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Scene Title Close
Synopsis Eileen turns to Gillian for help; the beginnings of a plan are formulated by two women who have very little in common except for a man. Both resolve to seek something.
Date June 28, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Fourth Floor Safehouse

Like many others staying on the safehouse floor, Gillian's in her room as the evening settles in. There'd been a steady rain for a good hour, in touch with the season, if more than the weather had called for. It started and stopped, spinkled and poured, and generally soaked people in the streets after sunset. The graveyard had been a long way away, and things didn't go as planned, but safe and sound back in the room that's been a second home, the young woman runs a towel through her hair and looks into the mirror.

She'd known going in someone might die— but making the call can never be considered easy. At least the one who belongs in the current time walked away, and maybe he can find a better life somewhere. Maybe he can avoid the fate of his future self… One victory on the heels of so many failures. And all she can do is hope it really had been a one at all.

There's one other guest in her room. A rather small guest, though big in comparison to some of the other people who could be present. A fluffy orange cat, who's decided to sprawl out on the love seat in the room, taking up all the cushions with his whitish belly exposed.

On the other side of the door, knuckles rap against wood with staccato swiftness to announce that Gillian and Chandra have a visitor. It's late. There are very few people who might come calling after dark, and fewer still who would be bearing good news — it would be easy, really, to dismiss the sound as something else, something less complicated. Water banging around in the pipes. Another tenant stumbling drunkenly home after a night of dodging curfew. A mistake.

Unfortunately, the source of the noise is none of these things. "Gillian Childs," says a voice, and if the woman doesn't recognize it then the accent clinging to its breath will at least be familiar. "It's Eileen. I need to speak with you.

"It's about Gabriel."

Not too long ago, Gillian had a conversation with Cat about memories, and how they pop up when least expected. The voice sparks up a memory of sitting at someone's bed side— and a second one, a borrowed memory. One that had never been hers to begin with, but she still remembers it vividly. Gabriel. There's a long moment before she makes the quiet trek over to the door to open it, the clicking of locks coming open, of a chain being pulled off coming just before. Hair still damp, there's nothing physically wrong with her, but a haunted look in her eyes might have something to do with the many memories trying to impose on her present mind.

And the last time she'd seen him, there'd been harsh words and pain. But at least she doesn't forcefully retreat into metal form.

"I got the message that he was to be turned away at safehouses. Come on in." She backs up, keeping a good distance between them. "I'd offer you a place to sit, but Chandra's hogging the couch," she says, moving until she can stand a decent distance away, leaving the other woman to close the door.

Eileen steps into the room, rainwater clinging to hair and skin but sloughing off the leather jacket she wears on her back, one sleeve hanging loosely from her shoulder. She wears her right arm in a sling and the attached wrist in a cheap plastic brace that looks like something she fished out of a clearance bin from the nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army. Maybe she did.

"It's fine," she assures her with a downward glance at her feet and the silty mixture of dirt and urban grime plastered to her boots. Either she's too polite to track it across the apartment's pristine floor or she's comfortable where she is — the fact that she isn't removing her jacket or wiping off her feet at the door is a good indication of how long she intends to stay. That is to say: not very. "Is that all you've been told?"

"I know he tried to go after Teo, or whoever's taken up shop in Teo's body," Gillian says quietly, tension in her jaw as she watches the woman sticking near the door rather than moving deeper inside. Probably a good thing. It doesn't create an aire of comfort, but it also makes her feel better, even as her eyes settle on the cast. "I know that he's missing, presumed dead or in Pinehearst's hands." Nothing of which she's happy with. That doesn't make for a lot of information, but at least she knows a bit more.

With the whole thing with Niles, it must have slipped past Cat's mind. Or maybe the important details were intended to come later, once the Niles situation had been cleaned up. As far as most people know, she could very well run off and try to save him on her own— it's not like she's made it public knowledge that they're no longer seeing each other.

There's a second's pause before she asks, voice holding a small tremor, "Do you know if he's okay?"

