The Only One


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Scene Title The Only One
Synopsis Gillian Childs visits Pinehearst, and has several revelations.
Date March 22, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters

Amid the urban parks of Fort Lee New Jersey, the Pinehearst Corporate Headquarters is an unusual sight. Architecturally designed with an eye for the natural environment, the building is both sleek and modern while retaining a touch of the natural world. The primary facility is a seven story office building rising up out of forested grounds, the reflective green-tinted plate windows show not the neighboring Jersey cityscape, but reflect the natural splendor of the six acres of land the facility rests on. The secondary facility and central lobby is a two-floor structure with a rounded front lined with square columns, an entire green-tinted glass wall behind it shadowing the lobby beyond.

Between these two structures, a central courtyard is filled with neatly landscaped trees surrounded by bark mulch, a fountain prominently displaying a stone slab with the Pinehearst logo flanked by benches, and stone walksways that meander through this lush, natural splendor. Near the lobby entrance, an enormous blue and green double-helix proudly identifies the building as Pinehearst property.

In the ongoing search for self, there are days when we learn something genuinely new.

Tires roll to a stop on a horseshoe-shaped driveway, and the yellow taxi cab comes to a slow halt out front of an expansive research facility located in the midst of acres of lush parkland. The back passenger side door opens, one black boot coming out to contact the pavement.

Something uncovered, hidden, that we never knew was there.

As the cab drives off, a young woman with black hair strides across a concrete walkway towards a courtyard in front of the interconnected campus of buildings. Her eyes divert down to a stone slab laid out on the wet earth, reading Pinehearst Company, displaying a double helix of green and blue intertwined.

Something that surprises us. And on that day of self-discovery, the question remains: What kind of person are we?

Through the plate glass doors and into the lobby, she makes her way up towards the reception desk. Men and women in lab coats and business attire walk through the concourse of plush chairs and glass-topped tables set out for visitors.

Does the hero, or the villain inside us, win the day?

"Welcome to the Pinehearst Company," The receptionist says with a warm smile, leaning forward to rest her hands on the keyboard of her computer, brown eyes upturning to Gillian Childs, standing with her jacket pulled tight to her frame, hair slightly tousled from the strong winds outside. "How can I help you today?"

Some of the visitors in this building have dressed up quite a bit more than she has. Gillian had the mind to wear clothes suitable for a job interview, and even then she might feel out of place as she glances around and receptionists and other people. Tight slacks instead of a skirt, a purple top that doesn't completely hide all of her tattoos. The ones on her lower arms stand out, as she pulls a long black coat off to hang over her arm. "I— was given a card," she says, shifting to reach into the coat pocket, to pull out the card that she was handed more than half a month ago, now.

The card is flipped so it can be shown. "I'm not sure who I'm supposed to see, or what— " There's a biting down on the words. A hint of a curse on the twist of her mouth. So much could go wrong. "My last name is Childs. Gillian Childs." Out on a limb. Reckless. A huge chance that could backfire. Nothing she's not done at least once before. Or a half dozen times before.

The card is taken by the receptionist, flipped over, and the barcode on the back scanned. She turns to the computer, typing away for a moment before her head tilts to the side, eyes track up to Gillian, and the woman says in strained politeness, "Could…" she glances to a pair of closed doors across the lobby, "could you take a seat for a moment? I just have to call up to the offices, someone will be with you shortly."

The receptionist's smile doesn't entirely reach her eyes, and she motions for Gillian to take a seat on that overstuffed furniture she spotted on her way in. The overall tension that the receptionist was overcome with seems more out of fear of Gillian than any other concern, suddenly treating her with a level of impersonal respect that she would a CEO.

Lips press together into a thin line, one that brings out the deep red lipstick that she still favors. Gillian watches the woman scan the card— having not even noticed the barcode until the last moment. Are the police going to arrive any moment? There's always the possibility. That's why she choose to come alone. There's always an emergency button in her coat. At the gesture, she nods, "All right. I'll sit down. Thanks…" There's a wary, untrusting tone to her voice. The tension isn't helping that, even if it's super respectful.

What she was told… what she heard… Why do these people want her specifically? That question is still knocking around in her head. That question's part of why she finally ended up here. Part.

Several long and quiet minutes pass while Gillian is seated at the waiting area. Workers continue to come and go from the upper level rooms, looking down from the walkway above, conversing, relaxing; it seems for all its worth to be a simple business on the outside. The sun traces a slow and lazy path across the heavens, charting its distant reflection on the muted green glass that shades the outside world, making it look darker than it really is.

