Everyone's A Critic


gabriel_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Everyone's A Critic
Synopsis Gabriel hosts an art show, with a little help.
Date April 28, 2009

Condemned Staten Island Apartment: Basement

By the time Gabriel's eyes go from a blind man's pure white to the pinpoints of his pupils ringed by rich brown, the music that's playing— sounds exactly the same to him as the track previous. Gillian's music has this affect on him, and yet he'd hooked up the compact mp3 player to the cheap speakers so that something can fill the dank basement with a sound other than a paintbrush gliding against canvas.

He ignores it, standing in the center of the basement. It used to be a laundromat for the tennants of the building, but has long since been ransacked, looted, wrecked. A couple of brokedown washing machines make white blocky peripheral blurs around the room, but otherwise, it's all cold cement, metal railing and now, the scent of paint as he observes the painting he's just completed, still slick and wet. It's not entirely what he had in mind.

Red electricity leaps across a grey backdrop in jagged fire hydrant hues. Teo had said blue electricity. Everyone's a critic.

Gabriel folds an arm across his midsection, studies the rest of the elements of the image. A man, with the red lightning crackling over him, from some source in the shadows that was never brought to life by his paintbrush, which he holds in his hand, absently scratching his jaw with the non-bristled end. Nothing but a moment. Not even a location. Nothing. And yet he recognises the man in the middle of the web of red lightning, arms splayed in precarious balance, on the precipice of falling and head turned enough for it to catch the light of a street lamp.

He'd warned Teo against cluttering prophecy with more prophecy but…

Come on.

By the time Gillian has found the note in their shared apartment— I'm downstairs— proving that he does in fact learn, and by the time she is making her way down a metal staircase and appearing in the wide open space, Gabriel is already setting up the other canvases he'd purchase, a fresh paintbrush absently clenched between teeth. A grey hoodie with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, jeans, and sneakers make up his mundane attire for today, hands spattered here and there with paint. Such tools are laid out on one of the broken washing machines dragged closer - a palette, two jars of water, a few paint brushes, along with the iPod and the battery powered speakers still playing Infected Mushroom.

It would seem everyone's learning how to leave notes these days. The trip out took much longer than it should have. Maybe she lost track of time, as Gillian has yet to replace her wrist watch, and the pocket watch ticks away beside the bed next to the candles that she's set up to roll over and light occassionally as the darkness creeps over the apartment that they're practically squatting in.

Seeing the note, she makes some quick decisions. All of which involve getting out of her clothes. Shoes are dropped on the floor, traded out for something with less of an incline to add height, ofter soles. The rest of her dark clothing follows, soiled with sand and humidity. A brush is ran through her hair, pulled up into a ponytail. Some clues can't be left behind in the room, but… that's a worry she'll have to have later. The music drowns out so much, but wearing completely different clothes than what she'd left earlier in the day in, she makes her way downstairs, footsteps light. The smell of paint, that distinct scent that permiates an area, hits her second, after the familiar music. Her iPod. Her music. Infected Mushroom is a good one, the current sone None Of This Is Real has no lyrics, entirely instrumental. A good beat. A beautiful song in her opinion.

The painting. The first and last time she walked in on him doing a painting… it led to a situation that caused so many other situations. It had been the first time she heard of him.

This new painting is already done. Red lightning, a man with red lightning. Eyes slide over it, then back to the painter, setting up. "Gabriel?" she chances asking, voice almost a raspy whisper.

Well, maybe with a painting in the room, he'll have more important things to notice than her mysteriously obtained tan.

When Gillian's rasping voice rings out, Gabriel sets down the fresh paint brush and is quick to ease the completed painting up and off the stand, turning to her so that it's blank white back is facing her instead. In the middle of setting up for something new, the move is natural, only subtly hiding the fact that the man being electrocuted by blood-red lightning has distinct characteristics.

Dark eyebrows, pallid skin, a nose that could be described as regal, if you will. The black clothing could be chalked up to shadow but he doesn't think so. Does red electricity hurt? He'll aim to try and not find out.

