Peace And Friendship


deckard_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title Peace And Friendship
Synopsis You can believe the title, or read the log, China. Deckard and Gabriel encounter each other, again, in Midtown. Some circling, some business, and some death wishes take place. All in the name of science.
Date May 9, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

Midtown. Seven PM. The sun is setting, touching red and orange at the smoggy blue steeped thick against the opposite horizon. In the long shadows between shattered skyscrapers, visibility is dropping at an unnerving rate. Snarled collections of rebar and contorted metal take on human shapes in the encroaching gloom, homunculus lurking at every corner. For the unwary traveller, now might be a good time to panic. For Flint Deckard, everything looks pretty much the same as it did when he got here four hours ago.

That is, at least, until he reaches up to take his sunglasses off and immediately glances down at his watch. Later than he thought. Cigarette puffed and bulky backpack adjusted, he glances up over the surrounding architecture and shrugs it off. The worst thing he's seen out here this week was a rat the size of a football.

Sunglasses tucked down into his pocket, he draws something out in their stead. About the size of a deck of cards, it's small, rectangular, and — click! He squints up at half a building across the street and flips the switch.

A sound like an impossibly robust rifle blast cracks across the desolate landscape in every direction. Ash-crusted glass explodes out of eighth story of the building ahead, chased by a fireball nearly consumed by the black of its own choking smoke.


It sounds like it could be a storm. Thunder cracks impossibly loud when your ears are attuned to hear a cockroach scurry across the floor two houses away and so for a split second, Gabriel expects to see lightning crack through the sky in the same moment. But no, an explosion that lights the night on fire for a moment before giving away to inkier smoke that masks the burning red.

A shower of glass, metal, stone debris falls to earth rather than water, too, but Gabriel is out of its way. One of the humanoid shapes of shadow happens to be a real human, this time, and starts to move around the time the explosion finishes echoing off the other skeleton buildings and ruins. Not on its own, there's a guy attached to it. Ordinary in many ways, and in more ways than he'd care to admit. Gabriel raises a hand, scratches the corner of an eyebrow, and slips out from the gaping, long since broken doorway of a building whose function is distorted and lost in the remains of twisted metal structure and instability. A sign, blasted by fire, might have an 'R' in it somewhere.

His arms are folded across his torso, hands gripping either elbow, head up and face turned towards where the building across the way is burning. Black on black on black makes up his wardrobe, which stands him out amongst the shadows. Greys and browns would be better camouflage, to be honest.

"You'll wake the neighbours." His voice comes from somewhere behind Deckard, around the time his scraping footsteps sound out and halt.

Glass tinkles down to concrete in a depectively melodic rain of potential death, but Deckard's made more calculations than are readily apparent. Glass shards fall short, as do smoldering specks of drywall and dusty concrete that patter down at a more irregular rate. Paper comes last, curled too black and too light in its irregular twist through a gusty breeze.

Cleaner, whiter paper is whipped out of Deckard's backpack in the form of a familiar black notebook while the explosion is still belching smoke and little licks of persistent fire, followed up with a pen. With the ongoing scatter of flaming debris across the street ahead to distract, he starts scratching out notes in the near dark only to pause once at the sound of something…something moving behind him.

Breath caught cold in his chest, he whips his head around with a wild-eyed snap, glare blazing an entirely inhuman shade of blue. His hands are slower to react. Possibly because recognition sets in before it occurs to him to drop the pad in favor of pulling out his gun. He doesn't so much as twitch a grizzled whisker. Don't move. Maybe he can't see him if he doesn't move.

It's dark but not so much that he needs Deckard's glaring blue eyes to make out the other man, colours of sunset streaking here and there, warm tones amongst all the black and grey. Gabriel's head is tilted a little, as if straining to pick up the sound of the other man's heart beat, face blank in concentration. No dice. No surprise. It does occur to him that this particular game is a dangerous one but— hell. How likely is it that Deckard will randomly tase a people, jab them in the neck with a sedative and—

It's probably good that Gabriel doesn't know the answer to that question. He takes a few more steps forward, arms still wrapped around him and far darker gaze settled on Deckard with just as much wary avidness, coming closer. Closer. As if trying to sidle up and stand beside him and watch the fireworks, but several feet of distance is still maintained, possibly for reasons Deckard doesn't even realise.

