Characters/Pairings: Peter/Gabriel, cameos by Hiro and Ando
Words: around 1900 for Angst, 5200 for Drama
Summary: The injection that stripped Gabriel of his powers has also condemned him to an early death. Peter seeks out a cure, but first he must convince others that Gabriel has changed his life.
Warnings: Explicit sexual content, mild descriptions of ugly violence.
Notes: Preceded by Hurt, Comfort and Sex
"I'm just not hungry, Peter. I'm sorry."
Peter's brows drew together as he regarded Gabriel: his too-lean frame, his cheekbones beginning to stand out too sharply. Peter looked down at the generous bowl of corn chowder in front of the other man. "Did you even take a single bite?"
"I'm sure it's great, Peter. It smells wonderful. I'm just still full. I only ate a few hours ago."
"That was lunch. Six hours ago. And today I was with you all day to know. You can't tell me you snacked. I know you didn't."
Gabriel shrugged. "It's … it's probably just a withdrawal symptom."
"We're not even sure you were physically addicted, Gabriel!" Peter said, frustrated. "And anyway, the drugs you were on – they were suppressing your appetite. Going off them should be giving you the munchies, not having the opposite effect." He trusted Gabriel. If he hadn't, he'd have thought he was using drugs again on the sly, but Peter was sure that wasn't happening here. For the last few days especially, he'd been making a special effort to be with Gabriel constantly, watching him, trying to figure out what the other man was doing that was sabotaging his recovery, because he was still losing weight.
"Maybe in another week, I'll be better. I probably just have a stomach bug." He smiled warmly at Peter, either not noticing his frustration or not responding to it. Either was possible, as Gabriel had an annoying habit of ignoring emotional responses he didn't have a use for. "Let's just wait and see." He stood up, supporting himself on the table as he got to his feet. Peter's eyes darted back and forth between Gabriel's hands where he used them to push off the furniture. "I'm going to go lie down. Need my rest if we're going to do anything later, hm?" He waggled his brows suggestively and headed off to the bedroom, leaving Peter to ponder.
Four nights ago, they hadn't had sex because Gabriel had been 'too tired.' It happened, but to happen to a man in his early 30s, in otherwise good shape, with an easy job and few responsibilities, in the early stages of a relationship that he was otherwise wild about… it was odd. Peter hadn't thought too much of it though. But two nights ago they'd had to stop in the middle because Gabriel literally couldn't do it. Last night Peter had topped, missionary, and they'd had a good time … but his partner hadn't been all that engaged.
Peter looked at the full bowl of chowder and the untouched spoon next to it. He thought about Gabriel needing to push himself up from the table and a dozen other little signs that something was wrong – seriously wrong. He stood abruptly and strode to the bedroom. He hesitated outside the door, gathering his thoughts. He wouldn't barge in and confront an ailing patient, and that was exactly what he suspected he was dealing with. He walked in more slowly, his manner reserved.
Gabriel was laying down, a magazine next to him like he intended to read it, but hadn't gotten around to it yet. There were a lot of things that happened like that in the last week – he said he was interested, wanted to go out, or watch TV, or read a book, and … instead he'd fall asleep or just zone out, like anything beyond the most basic activities of living day to day was too much. Now that Peter thought of it, the only things Gabriel was doing were washing, going to work, eating a little (and a lot less than Peter would like), and trying to perform in bed, something he'd been failing at recently. He cuddled well. He was affectionate when he wasn't being irritable about missing the drugs.
Peter stood at the side of the bed. "When was the last time you saw a doctor?"
Gabe smiled up at him, heavy lidded. "I see Dr. Petrelli every day."
"A real doctor."
Gabriel snorted softly. "You mean not one of those mad scientists working for the government, with all their needles and mysterious injections?"
Peter's eyes widened as his mind fathomed a possible explanation. He nodded slowly.
"It's been years," Gabriel sighed. "Years and years."
Peter couldn't keep up the charade of a good bedside manner any longer. He climbed on the bed and straddled Gabriel's thighs.
"Oh-ho-ho!" Gabriel laughed. "Not waiting until later, are we?"
Peter smirked. He pushed up Gabriel's shirt and started palpating him methodically. At first Gabriel squirmed happily in response, then he realized this wasn't for his arousal. He stilled. "What are you doing, Peter?"
"Looking for masses."
"You think I have cancer?"
"You have something. I'm sure of it. I'm just not sure what it is."
"Peter …" Gabriel caught his hands and yanked him down. He was still strong – he just didn't have any stamina. He kissed him. After a moment of tension, Peter returned it. The hard press of lips turned soft and sweet, with a slow caress of Gabe's fingers along the back of his shirt, progressing to his head and tangling gradually in his hair. Peter gave a soft moan. Eventually they parted.
In a level, normal tone of voice, Peter said, "You're not going to distract me."
"Mm. Then I need to work on becoming a better kisser. Come here. Let me practice." He pulled him back and Peter let him. About a minute into it, Peter began working his hands across Gabriel's abdomen once again. "Agh!" Gabriel pushed him away. "Would you stop it? The last people who were poking and prodding me took my-" Gabriel cut off mid-sentence. He rolled onto his side, facing away.
Peter immediately spooned up behind him. When his presence wasn't refused, he wrapped an arm around Gabe and hugged him.
Gabriel told him, "I don't want to see any doctors anymore. No needles. No gowns. No straps." He paused. Peter listened. Gabriel had never told him what had happened. "No lights. No tubes." Gabriel curled inward more tightly. Peter kissed the middle of his back and hugged him. "No…" His voice turned vulnerable and raw. "I want dirt, and blood, and life. I want to shoot up and feel good and forget it all. I want to be in you so I don't have to think." His voice hitched. He stopped talking and slowed his breathing. Peter kissed his back again.
