2010-01-14: When It Rains, It Pours



Date: January 14, 2010


One hero is used as bait, but three become entrapped.

"When It Rains, It Pours"

Rooftop of Gray and Sons — Brooklyn

A dull, overcast sky sheds what light it can on the city of New York, the clouds angrily moving about as rain threatens to unleash upon the city. For people inside, this would be no problem, but for people outside, this means they might get a little wet. Two of those people are Gabriel Gray and Micah Sanders, both of who are currently on the roof of Gray & Sons in Brooklyn. The taller and older of the two, Gabriel, stalks back and forth across the roof with a phone in his hand, eyes moving back and forth between the sky, phone, and a roof access near the back of the building. His eyes occasionally dart over to Micah, too, who is currently tied up against one of the heating units on the roof. He says nothing, his looks only occasional reassurances for the boy that this will all be over soon.

All logic in this circumstance insists that Micah be quiet, especially given Gabriel's expression, and so he has remained in silent for some time, but his hope obligates him to say something, especially given the fact that Gabriel hasn't cut into his head as of yet (and really has plenty of opportunity to do so). He presses his lips together and studies his captor silently, somewhat unsure of how to articulate his thoughts. Finally, he clears his throat while his stomach bubbles, "Cam was right, wasn't he? You're not some bad guy who's going to hurt us anymore… if you were, I think you would have by now… you knew Peter would heal…" The tone is hopeful, sincere, even. Micah had known Peter would heal; he'd seen Peter hit by the helicopter back in the day. "…you know the government is after people like us." Beat. "You could be a hero in all of this! You have amazing abilities! You're one of us, even if you hurt people… like us… you're still one of us…" Nothing like Rebel trying to find new recruits.

The clouds let a few raindrops through— for only a few moments, it begins to sprinkle, but the clouds change their minds and hold back just a little bit longer. Still pacing, his expression becoming as dark as the sky, Gabriel slowly turns his head in Micah's direction once the boy begins to speak. He considers him for a few moments, before finally speaking himself. "I'm not like you. I'm special. I can take other people's abilities and make them my own. I could take your ability and do things with it you could only imagine. Only… I have to kill to take an ability, and that's my curse. I've gone two years without killing another Evolved and taking their ability, and every day has been a struggle to fight that gnawing in the back of my mind, telling me, willing me, pushing me to give in. …She helped with that struggle, and that's why we're here." He continues his pacing, hands held behind his back, his grip increasing on the phone in his right hand, threatening to break it. Now that Micah has him talking, he can't seem to stop. "I'm only doing this to save her. I don't want anything to do with this. With the government, with capturing others with abilities, with killing… I left all of this behind, but they pulled me back in. I don't have any intentions of killing you, or the other two… you're simply bait to get what I need. No hard feelings."

Down below, heeled black boots come to a stop as Tracy looks up past the sign that says Gray & Sons — up to the roof, where she can see glimpses of movement. Shadows. The black wool coat — atop a black turtleneck, along with a pair of trim jeans — do little to warm the chill she feels as she pulls her cell phone out of her pocket and looks at the screen. 'If you want to see your nephew alive, come to Gray & Sons' … today's date. Jan 14.

"What've you gotten yourself into…" she murmurs just under her breath. She doesn't like this, not at all, and even as she stands on the sidewalk, she looks like she's having second thoughts. Third thoughts, maybe. Or fourths. Setting her jaw determinedly, however, she powers on, to her credit. It might be less to her credit that she gave it a second thought at all. She starts to dial 9 with her thumb, followed by 1, but gives up halfway through … and looks up at that roof.

The phone is, resentfully, shoved away as Tracy tries to figure out how to get to the roof of a store that, to her, looks abandoned by all accounts. She winds around the side to an alley to find a ladder built onto the wall. "Out of her element" doesn't quite cut it as the restless political advisor climbs upward, cold metal rung after cold metal rung, slowly coming into sight from above. No one better die tonight, except for maybe whoever has Micah.