Incidentally, there is no surge of power. Having learned to rein it in, Gabriel keeps it under a tight knot, a distraction but a necessary one. One eyebrow raises, when Deckard stays perfectly still and silent, and he suggests, "I'm really here. Again." That had been a matter of contention, last time. The smell of ash is in the air, now, and fireflies of burning paper linger in the air not so far away or above them.

Deckard can hear his own heart beat just fine. In fact, it's about the only thing he hears while the black knot of muscle in question tries to hammer its way out of his rib cage. For a few unbelievable seconds, it almost seems like it might work. Standing there, not moving a muscle. Not blinking or breathing.

Gabriel's footsteps track to the side rather than directly at him. His head twitches jerkily to follow the movement, sweat already curling the hair at the nape of his neck damp and dark. First the heat wave, now this. If the wind wasn't picking up, he'd probably have cause to lose the shabby brace of his overcoat.

The fire burns on without him, gorging itself on bone-dry carpet and documentation likely gone undisturbed since the initial bomb.

He's really here, he says. Again. At a long-faced loss, Deckard turns slowly back to the site of the explosion, coat rustling, notebook still in hand. If whatever he was writing was important, he seems to have forgotten what it was, or why it mattered. "That sounds like something a hallucination would say."

Coming to stand more than arms reach away from Deckard, in a neat line so that they may observe the fiery glow of destruction in geographical companionship, Gabriel tilts his head up to watch, even if his blurred periphery gets more attention than the building. Deckard's profile cuts vague shapes just to his right, which is enough. All he's watching for is movement, so as to know when to start running.

In either direction, frankly. The only thing that might indicate that Gabriel's had a bad week might be a scrape at his temple, as if he'd fallen, and even easier to miss is the needle track in the side of his neck. He hasn't shaved in a couple of days, either, and could stand to get his hands on a comb. "I wasn't a hallucination last time," he points out, voice sitting mild in his throat. Subdued in some ways. As if the only way he can come across nonthreatening is by being quiet and not making eye contact, which, might be true. "Sure as hell wasn't one the first time. But this isn't the part where I try to kill you."

Just. So we're clear.

A comb does not seem like it is one of the things that might be living in Deckard's backpack. There is a flask, some bottled water, another pipe bomb and a revolver, but no comb. No razor either. The absence of both is pretty plainly evident in the wiry crook's scruffy profile. He hasn't bothered with shaving in days, and for all that he showered this morning, his hair is windblown and thick with the same ashy grit that's dusted over his shoulders and ground dark into the lines spidered across his bony hands and bonier face.

He's breathing like any scrambling chase that might go down here has already occurred, blue light washed white by the orange cast across his face making the sideways flicker of his glare after current company difficult to miss. He's just standing there, empty skull eyes taking in fire that x-rays fail to register past something that might be heat distortion in the air.

Tension trembles down the stack of the older man's spine, manifesting outwardly as a shivering twitch of an exhalation. The boogie man remembers who he is after all. "What part is it?"

Gabriel's head tilts loosely on his neck, considering the question. It is a good one. And there is possibly too much silence as he considers it, as if maybe the reply is going to wind up being good point. The standing side by side positioning and now the head canted towards the left almost makes this a mockery of an art exhibit, if explosions weren't inherently graceless.

He speaks eventually. There's a strange kind of bitterness in his voice, pauses falling stilted between words. "I don't know. There aren't a lot of options, out here. I'm finding."

His chin ducks a little against the uncoming chill of sunset, protecting his throat. If Deckard's audible, visual nervousness factors in, it's not something Gabriel is taking into consideration, to either spike it higher or smooth down with reassurance. The erstwhile killer remains closed in on himself still, arms locked across his chest. More curiously, he asks, "What do you do?"

