Salvation Of Immortal Souls


gabriel_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Salvation Of Immortal Souls
Synopsis A topic of debate between two people inclined to worry about such things.
Date August 19, 2009

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine remains partially unfinished to this day, despite its construction having begun in 1892 - true to form for buildings of its type. Nonetheless, it is a grand and imposing sight; possessing the characteristic grand arches, pointed spires, and beautiful stained glass windows, including a large and striking Rose window. Where the walls aren't covered with old and meticulously preserved tapestries, they are often ornamented.

Guided tours are offered six days out of the week. Services are open to all. Since the bomb, the main nave is open at all but the latest hours, though the smaller subject-specific chapels close in the evening. The cathedral is also a site for major workshops, speakers, and musical events - most especially the free New Year's Eve concert, which has been held without fail each year since the bomb.

St. John's has long been a center for public outreach and civic service events, but since the bomb, those have become an even greater part of its daily affairs. Services include a men's shelter, a twice-weekly soup kitchen, walk-in counseling, and other programs besides. These are open to everyone - non-Evolved, unregistered Evolved, registered Evolved… the philosophy is that they're all children of God, and that's what matters.


It's an unusual notion, the idea of something as preposterous as an immortal soul, something that by design is flawed, and in need of release from the bonds of original sin. Perhaps, though, the idea isn't as steeped in fantasy as previously thought. The very immortality of something like a soul has been questioned and debated since the idea itself arose. But yet people still seek it, still hope to find it for themselves in the off-chance that maybe, just maybe, there's something to it all.

To the faithful, there is no doubt. There is no hesitation in the belief in a higher, guiding power, and no hesitation in the belief that everyone is in need — at one time or another — of salvation or absolution from their sins. Perhaps it is by this ideal that irony has seen fit to put two very unlikely sinners in the same place together.

With gloved hands clasped together, head bowed and shoulders hunched forward, Peter Petrelli's darkly-dressed form kneels behind a fourth-row pew, his brow touching the backs of his thumbs, eyes closed and body motionless. He's been in that position for fifteen minutes now, with the faint orange-yellow glow of late afternoon sunlight spilling through the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of St.John.

The shafts of light spilling from those tall and narrow stained-glass windows cover much of the empty floor space, where the scattered petitioners that have come in the off-hours to observe sit and pray.

"I never thought to ask," Peter says aloud, not to himself, but to the only company that has been afforded to him here in the church, "I only assumed you weren't, but— " his eyes open, head tilting to the side to regard someone over his shoulder, "are you religious?"

Wolves in God's house, but at the very least, one pays the proper respects.

The other, in this case, has his arms sprawled along the back of the pew he sits in, appropriately nailed-to-the-cross like in position save for the fact that his body is twisted enough for his feet to kick up, crossed at the ankles and balanced neatly on the wooden backing directly in front of him. Gabriel's been watching the dust play swirls in a shard of light hitting the old, dark wood, but now he turns to regard the kneeling Peter from his position of recline.


Not at the moment, apparently. Sucking in a breath, he withdraws his legs from where they're tilted up against the pew, booted feet falling heavy on the wooden ground with twin thuds. Gabriel's eyelids rest heavy, as if he were sleep deprived, and judging by the shadows beneath his eyes that might well be. "I believe in God. I don't believe it matters much. Does that make me unreligious?"

Nodding his head subtly, Peter's hands unclasp and grasp at the back of the pew as he pushes himself up to his feet. "No it… believing but not caring just makes you apathetic," he says with a hint of a smile, turning to look over his shoulder towards where Gabriel sits. "I haven't been to church in a long time…" Peter's dark brows furrow together, blue eyes looking distant for a moment, "I mean— since before the bomb." Those blue eyes drift up to Gabriel, watching him carefully for a moment before Peter starts to step out from behind the pew into the aisle. "I'm surprised you were willing to come along," his hands tuck into his pockets, stopping in his path to offer an askance look to Gabriel, "not because of your apathy, but— I just didn't think you'd care to, I guess."

Looking away, trouble flashing over Peter's expression for only a moment, his voice seems quieter when he talks again. "I appreciate it, though. I also appreciate you looking out for me, but I've been meaning to ask…" his eyes drift back up and over as he stands at the pew's end, watching Gabriel lounge around on the old wood seat. "Why aren't we going back to Swinburne?"

Gabriel's posture changes minutely as Peter moves to stand, although he's not immediately at the man's heels. He gives the other man a cursory look up and down before meeting the bright blue of his eyes, and a subtle scowl manages to filter through his stoicism. "I was being tracked there," he puts simply, and struggles to leave it there. He loses, and adds, "So were you," with a dry sort of humour from a joke he's not letting Peter in on. "Either way." He tilts his gaze back forward, to the elaborate decorations of the pulpit, the Catholic colours and saints, with vague unrecognition. Whatever brand of religious he used to be, it wasn't this. "Swinburne Island is compromised. Midtown never is."

