cardinal_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Comfortable
Synopsis Gabriel has a visitor at the Garden. They discuss Kazimir, and nuclear annihilation.
Date August 5, 2009

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

He's getting comfortable, here.

This is something of a concern, but only in that it can will always get worse when it gets good. The Garden is not his home, Gabriel barely touching the resources it affords him with the exception of running water and a room to sleep in, but it's an idea. Downstairs, there's the thud of feet from where a small Chinese boy unsticks his hands from the wall and lands, likely told to behave by one of the Ferrymen caretakers, and he can't help but recall the future, as he works on his creation.

And unable, seemingly, to forget the past. Gabriel, seated at the end of his bed, tilts a look towards the dark shadow in the room, a displaced image of a man. Rather than the soft and golden sunlight from the afternoon striking him with fuzzy shadows, it's as though this ghost mirage of Wu-Long were struck with hard fluorescents and cutting shadows, his teeth pearly and eyes obsidian, his coat and hair made of the same inky stuff.

He's supervising, as Gabriel creates a knife - it has the same shape of the ceramic war tools Wu-Long used to wield, only rather than dusky black, it's a dark, and rusty red, and not quite big enough. Holding it by the hilt, Gabriel watches as blood runs in psychic streams from a cut on his arm, along his skin, past his wrist, streaming in thin rivulets over the forming weapon and finally hardening with careful precision.

The wound seals itself (clotting in a moment, rather than healing) as Gabriel tests the weapons sharpness with the side of his thumb, just around the time someone's knocking on the door, breaking concentration and allowing him to pierce his skin with a silent snarl of annoyance. Sharp enough. A glance towards the corner proves that the illusion of Wu-Long is gone, which is kind of like approval. "What is it?" Gabriel states, only just loud enough to be heard by whomever is on the other side.

"Someone downstairs to see you," comes the voice of Larson, and that's that, his heavy footsteps treading away. Dropping the rust coloured knife onto his bed, Gabriel allows the slice on his thumb to clot closed as well, before he's moving out the room and downstairs, bare feet making the wooden flooring creak beneath him. It might be very possible that Cardinal has seen him before - if not in person, than in the gorier caged setting of the Pancratium, or in printed photographs dispersed into the public by Homeland Security. It's kind of like being a celebrity except you killed people.

He also knows Cardinal's face, which may or may not be a good thing, blurry as it was through another man's eyes.

Such indirect acquaintances, then, the two men are. They've moved through the same events and situations of late, over the past handful of months, though from divergent angles; hearing of one another through a rumor or ominous here, through the blurred gaze of a possessed man's thoughts there. Not including, of course, the celebrity of the one man.

Of course, Richard Cardinal'd heard of the other man as 'Tavisha', as 'Gabriel' - it was only very recently that the jigsaw of knowledge came together to spell the name of Sylar. Of the Midtown Man.

A word was left in the ears of a few disreputable sorts who, once, tried to destroy the world, or near enough. Which is why, this evening, the ex-convict, thief, and sometime disciple of Edward Ray is sprawled out in a chair at the downstairs dining room table, legs stretched out beneath him and one hand raised to let him clean out the dirt beneath his nails with a file protruding from a pocket leatherman. Doing his best to look casual, though it's hard to say how he really feels.

There is nothing particularly remarkable about Gabriel upon entering. Blue jeans, dark with newness, bare feet, and a loose grey T-shirt in defense of the heat of the evening. A hand coming to rest on the door frame, there's evidence of a tribal tattoo printed somewhere between the wrist and elbow, circular and eclipse like, and just above it, skin irritated to rosiness, the smallish slice he'd inflicted upon himself, though it looks near accidental.

His eyes skim over the room and are inevitably drawn to the solitary occupant, studying him in silence for a moment— sharper details replaced over blurry ones, a name dug up out of his memory. He has less puzzle pieces than Cardinal does, but he can put what he has together.

Stepping inside, Gabriel moves towards the dining table, not going to sit down, simply resting broad hands on the back of a chair to lean as he states, "You're Cardinal. Ethan told me you wanted to talk to me." It's as much a greeting as can be expected, brown-eyed gaze sharp and expectant.

