Cold Heart


aaron_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Cold Heart
Synopsis Peyton returns home from her meeting with Detective Cooper, and a brief run to the Library, to find more of Twilight Zone Aaron.
Date March 7, 2010

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

Sunday morning dawns cold and clear. Whatever time Aaron wakes, he will find that Peyton has already left — the coffee pot is mostly but not completely full so she had a cup before heading out. If he were to play private investigator, he might find on the legal pad by the telephone a scrawled note: Det. Cooper. 9:30 Sunday and an address. Apparently she had an appointment with the police regarding Wendy's murder — something she hasn't spoken much about, though of course there have been tears and hugs. For the most part, she has asserted she is all right or fine and there is something almost tangible in the effort she is making to be resilient — no doubt irritating Aaron to no end.

The door opens a few hours later and Peyton slips in — the rosy hue in her cheeks lent by the cold give her the illusion of health and happiness, though once it fades, the dark circles and swollen eyes will be more noticeable. She pulls off her coat, hanging it on the hat rack, then removes gloves and hat and drops her bag on the table near the door.

It was a bit of a surprise when Aaron found the apartment empty and noticed the note. It's Sunday. Unless Peyton suddenly grew religion, he can't think of any reason when she'd have run off somewhere, especially given the road and sidewalk conditions. The city's growing more uninhabitable by the day.

He helped himself to a cup of coffee before bundling up to make his morning rounds to feed his addiction and to mess around as he has a tendency to do now. He's only been home a few minutes before Peyton returns home again. Likely to be told further that everything's still fine….

Aaron has actually started to let people be when they claim to be all right — though he always knows to the contrary thanks to his ability. Perhaps another quirk to his peculiar personality shift, or simply growing tired with people saying they're feeling something they're not.

As Peyton enters, he appears to be in the midst of something unusual. He has his guitar propped between his legs as he carves something into it with a small bench knife. His attention is such that he doesn't notice Peyton's returned until he hears her bag touch down on the table, at which time he looks up. "You were up early," he remarks. "How'd the meeting go?"

The clairvoyant tilts her head, curious as he seems to be defacing his guitar for some reason. "The police apparently think the early bird gets the worm or some such nonsense. Then I stopped by the library." Trudging to the library in the snow has lost her a few pounds already — and she didn't have that much to lose to begin with. "There's nothing they can do, so it was pointless, but you know, I was a good little citizen and polite to the nice officer." Her voice has a flat affect, a forced apathy that he can tell is bullshit and bravado. Her emotions are a taut concoction of fear and loss.

She nods to the guitar. "What are you doing?"

Aaron only gazes at Peyton for a moment before he goes back to paying attention to what he's doing. "Signing my guitar," he says, even though his signature is already on the sapphire front of it in black Sharpie. "Thought it needed a bit of new life to it." He wipes some of the little woodchips away with a dry cloth. Apparently he's been careful to avoid getting wood chips and dust everywhere. No blowing it all over the place. He pulls the guitar up by its neck and spins it around to show the newly stylized A on the side of the body. "Work in progress, day three." His penmanship has always been good when he wants it to be, but carving it into wood is a slow and tedious task.

"Looks good," Peyton says, then pulls a file folder out of her purse, pulling a photograph out of it. She strides across the room and drops it on the couch near him. "While unfortunately he could probably shape shift or something and so this is kinda pointless, if you see this guy? Be careful, and don't let him follow you. If he comes here and says he is a friend of mine or Gillian's or anything like that, don't let him in. It's Gabriel, so he is or was her friend, but he is not welcome here. Understand?" The picture is of Gabriel Gray, also known as Sylar.

Aaron takes the photograph of Gabriel Grey and gives it a long look over as he traces everything from the chin to the Sybrows. "OK," he says slowly before looking up at Peyton with a curious expression. "Given how the bastard treated Gillian, that was really all you had to say." The photograph is set aside and bench knife taken up again as he resumes his work. "Any other reason I should know of as to why he's unwelcome, beyond being a complete shit?"

"He's dangerous," Peyton says, simply. He's innocent until proven guilty and there's enough evidence to point at for either side of the case, in her mind, but she isn't taking any chances. She goes into the kitchen for a moment, returning with a bottle of water. Leaning against the wall, she uncaps the bottle and takes a long drink, watching him carve. Her brows furrow a touch. This is not them. This is some other them, some other place. The things that have happened to them have changed them from who they were, and she isn't sure it's all for the better. "Any reason for the carving, beside just for something to do? You going to start performing somewhere besides on a street corner again?"

"Somehow I'm not surprised," Aaron remarks about Gabriel. Gillian needs to fall for a nice guy for once, someone who isn't dangerous. Or an ass. Or a combination of both. He continues to whittle away his time as Peyton seeks her bottle of water. Her question doesn't spare her the slightest glance. Things have been somewhat awkward between them as of late, not like they ever weren't. They're just more awkward now. "There are some prospects, but nothing concrete quite yet. Though frankly, until this snow clears, I'd rather not wander too far from home. It's like the frickin' Day After Tomorrow out there."

"What's the 'Day After Tomorrow'?" Peyton asks, a bit of a frown at his seeming apathy. It's like a 'who can care least' contest or something. She heads over to "her" chair, sitting down and putting her bottle down on the table next to it. Boots are pulled off, and then she curls herself up. She watches him whittle, her brows knit together in a slight scowl. At least she's showing some emotion, even if it's simply irritation.

