Fade To White


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Fade to White
Synopsis Peter Petrelli repays a debt to Cardinal for saving the world, and takes an unspoken additional payment in the form of Gillian Childs.
Date May 25, 2010

Anarchy Customs

Familiarity breeds complacency, or so the saying goes.

There's also something to be said for familiarity breeding comfort, like the familiar soil of a homeland at your back during a war. The analogy isn't quite the same here, but the reasoning still stands.

A loud rumble of metal on runners comes as a garage bay door comes sliding up to release a gust of freezing cold air from the snowy streets beyond. The interior of Anarchy Customs hasn't seen much use in a long time, not since it's owner packed up and left the Rookery. It's hard to say exactly when Devi abandoned the old haunt; maybe it was back when Norman White was threatening to sink a portion of the island, maybe it was when the snow got waist deep. Either way, she's the smart one.

The man and woman standing silhouette inside of the garage bay doors have more questionable cognitive functions. "Well… it's quiet," Peter admits ina reluctant tone of voice, stepping down off of the shelf of snow piled up at the garage bay door and landing down with a slap of wet boots into the vacant garage. A gloved hand is extended upwards towards where Gillian stands, some four and a half feet up from the floor. "Hopefully we don't have to wait here for him too long…"

Behind Peter, Anarchy Customs is dark and silent, smelling faintly of gasoline and motor oil still, but vacant of all of the machinery that was once so prominent. The cold has permeated into the walls here, but at least it's indoors and out of the wind, and with the sun shining outside, it feels warmer than it really is.

A heavy bag lands with a thump next to Peter. Gillian was told they might need newspapers, or something to cover the floor with, while the shadow man became whole again. She brought the next best thing, but it'd been heavy, and some snow skitters down with it.

Reaching down, her glove hand touches his as she hops down out of the wind and into the warmer building. "I've never actually been here before. But Stef wrote about it in her journals. She was— really comfortable and happy here." With Shard and Devi and everyone else. The life the clone had on her own had been something she strove to make joyful. "Guess there's nothing left of her here, though."

The machinery is gone, and anything that Stef might have left behind would be gone with it. All that's left of the clone might well be those journals… And…

"You think he's not already here? Cause I'm betting he is. Want to wager on it?" It's a tease from the dark haired woman, as she drops back her fur covered hood and looks for moving whispering shadows.

"For we are strangers before thee, and soujourners, as were all our fathers…" A low, whispering stir of voice reaches the hearing of those waiting for a presence to join them, as if in response to Gillian's teasing comment that he's probably already there, "…our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding." Chronicles, twenty-nine fifteen…

The torn shadows break from the darkness, a fluttering shred of what was once a man… and still is, in some senses. In defiance of the doom the Oppenheimer saw wake in New Mexico all those decades ago, Richard Cardinal is still here.

Glancing towards the sound of a whispering voice, Peter's brows furrow and his lips downturn into a frown behind the high buttoned collar of his black wool overcoat. He turns to look back at Gillian as he helps her down off ot the snowbank, then moves around her to draw down the garage bay door, letting it rattly and clatter on its runners before slamming to the concrete. For all Richard made his presence known, the solemnity of his words has given Peter pause enough not to interrupt; verbally, anyway.

After the door's closed, Peter takes an assessing look about the garage bay, then makes a motion around a section of the floor where a lift is recessed into the floor and metal grating obscures a lower maintenance bay. "We'll do it there…" he explains, clearly for drainage purposes, should this go horribly wrong.

It's only after that proclimation and with one gloved hand held out that Peter turns his attention towards the shadow between shadows, the deeper darkness on the walls. "How're you holding up, Richard?" No comfort to Gillian's talk of Stef; conversations about clones hit too close to home.

"I brought a huge plastic tarp in the bag," Gillian says with a kick against said bag on the ground next to her, that she'd carried the whole time down here. "It's cool to throw it away, but if you want to let it drain, that's fine too." It just seemed having a plastic tarp they could just roll up and toss out would be a good idea.

If Peter finds this situation awkward, she's once again avoiding looking at him for very long. An unhappy twist of her mouth, a bothered look away. A guy she loved, but never slept with, helping put together a guy she slept with but didn't love like that. Awkward, in it's own way.

"Let's get this over with." So she can stop being around the guy.

