Remnants Of Understanding


gabriel_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Remnants Of Understanding
Synopsis Gabriel and Peter find themselves at an impasse.
Date September 17, 2009

Speakeasy Hotel and Casino: Hallway

The sound of a door slamming shut reverberates thorugh the narrow hall. With one gloved hand still holding on to the doorknob of room 101 in the Speakeasy Hotel, there's a quiet sound of slot machines, drunks and cleaning staff that mixes together in a dizzying array of acoustic pornography. Peter hesitates removing his hand from the knob, neck tensing in an awkward swallow before he slides away from the door and slouches his back up against the wall next to it with a thud.

Blue eyes fall shut, and Peter brings a gloved hand to his face as his shoulders rise and fall with hastened breathing. His head clunks once against the wall, and as his brows furrow he slams his head against the peeling wallpaper, exhaling a shuddering breath as he does. The struggle is evident, one that ultimately Peter seems to come out on top of as he leans off of the wall, eyes closed and one black-gloved hand resting against his forehead.

Beyond the hallway, the noise of the casino fills the air, distracting senses and adding to the carnal sounds of a couple two rooms down making too noisy a physical connection. Peter's jaw clenches, he wipes that hand down his face, blue eyes staring out between splayed fingers, and he finally lowers the hand and tries to straighten his back, to leave the hall, and find somewhere else to spend the night.

In a few moments, something seems to attempt to make that decision for him.

A few moments of decision pass by, ticks of a clock, absolutely no time in the greater scheme of things. But it's enough for a shadow to cross the dim light of the hallway, a shapeless mass reflected from another shapeless mass that moves like fabric through the air but soundless. The hairs at the back of Peter's neck prickle up when that gut-deep awareness, that fire, sparks up and flares at the notion of something alive within his control. Something to share that burn.

Out the corner of his eye, in the next nano-second, the being the cast that shadow appears to be little more than a shadow itself. It stirs a memory, a great billowing of ashy cloud pouring through the air. He'll know it intimately, some shadow of his self manifesting, death and darkness. But a blink of study shows a different quality, however - less than dense ash, it moves like ink, and is of a deeper pitch than even his umbral tendrils.

And it's winding around him in a tackle he couldn't feel, would never be knocked over by until the swatch of shadow clings to him, assimilates him, until Peter becomes that matrix of darkness and is dragged unstoppably along in its haphazard momentum.

Seeing, hearing, experiencing everything in every direction, Peter will see the hallway, know the malleability of space as his matrix is squeezed beneath the door of a room that did not have sound or light coming from it, expanding in the next moment within the shadowy space of the empty hotel room— and then sight constricts when he gets his eyes back, and Peter is ejected bodily from the shadow. Gangly limbs and rattling consciousness inside a solid skull, he's gracelessly thrown onto the carpet.

The shadow itself settles solid boots on the ground in front of the door, blocking it. Gabriel reaches back, and tests the handle. Locked. Good.

A grunt of confusion and expelled air erupts from Peter as he slams down to the carpet, jacket ruffled and hair toussled from the journey. Breathing out a shocked breath, he stares blindly up at the ceiling before bolting upright, one gloved hand pressed flat to the carpeted floor, blue eyes sweeping the room blurrily until they settle and find focus on Gabriel. "You," he hisses out under his breath, trying to get to a knee in shaky precession.

Struggling up onto one knee, Peter's blue eyes narrow as he gives a second look around the room, trying to ascertain exactly what his options are, and they're few. "Can't ever just say hello like a normal person, can you?" The attitude and posture is entirely Peter, more so than anyone else has seen of him in the last several days at least.

And Gabriel is watching him avidly, from posture to expression. It's almost unsettling - not many people get this amount of attention from the erstwhile serial killer and live to tell about it. Then again, Peter has dealt with the man in many different modes, and interested isn't quite on par with homicidal. He doesn't move from his position at the door, a broad shoulder entity dressed in black not quite as deep as the shadow he's been, head cocked to the side as he watches Peter get to his feet, and lifts an eyebrow at that observation.


He lifts a hand, and Peter's legs lock at the knees against his will; they bend, coiled like springs, enough to push himself back enough to stumble-sit into the squat armchair that has a cigarette smoke stain on the ceiling immediately above it. "Take a seat." Peter's legs are his own in the next moment. "We have a lot of catching up to do."

