Date: April 15, 2010
Though he doesn't promise it right this moment, Peter gives Daphne his word that she won't have to deal with him by proxy anymore soon. And he fails at keeping his secret secret. Sorta.
"All Of Me"
There has been torture done this night. And it didn't involve a monstrous death cloud eating away at the sky to the south, or the tumultuous effects of an earthquake — a sonic boom, or a flashback to the days of being strapped to a table and bleeding out…
It was several hours in a car.
In normal traffic.
Fresh off these brutal conditions, Daphne needs nothing more than open sky and pavement; instead, she finds herself inside of a house, tearing apart a refrigerator, and waiting in completely undisguised impatience and concern for the man to return. It's vaguely… domesticating. If these sorts of things even count in a safehouse from the government after an island almost sank due to one woman's efforts.
The memories, solid and recent, float by Daphne's eyes once in a while, causing her to stop what she's doing and sunk in a deep breath. When she closes her eyes, she can almost hear the curly-haired twerp saying it again: They saved the world.
But apparently nobody saved her any yogurt.
As if to accent her frustrations, there's no sudden appearance in the room of the man she's been waiting for, and instead the unfamiliar sound of a key in the lock of the front door— Peter never uses the front door! And then the rubbing of feet on the doormat as he walks in, looking rather tired, but in one piece, which is probably better than he could look.
"Daphne? Claire?" He says as he steps up the stairs toward the main floor of the house, where everything happens to be. The front door actually lets into a level lower than the rest of the house, due to some hills and other things that it was built on.
It doesn't take him long to find her, and then he lets out a sigh of relief. "You're okay— I wasn't sure how everything went elsewhere. I heard there was an earthquake." At the same time as he was getting…
There's tension around his eyes, more than normal, but he rubs a hand through his hair. Hair that doesn't have much in the way of dust or blood, at least.
The sound of the door is enough for Daphne to abandon her efforts at the fridge and come around the counters of the kitchen. A vague glance goes to some of the utensils there — a frying pan left around — but she wields no weapon at those first steps into the next open room.
And good thing, too; her instantaneous reaction upon seeing Peter, and a Peter who appears to be entirely in one piece, is to run straight at him. Her mind is racing far too much to process why he's used the door, or details of his appearance beyond lack of hemorrhaging. "There was!" She announces quite cheerfully as to the natural (though not naturally caused) disaster, moments before throwing her small body right into him, arms wrapping around and legs leaving the floor with the fierceness of her enthusiasm. "And I was there! Oh, Peter, I was right there while we stood up to these guys and nobody who really mattered or didn't deserve it got hurt in a really serious manner! I totally helped."
As long as he doesn't stop her, her commentary is accompanied by a pat-down whose intimacy is only somewhat deterred by a more medical motivation: making sure he's really really in one piece. The medical part has nothing to do with her leaping forward to give him a kiss — or several — on the cheek.
In one piece, from the quick pat down perspective, at least. Or— perhaps maybe too. Peter feels warm, though, like he could be running a big of a fever, or just suffering from the warmth more than normal. Maybe he got gased like she did, and doesn't have his abilities. It would explain the use of the door and keys— though he rarely carried them, so unless he used a spare he hid on the porch…
"I'm so glad you're okay," he says quietly as she kisses his cheek, leaning a bit closer to her, and bringing his hands up to touch her upper arms. The kisses help relieve some of his tension, at least…
"I'm— I'm taking care of some things. Hopefully soon we'll have everything back to the way it should be and Alpha Protocol will be a thing of the past. I'm going to be meeting the President, and setting up something with the Company— the one I worked for before." Part of it was probably his mom's idea.
"I'm… actually doing that right now."
"Of course I'm okay," Daphne tells him off happily, her frown light at the feeling of warmth, but her giddiness as of yet too distracting to really absorb the worry. "I'm okay, and you're okay, and we're heroes. Both of us. Together, and— " Sliding her own hands onto his chest, she pauses only to let him have a few words in, though always with an expression like she has more to say — something really exciting to her.
At first what he's saying is mostly boring, and Daphne bobs her head in vague acknowledgment. "Sure, sure, sure. That all sounds peachy. My point is— " The second time, it's because his statement has sunk into her mile-a-minute brain. Her hands bounce away from his body, like she's been burned; only half an inch, but notably so after all the touching.
"Oh." The suddenly quieted speedster backs up a step, straightening her shirt from her leap at him and sort of glancing vaguely off the edge of his ears in the way of the embarrassed, or rejected. "Right. Because that's. Really important."
