eileen_icon.gif francois_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif raith_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Paranoia
Synopsis Apparently it's the same word in English as it is in French; Francois tends to Eileen's wounds and Peyton braves a gauntlet to deliver a message to what's left of the Remnant.
Date March 3, 2010

Fort Greene: Eileen's Apartment

By the time Francois makes it to Brooklyn, curfew has nearly lifted for the night, and it's begun to snow as if even the sky thinks it's too fucking early and it'd sooner stifle the first of the churchbell's throaty gonging, that grim Catholic affair of steeples and rust down the street. Teo meets him after the elevator ride, is discreet about how he holds his gun and offers his salutation in French, a few more junk lines in the same language, then apologizes very suddenly, in a mumble, and presses a ruefully quick kiss to the older man's cheek before ushering him into the apartment. Je suis desolee.

Paranoia. It's the same word in French.

Two sets of lungs breathing in its air is not enough to filter out the smell of fresh plaster and bleach. The place was cleaned for biological and ballistic traces, and it was done recently. No broad-winged corvid sits outside the window, this time: the glass is empty of everything but the slow consumption of crystals and early darkness.

The kitchen light is on, the fluorescent light strip pulsing erratically blue and the coffee machine glaring at them through the Cyclopean light of a single red eye, but the living room is gray and the slice of bedroom visible past the doorway is pitch black. "She's been sleeping," Teo says, shaking the meltwater and powder off Francois' emptied coat. "There's another man coming in soon. His name's Raith. American. I don't know if you two had ever met; he's another one of Volken's turncoats, and he's helped the Ferry out a few times lately.

"First aid isn't his area of expertise. Coffee?"

One bleary phonecall that started in French and ended in English doublechecking with small diversions into Italian that Eileen has a fully stocked first aid kit while multitasking putting on pants later, here he is. Fortunately for Francois, not needed to bring anything but his fully clothed self gave him time to wake up a fraction, delegating the rest of this task to the smarting cold of a snowy spring (c'est ridicule) morning in his travels to Brooklyn. "Oui," he says in response to coffee, his voice gravel rough and quiet, as much as Eileen's sleep will be inevitably interrupted. He'd only shrugged at the mention of Raith — he doesn't recall.

Not at this hour, anyway. He unbuttons his sleeves, curls fabric up his forearms partly. "How is she now?" he asks, before sweeping a critical look over Teo, as if sleep were a quantity one can judge accurately by a quick once over. "And how are you?"

"I'm fine. Slept on the couch." A bit. An hour. In general, Teo sleeps too much lately, anyway: it is probably healthy if he scales it back now and then, on the occasional night. You know, aside from the boiling anxiety, threat of death at the hands of psychotically gymnastic Chinese dudes, and the homicidal Russian who has been described at excessive length and unfavorable light elsewhere, before. "She's…

"Stable," is Teodoro's best guess. "Some blunt trauma, several knife wounds. I think she's been using a few kinds of antibiotics, but she's probably going to lose the hand to infection if she doesn't get it stitched up.

"O qualcosa." 'Or something.' "Worst case scenario." Teo's sentences grow more variable when he's tired or tense: a brusque fragment here, a few florid strings of scatalogical eloquence there, then back to monosyllabic soupcons of information. He casts the coat over the arm of the couch, and rattles toward the coffee-maker. "Sorry to wake you up."

"Pas de soucis," Francois says, managing briefly to capture Teo's arm with his own, before the younger man can completely get away, in a brief kind of turn around gesture as he starts moving for the bedroom. Releases the Sicilian in the same movement. "Thank you for calling. Through there?" And affirmation and hand gestures has Francois moving in the designated direction, leaving Teo with coffee and towards where the bedroom door shows off its rectangle of darkness.

He knocks, just once, twice, before he's moving in, foregoing the overhead light for now for the bedside lamp, with the strains of morning time illumination trying to edge in through the gaps of curtain towards the window over there.

His patient sits upright on the platform bed with two pillows wedged between her headboard and the small of her back and a pair of tortoiseshell reading glasses on the bridge of her thin nose. Eileen hasn't been awake for very long — her green eyes are still bleary and rimmed in pink — but she also hasn't needed a lot of time to situate herself. A dog-eared book of poetry small enough to fit in one hand sits open in her left. The right, no longer bound in putrid gauze, rests above the covers at her side with fingertips curled slightly inward in a relaxed position.

