eileen_icon.gif raith_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title RSVP Only
Synopsis The Remnant go hunting in the ruins of Midtown for one of their own.
Date March 6, 2010

The Empire State Building

He doesn't feel the cold prickling up his spine in the same way he's not feeling the pierce of a needle and the draw of thread through flesh. His fingertips are slippery with both blood and antiseptic, silver needle flashing like a minnow on fishing line under the glowing angle of the flashlight. It's a small dosing of light, the device angled upon the gathered, rocky debris and very inconsequential compared to the glittering net of caught stars that makes up the wider, working city visible from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Last they knew, the circling birds sent to peek into the gaping windows and the broken walls of the north face of the building, Sylar had been asleep almost immediately upon return. Bled out some into his nest of blankets, deepening and lengthening what had only meant to be quick and peaceful shut eye, and now he's patching himself up by flashlight and the struggle of the moon's illumination in the clear sky. He's also hungry. But these complaints of the physical kind are muted as easily as a twisted dial on a radio.

Of all people in New York City, Sylar should probably be watching his back, but for once, he assumes he is safe. Or at least, he's engrossed enough in his task to not be periodically glancing over his shoulder, head bowed as he pulls thread through the still healing, reopened wound in his chest, glimmering amber with chemical and blood.

Eighty-six flights of stairs is a serious cardiovascular workout, and that isn't counting the gnarled debris that has to be navigated around or hefted over along the way. Eileen's not supposed to be exercising her body so thoroughly this early into the healing process, but a little pain caused by the travails of the climb is a small price to pay for vindication. Three pairs of footsteps make deep, sonorous sounds in the stairwell that resonate through the upper floors of the building like the distant boom of dropping bombs during the Blitz and get louder with every landing they clear.

Unless you're Elisabeth Harrison, there's nothing you can do to combat the Empire State Building's acoustics or the thundering echo it creates. That doesn't stop the Englishwoman from wishing there was, however — maybe Sylar's hubris will allow him to mistake the noise for the bellows of an approaching storm even though the sky is mostly clear and the light of the third quarter moon bleeds silver through the great glass windows that are still intact.

No snow tonight. It makes their job just a little bit easier.

As she mounts the topmost step and shoves out onto the landing marked '86', Eileen shines her flashlight through the gloom and seeks out the door that separates the stairwell from the shadowy enclave beyond it. «He's hurt,» she reminds the men coming up behind her. «Don't do anything to make him feel threatened.»

Pistol loaded with tranqs in one hand, flashbang jammed up in the cuff of his other sleeve, leaving his fingers ringed around the harmless butt of his own flashlight. The stiff and thick fabric of his coat disguises both the bulk of portable weaponry and of armor, leaving the pack on his back to give him the appearance of an extraordinarily wayward camper.

On the sixtieth floor up, Teo started to compose what he felt was a reasonably concise letter, one that would have fit on a reasonably small piece of paper. Possibly, he thinks, they should quit while they— aren't too far behind, and sent up a messenger pigeon. Note in a bottle secured to its toothpick limb. Something cute with sass, physically brief, direct, helpfully informative despite the indiscreet intimation of lethal threats. Getting laid is a little like achieving a tactical objective. Sometimes, getting laid is achieving a tactical advantage.

His ankle is going to fall off from between his shin bone and his foot, he thinks. Jettison free, a bloody bloated heap of sinew and bone, topple down an endless zig and zag of corrugated iron steps, tonk-tonk, and leave him blessedly pain-free. Not to be melodramatic; his ankle's most of the way healed, by now, out of it's synthetic fiber cast. Only, this is the second round it's been healing after certain setbacks, and climbing the Empire State Building is a little more strenuous than squirreling around catching cabs for your sweetheart.

Even swapping out the pistol for the one with real bullets in it feels like too much effort right now, even if blissful oblivion lay beyond.

Not to be melodramatic; they're only hunting the world's most dangerous serial-killer on a moonlit night in the middle of a post-nuclear ruin, after all. Teodoro follows the shaft of Eileen's flashlight with his eyes, his own device restricted to casting a bright circle only a yard ahead of his own feet. His tread is uneven, but not off-balance, breathing corralled in close between his teeth. Ghost would laugh: You've let yourself go straight to fucking fat. Bambino stupido.

