The Fragile


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Scene Title The Fragile
Synopsis She shines, in a world full of ugliness
She matters when everything is meaningless…
She doesn't see her beauty
She tries to get away
Sometimes, it's just that nothing seems worth saving
I can't watch her slip away
I won't let you fall apart.
Date May 15, 2008

Old Dispensary

On the outside, this sprawling multi-level complex has not seen use in many years, its walls covered in greenery and stone exterior and glass windows showing evidence of disrepair. Surrounded by a chain link fence, a drive leads from the street to a large dock, and around the back one can expect to find more sprawling greenery that eventually leads to a concrete drop off into the Atlantic Ocean.

Passing through the chainlink fence and into the dispensary will reveal that the aged and crumbling outside is a facade. The loading dock is kept clear for the most part of everything save vehicles and supplies, though a section has been quartered off and transformed into an open workshop. The dispensary itself has been transformed into something akin to a makeshift dormitory, complete with common areas, a sizable kitchen and eating area, with various rooms converted into bedrooms for the residence. One room has even been set up as a makeshift clinic, amply stocked with supplies.

The back lawn and garden of the dispensary is surprisingly well tended, green and lush during the right months. Vegetables have been planted in accordance to season closer to the building, though someone has indulgently planted a plots of flowers - notably sunflowers - here and there. Further out, the ground drops a little and makes it to a concrete edge from which opens out into deeper water of the Atlantic.

Gravel crunches underfoot on the approach to the dispensery. It feels like a lifetime since Helena Dean has seen this place, seen the dream Conrad had for Phoenix, and in that perceived span of infinity the dream has started to crumble away. The glass on the front door of the dispensery has been broken, likely in some misguided attempt at a break-in, given Staten Island's way of life. To Catherine Chesterfield, it's only been a day since she's seen the state the building has fallen into in the months since it's abandonment. Elisabeth Harrison, though, on entering into the ground floor can see nothing but the way the building has been left to collect dust since the defeat of the Vanguard.

The ground floor is dusty and disused, furniture covered in plastic, while discarded canvases covered with splotches of paint and stick figures are tossed about like the result of a child's temper tantrum. Dim morning light filters through bare windows devoid of curtains. The pale white walls slightly yellowed from the dust that has gathered. On the way through the ground floor, it's obvious someone has been sleeping in Conrad's bed. The blankets are in a tangle, pillows shunted off the bed like someone lazily staggered out of it, sheets in a knot at the foot. But it looks so empty here, not like the headquarters Phoenix had envisioned.

A crackling snap of electricity echoes from the roof, the first sign that someone is here, followed by the quiet sound of voices. Maneuvering to the stairs, Helena follows the creaking steps up the brick-faded stairwell past other empty and unfurnished rooms, she remembers planning what each of these empty spaces was going to be used for. She remembers the dream of what Phoenix could be, and the dream of what it did become in another time, in another place. The sound of electricity can't be Elle Bishop, and the lack of screaming likely means that Elisabeth's concerns about Niles Wight are alleviated as well on the way up.

The stairs continue to wind up closer to the sounds of muffled voices and another electrical snap, eventually reaching the door to the roof — a roof that would have been perfect for a small garden. When the door pushes open, there's signs that one was started; wooden planters and bags of soil that have sat here on the flagstone rooftop for months. But it's none of that in the end that draws Helena's eyes first, but rather the crackling snap of a tiny bolt of electricity, followed by a yelp— and then a laugh…

Backlit by the sun rising over the ocean, Peter stands behind the dark silhouette of a woman made entirely of living steel, her eyes little more than raw hematite orbs, hair of silvery metal cascading down her back. Her arms are outstretched, and Peter's arms follow along hers, his hands resting over her own, "Hey— come on stop zapping me…" he says with a crooked smile, "Just think— think about the way it made you feel. Try to imagine both of those feelings together…"

The woman of iron turns her head, trying to look up and over to Peter, the sunlight reflecting off of the brushed metal texture of her skin, as a few more tiny jolts of static electricity jump off of her hands. "Just… close your eyes." She does, when he asks, metal lids sliding loudly over dark eyes.

"Just think about the feeling— electricity— the shock, the tingle— the way— " Peter catches something out of the corner of his eyes, his head slowly lifting up as his eyes go wide, mouth opening as sunlight plays on blonde hair caught by the wind. An overspilling of emotions come over Peter as he lets his arms fall away from the woman, who's steely countenance only now becomes familiar as the morning light fully shines as the sun passes out from behind a cloud. The woman of living metal — is Gillian Childs.

Who the - oh. Oh. The worlds by which this is not acceptable are boundless, and there's an abrupt drop in temperature around the blonde, so much so that Helena's breath, when it comes out frosts. She just stands there, and tries to think of something to say that won't sound petty or jealous, and she'd been okay with it while it was a future that she was going to change, but this is her here, her now, and she does not believe in the river anymore, goddamit.

Taking another breath, one that doesn't frost as the air warms and she gets ahold of herself, she offers only one word: "Peter?"

She sees the building as she ties the boat to the pier, and remembers what she saw on visiting the day before, but Cat doesn't yet enter. She instead lifts bags out of the boat, items brought for Peter. Food, basically, of the kind to rebuild protein and provide energy in the form of carbs. The brunette thus has no idea Gillian is present, and thus fails to warn Helena of her being there. It's not something she expects, after Gillian declined to stay away from people.

As she walks into the building, the condition of it is reflected upon. It is a bit sad, given Conrad's sacrifice, but mutedly so. Cat was always in favor of staying on Manhattan.

It'll be a minute or so before she begins to climb those stairs.

The sight of the Dispensary's neglected carcass gives Elisabeth a pang. She glances around the place and makes a note to check the security for it — if Peter and others are staying here, it needs to remain secure and she's apparently been inadvertantly neglecting her job here. When they reach the top of the stairs, she raises both eyebrows at the sight of Gillian in Rickham's metal body and says, "Oh shit." And then she shakes her head. "Before I forget to ask, has this been going on since Moab or is it recent?"

