Tough Calls


emily_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif

Scene Title Tough Calls
Synopsis Emily places a call and is faced with an impossible decision. Geneva ensures it's not a decision made entirely alone.
Date December 18, 2018


Julie and Emily's Apartment

The phone rings. The number that she's dialed belongs to one E.G. When the other side picks up, she's the first to speak.

"Hey. It's Emily. I need to talk for a minute." she takes in a short breath. "I found Sibyl again, and — something happened."

There’s a silence on the other end of the line, but it is brief. When Eileen speaks, her voice is low and deliberate. “Only Sibyl?” she asks. “No one else with her?”

"—No." Emily replies, suddenly questioning why that was. "No, Etienne Saint James wasn't with her. Or anybody else for that matter. Eve Mas showed up, but it was by surprise." It was Eve, after all. That tended to happen with her.

Eileen would probably agree with that assessment, except Eve Mas is unimportant. For now. “I need you to listen to me very carefully, Emily,” she says, and in spite of her choice of words, she’s making a point not to talk down to the younger woman. Instead, her tone is that of someone walking her through how to disarm a bomb. “Tell me what happened.”

"She—" Emily pauses to violently scrub her face with the palm of her hand in a fit of frustration. Explaining things concisely here would prove to be a challenge. She tries anyway. "Eve was asking about something, and Sibyl decided to show us memories of hers. They're in horror movie fucking tatters. Sibyl became unstable. She passed out. I got her out of the open." Emily looks to the shattered bedroom window. "When she woke up…"

Emily,” Eileen says again. “Do you still have the gun I gave you?”

That does not bode well.

"… Yes."

“There’s an abandoned lot on the north end of the Safe Zone. There are walls, not fences, and the military police are spread too thin to patrol that border.” Eileen lets out a slow, thin breath that wavers in Emily’s earpiece. Make no mistake: It isn’t hesitation. “Take her there. Don’t tell her why. One shot in the back of the head and I’ll send someone to handle the rest.”

"What?" Emily breathes, eyes searching the room for Eileen despite her not being there. She's tempted to look down at her phone instead, but keeps the receiver pressed to her ear. "Eileen." It isn't an outright no, but it is a passionate protest.

“You understand what she is.” It isn’t a question. Eileen is firm. “Who she is. If she remembers— really remembers, it’s only a matter of time before she or someone else moves against me. Us.

"She is a fucking mess, she's not going to 'make moves' against anybody." Emily catches herself from raising her voice, but she's firm. "She's in little fucking pieces, and I'm not sure all of them are there. She's confused, and scared. I was hoping you'd have actual advice, not just—" Her hand comes to cover her face again, cutting herself off before she says anything louder than she means to.

“Just what?

Emily has never heard this particular side of Eileen before. It isn’t flattering.

“You stay exactly where you are,” she says. “If you don’t want to be the one to do it, I’ll not hold it against you — but I’ll send you someone who will.”

Emily intellectually if not instinctively knew this side of Eileen existed. Still, a cold shock runs through her. "Eileen," she interjects with all the calm she can muster. It takes her a moment to get to the heart of it.

"Why? Why are you so sure she's going to become a threat to you?"

“Because,” Eileen answers, “I’m a threat to her, and we are the same fucking person.”

Emily closes her eyes, jaw locked to avoid saying anything off the cuff in the face of such a strongly-held belief. "The same, but different." she insists quietly. It's more of a plea than anything overtly defiant. "The same way I'm not an Emily that lost her father, one that lives an entirely different life."

"You haven't seen her, and I have. Will you please trust me on this?"

Emily abruptly segues, looking back to the window. It dawns on her it's not just Eileen Gray that might storm the hold with murderous intent shortly. "What exactly is Etienne like? Does he have an ability?"

“Several.” Emily recognizes the underlying emotion lurking beneath Eileen’s icy veneer. She’s heard it her father’s voice, too, even if she was too young to recognize it for what it was at the time. Eileen isn’t angry — she’s scared. “Do you remember the Midtown Man? Gabriel Gray?”

Emily’s head kicks back like she'd been physically slapped with that information. That's—

"You were married to Gabriel Gray?" It's a rhetorical. Maybe she'd been wilfully ignorant until now. 'Gray' wasn't so unusual a name, but neither was it so common.

Emily closes her eyes, hand held to her face. "Okay— yeah— by name, I've heard of him. He has multiple abilities? Fucking fantastic."

“Telekinesis. Tactile telepathy. Astral projection.” Eileen lists off Gabriel’s ability like she’s telling Emily what to pick up at the corner store for supper. “Photokinesis. Super strength. Shapeshifting. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you?”

