What We Do


gillian_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title What We Do
Synopsis It's all that matters in the end.
Date April 28, 2009

Great Kills Library - Staten Island

Dark hair — toussled.

Dark eyes — wide.

Dark clothes —body hugging.

Red lips. — parted.

When you have all the time in the world, there's plenty of time to take into consideration all of the things you might have overlooked. Just who Gillian Childs is amounts to one of many things on a long list belonging to Peter Petrelli. There's an unearthly grace and beauty to the way single strands of hair hang frozen in time, float effortlessly in a perfect moment taken as a snapshot. The late afternoon sunlight that filters thorugh the boarded up windows of the Great Kills Library likewise is a moment in time kept in place for what seems like eternity. Ever shining golden rays refracting off of billowing clouds of dust that hang perfectly still in the air, stirred up by Gillian's booted footfalls through the old, abandoned stacks of the library.

Walking around her frozen form, Peter's dark brows tense together, a single hand reaching out to brush a lock of dark hair from her face, letting the shiny threads of inky hair drag over the backs of his fingers. Arthur had chosen her of all people to come look for him, to come save him, and she was one of many people he could never bring himself to ask for help.

There is either a coincidental or intentional irony in all of that, though Peter doesn't find it particularly amusing. Peter exhales a sigh, one that stirs the dust's timeless stillness in swirling motes that break up the golden rays of light, and walks around behind Gillian, standing with his arms folded as he leans against one of the bookshelves, letting time catch up again, and the latter half of a squeak from Gillian chirps out through the library as she finishes tripping over a book on the floor, sending it scuttling across old and cracked tile. She falters with two hopping steps, catching her balance again, with Peter watching silently behind her.

Every time this place gets a visit, there's a new layer of dust to walk over. Once Gillian stumbled right back out, because a homeless person had found the building and decided to crash for a night, but that isn't one of those times. Dark eyes saw nothing to give a clue of someone. All she had to worry about would be unseen books— like the one she just tripped over. The small hops and steps needed to catch herself are made even more difficult thanks to the tall heels on her boots, which add a couple inches to her normal height, and she starts to curse under her breath — her lips were parted, perhaps she had already started cursing. The book slides into the stairwell that she'd been walking toward. Not safe to climb really, but safe enough to act as a seat. She doesn't get all the way, though.

It couldn't be called a touch really. Like a whisper of one. Something that tickles her scalp while that same tingle just barely registered on her cheek. The face happens to be one of the most sensetive places of the human body, and even with trickery of timestop it registers something, enough to make her blink and pause.

A casual glance isn't expecting to turn up anything, so for a moment the man nearly blends in with the wall behind her, until he doesn't. She jumps, turning all the way so she can stumble back. "Jesus Christ, Peter. You— do you always just sneak up on people?"

"Sorry." He's not, really. "I thought I'd stop by and check up on you," his head nods towards the door, "that guy who followed you here, he was thinking about mugging you." Leaning off of the bookshelf, Peter takes a few meandering steps across the floor, boots sweeping books away with each step, "He thinks it's a much better idea to go seek confession now," there's a crook at the corner of his lips, "what're you doing out here?"

It's a blunt enough question to ask, and as Peter does, his posture seems to relax some. His shoulders slouch and his breathing becomes slower, eyes wandering lazily the way the sunlight plays on the tattered spines of old and forgotten books left behind when this island was evacuated.

"There was someone— " Gillian shifts her eyes to the entrance of the Library, likely wondering how she managed to miss someone following her. Not a tracker, she doesn't have the capabilities to always know when someone might be following her, but there's a stiffening in her shoulders. "I have a taser— I could've handled him." Defensive of her, but after a moment the shoulders lower and she lets her arms shift, so that the bag hanging at her side shifts. A few careful steps across the floor brings her just a bit closer.

"I like it here. I used to be a librarian, remember? And it's better than the one Phoenix used to use— since it got taken. I stop by every so often, to think. To get off the streets. Better than the flattened suburb," she adds after a moment, before looking up at him. "You look more like yourself." Could be talking about getting out of his prison garb, and settling into society.