Micah's eyebrows furrow tightly. "You don't have to help them," he says gently. "Where is she? And who is she? I can help you find her! I can! I'm sure I can! I'm really good at tracking people…" His lips tighten into a straight line, "We can help her; I know we can. You don't have to help them. You can be the hero in this." His lips curl downwards into a frown now. "It's not our past that defines us, it's our choices now; the ones we make today that make us who we are. I believe that at my very core." He twitches uncomfortably adjusting against the heating unit. "I don't know her, but from what you've said, she wouldn't want you doing this. You're better than this now." Or, Micah hopes he is.

Keeping his attention away from Micah, which of course makes it easier to attempt to ignore what the boy is saying. It doesn't seem to be working, however, and as Gabriel comes to a stop near the edge to take a look at the street below, he finally turns back to him. "It's not that easy! They'll kill her if I don't do what I'm supposed to do. I'll never see her again. She can't heal like me, Peter, or Claire. She'll die!" Such a war rages on Gabriel's emotions flitting across his face: fear, rage, hurt, frustration. "Do you really think I want to do this? Do you think that for a second I haven't tried to find a way past this? I can't! It's why I attacked Gene! It's why I kidnapped you, and it's why I'm doing this now!" Losing himself for only just a second, Gabriel all but throws the phone in his hand onto the street below in frustration. Instead, he kicks one of the other heating units, but as soon as he does, he realizes he's losing his calm, and he begins to try and calm himself down. "Look, kid," he says, finally turning back on him. "I don't want to do this, but I have to. One day you'll understand, but for now…" He turns away from Micah and watches where the ladder connects to the roof, the hollow sound of each rung echoing up and over the roof to Gabriel's sensitive ears. "We have company."

They do have company, but Tracy's progress up the side of the watch shop has gone backwards — not because she's having difficulty, no, it's not the most comfortable climb in the world but she's perfectly capable — it's because she's eavesdropping. Interesting words, coming from a kidnapper. When she realizes her presence has been recognized, her eyes flit from side to side just out of sight. Then, she grabs as hard as she can onto the top rung of the ladder and pulls herself over the ledge she's faced with, swinging over it. For a second, she's seated on the ledge before her boots hit the rooftop.

Hard-set blue eyes take in the sight. Micah, restrained. "Micah!" And Gabriel, whoever he is. While her own face might be familiar, he's a compete stranger to Tracy, which begs the question: "Who the hell are you?"

"We can get Peter's help. You two together would be unstoppable," Micah insists incredulously. "And I know there's at least one person on the Alpha Protocol database who can heal people…" His gaze is momentarily cast to the ground, "Some things are just right while others are just wrong… you know that. And you know what this is." He frowns and gently closes his eyes. The mention of company, however, is enough to alert the teen and then Tracy comes into view. "Tracy?!" His eyes widen before he manages to get the word out, "RUN!"

Even though he was prepared for it, and even though he knows that Tracy is indeed not Niki Sanders, it's still somewhat of a shock to Gabriel when he finally sees her in the flesh. "You really do look just like her," Gabriel says, more to himself than either of the other two occupants currently sharing the roof with him. But now that she's here, there's no time for chit-chat. It's time to get down to business.

"This is how it's going to be," Gabriel says, head snapping back in Micah's direction once he begins shouting. He doesn't do anything to punish him, but the thought is in the back of his head. For now, he'll let it slide. "If you come with me, willingly, without a fight, the boy will leave here unharmed. If not…" He brings up a hand, blue electricity crackling over his skin. "Let me put it this way: I don't want to have to use force."

Tracy does not run, despite the warning. She stands her ground, eyeing the man who seems to have stolen Micah and wants her here. She edges sideways — closer to the fourteen-year-old — and after a concerned glance to Micah, her eyes lock on Gabriel entirely. The spark of electricity widens her eyes, but her expression of cold anger remains unchanged. "Why," she demands with a hint of an incredulous laugh under her breath, through the singular question. "Who … are you. Come with you— and go where?"

"Would she want that?" Micah asks Gabriel as gently as he can manage, trying to keep his own anxiety and fear from entering his voice. His lips twitch with emotion. "You don't want to hurt anyone. Not me. Not Tracy. You're not that person anymore…" he presses his lips together and swallows. "My mom… she had an alter ego who killed people… hurt both me and my dad… but in the end she was a hero; she was more than her evil alter ego. You can be more than this… we can save your friend… together…"

He looks to Tracy for support, and tries to offer her a strained smile, but it doesn't come. His face has paled. He has a sinking feeling he shouldn't have left Germany. If he gets out of here alive, Charlotte is going to kill him.

