Stranger Still


gillian2_icon.gif sal_icon.gif

Scene Title Stranger Still
Synopsis Sal and Gillian have interacted three times and still haven't met face to face. Crazy augmentation. Enter Salbriel.
Date August 4, 2009

A Ferrymen Safehouse

A few vehicles sit out front of the designated safehouse where the children of the Lighthouse had been moved from the Garden. Ages ranging from young children to young teenagers, the group of under two handfuls have made a new home. The building, a duplex of some kind, has two stories, multiple doors. One of the doors is boarded up, many of the windows are as well. The cars are the best sign that someone currently be occupying the building. Alone in the hallway near the unboarded door leading outside, Gillian stands in front of a small bookshelf. A box of books on the floor next to her feet is getting sorted through, books arranged on the shelving arranged by reading level, and then alphabetically by author. Those easiest to read are near the bottom, the more difficult ones on the top.

When Sal gets called to care for children, he wastes no time. The doc has been doing a lot of double-lifing lately, and it's been wearing him down. He's spent the last half hour upstairs, on the opposite side of the duplex to Gillian, bandaging a girl's sprained ankle.

That finished, it seemed a good idea to walk through the safehouse, seeing as it's unfamiliar. As a fairly active member of the Ferrymen, he likes to know where things are, get the lay of the land, so he's prepared in an emergency.

He starts to get a strange sensation as he passes down the stairs and heads towards the rear. Before he opens the door that bridges the duplexes, the sensation grows. He tries to shake it off, but it won't go away. It's not a totally unfamiliar sensation, but one he still can't place immediately.

Once he pushes open the door, the sensation hits him like a fist to the chest. He feels a strange tightening of his skin, then sudden relaxing, then tightening and odd muscle shifts. Shapeshifting, but he didn't…it's only happened once before without him consciously triggering it.

He staggers forward, through the door and into the hallway. By the time he appears in sight of Gillian, he's doubled over, holding the wall and appears to all eyes to be Gabriel Gray - if Gabriel in a t-shirt that's a bit too tight and a pair of cargo shorts.

With Evolved children wandering around all the time, making sure that they're used to her in case she doesn't have her ability under control meant that Gillian always has her ability on sometimes. None of the children's abilities are particularly threatening when boosted, as far as she can tell, so when someone draws on her energy, she doesn't think twice, just shoving another book onto a shelf. When the door opens into the hallway, she looks over, expecting Brian or one of the older kids, and seeing…

"Gabriel? What the fuck are you doing here?" That may not have came out quite right, but she had not expected to see him, and his sudden appearance has taken her by surprise.

Gabriel? Sal looks over to the wall to see a hand that's not his splayed against the wall. A hand goes up to his face, runs over the strong profile, then looks up at Gillian. "What the hell?" the unfamiliar voice rumbles.

He looks left and right, then pushes open a door likely to be a washroom. When he catches sight of his reflection and Sylar stares back at him, it provokes a sudden, irritated, slightly afraid, "Fuck." He looks down at his hands and pushes, trying to will a transformation. But nothing happens. Getting into a boosted shape is like tires digging a rut into soft earth. It takes more than a foot on the gas pedal to pop free.

"Jesus, you're running away from me now too?" Gillian says with a grumble, shoving the book on the shelf and leaving it there. The box has plenty of books left in it, too. As he moves away into the hall washroom, she follows, trapping him inside by getting into the doorway. Not the best place for anyone to retreat, but he's got enough abilities he could fog himself out a window, or whatever it is his abilities do. "Look I know you don't think much of me, hell maybe you never did, but you could have at least shared what you felt sometimes too." Lover's quarrel. Welcome to it, Sal.

"What?" Somewhere in all of his shock and paranoia about suddenly not being able to control his ability, Sal forgot the part where he tells her he's not Gabriel. He looks over at her, blinks, squints. Completely confused. "I'm not Gabriel. I walked in here, and I shifted. I…" he looks down at his hands and suddenly his face contorts. It's actually…a pretty funny expression from a tough guy killer. It's not working. He can feel his power's still there, but it's not cooperating, not listening to his mental commands.

He looks up at Gillian again. "Wait…what's your ability? What can you do?"

There's a disgusted look on her face for a moment, as if she doesn't believe him. Gillian may not, for the first few seconds, before the argument, the tone to a familiar voice, and other things strike her as— not Gabriel. Tavisha, maybe. But why would he decide to channel the more innocent side of himself again? "I know you're not one of the kids," she says, frowning, knotting up the energy in the back of her head. He's not a Brian, either, but he must have came into the safehouse while she was out picking up somemore books for the kid's small library. (read, bookshelf)

"I augment people's abilities. If you're not Gabriel, then who the fuck are you and why do you look like him?" And does she need to get a gun?

