And The Little Blue Planet Keeps Spinning


kinney_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title And The Little Blue Planet Keeps Spinning
Synopsis The mayor's son gives a loathed serial killer and secret boyfriend ride home from Botswana, Africa. Despite underlying tension and overheard conversations, the flight is the smoothest one viewed on-screen for months!
Date April 14, 2009

Gabarone, Botswana — Sir Seretse Khama International Airport

There was probably a way for Ferrymen resources to be used directly to fetch Gabriel and Teo. But after a few days of feeling helpless and Sonny desperately wanted to do something. There's also the benefit of money talking. He isn't rich enough or extravagant enough to own his own private jet, but Dr. Bianco certainly has the cash to charter one. That, and a pilot who won't ask questions.

The trip was long and tiring and required a stopover in London before the trip to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gabarone, Botswana. Sonny stands waiting on a private patch of airstrip not far from the terminal building - except he doesn't look like Sonny. Instead, he looks like Dr. Connor Kinney. A very exhausted Dr. Kinney. He waits for the arrival of the pair who are to be escorted through customs. A few bribes have greased the wheels.

And greasy wheels apparently mean punctuality, because soon, Sonny will see the pair he's waiting for. Or at least, one of them is in their expected shape. The other is not. Maybe he can relate.

It's still hot, by the way. The closer you get to civilisation doesn't necessarily mean the climate drops dramatically. The woman next to Teo has her long dark hair bound back in a low ponytail, slight curling tendrils plastered to a damp forehead, and her face is devoid of makeup. The only marks on it are in the form of peeling skin and red patches from the harsh African sun.

Dressed in cargo pants, flipflops and a navy blue tanktop, none of which seem to fit her especially well with the cuffs of the pants rolled up partway her shins, she raises a hand to shield her eyes from said sun and inspects the man she and her companion are to greet with oceanic blue eyes. On one arm, a wickedly curving circular tribal tattoo paints itself between her wrist and elbow.

"Looks like our ride," she mutters quietly to Teo. "No one I know." Her voice is rasping. From the ordeal or a hangover is hard to say.

In Teo's heat-blurred brain, the hangover is merely one subsegment of the ordeal. There have been a lot of segments. The poachers' truck had had shit for padding and springs, the pernicious scouring of sunlight has sawed through all the upper layers of his skin and his rifle was getting to be such a dragging weight that his shoulders still thinks it's still bearing down against aching musculature and bone despite that he's long since dispensed with it.

He's still pretty, though. He's even pretty when he's a shade above dead.

And as one Gabriel Gray had previously observed, pain — at least of this physicalized variety — does tend to indicate that one is still alive, if for little more than the sheer unadulterated Hell of it. His stride is a plod, his breath a rattle expelled through barred teeth and scab-notched lips. His khakis don't fit him right, either, but anybody who knows him well enough to be accustomed to him is accustomed to a certain level of shabbiness.

"I'll introduce you," he says. The stretch of asphalt and dirt wheels away underfoot, airplanes like animals dozing on the compressed colors of Gabarone's horizon, a faint tautening of his hip and knee visible as autopilot sincerely considers trying to run, but he is too enervated to really do so. Instead, he merely does not stop walking until he crashes bodily into Doctor Kinney, arms bent around a hug.

The heat of the tarmac is not particularly welcome after the cramped conditions of the jet's small cabin. Sure, there's more room than on a commercial flight, but any time past nine hours is too long to be confined with recirculated air. Out here, the air isn't fresh either. There's the smell of airplane exhaust and the damp, heavy heat that weighs on his shoulders.

Connor's face relaxes with relief when he spots Teo. But even in his heat-addled, exhausted brain, he knows that a certain amount of secrecy needs to be maintained.

Secrecy, apparently that isn't being kept from this woman. Not that he resists the hug. On the contrary, he squeezes back as tightly as he dares. "Hey. Damn, I'm glad you're okay," he murmurs. A beat, "You fucking stink, buddy." A bit of laughter, then he draws back and sets a hand on either one of Teo's shoulders. "Are you hurt?" A glance is spared towards Gabe-with-boobs. "Either of you? I've got a medical kit on the jet."

"I'm fine," Gabriel(le?) says, hands finding pockets as he— because, in the end, as much as she may walk and talk like a woman today, she is a he— regards the two with a sort of voyeuristic, watchful quality. Like perhaps there's a glass window between he and they, and considering the conversations he and Teo have since had beneath the stars, inebriated or not, perhaps for justified reason.

