2008-01-20: Advice In Maine


Elle_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: After the fight with Gabriel, Peter seeks out one of the few he thinks will believe in him. And she gives him an idea.

Date It Happened: January 20, 2008

Advice in Maine

A Cabin In Maine

A day after overhearing the strange confrontation over the phone, Elle has not left her safehouse to rush back, despite the nearly overwhelming urge to do so. Dressed in a white tank top and black pants, her hair tied back from her face, some of the lingering effects of her altercation with Church are still visible: the brace on her arm being the most obvious one, with some of the darker bruising visible through the light fabric of her shirt, and some residual marks on one cheek. That's what she gets for being thrown into a wall. Several times. The phone sits on the counter as she moves around the kitchen, searching through the cupboards with absolutely no sense of direction. Every few seconds, Elle turns to fix the phone with an expectant look, as if it might ring again. It doesn't.

The phone doesn't ring, but someone approaches the house from outside. The teleport wasn't anywhere near exact— it took Peter out in the middle of nowhere, cold and alone, with just a pinhole in a map to act as a guide. Finding the road was the easy part— finding the cabin? Not quite as easy. Even moving invisible, he makes enough noise that anyone paying attention could hear him coming, and the snow and underbrush gets shifted by his shoes. Only once he spots the cabin does he let the invisibility drop, making his way up to the front door. Is this the first cabin he's checked? Who knows…

He looks tired, and worn, as if he hasn't slept, and needs to, a hopelessness in his eyes. He's changed his clothes and showered since the tragic confrontatation. There's almost no lasting sign that anything at all happened— except the hopelessness in his eyes, that is. And the lack of shaving.

The house is silent, empty but for Elle; when secluded quite this way, it's much easier to make note of unusual sounds than it would be in the city, with so much background noise. When Peter first approaches the door, however, she does not rush to the window to greet him with a smile, nor does she move to let him in. In truth, Elle hasn't the slightest clue who might be outside, and her instinct is to play it safe. Flattening against the wall, she keeps out of the line of sight from the door, waiting. If it's a strange, he or she will go away. If it's a friend, identification would help. And if it's the Company - well, Elle had better be prepared to run. She really does not like this paranoia thing.

"Hello? I'm— I'm looking for a friend," Peter calls through the door, not quite sure anyone is even inside. Though his voice is rough, almost shaky, he's speaking loud enough she should be able to hear him, from where he stands at the front door. He knows he could have the wrong house. For a moment, he uses the block from the wind to check the map again. Maybe he should have gone left instead of right… There's little detail beyond the closest highway.

Letting out a breath of relief when she hears the voice, Elle pushes away from the wall, heading quickly for the door. Pulling open the door with her uninjured hand, she doesn't venture a step outside - it's cold out, and she's hardly dressed to be standing in the frigid air - but pauses in the doorway. "Peter," she says by way of greeting, a conflicted smile appearing for only a split second before it's gone again. "I…" Overheard your giant throw down with a killer. "…I wasn't expecting to see you here."

"I… need your help," Peter says, looking at her quietly from his positioning further outside, before he moves as if to force her inside. "You're one of the only people I know who— isn't in the Company anymore— who knows what they do to… They took Elena." There's a grimace, one that carries guilt and frustration. It almost seems like he's struggling with some emotions, something deeper than what he's showing. Trying to hide it, restrain it. "I need to know— what they'd do to her. Where they'd take her— what it would take to get them to let her go."

Stepping back from the door when he approaches, Elle allows him inside without resistance, holding the door open with her foot rather than her arm. "Jesus," she exhales as she tries to make sense of what he's telling her, closing the door behind him and locking it once more. "They took Elena?" That explains something about his mental state the night before, at least. As Elle moves further into the house, she takes a blue sweater from the back of the chair in the kitchen and pulls it on, covering most of her bruises now. "I'm guessing they want you, Peter. If they want you, they won't do anything to her. Not if you play along like a good boy. If they want you that badly, there's— they're not going to just let her go."

That does explain a lot about his mental and emotional state. Adding in the side effects he's suffering from as well, and the guilt of what he's done— and Peter's more or less a wreck. As she moves further in, he does too, looking at her bruises. The guilt shows up again, but he doesn't reach out to her just yet, getting inside and nodding to what she says. Yes, they took Elena. Yes, they want him. "My mother wants to kill me," he says softly, that tone back, the one that's ready to give up everything. "I can't— just turn myself in and— let them kill me. What would happen to her? She knows too much— they'd have… have to remove almost a year worth of memories… and more than that…" Her family knows too much, her friends… "They'll never let her go now that they have her… even if they kill me. They'll make her work for them… won't they?"

"Maybe," Elle replies, her tone apologetic, as she turns her eyes up to Peter with in an almost sheepish way. After all, she was a part of this, not too long ago. In another time, she'd have been the one sent to carry out the abduction. The news of Angela elicits a wince, as Elle has her own opinions about the woman - all of which she will keep to herself for the time being. "Maybe not. Not if she's going to be a liability." Frowning again, her eyes downcast, she settles into one of the kitchen chairs, resting her injured arm on the table. "If you turn yourself in, they won't kill you. They didn't kill Sylar— " She nearly trips over his name, unaccustomed to using it now. "— when they caught him. They didn't kill Monroe, either, or anyone else they might have wanted to." Using her good hand to brush her bangs out of her eyes, Elle looks back up to Peter, finally. "You could try bargaining with them. A trade. But…" But he'd have to be willingly incarcerated. Again.