Incidentally, Gabriel doesn't notice her tan, turning his shoulder to her so as to set the painting down, off to the side. Mind skipping ahead— ahead of ahead. "You're back," is the obvious observation, tone of voice distracted as he picks up a fresh canvas, snowy white. Clarity, would be wonderful. There's no harm in trying again. "What time is it?"

Able to answer her, Gillian steps deeper into the room, looking at him quietly until she glances back to the canvas. Red lightning. And a man. The features of the man only register after a moment. Not as outstanding as a scar slashed across a face, the eyebrows, the nose, other characteristics… they still stand out. At first it'd just been a man. Now the man is beginning to take on an identity.

"I— sorry. I didn't intend to be— I don't have a watch, but it's probably around… nine or ten…" The sun had been down, looked as if it'd been down for a while. The crisp of night had begun to set in. She'd not even looked toward the pocket watch. It could be later, closer to midnight, for all she knows. She has teleportation lag effecting her sense of time. There's a big time discrepency between Hawaii and New York City.

"Is that supposed to be…?" she trails off, eyes moving back to the painting.

"I don't know."

It's only kind of a lie. He doesn't know, these paintings, they can be so misleading, and being certain of what these paintings are supposed to be can be dangerous. Or maybe just disappointing. Fixing the fresh canvas in place, and knowing that the next step to take is delving into a trance, blind and deaf, Gabriel takes the time to turn his attention back to her, sparing a glance towards the set aside painting.

"It's for Teo." Aww, Gabriel, you shouldn't have. "He was looking for clarity about some other prophecy and asked for my help, but this… seems irrelevant." His gaze returns back to her, fixing on her eyes before darting distractedly over her face, only just beginning to notice how her usual paper-pale tone has darkened somewhat. "So I'm trying again. Where did you go?"

"Teo asked you to paint the future?" Gillian asks, looking back at the painter, the man that she's been living with on and off for months. Theirs has always been a complicated relationship, but every time they'd been seperated for one reason or another, they found their way back to each other. They're… "I went to the Library— the Great Kills branch. It's abandoned, and I like to go there to think and read…" It holds some significance, as well. For them. A place they'd reunited— in a way. Not a full reunion, but part of one.

And the Library always reminds her of what used to be, what she'd been. Who she hopes to be again someday. The Librarian can leave the Library, but the Library never really leaves them. Perhaps the same can be said for the watchmaker…

"I— ran into Peter there. Or he ran into me, I guess. He hasn't been able to find Helena or— fuck, what's his name— that guy Teo was concerned about— and he thinks he might have sent them through time. Like he did with us." Past, future, amount of time. None of this is known at all. Maybe they just jumped a section of the calendar, like her and Peter did, when they went to Antarctica.

Ran into Peter. Oh how convenient. That sounds so coincidental! There's a slightly cynical twist to Gabriel's mouth when she says this but he keeps words to himself, listening. Then, a soft snort. "Alexander. The guy Teo was concerned about." Gabriel moves towards the washing machine, letting it come in between them as he goes to set out fresh paints, a hodgepodge collection of brands, whatever he could get his hands on in the Rookery markets.

"When I woke up in Africa, and found Teo, there was no one else for miles. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a dinosaur go walking by at the rate Peter manages to throw people all over the world, any place and time."

Black, red, blue, green, white, onto the back of a clipboard, a makeshift palette. A paintbrush is picked up, swirled around the jar of water until it goes murkier, carelessly using the hem of his sweatshirt to clean off the bristles. "I was only sent back from the future because I got lucky. I guess we'll see exactly how resourceful Princess and her faithful Fido can be, unless Peter has a plan."

The thinly vieled contempt in Gabriel's voice suggests he doesn't think the other multiply-powered man does.

