That's Enough


cat_icon.gif eileen3_icon.gif

Scene Title That's Enough
Synopsis Eileen is scared by a song.
Date July 26, 2009

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

Another day passes the midpoint, it's two days and change since the raid at Pinehearst. She'd like to have come earlier, but Cat's been busy. Dealing with Mother and the loss of Father, gathering details, watching people heal by transfusion, working to clear the fog away from her mind and simply remember. Even if she'd tried, she'd not have been able to get here any sooner. It was just a few hours ago she recalled where her boat is kept and accessed her memory of how to get through security for the Garden.

But with all of that done, she's on the way. The water is crossed in her small craft, tied to the nearest dock, and the trek made the rest of the way. Soon enough Doctor Chesterfield is in the Garden, looking for Eileen.

Eileen, contrary to her usual modus operandi, isn't a difficult person to find this evening. When Cat arrives at the Garden, the other woman is perched on its stoop with a lit cigarette dangling between her fingers as she listens in silence to the cacophony of crickets and entertains a large tabby cat curled in the seat of her lap. Although he wears no collar around his neck, she may recognize the tom as Butterbean, one of the friendlier ferals that frequents the cottage every evening in search of scraps.

Tonight, he's being treated to a bellyrub instead. "I was beginning to think you'd forgotten about us."

"I did, after a fashion," Cat replies darkly as she reaches the stoop and comes to a stop. "Tyler Case had one more trick coming, there on the roof. I just this morning remembered where my boat was, and how to get into the place here." Her features are somber, in her eyes there can be seen grief and loss, though she keeps it at bay. It's not like her to let things show more than she must. "Future Edward had one last move to make. But it failed."

"I'm happy to see you made it out. Is all of your team okay?"

"We're all still alive, if that's what you mean." Eileen trails her nails up and down the length of the feline's stomach, tangling her fingertips in the cat's long orange fur. The darker markings on Butterbean's face and stomach can barely be made out in the absence of daylight except for the distinctive M he wears on his forehead positioned above and between two honey-coloured eyes the size of marbles.

Then, "I'm sorry about your father."

"Thank you," Cat replies quietly, settling into a sitting position. "All those years I thought he was just an insurance executive, then Pinehearst happens, and I find out so many things. The people he'd worked with over the years, being there with Arthur… But when he and I got into contact, he knew what to do. Knew Arthur went nuts. Beyond nuts. I… I expected to get him and Mother both out. Never saw it coming that the reactor would be a problem. That Edward would send Metal Rickham to make it a problem. I knew, soon as Mother told me a metal monster attacked and Father went to stop a meltdown."

"Edward had one last game to play, up on the roof. Used Tyler to cut off abilities, then tried to have both Tylers empower all of Fort Lee. He shot Peter Petrelli, kicked him off the roof, then told us what he was up to. Delilah shot him then. Ten times."

As it happens, Butterbean has a very short attention span. As Catherine settles down, he rolls over onto his side, stretches out his front legs and then spills lazily from Eileen's lap before waddling over to rub against the other woman's flank. Incidentally, this is the first Eileen has heard of what went on above the reactor level during the raid on Pinehearst, though the expression on her face remains neutral throughout Catherine's explanation.

"Sounds excessive," she says, not without a hint of mirth as she brushes clumps of cat hair off her jeans. "Can't say I wish I'd been there, though. What will you and your people do now?"

"Live. Maybe relax. Prepare for whatever is next, and concentrate on grass roots, hopefully. Mother says I should take time off, go where nobody knows my name. There may be time…" Cat muses. "Storm's coming, some say. Others think there'll be beaches on Thirty-fourth street and nuclear explosions. Have you heard the song?" she asks.

Out of context, it sounds like Catherine is talking in riddles. Or some sort of complex code. Eileen gives her a quizzical look, brows knit, the corner of one mouth downturned. "I have no idea what you're talking about," she confesses. In other words: What song?

