From Bad To Miserable


delphine_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif teo2_icon.gif

Scene Title From Bad To Miserable
Synopsis So can be said of the present and the future, when Gabriel reports back on what happened to Teo and Gillian.
Date June 12, 2009

Rooftop of Abandoned Apartment Building on Staten Island

It's a hazy afternoon. Warm. Almost pleasant, if this wasn't Staten Island.

The desolate street is home to nomadic types, it seems. There is nothing permanent about the people moving down the street, or even those that move within the honeycomb of apartment buildings. Gabriel and Delphine's presence here since the early morning of the fifth is the most stable aspect of the tenements its seen for a while.

Much like when he'd stayed here with Gillian, the building is most empty of everyone but them. They take up the rooftop, for now, where Gabriel can keep a look out for the approaching two he expects, balanced precariously in the rusted railing of the fire escape. The sun is arm on his shoulders, clad in plain grey cotton of a light, nondescript T-shirt, legs clad in jeans and feet bare. It's been a week of healing and impossible thought, both of which sort of have much to do with the still healing gash at his forehead. Apparently grown, since Gillian saw it last, however briefly.

And now he's slightly nervous. The burden of secret being something that can be addictive, too. He has such things to tell them, once they make it up here. He's alone, for now, Delphine had been tidying up when he'd walked out without a word. No doubt she'll come searching soon.

Many exchanged phone calls led to this particular meeting. When Gillian heard of the meeting place, there'd been a mild tick of her tongue against the roof of her mouth, as if cursing herself for not having thought of it. After quiet hesitation, she said she'd be bringing Teo with her, and then traded phone calls with a man who isn't quite the man she thinks he is. In some ways the building hasn't changed, in other ways the woman feels like she's seeing it for the first time. First time with these eyes, at least.

And this memory.

"We stayed here a while," she rasps to the man beside her as they approach, unable to see the man looking down at them, but aware they're probably being watched. "He should be on the roof," she adds, before they scale their way up together, avoiding any glances at the very few people who happen to call this place a permenant or temporary home. She doesn't say much more until she makes it up to the roof.

Unlike her time in the bar, her hair looks cleaner, like she took the time to wash it in the hotel she'd been crashing in (using Pinehearst money that she turned into cash) hanging around her face, with bangs nearly in her eyes. The cut on her cheek, which likely shouldn't be healed, is barely visible at all, even upclose, like a childhood scar from falling off a bike. No sign of other damage at all.

That doesn't stop the pause and the quiet inhale when they get up to the roof and she sees the lingering damage from over a week ago.

What's the proper thing to say after all this time? "…Hi." It has personal meaning, okay?

The man beside her turns his face up too. There's plenty of tension and an extra mind dinning inside his head, but outwardly, he doesn't sound any different, wouldn't have even to hearing as singularly perspicacious as Sylar's used to be. His voice wends out at its characteristic depth and accent, and he sounds perfectly polite, inscrutably sincere when he says: "It's nice.

"I like it." It isn't nice, but he does like it. That's like telling the truth, and Teodoro Laudani is forever and haplessly doomed to try to.

He is studying the figures now, from below. Gabriel, who is young but looks no different to when he was ten years older, hair and brows in the same glowering thickness, but perhaps except less joy and, as a function of that, less grieving. Knowing only that the man has female companionship of some shape, Teo is left to enjoy a wry and fleeting memory, that the evening hours find the man evicted from the household to lurk on the rooftop with a brooding silence and
restrained sort of predatorial patience, a postcard picture that is familiar to him. By the time they reach the roof, he's wiped the fragmented smirk off his face. He sticks up an arm.

"Buona sera!"

The metal creaks on itself as Gabriel pushes off from the railing, and there is less agility, freedom of movement, that would be expected in the way he comes to stand on the concrete surface of the rooftop setting. It wouldn't be the first time he's hidden injury beneath clothing, although only the scar at his head, black with fine stitches, is visible - his face, by now, is free of bruises and cuts. He's clean shaven, too, although he never got around to a haircut.