"I'm guessing you haven't found Windy yet…" The raspy voice may have settled from the startled gasps, but the volume stays low, almost sounding like a whisper.

"I used to be a nurse," Peter says with a bitter scoff, "you don't see me hanging around hospitals or graveyards." Scratching at the side of his face, Peter's dark eyes wander the ruined books, then lift up to Gillian. "I saw my father," and that cuts through everything else, cuts through all of the conversation with the raw, hard facts. Sharing that, Peter finishes his meandering approach to Gillin, hands still tucked away within the pockets of his slacks, brows furrowed together into a look of perpetual frustration.

"You were right, it— it's him." He doesn't answer the question directed to him, in fact he does everything but answer it, maybe it's easier that way to admit failure by omission. "I came back here to apologize for doubting you, and…" Peter wrinkles his nose, looking down to the floor, "ask you what you thought about everythying. My dad— Pinehearst— I'm… I'm a little overwhelmed."

There's a lot being laid on the table. Things they need to talk about. Things they hadn't been able to at the time. He's not answering one of her questions, but she takes another steo forward until she's invaded his personal space, leaning over slightly so that she can look up into his face. Eyes downcast make for some manuevering. The Pinehearst question is important, but she backs up to add something else on instead.

"It might do you some good if you did hang out at a hospital," Gillian says, looking him over a few times. "People can't just run away from something that meant a lot to them. Nursing is years of training, right? Probably a lot more than Librarian. You didn't go into it for no reason. You could go for a little while, even if just to help out. You don't even have to wear your own face if you don't want to. No one would need to know it's you."

Running away is something he needs to stop doing, but she often has to wonder what he'd always been running from… besides blowing up the city. That she can understand.

Pinehearst… She straightens a bit. Speaking of running from the past. She sometimes does it to. In her own way. "Do you believe in ghosts? Do you think that… sometimes people come back to tell you things? What you're supposed to do— decisions you're supposed to make?"

Peter's shoulders tense up when asked that, at first giving Gillian a look as if she were teasing him, or in some way making fun of him. But when he notices the seriousness in her eyes, on her face, he relents some and inclines his head down, giving a slow and gentle shake. "I— don't know…" it isn't the easiest answer for him to force out. "I used to believe in a lot of things, I guess— maybe I still do, I— I haven't been to church in— "

Too much, too personal. Peter waves one hand flippantly in the air, as if to dismiss anything he was talking about, "why're we talking about ghosts?" Something else is on his mind, but he seems troubled to even bring it up, lingering on Gillian's own unwanted hyperbole as a means of escape from more difficult topics.

Church. The last time Gillian went into a church… better not to go into that right now. Stick to ghosts, it's a relievent topic, really. For someone who used to call him assface (and recently honey bun) to his face, she certainly wasn't joking about him going into nursing being important to him. Certain things that break the mold people expect them to go into tend to be important in some way. Her family didn't exactly want her to go into library work. They seemed far more supportive of her sister's potential modelling and acting career.

That… also relevent.

"When I went to Pinehearst… while I was in the lobby. I saw my sister. Jenny. She died in November." There's a little doubt in her voice. This would be something she'd not really shared with anyone. Not even the man she's sleeping with. Not anyone who doubted her at the Phoenix meetings. "It was probably a hallucination— but— I blame myself for what happened to her. How she died."

That… also not something she shares often. "I should blame the fucker who killed her. You think I would, but I…" she shakes her head, finally taking a few steps back. Sturring up the dust. Hands raise to rub over her eyes, pushing bangs back out of her face. "I thought it was the Company that killed her— I told you that. But it wasn't. She's why I betrayed Gabriel that night— why I saved your life." The… other him. "It was her power. Water control. He was using it exactly how she would. It reacted exactly how hers did. It was her power. And I…"

Her voice breaks. Taking in a slow breath. "She told me that things hadn't been resolved, for her. That she was there for a purpose. That I was special." Such a loaded word, special. "And when I agreed to help them, she told me I made the right choice. That I was doing the right thing. I think I would have helped you anyway, but…"

Guilt. It's that thread that binds Peter and Gillian together right now, the one commonality between two vastly different people, the one scar both bear in their own ways, internally and externally. He can sympathize, and it shows in his features with a slight bob of his head. It's all so personal though, hard to find the right words. Watching Gillian, there's a flash of doubt, about what she says she saw, but Peter's seen and done so many things that seem impossible — regretably none of the more unscrupulous possibilities cross his mind as he clears the distance between where he was pacing and where Gillian is standing.

