No Harm, No Foul



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Scene Title No Harm, No Foul
Synopsis Seeking out Peter Petrelli, Gillian Childs instead becomes a message for someone else.
Date August 11, 2009

Swinburne Island

Swinburne Island…

If ever there was a place that would be befitting of someone with the life-leeching ability of Kazimir Volken, it would be this place. The desolate and barren island off of Staten Island's coast has all of the atmospheric charm that the ruins of Eagle Electric had in Long Island City, and in a way the dilapidated hospital coming up on the dark horizon has that same level of decaying splendor that the old factory possessed.

Sea-salt air stings at Gillian's cheeks as the ferry from the mainland of Staten Island out to the barren hunk of rock pulls in to the one small harbor. Old and worn wooden piers extend out towards the dark waves, a partly cloudy night casting the entire island into shadow. "I'll wait out here… you've got an hour, then I'm leavin' you here." The ferryman turns his weathered face out towards the brick-wall ruins of the Swinburne Island hospital, heavy lids lowering as tired eyes focus on the decaying structure. "I fuckin' hate this place…"

In the dark of night, the sky blends in with the horizon, save for a sliver of yellow light in the distance, where the island of Manhattan and the mainland of Queens shines across the bay. But on Swinburne Island, there is no light, and most assuredly, there is no life.

One hour. Not only that, but it's the middle of the night. Though the clear sky allows for a unique view that would be difficult to see in some areas of the world— there's a meteor shower on this particular evening. A rare event, one that she can't help but glance up at as she moves away a few steps. There's no signs of the event yet— but she pays attention to that sort of thing. "Thank you. I'll be back in an hour," Gillian says before she gets to far away, pulling a pocket watch from her small bag and checking the time in what light she has. It mostly involves a lot of squinting.

But as she drops it back in, she pulls out the second thing she brought for the trip. A flashlight.

Asking people if they'd seen Peter had been common place lately, though with most it had just been a brief mention, a description. Scar across the face, blue eyes, dark hair. A week of asking and finally someone gave a response, with the prodding of some cash to help jog their exact memory. Hopefully the children will not mind a couple hundred from their book fund being missing— they have plenty to make up for it.

A small dot of light signs in front of her from the small flashlight, and she moves around, hoping that the actual man is here, especially with how limited a time she has. No life except her, and she keeps an ear out for any other sounds than her own footsteps.

Across the barren, rocky island Gillian's path towards the hospital takes her through the refuse of Swinburne. Empty bottles from beer smashed on rocks, crumpled tin cans and plastic mesh of six-packs left to tangle in the brown saltgrass that claws up between dark rocks. Gravel crunches underfoot once she's closer to the hospital's crumbling facade, able to see the old brickwork breaking apart under the relentless assault of salt air. Dead ivy creeps up the side of the hospital's western face, where Gillian approaches from. There's no lights on in the dark here, nothing save for the faint light of a waning moon to shine down pale on the nearly roofless interior.

Broken glass crunches underfoot as she steps in through the doorway, past collapsed portions of what remains of the sagging ceiling, by large and unlit rooms filled with awkwardly angled shadows and dusty remnants of the hospital that once was. Her path stops at the doorway of a large room, formerly the hospital's cafeteria, where dilapidated tables rest at sunken angles, most covered in a thin layer of dust. The hesitation is only from the sheer lightlessness of the place, from the way the creeping shadows slither around and could contain any number of unwanted things; from a rusty nail poking out of woodwork to a serial rapist watching from afar.


Something crumbles under Gillian's foot, enough of an odd sensation that it's clearly not glass or wood. Stepping back, her eyes downcast to look where a small pile of ashes contain a print of one of her boots. There, among with tiny blackened bones, is the remains of some small animal. Looking up and out across the cracked tile floor, other small ash piles are studded with the broken remains of bones as well.

They were right, Peter is out here. Sometimes, however, it doesn't pay to be right.

Sometimes lies are easier than truths, and a itch on her arm reminds her of the one time she had been on the life-draining end of that ability. Once it had healed her, once it had harmed her. Each time there'd been dead things around. Before it'd not been tiny creatures with tiny bones. Gillian reaches back into her bag, touching the edge of something more dangerous than a watch, before she pulls out the small watch again and checks the time. The clocks ticking away. Her hour will be up sooner than she'd like. And all she has… is that flashlight and it's tiny beam to guide her.

But at least she also has evidence that she'd not been lied to. The man at the Ferry could have taken her anywhere— And it might not have been right place.

"Peter?" she calls out finally, toes of her boots shifting the rocks as she continues through the doorway, silencing herself to the point of barely breathing to listen for sounds of movement or response after she calls out his name. He could run for it. It wouldn't be the first time. Just in case, the knot in the back of her head gets a check every few moments. His is one power she does not want to augment.

