The C Word


raith_icon.gif tavisha2_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title The C Word
Synopsis Meanwhile, the sky drops another piece of the puzzle into half of the Remnant's laps.
Date March 7, 2010

Old Dispensary

The day of any strategic operation is always difficult, but the day after one doesn't go the way it is intended is always worse. Raith knows this all to well, and with the bizarre circumstances of his life, Teo likely does as well. But hey, that doesn't mean they like it any better. As life presently stands, there isn't a lot they can do with re: to the Sylar situation except go back home and lick their wounds, few though they may actually have. And also make sure the attic is still empty, which is appeared to be. At least Raith can rest easy now knowing that the attic is not, in fact, haunted by the Vengeful, Ravening Ghost of Gabriel Gray.

It's lunchtime at the Old Dispensary, regardless of what time it actually is (although the sun's up, so it can't be time for dinner yet); Raith can't be bothered to care. All he can be bothered to care about at this moment is that it's a working lunch, and while they can't do much about the Sylar situation until they get more information, they cann discuss what they ought to do with the reclamation of Staten Island going on, and whether or not they should move shop somewhere else. Unfortunately, supplies on the food front are running a bit thin, and besides a couple helpings of black rice each, the only other nourishment that Raith has bothered to pull together is 'garbage': Eggs with onions, garlic, leftover hamburger, cheap, fatty ham, potatoes, and whatever other odds and ends Raith scrapped together, fried up and served with a little too much ketchup and not quite enough pepper sauce. Because 'garbage' is better than nothing, and it's keep them going for the rest of the day.

It might also keep them just sedated enough that they won't get into a fistfight about what to do, especially since Teo has a habit of, in Raith's eyes, being more interested in reading books than actually trying to save the world.

"This is garbage," Teo observes, always one to be observant, as was previously mentioned in giant wads of narrative. "Really. Probably half of these materials could have made a halfway decent pasta puttanesca. Not that I'm complaining," or if he is, only a very little bit. "This is an offer of constructive advice.

As for real estate," he adds, before Raith can reach across the table and shove his red-rimmed fork through his eyeball in a fit of pique about the divergent topic that Teodoro has opted to offer constructive anything about, "Moving wouldn't be a bad idea."

Says the Sicilian who moves, it seems, at least once a year as a function of some troubling maladaptive psychopathology. "Manhattan's dead-center, always makes it a geometrically ideal location if you can find someplace that doesn't have pigs or rats all over it, but islands have a way of getting a man backed into a corner, so. Brooklyn could work better. Kind of depends on whether you like having a corner or a way out better.

"Though I can drive boats." Teodoro's fork makes wet viscous noises against the mix he's— somehow managed to consume half of, before he wipes it on the ceramic rim with a half of a half-grin curling the corner of his mouth that doesn't have a scarred rip in it. A beat, and then his features harden back to neutral.

He sniffs through his nose, loud, glances down under the dangle of his bangs. "I'll wait a week for new intel before I hand the blood over to Ivanov."

It wouldn't be a bad idea to move places, no. Except for when intel is being delivered. The Internet ensures that you don't have to be in any one place to receive information, but good old fashioned paper mail or a personal visit would surely go awry upon a change of address. Currently, it's circling the building. Making sure that there isn't a window installed with some kind of boobytrap guillotine. That would be very counterintuitive, for the messenger.

A large bird suddenly appears. This would be weirder if birds didn't randomly appear reasonably often, up in here, although this one is of the more ostentations than the sparrows, the grackles, the pigeons. Not even a raven, the hook beak and flaringly bright eyes all distinctive qualities of a bird of prey. Indistinct brown with an amberish red painting on its tail feathers, it beats its wings once, twice, to right itself once it lands on the outside end of the kitchen window.

Tap. Tap tap tap. It's not quite woodpecker precise, grey beak skittering against the glass in a haphazard attempt at knocking.

"Manhattan doesn't have so much free space, either," Raith remarks to Teo, "Not all in one building. Machine shop, test range, bunks, kitchen. We lose all that if we…" Tap tap tap? Raith glances over his shoulder, and what should appear before his eyes except, well, nothing terribly out of the ordinary. "If we move, un momento, scarno." Pushing back from the table- still courtesy of Peter Petrelli, who is never getting it back- Raith crosses the space from there to the window and observes promising news. "Well, that was fast, huh?" he asks in Teo's direction, although he could just as easily be talking to the table, who can tell?

The window is unlatched and pushed opened, its hinges protesting just enough to sound homey without sounding broken. "Come on in, short-stack, have yourself some garbage and what is allegedly coffee. Don't scratch the fucking table. I like the table."

