Fatal Signal SIGSEGV


gabriel_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Fatal Signal SIGSEGV
Synopsis Gabriel and Gillian are finally reunited, and attempt to talk about Teo's little burning bird mission. Things then go a little haywire when Gabriel discovers another power in his arsenal - what happens when you augment an augmenting augmentor?
Date March 29, 2009

Staten Island: Abandoned House

It's a hazy afternoon, with the sky turned an ashy, indefinite shade of blue and grey. Hard to tell where sky ends and cloud begins, same with the rain that just seems to hover in fog form over the river, and finer still in humidity that clings invisibly to warmer skin. Gabriel Gray walks up the neglected cobbled pathway towards the suburban house, boots crunching dirt, weeds and gravel underfoot before he comes to a halt to simply observe this fleeting attempt at normalcy.

Or maybe it wasn't a real attempt. Like painting a picture of something you want. Daydreaming. Maybe it was even ironic. Gabriel can't completely remember all his motivations when he found this place and began fixing it even before he'd met Gillian. Could have well just been something to do. The exterior paint is flaky, as if the nature of the last two years had eroded it, and around him, the lawn's been cut but the weeds at the edges had been left neglected, the tangle of bushes gone wild.

There's a broken, abandoned, gutted car halfway down the street. The streetlamps have also stopped working. There's very few people around for miles.

The door was fixed, though, he'd fixed the door. Gabriel knows an irrational, fiery need to simply twitch his fingers and send the rectangular piece of freshly painted wood flying back into the dark interior, but instead, he continues moving up the path and simply places his hand above the handle. A little bit of concentration later, and the lock gives with a click.

The streets and the exterior of the house may have been empty, but the interior contains signs of life. After the door clicks open, a heartbeat can be heard. Human and familiar. Something he would have heard many times in the last couple of months. Through the walls between their apartment, when they lived together both times. The breathing also has a familiar texture, the raspiness of her voice giving a distinctive sound even when she's not speaking. Things are being shifted around. Fabric rubbing against fabric.

Gillian's packing up some belongings, yet again. Though one could also consider it checking to make sure everything is there. They had been packed up rather than put away in many cases when they last stayed here.

When Teo cleared her out, she didn't have much time to take things. The cat, a bag of stuff, and that had really been it. Getting her safe was top in everyone's mind, and considering the situation, it was high up on her list too.

No cat. She'd not returned it to this place, yet. Indeed is unsure what to do with him, at this point.

The click isn't heard, but she's standing near the front, where the repaired door opens, folding up some of her frequently displaced clothes. Black hair is pulled into a ponytail, her dark clothes cast interesting shadows on her form, but the coat she may have worn on her trip her is resting over the counter in the kitchen.

A glass also sits on the counter. Water left over from bottles they had had fills it halfway.

There is no coaster.

There are worse things than a lack of coaster. The house is starting to show signs of neglect - dust has settled and makes the air smell thick and musty. The cat-shaped wind chime by the window shows shards of filtered, coloured light, making lonely, ungraceful patterns on dirty carpet. A lot of things don't go seen, not now. The conflict of having been away from someone he cares about for this long, and having actually been with them for the past month, now, makes emotions harder to negotiate than usual.

He steps inside, delays looking at her in the time it takes to shut the door behind him. A dark blue dress shirt, almost new looking if not particularly spectacular. Just free of wear and tear, of stains and dirt, with some lines in the fabric of it that imply some newness, even stolen newness. The coat over the top is nothing out of the ordinary, and free of cigarette smoke and alcohol and other Rookery related things - no, this time he brings in the scent of the greenbelt rather than the docks and Staten Island nightlife.

Hiding. From the rest of the world and himself, to a degree. It'd be so much easier to rampage and it'd feel good, too. With the smoggy outside world closed off with the door, Gabriel finally looks at her. It's been a couple of weeks.

Or, it's been since December. Take your pick. "Hi."

