Gillian Childs Is Dead


gillian_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Gillian Childs Is Dead
Synopsis Or maybe she just thinks she should be, and in one vision of the future, she will be.
Date August 13, 2010

Nature Center Triage

After the roars and sounds of the rest of the evening, the soft fall of rain that drowns out other sounds seems quiet in comparison. The thudding of hearts that nearly stopped beating, the sounds of breath that almost ended— it's a quiet chorus, but a precious one. And one that Gillian opens her eyes too. Blinking awake, no music and no beeping of monitors, no one sticking needles in her arms— the first thing she does isn't peaceful, though.

She sits up, and quickly, as if expecting to run against some kind of restraint. Skin pale, sweat gathering on her forehead that has nothing at all to do with a fever, Gillian looks around as if she's not sure where she is— and she's not. This isn't a place she's ever been before. It's not a place she ever expected to wake up.

And what she saw may have been a dream. Until her eyes fall on the other person in sight. "Peter, but…" It wasn't all a nightmare, while she was on the verge of death, in the throws of the beginnings of withdrawal… The powered been out for days. "I didn't— I thought…" she looks down, toward the arm she remembers cutting into, with a small instrument she'd spent a week making. The cuts are gone, from her palm, from the wrist, even from the inside of her elbow, where she'd tried to destroy the injection scars. But as she looks down she spots something else, on the upper part of her chest, with black fingers curling against her arm, and palm resting against her collarbone. It looks very much like it could be a tattoo. "What the— ?"

For the first time in a long time, Peter Petrelli doesn't look tired, but he does look weary. Spattered in blood both his own and belonging to others, he is a ragged and scruffy savior if ever there was one. Seated in a folding chair beside Gillian's cot, amidst a medical bay where dozens of other injured Ferrymen and Messiah operatives are recuperating, he seems unsurprised by Gillian's startled awakening.

"You're safe," might be hard for Gillian to believe, coming from Peter, given the particulars surrounding his rescue of her. "The, ah…" Peter motions with an upward tilt of his chin towards Gillian's collar, "I had to heal you. You— were pretty bad off, I… I'm sorry," is unnecessarially apologetic as he looks down to his hands, folded in his lap. "I uh, it's Sasha's healing ability. It… it works differently for me," he explains with a hunch of his shoulders forward in a shrug. One brow raises after, and Peter lifts dark eyes from ihs lap to Gillian.

"I— should… go," is awkwardly stated as Peter unfolds his hands and starts to rise from his seat. Fromt he looks of things, he'd been here by Gillian's bedside the entire time. Only now does he decide to vacate his spot.

"You always apologize for the wrong things," Gillian says quietly, reaching her right hand up to press over the palm print, matching her fingers to it, even, almost seeming to find it fascinating rather than anything else. All the tattoos of old had disappeared since the last time he had seen them. Every one, gone. Now the only mark on her body that resembles her tattoos of old, happens to be that. Her hand is smaller, it doesn't quite fit, but it's close enough. "I needed to get a tattoo again." And that's exactly what this one is, to her. A tattoo.

Better than the scars she would have had, if he hadn't healed her. The reminders of how far she'd been willing to go. Even if…

When her hand drops away again, she's shaking a bit. Cold for reasons that have nothing to do with a chill in the air. Still, she pulls the cover up, and scoots to lean her back against the wall, rather than lie down. There's no begging him to stay, even as he's risen up, but when her eyes drift back to him, an echo of all that tired he's left behind, she asks simply, "What month is it?"

That question is the only thing that stopped Peter in his tracks. Brown eyes cast to the side, brows furrow and he slowly twists to look back at Gillian. She'd asked him nearly the same question when they wound up in Amundsen-Scott, stranded in the south pole after liberating the Moab Federal Penitentiary. The question sounds as ominous now as it did then.

"August," Peter offers, not quite turning fully to look back at her, offering the brunette his profile more so than anything else. "It's Friday the 13th," is added with a sarcastic laugh, one brow kicked up as brown eyes sweep up and down Gillian. Peter looks like he should be worse for wear, now that she can see his clothing. Cuts and tears in his black t-shirt, splits on the seams, so much blood everywhere.

"It's over," Peter clarifies for her, "the Hospital, Gregor. It's all gone, there's nothing left. You should… rest."