Stretches of screaming silence pull taut at wire-bound forearms and the length of his neck, lining out in fiber after fiber tweaked nearly to the breaking point. Three seconds to pull the gun, two more to aim, one to aqueeze the trigger. You should have shot me when I blinked, you know. Sylar's voice is branded into the back of back his memory, charred recollection now reigniting itself with feverish urgency. Should have shot me.

"I…see. Things." As much as he would like to be as complacent as is inhumanly possible, his voice wavers against an answer that contains any actual information. His fingers twitch around his grip on the notebook, just once, crinkling the page. So close to the gun. So close.

Rising smoke smothers out any early stars that might have managed to puncture pre-existing pollution. Deckard swallows again, pupils black, eyes unblinking on the precipice of rash and unwise action.

Gabriel's mouth stretches into a kind of smile at Deckard's answer, glancing sideways and then back up at where fire and smoke continue to generate. It should probably occur to him to keep both glass-black eyes on the man he's both speaking to and baiting in turn, and it doesn't, not right away. As if maybe acknowledging this man could be a threat is in some ways turning him into one. Taking Deckard's silent advice to himself: don't move. It can't see you if you don't move.

His shoulders have become slack beneath his coat, hands slipping down to place in his pockets. "No. Not your ability. I don't— " His teeth click together to shut, a snort of air through his nose. He doesn't care. "What do you do. Out here." Gabriel's chin tips upwards to indicate the burning mess. "Besides play in someone else's sandbox."

He doesn't care. Does he already know? Has he guessed? Did someone tell? These and other paranoid question marks direct his gaze into a rapid back and forth across the other man's profile. There aren't any answers readily found there, and inevitably, he has to focus back ahead again on a mess that he can't actually see.

"I…dunno. I scavenge. Explore. Find stuff people need. Cash, merchandise…" he trails off, brow furrowed with distant self-awareness over the weirdness inherent in having this conversation with someone whose monstrous habits make him look like a soft friendly, friendly bunny. "I can't stay in the city."

Maybe he knows what that's like.

The fall and tumble of debris has thinned into a scattered trickle, giving away to the crackle and snap of ongoing fire. Deckard manages to pretend to be interested for about ten more seconds before he looks back over to Gabriel more directly, narrow face turning with his eyes already fixed on target. "What are you doing out here?"

Maybe he should care about Deckard's ability, especially when attention is steered so certainly onto him. He sees— what does he see, exactly? It's something to consider when twin points of glowing blue are focused in your direction, but Gabriel doesn't chase the question he'd dismissed, simply turning to match it, raising an eyebrow as if to maybe ask it silently.

He'd probably be disappointed to know it's just bones. Anatomy. That's a more literal form of soul searching than Gabriel is interested in. "I came to see the fireworks," he answers, flippantly, but evidently he's had his boyish fill of watching something burn from distance enough he can't feel its heat. Out here might not simply mean this particular street, however.

"I can't go into the city either. That shouldn't be surprising. I thought Phoenix looked after you."

"No." As far as 'no's go, this one would be hard pressed to get any flatter. Phoenix doesn't look after him. "Teo tries. Brian…" does his Brian thing. With the Christianness and the assholeness and the place to sleep, if he wants it. Evidently tonight he doesn't. An evasive sideways flicker detracts from the solidity of his glare and works uncomfortably at his jaw. Phoenix.

"It's nice out here." A statement that doesn't quite line up with him saying he can't stay in the city as compared to doesn't want to. "Quiet." When he isn't blowing up buildings. The wind ruffles at the paper in his hands, prompting him to recall the notebook in them. He closes it, hesitates, turns to tuck it away into his backpack.

Phoenix, indeed. The corner of Gabriel's mouth hooks up into something that hints at a smile but never makes it any higher. His posture is already still beneath its facade as casualness, but it's possible his back goes a little straighter as Deckard turns to tuck a notepad away. Nervously, Gabriel touches the tip of his tongue to lick his lips, and manages not to step back.