Looking back and forth between Tracy and Micah, Gabriel looks more and more like a man who is truly lost. Micah's words aren't falling on deaf ears— in fact, they're doing quite a good job at pulling at the good inside of Gabriel. That's what he's doing this for, right? Good? He's only trying to save someone he loves. But still, even as he is, he's hurting countless other people. He's already hurt one of his new friends, and by the time this is done, there's no telling how many more will end up hurt by all of this. Can he really justify all of that for the greater good?

"Oh, God," Gabriel says, clenching his fists in exasperation, the phone's plastic casing squeaking in protest. What the hell does he do?! If he listens to what Micah is saying, and if the kid can really help him save her… that could avoid anyone else getting hurt. Hopefully. "I don't…" he begins to say, trailing off as he looks back and forth between Micah and Tracy. With a final, steeling deep breath, he moves over to Micah, pulling him up off of his feet as he begins to untie his hands. "I'm putting all of my stock in you, kid," he says as the zipties come off of his hands and feet. "You better be able to save her."

Tracy doesn't dare take her eyes off of Gabriel, but Micah's words play out on her face as he paints a surprising picture of his mom — and attempts to sway his kidnapper. The unsure, alarmed expression Tracy wears for a few moments is cracked down upon as she focuses. It's with some surprise that she witnesses the boy's pleas actually work. Kid really tugs at anyone's conscience. She rushes to Micah's side. Gabriel may suddenly be having an attack of morals, but she still doesn't trust him. She's just ready to get the hell out of here. "Micah, what're you even doing here? I remembered." Remembers being bait herself.

The clouds finally can't hold back anymore and the dark evening sky opens to spill rain. Cold rain — the kind of winter downpour that might just turn to hail to coat the city in slippery ice and slush.

The sudden lashing of raindrops on the rooftop and every rooftop in Brooklyn almost veils the sound of a bullet being fired and burying itself in the roof between Gabriel and Tracy. Right in front of Micah. Boots sound on the pave below and agents bundled in black tactical gear and armed to the teeth start pouring over the rooftop ledge, up the ladder Tracy found, over rooftops of the neighbouring buildings, jumping down onto Gray & Sons.
It's a veritable army.

"I promise we'll save her," or Micah will die trying. If it came down to it, he'd give himself up to Danko for Gabriel's friend. But as his bonds are released the tactical team descends on the trio, and a bullet narrowly misses the young Micah Sanders. Quickly, Rebel leaps to his feet. "I need my phone! We gotta get outta here!"

As soon as Micah is free, Gabriel steps back, turning his body so he can begin walking away. "I'll contact you," Gabriel says to Micah, but the next thing he knows, a bullet slams into the roof in between the three of them.

That's when the agents begin to roll in. "Did you bring them here?!" Gabriel says, turning towards Tracy, anger beginning to seep into his face. And here he was just about to let them go! Then she does this?! Tossing the phone to Micah, Gabriel has no plans on sticking around— after all, as far as he knows, Tracy brought these people here. But then he notices just how many of them there seem to be, and he pauses, looking back and Tracy and his released captive. This is beginning to look bad.

The amount of manpower is certainly massive enough to justify going after not only Tracy (and Rebel), but Sylar, too. Danko is not one of the faces that stare them down. In fact, none of them have allies in the crowd. Another shot fires; misses, hitting the heating unit. Blame the rain. Looks like they've been authorized to use lethal force. Then again, tasers aren't the best idea in a downpour.

They advance further and further.

Oh God. The government. The Protocol. The sight of so many of them strikes at least one of the former prisoners with a fear deep in her stomach, images of going back there again rising until defiance overtakes fear. "No!" she shouts to the man. "Not unless they caught sight of me coming here!" Or him! Who is he again?! She rushes to get a look around the rooftop. Tracy is certainly going to try. Grabbing onto Micah's arm, she takes off running, only to find the previously empty far, right corner of the roof suddenly blocked by another nameless agent with a gun bearing down at her.

