Reasons Part II


gabriel_icon.gif raith_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Reasons, Part II
Synopsis A prophetic painting leads three of the Remnant to Central Park in search of a fourth.
Date June 26, 2010

Old Dispensary

In the summer, the ancient dispensary on Staten Island isn't so bad. It's warm, for certain, but with the right windows and doors opened, cool sea breezes find their way inside and do wonders for keeping the heat at tolerable levels. Even with the sun down below the horizon, even half-past eleven at night, opened windows are necessary, the heat from the day still clinging stubbornly to air made somewhat heavy by evaporated water. Maybe the dispensary's not so great in the summer, either.

It's still not terrible, and with Raith presently out and about and both the puppies happily napping under the kitchen table, it's quiet as well, the sound of the ocean in the distance playing a pleasant melody for anyone who cares to listen to it.

There's a window open in the attic, even, with night time noise and coolness easing into the generous space upstairs. In a show of negligence, the trap door staircase that opens up is hung down like an inappropriately open zipper, the analogy of which still works if one were to interpret either as invitation for company. Gabriel's back is to it, anyway, a thin grey sweater pulled over his torso, jeans more grey than blue in the low light of a single lamp, and paint on his knuckles.

His eyes have gone milky blind, have for the past several minutes, seeing only transforming colours with his hand oustretched to follow it with a paint-loaded brush, to replicate it onto the canvas as pale as his eyes, or was. There's an image being constructed, and it's beginning to have shape. His bare feet shift weight absently on the naked ground, jaw loose on its hinges, trance making his shoulders relaxed. His head occasionally twitches to tilt to the side.

There's a lot of black in this painting.

Bookish dismissiveness has Teo's nose bent down over a book, but at least he isn't solitary in his dismissiveness. No, instead, he is camped out in the attic room that a certain erstwhile serial-killer calls his eyrie, seated on the floor as is his wont, back propped up against the wall and long legs V'ed out in front of him. The whole place smells of canvas, chalky dust, Eileen, sunny heat diluted by the walls, and the sterile chemistry of lurid paints, reminds him somehow of the scant hours he'd spent as a boy in Sicily reading between football riots and fornications.

He is reading a book about wizards. It's absorbing enough that he hasn't noticed the rather disquieting nature of the image taking place under Gabriel's brush, insofar as that the images within the story echoed them near enough that he wasn't cognizant enough of anything amiss. A multiplying blight of pigment in the painting, a curse of eternal night in the story. He looks up eventually, his concentration broken by something too subtle to name (or his gun digging into his hip), scrubbing knuckles across his eye. Narrowly avoids knocking an empty bottle over with his elbow.

"Whatcha got?"

No answer. Which shouldn't be too shocking — Gabriel hasn't spoken since Teo took up his crouch in his room, and it probably doesn't have anything to do with rudeness. Sleeves rolled up near his elbows, the wicked circle of black tattoo making eclipse shapes on his forearm, he doesn't even twitch from concentration as he continues to paint, and paint. Teo will at least be able to recognise a degree of subtlety in the movement of Gabriel's brush, finishing details.

The paint is still wet when Gabriel's world shifts back into focus, giving his unique interpretation of the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park a lustrous sheen, slick with rain.

It should be noted that he sees this for the first time, study playing out on his features and sparing a single sidelong glance Teo's way. Greasing the back of his hand across his nose to relieve an itch gone neglected for the past half hour (and subsequently drawing a blackish smear from bridge to beneath an eye), he sets his paint brush down upon the newspaper spread designed to protect his floorboards.

Upon the stiff canvas, the focal point of the piece, however, is not the angel with a lily cupped in one elegant hand while she blesses the water below with the other, and neither is it the full moon reflected in its rippling surface, bloated and silver. It's the figure sprawled out on the pavement in the foreground with an arm draped protectively across her face, rainwater making an oil slick of her hair, each stroke a snaking tendril of darkest India ink.

