Pride Enough


gabriel_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pride Enough
Synopsis A reunion descends into nonsensical bickering and then a drive home that is promptly derailed.
Date July 30, 2009

Outside the Garden

When Gillian makes her way back to the Garden, she's on a pedal bike rather than in the van. She's really fortunate that she put it in the van when she did, cause otherwise she'd be on foot. It took all the way to the ferry across before she told Brian she had to go back. It was important and she would explain later. It will not be a fun conversation, most likely, considering part of their deal was she would help him with the Lighthouse kids, and the first night she's leaving him alone to deal with them.

Setting the bike up against the outter edge of the cottage, she walks up to the door again and knocks. The same person who'd answered not too long ago opens the door and gives her a look. "Is— Gabriel still here? Can you tell me where he is?"

A simple request, one that's raspy and almost soft, as she waits for the answer. A soft tug at the sleeve of her shirt over the missing watch on her wrist. Sometimes she really needs to think before she acts.

The question winds up being answered without words, the sound of foot falls creaking the wooden slats of the hallway behind the Garden-keeper alerting that not only has Gillian's presence been detected, perhaps a glance out the window at where she's stashed her bike, but it's even being responded to. Gabriel is dressed much the same as he had been hours ago, blue denim and black cloth. He's not quite cleanshaven, though he's dragged a comb through his hair at least once today, and healthiness, of all things, seems present. No bullet wounds, stab wounds, electrical wounds, or whatever it else's line of fire Gabriel has a tendency to put himself in.

"I'm here," Gabriel says, the doorway being relinquished to him, wherein he's quick to fill the frame of it, an arm angled to rest against the doorjamb and the other gripping the opened door handle. Fine threads of cat hair lace the front of his shirt, though most of it has been brushed away since approaching the door in a semi-conscious effort for appearances. "What do you want?" The question is stilted, as if trying not to make it sound rude or presumptuous, but lacking in ideas as to what else to say.

There's no such visible effort to make herself pretty for him. Gillian's dressed well enough, really, but the only sign of make up comes in the form of eyeliner, while the rest has been ignored, or perhaps more easily worn off. There's no sign of the van she'd left in, or the people she came with. Just her and a bike. At the sight of him, there'd been a sudden inhale, that settled down a moment later as they're left more or less alone. "I wanted to talk to you," she explains, perhaps a bit insulted by his question and letting it come through in her voice with her various emphasises.

That knot in the back of her head loosens, then tightens again. Stay god damnit. She's not willing to deal with certain aspects of her life right now, but control over her ability is a little sketchy during certain times. It's a wonder she didn't fall apart when she first saw him.

"No one bothered to report back on if it was even successful, getting you out of there, getting you back into your body. Any of it. Cardinal told me— and I came here to try and find you and…" And something different happened. Her teeth grit slightly as she cuts herself off.

Gillian gets a raised eyebrow as she communicates her offense, but nothing more, simply waiting to hear what it is she has to talk about with slight wariness swimming somewhere behind an otherwise blank look. There's a creak of the door handle beneath his hand, before finally, Gabriel makes a decision - he steps outside. The door eases shut behind him as the soles of his boots grit against the ground outside, looking down at her in an expression too analytical for a conversation. Then, he tilts his head in a let's walk gesture.

"Being a hero suits you," he states, headed away from the building, hands moving to slide into the pockets of his jeans. "You've already got the sense of entitlement thing going. Since when do the Vanguard remnant report back to Phoenix? We haven't gone anywhere. We've used their pet healer. Arthur is dead."

His shoulders draw into a shrug beneath his shirt. "Mission accomplished."

"I'm not a hero," Gillian says angerly, moving after him to keep a close step, but not moving to stand right next to him as they walk. He's a longer stride. He could easily stay ahead of her and her impractical shoes. "No one told me that you were okay. Phoenix or otherwise. Being entitled or not is entirely fucking personal and has nothing to do with anything else." It's selfish and she knows it, but that's just the way it is. No matter what happened it isn't like it'd been the first time they'd been seperated, and it isn't like she told almost anyone what'd actually happened.

"I'm not made of metal any more. This isn't easy for me. I didn't just go in there to stop Arthur, I went in there so that you could get taken out."

