Sacred Things, Part II


etienne_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title Sacred Things, Part II
Synopsis Kaylee confronts her kidnapper.
Date June 6, 2018

The Old Dispensary

Kaylee does not lose consciousness, but she does lose control. Over her body. Her power. Even her ability to close her eyes as the Greenbelt floor seems to skim by beneath her, travelling over it disembodied like a fast flowing river.

She'd feel fear, if she could feel her heart race.

Dark trees, rocks, felled logs, blurring together as she moves, and then a glimpse of looming brickwork that disappears as fast as she slams into it and then the world is once again a fucking pinwheel of confusion. The hard floor rushes up to meet her and this time it connects, when it didn't before. Her limbs, ungainly, gravity suddenly leaden in her bones. Her hands catch against hardwood floor on instinct, and stillness — finally — takes her. Her body intact. Her power. Her ability to close (and open) her eyes.

Moonlight comes through arched windows, and the smell of old wood and damp and dust fills her senses. The space is large. She sees a dead hearth, mildewing furniture, a rug rotting on the floorboards a foot away from her.

She has been here before. In a vision.

But in place of Tamara Brooks wandering ahead of her, a more hulking figure is prowling. Etienne Saint James' shape in the darkness is distinct, the edges of his coat mud spattered, the swing of his rifle as he hefts it only to set it down on a large dining table. He's not looking at her, but she can hear him breathing, slow, laboured.

Because it's silent, here. Safe.

For a given value of safe.

There is some small comfort in the fact that she isn’t dead.

At the moment, Kaylee lays where she was she has flopped down, left to wonder: What the f — // Blinking — //Good she can blink again. — she shifts her head to where she can see the figure of Etienne silhouetted. When she focuses on the room; at first he brows furrow as if trying to figure out why it seems to familiar, only to have eyes widen in recognition.

Hands press flat on the floor and Kaylee pushes herself up to a seated position; shoulders hunched a little, she sends an accusing glance goes his way. “I said take the ring,” she points out helpfully. Not her.

Tucking feet close, so that she can get to her feet. A glance around tells her it’s just them. She could say and ask so many things, especially ask where Bob and Sibyl were; but, all she can think to ask is…


Why — well, why everything?
Take the ring, she says. Etienne lets go of a laugh, dry, mirthless. Off.

On Kaylee's hand, the indentation of where the ring she wears nigh constantly feels strange and barren without the everpresent loop of gold nestling there. As she comes to her senses, slowly, this is likely among the first things she feels, along with fresh bruises from her hard landing.

He moves towards an armchair, uncaring about the spread of grey and rot across its upholstery as he sinks into it. Dust fills the air for only a moment, until some kind of strange disturbance in the air banishes it completely with barely a wave of his hand. "Yours has meaning," he says. "Not my meaning. Think all I wanted was a scrap of gold?" Now he looks at her, a long look, eyes shadowed in the dimness like empty sockets. "Is that what you mainlanders think we're reduced to?"

Though his manner has changed, his voice has not, tempered down to the growl Kaylee knew on the boat ride back to Staten Island, that strange amalgamation of an accent.

Why, she asked.

He doesn't answer, mouth closing. Kaylee's own voice rings back to her in his recent recollections: Vague memories, images… feelings. Nightmares.

Kaylee takes a moment to brush at herself and brushes a thumb gently across an spot on her hand that is probably going to be a fun bruise later. Though it wanders off that path, to brush at that bare spot where her ring should be. All the way from 1890’s and she drops it. Great.

“So that ring did mean something to you,” Kaylee comments flatley, eyes turning his way, without really turning her head. “Cause the way Sibyl was acting and the lengths she was willing to go to protect it. It clearly meant something to her, too.” Her hands go out some in a what’s with that gesture.

Of course, she catches her own words at the forefront of his mind; it might be influencing the irritation in her words. Kaylee studies the man, unsure what to think of the whole situation. “I’m here because I’ve seen something like that before?”

Turning her attention to the room itself, she motions at the room itself. “I saw this place in a vision, too.” She huffs out softly, “Go figure.” Turning back she asks simply, “You brought me here. Now what?”

She was more helpful when she was scared.

That's a thought that Kaylee can catch, too, a dark ripple of animosity for her tone which is genuinely jangling his nerves like a badly strung guitar — quickly followed by a whispered undercurrent that she was more helpful when she saw him as useful. It doesn't, in turn, inspire him to talk either, a quiet presence watching her from the busted down armchair. It's dark in here, with only the moonlight to glint silver off shapes and angles.

