Knowing Better


gillian_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Knowing Better
Synopsis Wherein Tavisha proves someone right by talking about himself a lot, but at least not everyone minds.
Date March 12, 2009

Staten Island: Abandoned House

A thin layer of dust has cropped up on everything in the last day or so. There's a glass sitting on the carpet near the bed, half full with water and ice. Blankets are ruffled, obviously slept in and unmade. At first glance, no one would seem to be home. Until someone listens closely to one of the back rooms. There's a mild curse as something crashes into a wall, banging around. "God damnit."

A closet door is opened. Gillian has moved in a few new things that had not been present before. Hangers for clothes, boxes to put belongings. Things had been unsorted before, but apparently she's taken a compulsion to sort things. Clothes hang in the closet, both of theirs. The boxes have the folded clothes on the bottom. Or they would if she hadn't just knocked one of them over. Chandra looks down at her, from a perch he's claimed up on a shelf above.

"What are you looking at?"

The front door doesn't make a sound. Mostly because inanimate objects don't tend to when they're not being used, and it certainly isn't when the inky entity leaks through the gaps between the door and the wall, a tight fit that takes a while, skeins of darkness creeping over the walls and down onto the floor with gradual gravity, until every last bit is through.

Gillian's words cut through the house, perceptible even in this silent form. The entity eddies across the ground for a moment, hesitates, before suddenly expanding to more than a liquidless puddle of darkness, up and into the form of a very much solid man. A little tired from the effort, but in one piece, as well as sober, which is an improvement all around.

There's guilt in his posture by the time Tavisha slinks on towards the bedroom door, muffled foot steps the only thing heralding his presence by the time he appears, leaning a shoulder against a frame. His gaze darts over the mess being made, uncomprehending for a moment as to what she's doing. "Need a hand?"

There's no immediate reaction from Gillian before he arrives. Likely, she doesn't hear his muffled footsteps at all. It's actually the cat that knows something is happening first. Chandra hisses from his perch, but it would seem the girl, whose hair hangs in dark locks, doesn't understand at first. What has him so—

She jumps when she hears the voice, dropping the box that she's begun collecting again. Some folded clothes have fallen to the floor out of the box. "Fuck, you— startled me," she says, stating the obvious. Her heartrate even sped up. "Where have you been?" she says as she straightens and turns. The increased heartrate stays where it is, anxiety obvious in that and the way she's breathing. "I— heard some…" She works in the Rookery. She knows what he does now— with the way rumors like that travel…

For a moment she looks as if she's tempted to yell at him, walk over and slap him. Instead she just says a sincere, "I was worried."

"I'm sorry."

The words come immediately, easily, and spoken in softer tones as Tavisha glances over his head at Gillian, towards where the cat perches bristling high on the shelf, and as Tavisha steps inside, Chandra goes to make a quick exit. The cat's small furry body is a streak of ginger as he leaps down and darts out around the man, clearing the room of feline.

Thanks for the help. Tavisha takes off his coat, revealing nothing particularly remarkable - a black sweater, jeans - and hangs the garment up on the hook behind the door. "I just needed to be alone for a while. What did you…?" A glance back, evaluating. "What did you hear?"

That crazy cat. Gillian's starting to think she'll need to give him away. Her eyes follow as he flees the room, frowning a little. It's not going to work out if he can't stand to be around the man anymore… Eyes go back to him, a nervous hand reaching up to push dark hair out of her face. The bangs are in her eyes now, more or less, splitting on one side. They mostly cover her left eye. "That someone died in one of those cage fights," she explains, anxiety remaining present as she steps a little closer to him. "That you killed them."

Him. They all knew him by his old name, not the one he goes by. And another one. A nickname. But the whispers were enough to catch her ear. The name Sylar drew her attention away from usual business of the day. On top of that… "You didn't come home that night."

Home. She at least seems to think that's what this should be. Home for now. A little voice in the back of his head might agree.

The coat hung up, and the door closes, not exactly the most solid of barriers made but then again, Tavisha doesn't see it like a trap. Still, it makes the four sides of the walls enclosed, makes the space seem smaller, or at least it might when you're in the room with a killer. "I wasn't sure if I should," he admits, back still partially turned to her as he moves around the periphery of the room, comes to lean by the window where vertical blinds show off mostly darkness, at this hour.

