wf_gwen3_icon.gifwf_unknown14_icon.gif wf_nate3_icon.gif

Scene Title Requiem
Synopsis "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." Dreams connect a daughter to her past and a mother to her future.
Date April 14, 2011

In Dreams

From her highchair, she can see everything. That Nay and Mama have different food than she does makes her squeal with indignation, reaching her hand toward the larger table, then bashing a tiny fist on the plastic tray. Doing this make the slices and cubes of banana and apple, hot dog and cheese all bounce, and she cackles with glee. Nay grins, then puts a finger to his lips. Shhh.

”Mama’s on the phone, Joey,” he says. She knows what this means. It means Mama talks and talks to people who aren’t her, and that she doesn’t like.

”No-no phone, Nay, no-no!” she protests to him, shaking her head — because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you say the word ‘no-no.’ She chirps a little louder, for Mama’s sake: “No-no phone, Mama!”

”Just eat, willya?” Nay pushes his own plate of food aside to lean toward her, picking up an apple slice to tempt her with, though he can’t help but grin just a little.

Their profound conversation is interrupted by the rasp of a sob, and Joey turns to look to where Mama has crumpled against the wall.


Mamas aren’t supposed to cry, Joey knows. Even Nays are usually too big to cry, but sometimes, if they fall from the sky they do. Sometimes it’s Okay for Nays not to be Big Boys. But Mamas are always Big Girls. Mamas aren’t supposed to cry.

”Mama no-no cry?” This time Joey’s tone is not so demanding, but a plea. But Joey’s Mama doesn’t seem to notice, her face in her hand, one still holding the phone. She cries, and like Joey’s, most of the cry doesn’t have words.ll

But there’s one word that is repeated, and it’s a word Joey doesn’t know.

”Peter… Oh, God, Peter…”

Jolene’s green eyes open to a dark room, the only light a blade cutting through the room at an angle. She’s only been asleep a couple of hours; Nate and her mother’s voices are still murmuring as they play a game of chess in the main room of their small bungalow. She scuffs her hands over her eyes, and then leans over the edge of the bed to find the dream journal stowed between the bed frame and the mattress.

She writes the date, and then simply “Peter.” There are many entries like it, scattered amongst less realistic and more fantastical dreams with longer descriptions in her rounded letters. Dreams of Wonderland. Dreams where she rides dragons. Dreams that don’t end the same every time, with her mother crying. It’s the only dream she has that doesn’t change. She’s old enough to know, really, what it means. What it’s telling her.

It’s not a dream. It’s a memory.

Standing, she rises, bare feet finding the purple fuzzy slippers by her bed as she scuffs out the room and into the main room where her mother and Nate sit, quietly talking as they play their nightly game.

“Who’s Peter?” she demands, hands on hips, a little tempest in a nightshirt.

“Jo-lene…” Nate answers, warning heavy in the two syllables. He only calls her both when he’s angry or irritated. Otherwise she’s always been Joey to him.

“I’m asking Mom,” the girl says, green eyes snapping to her brother, nearly a man, and back to her mother.

The question stalls a move that Gillian had been about to make. Her hand hesitates on the Black Knight that she'd been about to move, and her hazel eyes focus fully on the small dark piece for a moment. Consentration, really— but not because of the game, but from the flood of emotion that the name brings up.

She's been Gwen so long that she doesn't even think of herself that much as Gillian, except when certain people are around— unless certain people are mentioned. The concentration is required to keep the tears from forming against her will.

Move forgotten, Gwen's hand abandons the Knight to reach up, briefly brushing the silver locket hanging around her neck to rest against something hidden under her shirt. A black handprint staining her skin. Just another tattoo, she would always claim to those who didn't know better. Unlike most her tattoos, this one hasn't faded with age. It, or the matching one on her wrist.

"Peter's a fairly common name," is what she manages in rasped tones, looking toward the older of her children. For a moment the look could almost be accusing, as if she must have heard the name from him, but it doesn't last longer than a second. "Why are you asking?" she asks, as her darker eyes meet the green eyed girl's.

"It wasn't me," Nate says in a low voice, his eyes narrowing as he stares down at the chessboard. Unlike Jolene, he knows who Peter is. Who Peter was. And he remembers him from that brief reunion between his parents, before Jolene, where it seemed he would have a father in his life. His father. He knows how Peter died, and he knows that they agreed not to tell Jolene for a myriad of reasons that seemed like a good idea to his little boy logic but now he doubts.

Her safety was one of them — but who is really safe?

"I remember the phone call," Jolene says, eyes set on her mother's, locking on them. "I was little… probably the same age I was when you said my dad died." The implication is heavy in the words.

In many ways, Gwen knows agreeing not to tell her had been incredibly selfish. Pain and loss are powerful motivators of selfishness, though. Suddenly she stands, touching her dyed hair and moving away a few steps, putting her back to the kids. The tightening in her chest aches, far more than she wants it to.

Pain is supposed to lessen with time, isn't it?

