gillian2_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Othello
Synopsis A game of turning white to black, and black to white. Or, a Shakespearean tragedy. Both are equally appropriate.
Date July 28, 2009

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

Nestled away in the most verdant corner of Staten Island's overgrown inland, a moss-encrusted old cottage tucked away between lush trees and untended fields is one of the derelict island's most best kept secrets. It is for this reason alone that the Ferrymen adopted the old hideaway, dubbed by its original operator as 'the Garden.'

In the pinkish-orange glow of a summer sunset, the Garden looks like something out of a picturesque storybook. The brick walls coated in crawling ivy dappled with droplets of water from a recent rain shower seem to glitter in the colorful sunset illumination. Purple clouds hang languid overhead, tinged orange and yellow the closer they trail towards the pink and scarlet horizon.

Typically the Garden is one of the quieter safehouses run by the Ferrymen; its remote nature and secluded positioning makes it a place more for lying low, rather than as a staging ground of activity. Ever since the days leading up to the fall of Pinehearst, the Garden has become a surrogate home for a handful of unusuals, as well as refugees from the Lighthouse; orphaned children with nowhere else to go.

Most relevant to a pair of guests coming to this old and crooked building today, however, is a single resident who has done his best to keep his presence here within the crumbling walls and overgrown vegetation of this safehouse quiet: Peter Petrelli.

Far and away from the cottage proper, it's amidst an overgrown field of wildflowers and tall grass that Peter finds himself. Gone are the tattered remains of clothing long stained with blood and caked with mud from his escape from Pinehearst, soiled with the grimy of Jersey streets and a long, blistering walk to Staten Island. Crisp black of a fresh suit, the dark and smoky blue colors of a button down undershirt and silken black tie narrows his profile against the vibrant colors of the sunset.

Standing out in the field, it's not hard to find Peter, not hard to follow the trail of dead brown grass that leads out amidst lush greenery, not hard to see where the birds refuse to settle in the saltgrass, where once green overgrown withers and turns brown. Standing at the center of it, is a man who should in all rights be dead

…and for a time, was.

Helena arrived at the Lighthouse not long after word filtered through. Her wounds are gone - she looks like nothing ever so much as left a scratch on her skin, much less being impaled, courtesy of Mrs. Hadley. Redirected accordingly to where she might find him, it is indeed easy enough to find the trail of dying vegetation. It makes Helena frown, but she doesn't understand it yet. She doesn't know. But soon she will.

As Teo often likes to put it, a Mediterranean breeze accompanies Helena wherever she goes, and Peter can feel wafting against his skin even though she approaches on silent feet. The smell of the wildflowers is carried on them, lush and full of life.

"I knew you were alive." Helena says behind him, her voice soft, triumphant, full of her seemingly ever-lasting store of faith in him.

To be honest, the man standing in the dead grass wouldn't be the reason Gillian came to the Garden. But the reasons are similar, in a way. A man who she worried wouldn't make it out of Pinehearst had, and while she didn't know where he would be, she knew where someone who had been with him had been. She'd made it to the Garden and hesitated outside, unsteady, quiet, not looking forward to going in.

The trail of blonde hair draws her attention away. The knot tied in the back of her head loosens for a moment, but the woman's far enough away it wouldn't have mattered. Tying it back up, she moves from the back of the building and follows.

It's a familiar thing, really. Dead grass. A trail of withered and lifeless things. One of the last times she'd been in the Garden, she followed a similar path— to find a very different man at the end of it. A distance away, near some of the trees, a hand even touching the bark. It reminds her vaguely of a dream that's begun to slip from her memory, only the clearing isn't nearly as ideal, and the monsters might not be as literal. She takes in a slow breath, and stays silent from the place a good many meters back.

Helena's voice stirs motion from Peter's narrow silhouette, just a twitch of his head to one side, baring the thinnest sliver o fhis cheek to her. He's silent, for a breath too long to be anything other than caught off-guard. "Helena…" He sounds tired, so very tired. "I— I told them…" shoulders slacking, Peter begins to turn gradually, even as the gentle and warm breeze begins to blow a familiar caress across his skin, tussle his hair in a way even memories cannot accurately replicate, stir the dying grass around him with a life no longer possessed. It's only once he turns to look at her, that the cognitive dissonance in his changed appearance hits her. Peter's eyes were never blue.

"I told them not to let you know I was here yet… I — " the look on his face though, it's all too much Peter. The way his brows sheepishly furrow, the way his head hangs, the way his frown is just a little lopsided in favor of one corner of his mouth. "I should've come to see you…" The words are a whisper, ashamed and reluctant all in the same. "I— " he's not sorry, it makes lying to her hard, "I didn't mean to— " but then again, he did.

