Sewing Sylar's Survivor


cat_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Sewing Sylar's Survivor
Synopsis It's what the title suggests
Date December 22, 2008

Isaac's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style. What dominates much of the loft, however, is not the abandoned artwork or the layers of dust that have settled on them, but rather strings — hundreds upon hundreds of strings.

The entire loft is filled with strings that stretch from one side of the main room to another, most of them laden with newspaper clippings, photographs, or plastic baggies filled with strange oddies like locks of hair, a shirt button, interlinked paperclips and the like. The majority of the news articles are all related to the bomb that destroyed most of midtown manhattan in 2005, some also relating to Senator Petrelli's political campaign, then other seemingly unrelated incidents. A single red string seems to interconnect all of the other threads, bouncing from one point to another, tied off to different articles — all which can be slid by slip knots into new positions — and tangled up towards a knot at the center where an article related to the bomb is hanging, showing a photograph of a man named "Gabriel Gray." It takes a moment to notice that the shapes and colors on the floor beneath all of this chaos is an image. It is a profound one at that, the painting of a city being blown apart by an atomic explosion, complete with a crimson and orange mushroom cloud rising up from the middle.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

The strings, newspaper clippings and photographs aren't the only thing present in the loft this morning. It's not the Asian man who set the whole thing up, though. Sitting against one of the walls, with a bunch of heavy blankets to block out the lingering chill, is a young woman with a bandaged head. Blood seeps through the bandaging, the right side of her forehead. A few bags lay against the wall beside her, one full dufflebag, a second empty one (likely had been holding the blankets she's wrapped herself in), and two carrier bags. Gillian's eyes are closed, a grimace on her face as if in pain.

On rising today and beginning to again go over everything Doctor Ray said, a few things stood out in her mind. The first of them being whether or not she might enlist the scientist's help in finding a body somewhere, she desperately wants to give her some sort of decent resting place. The second is the matter of Helena Dean and her stubbornness, the suspicion her determination to visit Peter will be what causes her to have a HomeSec detainee photo. It's brought her here, the whole thing. Seeing contents of a manila envelope sent from a man to himself in the past will do that.

There's a sound, or a series of sounds, which precede her into the loft. They're from the door opening and closing as she makes her way in through it. The walls don't draw her attention now, no, it's the complicated web of strings with all the data attached to them grabbing that. More sounds are made by her winter boots on the floor as she approaches the spot where Claire's death was reported.

Even in her pain, Gillian notices the door opening. Not just because of the cold air that comes in, but because of the sound. Eyes open, squinting against the tension until she can make out the woman's shape. Who the person happens to be causes her to remain where she is, rather than scramble to grab a weapon and defend herself. Something does scramble out of the blankets, though, before she can even stop him. There's a sudden meowing sound, and a yellow cat wriggles his way out of the blankets and toward the new person. "Chandra," she calls out in a pained voice. Not that it stops him from making his way toward Cat, whose legs he decides look partically good for rubbing against.

She stops at the sound of the voice and stands still for a moment, then slowly turns toward where the voice came from. The cat which meows next catches her attention, she bends slightly to rub behind his ears for a moment, then she straightens and makes her way over to the sitting blanketed woman. "Gillian," she begins, "you're hurt." A study of the woman is made, to determine how badly she's injured and decide how to proceed. "You've suffered a blow to the head," she muses. And the bags. "You're also out of doors, squatting here."

"I'm fine," Gillian says with a grimace as she starts to move out of her bundle of blankets. Not the warmest place to squat, but there's few safe places she could think of off the top of her head that would be better. At least it blocks the snow and the wind. It's a lie, though. She's not fine. From the look of things, she's not fine at all. A haunted expression on her face, the pain, the blood visible through the bandage which doesn't appear to have been done very well at all… Chandra likes the attention, but would probably like food more. As if knowing why he ran away from her, the woman moves to reach into one of the carrier bags to rummage around. There's the sound of paper crinkling. That brings the yellow cat back over. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to follow the multicolored string road," Cat replies, as she continues her assessment. Calm rests on her features, put there to avoid showing alarm over the situation as it is. "What about you, Gillian?" The bandages obscure her conclusion and take her down a false path. "You've been hit on the head, something perhaps hard enough to make a gash which bled. You're going to need some attention. I can get you that, I believe, in fairly short order."

"I didn't hit my head," is all that Gillian says, a hint of anger in her tone. Not directed at the woman offering help, but at something else all together. "It'll heal," she adds, finally pulling out a small bowl, which she sets on the dusty, dirty floor. Chandra sniffs the bowl in disappointment, until her hand goes back to retrieve a handful of dry catfood, which gets set into the bowl. "I just needed a place to stay. You won't find me at the bowling alley anymore."