"The Day After Tomorrow? Box office smash hit from a couple years before the bomb? All of the pollution brings about a sudden ice age. Whole northern hemisphere gets dumped on by a ton of snow. People freeze to death in seconds. From the guy who did Independence Day." It's a rather dry recollection of everything he can think of about the film. "Had the cute girl from Phantom of the Opera in it.”

"Emily Rossum," Peyton supplies, and then she shrugs. "I didn't see it." She watches him a moment more, before finally giving a shake of her head. She picks up a magazine to flip through, but then tosses it aside.

"Look, I know you don't agree with what I do, and I know you're probably pissed off that I'm trying to be functional instead of crying hysterically over shit I can't change, but cut this civil crap. Either be pissed at me or whatever, but don't just… whatever this is." She gestures with her hands between them, as if the white elephant in the room could be seen and touched. "Say whatever it is that's bothering you, Aaron."

Aaron stops carving and turns his head to look at Peyton, somewhat surprised at her words, having uttered similar ones to her — at least as far as telling her to just say whatever it is that's bother her — several times in the past. "Sadly," he says, returning to his carving, "Little can be done about anything that's bothering me right now. I can be pissed all I want at people who lie repeatedly about their emotions, and maybe the only reason that is is because I have some insight into what they're really feeling. But pissed or not, that doesn't really accomplish anything, does it?"

Her eyes narrow as she stares at him, her head shaking slowly. "Lying… and trying to fucking hold myself together are two very different things, Aaron." Her voice is cold. "Your power may tell you how I'm feeling but that doesn't give you the right to judge me if I don't tell you every sad and tragic and horrifying thing that's happening that builds the big black cloud you see hanging over me. If you were a normal person and I told you I was 'fine' when you bumped into me in the store, you wouldn't say I was 'lying.' Just because your power gives you some … some shadow of an idea of what I feel doesn't mean I need to break down and cry about it, does it? God forbid I have some privacy in my fucking life."

She unfolds her long legs and rises, shaking her head and crossing her arms. "Don't play or sing in here tonight in range of me. I don't want to feel better, and I don't want you to feed off of my loss."

Normal… Did she just imply that he's not normal? Not that he is, but still, the implication bothers him. He calmly sets aside the bench knife and the guitar, though he remains seated. "If I were normal, as you say, I couldn't give two shits about you, so why would I say you were lying? I wouldn't care." He licks his lip, pointing his finger at her now. "And I never said you, I just said people, in general. The sheep, who haven't the foggiest clue about how bad things can really get. The people, who don't know loss the way we do." He rises, jaw clenched. "As for you breaking down and crying about it, I'll admit the idea of you showing a bit of healthy emotion is pleasing, partially for purely selfish reasons. I bottled up what happened to me for years, and you saw what that did to me. You want to turn into me, you keep trying to pretend everything's OK. We'll see how that turns out for you."

"I've cried. I'm mourning. I can't do it 24 hours a day," Peyton all but growls back. "It won't bring Wendy back. It won't bring my parents back. It won't turn Richard back into a fucking person and it won't fix what's wrong out there." She jabs a finger at the window — the balcony that she stood on just the other night to watch for the injured Eileen so she could help find Sylar. "What would you have me do, Aaron? Just because I don't run into your arms like a damsel in distress doesn't make me a bad person, even if you seem to think so. You said it yourself, though — moping and being depressed wasn't getting anything any better, was it? I need to be strong, and if you think that's selfish…" She was so afraid of being selfish after the nightmares that the word makes her shiver, "… then I guess I am."

Maybe Aaron raises a brow of curiosity at the remark about Richard turning back into a person, or maybe he doesn't. What he does is turn away to collect his guitar and put it back into its case, along with the bench knife. "Didn't get me far, but neither did bottling it up. But you go ahead, work yourself until you're burnt out. I'm back going out." He brings his guitar to the door and grabs his long coat, tightly wrapping it around himself.

"Who's bottling it up now?" she demands. "You're acting like some… some… automaton or something, and if you're trying to do it in some fucking parody of me, I don't appreciate it." Her eyes are fierce, but there is emotion there — probably not the one he wished to see. "So here. Have some emotion. I'm angry at being made to feel like I'm a bad person no matter what I do, Aaron. I can't be… I don't know what you want me to be, but I'm not it, and you make me feel bad about it." Tears finally come, but she wipes them away with the back of her hand like a child might.

Aaron wraps a black scarf around his neck after lacing up his boots. Tall winter boots. They're practically a necessity right now. He was lucky to find them in his size.

A parody? The remark gives him pause for a moment as he realizes it does seem like the roles have suddenly reversed. "Yeah, I kinda realized that a couple weeks ago." He opens the door and steps out. Before he closes the door behind him, he says, "This is me, Peyton. You'll just have to get used to it."

When the door closes, Peyton picks up her bottle and throws it across the room, letting it thunk against the now-closed door. Too bad he isn't there to witness the childish display, as it might show she is capable of such emotional outbursts. Peyton sighs, and pulls out her cell phone, calling Gillian. While she waits for the other roommate of the dysfunctional apartment to pick up, her pupils widen and her surroundings fade, seeing the hallway just outside from Aaron's point of view — she may be angry at him, but she will watch him from afar.

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