eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Ungrateful
Synopsis In the chaotic aftermath of the assault on the Institute's Staten Island facility, Odessa has words with Eileen.
Date August 12, 2010

Staten Island: Sea View Hospital

Rain turns hair into tendrils of ink, pale skin into nacre and clothes into sodden weights as heavy as sacks full of stones. In the derelict shadow of what was once Sea View Hospital, the sleek shape of a woman in black moves between the trees, her silhouette illuminated by the fires burning miles away at her back and the embers that fill the night sky and float like fairy lights on an ocean's worth of churning smoke.

Although the moisture in the air and in the earth prevents the flames from spreading, it also impedes travel, making it difficult for the survivors of the massacre at the Institute facility to make their way to the rendezvous point deep within the island's greenbelt. Dozens are unaccounted for, including Eileen and — as far as she knows — the two individuals she's looking for.

She does not call out their names. The National Guard may still be combing the area for stragglers, and she lacks the energy to do anything with her ability except wing an owl ahead of her and send out psychic feelers with it, searching for any sign that Gabriel may be nearby, or Raith with him.

There's no sign of either of the men Eileen's searching for, but the owl overhead spies movement ahead. The slow and sluggish limp of the wounded. The figure, apparently unarmed and dressed in a clinging gown disappears into the remains of Sea View Hospital, seeking its meager refuge from the storm. It could be one of the Institute's victims escaped. Muddy footsteps leave a trail across the cracked and crumbling floors of the derelict hospital.

A flash of lightning overhead illuminates the world simultaneously as Eileen's connection to her ability fails her, leaving her truly blind.

"Ooooh, spooky!" A woman's voice echoes off the broken walls. "Who turned out the lights?!" Raspy and taunting, it would appear Eileen's wandered into a trap. "Why can't you do a damn thing right?"

Some abilities are more intrinsic than others. Eileen's is as important to her as any of her five senses, and she's already lost one — severing the link between her mind and the birds in the dense forest that surrounds the hospital leaves her feeling naked and disoriented, but rather than trip or stumble, she reaches out and splays gloved fingers against a crumbling wall to her left. The right tightens its grip on the cane she carries, a flash of silver teeth and one wild eye visible in the instant that the lightning fills the building's interior and makes a charcoal sketch of her frame.

There's a pistol under the wool of her coat in a leather holster, but it's a useless weapon in the hands of a blind woman who has no gift to counter the one that has robbed her of hers. She's turning her head toward the sound of the voice even before she's identified it, and when she does it's met only with silence. The darkness is the one advantage she still has — she's not about to give her away her position by responding to Odessa, not yet.

"You weren't supposed to go blind!" Odessa spits petulantly in the dark. She makes no attempt to disguise the sound of her bootfalls on the rain-soaked flooring. Winding first from Eileen's right then around toward her front - but not too close. "You were supposed to die. Christ! Of all the fucking times to quit smoking, and you choose now? You fucking stupid bitch!"

The crunch of debris and broken glass under Odessa's boots makes it easy for Eileen to track her progress, but pinpointing her exact location through sound alone is an impossibility even when her footsteps are accompanied by a shrill voice that balloons through the room. The sudden absence of rain whispering against the outside of the building and trickling through the leaves in the trees beyond it is all the evidence she needs, on the other hand, to determine what's just happened and why she can no longer sense the presence of her birds.

Quiet fury steals away both her breath and the colour in her face, though it does not take long for the more important of the two to make a swift return in the form of a thin hiss drawn in through her nostrils.

Odessa's grin is heard in her tone, even if it's left entirely unseen. "Was it bad? Did it hurt to feel yourself slowly dying?" Her voice is so quiet now, too calm to be comforting. "I sympathise. Really, I do." Something draaaaaags across the glass and debris.

"Did you know he's told me he loves you? You can't care for him like me!" With a sneer, Odessa re-adjusts her grip on a rotted and broken portion of support beam fallen from the collapsed ceiling. Brown leather gloves protect her palms and flexing fingers from the splinters.

