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Also featuring:

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Scene Title Exhibition
Synopsis Gillian dreams. She dreams about a game. There are many players.
Date July 7, 2009


If there is something we are all connected by, it's a search for identity and purpose. The world has grappled with a new question since the knowledge of the Evolved has since come to light: what is our purpose? What can it mean, that a man learns how to fly, a woman learns how to read minds? Is it all random chance, scientific progression, or some conscious decision of an unknown higher power, deciding that out planet needed a little more help?

Why is it that Gillian dreams tonight? And why is he here?

There aren't questions that can be answered one year, let alone one night. But maybe it's the wrong answer to seek anyway.

"Wow. You're good at this."

With all the sketchiness of an out of tune radio, Gillian dials in to her own dream. Vague pieces come together, a familiar voice, before, with only a couple of flickery false starts, it all slams into place, detailed. Black and white squares stretch in front of her, at first it seems to be an entire field, but then it constricts. A table top. A chess game.

Sunlight dapples on the pieces all at random points on the board; shadows of leaves of a tree, and a cool summer breeze blows by, ruffles her hair. She'll look up to see her opponant, a young man she'll undoubtedly recognise. Gabriel Gray has his hands clasped under his chin, elbows on the table and eyes down on the configuration of chess pieces. A grey T-shirt beneath a black blazer, the slight shadowy angles of stubble on his throat, jaw and cheeks, those expressive eyebrows drawn together in study.

"I said, you're good at this," he repeats, and moves a hand to pick up a cigarette that had been smoldering in its tray, a pack of more resting beside it, the kind Tavisha used to buy. "Still with me?"

Sleep brings dreams, if rarely clear or defined. Hand frozen over the black and white tabletop field, Gillian seems distracted by looking down at her fingers. No jewelry, but a small shadow creeps around her palm, shifted trees limbs and leaves cutting out the rays of sunlight and casting a shadow that seems to be darker. Looking up, her eyes settle on a familiar face, though one she likely did not expect to see.

The hand pulls back a fraction, even though it's no closer to him than most of her. "I— I don't really play often," she says, speaking the quiet raspy truth as eyes shift down to the board. What side was she again? Black? White? Which of the pieces had been hers— which had she already lost…

Sunlight catches in her eyes, reflecting the colors hidden between flecks of brown, before sliding back up to him. "Was it my turn?"

Everything feels out of place, yet at the same time impossible to question.

At this question, Tavisha tilts his head a little, thoughtful. "That depends," he states, and there's a smile at the corners of his mouth, as if deliberately playing the part of the amnesiac. Or perhaps, not playing at all. "On the game, anyway." The cigarette is brought up, breathed from, the smoke dispersing back into the air, and he casts a glance around. "But we all know you're on the white side. White stands for good, doesn't it?"

He leans back into his chair, and the wider world seems to come into focus. It's a sunny day to be in the park, the sunlight making glare bounce up off the bright green grass and the footpaths that vein their way through. More immediate are the other tables, with chess boards upon them, too, and other configurations and states of play. "Everyone's playing their own game— maybe we should look at the one we're all playing," Tavisha suggests, and tilts his head as if to indicate that she should take in her surroundings.

And there are familiar faces. Directly to the left, Gillian will instantly recognise Helena and Ethan sitting opposite each other, the man's much larger frame sprawled casual in his seat, a large arm folded on the table as he watches the blonde Phoenix leader watch him right back. Eventually, she reaches out, and moves a piece forward. Eileen stands just behind Ethan, her smaller hands on his shoulders as she watches the game avidly, before grey-green eyes turn to look towards Gillian without any real expression or curiousity.

The young woman steps back from the game between the Wolf and Helena, and moves past both Tavisha and Gillian, around to sit at the table on the other side, where a man, one Gillian won't recognise but is otherwise known as Jensen Raith, is waiting for her.

"You have to get every single piece in place, or you won't be able to take the King," Tavisha says, drawing his amber-brown gaze away from the two, back towards Gillian. "Do you know where you're supposed to be?"

The smell of cigarettes marks him as Tavisha more than just the face. The face a shared trait, but smells bring memories of the times he'd step into their home on Staten Island, clothes smelling of it. A deep inhale might well be her remembering, even as he directs her attention elsewhere. White stands for good.

Would someone really call her good?

The sight of people she recognizes, even ones that bring negative emotions, get remembered, put into place, and the same with the face of one she doesn't recognize. Who is it? Why is Eileen with him?