"I'm dying, Peter. Please don't leave me. Not when we just …" His voice got tight. He held his breath.
"I would never leave you while you needed me this much," Peter murmured. He waited, but Gabriel was silent. Peter asked, "How long have you known?"
"I don't know. I'm not certain. I just keep going downhill. Maybe I have some kind of really fast-acting AIDS. I've been fucked up the ass enough by strange men!"
Peter snorted. "AIDS does not progress this fast." He was quiet for a while, listening to Gabriel's breathing, feeling the warmth of his body. Where there was life there was hope. No wonder Gabriel had fallen into a pit of despair.
"The needles were always clean though," Gabriel muttered.
Peter leaned his forehead against the other man's back. Curled as he was, his singlet stretched over his back - his spine was too obvious; his ribs apparent. "You said they used a variant of the Shanti virus?"
"Why didn't they use the original?"
"I don't know. I was immune to it anyway - to the original." Gabriel relaxed a little.
"You were? I thought that was what took away your powers to start with."
"It did. That's why I was immune to it. I took that shot Mohinder had - I guess it had antibodies. They used something different this time." Gabriel relaxed more. They were just talking now. Talking was okay. This wasn't a subject that upset him.
Peter tugged Gabriel onto his back and the other man flopped over cooperatively. Peter sat up on the bed. "Will you let me finish examining you?" Peter could see the muscles tighten on the other man's frame. He added, "Please? I don't think I'll find anything, but it will make me feel better."
Gabriel looked off to the side. Peter wasn't sure if that was acquiescence or avoidance, but a moment later he said, "Go ahead."
Peter's hands roamed over him, pushing here, probing there, massaging and feeling. Gabriel endured it patiently. Peter didn't find anything unusual. Gabriel was still a little sore over the areas of his last injuries, but the bruises were almost entirely faded. The last thing Peter did was work his fingers up the other man's neck, then over his face. Their eyes met and they shared an intimacy so intense it was almost painful. It made Peter's chest tighten. He finally shut his eyes and bowed his head, running his fingers through Gabriel's hair, feeling his scalp. There was nothing to find.
He sighed and dismounted from where he was straddling his lover's chest at the moment. He sank down on the bed next to him. Gabriel tugged at him and guided Peter's movements until he positioned him on the bed next to him, lying facing one another. Gabriel kissed him gently, silently. Peter returned it. He brought one hand up to caress Gabriel's face as the other man slipped his fingers into the top of Peter's waistband.
"No," Peter said, jerking his hips back an inch. Sick people, and illness, seriously, seriously turned him off. It squicked him to even contemplate it. When he merely thought Gabriel was thin or tired, there was no problem. Now that he thought he was sick … sex was completely off the table. And Peter was very, very sorry for that, deeply sorry, but there was no way he was going to be able to perform.
Gabriel grunted unhappily. "Peter, at least let me give you a hand job."
"No." He kissed him again instead. He could give affection. He could give support. And he wanted to give Gabriel those things. He couldn't give the other.
Gabriel made a frustrated noise, but went with it. When they parted though, he asked sadly, "Is this it then?"
Gabriel gave him a frail smile and reached up to stroke Peter's face. "I'm sorry. It's uh… a kind of dead-end relationship. No matter what happens, thank you for what you've given me. For at least a little while, I haven't been alone."
"Don't talk that way," Peter said forcefully, drawing him into an embrace. "I'm going to find a cure."
Peter lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, trying to think of what to do. Blood tests, CAT scans and all the usual probably wouldn't detect much. Yes, it might tell him elevated white blood cell count, ketone bodies and various other signals of bodily distress, but he suspected that what Gabriel had was a virus which was systematically destroying him, sabotaging his DNA in a steady progression.
Perhaps it started with turning off his abilities, but it hadn't stopped at that. There had to be others - lots of specials had come forward after Claire's revelation and the authorities had captured a few in addition - the law-breakers. They didn't get much publicity, but Peter was sure that if anyone had been given the same neutralizing shot as Gabriel, it would have been them.
He looked over at Gabriel, whose face was relaxed and carefree in slumber. Peter had to resist the urge to touch, to pet and stroke. It was still amazing to him that they'd ended up together, having been with one another here less than two weeks. He'd barely found him. Before, alone and powerless, Gabriel had fallen so far with no one in his life to prop him up, to lean on, to help him. Peter swallowed roughly. He'd lost so much time. He blinked and looked away, slipping carefully out of the bed. Time.
He cleaned up the kitchen and the leftovers from dinner, leaving a note prominently on the table: "Gabriel - I'll find a cure. I'll be back." He wasn't sure how long it would take, but he wouldn't stop until he had it.
His journey took him far. Gabriel never called. Peter called Claire, he visited Noah, he terrorized Mohinder. Mohinder he also robbed, taking from him a batch of serum that would cure most varieties of the Shanti virus, but specifically not the one they'd been using recently to permanently suppress people's abilities. That variant had been designed to be more virulent than even Mohinder's antibodies augmented with Claire's blood would overcome. Mohinder had laughed at Peter when he finally found out who he wanted the cure for. He'd gloated. All Peter could think of was when Mohinder had him strapped down on a lab table, preparing to inject him with a probably lethal substance, and Gabriel had come to save him.
That was when the terrorizing had begun. Peter wasn't proud of it, but now he had a case of serum and he needed to find a booster agent. He knew of two possible sources - Matt Parkman's child had some ability to turn off and on other abilities, but he was too young to do it reliably, and Peter wasn't sure it would work. More certain was Ando's ability of supercharging. It was helpful too that Hiro basically trusted Peter and could bring Ando to him, rather than requiring Peter to go to Japan.
However, much as Hiro trusted him, Ando did not, especially.
