Or Never


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Also Starring:

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Scene Title Or Never
Synopsis Some fairytales should be left untouched. The questioning of Jenny's identity causes ramifications.
Date March 15, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonement.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

Normally, the Lighthouse looks fairly uninviting, at least on the outside. Those who know what it looks like on the inside will know that is not the case, but this evening there's lights on, a steady flow of smoke from the fireplace, and laughter to those who get close enough.

"You owe me four hundred dollars!" a young boy's voice cries out into the air. Dark hair, light eyes, the younger of a set of siblings stands up from the board game, obviously pleased with himself right now, while he holds his hand out to the blonde girl sitting next to him at the board game. The blonde girl who happens to be his big sister. Nothing's cooler than kicking your big sister's butt in Monopoly.

A small dark haired girl, hispanic, giggles as she looks on from her position near the window, pulling a curtain back to glance out into the snow that's piled up and drifted quite a bit.

"Can I go out and play in the snow tomorrow?" she asks, still peering out the curtain, longingly.

"No. You hurt your ankle sledding and you still complain when going up and down the stairs," Gillian says from where she stands, packing up another board game that had been played earlier. This one Mousetrap. While she does this, she glances towards a wall clock to check the time, tsking softly.

"So if I stop complaining about my ankle, I can go outside?" the hispanic girl follows up, grinning a bit as she must be formulating a plan. But she doesn't wait for an answer as she spots something out the window, "Hey, were we expecting company tonight?"

The big sister of the Lighthouse drops a plastic mouse into the box and walks over to the window, glancing out through the curtains, and looking through the spot already rubbed clear by Denisa's hand. "Yeah, we were." Her jaw tightens for a moment, then she asks, "Can you go upstairs and get Jenny?"

"If I do can I play tomorrow?" the cheeky kid asks, hopping down from the seat next to the window, as if to show her ankle is okay— until she winces and makes a small 'ow' sound against her will.

"No." That's her answer, with a ruffle of her curly hair, while Gillian moves toward the door, and the young girl starts up the stairs.

With the sun heaving set and bone-chilling cold outside, it's perhaps not surprising that the three quick knocks that come over the Lighthouse's front door don't wait for an answer before the guest outside invited himself in. Coming in from the cold with a gust of below-freezing wind screaming in from behind, Peter Petrelli looks much as he did traveling in Antarctica, minus the blue eyes. Face wrapped in a scarf and heavy black winter jacket with black fur teim — a sourvineir of Operation Apollo — Peter is bound up for arctic climates as best as he can. "Sorry I'm late," comes in muffled greeting to Gillian and the children, though he doesn't make any motion to actually come in further than the doorway.

"I was at St.Luke's most of the day today…" Peter admits as he pulls down his scarf, revealing his lower face is still covered, though this time by a paper mask. There's an awkward furrow of his brows, and Peter looks over towards where the monopoly is being played within the warmth of the fireplace, a smile crinkling the fabric of his mask as he takes one squeakingly wet step forward, then stops in better judgement. "Is she home?"

Down down down the stairs, foot steps lightly down the spiraling path until Jenny can appear at the bottom. Her rust-red hair is a little damp from a previous shower, her pale neck and the swoop towards her shoulders a little bare from the wide neck of the comfortable sweater she's wearing, swamping her torso with sleeves down to her knuckles, the peak of pale fingers gripping onto the worn paperback she was holding. Her feet are bare to the elements, the cuffs of jeans turned up around her ankles, and she looks— fatigued.

Always fatigued, it seems, although healthier in these later days than she was before. "Hey," she says into the general area, pulling the additional sweaterjacket she has on over her shoulders as she darts a green eyed look from Gillian to the man arrived on the doorstep, brow crinkling at the sight of a mask. "What's up?"

"Are you okay?" Gillian asks, eyes settled on the mask for a moment. Between the young siblings playing Monopoly, the room is a lot emptier than it could be. Most of the kids must have went upstairs for the evening already, but there's also a light coming in from the kitchen. The hispanic girl who steps tenatively back down the stairs behind Jenny. The curly locks on the girl shift as she tilts her head, looking around and past the red head at the masked guest.

"Who's he?" Denisa asks, eyes wide. At least she's not asking to go outside this time. Though that may happen later on.

"He's …Peter." A friend? Gillian's voice seems hesitant and unsure what to say about him exactly, especially because her mind is occupied elsewhere, looking at her sister, eyes curious and almost testing again. "Uh, Jenny, I— This is Peter. Peter, this is Jenny." She glances between them, as if waiting for something very bad to happen.

Brown eyes move towards the redhead, and from the way Peter looks at her she's not what he expected at all. There's that silent moment of confusion in Peter's eyes where he's trying to figure out if the girl standing in front of him is anything other than Gillian's sister. For all he hadn't seen a photograph of her or been around her, she looks so realistic, so lifelike, that Peter's actually second guessing whether or not he was right to question her reality, or whether Gillian would be happier if he lied to her.

"It's…" Peter's dark eyes drift up and down the young woman, "It's nice to finally meet you. Gillian— she talked about you a lot." Talked, painfully past-tense. Peter's bruws furrow again, his eyes wander to the floor and when he looks back up to Gillian, there's a warning in his tone of voice as clear as it is in hs words.

