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Also featuring:

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Scene Title Nowhere
Synopsis Where are you going to run? Where are you going to hide?
Date June 4, 2009

New Jersey - Pinehearst Building

When a change comes, some species feel the urge to migrate.

Roughly twety-five miles across New York City and out of the city limits into New Jersey is a journey trekked by few on foot. For two distinct loners who have found reluctant company within one another, that journey is exactly the one they made. Under cover of cloudy but dry skies, they have left the gray and desolate shadow of Midtown Manhattan behind them, left the city of New York and its roadblocks and curfews and memories behind, left it behind for the Jersey coast.

They call it zugunruhe, a pull of the soul to a far off place.

By the time Peter Petrelli and Gabriel Gray find themselves, inexplicably together and fortunately at the end of their journey, the sun has long since set down below the western horizon, leaving the glow of artificial lamps set into the manicured walkways and verdant parklands surrounding the four story tall Pinehearst Company headquarters. The building is unimpressive, save for the unique green tint of the glass in its windows. "So…" Peter finally speaks up, the first time since his last failed attempt at starting a conversation on the way here, "there won't be anyone upstairs at this hour, I— my dad gave me a key." He reaches into his jacket, producing a green card key with a blue double-helix on the front, one that matches the symbol engraved on a stone plinth set in a mulch bed alongside the walkway.

Following a scent in the wind, a star in the sky.

Under a blanket of cloudy skies that have swallowed the stars, and the blue-green glow of the Pinehearst logo on the plinth, the world seems to take on a fae quality, some Midsummer Night's Dream come to life amid the pine trees that flank the walkway leading towards the building's entrance. Peter stops, just shy of the door and turns to look back at Gabriel. "I… I never— apologized for what I did to you." He doesn't say what, but the indication is the gash across the forehead. "You— don't deserve an apology, but— " he's not sure why the words are finding their way out now.

The ancient message comes calling the kindred to take flight and gather together.

"I just— " Peter's eyes close, fingers turning the key card around quietly, "Gillian said everyone deserves a second chance. We've both done things we regret— I— I can't forgive you, but— I don't know… maybe I'm willing to think you're a different person now." Hanging his head a little, Peter raises the card and runs it through the magnetic lock, turning a red light green. "Maybe… maybe if I can forgive you eventually, I can start forgiving myself."

Only then can they hope to survive the cruel season to come.

Gabriel has spent a lot of friendships— allegiances— and such in silence, and so the day-long journey to Jersey, in its halting stop-start conversations and yawning stretches of quasi-companionable quiet is familiar. Peter doesn't even slot into those categories, but it's undeniably reminiscent of the silence Teo had to endure during Africa; the building blocks of friendship with a girl once named Munin built out of implication and distance.

It doesn't bother him, and it doesn't bother him to cast aside whatever few efforts Peter had made to break the silence. With shark-like progression, he simply walked.

Too tired, frankly, to protest Peter turning to speak to him. He can give him that much, coming to a halt and regarding him, listening. Then, eventually, Gabriel simply agrees with a flat sounding, "Maybe." He watches the keycard get swiped, and lets his gaze track up the face of the building, this shining castle that holds such promise, as ordinary as it seems from the outside.

"It would be easier— " A glance towards Peter's face. "It would be easier for it not to matter. Understanding— it's better than forgiveness." And he takes a step for the door.

Something about that makes Peter's shoulders slack, eyes close and head turn to the side ever so slightly. With a bite to his lower lip, Peter follows behind Gabriel, tucking his key card away into his pocket as they walk through the ghostly empty halls of Pinehearst's lobby. The carpeted floor silences their footfalls. "The elevator," Peter says in a hushed tone of voice, still trying to process the implications of that moment of — to Peter — genuine honesty from Gabriel. It's hard.

The elevator Peter leads Gabriel to looks like all of the others, only the interior wold be different to a trained eye, an additional row of basement floors on the keypad, accrssed once more by a swipe of that green magnetic card and the depression of the button labeled B-4. As the doors slide shut and the elevator begins to move, Peter turns to look at Gabriel in the fluorescent light of the elevator. "Do you understand Gillian any better?" It's something of a backhanded question, but the bitterness between the two won't be solved by kind words and long walks alone. But at the very least, they've stopped trying to kill each other for the moment.

At least there isn't any music. Gabriel is as stiff-backed as a soldier once inside the elevator, neck bent so that he might observe the floors going by on the numbers scrolling above the doors. But Peter's question is just backhanded enough to warrant a sharpish glance, but perhaps genuine enough also to warrant consideration.

It manifests in the form of a pause, brow furrowed. He's not even sure Peter deserves the honesty that's on the tip of his tongue, but Gabriel can't quite see the value in lying, either. The harsh lights of the elevator's interior makes the bruises, the sleeplessness, the scars and paleness standing out on both of them, making Gabriel's cheekbones seem far more hollow than they are.

"No. Not anymore." He averts his eyes back up towards the floor numbers. An eyebrow raises, and his tone is caustic at the edges when he asks, "What about you?"

