It Would Be Easier


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Scene Title It Would Be Easier
Synopsis If you're in love with a monster, what does that make you? Or if one person believes that you're not a monster, despite everything, is that enough?
Date December 28, 2008

Isaac's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style. What dominates much of the loft, however, is not the abandoned artwork or the layers of dust that have settled on them, but rather strings — hundreds upon hundreds of strings.

The entire loft is filled with strings that stretch from one side of the main room to another, most of them laden with newspaper clippings, photographs, or plastic baggies filled with strange oddies like locks of hair, a shirt button, interlinked paperclips and the like. The majority of the news articles are all related to the bomb that destroyed most of midtown manhattan in 2005, some also relating to Senator Petrelli's political campaign, then other seemingly unrelated incidents. A single red string seems to interconnect all of the other threads, bouncing from one point to another, tied off to different articles — all which can be slid by slip knots into new positions — and tangled up towards a knot at the center where an article related to the bomb is hanging, showing a photograph of a man named "Gabriel Gray." It takes a moment to notice that the shapes and colors on the floor beneath all of this chaos is an image. It is a profound one at that, the painting of a city being blown apart by an atomic explosion, complete with a crimson and orange mushroom cloud rising up from the middle.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

It's at an hour that's just starting to get dark, encouraged only by the season and the amassed dark grey clouds in the sky. Silhouetted against it, the shape of some sort of bird of prey can be seen by anyone who looks up. A small figure above, he circles in wide arcs. A guardian, of kinds, for someone who either needs no guarding or needs it more than most.

The loft has been empty but Sylar expects that aside from himself, it won't be for much longer. It's a deeply familiar place to him, pamnesia aside, and now, he reacquaints himself. A ginger cat is gathered in his arms, the animal purring contentedly as strong fingers skritch beneath his chin, behind his ears, and unwittingly getting cat hair all over Sylar's black woolen coat. Footsteps echo within the quiet, cold room, as he walks along the path of one string that courses its way towards the center, an accusing image pinned there - a photograph of himself. A lie. Another abandoned future that could never be saved and he didn't even really have to do anything. Sylar switches the cat so that he can hold Chandra out to look at him. "That's called being in the right place at the right time," he tells the feline.

Outside, a flock of pigeons have taken to resting. They line across the metal railing, feathers puffed out against the cold of winter. But they all take off as one, however, when someone approaches, strong wings flapping loudly as they head for the sky, and causing Sylar to tilt his head and listen, though he doesn't move.

Though the loft had a perpetual guest for a few days, the guest needed to leave every so often for various reasons. Simple human necessities such as buying water and food, getting warm when the temperature dropped lower, and even the more vanity oriented necessity known as a hot shower. Whatever the reason today, Gillian had been gone for an hour or two, allowing such an intrusion on the Loft. The birds earn a glance as she approaches, especially when they decide to take off… Back in the past, birds were something she feared for a short time. Now they give a small ting of hope— followed immediately by dread. They could be Peter's birds— she doubts it, though, because the ass would rather hide from what he did in another way.

There's one other the birds could belong to, that she knows of. Or they could just be birds.

Stubborness makes her move forward anyway, no matter who it could be. The door to the loft opens, letting in a small rush of cold air. Rather than a gun held in her hand she has a couple of bags, indicating that she likely went shopping this trip. The gun wasn't an option, as she had left it, and most of the stolen money, behind in the Loft. She does look as if she's showered and changed recently, a bandage around her forehead, recently changed and thus clean. At the sight of him holding Chandra, she just stands there a long moment and then nudges the door closed behind her. "What are you doing here?" she asks, though there's a dozen things she thought she'd yell at him if she saw him again. Funny how words always seem to disappear when the moment actually presents itself.

Two sets of keen eyes land on Gillian as she enters, and the feline owner of one such set automatically struggles out ofthe hold he's in. Sylar readily lets him go, the cat kicking off the killer's chest and leaping out onto the painted floor, moving to spryly clambor up onto the rise, to nose at the shopping bags and twine between Gillian's legs.

In contrast to the cat's eager greeting, Sylar only steps forward, ducking under one of the strings, shoulder brushing against some miscellaneous newspaper clip. He looks about as healthy as he can get, save for a minor bruise at his jaw of the faded shape of a fist, courtesy of the original invisible man himself.

"This isn't your place," Sylar points out. "I have just as much right to be here as you do." He glances down at the mural explosion he stands upon, then back up at her. "Maybe more."