It had been coincidental. In a manner of speaking. Gillian knew she'd run into him again eventually, and he has a tendancy to just appear out of nowhere wherever she stops to think in obscure locations that happen to have some kind of meaning to her. The brush that will be doing painting isn't the only thing with bristles. The man she's speaking to is practically made of them. On this subject expecially. Multiple powers, multiple clashes. They both have tried to kill each other more times than they've tried to kill her combined (or so she'd guess at least). But…

"He doesn't know what to do, besides wait and see what happens. But that's why I said that he should meet with you." Because they have so much in common, because similar things have happened to them. Because fate keeps making the collide with each other. "But it's up to you, Gabriel." His decision, though she lapses into silence, looking at the blank white canvas.

At least this time he's not finding out she wants to help Peter Petrelli from a third party…

That gives him pause, looking up from where he'd been cleaning off the brush and almost— a deer in the head lights. Certainly didn't expect Gillian to suggest helping the man, not after Moab. It might be unfair to hold Peter personally responsible for how wrong it all went, it wasn't a sound plan, but Gabriel certainly holds enough of it to him.

Especially considering— Africa. Sometimes Gabriel is pretty sure he's still getting sand out of his hair. Not to mention other places.

To his credit, he doesn't balk, just goes back to wiping the paint brush clean in contemplative silence. At least he's thinking about it. "And Peter agreed?" he asks, mostly rhetorically. It wouldn't be up to him if Peter hadn't, but he feels the need to make that absolutely clear. He'd hate to have to kill Peter after they've gone to so much trouble. Well, hate is a strong word. All the same… "Part of why I went along with the raid on Moab was that perhaps we did have something to learn from each other," he admits. "Down there, however— I'm not sure we'd be able to get beyond wanting to kill each other let alone glean anything of value."

The moment of anxiety that happened to flutter in her heart settles. Gillian knew the suggestion would come as a shock, but the Ineffected Mushroom still playing in the background, another song now, might drown most of that out. There's relief on her face, though, lips parted. Her make up is gone, as if she washed her face off when she got home. Or never bothered to reapply it. That makes her lips less red, her eyes unlined to stand out. Pretty enough without all that, and he's seen her like it many times, too. Especially at night.

"He agreed. He admitted to being surprised to see you in Moab— that he never pictured you helping anyone save him. I told him you'd changed. That between the Bronx and now… while he was standing still in a cell, you were changing. And I hope he can look beyond past… expectations and… see who you really are." Who he became.

What the last few months forged him into. Pale lips tug into a smile, making dimples in her cheeks. If any emotion could be put to her expression, it seems as if she's proud of him. He has changed in the last few months. And not just because he hit his head falling off a bridge.

It's been several months since he'd told her he never is quite sure who he's supposed to be. There's affirmation to be taken from her words, now. That he's found some semblance of acceptable identity. He's not entirely convinced but if the world is playing along, maybe he can too.

However, changed is certainly accurate. One can't get dragged through his particular coals and come out the other side completely the same. Gabriel would hope not, anyway. "A lot of time has passed between the Bronx and now," he agrees, picking up his colour palette and drifting towards the the blank canvas, his back turned to Gillian. "But I've spent time in isolation before. He's been in jail for God knows how long… who's to say that changed him?"

His empty paint brush dances in the air a little, head canted as he regards the featureless plane in front of him. "Captivity only preserved me. When does he want to meet?"

Months. Almost half a year now. It feels like so much longer sometimes, because so much really has happened. To so many of them. For all she knows he's right— prison changed the scarred man too. Gillian nods, faintly, after looking off in thought for a long moment. "I guess he's changed too. Probably because both of the hims I knew were different, and now he's something between them." With new experiences, new guilts. And new information. "He wants to meet tomorrow." Technically she said they would meet tomorrow, but— better to stick with the same subjects.

"I offered the Library." Good a place as any. Helped that they'd been standing right there. Better that than the crop-circle carved into a suburb. And less off the street.

Like the first time she brought Peter to meet him, she chose an important location, without offering their home. This apartment is theirs. As he looks at the canvas, her eyes settle there too, watching.

