Where The Pieces Fit


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Scene Title Where The Pieces Fit
Synopsis "PARIAH" told Gillian to spread the word, so she goes to one person she barely knows, but somehow trusts. He fixes watches. Maybe he can fix this pickle she got herself into.
Date October 28, 2008

Cliffside Apartments: Gabriel's Apartment

An apartment that doesn't seem very occupied at all. There is minimal furniture, an old looking couch that doesn't match the old fashioned drapes is present, along with a wooden coffee table. There's an indentation in the carpet where a TV used to be, but it hasn't been replaced. The walls have been painted a clay-like grey. Pushed into a corner is a desk, which is littered with tools one would identify as watch-repair tools, if they knew any better.

The kitchen is opened to the living area, separated by a bench that's an unattractive mustard colour. An old white fridge in the corner doesn't contain much, someone must eat out a lot, and the same can be said of the pantry, containing a box of chai tea, coffee, and a plastic container of white sugar.

The bedroom comes next, the door coming in from the living space and adjacent to the kitchen. This place is a little messier, clothes littering the floor, and a suitcase shoved into the corner where a wardrobe should have been, and isn't. The curtains are often closed and it doesn't smell like this room gets a lot of air. The bed is the neatest piece in the room, the bedsheets cleaned and spread out neatly, and on the floor (again, lacking a bedside table) is a lamp.

Lastly, the bathroom connecting to the bedroom is small, with a colour scheme of off-white and random pastels, an attempt at cheeriness but woefully dated and tasteless. The mirror has one large crack running through it, adding a note of dissonance to the atmosphere, and crinkly shower curtains, old and a little dirty, corner off a run-down shower.

In the middle of the featureless room, there's a new addition. A light-weight, likely rather cheap easel has been set up, and a smooth white canvas, not overly big, has been fixed in place. It's still as blank as when he'd bought it this morning, the two others that had come with it tossed carelessly into the corner of his room. A set of paints, much higher quality than anything else, are laid out on the kitchen island, and Sylar is filling a mug full of water, a crack running through the ceramic, but it'll serve its purpose.

Who knew Gabriel had an artistic inclination?

He even whistles something tunelessly as he puts things together, dressed in jeans and a white-undershirt. A lamp casts a glow around the room, as it's evening and he's drawn the curtains shut of any city light anyway. It's when he turns off the tap that he hears the sound of approaching footsteps, accompanying heart beat, breath in and out. He can't yet identify people by what they sound like, but he can make a guess. Setting down the jar of water next to the paintbrush and palette, he moves to pull a black button-down over his shirt, finding his glasses, getting into costume before she can even knock.

There's a new tone to the heartbeat than before. Gillian isn't exactly terrified, but the speed of her heartbeat combined with her manner of breathing gives the impression she's at least very nervous. The best identifier for her would be her shoes, the clack clack of hard platforms. Once she reaches the door, she hesitates a moment, shifting her weight from one platform shoe to the next, giving a light scratching sound and a dragging of fabric against fabric. After a long pause, there's a knock. Even that seems cautious.

By the time Gillian's reached the door, Sylar is just beside it, eyes shut behind reading glasses as he listens to those subtleties. It's new, that's for certain, if his guess is correct, and when he moves to peer through the peep hole in the door, that guess is confirmed. He waits just a moment, before undoing the locks - the one fixed into the door along with the chain, so that he might open his door wider. "Gillian?" he greets, a hand up as if to self-consciously check that his glasses are properly in place. He glances at the watch on his wrist, before that hand smooths down his shirt. "It's nice to see you again."

Much as she sounds, Gillian looks rather anxious, and a very different thing about her appearance would be the surprising lack of any kind of make up. She twinges a little as she moves closer, looking down the hallway one way, then another. Almost as if she's checking for someone following her. Perhaps she is. There's a sound of footsteps coming up the stairs that she can't hear. Could be anyone. But she moves forward, ducking under his arm and into his apartment. "I'm sorry. I didn't really know where else to go." She'd not come home last night. Her apartment had been suspicously quiet, empty. She only stopped in for an hour this morning to shower and change. A hand goes to her ribs on one side, face twisting a little in pain. "I don't even know your last name, but some of the things that you said they…" she trails off, looking at the blank canvas set up in the room.