Eileen never hears the footsteps rushing toward her. She does, however, feel the club break over the back of her shoulders from the vicious force Odessa puts in to her swing, a furious shriek accompanying it.

The Englishwoman goes down in a shower of damp splinters. The force of impact blows the breath back out of her lungs, and this time when she sucks it again, the noise it produces is wet and hitching and fills her nostrils with the earthy smells of mildew and rot, peeling paint and rust gone black with age, much more potent on the hospital's floor than in the air above it.

Her cane goes skittering across the cement and connects with something solid enough to produce a loud, booming echo that expands through the hospital and would startle birds from their roosts if there were any inside the stasis field encompassing both women.

There aren't. Odessa knows because no maelstrom has descended upon her and she still has her face.

"What's the matter, Muni'?" Odessa mocks in a sing-song voice. "I know the poison didn't take your voice." Tossing the remains of her bludgeoning weapon over her shoulder haphazardly, she crouches down and grabs instead a fistful of Eileen's hair, winding the dark, damp tendrils around her knuckles. A sharp tug urges the darker woman back to her knees long enough for Odessa to pat down her torso and find her gun.

The muzzle presses underneath Eileen's jaw. "Don't you have anything to say for yourself? You've never struck me as the type to come quietly."

By the time Eileen has recovered from the initial attack, there's a gun at her throat and the warmth of Odessa's breath rolling over her face. She can feel nails biting into her scalp and the pull of the blonde's fingers pawing messily at her hair. That there's no one twisting her arms behind her back and forcing her hands into cuffs is no guarantee Odessa is alone, but it's an assumption Eileen is willing to make with no other information to go off.

She holds out her hands at her sides, palms facing the sky, as if to show her that she's unarmed, and when the gun doesn't go off and spray the wall behind her with fragments of skull and brain matter that at least two other people in New York City would covet if they knew, she cleans the red from her front teeth with her tongue and ejects a stringy mouthful of blood and saliva into Odessa's face.

Odessa flinches instinctively, recoiling but not releasing her grip on the other woman's hair, or on the gun she's stolen. Instead, she flips it around in her hand. "Learned this one from watching Ethan," she growls before smashing the gun across Eileen's jaw.

"Do blind people still see stars?" the blonde queries as she lets the other drop. She tosses the gun to the floor before kicking it away with her booted foot, listening to it skid and skitter over debris until the dark swallows it up. Only then does Odessa reach up and wipe her face.

A hand thrust out stops Eileen from hitting the floor again. Being struck across the face with a blunt object isn't much better than having one brought down on top of her back, and it's a combination of willpower and having braced herself for the hit that allows her to remain more or less upright on her knees. She spits again, drools more of the stuff onto the pavement and grabs a handful of dead leaves in her fist as she steers her body sideways, lurching away from Odessa in the direction of the discarded gun.

"Oh, no you don't." One boot comes down to press onto one of Eileen's outstretched hands, while the other finds purchase in the woman's ribs. Odessa is not a fighter or brawler by any means, but what she lacks in finesse, she makes up for with enthusiasm and pure rage. "I can see I have given you far too much time to think this through," she hisses, lifting her foot from the other woman's hand before delivering another kick with enough force to send the empath spiraling onto her back.

Odessa's weight drops down over Eileen's hips, stradling and making a grab for the wrist of her uninjured hand, pinning it to the floor. It would be terribly intimate if the two were lovers. The kiss of steel against the side of Eileen's face isn't anything like the fluttering sweetness of a man's affections. The bite of the wickedly precise blade against the curve of her cheekbone anything like the rough affirmation of desire.

Eileen makes a low sound at the back of her throat that builds in intensity without achieving release. She clamps down on it, jaw set, and presses her lips razor thin as the blade splits skin like the rind of a too-pale blood orange and leaves a greasy track of dark fluid where it cuts through her cheek. Exhaustion delays her reaction time and saps her of her strength but does nothing to numb or even dull the pain of a knife opening her up.