«I'll say I brought him painkillers.» It suits as an affirmitive, both on the sentiment and a small, salient fact: Eileen knows he's been carrying his prescription around, after all.

86 floors is a lot of stairs to climb, and Raith knows this well enough- having climbed them, after all- that he feels it ought to be made known. «These stairs may as well have been Mount Everest.» His feet and legs hurt. He's gone through worse over his life, sure. But it still hurts. It wouldn't be so bad if he'd brought less ammunition, maybe, but this is Jensen Raith. Why would he do something like that?

"Hey, here's a question," he whispers, a sudden realization having hit him, "We're all right here. Why are we using the radio?"

It's possibly the most passive aggressive defense mechanism in the world — eighty-six flights of stairs. And medieval castles have moats. Incidentally, a gutted skyscraper in the middle of a ruined Midtown during the winter is not a silent place, and if their foot steps had gone heard, there's nothing to indicate it through a closed door, and through the glimmer of sight from the owl eyes Eileen has circling more like a vulture might, Sylar hasn't so much as looked up from his spot near the flashlight.

Unfortunately, he's also out of sight of the immediate doorway, just a soft glow of light casting a halo around the massive blockish concrete pillar.

There is a similitude of habits between Eileen and the man Feng claims is her father in that neither of them will wield a weapon unless they're prepared to use it. What makes them different is the level of zeal and enthusiasm they display when it comes to killing other people; while Ethan solves more problems with bullets than through peaceable dialogue, Eileen views the firearm nestled in the leather holster under her coat as an absolutely last resort.

It's why she doesn't have it out. This isn't Madagascar.

Fingers gloved in leather hook around the door handle and pop open the release with a low, shuddering sound that's immediately followed by groaning hinges and ice flaking off metal. In the backwoods, people wear bells attached to their backpacks to make their presence known should there be any bears foraging in the shrubs just around the next bend. It's almost the same thing. As Eileen swings the beam of her flashlight across the pillar, she holds up her right hand — the one with the gauze dressings — and splays her fingers to show the room's occupant that she isn't armed.

She and Sylar have been in similar situations more than once, but tonight is the first time that she feels truly circumspect about invading his territory. "Gabriel."

«'Cause you're not supposed to be up here,» comes Teo's reply, in a staticky growl restrained down, as close to a whisper as he can get without dropping below the mic's audible frequency. He chances a brief backward glance, pauses his step for a moment with his shoulder against the dusty plaster of the wall. Not favoring his left foot, exactly, just: it's been a long walk. «Fall back, old man.»

The gloom splits around the half-grin he sends backward, over his shoulder, illuminated by a glint of refracted flashlight, but mostly, it's easy to see because of the twisted slash-mark ground up the hollow of Teo's cheek. Sometimes it is nice to be able to be yourself with your friends. An uglier, less survivalist, higher-principled and reckless version of you.

Of course, the next instant, Teo's attention is zeroed in on the slender bar of darkness Eileen has pushed into their old friend's new lair. Tension thick enough to taste. His gun is still out, of course. Maybe he'll borrow a belated page out of Eileen's book and put it back in its holster when Gabriel eases ('eases') into view. Maybe. "The whole European Union's here for you," he adds. He is pleasantly surprised to find his voice as even as it is.

"Buona sera, Americano."

Nothing much happens. A flashlight instantly switches off, throwing that corner of the expansive room into the same greyscale shadow as every other space. A shuffle of feet against concrete, and a needle swings on the end of a dropped thread hanging awfully from sewn skin. Without wincing at the twinge and dot of red it brings, Sylar snaps the thread to cut it loose, letting his shoulderblades rest back against cool concrete. He's about as tense as any predator suddenly feeling cornered, hawkish profile and pale skin visible in skimming swoops from avian spies.

"Sorry, this party's RSVP only." There's a sliver of tension in there, a cautious edge that both Teo and Eileen will be able to pick out, by now. "Ever heard that old refrain, Eileen? If you love something, set it free. If it doesn't come back…"

His hand covers over the Frankenstein marks in his chest. Makes a decision. Stays where he is. "What do you want?"

