Paint Me Destruction

Participants:

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Scene Title Paint Me Destruction
Synopsis The future is revealed and the past is only a little rewritten.
Date November 1, 2008

Siann Hall — Gabriel and Gillian's Apartment


The curtains are pulled shut, with little sunlight filtering through save for a bright slice of it where the fabric only just meets. The small apartment room is dim, as a result, but that doesn't seem to bother Sylar as he balances the canvas on the table and against the wall. His easel has been long since left behind in Cliffside, and the smaller space of Siann Hall doesn't lend itself to anything else that might clutter up the space, although eventually he may change his mind. But for now, the freshly purchased white board of canvas, brushes and a palette of paint will do. He's dressed in a black hoodie, jeans, nothing particularly distinctive, barefeet against the cheap carpet as he picks up a moderately sized paint brush, dipping it into a jar of water set down on the table.

With a smoothness that the man he stole this talent from took so long to master, Sylar shuts his eyes, opening them again to milky whiteness and endless possibilities. With bold, confident strokes, strong colours start to fill the canvas, ignoring anything of the outside world as he paints

The outside world consists of over six billion people. But very few of those six billion people have a key to the apartment that the man is painting away in. Unheard, unseen, unfelt, a key fumbles at the lock quietly, scraping metal against metal as everything clicks into place and allows the knob to turn and the door to open. Luckily, he did not put the chain down. With a laundry basket in hands as she nudges the door further open with her hip, the reason for her departure is obvious. Someone has to do the laundry. Gillian turns to kick the door closed again, the keys sat on top of the pile of folded laundry, and sees the man painting. Her eyebrows, no longer as finely lined as they'd once been, raise into her bangs, and then she puts the basket down and locks the door. "I figured you painted, but I've not seen you do it yet," she says, unaware of his current state.

Leaving the laundry and keys by the relocked door, she walks over to investigate, "Sorry, I'm probably inter…" her voice cuts off. She blinks. She's just seen his eyes. His unresponsiveness. "Gabriel?" she asks, looking between him, and the work of art coming into being on blank white canvas.

He doesn't acknowledge her, unable to even if he desired to. Sylar's blank eyes are fixed, as far as anyone could guess, on the image taking form in front of him. Can't hear, can't see anything but the painting, it's probably one of his more vulnerible states of being, even more so than the light unconsciousness of sleep. Good thing he trusts Gillian, and trusts that no one has yet latched on to their location. He's been extra careful about that.

The painting is starting to take shape - a lot of black has been used to indicate a nighttime setting, greys and lighter highlights suggesting buildings. Bold streaks of yellow and white communicate cartoonish rays of light from what appear to be wilting streetlamps - an abstract painting, no doubt, to those that don't know it represents the future. The figure of a man, nearest the lamps, has taken shape - a white shirt, a thin streak of black to indicate a tie, and a blue glow to represent an electrical spark dancing from a readied hand. Sylar's painting has become delicate, adding more detail - a darker line across the cartoonish representation's face gives him more identity.

Trust is a delicate thing, but Gillian needs him even more than he needs her— She also has no reason to grab a lead pipe and start going Miss Scarlet on him. Instead she just watches, fascinated by the complete change in his mannerisms, the style of painting— and the painting itself. Her eyes fixate on the details, the abstactness of the art-style, and the forms beginning to come together. It's when the scratch across the man's face is applied that she lets out a surprised sound, looking from the painting repersentation of the flaming flying man she rather insultingly named Assface, to the watch repairman. Her lips part. Seems as if she wants to ask a question, but nothing comes out. She's come to realize he won't hear her anyway. Instead, she focuses back on the painting again.

Long minutes go by, but they're not without event. There's a second figure being focused on now, Sylar leaning forward, head tilting to one side, to the other, as he fills in the details necessary. Dressed darker, more like Sylar - perhaps it could even be him. But no, the height of this man is the same as the other, hair just a little longer and - as Sylar swipes up a brush full of mixed orange and yellow paints - flames running down his arms. Not a power Sylar possesses, although he's not disclosed to Gillian exactly how much he can do. The finishing touch identifies this image - a scar, just like the other, runs down the otherwise generic face of this second character, a mirror image of the first in no ways save that scar and height.

Finally, lashings of grey suddenly carve out of the concrete ground they stand on in thin brush strokes, showing cracks and damage. There's no doubt that these opponents face each other, ready to battle, and may well take down the immediate setting with them. And that's about when Sylar's unblinking eyes close, opening again to show the usual dark brown circles as he takes a breath, shaking his head once as if to clear it. His head twitches towards Gillian, surprise plain on his features for a moment, back straightening. "You're back," he says, setting his paint brush down into the jar of water, observing his paint splattered hands - not yet observing his image.

