It Always Ends The Same


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Scene Title It Always Ends the Same
Synopsis In the aftermath of the Battle of Detroit, Gillian Childs maintains a vigil.
Date March 13, 2020

After so much chaos 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. It’s 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 only other person in sight. "Peter, but…" It wasn't all a nightmare, while she was on the verge of death, in the throes of withdrawal. "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 unnecessarily 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 his lap to Gillian.

"I— should… go," is awkwardly stated as Peter unfolds his hands and starts to rise from his seat. From the 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…


Ten Years Later

Elmhurst Hospital
Elmhurst, NYC Safe Zone

March 13th

7:16 pm

Peter Petrelli sits up in a sudden jolt. He sucks in a sharp breath as he takes in the dimly-lit surroundings of a hospital room. There’s a stabbing ache in Peter’s chest as he breathes in, sending him right back down to the bed with needling agony in his sides. The next gasp is a restrained one, exhaled through clenched teeth.

Outside, the city is dark and rain patters down on the hospital room’s window. The world is confusing, disorienting, and when Peter goes to move again he feels the rattle of a handcuff at his wrist, tethering him to his bed frame. Dark eyes narrow, and Peter gives it an experimental tug, then looks to his other side and finds


She’s there, beside his bed, jacket draped over her legs in the chair. The streetlights outside cast shadows of the rain on the windows down her face. She is a play of light and dark, and Peter is ever-puzzled, pieces of the last thing he remembers coming back to him. “I thought— ” he looks down at the handcuff, then around the room to the hospital equipment, the blurry cityscape outside. Suddenly he remembers.

The sudden jolt is met a moment later by a similar jolt of movement in Gillian, spilling the coat onto the floor as she gets to her feet and closes what little distance there was between them to lay a hand down on his wrist. It’s an attempt to keep him from struggling and hurting himself, but also… “I’m sorry.” She had apologized many times while he slept, often not even out loud. “I hadn’t thought when I told you to bring us here. I just wanted you to live, of course they were going to recognize you.”

She wishes she had had time to think about it, more options. She wishes she had gone with her first instinct sometimes, too. But—

“You’re okay. You’re not going to die.” What happens next, she doesn’t know, but… “This is the first time you’ve really been awake for over almost two weeks.” It wasn’t the first time he’d made sounds, or started to wake up, but there was something different about this time. Her hand moves from his wrist to his hand, fingers squeezing. She looks tired, as if she’s been travelling or sleeping in chairs— or all of that over the last few days.

It’s been a long two weeks.

“Two weeks?” Peter’s voice is dry and tight. He lays his head back against the pillow, eyes shut and tension evident in his features. He looks over at Gillian, “Guess I don’t have to ask what year it is…” he says with a nervous laugh, followed by another look at the handcuff around his wrist.

Peter reaches out with his free hand and takes one of Gillian’s, squeezing it tight. “What happened?” He’s desperate to know, but Gillian barely has more answers. “Is— is Jolene— ”

“She’s fine,” Gillian is quick to assure him, because she knows she would have been one of the first people she would have been worried about too. “We’ve been taking turns staying by you. It was my turn. Someone I know in SESA pulled some favors to let us have access to you.” Which she was forever grateful for— she had been willing to turn over some information to pull favors if she needed to, but it was nice that she had someone on her side— she just didn’t know how far on her side it would be.

Would it be enough to get him out of the cuffs one of these days? Would it be enough to explain he wasn’t their Peter Petrelli? She didn’t know. But him surviving, living, being here to fight for at all had been a higher priority than what came after.

He didn’t need to ask what year it was, but it seems she would answer anyway, perhaps to find something to talk about for a moment. “It’s still 2020, March now. It’s Friday the 13th,” she says with a wry grin as she keeps touching him, reaching back to pull her seat closer so she can sit back down and still touch him. “Do you want me to call Lene?”

Peter doesn’t answer right away. Instead he lays his head back on his pillow and takes a few deep breaths. He blinks a few times, lifting his free hand to scrub at his eyes. When he tries to sit up again, that’s when Peter notices something is wrong. It starts with a false attempt at sitting up. Then, using his elbow, Peter props himself up and looks down the length of the bed. He’s silent for a moment, and it looks like he’s squirming.

“I…” Peter starts to say, looking over at Gillian halfway through the thought. “I can’t feel my legs.”