"It was just a fight, but something— happened." He doesn't say what, though he looks on the verge to. His train of thought shifts, however, jaw clenches as he stares sightlessly at the ground, then makes a decision. "Why didn't you tell me I killed your sister?" Strangely, there's no accusation, no anger or disgust in his tone - it's an honest question, almost earnest.

Why? Such a simple question with so many possible answers. Why. Gillian doesn't get any closer as he moves around her, keeping some distance, feet frozen in place on the carpet as the gears in her brain search for the answer. Answers are never easy, while questions are so simple. Why is that always the case? "Cause I didn't… I didn't want to. I was afraid that you would… leave. Or wouldn't let me stay with you." Now that she says it, she's not sure it would have gone that way, but the worry is legitimate. "I practically died trying to see you again, and you didn't remember… and…" She shakes her head.

"Look. I don't know exactly what happened with Jenny, except what you told me. What you don't remember telling me." Vague reasons for why things may have happened. "And if I told you about her, I'd've had to tell you about… Maybe I should have told you." Her hand goes under her bangs, touching the scar that's healed over for the most part. Hair covers it almost all the time, thanks to long free bangs. She told him about it the first time she met him as he is now.

"The same thing that made you attack me… made you attack my sister. When the… whatever you did with the bird girl didn't work." What he told her.

A huff of laughter, quiet exasperation, and Tavisha raises his hands to run long fingers through his hair, briefly gripping at the dark strands before letting go. "Everyone seems to think that not telling me the truth helps," he says, voice quiet and he takes his weight off the wall to pace, restless despite the obvious fact he's tired. The trajectory takes him closer to her, and he cuts himself off midstep, moving all the more nearer. Whether she stands her ground or not, he reaches his hands out - one to her elbow, to steady her, one up to gently nudging back the dark hair that strives to cover her scar.

The pad of his thumb is rougher than it had ever been before, manual labour not something Gabriel Gray had ever been familiar with, hands larger but designed for the fine work of watch repairing. Nothing like the pirate life style, ropes and metal and wood roughing up his hands, making his skin harsher than before. He runs this fingertip along the seam in her forehead, the scar at her temple.

"I didn't want this to happen again," he tells her. His voice is deceptively light, simple. "I stayed away until I knew it wouldn't. What was her power?" His gaze finds her's, imploring for the answer.

Not telling him the truth. Gillian's mouth sets stubbornly, as it looks like she may start to defend herself. It never happens. It's the truth, she just didn't tell him. For what she assumed was the best for him. There's nothing more to say on it. Instead, she watches him move close, closes his eyes briefly as he rubs a rough thumb over the scar she's glad she still has. It's too healed to be as young as it is, but then again the gunshot wounds he wears under his shirt are much younger than they look. Healing has a funny way of making things look older than they are.

"Jenny… was a hydrokinetic. She… pulled water out of the air and could do things with it. Basically a… glorified sprinkler system." Or wet t-shirt contest. "It… she flooded my apartment one time, when I found out what I could do. When she pulled more water than she ever had before…. that's when she got registered. They didn't realize that I caused it."

Yet another puzzle bit put into place. A bit of ocean, this time. Tavisha's eyes hood a little at this revelation, the hand raised to her face moving back down, sliding along a length of hair before settling on her shoulder. "I know her," he says, barely really looking at Gillian. "Like I knew you. She's in my head. I saw her the other night, when…"

When. A glance back to Gillian's eyes, a step back, hands falling away. "I think she was… warning me. Or urging me on, I don't know. All I know is— I get it. What it was like, who I used to be." A sudden, almost weary laugh, more breath than voice. "It's kind of a relief."

"You'd said that you tried to take her ability without…" Gillian starts to say, shaking her head a little. So the only thing left of her city is in this man's mind and body, possibly egging him on, possibly trying to keep him from killing someone. Still dead, though. Her hands rub over her face as he let's his drop away, before she reaches up and touches him instead. "Ga… Tavisha." It still happens. She bites down on his new name for a moment.

