Two At Once


gillian_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif


juniper_icon.gif lance_icon.gif lucy_icon.gif

Scene Title Two At Once
Synopsis When Peter stops into the Lighthouse to recruit Gillian's help, Helena and Gillian use the chance to recruit his. And it means he needs to learn how to hold on to two things at once.
Date May 20, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonment.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

Serendipity in the snow is an awfully poetic way to look at things in this situation. From the outside, the Lighthouse Orphanage looks like a stark gray finger rising up from a desert of infinite white. Even the coast of the Hudson river is bleached like sun-baked bone, crusted with ice out some hundred feet away from the edges until it crumbles and cracks. Saltwater doesn't freeze except at the most arctic of temperatures, and right now — out in that polar cold — the temperature has finally been reached.

The truck that comes rumbling to a stop outside of the Lighthouse navigates one of the few roadways maintained during the storm, roads maintained by the government in a struggling effort to maintain a semblance of order on the island's southern side. The door cracks open and quickly shuts when the darkly dressed man inside slams it shut. Even with the heater blasting, the driver still has a chill in his fingers and toes. It's not that he doesn't want to return the wave to the man he'd driven out to the fringes of Staten Island, but that would require moving them away from the heater.

Clad in a night black arctic survival jacket, fur-trimmed hood pulled up and black balaclava covering his face, the passenger hurries up through freshly fallen snow that has not been cleaned away from the driveway as the headlights of the truck track over his back. Each crunching footfall brings him closer to the door, eventually pounding on the entrance frantically when he finds it locked. "Let me in!"

Inside the Lighthouse the situation is far different. While cold nearing ninety degrees below zero assails the old structure's exterior, liberal applications of space heaters, a roaring fireplace and sturdy construction have contributed to a sense of warmth within the building. The knocking however, jostles one of the Lighthouse's residents up off of the sofa, and Juniper Whitmore looks somewhat shocked to hear anyone outside, let alone anyone who would drive.

Taking the barest of moments to peer out the window and see the retreating truck, she hurries to the door heedlessly, not thinking of who or what could be on the other side. Feral dogs don't knock and that comfort is all that's on the young redhead's mind at the moment as she unlatches and unlocks the front door, hastily pulling it open as the darkly dressed figure pushes his way inside and them slams the door shut behind him, breathing in and out with rapid and frantic breaths after entering.

The first thing Juniper spots is the United States Marine Corps badge on the left shoulder of the jacket, then the nametag printed across the right breast, Petrelli, P.

Wide eyed and uncertain, she takes a step back and turns to look deeper into the Lighthouse towards the livingroom. It's not that she's terribly afraid, but this is a bit unusual.

"Um— " the nervousness in Juniper's voice is evident, "G— Gillian?"

Helena is one of the few people who can still move through the snow with (relative) ease. The network's had her moving around a lot lately, providing climate control for critical situations, and it would seem at the moment assuring the good health and comfort of Evolved orphans has been bumped up as the default of where to spend her time. Well, that and her seemingly implausible visits to Sleepy Hollow to see to her half-brother and her father's widow. "Juniper?" she calls out from a room further into the lighthouse, "Who is it?"

It wouldn't have been as odd an arrival as some, if it wasn't for the fact they really didn't expect more people. Gillian's finally out of her bedroom, moving among the downstairs freely enough, with one of the younger kids sitting in her lap. Lucy's among the smallest, next to Lily, and she's been full of questions. When is she going to manifest! How will she know when it happens. What if she never manifests, what if she manifests when she's thirty?

But questions aren't coming out of her at the moment, except the one. "Who's that?"

The girl is sat down as Gillian stands up, dressed warmly enough, but not as warm as she might need to be with the door opening and closing. The dark haired girl doesn't look like someone bedridden with infection and fever, nor someone who'd been mauled recently. In fact, she looks a lot more healthy than one might have expected. It takes her a few steps to see who it is, breath catching, and then she calls back to the voice. "It's Peter," she says, walking back into the living room to lay a hand on Lucy's head. She doesn't sound incredably pleased to see him. "I'm surprised you were able to get out here. I don't think it was even this bad back in January." When they were in Antarctica.