The problem with being metal… Gillian doesn't really feel his hands move away in the traditional way that she should. There'd been no sensation of his hands even being on her at all. As she takes in a slow breath, the crackle of electricity tries to surface from her again, only to fall back in through clenched teeth. Not clenched for any reason other than stress. Mouth opens as if to speak, a disappointment and frustration carved into her metal face, but then she 'hears' a voice. Eyes open, even if that's not what she sees with, and she looks up until she makes out forms. Female. Some familiar, sort of, some not. Recognizing people isn't easy with these senses, something she wishes she could explain.

"What?" she asks, lips moving in a distorted voice. Almost like talking through metal. Still very much female and hers, but definitely not sounding as it should. Instead of answering she starts to move away a little, until the creaks make her stop. Maybe she shouldn't be walking around too much until she gets the changing back part down.

Peter looks so much less like the muscular and healthy man she saw in the future. He's a wiry, thin and broken man who has spent months being tortured and half-starved in a prison. His frame is noticably thinner than even the last time Helena saw him escaping Moab, and the contrast is even sharper to the Peter Petrelli of 2019, he's like a pale, ghostly imitation of that man.

A dumbstruck ghostly imitation of that man.

"Hel— " the name comes choked back with wide-eyed confusion as Peter slowly begins to step around Gillian, glancing back over his shoulder towards her, then back to Helena, and then finally Elisabeth. He swallows, loudly, and anxiously moves to brush one unruly and long lock of hair from his face. In this light, the scar cutting across Peter's brow is so prominent — yet one more feature that delineates him from the Peter she saw ten years in the future.

"I— " He hesitates approaching her, eyes going to Liz again, as if embarassed. "I'm— " he turns to look over his shoulder, "Gillian's— " He stops, closes his eyes, and draws in a slow breath. Exhaling, his eyes open and he looks back to Helena again, seeming for all his worth lie he wants to walk over, but the stranger behind her is giving him pause.

"Helena, you're— you're okay." Peter's dark eyes wander up to Elisabeth again, inspecting her with a furrowed brow, before looking back to the blonde. "I— Th— there's a lot we need to talk about, I— I guess?"

Helena stares at him a moment, incredulously. "Oh." she says, "Don't let me interrupt. I mean, I only endured you splitting in two, working for the Company and PARIAH, throwing yourself in jail, pitting people against the Vanguard and saving the world to get locked up, mentally raped on a semi-weekly basis, near killed a woman in a jailyard fight and then got slingshot through time like a bad episode of Star Trek where pretty much everything was framed to be exactly like my own personal nightmare so I would claw my way to get back to this time and you so it could be fixed…so we can have a talk." It's not good, it's not nice, but it's right. It's downright bitchy. "I'll be in the garden." she says, and turning, walks swiftly out of the room.

Coming up the stairs a bit behind Elisabeth, Cat tilts her head to one side. What was she just asked? Before Elisabeth forgets? It had been just a short time since she told both Helena and the Detective Gillian has absorption now and Rickham was present when they were switched by Tyler. Her eyes close, she shakes her head a few times. Would that she had known Gillian was here before bringing people around. This is going to be interesting.

"You forgot already, Elisabeth."

Then there's Helena making her way back to the stairs after harsh words for Peter. "Well," she murmurs, "that was quite the reunion. Maybe she can be tortured more somehow."

Oh double shit and a half….. Elisabeth sighs and watches Helena go. There's a distinct raising of a single eyebrow from Liz at this point. She has no idea of what Helena has seen with regard to Peter and Gillian in the future, but she's definitely familiar with the hurt the other woman is giving off in rather obvious fashion. "I was referring to the power problems, Mr. Petrelli," Elisabeth replies drily. "I'm Elisabeth Harrison. I'd like to know if Tyler Case came into contact with you at Moab, or if the Dispensary is compromised." Because Cat said she didn't know exactly. As for the personal situation…. not really her problem.

Windy. There's a slow shift of weight where the iron lady stands, from one foot to the next as she squeezes and opens her hands. Change back, change back… Trying to figure out all of these abilities would be exactly why Gillian came here, hoping to get them under control before she hurt someone— just like he yelled at her about. There's a tingling sensation at her finger tips even as the woman starts to sling harsh words, the metal form melting away until she has normal skin again, pale. It had been a short transformation this time, so no hollow ache from lack of food, no thirst or hunger, just a mild prickling sensation. As if the air itself had increased in sudden pressure. In fact it's starting to, even as the weather manipulator turns to leave.

"I— " She'd not recovered fast enough to say anything that might have stopped Windy from storming out, but she does have one answer to a question, even as she cautiously glances over at Peter. "It didn't happen here, it was at an … abandoned Library."

There's really no words for Peter's reaction. Elisabeth is talking, but to Peter the sound is mostly just some mumbled squawking like the teacher on Peanuts due to the blood rushing in his ears and the way his heart pounds as if he was just chased by a Grizzly Bear. Exhaling a shuddering breath once Helena is out of sight, Peter opens his mouth a few times, rubbing a hand over his face as he starts to walk away from Gillian — then halts abruptly, turning to look back at the metallic woman over his shoulder. "Sh— " he gapes again, staring at Gillian's awkward and clumsy metallic form.

Peter's eyes flick over to Cat with a what the hell is going on look, his hands awkwardly out to his sides. Then, in quite possibly what is the most rude introduction to Elisabeth he could possibly give, Peter jerkily starts to get moving again. "Ask Gillian," he blurts out on the way towards the stairwell, footfalls thundering down the steps as he calls out behind the woman who just ran out from the rooftop.

"Helena!" His voice echoes from the stairwell, becoming more distant as he goes, "Helena wait!" Welcome home.

Helena stops on one of the landings, turning to face those incoming steps. Peter chasing her. There's a change in script for you.