It may be awkward for them, but it's downright terrifying for Cardinal. The answer to the question can likely be seen better than heard, wisps of torn shadow peeling away from the main mass and drifting off only to be drawn sharply and suddenly back in once more, as if the part of him that wanted to just run was exerting itself.

"I'm still alive, aren't I…?" For now… There's a moment's hesitance, and then the shadowmorph moves to slither along across the floor towards the grating, "…is Devi here? Or did she abandon this place during the snow?" The snow…

"I don't even know who Devi is, so…" Peter offers a roll of his shoulders, "She's likely moved on, in one way or another." Tugging off his thermal gloves one by one, Peter walks across the floor to an old wooden workbench attached to the far wall, laying his gloves down on there and looking over to the drain, then to GIllian's bag she'd brought. "Cardinal, I… I just want to tell you right now, I'm not sure if this is going to work. I think it will… I— I want to believe it will, but I can't promise you that it will."

Unbuttoning his jacket, Peter stares down at the floor between his feet. "I'll be honest with you, taking the risk of you becoming solid again it— this might kill you, if I can't fix everything." Swallowing tightly, Peter slides off his battered arctic survival jacket and lays it over the bench.

"Gillian, whatever you need before we start…" is a quietly made order as he starts unbuttoning the sleeves of the plum colored dress shirt worn beneath, rolling the sleeves up one by one as he walks over towards where Gillian's bag is laid out. Scars cover Peter's arms, horrible wounds across his wrist and forearm, slashes left by the unsubtle knife of Carlisle Dreyfus, scars that should've been left on Francois Allegre.

"Augmented healing tends to go a little… odd," Gillian says quietly, as she pulls out the plastic from the bag and kicks it out. It lays down fairly flat, but curls up at the edges, but it covers more than enough space to put a body on it. It also may be necessary if it fails, but she sincerely hopes it doesn't. She's seen people brought back from the brink enough times to think it could work. "I mean I lost my brand, and my tattoos and all my scars… My ears aren't even pierced anymore. And that doesn't even cover what happened to Abby when I augmented her."

Healgasm. Too bad Peter's new ability doesn't come with joy.

"Who all am I augmenting for this? Just you, or Cardinal too?" Can she even augment a shadow? She's not sure… the time she did augment out of pain, she caused him to explode into a shadowy cloudy poof.

"I know, Petrelli… I know…" I know… A whisper of 'breath' from the shadow, a bit of an edge entering Cardinal's tone, "…please don't belabor the point any further. I'm terrified enough as it is."

As the plastic's laid out, the tendriling shadow crawls across it like a translucent amoeba seen only by the diffusion of like through it, tattered darkness escaping only to be pulled back in again, "I can't hold myself together much longer. If this doesn't work, I'd be dead soon anymore. I think — both of us, Gillian. It'll help me… hold things together. I'll be expecting it this time…" No more poof…

"We're going to do what we did for Liette," Peter adds, dropping that surprise on Gillian now that he's ready. One foot smooths out a corner of the tarp, and Peter comes to stand in the middle of it, offering out a bare hand towards the augmentor. "I can't heal Cardinal on my own, not even with double Sasha's normal ability. I'm going to need absolutely everything you have, and I'm going to need to give you what I can, and pray this works." Brown eyes move towards Cardinal's diaphanous form, and Peter swallows tightly.

"Gillian's going to augment you first, and I'm going to need you to reach out to me. Reach out to my hand, and let me take it." To ease the process, Peter drops down onto one knee, holding out a bare hand to the shadow, now far from its inky surface. "Once Cardinal's taken my hand," Peter's eyes divert back to Gillian, "I need you to take my other one and start augmenting. I'm going to try using both powers at once, healing Cardinal while augmenting you and being augmented back. It's… it's tricky but we've done it twice now."

For all that he sounds confident, the look of worry plastered acorss Peter's face is so very evident. "I don't know what's going to happen… but I've got a couple friends nearby who'll take care of me if something goes wrong." A frown pulls the corners of Peter's lips down, brown eyes meeting Gillian's again. "You can do it."

"You're going to need everything…" Gillian says quietly, looking down at the tarp with a shadowy form on it, and then pulling off her glove. Just one hand, but she's going to need to take his. Skin contact always went better— even when it's cold. Another augmentation loop. "I could barely move for two days after the last one, so whatever friends you got nearby better take care of me too." She's wishing they would have done this somewhere less…


She's putting a lot of trust into the hand of someone she doesn't trust nearly as much as she once did. "Once the loop starts, Cardinal, I'll be augmenting you still, and it will get more and more powerful. Try to hold together." It's an important warning. Every time this happened, the amount of energy tossed around in a small area… caused a lot of problems for some people.

