Yours to Remember



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Scene Title Yours to Remember
Synopsis Sylar gets a temporary reprieve.
Date January 15, 2009


When they sleep, dreams seem realer to Sylar than anything else. Perhaps that's a mixture of side effects - the slightly fogged quality of day to day living, passive watching and feeling himself go through whatever motions Kazimir chooses, only half feeling the wind against his face or hearing voices that are more like echoes, and everything he sees just seems to turn to gray. Along with the ghost of an impossible memory and the ability to soak up consciousness like a sponge, Sylar at least has a colourful retreat when his eyes are shut.

They learned their lesson. If it were truly possible to draw lines between dreams and consciousness, it's done. Sylar doesn't even try to reach out for Kazimir's memories, thoughts, ideas anymore; they're kept locked away and in turn, so are Sylar's. He assumes.

It's raining. Water spatters against concrete and metal, turning the lights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into hazy glows above him. The sound of passing Homeland Security vehicles down below is notably absent - in fact, quite a few things are absent, such as the outside scenery that extends beyond the structure. As if the black night sky above created a dome all around it, although Sylar doesn't make much attention to this. He moves from the Brooklyn side towards the center, alone, hand running down the railing and feeling the sharp intensity the cold, icy metal and the water gathered there. His hair is slick with water, too, although slowly, the rain seems to lessen, to give in to dry coldness. The scent of water on the air is as strong as the scent of the city, metal and smoke, and the sensations are as real to him as anything he's experienced.

Sylar comes to the center and folds his arms on the railing, looking out into the black. He could get used to it here. It's safe here.

Somewhere in the distance, far beyond the black expanse that stretches across the seemingly infinite reaches of this desolate place, a seagull cries out — its hoarse voice a testament to the hostility with which the wind opens its arms and draws Sylar into winter's frigid breast. If there's one good thing to be said about the cold it's that it invigorates the mind as much as it does the body, lending Sylar's surroundings a sharpness of clarity that even the real world lacks. Fog spills out from the other end of the bridge, rolling in across the cement like the tide and washing up against the sides of the walkway as it flows lazily toward him.

No footsteps echo in the endless night, no sharp staccato clap of ballet flats against the concrete to herald his visitor's arrival, but the figure makes herself known soon enough — first as a disembodied shadow floating amongst the mists, then as a young woman with gently defined edges that grow less and less transparent the closer she draws to him. Eileen, dressed in her heavy winter pea coat and a crimson scarf fit snug around neck, gradually comes into view, her long black hair rippling in the breeze.

The sudden appearance of London-thick fog is not an entirely welcome distraction from the void. It's something new, invasive, something Sylar doesn't welcome and knows is not from him. He came here for loneliness and silence, and the idea that Kazimir found him even here makes him wish, for a moment, he slept dreamlessly. As if braving a new monster, Sylar takes his weight off the railing and clasps his hands around it, then finally looking as Eileen materialises from the fog.

A wary pause, before Sylar backs up from the edge entirely, glancing towards the starless sky as if expecting to see the bird that had sounded out a few moments ago, heralding the girl's appearance, it seems. "I don't think you're supposed to be here," he says, rather too quietly for Eileen at her distance, but all the same, his voice still travels as if there were nothing in between them but vacuum.

Eileen might not supposed to be here, but this doesn't change the fact that she is. The fog swirls around her ankles, snakes up her long, stocking-clad legs and encircles her waist like a disembodied serpent before it dissipates into the crisp evening air. "I thought you might appreciate the company," she offers, reaching up to tuck several of the wilder strands of hair behind her ear, "but if you'd rather brood, by all means…"

She comes to a stop a comfortable distance away, and in the faint glow of the lights illuminating the bridge Sylar will see that her scarf isn't supposed to be red at all — it, like the rest of her clothes, are drenched in blood, her pallor pallid and wan.

