Everyone Deserves Ice Cream


f_cat_icon.gif f_deckard_icon.gif f_gabriel_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Everyone Deserves Ice Cream
Synopsis …when the world is coming to an end.
Date May 1, 2019

Central Park

Helena should really stop coming here. All sorts of things tend to happen to her, and it's never, ever pleasant. But something always draws Helena to the Mad Tea Party statuary, and as is her tradition, she's clambered up onto one of the mushrooms to wait for her contact. The irony that this is the same location that the man she's about to meet with tried to kill her at does not escape her notice. The Pinehearst goons may or may not be here…she did her best to give them the slip. Sunglasses obscure her face, and a hat is fitted low to her head to draw less attention to her features. Given how late in the day it is, most people are dealing with rush hour and there are few folks in the park to possibly notice her anyway.

A long time ago, he met Alice in Wonderland at this exact spot. Longer for him, shorter for her, but he remembers it in better clarity too, crystalised images. The hour is different, and so is the weather, and. You know. Everything else.

Including companionship, and also direction. If Helena is looking for it ahead of her, two vaguely familiar shapes are headed her way. The lankier frame of Flint Deckard keep stride with Gabriel Gray, who has chosen not to mimic his general signature black dresscode for the sake of inconsistency. A pale grey raincoat covers a navy blue hoodie, jeans and boots being nothing new. He has something in his hands, a plastic cup of some kind, a white plastic spoon, and miniature mountains of icecream are being jabbed at as they approach.

It's the end of the world as we know it, after all. There's even sprinkles.

Deckard also has sprinkles. Rainbow sprinkles scattered pink and white and yellow over chocolate ice cream that is a faded enough shade of brown to suit him. "I don't actually think it's that great. In the shower, I mean. She seems into it, though." Adventures in too much information! He's in blue jeans and a tweed suit coat complete with elbow patches, passably professorial with grey hair and a long face despite the hip cut of his stark sunglasses and…some laziness as far as shaving goes, which isn't really hip so much as vaguely depressed.

He seems lively enough for that though, what with the keeping pace and the ice cream. It's a nice day out. Not apocalypsy in the least.

The woman the two familiar shapes approach isn't alone either. Cat is a few steps away, seated on some feature of the location with eyes closed. She's taking advantage of a quiet moment, enjoying the day as it is. Perhaps an old movie is playing out behind those closed eyes, remembering it moment by moment as if it were freshly seen. Her attire for the occasion isn't the business sort that's become customary for her now, ten years gone. Deckard's spoken voice draws her out of it.

Helena can't help herself, as she studies the two men who approach her (and perhaps wildly wondering who qualifies as the Mad Hatter and who the March Hare to her Alice), she offers an amiable, "What, none for me?" She wasn't a really strong acquaintance of Deckard's, and well, her relationship with Gabriel is a whole 'nother ball of wax, but she's a living dead girl now not just a fact of conversation but living and breathing in front of them, and that might be a little morbid and creepifying.
Brooklyn is looking at me!

Gabriel's gone with strawberry, a rich kind of pink with redder ripples through, decorated with hundreds and thousands, although there's probably only about forty little multicoloured sugary dots if we're going to be a hundred percent honest with ourselves. His fingers twirl the little plastic spoon with all the nimbleness of an ex-watchmaker as they come to a halt in front of Helena and Cat, Chesterfield getting a glance from the officer and Helena getting a hard, more studious look, and mostly silence at first even as she speaks to them.

It's probably weird, to see a wedding ring on the appropriate finger for someone like Sylar, but there it is, proudly solid and glinting in what sunlight is slowly draining away. He takes the moment to glance at Deckard once he's licked a layer of ice cream from his spoon. "Maybe she's not and you're both just being polite," he says. Which is really all you need to know about Gabriel's marriage situation, really.

Reluctantly, his gaze draws back to the walking dead woman, some of that light heartedness quickly draining out of the younger of the men in this group. "You get ice cream when your world threatens to end," he says, tone more jovial than his expression. Less facetiously, he says more grimly, respectfully, "Helena Dean. It's been a long time."