The tension in Peter's posture is half thanks to the puppetry that sent him stumbling back, half in reaction to feeling it. It's a new trick, and for a time he and Gabriel were in some sort've evolved arms-race with their respective abilities, but now there's nothing but one necrotic trick up Peter's sleeve, and Gabriel seems to still have his swiss army knife. "I think I liked telekinesis better…" is the smirking retort given back, nervousness setting in to his features as his eyes uplift to the ceiling, then settle back down to Gabriel.

"It's been a while," Peter admits reluctantly, "what's been keeping you away?" His tone of voice is shaky in uncertainty, finding Gabriel here is like finding a particularly mischevious housecat after a protracted period of absense, he's only likely to have been up to no good.

"You know," he tries to deflect the whole conversation, "maybe Odessa would rather keep your company right now?" His posture and tone of voice is changing, subtly, slipping from Peter more into Kazimir. "She's just across the hall, said she wanted someone who understood her like you did."

"Keep her." There's satisfaction, now, vague and petty and small though it might be, as he paces away from the door. It might be Peter's nervousness— no, it is, and Gabriel isn't being subtle. He's also on guard. "My method of understanding people doesn't generally bring them the release they're looking for. Besides— why not you? You were me, for a little while. A second rate version of me. You killed that man at Coney Island. You should tell her about it, she'd be fascinated."

He's moved towards the single window looking out low onto the street, a slice of it shown through curtains and veiled even then by gazy white. Gabriel picks his fingers between it, though he doesn't part it. Ghost light spills on his face, makes deeper the angles of consternation, the ever present shadow of stubble that dirties his face. A slack curl of hair rests against his forehead, uncombed.

Slicing a look back at Peter, he admits; "I didn't come here to talk about Knutson. Why were you staying with Raith?"

Pale eyes lid partway, and Peter slouches back in his seat with a creak of the fabric and springs. He's sunken all the way down to Kazimir's mannerisms now as he crosses one leg over the other, resting his chin in the palm of his hand. "I don't want you to help her, Gabriel." There's a furrow of his brows, scar creasing deeply on his face. "She just wants you to understand her, and I think you'd be considerably more useful to everyone if you understood her the way you understood so many other people. She's asleep right now, she wouldn't even know you're there… She's dangerous, Gabriel." There's a raise of dark brows, "Unhinged."

Breathing out a heavy sigh, Peter brushes his fingers over his chin, then straightens his back and folds his hands in his lap. "But if you'd rather entertain yourself with me," his head cants to the side, "than her, I'll understand." His blue eyes dip down to the floor, one brow raised as he continues to talk. "Jensen found me, approached me about common interests." Those blue eyes of Peter's track back up to Gabriel's, "he asked me to join him, and I agreed. We have a mutual enemy in Feng Daiyu."

As Peter talks, Gabriel turns his back to the window to watch him, expression obscured in shadow as light glances off hair, the edges of cheekbones, nothing more. Even eyes that so easily catch light and glimmer with reptilian attention are nothing at all, matte shadow as he listens. That study is back, and if there is any indication that Gabriel does not like what he's hearing, it doesn't show.

It doesn't show until he lifts a hand in a jerk, fingers straightening, and in the next moment, Peter's head suddenly glances back on the axis of his neck, enough to send searing pain down his spine before it can belatedly starburst at his forehead, as if he'd been struck there by something invisible. It's more of a tap than what Gabriel has unleashed on people in the past, not enough to swoon, not even enough to break skin.

"Stop that," is snarled, Gabriel pacing away from the window. "Stop talking like him. I'm not useful to you, Peter, you don't have use for me except maybe to learn a few things."

Another grunt of pain, neck muscles tense, he remembers having an ability almost like that one. The muscle memory of it sends tingling sensations down his fingertips. Peter swallows, dryly, and looks up to Gabriel with blurred vision, a sharp breath taken in slowly. "I'm not talking about my use," he's still lingering in that persona, "everyone else, the remnants of what Kazimir left behind." Black brows lower into a frustrated expression, and for the briefest of moments it looks like he's going to try and stand up from the chair, but the motions of his hand stop at the chair's arms, fingers pressed against the fabric and back eventually slouching to the seat again, a sigh exhaled tiredly.