She's not crying when he finds her standing there. 2019 has done wonders for Helena's emotional stalwartness as far as crying goes. "I wanted to say I'm sorry." she says when she finally sees him. "But I'm not. I'm just foolish, to have expected something else." What she's on about isn't exactly clear. She presses hands to her mouth as if she's physically stopping more words from tumbling out. "You don't know." she manages, biting around words, "What I did - what others may have given up, to get me back."

He's gone by her before she can reply, Cat's words come to an empty stairwell. "She loves you, you were both in prison, you longer than she, and when you reunite you didn't tackle her in a burst of reckless romantic passion, like you were glad to see her, Peter," she states dryly. Her eyes watch the path they left by a few moments longer, then she turns back to the roof where Elisabeth and Gillian are. Just as the air changes a bit.

"I think you might need to explain how your ability works, Elisabeth," she suggests. "I don't know what the proximity limit is."

Elisabeth looks relieved at Gillian's information and merely shakes her head at the other two. She'll ask Cat later. "Thank you, Gillian," she says quietly. "That's what I needed to know. I'm going to have the building's full security system up and running in under a half an hour." Conrad would so hate that all the work he put into this place has been wasted. She's glad to see it in use once more.

And oh lord. "Uhm…. Gillian…. don't shout at anyone. I have a sound manipulation ability that can cause concussion waves as well as subsonic carrier waves that can cause nausea, disorientation, vomiting, and the like." She grimaces. "Let me get the security up and running and I'll help you out with it," she sighs.

Prickle. There's a lot going on inside the poor young woman's head. Now that Gillian's no longer metal, it's opened up a lot of emotions that started pretty much as soon as they got up on the roof, and aren't stopping just yet. A sudden awareness of atmosphere and temperature and sound that carries much further than it should, catching her ears. Easedropping. Without even meaning to. Lips part to take in a slow breath, and only thanks to Cat's proximity is she able to process everything— if slowly. It takes a moment to go through the mental ropes to hear what's being said.

"I— sorry," she finds herself apologizing, a guilty expression across her face as she avoids anything resembling yelling. "I didn't think that— she's okay though, right? Helena?" Instead of the use of nickname, she goes with the real name. "I guess I should get— going. Lesson's over," she adds, tension in her voice, but luckily not picking up anything too terribly disorienting. Yet. Course Cat had also said they needed to talk last time too…

Get her back. The notion rattles around in Peter's head, and perhaps he's been spending too much time with Teodoro, given how disjointed his wording comes out as. "I— " his closes his mouth, taking a few steps down to the landing. "Helena." Peter comes down a few steps, hesitating behind her as one hand reaches out to move towards her shoulder, then stops, fingers curling towards his palm as it slowly recoils.

There's a distinct lack of understanding as he watches her. For all the ways Peter looks different, in his eyes Helena's changed more than he could have imagined. Their brief reunion in Moab seems like forever ago, and now the way she looks and the way she acts almost feels like someone else entireely. "Back from where?"

His words, his completely blindsided tone of voice, it all indicates that no one has given Peter a true heads-up on exactly what went down. He stays there, one step up and away from Helena, just watching her with wide eyes, unable to parse all of the information overload. Between Cat calling out from the top of the stairs in a rambling sentence, to Elisabeth's interrogation, to all of this.

The vein on the side of his head throbs quietly.

There's a pause. An intake of breath. "You don't know? Of course you don't know, except - oh, god, I'm an idiot…" she trails off, as she paces back and forth a moment and then steps up to him, making the space for him to reach her a non-issue. Air between them can be measured in inches, but it's up to him to read it for an invitation. "The time shift that happened at Moab stunted me and seven others ten years into our future." she says quietly. "A possible future, anyway. Some of it was wonderful and some of it was terrible, and parts of it I hope will happen and others I'm going to fight tooth and nail to make sure they don't. People in that future were willing to send us back in the hope that we could make changes - I need to know you haven't given up and I need to know that you're with me," the way she suggests it doesn't suggest in the romantic sense, until, "And I need you."

For ten seconds, she thought about giving what seemed like destiny its way and giving up and letting go, and doing what Gillian begged her to do. "There's so much I know and so much that needs to be done. It's already all changing…I'm babbling, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for saying what I did, it's just…" she loses speech, searching his face. He's changed too. Every time she sees him, he seems to be a different man.

Helena and Peter are left to their conversation on a floor below, as Cat crosses the roof and approaches Gillian. "The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for me too, Gillian," she begins, lowering to sit on whatever surface might be available. Edward Ray pointed me at Father to learn some things, and learn I did. I learned still more from Arthur Petrelli when I met him." Eyes rest on the absorber's features, her voice has that 'you might want to sit' tone.

Left to their conversation isn't exactly how it works out thanks to the brief, uncontrolled meeting with a certain audiokinetic. Gillian can't help but strain to keep listening, even as she loses words every so often, especially when the other woman speaks. "What?" she sounds distracted, and with her eyes looking in the direction that the two left, it's likely to do with that. It takes a replay of the words over other words— and thanks to perfect memory she probably catches a lot more than she should, of both conversations. "Oh, this is what you wanted to tell me about before?" There's a quick glance around the roof before she runs a hand through hair that's actually hair again, and starts to move toward where she can sit down. She caught the tone. Even if her mind and ears are, for the most part, drifting.

How to make a Petrelli speechless. Helena will one day be able to write a book on that subject, with how often she's manages the response from him. All Peter can do, on hearing the hastily explained version of what happened over the last month and a half, Peter just closes his eyes and opens his arms, wrapping them around Helena to draw her close. It's the first time he's held her in almost half a year, the first time in so long that he's pulled her into an embrace, resting his mouth down on the top of her head with eyes closed. It's such a familiar motion, such a familiar feeling, once it happens.

Peter breathes out a sigh into her hair, and then draws his arms tighter around her as the awkwardness and tension begins to fade, as the months of torment have finally drawn them back together, and yet still manages to somehow leave a nagging sensation of doubt in his mind, for the first time ever. It's not something he wants to dwell on — not right now.