There's no sound to accompany the pain Gillian suddenly feels, no noise she can hear to change that terrifying sensation of falling out of her own control. The flashlight tumbles from her fingers from the shock of whatever struck her in the back; shooting pains racing up and down her spine as she crumples to the floor like a wet rag, crashing down onto dusty tiles and scattering ashes and bones into thick clouds. The pain is intense, sharp and hot in her back, it feels like being shot but there's no blood anywhere.

This time she hears it, a sharp snap-snap of two more silenced gunshots, this time the pain sharp and intense in both of her legs. Eyes go blurry from tears that reflexively well up, and this time she can feel something warm and wet trickling down from just above her knee where she'd been shot, but the pain there is not intense enough for a gunshot, and the strange numbing sensation spreading through her extremities is almost immediate, starting at the first shot to her back.

In the glow of her dropped flashlight, a black-dressed figure slowly stalks out from the shadows. His face is hidden by the angle of the fallen flashlight's beam, particles of dust and ash kicked up into the air swirling around him. In one gloved hand, a pistol is held out, but it's not a nine-millimeter or anything of the sort. It's a dart gun.

For the barest moments there's silence. Silence, and the steadily growing sensation of numbness in Gillian's legs and up her back, numbness that nearly paralyzes her, but perhaps thankfully takes away the pain. "You are a particularly difficult person to find." Black shoes scuff over the tile, and the obscured figure moves through the pale light, face in shadow. "But now, I think, you and I need to have a little talk."


Fuck. Gillian thinks as she tries to push herself up, focusing on certain physical pains that she'd grown used to. That knot in the back of her head isn't as tight as she'd had it before. The pain makes it difficult to focus. Energy leaks out whether she wanted it to or not, but the man moving toward her may not be one to benefit from it.

Numbness is something she'd gotten used to when she switched between flesh and metal, and numbness takes away pain. But the numbness she had before she could still move quite well. Not the case now. Her hand tries to grope at her bag, but can't even find the watch that she dropped. It skittered away along the floor.

Tears sting at her eyes, curses on her lips, as she tries to twist enough, find a position so she can see him better, but it's difficult. The light doesn't touch him. "What the— what the fuck do you want?" she asks, able to speak even if her extremities are weakned and difficult to feel or move.

Those dark shoes stop just in front of Gillian, a black shoe pushing her bag away to slide across the floor through the ashen remains of Peter's animal victims. Staying put there, visible only from the chest down in that sleek black suit, the figure keeps that dart gun trained on Gillian with a ruthless vigilance. "I'm going to ask you a series of questions, and depending on how well you answer them, you come out of this altercation with portions of your body still intact."

The gun trains down on Gillian's arm, and the shadowed man asks quietly, "Who were you coming out here to see?" A simple enough question, but one not often asked at gunpoint.

There's a few people that Gillian hates more than she can even imagine she could, and the last time she'd been questioned in such a way had made her hate one such person. There's a glare through tear stained eyes at the man she can't really make out, as she follows the gun pointed at her to her arm. "Peter fucking Pan," she responds, almost laughing a bit. The numbing of the pain has helped, just a little, but the fear, worry, and hatred is still there.

One thing she's always hated— being a victim. Why couldn't this have happened a few weeks ago. The most she can do now is glow, and there's not even anyone here to glow at as far as she can reach out.

There's something darker about the area around her, as if the lights dimming— or perhaps her vision is going out. The flashlight may not be cutting it. The smell of death is heavy.

"Fuck you." Peter Pan isn't who she came to see, but she'd already called out his name. There's no way, whoever he is, wouldn't have heard it. Despite the partial paralysis, and the gun pointed at her, she tries to move again, as much as she can.

The snap of the silencer comes with a painfully delivered dart to Gillian's bicep at point blank range, the tip of the needle peentrating into the thin muscle fiber so hard it chips bone. In the moments before the dart has a chance to release its numbing agent, the pain is unearthly, a hot and sharp ache up through her arm and down her back that feels so wrong from the numbing at her spine. The gun is folded open, a dart is removed from the interior of the man's black suit jacket, and slid point-first into the barrel before the gun is snapped closed again.

He levels it at her other arm.

"Who did you come here to see?"

The pain, while it makes her yell out loud, doesn't quite match some of the pains of the last few months. It hurts, it brings more tears to her eyes, and unlike the times before… Gillian knows she can't come back from this. No one knows she came out here except the man at the Ferry. He wouldn't come and check on her. Unlike the times before…

She's not a clone. She's alone. She can't come back from the dead.

The hammer she slammed into her thumb while trying to rebuild the Lighthouse stops hurting, but the gun moves on to another arm.

There's gasps for air, signs of difficulty breathing, as everything starts to settle in. There's no coming back this time. It won't be temporary.

