2007-09-14: Anchors


Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter returns from his mission with Gene to update Elena on Evelyn. She is obligated to deliver a swift, but gentle kick in the ass when he starts doubting himself again.

Date It Happened: September 14th, 2007


East Centennial Apartments, Downtown New York

The moment it hit nine o'clock in the evening, Elena was starting to get restless, so she goes and does something productive. She has opened the door to apartment 1406 across the hall from Peter's, peeking in and making sure that everything's in order. She's got a checklist, and she's ticking these off absently. Electricity check. Running water, check. Cleaned out and scrubbed down, check. The two-bedroom apartment is ready to move into, now she just has to figure out what she's going to need.

She pulls out a red folder underneath her pad of paper and squints at the neon-green post-it note tacked there:

Trust me, honey, just follow these instructions and your new pad'll look fabulous.


"…oookay," she mutters under her breath, fipping the folder open and pulling out diagrams and color swatches attached to said diagrams, along with the Dittos notes. "Holy crap!" she says, surprised, pulling out the sheet marked LIVING ROOM. She squints at it, and slowly moves around the space. There's a notation that says 'gallery wall' on one space. A notation that says 'couch' on the other. "…I can't believe he did all this without taking measurements," she murmurs in awe. Then again, Jadinne's won several awards when it came to interior design. She wonders if she has to hack anything to pieces to keep up to his recommended design.

It's been a rough day, in more ways than one. Despite the silver lining… Peter's returning to his apartment after hours of phone silence. Any calls placed went to voice mail. Except for one number which never called. He had to call Cass and drop a vial off at Bat Country for testing in the labs, and he made sure she got the files as well. No technological glitches. Hopefully they'll figure out a way to save the world, but— he's not sure how now. And there's another worry, too, involving a phone call before he went to go see Evelyn with Gene.

On his way to his apartment, he spots an open door. 1406. He looks at it quietly for a moment, before walking over and knocking on the edge of the wooden door, leaning in to glance. It could be the landlord— it could be Nadia— or it could be… "Elena."

He takes in a slow breath. It's a relief to see her, at least, but at the same time… He can't help but be worried. "Is your dad okay?"

She blinks when there is a knock behind her, Elena turning around to blink at him. There's just one light active in the apartment, so her face is half-silhouetted by the light. Seeing who it is, his own face shadowed by the dim light inside, and the light of the hallway shining behind him from the outside, she sets her folder on the side, resting it on the breakfast island in the outer edge of the kitchen. "Hi," she tells him softly. "I….Papa'll be fine. He's just….he thinks he screwed up, and badly. He thinks he pretty much catalyzed the thing he was trying to prevent."

She walks over to him. Peter looks exhausted, and her expression gentles into a softer expression. Her hands come up, her arms curling around his neck and shoulders in a hug. It's a gentle one, not too tightly, but enough for it to be felt, and to reflect that she means it. After a moment, she pulls back a bit so she could look at his face.

"Where were you?" she asks. "You look so tired."

"I don't think he did— I don't think the Company had anything to do with what happened to Evelyn," Peter says, gravitating closer as she moves in and wrapping his arms around her. Their relatively similar heights allow him to bury his face into her hair more easily than he might have otherwise been allowed. His eyes close, and he holds onto her, letting some of the tension drain away. Some, but not all. "He just made protecting her a little more difficult— but we'll manage somehow." he adds, softly, against her hair.

Where was he? "I went by Evelyn's with Gene. We talked to her— explained the situation as best we could… and… then we left. Gene gave her a tracking device, like yours— and I took a blood sample for Cass to look over and test— in case she has a virus of some kind. Or at least to give us a baseline in case she gets one. She still has her abilities… so we have time."

It's something. But yes. He's tired. "It's been a tough day— even if we did get to visit Evelyn first— I don't know what we can really do to protect her from them when they do act."

She takes a deep breath. He smelled like the outside, warm and familiar. New York was imprinted in his clothes. Elena can't help but close her eyes, letting her face bury further in the juncture where his shoulder met his neck. He'll be able to feel her expelled, heavy breath. It seems like relief, when he reveals that he managed to track Evelyn down with Gene. "Thank god," she murmurs, her hold on him tightening a little bit. She stays there, rubbing the back of his neck soothingly as she feels the tension in his muscles drain just a little bit. "And we will."

