Too Much To Ask


aaron2_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Too Much To Ask
Synopsis Gillian goes through detox with Aaron, the bleeding heart, by her side. Things get complicated when Peyton finds them in a compromising position.
Date September 16, 2009

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment - Upper West Side

It's late. Middle of the night or the wee hours of morning. Why do they even call it 'Wee?' It really doesn't matter right now. The apartment of Peyton's, as big as it is, has many bathrooms. One of the bathrooms has a light on, the door open, and someone leaning against the wall next to the toilet. A wash cloth in hand, a half-filled glass of water sitting on the floor, and the toilet seat is up.

A woman with dark hair, only it's not Peyton experiencing the effects of an all night party, but Gillian experiencing the symptoms of not taking a certain blue vile. It could be much worse. Scalp damp with sweat, skin pasty and wet, her hands shake as she dabs the cloth against her mouth.

Aaron could easily be describe as a night owl for how poorly he manages to sleep at night. The rare occasion he manages to fall asleep, he's woken up not too long after by some thing or another. In this case, it was the sound to retching. It's not entirely unexpected, given what he observed of Gillian when she arrived. He rolls over and off his bed, grabbing two Excedrin from his nightstand and chewing them down, rubbing his eyes to extricate the tears that have collected in his tired eyes. Rubbing his tongue against the roof of his mouth, he toes his door open all the way — he leaves it half-open anyway — and steps into the hall, wandering to the light source.

He's only wearing a pair of sweatpants, leaving his muscled physique on display as he leans against the door frame. "Talking to the great white telephone?" he asks. Once he's done squinting, his eyes adjusted to the light, he steps into the bathroom. 'Do you feel as bad as you look?' comes to his mind, but he doesn't say it, he only comes close enough to sit next to her. "Want some company?"

"The white telephone gets shitty reception," Gillian says with a hoarse laugh as she leans her head back against the wall. The wall is cool, it feels pretty good, for the moment. The shaky hand holding the washcloth motions him closer in, though there's not many places to sit besides the floor. Though it is a fairly spacious bathrooms. Rich apartments get nice things…

"I can't sleep," she says in the same raspy voice, a little less shaky, but not much. She waits a moment before opening her eyes again. "At least this is better than some hangovers— I can leave the light on. Doesn't make it suck less, though."

Aaron slides as close to Gillian as he can so he can wrap an arm around her. "Yeah, I can't sleep very well most nights, even when my ability's not messing with me," he says, his eyes on the ceiling. "I think you're doing pretty good for day .. almost three, so I think this could be the worst of it. Probably going to suck for a while longer, though." He turns his head her way. "Can I get you a ginger ale? On the rocks?"

"I used to do some drugs, but nothing that ever caused this," Gillian admits quietly, leaning in against him, even if he'll feel rather quickly that her body temperature is increased. Even if she's shaking a bit. Cold sweats and fever? Her breath is unsteady before she nods, "Something to drink besides water might be nice— I don't feel like I'm going to throw up again, but it comes and goes…" Someone would think she has a cold if they saw her, but there's… "Has it really been three days? It feels a lot longer. Probably cause I'm not sleeping, much."

Aaron gives Gillian a bit of a squeeze, "Well, you got here two nights ago. So almost three days, yeah." The arm around her is slipped up a bit so he can place a wrist over her forehead. "You're a little on the warm side. Gonna have to keep an eye on that." He reaches his other arm to secure the garbage pail. "Come on, the bathroom floor's no place to lie down," he says, giving her a bit of a tug with his arm to help get her up.

It's unsteady, but with his help, Gillian gets onto her feet. Hopefully he won't mind her grasping heavily at his arm for support. Knees are as shaky as her hands were. "Yeah, it's kind of nice, though. Cold. I like it," she says, a light laugh to her voice, before she shuffles feet to follow in any direction that he beckons her. "So what's the deal with you and Peyton, anyway? I know you two are in different bedrooms, but you did cook for her that night we met."

"Continue walking like that and I might carry you," he says as he navigates down the hall to the living room. Aaron offers a bit of a blush when she says what she does, but he recovers quite well from it, "Yeah, a whole pot of spaghetti that got pitched, I remember. She doesn't cook, and I can't stand takeout all the time." Once they're in the living room, he sets the garbage pail on the floor next to the couch and nimbly lifts Gillian off the floor and lays her down on the couch. With how tired he is, it's a miracle he summons the energy to do things like that. "I'll get your ginger ale. Back in a flash." Except it actually takes two minutes.