"Does it fucking matter whose place it is?" Gillian says angerly, looking down at the cat weaving against her ankle. It's a little bothersome, really, because she can't really be mad at the cat. It doesn't change that she's angry, though. Lifting her feet, she nudges the cat away as she starts to move, one step at a time. To the wall that she's pretty much claimed as her own in the last few days.

There's a pile of blankets there, bags— the some of the money hidden amongst them. Maybe still hidden, maybe not. The gun as well. Not that she's reaching for it. Her heart beats quickly, giving insight onto her level of heightened tension. Fear? Anger? Could be either. From the whitening of her knuckles, it's leaning in the direction of anger.

While she's not going for the gun, she does put the bags down, actually presenting him with her back for a moment. The knot in the back of her head remains firmly tied off. "I guess you do have more right to be here. You killed the man this place used to belong to."

Sylar stays put, near the center of the room, as Gillian moves to set things down near her belongings. They had remained untouched, despite the fact that a great deal of his own money is in there. That's not even close to the reason he's here. He watches her closely, even as her back turns to him, and listens even closer. It can be hard to distinguish a rising heartbeat as fear or anger, it's amazing how similar the two are. The fight-or-flight instinct, one and the same. "Yes, I did," he confirms. A flicker of a frown, glancing away. Not out of shame. Out of a lack of shame. A pause, and he adds, "But I'm not here to kill you, Gillian."

There's a ticking of a clock coming from the pocket of her coat as opposed to her wrist. Not the wristwatch that he fixed, but the one that she'd had on the beside table the night he stopped by and tried to kill her. Gillian looks away, a snarl parting her lips as she takes in a hissed breath. That had been in a response to his own glancing away, the non-denial of having killed the man here. Of course he had. He painted the future. How many abilities does she know he has? How many people did he kill for them? But he's not here to kill her. She looks back now, eyes narrowed, lips pressing together again. "Then what are you here for?"

It's a good question, one that does have an answer. Even if he can't cobble it into words, or is unwilling to. Sylar looks away, a hand raising to hook around a nearby string, in the manner he had when he'd been memorising the one from the future. He doesn't ruin the pattern, however, letting the time traveler's attempt stay as it is. It's hopeless, anyway. Can't change the past. Only the future. "I saw something like this," he starts, voice conversational, almost whimsical. He turns his back on Gillian, following the length of string away from her. "Where Peter sent me. I didn't go to Antarctica, not at first. I went forward in time. Ten years." A beat. "Just thought you should know. Someone had tried… this." Another tug at the string, making the whole web sway.

Ten years. That's a very long time. His answer— which isn't really an answer at all— takes Gillian by surprise. She blinks a few times, frowning. From personal experience, she knows such a thing would be possible. She'd been sent into the past, reliving Halloween once again thanks to the same man. The location had been right, the time, no so much. Breath shakes a fraction as she inhales, watching the web of strings shiver. "You went to the future," she repeats what she'd just been told, without a question in her voice, and without doubt as well. So much that she wants to ask. She doesn't understand why he would think she should know, or why he's decided to confess it. "How did you get back?" is what she ends up asking. She doesn't seem quite as mad, now, cautious and confused might be closer to it. Her hands even loosen from their knuckle whitening fists.

"Peter. Into Antartica, 2008." A low chuckle reverberates an acknowledgment of how silly that sounds. As if Sylar were some tennis ball in a match set across the time-space continuum. A sharp serve from Agent Petrelli into a scarless Peter's court, a vicious backhand right into the cold zone before Agent Petrelli can even react. Fifteen-love. Sylar realises he's gone quiet, it seems, but doesn't take the time to look back at Gillian, lost amongst the outdated web. "Everyone was dead. You were dead. I think I was too, in a way. Peter… boy wonder somehow managed to slip through the cracks." As Peter is wont to do. "I'm supposed to be stopping it." Still no real answer for Gillian. Perhaps he's getting to it. Perhaps he's abandoned it.

The idea almost makes her laugh. Ten years in the future, Peter finds a way to send him where he'd intended to originally. That anger returns, though, this time directed at someone who isn't even present. Gillian's not mad at Peter for tossing this man with her through time recklessly. Ten years from now he'll have his ass out of prison, but that won't do her any good now… And apparently does her no good in that future, either. When he finally says she's dead then, she just stares quietly, the anger faded into a dull shock. Everyone's dead. She's dead. He's "dead". Just that ass lives. The shiver that runs over her has nothing to do with the cold, but she kneels down in her pile of blankets anyway. It's a lot to process. Death in the future, more destruction to come. A soft curse is muttered under her breath, one he can hear, as he always does. "How?" she asks in a louder voice, directing her eyes up at him through hair that hangs over her bandage and part of her face.

