What Do You Believe?


claire2_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif

Scene Title What Do You Believe?
Synopsis Claire and Gabriel just happen to be in the same place at the same time… so they talk.
Date January 13, 2010

USS George Washington

If you follow your feet, you wind up seeking exactly what you need, even if you don't know it at the time. Gabriel doesn't want company, isn't hungry, doesn't require any particular one thing except something to stave off his restlessness. But apparently, he'd like some fresh air, something that only occurs to him when he finds it. Moving along broad tarmac and around Naval officers now used to the occasional drifting civilian, Gabriel breathes in icy sea air as he heads for the railing at a meandering pace. His jacket is heavy in defiance of the cold, stuffed with down, and the ship's lights spills clear yellow out across the deck, shining bright enough to make the USS George Washington a singular star within the stretch of ocean.

He's a rarity, out in the open, and possibly for the best, chin tucking in when an Antarcticish wind whips across the deck, off the ocean. Penguins are tolerated, walked around, though they seem to avoid him without any encouragement, scampering off in different directions with even more care than they do other people.

Already, he'll find there is a figure standing at the railing, bundled in a fluffy warm jacket, hood pulled up against the wind. The only hint at who it could be would the short stature and the wispy lengths of blonde hair that floats in the blasts of icy air. One of the penguins makes itself a annoyance, as it plucks at the laces on her combat boots, tugging at them. What it needs it for, well only Eileen would know that.

Having wandered up a short time ago, Claire needed to get out in the open and away from everyone. While it's still noisy on the deck, it's peaceful in another way… and a bit exciting as she's in a part of the world, she never thought she'd be. The regenerator probably was excited about Madagascar to, not that she can remember any particular thought.

Hands clutch the collar of the heavy jacket, her head tilted down so that she can press the fabric across her nose, warming it up with her body heat and breath. Blue eyes look out over the icy black waters beyond the ship's lights. She's so lost in her thoughts she doesn't notice the approach of the one guy she's been avoiding.

He doesn't immediately recognize her shape. There's a lot of similar shapes, although this one is short, no matter how much of her silhouette these winter jackets disguise. Her stature is enough to catch Gabriel's attention, although he thinks it might be someone else, at first, until gold wisps of hair flicker in wind and light and he sinks his psychic radar into her. He'd done it enough in Madagascar to know, to become familiar with the feelings of a perfectly— and one does mean perfectly— healthy body at the end of that psychic touch.

Gabriel pulls away so fast it almost has him stepping back. The breath that blows out in a sigh turns to steam.

He approaches, despite himself, his foot steps making noise when he moves up towards her position. No sneaking, and no sarcasm when he properly announces his presence with, "Your boyfriend tried to kill me."

Her whole body goes still at the sounds of a painfully familiar voice, breath catching and Claire holds it hoping for a moment maybe she just thought she heard. Hands let go of her jacket as she slowly turns to face him. Hands slide the hood off her head, sending more blonde lengths whipping in the air. Her expression is guarded and suspicious, her gaze slides to the side as if loking fr an escape route, but she doesn't run…. not yet.

"He said you had a fight, but didn't say anything about trying to kill you." The words are said slowly, as if testing her resolve, before continuing. "I didn't tell him, if that is what you think. I don't even really know him." Hands lower to her sides, fingers curl into fists.

Oh. Gabriel lets his gaze go on towards a black horizon of indefinite ice and water, before he's sidling on up to the railing. He gives her a wide birth, some few feet between them as he settles his elbows against cold metal, back curved beneath waterproof down-fat fabric. Stubble creates shadow down his jaw, down his neck which shows itself a little more in this position, pale in contrast to whaleskin coloured jacket. "He said you forgot him," he agrees, watching more the ocean instead of the girl, as if not taking too much care in making sure she stays put while he talks.

"And yet, you remember me," and his emphasis sounds slithery, a smile hooking up. "That doesn't seem fair. For you, anyway. I don't know if he wanted to kill me or if he was just angry, but you were right. That he wouldn't let it slide."

The ex-cheerleader, her part, doesn't really move from her spot, she only pivots slowly to follow his progress, refusing to relax. She won't be caught unaware again. A hand moves to rest on the railing, gripping it tightly with her small hand. "I did…" It's confirmed with a bland tone. "Having someone blast your head apart with a shotgun, kind of does that. All my memories of the past six months mainly. Friends, boyfriend… though I seem to have unfortunately kept a lot of the mission."

Why is she telling him that?

Claire frowns, finally allowing herself to glance away from him to the icky black waters. "Besides, you've been in my life a hell of a lot longer then him." She admits with disgust. "You… tend to leave an impression. Unforgettable really." She'd rather forget him really.

"I don't even remember that moment clearly." That moment when he attacked her. "It's blurry and seems to skip about.. but I remember most of it. The important part." Her head turns, and blue eyes glare coldly, clearly accusing, at Gabriel from behind a thin curtain of wind whipped pale gold.

