When You Assume


gillian_icon.gif f_nathan_icon.gif

Scene Title When You Assume
Synopsis Gillian makes a major assumption. Nathan makes some minor ones.
Date April 17, 2009

Somewhere On Staten Island

Most residential areas have certain quirks. The one that happens to have a dark haired young woman kicking through building rubble happens to have one giant quirk… in the form of a football field sized flattened ground. One might thing a UFO decided to land, since it's near a perfect circle. Whoever thought that suburban neighborhood circles would be a thing of the future. In this day and age, it's a lucky circumstance that the homes were abandoned and unused. The only people within the radius had been in the dead center. Which is exactly where the dark haired woman sits and the sun lowers on the horizon.

Most of the debris of the incident sit at the lower edge of the circle, where the forcefield stopped expanding. Smaller items got deposited where a the ground level dipped. Like the foundation. Pieces of women's clothes can be seen in various locations, towels, broken glasses, plates, tea bags… Most damaged by weather and the usable bits were probably scavaged the first night, and the days after.

Gillian didn't come back to scavage, though, she can to sit, visualize, and try to figure out where everything used to be. And to scratch at the bandage on her arm. She could have been healed by now and she knows it, why she hasn't been… all her own choice. For now.

"It reminds me of a crop circle."

One second she's alone, the next she isn't. The continual light breeze is enough to excuse the sound of air suddenly shifting when someone teleports several feet behind her. Much like the mousy teleporter she once knew, but the voice doesn't match. Deeper, graveled, older.

Nathan Petrelli doesn't quite look like himself, so maybe the name won't be attributed to the man just yet. His hair is too long, uncombed and windswept, and all gone silver. A fair brush of hair covers his jaw, down his throat and high up his cheeks. The clothes, though. They're nice. An ordinary jacket covers a suit, a white dress shirt, the open collar flapping against the wind. His hands are buried casually in his pockets, and polished shoes have not made prints in the flattened earth behind him.

Lines at his eyes and mouth deepen when he afford the woman a slight smile. "Think someone out there's tryna tell us something?"

Sudden voices out of nowhere tend to take people by surprise. Gillian does not happen to be completely unflappable. Turning suddenly to look up, hazel eyes widening in the lowering light, dark hair falling in various directions. Bandages are visible on her left hand, where she would always wear bracelets in the future, but she's dressed no where near as nice. Hair also darkened with obvious color, lips darkened and red. "Fuck," she says in surprise, blinking a few times at the man. "Peter, is that you?"

Appearing like that can only be a couple people, and the appearance… Her first assumption is wrong, but who else could it be, right? Appearing out of nowhere, she's seen him just recently, he's seems to think he has a sense of humor sometime… surely he can disguise himself as others. Could also be another man with a similar range of abilities, but… for some reason Peter is the first one to come to mind.

As she pushes herself to her feet, she answers what she takes as a 'joke', "Maybe they're trying to say Staten Island is a shitty ass place to put up low-rent housing?"

Out of all the names in the world, she pins that one on him. Nathan has a decent poker face and its put to work at that moment, although his eyes betray some fleeting notions. Confusion. Amusement. Then nothing at all as he takes in their surroundings, a bulldozed football field of dirt and cement, ringed with debris a few feet high. "Doubt we need aliens to tell us that much," he says.

The broken place that is Staten Island. He'd almost forgotten. Most likely Gillian will not be his first stop. There are some things he needs and wants to do before throwing himself into suicidal missions to change the world not necessarily for the better.

His hands remain in his pockets. Slow, casual steps, he closes some of that distance, brown eyes searching beneath a grey brow. "Why'd you come out here?" Pretending to be Peter isn't too hard, if that's in fact who she wants to believe he is, a strange disguise but who knows? It's ten years ago. Just add a little surliness and it should be fine.

A dash of surly and surprise entrances. That should be enough to at least stay her suspicions. At least for the moment. "This is where it happened— the incident I told you about in Antarctica… with my ability causing— well this." Gillian gestures around at the building, apparently accepting the bluff for a time at least. Though the more they talk about certain things, the more likely it'll crumble apart. "Don't worry, though— my ability's still pretty much on the fritz, so there shouldn't be any glowing hands issues." For either of them.

The closer he gets, the more she tilts her head to the side. The disguise looks vaguely familiar, but she hasn't quite placed a finger on the face yet. It's like Martin Sheen versus Charlie Sheen. They look so similar but it's a pain.

"I just needed to think about some things— before I decide what to do. And besides, I kinda like it here." Even if it is eerie as a location she might have gotten herself killed…

It'll crumble, that much is true. Nathan has no motivation to lie, as good of an idea as it may initially seem. There are things he can't find out that way, if at all. 2009. It wasn't a bad year, not for him, and yet he suspects it will get worse. Doyle's simpery words continue to ring in the back of his mind, the delicate pinch of fingers rendering someone's jaw locked from several feet away.