Eyes clench shut, tears slide down her cheeks as hair falls around her, resting in ashen piles and tiny bones. While her voice shakes more than her first words, the answer may not be satisfactory. "Not— Not you." Fate had other ideas, though.

Cruelty comes in the next snap of the silenced dart gun, reiterated pain slamming down into Gillian's bicep with the same painful efficiency that the previous had. Once more her scream echoes through the building, resonating off of the old brick walls, sending birds scattering from their roosts in the exposed rafters overhead. The gun, once more, is folded open and another dart is retrieved, slid down inside as the barrel clicks closed. "I have three more darts," he states clearly, "then I start using bullets. I think you assume I'm bluffing, that I'll just— what— stop?"

One of the man's glossy black shoes slides under Gillian's shoulder, then rolls her over onto her back. This time, the gun is aimed down at her stomach. "Who were you coming out here to see?" The hammer of the pistol clicks back, and this time he adds an addendum, "Take a minute to consider your answer, this time."

The yells are loud enough that, honestly, Gillian expects the man on the boat to have hopped back on and gone back. It wouldn't matter if anyone heard. It takes some time for her to settle down, breathe slow enough that she can open her eyes and look up, and even then her breath is unsteady, shaking, terrified even. Is this one of the visions she'd gotten when she touched Joseph? She never even got to go to him and apologize for using his ability when she promised she wouldn't. It should have been done faster.

Should have gone to the clubs instead.

"I don't— think you're bluffing," she says, trying to move her fingers, her toes, shift her legs and shoulders. The most that happens is small slow movements. It's like her whole body is slowly getting wrapped in some kind of gel that's nearly impossible to move through, something that numbs to the touch. "Why the fuck do you care?"

"Because it is important." The shadowed figure motions to her stomach again with the barrel of the gun, "You had one free question. Now," the muzzle motions towards Gillian's soft, unprotected belly, "answer the question, or I start moving on to other areas." There's a bite to the man's words, a grumbling quality to his voice, as as he shifts his footing in the light, Gillian can barely make out the reflection of sunglasses — at night — on his face, faintly reflecting the glow of the flashlight. "Now, last chance, who were you coming out here to visit?"

Who knows what the dart will do to her before the numbing agent kicks in. And what comes after… Gillian shakes as much as her body will allow it at the moment, unsteady breath, quivering of areas not numbed by the darts. What if the numbing doesn't last when he pulls out the guns. There's so many terrible things that could happen. She's experienced some of them in the last months.

There's differences now. Big ones. And there's no way she can compare them.

Her free question gone. Her last chance.

"Who do you— who do you think— I came out here to see?" she asks between tremored breaths. Another question, when she's ran out. Whoever this is exactly, he knew who she was. She was difficult to find.

"Bzzzt," the man sounds out with his mouth, before firing the dart directly into Gillian's stomach. The proximity of the shot and the soft and vulnerable spot that it hit is the worst pain out of any of the shots fired, even if the numbing agent on her back is finally starting to make its way around her front. Limbs are useless now, floppy and limp things that tingle and prickle behind a dull ache of what will, later, be shooting pain. As Gillian screams from the pain of the dart fired into her midsection, the man in the dark suit wedges a foot between one of her arms and her side, forcing the arm out before he steps down on her wrist firmly.

Gillian can't feel the pressure of his shoe down on her skin, but she can see through bleary eyes the dart gun popping open with a click as one more dart is loaded in and the barrel is snapped up again. "You know I really didn't want this to go this way, but you're so unpredictable, I just couldn't really see it happening any other way." This time, the muzzle is aimed down at her hand.

"This is just the softball questions, girlie. I want you to tell me, right now, who you were coming out here to see. Then we can get to the hard questions, and I'm already almost out of darts." She can barely see his lips moving, smiling, he's having some measure of enjoyment of out this. "Who? All I want is a name. Come on…"

The easy questions. But there's nothing easy about it. At that revelation, the measure of enjoyment, the tears are a little thicker, the gasping breaths after the recovering screams a little heavier and more difficult. Genuine terror has set in. The longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to breathe, even with the numbness taking away the pain, keeping her from feeling specific pressures against her.

She already said his name. She called it out right before she was hit. Part of her doesn't even want to give that much, but the panic that's setting in digs at personal doubts, worries. "He— he's not here— he's not here. I just— wanted to see him— for one— stupid fucking hour. Just wanted to— to see him— and he's not even here."

It comes off almost as near-hysterical rambling, and despite what she might wish to see of herself, that's pretty much exactly what it is.

