What Is And What Should Never Be


alison_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title What Is And What Should Never Be
Synopsis Taking a chance may not have been the best decision. Truth hurts as much as lies when Gillian goes tests her access to Pinehearst in order to see Peter.
Date July 1, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters

Everyone treats her like she belongs here.

Perhaps in a way, in another time, she does.

Is this how it all started? Did she buy into Arthur's idea of a Bright Future?

The future is so dark, right now, it's nothing but a black spot on the horizon.

Ashen and hungry.

A dim chime emits from elevator doors as they open up into basement level 1 of Pinehearst Headquarters. The sterile white halls and tile floor softly reflecting the dull fluorescent light.

As Gillian Childs steps out into the halls, lab workers pass by her busily, seemingly not a single faltering step having been taken by Pinehearst despite numerous setbacks. Work seems to still be progressing, steadily, towards something, but what that is seems hard to say.

Down here on level 1, there is no sign of Arthur, no familiar faces that show Gillian any sign of recognition, just a cadre of researchers who recognize what the red stripe on her security badge means: Do not bother her.

The red badge gets fingered briefly as she moves, in recognition of the reason they don't stop her at all. If only she'd thought to mention it before— part of her had expected to get stopped at the doors. The assignment ditched, the phone left in a cab. Maybe the man believed she'd just failed and had been too proud to admit the failure? It wouldn't be the first time someone displayed stubborness for the same reason.

Gillian moves down the hall, glancing at the doors to check what the numbers are, to see what people exit with. Nothing of their work could be recognized by her, no training, no ability to understand what certain coats might stand for. Probably the only thing she'd recognize would be a biohazard symbol on something— but that could be just about anything.

Power brings confidence— and it's not abilities that bring power in all cases, but instead a personal power, a respect given with just a single marking on a piece of paper. In a way she could see just how she would get drawn into it.

"Excuse me," she asks one of the bustling interns as she moves down the hall. "Do you know where I can find Peter Petrelli?"

Stopping abruptly, as if she was just asked a far more insulting question, a tiny little sliver of a brunette jerks her head to the side and looks up with a scowl to Gillian. "Excuse me but do I look like a fucking directory to you?" Her head tilts to the side, eyes flicking to Gillian's badge, recognizing the name and she practically pales away her earlier response.

"I— I'm sorry," she stammers, awkwardly, "I didn't mean to… ah," motioning with a pen held in her hand, the brunette points down the hall. "Mister Petrelli's son is in his office right now, I think he's handling some paperwork while Arthur is out." Her eyes flick back to Gillian, brows lowered, "My name is Doctor Meier, by the way," she tucks her pen behind one ear, offering out a tiny hand to Gillian, "it's a pleasure to finally meet you, miss Win— Childs." That could have been a smoother cover.

A deep inhale at the second reaction returns much of the confidence at the woman's stammering. The more the personal level of power works in her favor, the more Gillian could see how it would seduce her. If everyone jumped at her name, her tag— The hand is glanced at for a moment, the hesitation might be due to the slipup of her name, or something else, but she reaches forward and takes it after a moment. "Nice to meet you, too," she says, her handshake loose.

"Thank you. Good luck with— whatever the fuck it is you're doing. Sorry to have interupted you." The cover up had been noticed, and hearing it from another source tugs on her. She should call Sal and Cat, see if either's had time to run the tests.

The confidence helps, keeping her standing extra tall as she let's go, to break away and make it down the hall to the office.

It's somewhat unsurprising, that the office door has Peter's name on it, engraved in a simple placard. It's not so much out of rudeness but prudence that Gillian doesn't knock more than as a warning before opening the door, slowly inviting herself in to the darkly lit yet spacious office, where Peter sits behind a desk in his wheelchair, sorting thorugh a stack of paperwork. At the sound of the door, Peter's brows rise and his dark eyes lift up from the documents. But when he sees Gillian, though, his face all but lights up.

"Oh my God," he immediately lays down the papers and begins rolling out from behind the desk, "Gillian you're back, that's fantastic!" He seems so surprised to see her, yet at the same time so happy to see her, it's like nothing terrible is going on in the world at all…

"The paper work that boring?" Gillian can't help but say, even as the mood strikes her as strange. "Got an office with your name on it and everything… I bet you even got amazing living quarters." Drawn into temptation. How nice would it be to have a center of influence, a steady place to live, even paperwork would be welcome sometimes. She'd done enough of it working for the library.

