Camels And Straw


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Scene Title Camels And Straw
Synopsis Gabriel locates Gillian to find the details of her encounter on Swinburne Island, and underlying tensions finally come to a boil.
Date August 17, 2009

At the Fringes of the Ruins of Midtown

Among the broken wasteland, there are a couple cars. Most are shells of cars, really, some look as if they could function if repaired, and some just look like they would fall apart if someone touched them. In all likelyhood, the functional cars have long since been taken or stripped of viable materials, so most people don't even bother anymore with ones found on the side of broken streets. Out of her paranoia, Gillian has taken to parking in the streets, a few blocks away from Mas Mechanics, when she visits for her daily lesson. Each time part of her expects to find the borrowed Dodge Spirit (rusted and terrible as it may look) to be found and carted off somewhere. Each time she makes the walk and finds it still there.

Middle of the afternoon, the sun pours down through light clouds, making the pavement hot and the metal hotter. It also makes her strip off the light jacket she wore to hide the dark purple bruises that still sit on her upper arms, just visible at her shoulder. The mangled tattoos she's still not gotten repaired. The limping is almost unnoticable as she walks along, but occassionally it's there, a grimace that greets it as she stops to rest a moment. A shattered windowed bus stop, with an overhang gives a little bit of shade, so she can sit down on the bench and still feel the light breeze. The bench has an old advertisement on it. Faded, the slogan can just barely be made out.

Plans For Their Future.

An ad for Life Insurance.

It's been quiet. About as silent as a shadow passing over the bright metal and glass of the Dodge Spirit as someone tracks a familiar path from it to see what's on the other side. It's been a long two years and so the buildings are silent as well, their aging decay kept hidden from human ears, although sometimes, when you get closer to the center, when buildings no longer resemble buildings but the splinters of a city, the wind can make it howl. He's spent some time out here, lately, for lack of anywhere else to go, and it's been just that - quiet.

But soon enough, Gillian will be able to hear the sound of foot steps for lack of anything else to hear. As if perhaps he were strolling through his own backyard, Gabriel is wearing a T-shirt of dusky black, tucked into jeans of worn navy, those in turn tucked into boots of an almost militant style, laces trailing. Nothing else on his person, save for an old fashioned watch strapped around a wrist, hair combed loosely and ruffled in the desert-dry wind that blows through midtown.

Winds like that are bad news, in this part of the city, but neither adult on the street are likely very concerned. His own tattoo, unmangled, stands stark where it's been for several months, now. His head tilts curiously when he comes into range, gaze running over here, and he opts to speak first with; "What's wrong with you?"

Still covered with jeans and a tanktop, Gillian sweats a bit where she sits, rolling her shoulders at the sound of footsteps, finally. Quiet may be preferred, in many cases, cause she grips something hidden under the folded jacket she has next to her, right until she looks over to see the man, the tattoo, and the source of that far too familiar voice that breaks the silence more than the footsteps did. "It's hot. I needed to sit in the shade for a bit," she answers with a half truth. The statement itself may be accurate, but it's not entirely what's wrong

"Guess this is the next safest place for you right now…" Him and Peter both. She doesn't move to stand, but she removes her hand from under the jacket. No need to grip a weapon anymore. She shot him once, but that had been a different time. Practically a different life now.

The bleeding of energy is slowly tied up in the back of her head, as she focuses the rest of her attention on him. "Enjoying the sunlight after all the rain we got this summer?"

His eyebrows twitch up in a little bit of amusement, and he moves around to stand in front of her, a slice of shadow from the bus shelter slicing across his form, creating new lines and angles that weren't there beneath the bright bleach of the sunlight, the oversaturating quality that washes away detail, scrubs it away. "Are we going to talk about the weather?" Gabriel muses, swiveling a brief look down the street, the direction, Gillian was headed in, before focusing down on her.

"I came to find you. Eileen told me about what you told her, about what happened on Swinburne." There's a tick of irritation there, although for what isn't something he goes into, manifesting only in an edge in his voice, the steely focus on the woman. "I thought I might get a first hand account."

Weather is a more comfortable topic than some. Gillian sighs a bit and shrugs still bruised shoulders as he says he was looking for her. And why. "Kinda wish she could've just told you to stay the fuck away from that island from now on without telling you the rest of it," she mutters, but from the sigh that follows, she knew it had been a false wish, something that likely would have been impossible to accomplish. Can't give instructions without a reason. Especially not to certain people.

