dina_icon.gif munin_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif

Scene Title Suture
Synopsis The things Munin can do with a needle, thread, and sharp eye.
Date November 6, 2008

Dorchester Towers: Ethan's Apartment

Dorchester Towers is home to many upper class, or more wealthier inhabitants. This apartment seems to be no exception. First impressions of this place, give a homey, and well furnished feel. Lamps are put in the right place, decorations here and there. The living room consists of a large green sofa facing the wall of windows, which has a large flatscreen TV in front of it. Speakers are installed all around for the Surround Sound feel. Next to the TV is a cabinet full of DVDs. Most of these movies include a gun of some sort in each of them. A small coffee table sits in front of the couch, a few magazines spread out on it.

The kitchen is well stocked, with a microwave, coffeemaker, and of course a toaster. There is an overhead pan rack hanging over the stove which has many pots, pans, and other utensils hanging from it for easy access. Three doors lead away from the kitchen and living room. Two are large, comfortable bedrooms, complete with posters on the walls, and one is a room that is furnished with a stand up punching bag, dumb bells, a treadmill, and other types of work out equipment.

For the -extremely- well trained eye, or for someone who knows what they're looking for it would be apparent that there are little things off about this apartment. Reinstalled panels, etc, that would suggest whoever lives here has done some renovation work. (Note:Ethan has 'toys' hidden throughout his apartment, in case of 'emergencies'.) Overall though, this spacious living area has been well taken care of, and kept very tidy.

There might be something mildly pathetic about this spectacle. He's sat here for an hour in the same seat, working his way down the crystal bottle of whisky, his blood-scabbed back and shredded shirt held rigidly upright in an almost immobile two-inch margin from the surface of Ethan's dining room chair. Wu-Long is nothing if not a neat house guest when he cares to be.

In the past sixty-odd minutes, the man had moved only to remove his shoes, placed them in the corner of the room. He had sat and thought, listening to the clock ticking, the soundless serenity of Sierra's REM breathing one wall away and the servo-motored rummaging of the elevator up and down the shaft outside. He's too empty to be bored, too tired to be restless; enjoys the moment for what it is: one separate from those adjacent.

When the front door opens, it isn't Ethan who appears in the frame. The slim silhouette belongs to someone much smaller and more feminine than holden; narrow shoulders, thin arms and a complete lack of the traditional hourglass figure define Eileen Ruskin's shape as she steps inside and raises her hand to the nearest light switch. With a flick of her wrist, she floods the flat with a soft yellow glow, banishing the shadows to their imaginary cages in the furthest corners of the living room. The solemn expression on her face suggests she isn't surprised to find Wu-Long here, but the tentative smile she gives him in the seconds that follow should reassure the man she's not disappointed either. "Sierra?" she asks him, choosing to leave the rest of her question unspoken.

Soft-spoken during the most social of the Vanguard's times, Wu-Long doesn't word an answer to the question at all this time. Answers instead with his head and hands: a smile white against his stubbled face, his skull canted gently, and hands raised next to it, palms together, the universal gesture for 'sleepy bear.'

He'd glanced up abruptly. No guns drawn, no sleep clouding his eyes, but he was quick to confirm the cadence of her tiny feet was her own. His callused hands fall back on the table, avoid touching his empty glass. Here now as ever, either his peculiar attachment to Confucianism or an unpractical test for his own pain tolerance rearrange his priorities out of the usual order.

Superficial injuries can be dismissed in the interest of manners. He asks, low, "Do you need a drink?"

Munin could probably use a drink — a nice, strong one — but she simply shakes her head in response, causing a few stray curls to brush across her face before she can tuck the more errant ones behind her ear. "No," she murmurs, "m'fine. You don't look so good, though." Her green eyes narrow a fraction, imperceptible unless Wu-Long is watching for the change — and, knowing him, he very well may be. Leaving her shoes and pea coat at the door, she crosses the room on bare feet, moving toward him the same way a child might approach a wounded animal. Cautious, but perhaps not as much as she really ought to be. "What happened?"

Soldiers who kill their comrades are known as traitors or idiots. And whereas Wu-Long might be taken for either of those, given his long and peculiar history and considerable list of enemies who would say as much— and worse, he generally tries to avoid behaving like either of those things in the company of Kazimir's chosen. She needn't be that cautious, or so he's convinced himself for the time being. He takes the change of subject for what it is: reciprocal politeness.