"Hey," a hand comes up to her shoulder, giving a firm squeeze, brows lowered. "You did do the right thing, and not just helping me." A faint ghost of a smile creeps up on Peter's lips, "I can't say if you're entirely responsible for it, but when I saw Sylar there in Moab— helping us— I— " he looks down to the floor, "I never thought there'd be a scrap of good in a guy like him. It— it doesn't make him even for all of the terrible things he's done, but— " Peter exhales, "who'm I to judge, right?"

Grimacing crookedly, Peter looks to the hand lingering on Gillian's shoulder and hastily retracts it, fingers curling towards his palm. "Sorry I— " he turns away, looking up to one of the boarded windows and the slivers of sunlight filtering through the cracks, "more than all of that, you've… you are a good person. Better than most," his eyes close, then slowly his head downturns, "I'm sure your sister'd be proud of you."

Familial pride, it's something Peter still strives for — even with all things considered.

For a time, Gillian's glancing at the hand on her shoulder, until he pulls that away. Then she looks up at his back. Who is he to judge? She already started to open her mouth, to talk to his back, when he apologizes, looking up through the boarded windows. Though she can't see his face, she can see his back, his shoulders, his hair. There's small pieces about a person that can be read even without seeing their face.

Her sister would be proud of her.

A tap of her hard bottom shoes, a few steps, and then he'll feel something against his back, her forehead pressing into his shoulder, a hand grabbing at the fabric of against his back. "Don't— don't— don't say anything. Just…" Her voice is breaking, must tighter than even normal, the sound of someone fighting back tears and trying to win that fight. His back is to her, and as long as she holds him there, it will stay that way. He won't see any of it.

It takes a few long moments before she can loosen the hold on the fabric, but she doesn't straighten up just yet. "If I hadn't ran… If I hadn't left my job and my apartment and… she would still be alive. She'd be in Boston, safe and…"

This is when she finally starts to straighten, though she doesn't bother to try to clean up her face. The make up would only smear. Problem with having lots of eyeliner. "And we'd probably all be dead. A lot of us would be. Or dying… Do you know what you did to him? Part of what made Gabriel become… what he is now? Why he's fighting to help us, why he's— part of it was because of you. And none of that would have happened if… If you hadn't teleported him in the fight. You didn't send him to Antarctica. You sent him to the future. A future. Where everyone— almost everyone was dead. Everyone except you. And you sent him back. So that he could stop it from happening. So that he could help us stop it from happening."

He just told her what she needed to hear, whether he knows it or not. Maybe a piece of what she needed to forgive herself. "Phoenix saved the world. With his help— with mine— and with yours."

Peter's still, long after Gillian stops crying, and long after she stops explaining what's gone on, all of those little pieces of information that never found their way to him, because he was either too busy hating himself, or because he was too stubborn to listen. When he finally turns, Peter moves one arm, letting a hand come to rest on Gillian's cheek, using his thumb to brush away the tears across that side of her face. Dark brows crease together, and he lowers his head to hers, letting his brow touch hers as he nods, as if saying without words I understand.

"Everything's… finally getting better." It's hard to sound convinced of that, but from his perspective it really is, "My father's alive, we saved everyone from Moab, the city's safe…" he laughs, awkwardly, hands shaking slightly as he moves his palm away from Gillian's cheek. "It's hard to imagine, but… maybe things aren't going to be so bad after all."

