Set It Free


gillian_icon.gif peter7_icon.gif

Scene Title Set It Free
Synopsis Gillian and Peter's relationship comes to a boiling point, facilitated by Eric Doyle's ability.
Date February 6, 2010

Lower East Side

Peter's Apartment

Does it count as calling if it's done from the hallway?

It seems Gillian would think so. It's been a long week for her, but she's back on her feet, leaving much of her research at Peyton's apartment, before she decided to give this another try. It's been some time since she visited the apartment. Some time since she called, even.

Maybe she'd been waiting to see if he'd call first. Or maybe she just … had a lot to do. All legal, but perhaps not exactly safe. Looking into the property holdings of a known mob front? Yeah.

As she makes her way to the door, she unbuttons her coat, the heat in the hallway more than what had been outside, as she starts to get a little more comfortable. From the way she walks and stands, the pain is a lot less. It's been weeks since she got shot, and most of the healing finished. Still hurts sometimes, but no more popping vicodin half the day.

Pulling out her cellphone once she makes it into sight of the door, she thumbs to the phone book, and then hits send and waits.

There's a ringing noise coming from down the hall. It's not quite what Gillian expected, either. When she turns to look at the noise, coming out of the stairwell, a surprised looking Peter Petrelli carries a grocery bag under one arm, cell phone in the other hand. About to answer the call, he instead flips the phone shut and exhales a sigh thorugh his nose, making his way towards the apartment door, trading a phone with his pocket for housekeys instead.

"You know, I told you to call before coming over…" Peter tiredly grouses, snowy boots still tracking dirty water across the hall. "Did you need something?" There's a side-long look afforded to Gillian as Peter moves between her and the apartment door, juggling the full paper bag and his keys, bracing one shoulder against the door as he unlocks and opens it, then gently nudges it open and starts moving inside, making a motion with his head for her to come in behind him.

"Maybe I was in the area and didn't want to call from the fucking cold snow covered street," Gillian says, shrugging her shoulders, both of them this time. No more one shoulder sgrug from her, as she shuts off the call and drops the phone into her coat pocket again. Following after, she tilts her head as she enters, "I could have helped with that, you know. I'm pretty much healed up." And it's just a bag of groceries! She knows what it's like to have to unlock a door while juggling those.

Not blocking the door long, she steps further into the apartment. "I didn't need anything, it's just been a while since I stopped by. Now that I'm offically not dead or anything, I figured we could try the whole thing over again. Or at least I can help you unload groceries…"

"They're actually not for me…" Peter admits to the bag of groceries, judging from the angle of his head, even if he does distractedtly look up from them to Gillian after he sets them down on the countertop. "Miss Abrahms up on the fifteenth floor can't get around much after having hip replacement surgery, and her daughter's off on vacation, so I'm sort've filling in doing grocery shopping for her." Brows scrunched together, Peter motions with a nod of his head towards the door. "Could you close that for me?"

With the grocery bag on the counter, Peter reaches inside with one hand and pulls out a bottle of wine, bringing it over to rest on the counter beside the refrigerator— apparently that's his. Then, once the bottle is moved, Peter steps out from the kitchenette, peering into the living room, then around the apartment, as if missing something. Notably, there's blankets folded up on the sofa and a dufflebag tucked to one side, along with a pillow on top of it.

A quiet noise in the back of Peter's throat comes after a shrug, and he turns to look back to Gillian while he gets his cell phone back out, opening it up and dialing a number, still not yet having taken off his coat. "Well, you know, I just wanted to avoid stuff like this from happening? I don't know how long I'll be in, and if I don't know ahead of time that you want to hang out it— " he pauses when someone on the other end of the phone picks up.

"Hey, Ma. Yeah, it's me. I don't think Kaylee's going to be coming to dinner tonight, looks like she's gone out for the evening. So it'll just be me…" he shakes one arm free, looking down at a wristwatch. "Yeah, yeah I'll be there around six?" Dark eyes glance up to Gillian for a moment, then back down to the watch. "Great, yeah. Alright, see you soon Ma." There's a pause, a faint and crooked smile, "You too."

Flipping his phone shut, Peter offers up something of a more crooked smile to Gillian as he tucks the phone back into his coat, finally starting to unbutton it with gloved hands. "Sorry about that, it's been hectic the last few weeks. I start my EMT work in a week and a half, so I'm trying to get in some family time while I have the free time to."

While he's on the phone, Gillian helps with the door as asked, but also spends some time looking around the apartment, noticing things that weren't there before, as her ears catch mentions of… names. Going to dinner with his mom. And it sounded like… She's looking away from him, eyebrows lowered as she looks off into the distance, hands tightening into fists for a moment, before she forces them loose. "I've been busy too," she manages thickly, voice tight, almost hissed a little.

A bottle of wine, dinner with his mother and some girl named Kaylee, a name she's heard mentioned before. The first time she visited the apartment. When he…

She shakes her head, looking back at him finally, unable to really hide the tension on her face. "Probably wouldn't have mattered if I called. You seem to have plans." She can hear the anger and frustration in her voice, and that actually makes her grimace. At least it's not because of physical pain this time. "So who's Kaylee?"