Occasionally the logical one, Teodoro gets up to see better. He does this by pushing himself up with a hand, muttering about supremely inconvenient!! dissociative prophetic fugue states, and swatting his T-shirt flat with one callused palm, pushing his feet deeper into his shoes again, and coming forward, craning his head. His eyes close and open, then stay open for a few long seconds, his stare motionless in its pits.

The next moment, he pushes his hair out of his face, brow furrowing, and he angles closer, trying to broach the bulk of Gabriel's shoulder without getting in the way of brush or the artist's eye, despite that the artist doesn't seem to have much use for anything as pedestrian as 'sight' right now. This would be less of a curiosity if there was only an angel or the girl without one, but they're together, and the joint symbolism of moon and water—

You don't need even as much of a background in literature as Teo does, to know that's a dark thing.

The only thing blacker is the blood leaking from her nose and mouth, the wet paint giving this a startling kind of realism as it glistens in streaks on the rough canvas surface. The painted face's lips are slightly parted to allow the flow to follow the delicate curve of her jaw. Even in death, its set is stubborn, and it's details like this, the precise shape of her tapered fingers and arching neck that can only be captured by someone who has an intimate familiarity with the subject's body.

Unsurprisingly, Gabriel and Teo have no difficulty making a positive identification. And any lingering doubts Gabriel might have dissipate at the sight of the pocket watch a few feet away from the woman's prone form, which is shrouded in wispy smoke appearing to originate from the same source as the heavy, tar-like discharge.

Eileen Ruskin's dying breath.

Gabriel is moving, now — not to go and rush and save the day, because he's painted images as immediate as a few seconds forward through to ten years forward — but to collect up a dishtowel and wipe clean his hands of tacky paint, leaving Teo before the canvas to study as he chooses. There is still no reply to the Italian's question — Gabe never heard it, and even if he did, the answer is self-explanatory.

What? What? It's probably credit to Ghost, that Teo's expression manages to bypass disbelief, incredulity, and refusal entirely. His phone hiccups out of his pocket in a grab so viper-quick it might have parted molecules into smaller ones along the way, and his thumb is already throbbing down on speed-dial as he realizes, a little late, but as fast as an uneducated man can, that Gabriel is helpfully awake and himself and on the move again.

As such, he twists on one foot and starts thumping toward the door ajar, book discarded and forgotten, without actually expecting to see the older man here still. As likely, a black wraith of ink, or phasing through walls. Possibly— Teodoro doesn't even know. Taking explosive flight? It's enough to throw one's stubby little legs into harsh perspective. "Pick up, pick up," he orders the bird girl, a few miles out of hearing range but in earnest nevertheless.

One, two rings from Teo's phone before it abruptly changes its tone. In the middle of trying to connect his outgoing call, someone else is trying to connect an incoming call, the screen happily informing Teo that Raith is attempting to get ahold of him. It may or may not be with high hopes that Teo accepts the incoming call, but they will almost certainly drop low when the news comes through on the other end:

"Eileen better be with you or Gabriel."

Black, blue, paler colours, these things smear on the rough texture of the towel as Gabriel cleans his hands, back again turned to Teo and his frantic attempts to call. It is difficult to immediately tell whether Gabriel doesn't care about the depiction he's just artist'd, or whether he is a fateful soul already on a path of mourning, or whether he doubts that any particular immediate action is helpful. He lets Teo go, besides.

Abruptly, however, far too quickly for Gabriel to get from point A to point B in a natural progression of seconds, Teo will blink his eyes open to seeing the serial killer ahead of him. In a span of moments that the Sicilian was not privy to, Gabriel put on boots, pulled on a jacket, and got out all the paint from under his nails. Standing still and facing him as the younger man comes thumping down the rickety stairs, Gabriel's expression is one of narrow expectation.

"Gabriel just painted her dead." Teodoro manages to hold the phone against his jaw with his shoulder, doesn't even blink when Gabriel abruptly appears in front of him like he hadn't even bothered with the physical space that had separated his original location from this intermediary destination. "Rain over Central Park, full moon. Where the fuck are you if you don't have her?"