Mouth open to register argument after a few seconds thought, Deckard opts against it before any words manage to fall out. Hard to tell if it's because he can't think of anything intelligent to say or if he actually cares enough to protect the delicate ears they've since stopped in front of. Either way, he's silent while Helena and Gabriel speak in turn, black glasses grazing past Cat to settle more decisively on the only dead person in the picture.

"Flint," is his more mild introduction when Officer Gabe is finished witholding his ice cream. "We met a few times before you exploded." He prods at his chocolate with sprinkles, spoon pink to Sylar's white, wedding ring approximately as shiny when he tips the half-eaten cup down within easy reach. "There are no cooties in the future."

"Gentlemen," she greets. It's so much better, from Cat's perspective, to see Flint Deckard when he's not flying past her and floating into the air as she has to duck out of the way. Likewise for Gabriel not needing to give chase and bring him back to Earth. It occurs to her she could make a joke of the event, but she opts not to. Other than her one word spoken greeting, Cat leaves the floor to she who is dead but not.

"Gabriel Gray." Helena's tone remains affable, and of course, those sunglasses mean her expression is a bit hard to read. "It's my world for the present time." she feels compelled to point out, and then looks over at his companion. "I know you," she says, "Not much, more of you. It's good to meet you. I'm sorry the circumstances are so poor." Her gaze goes back to Syl - Gabriel. "Peter and Gillian both said you'd help me. Peter even went so far to say you'd watch my back."

"It's a nice day," Gabriel feels moved to point out. And it is. Ideal flying conditions. "The circumstances could be worse." He returns his gaze down spoon out another mouthful of strawberry ice cream, attacking at a particularly promising streak of red. "Besides, you're on borrowed time, quite literally. You contacted me?" The question isn't asking, did she, he knows well she did and remembers it clearly. It's a prompt. A politer way of saying, what do you want, a certain guardedness about his body language to communicate what goes verbally skirted around. Ten years ago, doubtful Sylar would have bothered.

For all that he took a spill off the balcony at Magnes's urging, Deckard looks approximately as healthy as a horse now, sober and content to resume consumption of his delicious icecream when Helena declines to take the risk. He fails to look convinced about her state of sorrow over current circumstances, but doesn't rub her face in it past a sideways look at Gabriel. His skepticism is mostly masked by the sunglasses. Mostly.

"Like I said," Helena says, calm atop her mushroom. If only she had a hookah. "Peter told me that I should contact you." She takes a breath. "Such as it is, the world is stopping. If we go back, it may be that it will start again. Arthur Petrelli has no intention of letting us try. It may be that he's already killed both the Nakamuras. We need more help, and I'm not sure what it is you can do, maybe help protect us - or, I don't know what." She takes off her glasses, blinks a few moments as she meets Gabriel's eyes. "Tamara told me to ask you about change. So what about change, Officer Gray?"

One eyebrow goes up at the words protect us, although his expression doesn't otherwise communicate cynicism. Maybe some surprise that she's suggesting such things. Watch her back. The glance shared with Deckard isn't repeated, tempting as it might be to get a read on the other man's reaction. His head tilts a little as Tamara, too, is brought into the equation. "Did she?" he says, voice unimpressed, before he glances towards Cat. Phoenix, getting the band back together, it seems. "Maybe she wanted me to tell you how much change is out of your control, Dean. I've been in your position before. I had the luxury of wanting to change the world I saw."

Spoon prodded aimlessly through his sprinkles, Deckard stands straight, tall, and studiously silent. If he looks anything, he looks a little grim, but given the hard-angled natural cut of his countenance anyway, this could well be what neutrality is supposed to look like on his face. It's a possibility, anyway. One that coincides with a readily apparent loss of appetite. "If you're planning on staying here with us, I don't think having 'protection' is going to do much of anything. Unless…by 'protection' you mean some kind of body condom impervius to space and time."