The glare created by the flashlight Eileen is holding in the plait of the fingers on her left hand protects her face from being read, but that's not to say those who know her can't imagine what her expression is doing. Here's another aphorism: actions speak louder than words. His barb doesn't succeed in making her feel any worse than his behaviour has — it only confirms what she's suspected since he retreated from her apartment, trailing blood.

He doesn't love her anymore. That's fine. It's not why they're here. "The Bureau reopened the Sylar investigation," she says, and like Teodoro's her voice is strangely level. "Homeland Security is asking after you, too."

It is kind of nice: the longer the multi-powered serial-killer death monger who no longer loves the love of his life stays out of sight, the longer Teo gets to hold onto the grip of his gun like it is really going to be of some consequence once they get out there. "Dead girls. Two of them, with your modus operandi written all over it, and the hounds are drive-bying all your old acquaintances, first.

"I can't say we've enjoyed the attention." Teodoro doesn't know if a more callus, more business-like register of voice is self-defense, merely pragmatic, or reinforcement propped up against Eileen's slender back. He can imagine how she feels. You know, you have a thing for a guy, it goes well awhile, there are setbacks, other women (excuse me, women) and things cool between heating like some great climatological geological experiment, stresses, seismic activity, but what you never really expect is the end of the world. Or of merely that little world.

He's done it to people. Had it nearly done to him, once. He tries to do her this favor: of not staring directly at her pain. "Any chance Wendy Hunter RSVPed? You know, we might have, if you'dve fuckin' wrote, or left a number, or something. Jesus, Gabe." Gabe. "We thought you were dead."

"Funny story." Despite these words, Sylar's words ring out humourlessly, fill the dark cavern with its echo. "I…" And now he chuckles, rasping, catching dry in his throat and barely audible from where they stand. "I haven't killed anyone." His fingers leave greasy tracks on the concrete, blood and antiseptic both, and he's smearing it off on his jeans the rest of the way by the time he finally rolls around the corner, all pale skin mottled with ugly bruises and uglier bullet rounds. In his other hand is—

Not a gun. Flashlight that he tips upwards and shines off towards them, illumination sharding off into Eileen's face then winging around to Teo, then beyond. Shuts off again, like a blink. "Stay a while," he invites, taking a few meandering steps forward. They seem slow, sloth-like, unhealthy. "I'm sure you have more for me than a warning. Sweet of you, though, to come all this way."

Many of Eileen's birds see shades of ultraviolet and infrared that her own eyes aren't equipped to pick up. Her ears, too, are tuned to a certain range of sounds — specifically those with frequencies between twenty and twenty-thousand hertz — but owls like the one perched at the edge of the window with claws clinched 'round its roost are more sensitive to noise than she will ever be. European robins have a visual center in the brain and light-sensing cells in their eyes allowing them to determine which direction is north.

It's no wonder people believe some animals have a sixth sense that alert them to things humans are inept at detecting. Impending natural disasters, malignant tumors, ghosts — it depends who you ask. Eileen, unfortunately, possesses no such ability and does not need one in this instance; it's instinct rather than extrasensory perception that signals something is very wrong with Sylar. Maybe it has to do with patchwork mess he's made of his chest, or maybe it doesn't. Maybe the infection has leaked into his bloodstream and spread all the way to his brain. Maybe—

Maybe she should just focus on keeping her flashlight trained on him now that he's shuffling closer like something that belongs on a projector screen at a drive-in advertising a double feature by George Romero. "Codeine," she supplies, "antibiotics. Let us help you."

Whether this is a polite if terse request, a flat demand or a tacit plea is left to his interpretation. There's no upward inflection at its end like a songbird flitting into flight to indicate a question. She doesn't move toward him, either. Holds her ground and stubbornly denies the urge to offer him her bandaged hand. Love is shitty that way: it doesn't always care if it's reciprocated.

The flat of Teo's thumb secures the sliding button on his own light's handle, pulls it back with a click. Kills the bulb, leaving only the two other points of light. One in Eileen's hand, one in Gabriel's. He reaches into his coat, slow, as if Gabriel 'Sylar' Gray is a skittish horse you might set off by flipping a peace sign too quickly. All right. Not that bad. Just slow. The girl had said, after all; don't do anything to make him feel threatened.

