Pass Along The Message


benji_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title Pass Along The Message
Synopsis Something unexpected interrupts a Ferry ally and a prisoner's morning stroll.
Date December 3, 2010

Pollepel Island

As the two men step off of the crumbling pavement and onto the moss (and snow) covered grounds surrounding Bannerman Castle, their breath is visible in the chilly morning air, billowing up like pale ghosts against a slightly darker sky. The taller of the two pulls out a cigarette and tucks it between his lips, his other hand coming up to light it, calloused hand cupping around the flame so the cold wind doesn't put it out before the cigarette alights.

A loon makes its keening cry toward the water, and Nick's head turns to squint through the faint sunlight, his heart pounding just a touch at the sight of the bird. He'd meant to avoid Eileen, meant to find Raith immediately, but instead had been given this unexpected duty; the guard watching Benji had recognized Nick and asked him to take the other man out for a supervised excursion, to let the man get a breath of fresh air and stretch his legs.

When the loon doesn't come flying at them, Nick turns toward Benji, offering the pack of cigarettes out of habit before remembering. "Oh, you don't smoke. I forgot," he says, hand dropping once more and tucking the pack back into his pocket, hands curling around the gun that's there once more — just in case.

It's stunningly cold, but that much, Benji doesn't seem to mind. Icy air smarts at his pale, freckled skin, has him tucking his chin in to huddle inside his own clothing, which happens to be a borrowed woolen coat, as well as a hand-knitted scarf of deep blues with brighter threads. Likely his own. The rest of his wordrobe more or less obscured, save for the final inches of jean legs, and snow packed boots. "Mm," he agrees, as he navigates his way over the terrain, drifting some few feet out of reach of Nick as they go.

Pale eyes flick up to regard the loon, misty vapour flagging out at each exhale. Outside feels raw, in comparison to being trapped indoors. He doesn't hate it. "But then you remembered." He tucks his arms around himself, warmed bared knuckles beneath his armpits, twisting around to regard the exterior of the castle.

Nick allows the other man to lead the way — there's not a lot of places he can go, really, and Nick has a firearm to stop him if he tries to make a break for it. He trudges behind Benji, a little warmer clothes and in less motley apparel: Black wool peacoat, black knit cap. His hands are ungloved, however — this is cold, but like most people, he's been in colder — just not actually in New York, like most of those present on the island.

He takes a long drag from the cigarette, then blows out the smoke, that ghost darker, closer to the hue of the gray sky above, compared to the whiter apparition that accompanies Benji's.

"I should quit," he says, more to make conversation than a confession that smoking is wrong. His left-shouldered shrug is a tacit addendum that it doesn't matter if he quits or not, in the long run.

"Why give up what you love?"

There is a hint of wryness, in there, Benji gripping a fistful of coat tail as he delicately picks his way over where stone seems deliberately set into a natural ledge of ground, some mix of manhandled and natural formation that might have defined a pathway or had some other purpose, but seems not to serve the role of making Benji's stroll slightly more challenging. "Thank you for coming out with me today. I always feel a little restless after they waste another negation shot on me."

Well someone's in a princess mood, apparently. It's been a long week, since Nick encountered him on the docks, and his new found freedom since Vincent had tested his trustworthiness with disappearing locks is— well— new found.

"Donno if I'd say I love smoking," Nick says quietly, longer legs making the navigation of the stepping stones a little easier. "Just somethin' I always did. First because I wasn't supposed to. You know how it is."

He takes another pull from the cigarette, smoke pluming up toward the sky. The kree of a hawk above has him turning to peer up, then down as the bird of prey suddenly plummets toward the earth in the distance, apparently finding some small creature to snack on.

Better a mouse than him.

He huffs a little laugh at his own nervousness. "So you're a telepath? You can understand why that'd make them nervous — I'm not sure I'd call it a waste of a shot. Even if you don't plan on peeking in their minds, if they know you can't — well, peace of mind is a powerful thing. Not a waste of a shot if it gives them a small bit of that, yeah?"

"Oh, don't worry, Mister— York, was it?" A flash of an uncertain glance, looking the younger man over, before Benji finds himself following the same look for the dropping hawk, which is by now beating its powerful wings to gain some altitude, not sharing to the two earth-crawling wanderers whether or not its kill had been successful. "I have been given plenty of rational explanation at every turn. No one can know what goes on in my head." A small quirk of a smile at that.

He pauses to let Nick catch up with him, as opposed to trailing behind, not quite looking back but turning his head enough to watch his own periphery. "And I can know it's a waste on my own. My own secret." Voice edging only slightly louder than a whisper, it's difficult to say how many words Nick can catch. And how many are intended to him.

The next one is: "Nervous?" Rather than leave it at that, Benji adds, "You're watching the skies like a doe with a fawn."

