2007-12-29: Monstrum in Animo

WARNING: contains Season 3 Material.

Starring:

Sylar_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif

Summary: Elle pays Gabriel a visit at the warehouse. Things don't quite go as planned.

Date It Happened: December 29, 2007

Monstrum in Animo


A Warehouse in NYC

It's a lazy day for Gabriel at the warehouse, as he's pretty much left to his own devices with Peter having passed out and been taken away by Nathan. Of course, being a serial killer trying to reform yourself plus the lack of abilities and any real company… doesn't leave one with many devices to entertain oneself. So, the majority of the day has been spent lying on one of the beds with a book in front of him. The TV remains off, as it has much of the time Gabriel has been here, and there's an empty glass on the nightstand beside the bed, teetering on the edge and very nearly about to fall off.


Outside, a taxi pulls up some ways from the warehouse and draws to a slow stop. A moment later, Elle Bishop steps from the back seat, drawing her jacket tighter around herself and surveying the grounds with narrowed eyes. "Peter, you idiot," she mutters beneath her breath, steeling herself against lingering emotion for the would-be hero. When the cab pulls away - and she's cast a glance over her shoulder to assure herself that it is, in fact, gone - she pulls a handgun from beneath her coat, holding it pointed down.

Not that she needs it; her free hand stretches and shivers at her side, anxiety running high. She's making a leap of faith in assuming she can handle this, and without taking her own car or turning on her phone, there's no one to help her if things go awry. As she approaches the door, some fleeting instinct tells her to turn and go back the way she came, to leave and do this through the proper channels. She pauses at the door, chin tipped down, eyes closed; gritting her teeth, she draws a deep breath and convinces herself to push forward. She raises the gun, holding it in both hands.

A deafening report rings out, the bullet tearing through the lock on the door. Disallowing herself any time to reconsider her decision now, Elle quickly returns the gun to its holster inside her coat and shoulders the door open, blue electricity snapping as it courses into a ball in her palm.


Halfway between focusing on his book and slowly slipping into sleep, and taking into account the taxi pulled up further away from the warehouse than a car normally would, Gabriel has no idea that Elle Bishop is on her way to see him. He turns the pages of his book lazily, only half-reading the words as his eyes slip further and further closed. His glasses slide down his nose, and he leans his head back, finally closing his eyes and deciding that, hey, there's nothing better to do right now, so he may as well take a nap.

Of course, that's about to change, as the next thing Gabriel hears is the sound of a gun /exploding/, it seems like, followed by the sound of metal on metal, and the bullet embedding itself somewhere in the floor of the room. The ex-killer snaps awake, a soft mutter of confusion escaping his lips as his eyes go wide, and he immediately springs up from the bed. Eyes snap towards the door as Elle shoulders it open, and when the electric blonde reveals herself, Gabriel's eyes go wide again. "… You," he says, an exclamation of both recognition and confusion, and for the moment, he stays where he is.

Which, most likely, is a very bad mistake.


"Hello, Sylar." Turning to face him, Elle gives in to the smirk she'd been holding back until now, her eyes alight with excitement. "I thought I'd find you here."

The words are barely out of her mouth before a blast of electricity breaks free from her hand, aimed squarely for his chest. It isn't nearly enough to kill him, not even powerful enough to knock him unconscious; no, Elle is toying with him now, taking advantage of what she assumes to be a vulnerable man in front of her. Keeping her distance, she fires a second arc at him - painful, but still not enough for him to black out. "Time to come home."


"Elle," Gabriel responds, holding a hand up. He has a pretty good idea why she's here. "You don't know what you're doing— you're not supposed to be here—" he says, but it's all he manages to get out. Next thing he knows, there's a sharp, sudden, horrifying pain in his chest as he's thrown backwards into the nightstand in between the two beds. He comes to a sitting position, right on top of the stand, knocking the lamp and empty glass off of it as he does so. He can't help the scream that escape his lips, and when the electricity and pain finally come to a stop, his breathing is ragged. "No," he says, taking a deep breath and hissing slightly at the lingering pain, "I'm not going back there. I'm not the monster you made me anymore."