"Fine." It's a curt agreement, and he doesn't look back at her as he says it, perhaps getting ready for sinking back into trance of precognition, turning the paintbrush in his hand. If there's a way to paint something specific, something he needs to know, he's not sure how to hone it so. Gabriel doubts there is such a switch. He supposes that would be too easy.

More things should be. Easy. He finally looks over his shoulder at her. "I'll be right back," is his only verbal cue, before finally, his eyes go milky white, head turning back to regard the canvas. Head tilts. Paintbrush dips into the colours, swirls around, and then begins to glide over white.

He says nothing as he works. He rarely ever does. Flesh tones apply liberally to the canvas, now, an oval. A face. Eyes, nose brought to life through darker shadows, a mouth. Pale at first, and then red, a crimson Mona Lisa smile. Inky black hair, in a style familiar to Gillian.

In fact, not so long into it, she will find she's looking at a portrait of herself.

That is, until his paintbrush dips into a mix of black and white, coming out a silver gray, and this he starts to apply liberally over flesh tones, in keeping with the contours of her face, metallic and hard, as if she were turning to stone before her own eyes.

I'll be right back.

Gillian has gotten that a lot today. Twice is more than enough. Especially when the last time she saw it— saw it rather than heard it— she'd been teleported against her consent to a tropical island. Given a short vacation from the world. Once she got done being mad and stripping out of clothes chosen for an overcast New York April day, she did manage to enjoy it, even stepping into the water and laying on the sand. Yes, just like him, she thinks she'll be finding sand in awkward places for weeks. All caused by Peter Petrelli.

Though he'd left a note in the sand. Which ended with those words.

That he'll be back makes her smile, even if he won't see it.

As his paintbrush moves along the canvas, she watches, moving to lean against one of the discarded washing machines until she's more comfortable. Close enough and at an angle where she can watch him paint. In many ways, it's like watching someone make a tattoo. It's art. It's beautiful. It's just on a canvas and not skin. She wonders if he could do the same thing with a tattoo. But most people prefer to know what they're getting before the submit to such a thing.

With this, there's no telling what's going to come up. And this time, it's a woman. Not just any woman, either. That face meets her in the mirror every day. The hair is the style she currently has, when down. The lips are hers. The eyes. The nose. Even her beauty mark on her cheek. That smile comes back, moderately touched— until he starts to gray her out, paint over her— create the effect of her skin changing, becoming different…

Him. In red lightning. Her turning into stone. None of these are good.

The paint brush strokes are precise, cautious and confident all at once. He doesn't fill in all the colour of skin, creating some kind of divide. The colour of grey seems to crawl up her throat, over one jaw line and up her cheek. Crimson lips have partially gone concrete grey, stopping before all the ruby red can go, and the line of division continues across her nose, shadowing one eye in that metallic sheen, into her hairline, and even it has silvery streakings running through it.

The background remains a lazy blank white, when Gabriel finally lifts his paint brush, closes his eyes with a certain finality, and opens them again, circles of brown twitching across the similarly blank white of his eyes as he takes in what he's done.

…oh come on.

"This is getting ridiculous," he mutters.

Well, the fact that the whole thing isn't made silvery gray, that rules out her hopeful 'maybe I get a statue and birds can shit on me forever' though. Gillian's not that naive, though, and she can't help but grimace as the coloration stops, and as everything… There were hundreds of ways she saw herself die. Most are fleeting memories. A few of them come back as a hint of deja vu every so often— like a couple times in Moab alone. Nothing tuggs on her not-perfect memory this time. Just…

As he stops painting and sees his art, she steps across the room and puts a hand on the middle of his back, between the shoulder blades. Her left hand. "It— I'm not even sure why Teo wanted you to paint these but… it could mean anything, right?"

It could mean something happens where she gets partially petrified. Or all the way petrified. They have books and movies about that kind of thing. It rarely ends well.

