Abandonment Issues


gillian_icon.gif lene_icon.gif

Scene Title Abandonment Issues
Synopsis Some people have them worse than others.
Date May 3, 2011

Deveaux Building: Rooftop

The building that rests at 210 Central Park West is a ruin, and it's been a ruin since the nuclear explosion that tore through Midtown on November 8, 2006. Much of the Deveaux Building is in dire condition, with sagging floors, cracked foundations and crumbling brickwork on the exterior. All of the buildings windows have been blown out, some floors have completely collapsed inward to others, and all but one stairwell has been made inaccessible by the damage the structure has taken.

What leaves this demolished building remarkable is its rooftop. Connected to a desolate and badly burned penthouse apartment and demolished greenhouse, the rooftop of the Deveaux Building is an iconic piece of landscape for many people. Something about this place, from the decorative stonework arch and small cherub statues to the blastwave shattered pigeon coops seems to draw people from all walks together here.

Shell casings, broken timbers, chickenwire fencing, shattered glass and likely broken dreams all litter this rooftop. One of the two cherub statues flanking the round arch on the brick railing has a bullet hole cracked in the stone at the angel's chest, signs of past violence here that the vista of Midtown's eviscerated heart helps convey.

Right from the doorway the sheer size of this penthouse seems designed to impress. The walls and ceiling are painted in a soft eggshell white that seems to only enlarge the perception of the living space, with lightly-stained hardwood floors reflecting the daylight spilling through the partly closed blinds. Immediately across from the entrance is a raised living room with three shallow steps leading up to the carpeted landing it sits on. A plush white sofa covers one wall, with a long glass-topped table between it and a matching chaise lounge. The entire opposite wall to the side of the sofa is a gigantic window that affords a view of the nighttime skyline of New York. Sliding vertical blinds are drawn drawn closed, but twisted so they remain partly open, giving a slatted view of the New York skyline. Up against the window is a jet black leather sofa with a tall lamp with a ball-shaped shade.

Further into the penthouse, there is a large open kitchen that is in plain view of the sitting room, a black marble-topped island divides the kitchen from the main floor, and beyond the island more counterspace and brushed-metal faced kitchen appliances fill the walls. From here, a hallway can be seen that is lined with four doors; one leading to an office, two more to bedrooms, and another to a bathroom.

With the overhead view of the damaged city, one would think this would not be an ideal place to have a meeting— Gillian chose the rooftop for many reasons. A dream from long before, and a past she had hoped to lose hold on one day. The first time she'd been here, she was kidnapped out of a car by a scarred man, whom she then tried to shoot— who she did shoot. Once.

There's not even blood to show where he'd been shot left. Two years have wiped any trace of that away— except one.

The cherubs statues on the rooftop stand, one facing away, one facing toward. It's the one facing toward the roof that Gillian stands in front of, while she waits. The cloudy sky gives a hint of the mood that this rooftop conveys, but it does not look like rain will be breaking anytime soon.

Laid out on the messy floor is a small square object, a chess board, with the black and white pieces already set up and in place. Waiting.

Just like another time that Gillian had been here— though that time had been a dream.

A wind swirls Jolene’s red hair around her face as she steps onto the roof; the chilly day sees her in more sedate clothes than usual — perhaps the importance of the meeting had a factor in that as well: a black cardigan, gray leggings, and black boots is a somber choice for her, though a purple and red pashmina scarf encircles her neck, rustling in the breeze.

Silently she watches Gillian,, her breath caught as she stands as still as those cherubs; the rustle of her clothing and hair the only movement for a long and taut moment.

“Hi,” she finally manages, taking another step forward, toward Gillian — now that Gillian knows who her daughter is, and who her father is, it’s likely she can see both herself and Peter Petrelli in the wiry limbs and longish but delicate face. Jolene’s features are earnest and nervous, lips parting as she stares at Gillian, trying to read the expression on the other woman’s face.

Who the girl's father is could very well be why she chose this place— It wasn't the first place she met him, or the place she fell in love with him, but one of the places that holds a strong significance. And a view of the ruin that he never forgave himself for.

And the cherub facing them has a bullet hole in his chest to prove the significance. One she runs a hand over, touching the pitted and scarred chest under the round face, until she turns to look toward the girl. In her dream, she'd been younger. A little of that child remains in the young woman's face, but she's grown into her features— and she can see him in places. And herself.

And her mother and father. And a little of his, as well.

"Hi," she responds in soft tones. "Sorry I needed so much time, I…" her raspy voice trails off. The coat she wears is too big for her, perhaps borrowed or bought from a discount store. Black, a color more fitting of the young woman's father. But fitting enough for an ex-goth as well.