Unwilling to accept the truth in what he says, Elle scrunches her nose and throws her hand out again, shocking him a third time. If she isn't careful, she just might knock him out earlier than she intends to - or kill him. "No one made you a monster," she replies, drawing a few steps nearer to him, though she's still well outside of arm's reach. "You did that all on your own." She's lying, and they both know it; even as she's speaking, there are flashes of memories racing through her mind telling her otherwise.

Allowing electricity to gather into a ball in her palm, Elle holds her hand in a threatening gesture, warning him against any attempts to escape. "We locked you up so you couldn't kill anyone else. We're not the ones who let you out. You belong in a cell, Sylar." Or a grave, she thinks, but doesn't add; her expression speaks volumes.


When the third arc of electricity hits, Gabriel once agains slams into the wall— and his scream is much louder this time. The electricity causes him to shake rather violently, and when it's finally over, he leans foward, slumped over in his sitting position. "No," he rasps out, forcing himself to sit up and make eye contact with Elle. "It was you.. and your lies, your games…" He takes another deep breath, and when Elle starts talking about him belonging in a cell, his head snaps up, but not without a flinch; apparently, it hurts to move so quickly. "A cell? Take a look around you, Elle. What do you think this is, the Plaza?" He struggles to stand up, regardless of what Elle tries— but rather than stand up, he more just.. sort of flops onto the bed from the nightstand, legs hanging over the side, bent at the knees, with his feet on the floor.


"No," Elle hisses in response, her hand quivering as she resists the urge to pummel him with another blast, her tone contemptuous and biting. "Don't blame me for what you are. You were a killer before I even knew your name. I tried to stop you."

Watching his every move with a critical eye, the ball of electricity quickly reforming in her hand, Elle edges another step nearer. "Peter doesn't understand." Colour rises in her cheeks as she shifts her weight, her guard high. "You're going to get out, you're going to kill again, and he's going to feel responsible. I can't let you do that to him."


"You don't know anything, do you?" Gabriel responds, his voice full of anger, emotion, and pain. "You silly little girl. I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to kill anyone. I wanted to stop, and I thought, maybe, when I met you…" Gabriel pauses for a moment to breath and reach a hand up to his chest, poking at where she struck him gently, wincing in pain as he does. "… You didn't try to stop me. You lied to me. You tricked me. You brought a poor, innocent person to me and used what I felt for you to make me kill him. That's your fault, Elle, not mine." He struggles to sit up, slowly (both because it's hard and because he doesn't want to make any sudden moves and draw more pain upon himself), and looks at the woman. "I'm trying to not be that anymore, but someone like you couldn't possibly understand that."


Flinching as he speaks, as if he were striking her with physical blows rather than words, Elle is only barely capable of holding herself back. Her hands glow menacingly, the lights in the room dimming as her control starts to slip. "I didn't make you kill him." Her voice is strained, and though she isn't yelling, the impression she gives is that she'd very much like to be. "You killed him. Just like you killed the rest of them."

There's a hum in the background. The lights flicker, brighten, then dim again. The socket to which the television is connected sparks wildly, smoke rising from the melting cord.

"You think you aren't being manipulated right now? That Peter doesn't have a plan for you, too?" Snap. Acutely aware of her unstable ability, of the powerful charge she's building in her hands as she speaks, Elle raises her hands a few inches from her sides. "Why else would he be helping you?" Snap, snap. Her hands raise another inch. "He's using you. They all are, always have been. And you keep falling for it every single time."


With a sharp intake of breath, and a rather pitiful sound, Gabriel struggles to stand up from the bed, favoring his left side as he does. "No," he says, eyes moving up to Elle as he places a hand on the nightstand for support, "I didn't." The malfunctioning equipment does not go unnoticed, but Gabriel doesn't call anymore attention to it than need be. His attention is focused on Elle, who looks dangerously close to do something bad to him. Something very bad.