Or forward, considering that ranged weaponry requires— range. Knives, though, too. Enough. Not everyone wants to kill him, surely. Teo doesn't. Gillian doesn't, today anyway. "Teo tries," he repeats, amusement in the quiet volume of his voice. "Why does that not surprise me?" There's a grit of gravel underfoot as Gabriel shifts his weight from leg to leg, subtle fidgeting.

"Look— " It's about pride, is the thing. It can cripple you into doing nothing, saying nothing. Gabriel looks about ready to leave whatever he was going to say where it is, but in the end, there is some sentiment to be shared. About Teo's band of merry men and what help they have to offer. Or lack of it. "Do you still sell guns? I remember you were a weapons dealer." A pause, then: "I have money." Fuck everything. Ever.

Deckard's looking. He's been looking since the gravel shifted, hawkish, bristled attention snapped back around into harsh focus. Every subtle movement registers. Restless fidgits, the stir of his heart behind his sternum, the muscles around his eyes and mouth. The nice thing about being out here is that there are plenty of places to run and hide. He would just have to live long enough to reach one of them, is the problem.

Notebook gone and hands free, his twitchy paranoia is more of a direct problem than it might have been before. He looks mad, curly hair lank with sweat, dirty face shadowed unfavorably by the encroaching night and dying fire. His eyes are wide and wild, uneasily tolerant one second and ringed with borderline panic the next. Somebody's kicked the dog in the head one too many times.

It's several rapid-fire beats before his hackles falter down enough for him to consider the question in earnest, hearing it for what it is as opposed to Charlie Brownesque wuah wuah wuah. "You have money?" As in, he wants to buy guns and isn't asking merely as a point of curiosity? One brow twitches down; he slacks his mouth open.

Power augmentation and maybe the uncanny ability to answer questions before they're asked. Gabriel raises an eyebrow in a shorthand way of exuding confidence he doesn't feel. He's always been good at acting, once he got the hang of it. Yes, and? A serial killer with a swiss-army knife ability is asking if you sell guns in exchange for cash, what is possibly wrong with this picture.

Except most things. But he can pretend like it isn't and maybe, if he's lucky, Deckard will join him in this game of make believe. "Yes," he says, injecting a note of irritation into his voice for masking purposes. And leaves it at that, gaze on Deckard in equals parts sharp and dull, waiting.

He's irritated that he's asking. Somewhere in the black depths of all the crazy shored up behind electric blue irises, a salesman's instincts and judgment stall whatever questions hang at the white bite of Deckard's teeth. Don't pick at scabs, don't ask what doesn't need to be asked. Don't piss off the customer.

"I only have two on me. One of them needs to stay." It's an offer of sorts, penetrating curiosity drilling through skin and flesh to sink deep into Gabriel's bones. "I have a few stockpiles if you want to wait here for me to get something else, but you're going to need more than a few hundred bucks if you want to come with."

Perhaps in Deckard's sweeping preternaturally invasive gaze, he'll see things, like Gabriel's heart pounding a little faster than strictly necessary, of the easing of lungs as he breathes easier. Some hurdle has been passed, or so he's feels. It might well be coming up again at any moment, but the first leap's completed without injury. And so he relaxes a hair.

"I'm not in the market for anything elaborate." His voice even sounds casual. This is a fun game. "A semi-automatic handgun, some ammo." Said game shifts a little, brown eyes speculative before he adds, "I didn't come out here to find you. For this. But a weapon is the next best thing to an ally, and while Teo tries…"

The sentence trails off into nothingness, left in a way to suggest that maybe Deckard would understand the sentiment. If not from the man it's coming from.

Deckard has quick hands. The gun strapped into place under his overcoat is drawn almost before Gabriel's finished talking, magazine dropped out the bottom into his waiting palm. Another round is racked out of the chamber a little carelessly — it goes tumbling into the debris at the criminal's overlarge feet. "How much do you have on you?"

It's the sort've question a regular person probably wouldn't be comfortable answering in the middle of Midtown. Not when the guy asking is holding a steely grey gun in one hand and a full magazine in the other. But the great and powerful Sylar is not a regular person. Presumably.