"Killing the right people," Sylar responds. If there was a job more suitable for someone like him, someone so effective at killing, he doesn't know it. And yet he hasn't done it. Even with everything he knows, with all the anger. Of course there are things that need to happen before he can usurp the king, but at the end of the day… His arms fold around him, in something like a defensive posture. Defense against what, other than the cold, is unclear. He turns back to Gillian, noting then that she's knelt down. Noting the white of the bandages. "Instead of killing the wrong ones."

"Killing's a good job for you," Gillian mutters softly under her breath, no intending for him to hear it considering she spent so much time around him. She knows better than to whisper anything around him. Thoughts need to remain unspoken if she didn't want him to hear it. A purposeful statement. Up until the rest of his words process. The right people instead of the wrong ones. That makes her look at him in silence for a long moment. It's the anger, the pain of what he did to her, that makes her ask a harsh question, "Do you even know the difference?"

Hard to say yes when it's Gillian asking this question. She's a walking testament of 'no', really. A thick sort of silence descends as her answer, the kind of silence fitting more for a tomb, although this place is not so unlike a tomb. It knows death, and more than that. Dust plays in the absence of anything else, caught in shards of light as streetlamps outside flicker to life and cast new shadows into the room, as the world around it gets darker. Sylar's coat whispers with a rustle of fabric as he moves closer to her, still maintaining some distance. "That's why I'm here," he says. "Do you know what happened? That night I tried to kill you?"

In the silence, Gillian stays knelt where she is. The gun could be within reach, if he didn't even molest her things for a search. Not that it's hers anymore than the money. Both stolen from someone who stole them first. She keeps her eyes low, the darkness casting enough light to make out the lines of the painting on the floor, watch the shadows of the swaying strings. It's his words that make her look at him again. That silence might well have been the answer she expected, but what's said isn't. Not in the slightest. "You tried to cut open my head." That's the obvious answer, but not the one he's looking for. But it's the only thing she really understands about what happened.

Sylar shakes his head, although not to exactly deny that. Because she's right. That's what he tried to do. He crouches, now, about a foot and a half away from her, posture almost gargoyle-like and far more agile and comfortable for a man who has been shot four times in the last few months. All reduced to scars thanks to an angel in the snow, but that's a different story. "You let yourself go," he says. "Your ability. The way it used to be. It did something… to me." His voice sounds dry as he gives this stilted explanation. "It made me… more. And less. And I couldn't stop."

"I don't understand," Gillian says quietly, watching him now that he's so close. She doesn't move away even if she probably should, maybe knowing that it wouldn't matter if she did. After having been attacked once, with nothing to stop him other than himself, and maybe a few words, she knows if he decided to finish it there's little she could do to stop him. Especially after what he just confessed, whether she comprehends it or not. "What happened isn't my fault. We practiced with my ability dozens of times and you never tried to kill me before." In many ways it was as much her fault. She stayed when she shouldn't have, for one. Just like she's staying right now, rather than running away.

"I know," Sylar says, keeping his gaze on her eyes even if that's quite hard work. "But it was like when I turned into Mohinder. Or when I made the room humid. It… picks something. Usually I can control it but this, I can't control it." The admission comes hesitantly, as if he's reluctant to state that something is out of his careful realm of control. "It's like an addiction." Eileen's words. His own words, in fact, from however long ago, two years, three years, when he had made one feeble attempt to change and then never looked back. An eyebrow raises. "Do you believe me?"

The little bit of noise coming from her seems to be quiet breathing, her heart beat fluctuating slightly as things waver in one direction or the other. The wavering alone could be an indication that she doesn't believe him. That there's doubt in what he's saying. Gillian cautiously regards him through her hair. "You've lied to me so many times. About so much. Even your name. I don't even know what I'm supposed to call you." Gabriel Wilkins. Gabriel Gray. Sylar. She reaches up to touch the bandaged forehead, a flinch of pain as the stitches she got didn't just make it all go away. And when compared to the swiss cheese man, she's not quite as good at sucking up pain. She can handle it, she has tattoos, some in awkward regions, but she still flinches and grits her teeth. But one of the few times she thought he'd been truthful… as close to truthful as he'd ever been… "You did… say that you could never be powerful enough once… That night with…" Mohinder. Maybe Middle Eastern now has a name.

