Total Eclipse Of The Heart


donna_icon.gif kyla_icon.gif maddox_icon.gif mohinder_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif pete3_icon.gif rich_icon.gif

Scene Title Total Eclipse of the Heart
Synopsis Turn around bright eyes
Date July 15, 2019

A small white mouse is dead.

This is a murder scene.

“I fed him,” is Bruce Maddox’s helpful response, one hand scrubbing at his five o’clock shadow at 7am. Staring down into the enclosure, Bruce shakes his head slowly. Standing beside Bruce, Mohinder pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose and massages the corners of his eyes with his fingertips. He turns his back on the glass cage, walking back to the table that Odessa is sitting at.

“I suppose we’ll need to run a full autopsy just to be sure,” Mohinder says quietly, scrubbing his mouth and looking back at the dead rat, its little feet up in the air. “Christ, this is going to take hours…” Turning dark eyes to Odessa, Mohinder waves a hand toward the lab door. “Why don’t you take a break, you look like I feel.”


Plum Island SLC-Expressive Center


July 15th


That the notion of holding a funeral for the mouse, Antoinne, lingers in the back of Odessa’s mind all the way to the cafeteria is a sign of a few things, exhaustion one of them. It’s been months since she began her work with Mohinder trying to develop a counteragent to Adam’s rapid-cell regeneration to little success. Months of long nights, pouring over research going as far back as the 1940s, trying to determine how Adam’s cells do what they do without having a single tissue sample to work with.

The cafeteria is quiet on a Monday morning, coffee is percolating in five pots arranged in a line in front of several danishes and donuts, all of which are leftovers from Friday but only a little stale. Donna Dunlap is seated by the window, legs pulled up to her chest with a paperback in one hand, thumbing through her dog-eared copy of Misery that Odessa is certain she’s finished at least twice already. Kyla Renautas is sitting at one of the many empty tables, stirring a plastic spoon through a bowl of imitation brand Cheerios while listening to a pair of headphones and an old cassette walkman. Something she’d found in one of the old storage closets while on cleaning duty, a luxury that Waite had allowed her to keep.

Richard Schwenkman is here too, gnawing at one of those stale Danishes and scribbling in the margins of a spiral-bound notebook. He’d only ostensibly been on the same project as Mohinder and Odessa, much like Bruce Maddox there to offer his expertise as an administrator of the Institute when something familiar comes up.

Then there’s the new face.

Pete Varlane sits like a sullen toad at a table by the wall of windows overlooking the garden. His coffee has gone untended for so long that it’s gone cold, his dark eyes are focused a million miles away, and though he’s been at PISEC for months, this is the first time Odessa has been in any public space at the same time as him. Pete is classified as dangerous, indicated by the red plastic bracelet on his right wrist, and his yard hours are likewise limited.

Relax, Mohinder said.


Scrubbing a hand over her face, Odessa surveys the stale donuts for a moment, trying to decide if she’s desperate enough for some sugar to boost her energy that she’ll pick up one of those raspberry danishes. Deciding ultimately, no, she doesn’t need to fuel the throbbing behind her eyes with garbage, she grabs a single serve of the off-brand Cheerios, tears open the top and starts eating the little ‘o’s straight from the box.

Fuck it. Let’s dance.

Dropping into the seat across from Varlane and, perhaps, breaking his reverie, Odessa sets her box aside and folds her arms on the tabletop in front of her. There will be no relaxing when there are poor decisions to be made.

There’s a bear in the room, and it needs poking.

“Boss.” The greeting is delivered as dry as the cereal she’s been munching on, with a single brow raised in quiet challenge. He’s dangerous, sure, but so is she. Especially when bored.

Christ in a crosswalk,” Pete says as he looks up, color draining from his face, “isn't this against the Geneva Conventions?” He asks, looking around the cafeteria. The most response he gets is a silent middle-finger from Donna Dunlap by the window. Affecting a heavy sigh, Pete slouches back into his chair and looks across the table to Odessa with silent expectancy.

“You've got more eyes than I recall,” Pete says with a motion of one subtly shaky hand toward Odessa. He steadies it by bringing it to grip his cold coffee. “Maybe less scars too? It's been a while.” Looking down into the rim of his coffee cup, Pete shakes his head. “It's been such a long time…” There's a tone in Pete’s voice — shaky and small — that is so unlike the memories of him that Odessa has.