It drops an instant later. Cracked, sunburned lips spread into an easy smile, as if playing the part of the shape he's adopted. "But if it gets me onto the plane quicker," Gabriel says, making a few steps towards resting winged machine, a toss of bound back glossy hair, "I can fake it."

"I smelled way fuckin' worse before the sink and toothpaste," Teo replies wearily, a stale mumble against the collar of Connor Kinney's shirt. Good Catholic values are still in place enough that he leaves it at that, pulling loose to wipe his nose with the back of one loose-sleeved wrist, glancing back at Gabriel(le?)'s theatrics. He smiles, abruptly, lopsided; a smile that never lacks for sincerity, as Sonny knows by now. Perhaps alarmingly, the expression threatens to be genuinely fond.

"Sore, but fine. Gray, this is Doctor Kinney. Vice versa. I owe her my life," he adds, simplifying the past few days to its crucial elements. Heat-reddened eyes blink clumsily in the harsh light of day; he waits for their lone neatly coiffed gentlewoman accompaniment to make her smiles and skitter back off toward the terminal, before asking, "Who's still missing?"

Connor makes a wide gesture towards the plane, "By all means. There's actually a small shower on this thing. The tank's filled up too. And some delicious airplane food." Behind the lenses of his sunglasses, his eyes fix on the woman Teo called 'Gray.' The hairs on his arms bristle, but the pair of aviators he sports does well to hide a lot of his expression. Fondness. Interesting.

"We've got a long trip ahead of us." He says as he starts towards the plane. The pilot is waiting, but if he's curious about the passengers, he makes no indication of it.

Teo's question puts a spike of discomfort into his stomach. "I've got a list on the plane. But," his jaw tightens. "Your aunt's still missing." A small beat, "Alexander and Helena too."

Already walking, Gabriel doesn't have to turn his head to listen to what Kinney and Teo have to talk about, hearing pitching back easily and picking up their voices as if he stood in between them— although he does glance over with an open look of annoyance at the news that pretty much all of those they'd risked so much for have the audacity to be missing. Figures, you know? And maybe one last quizzical look towards Teo, as if to take in his reaction of the news that Fido's disappearance.

"And Peter?" he asks, simply, slipping in front of Kinney as he goes, heading up the stairs of the plane with the energy of someone who— well, doesn't want to be in Botswana anymore. May as well see if someone let the Holy Grail slip through their fingers - survivors of a lost cause can be discussed on the aforementioned long trip home.

Either Teo stopped walking because he was being polite to the lady-who-isn't, permitting her to go first, or because he's as fucking annoyed as Gabriel is, in that moment. He halts at the railing of the lowered ladder, glowering at his reflection constricted on the stainless tube metal, a knot of unsophisticated anger in his shoulders. Which are already in knots, so the accumulation of discomfort amounts to just that.

A few seconds later, he hoists his head up again, looks at the duo ascending what seems to be a far longer and steeper incline than he had originally thought. The sun is blocked out by the hull's vast bulk, shading out an austere gray silhouette against the towering cerulean cheer of sky.

Stupidly, he asks, "Are you fucking serious?"

"No Peter," says Kinney. The interior of the plane is plush, but not riduclously luxurious. It's also fairly small inside, with low ceilings. There's duffel bags on the seats - presumably clean changes of clothes. He pauses long enough to exchange a few words with the pilot to get them in the air soon. "We'll have to make a stopover in London to refuel, then head on to New York. I've sent word ahead, so they'll know when to expect us."

When Teo stops at the foot of the stairs, Connor steps down again. "I haven't been briefed fully on what happened. My priority's been tracking you two down and finding a pilot to fly me here. But…" a sigh. "…there's a lot of people who just disappeared. Like you did. Some have been found, but a lot are missing." His face starts to knot with worry. "C'mon Tay. Come on board. Sooner we get underway, sooner we can start to figure out what happened to the others."

Silhouetted in the gaping doorway of the plane, Gabriel looks down at the two with a distant expression. How the hell is Peter missing? And where the hell is— everyone else? That list. It'd be a good one to review. Tendrils of dark hair get caught in the hot Botswana breeze as he looks out at the airstrip, and beyond that, the stretch of rural landscape, interrupted by ugly roads and power lines. He won't miss it. Not even a little.

Blue eyes dart back down towards the two others. Mouth twists into a smile, showing pearly white teeth, mocking in context. "Yeah - c'mon Tay," he says, before he's disappearing inside.

For a few seconds, it seems as if Teo's heat-addled obstinacy might win out over any kind of Logic otherwise available, be it in Gabriel's caustic humor or Sonny's gentle insistence. This is remarkably bad news. Frustrating. He's been counting the days since they left; is well aware that there are few other regions as remote as the one they had been to, where Peter might have scattered them.

