Do You Remember When...


gillian_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Do You Remember When…
Synopsis A conversation in hiding and reflection on a reunion, and of course the ever present question: what next?
Date April 24, 2009

An Apartment Somewhere on Staten Island

No one would say that New York weather, even in what might be Spring in most places, is comfortable for lounging around barely clothed. That's what blankets are for. As the darkness settles in the mostly clear sky above, a pristine left arm reaches out of the warmth of a matress bed and fumbles for something. It takes a few minutes before a match strikes, and a small dancing flame is lowered to a scented dark purple candle. Japanese Plum scented, Gillian had retrieved one from the safehouse which happened to be keeping her things. As well as clothes, and an orange fuzzball who has started to become a ferryman mascot. The fuzzball was left behind, for the moment.

Waving the match quickly, she puts out the small flame and looks back toward the mattress bed with the small light that bounces off the walls, casting just enough illumination for her to see by. Even in the dim glow, she still smiles, though the shadows make that difficult to see. Turning her left wrist so she can glance at it, she says outloud. "I'm going to need to get my tattoo touched up. It has kind of a crack in it." Healing her skin of the lightning burns and frostbite that tried to claim her fingers didn't restore the disrupted part of her tattoo. "Though I might keep it… it's kind of neat."

A crack in a tribal yin/yang. It's kind of cool.

There was a time when such surroundings were only tangible in dreams. Trapped as he was in his own head while Kazimir did god knows what with his body, this familiar routine became a broken record of memory, from the scent of candle wax and human skin through to the tone both take on under the cover of darkness and candlelight.

In this reality, the tattoos don't move around, even if long hair shifts like ink against skin in much the same way. Gabriel's eyelids are heavy, eyes alert beneath them as Gillian draws attention to her disrupted tattoo. "They're both scars," he responds, neutrality erring on the side of agreement. "Both have memories." His owned bared arm extends out, and he doesn't need to do much indicating to draw attention to the large marking on his arm, one she'll remember. She had even been there, watching the needle pierce skin, had been the first to touch it even with the skin still pink around the edges. "This never goes away. Even when I change faces."

Which he's been doing a lot lately. Hiding, that is, and disguises are necessary. He's meant to be captured by Homeland Security and such a ruse is a good one to maintain. Here, however, in the shadows of a private room in some corner of a pirate island, he can be himself. The sheets pool around his waist, cover long legs making shapes beneath them, his back curved and rested against the bedhead.

It'd been the same time she had hands added to the clock tattoo, making note of their agreement, and what it would mean when they kept it. It would have been over, or it was supposed to be. Gillian couldn't have imagined how things would have gone that night when the clock struck five minutes til midnight. No one would have made her think for a moment it would turn out the way it did— anymore than the raid on Moab.

"You haven't mention that," she comments, rolling over to face him so she can sit up against his arm on the other side. The blanket pools down around her when she sits up more, reaching to run her fingers over the tattoo.

"Never go away…" It'd always been such a nice thought, something she keeps to. Even if some of her tattoos are connected to bad memories, sometimes people need to take the good with the bad. Turning her wrist again, she adds on. "It will save me from getting another tattoo to commemorate getting struck by lightning in one place and then nearly freezing to death in fucking Antarctica." Poetic in a way, also connected to the tattoo on her upper arm.

It's a nice thought, if a dangerous one. But only dangerous in so far as a hypothetical inability to wear long sleeves. Gabriel gives a soft snort. "You won't need a tattoo, let alone a scar," he comments, not doing much to respond to the fact she's leaning against him other than to allow it, to share warmth as his dark gaze flicks from his tribal tattoo to her simpler yin/yang marking, with its crooked seam running through it. "Antarctica isn't something you'll forget in a hurry."

Not that he would know. If there's one thing he doesn't remember, it's living without an eternal memory. Strange, too, how lightly he can speak of it. As if her betrayal hadn't led to him being able to insinuate as to how memorable Antarctica can be. There's only so much past one can trip over, even with a perfect memory.

