All Things Will Die


eileen4_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title All Things Will Die
Synopsis Peter turns to Gabriel for more help still.
Date July 27, 2009

The Garden

According to Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson, All Things Will Die. This is a universal truth that almost everyone over the age of twelve has been exposed to at some point during their lives, but in this respect today has been a day of enlightenment for several of the Garden's youngest occupants. It began when Carmen discovered Butterbean on the side of the road leading up to the property — his head bent backwards, nostrils filled with a clumpy coagulation of dried blood — and ended with Eileen packaging the cat in a burlap sack after allowing the children to say their good byes with garlands made from a plethora of wildflowers native to Staten Island.

She wears one such braid as a crown on the top of her head, its white blossoms lost somewhere in the messy tangle of her hair, though she seems not to care as she continues digging a hole in the damp earth with a shovel she borrowed from the greenhouse.

Nightfall is imminent and bruises the sky in ugly shades of purple and blue that steal away the sunlight, coaxing shadows from the trees while shrouding the property in darkness. She has only a few more spades worth of dirt to go before she can finally lay Butterbean to rest, fill the hole and then scrub the dirt out from under her fingernails. They can worry about erecting a marker in the morning.

In that light, it's hard for Eileen to notice much of a change in the colors of her surroundings. One more spade full of dirt drops down into the shallow depression in the earth, almost filled back in. It's only two more sharp spade fulls of dirt later that she notices the grass has browned around the hole she's dug, before she's noticed one of the dry leaves that was once soft and velvety in that wreath on her head comes falling down past her nose, brittle and papery in texture.

A familiar sensation rolls through her, a sensation like pressing a battery down on a wet tongue; a tingling, prickling sensation that starts in her fingertips and begins tickling up her forearms like the familiar and bitter touch of an unwelcomed family member. The sound of brittle grass crunches dead underfoot of someone approaching with soft footfalls, while the sky continues to take on the coloration of a corpse's mottled underside.

"I heard what happened…" That's not Gabriel's voice.

It isn't Gabriel's voice. It isn't Ethan's, either. Although Eileen begins to pivot on her heel, she doesn't have to turn more than halfway before she recognizes what's happening to her body. Nausea cramps in her stomach, twists like eels swimming through her lower half and blanches the colour from her face.

The shovel hits the dirt with a wet thump. It's then that she sees the eyes. In the darkness, he could be anyone; Eileen has only heard Peter's voice a handful of times, and without a memory like Catherine Chesterfield's she lacks the ability to immediately recollect where she's heard it before. She staggers back, booted feet sibilant and rustling through the grass as she lurches away from the shadow, masculine and amorphous but for the twin pinpricks of blue light in the center of its face.

It's not that she has an overactive imagination — it's just dark.

And she's just screaming. No big deal!

A scream is designed to knife through the silence, capture the imagination and a flare of panic into the ether. It's basic human instinct, a warning and a call all in once. There's no answering sound in return. Just the whisper of curtains as, soundless, something starts moving in its direction from where the the cottage of the Garden has recently turned on its lights to stave away the coming night. Blackness darker than anything dusk can produce tips as if poured out a window, an inky substance that moves through air like it should through water - simultaneously denser and lighter than true liquid, more substance than the smoke bringing nightmares all the way over there.

It's movement is not languid. Quick as the whip of a snake's tail in the grass, it goes running along the broken up, earthy plane of the garden, through the metal fencing in tendrils of blackness that separate and rejoin, between trees and finally gathering together to roll, to form limbs, torso, head, clothing not quite as black as the previous incorporeal form, the shape of a man—

One who has a steak knife. Just in case. Gabriel lands on his feet with all the dexterity of the man he copied such a power from, bare heels making tracks in the soft earth to stave off his own momentum, eyes dark and sharp.

For the barest of moments, the slim, dark shadow standing behind Eileen does nothing to break away. His expression is implaccable, blue eyes transfixed on her despite the screaming, as if he can't understand what emotion the scream represents. The eyes narrow, faintly, and it's only when hard and fast footfalls start slamming nearby that Peter's wiry form turns more jerky, taking a step back with both gloved hands raised in a gesture of figurative surrender. "I— It's okay I— it's just me I— "

For all his worth like a frightened cat now, Peter looks with frantic, wide-eyed stare from Eileen towards the charging silhouette of Gabriel. "S— Stop screaming it's just— " he winces, teeth gnashing together as his expression turns into a lopsided grimace, "I'm— I'm sorry."