Odessa snorts at Donna’s silent retort, sending a wink the other woman’s way. Pete brings into the fore of her mind exactly how grateful she is for the ability to do that. To wink. “Doctor Stevens did some amazing work,” is offered as the vague explanation. She at least feels a little guilty being so glib about the man’s last act of mercy that ultimately cost him his life, but survival isn’t aided by being soft.

As is perfectly evidenced in the way Pete carries himself. In the way his voice gets softer and his hands shake. The man is a son of a bitch, but Odessa can’t help but feel some empathy.

When did that start happening?

“It has been.” A long time. Her voice loses that dryness, becoming more gentle in spite of herself. “They have you negated too.” It’s not a question. Everyone in here is without their abilities. There’s a moment of quiet as she reflects on the feeling of absence within her. They haven’t needed to negate her. Whatever happened at Sunspot Observatory has left her bereft of the quiet and constant whispers of power. The feeling of strength in her skeleton.

Odessa feels hollow as Pete looks right about now. She can’t find it in herself to be as bitter toward him as she initially wanted. “You get used to it eventually. Like an old wound.”

Yeah,” is Pete’s non-committal answer as he looks down into the dark circle of his coffee. “They don’t want me turning anyone into boiled ham or anything,” he says with a rueful laugh, pushing the coffee from one hand to the other across the table. “I suppose they’d rather you not go zipping out of here like a little wink in time, either,” Pete offers across the table, showing just how out of the loop he’d been with regards to Odessa’s current state of being.

“I suppose this is where they’ll keep all of us to waste away out to pasture,” is an unusually poetic thing for Pete Varlane, of all people, to say. “The warden is nice,” he adds, “short, but nice. Like a teacup Pomeranian or something, right?” Trying to hide his discomfort behind humor, Pete offers a look over at Odessa that belies the true turmoil deeper down. That this is where his life ends.

Given the way Donna is getting up from her seat by the window, however, that may be more literal than figurative. Odessa catches sight of Donna grabbing the back of a chair, looking like she’s going to drag it over to join the two of them, except when she gets behind Pete she’s hefting the chair up and grabbing it by the back legs to overhanded wind up behind her head!

“Yeah,” Odessa echoes back with her own rueful smile. “I told them I was just going to dart out to catch the Pearl Jam tour and they wouldn’t even know I was gone, really, and they said that was an unacceptable use of my ability.” The joke is easier than explaining the truth. She doesn’t owe him that anyway.

There’s a snort at the comment about Waite’s stature and the comparison to a toy-breed dog. “He is that,” she admits, even if she has far too much respect for the man that treats her with so much kindness to say anything like that about him. With any sort of conviction, that is.

And then there’s Dunlap off the top rope. “Donna, no!” Odessa slides down in her chair so she can hook her foot around one of the legs of Pete’s and yank it toward her. He’ll tumble back onto the floor, and it won’t be fun, but there’s no way that impact will compare with the one he was about to receive from the chair that now swings through empty air where he had been.

Of course, leaving him prone on the floor is just going to give Donna an opportunity to take another swing and smash him like a bug. Odessa’s own chair goes skittering out from under her, back a few feet before it too topples over onto its side. The blonde is launching herself up and over the table between herself and Pete’s attacker with the intention of getting between the two and hoping that she doesn’t make a convenient surrogate target for Donna’s anger.

Somehow in all of this Pete is still confused about how he wound up on the floor. Exasperated and saturated in the cold coffee he’d been nursing which now covers his chest, Pete watches as Donna throws the chair down to the floor — narrowly missing Pete’s head only because she wasn’t thinking clearly enough to aim at him — and manages to land one solid punch across Odessa’s jaw before she just… crumples.

Donna lets out a scream as she grabs her head and falls to her knees, nearly instantly curling up into the fetal position as a security officer armed with a Raytech Banshee approaches. Odessa can’t hear the sound of the banshee’s wail, which is part of the beauty of its design. She can just hear the ringing in her ears from getting her bell rung. Two more PISEC security are jogging into the room, each taking out handcuffs and one armed with a telescoping baton. The bludgeon doesn’t wind up becoming necessary.