Trying to ignore the fact that she was just crying and he's wiping at make-up laden tears that drew obvious lines down her face, Gillian's eyes close when his forehead contacts her own. It stays that way until his hand falls back. Suddenly her own hand reaches up and smacks against his chest. Not hard, but close. "Time to stop running, and hiding away, then." For them both. Two very different people, but they have guilt that they'd ran from, hid, tried to fess up to in ways that… proved counterproductive.

They both have sibling issues, as far as she can tell. They have other things, but he thinks she's a good person. Which… Not something she ever gave much thought to, until things spiraled out of control.

"I used to think everyone sucked— people in general. There's probably a lot of people out there who do, but I'm starting to see… better things. Maybe I can make it through a couple months without nearly dying or getting blown up." There's that smile trying to return under all of it. Dimples on her cheeks. The tear-smears offset the true happiness, and her jaw is still tense.

They saved everyone in Moab. "So you found— the rest of them?"

So much for that idealism. Gillian's question snaps Peter back to reality, and to the real reason why he came here in the first place. His hands disengage from her, and there's a hesitant step back, as if remembering himself, one hand sweeping his hair back into that slicked coif it's been since he got out of prison. "No…" there's no t much confidence in his tone anymore, "my— my father looked for some of them. He— he has the ability to see where anyone is, anywhere." Looking back over his shoulder, Peter's bites his lower lip, head tilting to the side, "He couldn't find Helena, or Alexander, or… theres almost a dozen people he just— can't see." Swallowing dryly, the mention of what happened when he tried to send Sylar to Antarctica came up, and his mouth starts to hang open slowly, "you— don't think…"

A dozen people. So they didn't save everyone after all. Gillian's smile fades as he moves away, reaching her hand up to rub at her face, smearing the make up even more than she already had, watching his back, his biting of his lip. That is the kind of power that scares her. Someone having the power to see people anywhere… no matter where they are. No wonder they had been able to find her. They could find her at any moment. They could be watching her right— okay. Enough paranoia.

This is…

Moving after him, she reaches up to touch his arm this time, with her left hand. The cuff of her sleeve hangs back, revealing the healed hand. No sign of the electricity burns or the frostbite, though there is a hint of it left behind… in a crack running through the yin/yang scar on her wrist. A crack that had once been a burn, and should be a scar. The skin may have healed nicely, but the tattoo didn't fix itself. And she hasn't gone to anyone to touch it up. Scars can be a tattoo too. "If you did teleport them through time… they're resourceful. They'll find a way to get back… It'll still be okay. And we went a week into the future— maybe we just haven't caught up with them yet."

"Yeah…" The words are exhaled out with a sigh, some of that tension lifting from Peter as he turns to look back over his shoulder to Gillian, managing a smile, more for her than himself. "Yeah, you're right," probably, "I'm just— everything's been moving so fast since I got back from Moab. I— I haven't even seen anyone from Phoenix yet. I— I'm not even sure what I'd say if I did." There's a dry swallow from Peter, and he looks down to the ground, then back up to Gillian. "My father told me to go talk to them, to Phoenix, but— I don't really have any place in their business. He thinks I should talk to them about sponsorship by Pinehearst. My father… he believes in them," there's a hesitant smile, "I… I don't really know what to do."

When he's not running away, that is.

The hand on his shoulder doesn't leave. In fact it even runs up and down on the fabric of his clothes a few times, in an almost soothing gesture. Sometimes this big ball of guilt and tension needs it. Gillian felt him put a big crack in her own guilt, to the point she could cry about what happened finally. It gave her a push in the right direction. And was sincere about it at the same time.

"No wonder you were a nurse," she says out of the blue, a studying look up into his hesitant smile, before the hand moves down his arm and ends up taking his own. "I don't know about Phoenix. That's really not my decision, and Teo seemed… hesitant when I brought it up myself. Maybe when everyone else gets back…" Cause they will. "I think that you should meet with Gabriel. The two of you have been through a lot of the same things— and I know you can't forgive him for everything he's done, but maybe you should see for yourself how much he's changed. In more than just seeing him in Moab… You two have a lot more in common than either of you'd like to think— while being completely opposite at the same time." Identity crisis, loss of control… Both used by people. But at the same time they have completely contrasting personalities.

