Values of Consequence


gillian_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Values of Consequence
Synopsis Because there has to be some, right? Tavisha returns from his first loss in the fight ring for some pillow talk. In the end, they both don't really know the man he used to be, but it's better than the alternative of ignorance. Maybe.
Date March 4, 2009

Staten Island: Abandoned House

Dark. And not nearly as warm as she'd like it to be. Mostly because the bed is empty except for her, wrapped in covers and waiting for someone to get home. Gillian rolls over in her bed, pulling her bag closer to pull out one of the phones that she has thanks to Phoenix, turning it on to check the time, check for text messages that might update her on the going ons. Nothing right now. Nothing new. And he's later tonight than usual.

The phone is closed, turned off again, and tucked away into her bag, right next to something else that draws her attention. A card.

There's a rustle in the house that startles her, but it's just Chandra, who seems to have found something worth chasing. A mouse or a bug. At least it's not a bird, though he'd probably chase that too.

As she makes a sound with her tongue, he stops running around near the wall and looks over, giving a 'what?' kind of expression, before he takes off again toward another room.

The card gets another long look. Under the covers she's just wearing a shirt, one of his rather than one of her own, buttons done up.

Somewhere else in the house, a door opens and shuts, with far less caution than all those months ago when he'd come and go as silently as he could, almost phantom-like when he'd had too many secrets to fathom. There's a certain clunkiness to the sound of his movements, heavy and uncaring of the hour. Twin thumps as shoes are taken off and dropped somewhere in the front room, but no lights are reached for. Sound aside, perhaps Tavisha is trying to be polite.

A pause, silence, as if he's trying to decide where to go next. The kitchen. The bathroom. Instead, he moves towards the sound of a heartbeat, and again doesn't bother to turn on the lights when his darkly shadowed self appears in the doorway. Without a hell of a lot of grace, he moves towards the mattress, socked feet not making much noise against cheap carpets. "You're awake?"

Even without lights on, there's enough to see by once eyes have adjusted at least. Mostly thanks to little things. Ambient light from the windows, the cellphone that she'd opened having helped with that too. At the sound in the hall, Gillian shoves the card deep into the bag again and leaves her hand there, reaching to grab onto something. One of her many self defense devices she carries around with her.

One she's not going to need. It'd not sounded like the door got forced open, so someone with a key must have been responsible, but she's not completely sure until she hears his voice. From the speed of her heartbeat, she's not asleep. Not even attempting it.

It slows when he speaks, though, as if his voice gives her some kind of comfort. The hand slides out of the bag, leaving behind whatever she'd been reaching for as she rolls over so she can look in his direction. The outline, mostly. "I'm awake," she whispers, voice tight, raspy. "You okay?"

"Yeah." Shuffle, shuffle, he sheds his coat and lets it fall into a heap on the floor, before maneuvering over towards the mattress, not quite landing in a similar heap onto it, managing to simply sit on the edge, long legs sprawled over the floor. It dips under his weight, and Tavisha runs a hand through his hair. Even from here, the scent of bourbon is a strong one, and the staler scent of cigarette smoke an undercurrent.

"I, uh."

He's peeling off socks as he talks, a distinctly guilty edge in his voice, yet another difference. "Am late." A rough chuckle, and he shifts to lean riiight back, enough that the back of his head can find a bedsheet covered thigh to pillow against. Disheveled hair, five o'clock shadow adding more darkness to his face, but bruises form a cluster low on his jaw, then unflatteringly spread across his nose. Ow. He even winces a little when the back of his head initially settles, but his expression smooths out again once more.

Bourbon and cigarettes. Gillian's starting to wonder if life as a pirate has turned him from a watchmaker/serial killer into a man a little more her original type. All he'd need is more tattoos, a motorcycle, and possibly a drug problem to go with it. Then again, since she's met him, she thinks he taste in men has gone through some rather big changes…

What light she has to see by doesn't give her as much a view of him as she might like, but it gives her an idea. The way he moves, his mannerisms. "You've been fighting," she says, shaking her head in the darkness. Not quite sitting up, the covers do fall away from her a little as she props up on an elbow at least. It doesn't sound like this surprises her too much. "You always did seem to find trouble wherever you went… When we finally got clothes off the first time, I was amazed at how you could've hid all those wounds from me." Gunshot wounds especially. Cuts and bruises she understood, but healed gunshot wounds?