Behind Raith, his precious table finds itself on the receiving end of one of the European whelp's forefinger, nail grinding inquisitive force into the surface— only to snatch back as if burned the instant the older man turns back, a nonchalant expression shifting Teo's face. "Hey, Eily.

"We're talking about moving." It takes him a few seconds to revert from artificial nonchalance to honest good humor. He's as relieved as Raith is to see her alive and body-hopping, and he's better at showing it. "Raith has no faith in our ability to find derelicts big enough to have all the bells and whistles he to wants to put on our castle. There are old train yards, museums, and stuff, though. The radiation zone confers it's own special kind of protection— you know, the shaded margin between 'you're at risk for cancer' circle and 'the government says you're at risk for cancer' circle.

"Do you like Manhattan or Brooklyn more?" Playing house with terrorists. Fun for the whole family. The Sicilian slides down an inch in his chair, rounds his sweater-cottoned shoulders out against the wooden back and kicks his feet out, as expansive when relaxed as he is tightly-wired tension when he isn't. He pries up a piece of what seems like meat from the cement mix and offers it to the hawk.

On its feet, the red-tailed hawk is a reasonably awkward animal, but it retains a certain amount of grace even as it lands upon the table with heavy fluttering flaps. It's a smaller version of its species, maybe young, or just male. The female ones are bigger, and probably as far as picking a hawk from the sky goes, picking gender is a little choosy. Hop-hopping forward, despite warnings about scratches, the bird leans in to pick the meat from Teo's fingers, sliding it back with a tip of its head before canting a sideways look at the Sicilian.


They both hear it. It should be the female voice of one Eileen Spurling. It isn't. Instead, the deeper male echo through their skulls resonates probably with more familiarity thanks to last night. Sylar, at least, sounds polite. We need to talk, it goes on to project, heavily hopping up onto the back of a chair and cocking its head to the side, one bright gemstone eye staring towards Raith.

Raith stops in mid-step on his way back to the table and, for a brief moment, eyes the avian visitor before his gaze slides upwards, just slightly, to fall on Teo before drifting back down again. "I guess we do," he hisses, resuming his walk, deliberately slow, back to the table. He does not, however, sit down as his plate again, but continues past it, gliding the tips of his fingers across the table's grain, just so. "A good, long talk about all sorts of things." Raith's voice takes on a quality that Teo hasn't heard before, but that Sylar has, when the ex-spy had him drugged and pinned down to the street after basting him with a taser. That smooth, slithering, honey-sweetened voice he only uses when he has someone right where he wants them. The voice of a predator.

"The weather, perhaps?" Raith continues, as if this were the most natural thing in the world, "The migratory patterns of seasonal birds in the area?" At the corner, he hangs a sharp left, sliding around Teo and then back along the table again, going back toward whence he came, gliding his fingers along, just so. "Or maybe, just maybe, why I'm interested in talking to you at all, when it would be so much easier, and so much more gratifying, to simply eat you. Fry you up in a pan with shallots and black pepper and a nice whiskey glaze, whipped sweet potato on the side and a glass of Chardonnay. A light sorbet for dessert. It's not as if a certain mutual acquaintance of ours will have anything to lose from it anymore, so I'm rather excited about this plan of mine."

Abruptly, Raith stops and raises his hand up just enough to curl his fingers inward and pound his knuckles down on the tabletop. "Unless, of course, you have something that I want to hear," he says with a finish, watching the Sylar-bird just out of the corner of his eyes, "And to be honest, I really hope that you don't."

While the American ex-CIA agent of various macabrely hilarious fames is going around the kitchen area furniture and running his razor-edged mantis fingers over everything, his Italian sidekick is much more straightforward. He puts down his fork and gets his pistol out. Para-Ordnance, rather than the Glock 9s that he and most of cops and other terrorists you'll meet in New York City tend to favor, for no reason more sophisticated than the fact that .45 ACP makes bigger holes.

No, you wouldn't need an especially big hole to put down a red-tailed hawk, probably not even a female one. It is what it is. Two hands on the grip, safety off, Teodoro stares blankly down the barrel at the stone-eyed manikin flipping its tailfeathers on the other end. He doesn't shoot, of course. He doesn't glance at Raith, not even once. The raptor's face has more expression than he does.

Caught between a rock and a hard place of wanting to flapflap somewhere higher, the bird does not, not when a gun is pointing his way. Its brown wings tuck in warmly, chest a smattering of snow white feathers puffed out with the subtlety of his breathing. You were so keen to find Sylar only recently, is a belated answer, as if he's been pondering his words carefully for a few seconds, or remember what order than go in. How much soul can a bird fill? How much vocabulary?