"Everything'll be alright," Peter whispers into her hair. No time to burden her with his problems, not right now. "We— we're going to make everything right again, I promise." His nose brushes around the locks of her hair, exploring the familiarity of her scalp as his tension starts to ebb away.

"There's so much I want to tell you," he whispers into her hair, "but it can wait. I— you have to come with me." It's an odd statement to make, an odd order for Peter of all people to be delivering. "You have to come meet my father, he's going to fix everything."

Oh. God.

Helena's shoulders stiffen. "Pinehearst." she whispers, her tone gone not so much chilly in anger, but in fear. She lifts her head. "The things they do in the future - you don't know. You don't know what it could become. I've seen. Your father is dangerous. Do you know what his ability is? What he did to you there? I can't even - " she cuts off, biting her lip. "Please, could we - could we do this tomorrow? I'll tell you and the others what I can. I just need you to listen and," her hand raises, touches his cheek like he might break apart, or fade away, or might be some cruel illusion. "Oh god Peter, if you had any idea what I've seen, I need…" Not going to cry. Not going to cry. "Please, tomorrow?"

"Pinehearst," Cat begins with the same word Helena uses in a not so far away place beyond her hearing, "is working on a formula to give people Evolved abilities by injection. There was a working serum once, it was destroyed in the eighties by a lab fire, and the recipe was locked away. A number of children were injected with that serum when they were very young. Infancy, primarily. In at least one case, allegedly, the researchers involved with creating it used their own child as a test subject. They died in the fire which destroyed the serum, the child was adopted by a couple who also worked for the Company."

"That child wasn't the only one injected. While we were talking, Arthur showed me a computer screen with a list on it, but reconsidered. I could only see part of it, a short string of names. Two of them were Gillian Winters and Brian Winters."

That's a weird conversation. Gillian's mind slips from one conversation to the next, hanging and grasping onto words that overlap in some ways. In other ways they don't even come close. Arthur is dangerous. Pinehearst is working on a formula. Tomorrow. The eighties. Children, raised by the Company. Killed in fires. Test subjects. And then a name that's almost hers, and another name. But it's not her name. The conversation downstairs fades a bit in favor of a confused look at Cat, a shake of her head. "There's probably plenty of people in New York with… with my first name. It's not entirely uncommon."

Even as she speaks, luckily with her voice rasped and not yelled, there's a tension rising up in the atmosphere, starting to gather clouds just above them. Not a wide range change in weather, very much localized. "They wouldn't— why would… I ran into one of your time travelers," she says instead, voice shaky. "Apparently Doctor Ray wants me dead for whatever Pinehearst wants with me, sent one of them to kill me… And if— are you saying I was never supposed to… that I'm not— It has to be another Gillian, I mean my parents they wouldn't…"

Lies. Deceptions. Secrets.

Peter tenses up when Helena's tone of voice becomes something other than calm. The way she speaks about his father, what she knows, what she feels. It's hard for him, even without a superhuman empathy, not to feel what she is feeling, and not to have his own reservations about the judgement. "Helena, I… after all that you just— you expect— " he leans back just a little, arms still around her, but brow tensed and eyes settled on hers, leaned back only enough to make eye contact. "How— how do you expect me not to ask? Not to— I'm supposed to go see my father tonight."

Swallowing anxiously, Peter moves one hand up to lightly brush against Helena's cheek. The feeling of her skin beneath his fingertips, the sound of her voice this close, it's bringing back all those muddied memories he's had such a trouble recalling since he lost Cat's ability. "Helena…" Peter's eyes close, turning his head to press his cheek more fully against her palm, "What happened?"

Helena curves her finger against his cheek, with her thumb, gently traces a portion of the pattern of his scar. "We do need to sit down." she says with soft resignation. The universe couldn't even give her that much. "There's a lot to cover, and you won't be the first person I tell everything to. We should go back up to Cat and - " She frowns absently, sensing the weather patterns. With a faintly furrowed brow she reaches out with her ability to make some barometer correctings, soothing where there had been a moment of chaos. "Let's go back." she says quietly. "I think there's a lot you need to know."

Her mind goes into contemplation as Gillian speaks, and it's true, there are likely plenty of Gillians in the country, let alone the city and state. She doesn't have proof of anything, just names on a list and the commonality with the name used by the Brian who became a Company agent. She might not even have mentioned it, except for the way things turn out not to be coincidences. Parents tied to the Company and now Pinehearst, synthetic abilities… It therefore bore mentioning to Gillian so she can choose to explore it or not. But now she also considers the possibilities of being wrong. Or deceived. The Forrests, she read, died in a lab fire in October 1984, which allegedly destroyed all the serum stock.

Something is out of place. She's never asked when the woman was born. She doesn't quite look that old, but she could be twenty-four. If the serum really was destroyed, Gillian would have to be that age. Unless the date of the lab fire given to her is false. Or the formula stocks weren't really all destroyed.

All this boils down to a single question asked of the former augmentor. "When were you born?"

The disruption in the clouds might settling down, but there's an active disturbance that needs correction still going on. Gillian's sitting down on the roof, no longer able to hear much of the conversation downstairs, because more of her mind is up there. Lips part as she takes in slow breaths, playing denials through her head. It wouldn't be such a blow if she hadn't just recently made the breakthrough to accept her ability — just as she lost it — and to forgive herself for what happened to her sister, make up with her brother, and work on getting to calling her parents. Finally. Everything that's happened since speaking to her brother about it has delayed such a phone call, but now…

"October twenty ninth, ninteen eighty-six…" It's not difficult to remember her birthday, considering it's on her id and everything— not the fake one. The fake one that she's had since she was way too young to get into clubs has her as a couple years older than that.

There's a sigh, one of reluctance as Peter nods his head, reaching up to take Helena's hand from his cheek, keeping it held tightly. "That— that's probably a good idea." There's one slow nod, and Peter turns back up towards the stairs, and as he does his hand turns, fingers lacing between Helenas as he walks side-by-side with her, back up to the roof and out the door.