When his blue eyes upturn to her again, finally, she can see the way they stand out against the dark circles under his eyes. He swallows, dryly, awkwardly; "I wanted to figure out what to say before…" silence comes for a moment too long, but then the edges of a smile threaten the stability of his frown. "I knew you'd make it."

"You should have." Helena agrees calmly. "You didn't. I assume you have your reasons." And that's where she leaves it. She doesn't ask, but she does start to step closer. "I'm sorry about your father." Sorry he's dead? No, not really. Sorry that Peter might be grieving over the old man? Absolutely, but understandable. Arthur was still his father. And that too, she leaves on its own. "Your eyes, Peter." She studies him frankly as she approaches. Something clicks behind her own blue eyes, and she reaches out toward him once she's close enough. A test? "And the grass. What's happened to you?"

What happened indeed.

Gillian hesitates a moment, tempted to pull her hand away from the tree, turn around and leave the way she came, but vague flashes of memories come back. Running away never fixes anything. But she can barely make out what they're saying. Her hand slides down from the bark, and instead of moving backwards, or running away, she slowly walks closer. Small crunches can be heard as her shoes crush dead foliage alike, but there's a breeze hitting in the area, knocking branches together, which might offer some mask to her slow approach.

"Don't." Peter's voice is sharp, eyes focuse don the outstretched hand, but he bites back some of that vitriol once the sharp word has slipped past his teeth; he already regrets it. "Don't touch me," the clarification is not even the slightest bit softer, but perhaps less personal. Withdrawing a gloved hand from the pocket of his slacks, Peter motions to the dead grass around him, eyes staying focused on Helena, though half-lidded in a tired stare.

"I'm not sorry, about my father, about anything that happened." His lips press together, carving down that smile into something more bitter, something more resentful, "it couldn't have happened any other way. Just— just don't touch me." That time it's more of a sharp whisper than anything else. Then, even softer, "You can't," The gravity of it carries on the breeze, "it'd kill you." Over the susurrus of the breeze and the dry, brittle grass, Peter notices not the approach of the other woman, he only feel her presence encroaching in as much as her life-force stands out against the field and Helena.

"Gabriel…" Peter murmurs, brows furrowing together, "he saved my life. He— found me dying— dead— I don't know…" he feels the need to clarify, "outside of Pinehearst." Swallowing awkwardly again, his eyes lift up and past Helena, towards the brunette specter haunting the periphery of the conversation. His focus goes distant, a thousand-yard stare as he quietly explains, "something went wrong. There's… something inside of me now — an ability — One of Gabriel's…" No, that's not right. "Kazimir Volken's."

Frowning, Helena turns her her head, following Peter's gaze and looking over her shoulder. Eyes lock on Gillian like crosshairs, but the way she turns back to Peter isn't so much a rejection of Gillian's presense as a return to her conversation with him. "There's Delphine." she says urgently. "She can fix it. Make you the way you're supposed to be." The past is prologue. "This can't end well," she gestures at him, "And you know it. I'll help you. Let me help you. It's always one thing or another, but if we - let Dephine try to fix this. It shouldn't be yours."

When the blue eyes settle on her, Gillian inhales quickly, not looking back to the blonde woman and perhaps not caring about the turning away, because— His eyes are blue. Whether she has a perfect memory or not, she happens to recall important pretty well, and Peter with blue eyes and Kazimir Volken's power certainly sparks one. A shuddered inhale, one she doesn't like, makes her hand move down into the carrier bag and touch a notebook, where she recorded so much while still having that memory. A journal just in case she reacted to losing it like Cat did. She didn't. But it remembers clearer than she does.

A shake of her head and she no longer takes slow steps forward, trying to keep the knot tight as she moves even closer. They both know she's there. "She's right." Yeah, she's supporting her. They can agree on some things.

"Fix it how?" Peter's eyes narrow slowly, "by touching me?" His lips downturn into a frown, "I think that'll go over real well, Helena. I haven't just been sitting here all day, on my hands, watching the clouds roll by. I've been thinking, trying to figure out— I don't know just— " he takes in a deep breath, rubbing one hand over his mouth slowly. "Gabriel already brought up Delphine, she's the one who fixed him after all. If she touches me, there's a chance I'd just kill her, or at the least wither her hand to skin and bones." His hand moves up, running leather-clad fingers through his hair.

"Negation is risky, Gabriel told me what happened when someone tried to negate Kazimir. If I get pushed out of my own body and Delphine tries to fix me— " his eyes wrench shut, then open slowly. "Do either of you really want to risk that? Because I'm tired of piling lives on my conscience for my own sake."

