Something Said


sylar_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Something Said
Synopsis As cheery a discussion as you can get between a serial killer and a coroner.
Date November 23, 2008

Harlem Morgue

The cold air and the strong odor of antiseptics carries all the way though into the entrance hall, going together perfectly with the strong lights, sterile whites and smooth metal surfaces. The cleaning products do a pretty good job at masking the lingering smell of death, but those who already know it will surely come to recognize it. As morgues go, this one isn't terribly special. The entrance hall has little else to look at but a sign that reads //"Taceant colloquia. Effugiat risus. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae." Or: Let conversations cease. Let laughter depart. This is the place where death delights to help the living.//

For those who have the authority to wander, the hall connects to four small offices, a large autopsy room, and a cold chamber. The latter's temperature dips well below freezing point and is only accessible to the morgue's employees.

It's not quite midnight, but it's certainly late enough for most of the employees of the Harlem Morgue to be cozy at home with their families, pets or even just their daily dosage of TV watching. Doctor Zachery Miller, on the other hand, has no family waiting at home. He did once have a goldfish, but after discovering it had been dead for a few weeks before he'd even noticed the thing floating about the surface of its water, he decided that maybe he shouldn't have pets anymore. And television? No, being over here was much more interesting.

Metal -chings- echo through the nigh empty autopsy room, which has its door standing wide open, ready for the visitor Zachery paged a little while ago. But this visit will not grant the visitor his usual reward. No, the body Zachery is looming over isn't Evolved - pale and naked on the autopsy table is a young black man, his chest, neck and face riddled with tiny holes. Zachery himself is dressed in the usual scrubs, his hands - gloved and covered with the usual reddish grime of the job - assisting him in pulling yet another small bit of metal out of one of the holes, and dropping it with another -ching- into a metal pan. For once, standing over the schrapnel-filled teen, the coroner looks content. Completely at ease.

One thing can be said for Sylar. He can very punctual. Not so far off the mark Zachery had set for him, the soft sound of foot steps within the quiet morgue will start to be heard, and soon, Sylar's tall frame makes a silhouette in the door. A black coat, hem going as far as his calves, hangs open to reveal jeans, a thin grey sweater, and on his wrist, an ever present watch. This hand is the one that rests on the frame of the door, dark eyes going from the coroner down to the coroner's work on the corpse, which obviously, doesn't strike Sylar as something to feel disgusted by, more watching the way Zachery's tools cut and extracts metal from dead flesh. "Do you have to take out every piece?" he asks, quiet curiousity in his voice.

Zachery's movements halt only for a heartbeat when the voice sounds, and he gives a short glance into Sylar's direction before returning to his work. "No." He answers calmly, turning ever so slightly as to keep Sylar in his line of sight even if he's not focusing on the live man so much as the dead one. Another bit of metal is pulled out with the utmost care, and deposited in the right spot with another -ching-. "But I like to be thorough." By now Sylar will have had the chance to notice Zachery is heavily favouring one hand over the other, a lingering effect from their last proper conversation. That is not to say he isn't still precise as ever, though. "Thank you for coming. I'm sure you're busy." His lips twitch into a smile, but it's a certainly a way from genuine.

His hands slide into his pockets, moving further into the autopsy room at a meander. "I am," Sylar agrees. "Probably not busy the way you imagine me to be but busy all the same. But I make time for friends." He comes to stop about a foot away from the corpse on the other side of the operating table. Then, as if embarking on the next move of a waltz, he steps forward so that the light illuminating the youth's corpse spills a little onto the killer as well, deepening some shadows while banishing others. "Did you have something for me?"

Ah, always with the dramatics. Zachery, badly though he wants to say something snarky about it, merely halts his work completely and looks Sylar into the eyes with the expressionless face he's been practising all his life. He told himself not to show any fear, and he's holding up pretty well so far. "Yes. Though it's not so much a something given, as a something said." The tools he's holding are placed carefully onto a sidetable. "It's come to my attention that we have some… trust issues." He looks up to Sylar again, brows lifted slightly. "You see, I keep having the feeling you're trying to keep me from my life and what I do best," One hand is motioned towards the lifeless shape on the table, "and, well, I imagine you think the same way about me. After all, I haven't been very accepting of the things you do. I feel I may have been too eager to judge." His words come too smoothly, somehow. Rehearsed. Even though on all other accounts… he seems to mean it.

