2008-05-21: Magpies And Jackdaws (Dark Future)


FutureGabriel_icon.gif FutureKory_icon.gif FutureSophie_icon.gif

Summary: Sanctum Somnus has fallen under attack. Mnemosyne rushes to the rescue and finds the Muse's very own Guardian Angel. What happens to those who challenge the Muse?

Future Date: Immediately after the events in Transmissions From Sanctum Somnus

Magpies and Jackdaws

Sophie's Apartment

It is another early morning. The next morning, actually, when Sophie hears the alarm, waking her up from a sound sleep. It takes a few sleepy seconds to realize, as she glances at the glowing numbers, 5:30, that it was too sound. A more than faint frown creases her brows as she realizes she didn't get her usual early morning dreaming visit. This isn't the kind of world, nor is theirs the kind of work where you can just assume someone 'forgot', and it is certain the Muse didn't 'sleep through it'. She grabs her list of contact numbers, and places a call.

Sanctum Somnus

Sanctum Somnus is mostly untouched. Except for the foyer. The foyer that used to be the subject of jokes and affectionate jibes. The sign reading BAT CAVE hangs crookedly. Beneath it lies a scrawny telekinetic, who is curled up in a ball of agony. Standing over him, sweating bullets and crying silently, the stocky man who answers to Nequebaard, holding the other one in place, as his dosage of Boost wore off. "Idiot," he growls, voice and hand shaking. "We could've fooled them. We could've …told them something they'd have believed. We…didn't…have…to…actually…kill…her!"

Not that it matters. There have been failsafes placed in such an eventuality. The Muse's heart rate spiked? And her successor was notified to head for Sanctum Somnus with a quickness, and several of the Muse's operatives were notified that the worst has taken place.

The Muse herself managed to grab the next balcony down, and drag her slashed and broken body over the side, before collapsing. The bitter cold of March and her unique metabolism have put her in a state closely approximating death…

But not…



The Deveaux Building

Sophie can't seem to get ahold of anyone, getting more worried as time passes. Then, barely taking time to grab a coat against the cold March morning, before she ends up banging on Gabriel's door.

Sophie isn't the only one asleep this early in the morning. Of course, rather than being awakened by an alarm clock, the repeated pounding on the door to his apartment breaks through the silence, jolting Gabriel out of his sleep. He's sitting in one of the chairs in his living room, apparently having fallen asleep while working on watches, which are laid out on a tray in front of him. It seems he does this a lot. Hitting the tray with his hand as he jolts, but fortunately not knocking anything onto the floor, he looks around, bleary-eyed, before pushing himself out of his seat. Seems he fell asleep in the clothes he was wearing the night before, and when he opens the door, he doesn't even bother looking to see who it is. "Yeah?" he says, eyes squinting slightly from the light in the hallway as he looks at Sophie, a tired tone to his voice.

Above, in the sanctum, there are programs flying off as the heartrate of their mistress drops to nothing. Or close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. One such sends a text message to Gabriel's phone — one of many beeping and ringing around the city now. Message to Gabriel reads:

=Please make my successor welcome. She should be arriving within the next 24 hours. - M.

The face he sees is rather tired, and anxious looking. Sophie glances around carefully and then says, "Gabriel?" she hasn't met him often, really, but she knows Kory trusts him. That's all Sophie needs. She keeps her voice low as she says, "She didn't contact me. She ALWAYS does. I mean.." she leans in, whispering, 'The Muse. I'm worried, something's wrong.'

"Wait, wait," Gabriel begins, bringing a hand up in a placating manner towards Sophie, "who didn't contact you—" That's when Sophie informs him that it's the Muse, and it's right about that moment that his cell phone goes off. Turning around to grab it off the nearby counter, he presses a button, bringing the latest message up on the screen. Staring at it only long enough to read it, he turns to look at Sophie, a very deep look of concern on his face. "Let's go," he says, bounding past her and down into the hallway towards Kory's apartment. He didn't even bother to put on shoes.

The front door is just — gone. Okay, gone not so much as actually turned into rice paper and then torn through. Audible from the hallway, two sounds — groaning, as if someone were in desperate pain. A sound Sophie might find familiar, given her work at the shelter — and heavy breathing, as if someone were struggling with something at the limit of their stamina.

Once they're on the right floor, Gabriel tears down the hallway to Kory's apartment, slowing down once he's close enough. He stands just outside the door for a moment, listening for anything suspicious on the other side, and what he hears doesn't do anything to calm him down. Turning around the doorway, he steps into the room, looking around. "I don't see her," Gabriel says, calling back over his shoulder to Sophie.
Sophie gasps as she sees the.. what used to be the door. Then, pausing, she tilts her head, actually shushing Gabriel. She frowns, this time in concentration as she follows it. She murmurs, "I can hear someone, at least." not nearly as careful as she simply walks in, following the sound to as close as she can get to its source.