The last time she appeared to him this way, he'd just fished her out of the drainpipe and swaddled her body in his coat. Although her skin lacks the vitality associated with the living, she is at least smiling, lips so pale they blend in with the rest of her face — only a faint touch of blue sets them apart from her colourless cheeks or the sweat-smeared surface that is her brow.

"I'm not brooding," comes the quiet, rasping answer. Contrary to all appearances - a man dressed in black standing in the bitter cold with only numb silence as company, thoughtful and solemn. Not brooding at all. Well perhaps a little. But hiding is the most accurate. Apparently, that's not allowed to happen tonight as more and more details make themselves clear the closer she comes.

Sylar backpedals a few steps, and in contrast to the silence of Eileen's walk, his foot steps are loud, echoing against fog and black space, gaze darting over her head to foot, then around him. As if waiting to see the stolen image of a smirking Kazimir, come to watch this barb land, but nothing. Only the industrial structure of the familiar bridge, the glossy white fog, and the depthless dark.

"I don't…" he starts, coming to terms with the fact that he's conjured this himself. "…want to remember you this way." Then he smiles a little, slightly wanly. "But I don't suppose we have many good memories to share."

"You say that as though we won't be making anymore." A few droplets of blood drip from Eileen's sleeve onto the pavement, leaving dark splotches that glimmer black in the light. "Memories." If this was real, and it almost certainly isn't, she'd be in a lot more pain than she appears to; apart from her poor physical condition, there's nothing about her to suggest she's hurting. "I'm not going to hurt you," she adds, perhaps for clarification's sake, "and as long as I'm here, He won't either."

Eileen casts a wayward glance over her shoulder as if to confirm this for herself. Several long moments pass, and when no Kazimir emerges from the fog she turns back to Sylar, her gray-green eyes bright with mirth, alive in a way that shouldn't be possible given her apparent condition. "Something on your mind?"

Sylar's hand goes out to the railing again, pulling himself towards it, and then rather smoothly perching upon it, back rather daringly facing the unknown blackness, feet braced against the metal and hands clasped securely. "Is that a joke," he says, somewhat wryly, tearing his gaze away from the bloodied visage currently giving him the time of day. It's a dream, as real as the latest dreams he's been having, but there is something about this one that seems… dynamic. Not out of his control, exactly, but different to the usual memories filed away to edit together in some sort of hallucination. It's Eileen he's talking to. Just not in the actual sense.

And he trusts her that Kazimir can't come here. Maybe he can't hear either. The idea of privacy is grasped on to stubbornly, as fixed as his position on the cold railing. "I don't know if any memories I make anymore will be mine," he tells her, flatly. "He doesn't come here anymore because he's afraid of what I can do in return but after a while it won't matter. Maybe we'll become the same, in the end."

"You and Kazimir are as alike as oil and water," Eileen assures Sylar. "You can't become the same any more than you and I can become the same, and I've been here longer than he has." She doesn't elaborate what she means by this, but she does move closer, footsteps leaving sticky prints in her wake. "I don't want to tell you what you should or shouldn't do — I've made that mistake once already, and we both know where that put you." That is to say: here.

Eileen lifts her chin, tilting her face toward the sky, lamplight shining off her skin like the moon reflected in a pane of glass. "You were on the right track, though. With the strings. At least that's what I think."

Sylar's gaze shifts from her eyes to the dark red footsteps on the pavement, then back to her face. Near death, she stands there and reassures him. He doesn't quite shrink back as just stay rigidly still. "The strings," he repeats, eyes going sightless for a moment, recalling that room— not the true version of either of them, the one with its floor mural and the other beneath what was once the Bronx. But the mixture of the two that acts as a gateway. "I get lost," he admits. "There are too many variables and I don't remember how they're meant to go." A pause, then, uncertainty laces his voice as he asks, "Are you here to help me?"

"If it's help you want, then you'll have to look to yourself." Comfort, however, is something that Eileen can give, and she extends one hand in offering. Unsurprisingly, the leather of her glove is just as covered in muck as the rest of her, but it's at least beginning to cake and dry, sloughing off in flakes toward the tips of her fingers. "I can't do any more for you than I already am," she says, "but we can go someplace else, somewhere you don't have to worry about variables, somewhere you can think. No strings. I promise."