There's a shake of her head, closing the door behind her and stepping deeper into the office, until she can place finger tips on the desk. A glance is cast downward, looking at the papers upside down. "Doesn't look like you mind that I stopped by unannounced." For a moment, her reasons for coming all this way has been lost. Maybe something to do with him being so happy to see her. Even if her own smile is dampened by the rolling of the wheelchair. His father still hasn't fixed him.

"It's…" Peter's dark eyes flick back to the desk, then focus on Gillian again, "it could be better. But at least I'm doing something. My dad's pretty worried about me, though. He thinks Edward might be trying to get to him through me, so he's had me stay here and out of contact with everyone. I think he's worrying too much, but…"

Giving a shake of his head, Peter rolls his chair back, giving Gillian a bit more room to wander the office. "What have you been up to? It's been a while since you came by here, I hope my dad hasn't been giving you too much to do. It's been a madhouse here, we've had people from the government in here day in and day out."

"I know what it's like to need something to keep occupied with," Gillian says quietly, keeping her eyes down on the paper work, until he rolls back away. The room to wander seems to be taken, looking at the little nicknacks that line the office, other small things. Edward. There'd been one piece of evidence that hinted to the man possibly wanting her out of the picture, so it would be plausable. Or…

"I'm glad you're safe," she says, genuine in the comment, even if her eyes wander away from him rather than stay on him. "People from the government? What kind of people from the government?" Curiousity, but the information could well be valuable. Formulas— people with abilities. Certain bills just recently getting passed. "This have anything to do with that FRONTLINE stuff?"

Nodding in agreement to Gillian's guess, Peter rolls his chair to the side, tucking himself out of the way as if to be unobtrusive. "Yeah, there was a representative from some General who came to see my dad. I guess they're planning on doing a live demonstration of the Formula in a couple of days for the General and his staff to see how it works first hand. I guess that means my Dad's perfected it." What?

"It's been busy, but he tries to not get me involved. I— think he doesn't figure I have a head for stuff like that." Peter frowns slightly, "I kind of want to help out in the lab with the volunteers," his eyes cast to the side, "but Doctor Meier thinks I'd just get in the way."

It's a good thing Gillian's not looking when he says that one part, cause she can pretend she's scrutinizing something against the wall, a picture that she really isn't seeing, when she actually wants to kick something.

It's already done? Well that just fucks everything up. God damnit. No one actually seemed to think he'd finish it. From the lines of tension, it might be noticable that something's wrong. Hands clench into a fist until her knuckles turn white. Only after a few breaths does she feel like she could turn around. Even then the 'Fuck' isn't quite gone from her face.

"You were a nurse. Even if you're not a scientist you could at least help with the nurse stuff." No, that's not at all why she's frustrated— though it does kinda piss her off anyway. "When are they doing that? The demonstration. Dad gonna let you see that at least?"

"Next week? I'm not sure on the date, I'll ask my dad." Peter's brows furrow as he wheels the chair closer to Gillian, "He should be back by now, he had some things to do out of town, I'm surprised you didn't run into him on your way down here. Maybe he got tied up somewhere…" Peter's dark eyes wander to the side, then flit back to Gillian with a raised brow.

"I ah, my dad's said I really shouldn't be around any of the government officials. I mean— I am a wanted fugitive, remember?" He grimaces slightly, "Once he gets this contract in with the government, though, he's going to work to try and clear my record, so I can have a normal life again. Maybe I can even go back to nursing…" Yet somehow he isn't even remotely thinking about Helena, about Phoenix, about what he's been doing these last two years.

There's something definitely wrong with the picture. Gillian can't help but watch him for a long moment, but with his father brought up. Should have been back by now might be one of many cues to get ready to pack up and go. "Seems like you're finding a normal life." Whether real or not— it seems far too good to be true. And too much of it feels like a lie. She knows lies— or she thought she did. Moving closer to where he's out of the way in his wheelchair, her expression stays tense.

"I think your dad managed to find Gabriel. But I'm not sure if he's okay or not." Talking about Gabriel brings a new kind of tension, one she can't really hide. "Do you know anything about it? Is he— somewhere safe?" Not dead. Not stuffed into a fire and burned up. There's many things that could have happened to him. The lie isn't something she's fond of, but she knows why Peter wanted him taken in…

"So he can't hurt anyone anymore?" The serious expression briefly turns to pain. But her pain had nothing to do with the kind of hurt he might be worrying about.