Breathing out an exasperated breath, Peter reaches up and tugs the black mask off of his head, teeth chattering even from that brief exposure. Juniper watches him wide-eyed, her stare tracking down to the old bullet holes in the front and back of the jacket, like they would've gone right through him. It's a silent assessment as she looks him up and down, and Peter's approach thorugh the foyer and into the living room is a slow one.

He looks… different.

With the fur-trimmed hood down and dark eyes settled squarely on Helena in surprise, Peter sees in her as much change as she likely sees in him, sort of. He looks like some odd juxtaposition of the days he spent in Moab and the days when he was working with PARIAH before she got to his hair with scissors and a comb. He's scruffy to an extreme, his hair down to his chin now that the mask is off, a grown in beard covering his face and his throat protected by a thick scarf.

"H— Helena." It's as much of a startled greeting as he can give, the silent swallow he offers coming as his eyes flick around the living room, to the children staring up at him silently and finally to Gillian, his lips creeping up into a perpetually lopsided smile.

"Sorry I, ah… um…" Here in the presence of both Gillian and Helena, Peter looks a little dumbfounded, rubbing one hand at the back of his head. "I… I actually just came here to talk to Gillian about Cardinal," of all people, "it's nothing that we'd need to do in private though, I guess. It— it can't really wait though."

"You look like a mountain man." That's Helena's greeting, yup, but she looks comfortably amused when she says it. There's no awkwardness, no dismay, no evident distress at his presence, or even at the combination of presence shared with Gillian. Jeans and a turtleneck are her concession to the weather and she leans to one side against a wall, arms folded in a relaxed fashion, hipshot. "As it happens, I need to talk to you. It's important, but it needn't be private, either." There's a pause, and she adds, "I can find something to do if you and Gillian need to talk alone." She is perhaps surprisingly unruffled, calm, centered. "We can talk when you're finished."

"Juniper, take Lucy upstairs and do a quick check in on Hailey," Gillian says to the teenager, leaning down to hug the smaller girl's shoulders as the two move upstairs, to leave them more or less alone in the living room. Most of the activity in the house happens upstairs, as it were. "Come into the kitchen, Hairy." If he still had the scar, she'd accuse him of having a hairy ass, but as it is… A glance is cast at Helena, knowing what she might want to ask him about, but… "You can come too."

Maybe she doesn't want to be alone with him. Not after everything. "If this is about helping him, I'll do it. I'm just surprised you'd be the one to ask me. I didn't know the two of you were being pals at all anymore. Aren't you trying to get away from all this… stuff." Even with the kids upstairs, as far as she knows, she's not about to say a curse word. Lance could appear out of nowhere and she'd never hear him!

While she talks, she reaches to push her hair back with one hand, her bare skin still slightly tanned from Las Vegas, but bare. Where there once was a tattoo of a yin/yang symbol, there now seems to be nothing by clean skin.

There's a narrowing of Peter's eyes towards Gillian, silent as it is, and he pivots to watch the children as Juniper comes in and gets Lucy, brings her around him and upstairs. "Just because I don't agree with what he's doing…" Peter finally says once the children are gone, looking from the stairwell to Gillian's retreating figure, "don't mean I'm just going to let him die. He… he's fading, pretty fast. I don't think I can help him on my own, either." There's an askance look to Helena, silently trying to puzzle out what could have her wanting to talk to him about something as he follows Gillian into the kitchen.

"I just… I need your help, augmentation-wise." There's a furrow of Peter's brow as he moves over towards the sink under the yellow glow of the ceiling lamp, unzipping the front of his arctic survival jacket and breathing out a huffed sigh, it's hot in here compared to outside. "I've got… something like a healing ability right now, and he's running out of options. I don't want o get— " there's a wave of one gloved hand, "involved in all of this, whatever it is you two are doing these days…" Peter offers a look back to Helena at that, then to Gillian. "All I want to do is my job, which means saving a life." Beneath that arctic survival jacket, the blues of his paramedic jacket show clearly.

Helena follows along, and once in the kitchen takes a seat. She seems inclined to stay out of this exchange, seeing as it's none of her business. There's no real reading material to leaf through in the kitchen, so instead she starts to peer through the cabinets, perhaps contemplating starting to bake something. It's the only real indication of stress, but such as it is, the blonde looks over her shoulder toward Gillian. There is the faintest lift of her brow - Gillian after all, knows what Helena's going to ask. Helena wants something from Peter. Peter wants something from Gillian.