The first word out of her mouth is, not surprisingly, "Ungrateful."

"Oh, I am plenty grateful," Odessa informs haughtily. "This is the point in the film where I'm meant to monologue about who's asked me to kill you, and then your knight in shining armour swoops in to save you." A shallow, serpentine river of crimson is lazily drawn across Eileen's cheek. Nothing that won't heal nicely. This is only the foreplay. "No one is coming for you, and you can go to hell with a few unanswered questions."

The doctor admires her handiwork, halting the scalpel's progress long enough to chuckle darkly. "Sanguinelli." At the tip of her chin, the blade lifts and settles instead at the back of Eileen's jaw, but doesn't begin to draw another line. "You knew I loved him. I understand him. He understood me. If you had just left him alone, I might have said no when I was asked to kill you."

The weight of Odessa's body bearing down on Eileen's smaller one is crushing, but not so crushing that the shuddery rise and fall of her breast doesn't push against her with every breath she draws in and then leaks out again through her nose. Her throat contracts around a swallow, forcing down what's gathering in her mouth rather than turn her head to ooze it out. Clothes, skin and hair are so thoroughly soaked with rainwater there's no visible difference between the moisture clinging to her face and any tears that might be mingling with it, but her voice is gravelly and thin, too coarse for her accent to perform any kindness on its edges.

"You don't," she says on her next exhale. "You love the idea of him— Sylar—"

"I love him!"

Odessa's shrill shriek bounces off the walls of the structure, calling back to them until it's swallowed up by the roll of thunder.

"You knew!" Odessa accuses again. "You knew and you stole him!" Her voice rises in pitch, and her scalpel parts flesh more because of the trembling of her hand than from any intentional pressure. "You're abusive!" she rasps, her own voice beginning to become thicker from the effort it takes not to start crying. "I look out for him! I look after him!"

Rather than give in to the sorrow behind her anger, Odessa grabs hold to that rage and lets it swell. By the last syllable of her tirade, she's screaming so hard her voice is cracking. "He was supposed to be mine!" The way no one has ever been. She lifts her weapon and instead presses it to the hollow of Eileen's throat.

"Beg me! Beg me to spare your worthless life!"

When someone has a knife at your throat, it's usually a good idea to follow their directions and do exactly as they say. Eileen at the very least considers, her pulse stroking against the scalpel as the tendons in her neck tense up defensively against the pressure. Glassy green eyes that reflect more than they reveal and provide no insight into the emotional state of the creature behind them appear to watch Odessa from beneath their lashes even though she sees nothing at all.

It doesn't take much effort or concentration to imagine what the other woman looks like right now. Other stimuli come together to paint a very vivid mental picture.

She challenges her with a curled lip and an accompanying sneer. "You look out for him," she repeats, "you look after him. You can't even look after yourself."

"Big words from a bitch who's on her back." Skin parts again, just a scratch. A long scratch that runs hollow on up to chin. "Do you suppose he'll cry when they find your body being picked apart by those birds you love so dearly? Just a piece of carrion." Odessa laughs, a broken and unkind sound. Her voice is already hoarse from screaming. "Poetic, don't you think? But don't you worry, we'll turn your death into a cause. One more casualty of the Institute. And I'll help Sylar tear it apart, tear them all down. I'll assure him of how proud you'd have been."

Again, she poises her knife above the straining muscles and shallow breath and pounding pulse of Eileen's throat. Odessa's weight shifts, and her own breath washes over the darker woman's ear. "Last chance. Beg me, or say your last words. Your choice."

A look of intense concentration pulls at the corners of Eileen's mouth and angles both her brows downward and in. It pinches her face, draws stark lines and creates shadows that contrast boldly with the pallid tones of her soap-white skin. This is the amount of thought that her last words require.

Alternatively: she wants to be absolutely sure the mangled fingers of her free hand are fully closed around the piece of rubble sitting in her fist and that she isn't going to miss when she swings it into the side of Odessa's head with as much force as she is physically capable of.

