Not Tonight


b_gabriel_icon.gif linda_icon.gif b_luke_icon.gif natalie_icon.gif young-samson_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Tonight
Synopsis A murder and kidnapping (not necessarily in that order) do not go according to plan.
Date December, 1978

Living on the ocean means never truly being alone: even in the dead of night, the occupants of the cottage at the edge of the bluff half a mile down the beach from a tall, towering lighthouse with peeling white paint and fire engine red stripes have the sound of waves crashing against the rocks below to keep them company. Ice rain glances off a slanted roof, fills the cottage's gutters and spills out onto a muddy gravel drive that winds through the frost-coated trees that shelter it from view of the road that leads into town, its lights so dim that unless Luke Campbell knew where he was, he might make the mistake of thinking he and his companion are hours from civilization.

The truth is that they're about twenty minutes away from the local hospital where, approximately six months ago, Samson Gray's firstborn son was brought into the world. As Linda explained to him earlier, there's been a slight change of plans.

Coastal Maine

December, 1979

"We want the baby alive," she reminds him, rainwater making an inky mess of her long, black hair as she studies the cottage's darkened interior from the end of the drive where she stands in a heavy hunter green raincoat, leather gloves and a pair of jeans leading into boots coated in a thick layer of silt and sludge. "Samson's run into a little car trouble," she adds, turning a pair of pliers between her fingers, "but nothing he can't resolve, so we have a very small window to work with. Can you handle the little one while I take care of the mother?"

Luke doesn't appear thrilled with the concept of having to take care of a baby. They pee and vomit all the time, probably at the SAME time. Plus they might bite, even without teeth, and they smell, and cry. "Eh, I guess." he'll just have to hold it a foot or so away from him at all times, easy enough, right? He looks around, hunching his shoulders against the weather with a grimace.

Linda starts toward the cottage, gravel crunching under her boots as she moves with swift, purposeful determination. She does not bid Luke to follow — expects it. If he cares to trail after her, he'll be able to make out more details of the cottage's interior the closer they draw to it, even through the antiquated glass windows warped by the rainwater snaking across their panes. It's small, which is probably why it fits the definition of cottage rather than house: one small bedroom with a view of the ocean, a slightly larger den with wood-burning stove, an old couch large enough to comfortably sit two, and a tattered Persian rug in shades that Luke cannot determine.

When Linda arrives at the door, she does not knock. Places her hand on the handle instead, closes her eyes, and if Luke is listening carefully, he'll hear a soft click from inside. All she has to do is rotate her wrist and, with a creak of groaning hinges, Samson Gray's private world opens to them.

"Bedroom," she instructs the youth.

"Where the hell's the bedroom?" Luke mutters with a roll of his eyes, passing into the cottage and starting to look for said bedroom. "What kind of cheapass house is this, anyway? It's a piece of shit." Doors are opened and peered in as he looks for his target.

Fortunately for Luke, there aren't many doors to choose from. The first one he picks sends a shaft of moonlight spilling across a full-sized bed and the wooden crib beside it, a small, dark-haired woman in a fetal position under the folds of a heavy quilt sewn from mismatched fabric. Samson's wife, Natalie, is asleep. So is the infant, though he isn't in the crib.

An even smaller head with even darker hair rests on the top of Natalie's left breast, half-exposed by a sheer cotton nightgown that also reveals the curve of her slender shoulder and collarbone. Behind Luke, Linda makes a face. Already this is more complicated than she'd intended, but as far as obstacles go, it shouldn't be difficult to overcome.

Luke opens the door, and then notices the presence of the baby with the rather scantily clad mother. He raises an eyebrow, turning to mutter something quietly to Linda. "Do we really have to kill her? She's kinda hot." now, anyway. "So now, what?"

"Now," Linda grits out, "you take the fucking baby. Carefully."

She does not notice that the front door, which she left cracked open to hasten their escape when the choose to make it, has since yawned open behind them, admitting a tall, broad silhouette into its sodden frame.

