munin_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Repercussions
Synopsis Sylar, following Kazimir's orders, takes Munin back to the only other safe place he knows.
Date November 12, 2008

Condemned Tenement: Abandoned Apartment

This apartment looks to have been left untended for years. It's a modest sized studio apartment, opening up from the doorway to both sides, painted a faded canary-yellow color, most of the paint peeling away in large spots. An old, ratty couch rests just across from the door, patched up with pieces of denim over the worn and faded fabric. The cushions look to have seen much abuse, and though they're repaired to some extend by re-stiching, they are still unevenly stuffed. In front of the couch, between it and the far wall is a lopsided coffee table. It's frame is metal, likely was once glass-topped as well, but the entire top of the table has been replaced by a sheet of particle-board with a plastic tarp thrown over it and held in place by heavy-duty staples. The four windows that line the wall opposite of the doorway are all busted out, two of them are boarded up, and all but one is covered with clear plastic that is stapled to the window frame.

Not far from the entrance, a small kitchenette rests in disrepair. The stove doesn't look to have been used in a long time, and with a portion of the ceiling having collapsed down onto it, for good reason. While the debris is neatly stacked — pieces of plaster, wood and sheet-rock stacked a foot high — it clearly seems to be hastily done. The L-shaped counter adjacent to the stove features a mini-fridge that isn't plugged in, and water-stains on the faux-marble countertop.

Beyond the kitchenette is what was likely the apartment's bedroom. A pair of mattresses have been laid on the floor, with a folding screen placed between that area and the kitchenette. The screen looks newer and in better condition than the room, though portions of it are scuffed and torn. The bed is made with not only sheets, but also a heavy brick-red quilt that looks to have been hand-made. A small, uncomfortable looking pillow crowns off the arrangement. From the looks of it, no one lives here.

It's a reasonably long journey, but one made in mostly silence - if not by default, by Sylar's request. Currently, the man doesn't look like himself - he looks, now, even younger than Munin, although retaining his height. Slimmer, youthful, with lighter colour hair that doesn't match his severe clothing of all black, said clothing which doesn't fit him as well in this shape as it does his true one. Angular features are a little red from the cold of the evening, but upon stepping foot into the abandon apartment, having deduced its emptiness, it starts to get a little warmer.

Sylar knows this building well enough, avoiding and ignoring the homeless that have congregated since it was abandoned - he himself had counted among them before moving back to Queens, just for a handful of days. Which is why, perhaps, he seems comfortable in this neglected apartment, taking off his coat and laying that aside to reveal pretty much just more black attire beneath it - a shirt buttoned all the way to his throat, tucked into jeans that have gathered a little around the knees thanks to being 5'10" right now rather than 6'1".

"It's warm," Sylar says in his currently boyish voice. "And safe. The criteria doesn't extend any further other than being 'free'."

Munin finds peace in the silence that stretches between them on their journey to the condemned tenement. Sylar doesn't want her to talk, she isn't eager to explain, and so their arrangement works for a time until his coat is off and she's sitting on the couch with her hands folded in her lap, shoulders stiff and neck rigid. The severity with which he spoke in her mind back at the warehouse is still a fresh memory, and she seems hesitant to reply to him even after he's the one to break the silence.

"I'm sorry," is all she says at first, her voice sounding as weak as the rest of her feels. It's been a long night. "I didn't mean to—" What? Offend him? Frighten him? She's not sure what it is about the words 'Peter Petrelli' that causes such an adverse reaction in Sylar, only that she regrets saying them. "It was stupid."

He moves towards the kitchenette, back turned to Munin, but even from that angle, the change is noticeable. Hair shortens just a little, becomes an inkier black, and his shoulders broaden from a teenager's into a fully grown man's, filling his clothes better. His back seems to elongate until he's his usual height, even as he bends to open cupboard, looking through to see if anyone's left anything good behind. Besides a dead mouse caught in a trap and a few pieces of trash discarded inside - nothing. Cleaned out. Sylar, now fully changed back into his true shape, turns back to her. "He can't know about Peter Petrelli," he explains. He hesitates, then allows a, "You couldn't know that." He comes to perch on the other arm of the couch, arms wrapped around him as if cold and mostly unreadable. "You can talk about it now, though." Hint. Sylar's gaze on her is intent, eager for details.