"You've sold me on the 'immediate danger requiring immediate action' portion of things, sure," Emily mutters, fingertips pressed to the bridge of her nose. "But all I'm getting from this is that he's more likely to kill me at the moment, between her going missing and being the way she is. Why would you…" she lets her hand fall from her face as she emphatically asks again, "Does he think you're a threat to her?"

As soon as it leaves her mouth, she lets out an exasperated sigh. Of course he does.

If Eileen is being honest, this is the part where she reveals that she kept Sibyl locked in a shipping container for several months while Gabriel scoured the Greater New York Area for any sign of her.

“If I was Gabriel Gray,” she says instead, because sometimes being crude is easier than being honest, “I wouldn’t want my partner trapped indefinitely in the body of a fourteen year old girl when there is a much better, more familiar, less morally ambiguous option available.”

A beat.

“I like having my own body, Emily. I like it very much.”

"Fuck." Emily swears. It's repeated in a whisper. Her eyes search the room rapidly for help, for answers it's not suited to give.

But then she looks at the door.

"Fuck," she whispers again. "Someone's coming. I'll call you back shortly."

“Stay where you are,” Eileen repeats. “Don’t answer the door. Lock your windows and close your curtains. I’ll be there in three hours.”

And the Englishwoman is the one to hang up.


Well, Emily was nearly right that there is someone coming. The truth of the matter is that there is somebody already here: as soon as she hangs up the phone, the door to the room swings open wide to reveal none other but Geneva standing there. She had apparently been there for a fair amount of time, judging by the lack of footsteps leading up to the action, but now she is posed with arms crossed, one foot tapping on the floor, and the strangest of expressions on her face.


Emily's still holding onto her phone in a kind of shock after being hung up on, though her hand falls back to her side when the door actually swings in. She'd said she was stepping in to see just how bad the damage was, but it was clear that wasn't all she'd done. Seeing Geneva there, her expression flickers and all she does is wave her in nervously, with the hope that she'll close the door behind her. "Gene," Emily whispers, gesturing to the broken room like the action is a suitable surrogate for referencing all of the unsaid. "I don't know what to do."

But Gene holds up both her hands in front of her face palms-outward and shakes her head, though mercifully she does allow the door to fall shut behind her, leaving the two girls alone in the room. "Just— just hoooold up a sec. Who was that you called just now? They're married to Gabriel Gray, like the serial killer? Em. What the hell is going on?"

It is clear from the look on her that she does not intend to budge without a proper explanation. For everything. This had been a long time coming.

Emily's expression goes through changes in waves, brow knitting even deeper. There's a helplessness to her expression, even as she tries to think her way out of explaining everything, but it fails. With nothing short of a grimace, she holds her phone back up in her hand, grip tight, and peers down at the floor as she makes a final decision. When she looks back up, her expression is mournfully apologetic, because she doesn't even know where to start with all this.

"That… is a new name for me, too. Apparently a man calling himself Etienne, who I'm fucking guessing is actually Gabriel Gray based on how that conversation went, is…" It takes her a second to decide how she wants to phrase it, because a lot of it is guesswork. "Etienne was watching over Sibyl, I guess. Eileen thought that Sibyl would try and find my dad a while back, and…" Emily lets out an exasperated breath. "I mean she must not have, because he was in a fucking state when I told him I'd seen her recently."

Her expression falls, a new level of 'oh shit' running through her expression. Eyes widen and start to wander. "Fuck. Fuck. My dad…"

And the barrage of questions continues, because Gene is decidedly not impressed by the half-answers that Emily is giving. "What do you mean, 'Eileen thought that Sibyl would?'" She steals a glance backwards at the room that they had just left. The one containing Eileen-in-Sibyl's body. "That little girl is off her meds. Call me crazy, but I don't think she's thinking much of anything right now. And what does your dad have to do with this?”

"If she's got any meds, it's news to me. We… I think we fucking broke her, Gene." Emily says, looking back to her bedroom door as well. She shivers for a moment, arms tucking into a fold. The cold air drifting in from the shattered window isn't comfortable.

"Sibyl, whatever she is, holds the mind of Eileen Ruskin, who died on Pollepel Island. Traumatically." she voice, decidedly unhappy to have to explain it or relive it. "She was torn apart by her own birds, but through her ability, she somehow held on. She somehow endured as a person, or at least parts of one, and somehow ended up inside Sibyl, and we fucking woke her up tonight." She draws in an unsteady breath as she turns back to Geneva. "I don't think she's all there, and I don't think it's a mercy that she persisted on after death."

Her weight shifts, but she otherwise remains anchored to the spot. "Eileen Gray…" she starts tentatively, gaze refocusing. "Gene, you know like, the visions and shit people've been having? Visions of other lives?"

Perhaps because she is desperate for something to focus on beyond the scope of this impossible conversation, Gene notices Emily shivering almost as soon as it happens; the observation is punctuated by a particularly long, chilly draft of wind blowing across them both. With a very punctuated sigh, she takes one of her hands out of its crossed position across her chest, where it begins to glow with a familiar warmth.