Beside show up with a gun in his other hand, presumably. Yes, he trends toward the Ethan side of the spectrum, sometimes. "Catch."

The bag is thrown. A square ziplock with two-inch edges and four or five round tablets free-floating inside, a matte plastic label printed onto the side, indicating dosage in miligrams per tablet, the hours to take them, and some doctor's hand in an elegant sprawl of blue biro. Codeine-paracetamol. Side effects may include a certain loss of clarity. "And while we're on that subject, how do you feel about sabotaging whoever this motherfucker is, getting dirt on your gravestone?"

The exact going-ons of the 86th floor are, to Raith, still a mystery. Although he and Gabriel- not Sylar, mind, just Gabriel- worked side-by-side and even lived on the same property for some time, shared similar goals, calling them 'friends' would be a stretch. Eileen and Teo, both, are much better suited in this case for talking him down, and Raith has thus far remained out of sight in the stairwell. He's only present so their knees don't shake quite so badly. And just in case he needs to bail them out like last time, when they were all a combination of blind and shot, stumbling through the forest. Good times.

Fingers swipe the package out of the air, swift dexterity that belies his slow-moving from just prior, and Sylar flips the littlest care package over to scan it, before he's back to observing the two once more, eyes glimmering as an easy smile spreads across his features. It's not the most charming of expressions, the way he does it, focused briefly on Teo. "Believe me when I say that that would be really counterintuitive," he says, as he goes to throw the package back at them. It falls short, flipping end over end uselessly and caught by no one, but then again—

It's the hand movement that matters. Teo's arm goes stiff and jerks up rictus like an automated roadblock, Sylar's fingers curling as Teo's do as well. The dart doesn't do much more than scratch the cement ceiling above, skittering impotent to land somewhere unseen, and the white briefly shows around Sylar's eyes. "Cute," he comments, in a tone of voice that suggests he doesn't actually think so— not that he has much room to complain about betrayal— until the weapon is winging around in an unwilling pistol whip in Eileen's direction in a flash of hard plastic and metal.

"I don't need anyone's help," is a growl that likely no one is listening to, Sylar sliding back a step, hand outstretched. Blood made black by this light begins to leak from his sutures. If he knows Raith is where Raith is, he doesn't seem to care. Of course, he could also not know Raith is where Raith is.

The crack of the pistol connecting with Eileen's skull is comparable to a gunshot not just in terms of volume but the immediate effect it has on her as well. There's a sharp intake of breath, followed by the off-kilter sound of her booted feet scraping hard across the floor in a feeble attempt to keep them underneath her, and finally the slap of her hand connecting with the next nearest pillar as her arm snaps out to catch it, breaking her fall.

Her flashlight rolls across the floor, briefly diffusing its glow through the discarded ziplock bag of medication, before coming to a stop when it bumps against the toe of Teo's left boot. Flickers once. Goes out.

Somewhere in the dark, still conscious, Eileen leans her shoulder into the plaster column and dances the tips of her fingers across her ridge of her left eyebrow around the orbital. They come away wet and warm. "I understand that," she croaks from her bent stoop, "and—" A trembling breath hisses out through her teeth. It sounds like an aah. "Septicemia. Blood poisoning. You'll die."

It's the second time he's ever taken hard objects to Eileen's head, and this time as much as the previous, Teo has no fucking control over doing it. Intelligently, the verbal caption he includes with the attack is, "Figlio d—!" and aborted into a rough-hewn snarl of breath through his gritted teeth. It is purely reflexive, the urge to fight the puppet strings. Also: pointless. A mouse might have better luck moving a literal road block with the musculature of its pink front hands.

Very suddenly, Teodoro's important inward desires undergo a metamorphosis from bequeathing gifts of painkillers to causing pain. For a young man characterized by so many and sundry romantic tribulations, affairs with the worst possible choice of bastards, various betrayals of a personal or professional sort, he tends to foster a hypocritical expectation that other people behave with a certain level of reliability.

