Here Today


aaron3_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif stef_icon.gif

Scene Title Here Today
Synopsis Two people who are essentially the same person meet, and Aaron gets to be witness (and victim).
Date October 22, 2009

Peyton's Apartment

It isn't every day someone has to prepare to meet their replica.

Gillian paces up and down the room near the front door, fidgetting with a bracelet around her wrist as she goes. The directions were detailed, the explaination of how to get there clear, and yet, the person they're waiting for is late. By a good hour. Or a bad hour. But definitely an hour and change. "Do you think maybe she got lost?" she can't help but ask, looking toward the young man with her. It makes her stop in her pacing a bit, but doesn't settle her nerves any.

What really is someone supposed to say to a person who is essentially the same exact person? She'll find out soon enough. Especially since she has to talk to her for a reason.

And then there's a buzz. Their company has arrived.

For all that Gillian was fidgetting the whole time, Aaron has miraculously managed to remain sober and is surprisingly not fidgety. Nevertheless, he does get somewhat nervous with the minutes that tick past the time Stef was supposed to get there. Minutes turn into an hour and change, and that does start to get Aaron a little worried. Really, a lot worried, but he's supposed to remain strong for this. At least, that's the goal he's set for himself. It's only a few minutes before their visitor arrives at the door that Aaron starts to fidget, which mostly comprises of him drumming his fingers on the side of the couch he's spent the whole hour sitting on.

When the buzz comes, Aaron jumps off the couch, moves quickly towards the door, stops, and turns back. "Should I get it or did you want to?"

From the way Gillian looks stunned, like she got smacked between the eyes with a rubber band, she doesn't seem particularly thrilled by the sound of a buzz. Eyes shift over to Aaron and she looks quietly worried, before she asks, "Can you get it?" The usual rasp in her voice has strain that often isn't there, but considering the situation…

The young woman who looks nearly identical to the woman pacing around stands outside, waiting. She looks healthy, for the most part, if tired, and resting with a hand against the wall. Her hair is all black, a difference from Gillian's, which is brown with one stripe of lighter highlights.

Which will sure make it easier to tell them apart once they're inside. Aaron rests a hand on Gillian's shoulder for a moment, giving her a weak smile, and then moves to open the door. The scrapes he endured the previous week have mostly faded to a light scab, though he has little more colour than he had even then. "Hi," he says awkwardly after he opens the door, and then he holds an arm gesturing into the apartment, letting Stef know she can come on.

As soon as the door opens, a recognizable voice can be heard saying, "You knew my power wasn't working right." Stef's words are clear and strong, and she pushes through into the nice apartment, giving it much the same look around that Gillian did the first time Peyton brought her over to help augment and find a missing cop. "How did you know my power was messed up?" she asks again, looking back at him once she's cast a glance around, and then looking to settle her eyes on… Herself.

Who's still looking stunned. "Uh— fuck." What does someone say to themselves? "Hi." Gillian's not the best at this kind of thing. Even a month of having other hers popping out at times didn't prepare her for this. Especially since it's been a while. "We— um… there was this… prophecy that… said I was…" She looks over at Aaron. Even if she wants to say it, emotional support doesn't hurt.

"Unlucky guess," are the only words that accidentally slip out of Aaron's lips as he closes the door behind his newish guest. He's at a complete loss as to what to do in this situation. First he thought Gillian was dying and now he's almost certain it's her … clone. And now Gillian gets to tell her clone that she's dying? Nobody could possibly make this shit up. He makes his way over to Gillian where he takes her hand and squeezes it. He's there for her and technically her clone. At least the one whose hand he's squeezing has been aided by his ability recently, and he feels more of that may be necessary before the night is over.

"Sounds like it wasn't really a guess," Stef says, voice thicker as she moves across the room to get closer to the person who looks like a slightly different mirror. Her eyes shift down toward the hand, then up at the boy she remembers waking up next to. "New boyfriend."

"I— no, he's— Aaron's a good friend. I've been staying here a lot, but— not like that," Gillian says, squeezing the comforting hand, perhaps in a form of apology. It's the truth. He is a friend, but not the guy she's even been casually sleeping with.

"Whatever. So what the fuck prophecy did you hear? Spill it, cause if there's a way to fix this so I can get my power back in full, I need it now. If I can't help Shard then this whole fucking thing hasn't even been…" she trails off, grumbling a bit.

"You're dying."

Though she has been sleeping next to him on occasion, but that's more for him than her. Aaron just looks between the two, feeling slightly like a third wheel. OK, so the situation is so totally awkward and he has absolutely no idea what the heck to do here but stick to Gillian like glue. Granted, he wants to reach out to Stef, too, but she seems so angry with the proverbial 'FUCK OFF' stamp on her forehead that he for now is too cautious to do it. When Gillian drops the bombshell, his own heart sinks. Right now, he can't think of worse news to be giving someone.

