Errands To Run


gabriel_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Errands to Run
Synopsis After avoiding Staten Island for days, two people return to run a couple errands. More than one. This is the first.
Date May 13, 2009

Abandoned School, Formerly St. Joseph Hill AcademyStaten Island

It's amazing the damage two years can cause; to lives, and to cities.

Before Staten Island became the haven for criminals that it is, it was a suburban neighborhood that, while in decline, was still home to families and institutions of education. All that, and so much else, changed with the bomb. The St. Joseph Hill Academy was one of many things lost as a casualty to the bomb. Resting on Staten Island's east coast, this crumbling brick-faced building lies within sight of the broken spine of the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, set atop a rocky hill overlooking the sea.

The academy was a Catholic school operated by the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity. Located on a fourteen acre, park-like campus in the Arrochar section of Staten Island, New York. Now it is one of many derelict institutions under the "ownership" of James Muldoon and John Logan.

Or it used to be.

Gabriel isn't so sure who this place belongs to, other than the fact he owns a piece of it, in some way. Winter's passing has done it some good, with spring shootings of grass blossoming from cracked pavement between gaps in the stone stairs trailing up to the broken front doors. When he had brought Colette here, damp leaves had formed slimy clusters at the edges. As he walks up them with Gillian, they may as well be flowering.

Inside it's just as damp, maybe damper, as it was last he ventured here. Rotten wood, water damage and the general decay of an old building that's endured weather, looters and vandals.

Gabriel is walking possibly too slowly for someone in an abandoned building - but he still can't hear, and it's been a rough week. Who knows what Pancratium fighters might still use this place, although no noise comes from the gymnasium not so far away. That's not where they're headed, however. His customarily black woolen coat is buttoned closed, almost up to the throat, and his right hand is wrapped in white bandaging, courtesy of Deckard. Courtesy of Deckard for the injury beneath it, of course, not the fixing up. He had done that himself, the first time.

His left hand is occupied in his coat pocket, holding onto the hidden sidearm like a lifeline. He really didn't want to come back to this place. Staten Island.

Didn't want to, but seems to have anyway. Even if he's not alone, Gillian still has no idea what she can do to help keep him from needing to pull out what he clutches to with his left hand, but she moves close to them as they enter the school. While each step isn't a trial, and no sudden movements have swept her up at speeds the human body shouldn't be capable of… she doesn't clutch to anything in worry. Her hand rests over a carrier bag hanging at her side, not inside where it might hide weapons. Nor does her other hand rest inside a pocket. Dangerous as this part of the city, almost a city inside itself, might be… she's used to the feeling of possible helplessness.

Though she'd like to be able to assure the man with her. That she could pummel danger before they can even blink. Or that she could throw them through a wall… Nothing at all has happened the last few days, leaving her to wonder if maybe it had been some kind of a fluke.

Coming back to Staten had been an eventuality she expected. They do have a place of their own— or as close to their own as they can get. Most of her clothes are there, most of her remaining things. And those paintings…

But… that still doesn't explain… "Why exactly are we in a school?"

As far as Gabriel concerned, it's a visit. Not a return. Nothing he wants to spell out for Gillian, pride dictates he won't, save for a flippant comment about how they'll surely get back to the mainland in time before it gets dark, as casual as any comment about logistics could be.

He steers them towards a staircase that seems to still be holding true, although the slats of wood creaks and groans beneath their feet, and he feels no need to touch the railing. Not with a bandaged hand and the other locked like a bear trap around a gun, despite the beginning of a whole arsenal walking beside him. Iron body and the ability to move as a blur. His reaction had been a very eloquent oh, and hasn't since shifted from that.

Makes the third puzzle piece make sense. Not that Gabriel is going to mention it.

"I have a few things stashed away," Gabriel replies, shortly, as they move onto the second level, into a corridor. Lines of lockers of blue-grey sit in perfect rows against the wall and between classroom doors. Some are dented, torn open, but many have stayed strong somehow, locks imbedded into the doors, black glistening dials with numbers circling it. "Then we can move to the apartment, get the rest and go back."

It's a shame that's all he said. Maybe the walking arsenal would have a clue she's got more than a fritzed out ability— then again, he might tell her she has a fritzed out ability, considering. Gillian continues to move beside him, glancing over at a classroom in a curious fashion, as if visuallizing her own youth growing up, when she'd attended school all those years ago. Really not that long at all, considering. A handful of years ago, she'd walked down similar hallways, went into similar classrooms, and played with similar lockers.