"Sylar?" The voice comes off with a roll of the man's tongue, gun waggled back and forth in front of Gillian's face. "You can say it, come on, say it with me… Sy-Lar." That quirk of the man's lips rise again as he circles around Gillian, gun angled down at her head. One slow, bobbing nods comes from the man as he uses the barrel of the dart gun to adjust his sunglasses. "You aren't giving him up or anything, trust me, I know that he's down here. I know that somebody saw his big bushy brows waggling around on this island just a few weeks ago…"

The gun is leveled down at Gillian agai, the hammer clicked back. "Now I want you to tell me where I can find him." There's no draw from this man and Gillian's power, she only notices it now, he doesn't have an ability — not unless you count emotionless cruelty as a superhuman trait. "Every report I've read says you're the go-to girl for Sylar. So what I wanna' know, is where he is." The gun steadies, angled away from her head and towards her shoulder. "So, give me an address."

All this because of… Gillian's eyes close, her mouth twists into a kind of smile as it's her turn to laugh hoarsely in amusement. The gun's still pointed at her. The questions still come, but there's one important answer which she gives, once she can open teary eyes again. "That's not even who I'm here to fucking see. Asshole. Your data's a few fucking months old— we broke up. He's gone his own fucking way, and I've gone mine." Whether she wanted to or not. Part of her isn't sure what she wants.

The only place she could think he might be… surely he's left there by now. He's could be anywhere. Gabriel'd always been one to keep moving. Especially with— that must be who this man is. The one she heard about.

"I have as much— fucking clue— where he is as you do."

"Asshole?" The man's head bobs up and down slowly, "Yeah, alright. You've got a fair point there, girl." Snap. The dart gun fires into her shoulder, slamming her shoulder blade back down to the tile as the dart tip wedges itself into the joint of her shoulder. Rolling his tongue over his teeth, darkly dressed man reaches inside of his leather jacket and pulls out another dart, loading it into the gun before it clicks back into place. "Alright, so… looks like we've got some catching up to do, okay, I can deal with that." The hammer cocks back, this time aimed down at Gillian's opposite shoulder.

"Last dart," he states flatly, firing another shot into her shoulder with a snap of the silencer, without even asking her another question. This dart too lodges into the joint of her shoulder, her whole body prickling and tingling with numbness as a tired laugh comes over the stranger, head shaking and short hair parted down the middle shifting with the motion in the silhouette. "That one was for calling me an asshole, girl. Only my ex-wife gets to call me an asshole. I guess now you can too, but it doesn't change the fact that you're…" he scratches at the side of his head with the muzzle of the gun.

"Well, if you aren't the one to tell me where to find Sylar, I guess I'll just have to ask around. But just in case you're fucking with me…" Reaching inside of his jacket, the man withdraws something strange. It's a small, blue-purple ribbon, the kind with the peel-off adhesive surface on the back, used for cheap gift-wrapping at Christmas time. Sidling over to Gillian, the man takes a knee at her side and affixes the bow to her forehead with a tap of two fingers.

"There, now he can't say I never gave him anything when we do meet up." Having crouched down into the light, the tired and somewhat round face of a man in his early forties isn't exactly what Gillian was expecting. Brown hair is cut into a cheap and out of styl ehaircut, parted in the middle, and mirror-lensed aviator sunglasses shield his eyes.

"Sorry about the mix-up," he notes with another tap of gloved fingers to the bow before slowly rising up again, tucking the gun away inside of his leather jacket. "Since this is the fault of bad intelligence, I'll let you hang out here. No harm, no foul, right?" He cracks a smile, turning away as if to just casually walk away from Gillian, leaving a trail of disturbed ash in his wake.

Overhead, through the hole in the ceiling where starlight shines through, Gillian can see flashes of light starting to streak through the skies. The meteor shower.

While Gillian curses a little after the shot to her shoulder, again, and she still screams, there's a long moment where all she can really do is follow him with her eyes. Tear stained eyes. Wrapping her up in a blue bow, leaving her behind on an uninhabited island, paralyzed for fuck knows how long… No harm? "Fucking— you have— strange definition of no fucking harm." But at least she stops herself from calling him an asshole. Just barely.

At least there's a hole to look up through and see the shooting stars streak across the skies.

Seeing one of those, people are supposed to make a wish, right? The only wish she has is the one she'd crossed over to the island with. A streak of light, and she wishes it again.

But she knows it's fucking likely that she's going to miss the boat, and she bets it already left anyway.

The time on the floor, here, alone should give her time enough to think on that.

And on the many different reasons she's lying here to begin with.

"I think all guys ever have issues." She'd said it almost flippantly, that part. It'd been the truth. A simple declaration earlier in the day before she set off to… Gillian's not even sure what she would have said if she found him. She just needed to know… And now she remembers the second part she'd said, more seriously. Smile faded. "You just have to decide if they're worth the trouble or not… If they let you decide, at least."

Lack of perfect memory aside, the words ring too true to forget, and she's got nothing else to keep her company. Just ash, death, numbness, tears, thoughts and foggy memories.

And the occasional meteor shower lighting up the sky.

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