He doesn't mean to sound accusing, but that is neither here nor there. Conventional faith has it that each of them, the Vanguard remnant, the homicidal assholes who operate out of the garage in Staten's armpit, know how to handle themselves in a fight, but that's the nature of faith. It requires leaps into nothing, and testing it requires trials and inevitable crippling shittons of tragic disappointment wrought by seemingly indifferent vagaries of fate. "Shows her right by the big green angel fountain."

"I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be," Raith snaps back over the line, somehow managing to do so calmly, "She's an hour late and not answering her phone. This is obviously a big fucking deal. Calm down, put the dogs in my room, and meet me on the waterfront in Red Hook, ASAP. Bring flashlights and radios and whatever weapons you can easily hide. If we end up walking into a trap in the park, we'll at least be equipped to deal with it. You got all that?"

It is fortunate that Teodoro likes dogs, or he'd probably have sooner tossed out enough rat poison to knock them out or left them there. He mutters under his breath, roughing his knuckles across his bristly chin, and there is a monosyllable of affirmitive, but, "Hell's Kitchen— there's no fucking bridge in this timeline," before Teo kills the line. "Raith's at Red Hook, Eileen missed the date.

"We're supposed to meet him there with flashlights, radios, concealed weaponry, A-SAP. I'm going to drag the dogs into his room right now," he says, a little brittly, but very even, even as he goes clomping, "but I got here on my bike." Thank God for clean weather and the absolute dearth of traffic cops on Staten Island. "You can get the EQ together and start heading over, if you want, or I'll be right with. I can go over a hundred while we're still on Staten."

"I'll meet you outside," is all Gabriel really needs to say to all that, before he's swiftly disappearing into that inky shadow Teo may have expected about five seconds ago, a cloud of black breezing soundlessly past the Sicilian to ropily climb up the stairs in the kind of agility that is unattainable when you have limbs of flesh and bone to work with, and double the gravity.

No sound comes from above by the time he's gone, and the door is already edited closed like a bad movie if Teo thinks to glance back. The serial killer is probably already outside, if his vanishing trick from just now is of any indication.

Central Park: Bethesda Fountain

Remnant has the advantage of being the first at the scene. By the time the sun is rising over the Atlantic and smudging storm clouds off a rosy sky, Bethesda Terrace will be sectioned off and buzzing with activity as crime scene investigators catalogue the evidence left behind and uniformed with the NYPD roll out tape like exterminators put down lines of poison to keep the pests out.

Right now, the moon still sits on its throne, looking down on the terrace, its celebrated fountain and the bodies scattered across the pavement. There are dozens, but only three of them are human, and of those three only one is intact. It isn't Eileen's.

A youth twisted around at the waist with empty eye sockets and a caved-in skull gathers rainwater in his open mouth and is surrounded by a multitude of broken birds dropped from the sky. Glossy brown starlings, fat little sparrows and diminutive wrens with fishhook claws— the only thing they all have in common, apart from their commonness, is a stillness shared in death. Some were unlucky enough to land in the fountain itself and now float on its rippling surface like pieces of bent wood adrift in a small lake.

Some sixty feet away is a man not much older, skin flayed from a gaunt face scorched black. One of his arms is missing, and maybe this has something to do with the condition of the last corpse, which is in so many pieces that it will take law enforcement days to collect them all.

Whatever happened here didn't happen very long ago. Teodoro and Raith can see the smoke still rising off the body with the absent arm, and Gabriel will feel the anxiety bleeding from a lone survivor somewhere in the bushes. It's a familiar presence, but it doesn't belong to the individual they're looking for.

As far as scenes of carnage go, the scene spread before Raith is not the most gruesome he's ever seen. But that's really not saying much, because it's still up there. And of it, the man has only one thing to say: "Great."

Eileen must have been here. It's the best way to explain the bird carcasses. It doesn't really explain the rest of it, though. "Gabe," he calls, moving the beam of his flashlight over the scene, "You're the one who painted. What else do you know about it? What do you see? What does it tell you?"

