She Had Your Gift


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Scene Title She Had Your Gift
Synopsis Amid remembrances and shared data, a friendship is forged.
Date February 24, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

She's at home the next morning, up and about. Eight a. m., and Cat's already fed herself, had coffee, and undertaken to let out steam. The previous night's events are still on her mind, and will be for some time to come. Until the mission is accomplished, and likely beyond.

It's warmer day than is customary for February, and this reflects in her clothing. For the moment a pair of shorts and a sports bra. She'll be found in the area of her residence set aside for training of various types and working out. There are punching bags of two sizes; large and small, an archery target with a photo of Ethan Holden on it which sports several holes in the face from arrow strikes, and an open patch of floor she laid a gym mat on for other exercises.

This is where she'll be found at present, standing before that target and taking down the enlarged photo of Ethan. Her voice is solemn and quiet. "I still want to punish him, Dani," Cat informs the wall, "but the things I've seen lately give me pause. Will I let him continue to have power over me, or let it go? Even if I killed him right now, took retribution for what he did to you, you'll still be dead. Nothing can change that. And if he kills me because I try and fail in that attempt, I'm no good to anyone. There's still so much to do."

A few beats of silence come, after which she drops the photo of Ethan and murmurs to the wall again while taking up her bow and drawing back an arrow. "Arthur Petrelli, why did you fake your death? What are you up to?"

Out of growing respect Hiro has taken to not just walking in on Cat anymore, although he does accidentally overhear some of what she's saying. He appears inside the entrance of her residence and walks quietly toward the sound of her voice. At first he thought she was talking to someone, but it was only upon peeking into the indoor gym that he notices she's…well…grieving. In a sense. Out of consideration he knocks on the side of the wall and clears his throat to announce his presence.

Tucked under one arm is the ream of paper that he used yesterday to replenish what he used out of Carmichael's printer and also to store away the hardcopies he managed to print out.

The arrow is released and flies into the target, impacting just left of center; a decent shot. Cat lets out the breath she was holding and relaxes from the posture she was in, turning toward the doorway and the knock. Her voice had been faint all the way over by the entry doors, but was still audible, if barely. The residence is fairly immense, although for the son of Kaito Nakamura this may still be small in comparison.

Her head inclines with a slight bow toward him, followed by her voice. "Konnichiwa, Nakamura-san."

One shouldn't underestimate how few trappings of wealth a son of Nakamura ends up growing up around. Hiro isn't aware of that topic, however. "Good afternoon." he replies easily. She uses his language, he'll use hers. "I came to give you this." explains the man, holding up the paper in both hands like an offering. "It turned out to be pointless but we obviously couldn't leave it. Also I have the contents of Carmichael's hard drive for you." Hiro makes a gesture behind him, "I could just leave them on your desk?" Wherever that is.

Her command of his language isn't yet enough to carry on a conversation in it, though this may soon change. Cat's spent some time reading an English to Japanese and back again dictionary, along with some rudumentary study of the structures. Regular verbs, irregular verbs, grammar, syntax…

She sets down the bow and steps closer to accept the offered items, the look to her eyes changing. This is food for the panmnesiac. Information to absorb and analyze, ruminate over. "I've an office of sorts," she replies, moving to head that way. "Domo arigato, Nakamura-san, for the materials. We're closer now than we were to freeing people, but we still have road to travel. Helena Dean, Al, and Benjamin Washington are all at Moab. Brian Fulk is in the hands of the Company; Roger Goodman, public relations director of a company called Biomere, negotiated for him being sent there. Agent Carmichael told me Mr. Goodman works for Arthur Petrelli, who… died."

Crossing to her office area takes time, perhaps a full minute.

Following easily, Hiro explains, "My interest right now is Peter Petrelli. I will gladly help you free the others from the prison, but…let's just worry about the Company later." He doesn't want to say he won't help them fight the Company. He may very well do so. It's just not in his focus right now, and Hiro is a very focused man with eyes always on the prize.

He does spare a backward glance at the archery target and such. "I did think of you as someone who did…things like that." Archery. Always an education, is Cat.

"Yes," Cat agrees, as she steps into the office and gestures toward a seat before a desk in the outer area of it, she herself moving to occupy the chair behind it and fix her eyes on the computer. "The archery," she replies with a chuckle, "is something I picked up as a teen. My school demanded each student have some kind of sport. So I picked archery. Now it serves as good stress relief from time to time."

The mouse moves, she terminates the screensaver by it. Fingers begin to type in a longer than average password to clear the resultant return screen.

Hiro sits easily, leaning forward. The ubiquitous Kensei Sword across his back makes it a little uncomfortable to just sit back in a chair. Anyway the way he sits and positions himself, the posture indicates that he's ready to spring to his feet. It's instinctive.

"It is important to have a broad foundation so that the strongest earthquake cannot move you." says Hiro in the manner of a quote. As if someone told him that once. He allows a small hint of a smile. "Physical activity helps with that. Oh. This." Remembering, he produces one of the flash drives that he downloaded the hard drive contents to and puts it on Cat's desk for her. "I have another copy. I didn't know they came in one terabyte sizes…or that it would have more capacity than the hard drive."