Wiggles his shoulders, feeling the pinch of dried blood and severed skin, muscle and scratchy cotton. "Flesh wounds," he says, "several of them, but flesh wounds. Would you mind helping?" He gives her an inquiring look; one creature used to being handled by the veterinarian, if not for the customary procedures that most take their adoptees to.

With a nod, Munin moves into the bathroom, mindful of Sierra sleeping in the other room, and runs some hot water while she retrieves the first aid kit from under the sink. She doesn't ask Wu-Long how he received his wounds, not because she isn't curious — but because she gets the feeling she'll sleep easier if she doesn't know. All that matters is his safety, and since he isn't bleeding out all over Ethan's carpet she doubts there's much to worry about on that front.

A minute later, she reappears at his side with a damp cloth and an unmarked white case tucked under her arm. This isn't the first time she's had to patch one of Kazimir's soldiers up, and she doubts it will be the last; if it weren't for the pain she knows Wu-Long must be experienced, she might even take pleasure in cleaning the blood from his skin, separating the pieces of dead flesh from the living with her fingernails. "I've never seen anything like this before," she murmurs as she adopts a seat behind him and begins sponging off his back. "Does it hurt?" Of course it hurts. What she really means to ask is: how much?

The shirt rolls up under Wu-Long's fingers, and is left to hang around his neck like a rumpled lei of blood-spattered orchids, leaving his back exposed and some odd semblence of decency covering up the rest of him. Whether thanks to male bravado or a salute to Chinese stoicity, the answer is the ordinary one: "No." He isn't trying very hard to be original, he realizes. Or entertaining. She must be used to more noise, words or music; she must be used to the color of movement in the space around her.

He remembers what she was like when she was angry, and that she enjoys the companionship of birds. Finds himself, for a moment, incapable. The next: "It was a hydrokinetic." The syllables arise only slightly troubled by the internal hunt for the correct ones. English isn't his first language. "She rallied the rain. It felt like knives," he says. He means: it feels like knives now. Localized tingle, narrow-edged burn, the absence of permeating aches.

Haplessly, he inquires, "Does it look like knives?"

Munin traces the tip of her finger along one of the deeper, longer cuts and, squinting, tries to imagine the scene Wu-Long describes. "Too shallow to be knives," is her final assessment. "More like needles." Wringing out the washcloth into a small plastic bowl that came as part of the kit, she watches the blood mingle with the water as it's squeezed out of the fabric. "I'm gonna put some peroxide on the cuts," she warns him, "so bite your tongue. That should take some of the bite out."

That sounds counterintuitive. It'll hurt, but it'll take the pain away. Still, Munin knows who she's speaking to; Kazimir's soldiers are made of sterner stuff than to launch themselves, shrilling, off the chair and dodge around to the other side of the dining table until their diminutive and nigh-hollow-boned nurse pursues them into a corner. His only wish is, dimly, that he had eyes on the back of his head so he could see the needle go in.

For lack of that, he nods his head. Doesn't need to add words to the gesture, but he does anyway: "Dong la." She hears his teeth meet with a ringing snap like a wolf-trap shutting in the air.

The cloth returns to Wu-Long's skin, this time doused in a generous helping of hydrogen peroxide. Before she can close the cuts that are too wide to heal properly without the aid of stitches, she needs to cleanse them of any germs and bacteria that might be lurking inside. Her touch, while firm, is also gentle; although never formally trained in the art of medicine, she has enough experience to call herself well-practiced and be telling the truth. As she works, she begins to murmur a lilting tune under her breath — not quite humming and not quite singing, just loud enough to distract her thoughts from the fresh rivulet of blood that stream down Wu-Long's back when the needle first pierces his skin and plunges swiftly through, a thin stream of inky black thread trailing behind it.

Now the room is spinning on a lopsided axis, as if he was miniaturized and popped into a hollow top and unleashed across the room by a hand as child-sized as the one poking his back with medical supplies at the moment. Wu-Long isn't sure if that means he took too much whisky over the past hour, or if that's the pain, or if perhaps the two in combination are laying siege to his brain in a powerful two-front assault. He blinks. The neon spots run laps around his corneas like fireflies.