She falls quiet for a while, letting herself rest there. She doesn't seem to be inclined to say anything, but she's glad he's okay. She notices, however, that he didn't mention his brother - that would probably be a talk at another time. The storms came first. It was the catalyst of everything. "How did she take it?" she asks, pulling away just a bit to let her warm hands cup his face, thumbs absently stroking his cheeks. "Did she believe you?" It was a hard story to swallow. She knew it. Hell she didn't believe it, at least at first, and she had been around for a while.

"We'll find a way. And it's not like the girl is helpless, I don't think. She has her gifts. I hope she'll be able to use them to defend herself, at least until we can get there if something happens." She sighs again. "Have you eaten?"

There's two stresses that Peter's not mentioning just yet. His brother and the young woman on the phone. Both the people with another self in a mirror. Both whom he might have done something to make their situation worse. That could be why the tension isn't draining out completely, even as she pulls away and touches his face.

He looks at her, eyes rather intense even if she should expect that from him by now. The only time they're not is when they're confused— and he's not really like that right now.

"She believed us, more or less. Though I think she thought we were playing a big game on her at first." That they'd punk'd her or something similar. But they hadn't. "I mentioned the incident in East Village. That helped— there's no way I could have known that was connected to her— and her own handwriting on the Hello Kitty notepad…"

But… "And I think she understands how much danger she might be in— what measures the Company may take to keep her from becoming a tornado… She seems like a really intelligent kid. I can see what…" Gene saw in her. He trails that off, though. "She has my contact information, and Gene's as well. So if something happens, hopefully she'll let us know."

Has he eaten? "Not really— I'm okay, though. I'm not like you." Now he's half teasing. Even if he's not like he, he probably does need to eat eventually.

"I wish I could've met her, she sounds like a good kid. I'm….I actually just feel incredibly bad that she had to wake up today to this." It couldn't have been easy hearing all of that. Elena slips her hands away from his face, taking a few steps back so she could open the door further, and pick up her papers. "I was just checking the new place out, see what I need and make a list. Nadia and I'll probably divvy-up the expenses." She changes the topic just a bit. "Come on, I ordered pizza, I can always reheat it." She bought two kinds - Hawaiian for her, given it's her favorite, and a veggie pizza for him. She heads out, and moves for his apartment across the hall.

She left it unlocked, so she opens it up, and heads for his kitchen. She won't forcefeed him anything but she can always microwave a couple of slices. He'd find that half of her extra large pizza was already gone, and there are textbooks on his coffee table. Someone was being a good girl and studying despite being worried about him.

Then again, worrying only made her eat and work more.

"I'm glad you brought Gene," she tells him. "He needs to keep his mind off…his condition for at least a little while. He hasn't been sleeping well." A small frown tugs on her lips. "And…Eric hasn't gotten back to me on a list of specialists yet." There's a strange note to her voice there, but it fades the longer she talks.

"I'm glad she knows to call you and Gene," she says. "It's important that she feels she isn't alone. At least I'd like to think so anyway." She pops out the heated plate, and grabs a sheet of paper towel to protect his hands from the heat. She hands it to him, with two slices on it. "Eat. Vedge a bit, if you can. I'm not gonna press you for details on everything else unless you want to give it to me."

Making sure the door to her newly bought apartment is locked, Peter follows after her, moving into the kitchen and glancing at the pizza. Vegetarian pizza isn't off his menu, definitely. Though he's not sure how hungry he is. Some of the conversations today have destroyed his appetite.

"Maybe you'll get to meet her soon. I do want her to know that she can trust us— that she has people she can count on who aren't just going to… lock her up and throw away the key." Like they'd done to him. Like they've done to others before him. Dangerous as she might be, it's through no fault of her own.

"Gene wasn't looking too great. I think he'd been sick right before he picked me up," he adds, looking concerned as well. He's a nurse, he knows the signs. They're tough to hide from someone who knows what to look for. Eric hasn't gotten back to her yet, though… "I wonder why not. If he doesn't— I know a couple people who are doctors, not many, but they might be able to make a few referrals." He hasn't made an attempt to poke at his old contacts in a while— but he hasn't had a reason to. But he does tend to take evrything upon himself when he can.

The plate is taken, but he frowns at it for a moment, before actually grabbing a fork out of the kitchen and moving it sit down. No, Snowy, you can't have any. But he does start to eat it. In small pieces. With a fork. Appetite still non-existant. "Sorry you had to pay for lunch." Lunch he didn't even eat.