"Everyone who was given this injection was dangerous," Ando pointed out. "They broke the law. They can not be kept in jails, so this must have been the government's solution."
"Just because someone is dangerous, does not mean they deserve to be killed. They deserve a trial at least."
Ando shook his head. "They are terrorists! Terrorists do not deserve an open trial. Maybe they had a secret one. There are many people who misuse their abilities. They must be dealt with!"
Peter pursed his lips. "And you were able to control your ability perfectly from the start?"
"Yes. I was," Ando said firmly, proudly. Peter didn't believe that, but he had no way to refute it.
Hiro had not been there when Ando got his ability. He exhaled slowly. He knew what Peter was getting at - that Peter himself would have been one of those dangerous people condemned to death, only a few short years before.
Ando missed the connection though. Instead he gestured to Hiro. "And Hiro's ability is not dangerous either. We are not criminals. Everyone who was given this injection had abused their abilities."
"That's only what they're telling you. And even if it's true, this is a capital punishment. Is there no chance of redemption, or forgiveness?"
Ando gave him a confused look, like what he was asking for made no sense at all. "That has nothing to do with it. They broke the law! They must pay the penalty!"
"Have you never broken the law?" Peter asked, exasperated.
Ando nodded energetically and gestured expansively. "And when I do, I pay the penalties!"
Peter snorted. "Ando, you're here in New York without a passport even."
Ando stood, making to leave, but pointed at him first. "You were the one who asked us to come here!"
"That's not my point!" Peter's voice rose stridently and he stood up as well.
"Stop!" Hiro's voice cut through the argument. They both fell silent, each frustrated with the other. Both sank back to their seats. Hiro turned to the Italian. "Peter, you wish to save people. That is very noble. You think you can judge the hearts and minds of these people and see which should be saved and which should not. That is very dangerous. It is easy to be wrong and misled." He looked steadily at Peter for a long while. Peter looked down at the table. He'd only been with Gabriel a few weeks and the years in his head were under very controlled circumstances. Did he really know him? He wanted to. He swallowed roughly and nodded.
It was the response Hiro wanted. He turned to Ando and said, "Ando, you wish to protect people. That is also very noble. You have already judged the hearts and minds of people and you will not allow them to change who they are or find a new path in life. That is also … very dangerous. All life is change. It is easy to fall into the trap of righteousness and arrogance." Ando looked away, making no sign of agreement or acceptance.
Hiro went on anyway, "You are both playing with other people's lives. Ando's ability might allow you, Peter, to save many who should have otherwise died. Ando's ability is very special. It has many, many unexpected uses." Ando puffed up very slightly at this praise. "When he uses it with my power to manipulate space and location, I can move many people." Hiro too smiled a little, because like Ando, he was proud of his ability. "And when he uses it with my power to control time, I can follow the thread of a single person's life, finding those moments when they make pivotal decisions for their future, those knots in the string that connect them to others."
Peter was watching him attentively now.
Hiro said, "Tell me who this person is. We will find out if his heart has changed, as you say, and if he deserves to live."
Peter blinked and swallowed. It sounded hopeless suddenly. "He's just a man, Hiro. He hasn't been doing anything heroic lately. He's just been working and trying to get by - that's all." His voice rose with emotion, "Maybe he deserved to lose his abilities - fine, I've lost most of mine and life goes on - but he doesn't deserve to die because of it!"
Stiffly Hiro said, "One does not have to be heroic to have the right to live. Who is he?"
Peter swallowed again and looked down. He might as well try to steal Ando's ability now, though he suspected if he made so much as a move towards him, Hiro would freeze time, they would leave, and that would be that. There was still a chance Hiro at least would listen though. "Gabriel Gray."
Hiro nodded sagely, then he paused, brow furrowing. "That is the secret identity of Sylar!" he said in a rush as he figured it out.
Peter winced. Ando snorted and then laughed, saying, "I will not save Sylar! He deserves to die more than anyone else!"
Peter said softly, "He's a good person now. He's changed."
"Didn't he kill your brother?" Hiro asked in a small voice.
Peter nodded, still looking down. "Yes. He did. And after that, he and I … quarreled. He decided to change his life. He went to an empath to find out what was wrong with his heart, how he could change who he was. He went to Claire, because she'd never liked her abilities either and he felt overwhelmed by his. He went to Matt Parkman - all this on his own, mind you," and Peter looked up stonily at Ando. "No one was making him go, he didn't have to - he just didn't want to be a bad person anymore. He was sorry. He was repentant. He asked Matt to take away his powers. Matt trapped him in inside his own mind - in a nightmare where he had to confront his worst fear over and over.
"I'd had a dream that Sylar would be reformed and that he'd save Emma at the carnival, the one you," he looked to Hiro, "teleported all those people away from. So I went to Matt and I went inside of Sylar's mind to get him out. Sylar's ability has to do with time. Time was expanded within it so what was only a few hours on the outside felt like years inside. I spent relative years with him, getting to know him … He's changed. I swear it. And when we got out, he saved Emma … and that let us save everyone else. He didn't hurt anyone. He hasn't hurt anyone."
Peter sighed and looked ambivalent. "Sure, he was on TV a lot and he show-boated. He was stupid. But he didn't hurt people. He wasn't hurting people. Not anymore. If they took his abilities then maybe that's just. But killing him isn't. Not when he's changed." Not when he's just found love.
Hiro turned to his old friend and asked, "Ando, if he has truly become a new man, would you lend your ability to Peter so that he may save lives?"
"Sylar killed for years. He could not have changed so quickly."
Hiro's lips tightened. He recalled Gabriel's argument with his mother, crying outside her door. He remembered convincing Sylar to spare Charlie and how upset the man was at Hiro's prediction that he would have a lonely death. Hiro did not know Sylar very well, but he had seen in the man the capacity for the change Peter mentioned. It was possible. "Then you would be in no danger in agreeing, if you are so certain that he can not change his ways."