"You want to tell me what happened?" There's a tone to her voice that shows she's not sure he will, but she's asking anyway. Tavisha has been a little more forthcoming than Gabriel had been.

"I can't say I'm surprised." In the dark, it seems to only make the gravel in his voice stand out, or maybe that's the drinking. His eyes drift shut, as if he could easily fall asleep like this, half on the frameless bed and fully dressed. In actual fact, he's just been looking forward to shutting his eyes ever since the lead pipe found his skull. More obscured in the dark are the bruises at his throat, where he'd been choked into unconsciousness.

A deep breath in makes his chest lift, and Tavisha settles a little more comfortably. "I work in a sort of… Evolved fighting ring," he admits. Seems like a good idea. Underneath the self-medicated shots of bourbon and the haze of his headache, he can't recall the logic in keeping it from her just now. It's not like she'd get herself into trouble, right? "The man who runs it promised me he'd help me get my memories back. I, uh." A hand raises, fingers rub against the side of his face that isn't sore. "Lost. First time."

Oh no, Gillian's never been the type to get herself in danger. She just sleeps with a former serial killer. That's all. She shifts so that she's laying on her stomach, rolled a little closer to where he's found himself so that she can reach over with a hand and touch his chest. Lightly. With no knowledge of the extent of her injuries, she can at least be gentle with him as he speaks, telling her the truth.

Evolved fighting ring. There's been a report in one of the many updates from the Pheonix operatives about an illegal fighting ring, kidnappings… It'd been very vague, but she'd read it in one of the messages. It was when she'd still been waiting for verification that she could contact and see him. She read much of those messages, when they came, as rare and brief as they might have been. Still… he's involved.

There's some surprise in her heartbeat, what could be worry on her breath. "I know you can fight. Or you could. But I don't even know which of your abilities you've rediscovered yet… How did you lose?" Her voice is quiet, as if she's aware he might fall asleep on her, but she doesn't stopasking questions. Not yet. She'd always pictured him as stronger than almost anyone, even stronger with her. A survivor, one of the best.

Like a cockroach.

Sensing her movement, Tavisha shifts too so he's no longer resting his head against her, settling more fully on the bed, legs curling a little as he finds a comfier position. "I'm a good fighter," he feels the need to point out. Well. Good in that he can throw people into walls and throw things at people and laser them until it's called good. And on one occasion, turn them into dust. Perhaps that's not what makes a fighter, really.

That thought summons up a recent memory— a memory of a memory, perhaps— the dark figure of a man in Tavisha's moment of stun when he'd been knocked in the head. Those words that he had understood without knowing why. God, how many people does he have in his head?

"He was quick," Tavisha explains, eyes opening a little so as to look at the moon-white face of the woman in bed with him. "No powers, I think he… knows how to fight without them. He hit me hard enough that I couldn't think. And he knew me. Knew who I was. Said I worked for him."

A contemplative pause, as if mulling over the name before he says it out loud. "Ethan Holden."

It certainly makes a survivor. And a very powerful weapon. Gillian keeps her hand on him, but it is a damn good thing they switched. As soon as he says 'said I worked for him' there's a hint of something in her heartbeat. And then the name is said, and she's suddenly sitting up. The hand on him is now very tense, her arm muscles tighten, her jaw clenches. And most importantly her heartbeat speeds up. It's a sound of fear, anger, hatred, a sudden burst of adrenaline brought on by emotion. There's a bleed of energy from her for a second, that she smashes down as quickly as it started. That too causes a hike of worry, of tension.

She's avoided using her ability around him, at Teo's request, even when she'd get caught up in emotion. This is different, though. Ethan. Someone he worked with. "Fuck," she curses rather sharply, avoiding physically moving away from him. Her breath is faster, like she just woke up from a bad dream, and she can't help but look toward the door. What if this man followed him home? What if…

"I wish you would've— " she rasps harshly, but doesn't finish. Won? Beat him to a bloody pulp? Killed him? Anger and hatred are rare from her. But apparently this man has earned it. "Where do these fights take place?" She asks instead, a stubborn sound added with the anger in her voice.