Since December, there's been quite a few changes. The black in her hair harkens to their first meeting, though she's lessened the lipstick and eyeliner quite a bit. Gillian also lacks the dark chokers she frequently wore the first few times they met as neighbors, and even later as roommates. Even the last time they technically saw each other, she'd been dirtied by various violences of explosions, snow and other things. The bridge collapsed just after he said something very important.

And just as succinct as what comes out of his mouth first tonight.

The fabric glides through her fingers as a shirt drops to the floor.


Her tone is raspy, a little breathy, whispered. And then a moment later she's moving, crossing the distance between them, shifting through dust built up on the floor, and putting her arms around him. Sorry for the hug, but it's been a long time. Even since she saw Tavisha.

With her hair pulled back in a ponytail, the scar on her forehead is visible when the bangs shift slightly. Pulling back, she looks up at him. "I missed you." Him. Even when he'd been right beside her for a while, she still missed him. Odd as that may be.

He remembers it clear as any other memory in the library-like recordings in his head. That is to say, every minute detail of every second. The pain and ache of his muscles recovery from being infected by the ghost of Kazimir Volken, through to the heartache of being so close to freedom in the middle of the chaos, then the numbness of indecision before he'd urged Gillian to run, flee without him, ultimately a bad idea but who could know that at the time?

He also remembers that she didn't, and good thing too. As Gillian comes closer to wind her arms around him, the embrace first comes stilted, and then relieved, Gabriel crushing her to him in a returned embrace and feeling what hair has escaped from her ponytail brush against his face. He blinks rapidly down at the carpet over her shoulder, as if bewildered, before space is forced between them and brown eyes meet similar brown.

"It's been a long time."

Stating the obvious, but maybe for affirmation. Dividing the time he spent with her as Tavisha as something else that has little to do with the man standing in front of her now. Gabriel's hand goes up, very little hesitation in his movements, smoothing fingertips in a strange but natural arc from her jaw, over his cheekbone, right up towards her temple where the scar makes a line of white in her skin. Studious as much as it's affectionate, and not as apologetic as his amnesiac counterpart. "I failed," he says, two words he'd been waiting to tell her, even if she knows it well by now. "The whole… hero thing. But you didn't."

The smile that's formed doesn't fade as the work worn hand travels her face. Dimples appear on either side of her mouth, small depressions that catch shadowy light, and can be felt as he touches her cheek. Gillian doesn't even get serious when he touches her forehead, closing her eyes for a brief moment. The words make hazel eyes reopen, though, the flecks of color in the brown visible even in the dull light, even if just for a moment. "You didn't fail," she states, voice just as raspy.

"If you hadn't told me what you did, if you hadn't come to see me… I wouldn't have been able to do anything that I helped do." The arms that were around him move, shifting, so that her hands can touch his chest, specifically pushing him back enough to play with his collar, to touch his shirt. "Just because things didn't turn out the way you might have hoped, doesn't mean you failed."

There's an odd tone to her voice, as if she has an idea exactly what failure is. An idea she hadn't had before. "You're here, Gabriel. You're alive." Failure could be defined now as not walking away, though part of her knows even death can be a success. He had been here before, too, just…

"And now you know what you'd forgotten."

"I fixed it," Gabriel agrees. Somehow he'd gone through the looking glass and come out the other side. It's not hard to make allowances for himself. Admitting failure, lurking around in some self-conscious state of indecision, that takes more work. Failing is going to kill Kazimir and only allowing the prophecy of his trip to the future to unfold all the faster.

But then again, he did go to Gillian. Perhaps he did something correctly. Victory is standing here in one peace in the broke-down shell of something domestic.

It could be worse. It could get worse. His expression had taken on something that can be described as content, lacking the severity he usually carries himself with if not as easy to smile as Gillian is. As she urges him back a fraction, his hands fall to his sides, that severity resurfaces again. "We don't owe them anything. Phoenix, Teo, any of them. What did he say to you?"

It could always get worse. If there's one thing Gillian learned from her impromptu trip to a church, it's that. It can always, always get worse.

