delphine_icon.gif eileen4_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Sentimental
Synopsis As Ethan takes his frustration out on his latest hobby, Eileen comes asking after Delphine. Conversation eventually turns toward Feng Daiyu and what he may or may not know before veering off in a direction that someone regrets.
Date August 4, 2009

Near the Garden

Light is fading.

A note was left for anyone he cared about in the house. (Those people being Eileen and Delphine) that if they wanted to find him he would be out back. Way out back.

Half a mile behind the Garden, a log supports a troupe of deformed figurines. Little wooden soldiers, birds, dogs, and other joys line up on the log. Every one of the figurine seems like it had promise early on in its forming, though every one of them are fucked up almost beyond recognition. Some looking like they were cut at angrier than others. Ethan's little army of retarded wooden soldiers stands ready.

A knife protrudes from some fresh dirt, Ethan sitting not to far from it. His back is pressed against the trunk of a tree. A pistol lays next to him, silencer attached. Also scattered around him are a few empty juice boxes. Likely stolen from some of the younger inhabitants of the Garden, Ethan blissfully sucks away on grape juice while staring down the line of messed up carvings. It's time to take revenge for all his little cuts in the form of target practice.

If Ethan stares at them hard enough, they might just spontaneously combust and save him the ammunition. And why not? His father was Evolved, and genetics are on his side — it could be that he's just a late bloomer, destined to manifest some terrifying ability the likes of which neither he nor any of the other members of Vanguard have seen before. Or not. Apart from the pre-packaged detection tests that are making their collective way across the country at a slow kudzu creep, there's really no way for Ethan — or anyone — to know what mysteries are contained within the spiraling structure of their DNA.

There are lots of theories, no facts, but the same can be said of many other things. Take Feng Daiyu and his apparent thirst for Ethan's blood for instance. Eileen doesn't know what happened between the two men, and without the aid of a telepath or a clairvoyant, she doubts that she ever will. And that's all right. She's much more interested in the history that Daiyu insinuated she and her fellow Brit share, which is why she's presently making her way through the trees in search of him and his latest flame.

But they haven't combusted yet. They have just sat their with their stupid deformed faces, mocking him and his little tiny knife cuts all over his fingers. Throwing his now empty juice box at the small pile of them, he runs his scraped up fingers through the scruff on his cheeks. His attempt at hobby have become worse and worse since the incident with Eileen. Anger obviously affecting his whittling skills. The last time someone hurt Eileen..

The pipe connects with the larger man's head over and over. The wet thudding of pipe on flesh and skull resounding through the open building long after the man has drawn his last…

Shoving himself to his feet, Ethan scoops up the pistol from the ground. Raising the gun, he takes aim at the first deformed tiny man. Steadying the gun he takes a breath.

The silenced shot is let out.

The little man flies explosively off the log, before Ethan swivels his gun onto the next, repeating the cycle. Two perfect shots. "Fucking right." He murmurs to himself. Angrily.

When approaching a man with a silenced pistol from behind, it's wise to announce one's presence before venturing too close. Eileen's booted feet crunch through leaves and damp mulch, twigs snapping beneath her weight as she reaches up, brushes aside a low-hanging branch and emerges into Ethan's peripheral. She's dressed in the same pair of grass-stained jeans that Peter brought her home in, their faded denim material torn at the knees and spattered with mud, as well as a sleeveless top and a gray cashmere cardigan pulled over it for warmth now that the sky is beginning to grow dark. It might be time for some new clothes.

"Ethan?" she tries in a soft voice, breathy and tentative, unsure whether or not the sound of her footsteps alone are enough to draw his attention away from the row of misshapen figurines. "Have you got a minute?"

Letting the gun sag as soon as he hears the boots crunching, he goes to slide the holster off the pistol. Tucking the weapon into the holster at his side he then slides the silencer into his pocket. Turning to face Eileen, he gives a soft sigh as she approaches. "You doin' alright love? Want some juice?" The Wolf asks, walking forward to greet her.

Once he arrives at her, one hand goes to grasp at her shoulder and pull her in close. "I've got more than a minute for you love. I've got." He looks at his wrist as if to study his watch, which is not there. "I've got three." He says with a grin. "What's the matter, princess?"

Eileen doesn't want any juice, but she'll graciously accept an embrace instead, wrapping her arms around Ethan's much larger frame as she tangles the fabric of his shirt between her fingers and tips up her chin. She's missed this. "Nothing's the matter," she says, and while this is quite possibly the largest lie she's told him in recent memory, the expression on her face does not betray the uncertainty she hides behind her smile and in the luster of her pale eyes.