He blows a sigh out through his teeth and starts to climb. What wind comes reeks of jet fuel, and it's fucking hot out here. He doesn't look over his shoulder, leaving Botswana, Africa, solidly behind him, its featureless red topography and crippled economy already deleted from the vicissitudes of his unnumbered concerns.

"You showering first, Gray?" he calls ahead, stepping into the cabin's bright space.

Once all three are onboard, the pilot comes out to secure the door. A moment later there is the hiss of air and the small cabin quickly cools. Although that's a relief for now, several hours of stale, recirculated, lukewarm air will make the baking hot of Africa seem refreshing. The captain exchanges a few more words with Connor, then enters the cabin and secures the door behind them.

"We've got privacy back here. We'll switch pilots in London too, but both're pros. They get paid enough not to ask questions or go talking about their jobs."

The last place he wants to be is back on this jet. It's been a hell of a trip and there's just as many hours in the air ahead of him. He drops onto the white, leather-covered couch and passes a folder with a report from Phoenix to Teo. "You'll have to wait til we're in the air to get a shower. Only be a few minutes, though." It's not the busiest airport in the world. In fact, the plane starts to taxi after only a few minutes. "You two hungry?" He tugs the sunglasses off and rubs at his face.

Long fingered hands are already pawing through the duffel bags in search of a change of clothing. The stuff Gabriel is currently wearing has its collection of sweat and dust, a streak of both down his back and making the fabric of the tank top darker and clingy, though the ill-fitting nature isn't something he's hoping to rectify as he pulls out some clothing, inspecting it in brisk, economic motions. He shrugs sunburned shoulders at Teo and then simply nods. Ladies first, and all.

Taking a seat at the news that showers will come later after take off, Gabriel smooths a hand over his changed face. "How much privacy?" he asks, with a slight chin up. He's been in this form for a while, and though sweat from a fever is hard to tell from sweat from blistering heat, it's there. Hesitation, then, "And I'd like the list. Of who of ours are found and not." Ours is stretching it, but. Better than giving away what names he's interested in and not.

Secrecy between his two companions does not appear to be a priority of explosive importance to Teo right now. He doesn't look up to remark at Gabriel: "Seems both the girls are on-grid again, though no messages."

There are no messages from anybody on this sheaf of paper he's looking at, which doesn't particularly perturb him. He tightens his fingers on the first leaf, rips it out of its stapled rivet on the corner and leans into the aisle to hand it to Gabriel. Gillian's tracker unit had lit up on the grid, and Eileen was IDed by the Ferry. Both are, however, as yet unverified.

Motion sickness doesn't get to him, it seems; his eyes are on the underlying page next, though the path they take is circadian, loopy, lacks real direction or interest. "You'n'Abby and the others okay?" he asks Sonny, sidelong.

"The pilot won't come out of the cabin unless we call him, or when we land." Connor nods towards the comm system near the cabin door. "This jet belongs to a company that transports celebrities and heads of state. They have strict protocol for minding their own business." The only communication the pilot in the cabin gives is the ding of the 'please fasten seatbelt' button as the jet prepares to take off.

"Yeah, everyone's okay," says Connor. He fishes around in a cooler in the armrest of the seat and passes out a bottle of water each to Gabriel and Teo. "Everyone's pretty unsettled, but since the disappeared seem to be showing up…" a shrug.

Before long, the jet is sailing into the air and has begun to leave Africa behind. Deserts like the one they were dropped in stretch out below the little aircraft
A muttered 'thanks' is given from the former serial killer as he takes the bottled water, torn off sheet of paper resting precariously in his lap, currently blue gaze directed back down to the scant information. At least he's pretty sure it means they aren't dead. Gabriel stays quiet, reading and rereading the data as if to confirm he didn't force Gillian to pass out beneath severe electrical burns only for her to wake up in the Amazon jungle or something.

The water, a precious commodity out in the desert, powers or no, swishes around in the bottle as he takes a deep swig of it, and rests his head back against the seat. He only waits for the signal that he can go, letting the piece of paper slide back into the general direction of Teo's grasp and lap, stealing up some clothing and headed for the showers, a hand out to subtly guide his way despite no apparent inability to see, no real sway in his step.

A hand out, Teo closes forefinger and thumb on the piece of paper directed to him without really looking. He retracts his arm, tucks it in under the flipped-over half of the packet that he has already waded through. Moab Federal Penitentiary isn't looking so good, according to satellite photography. The towers are gone, courtesy of the air strike. No bodies remain on the ground, but there is too much rubble still chunked out across the yard and roof to think that there hadn't been. His mouth constricts around a weary line. "You seen these?" he asks Sonny.