"Is there any pain left?"

"Nothing out of place, no," Gillian responds simply, flexing her fingers so that her thumb touches the tips of a couple of them. "The worst part was not being able to feel my fingers, and that's gone now— the rest I was just sore everywhere. Getting lugged around didn't help much." Not to mention stripped naked and bandaged by an ex-nurse turned terrorist turned escape prisoner. Not to mention all the rest.

"I actually don't remember too much about Antarctica. I woke up inside. Hell, I was relieved to learn we were in the present, cause some crazy lady there had an obsession with totally out of date calendars." Which made her worried. For good reason. Time travel is complicated. With his perfect memory…

"Remember when we first found each other? I wasn't really worried that you'd make it out okay, you seem able to survive anything, but…" There's a pause. They've had so many sudden seperations and reunions that each one has it's own memoral moment…

Out in the Kalahari, leaning off the edge of a Staten Island pirate ferry seems surreal, the water infinite and murky underneath his gaze, the woolen coat thick and wrapped around him against the cold that only touched Botswana in the dead of night. Unharmed, well-rested, you wouldn't have guessed the starting point of Gabriel's journey.

Even a sunset couldn't make the Staten Island docks seem attractive. Paint the world in amber oranges, fiery red and glowing gold and still the water skulks slimily beneath the jetties, the smell of dying sea life turning the air sour, as if this end of the river were a caustic thing eroding away the pirate docks. But a good a place as any for a reunion, Gabriel stepping from yacht to jetty with practiced ease, as shadowy and warmly dressed as the sailors crawling the boat behind him.

He'd already seen Gillian on the shoreline from ten or so minutes away, so it doesn't take much looking now that his feet have found land. Toll paid on the shores of Manhattan, Gabriel departs from the boat without another word, leaving the sound and smells of the river behind him as he moves on over towards the solitary woman, dressed as darkly as can only be predicted. His boots fall heavy against the rickety jetty.

For a man who's been in the African desert for as long as he was, Gabriel appears healthy, save for a few subtle streaks on his face telling of burns from the sun and desert wind. There's no limp in his step as he moves towards her briskly, over wooden slats and then packed earth.

No visible sunburn on Gillian, though she's wearing a lighter jacket than might have been expected for the cool New York early Spring. An umbrella even sticks out of a bag, as on and off sprinkles aren't uncommon. The bag hanging from her shoulder drops as soon as his feet hit the earth, trusting to be able to leave it there for a few seconds as she meets him a few steps away. Arms raise up and wrap around him, not as strongly as they could, and with a small grunt of pain, followed by breaths of relief. They'd arranged the meet up, but that doesn't mean she isn't still, somehow, relieved by the reunion.

On the surface she looks more or less the same. The few steps forward showed signs of stiffness, limp. The left hand is wrapped in bandages and applying less force to his back, and intricate things only a doctor could catch with proper machines can be heard going on within her body.

Irregular heartbeat, murmuring slightly. Hint of damage to lungs when she inhales and exhales, causing her usual raspy voice to be just a little more raspy when she gives the most eloquent of greetings.


His arms go around her, accepting the embrace and allowing his eyes to shut for the time it takes. From the boat, there's a mocking wolf-whistle that barely catches the breeze, a rasping laughter that sounds more distant to Gillian than it does to Gabriel. An irritated glance back from the serial killer, before his arm remains curled around Gillian's shoulders, with the intent to lead her away from the docks.

All the flaws are noted, visually and audibly - he's looking for them, and it's possibly not more than he expected. He'd practically left her to die, and yet no apology seems forthcoming. He'd been left to die too. Teo had pointed out to Kinney that he wouldn't be alive if not for Gabriel, but perhaps the same can be said in reverse.