"What's your name?" They've spoken on the phone, but phone voices never sound the same as in-person voices. Sal's focus is only half on her. Mostly he's trying to focus on getting out of this damn body. He's starting to panic just a little. Last time this happened, he was stuck this way for an hour.

"You're an augmentor? Shit. That's why. I'm Sal Silvatti. I'm a metamorph. And your power's doing…this." He motions up to his face. "I can't shift back, I didn't shift into him on purpose." And then he rocks back a step. "Whatever you do, don't touch me." Or there will be two Gillians. If they're lucky. If she's unlucky, there will be two Gabriels.

Metamorph… "I thought you changed the way other people looked," Gillian exclaims softly, tilting her head and squinting at him. Yes, she knows of him, she remembers the phone calls well. If not as well as she might have thought. "It's Gillian. You're the one who did the blood test to tell me I was related to Brian," she explains, among other things. But she'd not known he could look like anyone, just that he could change people… At least she doesn't look as outwardly furious or ready to argue, anymore. "You met Gabriel while he had my ability, didn't you?"

This is no close approximation. Sal's ability, especially when boosted, copies everything over perfectly. A bit too perfectly, is the problem. And something about being in the proximity of an augmentor again, triggered a stored image. "Gillian." He nods and purses his lips.

"Wait, he had…?" Then a hand raises and he waves it dismissively. Never mind. "Yeah. He was injured. Teo called me in to help sew him up. I touched him and this happened. Same thing. I couldn't change back until after I'd been away from him for almost an hour. I know he couldn't, but can you shut it off? Your power?" Then he tilts Gabriel's head and looks confused, then concerned. "…who told you I can change other people?"

The problem with no longer having a perfect memory, Gillian may know she knows, but when exactly she heard it is in question. "Our powers got switched around— did Phoenix fail to pass on a memo about that too?" They seem to forget to talk about so many things… And in this case maybe they passed on something they'd not been supposed to.

"While Gabriel had mine, I had another ability for a while, ability to do what people I met do— couldn't control it at all at first, so I got warnings attached to some people to keep me from meeting them." Or at least that's how she recalls taking the comment. She never connected it to the other person who could change people's faces, but she never had met Sonny, and never cared much for city politics. Even when the guy stood up and spoke it didn't connect for her. But there'd been a reason she never tried to meet the man in purpose. Changing people's faces wouldn't have been on a list of things to do accidentally, especially with how little control she had at the time.

"I've already shut it down as much as I can. It doesn't exactly turn off. I kinda just… knot it up. You shouldn't be getting anything, though."

"Yeah, yeah, I didn't get that memo," a grunt from Sal. Or Salbriel? Gabeatore? "Oh. Well, I try and keep the part about being able to change other people under my hat. It could be an important edge strategically. Which is why it would be a bad idea for you to touch me right now. I don't know what would happen. I could change you, or you could…." Ahem. Well, there's a few things that could happen. He could grab an image from her head and become someone she knows, or there could be two Gillians in the room.

Now that she's said she's toned down her power, he tries again to access his ability. He lets out a grunt of frustration. "Fuck. I've probably got to get away from you for a bit. If it's anything like last time, it'll take me awhile to get full control back. Although it might not be as bad, since you seem to have control over it and there hasn't been physical contact."

That's one thing she's going to need to bring up with the mighty command. Gillian grinds her teeth a moment, as she looks up at Gabriel Sal. It takes a second, but she looks away and shakes her head. "People's abilities are their own to share. I ain't gonna spread it around," she says, especially considering how pissed she'd been about her own ability getting told to a room full of Phoenix accomplices before the Bridge incident.

"You really do look like him, though. Sound like him too, but you're word use is different." There it is again, the staring.

"As far as I can tell, your ability helps me copy just about everything," Sal holds up a hand and turns it around. The reality is in the imperfections, in changing tone of skin or patterns of hair, freckles and tiny, barely visible scars. "Normally it takes effort or physical contact and a lot of concentration for me to do this."

He looks over his shoulder and at the unfamiliar face that stares back at him. "This must be really strange for you." And then an odd bit of laughter. "Jesus. I wanted to meet you in person, but you still don't know what I look like."

"Yeah— I wanted to meet you too," Gillian says softly, voice a raspy whisper. The raspiness might have been mistaken for part of the phone connection when they'd talked before, but in person it's just as raspy. "Fuck, you were the one bringer of good news for me for the last few months." There's been little in the way of good news since her life got thrown into so much disarray. Meeting Gabriel might not have been the exact start, but… close enough.

"Kinda wish you were him. Son of a bitch didn't exactly say how he felt about things, and I'd kind of like to know." But maybe she never will. Or maybe she's not supposed to know. Maybe it doesn't matter. She shakes her head and pulls back out of the doorway. "Sorry, though."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. A lack of communication seems to hover around Phoenix and its allies." Sal's pretty sure that's not really what she meant, but the last thing he wants to do is start talking to relationships. If only because it's bound to bring up Teo. He's trying the very unhealthy route of just ignoring his relationship problems rather than dealing with them.