Sylar doesn't stop her from entering the room, simply closes the door behind her, and the puzzled glance she receives over his shoulder when he twists the lock back into place isn't entirely for show, either. "My last name is Wilkens, for the record. Like the park." He moves back into his room, gaze following hers to the blank canvas. "Call it a hobby," he offers, now moving to shift the easel out of the way, and picking up the newspaper he'd laid down to protect the carpet. "But you weren't interrupting anything. What's wrong?"

"Wilkins, nice," Gillian says, almost sounding as if she's stuck between laughing and crying, rubbing her hands over her face. From the way she sounds, she might be on the verge of a nervous breakdown or something. "I got attacked while walking around in your park," she says finally, letting her hands drop away, looking up at him through a veil of bangs. "But these guys. One was obviously an Evolved. I don't think the other was. For a while I couldn't hear anything— I couldn't scream, I couldn't cry out— I didn't hear the rain, any of it." She takes a few deep breaths, trying to calm down. Doesn't seem to work. "This… guy saved me and took me somewhere and there was this other guy who shook my hand once at that park." And then in a mental tangent she adds, "Shit, I'm never going to that park again, I don't care who I'm supposed to meet."

He doesn't try to comfort her, not yet - he simply listens, now, head tilted to the side and expression serious, peering at her through the glass of his spectacles which he draws away, moving towards the kitchen to set down. The electric water boiler is switched on, and— it seems he's making them tea. Chai, in fact, if the slightly gaudy pseudo-Indian packaging of the box of teabags is to be of any indication. "That sounds horrible," he says, tone sympathetic as he turns back to her, hands coming to lean against the dividing counter. "I can't imagine why you'd be attacked. Did they say anything?"

"The guy who helped me— he said they were with this group, this agency— working with the government but not. And they hunt down people who are… different." Gillian says, following toward the kitchen while she explains, if only because moving allows her to pace some. At least she doesn't pace too much. Fidgetting her weight from one leg to the other becomes very common, though, and she toys with her shirt, as if trying to scratch something around her ribs. "Kidnap them, kill them, brainwash them. That kind of thing. And he claimed that him and this other guy who was there— he said that… You read newspapers, right? I'm sure you heard of these guys— I was looking them up at the library today, reading all the articles I could find, checking them out… he said they were with that group called PARIAH."

And the plot thickens. Sylar remains carefully stoic, but there's a sort of tension now lining his posture, and in a moment of paranoia, he flares out his hearing to try and pick up activity that might be different to the normal. With Gillian so close by, this makes it easier - but really, in an apartment building filled with people, it's too difficult to tell one heart beat from the next, and so the effort is aborted after a few seconds. "Fortis et liber," Sylar says, gaze turning back to Gillian, an eyebrow raising. "It's Latin for 'strong and free'. They're a terrorist organisation. You don't seem like the type." He's moving around the kitchen island, and nods towards her. "Are you hurt?"

"Yeah, that," Gillian repeats, finally starting to calm down bit by bit. Possibly because she's no longer alone, and because he's listening, someone that she thinks she can trust. "I didn't know what it meant, but that makes sense," she adds, about the Latin. Likely she'd intended to look it up at the library and never got around to it. "I got cut. This guy stuck a knife against me," she says, looking down at her shirt. "It's not that bad. And I don't want to be a terrorist, or a hero, but I also don't want to get dragged off to some holding cell and locks up just because I might be…" she trails off. "Different." She winces.

"Heroes have a tendency to get killed," Sylar says, and then seems to amend with with an amused, "Eventually." Then, he reaches out a hand, as if to touch her arm - but stops short. "Here, let me…" And his other hand moves towards her midsection, not to touch, just to hover over where the wound is. It's not a serious injury and so it only takes a couple of seconds - but all of a sudden, the irritation of wounded flesh is gone. "It's not healed," he tells her, backing away a step. "And it'll start to hurt again as it starts to, on its own. A quick fix." The electric boiler makes a clicking sound, indicating it's done.

