Borrowed Help


eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif peter_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Borrowed Help
Synopsis Peter finally returns to the Dispensary. He does not come alone or empty-handed.
Date October 20, 2009

Old Dispensary

The Dispensary has never had a central heating system; instead, warmth is provided by the downstairs fireplace and the cast iron radiators affixed to every wall in every room. Still, those who are used to more modern accommodations might find themselves uncomfortable within these walls when the temperature outside drops below freezing. Frost gathers on the windowpanes like spider's silk and obscures the view of the property beyond it, though there isn't much to be seen except for shadows now that the sun has sunk into the west and a waxing crescent moon lords over a starless sky covered in a thin layer of diarrheic gray clouds.

Rain glances off the roof, gurgles through the gutters and splashes against the side of the building on its way down to the ground where the runoff is eventually sucked down a drain into an arcane sewage system that spits everything out into the Atlantic, though Eileen is only vaguely aware of these ambient sounds. Half-awake and half-asleep in that strange, foggy place between the dreamworld and the real one, she sits by the fireplace with her back to the wall and a woolen blanket bundled around her shoulders.

It's too cold to sleep in the room she's claimed for herself tonight, if only because the radiator isn't working and won't be fixed until tomorrow morning at the very earliest.

While the rain outside glances off the rooftop, the Raith inside has likely begun the unwelcome process of waking up everyone presently sharing living space with him. Late night in the cold is not the ideal time for him to decide that his radiator simply isn't producing enough heat, because he decides then and there that he has to fix it. The only result of this is him grabbing a tool lying about - a wrench maybe? Who knows at this hour? - and banging metal against metal for close to a minute before he gives up and strips his bed, carrying a bundle of sheets down the dark stairwell (lit only by a series of battery-operated tap-lights along the floor) and down to where the fire is. How fortunate that Eileen should have had the same idea.

However, Raith doesn't speak to her or even do more to acknowledge her presence than to toss his blankets and sheets on the floor and practically burrow into them as if they were a nest of some sort. Beware: here there be sleepy badgers.

The sound of a vehicle approaching at this hour of night is out of the ordinary. Headlights cut through the treeline on approach to the dispensary, along with the rumbling noise of a truck's engine and a clattering exhaust. The truck rolls up near the front entrance, backs up across the lawn, and makes a three point turn so that the tailgate is facing the door of the house. The engine idles for a short time, followed by the sound of doors opening and closing, and eventually the engine turning off, but the headlights staying on to illuminate some semblance of clarity out of that dark.

With the rain falling outside, hurried footsteps headed towards the front door crunch across the gravel leading up to it, followed by the clatter of keys in the front door, then a hesitant push of the door open in the event that someone has decided to rig a shotgun trap up to it again. What emerges from that entrance, is a slightly rainsoaked Peter Petrelli, dark suit damp at the shoulders, umbrella folding closed as he rests the tip down to the ground with a thunk, balancing his weight on the curved handle as he calls to the outside. "Just wait in the truck, I'll get someone to come help. You did enough driving me out here…" The door is slowly closed with a click, and Peter's blue eyes drift around the foyer, settling eventually on that glow of the fireplace and the small silhouette seated in front of it.

Eileen's eyes are open by the time Peter appears in the doorway, twin pinpricks of diluted light that flash green in the darkness. She's pushing to her feet in the moments that follow, woolen blanket spilling off her frame and pooling into a lump on the floor. This is usually the part where she asks his shadow where he's been, but she's either too tired or too surprised to see him alive and in one piece that she chooses silence over a cross-examination, and steps over Raith's body on her way toward the door. At the same time, there are also no smiles, no arms encircling his waist in a hug or bare feet slapping against the floorboards; she moves at a languid pace but with purpose, careful not to make any more noise than Peter already has as she crosses to meet him.