"Which means you've got bigger problems to worry about than a guy with a scar," Cat answers. "I can find someone to heal that much more quickly than waiting for it to occur on its own, not to mention avoiding the risk of infection which could set in, and all the hassles of changing bandages. I could also, of course, stitch it up for you. I didn't say you hit your head. I said you got hit on the head." She doesn't move to take any action yet, Cat is just watching, with her eyes occasionally drifting to Chandra and back again. "I've got access to safe places where you can stay, and good food for Chandra the Hungry." The words are plainly spoken, her voice calm.

That is what she said, isn't it? Gillian can't help but curse quietly under her breath, pulling the blankets back up around her for more warmth. She's fully dressed under the blankets— including a coat that's far too big for her. "I don't want that kind of healing," she adds, looking away and down, a hint of stubbornness in her eyes. And pain still. "This place is safe. Fucking wish I could kick Assface for up and locking himself away after…" she doesn't finish, voice harsh, a grumble cutting her off. Finally she looks back up, letting the stubborness fade so she can see that she needs some of that help at least, "I'll take stitches…"

A nod. Cat isn't going to force the woman to take help she doesn't want, and as it appears Gillian isn't in danger of dying right here on the spot she doesn't have either the time or the inclination to wait for her to pass out and get her Abby's attention anyway. "Not sure what I can do for you in terms of anesthetics, Gillian," Cat states, "you may have to suck it up and deal. I doubt you're much interested in a hospital and the reports doctors have to make when they treat things sometimes." She straightens and looks down, saying simply "Rest. I need to go get some supplies, will be back shortly."

"I have tweleve tattoos," Gillian says with a hint of a snort. "This hurts a little more than that, but not as much as you'd think." The last few months have been pretty painful, in general. The man she came here to leave notes for happens to have hurt her quite a bit as well. And while she is angry at him, it's for different reason than the various pains he's caused her. "I can deal with stitches," she does clarify, before she adds, "Thanks." It's not as genuine as it could be, but it does seem like she'll be waiting right here.

No more words are used now, Cat makes her way out of the loft and hits the streets of Nuked York. Her destinations are few: first she goes to a medical supplies store where she buys a suture kit along with surgical gloves and rubbing alcohol. Iodine, some fresh bandages, and a topical anesthetic too. The second stop is a supermarket where she purchases steak and cat food. Stop number three is Piccoli's for sandwiches, enough for both of them.

Between sixty and ninety minutes later, the door opens and Cat's feet are heard as she returns with the goods from her shopping trip. "Gillian?" she calls out.

The small handful of cat food dropped into the bowl is long gone by this point. The cat too is nowhere to be seen. A buldge in the blankets may show that he's burrowed his way back into the warmth, trying to claim some of it as his own. Gillian doesn't seem to mind, for she's still there, having dozed off a short time before the door reopens. She blinks, looking up at the voice, startled into awareness. "I'm here," she says, before she starts to detangle herself again.

"You're going to spoil him," Gillian says, but the cat smells food, and at even the hint it might be for him, he reappears, and hurries over. "Before— I'm starving," she says, still keeping the blankets around her legs and waist, even as she reaches out to take the sandwiches. From the way she digs into it, she's just as hungry as Chandra was, though surely not starving. She just didn't pack much in the way of people food, from the looks of things. "I'll pay you back," she adds, in the middle of a bite, slurred by the food as well as the pain and cold.

"Before it is," Cat answers, taking a seat and unwrapping her own sandwich. There's drinks with them also, Pepsi in specific. One is handed over to the patient of the moment. "If you want," is all she says regarding being repaid.

As she devours the sandwich, and downs the soda, Gillian's wrist becomes visible. She's still wearing the broken watch. The second hand has come off completely, leaving just the minute and the hour hand. 3:33. The attack in Greenwich had been late in the evening, but it hadn't been at that hour. The sandwich is gone rather quickly, until she's even picking off fallen pieces of lettuce and making sure that all of it makes it into her stomach.

Eating her own sandwich, Cat is quiet and observant. She doesn't speak of the wristwatch, at least not yet, given Gillian's been tightlipped about things around her. Pressing for info doesn't seem it'll be productive, and she isn't certain the damage or the time displayed would be relevant. She'll share, or not, in her own time. Around the time her sandwich is half gone, however, Cat does break the silence. "Archer, lawyer, musician, factionary… Now I know how to suture too. You must be wondering what ability I've got."