It's just me, says the man who attempted to murder her and leave her mutilated corpse as a message to a friend. When Peter's voice finally clicks into place and a sliver of dying sunlight illuminates the familiar features of his face, Eileen's scream twists off into a sharper hiccough. He has just as much right to be here as she does, and yet a scowl still gnarls her mouth, peels back her upper lip and flashes a pair of incisors at him that appear so long and sharp that she might as well have stolen them from the dead cat in the sack.

"Don't," she hisses in a warning directed at Peter rather than Gabriel, voice hoarser, raspier than it is shrill. She doesn't have much breath left to speak but she tries to anyway, her words coming out curt and stilted, bitten off in between thin gasps of air. "You're not sorry— Don't you fucking dare—"

In retrospect, bringing a knife to a threat that would make Eileen Ruskin scream was potentially a useless decision, this only occurring to Gabriel when his eyes land on Peter Petrelli, as soon as he's landed out of the phased, inky cloud he had become to get here. The knife is turned over in his hand, kept low by his side so that one would have to look to catch a glint of ambient light off the stainless steel edge, a blade that runs with cooked juices rather than red rawness that bleeds warm.

It could, though! Just like a nurse has the potential to destroy a city. Gabriel is only corporeal for a moment, the time it takes for a heart to beat twice, before letting the shadows consume him again, moving with more speed and agility than he would have had with flesh and bone, moving overhead with the flow of a table cloth whipped away, coming to stand just beside Peter.

The sharp point of the knife places firmly above where the man's jugular would be, albeit a few inches inwards and protected with flesh and muscle. Coiled strength remains as a reserve in the length of his arm. In contrast to the warning of this gesture, Gabriel's voice is pleasant, bordering on cheerful in its curiousity. "What're you doing?"

Peter's head tilts up, teeth pressing together even as that prickling sensation of deadening nerves feathers across Gabriel's fingertips, "I heard about the dead cat," he notes with a furrow to his brows, "and I saw her trying to dig a hole for it. I was going to help." The enunciation is unusual, eyes squinting just a slight touch. "Are you sure you want to cut me?"

Blue eyes track from a blurred edge of Gabriel's elbow in his periphery, up to Eileen, "you know how bad I am at controling strange new powers. I'd hate to have to help her dig another hole." Gentle civility goes to the wayside when a knife is pressed to his throat.

Eileen's hand smears across a knit brow, leaving a sweaty smudge of mud in its wake. The expression on her face hasn't changed much. Neither has her guarded posture or bristling body language. "I'll dig one for you too if you turn it on him," she hisses under her breath as she drops down into a crouch and closes her fingers around the shovel's splintery grip. When she rises to her feet again, it's in a smooth, deliberate fashion that's as hostile as the spoken threat itself.

Out here, she has no gun and no knife — not even something similar to the instrument Gabriel holds in his hand — but she could probably do plenty of damage with the edge of the spade if she were so inclined. For the moment, she isn't. "Bastard."

"Shhh," Gabriel hisses, the noise seeming to curl around this isolated patch of forest, directed beyond just Peter. The erstwhile serial killer's teeth showing afterwards when he notes that creeping, insidious feeling brushing at his fingertips, but it doesn't have him letting up, however, fingers only dancing once against the handle before coiling tighter. The corner of his mouth twitches up, briefly, before smoothing back into neutrality. "This is theatre. Relax."

His gaze slides over to Eileen, to include her within that. "We're all friends." As ridiculous as it may seem. Without leaving so much as a mark above the collar of Peter's shirt, the knife lets up, and Gabriel takes a step back, grass crunching underfoot. When did he become peace keeper? Makes sense that he might try it with a knife.

"I brought him here," Gabriel states, directed towards Eileen. There's a note of apology in his voice, but of course, never the words. The knife is twirled between fingers, a flash of metal and black plastic.