Before the bomb.

"Go back," she repeats curiously, catching the hint that their stay will indeed be temporary. "I don't think we can carry everything, back at the apartment, but I'll be glad to have a few changes of clothes that are actually mine." Not that she had much left. Not after the forcefield incident. "But what did you keep here?"

Grunt. Chalk the non-response up to being distracted, brown eyes roving over the rows of lockers as he comes to a halt, glancing back over his shoulder— then towards where a broken window's been smashed in deliberately, at some moment of history. "Money. Important things. I needed…" Gabriel glances back at her, as if remembering her presence as something more than just a voice at his side, thin and without the usual accompaniment of heart beat and the draw of breath. "Needed a place to hide things. Where no one would look."

Considering the amount of moving he does, it might not be too surprising. Relinquishing his hold on the gun, Gabriel moves to stand in front of one tall locker, the door quasi-beaten in but not enough to be broken, completely. Likely chosen so it wouldn't be a tempting target. His unbandaged hand drifts to the combination lock, easing it along with his thumb.

And pausing, for a few long seconds.

The clang of a skull meeting metal is a dull one but it manages to echo a little, trailing off to reveal the rasping, world-weary chuckle from the former serial killer. Hnnn.

"I guess we can't really use banks," Gillian admits with a quiet sound as he settles in to touch the locker, glancing down the hall as if concerned about what might be walking around in here. Safety deposit boxes would be for people who happen to have normal lives, and they both lost them quite some time ago. The thunk against the locker almost went completely unnoticed, dismissed as him pushing against the metal. If it weren't for the world-weary chuckle, she might not have glanced back to see him with his head pressed against it.

Did he just knock his head against the locker? That's certainly what it looks like, but she's trying to figure out why he would do such a thing. The locker hasn't even been opened yet, his hand is poised as if he'd intended to open it, but…

"What— what's wrong?"

Gabriel lifts his head up from where he'd connected forehead to cool metal, drawing in a restless breath through his nose and grazing his fingernails over the dial before removing his hand completely. Hand goes up, goes down in defeated gesture. "I forgot the combination." Which of course wouldn't have happened, or wouldn't have mattered, not so long ago. Gabriel tilts his head in a gesture as if to loosen the muscles in his neck.

On the plus side? It's not exactly a safe. School lockers aren't totally designed to stand the test of time. Experimentally, doubtfully, he gooks the edges of his fingernails into the sides of the door, and tests what little give it has.

It has been a long few years, of having zero obstacles by way of telekinesis. At least he could shoot it. As a last resort. "I think I filed the number away— not properly," he mutters. "I used my power to remember instead. It's gone, a lot of things…" He trails off, back still turned to her as he tries to pry the door back, to little avail, head already turning to see what tools lie as debris.

There's a few seconds where Gillian's just staring at him, while he talks about the combination being forgotten, as he says he filed it away. And it's gone along with so much less that he once had locked away in his head. A few weeks ago he could have remembered everything, every small detail. In some ways a curse, in other ways a blessing. Just as so many other abilities could be. It'd been one she had often taken for granted herself. That he would remember everything.

"Well, you can get into these without them… I had to break into a couple myself," she says, beginning to look away much as he did for tools, before she even opens up her carrier bag to check in there. There's a few things… a pocket knife being one of them. Pulling it out, she holds it out in offer to him. He has a gun, but in this case it might be overkill.

"Here, this might be enough. If it isn't… well, just don't punch it. You've hurt your hands enough. We can find something better." She doesn't even consider trying to use one of the abilities that have… appeared not quite as randomly as she might like.

Removing his hands from the locker, Gabriel turns around enough to glance from her face and down to the offered tool. Simple. A flat blade, lever it open, it's only so much rusted metal. Don't punch it, and other manly displays of anger. His mouth forms a line as he takes the pocket knife from her, wedging the blade in the gap between metal. Crrreeeak. The metal whines as its forced and worked for possibly too long, with a masculine kind of stubbornness.

Pays off, at least, the door cracking open with a gunshot bang against its neighbour when it hits, Gabriel stepping back enough to let it before he's closing the pocketknife, tossing it back to her. The idea of her using her own abilities had, in contrast, crossed his mind.

But call him jealous. A small, folded up duffle bag is pulled out and onto the ground, Gabriel crouching down to unzip it and rifle through. "Thanks," he finally things to say, and a bundle of money is extracted. It's not huge, but it's at least a dent made in the dire fact Gabriel is, for all intents and purposes, broke.

