Something To Be Thankful For


gillian_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Something To Be Thankful For
Synopsis Sylar forgot Thanksgiving, but Gillian did not.
Date November 27, 2008

Siann Hall: Gabriel and Gillian's Apartment

Thanksgiving. Though Gillian isn't sure how many people even celebrate it considering the circumstances. There's a newspaper open on the table, showing a news story about the high school bombing, the casualty count, the parents quotes in response to their deaths. But besides that, there's actual signs of… cooking. Despite having lived on her own, she's never shown much in the way of cooking— until now it would seem. There's the smell of meat— ham specifically, and mashed potatoes and gravy, and the most important thing, store bought pies. Pumpkin and apple, specifically. Both of which she's heating up. Glancing down at her watch, she tisks under her breath. Where is he when she actually decided to be… cook-like? She's even wearing an apron.

Soon, the sound of a lock scraping open fills the small apartment, the door opening to reveal Sylar— very much how he left, save for dust and dirt streaks on his jacket. Any injury is unnoticeable in the first few moments, face untouched if a little pale and unshaven, his glasses that so identifies him as Gillian's protector resting in place, and he pauses. The smell of homecooking hitting him rather easily. Usually, the place smells of pizza, or some sort of ethnic-oriented delivered food, or on occasion, something Italian when Sylar is home long enough to cook something. This, however, is confusing, the richness of both desserts and savoury meats earthy and almost out of place, somewhat like the apron Gillian is wearing, which he focuses on with a raised eyebrow. "Ambitious," he comments, stepping inside and closing the door behind him.

"Hope you're hungry," Gillian says when she hears the door open, going to check on the ham in the oven. There's a smile on her face as she opens it up and pulls it out. There's an open cookbook on the counter as well, one she's apparently paid attention to. "Can't live single in New York and not know how to cook at least a bit…" She moves so she can see him, frowning at his dirt and dust streaks. "Tough time getting home?" she asks. "It's almost ready. For Thanksgiving, you know. You're the one thing I have to be thankful for right now."

"Oh," Sylar says, at her explanation, as if he'd entirely forgotten this holiday. That may be why the scent caught him off guard - smells sort of like home. When things weren't dismal. Lost in that thought and distraction, he starts to unzip his jacket— then hesitates. "Yeah, left my wallet behind and had no cash for a cab. I'm just gonna get changed." This all said as he makes his way towards his bedroom, jacket kept closed with his hands, and he can't quite disguise the limp in his right leg, but he moves at a swift walk, ignoring it.

The limp is noted quietly, but Gillian doesn't say anything. There's just a hint of a frown. She'd been keeping her ability tucked in close for the whole day, a practice even when no one's around causing the tingle of power in the back of her head. The longer she keeps it knotted up, the better things will go for her. "Maybe you can help me carve the ham when you get done changing," she calls out, putting things on the counter, checking the pies, the biscuits, the mashed potatoes and gravy. First real thanksgiving dinner in a while that she cooked herself.

In the privacy of his bedroom, the jacket is set aside, and Sylar moves to stand at the stained mirror nailed into the wall, observing himself. Burn marks are more obvious on his T-shirt from when he'd gone nuclear for several seconds, but in this brighter light, his black jeans have also suffered. Stripping down to boxers, Sylar then observes his knee, bruised on either side, yellow and green and tinges of blue in a sort of morbid technicolour hint at the stress the limb had been under. Red, as well, and swollen, and he grits his teeth as Gillian calls out about dinner. Why did he have to do this on Thanksgiving, when he could have easily snuck in an icepack and claimed to have a headache and waste the night away alone in his room?

Despite this sentiment, he emerges a few moments later, in a button down that hides bruises to his torso, and fresh, blue jeans, feet bare against the carpet. His glasses are also back in place as he does up the buttons to his shirt, walking stiffly towards the kitchen. "You know I entirely forgot Thanksgiving," he says. "I would have stayed in to help."