"I was actually hoping to find you with Delphine," she adds on a more truthful note, glancing toward the figurines, "but it looks like you're entertaining company, anyway. Should I come back when you've more than three?"

Pulling her in tightly, he tilts his head down at her. "You don't have to read people to know that's a lie, princess." Ethan growls, though it's not angry. Just a low droll that reverberates in their close proximity. "Why were y'lookin for me an' 'er?" Ethan asks curiously before grinning over at the figurines.

"Trying to replace killing, love. You've got to appreciate that. But I'm good at killin'. I'm not good at whittling, obviously." He growls, this time there is agitation in his voice. "I'll give you an extra three since we 'ave 'istory." A kiss brushes against her forehead. "Wot's on your mind, lovely?" Turning he goes back towards the tree he was previously seated against. Going to sit against it, he tilts his head back before motioning Eileen to come to him.

Someone's got the same idea, moving along a slightly different path than Eileen had taken, but with the same destination. Booted feet find sturdy purchase on the disrupt of forest ground, Delphine's legs clad in denim, and a grey T-shirt hugging her figure. A single necklace glitters beads from around her throat, and otherwise she's unadorned - no make up, either, face clean, and her hair free to fall as it may.

Upon approach, she pauses at the sight of a father hugging his daughter, or what counts for it, a hand coming to rest against a tree trunk to steady herself. Could be good to go back, but words catch on the wind, so, she tucks her hands behind her and moves towards the clearing. Still keeping her distance, however, her meander is slow, a zigzagging line amongst the trees, and no announcement as to her presence just yet.

Eileen joins Ethan by the tree, no qualms about getting her jeans any dirtier than they already are. There's a lot on her mind, but most of it exists as nebulous, free-floating thoughts that are difficult enough to tie down — nevermind articulate. She clasps her hands, fingers interlaced, and stretches out her arms before placing them idle in her lap. "When Kazimir introduced us, he didn't happen to say anything about why he and Amato picked me up, did he?"

It's an innocent question unless the person being asked knows her motivation for doing so, and Ethan does not. Her eyes search his face, a little pink and puffy around the edges, but otherwise clear. Sober. If you don't count the nicotine stains on her fingers or the smell of tobacco smoke on her breath, she looks cleaner than she did at breakfast the other morning when Cardinal dropped in to ask after Gabriel Gray. "Apart from my birds, I mean."

"Your bird—" Apart from her birds. Hm. He gives her a pointed look. "Listen, Munin. I've asked you a lot of questions and you 'aven't answered any. So why am I answering this strange.." His words die off as his eyes dart at a sound. He glances over before narrowing his brows for a moment. He misses actually spotting Delphine. Slowly he returns his focus to Eileen. "It was a long time ago, love."

"Amato wanted you, didn't 'e? A right pervert." Ethan growls at the thought of the blond man. Though his anger quickly subsides as one hand reaches up and rests on Eileen's shoulder. "Why, princess? Wot is this all about?"

Though her approach goes visibly missed, Delphine can't in good conscience sneak up and accidentally eavesdrop, so to avoid as such, she offers up a, "Hello," from where she's stepping up onto the beaten trail. A respectable distance maintained, she pauses around the edge of the clearing, hazel eyes darting towards where the ruined wooden figurines are scattered, then towards the two. A subtle smile to Ethan, and a more searching glance cast towards Eileen. "Just passin' through. Couldn't help but overhear you were lookin' for me, though."

"Amato couldn't sexualize Greta Garbo even if she rose from the dead and shoved his face between her whimwhams," Eileen points out mildly, lifting both her dark brows at Ethan as she glances at him askance. "It had nothing to do with wanting me." There's another argument there, simmering fever-like beneath the young woman's carefully guarded exterior — something to do with what's perverted and what isn't — but before she can open her mouth, Delphine is materializing from the trees. Just in time, too.

Eileen's fingers brush fondly against the knuckles of the hand on her shoulder as she pushes herself back up to her feet and finds her footing amongst the tree's gnarled roots. "I'd like to take you up on your offer if you don't mind," she tells the other woman, rising to her full height. "Had a bit of a run-in the other night that could've been avoided otherwise."