Her own features shift into a slight smile as he replies. She'd been told the same principle so many times growing up, in different, far more western, terms. Clad as she is, it can be seen she's acquiring some slight definition to muscles in various areas of her body. Not so much as to appear other than feminine, but noticeable.

"Domo arigato," Cat offers again, in accepting the flash drive. She plugs it into the USB port and begins to review the drive directory which pops up after the device is recognized by the machine. "This will take some time to go through and read completely. First things first, the Moab Federal Penitentiary in Utah. He didn't know what defenses it has versus Evolved abilities; it was a Company agent who designed them. Matt Parkman is the DHS liaision with the Company in Carmichael's office. But he did tell me they have some variety of electrical fields used to defeat people who can make themselves unsolid."

That's interesting. The Moab facility's defenses against Evolved are near the top of Hiro's interests in this. If not for concern they had somehow developed countermeasures to what he can do, he'd have gone in himself long ago and done as he pleased with the place. "So no information about whether they can counter someone like me? I don't do…that." Make himself unsolid. Frankly Hiro's not sure how anybody COULD counteract what he does, but there seems to always be a way.

With a sigh he adds, "I owe a store in Tokyo forty-two thousand yen. For those drives." Stealing from them bothers him.

She listens, contemplating what he speaks about, and frames a reply. "Not that he knew about. That doesn't mean they haven't, if the defenses were designed by a Company agent there might be. Long as they've been studying the Evolved, I'd not call it impossible. Hopefully there'll be information about that somewhere in here." Cat is already starting to pick through the contents, looking for files that seem to be about prison specs.

And there's a brief comparison of the current dollar to yen exchange rate, to tell her how much he owes in American terms.

"Make you a deal?" Hiro asks, looking up at Cat. "I need a laptop computer. It's not worth the price of a flash drive, but that drive plus the information on it? If you don't mind a trade?" He's already given her the drive and there's absolutely no indication he'll take it back from her, so really the so-called deal is entirely up to Cat. The expression he gives her is friendly enough that it should be clear.

In this office, behind the desk, there's a small safe. Cat opens this and from it pulls out enough cash to pay for a top quality portable computer, plus enough to cover reimbursing the store he got the flash drives from twice over. "This should cover what you owe, and the machine you need, Nakamura-san," she states. "I don't mind a trade at all, and I'm becoming well accustomed to financing activities such as ours." The point, in part, of her whole enterprise with this building. The cash is extended toward him.

There is a noticeable hesitation from Hiro before he reaches for the offered cash with a headnod in thanks while giving her a look that is just a little questioning. He sets the cash down on the desk in front of him and says, "I…was more asking if you would help me pick one. I could get enough money to buy this building if I wanted, but it's your judgment I'm asking for." How exactly to put this, "Your judgment carries worth." That'll do.

She nods. "Of course," Cat replies. Her perusal of the drive's contents is set aside, and she pulls up the website of a well known electronics store. Keywords are typed in, and the results display. She begins reading through the offerings in portable computers, and within a few minutes arrives at one. It has a twenty-one inch monitor, recordable/rewritable cd and dvd rom drive, USB ports, wireless and wired internet capability, MS Office 2007 package, Norton Internet Security program, extended life battery, among other features. It's pricey, but worth the cost in her view.

The monitor is turned around, and her choice indicated. "I like this one."

Craning his neck at the turned monitor, Hiro readily says, "Then let's get that one." He can worry about a carrying case and all those little extras later. That's something he'll decide on his own. "So, take this back…" he bids, symbolically setting the cash closer to Cat, "…and let me take care of the flash drives. And I thank you for your generosity." There. But that's apparently not all. Because he's staring at her with a measuring gaze. And it's not about her body, it's eye to eye.

Her hand doesn't immediately close over the returned cash. Sitting there, she meets his eye contact and is measured in whatever way he intends. Cat doesn't look away. The eyes are brown, they show intelligence, alertness, businesslike focus, a measure of respect, some degree of remembered loss, so many things. This is a woman who's made herself be tougher than most, out of need. One who endeavors not to look weak in the eyes of others, her releases of such things are done in private. To be certain, when the occasion calls for it she doesn't flinch away or hesitate as was demonstrated in her interrogation of Agent Carmichael.

Not seen there is any indication of being cold or robotic. Cruel. She isn't psycho or sociopathic.

After the silence stretches for a while, Hiro decides to admit, "I knew a woman. She had your gift, and your hair. I think I'd like to believe she would've ended up as strong as you if she had the chance. But I'd rather she never had to, and I'm sorry you did too." Sometimes silence is a gift, but words can be as well.