"I didn't ask for this ability, this… curse, this.. hunger," he continues, eyes moving to the smoking socket behind the TV. "I may have let it get away from me, and I may have ruined lives, no thanks to you, I might add, but I'm trying to change all of that. Why do you think I'm here? Why do you think I've let Peter lock me up and give me Haitian pills? I don't have to be here, Elle. I could stop taking those pills any day, betray Peter, kill him, even, and leave. But I'm not. Because he's my brother. And for him, for Claire, for… everyone I've hurt, everyone I've killed, and every life I've ruined, I'm trying to change. Be someone… different. I only wish you could say as much."

Whether Elle notices it or not, throughout his little speech, Gabriel has slowly been inching to his right. That doesn't mean what he has been saying isn't true, it is— whether it's going to be successful or not is anyone's guess. But in order for it to be successful, he has to live. And to live… he's going to have to take out Elle. Because, otherwise, she might just snap and kill him. This is his moment. Of course, he's probably going to die, but at least he'll go down trying. He makes a mad dash for the bathroom (as fast as he can, anyway), even though it's more of a pathetic attempt to get around the bed and to the door of the bathroom before Elle shocks the living right out of him.


Battling to keep her power stable enough to get a grip on her emotions, to keep from killing him and proving him right here and now, Elle is more or less oblivious to Sylar's slow movement to the right. Good thing, too; the tremble in her hands betrays her air of control, and the light in the room flickers madly now.

Pieces begin to fall into place as Sylar is speaking, realization distracting her from the task at hand for long enough for Sylar's flight to take her by surprise. "Son of a bitch," she growls in barely contained rage, electricity leaping from her hand in an arc that goes wide. It burns into the wall next to the washroom door, missing Sylar by several inches. The overhead light goes next, plunging the room into darkness, but for the blue glow from her hands.

"You're more gullible than I thought you were, Sylar," she calls out in a sing-song voice, edging a step nearer to the washroom now as the charge builds in her hands again. "Peter's not your brother. He doesn't care about you. He's playing you and you're letting him." The charge in her hands is perhaps not as lethal as it might have been moments before, when he evaded her quite so unexpectedly; but with the damage already done, this just might be enough to put an end to him, and her resolve is set.

"Game over, Sylar."

Elle steps into the doorway of the washroom, throwing both hands in front of her, letting loose a powerful blast.


Fortunately for Gabriel, Elle's attack goes wide, and he manages to make it into the bathroom. Once inside, he knows he's on limited time. It won't be long before Elle is in the bathroom as well, most likely frying him to death. Despite everything he's done, and everything he might possibly do, Gabriel would still like to avoid death right now. Especially at the hands of her.

Working quickly, and with a very loose shower head, Gabriel turns it so that it aims towards the door. Normally it wouldn't do this, but with the warehouse being in general disrepair, it does. Gabriel doesn't even mind that he got soaked the other day before taking a shower, as now it will all be worth it. He listens to Elle idly as she speaks, pausing only when she says Peter isn't her brother, and that he's manipulating her. Would Peter do such a thing? Is he really just a pawn? Is he being.. played? Maybe the others, Nathan, Mara, all of them.. are right. Maybe he can't be trusted. … Maybe Peter doesn't even trust him.

Casting these thoughts aside for now, as the reality of the situation means he has very little time to think, he moves his hand down towards to the knob that turns on the water, waiting. He scoots himself towards the tub and back, so that he's almost wedged between the bathtub and the toilet, waiting for Elle. The smaller of a target he is, the better.

He waits, hand on the knob, for the perfect moment to turn it on… and when Elle steps in front of the door, in that split second of a moment before she lets loose with her power, he turns the knob, hoping to spray the women with lots and lots of cold water.


A nagging voice in the back of her mind warned her against this confrontation long before she even set foot inside, but Elle ignored it. In the milliseconds before the water hits her, however, she wishes she'd listened to that voice.

Blue light courses up her arms, down her torso, around her legs and feet. She can form no coherent words once her ability has backfired and she's lost control; instead, all she can do is scream, like he did, only louder. Her chin tips back, eyes closed, as her scream dies to a whimper, her legs giving out. The sound when she hits the floor is a heavy, dull thud.