"Adam Monroe is somewhere in Brooklyn." That seems, at least to Munin, the sensible place to begin. "I couldn't find him, but I found one of his associates — a woman. I didn't catch her name. She told me she'd pass a message onto him, and if he wants to meet, then…" She trails off, experiencing a momentary lapse in thought. Her lips purse, her eyes darken, and she looks away, out the window into the night. "If she contacts me again, you'll be the first to know. I took the border between Midtown and Central Park on my way back to Ethan's — it's what I always do. Ivanov was there. I don't know if he was waiting for me, or if he was waiting for somebody else."

"That man makes a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," Sylar muses, gaze dropping from Munin's to regard his hands, which are now clasped primly on his knee, cuffs of his shirt long enough to brush against his knuckles, perhaps as a defense from the cold outside. "Then what happened? You didn't kill him, did you?" That'd almost be embarrassing, all things considered.

Munin shakes her head, dark curls — still slick with rain and sweat — tumbling messily about her shoulders. "No," she says, "I was going to, but when I was telling him to turn around— I don't know how to describe what happened. The gun flew out of my hand, and when I turned around Petrelli was standing there. Ivanov told him I was working with you."

His hands curls into fists, expression settling into something more grim. In an abrupt motion, Sylar moves to sit down on the couch beside Munin, one long arm resting along the back of the couch, the other hand on his own knee. "That's unfortunate," he says, mind racing ahead. "What did you tell him." Because either Peter, he's pretty sure, would have made her give something up.

"Nothing," says Munin, sounding just a little surprised herself. "My ability— He couldn't get in. He tried, but he couldn't." Her eyes shift from the window to the mark on her wrist and she frowns, swallowing once before she reaches up, peels her coat's lapel away from her neck and touches her fingertips to the bruise there. "I grabbed the gun, ran. Didn't look back."

It's clear that Sylar is surprised by this answer to - and marginally impressed, although this isn't as clear. His gaze travels down towards the bruises at her throat, and snorts lightly. Someone's using his own tricks, and he's pretty sure it isn't the one with the better haircut and the snappy suit. Sylar relaxes just enough to lean his back against the couch. "At what point did he kill the speedster?" he asks, then clarifies with, "Ivanov."

Speedster? Well, that explains how Felix was able to evade Sylar. Munin thinks back, lidding her eyes halfway shut and hoping this helps clarify the order of events — it all happened very fast, and when things happen fast you don't always remember them correctly. "Right after he told him he was a cop," she says. "He broke him against a wall, then turned on me. I've never— Nobody's ever— I really thought he was going to. The look in his eyes."

Sylar's mouth pulls into a sneer, but anger is clear in his eyes. For Munin? It could be seen that way. But really, it's a burning resentment, an historical anger surfacing again. "Killing must come so easy when you blow the city away when you don't even mean to," he says, a rough edge in his tone, sneer turning into a scowl. "That's what the name Peter Petrelli means. He's the one that ripped New York to pieces, not me, and all because he couldn't control that gift of his."

"He's like you. He has more than one ability." Munin isn't speaking for Sylar's benefit. This is all for her own. Saying the words instead of simply thinking them ingrains the facts and makes them easier to call upon later. She removes the scarf from her neck, wrapping it around the arm of her pea coat as she slips out of it and lays the ensemble across her lap for warmth. She's smaller than he is, and her body doesn't retain heat quite as well. "What does want from you, Sylar? What did you to do him to make him so angry?"

Sylar's head twitches towards her, as if prepared to argue that concept - that Peter Petrelli is like him. But he doesn't, he just sinks into a stony sort of silence and looks down at his hands, trying to relax. At her question, he tilts his head back to rest against the back of the couch, staring sightlessly up at the ceiling. "I was better than him," he says, vaguely, but with conviction all the same. "When we fought - because we fought - he lost control. He destroyed the city. He turned into the monster. So I suppose he hates me even more now, beyond simply what I am. It's not about being a hero now, it's about revenge."

Revenge, while a concept that Munin is familiar with, isn't one she understands. She isn't a vindictive person by nature, but she's seen firsthand what wrath has done to people like Ethan Holden and Sierra Heart — twisted caricatures of the people they once were. It isn't hard for her to view Peter in a similar light. "You should have said something to us before," she says, her tone not quite reprimanding but close to it. Her hand reaches out and touches his shoulder for the first time since they left the warehouse. She's fully expecting him to rebuke her, and it's evident in the way her fingers tentatively brush against his shirt, wary of being swatted away. "We can help you."

She's not wrong, although his reaction isn't offensive. He shrinks away from the touch, just like he'd recoiled only last night when she'd made a gesture of what he'd interpret to be pity. "I'm not scared of him," Sylar says, looking back at her, almost offended. "I'm going to find him, and I'm going to kill him myself. I painted his image, Eileen - it's showing me the way so I can finish it myself. If you tell the others, if Kazimir knows about him… he can't know about him."