That bleeding of power, the spiking of surge that's gone as quickly as it came, doesn't get a reaction from Tavisha. Perhaps he doesn't know what that was. He's drunk, anyway. Strange and inexplicable feelings are bound to surface. Besides, something has happened, and he lies still in confusion as she sits up, hand resting firmly on his chest like a cat might pin something beneath her paw.

"Gillian…" Tavisha starts, blinking rapidly in the darkness, a larger hand coming to cover her's. "It's— in the Rookery, but it's— listen. I think they're holding Ethan there against his will. He knows Eileen, and he wanted him and I to fight our way out, expected us to work together. I knew it wouldn't work, so we finished the fight. I'm— I'm going to talk to him soon, but…" He folds an arm, propping himself up on an elbow. "Who is he?"

"He's the fucker who ruined my life," Gillian says harshly, even if she looks down at the hand covering hers as she pins him against the bed. He could get out of it if he wanted to, she knows he could. There's no real getting around this. "He's the son of a bitch who staged a fucking attack on me." That's what she thinks it had been now. A stage. A fake. A lie. The truth had been unraveled in more ways than one. It still gives her a hatred for the Company, even if it turned out to be fake, but it doesn't change how much she blames the face she holds the most responsible. Her handwithdraws a little to allow him to prop himself up, some of the weight taken off of it.

Michael. Ethan.

"When you disappeared the first time he showed up at our apartment, kicked the door in, threatened me with a knife, nearly broke my wrist when I tried to defend myself… until I told him what happened to you." One thing she's always hated. Feeling helpless. And he made her feel like that, in more ways than she could ever really explain. The anger hasn't left her voice, but hair falling into her face as she looks down at him. "And he acted like he owned me. No one owns me."

There's some details of what happened she hadn't told him, many of the things that happened to her. There's some things she's still omitting. Like how he practically said he knew about her sister, like he had some part on what happened to her…

And Eileen. That's a name she saw in the Catabase too. A picture. A face. Vanguard. A source of information. An ability that she's heard reference to. And most likely… the one he'd gone back for that night. She did remember hearing… a voice. A woman's. "Eileen," she repeats the name. It's not quite a question, but… "That's part of your life I still don't know much about," she continues. The anger hasn't faded, though it isn't directed at him, really.

"I don't know much about it either," Tavisha admits, voice barely above a whisper as he watches her in the dark, serene in a way but concern knits his brows together. "I know… I was involved in some shit that— was dangerous. No details. Eileen said they used me, for what I could do. I guess lied to me. But I know Eileen and I tried to stop them, in the end. Maybe Ethan did too."

Or maybe, and this seems more likely to the uninformed, considering Gillian's words, Ethan is after— revenge? Or— Tavisha's eyes close. The blank spaces of memory can be suffocating at times, making his heart beat a little harder with anxiety, which Gillian might even be able to detect under her hand. "Or not, I don't know. I'm sorry he hurt you. I think I hurt him too, a little bit," is offered, eyebrow raising and a hint of a smile that fades fast. Eileen had screamed at him to not do that, and conflict wedges a shard of ice in his heart for a moment, head turning away to stare at the nearby wall for the moment.

"I guess it's too much to expect everything to leave me alone, huh?" he asks, rhetorically and bitterly, bourbon still roughing his words, slurring them at the edges. "In and out of my head."

"They used you— and they tried to use me, too," Gillian doesn't know what their plan had been for her, or what had been going on in the background while she tried to live out her life, working in a bowling alley and living with a man she barely knew but somehow trusted to protect her. A man she ended up falling in love with. A man who…

Killed her sister.

"Yeah… guess we'll never get to run away from everything that's happened," she says softly, looking down at him. At least the anger is lessening, melting away some. Maybe Ethan betrayed Vanguard too. Maybe they all did in the end. Maybe once they realized the goal was nothing short of global anniliation, they realized that wasn't what they signed on for. She's pretty sure that's how he felt about it. From that one conversation in a sea of strings.


"What do you mean in your head?"