There's a rhythm to their flight and strobe-pulse; one that almost matches Munin's little melody, except where it doesn't, lagging in fractions of beats, sliding out of order and into jarring mismatch until they seem to syncopate briefly with the next bar. The Chinese man makes no sound nor motion that isn't perfectly automatic while she works; the subtle shift of ribs underneath his skin breathing in, out, and the blink of lampblack eyes shut, open, monotonous in the dark. His only reaction is a bead or twelve of sweat.

Being as close to Wu-Long as she is, Munin can sense that something is amiss beneath her hands; she doesn't need to see the reflection of his face in the glass of the window to realize he's uncomfortable, though chances are she would be too if her body underwent the punishment his has. Rather than assure him that she's almost finished, she makes an attempt at conversation, hoping it will take his mind off of the physical sensations he's experiencing much the same way her song took hers off the work. "What part of China are you from, Wu-Long?"

"Tianjin," he replies, so promptly that she might gather that even Wu-Long had parsed the awkwardness of the intervening silence. "I lived between there and Beijing for most of my life. School, army, marriage, first child." Wu-Long tends to speak in soupcons of infirmation whenever he isn't running his socialization executable. Which might only be human; most of the men he knows, when in pain, either do so or rattle off quips at such a ridiculously fervent pace one is left to wonder if they'd be so dedicated as to write them down for you if you cut out their tongue. "And you? What part of Britain? That song—" the one she was humming, he means. "That song sounded kind of folk."

"Folk," Munin repeats, her tone light with amusement. Almost merry. She suspects it would be, if the task at hand wasn't so serious. "I take it you've never seen the Muppet Movie." In lieu of scissors, she pauses to sever the thread in her teeth. "It's called the Rainbow Connection — my mother used to sing it to me, back when I was little." She still is, though obviously not as small as she once was. "I grew up in London, near Smithfield. Cant say my life's been as interesting as yours, though."

Sylar has arrived.

Dina has arrived.

A man sits cross-wise in a chair, his punctured and pink-stained dress shirt hanging around his neck, his back exposed to a diminutive, dark sylph of a woman with a needle and thread. It could pass for a page out of some post-modern fairytale; a lonely girl building her own doll for companionship, some human-sized thing convincing as flesh but empty of soul. Or it could be that Eileen Ruskin is patching up another one of Kazimir's men again.

Minute repairs deftly executed, distant and slow-moving conversation. Ethan's apartment stands quiet around them, illuminated only between living room and dining; Sierra is sleeping behind one of the bedroom doors, which probably doesn't account for how quietly these two are wont to speak. Wu-Long lets skepticism into his voice, so deadpan it might take her a moment to realize the quiet humor: "Because you're not married, or because you've never taken part in a war?" The former seems ludicrous, the latter a straight-up lie.

"Because I haven't been around as long." Munin says, using a cotton ball to lightly dab the blood away from the finished set of stitches as she inspects her handiwork from different angles and ensures none of them are going to come loose. "When I get to be as old as you are, I imagine I'll have seen my fair share of the world — assuming it still exists, that is. With the way Kazimir's been talking lately, I sometimes wonder." It's supposed to be a joke, but Munin finds that even she isn't smiling after the words have passed her lips.

Heavy foot steps can be heard, perhaps heralding Ethan's return - or not, if you know the nature of the mission he and Sylar just embarked on. The door is opened - locks come undone with a little bit of thought, should they be in place, and the door is pushed open.

The sight of an angry Sylar would normally be a scary thing to witness, but there's a certain (and deceptive) weakness to him now, skin pale which makes the darker stubble along his jaw and throat stand out, and his arm wrapped defensively over his midsection. The black fabric disguises, easily, the blood that's been soaked into it, along with his arm shielding the wound beneath, but the more perceptive among us might notice. A streak of that same precious red liquid courses down from his ear, the very tip of which is bloodied, down his neck and into the collar of the black hoodie.

The door rattles on its hinges as he lets it slam behind with him a flick of his hand, and as if to get a hold of himself, Sylar pauses, and takes stock of who is here, dark eyes going towards Wu-Long and Munin. No one he doesn't know, at least, and considers them both before veering for the kitchen for the time being, without a word.