Eyes shift back to look across the table. "No, I don't know," she finally says after a long time of looking at the board, not quite understanding what it means, or why things are placed they way they are. "I don't know where I'm supposed to be." Always a question without much of an answer, and one she seems to want to repeat. "I could be anywhere— I could be everywhere." Or at least in multiple places at once. "I'm waiting for someone to tell me what to do."

Most the times she's acted on her own, things have spiraled downward into darkness.

"There is a difference," Tavisha says, with a jab of the lit cigarette in her direction. "There is an in between. Between acting on your own, and being told what to do. But I can tell you now, you aren't a pawn." The cigarette is set back down, and that hand wanders back over to the board. "I don't know if there's going to be room for sacrifice this time. But be careful…"

His fingertips clutch onto a black piece, the Rook, and glides it forward. "It'll get harder when the White Queen is taken." He knocks over the corresponding piece, steals it away, gestures with it. "She was never yours to begin with. Sorry." The piece is set aside. "There are too many players, it's hard to pay attention to everyone's games."

More people seem to come into view. There's Cat by an older man who looks over his shoulder at them, Mason Chesterfield, who offers Tavisha a curl of a smile before looking back at his board. Just behind them, two identical men are seated, one wearing a pair of round glasses. Tavisha tilts his head towards the two Edwards and adds, "They've been here for hours. But not as much as them." A nod to indicate behind Gillian, and when she turns—

Arthur is seated with his arms folded, and Ghost, in his face that Sonny had given him, glances back at Gillian as well, offers a nod before returning to their individual game.

"Arthur won the first round, but Teo's trying again," Tavisha states, in a conspirational tone, leaning forward as if sharing gossip. "I think— if he makes the right moves, then the Whites will have a chance. But you have to watch him, he's not a predictable player." A shadow passes by; Lucrezia Bennati moving by to stand over Ethan and Helena's game, though Tavisha keeps his eyes on Gillian. "That's the thing about Black and White, though. It's a lie."

"Isn't everything a lie?" Gillian asks, even as her eyes cast around the expanding area, the additional people. So many faces she knows, but a few she doesn't. One is only recognized in context. She'd never seen the face that Sal had given him, but she knows it'd been done, it registers that's who it must be. Not that any of this makes much sense to her, but she takes it in, until finally settling her eyes, and attention, on him.

"Black and white is a lie— because I thought you wanted him taken down just as much as any of us fucking do." Us. The White. Looking down at the board, her hand reaches out to touch one of the pieces, a pawn.

She's not a pawn.

The hand moves around. Many left to choose from, even if the Queen is gone. That would have never been her, not hers anyway. But who'd been the Queen? What game was she from? Which piece should she move?

"You're not telling me what I'm supposed to be doing— I don't even know which game I'm playing," she grumbles under her breath, before she chooses one piece, the White Knight, and shifts it in an L shape across the board. Not to take anything out, but to position.

"If everyone has to be in the right place, than how are they all going to get there? They want to work with people who'd been enemies— we tried that once too."

Her eyes drift up to Tavisha. Gabriel. Sylar. A name, and a symbol all at the same time.

"I'm not the prophecy," Tavisha dismisses, shrugging off the responsibility as effortlessly as a lungful of smoke, analysing the board between them as it is now. "I'm just here. I don't— know. I don't remember a lot, I'm sure you'd recall." A flash of a smile, innocent and pure as ignorance can be, a hand up to rest his chin in, then looks back down at the board. "Oh, the White Knight. You would choose that one, wouldn't you."

His gaze cuts across the space, towards where Peter is sitting along at his table, setting out the chessboard for a new game, looking perfectly healthy, almost content. "He's waiting for me, but we never finish," Tavisha states, raising an eyebrow. He glances towards where Ethan is rising from his seat with Helena, who starts rearranging pieces, the blonde woman offering a tight smile to her new opponent; Eileen only smiles back with her eyes as she settles down opposite, and pauses Helena's hands. She begins switching pieces, so that she has the White side, and Helena has the Black. The Phoenix leader only nods, and waits patiently.

"They're not your enemies if you work in tandem. Look."

And Gillian will look, as asked. The board between them still has its black and white squares, but the pieces have all turn a gunmetal grey, shining in the light. "Makes it hard, doesn't it?" Tavisha says. "There is no Black and White. But there's always a game, and there's an objective. It's simple." A blink, and everything turns back the way it should be. Tavisha picks up the White Queen as he stands, moves around her only to lean in. "This won't be like a chess game when it happens, but you should at least be aware of all the pieces. The rules."

The scent of cigarette smoke and Staten Island docks clings to him, even in dreaming, some signifier that speaks not of the future but of a recent history. Tavisha hands her the White Queen, before straightening his back.