The outstretched hand is stared at for a moment, but really, he has no room to feel squeamish. Sylar looks down both ends of the bridge, the fog having cleared as if a wind had slowly chipped away at it until there's nothing left but shadows. Darkness on either end, as if Staten Island and Brooklyn had been swallowed up completely. It's doubtful that there is any place to go, but then again, things don't work like they should, here.

Sylar's boots make echoes as they touch back down onto the pavement, leaving his gargoyle-perch on the railing, a bare hand coming out to wrap around hers. A parallel gesture to the first time he'd brought her memories into his, enabling this place, this perception of a living woman to exist.

The instant Sylar's hand comes into contact with Eileen's, the world around them begins to melt away like fresh paint on a canvas being eaten away by a splash of water. Black melts into dark blue and purple, silver and gray into white. Where the bridge lay beneath their feet, great dunes of golden sand tinged brown rise up, interspersed with tufts of tall grass and long fingers of barnacle-speckled rock that jut out of the earth in strange formations at even stranger angles. The breeze increases to a dull roar, wind whipping through Sylar's hair and clothes with such force that it is almost impossible to hear the waves crashing against the shore upon which he stands.

Wherever they are now, it's no place Sylar has ever been — and it's definitely not in New York.

Eileen lets go of Sylar's hand, her arm dropping back to her side. No longer are her clothes bloodied, and no longer is she dressed for winter; despite the slight chill in the salty sea air, she wears only her leggings and an oversized gray sweater that hangs off her frame and gives it very little shape. Her bare feet, too, leave only faint impressions in the sand as she steps away from Sylar, one small hand raised to shield her eyes from the dappled sun trying to push its way through the heavy cloud cover overhead. "Better?" she asks, shouting to make her voice heard above the din.

The shock of the change, of somewhere unfamiliar, takes Sylar by surprise, and wariness that rises and fades. He turns once in a circle, observing their surroundings and squinting against wind and sand that whips around their feet under the force of the gale, tugging at his black coat and making it flap noisily.

He looks to her again, gaze darting up and down. No blood. No death-like reminder of the twist of fate that had come close to being his fault in the girl's eyes. "Better," he agrees, voice raising over the din of wind and waves. There are certainly no variables here, only wilder landscape - none of the manmade nature of the constructed bridge or the pattern of strings of future and present. His arms spread a little, palms turning up towards the blue sky as he shakes his head and says, "I don't remember any of this."

Not a complaint - a far cry from a complaint. Sylar seems almost happy at this prospect, that he has something new and to himself, that Kazimir can't touch.

But he can try.

It's the periphery of this remote paradise that just may reveal that no escape can ever truly be perfect. Perhaps this is why so many had given themselves up to the void within this monster, why Santiago had succumbed to the cloying darkness that consumed him body and soul. Around the shoreline, on the cloud-mottled horizons, blackness reigns. It's like a thunderhead; a churning wall of storm threatening to encroach and swallow the sandy paradise in one tempestuous mouthful. But it isn't one that flashes with lightning, it's a hazy mess of gray and black, more a wall of billowing ash and smoke that stormclouds.

It's a reminder that while it is better, it can't be perfect.

"That's because it isn't yours to remember." Eileen looks out across the beach to where, perhaps a quarter of a mile away, a young family picnics on the edge of a precipice, the fabric of their tablecloth flapping much like Sylar's coat, though he and Eileen are much too far away to hear the noise it makes — only the distant squeals of children darting about in the surf, taunting the waves with their beach towels like miniature matadors lunging at imaginary bulls. "You carry pieces of people around inside of you now," she explains, her face taking on a vaguely worried expression when she spots the darkness gathering on the horizon. "Not just me, but the others as well — Wu-Long, Gillian, Jennifer. Everyone you've touched."

