2007-12-15: Always A Reason

WARNING: contains Season 3 Material.


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Summary: People always do things for a reason, whether good or bad, whether right or wrong. Elle has the Haitian pills for him, and Peter's all but telling her who they are for.

Date It Happened: December 15th, 2007

Always a Reason

Peter's Apartment

Finding it strange to be walking the hallway to Peter's apartment again so soon after her last visit, Elle approaches almost cautiously, her muscles tense and her guard high. She can't be certain that no one saw her remove the pills from the medical facility, nor can she be certain that she wasn't followed here. Acutely aware of the Company's surveillance capabilities, she sucks in a breath and stands before Peter's door. What the hell is she doing? One hand raises, shaped into a fist, and she knocks at the door, quick and sharp.

With the possibility of easedroppers and phone taps, the conversation about why they'd been meeting up would have to be brief and very vague. Peter's back in the apartment a short time before she arrives, having used the time to make something to take back to his 'guest'. The lunch gets stuffed into the fridge when the knock sounds on the door nearby. No bark. His dog is staying somewhere else for the moment— again. Saving the world — or even one person at times — makes taking care of small animals difficult. Closing the fridge, he walks over and checks to make sure before the door unlocks, unchains and opens. "Come on in."

Of course, Elle has no idea that the dog isn't present, so she braces herself for an assault that never comes - and then peers around Peter, as if searching for the little white dog. Strange. "Thanks," she replies to Peter, stepping into the apartment to allow him to close the door behind her. Inside the apartment, she is only slightly more confident that she isn't being watched, and her body language suggests some measure of discomfort. "I have what you asked for." Why does she feel like a drug dealer all of a sudden? …though she supposes that is what she's doing. She doesn't produce the medication just yet, however, opting to take off her coat and scarf first instead.

One would hope the apartment would be some kind of sanctuary. The door is closed and locked again once she's inside. Peter nods at her words, the drug dealing aspect not lost on him. The first time he talked one of the Elles into giving him a couple of the pills, the exchange came off rather like what he'd imagine a drug exchange would. Without words, just a small plastic bag handed to him in this very kitchen. "I'm surprised you were able to get them. There wasn't any trouble, was there?" he asks, looking back. His expression is serious and concerned.

"None that I know of," Elle replies, laying her coat over the back of a chair and setting her bag down onto the table. "But I wouldn't be here if there was." Her statement is ambiguous, her tone and gestures offering little by way of explanation for what she might mean; it could be one of several things. "That's the problem with people like them. They could know everything and be waiting to ambush me." Some part of her is arrogant enough to think this isn't the case, at least, and she sits up straighter in her seat as she pulls an amber-coloured bottle from the bag. "I didn't count them. There's probably about thirty, maybe forty."

"Or they could be waiting to find out what they're for," Peter says softly, moving to where she's sat down and standing for a moment as he looks at the bottle. No move is made to take it, just yet, as she's only showing it and not handing it off. There's no way to know if it'd be enough, and unfortunately he doesn't have an ability to just… make more. It'd be useful if he did. His eyes linger on the bottle, before darting back to her. "Elle… Have you ever done something… for the Company that you wish you could take back? That you could go back and… fix it? Change it?"

The question takes her by surprise, and Elle pulls her eyes away from Peter as she considers his words, setting the bottle on the table in front of her and devoting her attention to it instead. "You can't work for the Company and think like that at the same time," she says, reluctantly looking back to Peter as she speaks. "It makes you question too much. You don't get second chances in my line of work, so if I stand there hesitating because I tihnk what I'm doing is wrong? I'm dead. I'm not saying I'm proud of everything I've done, but it was— " For all her talk of not hesitating, she seems to be doing just that now that she's actually trying to get the next few words out. "— always for a reason."

"There's a reason to do anything, Elle," Peter says, shaking his head a bit and looking away. There's a twinge at his forehead, eyebrows drawing together in tension as he moves to settle into a chair nearby, not reaching to take the bottle left behind on the table still. "Doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, or that it helps anyone." He hesitates a moment. "I never read your mind for this— and I'm not going to now. But— when you helped me break out… until your father sent you away— Was all of that real, or was there a… reason?" A Company reason.

