2008-09-14: Where Bodies Never Break


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Summary: As one friend attends another friend's funeral, memories are recalled of the past: the day Gene tracks down Evie. One relationship ends due to the bitter sting of death, only for different relationship to take its place. Answers are given, but as usual, more remain as one friend seemingly escape's death clutches, only to watch the other swallowed whole.

Date It Happened: September 14th, 2008

Where Bodies Never Break

"Behold, I tell you a mystery…"

Sun shines down on the grassy green earth, which is dotted with the slate greys and the marbled surfaces of tombstones. It's a beautiful day for a sombre event. Dark skin baking in the sun and under black cloth, a woman minister stands graveside as a coffin is lowered into the ground while a small conglomeration of men and women watch; some carry roses or other flowers. Her strong voice carries through the quiet crowd. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written…"

The minister pauses, here, and veers gently from the scripture. "It's a saying that bears truth. Though I didn't know the deceased well, and I'm told perhaps no one but God truly did, here lies a person with a kind heart and a soul determined through suffering to do right by the world of the living, in which we prosper." The coffin is lowered, the suited men stepping back. The woman of the cloth continues. "Death is swallowed up in victory…"

Two Months Ago…

Hot Floridian sun beams down on a small piece of land surrounded by a dark, leafy green forest with a small house in the middle of the property. Beyond the trees is no doubt swamp land, by the looks of it.

Humidity clings to the air. Everything is moist, even the house, red paint peeling off, the wooden shingles touched by water and wind damage. It's small, two-storey, with a peaked roof, leaning a little to one side like a shanty, but it's quaint, like it could be — or could have been — an old family home or bed-and-breakfast at one time.

Crocodile Ridge, Florida

It would look forgotten, if it weren't for a few things. The flowerbeds, for one. The gardens are well-maintained around the house with blue and white flowers, potted petunias on the rickety front deck. The long driveway — off a road in the middle of nowhere-ville — is neat with pebbles. There are cars parked off to the side of the driveway and a lazy beagle sleeps nearby beside an old tire with flowers growing out of it.

The beaten up muscle car pulls by the house. 'Bumblebee' is turned off, the driver sighing as he pulls out his gun, tucking it into his hip holster. Of course, he has a feeling that Evie knows that he is here and packing, but if she knows him like she appears to, then she will likely know that he won't go in gunning, if he guns at all.

Stepping out of the car, Gene appears to be a tired and worn young man. His eyes are bloodshot, the bags under his eyes making his eyeballs seem sunken in. He almost got into a couple of accidents here… Getting ill at the wrong times. But he made it, despite the pain, the failures, and the betrayals. Gene's blue silk button up shirt blows in the sea breeze that always seem to go through the state, the opened shirt revealing a t-shirt with the video game character 'Duke Nuke'em', standing on a hill as he blasts some sort of pig men with a scantily clad woman holding onto him from behind. He wears shorts, a desperate attempt to survive the heat this far south. The flipflop stir the stones on the driveway, the tired Gene making his way toward the house.

It's finally time.

When Gene approaches, the napping beagle lifts its droopy head. There's a momentary delay in its consciousness before it hops up and ambles to the house, nudging the screen door — which is an obvious replacement — open. In it goes, and the door closes.

It's clear even through the screen that the front door opens into an antiquated foyer stuffed full of antique furniture long beyond repair, drab pink walls and watermarked, flowered wallpaper borders, dried flowers in vases. It leads, through double doors with many panels of glass, into what looks like a living room with downtrodden, threadbare red carpet and many chairs.

But this first room of the house is not a normal foyer: along with a closet, and a chair beside a coat-rack and shoe mat, there's a desk. Behind it, a lump of a middle-aged woman with curly red hair lazily does a Search-a-Word. It's a lobby.

The inside of 7 Crocodile Ridge Rd. contains the cloistering smell of dust and decay, at odds with something decidedly antiseptic, and it's not just the can of rose-scented air freshener sitting on the desk.