"It seems to me more about having the pieces in place to not see change occur, at least from this perspective: looking back. Some came forward, some went back at the same time. Those others, their presence in the past potentially drives change. But there is also a risk from some of the persons who came forward in being returned. Altogether, though, Helena is who she is. She'll be working to make this world happen when she returns, same as she'd have been had she not come here. I'd say she's gained from this experience, will find her hope and optimism bolstered by having seen it all come together," Cat opines.

"I don't want to stay here." Helena says. "I don't think the others want to, either. I want to try to go home. We're looking into finding a way. The thing of it is, there's not going to be a way to hide our intentions from Arthur Petrelli for long. He's going to try and stop us. I think maybe that's what Peter is talking about. If we stay, this world's going to end. If we go back, there's a chance, at least, that it won't." Peter told her not to lie to Gabriel. She nods. "Those of us who got shifted into this timeline weren't just moved. We got displaced. People from this timeline have gotten back to mine, and they may be changing things for the worse. People like Nathan Petrelli and Edward Ray and Allen Rickham and others."

Gabriel's brown gaze moves to Cat, listening, but giving nothing in terms of reaction, although his eyes do narrow, only to look back at Helena as she makes her point. Somewhere in there, he looks towards Deckard, brow furrowed, before he looks down at his ice cream. Spoons out another helping, lickings it off the white plastic. The sprinkles are almost entirely gone.

"When I went back after going forward, I tried to change things," he says, after a moment. "I tried to find the bad people that would make what I saw come to be and stop them. In doing so I think I actually— made it all happen faster. It was the actions of others that moved mountains. If you go back, you've already failed. Tell me, are you really prepared to die? Because the Helena from our time sure as hell wasn't."

Deckard's brow twitches down into a similar furrow around the same time. The glint of afternoon sunlight off his glasses slides over an inch or so when he meets Gabriel's look, search to search and absence of answer to absence of answer. Oh well. His ice cream is melting, but he's still doing a lot more standing around holding the cup in the platform of his left hand than he is eating it.

"Doesn't matter if she's prepared to die now. She'll have a couple of years to change her mind even if she makes it back in one piece."

"Or maybe she'll have sixty years," Cat remarks. "Most of us will eventually die. We can't escape it. It's no different than if she went to her doctor and was told she has terminal cancer. The docs say surgery and radiation won't work, treatments fail, and they say she has six months. But that's a thing the docs have to say as part of being honest in their jobs. They can't guarantee it'll be six months exactly. It could be shorter, or longer. In any case, she's risked her life more than once. She knew what she was getting into then, and knows it now."

Her eyes settle on Gabriel as she continues, calmly. "When you went back, it wasn't just you that went back. Edward Ray sent things with you, sent information to himself, and he came to find us. Between us, Eileen, you, Flint, and others, the task was pulled off."

She lets out a dry chuckle. "I never once imagined I'd be plotting to use Edward's tactics to oppose Edward himself." But here they are.

"I don't want to die." Helena says, "But if you believe in inevitability anyway, it doesn't matter what I do when I go back, I will die." Of course, Cat, Teo, Peter, and of all people, Gillian, have instructed her to do the opposite: fight to live. It stays unmentioned. "But again, we're back to the beginning. This timeline is blacking out. If we stay here, it definitely will. If we go back, there's at least a chance that it won't."

"Edward's tactics leave much to be desired," Gabriel points out, but he doesn't pursue such an argument. Changing the world should be a painful process. People die, get hurt, come so close to the precipice that only pure chance might stop them, but— it worked out okay then. Still— "He's a hypocrite. He only sent me back because he wouldn't go himself. People from their own timelines can't skip back and forth, can't afford to, and besides— he wasn't trying to maintain the future. He was trying to change it. You're asking me about change, and I'll tell you - it's easy, for all the wrong reasons. Some of us have a lot to lose." He fixes Helena with a look, raising an eyebrow. "Unlike you."

Having done both girls the courtesy of listening without crosttalk or cutting in otherwise, Deckard can't keep a rankle out of his nose for Cat's reminder that everyone dies eventually, somewhow or another. Bitter annoyance fuzzes dark into the lines around his mouth and he angles his head slightly away, physical evidence of a concentrated effort to not say anything regrettable. He lets the more tactful of their little dynamic duo do the talking. The more tactful of them being Gabriel. Gray.

