One Father To Another


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Scene Title One Father to Another
Synopsis Gabriel Gray receives an unexpected house guest.
Date November 17, 2014

The jaundiced yellow light of an old streetlamp casts muted shadows across an otherwise dark apartment. Old, repurposed wood floors are scuffed in a way that says they’re vintage, not in need of repair. The furnishings in the dining room, such as the small space is, are all antiques. A tall glass-faced hutch with cracked blue paint, a clawfoot dining table with a middle leaf made from a different kind of wood, taken from a different table, currently hidden by a white lace tablecloth. There’s a wicker basket on the table, filled with dried flowers, a handful of pinecones, autumnal leaves and branches. Thankgiving is next week.

Finding himself a free man, one able to return to his family, Gabriel Gray has a fair amount to be thankful for. Aspirations for the future are spread out across the table, printed reviews of houses out on Long Island, a few pipe-dream Victorian-era buildings up in coastal Massachusetts. There’s a brochure among the printouts of real estate from as far away as Maine as well. After this last week, it makes sense that the Grays might want to put distance between themselves and New York, even if they’d been considering the spaces all along.

Gabriel & Eileen’s Apartment


3:33 am

November 17th, 2014

That Gabriel has had trouble sleeping shouldn’t be surprising, given the dreams he experienced during his brief stint in captivity. The saving grace of his split-level apartment is that the bedrooms upstairs are a whole floor away from the kitchen, and when Gabriel or Eileen’s fitful sleep sends them wandering, it never has to disturb the other.

The stairs in their apartment are well-maintained, quiet in spite of being hardwood. Gabriel’s bare feet make hardly any sound as they scuff across the floorboards, moving from the stairs to the small living room, through a tall and narrow door into the tiny dining room, where…


Arthur Petrelli is waiting in the dark, seated at the dining room table, facing the living room door. Arthur may have invaded the Gray’s home, but he is dressed as the businessman he presents himself as, rather than a burglar or night-stalking murderer. His suit is the same gray of sharkskin, a more even tone than the salt and pepper of his thinning hair. He raises one thick, black brow to Gabriel and affects an apologetic smile.

“I hope I didn’t wake you,’ Arthur says in a reserved tone of voice, one finger over his lips and a motion with a pointed finger upstairs, as if to indicate that he shouldn’t wake the lady of the house, or Bai-chan.

Gabriel stops still.

He doesn't look like much in pyjama bottoms and a T-shirt from his cadet days, faded print stretched across his chest, things he'd slid on in the dark in a reflexive sphere of silence that he'd dropped once he'd left the bedroom. Careful not to wake Eileen, but without desire to steal away through his own home like a thief. Hair sleep-ruffled and expression sleep-stupid, he stands there for several seconds. Looks, next, to that gesture, indicating his wife, the boy who he still often thinks of as Wu-Long's son, still, in spite of fierce instincts that, now, have him come close to baring his teeth.

Because it's easy to read threat into anything, if you try hard enough. Strange light glimmers through the dark dining room, blue off the walls, as a vein of electrical energy maps across his skin. Defense. Stranger light still glows a sickly orange as both hands pulse with an idle radioactive energy. Offense. A warning.

"Couldn't sleep," he says, a testing kind of sarcasm through his teeth. "How about you."

“Same,” Arthur admits in a low voice, “I haven't slept well for years. There's been something that's kept me up at night.” He looks down to his hands, then up to Gabriel. “There's a part of me that's surprised that I was able to find you here, and another that isn't. I'd almost forgotten how much good will you'd earned among the ‘people’ to keep yourself out of prison.”

Staying seated, Arthur motions to another chair opposite of him that moves out and away from where it is tucked of seemingly its own accord. “You're in danger,” sounds like a threat at first, until it doesn't. “You probably would have been safer in prison, for a time.” Folding his hands together, Arthur looks out the kitchen window to the way the street lights illuminate the dark.

“I'm in danger too, and there's enough similarities that your well-being and my well-being overlap on this particularly perilous Venn diagram.” Arthur turns his attention from the window back to Gabriel. “If you're interested in listening… I've got nothing else going on at the moment.”

Slowly, that leak of radioactive light dwindles.

Particularly perilous Venn diagram.

It's tempting to speak without filter, to threaten and snarl, like any predator who feels cornered would, but Gabriel maintains his silence for now. A practice in restraint. He's had plenty.

His eyes snap to the movement of the chair, and return to Arthur with a different glaze of suspicion. All the same, he moves towards it, and sits down, both of his hands raking his hair backwards in a human gesture of nervous energy looking for an outlet. His hands rest on the edges of the table, and raises an eyebrow at this last part. Clearly.

"Earned among the right people," he corrects, on a delay. "I'm sure you're familiar with how that works."

