Normal is as Normal Does


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Scene Title Normal is as Normal Does
Synopsis Gillian wants her watch fixed, and Sylar shares a point of view.
Date October 21, 2008

Cliffside Apartments: Gabriel's Apartment

An apartment that doesn't seem very occupied at all. There is minimal furniture, an old looking couch that doesn't match the old fashioned drapes is present, along with a wooden coffee table. There's an indentation in the carpet where a TV used to be, but it hasn't been replaced. The walls have been painted a clay-like grey. Pushed into a corner is a desk, which is littered with tools one would identify as watch-repair tools, if they knew any better.

The kitchen is opened to the living area, separated by a bench that's an unattractive mustard colour. An old white fridge in the corner doesn't contain much, someone must eat out a lot, and the same can be said of the pantry, containing a box of chai tea, coffee, and a plastic container of white sugar.

The bedroom comes next, the door coming in from the living space and adjacent to the kitchen. This place is a little messier, clothes littering the floor, and a suitcase shoved into the corner where a wardrobe should have been, and isn't. The curtains are often closed and it doesn't smell like this room gets a lot of air. The bed is the neatest piece in the room, the bedsheets cleaned and spread out neatly, and on the floor (again, lacking a bedside table) is a lamp.

Lastly, the bathroom connecting to the bedroom is small, with a colour scheme of off-white and random pastels, an attempt at cheeriness but woefully dated and tasteless. The mirror has one large crack running through it, adding a note of dissonance to the atmosphere, and crinkly shower curtains, old and a little dirty, corner off a run-down shower.

This has not been the best day— or night really— or two years for that matter. Getting dumped at a hospital with an injured woman with acid burns on her skin, it will take more than a drink for her to forgive her personal taxi cab. Fresh from a day at work in Brooklyn, Gillian approaches a certain door, hoping that the person who lives there will be present. She's holding something in her hand, a wrist watch that she used to wear before. The glass has broken, and the hands have stopped moving, cracked in the incident the other day, though she's not sure when it happened. She'd been thrown back at one point. It could have happened then. She stands there a moment before rapping her knuckles against the door.

He's not expecting visitors, and his hearing isn't being utilised right now. Currently, Sylar sits at a chair just by his desk, watching as his arm discolours, seemingly melting into its background. He's been practicing all day, but he just can't figure out how to make it transition smoothly when he moves—

His head snaps up when someone knocks at the door, arm instantly changing back to its usual skin colour. Instantly, he's on his feet and heading towards the door, peering through the peephole — and relaxing to see that it's only his neighbour. Still, he needs to not be caught so off-guard. He glances back at the table he'd been sitting by, stretching out his hand towards it — and the bulky reading glasses spin off the surface and into his palm. Slipping these on, he opens the door. Wearing a grey T-shirt despite the chilly weather and jeans, he opens the door just enough for the chain stop, but it's enough to reward the girl on the other side a smile. "Afternoon, Gillian. Hold on." The door is shut, and opened against minus the chain. Even as he does this, his focus slides to the watch she's holding.

With a coat on, Gillian's a little more dressed for the weather, indicating that she's stopping in on her way our, or just got back and didn't have time to settle into her apartment and get more comfortable. She's mostly in blacks and purples, which seemed to be her choice of dress anyway. "Afternoon." When the door's opened all the way, she holds up the watch a little more, as he's taller and will need to be closer to make it all out. "I broke it yesterday. You said you fixed watches, so, here I am."

The fact that it was broken was clear, and now he can see the cracked glass and the still arms. Sylar reaches for the item, holding it in his palm for a moment before glancing up at her. "Time pieces," he corrects, now withdrawing further into the apartment — leaving the door open for her to follow, making for his desk.

Following into the apartment, Gillian closes and locks the door behind her, even putting the security chain back into place. This is a bad neighborhood, after all, with a pretty high crime rate. Looking around the room, she spots the lack of television first. Such a thing usually seems out of place in an apartment or house these days. "I call 'em watches, but whatever works. It doesn't keep time right now, though. It's only right twice a day now. And I need it more often than that."

"I can fix it," Sylar says, dragging out the chair by the desk and sitting down. He's almost forgetting that the woman in the room right now is so important, because he just knows exactly what he has to do to fix the watch, without even cracking the thing open. Her presence might have something to do with that. He removes his reading glasses but doesn't pick up the other pair with all its lenses — he doesn't really need it anymore, not since a few nights ago. Then, he remembers he has to be a good host, and glances over his shoulder. "I don't have a lot with me right now but you can get yourself a glass of water if you like, and there's ice in the freezer." That would do. He picks up his tools and starts to work.