Now that business seems to have become business and not a case of the imminent deaths, Flint has eased off somewhat on the blanch-faced tension, if not the hard-jawed paranoia that keeps his spine straight and his eyes demonically alert.

Gabriel has an intimate relationship with guns, generally speaking. Things that he needn't worry about to the degree of everyone else in the world, but they've wounded him before. Sometimes inconsequentially, sometimes he's almost been killed. He has some respect for guns, which is why he's watching Deckard's hands avidly, cautiously, flicking up a glance to the older man's long face. "I could give you two hundred and sixty," he states.

Doing business. Not entirely out of the box for him. He lived on Staten Island and while this is no naive wander down the Rookery to buy pretty trinkets, it's not so unusual anymore. And it's also why Gabriel's hands don't automatically gravitate to where his money is. Not that Deckard couldn't easily find it in his coat pocket with barely a glance.

Lighted eyes narrow into slivers at the offer, which is a little like confirmation of…something. He isn't sure what. The option to kill him and take it for free is clear out in the open, now. The gun in his rough hands isn't loaded, but Gabriel is paying close attention all the same.

"You could, but only if you think you can get by with throwing bullets at people." Don't poke the bear. Don't poke the bear. How many times does he have to think it before the 'don't' accidentally drops off and he takes a step forward, boots crunching over shattered glass and dusty concrete, spurred on by a manic, senseless push of disembodied energy.

"I need at least three hundred. If two-sixty is all you have, better start thinking on a way to balance out the rest."

Gabriel's rigid posture is a help, for once, as Deckard moves forward. He doesn't back up, all broad shoulders and as neutral of an expression as he can muster. His gaze having narrowed somewhat at Deckard's flippant choice of words, but there's no punishing blow of telekinesis in retaliation, chin angling up in a slightly proud stance, considering this predicament.

"Then I wonder what a man like you could possibly want from a man like me, that isn't forty dollars," Gabriel says, flatly. Now, he gets out his wallet, a slim thing of black leather, peeling through the money folded up within. "As a note, I can. Get by, by throwing bullets at people." His teeth shine a little in the dwindling light, lips pulling back between words. "Doesn't make the same dramatic statement."

"I'd say 'your word,' only. I don't know you well enough to know what it's worth." Deckard's pride levels are skeletal: virtually non-existent. He might as well be naked and more homeless than he already is, all shambled angles and discordant evasion in the way his shoulders refuse to level and the rest of him can't seem to stay facing completely forward. Whatever cockiness he manages to muster is based in the reckless instability of his brain and its idiot need to know.

The lack of recoil on Gabriel's part is enough to keep him at bay past that first step, non-reaction registered and given time to marinate. He's circling, figuratively if not literally, nosing, sniffing regardless of whether or not Sylar wants to grant him ready access to his butt. At reassurance of the other man's ability to get by, his teeth bare out chesire white dulled grey by the dark beneath souless blue. "I deal in more than bullets and black powder."

Gabriel can relate to the all-nagging need to know, something that blurs across the line of natural curiousity and death wish tendencies, and that mysterious thing he had grappled with identified only as a Hunger. Capital H and all. Now he doesn't have that convenient excuse for slinking out of the shadows to poke at this man— and now he's being poked back.

Still a predator, in some ways, and Gabriel can sense a circling even if it's not literally walked. There's nothing much he can do it about it apart from standing his ground. He's not sure how much dominance he has to assert. "I have two-sixty and my word," he states, a certain clip to his words. Insult, in some ways, or at least a show of it. "I think you know enough about me to figure out if it's worth more than forty bucks, Flint."

Unspecified favours are flimsy currency, but perhaps not so much if they're kept. Not in this city, anyway. The money is extracted from the folds of leather, clenched tight between thick fingers, in a limbo between withdraw and offer.

"It isn't worth anything to me unless you intend to keep it." Watchfulness is about the only thing Deckard has going for him. That, and the gun he's holding in his hands. His eyes skip back to Gabriel's skull from his chest at the subtle sound of offense, plying around through muscle in search of sincerity. Even if he was completely sober, it'd be hard to find. He isn't sure of exactly what he's looking for.