Deckard is supposed to hate him, Eileen manifest her affection in the subtlety of thin smiles and thinner fingers. Even Raith is held up to a certain standard of insane and hyper-violent soldier's comedy. And Gabriel—

Teo'd had moonshine with Gabriel on Mars, once. That Gabriel wouldn't have beaten Eileen over the head with his arm, not even if it would've made for a very funny punchline to a really bad joke. Teodoro's fuming, glaring impotence takes up all of two seconds of his time, before he assigns words to it: "Did the nuke take a grinder to your fucking hippocampus or did it melt your fucking nuts off?

"Most people who come back from the dead want to say hi and get laid, fuckwad— what the Hell happened to you?"

Raith had the right idea, it looks like. Hanging back just in case things started to go south. And boy, are they ever going south. The good news, if there can be any good news, is that Gabriel- or is it Sylar? It's getting so hard to tell at this point- seems markedly uninterested in, or unknowing of Raith's current location. All the better. Like Teo, he's armed with a dart-firing pistol. Like Teo, he doesn't have much ammunition for it. Unlike Teo, he's in a position to actually do something. While his companion keep their target's ears filled with the sounds of their voices, the ex-spy calmly, quietly holsters his more regular sidearm and opts for the less-lethal one, although he doesn't move in yet. Not just yet.

Also like Teo, Raith has come equipped with a pair of M84 stun grenades; the ubiquitous 'flashbang' of the United States Army. Silently, one is drawn along with the tranquilizer pistol, the littlest finger of Raith's gunhand looped through the metal ring that prevents the device from activating. It remains in active, for now. Keep him talking. Just a little bit longer.

Teo's jaw suddenly snaps so tight it makes a sharp, near metallic sounding click through his skull, Sylar's hand going out like a duck beak and clamping. "And other questions I'm not interested in answering. Let's make this quick for all of us." The other hand goes out, now, claw shapes being made of his fingers, and it won't be the first time Eileen's felt the strings of puppetry wrap around her limbs as well. He walks them, now, with effortless control — there's the clatter, first, of Teo's dart gun falling to the ground, and the scrape of boot soles against concrete. Teo's arm goes steely and secure around Eileen's shoulders, forearm up under his chin, the other around her waist in an embrace more intimate than—

Well, than Gabriel gave her most of the time. There are more constructive things Eileen can do than to grab damsel-like at Teo's arm, and probably would be doing, if she had a choice. Her fingernails even sink in. "Got her? Good. I fucking love team work, don't you?"

Snick, goes the fold-out knife extracted from a pocket, turned around and around in his hand.

Eileen's pulse flutters against the inside of the arm locked across her throat. Limbs no longer under her own power, back pressing rigid into the barrel of Teodoro's chest, there's nothing she can physically do to resist the invisible chords Sylar has woven through her body except struggle to pull down breath with which to fuel her shuddering lungs.

If you love something, set it free.

Actions speak louder than words.

Here's one more: Be careful what you wish for. Eileen has been yearning to be touched and aching to be held, but now that it's happening all she can think about is how she would rather be almost anywhere else.

Incidentally, she can. Although this realization isn't instantaneous, what she does when she arrives at it is. Her body goes slack in Teodoro's arms, white-knuckled hand swathed in dirty bandages falling ragdoll limp to her side as the psychic thread that connects her body to Sylar's simply snaps.

Outside, the owl that had been watching the scene through its dappled reflection in the glass splays its wings in a slow, yawning stretch, and a moment later Eileen's voice fills Raith's head. Flashbang, it says, rough with urgency. Now.

There's nothing Teo can do, now; not even bitch and scream epithets with a mad hewing of his jaws and tongue. Or, you know. Cop a feel, as long as his arms are around her, but that's just his brain loosing off errant action potentials for the lack of feasible physical movement to see through at all. Pallid eyes alone turn in their pits, seizing left with vicious urgency, first, before the slackening of the girl in his arms drives his stare downward.

Upward again, at Gabriel. This time, bright with accusation.

It was first said by Helmuth von Moltke, the Elder: 'No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.' And true to form, the plan concocted by Eileen, Teo and Raith fell apart almost as soon as the former of the trio stepped out onto the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. The time to act, and to improvise, is now, just like the good old days.

