Meeting Again For The First Time


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Scene Title Meeting Again For The First Time
Synopsis Putting laundry out to dry, Gillian runs into Angela Petrelli and has a request to make of her.
Date December 3, 2010

Pollepel Island

One thing there's always an abundance of in groups such as this… Dirty laundry. Washers and dryers weren't on the list of essentials, and having spent so much time at the Garden in recent months, Gillian happens to have been an expert at washing and drying clothes by hand with water and soap and washing boards. The washing part is done, for the most part, with the hanging needing to be done. Blankets, shirts, pants, the essentials to keep warm, even if they're nowhere near fashionable, all are being tossed up onto lines in an airy part of the castle that gets some sunlight.

It's getting colder, though, and soon they won't be able to hang things to dry outside at all. Not if they don't want frost and icicles forming in the damp fabric. Right now the warmest part of the day is the best time to do it— which is why she's doing it at noon. She's already had to wring as much of the water out as possible… But there's always some left over.

With the bundle of bedsheets spread out, she rubs her hands together in an attempt to warm them, dressed in a large coat with a fur covered hood, and other layers. Gloves had been left in pockets, to avoid them getting wet. Hands are easier to dry than gloves.

It will be easier in the spring and summer when the ground is thawing and water drips in abundance from the trees, leafy and green. Sunlight will stream through the castle windows and warm its airy corridors, pleasantly cool during both day and night, and filled with the sound of cricketsong.

But that's several months from now.

For the last fifteen minutes, a dark shape has been watching Gillian from the archway leading back inside, bundled up in a mink coat and borrowed clothes that she wouldn't have been caught in a month ago, but Angela Petrelli has not made any protests; the only reason she's still alive is because of Ferrymen compassion, and she's not about to paint herself in an ungrateful light after her last conversation with her son.

Bringing chilled hands close to her face, Gillian breaths warm air against them as she turns quietly, to scan the area. Sometimes there's a feeling of eyes, but in this kind of place, there's eyes everywhere. Including in the sky. Hazel eyes scan over warming fingers as she spins, until she spots a mink wearing woman standing in the archway.

For a moment she hesitates, and then the hands lower and she bends to flip the damp basket over so it can dry out as well, before she moves toward the archway.

"Try not to get that dirty, I don't think anything we could do hear would get it clean without ruining it," she says as she gets close enough.

Angela's mouth crinkles around a rueful smile, some small amount of condescension in it, but probably not enough to matter. "It's already ruined," she tells Gillian, skimming fingers across a singed collar where flame must have at one point licked against it. This theory is supported by a pink flush on the left side of her face, spotted with blisters but hidden by the veil of her hair, which has at least been recently washed and combed. She'd hidden it from her son the nurse, but in Gillian's company is a little less self-conscious, and while she doesn't put the burn on display she doesn't go to great lengths to hide it either.

"You looked better as a brunette, dear."

"Especially now that's growing out and I have inch long roots," Gillian says with a laugh, selfconsciously touching the roots she can't see at the moment but knows are there. It's been quite some time since she dyed it. "I didn't dye it cause of fashion… I— " Her explaination cuts off as she shakes her head, dropping the hand back down. "It might be long enough to go back, but I doubt they had someone pick up hair dye on their supply runs."

Definitely not a high priority, though she might be surprised to find out otherwise.

"I didn't expect to see you here. It's been… a while." Less time for her than it had been for the woman she's looking at, but still almost a month since her trip through time.

"I didn't expect to see me here either," says Angela, "but here we are." She looks past Gillian to where the laundry is hanging, rippling in a slight breeze diminished by the courtyard's four walls. The castle has been repaired to the best of the network's ability with the funds Eileen had available, courtesy of Leonardo Maxwell, but her efforts were focused on the property's bones in an attempt to make it as sturdy as possible, and while its interior is somewhat insulated against the cold by the virtue of the castle's original design, the same cannot be said of areas like this one with no ceiling, exposed to the open air.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" she asks, and Gillian might get the impression that this is a difficult question for the older woman to ask, as casual as she attempts to make it sound in a faintly hoarse voice.