There's an awkward pause as Peter looks up from where he's hanging his jacket by the door and Gillian's question. It's not that he's having trouble forming the answer, it's that he's having trouble expressing his distaste for the way Gillian phrased the question. "She's…" Peter's brows furrow, coat slowly hung up, red scarf unwound from around his throat and added to the rack, "…a friend. She works for the Ferrymen, used to be one of Adam Monroe's flunkies until a Company founder did some weird telepathic hex or something to her. My mom was in a bad way thanks to Arthur at the time, so I made her a deal. She helps my mother out, and my mother fixes her problem. Turns out the problems resolved each other… and I've been sort've helping her get on her feet since. Registration, looking at schools, all of that."

Finally out of his jacket and scarf, Peter adds his gloves into the pocket and gives a squinted look to Gillian. "You're jealous that she's staying here?" There's a hint of amusement in his tone of voice. "She got kicked out of the safehouse she was staying in because she decided she wanted to register, I couldn't just kick her out onto the street when she showed up."

He's on his way back into the kitchen now, opening the refrigerator and staring inside with a distant look in his eyes. "Friend of hers got shot down at Summer Meadows, me and her went up to Eileen's to take a look at him. She hasn't spent a night here since, I figure she's been down at whatever safehouse they took him to." Peter straightens up, closes the refrigerator door and levels a look to Gillian. "That's who Kaylee is."

"I'm not jealous that she stayed here. You let me stay here. Eileen stay here. You'd probably let anyone-who-needed-to stay here," Gillian says, with a mutter, voice a little more raspy and broken as she looks away at the room. Where they tried to watch a movie and didn't get the chance to, because the news reporters had to scoop her identified body, whether it was hers or not.

"Why didn't you ever call me?" she finally asks, the frustration creeping back into her voice, the jealousy. "I get that you're busy, but you're not so busy you can't get groceries for your neighbor, or help … Kaylee with picking a school. Shot friend I can understand, kicked out of a safehouse, fine. That's important but— " She rubs her hands over her face as she keeps turned away.

"Guess I'm jealous cause you were never there to help me with getting back on my feet when I needed it." Oh yeah, that could well be part of it. But she'd been jealous before she knew who the woman was— and now she's more so. She keeps her coat on, and after rubbing at her face again, she starts to move back toward the door, maybe just to get closer to it.

"You don't need me," Peter dismisses witha shake of his head, "you only think you do because of something someone told you about a future that doesn't exist." There's a tension in his voice now, more so than before. "You're right, I'd probably offer that couch to anyone who needed it, but the point is if they needed it. You've got more— better— friends than me, and honestly you're a whole lot stronger when you don't have me tied like a dead weight around your ankles." Having lost interest in his expedition into the refrigerator, Peter's folding his arms and leaning with his back against it.

"I'm sorry I haven't called, you're right that I've been busy, but it's not an excuse— I made a promise and I haven't really filled out on it. I've just been trying to worry more about myself for once than everyone else, and that means getting myself together and a respctible job. But, that's mostly out of the way now. I just— " Peter presses a hand to his forehead, a click of his tongue accompanying brown eyes settling on Gillian.

"I've got a lot on my mind lately. Apparently now that I'm legitimate, there's a couple of secret service types that check in on me every so often. I'm the President's brother, after all, and I guess that comes with a lot of baggage. If anyone wanted to get at Nathan, they could go through me. I just— the guy who let me know had a funny way of doing it. Between that and waiting to find out who my EMT partner is…" a sign slips out of Peter and his shoulders sink, "alright, it's still an excuse."

Still an excuse.

Instead of continuing toward the door, Gillian takes heavy steps to close the distance between them, finally looking up at him. For a moment, he might suspect she's about to punch him in the face. Instead her hands impact his chest, heavy enough to make an impact, but not enough to actually hurt too much. Not for longer than a second. "Your god damn right it's an excuse. You said you wanted to be friends? Well this isn't friendship. This is you fucking avoiding me and— You could have called your mom and scheduled for another night, you could have invited me along. You could have fucking called me once since we got back from Antarctica. And you can't say you lost my number."

There's another heavy smack, to emphasize her words. "A phone call doesn't take five minutes. You could have done it while riding on the fucking elevator in in a cab." Even if cabbies probably hate that.

And then she hits again, a little harder, fingers twisting into a fist. This time, at least, she's not on the verge of tears. "And how the hell would you know if I'm stronger with or without you? You barely took the time to know me after Helena got back. I fought to become strong to help you." And Gabriel, and everyone. "I went in there to help save Else for you. I fought so hard in Argentina and Antarctica because I held on to this tiny thread of hope that it might do some fucking good… and because I wanted to prove you wrong."

One more thump. "And I didn't fall in love with you because someone told me you were married, you fucking idiot. I was falling for you before I was told."