Before she can so much as grab for him, the AP agent fires at close range and Tracy goes reeling down, tumbling over on the rooftop. Where or how badly she was struck isn't evident with her black clothes and persistent rain. The rain has drenched her, darkening her hair with moisture, making it cling to her skin. She squints against the drops as they plummet past her vision and pushes up, on her stomach, to look for Micah — but it's Gabriel who she shouts to. "Can you find a way off of this roof?! Take him!"

The agents, as they hone in on the unlikely trio, start to fire. More than one agent is equipped with weapons armed with darts. Another with a canister-like grenade. If they have their way, no one will be able to use their abilities before long.

Catching his phone, Micah closes his eyes and connects with the piece of technology quickly severing all communications between AP members. Desperately, he clings to it and accesses the satellite images of the building to find an escape route. "How did they find us?!" he asks frantically as he downloads a map of the area into his own brain. "They've got us surrounded — I can't find an easy out…"

Frantically he searches through the images, street by street, focusing on the people within each block, but mid-search, Tracy grabs Micah's arm, but before the Rebel can do much of anything, Tracy's down. Shot. "Tracy!!! Tracy, are you okay?!" The words she shouts to Gabriel are semi-ignored, "I'm not leaving without you!"

"Yes, you are!" It's a fine line, but it's resolve, not resignation, that Tracy looks up at the young teenager with even as he's hauled off. "I'm gonna make it cold up here. But you have to get off this roof and keep running." The crux of it is, seeing everything that's happening around her, she's come to a decision.

The cold rain slamming into his skin, Gabriel turns on the spot, mentally making note of every single agent he can find. He turns back to Tracy and Micah, already knowing that Tracy isn't going to find anyway off of this roof. Not with this many agents around.

The shot that takes Tracy down rings in Gabriel's ears, even if metaphorically, and the moment she starts yelling at him, he sprints into action. He would prefer not to leave Tracy here, but if she's wanting him to save Micah, and Micah is willing to help him save Zelda… then he needs to take his losses where they come. Should he get the chance, he'll come back for Tracy.

Running towards Micah, once he's close enough he scoops him up into his arms, lowers his head and barrels past two of the agents… launching himself right off of the top of the building. As he does so, he twists himself around, so that Micah will be protected by Gabriel's own body when they inevitably slam into the concrete below… and slam they do. A sickening snap and thud announces Gabriel's back breaking, but fortunately he's still coherent enough to tell Micah one thing: "Run!"

Shots fire as Gabriel and Micah make a run for it. Half of them rush to the roof's edge, bearing down. Losing the super-powered serial killer and the hazard known as Rebel is enough to distract them for a split second long enough, shouts of "Don't let them get away!" prevalent.

Tracy gets her bearings, getting to her feet, not giving in to how much of a struggle it is. She stumbles back, away from the agent who shot her, who is stepping in to end it right this second. She stands defiant — even dignified. Without looking back — the way Gabriel and Micah disappeared — she raises her voice. "Don't let anyone ever stop you, Rebel."

Calmly, she looks around the rooftop. It happens in a flash: everything Tracy has in her. The complete and utter extent of her ability. She's giving it everything she's got. Everything that's been building up all this time. The months of holding back finally come to a point and it all escapes. Thanks to the help of mother nature — the rain — every drop of moisture is suddenly frozen. The cold spreads out from the ice queen, making the rooftop slick, freezing the trigger of the gun in place as the agent pulls it, freezing every single thing — living and not — in place in one single cold snap.

Icicles hang down over the roof's ledge behind Micah and Gabriel where rainwater was pouring moments before and the ice creeps down the side of the building, crackling.

It seems Rebel doesn't have a say in the matter as he's thrust off the roof accompanying Gabriel's jump. Fortunately, Micah knows better than to linger around AP agents, so he heeds both Tracy's and Gabriel's words: Tracy's final statement to him lingers in his ears, drawing large crocodile tears from his eyes as he runs — tears that develop into frosty stains on his face. Frantically he sprints as fast as he can down the block, still clutching his phone and searching for an exit. And then he sees it: in the form of a 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid at a parking meter. Pressing his palm to the door, it unlocks for him. Quickly he opens it and will justify his actions later to himself. He then touches the starter, pushing the vehicle's electrical components into motion. "I wish I knew how to drive…." he murmurs as he puts the car into gear (thank GOD it's automatic!) presses on the gas with his right foot and covering the brake with his left. He lurches forward to Gabriel's body, "GET IN!"

