Earth Sucks


gabriel_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Earth Sucks
Synopsis Post-African conversations take place on a rooftop in Staten Island. Apparently more terrible things are going to happen. They should have stayed in Mars probably.
Date April 26, 2009

A Staten Island Ferryplace

Staten Island sleeps in the concentric patterns of wrinkling black surf like a drowsing animal. Stars overhead, wind moving below it but still well above Teo's head.

He is on the roof, despite having no real conviction that he would see Gabriel coming even from the vantage of superior elevation, with the door down on his left and the single point of a yellow light on to the right corner of the building. The warehouse below him is blocked off by diamond-latticed chainlink and waterfront. A lot like the one that the rescue operation blew apart to get to Abigail. Sort of blew a chunk out of Abby too, but by now, the little boy Sicily has learned to nod his head and accept, insofar as notions are reserved for later evaluation, that these things happen.

Though, granted, there are so many things that generalizing seems sort of stupid. Hard to comprise one cohesive category with former terrorist friends lying and Feebs being stupid or crazy and Abigail was on television too, but not really, and Cat said Hiro switched powers with the President so maybe the reason Teo is really up on the edge of this roof is that he's thinking about throwing himself off. Coward's way out. He can't, anyway: Catholic.

After some minutes, he begins to whistle.

There's no real reason why Teo shouldn't see Gabriel coming. It might be more of a worry if he didn't, all things considered. But eventually a dark silhouette with square shoulders navigates its way towards the building, along the waterfront, disappears out of vantage point away from where the light spills grimy gold onto concrete.

Teo is alone for a little longer, with only his whistling to keep him company. The wind isn't even making a sound. Then, finally, the shadows from the doorway seems to lengthen, inky substance that blends well with nighttime corners squeezing its way past, thickens, and soundlessly tornadoes up until solid soles of shoes find the floor, and there's the slight sound of a ruffle of an equally black coat settling back into the world of gravity.

Paranoia and dramatics go hand in hand. Or perhaps Gabriel doesn't feel quite welcome here, ghosting his way through the interior of the building before becoming tangible once the Italian is located. There's a parallel, here, an easy one to draw with a super memory so readily helpful to make such connections, but Gabriel's saunter on over doesn't match Tavisha's self-conscious shuffle, despite the similarities. His clothes also don't hold the reek of cigarette smoke, as he comes to stand nearby and cast a glance out towards sprawling Staten Island.

It's been since Africa, and leaving it, and the last Teo saw of him was when Gabriel was in a different shape entirely; an arcing, sarcastic wave from a feminine hand before he went his own direction without so much as a thank you Kinney's way. Home is important.

It's a little too late to be perturbed by shapeshifting, given the frequency of its use and presence in Teo's life, so it's far too tardy to wonder at its absence. The squid ink is disconcerting, a little. The vocabulary of his mind closely resembles the Beauchamp girl's in some respects, the dichotomy of angels and demons, and animate darkness has always resonated with a certain paranoid element in both their minds.

His lips stop in their musical pucker; his eyes pop slightly; he straightens his face about a second before the man's feet find the strangely solid roof. Probably too late to salvage his dignity from Sylar's powers of perception, but Teo's rarely too worried about that. He recovers like A Pro is what matters, shoulders squaring, and he holds his ground. Himself, he's recovered from his sunburn and dehydration in full, with no immediate evidence that his optimism has waned either.

Not immediately. "Buona sera." He inclines his head without stooping his shoulders. "I'm glad you're in good health. Gillian as well?"

I don't know, do you get dignity after Africa? Waking up in the middle of nowhere, inhaling sand and huddling under boulders like frightened children. To be fair, neither men performed badly when suddenly lost in the desert, and Gabriel is the one that fell flat on his face first, so sure. Why not. His hands find his pockets, now that he's settled back into a solid human form, and beneath the black coat, there's predictably more black, although his jeans could be called navy. Otherwise nondescript, and no sign of sunburn either. No marks to show off their adventures in Botswana, no battle scars.

Although Gabriel did take home a snapshot, one in his mind with that very curious name. It's nothing he's spoken of. Nothing he intends to. "She is now," he responds, gaze returning to Teo. "She woke up in Antarctica." Eyebrow raise. Damn sight worse than their predicament, silent panic being given a good reason for existing. "She was still hurt by the time she came back here, but I took care of it."

Because Peter can't. Some people are better at having a godlike control over everything, or so is Gabriel's belief. Despite reporting the fact his lover was returned to him not so much in one piece, there's smug satisfaction in his voice.