"Maybe you can explain it to me…" She's told him a lot of what she knows now, even if she kept a few things secret. There's one more thing she could add on… And his words creep into her memory. They weren't said that long ago. About keeping secrets not necessarily being what's best for him.

There's a slow inhale before she looks back into his eyes, a hint of bracing herself before she speaks, "The reason I moved here so suddenly is because… my brother found the apartment where I lived. He was looking for me, and for you… he wants the man who killed our sister to be arrested." There. The last secret.

Some silence as Tavisha takes this in, looking troubled but not necessarily worried, or angry. Concerned, maybe, but not really for himself. A hand goes to take Gillian's, before releasing it again, moving off to set his back against the wall and slide down it, to sit.

"That's not exactly unfair," he says, settling his arms on bent knees, peering up at her before resting his head back against the wall. Freshly painted a few days ago, all of the plastic he'd laid down on the carpet for the job bunched in the far corner. "You kill someone, you're supposed to pay for it."

And he doesn't sound happy about this, if resigned, but before Gillian can leap to any kind of conclusion, he shakes his head. "But it's not— simple. When it happened, there was nothing else that mattered. I couldn't think. It was instinct. I only realised what I was doing after I got her ability." He turns his arm a little, enough to see the faint map of veins beneath skin on his wrist. He hasn't tested it, hasn't wanted to, but he can't help but feel intrigued.

The resignation in his voice might have earned some kind of response based on the conclusion she leaped toward. There's the sound of an inhale, the type that usually comes right before speaking loudly. Gillian's stopped before she gets to that point, though. The breath is let out instead, in a sigh, as she kneels down to get close to his level, right in front of him. "Almost nothing about you is simple," she rasps out, voice tight and drawn. It's also breathy, as if she wants to sigh again.

"I don't think locking you up will do anything… it doesn't change what happened. It doesn't give me my sister back. And prison just…" There's something about the idea of locking people up that doesn't sit well with her. But at least this man understands it's not simple. Unlike some idiots out there rotting in prison.

"When I found out, I shot you. I betrayed you." But she also discovered she loved him. Which might change her point of view quite a bit. Still… "You were able to stop yourself with me. When you tried to cut my head open. Maybe you can stop yourself now that… know what it feels like." Something she had hoped he'd never learn.

As she comes to kneel in front of him, Tavisha's own legs collapse a little, folding loosely, back curved against the wall. His eyebrows raise up at her admission - at least he can place the meaning of one gunshot scar, and he wonders vaguely which one it is, but doesn't ask the question.

He'd been able to stop, before. More of a relief.

Without saying anything, responding to her without words this time, Tavisha lifts a hand, fingers curled as if he were lightly gripping something invisible. A second passes, two seconds, before the air between his index finger and his thumb grows hazy, distorting like a heat wave. Then, the air seems to collapse and gives way to an almost painfully bright sphere of white light, blurred without shape for a moment before condensing into a disc. Fairy-like motes of light drift around it, miniscule and the colour of fire.

If he asked, she would probably tell him. Gillian has found herself looking at the scar she caused more than a few times when they've slept together. Not out of guilt, really. But she's still caught herself staring at it. Settling down on the floor, she's not quite in easy reach, but at least she can watch him, speak to him in softened tones, and wait to see what he has to say.

He doesn't say anything, though, and instead…

There's a light. It's not like other lights she's seen from him before. It's something else. Something very different. Not cutting lasers that dismember men in suits, not glowing red hand that could blow up the city, not a shimmering blueish glow that comes with freezing.

It's not even like the electricity she'd seen one of the Assfaces use. It's something different. She can't help but look at it as it shapes. "That… is that the…" It's difficult to continue the whole way. "I've never seen you use that." There's a hint of anxiety in her heartbeat.

"It's new," Tavisha confirms, looking down at the gently rotating disc of light, and it begins to flicker, despite his best efforts. Without a sound, it vanishes, the light dispersing back into the atmosphere, the motes spiralling once between dying as well. His hand curls, feeling the slight warmth on his skin. "But it's not the power I killed for. I took this from someone without hurting them, to see if…"

He trails off, sentence remaining incomplete, as if unsure as to what the if ever was. "Maybe it'll help. I don't know. Just… when I get the idea in my head, it's a downhill ride. Maybe this way, I know I won't have to. I'll be able to stop myself." An eyebrow lifts, a shrug. "Be able to change."