Rock connects with skull. Cracks open scalp. Darkness flourishes in the corners of the doctor's vision, and suddenly there's warmth bleeding down her face and neck.

There's a surprised grunt that accompanies the blow to her head. Odessa instinctively releases her grip on Eileen's wrist to bring her hand up to press to her wound, dazed and disoriented as she recoils to sit upright. The scalpel skips across skin negligently as she shifts back suddenly. Her weight doesn't sit quite as heavily anymore.

Dark blue eyes blink incredulously down at Eileen, attempting to banish the stars from her vision. "You fuckin'—"

The second blow is not as powerful or as swift as the first and catches Odessa across the nose, but it has enough force behind it to pulverize cartilage and shatter bone.

Odessa shrieks and moves her hand to cover her nose. "Bitch!" she howls, though it's muddled by the way her broken nose alters the sound of her voice. Angrily, she stabs her scalpel down into Eileen's shoulder.

The doctor's weapon of choice doesn't cut the deepest, despite the viciousness with which she buries it into Eileen's flesh. It's just not as effective as a boot knife would have been. Bloody fingers slip on the handle as she attempts to retrieve the instrument to stab again.

The rock comes down on Odessa's hand — it's something Eileen will regret later, not for hurting her, but for straining the muscles in her shoulder while there's a knife still buried in it. She's fortunate she's wearing gloves and that the lambskin provides her with more traction than bare skin. Blade levered free, she drops the rock, freeing up her other hand to grope at Odessa's hair. Her neck would be preferable, but not something she has confidence that she can maintain a grip on.

It also doesn't help her control her head. Twisting blonde curls into a knot around her wrist, she drags Odessa's face down to her level, thrusts the scalpel into her left eye and does not pull it out again until she's sure that she's in all the way up to the handle.

Somewhere between having her hand smashed with a rock, and losing her eye, there is a moment of clarity.

I fucked this up, says the voice in Odessa's head. And she just about wonders if she'll live long enough to correct her mistake and simply kill the bitch, when her own weapon is turned on her.

The scream that tears from Odessa's throat and peals past her lips does send the birds to flight this time, and sends that preternatural sense flooding back to Eileen.

Once the scalpel is pulled from her eye again, Odessa hits the ground and goes rolling and thrashing in agony with both hands clutched over her face, screaming and shrieking like something from the mouth of Hell itself.

Eileen's moment of clarity involves wiping off the flat of the scalpel on the sleeve of her coat after she's reestablished her connection with her ability and the owl that had been frozen above them in mid-flight, its wings a pair of great pale fans, lands on the back of an old wheelchair. And it's owl that's on the receiving end of the emotions that the Englishwoman refused to put on display for Odessa's pleasure.

Terror parts its beak around a noise that superficially resembles the one that Odessa is making. Fury has talons flexing and wings pumping. She could leave this here, abandon her to the National Guard and the Institute, but while Eileen isn't always spiteful, she is thorough without fail.

When Odessa goes rolling, she gracelessly follows after her. There's a gun here, somewhere, but she's not going to give her opponent a chance to stop time again and finish her assassination attempt the way she should have started it. She plunges the scalpel repeatedly into Odessa's neck, face and head, never aiming below her shoulders. It's too short a weapon for that.

It's a very feeble attempt Odessa makes to fight off Eileen. For all the fear she put into the other woman, she should have crippled her physically before playing her little games. Blood pours from the wounds in her neck, saturating the deceptively cheery white and pink polkadots of her dress.

Instinct tells her to protect her face. Training tells her she needs to apply pressure over her neck. Logic tells her she's going to die here no matter what. Pain cripples higher thought processes. Odessa finally begins to slow, weaken and she's left staring up through the blood covering her face and the rain further blurring what remains of her sight.

