alison_icon.gif arthur_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif

Scene Title Sacrifices
Synopsis For what would someone be willing to sacrifice? Arthur asks Gillian a difficult question when she steps into Pinehearst.
Date June 03, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters

Amid the urban parks of Fort Lee New Jersey, the Pinehearst Corporate Headquarters is an unusual sight. Architecturally designed with an eye for the natural environment, the building is both sleek and modern while retaining a touch of the natural world. The primary facility is a seven story office building rising up out of forested grounds, the reflective green-tinted plate windows show not the neighboring Jersey cityscape, but reflect the natural splendor of the six acres of land the facility rests on. The secondary facility and central lobby is a two-floor structure with a rounded front lined with square columns, an entire green-tinted glass wall behind it shadowing the lobby beyond.

Between these two structures, a central courtyard is filled with neatly landscaped trees surrounded by bark mulch, a fountain prominently displaying a stone slab with the Pinehearst logo flanked by benches, and stone walksways that meander through this lush, natural splendor. Near the lobby entrance, an enormous blue and green double-helix proudly identifies the building as Pinehearst property.

This isn't what Gillian had in mind at all.

"If you could just lay down here on the table, we can get started." Alison Meier has a peculiar bedside manner, one part impatience and one part dishonest sacchirine-sweetness. Here on the laboratory level of Pinehearst's New Jersey headquarters, the white coated doctor Meier motions towards a padded table in the middle of a large examination lab, holding a clip-board to her chest as she circles around the table.

"I assure you," a firm but grandfatherly voice from the doorway states, "all Alison wants is to take a little of your blood for some tests." Moving one foot very slowly in front of the other, Arthur Petrelli swaggers out from the doorway, arms folded across his chest. "Your ability has unique properties, and we haven't had a chance to compare your post-manifestation blood samples to the ones we have on record from your childhood." There's something telling there, that they still have some of the blood from that long ago available.

When Gillian showed up here after receiving a phone call from Arthur, this isn't how she imagined his request for help was going to do. The shiny steel surgical tray near th ebed, the gurney outside of the room, the beeping and chirping medical equipment — it all isn't exactly what she had in mind.

But then again, nothing has been what she had in mind lately.

"My ability isn't even the same as what you people fucking gave me," Gillian mutters in a raspy voice, not liking this thing at all. There's a lot going on that she doesn't like— and it's been one thing after another after another… There's agitation across her forehead and in her eyes. It's not why she came here— it's not why she walked in the doors. Where's her dead sister to tell her she's making the right decision? It would have been better if she'd even told any of the others she had been going out. There's been so much on her mind lately, and getting needles poked into her skin…

And there's a voice she can't forget from an alley a few weeks ago telling her not to help Pinehearst. Stay away from Pinehearst and the Petrellis. Until a few days ago, she'd actually intended to do just that…

"Who is this blood testing going to be helping, anyway?" she asks, looking at the old man. He'd been in a bed the last time she saw him. She'd not actually heard his voice until he spoke on the phone.

"This testing," Alison notes, moving over to pick up a cotton swab and a bottle of alcohol, expectantly looking between Gillian and the bed, "is for our research into exactly how Tyler Case's ability functions. I want to do some texting on your blood, and possibly later spinal fluid in order to assess exactly what partsof your genetic code have been altered. I've already run tests with Peter's samples he offered to us, and now I need to cross-reference those with your results to make sure I'm seeing what I'm seeing."

Arthur moves up beside Gillian, laying a hand on her shoulder with a gentle squeeze. "There's a great deal of research we do here, Gillian, and your 'natural' ability is very similar to what Tyler's is, and without him to take a sample from, it becomes difficult to produce the necessary materials for — potentially — a cure for what it is he did."

A cure. Arthur's words come with a certain level of serpent-and-fruit quality, and his hand slowly slips free of Gillian's shoulder as he moves to stand at the foot of the bed. "You said something happened to Peter," he finally changes the subject with a bit of a reserved sigh, as if setting himself up for the eventual disappointment to come. "What happened this time?"

"Spinal fluid? Fuck," Gillian mutters under her breath, not liking the sound of it at all, even closing her eyes. It's not the prospect of pain that makes her worried, it's all the tests. Having good health was something she always kind of liked in her life, with the only doctor appointments she had to worry about where to get certain necessary things. It was never for anything that required a freaking lumbar puncture.

But, Peter offered samples, and the mention of a cure… that makes her open her eyes and look up at the man squeezing her shoulder. "All right— whatever. I want this thing fixed…" As much for herself as for the rest of the people involved. Gabriel. Peter…

Peter. There's hesitation as she looks up at the ceiling, frowning a moment before she looks back, "I tried to get him and Gabriel to talk. It— they got into a fist fight instead. Decided to be men. The— the ability Peter got activated," she grimaces, remembering briefly the details of how it happened, that Gabriel made it happen. "He hurt Gabriel, and me— " A brief touch to her cheek. The worst pain that the man's son caused that day wasn't in the scratch on her cheek, which is still healing and may even scar slightly— but it was in words and the fact that… "He ran off. I don't think anyone's heard from him since. I was hoping… that he came here."