Peter's expression grows tense at the mention of Gabriel, eyes closing and head shaking slowly. "No… I— I don't think so. He hasn't mentioned it to me, I— " brows furrowing, Peter looks up to Gillian with a confused expression. "I— thought you were going to try and talk some sense into him, or— or drag him back kicking and screaming. You're— you're the only one with powers anymore, Gillian. I mean— who else could do it?"

"I didn't find him on my own," Gillian says, only half lying. The times she'd seen the man since she left this place had been at the behest of someone else. It wasn't her that went and took him down, but someone else entirely. Whoever sat inside Teo's head, ruining his image in his friend's eyes. "The one time I saw him since I left… I guess when he's involved… I'm still weak." Truth. One that she doesn't really want to admit to.

"I won't be weak next time I see him," she adds on, quiet, determined. Had to turn herself to iron to keep from breaking down over it, more than a few times, but this time… Not what she'd hoped to hear, not in the least. What if he is burned up and disposed of somewhere?

"You're not weak," Peter states with ardent affirmation, rolling his chair over to her as he takes one of his hands. "You're the strongest woman I know," he says with a warm smile, lacing his fingers between hers in an almost too-intimate gesture. "Gillian, you… you know I believe in you. I always have, and I always will." There's a faint smile there, and Peter offers a squeeze to the hand. "You should stay for dinner, Dad'll be happy to know you're alright."

Always have and always will. Punctuating those words with a sudden stinging inhale, Gillian looks down at the hand that's been taken and just quietly shakes her head. If things had been wrong before, they seem doubly wrong now. Doubts flicker by in her head. "I can't stay I have to…" Go. Away. But the words don't finish, getting caught in her throat as she looks at the way their fingers lace together, a hold that's so…

She should let go— remind him of what's real and what isn't. Of who he asked her to talk to the last time she saw him… Even if he believes everything that he's saying… What if it was all a lie too? What if everything in every life she could have had been built on some kind of lie? There's moisture in her eyes as the confidence gets pulled away from her. It'd be nice if she had something else to draw upon.

"Define always— are you meaning like… since we tried to kill each other on the roof or later than that?"

There's an awkward smile spread across Peter's mouth, "I wasn't quite myself then," he notes with a nervous laugh. "I just— ever since we wound up in Antarctica, I've— I don't know, I've been realizing a lot about you." His smile softens some, takes on a more honest twist. "I— I've been, I don't know, realizing I've been missing a lot in life by living the way I had— hiding myself away from everyone, I…" Peter's head downturns, his hands returning to the wheels of his chair, "I don't know if I'm ever going to walk again, and… I guess that's given me some perspective," his dark eyes lift up to Gillian, "on who and what is important to me now."

Tell Helena I miss her

Those words rattle around in Gillian's mind from their last encounter. Something is very wrong.

"I'm not important, Peter," Gillian suddenly finds herself saying, trying to let go of his hand. What's wrong is the same as what had been wrong before. Lies. Always lies. Everyone everywhere lies. Lies could be nice to indulge— in some ways she almost wants to indulge. But the fact that she knows it's a lie makes the might be the truth stand out even louder than before.

"Last time I was here you told me to tell Helena that you were okay." The words come quiet, almost accusing even. "And fuck all— I did." Eyelids blink a few times, a couple tears escape to roll down her cheeks against her will. The whole thing is wrong. "She misses you and you missed her and this whole fucking thing today is wrong. It's not true. It's— I don't want anything that isn't real. I've been lied to enough."

For the expression on Peter's face, Gillian may as well have kicked him in the shins. He rolls his chair towards her, lips parting but no words coming. Then, as if like something out of a nightmare, he asks, "Helena?" Dark brows furrow together, and Peter's head tilts to the side, eyes narrowing as he doesn't seem to make a connection. "I'm… she… was in PARIAH, right?"

Oh God.

"Gillian I— whatever she has to do with this I— it doesn't matter," his hand waves dismissively from the wheel, "she doesn't matter. You— you're the one who matters to me, and— and it took losing the ability to walk to get it through my thick skull. I— I love you Gillian." It's like knives slid under her skin, peeling her back and bare, those words. "I— I don't know why I kept thinking otherwise for so long, I— " his brows furrow, "I'm sorry."

It's all wrong. There'd been pain the last time that Gabriel touched her, held her hand— and this somehow finds a way to creep up in an attempt to match it. Gillian feels her throat tighten, tears slide down her cheeks as she pulls back, forcefully releasing his grasp and stepping away, hoping to keep ahead of his wheels. "Son of a bitch," she curses thickly, voice even more hoarse than normal due to emotion. "What the fuck did he do to you?"