"I've… got the five-ten." It's as much media-slang as it seems to have become common parlance these days, much prettier than saying the evolved plague. "I'm fine to be here for a little while, but I shouldn't stick around too long. Kaylee and Molly are sick too, we're all up at— " Peter's words hitch in the back of his throat, brown eyes flick over to Jenny. Yes, tell what may be a psychopathic murderer or a psychopathic telepath where Molly Walker is hiding, brilliant Peter.

"We should get this done, but, so far so good." Which is to say, she's pinging on his rdar, a bubble of pressure behind both of his eyes from the direction of where that redhead stands.

"It's super to meet you too," Jenny says, with a note of confused reservedness in her voice that rather clearly states: well she hasn't talked about you, pretty boy. Stepping aside for Denisa, the small smile playing out on Jenny's face fades a little at the news that Peter is sick, as if maybe the mask hadn't indicated this enough, and a slight scuff of bare feet against the ground has her steering back a step. That might help. "Gills?" she pipes up, smile vanished by the time she draws attention back to herself, glancing between Peter and her sister. Gesturing her with her book, she points over her shoulder to indicate where she'd just come from, the bend of Catch-22 visible in that flash of movement. "What did you want me for? Denisa said you wanted me for something?"

The silence coming from Gillian could have so many reasons that it would be difficult to guess what's causing it, especially without the telepath. "I'm sorry to hear that, Peter," she finally manages, moving over to the Monopoly game and bending down to look at the two kids on the floor, "Why don't you guys go into the kitchen and see if Juniper needs some help. Same for you, Denisa."

"Oh God, older people code for 'get out of the room,'" the younger of the three, the boy says with a mutter, tossing down his paper money and getting to his feet. Each of the kids have a little bubble around them too— there's a good amount of Evolved in the house.

"I'm going to go back upstairs and play with Mala— you owe us a bedtime story tonight too!" Denisa says instead, heading up the stairs she just came back down with a limp, while the other kids vacate into the kitchen. Yes, older people code for get out. At least they know it well…

There's a deep breath from Gillian as they all disappear, leaving her, Peter and… Jenny.

"I'm honestly not sure what you can do. So— do whatever it is you were going to do." It wasn't what she wanted. He can't tell her why… She will just have to find that out the hard way, if the answer is what she thinks. "He's just trying to help me figure out what… what happened to you. That's all." If she's really her. Or if she's…

Who Gillian thinks she is.

Jenny's hesitance has Peter tensing up, a deep breath drawn in and slowly exhaled to try and press it out of his body. His somewhat helpless smile is lost behind the mask, but his eyes show that hopeless expression of uncertainty, as if he's just not entirely sure how to go about the inquisition of Gillian's sister.

"Could you come over here and take my hand?" Peter offers out a thermal gloved hand, one brow raised and mask blowing in and out with his words and breaths. He still hasn't taken a step from the door, maybe he's looking to keep an exit at his back in case this does go sideways, maybe he's just trying to keep his infectious profile as narrow as possible. "Don't— worry the gloves are clean."

That he risked coming all the way out here while sick, even if he isn't showing it yet, Peter seems to be indicative of his willingness to help. "Kaylee— would've come but— she's just… she's in a bad way right now with the cold, I can't risk infecting all the kids here." Then, with a look over her shoulder to Gillian, Peter shares his nervous expression with her for a moment, then urges his hand out towards Jenny again. "I'm just going to— check something."

The progress of the children is tracked by Jenny's gaze, her mouth gone soft and small as she stands right where she entered — the bottom of the stairwell. Clutching her book with more force than necessary, she remains unbudging as she listens to Gillian first, and then Peter, lines in her forehead deepening with coinsternation and fairly staring at the hand offered. It's time for her to talk, now, and instead she allows for a silence to clap down in the form of a lengthy pause.

Accusation is in it, and her voice when she does speak. "If you wanted to check something," she starts, switching that accusation around to Gillian, "then why didn't you ask me?" Back to Peter, and though she's young, she seems capable of a very hard glare, designed to pin him in place. "Maybe I don't want to know what happened to me. Maybe the mind forgets the things it doesn't want to know."

"Well what about me?" Gillian asks outloud, voice broken and pleading. It's probably loud enough the kids in the kitchen can peek around the doorframe to look in and wonder what's going on. She's tried so hard to stay strong right now, but between various things going on, it's compounded into a emotional fracture. Again. In some ways she's not just talking to Jenny with this, either, but that's the only one she can focus her attention on right now. That's the only one she can bring herself to look at.

"I need to know what happened to you. I need to know why— why you're here now. I need to know you're… you." There's no tears falling, exactly, but it probably won't take much for them to. Voice tight, words strained and raspy, it's obvious she's hanging by a thread. Again. "I'm sorry I didn't ask you, I'm sorry I couldn't confront you about it. This wasn't how… I wanted this to happen. I know it's selfish. But I need to know."