Footfall. Heavy, ridged boot-rubber on concrete, tak-a-tok, sharp and geometrically precise as a pick-axe thwacking down. Someone else is coming. He wears his clothes in black and his hair short, a half-helix tattooed behind his neck, a lingering impression of war mottled calluses heavy and thick across the backs of his knuckles. He stops between two tables: the one Ethan just switched out of Eileen with, to play with Helena, and then the empty table at the corner, its pieces still
rallied in waiting.

Teo. Another Teo, to be closer to the truth; the first remains where he had been, seated, bent over the edge of the chessboard across Arthur Petrelli.

That seated Teo there is conspicuously younger than the new one is. He still has his face, though.

The distinction of age in the arrogant cut of cheekbones, faint etchwork of crows' feet squinting into the corners of his eyes as he sweeps the grounds with the acuity of very pale eyes, measuring each game in turn, until his perception jolts to a halt at the paired assembly of Tavisha and Gillian over the luminous gray of pieces thusly different to those that all of the other players war with.

His mouth curls around an unrealized sneer at the first, flattens to something approximating neutral at the second. "Buona sera," he calls out, coming toward. The first click accompaniment isn't as clear; the second resonates with his approach, varnished metal on flat concrete. The sword with its sculpted wolf's head clutched in the glove of his hand. "Gillian. You're not supposed to be here, Tavisha."

When the pieces all look the same, there's no way to tell them apart. The pieces don't even have a front or back, they don't have any disguishing features that show which side it'd been on— especially as the game gets further along, with the pieces deep in the enemy territory. Switching sides, changing places, changing colors, working in tandem…

The White Queen settles into her hand, and she looks down at it. Gillian can't help but feel something under the surface as she clutches it. A longing. She was never hers to begin with. Then why does she feel like it should have been that way? There's a small shake of her head, when she hears the sound of another approach. Teo. Version the second. Or the first. Or the third— or something. This one has the right appearance, if a little off.

Eyes fall on the cane. "That doesn't suit you," she says simply, though it's not in English. Almost as if his Italian sparked something inside her, the words translate themselves even as she speaks the, coming out in the proper way. The power of dreams—

"No reason he shouldn't be here. Almost everyone else is," she adds, glancing around at one set of boards and the people around them. "He makes more sense than some." Though it is odd Tavisha stood out rather than— rather than the one who recently broke her heart. Maybe it does make sense. In many ways… Tavisha had been… safer. Even if their relationship could never have been called complete.

Tavisha's head jerks up at the sound of foot steps, going still and calculating enough to be reminiscent of the man he's supposed to be, but Tavisha had such moments too. There's hesitation, standing just next to Gillian, his hand coming down to rest on the back of her chair— all the uncertain wariness in the world. Friend or foe, mysterious face and mysterious name.

The illusion of amnesia breaks down just a little when he says, with a vocal sneer, "You're one to talk. We're both strangers. I thought— "

He twists around enough to evaluate the younger Teo and Arthur, and their slow progress. It appears to be the former's turn, his eyes on the board while Arthur watches him like a hawk. There is uncertainty in the game being played, if the long hesitations have anything to say about it, before Tavisha's eyes go back towards Ghost. "Where am I supposed to be?"

"There, I think." The silver tip of the sword cane spits a glittering arc through the air, snaps to a stop, pointing, unerringly, razor, at the table that had held the ghost's interest only moments before. Arthur and himself, sitting in sluggish opposition. Ghost tilts his head, squints down the shaft, exaggeratedly, as if he's aiming a weapon with some actual distance on it.

His gloved forefinger parodies a trigger guard on the underside of the wolf's snout, flexing a moment, before hooking in the squeeze.

Bang. Everybody dies! Except, you know. Not really. The next moment, gravity peels the cane's axis back down, down, until it meets the ground with a dragging purr and pat of contact.

Ghost empties his face out, and his voice with it. Stands there, saying and doing nothing for a few long seconds, rereviewing the array of players and pieces as if he'd been reminded of something by the style and nature of Gabriel and Gillian's respective presences. There's a subtle settling, then. The bristle of plumage soothing flat; he turns back to them as if he hadn't bothered turning away.

"Met any prophetic dreamers lately, signorina?"

The wolf.

Gillian's eyes follow the cane for a time, before blinking and glancing back up at him, then shifting her eyes around the area. More people than she's used to being around right now, but something in his question tugs on her, pulling against the haze that surround her, telling her to accept what she sees and hears— "Just Eve," she responds quietly. Unless one of the kids had an ability like that— or Arthur. It could be anything of the sort, really, so many possibilities. But the likely candidate is the one she already listed.