Ethan's smile curls back into a small smile as Delphine approaches. A mouthed 'hello' is given to her before he pets the stretch of ground next to him invitingly. "Whimwhams." Ethan repeats with a grin. "I don't suppose anyone would want to sexualize zombie whimwhams, Princess." Ethan points out. But then Eileen is standing up an ruining everything.

Giving a thoughtful frown he glances over to Delphine then back to Eileen. Bringing one knee up to his chest, his arms lace around it and he sets his chin atop his kneecap. Pursing his lips, he waits for the magic to begin.

Delphine's eyebrows go up as more of the conversation unfolds within her range of hearing, stalling her walk on over to take that invitation to sit down nearby, though more so due to Eileen's approach. "Lord strike me down for interruptin' such a conversation, but aye, you're welcome to it. C'mere." Any visible sign of mentally bracing herself for the work of 'magic' is mostly hidden, save for a subtle roll of her shoulders to release the tension starting to build.

Her hands go out towards Eileen, coming to rest on her shoulders, and under the glare of sunlight above, dappled through the shifting leaves of the sparse canopy, it's harder to make out the signs of her power than it would have been in the shadows. But it's there, when you squint, that glow that starts at Delphine's fingers, letting loose flecks of whiter fairy lights that twirl in the air like dust motes.

The glow grows, spreading from Delphine's hands to cover Eileen's from head to toe in the same glossy sheen of light. There's a sharp inhale from Delphine as her power takes effect, eyes squinching shut until it's over in the next few seconds.

It's kinder than Case's had been and less painful than Arthur's, but both of their abilities took hers away — Delphine's is returning Eileen's birthright to her, filling her ears with the familiar rustle of feathers like a breeze in crisping autumn leaves and encompassing her in the knowledge of every bird in every tree that the sun's fading light touches, from speckled starlings to iridescent grackles and the nightjars beginning stir in their hidden nests, roused by the creaking of crickets and other nocturnal insects.

Her small hands find Delphine's, not to grasp at them tightly but to smooth her fingers over the other woman's in a silent gesture of gratitude. She's thanking her a moment later with her eyes, fraught and wet.

Like Ethan's embrace, she hadn't realized how much she'd missed it in its yawning absence.

As Eileen's mind opens up like a flower to the avian mindscapes around her, in the form of fleeting images, impressions, abstractions, the ashy-white glow disperses into nothing - it doesn't return to Delphine, only vanishes. She's about to pull away and clutch her head in the way migraine's demand people do, but Eileen's touch has her patiently pausing, opening her own eyes and allowing a smile to form in reply to the girl's silent gratitude.

"Y'welcome," Delphine states, voice a little rough and weary, and she steps away completely, hands withdrawing. Fever-sweat shines high on her brow, and she glances towards Ethan— lifts a hand in a sort of apology. "I should go lie down, I think. My head's fit to split."

Placing his back squarely against the tree, Ethan's legs lift him into a fully upright position. Once standing he looks disappointed at Delphine's apologetic hand wave. Narrowing his brows a bit he grunts. "Right then." He allows, "Do wot you need." Stepping forward he leans in to let his lips brush against her cheek before he straightens out.

Moving his focus over to Eileen, his arm outstretches and encircles her shoulders. Swallowing her into his embrace he cocks his head down to make eye contact with her. "'ow you feelin' now, love?"

"Better," is Eileen's breathless answer as she watches Delphine's retreating figure depart over Ethan's shoulder. She exhales slowly, languidly, and eventually allows her eyes to lid halfway shut so that only thin, catlike crescents of gray-green are showing beneath her lashes. "Not perfect," because nothing ever is, "but better."

She leans against Ethan, a little uncertain on her feet as she continues to take it all in, reestablishing the mental filters that allow her to distinguish one presence from another and separate her senses from the birds' around her. When Delphine is out of earshot she asks, very softly, "You love her?"

Securing her tightly, he takes a step back. Once again leaning against the tree, he slowly lowers down to a seated position. Practically dragging slash supporting Eileen as he goes down he settles comfortably with his arm dangled around her. "Good, love. Good." The man murmurs softly, smiling with adoration as he looks over her.

But when Eileen asks the question he looks over his shoulder. For a long moment he stares after Delphine before looking back to the girl on his shoulder. "Why were you askin' wot you were askin? 'Bout Kazimir." Ethan growls, peering at her. "Did that prick say somethin', Princess? You've been actin' shifty since you saw 'im. Why won't you answer me, love? Tell me wot 'e said."