What had Wu-Long said? 'Insurance'. Maybe that one night was that insurance. He had, after all, been honest with her. As honest as he could have been. It's never enough, Gillian. I can't ever be powerful enough. She had asked him to clarify and he hadn't been able to, had gone on about the flaws in god's creatures. His gaze drifts down to the dusty floor of the loft. "I did say that," he agrees, almost too softly to be heard. "I meant it." He shifts out of his crouch, legs almost collapsing out from under him to sit with less grace, legs awkward and almost too long to cross before he settles, despite being so vastly unwelcome here. "I don't know if it's just me or if it's just my ability anymore. I don't know if there's a difference. But how am I meant to be a hero if there isn't?" He's asking an awful lot of Gillian, and likely deserves none of it, but Sylar is not the most understanding of creatures, not the most selfless. He knows she's angry, maybe even scared of him, but still he looks across at her, expecting answers to mysteries he can't grapple with.

The fact that he's crossing his legs and sitting on the floor, rather that crouching like some kind of pouncing cat may gather the most attention. Gillian doesn't understand at all. Not even when a relatively ignored cat pads quietly over and makes an attempt to crawl into said crossed legs, as if it had been an offer just for him. Someone in the room, at least, is forgiving. The other person just stares at him— and the cat. "You want to be a hero?"

It sounds insane. It doesn't even seem like she knows which word to emphasize. There's hints of it in almost all of them. Pauses between the words. She can barely believe he'd want to be that. They had worked together to stop Peter Petrelli, who she's no longer sure they should have stopped the way they did. Maybe all they needed was to get smacked across their stupid faces a few times. "Are you… planning to stop this future where we're all dead?" Part of her desperately wants to be angry at him, yell at him, shoot him, kick him… The rest…

The cat is blinked down at, and then slowly, Sylar drags his hand across the feline's back, which makes that orange tail flick right up towards his face, and he turns his head to avoid it, hands against settling against the ground. No longer receiving skritches, Chandra just circles, claws digging in on occasion, and settles as well. It's warm here. "It's why I was sent back at all," he says, gaze leveled down at the ginger cat curled on his lap. "I even know where to start. But why would I do that?" His hand moves again to pet the cat, fingers combing through long, wiry ginger fur. "Why would someone like me want to save the world?"

"Why do you want to do anything, Gabriel?" Gillian asks, choosing the name she knew him best as. The few times she's called him by the other name, it hadn't sounded right to her. Just like the name she took on at the bowling alley never sounded right to her. It wasn't her name. It was a name she wore for convienance. She's not sure which name he wears for the same reason. "You could have killed me… twice. And you didn't." The water that attacked her, he called off. Water that reacted much like he claims her power made something in him react. Uncontrolled, emotion based. It would have surrounded and drowned her if he let it do what it started. "Why did you do that? Why did you mean it when you said you would leave with me?" Selfish questions, self-centric, but they're whys that are important to her. Very important. "Maybe you should be asking… why not. A world with just an idiot like Peter Petrelli running around would be pretty sad world." And she doesn't even know how everyone died.

A whisper of a chuckle, merely a sigh with an amused, vocal tone hitching it and the spark of a smile. "That's true," Sylar says. Even if it's not entirely accurate. "I didn't kill you because I didn't want to. And then suddenly I did. I wanted nothing else." Again, not looking at her - only listening. "I danced on the graves of people I killed but not the first time and not always. But after the first time I let it become me. Easier." The words sort of just occur, without planning, realising what he's saying as he says it. And he asks her, again, "Do you believe me?"

"I believe… that if you wanted to kill me, you would have," Gillian says softly, closing her eyes and shifting so that she to is sitting on the floor, in her pile of blankets that can protect her from the cold that's decending upon the room, but not from the man who almost killed her. This place couldn't protect her, though the people who came here could, if she'd have let them. There's so many questions she needs to ask. So many things that she could say. "Part of me thinks it'd be easier to hate you… just like you're saying it's easier to… enjoy what you've done." So that, maybe, she can understand. One of her hands slide under the sleeve of her coat— which actually is one of his. Too big for her. The sleeves cover her hands as well as her wrists. She's touching the hidden watch. The one he repaired for her. The one she broke again. Her eyes stay closed, voice soft as she asks the one question she can't supress, "Did you want to kill my sister?"

Sylar just keeps watching the cat, fingers searching out that sweet spot behind the ears that makes the ginger tom purr like nothing is wrong in the world. His head tilts to the side, mind going back, back to Jenny Childs' death. Messier and more complicated than it should have been. "I wanted what she could do," he says. As close to a no as he could come. His tone takes on that previous whimsical, conversational sound that contrasts so harshly with the usual gravel of his voice. He may as well be talking to Chandra. "I tried to take it without killing her, like the way I took the ability to talk to the birds, but… it didn't work. And then it was too late."