Trying to let some of the venom slither out of his words, Peter rubs his gloved fingers at the bridge of his nose. "Gabriel told me about the time Delphine tried to return some of his abilities to him, that she got things wrong, messed things up and ended up wiping out powers he had. What if she undoes what the ability did to me, and I wind up dead? Because, if her power works the way he says, I just— " he tenses up, then exhales a sigh. "This… this is why I was waiting until I knew what I was doing. I'm sorry I— I'm sorry for snapping at you."

Looking up to Gillian again, then over to Helena, Peter grows quiet and turns partially away from them. "I have to find somewhere safe to go… I can't stay here at the garden anymore, not with children around. I— I wilted part of the greenhouse's vegetables this morning. I can't… I have to figure out what I'm going to do. I don't think Delphine is going to be an answer to this."

Helena dismisses his waspish words without even really acknowledging them. She is also quietly grateful for Gillian's support. Yes, on some things she can agree. "There has to be a way." she says. "If Kazimir was able to pass it on somehow, it means you can too. We just need to discover how. Just because you can't touch people doesn't mean you have to be alone in this. Let us help you."

"Gabriel was able to control it— he's had the ability since the bridge, even Tavisha had it, when his memory was wiped and he had to relearn everything…" Gillian hesitates even as she speaks up, adding a bit more support, but throughout much of that time, even if off and on, she'd been beside him, with him. "It might be different with it being your only ability, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. Even if it's not Delphine, it…"

She trails off, not sure what else to say. This is not what she expected to be faced with. His eyes are blue. Just like the paintings that she saw, just like… "I think you need to talk to Eve about this. You need to hear the things that she's been dreaming lately, see the paintings she made." Not all of them had been revealed to Phoenix yet, but even with what had

"It's just his ability, right?"

Narrowing his eyes, Peter looks to Helena for a moment with an odd expression, then softens that more hardened look and slides his hand back into his pocket. "I wasn't refusing your help, Helena, just your idea. Kazimir passed it on, yeah… so did Gabriel. Who would you prefer to ruin the life of?" He looks back up to her with that icy stare, "maybe we could saddle it on Teo? Or maybe Alexander? Maybe Cat cold handle being anathema to life better than me?" The bitterness comes bubbling back, resentment for something indistinct in his words. "Maybe they'll lose control just a little bit slower than old Peter will, is that it?" His dark brows rise slowly, "Can't have me screwing things up again can we?"

Immediately following those words, Peter winces and brings a hand up to the side of his head. His eyes fall shut, and he tries to take another slow breath, exhaling it out between his teeth. "I didn't mean that," he murmurs, "I… I'm sorry." Those words are exhaled as part of a sigh, even as Peter endeavors to take a few deep breaths and collect himself.

"Gillian's right, in a way. I need to learn how to control it." His shoulders straighten some, "there's only one person alive who knows how it works, and that's Gabriel. I have to go where he goes, because without his help, I'm going to hurt someone, someone I care about, a stranger, it doesn't matter in the end. I'm dangerous, and Gabriel's the only one who can help me get this under control."

Chewing on the inside of his cheek, Peter keeps his eyes partially hooded, staring down at the brown grass underfoot. "Where's Eve hiding out these days?" Peter's voice is quiet, from the sound of it he doesn't like the idea of going to see the seer, or moving too far from Gabriel's side, all things considered.

"This has nothing to do with you 'screwing up'." Helena insists firmly. Thing of it is, a few months ago? The words she just uttered might have come out in a more shrill fashion. She's much more calm now. "It has everything to do with the fact that you shouldn't be plagued with this for the rest of your life." She quiets when Peter asks about Eve. As much as she hates to admit it, it's probably a good idea for Peter to go see her. "Someone should tell her about what happened." she says. "Her dream about me, the painting." That it came true, but Helena is still alive.

Staying next to Gabriel… There's something in the way she looks down at the dead grass that gives indication that affects her quite a bit. Gillian shifts where she stands a bit, conciously checking the knot again, before she looks up at Peter, "I can tell you where later— she's staying in a place in the Ruins of Midtown." Not safe, but less living things for him to kill out there, at least. "I can bring her wherever it is you end up too," she adds, to bend to his reluctance.

Hazel eyes shift to Helena, as she says, "I already went to tell her what happened. She— she told me Peter would be okay, that things weren't done for him, and she mentioned the dream she had about you." That's not all they talked about, but it's relevent. "I think she knew we'd beat him, even before I got there."

In every way, Helena's right. It's her calm, in the end, that is more withering than a shrill response ever was. Bringing one hand up to his cheek, be rubs his gloved fingers against the pale skin, then shifts his focus up to Helena again. "I can't wholly fault this ability… if it wasn't for it, I'd still be stuck in a wheelchair, or dead." There's a reluctance with which he admits having some small measure of thanks towards Volken's ability.