What about Peter? That's a damned good question, and one that the man himself seems hard-pressed to answer. He tries, starting with a few abortive sentences that go about as far as halting exhalations and sounds, before clamping his mouth shut and running one hand through the tangled locke of long, dark hair that stick to his grimy brow. "I… never gave her credit for how strong she really is. I always thought— " his eyes close, a snort escaping his nose, "I don't know what I thought. It's hard to remember…" Two minds as one now, something Gabriel can sympathize with.

Thankfully for Peter, he doesn't have to come up with an answer, the chime of the elevator serves as a final punctuation mark to his sentence. When the doors rush open, the medical sterility of the halls — chalk white and drained ofc olor by fluroescent lights — seems somewhat uninviting. Peter steps out first, a grimy stain on the otherwise pristine and unoccupied hallway. "Dad'll be down here, I— trust me, he'll know exactly what to do." Trust Peter. It's a small wonder Gabriel isn't clawing at the walls already.

He's almost ready to. His eyes shift beneath his strong, tensed brow at all the whiteness and sterility, and oh, yeah, Gabriel's been here before. Not in this building, a different kind of 'here', but— his hand goes out before the elevator doors can close, a sliding, shuddering sound of metal as they back up in accordance with their sensors, and the former serial killer follows Peter out into the hallway.

"Good," he offers, gaze wandering before tracking back to Peter. "You thought she was weak? Ignorant? How could someone sane and strong and capable of making choices be with someone like me?" In a bitter kind of good humour, the corner of his mouth goes up. "Me too. At first. I was wrong."

Gabriel closes his coat around himself a little tighter, an absent sort of self-conscious movement, arms folding as they walk. "That's why we still are. Were. She didn't come to find me." The implication being who she did find instead, who she traveled to the corner of Brooklyn to see, for whatever reason. His words fall simply, however, lacking hurt or iciness or cattiness. Things simply are, and there are worse things anyway.

That and the prospect of a solution is so close that he can put everything aside and trust Peter for today. It's more than a little distracting.

Peter stops halfway down the hall, looking over his shoulder to Gabriel. "She only came to find me… because my father told her to." It's dismissive, and partly a lie, but most of Peter isn't willing to believe anything other. It's a convenient disavowing of the truth to live in a more convenient lie. Much of his life has been delicately constructed that way, he sees no reason to change it now.

When he finally does turn to head back down the hall, it leads Gabriel past windows that lead into medical examination rooms, most of them lightless, some with blinds drawn. Matt Patkman will hear their footsteps pass by, unaware that finally his cries for help might have actually been heard.

Passing by the prison the medical room has become for Matt, Peter leads Gabriel to a pair of double doors at the end of the hall. But behind them is not silence, but rather muffled conversation too quiet to make out more than the distant edges of. Peter hesitates, looks back at Gabriel, and then raps his knuckles on the door. "Dad?"

It could almost be considered kind, too, if the audience at home is willing to believe that Peter might think to spare Gabriel some form of heartbreak. Not something Gabriel would believe and frankly, probably not too many of this week's viewers either, and so the lie is accepted as needless truth. Gabriel only watches the back of Peter's head as they continue on their way down the hallway, and says nothing.

Coming to stop beside Peter, this— it occurs to Gabriel they're past the threshold, the point of no return. Any 'are you sure this is a good idea?' or 'there aren't twenty five HomeSec agents waiting for me here are there?' such questions should have been asked at the front door of the building.

Hell, at the border of New Jersey. Not here. All the same, Gabriel delivers a quick and questioning glance Peter's way that might sum up such sentiments.

"Peter?" The voice has a quality that nearly causes Gabriel's stomach to rise up and strangle his windpipe, just a touch higher in pitch than that of Kazimir Volken, but possessed of all of the rough and gravley nature. There's something gentler about the voice — something grandfatherly — but the similarities are there. It's not the best foot to go off on.

Peter quietly opens the door, his answer coming in the form of his reappearance rather than a verbal confirmation. In the sparsely decorated office, there stands a meeting in progress now interrupted. Behind a mahogony desk stands a man of tall stature with broad shoulders with salt and pepper colored hair. In a way, it's easy to see where both Peter and Nathan receive their looks from, but the familiar resemblance favors Nathan's side by and large.

The man on the other side of the desk is far more meek, and probably ten years younger, if not more. Bespectacled and hesitant to rise from his seat, Mason Chesterfield turns to look at Arthur, then over to Peter as the bedraggled man makes his way inside. "Good heavens Peter, what happened to — " Then comes the moment of truth, the moment when Mason's eyes settle on Sylar. It's the only name he trly knows him by, reputation above all. Arthur's focus moves past Peter as well, but his reaction is far less stammering.

"Peter," Arthur notes in a chiding tone, "How many times have I told you to call before bringing over friends." The sarcasm isn't very analogous to Kazimir at all, and comes across as somewhat goofy or senile in a way. "Gabriel," he intones, moving out from behind the desk. "This is very unexpected."