Peter lowers his gloved hand, bringing his palm to his face and gloved fingers pinching at the bridge of his nose. Head dipping down into a slouching nod, the sigh he breathes out is clearly indicative of his patience for this, and the faint throb of a headache that's been working at his temples and the top of his head all day today. When Peter's hand comes down, his brows are furrowed, dark eyes moving to Gillian for a moment in her emotional outburst, and then towards Jenny in silence.

"I'm… really sorry," he admits as he starts to walk forward towards the young redhead slowly, "but it's best if we know." This isn't how Gillian wanted this to happen, this isn't how Peter wanted this to happen, but the machinations of a blizzard and the virus eating at the back of his mind has driven them to this desperate place that none of them want to be at.

Which of course begs to ask the question why any of them are doing what they're doing at this moment. The simple answer, is because they're all stubborn.

Jenny is shaking her head, tendrils of dark red shimmering along with the movement and mouth made into a bloodless pale line of anger, and she lifts a hand to point a finger imperiously at Peter. "You're gonna stay away from me," she instructs, voice sharp, sharper than Gillian has heard it probably in a long time. "You're going to turn around, and leave, before you infect all of us!

"And you." Her voice snaps over the word, fury turned to Gillian now, sudden and almost out of character, for her, in its abruptness. "You should just be grateful that you have your sister back!"

Her voice thickens as she says this, green eyes going swimmy with tears. The way she turns on a heel in preparation to run upstairs is very much Gillian's younger sister, always prepared to be the first to storm off and slam doors in an echo of rare anger so that the whole house knows about it. She never gets that far, however, when—

Flooding sunlight, or something like that. Effortlessly, their surroundings slide away in the time it takes to bleak, and a wasteland stretches all around the three of them, flaming, dust in the air and the sky seeming to burn behind its clouds too. The cosy livingroom of the Lighthouse has vanished, from the couch to the building itself through to the prying eyes of the eavesdropping children, all replaced by a place Peter will remember very well.

Ground Zero. They stand in the burned out centre of it.

Jenny shrieks and stalls from where she'd been about to run upstairs, confronted with no upstairs at all to run to as she turns back towards them, eyes wide, her hands empty of the book she's dropped somewhere else, because it's certainly not here. Wind blows through her red hair, glitters it with the ash of skyscrapers.

The world shatters, just like Gillian's emotional state often seems to. Everything swept away and disappeared. Illusion is something she's witnessed before, at least one time it'd saved her and everyone else's life in Antarctica. In an almost mirror, she flinches against the sudden light, the broken buildings, the dust and the ash. It's not a memory she possesses, but she still knows what it means.

And part of her is sorry that she ever asked for help from someone connected to the man who did show up in the first place.

Stumbling through the area that had once been a living room and now isn't, she moves, instead of running away. Does the red head even know what happened? Is this someone else's doing? A month ago, she'd be sure she was dreaming… but from the ache in her feet as she stumbles closer to get to her, she's pretty sure it's not a dream.

"I was grateful," she says, blinking through the ash with those tears finally falling. Her and her sister used to get into arguments over the stupidest things. But that tone of voice stung deep. "I wanted it to be real." She didn't want to question it too much, she let it go on a lot longer than she probably should have, in the world that they live in, with illusion and deception everywhere… "But I don't want to be lied to anymore."

Peter is not so verbose, really. Jenny may as well have turned into a housefly for all the attention he's suddenly affording her. He can feel the heat on his face, the thermal wind caused by the cataclysmic level of destruction between the skeletal skyscrapers weeping molten steel and glass from their burning faces. The sky is that choked black soot gray flooded with orange and brown from the glow of fires. It's supposed to be noon and it looks more like midnight, and standing atop one of those broken pieces of shattered concrete, tar still molten soft to the touch of his boots from atomic fire, Peter is transfixed in a horrifying nightmare of his own creation.

The sound Peter makes is pathetic, a weak croaking noise at the back of his throat as he takes a step back, brown eyes wide, staring transfixed on the rippling waves of heat rising up from the glowing orange crater that was once Kirby Plaza. Metal groans and creaks, buildings are still collapsing around them, and a gutted skyscraper belches for burning sheets of paper from what may have at one time been an office building. Cars are charred black, paint bubbled and peeled away and windows blown out into glittering fields of diamond-like debris at his feet.

There's no words for this, no words for what he's seeing, nothing that can take away the horrified look on Peter's face. Were it not for the fact that the smoke stinging at his eyes isn't real, he might have been able to blame that for the watery look his eyes take on. There's no shame in crying at this. Everyone did.

"I wasn't lying," Jenny rasps out, oblivious to Peter, oblivious as to what this place could possibly mean. Her own shock drains away almost too sharply in favour of addressing her sister, arms wrapped around herself as she focuses on hazel eyes with her own watery green. "I wasn't lying. That's the worst part of this, Gills. You couldn't just— leave it alone. It's not a lie, it's just…"


The voice is familiar to all three of them, one way or another, hoarse and deep, masculine, amusement curdled within its deeper tones. Gabriel Gray is on surround sound, echoing in their ears, and Jenny's eyes flare wide. "Where are we?" she finally asks, her voice much thinner in contrast.