Through the broken bodies of birds on the ground, Gabriel is trying to search for something, mouth small and eyes severe. Rain patters off his skull where water plasters inky black hair to it, at a seaweed cling to his brow, and he turns in place to searching the ground for the fallen watch depicted in the image. He's armed, even, concealed well in his jacket where beads of water clings to its texture. He looks pale and anxious, or at least, he does on his scale of emotion, which is mostly a ripple in a lake of calm and cold.

"This comes after," is all he can say, immediately, at a mutter only just reaching the ears of the other two men. As his dark eyes search, his chin lifts up as if catching the scent of something, but it's really a psychic nagging that he is only partially used to.

A blip of psychic radar confirms that it's not human when nothing comes up, and a moment of concentration has him muttering, just audible, "Bran." No need to pull a gun on Eileen's pet raven, but Gabriel treats the discovery with enough insistence that one would give a human, moving for the bushes to crouch down and reach hands through tangled branches.

"This wasn't supposed to happen," is Teodoro's answer, dissonant, a mutter, obscurely—

—relieved. His flashlight is drifting a circuit in the opposite direction, swiveling wild shadows around the carcasses of passerines, brown feathers and red feet standing up in the air, pop-eyed and open-mouthed like something far more wanton and funny than any of this actually is. He has his gun out in his other hand, arm crossed underneath his flashlight one at the wrist. This feels terribly illegal in a terribly public place.

Bizarrely, he'd feel better if FRONTLINE were here, and when has Teo ever thought that? Through the rustle and crick of bushes bending around Gabriel's inquest and the background thunder of Raith's disquiet, the scrabble of his hands over radio unit sounds plasticky and thin. "Hana, hey," and Teo's voice, quieter than the death around them, "Hana. I'm sorry to bother you, but if there's anything on the PD or FRONTLINE's radio about Central Park right now, I'd appreciate it if you could send me two clicks. There's a situation."

The raven in the bushes gives a weak croak of affirmation when Gabriel's hands find his body and does not resist as he's lifted from the gnarled branches, mantling one wing while the other flops uselessly at a grotesque angle. Although not a life-threatening injury, it's serious enough to keep him grounded until the break heals and possibly even longer than that. Bran is very old — he might never fly again.

Silver winks between his clawed toes. The chain attached to Eileen's antique pocket watch snags in the bush, tangled between two forked branches spattered with gore.

By the fountain, Raith will notice a chunk chipped off the cement lip that surrounds it, drawing his attention to the water, the shapes floating in it and something dark at the bottom of the pool amidst a glittering sea of discarded pennies. Someone dropped their handgun.

It's that handgun that has Raith's attention for now, taunting him from beneath the water, illuminated by the beam of his flashlight. Gabriel's acknowledgement of Bran is momentarily forgotten as the ex-spy ponders the submerged firearm. Finally, his decision is made and, flexing his fingers a few times, he slowly sinks his hand and arm into the water, working to disturb the surface as little as possible, and pinches the grip between the tips of his fingers before lifting it up, working to touch as little as possible.

Out of the water and still under the light, the story is told: Not Eileen's. Not government or military issue. And not going back into the water. Removing the magazine and emptying the chamber of any round that might be in it, the weapon is hidden under his coat before he turns his attention to the ammunition, pressing his thumb down on the topmost bullet and forcing the entire stack down against the spring, checking to see how much lead, whoever the thing belonged to manage to throw out of it. "What do you have, Gabriel?" Right. Bran.

The bird is carefully bundled into his arms, reeking of damp feathers and injury, and a hand snags the dangling watch. This is coming with them too. Rising out of his crouch, Gabriel occupies himself with emitting soothing vibes down the telepathic link he has with the familiar raven, moving back towards the small unit of criminals. Recognisable from the painting, if Teo saw much beyond location and circumstance, the pocket watch swings like a glimmering and heavy pendulum from his fingers.

"A witness," is offered, a little wry but not entirely sarcastic either, already nudging at what limited mental capabilities the big bird held so carefully in his arms might possess by way of memory. By way of message, even.


