Start A New Life


gillian2_icon.gif niles_icon.gif

Scene Title Start a New Life
Synopsis During a chance encounter at the Hangar, Gillian meets Niles— Niles of the present, instead of the future. And she does what she can to try and do Niles of the Future's wish by helping his young self get a chance at a different life outside of prison.
Date June 19, 2009

The Hangar

A wrought-iron fence borders several small garden beds and the stone stairs leading up to the house's front door. The house itself is a structure of old stone - not even concrete blocks, but quarried stone — with natural-color wood doors and window frames. The windows on the ground floor are barred.

Inside, the level is divided into only three rooms. The first is the foyer, with polished hardwood flooring, a freestanding coatrack on either side, iron-dark against soft-amber interior walls. The main staircase spirals up from one corner of the foyer, girded by a wrought-iron railing.

To the right from the entrance is the kitchen. The walls just off from white, the floor tiled in dark gray. In the center of the kitchen is a black-topped island, matching the counters that line the room. One wall is dominated by an eminently modern stove framed by an anachronistic brick hearth. Cabinets above the counters have glass doors; the windows above the sink are framed in light-colored curtains, the illumination they let in adding to the expansive atmosphere.

Six weeks locked in a box and several weeks being shuffled about and forced to be indoors means that Niles Wight the younger has a lot of pent-up energy. Deckard's accidental healing of the mental breaks in his brain have calmed the angry beast that once surged and fought against his brain, but he's still a twenty-one year old young man. Being told to stay put is maddening.

So he's found a spot sufficiently large enough in the living room and has dragged out a box of old freeweights from somewhere. He's listening to an old crackly radio that projects alternative and classic rock and is currently doing push-ups to the beat of something by Nickelback.

It's not that Gillian doesn't appreciate the home given to her at Village Renaissance— she just doesn't want to stay there all the time. That would seem to be the truth when she visits the Hangar again during the day. A Ferry safehouse, she's aware of the proper procedure to enter, even if she's not intending to stay long. Just a little time away from the village— and some of the people there. A visit to the kitchen got her a bottle of water, which she nurses a few times as she wanders into the living room.

Sight of a man about her age doing pushups shouldn't surprise her, even if the music makes her nose wrinkle, but it's the actual man that keeps her eyes— makes her stop to watch. Take off ten years and he looks just like a man she met between buildings on Staten Island…

Ten years and about ten pounds of muscle. Niles of 2009 is wiry with a thinner face, though time in the ruins of Midtown with Deckard took the pastiness out of his skin from weeks on Level 5. He's trying to rectify this now. He's worked up a decent sweat and even though he hears footsteps, he doesn't break until he hits the count he was going for.

Then he gets to his knees and stands, blinks at the sight of Gillian and reaches for a towel to wipe down his face and neck. "Hello." There's no recognition on the young man's face. But then, he's never met her before.

Dark hair, about the same age, just a bit more on the goth side of things (without much of the make up, just the dark colors), Gillian stands near the doorway with the cap of her bottle of water in one hand, while she holds the bottle in the other. Upon being addressed she blinks in surprise and twists the cap back in place. "Hi," she says after a moment, a little more recognition in her own eyes.

But one she seems aware isn't going to make much sense if no one's mentioned his future self… "You're— one of the people staying here?"

Niles looks at her for a moment, eyes on eyes as he tries to make sense of her strange hesitation. "Yes, for the moment." He reaches over and picks up his own bottle of water. The towel is tossed over one shoulder. "Though they've been moving me about a lot. Shuffling me here and there. I can't unpack, but then, I don't have many things."

He takes a long swallow from the water bottle and rubs the side of his neck. "You?"

"Actually staying somewhere else, but I— needed to get out. Only so much of one place I can stand," Gillian admits, still looking at him in a kind of obvious interest, even if the reason for this interest isn't obvious to him. Moving a little further inside, she casts a glance at the crackling stereo before looking back at him, "You're… Niles, right?" She didn't even mean to make that into a pun, seriously.