It's not a lie to someone who thinks it's the truth. But that doesn't make it real. Gillian casts a glance toward the dark form with the face mask, just to make sure he's still there, before focusing back on her sister, wiping her hands at the tears that have nothing to do with ash. Or even the location. Even if it fuels unbearable pain for one of them, she's got her own personal tragedies to deal with.

She wanted so much to leave it alone, to just believe it. It took so long for her to seriously question it. Gillian didn't want to destroy the fiction. She didn't want to lose her sister again. In so many ways she'd lost so much she wanted something back… but she wanted to know…

"Why are you doing this!?" she screams out into the air, turning away from Jenny, toward the sky, toward the voice in surround sound.

An accusing look is fired to Jenny, almost immediately upon hearing her talk again. For all that it looks like Peter is about to lay into her with that clenched fist of his for no good reason it's the addition of another point f pressure behind his eyes that makes his waver, his balance wobbling and a hand coming up to the side of his head. There's a lot of Evolved here, and what Wendy Hunter had tried to warn Peter about is starting to take effect. Disoriented and attention drawn over a half-dozen different directions now, Peter lets out a croaking noise in the back of his throat and drops to one knee on the molten pavement.

"Hhhh— " The sound is a throaty half-word as Peter's gloved hand holds at the side of his head, trying to drown out the noise the way he had to when he had Matt parkman's telepathy. "We're not alone," Peter manages to strain out thorugh clenched teeth, "he's here. It— it's not her." How could it be, after all?

There's only one Gabriel.

Shoulders curved in, Jenny's eyes are wide and bright as she stares across at Peter, unreadable save for a tharn kind of fear written on her face and tense disbelief. No one's yelling at her anymore, and her gaze swivels upwards as if the sky would reveal who, but she probably doesn't want to know. A quick scan around confirms that for real, the Lighthouse seems to no longer be there, before she's squinching her eyes shut. If she had a pair of ruby slippers, she might be knocking the heels together.

"Well gee." When Peter had seen Gabriel in this setting, he'd been unconscious after the blast, after his shields had failed, skin scorched to peeling leather and as near to death as you can get without signing down your name outside the Pearly Gates. Now, he seems more or less in his element, his blackly clad form simply edited into the scene like a sliced video reel.

He stands upon metal and concrete, eyeing Jenny who eyes him back, before amber-brown gaze goes to focus on Peter. "You didn't have to point out the man behind the mirror, did you? You're so sure of yourself. How do you get to be so sure of yourself when this is where we stand?"

His hawkish gaze falls on Gillian, severity lessening a little as he adds, "Don't ask why until you know what."

There's no surge of energy from Gillian, even if she's emotionally kicked once again by this situation. No one seems to know how to kick her quite like the two men that are present. And the two of them together… If a bomb hadn't already gone off and broken the landscape, she might be expecting one too any moment.

Even in her anger, and at the sight of the hawkish gaze accusing her. Was she asking the wrong question? Perhaps. As she looks at Jenny and sees the disbelief, the fear… What if…

Years ago, it would be no surprise that she sucks as a big sister. But now… She finds herself moving toward Jenny, no matter what Peter may have said, and trying to reach out for her. Gabriel's here. And it wasn't…

"What is this? What did you do?" she asks, turning back toward Gabriel again, even… seeming to try and keep protectively between him and Jenny.

"Gabriel," Peter should be angry, should be furious, but the fact is the last time he saw the man standing here they were as close to friends as they could probably ever get. The tension in Peter's body remains, even if the worry has changed to something more multi-faceted. "This— This is Grigori Zukhovsky's ability, illusions, Gabriel— " Peter hitches on the explanation, "got the ability from him when we were fighting the Vanguard. It's how he saved all our lives at Amundsen Scott… but…" There's a swallow, noisy and tight at the back of Peter's throat, and the masked Petrelli takes a half step forward towards the image of Gabriel, breathing in deep despite the taste of smoke he can feel on his tongue even with the mask.

"Gabriel you— you're alive?" Somehow Peter wants this to be true, and without knowledge of the murders happening across the city, without the knowledge of all these terrible things, it almost feels like a reunion. "I— I heard but I didn't believe it." Peter takes another step forward, moving subtly in front of Gillian and Jenny.

"How— " Peter looks over his shoulder to Jenny, confused, he's sensing an Evolved from her, and that much has his eyes flick back to Gabriel in absolute disbelief. "Please— tell me you told Eileen? She— she'll be beside herself." Probably not the best choice of words.

Jenny certainly feels very real. So does this place, this patch of scorched earth, but perhaps not as mundane as the feel of Gillian's little sister moving to huddle against her back in some mammal kind of desire for protection and comfort, resting her weight to her and head ducked to tuck against the back of her shoulder. Hands grip Gillian's clothing, and her breath blows warmly as she utters; "That's him. That's the man in the door." There's true fear in her voice, damp sounding.

Regarding the three in front of them, Gabriel is close to unreadable, expression flat. Maybe wearied. "I guess I gave you your sister back," he intones. Disgust, in his voice. "Peter's right. This is an illusion. But that," his voice clips the end of the word harshly, teeth baring for a moment, "is not. Just a part of me.