And they both look like hell, if at least one of them less unkempt and hungover. Gabriel shadows in after Peter, sparing a glance between the faces of the two men, then around the wider office in a sort of distant, voyeuristic analysis. No HomeSec agents, so that's a start. The likeliness to Kazimir Volken fades when Gabriel actually looks Arthur Petrelli over, seeing similarities in him to Peter, to the President, and this, too, is vague reassurance.

That everyone is who they say they are. Apart from that, it's nothing he can really explain. "Yes it is," Gabriel agrees, casting a glance back to Mason and his stammering halt. It's been a while since he's been surprised to hear his own name being spoken so casually, now, as if the universe were aligning with the decision he's made. But not enough. "Peter brought me here to see you. He said you could help me."

Cutting to the heart of the matter, apparently, Gabriel's head cants to the side, waiting for a verdict. A hint of defiant, almost adolescent challenge in his posture not so becoming for a man of thirty-one, but an attempt at exuding more power than he actually has.

"Oh, well…" Arthur looks over to Mason as he dithers, "Mason could you go fetch Alison for me?" There's no real question about the verbal demand, just a politely worded order. Mason's eyes wander Peter and Gabriel seperately, and then just nods in terse acceptance, slinking past the two and giving Gabriel a wide berth before stepping out of the office.

Moving over to Peter, Arthur gently lays a hand on his hsoulder, then turns to focus on the person who doesn't share any of his genes in the room. "I've been meaning to speak with you for a long time, Gabriel, so this is a fortuitous meeting. I heard about your unfortunate run-in with Tyler Case, and I assure you we're doing everything we can to try and get that situation under control." Arthur's gaze tracks to the cut across Gabriel's forehead, then to his son with an accusing stare.

"Peter," Arthur's hand squeezes his shoulder more firmly, "is everything alright, son?" Narrowing his eyes, Arthur watches the subtle changes in his son's expression, the way Peter looks up to Gabriel, then down to the floor as he shakes his head. "So… the body I read about in the paper," his eyes track up to Gabriel, then move back to his son. "I see."

Breathing out a disappointed sigh, Arthur looks up to Gabriel more intently. "How is Gillian's ability treating you? Hopefully better than yours is treating my son?" He's taken a tone to Gabriel, one peppered with accusation. "No matter, though, I think I finally have a solution for what ails you both. I have someone here that might just be able to reverse what Tyler's done to you… she's a bit of a prickly pear though."

Gabriel remains reserved, and though he might feel nothing like sympathy or interest beyond what can be gained from the transaction in either man, he can't help but observe their interaction. He's watching Peter when he's asked that simple question, and then back to Arthur. Family, it's great, isn't it.

Just awesome. A suppressed, vaguely impatient sigh barely escapes. "Gillian's power doesn't fit me," Gabriel says, a slice of teeth showing in a subtle sneer. The shallow interpretation would be disdain for the ability. The real one would be something slightly less arrogant. The look Arthur gets is a little hard in reaction to the accusation, but— the old man isn't wrong. The erstwhile serial killer's chin tilts up a fraction. The scar at his head has thinly scabbed over some, more black than red. "Peter is experiencing the same difficulties I had," and there is a certain condescending streak in his tone, "but I've gotten them under control before Case did this to me."

You know, in case you were worried about setting a monster free, or something, haha, something ridiculous like that. "Any solution you have would be greatly appreciated, Mr. Petrelli," he thinks to add. Polite, if a little greasy. "Before it all gets too out of hand."

"Well I couldn't quite agree more," Arthur states, "It doesn't suit you." What at first seems like ti might be a reassuring hand come to rest on Gabriel's shoulder, becomes something else, something far more painful. When his touch shifts from shoulder to neck, the skin to skin contact elicits a shooting pain Gabriel is familiar with, like a variant of the flavor another old man once visited upon him with the touch of a hand, but this one less so like the deep ache in his bones of Kazimir's power, and more as though something inside of him were being ripped out by hooks and blades. A flash of light passes from Gabriel towards Arthur as Peter lets out a gasp of shock — shock not only at the sudden act delivered by Arthur, but that the ghostly silhouette ripped out of Gabriel looks vaguely analogous to Gillian.

"I'm sorry, son." The hand on Peter's shoulder moves up to his cheek, and that samer flash comes, ripping forth from Peter's body a glowing silhouette in visage of Gabriel, then another more indistinct hue of light before Peter collapses down to the floor with a howl of pain from the transferrence of abilities. "But this has to stop."

Gabriel's shamelessly pained cry echoes off the walls of the office, a hand up to grip onto Arthur's arm compulsively, white-fisted and immediately slackened by the time the ordeal, as brief and horrifying as it is, is over with. His knees buckle once that release is over with, crumbling to the carpeted floor with a gasp and just in time to look up and watch that process repeat itself with Peter.

It feels like the breath has been driven out of his lungs, but it's still there, enough so he can growl, "What did you do— " Gillian's ability. Karma's a bitch, because despite his disdain, any power is better than no power, and when that switch— is just gone, panic seizes through Gabriel for a moment.

Less than nothing. Human. Ordinary. A despairing half a second stretches. But then again, we make our own power.