Niles blinks a little, but nods. "Yes. That's me. And you are?" He's trying to be polite, but he sounds fairly wary. Then again, he's of the belief that there are people after him. "And I'm rather curious to know how you know who I am. Have your people been circulating photographs?" He cracks a small smile at the end of that, though it's not the most genuine of expressions.

"No, not exactly— but I… saw you once. Not in a picture. You didn't see me, though, so you wouldn't remember it." Gillian says, tilting her head a bit and letting short bangs shift out of her eyes. What she said would be about as close to the truth without outright saying it. "I'm Gillian," she adds in greeting, noting similarities and differences in his expression from the one she met.

Niles looks considerably more stable, younger, not just in features, but in body language. He even seems a touch…shy. "Gillian. Do you work with the Ferrymen then, or are you a refugee?" He nods towards the kitchen. "I was just about to make something to eat. Care to join me?"

It's a drastic difference, one that Gillian files away in her file cabinet-like mind. "I work with them," she says with a nod, looking back toward the kitchen. A bottle of water and an hour or so of 'away-time' had been all she really planned, but lunch definitely wouldn't hurt anything either, "Sure." Agreement to join to the kitchen, and likely at the eating. "I've been wanting to offically meet you," she adds, just avoiding the use of 'again'. "You seem to be doing okay, despite the crazy moving around."

The word 'crazy' provokes a tic in the back of Niles' shoulder, but he buries it down. "Officially meet me? You make it sound like I'm some guest of honour." He grins, but the grin is small. He makes his way into the kitchen. "How's stir fry sound? I made a bunch of rice yesterday. Just do up a few vegetables and such."

He starts to tug things out of the fridge. His movements lack the arrogant confidence of his more senior self.

"Well, if I'd known you cook I would've tried to see you sooner," Gillian admits, giving a hint that cooking alone might make him a guest of honor in her book. Certainly seems to have her following after and watching eagerly. She can cook, as much as anyone who lived on their own for years can, but the idea of other people cooking for her always makes him smile. The dimples are even showing. Even if rice and veggies aren't that much work, really. Still someone else cooking. "Got any permenant plans? I get the moving around and hiding, thing— I did that for a long time too, but any thoughts about where you'll end up when you're done shuffling?"

Her words make Niles grin a touch sheepishly. He pulls out a knife and starts to slice the vegetables. "I lived in the Farm for awhile. Didn't cook for yourself, you didn't eat. And having good ingredients is something of a luxury. I was…" the knife pauses over a green pepper. "…well, they didn't exactly feed me palate-teasing dishes when they had me locked away."

For a moment, the only sound is the gentle tok-tok as he slices vegetables. Then, "I have no idea. It's hard to think that far down the road when I'm not sure where I'll be tomorrow."

"Don't imagine they would," Gillian says quietly, a sympathetic sound to her voice even as she watches him begin to slice up veggies. It's not overly impressive, but the fact she doesn't like the idea of anyone being imprisoned, even a stranger— it makes her expression genuine. "At least you know you got the option to do something, which is more than being imprisoned. I'm sticking with these guys to avoid much the same thing. And to keep even the smallest freedoms— at least of picking my own clothes and food and other shit like that." Bigger freedoms would be great, but day to day ones are what people actually have to live with, in general.

"Apparently there are some people after me. The people who were holding me, I imagine." Niles cuts the vegetables up in a slow, careful way, like the action is something of meditation. He moves to the fridge and tugs out the rice and a bottle of sweet and sour sauce, then puts the wok on and starts to cook up the veggies.

"It's…funny," he says, with a small smile. "I never thought I'd be important enough to be on the run from anyone. This whole…being on the lamb thing does wonders for one's ego."

"This is becoming a world where things that weren't important before suddenly are," Gillian says with a hint of a laugh, that smile keeping her dimples showing, even if there's something bitter in the way she's talking. That thing that makes her important had been given to her when she was a baby— though she's trying to get over that, even then. "I guess it's better that you feel important cause of it, rather than resent it— I really hated what made me go on the run at first— to the point I wouldn't even admit to it at all."