Although it's difficult to be sure of what she's wearing in the firelight's hazy glow, she appears to be dressed sensibly in a pair of dark gray sweatpants and a matching hoodie with frayed drawstrings and dried paint splashed across its front, though there are no shoes or even socks on her diminutive feet. She doesn't need them. All the glass and loose debris has been swept up and disposed of since the last time Peter was here.

"Look at you."

"Inside voices too loud," Raith complains from inside his blanket-y cocoon, "Use your 'shut the fuck up, daddy drank too much' voices, or I'll start using my 'watch out, daddy's taking his belt off' voice, and then you'll really have something to make noise about." And with that, Raith is apparently done, planting his pillow on top of his head. Or where his head must reasonably be. It's a bit difficult to tell, exactly. But to the benefit of everyone else present, he has stopped talking.

At the subtle sound of activity rustling up like the quietest coming storm, of cars and voices and foot steps, there's another joining the subtle household din. The creak of footsteps down a staircase, the foot falls of which are hard to hear by the give and groan of wood beneath them heralding descent. There's a sweep of flashlight, although it comes from no electrical source, only Gabriel's palm offered out to direct a hazy beam that does its best, struggling in the darkness to guide his way.

It glances over Raith out of some curiousity, the ambient light of the fireplace seeming to make the beam grow a little in its intensity, a warm gold that sweeps away again, glimmers to nothing as Gabriel quietly enters the foyer, dark eyes curious and body clad in various dark choices of clothing - a navy sweater that's slightly oversized even on his 6'1" frame, comfortable black pants, feet in grey socks.

Dark brows come up, a look of mild uncertainty crossing Peter's face as he turns to look over his shoulder to the door, then back to Eileen; In that span of time, only one brow is left up. He's not quite sure what to make of her, but his eyes do drift down to the floor, blue focused on something more pale. "Maybe I should've brought socks…" he murmurs with a crack of a smile, gloved thumb brushing across the crook of the umbrella's handle as he clears the slight distance between himself and Eileen, eyes more focused on where the guttural grumble of Raith's voice had come from.

"I…" he lowers his voice some, "hope it isn't a problem, but I borrowed one of the men who work at the Garden to help with a delivery. I picked up some…" he looks away, over to the fireplace, "some furniture while I was back on the mainland. The people at the garden offered up some basic necessities; food, first-aid supplies. I didn't being much, but— " he clears his throat, one gloved hand covering his mouth. "Is Gabriel or…" Peter's eyes meet with the aforementioned man on his way into the living room, rubbing a gloved hand over the back of his head in awkward measure. "I was just hoping to get help with the bigger of the things I brought with me. Even if we can just get it out of the rain."

Unaware of Gabriel's presence, Eileen passes Peter and closes one hand around the wooden doorframe, looking out at the truck and the shape of its driver behind the rain-slicked glass window. On the threshold, her breath leaves her nose and mouth as fog, though the weather isn't what keeps her from splashing out into the drizzle to help unload. Incidentally, neither is her lack of footwear. She reaches up, tucks a piece of dark brown hair behind her ear with her fingertips and then turns her gaze back over her shoulder toward the stairwell as if debating whether or not she should head up and wake Gabriel — only to discover that the commotion has inadvertently made that decision for her.

Her eyes don't linger on his figure any longer than the time it takes to recognize it, however, and as he hits the bottom step and enters the foyer she turns away, vacating the room for the kitchen. "Bring those men inside when you're done," she tells Peter in a voice softer than the one she used when she first addressed him, but probably not for Raith's benefit. "I'll fix something."

"Eileen…" Raith mumbles, although through the pillow, it comes out as more of a, "Mrereee…" It doesn't stay that way for long, however, as Raith is quick enough to take the pillow from off his head. "Is this really the thing to do? Invite strange men in at… what time is it?" Even the disgruntledness from Raith doesn't last long before he pulls himself up into a sitting position and rolls over into kneeling before trying to awkwardly stand up. "Where's my coat?" he asks no one in particular. Either he feels he won't get to sleep with all the racket anyway, or he really, really wants that furniture inside. If he even heard that bit. Maybe he just wants to stay dry while he takes Peter outside to kick him in the butt.