His hand fumbles for the pistol he'd turned on Peter back in Brooklyn, a flash of black metal and plastic as he brings it around before he can barely get up off the floor. His next mistake being that Gabriel doesn't immediately pull the trigger, just tries to square his aim in threat.

Two fingers move to the side, sending the pistol from Gabriel's hand across the room. "Please," Arthur murmurs, "I'm doing you a favor and this is how you repay me? It hardly seems fair." By the time Peter has gotten up onto his feet, Arthur turns his focus to his son with a warning stare.

"What— what did you do!?" Peter's brow contorts his expression into one of blind rage at what his father did without so much of a warning. But all Arthur can do is click his tongue and roll his eyes, motioning to Peter with one hand, sending his own son careening across the room into one of the walls with a resounding crash.

"You'll thank me for this later, Peter. You couldn't control an ability like Gabriel's even if you wanted to." His eyes drift back to Gabriel, dark brows furrowed, "As for you, you little cockroach, did you think I would honestly let you run free if I had any say in the matter? I was terrified that General Autumn was going to sink his talons into you, but the good graces of fate have seen fit to deliver your carcass into my hands."

Working his fingers open and closed, Arthur casts his eyes over to Peter, then back to Gabriel. "The only place fit for you is on an examination table. I'm sure Doctor Meier will enjoy having a new subject to work her tests on, you even have a good resume in that regard."

The weapon is ripped from his hand, numbing his fingers with abrupt kinetic brutality and eliciting a hiss from the serial killer. Of course. Of course it was too good to be true, for someone like him. Heart pounding, Gabriel digs his fingers into carpet as he gets up, back curving into the motion like a riled cat as he turns a disbelieving glare on his new enemy, a glance towards Peter.

Old men and their lies. At least he's not alone.

But Gabriel isn't going to be a part of it this time. Arthur's words strike straight through him, blood draining if he wasn't already pale enough. He's had his fill of experiments and doctors and pristine lab coats. It's a good gunshot indication on what to do next. Cockroaches are good for scurrying, and so Gabriel moves, launches himself towards the doors in a bolting lope.

Peter can take care of himself, as far as Gabriel is concerned.

As Gabriel scrambles out of the double doors and past the office, he can hear the heavy footfalls of Arthur moving behind him, not in any hastened pace, but the slow and methodical movements of a man who knows his prey's ultimate destination — the tortoise and the hare. Just moments after Gabriel comes scrambling out of the doors, he practically runs head-long into an older brunette woman, knocking her glasses from her face and sending her sprawling to the ground.

Jennifer Chesterfield looks up with wide eyes from the floor as Gabriel pushes past where she is, turning to spy Arthur's slow approach, and Peter's prone form laying flat in the office. "A— Arthur, Arthur what's going on!?" Her tone of voice sharpens like a knife as she pushes herself to her feet, looking over her shoulder towards the approaching leader of Pinehearst, but Jenn is not afforded with an answer, just a quiet and solemn stare.

She looks away, unable to keep the eye contact, turning towards the interior of the office and where Peter was hurled like a ragdoll. "Where are you going to run, Gabriel?" The voice doesn't come from behind, but ahead of Gabriel's path of escape, where somehow Arthur stands, arms folded across his chest like some reproachful parent, yet the sound of his footfalls come from behind still. "There's no getting away. Eventually, all of the hurt, all of the pain, and all of the death catches up to you."

Having walked all day, the prospect of running for his life isn't one he wants to entertain before he has to do it. But you do what you have to to survive. Like shoving aside the unfamiliar woman he'd collided with, or leaving behind the crumpled Peter in the office, and maybe even this time, Gabriel suspects he might not get blamed for it.

And then he comes to a staggering halt when Arthur Petrelli is just simply there, rebuking him, Gabriel raising an instinctive hand as if any sort of power could come of it, fury written into the angles of his face. "I'm getting out of here," he snarls back, venomously. "Everything else can wait. I'll find an answer— alone."

Or the next time Arthur sees him, he'll have reinforcements. Maybe Teo still likes him, Gabriel can't remember.

The distraction of a psychic illusion in front of Gabriel gives Arthur time to close the distance, a single motion of one hand sending Gabriel slamming to the wall at his side with a tug of telekinetic force set deep in his chest. There's an almost satisfied look on Arthur's face as he smashes the former serial killer into the wall. "You and my son were the perfect puppets for my wife's little game, but I'm tired of watching you two destroy everything around you because neither of you can realize how disappointingly similar you are."

The telekinetic tug lifts Gabriel up, dragging him along the wall before depositing him hard onto the center of the floor in the hall. Arthur moves his hand, head canting to the side, "Now, once I'm done with — " Arthur's words are cut off when he notices someone standing at the far end of the hall, first it is Doctor Meier's small and slim form in her white labcoat, but beyond that it is the dark and wild-haired form of Delphine Kuhr being moved from the examination labs back to her room.

Arthur's lips part in a look of abject horror as he sees Gabriel laying prone at the feet of the one woman with the gift that could undo all of his hard work. A prickly pear she is, but never has she been anything more than difficult to work with, because there was no true outlet for her ability.