"They've helped keep me safe, but that's not why I'm still helping them," she says, getting the idea that he's being negative toward the idea. She settles back on her heels, keeps her hands on his shirt, and the dimples aren't as visible as her smile settles. Eyebrows raise up as she studies his face, a hint of tension in her heartbeat, in her raspy breath. The height difference always meant she had to look up at him, but the close proximity makes it slightly more drastic. "He told me that he wanted you involved in the Moab prison break, and that he would talk to you about it. I figured he had by now."

There'd been a few moments of avoiding this topic, but it didn't last very long, did it?

"I'm not going because I owe them," she says, voice clear, even firming up. Still raspy, still with her usual tone, but there's something harder in it. "I told them I was going even before you got your memory back." It had been kind of her first demands, when the captures came down. "And when this is over, maybe they'll owe us." There's something she's not including.

She must have known that perhaps he'd bristle at the idea. For whatever macho reasons or perhaps valid ones, considering Phoenix and Peter are in the equations. By the same token, perhaps he should have known Gillian wouldn't get manipulated into something so risky. Maybe.

"Before I met you," Gabriel says, gaze unfocusing from the one upturned to him, "I was going to strike a deal with them. The Company had taken Peter, they wanted him back, and I offered. They didn't trust me and they took care of things themselves. I wonder, sometimes, what would have happened had the deal gone through." He moves past her, moving to pick up the shirt she'd been folding, balancing his weight on one leg for the brief moment it takes for him to stand back up, absently folding the fabric himself. "I probably would have betrayed them."

The folded garment is placed down upon the others. "Teo compared me to him. Peter. Not just because of what we can do, but because…" A rasping chuckle, back still turned to her before moving again to face her. "We both lack in the control department. I used to despise him for that. That he could do so much and couldn't control it. I thought he deserved to be where he is now."

Of course she knew he'd bristle at the idea. The break of contact means some distance is put between them. Gillian watches him as he moves away, allowing her eyes to become more level as the distance allows for her to look up less, even look down when he retrieves the shirt. Always the neat one. There's that smile again, though not as broad. Even the topic doesn't kill it. Tries. The more he speaks about Peter, the more she thinks on the man. Her hand shifts to her wrist, the one with the yin/yang tattoo she'd gotten the day she first met the two of them.

A fleeting memory of a vision of a possibility dances behind her eyes, a face that should be scarred holding her while life slips away.

She blinks. At a moment like this, she's glad she doesn't have any form of perfect memory. Even the flickering dull images are too much for her right now.

Slowly she inhales, stepping closer to the folded clothes, the man who folded them. "A lot of things have changed. I never thought Peter belonged there, but he took my words— twisted them into thinking that's what I meant, the fucking moron," she curses. Fairly angry at him still. "I don't think you're the same, though. Peter gave up, let himself be captured. You're fighting back. Far as I'm concerned that makes you better than him. You tried to save the world." Tried, and succeeded in part, at least. "And he let himself get locked away." To her, imprisonment isn't redemption, or taking responsibility. The same reason she'd argue against her brother trying to lock the man in front of her up.

It took almost a minute for the plane to go down, and felt both like an eternity and three seconds of fire and darkness. That was certainly fighting back, ready to let the impact take him in favour of being captured again. The Company, Kazimir, amnesia, all differently shaped cages and Moab would have been no different.

"Better," Gabriel repeats, and raises an eyebrow at her. His voice comes out wry. "So what you're saying is, we should just leave him there?" He approaches, reestablishes that close contact with arms going back around her and letting his cheek brush against her temple, the one without the scar. "Try again and head west and forget everything behind us?"

In some cases, death is the better option. One of the Peters got off a little better than the other one. Gillian doesn't know how he managed to escape, or what happened on his trip back. There's a lot they still need to talk about, a lot that simple looks and gestures can't express. But at the mention of their old decision, their long ago promise. Last year. Months ago now. The promise to go west and just be them. A simple gesture can mean a lot there. A inhale as her arms go up around him again, eyes closing. It's a good thing he chose to hold her while he said that, though he'll never know.