Squeezing the White Queen in her palm, she reaches to the board and plucks the White Knight off. The piece she chose to move on her own, even if the position hadn't been the strongest. Except she knows so little about chess.

"I'd think this is telling to pick up a book about chess— but I'm doubting it." The hand sets down the Knight, gently, not back to the same place he'd originally been, but she moves to stand up so she can better face him, and glance toward Arthur— then the rest of the players.

A dream of tables and tables of games, all disconnected— but joined. All seemingly uninvolved, but connected. All leading toward a similar goal. There's a sideways nod toward Arthur, "Everyone keeps saying we can't beat him alone— but only one person can play him at a time. Maybe you need pieces from the other boards." She holds up the White Queen in hand.

"We have people willing to share," Tavisha agrees, keeping his eyes trained on Ghost rather than the woman seated just next to him, where he looms like a neatly dressed shadow. Not looking at the cane whatsoever, much unlike Gillian's calling attention to the silver headed wolf and the razor edge of the rapier.

There's a scrape of chair against pavement. Not far from them, a man Gillian might not be able to identify, but others might, is switching out a seat with Teo. Richard Cardinal certainly doesn't seem uncertain about chess, although he lets Arthur set the board once more, the younger Teo not moving away just at that moment, observing the ritual of pieces and placement.

"I don't know much about chess either," Tavisha admits. "But I know there's posturing. Multiple checks before checkmate." He raises his eyes back towards Ghost, and asks, with youthful inquiry, "Is that what this is? The future?"

Denial threatens the shape of Ghost's mouth with a word of disagreement, but none emerges, caught between the edges of teeth, the cusp of changing sentiment. He'd misunderstood for a moment there, that's all. He'd thought that Gabriel had been asking after his future— and no, this isn't that, but yes.

"I think so. I'm trying not to touch anything."

Lest he break something. Ghost has that bad habit, side-effect, psychic flaw, unhelpful when the symbolic presentation of manifest prophesy already leaves something to be desired in the way of clarity. There's no need for him to bring his inadvertent blowtorch to the canvas. He frowns. Leans his weight against the cane, oddly jaunty in the doing, at least temporarily indifferent to Gillian's criticism at his choice of accessory.

Cardinal is taking over. Unsurprising. Makes him wonder, a little, that Eileen took over for Ethan, that shift, replacement noted in the back of his memoy. Absentmindedly, he repeats: "I think so. Sometimes these things are punny. 'Endgame.' So, this is who plays." Pale eyes rotate to the furthest corner table, arrowing at the clacking, no-nonsense cadence of another player's white dagger heels.

Alison Meier. "At least you haven't started dreaming about fucking speed chess, yet."

"The future is a bunch of chess games— great," Gillian says, frowning as her eyes cast around again. They settle on Cardinal for a long time, as he's the one sitting down to play against the man who did quite a bit to mess up her life. It's not just the man she doesn't recognize, either, but other everyone, whether they're actually playing against him or not. The clicking draws her eyes away, to the woman in heels. "I've met her," she comments, recalling two meetings, really. The woman had known her birth name, too. The woman knew about her.

"So there are more people playing on his side too," she comments, before hesitating a moment and looking back. There are other people she could look for, people who would be on the Arthur's side. "The King doesn't usually do much— I don't know much about Chess, but I know that. Might as well be sitting on his fucking ass the whole time. Arthur's not like that, though— especially now. He's been active, recently— doing most of the work with his own hands."

She wonders if there's a chess term for a amazingly aggressive King? Who knows— she might have to look it up.

"I still don't see what I'm supposed to be doing…" It's not so much a question, as a quiet musing. The Queen still in hand, borrowed from another board. One she abandoned to look around at the games. She steps closer to the game between Cardinal and the man who murdered her twice, killed her brother thrice, and toyed with her heart through lies, deception and manipulation…

"You have to take the King to win the game," Tavisha points out, as she moves around him, towards the board stretching between Cardinal and Arthur. "Even one that moves around more than its meant to." He drifts on after her, though his focus stretches around the place, towards where Helena and Eileen are negotiating, and Cat is rising up from her game with Mason, where Jennifer Chesterfield replaces her readily, wife against husband, and they both share the knowing smiles of long rivals.

Tavisha's attention switches back to the game between Cardinal and Arthur. He still has a burning cigarette between his fingers - this, he absently ashes, the fine dust-like substance drifting down to the grass before he takes another drag. Smoke curls out of his mouth as he notes, "We're gonna need a bigger board."

