Psychotic Break


eileen_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Psychotic Break
Synopsis Neither of the characters in this scene have one — instead, they discuss someone who possibly has.
Date April 13, 2011

Old Dispensary

By the time Raith returns to his home- his real home- evening is already settling over the landscape. It's among the more serene moments on the property, and this fact is completely meaningless as Raith is feeling anything but serene. His path upon entering was pointed and direct, taking him immediately to the dining room, and then upstairs to those living quarters not on the ground floor. A lack of success sent him back down the stairs and out towards the pier. He's not running, not panicking, but is walking quickly and with purpose. In some ways, failing to find any one thus far has been good for him, providing enough time to compose what he needs to say into a fashion that sounds slightly less surprising. The exact content, of course, can't be completely unsurprising.

The smell of the ocean helps, too. A cold, clean, salty smell the does help to settle his mind a bit. Maybe spending time out here isn't such a bad idea, after all.

Eileen seems to think so. She can be found on the pier more often than she can be found in the Dispensary's kitchen or her room, which she occupies on nights when the man who lives in the attic either desires to be alone or is not in the bed for her to warm it — it's a place for meditation throughout the year, and for submersion in the warmer weeks of spring and summer, though never for very long. The Atlantic is chilly no matter what the season, and the Englishwoman lacks the protection in layers of blubber the harbour seals have, not that there are any harbour seals on Staten Island. You need a boat to find them. Patience, too.

She at least has that. Eileen stands on her left leg, the sole of her right foot placed against her inner thigh with toes pointed toward the ground and arms raised above her head, resembling the branches of a tree. Her body is its trunk. After a few moments, she brings her hands down, palms together and thumbs resting lightly on her sternum. Deep, measured breaths fill her lungs.

On some level, it seems cruel to disturb the woman. On every other level, it's absolutely stupid not to. "Sorry to bother," Raith begins, "But we need to talk. Right now." The tone in the ex-spy's voice suggests that, yes, they will talk right now, and that he is not waiting for any time later.

Eileen eases herself out of the pose rather than dropping it right away. Her foot comes down first, and she feels cool cement beneath her sole, the pier still damp from the last time it rained. Droplets of dew still cling to the new leaves in the trees and gather on the wildflowers that have begun to spring up around the Dispensary, pooling in petals that are deep enough. Waves slosh up against the pier's concrete supports and the rocky shoreline, though the cove offers this stretch of beach shelter enough that the water does not foam white except when it storms.

The sky is dark closest to the horizon. There's thunder on its way, still several hours off.

Her palms are still pressed together when she says, "I'm listening."

"Magnes has lost his mind." Raith says this as if it were news, and indeed, it would be. Although his grasp on reality may have been tenuous at times, it would have been a stretch to call Magnes 'insane.' Certainly when held next to the likes of Kazimir Volken or Arthur Petrelli. "I'm not kidding. He's had a total psychotic break. It finally happened, and he poses a very, very real threat to everybody."

Total psychotic break is not a phrase Eileen wishes to hear applied to anyone she knows, but if she had to shortlist it, Magnes' name would be near the top. She pulls in another breath, holds it, then lets it out again as she lets her hands fall. So much for taking some time to herself. "When you say very real threat, do you mean the kind of threat Kazimir had Amato talk down from the ledge, or the kind of threat he encouraged Ethan to push?"

Well, that's a bit tricky to answer. Mainly because this isn't just some stranger they're talking about: Threat or not, there are a lot of people that would probably be upset if something happened to Magnes, psychotic break or not. "The kind of threat that ordered me at gunpoint to kill Gabriel, bring you back to him so he can reclaim his property, and find out the names of everyone Abigail Beauchamp loves so he can personally kill them and drive her into a slow and torturously painful death alone, right before he crushes the will of the Ferrymen and uses their broken spirits to rebuild the Vanguard from the mobile base of operations I'm supposed to secure for him." It's a lot for Raith to say in one breath. And it's said in one breath specifically because that seems the best way to emphasize just how serious the situation is. Because out of the two options for description that Eileen provided, this situation does not fit neatly into either one of them.

Eileen is silent for a very long time. It's a lot for Raith to say in one breath — it's also a lot for her to take in. She listens to the water surging up against the rocks on the other side of the cove. The distant, screaming cries of far-off gulls are notably absent; they're already settling in for the evening at the old boat graveyard, and until a few minutes ago she'd been preparing to do the same, albeit here at the Dispensary. "Jensen," she tells him, "if this is a joke, it's in very poor taste. It's also two weeks too late."

"In all the time you've known me," Raith asks flatly, "Have I ever struck as the sort of guy who would joke about something that could cause people to die?" Although she can't see it with her own eyes, the ex-spy's posture is nothing short of confrontational towards Eileen. He's completely serious. "And I was more than happy to humor him, by the way, because again, all of this was happening at gunpoint. You know how I feel about anything happening at gunpoint when I'm not holding the gun."

"How lucky we are, then, that Gabriel is Gabriel and Abigail is still on Pollepel Island." Because if there's anywhere Abigail can go where trouble shouldn't be able to find her, it's Bannerman's Castle — as long as trouble isn't H5N10. Eileen doesn't sound completely convinced by the reassurance regardless of who it's meant for; her mouth goes a little hard, and she feels her brows knit. "You're sure it was Magnes?" she asks, turning back toward the Dispensary. She's dressed not in her wool and leathers, but a pair of dark gray sweatpants and a sleeveless black top. Cotton is a comfort, too. As she walks, the residual rainwater on the grass darkens the fabric around her ankles and makes her feet gleam. "He didn't use his ability on you or anything? Only the gun?"