The closer they are to each other, the easier it is to recognize all those things as well. Gillian looks on as he sits down, "Are you sure? I mean the glass is broken and everything…" Her voice trails off, but she does look in the direction of the kitchen and say, "Thanks. I'll go and get something." She enters the kitchen, looking around for a glass first, and then finding the ice. The water is easiest to find, but she makes sure it's filtered or something. Water in Queens had never been great, and that was before the city blew up and shoved this area into even further financial disarray. "You don't need to keep it for a few days or anything?"

There is indeed filtered water for consumption, a glass in the cupboard, but overall, the kitchen is reasonably bare, as if he doesn't live here that much — or eats out a lot, perhaps. "I have a replacement for the glass, I believe it will fit," Sylar says, in a sort of distant tone of voice, hunched over his work. "Did you drop it, or fall? The ratchet wheel became loose. And don't worry, it will only take— " But he goes to glance over at her— and abruptly drops the tweezers he'd been using to clasp his hand to his forehead, like he'd received a jolt of a headache. He's silent, however, just taking it like it's a nuisance, jaw clenching.

"Heard about that incident in Greenwich Village yesterday night yet? I was there for it— couple crazy Evolved went off. My watch was probably the smallest of casualties before that flaming flying scarred guy in a suit showed up," Gillian says as she returns from the kitchen, the glass and water and ice in hand, just in time to see that the man has grabbed his head and clenching his eyes and jaw shut. It takes her by surprise, though he won't see her blinking until he's finished clenching those eyes shut. "You okay? Need some aspirin?"

"No," Sylar grinds out, finally chancing to open his eyes. Note to self: don't look away from what you're doing when telescopic vision is working. Interesting development. Rubbing his forehead, his attention for now is stolen from the watch lying open on his desk, squinting at her. "Flaming flying scarred guy?" he repeats, with obvious confusion — and masking the familiarity that visual gives him. "No, I didn't hear about this, I've been— busy." And he doesn't have a TV.

The hint of concern fades, as she moves deeper into the room and takes a seat, watching him work out of the corner of his eye, but not understanding what he's doing enough to really watch. Gillian doesn't find fixing a watch (or time piece) to be the most interesting thing she's ever seen, either. "Definitely one of them, maybe actually working for the authorities, too, I don't know. Second time I've seen him, actually— That time he seemed more dangerous— like the crazy people on the street— less of a Fed. Seemed like he was about to set the whole apartment complex on fire. Not this one — the apartment of a tattoo artist who owed me a favor— the night I got my newest one," she glances at her wrist, where the yin/yang tattoo is. "Actually— that was the same day we met, I think."

"World works in mysterious ways." Then, Sylar is swiveling around again to resume his work. They lapse into silence as he works — but only for about ten seconds, before bringing up the watch to listen to it — an old habit that dies hard, never mind superhuman hearing — before putting the thing back together again. It's certainly running smoothly, and on time, the once cracked surface replace as he holds the item out for her by the strap, other hand moving to put his glasses back on. "What happened?" he asks, watching her. "The first time you saw this man? Was he alone?"

When he's holding the watch out to her, Gillian looks honestly surprised to see it done already. "You're good," she comments at first, letting the question slide as she takes up the watch and puts it back on her wrist. "That was definitely worth a cup of sugar," she adds with a smile, looking at it from where she's found a seat. She's not in a hurry to get up, especially since they're talking. "No, he wasn't alone. Another suit was with him— and a couple women. One was screaming about how they were dangerous and crazy Evolved trying to drag them off and rape them, or some crap like that, but one of the girls, a blonde, was actually making…" She raises her arms up and makes a wavy gesture. "Like that and this… wind tossed the flaming guy up against the ceiling while he was going off. Knocked him out. The lady crying rape was also in Greenwich, now that I think about it. She carries around a bow. Like Robin Hood."

One thick eyebrow raises at these revelations, Sylar sitting forward in his chair as she speaks. He doesn't comment on this, though, just tilts his head and says, "And then last night you saw him again," he prompts, "and he was working for an authority." He puts on a confused tone of voice, shaking his head along with, "You mean like the police or something?"