He has to change the future with those assholes. "That's kind of why I came out here," Nathan says, with a twist of a smile. "Not because I like it. I mean, I could go anywhere. Paris is nice this time of year." Is it? He doesn't quite remember. "I could even go to Antarctica." Maybe the accent is different. Peter and he had grown up so apart, different ways of talking, different mannerisms.

Gravel and rubble crunches underfoot as he paces a little, in an arc, not quite circling her. "Instead, here we are. Staten Island. It won't always be like this, you know. Depending." A glance, as if reminding himself of her presence. "What's your next step, Gillian?"

On the plus side, for him, Gillian doesn't actually know the man she half thinks he is well enough to get nagged too much by the differences. Also having met two totally different versions of him, and then a strange amalgamation? Also working in his favor. Who knows who the man will be tomorrow. "I don't think either of us want to go back to Antartica. It's fucking cold." But at least they weren't in the past. It could have been so much worse.

Next step… "I need to try and find out what's going on with everyone after the rescue. Check in, make sure everyone knows I'm alive… make sure everyone else is too." She happens to be notoriously bad about delaying these things as long as she can. But she has some ideas, and… "There's also your— those people I told you about. Pinehearst. You know the ones that…" she trails off, shrugging and looking away. His father. Who he says is dead. And maybe he is, but her sister said…

Suddenly her eyes move back to his face, squinting a little. So that's why the disguise looks familiar. The recognition starts to show in her eyes.

Recognition only gets— patience, is probably the best word to describe it. Not helping, not hindering her, Nathan tilts his head a little when she trails off into nothing and lets the whites of her eyes show a little more as maybe things start to click into place. It's the wrong kind of recognition, though. She won't remember the man she would one day write a letter to. The man her son was named after.

"That… are dead men walking?" he asks, unable to keep a strain of aged resentment out of his voice, as quiet as it may be. "What's their next step?"

"He wasn't exactly walking when I saw him. More laying in a bed with tubes sticking out of— sorry, I know that's callous of me," Gillian says, shaking her head a bit. He had gotten pretty upset at her in Antarctica when she tried to bring up the whole… living dead person thing. "I have no idea. As far as I know they wanted to break you out, and then…" There's a hint of hesitation, in which she steps closer and peers up at his face.

"You're trying to look like your brother, aren't you? Walking around as the president isn't exactly the best disguise ever, you know— but it's an improvement on Assface, at least." Assface. Quite the affectionate name, wouldn't you say?

"I guess you're… Old Face. Cause you're a little more…" She waves her hand at his face. "Old."

A smile manages to break through, genuine for all intents and purposes, even if it is surrounded by greying bristle. "You're right on that being an improvement on Assface," Nathan says, and takes a step back as if to avoid the scrutiny this time. "I find people only see what they want to see. I could parade around as President and people will either see the President and be called crazy, or they'll see some old guy who looks vaguely like him. All in all, it's better than walking around looking like myself."

He's not lying, is the thing, speaking honestly even as he paces away, shows her his back as he takes in their surroundings in favour of being studied. The context is a lie, and it so often is anyway. God, he needs a drink. His hand comes up to rub at his face. "Tell me more. About Pineheast. I don't care if you're callous."

Assface always makes her smile a little, dimples appearing in a cheek already accented by a beautymark. There's no sign of the lie being shattered yet, because Gillian lets him step back, lowering her uninjured hand with a shrug. She's bruised and battered in various places, but she's not near as sore as she'd been the day she woke up finally. It's easier to move around, and communicate. Callous or not… "You sure you want to hear it from me?"

There's a small pause, before she shrugs again and moves closer after him, so she can keep a conversational, yet hushed tone to her raspy voice. "They said that the whole thing that happened— blowing up— that it wasn't your fault." Even in this year she knows the truth, about who destroyed a portion of New York City… "They said it was the Company's fault, the people the other you— or half of you— the one that got shot in the head— the one he worked for. That they'd… manipulated you into doing it. That… your mom was involved in it? They wanted to make them pay for it, and they thought helping Phoenix would do it— or maybe they just thought Phoenix would help them. Either way they're the ones who said my power would override the drugs they had you on. And it did."

Things he knows if not on paper, just in experience. None of it is surprising, so he doesn't have to perform for her, looking away and listening as the breeze ruffles grey hair, tugs and buffets clothing. "That's quite a sales pitch," Nathan says, after a moment, head turning mostly so she can hear his words. "Information is power. You think this… Pinehearst, Arthur, just want to see justice restored? Or that they just want to get ahead and found a good way of doing it?"

He turns back to her, brows furrowed and mouth drawn into a line. "Why you? Why'd they go to you? Your ability? Or is just because— " Stupid lie. Useful lie. Nathan is a good liar but this is something else, pretending like this. He takes a second for resolve, softens his features, his demeanor, takes a step forward again. "Is it just because they knew you'd come for me?"

It's important. To know if she's a useful tool of theirs, or leverage. Of course, the nature of the leverage may be more outdated than Nathan is aware.