"Listen. This has got to be a dream. I'm pretty sure it is, so what the freaking hell, I'll go with it. Yes, I know the visions and shit you're talking about. I… had one about myself a few days ago. I was on a freaking boat."

Eyes lighting up for a moment as Geneva's hand begins to glow, Emily slides a step toward her to better take advantage of the heat she puts off. "Cool, that gives us someplace to start." she murmurs in relief.

"Imagine one of those visions, but imagine that other you came through and somehow ended up here. From an entire other world, an entire other set of circumstances — that's Eileen Gray."

"… That's who was on the phone."

Her expression trembles, like she's said something forbidden for discussion. Because although self-imposed, to her it was. Pointing out other realities exist and people from them somehow ended up here sounded like a quick way to be committed, or at the very least anger people who didn't want their secrets aired.

"I panicked, and I called her, because I didn't know what else to do. I thought she might have advice for how we could calm this Eileen down, somehow stabilize her, but—" Her eyes fall to the hand projecting warmth, shivering again even though she's not cold. Emily whispers, "I'm pretty sure that was a mistake, Gene. She's on her way."

For the first time in the conversation, Geneva's eyes narrow into contemplative cat-like slits; whatever she had expected Emily to say, it is clear that wasn't it. She is frozen in position now, like a rather confused human statue that just happens to be radiating heat. "Wait. Holy fuck. Just wait. You're telling me that what I've been seeing isn't some— side effect of hanging around crackpot Aunt Eve too much?" Because that would have been a much easier explanation to swallow, and indeed, the one she had clearly assumed.

"They're fucking real is what you're saying, isn't it. Oh my god, it is. And you've been talking to another Eileen from another world, and she's on her way now. To…do…what?" Hmm, Emily? To do what?

Agitated, Emily shakes her head. Not at her friend, but at the situation in general. At the series of questionable decisions that had all lead up to this very real danger that was going to bear down on at least one of them. "Before I had it confirmed who and what Sibyl really was, before I knew what she means to my dad, I'd called Eileen then, too. I gave her Sibyl's contact information."

"And my guess is maybe she didn't have me do anything immediately with it because maybe she didn't see Sibyl as a threat. Or fuck, maybe it was because of Etienne, I don't fucking know. But now, now, Etienne isn't here and Eileen's started to wake up."

As for the question about Eileen's intentions, all Emily can do is look up, silent. Jaw set. Eyes worried.

An answer that speaks for itself.

"Oh my god." At this point, Gene drags both her palms down her face; a deeply exaggerated and exasperated motion. When she takes them away again, it is all she can do to take a steady, calming breath. "…Em. Please tell me I have this straight. Eileen one, from another vision dimension or fucking whatever it is, wants to come here and murder Eileen two, who is from here but managed to survive death because of… some birds and now she's in some little kid's body."

A beat goes by. "Do I have that right?" Is she insane? Are they all insane?

"Because, among other reasons I'm sure she didn't tell me, she believes the Gabriel Gray calling himself Etienne would kill her in the hopes he can take Eileen's consciousness and transfer it to a new body." Emily delivers, close to deadpan.


Emily's brow knits, eyes squinting as she looks off to the side from a stab of discomfort. "She told me to take her to an abandoned lot and shoot her, specifically."

The whirl of information is currently revolving around Gene's head like an overly complex wheel contraption, and she is having trouble absorbing all of it. But this latest pronouncement of Emily's causes her to stab a piercing glance in the other girl's direction, suddenly much more wary than she was before. "…And is this something you're planning on doing? Vanguard, Sylar, this. Christ, Emily, are you a serial killer too?"

Emily wheels her attention back to Geneva, eyes wide. She looks more afraid now than she did before. "No." she states emphatically, like unless she says it forcefully enough, maybe it's something that could possibly happen to her. "Gene, no."

Then her attention swivels to her bag on the desk chair, eyeing it warily. "I just — I just don't know what to do."

"Julie had the best idea." she adds almost immediately after, head shaking. "As far as making sure this whole affair leaves the house and hopefully never comes back, it's the best possible choice. Sibyl theoretically is in safe hands—" Nevermind that her father had said it was a corrupt SESA agent that had tried to kill Sibyl last year, "away from Eileen, if we do that."

"But this is something I'm fucking stuck with, Gene. It's going to come back to me even if we get through this night without anybody dying, and I'm —"

Eyes closing as she says it, Emily voices with a particular stab of frustration. "I'm scared I'm making the wrong choice."

"The wrong choice? …The wrong choice? Em, what's the right choice, letting Eileen's evil clone walk in that door and murder a little girl? C'mon, you got on my case for lighting a stupid Christmas tree on fire, you can't possibly think letting her kill Sybil is anywhere near the right thing to do." Gene's exhalations are coming in more jagged breaths now, and she seems anything but calm.