"Seemed like it, yeah. He was yelling and running around doing stuff— but he could just be some kind of weird vigilante for all I know, but it seemed like he put a badge of some kind on, too," Gillian says, shaking her head as she takes another drink. Since she poured it, might as well stay to finish it. "The newspaper said Homeland showed up to clean it up, and take care of the crazies, and he flew in first. This city has some weird people. You're probably the most normal person I've met in the last month."

An odd pause in conversation, Sylar's expression fixed, before his smile only grows wider, pleasant. "Then I guess that means I'm the abnormal one," he says, a hand raising to adjust his glasses. "Maybe crazy is the new way to fit in around these parts. I wouldn't know, I don't get out much. What about you? You don't seem that normal to me."

"Normal's relative," Gillian says, even though she's the one who brought the word into the conversation first. She stands up, taking another drink from her glass of water. "Then again, I think you just fixed a broken watch in a handful of minutes, so maybe you're not normal after all. Sorry— time piece," she says, smiling a little at him before she walks into the kitchen to drink as much of the water as possible before she dumps the ice and leaves the glass to be washed. "And I'm not that kind of abnormal, at least."

"People can be talented without having to be freak shows, right?" Sylar asks, voice raising so that it can carry across the space as she moves for the kitchen, keeping his eyes on her. He stands up to move into the kitchen, picking up the glass just as she sets it down, cleaning it off to put away. "Although I did get that done quicker than usual. You must be inspiring."

"Inspiring…" Gillian repeats the word quietly to herself. "You know, I like that description." Leaving the glass, she returns to the main room, looking at her perfectly fixed watch. "Though I don't think anyone would have considered me inspiring growing up. Those kind of people tend to be… I don't know. Perky. Colorful." She pushes back her dark stringy bangs and looks up at him. "Thank you, Gabriel," she says, using his real name. And he'll never know just how rare calling people by their real names can be…

Grabbing a nearby dishcloth, Sylar cleans off the glass and replaces it back into the cupboard, following her as she walks back into the main room. "It's not about what they're like, Gillian," he says, tone smooth, controlled. "It's about what they're capable of. It's about how they think, and view the world, and what they can do for other people just by existing. You can be charming and perky all you want but how many charming, perky people died the day New York was destroyed?" Then, a smile, change of tune sudden. "No problem, I can fix a watch with my eyes closed."

There's a tilt of her head at his description of people, and what they're capable of, and Gillian's hair drapes over her shoulder as she does this. Her bangs fall out of the way of her eyes. "And the ones that didn't die, certainly lost a lot of their perk when the dust settled. This city certainly doesn't cater to the optimistic," she says softly, voice thoughtful. "I doubt I'll break my watch anytime soon, but… maybe we can talk again sometime." It's an offer, made with a shrug, but she glances to the door, waiting for him for a moment.

"I'd like that," Sylar says, with a hint of a smile. "Do you like chai tea? I have plenty to spare." He moves for the door, to politely show her out, undoing the locking mechanisms as he says, not really looking at her, "This city wasn't ever an optimistic place. Everyone was faceless and drifting. At least now it's woken up, shaken alive by the bomb. At least now it has some purpose. Even watchmakers can be special." He opens the door for her.

"I guess so can librarians," Gillian responds with a quiet glance as she steps through the door. She seems to oddly admire his perspective, from the way her lips are parted and she looks up at him, like she's seeing more about him than she originally saw. Though not quite as literally as he does things. Before he can close it behind her, though, she turns and adds, "I've never had 'chai', but I'm willing to try almost anything once. Maybe next time."

"All you have to do is knock," Sylar says, gently, a hand placed on the door before he nods to her. "Have a good evening, Gillian."

"You too," Gillian responds, with a more genuine smile, before she turns and reaches for her keys to enter her own apartment.

As Sylar shuts the door, the first thing he does is pull the glasses from his face, before absently doing up the locks once more. And then, he waits, simply listening to her walk down the hallway towards her own room, and he follows for as long as the confines of his own apartment can allow. His shoulder touches the wall, head tilted. Even from here, when he tries, he can hear her heart beat, and he remains there for the next few minutes, simply listening to the rhythm of her heart pumping blood from two doors away.

October 21st: A Work In Progress

Previously in this storyline…
When Gillian Met Gabriel

Next in this storyline…

October 21st: Running into Neighbors
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