And blood, that's long since been cleaned away. His hands come to bury in the pockets of loose jeans, walking on closer, tired brown eyes shifting from Gillian to Teo beneath the smog-hazed sunlight. Familiar faces, ones he hasn't seen in the littlest of whiles. He's humourless, today, so he can't bring himself to give a sarcastic ciao. To be honest.

The phonecalls had been similarly awkward. He's mostly watching Teo, though not too obviously. "Hi," he settles on. And not much more. They wanted to see him, after all. And if he starts talking now he might not stop.

The plan had been simple, but at least she had one. Gillian would find them — at least one of them — and then do what often leads her to rather interesting decisions. Wing it. And that's what she does. A glance is cast to the Italian speaker, though she doesn't shake her head. Before she probably would have made a comment about him being in America now, and speaking American, but after a few months of even vaguely knowing the man… she's gotten used to the expressions.

A few steps across the rooftop brings her closer to him, until she's within a reasonable distance that allows some personal space, but what makes for easy conversation, eyes awkwardly darting over the wound that looks a lot worse than she remembers it looking— but last she saw she was trying to press her shirt against it. A voice whispers in the back of her head, reminding her that she was supposed to be bringing something up, but a hint of feedback tells her it can wait.

"Are you okay?" she sounds genuinely worried.

This is a question that Teodoro would like answers to as well. His forehead ladders with concern as he scuffs a halt, glancing between the woman at his side and the man before him, and his gaze stays there, studying Gabriel and the crookedness of the shape underneath the denim and cheap cotton. His regard pitches upward after a moment, at his forehead. Down again. He's checking the erstwhile serial killer out, yes, but not that way.

"All right," he says, his wave hanging foolishly in the air, fingers bending into insectoid angles then flattening again. He drops his arm. "All right— amico, last I heard, you were thinking about going after Tyler Case to get your abilities flipped back. And you were doing it together, plus-minus Peter— ? I… what happened? Deckard can heal you, if he's willing. He and Abigail were other Case casualties," he clarifies, before this barrage of informative soupcons grates to a halt.

All brow-furrowed concern, blond stupification despite the fact that the short shave of his hair has obliterated all trace of those brighter pigments. "Guys?"

Genuine worry is nice, and he responds to it with an uncertain glance her way, trying to bend his mouth around such words like 'yeah', and other difficult syllables. Teo's a hero, however, stealing back Gabriel's attention and hopefully cuing Gillian to do the same. His brow is furrowed beneath the ugly wound to his head; lets out a soft snort at the name Deckard and his new ability.

He shakes his head, a tense movement. "I gave up searching for Case," he says, a little dully. "I found Peter instead." A glance towards Gillian, except not to her eyes - up towards her head for injury he knows won't be there, something he should be jealous about. Isn't right now. "We went to Pinehearst. He told me that Arthur Petrelli would help me, help us both."

Here goes. "We can't trust Pinehearst," he states, a little louder, anger taking a backseat but volunteering a hard edge to his words. He's not looking at Gillian. "I can't, but he attacked Peter too, when things— things got out of hand. I got my abilities back but Arthur— he's a power thief, somehow. That's his ability. He stole most of mine when we fought. He wanted to lock me away, for— I don't know. The same reason everyone else does."

A glance to Gillian, finally, and he answers, "I'm fine."

Apparently the Sylar Survivor help group needs to switch over to Case Victims. But Gillian doesn't say that other than shake her head a bit. The state of Abby's ability hadn't been directly known to her, but she knew other peple had had similar run ins. It's the words that Gabriel says that draws her attention in far more, lips parting as if she's tempted to say something. They stay parted for some time after, a mild twitch at how far things go. She went to him for help.

There's a long moment where she doesn't say anything, mind replaying memories both recent and vivid, and faded and old. Trust… Everyone's lying to her. He's fine… but… When she finally speaks, it's soft, almost whispered, "He told me to tell you to come see him too." And the only reason she hadn't would have been because of the fact she didn't find him when she looked for him — however briefly she looked — and she'd convinced herself it could wait. "He hurt… both of you?" There's no denial in her voice, or disbelief. The most she can think of is simple. That the man in the alley in Staten Island was right. Trust is something she's had a difficult time with lately. With good reason.