There is nothing familiar about this place. Feels like there should be. But Gabriel's gotten over that sensation in the first several minutes of arrival, and has more fascination for the shapes standing in the doorway of the bedroom as he materialises into solid flesh at the front door and pushed it open. More noticeable than his sudden presence— Linda suddenly drops from where she's standing behind Luke, the solid thud of her unconscious body knocking between the door frames to collapses in a graceless pile.

To say that Gabriel has moved in a blink is a lie. He moves in less than a blink, no time at all. By the time Linda has finished her fall, Gabriel is right behind Luke, a hand gripping a tight fistful of shirt and the blade of a knife pressed up against his jaw.

"Shh. Don't wanna wake the baby," is murmured advice, and then a pull suggests that Luke would now like to move back out of the room with Gabriel. There's an easier solution available to him, the same solution that brought him back in time without the help of Hiro Nakamura — but deceptively, he's too angry to see straight, let alone navigate the space-time continuum.

Oh well, it was worth a try. Shrugging, Luke moves closer to the bed as stealthily as he can, only… SHIT. Suddenly he's got this knife at his neck, and Luke doesn't do well with fear unless it's someone else's. There's one burst of microwave energy in all directions, quickly throttled, in his instinctive reaction, and he gulps. "I take it you don't want that baby to die, do you? Take the knife away or I'll kill everyone in the room." DON'T HURT MEEEEE.

Take the knife away? The blade seems to turn a little as if Gabriel were eyeing it in thoughtful consideration, before he draws it away an inch.


The floor leaves Luke's feet — or the other way around, but there might be a surreal moment in the few seconds that Luke is sent flying through the air in a one-armed throw, soaring above Linda, through the doorway, only to land as he may in the main room, likely graceless and painful. Gabriel isn't leaving the room, standing between the bed and the rest of the house with his jaw clenched tight as a bear trap, both hands in fists.

Luke should've seen that coming. This guy's just not normal. He lands in a pile, breath knocked out of him. Yeah, that could've ended a lot better. "What the hell, man." Luke complains, struggling to his feet, clenching his hands into fists. "Tsk. No one said anything about this shit."

It's either the sound of Luke's body connecting with the floorboards with enough force to rattle the china in the kitchen cupboards, or the low snarl of agony coming from Linda on the bedroom floor that has bedsprings creaking, and a small voice asking, "Samson—?"

Natalie is awake, but in darkness of the bedroom, she mistakes Gabriel's shape for someone else's. It's a misunderstanding that won't last. The hand not supporting Linda's weight as she levers herself up flicks out, and an arc of electricity leaps through the air toward Gabriel, illuminating the cottage's shadowy interior like a solitary flash of white lightning off the coast, bright as day in the instant it takes to travel the distance between them.

"Get out of here, Luke!"

Luke doesn't have to be told twice. As soon as the words are said, he bolts for the door, since he's not that interested in staying and possibly getting his ass kicked. It's not quite a cage match this time.

The bolt of electricity is taken, sparking tendrils of bright white light dancing around Gabriel's form before he even has a chance to glance back to the woman on the bed and her child. The ability that matches the one this energy springs from does its part in not electrocuting him to death, but still, he takes it, unwilling to risk the stand off that occurred the last time they traded lightning bolt for lightning bolt. Thrown off his feet, his back hits the end of the bed, collapsing and near disappearing from Natalie's sight over the edge of the mattress.

Reedy breaths, before his figure collapses into inky shadow completely, and makes a sudden lunge at Linda's form, all reachy shadowy tendrils with the intention of dragging her into its matrix in turn.

Linda's eyes snap wide, all white around the edges, and her mouth opens around something that's either a curse or a scream, but before she can find her voice, the black mass swallows her whole.

She's supposed to be able to fend for herself, this one. Luke probably doesn't have to worry about his partner turning up dead, but there's still the matter of the swaddled infant in Natalie's arms. She's up on her feet, willowy frame clothed in only her nightgown, which she's hitched up around her thighs in a bunched hand so she doesn't trip over its hem, and although she's gone almost completely white with fear, it isn't the sort of fear Gabriel associates with someone who's confused about what she's seeing.

