A Common Trope


gabriel_icon.gif sal_icon.gif

Scene Title A Common Trope
Synopsis Two enemies must set aside their differences to overcome a common enemy!
Date June 14, 2009

A Staten Island Ferryplace

It's high noon, and summer beats off asphalt, kicks heat right back up and forces eyes to narrow against the glare. The long sinced closed elementary school looks hardly what it used to be anymore, jagged holes in the wire fence, aged graffiti marking the worn down walls, and junk left to rot on the expansive concrete playground that doesn't look like its former purpose save for the former markings of hopscotch and tennis courts.

If you know enough to get past all this, to wind your way through the broken classrooms that create some sort of perimeter around the staff halls— you'll find what can count as a safehouse.

Reverted into something of a flophouse instead, and desolate for now save for the presences of two, what might have been a conference room is now something of a living room, with an old couch dragged in and a small kitchenette now refitted to functional. Where it once made coffee, tea and housed cookies, it's now outfitted with rations of food and water supplies as well as medical. At least it has running water, as Gabriel now has his hands under the tap, cleaning them of—

Well let's say for sanity's sake it's dirt. He doesn't hear the approach of footsteps, when he should, back turned to the front door. The worn T-shirt hangs off him, managing to be oversized enough to do so, though the jeans fit enough with the help of a belt.

Never did Sal ever think he'd be asking people - The Ferrymen - how to find Gabriel Gray. The doc still doesn't trust the man, and if his state has changed in regards to the very disrupted boosting power, he has no idea. That makes it perhaps a bit extraordinary that he's been trying to find him for the past few weeks. First, it was just keeping his eyes peeled, then he asked around. Finally, he asked people stationed at various safehouses to call him if they spotted him.

He was rather surprised that his phone rang to tell him where Gabriel currently is. Some of the urgency has passed. The faux-Teo could have been to see him by now. He considers not going, but given how vehemently Teo defended Gabriel, well, it could be worth a chat.

Even if he thinks he's risking being transformed into the man's twin again.

So the doc appears in the doorway just behind Gabriel, in a face he's never seen before. "Gray," he says. "Can I talk to you?" He should have made himself Kinney before entering, but that would connect this shape to his real face, and there are other people milling around the area.

There's a twitch of Gabriel looking back over his shoulder for the source of the voice, cutting out the stream of water with a flick of his wrist and reaching for the tea towel to dry off his hand, rust-coloured smears streaking the checked fabric. He turns, looks up and down this stranger's form with overt suspicion, shown in the angles of his expression and the steel-rod posture of his back, his shoulders.

There's a gash at his forehead, an obviously deep cut still healing, sewn together with black thread, arcing for an inch and a half above an eyebrow which raises in question. "Depends on who you are," he answers, words clipped. There's only so much faith he can truly put into the resources of this underground organisation.

"Teo's been taken over by something. Something that has access to his memories and does a very good job at pretending to be him. But it's not him. And since you would make a very powerful ally, I thought you should be warned. I don't know what its motive is, but I have a feeling it plans on disposing of Teo when it's done." Sal keeps his distance, leans on the doorframe and watches Gabriel. He figures what he just said would peg his identity fairly well. And if it doesn't? Well, he's not going to spell it out.

He tilts his head to examine the stitches and sucks air through his teeth. "Who stitched you up?"

It does peg, recognition dawning in brown eyes but not quite as obvious as— bafflement. The information served his way is listened to and understood and even to a degree it makes sense. Gabriel's done it before. However.

However. The movement of drying his hands is paused as he stares across at the other man, slow blink once, twice— "The woman who…" What was the question? Stitches. Gabriel tosses the towel back onto the counter, a hand raising to consciously run his fingers over the line of stitching in his skin. "The woman who's staying here too did them. How long has Teo been possessed?" Possessed, like this truly is a normal happenstance, or at least one familiar enough that it can be labeled with ease.

"That's the million-dollar question. But May 28th was the day he attacked me and robbed Phoenix, then took off. So a few weeks for certain, most likely a week or so before that." Sal's getting better. He manages not to cringe at the thought of the weekend spent with the monster who now runs about. "Let me guess. He's been to see you?"

He keeps his distance, hovers in the doorway and watches the other man. He keeps watch for signs of his power being boosted. That was unpleasant, and he doesn't want it to happen again.

May 28th. When the fuck was May 28th? Time slips by about as quickly as water escapes the running tap just before, and sometimes it crawls in slow motion. How long ago was Africa? The watch store? All these thoughts and more reel silently by, Gabriel silent for a moment when it comes to Sal's question, and he comes to sit down on the arm of the couch. Not about to coax the man inside in invitation, he also doesn't come closer, allowing distance to fall between them.

"Once," he finally decides. "A couple of days ago, he came to talk to me with Gillian. Brought me here. What does it want?" His alarm is subtle, but the questioning is obvious - suddenly even the safehouse doesn't feel so safe.