Munin lowers her hand, letting it fall back into her lap. She doesn't understand why he won't let her touch him, and she isn't about to ask — he's a private man, a grown man, and he's entitled to keep his secrets. "I won't tell anyone else about Peter Petrelli unless you want me to," she promises, "but—" There's always a caveat, isn't there? "In return, you have to swear you won't confront Kazimir about Monroe." Whether he feels the same way about her, and she suspects that he doesn't, she sees him as a friend. One she'd like to keep alive, to protect. "Do we have a deal?"

So it's down to who Sylar thinks Kazimir would favour more - Monroe or Petrelli - as much as he wants to believe that he's most important to the elderly man. Tell him about one, or neglect to ask about the other, and everything could slip away. There's a silence that's not a true silence - even now, at this hour, there's the sound of foot steps above them and below them, loud enough for Munin to hear, and distant voices. It has started to rain again and water beats down on the window that casts strange light into the dim room. "We have a deal," Sylar says, a little grimly. "But what do you think will happen when I finally get my hands on Monroe? If Kazimir is friends with him or whatever," he adds, dismissive, and not without jealousy.

Munin doesn't have an answer for that, and the pregnant pause following his question makes this clear. She almost reaches out for him again but remembers herself at the last minute, curling her hands into fists to keep them where they are. For years, her role with the Vanguard has been to comfort people, to remind them that they're wanted even when Kazimir isn't around. This is the first time in a long time that she's been confronted with someone who isn't interested in fulfilling what she views as a basic human need. "I don't know what's going on in Kazimir's head," she admits, "or what he really has planned for all of us. I can only speculate. Is his approval that important to you?"

He levels her with a hard look, cold eyes as cold as ever and expressive face somewhat stoic. "Haven't you ever wondered what would happen to you if you outlived your usefulness?" he asks. A pause, then… "There once was a little girl, and she could find anyone in the world. She didn't need crows and pigeons to do it. What if she's still alive? What if Kazimir got to keep her? What if I took her ability? Then how useful would you be? He'd keep you because you tug at the heart strings of Ethan, Amato, and keep them in check, but eventually, it'll grow old, especially with the way you think. You'll be left behind but only if he's merciful, which knowing Kazimir, isn't likely. You'd probably be killed. He might even ask me to do it."

Sylar takes a breath, and continues with, in a softer tone, "What if he found someone who took on abilities just by standing next to them? The first day Kazimir met me, he said that he should kill me." And he leaves it at that.

"He would ask you to do it," Munin agrees, "so you'd have my talent as a part of your arsenal, just in case. There's a difference, Sylar, between what you can do and what I can do. Kazimir won't throw you away if he finds a prettier toy — even if you aren't as shiny as the next one," as shiny as Peter Petrelli, "he'll keep you around because you're still more useful than any of the others." Her voice is steady, but her hands aren't, so it's probably a good thing they're still in there lap — even if she strongly feels that isn't where they belong right now. "You are special, and no one can take that away from you. Especially not the man I met today."

"He'll keep me around but for how long?" Sylar says, shaking his head. "I'll be discarded. I won't— …you don't know." And with that, he stops trying to appeal to her, it seems, settling back against the couch and looking away. "You don't know what he has planned for me, what the future will bring. I do. He said I'd be his successor. I'm a tool to further his cause, I know, they all know that, a blunt instrument to," dismissive hand gesture, "hang bodies on flag posts and keep people alive, but I'm going to be so much more."

"Discarded," Munin repeats, letting the word roll around in her mouth for a few moments. "Discarded." She rises from the couch, pushing her jacket and scarf to the floor in the process. Stepping over them, she wraps her arms around her small frame and begins to pace the apartment. Like the floor above and below them, the wood creaks, groans beneath her weight, though there's no real danger of her falling through, rotten as it is. "You have the potential to do great things with your gift," she tells him, "but not by being a blunt instrument. You aren't a tool, Gabriel. You're a man, as Kazimir is a man. You have flaws, as Kazimir has flaws. He isn't invincible. He isn't infallible. Stop listening to him!"

It's a brave thing, to challenge someone as dangerous and unstable as Sylar is. "You don't understand," he growls, and in one fluid motion, he brings his hand around in a swipe at the air, and in the same motion, Munin is shoved to the side, into the wall where he lets her fall as he gets to his feet. "And my name," he growls, the same ability reaching out again, hoisting her off the ground, a great pressure at her chest pinning her to the wall, "is Sylar." He has a hand outstretched, keeping her there. "He's going to destroy the world," he says, harshly, "and I'm gonna be the one that's left standing. That's who I'm going to be, Munin, that's how special I am."