"What— what happened? How did you get away? Where— ?" she doesn't quite finish, but the blank space is easy to fill in.

This makes Teodoro stare, his eyes huge on his head, and the ghost's sentiment squawking fluster to match. That is no good. Arthur— attacked Peter and Gabriel, both. Gabriel's escaped, but— they're all in danger. Only, this seems to be days gone and somehow the clockmaker remains with all parts relatively intact and his situation, for the most part, unmolested. And Peter. Struck at by his father after the lies unravelled. Again. All of this has happened before. It wasn't supposed to happen again.

"Fuck," he says, bringing a rough hand up in front of his face. The heel of it planes down his cheek, ends with nails dug into the cut of his jaw. He inhales sharply. Tries, after a moment, to plow a knocking fist through the space of his own mind, checking if his infant analogue happens to be lurking around at the moment. Teo isn't. It's all going wrong. Off the rails. Arthur isn't supposed to have this many abilities. Not yet. A small flower of dread certainty opens up in his stomach. Maybe, if he'd warned them— but even if he hadn't.

"Fuck," he repeats. "A— all right. The Ferry can probably do something about this. Something to help. Arthur has a knack with finding people, but I've heard there are defenses. You probably need medical attention… you said— you had compcompany, but " A woman. Confusion packs different lines into Teo's forehead. "Where's Peter?"

A shimmer of a shrug is the answer to Gillian's question. He ran, and Teo's question kind of makes it worse. The memory of the solid thunk and the soft snap of bone while Gabriel had been hanging upside down and falling to the floor—


There's a creak of the door, Gabriel's gaze switching from Teo to look between the two towards where the woman, older than all of them— or so is apparent— steps out to join them. There's zero special in her choice of clothing, a thrift store dress and sandals on her feet, hair damp and coming down in dark curls to her elbows, which are gripped in either hand, lanky arms folded across her long torso.

"These y'friends?" she asks, in her lilting accent, and watches Gabriel's face to see any traces of reluctance at her revealing them to be called as such. No such luck, he just nods once, falls into a silence as if maybe he's done his bit in storytelling. She pads on over closer, a tight, rueful smile pulling at unpainted lips. "He givin' you a blow-by-blow description? Name's Delphine. Guessin' I'll be what passes as 'company'."

Actually the blow by blow description included only a single word, and Gillian doesn't look too pleased with all of this at all. The fucks coming out of Teo's mouth want to echo through her own, but there's just a gritting of teeth for this exact moment. The more she thinks about how things could have gone, the less she likes the brain scenerios. How is the future taking shape better than the one people seem so wanting to change? She could understand the guy who didn't want to be locked up, but as for everything else…

The entrance of a woman with an accent draws her attention and eyes, but a it doesn't change the fact she's steadily getting worse and worse emotionally.

"From what— he said he couldn't find people immediately, so maybe it'd be better if— it'd be hard to find someone who kept moving." It's a suggestion, but the only one she has as she starts to stand up straighter on her toes, as if she may want to just take off running and is holding herself back. Delphine. Company, but not with a capital c. …She hopes. "He hadn't really— given the blow by blow." But she's beginning to imagine what happened, really.

There's something about the look on Gabriel's face, the drag and weight of that ill-timed silence that makes the ghost want to reach over and shake him until the rest of that sentence falls out. Ghost hadn't had a lot of friends left in 2019, and he'd clung to the ones that remained with a perversely offhand sort of tenacity. It had been for Peter, primarily, that he'd kept his fucking mouth shut about the old man tyrant who was his father, kept intact the castle despite the bones that it was built over.


If there's anything that could jostle the ghost out of his worsening temper and fear, however, it would be the sudden arrival of the very woman who he had told Helena of, with so many intriguing excisions and secretive intimations across the cellular only days before. His eyes shut and open and shut and open in mute surprise, unconcealed recognition, a difficulty fit against the hurtling traffic of the other feelings, before.