He grows quieter, letting the sound of the wind blowing across the grass make up for the space in the sound of his voice. He stares vacantly down at that dead grass, watching the way the greener edges are starting to lose some of their luster and color the longer he stands here. "I'll meet her where she is, I think right now it'll be better if she doesn't know where I'm going. Better if all of you don't know…" Removing one hand from his pocket to wring leather-clad fingers together, Peter finally starts to move, stepping a few paces closer to Helena, then just slightly around her to her side. It's not the first time they've stood like this, side to side, staring out over one another's shoulder.

"Until I have this under control, I'm not coming back." His voice hitches, just a little, "That's what I was trying to figure out. How to… how to tell you." Helena can feel the very subtle prickle of her skin with Peter this close, like the subtle pins and needles of a sleeping limb. "I've done a lot of things in the last few months I'm not proud of. To both of you." Having them both here doesn't make this any easier, "I've lied to both of you. Lied to myself. I've lied to pretty much everyone in one way or another…" His head hangs, and he takes another step, making him stand just past Helena, between the blonde and the brunette.

"When I was at Pinehearst, one of the hardest things I was dealing with, was trying to reconcile my feelings for the both of you." It's easier assuming, but much harder hearing the truth. "I was going to have to decide, eventually… figure out what my head and my heart wanted. Figure out if… " he just shakes his head, "I think life made the decision for me."

he starts walking again, feet crunching on the dead grass underfoot, stepping around Gillian as he slowly walks away from them both. "I think I loved you both, for different reasons. But right now, that's all in the past. Ability or no… this was going to happen. One of you was going to get hurt." He winces, with his back to both of them, "I guess this is just more fair."

Grass continues to crunch under his feet, and Peter quietly begins to walk away.

Loved her. Loved them both. The chosen tense echoes in Helena's ears, the temperature drops noticeably, like opening the door to a meatlocker. She stares at his back as he departs, incredulous, disbelieving, in denial. But she is also absolutely silent, so whatever she makes of what he's said is hidden behind her frozen expression. And up above, there is a rumble of thunder.

Further away, down another path of dead grass, Gillian saw the truth and heard the truth. Until she was driven away by it. This time she's not the one running away through the woods in a metal form to keep from crying. This time she only has one ability to call on, and reining it in gets more and more difficult the longer he speaks. There's a small pulse of energy, that causes a little wider radius of grass to die, a couple bugs to drop out of the sky. The weather feels more… But she wraps it back up and turns around as he walks away.

"Fate didn't make a decision," she yells after him, suddenly, moisture in her eyes, but also determination. She reaches up and rubs at them as she takes a few steps after him. "And it's not more fucking fair, either. You're letting what happened dictate what you're going to do and not…" Her voice chokes. The knot loosens again. She stomps it down.

Despite the tears and pain in her voice, she looks angry as she adds on, "The only thing fate did is give you another reason to keep walking away."

He halts halfway down the brown trail of dead vegetation from them, the chill breeze rustlign the blades of brown and green. Standing there, motionless, Peter's head turns ever so slightly to regard his shoulder, not quite turning to look back, but just enough to make it seem as though — for the briefest of moments — he is considering it. But ultimately, his head straightens and he keeps walking back in the direction of the cottage.

Thunder rumbles overhead, and dark clouds threaten the pink hue of the pristine sunset, even as droplets of water begin to fall down from overhead, a cold rain coming down in drizzling procession from a gradually clouded heaven. Soon, Peter is just a black streak against brown and green grass, slipping towards the ivy-encrusted back entrance of the Garden just as surely as he slipped out of that subway tunnel the first day Helena met him.

It was raining that day too.

"I moved heaven and earth for you." She doesn't yell or scream, and he probably doesn't hear her. A hand is pressed to her heart, like it physically hurts. Well, if pain is all in the mind, then it does. "You have no idea." And he may never. Numbly, Helena starts walking, brow tilted toward the earth. She's not even sure of what hurts more; that he'd lied, that he's conflicted, or that he is at this moment in her eyes, a coward. Her eyes dart sidelong as she's momentarily parallel to Gillian, it's hard to say what is brewing under that gaze as she continues forward.

"This isn't fucking fair," Gillian mutters under her breath, grumbling as she shifts her eyes to briefly meet Helena's. She keeps moving on, stepping forward, putting more distance between them, and then with a curse of frustration, she turns the opposite way and walks toward the dead clearing. So similar to the one she ran away from. No longer immune to the rain, all she does is make sure the carrier bag she has is held tight at the opening, to keep her things dry. It's better she stay away from people, cause the knot unravels and opens, spilling out energy that has no where to go. Rain will wash away tears, smear the makeup she wore for meeting with Cardinal, but at least it will give her a chance to calm down.

No one wins by running away.

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