"August," Gillian repeats quietly, looking down toward where the covers dip between her legs as her knees pull up. The hand is pressed back against her chest, hugging the cover there. Hugging herself. It's almost a half hug. "Two months." And she missed birthdays, and didn't get to see the kids for all that time. It's not the first time she disappeared on them, and…

"The hospital's gone, but they're not— The people who grabbed me. The people behind it. I fought to save the world in Argentina— I was promised…" Freedom from past crimes, but they could probably have held her on current ones, she's sure. They could come up with anything. "They'll just take me back. I'm too valuable."

Too valuable. And she wasn't taken alone, either. "Joseph— the pastor. Did you get Joseph out?" No one bothered to tell her he'd been released, but it was the first thing they'd made her do. "They made us— do something. I don't think it worked how they planned."

"They let Joseph go," is a bit sharply stated as Peter turns around, seeming somewhat untrusting of the notion. "He had his memory altered, but some people in the Ferry cleaned it up and got what they could from him. It's how we started to piece together where you were, where everyone was. We…" Peter looks away, down to the floor, then back up to Gillian. "We never stopped looking for you, for anyone that they captured."

Reluctantly, Peter watches Gillian, then takes slowly tread steps back towards her bed as his arms cross over his chest. Draped across the back of the folding chair he'd vacated is a tattered and stained red scarf, not quite summer weather attire. "How're you feeling?" Peter asks as he tries to steer the conversation away from the topic Gillian had drawn it towards. "There'll probably be some sore muscles between where I touched you and where you were hurt, the… power Sasha has works strangely, snakes muscles and…" Peter closes his eyes and shakes his head.

"There's a lot of happy people now that you're back…" is suggestively put as Peter's brows furrow and eyes avert from Gillian. Maybe he's counted among them, maybe he's not.

They let Joseph go. For a moment, Gillian can't help but feel jealous. If they'd let her go, she might believe they wouldn't just take her back again— or that they'd let her go when they were done. Instead… "They kept me for months, and they had no intention of letting me go. That's what he told me, too— that they wouldn't ever let me go. That I was too valuable. I didn't think anyone was coming for me, especially not after the power went out."

She's not even sure how long the power was out. Or how long… "I'm tired, hungry— weak. I think I'm going through withdrawal," she admits, looking down at her arm, formerly ravaged. It is sore. Her muscles tight and tense, and also weak. There's prickling of her fingertips, like she's tied something too tight around her arm. "Monster Doctor One liked injecting me with adrenaline. Monster Doctor Two liked the black stuff— the augmentation drug." If only she knew what it was made of. But she knows she started to look forward to it. It was the one time she felt good. Which made her hate it more.

A glance is cast at the scarf, then she looks back up at his face, the beard, the eyes— The attempts to remain isolated emotionally, she notices them, and she shivers again, pulling the cover closer around her. It's not all because of withdrawal. "Can you still walk through walls?"

That Peter doesn't answer at first seems unsettling, the way he just strides slowly across the space between himself and the bed, but when he settles down to sit on the bed's corner and rest a hand on Gillian's blanket covered foot, he seems less threatening and more earnest. He seems to have a hard time finding his words as of late, especially around Gillian. For all Peter's worth, he looks as though he's fighting some instinctual desire to flee from her like a deer from a forest fire.

"No," is exactly the answer she'd wanted to hear."No I had to get rid of it, I have Claire's regeneration and Sasha's healing." There's a crease of Peter's brows at that, tongue sliding across the front of his teeth as he looks down tot he coarse fiber of the blanket, picking a piece of lint from it.

Oddly enough, unlike when Gillian reached toward his hand on the rooftop, when she was barely aware of what she was doing, her foot shifts, almost as if trying to escape the comforting hold. It should be comforting. But perhaps she hasn't had comfort, real comfort, in months. Every time she was touched, it was because they wanted something. It couldn't be because she doesn't want to be touched by him. Unless of course, he's been present in her nightmares almost as often as the monsterous men she helped create with her ability.

"Good. I— " Her eyes look down at the covered foot, her body still shaking a little. Small shivers. The withdrawal covers up the small fear that she still has. She has a lot to be afraid of. More than he knows— or more than she thinks he knows. "Don't get it again. Walking through walls." Her voice is almost abrupt in these statements, these requests. And she shifts to look at him, before adding on something to attempt to cushion them. "Healing's better. Suits you more." It doesn't quite cushion it enough.

"I don't like it," Peter offers obliquely, letting his words hang unexplained in the air for a moment as he collects his thoughts. "The healing, I mean? It's… addicting, having something I can use to fix people. I used it too much, burned myself out once. I'm— " dark eyes wander a spot on the wall where crawling ivy has invaded through one glassless window to peel away wood and paint with its twisted meanderings.

