All Those Dark Things


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Scene Title All Those Dark Things
Synopsis Gillian follows up on Peter's advice to visit Isaac Mendez' loft, and runs into Agent Petrelli in the process.
Date November 29, 2008

Isaac Mendez's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style. What dominates much of the loft, however, is not the abandoned artwork or the layers of dust that have settled on them, but rather strings — hundreds upon hundreds of strings.

The entire loft is filled with strings that stretch from one side of the main room to another, most of them laden with newspaper clippings, photographs, or plastic baggies filled with strange oddies like locks of hair, a shirt button, interlinked paperclips and the like. The majority of the news articles are all related to the bomb that destroyed most of midtown manhattan in 2005, some also relating to Senator Petrelli's political campaign, then other seemingly unrelated incidents. A single red string seems to interconnect all of the other threads, bouncing from one point to another, tied off to different articles — all which can be slid by slip knots into new positions — and tangled up towards a knot at the center where an article related to the bomb is hanging, showing a photograph of a man named "Gabriel Gray." It takes a moment to notice that the shapes and colors on the floor beneath all of this chaos is an image. It is a profound one at that, the painting of a city being blown apart by an atomic explosion, complete with a crimson and orange mushroom cloud rising up from the middle.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

The light is dimming on the streets outside, as what passes for working city lights in this area would be coming up. They're not the only light in the area, though. A flashlight flickers on after the door marked number seven opens to admit someone wrapped tightly in a long coat and a scarf. Untangling the scarf with one hand, Gillian waves the flashlight around toward illuminate the strings, cast shadows against the wall. "The fuck…?" she asks the strings, as if they could answer, or maybe she expects someone to be there that didn't answer the knocks against the door.

Moving quietly, she starts to investigate the strings, the hanging pictures, and tries her best not to run into them. Her skin is paler than normal, no make up, and she looks quietly disturbed. Might have something to do with the newspaper rolled up in her coat pocket.

The loft apartment is a disaster, clearly not having been lived in or cleaned since the bomb. The only areas not entirely settled with dust are the lattice of strings of different materials that criss-cross the room, anchored to support posts, walls, window frames and easels. It is a delicat ebalance all held aloft by one single knot at the middle, a black string that interweaves between them all.

As Gillian makes her way beneath the spider's-web of yawn, ribbon, thread and rope, something crunches underfoot. It's enough to cause her eyes to dip down, spotting broken glass, and then something far more macabre. A mural, painted in hues of orange, black and red, depicting a mushroom cloud rising up over New York City.

As her eyes take in the painting, others can be seen discarded around the room. Most of them feature a distinct looking blonde girl in a red and white cheerleader's uniform, most of those pictures showing her looking horrified. One painting propped up against a wall is slashed in half, painted in black and white it depicts a man laying on his wide with eyes wide, the top of his head sliced off and a hollow where his brain once was.

As if on cue of Gillian's eyes settling on that picture, there is a sound of footsteps coming down the hall towards the apartment, slow and purposeful, almost meandering in the time they take to reach the door. But no matter how slow they are, it doesn't make much difference — there's only one way in or out of the apartment.

All the sights distract as Gillian waves the flashlight from one painting to the next. It's the footsteps approaching the hallway that make her suddenly jolt into movement, though. The light flickers off rather quickly, and she tries to move around the yarn and the strings in the dark as well as she can. They shiver and shift, but they don't fall or break. Nothing is knocked off, even as she moves to hide in one of the shadows. Not that it will do much good if the person has a flashlight of their own, or knows where the lightswitch happens to be. The strings still quiver, pieces of paper, pictures, newspaper clippings all shift around. More than just wind caused that.

With her ability clamped down tightly, no immediate augmentation will occur, but active abilities still will cause a tingle in the back of her head. While she ducks down, she reaches into her coat, trying to find something slightly more useful than a flashlight…

The sound of hard-soled shoes come more clearly into focs, too clipped to be boots, too muffled to be heels. The door opens with a gentle push, swinging silently as the ratty venetian blind that covered the inside of it rattles against the glass. A tired sigh accompanies a dark silhouette moving into the room, followed by fumbling in the dark, and a dreadful click of a light-switch…

…and nothing but darkness.

"Figures." It's a familiar voice, it's him — Peter Petrelli. "Can't pay the electricity bill in the past." There's a click of his tongue and another sigh, footsteps coming down the short flight of steps leading to where the string web is. Then, a loud crashing thump and a hiss of pain as Peter blunders into one of the square columns that support the ceiling. "Goddamnit." Then, after a moment, there's a loud crackling snap, like a taser but louder, and a flickering blue glow spread out from Peter's upheld hand as bolts of electricity jump and dart over his palm. "Hiro…" Peter sighs out the name, eyes focused on the strings, "…where are you?"