For a moment, Gillian looks glad she gave the warning not to just start punching the locker with his fist, because while he pries at it with a knife, she can see his urge to do such manly displays. It reminds her a bit of her brother, though he's usually far more showy in his manly displays. Would probably do some kind of flying kick instead of a fist punch. Punching something is far too mundane. There's a blur as she catches the knife that's thrown at her, followed by a blink as she looks at her hand. The knife almost seemed to slow down for a moment when she caught it…

A shake of her head and she drops the knife back into her bag, looking over his shoulder as he rifles through the duffle bag on the ground. "That what's left of the money you had before?" she asks, recalling the money he stashed in their apartment. Half of which she took off with after he attempted to kill her. It'd been quite a lot of money. Why she didn't take all of it when she left, she couldn't ever explain to anyone.

"How long ago did you stash this here?"

"Some of it," Gabriel says, flicking through the notes to roughly count them, looking up at her as he stuffs the bills into his pocket. "I forgot it for a while. It was before the bridge fell." Obviously. Tavisha likely would have thought it handy than several hundred dollars had been hidden away in his own training building, but it won't be the first road of irony fate has led him down. Doubtful it would be the last.

A slim paperback book is found, flipped over as if to try and recall why he has it. It's stained with age, the cover is bent - it's an old little text book on Norse mythology. This gets dropped back into the bag in a careless fashion, hand disappearing once more to draw something else out. The wristwatch is flipped around, it's splintered, glass face catching what light there is.

Still frozen on 3: 33. Gabriel hesitates before he offers it up. "I don't know if I could fix it, but— it's yours."

Maybe, deep down, part of him did remember? Enough to feel comfortable coming back to this location even when his mind recalled nothing. Or it could just be a twist of fate. Those do seem to happen a lot around people like them.

Gillian hadn't expected it to be that long ago, though, as she watches him sift through things. A paperback book, which she doesn't recognise, and then… her watch. Broken twice since she met him. The first time he fixed it. The second time… 3:33.

Reaching out, she takes the broken watch and begins to put it on, backing away a few steps to put some distance between them. "It's okay," she says as she sets it into place on her wrist. Even if it's broken, it still has a purpose. "When I handed it to you, I hadn't really intended you to walk off with it," she says with a hint of a laugh, as if she's finding the situation funny in retrospect. It almost is, but at the same time… isn't.

"I can wear it like this for now. Especially since I've already gotten used to using my pocket watch instead," she adds, finishing setting the buckle before her hand drops. "I'm glad you kept it. I figured when… what happened… I figured you must have lost it."

"Managed to hang on to a few things," Gabriel says, with a shrug, looking back down and searching through whatever's left. Not a lot, it seems. The man has little in the way of permanent possessions. A set of car keys, which goes ignored. A small box of bullets, which he pries open to inspect before pocketing this as well. Likely it doesn't match the gun he has, but such things can be traded. "Maybe I needed it more than you at the time."

Straightening his legs, the duffle bag is nudged to the side with his foot, leaving behind the bits and pieces unimportant to him now, book included. "We probably can't take the paintings with us yet, unless you can think of a place to stash them." The ones in the basement, apparently their next stop.

Needed it more than he did. Gillian hadn't really considered that as she tilts her head, listening to the words that he said, and watching him pack away the rest of his small belongings. She only snaps out of it when he mentions the paintings. "Oh, right— those. They would be kind of difficult to take off the island," she says, considering the situation for a moment. The library that she liked to use would be out, and didn't work for stashing anything that could get damaged by moisture at all.

"I know of a place. It's… kind of an orphanage. It'd be a dry place to put them, and fairly safe. I think…" Safer than putting it in the another abandoned building, or leaving it alone to sit and wait for a squater. "It's called the Lighthouse."

Something in Gabriel's eyes suggests he might know to what she refers, a flicker of recognition in the midst of otherwise blank stoicism, before his eyes hood a little in contemplation, and he nods. "Lighthouse it is," he agrees, before his left hand is seeking out the grip of his gun again within his coat pocket, readying himself for their journey. The now broken locker door is left alone, and bandaged hand is offered out for her to take, if, hopefully, gently. Errands to run.

Always something to do. With the bag firmly over her shoulder, Gillian reaches out to take his hand in her own, avoiding squeezing to keep from damaging his hand, or aggravating his wounds. "We won't be able to move the last one you painted, though," she tosses out with a dimpled smile and a laugh.

The last one, after all, was painted on the floor.

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