"York, right," Nick murmurs, his longer legs catching up quickly enough once the other man pauses for him. His dark brows raise a little at the gesture, though he continues on stride for stride with Benji once their walk resumes, rather than letting the "prisoner" take the lead once more.

He snorts a little at the question as to whether he's nervous or not. "What's the word for the phobia involving birds? Aviphobia?" he suggests — ornithophobia not a word in his lexicon. But the coined word makes him smirk to himself for its own reason. "Not really. Not afraid of birds, that is. I guess I'm a little nervous, yeah." He shrugs again with just his left shoulder, though he winces slightly, the gesture tugging at the bruised tissue on that side of his chest, courtesy of Walsh.

"City boy. Not used to this sort of place," he adds, an offer of a meager explanation.

Whatever Benji might have to say on ornithophobia, parting lips to do so, even, is very violently interrupted.

Good things can start with a bang, but bad things do too. The sound of a gunshot will lift birds from trees, and there's no opportunity to duck for cover or react when both men are hit, one more squarely than the other. The other being Benji, who chokes on his own words when some invisible force catches his shoulder nearest to Nick and spins him, sending lanky telepath careening off leftwards and landing in snow and rock with a graceless whud, rolling into the base of a tree.

A groan hisses passed his lips, shaking his head to loose raven hair out of his eyes to stare around wildly, first catching the sight of where Nick was thrown several feet forward when a wall of concussive energy hit his back like a moving vehicle, tossing him rag-doll like into the damply icy terrain.

The third party is moving on over at a slow meander. A navy coat covers grey sweater, blue jeans, boots sinking into dirt and snow. His face has been printed into countless newspaper pages, flashed across TV screens as the world's most wanted mass murderer, all definite eyebrows and widow's peak, doggish jaw. And he doesn't seem happy to see anyone today.

The throw — or more accurately, the landing — knocked the wind out of the hapless Ruskin and it takes a long moment just for him to suck an icy cold breath into his lungs thanks to the fact his solar plexus happened to get punched by a rock stuck in the ground. The still contusion to the upper left of that spot from Walsh's rubber bullet also flares with a newly awakened pain, the dull ache of the past couple of days now white-hot as every nerve ending in his chest seems to scream in anguish.

Lip cut from his own teeth, Nick spits blood into the snow, fingers clawing for leverage to try to push himself up, though all he does is make it to his hands and knees. He turns to find his prisoner through eyes blurry with pain and confusion. Is this some sort of diversion set up for Benji to make his escape?

Nick sees the third figure making his way toward him, the face finally coming into focus as the adrenaline starts to take precedence over the pain. "Convenient to see you of all people. Got a message for you, actually," Nick offers, his voice low and strained before he coughs again.

"Oh, that's funny," Gabriel says, lifting his voice just enough to be heard, coming to a stop some still decent distance away. He ignores where Benji is huddled at the base of the tree and watching the exchange with clear shock as opposed to fear or pain, a hand making a claw against the bark. "Because I had one for you too." It's difficult to see, exactly, but it can be heard — the cracking of ice, splintering, as the snow around his feet seems to get even frostier, white ice building on white ice enough to send plumes of icy vapour into the air, a faint blue glow at the intense cold.

There's a creak, and shards of glittering particles raise up from the ground like tiny daggers, and go soaring in needle sharp flight to pierce skin, slash thick wool, like a swarm of angry, stinging hornets.

The younger man has just enough time once those little daggers start to fly to duck his head back, covering his face with his arms as he rolls away to try to get his feet under him at last. Nick's thick clothing saves him from the worst of the damage, though of course if it was truly damage that Gabriel wanted to inflict, he'd have thrown something worse in the first place.

Still, hands and wrists and neck are slashed by the tiny shards as Nick yells inarticulately at first, then thinks to warn the other man there. "Benji — get the fuck outta here," he shouts to the prisoner.

Finally getting his feet beneath him, Nick staggers against a tree; one elbow throw over his face, his free hand slides into his pocket to try and get the gun he carries, to level it against Gabriel.

"Look, if this is about Gale, I don't fuckin' know shit about you and her and whatever that's about — she's just givin' me supplies and took care of my injuries," he throws out quickly, trying to peek over his arm at what might be the most dangerous man in the world. "She's the one who gave me the message. Is it about her?"

Well that's decent enough permission. Benji awkwardly gets to his feet, snow sloughing off his coat and speckling and quickly melting in hair that plasters to his forehead, back against the trunk as he stares less at the Midtown Man and instead where Nick tries to hide himself from the little cloud of flashing icy shard. Some of which are beginning to gleam red, spatter ruby droplets on the ground, a soft sound of worry and sympathy creaking in the older man's throat.

Not that he's going to throw himself at the attacker or anything. His body tenses like he'll bolt, but finds himself glancing towards the serial killer, as if for permission. In case he's planning to murder anyone who flees.