"That's fucking stupid," Stef says, voice growing defensive as she starts to draw back, pulling her arms up across her chest as she retreats a little.

Instead of letting her fall back, Gillian steps after her, closing some of the distance, and keeping a hold of Aaron's hand. She can understand how Aaron can't say much, but… she needs him here. Especially for after. Once everything settles. "I was told I would lose my ability— that the formula we were given to make us the way we are— it wasn't right. I was told there was this… point something something percent that the ones in our batch would die, and that we— that I was the unlucky one. That it would start with power failure, and then… that I'd die before November." There's a pause. "Aaron told me that he thought your power was…"

"Mind your own fucking business," Stef says, snapping a little and retreating further. "My power is just— " It would work better if she hadn't started out saying it wasn't okay to begin with… "It isn't… Fuck." She turns away. The pain becomes very much visible as she starts to pace away from them.

The fact that Gillian is keeping hold of Aaron's hand is enough to make him stay at her side, but as Stef retreats from them he reaches a hand out. "Stef," he begins to say, only he really doesn't know how to follow up. His eyes glitter ever-so-slightly with tears because seeing that pain in someone close to him — he's not even going to try to figure that one out — is like a jagged spike through his heart. Finally, only one thing pops into his head, and he says it: "Don't run away from this."

"What does it fucking matter, anyway?" Stef snaps angerly, turning back toward him. That pain isn't going to go away, but she's not the one crying— at least not yet. "It's not like I even matter one way or another. I'm just a fucking clone. Isn't that what you always used to say? I'm expendable. That's why you signaled Cat to hit you so I'd pop out. To make reinforcements. To act as a fucking body shield or some shit." The anger seems very much directed at Gillian— or perhaps even herself.

"No, it isn't— I don't— that was before. You were essentially me then. A piece of me. But now you're like… you're like Brian was to… to Winters. You're a person. You…" Now it's her turn to feel pain, and this time she does let go of Aaron's hand, mostly because she's reaching for Stef. In some ways a sister. But one who moves away, even waving her hands. That makes her stop, arms dropping. "I'm not dying… My ability isn't losing power. It's as strong as ever— even stronger, I think."

Thankfully, Aaron's not quite crying either, but he's getting close to it. Though surreal, the situation is also emotionally damaging. His own coping mechanisms have been so badly broken that he's the way he is. Aaron slips in one last quick squeeze before letting Gillian walk away, and he just stands there staring. The appearance of fresh pain in her saddens him, and he grits his teeth, moving forward so he's never out of arm's reach.

Emotionally damaging… There's a lot of that going around these days.

"Great— then there's no problem at all. You live, I die. No one gives a shit. I don't even really exist. Not even supposed to exist," Stef says, stepping away a bit more, before she finally stops trying to move away. "Just have to— get my hands on a fucking shotgun or something. May be dying, but I got shit to do before I go." The pain remains, but there's determination now.

"Did— did you keep a journal?" Gillian suddenly asks, glancing back toward the carrier bag she laid down next to the couch, the same one she almost always has on her. "Before— we split… I was keeping a journal. To keep track of… of things that happened. I kept doing it after. Did you do that too?"

There's hesitation, and then a small nod, and suddenly Gillian's smiling a bit, in relief. "I'd like to see what you wrote— keep it if… if you… I know that I won't be able to remember what you went through, but I… maybe if I…"

"Wow. Was I always this fucking stuttery?"

'That's not true,' is what Aaron tries to say when Stef says that nobody will give a shit. Unfortunately, all he actually manages to do is open his mouth and close it again, because no words will come out. His eyes flit between Gillian and Stef as they talk. He's concerned about what they're feeling, but paying a great deal more attention to figure out what he's supposed to be feeling in all of this, and it all knots together in one huge jumble of emotions. He takes a step forward to rest a hand on Gillian's shoulder, still not sure if he should be moving towards Stef, too.

"This isn't easy for me, all right?" Gillian snaps back, but she lets her arms stay down, and her shoulders even slump a little. It's really difficult to argue with… yourself. "This is… crazy." And in some ways a little stupid. "You know why I want the journal, so I don't need to explain it."

"You really don't," Stef says, reaching up to rub at her eyes a bit. There are some tears, now. A little. "So you still all hung up on Peter? Or is it Gabriel? Or is it both? Have you even figured that out, yet?"

"What?" Gillian asks, looking over at Aaron again, perhaps even embarassed, eyes looking down.

"It's cool. I'm totally sleeping with Shard. Or I was, until he can't touch me anymore. Wait. Fuck. Am I gonna die without ever getting sex again? Shit." She looks at Aaron and tilts her head, almost as if considering.