The computers are doing their thing all over the apartment. Downloading to Micah and several other people. Beep beep. Flash flash.

But when Gabriel speaks, Nequebaard jumps, and turns around. His friend, at his feet, is nearly unconscious, holding his sides. He just stares silently in the direction the spoken words came from.

A short distance away lies Leslie, in just his pajama pants, face down on the floor and unmoving.

As soon as the man jumps up and turns around, Gabriel's reaction is immediate. He raises his left hand, quickly moving it from his right side to his left, keeping it held out in front. If it works? Nequebaard will find himself flying across the apartment to slam into a wall, hanging a good three feet off of the ground. "Where is she!" Gabriel says, advancing on the man and looking up at him. "What did you do?!"

Nequebaard made no attempt to even stop Gabriel, and goes limp in the telekinetic grasp. "H-h-h…" he stammers, eyes wide and frightened. He lifts his shaking hand and points at the other man on the floor, going through the throes of Boost withdrawal. "Threw…her…" Nequebaard wheezes, and arcs his pointing finger toward the plate glass window the Muse went through some hours earlier. This high up — not likely she could've survived on hitting the ground. The Muse never touched Boost, so she never had another power to save her. And she had no chance to reach her escape hatches.

It is a sign of how much Sophie cares for Kory that she doesn't object to Gabriel's methods. Walking over to the restrained man quickly, she strips off a glove as she says, "It will only take a second to see if what he said was true." bracing herself for what she knows will not be at all a pleasant experience, she simply touches the nearest bare skin, not caring if it is cheek, or wrist or ankle, closing her eyes as she waits for the flood of the most recent memories.

The memories of Nequebaard are full of guilt and pain. But further back, lust and greed. He's finally powerful. Strong. An oxygen manipulator. He is the one responsible for Leslie's death, and though he thought nothing of it at the time, he realized only belatedly he just killed a former friend who was standing in defense of the Muse.

And then the Muse spoke his name, with sort of a dull disappointment. "Nequebaard." And he stammered about what he and the other man were promised if they took out the Muse. He hadn't counted on the Muse being anyone he knew, let alone someone he'd once crushed on along with Leslie. While Nequebaard tried to work it out in his own head, his friend suffered no such conflict. He telekinetically rearranged the air molecules to slam the Muse through her big glass window. She went without resistance, but breaking glass in a window like that took a lot of force.

There's a moment where Gabriel is unable to help what comes next. The man lying on the floor is clearly out of comission in the way he's whimpering and lying there in a most pathetic manner, and so Gabriel takes his anger out on Nequebaard. He closes his hand, applying pressure to the man's throat, far beyond what is needed to choke him. If anything, he's about to crush the man's throat and make it completely collapse in on itself. At the last second, however, he drops him, letting the man fall to the floor. With a glance to Sophie, Gabriel runs over to the window, leaning as far out as he can to see if he can spot Kory. He definitely doesn't see a body on the ground far down below.

That's when he spots it. Blood on the balcony railing below. Could she have… ? Turning back to Sophie, he begins to move through the apartment, hurrying as quick as she can. "I think she's below us!" he says, his voice unreadable. His only goal is getting to Kory.

Sophie jumps up, glancing only a second at Nequebaard, saying, "Most of it was true." and she runs over to the balcony. She looks at Gabriel, "God, we have to get to her. I don't know what.. can you help heal her? Or know someone who can?"

Nequebaard makes a pathetic, wheezy whimpering sound as Gabriel's rage takes form. He gags, claws at his throat ineffectively. When Gabriel lets go, he goes down like the proverbial sack of potatoes, and drops directly into unconsciousness.

The other man is still conscious, but useless for all intents and purposes. Nequebaard clearly had a fit of conscience or regret and was doing to his companion what Gabriel just did to him. Rather than actually going to see if their target actually did survive the attack. Fortunately, her friends, her true friends, have better sense.

"I — " Gabriel begins as he's moving down the hallway, hesitating, "… yes, I can heal her… probably not the way you think, but it will get the job done." He doesn't say anything else. No one would be aware of the fact that Gabriel can heal others — after all, it's been a long time since he's killed someone. And for those who may ask after the fact? He'll remain tight-lipped about it as ever. It may cast suspicion on him, cause people to become wary of him, but there are things Gabriel has done to ensure the safety of those around him, those he cares about. Things he'll never be able to share.