"I told Eileen." His attention swivels back to Peter, looking him up and down as if unsure what to make of this man now that he doesn't have Kazimir's ghostly presence puppeting him around. Talking about how he saved lives.

"How? How did you give me my sister back?" Gillian asks, looking up the arm touching her clothes, toward the face. The face of her sister, the one she never thought she'd see again. Even if the last time she'd seen it… she was watching her forehead get lasered open, blood dropping down her face. Everything about this feels so real. Even when she knows it's not. Everything is fiction. But was it better when it was?

"Did you travel back in time and get her out of there before you…" He'd implied regret in the past, that killing her hadn't even been necessary. That he lost control… But if he'd saved her that way…

Hazel eyes trail down to her arm, to look intently at the area where she'd found the first real clue as to who could be behind it. "She has your tattoo… You said she's… part of— What do you mean she's part of you? How is she part of you?!"

There's a tingle of horror tickling at the back of Peter's head right now, but it's a distant fear, an implausible one. "Gabriel, stop— " there's a wave of his hand at the illusion, "stop this." A look goes back to Jenny, confused and brows creased, before Peter's attention settles back to Gabriel again. "How— How did you survive? How could you have possibly survived that, I— I felt/ you die, I— " Grigori's illusions fool //all the senses, and it's equally possible that Zukhovsky's power even fooled Kazimir's ability to sense the life force of others around him.

Breath hitching at the back of his throat, Peter steps forward again, head shaking. "Gabriel you— it's good to see you again." Part of Peter feels like some sort of monster for saying that, surrounded by ash and smoke and flames as he is. Perhaps that's why the ghosts of the past are trying to be kept at his back, with the Volkens and the Kirby's and the horrible things that have come before.

"Gabriel, what's going on? I— I can help you." There's a furrow of Peter's brows, frustrating earnesty on his face. "Tell me what the hell's going on, I— I can figure something out. We— I just— " This man could survive anything it seems, against all odds. Nuclear explosions, Emile Danko, Antarctica itself.

"Don't worry, Peter. All you have to do is fight back the next time you see my face. For now— both of you need to get out of my way." Maybe it's for Peter's benefit, that the blasted landscape melts back into the warm indoorly lit nighttime tones of the Lighthouse after dark. Or maybe Gabriel just wants to see what he's doing. With a lift of his hands, both Peter and Gillian are sent stumbling to the left and to the right as if he were Moses parting the Red Sea, puppetry strings strangling their limbs until, perhaps cruelly, both are released to fall as they may. Jenny only squeaks when suddenly the two people separating her from her nightmare are so easily shoved aside, eyes going wide.

And then shutting again, as she's forced to backpedal back and back until her back finds the wall, pinned by her own straining muscles and letting out a shrill kind of whine that makes Gabriel sneer. The door to the kitchen is shut off, leaving the three adults to their adult conversation. "It's me," he tells Gillian, a glance her way. "A clone. Except in this case, I don't get to just wish it away. It came its own self, rebelled, and I've been trying to track it down."

"Go away! Just leave me alone!" comes the hell-screech from the entrapped redhead, more rage than fear in her voice. "I am not you! Let me go!"

That's one ability that Gillian really, really doesn't like. From where she ended up, near the bookshelf, sprawled where there's a few books that got left behind and knocked down. The strings gone, broken, she scrambles back to her feet as her sister— a clone that took on it's own form— screeches and yells, pinned against the wall.

A clone.

Like Stef.

Who'd been her, but not her at the same time…

"No…" Before her sister died, he'd done something that left a fragment behind, a voice that he heard in his head. Tavisha had told her about the voices. And she'd learned more about it later on, as well. It always sounded so…

She is Jenny. A fragment, a memory, an imprint… but… in some way…

She has her answer. Why? There is no why.

"Stay away from her!" she suddenly yells, no longer crying, or surrounded by rubble and death and destruction. Instead there's just… them. In the Lighthouse. And she's running toward him, reaching out for him. If she can just touch him, maybe she can do what she did with Meredith, when Jenny was watching.

"Stop!" It's a shame Peter isn't yelling that at Gabriel. Struggling up with a wheeze from the floor where he'd toppled, Peter lashes out and grabs Gillian by the wrist, the coarse fabric of his thermal glove scraping against her hand as he yanks her back. There's an odd throbbing sensation once Peter's hand has taken Gillian's, her ability feels like a pulse currently slow and languid despite how her actual pulse races. After that moment of discovery, he squeezes her hand tighter and presses a hand to the wall to help ease himself up more to his feet. "Gillian, don't she's— " wait a minute.

Where's Brian?

"Wh— " Confusion is the paramount expression on Peter's face as he remembers where he obtained the ability to clone from, but Gabriel? For him, there's only so many ways he can obtain an ability, and he can't see Gabriel's reason for being missing for so long is that he was forming a bromance with Brian to get a better understanding of his replication ability.

"Gabriel what are you doing?" Peter knows the answer to this question, because it's exactly what he was going to do with his own rebellious clone. Thin the herd.