As Donna raises her hands up and hunches down away from the security officers, the man looming over her lowers his banshee and Odessa can hear the high-pitched whine end. But that’s when Kyle Renautas stands up from where she was sitting by herself. She pulls off her headphones, Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart thrumming out from each earpiece, and shouts at the guards.

(Turn around) every now and then I get a little bit terrified

Stop!” Kyla’s shout elicits a look from the security just arriving, who are already moving their hands toward holstered banshees. In the same moment, Richard Schwenkman just holds his stale danish in his mouth and scoots his chair back from his table and raises his hands in an unsolicited gesture of surrender. He’s had more than enough of this bullshit for one day.

And then I see the look in your eyes

But Kyla hasn’t. Armed with only tiny, balled up fists, she stares down the guard that dropped Donna with the banshee. “He took away the only person who loved her,” is the most assertive thing Kyla has ever said. Even in her pained state in the wake of the banshee wail, Donna is looking up at the slight young woman, puzzled at why she would come to her defense.

(Turn around, bright eyes) every now and then I fall apart

Odessa staggers back into the table, holding her hand to her face. She had expected to get hit, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. The concern that she’s just made an enemy of Donna takes up residence in the back of her mind. It will haunt her until she receives evidence to the contrary.

(Turn around, bright eyes) every now and then I fall apart

Putting her hands up at the level of her shoulders after she’s pushed off from the table, she looks between the guards to ensure she isn’t about to be targeted next before she slowly dips into a crouch at Dunlap’s side. “It’s okay,” she offers placatingly. To the guards more than to the woman on the floor. “It was just a momentary temper flare. Everything’s going to be fine now.”

And I need you now tonight

A grateful look is flashed to Kyla for her intervention. She’s proud of the girl for standing up for someone. “He’s not worth throwing your life away for, Donna,” Odessa murmurs, explaining why she had to intervene on behalf of her fellow monster. “Adrienne wouldn’t want that.”

And I need you more than ever

As soon as the name leaves her lips, she regrets it. What right does she have to speak of the woman Donna loves? Still, she believes it. A glance is spared in Pete’s direction, watching for any signs of obvious injury from his tumble to the floor.

And if you only hold me tight

Just his pride. And his coffee. Neither of which are Odessa’s concern.

We'll be holding on forever

The security guards advance slowly, cautiously, the way an old-timey lion tamer might to a lion. Even though he has the chair and the whip, it’s still a fucking lion and the prisoners of PISEC — regardless of how well-behaved and declawed they may be — are lions themselves. One of the guards shoves Kyla back, enough that the young woman stumbles and falls backwards onto her hands and heels. He hadn’t meant to shove her that hard, that isn’t how Odessa read it, but that’s how Donna read it.

And we'll only be making it right

With the Banshee off of her, Donna springs up and sucker-punches the guard that knocked Kyla over so hard his helmet comes flying off. He staggers to the side, bleeding from the ear he was punched in and falls over onto his side. Of the three guards left standing, the one with the primed banshee brings it back up to her and the moment Odessa hears the electric whine Donna expels a strangled scream and claws at her head and drops down onto her knees, then tries in vain to crawl away from the sound like a wounded animal. The guard keeps the invisible beam trained on her as she screams and convulses. It has to be turned up to its maximum setting.

'Cause we'll never be wrong

The other two guards split up, one calling into his radio which elicits a klaxon of an alarm blaring over the loudspeaker system. Doors swings shut in the cafeteria and lock electronically, the other guard is hauling Kyla away by one arm. Kitchen and cafeteria staff are swiftly ducking down behind counter spaces. For the moment Odessa is ignored, much as Rich is, much as Pete is while Donna and Kyla are restrained.

Together we can take it to the end of the line

Both are handcuffed and dragged over to a window, right around the same time as five other guards all armed with banshees come streaming into the room from the corridor leading to the residential quarters. The klaxon keeps blaring, and Rich — hands still raised as high as his eyebrows — meets Odessa’s gaze for a sharp moment. Apprehension bleeds into fear. He’s been in situations like this before, he’s been a prisoner for more years than he’d care to count. He knows this drill.

Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)

But Kyla, the pendulum swing between panic and anger is steady and frighteningly rhythmic. Her heart is racing, her legs are kicking, she’s spitting at the guards and calling them fascists. Her eyes are puffy and red and cheeks wet with tears. Odessa can feel that reciprocal gyre of emotions twisting up in her stomach, conflicting with a self-preservation she’s become so familiar with over the years.

I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark

But it’s Donna — with her white-hot incandescent rage — that burns hottest in the pit of Odessa’s stomach. She isn’t even sure why she’s so mad, but it’s a strange juxtaposition against a simmering sensation of helplessness and aversion, a sense of fear, of Pete staring up at her from the floor covered in coffee and shame.

We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

No, that’s her shame.

I really need you tonight

These are all— Odessa’s emotions?

Forever's gonna start tonight

The guards are afraid, she can feel it in the back of her throat like bile. They’re afraid the negation drugs will wear off, they’re afraid of the people kept locked up here, they’re afraid they’re outnumbered. The specifics are logical assumptions at the back of Odessa’s mind, but the fear — the panic — she understands. They’re horses, prone to be startled and holding a powerful kick. But the icepick pain behind Odessa’s right eye is— blinding. A blind spot in her vision.

Forever's gonna start tonight

Is the room tipping to the right?

Once upon a time I was falling in love

Is someone baking cherry cobbler?

But now I'm only falling apart

“Stop!” Odessa begs. “Please stop!” Even she isn’t sure if she’s speaking to the guards or the pain in her head. Her hand reaches up and clutches at her skull, palm pushed against her eye as though it might alleviate the horrific pain, but it does not abate.

There's nothing I can do

There’s horror in her visible eye, wide and wild as she looks between the people in the cafeteria. When she locks eyes with Rich, she wonders if he sees something she doesn’t already sense.

A total eclipse of the heart

She doesn’t have time to contemplate it when she starts to tip to one side, her stomach lurching in tandem. Odessa hits the ground with a strangled cry, then properly shrieks, curling into a ball. “Somebody, please!” Right hand still pressed against her eye, she reaches out with her left for something. Someone. Anything that might help. Groping blindly and finding only the smooth linoleum under her grasping fingers.

Once upon a time there was light in my life

The security team doesn’t recognize Odessa’s outburst for what it is — whatever that is. Instead they hear a raised voice, and for a moment one officer starts to level a banshee at her, but never gets there as another stops him. It takes a moment but the security team recognizes that Odessa isn’t a threat. Pete — on the floor and staring over at her — recognizes at least the edges of what is happening.

But now there's only love in the dark

“What drugs is she on?” Pete asks from the floor, hands up and eyes swiveling over to Rich in the hopes that he might give an answer. The look of contempt on Rich’s face comes with a stone-cold silence as he’s escorted out of his seat and out of the cafeteria, back to his quarters while Kyla and Donna are separated from the others. “God damnit I asked a question, what kind of medication is she taking?”

Nothing I can say

Clozapine,” comes from the doorway to the labs, and as Pete turns around he spots Mohinder coming in with a security escort, likely on his way through the cafeteria back to his quarters now that the facility is going on limited lockdown due to a violent incident.

A total eclipse of the heart

“What about negation drugs?” Pete asks as a security guard pulls him to his feet and starts patting him down, checking him for weapons and disregarding the fit Odessa is experiencing. Mohinder shakes his head, looking at Pete with a bit of frustration.

Every now and then I fall apart

“Negation drugs for what? She’s been stripped of her ability,” is the last thing Mohinder says as he’s escorted past Pete. Due to his proximity to the events, Pete is handcuffed as well and moved over to where Donna and Kyla are standing by the window, and finally a security officer approaches Odessa with his banshee held in one hand, but angled toward the ground and in an idling state.

(Turn around, bright eyes) every now and then I fall apart

The guard takes a hand of Odessa’s shoulder and she can feel a palpable, gut-wrenching wave of anxiety wash over her. The stabbing sensation behind her eye — the eye she lost all that time ago — grows more intense. She can feel the guard trying to help her up, but moreover she can feel a deep sense of worry and skittishness. It bubbles up in her, brings involuntary tremors. Her stomach turns again, the world feels like it’s turning inside out. She feels dizzy, sick, overwhelmed and overstimulated.

And I need you now tonight (and I need you now)

Maybe she took the wrong dose of her antipsychotics?