Drawing in a slow breath through his nose, tension ribs through Peter until Gabriel finally unwinds from him. His shoulders ease from their hunched posture, but his hands are still raised, slowly creeping down as his elbows bend. "Nice to see you again too," Peter notes with a raise of both brows, his gloved fingers curling against the palms of his hands with a creak of the leather. His head tilts to the side, regarding Gabriel with an askance look, then to the knife, then over to Eileen.

Like melting ice, Peter's expression grows softer, more puppy-like, "I'm… sorry I scared you. I— I'd forgotten about what happened the last time we saw each other. My memory from," he waves his hands indistinctly, "it's not exactly the best." Flitting blue eyes between the spade and the gravedigger, Peter finally lowers his hands all the way, flattening the lapels of his suit.

"I didn't mean to… to startle you. I just— " he motions to the mostly filled hole, "I was going to offer to dig for you." As she does look rather matchstick thin. "I didn't think about how you might react. Or— " his blue eyes flick back to Gabriel, "why you might react that way." Turning slowly, Peter looks up at Gabriel a bit more fully, then raises one brow to regard Eileen. "I didn't mean to give anyone a scare."

"You should have left him with Phoenix." Eileen toes more dirt into the grave, though her eyes do not leave the two men as she speaks — not until there's enough in the hole for her to smooth it over using the belly of the spade. She packs the earth tight, perhaps to discourage wild animals from digging at it, perhaps to work off some of the excess aggravation bubbling at the surface of her exterior. Whether or not he meant to, he did — it'll be another few minutes before the adrenaline has worn off and her heart rate has returned to something resembling normalcy.

She's angry at Gabriel, too, if for different reasons and none that are especially new. No apology is accepted, implicit or otherwise. Instead, she sticks the shovel in the ground so she can find the gravesite again in the morning, and wipes off the filth from her hands onto the cotton fabric of her grass-stained skirt. "His eyes didn't used to look like that."

Gabriel has broken his attention to angle towards Eileen, primarily, watching her pack in earth as if it had caused her great offense, and doesn't respond to the notion of leaving Peter anywhere. As if assessing this idea, however, he flicks a glance up and down the shorter man standing not a few feet away, before meeting pale, blue eyes to respond. "She screamed," Gabriel states, simply, eyebrows going up. He balances the knife between point and handle, the steely tip against the center of his index finger. "It's like you said, about strange new powers. You're not exactly carrying around rainbowkinesis."

He glances at the hand that had been previously warped by Kazimir's power residing within Peter, now healed back to vitality thanks to Deckard's generousity. The fingertips are a little pale, dry looking, but damage to fade within a day at most.

"I found him after I went back," Gabriel explains, losing some of that facetious tone of voice. Defensive, this time. "He was dying. Phoenix left him for dead."

"I don't think I'm going to be welcomed with open arms after the words I exchanged with Gillian and Helena earlier either." Straightening his tie, Peter rankles his nose and sniffs at the air, eyeing the ground before looking up at the sky, "I think it's going to rain again." The off-handed comment comes as he takes a few steps away from Eileen to give her space, dress shoes treading in the soft earth, even as the grass underfoot begins to brown from his presents.

Too much silence, protracted and awkward, leaves Peter open for a longer explanation. "Some ability Gabriel had… it brought me back, fixed my spine," not figuratively of course, that one is still apparently quite limp, "and gave me a rather rude awakening. I guess the blue eyes come with the territory?" One dark brow rises slowly, and Peter glances over to Gabriel, then back to Eileen.

"I don't have much choice but to stick around and learn how to control this thing, otherwise I'm going to hurt someone." His brows crease together, "or worse." Sliding his gloved hands into the pockets of his slacks, Peter rolls his shoulders forward into a hunched shrug. "It's pretty obvious I can't stay here, though. Wilting everything out here like— I'm afraid I might hurt one of the kids."

"Are you going to ask me if you can keep him next?" Eileen inquires, gray eyes dark beneath two finely arching brows. She steps around the grave rather than over it, boots trailing large clumps of dirt mixed with grass and the occasional pebble. She maintains the distance Peter has allotted her, however, moving parallel to the men instead of toward. As she walks, she removes a rubber band from her elbow by sliding it down the length of her arm and using it to pull back what's left of her raggedy hair. Cutting off the burnt ends in front of a bathroom mirror may not have been the wisest decision she's ever made.