"Fine," Ando said sulkily.
Hiro gave them both a curt nod. He stepped between them, placing a hand on the shoulders of each. Ando reached up and covered Hiro's with his own, lending his ability for what Hiro was about to do. Hiro said, "Now. We will go see."
They were in a clock and watch repair shop, out of the way off to the side. Peter looked around uncertainly. Gabriel - a healthier, more energetic Gabriel - was across the room trying to turn a large grandfather clock so he could get the back off of it and have a look inside.
Hiro whispered, "Another effect of combining Ando's power with mine is that we are out of phase with reality. Do not touch anything, or you will step on butterflies. As long as we are relatively still and quiet, they will not know we are here. We can witness the timeline unfolding and see the event we need to see."
Peter nodded and watched.
Gabriel tilted the clock away from himself, canting it as he tried to get to some latch or catch towards the bottom. Unbalanced, it started to topple. If his first instinct had been to grab it with his hand, it would have been safe, but instead he made a now-useless gesture for telekinesis. By the few fractions of a second later it took him to realize that didn't work for him anymore, it was too late. The enormous, elaborate clock crashed to the floor and into a display case. Gabriel made a pained hiss. He jerked his hand back up and covered his mouth as Martin Grey, his stepfather, ran out from the shop in the back.
"What the hell happened? Oh my God! It's ruined! Oh my God!" He stared in disbelief at the shattered casing.
"I can- I can fix the clock part. I- I- I'll do it for free," Gabriel stuttered.
"For free? The fucking mechanism's not as expensive as the casing! You clumsy oaf! What the hell were you doing?"
"I- I- I was just moving it and it caught on the rug and- Those doctors- I- I've been feeling dizzy and wrong since they-"
"Don't you go blaming doctors for your own damn clumsiness! Have you been drinking? I told you if you drank or did drugs I'd fire your ass!" Martin crowded up on Gabriel, sniffing and looking him over. Finding nothing objectionable, he snarled and turned back to the ruined timepiece. "This was a sixteen thousand dollar Miller!" They both stared at it in horror.
Into the silence, Gabriel said, "I'll pay for it."
"The fuck you will! You have no money! I had to cover your advance for rent!"
Gabriel cringed. "I'll work for free…"
"Whaddaya going to eat?" Martin shook himself and changed tacks. "You're god-damned right you're going to pay for it! And that's the only reason I'm not going to fire you! I ought to anyway… This will take you years to pay off - I oughta send you back to that jail or laboratory," at this Gabriel flinched, "that you came from and save myself the trouble!"
"No! Please! They said I had to have a job and a residence. I- I- I'll work every day."
"You're god-damned right you will! Let me see you use some of those fancy powers to get out of this one, huh? Where are those fancy powers now? Not so much better than anyone else, are you? Just a charlatan, a fake, the whole way through - a LIAR!"
Tucking his head down, Gabriel muttered, "It wasn't a lie."
"Turn something into gold for me then! Huh?" Martin taunted. When Gabriel stood motionless, Martin said, "That's what I thought! All a charade and when the lawyers got a hold of you and proved you were fake and the doctors fixed your head so you didn't believe that crap anymore … now you're here, having to work for a living like the rest of us and you're god-damned right you're paying for this. Don't just stand there! Clean it up! Fucking display case is fucked too. I'm adding that to the bill too! Pathetic!"
Gabriel flinched again and hastened to get a broom. Martin took the main part of the clock to the back to see if he could salvage anything from it. The three spectators to this humiliating disaster stood by quietly for long minutes while Gabriel swept and tidied. When it was clean, he walked over to his work desk and pulled out a picture. He stood staring at it for a long time, running his fingers across it and around the edges. Martin walked out unexpectedly and Gabriel tried to put it away too fast, guiltily.
"What the hell is that?" Martin strode over and snatched at it. "What the hell is this? A picture of some pretty boy? What the hell are you, gay?"
Gabriel snatched it back from him. "What is it to you if I am?" he exclaimed hotly.
Martin rocked back on his heels for a moment in shock. "You're- You're- Give me that!" They struggled over the picture and it tore in half. Peter winced. He'd already guessed who it was a picture of. Martin said too loudly, "Is this your boyfriend? Your rich boyfriend all dolled up in a fancy suit? Why don't you go get him to pay for this, huh?"
Gabriel shook his head, looking away and hunching. He stuffed the bit of the picture he still had into his pocket.
"Yeah, that's what I thought," Martin went on. "You don't have any friends! Never have. This fellow probably doesn't even know you exist! You freak! Sick, pathetic freak!"
Gabriel cringed away from him. He sniffed and reached up to wipe angrily at his eyes.
"Now you're gonna cry, like some little nancy-boy? I'll tell you what, boy, it's a damn good thing Virginia didn't live to see you turn out like this!" Martin stalked off, shaking his head, leaving Gabriel standing there trembling, hands stuffed in his pockets, shoulders shaking. "Pathetic!" Martin said, oddly facing the three watching the scene. He threw his hands up dramatically.
Peter swallowed roughly. Martin threw down the other bit of the photograph, then turned and walked away into the workroom, with a last glare at (and cringe from) Gabriel. Peter bent and picked up the piece before Hiro could stop him. It shimmered in his hand and then solidified as it phased into their frequency of reality. He turned it over. It was a photo of Peter Petrelli, all right.
They stood on the rooftop of a single story building, fronting on an alley that ran between a parking lot in the back and a street on the opposite end. Below, in the alley, there were four people - three men and a woman. Peter recognized Gabriel and pointed him out to the others. "There he is."