Sometimes, less is better. There's times that Cardinal wishes he had less pieces, because the more there are… the more puzzles they tend to go to, and it's ever so easy to confuse them. Especially since some can mix and match. He hasn't put everything together, but he's trying his damndest. Hopefully, he can gather a few more pieces from the man that's just come down the stairs.

A look up brings eyes hidden by opaque shades towards Gabriel, unreadable beyond their plastic lenses, one finger curling over the file and clicking it back into the multitool's casing with a sharp sound. "And you're…" A pause, and a wry half-curl of his lips, "…well, I guess 'Gabriel' works as well as anything." He rocks forward, drawing his feet back beneath him and resting a folded arm on the table's edge, "Think I could borrow a little bit've your time? Got some questions, if you've the time to listen. And care to answer."

There's a pause, Gabriel's fingertips tapping, quietly, the back of the chair as if in decision, before he's drawing it away from the table with a soft scrape of the legs against the warm wooden floor, moving to sit down. "It's my name," he adds, as he leans back against the chair, hands resting on the edge of the table, restlessly gliding a hand along it as if to rid it of dust, though the wood is polished to shine already. "There's also this surname convention you people seem to be fond of. You could go with 'Gray'.

"And it depends on the questions." His own reflection raises an eyebrow back at him from Cardinal's shades, a slightly bored slouch in Gabriel's posture, although not particularly lazy. The overgrown child who might prefer to be outside and playing rather than playing a game of puzzles indoors, if polite. And god knows what would count as playing in this analogy.

"Always does, doesn't it?" Cardinal brings his arm up from the table, tilting it to scratch short, broken nails against the scruff beneath his chin as he considers the other man. He thought he'd be taller. But, he supposes, one always does. There's a silent moment, then nostrils flare in a faint, exhaled snort, "Well, right to business then. What do you know about Kazimir Volken's power? I was told that you had it." The past tense stressed, ever so slightly, a brief glimpse of hazel eyes hard and intent over the edge of his shades.

"I did— have— it," Gabriel says, with a more stilted sounding version of that emphasis, curiousity and interest having him tip his head somewhat towards the left, jaw angled and hands withdrawing off the table to fold in his lap. "But then it went away." Which isn't said in a tone of reassurance, more of an ominous promise that's accompanied by a twisting half-smile that isn't particularly genuine either. It's not good news, not even for Gabriel. The smirk fades a moment later, exhaling a sigh through nostrils, gaze flicking away. "It's complicated. What exactly do you want to know about it?"

That suspicion, based on the way Cardinal was told things, is confirmed… and from the slight wrinkle of his nose, the tightness of his lips, that's not something that he enjoys. "Wonderful," he murmurs, bringing a hand up to pull his shades off; setting them on the table, he rubs the bridge of his nose with thumb and foreknuckle, eyes closing, "I hope you know where it is. Because I think we need to contain it before…" A hesitance, "…hell. I'm not even sure."

The thief's head lifts, red-rimmed eyes regarding the other seriously. "It's older than Kazimir. Much like Abigail's power is older than her. They… move. Body to body. Host to host. Like some sort've fucking parasite. A… Kami, Nakamura called them."

And much like the supposed kami, suspicion of one thing confirmed gravitates to Gabriel in something renewed and sharp in the way he assesses the man seated opposite him, amber-brown eyes flat beneath the more expressive furrow of the definite angles of his eyebrows. Some of that is old news, some of that is new news (so… news), but it's impossible to tell which part has impact and what doesn't.

Silence extends for a brief moment, before he responds with, "You're giving it too much credit. The ability. Just because a power is transferable doesn't mean it has a life of its own. It makes it weird— special— but don't jump to conclusions. What makes me weird and special is that I have the ability to understand things, and so when I had it— it was completely under my control. Which is nothing Kazimir could accomplish.

"I just passed it on by accident." Whatcher gonna do?