Way to go with the priorities, Gabe. Because you're soooo much better at doing right by your girl, between the decapitating her sister part, the scar on her head, and the ditching her unconscious corpus for Botswana part, and now this wonderful show of kindly priorities—

Teo puts his eyebrow down about two seconds after he lifted it. Right. No. Sure. Whatever. He shifts his eyes out over the sea for a brief moment, before nodding his head in agreeable agreement. "Antarctica," he agrees. "I wouldn'tve survived that. Maybe you could. That's rough for il suo innamorato. 'M glad she's all right.

"I also wanted to thank you for doing Abby that turn on the television the other day. She's been frustrated with the press lately. Hasn't driven her as deep into hiding as the rest of us, but it's hard for a girl who actually maintains a public life." Teo turns up the corners of his mouth slightly, hollowing his cheeks in: a genuine smile, heartfelt. His almost invariably are.

It's his eyes that shade the tell, hesitation, wondering: "Gillian and I the only ones you've met since coming back?"

"Yes," Gabriel confirms, head tilting a little, before he tilts his gaze upwards. Mouth opens, something, some question on the tip of his tongue but its swallowed back, gaze dipping back down towards the plane of concrete a few storeys below them. "Why, still trying to find the rest of your flock?"

Inward criticism invariably goes unnoticed, and more importantly, unassumed. He fixed her from adventures in Antarctica better than Peter did, and besides, Gabriel should know as to whether or not he'd survive the snowy desert. She did indirectly send him there, after all, but such a tidbit he keeps to himself. Pride in helping people is fun, as much as it might be for selfish gain.

Speaking of which—

"You're welcome," he says, simply, barely thinking to bother with a lie about his stunt. It's amazing what one can do with a convincing accent and a sunny demeanor, even before he could change his face, so it's nice for someone slightly more knowing to figure it out. "The newsstands have been interesting, lately. I couldn't help but notice."

Since Teo is trying to find the rest of his flock, he nods affirmitive. That isn't the point though, so he adds, "Not that exactly." It's very interesting, the whole space-time cock-up.

Almost as interesting as— the newsstands? For a moment, Teo can't tell whether or not Gabriel is trying to be wry or merely indifferent. Riots, chaos in the polls, paranoia, conspiracy theories, bigotry run rampant in the papers, and the Evolved make the headlines often enough. Granted, seeing your friend in the paper is always novel— unless maybe you're Sonny, who doesn't have friends anyway. It takes him a second or three to assemble the component logic behind the hedonistic nature of altruism, and then his face goes funny, considering that: altruism, Sylar. Well, Teodoro woulda thunk it if anybody could.

"I was talking about Eileen, though. If you'd seen her. There's… I think there's something wrong with her." He cracks a pallid eye open, studies Gabriel from through fringy eyelids. "She said she'd been off doing Vanguard business and caught a pretty bad injury for it, but that's never struck me as something she should do by herself.

"I know she isn't wont to let either of us into her shit just because we ask, but— I thought you should know. She might be in trouble." Screening how much to tell and what to withhold has always been an agonizing balancing act for Teodoro. Worse with every act Felix Ivanov commits that tips the scales closer to letting the Reaper have him. At this point, it might be more to shelter Gabriel's immortal soul than Ivanov's mortal body that Teo thinks the better than to state the circumstances on more descriptive terms.

"I can tell she doesn't like lying to me."

"So you've seen her." A glance, uncertainty briefly defining his expression. As close as Gabriel gets to worrying, is not being sure. "I assumed she hadn't come back to the city."

It's predictable - who else, truly, would Teo expect the former serial killer to associate with? He stays silent, making no confirmation or correction as to whether he's been in touch, not at first, taking in Teo's assessment.

There's something wrong with her. Jarring notion. Because, of course there's something wrong with her, the Vanguard was a collection of broken people. But Teo must know that. He must mean more. Gabriel turns his back towards the horizon, rests back against the railing, hands coming out to grip the cold metal and simply listening, letting his thoughts stay hidden and huddled beneath a mask of stoic indifference.

Save for a singular glance at that last comment, slightly knowing, slightly amused. "Not to you, maybe." Perhaps this isn't the time to be bitter, not that Gabriel is going to apologise or anything. "What do you think she meant by that? Vanguard business." The newsstands have been interesting lately, that wasn't sardonic at all. More interesting now, however.