"Anyway, I should get out of your proximity. See if I can't get my own face back." Or one of them, at least. "We'll have to meet again soon, and try and be in the same room without triggering weird things."

"Yeah, it's something I intend to talk to them about," Gillian says quietly, as she makes her way back toward the bookshelf. The knot in the back of her head might be tied up, but that doesn't seem to be helping him too much. "Hopefully next time I'll be prepared for it. Not leaking energy out. I usually leave it open when no one's around— I felt the surge, but… I figured it was one of the kids." And if it'd been Brian, the worse that would've happened is hall of naked Brians. But she doesn't really want to think of that, since…

Though if it does happen again, she could practice yelling at him?

"This must be really weird for you. Me, looking like someone you know. Listen…" Sal looks off into the hallway and shifts his weight. He looks quite indecisive and unsure of how to say what he wants to say. Does Gabe ever look anything like this? "If you do see him. Gabriel. I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell him that I seem to be accidentally looking like him."

The reasons for that request may or may not be obvious. "He and I don't exactly get along." Which makes this whole duplicating thing a bit more of a mindfuck. "I'm going to go to the far side of the house. I don't exactly want to go walking around like this. I'm likely to get arrested." Or worse.

"We're not on the best of terms anymore, either," Gillian admits quietly, but at the same time nods in afirmation of his request. "He won't hear it from me," she adds, bending down to begin sorting through the books again. Moving off to the back of the house for a bit might be a good idea, and she adds on, "Use the back door when you're ready to leave. I should be here for a while longer." Longer walk as it is, it'll avoid running into her until later, at least…

"If you don't mind, I'll give you a call later and we'll try to get a handle on this under more controlled conditions? Gabriel isn't exactly the safest person to walk around as." And it could create some awkward Three's Company moments. With bullets. "I'd like to learn how to stop spontaneous transformations when I'm around you. It feels different when you boost it. More like I have to concentrate to make it not happen rather than putting a lot of focus into creating a shift."

He squints once more at his unfamilar reflection, makes a bit of a face and then starts off down the hallway. Hopefully if he runs into any of the kids, they won't recognize the person he currently looks like.

"Believe me, I know. If he doesn't nearly die once a month, it's an odd month," Gillian says with a shake of her head, leaving out how many gunshot wounds he had the first time she got his shirt off, and how many more he kept getting in the time she knew him. Or how he nearly lost his arm. Or how he got possessed. Or how he lost his body when he tried to eject of ghost of futures gone from Teo… "We can plan it out better. If I control it I can keep my energy to myself, and send it out when I want to. Can't swear you'll never get caught by surprise unless you just completely avoid me, though."

A few books are placed on the middle shelf, preteen level books. "To be honest, a lot of people lose control when I use my ability, so it doesn't reflect bad on you." Even Gabriel did. A few times.

"Sounds like Teo," says Sal. He steps away from Gillian and feels a strange sensation. Ah, there it is. Control's starting to come back. "I'm more concerned that I keep turning into Gabriel than losing a bit of control. I know I can reverse the changes I make, given enough time." Though it might be a bad situation if he changes her. He'd really have to learn how to function under her boosting influence then, else she might be stuck into whatever form he happens to project onto her.

With every step he takes away from her, he feels control returning. By the time he's at the other end of the hallway, things are starting to feel normal again. "Take care, Gillian. One day we'll meet face to face." He quirks a smile. That's meant to be a joke. Maybe not the best one.

Glancing down the hallway, Gillian spots the man she once spent quite a lot of time with. Saying her name, speaking rather kindly, even smiling at her. It's a visual lie, though, and she's aware of that. Her return smile is sad, for reasons he can't possibly know, and she nods. "Yeah— though hell, if you're a shapeshifter, you could keep looking like anyone you want." There's no way of knowing if he'll be the face he's supposed to be when they meet. Maybe that's the joke. "I'm always me, though. Give or take a bunch of mangled tattoos and maybe some hair dye."

She bends down to put her attention on the box again, searching for the thinner books for younger kids, before she looks up to add, "Be careful, Sal." Especially if that face sticks any longer?

"I could, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. Crazy. Identity crisis-city. All that." Another small grin from Sal. "I'll be careful. And I'm not leaving this safehouse til I get my own face back." Or one of them, anyway.

After Sal spends about fifteen minutes as far as he can from Gillian, he's able to morph back into his Ferrymen identity. Then he heads out, a touch troubled by what happened, but relieved to have control back again. Figures. Someone he has the potential to get along well with and she happens to make him shift uncontrollably. Ah, Evolved powers.

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