I'm On A Horse


aviators_icon.gif gillian4_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title I'm On A Horse
Synopsis Roaming Pollepel Island, Gillian has a chance encounter with two unlikely island residents.
Date November 19, 2010

Pollepel Island

The terrain of the island has a very different feel than where the bay mare might have been used to, but the last week of patrols have made her hoofs and legs more accustomed. Less so than her rider. Gillian leans over the horses neck, as she takes a rather rough route up what could hardly be called a path, and then stops. "I swear you're trying to bruise my thighs…" she mutters under her breath, pushing still red hair out of her eyes, though the darker roots are becoming more and more evident, especially as the late afternoon sun shines through the trees and hits the highlights.

The mare lets out a whicker, and swings her tail against a fallen leaf that landed on her backside, trying to get it off. At least she doesn't have to worry about overheating, or too much on the flies. A short distance away from the castle, if this was one of the horse-riding patrols, it seems to have come to a close. Horses always know when they're being pointed toward their home, whatever that home may be.

It's usually where the food is waiting.

Or where a person is waiting. Such as is the case today.

Peter Petrelli makes an unobtrusive decoration in the forested landscape, leaning up against a narrow birch tree, his gloved hands tucked into his pockets, collar of his too-thin denim jacket flipped up to the back of his neck and buttoned closed. It is scarf weather, but he's forsaken his for the poor taste in which the red of Messiah would be held. He could have left yesterday — should have left yesterday — but he doesn't have anywhere to go.

Nowhere but back to Niki, and he's not sure he can face her just yet.

Hey, isn't spoken. Peter is mirror still as he stands there, hands in his pockets, shoulders squared and scarred brow furrowed. Since when did you know how to ride a horse? It echoes in Gillian's mind, reverberating through her consciousness, a psychic voice attributed to Peter.

Telepathic projects aren't always comfortable, especially when they come with a certain knowledge… that the thoughts she has may not be her own. Gillian freezes on top of the mare, grip tightening, as she tries to recall what she learned all that time ago from a woman who died at the hands of Humanis First soon after her lessons began. It's not as easy as she might like, the noise isn't strong, but she does all she can think to do, and focuses firmly on that ever present knot in the back of her head.

That doesn't stop thoughts from slipping through. The question is answered by her thoughts, more than anything else. She learned while staying in the Garden after they got her out of the Institute. There wasn't much else to do. And learning something new made her feel better.

"See you picked up a new trick, too," she responds outloud, craning her neck around until she can see him up against the tree. It's not like she could hear where his voice came from. "What'd you give up for it?"

"Healing," Peter explains more verbally, stepping out of the treeline with a crunch of boots on dried leaves and deadfall, approaching Gillian on the horse. "It was too much of a temptation, and after healing you… I'm in no condition to be helping anyone else, not for a long time." Peter's dark eyes never meet Gillian's, there some unspoken awkwardness there as he looks out past the treeline towards the silhouette of Bannerman's terra-cotta colored walls in the distance.

"You know how…" his voice trails off briefly, "people say that before you die, you can see your life flash before your eyes?" Peter's focusup on Gillian, finally, his breath visible in the cold air as a thin fog. "I had… something like that happen to me, right as I was taking your injuries with Sasha's power. It wasn't…" Peter squints and looks away, down to his feet.

"I hallucinated," he admits worriedly, "I think something might be wrong with me."

The approach only briefly unsettles the mare. A shift of her hoofs, a slap of her tail, but she's used to people, having spent a lot of time around the eclectic group that stays at the Garden. Gillian lays a hand on the horse's neck, to offer some comfort, and it seems to work well enough, even if now the mare dances for an entirely different reason, shifting her hoofs, kicking a bit at the ground. Ready to get back to the makeshift stable where the food is now.

"You mentioned it was a burden. With as many injured people as we have here… I can see what you mean by it." Around injured people, unable to heal them… all because he gave up regeneration to have enough energy to heal her. That thought is there, even if she didn't really want to share it.

With a shake of her head, she settles her eyes on him, especially since he's able to look at her. "Maybe there's something wrong with everyone… I…" She shakes her head, even her thoughts drifting off into nothing. "What'd you hallucinate?"

"Nothing," Peter starts to dismiss with a look awya from Gillian and back towards the castle, "it wasn't anything th— " his words are cut off when a tennis ball hits Peter square in the forehead with a thwok sound, sending him staggering back with a hand clutching at his face. Dazed by the unexpected smack, Peter staggers until he's able to steady himself with a tree, listening to the sounds of approaching footfalls coming through the treeline.

"Petrelli," is a voice all too familiar to Gillian, the last time she heard it she was getting shot in every appendage by a man who was taking just a little too much enjoyment out of his work. "What kind of cock-sucking luck pits me and you on the same goddamned island again, huh? Also you're supposed to catch with your hand, not your face. Hopefully that balls-to-mouth thing isn't reflexive."