Helena's mom used to call one woman's capacity to communicate entire paragraphs worth of information to another woman by a simple facial expression Feminese.

There's a return glance to the younger blonde, that seems to carry entire paragraphs as well. This is something Gillian knows she would help with anyway, and promised Cardinal she would assist with in any way she could… but it's also one of the few times when Peter happens to need her for something. "You know, people always seem to show up when they need me, but rarely when I need them." There's the sounds of padding feet upstairs, a sudden bark from one of the big dogs which makes her grimace… And listen to make sure they're not coming downstairs.

"We're in the line of saving lives, too. This storms already killed more than enough, it'll kill even more if it continues. I'll help you— if you help us." And with that, she looks at Helena again. She'll get to give the pitch.

Dark brows crease together, and Peter gives Gillian a warily suspicious look, brown eyes darting from her and over to Helena in that instant. It's only then that he notices where the blonde's attention was, on the cabinets and the contents, and that subtly plays on his expression. The last time he remembers her baking was muffins, all the way back when things were good. The silent shake of his head he offers isn't dismissive of Gillian's request, but of his own thoughts.

"That depends on what you're doing," Peter carefully states, looking from Gillian and over to Helena, expectantly.

"A handful of atmokinetics are going to take another crack at ending this little mini-Ic Age." Helena explains smoothly, turning around so she's leaning back against the counter. She curves her hands against it as she watches him. "There's four of us, plus Gillian to augment." She waits a beat and adds, "Five would be better."

"Or another person to augment, since the last time I tried to do four together I ended up passing out after ten minutes," Gillian says, not sure if she's exaggerating or not on the numbers, but she knows she wasn't doing too great by the time it ended, not to mention she'd expended a lot of energy last night. There'd been a chance they would have had to go without her, or risk doing it in the Lighthouse. She's not told Helena who is to thank for her actually being able to walk yet. "The longer this lasts, the more people will die. I already know there's a couple new kids that will be arriving here after the blizzards, orphaned cause of this. And who knows how many will be added to the death toll when it clears."

Breathing in slowly, Peter's brows furrow as he considers the implication of what's being asked of him. It's weighed, silently, and Peter's eyes avert to the floor as he considers it, slowly tugging off his gloves to lay them out on the counter behind him. After a few moments, he looks up to Helena, then over to Gillian, then nods his head as he looks down to his feet. "I'll help augment," he offers quietly, "I don't think it'd be a good idea for me to have weather manipulation at all, not— " his brows furrow, head shakes slowly and he just leaves it at that.

"We've got a problem, though." When Peter looks back up to Gillian, he's shaking his head slowly, "Either we have to heal Cardinal before we fix the weather, or… we need to figure something out. My ability— ever since Cardinal gave me one back with the Formula…" Peter lifts one hand, rubbing his forefingers and thumb together, "it's one for one. One touch, one power. I've tried to… to hang on to more than one before but it— it's slippery."

Clearing his throat, Peter leans away from the counter, pacing across the floor with his arms folded across his chest, head bowed and eyes averted to the linoleum underfoot. He still seems a bit hesitant, and on looking back up to Gillian it's with a narrowing of his eyes again. "The other option is finding out what happens when I'm augmented. Maybe I can hold on to more than one thing… I— it feels like I should be able to, it's just— It's hard to explain."

"I'm not sure why that's a problem." Helena says. "Or why one needs to happen over the other. I don't know how much practice you've had managing Gillian's, but you know how to use mine. Whichever you think is best would be fine, but since you can transfer from one ability to the other as might needed, I'm not sure why this is a crisis."

"I'm guessing you don't think you'll be able to get healing again," Gillian says, drawing from what little she understands of his new ability. Based mostly on what he just said. Only being able to hold one, might mean healing is slippery.

"If you lose healing, I know someone who you can get it from." Just line she found Linderman being against the Linderman act ironic, calling on him to possibly let his ability heal the guy who wants to take him down is also rather ironic.