"You're the one," he says, blankly. "You're the one who can restore… who have— you're how— " It's like physical youth re-encoded the herky-jerky stiltedness into his speech. Maybe there was some actual biological impairment to his brain or his tongue during this time period? It's possible. Abigail had a lot of healing left for him, after this. Ghost's brows seize downward in consternation. "You're the one who can give them their abilities back."

Delphine's gaze on Gillian is soft around the edges. No. He didn't go into detail, did he. The eight days spent with the man has at least taught her that he is a taciturn motherfucker, so she's unsurprised. "I move around when I can. I'll be movin' on again once I— figure out where t'go," she agrees, a look towards Gabriel, and then—

Then she looks at Teo with all the suspicion of a cornered animal, her mouth coming to flatten into a line as the summery breeze up her pulls at her hair, the hems of her dress. Very shortly, she responds with, "Aye." If one could squeeze all the promise out of a single syllable, it's Delphine.

"She gave back mine," Gabriel puts in. Blow-by-blow. Fine. "When I was trying to get away. Arthur had absorbed my power from Peter, it— it didn't even need to be amplified. It drove him to try it out on me, but before he could— Peter." This is going to be a hard three words. It comes out from a tight, reluctant throat. "Peter saved me. Arthur turned on him…"

Delphine might not know these people, but she was there. She quirks an eyebrow at Gabriel, as if encouraging him to spoil the ending. So he does. The next two words are almost as difficult to admit, if only thanks to the presence of the other two. The ones he's convinced will blame him.

"Peter's dead."

Restore? Give abilities back? Gillian's eyebrows raise in surprise, suddenly looking at the company in a new light. Something had to have happened to Gabriel to give him his abilities back, even for a short time, but she hadn't really expected it would be the woman he'd been tagging along with. Now that she thinks of it, why wouldn't it be? There's a mild side glance to Teo, questioning, but it doesn't get voiced outloud. Lips part as if she might actually be about to say something in favor of this revelation, perhaps happiness at having a cure standing right in front of them… Arthur's an asshole. Niles was right. But this woman might well be able to help them all out. Until.

The blow by blow really starts. That shuts her mouth as she stares at him. Stole his power from Peter. The mess on his forehead gets a sudden look of realization, eyes widening. The wound that Peter had caused really hadn't been that bad— that's new.

The reluctance draws her eyes back down to his. The words that start to come out make her take a step back. First when he mentions Arthur turning on Peter, and then when the final words come out. The two words take a lot longer to process than she thinks they should, blocked by sudden flashes of memory that come without bidding. Even then, it only takes the space of two or three breaths for her to say something. "What?" Not the most eloquent of things to say, but even one word breaks under sudden tension.

Another firm step back, but mostly so she can close her eyes and turn away. She had told him to go to his father— she'd nearly brought him there— she was going to bring Gabriel there. Part of her knows she would have. Hands go up to her face and end up staying there, covering her mouth even after they rub at her eyes. Teo'd already seen her cry once the last few days and she's trying her best to keep it from happening again. And not succeeding very well.

This wasn't supposed to happen. None of it. When she turns back around to look up at Gabriel— there's that moisture, her hands still covering her mouth, muffling broken breath.

Shock drains the color from Teo's face, leaving him uncharacteristically pale by the measure of any era he has ever lived through. Discord jangles in his mind's ear, some unforseeable flux of blood pressure wreaking havoc on his sense of balance and of hearing, both.

His progression of tactical logic regarding this or that victim of Case's attentions is summarily wrecked by a fallen tree, an expert saboteur's well-placed penny on the tracks, a bomb, a storm, a technical error. He swallows, his throat moving. Shoulders pick up, squaring. Not even in 2019, when Peter had stormed a conference room and attacked his father outright in a fit of vengeful rage had Arthur stooped to slay his own son.