There's a few moments where Gabriel continues to lie on the ground, breathing heavily and in a good amount of pain, thanks to the cracked piece of rib sticking into his lung. He tries to stand, but falls back down, and it seems like he isn't going to be going anywhere for a few minutes— at least until his injuries can heal.

However, next thing he knows, Micah is there with a… car? Gabriel looks up, dragging himself towards the back passenger side, unlatching the door. He takes a good look inside, and then back up at the roof, almost as if he's weighing his options. This can't be good, right? Micah doesn't look old enough to have a driver's license. But then, whatever's going on upstairs on the roof doesn't look too good, and it's probably too late for Tracy. Dragging himself into the car, he lands on the backseat with another sickening snap, crying out in pain; at least his spine is aligned properly now so that it can heal. Now all he has to do is push the rib back into place so it can begin to heal properly, too.

Up on the roof, the many agents remain frozen with their weapons poised — at Tracy, and over the edge of the roof at Micah and Gabriel — only becoming more solidified as the seconds go by.

And Tracy… after taking a deep breath in, it's held. She looks from left to right, fully aware of what she's done, that her plan has worked, that she's alone on the roof now with the agents that won't be moving anymore. Neither does she. She is struck stock still, her eyes the only thing that move until they frost over. Her soaked clothing and rain-drenched hair turn rigid, ice over, freezes. Her skin pales, turns a hypothermic blue and freezes. She freezes all the way through, until she's only an ice statue.

The rain had been turned into swirling snow around her, and now the downpour continues atop the rooftop that's been transformed into an arctic wasteland.

"Are you going to be okay?!" MIcah asks after the passenger door closes, although his attention isn't on Gabriel. It's on driving. He adjusts the rearview mirror as he presses heavily on the gas pedal. Tracy's snow blows off the rooftop onto the street below — not ideal conditions to learn to drive in. Pressing heavily on the gas pedal with his right foot, Micah causes the car to lurch forward quickly — barreling past several ground agents, the car fishtailing through the icy street.

From the stairwell up, a lone voice cries out in sheer anger. "Who the hell ordered this? I need answers!"

"It was standard procedure, Johnson, thought that we had…" a desperate reply comes, but the voice only grows as the handle out opens.

"It. Was. Sylar."

The declaration is both hot and firm, like heated steel waiting to make its mark. The source? Noah as he is told what happened to the last twenty-four hours. Perhaps pulled from some pointless event or perhaps from some sort of operation, a tux clad Noah glances about the area, a nice overcoat protecting his expensive rental. While he doesn't say anything at first, it is clear what happened to the men and why they stopped transmitting.

For the time being, he ignores the eerie display and focus on the matter at hand. His gun is drawn swifts as he runs to the rooftop, the fact that he never slips while wearing dress shoes a silent testament to his underestimated skill. Still, even Noah at his best is not able to catch up to Micah and Gabriel, only able to watch helpless as they get away. In his other hand a radio resides, various voices yelling into it as they try and catch the two Evolved.

For Noah, the hunt is over… The other agents don't know it yet. Considering Micah's ability and Gabriel's unnatural cunning and power, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop them with numbers and force. Noah watches as the car speeds away, only hoping that the child is not Sylar's next victim.

Meanwhile, the agent that was with Noah merely watches the frozen group with shock and horror, clearly not used to seeing such a display.

The rain doesn't let up. It pelts down on the frozen statue that is Tracy Strauss in the midst of the frozen agents. None are frozen quite so solidly as the woman herself. The finely detailed ice is recognizable, her features unmarred, but there is nothing resembling life in her eyes. Even if the rain looks mysteriously like tears.

A black van carrying government agents barrels down a Brooklyn street after the hybrid. But the unlikely duo have a head start — Noah is right. For now. For better or worse, AP agents don't give up easily. All things considered today, maybe they should cut their losses.

