eileen4_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Watchdog
Synopsis Peter drops Eileen off at the Garden and fills Gabriel in on what he saw.
Date August 2, 2009

The Garden

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

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

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

Half an hour past midnight, headlights cut through fog, tires thunder down an old dirt road, and the lights cast in front of an old fort pickup truck cut through the thickets and trees as it rolls towards a well-known destination tucked away in the rural heart of Staten Island. Bouncing over several bumps, the shocks of the truck creak and screech, and eventually it leaves the thicker woods, coming out into a clearing between a pair of old willow trees, their branches drooping down over the dirt road.

The engine rumbles as the headlights reflect against panes of windows set into the crumbling exterior of an old, unlit cottage nestled in the woods. As the truck's headlights pull away from the house, and the pickup turns to pull into a space next to an old beat up jeep, lights start coming on in the cottage and activity stirs well past waking hours.

From upstairs, the sound of the truck pulling up rouses a young girl from her sleep. One hand rubbing at her eyes as she slides off of a couch on the second floor turned into a makeshift bed. Her blankets slide off partway, and as Lily tucks some of her hair behind one ear, she just barely catches sight of a broad-shouldered man making his way down the stairs with thumping, bare footfalls.

"Jesus, who the fuck comes out here this late with a goddamned truck?" Lifting up the front of a desk, Will Larson removes a carefully stowed sawed-off shotgun and moves through the kitchen towards the front doors. A few lamps turned on inside backlight his silhouette form as he hears creaking footsteps coming from upstairs. Turning to look at the man coming down the steps, Larson gives a nod, then moves towards the front door, peering out through the glass as he watches three people at the back of the familiar pick-up. "Jesus, it's Nick…"

The door opens up a crack, shotgun held down at his side behind the door as he tries to get a better look. One arm over each of their shoulders, Nick and a man in a mud-slicked dark suit recognizable only by the scar jutting across his face drag an unmoving and ragdoll limp Eileen Ruskin towards the front doors in a hurry. "Goddamnit, Gabriel!" Larson calls back into the cottage, opening the front door as the three start making their way inside.

"Will, Will I'm sorry they called me up, she's all sort of fucked up, I couldn't leave 'em down at the pier." Nick Burns is an apologetic young man from Tennessee who never wanted to get wrapped up in all of this, never wanted to be a Ferrymen. Now, as a runner of food and supplies, he's added pickup truck ambulance onto his resume.

Right with Nick, Peter Petrelli is a mostly unwelcome sight around the garden, carefully hauling Eileen in by the arm Nick doesn't have. "I don't know what's wrong with her… she was in a fight, I— she just started nodding off on me when we got to the boat." Blue eyes flit around the kitchen anxiously, looking for the one man he doesn't want to confront about Eileen's condition.


If Eileen had to thank Daiyu Feng for something, it would be taking her pain away. That said, any detachment she might be experiencing is offset by the knowledge that this isn't something she wants. She'd much rather suffer a twisted ankle and the dime-sized bruises spattered across her back and legs than sacrifice her sense of self for an artificial high that leaves her feeling more nauseous than euphoric.

She's conscious enough to make sense of where she is and who she's with, but she lacks the ability to do much more than process this information as Nick and Peter haul her inside by the arms. Although her booted feet are moving, they fail to find traction on the kitchen's floor. Leather squeaks wetly against wood as she struggles to right herself under her own power and bangs her knee against the dining table with enough force to rattle the porcelain vase at its center.

She hisses out a curse under her breath as if aware of what just happened, even if it doesn't register the same way it would in a situation where she might have clarity of thought. Her hair is plastered to her face by a salty combination of sweat and tears, thick black ringlets like spirals of ink staining her whitewashed skin, but physically she could be a lot worse.

"Don't—" she starts, unaware that it's already too late. By the time she gets around to finishing her thought, she's forgotten why she was protesting in the first place. "Wait. Peter. Peter. Wait."

There are a number of good reasons to come back to the Garden for the evening. Not low on the list would be a decent night's sleep. Ironic, now. Most monsters have a habit of legend to be easily summoned if you so much as whisper their name, and far from a monster these days - although some might disagree - Gabriel is still fetchable when his name is hollered through the cottage. His foot steps are heavy and swift, as if he hadn't been asleep - a loose sweater is dark and draped over his torso, all shades of grey and darkness at this hour.