The Englishwoman's posture is less so. When Francois enters, she folds the book shut between her fingers and places it in her lap, one knuckle wedged separating its tea-stained pages to hold her place as she lifts her chin and studies him tiredly from behind the lenses of her reading glasses.

She's needed something to occupy her mind; for the past twenty-odd minutes, Rabindranath Tagore's Fireflies has sufficed. "Salut," she says in a low, hoarse voice.


The sound of someone rapping their knuckles on the door is likely every bit as jarring as a sudden clap of thunder would be, especially for Teo, on edge as he is. There may well be only a select few who know where all of them have gathered, but there are plenty more individuals who would love to know, and likely several more who are actively trying to secure such information. Luck is, however, with them for the moment.

Knock-knock. Knock-knock-knock. It's a mistakable pattern, for certain, but there aren't likely to be many who use it. If it's not Jensen Raith on the other side of the door- and anyone who chances to open it will see that it is, in fact, Jensen Raith with a camo-patterned ALICE pack filled with whatever he felt he should bring to the party slung over his shoulder- then it's someone who's really done their homework.

Caught, then released, Teo floats backward toward the coffee with a dumb smile on his face that lasts there, four seconds. Lasts until the inky interior of the bedroom has eaten up a margin of Francois' tall frame, leaving him alone with coffee mugs and coffee-maker, pensive shadows engraving themselves into the sculpture of his face around his eyes. Except for the motoring of his hands, percolating the brew down intothemmioDio

Clank, and Teo sets down one full mug on the counter a little more heavily than he strictly needed to have. Christ. "It's fine!" he calls out, reassurance for— well not just himself, surely. "It's just Raith." The next moment, his long-legged shadow is flitting toward the door, checking the peephole to verify, plus the melodramatically terrible outfit, and the inscrutable goodie-bag over his shoulder.

Click-clack, and the night-chain swings free half a second before the door swings inward. "Medic's looking at her. I think she's awake.

"You want some coffee too?" Teo steps out of the way, clearing the small hallway that constitutes the apartment's foyer to allow Raith and his cargo to creak into the smell of polyester paint that's only been dry for so long. He shuts the door behind the older man, beelines back to the kitchenette to take up where he'd left off. The clapping of his tread is tactlessly audible through the bedroom walls, never mind the rise and fall of male voices.

"Salut." The sound of a third male in the vicinity gets a glance, but little else, Francois occupied in situating a chair from one spot to the other, namely from the vanity and around to Eileen's bedside. Four wooden feet touch down on carpet with a lot more silence than the whine of open doors swinging or the clamour of footsteps, and Francois sits there, a hand out to edge the lamp all the closer until its warm light spills and shines over the immediate area, striking off his shoulder, playing out on her bedsheets.

He brings with him the scent of the morning snow, almost metallic from its urban fall and age. "Teo call me, I came as soon as he did. May I see your hand?" His own is held out, lined palm turned up. "How are you feeling?"

"Better than last night," which is better still than how she felt when she woke up under half an inch of snow and scattered feathers caked in black blood. Eileen gives Francois her hand, the pained expression on her face hidden behind a flimsy veneer of something struggling to appear immutable. She hasn't taken any painkillers since the codeine at Peyton's apartment; a gesture as small and subtle as placing her hand in his makes a steel rod of her arm, bent at the elbow, and forces her jaw to clamp down around a short grunt.

"It looks worse than it is," she adds through her teeth. "I still have most of my mobility."

"I'll pass on the coffee," Raith replies flatly, steeping inside and shutting the door behind him, "You got any lighter fluid?" He's kidding, obviously. No sunglasses this morning, perhaps to reflect just how serious he is about this situation. Or perhaps not. Rather than following Teo, he makes a beeline for Eileen's bedroom, the place where she- and their 'medic'- will most likely be found, as the living room has not been converted into a hospital. "Morning, sunshine," he says, now with much more cheer, swinging his pack off his shoulder and onto the floor. "Everything you could need'll be in there, doc. Bandages, needles, thread, morphine, bone saw, iron lung, you name it."