"I don't think it's the thing to do, no matter what time it is," Gabriel states, quietly, voice easing gravel through the room - but without particular sharpness or argument. His eyes shift from Eileen's retreating form, to Raith, to Peter, before he's moving at a lazy saunter through the foyer and away from the mouth of darkness that is the stairwell. He looks tired, as if perhaps he'd thrown on some clothing after rolling out of his makeshift bed, hair uncombed and face unshaven.

Boots near the door are picked up, shoved on, wedging his toe against the edge of the doorframe as he does up the laces, one of after the other, in brisk and impatient movements. "But it's done. So. What did you get?"

"Ah, yeah… I'll— " Peter nods hesitantly, casting an uncertain glance back over at Gabriel. "Come on out and see, gonna' need a hand moving it." As he steps back to the door, Peter opens up his umbrella and moves into the rain, trotting out across the front walkway towards the back of the truck, where two men in forest green raincoats are opening the tailgate to the truck and pulling back a trap that was tied down to the back. Something is said between Peter and the Ferrymen he's borrowed, and with a nod of his head he's directing them back to the house.

One of them, carrying a cardboard box stuffed with canned goods and a few bags of flour is making his way thorugh the rain to the front steps, ducking under the drip of rain coming off the edge of the roof as he steps inside, leaving a growing puddle by the door.

"Sorry about comin' by so late, the boat he came in on was delayed by the Coast Guard." The rainslickered Ferrymen offers up the box, then looks down at the rainwater pooling under his feet. "S'it alright if I just leave this on the floor here? Not wantin' to drag in any more water than I already did. Gonna probably need a hand or two gettin' that table out of the back of the truck though; Chairs too, a'guess."

"Sure, great." With a crick-crick-crick, Raith loosens up his neck and makes his way to the door, only stopping long enough to grab an old, beaten-up pair of boots near the foray, taking a few moments to tap them against the wall and dislodge any creepy-crawlies that have taken up residence. A lone spider tumbles out of the left one and skitters across the floor towards some place safer. Donning the boots and topping it off with an equally beaten-up rain poncho and hat - both of them a dull army green - before he moves himself out the door to aid with moving. He doesn't even worry about the cold. Below freezing or not, he won't be outside long enough for it to really matter, and then its back to a warm fire. And maybe a warm buddy would be nice, too. They need a dog.

"Leave them," Gabriel agrees in short, clipped tones, his hands out to receive the box, before he's disappearing into the interior of the house to set them in the kitchen, without a passing word to Eileen as he's quick to go outside and be manly in the rain. Moving furniture is up there with fixing things. No hood or hat for him, the rain seeming not to bother him save for getting in his eyes when he blinks - he doesn't even shiver at the icy quality of the rainwater that works to soak them all through.

Manliness, or supernatural ability, the latter of which doesn't seem to otherwise come into play when it comes to moving the heavy things. No telekinesis, just his own hands and back, and no giant black shadow morph either.

Grimacing awkwardly at Gabriel, the Ferrymen helper crouches down and sets the box in place, then makes his way back outside and into the rain, tugging down his hood as a few droplets of water trickles down the bridge of his nose. Standing beside the truck when Raith and Gabriel make it outside, Peter's watching the entrance of the house anxiously. "I'd help lift…" oh of course that's how this is, "but I'd be worried about slipping and— with this ability, one touch I— " he looks to both of the Ferrymen agents standing out in the rain, then up to the back of the truck where an enormous table is situated in the truck's bed, half covered by a blue tarp. It's a visibly heavy thing, darkly stained with claw feet. A stack of chairs has been bungied against the back window of the truck, twelve in all. "It's kind of an antique, so it maybe…" he makes a gesture with one gloved hand, "just try not to scratch the top of you can. It's all one piece so— it's going to be a little awkward."