"He's not perfect," Cat states of Doctor Ray. "I've never claimed he was. Especially not now, having gone back for no other reason than to pursue a vendetta. Right now, he's in the past seeking to undo all of this. I'd say we all have a lot to lose, Helena included, by her not going back. Quite possibly no one figures out what he's up to until it's too late."

"Except this time he has gone back, with a bunch of psychopaths. I'm not sure what the point you're getting at is. Is there anything you think you can do right here, right now, that doesn't involve us trying to go back, that will potentially fix this? It's obviously not 'why bother' since you just said you have everything to lose." Helena looks at Gabriel, trying to figure out exactly what it is they're arguing about. "Every seer that's been in contact with anyone I know is reporting an absence of a future coming in this timeline, here and no." Helena lets her hands rest in her lap. I'm still not seeing where your argument trumps the chance of saving it versus just letting it implode. No, I can't promise I can fix it. But I can try. I don't know what else I can tell you." She starts to slide off the mushroom.

"My point is that they can do less damage than you would, whether you mean to or not," Gabriel says, eyes going a little dull, voice a little flat. Not in the mood for ice cream, in other words, which is melting forgottenly at his side, long fingers spidered over the top.

Advice. It's what she brought him here for. He glances towards Deckard, drags his gaze back towards the two women. "Ray's breaking his own rules, by going back. That means he's desperate." A shrugging motion, restless. "Whatever it is you do, when you go back— " Because he, too, believes in eventualities— "Appeal to his survival instinct, because you sure as hell won't be able to outsmart him. He's a man about— possibilities, roads. Paths less traveled. It'll be up to you to show him one rather than go to war."

Helena lets out a breath. "In order to do that, I have to go back." she says, searching the face of the man who once tried to kill her. "Does this mean you'll help us?"

Gabriel's gaze breaks from her's midway the appeal, and the sounds of the dusky time of days winds and coils around the four, a city blissful in its ignorance. Some things never change, in that it always will. "Yes. I'll help you." The words fall flat, but there's no audible lie in them. He just— seems grim about the prospect, the statement laid out like concrete.

"I have a life here," he says, quietly. "I'll do anything I can to protect it, and the things around it, and I've seen what will happen if we make the wrong decision. I've painted it." His eyes roll a little, although not with humour. "There's not enough black paint in the world to fill in eternity, let me tell you. If you think you can fight that off, then by all means. Do me a favour, though?"

Helena is a suspiscious sort of girl. "What is it?"

Grim and grimmer. Deckard hasn't smiled since this conversation started and he doesn't look like he intends to start again any time soon. Or like. Ever. At mention of the paintings and various interpretations of extant hope, he opens his mouth, tips his head an unconscious hair at current company and closes it again. Mm.

"Don't tell— the me you know back in your time about any of this," Gabriel says, tone about as serious as his expression. "In case it's false hope for— something. But remember." Remember what? That he doesn't feel inclined to spell out.

Helena's smile comes, albeit faint. "I think you'd laugh at me if I tried." And then proceed to slice her head open, and feel around for the bits that make it rain. She nods her assent. Not a word. "We're waiting to hear back from contacts about finding someone who can figure out the best way for us to go about it. Time, place, that sort of thing. So far Arthur hasn't found out, or if he has, he hasn't made a move."

Deckard's jaw hollows out a little further at Gabriel's request, salt and pepper bristled against still more gone unsaid on his part. Ten years ago, none of these people are his people. Only one out of three really is now. And they've moved on to planning or something, which holds Flint's attention less well than a woman whose walking her pug some forty or fifty feet away. She has a nice booty.

"We'll be in touch when we have more to tell you, Officer Gray." Remember, Cat thinks, after Gabriel makes that request, and she does. That Gabriel Gray of this time and place was redeemed, productive, helpful. That he needn't be an enemy if not treated as such when the eight return.

Another piece for her missive to herself.

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