A handful of seconds later, the smell of coffee wafts in through Eileen's doorway. The room's full of people, now; scarcely bears a resemblence to the Spartan dormspace into which Teodoro had sequestered her slight frame with linens. He turns on a heel, angles himself sidelong to slot between the other men, sets down two mugs by the head of Eileen's bed, a sugar cup next to it. Whatever interruption that poses is deliberately brief.

He's moving for the door again the next moment, turning his head as he goes. Training a pale eye at the knot of hands between his friend who he sleeps with and his friend who he shot in the head in the other future. He sucks a breath in and the scarred corner of his mouth vents inward slightly, toward his teeth, the gummy pink of twisted tissue and shiny saliva glands curling around the suction. He steps past Raith and then parks himself outside the doorway, long fingers dragging at his pocket in search of his phone. Compulsive check.

Francois' fingertips are about as gentle as they need to be, but no doubt that the swollen, sensitive flesh around broken skin stings and smarts as he checks her hand over. He could probably be gentler, but as long as he's not inflicting damage— he's checking for breaks, ultimately, with touch, with sight, and if he knew Deckard had X-ray vision, he might be jealous.

Looking up when Raith enters, Francois' expression is neutral until his presence explains itself, and he offers the man a quick smile, one that's briefly redirected to Teo as he comes in with caffeine, and his hands remain on Eileen's. "I will have need for the first four, and antiseptic, si'l vous plait." To Eileen; "And the other injuries? What have you done to them?"

Glancing at the address in her pocket to make sure she has the right number, Peyton Whitney frowns at the obvious damage that has been inflicted on the door, wondering if someone attacked Eileen here and that is why she was injured last night. She chews her lower lip, lifting her hand to knock on the door. The rapping is tentative — loud enough to hopefully be heard but not to draw the attention of any nosy neighbors, or so she hopes. The young woman is not dressed at all like a "trust-fund baby" today, but rather in faded jeans, boots, and a warm coat of drab colors. Her hair is in a ponytail, beneath a baseball cap, sunglasses now in her purse.

Sunshine, Eileen is not. The dark hair hanging stringy around her pale moon face makes her more reminiscent of the overcast morning outside, skin wan and pallid, eyes grayer than they are green with only the sallow glow of the bedside lamp to brighten them. Fever sweat gives her the appearance of someone who's spent the night being drizzled on.

Her split lip, more purple than her mangled hand, curls into a twinging smile as Raith appears in the doorway. It's good to see him. "I've a puncture wound 'round back that'll need to be sutured," she tells Francois. "I cleaned it out best I could but—"

But nothing. Whatever she was about to say next is interrupted by the sound of Peyton's knocking.

Raith is on it. Although he doesn't go skipping over to answer the door, he never the less moves out of the bedroom and back into the living room, drawing his Glock as he does. Having apparently planned ahead, a suppressor is already screwed onto the end of the barrel. Whether anyone else comes to join him is up to them, but they had better. When Raith looks through the peephole, he does not see anyone that he recognizes, and no one that he is expecting, doubtless explaining why he has the business end of his weapon pressed against the door, lining up with whoever is on the other side. A half-glance is given towards everyone else, looking for some direction.

Suddenly: two Glocks. And having discarded his cellphone in favor of more immediate whatthefucks, Teodoro is moving up behind the former CIA agent, though his own gait measures its increments to cover the left flank while Raith slides in toward the door-hinges on the right. When the older man slivers back his inquiring glance, there's a slight shrug through the Sicilian's shoulders. He keeps hold of his pistol two-handed, the muzzle pointed downward.

He passes back a glance of his own, hot potato style, verifies to himself that while the bedroom door's open, Francois and Eileen aren't directly within the line of fire. Clears his throat, then, not because he is about to flex some great oratory diaphragm efforts but because he is going to ask, loud enough to carry through the door's planed wood, "You have a name?"

"It's Peyton," the voice comes low and hushed, the girl stepping closer to the door in order to move lips close to the seam where door meets doorframe, not wanting to announce to the entire floor that she's in the hallway. "I have … information." The wording is again tentative, for really all she has are blurry and unclear images, a headache, and possibly — she hopes — a location of the person Teo and Eileen asked her to find.