Always the big fan of marshmallow clouds and candy rainbows, Teo asserts a metaphorical hug around this weakened and wilted friendship between erstwhile serial killer and the ravenkin's Englishwoman. Strength to it! Warmth to it. And…

Honestly, he isn't exactly a shining beacon of healthy friendships or full transparency within said friendships either, so he's left frowning slightly at the bitterness in Sylar's words, and it's transparent as the sparkle-spangle of the night firmament, that twinge of sympathy. "I'm not sure. Only thing I honestly believe she might be doing is… hunting down old operatives.

"Seems consistent with inertia— " she had been the first to turn on the Vanguard, after all, "her need to redeem herself. 'S well as self-destructive and dangerous and shit. You know." You know: Eileen. The Sicilian's lips tighten, whiten faintly. Sylar turns away, but he doesn't frown because of that.

His boots scrape closer to the roof's edge and he peers down, sees the tiny point of a spigot jutting from the wall, the gutter grille grinning bleakly back at him. Teo exhales. A sigh.

The skies have been empty of her presence. That's really all Sylar can think, the reason he had assumed she'd moved on, found some other place— away from him— to get on with things. Or to hunt down operatives. Gabriel doesn't ask for Teo to clarify whether the word hunt is as literal as a knife in the girl's hand and coldness in her heart, or an ongoing search for her lost father-figure and former God-fearing protector. One is interesting, one is hurtful.

No, angering. Getting the band back together, and despite her assertions that he is a part of it, he isn't, or so he told her. Creative differences. Gabriel's shoulders curl a little. Teo's assessment implies the former, at least. Interesting. Confusing. Self-destructive and dangerous.

"It sounds like fun," he says, and that's not just to sound spooky, to keep the myth of big bad Sylar alive. He shrugs. "What else is there left for any of us to do other than pick up the pieces?" Or turn into faith healers and say 'hi' to mom on TV. You know. "She shouldn't be doing it alone, but it's not like I'm invited. Maybe she's running with the others. Holden. Maybe she's lying to you to protect them."

Holden. There's a thin flash of exposed tooth between Teo's lips at that. Gunshot to Eileen's leg and Ethan Holden lets her limp back to a Ferrymen safehouse without medical treatment, never mind a psychic healer abducted into a potato sack.

Possibly 'the others,' though Teodoro's imagination is momentarily inadequate to the task of assembling a squad from the faces that Eileen had given to him last year. Seems likelier, really, that she'd be trying to protect little Italy from the Vanguard, honestly, and that's a token kindness he might even appreciate on some level.

"Odessa Knutson's still alive— somewhere. I should've told her that.

"Heard the Pancratium lost both its top fighters, too." While they're on the subject of the Wolf, that is. They're all very abstract, these other names. Operatives whose power and intent he had taught himself to fear, avoid, and only very necessarily and nervously negotiate with. "You don't think there's anything to be done."

'Odessa Knutson' gets even less of a reaction than 'Eileen' did. The mad woman who could stop time and wore ridiculous shoes and kissed him that one time and preferred monster over man. Gabriel stays still as Teo reports this news, head lifted to watch him report such news he already knew having seen her with his own eyes. Of course, Gabriel also sees the faces of Kazimir, of Wu-Long, of Jennifer Childs lurking in the backstage of his conscience. He could have easily convinced himself into thinking the dead Company child was a hallucination.

Until now. His hand lifts up to scratch unshaven jaw. Alive. It's like finding a puzzle piece that doesn't fit with the picture he's trying to build. Metaphorically he stands at the edge of the table, twiddling the piece between fingers and scratching his head with the other hand.

All in good time. He doesn't afford Teo a reaction save for one quick look and more stillness and silence, and a complete lack of opinion. "Holden fought his way out several weeks ago. I'd slipped him a knife, sometime after you had me fight him." If there's accusation there, it lacks conviction. He remembers everything he did as Tavisha, and can barely recall everything he had felt, wanted, desired. "Last I knew he was going to find her. Logic dictates he has." Dismissal. She's fine, clearly. "Why, what do you think needs doing?"

"I wouldn't know. Is kind of the fucking point," Teo grouses in the direction of his shirt collar. He has one hand up on the back of his neck, scraping at the skin there as if that would settle his nerves or his hackles. He isn't especially surprised that Ethan is back out here, somewhere.

"I'm not a very good Catholic. Aside from the obvious," hurr durr, gay, "I guess—

"I apparently don't fucking believe in letting people enjoy consequences of their own fuckups. It's a flaw. You pointed it out."