The blue glow. Just like the paintin— wait. Gillian glances at the paintings again, what little she can see in the adjusted light, the glow of the electricity. The blinking is quiet, the breathing isn't easily heard either. It's the movement that can be heard, when she shifts to stand up, one hand still in her coat, while the other continues to hold the flashlight that she brought. The feeling in the back of her head calls out to get added to, but she keeps it reined in.

"You're not the one who invited me," she says plainly, hand grasping something under her coat. "But maybe you know what this place is, why I would be told to come here." The electricity in his hand is watched closely, well aware that he could blast her before she even pulls the gun out.

If it were the other one, she would have pulled the gun first.

Peter wheels around at the sound of the voice from his side, holding out that hand with bolts of electricity crackling over it. His tie lashes with his movement before settling against the front of his suit jacket. Then, with his eyes focusing to the blue glow, he peers at the woman before him, only vaguely familiar. She looks different than he recalled, her hair, her eyes, her face. Something drained about them, then again, he looks just as worn and weary. "Who invited you here? How do you even know about this place?"

He doesn't lower his hand, there's actually fear in his eyes, and his brows furrow together to try and muster up some pretense of strength, creasing that scar that divides his eyebrows. "You're…" He's finally remembering where he knows her from, "Did Sylar tell you to come here?" There's that name again.

"You did," Gillian says back, voice a little harsher than before. The flashlight flickers on, but she doesn't shine it in his face, she shines it at his legs, lighting him up enough she can look at him, casting a brighter glow around the room. Her hair's lighter, redder highlights added in. The lack of make-up causes a slightly different appearance as well. "The other you. The one that tried to kill me. Twice."

There's a harshness to her voice that hadn't been there when she'd been terrified the last time he saw her, the day he split in two.

There's a slow breath, and she glances down, wincing a little. "He told me to come here to find out about… Sylar. I don't trust you either, not after what the people you work for did to me and my sister…" Now she shines the flashlight in his face, just briefly. "…But you can tell me about him. What is this place?"

Peter's face clearly displays shock at what Gillian says, not only that there was a second time his double tried to kill her, but then onto the subject of her sister. Peter stares at her, blinking slowly, "What…" He looks around the strings, a few pieces coming into place. He and his double share one thing in common, a hatred for Sylar. Given that he showed her here, he must have wanted her to find out the truth, which means, "You don't know who he is?"

Peter lowers his hand, and with one land crackling snap the electricity is dismissed. "What happened to your sister? What — what's her name?" Peter looks over to the strings, but doesn't speak of them yet. His dark eyes focus back to Gillian, eyes still trying to refocus from the brief flicker of a flashlight in them. "I — There haven't been any aquisitions in our Bronx facility since I arrived. What happened to her?"

"I know your brother claimed he was the one who blew up New York, but I also know your brother lied," Gillian says, though she isn't as harsh about that as she could be. She lets the flashlight stay low this time, before she flicks it toward the paintings. There's a quiet moment— when he mentions 'aquisitions in the Bronx'. No accusations thrown out right away. She even removes her hand from her coat and takes in a slow breath. "They took her, they tried to take me right before we ran into each other. In Wilken's Park, the place I asked you to send me to. A guy who made… made it so I couldn't hear anything, couldn't scream, couldn't even hear the music in my iPod. And another one, normal guy with knife and gun and stuff. Both wearing suits. I was rescued by those PARIAH guys— the assholes blowing up schools and shit now."

She takes in a slow breath, using her free hand to pull out the newspaper article, which has her picture, her sister's picture, and the story of her remains being found and identified in Rhode Island. "My sister was taken at my apartment, probably came down to clean out my stuff, and now she's dead."

Listening to the explanation, Peter's eyes follow Gillian's only until she holds out the newspaper, looking down to the article and squinting to make out the pictures. His eyes uplift to her again, and his head shakes, "That's…" He reconsiders what he was going to say, "One Evolved, one not — that is Company policy." There's a bitterness to his tone there, a fire behind his words. Peter closes his eyes and turns his back on Gillian, one hand moving up to massage at the bridge of his nose. "PARIAH saved you?" He sounds a bit bewildered by the notion, "There's — There was a schism between them. They're two organizations now, one… pacifist isn't the best description, but they don't blow up school or buildings. They're called Phoenix. They did that stuff in the news recently, the donations and healing…"

When Peter finally turns back, his expression has leveled out some. The anger that was there draining away to disappointment and guilt. "I — I'm sorry, I… I had no idea. I — The people I work for they — I never thought they'd be capable of…" He cuts himself off, shaking his head again. "I'm sorry."