Taking a deep breath as he moves to the front door, Gene watches the beagle move in before summoning the courage to follow suit. Part of him expects to find a secret lab or maybe some government office. Despite what believes, what he senses still causes his Geek Sense to tiggle. The antiseptic smell gets his attention. After all, if one is a clean freaky, they would not stay in a place seemingly as run down as this.

Looking around, Gene's eyes settle on the woman with the curly red hair after walking in. "I am Gene… I'm here to speak with Evie," he offers in a firm voice that almost cracks. A hand pushes against the top of the desk, using it for support.

The woman rolls an eyeball up and peers at Gene under a shadowed brow with skeptical surprise.

The beagle is nowhere in sight, as it happens.

"Who?" Slowly — and somewhat reluctantly, out of doubt — she looks down to consult some manner of list Scotch-taped to her desk. "Are you lookin' to visit Eve?"

There's sudden, but subtle movement on the desk: a blue, white and green swirled marble falls off the corner, hits the floor and rolls to hit the double doors that lead further into the house. Evie stands behind the panes of glass — half transparent, as if she's a mirrored reflection from Gene's side of the room. That would be impossible, since she's looking right at him. Instead of the colourful, cheerful get-up she usually wears, all scarves and silly hats, she's wearing a pearl coloured nightgown, common about seventy years ago. Her smile is missing too.

"Room 12," the woman at the desk says, and the image of the little girl sullenly walks on toward her left, disappearing, off toward where a staircase happens to be. "Upstairs," the woman adds.

There is no surprise in Gene's eyes, either expecting the appearance of the mysterious woman or too tired or apathetic to care. Pushing off the desk, the young genius staggers back a couple of steps. "Thank you," he offers weakly before he turns to head up the stairs, using his hand to keep his balance and help him up. He makes his way toward the room, giving a couple of knocks if the door of room 12 is closed, walking on in if it isn't.

Knock knock knock. The door is closed, and the hallway it's in is dim and crowded by that same flowery wallpaper in greater amount.

At the end of the hall, past room 12 (which is marked by a little bronze plate), a man comes shuffling around the corner. Hunched over, using a walker to get by, he painstakingly maneuvers past Gene, followed by a nurse. "Almost there, Mr. Williams. There's bingo after dessert today, are you excited?…"

When they pass, the little sleepy-eyed beagle trots up to Gene's feat and, with a pathetic whine, sits down in front of room 12 and puts its paws over its eyes. The door swings open on its own.

The room is small, rose-coloured. Cluttered dresser, bed with lots of quilts; it's dim, save for the sunlight that comes in through the wide window, its floral curtains pulled back. The light just misses the figure sitting in a wheelchair just off to the side, facing the outdoor world. Instead, it leaves the figure in gloom and greets Gene. Hi, sun!

The Florida sun continues its cruel assault on Gene's optic center, forcing the young man to lift a hand to shield his eyes with one hand, the other closing the door behind him. "Though with illusion powers have the rare ability to make themselves not as they are, but as they wish to be." He walking slowly toward the figure, his tone pained. Considering how everything else has turned out… Does he want to do this? Is it better to just pretend that everything was how it should be? "How old are you? 70? 80? Old enough to fear death, old enough to not care for sexual attraction, but for lasting change, to make a difference before you go… Am I right?"

The figure in the chair is a woman. She's at least as old as the man who passed in the hall: seventy, if not older. Despite her round face, bearing some resemblance to the sweet visage of the mysterious little Evie, it's also long and drawn out by age, sunken and weighed down by sagging wrinkles and ill health. Her hair is long and dry, tied in a ponytail over one shoulder— over the pink, woolly shawl that's laid there. She sits very stiffly, as though paralyzed. Blue eyes stare out the window, seeming frozen in one direction, but not devoid of life. One hand twitch and tremors on the arm of her wheelchair, rolling a marble between skeletal fingertips. Blue, white and green swirls, like the earth.