A steadying breath doesn't help. He can stare as hard as he wants and he'll never be able to see thoughts. In the absence of certainty one way or another, he's left to stand where he is, tall and lank and in need of a shower that he isn't going to get tonight.

When he finally moves again, it's to offer the gun out, grip first. The magazine is kept closer to his person.

Gabriel is silent for the duration of Deckard's evaluating, prying stare, standing still with little pieces of paper in his hand and a substantially lighter wallet and all sorts of uncertainties. There's no real way he can promise his sincerity, hell, he doesn't even know if he's lying. Which is like being honest. He waits, unwavering, before he glances down at the offered weapon.

No real hesitation other than initial caution, hand going out to accept the handgun, fingers circling around the grip comfortably. Only then does he offer out the slightly fanned handful of money, twenties and fifties. Real as anything and folded in on itself.

Caution measured with a twitch at Deckard's brows, he withholds the magazine until he's tucked the cash into his coat and shrugged out of his backpack to dig for the boxed rounds and revolver buried somewhere therein. The gun is hefted easily once a box of cartridges has been offered up out of his crouch — the backpack, less so. It's heavy with all the crap he drags around out here. All essential. Except for the bomb. And the whiskey. And the porn.

Maybe it depends on your definition of 'essential.'

Not unaware that this is the moment where a Sylar that is apparently too good for throwing bullets at him could choose to use his new gun to reach the same end, Deckard makes a point of training his revolver around on his latest customer before he offers the magazine out in his open palm. Cl-click goes the hammer.

There were probably several moments wherein Deckard could have turned a gun on him, and still been $260 richer without handing over the handgun. Of this Gabriel reminds himself when he gives a look to the revolver trained squarely on him within more than point blank range. The magazine is taken, only letting his gaze drop from the other man as he checks it over, before with some practiced ease, but perhaps not the efficiency of the most hardcore gunmen, he clips it into place.

"Thank you."

It's more efficient than a crystal. The gun, that is, on the scale of killing tools. He could try it again, risk a firefight, find something sharp on Deckard's person to pry back his skull and see if maybe he can. Blank slate, start again, with glowing blue eyes and one more dead man in his wake.

The thought crosses his mind and shoots off into bitter nothingness, and Gabriel checks the safety and shoves the gun into some deep pocket of his coat, hands up slightly as if to encourage the other man to point the revolver in some other direction, an eyebrow raised.

The revolver is a robust representative of its breed, gunmetal grey barrel neither snubbed or overly long. It isn't meant to be easily concealed or exceptionally accurate. There's no real polish or elaborate etching in the metal or in the grip. It's a tool that was made for killing people, and that's precisely what it looks like.

Deckard's grip on it is steady. Mostly. Any tremors at the grip are borne of tension rather than cold fear. And he's doing that thing again where he doesn't blink.

"No problem." And it's gonna stay that way, right? No problems? He doesn't look like he trusts it will. The gun eventually lifts out of a direct point, aimed up at an angle at the sky instead atop a bend in his elbow. "Anything else?"

Now might have been a time to debate with Deckard the merits of shooting him. Once upon a time, he had, before he'd proven exactly why so many feared him. Not that the chase through the eviscerated building had been Sylar's brightest shining moment either. Just memorable, and logical in the description of a crazed, city-destroying mass murderer.

Unlike this. "No," Gabriel says, somewhat flatly. This is the part where he walks away, although the idea of turning his back on the man doesn't appeal to him. So his hands duck into his pockets and he takes a step back, broken glass and gravel crunching merrily underfoot. He finally manages to tear his eyes off the older man, up towards the burning that's still smoldering gently, like some oversized cigarette pointing its embers to the sky. "Enjoy your fire."

Risk it. Stepping away from this game, still unscathed, Gabriel turns his shoulder to Deckard with one last dark-eyed look from beneath a tensely furrowed brow, before he's moving off for where he had come from. Some nameless, faceless building with gaping broken doorways and dubious staircases.