Not one. Two. Gillian watches, quietly inthralled by what she's seeing, lips vaguely parted and remaining that way, even if she can't find words to speak. Not until the painting stops, the man's eyes change back, and he speaks. She looks away from the canvas toward him, blinking in surprise. "Oh— yeah— laundry doesn't take that…" It's small talk, normal, but she trails off and looks back at the canvas, no longer blank, now even complete. All it would need is a signature at the bottom and she might expect to see it hanging on the wall of some of the guys she knew. "How did you— I mean it's not exactly the same, but— it sort of— that's Assface. And— Assface. Two of them?" It's confusing to her, but she gestures toward the one with shorter hair, the first one, "That one's more like— the one I saw— but this other one. He's got the fire on his arms thing going on and… What is this? Is this another one of your powers?"

It's when Gillian starts talking about the painting that Sylar finally looks at it, studying, now, as if he were even more unfamiliar with it than the woman beside him. Which, he is. A frown pulls at his mouth and he absently wipes his hands clean on the sides of his jeans, looking from one Peter to the other. Wh. What? "His name's Peter," he says, almost without thinking, a hand going out to touch the side of the canvas as he tries to take it all in. "Why are there two of them?" A glance to Gillian. "I can paint the future. It's complicated."

"Peter?" Gillian asks, frowning at the painting in surprise. "You didn't say you knew him when I described him originally… Maybe he's got a twin with the same…" She makes the gesture across her face again. Deforming scar. Might come off as ruggedly handsome in some circles, but she doesn't seem to agree on this one. "So this hasn't happened yet? It's… the future." It should sound crazier than it does, honestly, but the world went from marginally crazy to super crazy two years ago when Manhattan exploded.

"Peter Petrelli," Sylar elaborates, now drawing out the chair nearest the table the painting is set on, sinking down into it and still observing the tilted image. "I know him. I didn't know how to explain before." Partially the truth, anyway. "But he and I are alike - we have more than one ability. And he doesn't have a twin," he adds, with a some audible disdain at the suggestion - even if Peter could full well have a twin, what does Sylar know after all, but he has a habit of disbelieving the expected. "I don't know how this happens, but it happens."

"Peter Petrelli," Gillian repeats quietly, as if getting the sound of the name. It sounds familiar. She has to stand there a long moment, as she explains how they're alike. "Well— I guess you're alike. I've never heard of any Evolved — the Registered ones at least — who had more than one ability." With her siblings on the list, she'd taken some time to look in on it, after all, and she remembers when they read off the registration cards in the library hostage crisis. One power each. "Wait. Petrelli. That's the same name as the Senator running for President, right?" She may not be intending on voting (especially not now), but it's hard to ignore Presidential campaign ads. They've been every where the last few weeks.

"He's the Senator's brother, that's right," Sylar supplies, his voice still with that distracted tone, as if his mind is elsewhere - and his studious gaze on his painting shows exactly what's occupying him. Electric sparks versus blazing heat. He can't help but wonder what would happen if you add a little ice into the mix. "They look ready to tear each other to pieces, don't they?" he wonders out loud, noting the aggressive stances of both men (both man?) and then, the proverbial light switch flicks on, and he casts a glance up at Gillian, now moving to stand. "You're right, you wouldn't have heard of Evolved like us," he affirms. "As far as I know, we're the only ones. The world probably couldn't last the existance of any more."

That could not work well for his political career. If Gillian still worked at the library, she'd look it up and see if the man even lists his brother anywhere— it wouldn't be too difficult to tack 'dead' next to someone's name, especially since she's pretty sure he had been from this city, and not one of the others. "Looks like they're about to tear the whole city apart," she murmurs softly, after he gives the affirmation, and the further worries about to their presence. "This looks like the sort of thing that those people in suits would be claiming to stop. It really does look like they're tearing up the street they're on— and if they're that bad…" She trails off. "But you're stronger than him, right? When we first met you didn't start flaring up and making the room wet and stuff— he spontaneously combusted first time I got around him."

It's easy to lead people down roads when they willingly take the first step. Sylar turns away from Gillian, moving to clean his hands of paint under a running tap of water in the kitchen area just a few feet away. "I am stronger," he can't help but confirm, tone more adamant than it should be. "Peter has a tendency to lose control," he continues, mouth twisted into a sneer - though his back stays turned to Gillian until the tap is shut off. "I don't." Save for a little issue of humidity for a few seconds, but comparatively speaking… "We do share a few powers." It won't be the first, or even the second time Gillian's seen this - he brings up his hands and they start to glow, bones visible as if they were the source of light. "Can you imagine something like this…" And the glow travels up his arms, smoking starting to come from the singing fabric of his sleeves. "…going wild?"