"Eileen may be getting Gabriel to help, too. If you both help, that won't lead to some kind of immature pissing contest, I hope?" All business. That's the only way she can speak to him right now— and the beard may be the only reason she can manage to look at him. He looks less and less like the guy she thought she might have fallen in love with. It's almost easier— if his voice wasn't still the same.

"Yeah, the healer I took this power from is… gone, dead, I don't know. I think he was handed over to the authorities, and it's taken me months to find just one healer to copy from. I haven't been able to get within handshake distance of Daniel Linderman, and I don't think I'd be able to until after the storm, and Cardinal… as far as I can tell, he's living on borrowed time at the moment." One brow lifts when Peter considers Helena, watching her facefully.

"I'm just… I don't know if I'm in the right mental place to have an ability as tied to my emotions as yours is, Hel. In the long-run having amplification might… be helpful. It's a safer bet, I've got a lot going on right now and…" there's a crack of a smile, "I don't really feel like making it rain all the time." There's more to Peter's answer, more sentimentality and uneasiness connected with emotions he never quite put to words regarding Helena; that much hasn't changed.

The topic of Gabriel is met with long-delayed reaction. It's only when Peter knows he isn't going to stomp his feet and hold his breath — or some slightly less childish reflection of that — does he respond. "As long as you're sure it's Gabriel, there won't be a problem."

"I really don't care which one you pick, as long as you help us." Helena says frankly. "But I will say this: that if you trust me to keep you on keel, I can, and I will, and I think you know that. And that I'm a little bit disapointed that you would turn away from doing something that would save so many people because you're feeling emotionally fragile." Quietly offered, honest, and while it may sting, there's a difference between someone calling it like they see it and trying to be insulting. This is the former from Helena. She's calling it clear on Peter's oh-so-delicate sensibilities. Maybe sensing how harsh it is, she adds, "We appreciate what help you can give."

The idea of him being emotionally fragile, despite the harsh words of the atmo, Gillian's looking a little more sympathetic. She made it rain with jealousy, and then snow with heartache. The weather wasn't something easy to control for her, the short time she had it. When he looks back at her, she shakes her head and looks away, that sympathy still there. "If you can get Cardinal here before tomorrow night, I'll do that first. If you can't— Linderman's the reason…" That she's walking, breathing, and able to help anyone at all…

"I might be able to get you in to shake his hand. Too bad you didn't stop in last night…" Two of them could have done it then, but then he'd have seen her feverish, pale, pained and possibly even dying of infected wounds… "I have a number I can call, that might be able to get you in to see him, if we have to take care of the weather first."

Peter's eyes have been closed since what Helena said, it's hard hearing something like that from her after allt his time. Though it does leave him wondering if hearing that level of conviction from her is a good thing or a bad thing. He doesn't remember her being that strident, and seeing her finding it now seems like a jarring wake up, that she's changed as much as he has. Though her changes, probably less Jeckyl and Hyde than his.

When his eyes open, Peter's looking at Helena. "Everyone's suffering because of this storm, I don't know what's causing it, but I'm willing to stop it if there's a plan." Offering out a hand, it's to Gillian and not Helena, "I'll give this a shot, there's no sense in trying to save Cardinal's life if I'm just going to die from the cold anyway. Hell, I'm not even sure if I could make it back outside without freezing into a solid block of ice."

Brown eyes move to Gillian, considering her quietly. "Amplify me, not a lot, just— enough. I think if we're careful, and if I can focus I might be able to hold on to Sasha's power and yours at the same time. Maybe after having two powers at once I can learn to try and keep more than one at a time without your help. Then…" dark eyes move to Helena, "then maybe three. But like Gabriel always told me,…"

Peter's a bit abashed to actually speak of Gabriel's advice in a favorable light, but after his experiences over the last year they've seemed more and more true. "It's all about control."

The odd thing is, Helena's stance may be strident, but her tone, her demeanor, are rather serene. "We know what's causing it, and there is a plan." she says. "But we're going to move on it pretty soon, so I hope you have enough time to get yourself in balance." She nods a little to Gillian in silent thanks and wordlessly watches the power exchange.