"Did I ever take you up here? Have you been here?"

Green eyes break from their hold on Gillian’s face to glance over their surroundings, and she shakes her head, then nods. It might be humorous in effect if the moment weren’t so charged with emotion. “You didn’t, no. But I’ve been here,” she says softly, then takes a step forward. She glances at the chessboard and her lips curve into a smile.

“It’s okay. I … are you better? I know you were sick. I’m sorry I wasn’t honest when we met last.” The words come in a stilted but fast-pace stream. “Are you mad?” she asks a little softer, feeling suddenly like a child again.

"No," Gillian says after a moment, letting her hand drop away finally from the statue so that she can step closer to the young woman, while avoided the chess pieces that are laid out. There's a box nearby, and a small sack for the pieces— and a carrier bag for both of them, laid open.

"Your father took me here once. Kidnapped me, technically," she says, looking back toward the cherub again. "Our relationship was… complicated. But from what I saw of the dreams, it didn't get any less complicated in your future…"

Complicated used to make things interesting, less boring. But there's a fine line between complicated and heartbreaking.

And unfortunately Gillian's never quite managed to get off of that line.

Lene offers a crooked smile that is more Peter than Gillian, despite having less of her father’s influence on her life — except in her genes and her ability. “Complicated is sort of the status quo I think for everything in my life. Do I want to know the story of why he kidnapped you?” The last is said with some humor — her mother hadn’t spoken much of Peter at all when Lene was growing up, to the point that Lene had to ask who Peter was at the age of 12, shaken from a dream.

“You don’t have to,” she adds quickly, then nods toward the chessboard. “I’m not very good. Nate was better.” She sighs at the name, looking up apologetically, as if the name itself will hurt her mother — the way people looked at her when they said it in her presence. But Gillian hasn’t lost a son — Gillian hasn’t had a son to lose.

Lene bites her lip and glances down. “It’s good to see you,” she adds, changing the subject.

Even now, with less history under her belt, Peter is a difficult topic. Once Gillian had found him easier to talk about— but lately, it's become harder. Time travel, life, near-death… Everything adds to the complications. There's a grateful nod when the girl says she doesn't have to talk about him, as she moves to sit in front of the chess board, choosing the white side.

So the young woman, should she choose to, has the first move.

"The first dream I had was about Nate," is what Gillian says instead, looking up. "When I heard his name— saw him— I thought maybe… Maybe he was Peter's. But I would have named my son Nate no matter who the father was, I think." Gillian may not have had a son to lose— technically— but she'd lost one all the same.

"This is the second future that I've been affected greatly, by. The other one… I was married to Peter and we had a son. Named Nate. Like this time… I only saw his face in a dream. The dream was here— on this rooftop— and his face was in that cherub," she gestures towards the one with the bullet hole in his chest.

"I'd always wanted to meet him— that boy. If he ever became a man, or even that child that he was in the dream. But I knew I never would. and when I saw these dreams, I hated whoever was showing me them— because I thought it was happening again… That I'd never get to…" She trails off, voice catching. After a slow inhale, which seems unsteady, she looks up from the pieces. "To meet you." As she speaks, there's tears she wanted so bad not to shed.

"So it's good to see you too."

Lene is quiet, listening, heart pounding as she moves to sit across from her mother, lean long legs folding up to kneel and study the board more intently than she needs to — given it’s the first move. She finally moves a pawn forward, her hand shaking before she sets it down.

“It’s just me,” she whispers, to get that out of the way. “Nate — he…”

It was several years ago, in Lene’s timeline, but it doesn’t ease the pain. Time can take the serration and sharpness off such a loss, but the ache is always there.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers… it’s a strange thing to give condolences to Gillian, given that she and Nate were both lost at the same time.

"It's you," Gillian corrects quietly, though the reason for the correction isn't clear at first. If it ever will be. "You can tell me about him. What he liked, his favorite colors… but that stuff can come later." Because they will have a later— or so she hopes.

A hand rests on the white knight, rather than one of the pawns, and she moves it instead, jumping over the line of pawns and then to the side.

"And maybe I can tell you about… here… too." And more of why she chose the location. Even if the cherub statue had been the main reason.

"What happened to him? Quinn didn't tell me much— she said had a dream about you, and that you were… staying with them."

“He…” Lene starts, giving the board a cursory glance before moving a piece without much thought, “you…”

This is harder than she thought.

