Men Are On Mars


gabriel_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Men Are On Mars
Synopsis It looks purple at night, but the terrain will be nothing but red come sunrise.
Date April 7, 2009

Looks Like The Red Planet

It's dark, and suddenly cold, and quite all at the same time, Gabriel is not holding Gillian in his arms.

He's tired. Really fucking tired. Between phasing and burning calories trying to keep up with everything, it's been a draining past twenty odd minites. Gabriel kind of just lets his legs fold, hands sinking into soft sand as he goes down. He should have just waved his hand and had Elle go flying into the wall, but emotions. They make you sloppy. There were a billion things he could have done better.

Approximately, anyway. Breathing in dry, cold air, Gabriel wraps his arms around himself for a moment, tilting his head up to try and see through the darkness, utterly confused. Displaced, you might say, as he takes in what he's starting to see of a long, stretching horizon, of rock, of shrubbery. He smells like sweat, burned flesh, and blood, with the faintest scent of chlorine, and so did his surroundings and the woman he was carrying just a few moments ago.

This place smells wild. Earthy. Aged.

And there's a solitary heartbeat, like a beacon of light, a metaphor for the sound spectrum, that causes Gabriel to get to his feet, grit his teeth against cracked ribs screaming in protest, his shoulder aching as if maybe he'd dislocated it for half a second back there. Heavy boots sink into sand and he starts moving towards it, the steady thu-thump, thu-thump, thu-thump of a heart in the distance.

"Gillian." Because who else could it be?

Oh, you know. I don't know. Maybe… names out of a hat— maybe—

Maybe it's Teo.

Through some bizarre twist of circumstance or else psionically mutilated physics, it is. Red sand turned purple by the night holds him in a rough, man-shaped bezel, pitted into the side of a low dune, his shoes buried up to the ankles, hands — one gloved, the other bizarrely bare — relaxed in their splay on either side of him, and diminutive eddies and currents of particles gusting toward and away from his still-masked nose, troughed down as it is, like a horse snuffing through the water it was led to. His eyes are closed. He is not awake.

Will be soon, though. Asphyxiation has a way of managing that, breaking through even the most direly needed sleep or the bizarrest habituation to irregular furniture use. The onset of Teo's asphyxiation is gradual, however, as the granulated terrain slowly crowds its way in around his nostrils and the weight of weaponry and armor bears down from the malevolent eye of the moon. His breath shortens. His ankle wags.

They must still be in Utah. Utah has desert. Something happened. Maybe Peter exploded. Maybe they were all sent rocketing to the corners of the state. Gabriel's not sure he can survive that, but— he's walking. And hurting, and everyone knows pain is life.

He's not sure how it can be nighttime, though. The theory needs work.

His feet slide in sand, occasionally sending him stumbling as gravity digs hooks in him and pull him down in tugs as if to maybe closer appreciate this freakish new terrain. A few moments of rest. On his feet again, determined not to fall, boots slowly filling with sand as he moves towards—


Towards Teo. Coming to a halt, Gabriel simply stares down at the man lit up only in the light of a moon in a clear sky. There's a long moment of defeated silence, and Gabriel shuts his eyes, trying to Listen for a heart beat apart from his own, apart from Teo's—

He could scream her name. But he's rather sure he'd hear her before she'd hear him. It would would accomplish nothing and yet the urge to do so is infinitely tempting. Just to make himself feel better. Gabriel lets gravity take him once more, kneeling heavily down beside Teo and rolling him over onto his back when he hears the man starts to come to, eyes that are black in this lighting peering quizzically over Teo's features, at the sand encrusted on one side of his face.

Ugly, ugly noise; worse even than English, Teo would admit, were he not too occupied coughing and spitting up grains of acid sediment to talk about anything. The mask was a fitted thing, elastic keeping it bridged over his nose and fastened generally to his head. Rolled partly up his jaw, it makes him look all the more of a mess, a lizard half-shed his skin. Hack. "Al—?" No. Grunt.

Breathe. A bare hand lodges itself underneath the hem of his face covering, peels it off in one emphatic shove of movement. Stipped, his face shows sanguine skin and eyes that roll too far past their mark, pupils that shrink and swell like suffocating insects writhing in some crystallized prison; sand caught on his teeth and lips. Disappointment quite akin to Gabriel's fails to make the translation from brain parts to manifest facial expression. He groans. Wipes his mask over his jaw. Still wheezing.