The game spread out between Richard and Arthur is well under way, and it seems to be Cardinal's turn, his hand hovering over a Bishop, but uncertain. Pawns are discarded, littering the table next to the board, and though all three of them could never claim to be experts, there is a certain rightness to the configuration. An answer lies here.

"Richard's missing a White Queen," Tavisha adds. "You should share. Then we can see what's happening." Arthur's gaze breaks from Cardinal, tilts up to evaluate Gillian as cold as the heart of an iceberg.

That isn't in the rules, but Ghost doesn't point that out. His brow furrows under the weight of curiosity, and he turns his head this way, first, then that, blunt, gloved fingers scaling the bristly incline of his jaw. "That could work," he concedes, after a moment. Wryly. "Or you could be giving up the main weapon in your arsenal — what you really need — before Tavisha takes the game.

"Or whomever is playing Tavisha this production." There's a hitch in the line of Ghost's mouth, something like disdain, exasperation, impatience, or perhaps merely simple chagrin troubling his face. "It's either vague or risky. Probably both." He says this as if he'd know. He might, given the nature of his presence, the experience implied by that and the fold of his arms, cantankerously aloof, watching. "The kind of King you're thinking about was the one who died in 2019, Gillian.

"Guess the game changed."

Can't always play by the rules— but there are promotion rules. That much Gillian also knows about chess. The basic movement, what happens when a pawn reaches the final rank, and the fact that— the board already grew. Already expanded. And there's things going on that defy the rules that people know. "I doubt we'd be the only ones bending the rules, in this case." The mention of the future, Tavisha… The King died in 2019. The game changed.

"If the game didn't change, than everything that happened then meant nothing." There's a quiet tone in her voice, something she knows that she had lost from that future, without knowing exactly how much. But something she's gained this time around.

The Queen never was hers anyway.

Yet she's the one holding the piece. A piece given to her by someone else. Moving forward, she looks at Arthur, returning the icy gaze with an angry grimace, before she leans over next to the man she doesn't recognize, and sets the Queen into play. Seemingly out of the way on the large board— but the Queen has a long range, and is capable of doing quite a bit. She's the most powerful piece for a reason.

"Maybe he moved so fast that he wore out his stay."

Cardinal doesn't look up, doesn't thank Gillian for her contribution. His hand instantly moves towards the Queen, and though he moves the piece himself— it's really only what's convenient, being the one come to sit at the board. The White Queen slides across the board, takes out a Rook, which goes skittering away. Not the last of the Black's defences, but significant.

She's gaining on him.

A slender arm comes out. Eileen has come to stand nearby, and makes her contribution. A White Knight is set down, along with a couple of Pawns for good measure, somewhere behind the Black's defenses. This is certainly no ordinary chess game, and Arthur only moves a piece around, taking nothing. He's already destroyed the previously existing White Pawns, anyway.

Meanwhile, over Cardinal's head, Tavisha delivers a false smile across at Ghost, eyes cold. "I'm not playing, anyway. I'm in a coma," he says, almost singsong in his reminder. "But I can improve your game, probably."

Cardinal moves the Queen once more, direct confrontation with the Black King. "Check."

It happens fast. It's a Black Knight no one saw coming, moving around, and knocks the White Queen over with a flick of Athur's hand. "Ooh. I forgot about him," Tavisha notes, shaking his head, though Cardinal doesn't seem surprised, moving a hand to escort the White Knight Eileen had set out into a more dangerous position. "There are two of them, you know. It can get confusing." He glances sidelong to Gillian. "Sacrifices. It's not always the Pawns. We'll take the game this way."

"Maybe it's better when it's not the pawns," Gillian says softly, though she can't help but look at the board in a kind of horror that the one piece she added came to an end. It's meaningful, but the road to victory. The way they'll take the game. A game that should have never been a game. The White Queen swept off the board is picked up from the sidelines, pulled back into her hands and held there.

"It's not— "

That's as far as she gets. Mid-sentance cut off. The world quickly disolves into black, then red, then bright light as Gillian sits up in a bed, sunlight streaming through the window curtains she'd left open. The sun's still below the cloud-line, streaking straight into the eastern facing window, filling the room that'd been dark when she laid down with light.

Breathing deeply, she looks across the room, to the wall, where shadows play and form shapes. The light refracts off glass and metal, sending piercing pieces of light into the remaining darkness of the shifty shadows.

While the words she'd stopped saying are not recalled— the dream actually is.

Eve would paint. Gillian reaches over and grabs a notebook and starts to write things down.

And she's going to need to buy a book on chess.

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