"You'll hurt someone anyway," she says to Peter, more out of spite and as a result what righteous fury still lingers behind her eyes. "That's all you do." There's a brief pause as her gait slows and the rubber band snaps into place. Her gaze moves from her intended destination — the house — and back to Peter's face, not to glower but to study its features and the false light illuminating them in more of that uncomfortable silence.

"You're wrong," she says, finally. "Gabriel's were never like his."

Helena and Gillian. To be a fly on that wall. No amusement is felt or shown from Gabriel, the shapes and lines that make up his expression growing a little frosty, and his line of sight wanders downwards. Brown eyes go down to observe brown grass, the way it withers, curls as if burned. Worse than that. Gabriel's gaze lingers there in mute fascination. He's seen it before, so many times, but he's never seen it reborn before, an unwilling haze like Gillian's augmentation back in the day. Peter can see a warped, fleeting reflection of himself in the knife Gabriel turns between his hands, fidgeting assessment, before his gaze finally trails back up to the other man's face.

"Nice suit."

His hands fall to the sides, again, stepping away from Peter and rather unconsciously pacing around him in the same clockwork direction as Eileen. Restless energy, as ever, the past few days devoted to healing and rest. "He didn't copy the power," Gabriel states, looking past peter and directly addressing the young woman, as if this were their conversation. "It moved from me to him. It's nothing I intended. It almost killed me."

Mr. Not So Effectively Immortal, it seems. "Which one did you pick?" It's a masochist's question, without sparing the sarcasm. Gabriel obliges by clarifying; "Which girl."

Peter's blue eyes drift over towards Gabriel, dark brows lowered heavy on his forehead. "I didn't pick either of them, this isn't high school." There's a sneering quality to Peter's words, "I told them both I didn't have time for them, because it's the truth. How exactly am I supposed to carry on anything even remotely like a relationship with someone when my touch turns them to ashes?" Raising one gloved hand for emphasis, Peter's fingers curl tightly against his palm into a fist.

Letting some of that venom go, those blue eyes track over to Eileen, watching her silently. There's a regard given to her, much in the same way Peter's cold stare regarded her in that abandoned tenement building back during the winter; like the way a cat follows a bird. "I never had time for relationships," his words are directed to Eileen, but his eyes turns to focus at Gabriel, showing the true recipient for them. "You can't seriously think people like us have time for love, do you? We're not normal people, we can't function in society no matter how hard we try, we can't live ordinary lives. We can't pretend like everything is fine and simple. We're not normal, and the sooner I get my head around that idea the better."

The majority of Eileen's focus is on Gabriel now, her own expression having settled into something vaguely unreadable except for the curiosity swimming in her stare. It makes sense that he'd ask Peter such a question — she imagines she would too, if she ever found herself in such an unpleasant position — but it isn't the answer that she's interested in. It's Gabriel's reaction to it.

Any reprimand she might've had waiting in the wings is summarily swept back under the rug for later use. When someone reminds you that they almost died, not for the first time in recent memory, you cut them a little slack. This is something Eileen is learning, however gradually. There will be time enough later to confront him about Peter's acquisition of Kazimir's gift.

"Love isn't something you set aside time for," she tells Peter, her tone growing even cooler. "Either it's a part of your emotional makeup or it isn't. That you aren't allowed to express your feelings for someone without being in a relationship with them is complete bollocks."

If by the lazy turn of Gabriel's head, the way his dark eyes scout out the scenery, darting looks between trees from his vantage point— this was not a conversational road he intended to go down. A small sneer curls his lip at Peter's answer but otherwise, he remains quiet. His expression is impassive in the face of Peter's philosophy, Eileen earning a glance for her returning sentiment, and considers, for a moment, allowing them to argue the point. Instead, he cuts in with, "But at least we all have each other. People like us." Coy, sardonic, ironic, everything that is insincere while not being entirely false.

"Did you find a map?" Gabriel raises an eyebrow at Peter, voice somehow a little chillier, a little unfriendlier than before. "You seem so suddenly sharp about what we are and aren't. You can control it, you know." The corner of his mouth turns upwards again, in that not quite smile. "The power. I did. So if you were looking for an excuse, you're deluding yourself."