Flinching as if she'd been struck, Elle hadn't been anticipating that question. Her expression is difficult to read, but there is some injury there, at least, as if she were upset he'd even have to ask the question. "It wasn't an order, if that's what you're asking," she says, unable to keep a faint hint of ruefulness from creeping into her voice, keeping a steady gaze on Peter as she speaks. "There was a reason, but it was my own, not theirs." With a twitch of a smirk, gone as quickly as it appeared, she adds: "So yes, Peter, it was real."

The pain might have been necessary. With all the Company did to their relationship— some things needed to be confirmed. At least Peter didn't try to read her mind to make sure that she meant what she said. There'd be more tension around his eyes, possiblt even flinching if he had tried to read her mind. All she gets is a quiet set to his jaw, that actually lightens when she answers. Shaky breath gets inhaled when he looks between her and the bottle of pills, then focuses back on her. It's almost as if her answer, her reasons, made a decision for him. "You said that in your line of work there's not second chances. What if I told you there could be? Ways to take past mistakes… done for reasons not your own… and try to fix them?"

Looking both apologetic and sadly amused by his question, Elle shakes her head slowly. Unless he's perfected the art of necromancy, there are certain things she's done, things perhaps she wishes she hadn't, that there is no remedy for. "Some things can't be fixed, Peter." Taking the bottle into her hand again, she pauses, considering her own words this time. "And not everything that can be fixed should be." She extends her hand across the table, sliding the bottle towards him. "It's a lot more complicated than that."

"I'm not saying everything," Peter responds in a whispered tone, leaning forward and picking up the pills finally. Holding it in his hand, he stares at it for a long moment, a line of tension along his forehead, that moves toward frustration after a second. He must have been trying to do something, until he looks back up. "I'm talking about specific things— they may be still be impossible to fix, but… it may not be either." The pills are held onto, but he's now looking back up at her again. "What's your reason for helping me with this?"

Watching him closely, Elle doesn't quite seem to understand where he's going with this line of questioning, her expression becoming increasingly perplexed as the minutes pass. "You wouldn't ask me unless you didn't have anywhere else to go," she says after a hesitation, speaking slowly, choosing her words carefully. "And that means you're desperate. You wouldn't ask me for these unless you thought you needed them that badly. Either you're going to try to steal the formula or you need to take away someone's powers. You're not the corporate espionage type." Tipping her head to one side, she continues, "You want to be a hero. I'm not saying whatever you're planning is the right thing to do, because I don't know what you're planning, but I don't think you're going for world domination here." With a slight smile, just a tiny hint, she adds: "Besides, I owe you."

Steal the formula. That makes Peter flinch a little, perhaps at the possible accusation, or the truth to it maybe? But he looks away when she says the second part, which also gives clues toward the reason he asked for them. Maybe it could be both somewhere down the line. "You don't owe me, Elle. You're the one who broke me out." And he practically kidnapped her when he did break out. "You wouldn't have even been sick without me." There's that guilt again. That tension along his forehead. Nothing else happens. He looks up again, still holding onto the pill bottle, if a little tighter. "There's someone who wants my help— wants to learn to control his abilities."

"I didn't say why," Elle replies to the question of whether or not he owes her anything, turning her gaze back to the table for a fleeting second. Clearly, neither of his arguments touched on the reason why she feels indebted to him, not that she seems forthcoming with an explanation. Gesturing to the bottle in his hand, she switches gears, setting her personal remarks aside. "These are the same ones you were taking. He won't be able to use his ability if he takes these, but they'll help if he's out of control right now." And look, she doesn't even suggest that the Company might be better equipped to take care of him!

Didn't say why. Peter hesitates as he looks back at her again, quietly wondering why, but not willing to ask just yet. Especially since they moved on. The pills dampen the abilities, and he knows good and well how affective they happen to be. "He's actually in full control of his… ability." Abilities. That pause happens, but maybe he's trying not to say power instead of ability? "But there's something else that comes with it. Something that… The Company has come into contact with far more abilities than I ever have. Did you ever find someone who described… side effects of… psychosis?"

Tipping her chin down, Elle returns her gaze to Peter. "You saw the people who escaped," she reminds him, recalling their first meeting after her strange and surreal return, when they watched some of the Level 5 prisoners roam the streets of New York City in a shared dream. "There are plenty of psychopaths with abilities." In fact, more than a few people have accused her of being one of them, though she doesn't add that part. "But I've never heard anyone call it a side effect. That's just them, Peter."