Breathing heavily, Gabriel peeks up around his little hiding spot to make sure that Elle is in fact knocked out. He sees her on the floor, apparently unconcious, and he can't help but breathe a sigh of relief. With various grunts of pain, he pulls himself up, limping over to her unconcious form and kneeling down. "Silly girl," he says, looking up and around the room.

He has to move fast. There's no telling when Peter will be back, or if anyone else is going to come by to keep an eye on him. Think, Gabriel, think. First order of business? Tie her up. He stands, fighting through the pain, and makes his way to the nearby closet…

…twenty minutes later, having used long, ripped up pieces of sheets in the absence of rope, Gabriel has Elle tied to a chair in a different room of the warehouse. Complementing this, he has a rather thick piece of sheet tied around her mouth, to prevent her from making too much noise and possibly being discovered by Peter or someone else. With a grunt of pain and a large sigh, Gabriel sits down in his own chair opposite Elle's, and he picks up one of the two bottles of water he's brought. Watching Elle, he slowly unscrews the lid before dumping the entire contents over her head and body.


This is just what Elle had in mind when she came here today. The water pulls her back to consciousness slowly, at first, until her mind begins to make sense of her current predicament. Her head snaps up with a start, her hands pulling uselessly against the bonds, and she yells just as loud as she can given the gag. Her movements cause the chair to rock, the feet rattling against the floor as they fall back down. At least she's learned not to attempt to use her ability when doused with water; for all the loathing in her eyes as she glowers at Gabriel, she can do little but let out muffled sounds of protest.


As soon as Elle's head snaps up, Gabriel holds up the second bottle of water by the lid, letting it swing back and forth in front of her face. "There's plenty more where this came from," he says, unable to help the smirk that crosses his lips when she screams. "Now," he says, leaning forward, "I can take this gag off of you, but only if you promise to behave. I want answers, and I don't want to have to fight you for them. If you're a good little girl…" he pauses, watching her for a few moments, "I might let you go."


Unfortunately for Elle, her control over her power isn't what it ought to be. The more Gabriel taunts her as she sits helpless before him, the harder it is to control. As she pulls her right hand hard against the restraints, a little spark escapes her, and she cries out, muffled still, as she shocks herself anew. Bastard, she thinks, and she might have said it, too, if she'd been able to. But whimpering and shocking herself won't get the gag removed, so she slumps back into the chair with a heavy sigh, tipping her chin down. Silent, unmoving, she waits for him to decide she's being "good" enough to answer his questions.


"Ooh," Gabriel says, a fake frown crossing his face as Elle shocks herself, "hurts a little bit, doesn't it?" He leans back, opening the bottle of water and taking a sip from it, moving his fingers across his mouth before he speaks again. There's a sharp hiss of pain as he leans forward, but he ignores it and reaches out, fingers slipping behind the gag and pulling it down. "First question. That day. Why did you do it?"


Recoiling from his touch when he pulls the gag from her mouth, Elle tries to draw her head back, away from him. Her heart is racing, and she's all too aware of how vulnerable she is like this. For a long moment, she remains silent, as if she might not answer his question. "Because it was my job," she says haltingly when she finally speaks, her eyes fixed on him in a glare through her wet hair.

"Your job?" Gabriel replies, his voice taking on an incredulous tone. "I thought I was the monster, Elle, but you… you're something different. How could you do that? How could you even follow an order like that, to play me, trick me, offer up some innocent person on a platter, knowing that I would do?" He shakes his head, eyes falling to the ground in thought, before he finally looks back up at Elle.


"Because I had to!" He's hitting a nerve. Elle pulls against her restraints again, trying to free her hands, to no avail. "I tried to stop it," she protests, her voice fraught with vitriol. She's on the defensive now. "When that didn't work, I tried to stop you." There are so many other words she could say, things she could explain - about her father, her life, her belief that what they were doing was wrong, her feelings - and none of them make it past her lips.