"You can't tell me that you aren't the least bit interested in taking her ability." There's a tilt of Peter's head to the side, almost birdlike when he does it, so no gargoylish as Kazimir made the gesture. "Never have to worry about Nakamura sneaking up on you. You could freeze time whenever you like, rewind those bad moments— " his lips creep up into a teasing smile, "or those good ones."

"Speaking of those better memories," Peter's eyes sweep up and down Gabriel, "things between you and Eileen seem to have cooled off some. I think she might actually miss you."

There's a curled lip scowl as Gabriel paces across the room, giving Peter space while at the same time paying no real attention as to where he is walking, merely moving like a caged predator as he keeps dark eyes on the other man. At Peter's last words, Gabriel snorts, lightly, almost genuine amusement that doesn't show in any smile or change in demeanor. "I didn't want to talk about Eileen either," he muttered. "We're here to discuss you. Feng isn't your fight."

Those words had been flung at him too, and Gabriel can almost appreciate the irony that he's shaping them now, flinging them right on forward. He doesn't let it make him hesitate. "Remnant isn't your concern. I don't know what the hell Raith was thinking but this isn't your place, Peter."

"Maybe you should take that up with Jensen then?" There's a quirk of Peter's head to the side, "or does it make you a little nervous that Raith unintentionally started putting the band back together?" Unfolding his hands in an expansive gesture, Peter kicks up his brows and offers a broad smile before sinking back against the cushions of the chair again.

"I don't have a fight of my own, I pick and choose my fights where I see them, and when I pulled Feng Daiyu off of Eileen, the fight became my fight. You may not like me sliding in to where you'd marked your territory, but I was handling this on my own until Jensen decided to make me an offer." Rubbing two fingers at his temple, Peter's soft eyes follow Gabriel's wandering path around the room. "I didn't butt my head in to your business, I was invited."

"This isn't about me." Gabriel comes to a halt, around the same time that lock of connection disintegrates, bodily control shunted back off to Peter without a gesture or even a bat of an eye. "This is about you. You came to me, wanting my help, and it's either more than we either imagined or you're the world's greatest liar. It wouldn't the first time." His voice is low and harsh, none of the lazy arrogance that so often characterises the way he speaks and condescends.

Restless, in an unnatural way. Maybe the talk of all that Odessa could do sparked something in him, maybe not. Gabriel swallows, speaks again; "We both know what happens when you try to outrun prophecy. How did you know Eileen's mom's name?

The reaction from Gabriel asking that question comes with a tick of Peter's right brow up, surprise that she would explain something like that to him. Blue eyes narrow slightly, Peter's head cants to the side, and his cold stare falls to the floor. "I'm remembering things…" More Peter now than Kazimr in tone. "Places, names… I don't know what's causing it. But I think they're impressions in this ability," his eyes track back up to Gabriel again.

"I had a dream a few weeks ago, it— I don't know what it was about. But there was this woman being burned at the stake, and a priest calling her a witch." One of Peter's brows lowers subtly, eyes narrowed. "Faces started changing, and the priest became this— this scruffy looking guy. I woke up after the fire started consuming me," and so he deftly dances around directly saying he was a woman in the dream. "I wanted to talk to Eileen about it… found out the Ferrymen were having a meeting, so I went to find her and— that guy was there."

Listening, Gabriel moves towards a four legged table, leaning against it enough to sit on its edge. His pale hands wrap about the edge, his back hunched and his darker, brown gaze ticking down to the floor. Brow knotted in tension, he's still and silent for a short amount of time after Peter finishes his explanation. No flare of recognition about a scruffy man, about a Ferry meeting.

Instead, Gabriel shakes his head, and simply states; "No."

An accusing look flares back up, focuses on Peter. "That's not how it works. That's not what I had. They keep talking about— how these powers are bigger than us. Memories. Inheritance. But it's not correct. You're lying."

"If I'm lying," Peter's brows furrow, his hand smooths over his mouth and his head quirks to the side, "how do I know you finished him off with a ceramic knife in a library?" He exhales a sharp breath with that explanation, but then fears it isn't enough, and he doesn't do the smart thing and stop talking. "I know you had to watch him kill someone you actually considered a friend. It— " Peter's jaw tenses, "it screws with me. I— I spent a week digging through rubble at some old blown up building looking for that guy's bones so he could be laid to rest."

There's an uncertain look, a wary stare afforded to Gabriel, and then it's diverted to the floor. "I don't know what's going on. But that guy— the guy I saw in my dream— he was there at the Foxhole, and I'd never seen him before. And his eyes," Peter's lift up to Gabriel, "they're blue too. But— " his argument kind've falls apart there, "the— blonde girl with him had blue eyes too so— I don't know."