Simple fluctuations in her heartbeat, changes in her breathing. All of it happens to be telling. There's something a little painful in that suggestion. Something that she wants… but at the same time… "I don't think we can, Gabriel. I wanted to run away. I thought just saving myself would be okay…"

That had been before she knew he killed her sister. Before she knew that she'd been manipulated and used. Before the world came a hairbreadth away from ending thanks to an earthshattering virus.

"I think that I— that we— that… we can make a difference. I knew we could when I offered to help you stop Peter, but I didn't know what…" What was going on. Who Peter really was. Who the man she offered to help was. "Things are different now. And if anything— he owes me." It's not over the motorcycle he destroyed, it's over… a lot of things. And maybe she owes him a little, too. For helping unravel the lies.

There's a little bit of silence as he considers this, her stake in this deal and wonders how much of it is because of the way Teo pitched it to her. The Italian is persuasive, in a sense, but at least it's not all lies, as far as Gabriel can tell. Not in the way Gabriel had lied to Gillian, manipulated her into running away with him. Letting him use her. The arms around her go a little stiff with tension, and it occurs to him— as it had occurred to Tavisha— that this whole set up is wrong.

It's a fleeting notion, at best. "Teo's priority isn't Peter. He's interested in getting the rest of his people out. He mentioned Helena, Alexander. Either way, we're doing them a favor. There are better things I could do with my time - I've only just gotten it back." And he'll come up with those better things too that aren't skulking around the greenbelt. Totally.

That's also as much a yes as he can manage, a short sigh ruffling the looser hairs from her ponytail before he's backing up again. "They need us."

The stiffness of the hug doesn't go unnoticed. Gillian's arms drop away even as he tickles at her loose hair with his fingers and pulls away. Taking a few steps back herself, she puts a little additional distance between them. "I know about Teo's priorites, and I'd like to get Windy out of there too, at least," she says softly, looking around as she diverts her eyes to the dusty home.

It's true, Teo can be persuasive. She'd nearly cut off all ties with Phoenix at all until they spoke. But there's so much unsaid. Factors for her decision that have nothing to do with the Italian man. A break in at a holding facility, letting her see someone she shouldn't have seen. The reason she knows the idiot misinterpreted what she said.

A man laying in a bed. A teleporter who tracked her down. Someone with a similar ability to hers. Is he also in Moab?

And her dead sister. Telling her she made the right decision.

"They need us," she agrees finally, simply. "I never did get to ask you, while you were Tavisha… can you use my ability?"

Whatever feeds the ego. Undoubtably Gillian and Gabriel have needs from this too, perhaps ones more fucked up and broken than that of Phoenix using a mass murderer who may or may not be redeemed and his "lady friend", as Eileen had once called her, to rescue someone they had both tried to kill, once upon a time. Or "stop", as Gabriel had once upon a time so ambiguously put it.

Needs needs needs. Need to break Peter out of the slammer for self-absorbed notions of mirror images, need to prove to Teo that he was right to help him, need to prove to all of them he's not an out of control psychopath. None of that should matter and it somehow does.

This is a change of conversation. Gabriel looks at her for a moment, as if confused, before— he remembers a girl who could make flashlights and fairy dust. Who had shown him a thing or two about control. There's no verbal answer - he just raises an eyebrow as if to say well, let's see and offers her his hand.

Egos. There's always self-centric reasons for doing most things. Gillian is not altruistic in her desire to try and save Peter Petrelli, even if, technically, she had spared him and saved his life twice over. Once when she chose not to kill him on a rooftop and again when she took his hand rather than let his skull get sliced open. In many ways her decision has to do with wanting to help him unravel the lies he's been told, and has been telling himself, the same way he helped unravel the lies she was told. And the ones she told herself.

"It's because my ability— There's a reason Phoenix needs me for this, more than most people. My ability counteracts the… drugs they give to people in Moab." As she explains her reasoning, she looks back at his offered hand, hesitating for a second before she steps forward. She has no idea what's going to happen here…

Reaching out, she touches his hand.

Nothing happens, for a moment, save for Gabriel wrapping strong fingers around her hand, just above her wrist, a studious gaze placed on their joined hands, trying to recall how to trigger an ability he doesn't totally understand in and out. Much the same way he talks to birds, he supposes, or how to make himself turn into some impossible ink-cloud that slithers through the air like silk.