By now, Jenny is reduced to squeaking noises, her jaw forcibly clamped shut in the same way her body is held, Gabriel's hands extended to contain her as he slants a look towards Gillian before she's reeled right back. "What am I doing?" he repeats, the black circles of his brown eyes shown with white all around, dead in those milky pools and eyebrows arching with a subtle tick of movement upwards. "I guess I'm giving Gillian a body to bury." It doesn't occur to him that he might have to justify where he got his this power from.

It is, after all, one of many. "I'll make it quick," is assurance to the room at large, hands lowering— though strings of puppetry binding Jenny remain— as he steals out a pocketknife from his coat, clicking it open and making strides forward.

"NO! NO!" Gillian yells, struggling against the grip on her wrist in horror and anger. "I already had a body to bury you fucker! She's— She's all that's left of my sister. If you ever cared about me at all then just let me keep this!" It's a fiction and a lie, but now that she knows what it is and what it isn't, she wants to keep it, wants to hold it. Wants to do what she failed to do originally.

Save Jenny.

There's suddenly a pulse of energy from where Peter's touching her, a crackle of purple light that looks like electricity rather than the glow of her augmentation. It draws on the energy of Peter's active ability, dampening it, lessening it, and sending all of that towards the only other place she can think… Her sister, or all that's left of her.

With her hand wound around his and electricity a shade of violet so unreal that it seems like another illusion coursing through his hand, Peter feels that pulse deaden and flatline before the whole sense of his throbbing headache begins to lessen from outside sources, the virus still rampaging around inside of him creates that headache's dull brother at the back of his mind, but the psychic static diminishes, as does his desire to keep that physical contact with Gillian, addictive as it is.

It's hard to say it's a lie when you yourself are the byproduct of a cloning ability gone awry. Breath hitching in the back of his throat and fingers winding tighter around Gillian's wrist, Peter tenses up and narrows his eyes, tugging her back enough so that he can get a grasp on her shoulder, drag her away from Gabriel and push her behind himself. "The kids," Peter urges, because he sure as hell can't go near them in his condition.

Sniffling back a runny nose and breath rattling in his chest, Peter takes a step forward towards Gabriel. "Enough." A few more steps carry him across the floor of the Lighthouse, "I'm— I am not going to just stand by here and watch you— watch you /do this!//" There's a furrow of Peter's brows, a scowl, "You don't need to kill her," says the hypocrite who wanted nothing more than to do just that to himself once.

"Just— just re-absorb her don't— don't fucking kill her in front of Gillian!" Peter takes another step forward, the creased frown he wears hidden by the paper surgical mask. "Gabriel what the hell is wrong with you?"

Hypocrite is something Gabriel seems to agree with, but he expresses it through a sharp swing of his arm in a sudden spark of fury, the back of his knuckles aiming for the flimsy mask latched to Peter's face and knocking it askew. "I hate that question," Gabriel growls, quietly, severely, once the sharp blow is dealt, and his other hand brings up his knife to point its sharp end at Peter's face. "I really fucking do, especially out of your mouth. You, out of anyone, knows what has to happen. You don't give a damn about who it's in front of, don't act like you're better."


Meanwhile, Jenny's eyes go wide around green as augmenting power zaps through her like adrenaline, hissing in a breath through her nose and focus going dazed. Around her, a fine mist begins to form, thickening, run off of power bleed until something has to give. And something does.

The redheaded girl implodes into inky shadow, expanding, collapsing in on its, like a piece of nighttime stormy sea were writhing in the Lighthouse living room. Gabriel's eyes flare wide in surprise, looking towards the creature when the shadow suddenly surges forward, becoming solid and using momentum to drive a pair of bare feet into the serial killer's chest. With an oof, Gabriel goes tumbling back, knife clattering to the ground— an item which Zhang Wu-Long picks up and turns over in his hand.

The sweater fits the Chinaman better, though the hems of jeans ride up his calves, and as lithe as a cat, he gets to his feet, inky black hair shifting out of his eyes with a tilt of his head as he regards the other two in the room, before tipping his chin to Gillian. "Xie xie."

During the backhand, Gillian legs go of him and pulls away angerly, both pleased that he's gotten backhanded, and angry at what he said— but this reaction doesn't get to last long. Not long at all. Because just as she's about to say something, her sister explodes into shadows. That— that wasn't supposed to happen.

"Jenny!?" she yells out, watching the new person in the room surge around and fight back, in a way that…

Gillian recognizes him.

From the memory of a rainy night in the park, when people grabbed her and tried to shove her into a car. When the man she would know briefly as Michael rescued her, told her people were after her, and… She also knows him from a painting. And from pictures in a database.

He scared her, and he hurt her. But whoever he had been… he might be the only thing keeping Gabriel from killing what's left of her sister.

She doesn't speak Chinese, but she hopes he understands English.

"Don't let him kill you!"

By the time Peter hits the floor his head is swimming. This had been a bad day to begin with after his trip to the hospital, but now the ache running through his bones is accompanied by the ache of his jaw. Practically toppled over on Gillian, Peter scrambles to one knee with just enough time to look up and regard Zhang Wu-Long and the knife he holds backhandedly. Brown eyes are wide in confusion, but a memory of bluer ones recalls the faint, foggy edges of who this man is. Not in something as definite as a name, but in a more — and perhaps fittingly so — ephemeral trait of dutiful.