"Okay— here you go, Card," she says, sending a tendril of energy through the air toward the shadowy figure, finding a target a lot easier than she could have thought she would. It's an active ability, that makes it easier to find, and empower. Energy flows out of her, into him, and she offers her bare hand toward Peter at the same time, waiting for him to take it as a cue.

As that thread of power glides out, it blends into the translucent shadows of Richard Cardinal's form, diffusing outwards through tattered darkness — and that darkness deepens, the shreds and tatters of broken essence flowing together again, still ragged at the edges but more cohesive, more whole, the man's will strengthened by borrowed energy.

"Alright." A whisper, but — stronger, somehow. "Let's do this, Petrelli…"

Reaching down towards the shadowy form of Richard Cardinal, there's a nervous bob of Peter's throat up and down in a noisy swallow. He touches his hand down to the darkened surface of Cardinal's body, fingers dipping into the shadow like the surface of oil, rippling and watery with a strange smoky ephemeralness to it. A sudden jerk of Peter's arm pulls him towards the shadow, his forearm muscles tense and his eyes grow wide. Sucking in a sharp breath, Peter leans back, arm trembling as he uses all of his strength as is trying to hoist up the weight of a man from some dark pit with one arm.

"Now— " Peter hisses too quiet to hear, "Now, Gillian!" Peter's hand reaches out to grab a hold of Gillian's, and when their hands join there is a crackling spark of violet light. A low, harmonic buzzing builds in the air, like the sound of a magnetic turbine spinning up as rays of violet light begin to shine from between their fingers.

A pulsed wave of that purple energy throbs down Peter's arms in his veins, surging into the shadows and flickering inside the black, like lightining coloring a thundercloud.

Soon there's a reverse of that flow, energy building up in Peter and shooting back up into Gillian, and the deep purple glow begins to slow refine to a brighter shade. Teeth clenched, Peter's lips pull back into a snarl as he draws a still smoking hand up from inside of the shadows, flesh blackened around glowing orange-hot areas of burning flesh still alight from nuclear fire.

Peter screams, pain and fear lancing through him like a hot knife cutting thin paper. From where Peter is holding the smoldering hand of Richard Cardinal, skin begins to blacken, an almost necrotizing looking effect, like Kazimir Volken pulled from the grave. But it doesn't have that Ashen quality, doesn't have that dark effect, just blackening and burning, like a brand. Away from the scarring, Cardinal's wounds begin to seal shut, charred flesh grows bloodily wet, then slithers shut like time-lapse photography. "Come on!" Peter screams, trying to pull Richard forth from the shadows while at the same time sewing back together what he's withdrawing.

Squeezing fingers tight around Peter's hand, Gillian ends up falling to her knees on the cold floor, touching the plastic as she fights against the flow. There'd been a reason she was sitting down when they did what they did with Liette. It's weakening, and hearing him scream digs deep into her. She may well be the only one not in pain. Just as she warned, the flow of energy between her and Peter isn't just limited to them. It bounces back and forth and then spreads out, encompassing the area with power, like a bomb going off.

Fitting description, since it's a bomb that put him in this shape, and an energy bomb that may help put him back how he was before.

Her eyes slide shut, and she unravels the knot entirely. Peter'd said he needed everything— and if anyone was worth everything…

It's Cardinal.

The light grows brighter and brighter, purple, violet, and finally near pure white, rushing back and forth between them, pulsing brighter each time, strobing. Much more of this and it may hurt the shadowy form, if he stays in shadow.

If there was a Geiger counter in the garage, it might be crackling now; a sharp tic-tic-tic warning of possible dangers as that hand's dragged forth from the shadows, wisps of greasy smoke peeling away with the scent of deep-burnt human flesh, the tips of Richard's fingers little more than nubs of blackened bone that resemble charcoal. Fatty deposits lick with flame that gutters and dies once brought into the chill air.

Cardinal screams, too.

The hand's soon whole, or almost whole, and more of his arm emerges, curling strands of blackened muscle pulling back together beneath the pressure of his ability. Half of a forearm comes into view — and the rest is hanging just by strands of burnt tendon, a charcoal ash of bone sifting down to speckle over the plastic that's been set down. It snaps back into place, then, bone gripping bone once more, muscle and flesh sealing over it. Then a shoulder, smoldering flesh paling back from ash-grey once more.