"I didn't assume you had one," Gillian admits with a shrug, before she winces mildly. Her own sandwich is gone, so she finishes drinking the soda instead, looking toward the cat, who doesn't seem to mind being spoiled at all. In fact if Cat isn't careful, she may find herself going home with something very similar to her own name. "I know they're not all flashy… so I'm guessing you got one of the easier to hide ones?" As she looks away, a hand goes up to touch her forehead, more grimacing visible upon the touch.

The reply begins with a quiet chuckle. "I never forget," she states. "Which isn't always a good thing." A trace of melancholy settles in as she speaks, setting aside the remnants of her sandwich while studying Gillian's forehead when it's touched. "I read some books on emergency medicine once, and took a course or two." She hasn't said it outright yet, but the evidence she's dealing with some recent loss continues to appear. Her feet are gotten to, she takes the medical supplies and comes over to sit close by Gillian so she can see and work. One hand reaches out to carefully remove the bandage.

"That sucks," Gillian admits with a mild grimace, aware of exactly what sucks about a perfect memory. In theory it's a good thing to have. In this day and age… There's a grimace as she pulls aside the bandage. It's poorly done, really, sticking to the bleeding wound. Under it are bandaids which try to replace stitches. But it becomes very obviously exactly what kind of wound she has. It's too straight and too deep to be a normal cut. And thanks to all those pictures on strings… she might even recognize the handywork.

Slow and careful her hands are, exposing the wound without causing pain as best she can. "This is going to take some work, cleaning out, Gillian." Cat observes. "It looks like someone tried to saw through your skull." Silence settles in, she compares this with the pictures and things she's been told about operating methods. "I suspect you're one of a very fortunate few." Some might be shocked, far less calm, about treating someone who might be a Sylar attack survivor, but Cat's lately had her hands on the President-elect's abdomen as she helped put back in what got out, she's abandoned her lover to die at the hands of Ethan, been stoic while Dani was tortured, and she's held the secret of who really nuked the city. Shock doesn't come so easily anymore. Not at the moment of direct action, anyway.

One hand reaches for the disinfectants and some of the gauze bandaging to begin gently cleaning the wound. "I'd want healing, myself, but… it could be you want the scar this'll leave as a badge of honor, or reminded for some other reason. Not my way, but then… I don't need mementos. The world is full enough of them for me."

The silence is telling. Even through the pain, which causes her to close her eyes, Gillian can tell that she knows. She's not really surprised at it… Someone who'd been friends with Peter Petrelli— someone who knew of this place— would know. She talks in a hushed voice, pained, grimacing as the woman works. "It's not a badge of honor," she spits out mildly, sounding far more pained for a moment. There is a pause, a chance to take a breath and try to speak again. "Just— some things— shouldn't be fixed. Can't be fixed. This is one of 'em." It doesn't make any sense, really, she knows it. "I don't have a perfect memory…" It's funny— she's the second person she's had to say this to. "Sometimes there needs to be a reminder. Reminder— of how much you can fuck things up."

"He shows false faces," Cat replies quietly, confirming her knowledge without saying the name. "That's what caused the problem at Dorchester Towers that night. He had used Helena's face before, and the agent with Peter presumed she was him. We couldn't prove it to him, and he was calling for help in taking us in. So I used what tools I had. Semi-public location, me being a resident there and them not being, to try getting help. It's all anyone can do, really. Use the tools we have whatever way we have to when threatened. If I had Helena's ability, there'd have been a better way to handle those two in the Village that night. Things are," Cat concludes somberly, "what they are." Her fingers finish cleaning the wound, alcohol and iodine are set aside. The suture kit is opened and she prepares to close the injury. Thread goes into the needle.

"He can shapeshift… I know," Gillian says quietly, though she had no idea what indirect hand he played in her first meeting with the woman now sewing her up. "That was the same day I met him," she murmurs softly, only remembering because of the memory connected with her tattoo. Not a perfect memory, but one with connections. She recently told that to one of the Peters in this very room. How she got the tattoo the day she met him— and Sylar both. Same day. Yin and Yang. She's quiet for a moment, biting back the pain. When she does speak again, she says, "You don't really know him. Don't think anyone knows him. Not me… not Peter Petrelli… not you. Not even him."

"I can't know him," she agrees as the needle is threaded and she begins the task at hand, "without being him." She calls up the once read instructions on technique for suturing skin and begins to follow the steps, working carefully. She doesn't have practice doing this, it may seem clear, but Cat does have experience doing things with her fingers that depend on precise amounts of pressure, such as working the strings and frets of a guitar. They at least manage to not use more force than needed to work through skin over bone and pull through, then return in the other direction. It may well be more painful given the location of her wound; a place where less skin covers bone. While she works, Edward's reply when she was moving to aid Allen Rickham comes to mind.