It doesn't matter, much, that it was implicitly only an accident. Now, more than ever before, does the ghost realize that his knowledge of the future unwinding ahead of them is rapidly growing obsolete. It takes him another second to go cold.

"I'll tell Helena," he rasps, finally. "You— I think you should both get in touch with Helena. If you would, Gabriel. Signorina." He looks at Delphine with difficulty. "She heads up a faction that's affiliated a network that is expert at helping Evolved refugees and fugitives hide from— " his face blanks. Voice, too. For a moment, he thinks of absolutely nothing, and finds the absence of his younger self in his head strangely unwelcome. Stilted, he finishes that thought, "The government, Pinehearst, the Company. We can help."

The black sheep of the group of interconnected heroes, Delphine remains quiet while Gabriel speaks and quiet there after, the yawning gaps of shocked silence more uncomfortable for her than the weightier emotions visible on the faces of the two strangers. Her bare arms come to fold, not impatiently, before dark eyes shift on over to regard Teo and his colour-drained face with a soft sort of stoicism.

Help. She's heard that before.

But it doesn't seem classy to argue, in light of what is apparently a fallen friend. Still, she asks, quietly, "Provided I help you an' your people?" There has to be a catch. "With what I can do?"

And meanwhile, Gabriel is watching Gillian, a study of the slow effects of mourning, from shock to sadness. No steering towards denial, and he's not sure what that means other than yeah, it's believable people might die around him. "It was fast," he says, the words falling stilted and quiet, as if trying to ignore the presence of two others. "It wasn't my fault."

There's a mild shake of her head when fault is shifted away. It hadn't even been considered that way, even when he said it. Gillian takes in slow breaths to compose herself. There's want to deny it, but considering everything… the man telling her that has seen death, he must know what it looks like. "I know— it— it's his fault," she finally says, moving rather quickly to a different stage. Anger. At least the anger isn't directed at the man giving the bad news, holding onto the burden. And the pain of having been attacked. "You… you're okay though, but I'm still going to kill him," she rasps in a whispered voice.

Him meaning the person whose fault it is.

The tears won't go away entirely, and she lowers herself down to kneel on the rooftop, hair falling into her face and guarding her some. Delphine's situation is understood— what she can do, people using her… It's something she'd come to expect in the months she'd been aware of her ability. But… "Their price is cheaper than anyone else who could help you," she says softly, well aware of the fact that… they never outright forced her to do anything with her ability.

"You can refuse," Ghost answers Delphine, but Teo's voice is distracted, vowels dulled and consonants sharp. It is kind of Delphine that she is trying to stay classy. It's one of those awkward moments. Doubts and second-guesses cloud his mind. Maybe Gabriel saw wrong. It's possible— if things happened fast, as he's saying now, if Arthur's grip had been a little of the center, of Peter had caught the right — wrong? — trajectory. Maybe the serial killer has been off his game so long that he can no longer differentiate between a corpse's crashing thump of finality and a slack-limbed faint.

Heh. Who's he kidding?

Eventually, there's a jack-knife jerk to his neck, the flinch of noticing. That Gabriel isn't stepping forward to hold his woman in embrace, which strikes him as odd, somehow, wrong despite that his conversation with her in Shooters had indicated to him on no uncertain terms that the couple was estranged, to put it mildly. A little tardily, but honestly sincere, he reaches out to grasp the girl's shoulder, where her shirt covers. Squeeze, once. Briefly. It's what Teo would've done.

Delphine, again. His language is over-right, cluttered with syllables and verbiage that the Sicilian always falls back on when fluency takes over in the difficulty of simple expression. "Your assistance would be welcome to a lot of people, but our help wouldn't be contingent on that. I don't know if you've heard of them— the cattle-rustlers. You don't do what they do without having better reasons than personal profit."

"Then we'll talk, won't we? I'll get my things." In a hurry to leave the conversation as it is to the three, and without the necessity of remaining within this building— she's reasonably sure any more days of she and Gabriel pacing around each other like natural loners might might drive her insane— Delphine excuses herself. A turn on the heel of her sandal, sort of a curtseying gesture as she bends her knee along with it, before she's headed back for the door.

