Square One


eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

Scene Title Square One
Synopsis In which Ethan makes an appeal that someone else has already made on his behalf.
Date April 29, 2009


In the past few weeks, Eileen has undergone many transformations, most of them emotional and mental, others physical, some spiritual — the biggest changes are the ones on the inside, intangible adjustments to her psyche that influence her habits and the hours at which she comes and goes. She's become something of a nocturnal creature, seeking comfort in starlight and resting fitfully among the shadows when the sun takes to the sky.

It's past curfew when she slips out the safehouse's back exit like a fox squeezed from its den, her movements slow, cautious, pale green eyes bright and alert. Her intimate familiarity with the alley into which it leads bolsters her confidence considerably and allows her to relax a little when the darkened surroundings greet her only with silence.

It's safe, or at least as safe as it's going to get.

There she is

It took a few days to track her down, but he finally got it narrowed down. And here she is. Such a long time, so many things have happened and his closest contact with her was staring at her from the middle of a combat arena. His eyes follow her closely as she shoots out into the alleyway, his nostrils flaring a bit as they suck in a bit too much air. Two fingers raise up to grab at the unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. Then his hand floats down to his side as he lopes forward.

He is silent, but not as silent as he could be. After all he's not trying to kill her, give her a bit of his scent, as it were. Let her hear him just a little bit as he creeps through the darkness behind her. The cigarette is tossed aside carelessly as he gives chase to the girl.

In spite of himself, his heart starts to pick up. She'll be mad at him for avoiding her for all this time, for not having said anything. And what was the reason? He told himself it was for her own good but…

His foot scuffs against the wall, and he curses himself internally. Sloppy. He would be dead because of that were this not a mission on sneaking behind a little girl. He comes to a standstill, the brown hood of his sweatshirt dangling over his brow as he stoops down and watches the girl in front of him.

It isn't a loud sound. It wouldn't even be particularly noticeable if Eileen wasn't listening for it. But she is, and it resonates with the clarity of a gunshot in her ears, spinning her around on her heel with one arm outstretched, gloved palm angled toward the source of the noise, fingers splayed. It's a familiar gesture, one that Ethan has witnessed many times, most notably from Sylar, but this is the first instance he's seen Eileen use it.

There's a curl of her lip accompanied by pearly gleam of fang shining faintly in the light that leaks in from the street at the alley's mouth. She wasn't expecting an ambush. Her wild-eyed expression makes that much clear. "Don't come any closer," she warns, her voice low, hissing, both thin and coarse at the same time.

Ethan was right. She is mad, though not for the reason he'd anticipated. His little 'princess' simply doesn't recognize him.

"Whot y'gonna do? Point me to death?"

The words are teasing, not exactly the first thing he would have wanted to say on his joyous reunion with his not-daughter, but it'll have to do. She looks very serious with that pointing finger. His feet scuff against the ground, pointedly, so that she hears him dragging his feet so that she knows he is in fact coming closer. Several steps and then his feet stop.

"Y'sure you don't want me to come any closer?"

For the second time in as many days, Ethan's voice registers, placates, smoothes Eileen's hackles and causes her to visibly deflate — the only difference between now and the previous night is that she's staring down the real thing, not a convincing imitation dreamed up by a man with feet large enough to fit in Holden's shoes. And fortunately for the imposter, she hasn't yet realized her mistake.

Gray-green eyes narrow to cattish slits outlined in a band of gold around her pupil, appearing to almost glow when she uses them to assess the broad-shouldered figure of the man standing in front of her and critically pick his features apart. It's him, to be sure, but what she's looking for isn't validation of his identity. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

A brow arches in the shadow of his hood at the question. Was she really that intelligent? She figured that he had went away from her intentionally. He had hoped she would have given him the benefit of the doubt, that he was trapped somewhere, or was otherwise unable to see her. He didn't want her to assume the truth. A pause is given before he answers the question.

"I needed to see you." He admits, blatantly. Needed to touch her, to hold her. But he won't say that. His right foot staggers forward instinctively, though he doesn't close the full distance between them. "Needed to talk to you." His voice is softer than it would have been the night before, from the tone of the imposter. This Ethan doesn't have to try hard to act like himself, which may or may not make him seem less like himself than the other. Which makes no sense at all.

Fate is not without a sense of humour, it seems. From Eileen's perspective, there's something very Wrong about all this, and so her hand remains where it is, crackling with unseen energy visible to no one except herself — the truth is, she really isn't that intelligent, contrary to some of the kinder allegations against her. Introspective, yes. Clever? Certainly. But she isn't smart in the way that Ethan's stand-in is smart, and as manipulative as she can sometimes be, she often lacks the foresight to effectively make use of what knowledge she has.