Gabriel flicks his darker stare to Benji, mouth curling a little. "You're irrelevant."

"Primal," is breathed out, and without further ado, Benji takes off in a loping and frantic run for the castle, boots dragging thick trenches through the snow just as that silvery attack of ice is drawing away from Nick, settling around him like falling dust. Gabriel's attention on Benji's fleeing form is contained to a glance, before it focuses entirely on Nick York.

Lucky Nick.

An eyebrow raises as the assumptions tumbling out of Nick's mouth, but they do well to distract Gabriel. He stands in expectant silence, awaiting more while giving no indication until he gets it.

Blue eyes flick toward Benji's back as he makes his retreat — he can only help the other man makes it inside and not off the island, but right now he isn't Nick's priority. The younger man swallows thickly, that arm still up and guarding his face, the man squinting in an effort to protect his eyes should the ice shards attack again.

"She said someone … someone expects you to show up at the Queens Borough Public Library. I was supposed to find Raith and pass the message to him," Nick manages, staring down at the snow that is sprinkled with his blood, little drops of ruby starting to thicken and congeal against the icy ground.

"I donno who it was but she was pretty spooked from it," he adds, his mouth opening again to continue his spiel, but then closing. He doesn't know what to say — usually he knows why someone's trying to kill him, but this time, Nick doesn't have a clue.

None of this is making sense to Gabriel. That much is probably clear, even from where they stand apart from each other and Nick has to see through the fear of ice in his eyes and his pointed gun hovering between them, gripped hard and steady in his hand. That the man on the end of it doesn't seem to mind it much might be a concern. He doesn't have any idea about who would meet him in the Library. He doesn't know who Gale is. That seems to be a more likely deduction.

"Describe Gale."

"About this tall," Nick says, lowering the arm to bring his hand to about where Odessa comes to, at his shoulder. "Whitish hair. An eyepatch on the…" he has to think a moment, "left eye. Other'un's blue. Scarred up face, but pretty beneath it. Dresses a little trampish, like stripper heels, that kinda thing."

His words tumble out fast, an effort to be informative and useful. "She's some kinda doctor over at the Suresh Center. Says she knows you, that you and Raith are friends. She was afraid of whoever this person is — said that if you didn't show up, that this person, whoever it is expecting you, that they'd go after your girlfriend."

That Nick has no idea who that might be is clear in his delivery.


Gabriel's voice is a rich baritone, and made richer still with warm amusement, a chuckle graveling vocally in his throat and a grin splitting across at Nick. "Then I guess we both have a vested interest in my going to the library, Nicholas." What Gale's interest in such a thing might be isn't anything he's worked out yet, given the circumstances, but planning and thought can come later. There's still someone in front of him who may or may not have totally received Gabriel's message.

In the near distance, Benji is disappearing through the doors of a castle, and shutting them behind him. Maybe Nick can expect a little back up soon.

Gabriel takes a swaggering step forward. "There's a lot of people who would like me in certain places, at certain times. On a scale of one to obvious, how much of a trap do you smell? Keeping in mind that your little sister will probably have words with you if it gets sprung."

Nick swallows — he hurts in more places than he knew he owned, and the sharp winter air feels like splinters in his lungs, thanks to the pain that blossoms in his chest. He scuffs a bloody hand across his forehead, spreading blood there in an irony he's not aware of but Gabriel may be.

"Obviously it's a trap," he admits. "I wasn't going to try and hide that much, not from Raith and not from you. This Gale's obviously afraid for herself, for her life, and willing to throw you and whoever your girlfri-"

He swallows. Recognition alights on his face, the proverbial lightbulb lighting above his head. "Eileen."

Her words come back to him, echoing in his head — that she had somebody here who loved her, that she was happy.

Nick drops the hand holding the gun — it's obviously not a threat to Gabriel. "It's a trap," he says, tiredly but honestly, his face pale but for the bright spots of rose in the center of each cheek caused by the chill in the air. "I owed her for some shit so I said I'd deliver it — but I didn't know who you were. I didn't know the connection. She told me to look for some bloke named Raith; she didn't know I knew any of you."

Nick glances down at the ground, then adds, "I swear it."

An eyebrow raises cynically at the idea that Gale thought that way of Nick, but he can't know. Vapour courses in and out his mouth as he listens and breathes and then thinks in silence after Nick pledges his honour, his own coat hanging open and apparently unbothered by the distinct chill of the air. The ground directly beneath his feet is still uncommonly icy for this time of year, but it's no longer being manipulated, at least.

"Okay," Gabriel states, after a moment, almost jovial. A trap. He can work with traps. He also believes Nick, apparently, and he juts his chin up in a nod. "You know how your friend lost that eye?" He takes a step back. "Eileen took it. Eileen took it, after Odessa— sorry, Gale~, tried to kill her." A hand lifts, index finger pointed skywards, tilting on the emphasis. "That was only after the poison attempt didn't do anything except blind her."