"So…" the voice comes from right beside her on the sofa, followed by the press of someone leaning back against the cushions. When Gillian turns, the only person seated there is Jenny Childs. Leaning back with her hands folded behind her head, auburn hair spilling down over her hands, legs crossed and back pressed into the overstuffed cushions. "Funny running into you here, sis."

All thoughts about why she's hear slam to a sudden screeching halt.

The voice tickles on memories even before Gillian's eyes lock with her sister's. Her dead sister's. "What the fuck?" the dark haired woman suddenly calls out, standing off the couch and stepping away, eyes locked on the couch that she'd sat in moments ago. Did she even hear someone approach the couch? There's no recollection of it. There's a lot of feet moving around the lobby. A lot of coming and going. It's very likely she could have missed an approach.

Of a dead person. Is she seeing things now too? "You're dead. They found your body. You're not… what the hell is this?" That little knot in the back of her head she's often very aware of? It's unraveling thanks to the shock. And unraveling pretty quickly.

"I am," Jenny notes with a nod of her head, eyes falling shut, "dead, that is." One eye opens, and she's looking directly at Gillian. "You're also crazy, you know, talking to yourself. You do realize that, right?" A smile slowly creeps up on her lips as she sits forward, letting her hands rest on her lap as her hair spills down over her shoulders in warm, autumnal hues.

She watches her sister for a few moments, then looks around the lobby. Everyone seems to be staring at Gillian — even the receptionist — no one notices Jenny in the slightest. "You… want to sit? It might make them stop staring, you know?"

"Fuck," Gillian says, glancing around at the people staring at her. "What are you looking at?" she finally calls out to one of them, voice toned harshly. Obviously looking at the crazy person yelling at… a couch. Where her dead sister happens to be sitting. Even after all the guilt and self-blame and anger at herself… Hallucinations are new. There's a grinding of her teeth, tension that settles in, but she does move back to the couch and settles down, as far away from her dead sister as she can, while still on the couch.

"Okay, so I'm going nuts. But dead people are supposed to stay dead." While her voice is being kept down to a whisper now, there's harshness there. As if she's blaming the hallucination itself. "And I'm not the one who's supposed to have you in my fucking head, either."

Jenny offers a smile, a heartbreakingly honest smile. "Sometimes they come back," she quotes the title of an obscure horror movie the two had watched once, winking when she does. "Sometimes, you know… there's unfinished business. Things… things that we haven't resolved." Toying with her lower lip, Jenny leans back onto the seat, looking over at Gillian with her brows creased together. "I'm here for a purpose, Gillian. You're… special, and I — "

"Miss Childs?" A hand pressed to Gillian's shoulder snaps her attention away from Jenny for just a moment, her wide eyes locked up on the face of a young woman in a labcoat, brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. "If you'd be willing to follow me, Miss Childs? He's waiting for you."

No one is seated next to Gillian. Not anymore.

A purpose. //pecial. //

Gillian opens her mouth just as her attention is pulled away, the words she wants to say freezing in her mouth. They never tumble out. They're stuck. "Just a…" that's all she manages to get out when her eyes move back to the seat next to her. The empty seat. There's a long moment where she doesn't move, sitting there with her mouth open, words murdered. That knot— it's forgotten. It's untied. She takes a deep breath before she can close her mouth and get to her feet. "Of course. I… of course…" Absent as the voice may be, she's able to get that much out.

As she moves to follow, she catches herself glancing back at the couch. Unfinished business.

Managing a placating smile to Gillian, the white-jacketed woman leads her towards a ground-floor elevator, holding the doors open for her guest. A key is drawn from her jacket pocket, placed into the number-panel by the door on the inside, turned, and "B4" is depressed, preceding the doors slowly slide shut. She turns to Gillian, offering nothing more than a silent smile as the elevator begins its lurching descent down towards the lower floors of the facility.

One by one the floors go by, until finally their destination is reached. The elevator doors slide open, and the doctor steps out into the hall, silent as ever. She turns, taking a right out from the elevator, heels click-clacking on the tile floor as she escorts Gillian through two pairs of double doors and down a branch of a split hallway, past medical examination rooms and hospital gurneys, past rows of numbered doors to a single door at the end of a hall where a lone man in a black suit stands, hands folded behind his back, looking for all his worth like someone straight out of secret service.

"He's right in here, Miss Childs." She gestures to an unmarked door covered with faux wood texture. On the other side of the door, a pressurized hiss and click moves at a steady rhythm, muffled by the walls and closed door.