She bites down on the words, angry tone falling apart to make what's under it all the more visible, and audible in her voice. Any anger that she really has isn't directed entirely at him. A small amount, sure, considering some things, but most of it… "I know that pretty much everything is my own fucking fault, but that doesn't mean I never wanted to see you again."

There's a flap of fabric, bedsheets blowing in the dry nighttime summer wind that manages to dart between tree trunks, through the iron fencing and making immense swatches of sky blue cotton billow out like boat sales somewhere towards their left as they walk by it. Gabriel is silent as she speaks, some of the spark of irritation fizzled out and leaving behind resignation. There are insects chirping in the shadows of the forestry surrounding them - nothing is every truly silent out here.

Save for the silence that is the presence of her walking companion for the evening. With the exception of the sound of boots crunching damp grass and the subtle sound of breathing, Gabriel is a vortex of quiet for a few moments when she finishes. A dubious look is traded her way beneath a serious brow, before he's more focused on eyeing the periphery and its deepening shadows.

"I'm okay."

The response, short as it is, might just be enough. There's a release of breath, almost relief really, before Gillian nods. "I figured if anyone would make it out of there okay, it'd be you, but— fuck, you'd been through something like that before, only this time you were in someone else's body… I'm still pissed off at Phoenix for not passing down what was wrong with Teo to everyone. All we were fucking told was to avoid contact with him, report sighting him, but not why."

And she's not good at following orders as it is, that one that didn't make a lick of sense had been right up there with the ones she scoffed at when it mattered. As made obvious when they came to the safehouse Gabriel and Delphine had been at together.

There's a long look, as if she's waiting for something, before she adds on, "So I guess you're going to be staying with what's left of Vanguard?"

"I don't know." More simple words, tone just as bare of emphasis or passion. But at least, this time, Gabriel doesn't leave it there as if trying to turn the conversation into a stagnant puddle between them. "It would be different. And something to do." Terrorism, as a hobby. Or a distraction, is probably most likely. Focus. "But I'm not staying with anyone. Unless you can count Peter."

And he doesn't. It's more like the other way around, in his book. "They didn't tell me anything about Teo, except that he was possessed, and his boyfriend thought they weren't treating him like a victim— just a threat. I tried to do both."

"I didn't even find out he was possessed until after you disappeared," Gillian says thickly, letting the fact he's staying with Peter (or Peter with him) go off onto the wayside, though she did look down to where their feet would be tredding, watching the grass for a moment. In a way she's almost checking for dead patches.

"And I understood why you did what you did… I didn't find out it was Future Teo until I came to— to tell Eileen that I couldn't find where you were being kept in Pinehearst." There's a lot of communication issues going on, there, but surprisingly there's little venom when she mentions Eileen, even if she sounds angry at being left in the dark for so long.

There's a small sigh before she keeps her eyes down on the ground, hesitating. Then she looks up, "If anyone can teach Peter to control what he has— it's you. My power was always on, even when I didn't want it to be, until you taught me otherwise…" There's another hesitant pause, and she stops moving, as if to let him put some distance between them if he chooses. "I'm glad you were able to help him. I— everything that Edward Ray did— it was because I touched him, while I was trying to help him and Phoenix figure out how to help stop Kazimir's plan…"

There's a thread of connection in there, amongst Gillian's words, glistens like silver in the murkiness and it takes Gabriel a moment to figure out, why Ray is being mentioned. Confusion makes his brow tense as he comes to a halt to regard her, eyes black with eyelashes and colour when he narrows them down towards her upturned face. It occurs to him that normal people like to talk these things out.

So, he nods. "That was a mistake," Gabriel allows. "A drop in the ocean of bad decisions. I wouldn't take it on myself to pin the efforts of multiple morons on my own conscience. No one is that important."

A pause, then, "I guess you could single out Edward Ray and blame him. I tend to."

"I know," Gillian says softly, but from the way her breath seems to come easier, perhaps she needed to hear someone directly effected by the actions of Edward Ray in every timeline since she touched him to tell her that. Hearing someone else who had been through so much because of it— it helped. It's not the same as some people, but to her his view on it is deeply important. Without Pinehearst the wedge that came between them might not have gotten quite a hammer blow that it did— without Edward Ray's future…

"He wasn't successful in what he was trying to do. The only one who was able to really stop him— was himself." And she shakes her head faintly, finding the whole idea rather… disquieting.