Teo stares down at the radio for another long moment, but there is no second signal coming. He mumbles a Sicilian word of gratitude and flattens the small unit back against his lapel, swinging his flashlight over to track the glistening pattern that Raith's armful of water had left scattered on the concrete. Back to the carcasses again, although he's already turning his head to study Gabriel and Bran without pointing his light at them. That would be bad manners. He can't see all that well, but already he can tell the poor bird is in some pretty fucked up shape.

"Only a matter of time before some late night joggers roll by," he remarks, dropping into a crouch over a starling. "Even if the cops might have been cleared out, somehow." His flashlight noses down, lights fanned breastfeathers with fluorescent white light, limning thin claws, checking for signs of lacerations and contusions before the sweep of the cone-shaped illumination does the precise same thing to human corpse's prone head two feet to the right. He doesn't ask what Bran thinks, feels, saw: he just keeps his voice down so Gabriel can focus on figuring that out.

Beak parted around a thin hiss, Bran turns his face up at Gabriel, ophidian eyes black and bright. Any other bird might be able to provide him with vague impressions of what might have happened, a jarring array of razor-quick images projected directly into his mind, but there's a reason Eileen chose this one for her familiar.

Gabriel isn't in his body anymore. Firelight makes silhouettes of the bush's branches, bars through which he can see Eileen's shape laid out on the pavement in exactly the same position as her doppelganger still in the process of drying back at the Dispensary, but in reality the details are much sharper. A gloved hand clutches at her midsection, blood leaking between splayed fingers as her mouth opens and closes between shuddering gasps for breath. If she makes a noise, he can't hear it. The only sounds are the patter of rain striking the pavement, a muffled sob somewhere in the distance and heavy footsteps encroaching on his location.

A pair of scuffed loafers swirling with smoke come into his frame a moment later, and a shadow is suddenly crouching over Eileen, head tilted and scruffy jaw set. "Don't worry," it says, one hand reaching out to cover the wound while the other takes the Englishwoman by her shoulder. "You won't feel a thing."

Even though it's a voice that Gabriel can only remember hearing a handful of times before, it's one that he knows very well.

It belongs to his father.

"Maybe not in this weather, but you're right." Raith knows Teo is right. The fact that no one's reported it who knows how many hours afterwards is both mystery and miracle. "I hate to rush you Gabriel, but need to think about vacating the area real soon. Preferably before someone take note of three interlopers." One more cast of the flashlight beam across the gore, but that's all. Raith isn't a fortune teller: The mess doesn't tell him anything he doesn't already know.

A shimmer of anxiety ruffles Bran's more figurative feathers, and likely the large raven would have taken off flapping from the empathic tremors coming down through the line from the man holding onto him. Tension lines up Gabriel's back but he keeps his arms and hands loose and accommodating for the creature they protect. Eyes flaring open when he wrenches himself out of the heightened telepathic rewind Bran's own intelligence had drawn him into, Gabriel is simultaneously gulping in a deeper breath.

The way you do when your heart briefly rises to your throat, or feels like it. "Samson— " He can't remember right now if Teo and Raith know that name. Jagged memory says yes but then maybe. Coherency runs hot and cold. "My father. He— " Found her is on the tip of his tongue, but his attention skips over the broken bodies around them.

Attacked her might be better, but— "She was hurt, and he was there. That's all I saw," he gravels out. There is a slow kind of anger obviously building for all that he's forced to not let it manifest in teenage shows of kicking things over or even making fists of his hands, but his gaze wanders and his jaw sets like bone is steel.

There is no recognition on Teo's face, but the implications are reasonably bald-faced, uncomfortable to the point of painful. No offense to Gabriel, or anything, but his ancestry seemed rather creepy even when rooted into nothing more disturbing than a clockworker's shop, long before there were associations of mutilated birds, mortals with their little eggshell skulls cracked open. "I can ask Wireless to check who came in and out of the park via traffic camera in the past hour or so, and see which towers took our calls to her.