Which may or may not make it stranger when his form finally shifts. Long hair becomes inky, seems to snake back into his skull. Bone structure shifts and ripples, skin shimmers paler. Light eyes turn brown. His bulky frame does not shorten but does grow rangier, leaner.

Gabriel Gray has one of the most unmistakable faces of the twenty-first century.

"You talk," he says, voice transformed, accent shifting to something more native. "I need— " His voice creaks, and those words stall out. The armchair whines as he shifts, leaning forward. "I need to know what you know. Everything. I don't need to hurt you for that."

There is a hiss of surprise that Kaylee can’t help, her whole body going still from shock. She knew he wasn’t dead, but knowing and seeing are two totally different things. “Right under her nose — “ Kaylee starts and trails off, there is a resigned sigh.

Boots scrape on the floor as she moves to sit in another of the musty chairs, nose wrinkling at the smell of stirred dust; followed by a sneeze. Perched on the edge of it, seated more like a proper lady would in a time long gone to either of them.

“You want to know what I remember about that night on Pollepel?” It’s a total guess on Kaylee’s part, but considering who was sitting in front of her. “I don’t know a lot personally, I was badly injured; but yeah… I’ll tell you whatever you need to know that night she died.” Eileen died. “And not that bullshit they say about her, either.” Despite their past, Kaylee did respect Eileen.

The night she died.

Gabriel's gaze dips, idles somewhere near Kaylee's left knee, unseeing. He supposes that makes sense, her guess striking far left of his question but finding fertile ground regardless. To start from the beginning, to start from the end. The lapse into silence is probably awkward for most basically functional people; on Etienne, he had more opportunity to be furniture, observant and neutral.

As himself, it only rings of a lack of practice, of isolation, of extreme introversion.

He doesn't leave her hanging for long, at least. He says, "Sure." And then adds, as a prompt, "I saw the way the birds behaved. Was that before, or after?"

There is only a single faded memory of being face to face with Gabriel Gray, when she had been called by Eileen to help with something. It was a little nerve wracking sitting there with someone who’s name is rather infamous.

“What I saw was after.” After she had been hurt, after Eileen died. To clarify, she adds, “Or at least, from what I was told. I was in a coma after being stabbed…”she trails off, cause someone like Gabriel wouldn’t be interested in that. “Anyhow, before that even happened, though. Eve had a vision. So, some of us knew that — and even Eileen knew — it was coming. We just — didn’t understand it at the time what she was planning. She kept to herself.” It was fairly typical and her tone reflects that fact.

“When it actually happened… I was in a coma, but… we’ve talked” the Ferrymen ”especially after,” Kaylee gives him an apologetic look. “Before she died she had Gillian augment her and she sent the birds after Heller’s men. It saved a lot of us, but she couldn’t control it.” There is no accusation to her tone, just a thoughtfulness. A detachment to her words, because she wasn’t really there for most of it.

Though, something was bothering her, it was obvious. Her gaze is distance, focused on something else. “When Sibyl — “ How does she explain what is going through her head even now. “I remember us being attacked by birds when we were fleeing the island, after I had just woke up. Bodies being picked clean.” It was a heck of a time to wake up. Convenient timing even. She touches a faint scar on her cheek. “Whatever it is that Sibyl did to set those birds into a frenzy.” Kaylee looks at him then, clearly with a memory fresh at the front of her mind. “I felt it, but…” She scoots forward on the chair a little more. “But not just that, I remember something similar, from that night. I don’t know if it actually happened, or if it was a dream. It felt real. It’s only flashes now… a nightmare, every now and then.” She little a little frustrated.

Finally, she gives a huff of frustration, “I remember my baby crying and he wasn’t even born yet. A wolf standing over the bassinet,” Her gaze grows distant as she tries to remember something that happened a lot of years ago, “I remember teeth… a scuffle and then… ashes. And that… that sensation.” Her eyes close tight and she shakes her head a little. “I don’t know, maybe I was just delirious at the time.” But from what Kaylee has learned recently, it felt more relevant than ever.

Throughout Kaylee's explanation, Gabriel listens, an odd kind of passivity to his manner that demonstrates quite clearly that he has more masks than just the faces he can change into. Giving away little and taking in all, he doesn't react to the things that strike him as strange. Mention of Sibyl. Dreams of wolves.