"No." To say that Eileen regrets the word as soon as it's left her mouth would be a lie. Gillian deserves more than honesty — she's earned the straight candor of someone delivering a flag to a soldier's widow. They've both been pussyfooting around one another for too long. "He's inside Teo's head," she clarifies, "or part of him is. The rest is sitting somewhere in Pinehearst, if Arthur Petrelli hasn't shoveled it into a crematorium already."

Her fingers flex, wrist straining uncomfortably in its brace as she attempts to work the kinks from the muscles in her arm. A joint pops, ushers out a thin hiss squeezed through the gaps between her teeth and a pair of pursed lips. That smarts. "I wanted to ask if you knew anything that might help. You two were close."

For a moment, Gillian can't help but regret not turning into an iron form. The moisture shines in her eyes for a moment, and she turns away, pacing to the mirror she'd been standing in front of and picking up the discarded towel. The towel isn't really needed, but she holds onto it anyway, rubbing it over her face and through her hair. "Doesn't surprise me he'd do just about anything to get something out of the body of a friend of his," she says, but that's nothing the younger woman wouldn't have known too.

"We were close…" Past tense makes her voice trail off for a moment, before she takes in a shaky breath and says, "But I don't know how that can help you with anything. The only thing any of us can do is try to get him back before that happens." That being the killing. Instead of letting herself cry, though, she tosses the towel down angerly and says, "Fuck." Anger is easier than sorrow. He told her to let him go, but the fucking memories aren't making that easy— neither is the fact that she wishes things had been different.

"What kind of help do you want?"

Easier still than anger is indifference. The mask Eileen wears on her face contradicts what she feels in her heart, but she's had enough time to process the situation that only an empath would be able to discern what she's thinking as her eyes move from Gillian to the towel on the floor, then drift back over to the couch and the cat sprawled lazily across its cushions. She inclines her chin, just so, and draws in a slow breath, stalling for time in which to compose a response.

It's a tricky question, but the answer isn't really. "Whatever you're willing to provide," she suggests. "Lucrezia Bennati offered to perform some initial reconnaissance, and there are other surviving members of the Vanguard who still owe him a few favours. You remember Ethan. I'm not asking you to work with us, but the invitation is there if you want to take it."

"Fuck," Gillian repeats again, hands going up to her face. Of all the people to mention, Ethan's the least likely to earn a good reaction. "I was already planning to go in there and distract Arthur long enough for other people to put exploding bullets in his fucking head. If that's the kind of help you're wanting then you've already got it." That's not much of an offer, and she is not sounding happy at all. Indifference aside…

"I've just been waiting for someone to tell me when the fuck they want me to do it." The waiting game isn't easy, even with so much else going on. Cat acted like keeping busy would help… it really hasn't been helping all that much.

"If he's even still alive— It could be Papa Assface is keeping him alive because… when I went in to get information… I found Peter. Still alive. Under some kind of delusion that — that Gabriel was out of control, that he was the one that hurt him. All kinds of other shit. If he's alive at all, trying to keep up the fucking ruse might be all that's keeping him that way." It's an idea, who knows if it's the right one.

But what other options are there? "I've been training to get strong enough to fight him… That's the most I can offer."

"I'd feel badly about asking you to do something you aren't comfortable with," which is more than can be said of Eileen's attitude toward the rest of Phoenix. "If you could go back in, speak with Peter again — there's a chance you might be able to figure out where Gabriel is being held." Assuming he's there at all. The more she hears about Pinehearst and the man who's been pulling at everyone's strings, winding all the world around his fingers, the less confident she is that Teodoro's initial assessment was correct. "We can decide where we want to go from there as soon as Lucrezia gets back to us. I'd rather none of us have to fight at all."

Eileen glances over her shoulder at the door, still open, and reaches back with her good arm to nudge it closed with a soft but distinctly audible click. If her meeting with Cat the other night has taught her anything, it's that the people who want to eavesdrop will. This time she isn't going to facilitate them. "We've been at war enough already, don't you think? All I want is Gabriel's body back. After that, you and the others are free to raze the facility to the ground. I speak for all of us when I say we won't stand in your way."