Apparently, nervousness fits in. They can hear it, or what counts as hearing. The man you did find isn't— he isn't what you think he is. He turns his attention towards Teo, head ducking down, bird movements, beak partially open and bearing no relation to the syllables projected into their skulls. And neither am I. Careful where you point that thing.

It's an interesting situation they all find themselves in. The bird, allegedly not Sylar, waits on Teo to decide whether or not he dies, and Teo waits on Raith to set out the criteria to determine whether or not the bird dies. Raith waits on no one but himself, the only reason he doesn't have a Mexican standoff on his hands. Calmly, he turns back around towards Teo, keeping his eyes on his potential dinner, and walks back to where he is not in or even just next to the line of fire. "Sing, pretty boy," he says, "I've got a two-minute solo written, just for you. So sing, and hope that what you hear when you finish is applause, or you encore is going to be…" Resting one hand on the table, Raith leans forward and smiles a shark-toothed grin.


It is rare for Teodoro to be so concerned about purely hypothetical circumstances, but that's all that reigns the inside of his head, right now. That is, if he's going to shoot, if if, if

He isn't going to miss. This summarizes the entirety of his concerns at the moment. The world reduced down to the width of his field of view, his hearing shorn down to the two frequencies on which his companions are speaking, all logic, principle, and certainty simplified down to one objective, rolling like a marble along the balancing scale of Do or Do Not.

For all that he has ten extra years stuffed in his head, he's still terribly young about these things. Unironic, grim, so frightfully serious in his earnestness. He doesn't joke, probably fails to register, quite, that his trigger finger might well be the punchline.

Another flutter of feathers, a nervous kind of twitch. His heart is going very fast, is the raptor's, and not only because he's designed that way. Two minutes won't be enough for me to convince you, he says, voice quiet, lacking the sharper viciousness of Sylar's words even if his voice is undeniably the same in every other respect. But I'll take it. Teo. Twitch, and the Sicilian is back under the focused stare of the bird of prey.

You believed me, once, when I said I was called Tavisha. Even though you knew who I was, and you knew I wasn't that anymore. I was hoping you'd make the same mistake twice. That's called humour. It's probably not very funny, but— then again— I wasn't there, last night, whatever happened. That wasn't me. And it wasn't Gabriel Gray, who you're really looking for.

He'll find you, eventually. I think he's busy right now. He only just got here. Giving into instinct, the hawk begins to preen his mottled brown and white feathers.

Raith is quiet. Not silent, mind you. Just quiet. Whether he's considering this information or simply trying to make the bird (proverbially) sweat, he stretches his spell of non-vocalization out for several seconds. Finally, he reaches for his hip and clasps not his sidearm, but his smartphone and obviously pulls some number from his contact list before clicking it over to speakerphone so all of them can listen to it ring. And ring. And ring.

And ring.

And ring.

Eileen. Leave a message at the tone, or don't.

Raith decides on 'don't,' and hangs up before speaking. "Things aren't looking so good for you, pretty boy," he says, clipping his phone back at his waist, "Not so good at all. So let's try making a deal.

"You say Gabriel's just gotten back? Fine. He's got some way of contacting you. Why not tell me how to get in touch with him, and we'll get this whole~ mess sorted through, and you won't have to get your wings clipped at the shoulders. How's that grab you?"

Finally, Teo remembers to blink. Initially it is not immediately obvious whether the re-wetting of his corneas was going to facilitate shooting, given— dried out eyes isn't great for aiming, or if something that the hawk had 'said' finally found its mark. His chest rises visibly underneath the heavy weave of his sweater, and then he swallows, a visible bob of movement down the apple of his throat.

Just another day in Mutants Fuckin' Everywhere dimension. Kiss physics good-bye, or the theory of discrete and unique souls, linear time, reliable patterns of personality. The pistol's ugly black doberman's snout doesn't waver. "By definition," he says, "by fucking definition, Tavisha is Gabriel, amnesiac and—" And he stops trying, the next breath, drops the argument, if not his gun. Eileen had said, Gabriel had lost her ability. Hadn't had it since Pinehearst.

Perhaps it's sentimental for him to think, though, that if any part of Gabriel would retain his lover's gift, it is Tavisha who would. "Have you killed since you got back?" he asks, finally, in a rasp. Not to undercut Raith's single stipulation, command, and savvy rhetoric. He just needs to know. "Any of you?"