"Had to?" Gabriel stands from his chair, circling around Elle, the expression on his face unreadable. "I thought I had to keep killing. I thought I had to have everyone's powers, all their abilities, all just for me. And I was able to stop. Wasn't I the one who warned you about your father? They sent me to kill him, Elle, but I didn't. Because I wanted to stop. I.. did. It was hard, but I still did. I'm still trying. Every day is a struggle." He circles around to the front, coming to a stop in front of her, and his gaze lowers to her eyes. "You didn't try. You didn't try to stop me. You only tried to stop me when you set loose the monster you helped create." He lowers his head down, placing a hand on either side of her chair, so that his face is only mere inches from hers. "You should be ashamed of yourself."


That small space that separates them is enough to send her heart into uncomfortable palpitations, and Elle's eyes are wild with fear, knowing that there is nothing she can do. "You don't know anything about me," she snaps back to him, pulling her head back to separate them more. "I was following orders. I didn't have a choice." Just like he didn't. But oh, she doesn't want to think about how they're alike, because that reminds her of being responsible, in some ways, for the blood on Sylar's hands. "You were already a monster when I met you. You knew it then. Why else would you have tried to kill yourself?"


"I was not a monster!" Gabriel replies, his voice raised, and he brings a hand up above Elle, only to slam it down on the arm of the chair, dangerously close to her own arm. "I had only killed one person, Brian Davis, and I hated myself for it. That's why I tried to kill myself. I would have. I was so close, but the rope had to… and then you…" Gabriel pushes off of the chair, making it scoot across the floor a little bit, and he turns away from Elle. "You ruined everything. You and the Company, whose "orders" you have to follow so blindly. What if they told you to kill Peter? Your partner? What if they told you to kill your own father?" He turns back to her, advancing on her again so that he's inches from her. He knows it bothers her. He's going to use it to his advantage. "Your father is alive because of me Elle… but what if they told you to take his life, would you do it?"


A whimper escapes her throat as Gabriel strikes the arm of the chair, and she flinches out of fear, for a moment thinking he actually struck her arm. She whimpers a second time when the chair slides across the floor. These are unwelcome reminders that she has no control over the situation. When he advances on her, the proximity instantly sets her on edge, and Elle is certain that every muscle in her neck and shoulders has tied itself into a knot. If she lives through this, she will be sore tomorrow. Shrinking away from him, his words lashing at her like a whip, she flinches again. Her voice is raised when she replies, shouting back at him, "It was never for them!"


"Then who was it for?!" Gabriel shouts right back, his own voice raised just as high as Elle's. "It had to be for someone! If it wasn't for them, then who was it?!" He steps away from her, turning his back to the woman, and takes a deep breath. "I hope this person is important," he says, sitting down in his chair with a hiss of pain, and he looks up at Elle. "Because you could have so much more, Elle, than blindly following orders for a Company who, apparently, you're not even trying to impress."


Colour rises in her cheeks again as Gabriel questions her loyalty, her motives, making Elle feel simultaneously ashamed and foolish for her reasons - but she isn't about to admit them to him, just the same. "I don't have to explain myself to you," she says defiantly, her chin slanted down. Not without more incentive than she's been given.

"You're going to have to explain yourself to somebody one day, Elle," Gabriel says, eyes locked on hers. "It may as well be me." He stands from his chair, and at the same time, brings his foot up, so that it catches just under the tip of her chair. With an effort, and a grunt of pain from the burns, he manages to tip the chair backwards, hopefully sending Elle tipping all the way backwards onto the floor.


The moment Elle realizes her chair is about to tip backwards, she tries to lean forward and minimize the impact on her head, letting out a cry of surprise. Even so, as the back of the chair plows into the floor, she feels the impact in her shoulders and neck. A metallic taste in her mouth suggests that she might have bit her tongue in the fall, but she ignores it. Slowly letting her head rest against the floor now, Elle quips, "Thanks, but no thanks. I'll take my chances with 'one day'."


As soon as the chair tips over, Gabriel moves back to his, kneeling down beside it to pick up Elle's gun from the floor. He then moves to her, lowering himself into a crouching position beside her, resting his wrist on his knee so that the gun dangles in front of her face, the barrel pointed right at her face. "What if you don't have one day?" He takes a deep breath, watching her for a moment, and when he speaks, it sounds almost.. pleading. He tries to cover it, but it's there. "All I want to know is why, Elle. Why you went through with it. Why you did this. Why this was done to me. That I have.. some purpose in life, besides just being a killer. Is Peter really my brother? Do I actaully have a family? Is.. trying to be a good person all for something? Or am I what you think I am? Just… a monster? I saved your father's life, Elle. You can't tell me why?"