There's a flicker of something like guilt on Niles' face as he stirs the vegetables around on the wok. He has dimples too, though they don't quite appear as readily as hers today. "I guess some part of me doesn't really think I deserve this protection. I'm not exactly a law-abiding citizen. Didn't exactly work for everything in the Farm."

Once the vegetables have started to soften, he drops the pre-cooked rice into the wok.

"I've commited what would've been a couple misdemenors myself, even before what I did manifested," Gillian admits, well aware her rebellous teenage streak had gone on a little longer than it should have. Granted she never got arrested, never got charged with anything— but that doesn't change she had quite a few sins on her hands… And since joining up with Phoenix— since even meeting Gabriel… Breaking into government facilities, helping escaped prisoners… she could even consider herself a felon now. "I guess the whole idea is to make it so… you do deserve it."

Niles wouldn't look quite so guilty if his crimes only involved a few petty thefts and an assault or two. Murder tends to change peoples' opinion pretty quick. Murder of a family member, no less. Accidental or no.

He flips the wok with a twist of his rist, then starts to add the sauce. "You want to grab a few plates?" Notable in that he doesn't continue this line of the conversation.

How about murder of a federal agent in the middle of assisting an escape from a secret government prison? Or perhaps dating the man who could be considered responsible for the death of your sister? Gillian's got plenty of reason for self-flagulation too, though the one that hadn't really been her doing would be the one she thinks about far more often— the government agent had attempted to kill her. "Yeah, I'll grab some plates," she says, moving to open a few counter doors before she finds the one with the plates she needs and brings them over. "Way I understand it, whatever you did might've been a side effect of your ability." Change the subject? Only part way.

"Am I that transparent?" asks Niles as he grabs an egg from the fridge and scrambles it into the rice mixture. For texture. He lets it cook for a few minutes longer, then starts to spoon it onto the plates. "How hungry are you? Would you like some cucumber on the side?" Oh yeah. He's avoiding this directly.

"I'll stick with the stir fry," Gillian says, still with an odd smile on her face at the transparent comment. There's a counter-comment she could make that she finds rather funny, but she holds her words inside instead. The dodging of conversation isn't missed, though, "I won't ask what you did— but if it is in part your ability, if you learn to control it you could easily go on to live a normal life— go to school, get a job— be you and not your power— or a prisoner either."

"I wonder if I don't deserve to be a prisoner. Not like…" Niles pauses mid rice scoop. "…I was. No one deserves that. To be locked away with no rights. But I was dangerous enough for them to do that. Am." He hands the plate over to her and avoids eye contact as he heads to the table after handing her a plateful.

"Is it really a good idea to be claiming lack of control of a power as an excuse. Then everyone could claim that, whether or not it was actually true. And there'd be little incentive to try and control it, if you could be let off the hook for actions related to your ability."

"I'd agree with you— except I— It's kinda hard to explain, but I do have some experience with… things like this," Gillian says, suddenly looking nervous. Considering how she pushed the conversation, suddenly backing off on it might come off as odd. There's no way to explain that she understands what he went through in part because she felt the sudden urges brought upon by his ability— because she met his future self. Because she fell in love with someone who's power drove him to attack her against his will when she augmented him… "But it's not that you're let off the hook, Niles," she does say, suddenly set as she takes the plate and begins to move to sit down. "You have to earn getting let off the hook— but you should earn it for you, not for anyone else. Do what you think would make you worthy of it. Did you ever want to do anything? I used to be a librarian. Someday I'd like to go back to it. What about you?"

Niles looks at his plate of food and moves a pepper around with a fork. "I was a Tisch student. Before." The bomb. He spears a piece of baby corn and chews on it thoughtfully. "I wanted to be a filmmaker. Seems like…a fairly hollow goal these days." He eyes out the window, as if from here they could see the crater of Midtown. "When I went to inspect the ruins of the school, that's when my ability first…manifested." He looks down at his hand, then at his food once again. "I was very angry, then."