If only everything were as easy to fix with people as it can be with small animals. Nothing would be wrong with the world. Food, scritches and other such things would make all the trouble go away. "You can take abilities without killing people?" Gillian asks in a way that wants clarification, not quite understanding how that might work. It's obvious she had no idea he ever got an ability without killing, though she'd had no idea how he got the abilities at all until he was told. But there's a quiet lull as she lowers her eyes, hand moving under the sleeve until she pulls out her watch. 3:33. Where it's been stuck for quite some time now. Holding it by the strap, she holds it out to him, looking at him. The watch is silent, but she sounds steady for the moment, even determined. "After everything that's happened, I don't know if this can be fixed." She's not talking about the watch. It's a physical metaphor. She expects someone as smart as him to get it. "But I don't want to die. And if you know how to stop what's going to happen… Then I think you should do it."

The questions as to whether he can take powers without the killing, he only shrugs a little. He doesn't understand it, can't explain it, doesn't try. Looking up from the cat, Sylar focuses on the cracked watch for a moment. Slowly, he reaches out, and the sleeve of his coat pulls back just enough to catch a glimpse of his own broken wristwatch before it's hidden against by the black fabric. His hand curls around the watch, glancing at her before he tugs it out of her grasp, running his thumb over the splintered glass. "What are you going to do now?" he asks her, still looking at the frozen hands on the clock face.

"I don't know," Gillian answers truthfull, letting him take the watch and making no move to take it back. He'd sat close enough to her to do that, though she did have to stretch. They both did. She does look at his watch, noticing that it's broken as well. In a way, she's not even expecting him to fix it. Part of her wants him to fix what's broken. The rest doesn't think he can. "I broke it when I finally got home. When everything was over. I guess by that point, you were in the future. Ten years from now? Funny— If I wasn't dead, I'd be thirty-three." Which, by some odd coincidence, is reflected in the time the watch ended up stopping. "I don't know what I'm going to do." Going back to the old subject she tangented from. "Honestly, don't think I ever did. Not all of us know the future, not all of us paint it, dream it— live in it. Not sure I'd want to know much beyond right now." There's a pause. "You wanted to tell me all this for a reason. What is it?"

He could crack the watch open right here, use his assortment of powers to get it working again, get it ticking, but he doesn't. It wouldn't prove a damn thing. He lets the watch slip through his grasp until it's almost hidden in his fist, and then shifts Chandra, motivating the cat to clamber away so he can disappear the item into his pocket. A hand braces against the ground, and he pushes himself up to stand, a lithe movement. "Because you must hate me," Sylar says, taking a step back. "If there's anyone who thinks I couldn't be anything but a monster, it's you."

There's a mild hitch in her breath when he pockets the watch, and a second one when he continues to speak, while standing, even. Gillian doesn't sand, but she leans over to reach into one of the carrier bags, for a small scoop and a bag of solid food, not the gun. Once the scoop is deposited in a nearby bowl, that could use a washing, she looks back over at him. "It'd be easier if I did hate you. I should." After everything he's done to people she's never met, her sister, her. The lies on top of the physical assault that he commited last time they saw each other. "I broke the watch when I realized I was in love with you." A man who killed her sister, cut a Agent in six pieces with lasers, tried to kill Peter Petrelli… someone who she betrayed and got sent to somewhere far away— further than she ever imagined. "If you're a monster… what does that make me?"

The watch he's keeping. At least for now. At her question, Sylar raises an eyebrow, as if to say this isn't his place to judge. "Maybe… someone who doesn't think I'm a monster after all," he offers. He casts a glance about the abandoned studio. She has his money. She has a weapon she could use or sell for even more money. There's nothing he could really offer at this stage if it even occurred to him to do so. Tucking his hands into his pockets, the killer moves for the door without another word, fingers searching out the wristwatch to curl around.

"Good luck, Gabriel. With… whatever it is you need to do," Gillian says softly, staying seated where she is at her pile of blankets. Thanks to the food in the bowl, Chandra has rejoined her, flicking his tail back and forth and making soft munching sounds, sounds far more easily heard by the person leaving the loft than the young woman sitting beside him. There's hints of sadness in her voice, but also resignation. She knows that he has to leave and that is all there really is to it. There's no move to stop him, or follow with anything except her eyes.

December 28th: Caution, Baked Goods, and Naming Informants
December 28th: Sing a Song of Six Pence
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