"I definitely do not want to get killed." The normally more goth than right now girl adds rather abruptly, before the pain could even fully fade away. When it does, and he explains it, though, Gillian looks down, then when she looks back up, her eyes are a little wider. "I knew it," she suddenly exclaims. "I didn't expect that though." She doesn't smile, even if she had reason to come to this conclusion. "I can feel it sometimes, when people are… you remember how you said I was— how did you put it— Inspiring? That man in the park, I could tell he was doing something because I felt it, I could feel something. Honestly it could have been any of them, I just know something was happening, and— it's happened before. That guy who's PARIAH? He shook my hand, and I could feel him do something. I was told he could see everything about me. That's how they knew where I worked, what my name was, all that with just a touch. And every time I'm around you— I feel that too."

He's not sure what to ask first. More about her ability, more about this PARIAH contact. Both are tempting. So Sylar just gives her a slight smile before drifting back to the kitchen, going about letting the chai teabags stew. "So you— is that what you do?" he asks, with a glance over his shoulder at her. "You make people's abilities better? No wonder they wanted you." But can she make her own better? And how would that even work? Dilemma, still. Dashes of milk are put into each mug of tea, and he moves back towards her, offering the drink out. "Those people who attacked you will only use you, Gillian, but PARIAH will only use you too. Can you describe them?" He may be being a little obvious, but he's been beyond patient so far, in his book.

"I think so, yeah. I mean it's like my sister— she's registered. She controls… water or something, but she flooded my last apartment one day when we were arguing and I grabbed her arm. She said she'd never lost control like that before, or pulled that much water out of the atmosphere and water pipes all at once." Gillian explains, taking the chai and sipping on it. It seems to help her relax a little, turning to pace while she explains. "They were old. Older than you, but not ancient or anything." No offense, Gabriel. "One of them was kind of balding, the other had lighter hair…" She ponders, taking another drink, then, "Oh, and they weren't from here. Both of them had accents, like from those Rome movies. British or something."

Gee thanks Gillian. Sylar leans against the kitchen bench, hands wrapped around his mug of spiced tea, kind of huddled there, as if to reduce his own height slightly. And he stares down into the tea when her descriptions aren't exactly what he was expecting - but not unfamiliar, either. The information doesn't match, but— "He took your hand," he says, rather suddenly, a more intense gaze on Gillian now. "And he said that when he did that, he could see everything about you? Was he— the lighter haired guy? Kind of tall and pale?" He twists a smirk at the other woman. "He used to live in this building." He lifts his tea up to sip.

There's a simple nod at his question about the lighter haired guy, because Gillian can't quite understand where he's going with that, until he mentions the building. "What?" She says in a startled voice, looking toward the door, almost as if she's imagining something. That's crazy. "I met him not long before I met you," she explains, looking him over for a long moment. "I've never seen him here…" But how many tall, pale, light haired guys are running around with British accents in the city? Probably a couple, but it's quite a coincidence. "I don't want to be used. Not by the government, or terrorists or— what am I supposed to do?" She's asking a guy who stopped by for sugar one day for life-changing advice?

It's enough that all the other information he's gleaned from this, as senseless as it seems - how can they be PARIAH, for instance, is a very good question - to be irrelevant. The woman he's been stalking, barely even tried to win her trust, not really, is here, asking him what to do next. That's what good fitting puzzle pieces do - they fall into place in accordance with the bigger picture. "You could run," Sylar says, almost gently, airily - dismissing the notion even as he says it. "Or you can fight to keep your own freedom. Terrorists and the organisation that tracked you down…" He paces across the room, now, drawing back the curtains by just a few inches, enough to see the ruined NYC skyline. "They all want to change the world. People like me…" He looks back at her. "Like you, just want to live in it. I suggest you find a safe place and a means to defend yourself." A pause. "I can help you."

The trust he didn't even try to gain would likely be why he has it. Two simple conversations, each time over rather simple things. The pieces all fit somewhere, and right now one has fit into place. "You're right," Gillian says, watching him carefully. Living in a world without changing it— what's wrong with that? She takes a long drink from the chai she'd been giving, moving closer to peer out the window, seeing the ruined skyline. A changed city and a changed world. "But I can't do anything," she finally says, looking over at him. "All I do is make people stronger— usually end up making them lose control. I'm not like that guy who flies around on fire. How can I defend myself? And you— you take away pain." She draws a hand up, pushing lightly on the bandaged wound. "How can you help me?"