Sylar's gaze travels with the tools Zachery sets aside, waiting for a moment before he reaches out to pick up the forceps he'd been using to remove the shrapnel, the delicate object held up under the light and observed. Almost a childish, curious act, distracted, but when he looks back at the man, his intent gaze indicates that he's quite clearly been listening. "It's in your nature to judge," he says, "as a decent human being. Murder is wrong." His tone of voice doesn't imply conviction - in fact, he sounds almost mocking as he sets down the forceps, reaching for the other tool Zachery was using to pull back skin.

"Surely. On paper." Zachery answers, head lowering slightly as a more genuine smirk appears on his face. "The truth is, I've always been slightly… off. In fact, speaking about honesty, I think I may have something else to tell you. Even though you may have figured it out for yourself already." He pauses, standing perfectly still while watching Sylar for any kind of response before he continues.

The tool is applied against one of the deceased's lacerations, almost mimicking the way he'd seen Zachery do it, although Sylar is mindful not to do anything that would ruin the corpse, it seems. A moment later, he's taking the forceps, and after a moment of studing, he focuses on one of the shrapnel wounds near the man's throat, tools exploring. "It's hard to tell what constitutes as 'on' these days," he says. "But you're right. You're different. Tell me what I may have figured out, doctor."

At least the man is already dead. Zachery's hands flex idly by his sides as he watches Sylar do his thing, resisting the urge to reach and correct his every move. Maybe he can avert the killer's thoughts elsewhere? "I have a twin brother. We share the same looks, quirks, sense of humor, drives. Yet, he lacked a certain something. He stayed behind as I made a career. Began my life. He had never… evolved past the ordinary. And I had." He swallows, still watching the other. "I have a gift. Like the ones you have been collecting. Of course I was hesitant to tell you this— After all, it's basically putting myself on your… list, so to speak. Until I realized my place. I have nothing to fear so long as I do what I've been doing. And I've no problem with that." He seems genuinely relieved, actually, grinning faintly

There seems to be no steering Sylar off his task, although he does pause to tilt his head up enough to look at Zachery as he speaks of his gift. The grin draws some amusement from him, own mouth mirroring it in a more sedate version, and then silence falls aside from the gentle scratch of metal as two tools work in tandem. Finally, he extracts the forceps, showing the bloodied piece of shrapnel about the size of a penny. Ching! He drops this into the pan, looking rather pleased with himself. "No matter the part we play, everything seems to run smoother when you find yourself in the right position, doesn't it? I don't plan to kill you, Zachery. Although now I'm curious. What do you do?"

"Something a little bit more subtle than slicing heads open I'm afraid." Zachery is quick to answer, with a sparse chuckle as he leans back over the body again. "I can… 'read' bodies, if you will. It's a sort of knowledge of how things should be working, and an aching sense of when they're not. It's not much use to you due to its nature, but it has its benefits." Without reaching for any of the tools, he bends over the body again and simply pushes aside some battered flesh with his fingers, sticking a thumb and index finger between the victim's ribs. "Obviously this body isn't working so well. But I can still sense where bones have been broken, skin has been bruised, and muscles have been…" He feels around a moment, then pulls out another bit of shrapnel, and holds it up for Sylar to see, "… perforated. Handy, that."

Perhaps for the first time since they've met, Sylar is for once on the backfoot, honestly surprised when Zachery describes and demonstrates his ability. The autopsy tools are set aside, now, looking from the piece of shrapnel to Zachery's face. His own expression is perplexed, and he looks back down at the dead man between them for a moment, then back to Zachery. "Then you're more like me than you know," he says. "We have similar talents. My gift isn't about slicing heads open," and he smirks a little, although the twist of that half-smile is notably forced, "and the first time, I had to use blunt instruments, a rock, like a caveman. I see how things work too. I used to be a watchmaker. Probably as good a watchmaker as you are a coroner."