"You could channel your energy through film making," Gillian says, having already downed a forkful or two of veggies and rice while she listens. A few more bites are taken while she ponders the best thing to add on, almost thoughtful, "I'm not even sure when I first manifested— I know the first time I realized it— No one else knew that it'd been me and I let someone else get in trouble for something I caused." Her sister— a hydrokinetic— forced to register for suddenly flooding her sister's apartment, even when her ability never before and never again showed that much potential power. "But even if they're just little handheld movies— you could do what you wanted to— Certain people in the Ferry want people to see what's happening to people like us— see that we're people and not just abilities."

"I'm not the best person to be a positivve face for the Evolved." Niles squirms uncomfortably in his seat. He takes a larger than usual bite as an excuse to chew longer. He purses his lips, then looks up at her. There's hurt tinging at the corners of his face, though he keeps it schooled as best he can. "I killed my stepfather. I widowed my own mother and took a father away from my half-brother. So forgive me if I don't feel as if I particularly deserve to go on and have a nice little filmmaking life." He spears a vegetable rather violently, then looks away.

It's clear that he expects her to storm out, to stare at him with disgust.

The explaination of what he did causes her to pause and stare for some time. Not disgust so much as… surprise. The dimples disappear, for the most part, and Gillian doesn't eat for a long moment. When she moves, it's not to get up and storm out, but to actually eat another bite. "The films wouldn't be about you— film makers usually make them about things they witness, things they're involved in, things they experienced— but not always telling their story. It's your choice, really, to try or not. But I think you could." And his future self had been trying to preserve a future— might as well help that along.

Niles looks down at the food, then up at her. There's a dark set to his eyes, one that she's seen before. But beneath a floppy forelock, there is a hint of something his older counterpart didn't possess - vulnerability. "I just told you I killed a man, and you're still on about the bloody filmmaking?" His hand tightens around the fork.

"I've… seen a lot in the last year," Gillian admits with a wince, sliding down into her chair. "You should live with what you did… the burden of it— but it's…" She trails off. The blood on her hands, indirectly or otherwise, is a burden too, but— "I just think you can help people. I think people deserve a chance to be something other than… some kind of monster."

"I just hate when people talk to me like I'm some kind of…victim." Niles flares his nostrils and looks down at his plate. "Give me sympathy and offer me help and pat me like the system did something to me. Accidentally or not, I killed a man that helped raise me. And why? Because my mummy didn't love me enough. It's fucking pathetic is what it is." He jams down the fork hard on the plate.

"You threw a tantrum and someone died," Gillian says with a nod, not disagreeing with him on this, really— even if she thinks the ability had something to do with it too. "It's your responsibility to do something different with your life, now. Can't change what you did, but you can change what you do." At this point she puts the fork down, even pushing the chair back to stand up. She's not finished, but she ate enough, apparently. "I think trying to make up for things you've done is probably the hardest thing you'll ever have to do."

Niles looks down at his plate, then up at her, hand to head. "I can't do very bloody much. I'm wanted for murder and by a crazy shadow organization that would like to put me in a cage for the rest of my life." And who mostly succeeded in another timeline. "My friends are not my friends anymore. And my family. Well. Mummy wouldn't exactly welcome me back with open arms." He flashes a toothy grin that's completely devoid of any true happy sentiment. The first shades of the Niles she has met before.

"Then make a new life and stop living in the past," Gillian says, forcefulness in her voice. "While you still have the chance to." That grin does bring forth a hint of deja vu, but… she shakes her head, "Thanks for the stir fry." A few steps are taken away from him toward the door.

"As soon as I can stop running, I'll try," says Niles, but that's mainly addressed to his plateful of food. Food that no longer looks very appetising. He pushes around a bit of pepper on his plate and drops his shoulders. He makes no move to stop her or call her back.

There's a pause as she makes it to the door frame, glancing back at him. Gillian even nods slightly, as if taking that try with a bit of hope— try is all she could ever think to ask of someone in his position… And it may be enough to get him a better future— If the future's meant to be better at all.

There's a pause as she makes it to the door frame, glancing back at him. Gillian even nods slightly, as if taking that try with a bit of hope— No words are said as she steps through the door and leaves. Try is all she could ever think to ask of someone in his position… And it may be enough to get him a better future— If the future's meant to be better at all.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License