Sunglasses reflecting cloudy skies and stickbare trees, Avi arches his brows high above the frames as he turns to look up at Gillian on her horse, Avi's lips creeping up into a smile. "Hey there, you. Fancy running into you when shit isn't on fire or exploding, what is it your day off?"

"Epstein," Peter grates, holding his forehead with one hand, "nice to run into you again." Sarcasm isn't much Peter's style, but Avi's being here is sanctioned by Eileen, and he has a feeling she might not like finding pieces of him scattered across Pollepel. "You were just leaving, right?"

"Actually I was looking for my tennis ball," Avi explains with a grin.

For a moment, Gillian wonders if her heart just stopped or something. Cause here she was, hoping to have a conversation with someone who tried to kill her a few times, and then she hears the voice of a man who didn't try to kill her, exactly, but what he'd done could have been called a form of torture. Especially since he left her there, mostly numb all over, unable to move for hours, at the mercy of the elements or anyone who happened to come upon her.

No one had, but it hadn't stopped the fact she was helpless for hours— a feeling she never really liked.

Animals feel stress, especially when they're domesticated beasts of burden. It could be her legs tightening, it could be the tension on the reins, the way her breath catches. But the mare looks even more uncomfortable than she had been, dancing a few steps to the side on what could hardly be called a path, and breathing out loudly in a burst of foggy breath. It wouldn't even take a telepath, really, considering her face goes pale, and lips press together tight.

"Take your tennis ball and go before I pick it up for you and shove it up your ass." For a moment, she's actually forgotten the scarred man is there.

"Hot," Avi implies with a raise of his brows, dropping down into a crouch and picking up his tennis ball off of the forested floor with a feigned found it gasp of breath and waggle of the ball between two fingers. "Not really into insertions though, I guess. Maybe that's a my sweet terrorist thing," which is directed to Peter with one brow raised. "No?" Avi turns his mirrored stare back to Gillian. "Allright."

Sliding his tongue across the inside of his cheek, Avi curls his fingers around the tennis ball and points a knuckle at Peter. "Oh right, now I remember," also sounds feigned, "a little bird told me that they're lining up people for a night patrol on the river with the new boat we got. Twiggy wanted to know if you felt like tagging along for whatever reason."

Avi arches an expectant brow at Gillian with a challenging, is that okay with you, mom expression on his face. Peter, of course, reacts poorly to it all. "Screw off and leave me alone." Then, after a moment of thought that is only slightly more clear. "Tell Eileen I'm not in the mood to sit on a boat and go up and down the river… I'll be out of everyone's hair tomorrow."

Which is, admittedly, what he'd come here to tell Gillian.

"No? Okay, fine, feel free to continue playing Twilight out here in the woods then, kids." Avi tosses his tennis ball up in one hand and catches it again, getting the hang of his lack of depth perception finally. "Be seeing you kids around more if you decide to stick around. Consider it incentive." Cocksure smile spreading from ear to ear, Avi slowly starts to make his way towards the castle from the woods he'd come in the direction of.

"Incentive to leave if I ever heard one," Gillian mutters under her breath as she lays a hand against the mares neck, recognizing the ear twitching and the attempts to turn her head around as if to look and make sure that the woman on top isn't going to smack her or something. Especially since that tone of voice is an angry one. "He's lucky I'm on this horse or I'd go over there and kick him repeatedly. And not in nice places that heal like the shins, either." The seed sack sounds far more appropriate. If he's already bred, he shouldn't need to make any more.

Her thoughts aren't the least bit kind. That was another time, when… unfortunately how she felt for Peter caused her nothing but pain. Which she realizes more now than she did then.

The heat drains from her thoughts, as she looks back down at Peter, hesitating for an instant. He said he was leaving… She thinks it before she gets the words ready to say. She tries to sound as neutral as possible, her thoughts don't make that easy. "It'll probably be nice to be back in the city again…"

"Nice," is Peter's half hearted echo as he offers a frustrated look over his shoulder back towards Avi's angle of departure. If he wasn't a guest here he'd probably have been less forgiving there. "Yeah… I'm— not sure what I'm going to do yet. I don't really have anything to go back to, not much anyway. I should— I need to go back and at least talk to Niki, find out if the rest of the survivors from Messiah are alright…"

It sounds more like getting his affairs in order than anything. "I'll probably be gone tomorrow afternoon, maybe later, depending. I just… I can't stay here on Pollepel, I'm not one of the Ferrymen anymore, I don't know if I ever really was. But I'm just— " Peter looks up to Gillian, his brows furrowed worriedly.

"Where are you going?"