He moves, his forearms coming to rest against the back of the pew in front of him, back curving beneath the black of his jacket. Hands clasped loosely but not even close to prayer - just casual. "I'm surprised," Gabriel adds, his voice a little dull, made hollower by the immense space in which they talk, sound stretched. "That you never came back here after what happened. It probably should have been the first place to go. Why now?"

A suspicious look is flashed to Gabriel, he was tracked? Blue eyes wander away, considering the list of people who might be looking for him, and none of them leave Peter with a plesant taste in his mouth. There's no question of who, that much doesn't matter, because if it was important — if it was someone dangerous — Gabriel would've explained it, that's how he works. Somehow, in Gabriel's non-admittance of who it was, there's still an answer.

A more pressing question, however, is one of faith. A question that earns Gabriel a long, blue stare before words are struggled for and found. "I'm tired," Peter murmurs, "of fighting, running, hiding…" his eyes upturn to the stained glass windows, "I guess I came back here because it's a small part of my past that isn't tainted, isn't made dirty in light of truth. Nothing bad has ever happened to me here," his eyes wander back down, "and because it's been on my mind a lot lately. After what I saw when this," he holds up one gloved hand, "was transferred to me, I've thought a lot about the idea of— " it sounds strange to say, "souls. Of— of faith, second chances… forgiveness."

Gabriel watches him as he explains, listening but more important than listening— studying. From mannerisms to vocabulary to everything else that might seem as different as bright blue eyes do. "Anything I say might come across as wishful thinking," he notes, but this train of thought slips off the rails, brow tensed into the kind of brooding thoughtfulness Peter had adopted not several minutes ago.

A quick glance, as if to judge whether or not he should bother, a fingernail tracking along a crack in the pew's back, fidgeting. "After I murdered Brian Davies," he starts, so simply, voice only quiet enough to travel to Peter, "I was terrified that I'd never be forgiven. If I ever did it again— if I ever stopped being sorry— then there was nothing left. When it did happen again— "

His jaw clenches at that point, an irritated breath of air curling from his nostrils. The manipulation is obvious now, in hindsight. "I kept going. I kept running. As if the road to Hell would be less painful if you met it head on." The corner of his mouth turns up in a slight smile, before he shrugs. "It's downhill and easy, not correct. If you stop believing there's a point of no return, then you may as well be condemned."

"Was it?" The question is bitter in delivery, but only for that moment as a regretful expression crosses Peter's face. Ambiguous in its wording, he elaborates only after a moment of consideration. "Was not looking back better? Did it— did it help, to just do and not think about it?" It's not so much a question in hypotheticals as it is a question of empyrical study. Peter himself is on a slippery moral slope, one that could easily put him down a similar path to the one Gabriel so recently walked.

Clearing his throat, Peter steps around behind Gabriel's pew, one gloved hand brushing along the darkly stained wood as he walks, eyes upturned to the stained glass window beside them depicting the Virgin Mary clutching an infant Jesus in her arms. Peter's brows furrow, eyes narrowing as he squints up into the light shining through the window, then looks down to where Gabriel sits, his hand finally coming off of the back of the pew. "Why did you change?" All that thought, just to finally admit the hardest thing — that Gabriel has changed.

The fact that he admits such a thing gets a twitch of an eyebrow raise from Gabriel, but nothing more. A glance away, even, and stony silence. It's a question of debate, one Gabriel's heard often and repeatedly this past month, reducing it to a drone. Still, there's an answer, never mind the outcome. "Because I realised that what I was had nothing to do with choice. It wasn't a decision I made. It was a compulsion and out of my control. And you know me and control."

Thud, thud. His feet meet the ground, although he doesn't stand up yet, just peers back up at Peter. "You don't want to be what I was. You don't want to let whatever it is I gave you to become you. Even I didn't want that, and you hate everything about me."

"Don't mistake jealousy for hatred." Peter turns his back to Gabriel, then sits down on the back of the Pew Gabriel is seated at, staring towards the entrance of the church with his hands still tucked into the pockets of his slacks. "It's— " he's carefully chosing is words again, "not something as simple as hate. Of ocurse I hate you," present-tense too, "but I'm also jealous of how easily you rein things in, how easily you adapt, how simply you control something like— like what's happened to me."

Peter turns his head slowly, eyes falling shut and opening in a slow blink, looking side-long at Gabriel now. "The hate's different, though, that comes from what you did." Those blue eyes narrow and then divert, staring at the pew in front of him now. "But the jealousy, that's never really gone, it sticks around every time I'm made to realize just how little control I have, and how easily it comes to you."

Gabriel gives a rough sounding chuckle, quiet with sandpaper friction, tilting his head back to regard the tall cathedral ceiling for a moment. "And I was jealous of how easy it came to you. You didn't have to turn yourself into a murderer just to be powerful. But then again, we're both well aware of that pay off." Amber-brown eyes settle hawkishly on Peter's face, and he gives a shrug. "Nothing comes easy. You don't have anything to be jealous of. And neither do I."