Here, now, presented with this dark savior cast at her feet, it's all Arthur can do to manage his vocal cords into a scream of warning to Doctor Meier.

One that comes far too slow.

Gabriel's head is ringing from where he'd hit it against the plain white wall, and when he's slammed to the floor, the breath driven from his lungs, he doesn't move. Two thin streams of bright red begin to seep from the now broken open gash Peter had delivered him those few days ago, across his forehead as if marking the intended path, another seeping into his brow, the corner of his eye.


Vaguely, he doesn't feel it in him to feel sympathy towards Peter and his similar fate. Coughing on his own shortened breath, Gabriel gets his hands beneath him, and that's about it, head turning to regard the shining, polished shoes of Arthur Petrelli's approach, then to the other side, a bigger forest of trouser-clad legs, and up and up to the unfamiliar strangers.

One of which has her eyes on him, and he knows that look. It's the look of recognised opportunity.

In a pristine white T-shirt and light, cotton pajama trousers, Delphine looks nothing like a threat, although prickly she may be indicated for now in the set of her jaw and the bruises on her long arms. She acts on impulse before Arthur can scream his warning, shoving past Dr. Meier and extending out a hand, long fingers becoming crooked. In this hallway, where the light is stunning already, it's hard to make out the fairy spots of white, pure light that seem to spring from the tips of her fingers and circle her hand.

More noticeable is the sudden angelic glow Gabriel is bathed in, that emits from him like so much radioactive light of before, and it feels like nothing except—

Except he can hear.

As the white light dims, it seems to instead become something else, congealing into veins of electrical pulses that course over Gabriel's body without harming him. The membrane-like forcefield veins across the black of his coat as he works to get to his knees, his feet, and everything— everything he sees and hears and knows— effortlessly imprints itself into the back of his mind like letters from a typewriter, ever-lasting.

And then there's it. A thirst, a need, an addiction. It's almost good, like a drug in itself, wrapping his mind up in a blanket of ice and cotton and—

Gabriel's hand goes out, and invisible hooks of kinetic energy leap lightning quick from his palm and into Arthur's chest, grabbing him by the innards and throwing him several feet back down the hallway. The sound of heartbeats, of breathing and amplified footsteps and voices and the thud of Arthur Petrelli's body hitting the carpeted ground is overwhelming, painful, and— he smiles.

This is so much better.

Impacting with Jennifer at the end of the hall, her muffled yelp is all Arthur hears as his weight comes crashing down atop of her, breaking an arm and sending them both into one of the walls. A pained, howling scream comes from Jennifer as she rolls onto her side, clutching that broken arm to her chest before Arthur pushes himself up without concern for her well being. The old man's brows have furrowed, lips downturned into a frown, "Alison."

Doctor Meier needs no instructions on how to react to this, grabbing Delphine by the wrist, yanking her back as her other hand goes fumbling for the taser she keeps in her back pocket. The little black gun comes up, pressed into the small of the woman's back, with a crackling snap-pop of electricity that courses through her nervous system.

"What do you think you're going to accomplish, Gabriel?" Arthur's dark brows lower into a glowering expression as he begins walking back, "where are you going to run? Where are you going to hide?" He raises one hand, and the doors lining the hallway between he and Gabriel begin to buckle and rattle on their hinges, before one by one they snap off, whirling through the air towards the repowered man. "Nowhere."

No attention is paid to scientist and patient, as the former acts and the latter's spine curves, muscles tightening as one before she goes sprawling to the floor. No screaming, just gasping for breath in recovery, her long, wild hair spilling in tangles against the ground. Delphine's teeth are showing in a silent snarl, and she doesn't get up, just— throws one lanky arm over her head at the sound of tearing wood and the way the flying door casts a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shadow as it soars.

And explodes into a few thousand splinters with a vicious, broken crack, one larger piece hitting the wall and with a gesture of Gabriel's hand, it goes spinning, all sharp edges, straight towards Petrelli as if it were aiming to decapitate him.

"Better than the alternative," Gabriel snarls back, his back turned to Meir and Kuhr as he brings is hand around. Flickering blue-green light tracks over in sweeping lines from his fingertips, a careless swipe of impossibly hot light that scorches the walls in thin lines of black.

For a moment, horror crosses Arthur's face as the flying shrapnel of the exploded door is rebounding back towards him, but instinctually — like a cat unsheathing claws — he raises one hand and with a snap of his fingers, the shards of the door explode into tiny flinders of wood that deviate around him. It would seem Peter was good for something after all, that being a delivery boy.

"No matter where you go, I'll find you. No matter how far you run, I'll be the shadow on your heels." Arthur jerks his fingers forward, curling them like hooks as he rips Gabriel from his footing towards him in a ragged telepathic arc. The old man reaches up, winding fingers around his throat as a flash of light and five silhouettes are ripped from his body in howling, agonizing succession.