As his bare feet press against the flagstone tiles on the roof, Peter's brows tense, looking back and forth between Gillian and Cat. His mouth opens, as if to ask a question, then he reconsiders. Swallowing awkwardly, Peter inclines his head, and then looks up to ask, "Is— something wrong?"

The hand fitted in Helena's is squeezed briefly before she relaxes, but she doesn't let go. She stands next to him, fingers intertwined with his, as she looks at Gillian. For a moment, her eyes seem curiously dark, like they're reflecting a shadow before she says, "Gillian, if you've absorbed my ability, then you have to try and keep calm. Your mood is effecting the weather patterns and I have to focus on keeping them from going haywire." To Cat, "I need to tell you more of what happened to me in the future. There are details I'm going to have to omit, so if there are questions and I can't or won't answer them, please understand I have good reasons."

"Maybe I think too much, Gillian," Cat tells her quietly. "Too often things just aren't coincidence. In this case, either my dates are wrong, it isn't you, or the serum wasn't all destroyed in the fire. That supposedly happened in 1984. Two years before you were born."

Peter and Helena have returned, seemingly having worked it out. Cat nods in their direction, lapsing to silence. Eyes shift between them and the Absorber, she now paying a bit more attention to weather conditions.

She'd not heard them come back upstairs. While there'd been enhanced hearing of a sort for a few moments, it's gone, because she's too busy focusing on information inside her head, and the words of the woman beside her. Gillian doesn't even know what she's doing to the sky until it's mentioned. Hands go up to rub her face, a breath taken in through parted lips as she looks back at Helena. "Sorry. That's why I'm— Peter was helping me figure out how to… I didn't mean to." There's something very much 'I didn't mean to' about the poor man's original ability, and that has been carried over with it.

"Maybe you have been thinking too much," she adds to Cat, voice rasped as she rubs at her forehead, almost as if she has a headache. Even if it's all speculation, seeds of doubt are planted. Again. Just like a certain man sent to kill her planted doubt of another kind. More than one doubt.

Walking up towards the pair of Cat and Gillian, still clinging to Helena's hand, ther'es a look of equal parts /I didn't mean to on Peter's face as well. Swallowing anxiously, he looks over to Cat, then to Gillian, then finally over to Helena. "Kind've like the old days…" he says in a hushed voice, "Up on a rooftop, discussing the way the world's going to end?" There's a sarcastic smile on Peter's face as he turns his focus back to Gillian, wordlessly giving her a look of sympathy — because now she has his role. It's one he wouldn't wish on anyone.

"I think it's time we all sat down and shared things. Because— " his eyes flick over to Helena, "I'm thinking if you've been where you say you've been, and everything that's going down is as bad as it sounds, then we're all in a whole lot more trouble than I might've imagined."

There's a sigh pushed out of Peter's nose as he looks down to the rooftop, then up and over to the rising sun over the water. "It's about time we put Phoenix back together, in more ways than one."

Helena takes a deep breath. "While we were at Moab, myself and seven other people were shunted forward, ten years into the future. The Company's secrets had been revealed - including the truth about the virus they've been hiding, and its employees, and it's founders. The truth had come out about what Phoenix did, saving everyone…and it was Pinehearst and Arthur Petrelli who was at the forefront of everything. A safe serum was developed to give synthetic abilities to non-Evolved, and legislation was developed, put forward by Peter and his father, that secured the rights of Evolved, made registration voluntary, and that was the tip of the iceberg. There were scholarship programs and training programs, there was even a special militia, called Frontline."

She avoids mention of anyone's personal life, or the fate of of the Columbia 14. "But in that time…Arthur got greedy. Pinehearst was taking more and more control over the government. At one point - I don't know the particulars, but he took some of Peter's powers. He'd been hunting down Kaito Nakamura like an animal to kill him, and when he thought that Hiro Nakamura might help us return to the present, he was able to have him killed…with the help of Odessa Knutson. Which suggests to me in the present? She's still out there. He tried to have me killed…tried to kill us all, rather than let us go back."

"Like I said. Pinehearst isn't a greater good, it's the lesser, perhaps, of two evils. Maybe it could be turned into something truly good, but maybe not. I don't think Arthur Petrelli intends to let it become anything other than what he envisions. When we left, he was about to send back a Frontline team to track down and kill the fugitives who displaced us from 2019 to here. Fugitives who include Edward Ray, a man named Doyle, Niles Wright, the future version of Nathan Petrelli, and the man, Tyler Case, who swapped your powers. We've got a hell of a mess to deal with."

Eyes rest on Helena as she tells her story of the future trip she took, Cat is pensive in hearing it. It fills in a few blanks for her. Doyle. That's a new name. "Edward Ray, Nathan Petrelli, Allen Rickham, Tyler Case, Robin Hood the Technopath, April Bradley, Niles Wight, and Doyle. What does Doyle look like, Helena? What ability does he have, if any?"

"Arthur makes a good sales pitch, and he's done his homework. He wants to use as for some purpose, offered support, and knows a great deal about our organization. He knew you're the leader. Knew about battling and beating Kazimir, knew about me. He said they've used precogs and clairvoyants to watch us."

"The Company needs to die yesterday. It's had power and been corrupted. Pinehearst concerns me. He and I spoke frankly about that, about not trusting him, and he agreed there was reason not to based on his links to the Company. In the end, it's all about being watchful and acting to block or remove power when the holder is corrupted."

That's a lot of information to get burned into the mind (thanks a lot Cat), and Gillian does pay attention even as she keeps knelt over where she's sitting, hands near her face. Eyes settle on Peter and Helena as she speaks, which includes where they're holding hands. The ability fluctuations may have settled for the moment, but otherwise… Pinehearst is bad. The Company is bad. Everyone seems to have an agenda of some kind. Who's using who? Who's lying? Who doesn't know what the hell they're talking about? Sometimes she'd like to know all the answers. Formula matches what Cat just told her. Some of what Helena says matches what another person said… and she's not sure what's right. Or what's wrong.