Eileen is quiet for several long moments, saying nothing, her gaze shying away from Ethan's and skirting his eyes. Then, she swallows and flicks her attention back to his face. "It isn't important, really," she insists in a voice that's even softer still, raw around the edges. "He said there'd been something Kazimir never told me about you, right after he pointed out that I used to spread my legs for anything that moved. Petrelli put a stop to it."

She rests one of her hands on Ethan's knee. The other she folds across her stomach. "I don't know if he was just trying to distract me so he could put me down, or— fuck. It's all a blur after that."

"Nothing against you love, but I don't think Feng would need to distract you to put you down. 'e may be a pansy prick, but 'e was taught and trained well. 'e's experienced. 'e was well into getting 'is ass beat dozens of times before you were born. 'e's 'ad to learn something from all that." Ethan places his hand on the side of her head, fingers combing through her hair idly.

"Something Kazimir never told you. About me. But you 'ave no idea wot it is?" The Wolf asks, obviously perplexed. He's never spent much time on considering how Kazimir and Amato found him that night. Years ago, after killing his own father. He had assumed the old man had come for his da' but… "Wot could 'e 'ave known? Fuck me, what could Feng know that I don't?" It's asked in disgust, obviously thinking the other man of lesser stature than he.

"Something about Kazimir being a sentimental old shit," Eileen says as Ethan's fingers move through her hair. "I don't know. You could ask him, but I wouldn't recommend it — that man's got more hate for you than a cat does water. Our best chance to get rid of him is at fifty yards through a telescopic sight. Bargaining won't work, tried that."

She rests her head against Ethan's shoulder, finally closing her eyes. "All he's interested is you and Sylar, and he didn't even know his name until I spat it at him."

"You think 'e's better than me?" That may have been one of Eileen's worst mistakes to date. Sure she's had a bunch. Like trying to sleep with.. well, Ethan. Heroin, and a slew of other things to that mix, those words stab at the pride of the Wolf. "I don't need a fuckin' telescopic sight to kill 'im." He mutters a tad angrily. "I'll take 'im down, see 'oo 'e's working for these days. 'e's good, princess, aye, but you remember. There's a reason I was at the top." He gives a sidelong glance to her. And as if she might not be able to figure out what that reason is: "I'm really fucking good."

His fingers continue to work through her hair. He gives a deep sigh, looking down on her. "Sylar." He repeats flatly. "And Kazimir is a sentimental old shit? That… sentimental. Wot? You know 'ow many of our own 'e 'ad me kill?" Some of them weren't Kazimir's decisions, his own, but still. "'e would 'ave 'ad me put two in the back of your 'ead if 'e ever thought you might runoff."

"I'm just repeating what he told me," Eileen says of Kazimir and his rumoured disposition, though there's something about the way she turns her head away from Ethan's shoulder when she says it that suggests a part of her agrees with Daiyu's assessment. Her memories of the Vanguard's figurehead are different than Ethan's; apart from a small handful of incidents, all of which took place in the final days before the organization's fall, he showed her nothing but compassion and a fondness normally reserved for family.

As she breathes out through her nose, her breath hitches involuntarily and produces a thin, rattling sound like a piece of parchment caught in the breeze. "He's not better than you, Ethan, but there's no point in taking unnecessary risks. Velasquez is dead. He almost killed Sylar. Why hold open the alligator's jaws and stick your head inside? To prove that you can?"

"Velasquez was a spas." Ethan dismisses with a wave of his hand, though his eyes follow her gaze. He pauses for a moment thoughtfully before continuing. "I aint stickin' my head in anyone's jaws, love, I'm going to fuck the alligator's jaws up with a sledgehammer and then taser it in the bollocks and ask who it works for." He makes motions with his hands, gesticulating how he will hurt said alligator.

"So why is this bothering you Princess? Obviously something about wot Feng said to you is troubling you. So why don't you tell me, we always 'ave to play these fuckin shadow games." He mumbles, giving her a pointed look.

"It doesn't bother you that Daiyu might know something we don't?" Eileen asks Ethan. "I told you, I can't— I can't really remember the specifics. He stuck a needle in my arm and then Petrelli was there…" She shakes her head, cups her palms in her lap and lifts her eyes across the clearing. A moment later, a black arrow streaked with saffron and crimson darts down from the treetops and seats itself in the cradle formed by her hands. One beady eye turned up toward Ethan, the red-winged blackbird lets out a sputtering chatter and angles its head so Eileen can stroke a knuckle along its glossy back.