Should have shot me. Retouched upon or not, the advice still stands. Maybe now more than ever, if something's going on here. He might have a fighting chance. Deckard's thumb plays across the hammer, unconscious projection of subconscious ponderings while he nods hazily to Gabriel's definite disinterest in further services. Fine. Serial killers are assholes.

The gun is still up when he steps back, and still up when he comments on the fire, and still up when he finally gives in and turns away to leave.

"Thanks." He will. If he makes another one later.

He has more pressing points of curiosity to manage right now. Gabriel Gray just bought a gun. Bristled jaw set in a thoughtful aside, Deckard watches him go in a quiet stillness that's more thoughtful than it should be in the wake of what should have been a straightforward sale. His fingers play along his pistol's grip. The nose tips down. The responsible thing to do here would be to use both hands to steady the shot. No — no. The responsible thing would be to withdraw and go to sleep. Deckard rankles his nose at himself while the revolver's barrel browses idly at the space between Sylar's shoulders, eyes taking on an increasingly manic glint against a tickle of adrenaline in his gut. If he shoots him and he's fine and he lives — if if if if. If. A twitchy adjustment swings the gun sideways and down a couple of inches half a second before the trigger pull. The crack of the shot hisses into a ricochet a foot or two to Gabriel's right, smashed bullet singing off into the night. Wheee!

It's like bonding, pondering each others' death before, during, and after a reasonably simple transaction. Like bonding. Gabriel is reasonably certain that they're both in the clear by the time a bullet ricochets off the pavement, a soft sounding and yet oddly appropriate word to describe the way the bullet cracks and bounces off broken up concrete. The blast is like a whip crack in evoking movement.

It has the vaguely amusing affect of forcing Gabriel to suddenly leap sideways in an instinctive, scrabbling lope, pieces of debris kicking out from under his boots. An arm up over his head during the movement that's completely clumsy before switching into a far more agile righting of balance, spinning to look at Deckard with an expression of open affront and shock.

And some fear. That's there too. But it's never really a smart idea to get Sylar scared. Despite the gun weighing in his pocket, fully loaded and a thumb click away from returning the favour in kind, Gabriel instinctively thrusts a hand out as if perhaps Deckard might go flying back and crashing into whatever scenery is most directly behind him. That's not exactly what happens, and a dull, dark purple pulse of glow radiates from his palm as siphons of energy flow out to set Deckard's genetics ablaze with it.

Deckard doesn't flinch at the shot. Right arm outstretched, gun warm from the discharge, he stands and watches while Gabriel does the 'Someone's trying to kill me oh no oh no,' boogie. It is a dance whose steps Flint is intimately familiar with, both from observation and personal practice. It just — isn't one that he expected. Not from this guy.

His eyes betray him from afar, marking precisely which of the jagged heaps of broken junk is actually a wanted criminal and not part splintered light post. The expression on his face is difficult to discern, caught somewhere between skepticism and black amusement at Sylar's expense. Until he spins around and looks…sure of himself. At least in the sense that Deckard's getting full frontal and not a pair of evil buttcheeks bouncing gayly off across the desolated landscape. Crap.

Amusement vacates the hard lines around his face, bitten off sharp behind clenched teeth when he snaps the joints in his arm to attention to take more sinister aim. Except it's really hard to do that and not panic at the same time. Gabriel's raising his hand. He sees the little bones and tendons lifting, splaying out. He pulls the trigger. Click. Just…click. No crack. Of all the fucking times for —

He doesn't have time to curse. His genes are on fire.

The twin sparks of his eyes flare bright, then blinding, blue radiation blazing out of his eye sockets with a retina-searing intensity that seems to be having a similar effect on him. Cold sweat vaporizes in a furl of steam from the arc of his skull, light glancing harsh off the mirrored blast of all the moisture in his mouth seeking a similar escape. He stumbles sideways like he's been kicked in the face, gun slung loose from his fingers so that his hand can fly to his head. "AAaaughhh." He can't see.

