Silver Lining


jack_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Silver Lining
Synopsis When Tavisha is forced to study his metamorph ability sooner than expected, he confesses to Jack about the fact he's a mass-murdering psychopath, or was. But there's a silver lining to every dark cloud, kids.
Date February 21, 2009

Swinburne Island

Originally man-made to quarantine immigrants found carrying smallpox, cholera, and other potential outbreaks, Swinburne Island later fell under management by the National Park service. It's largely been forgotten in the days since the bomb. Few have the time or resources to spare for a ten acre plot of rocky, overgrown land. More than a mile off of South Beach, it's reachable only by boat, helicopter, or grueling swim. The sole standing structure, an immense, sprawling hospital complex, has fallen into a state of sad disrepair since it was last used in 1911. Portions of the roof have caved in and entire wings have been swallowed by encroaching plant life, including a tall, razor-sharp form of yucca often reffered to as 'Spanish Dagger.

Another dream, another night, and it goes much the same way. He feels drunk, like he's moving in slow motion, in some room full of steam, candle light, bathroom tile and bedroom sheets. The tattoo on his arm stings freshly, ink smeared with droplets of perspiration. It's more physical than dreams have a right to be, even in the midst of visual haziness, in words that come only in repetitive riddles.

Tonight, he tries to find her. He tries to remember her face. For a moment, he imagines he does.

The cold air is a shock when he wakes up, a laughing groan muffled into his hands for a moment as he strives to get his bearings. The oceanic scent of Swinburne Island manages somehow to seep into the abandoned hospital room, even with the windows shut tightly and the curtains drawn. He's never going to get to sleep this way, but all the same, he turns over, and he tries. Which is about when Tavisha realises something is wrong.

If the tangle of long strands of pitch black hair are to be of any indication, anyway.

Several minutes later, there's a hesitant presence outside of Jack's room, likely not something he's aware of, being asleep at this hour, and all. But finally, that presence gives in, and the frantic knocking on his door commences.


Jack can't speak for anyone else, but he's pretty sure he is drunk. Still drunk, anyway. He collapsed across his bed at some point without bothering to wrestle out of his garish, mismatched clothing. Red leather jacket, black silk shirt, and fatigues; all are thoroughly wrinkled from being slept on. One work boot was kicked off sometime in the night and landed at the end of the bed. The other, still half-tied, dangles from his foot.

"Go 'way!" As Jack is still three-quarters unconscious, this is positively coherent and courteous for him. He's snoring again a few seconds later.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Tavisha shuts his eyes— squeezing them shut, in fact— in sort of a wince Jack is unable to see from on the other side of the door. He's dressed— well, not oddly for him. A black dress shirt, buttoned to the throat but left untucked over jeans he's clinched tight with a belt, loose fabric sagging around the knees, far too big for him. At least, too big for him in this shape. It didn't take finding a grimy mirror to see what had happened - he doesn't know how, he doesn't know why, he just knows what.

At least he knows what she looks like now.

The door creaks open, and a woman in her early twenties pokes her head into Jack's room, face pale and devoid of makeup, but naturally pretty. Strong jaw, flowing black hair, dark eyes. Hesitation written all over her features. Of course, Gillian Childs has not somehow wandered onto Swinburne Island. Tavisha, instead, steps further into the room, hands hidden in sleeves that flow past now slim, bird-like wrists as he shuffles in closer. A curtain of dark hair obscures half his face as he reaches out to touch Jack's shoulder, gripping and shaking him once, harshly. "Jack, wake up," he says, trying— trying— to pitch his voice lower than it is naturally going right now. It doesn't entirely work out, a young woman's raspy voice instead beckoning Jack from his sleep.

"Nnng?" Shake. Jostle. Bounce. None of these things are good, but by Jack's foggy estimation, a woman's voice and touch are far more desirable wake-up calls than a knock on the door. Which isn't to say that he wakes up, of course. Instead, he reaches out, grabs the hand, and hauls Tavisha into bed.

"Too early," he mumbles, throwing a long leg over his/her body and fumbling around for a breast. "Go backa sleep."


Before he can really comprehend what's happening, Tavisha is staring up at the ceiling in abstract horror, body suddenly becoming very still with tension when a Jack-leg is draped over him, and then a hand— Really the next few seconds can be defined as a flurry of movement, bedsheets kicked in all directions, Jack bereft on the bed around the time a loud thud occurs when someone flings themselves bodily off the bed, landing on the ground just beside it. The whole reaction is akin to dropping a cat into a bath, harnessing panic-fueled aerodynamic qualities, and Jack might even have a few accidental nail scratches by the end of it.