Munin hits the wall with a small grunt, the breath knocked out of her lungs, and falls forward onto her knees. Not for the first time tonight, she recognizes the pull of an invisible force as she's thrown back up against it, then pinned in place with a mere gesture from Sylar. There was a time when she would have argued with him, but that time has passed — even she isn't so brazen to attempt driving her point home when her life is literally in his hands. Instead, she whispers, her voice a breathless gasp, "Why?" It isn't an accusation. Just a simple question, if more frightened than it is curious. "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Why? If you have to ask, then you don't know me nearly enough to be saying the things you're saying," Sylar says, suddenly icy cold from the outburst just previous, stepping closer to her. He can feel his pulse start to race, he can almost imagine breaking her skull open and learning more, sating that insatiable need that's always within him, no matter who it is, no matter what it is. His other hand twitches, but he holds back for now. "What do you want from me?" he asks, instead, confusion now written plainly on his face. "Why do you want me to stop listening? Why don't you tell that to Ethan or Amato or people you really care about?"

Can one really slake something that supposed to be insatiable, unslakable? Munin hopes so, or she's going to finish the night in a puddle of her own blood. "You don't think I care about you?" Bewildered, the young woman twitches her fingertips, tugging at the invisible force that has her body glued to the wall, fighting it without actually struggling. Just as some prey animals know not to run when confronted by a predator, Munin knows better than to thrash, scream and beg for her life. Not only would it do her no good, it might risk flipping the switch in his brain as well. "Ethan and Amato won't listen," she hisses, "they've been wedged under his thumb for years. Nothing I can say, nothing I can do will change their minds. You're new. Different. Independent."

By the complete lack of reaction to that first part, one might deduce that the idea hadn't occurred to him. That she might care about him. Sylar remains with his arm outstretched, keeping her in place, but she's not resisting. She's not thrashing about with the intent to get away. The anger has died, leaving behind only conflict and that deeper urge that never really dies down. But just because it's there, doesn't mean he can't combat it when there are too many things stacked against him to follow through. Like the entirety of Vanguard, in this instance. Unceremoniously, Munin is let go, Sylar's arm falling to his side again. "You must know he'd kill you for talking this way," he says, tone rather blank. "I've been independent. It's not so great. After a while, you have to— " He sounds distracted, as if trying to reason with his own thoughts, moving to collect up his coat. "You have to have a purpose, a mission. Destiny. You don't understand."

Munin hits the floor, and this time she doesn't get up. In the past few weeks, her body has gone through enough abuse to last what feels like a lifetime. She isn't about to climb to her feet and offer herself up for more punishment. She coughs a few times, throat raw and hoarse, and lifts a hand to the corner of her mouth to wipe at the few droplets of blood that have gathered there. Seeing him move toward his coat, she assumes he's decided to leave — unsurprisingly, she doesn't follow. She does, however, leave him with a few parting words. "We decide our own fate," she croaks. "Only idiots and fools let others choose theirs for them."

Sylar is pulling on his coat by the time she speaks to him again, and he turns, perhaps to fire back a reply - and his gaze dips down in mild surprise to see her still seated— well, crumpled on the ground. Slowly, he does up the buttons of his coat. "Did I hurt you?" he asks, stiffly, not really looking at her.

In response, Munin simply shows him her hand, palm skinned pink from her earlier encounter with Peter, the tips of her fingers stained a darker colour by something that's a little more fresh. That would be a yes.

Sylar's gaze focuses on the blood presented to him, then back to her eyes. A few seconds tick by, before he awkwardly states, "I didn't mean to," and then— retreating. Much less the serial killer who could have easily sliced her head open not moments ago, more flustered watchmaker he was for most of his adult life. Or maybe a bizarre mix of both. Either way, he retreats, flinging the door open with a mere wave of his hand as he goes.

Munin waits until she can no longer hear his footsteps thumping against the floor outside before she shakily rises to her feet and limps the distance between the wall and the couch where she and Sylar were sitting just minutes ago. Only when she's sure that even his ears won't be able to pick up the sound of her voice does she murmur something under her breath, collapsing into the cushions. She's speaking more to herself than to anyone, but if Sylar were still around to hear it, her rattling sigh would sound suspiciously like three simple words:

"Yes, you did."

November 12th: Rearrangements
November 13th: Kiss and Make Up
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