"Hi," he mutters as he leads her uphill, keeping a hold of her. Easy enough to go straight back there and have the sailors give up a little of themselves to fix her, but he's attempting to turn over a new leaf. And that new leaf says he can't kill just anyone. Five dead African poachers might have an argument or three for that, of course. Baby steps. "This needs to stop happening." The words come out dry, bordering on amused. As if the world keeps trying to drive a crowbar between them every time it tries end.

Before getting too far away, Gillian grabs the bag so that it doesn't get left behind to be looted by the men of the ferry. They aren't known for leaving abandoned personal items unmolested. Before they get too far, she gives the men of the boat a dimpled smile, and then grabs more forcefully onto his arm. Yeah, she's with him. The laughter may not have been due to jealous, but she might as well pretend it was. It sounds better in her head.

"I know, it's starting to become a pattern, one I'm not really liking too much," she confesses, but there's a mild sound of amusement in the raspy voice. The movement further away is good enough, with no idea exactly what happened to him, or where he was, or that he killed anyone. The time apart had even been less for her, since there was a time jump to the future for her. Does that mean her birthday is technically on a different day this year? Cause she's a week or so younger than she should be? Time travel, you are so complicated. "You wouldn't believe where I ended up." That might be part of the amusement factor, considering. "I was in Antarctica. The South Pole."

She raises her left hand up and holds her hand awkwardly. It's like she wants to put it into a fist, and can't. "Are you okay?"

Fucking Antarctica. Gabriel glances down to what he can see of Gillian, which at this angle is a mess of dark hair and shoulders. Antarctica, she woke up in freezing tundra even he could barely survive, with electrical burns and chlorine making her vision split into nothing. He's quiet at first, simply leading them up dirt track, as the sky bruises into darker colours.

"I'm fine," comes his stilted answer, finally. Which isn't a lie, it just isn't everything. But what it sums up to is precisely that. Fine-r than she is, too. "I woke up in Africa. Teo and I. Took us several days to get any kind of signal out, but…" But it could be worse. It could have been Antarctica. "How did you…?"

Africa. They sure got thrown to totally different locations. Gillian seems relieved to hear mention of Teo, due to the fact that he's one of the few people that he could get stuck with that she even remotely trusts not to try and shoot him in the back (like she did?). Or worse. But how did she… "I wasn't there alone. That… that girl who was in the hallway? You seemed to recognize her— I'm not sure what her name was. The one who stabbed the other guy— the one you had some kind of deal with? She was there." She did give him the 'we'll talk about that later' look, but considering the rest of what she has to say… There's that hesitation in her voice, hinting that she isn't the one that she's worried about bringing up at all.

Oh well. What's the worse that could happen? "I was with Peter. He got us inside fast, and made sure we got medical attention. For all I know he even healed me a little— he can do just about everything… But I didn't wake up for a day or so. He kept them believing things that weren't real until we could teleport back."

'He can do just about everything'. No verbal or visual response from Gabriel, but he does glance sharply towards her at the mention of Peter's name. Of all the reactions, a sharp glance is pretty mild all things and histories considered. "At least he fixed one part of this mess," Gabriel says, tone disparaging. Obviously a conclusion he's come to.

"Incidentally. Alexander and Helena and whoever else we went in for are all missing, I guess this means Peter is accounted for now. He didn't heal you very well, your heart beat isn't going like it should. You're not breathing right, either." God forbid Gabriel motherhen anyone, these observations are dropped as if he were noting the flaws in Mr. He Can Do Just About Anything's work.

Sadly, she has no idea who the Alexander guy even is, except from brief glances at a Phoenix meeting before the whole bridge incident. And that he was top priority to the interm boss. "I meant to go see Abby if the pain got worse, but…" She hesitates to use people for their abilities right now, and she's thinks she'll be fine… course she had no idea she was having heart issues. That changes things a bit. She might have to. Even if she is kind of not looking forward to it. That, and Abby knows her brother. She does not wish to get lectured for ditching on her brother.