If anything, Kaylee might get the sense that he is unsatisfied, but perhaps that was inevitable.

"I came here," he starts, and then stops, as if that was all he wanted to say.

He wanders his attention to the tall arched windows. "The last time I was here," he says, instead, "in New York, was that night. I saw some of it. The encore. The birds. I went to the place that she died and I thought that maybe there was some piece of her still hanging on. We can do that, you know, live on beyond our own bodies. Maybe the birds had torn apart more than just her flesh, but her soul, and shared it between them, like communion."

Maybe, he says, in a tone that indicates he thinks he's talking nonsense. "What was left of her was buried by the old lighthouse ruin. I don't think anyone knows that, except the guy that did it. I wanted to see her bones, like that would change things. Make it real.

"But she was there, tonight," he says, quietly, still not looking back at Kaylee sitting opposite him. "The birds. Maybe she's trying to reach out to you, for what you can do. Maybe to Sibyl, too."

“I forgot about that…” Kaylee admits to the ability to live beyond themselves, until recently. The telepath, in the distant past, dealt with telepaths who had lost their bodies. A part of her had wondered, back then, if she could. Curiosities like that faded with time. Yet, when he says it, she wonders again.

Falling quiet, listening as he had, letting her thoughts drift only a little to another conversation, not long ago. “She was,” Kaylee agrees, blue-eyes cast down and focused on some distant point. “I didn’t think she— was able to do that, but it makes sense.” What she says might sound confusing, but when she looks up at him again, there is a hint of a smile.

“I know this might sound crazy, but I am convinced that Sibyl carries at least a part of Eileen. I’ve — “ Taking a deep breath she sighs out. “I’ve been in her mind.” She made a promise to a thirteen year old girl, that she’s help her find him. There he was. “I’ve seen the proof of it. A memory. Of you and Eileen, something only the two of you know.” There is a slight tilt forward as she studied his eyes, “Your eyes were blue, though,” she says with a touch of wonder, straightening slowly.

With that, Kaylee wins his attention. It's an unsettling kind of attention, given his face, intent and focused, almost impatient for the meaning in the words she's saying, like it would be so much simpler to harvest the information directly from flesh and bone and brain. As a telepath, she must sympathise, where she could just take knowledge for herself, unmediated by things like language and opinion and lies.

There's a shift in his body language, too. A tension. Like he could just suddenly vanish from this place, and hunt down the thing he seeks.


He raises an eyebrow at blue eyes. "Do you know what that means?"

There is something a little unnerving about having a former serial killers attention on you like that, yet, Kaylee doesn't shy away so much as slide eyes away to simply look at a different point. Much like a lesser predator would do to an alpha one. "I admit, I don't. I think that is why the blue eyes struck me as odd." Her hands spread apart a little, acknowledging her ignorance and even apologetic for it. He needed answers and there were some she simply could not provide.

There is a tension in her own shoulders, even if she gives off a more relaxed appearance. As if sitting in on a meeting with a client. "Something else she said to me, that the memories are fading," Kaylee's brows tip down a little. "Harder to access? Is - is that normal for that sort of thing?" The telepath herself being mainly unfamiliar with how all that works, cannot help but ask.

Gabriel almost laughs. The joke is: none of this is normal.

"When I had blue eyes," he says, looping back to his question by way of answering hers, "it was because I was possessed by Kazimir Volken. His power is one that lives on beyond his body, takes new ones. When he had my body, it was this battle between us, every day. Or sometimes not. Sometimes he just won for a while. Sometimes you forget yourself, or you're drowned in your own bullshit that you forget when and where you are."

The idea of some piece of Eileen, like a struggling candleflame in the cavern of Sibyl's soul, is an anxiety inducing thought. "She stole the ring back," he says, quietly. "Maybe she didn't even know what she was doing."

And the journal. Sibyl, there, in the house Gabriel and Eileen had shared. "There's something else," he says, shoving that thought aside for later revision. "Another— Eileen. I cornered her on Staten Island. I was wearing my other face, so she didn't know it was me, but she should have known. I have her power, I copied it years ago, and it let us sense each other, and I didn't sense anything from her. Even when she controlled birds. Even when she was close enough to touch.

"And she has blue eyes," he says, a slow unpacking, like Kaylee is barely here, save for an excuse for him to think these things through in company besides his own internal demons, for once. "And destroyed those birds to heal herself. Kazimir's power."

He stops there, and looks back to her. Dust hangs in the air, glitters beneath moonlight.