At least it doesn't look like she's in pain…

A deep breath, let out through his nose in a frustrated sigh, studying what seems to be an ominous image, twitching a glance towards her when she settles her hand high on his back. "Anything," Gabriel repeats, not so much with doubt, but with bewilderment. It's hard to understand what that anything could even be, besides the fact she's turning to stone.

Or metal. He rubs the back of his hand across his face, a flick of grey paint having landed high on his cheek and now streaking in a thin line, a far lesser replication of the image before him. "A theatre," he says, after a pause, backing up from the painting away from her. His face has gone into a thoughtful expression, crouching down, now, towards the center of the room, elbows against his knees. "A clock struggling to find the right time and settling on a different one. People evacuating." He's quoting, reciting what Teo had told him. "And a woman with sky-blue hair, bruises, blood, blue lightning… dying. She was dying."

His paint smeared hands open a little in a gesture, casting a speculative look towards his empty canvases, ones he had not intended to use. "These are— symbols, I think, that he was given for the future. I'm supposed to be making sense of them."

Pawing through the varied futures out there for a woman with blue hair. Does Gabriel even have enough paint? Teo should know better than to sic a hunter on a task. Or perhaps he thought correctly, Gabriel straightening his legs and striding purposefully towards his stack of canvases, a hand out towards the slick painting. It jerks up off the eisel on invisible strings, goes whipping through the air, pinwheeling close enough to Gillian as to ruffle her own hair before it lands next to the first piece of artwork.

A hunter on a task. Gillian recognizes it for what it is, and is unable to surpress the mild jump of surprise as the painting, of her pinwheels across the room and ends up landing next to the original work of art. The mission won't end until the man finds some clues. She can tell that much already. A slow inhale before she takes steps away from him, watching the paint smeared over his hands, the way he moves.

She has to wonder— maybe— if a boost of his own powers, an augmentation from him, if he focused it toward painting, if that would help matters. "I'll stay with you until you're done. I like watching you paint— and maybe I can help. Maybe the images will be clearer if I do." Or maybe the ones he wants will come up faster. Or maybe he'll just get… more. It's worth a try.

When she touched Eve the dreamer dreamed while awake. And then passed out.

The easel creaks with the force at which Gabriel is putting the new canvas in place. Not angrily, no unnecessary aggression. Just determined. His actions do pause, though, looking back at her when she makes her offer and seeming to consider it.

Which is fair. There's no real control over this power, save for the fact he doesn't need heroin to do it, and perhaps enhancing it might not be the smartest idea. But power, even the raw form it comes in with Gillian's— it's appealing.

Besides, who knows what could come of it? He picks up paints and brush. "Alright," Gabriel agrees, with the slightest twitch of a smile. "Maybe… if I keep going, if you can set up the other canvases when I can get to them." An educated guess. He's not sure if accuracy would improve, but perhaps he'll get more done.

Feed him small amounts of energy and set up a new canvas. Gillian half wonders if this is why she got the ability that she did— to help people, to guide them in certain directions, to make them better. Sure, as a Librarian she would push people to certain sections, help them find books they needed, and try to give them information that would make them better in ways they would try to be on their own, but she always though her ability didn't fit. Maybe… just maybe… she's discovering who she really is at the same time that he's trying to figure himself out. Maybe he's not the only one who's changed the last half year. It helps that she's finally taken steps toward shedding the burden of guilt and blame she's tried to hide since December…

"You paint, I'll set up new canvases for you… We'll find something, Gabriel." And she'll be able to help. It's not something she ever expected to make her feel good— but helping certain people…

The knot in the back of her head is an always present thing, to the point she can almost forget about it until it starts to unravel. Now she unravels it willingly. A small flow, pushed toward him. No need to touch. More can be added once he starts painting.

But either way she'll be right beside him. Helping how she can.

He knows her ability well enough to direct exactly what it's meant to be boosting without suddenly flooding the room or worse still, exploding it. Almost as soon as that little urging touch is given, his eyes flood white, and his mouth parts when his head is filled with images of the future, scattered in all directions.