Gabriel's mouth thins into a sarcastically rueful smile, shoulders drawing up beneath loose grey cotton in a shrug, though facetiousness, as ever, fizzles out as quickly as it began. "I know where it is. I'm working on keeping it contained." The spotlight swivels around as Gabriel angles his chin up to gesture towards Cardinal. "Why do you care? 'We' need to contain it before what, exactly?" The 'hell I'm not even sure' Cardinal had tagged on isn't dignified with acknowledgement.

"Did you? Or did it pass itself on?" It's a dry question, though there's no edge to it - no assumption that he's right. If there's something Cardinal's been getting used to, it's having to guess his way through things. Through everything, really, and being wrong half the time. He rests his chin upon folded knees, admitting in tones painted wry, "Fuck if I know the truth. I just have other people's shit to go on. As for why?" A pause, then he shrugs, "Because the precogs have been having fucking fits seeing things that suggest Kazimir, or something of his legacy, is coming back. Just as we find out that this special power is still around, and is still loose. Just when I read the papers that were left for me, speaking of some possible resurrection of the Vanguard, some Final Solution that'll kill us all. Dreams of nuclear fire…"

He draws back from the table, reaching into his jacket— not quickly, lest he be thought to be drawing a weapon, producing instead a phone. The gallery's thumbed through, slid down until a picture of a picture is shown - a shadowy figure wreathed in shadowy tendrils, bearing a cane. he presents with a brow's raise. "Arisen. By Brill. A prophetic painter, if you haven't heard of him. If it was just one've these things? I might not be worried. All?"

Scratching his fingertips over his own somewhat unshaven jaw, Gabriel narrows his eyes at the image presented to him, keeping emotions in reaction to thought off his face, and the thoughts themselves unspoken. After half a second, his gaze skims over towards the open window, and a half a minute of silence descends as wheels turn, doubts analysed and discarded or filed away.

Eventually, he asks, "Who wins?" He eases back against his chair, raises an eyebrow at Cardinal. "Do the precogs know who wins?"

The pad of Cardinal's thumb slides back over the phone to send the image to block, and he draws it back across the table. "If nobody acts…?" He lets that question hang as he tucks the piece of personal electronics into his jacket, noting dryly as he looks up once more, "Let's just say that it's not looking good for people who don't think genocide is a particular fun word to pass around the dinner table. Your history might suggest you do, but— " He pauses, regarding the other man thoughtfully, "— the people who seem to care about you wouldn't, if that was true. So I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt, there."

"It's not my thing," Gabriel agrees, with a wry upturn at the corner of his mouth, although the grimness that set in around the turn of the conversation doesn't seem to have vanished. A moment ticks by before he folds his arms on the table, fingers linking together. "I have some bad news. The man who accidentally blew up New York City is the one currently holding onto Kazimir's ability. It's the lack of control that's a concern, not the inclination. That's the good news. I don't picture him deliberately screwing the world over, with or without that power."

A slight eyeroll goes here, gaze down and skimming the surface of the table. "Pretty sure he whines enough about the first time. Either way. He's not a prime candidate for some kind of Vanguard resurgence to fall in line with."

Yes, that is bad news. "Wonderful." A slow lean back in the chair causes the wooden legs and back to creak lightly, and Cardinal folds an arm behind his head, scalp tilted back against it as he regards his ceiling with a frown creasing his lips at this information. "Unless," he points out, "You're wrong, and there is something more to that… ability… than you think. Or there's something we're both missing."

A sigh's expelled near-violent from his lips, and he mutters, "I wish I had Eddie's insight sometimes. Then I realize I'd've long gone as loon-crazy as he did." His chin drops back forward, looking to Gabriel as he notes, "Nothin' good can come of that ability, Gabriel. We should bring it into contact with its opposite to destroy the damn thing."

Gabriel gives a soft, irritated snort, Cardinal managing to voice some of the words thrown at him from Peter himself. "Good can come of it," he states, which. Seems like a ridiculous thing for him to be arguing, but it's relevant. "It's not just the death to Abigail's life - it can heal, too, just like her's can destroy, even if it can only destroy the one thing. It doesn't steal life, it redirects it. He just— " There's an irritated clench to Gabriel's jaw, quietly trailing off with, "needs to learn how."