Of course Peter isn't going to lift a finger to get this monstrous oak table out of the truck, he's standing there under his umbrella fully ready to supervise the lifting of the table. Where he managed to get something this size without a dollar to his name seems like one of those questions he wouldn't readily answer.

Eileen is from England, and apart from a stiff upper lip and Sahara dry sense of humour, the English are known for their fondness for tea, so it probably isn't a surprise to anyone when the kitchen is filled with the sound of metal clattering against metal as she rummages around in the dark for a teapot to rinse inside and out with cold water. Several bags of Darjeeling tea smelling strongly of the wooden box they're kept in are selected from one of the cupboards and set aside as she warms the stove and coaxes its coils to blush pink, illuminating the room with rose-coloured light.

She isn't deaf to the exchange that occurs in the doorway, either. Rather than pull down enough mugs for everyone, she fishes out a ceramic thermos instead, places it beside the teabags and resumes her work while the men continue unloading the truck. Raith and Gabriel don't want them here — that's fine. She'll amend her earlier statement and fix the moving crew something to go.

It's an impressive piece of furniture, if nothing else. The gang will be all set to film the high-tension pub scene where half the cast dies in one go now that they've got it. Or maybe they'll just eat off of it and not use coasters. That'll make for some great fireworks. Raith sets right into getting everything ready to move by being a total dick, grabbing the edge of Peter's umbrella and flipping the whole thing inside out, as if a great wind had suddenly come by and affected only it. "Peter," he says, putting one arm around the other man's shoulder and squeezing tight, making doubly sure that he'll get wet, regardless of what kind of danger he might be putting himself in, "You're in a line of work where you risk dying from gunshot and bad haircuts every day." As he speaks his next sentence, he holds one outstretched finger pointed directly at Peter's face, and shakes it forcefully between every pause.

"Don't. Be. A pussy."

Having turned his back in DISDAIN~~~ on Peter to retrieve the table, Gabriel doesn't look back as Raith rounds on the younger of the three men Remnant members. Focusing instead on unhooking and dragging the table so that able hands can get in the way to lift and carry it, he does, however, listen to the dialogue transpiring over the sound of crinkling tarp and the patter of water coming down on it.

And, he laughs. It's quiet, graveled, almost hesitant in that it's such an unused sound, but it happens, just audible over the continual downpour of rain.

Then, a sharp whistle through his teeth. "It's really raining," is Gabriel's reminder. Let's gooo.

An uncomfortable grunt comes from Peter as the rain comes down on him, a blue stare afforded to Raith with furrowed brows and an awkward cast of his lips. For a moment, gloved hands wring around the handle of that umbrella, and Peter's eyes consider the length of flimsy aluminum jutting up to form the shaft and then the side of Raith's neck. But that moment of disdain is tempered by the sound of the table scraping against the bed of the truck, and the two Ferrymen helping draw it out along the tailgate.

The table is absolutely enormous, once Gabriel starts moving it back and towards the two men standing behind the truck. They manage to get a balance of one end, but it's going to take four people to 'easily' move it into the house. Peter slinks out from Raith's arm, gloved hands brushing water off of his shoulders as he looks up to Gabriel in the back of the truck then to the door. "I'll— " he wants to say go wait inside, but with a helpless toss of his umbrella into the back of the truck, Peter comes over to climb in the back of the truck, opposite of Gabriel, and starts to shimmy the table out the rest of the way. Somehow, Raith is getting out of this without doing anything.

'Without doing anything' would be a gross misstatement, really, because he has to do his part just like everyone else. It happens to be that his part is to brace Gabriel's corner of the table as it nears the edge of the truck bed so that he can be freed to hop out without having to drop anything in the mud. "Get the other side," he says to good ol' Eyebrows, "So Prince Valiant can get down and keep the floor nice and dry so we don't break our necks. Hear that, your highness? Double time it, and then cocoa and marshmallows if everyone survives."