It's not hard to find, the trigger. Not even a little bit.

The purple glow flares bright from their hands as Gabriel's mimicked ability seeks out the one nearest— Gillian's. Brown eyes, too, start to emit that familiar purple, blinking rapidly and mouth parting at the sudden surge of his own energy flowing into her power source, kicking apart the careful knot in the back of her head to make things go even more… purple.

Purple. It's a glow, but somehow deep— deep and dark. The knot that Gillian can almost be unaware of gets pounded through with something the equivilent of a frieght train. The glow in his eyes takes her by surprise, actually. Using her ability in front of a mirror doesn't tend to be common. The sight of it is unnerving, but she knows that it must be what happens to her as soon as she sees it.

That answers one question. He can use her ability. As the knot is torn apart, the energy seeks out the nearest ability source.


As his energy pours into her, her energy starts to flood into him. The glow increases. It turns brighter, less deep, the color shifting, like a neon sign. Still purple, still deep, but brighter.

This wasn't the best idea ever, was it?

Eyes widen, also filled with that purple glow, as she tries to clamp down her ability, find the knot, but she might as well be weaving a basket underwater when the water happens to be a river ripping the weave apart even before she finds the thread.

Nnno, not the best idea ever. What happens when you augment an augmentor? Supposedly, they augment your augmenting, augmentedly. Gabriel's teeth clamp shut when the surge of energy he just sent forth suddenly hits back with about double what it was, and Gillian gets the fun job of receiving even more. In the space of half a second. The cycle is lightning speed, continual and mutual.

And it escalates before either one can even comprehend the idea of letting go.

Once, he shapeshifted into Mohinder. Once, he felt his Hunger with such numbing clarity that there was nothing left in the world but the addiction. Now, Gabriel has never felt a surge quite like this, boosting his newly discovered augmentation ability… and stirring others.

His head fills with a deafening roar of bird song, his eyes clamping shut as if this would help and his free hand coming up to grasp his forehead. It's as if the entire bird population of Staten Island— hell, of the whole city is attempted to flood his with senseless squarks and images of sky and ground. With more power than he's ever wielded, he calls for:


Everywhere in Staten Island, as far as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Jersey, birds take flight with panic as their message is received loud and clear, broadcasting out into the minds of others.

At the same time, bright-white telepathic energy suddenly flows over his body, a panicked defense mechanism as the forcefield moves like some hybrid thing of water and electricity, sweeps over Gillian's body too, leaps and jumps for a moment before suddenly expanding. An impossible dome that rises up with a roar of vacuum, grumbling brick, tree, out and out and forcing aside everything in its path with a scream of rubble, metal, air, exposing them suddenly to the outside world upon a devastated field of earth, dirt and broken road.

The roar of birds can't be heard by her. All Gillian can really be aware of is the surge of energy, the pull of her own energy. Everything is caught up in that sensation. The pull and give of energy. The two of them, wrapped in a glowing purple light, are a living conduit of energy, supplying and escalating each other. The energy roars, builds, and while he has a release, another ability to direct the rogue energy into, she does not. Just one. The loop only gets increased by the moment thanks to her. There's no end.

It rips through her senses, darkening her eyes. The hand gripping his tightens, her other hand ends up holding onto his shirt on the side, grasping the cloth so tight her skin turns white in areas. Knees want to give out.

And then the world fills with noise. The roar expanding around them might be mistaken for the roar inside her body.

The loop only has one real end, and that's when she no longer has the energy to augment the augmenter augmenting her augmen—

Fatal error. Restarting.

The light darkens from her eyes, eyes that roll upwards as knees give out. The hands slacken, but don't fall away completely. Not quite fainting, but pretty close.

He once told her to always leave energy for herself. Push as much as she could into another person, but save some for her. All that's really left for her will be what she'll need to get back to her feet and find her way… home?