Perhaps it would have been like this, years ago. If the woman he'd encountered so soon after his first kill had not been someone intent on feeding the monster, if he'd been shown a different path and encouraged to take it, to not fall into the easy trap of selling your soul. Of taking the road of least resistance and great reward. It's different, now.

"I know you can change," Gillian says quietly, but with a kind of stubborn cofidence. Almost insistance. It carries in her voice, in the sound of her heartbeat. With the light gone, she reaches out to touch his hand, leaning forward. Warm hands. He didn't kill for that ability. In a way that makes her just as facinated with the show as she'd been months ago, before the strings holding the lie in place got cut off in a room full of strings.

"You're different now than when we first met. And I'm not talking just about the amnesia. The man on the bridge was different." So even if he had all his memories back, he's changed. "Everything changes." At least a little bit. "That's what makes us interesting. We don't stay the same. How we, people, change, and adapt." A familar conversation, at least to her. They'd had it once. When he tried to explain a watchmaker's argument to her.

"You're right," Tavisha says, allowing her to take his hands and wrapping warm, strong fingers around her's. "I don't know if anyone else will understand that. It's not something you can show people. It's nothing you can touch." Nor is it really something people are required to accept, but that's an amount of insight Tavisha can't afford right now. The circular logic is something he can imagine being a reason he might have given in in the first place. Belief in something better might split the difference.

A short silence, Tavisha's gaze wandering down to their joined hands before looking back at her, a slight smile managing to break of the brooding expression he's been wearing lately. "And how was your day?"

When he mentions touch Gillian squeezes his hand, as if to try and show that maybe it is something that can be touched. At least in a way. She can touch it. She can see it. He'd said else, though, so he understands that. It's just something she wants to respond to, even if she can't outloud. When he asks how her day was, the mood is suddenly broken. A serious expression for a time now, she laughs softly, lips curving into a smile.

"A lot better now," she says simply, keeping her eyes on him. "I was worried." She'd said so once before. It had been genuine. "It was either clean or go looking for you and risk getting in trouble," she admits, though she probably considered the second option. "It's a good thing you came home before I finished getting everything arranged."

The smile doesn't fade as she says that. Who knows what reckless and crazy things she might have done to try to find him.

It could be said that finding him at all could be considered reckless and crazy to begin with, considering the rumours. But Tavisha is privileged in that Gillian knows better. "I thought I was the clean one," he says, a moment of light heartedness than flickers and maintains as much as the light he generated did, eventually blinking out again. "Thank you. For still being here."

"You're welcome," Gillian says, continuing to grin as she watches him. "Just don't go away for so long that I run out of things to distract me. I don't have nearly enough books at my fingertips." It's said as a joke, but there may be some truth to it. What would have happened if she did run off looking for him? Or if she went to some of her sources for help in finding him? There's a lot of ways this could have ended up. "And for the record… you are the clean one. You'll probably end up resorting everything once you see what I moved around." The counters haven't been washed! There's a half-full glass sitting on the carpet. There's a lot of not-clean going on.

"Mm," Tavisha responds, with a graveled chuckle, easy smile returning. "I'll find you some books." A glance over her shoulder towards where clothing lies scattered on the ground, and the the closet door lies open to reveal even more disarray. "…after I take care of this."

In one fluid motion, he gets to his feet, pausing only briefly to smooth back her hair and kiss her temple, before leaving to distract himself in the world of near obsessive cleanliness. Everyone needs a habit, and this one is remarkably better than sawing through skulls of still living people.

Remarkably better. Gillian's smile stays behind as he straightens, standing as well as she watches him get to work. "I'd like a few books," she says. The idea itself doesn't bother her, but there's a hint of something more. "I can buy the books for myself, though. I actually have some money coming in now. And it's not like we're paying rent." She looks around. No one's paying rent for this place. "But I like other distractions more." That is said with a smile, one he'll recognize more than once. At least she's not following after him and touching him this time. Instead she goes to grab her backpack, which has a few books she salvaged, and walks to the unmade mattress to lay down. She'll stay out of his way while he cleans. Until he tries to make the bed, at least.

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