As Odessa slows, so does Eileen, and when the former is close to stopping, the latter wrenches the scalpel out of her throat one last time. Any desire she has to examine the final result ends with a confirmation she's inflicted enough damage to ensure that Odessa won't be using her ability again — only when she's sure that it's safe for her to turn her back does she disengage, and even then she doesn't move more than a few feet away.

A wall provides her with something to lean her good shoulder against. Her hand still holding the scalpel reaches up to clutch at the opposite to combat the bleeding. In a matter of minutes, she's received more injuries at the hands of ally than she did fighting the enemy on an open battlefield.

Tears, blood, and other fluid mingle together on Odessa's face - or what's left of it now that her nose has been bashed and she's been stabbed so many times. The blonde's fingers twitch, in vain. If she could just focus… If she could just catch purchase of one of those invisble threads…

It wouldn't stop the blackness closing in around the edges of her vision. A terrified sound escapes from the back of Odessa's throat, soft and weak as she is. Then she falls silent again.

Falls still.

Something black and liquid, as if gathered from the lightless depths of dirty ocean, skims along the wet Staten Island terrain. It's in a hurry, and you might be too, when birds lift up into the night sky, twittering vocalisations and chaos but the other noise they make is surely something. There may be a break of time where there is no time, the world blind to the area between point A and point B where Gabriel can travel soundlessly and swiftly, but there's another temporal manipulator up ahead and no one knows how that's meant to work. But it happens. Happens here, too.

It's through real time that Gabriel moves, now, appears, his boots trekking through rain-slicked debris, composed of black and white like his imaginary illusioned forests, his skin looking whiter than usual maybe from exhaustion or bloodlessness, brunette hair gone jet black where it's plastered to his skull. His clothing hangs off him, dampened black.

He brings birds with him too, a compulsive outspilling of power delayed only during his pausing of time, but they come, lifting off the trees and falling in a blind kind of migration, and while his anxiety and confusion shimmers through their fields of empathy, Eileen's desperate fear is like the scent of metal in the air, of a storm, buzzes through his system. It fuels him, too, tapping into another power that has solid rock shattering under his heel upon the next step, flushing his blood warmly through his system for all that it doesn't rise in his face. He feels like he's standing near a power plant, and that he could sculpt metal with his fingertips, which helps him not at all in finding out what the fuck.

Gabriel is about two minutes too late to receive an explanation from the person he most deserves it from. His alternative is trembling all over now that the adrenaline in her system has started to lose some of its potency, the threat passed. The owl on the back of the wheelchair, not understanding and with nothing else to direct its anxiety at, mantles its wings and assaults him with a shrill sequence of warbling shrieks, each one sharper and more pointed than the one preceding it.

Eileen tangles her fingers in her hair but does not push it away from her face. Her fingertips make her aware of the severity of the cuts the follow the curves of her cheekbone and jaw, and she follows an edge with her thumbnail to numbly gauge the damage as best she's able based on length and width.

She knows Gabriel is there like she knows the owl is there and that there are starlings converging in response. What she's going to do about it isn't something she's decided yet.

He watches her, the dark haired one, picking at her wounds with the delicacy of a cat nudging pink nose into sores, and the pull of wanting to go to her, wanting to stare at her, and then wanting to study the blonde haired mess not so far away all threaten to peel him apart — which Gabriel could do, if he wanted to. Maybe not. Instead, he steals a trick, and freezes the world — or at least, contains time to a space that is only himself and Eileen, which is really— the best medical attention someone like him can give Odessa out here. For them, it's not raining, and streaks of water hang suspended beyond the bubble.

Silent, still, but now he comes closer, steps sliding before he can lithely descend in a crouch, jaw hardening for the time it takes for that movement to complete. Hands go out, now, to try and pull Eileen's back from her face, so that he can see for himself, though a cursory glimmer of astral projection tells of damage.

"What happened?" is firm, for all that his physical prying is moderately gentle.