Mud splashing up Gabriel's boots as he climbs back out of the truck, he moves as directed, not quite looking at Peter even as a smirk still plays on his face. "Don't break a nail," is caution enough as Gabriel grips the edge of the table, bracing himself as the furniture is drawn out, cumbersome though it might be. Tarp protects it still from the rain as it's lifted across the muddy ground, blows like wind sails when the chilly breezes kick up.

Then, it's a matter of angling and puzzling it through the door with the help of five sets of hands, making quicker work of it than they would have otherwise. "Watch it," is growled at one point when it shifts enough to near jam Gabriel's fingers into the door frame.

The clatter and noise of moving this table inside of the house is tremendous. Thankfully spared from trying to clown-car through the door by Raith's advice, Peter has broken away from the group just enough to rush into the kitchen and snatch a towel from near the sink, headed back with a swab of the floor using his foot to push the towel around and dry the foyer's slick floor off, cloth left behind. He's backed away from the entrance entirely, anxiously watching Gabriel, Raith and the two Ferrymen bring the table in. Once it's inside, the massive claw-foot table is laid down with a heavy clunk on the floor, its rain-dropped surface mercifully unmarred from the trip, save for a few nicks and dents in the dark stained finish.

The Ferrymen are eager to finish and get things done, and are quick to head outside and grab a stack of the wooden chairs, plastic wrapped around them each to keep the gray upholstered seats and backs dry. As they're coming and going, however, Peter lingers by the table where it lays, leather-gloved hands smoothing over the surface as he motions for Eileen to come over to where they've temporarily laid it down. Despite everything, there's something of a smile on his face, faint and contented by the table's presence.

When the last of the chairs is brought in, all stacked and arranged by the door, one of the Ferrymen lingers in the doorway, brows raised and eyes sweeping around the foyer. "S' a hell of a place you've all got here. We're gonna' get headed back to the Garden though, now that we've got everything inside. Hopefully all this damn rain won't wash the road out for you all come morning."

Eileen emerges from the kitchen with a thermos full of a thin-bodied, light-coloured liquid with a floral aroma that seeps out in the form of steam as she screws on the cap with a deft twist of her wrist and adjusts the brown paper bag she carries under her arm. Inside: half a loaf of sourdough bread, a small brick of Muenster cheese with a vibrant orange rind and a milky interior to compliment the unopened tin of sardines included in the package. It isn't a lot of food, just enough that she's willing to part with, but it will fill stomachs and placate appetites during the long drive back to the Garden.

She hesitates by the table long enough to give it a once-over, pale eyes moving between its clawed feet and sturdy legs before her gaze eventually drifts back up to Peter with his gloved hands spread across the surface. Her approval comes in the form of a small smile that shows no teeth but conveys the same amount of gratitude as her expression's verbal equivalent: a softly voiced thank you.

"Here," she says, offering the paper bag and ceramic thermos to the Ferry operative in the Dispensary's doorway. "For the help."

Now that it's out of the dark and in the relative light, the table really is something else. Big enough to give everyone a seat, elegant enough to lend them an air of legitimacy (what legitimacy they can have at any rate), and big and heavy enough that they can use it to block a door or stop pistol-caliber bullets. Perfect if they ever have to stop a SWAT raid. In a pinch, they could even use it for kindling.

"This is a hefty piece of lumber, Petrelli," Raith remarks, taking a moment to approach and observe it while Eileen sees off the moving crew, "Where'd you get it? You sure as hell didn't find it on the street corner."

Gabriel is also of those admiring the table set out, now that it's settled and more than just an unwieldy heavy weight of crushing coak and thrown weight. Still, with Peter standing right there, he's not going to fawn over it or even say anything, whether that be quiet thank yous like Eileen, or evaluating remarks like Raith. His fingertips skim over the edge, expression blank with a glance that bounces up from its polished, near scarless surface towards Peter, before Gabriel is pacing away to rid himself of mud-tracked boots, silently placing them near the burning hearth. It's there that he crouches for warmth and dryness, hands splayed, or so it would seem, anyway, a little too close to the fire for true personal comfort.