"You're not the only one who forgot, I think," Gillian says, gesturing toward the ham and the knife that she's set out. "Help with that while I get everything on the table— though I guess you can just use your power and get it done quicker." She hadn't even thought of all the useful… uses… for his abilities. "I haven't cooked Thanksgiving dinner before. I usually go and visit my parents— Jenny would sometimes help cook, but I wouldn't, unless it was cookies, but that's Christmas mostly." There's a hint of guilt in her voice at the mention of her sister, as far as she knows still in Company hands. She shakes it off and gets the mashed potatoes and the gravy on the table, coming back for the basket of biscuits and the plates.

It wouldn't be the first time Sylar's sliced through meat using his power, and on that happy mental note, he picks up the knife and gets to work without a word (although not without washing his hands at the sink firstly). Especially when the name Jenny comes up, the knife pausing mid-slice as if, perhaps, he expects some sort of accusation sent flying his way. It never comes. The slick sawing continues, an awkward pause unfurling as he tries to summon up something to say. "My mother would make the whole dinner herself," he says. "More food than any of us could really deal with, and for the most part it was only three people if you didn't count the cat." The one that ran away, probably a good move on its part.

Chandra's still around, though. He's not chosen to make the good move and flee. Instead, he's curled up on a pile of blankets in the corner of the room that Gillian tossed there earlier. She's not the neat one, after all. She's not completely messy, at least, the litterbox was cleaned, and other such things. "You were limping," she says as she retrieves the biscuits, setting them down on the table and picking up the newspaper and folding it up. "Did you run into one of the Assfaces?"

Task complete, Sylar picks up the dish of ham and moves to set this down on the table, the limp still present, if masked. Nothing gets by someone you've been living with for what seems like a long time now, however, and Sylar only clenches his back teeth together for a moment to clamp down on his own frustration, platter set down. "No, not today," he says, but he sees no point in covering. "But I thought I was being followed at one point, so I took off and I guess I just stepped weirdly. That's all." Which is a lot less dire than a sprained knee, but he can fake it, or so is the plan. "You've haven't seen anything of him, have you?"

There's a quietly skeptical look in the way she raises her eyebrow, and in the sound of her breathing and heartbeat, but Gillian moves back into the kitchen to grab the plate and forks, spoons and knives, but taking her apron off before she does, leaving that behind on the counter. "Can you grab the drinks from the fridge? There's some juices— just grab me the cran-strawberry juice, and pick one of yourself." There's also bottled tea. The plates are set on the table, with the silverware right next to them. Only after she's gone through the motions does she answer the question. "I haven't seen either of them, but I called in sick, and said I was visiting family for the holiday. The manager didn't mention anyone coming in looking for me, so I'll report back to work on Monday."

There's not much he can do about the doubt she has for his answer, save to hope it all blows over. Of course, then he's directed to do more walking, to which Sylar just pulls in a quick breath and does as asked. No pain, no… gain. It's such a hassle, not being invincible. "If you're sure," he says, pulling open the fridge and taking out the drinks, barely looking at the selection for himself. "Just remember that it's worth foregoing a casual job to avoid being chained to bricks and thrown into the deep end. You might not be so lucky the next time he decides to attack you."

"I know," Gillian says softly, eyes following him. "I don't even know if he expected to find me there when he did— he could have just found me by coincidence. I don't know. I'll be careful— I plan to highlight my hair again and… I don't know. That 'turn into a maybe middle eastern guy' thing would be very handy right about now. Guessing you can't do it to other people?" Too much to hope for, she's sure, but… she settles down into a chair, and quietly watches him walk. "You going to be okay?"

Under her scrutiny, Sylar doesn't quite look at her, as if noticing her noticing him would make it worse somehow. The drinks are set down and he awkwardly makes his way around to his seat, drawing the chair and sitting down with some heaviness. "Yeah, I'm going to be okay," he says, a little impatiently, a hand up to adjust his glasses on his face. "I just need to look where I'm going next time, that's all. You did a good job on the dinner."

"I thought of trying turkey, but the instructions were really complicated," Gillian admits with a shrug, waiting a moment as she looks across at him before she starts to serve herself. There's a concerned sound to her heartbeat, and everything about her. Once she has all her food on the plate, she pauses to push hair that's getting far too long out of her eyes and behind her ear. "Do you have anything you're thankful for this year, Gabriel?"