There’s a clenching in Gillian’s throat. This reminded her of Jolene, of when the girl finally woke up after what had happened during the war, when everything that she had once thought she knew had changed so quickly and— She had watched what it had done to her. And she had been her father’s daughter. For a moment, she looks as if she wants to just get back up and help him, put a hand behind his back and hold him up, do something.

But she also remembers how hard that instinct had been on Jolene, how hard Jolene had fought against her even making her house handicap accessible. How the young woman had used the upstairs bedrooms instead of the downstairs one sometimes anyway—

“I know. They said you would have some nerve damage. You should have died…” He really should have died. She knew this, because she had felt it.

But he didn’t.

“I didn’t let you.”

Peter fixes Gillian with a look that is at once incredulous and overwhelmed. He lays his head back down against his pillow, sighing deeply. He’s silent for a while, staring up at the ceiling.

“I need a little time before— before I see her.” Peter finally says, swallowing audibly after he speaks. “Before I see anyone. There’s no hiding now, no pretending to be someone else. I’m…” he blinks away a few tears and turns his shackled wrist around. “I’m scared.”

It takes everything Gillian has to keep from showing the heartbreak she feels all over her face, because it’s difficult to hear him say that, to know how hard this must be for him. It reminds her so much of Jolene, trying to hide the pain she felt, how scared and helpless she had been after the attack she had miraculously survived. Her fingers tighten where she holds onto his hand, and she nods, careful to take in a slow breath before she even attempts to speak so she doesn’t actually start crying right there— she wanted too.

If the positions had been reversed, she would be the one crying, she was sure. And the positions had been reversed, before. In a way.

She looks at the shackle on his wrist and nods. “I’ll see if I can get them to remove that soon. Once they know you’re not going to…” she hesitates, then lets it drop. “You don’t have to hide everything from them. They know about other worlds. There was an… incident a while back. SESA knows about it. Everyone who knew about it had to sign an agreement to say they wouldn’t go public— you could explain. At least… that much. That you’re not— the Peter from here.”

“Do you think they’d believe me?” Peter asks with a nervous smile.

A knock on the door startles Peter, but when he remembers himself he relaxes and shifts his attention from Gillian to the slowly opening door. A hospital orderly and an NYPD officer come into the room, the orderly who has been taking care of Peter and the officer that was placed on the door. But it’s a third figure that steps in that is unfamiliar to them all.

He’s tall, middle-aged, dressed in an immaculate gray suit with a crisp white undershirt and a diagonal stripe-patterned tie. When the agent turns his attention to Gillian, she notices he has a subtly lazy eye, it makes him feel just a touch vulnerable. “Ms. Childs,” then a look over to Peter, “Mr. Petrelli.”

Adjusting his tie, the agent offers a mild smile and looks back to the orderly and police officer, wordlessly dismissing them. He then turns his attention to Gillian. “I’m sorry to intrude, but I’d like to have a moment to discuss matters of national security with Mr. Petrelli.”


“My name is Agent Gates,” he says with that same mild smile, “if you could please just step outside for a moment or two.”

The sudden appearance of a nurse doesn’t cause Gillian to do more than straighten, but the man in the suit makes her get to her feet and her hand tighten on Peter’s. She can’t help but want to protect him from this, especially considering just moments before he had admitted to being afraid. Her eyes shifted to his, knowing that she technically had no legal right to even protest. A decade ago, she wouldn’t have cared, probably, she might have stubbornly planted her feet and cursed at the suit, or something.

But now she just looks at him and says, “Can’t this wait? He hasn’t even been awake for ten minutes.” Even as she looks at Peter, as if for permission to let go of his hand and listen to the other man’s request.

Cause it was, technically, worded as a request at this point and not actually an order. “I do think they’ll believe you if you tell them the truth, Peter, but— if you want me to stay I will.” She obviously wants to. But she won’t force it either.

She might have tried a decade ago.

She still wanted to now. But she was also a little more aware of what her place was in things now, too.

“I’d like to talk to him while his memory is fresh,” Gates says with a look down to Peter, who reaches out to Gillian and squeezes her hand.

Peter looks between Gillian and Agent Gates, then fixes her with an intent stare. “I’ll be okay,” he says with a crooked smile, and then quieter, “I can probably take him.” Though it’s said as a joke, as much for himself as it is for her.

“I promise this will only take a few minutes, Ms. Childs…” Gates explains as he holds the door to Peter’s room open for her.