"Yeah," says Connor, his voice tight. "I saw." Once the door closes behind Gabriel, he reaches out to slide a hand along Teo's face. "It's like dating a cop, I swear," He murmurs, but there's not much of an admonishment in his tone. He knew what he was signing up for.

Truth is, he could have probably brought more informatione. But then that would raise more questions that he can't answer, that can't be answered until they're on the ground in New York.

"Given what happened to you two, we've got every reason to believe they've been flung somewhere too." And no reason to think they're dead, is the part that goes unsaid.

'Unsaid' indicates subtlety. More than Teo really has patience for. His eyelid shades downward under the brush of fingers before recovering with a wide stretch around a blink. At least, he has grace enough to withhold muttering, I kill cops.

The water bottle seems to have been entirely forgotten, rolled into the narrow gap between his leg and the armrest. "'S been almost a week since Moab and a network that covers the whole fucking world." That seems like a pretty fucking good reason to think they're dead. Fortunate for either of them, he has grace enough to restrain that remark, too.

Instead, Teo reaches up to his own face, first to drag his nails through the bristly accumulation of his beard, second to grip the tips of his lover's fingers, drag them near, a kiss alighting on the skin bridging smooth across metacarpals. He remembers to look up a little later. "Not a fucking word to the press, I take it," he says.

"Not that I saw," says Connor. His tone of voice betrays what he's not actually saying. He's worried, too. "But I was pretty focused on getting here once we found out where you were."

He leans forward and rests his forehead on Teo's shoulder, then casts a wary glance towards the showers. "Nnfh. That is Sylar, right?" A beat, "…why does he have tits?"

His wording just might have been chosen for levity, or maybe it's some kind of slag against the man who once threatened to rip his power out of him and leave him for dead. Perhaps both.

The hollow of Teo's hand fits over the older man's cheek. The older man's cheek isn't exactly how he's used to it feeling, but a certain familiarity with the bizarrer ins and outs of Evolved abilities and being too tired to care about a lot of other shit means he doesn't say anything about it.

"Your sexism is sometimes kind of funny, tesoro," he answers. "If my mother had raised me better, we'd be having words about that." His eyes drifting back down to the paper packet. He turns the page with his other hand. Closer shot. The twisted swatch of black underneath the fallen satellite dish could be the blood from two bisected bodies, or it could be a shadow. It's impossible to tell. His eyes narrow on it.

There had been a vein of honest, wry humor to Teo's voice then, affectionate in that way that phrase was built on— worts and all. It fades slightly now. "But given I'd be a corpse in the Kalahari without him, maybe we can pin something pretty on his metaphorical shirt instead of making snide remarks about what's underneath it. Not saying you owe him an apology, but a little gratitude would be cool.

"I missed you." Abruptly disinterested in details, Teo drops his hands to the packet and brushes through a blur of pages.

"Is it really sexism when I'm not talking about an actual woman?" says Connor with a slow little smile. He allows himself to relax against Teo and close his eyes, even though he knows they'll be interrupted any moment and he'll have to snap his head up. And pretend for the next twenty hours or so that he's just a Ferryman operative to Teo's Phoenix self.

"M'grumpy. Been on this plane too long. And I'm grateful he saved your life. Still gonna take me awhile to get over the fact that he threatened mine. Maybe he'll win me over with his charm." The words are dull, though. He knows he's not the first, nor will he be the last to be threatened by Sylar.

He sits up and smiles at Teo. The face is different, but the sentiment is there. He squeezes the Italian's knee, then gets up and moves towards the front. "You should eat something. I've gotten pretty good at working this airplane oven thing. You want chicken cordon bleu or…uh…I think it's pasta."

Teo's Phoenix self remains a slumpy heap of sore parts and someone-else's clothes. He unclips his seatbelt, finally, settling down with a lazy kick of feet. It isn't much more comfortable, but it's an improvement on being strapped in with real security. "If sex is the parts, he's got 'em.

"You could bitch about something else, if you want," he says, lifting his head, finally, humor creasing his eyes at their corners. He decides, for now, not to reopen the debate about Gabriel's newly turned leaf. "Gray isn't much of a talker. Be nice to listen to.

"And that's only a little bit sarcasm." The paper package claps shut, and he lets his head loll against the back of his chair, pale eyes tracking Connor's progress through the cabin, aborting out of the protocol of Catholic Guilt Trip in favor of the mannerly request: "The chicken, please. And anything with vegetables, if you see any over there. Even microwaved. I've had none for days."

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