"It looked like him, and that's all I can say for sure," Raith replies. "Either he's had a psychotic break, or his memory has been altered, or his personality has been subverted, or he's someone else so take your pick. But given his history and what we know about him, a psychotic break is the most likely explanation. Finally snapped, or it's something leftover from his programming, or whatever. The cause doesn't change the danger." It also doesn't change the fact that Raith can't decide if they're dealing with a Ferry problem, or a Remnant problem. The overlap is too large.

Depending on who you ask, it may also qualify as an Institute problem — Magnes knows a lot of people and keeps more associates than someone like Eileen does. The level of involvement they're likely to see makes her feel a little stiff. Tired. She's not numb to surprises like these, but she's exhausted enough that the sting is not as sharp as it could be.

Concern for Abigail and Gabriel spurs her the rest of the way across the green and inside the Dispensary where there's a low fire burning in the hearth. She likes the smell of it and will not be able to justify using the wood this way for much longer as the weather continues its transition. "No," she agrees, "it doesn't.

"Will you go and speak with her first thing tomorrow for me? I'll stay here. Have a little chat with Gabriel about what might be done. We ought to inform Benjamin as well." Ryans, she means. Not Foster.

In Raith's mind, the matter is settled: This is a Ferry problem, if Special Activities is getting involved. "Gabriel and Benjamin won't be a problem. Abigail will be." Finally, the ex-spy sees to shrug off his coat. It's warmer inside than out, and he's not intending to leave again for the night, barring an emergency. "The only reason she tolerates me is because you do. She's not going to like hearing it from anybody, but especially not from me. I can't guarantee she'll listen."

"No, she probably won't." Eileen crosses to the kitchen while Raith is taking off his coat. There's a crackle of wings from somewhere in the Dispensary's exposed rafters, but no sign of the bird the noise belongs to. Whatever it is, it's very small. "In fact, if anything, she'll insist on going to meet him to get to the bottom of it, which is why you'll need to see Benjamin first. I don't like the idea of restricting her movements, but if she decides to be disagreeable about it—"

I don't see what other choice we have. Eileen sets about boiling some water for tea, metal clinking on metal in the kitchen. "Either way, the Vanguard is well and truly finished. Rasoul, Ramirez, Wagner, Kazakova — anyone who Magnes might've been able to persuade is dead, including Daiyu."

"He seems to think he can persuade you. He's much fonder of 'manipulate,' though. And for my part, I didn't tell him 'no.'" A fact that Eileen will surely understand: No man, even Jensen Raith, is likely to be disagreeable when staring down the barrel of a gun. "And I firmly believe he was prepared to kill me then and there if I did. So I need to know right now how big a lie we're planning to tell, because if people get in their heads that they can reach out to him, he's going to try to fill his ranks. And we'll have to start filling caskets."

"Well," Eileen says, "to begin with, I'd like not to be so melodramatic about it." Because the subject is making her uncomfortable enough as it is. Raith can see it in the tension in her back and shoulders as she transfers the kettle to the stove's burner and wipes a trickle of water off the spout with the corner of a dish towel plucked off the sink's edge. "Humanis First is a concern. If it had existed when Kazimir was still building the Vanguard, I imagine he would've started there. Did he happen to mention what property of his he wants back from me? I've not taken anything."

Raith doesn't like the answer to that question. No more than Eileen is going to: "The 'property' he was referring to, is you."

Eileen remembers to take her fingers off the kettle's handle only when she can feel it begin to get hot. "—I'm sorry?"

"He was very clear," Raith continues, reiterating what he'd heard earlier, "That he's from a different planet, or a different Earth or something, and that since he can't get back to it, that entitles him to own you. 'All Eileens in every world are mine.' That's exactly what he said to me, and is the reason he wants Gabriel dead. Because he owns you. He wants Abigail suffering and dead because he believes she killed Kazimir. He was ready to kill me if I didn't go along with his ideas, and I don't doubt that he'll kill anyone who questions any of his assertions.

"I wasn't kidding when I said he poses a very, very real threat to everybody."

With a flick of her wrist, Eileen snaps out the dish towel, then folds it — not once like she normally does, to be draped back over the sink, but twice, then three times into a lopsided square that she holds against the flat of her stomach and smooths under her hand's heel. For once, she's glad that Raith is a talker; it gives her ample time to rein in her temper and decide what the appropriate response to this is.

What she discovers is that there is not enough time in the world and no appropriate answer. The kettle's sharp whistle spares her the effort of cobbling something terse together. She focuses instead on taking it off the heat and pouring the water into a porcelain cup already set aside. The string attached to the tea bag waiting at its bottom dangles invitingly over the lip: drink me.

What she eventually says is, "I'm nobody's property." In case he needed reminding.

Raith doesn't need reminding. "Then we'd better figure out what our official story is and start a plan," he cautions, moving to the exit for his migration upstairs, "Or I can guarantee that being someone's property will be the least of your concerns."

The pinched expression on Eileen's face makes it very clear that she vehemently disagrees on that last point. Her life belongs to her, but it wasn't meant to be; it will never stop being a concern. "Sleep on it," she suggests, curt.

"I'll try," is all Raith offers as a reply. He is definitely too old for this shit.

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