"What is it?" His voice is quiet, but sharp, like a needle puncturing the silence, beneath the breathless pleas Eileen is giving. Dark eyes fleetingly take in the scene as everyone comes to gather in the kitchen, the three from one angle and Gabriel from another. It doesn't take long to assess - Eileen's pale face is forever distinctive, and posture, body language, the situation is strikingly familiar, or at least recognisable. "What happened?"

He's moving for her. Obviously she must be hurt if she can't even stand. The demanding look that is directed towards Peter is, perhaps strangely, without accusation despite the growl of his voice that accompanied it.

Nick looks absolutely aghast when Gabriel comes up towards him, immediately slinking back and out from under one of Eileen's arms, even while Peter attempts to negotiate her down onto one of the wood benches near the kitchen table. Hefting as much of her slight weight as he can, he shifts the young woman and settles her down to sit without so much as a heed of her unfocused protests. "Sit," he instructed her after she's seated sweeping a gloved hand over her forehead to brush hair and sweat back from her brow, finally looking up to Gabriel.

"I was out near Queens, I— " He cuts himself off, shaking his head, "it was pretty close to eleven, headed back to Red Hook to catch the ferry out to the island. I— I heard gunshots." His blue eyes track up to Larson, watching the way the broad-shouldered man moves to lay the shotgun down on the kitchen counter, heading towards the stairs to round up the little girl who'd come down to see what was going on. "I thought— I don't know, I went to look, I saw someone getting attacked so I just— " Peter's a bit shaken up as well, words fumbling.

"Someone— some guy, I don't know, Triad or something. He was asking her for a phone number. I just— I got him off of her and he tried— " Peter's eyes widen, and he looks down to the front of his suiot where six bullet holes perforate his chest, but bare and pale skin beneath is unmarred. One gloved finger rubs around in the hole, as blue eyes lift back up to Gabriel. "We struggled, he ran off… I— I don't know. I don't know it happened so fast."

On the bench, Eileen leans forward until her arm is resting on the dining table and her chin fits into the crook of her elbow. Her breaths come slowly, louder and more exaggerated than they ought to be, but they aren't so heavy that she can't piece together Peter's harried explanation.

"No," she corrects him in a breathy slur, green eyes squeezing shut and pinching more tears from the corners. She swallows hard and takes another deep breath, her entire body quaking with visible effort. "CIA. Daiyu wanted t'speak wit' Holden. Wanted—"

There's not a lot of sense to be made from what Eileen is trying to say. That she's making an attempt to enunciate her words and speak as clearly as her current state will allow, however, is a good indication that she expects someone in the room to fill in the gaps.

Gabriel's movements are fluid as he comes to sit beside her, straddling the bench and trying, without touching, to find out what has her so shattered, in between looking up as Peter rattles off the explanation, for all the blanks between words. His gaze darts down towards the mess of bullet holes, before once again focusing on Eileen— especially as she has something to say.

His hands start to move, and hesitate when she utters that name. "Feng." Another look to Peter, as if judging as to whether he deserves an explanation. After a moment, Gabriel states, "He's been dogging the footsteps of the Vanguard for the past month, or longer, I don't know." And now his hands move, gripping onto her quaking arms, forcing her to sit up. "Eileen.

"Eileen." Gabriel's not about to shake her, simply holding. "Did he come after you? Are you hurt? What's wrong with her?" This is asked of all of those present within the room, although the answer of drugged is slowly becoming clear through the ragdoll heaviness in Eileen's posture, the fever sweat and the slurs.

"She was like this— she was like this when he took her off the ferry from the mainland." Nick shakes his head back and forth, rubbing at the side of his head with one hand. Finally, Larson gives Nick a side-long look and nods with his head from the stairwell in the much younger man's direction.

"Give'em space. Come on, we'll do a walk around outside, make sure nobody followed you back from the Rookery, god forbid." For them, mostly. Anyone maligned enough to come out here looking for trouble would find unfortunately agitated guests waiting for them; murderers most.