The truth, in Wu-Long's prediction, doesn't sound a lot more optimistic than Eileen's joke. He knows better than to volunteer it by way of comfort. Instead, he offers the token defense: "I'm not that old," accompanied by a glance that lacks the force to either truly rebuke or to divulge proper insecurity based on his age. The charade collapses into a smile. "I think you're in for something a little less repetitive, if that counts for excitement. You don't seem like much of a creature of habit." He doesn't stop mid-sentence, but he doesn't start another.

Swivels his head toward the doorway a second before footfalls clack into common hearing and the rowels of lock turn audibly. When Sylar bursts in as such, Wu-Long doesn't register surprise— but he stands, abruptly, staring at the taller man as he storms in and blows past, reading his face before dropping gaze to the man's hands. The viscera they seem to be plugging in. Wordlessly, he slips his own shirt back on with an easy push of each arm, and takes Munin's bucket. He'll bring fresh water it.

As Wu-Long rises, Munin remains seated and begins — just in case — to thread another needle. She can't see the blood on Sylar's clothes, and while she doesn't have a sense of smell that's keen enough to detect the scent of it clinging to him, she can read his body language with the ease of a scholar schooled in all its subtle nuances. He's definitely hurt, but isn't sure whether it's his body or his pride that's been injured.

The sound of running water will soon be heard, then shut off once his hands are cleaned, then the opening and closing as cupboards as someone unfamiliar with their surroundings tries to find what they're looking for. It doesn't take too long, a long glass found and the refrigerator door opened, finding water. It's a simple mission, to get a glass of water, but when you don't know your way around the kitchen and you've lost just enough blood, it seems like more of a task than it should be. But it's done, and Sylar leans against the kitchen bench, downing a few good mouthfuls of cool water.

He's tempted to stay right there and wait until he knows the outcome of Ethan's mission, but even he knows that that's more than foolish - who knows how long it'd take? Hours, days even. So reluctantly, after a few minutes, Sylar emerges again with his glass of water, searching for a place to sit down nearby.

Unsure of what to say, he decides to tell them, curtly, "I don't know how successful we were."

Failure's an unattractive quality in a man. Mrs. Zhang had begrudged her husband his, certainly. Her husband looks at Sylar's from a distance and feels the incipient beginnings of amusement, though they're easily counter-balanced by the weight of other sentiments. A tactical defeat doesn't bode well, not at this phase of the plan. Down the hallway, there's the sound of water sluicing out of the container's plastic lip and swirling down the sink bottom, the shape of Wu-Long's frame stooped and watching to avoid a spill of bloody water across Ethan's immaculately-maintained bathroom. The faucet runs again.

He's out again in a breath. Or as if breathed out, exhaled from the further recesses of the apartment. The bucket, heavy again with water, meets the table with a solid sound. Neither it nor Sylar's concealed injuries warrant a mention. Before, it had been blocking the crystal bottle of whisky from Sylar's view; it's there now, should the man wish to trade up from water, but Wu-Long harbors the distinct sense that the other man isn't so much interested. There are enough chairs for all three of them. Ethan enjoys his dinner parties, after all. "Where is Holden?"

Dina, having been given this alternate contact point for Ethan, shows up at his apartment. Her entry is subtle and tasteful. That is to say, it consists of her pounding on the door with a fist several times, and a not-quite-bellowed "Ethan, y' fockin gobshite, open the fockin door." She kicks it once, too. Just for good measure.

Munin startles, her entire body going rigid at the sound of Dina's foot connecting with the door. Her voice is one that she doesn't recognize, and rather than move toward the door to answer it she shrinks away; Ethan has plenty of enemies, both here in New York and elsewhere, and if the tone of the stranger's voice is any indication… well. She's probably not here to make a social call.

The sudden pounding actually startles Sylar too. He hadn't been listening in the only way he can listen, and his head whips around, a hand raising as if to defend, attack, and in fact, the looser things around the apartment shift like a wind nearby had blown through - papers rustle and move a fraction, curtains sway - but it dies down easily when the recognisable voice of Dina comes next. Clenching his jaw, Sylar picks up the glass of water and downs it like an alcoholic might enjoy whiskey. If he sees the nearby alcohol, though, he doesn't go for it - no need to dull his senses anymore than they already are. He's not about to go for the door, although he's left it unlocked.

