Read It In A Prophecy


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Scene Title Read It in a Prophecy
Synopsis Teodoro and Raith are sent to bring a little girl back to her mother so that she may one day grow into a woman.
Date December 10, 1995

Brompton Cemetery

The door swings shut with a bang and rattling glass. It's wetter outside the office than it is in the lobby, but the air also doesn't smell like sodden clothes and that burnt odor made by broken radiators like the one under the window that the Ghost and Raith had warmed themselves beside long enough to overhear news they should have prepared themselves for but couldn't.

Eileen Ruskin is not here.

Or at least: the little girl matching her description isn't. The police officer that brought her in, a small bundle of rainsoaked hair and sodden clothes, claimed she was found by a man who watched a woman presumed to be her mother abandon her in a park, and it does not take much detective work on their part to narrow down who the older incarnation of her brother might be in this equation.

Curled up in the chair closest to the radiator one moment and gone the next. It's hard to believe but not impossible; children slip through the cracks all the time, and even as an adult Eileen has a talent for squeezing into small spaces.

If they'd been forty-five minutes sooner, they might have caught her.

Across the street, Brompton Cemetery is deceptively green this time of year behind its dark brick walls, but the gate itself is yawning open, and there are only so many places for a five-year-old to seek shelter from the winter rain.

Rusted metal whines and squeaks as the Ghost sets his knee against the gate, shoves it wider open. Rain has already started to gather on the bristle of his shaven head like dew on a lawn, and the cold makes his shoulders— wider than that of his younger incarnations— huddle slightly inside the fabric of his jacket. "At least he didn't get her a social worker," the Sicilian remarks. "'Magine. They'dve gotten facts. Evidence. All the catalogued reasons she shouldn't fucking go back there, and then this op would be really screwed.

"Did you get her anything?" One of those things about this Teo versus the others: he is a fan of sarcasm, and it's so native to him that there isn't even the faintest twist of inflection to differentiate between his use of it and his factual sincerity otherwise. His boots flatten the tuft of green grass standing up between wet slabs of pavement, and he gravitates naturally toward the edge of the path. His fingers wipe rust off on the leg of his trousers.

"I look like one of Santa's elves to you?" Ask sarcasm, receive sarcasm. In some strange way, it's a similarity that Raith shares Teodoro version… whatever version this one happens to be. Fuck cloning. "I'm disinclined to suggest splitting up, because that'll just look even weirder to anyone that happens to see us, so I'll just suggest that we pick a direction and start looking for catacombs and open mausoleums. Maybe we yell her name every now and then." What else can they do, really? Without any sort of paranormal locating device or ability, they have to work the old fashioned way. Stepping onto the grounds behind his partner, Raith makes a decision for them and start? walking along the edge of the main avenue, reasoning that a kid wouldn't think to check far from the giant road for places to huddle in. "You know, you're only the second ghost I've ever seen in a cemetery."

The Sicilian lofts a brow and glances over his shoulder at that, partly because what Raith said was odd! and partly because he half expects to see a tiny wraith of a girl stealing toward the gate he'd just shoved further ajar. There is nothing there, of course. And while the ghost is amused and willing to let Raith make his assumptions, he— isn't going to bother correcting them. He's looking for the girl with more than his eyes. His astral projection makes a pouncing leap out, finds itself bouncing off Raith, and nothing else.

Not yet. Two hundred yards is a good range, though, and this cemetary is only so large. He'll latch onto her eventually. "I got her a book," he says, moving along with muscular grace in Raith's slipstream. "Polish fairy tale with pictures of a gore-covered bird in it. Figured that'd be right up her alley, and it's small enough to fit in her coat or whatever the fuck. Not very feminist, though." A shrug rolls with — not quite studied nonchalance through his shoulders. "Who was the other ghost?" Who. And, as they move into the squat shadow of a mausoleum with a stag's horns braided up its front doors, he adds, loudly, "EILEEN."

"Never caught his name," is the start of Raith's reply, although he pauses for a moment after Ghost shouts to listen and watch, just in case Eileen should appear. "And since all he did was beat me up and take my wallet, he might've just been a crazy homeless guy wearing a sheet. EILEEN." He listens again, and watches, and of course, nothing comes of it. "Kind of a grim present, if you ask me," the ex-spy admits, "What, you couldn't find something cheerier, like a doll with a missing eye, or a picture of that fucking Coke guy with white hair and pedo-smile?" Ah, conversation. "You see anything?"