But… even if he wasn't motherhenning, it sparks a question, one she looks at him when she asks, "Were you worried about me?" And there's that hint of a dimpled smile, an amused tone to her voice.

"But you weren't sure." If he would survive, that is. In the present, candlelight flickers lower as the wick burns down. In this lighting, Gabriel's eyes are black glass as opposed to the brighter amber-brown they truly are. He slides a little deeper into bed, turning towards her and an arm snaking around her waist, seeking her out beneath the covers. "Neither was I."

Admitting what he couldn't admit at the time of their reunion, Gabriel just casting her a look that doesn't do much to articulate the fact he had panicked, let alone worried. Silently panicked. Teo wouldn't have attributed such a word to him, in observation, but that's what uncertainty would do.

"Mm," is all the response Gillian gets, dark gaze sweeping out to the long walk ahead of him. "I can fix you, before we go any further. You probably shouldn't even be walking around, otherwise I could take you to her."

"I've been walking around all right," Gillian insists, though she does stop moving after a few more steps and turns to face him. "But it would be nice to be able to feel my fingers again," she admits, not telling him that she's half worried that she never will anyway. Just like he couldn't admit everything back then, she wasn't quite ready to admit her own weaknesses. Not that being afraid of frostbite should be a weakness. It's a legitimate worry.

"You've never healed me before. It doesn't need my help, does it? I have my ability back now, but I'm going to be a lot more careful using it around you and him for a while." Also with good reason. The whole mess, even if he seemed to blame part of it on Peter, had been just as much her own fault. They'd learned what damage an augmentation loop could cause… And she's learned that she can't control her ability at all when in agony.

Looking toward the candle, she continues to toy at the skin where his tattoo sits, touching it with fingertips whose feeling was saved. "No, I wasn't sure… We were a week in the future already and for all I knew the whole thing could have dropped you off twenty years ago, or two years from now, and then even your survival wouldn't have been so much a question as how you'd get back." And it happened before. It could happen again. She's glad to learn it didn't happen quite like that this time. Not for them. And since he hadn't answered her question before… there's a small incentive to try again, in the dimming light. "Were not sure you would be okay, or me?"

A lazy blink, considering the answer. In the intimacy of this situation, the world separated from them with wavery firelight and closed curtains, it's hard to dodge questions. "The last I saw you, before Peter thought it was a good idea to scatter us everywhere, I'd put you to sleep. You were dying. I woke up in some unknown desert where the only person I could hear for miles was Teo. I thought I'd killed you."

Considering what her ability combined with his did to a patch of Staten Island, they were lucky he'd chosen that ability to get them away rather than just killing all of them. Not that Gillian remembers much of what happened once the agony hit her… Only the faintest memory of his face near hers, and a strange smelling air brushing across her. And then nothing at all for quite some time. "You didn't. For all we know you saved everyone from watching a nuke at point-blank range by knocking me out." Wasn't in time to keep all of them from scattering, but it worked well enough. "It's okay to have been worried about me," she adds, leaning closer to press her cheek against his chest. Dark hair slides out of position and tickles against skin.

Gabriel shifts as appropriate when she does, curling an arm around her shoulders and directing his gaze upwards. It's not a perfect haven. Water damage makes stains in the ceiling, blossoming brown-edged paintings that even mood lighting can't cover. Her hair smells nice, however, and so he shuts his eyes and soaks up her presence. Creature comforts. He says nothing, doesn't agree or disagree, just casts his mind back again.

"No, it won't."

Need her help, that is. Their journey steered, away from the more urban sections of Staten Island until the dirt track stops pretending to be a track and becomes broken, wild ground. No sound of anyone, not even to Gabriel's ears. Insects, birds. The swaying of branches. Even things these will cease to be not so far later.