And with Sylar's surprise, comes Zachery's fascination. "A watchmaker." He breathes, but only after a few seconds of thought. "… Well, I suppose it wouldn't be the first time a killer's come from an unexpected background. All the better. All the more interesting. It must be weird for you, someone who uses their talents so openly and with such success, to see me still struggling with tools to discover things I already know. For others' sake."

"Perhaps. But it's not as though people like us are held in high regard," Sylar says, eyes dropping back down to the corpse. "I wouldn't blame you for hiding what you can do… there are people like me out there after all. And our own government. Terrorists, hate groups. Is that why?"

"I suppose that's part of the reason, yes." Zachery finally drops the bit of metal he retrieved in with the rest, and shrugs. "It's also just part of me. I'm sure if I wasn't supposed to use it, I wouldn't have been given the option to. As for registration, I think that's a bloody load of…" He stops himself, grin turning wry. "Well, you know. If there was a forced registration for something like 'people who had a cat when they were growing up', I wouldn't join either. I don't see how it's relevant to anyone else's life."

"People who own cats rarely blow away whole cities," Sylar points out, mildly, not looking up, "at least… not because they own cats. But because they have the power to do it. Every ability can be dangerous if you want it to be. I'm a shining example. I could have been a very good watchmaker for the rest of my life." He looks up now, gaze as intent as ever. "You know I didn't do it. I didn't wreck New York City like they say I did."

"Ah, see," Zachery grins, hands resting on the autopsy table as he leans back slightly. "That's my point. Anyone can create chaos. Maybe not whole cities, but with a bit of money— creativity— you can easily kill thousands." He narrows his eyes. "However, I don't see how this would benefit me. Or, for that matter, you. So… no, I don't believe you did."

Sylar's head ducks again with a quiet sort of chuckle. "It didn't benefit the man who did it either," he says, with too much amusement for that to sound bitter, own hands resting against the autopsy table. "But I'm going to kill him. Probably with the abilities you've given me. How does it feel to know that in a way you're helping making this world a better place?"

Zachery quirks a brow, having expected… a different ending to that last question. His answer comes in a vaguely bored tone, though he looks strangely amused at the same time. "I suppose I'm just doing the usual, then. To help put away criminals. Can't let someone get away with killing that many people, now can we?"

"Oh gosh no," Sylar says, with sarcastic earnest, then smiles across at Zachery in his usual mask-like way - although perhaps there's some sincere amusement, there, even if his eyes are as shark-like as ever, devoid, detached. "It's about a vendetta. If I wanted to be a cop— well let's just say I have better things to do with my time. But I thought you'd appreciate the sentiment. I guess not."

Zachery's grin fades slowly. "No, I'm pretty sure I understand. The system we live in is broken, and I very much encourage personal vendettas. So long as they're not against me." He forces a small grin, briefly shakes his head, then reaches for the tools again to continue his work. "In any case, I'm glad we talked. If anything arrives that might be of use, I'll let you know."

Again, Sylar's attention is drawn to Zachery's work on the corpse, but after a moment, he steps back, hands clasping together as he moves towards the door with the intent to leave without a word. But then he hesitates and turns back towards Zachery before he can completely reach the door. "Do you think that if you woke up and everyone was," a meaningful glance towards the corpse, "dead, the world would seem a brighter place?" It seems like an honest question, as opposed to a jab, or something with a deeper meaning.

And an honest question deserves an honest answer. Zachery frowns lightly, though picks up his tools and continues working on the corpse almost as though he hadn't heard the question. But a few seconds later, he nods. The answer is, simply, "Until the smell."

Another strange, dry chuckle from the killer, and in a nervous gesture one would see if one wasn't taken by their work, he rubs his hands together as if it were cold. "I hadn't thought of that," Sylar says, almost wistfully, and on that ominous note, he adds, "thank you," and turns to disappear around the corner.

November 23rd: Quiet Now

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 24th: Hot Dogs and Irony
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