"I met some of them, besides Case, or John, or whatever the fuck they want to call him. The guy with the fucking electrical things." Replicants. She knows the word, remembers it, but she's talking quietly almost to herself. "I ran into Nathan fucking Petrelli a few weeks ago too, but I thought it was…" she glances up at Peter's face and grimaces. "I thought it was you shapeshifted." Which makes her feel stupid. "He did ask me about Pinehearst— and what they wanted with me. What they had wanted from me. How they helped make the Moab raid possible… But the fucking electric guy— Ray sent him to kill me. But apparently he's not very loyal. That or Ray predicted he wouldn't kill me at all…" Most of this? She'd not mentioned to Peter yet. Or anyone for that matter. And of course she's still leaving out a few details herself. But everyone does, don't they?

When did Al come in? He's weirdly quiet for a tall redneck thug, but there he is, lurking by the door like he's the Ghost of Confederates Past, or something. The idea that they aren't being welcomed back to a tickertape parade, but instead more skulduggery and intrigue has him looking decidedly hangdog.

Breathing out a deep, exasperated sigh, Peter's hand unwinds from Helena only so he can just sit. Settling on one of the wooden frames for the rooftop garden planters, Peter just lays his head in his hands. This is all just too much, and it confirms what Cat told him, that Nathan is back here, along with a host of other unfamiliar and equally worrisome names.

"Odessa is alive." It's the most Peter can offer in the way of something constructive. All he wants to do is just hit something, that vein on the side of his head throbbing again. "She— Tamara had us rescue her from Moab. She was imprisoned in some— I don't know— some kind of observational room. She was the security system for the prison, and she was right next to me when everything— " no, best not to mention that Teo shot him, "— when everything went wrong."

Rubbing his hands over his face, Peter looks up in surprise to see Alexander. But the faint smile that was forming fades as he remembers their last altercation, when he was trying to prove to Helena that he didn't have his powers, the hard way. "I— I want to believe you, Lena, about— about my father, I just…" a tightness comes to Peter's voice, "he— he's my father. I thought he was dead. He— I just can't believe he'd— that he'd— "

"You want to believe?" Helena says incredulously. "Why would I lie about this? Think about - Pinehearst and the Company, on opposite ends of the board. We're being played against the middle. We're the only thing keeping the damn board in place! He's got a mole in the Company and he'll use them to bring it down, see two of its founders executed for treason, and have your brother take your place in Moab. Maybe, maybe your father isn't that man yet, but from what I can hear, he already is. He's got his plans in motion, and he's going to use you without any remorse, Peter. You should see the way he treated you - " she cuts off. She's trying to avoid specifics about people.

That name is heard again, and it makes her features shift into a dark and cold expression. "Odessa Knutson. I'd like to find her in the company of our negator and spend some time explaining something to her," Cat mutters. "She needs to suffer long and badly. It isn't just about Dani. She helped Kazimir with all his plans. The negator would be needed, she may have the ability to mess with time."

Soon enough, though, she forces Odessa from her mind. Like Ethan, she would prefer to reduce the woman's power by not spending time thinking of her. Peter is addressed quietly. "My own Father, the man I've called Father all my life, is with Pinehearst also. The things he's told me… I know it can be hard, but please, just keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. No preconceived notions, yes?"

Then to Helena, speculatively. "You were in the future. You've not mentioned me there yet. Maybe I'm dead or in prison, you couldn't reach me for some reason. But if I'm alive and you found me, I know who I am. I'd have sent a message back to myself, as much as I could."

"Parents fucking suck," Gillian mutters, keeping knelt over as she glances towards the red headed man. Oh great. Not another ability. She's almost tempted to wave him further away in hopes she doesn't pick it up, cause this whole thing is starting to become more of a headache then it's worth. The only one who can stop them. Yeah. Whatever. "Arthur's also the reason I knew how to help in Moab. He had one of his goons find me and tell me that my ability could be used to loophole the drugs you were on, giving you back your powers— temporarily. It worked longer on Peter, cause of his regen." She's not calling him Assface anymore, is she?

She's looking mostly at Helena, but glances toward him. "While I don't know if they're using us— I… they… I thought that I…" She thought she saw her dead sister. That her dead sister had told her she made the right choice. Her dead sister who might not be her sister? She rubs hands over her face before moving to stand, "I should get going. I need to… talk to some people." Gabriel. Her parents.

"Man, those Vanguard refuse to stay dead," Al says, quietly. "Bad as us," He nods quietly to Peter, and that's all the greeting the present Petrelli gets. No love lost there, still. "Just as long as Volken does, though."

Peter runs his fingers through his hair, "That's not what I— " he's not really sure what he meant. "I just— I can't believe that he'd— " Cat states far more eloquently what Peter was hoping to get across, and he just sulks down onto the wood again, his head ducking down below his shoulders as he runs his fingers thorugh his hair, hands eventually folding behind his head, followed by a frustrated grunt.

"I at least need to get my father to help me figure out what's… what's wrong with me. Or I'm going to be completely— " useless? He remembers his conversation with Teo, and remembers Teo, and how opposite of useless the Sicilian is. "I don't know how much help I'm going to be in all of this… I— I just don't— "

Looking up when Gillian seems intent on leaving, Peter's brows furrow together. "Wait— we're not anywhere near done with your lessons. I— " there's a nervous glance shot to Helena briefly, "You've got to get a hold on at least using one ability at a time, or… I don't know, but— " Peter hisses out a strained breath, hanging his head again. "It just never stops, does it?"

"You're all alive in the future. In that future. I promise." Helena says. "Like I told you Cat, if I'm holding back details, I have a reason for doing so, and it's not just because I'm doing it out of pique." Helena's eyes seem to drift briefly to Gillian, but she murmurs to Peter, "It's okay. I thought you were going to have to go see him anyway?" she hazzards. And then, "Have you been tested to confirm you have no ability? Because if that's true…well. There are options." Helena leaves it at that. Her smile comes faintly. "No, it never stops." she tells him gently. To Gillian, "If you know this location, and how to get to it, please be careful." She fought long and hard to keep the Dispensery, and Phoenix, safe. "There's also Sergei…but he's occupied right now." Her tone turns a little wry at that. She looks between Cat and Peter. "Is meeting Arthur 'for the first time' safe for me, do you think? I'd be abjectly terrified of shaking his hand. If I knew more about his game plan, maybe we'd have a better chance to see how this is going. You know, on top of helping Hiro, stopping the future fugitives, and saving the world." No job too small, it would seem.