Always with new women in his life— and even when she expects it, it still makes her flinch a little inside. When he'd talked about Kaylee, she'd just been a friend, as he tried to say— but that didn't stay that way. Gillian shakes her head, hoping her thoughts are under control, or that he's allowing her privacy in this case. Or at least that she's not projecting it.

"This was the safest place I knew of to take you, especially with how bad you were…" she says, almost as if apologizing by way of explaination. Her hands tighten on the reins again, and the mare's ears twitch with aggitation, and perhaps impatience. This time it's her that breaks eye contact, to look at the horse's ears. Not that they're that interesting, they're just easier to look at if she doesn't want to start crying.

"I don't know what I'm going to do, honestly— I'll probably stay here a few days, until more people learn how to ride, then go back to the city and settle into my apartment again, and figure out where to go from there."

Peter's brows furrow, considering her hair again, then exhales a rough breath. "Seems like a lot of people are hoping to find something better, or found something better anyway…" After his emotionally draining conversation with Kaylee, he isn't surprised to find Gillian willing to settle down somewhere. "I just— I didn't want to up and leave and not tell you that I was going somewhere."

It would have been easier to, but that's not something Peter's willing to do to Gillian after she saved him from himself, and on more than one occasion it feels like.

"I don't know where I'm going, or… or if I'll even come back to the city after it's over. I just— I can't keep fighting like this, I'm tired of it. I'm tied of fighting a losing battle and just…" he looks around, thorugh the trees, then down to his feet. "I'm just tired, Gillian."

"It's hard to find anything worse than the last few months," Gillian says with a shrug of her shoulders, actually smiling just a bit with the corners of her mouth. The mare is still twitching a bit, hooves digging up some dirt and rock as she fidgets. Animals fidget too, especially when the humans around them are. There's temptation to get off the horse, but followed by a realization— he might leave faster if there was less distance between them. He usually did…

"You're not a fighter— never really were, right?" she says quietly, trying not to think about the sweet boy she met so recently, and the innocence that hadn't been worn down by guilt and pain and exhaustion. "I probably won't leave the city unless I absolutely have to, which— could happen. There's only so long I'll be able to play dead." And eventually someone will come for her— again. She can't help but wonder if someone here will betray her. There are so many, so many she doesn't know…

"If you do stick around… or if you come back… you…" She hesitates, biting down on her lower lip a moment. "I'll there if you need me. I've discovered you may not have as many people you can count on as I might have thought… and I'd like to think you know you could come to me…" If he ever chose to, at least.

Silence is Peter's immediate reaction to that, also his prolonged one after he turns away from Gillian, arms crossed over his chest and head bowed away from her. His eyes flick from side to side, searching the leaves on the ground vacantly, as if maybe they could confide some sort of answers about his situation.

They don't.

"Thanks," sounds half-herated too, and in a way it is. "But I think I've screwed up your life enough without bringing whatever troubles are going to keep following me after this entire Messiah situation fell apart the way it did." Unaware that survivors are rallying back on the mainland over the weekend, Peter turns his attention up over his shoulder towards Gillian on the mare.

"But…" Peter's reluctant to as, "where's your apartment?" His brows pinch together. "Just in case, I mean."

"Redbird Security has a few apartments— it's Cardinal's business, in Battery Park City," Gillian says, assuming he knows of it at least enough to find it, or he could if he really wished to. After a moment she gives the apartment number as well, so he knows which door to knock on. "You should come see me if you decide to hold onto my ability. There's something about it I haven't exactly shared with people— you might find it more useful." If he did decide to keep it for long. If not… well… she's not sharing it here or now. But she will if.

As he looked at the leaves for guidance, she looks at the horse's annoyed twitching ears, before shifting the reins and her weight, and beginning to wheel the mare around finally. Still on what might be called a path. There's a moment, where the hooves overide anything she might have wanted to say, but then she glances over at him. "You didn't ruin my life. I've done a pretty good job doing that all on my own." Blame him all she wants, if she hadn't held on so tight… she doesn't let that thought continue. Because it would be dangerous. "You actually gave me things worth living for." And dying for at the same time.

There's no in between with him, where she's considered. It's either one or the other.

"I wouldn't change it and I wouldn't forget it even if given the option." And she has been. Though it took not getting what she'd thought she'd wanted to realize she didn't actually want it. There's a pause, as if she just remembered something. "You still owe me a motorcyle, too."

Peter wishes he could remember why.

There isn't anything in his expression like a response, not even when the mare starts trodding thorugh the dead leaves and across the hilly ground away from where Peter stands. He doesn't have the heart to tell her that he won't be setting foot inside of Cardinal's business any time soon, not after everything that's gone on between he and Richard. Too much animosity, too much bad blood.

Instead, Peter leaves her with the comfort of an impossible future.

Though maybe not as impossible as some others he's seen.

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