"You're a menace," Arthur growls the words out, wafting green fumes of chlorine gas emanating from his mouth and nostrils, "you're a blight on society," Gabriel's throat freezes, ice rimming up and over where Arthur's hand grips the soft flesh, "a monster," the last words echo in Gabriel's mind as Arthur cycles through his newly acquired abilities, "but worst of all, Gabriel — worst of anything you could possibly be…" Arthur pulls the struggling man close, lips pulled back to reveal white teeth in a snarl, "you're weak."

How do things get from bad to worse? When you try every possible thing to make sure it doesn't happen? Possibly, Gabriel isn't trying hard enough.

He can't scream when ice laces between the fibres of his flesh, drains it of colour, of life, lungs swelling in his chest in a piercing effort to breathe through an iceblock as his hands grip onto Arthur's arm. Seeing only white at the corners of his vision that have nothing to do with Delphine's ability, just unconsciousness, and the searing pain of abilities wrenching out of him—

Losing them. Sand through an hour glass. The wailing 'no' can only be assumed.

And then the lights seem to bend, and inky, ashy smoke seeps out from between the glowing blue of Arthur's fingers, before coiling around them. Infectious-feeling needles, invisible, inevitable, pierce into the man's flesh as the skin of Gabriel's throat reverts back to healthiness, and Arthur's wrist is suddenly thinner within his sleeve as pain shoots white-hot up his arm.

With a shove, Gabriel stumbles back away from Arthur, all but snarling. Weak, is what he'd been called, and the way Gabriel stumbles, his shoulder hitting the wall, could very well imply this to be true. But in the next instant, his arm whips out in a backhanded, fisted blow that blurs faster than the eye can see, designed to snap heads, break jaws, and in the next moment, the old man is sent arcing into the wall—

Where he stays, Gabriel's arm stretched out. No words, just a flick of two fingers has a neat gash opening up Arthur's throat to bright blood and suffocation. Peter's gonna be so mad. Or maybe not.

Pinned to the wall, Arthur breathes in a hasty and sharp breath before his throat is slit, back arching and eyes growing wide until the slash across his throat seals shut in the same direction it was cut, flesh mending together almost instantaneously, leaving curious lines of blood that had run down his neck behind.

"Gabriel." The voice is rough, coarse and unwelcomed. Not now. "You can't let someone like him get the best of us, you're better than that, I made you better than that." Where he stands to the right of and behind Gabriel, Kazimir Volken's silken and dark silhouette of blacks and grays is nothing more than the memory of a damaged mind, but one that reinforces with the very real psychic impressions he has taken, Gabriel's ability to survive. "Show him what the Vanguard does to things like him."

Arthur struggles against the telekinetic pin, the ground rumbling and trembling, ceiling tiles buckling and cracking from the strain of two telekinetic forces fighting one another. Only then, does Gabriel's sharpened hearing pick up footsteps creeping up behind him, and the subtle zzt-zzt of a taser being readied, along with the whine of its battery charging up as Alison Meier tries to sneak up behind him.

Kazimir's voice has the curious ability to freeze the blood in his veins and get his heart pumping with the adrenaline it takes for him to do what he has to do. Gabriel's dark eyes are wide and fixed on Arthur's. As his throat struggles to heal itself, in its last moments as a gaping, yawning wound beneath his chin, blood flows quicker than it should, siphoning out in an impossible stream of dark red as per Gabriel's will, towards his outstretched hand that begins to shake as telekinesis is matched with telekinesis.

"I'll show them all," he mutters in response to the half-formed memory only he can see.

Delphine is still flat on her stomach from where she'd been taken down, but struggling to her knees— but not before she reaches out a hand and screams a wordless warning.

Gabriel turns on his heel and brings his arm around, the stream of blood gathered into his palm, quickening into something solid, a rust-coloured arcing, sharp-edged tool that delivers a punishing slice across Meier's face before the impossible tool is released. She's promptly thrown back against the wall, arms splayed, and the taser comes to fall onto the floor with a snap of electricity and a clatter.

That cost him. The structure of the hallway groans as one telekinetic force fails and Arthur is released.

"Behind you," is the the specter of Kazimir's only warning, before Arthur's hands grip down on the sides of Gabriel's head over his ears from behind. An immediate, staggering deafness comes with the pain this time, all of that attenuated hearing lost immediately as a surge of white light sears forth from Arthur's hands. But then, a coil of black and a slithering tendril of night moves on its own, and a lancing serpent of entropic energy strikes like a viper at Arthur's face, peeling away ashen leaves of flesh as he recoils, ripping another gleaming white silhouette from Gabriel's pain-wracked form as he does.

Although it exists only in Gabriel's mind, the phantom of Kazimir moves to stand back to back with Gabriel, hands tucked into dark pockets, existing as little more than a black silhouette of silk and wavy gray hair. Arthur's hand moves up to his face, feeling the strips of missing flesh slowly blossoming back as hydration returns to muscle tissue. "You're a parasite Gabriel, you're an unwanted cast-off from this society. Your own father didn't even want you, and you've just become his sorry extension of his miserable life."

Would it be mad, to ask the ghost in his own mind if someone is lying? It's tempting, but Gabriel manages to keep his eyes locked on the real danger as Meier is left to slump to the floor, a mark of blood on the wall left in her wake, unconsciousness tugging at her focus.