"I shook his hand," Cat replies, "not knowing he could effectively make me nineteen again if he chose. If I'd do it again now, I don't know. But I imagine I'd have to or he'd know something was up and maybe grab me anyway. He does want to meet you, Helena. He tried to flatter me, said he'd like to consider me the de facto leader in your absence." She lets out a rueful chuckle. "I wanted to be cagy, play things close to the vest, but there was no point. Each chance that came, he let me know he already knew all about us. He even knows about Edward and his gang. They've caused enough problems he's shifted focus from the Company to handling them."

With eyes moving between Peter and Helena, she presses on. "Arthur said he tested your blood and it still has the Suresh Linkage Complex, so you have an ability. We just don't know what. Gillian got yours, Peter, and now she has others. It doesn't appear Rickham's was switched, just picked up by proximity. You don't appear to have Gillian's, I think you'd know that by now. It suggests Gabriel may have gotten hers, and you got something from Gabriel. Whatever his base power was, maybe."

She glances over briefly at Gillian, it seems pointless asking her to stay put so she can't run into people and pick up things in uncontrolled circumstances, so she doesn't. But there is a question. "Who tried to kill you?"

And there's Al. Facing him finally, guilt comes to her features. "I'm sorry, Al. There wasn't any other choice, that day."

"Hopefully hard to come back from whatever Abby did to him," Gillian admits about Kazimir, for the sake of one person. Vanguard people not dying? If it's a trend, she doesn't know much about it, except that… well… Gabriel kept coming back. Names and words and statements are all filed away, burned into her memory. Including looks given to her as she moves to leave. Especially Peter's. "I know I still need training, I know. I'll come back…" She did before, and she will again. "And I'll bring Gabriel next time, too. If you really have his ability, then the two of you need to— finally have the conversation you were supposed to be having when we all got fucking zapped."

It never ends. It never stops. "Starting to wish that vacation in Hawaii had lasted longer than a day," she says with a hint of a sigh, with no idea that her future self had mentioned something very similar. Come to think of it, she does have a bit of a tan, more than what one would normally be able to get in the middle of spring in New York. Faded now, but more than before…

"You've helped a lot already, Peter, I might not even need to take a boat to get back to Midtown this time." Running on water has advantages, though if she loses her power mid-crossing… well… that would really suck. Let's not think about that. "It was the electric guy, but he didn't actually try to kill me. He just said he was sent to do it— something to do with my ability to augment, I guess— cause he seemed to change his mind when he found out I couldn't anymore. His reasons for changing the future— his future— seemed to be pretty personal. He just want to be locked up. Can't say I blame him. I jumped on the boat to break you guys out." She glances once at Alexander, Helena and then Peter. The people she helped break out. Even if that also meant helping send them to the future (sorry, didn't mean to). "Instead he just… told me to stay away from Pinehearst and not… not become who I am in the future."

It's like Moab and his sojourn in the future was somehow a vaster span of time than the few months it actually was. Because Al peers at Cat, as if entirely uncertain what she's talking about. "What do you mean?" he asks, drawl slower and deeper than it was.

"Shaking his hand?" Peter arches a brow, watching Helena for a moment, but with a shake of his head he dismisses the thought. "My dad's power is clairvoyance, he can find people — anywhere. It's… sort've like Molly's ability, it's how he's been able to keep tabs on us all." There's a narrowing of Peter's eyes as he watches Helena for a moment, "or— that's all he's told me he can do." That's something that must bring Helena no end of comfort, that Arthur Petrelli can see wherever he wishes, whenever he wishes.

"Yeah, Cat's right… I ah— I was tested." His eyes cast to the side,

"My dad doesn't know exactly what's up with me, but…" It's clear Peter still trusts him, that this last tenuous bond to familial love hadn't completely died. "He does want to meet with you, you're practically all he can talk about."

The topic of Gabriel's ability is pressed to the side, like a nightmare, like a bad dream. Maybe if Peter ignores it, the whole problem will just go away, even if Gillian keeps drilling it into his head.

Peter slowly looks up to Gillian, eyes narrowing, and then turns to look at Helena with a curious stare, as if to ask without words what was Gillian's future? egretably, the days of nonverbal communication between the two are gone now.

"Your father's ability is being able to steal other people's powers by touching them." Helena tells Peter. "Where is Molly Walker these days?" Yeah, that doesn't thrill her at all. She frowns. "Then I guess I'd better meet him. I'll go with you." Peter's silent query is - not so much ignored as refuted - her brow furrows and she seems to aver answering until she catches Alex and Cat's exchange. "Alex, Cat has so much information, I told her she had to do everything in her power to avoid capture. So if there's blame to be had, it's on me."

"January 28th, at Jersey City," Cat replies to Al's question. "Carmichael's ability knocked you and Brian down, made it easy to take you both. I felt it too as I was going after the target, but got out of range doing that. After I set off the thermite I saw they were already on you, helping would only have gotten me taken too, so I bolted."

"The same ability is what hit you on the bridge, Helena," Cat adds.

"Stop running away, Peter," Gillian says to him, pressing reddened lips together for a moment. It's something she thought she's said to him a lot more than she actually did. They'd agreed to meet up once before, why not do it again?

Her future, whatever it was… It doesn't seem like a topic to be brought up at this moment. Maybe she doesn't know exactly. Maybe he'd been vague. But like the woman who went to the future, she doesn't seem to share more than that right now. And god she hates the sound of his dad's power— stealing abilities? No, not that part. The clairvoyance thing is creepy. Or whatever else he might have that the others are implying. And then there's a bunch of survivor's guilt.