"Anyway," she says, "it doesn't matter. There's something else I wanted to talk to you about, too."

Eyeing the bird dubiously, he grunts in response to her shaky memory of the incident. "Wot ever 'appened to Bran?" He asks, "'e out there? Maybe you can call 'im back now." Ethan guesses. That all makes sense. His eyes flick to the rest of the deformed figurine army placed on the log, practically taunting him now that he's taken a break from destroying them.

"Wot is it?" He asks gruffly.

"Dunno about Bran," Eileen admits, her tone remorseful and eyes downcast. "He was real old. Maybe he's around and maybe he isn't — it's not as simple as just calling." She lifts one of the blackbird's wings experimentally, examining the condition of its primary feathers and readjusting them with the tips of her fingers the same way it might use its beak to preen or check for mites. It's been months since she's been this close to a bird, but she apparently hasn't forgotten how to use her gift to lull them into complacency.

"You remember the time I tried slipping into your bed?" Although it's phrased as a question, complete with the upward lilt at its tail, Eileen must not expect him to answer because she continues after just an awkward beat of hesitation. "How could I have done it better? Apart from not being fifteen?"

"Sure it is. Call 'im and if 'e doesn't answer call 'is buddies, ask where they've seen 'im last. Maybe give 'is mums nest a call see if 'e's stopped in for supper lately. Can't be that 'ard, princess. They're birds." He explains, raising his hands up as if this is self explanatory. Though her next questions automatically causes him discomfort.

"You 'avin a laugh?" He asks hotly, scooting away from her a smidge. If he had hind legs he would be rearing back on them, but he doesn’t so he leans back on his hands, staring at her. "Wot kind of fucking question is that? Stop messing about, why the fuck would you ask me that?!"

Eileen isn't having a laugh, but she is having a difficult time keeping a smile from curling feline at the corners of her mouth. "Relax," she assures him, "it's not you I'm interested in. There's somebody else." Her attention returns to the blackbird in her hands as she folds its wing back into place and sets it down on Ethan's shoulder where it catches its claws in the fabric of his shirt and briefly scrabbles to secure a foothold, establishing a new perch.

"You can either give me some advice on how to get him to notice me, or you can let me embarrass myself and watch as I flounder around like a hooked fish." She offers a slight shrug. "Your choice."

Ethan watches her agape for a moment, his eyes wandering over to eye the bird now on his shoulder angrily. He doesn't move to make it bugger off though, he simply allows it to perch on his shoulder for the moment. "You really think that's the best way to ask advice from me, and then you're going to ask advice from me. How awkward do you want this to fucking get." He asks, shaking his head.

"'oo is it?" He asks, narrowing his eyes at her. "Tell me 'oo it is, or I won't tell you a fucking thing. And I'll kill your bird. And put bugs in your pillowcase. And 'oney in your socks." He rattles off his threats, trying to make sure that she won't clam up as she is usually wont to do.

"You won't so much as breathe on the bird." As if to emphasize her point, the blackbird explodes off Ethan's shoulder in a violent explosion of feathers. Furious wing beats carry it up to the safety of an overhanging branch. "If I tell you who it is," she tries, calmer now that the bird is gone and the tension exists only in the air between them and the muscles in her shoulders and neck, "do you swear you won't do anything to hurt him?"

As the bird starts to fly up, Ethan turns his chin and breathes powerfully. A series of hyperventilating breaths follow up after the bird before it is completely out of range. His lips thin before he looks back down at Eileen. He did breathe on the bird. So there. I win. Watching her carefully, he moves his hand up to scratch at his chin. "Depends entirely on the fact of whether or not 'e is a puff."

Eileen gives Ethan a flat look, then lifts both her dark brows at him, seemingly skeptic. It's a strange set of criteria, but it makes perfect sense when she reconsiders the man presenting it. She wipes off her hands on her jeans but does not rise to her feet or even move to stand up. It would be easy to lie, give him the name of someone he doesn't know — or better yet, someone who doesn't exist. In the end, though, she ends up adopting a more rueful expression and turns her gaze back toward the cottage, its ivy-covered roof visible between the trees. "You gave me a hard time about it before," she says, "and that's when it wasn't true."