How that grabs the bird is communicated in a narrow kind of glare sent Raith's way, straight down its steel-grey beak, one wing partially opened from where he'd been combing through the inner spokes of feathers before it resettles. Talons roam around the back of the chair, edging restlessly. I don't know, is a simple kind of answer, spoken blandly. Reluctantly. But I haven't hurt anyone. I know who Tavisha is, by definition. When I say that we're not Gabriel Gray, I mean that we're imitations.

Inexact copies. I don't have amnesia, but I know who I am. If you think that all that defined him was what he didn't know

It's getting personal, now. Which the bird— Tavisha— did not intend for. Wind shifts in the air as he flaps wings, leaps from one chair to the other, across the table and nearer the window, red tail feathers fanning. There are three of us. One, you met. The other, I don't know anymore. We used to be able to keep track of each other, but it's gotten more difficult.

He turns a look to Raith, raptor expression forever frozen in quizzical intensity. Gabriel is with Eileen. Like I said, he'll find you.

Is all of this a lot to take in? Maybe. If it is, Raith doesn't let on. "Good to know, Bizarro One," he snarls, still leaning forward onto the table, still smiling his shark-toothed grin, "Make sure you tell Mister Kent to call before he swings by the Planet, or he's going to get a very, very bad surprise. And that's going to be sunshine and rainbows for the rest of us. Sunshine and fucking rainbows."

Teo knows it would be wasting his breath, but he would like to note that if Eileen isn't in one piece— "I'm probably wasting my breath," ah, to be young enough to give in to one's superfluous urges, "but if she isn't one on piece at his hands, I'm probably going to flip my shit like somebody strung fireworks to the fuse on my tampon. Or some other metaphor stravagante. I appreciate your looking us up, Tavisha.

"It's been awhile." Either because Raith's brightly-voiced sass seem to make for a more appropriately timelined series of threats than the graceless promise of .45 does, Teo finally lowers his gun. Releases with his left hand, gets the safety with a stretch-over of his right thumb. The unfired muzzle winds up scraped along the base of his scalp, driving long, off-blond hair up like mowed-off pinestraw. Christ, he misses his ability.

If he had it, he might be able to see Eileen. He might be able to see Gabriel. "We should find you Gillian. She might be able to help you boost the 'pathic connection between… between—" Clones? "Imitations enough for us to check up on the others."

The C word is not one Tavisha is keen to use. Even spending a very important two minutes telepathically picking around it kind of not keen. That might work, he concedes. Or it might spring out more, or something. That's the last thing we need. Gabriel will know. The implication being that Tavisha doesn't, anymore.

He ducks, a short, bowing kind of motion, but aborted in the next second — he was about to leap. Instead, he asks them both, Can I go?

"If you don't," Raith says, rising up from his forward lean and slowly stalking towards the hawk, "I'll eat you. Twist your head off and eat you."

Naturally, that gets a roll of Teodoro's eyes. He shoves his gun back underneath the back of his sweater, in whatever inscrutable place he'd had it socketed before. No, not that inscrutable. "He's a friend," he is hastening to explain to the hawk, jerking his head at the ex-CIA agent. "I don't know if you remember, but he is. Gabriel will know him by 'Raith.' We'll be here. I'd ask you to get him to call ahead, but that doesn't seem like his style."

A beat. "Any of yours. Careful flying out there. The weather's fucking brutal." They are all fragments of recognizable people in here, anyway. This isn't the Teodoro that Tavisha had met, and Tavisha is no longer the version the Sicilian had. Raith punctuates the situation by virtue of a name that speaks of revenants, visitors from beyond the grave, and dickhole humor about everything. He scrapes his chair back, stands. And it's almost unchoreographed, the names he edits into his request when he asks, "Do us a favor?

"Tell Gabriel the Bureau's looking for Sylar?"

He stays to listen, both to Raith's threats and Teo's requests of health, care and favours. The single eye the Sicilian gets observes him with default ferocity, but there's no telepathic response. I will will have to inferred, fluttering noisily for the window, before diving out of the gaping frame and into the wintery outdoors. Perhaps he doesn't trust Raith not to fulfill his threats — either way, Tavisha is gone as abruptly as he came.

With Tavisha gone, Raith pulls the window shut and latches it, locking the outdoors, well, outdoors. Turning to look back to Teo, he has only one last thing to say about the situation. "Do you have any idea how grounded that punk is going to be when he gets back? I don't think you do." With an implied huff, Raith stalks back to the table and retakes his seat. "Eat your garbage, son."

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