As Larson and Nick make their way for the front door, Peter's had time to collect his thoughts some. "She'd been shot," Peter says quietly, "I don't know with what. He had a few different guns, but she's only bleeding a little on one leg. Might be a graze, I— it looked like he beat the shit out of her. She might have a concussion…" There's a dry swallow as Peter looks from Eileen to Gabriel, then reaches inside of his coat to hold out a cell phone.

"He dropped this," Peter notes disconcertedly, offering it out to rest on the bench. "I don't know who he was calling, I— " he rubs a gloved hand over his mouth. "I don't know if he had some power or— we need to get her to a doctor."

If Eileen wasn't under the influence, she'd have the sagacity to choose her words with care rather than blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. While what she says could probably benefit from a brain-to-mouth filter, it is at least truthful. "M'sorry," she whispers hoarsely, shaking her head as Gabriel pulls her upright. She reaches out to place her hands on his shoulders but they find his face instead. "M'so, so sorry."

Her arms snake around his neck, hands clutching feebly at his sweater as she buries her face between his neck and shoulder. Sitting up is difficult. Leaning against someone is easier, and if that someone has to be Gabriel — great. When she speaks again, her voice is muffled by the fabric of his clothes. "Please don't be mad."

Gabriel's back goes straight when she leans into him, curls arms around him. It's similar to when she'd been dying. It's also different. Reaching past her to pick up the cellphone, he nods once to Peter and manages to slip the device into a pocket, even as an arm curls around her back to hold her up. "He's dosed her with something," he mutters. "Maybe to get her to talk. Morphine." He's not far off the mark, in terms of Feng's poison of choice. "He did it once before to one of ours. I believe you know Odessa."

Strictly rhetorical, and unimportant, these words are muttered over Eileen's head as Gabriel starts to secure a hold around her. Getting clung to in the kitchen isn't doing anyone favours. "It's okay," he awkwardly tells the young woman. "Don't apologise. I'm not mad."

That would be a lie. He slants a look back upwards to Peter, struggling with this, before finally he utters, "Thanks. For finding her. I can take it from here." And he will take it from here, would be the implication set into the gravel of his voice. Moving to push an arm beneath her legs, drawing Eileen into his lap so that he might carry her. Whatever anger is there is manifested in stoicism and steel, his voice quiet and movements careful, although there's a scowl written on his face that hasn't faded since she muttered the man's name.

Odessa. The mention of her makes Peter's brows furrow, eyes tracing from one side to the other in a momentarily angry cast before it levels out. There's an awkward grunt from Peter as he shifts his eyes side-long to Eileen, before finally pushing himself up to his feet from the bench. "Yeah… " he murmurs, "I've got a lot of excess energy I need to go blow off anyway, I'm going to go see if Larson and Nick need another pair of eyes." It's a polite way to excuse himself from something that clearly isn't his business. Peter turns his head askance, looking at Gabriel and Eileen, then furrows his brows and starts to make his way for the back door.

"If you need me for anything," he adds, standing at the door with one hand on the knob, "I won't be far." When Peter nods, his eyes wander down to the floor, then out one of the darkened windows as he turns the knob to the back door and quietly steps out onto the porch. When the door clicks shut, his footsteps clunk on the wood until he walks out of earshot and out into the back yard.

No response to the thanks, none needed. He might not have saved her if he saw who it was.

Eileen's skin is cold to the touch, though this has almost as much to do with the sweat dripping off it as it does the drug coursing through her system. "You're always mad," she mumbles against his neck, no real heat behind her words except that which is carried on her breath, tickles skin and ruffles hair. Likewise, she offers zero resistance when she's picked up unless Gabriel wants to count the sharp exhalation she presses between her pursed lips and punctuates with a simpering hiss.

She tightens her grip around his neck, sinks her nails deeper into the weave of his sweater and continues working her mouth to form words that she hopes resemble coherent thought. "You're always mad I killed myself. It was a real accident this time."

Giving no more acknowledgment to Peter and his words and his walking away, Gabriel moves from the bench to head towards the dark hallway he'd emerged from, the world swooping and spinning around the woman in his arms as she's brought along for the ride. A seawave kind of rhythm, a gentle rocking with each step. "I'm not mad," he insists, again. Then thinks to add— "I might be later."