"Jack." This word is communicated very evenly in defiance of this flurry as Tavisha gets to his feet, adjusting his clothing to the best of his ability. "This— I'm not— " Stomp, stomp, stomp. Small, feminine feet actually make quite a lot of noise as Tavisha marches across the room in search of a light switch— which of course doesn't work, not in this building. His forehead connects with the closed door in a small, gentle gesture of annoyance, kind of huddling there now out of sheer embarrassment. God. "Jack, it's me. Tavisha. I— turned into— I don't know."


Jack winces as he acquires a few new scrapes and a bruise, not just from Tavisha, but also from knocking against the wall. "What the bleedin' fuck?" he mutters as he sits upright in bed. He spends a moment swaying and squeezing his eyes open and shut. When his vision clears and he's slightly more coherent, he tears the tattered sash free from the window over his bunk and tosses the bit of cloth to the floor. Weak rays of light stream in, but it's more than enough to illuminate…

"Tav?" Jack asks confusedly. The voice doesn't match. The body definitely doesn't match. There's something about the girl's bearing and inflection, though. That, and she's wearing the same clothes that Tavisha was when Jack saw him yesterday. "Christ, it is you. Only it isn't. What… What the fuck?"

Tavisha's shoulders relax with relief as Jack goes ahead and believes him, but then his hands come up again to rub at his face, which has the dual purpose of hiding it. "Good question," comes the muffled words, before those hands go back up to smooth far, far too much hair back over his shoulders. "I…" He takes a breath, catches it in his lungs for a moment, before expelling it again, cheeks puffing out for a moment. "I was having this dream— about— " He gestures to his own face, in a dismissive and sheepish gesture. "And I woke up like this."

Slowly, he walks further back into the room, keeping a distance but not wishing to huddle against the door. "I was told today that I was… able to do this. To change what I look like. I didn't realise…" That… it was true? That it was this extreme? That it was this easy? Apparently not that one, as he's not changed back, hands lifting in a shrugging gesture, then he rubs his forehead in a fretful gesture, jaw clenching.

"I." As open-minded as Jack is, he's still understandably baffled. All he really took away from the explanation is that Tavisha's borrowed torso is visually impressive when it's filled with a deep breath.

The Somali pirate holds up one finger in the universal sign for 'wait one goddamn second' and hauls himself off of his dusty mattres. A shake of his head and a twist of his neck produces a wince-worthy crackle of joints. This accomplished, he begins a much-needed cycle of morning preperation.

First and foremost, he paws around on his bedside table until he comes up with a battered, off-brand soft pack of cigarettes, one of which is jammed between his lips and lit with a stick match. The next most important step is a drink. This comes in the form of a dusty, half-full bottle of something brown that's leaning precariously against the bed frame. Jack picks it up, scrubs the mouth on his sleeve, and takes several long swallows. "Ech," he grunts, offering both cigarettes and liquor. "Rum. You want?"

What he wants is to be changed back, right now, and of course then he remembers Eileen had called him self-absorbed so, instead, Tavisha nods a little tragically and moves on over, holding out a hand of skinny white fingers and long nails and taking a deep, deep swig of the rum, despite it pushing about 9 am. He sits down, heavily onto the edge of the bed and nods again, reaching for the cigarettes, a habit Jack had single-handedly broken him into likely entirely on accident. Tavisha takes his silent time lighting up with a look of concentration, the cancer stick clenched between teeth and finally, a cloud of smoke billows out upon a rushed inhale and sigh out. The pack is handed back. "Do you think you can help me change back?" he finally croaks out, voice husky from sleep and now acrid smoke.

"Coffee," Jack answers, still on the move. He's in the process of assembling a few more essentials as they speak. A large bottle of fresh water, an emergency flare, an ancient metal pot, a strainer, a small canister, and two tin cups. All this is piled into a paper grocery sack and tucked under one arm. "C'mon," he beckons, leading them outside.

Somehow, a short walk to the shore that Jack can pull off when he's cross-eyed drunk becomes much more complex when his good friend's not-ass is busy apple-shaping in front of him. When they reach the water's edge, the pirate kicks the remains of several half-burned fires into the middle of a tight ring of rocks and sets his sack down on the ground. "So," he says lightly. "You're pretty. We gotta fix that. Way I see it, if you can change one way, you can change back. You copy?"

Settling down comfortably, this ritual reasonably familiar, Tavisha self-consciously keeps his back a little hunched, shoulders curled and trying not to draw attention to himself, cigarette still smoking out of the corner of his mouth. He gives a guttural grunt which doesn't sound as growly as he'd want it to in response, arms wrapping around himself as chilly river air settles on his skin and clothing. He removes the cigarette from out his mouth, pinching it between two fingers and letting a small fall of ash dust onto the packed earth ground they're seated on. "That's the way Teo made it sound," he agrees, having neglected to really tell Jack who Teo is, just shaking his head in a 'never mind' fashion as he brings up a hand to rub a palm into an eye socket, sleepiness catching up on him.