When the glass is set down, leaving a water ring on the table surface, he looks over at Wu-Long. "Either washing his hands clean of terrorist blood or introducing himself to old friends," he answers, not really meaning to be cryptic - just not in the mood to be an easy conversationalist, if he ever is. "He probably got what he wanted," he finally allows, now looking towards the bucket of water set out. He probably won't immediately ask for someone to tend to his wounds - he has a glass of water to finish first.

"Dina," Wu-Long says simply, recognizing the pet names, curses, and use of the doorbell more than her voice. "I didn't know Ethan sent for her." He rises in a minimalistic transition of movement, content to let the other man drink his water and nurse his wounds and Eileen handle him. Crossing the floor to the apartment entrance on sock-clad feet, he gives them the back of his shirt— fresh stitches showing Munin's deft touch. He unlocks the door quickly and opens it wide, stands subtly aside so that the Irishwoman can roar inward unimpeded by salutations or body parts left foolishly in her path. He'll shut it after her.

Dina steps in, and thankfully doesn't immediately try and clobber the person on the other side. In fact, she sees Wu-Long, and a bright grin crosses her face. "So I'm not the only one that got dragged over here t' play with the Yanks. S' good to see y'." A quick look about the place spots Sylar, who she's met, and— "Goodness. Yer a wee thing, aren't y'?" Not that she's actually much taller than Munin. But she carries herself more like a hurricane passing through.

Now Munin does stand up, abandoning her seat at the table so she can move her chair around the table. "Ethan isn't here right now," she tells Dina, her voice thick with an English accent that sounds like it belongs to a Londoner. It isn't nearly as strong as Holden's, though the soft manner in which she enunciates her words suggests she's spent a long time trying to improve her speech. "You can stick around if you'd like," she adds as she ventures closer to Sylar, attempting to get a better look at his condition, "but don't expect him to be back 'til morning."

"Or longer," Sylar says, gaze tracking Dina's progression into the house, flitting over Wu-Long's silent presence, then towards Munin, who's approaching him and his back stiffens defensively. A bizarre reaction to the slip of a girl who can talk to birds and doesn't look like she could harm anyone, let alone Sylar. He's on edge tonight, it seems. He's wiped the blood from his neck onto his sleeves, the wound at his ear very shallow, but it's likely not that that's made him so pale. His gaze switches towards the needle and thread, and he asks, "You're good at that?"

Dina seems to go even a bit more at ease once it's proven Munin's not a Yank, despite the fact that she's a Brit, and in some cases that might be worse. "Might as well. Got to see what the whole fuss and commotion is about that." She looks to Munin at Sylar's statement. "Y' the medic around here?"

"Good enough." There's the sound of wood scraping against the linoleum floor as Munin places her chair behind Sylar, though she does not climb up onto it yet. She pauses, reaching out to brush her fingertips against the wound with one hand; the other cups the man's chin in her palm and holds it still so he can't flinch away. "I guess you could call me that," she says. "S'not my official job title, but it'll do."

He can't call on Odessa. She'd made that abundantly clear. Sylar allows Munin's inspection, utterly still, even as her hand goes to her face. "It will do," he agrees, even if she wasn't responding to him, per se. His large hand that clamps gently around Munin's wrist, tugging her hand down briefly so he can talk. "There was a bullet in my side. It didn't hit anything vital or else it would be far more painful." That last part comes out as a sneer, so not looking forward to getting that wound seen to, but he has little choice. We all have flesh that bleeds, even if we try to carve ourselves out from ice and fear. His gaze settles again on Dina. "How's New York working for you?" Look, pleasant small talk.

Dina laughs. "Y'r makin' talk with me when y'r bleedin' out? Y' need a woman." She says, though her expression is more good-natured teasing. "Let the wee bit there tend to y'. I'm goin' to crash out on the couch a while." And that said, she moves to match action to word.

The look Munin gives Sylar is one of mild reproach. She couldn't summon any anger right now even if she wanted to; her concern is too great now that she's been alerted to the fact his condition is graver than it first appeared. "There was a bullet in your side?" she asks, presumably for clarification's sake. "You didn't try to dig it out yourself, did you?" She hopes not. If he did, the work ahead is going to be a lot messier than it could have been.

The half-beat pause might indicate he's guilty as charged. Or maybe he's a little bewildered by Dina's retort as he watches her leave with a blinking kind of blank expression. Why do they all keep saying things like— anyway. Sylar rolls his neck a little before looking at Munin. "I used my power to do it," he says, eyebrows raising a little, going on to point out, "I could feel it and know where it was better than you could."