The whole trip down the elevator, Gillian's mind is elsewhere. This keeps her from asking questions, engaging in conversation, or even thinking much about where she's being taken. There's moments when she looks around behind her, glancing in the corner of her vision, as if trying to catch a fleeting shadow. Nothing. No movement of auburn hair. No hint of her sister's voice. It's only when she's directly spoken to again does she snap out of it, visibly straightening. The coat remains draped over her arm.

"Who's right in there?" The secret service-like guy gets a long look, finally noticed fully. That may not be a good sign… She doesn't wait for the answer to her question, though, as she starts to move toward the door, putting her hand on it. Who is a good question. But she opens the door to find out. The sounds toy with memories, tugging with familiarity, like something heard a thousand times in a movie.

"The man who's been waiting to see you for a very long time, Gillian." The doctor's eyes follow Gillian's movements, and it's clear she's making no attempt to join her in the room. As the door swings open, the first sight Gillian sees is a tall and dark-skinned man standing with his hands folded behind his back, eyes downcast to the floor, the very man who sent her on the journey to come here — Roger Goodman. As the door begins to swing open further, an antique four-poster bed is revealed, with elaborately engraved headboard and footboard, containing a weathered old man connected to machines that keep him alive. A tube is inserted into his throat, arms limp at his sides, a heart-rate monitor connected to his finger.

Roger's dark eyes move from the old man in the bed to Gillian, a ghost of a smile crossing his lips. "It's good to see you again, Gillian." No pretenses of formality from Roger this time, just the presumed intimacy of first names. He moves one hand, beckoning her in as his eyes return to the man in the bed who stares up blindly to the fluorescent lights in the ceiling.

That's why the sound had been so familiar. Gillian glances at the monitoring equipment, the man laying on the bed, and then her eyes settle back onto a face she recognizes. It's a fancy bed for a normal guy who needs to be on a respirator. In movies they are always in those hospital beds, just like everyone else, but this man…

"Okay… I'm still not entirely sure why you want me here…" her eyes shift back to the man in the bed as she takes a few steps further into the room. Confusion wraps around her now. The encounter downstairs hasn't cleared that up. "I kinda get why you've been waiting a while, it's been… weeks since you gave me the card." That confusion carries in her style of speech, the way she looks around as if she's not sure whee she should be looking.

And she can't help but glance back behind her again. Maybe one of the seats will suddenly have someone who hadn't been there before…

…or maybe she'll just be standing there, watching Gillian from the hall as the door swings shut with a loud clunk. Just a few fleeting seconds of Jenny's face before the door closes it away. Did she see her because she wanted to, so very badly, or was it something else entirely? "Actually, he's been waiting for you for far longer than that, Gillian. For much, much longer." Moving away from the bed, Roger's eyes settle on Gillian as he offers her a more honest smile than the receptionist earlier.

"When I told you that the people I trust wanted help to bring down the Company, I wasn't lying. This man here," he turns, motioning to the figure lying in the bed, "has found himself in this condition because of the leadership of the Company, because they turned on him, because they betrayed his decades of hard work for their own selfish agenda."

Turning back to Gillian, Roger's dark brows lower. "Angela Petrelli and Daniel Linderman, two of the founders of the Company, orchestrated the entire destruction of Manhattan. They used Angela's son Peter, manipulated him and turned him into a weapon of destruction to further their own political goals. Point zero seven percent of the world's population was killed in one night of fire and torment, because of their twisted desires…" Taking a few steps closer, Roger's voice lowers, "This man has a vested interest that they pay for what they did, both to his company…" Roger's dark eyes narrow, "and his son."

For just the briefest of moments, Roger is given pause, but when he speaks again the gravity from his voice has not faded. "This man is Arthur Petrelli," dark eyes lock with Gillian's, "and he would like your help destroying the Company, and saving his son…"

As the door closes, Gillian takes a step toward it, even raising her hand in in kind of a 'wait' gesture. The door closes all the way. She stands there a second before the man who handed her the card speaks. The words draw her eyes back, slowly at first. The hand drops to her side as she listens. A different story painted than any of the ones before. But one that makes some kind of sense. There's a lot of questions that begin to bubble up, ones she almost interupts the man to give voice to. Interuptions are stopped by more words. More questions.