His fingernails rap against the wood of the pew, regarding him before Gabriel goes on to add, "You need to be careful. I followed you here because I think it would be good for you. To remember what it is to be human. Nothing makes you feel so small as a church. You should probably stop isolating yourself, too.

"They think you could be the next Kazimir."

Gabriel's afforded a look when he speaks of isolation, but it becomes a touch more mild before Peter's eyes wander away at tha last comment. "The next?" His eyes close, head shaking slowly, "they really think that?" As ambiguously phrased as the original comment. "They don't know what they're talking about, I think…" Pushing himself up off of the pew, Peter looks down towards Gabriel with an uncertain expression, his eyes betray a worry that's source isn't entirely clear.

"I don't really care what anyone else thinks, I know who I am and that's really all that matters. I think anyone who's worried about me should be more worried about more immediate problems." When Peter walks out from between the pews back to the aisle, he keeps his back to Gabriel, but his head turned towards the head of the church where a great cross hung with a sculpture of Jesus affixed to it hangs. Silence lingers for a time, and Peter's dark brows furrow together as he looks back to Gabriel.

"Do you believe them?" Peter asks in a humble, troubled tone.

The sound of wood creaking, of feet against the ground and then finally of footsteps, the movement of fabric, all herald Gabriel's own standing up and walking, although without urgency, simply traveling along the length of the pew. His hands link behind his back, meandering, but his focus on Peter is anything but vague.

"No," Gabriel offers, a solid response spoken with a solid tone. His head tilts, and he gives Peter a smirk that reads more in his eyes than his mouth, but it only lasts a moment. "I don't. They have immediate problems to focus on, don't worry. But something's making the precogs all restless." He gives a shrug, gaze finally breaking from Peter as he gets to the aisle, his back turned towards the front of the church. "You need reasons to not follow the road to Hell. Salvation," his head cants as if to indicate the church, "is one of them.

"It will take more." He speaks from experience. "And it will take more than me. And kittens, apparently."

There's a dry laugh that Peter breathes out, perhaps dispite himself and despite the memory of what happened during that training session. Turning to look back over his shoulder to Gabriel, Peter manages that hesitant smile again. "I've got something I'm looking into, speaking of immediate problems, and I think it might tie in to what your…" he rolls his shoulders, "precogs are up in arms about." One gloved hand moves into Peter's jacket, withdrawing a news article he offers out to Gabriel

There' a stringyhaired blonde woman with a cocky smile is flanked by a group of rather hip and trendy looking twenty-somethings with musical instruments. "Her name's Else Kjelstrom, Eve and Cat both mentioned her. Eve's got some paintings of me at her place. She says that in a dream, Else called herself a herald and seems to be on about this whole Munin problem."

Tilting his head to the side, Peter takes the article back and stuffs it inside of his jacket again. "I went to Cat's place for information, but she wanted me to come in for a little group therapy that I really wasn't in the mood for. I tried to dig around for information, but Wirless' has got me blacklsted since I stood up with Pinehearst…"

There's a rise of Peter's brows and a very what can you do look on his face. "So, I decided to do things the old fashioned way. I hit up people in Greenwich and worked my way head-to-head down to Kjelstrom's drug dealer. Turns out she's shooting up with some weird drug called Refrain, only affects people like us, makes you relive memories or something. I got a name from her dealer, going to try and see if she's gone to the source yet and if I can get her address…"

Peter turns to fully regard Gabriel, then starts walking, moving up to stand by his side, but with the obvious intentions of walking out shortly. "I'm going to head to a club up in Harlem, see if I can squeeze some information out of her and find this singer…" there's a pause, one dark brow rising, "exactly what're you doing these days, aside from being my shadow?"

Gabriel listens, impassive, scanning the article before he's handing it back to Peter, with the look of a man who's been given a new puzzle piece and isn't quite sure as to where to place it. "Be sure to tell me what you turn up," he says, his tone dull, as if he's not exactly expecting Peter to without some follow up on Gabriel's end. At that question, there's static silence. His neck and back are still punishing him from a very uncomfortable non-sleep in his watch shop, voice raw from breathing in dust all night. The glamourous lives of the wanted.

"Sudoku," he responds, eyebrows lifting. "Sometimes the crossword puzzles on the cartoons page. Also trying to keep the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security off my back. Something about a little incident that happened in 2006. You know, just the usual."

The knife-like smile that cuts across Peter's face is probably the most genuine show of emotion since their meeting began. Peter's head shakes in mirthful amusement as he shrugs hs shoulders in a very what am I going to do with you motion and starts heading for the door of the cathedral. He pauses, eyes closed and head down, "I never could get the hang of Sudoku…" there's something strange in his tone of voice, eyes halfway lidded, "I never did have much of a head for numbers."

Peter begins walking again, raising one gloved hand to make a small wave gesture over his shoulder as he walks before tucking his hands back into his slacks, head bowed down as he passes by more rows of pews on his way out of the church. If no one witnesses them being nice to one another, they can pretend it never happened.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License