Intimately,” Arthur agrees. “I’m not here to threaten you, Gabriel. God knows you’ve had enough of that recently. I’m here to give you a warning, and one that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, all things considered.” Leaning back in the kitchen chair, Arthur folds his hands in his lap and crosses one leg over the other. “It might surprise you, but I don’t have any ill-will toward you. Why else would I have worked so hard to help you clear your name? Surely there had to be some good intentions there…”

Rubbing his hands together, Arthur sits forward with restless energy. “I’d hoped that you’d already be gone. That either you’d be safe behind bars, or would have absconded to some remote island with your wife and son. But,” Arthur’s brows raise, “you’re forever a Gray. Stubborn. Purposeful.” Spreading his hands, Arthur seems resigned to the state of affairs.

“Long story short, there’s intruders in our world. People from another time,” Arthur explains by way of simplification, putting it in terms they’re both more familiar with, “that are like sand inside a clam. A grit, an irritant. I have it on good authority that they might turn to you for help, and I’d like to make some suggestions about your course of action. For the… safety of your family.”

Gabriel leans forward, hands set against table edge, a deliberate articulation of muscle along spine, showing teeth between his words as he enunciates, "I don't consider any scenario that begins with me in a concrete box to be a winning outcome, Mr Petrelli.

"And I don't want that life for them," is delivered a little gentler. A life of running and hiding. Some small part of them suspects that it might, in fact, be a favoured option to the gilded cage that the present reality sometimes shows itself to be, but like Argur said: Grays must be stubborn. Suspicious, too, like freedom is a scrap of meat being threatened by other predators, but as Arthur speaks, he can see some defenses relaxing.

If they can ever truly be relaxed.

His face is kept carefully neutral at mention of intruders, but the curiousity that shows behind his eyes is genuine enough. Listening, but he also asks, "Why would they come to me to help?"

“Because you're special,” is what everyone who has ever wanted to manipulate Gabriel Gray has said. Arthur chooses no different verbiage. “The number of people who can do what we do is vanishingly small,” Arthur explains with a small notion of his hands. “You're a known quantity, you're brilliant, and somehow you're also approachable.” Somehow.

“I don't want to put your family in a cage. Honestly, I don't want you in one either, outside of a short term to keep you from becoming someone’s unwitting puppet.” Arthur sighs and lets his head dip down, fingers splayed and palms pressed together in his lap. “I like to think everyone deserves second chances. I got mine, and look what I'm doing with it.” Arthur looks up to Gabriel, motioning to him. “So far you're doing pretty good with yours. I'd hate to see this ruined.”

Gabriel regards him — and his assertions as to specialness, familiar sentiments, like Arthur knows — with unblinking study, with only a subtle twinge at the news of his being approachable. The corner of his mouth, upturned.

Suspicion of a new kind narrows his eyes, like trying to work out why Arthur Petrelli cares, or rather, why Arthur Petrelli is inclined to project to him the notion that he cares. It's tempting to worry that bone immediately, but there are other questions readied on the tip of his tongue.

"'You're in danger,'" he says, echoing Arthur's words. "Bold opening. I'm gonna need more to go off of."

Arthur just smiles and spreads his hands. “I’m the man who sold the world, Gabriel.” His hands come to slap down in his lap. “Who doesn’t want me dead?” Slowly, Arthur stands from his chair with a slight grunt of effort. “We might be powerful, but we aren’t invincible, and the people who are the most likely to hurt us are the ones we trust the most.”

Looking down to the floor for a moment, Arthur furrows his brows, then looks back up to Gabriel. “Family can be the knife you never see coming. Stay away from the outsiders, Gabriel. People from another time… another world? They’re poison,” he says as he starts to walk to the living room doorway. “How many mythological heroes were killed by poison?” He wonders aloud, slowly turning to look at Gabriel over his shoulder.

“How many villains?” Arthur adds as an addendum, putting them somewhere on either end of the spectrum from their particular points of view.

Gabriel says nothing.

He closes up like a fan, thought and intrigue and curiosity and suspicion all shuffled back behind a flat look leveled towards Arthur's retreating form. Stands on a delay, moving around his chair in a pace that abortively follows Arthur out but doesn't make it all the way across. Where he winds up standing does not block Arthur's departure, but puts Gabriel between the possible trajectory that would lead to the still sleeping bodies of Eileen and Bai-Chan.

It's as clear a statement as anything he could say, and instead wastes words on, "I'm not either of those things," and he sounds like he believes it. Or believes in the idea of it. "And if you come back here ever again, if you say a word about my family one more time, you're gonna quickly find out that it doesn't matter to me how powerful you think you are."

“I won’t,” Arthur says with a look down to the floor, then back up to Gabriel. “I just figured, one father to another, it was the common courtesy.” Such as they are among people like this. Arthur isn’t bound for the upstairs, isn’t bound for anywhere except the mundane presence of the apartment’s front door. He flips the deadbolt open, and pulls the door in and allows the light of the street lamps to bloom in the foyer.

“Think about what I said,” is the last thing Arthur says before he shows himself out.

It will be hard not to.

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