It's probably a very good thing almost all of her important possessions are on her person, or back at the safehouse with Chandra the guard cat, cause the home that had been in major disrepair…

As Gillian clutches to him and starts to crumble, Gabriel's isn't far behind. There's once last flash of neon-purple from both entwined runaways before it's all— gone, and Gabriel's eyelids droop over regular brown eyes and his knees give out too and they're both tumbling, tumbling down onto torn up carpet—

Restart finished.

There are several long seconds before Gabriel is opening his eyes, sprawled and half tangled with Gillian and exhausted— and not for the reasons he had come to identify with such criteria. He's wearing clothes, for one thing, and they seem to be outside. There's a wet feeling across his face, a trickle of blood from one nostril dripping fair enough to make a streak of red towards his cheek, and this he lazily smears away with the palm of his hand before attempting to sit up.


The blood on his face finds a smaller mirror on her own. The blood drips from her nose, catches the top of her lip, and rolls to the side. It almost matches the color of the lipstick she would wear— if she hadn't gone light on make up today. Vision a blur, ears ringing— one can only imagine how much his must be if hers are— Gillian takes gasped breaths when she suddenly becomes aware again. The world starts to return around her. That knot isn't even needed. There's not even drops left in the faucet right now. An energy drought.

That knot may not be needed for a day or two… hopefully her energy will be back in time for the mission…

Either way, she becomes aware of her hand against a patch of carpet. But they're outside? Something is not right.

Pushing herself up, she blinks, trying to get rid of the haze in her vision, as she glances around. "…Gabriel?"

Everyone is accounted for. The question had been answered. He can use her ability. And that is an experience she never really wants to have again, but… there's more important questions. "What happened to the house?"

Are they in Oz?

At least they weren't in Kansas to begin with. Head pounding and drained, his hearing actually returning to something slightly more normal as if all powers at once were on the fritz, Gabriel manages to get to his knees, eyes squinting against the light of day as he turns his head this way and that to take in the world. It's as if their house was flattened from the inside out, squished under the force of the telekinetic energy like a flattened box, only shattered and ruined. The abandoned car lies on its back far further away than it was, half crushed and crumpled, and the surrounding houses are blasted and gone.

"Forcefield." Short answer, Gabriel bringing up a hand to wipe at the blood on his face again, turning to look at her, blinking and stunned. "I guess that…" And a smile is starting to break. "Answers the, the question— "

And he's gone. Done. Still half crumpled on the ground, Gabriel doubles over, and not in pain, or the need to puke, or passing out, all of which are very valid. No, to laugh. Nearly hysterically. A rasping, gasping convulsion that sounds about as untrained as it could, it's been a while since he truly laughed, as he rests his forehead against an arm, shoulders shaking.

After Peter had destroyed New York, he'd sobbed and raged. Gabriel destroys a small segment of abandoned suburb and laughs. How long ago would he have raged, too, about losing so much control? No, this just confirms everything and it fits so perfectly and it's hysterical. It could be worse things, after all. It could have been far, far worse.

The question is answered, definitely. At first, Gillian missunderstands the doubling over. The vision hasn't cleared. Forcefield. She remembers seeing him use that, and considering all the other abilities he could have used, that one would certainly be preferable. The realization settles in that the house didn't move. The house got destroyed Along with everything in it. Except for small patches of things here and there. Like the carpet her hand is on.

Pulling it up, she finds that it, quite literally, is a chunk of carpet. And he's laughing.

That shirt he folded up for her when she came home is gone. As are the clothes she didn't already take the the safehouse. All of her candles. Most of her make up. The matress they shared. The room he painted. Gone. Blown away. By a forcefield.

And he's laughing.

The blurry vision clears enough when she looks at him to see little details of his laughter. There's a moment of silence from her, shock maybe. And then, a sudden exhale through her nose, with a specific pitch. Another. Soon his laughter gets joined by hers. A tired, breathy laugh, but one she can't quite stop. Not while he's laughing. It's like the life they had here got blown away completely, and they'll have to find a way to make a new one. And somehow that makes it even more funny. Losing so many homes since she met him, this has to be the most complete of all.

"Let's… try not to do that one… in Moab," she manages between laughs.