Of course Samson's wife recognizes abilities for what they are when she sees them. She clutches the infant to her chest, her back to the wall, making no move to streak out after Luke into the pelting rain, frozen like a doe.

The inky swatch flying through the air in amorphous mass doesn't seem to pay much attention to Natalie and her child. It is, but it's beside the point, flying like a demon through the air as it seems to war with itself, tendrils pulling out and pulling in. It knocks over nothing, pass over and through furniture like inky jetting through water, until its dirvish twirl gains enough momentum— and breaks itself into two. Linda is pitched for the window in an artless throw, as uncaring as Luke had been tossed, with more velocity than strength behind the force that propels her.

Gabriel lands on his feet in the middle of the floor, searing a glance for Natalie. "Get out of sight," he roughs out. "Hide. She'll kill you." He'd probably make more effort to sugarcoat his instruction, for anyone else, in fear that they wouldn't believe him.

Something tells him this isn't the same. Egoist faith, maybe. He's her son, after all.

Glass shatters outward rather than in, peppering the grass outside with jagged shards covered in Linda's blood. Tears in her raincoat reveal the sweater she wears beneath it, fabric so dense that none of the broken pieces penetrated her skin other than what little she has exposed. For the second time in less than a minute, she hauls herself back to her feet and, swaying, instinctively scrubs the back of her gloved hand across her cheek, which now bears a jagged gash oozing red.

Gabriel's voice snaps Natalie out of her stupor, and in the instant she darts a glance up at his face, he'll sense something familiar that, although intangible, feels like a fine wire line stretched between the two of them. The connection isn't nearly as strong or practiced as the one he shares with Eileen, but it's there and he'll easily recognize the uncertainty that tremors empathically down it.

She feels it, too, and shrinks back into the bedroom closet with Gabriel's younger self, doors bolted shut behind her.

Outside, Linda is contorting her hand into a fist, and the window Gabriel hurled her through begins to shudder. There's a pop-pop-pop of rusted metal nails being yanked from the frame with an ability he won't be able to understand without first taking it for himself.

Won't have very much time to consider its implications, either. With a sharp movement of her wrist, she sends the nails hurtling through the air. One punches through the flesh of his shoulder, another wedges itself between two of his ribs, and a third narrowly misses his throat, leaving a fine, angry line on the left side of his neck that weeps blood.

Inside the closet, the baby has begun to bawl.

There's an angry snarl from within the cottage, Gabriel clasping his shoulder with a hand and staggering back as that second nail finds purchase, the hot streak of damage fwipping against his throat until he can fumble for the switch that turns him intangible for the next four nails that pelt his way. The last thing Linda sees is the dark shape of Gabriel through the window leaping out of sight. And then nothing at all, except for the sound of the rain, the baby crying.

No counter attack, no storming his way out the window in mad dog pursuit.

Not yet.

"It's for your own good," Linda thunders at the empty space where the window pane used to be, and it isn't clear whether she's addressing Gabriel or the woman hiding in the closet until she adds in a quaking roar, "you know how this ends! You should be thanking me!" Her fingers flex, and she begins to move around the side of the cottage, shape melting away as her skin, hair and the very fabric of her clothes adopt the colours of her environment. It isn't true invisbility, not really, but if Gabriel is looking for her, it makes her outline almost impossible to pick out against the cottage's gray stone brickwork and the white paint plastered to its wooden shutters.

"You weren't supposed to be in France," her voice echoes from somewhere. "For what happened, I'm sorry, but you shouldn't have gotten in my way."

There aren't a lot of places to hide. Gabriel isn't, really, just waiting, and playing guard dog the best way he knows how — putting himself bodily between the thing he's protecting and the threat. His back is pressed at the wall beside the closet, and by the time she's creeping through the house, the sounds of the baby's whimpers are muted completely, as is Gabriel, his heart beat, the rasp in his breathing. If the stakes were lower, he might be having fun.