Whether or not their voices startle the girl, they send a handful of oily black crows shotgunning into the rain, all iridescent black feathers and marble eyes, and this is almost certainly a coincidence. The world does not yet know of the Evolved, and the young woman who talks to birds is not a woman at all. It will be years until she manifests, years before New York City goes up in flames and a sound like building thunder.

In short: Their presence tells the men nothing. Ghost's ability, on the other hand, decides to yield results. Through someone's eyes, an angel appears to have descended from a bleak, storm-gray sky, its stone skin smooth and worn, darkest where it has begun to erode and turn black. To a five-year-old, its shadow is a safe place to be while strangers are barking her name into the thickening dusk.

Teo wrinkles his nose. He does see something, but isn't wont to share it yet; instead, he merely grunts and hooks a broad hand over his brow. It's not like he can see what she's seeing yet, anyway. The trees stoop like hags. "It's profoundly symbolic of the timeline I come from," he answers. "Which means it's going to be profoundly symbolic of every timeline that ever fucking happens, given symbolism's kind of cheesy and universal like that. And besides, it has a happy ending.

"Which, I guess, is the one thing you can't slap over the oozing cunt sore that's 'real life.' Do you really want to do this? EILEEN." He splits his attention, this time; takes the leap into the tiny girl's head and hollers at the same time, strains his ears matryoshkaed into hers to listen for the distant bellow of male voices. Direction. Any direction.

"We have to, and I don't mean that in the 'it's destined, we have no choice but to do it' bullshit fashion that we always get fed in badly written television shows," the ex-spy replies. Raith does take note of Ghost's apparent change in behavior, but decides it's best not to call attention to it. "We have every choice not to, but it's because of Eileen that Vanguard fails, that the Remnant comes together the way it does, that the Ferrymen are in any way capable of surviving two thousand ten. She's a lynchpin. Either this gets put right, meaning back how it was, or just like that book becomes symbolic in every timeline, we become proper fucked in every timeline.

"And I'm picky about how I get fucked."

Her ears are cold. The flat little hands pressing against them, too, somewhere between numb and hurting.

She squeezes her eyes shut, and Teo can't see anything anymore, but his voice is still lingering in the air in the form of an echo, somewhere far behind Eileen and to the left.

It's Raith who will notice first that he and his companion aren't alone, and probably there's no cause for concern; Brompton is more public park than cemetery, and there are so many crumbling graves within its walls that company seems inevitable. A tall man passes through the gates, dressed in a long black coat and a fedora pulled over his eyes, presumably to keep the rain out of his lashes and the hair of his silver-black beard.

Maybe something familiar about his gait.


There's a curl of argument at the corner of Teo's mouth, but he is interrupted before he can get a nasty word of bickering or three in. It's like sending voltage through the leg of a severed frog's limb, raw reflex, instinct cell-deep, his attention divided up between the new arrival and their (his) (about to be theirs) bead on Eileen's location. He couldn't tell you if you asked, what's wrong with the newcomer.

But something is, and the ghost trusts himself enough (sometimes too much) (but only sometimes) to be able to tell it's the kind of wrong to be resolved by fucking the guy up further! Maybe with knives. Of which he's carrying two or three. "Over there," he says, sliding his jaw sideways, indicating leftward. The angel's head stands just above the level of headstones, mausoleums. "She's scared." There's thoughtless arrogance in that assumption, if no conscious insult intended— that Raith should go get the little baby while he sees what this mong wants.

Over there? Raith turns to where Ghost indicates he ought to look, pulling his gaze away from the newest comer by the gate. Just as well, it gives Raith a chance- using his body to block the view- to reach underneath his coat, drawing the Glock from its shoulder holster just enough to chamber a round before putting it back and acting like nothing had happened. "Wouldn't you be?" he asks as he starts moving to where he ought to be, "Don't answer that."

Maybe Eileen has the right idea to be scared. Raith isn't, but there's something off-putting about the third wheel back there. Better safe than sorry. "Better keep it quiet 'til we get closer. I've got one of those feelings."

When the Eileen that Raith and Teo wears red, it's usually on her lips or soaked through her clothes as blood. The little girl with her back to the base of the statue is dressed in a wool coat of the same colour made dark by the moisture weighing it down. It's one of those things that has the potential to be as heavy as she is if it gets wet enough, and the rain has begun to hammer down hard, glancing angrily off the limestone.