There isn't time to reply to his question around the name, the scream reaches her ears too. She's on her feet with the first scream, dodging the chair, following behind Edward and passing him when he stops. Cat continues on toward the room where President-elect and healer are. Nonono! The man is hope, and hope can't die. She appears in the doorway, quickly asking of Abby "Do you need help, someone to apply pressure and maybe keep things together, work to prevent blood loss while you do your part? I read Grey's Anatomy once." This is Cat as she was the night before again, totally focused, everything else put aside.

"You " Edward lets out a hissing sound as his words splutter, "You read Gray's Anatomy once?" He throws his hands into the air in a flustered gesture of total lack of composure on his behalf, Cat's complete opposite, "For the love of "

A slight grin is forming on her lips, and she voices the thought behind it. "It's broad strokes, this. I don't think I could perform complicated surgery from instructions in a book, wouldn't want to try, but the general stuff. Being able to instantly picture what things should look like and be able to get them there, that I can do. It's sometimes amusing after the fact to remember reactions of people when I say I read something in a book and go into action."

Eyes closed, Gillian doesn't really try to see what the woman is doing, but she can feel it. It's enough to make her hands grip quietly near her legs, above the sheets that pool around her. The grimace tightens her jaw mostly, but she does try to respond. "Doing fine. If it wasn't you— would've been one of my tattoo artists." They're nowhere near as good, but at least they wouldn't call the cops. Some of them wouldn't. If she paid them enough. There's a silence as she bites back more pain, but she doesn't whimper or whine or cry. "You know— Peter Petrelli hurt me almost as much as Sylar— which one am I supposed to hate?" It's a serious question, from the sound of it. "I really thought he wouldn't hurt me. Even after Peter told me— even after I shot him…"

"People have agendas, and vendettas," Cat replies simply. "The way they handle them often enough closes the distance between light and dark. My lover is dead, she was murdered by a faction. I want to kill the man who did it with my own two hands. But I'm not one to express my anger on proxies. I'd prefer to save it all for the main target, if the chance should come. That in itself makes me some shade of dark too. I certainly can't, and won't, claim to be a saint. Prick my skin, I bleed. Rip the heart from my chest, I consider revenge."

In some ways, it might be easier if someone had murdered the person she loves. Gillian doesn't say that, though, instead keeping her hands tight. She can't nod, so she just says, "Sorry. People suck. Good luck if you do get the chance to take it out on him." Someone deserves a little justice, and taking it out on the people responsible is better than what her scarred friend did, at least. There's another pause, before she says, "He killed my sister. Let me believe the Company that the Suit Peter worked for did it. I shot him, betrayed him— cause I wanted him to feel how he made me feel. And then I further betrayed him by saving the suit— taking his hand instead. Helped send him to Antarctica." Antarctica. It sounds funny every time she says it… but obviously Antarctica wasn't far enough. "He didn't kill me. Either time… No one stopped him. I didn't… Peter didn't… no one."

"That's why Peter Petrelli is like he is. He's seen lives destroyed, taken by him, and tried to stop him, but hasn't pulled it off. The guilt, what it all does to him… he can't forgive himself. The split, close as I can tell, was about that. A war with himself that became more than mental. We all fight that kind of thing, but… never like he does." Cat continues to work, nearing completion of her sewing task, as she speaks. "I'm more pragmatic than that. I may seem cold, and can be when I need to be. But that isn't all of me. When I break, let it out, there are few people I'd allow to witness it." And one of them, in truth the only one, is gone. All gone.

"He said he'd be here if he tried to hurt me. Gave me a number to call. He lied," Gillian says with a mutter, sounding a little bitter about this while her eyes try to open. She can tell the work is nearly done, even if she doesn't like what she's hearing. There's more she wants to talk about, but she keeps those things to herself for now.

The needle and suture goes through skin a few more times after that, Cat working in silence, the floor of conversation being left for Gillian. She displays no objection to hearing and listening along with whatever might be shared betwen them. The edge of the wound is reached and closed by her efforts, the tool is used to cut and tie off the end. It took a number of stitches, but Cat hasn't been counting. Those tools get put back inside the suture kit, a thing she'll keep in her backpack for whatever occasions may arise in the future along with the medical supplies. Silence, at least on her part, is broken as she slips off the surgical gloves and puts them in one of the bags. "Those are the kind a body absorbs when the wound is healed, you shouldn't need them removed. And it isn't in an area where activity puts you at risk of pulling them." Some of the fresh bandages are offered, as she explains "Sometimes wounds will leak a little after they've been sewn up. Not to be alarmed about, the amounts are small. Just keep it clean and covered."