"And I'll hit up Liz and Felix when forensics trickle down to the pigs, if she still hasn't turned up by tomorrow." He glances at the other operatives, and the skewed dish of light he'd been floating across scorched faces and variously wetted concrete warps back into an even circle, pooled just left of his own feet. Under-lit, his scarred features look less like they're scowling, but he is, so fiercely it's making his forehead hurt. "I'm pretty sure they'd give us a hand. At least be willing to pass down the files."

"Maybe you could talk to Kershner. Raith?" He keeps talking— mumbling, really, because it is a little better than pointing out that Samson probably found Eileen through Gabriel. That isn't useful, yet. He doesn't know enough about it to make it useful, and he has the vague suspicion that any questions at this particular juncture would sound less than academically curious. With an air that's nearly conclusive, he pulls the switch on his flashlight. Click, and then: darkness.

Excepting the dim glow of the cellphone in Teo's hand, held down discreet by his side. Dialling her number again, one last try, because they haven't had enough soul-crushing news for one evening yet.

"Teo, if you could stop talking for just a little bit, and not do anything yet, and not tell anyone, that would be the best thing you could possibly do." And Raith is completely serious. "Look, I'm going to sound like a ghoul," he says, resting his forehead in the palm of his hand, thinking of the best way to phrase what he has to say, "There is an extremely important project in the Ferry right now. Eileen's project. If word gets out that she's, missing, it'll collapse. I don't know what will happen after that, but it will be very bad. We cannot tell anybody that she is missing." Not yet.

Raith finds the need to distract himself, not so much from the grimness of the situation, but rather from the thrashing he is very likely to receive at the hands of Gabriel, and possibly even Teo. So he looks everywhere. Takes in as many details as he can, everything he can see. It's only then, possibly just before it's too late to stop anything, it occurs to him that maybe he should be focusing on what he can't see.

Eileen's phone rang the last time Teo tried it. Between his initial attempt at the Dispensary and this one, someone who may or may not be related to Gabriel by blood had the sense to turn it off, directing the Sicilian straight to her voicemail.

"This Eileen," her voice is gently breathing, "I can't talk to you but you can talk to me. Please leave a message."

Bran blinks his eyes shut, then snaps them open again, folding his legs under his body to make Gabriel's task easier for him. The rain has washed away most of the blood on the pavement down a nearby drain installed to prevent the terrace from flooding if the fountain were to ever overflow. Likely, it's taken some of the evidence of what happened here with it.

Not telling people is okay by Gabriel. He rarely talks to people as it is, and currently, his attention is locked on the bodies as if trying to decide who they must be and how they died, although he has a couple of ideas. Half-formed single celled things drifting. Now, even those are abandoned as Gabriel lifts his stare to Raith, blankly quiet for the time it takes for the older man to finish. By then, he has a good sneer going on, momentarily knocked out of his own paralytic fury at his father.

"Are you serious?" he asks at the tail end of Raith's words. "How about your extremely important project in the Ferry will collapse if she's dead because we didn't use the resources we had? Teo." Back up is demanded in those two Americanised syllables.

Her voice— in voicemail, the default. That's her. Terribly British, in a way he'dve made fun of as a teenager. I kont tuok t' you, but yew can tuok t' mei. Even Cockney English sounds like princesses to people from anywhere else. "Someone turned her phone off. Means someone moved her phone. We might be able to get a lock on it, how accurate depends on whether or not Eileen started leaving the GPS chips in them after Wireless got back. Look, Jensen, we have to at least try that.

"The rest has to wait, anyway." Until morning. Until the pigs get their act together, little powdered gloves, photographs, microscopes, logs and databases. Until Raith decides he is going to risk asking Kershner get her mitts on one of these corpses, as a personal favor. Until Eileen has been gone long enough to qualify in legally definable terms as a missing person.

It's almost courtesy to Raith, that Teodoro making this proposal a proposal, his fingers curling around his radio unit, not yet on transmission. He is probably going to do it anyway, but pack bonds hold for now. "Wireless knows how to keep her trap shut. I can do it while we walk."

"Her phone was turned off or the battery died," Raith interjects to provide an alternative, "Both of you just listen. We need this council to work or the Institute is going to steamroll us. If she's missing, then it doesn't work, and we lose."