The shadowmorph keeps screaming. There's no breath, no lungs, that he ever has to stop. He screams, and it goes on, and on..

The light from Peter and Gillian continues to grow, crackling bolts of electricity arcing between their bodies now, like a Jacob's Ladder at its highest voltage. The noise of the cyclical augmentation begins to grow louder and louder, a thrumming noise building to a bass-filled crescendo as white illumination starts to flood the garage, the same bright white flash that should have claimed Richard Cardinal's life, but instead turned him into a radioactive ghost; a living silhouette of the atomic flash.

Peter's voice joins Gillian's and Cardinal's in that thrice-over howl. The light between he and Gillian begins to bleach out everything else, just as a neck and face begins to fade into view, and the first thing the blood-shot eyes of Richard Cardinal see is blistering scars forming across one of Peter's shoulders and arms before everything fades to that same impossibly bright white light that he'd seen the moment he should have died.

Everything fades to white.



When the light gutters and dies back down, Gillian lays sprawled on her side on the cold concrete, dark hair in her face covering her brow, lips parted and a thin line of blood trickling out of her left nostril and ear, and where Peter should be, there is nothing but the tarp as the light dies back down from brilliant radiance.

Nothing but a shadow, burned into the tarp that slowly moves.

Fingers squeeze briefly, at the air, as eyes try to flutter back open. Just like she knew she'd be, Gillian isn't able to retain much awareness. Everything feels heavy, and cold, and wet. The hand that had held Peter's is empty, the room feels darker than it'd been a moment ago. Trying to press her hand down against the ground, she pushes once, and then just falters and slides back down. A soft sound, raspy and whispered, tries to call out.

But it's hard to tell which name she's even saying, or what word she might have tried to murmur. If she retains consciousness much longer, it's only to see if it worked, and what happened— There's not even the barest trinkle of energy left. Just like he asked, she gave it all.


It's a hoarse whisper from a throat that isn't used to speaking - because it's all new tissue, freshly grown and never used before. Cardinal's eyes flicker open, only to be blinded by the light, even the dim lighting in the garage pointedly agonizing to him. The chill of the air pricks smooth, pink skin in a painful caress, causing bones to ache. The floor is hard beneath his back. Uncomfortable.

"Ow." A faint chuckle. It hurts. Not the sharp, clinical pain of a laser, not the diffuse agony of bright light. Aches and pinpricks and hard, flat pressure. He's alive.

"Fucking yes ow..!" And then he's laughing, breathless, painful, chest rising and falling as he lays naked on the plastic surrounded by scorched remnants of what used to be arctic gear, and that laughter echoes like a newborn's cry through the garage.

"There you have it," Richard. The voice is a familiar one, a distant echo of someone whispering into the wind, coming from the shadow slithering its way across the tarp. It moves near to Gillian, snakes its way over her and then onto the concrete away from it. "You're whole," again. Rising up onto the wall as if to stand up straight, the shadow of Peter Petrelli stares eyelessly down onto the tarp, then begins ghosting along one of the walls.

A moment later, there's a creak and a groan from one of the back doors, a knob being twisted hard enough to break the lock inside of the door, and then a slow swing of the side door to the garage opening. Stepping in from the hallway to the outside, Benjamin Washington halts in slight recoil when he spots the naked man sprawled out on the floor of the garage on a bloody tarp. "Jesus," he hisses, looking away and jerking one shoulder up. "Risa, gimmie the bag."

Stepping in behind Knox, a slender young woman that Cardinal hasn't seen since her disappearance at the crown of the Statue of Liberty emerges into the garage carrying a duffelbag over one shoulder. "Like you've never seen that before…" Risa offers in quiet chiding to Knox as she nods her head towards Gillian while crossing the floor to Cardinal's side.

Settling onto her knees beside him, the waifish brunette lays the duffel bag down, slides the zipper open and withdraws a pair of too-large jeans, two sweaters and a puffy winter coat. "Peter was worried about this," Risa admits as she hesitantly lays out the clothes, glancing over to Gillian as Knox comes to kneel down by her side, staring at her with wide, confused eyes before a hand comes out to lightly touch at the side of her head.