Subtle. Gabriel glances over Gillian to watch the woman vacate the rooftop, then back down towards where Gillian has folded in on herself, and towards where Teo's hand comes to rest on her shoulder. Intellectually, he knows that probably should be him.

If only he could somehow defeat this glass, invisible wall built up between them from unspoken questions and answers. That would be ideal. He is tempted to at least crouch down to her level, but whatever might come of it, the words— probably are ones to be spoken later.

So it's ignored. A drawn in breath swells his chest briefly before he's looking back towards Teo. Gabriel's brow is tensed beneath faded bruising and deeper scarring, as if it doesn't hurt, or maybe he's grown accustomed to it. "Helena— I can talk to Helena." He had quasi-promised the woman what he had to say. A favour returned and then— well. Then he's free for decision making. "Delphine can probably tell you more about Pinehearst, what goes on behind closed doors, than I could. I didn't exactly stick around."

It is what Teo would have done. Though there's no recognition that the man whose hand is against her shoulder isn't completely who he says he is. For the brief moment he's touching her, he'll feel the tension loosen under her clothes. Gillian's posture changes, but she gets tense as he pulls back, and as the woman leaves.

There's always a choice, and the chance that things will get worse. The likelyhood of being used. Whatever it is that her ability amounts to. A few moments before, she probably would have gone 'yes, give me my ability back' before the woman walked off, but at this moment… she can't even think to ask for it.

"Gabriel," she finally says, rubbing her eyes again and looking up— way up from her knelt positioning. "I need to talk to you." There's a pause. Talk to Helena. There's a quiet darkening of the sky, a shifting of clouds, before it settles. The weather sense is getting better, making her aware of when she's doing this. "When you… have the time." Estranged might be a term, but strained is more what she would have considered it.

Delphine is motoring off, and as Gillian settles slightly from the wracking tension of her grief, Ghost feels the urge to follow. It's what happens, when one finds oneself caught in the middle of situations like these. Not the ones with corpses in the periphery and the clash between terrorists, friends, erstwhile enemies, wicked corporations and far, far too many Evolved up ahead.

Something tall and splendid is going to be reduced to rubble, Ghost can feel it. That might be an adequate tomb to Peter Petrelli. Might be. The wind pushing through his jacket doesn't seem particularly satisfied with this train of thought. He creases his eyes shut, briefly, twists his head to look over the adjacent rooftops. Rusted antennae and derelict roof gardens jarring the horizon like crushed insects and mold patches.

"I can go and set up a meet with Helena," he says. "Make sure the medical equip is ready for you when you come in, and provisions are made in case Arthur— tries something." He shifts his eyes between Gillian and Gabriel, starts a hand toward the pocket where his cellphone is, already.

He means: I could leave you two alone.

Timmme. Time. Yeah he has quite a bit of time. Gabriel almost laughs - there's a twitch of something, a hidden, unstoppable smirk that draws along shaven skin, a lowering of his eyes and a soft snort of air. It's cynical but somehow not cruelly so, if only because it's negated with a nod.

And Teo making room. It's not subtle, but it's graceful. Like an elegant conversational swan! A part of him, the same part that had holed himself up in this building— under the bed, practically— wants to reach out, grab onto the man's sleeve and make sure he doesn't have an excuse to simply get away, because whatever Gillian and Gabriel have to say will be like torn wires, exposed nerves, and Gabriel can't stop thinking Arthur's words over and over like reeling subtitles to more dominant ideas.

But no. "Thanks," Gabriel says, tone clipped. Diiismissed. As Teo's footsteps carry him away, to go make important notifications, the erstwhile serial killer gives into that first temptation, and long legs fold up beneath him in a graceful if awkward means of sitting down on dry concrete, not so far from Gillian. He favours his right side of his body, that arm folded against his torso, his left remaining to lever him down.

Once there, his back rests against the rooftop ledge, long legs in a casual tangle in front of him, bare heel against rough concrete, and shrugs a shoulder at her. Let's have a conversation.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License