His eyes move, swivel to regard her, before one broad shoulder lifts a little, and he shifts to sit up, despite the throbbing in his head that protests this. Side by side, facing each other, Tavisha can wind an arm around her, resting it lazily across her thighs.

"These memories I have. Like the way I dreamed you, but, I don't think they're mine. Like I took them from others and they're just sort of… there. Disconnected. A piece of the person I took them from. I knew Eileen's voice before I ever met her, and there's…" A nervous chuckle, as if he's aware this sounds crazy. "This one that… I don't know. Sometimes they tell me to do things. Tonight, there was a new one, after I lost the fight."

A hand comes up to touch the ends of her hair, let it whisper against his fingertips. Glossy black hair, this one had that too. A coat that shone in a way that suggested leather. The obvious disapproval. Old friend. "Lao pengyou," Tavisha murmurs out loud, confusion etching his face, almost forgetting her presence. Then, more abruptly, his dark eyes seek out her's again. "I wonder if this is why I was— the way I was but I'm not so sure. Makes sense, though. Serial killer has voices in his head that tell him to kill. Makes sense." Bitter bitter.

Memories. Pieces of someone else. The way he's describing it makes her momentarily think about a certain something he told her about. A conversation of great importance to her, which is why Gillian remembers it pretty clearly. The last time she saw him before the bridge. Voices in his head… "Eileen is the one who talks to birds, right?" It's a quiet question, one she already knows the answer to. It was in the Catabase. Only part she read extensively were the files on Vanguard.

"You once told me that… you found a way to take abilities without… doing what you used to do. You said that's how you got the ability to talk to birds." And he'd tried to use it on her sister. And failed. "You didn't tell me how or…" She trails off… "You described it as someone else's memory, right?" She's sitting up now, the anger having drifted away as she reaches up to touch his face in return, gently, since what little she can make out looks like he's been pummeled.

Another conversation. Also important. The first time they kissed. When he wanted to know if she liked him. When she admited she did.

"You told me you had an ability… you said it didn't work like… like you thought it would." And she doesn't know who he killed to get it, or who he used it on, or what profound effect it had on them. "You said you saw someone's thoughts. And… more than that. It was the first time I ever really saw you… anywhere near like you are now." Almost… vulnerable.

He could ask, what did I used to do?, but it's long since occurred to Tavisha that it might be best not to know. Not to know anything. How many times has he received that advice? Not just from a victim, but from someone was supposedly a friend? He's quiet, instead, as Gillian talks, not flinching away or really reacting to the soft brush of fingertips against bruised skin. "That must be part of it," he says. Because really, the alternative to this explanation is that he's crazy. He'd like to believe he's not that - broken, irreparable.

Unredeemable. "I must have done that to you," Tavisha says, raising an eyebrow, a shoulder shrugging. "Eileen, and… two men, now. An old man, I think his ability… he keeps encouraging me to use it. He saved me, the first time I was in the fighting ring. I almost died there, and then he told me I— was too special. To die. And I turned my opponent into ash."

Fingers still touching her hair curls a loose lock around it, winding in between his fingers like ink. That's not exactly a proud moment to speak of, even at the time… he felt pride. "Then that new one, tonight. Lots of black." Whatever that means, and he tilts his head in an apologetic gesture. That's all he can describe it as. "I don't think he liked me losing. Giving up. I guess some memory is better than no memory, but…"

The being crazy thing she wouldn't have liked either. Though… Gillian has to let her hand lower away from his face as she processes what he added. There must have been some using it on her. Not fond of this idea, it would seem, but she nods after a moment. "I'm sure you'd rather have it all back…" Everyone else might be telling him it's better that way, and maybe it is… but at the same time… "I would like you to have it all too. There's a lot of questions I still need answers to," she says softly.

"It's who you are… you're already paying for things that you've done, things that have been done to you. And you don't even remember them. It's not fucking fair." Is anything? Will anything ever be? He remembered everything when he said he loved her on the bridge. If he remembers everything, he'll still feel the same, right? He doesn't even remember why he loves her, or that he did at all. Except for her having told him.