Now, he's tugging off the hoodie, movements slow and measured. While the black fabric concealed the wound even with blood soaking into it, the white wifebeater beneath paints an entirely different story - a marginally scary one, too, blood flooding the white fabric in an expansive cloud of purple-tinged red. Bruises, as well, from the other night where the water hit him in the chest are visible, and an older, well-stitched bullet wound around on his right arm. Being in Vanguard is certainly having its way with him, but then again, this isn't much different to what he had to deal with back when he was at war with the FBI.

When he puts it that way, Munin can forgive him. Not only has he saved her the trouble of poking around his insides with the tips of her fingers, he's spared himself a great deal of additional pain as well. She swallows, hard, at the sight of all the blood and lets a slow, disapproving sigh from her nostrils. It isn't that she's squeamish; any ire she has now is directed toward the individual responsible for Sylar's condition rather than Sylar himself. "You sure you don't want something hard to drink?" she asks, taking the hoodie from him so it can be loosely folded and set aside for later. "You look like it probably hurts t'breathe."

Dulls the sense. Makes him vulnerable and weak. But then, all those senses are trained on the damage to his side in any case. Sylar breathes out in something not quite a sigh, then nods once, minutely. A drink, served neat, thanks bartender. "Should we move to the bathroom? I'd hate to bleed on the carpet," he says. "It's a nice place. Nicer than Cliffside. Maybe the fed was doing you a favour." A rambling Sylar is almost as scary as an angry Sylar, for completely different reasons. For one, it's far less likely than the latter version.

"May as well," Munin says, "though I doubt Ethan'll mind much. The man's got guns drilled into the walls, so it's not like he's getting his security deposit back." Sylar can ramble all he likes; listening him talk, even though he's talking about nothing in particular, is better than enduring an uncomfortable, stoic silence while she tends to him. "Your place is nice too, though I expect that has something to do with your lady friend. Girls like to keep things tidy-like." As if to demonstrate her point, she begins to neatly pack up the first aid kit in preparation for the move. She trusts Wu-Long to measure out the drink — her idea of a glass is probably more generous than what Sylar has in mind.

When the drink is poured, Sylar accepts it, smoothly downing the burning liquid with much unfamiliarity but determination to get it down, passing the empty glass back to Wu-Long with wordless thanks, but the twist of the frown at his mouth indicates what can easily be deduced - he just doesn't drink. Then, he gets up, unflinchingly - possibly the most damage done to the wound is the fact that he sprinted several blocks just after getting shot, and even here, his movement is unhindered as he follows Munin towards the privacy of the bathroom. Removing the wifebeater only shows off his currently technicolour map of wounds, much like Wu-Long's stunning array of needle thin cuts scratch-boarding across his skin. "I'd rather you do this slowly and carefully than quickly."

Munin purses her lips, fighting off an impish grin at the expression on Sylar's face. She can sympathize — she doesn't drink either. Once inside the bathroom, she shuts the door behind them so the sound of their voices don't rouse Dina resting on the couch or Sierra sleeping in one of the adjacent rooms. "It'll be easiest if you sit down," she suggests as she turns on the faucet and lets the water spill over her hands, washing away all traces of Wu-Long's blood before she gets down to business with Sylar. What she really needs is a pair of latex gloves, but a bar of soap and a few squirts of anti-bacterial lotion will just have to do instead. "From the looks of it, you might scar, you might not. I don't have to tell you not to pick at it, but it'll heal faster if you do. Less likely to get infected, too."

The toilet seat is pushed down, Sylar opting to sit on this when no chairs immediately make themselves available in the bathroom. When she started to touch at the torn skin at his side, he doesn't make a sound - his jaw clenches, his hands fist at his knees, but he doesn't otherwise move. "If it scars, I'll make sure to return the favour to him," he says, tone quiet - it's not growled out with anger, or hissed. It's just stated, words falling like slabs of ice. "Give him something to remember me by. For the short few precious moments between then and me killing him."