"It's on the radio here and there lately," Cat replies, "and playing on my stage at the Rock Cellar when Else Kjelstrom comes to play. Good crowds, packed house each time." And she sings it for Eileen, quietly.

Between Catherine, the crickets and the distant weeping of a solitary mourning dove, Eileen's ears are filled with so many different harmonies that she has difficulty telling them apart. The radio in the cottage has a switch permanently affixed to its AM setting — grainy compositions of questionable quality interspersed with static and regular intervals of political commentary are more her standard fare than anything Else Kjelstrom might come up with.

"Stop," she says in hoarse voice, tight with some strange combination of emotions that Catherine isn't accustomed to hearing from her. Fear crowds her eyes. "That's enough."

She stops, her voice quiet when she speaks moments later, perhaps to give reassurance. "It isn't about you," Cat believes, "Lucrezia says you weren't the original Munin and said something about it being brought here years ago. But she didn't say anything more. I think Else is a precog who writes her visions into songs. One other has dreamt about this, she says the past is prologue. It's all mystery." Seeing the effect on her, though, Cat chooses for the moment not to mention more of the connection to people she knows, though the fear makes her suspect something.

She chooses to believe if anything is known Eileen will tell in her own time.

"Sometimes a painting is just a painting," Eileen strains as she rises from her seat on the stoop and narrowly avoids stepping on Butterbean's tail. She takes a quick drag from her cigarette and holds it for the time it takes to find her composure again. Only then does she blow out a steady stream of smoke through her nostrils and snuff it out on the cottage's siding. "Sometimes a song is just a song. Kazimir Volken wasn't the first person to have a penchant for Norse mythology."

She flicks the cigarette to the ground at her feet and smothers it under the heel of her bare foot. "He won't be the last, either."

"I hope it is nothing," Cat replies with sincerity, while she doubts it is. Satellites called Munin, visions of bird feathers and bombs they turn into beaches on 34th Street, the moon blocked out, faults under New York and a nuclear power plant… No, Kazimir isn't the last, and something tells her out there is someone wanting to carry out something similar to Kazimir's goals.

The subject is changed. "Colette fell into an elevator, which itself fell. Do you know where she might be?"

"Upstairs." Eileen directs Cat's attention to one of the second floor windows, which is open just a crack but covered in dark curtains that flutter faintly in the evening breeze. "I heard that Petrelli's here too," she adds, not quite as an aside, "but I haven't seen him. Man keeps to himself."

"Thank you," Cat replies with an expression of relief. She isn't worried about Colette from there, more than likely Tamara will come lead her home sometime soon. And thinking of Tamara, that'd be a good person to run across soon herself. Claire will be happy to here where Peter is, as will some others. "Peter's body was looked for that night, but not found."

And another topic. "Are you ready to meet with Delphine?"

"Soon," is Eileen's uneasy response as she checks the underside of her foot to ensure that no embers continue to burn at the cigarette's scorched tip. She's rewarded with a damp smear of wet tobacco and fresh dirt, but little more than that. "There are some things I want to take care of first, but if you can arrange a meeting for sometime next week—" She makes a vague gesture with her hand that probably means something along the lines of: I'd appreciate it. "Ethan wants to speak with her, too."

"I'll tell her," Cat replies. "On both counts." She stands to make her way back to the boat. "Take care, Eileen. Hope to see you soon, without business to speak about. We could all use some time without serious things afoot." Not that she could stay other than busy for long before the tide of memories less than pleasant compel her to make herself busy again.

If Eileen had her way, Pinehearst would be the end of it. She bends down to pick up the bundle of fur and cradle it in her arms like a child — if that child had a pair of dangling hind legs tipped with razor sharp claws. Butterbean is purring, at least. "Keep in touch," she offers in lieu of a proper farewell. "You know how to find us."

OOC: The song Shores of the Empire State makes its first appearance in the log No One Else, for those who are unfamiliar with it.

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