"My father," he spits. "You don't get to talk about fathers."

A little defense on Peter's behalf, perhaps, before Gabriel sends a knife through his brain - the metaphorical kind that should have been migraine inducing, paralysing, a concussive blast of telepathic energy— Gabriel's head jerks back on his neck when his own mind fills with the buzz of static, a strange kind of feedback that frazzles his nerves.

It manifests as a growl and a flinch, a hand coming to clasp at his head. "You don't know me— " Like father, like son, although one is less presumptuous than Gabriel thinks. He brings his hand back around to use the blunter, sharp force of lasers once more, beams of light coming to pierce through Arthur's torso. Can a regenerator survive being cut to pieces?

Delphine's hand makes claw marks on the wall when she finally gets up, hands shaking as she watches the two monsters trade words, trade blows. She has to get out of here, and the distraction of unleashing hell— She backs up down the hallway, barefeet stumbling. She doesn't know where she'll go next, but she turns to run for the elevators. Provided the whole building hasn't already locked down.

The blue-green laserlight sweeps across the room like a violent blade, scoring a black path in the wall, slicing through flesh and bone with eaual ease, cleaving a deep gash in Arthur's midsection as smoke rises from cauterized wounds. His body heals up around the laser, a wrenching look of pain evident on Arthur's face as his legs give way and he slocues back against the impact-crater in the wall his body had made earlier. A simple motion of one trembling hand twists Gabriel's arm around in the socket, tearing tendons and dislocating it with a telekinetic manhandling.

"You're right, Gabriel," Arthur hisses out those words, pushing himself away from the wall as he spits blood through clenched teeth, "I don't know you at all." The old man takes a few staggering steps forward, wiping blood from his mouth with the back of his hand as the other makes back and forth motions in the hall, slamming Gabriel around like a ragdoll, one swing smashing him partly through a reinforced glass window. "Or perhaps, in some peculiar twist of fate, you don't have all of the answers? Did you really think you were the son of a watchmaker and a doddering old woman who collected snowglobes?"

The sharp words come with a sharp tug, as Gabriel's form is hauled back through the air, and Arthur grabs him by the mouth, fingers pressing into his cheek as another series of light flashes flicker and fade the laserlight on Gabriel's twisted wrist. Arthur's free hand rises up, blue-green light sparkling on his fingertips, "Your real father— "

Maybe it is some method of psychic self-preservation, the desire to not know some terrible and fel secret of his past, but Gabriel's blurred vision shows the specter of Kazimir stepping up behind Arthur, pressing a weathered hand to his face in the same moment a black tendril of smoky entropic energy slithers beneath his flesh and siphone away some of the old man's life-force. Arthur howls and recoils, dropping Gabriel to the ground as Kazimir's phantom sidesteps and stares down with furrowed brow and downturned lips.

Gabriel collapses to the ground, very much the broken ragdoll that's been thrown so carelessly, his arm mangled and dead on his shoulder even as stolen lifeforce courses through his body and seeks to repair the damage, there's just so much of it. Kazimir's eyes, twin points of pale in the shadows of black and silver, are blinked up at with eyes blurred and unfocused.

Father. His father. Real father. What.

With an animal's piercing cry, Gabriel shoves the ground to roll himself onto his stomach, the threading tendrils of caustic shadow leaking from him, into him, pulling ligaments to reattach and bone to knit back together. He spits blood and teeth onto the floor.

Meanwhile, Delphine's hand slaps the wall, and she gives a growl of frustration as the button for the elevator refuses to light up from the press of her palm. She already knows the doorways have keycard locks beside them— such cards that Meier has attached to her belt, the unconscious woman within range of the two monsters. Fuck everything. She doesn't approach, just turns to watch the show, judgment in her eyes.

Lasers are gone. This Gabriel finds out after an attempted sweep of his hand, nothing coming of it, remembering the blurred sight of the alien light dancing on Arthur's fingertips. Blood spatters half of his face, and the dizziness is eddying away slowly as he repairs himself. The glass in the window he'd broken with himself suddenly creaks before imploding, a glistening swarm of sharp edges that fly towards Arthur. Killed his son once before.

The hypnotic glitter of broken glass races across the room, even as Arthur raises a hand in reflex to shield his face, only to find a crackling haze of white energy that surges over his form, force-fields that come up to block each impact of the glass shards that drive at his body. Surprise dawns on him at the ease of its use, and he confidently lowers his hand.

"You're unwanted Gabriel, you always have been. Do you know why?" He's enjoying this too much, "because you're an abject failure, and you always have been. You're a failure and a disappointment to everyone in your life. Why do you think Gillian gravitated towards someone other than you," his lips creep up into a smile, relishing the challenge, relishing how this above all things makes him feel alive. "Why do you think time and time again, all you are is used and cast away? Because Gabriel Gray is a weak, useless shell of a man. General Autumn wanted Sylar to use as his attack dog, but I won't give him that satisfaction."