Hiro nodded and pulled Peter back a little. "We are out of a phase, yes, but we should still be careful, or else we give vuvu day."
Peter looked at him blankly for a moment, then said, "Déjà vu."
"Yes, that too," Hiro nodded.
They watched the scene unfold. Gabriel spoke to one of the other men in the alley in a timid, quiet voice that barely carried to them, "So how much is a dose, if I wanted to pay for it?"
"You liked last time, huh?"
He looked down. "Yeah, that was good."
"Oh yeah, it's awesome man. Nothing like that stuff to take your worries away. And clean too! I bet you felt great the next day, right?"
"Yeah, I felt fine," Gabriel's voice was subdued.
The dealer crowed a little, "You see, that's the great part about this stuff. You can have your fun, then wake up in the morning and still go to work - no shakes, no problems! Great stuff."
"Uh-huh. How much?"
"Forty?" Gabriel sounded taken aback. He got out his wallet and looked through it. "Listen, I don't get paid until Friday-"
"Come back Friday then," the dealer suggested.
Gabriel shook his head. "No. I have twenty-five. Can I get a half dose?"
"Fuck that. I ain't divvying."
"Twenty-five is more than half!" Gabriel said, offering the money.
"Let me see that," the dealer said and took the cash. He looked at the two tens and a five, then folded them and stuck them in his pocket. "Okay, tell you what. You're kind of new at this so I figure you're clean."
"What?" Gabriel said, confused.
"I'll give you a full dose, just like last time," he said in an indulgent voice. "You come back to my car and blow me."
"'What?'" the man parodied him. The other couple laughed with him and began to wander off. "You heard me. You want the dope or not?"
Gabriel stared at him, stared at the fact that his money was in the other man's pocket. "You took my money …"
"No I didn't. You're gonna blow me and it's an honest deal. Otherwise, it's what I take for giving it to you free last time and I never deal with you again, ever, and neither does anyone I work with. So what's it gonna be?"
Gabriel swallowed and shoved his hands in his pockets.
The dealer turned and walked towards the parking lot. "My car's back here."
Gabriel hung his head, hunched in his shoulders and looked up and down the alley. With small, reluctant steps, he followed the man.
Ando snorted. "He chose this life. He could have walked away. Those are illegal drugs he is buying with money he should be using to pay for that clock he broke!"
Peter took a deep breath. Life was not so simple. Peter came from a very privileged background, but he'd figured that out at least.
Hiro said, "There is more to see."
For a moment, Peter wasn't sure they'd jumped, because nothing had changed. It was a little windier - the same alley, another night. Clouds dotted the sky. There were four people in the alley again, all male. One was Gabriel. This time he was bolder, his voice coarser and rougher. Peter could see, because he was looking, that he was thinner too.
Gabriel said, "I'd like to do the same as last time - two doses: one now, one for later."
The dealer snorted. "I've already had your nasty hole, boy, and I figure by now, lots of other people have too. Not interested. Cash only."
"I don't have cash - I told you. Listen, there's three of you. I'll blow all three of you for one dose."
The dealer laughed. "What part of 'cash only' do you not understand, junkie?"
One of the other men shoved off the wall and approached Gabriel belligerently. "Did you just call me a faggot, junkie?"
"No, I didn't," Gabriel said, giving him an angry look.
"I don't want no blow job. Only faggots get blow jobs."
Gabriel looked past the tough to the dealer, who laughed tauntingly. Gabriel looked back at the thug and said, "If that's so, then you're not the only faggot here."
The guy swung on him, missing. Where Gabriel made his mistake, or at least the worst of many that night, was in swinging back and actually connecting. Three to one were not good odds and Gabriel had no special power to defend himself.
Ando and Hiro both had to grab Peter from flinging himself off that roof and rescuing Gabriel. Hiro said in an urgent whisper, "No! We know he survives! No stepping on butterflies!" When Peter let himself be pulled away from the edge, Hiro added, "These scenes are what makes him the man he is now, for good or ill. We can not interfere!"
Peter's jaw worked and he shook his head. Hiro and Ando returned to the edge, looking over, lured by curiosity about the ongoing drama. Peter came up beside them. He had to see too. The men had stopped hitting him. Gabriel was curled on the ground, offering no resistance. One of them went to stomp on his hand where he held himself up and he yanked it protectively under him a second before the boot heel came down. Peter jumped and Hiro put a hand on him again. The owner of the boot made a frustrated grunt and drew back to kick him hard. Hiro gripped more firmly, but it wasn't needed. The dealer gave the thug a shove and knocked him off balance, saying, "Cut it out. He probably makes a living with those hands. It's not like he owes us money."
The dealer bent down, making sure Gabriel heard him as he said, "You want to blow people for dope, go find some guys on the meatrack and blow them for cash, then come find me. I'll still do business with you, but like I said, cash only."
The dealer walked off. The tough Gabriel had slugged to start with did something to his pants, then pissed on the man cowering on the ground. "Don't call me faggot either, faggot." He jogged off to rejoin his companions before they got too far away. A moment later, Gabriel put out a shaking hand to the wall and drug himself to his feet.
This then, it occurred to Peter, was how he got the round of bruises across his back that he'd seen before, somewhat faded. He slumped, watching as Gabriel limped away.
Hiro said quietly, "There is much evil in the world."
The next place was Gabriel's apartment. They were standing in the bedroom. Peter breathed a sigh of relief. The last two scenes had been pretty rough to see even though he'd known something like that must have happened. Paramedics saw a lot of the underbelly of humanity. The bedroom door was open though and they could hear noises from the main room. The three walked over. All arrested at the door, for different reasons.