With his spine healing, Gabriel slowly pushes the bent, damaged rib back into place, the flesh healing over it once he's got it back in place. Laying on the back seat for a few moments taking deep breaths, Gabriel finally pulls himself up, his body nearly finished repairing the damage it sustained only moments ago. "Keep going," Gabriel breathes, looking out the rearview window at the car behind him.

"Keep us steady," he says, eyes focused on the vehicle bearing down on them from behind. It isn't hard, really, once he has the vehicle in his sights— a flick of the hand, mental strain, but it works. The car's front end goes flying up into the air, the car spinning over itself. If he did it just right… the car should come crashing down on its roof. Or, with the way this day is suddenly going, it might land on its wheels and simply keep chasing them.

"I have it under control —-" Kind of. Micah has never driven before, but there's no way he's slowing down, not even for corners. Until it feels way too fast and he drives into oncoming traffic. Decidedly he swerves over back into his lane, reminding himself to hit the brakes next time he takes a corner. "Just like Wii Mario Cart," he murmurs to himself as he continues to barrel down on the gas.

Lifting the radio to speak, Noah lays down the groundwork. "I need this place checked out. If there is ANY sign of planning here, I want it send to my desk PRONTO. I want two teams assembled, use the eye in the sky to try and keep a watch of that Prius. Have two copters ready to follow. I want them on the run, I do not. I repeat, I do not want there to be any hostilities until we are sure we can do this safely." He continues to speak, trying his best to get a handle on a slippery situation. However, while he speaks, someone else decides to act.

"You… bitch," the young man that was with Tracy spits out, pulling out his gun. He presses the gun to her head. "I hope Hell's hot enough for you." With that, he fires the round.

"What the-" Noah exclaims, turning around to see pieces of Tracy falling to the ground. "What the hell are you doing, agent? That was evidence, we needed that brought in!" he exclaims. "Get these pieces gathered and kept together."

As the silent but enraged man puts his gun away and moves down the stairwell, Noah doesn't say that he thinks there may be a faint chance that Tracy is still alive or at the least there might be important information held within the ice, but he keeps it to himself… A decision he will regret later when the order is somehow 'misplaced' and the chunks o' Tracy are left to do what ice does best.

Melt. It might be rather difficult to keep the shattered pieces that once were — or are? — Tracy together at all. There soon might be nothing left to separate ice from ice. Pieces slide across the impromptu ice rink, already being whisked away with the rainwater rapidly swirling along the rooftop.

With that car taken care of, Gabriel turns back around in the seat, taking a deep breath. With the other agents long behind them, it seems they're going to get away. He closes his eyes, pressing his fingers into his eyes slightly, before finally shaking his head slightly and opening his eyes to focus on the road ahead. "Good driving, kid," Gabriel says, somehow managing to get himself into the front passenger seat without causing a wreck. "I'm sorry about.. Tracy," he says, his eyes focused on the streets outside. Both for anything that may have happened to her, and for getting her into the situation in the first place.

However, they're not just out of the fire yet. The agents in the upturned car managed to radio ahead, signaling another car to double back and meet them. It's cruising along at an even pace, heading straight for the intersection that Micah and Gabriel are coming up on, and Gabriel spots it a moment too late. "LOOK OUT!" he yells, pointing wildly in that direction. Let's hope Wii Mario Kart teaches you how to avoid collisions…

"Thanks, I — " Micah begins to sputter with another sniffle, pushing Tracy out of his mind to focus, as he glances at Gabriel. Gabriel's warning, however, causes his gaze back to the road. He swerves left to try to avoid the van, but instead hits the guard rail which the Prius ricochets off of, into the AP vehicle. The two barrel down the road, the momentum causing them to continue bouncing off one another until the Prius turns horizontal along the road, smashing into the guard rail once again. As it does so it comes to a stop, and the van also comes to a stop — half parked on the hood of the Prius. And as it stops one sound rings through the air: the sound of a (likely?) unconscious body slumped against the Prius' horn, applying continuous pressure.

(TO BE CONTINUED… in Rebellion to Justice)

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