b_gillian_icon.gif young-peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Deeper
Synopsis An evening at Coney Island leaves a lasting impression and saves Peter from his assassins. Though it may break Gillian's heart even more than it already was.
Date June 16, 1994

Petrellis are stubborn creatures.

It may be the middle of summer, but Peter Petrelli insists on looking his best for what ammounts to a date — in his mind — with an attractive red-headed older woman on Coney Island. Pressed black slacks and a white button-down shirt with sleeves rolled up and no tie gives him a business casual look that makes the young teen look older than he really is, leaning ever so slightly more towards man than boy, even if he still can't grow a beard to save his life.

Coney Island looks different before the bomb, gone are the chain-link fences surrounding abandoned boardwalks, gone are the faded signs and rust on the Astro Land rocket. Carnival music fills the air, a Ferris Wheel spins where now one does not even stand any longer thanks to Norman White. The boardwalk is packed with people coming and going, and Peter Petrelli has a rifle in both hands, one eye narrowed and focus down the iron-sights.

"You're mine," he breathily intones before squeezing the trigger.

Real guns don't go plink.

Coney Island, New York City

June 16, 1994

A round bulls-eye target on a moving plastic duck makes a loud clink sound and flips over, followed by a sharp whistle from the man tending the duck hunt airsoft game. Flipping the lever-action pellet gun armed, Peter sets his sight on the next moving duck with a broad smile spread across his lips.

"Goin' for the purple teddy bear," he informs his baby sitter for the afternoon. "Just you watch me."


"You didn't strike me as liking purple," Gillian says, dressed in the buisness clothes that are technically borrowed. The long skirt and nice blouse are not among what she's really wear often, but the shoes at least are her own. A black tribal butterfly tattoo is visible on her ankle every so often, and the hint of another mark on her chest near her shoulder, just visible at the color of the light blouse.

The handprint isn't a tattoo, though it may as well be. It's the yin/yang on her wrist that's the easiest to see, as she leans against the stand and watches the young teen shoot. If she knew he thought of it as a date with an attractive older woman… well, she might not feel as guilty for quietly believing it's the closest thing she'll ever have to a date with him too.

Even if it had to be here.

"I figured blues or blacks would be more your color." Or red, in the form of a scarf?

"Pfft," Peter huffs as he lays the pellet rifle down on the counter, watching the vendor begrudginyl moving over to pick up the overstuffed purple teddybear. As it's pulled off the hook though, Gillian recotnizes it for what it really is. From the three-jointed heart on her stomach to the distinctive violet color and shape. It's Harmony Bear from the Care Bears movie.

"This is for you," Peter explains with a fond smile, offering out the stuffed bear to Gillian. "I'm too old for this sort've stuff, but girls like this kind've thing. You know, stuffed animals and crap, right? My mom's got the old, ratty stuffed rabbit she keeps on her dresser from when she was a little girl." Something that belonged to someone else.

Someone secret.

Someone hidden.

"C'mon, purple's your favorite color, right?" One of Peter's brows raise as he takes a step towards Gillian, smiling crookedly to her. "I'm a pretty good guess with that sorta' thing, y'know?"

"Yeah… yeah it is," Gillian says quietly, a distant sound to hr voice as she reaches out to take it, focusing her eyes on the bear instead of him. A Care Bear. She's sure someone would have something to say about this sometime in the future, but she's still stuck on looking at it, that he's giving it to her, and hat… he guessed her favorite color.

She's not even wearing it. That knot in the back of her head starts to throb for a moment, as a tension threatens to pull it apart from the inside out. For a moment, it looks so distant, as if her mind is somewhere else. In actuality, her mind is right there— right then. Whether she wants to be or not.

"Thank you," she says suddenly, realizing the pause has gotten long. Her voice sounds hoarse. Even more so than before. Tight. Surprised. Emotional. "I wasn't expecting a present… I should give you something in return. Too bad there's not likely to be a good book store around here." Cause books are far more manly than stuffed animals.

Hopefully he won't notice the way she holds the bear against her body, the way her hand tightens on it as if she's afraid she might lose it.

Cracking a smile, Peter offers a look over his shoulder to the Ferris wheel. "We could go up for a ride, that'd be pretty cool. You know I've lived in New York City all my life, never once been on the Coney Island Ferris wheel. It's kinda' like never having gone to the Statue of Liberty, but I did that a couple months back for a field trip."

A field trip, because he's still in school. Sometimes, Gillian needs those reminders on just how young he is.

"You alright?" It comes as a wary question, with Peter arching one brow as he considers Gillian's posture and attitude. "I'm— man, your like, last boyfriend or something didn't get you a stuffed bear or something, did he?" Peter awkwardly laughs and lifts a hand to the back of his neck, scrubbing there nervously. "Here I go, acting like some jerk ex, right?"