That's what the trance is for. To interpret. He starts to paint, feverishly, although not without the same amount of detail and finesse as before. Sunset colours this time, a woman perched atop a building with hair coloured red, perhaps from the sky itself, all golds and oranges. An arm reaches into the frame, a dark sleeve, a large hand resting on her shoulder in a grip that's either possessive or warm.

They will both recognise her as Abigail, watching the sun go down.

As predicted, the painting finishes but the visions do not. There's only a moment's pause before he's moving to the nearest blank canvas, starting anew. A nondescript backdrop, a streak of sky, green— grass? Somewhere outside, where the sun shines, two men are built from paint. An older Asian gentleman in a modern business suit, his skin olive and hair dark, holds a sword in a warrior's stance, and doesn't seem afraid of the blonde man several feet from him, holding a sword in a similar fashion. There are several people in New York City that will recognise the sword as belonging to one Kensei.

No blue haired woman in sight, even in the next painting. The same blonde man has apparently wandered onto this canvas too, a setting that distinctly Staten Island, and he clasps the hand of a boy who frequents the place known as the Lighthouse. It may have been too long from the time Gillian briefly met him. It might not. Even then, did she catch that his name is Simon?

Without the use of telekinesis, Gillian must move paintings the old fashioned way. With her hands. Trying to touch only the sides, she still gets paint on her fingers, her palms, dripping down to her shoes. The thread of energy continues to flow, but she's careful to only move to the wall, set the new one down, and move back to put a flesh canvas back in place. One step at a time. Paint gets on the edges, a small touch marring the blank white perfection, but she'll do what he asked of her— she'll give over enough to keep going.

That doesn't mean her eyes don't linger on each of the paintings. No blue haired woman. No theaters. No clocks. But Abby pulls on her memory— an Asian gentleman… a blonde man. The boy also tugs on a memory. So long ago. But librarians see faces all the time. A name doesn't filter into her mind. Just a Kid. From the Library.

Each canvas is deposited, a new one put in it's place. And the music plays in the background, and she can't help but bob her head slightly to the beat as she waits to move another canvas. …What's going to happen when he runs out?

On and on we go. Where we'll stop, nobody knows. There's a corpse in this one, but it's not blue haired, not even a woman. A shadowy villain, or so we hope, sprawls on the ground and choking on his own saliva if the froth detailed at the edges of his mouth have anything to say about it, an arm flung out as if desperately reaching for help that isn't there. A woman stands over him, her hair a bright, fiery red, lank, her face covered, her dress colourful if blood spattered. Her hands drip with something, and she doesn't appear to be mourning this man. Her surroundings are dark, concrete, a door has opens and someone stands there, huddled, but the shadows obscure them. It's not a theater, but a room with a familiar view. Staten Island's coast. A Ferryman safehouse.

Gabriel's brush is quick to brush the next canvas set before it, a picture emerging that has an uncanny resemblance to the one before it. This time, the woman's dress is green, long flowing fabric and it too has flecks of red staining what appears to be expensive fabric. And much like the prior image, a man lies crumpled at her feet, but his cause of death is a little less subtle. Bullet wound holes make gouges in his body, his eyes open and dead. The woman with him is posed in something more distraught than the last, for him rather than for herself. They are both olive skinned.

Two more canvases, two more possible futures, unless he's willing to paint the floor. His painting only speeds up.

A stretch of Midtown street, the petite form of a young woman walking down it, with a silvery wash of rain represented in impossibly thin grey streaks over the dark painting. She's pale and bundled into an oversized woolen coat, hands in gloves. Eileen is very much alone, save for the man that awaits her around the corner, dressed in a raincoat, waiting with a cigarette in his hand despite the downpour. His head is lifted, unshadowed despite the hood he wears. Ethan Holden stares out at the critics looking at the painting, face written with unreadable meaning.