"I'm glad you're okay," she adds on, hesitating again for a moment. "I'll be helping Brian out at the Lighthouse when it gets rebuilt— probably even living there. If— if Bai-Chan ever wants to visit, he's always welcome…" There's a glance down as if she wants to add more.

Gabriel casts a glance back to the cottage, the glow of lights recently switched on to stave away the coming nightfall. "Eileen will visit," he says, as if speaking of an inevitability. "She's been taking care of him. He's— he's the son of a man we used to work with, within the Vanguard. He's important to her." Her, rather than him and his bristling father-wolf defense over letting Bai-Chan walk out the door with the caretaker. It could have easily been on her behalf, anyway.

He couldn't actually say. "Thanks for the help." Today. He means today. Ensuring Gabriel didn't have to put Brian through a window, in front of the kids and everything. "The woman that was with you— Delilah— I recognised her from one of the paintings. She kills someone. You should tell her."

There's a small sigh, as if Gillian wishes she would have finished what she wanted to say. She did not, so she does not again. The woman whom she saw in a rather intimate position many years older will be the one to visit with the small boy. It makes sense, in a way. It's the thanks that raises her eyebrows, and the redhead being mentioned that garners a verbal response.

"I— don't really remember the paintings you did very well. But— did she happen to have a gun? Cause if she did… she was the one who shot Edward Ray from the future and killed him. After he shot Peter and kicked him off the roof— and after he explained his entire diabolical plan to turn all of Fort Lee into Evolved using a loop of energy between the two Tyler Cases…"

Diabolical plan. That might have actually worked. She's not sure, really. If he hadn't tried to kill her, and if he hadn't shot Peter, she might not have been so happy to see him die and his plan fail. Who knows…

"No— never mind." Gabriel gives a short breath of laughter, and takes a step back from her. "This was one of the problems in the end, Gillian. You let yourself get so caught up in this— this Pinehearst mess that you refuse to see anything beyond it. You didn't even see me anymore. Just stop, and listen, and consider the possibility that the world doesn't focus around the next important mission."

He hands go up, dismissive, a breath of a sigh loosing from his throat. "You and Phoenix go well together. I hope you enjoy a long and satisfying career. I'm going back inside." It's an awkward, if well-meaning attempt at disentangling himself before argument can start again, turning to do as he says he would do.

"I— " Gillian doesn't even seem to know what to think. The words hit something pretty solid, but at the same time as tears what to rise up, so does anger. "I only joined Phoenix because of you. Because I made a fucking deal with them that they wouldn't kill you or hurt you! One of them fucking broke it in the bridge and that's why I stayed the hell away from them until Teo told me that he found you and— I agreed to stay for the same fucking terms."

There's a tremor in her voice, anger for the sheer fact that… "I don't even want to be with Phoenix. You have no fucking idea how much I want to leave them— I already told them I wasn't going to be doing much outside the Lighthouse for a while, which is barely even connected to them."

He's walking away, she isn't trying to follow just yet, but that doesn't mean she stops saying things. "I only asked about Dee to see if it might have already fucking happened. Cause if it's already happened I don't have to saddle her with the fact that she might have to fucking kill someone again— because I happen to think she's a good fucking kid who doesn't deserve to be put in that situation again."

"No one deserves anything," Gabriel barks back, turning to look at her. The dam breaks, and, a far cry from the short answers he'd been giving before, he starts to talk. "No one deserves to be a killer, or anything fate throws their way. If you don't want to be with Phoenix, then leave. It's not the point I was trying to make anyway. And don't think I'm not grateful for what happened on the bridge. I am, and I always will be. This isn't about that. It's the misery that came after it when you suddenly decided to care about everything I had done. And the awful thing is—

"You should." He doesn't gesticulate, emphasis only in his voice, bitter amusement and stale frustration. "You should care about what I did to Jenny, what I almost did to your brother when he came looking for me, what I almost did to you. But your timing could use work."

In hindsight, it was a good idea to remain outside. "I just became a lesson in morals to you. That's why you work well with Phoenix. They're the only people in this world that give a fuck about any of it anymore."