Rubbing a gloved hand across his forehead, Peter turns away from Gabriel and Eileen. "I don't need to be lectured about love from a kid and I don't need to be lectured about control from you of all people." There's a familiar bite to his words as Peter turns his back on them both, tension in his shoulders and neck, shoes crunching the grass underfoot as he walks. "I don't have your ability anymore, Gabriel. Figuring things out doesn't come like flicking on a light switch anymore."

He pauses, exhaling a tired sigh as he looks over his shoulder. "I'm going to need your help to figure it out, to get it under control. I'm— I can't do it on my own without hurting someone. Don't make me ask again." Because he won't.

Shaking his head, Peter starts to walk away, head hung and leather-gloved hands tucking into the pockets of his slacks. "Sorry about your cat."

"It wasn't my cat." Whether or not Eileen needs Gabriel's permission to argue the point, she opts not to. Neither the tone of her voice nor the shape of her mouth gives any indication as to why, however. It might have something to do with Gabriel's tone, or it might have something to do with his unique choice of words. It might even have something to do with being called a kid by someone who was seeing Helena Dean, several months her junior.

She's silent again. This is between them. The men.

Previously wandering attention now fixes squarely on Peter's back, Gabriel's gaze sharp and predatory, although that could just be how he stares, too. Steak knife, a flimsy weapon indeed in comparison everything he and Peter could do to each other, have done to each other, is rotated restlessly in his palm, thoughtful. It would be easy, to say nothing, wash his hands free of Peter and that curse of a power, but instead, he feels compelled to say, only just loud enough for his voice to carry—

"I'll help you." Gabriel's head tilts a little, glances to Eileen, and takes a step back as well. "I don't think either of us have a choice in that."

Peter doesn't respond, not more so than a brief falter in his steps, in orde rto show some silent acknowledgement that he heard Gabriel's words. Dipping his head into a nod, he keeps walking right back the way he had come from when he initially crept up on Eileen. The trail of brown, dead grass left in his wake is a visual legacy of the madman's curse trapped inside of him, and a stain of a reminder that Gabriel is inexorably tied to that ability despite having freed himself of it.

Only when he's starting to sink into the shadows of twilight does Peter stop, turn around to regard Gabriel and Eileen with a sidelong stare. "I can't stay here," he says firmly enough to project over the distance. "The children, the plants… not until I can get control of it. I don't have anywhere else to go, though." His eyes narrow slightly, hard to see the soft blue color of them in the dark now.

Despite not wanting to leave it open, Peter has not the humility nor the words to ask for help a second time, only to infer that he has no where else to go. And in that, leaves it up to the man he's seeking to teach him to decide where is best. It wouldn't be the first time he found himself at Gabriel's mercy. It won't be the last.

Eileen continues to make very little noise except for the faint whispery sound of her breathing, now regular again. It's just as well that she can't see the colour of Peter's eyes in the dark. She acknowledges Gabriel's glance with a slight inclination of her chin, though she does not look directly at him when she feels his gaze on her.

There aren't a lot of places for any of them to go, and in many ways — at least from Eileen's perspective — Peter is asking exactly the wrong person. Or exactly the right one. She isn't sure which.

A mixture of both. If Peter were looking for somewhere to belong, then there are other trees he should be barking up, ones Gabriel could barely pinpoint himself. But exile is different. Reluctance, at first, crosses Gabriel's face, but to his credit, it doesn't last very long, until there's a grudging, weary set to his jaw, eyelids.

"I know a place," he states, after a moment. "There's nothing to kill." He takes step or two closer to Eileen, and holds out the steak knife handle-side with a raised eyebrow. It's not without dry humour that he states, low enough so as only to be shared between the two of them, that Gabriel adds, "So. Can I keep him?"

Eileen takes the knife by the handle and sticks it point-down through the belt holding the skirt on her hips. At first, it doesn't look like she's going to dignify Gabriel's question with a response. Then, grudgingly, she takes a step back and turns her shoulder toward the house. "Be careful," she says in a similarly soft voice, as though he needed the warning, "he bites."

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