Claire's tension is countered only with Gabriel's seeming laxness, slumped casual, eyes even hooded lazily to show only the glimmering crescents of pupil and iris beneath heavy eyelashes. Still not watching her, she's doing enough watching for the both of them. His mouth curls into a feline kind of subtle smile at the news that he leaves an impression, sparing her a glance to allow her icy glare to hit home. It might not be the cause, but his smirk does vanish. "Important's an interesting word," he says. "Maybe you should try 'degrading'. 'Painful'. Maybe 'scary', but I don't know about you, Claire, I can't imagine that dying is all that scary to you unless it became a possibility."

He swallows, leaning enough over the lever of his arms set against railing to peer over the side. More ship, and then after that, more water, so far down that it's hard to see its texture, in this light. "I was scared. It was a mistake. Do you remember what happened afterwards?" Now he looks at her, studious, not dissimilar to the way he analyses the things he cuts open, but he's keeping his hands to himself.

Wait. Claire's looks confused at his admission of making a mistake. Brushing hair from her face, a hand hold it against the side of her head, eyes narrowing at him. Did she hear that right? She doesn't ask him to clarify, instead…

"I use to see how many ways I could kill myself." The admission is grated out, as if Claire is not exactly proud of it. "So no, dying isn't as big a deal. Twice I thought I wouldn't be waking up again. It's what happens leading up to it is scary." A pointed look is shot his way. "The thought of you immortal for one. That, Gabriel.. that is scary." Not Sylar… She actually uses his name.

Looking down and then out at the ocean, Claire actually turns her body towards the railing, a sign of her relaxing just a bit, with both hands grip the railing now. After a moment of thought, she says softly, "No… I don't remember. My next memory is standing at the bottom of stares, killing everything that came down."

One thick eyebrow goes up, but Gabriel doesn't disagree. An immortal him is, by rights, not a comforting thought. Not even to him. Just more comforting than the thought of death, which might make Gabriel unique in that regard.

He raises a hand to scratch fingers against his scalp, fingering through damp black hair in a restless kind of way before hands clasp together again over the railing. "I let them put me in a room. I could leave whenever I wanted but I wanted the space. The illusion. I have control issues." The rasping chuckle that goes with that is more visible in the wisps of steam than it is heard. Shrugs. They don't really know each other, just figments that fit together. "I could try again, any time. I won't. This— thing that we're doing is too important, even more important than what you are to me. We're on the same Shield team, so…"

So. His fingers spread. "What do you believe?"

"What do I believe?" Claire sounds somewhat amused at the question, her head turns enough to glance at him out of the corner of her eye, the corner of her mouth turning up. "I believe… I wanted to believe you had maybe changed." Jaw clenching, fingers catch stray hair to tuck it behind her ear again. "Bravo team worked. I was getting comfortable with you somewhat watching my back…" Her voice trails off, she never really trusted him. "I even remember thinking about trying to talk to you for some reason." Her reason gone like so many other things.

"Then you did that and just blew it all away, but…." Eyes slide shut as she says the next, as if it's hard to do, "I agree.." Looking at him, Claire's head nods out at the ocean around them, " …this whole thing is bigger and more important then this… thing we've had between us." The regenerator's lips press tightly as she regards him thoughtfully, "I want to believe you won't try again." There is a 'but' in those words, though she doesn't say what it is.

"Bravo team worked," Gabriel parrots, and he sounds like he agrees. His hands find the railing, grip the cold metal bars, an iciness he can feel through thick gloves as he levers himself into better posture. "I don't know about change. I thought I had too, but I backslid. And at the time, I didn't care. I never care — but I can re-prioritise." He steps back now, sweeping a look up and down with unreadable eyes gone black in bent shadows and backlighting of yellow illumination. Consideration lasts some long seconds, before he takes his hand off the railing upon reaching a conclusion about what's important.

Then, simply; "I won't try again."

He turns up the wool-lined collar of his jacket, and starts to head away from her. Not a miserable shuffle or an arrogant saunter, but pushing off and away in much the same pace he approached. This may be fresh air, but it's cold fresh air.

"I'll…make an effort to believe you wont and try to… " Trust is almost said, but she can't trust him for anything really. "And relax around you, as best I can, so this mission gets done." Claire offers softly in return. Seeing is believing really…. it's easier for him to say he won't, then for the ex-cheerleader to believe he won't.

Turning slowly to watch his retreat, Claire's mind turning over their conversation. So much had changed since she was in high school, she could see it. Maybe that's why it hit hard to have him throw her down in that mud and sawing into her skull. If she had been in his place, faced with a mortal death… would she have done all she could to make sure she lived through it? Her first instinct is to say no, but something stops her.

"I can't forgive you easily for what you did, Gabriel…. but…" Claire calls after the Midtown Man, her voice raising above the carrier's normal sounds, cold whitened breath swept away on the sea breeze..

"I understand."

He doesn't stop walking, not immediately, although the word forgive finally halts him, as much as it's in the negative, like maybe he'd deny even wanting it anyway. Turns enough that she can see a slice of his face, listening as her voice, tinny with youth and small in the vastness of their surroundings, but heard. Gabriel steers a look her way, guarded doubt fixing a mask in place, but at least she can tell that— he—

Heard her. Hands tuck into pockets, and he moves off again without a word, leaving the equilibrium the way it is like one tries not to touch a house of cards.

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