"It's still me," Peter says quietly, obviously notciing the pulling away and the backing up, cause— it's a big change. And one that may actually have hurt him a little, but at least he told her, before she missunderstood anything about their situation. "And once I'm done and— I go back, I'll be able to remember everything that I do, so it's not…" he trails off, shaking his head a bit, and looking at the fridge which she'd abandoned.
"I just needed to make sure you were all right. You and Claire." The other him was going to take care of everything else. The politics, his brother, the cleaning up of everything…
"I needed all my abilities to do that and clones only have one. I… I picked healing, in case any of you needed it. Not that Claire would, but…" he trails off. "You're not as fast as you're supposed to be." He's not so hurt that he missed that.
"I'm sorry," Daphne bites off, sounding half convinced of it and half not so much, "I think the clones thing is fascinating, I really do. But it's just… it's weird, okay." It's not a new sentiment for her; she's previously asked him a flurry of technical questions about the ability… but a girl's irritation gets to crop up at the idea of not getting the prime's full attention.
Still, her eyes wander back to his and she lifts her retreated hands, using one to cup his cheek. "I understand. And thanks for coming back… even if by proxy." She blinks rapidly, not her usual rapid, but enough to block the progress of any of that emotion threatening to escape her eyes. "And not being a crazy person or brainwashed or not knowing who I am, or something typical like that." She nods her head decisively, but she's really teasing. Sort of.
For the last, she sneers unhappily, backing away from him only to give her own legs an uncomfortable pat on the thighs. "Way to flatter a girl — you noticed, huh? Could be worse, though, couldn't it." She could be in braces.
There's all kinds of technical things about the clones that he makes, as limited as they are. Peter's not even sure he knows the full limits of them, but he does know one thing. As she touches his cheek, eyes slide shut a bit and he leans in against her, only to have her back away at his comment. At this, he steps closer, a determined flash in his eyes as he reaches to take her own face and lean down to kiss her. Before she could run away, or skirt out of his touch, but now he thinks he has her cornered for that much, at least.
With a touch of his nose against hers as he pulls back, his eyes open, "I wish all of me were here— I really do." He's tired, he sounds tired. Even if the clones are not as strong as he usually is, it's something more than that. Maybe he's overstretching his abilities already. Maybe something bad happened to him…
Or maybe he really regrets not being able to be there fully. "Once this is over— you'll have all of me."
She's hesitant at first touch, perhaps something that wouldn't even have registered if she were on her normal internal clock; but, in the end, a kiss is a kiss and this version of Peter, however feverish, receives the full of her own attention until he decides to end it. When they're still close, she licks her lips and then rocks forward for the lightest echo of what just happened.
"Don't worry about it," she commands him gently, "I'm not." A lie; but it's one designed to make him feel better and so she doesn't even look the slightest bit guilty about it. "I had something to tell you, but it can wait. You look like you've got something on your mind… s. Minds. Like the Borg queen isn't happy or something." The Borg Queen being the main Peter, of course. Because he's… a queen. Of course.
"You'd tell me, right?" Traces of anxiety, earnest asking, as she reaches to put fingers over his. "If there as anything I could do. I'm a helper now. I help people." Another matter of fact nod, though she quite fully disguise the prideful happiness she feels at saying this out-loud.
"I guess— I guess I just don't feel like a hero," Peter says quietly, keeping close to her even as she keeps what she needs to say to herself. For him to hear later, hopefully soon. "Making everything safe for those like us will be enough to make up for it," he says quietly, but there's something guilty in the way he speaks, something that…
It's like when he told her he killed someone, even if she was bad, and horrible. Maybe his effort to save the world wasn't without casualties…
"When— when I'm all back together again, I have something I want to ask you, too." He hints, actually smiling a bit. If she has a secret, he'll have a secret too.
"Don't be silly," Daphne tsks immediately, "If you're not a hero, then the rest of us are royally screwed." But her jest calms in the face of his continued weariness and she raises her hands to his face again, bringing him to look her in the eye should he be trying to be avoid-y at all. "You're nothing but a hero, Peter Petrelli. And the only reason you don't know it is because it's true."
"I believe in you. I— " But the cuts herself off, tilting her head with a wispy smile and a tweak of his nose. "Like I said. Later." Bouncing a bit on her heels, she slides her hands away from his face, down arms, until she takes his hands in hers and gives his fingers an encouraging squeeze. "Now, tell me what's bothering you. Like— all of it."
"I failed to save someone," Peter responds quietly, looking down at her bouncing where she stands, touching him, and encouraging him to speak. Her words are what he's often needed to hear, but— Later. And he has a secret too, but that isn't what's bothering him at all. "I should have gotten there faster, I should have— I don't know. Things should have gone differently than they did. I can't travel back in time and fix everything, though— I tried that once."