Turning to look up at the strings again, Peter just lets a slow, tired sigh escape his lips. It's as if what Gillian had told him placed another heavy weight onto already burdened shoulders. "Did you want to know what this place was?"

"I think this was before those 'Rise up' things started," Gillian admits, having paid attention to the people who saved her and their appearances in the newspapers. The anger starts to fade, though, especially with his apologies. She folds up the newspaper and pushes it back into her coat pocket, crossing some of the distance between them and shining the flashlight around, at the strings, at the paintings stacked up against the wall.

"The people you're with aren't always the people you think," she admits in a sullen voice, sounding suddenly drained. "You did help me, saved me from that guy who screamed really loud, and from the other you." That must have earned some points in his favor. That and the apologies. "Even if I had to relive Halloween."

The flashlight shines down to the floor, the bomb mural, then again to the newspaper clippings, the pictures— and then to the paintings again. "What is this place? And… what does this place have to do with— with Sylar?"

Peter narrows his eyes slightly, relive Halloween? The thought bounces around in his head, and there's enough meaning that he doesn't take it quite literally. He moves beneath a long red piece of string, walking to the center of the string web, one hand lifting to trace a black piece of yarn that weaves around other strings and meets with several others at the middle. There, a newspaper clipping is attached to a paperclip. "This, is what it has to do with Sylar." He flicks the paper and the photograph, then pauses and does a double take. He remembers Sylar — as Mohinder — taking the picture. But there it is, hanging here, again. One dark brow raises, and Peter's eyes warily scan the room for just a moment before focusing back on the photo.

"This loft used to belong to a painter named Isaac Mendez, he made all of these." One hand motions around to the paintings leaning up against tables and walls, and then to the floor. "He — I know it sounds strange, but — He can paint pictures of the future." Strange only if Gillian hadn't seen what she had seen. "He painted this, the bomb." One hand motions down to the floor, "And… and other things. Back then, a bunch of us, we were trying to stop it from happening. We just… found each other, like fate I guess." There's some sarcasm there.

"We thought if we tried hard enough, we could prevent it. There was a man, named Ted Sprague, he had a power of a living nuclear bomb. We… we thought he was going to be the one to blow up New York, until we found out about Sylar." Peter's finger traces the string, following it back to a knot where a mug-shot labeled Theodore Sprague hangs, along with an FBI dossier. "Sylar found him, and killed him." He looks to Gillian, "My power allows me to mimic the powers of other people I've been around. Sylar's…" He hates to say it, "Similar. But he has to kill people, slice open the top of their head, rip out their brain, and… God, eat it for all I know."

Peter's eyes scan the strings, "Sylar killed Isaac too, killed a lot of people… We were trying to stop him, thinking he was the bomb. But… but it wasn't Sylar, it was me. I couldn't control Ted's power. We were fighting Sylar, trying to stop him from getting to this girl — Molly Walker." His eyes divert to Gillian. "Her power, she can find anyone who's Evolved, anywhere in the world, just by thinking about them. Imagine a murderer like Sylar with that kind of power?" There's bitterness, so much, everywhere. "We failed. People died. The end."

Peter ducks under a white string, tugging at it with one finger to let it waver up and down. "A friend of mine, Hiro Nakamura, the one person who helped me fight Sylar, he moved in here, I guess. He's a time traveler, it's where I got my teleportation trick I used on you." His dark eyes lift up to Gillian. "I… I think he's trying to stop the bomb from ever happening. He did, I mean, he came back to me from the future, tried to help me stop things, but… he failed. We all failed."

That's a lot to take in all at once. Gillian moves the flashlight around for a short time while he explains, shining it where he indicates— until she finally just lets it drop. It's not just the flashlight that drops, she kneels down to sit on the floor, eyes lowering. There's tension in her breath, audible even to those who don't have special hearing. It starts when he mentions how Sylar gets his abilities, and the man that he killed. The Painter. One of his many abilities that she's seen him use.

She stays lowered near the ground, a hand coming up to cover her face, and stays there while he recounts the tale of years past, how the Bomb happened, and how this person who travels through time might try to stop it. It doesn't all process. During this time, the carefully crafted knot she's held all day unravels, releasing a small flow of energy toward him, not so intense it would overtake him, but enough his active abilities will get a boost.