"Not unless you saved money somewhere before fleeing the crazy city," Gillian says with a shrug of her shoulders as she moves further into the complex and out of the wind, at least. Even a wall to keep the windchill off would be better than the breezy courtyard she was hanging clothes in a few moments ago. "The orphanage I was helping at is likely going to need to get moved somewhere else— maybe even totally underground, depending on how bad things get in the next few months. But money's something everyone needs, especially with kids involved."

And it's always good to have options. There's a pause, before she looks back, perhaps noticing the difficulties. "I could ask the same thing— do you need help?"

"I'd meant with the laundry," Angela says, though she follows Gillian inside, happy to abandon the threshold. Her lips are already chapped and the skin on her wrinkled hands beginning to peel. "I have money, but you never know who's watching where it goes, so I'm afraid I probably can't do much for you or your brother there."

There is no harm in acknowledging, now, the relationship between Brian and Gillian, and Angela does it freely, though not without a note of remorse. She would not have separated her own children; that the Company is in a way responsible for the siblings growing apart is another burden of guilt that she's had to bear, even if it isn't a weight she's noticed until recently.

"Oh, well, I finished most of it. I mean there's always more, we got eighty odd people here, but…" Gillian holds up her hands, as if to show them off. "My hands are cold." They are pruney in places and quite pinkish, to show the chill they've been under. The wash water might be warm, but she's not in a hurry to do more until it's needed— and there's other people too.

There's a hesitation in her expression, as she glances away, grimaces, and then looks back. That pause shows it as much as anything else. "I heard you knew my— our mother. Did you know who I was when I showed up at your house… I'm not even sure exactly how many years ago it was anymore. Fifteen? Did you know that I was your old friend's daughter?" As she continues her questions, she begins to ramble. Once she's started it seems to be hard for her to stop, a sign of nervousness. "Do you… remember it? I don't think Peter does, not really, but… that was half a lifetime ago for him." Fifteen years has to seem like less to someone so… old?

"No," Angela says after an uncomfortable pause, "I don't. I'm—" Not sure what to say. "Your mother," she settles on, then, "was a very kind, compassionate woman. I see the same qualities in her daughter, and I had hoped that they were qualities that might attract my son and put him back on a more respectable path than the one I inadverdently chose for him.

"I used you, Gillian. I'm sorry."

There's a long exhale, from a breath Gillian likely didn't even know she was holding. "Very few people actually admit that, much less apologize…" she says after a few moments needing to recover. "It's fine. I threw myself into a lot of things all on my own, including…" she doesn't finish and instead shakes her head. "It's not your fault, but you're forgiven for whatever part you had in it…" Whatever it was.

"If you remember our mother, and father— then you can do me a favor," she says, recovering from the emotional turmoil, even if she's got a little bit of moisture in her eyes. "I don't know if you're planning to stay here, but if you're here for very long, seek out my brother. I'm sure one of him will stick around to help out, no matter what happens. But I think he… deserves to hear about our parents from someone who knew them. I could only give him so much."

"I'll consider it," isn't refusal or agreement, but rather something in between. Brian deserves to hear the truth, and Gillian deserves more than this noncommittal answer. Unfortunately, if she's learned anything since Gabriel Wilkens first set foot in her life, changing its course forever, it's that people do not always get what they deserve.

Considering is more than she would have gotten if she hadn't made the statement, so Gillian just nods quietly, biting her lower lip. Everythings changed since that day two years ago, but she knows for a fact she wouldn't change it if given the option.

"It was nice to meet you again, Mrs. Petrelli," she says, offering her cold hand out for a shake now that they're done. "Even if I guess it is pretty much the first time for you. If you need anything, I should be around for a few days more, at least."

Angela looks down at Gillian's hand, but for whatever reason can't bring herself to take it. She turns, showing Gillian her shoulder instead. "At least," she says. Whatever that means.

The hand that would have taken Gillian's curls fingers around the edge of the corridor's next corner, and then she's gone with an unceremonious flourish of her mink coat.

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