She nods when Peter gets some food in him at least. Food was essential for thinking, it forced the brain to produce more neurotransmitters to help with the process. Elena's only trying to help out when she can. But at what he says, she nods, and rakes her fingers through her hair. Firing up another couple of slices of her hawaiian pizza, she moves over, and takes a seat near him. She….eats her food the old fashioned way, and she eats the pizza cold. It doesn't need to heat it up, and sometimes it even tastes better that way.

"Well, introduce us and I can see what we can do. If you got some blood off her, we should give it over to Cass for analysis, or at least a sample." She frowns. "See if there's anything we can detect off the bat." When he mentions Gene not feeling well, she leans her head back and sighs. "Okay….no reason not to try all venues, right? I'll see if my professors know something too. That was my original plan but…getting through a specialist the long way might take months. And Eric….tends to be able to circumvent that thanks to the family repertoire."

She shakes her head. "Papa paid the bill," she tells him. "I had to practically wrestle the sake bottle away from him, but….he paid for everything, so don't worry about it." She gnaws on her pizza, though there's still a small, not-too-pleased expression on her face. "What do you think you're going to tell your brother?" she asks, there's a bit of a hesitant tinge to her voice. She doesn't know if she's stepping over a line bringing that up, glancing over at Peter.

"I already dropped it off somewhere for storage. Not really something I can just leave sitting around," Peter says about the blood sample, it needs to be stored, after all, and not just in his pocket or something. There's a long moment, and then he finally shrugs off his jacket and gets back to eating when she sits down next to him. He's still frowning, nodding a bit. His family did the same thing for him when he'd been in the coma. Best doctors in the world to tell them the same thing. That they didn't have a clue what was wrong with him. He could go up to his mother and ask for her assistance, or his brother too, but…

"Maybe he's just having a hard time getting ahold of them. I think he has the same feelings I do about using my family name to get things done…" They had a lot in common, not just the woman they both ended up falling in love with fifteen years after they started to get to know each other.

"I'll have to thank him, then…" Because he still didn't eat— and he drove the man to drink with his announcement. He winces. The man really thought he was doing the best thing. It's hard to completely blame him for that.

But then his brother is brought up. And his appetite takes a nosedive again. He's left looking at small fork cut pieces of pizza and frown. "I don't know. I guess I'll just… ask him when it started— see if I can help him at all…"

"That's good." He was right. Blood has to be stored carefully. Elena doesn't ask him where he put it, the less people know the better. She horfs down the rest of her pizza, but then she stands up so she could deposit her plate in the sink, and toss her paper towel in the trash. When she returns, she's got a glass of orange juice for him, and a can of Diet Pepsi for her. Sitting near him, she leans back on her seat, and cracks the can open. While the topic stays on Eric, she nods, glancing to the side and taking a sip of her can. "Yeah," is all she says softly. She agrees with him, she's known Eric longer than she's known Peter, after all. She knows he doesn't necessarily bandy his family name around all the time. Hell it's why he had it legally changed in the first place.

"Don't worry about it. Papa is….he thinks everyone who's younger than him is a kid. For things like this, of course the older one pays. He can be a little old fashioned like that. Plus I'm his daughter. He's never failed to remind me that…despite everything, he still thinks I'm nine, instead of nineteen." She smiles ruefully.

When he frowns over his brother, she nods. "It could help more if it comes from you," she says. "You're his brother. Papa….despite his abilities, he doesn't really know Nate very well. You though…." She doesn't have to emphasize just how important Peter was to Nathan. Peter already knew that. Or at least, she hoped he knew that.

She drags a pillow towards her, hugging it loosely and drawing her legs up.

Most likely the blood was put into a storage at Bat Country, just because that's the clinic he knows to go to, and the one he can get into if he really wants. Cass will forgive him later, too. Peter labelled it, and he'll make sure she knows what it is later, but for now it's just a vial in storage. They'll find out soon if there's anything to find.

"Yeah, he seemed pretty old fashioned— he seemed surprised at what we brought up at lunch, too." It wasn't an engagement announcement, that's for sure. Or even anything about their relationship at all. It was all business… and not good business at that.