When she looks up, there's hints of moisture in her eyes, reflecting light from the flashlight. "He kills people and takes their ability?" she says in a questioning tone, that seems more asking for confirmation. There's pain in her voice. "And that's why the other you said he would kill me eventually… He would take my power?"

Peter's expression softens some, his double warned her? When he finally turns to look at Gillian, seeing her kneeling on the floor, it's not the tingle of power that surges just beneath his skin that spurs him to move, it's the knot of guilt inching its way up to his heart. He ducks under a thin cord of twine and walks with his head down towards the young woman. "I…" He doesn't know exactly what to say, and slowly kneels down beside her, one hand moving out and then recoiling slowly. Peter's fingers curl back towards his palm, and his eyes divert to the floor, "I'm surprised he hasn't yet." Dark eyes lift up, slowly, "Your power, it… it made me stronger. Made me more… I don't know, everything." His eyes wander from side to side, looking at hers, searching without searching. "Yoou can't augment yourself, can you?"

"He— he hasn't…" Gillian confirms softly, now looking up at him. Her eyes continue to sparkle in the dim light, but she reaches up and rubs at them. "He hasn't even hurt me. He's done nothing but…" she trails off, shaking her head mildly. "I don't think it works like that. It's… it drains energy from me, into you." She doesn't try to squash it back down just yet, letting the power flow out of her. "I've learned how to control it, to keep it in, but it… I don't think it works like that."

Looking away from him, she glances at the paintings, "He did paint the future once— a future that hasn't happened yet. You— and the other you— fighting. The ground around you, the street, it was torn apart. You had electricity in your hands. He had fire rolling up his arms. This was the same day you found me in the pawn shop, when you split in two."

Peter's eyes settle on Gillian for a moemnt, then down to the floor again in silence. "Fighting…" The notion makes him sick to his stomach, the thought of knowing just what powers his other self has access to, what he'd have to deal with. "He wants to kill me," Peter mumbles, "He… he wants to kill me so that he can be the real me." His brows scrunch together, one hand moving up to rest at the side of his head. "I don't even know which one of me is the real one anymore…"

He stops himself, cuts off the worrying and confusion as his eyes focus back on someone far more scared, and far more upset than he is. "Look, Sylar he — The only reason he hasn't killed you yet, is because you're useful to him. If he can't use your powers, than you're only good to him alive." Peter hesitates, considering something she said. "You said you learned how to control your power… Did he help you do that?"

"The other you is a monster," Gillian says softly, not straightening, put also controlling the flow of energy from her into him. It's like a fine line, not quite visible, but she knows it's there. She could jump it up, jump start his abilities and cause him to overload, or she can shut it off completely. For the moment she just keeps it small and contained, contricted. "He kidnapped me, flew me to those rooftop in the middle of the bomb zone, near Central Park. But he did tell me to come here— to find out for myself. To figure out what he was…" she trails off.

"Yes. He taught me. He helped me learn how to control it." There's a quiet pause, and she moves to stand up now. "The three of you fighting could destroy the city, couldn't it?"

Peter sighs softly, nodding his head as he watches Gillian, standing up as she does. He doesn't make a motion to agree about her assessment of his other self, but from the look on his face he agrees. "Rooftop…" He reaches into his pocket, removing a shell casing and holds it out to her. Dark eyes assess Gillian for a moment, "Did you shoot him?" It's not so much an accusation, as a curiosity. Now his tone matches the look on his face, and it's clear that he doesn't care a whit about the idea that the other Peter might get killed. From the sounds of it, only good things can come from it. Her question about a battle between both of him and Sylar destroying the city goes unanswered, save that he looks down at the picture of the atomic explosion again, and lets her draw her own conclusions.

"I shot him," Gillian says with a nod, looking at the bullet that's he holds out and nodding at it. "He made me shoot him, though. Forced me to pull the trigger a few times. But it wasn't that that stopped him. I could have killed him and I didn't." She's not sure if she should have or not, now— after talking to this one… "Maybe I should have."

She takes in a slow breath, not pushing her question. It'd been rhetorical anyway. "I forced him to overload. He started going nuclear— like you did the day you destroyed the city— like you did the first time we met." She pauses, shifting the flashlight as she pulls back her sleeve, showing him the tattoo on her wrist. "I got this that day. In Dorchester Apartments. One of my tattoo artists lives there. I was leaving before dawn and you were there. You and the man who was with you at the pawn shop, and two women."