The door creaks as he backs into the room he knows she claims for herself, the bed tidy but most importantly, vacant. The mattress squeaks a sleepy protest when the thin-limbed girl is set down upon it, Gabriel's knee against it for balance, a hand coming up to unhook her arms from his neck like one might unhook the claws of a stubborn kitten from the furniture.

The assurance does little to assuage Eileen, but this isn't Gabriel's fault — nothing short of naloxone will be able to help. Her fingernails catch in his sweater and are tugged free with little effort. Her arms, too, fall easily away from his neck. With nothing useful left to say and just enough sense to know she ought to keep her mouth shut until this changes or he asks her another question, she fixes the man with a bloodshot stare, gaze blearily and unfocused.

She has some idea of what Feng shot her up with, but she isn't about to argue with Gabriel's assessment. Her tongue feels much too thick to even try wrapping it around his name. Wordlessly, she rubs the heels of her hands over her eyes and then over her cheeks, smearing smudges of dirt and traces of what might be make-up.

He doesn't have any questions for her, it seems, meeting her stare for a moment in distant assessment, before reaching to switch on the low lamp by her bedside, and sweeping a look down her body now that he can see it. The dirt and mud seems to give off an impression of being worse than it really is, Gabriel's gaze tracking immediately to the rusty red of blood seeping through the fabric of her pants, the various bruises visible.

A hand goes to her arms, turning them so he might see, and it's the track mark he was looking for, pausing when he comes across it. Nothing about it will tell him anything of the nature of the chemical tearing through her, but it would, at least, confirm suspicions.

The mattress squeaks again as he gets off it, moving around to release her boots from her feet in brisk movements, letting them thud against the floor as he drops them at the foot of her bed.

Eileen lifts her feet up off the floor and onto the edge of the bed, legs drawn into her chest, arms wrapped around her knees. The light is shied away from, dark-haired head turning away. A few moments later, she's settling onto her side in a similar position, small and fetal, head tucked against her shoulder as she focuses on the long, languid rhythm of her breathing and the slow heartbeat that accompanies it.

Toes and fingers curl in on themselves. Eyes squint shut again, then blink open, lashes caked and stuck together. She burrows into the blankets on the top of the bed, breathing in the stale smell of old linen and traces of her shampoo on her pillow, all the things that are familiar, comfortable and safe.

Later, Gabriel will be mad. Later, Eileen might not be able to bring herself to look at him. For now, though, she watches him in sluggish silence the same way a sleepy kitten might — peering apprehensively up at him from under the lid of the box he put her in.

He steps back as Eileen moves to make herself comfortable, dirty clothing and all. Gabriel could put up a fight, he could undress her, but ultimately takes the easy way out and lets her be. There's a moment wherein he vanishes out her periphery, the squeaking sound of a door open, a rustle of fabric—

And then a blanket descends over her, as if to disguise her, offer her a hiding place, or, more optimistically, to give her comfort. Gabriel occupies himself in the corner of the room, moving to sit down, a foot braced against the edge of the chair he finds, an arm curled around his knee, and taking out the cellphone left behind, turning it around in his hand.

From there, Gabriel waits. Either for her to fall asleep, to awake sober and coherent if not actually talkative, or for her to make demands from him. It wouldn't be the first time, wherein he's played watchdog. It also wouldn't be the second time—

Or likely even the last.

He doesn't have to wait long. Exhaustion takes its toll, Eileen gives in to her drooping eyelids and inevitably succumbs to sleep. There's no way for Gabriel to pinpoint the exact moment that it happens, only for him to know on some instinctive level that it has.

A cursory examination of the phone yields a crack in the phone's LED screen where it bounced off the pavement when Feng dropped it. More interesting is the seven-digit number at the top of the list detailing its call history, but that is perhaps a discovery best left for another time.

On the bed, covered in the blanket and a false sense of woozy well-being, Eileen eventually turns her face away and buries it in the cotton material of the pillow the same way she smothered it against his shoulder. One is better than the other, though she won't remember which come morning.

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