Another telekinetic tug wrenches Gabriel from a standing position and into the air, turning upside down as his body spins and raises, head becoming level with Arthur's, legs brushing agains tthe ceiling as his whole body takes on some rigid cruciform shape. Arthur's lips curl into a satisfied smile, one hand rising as two fingers close and point together towards Gabriel's forehead, lips parting and eyes falling into some trance-like state of euphoric enjoyment of this hunt. Arthur's free hand moves up to Gabriel's brow, and that horrible flash of light comes again, as more abilities are siphoned away. But even in that, there's something else in Arthur's eyes, a look he's seen only once on Peter.

"I always wondered," the sound of telekinesis cutting through bone is a horrifying one, but the feeling of it is even worse, "what made a monster like you ti— " The sudden impact of a fire extinguisher against the back of Arthur's head causes his telekinesis to drop entirely, causes blood to spray up from the back of his head and Arthur to wheel around with a wild look of an injured animal. His fingers spread and telekinesis sends shockwaves of force out towards — "Peter?"

It's too late to take it back, too late to stop Peter from sailing through the air, crashing into a wall with a horrifying crack of bone and wet snap of something in his back. Peter Petrelli crumples to the ground like a lifeless doll, unmoving and eyes open, blood trailing out from the side of his mouth, legs bent up beneath his body in the way he collapsed. Arthur stands there, hand still outstretched, fingers spread, eyes wide and mouth open, staring at the unmoving form of his son laying limp on the hall floor.

Gabriel's world tips over again as he's dropped, close to unconsciousness as blood leaks from his brow, for the second time this week. It draws horror-show red lines down his face, head throbbing outward from split skull, dazed and disoriented. But not so much that he can't see Peter, lying the way he is, and Gabriel doesn't need superhearing to draw a conclusion—

Blood clots across the split Arthur had renewed, faster than it should, enough to force the blood that gushes hot to cease. Failure. Disappointment. An old man's lies. He promised himself he wouldn't buy into it and yet here he is, trying to get to his feet and trying to stop staring at Peter and trying—

Trying to run. Again.

Leaving the father to stare down at the crumpled form of his son, Gabriel's legs kick beneath him in a desperate scrabble. The best predators know when to run when they're outmatched. When did he stop being the best predator? Perhaps, frankly, when he tried to trade in the name Sylar for Gabriel Gray. For something of a failure. A hand goes out to crumple the doors of the elevator ahead of him inwards…

…and he really only registers the fact that they don't when he gets there, hands slamming against metal.

"They're not workin'."

Delphine manages to keep her face stoic and strong when Gabriel turns an indirectly furious glare towards her, and he twitches, recoils if you will, when her hand goes out to latch onto the sleeve of his coat. "Don't you dare fuckin' leave me down here, you understand? If it weren't for me we'd be labrats. Pull somethin' out've your bag o' tricks before he steals them all and get us out of 'ere!"

The voices behind Arthur finally stirr him from the sight of Peter's crumples form, and ever so slowly Arthur turns to look behind himself at where he had left Gabriel — where he no longer is. His gaze tilts up, towards the elevator, and Arthur's body practically bristles as he sees both Gabriel and Delphine sharing the space of the elevator. Arthur begins to move, one foot in front of the other, a slow and steady, storming pace down the hall, one hand rising as the elevator begins to rattle and shake, bolts unwinding from their placement in the sides.

"Now or never, Gabriel." Kazimir's specter turns to look at Gabriel with an askance, expectant stare, one brow raised as he folds his hands behind his back. "Did you come this far, only to fail now?" The words harken back to a different time when they were said, a time preceding a knife driven into the heart of the man that created this psychic phantom. It's a relief — or perhaps a curse — that Arthur did not steal him away. "Find a way."

But it would be so much easier to let his knees buckle, to lie still and allow them all to just take him under again into a world of local anesthesia, full body restraints, last names and over head talking. Back where he started.

Alternately, he could show them how Vanguard does it.

With a soft snarl, Gabriel's hand comes to circle around Delphine's arm, the woman going wide-eyed with uncertain fear. Out of all the tools he's lost— he sincerely hopes he's kept this one. For a moment, the entire corridor goes pitch black, choking darkness and utter silence.

In the next moment, as Arthur blinks to adjust his eyes, both Delphine and Gabriel suddenly implode into a dark, inky cloud reminiscent of the horrible energy of Kazimir's power, except it becomes them. On the floor, the ceiling grille of the elevator is still clattering to fall, and the two tornado together for a moment, before leaping up to seep through the damaged roof of the elevator, to climb up the shaft, to escape in an effortless vortex of darkness amongst the clattering metal of Arthur's telekinetic fury.

As shadow takes flight, ephemeral tendrils of darkness billowing up through the shaft of the elevator, Arthur's scream echoes up through the metal hall, rage displayed in telekinesis that shudders the foundations of the building as Delphine Kuhr and Gabriel Gray escape in so much voluminous darkness.

But in one way, Arthur's words cling to Gabriel's incorporeal thoughts. Where are you going to run? Where are you going to hide? Ultimately, Arthur's answer that he gave so sarcastically is the only one that Gabriel can imagine.


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