"My jerk exes didn't get me presents like this," Gillian says, trying to hide the fact that she's actually in a little bit of pain. This is both touching and sweet and heartbreaking all at once. And he doesn't know— but he's empathic enough to recognize it. "You need to stop being so empathic. Girls like being mysterious," she says, reaching out to push against his shoulder. If he treats him like a kid, maybe this will be easier on her.

"Let's go get in line for the Ferris Wheel," she says, before turning away and blinking the moisture out of her eyes. Maybe if she walks with her eyes open that will dry out.

"So what do you think your brother got you?" she asks as she moves, trying to steer the conversation away from… well… her.

"Maybe a cool pin, you know like the one pilots get?" Peter taps two fingers to his chest in emulation of where he'd expect it wound rest, turning away from the shooting gallery towards the direction of the Ferris wheel, walking side-by-side with Gillian as he does. "I haven't… like, really told him? But I'm really jealous of Nathan, for like— getting to be a fighter pilot and all that stuff. I've been wanting to do that all my life, but my dad says I'm not really cut out for the military. He told me I should try going to the police academy after I dropped out of the ROTC last year."

A dark-eyed look angles up to Gillian. "Mostly, I just want to fly." His smile grows at that, broad and happy. "I can't even imagine how cool it must be, to be in control like that, able to go anywhere, soaring around like a bird!" Both of Peter's arms spread out to his side, his smile accompanied now by laughter. "So— yeah, I'm like… I'm a little jealous of Nathan."

And flying is something he will get to do, and for a while, she would as well. Gillian can't help but picture the time he kidnapped her out of a Company Car, flew her through the cold air, and dropped her off on the roof of a building. She shot him, and then put a bullet into the statue of a cherub. A bullet hole that still remains, as of the last time she went up there…

Flight isn't always freedom… It always comes with a price.

"I can understand that. I've always hated being tied down to places myself. But the problem with being able to go anywhere you want any time… it's best to have a place you can always go back to, too." A home. No bird should be without a nest, or a flock. It would be a sad bird…

"Too bad there's no bungie jumping here. That's close to flying. And I've never done it before, either. But we'll just have to settle for the Ferris Wheel, seeing the city from high up. And not jumping off. Cause your mom would kill me if anything happened to you."

"Nah," Peter dismissively admits with a frown and a shake of his head, getting in line for the Ferris wheel, though hesitating when he sees the price at the admissions boot, looking askance to Gillian instead with an expectant brow raised. "Ma doesn't really… like me all that much, y'know? Nathan's always been her favorite, Dad's too. I was the disappointment of the family, not good at anything they are, don't really like what they want me to do with my life. I don't really… want to be a cop, or a lawyer, or any of that crap."

Tucking his hands into the pockets of his slacks, Peter looks up to Gillian with a hesitant smile. "You have any trouble with your folks not really… understanding you, when you were my age?" He really is a good guesser, either that or he has no idea what ability he may have unintentionally absorbed.

It will be years before he realizes that he is special, and there is no telling how long he was unintentionally utilizing powers before then.

"I got my first tattoo when I was about your age," Gillian says, unable to show her true first tattoo, because she no longer has it, so instead twists her wrist to show off the one there. It's the first one she has that she got— so it's half true. "My sister was the tall and beautiful one, wanted to be a model and in theater— " And she's dead because of her, but she leaves that out. There's a distant look in her eyes. The 'was' could be a clue, especially since the next two don't get the same treatement. "My little brother's the athlete, and he's a cop now too. And my twin's the successful and stretched thin one. He's got his hands in most the charity work that I'm involved in."

The charity work she only got involved in because of him…

"I certainly didn't pick the careers my family would have wanted me to, I guess I was the more artistic one, which unfortunately isn't a respectable career unless you're really good." Drawings are a hobby, books were a lifestyle. But she's worried about mentioning she was a librarian…

There's butterflies she has to think about.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Peter listens to Gillian with an intent expression, inspecting her tattoo with a moment of scrutiny before looking back up at her. He smiles, teasingly, as he queries, "You going to pay for the Ferris wheel ticket, or do I have to pay for my baby-sitter?" Peter's the one getting awkward, now, having a kindred spirit around isn't as liberating as he thought it might be.

It just means that his situation isn't special, means that he isn't special. It's something that's important to him, and is important to the other man who was in Gillian's life too. Just that Peter eventually learned to outgrow his desire to find his parents approval and be someone special, where Gabriel Gray was consumed by it.