The talk about his brother continues to make him withdrawl, but he nods slowly. "I can try— I asked your father for help with Niki because I wasn't getting anything at all— and I'm not sure how much my brother wants me poking around in his head, either— what if I just make things worse? What if… what if I bring him out instead of keep him under?" He glances away from his pizza and… then looks back down. She's hugging her pillow. He'd always found that gesture cute, but… in some ways he knows that it's a way to remain independant of anyone else when she wants to hug someone. It allows her to comfort herself. Or at least that's what he's beginning to think it means.

"I think… if he's already showing signs… I think I'm the one who did this to him."

That or it's just comfortable. Elena's always been like that, ever since she was a child, and as a child there was no need to be independent. She just likes hugging squishy things. While Peter isn't squishy…he was eating. She can't treat him like a teddy bear when he's eating, and they were talking. She watches him as he looks down on his plate of pizza, most of it untouched. He's not really hungry, but she can't make him eat if he doesn't want to.

"He just probably thought it'd be a nice get together. In retrospect I should've told him what it was about first to prepare him. He….doesn't see me as often as it is, I…" Guilt etches onto her features then, but she shakes her head. She'll make it up to her father later. She'll do something nice for him. That would require her coming up there on the weekend again, but this was her father.

When Peter talks about poking around his brother's head, she shakes her head. "Who says you can't help just by being you?" she asks. "I know it was effective when my father did it. You told me. But Nate is Nate now. Maybe all he needs is reinforcement. Your his brother, Peter. Out of all of us I'd like to think you're his sure anchor." Just as her father was hers. "Someone to keep him straight. And you don't need your powers to do that. All you need to do…is be you. Be his brother."

At the last, she shakes her head. "You don't know that for sure," she tells him. "For all you know it could've been because of the accident. What happened to Heidi." She's known about it for a few months now. Heidi had told her herself. "He almost lost her then, and then spent all those months seeing her in a wheelchair, reminded every day about what he was unable to prevent. He could've blamed himself for that one. And self-blame is more potent in getting oneself undone than seeing others responsible. I know. I've seen it happen."

The pain was residual now. She remembers putting her father to bed drunk at sixteen, a mess and sobbing, blubbering in Spanish about how he should've been home doing what he had promised Catalina he'd do in front of God and everyone. But it does soften the features of her face and pushed the perpetually cheerful light from her eyes in a more tempered and somber expression. She reaches out to take his plate, once she's clear that he's done, and stands up so she could bring it to the kitchen.

Unfortunately he's not going to get much eating done at all. There's probably half a slice in his stomach— and that's about it. Maybe he'll eat breakfast tomorrow if she beats him to waking up— which in this case she probably will. Peter watches her cuddling the pillow, and looks down at his hands, finally setting the fork down. Done. No more. He's not hungry and it's not feeling like it's going down well.

There's a nod. "I'm sorry it had to go like that… But I really did need to know if… I'm glad it was a missunderstanding, though." If it hadn't been, he probably would have had more potential to be mad. And fighting with her father isn't something he wants to do when they JUST started dating…

All the things with his brother still make him withdraw. It's a quiet withdraw, tension and intensity in his eyes. Until he finally glances over at her, hugging her pillow. His brother'd once asked him who he'd be without him. Saying that he couldn't afford to lose him. He wants to believe that his brother would be okay without him, but he knows it's not true. He knows… he wonders how much of Nathan's recovery had to do with him. The real him.

"Maybe…" He stands up when she goes to take his plate, letting his jacket stay at the couch, and ignoring the puppy that follows after wanting to play, or have food. She'll get distracted again after a minute, but right now… He waits til most of her burdens are dropped before he moves closer and wraps his arms around her again. There's a few things he's hiding, things he's holding in— even from her— but he does want to do this— he wants to hold her. Just for a while.

"Papa is stronger than he seems. I have to believe that." Elena glances down at the plate she's soaking into the sink, and she exhales, running the water over them a bit so it wouldn't be so hard to wash in the morning, and dries her hand with a dishtowel. "He'll get past this and regain his confidence. You two are alike in that regard." She looks over her shoulder at him and winks. "Not like you remind me of my father in any way." Because no two men could be more different. "That would be pretty wrong, yeah?"

She turns around, watching Peter approach her again in the kitchen and wrapping his arms around her. Curling her arms around his neck and shoulders, she squeezes him gently. "You can't blame yourself for everything," she tells him. "That's not the way this works. You figure out what happened first, and then I can allow you to do that. But right now you don't really know anything. You've already got too much going on without adding more onto yourself." She says this softly, but firmly. "And it's not helping you." It's not. It's only bogging him down, muddling his brain and driving clarity out.