"I don't know how this fits together," he says, "but you're going to help me figure it out."

Now there is a name she remembers, though the idea of blue eyes being tied to it was new to her. How many times had Kazimir been mentioned to her in the past for different reason. Every time it was emphasized how - Wait… What did he just say?

"Another - " Kaylee is now blatantly staring at Gabriel now. "Another Eileen?" She asks, even if she just said there was. Had she not seen a tape from an alternate world or witnessed it in the mind of a friend, or seen the painting they won in auction, she'd think he was crazy. However, she 'huhs' softly, the tension in her shoulder sapped out of them. "And, of course, there are Vanguard out west who were killed here…" She sighs softly, falling back into her own thoughts.

"Damn straight I am," Kaylee answers with just as much of a statement, glancing back at him with a hint of a mischievous smile. She didn't know how it all fit together either, but she loved a good mystery… besides, "I owe Eileen."

Gabriel nods a little to her incredulity, at mention of the other Vanguard figures. What it means remains beyond him, beyond Kaylee, but that it must all fit together somehow is what matters. His posture relaxes a little when she agrees.

He'd have had to consider what to do next, had she refused, dark thoughts like a shadow beneath rippled water.

"I don't want people to know that I'm here," he says. That he's alive feels like a ship that's sailed, but— "Or about my cover. It's useful." He could pass himself off as any anonymous body, moving through the crowds — and does — but having someone with a reputation, an established basis of resource and trust, is equally useful.

And probably more than that, but all he wants is her agreement.

"Absolutely no reason for anyone to know," Kaylee agrees easily enough, with a short nod. Wouldn't be the first time, she's had to keep someone's secret and probably wouldn't be the last. Though, this one she had no plans to tell even her siblings.

"As for Etienne," his cover, "Again, I see no reason to tell anyone." Not to mention who wants to make an enemy of Gabriel Grey.

There is a touch of amusement as Kaylee adds, "And should you need any money, let me know. I had planned to offer — well, you — occasional work for me when I could track you down." His interrogation methods had been impressive, "Besides, I owe you for saving me from myself," there is a slight grimace, a wrinkle of her nose, at that admission. Who knows how much more blood would have been on her hands on that boat.

Gabriel tips his head at this offer, a darker kind of amusement just detectable behind his expression, and intrigue beneath that at the concept of someone in need of saving from themselves. For now, he offers no commentary, but it's the kind of thing he takes note of. The kind of thing he remembers.

Instead, he nods once. Sure. "I could use the excuse to move mainland more often than I do now," he adds, and then, after a beat, "And the money." And to keep an eye on the telepath he's marked as useful.

He stands, then.

"We should go," he says. "I shouldn't have left Sibyl behind." Even before he knew what she might be, but especially now that he knows what she might be. Whatever instinct that drove him to take himself and Kaylee out of that equation, it had been reactive, impulsive, but true remorse is replaced by the simple need to amend the mistake.

He offers out a hand.

"World as ever revolves around it, as much as ever, Mr. Gray, " Kaylee supplies blandly, falling into more of her corporate side. "Keeping it under the table will allow me to steer away my Security Chief and keep my brother from thinking he can use you for his own purposes." In her mind, this resource would be her's to use when needed - sparingly.

When he stands, Kaylee rises to her own feet, allowing concern to show through finally, "I admit… I'm worried about her," Kaylee isn't afraid to say it to him, especially. "And in the interim, Barazani…" using his real last name for once, which shows her worry for his safetly, "we kind of left him there to deal with that." There is regret on her part as well, even if she didn't have a choice in the matter.

"You know," Kaylee reaches out to take his hand with no hesitation; though she probably should be. Still she takes it. "She begged me to help her find you. Are we going to keep her in the dark a little longer?" It was an important question, in her mind.

His hand feels exactly the same as it did when Etienne had helped her onto his boat. Rough with work in the same places. Blood running warm and close to the surface.

Gabriel tips his head birdishly at her query, considering it, weighing it.

"I'll let her find me," he says, while keeping hand in his, "when I know what I'm dealing with."

And with that, the dust hanging in the air around them suddenly spins into whorls as displaced air rushes through their absent forms as they collapse together into the liquid black puddle of attenuated mass that is Wu-Long's ability. It puddles in place for a moment, comes together, and then, with snakish authority, floods across the floor of the Old Dispensary, squeezing beneath the space between door and brick, disappearing in the night.

Outside, night birds in the trees lift, and take flight.

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