Still wheezing, so he sits up in a lurch, tumbling sand down his pant leg, rifle scraping its butt behind him as he goes. There's a palm up, a misguided effort to either ward or warn Gabriel's head out of accidental-moshing range as he goes.

"Ahhh," sounds like an engine gunning. He hooks lean shoulders over his knees, stooping, his boot soles sliding, slipping in the sand. The mucus out of his nose is clotted with fine granules; same stuff caught on his eyelashes. "Sh—it."

As Teo's body chokes and hacks and snuffles its way back into working order, Gabriel is all about giving him space, shuffling back several inches but not about to get up any time soon. Trying to understand how he's here. It's like perhaps someone removed the memory between his dashing down the halls of the prison with Gillian's dead weight in his arms, and then suddenly here, stumbling forward into nothing but darkness and sand.

Unless, of course, there's no room for memory between the two events. There is always that.

He's removing the light weight body armor he's wearing, really just a vest that the speedster woman had somehow managed to worm— or rather, ram a knife through, perhaps knowing the point where she could do such a thing. There's a telling gash there, and the scent of blood only increases when he takes it off, lets it fall away. Uninjured, though, apparently, for all the mess that stains the clothing beneath it, over it, the over shirt pulled back on.

He gives a rasping chuckle at Teo's exclamation, one eyebrow raising as he agrees with a flat, "Yeah." There's no one around them for miles.

The younger man's brain rambles and trips along the same progression of logic that Gabriel's has found itself stalling out at the end— middle?— faltering beginnings of. Desert wrinkles out before them. Utah, probably. The sky is long, infinitely starred, down to the silver powdering between actual points of the nearest celestial bodies. Night. Must have been out for hours. He twists his head around. Stops, despite his spine being torqued into an uncomfortable corkscrew. Stares. There's rock. Only rock.

Nothing around for miles, except a heap of discarded body armor.

"Whrr's— " Gabriel will have to forgive him. He just woke up, and not all of the air in his lungs are air. Teo's eyes crease shut briefly; his hand snatches at the radio unit at his shoulder, blunt, dark-rimmed fingers skipping sluggishly across its surface. The crack slithering long and jagged across its silent grille. Names are hard. "A—Fido? My… 's anyone wounde… eh…" The noise of him peters out abruptly.

Of Peter. Of a gunshot; of a color wheel blurring the hallway to mud; of reaching. The Great Sylar survived the Midtown Man, once. There's no way Teodoro Laudani ever could.

Absurdly now, and only now, does the bleat of Teo's heart finally remember to rise, faster. Two minutes spent prone beside a lackadaisically disrobing serial killer, and he remembers to be afraid. His tongue spreads slime on his lip. Blankly: "Th' ravens?"

Most of this goes ignored as Gabriel does up the buttons of his shirt, pulling his coat back on. Easier movement. He has a feeling he's going to need it. The last sentence, though— that gets a jerky glance towards Teo, pinned in place by a glare of two black-glass eyes, the cant of his head almost bird-like as well, the twitchy start-stop of movement not so unlike a raven. Nose shape and size and dark hair, dark clothing not withstanding.

Then, he snorts in dismissal, and a shove of wind blows over them, forcing Gabriel to close his eyes against a brief onslaught of sand, which is really gonna get old soon. He wipes his face with his hands. "There's no one," he croaks out, quietly, and darts another gaze around as if maybe that would help. "I can't hear them."

His own radio is lying on the ground, long since dead ever since Elle zapped him. He reaches out a large hand and steals away Teo's, removing it from his shoulder in sharp, economical movements, inspecting it only to see the crack making disruption through the plastic. He stares at it for a moment, eyes hooded a little before whatever is in him that determines what is fixable and what is not tells him— the latter. The device is tossed onto the abandoned heap of his own radio and kevlar vest.

"Are you hurt?" First thing's first, usually. Gabriel looks back at Teo as he asks this, a hint of defeat in his voice, as if worrying about such a thing is a sign that there's no one else to worry about, at least with some success. Like Gillian. Like Alexander. Like anyone.