Ocean. Jetties extending out towards it. The concrete of urban docks. A woman dressed entirely in white stands poised like a statue, her expression utterly unreadable, her long hair unraveled. She doesn't acknowledge the little boy, of Asian descent such as she, running towards her with his monkey limbs held up, expecting a hug. No, her focus is on the man standing several feet away, in a black coat and equally black hair, stubble on his cheeks. Gillian will know him too, but not as well as Gabriel. Wu-Long stands on the shore of Manhattan, very much alive it seems, and gives a white-tooth smile at his wife as their son runs towards her.

Nothing. Nothing that Teo had wanted, and they're all out of canvas. But Gabriel only pauses, pale eyes seeing nothing, before he's reaching for paint. He reaches for sky-blue, and turns away from Gillian.

People just barely recognized, but faces she'll never forget. Eileen— that woman she knows well, without ever having sat down and spoken to her. One day it will have to happen, but the face… she knows that one quite well. From photos, from conversations. And from fleeting glances at from afar. It's the man with her that she knows even better. From experience. She can't help but growl mildly at the painting before she puts it down against the wall.

To continue making matters worse, another of the men she remembers from one night forever burned into her memory, even if not as clear as day as it would be for him. The man who helped try to kill her. The man she thought may have been killed by her claimed "savior".

And a man she has no idea means so much to the man doing the painting. A happy family. An expecting hug. A wife and child.

And… there are no more canvases to switch out. As he reaches for the sky blue paint, she doesn't close off the flow, looking around to see if she missed one.

Arms spread helplessly. Keep going and see if he can paint without a canvas… or stop. And she feels tired. A lot of moving back and forth. Canvases aren't light. And she the constant drain of energy is getting to her.

The flow isn't closed off. Just one more. One more. With no canvas on which to paint. The grimace is visible on her face.

There's a slight stagger in his step when Gabriel kneels down, now, with his collection of pain. Looks like the concrete will have to do. He starts to paint, using thick colours to combat the darkness of the cold floor, less finesse, less detail. There's a woman, her hands out, frightened. Her hair is a streaky blue with slight touches of brunette, her mouth opened in a horrified, shocked expression. No bruises, not blood.

Not yet.

A shadow of a man, or some form of foe, has fallen across her as she backs up several steps, her clothing eclectic and punkish to match her hair. There's only a slice of backdrop. A sign that starts to read: NOW SHOWING: FESTEN… But maybe there's hope for her. In the backdrop, two silhouettes, shadows entering the scene. One is likely a woman, the other is less certain, and there's no detail as to who they are, or even if they see her. But every detail is relevant.

A thin streak of blood courses its way from Gabriel's left nostril to smear across his top lip as he paints, until there's quite literally nothing more to paint with. The paintbrush falls with a clatter, and he almost does too until his palms go out to catch himself, crouched on the floor over his newest artwork, head bowed.

There— theater. Blue hair. Blue and brown. Gillian watches as well she can, kneeling down herself, eyes following the painting on the floor. Help might arrive. The woman may not be alone and left to die. Or maybe something worse will happen. Paintings are paintings. But maybe… The clatter of the paintbrush draws her eyes up to him, the blood dripping down his nose. The flow is cut off immediately, a hint of panic widening her eyes. She'd felt it, but she had more left— she could have continues a little while— though she'll need to sleep soon.

But she didn't mean to… "Fuck, Gabriel, I'm sorry. I should have stopped it earlier…" she moevs closer, putting her hands on his arm and shoulder, worry in her normally raspy voice. "You got a lot. And I…"

There's no nose bleed for her, but as she settles, spots fill her vision briefly, like a sudden rush to the head after sitting up too fast.

"You can't paint anymore tonight— but you got it… I think you did." It's just not exactly portable.

It's a strange sort of exhaustion, nothing physical. Almost a hangover, coupled with the iron sent of blood as Gabriel stares down at what he's painted on the floor, barely feeling Gillian's touch or hearing her words. A solitary drop of crimson falls from lip to ground, losing itself in the colours of the woman's clothing, before he lifts a slightly trembling hand up to wipe across his mouth.