When Peter's brows furrow thoughtfully, he looks back to Gillian and moves his hand away from where her foot was. "Why don't you want me to get it again? I did save your life with it, you know?" A single, dark brow rises as Peter offers up the question.

"This time," Gillian says quietly, voice raspier all of a sudden, as if her throat's dry. It's been dry the whole time, but her pitch lowered, which brought out the rasp more than before. The voice doesn't shake. "It's— probably nothing. I mean the first time I touched him I saw myself die dozens of times in different ways…" She saw all the endings. She doesn't really remember them anymore, just remembers what they were. Augmented projected precognition, overlapping and filling her mind, showing her all the ways she could die.

"What they were trying to do with me and Joseph, I saw something, and— you…" Once again she's looking at him as she trails off on that.

" — were there," Peter cuts off Gillian and finishes her sentence. "Oh, God," he breathes in frustration, "I— I saw it too. You were hurt so bad, I— I was calling out for someone to help, you were bleeding and I was just— I was trying to hold you close to me and stop it. I could smell smoke, there was gunfire and screaming outside. Then…"

Peter's brows furrow, lips downturn into a frown and an angered expression dawns over his face. "Then I saw a Homeland Security team bust in, they— they shot us, they shot both of us." Lifting one hand, Peter rubs his palm over his forehead and slides his tongue across his lips, head shaking slowly and eyes falling shut. "I— I tried to svae you," he guiltily admits, "I tried."

Strangely enough, it's the emotion that he displays that finally makes her settle, but at the same time, Gillian is surprised. "Did Joseph show you something too?" because— she doesn't know what went wrong that day. She hasn't had the news, she doesn't know of the widespread visions. The people in the room with her dropped, but— that's one thing.

"That's not exactly what I saw, but— There was fire, and smoke and— it was a construction site of some kind, a multiple story building, still being built, with frame work and…"

The little details are gone, but repeated things remain in her mind, because she relived pieces of them in her nightmares. The smoke, the building, the fire— "How was I hurt?" Her memory could be wrong, maybe she missremembered, in her loneliness. Maybe… "What had happened to me? Was I shot?"

"It… wasn't Joseph," is said with a hitch in Peter's voice when he realizes what Gillian isn't— can't. "Gillian… Everyone saw what you did, because of the experiment. Best as we can figure, some combination of your power, Joseph's, and maybe other people involved caused most of New York to have what they're calling a flash on the news. Thousands of people, everyone blacked out for over a minute. There were accidents, panic…"

Sliding his tongue over his lips, Peter wishes he hadn't said those last two things. What he wouldn't give to have Hiro Nakamura's power at the moment. "It— it's all over the news, still. Practically everyone in the city saw something or knows someone who did. But there's just as many fake reports that there's no reliable way to coalate the information."

Lifting up a hand to rake back his hair from his face, because what he has to tell her next isn't easy. "Someone… stabbed you," is the best way Peter can describe it, "with— nails. I don't know, I don't… it was probably someone with telekinesis, or maybe magnetism or something. I— I don't… it was at a construction site," he agrees, looking up to her with a nervous expression. "What'd you see, Gillian?"

The more he says, the more her legs pull away from him, drawing up against her chest as she shifts upward a bit more. It started with the mention of how much her ability caused, just as he knew it might when he said it. Gillian knows it's not her fault, not entirely. It's the fault of the people who had her. But if she didn't have that ability, they wouldn't want her, and this wouldn't have happened. How many people died when thousands of people blacked out? How many car accidents? How many people drowned in pools, or in their bathtubs? How many hit their heads and died afterwards? How many…

But that's not the only reason, and it's not why she finally buries her face into her knees, as she hugs her legs, right arm stronger than left.

"Don't take phasing again," she says, voice muffled and tight both. She doesn't want to say it, she doesn't want to— but— she hasn't had anyone to tell. "Something— something was wrong with you. I didn't see what you saw, I saw— you weren't you. It wasn't even like when you had Kazimir's ability, it wasn't like when you had Gabriel's, it was— it was like you didn't even see me. Like you didn't know who I was. And you were walking through walls— or pieces of walls."

As she speaks, her voice grows tenser, and she tries to control any sign of shaking. It doesn't work. There's a dozen reasons to shake. With a deeper inhale, she lifts her eyes up. They're bloodshot, but surprisingly dry. Perhaps she's too dehydrated to cry. Who knows how long she'd been locked in that room.

"Whatever happened, it must have changed. If you were you again. When— I guess the government betrayed us. The government's already betrayed me enough times."