When he killed Kaito. He couldn't save him, even when he tried to. He couldn't stop himself. The circumstances didn't change. Nothing changed. And he doesn't know what he can do to fix…
"Claire's okay, right?" Subject change! And not even very stealthy one.
Daphne stares up into his face quite stubbornly, her lips working together as she considers her words— though not for too long. "Yeah, Claire's okay. I mean, come on, she only got shot. She didn't even have to be powerless when she did it." Grumble grumble, lucky niece. "But!" A finger comes up to wag at his nose, "Don't think I don't know what you're doing, pal. I'm giving a motivational talk here, you're gonna listen to it. This doesn't just happen every day, you know."
Clearing her throat, she adjusts herself importantly, straightening her shirt and then tossing her head back. With the new trim haircut, the bright blondeness only slides across her forehead instead of bounces every which way.
"I'd say you're only one guy, but… evidence contradicts the cliche." A little smile, seeing if he will, too. "But the message is there, you know. You may have more abilities than anyone else, but you can't do everything. And… and I think that trying to will just make you lose the things you do well right now."
"I know," Peter says quietly, voice soft and still tired sounding as his arms go around her and he pulls her closer. Just one man, who happens to be in two places at once. Just one man who… "I'm not really good at holding on to things— I know I'm probably going to let you down." He let Elle down, he let Elena down— he…
"I know, we both come with big warning labels. Even when I save the world, I don't think I did enough." Can't get much bigger a warning label than that one. Never satifised, never good enough.
Forged on a foundation of guilt. That's the guy who happens to be in love with her.
"That's not a warning label," she laughs softly, not to demean him, but because Daphne is rather relieved that this is his only concern. "Peter, that's what… is you! That's what— I like so much about you. I know it doesn't feel great, getting brought down all the time, but… but I've seen the people who aren't anymore. And it isn't better."
An adamant shake of her head, as she snuggles against his chest, her face staring off to the side, to some portion of the room she's not really seeing. "Well, no problem. I don't do so well being held onto. You know, can't restrain a speedster and all that. So you'll never get to let me down."
Pushing away from him, she squares off with a very determined face — you're stuck, buster — face. "I'll just never go away."
Never go away.
Peter can't even really express how much that means to him in words, so instead he reaches out and touches her arm, tempted to pull her back in closer against him again. Restraining a speedster doesn't work, even when they're not as speedy as they could be. "Thanks," he says softly, hand sliding down to take her own. "Is there anything you need? I'd— I can't really do anything except heal, but… we could get something to eat. I can call a cab, and take you out to dinner."
And for once it will be completely, boringly normal. No teleporting, no speeding off to get something from California. Just two people going down a block or two to the closest family restraunt…
Daphne pushes onto her toes to look him close in the face, "Yeah, well," she says, voice slightly raised as if that'll cover the distance between him and… him, "You better get all this back to the mothership. I'm not in the habit of repeating myself." And that's that.
"Well…" She considers, flitting a couple of steps away and sucking on a lip contemplatively. "I'm not gonna get hurt just so you have something to do, so I suppose dinner'll do. We're out of everything here. God, we're done here, aren't we? Once you have your little talk with el President? I haven't set eyes on my apartment in far too long." The last thing she'd ever wanted was to lead a bunch of handsy government officials to an apartment chockfull of heirlooms and missing artworks.
"Man," she sighs, swinging his arm along with her own, "A cab. That's… quaint." Briefly, the concern she's been trying to convince away from her latches onto her, clouding her eyes. "We're not really… normal, you know. We don't just do normal things. I'd never want to be that." Can you imagine Daphne settling into a house, a couple of kids, and a regular job? Totally crazy, right? But right now, she's shyly avoiding his eyes because she's afraid he'll say 'no' to even a silent question of it that's okay.
"I'll remember everything, don't worry," Peter says with a grin, having told her this many times before in her questioning about this particular ability. They are apart, but everything they do while apart goes to the main body when he happens to go back, however he goes back. Whether dispelled by a negation ability, or killed. It always goes back to him, and becomes a piece of what he is.
"I know we can never be normal. But we can— have a little piece of it, too," he says, looking away a bit. Normal had always been pretty dull, but a piece of it…
Unfortunately for his attempt to surprise her…
"You could move in with me, you know," he says, beginning to move away some and letting go of her hand. "Cause we are done here— I'll probably give the house to Isabelle, though, since she may need somewhere to stay still…" And she's crazy. "But I'd like to go back to my old apartment… that was actually what I was going to wait to ask you…" And from the rubbing of his neck, he's a little worried that he failed at waiting.
