Cracks In The Ice


gabriel_icon.gif lacombe_icon.gif

Scene Title Cracks in the Ice
Synopsis Matthew Lacombe washes up on the shores of Staten Island following the battle beneath the Staten Island Hospital…
Date August 12, 2010

Southern Staten Island

Sirens fill the night like the crowing of morning birds.

Drizzling rain falls down lightly on the rocky southern shore of Staten Island, between the stretches of pristine beaches, where few tread. That a cold mist hangs in the air is not a trick of the atmospheric conditions, not a trick of the rain and the water but of a single man. Laid on his back, arms spread out to his sides and dark hair spilled in ringlets down his face, Matthew Lacombe stares vacantly up at the night sky as raindrops freeze on contact with his skin.

His laughter is tired, breathless and perhaps just a little shaken. For all that his own blood mixes with the salty seawater from cuts on his arms, chest and one across the side of his face, you should've seen the other guy. Rolling onto his side, the Frenchman spits up a mouthful of water onto the rocky shore, then sinks fingers into the rising tide frothed with slush.

Flakes of ice sheathe off of his skin, and Lacombe struggles to pull himself to his knees. Tired, weary and battered from his battle with Bao-Wei Cong, the cryokinetic suffers from the exhaustion and fatigue that water exerts on his ability. Scowling as the rain continues to freeze in droplets on his skin, Lacombe brushes one silt-dirtied hand across his face, streaking his brow with sand, even as he tries to lever himself up using one of the nearby barnacle encrusted rocks.

Ice spiderwebs beneath his touch over the rock, the same way the pebbled sand beneath his feet crunches with a thin and brittle layer of frost, the same way that cold mist hangs in the air. After having been out to sea as long as he had, Lacombe's one critical weakness has been exploiter, and he has been dashed on the rocks one too many times. Broken but not beaten, what the Frenchman could use right now is a helping hand.

What he could use right now is an ally to lean on.

Staten Island has its fair share of monsters. Urban legends of a monster that devours children and haplessly lost denizens in the Greenbelt have more or less faded into obscurity, so it probably won't be the first thing that springs to mind when another presence is detected. There are others, countless minor demi-demons, rapists and pickpockets, drug pushers and assorted villainry, ones that don't need names or legends. One of them is Lacombe, washed up on the jagged edges of the not-so-forgotten borough.

Then there's this one. Maybe it's the scent of blood on ice, random chance, active seeking, that brings him, boots slipsliding a little on loose rubble and muddy ground, his hands out like a dancer to balance himself. Rain water makes his clothes heavy and hangs them from frame, black drapery, hair patted down with snaky tendrils glued to his forehead, but it doesn't seem to bother him.

Gabriel stops, cranes his neck. Soon enough, his boots are finding the crusty rocks that had battered won the fight against the struggling Frenchman, standing with exaggerated height when Lacombe is having a hard time of even getting to his knees.

Confusion makes recognizing Gabriel a difficult task in the drizzling rain. Battered as he is, Lacombe still manages a broad smile on seeing him, seeming less concerned about immediately getting to his feet, and settles for one ice-crusted knee. Exhaling a breath of cold mist, Lacombe's eyes fall shut, a frozen bead of blood stuck to his cheek; maybe his, maybe not.

"Quelle coïncidence," Lacombe murmurs as that smile stays plastered across his face. "You have remarkable timing, monsieur Gabriel." It sounds a little bit more like Gabrielle from Lacombe's accent, but only that little. "Could you… give me a hand back to the warehouses?" Raising a shaking arm, Lacombe holds out a frost-covered hand, rainwater beading in spots of ice after contact with his skin, rain-soaked clothes patch-worked with frost and ice crystals.

Behind Gabriel, a violent orange glow on the rainy horizon marks where the Staten Island Hospital once was, and as much as it looks like the smoke and flames of Hell itself come to Staten Island, the only screaming of the damned are sirens, and they're damning something entirely different.