Intentionally gripping the grenade improperly, Raith yanks the pin out, causing the safety to immediately fly away and start the countdown. An instant later, he lobs the device through the opened door, underhanded, and just as quickly swings his head in the opposite direction, shutting his eyes and raising both his hands to cover his ears. Gabriel- or Sylar, whoever- may well see the device sail into the room, not even contacting the floor before the magnesium and aluminum inside ignite, shocking the air around it with an acoustic wave reaching 180 decibels in intensity- well above the human threshold of pain at a mere 130 dB- and lighting up the entire floor, devoid of any other nearby light source, with a flash equivalent to over one million candles, overloading the photoreceptors in the eyes of anyone looking at it. Or, in the otherwise dim light, anyone just looking at its reflection.

And even with his ears covered and his eyes shut, Raith is still close enough to feel the shockwave and see his dark world become noticeably brighter for a split second. 'Danger close,' he would call it: No one is totally safe from the effects.

First thing's first, Eileen moves. If Sylar can feel the slice through of his connection with her physical ability to move, it shows in the way his dark eyes focus sharp and downwards, lifting in tandem with Teo so that accusing blue meets equally accusing brown. It's very possible that, given a second or more, he would have understood why, but the opportunity to understand much of anything is shattered as the flashbang sails through the air.

That link of puppetry that closes Teo's jaw and freezes his arms and locks his legs— he can do what he likes with his eyelids, incidentally— instantly disconnects as Sylar reels back from the assault of light and sound, hands clapping up over his ears and eyes squinching shut, but it's too little and too late for the blurring, the ringing in his head, and he doesn't hear himself give a guttural growl of pain and anger.

He does instantly fling a hand forward, and the gunshot bang of concussive energy that sounds muted in comparison. It goes wild, merely shoves Teo aside, but does send the door off its hinges, going slamming and rattling down the corridor like a playing card whipped free of someone's hand by an eager wind.

The owl is spared the brunt of the grenade's blast by the glass pane that separates it from the building's interior and the wing it holds across its face. It lifts off the ledge in the next instant, kicking up a wild flurry of snow, and heaves itself out of sight.

Shoot him! Eileen's voice thunders at the back of Raith's skull.

Eyelids: what Teo had been doing with those was squeezing them abruptly shut, fragile protection against the sensory onslaught hurled out by the flashbang, but better than nothing. He has no hands to put over his ears, either, and that's painful as anything when the rolling wave of concussive energy rends through the delicate mechanisms inside his ears and hurls his brain against the wall of his skull. Outwardly, of course, it's nothing so dramatic.

His eyes are already closed when he begins to fall, and they don't open even as his arms stiffen to keep the slender woman off the floor, blocked from Gabriel, or at least away from being crushed by the jumbled mess of his own imploding fall. Of course, the moment Gabriel sends that wreck of concussive energy his way, falling is less the problem than a brief, violent, and uncomfortably terminated sliiiide that shoves him into the wall.

Hinges popping like a cinema snack nearby, plaster cracking and splitting under the brunt of his shoulder. Disoriented, queasily uncomfortable, he doesn't realize he's still holding onto Eileen until the dangling of her hair elicits a tickling squirm of discomfort in his wrist, in the gap between glove and sleeve. "Ow," he says. He can't hear his own voice inside his head; not at all.

Eileen's command to shoot is unnecessary. Even before his insides finish settling from the burst, Raith is spinning around and charging out onto the floor proper, just in the nick of time to see the door ripped from its moorings and cast away like an old child's toy. More memories, although at least this time, the door flying off its hinges doesn't signal a mortar shell that just missed its mark. The direction of its travel is noted, and Raith comes in facing the opposite way. Even without night vision equipment, there is enough light to see the tumbling form of Gabriel Gray, and picking his feet up high, the ex-spy presses closer to him. The shot has to count, he can't afford to miss. A scant eight feet away, Raith looks down the weapon's rock-steady barrel towards the other man's center of mass, and squeezes the trigger.


Raith's aim is true, the dart headed in a definite trajectory for the target that is the Midtown Man's naked and bleeding torso. The tip of the dart finds flesh.