With her eyes closed and her hands clapped over her ears and trembling, she neither hears nor sees Raith approach, but her mouth is moving around words without breath to give them much of a voice, reciting something that goes a little like:

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques,
Dormez vous? Dormez vous?
Sonnent les matines. Sonnent les matines.
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

The man in the fedora halts like a long-legged wolf at the edge of a clearing, ears erect and whiskers quivering. His eyes are brown instead of yellow, but the comparison still stands, because once upon a time he used to go by the name Fenris. Carlisle Dreyfus watches Teodoro, saying nothing.

The Sicilian narrows his eyes, then unnarows his eyes. Narrows them again. Maybe a bit of lint just got into his cornea, or something. What registers on his features isn't recognition, or not exactly; not the splash of a reviled name, clarity of relationship, or emotional response, but pissing a line when one realizes there's one that needs pissing. Don't get Teodoro wrong. By now, he can assign a name, remember the other killer and recall the manner of his death, all he's taken and that he'd have preferred to have taken more. All of that, though, belongs to someone else.

The ghost read about it in a book, and the one he carries in his jacket, about the boy who arms himself with the claws of a lynx he slew and a girl who hid herself away behind birds is the more real of the two. "Go away," he says, instructively. He doesn't look for Raith, but it occurs to him as it must have to his companion— that perhaps Dreyfus hadn't come alone.

The ex-spy sends a nervous glance over his shoulder and then to each side as he approaches the girl. Something still feels off, and that gives him all the more reason to work fast. It's not that he finds himself softly singing along with Eileen while he approaches: He's intending to sing, to establish some common ground. But not too much. He's already angry with himself for doing what he's done so far. But it has to be done. "Hello?" he tries, careful not to get too close to little Eileen, who is likely terrified. "Well, this is no place for anyone to be in the rain. Shouldn't you be inside?"

Eileen's shoes squelch in the mud and small, dirty hands grope at the base of the statue. She doesn't try righting herself or pulling to her feet, either lacking the strength or the confidence to do anything except wither and shrink away around the side of the statue. Catching her would be easy. Not only are her legs very short and Raith's very long, but she isn't using them to run away, only put the memorial between herself and the stranger who talks a little like the cowboys she and Nick see on the telly sometimes. A quiet bleat warns him away.

The chances of it discouraging him are about as good as Teodoro's demand having any real effect beyond giving Dreyfus pause as he sizes the younger man up from afar. Where there's one Vanguard operative, others usually aren't far behind, and if he and Raith are unlucky enough to encounter Kazimir while they're here, they'll have much more to worry about than the morality of what they're doing.

Teo's features flatten briefly, mostly around the brow and the sharpness of his eyes. "Okie-dokie-pokie," he says, ridiculously— that saying probably isn't even from around here. There is no telegraph to his assault because the attack does not rely on hands, shoulders, feet, or even particular finesse in targeting. One moment, the ghost's mind is his own, comfortable seated in the dense cage of his skull. The next, it's in Dreyfus', slamming the man's native psyche out like displacing so much water with a stone flung into a glass with a bio-electric protest that dances fingers and feet on the wetness below.

And despite that he doesn't claim those memories, that story, it does occur to him in a sideswipe of thought: That's for Abigail.

He doesn't start moving 'til after that, pitching his big, leggy frame forward, panther-foot, eyes wary and shoulders tight with recalibration. Moves to catch the Englishman with an arm and a shoulder, a his burly frame bearing up kindly from underneath.

Teo is having all the fun, over there, and Raith is none the wiser to it: Astral assaults don't make the same kind of racket that gunfire does. "Hey, hey, easy does it, now," he says in his most fatherly and reassuring voice, "I'm not here to hurt you, or anything. I'm just here to ask what you're doing in the graveyard. Shouldn't you be at home?" She should be at home, and if Raith bumps into Nick Ruskin back in his own time, he'll get another shot at messing up the future, because the ex-spy'll knock him ten years into the past.

The hands that grope clumsily at Teodoro's arms give no indication whether or not Carlisle understands what's happening to him. Given his association with the Vanguard, it's likely that he at least has suspicions — if he's capable of conscious thought at all, which he might not be. He's a loose sack of potatoes against the Sicilian's chest, a grunt of air expelled from his lungs on contact, then nothing.