"Sylar?" Ethan asks, surprise coming through his voice. Though it's not for the same reason Eileen might suspect. His brows go up and he taps at his lips thoughtfully. "Really? You two 'aven't fucked yet?" Very surprising indeed. "I 'ad assumed you 'ad already and got tangled up in being complicated and dramatic. So really? You two 'aven't bonked?" He keeps asking, apparently extremely surprised.

"You want advice on 'ow to get Sylar to notice you?" It deserves a laugh apparently, because Ethan starts chortling madly. "Really?" He manages in between breaths and laughter. "You really 'aven't?"

Anger flushes Eileen's cheeks pink, splotchy and mottled as the colour drains from her lips and leaves them as pale as the lily white skin of her hands. Ethan is laughing at her. This definitely wasn't the reaction that she was expecting — somehow, it would be easier, less humiliating if he'd snarled at her or curled his lip to convey disgust. "No," she says in a sharp voice that she hopes will cut through his laughter and silence it, "we really haven't. Why is that so funny?"

His laughter starts to die off, though as he glances up at her angryface it is apparently renewed and practically falls out of his mouth. "Oh God. I'm sorry Eileen." More laughter. "I'm sorry princess, I'm being very rude. It'll stop in a minute. You know opening of the.." A particularly sharp laugh cuts off his words altogether. "Floodgates, and all that." He clears his throat, letting his head thunk against the tree trunk. He takes a moment to compose himself.

"That was fun." He comments gaily, before glancing over at her. "I just assumed you 'ad. Really." A little shrug of his thick shoulders. "You want to know 'ow to seduce Sylar?" A little grin winds up his lips. "Maybe buy 'im a really big clock." And then there's more laughter this time at his own joke. "Okay, okay. Sorry. Sorry. Last one. I'll be serious now." Heee.

Now Eileen is pushing to her feet, one hand clutching at the tree behind her for support as she unfolds her denim-clad legs and dusts bits of mulch and debris off the seat of her jeans. "Forget I ever asked." Fingers sweep through her hair, brushing it away from her face, though it doesn't stay there for long. She adjusts the sleeves of her cashmere jumper and checks for snags in the material before stepping away from the tree, away from Ethan.

She isn't joining in his laughter, but she doesn't look terribly hurt by his reaction either. Annoyed, maybe. Frustration pinches crow's feet at the corners of her eyes and frumples her brow. "Enjoy your shooting, I'm going back inside."

Slamming his hand against the tree trunk, he shoves himself rapidly to his feet. Covering his mouth for a moment to disguise his smile, he reaches out. "Princess. Princess, I'm sorry. Don't walk away from me, princess." A few long legged steps go to round off in front her and block her from going back to the cottage. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." He pleads, bringing his hands up in surrender. He's sorry.

"I'll tell you wot I know love. Alright? Will that make y'appy?" He tilts his head a bit, eyes searching her features. "And I totally swear I won't laugh anymore." Haha.

Eileen shifts to the left, then to the right, rocking her weight from leg to leg as she debates the best way to get around Ethan and plunge headlong into the undergrowth. When that doesn't work, she retreats several steps and starts looking for another exit that isn't blocked by a barrel chest or tangles of poison ivy and blackberry thorns. Surprisingly, the birds in the trees aren't of much help — with the sunlight steadily trickling away, lengthening shadows make it difficult for their eyes to identify safe passage. "I'm not going to buy him a really big clock," she says.

"I know you're not going to get 'im a really big clock." The Wolf admits, raising his hands once again in concession. Dropping them he lets his head hang over his chest. He takes a step forward, one hand raising up to brush against her cheek lightly. "Do you love 'im?" He asks gently, the same question she asked him a bit earlier.

Eileen flinches slightly at the touch. Her ego is still a little bruised. "I don't like using that word," she says, swallowing. "Some of the things I've done to him since the Narrows came down— I'm not proud of it. He's still hurting and I feel like every time we talk it's just rubbing salt into the wounds. He knows how I feel. I need to know whether it's reciprocated, or if I should be looking somewhere else—"

"You used it just fine earlier when it was bein' applied to me." Ethan retorts, peering at her closely. He stands for a moment, eyeing her before he visibly softens. "Alright, love." Slinking his arm around her shoulders, he starts to lead her back towards the cottage. His juice boxes and deformed figurines go abandoned, for now.

"Tell me all about it." He invites, pulling her in close to his side as they walk together. "Maybe gettin' you a fuckin' date can be my new 'obby. I suck something awful at whittling, anyway." Leading towards the cottage, the older man listens softly as Eileen for the first time in a long time, opens up to him.

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