Shapeshifting is a possibility that hasn't even crossed her mind.

The need to touch and to hold is one that she shares, however, and she's desperate enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. Eileen wants so badly to believe what he's saying is true, that he's had time to rethink his earlier decision and classify it as a mistake. "Why?"

"Why?" Ethan says, his tone sounding somewhat pained. "I need a reason?" His feet hesitate in his slow advance. He has to explain himself to visit his little girl? Rather, to visit the girl he's come to think of as his little girl. His lips pull downward, he has a sick feeling this is not going to be the happy reunion he had been hoping on. "Whot the fuck are you doing with your finger?" He asks, a little anger biting through. Not that she's pointing at him weirdly, or that she's not hopping around giddily. "You're making yourself look stupid." He's angry at himself. For not seeing her, for being away from her. For letting her become a girl who points at strangers in alleyways. Not a very good defense, to his knowledge.

"What the 'ell, princess? 'ow many months 'as it been? I can't come see you after all that. I've been thinking about you a lot, Eileen. I'm sorry I 'aven't come to see you sooner. I thought it would be good for you." He concedes, giving a guilty shrug of his shoulders.

How many months? It's only been a matter of hours by Eileen's count. The indecision etched across her brow deepens to something more sinister, suspicion creeping into the lines of her face and the slanted angle of her chin, pursed lips. So much for giving him the benefit of the doubt. "Don't call me that," she bites off, voice rising to a throaty snarl and spitting venom, "Ethan Holden was here last night and came to say good-bye."

She takes one step forward and then another, watchfulness traded for something bolder and more brazen. Her hand remains exactly where it is, all protests aside. "Who are you, and how'd you get ahold of his skin?"

His lips go into a thin line. Ethan Holden certainly was not there last night to say goodbye. Though he might be there tonight to say goodbye. "What th'fuck is wrong with you?" He growls back. "You like Princess." He insists. Or at least she doesn't make him stop every other time. "I'm 'ere now, the fuck I was 'ere last night." He arches a brow.

"I am Ethan 'olden. 'oo th'fuck are you, acting like a bronze balled idiot?" He growls, taking a step forward. "Were you drunk last night, love?" Or worse, was she back on the drugs. His head tilts in concern as he takes a few steps forward. "Are y'okay, love?"

Eileen is most definitely not okay. She isn't on drugs either — if she's high on anything it's the adrenaline coursing through her veins, blood pumping furiously from a thundering heart. For all her brashness, she's scared. Terrified, really, and the sight of someone Ethan's size advancing on her much smaller form doesn't do a lot to ease those fears. Closing the distance between them is all well and good when she's the one in control of the situation. Not someone whose raw strength parallels the monster for which Kazimir named him.

Fenrir. Wolf. Whether or not this man is Ethan, his shape belongs to a killer who wouldn't have to do much more than put his hands around her throat. "Stop," she says again, on the off-chance that she really does have things backwards, "I don't want to hurt you."

"Princess." Ethan says, sounding rather hurt, and close to desperate. "What is wrong with you?" He asks almost pathetically, when she says she doesn't want to hurt him. Even though he believes she couldn't, still he has no idea what is bothering the girl. And he does not wish to put the obviously freaked out critter in a corner.

"Come 'ere princess, it's me." He says, bringing up his hands to slowly tug past his hood, revealing his features fully. A look on his face that he would not allow anyone else to see. He stares at her for a moment, a light sigh dragging out of his lips. His arms outstretched as if to receive her.

It isn't fair that the tone of someone's voice should have the power to cause another physical anguish, but life rarely is. Eileen pushes a trembling hiss past gritted teeth, jaw clenched, followed by what sounds like a whimper but isn't quite feral enough to match her body's ugly posturing.

She doesn't want to do it. Can't. Not if she has to stand here and watch his face when she starts making him bleed. His voice belongs to someone she loves, and who loves her in return. His eyes—

"I'm sorry," is her abrupt apology, uttered at exactly the same time she expels another gust of breath and turns away from him, leading with her good leg. Welcoming his embrace is no longer an option, and there are very few other left except for escape.

And so she runs.

"Munin." Ethan calls out, not taking a step after her. His chest deflates as she turns to flee. She won't hear any foot steps pounding after her, or any yelling. Simply a beating heart and a brain trying to figure out what the fuck is going on in the confused girls head. Ethan stands and watches hopelessly as his not-daughter makes a break for it. His hands resting at his sides helplessly.


Eileen rounds the corner and is gone, assimilated into the night like so many other living shadows, all jagged corners with no eyeshine or true shape to define them. It'll be some time before she realizes she isn't being chased, and when she does it will be too late to turn back — needless to say, she won't be returning to this particular safehouse in the near future, which leaves Ethan alone and back where he started:

Square one.

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