"You're a tough one," Gillian admits after she's laid down on the couch. The blush, as minor as it was, didn't give enough clues to whether there was something there. And the cooking could be reasonable. She doesn't say anything else until there's a sign he's coming back. As soon as she sees him, she's shifted into a lounging position against the air rest. She's wearing clothes, but one could barely call them pajamas. They're more like boxers and a tank top. It shows off many tattoos… that look wrong. Like someone took tattoo designs and cut holes in them. "Does that mean you're single?"

That question is far harder to get out of and just has to be dodged altogether. Aaron sets the glass of ginger ale with ice on the end table next to the couch and takes a seat beside Gillian, leaning against the other side of it. His eyes catch on the tattoos and well, they do look wrong. "What happened?" he asks, gaze affixed to the corrupted artwork.

"Sudden subject change, classy," Gillian says, having to hold the glass with both hands so it shakes less. Once she takes a long drink, she lifts her leg up, "I used to have two on this leg. One on the ankle, one on the back of my calf. I think my leg got blown off. I was dead for a few moments, so I'm not one hundred percent sure, but they're both gone." Crazy talk, she knows… "I had different abilities for a while. Someone had the power to swap people's powers. I got swapped with a guy, had every power you could possibly imagine for a while. Including regeneration. I came back from the dead, I healed… And I got blown up. I healed. My tattoos didn't."

That sort of talk right there is enough to wipe what little colour Aaron has in him right away, and thanks to the aspirin in his empty stomach, now he is feeling a bit nauseous. "That's, disgusting actually," he says, and suddenly regrets asking. Because he can see it. That is what it looks like, or at least he can see that as what it might look like. It's logical, however crazy it may seem. And he's known a healer. Then of course the fact that she was dead sinks in. Dead, blown up, and healed. "Oh God…"

"Now you know why I looked so black," Gillian says pointedly as she downs a few good sized gulps. Her stomach doesn't start jumping, and ginger ale helps a lot with that. It doesn't change the fever, the sweating. Her clothes feel a little sticky when she moves, and part of her wants a blanket… even if her body's warm. "You're helping a lot. Wish I would've met you about two months ago." It seems to be honest, slow breaths. And then the kicker… "So you're single?"

This is why he goes to therapy. So he can be asked seemingly harmless yet intensely personal questions by an almost complete stranger. "Of course I'm single," he says finally. "No ring, no fiancĂ©e…" Except there were both, at one point. "What does it matter, anyway?" It's said far more harshly than he means to, but that's par for the course with Aaron, especially when he's sleep-deprived.

"I dunno. Cause you're cute. You make me feel good when you play music. I've been lonely for months…" Gillian trails off, even as she lets the glass settle against her stomach. In some ways the cold liquid feels good. In other ways it's too cold. "I'm mostly kidding. I'm hung up on a guy who… pretty much treats me like shit. Even if you're not holding out for your cute roommate, I'd probably never seriously fall for you. I pick guys that are bad for me."

Even though he is holding out for his cute roommate. Of course, he's all about forging those inappropriate emotional connections with people, only he can't tell whether this one is inappropriate, which really doesn't do anything to help him. He very narrowly avoids saying how he stabbed someone with a needle of Refrain and instead just sinks back into the couch. "Yeah, what else is new?" He leans his head back over the side of the couch. "You shouldn't."

"I know," Gillian says, resting her head back against the arm of the couch, and kicking her bare feet up near him. She's not quite sticking them in his lap, but they're within reach. "But it's hard to pick who you end up falling for. If you'd told me ten months ago I would be pining over… who I'm pining over… I would tell you that you're a fucking moron. I hated him when we first met." There's a pause, a feverish shake of her head. "I think I hated him, at least. It's hard to remember exactly…" There's a trailing sound to her voice. Refrain would be able to help with that… There's an unsteady inhale as that craving hits.

That description right there reminds Aaron of his first meeting with Peyton in July. Well, first beyond the odd concert way back when. He'd dug so deep into her, he still feels bad for what he said. He eyes the clammy feet. "Yeah, love's funny that way," he says. He doesn't pick up on the fact that she's craving Refrain, though it's only a matter of time before they become prominent. He does touch a hand to one of Gillian's ankles, "How are you feeling?" And he's not talking emotionally, because he can already see the faint grey.

"I'm— I want to remember," Gillian says with a helpless whine before her jaw tightens visibly. "It's not just my body craving the… the drug. I just wish I could go back and…" She takes a slow breath again, opening her eyes and lifting her head. "Back when I had regeneration, I also had another ability— I could remember everything perfectly. Every word people said. The way everything smelled. It was as vivid and perfect… as what I experienced. Only it was everything. Everything I saw, everything I touched, everything I felt…"

Aaron's eyes show sorrow. Even after all this time, there's still a part of him that's craving Refrain, and he only shot up twice, and he knows that feeling all to well. He doesn't need to say that it'll only feel worse once she's had another. The physical withdrawal might go away, but her pain will be so much greater, because again she sees and experiences what is lost. He reaches one arm to slide her closer and all but pulls her right next to him, a hand on her face. "You're going to pull through this," he says to her, looking down from above her.