"I'm not scared," a child's voice pops up. Evie, age twelve, shimmers into existence on the window bench, facing the older woman. She's bathed in sunlight, where the older version is still dark. "And I'm not an illusion! Not… really." She peeks down at her bare feet, which she kicks soundlessly against the bench. "The technical term's 'astral projection'. Technical schmenical, I feel like a ghost. But— you're right. My life wasn't fair. I was trying to make things better. For others. Before I go."

"Astral projection. I apologize… Kinda new to this entire 'hero' business." There is a pause before Gene looks to the woman, the real woman, before tears roll down his cheeks. He chokes on his words, but when he speaks, he collects himself, standing straight again. "I guess that's something we have in common. Trying to make things right before we die." His eyes flicker down in consideration before looking toward Evie's younger form. "So, do you feel you did what you needed?"

The older Eve doesn't move, save to twirl that little marble around over and over again. Her stare is fixed. It's as if it's a constant fight to keep any life in her eyes at all.

The younger girl turns much more alive eyes on Gene, but they hold a sadness, too. "That's why I came to you, Genie! … because we're the same." Her legs stop swinging, and the original Evie stops rolling the Earth marble. "…no," she says, her voice tiny and even more childlike than usual. "I thought Pinehearst had the answers. They were gonna make everyone better! Stronger! Change the world! But… maybe they were wrong. I think you saw that too. Maybe the changes oughta be smaller than that."

"Everyone with power wants to change the world," Gene states calmly as he rubs his forehead, trying in vain to massage away the pain. "But in the end, everyone acts with selfish intent. Arthur Petrelli acted out of hate and a desire to control. Peter acted to be the noble hero, to find self worth through sacrifice. Hiro wanted to be a heroes he read about as a child. To be truly selfless… Is impossible. To have this gifts and not abuse them… Is impossible."

"We're only human, Gene. Even though we can do these crazy things, we're still just…" Evie looks across forlornly at the old woman in the chair. "…human. You're right. None of us can be selfless. Should we be? What are we if we lose self, anyway?" She hops off the bench. "It's just making that one self we have into someone worthwhile that's… well… worth something! Maybe I tried'ta point you in the wrong direction, but you still did some good. I still did some good! So… what're you still trying to make right?"

"I tried doing the right thing. Getting people together, being noble, sharing information. And you know what I got for it?" As he turns toward Eve, his eyes are angry… Bitter. "The /one/ thing I asked for. The /one/ thing that I want? Where is it? Where is my cure?!" The tears flow faster now, but his tone is still level. "I am not sure this 'making right' is right for me." His hand digs into his pocket. A flashdrive comes out… One that hasn't been seen by another woman since he broke into the secure lab with Niki. "I don't know if I'll be here in a year or not, but I want to live. And if no one will help me, I'll help myself."

There is a long pause as Gene looks up toward Evie, frowning toward her as she reveals an important little fact. "…Point me in the wrong direction?"

Evie's usually cheerful little face takes a stormy turn as Gene shows his emotions, bright eyes blinking— unlike her real eyes. "I didn't mean to… you joined Pinehearst to sneak in and find about the people who wanted to hurt people like us, right? Weeell … I wanted you to find them, too… and stop them… but I think Pinehearst knew them somehow. Had some kinda control over them. To get rid of the pesky people with abilities, you know? Without getting their hands dirty? It was hard to spy on Arthur. So I didn't see all the bad stuff. I just really wanted you to join Pinehearst. That was when I thought they were doing good. That you could make them better!"

Evie pauses, frowning, blue eyes peering up. "I can project myself almost anywhere, Gene, but I dunno how to find you a cure. What you need's a whole new body."

"Or give myself a new ability… If it is my ability that is causing the tumor, then if I have a different one, I might be able to save myself. Or perhaps make someone that could assist me… I don't know," Gene states as his head lightly hits the glass. He raps his head against it a few more time, as if fighting the urge to actually put force behind the blows. "I'm tired of being the victim. I'm tired of being the one people pity. I'm tired of being scared of dying, tired of being tired. The cure… Would just be the first part, but if I don't do that, I won't live long enough to make anything worthwhile… Anything that lasts."

