to Sylar, but she does come up alongside him, inspecting his arm from beneath her heavy lashes. It takes a visible effort not to reach out and help him with the cuff, but for now her hands remain in the pockets of her coat. Idle. "Any one of us could go at any time. I wanted to see you again, just once more, just in case."

Sylar stands up only long enough to pull his coat back on, unflinching as the movement tugs at the injury. He sits back down again, more leaning against the structure than really taking a seat, and folds his arms around himself. "Perhaps he did kill Dina," Sylar says, emptily. "It would make sense, although it happened sooner than from what I saw. Doesn't matter. In the end, none of us were meant to live to see the new world order, except for you." It's been an interesting week, and Sylar, for all intents and purposes, doesn't seem to be doing well. Eye contact minimal, shoulders drawn in which could just be a reaction against the cold.

"I almost didn't," Eileen reminds Sylar, gently. "Knowing changes things. People. The future you saw isn't the future you're dictating now. Small differences maybe, but differences all the same." He could be cold. If it weren't for the extra weight of Ethan's spare coat, she knows she would be. As she speaks, she removes the scarf from her neck and moves around the car, positioning herself in front of Sylar. "You could have left me to die and no one would have been the wiser." She's still puzzled as to why he didn't, but she leaves this question unspoken, and instead drapes the scarf around Sylar's shoulders. "Thank you."

Sylar meets her eyes briefly when she puts the scarf around him, and he lets it hang there for a moment before wrapping it a little tighter, tucking the trailing ends into his coat absently. "The you I met in the future thinks I can help save the world," he says. "While the you here wonders why I bothered to pull you out of that drain." Hard to say which version of the girl he sees as, well… the real one, even if he knows intellectually that one is merely a possibility. "You're right. It changes. We make our own fate."

"If I didn't think you were capable of doing the right thing, I wouldn't have come." Right, not good. Eileen has learned the hard way that these two things don't always go hand in hand — it's a realization reflected in the sorrowful note of voice, the slight curl at the corners of her mouth. One gloved hand goes to his forehead, wiping away an errant smudge of blood from his brow with her fingertips. "Part of me wonders if what you did was the best decision, if my life is really worth the price you and Wu-Long paid for it. The last thing I want is to get in your way and prevent you from doing what needs to be done."

Sylar allows the brushing away of dried blood, only his own this time rather than anyone else's, and certainly not Deckard's. If the man is bleeding, he never got close enough to get his hands dirty. He shuts his eyes as he speaks next. "It didn't prevent anything," he says, with a singular shake of his head. "It opened our eyes to how far Kazimir has gone already. I'm sorry about what I said." The apology is abrupt, a quick and fleeting diversion, as if snagging it before it can get away again. He looks at her once more. "I know you're sorry about what you said too. I felt it. So I am. Sorry too."

Eileen's fingers drift from Sylar's brow to his hair, and in silence she adjusts a few of the wilder-looking pieces, either smoothing them down or tucking them away. Apology accepted, apparently. She draws her hand away and takes a single step back, her face drawn and rueful, eyes dark with mixed emotions. There's a lot more she'd like to say, a lot more she'd like to do, but Midtown isn't the place and now isn't the time; her posture grows rigid, set. "Are you going after him?"

Sylar's gaze dips again when her fingers comb lightly through his hair, and he stays still, allowing it, although his posture is about as stiff as her's becomes. If there's a lot more he could say or do, he doesn't either, and it could well be to do with the grave-like setting they're surrounded by. The dead car he sits on, the broken buildings jutting out of the world like splintered teeth. "Yes," Sylar says, and there's a hint of defense in his voice. As if she were asking: why haven't you killed him yet?

There's no changing his mind, no trying to talk him out of it; what Sylar will do, Sylar will do. She'd be a hypocrite to tell him otherwise when she's been giving Ethan such a hard time about letting her live her own life, make her own mistakes. "I'll be waiting for you when you get back," Eileen says. "Here. So you know where to find me." If he wants to find her. The dubious look she gives him makes this distinction where she herself does not. "What happened before— It wasn't your fault. It had nothing to do with what you said."

"Here," Sylar repeats, casting a look about the fairly miserable place, too miserable for even a layer of snow to cover up. Her last statement is rewarded only with silence for several moments, uneasy ones, before he simply nods once. Okay. It's not his fault. Sylar is wired differently to most and whatever was keeping a hold of such a nagging issue easily lets it go, and it drifts into nothing. "I tried to kill Flint Deckard tonight," he says. "He got away. It came down to a chase through somewhere I couldn't see and I don't even know if I hurt him. When Kazimir told me I— " His voice wavers, once, in barely suppressed anger that he reins in. Not yet. There will be time to enjoy that. He keeps his voice level again. "Told me I could have destiny, something. Anything. It was like that. A chase in the dark. I could have died in there, I think, if I kept chasing, and it didn't matter." He shakes his head. "It didn't matter at all."

"It matters, Sylar. You matter." If not to the rest of the world, then at least to Eileen. She starts to shift her weight forward as if to move toward him again, but stops herself before she can move much more than a fraction of an inch. Steady. "It's been a long time since you were in the dark. Finding your way out, that's done — you already finished the hard part. All that's left now is helping everybody else through it, shining your light so the rest of us can see. Do you think you can do that?"

Sylar's hands clasp together in his lap almost like a nervous student might, although the darkly spattered blood on his hands might just take away from that effect. He's watching her, now, rather than avoiding doing so, head tilting a little in a subtle movement at her question. He knows the answer. But more importantly: "Do you think I can do that?"

Eileen does not hesitate, and there is absolutely no doubt, diffidence or dubiety in her voice when she gives him her answer.


The wind becomes audible even to human ears when it whips through hollowed buildings, wrapping this place with ambient noise. It truly is a hell of a neighbourhood. The wind is the reason it's not entirely silent when Sylar doesn't really respond, just accepts the confirmation, assimilates it into his system so that it can burn bright somewhere darker.

"Thank you," is murmured. The car creaks as Sylar pushes himself up to stand, forcing the raven still nearby to flap his wings to maintain his haphazard balance. He can't summon up much more to say, and meeting her eyes once, he then simply walks past her, ice cracking underfoot as he goes. There's really no other moves to be made apart from the one he has to.

And only then can everything change.

January 8th: Dead Ends
January 8th: Purgatory
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