Another bright grin. Shows teeth that have probably been bloodied in the past. "Small fucking world, I know. You get used to it. You got a hell of a taste in girls, York." Says the guy whose girlfriend has a hell of a taste in men.

Nick's lips part to argue, to defend himself, to fight, but there's a queasy feeling in his stomach that tells him instinctively that Gabriel is telling the truth. His eyes close and he shakes his head, snorting with anger and disgust — at himself, at Odessa, at fucking kismet.

"I don't think I'll ever get used to it," he mutters, spitting more blood into the snow, his hand on the tree trunk curling into a fist helplessly.

Eyes open and search Gabriel's face. "I didn't know she was blind… but now you mention it…" there's an oddness to the way she looks — or doesn't — that never quite felt right. "Nothing can be done?" he asks tentatively. "You — you have all these abilities, right? You can't fix her?"

There's a plea in his voice rather than any sort of criticism for Gabriel's lack of ability to fix the one thing he cares about.

There is silent reserve when Nick isn't even aware that the woman can't see, like maybe Gabriel is conscious of overstepping some boundary, but fleeting worry is fleeting. Not his problem. It's more this last part that gets his attention, and Nick's voice doesn't even have to have criticism for the serial killer's hackles to go up, made manifest in a clenched jaw and a hard stare dealt across in amber-brown eyes. It reminds him of why he came out here, why he introduced himself the way he did.

A hand spreads, and five points of glowing, white light emit from his fingertips. "That's not your concern," is snarled out, and in a blinding flash, thin electricity comes leaping out, zigzagging recklessly through the air and dealing Nick a hard jolt that'll hurt tomorrow without actually killing him.

By the time the smell of something burning and ozone is fading from the air, Gabriel is twisting a look back towards the castle, where someone with a shotgun is emerging, but keeping a distance thus far. Time is up, almost.

"You figure out how to fix her first, and let me know how that goes."

The blast throws Nick backward again, the man yelping as the electricity courses through his system. Dark lashes flutter against pale cheeks as he groans. This time he doesn't get up — he's not sure he can.

"Tell 'er—" he gasps out, the tagged sound of his voice making him cough to clear his throat before he tries again. "Tell 'er Walsh wants to know where she is, that he wants 'er business. Wants to know if she's alive or dead. I'm not gonna tell 'im where you are, but I donno if she has a better idea of what sorta lie might fly with 'im, something that only she and he'd know, maybe, somethin' based on past business maybe, so it'd seem more legit," he tosses out.

After all, he didn't believe Nick the last time Nick told the truth.

"And before you kill me for mentionin' Walsh's name, she knows about it, and she knows what the 'ell it's about, and that I ain't one of his thugs, yeah?" The American accent has faded along with any pretenses on his part — he's so scared, Gabriel can surely smell it in the air.

And fear has never proven itself to be a bad smell.

"I won't kill you," Gabriel assures. Assures. He flexes the hand that had sent out that bolt of lightning, and now, people are coming running from the castle. Looks like his low profile has been spent. "If you're gonna die by someone's hand, it'll be her's." Which is something of a mercy. Nick probably knows that Eileen won't go that far. Probably.

Ice crunches beneath Gabriel's feet. "I'll pass along the message." And with that, no more footsteps, his solid frame disintegrating into inky shadow and flowing like liquid towards thicker forest rather than stand out so blatantly against the ice. Done with Nick, unceremoniously, Gabriel sharks off before he can attract more attention as help comes in the form of a couple of weapon-wielding Ferrymen, and also the prisoner who'd fled the scene, Benji moving more at a distanced walk out of chilly curiousity and fleeting concern for one of those who'd been kind to him, thus far.

Cold hands claw at the dirty, bloody snowy ground to push himself up. When he finally manages to sit up, he bows his head into shaking hands, elbows on his knees. The revolver, still held, frozen in one hand, points skyward as the cold metal rests against his blood smeared forehead. He's cold from the snow and colder from fear, shaking as he sits in the snow, mind turning over the information in his head.

Gale tried to kill Eileen. Blinded Eileen.

The man Nick had once seen through a crack in the door in his sister's bed is Sylar.

His eyes finally flicker up, taking in the approach of the Ferrymen, noticing that Benji got him help. The gaze moves toward the water, where his little speedboat is moored to the docks. He wants nothing more than to be on that boat and away from this island, but he knows he can't today, not in the state he's in.

Another loon — perhaps the same — makes its mournful and eerie cry, and Nick's eyes follow its flight, no longer nervous at the bird's presence. It's hard to be afraid of a bird after meeting Gabriel Gray.

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