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Scene Title Solitude
Synopsis Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top. — Virginia Woolf
Date March 3, 2009

Filatov Clinic


At various points in Eileen's life, it's been both a blessing and a curse, but tonight she can confidently categorize it as the former — with Constantine off in Manhattan tending to one of his long-term patients, she has the clinic all to herself and can revel in the sound of the rain pattering against the glass panes that divide her candlelit sanctuary from the world outside as she sits in the doctor's armchair by the fire lit in the wood-burning stove with an English translation of Alexander Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter.

While she might not be a big fan of Russian literature, her employer is, and since her selection is limited to what he keeps on his personal shelves, she doesn't have much of a choice when it comes to reading material. The stove provides enough heat for her to be dressed comfortably in her nightshirt and the robe Constantine provided her when she first started working for him, and she sits with one bare leg dangling over the arm of the chair, the other tucked beneath her. She isn't expecting anyone to come barging into the clinic after hours, but if the trend of the last week has been any indication of what the future holds… it pays to be awake and prepared, just in case.

No one should be at the door, let alone in this weather. The door knob rattles once, followed by the realization that it's locked. A few heavy, hard rapping sounds echo on the frame, followed by a voice muffled by distance and solid wood, "Princess?" So familiar, so quiet and beaten sounding, like a wounded dog limping back to its doghouse after so long out and away. "Princess you in there? Open up." It's been a long time since she's heard Ethan call her that, a long time since he's said it with such urgency. It's just… been a long time.

At first, Eileen peeks over the top of the book, gray-green eyes narrowed to slits as he gaze slides all the way across the clinic to the door. When she hears the voice — his voice — she cranes her neck, arches her back and rises from her seat in the armchair all in one smooth motion, setting The Captain's Daughter aside on the cushion. Catlike, she jerkily stalks over the floorboards, stop-and-go, wavering with indecision — it's hard to believe he'd find his way back to her, but hope ultimately wins out over trepidation.

The lock turns, the door opens.

And there stands Ethan, rainsoaked and breathing like he'd just run a marathon. He doesn't say anything at first, just watches Eileen with a longing smile, one arm resting on the door frame, water running down his forehead to drip off of the tip of his nose. "I just— I 'ad to see you," he mumbles, leaning off of the door frame before his next words sputter and spurt out of his lips, following an intense graying of his flesh, blackening of veins eyes widen, words catch as dry as parchment paper in the back of his throat.

Ethan stumbles forward, reaching out to wind fingers into Eileen's nightshirt, breathing in a rasping breath as his flesh begins to split and crack, peeking back to reveal black smoke and ashen flesh beneath. His forearm cracks from the weight of his body against it, crumbling in a fissure of charred bone and darkened skin, tendrils of night slithering out from his body, snaking up into the air as his legs crack at the ankles, sending his whole body pitching forward, crumbling to so much dust and paper-like bones across Eileen.

When his head hits the floor, it explodes in a powdery burst, swirling with eddies of shadow that ebb and flow from a figure that interposes itself between the doorway and the rainy street outside.

All he exists as, is a deep, dark shadow of swirling black smoke in human form, surrounded by dark clouds of gray ash and soot, slithering snake-like tendrils of shadow moving through the ashen fog. Clutched in one ephemeral hand, a silver-headed cane with the snarling visage of a wolf.

"Munin." He growls, his voice like sandpaper and gravel.

It takes Eileen's mind what feels like an eternity to process what just happened. The skeletal sticks that were once Ethan's fingers still cling to the fabric of her nightshirt, bent at the knuckle, and the arid taste of dust ash fills her nose and mouth, causing her to choke.

She takes one step back and then another, bare feet leaving delicate prints in the fine powder covering the clinic's floor, fragments of skull and bone like scattered like granules of sand on a graying beach. What she's seeing can't be real. What she's feeling can't be real. As she closes her hand around the remains of the fingers clutching at her breast, they dissolve beneath her grasp, caking her palm in grit.