"Right kind of you, miss." Comes the response from the younger and more southern of the two Ferrymen, "Best luck with that road." He adds with a raise of his brows, one taking the bag and the other the thermos, they take a few steps back from the door and look inside before pulling it shut. On the way back to the truck, they marvel about how the tall one is the cage-fighter they'd seen at the Pancratium, and how he seems so much more docile these days. If only they knew.

By the time the truck's engine has started back up and it's rolling away from the Dispensary, Peter's attention has shifted from Eileen to Raith. "Eileen's been saying for a while, that she wants this place to be like a home. She said she's never rightly had one in a long while, and when she told me to pick something up for the house while I was out, I wasn't really going to get anything like this. But…"

There's a shake of his head, gloved fingers brushing over the tabletop. "It…" he stares down at the old table and shakes his head slowly. "It doesn't really matter where it came from." There's a hint of defensiveness behind that. "I just… got to thinking about what she said, and if she wants this to be a home; you can't have a home without a dinner table." Something goes unsaid as he raps his knuckles on the hard wood surface, then looks up to Peter and Raith. "Plus we were really short on chairs." The humor helps deflect away from the fact that he seems to give the old lump of wood some personal consideration. Then, finally, he looks over to the fireplace where Gabriel is crouched. "Thanks, for the help, I mean."

Eileen closes the door behind the Ferry operatives, mindful to slide the deadbolt back into place with an audible click. Her back is to the men when Peter offers the other two his explanation, so it's impossible for any of them to see the expression on her face, but her body language is at least relaxed, content as she listens to the truck rumble to life outside, then pull away with a loud crunch of loose gravel as one of the rear tires tracks through a puddle and splashes water against the Dispensary's brick siding.

"There's some hot water left in the kitchen," she says without looking back over her shoulder, her fingertips resting lightly on the front door's brass handle, eyes on the retreating shape of the truck and its dwindling rear lights visible through the nearest window. "I can put together some fried tomatoes and herring on toast if anyone's hungry or hasn't eaten. Ethan'll be back soon, so I might as well."

"Yeah, you do that, Eileen. I'm going back to sleep. Going to need that sleep." For what he'll need that sleep for, Raith doesn't say. What he does do, however, is give the table one more look over, analyzing its surface as he strolls around it casually. Finally, satisfied, he raises one hand and gives Peter Valiant a good, solid clap on the shoulder. "Good job. You'll make Sergeant for this."

"You're welcome," are words about as flat and cold as concrete in the winter. By now, perhaps the Remnant are used to mood swings from the serial killer, but at least it's just a little chilliness from Gabriel as opposed to flipping the table over. He doesn't look over his shoulder from where he's become a dark, gargoyle-like silhouette crouched before the flames, letting the skin of his hands grow pink with warmth from the flickering fire.

However, he does finally move, easing out of his crouch and brushing down his hands, inspecting them before curling his fingers inwards. Watching Raith depart, Peter then gets a look up and down, before Gabriel is headed for the kitchen after Eileen, as opposed to retreating to the attic.

One gloved hand comes up to cover Peter's face, fingers pinching at the bridge of his nose as he shakes his head slowly. It's really all anyone can do around Raith, after a while, just resign yourself to his continued madness. "I ate on the ferry from Brooklyn," Peter says with an elusive tone in his voice, giving the table one last look before settling his eyes on Gabriel and Eileen in the kitchen. "We'll move it in the morning," Peter's voice trails off as he heads for the stairs, tucking his gloved hands into the pockets of his jacket.

Without looking back, he breezes past the fireplace, his shadow turning long and dark against the wall, tracking opposite of his movements until he comes to the stairs, hesitating there for a moment. "Goodnight…" Then all he is, is noise on the stairs.

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