"Not sure what all I can tell you that I didn't tell Eileen. It was the middle of the night. It was dark. I had a flashlight but I dropped it when I got shot in the back, so even if I saw the guy, I mostly saw his feet right up until he started leaning over me. And even then he wore sunglasses. Aviators. The mirrored kind. The ones where you see yourself reflected back at you when you look at him. Interested in you. Mentioned files. Guess someone found out we were together cause that was in their fucking paperwork."

She tightens her jaw for an instant, and then looks back at him as she lets out a breath.

It's the dance of exes, that minor things said that you might have merely blinked away like dust in your eyes now drags fingernails down the chalkboard of your nerves. "If she'd told me to stay the fuck away from the island without telling me the rest of it, I'd probably still be on the island," Gabriel states, blandly, chin tucking in as he gives her a look for expecting such a thing from him. "And I don't think remaining ignorant about someone tracking me to protect your ego is really a smart move, do you?"

There's no time to hear a response, there, moving to pace, back and forth, like a caged wolf might - a few feet to the left, a few feet to the right, as there really were bars at either end. "Sunglasses, files— nothing else? He didn't mention why? Anything that might signify him as government, or Company?"

From the face she makes, the words said by her ex certainly have grated her. Even if the questions are important, they're not the part she responds to first. Gillian moves to stand, gathering up her jacket into her arms, the grimace on her face at the hint of pain in her voice fitting in well with the biting defense, "You're the one who seemed so concerned about keeping your pride. You left me ignorant to protect your pride." Yeah, it's a completely different situation, but these kinds of things…

This is far off the main point it isn't even funny, but she waves a free arm around in a gesture, just barely keeping the knot tied up keeping her power in. And she doesn't answer his questions yet, either.

"I kept you safe," Gabriel bites back, easily trundling off the track of conversation as she steers it so, brown eyes flashing in both sunlight and restrained anger. The glare she gets is narrowed as if perhaps he could make her sit back down with simply a look, before it lessens, mouth twisting into a bitter smile as he takes a step back. It's almost an offer. He can simply walk away and melt back into the ruins around them, to go wherever men like him go.

"You didn't keep me safe that night," Gillian says in a quiet response to his bitter smile, and his stepping backwards. The invitation, or whatever it is, might be taken as such, cause she steps a little closer. "I don't know if it was Company or Government. He shot me the fuck full of darts, most when I didn't answer his god damn questions, and then when I called him an asshole. Enjoyed that he was hurting me." There's a far off look in her eyes for an instant, but she puts extra weight on one of her legs and that helps it go away. "Thought I was there to meet you— Sylar. Wanted to know where to find you. I told him I didn't know anymore and he left me there, with a fucking ribbon on my forehead, like some kind of present for you for later. In case I was lying to him. You tell me which one that sounds like to you."

Gabriel's shoulders roll a little beneath the light cotton of his T-shirt, as if in an attempt to rid himself of tension. Certainly, he could fight, but he could also get what he came for, and so stays silent and impassive as she responds, the thumbs on his hands hooking into his pockets in a casual stance. An eyebrow raises at the news of that finishing touch, but it's not out of amusement. "I don't know," he states, at the end of that spiel. There's an elongated pause, underscored by barely a sound, before he eventually states, "You weren't there to find Sylar."

"I never go looking for Sylar," Gillian simply states, as if the name itself would be an entirely different entity for her. There's a few moments of pause, eyes glancing down to the broken rubble of the streets, a small layer of ash and dust catching in the wind, the ash a product of the recent fires more than the explosion years ago. "I wasn't looking for you, either. But he was looking for Sylar, and he knew… he thought I was a way to find him."

Looking up from the slightly swirling dust and ash, she focuses on him again. A lock of hair falls into her eyes, and she throws her head in an attempt to push the lock out of the way. "He didn't sound like someone who'd be named Feng, and while I couldn't see his eyes, I think his hair might've been too light for it too." She'll leave out she asked a Company Agent about how they use tranquilizers, but… "I think it's more likely to be the CIA than the Company. I think Eileen did too."