Now off his feet, he can focus a little easier, accepting plates of food once Gillian is finished and, despite his discomfort, he gives himself liberal helpings of everything. Sort of like how he eats after using his ability to go superfast for moments at a time, but the scrape of cutlery and plates is at least pleasantly domestic. If not for the dull throb of his injuries, Sylar could almost pretend that this is his existence. It doesn't seem as repulsive as it should, despite being so mundane, but at least it's not as lonely as before. "I guess I do," he says, neutrally, before looking across at her. "I'm thankful that freedom doesn't have to be lonely."

"I'm not one for toasting, and this isn't champagne— or even wine," Gillian says, even as she reaches for her juice and raises it a bit. "But freedom that isn't lonely is something to toast to." There's that smile, genuine in nature, despite some hints of worry remaining in her, audible more than visible. There's a sudden meow from their feet, as Chandra has woken up from his nap and is now moving around waiting for someone to drop something. She laughs as he rubs up against her bare ankle, and she cuts off a small piece of ham and tosses it down to him. "Yes, I'm thankful for you too, spoiled cat."

Sylar obligingly picks up his drink to meet her toast with a faint smile, and he continues to watch her even as she diverts her attention towards the ginger cat at her feet. Neatly, he sets into his food, even as he asks, "Gillian. Is there something on your mind?" There's only so many subtle hints of anxiety he can take before asking, glancing at her over the edges of his glasses.

After taking a drink, Gillian starts on her food, though Chandra got the first bite. The cat sits and waits. Someone will drop something. But it's his words that make her pause, a piece of meat stuck into a fork and waiting to enter her mouth. The pause is followed by hesitation. "I just… wonder what it is you're always doing. But I know you won't tell me even if I ask, so I don't ask. Doesn't mean I don't wonder." Especially lately.

This again. In the more logical corners of Sylar's mind, he knows that if it was a concern of hers before, then it would still be one. All the same, it'd just be simpler if she let it go, and his gaze drops to his plate of food in irritation. If he wasn't so ravenous, he'd probably play with it - as it happens, he is, and so a bite of ham and mashed potato is eaten before he answers. "You go out." So it's not a conclusive answer, more of a petty response, but it's something.

"And you never wonder where I go?" Gillian asks, raising her sculpted eyebrows a bit. Most the time she comes back with obvious shopping things to show why she was gone, but occassionally… "I know you have your own stuff to do, just like I do. I'm not asking. If you want to tell me, you will." That doesn't mean she's stopped wondering. He's the one who asked what's on her mind. "You started leaving notes most the time," she adds, working on her mashed potatoes, heavy on the gravy from the looks of it. Gravy that she will be dipping biscuits in too.

Being allowed to keep his secrets won't stop her from wondering, however - only answers will. Sylar knows as well as anyone that lies only require more lies and eventually one will be detected. So he's quiet for now, in a sort of silent-treatment way, letting the sound of food being shifted and removed from plates fill the air, less domestic and more tense, his own demeanor almost sullen, whether it has a right to be or not.

The food is enjoyed in relative silence, though the tension that settles in the air might be mutual. The worry returns as his expression turns sullen, but Gillian makes no attempt to break the relative quiet as she keeps her ability reined in, and enjoys the meal she cooked. Only when she's cleaned off most of her plate and could go back for seconds does she ask a question. "Do you like apple or pumpkin pies?" Like this would be an important question.

Pies have proven to be relatively important in the past, at least. Sylar manages a smile, one he's rather sure is needed in a moment like this. "Apple," he confirms, and stands up to pick up the emptied plates, to make sure they get rinsed before stacked in the dishwasher, simple things like that that he does almost on autopilot. "Looks like we'll have plenty of left overs. I should get you to make dinner more often." Congenial, pleasant conversation, as if they hadn't eaten half a meal in relative silence.

"Don't hold your breath on that," Gillian says with a laugh, helping clean up, and making sure that the left overs are put away in containers to be reheated and munched on later. "I can manage the basics— but it's no where near as good as your Italian food that you made a while ago. But I'll cook again. If you play your cards right." There's that smile, the dimples visible in her cheeks near her mouth especially. Pleasant conversation. Let the tension go away— or at least fade into subtext.

November 27th: Don't Talk About...

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 27th: The Cat's Cradle
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