"You were supposed to be too young to…" she trails off, head shaking as she continues to move away, as if trying to find something, or just to move.

Moms aren't supposed to cry. They're bigger than even the big girls. Perhaps that's why she's paying so much attention to the walls or what she can't even see beyond them. Even that knot in the back of her head is hard to hold onto when this topic comes up. Which it hasn't for many, many years. Most who know, know better.

"Peter was your father's name, yes. He— he was a good person." People don't speak bad of the dead.

Warring emotions flicker through Jolene's expressions. Anger is there. Hurt. She turns a narrow-eyed glare at her brother — her mother's reasons for keeping it from her, she may not be old enough to get, but her brother's?

"I remember it in my dreams," she finally murmurs, her green almond eyes sliding back to regard Gwen's back.

"I…" Guilt bubbles up to the surface next, and Lene's head drops forward, dark hair shielded her flushing cheeks. "I guess it doesn't change anything. I shouldn't have brought it up. I'm sorry."

Nate stands next, all wiry and lean, small in build like his father. Jolene, tall for her age, might even pass him in height in a few years. "You have the right to know, Joey. His name was Peter Petrelli. I only remember him a little, too." He puts a hand on her shoulder, and looks up at their mother's back. "It's okay, Mom," he adds softly, glancing at his little sister and lifting her chin with one finger to wink her into smiling before moving closer to Gwen and putting a hand on her shoulder.

"No— no it's not okay," Gwen says quietly, eyes closing as she steps back into the comforting hand. The comfort is taken for what it is meant to be, even if it doesn't help as much as she might wish it would. "I met him… a long time ago. He… always had to be doing something. Fixing something, saving someone. He saved me more times than I could count, too— and he gave me the most…"

There's a deep inhale, before she turns back to look at her children, wrapping one arm around Nate's body, before offering the other to Jolene. "He gave me the both of you— and no matter what else— that's the thing I will always love him most for." Even if he was almost never there. The tears are colder than they are warm, and they fall whether she wants them to or not.

"He was protecting Walter Trafford— Delilah's son. The boy was only a little older than you are now, but— there were robots. He helped fight them off long enough for help to arrive, but he… he…" She doesn't finish.

She doesn't have to.

Jolene's eyes look all the brighter green, magnified as they are by the tears that well and then fall. Some for the father she's never known, some for her mother's never-ending sorrow, some of love for the small family that — despite the empty hole left even before he died — has always been enough.

She moves into her mother's embrace, her other hand catching on Nate's shirt to close the circle. "It's okay. I'm sorry. I shouldn't’ve… I could’ve…" she stammers, shaking her head when the words don't come. "Just knowing his name…" she tries again.

Nate rests his head on top of Jolene’s and gives his mother a weary smile. "Go figure. She forgets her jacket in rainstorms, but remembers something from when she was a baby," he quips.

"I think she forgets it so you'll chase after her with it," Gwen says with a teasing laugh, that doesn't really get rid of the tears slowly working down her cheeks. "You know— I didn't meet my parents til I was older than Nate. So I know what it's like to wonder— to want to know about them…" she trails off quietly, hand moving out from around the oldest boy to touch the locket she always wears around her neck.

With a click, she opens it up— and turns it around.

"My mother, your grandma, she gave me this. It belonged to her mother, and one day I'll give it to you." The necklace probably could have gone to Nate, if she hadn't had a daughter, but since she does—

"This is Peter," she says, pointing to a picture that's been cut out and placed on one side, of a dark haired man with a scar across his face and a distant look in his eyes. From the way he's not looking at the camera, he may not have known it was being taken, whoever had taken it. It sits opposite a small picture of young Nate holding a baby girl in his lap.

The young man smirks, disengaging from the hug to stand a little aside so that Jolene can see the tiny image of her father, seeing in the narrow face something similar to her brother. "I look more like you," she says softly, a smile curving her lips even as a tear drips off her cheek to fall upon the locket's hinge.

She reaches to touch it, tracing the heart around Peter's face. "I'm sorry he hurt you," she adds quietly. "But I can tell — I can feel — he loved us."

Gwen smiles at the girl's realization that she took after her mother more. "You also look more like your grandma, too— Maybe a little from his mom, too," she adds after a second. But that's not the thing that makes her lean down, placing a kiss on her daughters hair, eyes closing.

"He did," she confirms, voice tight and raspy, emotional. "He loved us more than he could probably even admit to himself."

And probably even them.

Bannerman's Castle

Unlike last time, Gillian doesn't awaken falling out of the bed, wrapped in sheets and sweat. Instead, she stares up at the dark shadows on the ceiling, the dim light barely visible even to eyes adjusted to the dark. Reaching up, she touches the locket, pressing her hand tightly around the small silver frame. She knows the pictures inside are not the same.

And probably never will be.

Curling up on her side, she tries to wrap around the locket as if to keep it safe, tears spilling down her cheeks, breath coming in soft sobs. Gillian'd known more than once that she could have had a son, but she never admited it to anyone…

That she'd always wanted a daughter most of all.

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