All the moments when she felt close to him find themselves brought into— no, no they were real. They'd happened before he fell into this place, before he got stuck in a wheel chair. Before he forgot Helena and what should have mattered to him.

But in her mind this explains far more than she wants it to, and that hurts— it also makes her outright furious. At the man who had to be responsible for it. Intel and information might have been the goal when she walked in, but now— now…

"This whole thing is a fucking lie— you're being manipulated. You don't know what— Do you even remember how we met?! Do you remember how we ended up in Antarctica? Who you disappeared and left me to go look for? Do you remember what happened when you were trying to teach me to use your ability?"

Peter's brows furrow, his eyes going wide as he watches Gillian with confusion and distrust — being told the feelings he believes so strongly in are nothing but lies. He breathes out a rough, ragged gasp as he sees the emotion take over Gillian and overwrought her expression. His fingers grip white-knuckled tension around the wheels of his chair, lips parting ever so slightly in wordless disbelief.

"I…" His brows furrow, his own dark gaze turning misted, "I— I don't remember…" Swallowing dryly, Peter looks up at Gillian with an uneasy expression of nervousness. "I— my dad said I have some— some memory issues from— from my head trauma. I— p-please it— it's okay Gillian I…"

He begins to roll that creaking wheelchair forward, "I love you," like glass in an open wound, "I— I know what I'm feeling is real," like needles under her fingernails, "I— I know it is."

The wheelchair chases after her, whether he'd intended that or not. Gillian's breath shakes slightly as she stops moving away. Memories are removed, edited. It's a situation she'd dealt with one— loving someone who hadn't known who she was— this time it's different. Now she might be one of the only things he remembers.

It's not real.

Yet he says it so easily. He believes it so willingly. But would he say it if he remembered everything? The head trauma happened before he mentioned Helena to her.

Eyes close all the way, hands raise up to wipe away the tears. The anxiety he feels tries to give her back some of that strength. "Peter— I." The hand strays to her mouth, as if trying to hold back the words, but then her hand lowers. "I love you, too."

It's not an easy feeling— and not one she's been able to admit in such words before. Truth hurts just as much as lies, sometimes.

"Will you leave here with me? Right now? I can take you to someone who can fix your back— your legs, help you walk again— And I can protect you. You don't have to stay here."

Furrowing his brows, Peter watches Gillian with an uncertain expression. "Gillian…" his eyes narrow slightly, jaw trembling, "why— why would you take me away from my father? He— all he wants from me is what's best. He— he promises he's going to fix me. I— protect me from what?" Leaning forward, Peter's focus has gone elsewheres, "Gillian… we're safe here. Don't— don't you trust my father?"

It's impossible for him to feel any other way, save for the way he speaks to Gillian, the way he wants so desperately to find out her intentions.

No, because your father is an evil bastard! No, that's not the right thing to say right now, even if it's true. Even if she wants to punch him repeatedly for what he's done.

The pain makes Gillian step back again, until she runs into the door finaly. No where else to retreat except through it, and quickly the the elevators. Something she should've done when the man's father had first been mentioned. "I need to go— I haven't— there are things I need to do and… I wanted you to be with me." That's also the truth, if with some reasons left out.

If she could get him away from this place, they could fix him— he could remember who he's supposed to be.

And then he wouldn't love her anymore, would he?

"I have to go," she suddenly says, turning to open the door.

With Arthur amorphously forming from a rippling curtain of shadow standing directly between Gillian and the door, his suit as jet black as the shadows he was once cut from.

"Do you have any idea how hard it is to eavesdrop on a psychic?" His tone is conversational as a hand is raised, freezing Gillian in place as though it were suddenly a game of red light, green light. "Thankfully," Peter looks horrified throughout the entire display, wheeling his chair over to the two, only to be swatted out of his chair and against the desk like a fly by a flick of two of his father's fingers, "my idiot son has a mind like an open book now. Gillian…"

Arthur's blue eyes narrow, "You have no idea how disappointed I am in you." A flickering blue-green spark appears over one finger as Arthur points it in the air towards her. "You could have had everything."

Then, with a sweep of his hand, a blue-green flash of laser-light swipes clean across Gillian's throat, smoke and bubbling red flesh not even oozing blood or allowing for a scream. When Arthur releases the telekinetic hold on Gillian, however, her body falls in one direction, and her head topples and rolls in another.

Arthur sighs, lowering his hand slowly as his fingers curl up against his palm. "I hate it when things don't go according to plan."

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