For all her feline qualities, Eileen's ears are not quite keen enough to pick up the sound of Peyton's voice on the other side of the door. Much easier to detect and translate are the subtleties of her own breathing and that of the man whose hand cradles hers. She holds very still, mindful of how difficult a task Francois has ahead of him; fingers and hands are sometimes obstinate things to work with and require a higher level of skill and assiduousness than many people possess.

If he makes a mistake, there is always a chance that she won't regain the mobility she's lost. As tempting as it is to flinch away at every awful spate of pain caused by his manipulations, she pushes back against the urge by applying steady pressure to the headboard through her shoulders. "Yes," she grits out. "I am."

Hesitation throngs Teo's thoughts. He exchanges brief glances with the American up ahead, and then straightens, releasing one hand of the grip of his gun and starts to dig out his phone. Stops, of course. Christ. If some evil incarnation of Sylar would have taken her voice, face, and name, the likelihood he'dve left her phone seems absurdly low.

Never mind her ability. He needs a moment to slide the worst case scenarios into the proper category, dial down the mathematical probability on that one and remind himself they'd given Peyton this address. Christ. Life was easier when he had a superpower. "Coming." He trots forward, unlocks the door, nightchain first, two locks second, wheels the door open on a frictionless swivel of its hinges.

"She's a clairvoyant." This introductory caption is aimed at Raith, though Teo doesn't turn to look at him; he prefers having the CIA agent at his back, at this particular juncture. Later he will try to break the tie for Best Doctor's Assistant. Everything has its time. "We're looking for Gabriel." This would probably be gladder news if, you know, Teodoro wasn't evidently paranoid about shapeshifters of an unkind disposition.

"Then you will not mind if I work in the meanwhile." All of this drama about shapeshifters and serial killers! Francois doesn't even know. Except he does, a bit, thanks to Teo, but his focus is on Eileen's hand. Probably, if his own wasn't as fucked as it is, he might not bother saying this next part, because he's pretty sure, but; "If I were you, I would find a way to have this X-rayed, just in case. It is possible I can have it looked at at the Suresh Centre, if you would prefer." He doesn't work there, no, not yet— but Kershner seems to be a string puller, and he might as well.

A topical anesthetic is discovered, injected in a small enough dose, the sharp pinch of a needle followed by relief. Francois goes quiet from here on in, working carefully, back a little bent beneath dark blue cotton. Her bedside table has become a warzone of used swabs and sharps.

The clairvoyant steps into the question, dark eyes flitting from one firearm to another. Her cheeks, flushed from the cold air outside, turn a bit pinker with all the attention on her. "Why, are those guns, or are you just happy to see me?" she quips, though there's no real humor to her tone — the joke is made out of nervousness. She glances at Raith, and then Teo, before focusing on the latter, since they spent so much quality time the night before drinking coffee and worrying about Eileen.

"When I woke up, I tried again. I might have a locale," she says softly, but leaves the rest unsaid until she is told it's safe to speak in the present company.

"Sorry about that," Teo says instantly, and he instantly puts his gun away, too, stepping forward — coincidentally to block the clairvoyant's view of Raith, before polite social pressure necessitates that Raith puts his gun away, too. Not that, you know. Raith tends to respond to polite social pressure.

It's just— you know, Teo doesn't really want him to. Paranoia, paranoia. Ghost's gift of madness or survival, depending on how one looks at it. He gives her a smile that, perhaps surprisingly, the rip through his cheek doesn't undermine all that much.

"Non problema," he says, reaching to set a hand on the girl's shoulder. "Eileen's in here. She deserves to hear what you've got as much as I do. Hope you're not squeamish, though; there's a doctor's looking at her. Everyone in here is okay to talk in front of." Peyton saw how the Englishwoman had been the previous evening, and has no doubt guessed that it was going to take more than half a night's rest to set the bird girl back to rights.

Teo breaks off once he's walked Pey to the door. Settles in the hallway, arms crossed over his chest. Breathes in the bitter tang of antiseptic and wounded gypsum. When one's looking, his aquiline features phase steadily back to blank.