"You," Peter breathes out, struggling up to his feet as his gloved fingers wind into the fabric of Gillian's shirt as he tries to pull himself up, then brakes out into a hacking, wheezing cough as one hand comes to clap over his mouth, paper mask torn down the middle. With the cough, Peter staggers away from Gillian, fear of infecting her making him subtly mobile. His dark eyes look back up towards Gabriel, towards Wu-Long, and he manages to make his way up to his feet around the same time concerned footfalls are creeping down the stairs.

"Wha's goin' on?" Rubbing at one eye sleeping, Joe comes trundling down the steps into the room, the only one of the lot who hadn't been playing Monopoly, probably because he had been tired from being so goddamned badass all the time. Or, you know, that's what Brian would tell anyone.

If only Peter knew what Joejoe could do, maybe he wouldn't be grabbing a lamp in one hand and yanking the plug out from the wall, because right now anything but Wendy's power would be fantastic.

Wu-Long only lifts his knife in a kind of saluting response to Gillian, a subtle glint of the blade, before he flips it around to hold as he eyes Gabriel slowly getting to his feet. "Well," he's saying, amber gazed fixed on the second ghost of the evening, "this is at least a little less pathetic. Shut up, Gillian," Gabriel adds with a sneer, and his attention diverts, briefly, towards the silhouette of the child appearing in the doorway. Wu-Long, probably, would have thinned his mouth at this show of hesitation at a critical moment.

If Wu-Long weren't attempting to do battle, at least. Transforming into a demonic flood of black shadow, he whips around the room like a phantom, and what transpires next seems lightning fast, as it only can when a fight ensues between these two. A knife flashes into being, a growl from Gabriel indicating it struck home; Wu-Long transforming into a swatch of shadow that's steered away as Gabriel seems to gather the light in the room into a hand that redirects it in a searing sweep.

In short: Wu-Long staggers out of his phased form with less grace, stumbling to his knees and near bowling Peter over as the light in the room goes back to the way it was, and Gabriel takes the pause to clutch his bleeding shoulder, rage setting his features. It was easier when his target was struggling, mewling prey. It always is.

Of all the kids that could have wandered down, Joe's probably the only one who could get around this situation without— well— possibly dying. Even then, Gillian suddenly yells up at the usually stoic boy, "Go back upstairs, Joe!" Oh god, what if— there's so many kids with abilities. If she didn't want to kick Peter in the face herself, she might have made a suggestion. Instead, she moves quickly to the wall. Why would she suddenly go to the wall?

Because she knows there's a panel there, as she shoves the sheetrock in a bit and pushes it aside. This stash used to hold some of Brian's refrain, that she'd taken upon herself to remove from his temptation. But it also has one thing that most the kids shouldn't know about… One of the things that Brian Winters added to the Lighthouse to make sure that they were all protected.


In this case, specifically a pistol. Which she levels on Gabriel.

"Get out. I don't fucking care she— he— whatever— is a clone. It's staying here and I will fucking shoot you if I have to."

Watch out Peter's got a fucking lamp because he apparently had no idea that Brian turned this place into a secret gun museum. Looking from Gillian's pistol to his lamp and then back again, Peter furrows his brows and exhales a tense sigh, swallowing dryly as he looks from Wu-Long's diaphanous shadow escape to the knife-wound now embedded in Gabriel's shoulder. How Peter became the woman in this scenario is something he's going to be wondering about for a while now, but the former nurse is in no place to make demands now for when his life became a running joke.

The lamp hits the ground with a heavy clunk and Peter's running over towards where Joe is standing wide-eyed in the face of Gabriel and Wu-Long's confrontation. Practically tackling the kid away from the scene, he swoops Joe up into his arms and drags him back towards the stairs, pushing him up towards the staircase as Peter walks backwards away from the fight. "Get upstairs, Joe. Get upstairs— " Peter reaches into the pocket of his jacket, flipping out a phone and handing it to Joe. "Speed dial one," he blurts out, shooting dark eyes back towards Ganriel.

Joe nods sharply, staggering back up the stairs as Peter guards that entrance. A whole fat lot of good that's going to do if the shadow devil or Gabriel really want to get up to the kids, but what other option does he have?

Call Eileen seems like the least insane one. The Dispensary isn't that far away, maybe by the time Raith gets here he can root thorugh the ashes of the Lighthouse for Peter's bones.

There are things Gabriel can do to avoid a gun — even more tricks since the last time she pointed it at him, exploding his shoulder and all the rest in— a scenario not so unlike this one. You were there, too. Still, he freezes, not quite a deer in the headlights, sizing Gillian up in ways that have nothing to do with threats. His hand comes down off his shoulder, where blood is sparkling slick on the black wool and the newly carved slit through which it seeps, studying his fingers gone ruby red.

Wu-Long is rising to his feet, observing Gabriel with some amount of judgment before briskly snapping closed the knife and tossing it back on over. Gabriel catches it to his chest, mouth parting in a little disbelief before snapping shut loud enough to click.