"Why do you think I appear to people like this?" Evie spins around in a circle, and as she does, her plain, old-fashioned nightgown swirls into vibrant colour: red jeans, a shirt with a smiling sunflower, a little knit cardigan. She smiles empathetically — not with pity — at the young man.

"But look at me," Evie waves a small hand toward her much — much — older self. "I'm an antique!" she scuffs a toe, looking down and wandering to look out the window on the lawn below. Some old folks are out for a walk in the back yard with the nurses. "I'm done. It's getting hard to project. The doctor that comes in every other Thursday says my mind's degenerating. I can't feel it though. I'm okay with it. If there's a way you can get better… well. Find it! If not, then… make the most of what time you have! Haven't you ever heard of a Bucket List, silly-billy?"

The young man looks toward a nurse down there. Is it because she looks like someone who he knows or knew or merely because she is attractive? He doesn't say, only giving Evie a look as she offer the almost magical display of power. "Why do you think I was willing to sign up to something as ill planned and haphazard as fighting against Pinehearst? Because I know there is a chance that no matter what I do that I'll die anyway. I'd ask someone to look into the future and let me know what to do, but considering they had the power to help me and didn't, I'll just presume that selfish bastards left me high and dry."

A fist tightly clenches with rage, the anger only growing. "Hiro… Peter… Self-righteous people that claim to be heroes, but they decide who lives and dies for their own selfish reasons… Just like Arthur."

"You're right about Mr. Petrelli," Evie says, climbing onto the window bench and sitting up on it cross-legged. "But that can't be true, Gene. I used to watch people, sometimes, you know. When Pinehearst asked me to or when I thought they were important. Did you know that Peter was locked up by the Company not long ago? Or that the time traveller kinda disappeared? I don't know those people, but maybe they couldn't help you. Or maybe they don't know how." Or maybe there is now way to help, but she stops herself from saying so; Gene himself basically said it already anyway. "You're not gonna get anywhere bein' mad at everyone for things no one can control, Genie. I learned that a long time ago."

A dismissive snort is the first official response Gene gives before he turns away. "They can travel through time and Peter can do a LOT more than that. Don't TELL me that they can't control it," Gene states, staring daggers toward Evie. He walks away a couple of steps to look toward the door.

"If it was Elena that was sick, I know Peter would do something about it. He DID something about it. This isn't about whether or not they can do something about it. This is about abandoning me when I wasn't useful to them. Hiro promised that he would help me and he didn't. No explanation, no apologizes." He turns toward Evie, giving her a sad smile. It's clear a multitude of emotions are running through his mind. He's too tired to filter, too weak to control effective. "You keep defending them, you'll only get dragged down to their level."

Evie purses her small lips and hops off the bench again, this time striding purposefully past her wheelchair-bound self and toward Gene, hands on her hips. "You're mad 'cause it's not fair. You're letting whatever's sick in your head poison you. That's the fast train to feelin' even worse, mister K."

His head is down, but the young man's words are firm. "No, I'm made because they are supposed to help me. I know the world isn't fair. I've lived in fear, had everything important to me stripped away one by one… But these people claim to be standing in defiance of it."

The Geek God turns toward Evie with a slightly raised voice. Only the fear of nursing staff coming up keeps him from yelling. "I did the right thing as well, I saved lives, even to people that blew my crap up! And the ONE time I ask for something for me, I get turned down and forgotten?!" The anger and the hate, for whatever reason, lose their steam and Gene is left with sorrow. "Why?" He drops down to his knees, and then his hands and knees before he begins to sob.

Childlike but wise, Evie's eyes are fixed on Gene. She's quiet, this time. When he falls down, she sits down on the floor in front of him, crossing her legs Indian-style.

Quietly reflecting the troubled young man's face, tears fall down the face of the old relic of her real body. The marble drops from her hand, rolling toward the astral Evie and Gene. Concentrating, the little girl plucks it from the worn-down floor. She reaches out, trying to take Gene's hand — her own touch is barely there, just a tingle, but the marble is real — and tries to make him take it. "I didn't forget you. Don't forget me. Okay?"