Another turned, half-circle to take it all in, and then the darkness beyond the choppy ocean is noticed, and easily identified. Sylar stills, wind battering at him as he looks off towards the distant, storm-like shadow of smoke. No fear or anger, but grim assessment, the beginnings of a smile faded to nothing. So few things are forever, after all.

You can run, but you can't…

"What?" he asks, voice absent-sounding as he looks down to Eileen, momentarily distracted from the distant presence of Kazimir. Distracted by the fact that she even knows the connections he's made, but then again, it makes a certain sense. "I guess a curse within a curse becomes a gift. I can still talk to the birds, you know, even when I'm in here. But I don't know if I can find you. I think maybe you're dead. Or you will be, soon."

The knowledge that one's own death is probably impending should probably disconcert Eileen, but she appears not to feel frightened — it's possible she might not even feel anything at all. Do amalgamations of memories have emotions? "Does it really matter whether I'm alive or dead as long as I'm here?" she asks. "Maybe Kazimir will kill me, or maybe he's already done it. Everyone dies, sooner or later. My death won't change anything for you, Gabriel, and you're the reason we're having this conversation. Not me."

Sylar narrows his eyes at her, and slowly, he shakes his head. "No," he says, flatly. "I didn't attack Kazimir and put myself here and come all this way just to believe that. If you don't care…" And he goes silent, the reality of this sinking in. He's not talking to Eileen, not really. Just a memory. And for as long as he's alive, memories are immortal. What does she care otherwise?

He doesn't bother to finish the sentence, let alone the argument, moving away towards where the ocean laps persistently, boots sinking into sand both soft and coarse. About a foot away from where the beach starts to get damp, Sylar simply sits down, letting his fingers dig into sand as he braces his weight back on his palms. Tries to ignore the bruised horizon in favour of the ocean. The wind has died some, allowing him to speak and be heard. "Then I don't want this conversation."

Not here to help, no. Here to comfort. He stops attempting to needle for answers, to dig deeper than what this is - a memory, and no deeper than that, as unique as it might be. "I like it here. How long can I stay?"

"As long as you want." Or at least until Kazimir figures out where he's gotten to. It's hard to say which, but Eileen's memories aren't the first place he's going to look for Sylar — assuming he decides to look at all. She seems to sense the change in him, and as he takes a seat in the sand she comes up behind him and rests her hands on his shoulders. "We don't have to talk about my dying if it bothers you," she says, tone markedly less nonchalant than it was a few moments ago. "If it hasn't happened yet, then…" Eileen trails off, as if in thought, her grip on Sylar's shoulders tightening ever so slightly. "You want answers to questions you aren't asking. I might not be her, but I know what she'd say in my place. Is there anything you want to know, before I go?"

Her hands on his shoulders feel real, as real as the hand under his fingers at the scent of salt in the air, the warmer touch of light from a sun that tries to work its way through the clouds overhead. Sylar might have let his eyes drift shut, but he doesn't take this fleeting existence for granted. Unfortunately, that means he has to acknowledge the darkness on the horizon, and it's with that in mind he asks his question.

"Did you ever love him too?"

There's a long lapse of silence from Eileen. Perhaps her attention is turning outward, too. When she responds, her voice is both low and soft, weighed down by grief. "People like us, the damaged ones — we lack the same capacity for love that others have. We don't feel things the way they do, we don't experience the world like they do. But yes. I did." She removes her hands from his shoulders. "Just don't think he was the one I was kissing."

A small sigh that shudders out like the hint of laughter, Sylar keeping his attention outward rather than look at Eileen, who might well be dead in reality. At least they, he and the memory, share a sting of betrayal, if in fact she is dead. And another question is obvious, answer unknown to him and he's rather sure that this entity could answer it for him as accurately as the reality. But he doesn't. There are some things he doesn't want to know, not yet. Not while he has to hide in a memory that doesn't belong to him just to escape his prison for a while. He lets her go now without a word, knees drawing up and resting his arms on them, determined to watch for a sunset that might well not come.

January 15th: Under The Rug
January 15th: By The Sword
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