Showing is easier than telling, and Eileen does not put up any resistance beyond tension in her hands and wrists when he takes them away from her face. Curls of brown hair made black by the rain and receding floodwaters back at the mass grave they left behind are matted and stick to the corner of her mouth, which is bruised and her lower lip split open. Differentiating between wounds she might have received a few hours ago and those that are more recent would be more of a challenge for someone whose sphere of power doesn't include blood manipulation. Most of it is still fresh.

Including her owl earns his hands a small squeeze, the easiest way for her to convey her gratitude, slimmer fingers curling around his. A few of them look like they might be broken or sprained — whatever the problem, they no longer fold they way that they should.

"My cigarettes."

The curl of an index finger under her chin is more to angle her face, still it, than affection — and affection isn't really appropriate when you're crouching in the dirt, post-flood, bleeding and tired and wishing to be anywhere but here.

But blood thickens within the knife-edge slices on her face, tracks back up from where it had mingled in tears and rainwater, clots and hardens and scabs over with a thought and careful study, more delicate when it comes to her split lip. Hurts, almost, that crystalisation, but it probably won't crack under the movement of talking, and doesn't, when she relates those four syllables. Incomprehensible, he thinks her delirious, maybe, the way his eyebrows angle.

The good thing about his power, the natural analysis of it, is that it seems to operative above him, a second brain more like a halo, invisible and untouchable. Pieces of a puzzle slide together, and he remembers the sweet-dry taste of Eileen's cigarettes.

Further more, you don't even have to be a genius to see a battlefield.

He stares across, now, at the collapsed figure of Odessa, her crumpled face, fair-skinned slavic features beaten in, and the mess of an impaled eye. The owl might see some disbelief set into the shapes of his expression, slope of jaw and brow, hard gaze, might pass this image back to Eileen as he absently lets his hand be clutched. He's realising that no one attacked them. That they attacked each other.

"Take it," could be either an invitation or a command, but the tired, hollow quality of Eileen's voice doesn't make it clear which. There's no temptation to run her tongue over the scab at the corner of her mouth, return her hands to her face or test her shoulder — she knows what he's doing before his work is finished, and does not risk aggravating her wounds by moving unnecessarily.

If she was a more verbose person, her monosyllabic words and the amount of time that lapses between their short sets might be cause for concern. In a situation like this, it's standard — she'd been curt over the radios earlier, too. "I won't be hurt like on the bridge. But only this."

"Not now."

He drags his attention from Odessa, as slowly as her long skirt had clung to the beach ground when she had walked away from him not so long ago. He doesn't need answers now and he doesn't need to be incapacitated now, possibly more importantly. The temptation to reach into Odessa's mind and extract some answers is almost more tempting, but he can always find her later. Especially if he remembers the last place he saw her, which will be here, inevitably. She begins to bleed again.

Rain begins to patter down on their brunette skulls again, draws needle fine down their skin. Gabriel's arms tuck beneath her's in an effort to drag her to her feet. "Mind if I take it from here?" The leaving.

Eileen's boots scuff against the pavement underfoot, and she braces one hand on Gabriel's arm, the other against the wall behind her as he helps her get her legs back under her. His answer is met with palpable relief, no disappointment in being told to wait. The exchange that happened here was intimate, personal, and although there's a part of her that feels he deserves to know, there's another equal in size that wishes to keep it a secret between herself and Odessa — and with one of them dead or dying on the hospital's grimy floor, this is virtually guaranteed.

"The cane," she says, and in case Gabriel hasn't already located it shimmering in the dark, the owl glides down and hooks talons around its girth close to the head. "Do what you need to."

What Gabriel needs to do involves urging the owl back away with an empathic prod, a simple order — nothing is easier than telling a bird to leave. You barely even need telepathy.

A shimmer of shadow passes over skin and clothing until they both implode with it, twist in place, combined into one twisting and churning swatch of black that doesn't hold in place for long. It flows over broken concrete, dissolving the length of the cane into it upon contact, veers off like a flooded river hitting a bend and crosses by Odessa like a silent demon or passing ghost, touchless, soundless, some silent judgment.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License