Gabriel blinks, once, at what instincts led him to do, revelation writing itself in his expression for a second and a half as he turns his own palm to look at. Oh, yeah, that— yeah. Heart pounding as Gabriel feels his own energy reeling out like a particularly strong fish dragging a fishing line out and out and out, he can't quite take his eyes off Deckard and the glowing blue radiation that sweeps— over him in a wild searing, punishing ray of blue light.

It hits his hand still reaching out, starts to hit his face before his nervous system does what his brain cannot and jerks Gabriel out of the way in a repeat of his stumble from a few moments ago. "Augh!", indeed. Back, back, out of range, hopefully, putting feet between them that finally cuts the connective surge of energy, a knife through the wire, snapping it, losing it. Deckard can stop seeing god, or whatever, and instead see—

He can see Gabriel backing away hastily, newly purchased handgun pointed right at him in a slightly wild but likely effective aim.

Information starts rolling in on a staggered delay. Contrast creeps in around the fringes of bleached vision in time for him to see Gabriel reeling from the white heat washing through his hand, sticking with it, flagging it bright all the way to the tenuous brush of blood through the vessels laced under skin and over bone. Every movement registers. Every layer is exposed at once, skin and muscle and bone and concrete and steel, overlapping but distinct from each other. There is no discernable dark border. Everything stretches on and on and back in on itself and he sees it all at once as if a lightning flash had preserved the image against the backs of his eyelids.

It's too much. The whiskey in his system says so. He doubles over, eyes squeezed shut, guts heaving dry at the bottom of his diaphragm without much luck in the way of relieving itself. His hands stay up, clutched at the sides of his aching, superheated skull.

It only lasts a matter of seconds in the span between initiation and Gabriel's reflexive retreat, but it's enough. By the time the fire in his eyes has dissipated into a dim afterglow, he's ducked down cowering behind his hands and gasping wheezily for breath. "Don't — " Don't shoot. His voice is barely audible, like he's speaking through a mouthful of dust. All in the name of science.

With his finger hooked firmly around the trigger, it is desperately tempting to pull it, to test out his new purchase. Gabriel's figurative feathers are ruffled, and his breathing is coming shallow through his teeth and nostrils in wounded anger. His hand feels like it's on fire and currently held against his chest, skin scorched red, but it's the bruises to his ego that inspires him to try and shoot Deckard fifty-seven times in the head. Nothing happens, tense and still in indecision.

Shoot him. He shot at you. Shoot him and get your damn money back and run away. No one will know.

Shot at me.

The bullet does its thing. Ricochets off cement mere feet from Deckard a split second after his arm jerks downwards and towards the left, Gabriel's mouth pulling into a line, a determined grimace as he repays the favour of warning, for entirely different reasons that Deckard had shot at him in the first place. He doesn't have ammunition to spare, really, and his hand is maybe on fire, and he's leaving soon, but— shooting. It felt good.

"Pleasure doing business with you," he spits, in a tone too petulant for his own liking, before he's gone. No theatrical exit, no turning into a Wu-Long shaped demon cloud, no disappearing or flying or wrapping the colours around his body like a blanket. No, he simply runs to disappear into the crevices of midtown.

This time Deckard does flinch, blood just beginning to seep thick from the freshly unstitched line of red Felix put in face earlier in the week. An equally sluggish trickle begins to coalesce at the base of his nose. Midtown is a rough neighborhood. He draws further into himself, elbows bent close to his sides, appropriately taking after the plucked pinions of a very long legged and shivery chicken. His head hurts. His head hurts.

There's little room for more complex thought. He's either about to die in a trembling, runny-nosed mess with this entire street emblazened into his brain or he isn't.

Later he'll have time to think about the fact that Gabriel just shot at him and ran off like a common robber. Right now he mostly only has time to feel vaguely grateful while he sinks down into a crouch and then a sit, overcoat pulled tight around his chest and shoulders. Jesus fucking Christ. Pleasure doing business. One hand goes back to a miserable rest at the side of his head. Could be worse. He could have a bullet in it.

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