Kazimir Volken is supposed to be dead.

Eileen's breaths come in short, sudden gasps, her entire body heaving as she struggles to pull air into her lungs. She can't even summon the breath to gasp out Ethan's name, though her eyes are filled with anguish for him. Tears streak hot and wet down her cheeks and paint them black, leaving long, glistening trails in the remains she wears on her sallow face.

"You spit in my face after all I've done for you…" The words are so familiar, sounding so hollow and detached from reality now as the black phantom drifts into the doorway, not carrying itself with the even gait of a man, but the hanging, floating drift of something otherworldly, something beyond life or death. "You would have been raped and killed by whatever filth you associated with if it were not for me. This is the thanks I am repaid with…" One phantom hand rises slowly, clouds of darkness billowing behind the shadowed silhouette, sending snaking tendrils of night slithering across the floor towards her.

As if this couldn't come to more horrifying ends, the slam of something heavy against the back door comes in some unexpected clatter. A constant slam, slam slam of the back door raging against its hinges, before finally shattering off its frame, sending the door bouncing down the hall. Out of her sight, all Eileen can hear is heavy, plodding footsteps and the scrape of metal on concrete echoing down the hall.

Behind Kazimir, and all around the wraith's incorporeal form, the ground begins to weather and decay. Paint peels and cracks, tiles become grimy and browned, as if baked by heat. Metal starts to corrode and rust as the ashen fog rolls over surgical steel. "You're terrified of me," the shadow stops just shy of Eileen, black coils of darkness beginning to wind their way around her legs, "aren't you?"

Terrified may be too feeble a word to describe Eileen's emotional state. Paralyzed with fear, she's riveted to the spot — the sound of wood cracking, splintering before exploding off its hinges elsewhere in the clinic blends seamlessly in with the thunderous pounding of her heart and the blood in her ears, loud as a sledgehammer. She can barely hear her own voice burbling up in her throat; her pale lips are forming words, but she can't even feel her tongue maneuvering around in her mouth as she finally finds the strength to speak them.

"I never wanted this for you," she hisses, hitching, "I never wanted this for any of us." Her gaze darts down to the tendrils curling around the exposed skin of her bony ankles and lean calves, but her feet might as well be caught in a steel trap. Even if she could move them, she daren't. "You were my family."

"Fam'ly," rumbles another voice from down the hall, followed by that scraping of metal on stone. "Is'tha what we were t'you?" The clomping footfalls end as an enormous figure draped in black leather emerges from the back entrance. Filling the hall, his dark skin has taken on a more sickly, pallid color of death. The right side of the enormous man's skull is smashed in, dangling fragments of bone and brain matter hang above his ear, eyes shriveled and dead in sunken sockets. The rusted, dull knife in the hands of Abdul-Aziz is unfamiliar, though the pain it had given her in life is so keenly reflected upon.

"Is that how you'll threat this family?" Kazimir glides forward, raising one spectral hand of rolling darkness and ash, while the room around him begins to decay and crumble, the ceiling buckling as stress fractures line its surface, as if he could bring decay and ruin to all things now, not merely the living.

King's gaunt, drawn out form moves out of the hall, dragging the tip of his knife over the concrete wall, "Mu'nan, did y'think y'really survived fallin off'a tha' bridge?" Kazimir's eyeless form stares down at Eileen, holding out a hand to draw her close with unfelt tendrils of darkness that seem to pull her closer to him, even as the sickening pain in her body grows the closer she gets.

"Tell me, Munin, will you betray the one you love, too? Turn on him when it is convenient? When you disagree with him?" The shadows of his face begin to peel back, revealing the weathered, old and sagging face of Gabriel Gray, eyeless and hollow, like a shell of flesh stretched over so much shadow.