Jack upends the sack and dumps its contents out on the sand. First he strikes the butt of the flare against the ground to light it and touches the phosphorus flame to his sodden stack of driftwood. When it's burning to his satisfaction, the flare is tossed over one shoulder and out into the river. Next he sets the pot on the rocks, dumps in the bottle of water, and shakes out coffee grounds and an eggshell from the canister.

Once breakfast is on to boil, he turns back to Tavisha and lets out a cheek-puffing breath. "Now then. With my ability, it's all about finesse. Force has nothing to do with it. I visualize what I want…" With a twitch of one finger, he shears off the tip of a wave and sends it flying. The water accelerates until it arcs into a blade that shears one of the yucca plants into neat, diagonal halves. "…and I let it happen. I don't try and make it happen. Y'see? Try that. Maybe your penis will grow back."

Tavisha's withering look is far bitchier on Gillian's face than his usual severe expression, but, points for effort. The loss and gain of certain assets is something he's trying really, really hard not to think about. It fades quickly, though. Jack is, after all, trying to help him before coffee is even brewing, so he nods in comprehension (with perhaps a glance of apology) and straightens his back like an attentive student might, or someone about to launch into meditation.

Visualise. Let it happen.

For a long time, nothing does, Tavisha kind of lifting a hand and calling for patience before Jack can ask what's wrong or similar. Then, finally, the mental fumbling around in the dark for the switch is met with success. The change is slow, but definite, and— disturbing. Tavisha can feel it in a strange sort of way, as if his skin were tightening, growing hot, and he gives a small and confused sounding grunt as his body slowly begins to change. Shoulders broaden, facial features melt into something different, hair seems to shrink back into his skull.

Self-consciously, he ends up crabwalking slightly away from Jack, cigarette left half-smoking on the ground and then watching his hand in horrified fascination. Fingers thicken, knuckles grow larger, thicker hair sprouts at his wrist and the back of his hand. It's kind of like a werewolf movie.

Fascinated, Jack plucks Tavisha's cigarette up off the ground and places it between his own lips as he watches the process. A steady, absent puff-puff-puff of smoke emits from the butt as he locates the tin cups by touch and sets them upright next to the boiling pot.

"Cocks," he swears when he accidentally brushes his fingers against hot metal and scorches them. The digits are stuffed into his mouth petulantly. It doesn't distract him, though. He's made coffee like this enough times that he only has to glance down occasionally as he sets the strainer and pours, even using only one hand. Though he can't be deterred from this morning necessity, nor can he tear his eyes away from Tavisha's transformation.

It's far too slow for his liking, but Tavisha is more terrified of the idea of being stuck partway through because he was forcing it, just as Jack told him not to. So, deep breathing. No panicking. Actually— he's suddenly slightly too distracted to panic, shifting around on his knees to fumble around and release his belt enough to make far for the fact men don't have hips. Adjusting it to something more suitable, he runs his hand through hair of a normal length, then down his jaw where it's obvious he's in need of a shave soon, then— well, down his chest, which is as flat as it should be.

"Am I done?" Tavisha asks, in a voice far more suitable for his shape, turning a wary brown-eyed gaze on Jack, but already relaxing. He can feel that bizarre numbed-warm sensation lift, and he gives a quasi-nervous, relieved chuckle. "Good. Thanks. This really won't stop you from saying 'Girlname' ever, will it."

"Uh, no." Jack replies with a mocking chuckle. One of the cups of coffee is passed over to Tavisha, though the liberated cigarette is retained. "Man, that was really somethin' else."


"You're fuckin' full of surprises," he continues. "I've never had a friend with two sets of genitals before. I won't tell nobody if you don't tell that I tried to fuck you, okay?" This seems like a perfectly square deal to Jack. He nods briskly and raises his own coffee for a sip.

Tavisha reaches out for the cup of coffee, moving to sit crossed-legged on the ground beside the fire now, normalcy more or less restored. He rolls his eyes a little bit, a twist of an amusement smile hidden mostly by a sip of coffee he drinks more for warmth and alertness than taste. "Deal," he agrees, and gives a bodily shiver - either at the unpleasant memory, or the cold rustling his clothes and hair, either way. "I guess the guy who told me I could do that was right about knowing me, huh?" It's a useless thing to say, largely, but perhaps its the nervous edging towards something more, darting a glance to Jack in the midst of concentrating on his coffee.

"Found somebody who knows you, eh?" This is news to Jack. Potentially good news. As a fellow sufferer of amnesia, he's aware of how heartening even tiny tidbits of information can be. After another sip, he nods and grins lopsidely at Tavisha over the rim of his cup. "Well? Don't keep me in suspense. Tell me more. You learn anything about yourself?"