Eileen's right hand is her dominant one. Not for the first time, she finds herself wishing she'd elbowed Danko with her other arm; if she had, she wouldn't have to worry about things like when she'll be able to write legibly again or maneuver the bow of her violin. Hold a gun. Treat a patient with the efficiency and careful precision they deserve.

That her injuries make her an easy target for Feng Daiyu has also occurred to her, but like so much else she's buried this observation under her other concerns. She needs to meet with Leonardo and Gillian about Pollepel Island and place a formal inquiry asking as to the whereabouts of her real parole officer. Most importantly, the subject of Felix Ivanov's Jane Doe needs to be addressed, which is why she leaves Francois to his work and shifts her focus to the other woman when she comes into view.

As long as her old paramour isn't murdering innocents, what he does is none of Eileen's business. She wants to believe he'd forgive them for this small trespass of privacy if he knew it was being done to absolve him of a crime neither she nor Teo are entirely prepared to admit he may have committed.

"What did you see?" she asks, and it's impossible to determine which is steadier: Francois' needle or her voice.

At least things are, for the time being, otherwise under control. Raith holsters his pistol and otherwise stays out of everyone else's way. He's no clairvoyant, neither does he want to get in the habit of associating with them (not being found is sort of what he likes to be), and while he knows at least as much as medicine as Eileen does, too many doctors is a lot like too many cooks, only the results are even less tasty. He'll mind the door, but until they actually need his true expertise, he has no intentions of doing anything except sit on the couch. Some chips would be nice.

There is something of a wince at the doctoring being done to the petite brunette when Peyton walks in the room. She offers Francois a shaky smile. Suddenly the number of people who know what she can actually do seems to have increased quite a bit, which makes the former socialite a bit nervous. She leans against the doorway, not wanting to invade the small space in private moments.

"Short story version: I think he's on the Empire State building. I could see buildings… the Chrysler building… a duffle bag, blankets," Peyton says quietly, glancing away from the needle that Francois has in his hand. "At the end of the vision, I think he blacked out or something, but it's hard to tell since it was really painful… it might just have been my eyes cutting out on me." She shivers, eyes downcast, afraid at the feelings that washed over her with the vision — she's never felt pain or such confusion before. "It starts differently too, all bright and … like, over-saturated. I don't know why."

Eileen has never asked Gabriel how he sees the world. With all the abilities he's accumulated and lost over the past four years, 'bright' and 'oversaturated' may be the norm — she's much more interested in the location Peyton gives her rather than the description of his surroundings, though her mention of a duffle bag and blankets causes green eyes to flicker past Teo to where Raith is seated on the couch.

He's spent more than six weeks wearing Avi Epstein's face and hasn't been taking advantage of his lodgings?

When her gaze shifts back to Peyton, she removes the reading glasses from her face, folds the bows with her fingers and sets them down on the nightstand beside a pocket watch glinting silver amidst Francois' discarded materials. "You didn't have to do this for us a second time," she says then. "If there's anything you ever need that I can provide, you tell me."

Suturing is an ugly thing. These aren't the kinds of stitches that simply melt into the body after a time, either, requiring to be plucked free eventually, to do their work under bandages and a splint to hold it immobile. Francois doesn't glance up from his work, careful, despite the ache beginning to develop in his left hand from his tense caution.

Later, he'll tell her that she will regain the use of her hand well enough. Later, he'll advise her to not go stomping flights of stairs of the Empire State Building. What she listens to will be up to her. For now, he remains silent, the two women given the floor for speech.

Peyton's eyes remain downcast, away from Francois's and Eileen's hands. "It's nothing. It's the least I can do. You've helped me in the past." Yes, helping Harlow was in everyone's best interest, but it was Peyton who would be the one to pay the price if no one had come forward to help rescue Belinda, or so Peyton assumes anyway.

"Let me know, if that doesn't help you find him soon — call me or drop by and I'll look again," she offers. What would normally be an easy thing to offer — a moment's time, a few details jotted down on paper — has grown to much more than that, in this case. However long she holds the world from Gabriel's gaze will be however long she feels seized by that strange pain.

Peyton's dark eyes lift again to Eileen's green, and she offers another slight smile, marred only by the cut in the left corner. Luckily for her, Peyton does not know that Eileen's much more severe injuries came at the hands of the same man who caused her own. "Get well soon. I'll show myself out."

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