"Probably, although I'm used to the FBI being on my case. If it's CIA, they want me for Vanguard. I guess time will tell - I came out here on the off-chance they'd follow." Gabriel raises his eyes upwards to glance about the broken tops of the buildings that line the street. Nothing to see - not even a bird. He looks back at her in quiet assessment, before he says, in quiet tones, "You shouldn't have gone to Swinburne Island. Peter and I took measures to make sure no one would follow us there, and regardless of whether or not we were already tracked, I'd appreciate it if you respected that. Don't do it again."

"Eileen knew where you were," Gillian says in raspy tones, before she shakes her head and starts to move away a few steps, actually turning away this time, as she makes her way in the direction of the parked Dodge Spirit that he followed. "I get that neither of you fucking want to be found." That tone gets tighter as she keeps going, not looking at him, indeed turning away as much as heading back to the car she's using will allow.

"You found me, for your own reasons, I didn't find you." She's not even been looking. There's someone who might be keeping an eye out for her, but she hasn't decided if she'll take the clue if it ever shows up. "I didn't find either of you. Pretty much gave up on it when I laid there the whole night wishing one of you would show up— and neither of you did."

Feet keep moving a bit, before she adds, "I don't think he was Evolved. My energy wasn't held in, but it wasn't going anywhere either. That's all I can give you."

"Thanks," Gabriel says, louder, harsher, that bristling quality returning to his demeanor as he watches her start to walk away. There's a stillness to him, as if torn between walking away or firing back a response, and ultimately—

He's had enough. A hand goes out, and Gillian immediately stops walking. His mouth has formed an angry line, his wrist twists, and Gillian is forced to pivot like a music box dancer to face him, regardless of injury. Her teeth click tight together, almost painfully, and she's subject to a bordering on furious glare from the erstwhile serial killer. Unable to move, or talk.

He takes a step forward, hand still out. "Now listen to me, because I'm only going to say this once. If you have something to say, then say it in plain English. Enough allusions, enough references to things I didn't do, things I did do, things I didn't do well enough. I don't know what you mean when you talk about what night I wasn't there, and how this apparently outweighs the months we spent looking out for each other all of a sudden."

A bright smile cracks across his features, a rough laugh, though it only remains for a few words. "In fact, I'm still trying to understand what I did, other than not let whatever we had fester on the vine after it long since died, or indulge your ego. Yes, Peter doesn't want to be found by you, because he kills with a touch and can't stop, and would dearly like to figure that out. It's called privacy. It's called respect."

His hand moves, and Gillian is released, promptly. "Of which you clearly have none. Not for him, or me, or for anything we had."

If she'd been fighting back tears before she got grabbed and forcefully turned around, they're pretty much obvious now. Gillian doesn't even remain standing when she's released, falling to the broken street. Limbs shake, eyes stare down at the ground, and she doesn't try to stand back up right away. The jacket even falls out of her hand, a heavier sound as the firearm Eve'd been training her to use drops down too. Her breath is shaky, and she doesn't try to speak for a few moments, before she reaches to gather up her jacket, the gun, and get back on her feet again. She doesn't try to look at him, even as she collects herself enough to say a shaky, "I won't go looking for him again."

It's the moments after that statement that teary eyes drift up, before she looks back down and turns away. No running, not with the limp that's still there, but she's walking away again.

Gabriel's gaze dances away in something that isn't quite rolling his eyes, but still with contempt at her one, shaky reply. It's likely that he wouldn't have come down on her like a tonne of bricks for Peter's sake, but— but it's time to walk away, which he probably should have done before. Having already delivered his 'thanks', as curt as it might have been, he's moving away at a stride, not proud - just determined to put some distance between them.

The chance that Gillian would glance back is minimal, but either way, his heavy foot falls cut off abruptly, and the tail end of a smoke shadow where Gabriel used to be veers off the sunbright road, disappearing into one of the gaping maws of the abandoned buildings.

There's no turning back. Each step is too shaky too stop. Walking is controlled falling, and each step is just a correction to avoid it. Gillian may no longer have a perfect memory, but she can't help but listen over key things that were said more than a few times. All she can really do is keep walking, and he's long gone before she makes it to the car that's still parked there. There's one piece of advice that stands out, something said by a near stranger reading a set of cards. Have to do a lot of soul searching before she'll be ready for him. Whoever him even is.

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