Apparently, lessons could be going better. He's also skirting around this notion that it has a life of its own, or at least, not giving Cardinal whatever conclusions, tentative or otherwise, Gabriel can draw from it. "I'm working on it," is his final assessment. "It turns people to ash, it doesn't create nuclear fire. I think you should be focus on where that comes from."

The other man is regarded with a hint of dubiousness in Cardinal's gaze, but finally he exhales a sigh of breath that stirs through the air. The arm not folded behind his head is brought up in a vague gesture, "…alright. I'll have to trust you on that— for now— but if you notice any… irregularities in his behavior, I'll hope that you'll have the presence of mind to remember what I said." He hesitates, "And— you may not want to mention its opposite to him. Just in case."

He snorts, then, his arm unfolding from behind his head as he leans forward, "Maybe you can talk to your friends, then. Eileen doesn't know enough, Ethan doesn't trust me enough, and the King of Swords is as crazy as a damn loon. Or acts it, anyway. I don't know who would know that much about Volken's contingency plans to even start looking."

"Oh, I'll talk to the King of Swords," Gabriel states, with a final kind of tone in his voice as well as an edging amount of disdain for the codename. "You can rest assured."

Absently, he turns his arm over to fidget, thumb nail easing absently along the slice set into his skin, at the edge of the break itself, although not enough to break the thin scabbing, as if easing an itch. "I spent some time being possessed by Kazimir. I had access to his memories, off and on. I think I saw it, the moment it was switched to him. It was in Belgium, during the first world war. He was dying, and I think it was his father that gave him the ability— a lot like I did, not even intending to. I don't know anything earlier than that, but there it is. He was kind of cut up about his dying son, if that's worth anything. Maybe the whole homicidal uncontrollable maniac thing skips a generation."

There's a smile, there, wolfish and with some humour. It's a joke! Gabriel clasps his palm over the cut, allows tension to drain from his shoulders. "I'm watching him. He wants to be helped, and I've already made it clear that if I have to end it for him, I will."

At the mention of the memories, Cardinal's gaze stirs with a hint of intrigue. "Mm. Does the name 'Francois' stir any bells?" He shakes his head a little, then, bringing up a hand, "Enh, nevermind; curious as I am about this shit, it's less important than making sure the city doesn't become a nuclear wasteland. Or a beach, for that matter."

A rueful smile twitches to his lips, then, as he straightens, "Anyway. I won't bother you much more, man, and I appreciate the info."

Gabriel lazily raises an eyebrow at the question and the quick dismissal, and, true to Cardinal's request, says nothing on the matter. Likely, because he agrees, about things more important. That, or he hasn't the faintest idea. Setting his hands against the edge of the table, he pushes himself and the chair back from it, getting to his feet, at this promise that he'll no longer be bothered. "Then I'll let you get going," he says, voice smooth and polite. "Saving the world's a time consuming endeavor."

"And all it gets you is an early grave and nobody to remember you," comes Cardinal's self-depreciating and patently rueful verbal riposte, his hand bracing to the table to lever himself up to his feet, "Anyway— Eileen'n Holden both have my number if you need it for anything or find out anything more, or you can leave a message at the Casino Royale, if it's docked on the island." It's a boat of familiar name, perhaps, given that it belongs to one Bebe Dahl— well, it does now anyway. He pauses, adding, "And… now that I'm intimating you all'd need the help, but if there's more problems with Daiyu, and there's anything me'n my people can do? Let me know."

It is a familiar boat, in that he helped steal it once; amusement shows, very briefly, in Gabriel's eyes before the topic switches. He's taking a few steps back as Cardinal makes his parting notes, hesitation falling over the erstwhile serial killer around the time Daiyu is mentioned, before he simply gives the shadow morph a nod. "I'll keep it in mind," he states, without any true show of gratitude, before he's headed for the door in which he arrived, though not before tossing a rather dry, "Nice meeting you," over his grey-clad shoulder.

"You too." A lift of Cardinal's chin towards the other man, before he moves to step around the table and head for the door. Oddly enough, it rings fair with honesty. A part of him worries that one of the most cordial conversations he's had recently is with a serial killer.

Ah well. He'll start worrying about it when it stops worrying him. He's comfortable with it for now.

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