"I got money," Gillian says, offering him a sideways smile. Even if she's not as empathic, she can catch something in his change of mood that has caught her mind. "And I'm not a babysitter. You can consider me a friend," she says, flashing a more comfortable smile. All it took was him being uncomfortable to make her lighten up—

It's hard to know what is worse and what is better.

As she says this, she reaches into her pocket and pulls out the cash she "borrowed" from Hiro, handing it over to pay for them both.

"As long as you don't try to get me arrested, we can consider this a date," she adds. His discomfort makes it easier on her. Go figure. Though the tone is so joking, it could be taken as a joke… "I'm sure you've been on a few before."

"Yeah," comes a little too quick from Peter as he awkwardly laughs, "Yeah I've— been on plenty of dates, I'm like— girls love me back in school, y'know? What's not to like about an editor of the school newspaper and member of the chess club and drama class." There's a lopsided smile, even as Peter rakes his fingers back through his hair and offers an askance look to the ticket vendor as he and Gillian pass by, getting back in line to board the Ferris wheel.

After a moment, Peter's expression just sags and he exhales a breathy sigh. "Yeah I… am not exactly the most popular kid in the world. I told my mom I wanted to go into medicine and she thought I meant become a doctor," Peter laughs and reaches up to rake his fingers back through his hair. "I don't really… know how she's going to take my wanting to be a hospice nurse."

"You play chess?" Gillian asks, suddenly rather surprised at that mention, because it's not something she ever expected of him specifically. Chess used to be for nerds, until she had a dream about it, and then it suddenly became something else all together… Little does he know in many ways he became a kind of Knight on her chess board— until he became the Black King instead.

"A hospice nurse— that's… I don't think I could do that job, but I think it's…" As she's thinking of the right word, she suddenly stops, mouth open. What if she says the wrong thing and he changes his mind about becoming a hospice nurse!? …Time travel without a safety net (or a bungee cord) is scary. In more ways than one.

"I think people should do what they want to do with their lives. And she's your mom. I think she'll love you no matter what you do."

"Maybe," Peter offers quietly, shuffling forward in the line as they make progress and people begin loading on, incrementally going up as the next carraige comes to a wobbling stop for the people ahead of them to get on. "She's… busy, I dunno. There's a lot going on with Nathan getting married and dad being so tied up with work an' stuff." Reaching up to scratch his cheek, Peter looks over to Gillian with a fond smile, even if tempered by doubt.

"Not very good at chess, but it's fun. My mom pushed me to do extracurricular stuff, I'm not good at sports so it seemed like the next best thing. Nursing, though, I mean… it's kinda gay sounding, but," Peter laughs awkwardly, watching the carraige ahead of them begin to ascend as the next one comes into place and the Ferris wheel operator waves Gillian and Peter towards the door as he opens it for them.

"Go on in, watch yer step!"

"Thank you," Gillian says to the operator, as she steps up onto the Ferris Wheel bench, moving in far enough, but not all the way back. She's not trying to avoid him, or sit too far away from him, but at the same time allowing him to choose how close to sit to her.

"I actually played chess for a while about a year ago. I'd go down to the park and play on one of the benches, even bought my own set for it. Read a couple books to get ideas of manuevers. I wouldn't say I was very good at it, and I mostly played myself." Literally.

The last game she'd played was with herself, too. Or a piece of herself. "I haven't played in a while, and I was never very good at sports…"

With a motion, she's holding up the Care Bear. "But you're a pretty good shot when it matters." Like when he's getting a girl a bear? "And even if you know my favorite color just from looking at me… I don't think you're gay." Though if he was that would actually explain a lot. He had more beards than the one he recently grew.

Stepping in to the uncovered carraige, Peter settles down and folds his hands in his lap, offering a breathy laugh as he stares down at the backs of his hands. "Yeah, ah… thanks," sounds a bit wry, and the smirk Peter offers as he looks up to Gillian is as honest as it could possibly be. "I'm an okay shot, my dad always wanted me t'be better. He used to take me and Nathan hunting. Or, well— he took us hunting once and when I couldn't actually shoot a deer when I saw it, he made Nathan do it for me."

Frowning, Peter closes his eyes and offers a slow shake of his head. "I guess I'm kind've a natural with it though, but I don't really like guns, they make me really nervous. Pellet guns and stuff don't count, can't really hurt someone with one of those, right?"

The carraige jerks with a rusty squeak of metal as the Ferris wheel begins to slowly move, beginning to lift Gillian and Peter up off of the ground level of Coney Island.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"Well I can't blame you for that. You'd probably seen Bambi as a kid and all you could think is 'that's Bambi's mom'" Gillian says with a smile, reaching to touch his arm, whether it's appropriate or not. She's not the best shot, and she doesn't like shooting people either— but somehow…

No wonder he was so guilty. A gentle soul responsible for the deaths of a hundred thousand people…

And a gentle soul who almost killed her… Her eyes shift away to look down as the car rises up, trying to find that place where she found him, where he'd stimulated an ability fueled by jealousy and desire…

The closest thing they'd ever had to a relationship. The one and only time he kissed her.