"He's a friend," Gillian says, stepping between them in almost a protective way.

Aaron was just about to place his hand back on Gillian's shoulder and Stef went and … did she just? Aaron flushes red as Gillian defends him? What. the. fuck. just happened? Tears are completely forgotten as he looks totally flummoxed. "I.. I uh. Did…" He clears his throat and gives his head a little shake. "That's… oh never mind, I clearly can't talk straight." He doesn't even bother to ask why Shard can't touch her anymore, not sure he wants to go there.

"I think he might have said yes if I'd propositioned him, by the looks of things," Stef says shamelessly, while the very similar version keeps herself between then. There's a glare that Aaron won't be able to see being cast at the one that's defending him. "Oh come on. It's just sex." Just sex. "You never did answer the question, either."

"I don't know. I still…" Gillian trails off, then looks back at Aaron. "Can we not talk about this right now?"

"When else're we gonna talk about it? I'm fucking dying, remember!" It's odd, though, suddenly she's smiling a bit. The pain isn't really gone, but there seems to be some kind of resolution going on inside her. "Okay, okay, off the fucking hook for now— as long as you do me one favor. After I croak, I mean. Which I am not going to do in a bed, so you know."

There are a number of choice phrases he'd like to say, not the least of which is how seriously twisted having sex with Stef would be given his close friendship with Gillian. That would just become insanely awkward, more so than the conversation has become, so he continues to go red in the face with embarrassment, turning away from both of them until Gillian manages to change the topic of conversation.

"Decide what the fuck you want, and go after it," Stef says forcefully, even stepping forward and then…


A fist suddenly connects with Gillian's face. Luckily there's weakness behind it, cause otherwise she likely would have gone flying across the room. There's fear, and if Stef's ability had been working, it could have been a lot worse. Instead Gillian just staggers back toward Aaron and grasps at her face, a broken nose. There's blood, but even then, it could be a lot worse.

"What the fuck," the original cries out angerly, surprised.

Hands go up, to show Aaron she doesn't intend to do it again, as she says, "No one knows you better than me, and if you're gonna be the only one left, you better do it right. Cause I can't."

"Jesus Christ, what the fuck?" are the words out of Aaron's lips. He certainly didn't see that particular physical exchange as a possibility, or he'd have thrown himself between the two, which he does now, shielding Gillian even as Stef waves the white flag. "You broke her fucking nose, are you insane?" It takes a lot not to reach out and return the favour, it really does, but he manages to control himself with a few deep breaths. Because he knows he has a rage problem thanks to Wendy. He pulls a handkerchief from his pocket. While originally used to dry his tears one day — offered to him by the stranger who stopped him from walking out into traffic — all it does now is stay in his pocket, clean. Until now, when he offers it to Gillian. He's not about to touch her nose, and the sight of the blood does very little for him. What little colour he has these days drains further. Clearly he's squeemish around blood.

"Considering I just punched myself in the face— yeah, I am a little nuts," Stef says, moving closer to bend down next to the face she busted up. "You can return the favor if you want, too. I can take it." There's that smile again, before she reaches up to touch the face. When Gillian doesn't pull away any, perhaps understanding, she's helping her with her nose, touching it up, even checking to make sure it'll heal okay. She doesn't say much, cause… ow. And if she wasn't crying before, she is now. For different reasons. "Should heal fine. We've been through worse, haven't we?"

Which is all sorts of fucked up in Aaron's head. But Gillian's reaction, or lack thereof, puts him at ease and stops his blood from boiling to the point of doing something stupid that he'll regret for eternity. He lets out a sigh and lays a hand upon both Gillians to push them towards the capacious couch. "What am I going to do with you two?"

"Well you could have sex with…" Stef starts to say, but gets interupted by a hand suddenly shoved in her face, smothering her words before they keep going. It's not as bad as a fist to the face, but it's enough to make her stop. And smile. Dimpling a little as they're led toward the couch.

Gillian's not fighting either, but she only lets her hand drop once she's sure the words are stopped. Once she's sitting on the couch, the handkerchief is back against her nose, holding it down so the bleeding will stop. It drops away as she asks, "So that's the whole favor? Just… decide what I want and go after it?"

"And one more thing," Stef says, settling down on the other side of Aaron— perhaps against Gillian's will, there. "Tell Peter that I'm sorry I carried him up to the roof."

Because certainly, Aaron hasn't blushed enough tonight, he has to have the beautiful form of Gillian-but-not-Gillian once again suggest they consummate their non-existent relationship. But soon the topic of conversation changes, with Stef settling on one side and Gillian on the other side of him. Sandwiched in between two of the same person— and yet not the same person. It seems a lot like a seriously twisted fantasy, especially as Gillian tends to her bleeding nose. He looks curiously between the two Gillians, wondering if it's going to be elaborated upon at all or if he'll have to cautiously ask at a later date. And at the same time he wonders what he's going to do with Stef. Should he let her go off and do what she will, or should he try to…. no, see, that line of thinking just gets too awkward.