Her comment doesn't help, and he can only nod at first as the hysteria of humour continues to sieze him, dictates how he breathes or doesn't breathe. It feels good. Maybe he deserves to feel good. The entire world would disagree, but he can blow them away just like the house. So they'll have to put up with him feeling good. And maybe he'll do them the same courtesy.

God, he destroys everything. This attempt at a home, gone. They'll just have to find another one and try not to fuck that up too. Yet another second chance.

The laughter dies a slow death, but die it does, Gabriel straightening his back up and grinning compulsively and pulling in breaths that become saner, and after a moment, so does his smile into a milder, more familiar smirk. "I don't know, it might not be such a bad plan," he says, words hitching again with the threat of renewed laughter but no, it's done, meeting her eyes as they kneel together on the floor of a living room beneath the husky sky.

His hands go out, and he pulls her into a kiss as the humid, still icy wind tugs at them in a continual nagging motion. Get inside. No inside to get into. His arm goes around her shoulders, hand seeking a place to rest on her throat. Love. Wu-Long had been able to love too, and he'd felt nothing. Maybe it's a different category of feeling things. Maybe Eileen, ironically, made him more aware of it. Maybe he'd meant it on the bridge after all.

No inside for quite a good distance, too. Just like their energy fueled each other, the laughter did the same thing. When it finally dies down, Gillian's left smearing drying blood from her mouth, and smiling more than she should be. A tired smile, but still a smile. Might not be such a bad plan? Maybe as a last resort. Cause unless he could consciously chooses the forcefield, it could have been anything. Lasers. Nuke. Ice. None of which she's immune to. None of which she'd live through. For a moment she tries to think if she died like that in any of those flickering visions…

When he pulls her into the kiss, her mouth had been partially opened to say a response, to speak on the current topic. The words never get said. A sting of blood against his lip, mostly dried, but there.

As his hands seek to hold her closer, her own hands move to his chest, tightening against his shirt again. Much like she had while they hugged, only different. The kiss makes it different. The lack of walls. Exhausted as she may be, exposed to cold as she is, she doesn't care. Everything she needs is right there. On her person, in her hands. Irrational as it may seem.

Another question answered, though she never asked it outloud. She has to break away from the kiss long enough for a whispered confession, husky, and barely audible, even by him. He said it on the bridge, she never got to return it. Not to him specifically. To the outline of him that walked in his place, yes. But not to Gabriel.

Hearing it in return draws more laughter, but nothing close to the choking semi-sane guffaws of before, just a slight saw-edge rasp that lasts for a moment, resting his forehead against hers and letting his eyes slide closed for the time being. Is it unwise, illogical, senseless to agree to go on a death mission with people who hate you because of love? Yeah, it is, and it's not exactly like that anyway - nothing can be so simple. He kisses her again anyway, a hand clenching around her messy pony tail, arm around her tightening.

But it at least enables a definite moment of certainty, like perhaps it actually will be okay for once and he's happy to prove to the rest of them that this is the case. His hand comes up to blindly smooth her hair back, strands coming even looser from all the chaos, and he opens brown eyes again to look at hazel, shifting back just enough to allow it.

He should say it in return, but if we want to be technical, she's just said it in return to him, despite it being so long ago. And Gabriel is nothing if not pedantic about the detail, what with his memory. Besides, for all of this, the words stick, leaving him only with a slight feeling of drunken weariness, a circular patch of wreckage around them, and nothing more to say when they finally look at each other again but—


At 3:45 PM on the 29th of March, birds on the north end of Staten Island, the southern most tip of Manhattan, and good chunks of New Jersey and Brooklyn, all suddenly took to panicked flight - some nearest Staten Island even simply dropped down dead, but not before one telepathic message was broadcasted from the birds and into the head of any human within their range, with one clear word in a masculine, rather angry tone of voice:


Also, a 100 m radius within one of Staten Island's abandoned suburbs was completely bulldozed by some supernatural force, in a near perfect circle. This doesn't necessarily make the press, but the explosion of telekinetic energy was likely heard by nearby Staten Island residents, including the Rookery.

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