"Hold still." He comes to stand in front of her, hand wrapping around the one she can't feel, other settling low on her neck and dark eyes studying her light pair. To her vision, perhaps the shadows lengthen, or a cloud passed what sunset there was, because it does get darker, and then there's a crack sound as suddenly, behind her, a branch falls from a tree in a dry sounding splintering of wood.

Because it's dead, and like the rest of the flora around them, it's gone brown, shrivelling, grey and ashy. Shapes remain but the life in them seems to drain dry, leaves falling, flowers twisting in on themselves. The faintest prickle of dissonance against her own skin, before she'll know life and rejuvenation more intimate than even Abby's ability, but slower going, syrup-health pushing through veins.

As the aches and pains begin to melt away, Gillian closes her eyes, not noticing the changes in the area around her as she concentrates on the changes within herself. A whisp of cool wind hits her, pushing her hair out of place as her heartbeat accelerates in nervousness and anticipation, and then slows again. Steadier. No longer off rhythm. The way she breathes also changes too. But the crack behind her must snap her out of it. Eyes open and she turns away to look at the falling branch, eyes confused, mouth working in question.

And then the extent of the damage becomes clear to her eyes. "I feel better," she says after a moment, something cautious about the way she's speaking, as if she's not totally sure about what he's doing, but not wanting to question it, either. It's just plants, after all. Probably bugs too and other gross things. Not like he just made a box full of puppies shrivel up. Lifting her left hand, she manages to squeeze her fingers closed and grins. "Hey— I can finally feel my fingers again." See? A tree and plants are definitely worth being able to move her fingers again.

"Is it gone?" His eyes open as she speaks, demonstrates what his ability has done by curling the hand he's still holding. The darkness is pushing back to something normal, the sky slate grey and streaked with sunset still. There's an ashy scent in the air of decayed vegetation, as if poison had been laced through the soil. Gabriel wonders how far this scar in the Greenbelt extends, how long it will take for things to begin growing here again. "All of it?"

As she's asked that question, Gillian starts to unwind the bandage on her hand, finally undoing it all the way so she can close her hand into a fist and get a good look at the burns and the frostbite, which have healed away. She can move her digits again, feel her fingers, and the only sign at all that she had damaged her hand would be on her wrist, a marring of her tattoo. The one she got the very day she met him as Gabriel. The very day that she first saw Peter Petrelli almost blowing up. Without any idea at all what the tattoo would end up meaning for her.

The final test comes in the form of a few steps. The limp she'd gotten used to, the pain in her joints and muscles… even that is gone. "Feels like it. I can't hear my heart beat or my breathing though."

Glancing back at him again, she smiles. "You can do nearly everything too." And better?

Humouring him, at least a little, and Gabriel is human enough to cast her half a smile in acknowledgement, walking a little as she does as if they were circling each other. Dead twigs crack dryly underneath his feet. There's no clicking of insects anymore, their hollow husks still hidden away in logs and trunks nearby, with brown moss clinging dustily to peeling tree bark.

"Nearly," he agrees, wryly, and casts a look upwards towards the dying light. "One thing I can't do is teleport us anywhere. Or fly, for that matter. We should get going before it gets any later. My place or yours?" He extends a hand towards her.

Taxi cabs are overrated anyway. They usually end up leaving. Sometimes without even saying good bye. "Yours," Gillian decides without even thinking about it too long. There's places she's been staying, of course, but they're all connected to the Ferrymen. They're not her's. And in some ways she'd feel a lot better if they went to a place that did actually belong to one of them. She pats the bag hanging over her shoulder, which must feel a lot lighter now that she's no longer in pain, "I have clothes and pretty much everything else I need. Long as your place has a bed… I think we'll be okay." She moves closer again, to take his hand, discarding the bandage on the ground. Littering. Tsk.

Back in his place, the place they went to wait out the night, and spend quite a lot longer than either of them probably intended, she whispers in a voice not as rough as it'd been at the beginning of their reunion, "I missed you." And this does seem to keep happening to them, doesn't it? What next?

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