Eileen shakes her head at Raith, a tangle of dark, knotted hair plastered to her cheeks by a salty mixture of rainwater and tears. There's probably some snow in there, somewhere. No, the gesture says. I shouldn't be.

Teo drags the sack o' Vanguard potatoes higher up on his chest, lifts with his knees. With an armload of Englishman, he goes sidewindering into the shadow of a crypt, ducking his head underneath the V-shaped stretch of a carved angel's wing. He pauses there, out of direct sight of the path, and his eyes slide out of focus to swing his focus out across the graveyard, scouting through the furthest stretch of his radius to take snapshots out of ever yother consciousness he can find.

Glimpses Eileen's wagging head in Raith's field of vision, and Raith's burly shape in Eileen's, and finds himself frowning slightly as he stoops down to fold Dreyfus up into a pile of limbs. It's tempting to go for a knife, fillet the small bones and sinews in the white of the man's throat, but you know, as long as he's pretending even a little respect for the flow of the timeline, he'll leave the man for Abigail's gift a couple decades into the future. He has other things to do, anyway. Track the fucking Vanguard, with nothing but his mind's eye.

"No?" Raith asks, parroting vocally Eileen's head-shaking response, "Well, why not? It's a lot warmer there, I'll bet, and there's things to eat too and it doesn't rain." All valid points from a very general point of view. But a general point of view isn't Eileen's point of view, and he'll have to try harder than that. "I'll bet there's no ghosts, either. Are there ghosts there?" Why, oh why didn't the CIA have courses for interacting with kids?

A psychic sweep of the graveyard reveals the presence of no one that Teodoro wasn't already aware. Contrary to everything he knows about the Vanguard, Carlisle — at least for now — is acting alone. The tips of his fingers twitch, and a low rasp of breath on his next exhale doesn't have him coming around yet, but the window of time he has in which to act is closing.

"Yes," says Eileen, and maybe this wasn't the answer that Raith was anticipating. It isn't a joke. As an adult, she makes those only so often, and he's learned to recognize the tell. The little girl's face is perfectly flat.

A few seconds later, the Sicilian's tread is audible on wet gravel. His shadow threading through the diffuse gray light of the day, his bristly head and its delicate halo~ of raindrops carried slinkily level into view. Eileen's view, that is. He comes up behind Raith rather than the girl, choosing for frinkle-ish reasons not to wall off the girl's retreat. "What the fuck is this?" he says. "I thought you were a fuckin' dad or something. Maybe you should stop using your terrorist-whispering techniques and act like it." He cranes his head over Raith's shoulder, but not quite close enough to be easily elbowed in the big Italian nose, peering at the girl.

The expression on Raith's face was one of mild understanding and concern until Teo started talking. At that point, it changed almost instantly to annoyance and disapproval. "Gee, thanks for the input there," he says, turning his head just enough to look at his partner from the corner of his eye, "I, wow, I don't know what I would've done without you. Sooooo helpful. Now if you'll excuse me, we were in the middle of a conversation regarding what we're going to do about the ghost living in her house. Now, you have any ideas? I'm all ears, let's hear 'em."

Eileen lifts her eyes to Teodoro, holds his gaze for the time it takes her to let out a hitching breath, then drops them back down, her head bowed and trembling, and does not say anything. She's used to looking at the ground, and as far as defense tactics go it isn't necessarily a very smart one or one that works in the real world, but it's effective when it comes to dealing with her mother, and at this age dealing with her mother is all that Eileen knows.

Curse words, too. Or at least enough of them to recognize when expletives are being used around her.

"Yeah," Teo answers. "Get bigger, get badder, beat it up when you're old enough. 'Course, if it's the kind of asshole ghost that takes over people's bodies, that's trickier and may require prayer." There's a disdainful lilt to his voice when he says that word. 'Prayer.' His eyes hood, and flick sideways over the headstones.

Lower, he mumbles, "Seems he was alone. We only have a few minutes."

Conversationally, again. "In all seriousness, I think it's usually pretty important to have a name for the ghost before you go and try to knock it off. Speaking from," he bumps a fist off the broad flat of his own breastbone, and gives a Gallic shrug, an elaborate nonchalance that looks suspicious enough on him to warrant slaps. "Personal experience."