Eyes wide, Peter stares at Gillian, his throat tight and one hand trembling subtly. "Gillian," has a nervous timbre to it, "what if I was acting like Sylar, because— because I was Sylar." Brown eyes widen and Peter seems focused like a foxhound chasing its quarray, the sudden prospect of Sylar (not to be mistaken with Gabriel) seems to have turned on some sort of instinctual kill-switch in his mind. For all that he seems to be dismissive of the possibility that it was him, his eyes do have something of that look in them.

"Sylar's still out there, the clone. He attacked some of us on Staten Island a few weeks ago when we were scouting out Humanis First operations." That's the gentle way of explaining what they were doing. "Gillian he— Sylar could look like anyone. He could just as easily pretend to be me, he could just as easily have done what you saw." That it also could have been Gabriel on a bad day never truly crosses Peter's mind.

"It could have been him," Gillian says with a quiet nod, even if she doesn't quite think it as quickly. "It was something else, it— I just know it wasn't you." There's a pause as she actually manages what could be a hint of a smile. It even makes those dimples appear, even if just for a second, as she adds on, "Because no matter how much of ass you can be— you look guilty while you're doing it."

And he didn't look guilty in the vision, or in the nightmares that followed. It was like when he… kissed her and attacked her. Which probably isn't the best thing to be reminded of. Especially considering it didn't make anything better for either of them.

"I'll just have to avoid it, make sure it doesn't happen. I have a lot of things to figure out— like how to go on with my life after this. It'd be better if Gillian Childs were dead. At least offically. I wish I'd known this would happen, I wouldn't have called a lawyer to fix the miss-identity between me and Stef…" She may not have been taken at all. She could have been dead months ago.

"I think as far as the Institute knows," Peter says as he dodges everything else Gillian directs his way, "you probably are dead. A fighter jet carrying some kind of explosive crashed into the hospital, there's probably not enough remains to make identifications of bodies. They likely think you and everyone else in there is dead." Sliding off of the bed, Peter doesn't walk away, but instead around it, coming ot stand at Gillian's side and tentatively reaches out to lay a hand on her shoulder, motion slow so at to not spook her.

"I can have Rebel whip you up a fake identity, Rupert can pull some strings around the city to make it exist on paper as well as electronically, and we'll get you situated with a better place to live. Brian can take care of the kids, or— I don't know. You need to start learning how to live for yourself, especially if you're getting a new life."

There's no pulling away from his hand. In fact, one of her arms, the weaker left one, reaches up to touch his hand back, even grabbing onto the wrist. Gillian's grip is weak, easy to get out of. It's the arm he healed, after all. When she looks at him, there's some defiance in her eyes, perhaps insult taken, or perhaps she just— doesn't want him to leave, but isn't willing to say it.

"And you need to stop telling other people how to live their lives, when you don't even follow your own advice," she firmly says, even giving a small squeeze of his wrist as she does. Yeah, she means it. "But I have been living for myself. Which you would have known if you didn't avoid me, and shut me out, and say that we couldn't be friends. Hell, it looks like you sat by my bedside until I woke up just so I could see you leave." Cause that's what he's good at.

This is when she lets go, her hand dropping away.

Peter's hand pulls away from Gillian, brows furrow and eyes avert down to the cracked concrete floor. His head nods a few times, slowly, and as Peter takes a few steps back, his smile fades and expression becomes distant. "I guess…" he hesitates, then turns his back to the bed Gillian's sitting in, "I should probably start following my own advice, huh?" Which takes Peter on a direct path away from Gillian's cot, down the aisle between the other beds containing the exhausted and the injured.

"I'll tell Sasha you're awake," Peter adds in quiet quality without breaking his stride, "he wanted to see how you turned out."

Leave, like he always does. Except when she wants him to. Maybe she can fix that.

Gillian bites down on her lip for a second, and then calls after him, "Peter. Don't save me." She didn't wait too long to speak, knowing he'd be gone soon enough. It's happened enough times. "If it happens like you saw, then don't save me. Just get out of there— leave. You won't be doing me any favors if you die with me." She's already decided, in many ways— she's dead.

"Gillian Childs is dead." And she doesn't know who she'll be now— but whoever that is is, she was born on Friday the 13th. Fitting.

Peter hesitates, only for a moment, offering a look over his shoulder to Gillian, then turns away and keeps walking through the doorway into the foyer of the nature center and out of the infirmary. It's just the osund of pained groans, coughing and distant conversation to keep Gillian company now, all softened by the patter of falling rain on the leaky roof of the building.

At least there's no thunder.

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