"You don't understand. My own mother told Gabriel to kill me," Peter says, voice harsher than before, as if every word takes effort to get out. "By taking her— all they've done— is prove to me that…" His voice breaks, the effort to say each word falling apart. He ends up resting his hands on the table, leaning over it until he presses his forehead on it. Almost looks like he's tempted to just collapse right there. There's no move to sit. "I have nothing to trade them except myself. And after all they've done… how would they help me?" Their past speaks loud enough on that, at least in his mind. Right now he's thinking in very black and white terms, and the gray area isn't quite as clear to him. There's been far too little white from the Company to even think they'd be leaning that way right now. "I don't know what to do…" His voice has softened even more, a new breaking in it. When he lifts back up off the table, he rubs a hand over his eyes. There's tears in them. "I was going to tell her… when I went to her apartment. I'd been avoiding it for days— but I hurt someone. I hurt someone really bad… I didn't kill them, but… she wasn't there. And her watch was broken. I used a— one of my abilities— to see what happened… I know they took her."

When Peter lifts his head up from the table, Elle rises from her seat, reaching out to take hold of his arm with her good hand, if he'll allow her. She takes a step towards him, fixing him with a level stare. "Peter," she says, her voice firm, undeterred by his harsh tone, "we'll get her back." Despite her confident tone, there is concern in her expression as he teeters on the brink of breaking apart. "They took her because they can't get to you any other way. They need you to go to them. I know it doesn't feel like it right now, but if they're already resorting to kidnapping, it means they're desperate. You have the upper hand." And scared that he really is a danger, and that they can't wait long enough to track him the traditional way. Still, knowing what she does of what Peter has done, she does not seem frightened or upset to be in his presence. Wait. Tick… tick… there. An idea. "Threaten them. If they're really that scared that you're going to do something, so scared that even Angela thinks she needs to kill you, then it could work."

"They're desperate because they're afraid of me…" Peter says softly, a quiet realization starting to settle in. It's almost as if he's thinking of what to do about this. The words that she's said make him straighten up, grow a little more determined, and he rubs his hands over his eyes again. She's absolutely right. "I can threaten them. I have— enough abilities to take out an entire city. There's a lot I can threaten to do… If I knew where a couple of their facilities were— I could threaten them. I know some of their agents too…" Some he probably won't threaten, others… maybe he will. "That could work." There's a pause, before he looks back at her. "I won't actually do any of it… you believe that, right?"

This time, there's nothing hesitant or conflicted about the smile that appears on her face, and Elle reaches up with her uninjured hand to brush her fingers against his cheek once, softly. "Of course," she says, no trace of dishonesty in her voice. "I know you wouldn't, Peter." Pulling her hand back, she considers his words for a few more seconds, her eyes darting off to the side. "I know where some are," she admits, looking back to him. "But I know someone else who knows more. As much as either of our parents. She might help."

"I need her back… I need to make sure she's safe, that she isn't… changed… It's my fault she's mixed up in this at all," Peter looks back down at the table, then back up at eyes that actually seem to believe in him. More than Gabriel did. He takes in a slow breath. "Were you on the phone— last night? While… when I found Gabriel he was on the phone with someone. Did you hear the fight?"

Elle's face betrays her response long before she speaks, and she looks away as the colour rises in her cheeks. "Some of it," she admits, tracing a finger over the top of the table absently. "I couldn't hear everything, but I heard… enough." Enough to nearly drop everything and find a car, legally or not, to get her back to the city as quickly as possible. "I had to hang up," she says, turning her gaze back to his face. "I couldn't just sit there and listen to it without knowing what was happening. I told myself that if I didn't hear from one of you today, I'd find a way to get back." Her tone shifting some, a hint of a frown appears once more and she asks, "Are you okay?"

There's some relief that she had hung up at one point at least, but Peter continues to watch her, as if waiting for some kind of accusation. What he gets instead is a question. "No, I'm not okay, Elle." It's the honest truth, heart on his sleeve answer. "Gabriel should be fine. I'll check on him…" As far as he knows, he should be able to pull himself off of it— it wasn't through his brain, after all… It doesn't occur to him the angle might prevent that. But checking on him is a compromise. "I just had to talk to you first. My map wasn't very detailed," he says, touching the map that he'd shoved into his coat pocket. It probably took him a long time to make it here— lots of hiking through Maine outdoors. "I'll come back soon— if your— the person you know— if they're willing to help, I probably could use it." There's a wince, as if he's tempted to ask more questions, but he grits his teeth. No, he refuses to listen to the hunger right now. "Thank you, Elle."

"Hey." Reaching out for his arm again, Elle tugs him towards her, rising up on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck. The brace makes her left arm heavier, impeding her from holding him particularly tight, but the intention is there just the same. "You're welcome." She doesn't often get to say those words and mean them, and a fleeting smile appears on her face, though he won't see it. Before she pulls away, she lowers her voice to a soft tone, as if someone else might hear, though the house is empty. "I heard what you said. And I knew, Peter. Even if you didn't get to say it." When she steps back, she folds one arm over her chest, rubbing at the opposite upper arm. "We'll get her back. Just be careful."

The hug stops him from just teleporting away. It also seems to take him by surprise. Peter closes his eyes for a moment, and then hugs her back, arms gently touching her. When she pulls back and whispers, he looks away, eyes shifting to the side. It's almost a shy gesture. He hadn't meant for her to hear it like that, but at the same time… at least she knows. And she knew the whole time. "I guess you're one of the few I can count on to believe in me— because you did before." His hands reach up and touch the side of her face. She's small, so he has to lean down in order to do what he wants to do— and that's kiss her on the forehead. The only ability he has that he doesn't feel the least bit guilty for using flows into her, trying to fix the damage done because of things he did… When he pulls back and let go, she doesn't have much time to even blink before says, "I'll see you later."

And he disappears.

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