Not the information Raith would want to hear under any circumstances. A few minutes isn't a lot of time to do anything, let alone convince a scared little girl that she should go back to some place she probably doesn't want to be. "Hey, that's a pretty good idea," the ex-spy says before he turns back to Eileen, "Does the ghost have a name? If it has a name, that means you don't have to be scared of it, you know. So-" To make himself less large and intimidating, Raith crouches down to put himself more at Eileen's level, although to the girl who will be sort of waif-y even after she grows up, he's probably still large and intimidating- "Does the ghost have a name?" This is the worst plan ever, Raith.

"Ghosts are people too," Eileen says, perhaps for Raith's benefit because Teodoro sounds like he knows what he's talking about. It's her way of saying yes but also I don't know what it is. A small hand scrubs her sleeve across her noise, trailing a string of teary mucous that she then tries to wipe off on the front of her coat. Frightened and embarrassed aren't just emotions — they're a constant state of being.

"What do you mean? Knock it off?"

Teo squints and opens his mouth, then notices Raith seems to have shockingly shrunk in an effort to do child-whispering. Is that how it's done? The ghost somewhat lacks appropriate frames of reference. Walter seemed to prefer him being ostentatious and tall and gloriously badass, generally speaking, proud of it and their acquaintance the way one would be about having befriended without domesticating a tyranosaurus rex. But she's such a tiny thing. "Well, some people deal with ghosts by killing them," he says. Then, blanky, a minor adjustment: "Or trying to.

"But there are other ways, yeah. I know someone who sent a ghost to a kind of a school once where he got better. School," he adds, with conviction that he can't admit to having felt in his own childhood, "is good for you. My name is Theodore."

"It is. Both of those, I mean. His name is Theodore and school is good for you." Not having a real plan for dealing with this situation is proving to be a small hurdle for Raith, if only because the situation is so strange that even his most outlandish improvisations have left him underprepared to handle it. "And since his name is Theodore, you don't have to be afraid of him anymore. I'm-" Need distance, think quick- "Marion, and now you don't have to be afraid of me either."

The plan, however half-baked, poorly-thought out and impractical, seems like it might work. But even so, with a looming time limit… "So now, we're not afraid of each other. Especially me, because my name sounds like a girl's name."

Eileen, although painfully demure and polite even when she's wilting, is not possessed of perfect manners. How do you do is not something that's been ingrained in her yet, and barring any additional changes to the timeline Raith and Teodoro might make, never will be. What she asks instead is, a little bewildered and blinking away rain, "Are you dead too? M-Marion? Theodore?"

They're in one piece. No reason for her to suspect her hand might pass through them if she went against her instincts and reached out to touch, to take the fabric of Raith's coat or Teodoro's pant leg in her fingers and wind it experimentally between them, other than—

"How do you know I'm—?" Eileen, she means.

Teo's eyebrows go expressively uneven on his forehead. Marion? Gravitating back to the questions at hand, however, he fixes his attention to the tiny girl's tiny face. He is not, admittedly, terribly nonplussed by the situation that seems to have Raith so discomfitted. Worst comes to worst, as far as he's concerned, they'll brain-tase this one too and make off with her through London streets emptied out by rain. Scratch that. Worst comes to wost, they'll be accosted by the Vanguard and have to fight their way through, tooth and bloody nail, but.

Until then, talking's interesting. Talking's okay. The worst part about talking is the fact they're getting to know her, and that's always a mistake before you have to put the metaphorical gun to your mark's metaphorical head, or literal as the case may be. Returning Eileen to the Ruskin household is a little like that. "Read it in a prophesy," he says. "Someone who can tell the future. You know, like everybody showed up at Jesus' barn. People like us just show up knowing things. I brought you a book, though. For you to bring home. If," he nods his head down at Jensen's tensely crouched frame, "he's right, and you're not so scared."

'If' being the big question. Finally, however, Eileen yet being a young child may finally play out to the advantage of both Raith and Teo. They've presented themselves, if indirectly, as being in a position of authority, something that children are conditioned to respect and obey, generally. "It's a good book," 'Marion' insists, "But it's not the sort of book that you read in a graveyard. Not a graveyard book. It's the kind of book you read at home." Maybe the direct approach is the better approach, in this case: A adult might pick up on the nuances of a conversation, but a child likely will not.