Now, Sylar smiles at her, looking down into the tea he's holding - before the cup is set aside, and he backs away from her. "You said I was the most normal person you've met in the last month," he says, unintentionally quoting her word for word. "But you also said normal's relative." He extends a hand, and with a muffled sound, like a contained explosion, brilliant light suddenly beats back the shadows as a ball of radiation wobbles into existence, floating above his palm. His other hand extends out, and a fine sort of mist seams to rise from it - and his skin takes on an unnatural, glowing blue quality, minute flakes of ice breaking off and rising up from his palm. Both hands close, abruptly, and the effects are gone - the ball of light gone in a flash, and the blue glow fading away. He looks at her almost with an expression of vulnerability. "Don't be scared. I just have a lot of tricks up my sleeve."

The curtain falls back, and Gillian allows it to happen. With the view of the ruined cityscape cut off, her eyes follow him, looking curious, eyebrows raising under dark bangs. When he does what he does, she straightens, looking from one hand to the other, then back at his eyes as the effects fade away. There's no differation between abilities— all the power coming from her feels the same as any other. Her lips part, not as red as they normally are at all, though the whiteness off her teeth helps offset that. "Just a repairer of time pieces, huh?" She asks, voice a little deeper in her surprise, head shaking. A relative a term as normal, it would seem. "I'm not a watch, but I have a feeling I don't have much time to decide. Them. Or whatever this agency is. Or you."

"If the agency really is after you," Sylar says, lowering his hands, and for one of the very few times during their meetings, he's honest with her when he continues with, "they will find you here. And they'll keep hunting. I know them, we've— had our runs in in the past. There's a federal agent living just upstairs - non-government this organisation may be, but who's to say they don't work in tandem?" The lie returns, as smoothly as the truth, as he says, "I want nothing from you, Gillian. That's one variable you can count on."

The lie is so seamless that she doesn't even seem to doubt for an instant. "I know there is. I met a girl upstairs who lives with him…" Gillian says, pondering over that for a moment. "It's time to pack up and move, though, I guess," she adds, not sounding as if she's liking this pondering as she glancing toward the door to the hall, still holding onto the cup of chai. "Tomorrow's my birthday," she suddenly says out of the blue. "I can't go to my job anymore either. Even if these people you've dealt with don't know it— they knew my name. They probably know where I work. PARIAH definitely does." She takes a slow drink from the chai. "Happy birthday to me."

PARIAH. It just doesn't make sense, but he refrains from saying so - not wishing to make her feel like he knows less than he does. Sylar returns to collect his drink, leaning against the window sill and taking a sip. "Happy birthday," he agrees, lightly, with a slightly crooked smile. "What will you do if you have to quit your job? You got money stashed somewhere?"

"I have a bank account but there's much in it. Pretty much living month to month here," Gillian says, muttering a little under her breath. "Some cash stuffed into things in my apartment. Couple hundred is about as much as I got, and that ain't much. I know a couple people who know a couple people, but they'd be using me for other things than power steroids if I hit them up." She finally finishes off the last of her chai, setting the cup down on the window seal, much like he just took his off.

He picks up the used mug, moving off towards the kitchen to clean it out, pouring the dregs of his own down the sink, rinsing both clean. "Hard times are better than not having a life of your own," Sylar says, perhaps without the sympathy that other people would conjure. "Than being locked in a cell to be poked and prodded at by people in white coats, brought out to play only when they need you." He glances back at her. "I know, it sounds crazy. On the other hand, PARIAH can offer you protection, if you like the idea of being swept up by some terrorist group that's not as organised as they'll lead you to believe. Either way, you'll get owned by someone. I'm sure you'd rather get by on your own. I should probably get on the move myself." Might explain the sheer lack of things in this apartment.

"If you have a past with this agency, then you have reason to be moving on too. I probably led them right to your door," Gillian says, frowning a little. "I don't want to be owned. I like my life. There's a reason I haven't walked down to the court house and asked to be signed up." And if only get god damned taxi cab hadn't abandoned her one night in a hospital. He would have been the perfect person to go to. There's a long pause, she follows him toward the kitchen, "I guess I shouldn't pack much, should I? Just the important stuff?"