Now it's her turn to study him, to gauge from his face as he speaks what meaning this woman had for him. Cat shows compassion, the understanding of loss, it seems so very recent. "Tell me about her," she invites quietly. Left unsaid are her thoughts on strength, that it's most often found only when the need for it is strong, as she reflects on how far she's come since arriving in Nuked York just six months before. She'd planned on becoming involved with operations such as Phoenix all along, in tandem with her desire to build a musical career, staying on the periphery of the organization. She'd been willing to take risks, but at the time it was just part of her life.

Until Ethan Holden altered her focus.

Well, he did open this topic, didn't he? Hiro shifts where he sits and his eyes go to the desk as he responds. "Her name was Charlie. She was a waitress. She would speak Japanese to me, back when my English was…very poor. Learned it from a book." He hesitates. Then looks up and explains, "She died when Sylar took her brain. The first day I met her, one room away. She was the first one I ever went back in time for, to try to save her." He begins to nod at the recollection and looks distant, "And that did not work."

There are flashes in her mind as Cat listens, visible in the way her eyes react, the distant expression they take on.

December 22nd, 2008. She's at Isaac Mendez's loft on Reed Street.

"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.

Her memory goes further back to another point in time from there.

November 14th, 2008. Isaac Mendez's loft, still.

The door is closed behind her as she makes her way slowly inward. The woman's eyes travel over the artwork on the floor first, and stop there to study it carefully. Cat's intent is to not miss any detail visible. When that's done she moves on, her eyes skimming over the paintings which were shoved aside as much as can be without touching anything. And from there she progresses to the elaborate network, taking bearings in the hope of finding a starting point to it all and moving along in sequence.

Like a spider's web, the string web radiates out from a single central point. A black string that intersects with all of the others, a yellow post-it note on the string reads "Sylar" in capital letters. Beneath either the beginning or ending of that string, is a newspaper clipping that shows New York City the day after the explosion, a headline that changed the world forever. Following the black string, Cat finds it intersecting many others, one of which showing a high-school photograph of Claire Bennet and something odd. A newspaper clipping from 2006 reading that Claire Bennet was killed in her high school by the serial killer Sylar. Safety-pinned to that newspaper clipping is another identical article that lists an entirely different girl as having died. The dates on the articles are identical.

Now she knows who Sylar got that ability which matches her own that Gillian spoke about. She calls the photos on that string back up one by one, looking for one that appears to be of a waitress, to try putting a face to the name Charlie.

"I'm sorry," she offers with genuine understanding. "I couldn't save the person I loved either."

The face that went with the name of Charlie might perhaps put some understanding as to why Hiro told Cat this or even brought the topic up. They did bear a passing resemblance.

But something in what Cat says stabs Hiro silently and it shows in his eyes. Unlike a wince or flinch as some people might betray, there is an almost fishlike coldness that washes into his expression as he puts that little bit of distance there. His words are not so distant, however. "I did love her."

Perhaps his thoughts are following the same path as Cat's because Hiro also says, "I put her photo on the Sylar string. I really ought to take all of those down."

Red hair. Waitress uniform. Sunny disposition. That has to be her. Cat realizes Hiro probably knows she's now put the name and face together, but she doesn't speak of it directly. "The strings have value," she intones in a hushed voice. "They remind the world in that way that she lived, keep the memory of her and other things present. Even if darkness seems to override it all, I see the justification of hope in them all the same."

From there she goes quiet. Her piece has been spoken, Hiro will do as he sees fit.

There really isn't any conflict in Hiro's expression on the matter. He seems to think the strings are just what they are: Strings.

"They failed. They mean nothing to me for her memory, or the memories of anyone or anything put on them. They were just a tool, for visualization. And I think I understand how they fit together well enough now that I don't need them anymore." Hiro takes a breath and looks back at the woman's eyes. "Be glad you're not on a string. Most of the people on the strings are dead." About then he rises easily to his feet and says, "I think we have become friends, Cat." Which is about the first time he's specifically referred to her by that name. Until now it's been Dr. Chesterfield.

She also stands, making the eye contact. She too doesn't need the strings to learn about things that went before. Cat has seen them, and for her seeing is all it takes. They're forever remembered. "I am glad not to be on a string." While she's risked her life before and been prepared for death, not fearing it, and with fair certainty will again, it's true she doesn't want to be dead. At all.

"And yes, we have become friends, Hiro." Nakamura-san, the formality, has been set aside in reciprocation with his having addressed her so.

Hiro allows a small smile and then says, "I'll see you later. I need to get a night's rest." He sighs and heads for the door, explaining as he walks, "For you it's tomorrow but for me we just came away from Carmichael's."

"There are lodgings here, an open guest room, and apartments on the fourth floor I use as a safehouse for people who need them, Hiro," Cat replies as he makes his way for the door. "You're always welcome in them."

Stopping at the door, Hiro looks over his shoulder and smirks. "I might take you up on the offer sometime." But apparently not this time. Because he takes a step away and fades out of view as he steps between dimensions.

Wherever it is Hiro goes to sleep or for sanctuary, he's gone there.

February 23rd: She Promised Him Dinner
February 24th: For Every Action
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