The people who escaped. Peter looks down when she mentions them, having no way to argue that the one he encountered the most happened to be completely sociopathic. And sadistic. It seems like that cut down whatever argument he might want to make in favor of this person. "Maybe you're right." Everyone else would probably agree with her. He stands up, sticking the pill bottle into his pocket. "Thank you. I really don't think that you owe me anything, Elle, but… thank you."

Now the curiosity is getting to her, and Elle seems somewhat disappointed as Peter abandons his questioning. "What's he like?" she asks as she pushes up to her feet, taking her scarf from the back of the chair and wrapping it around her neck. "Whoever you're trying to help." When her scarf is secured and she's reassured herself that she won't freeze to death just walking back to the car, she slips her arms into her coat. "You must see something different in him if you're going to try to help."

"He wants help," Peter says softly, no longer looking at her as she gets ready to brave the cold again. He'd not outright told her to leave or anything, but putting the pills away and standing up certainly acted as a cue. Her question, though, seems to have him stuck. After a moment he closes his eyes and reaches up to rub his face. It seems like he wants to say something, and he's afraid to. "He doesn't just want help— he wanted to die." The hands drop away and he looks back at her in her coat. "He told me to kill him. And I can't. Not… not when there might be another way. Not without trying another way."

Something is nagging at the back of Elle's mind, and the longer this conversation goes on without Peter stating a name, the worse the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach becomes. Except this is Peter, and he wouldn't be that stupid, so she decides she must be wrong. It's her own frustration with the case bleeding into her mind now, not any real evidence that he's talking about one particularly prolific serial killer. "What's his name?" she asks, doing her very best to seem nonchalant and curious rather than suspicious.

"Even if you're helping me, you still work for the Company, Elle," Peter says softly, hands tensing a little. It isn't that he sees right through her curious tone, it's just one of those questions he'd avoid answering in any situation. The Company always had an obsession with who people are. And he's careful with names. But there's tension along his forehead. "Anything I tell you would have to stay here— between us. If you can't promise me that and mean it… I can tell you anything else."

"That's asking a lot," Elle replies, being strangely honest with him rather than trying to lie. He'd know, regardless; he can read minds, and she hasn't forgotten that. Deep down, she's still loyal to the Company - or, at the very least, her father. How could she promise to keep everything here, between them, when she hasn't even heard the name yet? "Forget it." Her coat buttoned, prepared again for the cold, she says, "Just be careful. Whoever he is, he's dangerous, or else you wouldn't be afraid of me telling the Company." Tucking her hands into her pockets, she approaches the door to see herself out. "Bye, Peter."

"Maybe I think the Company will just make it worse," Peter says with a hint of anger behind his voice. "They certainly haven't actually helped anyone get better as far as I know. Look at what they did to you." That might explain the anger he feels toward the Company right now. It certainly isn't helping. The deception, the lies— she wanted him out for a reason, and wanted out herself. Reasons. "And you know they weren't going to help me. They were just going to keep me locked up." He doesn't move to stop her, though, staying standing where he is as she walks away.

Wincing again, her eyes staying closed this time, Elle hesitates with her hand on the doorknob. His words are striking entirely too close to home, and while it would be a wise idea to take a few seconds to calm herself down, that really isn't her style. Gripping the doorknob tightly, she says, "Don't talk about what they did to me like you have any idea." Of course, he does have an idea, no matter how bitter and cynical her tone may be. For a second, as she looks back to Peter, it almost seems like she has something she wants to add, regarding him with a look that is somewhere between anger and remorse. Whatever it was on her mind, it likely isn't the words that follow: "Try not to get yourself killed." Turning away, she pulls the door open and steps out of the apartment.

While Peter does know, or at least has a better idea than just about anyone else, he doesn't argue her cynical and bitter words. Arguing would risk him saying something he shouldn't. More that he shouldn't, technically. He keeps watching her, quiet, serious, and just says, "I'll be careful. I can't help anyone if I get killed." He'll even wait a few moments after the door closes before stepping forward to lock it up again so he can teleport back with lunch. Thanks to Hiro, and getting better with his ability, he's hard to follow these days, at least.

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