Exhaling a sigh, Peter slouches back against the seat, covering his face with his hand tiredly. "I don't know. I wake up missing time, sometimes hours, sometimes a whole day. I can't remember where i've gone, how I got where I am. I have headaches, spotty bursts of memory loss. I thought I had a concussion, but— "

Nothing else, just an aborted sentence. There's no logical explanation.

There are dangerous words that Peter treads with all the haphazard carelessness of— well. Peter, as he is now. Maybe not as he used to be. Regardless, they only hook Gabriel's attention, a guarded and almost defensive stillness taking him over at the mention of a ceramic knife in a library. Less so, about Wu-Long's death, but these secrets, deep and dark and held by only Gabriel and two dead men, are casually tossed between them.

Renders him mute and paralysed, which is better than simply lashing out. Listens to banalities about eye colour, of Peter's stammered negotiation around this mystery.

Silence crackles like a kind of whitenoise between them. Gabriel rubs his thumbs against the edges of the table he's perched upon, unmoved from his posture. "Some think it would be easier to kill you. I told them no. That it was my business. If anyone's going to kill you, it's going to be me." That brings a smile to his face, eyebrows raising, as if maybe he were sharing a joke with Peter. "If you're him— if there's a fraction of you that's him and surprise, surprise, you can't control it, then we both know what's going to happen. You know— what he did to me."

Evidently. The smile is quick to diminish at this notion. "You may want to rethink that whole lying thing. And you need to stay away from the Remnant. From Eileen."

"Do you really think killing me in this condition, is going to do anything except spread this cancer around to someone else who has less control over it than I do, and is someone you don't know how to anticipate?" The retort is fired back with a sneer, blue eyes narrowed slightly. "Eileen wants me around, Remnant wants me around. For now, I think it's a good fit. Jensen might not be aware of what's happening to me, but you are."

Blue eyes become half-moons dotted with black at the middle, gloved fingers curled into the arms of the chair. "I'm right where you need me, and you're— scared." The word is dropped with the gravity of Volken's vocal aplomb. "You're afraid of me being around Eileen." Slowly, he rises from the chair, blue eyes locked on Gabriel squarely. "I go if she wants me to go."

Peter rises from the chair and Gabriel resettles his feet against the ground, weight off the table. The glare that settles on Peter's face could well slice the air between them, steely and locked, and finally breaks away, glancing restlessly towards the closed door before looking back at the other man. "I don't understand you. I don't understand what you are. And I think we both know I can't help you."

He moves at a steady pace towards the door, unlocking it, opening it enough for yellow hallway light to spill in. "The Remnant— if it's anything like the sum of its parts— is about more than chasing Feng." Gabriel looks back at Peter, up and down, as if measuring.

"I know." It's an answer for everything Gabriel said, some parts with reluctance some parts with understanding. "But like you said," dark brows crease together, "if it comes down to someone having to kill me, it would be you, wouldn't it? My running off and disappearing," his eyes close, head tilts to the side again and shoulders rise into a shrug, very Peter in affect, "wouldn't help you at all." That would be the understanding speaking.

"I don't know what this thing is doing to me, but there's some small comfort in being with the Remnant." Blue eyes wander down to the floor, over to the table Gabriel was seated on, then back up to him, "even if it's dangerous company. I can't— won't go back to Phoenix. There's nothing for me there, nothing for someone who can do what I can do. There's nowhere else for me to go. There truly hasn't been since I was with PARIAH."

Those words cause silence from Peter, brows furrowed and head downturned. "I'm as much a discarded remnant as the rest of you are. Even if… from a different part of a whole." In that, there's some subtle admission of lonliness, even as he looks up to Gabriel and adds, "can you tell Eileen to stop smoking?"

Gabriel's eyes are heavy hooded as he listens, and no words of affirmation or denial are spoken. He's already said everything he'd intended to say, and so the door opens wider. There are better things he can be doing than sympathising with Peter Petrelli. He snorts, once, at this last request— "Working on it."— before he moves out the door.

A step becomes a glide, and the tail of his coat flicking around the edge of the doorway turns into a lingering tendril of darkness. That too, eventually, disappears in a snake-like curve, leaving Peter in his solitude.

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