Right now, he's just tense, and hurting.

Closing his eyes, he tries to concentrate, and let Teo's ability be put to use as it glimmers its radar around the house. He doesn't hesitate, as soon as he can snag where he feels that third presence, he moves on soundless feet. Even the concussive blast of energy is muted — the effect is not, rippling the air and aimed for where he last heard and sensed Linda.

The glass door to a china hutch is blown off its hinges, and a taxidermied swan mounted above the fireplace explodes into fluffy white feathers that fill the air like clumps of snow. That Gabriel is destroying what might have been his childhood home for a few years in another life hardly matters; it's either his mother's belongings or his mother, and as he's already demonstrated—

This isn't a difficult choice for him to make. The blood pounding in his ears and the infant wailing in the closet dampen the scraping sound Linda makes from somewhere on the other side of the living room. A handprint in blood appears on the wallpaper where, still camoflauged, she braces herself against it. It dampens, too, other noises that Gabriel might benefit from hearing.

Take, for instance, the low growl of the pick-up truck's engine and tires crawling over gravel.

On the floor, Linda's control over her ability falters, and the proper colours flood back into her shape. If she was more aware of what was going on and not still reeling from the last blow, she might take pleasure from the damp stain spreading across Gabriel's chest where the nail between his ribs is causing him to rapidly lose blood. "What does it even matter to you," she rasps out, voice thin and a little flat as she blinks something from her eyes. Darkness, maybe, spreading in around the corners. "She's— dead anyway. You know that."

Not that he'll be letting her on to this cue, but the spread of blood on his chest is largely superficial, with clotted red around imbedded nail keeping it in chest before he can swoon, his blood in his veins in his own control. His skin hasn't gone the pallid tone that indicates bloodloss, but he doesn't look exactly the peak of healthiness either, the silver streaked through his hair adding to that waning demeanor. "Not yet," he grinds out, voice a little like stone on stone. "Not tonight."

Drags himself a foot to the left, and leans his back against the closed door of the closet, tipping his head back against it while a hand raises, ready for defense, for attack.

When the attack comes, and it does, it comes from the side.

Large hands grasp Gabriel through his coat and haul him back, as if to gather him into an embrace, but instead the thick arms that wrap around him squeeze so tightly that he hears something inside him crack.

If he's lucky, it will be the nail.

Warm breath reeking of tobacco, stale smoke and something like whiskey washes over his face, and a low voice rumbles a wordless threat at his ear. Wiry hairs scratch the nape of his neck, a beard rough on the skin of his nape, and there's a shrill, whistling noise in the air that rises in intensity and pitch until Gabriel can't hear it anymore.

Can't hear anything, not even the sound of his own breathing. His limbs are similarly useless, though he can feel the increase of pressure bearing down on his chest and threatening to snap his sternum. What eventually cuts through it is someone screaming his father's name, their voice hitching and shrill with panic.

"Samson! Samson, stop!"

Breathing feels like an animal in his chest, a butterfly caught in a vacuum. Air hisses out his throat but refuses to draw in except in tiny increments with that vice locked around his torso. Bleeding freely, now, clogged over wound broken with warm gushing ruby, Gabriel's head flops forward on the stalk of his spine. The wrong powers go off, the air damp and humid in the immediate space and streaking moisture down fastly paling skin, sticking silver-black strands to his brow.

"Mom…" slurs out, meaninglessly, as he tries to pull his mental capacities back together. The scent of fear on the air rouses him a little, manifests in the tension of his arms pressing back against the lock his attacker— his father— has around his chest.

It's not enough. The blood loss, combined with the lack of oxygen being delivered to his brain, first blurs the edges of Gabriel's vision, then begins to pull the light from it. His surroundings lose their texture, objects blending together, and all of a sudden Gabriel is very light.

The last thing he hears before losing consciousness, and maybe his life, are the continued screams of the baby, his tiny voice gone hoarse with a different kind of anguish than what his older self is experiencing so intensely.

The ceiling above his head rotates only once. And that is all.

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