Gabriel and Peter (at least, a somewhat past version of Peter) were naked. Gabriel was on his knees before the couch; Peter was slumped down on it, his legs on either side of Gabriel's hips, facing one another. Gabriel was leaned over him and they were kissing - tender, sensual, affectionate kisses as they touched each other's faces softly.
Ando took one good look and stalked off deeper into the darkness of the bedroom, making an indistinct seething noise. Hiro stared with open fascination. Peter remembered this scene. He hadn't really thought of it as 'formative' to Gabriel's current state, but the whole scene had been overwhelmingly intimate and loving from start to finish - nothing had been rushed; it was a slow climax of caring for one another's needs. Gabriel was prepping him now.
Peter looked away. He looked at Hiro, still staring, then cleared his throat as noisily as he dared. Hiro looked at him briefly, then back at the scene. "This … this is how gay men make love?"
Peter blinked several times. Honestly, he'd kind of thought Hiro and Ando were … well … It was never any of his business though. "Uh … it's one way, yes."
"You can not trust porn," Hiro said with a sudden stern glance at Peter. He looked back at Ando and added, "Or what you see on the internet." He looked back at the encounter they were eavesdropping on. His voice became soft and low. "But this is real." Hiro tilted his head slightly, a small, strangely innocent and delighted smile forming on his face.
Peter glanced back in. Gabriel had entered him and was waiting for Peter to adjust. He'd extended one of his long arms to let his fingers drift down across Peter's forehead, then his cheek, to his collarbone, and down his chest. Peter caught that hand and they twined their fingers together as Gabriel began to move.
Peter swallowed tensely, starting to get turned on - which under the circumstances, was very, very weird. Hiro was still mesmerized. A quick glance to the Japanese man's groin confirmed there was nothing apparent happening there. Peter took the smaller man by the shoulders and guided him away from the door.
Ando hissed at him, "Now we see the real reason why you want him cured!"
Peter looked down and exhaled harshly. Yes, he'd left out the part about him and Gabriel fucking now. He'd presented it as if he were just trying to help out a fellow human being.
Ando went on, "He sells himself for money for illegal drugs and now he sells himself to you for a cure!"
"That is not true," Peter fumed suddenly. "He doesn't think there is a cure. He just thinks he's dying!" He pulled in a deep breath and forged on, because the cat was out of the bag. "He's human." Peter's voice almost growled on that word. "He doesn't want to die alone, unloved, reviled by everyone. We reached out to each other. I thought I could help him. That's what I'm trying to do!"
"If he did not want to die alone and unloved and reviled, then perhaps he should not have killed so many people! He chose to have the life he has had. Now he suffers for it. I have seen nothing that changes my mind about him! He is a killer. He deserved the injection."
Peter's fists balled and he jerked his eyes away from Ando's angry ones to look at something else, anything else. He found himself looking at Hiro, whose face was expressionless. Hiro said, "Until this last scene, I thought he had a very sad life. Now … I think perhaps he has found some happiness."
Hiro went on, "He will not die alone … or unloved … or reviled by everyone, Peter Petrelli, because you will be there with him."
Peter sucked in air, thinking this meant Hiro agreed with Ando and would refuse to help. Ando thought so too, because he nodded emphatically.
Hiro said, "Evil people are not happy. That is why they hurt others - because they have nothing good in their lives. They are angry and they lash out at everyone. Sylar was a bad man … before. He was evil. He had no one. But now he is just a man. And he has someone." He sighed and raised his eyes to Ando. "He has changed. He is hurting no one but himself. You gave your word."
Ando's mouth fell open in shock.
Ando had sulked, but he honored his end of the bargain. Right before he extended his hand, he made a last ditch effort to claim that hurting one's self still counting as hurting people. The expression on Peter and Hiro's faces dissuaded him from pursuing it. Peter inhaled deeply, feeling the shift and flow of the power. He'd never held Ando's ability before. It was one of the most multi-faceted he'd ever had. He rolled it over in his mind, getting a feel for it, but he suspected that even after long study it would still hold surprises for him. It didn't matter though - he needed it for a single purpose only.
He turned to leave. Hiro caught his arm. He stopped, surprised. Hiro asked, "How long has it been since you last heard from this man you call Gabriel now?"
Peter blinked. He'd been busy, very busy. He'd left two messages, but Gabriel had to get them and return them from the shop, when Martin wasn't around. He didn't have a phone in his apartment. "Almost four days. Why?"
"Gabriel Gray died the night you left."
"What?" Peter felt like he's been stabbed in the heart with a rusty pipe. In the background, Ando chortled. Under other circumstances, Peter would have wanted to kill him for that disrespectful noise, but right now he could think of nothing but what Hiro had just said to him.
"Be at peace, Peter Petrelli. I looked forward along the thread of his life to see what his future would hold without Ando's help."
Tears began to fall from his eyes. His throat constricted, but he forced out the words, "You knew he was dead all this time and-"
"Peter! Be at peace!" Hiro's voice grew suddenly stern and commanding, shutting Peter up and getting his attention even in the depths of despair. Hiro drew himself up. "I am the master of time and space. Death cannot stop true love." He smiled a little, seeing the hope stealing across Peter's face as he began to realize what Hiro was implying. "All it can do is delay it for a little while."
Peter put down the case on the table in Gabriel's apartment, next to the note he'd left telling the man where he'd went. He'd left … in this timeline, only a few minutes ago. He turned and nodded to Hiro, who smiled and patted him on the shoulder. Peter sniffed and wiped at his eyes. The shock of that statement was still fresh. His heart was still beating too fast. He didn't have much time - not nearly as much as he'd thought.
Hiro did not leave immediately though. Instead he said, "I also looked forward along the thread to see what his future would be if Ando did help." He had Peter's attention. "Ando's power is very, very special, Peter. With great power, comes great responsibility, and I know that you know that. I know, also, that you will make sure that power is used wisely this time." With that cryptic message, Hiro gave a curt nod and vanished.