"We never had anything, Gillian… You fell for me, but it was never the other way around; Not really."

The memory makes her hand pull away, as if she just realized she left it there. Some things scar more deeply than others.

The silence is shared by both of them, with Peter's youthful countenance lit by the bright afternoon sun, watching it set down over Manhattan, all its gleaming buildings still standing, not marred in any visible sense by terrorists of any kind. There's a smile on Peter's face, one of happiness, one of contentment. It's a smile Gillian has never found in him before, one that isn't forced on like an ill-fitting theater mask, one that has a youthful honesty to it.

Ignorance, sure, but honest ignorance.

"So…" Peter slowly looks over to Gillian. "You must know my mom's friend Chalres, then, right?" It's hard to say why he's making that assumption. "Charles Deveax?" Oh! "He's nice, even if I don't see him all that very often. I didn't know you worked for him though, but Mister Deveaux seems like the kind of person who'd have someone like you working for him. He's got this amazing building downtown. Me and mom go and see him on the weekends, they have tea, I watch movies on his big screen…"

Oh— crap. No, Gillian doesn't know Charles. At all. "Remember when I said my twin did most the charity work— he's the one who works with them more than me. But I've met him a few times…" Except that she hasn't. She's not even sure who he is, or what he looks like. But the name does ring a bell— as she looks off toward the city skyline as they rise up, she remembers the place he took her, when he kidnapped her.

The place she dreamed about their son that will never be. The cherubs. "I do like the view from up there. The statues, the cherubs?" The view depicted in a painting of a future, hanging in Cardinal's office. A replica of the original painting, at least. One would think this would distract her from heartbreaking thoughts. It doesn't.

While pressing the bear up against her body again, she feels the locket around her neck shift and she gets an idea. "Do you think I could a picture while we're here? Maybe one of those cheesy tourist pictures with a pre-made frame. This just feels like one of those moments you'd want to capture."

Especially since she doesn't think she'll ever see him smile like that again.

Laughing to himself, Peter looks over to Gillian and cracks a smile. "Yeah, sure, there's one of those fotobooths on the boardwalk, we'll cram in there and make some stupid faces." He's elated at the idea, even if endearingly awkward in his youth. "You know, I hope my mom makes you keep me away from the house longer. Because— I could probably get used to hanging out with you, Gwen."

Dark eyes turn back to the sunset, a rich orange ball dipping between the World Trade Center's two towers, shining vibrantly. "I thought today was going to be pretty lame," sounds terrible and he knows it, wincing as a smile creeps up on his face and he turns to look back to Gillian. "But you know, you're pretty cool. Tattoos and all."

Maybe a picture will make this moment last longer.

The bear against her side gets clutched a little harder than she could wish. It's not the bear Gillian's really hugging, but a sympathetic gesture. For herself. Because… "Unfortunately I'm leaving town tonight. Part of the errand," she says, looking off between the twin towers, that aren't standing in her time, and haven't been since she was… nearly his age. She's not sure she ever saw them quite like this.

"But I'm glad you find me cool. I would hate to have been the 'babysitter' all night." Cause it's not what she ever wanted to be, even when she technically was. She'd rather be the cool older sister— and in this case… well…

She can't help but want to be the one thing she never can be, but it could be the closest she'll ever get. "I think you're a very special young man. And I'm glad I was able to meet you." The look in her eyes is honest, sincere— and more than a little sad.

Eventually the Ferris wheel — like all wheels — comes full circle.

The sun will set, and the noises and laughter of the Coney Island fair will fade from both Peter Petrelli and Gillian Childs' minds. Her memento from this time in the past, a time notably not marked by violence, is a single stip of black and white photographs taken in the old Fotobooth on the boardwalk, of Peter's smiling face and as many weird expressions as he could make.

By the time they're back in the upper west side, by the time the lights have all gone out and the city is lit in its own electric incandescence, Gillian's parting gift to Peter is a quick peck on the cheek, one she ambushes him with, and by the time he turns to see the woman who kissed him.

She's gone.

Stolen away like a thief in the night, Gillian is plucked from the past without so much as a warning. The unfortunate events of the past that could have transpired, averted, the assassins that were sent for Peter never managed to track him down thanks to the intervention of Gillian and Angela.

History may have been preserved, but how much of her own suffering is Gillian responsible for?

Would Peter have been attracted to her if not for this?

How would the future have been different?

Gillian will never know the answer to that.

But she will question it every night.

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