Arriving on the floor, Gabriel bursts into the apartment that he's deduced Kory to be on the opposite end of. Fortunately, this apartment isn't currently being rented. Not that it would matter much, as Gabriel is still the superintendent (receiving the keys from Hiro seems like a thousand lifetimes ago), and he has good reasons to go barging into an apartment, empty or not.

Sophie gives him a quick glance, but doesn't ask. She simply nods and is right behind Gabriel when he walks into the empty apartment.

The broken body of the Muse lies sprawled — arms and legs bent in positions that the human body was never meant to assume naturally. Her head is the only part of her on straight, and her eyes are closed. Her lips are parted, and there is the tiniest little wisp of steam issuing from her lips. A thin, tiny breath, still warmer than the air outside despite how long she must have been lying there like that.

Sophie rushes over. There's little she can do, though, beyond basic first aid. She holds back tears with will developed after years of dealing with traumatized souls in her shelter. She pulls off her own cloak, ready to put it over Kory as soon as the healing, however it is accomplished, is finished.

For all that she's covered in cuts of varying depths, literally lacerated from head to toe, there is startlingly little blood. Well, relatively speaking. There's a little puddle under her, but nowhere near as much as one might expect given the circumstances. Thank heaven for small miracles. There's a slight bluing of her fingernails and lips, but she is motionless and — one hopes — beyond awareness. There are so many obvious injuries. The pain would be excruciating were she conscious.

"Kory," Gabriel says, his voice hoarse. They may have met for the first time in a dream, quite literally, but that doesn't mean their subsequent encounters over the years didn't make a lasting impression on Gabriel. When it's all said and done, Kory is one of his friends— one of the only friends he has. Seeing her like this does not make him happy.

Moving towards her, he sits down next to her broken body, leaning up against the balcony railing, pulling her carefully towards him, so that her head and upper torso rests on his lap. "You'll need to stay back," he says to Sophie, "and make sure you don't touch me, whatever you do." He gently places a hand on Kory's forehead, thumb on one temple, fingers clasped to the other side. He closes his eyes, bowing his head.

There's a soft glow from his hand which lasts for only an instant. Soon after that, Kory's bruises, cuts, and all of the damage begins to fade away, starting at the base of her feet. Gabriel isn't simply healing Kory; no, he's actually taking all over her damage and pain and transferring into himself. As it works its way up her body, his body begins to take it all— his legs snap in two as he gets to them, cuts appearing over his body, lacerating his skin. Blood begins to seep out, and he begins to shake, the pain from it all beginning to wear on him. When his arms snap into two, breaking in the same places Kory's are broken, he lets out a cry of pain.

As this all takes place, the wounds on Kory's body heal over, as if they were never there. Her legs heal themselves, bones mending back into one, flesh sewing itself shut and sealing up the wounds. When it's all over, Gabriel lies there, alive, but broken.

Kory stirs, moaning and gasping with pain as the lack of traumatic injury allows her consciousness to return from whatever place she sent it in retreat from her injuries. Her eyelids flutter open, and she catches her breath. "Wh-…" she manages, mouth dry. Another moment and her eyes focus again. "G-Gabriel?" she asks, looking up at him. "What…oh, no…no…!" She weakly moves to sit up, trying to pull her weight off his body. Immediately she realizes what he's done. That geeky life she led before the world turned dark has served her again.

Sophie moves back as he asked. She's seen powers that needed room to work, or would harm others in the area. But, as she sees what he's doing, she has to actively hold something to stop herself from moving forward, the image going hazy through tear filled eyes. She only rushes over when Kory awakens, shaking her head, "I didn't know.. he saved you." she looks more than a little frantic, "How do we save /him/?"

Fortunately for Gabriel, though, he picked up another ability a long time ago.

Cellular regeneration.

Much like Kory's body did when Gabriel was taking her damages onto himself, his own body begins to mend and heal itself. Cuts disappear as if they were never there, bones popping and snapping back into place. It sound sickening when they do, but if there's any pain from it, Gabriel barely shows it. He simply lies there, shaking slightly in the cold and from the pain, but finally, the last of the cuts sew themselves up, and he opens his eyes to look at Kory. "Hey," he says, managing a weak smile. "Some world we live in, huh?"

"…" Kory's own eyes are likewise filled with tears. This was a sacrifice she would not have asked anyone to make for her. She has to bite the inside of her cheek, hard, to stave off the grief and panic at the sight of her friend and what he's done to himself for her. "Claire. Claire Bennet," she whispers. "Her blood." But that's a longshot. The Muse hasn't seen the girl once called the Cheerleader in ages. "We have to …have to do …something," she insists, getting to her feet, shakily. "…Bekah perhaps…" she adds, trying to concentrate. "Get Leslie…he might…know someone."