The work is done. Gillian opens her eyes and winces a little, but it doesn't hurt quite as much as it had, oddly enough. "Thanks. I'm planning to… get a hotel room or something. I probably shouldn't squat here for very long, though I don't know what I'll end up doing with Chandra," she looks at the cat. Some hotels accept small animals, but he's always a reminder of… things. "I'll figure something out… I got cash, at least." More than she would have made working at the bowling alley. A lot more.

"I've been doing the same sort of thing," Cat relates distantly. "Bouncing from hotel to hotel, no two nights in the same place, while I find a new place to live. Home… people know I live there now, not someplace safe for that reason, but even if not for that, it was a shared home and now there's just me. I'm not ready to stay in a zone where so many triggers lie in wait, yet. I might go back on the 25th and get toasty drunk, though, and remember good times." Her own eyes settle on the cat, one hand reaches out to rub behind ears lazily.

"I've lost two homes in a few months… two homes, two jobs… Not that I cared much for the bowling job," It's not quite the comparison, but it's something. Gillian grimaces again as she touches her bandaged forehead, looking at the woman who helped her out. "Least there's some things you don't have to worry about," she says, remembering one of the many abilities she knows the man happens to have, and figuring he wouldn't bother cutting her skull open for one he's already got.
Her features seem puzzled by the statement, as she doesn't get the meaning behind it, and Cat follows up with a question. "Which would those be?" The last of those medical supplies go back into the bag they came from the store in, and she returns to the small amount of remaining sandwich. The Piccoli's bag rests nearby, there being still one more sandwich for each in there, but they're left for the moment.

"This," Gillian gestures to her forehead, the newly sewed up wound. She's already beginning to caccoon back into the blankets as she glances toward the bag. One more sandwich. It isn't going to be grabbed for right now, instead just trying to get back some of the warmth she had earlier. "If he just wants power— then he wouldn't bother going after something he's already got."

She hadn't known that. An eyebrow raises, as Cat speculates. Words follow, her voice quiet soon after. "I'd much prefer not to discover what if anything he'd do if he came across a duplicate." Gillian's re-burrowing is watched with silence settled in, then she resumes packing as if preparing to depart, but there remains the undertone of willingness to remain and provide an ear for whatever may be spoken.

"No— you really don't," Gillian admits quietly, before she lets it drop. The cat remains outside the burrow of blankets, mostly because he has more food to eat on. He'll probably seek warmth again as soon as he can, but it's not as bad as it could be, inside this place. It could be comfortable if she just took knew more about fuze boxes and the like. There could even be heat, maybe. For now, protection from the snow and the wind is enough. "There's another sandwich in there, right?" she looks to the bag. "Do you mind leaving it?"

"Not at all," Cat replies easily. "I got two for each of us. From Piccoli's, the food is really good there." She continues with preparing, the items are soon tucked away for easy carrying, it seeming by the lack of invitation or continued sharing of data this is the survivor's wish. One sandwich is taken from the bag and held in hand, the other left near Gillian with the bag it's in. Then she speaks a series of digits which match the pattern of a phone number. "Call me if you need stitches checked or anything at all, really. Be well."

"…Shit. We're not all you, Cat," Gillian says, shifting an arm out of her pile of blankets so that she can reach into one of the carrier bags and rifle around until she pulls out a small sketchpad and pencil. She flips it open— apparently she dabbles in art— and writes down one number she remembers. "I'm going to need the other six."

The rest are repeated at a pace which lets her write them down before the next comes, but also isn't insulting for needing to do so. "It's been so long, really, since I had to do anything like that. Kind of kicked in when I really needed it. I was overextended at Yale, trying to hold down too many courses, and facing having to abandon music in favor of political science, when I suddenly found it much easier. It does have its advantages, but is a double edged sword like so many other things. I used to joke when Dani felt inferior, for not having a gift, that she had it better. If we saw a bad movie, she could forget but I was stuck."

"Least your ability makes sense," Gillian says, writing down the digits and stuffing the sketchpad back into her carrier bag before she caccoons further. She doesn't think hers does at all. There's probably something that would make sense down the line, though, if she'd ever think about it in terms of not being mostly useless. Until of course the one time she managed to use it to stop one of the Peters. "Mine's only useful if the person I'm helping isn't trying to kill me."

"It's about imagination, readiness, and timing," Cat suggests as she reaches the door. "You'll find a way, because you're a survivor." Her hands open it and she steps out into the streets of Nuked York, feet carrying her elsewhere from that point.

December 22nd: If You Love Someone, Set Them Free
December 22nd: Niki Pops In
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