When the barrel of the gun is pointed at her face, Elle turns away, her eyes closed. She isn't about to beg for her life, but that doesn't mean she wants to stare down her own weapon. His words are setting her on edge again, her heart pounding as she struggles to keep from lashing out with her power. "Because he's all I have," she finally admits, wishing she could fight back the tears welling in her eyes. She'll keep them shut, instead, and maybe then she won't embarrass herself more by allowing him to see. "This is all I have." And doesn't it sound all the more depressing when she's said it out loud? A small charge escapes her control, and she whimpers as it travels down her arms.


Despite the fact she's turned her face away, Gabriel doesn't move. He keeps his eyes planted firmly on her, the gun gripped tight in his hand so it doesn't fall. After all, he doesn't want to risk it falling, somehow going off, and taking half of her face with it. He waits, still having some patience despite it all, and he's just about to provoke her again when she lets out her admission.

It's all very pathetic, really when it comes down to it. Despite everything he's said, despite everything he's done, and despite everything he wants to do, he's still a monster. It's the whimper that catches his attention, and forces him to look at the situation he's put Elle in. Someone he actually once cared for— and isn't that what he wanted? Why he was trying to stop? She may have helped him become this, but perhaps it really is all she has.

What he does next may shock Elle, but it's about all he has left to do. He drops the gun, sliding it across the floor towards his chair, and he moves his hands to the arms of the chair. He slowly begins to untie the knots, removing both arms before starting to untie the sheets around her ankles.


When he first moves to untie the bonds around her wrists, Elle can't help the little shock that leaps from her skin to his. Her adrenaline is running high in this situation, and he hasn't given her much of a reason to think he isn't going to cause her harm. But it's the kind of shock one might get under normal circumstances, and only the once. As soon as the restraints are removed, she pulls herself down from the chair as quickly as she can - which is to say, given the shock she gave herself earlier, not as quickly as she'd like. She doesn't say another word, just crawls across the floor to get away from him, her damp hair obscuring most of her face. When she's far enough away, she'll push up to her feet.


The shock zaps Gabriel, and he pulls his fingers back, muttering a quick curse under his breath when it happens. It doesn't stop him from untying her the rest of the way. "Elle," Gabriel says once she begins to crawl away, pushing himself to his feet. "Elle," he says again, this time a little bit more urgently. He doesn't really expect her to stay, in fact, his best bet is probably for her to leave, before she either dries or grabs the gun. "I'm not going to hurt you anymore," he says, but he doesn't yell it. It's still loud enough to carry to her ears, however, and there's guilt in his voice. "You're right. I'm just a monster, and I've proven that."

Not daring to look back over her shoulder as he speaks, the only indication that Elle has heard what he said is in the slight hesitation at the door, where her hand lights upon the frame and she pauses for a split second. Her head turns just slightly, but it's almost imperceptible. Why is he letting her walk out of here? "He's not your brother," she says again, her voice quiet. That's all she offers before turning down the hallway, wrapping her arms around herself as she walks to the door. She's half expecting for him to stop her again, to appear in the doorway and shove her back down, but she doesn't run.


At Elle's final words, Gabriel lets out another sigh, and his eyes fall to the gun on the floor. There's nothing else he can possibly think of to say to Elle, and so he just lets her go. Stooping down to pick up the gun, he ignores the ripped pieces of sheet and the two chairs. He picks up the water bottle, as well, heading towards the door, but making sure to linger in the room long enough for Elle to leave.


He doesn't have to wait long. Elle doesn't waste any time, and the warehouse is easy to navigate; she quickly finds the door and steps out into the frigid air. As the cold wind and her damp clothing conspire to chill her to the bone, Elle realizes that she left her coat and phone behind, but she isn't about to turn around and go back for them. She walks on, keeping to the side of the road, waiting for a passing car to stop and offer her a ride. Otherwise, it'll be a long walk home.

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