There's a few lights on in various places of the apartment. A guest bathroom, the living area… and two people on the couch, talking. Gillian sits next to Aaron, pulled up against him, with a cold glass of something clear in one hand, resting against her stomach. It's the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morn. She's been here a few days. Her skin is clammy, sticky with sweat.

She's wearing sleeping clothes, boxer shorts and a tanktop, really, that do little to cover up her mangled tattoos. Aaron's beside her on the couch, without a shirt, also dressed for sleep— and his hand is touching her cheek, looking down at her as she looks up at him. "He told me I was strong… But I'm not. I don't think I ever was." Still, her free hand moves up, touching his hand that's touching her face. "Keep this up I may ask if I can pretend you're him."

There's not much sound before Peyton steps out of the hallway into the living room — her door's been open, as she never sleeps with it closed fully, and she's barefoot in something much like Gillian's pajama get-up — striped lime green and pink boy shorts and a pink tank top. Her hair is mussed and she's obviously just woken; her eyes are a little red, though once she sees the two on the couch she lets her hair fall into her eyes, trying to hide her appearance. "Oh, sorry, I'm just getting some water," she murmurs, her throat a little rough from want of use. She moves toward the kitchen, trying not to look at either of them.

"I'm not sure that would be—" Aaron would jump off the couch, but it's more accurately described as falling off the couch when Peyton speaks up and hurries past them. "Oh God." He accidentally takes Gillian with him. "Sorry," he says to her and scrambles to try and get her back on the couch. Then he's quick to rise, "It's not what it looked like, I swear."

"Whoa," Gillian says with a surprise, barely avoiding spilling her drink on herself once she's back on the coach. Though from the sweat, she might not mind a little ice spilled on her… "I was about ten seconds away from throwing up all over him," she says, rolling away so her feet are on the floor and she takes a long drink from her ginger ale. Settle, stomach, settle.

The lady of the house disappears into the kitchen and the refrigerator can be heard opening and closing. Peyton leans against the refrigerator, the cool stainless steel door against her warm forehead. "Whatever, guys, I'm not your baby sitter," she calls out in a falsely cheerful voice as she twists the cap off her Evian. She takes a drink, then a deep breath, and heads to the edge of the kitchen, leaning in the doorframe to look at the two in the living room. "Doing okay, Gill? Want some Tylenol or anything? Might bring down the fever."

No, she's not their babysitter, but it really wasn't anything like that. It was Aaron trying to be helpful, even if in an inappropriate manner. And guilt is written all over his face. He just slinks backwards into the shadows a bit, not that there are many shadows in the lit living room. "I've gotta get some sleep," he says, slinking to the hall. "Have an appointment with Bella in the afternoon, and I don't want to look so much like a wreck this time." And he wants to get away from this terribly embarrassing situation.

"Yeah, shit, I'll take something, though I may not be able to keep it down very long," Gillian admits, touching her forehead with her hand, and then letting that lower as she looks up at Aaron. Aaron who is slinking off. Just like a man. "You really do like her, don't you?" Did she have tact before and she just lost it in the fever of withdrawal symptoms, or is she always like this? They don't know her well enough to know, really…

Peyton, shockingly, does have some tact. She goes back into the kitchen, flipping open a cupboard and finding the Tylenol within, and bringing the bottle to Gillian. She pretends not to have heard the exchange, and heads to the reclining armchair across from the couch. Her eyes are swollen, and it's clear any crying was done long before the last few minutes so it's not in regards to whatever hankypanky was or was not happening in the living room. "Bella?" she says with a frown. "Shit, that's Wendy's shrink."

Now Aaron has even more reason to like Peyton, and he does turn while she's in the kitchen to give a deer-in-the-headlights look to Gillian before shuffling off to his room and closing his door behind him. He almost never closes the door, but the fact that it is probably means he's off crying on his lonesome or at least trying to somehow get back some sense of dignity after that low blow.

There's aspirin to drink, which Gillian takes and downs in another rather good sized gulp of her ginger ale. She's being pampered by the two of them, and she knows it, but it's helping… "He closed the door," she says, glancing the way he went. She may not know him well, but she's been in the apartment for a few days. "Do you not like him, or something?"

The dull thud of the door shutting makes Peyton wince. She makes a face at Gillian — not a 'ew, not him!' face but a 'why are you prying into my life' sort of face. "We hated each other until we sort of had some issues with the Refrain and a friend," she says quietly. "He's been a good friend to me. Of course I like him." There's the party line. Pretend you don't know what the other person is talking about. That that word 'like' in the ambiguous and innocuous sense. It's like seventh grade. Do you like him or do you like him like him?