It was quite a salespitch. There's a moment when Gillian looks surprised, perhaps because he's less disbelieving this time than before. Last time he seemed far more likely to think she was lying, or tricked into believing something that wasn't real, and she was beginning to think that might be the case too. But then there's something else. Something far more important.

And his words, his question, make her mouth open, a small sound come out, before she looks away. "I— I don't know. Maybe? They said they were trying to get someone else with my ability too, but that the Company captured him first, and…" What is he asking exactly? She gains one of the unsure expressions that people sometimes get when they're confronted with a question they don't even know the answer to, and are struggling to find it.

"I was going to go after you before they ever approached me. It was one of the only demands I made for continuing to work with Phoenix after Helena got captured. Fuck, I even broke in to try and see you before you got moved… but that was just because you're an asshole who let yourself get locked away when you said you would be there to protect me if anything went wrong." And he wasn't, so she was angry at him. It's the reason she kicked him in the shin finally, when he didn't want to know. Not that the man she's speaking to ever felt the shin-kick at all.

"I guess I'm tryna figure where their priorities lie," Nathan says, vague amusement written into the lines of his face, the slight squint that comes with a suppressed smile. He looks away, down towards the strange landscape that stand on.

Don't break anything, had been Edward Ray's first instruction. Some piece of him wants to latch onto that. It's a good excuse, and the small pistol hidden in the pocket of his jacket doesn't feel heavy enough. How can he know, if this woman loves Peter, if Peter loves her? If that's some blossoming of devotion far from now? He only received a letter. It wasn't even that poetically written.

Of course, god forbid he end up like them. Nathan takes a step back, and another, and finally he's turning to walk away. "Everyone's got a motive, Gillian," he says over his shoulder as he goes. "They might be right, but what you should be thinking, is why."

"I'm sure part of it is revenge," Gillian says after a moment, looking with that same hint of quiet confusion across her face as she watches someone who she thinks is supposed to be someone else under the surface. If she hadn't dealt with shapeshifting a few times in the past, this would be weirder, but at the same time… It's starting to feel off. "Revenge for what the Company did, what they're trying to do— what they did to you… And maybe it's simplier than that, too." Cause like every good novel, there's always got to be a rival.

"All I know is they wanted me to set you free, and they wanted Phoenix to know they're on their side. I'm honestly not sure if they cared if anyone made it out of there besides you…" He was the one specifically mentioned multiple times, though he had to know the primary goal of Phoenix would be… Phoenix.

"Wait, Peter— what about your motives? Why the fuck do you keep running away from everything?" She still thinks she's talking to a guy in disguise, it would seem. A hint of anger is creeping up in her voice.

"Because the people who want to do the right thing," Nathan starts to respond, coming to an inevitable halt, voice raising, "will either fail or they're selfish." A distance away, maybe it even diminishes the effect of this self-imposed lie, he turns back to her, one hand going out in a shrugging gesture. "There's not enough room in this world, Gillian, someone will always get stepped on."

No, that's not emphatic enough. A short moment of laughter, before bitterly adding, "Or dead. It's never simple. People who want to change the world are never simple. My motive is finding out exactly how complicated it is."

And putting his hand in the intricate tangle of wires of the complex machine and tears them out. Maybe changing the world really is that simple. "I'm not gonna run away anymore," Nathan says. As if maybe she were talking to him after all, not idk my bff peter. As if he'd truly run away rather than been forced into a hole for nearly a decade.

Everyone is selfish. That's starting to sound more and more like her views on things, making her tilt her head to the side and watch the older looking man quietly. Even sort of sounds like the President, with his pompous speeches repeated on CNN and other networks and radio stations. One would have to live in a box to not have heard his voice in recent months. While her eyes say she agrees with his views, more than she might have in the past, it's his last words that make her smile.

"Good," she insists, raising her voice so he can ear at the distance he's taken himself. "Cause if you run away again I'm chasing after you— and when I catch you you're getting more than a kick in the shins." Just so he knows that. It's important!

If only she knew, right?

Sounding like the President only without such sentiments as 'we have to move forward as a unified country' and 'the end justifies the means' and 'my hopes for America and our children' and all those nice sounding words that had once carried him so far. They hadn't carried him very far at all when he'd stood before a court of law.

They'd sounded even emptier echoing off the walls of a prison cell. "Am I?" Nathan says, a slight smile playing out again. "Looking forward to it." And then— he winks. The briefest twitch of a gesture, and before he can find out how higher up she can kick, he disappears in the next blink.

Sound has nothing to do with the words actually used. It's a tone in the voice. Just like she's unsure she could fake a high pitched valley girl voice if she tried. Gillian's just too raspy. Always has been. Raspier in specific conditions, too. Disappearing isn't technically running away, but after he winks, and she has a moment to smile at nothing, she suddenly realizes…

"Fuck. I could have asked him for a lift back to the safe house. God damnit." He's not a very good taxi cab, as she sees. Looks like she's huffing it again… And the sun's all setting still, darkness settling in. She lets out a sound before she starts to take quick steps in the direction of the nearest safehouse.

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