Peter considered Hiro's words for a moment, then opened the case he'd put on the table. He took out a syringe and a single dose. When it was prepared, he focused Ando's supercharging ability on the implement. His hand, and the syringe, glowed with a red energy. As it faded, the contents of the syringe, which had been a pale, straw yellow, were now red and gold, scintillating in the light with a vaguely metallic sheen. Looks weird.
He walked to the bedroom and pushed the door open. Gabriel was lying exactly where he'd last seen him. It seemed surreal to see him unchanged after days had passed for Peter. He swallowed and walked forward timidly, watching his new lover, reassured to see that he was still breathing. He climbed on the bed, then worried when that movement didn't stir the other man.
Peter now gave in to the urge he'd had before he'd left - the urge to touch, to pet and to stroke the frail, hollowed person before him. Gabriel's eyes opened sluggishly, tracking to him with difficulty. When they lit on Peter, they brightened like he was looking on the most wonderful thing in the world. He smiled warmly, putting on a false air Peter now saw right through. He was happy - yes, that was true, but the way he stretched and pretended that he was merely a little drowsy rather than struggling to stay awake - that was false.
Gabriel looked Peter up and down, then suddenly sucked in breath as he saw the needle. Fear went across his features, followed by betrayal and anger, then fear again, and finally … trust. But even then, he didn't ask.
"It's a cure," Peter offered.
Gabriel looked bewildered. "How long have you been gone?" He looked over at the clock.
Peter leaned in and kissed Gabriel's forehead. "Long enough." He began to prep his arm for the injection.
Gabriel watched him pensively, brows knitted in concern. "I don't like needles," he said quietly. His eyes went steadily between the syringe and Peter's face. He trusted, but he was still frightened.
"If there was any other way, I'd use it, but I don't have much time." Peter poised the needle over the vein, thankful that Gabriel had shot up between his toes and never collapsed the veins in his arms. He wondered how he'd managed to shoot himself up if he was phobic about needles, but Peter supposed it was different when the instrument was in your own hand.
"Okay?" Peter asked, looking for permission. Gabriel nodded. He slid the needle in, waited for flashback to confirm he was in the vein, and removed the tie on Gabriel's bicep. He held the needle as steady as possible, depressing the plunger slowly. It was a stubborn mix, thick and difficult to inject, but it went.
When done, Peter pulled out the needle and reached to cover the wound. It sealed instantly and disappeared. His lips curled up in a slow-growing smile. Gabriel made a stifled groan and flexed, his body abruptly bulking up, regaining mass and muscle, his skin becoming less pale and taking on a healthy glow. He took a deep breath and a true light came back to his eyes as he filled with life.
"Not only did it work, you regenerated," Peter said, amazed. He set the syringe aside. He hadn't expected that - he'd only expected to halt the progress of the disease and hopefully end it. He hadn't thought it would restore his powers.
"I didn't just regenerate." Gabriel pulled Peter down and kissed him, hard and needy, a bruising crush of lips, giving Peter no time or opportunity to respond. He tried, but they just ended up at cross-purposes. Peter relaxed finally and let Gabriel lead. That acquiescence stopped the tense grappling and near-blind attempt to claim.
Gabriel hesitated. What he wanted so badly was here in his hands. There was no reason to be rough. He looked in Peter's light brown eyes from just inches apart. He turned his head slightly and opened his mouth against Peter's. Peter matched him slowly, the breath from his nose flaring across his cheek. Their tongues touched gently and slid past each other carefully. Gabriel groaned deep in his throat and pulled Peter down on the bed. He climbed over him.
They were both still dressed - Gabriel had lain down fully so after dinner and never had the energy to disrobe. He had the energy now. He set to stripping Peter's clothes with speedy efficiency. He spoke as he worked, "You know, if this is another dream, Peter, like one of Matt Parkman's mind traps, because you couldn't find a cure and wanted to give me forever before the end-"
"This is real," Peter interrupted.
Gabriel laughed and leaned in to kiss the Italian, spreading his shirt to either side. When he rose, pulling off his own singlet while Peter shimmied out of his top, Gabriel said, "All I was going to say is - don't wake me up."
Peter smiled, unfastening Gabriel's pants and sliding them down his hips. The other man put his legs together and scooted upwards, so Peter's hands kept pushing down the trousers as Gabriel moved his body up parallel to Peter's. When the pants were around his calves, his cock was dangling in Peter's face. Peter laughed and swiped at it with his tongue, forgetting about the pants. Gabriel shuffled his feet to get them free, making himself bob erratically as Peter tried to capture him with his mouth.
He succeeded a moment later and Gabriel stopped doing anything that would shift him away. Instead, he sank in slowly, working out where to put his arms and knees so Peter could continue softly sucking at him, pulling him inside his mouth and working him with tongue and lips. Gabriel whimpered, but felt obligated to point out, "You should probably be using a condom, Peter."
Peter pulled off briefly. "Get me one." Oral sex was one of the least risky things they could do, but Peter no longer had the option of trading for Claire's power. Well, actually he did, and if Gabriel could regenerate then he didn't even need to go to her. But if he wanted to keep Ando's ability - and he did - then he couldn't swap. Gabriel handed him one without ever having moved, making Peter suspect he'd used telekinesis to get it. Peter had been watching the pendulous swaying of Gabriel's organ, entranced by it, really. Now he sheathed it carefully and resumed.
He took him deep - a trick Peter had mastered early in his sex life. Gabriel had not given him head at all and Peter had not pushed it. He got plenty of other things from him. Right now Peter reveled in the noises Gabriel was making, moaning and squirming, bucking himself very lightly into Peter's mouth. He clearly wanted to do more, but Peter's hands on his hips kept him slow. Peter was having to use more and more pressure to hold him where he needed him to be. Gabriel finally pulled out abruptly and slid down his body.