Finally, Gabriel folds a little, taking his weight off his hands and shifting to lean against Gillian, as much as he knows she must share his exhaustion. "I used them all?" he asks, glancing towards the collection of paintings, then down to the one, finally, painted onto the ground. "Have to take a picture or bring. Bring Teo."

Ugh. "Mm. Let's not do that again," is his suggestion, getting to his feet as the after effects start to wear off, voice a little more alert by the time he has his feet under him, wanting to see what he's done.

"Not like that," Gillian agrees, keeping a hand on him while he sits back. "Yeah, you used all of them— I guess we're lucky you didn't decide to start painting on me." She actually had considered just closing her eyes and waiting to see what happened when he ran out of canvas… And she pretty much did. Floor happened. A wall would have probably gone better.

"You should see if… colored pencils do the trick. Paper is so much easier to get ahold of— and you can usually get more sheets." Not that he could have handled many more paintings like that…

And of course… now he has to look at them. Can she chuck the one with Ethan out the window? That doesn't exist cause they're in the basement? Too late… It's up against the wall. With all the rest.

Paper. Pencils. Something. Gabriel isn't listening, caught up staring at paintings both familiar to him than not. He's silent, still and standing, gaze going from one, slowly to the other, and the next, and the next. A line forms between his eyebrows at the ones that make no sense to him, featuring people he does not recognise, but its the ones that do make sense—

A date at sunset. The colours are beautiful and he's arrogant enough to recognise his own hand on Abby's shoulder when he sees it. Skip towards Wu-Long, Gabriel's hand coming up to rub the back of his neck in a nervous gesture, witnessing the man he killed— or at least, died at his hands— up and walking on the coasts of New York City. And of course, Eileen in the wet urban jungle, and the Wolf staring straight through the painting, directly at him, almost.

Gabriel's head cants a little, and he listens. It's raining in Manhattan.

"I have somewhere I have to be," he says, a little distantly, as if talking from a dream.

He has somewhere he needs to be. Gillian's eyes go to the paintings, and for a moment, there's a flare in her heartbeat. What he's said doesn't strike a good cord, but she bites down, cheeks turning pale. Something that stands out far more with the sudden tan she has. "All right," she finally says. He has secrets. She has secrets. Why can't they just… share everything? There'd been thoughts of explaining Pinehearst before they went to see Peter, and she might— assuming he makes it home in the morning.

"I'll see you tomorrow," she says, raspy, but managing not to sound angry. They both have things they keep to themselves. She's not in a hurry to mention Hawaii. Or… other things that happened today. "Whatever it is you're doing— be careful." There was a lot of dying people in those paintings.

And a little piece of her is furious that Ethan wasn't one of them.

There's some dissonance with this conversation. The slight skip in Gillian's heartbeat is enough to break the spell, Gabriel swiveling around enough to look at her with incomprehension for a moment, before moving towards her, paint smeared hands going to her despite their state, a kiss pressed to her temple. "Tonight," he clarifies. "I'll be back tonight. I just need to— let something come to be. Another favour of Teo's."

He's not even lying. Not really. "He really owes me." A last glance is cast down towards the doomed blue haired woman painted onto the ground, still shining slick with wet paint. "I need to clean up, I'll see you later." And headed for the door, and the staircase beyond, leaving Gillian alone in this makeshift gallery, her gunmetal grey portrait included.

Left alone. With all the paintings. Gillian doesn't get up to clean on her own, or go upstairs and sleep. Not yet. Instead she sits down on the floor and looks at the paintings. Her own especially. Her future. Doesn't look painful, but doesn't look good, either. Might be time to go and pay a visit to a certain pastor soon, she needs to explain things to him, still. She promised herself she would. But right now… she's just going to sit.

And stare at herself. And take off her shoes and get sand out from between her toes. Thanks a lot, Peter.

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