"Funny runnin' inta' you here, girl." Knox's dark eyes move over to the silhouette on the wall, brows furrowed in thoughtful consideration. "How you holdin' up?" There's no answer, just a drift of the shadow across the wall like someone shining a flashlight on a paper cutout of a man. "Good to hear," Knox sarcastically adds in a mutter.

Eyes flutter, unable to stay completely open, but stubbornly fighting not to close. Gillian looks at the naked body of Cardinal, familiar and causing of relief, can hear the echoing voice of Peter— and then others begin to follow. One voice she knows, one voice she doesn't. Rolling to look up at the scarred man who helped her learn to switch abilities quickly when she had more than one, she doesn't seem to be quick on the uptake. But she does recognize.

"Knox? What…" She might have been about to ask a whole question, but she doesn't finish all of it as she closes her eyes. It worked. People are here to help. And she doesn't have the energy to even think whether that's good or bad.

"I guess that makes us even, then, Petrelli…" As the laughter fades, Richard coughs a bit, one hand raising with trembling fingers to rub at his throat, grimacing for a moment, "…thank you. Both've…" Then there's people, there. He opens his eyes to squint up— then closes them against the glare, letting his head fall back. That's Knox. And he knows that voice — Risa? Hah.

"Messiah to the rescue. God, I hope you brought clothes, I'm fuckin'… freezing. Gillian, Peter, you alright?"

"St— uh, Gillian'll be fine," Knox admits quietly, taking her by one arm and lifting it up to hook over his shoulders. Notably he seesm to have a little struggle as he rises up to stand straight and heft her weight. "This'd be a lot easier if some'a you were 'fraid." There's a slight grimace offered by Knox to that. "We're gonna' make sure she gets home safe, don't you worry."

Risa looks up and watchesa as Knox slides an arm beneath Gillian's legs and cradles her in his arms. The shadow on the wall behind Risa says nothing, and the brunette merely picks up one of the layered sweaters and drapes it across Cardinal's waist. "The cold isn't flattering," she offers with a lift of one brow slowly, turning to look over her shoulder after a moment to the shadow on the wall. "Are you coming with us?"

"No," not yet. Peter's ghostly voice echoes thorugh the garage. "I have someone I need to go see," alone. The shadow slides down the wall, drifting across the floor to pool beneath Knox's feet. "Make sure she gets home safe…" please. Knox furrows his brows as he watches Peter's shadowy form, then nods his head once slowly and looks up to Cardinal.

"What about ol' Dick?" Knox can't help but crack a juvinile smile at that, breaking up the seriousness of what just happened. Peter's answer is a silent one as he makes his way towards the door Knox manhandled open.

"I think he'll be fine," just fine."

There's all sorts of ramifications to the fact that these particular people showed up to help Peter, that they're asking if he's going with them immediately, that they're essentially taking orders from him…

….but Cardinal's not thinking about that right now. He's just enjoying the fact that he can breathe in cold air, feel it burn his lungs, exhale it once more. He can take a break from shaping the future. He's earned that.

At the comment from Risa, he chuckles helplessly, chest rising and falling as he murmurs, "Come back when it's warmer, give me a second opinion. Yeah. Yeah, I'll— I'll be fine. Go."

Looking Cardinal up and down, Risa's expression seems less amused. "Thank you," is an odd thing for her to murmur as she stands, "for saving Norman from himself." Risa leaves the duffelbag behind, tugging up her red scarf to cover her mouth and nose as she turns to look back over at Knox, carrying Gillian. He moves to Risa's side, offers an askance look to the brunette and wonders aloud a simple question as he watches Peter's shadow disappear out of the garage without any fanfare or farewell.

"I ain't carryin' her the whole way, am I?" Knox's lips downturn into a frown as he stares at Risa, and all the brunette has to offer is a somewhat impish smile and a roll of her shoulders. Knox's shoulders slack into a slouch and he breathes out a heavy sigh as he turns away from Cardinal, trudging for the door he'd forced open. "Did I ever tell you the story about the hitchhiker with a hook for a hand?"

"Please shut up," Risa notes in a teasing tone of voice, shooting down Knox's joking attempt at bolstering his strength. When he moves out through the door with Gillian, Risa turns around and offers a look back to Cardinal; silent and thoughtful. All he gets is a nod, and then her narrow frame disappearing out the door behind Knox.

Cardinal's breath is visible as a vapor on the air.

It was cold where he died, too.

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