And I need you more than ever

Odessa lays on the floor, breathing hard and trying to listen to what’s going on around her. She doesn’t even realize that she’s muttering to herself. “Please, somebody. Please, somebody. Please, somebody help me.” Over and over in a rapid, low drone.

And if you only hold me tight (if you only)

Tears spill down her cheeks from a mixture of pain and fear of what’s happening to her. “Mohinder!” she cries out, voice pitched up in her panic. He doesn’t owe her a kindness, but if anyone can figure out what’s happening to her, she believes it’s him.

We'll be holding on forever

The hand on her shoulder brings her back to herself somewhat and she stares up at the guard for a moment, wide-eyed and terrified. “Do- Don’t—” Don’t be afraid, is what she means to tell him. Because she knows that he is afraid of her. It strikes her that she doesn’t suspect it, but she knows it. She doesn’t have time to dwell on that before the world lurches again.

And we'll only be making it right (and we'll never)

Rolling onto her stomach, Odessa braces both hands beneath her on the floor to lift herself up onto her knees as she retches. The pain and the nausea from everything happening at once bring up bile to the back of her throat. It remains dry heaving for now, which she isn’t sure she’s thankful for.

'Cause we'll never be wrong

“What’s happening to me?” The blonde lifts her head and fixes her eyes on Pete. Somewhere in all this, he seems to understand. He’s asking questions. He knows something.

Together we can take it to the end of the line

Mohinder levels a half-lidded stare at Odessa when she calls for his help, and wordlessly allows himself to be escorted through the cafeteria and out without another word. They may not be literally deaf ears that her cries fall on, but for Odessa’s sake Mohinder might as well be.

Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time (all of the time)

“She needs adynomine,” Pete hisses at one of the guards, “or whatever the fuck you’re using now. You can’t see it, the protein folds, you can’t— ” a guard pushes Pete back and up against the glass wall. “Goddamnit listen to me, she’s manifested! I can feel the linkage complex formed in her— ” and the guard shoves a forearm against Pete’s chest, bracing him against the wall.

I don't know what to do, I'm always in the dark

Stop talking!” The guard shouts, fear running through his blood like ice. Then, to another security officer coming in, he motions with his free hand to Odessa. “Take her to her room!” The guard, coming up behind Odessa, wrestles with her, gripping her forearms tightly in order to cuff her hands behind her back.

We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

Horror crystalizes hard and jagged in Odessa’s chest and it shows in her eyes as she listens intently to what Varlane has to say about her condition. “But— That’s not—” How her ability works? There’s no whispered promise of control. There’s no sensation of unfathomable power grafting itself to her skeleton. After all these years, she remembers what her manifestation felt like. This isn’t it. There are no ephemeral threads that she can reach out and pluck like harp strings.

I really need you tonight

Or… are there?

Forever's gonna start tonight

She scarcely has the time to contemplate what she realizes when her hands are being cuffed behind her back. “No!” she cries. “No! No! Please, I haven’t done anything!” Even though she’s being told she’s being sent back to her room, her fear is that she’s being sent to some dark hole to rot. Or that she’ll never be allowed out of her room again. The fear she feels through the room only serves to make her own worse.

Forever's gonna start tonight

Tears stream down her face as she looks wildly about the room for someone, anyone, who can help her. But they’re all in the same boat.

Once upon a time I was falling in love

Odessa doesn’t struggle. She goes slack, instinct reminding her that everything goes easier when she doesn’t fight ‘til her fists bleed. The side of her face is pressed against the cool linoleum for a moment before she’s hauled up. She doesn’t cry out this time. Silent and still, expression vacant and tears falling.

But now I'm only falling apart

Even as Pete is manhandled by the guards, he can't help but watch Odessa’s departure with wide-eyes confusion. In that same moment Odessa feels not confusion or fear from Pete, but a slowly blossoming sense of something more peculiar. Satisfaction. Pete smacks his lips, making brief eye contact with the security officer bracing against his chest, then slides his tongue across his teeth. No one noticed. No one put the pieces together.

Nothing I can say

Pete tries to hide his smile as he laces his hands behind his head, making the security officer feel more comfortable.

A total eclipse of the heart

No one realized his slip-up.

A total eclipse of the heart

No one Except Odessa.

A total eclipse of the heart

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