There's those tears, but Gillian growls and tries to run them away, turning her head a bit so dark hair will fall in front of her face. It's not much a shield, cause when she looks back that eyeliner she had been wearing is suspiciously smudged. "Yeah— I guess I have the worst timing of all…" She confesses quietly, biting down on the words that want to shake in her throat. "You weren't just a lesson in morals, though…" She says quietly, even if she understands why he might have that perception. She did want to find a way to change him, she wanted to make him into a better person. But…

"I wanted you to be the guy who promised to run away with me when everything ended. The one who protected me… The one who helped me— The one I thought I could help." She'd fallen in love with the lie, even if some truth got revealed before the betrayal that would make her turn around and do the same.

Before she found out he murdered her sister. Before he tried to murder her. Before so much else. Victor never mentioned anything like him trying to kill him… but she shakes her head. "Hate would be easier than love," she says with a hoarse laugh, if it can be called such. Back then she said something similar. It would've been easier if she could hate him.

"I need to get my bike," she adds on, moving at a quicker pace to the place where she abandoned her bike. Staying in the Garden must not be an option, even if travelling at night on Staten Island isn't the safest. It wouldn't be the first time she did it. At least now she has more places to go.

Gabriel's arms go up, go back down in a defeated, world-weary shrug, though he allows her to walk away. His own foot steps sound out as he trudges his path back towards the cottage, apparently content to leave it there. He knows what it's like to interact with someone only so much as to do the other one harm - unlike others, he seems to be sparing Gillian this.

The light of the doorway coming in through the inset glass in the wood hits him, and Gabriel pauses on the paved road, watching Gillian get to her bike, before glancing towards the darkening sky. Then—

"Do you need a ride?" A shrug accompanies the request. "Deckard has a car. I could borrow it. It's dark."

With the handlebars in hand, the bike turned away from where she left it to lean, Gillian looks back at him and just— looks. The look lasts for quite some time, perhaps because her eyes have adjusted as the sun set and she can catch the smallest hints of his face in what light there happens to be. "The rusty old El Camino?" she asks, obviously having recognized the type of car, and connecting it to the old man.

"Sure— I'll just go to one of the other safehouses for tonight. I'll take a ferry back across in the morning and meet up with Brian and the kids." Where she'll have to explain what was so important to leave her brother to deal with the children by himself (or with his clones at least) for the evening. "Is there room in the back?" she adds on as she wheels the bike closer, obviously meaning for that. She'd hate to leave it here when she'll need it to get to the ferry quickly.

"There should be," Gabriel responds, and with that, he makes a gesture like wait a moment and sidles into the cottage, letting the door swing on its hinges as he goes to track Deckard himself down and formally ask permission, leaving Gillian with the sound of cicadas, the wind rustling leaves and laundry, and the potential for an awkward and silent drive to the nearest ferryplace.

Awkwardness and silence will likely abound, and for the moment they certainly fill the air. Gillian catches sight of the El Camino which she'd seen the old man drive in, and makes her way over it to, assuming there will be keys handed over so she can be driven somewhere safe. The back of an El Camino is essentially like the back of a truck, so after checking to make sure there's nothing to crush, she lifts the bike up and lays it down in the back, making sure it fits in place, and doesn't hang in a way that it might fall out while they drive.

Makes for easy retrieval. Then she leans against the passanger door and waits. The nearest safehouse that she knows of is a couple miles. He's saving her a long bike ride, and helping calm her down from the mood that she went into. A hand rubs at her eyes, though there's nothing she can do about smeared eyeliner.

A minute or so transpires before Gabriel is headed out of the cottage once more - apparently, it doesn't take an awful lot of convincing Deckard to give up permission. If not actually keys. As he strides on over towards the car, Gabriel only reaches in through the partially opened window of the drivers side, unlocks the door and wrenches it open, sliding in to reach and unlock Gillian's. "Hop in."

There's fuzzy dice, and a grimy rear view mirror, and an empty booze bottle rattling around the floor, and a screwdriver sticking out of the ignition. This, Gabriel tentatively puts his hand around the plastic handle, and twists. There's a choking rev, but otherwise, the car comes to life. "How do you drive a car when it's both stolen and not yours?" he mutters.

Opening the passanger door, Gillian settles inside, looking around the car critically for a moment, before realizing… she's been in much worse. Not her own cars, no, but boyfriend's cars. Some of them had cars about on par with this, but they smelled worse from the fact they'd often leave unfinished fastfood in the floor under the seat.