"Get out of your pants, Peter." He looked up at Peter's face, making sure that was received well. Peter was thrilled, so Gabriel added jokingly, "Because I need to get in them!"
Peter chuckled and lost the last of his clothes.
"Watch this!" Gabriel stuck out his hand and the lube flew to it. So yes, he had telekinesis. He squirted lube on the first three fingers of his hand. "And this!" A gentle light flared from that hand. Peter's brows drew together. Sylar tossed the bottle aside and leaned in, smoothing the slick material onto Peter. It was warm.
"You …" Peter was trying to think. While yes, Gabriel had had Ted's power back in the day and with careful modulation it could emit radiation in a harmless, warming infrared frequency, he'd lost that power a long time ago. He didn't have any other that duplicated it. "You have all your powers back?"
Gabriel leaned over him, mouth slack as his fingers probed into Peter's body. "Every. Single. One of them." He kissed him deep and passionate. Peter pulled up his knees, body arching to meet him. Gabriel had found his prostate and taken up a steady, gentle rubbing at it. Peter crooned in bliss. It was the perfect pressure, the perfect frequency. "Erotic touch," Gabriel whispered, but Peter wasn't listening. "I see it," he added, "that makes sense," but he was ignored. Nothing was getting through to Peter at that moment except the maelstrom of sensation burning through his body.
He did notice, faintly, that the fingers were gone but the rubbing was still happening. He laughed. Gabriel hesitated, then fathomed the meaning of the chuckle. Gabriel said, "Look Ma, no hands." Peter laughed harder, but it was choked off as he succumbed to the ecstasy again. Gabriel lined himself up and pushed inside, eliciting a deep groan. Peter clung to him tightly, his organ throbbing, his body dancing along the bright edge of release. Gabriel's cock shifted, thrusting inside him in a fantastic counterpoint to the continuing, oscillating pressure against his prostate. Distantly, Peter admired the hell out of Gabriel's concentration and focus.
Even though he'd been riding infinitely high for a while now, somehow going over the edge still came as a surprise, his come bursting across his stomach in a hot gush as Gabriel continued to plow into him, harder and faster, giving it to him with more power and control than he'd ever been able to manage before. He bent to take Peter's mouth, kissing him passionately as he kept thrusting, jogging Peter's whole body, slamming into him forcefully before finally releasing deep within. He held for a long, breathless moment, before relaxing a little, shivering with an aftershock, then relaxing more.
He moved cheek to cheek, breathing hard, panting into Peter's ear.
"I love you," Peter said, voice tremulous, still trying to recover. Good God, he'd never realized Gabriel was this good in the sack. Hell, he hadn't known anyone was this good in the sack. He reached up and nipped at Gabriel's ear, which oddly caused him to spasmodically thrust into him again, and grunt disconcertingly. Peter grinned. Gabriel got the side of his head away and slipped out. He reached up and touched his ear, confused. He smiled and shook his head, then kissed his grinning, mischievous lover.
"I love you too," Gabriel said when they parted. He got rid of the condom, watching it sail in a perfect arc to the wastebasket. Then he turned back and put his hand on the middle of Peter's chest. A golden light and odd sensation surrounded it. Peter blinked, trying to clear his head of the wash of endorphins and figure out what the hell Gabriel had just done - because he'd just done something. He struggled up. "It's okay," Gabriel murmured. "Trust me, Peter. You saved my life. I love you. I'm giving you something back."
Peter kept blinking uncertainly, but he stayed where he was, propped up on his elbows. Gabriel leaned in and kissed him again. Peter tilted his head to meet him. A crimson glow surrounded the edges of his vision and Peter sucked in breath, but kept kissing him. Whatever Gabriel was doing, he was going to trust him. He felt something pick at the part of his brain that was connected to his ability. He tensed, but he didn't pull away, feeling Gabriel's tongue touching his lips distractingly. A moment later, something ran down his spine as intense as the orgasm he'd just felt. He couldn't help it this time. He faltered and fell back on the bed wholly involuntarily, his eyes glazed for a moment with the sheer, unadulterated pleasure of that feeling.
He pulled in a huge gasp of air and it was gone. No, not gone. It was … he was different. Gabriel pulled back a little, crouching over him on all fours, watching. Peter was feeling … something. There was a straining and something else. He reached up almost instinctively towards Gabriel, who immediately bent his face to that hand, putting his cheek into Peter's palm and still watching - watching. Peter felt it as every ability Gabriel had slowly replicated itself in his mind. He could tell from Gabriel's expression that he knew, too, that it was happening.
"Everything," Peter said when it was done. "Everything." That wasn't strictly true - he only had Gabriel's abilities, and Ando's. "What happened?"
Gabriel gave him a brief kiss and then flopped bonelessly on his back, grinning at the ceiling. "I got all of mine back, including how to gain abilities through empathy, which is even easier with you combine it with Lydia's ability. So then I gained your ability. And supercharging. And then I supercharged your ability - permanently, I think - and then you gained all of my abilities." He grinned lazily at Peter. "So now we're just the wonder twins, you and I." He started laughing, a deep belly laugh that rocked his whole body.
When he was done, Peter crawled under his arm and put his head on the other man's chest. He used telekinesis - his own! - to pull up the blankets over their cooling bodies. Gabriel cinched him close and seemed in accord with Peter's intention of going to sleep for the night. "We have a beautiful future ahead of us, babe," Peter murmured. There were other people to save and injustices to fight, but right now they needed rest.
"Yes, we do," Gabriel answered, using his own ability to click off the light switch without moving from the bed.