"The ash thing— that sounds like the guy who was using you. The boss. The reason you were on the bridge that night at all was him… he… used you." There's a small hesitation. This is something she's also avoided. An explaination of everything. "If Eileen says you turned against him, I think you did. And I think it cost you. On the bridge, for a while… you weren't you. You were him. He'd found some way to take over your body. We worked together to free you from him, to destroy him."

There's a hesitant look, and she reaches up to touch his face again. "But I guess something of him stayed behind…" That… she really doesn't like.

"I guess so," Tavisha agrees, obviously trying to roll this over and around in his own mind. And it's so convoluted and mysterious that he almost simply shelves it for later reference. The man who used him to further his plan for— a viral apocalypse— possessed him and then—

…Tavisha's forehead rests against Gillian's shoulder, letting out a soft laugh. Round and round it goes. He wishes he was a little more sober for this. "You're right, it's not fair." He'd said as much to Teo, too, when the man had pressed him for what he wanted and Tavisha hadn't a clue. "I never thought that… it would be anything like this. That I'd be anything other than normal."

He stays there, a moment, before lifting his head again. A shaft of moonlight's managed to creep its way through the window as the cloud shifts, giving them both a half mask of light, eyes brighter than before. "I want it back. You don't get to be punished for all the sins of the past without getting to learn something along the way, right?"

It's a lot to process. And she left out so many details. Imagine if she tried to explain the situation with the Peters that got him sent to the future and then Antartica? As he leans against her fully, Gillian's arms slide around him and she holds onto him, tilting her head in his direction so that she can kiss his hair. "Nothing's ever normal. But I can tell you that your life's… interesting." And it will never stop being interesting. At least he should know why he has consequences, if he's going to have to live with them.

Arms stay around her, nose and lips against his hair, breath hot on his scalp as she continues to speak. "I think you did learn… you betrayed him… you fought him. You tried to stop being what you were." Or— at least she thinks he was trying.

"You just need to figure out how to fix it… I'm sure you can."

It might just be her opinion, Tavisha knows that, but he can't help but hook onto it. You tried to stop being what you were. Perhaps, in a way, the man he was would appreciate this, losing his memory and given a second chance. But it can't work that way. A clean slate doesn't make for an innocent man. A second chance isn't about forgetting. It's about learning, understanding, fixing.

A hand comes up to stroke through Gillian's hair, nudge her enough so he can look at her a moment, and then kiss, slowly, needily. Lets out a shaky, half-chuckling sigh once it's over. Like a weight's been taken off his shoulders, and he's not entirely sure why, but it's a nice feeling. "I will."

Nudging her into a kiss isn't difficult. Lips part to taste the bourbon. Gillian can't help but chuckle dryly in return when he pulls back. Mostly at the taste of the alcohol. Looking into what she can see of his face with dark-adjusted eyes, she kisses him again when he states he will. It's a lighter kiss, less needy, more quiet and soft. There's something different, though. Things have changed. Before she would kiss him with a kind of fiery passion, but this is far more tender.

"I'll help you," she whispers against his lips once she pulls back. "I don't know how… but if I can find a way, I'll help you." There's only so much she can do. The one thing she can offer in help is… "I'll be here when you remember." She waited for him at the apartment, even after Ethan broke in and attacked her. Even after he claimed the apartment was her own, and she lived there because he let her. She tried to help him by going to Phoenix when no other option presented itself. And she even waited for him on the bridge…

And he hopes he's still himself to appreciate it. What if he turns into an entirely different person? That's hard to believe, but it's certainly a fear people seem to have. But certainly the person who seems to matter the most, if not the person who knows the most, doesn't share it. Tavisha just nods, gives her a half-smile in the half-light. "I want to remember you, too," he says. It would be nice to love someone. He can't honestly say he does - not even Gillian. Buying into this, responding to love, returning the gestures as sincere as they are, isn't the same as actually being in love.

Of that, he's reasonably sure. A final touch, fingertips brushing down the slope of her jaw, before he's moving away, up and off the bed to head for the bathroom. Where he'll presumably shower enough so as not to smell like he's rolled out of the worst of dive bars - alcohol, smoke, blood and sweat - and then return to perhaps be a little more sober and presentable. If she can wait for as long as she has for the man she loves, she can wait a little longer for that too.

March 4th: Inconvenience
March 5th: Adam Black
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