After another hesitant moment, Gillian nods, having to smile a little at his joke, squeezing his hand back before she lets it go and bends down to pick up her coat that had fallen to the floor. “I’ll be just outside if you need anything,” she adds, folding her coat over her arm and moving around the bed past the nurse and Agent Gates, who she looks up and down for a moment.

With a small nod of acknowledgment, but no further words, she moves past him and out the door.

Three Hours Later

Gillian had been waiting outside of Peter’s room for far longer than a few minutes. Occasionally she could hear a tone of the conversation, Peter and Agent Gates conversing. Whatever he decided to tell the agent, it led to a long talk. SESA officers came and went in the interim, checking up on Gillian and asking about Peter. Non-invasive questions, assessing his well-being. They weren’t here to arrest him.

After the long wait, Agent Gates finally steps out of the room and straightens his tie. He looks to Gillian with an apologetic expression. “I’m sorry that took so long, we had significantly more ground to cover than I anticipated.”

As soon as the door opens, Gillian is standing, looking anxiously at the Agent as he steps out. She’s gotten up at every movement, but she relaxes a little when this time it actually is that man. That was a lot longer than a few minutes. But she didn’t see a bunch of armed guards swoop in, didn’t hear helicopters, didn’t even feel the presence of new Expressives suddenly jump into the area and whisk off Peter somewhere. She had been trying to check for that a little bit, too. Or stretching her senses out too much.

She still can’t help but try to glance past him, to make sure he’s still there, before she meets the Agent’s eyes. “Is he okay?” She asks immediately, but doesn’t even wait for an answer before she asks an even bigger question, one that she had been wanting to ask for the last three hours. “What are you going to do with him?” She knew it was a big question, almost as big as the dilemma that she had faced before with Jac in Detroit.

“Mr. Petrelli is fine,” Gates says, tucking a small piece of foldable technology into his suit jacket. “What happens to him isn’t up to me, but my office is going to advocate that he be given the same opportunities for a new life that all former Ferrymen had following the Civil War.”

Gates looks down to the ground, then back up to Gillian. “Mr. Petrelli has spent the last several years in the Dead Zone, and as such it is unreasonable to consider that he denied the offer as he would have had no foreknowledge of it. Given that he was already tried in-absentia for the 2006 Midtown explosion and found not guilty and his actions in 2011 by and large brought the death of one of the world’s most reviled mass murderers…” he shrugs. “It should be a straightforward affair. Mr. Petrelli has suffered enough.”

Gates steps closer to Gillian, looking back briefly into the room, then back. “As for any other details, I highly encourage you to keep them to yourself. For his sake, for yours, and for the nation’s. There are some things people weren’t meant to know.”

As he speaks, at first Gillian looks slightly confused, as if she wonders if perhaps Peter hadn’t told him the truth, but as he continues, what’s actually happening dawns on her and she nods knowingly, the relief visible in the way her shoulders relax and she lets everything settle down. She had only told him about it because he already knew about the other worlds, if not that specific incident she had signed a document against. She didn’t talk about it unless she knew they already knew about them. It wasn’t an easy topic, anyway.

Even without the signature on a document that the government had pushed in front of her for herself and the young woman she’d adopted who had been involved in that incident.

And— well—

“Some things are better off staying as fiction,” Gillian agrees with the agent, even if her voice is quiet. She is an author, and her book had involved time travel and the idea of alternate futures, but it had been a work of fiction. And she had said so in all the interviews.

Fiction often had a basis in fact, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still a fiction.

“Thank you, Agent Gates.”

“Think nothing of it,” Gates says with a smile. And then he

Standing by Peter’s bedside, Gillian sees that his right hand is still cuffed to the bed. There’s an apologetic expression he wears like old, familiar clothes. “Sounds like I’m not going to prison for a long time…”

For a moment Gillian catches her own reflection in the window of Peter’s hospital room, and there’s a nagging sensation that she’s forgotten something. But it passes quickly as Peter reaches up with his free hand to take hers. “I feel like… every time you and I got together, found each other, there was something…” he closes his eyes and scoffs.

There’s a tension in Peter’s voice. A moment where he’s waiting for the worst to come. “It always ends the same.” He says, squeezing her hand. “One of us, gone.”

Peter waits, watching Gillian with glassy eyes.

But the other shoe never falls.

It always ends the same…

…until it doesn’t.

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