"I don't know. But whatever it is, it's running around telling people what they want to hear, tying up loose ends. A friend said he was taking like he had cancer. Sounds like whatever he's planning to do, it ends with Teo sacrificed." Sal isn't sure how he's managing to be so stoic, so straight-faced about this. On the inside, he feels anything but in control.

"You two. You seem to have some tit-for-tat thing going on. He owes you, you owe him. I've been trying to find you since this happened, to warn you that he might come to you. So I hope you'll consider going against him, even if the motives he tells you sound good. Even if the aims do. I don't know what his angle is, but I know how convincing Teo can be, how earnest he can sound. And this imposter seems to have mastered that."

He looks down at the floor, and when he looks back up at Gabriel, some of his stoic mask shows a crack. "I changed him. The other day. I altered his face so he he doesn't look like Teo anymore. So he can't use Teo's allies or turn him into a scapegoat for whatever he's doing. For all we know, he could be planning a mass murder in Phoenix's name to take us all down. I couldn't let that happen. I don't know if it will stop him, or even slow him down. Hell, it might even be helping him. But I needed to have people look at him and see a different man."

"I don't know if we were friends, but you're right. We owe each other," Gabriel states, a clinical tone of voice around his words. "I've felt it before, being possessed by something, pretending to be who you are. Whatever his motive is— it's nothing Laudani deserves." Because last names are a good line of separation. "Strange, for some it all blurs together, denial sets in if they're good enough, but you…"

The spotlight swings around back on to Sal as Gabriel's wandering gaze focuses on him for a moment. "That's right, you're lovers," Gabriel says, as if he'd just remembered this. "Did he sleep with you before you found out?"

"The problem with Teo is that he believes he deserves a lot of bad shit," Sal says this softly and mostly to his left shoulder. The question earns Gabriel a sharp look, a glare that he's been on the receiving end of before.

But then he draws in a long breath and pinches the bridge of his nose. "I think so. A day or so before he attacked me, we were out of the city. If that was him, then he fooled me." In a very intimate setting. "I didn't figure it out. This thing inside him has some kind of Evolved ability. He knocked me out with a touch."

Then he tenses up again. Why did Gabriel ask that? Why would he want to know? Given his poor opinion of Gabriel, he's thinking it's for cruel reasons. Not really fair, but. It's a stretch enough that he's here.

Cruel reasons or not, there is no callous, pointed needling over the topic once the answer is given, Gabriel's gaze dipping down in thought and judgment. Silence crosses over, and the question and the following answer are both left in the dust as he looks up once more, a slight angle of a nod. "He doesn't know I know, unless he's guessed someone's told me by now. But he didn't have faith, before, that Phoenix wanted anything to do with me," he says, with a curl of a smile. "I'll find him before he changes his mind."

"I'm not sure Phoenix is taking this seriously. If they're making any plans to help him, I haven't been told. The warning that went out across the wire didn't mention he was an imposter. It just said to avoid him. Which makes him look like a traitor and not a victim. I've been trying to get to anyone close to him. To tell them the truth. But I keep missing people before he got to them. That's why I changed him." Sal pulls in a long breath and squares his shoulders.

"Anyway. I thought you deserved to know." It tears him up to think of anyone abusing Teo's friends and connections. Even if the victim is Sylar. He turns for the door. "Forgive me if I don't stick around. Last time I did, my powers got fucked up." It's a good excuse to leave. He takes a step, then stops and tugs a reciept from his pocket and a pen from the inside of his coat. He writes a number down and sets it on the table. "In case he comes to see you again."

"He is a victim," Gabriel agrees, watching Sal write down the number and simply takes his weight off the couch to go retrieve it, although he allows the other man to back away before he does. Circumstances have changed, his powers have changed, but that haven't changed to anything certain. Perhaps it is best if people stay away, even if no mirages of Kazimir are hanging out at the corners of his consciousness right now.

Or Gillian, for that matter. Plus, it is a good excuse to leave. In no way do they like each other, even if coming to a grim understanding about a circumstance. "Thank you," he says, simply. "For telling me."

Sal knows he hasn't endeared himself to Gabriel, and from what Teo has tried to tell him, he's been unfair. They got off on a very bad foot and have been limping and stumbling along ever since. It doesn't help that the only time he's ever lost control of his ability was around him, and he was forced to wear his face. So many issues.

"Don't hurt him." A beat, "…please. Unless…you really have to. But whatever it is he wants to do, I know it won't be to anyone's benefit. Stop him if you can. The way that thing looked at me, from Teo's eyes…" He hesitates, loses his voice for a moment. "If I hadn't told him who I was, he would have killed me and never looked back."

He stands still for a moment, then quickly turns to leave, pushing out the door and into the street without another word.

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