"I could talk to him about it. Maybe here, tomorrow? This place is usually pretty empty— random muggers that you scare off to confession aside."

There's a ragged laugh at the last comment Gillian makes, and Peter's lips press together to try and stifle the expression of happiness, as if he hasn't earned it. "Y-yeah I— " he snorts out another laugh, looking down to Gillian's hand on his shoulder, then back to her with an awkward smile. "I… maybe it's time to… to try and— " he can't finish the sentence, no matter how much he wants to. "I'll… try. I'll try to— to keep an open mind, but— I just— I'll try. It's the best I can hope for, really."

Looking down to his feet, Peter manages a more honest smile, less restrained, then looks back up to Gillian with a lopsided smile full on his face. "So… am I off the hook for the biohazard joke?" He asks with one brow rising up, that grin getting bigger and bigger.

Well, considering her foot doesn't lift up and slam into his shin… good sign. In fact, Gillian's smiling, dimpling even as he makes that comment, looking grateful that he's going to try. The same as Gabriel's been trying for the last few months. Nothing is ever easy. When everything becomes easy, people wouldn't have much reason to keep moving along.

"I always thought the dragon was far more interesting," she says with a smile, referencing the tattoo on her right breast. Not saying the biohazard one wouldn't naturally draw more attention… "Maybe I should get a radioactive symbol next. Considering how many times you've started glowing around me," she adds, shifting her hand up to tap his forehead with her fingers, near his scar. "And I saw you naked too, Assface." This time the nickname isn't said with the same kind of spite or anger she might have spat it out before. It's a teasing breathy sound. Even with the strain of tears still audible in her voice. It had been an important time when she saw HIM naked. When he split into two pieces. The time one of him saved her life and the other one tried to kill her and force answers out of her.

"I think you got the worst deal down there— having to go by Mr. Childs… honey bunny." That smile isn't going away. If he can tease her, she can tease him back.

"Hey," Peter raises both of his hands, eyes narrow, "I didn't know you wanted to be back in the land of frosty the snowman." There's a shrug of his shoulders, and Peter reaches out, as if to take hold of Gillian and send her somewhere else. "Back to Antarctica it is," he notes with a crooked smile, and that sudden sinking sensation hits Gillian — the feeling of falling from the displacement of gravity when Peter teleports her.

However, when the world stops being nothing but a haze of blurred colors for that snapshot of a moment, it's not the rolling snowfields of Antarctica that greet Gillian, but rather a panoramic view of azure blue water, so clear that she can see the bottom. The temperature is strikingly warm, from both the high sun beating down overhead — not the low sun of the afternoon — and the damp humidity. Beneath Gillian's feet, trampled sandy beaches spread out to either end of the shoreline she stands on, a forested jungle at her back, and poking over the tops of palm trees, skyscrapers greet her.

Written in the sand at her feet, is a short, simple phrase, "Enjoy Hawaii, I'll be back."

Well, at least it's not Antarctica.

"Hey— wait!" It's as far as Gillian is able to get before she's moved from one place to another. A igloo is definitely not the home that she wants to have when all is said and done. Or not done. Just said. There's a word on her lips when she feels… warmth instead of cold. Sand instead of snow. Sea instead of… Antarctica is technically a desert. Very little moisture. This place is anything but. A tropical island is better. "Oh you… son of a bitch. You— how— you— " Not that he's here to flail her arms at. But how long until he will be back? A day? A hour? A few minutes? And—

"Fine. You win!" She yells at no one, pulling off the coat that still keeps her warm in the cool months of April in New York, letting the bag drop. If she's going to be on the beach, she might as well get comfortable. "I'm going to get sand everyfuckingwhere! You realize that, little shit!" She yells this as if he were standing around invisible, or something.

He'll be back. He better be back soon, cause she's taking off the top layer of her clothes and shoving them into her bag. Hello mesh shirt and black bra.

And by the time he shows up to take her home, she will maybe have realized why he did it. But still smack him anyway. At least he left a note this time.

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