"You're one of the more controlled I've been around," Gillian admits quietly, even as he moves away. She's still looking at the canvas, trying to quietly figure out clues as to the location in the city, when she looks toward the light that splays a reddish glow around the room. The fact it's coming from under his skin is pretty creepy. There's lamps like that somewhere. "That looks different from the fire he'd been— but now that— it's kind of close to what he was doing in the apartment complex, before that wind threw him up into the ceiling and knocked him out. I guess it could… burn down a building or something?" she asks, not realizing the magnitude of the situation.

Sylar gives a small smile, and glances down at his hands. They flicker out. Even without combustion, exposure is dangerous enough, and he stretches his fingers a little, inspecting his own hands. They're very dry of water now. "Burn down a building," he agrees, looking back up at her. "Burn down a city?"

"A city…" Gillian muses, looking back quietly at the painting. "And the government's suit-wearing-bitches are chasing after me when someone like that is flying around the city on fire, in a suit. Probably even working for them?" There'd been suspicions, since… suit. And he seemed so offical the last time, and the woman crying rape had said they had fake badges and tried to arrest them. But she'd been telling a lot of lies, as far as she could tell. "And now there's two of them that might be able to burn down a city? Like this city hasn't already been through enough."

"Maybe that's why he works for them, now," Sylar says, in a musing tone of voice. Maybe one day he'll get so good at this he'll start believing himself. Become Gabriel Wilkens. He certainly seems to slip into this role of the partially-knowledgable protector of Gillian Childs with ease. "And you're right, this city has been through enough. Peter Petrelli's done quite enough damage already and we live and breathe it every day. I couldn't stop him then, I don't know… with two of them, what would happen." And all the while, he watches Gillian carefully.

The city has been through enough. Quite enough damage already. Breathe it every day. Gillian's still looking at the painting as it all slides into place. She's not slow or completely ignorant. Her eyes move away from the canvas again, back to the man in the room. Lips part, for a moment it looks like she's about to say something, but then she ends up stalking over to the laundry basket. Angry laundry putting away! No, she picks up the keys to the apartment and throws them at the canvas. Do not fret, she's not a great aim. It wouldn't even hit. "Are you telling me that that— those men— destroyed the city?" Think of the books? "And that lying son of a bitch politican pinned it on someone else, didn't he? Cause I— I don't remember the name, but it definitely was not 'Oh, my brother killed all your families, my bad.' Son of a bitch." She wants to pick up her keys and throw them again.

"Sylar. He blamed it on someone named Sylar." Because she will remember that name, even if she won't know the face. Not today, anyway. Sylar looks back towards the painting now, still standing upright as the keys have instead chipped some of the paint off the wall just above it, the image still intact. "To protect his brother, to protect himself - I don't know. But this man is dangerous, Gillian, and if unleashing hell on me was enough to destroy this city, can you imagine what would happen if he unleashed it on himself… and back again?" He moves closer towards the painting, and very gently, he adds, "I have to stop it." Further blurring the lines between good and bad, hero and villain, guiltless and guilty, he looks back at her.

Sylar. Gillian commits it to memory, even if it's not the name that has her furious. Petrelli. Both of them. "He could destroy the whole world, couldn't he?" She suddenly asks, looking back at the painting again, the way the street looks, the melting. Uncontrolled, angry— a battle that could at least destroy an already ravaged city once again, a battle that might do much worse. When the bomb went off, she'd been at the library, of course. Seen the aftermath, the smoke, the mushroom cloud. They've said it before. She doesn't want to be a hero. But people can't live in a world if there's no world, or if it's changed so much it's unrecognizable. She takes in a slow breath and looks back at him again. "Maybe I can help."

Maybe. Not yes. Not no. But maybe. Sylar turns completely to her, now, back to the painting of the two scarred Peters, and he steps a little closer though a distance is maintained. The relative silence of an apartment room in New York buzzes around them for a few moments, before Sylar says, agreeably and reverently, "You can help me. And if you do, I'll protect you." And kill Peter Petrelli, no matter how many of them are there.

Hazel eyes meet brown for quite a long moment. Gillian finally breaks eye contact to look back at the canvas again. A slow inhale follows, then she nods. "Count me in." It has a sense of resolve, anger. This whole conversation has brought something out even more than her own life in threat. "You shouldn't have to fight him alone."


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October 31st: A Kiss Is Just A Kiss
Previously in this storyline…
Changes are Coming

Next in this storyline…
Misinterpretation

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November 1st: The Other Tiger
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