"I'm not supposed to go home," Eileen says, and she doesn't sound entirely convinced. The wet may have something to do with it. She would rather be home regardless of who's told her that she shouldn't be. Would rather be anywhere but here, with the exception of the office where she was left drying herself off in front of a smelly radiator.

"My uncle— Nick—" There's a story in every hesitation, every beat of silence that punctuates her words, an explanation as to why she's here and not with her mother, why she isn't running away from them but also refuses to put herself within their reach. "M'scared," she confesses. Then, ridiculously, "M'sorry."

Teo scrunches his face up abruptly, more like a five-year-old than the ancient gladiator and escapist through space and time. His eyes knife downward sharply at Raith, then level a few degrees again, settling on her thin, bone-colored face. "Your uncle made a mistake," he says. "Leaving you out in that office by yourself was a mistake. You can go home now. Should, I mean. It's too early to take you away from your Mum, right? You won't have to stay there forever— just 'til you're a little more grown up." The words end rather suddenly, his mouth in a twist like he just bit into something foul. He takes a deep breath, and then flexes his fingers at his side, fighting off the urge to reach for cigarettes.

Another sonar-ping scout-through of the space around them, looking for human minds that don't belong to the two he can see with his owne yes. Something to do, even if it looks and feels like he's doing jack shit.

Yeah: All of that. "Your uncle, he didn't want you to be scared, because he was scared. And you know what? People get scared. I get scared. Theodore gets scared, and then he talks too much, too fast." A not so-subtle jab from Raith that he'll almost certainly end up paying for later. "Even ghosts get scared, because they're people too. And sometimes, it's okay to go away from the things that you're scared of. Your uncle, he thought that was what you should do, so you they wouldn't scare you. But sometimes, that's not what you should do. Sometimes, you should stay even when you're scared, because then the thing that's scaring you doesn't scare you so bad, and then you aren't scared of it anymore.

"And then you don't have to be outside in the rain and the cold, but you can be inside where it's dry and warm and where you can read a book, when you aren't scared anymore." Time's ticking, and Raith hopes that this new approach yields results sooner. But if in the end brains fail, brute force will still prevail.

Eileen hopes that this isn't a mistake. The lifting of her arms and stretching of her fingers, palms open and reaching. Although not a request to be picked up, it's an invitation with some amount of expectation behind it.

Teodoro's sweep tells him that Carlisle is beginning to come to, a large hand braced against limbstone, his nails grating over rock. His shoulder bumps against something rough and his shoes make a scraping sound when he tries to move his feet. He hasn't gotten up yet. Is trying to.

"Will you stay too?" she asks of both 'Marion' and Theodore both.

"For a little bit," the ('real') ghost says, tightly. He fixes his hands on the edges of his pockets. "We really need to get out of here. Weather's pissing down, monsters waking up." Poorly disguised intel, but he doesn't suppose the tiny Ruskin girl is about to register such nuances if she didn't find anything especially odd about being compared to the Son of God, who was nailed to a tree, resurrected, and et cetera.

Probably not the unflinching blase that will carry Eileen Ruskin through her career as a terrorist. "I'll take her left hand because I'm the daddy," he adds, with a particular grating tone of voice that stacks beautifully with Raith's internal arithmetic about the probable consequences of his earlier jab. Still, there's nothing else forthcoming, or not right now. Teo reaches out to grasp one of the girl's little hands.

"Alright, fine, you can take her left hand." It's not an unreasonable concession for Raith to make, especially if it gets them all the hell out of there before the guy that Teo laid out wakes up enough to actually do something about something. Standing back up, Raith takes little Eileen's other hand half-daintily, but before doing anything else, makes one thing very clear: "No skipping. Especially not 'to my lou.'"

By the time the foolishly solitary Carlisle Dreyfus is able to move around unhindered again, the trio he had his eye on will not be beyond his ability to find, but they will be beyond his immediate reach. By the time he finds Eileen again, she'll be right where she was before she went 'missing,' and the two strangers who swept her away from him will be gone from his life until years later. Until Russia, until revenge, until he buries himself alive under tons of snow and debris, the only thing out of place a storybook that will be a cold comfort in the coming years.

Did they leave her in a better place than she was before Nick Ruskin, in an older incarnation, displaced her? No. Did they leave her in a good place? No. Did they leave her in the right place? Yes. As terrible a situation as it is for her, or for any child to be in, it is exactly where Eileen needs to be. It is what she needs.

Because they need her.

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