The smile isn't shared, save for a flicker of an attempt at one. "He confirmed some things," Tavisha says, elusively, and now he's forgotten his coffee and studies Jack, from each of his eyes down to his smile and then up again. Trying to make a decision. "Listen, this is going to sound really… convoluted. Especially before 10 AM."

His fingernails click against the side of his cup, before launching into it, determined. "But there was a man, a serial killer. Murdered a lot of innocent people, I don't understand why, exactly. He was also accused of— what happened," his head tilts a little in the direction of Manhattan, "to New York. Sylar. That's what information was released, wasn't it? But it's not actually… he didn't do it. It was someone else. They used him as an excuse, I guess, maybe to protect someone, or cover the fact they had no answers, I don't know."

Tavisha's mouth is suddenly dry, so he takes another sip of coffee, shrugs, adds, "Because I don't remember."

Tavisha has hit the Jackpot in more than just name. Of all the people in the city, Jack is likely the one who cares the least about the explosion and the lives that were taken. People die all the time. When they picked New York to die in quantity, all they did was give him a perfectly suitable place to hide. So he shrugs. It's clear that the only thing concerning him right now is Tavisha's discomfort. "I don't remember either," he replies. "But I wasn't here yet. You okay, man? You look like you just fucked your mother. You want some more rum?"

Missing the point? Maybe. Nobody ever said Jack was smart.

Perhaps missing the point may have helped, the idea that Jack wouldn't care as much underneath not knowing as much either, but the tension in Tavisha's shoulders doesn't unwind. He shakes his head, a hand up to scratch the back of his neck. "Maybe later," he says, and seriously considers just dropping it there, have Jack dismiss it as his brand of weirdness, but—

"It doesn't really matter. Everyone knows it's Sylar, even if it's not true, and Homeland Security would come down on him if they could. He's a murderer, but he— " This is silly, defending himself already through code.

Tavisha's mouth forms a line, cuts off that sentence, tries again. "I've run into a few people who know me, Jack. More than I've told you about. Mostly, they're terrified of me. Because I'm him." An awkward smile. Surprise. "I'm Sylar. That's why I have to stay in Staten Island, where they can't touch me. For now."

It's a name that everyone knows. The name that's been on the tip of everyone's tongue for months. Longer, even. Jack purses his lips and lets out a long, low whistle. "Boy," he murmurs. "You are full of surprises."

The loaded statement hangs unaccompanied for several very long seconds, then Jack shrugs again. "Neat," he says, dismissing the issue. After all. If Tavisha were planning to kill him, he'd had plenty of opportunities to do so before now. To Jack, that's all that appears to matter.

"I'm hungry. Wanna go get some tacos? I promise not to take you to Manhattan."

Tavisha's eyes narrow a little bit, studying Jack. It's good, this reaction - he was dreading the potential opposite. It's also bizarrely terrible and makes his soul feel unclean, that he can hurt this much over something like this but it's just another day in the life on this island. That's not right. But things haven't been right for a while, just as he'd say to Teo like a petulant teenager: it's not fair.

He chuckles, hopelessly, then drains his coffee. "I could eat," he agrees, setting down the coffee cup and running both hands through his hair, as if wake himself up or shake off his tension. He finds himself speaking again, despite Jack's efforts to shake him free. There is, after all, point to this revelation. "There was something else he said. Teo. He— mentioned another ability I have, or something. One that makes me want to kill people." Jack gets a serious gaze, trying to cut through the pirate's bleak sense of morals. "I don't want it." This is spoken carefully, clearly. "If I ever find it… can you help me control that, too?" And slightly more pitifully, he adds, "Can you help me control all of them?"

Well, Eileen did say he was self-absorbed, but this isn't quite the arrogance she had also mentioned. Perhaps that's something he's lost, perhaps he just can't afford to be anymore.

"Absolutely, kid," Jack reassures him. A hint of a smile and a furrowing of his thick brows bespeak polite confusion. "That's what friends do. I think I have that same ability, though. It's called a 'hangover.' We'll have to work through this one together."

With a wink and a chuckle that's far warmer and more friendly than the last one, he staggers to his feet and offers Sylar a hand up. "You worry too much," he chides good-naturedly. "That shit gives you wrinkles, y'know. Right here." The pirate touches his own heavily lined forehead by way of demonstration. "You might've lost the titties, but you're still a sturdy-lookin' lad. Trust me, the whores charge more once you start lookin' old."

God, he's never going to live this down. The ribbing is enough to allow him to take a break from the weight of the world on his shoulders, and Tavisha snorts a little and shakes his head, accepting the hand up. "Good thing I can look however I want from now on," he says, dusting his jeans off of dust and dirt and offering the other man a brighter smile. Perhaps there's silver lining to being a super Evolved serial killer.

Like whores.

February 20th: Moondance
February 21st: Seedy Folk
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