Peter looks down to the tattoo, tucking the bullet casing back into his pocket. Yin-Yang. He cracks a smile, looking back up to Gillian, "That's kinda' eerie." He smiles a little, then looks down to the floor. "Look, I — I don't know what to say to you." Peter's eyes wander the room for a time, before settling on Gillian again. "I…" He cracks a smile, hesitantly. "I don't even know you name." His head tilts to the side, "I… I painted you, you know. Ah, I didn't know it at the time, it — It was that day all the… everything, happened at thew pawn shop. I didn't know the significance of it until it was too late." He smirks, awkwardly. "I'm Peter, by the way." She knows, but there's something polite about actually introducing one's self, espescially to a woman he's half responsible for trying to kill. "Peter Petrelli — Terrorist, Company Agent, Ex-Hero." He laughs to himself, reaching up with one hand to scratch at the back of his neck, "Never was any good at it."

"Eerie enough," Gillian replies softly, letting her sleeve fall back into place. She usually remembers events attached to her tattoos, and without the tattoo she never would have been there, and such an event is hard to forget. This one has a significance beyond even her intention. Memories etched into her skin, in ways she can never forget, and this one keeps getting significance. Whether it's his two halves, or the man she met after meeting him, or both— "Which aren't you good at? Being a terrorist, and Agent, or a Hero? Or all of them, maybe." There's almost a smile beginning to form in response, though not quite. "My name's Gillian. Gillian Childs." It was in the newspaper. If he goes to look up someone who died recently and got reported, he'd learn it anyway.

There's an awkward laugh as Peter hears Gillian's question, "All three these days. Can't lead the terrorists because I'm too busy trying to find Sylar," He quirks his head to the side, "Can't be a good Agent because I keep feeding information to — " Peter's eyes snap wide, and he jerks his head around to look at Gillian again. What little color was in his face has faded all but entirely, and he looks at Gillian the way someone would the walking dead. "Childs?" His breathing hastens, and Peter takes a half step away from her, then falters and steps towards her again. "You — You were — "

Peter looks down to the floor, then around the room at the strings. "I… I had a dream." He sounds a bit awkward, "It's… This isn't a pick-up line." One brow lowers a bit more than the other and he grimaces, "I saw you, and… and a lot of other people in a dream, in a…" He searches for the right word, "A concentration camp. A prison, for Evolved. I… It… it wasn't good." Peter's eyes narrow, "I dreamed of the bomb too, Gillian. Before it happened." That seems to give it all the finality he needs.

Finely sculpted and trimmed eyebrows raise when the dream is mentioned, and then she actually smiles a little when he clarifies that it's not a pick up line. Gillian can't help but shake her head— the smile doesn't last long, though, as he describes the dream. Concentration camp. "Fuck," she mutters under her breath, looking away at the bomb— the one he said he dreamed about— the strings— all of it. "Looks like Arwen— the chick with the bow— was right," she shakes her head, turning away a bit as she surveys some of the paintings. The light from the flashlight follows the course of her eyes. "She said it'd just be a matter of time before we're herded off into camps."

The flashlight stops on one of the blonde girl with her head removed, the shadowy figure standing over her. "I hope I die quickly if that ever happens. I'd rather be dead than locked up somewhere." The flashlight drops and she looks back. "I was a librarian. Before your Company came after me. I left my job and got my sister killed because she came down to check on me. I didn't ask for any of this. All I want is my freedom, and a life that's my own, on my terms."

Peter looks down at the floor, listening to Gillian with a furrowed brow and a sullen expression. "None of us asked for this," he looks up slowly, tiredly, "we just take what we've given, and make the best of it." He smiles slightly, "Someone a whole lot wiser than me said that once, when I was looking like you do right now." Kaito's words echo in Peter's head as he looks to Gillian, then down to his own hands. "We all are a whole lot more than we were. I — I used to be a nurse." He laughs, awkwardly, "Can you imagine that?" One dark brow rises, wrinkling his scar that divides one eyebrow from another.

"The woman with the bow, her name's Cat." Peter manages a faint smile, "She works with some friends of mine — real friends. They… they're the ones I've been feeding information from the Company to." Peter reaches out a hand, very carefully, and very hesitantly resting it on Gillian's shoulder. "They could keep you safe. I know they could." Jaw tensing, Peter looks like that not all he's getting at. "But, Gillian… I… I have to ask you to do something for me." His head tilts to the side, "I need you to take me to Sylar." There's an awkward, tired swallow, "I think I'm going to need his help."

November 29th: I'm A Monster
Previously in this storyline…
Live Together, Die Alone

Next in this storyline…
Enemy of Your Enemy

November 29th: Harm's Reach
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