"You two can talk while you're laying down, Gillian." Alison takes a tone, the kind an impatient mother does with a child. Her thin, dark brows lower in a frustrated expression of impatience, one that earns a stern and disapproving look from Arthur.

"Peter… and Gabriel then?" Arthur wrings his hands for a moment, glancing up to Alison before looking back to Gillian and managing something of a reassuring smile. "I'll find Peter, and make sure that he's safe and taken care of. If you want to help him, Gillian, your best bet is to help here, where you can. Leave Peter to me." There is, however, a slightly proud look in Arthur's eyes — prideful and surprised — wen she tells him he got into a fistfight with Gabriel. Likely, he never assumed his boy had it in him.

"If you think it would help, I could try and talk to Gabriel too." A tilt of his head to one side brings Arthur's and Gillian's eyes together. "I think it would be very helpful if you told him to come talk to me." The subtle change in Arthur's tone of voice isn't verbal, but mental, a dull echoing of his words inside of Gillian's mind as he turns a suggestion into a psychic order.

"Fine," Gillian says, giving the woman a glance before she moves to lay down as requested, even if she's got an indignant look on her face, mouth pressed together. The stubborness doesn't fade, even as she moves to better allow for blood taking at the like. It's the topic that has her the most stubborn, allowing the doctor to take what is necessary while she looks at the father of someone who rather upset her recently…

And he's talking about both the men who rather upset it.

The change in tone catches something in her mind, feeling a tug. Their eyes meet. It would be helpful… For someone who isn't her. That doesn't mean she doesn't see the point in trying to bring it up, even if Pinehearst was a topic she avoided for quite some time.

"I haven't actually seen Gabriel since the incident either," she says. "I can tell him…" She can't help but wonder why— why… And the rest of what he mentioned her doing, what didn't echo in her mind…

"I wasn't intending to stay here, Mr. Petrelli. I don't even know what I could do to help you, besides give blood. Fuck, I'm not really sure if— I can barely control what I've been doing the last month. I was hoping that… Peter was supposed to be helping me." He'd agreed to it. In some ways it'd even been his idea. Until he waffled. God damn waffler.

"We can help you, Gillian. What you have right now is an important gift, and we're going to make absolutely certain that you are able to utilize it to the fullest of your potential. But right now, we need to look into alternative cures for what Tyler did." As Gillian finally acquiesces to Alison's wishes while Arthur talks, the dark-haired doctor wipes down the soft spot at Gillian's elbow and sets in an IV for drawing blood, feigning a bit of a smile after setting everything up.

"A few vials will do, just in case we aren't able to get you in here again soon." An expectant stare is flicked to Arthur as Alison moves away from Gillian, and the patriarch of Pinehearst nods slowly, motioning in a dismissive manner to her as she takes the offer and makes a quick retreat out of the examination room. Arthur, on the other hand, maneuvers over to Gillian and manages a warm smile, laying a hand on her shoulder while she lays there on the table.

"You're going to need to be strong, Gillian. Very trying times are coming, I'm afraid, and if you want to protect Peter… or Gabriel… you're going to need to be strong enough for the both of them."

This is what he did to Angela, this is what he did all of his life, and now Arthur begins the manipulation of Gillian Childs as well, molding the young woman into a pliable armament of Pinehearst. There is some discomfort, however, in this next attempt, as a mental static seems to echo in Gillian's mind and in Arthur's, causing the elderly man to withdraw his hand from her shoulder and take a step back.

"Mnn," he murmurs, "Perhaps that help we can offer should come sooner rather than later. You do pick up the most curious abilities."

Rather interestingly, the longer Gillian is in the room, the more the general aches and pains start to disappear. Bruises she got from getting tossed across the roof, scrapes on her hands and knees. The cut on her cheek that she just touched even heals over, leaving what looks like a years old scar behind. Only the fact it'd had days to heal already would be why there's a scar at all. Or maybe part of her doesn't want the scar to go away, anymore than she wanted to lose the one on her forehead or the one on her wrist that cuts through her tattoo.

The arm that blood's getting drawn from features one of her many tattoos, a tribal rose.

Stronger. She does want to protect Peter and Gabriel. As much as she wants to protect herself. Maybe even more than that. Part of her is aware she would risk her life— as she already has— to help them. She has to be strong enough for the both of them.

Echo as they might, she winces a bit at the sudden feedback, blinking. It's not a command she's unwilling to accept, so much as— "Hey," she says, bringing the arm that doesn't have an IV in it up to her forehead. There's a little pain there, though it doesn't last too long. "What help are you talking about exactly? All I need to do is… figure out how to control it until we can switch all the abilities back. That's what …" What Peter was supposed to be helping her do.

"Are you sure you can't just— tell me where Peter is? He said you could find people wherever they are." Is this why she really came?