"That's funny," Gillian says, leaning back into the couch. Her hands are shaking a bit, but she's not throwing up. Which is good. The glass actually gets brought up to her face this time, rolling across her damp forehead. "I was just telling him how I think I hated the guy I'm pining after when I first met him. He was a total… assface. That's actually what I used to call him. Cause he has this huge scar across his face, like a butt crack or something. And now I just… you don't pick who you really like… Aaron's a good guy, though. I could see why you like him."

Peyton frowns as Gillian apparently takes her answer to mean she's pining after Aaron the way she's pining after this mysterious assface, who's not that much of a mystery. "Scar?" she echoes, with a frown. "Was his name Peter?" There's a slight shiver at the memory of the man who approached her outside of the Village Renaissance Building a few weeks ago now.

Or maybe she just found it funny that she'd just mentioned hating Peter when she first met him. It is a funny coincidence. Gillian's not totally present, anyway. There's a sudden glance over, damp half falling into her face as the glass drops away. "Yeah— yeah his name's Peter. The scar's kinda hard to forget, I guess." By bringing up Peter, unfortunately, she's forgetting her teasing about the whole… like or like thing. For now. "You know him?"

"Know would be a strong word," Peyton says, wrapping her arms around her bare legs, chinning resting on her knees. She looks very young, very vulnerable in that fetal position in the large chair. "I went to talk to Cat one day. You know I stayed in your apartment?" she says offhandedly. "When Brian first brought me to Cat's building. Anyway, I went to talk to Cat and he kind of… I don't know. Was lurking around, talked to me. He scared me. And I felt sorry for him at the same time. He told me — you know his power, right?"

"His new ability? Yeah… yeah, I know it," Gillian says quietly, pressing a shaky hand against her mouth, then letting fingers trail down her chin and to her chest. That's one thing she remembers pretty well. "Makes for a new kind of long distance relationship, I know." There's a small pause, where she closes her eyes and leans against the arm of the couch again. "I wish he would talk to me… Seems to be able to talk to other people just fucking fine, even perfect strangers. He's barely said five sentences to me since…"

"I'm sorry," Peyton says, frowning at the thought. "I … yeah, I felt really bad for him. I can't imagine that kind of power. It sort of helped put my own drama in perspective." She shrugs and glances down at her blue-polished toenails. "My power… it's a piece of cake in comparison. Not … not when I have to use it to see bad things to help people and not when I can't control it; it sucks then. But it won't kill anyone." She shivers again, a little more violently this time, despite the fact that the apartment's climate control maintains a comfortable 74 degrees.

It was only inevitable before Aaron returns from his little fit. His door cracks open and he slowly treads from his room, silently through the living room, and into the kitchen. There, he grabs his own bottle of water and cracks it open, taking a drink as he plants himself in a chair in the living room. His eyes are not mysteriously watery.

"No… no it won't kill them," Gillian says, looking off into space for a moment. Her voice gains a distance to it, "Maybe you can help… me, I mean. At least let me know if he's alright, every so often…" She trails off. Setting things up to spy on a guy she likes… "Maybe not, though…" As Aaron treds by, she watches him, then— suddenly brings a hand up to her mouth, "Oh fuck." There's a groan, she stands up. Legs are wobbly, but she manages to say, "I'll be back," before she makes way quickly down hall and slams the bathroom door. Abandoning them to be sick? Maaaaaybe.

Well, that's not awkward. "Help how—" Peyton begins, but then Gillian's running out of the room to go throw up her water and Tylenol. She shakes her head and sighs. "Sorry," she mutters to Aaron, glancing not at him but to the window to her right, not that there's much to see but dark glass. "I didn't mean to interrupt. Just couldn't sleep."

Aaron watches in silence as Gillian bolts out of the room to vomit. Detox. What a bitch. He rubs his tired eyes and really his whole face. "Yeah, insomnia seems to be going around." He stretches his neck a bit. "For once I have insomnia for reasons other than my ability. I preferred it the other way around, I could do something about it that way." He too glances anywhere but at Peyton.

"It's okay if you like her. You'd be better for her than some guy who can kill people by touching them," Peyton says, uncurling from her little forlorn ball and standing up. "I'm going to try to sleep again." Hopefully this time her dreams won't include dead bodies on hooks, supply closets or shipping containers, but somehow she feels that might be too much to ask.

Which leaves Aaron alone in the living room with the look somewhere betwixt one who who was just slapped in the face for no apparent reason and one of horror at the idea of a man who can kill a person with a touch. Somehow, just somehow, that overrides the fact that the issue of him liking Peyton somehow got jumbled up with him liking Gillian. How do things get so bloody complicated?

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