Things are electrically tense. If the Lighthouse doesn't get reduced to rubble this time—

"Fine." Gabriel's eyes are wide in his head, jaw tense. "Enjoy your fairytale. If you think it's going to get a happy ending, you're deluded. And as pathetic," he points the knife towards Wu-Long as he meets Gillian's gaze, "as that is." He looks Peter up and down, fanning his bloodied fingers. "Easy. I'm gone." And he is. Gone. He's headed for the closest wall, not even bothering with the front door, a hand out and sinking through it with a phasing power which might explain his confidence in the face of being held at gunpoint.

Wu-Long, meanwhile, moves towards where Jenny had dropped her book, fingers reaching for where the lights make a glare off its bent cover.

The pistol stays pointed upward even as the man disappears through the wall. There's a suddered exhale, moments after he's finally gone, and the gun lowers. Gillian's arms are shaking, her knees are shaking. But those tears that briefly fell are gone. Shoving the weapon back into the panel, she looks toward the closed kitchen door and yells, "Everything is okay now." Even then, the door only cracks open a little, and a couple sets of eyes peer out.

No more reassurances are given. Will it even be okay? She has no idea, but… Jenny had been terrified. Whoever the Chinese man is fought against it.

"I'm sorry," she says simply, kneeling down beside the man with the book, looking at him as if wondering if she can hug him. "I'm sorry I— You can stay here. As long as you want. You don't have to… to hide whatever you are. Not anymore. Whatever of Jenny is in there, whoever you are— you can stay here. And I'll try to protect you."

From the bottom of the stairs, Peter flashes Gillian a look, not one meant for her to see but judgemental enough. Brows furrowed, he shakes his head and looks back up the stairs where Joe is using his phone, then settles a look back at Gillian after breathing out a wet cough into his fist. "Looks like you have your answer…" Peter raggedly states after a few moments of silence, slouching one shoulder against the stairwell wall and hunching forward with a hand at his head.

"There's… Eileen's— on her way." Everything aches, and this adrenaline pounding revelation did nothing but put him on a speedier course towards sickness. "I'll— " What, be outside? Leave Gillian with Wu Long? Or whatever he is at least. No, he has better words to say that I'll be outside.

"How about you explain what the hell is going on?" That could be to Gillian or the flip-flopping sister-ninja, it doesn't really matter who starts talking as long as someone—

—oh god the room's spinning. Peter just stumbles back and lands on the stairs in a comfortably seated position, but not entirely gracefully. There's a lot of Evolved here.

Looking across at Gillian, Wu-Long is difficult to read at the best of times, but one can bet that he probably wouldn't— draw her into an embrace, which is what he promptly does. Warm through the fabric of his sweater and smells— mostly of the shower Jenny took a little while ago, and then comes the strange sensation of feeling someone transform in your arms. Muscles thicken, at first, gain some mass, before suddenly bird-like and slender, the grow of long red hair tickling Gillian's neck and cheek as Jenny pulls back to smile at her.

"Thank you," she says, voice at a bare kind of whisper, before she twists to look back at Peter, a skeptical raise to one need ginger eyebrow. "Your friend looks like he could use a cup of coffee, but I think I'm gonna crash early. Maybe— " She stops, swallows, flashing a glance back at Gillian, before putting on a brave kind of smile. "Maybe we can talk tomorrow."

Or never. Maybe they can talk never.

Not never, if Gillian has anything to say about it.

"Tomorrow," she says, reaching up to smooth back the red hair, brushing it off her forehead and even letting her hand linger on her sister's cheek. A clone of Gabriel's, with shapeshifting and other abilities. But one she said she would protect, help, in any way she can. And she means it, from the stubborn look on her face.

Protecting a fantasy? Well if she can't have everything, she might as well have something… Stef wasn't pathetic. The Peter-clone wasn't pathetic. This one isn't either. She knows she'd regret it more if she didn't

"Peter, you should go. Maybe we should call an ambulance for you— I think they might actually be running with the new hospital on Staten— or I can drive you, if you don't think you can." Risk getting sick? Better than him staying the night. His germs are already all over the place! But the less he's here, the better.

"Go get some sleep, Jenny."

"I'll— wait. The Hospital out here's not— doing anything yet." Peter grouses as he stands, one hand on the wall in that struggle to his feet. "I want to— to wait anyway, see if Joe got thorugh to Eileen, see if she shows up for— I've got questions for her and she's going to— " She's going to not really say a lot because Peter will be too busy coughing like he is now, one hand clasped over his mouth, fingers pulling at the too tattered face mask, crumpling it between gloved fingers.

"I'll wait outside for her." Peter warns, shoulders hunched forward because it feels easier to breathe that way, nose snuffling and eyes watering his head's throbbing and there's too many evolved in here. As he makes his way to the door, Peter glances over his shoulder to Jenny— only now realizing Wu-Long had shifted to her, then swallows back a frustrated noise as he opens the front door with a gust of cold air, and steps outside before the noisy slam of it closing behind himself.

Never sounds pretty good though.

He sure wishes he had never come here, for starters.

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