"You have to touch me for this?" Gillian asks, voice soft as she looks down away from his eyes. Brown now. They'd been blue another time he reached asked for her hand, and for her to augment him. It's— She shakes her head a bit, as if not sure she's even remembering it right, as she reaches forward. Not a lot, just a little. Not the flood that went into Linderman last night, but a small stream of energy. From her, into him. "Make sure you don't augment me back right now." The last time that happened—

The blonde girl in the room got tossed into a future that they would later help destroy. A future that's long gone… A future that may never have belonged to any of them.

"I hope you have enough time to get yourself in balance."

The words ring through Peter's head like a gunshot as he reaches out towards Gillian's hand with his. She'd said something similar to him once, when he was a man divided into two warring halves, when he killed Brian just to find out how his ability worked, when he nearly killed Eileen just to send a warning to Gabriel, when he nearly killed himself to try and be the 'real' Peter. It's hard to imagine, looking back, that he's the one who got to live out of that pair, that the clone who was — at his core — a violent and untrusting individual was allowed to live, and the side of him that was doing some good in the world, the side of him that was actually trying to make a difference in his own misguided way died. He always felt like he was the mistake, like he was the copy.

"I hope you have enough time to get yourself in balance."

He thinks on the words again, fingers entwining with Gillian's to cause a soft lavender glow between their hands. Peter visibly tenses, silent and intent as he closes his eyes. The purplish glow surrounds their hands like a faint wafting smoke, driven not by wind but by something more like emotional current.

Drawing in a sharp breath, Peter squeezes Gillian's hand tighter now, and there's a glow of a different color that shines out thorugh both of his ungloved hands. It's yellow-gold, warmer in color than her unusual purple, an inner light beneath his skin unlike the outer radiance of her ability. It exchanges, like a flash of electrical current, sending corusucating veins of yellow light down Gillian's arm with a wave of warm tingling. Peter's other hand sparks, sputters and flickers and for the barest of moments the tingle in Gillian's arm is replaced by a stabbing sensation, just a little more than pins and needles; Kozlow's ability reaching out, right before Peter sucks it back in. His hand jerks from Gillian's at that motion, a breath sharply inhaled and his hand shedding a soft, violet light, the same color emanating from his irises before it cools back down to amber-brown when the glow subsides from his hand.

Helena's expression is impassive as she watches this exchange, perhaps for the first time in the conversation feeling something but her own calm. It's hard to watch, for all that's let go, this little intimacy that Gillian and Peter are sharing. But she keeps her tongue, and lets herself work silently through the moment. "We may get the call tonight. Hopefully, the three we have will be enough, with two to augment. Shall I make a call and find out the status?"

With the loss of connection, Gillian takes quick steps away, reaching up to rub at her arm a bit. That actually felt more like the ability he'd had when his eyes were blue, than the warm healing that washed over her before. "So did it work? You got to keep both?" she asks, watching the extra color as it fades out of his eyes, before looking down and away. His voice and his eyes are the same, even if much of the rest of his face is different…

"You're welcome to stay until we do this. No reason for you to go back outside and freeze to death." There's a lot of people in the building right now, but they have couches, and the floor … and easedropping kids with big blue eyes and not a peep of a sound. "Lance. Stop using your power to easedrop on people." Without a sound, he scurries away back upstairs. Even his stomping feet make no sound.

Exasperatedly breathing in and out, like someone who'd just finished a 500 meter sprint, Peter looks down at both of his hands, alternatingly closing one and then the other. There's a slow, subtle nod of his head, a furrow of his brows, and a consideration of the energies changing between each palm. "I— I think so, I— " his eyes narrow a touch, like he's feeling something out, putting together a puzzle. "I did," he nods, "yeah I— I did." Looking up to Helena, Peter seems a bit shaken by the consideration that the weather manipulation could happen as soon as tonight."

"You… you don't think that— " There's a buzzing sound on the kitchen table, where Gillian's nominally useless cell phone is vibrating from an incoming call, at the same moment Helena's does the same, buzzing in her pocket. Peter's brows crease together and lips part in qordless question, brown eyes flicking back and forth between Gillian's phone and Helena.

A beep later, and a text message appears on Gillian's phone's display.

» Wireless: The Morgue. 9:30pm. Cloudbreaking.

The timing is impeccable.

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