Eileen flashes back to the bridge: the roar of the water below, the shrill scream of snapping steel above, the vice-like pressure of Sylar's hand closing around her wrist, pulling her back up to safety just before—

She blinks, clearing the tears from her vision, mouth opening and closing in a gaping fashion though no sound comes out. Everything that's happened in the past few weeks has been so vibrant, so vivid, but so is this, and so was the saltwater flooding into her mouth and nostrils when the waves sucked her under and wrenched her grip from his. Did she survive falling off the Narrows?

Suddenly, she isn't so sure.

"Eileen," she whispers raggedly, lifting her chin and raising her face to Kazimir. Their close proximity does more than make her body physically ache. "My name is Eileen." She can sense conflicted emotions, buried until now, forcing their way to the surface and completely obliterating the taciturn exterior she'd adopted around other people. Love and remorse, contempt and longing — it's all there, splashed across her face, lending her the sort of vitality that their surroundings are being drained of. "He doesn't even remember me."

"And that makes it fine?" Kazimir's voice has taken on Sylar's tone, so much sharper and higher in pitch. He reaches out with one dark cloud of a hand, fingers brushing in some strange and mixed texture of sooty cotton and fiberglass, "because he can't remember, will make it okay to lie to, betray, and murder him?" His touch doesn't burn as it should, it hurts but it lacks the desiccating caress he visited upon her cheek so long ago.

"Non'a us survived th' fall, Mu'nan." King circles the pair, his rusted knife gripped in bony fingers of skin stretched too tight over skeletal framework. "No' you, no' Syla', no tha' Wolf," he motions to the dusty remains, "you'all prison'a like me," he steps behind her, bringing the rusted knife to her throat, pressing the dull but jagged edge to her neck, "prisoners insid'a him." King murmurs into her ear, the stink of rotten flesh carrying from his breath, as he points with the knife to Kazimir.

You can't murder someone who's already dead, can you? Eileen's senses are drowning in a sea of stimuli, and the stench of decay spilling over her simultaneously makes her want to wretch and bury her face in the shadow where Kazimir's chest should be. She doesn't. Instead, she fights to focus and interweave her two disparate trains of thought into one so she can address both revelation and accusation at the same time.

"If you ever felt the same way about me as I felt about you," she whispers harshly, her voice raw, beginning to fray at its edges, "you'll stop this— you'll be the way you were before. I want to touch you, to be able to see—" To see what, Eileen doesn't know. Only that she's reached the bottommost depths of desperation.


"See?" Kazimir croons, "See me?" There's a rough, rasping tone to the voice, one unlike either Sylar or Kazimir, someone else's voice joining the mix. "My little girl, no one sees me, I'm…" He leans in, face contorting and twisting into smoke and darkness again, that ephemeral hand reaching up to squeeze her cheeks together.

"Y'don' know yet, my girl?" King presses a cold, dry mouth to Eileen's ear, whispering hoarsely into it as that rife stink of decay wafts up from his weathered and cracked flesh. "Maybe we'all dead, maybe we'all alive, but here, where you be now, I am the King."

The voice inside of the shadows whispers, raising his hand to cover over Eileen's face entirely with his blackened hand as her flesh begins to dissolve from around her mouth, the searing hot pain racing down her neck and up through her teeth into her skin.

"I am naught but nightm—"

The rest is drowned out by the wailing howl of Eileen's scream, which carries over into the real world when she abruptly bolts awake, jolted back to reality by the thump-thump-thump of a something banging against the clinic door.

Drenched in sweat, dark curls of hair plastered to her cheeks and brow, she's exactly where she dozed off about twenty minutes ago, The Captain's Daughter held open across her lap, a blanket wrapped around her slim form to keep the draft off her naked neck and shoulders.

One hand flies to her face, fingers finding the bony contours of her jaw and nose intact, soft and fleshy, warm beneath the clammy touch of her palm.

She's not dead.

She's not dead.

March 3rd: Making Plans
March 3rd: Mutual Friends, Mutual Acquaintances
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