Speak with Peter again? There's a good amount of silence as the door closes finally, and Gillian starts to process thoughts. Going in again… That would be a risk, but perhaps one she's willing to take in this situation. After another moment, she nods. "I'll do what I can. It's not the safest place to go, and since I'm not bringing him Delphine on my shoulder…" It's worth a try, though, and she has an idea how she might be able to get away with it. "If I find out where Gabriel is, I'll give you a better idea— chances are he's in the basement, though."

If only it were the ground floor, right? If there's sewer access, she has no idea at all. She could probably even get Lucrezia to help her out on that one… Probably. They're not close, but they've spoken before.

"Did he manage to get the fucker out of Teo's head?"

Eileen lifts her shoulder into a half-shrug. "Call it a work in progress," she says. "If Gabriel was able to leave his own body in an attempt to eject the imposter from Teo's, then there's no reason he should be trapped there. Not with his understanding of the way the ability works." Or maybe that's just wishful thinking. What little information she has to go on comes not from Gabriel himself but from the entity that he's supposed to be opposing. Would he admonish her if she told him that she's basing her decisions on dreams and a misguided sense of intuition?


"I don't want to second guess what he's doing," Eileen adds, "not until we have something to put him back in. He'd balk."

"I'm sure he can handle it himself," Gillian mutters softly, looking away. The anger may have faded quickly, because she wasn't really angry at all— except for the mention of Ethan. Not on her list of favorite people. If she's allowed a good punch to the face she might be willing to forget and move on, though— but it's not likely to happen. Either the forget and forgiving, or getting the punch in the first place.

"I don't want Gabriel to die— or to get stuck walking around in someone else's head— but …" Let him go. He killed her sister. Maybe no one's good enough for him, at least not in the eyes of a mother who may not even have been his mother.

"How can I contact you? If I manage to get out with anything." Or get out at all.

The but inspires a slight lift of Eileen's brows, grayish eyes growing cool and inquisitive. When no explanation follows — not even after a pause — her lips thin out, mouth turning down at its corners. "Neither of us do," she agrees. "I think we're of the same mind about that much."

It's a poor choice of words, maybe — even if this is something that only Gabriel, Teodoro and the doppelganger hailing from an impossible future would appreciate. "You can leave a message for me at the Garden or you can tell Catherine if finding safe passage to Staten Island is too much of a hassle. We keep in touch."

"Safe passage? I can run on water— how the hell do you think I made it there that fast when you sent the message," Gillian actually shakes her head, knowing that these abilities are one of the reasons the fight with Gabriel got as bad as it did— the abilities mean nothing… until they start to mean everything. The most she could offer without them in this case is…

"I drop a message off for you, then. With as much as I can. Even if's hand drawn maps from memory." Luckily it's a good memory. But if she can't make it there in person… chances are it'd mean something didn't go as planned. Nothing ever goes as planned.

Eileen turns, placing her hand on the door handle. "I assumed you were in the area," she says of Gillian's speedy arrival at Gabriel's bedside. It's hard for her to believe that was only a week ago. The other woman had been right about the man and his predisposition for trouble — maybe one of them should have knocked on wood. "My mistake."

She gives the handle a twist and swings the door out into the hall, which is empty except for shadows and a thin sliver of moonlight filtering in through one of the Renaissance Building's buildings stately glass windows. "I appreciate the help, Gillian. I can't speak for him, but I think he does too. Thank you."

Probably a good thing she's leaving, cause it makes the sudden flash of frustration difficult to catch for very long. Gillian bites down on her lip, and then nods, "It'd be nice if he spoke for himself more often." There's that frustration peeking through, and something else as well. What happened when she went to find him near the dying shrubs and grass isn't something she's shared with anyone— only her possibly-brother knows there'd even been an incident.

"Thanks too— it's good to know there's maybe something I can do." That's actually genuine. Being able to do something seems to be important. And holding patterns suck.

"Always something." Where Eileen comes from, this is the sort of thing that passes for a farewell. She steps out into the hall, booted feet leaving glistening tracks of mud-flecked rainwater across the marble floor in her wake. A quick glance to the left followed by a quick glance to the right and she's gone, her retreat reverberating against the walls and echoing throughout the building for several minutes after she disappears into the nearest stairwell.

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