The marble is taken, placed in the same hand as the flashdrive. Hope and damnation resting side by side in his palm. He takes a deep breath in, sucking in the snot that threatens to drip further on the ground. "I… I wish I could do more for you. If it was legs, I could make you walk. If it was hands, I could give them to you. All I can give you… Is my promise. And unlike those I once called friends, I shall keep my word. Always."

"I'll be watching you. For as long as I can," little Evie says, trying to take on a lighter tone. "So you better be good." She seems to have said all she's going to say until her long-haired head cocks to one side. "What's that?" she peeks down at the flashdrive.

"…The formula, or at least one of the later drafts of it before it was perfected." Gene looks at it carefully as he gets into a seated position himself. "It might be my one chance to save myself. I have a theory of why my power might not be working as it should. When I was looking at the mutated humans, I realized what made them die… Incorrect formulas. If that was the case, then there might be hope for me yet," Gene states calmly. He gives a weak smile, perhaps able to move past the tears a final time tonight. "Besides, you never know when it might come in handy."

"Or ruin everything," Evie tags on, but she wears a light smile. Hope! "You hang on to that, Genie." Grabbing her feet, she rocks back and forth, playful and childlike. "Can you… stay 'til the nurse comes in?"

There is a short pause as Gene considers it. He found out who Evie was, he should be going. Research… Every second could count in the race for a cure. Whatever stops him, he doesn't stand, only giving a small but gentle smile in return. "Of course, Evie… For you, I'll stay as long as you want."


"May God smile upon you, my friend… Hopefully, you will have given your life to Him. That way, we can meet in a place where bodies never break and minds never fray. In this place, we will be able to be in His glory until the ends of time where illness and frailty can never keep ones tied by fate and blood from feeling love." While there was a time when they did not know who would be the first to go, it is Gene that stands with the few friends and family that are present, celebrating the life of the woman that gave him new life and direction, helping him in ways he may not even fully understand.

With skin that is deathly pale, and eyes still worn and red, Gene kneels down, taking a clump of dirt in order to throw it down. As it goes, a flash drive drops down with it and clacks against the casket, soon to be buried along with the rest of the soil. "I have no need of this miracle any longer, Evie, though I pretend not to know if it will come back to haunt man or not. Whatever the cause, I hope that if you are watching me that will be happy with the works I've done and the choices I've made… Even if they are not the ones I would have made so many months ago." Looking up at the bright Florida sun above, he wonders when he will next see it again. The first time brought a renewal of vows and an important re-evaluation of his life. The second time appears to have done the same, though in much more tragic circumstances.

While saddened, Gene sheds no tears; he holds out his arm to his present company. He tries to give a smile for the woman he is with, though she will likely know that Gene is clearly pained. "Come now, my sweet. I have to make sure that Evie's last wishes are followed. After that, we can spend weekend here as you wish. I am sure there are places in Florida you wished to see, and things to do."

Dressed in a black dress that is not entirely appropriate for a funeral, Gwen stands by Gene's side. Though she's here with him, her facial expression is not one of grief, pain, jealousy, or anything very strong. It's more like boredom. As usual, she's very good at faking it and most present wouldn't be able to tell she's ready to stab out her eyes with some of the roses people have brought for the graveside. Thankfully, the service ends and Gene comes back. The blonde woman - double Gene's age - slips her arm delicately through his and plays the dutiful date. "As long as there's a beach and a Prada near by, I'm set." She pauses, then remembers to add, "Dear." Then, softer, so that the others may not be able to hear, "Can we get out of here soon? Dead people give me the creeps."

"You should work on getting used to them," Gene states calmly, perhaps a hidden dig if Gwen really looks for it. "But yes, there's nothing for us here." That said, the living Geek God moves toward his car, a fixed up and spotless yellow Camero. He opens the door for his Gwen, closing it behind her before getting into the drivers' seat, and looking to his missed calls. "Figures. A genius' work is never done," he states before he turns on the car and makes his way out to other important (and after that, enjoyable but less important) affairs.


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