And then finally the biggest one of all. "You want… my help… in saving your son." Her help. There are plans being set into motion in that direction, and it's very likely she'd insist on going when the plans are finalized, but… "His son and I— your son and I…" For a moment she's not sure which of the two men to address. One of them doesn't seem able to talk to her back. "We're not exactly on the best terms. I mean… he tried to kill me a couple times— I tried to kill him. I shot him." There's a pause…

"Okay, and he saved my life that one time and I saved his and… but there were…" She actually waves a hand around as if trying to describe something that she can't put into words. It was complicated. Cause there were two of him and one was an asshole and the other one was an idiot and…

There's a moment while she's waving her hand around that she catches a glimpse of the tattoo on her wrist. That makes her put her hand down. "Why me? There's a lot better people in— in Phoenix— who you could have contacted. I'm sure they would have been willing to help you."

"You're one of the only people than can truly help him, Gillian" Roger notes, moving over to stand beaside Gillian and watch Arthur. The respirator gives a soft hiss-click and begins pumping again, moving in lyrical beat with the beep of the EKG. "You're the only one who can truly help any of the people trapped by the government." Roger looks down at the floor, folding his hands in front of himself in a moment of long, thoughtful silence.

"Many good people have died fighting this machine of hypocrisy and conspiracy, but your ability is unique among them all. You have control of what you can do, and right now the government has no idea of this. I have been protecting you and the people in Phoenix for this moment, to strike back, to lash out, and to change the world for the better."

Roger speaks with both the conviction of a soldier, and the ultimate affirmation of a martyr, someone who believes in his plan so whole-heartedly that he would give his life for it; much as Carmichael has given his. "Your ability has a unique biochemical reaction with ability-inhibiting drugs that prisoners of Moab are injected with. The company I work for — legitimately — Biomere Incorporated, took part in the designing of the initial dose of the suppressant injection. However, it has some critical flaws engineered into it that were put in place specifically for this situation. A back door into the biochemistry of a person…"

Roger moves around the bed, resting his hand on the footboard. "Those gifted with regenerative qualities metabolize the drug faster, and are capable of burning it out of their system. Secondly, your ability to supercharge abilities can allow people who are suppressed to temporarily overcome their suppression by being boosted far and beyond what the drug was designed to negate."

Looking to Arthur briefly, then to Gillian, Roger's head tilts to the side at the end of his eyes' journey. "I need you to go to the people of Phoenix, and get them to stage a prison break. I have no doubt that Hana Gitelman has already accessed the physical location of the prison and considered her options on debilitating the security, she is a peerless woman in that regard. But you, Gillian, you are essential to this. You are the difference between success and //failure."

Control over— oh right. There's a moment where Gillian remembers the unraveled knot in the back of her head and pulls it closed again. The more information to take in, the less sure she is on how to answer. Eyes shift from one man to the other, half the time wondering which of them is actually speaking… Verbally, it's the man she met in the streets on Staten Island, but the words, the wishes behind them… Eventually her eyes stay on the man in the bed longer than the man moving around and speaking. "How do you know Peter will want to escape?"

That had been one of the questions tossed around in the month after she saw HomeSec's interruption of their confrontation in the Bronx. "Does he know that the Company— that his own mother used him like that? That…" How could he know? He worked with them. One of him did. "The last time I got past the security, he didn't exactly seem to jump at the idea of getting out of holding. He called me an idiot just for trying to get in there to see him. How do I know we won't get in there and he'll decide that he doesn't want to go anywhere and we all get captured because he's an asshole who'd rather rot in a cell than do something useful with his life?"

Looking away from the old man in the bed finally, her eyes focus on Goodman. Her ability. "You mentioned someone else with my ability. Someone that the Company was chasing after…"

"Whether Peter wants out of prison or not is irrelevant, he can mope as long as he desires… but he has to be let out." Goodman seems rather adamant about that, "Guilt over what he has done can be overcome, he can complain to his father later." There's a cast of dark eyes over Gillian when she mentions the man that has a power similar to hers, but his answer is just a strained sigh and a shake of his head.

"The Company captured him, and had his memory erased — all of it — every single last vestige of who he was." Roger moves away from the bed, walking back towards Gillian with a click of his hard-soled shoes on the tile floor. "He couldn't control his power, at all, it was… dangerous. There's nothing I can do to change his situation."

The respirator clicks and hisses again.

"You're the only one we can count on to help. The only one who would be able to do what needs to be done." Roger squares his shoulders, posture straightening. "I'm making you an offer, Gillian, to join Pinehearst. To fight against the Company, to be protected by our resources, and to work with us to make a difference in this world. To bring hope to the hopeless… but one step at a time." His expression shits from determined to earnest, a hesitant smile crossing his lips. "We need you."