What. Hey, no. Teo's forehead contuses with consternation when the click and shuffle of the rivets leave his fingers pinching at empty air around his shoulder. He swings his head over to stare, blinking heavily, a protest on the edge of his teeth. Maybe Gabe could've gotten his own radio, hmmm?

Not a word emerges, however; the insides of his mouth feel awful when they come together. Instead, he merely scrabbles a hand after the radio when it's cast away. Snags it up, stuffs it indignantly into a breast pocket. It might be salvageable. There's another, with parts. Somewhere in Heaven— or maybe not Heaven, Christian's shaking his head for shame of using that cheap shit and failing to do complete and proper study of radio building and repair.

They cut the strangest silhouette, two white boys sitting on the lip of an impossibly red dune, imagining about Utah.

"No," he says, despite that the rasp of his voice's register contradicts this somewhat. Pallid eyes skit across the other man's frame, checking same. "J'ss swallowed some sand. Maybe fell. We gotta find cover." It is absurdly like optimism, Teo's insistence on decisive practicality. "Or HomeSec's gonna spot us — or…"

Other Possibilities besiege his mind in countless variations, endlessly worse. His features fade to blank and his breath catches around the beginning of an alternate scenario but that, too, never makes it to verbalization. Instead, a grunt of effort thrums out as he struggles his feet underneath him.

Gabriel rolls his eyes— apparently not a gesture unique to Tavisha— and lifts his hands when Teo steals back his broken radio. No protest made. Body language communicating the unvocalised Well fine! before his hands settle on his thighs. And Teo is getting to his feet, which is probably a better plan than kneeling in soft desert sand and waiting for things to make sense.

Standing up. Sure. He can do that. It used to be easier, to lock down on physical complaint, to make his body move when it didn't want to, to block thought and feeling and keep going with mechanical, shark-like determination. He'd spent something like a year in this state. But things had been simpler then. He had been simpler, then. Defeat hadn't weighed on his shoulders like a lead jacket, drawing attention to actual injury and true, burning fatigue.

He'd failed. Back there in Moab, which can't be too far away. Gabriel hadn't lived up to his own arrogance and legend. He'd made mistakes. He's pretty sure Teo knows it, or will work it out pretty soon.

Pride is what makes him attempt to follow suit, as much as his legs feel like lead beneath him. Using the wrong powers has almost matched by what the speedster and electrokinetic and oh yeah the bullets that had hit him in his phased state had done - Gabriel is tired. He gets as far as kind of shuffling aforementioned legs beneath himself before letting his eyes slide shut for a moment.

Then, Gabriel extends out a hand. Because getting a hand up is at least comradely and less embarrassing than falling over.

There's neither hesitation nor ceremony in the hand that Teo closes around the one upraised. He uses his gloved one because his other has spit and sand on it, some wadded up in the mask he'd shed, the rest wicking into the spirals of his fingerprints. Seems the polite thing to do. Keeping your fluids to yourself.

There's only a momentary slither of his boots splaying on the terrain, seeking purchase, bracing, the corner of his shoulder hardening under the other man's weight.


Ironically, the disparity of their physical sizes had never been an issue before now. Gabriel Gray is taller and heavier, but Teo had never honestly been concerned he would be bodily clovered or punched in the face. It's only in getting the man back onto his feet that he has to consider greater mass, longer limbs, how to balance this across the smaller fulcrum of his own shoulders if— its needed.

It makes sense, in retrospect, that Gabriel is tired, if not actually injured. Though fundamentally blond, Teo recognizes the strain and weakness of fatigue now as easily as he had understood the telltale signs of absorptive healing on the speedster's beaten corpus, her arm shriveled, vampirically drained to the same hideous, ashen gray state as his had been. He had seen lasers sear the wall, that burst of preternatural speed, telekinesis.

They had all failed. His tone is light, commiserative, but there is no artificial sugar nor pity in the query he tosses out, sidelong: "Pretty fucking big can of whoopass you opened back there."

Teo aims their feet for the brindled texture in the distance. Stone, perhaps even real topography, out there beyond the vanishing point brutally bitten off by the night.

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