And passes right through it.

Disappearing as if pale skin had engulfed the projectile, the sound of it skittering out past Sylar on the concrete floor goes barely heard in the shenanigans, but he head does twitch perhaps wrongly in that direction. The last thing seen is a doggish snarl, lips pulling back to show aggression in some primitive form of body language, until that— and the rest of him— disappears through the floor. One can imagine that it's going to hurt, landing somewhere down below.

One can imagine that maybe, for Sylar, it doesn't matter much.

The heroes are abruptly alone in Sylar's bachelor pad, and they get to be the ones hearing distant echoes that sounds like thunder of someone moving through the skyscraper.

Eileen. Eileen! The name-word swims airy circles in Teo's mouth on the edge of a groan, blanks in his ears. His feet stutter under him and his arms harden, hooked underneath the reed-stack body in his arms. Eileen, Eileen. He blinks wearily and his knuckles go white, jostling the armload higher, over his shoulder. "Eileen!" he yells, and his voice is hoarse as if he's been shouting all this time. "Get back here!

"Do not go after him." Teo straightens with effort, ignores the twinging protest of his injured ankle under the extra weight, the sinew-deep tension of uncertain footing in blind darkness and the tapestrying of neon spots that overlays it in his eyes. Eventually, he can hear his boots again.

Thump-thump, percussive, louder than the fading rattle and emanations of Sylar's flight, quieter than the roaring static of blood through his ears. "Jensen?" An empty glove snags at the older man's arm. "What did you hit him with?"

For a few moments, Raith is seemingly unaware of Teo, quietly appraising the situation. And then finally, he holsters his weapon underneath his coat and turns his attention to his companion. Where Teo might be hoping for some bit of helpful information, or even an unhelpful but darkly amusing quip, Raith has only a grim reply that may as well be a warning: "I don't think I did."

The owl, having located a gap in the glass wide enough to pass through without risking damage to its feathers, wings its silent way inside and like a ghost settles on a cement block a few feet away from where Teodoro and Raith are standing. Soulful black eyes at the center of a pale, heart-shaped face study the Italian's back and the wilted form of the Englishwoman draped over his shoulder with long hair cascading across her cheek.

It's surveying the damage.

The jump from T. alba and H. sapiens is shorter than the reverse had been. Just a hop, really. Eileen's fingers curl at the nape of Teodoro's neck, nails grazing through the bristle of his hair, and as she lifts her head she presses out a low sound of pain through her nose.

It's on the tip of tongue for Teo to whine, 'What the fuck am I going to tell Felix?' with a stamp of his foot, but he restrains himself from doing that.

Finds a little more success there than he had had trying to restrain himself from going after psychometric materials while powered thugs went at the Vanguard with dogs, sense theft, and bullets in the armpit of Staten's jungle-grown carnival. No, he isn't entirely incapable of setting objective aside. Sometimes, he pays attention to what's in front of his face.

Under his chin, in this case. He huffs a formless cloud of raw relief into the girl's hair, swings his gaze up in some vague expectation that it's going to meet Raith's. At least they're still alive. "Grazie comunque. Regardless, you saved our asses. Let's fuck off out of here?"

Raith's gaze is not free to meet Teo's. Rather, it's focused, somewhere else, and Raith looks, for all intents and purposes, like he's standing there listening. For what is anybody's guess. After only a second or two, however, he is looking back at Teo. And, perhaps expectedly, unholstering his Glock. Just in case. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," he says in concurrence with his Italian compatriot. An instant later, he's off scooping up the bundle of medicines they'd brought with them. Gabriel probably won't be coming back to this building, now that it's been compromised, and there's no sense in letting all those drugs go to waste. Not long after, he's moving back towards the stairs. "You take Eileen," he says, "At least until she's walking by herself. I'll take point."

He surveys down the stairs in front of him, weapon trained forward even though he's pretty sure that if Gabriel's waiting in ambush, they won't seem him until it's too late. One last look over his shoulder to Teo- "Let's go."- and they do. Down 86 flights of stairs. Out into the night that blankets New York City. The hunt was unsuccessful. The pack will go hungry. But at least they will all hunt again.

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