But she turns, as the squelching and cracking begins, and she watches, astonished, as his own healing power kicks in. "Oh, thank God, Gabriel!" Kory abandons any pretense of trying to stand, and drops right back to the snowy, wet, bloody balcony, and flings her arms around his neck.

Sophie quickly slips the forgotten glove back on her hand. Then her arms wrap around her middle, as she sinks to the floor. Now, after the crisis is past.. well, the most immediate one, she can try and process everything, including what she got from that one intruder's mind. She gives a wistful smile as she watches the hug.

"I'm okay, I'm okay," Gabriel says as Kory flings her arms around him, giving her a small wince as she does. His internal organs haven't quite finished the process of regenerating, but they'll only take a moment or so more. He returns the hug, taking a deep breath as he does so, and he looks over Kory's shoulder to Sophie, giving her a small smile. Her presence here was needed more than she might even understand. He leans his head against the balcony railing, closing his eyes for a few moments. "I just need to rest for a little bit," he says, falling still as a very light, wispy snow begins to fall.

Kory clings to Gabriel, gently. "You saved me," she says softly, shaking her head in wonderment. "Thank you." She reluctantly pulls away from him. "Let's get you inside. Hypothermia is not going to help either of us, hmm?" Practical even in the face of horror — or just in shock — Kory offers him her hand, looking hopefully at Sophie for help.

Pushing himself up off of the ground with the help of Kory and Sophie, once he's standing, he seems to be a lot better now that he's on both feet. Fortunately, the apartment has the bare minimum of furnishings, if only so there's something for tenants to get an idea of as they look at the place. Moving inside, he sits down on one of the chairs to take a momentary breather.

Kory takes the opportunity to curl up at his feet, looking up at Sophie. "I …I wasn't trying to reach anyone. I wasn't even conscious," she muses, still full of wonderment. She shakes her head slightly. "I'm feeling all addled. Exhausted. So much to think about. Repairing the Sanctum. Leslie can do that, I suppose." She allows herself to droop like a wilted flower.

Gabriel meets the glance from Sophie, and he turns his head back to Kory. First order of business? Getting Kory to a place she can rest. "I'll take care of all of that," he says, pushing himself off of the chair. The last thing Kory needs to see right now is Leslie. In the few glances Gabriel spared him while he was in the apartment, it didn't look good. There could still be hope, however. "You can stay in my apartment for now," the man continues, looking down at Kory. "It's the safest place right now."

Kory is too exhausted to argue. And she's only just now realized the Muse outfit she wears is torn and shredded and covered in blood. "Are…are you sure?" she asks, looking up at Gabriel, lower lip quivering a little. "What if they were only the first wave? They know now. This whole building…compromised. My fault." She drops her face into her hands.

Sophie walks over quickly. Since she is covered, its safe touch Kory, well, on the arm at least. She says, "No. You did everything anyone could for security. Above and beyond. These abilities, especially with Boost? And I don't think so." she clears her throat. "At least, not from what I saw."

Kneeling down beside Kory, Gabriel places a hand on her upper arm, willing her to look up at him. "Hey," he says, other hand reaching out to nudge her chin up. "This is me we're talking about. Of course I'm sure." Standing from his kneeling position, he extends a hand down for Kory. "If someone else does show up? They won't know what hit them."

That much is true. Gabriel is a one man army. Kory tries not to dwell on that, because the man he's become doesn't need that incredible arsenal of abilities for the most part. But she nods. "Of course. You're right." She can dreamwalk as easily from Gabriel's guest room as she can from her own Sanctum. It's just that three years of acrophobia is not so easily broken. So she's having a little difficulty coping with being out of her literal comfort zone. "It was Nequebaard. And one of the other boys from the Lair. I should've seen that coming." She's an oneiropath, not a precog, but hindsight is always 20-20.

"We'll get what we need out of him," Gabriel, even if 'we' really means 'I.' He has his ways. Ways Kory, or Sophie, most likely don't need to see. Somewhere, deep down, there's the part of him that knows how to get what he wants. He always has known. "Once I have everything sorted out, I'll meet you back at my apartment. You can help yourself to whatever you need."

Kory shakily gets to her feet, taking Gabriel's hand. "All right, Gabriel," she says. "Do me a favor while you're up there? Should be a green button flashing on my touch screen. Just touch it on your way past. It'll let the important people in my network know I'm not actually dead." Just saying it seems to take all the energy Kory has. "Mnemosyne, how about you walk me back to Gabriel's place…I'm not sure I'd make it all the way there on my own."

Sophie nods as she offers herself as a support. "Of course. Then be sure to rest." she looks over, "I'm glad to say that you're still around for us to need you."

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