Munin takes to her knees on the bathroom floor in front of Sylar and begins to sponge the blood away from the wound with a fresh cloth. The fabric feels rougher against his skin than it normally would, so sensitive is the flesh around his injury, but it's warm too. "That's if Ethan doesn't get to him first. I don't know what you two were doing out there tonight, and to be honest that's probably for the best — but he isn't the type of man who lets things like this go unanswered for. If you want to do it yourself, be sure you tell him the next time you see him, otherwise he'll think he's doing you a favour and start slitting throats by himself."

He stays absolutely statue still as she tends to the wound, staring straight forward at the wall. It's important to him that he maintains a degree of inhuman reaction, he's better than that, isn't he. Sylar makes a contemplative 'hm' when she points that out. "If Alexander isn't finished off tonight, then I'll tell Ethan I'll be happy to clean up the mess. But it's his job now, my part's done." And that isn't said without bitterness. Perhaps attacking Alex had sounded more fun in theory than in practice when he wasn't allowed to really show what he was capable of. Forced to lose the fight. It just doesn't sit well. "It's funny, you talk about him like that," he says, a diversion. "You were so scared that day in Cliffside. Not just of Ivanov," and he looks down at her, "but of what your family was capable of."

Sylar has apparently punched a button, because Munin abruptly stops what she's doing and slowly, cautiously raises her eyes to Sylar's face. She peers up at him, tentative, trying to ascertain any underlying meaning by meeting his gaze and holding it for as long as she can without flinching away. Seven seconds is about what it takes. Clearing her throat, she sets the washcloth down on the bathroom floor and takes a sudden interest in the bottle of hydrogen peroxide she brought in with her. "There are good days and bad days," she explains as she unscrews the cap. "Try to guess which one you caught me on."

Sylar's gaze only flickers for a moment towards the bottle of chemical before looking back down at the girl. "They're all the same, Eileen," he says, voice almost smooth, drawling. "Every day is as bad as the next. But perhaps sometimes it's more acceptable than other times. More bearable. Sometimes the ones that die are the ones that hurt you. It's when they haven't hurt you that it's a bad day, isn't it."

Munin hopes the peroxide stings as much as the truth does, because there's a slight hitch in her breath when she finally gets the cap off. "We do what we need to," she says, tipping the bottle until liquid begins to drip out, soaking into the cotton ball she has pressed against the opening. "Like you said, they're my family — I don't always agree, but it's not like I've any real alternatives. If it weren't for them, I'd be in a worse place right now. With worse people."

"You're right," Sylar says, words far more comforting than the truths he'd been using to dig at her. Dig at her in the same way he cracks opens skulls - he just wants to see what's inside. "You're swept up in this, its a part of you. You have no choice." Finally, he breaks his gaze from her, looking at the wall - preparing himself for when she goes to clean the wound. "Like me. I don't have a choice either."

How is Munin supposed to take that? Frowning, she touches the cotton ball to the wound and holds it there. Several stray droplets dribble down his skin, mingling with what little traces of blood remain before they fall to the floor, so diluted that they appear nearly colourless against the bathroom's tiles. "You could leave," she says, her voice more subdued than it was a few moments ago, "but they'd hunt you down. Kill you. Not even all the powers in the world will protect you against Kazimir and what he can do." She discards the cotton ball, satisfied that the wound is as disinfected as it's going to get for now, and readies the needle she threaded earlier when she was still sitting at the kitchen table. "Today was a bad day. For both of us."

He breathes in as the chemical touches raw wounded flesh. He breathes out. His knuckles turn white and fingernails dig hard into his palms and he doesn't say a word. His vision darkens around the edges so he closes his eyes instead, and listens to, latches on to, Munin's words. At that last sentiment, a chuckle rushes out with a held in breath, sparing a hazy glance at the needle in her hand before focusing on the tiled floor between his boots. "And it's about to get better," Sylar says, tone dry but without bitterness.

This time, Munin offers no reply. Only a sad smile that touches the corners of her mouth just long enough for Sylar to catch it before it disappears again, vanishing back to wherever it came from. As promised, she is slow and careful, almost tender in her mannerisms. Every time the needle passes through his skin and comes out the other side, it slides through like clean and shimmering in the artificial light of the bathroom. In the end, almost twenty minutes later, the only sign the skin was ever open is the series of stitches that holds it together. Whether the day has gotten better or worse in the interim doesn't really matter; with one final snip of her scissors, Munin brings it to a close.

November 6th: The Janitor's Angel
November 7th: For Lack Of Zombies
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