"Aaron," Gillian says after a moment, turning her face inward to lean against his shoulder. The handkerchief stays up between them, for now. "Can you sing for us?" She might as well show herself why she's here all the time. "And then I want to go clean off my face."

"Give me fifteen…" Stef starts to say. She doesn't get to finish, cause a hand latches to her arm and squeezes.

"And you'll help me." No. She doesn't trust her shameless half with her friend. At all.

Aaron's hand instinctively goes to Gillian's face when she leans against his shoulder, though it's the hand attached to the arm that had nearly crept around Stef's shoulders. That makes him feel just a little bit sad, because he doesn't want to play favourites, so his hand doesn't stay too long and so he has an arm around both Gillians. "I know your face probably hurts like Hell, but you almost always fall asleep after. Maybe I should get you a couple of Tylenol and you two can go wash up and /then/ I can sing for you?" Which also gives him time to get his shit together, because this whole surreal scene is just too weird for words.

"You're right," Gillian says, letting out a deep sigh before she sits up and then stands, keeping a hold on Stef's arm and pulling her along. "I'll go clean up. I know where the Tylenol and bandaids are." Wouldn't be the first time she's got a headache here.

As she's pulled along toward the bathroom, Stef can't help but ask, "The guy's a singer? What's the deal with that?"

"You'll understand in a few minutes."

While the two gorgeous beauties are off gossiping in the bathroom, Aaron is in the kitchen drinking tea only lightly nuked in the microwave. The warm liquid soothes his throat and helps to loosen his vocal chords. After that, he wanders off to another bathroom to wash up, himself. Only then does he park himself back on the couch, prepared for what he's betting will be two sleeping Gillians with him sandwiched in the middle. The only time he can remember Gillian not falling asleep was with Little Victories, and if Stef's no different….

He pulls the keyboard, which has been a nearly permanent fixture of the living room since he moved in, closer to him and begins to play a melody for it's built-in memory. He can hardly play with two bodies on him, so with his headphones on, he programs the melody into the keyboard for playback so that he can just lean back and let the music ease him away, too.

There's a long absense, really. Perhaps they had to get some talking in without a friend's ears listening in to the conversation. It gives plenty of time to program, at the very least.

When they reappear, Gillian has a bandaid over her nose, which kind of messes up the gorgeous beauty thing. There will likely be bruising to compliment it later as well, but small price to pay for getting punched in the face by someone who's half her.

"So Gillian says that your singing is actually better than drugs," Stef says, moving in to claim a spot next to him, edging in a comfortable (for her) amount of closeness. The other hesitates, puts her hands on her hips for a moment, before dropping back on the other side of him.

And Stef gets shuffled around a bit as Aaron reaches to pull out the headphones and hit the play button. There's an eight-count of a metronome before the piano starts playing, during which time he's settled back onto the couch. "That's a way to put it," he says before tugging Gillian a little closer to at least partially match how comfortable Stef is making herself. Then he leans back into the couch. He has no trouble singing lying down— one of the exercises he used to train his voice for more operatic works, because it trains the diaphragm so well, was singing lying down.

"A beautiful and blinding morning
The world outside begins to breathe
See clouds arriving without warning
I need you here to shelter me…

And I know that only time will tell us how
To carry on without each other

So keep me awake to memorize you
Give me more time to feel this way
We can't stay like this forever
But I can have you next to me, today…

If I could make these moments endless
If I could stop the winds of change
If we just keep our eyes wide open
Then everything would stay the same

And I know that only time will tell me how
We'll carry on without each other

So keep me awake for every moment
Give us more time to be this way
We can't stay like this forever
But I can have you next to me today

We'll let tomorrow wait, you're here, right now, with me
And all my fears just fall away, when you are all I see…"

Aaron and his elaborate piano solos. He'd feel better about it if he weren't blushing furiously from the words of the song and the fact that he's singing it in this particular situation.

"Ohhhhh, oh-oh-ohhhh
We can't stay like this forever
But I have you here today"

Aaron vocalizes more along with the keyboards pre-programmed piano before closing the song.

"And I will remember
Oh I will remember
Remember all the love we shared today…."

As he sings, Gillian and Stef both settle down, eyes sliding shut in the middle of his piano solo. Pain begins to drain away, first slowly, then more quickly. It lingers somewhat, thanks to proximity, but it's gone enough that they can settle down, breathe slower, and do as he knew they would. They fall asleep.

And oddly enough, against his chest, their hands have met, and the knuckles that broke skin and punched a face are being grasped by the unmarred hand.

Everything can't stay the same, but at least they have today.

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