And quite possibly one of no consequence in and of itself in this situation. The monsters walk free. Some revisiting old ground, others embarking on fresh hunts, still others yet to resurface in their orange jumpsuits and subterranean motivations. Teodoro finds himself in the happy situation of accepting some small portion of credit for all of this. At least the world's only diseased, not dead. He pockets his hands and studies the the older man's face.

Indifference is like a species of serenity, or so he's often thought. Either that, or his believing so is one reason out of many Teo's never really understood the saints. "Just one other thing— sorry— if you'd humor me."

How is it that Gabriel surrounds himself with people who— have such a bizarre attitude towards their own mistakes. That speak of them in such ways, turns them around with words so that they're not mistakes after all, so open to interpretation that a whole plague of wrong meaning floods in. Teo and Eileen both. Gillian is refreshingly simplistic in what she has to say.

"It's not about enjoying the consequences of their own fuckups," Gabriel finally snaps, irritation from some unknown place making him visibly bristle, despite Teo folding to the former serial killer's non-argument. It's the word choices, that's the one, that summon up absent guilt. Like a stand-in form of conscience.

Regardless, Gabriel is blind to it. The railing creaks a little as he takes his weight off it. "If she wants to find a way to atone, then let her." Or she'll die trying. Which is probably why he'll try to find her anyway.

His arms shift in only a hint of a shrug. Yes?

Possibly, if they were in more of a sharing mood, Teo would be heartened by the thought that the legendary Gabriel Gray was going to find her anyway. Since they are not, however, and Teodoro has yet to develop any sort of telepathic insight or basic common sense when gauging the thoughts of people who don't have bizarre attitudes toward their mistakes, he looks at his feet when scolded for doing it wrong and up again when the subject shifts on the minute adjustment of Gabriel's shoulders.

"Some precog stuff has indicated some clusterfuck relevant to Phoenix's interests is going to happen.

"The symbols— or illustrations," skeptically spoken, "included… A theater. A clock struggling to find the right time and settling on a different one. People evacuating." Effort lines ladder Teo's forehead. "And a woman with sky-blue hair, bruises, blood, blue lightning— dying. She was dying. Saying something about the lives of others being the last thing she could see, and things were going to change. But they haven't happened yet? I— "

His mouth bites down and in on itself before finding a twist too wryly humorous to be simple consternation. "I read about you once. Heard you can paint the future. Think there's a chance you could make some sense of all that shit, please?"

Precog stuff. Gabriel raises a cynical eyebrow but casts that ultimately disparaging look down towards the concrete underfoot, hands returning to his pockets. "If the prophecy doesn't make sense on its own, then you're not looking at it right. More prophecy won't necessary help." Sounds like he knows what he's talking about, or at least, has some experience, but he shakes his head. "But it might. I'll paint. If something looks like it has anything to do with you and yours, I'll let you know." Another shrug. It might not.

Fair warning. Not that Gabriel knows the highly personalised nature of Joseph's visions, but there's a lot of future out there. His hand settles on the railing again, a glance over the side, as if judging the distance from his perch down to the ground. "By then I'll know what wolves Eileen is running with, too," he adds, nonchalantly. Throw the man a bone, a hint that Gabriel will at least glance her way.

"Good. Good, bene." Great. Awesome. Everything is excellent A-plus in Teoverse. Former genocidal cultists are looking out for each other, their FBI nemesis out, about, and chasing early death. Maybe by then Deckard will have switched out of collecting organs and back into selling firearms too. Everything is going just swimmingly. "And anything I can help with." Added belatedly, though not a foot-note. He is, of course, always imminently eager to help.

"I owe you." Noticing the way Gabriel is gauging his landing zone, Teo swivels his head to look at the door that will get him out of here. It was painted green once, but rust and chipping has shown dark brown gaps and notches in the surface. Its hinges scream like a particularly excited banshee when he tries to open it. "Please give Gillian my regards."

Being the self-sufficient type, Teo's belated offer gets a glance, and some consideration. But no. Nothing he needs from the Italian. Nothing he can't do himself. Gabriel watches the other man walk away, nods once. "Give Kinney mine."

Yeah no. None of their secrecy on the plane had remotely worked. Not when superhearing is brought into things. Whatever smirk Gabriel might have for Teo is gone as he morphs into that cloud-like swatch of anti-gravity ink, sliding around the railing and disappearing over the edge.

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