He'll have to tell her a dozen more times and she will still look suspicious about the transfer of information between clones and master. The reassurance will have to do for now, though, and there's more pressing things to mention. "I guess we could… steal it. That piece of normal." Daphne suggests, at first innocently and then with increasing impishness on a face made for impish expressions. "You know, if it wouldn't hurt your big bleeding heart too much to steal something."
She doesn't immediately think to check his face and make sure he didn't take her joke seriously, but she does flash him a quick look a few moments later, eyeing him critically. It's how she ends up still staring him in the face when he poses the offer. Surprise.
Mulling it over, Daphne crosses her arms over her chest. With a subtle rock back on her heels, she gives the house they're standing in a good once over. Her eyes wander to the stairs up to the bedrooms — their bedroom. A kind of 'duh' revelation dawns on her face, which also handles this kind of straight-up logic well. "I think we might've covered that step a while ago, bucko." Which is Daphne for: yes, by the way. "Don't be offended or anything, but I'll probably keep my place. Sentimental." And… full of priceless things! Have we mentioned that yet?
Luckily, not offended. "I steal time all the time, I can steal normal too," Peter offers with a shrug, even smiling a bit at the joke, and taking it in stride. "I also teleport directly into people's houses, so— it's not like I'm entirelly ethical." Everything has their flaws, and Nathan would say his not knocking is one of them. Even if he knocks sometimes.
Her own place, but— she can still stay with him if she wants. That's about as much as he could really ask for. Reaching up, he touches her cheek with his hand, and then lowers it again to reach into his pocket for his phone. "There's a little place a few blocks away if you want to walk, or I can call us a cab. Your choice." From the look of him, the cab might be a better idea, but— he's often been one to push himself. Even as a clone.
"Yeeahhh," about the teleportation thing, "One day we're gonna sit down and have the total creeper talk." He has that to look forward to, now that he's officially set them towards living in the same place even once the warnings and restrictions lift. Daphne looks vaguely iffy as to the cab, generally preferring open air as much as she does speed, but a glance at him wraps up the debate. "You know," she mentions cautiously, "It's been a big day. We could call in if you're not feeling up to it, too. Normal people call in sometimes. And thennn theeeyy…." Quick: someone look up 'normal date' on Google. "Watch romantic comedies and rip on the bad acting?" Eh, she tried. "Not that I'm telling you what to do or anything, but you should know that, should you collapse out there, I'm not carrying you home and I will definitely stiff someone on the check."
There's a laugh, and Peter leans down to kiss her on the forehead. They've avoided take out since it tends to require information and what not— often credit cards too… but there's some things worth chancing. And he has to believe in himself that he can do what needs to be done to clear this whole mess up. And if all else fails, he can still use the name Ethan Campbell for a while longer.
"Pick out a movie from the stack and I'll order something for us."
There's a pause, as he's made his way to the rarely used phone book, and he adds over his shoulder, "And teleporting isn't creepy!"
It isn't. :( Not to him, at least.
Yeah, it kinda is.
"Uh, yeah it kinda is!" See?
"You can be anywhere you want instantly," Daphne explains as she loiters around the home entertainment section of this safehouse, "There are schmucks out there who have plenty of gross imagination if they got a hold of that one. It's like… only one criminal step away from being invisible and at least those people have to learn how to pick locks first like the rest of us. Also. You can do that too."
Over her shoulder, she finds him across the room. "You can't tell me you haven't stumbled your way into somewhere at the wrong moment. It's, like, impossible by the laws of nature or something."
After shucking several of the more classic examples of date movies aside to join the ones in the pile that she has already seen too many times, Daphne eyes the ones she's seen before but could stand to see again. Lifting the ridiculous art-covered box with the silly caricatures and the looming James Hong, she turns it to the back absently. "How do you feel about Kurt Russell's earlier years?"
Has he ever stumbled in somewhere at the wrong moment. From the sudden reddness on his face, why yes he has. "Okay, okay, fine, I'll stop teleporting into people's homes. Especially since we're no longer in hiding." Peter gives, as he flips to find a number, though it sounds like it will get thrown out the window if there's a necessary situation in the future, just like he threw it out the window for much of his time here…
It was necessary, though. And a good thing he's not actually a creep.
With phonecalls made, he glances at the movie and raises his eyebrows. Definitely not a romantic comedy. "That's fine." And from the way he reaches out and takes her hand, it's time to sit down and wait and watch. They should be well into the opening of the movie before delivery gets there.