"Tell you what. SESA sounds like a good option. Let's go with that, yeah? They've dealt with rats and shit. They can deal with birds and whatever the fuck this is. Nobody's dying tonight, don't be ridiculous."

"Eileen Ruskin died, and there's nothing left of her but those bits of memory that don't line up right. I'm not an expert, but that's no fucking way to live, Gene." Emily's not sure why she's bothering to defend the Eileen she knows like this. Not when she was vehemently against killing Sibyl one way or another herself. "Eileen isn't a fucking clone, she's a person, and letting her get murdered sounds just as unconscionable to me."

"Maybe somebody doesn't die tonight, but something fucked up is going to happen soon. And I'd rather—"

Her gut drops before she can finish that thought, her eyes unreadable before she starts off at a pace around the room.

She'd rather the living walk than the dead sounds like it makes perfect sense.

Out of context.

"So, you all aren't even going to try to fix this? Okay, sure, maybe this Eileen friend of yours doesn't want to live as a possessed demented zombie, but what about Sibyl? I can't imagine that she asked for this. And she's just a kid." A kid whom Gene had unceremoniously given first-degree burns to. Perhaps that is the part of the reason why she is being so defensive now— she feels largely responsible for the dissociation in the first place, given that Sybil had seemed just fine before Gene had entered the picture and messed everything up.

"I can ask around at Raytech. They're used to dealing with weird shit over there." Gene's eyes have taken on a steely-blue glint to them. "You have to at least try. You owe her that much." Given that multiple dimensions, resurrection, and bodily possession seem to be concepts being taken for granted in this debate, it does not seem like such a far-fetched request.

"I don't think there's any fixing this. Not really." Emily sounds like she wishes more than anything it could be done even as she says it. "It fucking sucks, okay? All of it," she clarifies with a sweep of her hand. "But this isn't a game. We don't have the luxury of save-scumming this until we get it right. We've got until — like —" A glance down at her phone, "Midnight to have fully committed to one thing or another."

She turns at the mention of Raytech, though, stopping in her tracks. "No. Not Raytech." Her shattered trust for that whole organization is still jaggedly sharp. "If you tell them about this, all it's going to do is make things worse."

Emily lifts one hand to try and soften her harsh tone. "Listen, Gene, I'm sorry you got dragged into this. It's not your fault, and it doesn't have to be your business." Her palm turns up. "You can just go."

Geneva does not go, however. Nor does she budge, save for her posture becoming slightly more defensive yet. Staring straight into Emily's eyes in flagrant disregard for the suggestion she had been given, she curls one corner of her lips upwards in an expression that is difficult to read. "No, I'm not going to go, Em. I made this my business when I fried that kid and started all this. We don't tell Raytech, fine. But we gotta do something. I know this isn't a game, that is why I am saying you can't just resort to murder. You can't save-scum recover from shooting someone dead in a parking lot."

Emily looks at her for a long moment, the silence lingering between them. As heavy as the whole situation is, as impossible as it feels, Geneva not leaving her alone with it makes it feel fractionally more bearable. Her eyes drop again, flickering in thought before she moves to the bed to pull Sibyl's coat closer. Pawing the pockets, she finds a suitably-sized lump and pulls out a well-worn phone — a burner with a cracked screen.

"We do owe it to her to try." she says out loud, accessing the contacts and tabbing down through them. There are few.

"Finding her again after dumping her with SESA is going to be problematic. That's the immediate issue I see with the plan. But short of…" Emily pauses for just a moment as her eyes rest on a particular number, "giving her to someone who'll either escalate the situation…" She tabs to the next contact. Who's Kaylee?

Emily just shakes her head, looking up from the phone. "It's a shitty idea, but we dump her with SESA and hope it doesn't become a whole thing if they figure out who she is. It's our best shitty idea, anyway." She lifts the device in her hand up like an explanation. "And in the meantime, I'm going to make another phone call, and see if there's anything that could be fixed by talking to Etienne Saint James."

Unconsciously, Gene finds herself rubbing hard at the space between her eyes; there is clearly much more to the story than had come out yet. More that Emily knows, but had not yet told her. As for Gene, she is still more than unsure about the involvement of this Etienne fellow; further questioning will certainly be forthcoming at some point— but this is not the time for it.

"Yeah, now you're talking. I do think that's our best bet. You go make that call, I guess, and I… I really need some water. Fuck."

As she paces towards the door separating them from the rest of the apartment, she hooks a look backward at Emily just before she opens it, fingers curled around the knob. "…Em? Don't worry. We'll figure it out."

And then she is gone down the hallway, leaving Emily alone in the cold bedroom surrounded by shattered glass.

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