"If he decides to continue being an idiot, I'll just have to kick him a few times until he gets over himself," Gillian says quietly, thinking of a time he told him something similar. And somehow he twisted her words into her wanting him locked up. All that was said before is processed again in her head. Not literally like some people might be able to, but normal memory allows for some replaying. The fact the other person with an ability similar to hers got… just what she thought might happen to her… doesn't give her much comfort. But it also makes her understand why her.

"So I guess I really am your only hope… Fuck… You know this is the last thing I really wanted. I'm not some kind of hero," she says, reaching up to rub her hand over her face. She might well be going insane. Would Jenny want her to do this, whatever it is? The Company, the fear of the Company, they'd been what helped keep her in hiding. They used the suits just like them to capture her. The Company had been a smoke screen to mask what would cause her death. Unfinished business. Is that what she— man. She's trying to think of an hallucination like it's a ghost.

"All right. I'll contact Phoenix. See what they've set up. I'll let them know they need me. That I can… counter the drugs or whatever. We'll get Ass— …Peter out of there. And everyone else too, I guess."

Roger nods slowly, moving a hand to rest on Gillian's shoulder, "They might be suspicious of you if you mention me or my motivations directly. If they don't press you to explain, then don't." Roger's eyes follow Gillian's wary expression, "but on the same token, if they directly ask, don't lie to them."

One hand moves down into his jacket, and Roger produces a slim gunmetal cell phone. "This phone has my direct line programmed into it. If you need me for anything, do not hesitate to call. If it is an emergency and you're threatened, I will do my best to come as quickly as I am able to help you." His hand moves away from her shoulder, leaving the phone held up towards her.

"In the meantime, Gillian… I've prepared some money for you to help you out while you remain in hiding. But I assure you, in time, we'll work together to ensure that you no longer have to be someone who hides for their life. If you need anywhere to stay, or anything at all… contact me."

He nods towards the door, "For now, it's probably best that you go. Think things over, talk to the people in Phoenix. Despite what they may think, I am their ally…"

"Hell, I'm suspicious of you," Gillian says, but she reaches out to take the cell phone and turn it over in her hand. And then look up at him when he mentions money. There's a moment when it actually looks like she might outright reject the money, but after a moment she looks back down. "Well, I have a feeling this won't exactly be the easiest assignment someone's given me, so I'm considering it hazard pay." Handouts, apparently, are not what she's ever wanted. But hazard pay and an assignment— that makes it like a job.

There's a small pause. Time to go. It seems like she has more she might want to say, more questions she might want to ask. But she nods. "Fuck," she curses under her breath, looking back to the door. She's seeing a ghost. She's going to be breaking into a prison where she's the key to success. And there's… is her life ever going to get uncomplicated? Not everyone's going to like the idea of her risking her life to save Peter Petrelli too…

"I'll give you a call if I need you." She looks from Goodman to Arthur Petrelli in the bed. Her gaze lingers on the man a little longer. "Nice to meet you… sir."

And as the search for self continues, we look for answers everywhere.

"He says it was a pleasure to meet you as well, Gillian." Roger's words speak to an ominous presence of Arthur, and the tall man's dark eyes follow Gillian on her way out into the laboratory hall, where the doctor from befor waits, clipboard held to her chest. She holds out a plastic card — a credit card — to Gillian with the Pinehearst logo on it. It seems they might just be writing her a blank check for this.

In nature, in God,

At the end of the hall, near the elevator, Jenny stands with her back against the wall, arms folded and head down. She looks up as Gillian takes the card, lifting one hand to tuck a lock of auburn hair behind one ear, a faint smile coming over her lips as she nods, as if in approval of what her sister's doing.

In tiny tragedies that may never be understood.

The doctor leads Gillian down the hall, back towards the elevator and past examination rooms. In one, a young girl sits on a table, blonde hair tucked behind one ear, looking sad and despondent as she stares at the floor, several doctors looking her over as Gillian walks past.

But still, we are driven to it, single-minded on one goal: to find our purpose on this earth.

At the elevator, the doctor offers her a smile and steps inside with her, pressing the button for the lobby. As the elevator doors behind to close, Jenny stands there again, watching her sister from beyond the window of one of the examination rooms. Her hand raises, pressing to the glass of the window.

No matter what the ramifications,

Her lips move, and while the words are lost on Gillian, their meaning somehow finds its way into whispers in her own mind, whispers of her dead sister's voice affirming her choices.

the friendships that may be hurt,

"You did the right thing, sis. I'm proud of you."

or the deals with the devil we need to make.

<date>: previous log

Previously in this storyline…
The Survivor

Next in this storyline…
Divide the Light From the Dark

<date>: next log
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