There are few coincidences, in a world with precogs, telepaths, time travelers. That this does actually happen to be one is unfortunate for Lacombe, with no one to see, no one to witness, and certainly no one with the knowledge that Gabriel is here. He stands with a passive kind of danger, watching the play of silvery ice make lace patterns over the Frenchman's knuckles, the way icicles form from the edge of his sleeve, the continual rise of icy vapour coming up in tendrils from where the man's bare skin makes contact with the damp air. He glances, with showy deliberation, over his shoulder to regard the flaming remains of the hospital, and how there's no one in sight.

His hand goes out, but in no effort to take Lacombe's. Twists his wrist, and abruptly, the Frenchman rolls over like an obedient dog, belly up, arms akimbo.

That hand rises up a little more to itch at his hairline, before Gabriel deftly moves around the rocks to step to Lacombe's side, slipping only fractionally on icy mud. "I had a power like yours," he says, wist in his voice, fondness in a quirk of a smile. "One of my early abilities. Classic. It's very versatile, for such a blunt instrument. It wasn't like yours, though. Yours looks a lot more fun. I can see it, the way you can barely contain it, power seeping out of you like an overflowing cup.

"Even Messiah is scared of you. Maybe not all of them. Petrelli is."

Cold emanates from Lacombe in rolling waves, polar chill bringing back memories of nearly dying on the ice of the Antarctic plains to Gabriel. It's as if he were being example to Gabriel's cup metaphor, but the intention is all the more violent. With his body paralyzed by the telepathic strands of puppetry lacing through his brain, Lacombe can only control the power that seeks to escape him, as if it recognized Gabriel as its one true master somehow.

"You would… know something, about being feared," Lacombe hisses out through clenched jaws, "Sylar." The saltwater around the Frenchman crusts over with ice, and from those flat sheets of cold, the sudden eruption of barbed tines of frost are Lacombe's answer to a tiger pit trap. The blades of ice shoot upwards and through Gabriel's legs, lancing through shin and knee and calf… all without so much as a scratch to the man controling Lacombe's body.

Intangible, Gabriel feels no pain, his phased body able to effortlessly sidestep around Lacombe frigid attack. "C’eC’est des conneries…" This is bullshit may not be as clear an answer to Gabriel as the Frenchman would have preferred, but French isn't one of Gabriel's preferred languages. Pain is though, and Lacombe is bleeding pain out from the cuts in his body, ones that ice had sealed over like frosted scabs, now spilling down bright and red against the white of ice.

Yet there's that laugh again, that wheezing, hyena laugh. Even faced with betrayal by someone he considered and ally, Matthew Lacombe finds some humor in this predicament and in the shadow of death looming over him.

It's like they say, he who laughs best, laughs last.

A step back, out of the way of icy spears, has Gabriel conforming back into solid flesh just long enough to experimentally shatter one of the frozen blades with the toe of his boot. Glittery fragments spray in a pattern across Lacombe's torso, melding instantly to the layer of frost that sparkles the soon-to-be-dead man's clothing. "Mm. But they also think they can control me. What you can control, you can overcome." He descends now, into a crouch, elbows hooked on either near and hands linked as he watches with some degree of scientific fascination the way the cold radiates like heat.

"Messiah is going to be in for a shock, in that regard. So is Remnant. So is everyone. But for now," and his voice stretches that word into raspy, off-key singsong. The knife he takes from his boot is turned around his his palm, reflects the silvery gleam of moon bouncing off ice.

The tip of it rests against Lacombe's temple — or does in theory, visible in blurred periphery, but there's nothing to feel when it phases through skin, bone, grey matter. "Take comfort in knowing this is just for me."

Laughter turns into screaming, turns into a choking wail of horror and fright as a half phased knife splits bone open like a pry bar. Lacombe's body twitches and spasms, cracking ice off of his clothing in sheets of red and white. Blood flows hot down Lacombe's brow, crystallizing on the edges in contact with his frigid skin. Steam pours out from the fissure in his forehead as the top of his skull is split off and thrown aside with drooling blood drizzled across the shoreline.

Several members of Messiah failed to return from the battle tonight, most of them fell through the cracks, their bodies charred by the firebombing or confiscated by the government. Lacombe fell through cracks of his own, and there will be no body to find when Gabriel Gray is done with him…

His only lasting legacy, will be the cold.

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