"You're the one who understands how things work, right?" the woman says as she settles back into the seat, not bothering to grope around for a seatbelt. If he ended up crashing, they'd probably die whether it has a seatbelt or not. The frame of the car looks like it's aged poorly. Like an old man. "The nearest safehouse I know of is about three miles once we get to the road," she adds, before giving the first set of directions to it. Basically just telling him which way to turn once they reach the road. And each of the directions would follow after that.

Let the silence commence!

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Gabriel is a neat driver. Smoothly pulling out from where the El Camino was camping out front the Cottage, rumbling it down the dirt track until it hits asphalt, Gabriel is mostly quiet as he drives, comfortable in doing so. It's been a while, actually, and the last car he had was a yellow Camero, and he'd had to push that off to some Staten Island salesman before he'd had a chance to enjoy it.

Silence fills the cab of the car, save for the guttering of the motor and the wind rushing by, whipping through the partially opened window. Silence that Gabriel seems content with, save for a confirming, "turn left here?" a few minutes in.

"Yeah, left here," Gillian explains, knowing that they're getting fairly— definitely past the halfway point of the trip. The silence won't need to last much longer, but there's a nagging question in the back of her head, something she wants to ask. Looking through the side window, catching her reflection off of the glass from the way the faint light manages to hit her and carry her image, she asks in her usual husky voice, "Peter said he wasn't going to be staying in the Garden anymore, cause he killed the plants," she starts, before she looks away toward the extremely neat and careful driver, "Do you know where he's staying?"

Yellow strip of paint after yellow strip of paint gets eaten up by the running maw of the car's bumper, front lights on at full and illuminating the stretch of running road, the trees struck ghostly as they rush on by in blurs of fading grey and black. Gillian gets a glance as she starts to break the silence, the frailty of truce.


Gabriel is quiet for a few moments, hands tighter around the steering wheel, before it's jerked sharply, although not enough to jar them. Just enough to swerve briskly into the side of the road, wherein he can pull over, the vehicle shuddering to a quiet halt. He doesn't look at Gillian at first, simply staring at the bug spattered windshield, before he's opening his own door, and pulling himself out.

And— silence might have been the better option. Gillian shifts when the car pulls over, catching onto the door with her hand, but not forced to do much more than that. No need to entertain grabbing the ceiling, or falling into his lap or the like. Eyes look away to the windshield as well for a long moment, before she hears him open the door and begin to tumble out. "Gabriel," she says quietly, voice rather bothered at his reaction.

"Fuck. If you don't want to tell me you can just say that. You don't have to— shit." There's a glance down at her hand against the door, before she takes in a deep breath and reaches for the handle, pulling on it until she shoulders the door open and steps out.

She doesn't ask any questions, but she keeps one hand on the open door as she looks over the roof of the car at him. as much as she can in the darkness, at least.

Gabriel is on a mission. The sound of his boots hitting asphalt is his answer as he moves around the car, towards where her bike has been secured in the back. There's a scrape of metal, although he's moderately careful in hefting it out of the back, up near his shoulder, and moving around to set it down between them, pushing it enough so that she's forced to either grip on to it or let it fall into her.

"I'm not gonna be the one to find the guy you chose to be the one who protects you, runs away with you, plays whatever hero you need," he says, voice coming harsh. "I have pride enough not to do that much."

If there's room for argument, it'll have to be spoken in the time it takes for him to get back to the driver's seat, as he's promptly moving back that way, expression like thunder.

"That's not what Peter is to me. That's what you were," Gillian says simply, the bike leaning against her hip instead of grabbed. It takes some manuvering, but she does grab onto it and them move her other hand to slam the passanger door closed. In her mind, they're two very different things to her, whether she might want them to be something similar. Even then, everything would be different. The door is closed, rather heavily, and she makes a move to get a little further away so she doesn't risk getting hit by the car. "He runs away just fucking fine on his own," she adds on, loud enough it might still be heard.

"And you just keep on chasing him," Gabriel fires back, over the top of the car— and no! No he wants the final word, and is quick to slide back into the car once the words are delivered thusly. The motor still purring alive beneath its hood, it doesn't take much for the beat up brown and grey vehicle to start to pull away again, moving in a wide circle to head on back for the Garden in a sweep of headlights that never quite hit where Gillian is standing.

Hey, at least he was half chivalrous.

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