Not something she can really get into. She was just glad to survive the collapse of the bridge and maintain her freedom, so everyone knows. As she moves toward the way down off the roof, she adds to Peter, "I will be back for those lessons— really." And she'll bring a certain someone else she probably should have been bringing before… But didn't.

And before she gets all the way there, she pauses to look at Helena. "I'm— I'm glad you found your way back. He was always asking if anyone heard from you." 'He'. Who happens to be standing right there. But she couldn't help but overhear a lot of what was being said.

Al waves it away with a negligent flick of his hand. "You did what you needed to," he says. And that's all the absolution she gets, from him anyway.

Steal abilities. Peter's eyes narrow, recalling his conversation with Claire. That piece of the puzzle slaps together nicely, but the picture it paints isn't entirely favorable. His father had been evasive about what had caused Claire's power loss. This, though, seems to make more sense, even if it is in a disconcerting way.

Peter shrugs slowly, trying to get around those thoughts. "The last time I tried to look for Molly, Matt Parkman shot me nine times in the chest." There's a furrowing of his brows, and Peter looks down to the floor. "I… took that as a way of him saying for me to stay away from his little girl. I— I've kind've given him a wide berth since I got locked up." There's a mild sharpness to Peter's voice, an edge of something more frustrated than earlier.

"Sorry I— " Peter smooths a hand over his face, "Did— did you want to come with me tomorrow, Lena? To see my father?" It's sort've like bringing your girlfriend home to meet dad, but with far more dangerous possibilities and the impending doom of the future. So, par for course for the Petrelli family.

Sort've? That's exactly what it is. Helena looks at Gillian a moment, her expression oddly careful and then, she nods. "Thank you," she says to the dark haired girl, though it seems to carry more weight then the obvious. With that, hand still in Peter's, she turns to smile up at him. "If the Wizard demands to see Dorothy, then Dorothy better show her ass up, hadn't she?"

A nod is sent Al's way, and she speaks no more of it. Cat steps forward, handing off the bags of food to Peter if he'll take them. Gillian's words are mulled over. Niles Wight. She moves on to other details, putting pieces together. "Helena," she asks a few moments later, "what about the one you called Doyle? I've a decent picture of the whole group with Edward, only three I don't have faces for. The technopath stole a girl's body, Mallory Alistair. Hana and Elisabeth are on that one. April Bradley, and Doyle. April makes force fields, I'm told. She's a Company agent, in this time."

There's a wince from Gillian, and a hint of that cloud cover moving back together. Nothing that the real weather manipulator can't handle. There's so many seeds of doubt here that she doesn't even know what to think. "I'm out of here," she adds, before she focuses on the lessons she was given, thinking on one person in particular. One ability at a time on will is what they'd been trying to do… But when she moves, it's a regular step. She glowers and steps a few more times, then heads down the stairs at regular speed. She might have to take that boat after all. Fuck. Well, she needs to grab her bag when she gets down stairs anyway. Maybe she'll be able to run after that.

Al chuckles drily at the Oz metaphor. "Nice to be back in Kansas, ain't it?" By his tone, it's not really.

Peter manages a smirk, "I'm not sure I'm really comfortable with the Wizard of — " He cuts off his sentence when Gillian seems to storm out, wincing as he looks down at the rooftop. There's a slow breath drawn in, and it's exhaled as a sigh. "Y-yeah I…" Peter's gaze lingers on the doorway where Gillian went, then back to Helena, slowly. "Why don't we go downstairs," Peter eyes the bags of food, smiling a bit apologetically to Cat. "We should still talk over plans for Phoenix. Teo hardly knew where anyone was, and things just… they fell apart when you left, Helena."

It's an assumption, but one that seems to ring true given how abandoned everything looks. "Part of me is wondering if Phoenix is even going to make it… I just— a lot of people've moved on to help the Ferrymen, from what I'm hearing. We… we should take stock of what we're planning."

There's a furrow of Peter's brows, looking to the stairs again, "It's— it's good to see you all back again."

Helena takes a breath. "Wow." she says. "I had no idea things have gotten that bad." She looks to Cat in confusion, but then back to Peter. "Phoenix will make it. With fresh faces maybe, and a few of our old ones, but it will make it if I have anything to say about it." He's going to have to forgive her being clingy right at this moment it would seem. "Downstairs and food sounds good." She turns her head toward Peter, her tone lowered and her eyes downcast as she murmurs so only he can hear, "You're not going anywhere tonight." Peter? The correct answer to that is: Yes, ma'am. She's prepared to head downstairs at that point.

She bristles slightly. Not make it? Fall apart? "I've been a lieutenant since shortly after defeating Vanguard. We had to regroup after that, find people who got scattered when the bridge fell and were injured in the battle, a number of them ended up in the water, but we got them all back. I set out the next day, finding people, collecting accounts of what happened, pulling in the strings. Then we started plotting out the Moab raid. That scattered us again, and once again I set to finding everyone at first chance. After making my way back from West Prairieland, Colorado/Kansas/Nebraska.

"Fairly soon the only ones not accounted for were the ones in the time traveling band. Elvis decided to take a walkabout, being herself. Ygraine and Jennifer decided to take different paths after the Vanguard battle. Brian started an orphanage here on the island, the Lighthouse. He's also contributing one of his selves to guarding Abby, I believe. Detective Harrison is with us, as you saw. Claude is around when he wants to be seen, which is rare. Anne the teleporter helped with the prison raid." Demonstrated, thus, her grasp on what and who they have. "We've also taken steps toward recruiting a good engineer." She too starts toward the stairs.

"Both of you are welcome at my place, of course," Cat offers. "I hope you'll stay at the Penthouse, Helena. Plenty of room."

A short time later, Cat intends to slip out to the boat and return with another bag, one she gives to Helena along with a wide grin and a suggestion she and Peter go enjoy each other's company. The contents: A pair of red heels and a box of Trojans.

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