"It's a shame that you would have to leave all your beautiful things behind," Sylar says, of her very styled apartment indeed, as he switches off the tap, sets the mugs aside. "But it is what it is - just things. Take what you can, what you need. Remember that survival is what counts. I'm so sorry that you've found yourself in this position." Just the opposite, really, Sylar should be thanking them.

"I'll go and pack a bag," Gillian says, moving towards the door almost immediately, reaching for her keys. Then she pauses. "Do you have any way to make sure that there's no one out there right now? You know… waiting for me?" After what happened, who can blame her for being a little paranoid? She glances from the door, to him, and the keys she's already holding in her hands. Fire. Ice. Take away pain. Who knows how many tricks this man has up his sleeves?

Sylar tilts his head to the side. His ears tell him the hallway is empty, and with a rattle, the lock suddenly undoes itself, and the door gently swings open, revealing indeed that empty hallway - even if he's still standing in the middle of his kitchen. "I didn't hear anyone," he supplies, eyebrows raising a little - almost innocently.

There's a pause, before Gillian can't help but smile. "You're a very interesting clock repairman," she says, going through the open door and down the empty hallway, leaving him to close it behind her. A bag of things to pack, a note to leave, and— she'll just have to figure out the rest when she gets back to his apartment with that very same bag. He'll probably hear her opening her door quickly, shuffling through things, shoving things into a bag. Her heartbeat has changed since she first entered. The anxiety has faded quite a bit, turning into something more free. Little does she know.

The door is smoothly shut behind her, and Sylar rests his hands against the kitchen bench. He takes off his glasses, eyes sliding closed as he listens to her actions two doors down. It doesn't surprise him that people would want her - he does too. It's why he's here.

And he knows he'd use her so much better than all the rest.

He doesn't go to pack away his things, as there are some unfinished matters to attend to in this building and he can collect what he needs when he goes back, just telekinetically summons a jacket to his hands and walks out the door with the intent to wait for her out in the hallway. The glasses are replaced, because despite his little demonstration, it's Gabriel Wilkens that she trusts. Little does she know.

With a dufflebag over her shoulder and a laptop case in her hand, Gillian locks her door for what might be the last time. So much stuff that she hates to lose, but she grabbed what she felt she needed— and only a couple pairs of clothes. Clothes can always be bought. She didn't even pack make up. She went a day without. A few more won't kill her. Might be best to go for a less distinct appearance, anyway. Though the tattoos won't be going anywhere. She glances back to his door, expecting to head back inside first, but blinks in surprise when it doesn't seem necessary. She's changed her shoes as she walks over, something more practical. Black sneakers instead of platform shoes. "Any idea where to start? Besides the nearest ATM?"

"ATM, then a taxi cab," Sylar responds, taking a step towards the stairwell - then stopping short, as if observing her. "You're shorter than I remember." A joke? Probably, but he doesn't crack a smile. Then, he resumes walking, pulling up the hood to his jacket, up over his head. It's probably not raining outside, but when you're the man deemed responsible for blowing up a city half to hell, you want to keep a low profile - even if people don't know your face. "How do you feel about the Bronx?"

"You're just freakishly tall," Gillian responds, looking up at him— rather far up, honestly. There's a glance away as he pulls the hood up, and she happens to have a jacket on too, though she hadn't throught to grab one with a good. "Anywhere is better than here," she admits after a moment, following him to the stairwell at a quick pace, with her bags in tow. He didn't offer to carry anything, but she isn't asking either.

"Then I know a place," Sylar says, and that's all he'll say as their footsteps echo through the stairwell, leaving the apartment building behind as they step out onto the street. "Look on the bright side," he says to her, as they walk, his eyes mostly on the pavement just ahead of him, letting the hood shield his features should anyone glance casually, bulky glasses resting low on his nose as a result. "It's not like we're leaving the Hilton behind." He really didn't much like the landlord.

"Goodbye ass-monkey," Gillian says, glancing over her shoulder at the apartment building. She obviously never cared much for the landlord either, considering she warned him about selfsame person when they first met. "Lead the way, Gabriel," she adds, gesturing with her computer bag.

October 28th: Masquerade Ball III

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 29th: Dayhawks
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