It takes the spy a moment to reorganize his thoughts, try a different approach. "In one week, the council picks go up for vote. Eileen's already on it, but if she's missing, everyone will think the network is compromised-" Of course, the network is compromised, but that can be kept a secret for now- "And the council will fail. We just need to keep this from becoming general knowledge for a week. We'll keep investigating ourselves. Talk to Wireless, fine. Have her dig through police computers and see what turns up, but we have to keep this quiet at least until the vote's done, and that's only in one week. Can you guys just give me one week?" Desperation is unbecoming of Jensen Raith. But desperate is exactly what he sounds like at this time. The council is essential for more than just the Ferrymen. It's essential for the whole city.

If Gabriel had hackles, they'd be up. Falling rain has the effect of patting everything down, including Bran's feathers — again, it might just be the light weight of the awkward bird in his arms that stops him from doing something appropriately manly. "One week," he sneers. "How long do you think it takes for him— " But there, he scissors off his words, disgust and reemerging anger silencing him because it's useless. He's not the one who has the connections that Teo is rattling out — he's the one that would solo wolf it anyway.

"What's important to you, what's important to her," Gabriel grinds out, words deliberate, "is not worth her. But your week is your own. I suggest you use it to do whatever it takes."

This is probably a bad place to have this conversation. Awkwardly, he tucks the watch into a jacket pocket. "I found him once before," he mutters.

It takes Teo a fair amount of self-control not to seize hold of Gabriel's arguments and stab Raith in the eye with them one moment, then round on Gabriel with incredulity about his prior acquaintance with this apparent patriarch of the house of multi-powered serial-killers. It's a rather bipolar time of night. It's the most diplomatic thing he can think of, to side decidedly with Gabriel in a pragmatic tone of voice for Raith's sake, and then, well, not whirl around and slap at Gray himself.

He understands a little bit about having alarming family members who are characterized by a tendency to kidnap Eileen Ruskin. He can at least act like it. Breathe in, breathe out. "There are people besides Hana who may be able to help and be trusted to keep their fucking mouths shut over the next few days. I don't know who yet, and I'll run it by you if I do, but— don't be melodramatic, Raith," he says. "You're not the only halfway decent judge of character between the three of us, and most of the time, I know who I can talk to who won't utterly fuck me over and start a hysteria.

"And yeah, I say that remembering you once took a little wadda cash to put Abigail in the ground.

"Snap some cell shots, if you want, and let's get the fuck out of here?" His voice is low, blotted by rain. He rakes ragged hair distastefully out of his face, glancing over the corpses one last time without quite as much feeling in his scarred features as there probably should be. This is horrifying, and larger than Eileen, larger than one optimistic option in the abstract future of the Ferry, and intellectually he is aware of that. He should care about that sort of thing, and he thinks he does on some level, but he has seen so many people die. They die so easily.

He turns a shoulder, props phone against his ear. Speaks into static: "Hana. Hey."

Jensen Raith, meet the wall. It is a low wall, but it is still a wall, and for the time being, getting over it is going to be extremely difficult. "We'll discuss this situation more later," he says, looking very, very directly at Gabriel. But only for a moment, and then he's looking down at Bran. "We need to get him home. People first aid is better than no first aid." Maybe, just maybe, it'll distract him for a little while from exactly what he needs to discuss with them later. If placing the importance of Eileen's plan above Eileen herself made Raith a ghoul, the rest of what has to be taken into consideration may well make him some kind of monster. And this time, some kind of monster may well be something he has no choice but to be.

The stare is met with the same kind of flatly blank one that Gabriel generally deals Raith when disagreement sparks between them, but this time, there are no sneering words, no flashes of white tooth clipping syllables and snaky consonants. Silence from the middle child of this trio. He can feel Bran's heart jackhammering like butterfly flaps within his delicate chest, and instead tips his attention down to the animal, a psychic latching into the familiar mind of Eileen's familiar.

He'll go home, at least, for having no where better to go.

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