All it takes is a motion of his fingers for this to turn into something less peaceable. Stillness comes over Gillian, but not because of any want for calm or for this emotional outburst to come to a close, it's because of— indirectly— Eric Doyle. Gillian goes tense, muscles taut and arms stopping their thumping on Peter's chest. Neck muscles tighten, as do the corners of Peter's eyes, showing with the faintest of wrinkles there from the expression.

"You should go." It's the only answer Peter gives Gillian, save for the way he turns his hand, causing her arms and legs to move of their own accord, along with the distant sound of twisting metal wires like piano strings pulled taut. "Go somewhere else, do something else, find someone else to be co-dependent with. I want to be friends with you, Gillian, but I'm afraid that's not what you want, and I don't want to string you along and make you think it is."

It's an effective way of showing her the door, as two fingers move like a little pantomime of a person walking, so do Gillian's legs move towards the door. Peter's thumb circles around, and she turns the knob and opens the door again. "I could've called and invited you out to dinner, I could've rescheduled plans with my mother, I could've called you. But I don't think you can separate the difference between friendship and infatuation. We never had anything, Gillian… You fell for me, but it was never the other way around; Not really."

His hand pushes forward, and with a creaking groan of the taut wire noise, Gillian steps out into the hall and politely closes the door behind herself, as Peter is wont for her to do. It's only when she's out of his line of sight that the helplessness and stiff muscles relax, and his head hangs in regret.

Tough love is the hardest love to dispense.

Forced to move against her will, told horrible things that are craftily designed to hurt her, Gillian still holds onto the doorknob as she looks at the closed door. Part of her doesn't even remember moving because it hurt so much. And not physically, either. The pain in her stomach has an eerie familiarity. The words stated as well. Except this time— apparently— it had never been returned. At least with…

Suddenly she punches the door, hard. And then kicks it. And then kicks it again. The second punch sags, though, as she sinks a bit, to press her forehead against the door. The coolness of the wood helps for a moment, but otherwise her face burns. It's red with anger and pain, and the tears that start to fall…

Sometimes she's impulsive, and when she gets this angry, this frustrated and hurt, it's hard for her to do what's probably the right thing. Like respect what he's saying and leave, even if her legs don't want to work.

What's wrong with her that caused two men she wanted to be with to treat her like this? Or maybe more correctly, what's wrong with her that she wanted them in the first place?

Her hand drops back down to the doorknob, to test it. It turns. That's part of the only warning that he gets before she opens the door. And that cellphone, which may not survive being thrown, sails across the room at the place she'd last seen him. "Now you have a reason not to fucking call me, you liar."

If he's not lying now, he lied before.

He's barely able to move his head out of the way when her phone smashes into the wall, battery going one way, battery lid going another, and the rest of the phone skittering somewhere behind the refrigerator. There's a pockmark on the wall where the phone hit and Peter's eyes are wide. Shock fades to anger and anger just gets bigger and bigger before Peter's throwing one hand up at the woman that hurled a phone at him. The sound of metal cables is more prominent now, a groaning twang as Gillian's body once more grows taut and defenseless. Peter throws his arm forward, causing her to step back rapidly until she's pressed up against the wall opposite of his door.

Peter looks down, finding the battery to the phone, reaching down to pick that up while one of his hands is still outstretched. Stretching to the side, he picks up the other part of the phone, unable to find the back of it. Rising to his feet, he slowly walks out of the apartment, brows furrowed and lips downturned halfway into an awkward expression. Peter turns his free hand, moving her arm, turning her palm rightside up and lays the phone and detatched battery down in it, curls his fingers closed to make her do the same.

"If I ever thought, that you had the capacity to be my friend… to not— expect something of me that I was not ready or willing to give to you… You just lost that. I don't want to see you again, I don't want to hear from you again, I want you out of my life." There's a tightness in Peter's throat when he says that, his chin lifting up to make sure hers does as well, to make sure she has eye contact with him.

"I honestly wanted to try being your friend, Gillian. I did." Peter's jaw gives a small tremble, and when he waves his hand towards the elevator, Gillian's turning slowly, not of her own accord towards it. Peter's quietly following her, reaching out to slap the call button, a soft chime reporting the elevator's presence and the doors rushing open.

"The worst part is, I actually thought you could be that for me. Just a friend— that's all I wanted." Two fingers push towards Gillian, and she's backing into the elevator. Peter leans inside, pressing the button for the lobby and slowly leans out, resting his hand on the door frame beside the entrance. "I'm sorry."

The last thing she sees, are those brass colored elevator doors sliding shut, Peter's face narrowing to a sliver and Gillian's own tear-streaked one replacing it in muted metal reflection. The last thing Peter sees is Gillian's face slowly thinning between those doors, replaced by his own reflection in muted metal.

The chime of the elevator going down is loud enough to be a gunshot.

As she drops down to her own two feet, Gillian lets out a sobbing grunt, and then slides down to the floor of the elevator. In some ways, she wishes it had been a gunshot.

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