"Peter doesn't have the experience with multiple abilities that I do, Gillian." Arthur rubs his forefingers and thumb together, "he means well, but as you can see— that doesn't always pan out like he'd hope. He's so much like his mother in that regard." A distant look comes across Arthur's face as he turns to look towards the door to the lab, then back to Gillian.

"Finding Peter will take focus, and I can do that once we're done here. It isn't something I can just do, I have to concentrate on it." Quiet for a time, Arthur watches the blood beginning to fill up from Gillian's arm in that silence. The rythmic beep of machines in the room is all the company offered, until finally Arthur offers to speak up again.

"Can I ask you a difficult question, Gillian?" Arthur turns his focus towards the young woman again, "I want your opinion."

Multiple abilities. So he really can do more than one thing. But the fact he can't just do it anytime he wants to— that could well be a relief. It'd been one of the few abilities she actually got paranoid about since she discovered it could be done. The idea of someone spying on her, finding her wherever she went? Creepy. We'll leave it there. But creepy is the sum of what she would like to call that.

The beeping machines and the blood drawn out of her body isn't very comforting, even if that thought might be. "Peter wasn't that bad a teacher, though. I just stopped going after the first lesson," Gillian professes, even a little defensive in nature, like she feels some need to defend the man in this case. She also had help from Gabriel, in a sense, but not quite the same. The two ways of handling multiple abilities are too different…

"My opinion…" she repeats. Difficult questions. Not sure she likes the sound of that. But her other hand lowers down away from her temple. "Ask away."

Arthur walks away from the bed, folding his hands behind his back as he moves to look out the observation window of the examination room, staring out into the hall. "If you knew you could make a difference in the future, a real hard difference, one that made things better for the majority of everyone alive— at the cost of a few who would have to suffer— could you make the sacrifice?"

The tone Arthur Petrelli takes is an unusual one, reluctant and remorseful. The way Arthur speaks, it's hard not to see a shade of Peter in it, in the moment of vulnerability behind a stoic wall of strength. In that way, it seems, they're not so different from each other after all.

"I— " In some ways there'd been a moment when she'd been willing to risk dying in order to do what she thought would help a lot of people. It was offering to help Gabriel fight against two Peters. And the second time, she jumped onto a bridge to help Phoenix and Abby defeat Kazimir and save the world— for the chance of seeing Gabriel again. And then she went to Moab, risked capture or death— to break Peter out.

There's a moment where she looks down at her fingers, the hand with a yin-yang tattoo on her wrist, and stares at it a moment. Then that hand tightens into a fist before she looks over at him. "It would depend on who was included in the majority. I'm not not really the fucking heroic kind. I'm not out to save the world, or make it better for everyone… But…"

She'd risk her life and freedom to help the limited amount of people that she cares about. That much she knows.

Arthur doesn't seem to know how to take the non-comittal answer, there's just a slow nod of his head and a quiet, grumbling sound. "It's…" he turns from the window, looking back at Gillian on the bed, "it's a difficult question to really answer, isn't it?" A weak smile is offered to the young woman, and as Arthur makes his way back over to where she lays, there's a sympathetic, almost worried look on the old man's face.

"You're special, Gillian, perhaps more than you know…" Something strange lingers in Arthur's eyes as he watches Gillian for a short time, but it is quick to fade. "You're a legacy of a terrible series of exeperiments… but no matter how bloody the past that birthed you was, you're… you have a gift — your normal gift — that could change the world."

A faint smile creeps across Arthur's face before he turns his back on Gillian and begins walking towards the examination room door. "I… Alison will be back shortly to check up on you. I— should go look for Peter."

"If it were easy to answer you wouldn't have to ask it," Gillian says in the same raspy voice, as she flexes her fingers mildly. Maybe the worst part is over, but there's still memories that are replaying in ways she just can't forget. A gift and a curse all at the same time. The last thing she heard from both Peter and Gabriel had been rather hurtful, whether they intended it to be or not.

"Just so long as I don't have to stay here for long. I know you think you can help me, but— " She needs to leave. To tell Gabriel to come talk to him. And just because she wants to. But that first bit remains a cliffnote in her mind as a reason to leave. As a reason to come back.

As he starts to walk away, though, she adds, "Mr. Petrelli. My normal gift… I don't know what the hell you guys did to make abilities, but— when I first found out, I didn't appreciate being lied to. Or used. Or changed. Or forced into whatever piece you wanted me to be." There's a narrowing to her eyes, an anger really. She's not pleased with what they did to her, and she never will be. "But— I don't know where I'd be if your people didn't do that." She would have never met Gabriel. Or Peter. Or Phoenix. She never would have been able to help them. "So I guess it was worth it."

A power given to her with a needle. Just like her tattoos.

Arthur stops in the doorway, head hanging slowly before he looks over his shoulder. The look on his face is one of guilt, more so than pride at his accomplishments. There's silence in that look, on that could weather concrete to dust and rot iron away to so much rusted scrap. He tries to feign a smile, then just nods his head slowly and turns out towards the hall, bearing the look of a man who knows much guilt — much like his son.

But what Gillian doesn't know, and what others will soon discover, Arthur is deserving of it.

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