“There was a fire,” she finally says, and a hand pulls the damaged locket from beneath her shirt. Her eyes move from board to Gillian’s face, her own expression drawn and solemn. Please don’t make me say it is written in the flat line of her mouth, in the shimmer of her green eyes.

“I hadn’t seen you for so long,” she adds, a crooked smile trying to edge them away from the topic of fires and deaths. “I’m sorry if I was a bumbling idiot the last time I saw you, in December? I was nervous.”

Of all the ways to go, a fire seems somehow fitting. Sad and horrifying, but still fitting.

Gillian nods, catching the meaning without having to hear all the words. There's enough there to draw a conclusion. And not one she really likes. A son that had grown up, this time, but a daughter that had grown up the rest of the way without her…

"You weren't that bad," she says in rasped tones, looking across the board. A hand reaches down to touch one of the pawns, presumably to move it, but then she hesitates.

The hand pulls back— and then reaches across. A board between them may seem like a vast distance, but it's not in the grand scheme of things. Close enough to grasp the other girl's hand, close enough to pull on her… If they both lean, they could almost hug. But it's not really a hug, so much as a sudden closeness.

The hand moves to the girl's head, drawing her closer until their foreheads touch.

"I'm sorry," she says in the same rasped tones, a hint of a breaking in them. "Sorry I wasn't there."
Lene’s hand curls tightly around Gillian’s, and she lets herself be tugged.

“Don’t be sorry… I never, never was angry at you,” she whispers, tears sliding down her cheeks before she raises her other arm to squeeze Gillian in that awkward, leaning hug. “I just missed you. So much.”

She looks up, a slight smile trying to push away the cloudiness of her expression. “You’d probably be grateful to have missed the teen years…” Not that she is so far out of them.

"I'm angry at me," Gillian says with a small laugh, though it lacks anything in the way of actual humor. It may be a relief to hear that her kid doesn't hate her for dying on her, that she just missed her. But it doesn't cover up the knowledge of remembering losing her own parents.

Only Gillian'd never met them, until she traveled back in time. She knows they would have regretted not being able to be there for her.

"And I wouldn't have been grateful to miss anything— even the bratty teenage years," she says, same softened tones.

She doesn't pull back. It's not the easiest hug in the world, but it's the first one she's ever been able to give the girl. And she doesn't know when she'll have the chance again.

Her mother didn't get that long with her… Which prompts the question, "Are you leaving?"

The question earns a wrinkle of Lene’s nose, and she shrugs vaguely. “I don’t know,” she answers. “We’re not done yet, and when we are… Where we lived, we lived outside of society, off-grid. It may not be possible to go back for… a lot of us.” Pretty much most of them.

“You have me for a while,” Lene says, ignoring the paradoxes of time travel for the time being. “And if I do go back, I promise I’ll tell you first.”

The young woman may have no idea how relieved Gillian is to hear that. For a moment, she's grasped tighter, and then she's released, allowed to lean back and get more comfortable. "Good," she says as she settles back, hands resting on her folded legs as she looks back up at the girl with the green eyes.

Where the eyes came from, she can guess— there's a little green in Gillian's eyes too. And there'd been a little green in Peter's. It's like all the green blended together in their child.

"If you don't want to go back, you're welcome here… With me."

An offer she doesn't have to make, but one she wants to. Because she's afraid to admit what she's afraid of. The same thing she's been afraid of for a long time. The thing that made her relationship with Peter so heartbreaking. The idea of being left.

Like mother, like daughter — Lene has been “left” by the three most important people in her young life, and when Gillian offers her a place, the shimmer in her eyes swells and the tears spill. While Gillian settles back, Lene surges forward to hug her more fiercely, knees displacing the forgotten chess pieces.

She never was very good at chess anyway.

“I love you,” she murmurs into her mother’s hair, even as she threatens to topple her back. “Thanks for not being mad.”

Teenage years may have been a mess for this girl, but right now, Gillian knows she'd let her get away with most anything short of leaving and not make her mad. She'll certainly not be mad about the knocked over white and black pieces that fall off the chessboard in various directions.

Gillian's arms wrap around her taller form, eyes closing as she holds tight, as if trying to find a way to meld into the girl and keep her there. Or maybe she's just trying to stay upright, and clinging seems the easiest way to manage it.

"There's no reason to be mad… When I travelled through time, I had to lie too." With her own parents, at first— With Peter.

"And I love you too," she adds in whispered tones, letting the tears she tried to fight fall.

This is why she didn't want to meet her anywhere in public— cause it won't take long for them to dissolve into embarrassing sobs.

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