She rests her head on his shoulder. While she gets a niggling feeling that, perhaps, he's not telling her everything - she's not going to force it either. She never has. Not in the eight months they've known each other, she's never forced him to tell her anything he didn't want to. She'd like to think she inspired confidence in her own way.

"You make things so difficult sometimes…" she says softly. But it sounds more affectionate than cajoling. She kisses the side of his neck gently.

In some ways they're similar— in many ways they're not. Peter actually doesn't seem insulted to be compared, in brief, to her father. He's a good man. Just a little… manlier than he is used to. A little too old fashioned. And a lot too Mexican. "May be wrong, but it's not an insult." It's not like comparing him to his own father, who he still has issues with. Or his last girlfriend's father, for that matter.

"I know— figure out what happened first… I'll have to ask him, though." And the answer may not be one he likes. If it did happen because of the bomb, when his brother thought he was dead for four months… then he can go back to blaming himself— or he can push his determination to keep it from happening to an extreme. It could go either way at this point. She might be hoping it pushes his determination— he is right now.

Difficult, does he? He leans into her, kissing her temple, and then— there's a deep breath. "There's something else— before— while I was still in the future— I forced Nathan to let Logan out so I could talk to him." Tell him something. Render him impotent. But— that's neither here nor there. "And… said to me… that there was no way I could stop it. That it was inevitable— that one day Nathan would be weak enough for him to take over. And… maybe he was right. If he's already starting to show signs… what if there's nothing I can do? I can't always be there for him, I can't always…"

Ramon and Lachlan are actually very similar. Probably why they've clashed in the last two meetings they've had. "Still wrong," Elena says with a stubborn expression and a slight quirk of a smile. Not like he could see it anyway consiering she's got her face against his shoulder and her hair is blocking his view of it. Her eyes close partway, feeling his lips against her temple and moving there gently. Her arms around him squeeze again.

When he confirms that he knows, she nods. If he finds out, she's all for blaming himself - but she'll argue that won't really fix anything. There's a time for mourning, they were all human despite their gifts, but it was detrimental to let that sort of thing get in the way of what needs to be done. "I'm sure," she says simply. "That you've heard that before." This isn't the first time he's had to fix something, to keep something catastrophic from happening. "And considering we're all still here, you know full well that's not true." The future isn't written in stone. Claire would remind him of that if he talked to her about this. Of course, Elena doesn't know that she's told him that.

She pulls back a bit so she could look at him, her expression determined. "You're right," she says softly. "You can't always be there. You're only one man, Peter." She brushes her fingertips on his cheek. "But you're here now. If anything…if it's strength Nate needs, you can give it to him. Lend it to him. Even the old ones can be taught. You're his brother, Peter. As long as you breathe, the two of you will always be connected." She shakes her head. "You can't doubt yourself on this when this is calling for the thing you do best."

She meets his eyes then. "Just…love him, Peter. The way you always have."

"Like being different," Peter says softly, even though, in a lot of ways, he knows he isn't. A lot of who he is still comes from other people, but— since she brought it up, there it is— he's not really like her father, or even much like his own brother. There's pieces here and there, bits, but that's the way everyone is. There's always similarities, familiarities, whether it's easily seen or not.

It won't change the future he saw— only Jack and the Saints can do that now— with help from other people, he's sure. But it can change this one, maybe… doesn't change that it's already happened, but it could keep it from getting worse, which is the idea, right? "I know it can change…" He just doesn't know how, or how much he can do. When she pulls back, he blinks a few times, moving a hand away to rub over his face. Not quite removing tears from his eyes, but there's some moisture there already.

"Thanks." He knew all of what she said— somewhere deep down he knew, but it's nice to hear someone else say them too, give him support, beat him over the head with it, even. Luckily she could be gentle in that. He moves closer, pressing his forehead against hers, and closes his eyes. "I'll do that… it's something that the one in the future couldn't have any more… maybe it will make a difference."

When your brother's a serial killer in disguise, it's hard to get love. "I don't know what he thought happened— I don't even know if he knew it wasn't really me at all, but… I don't know what happened first, but he betrayed Nathan— he married someone that…" He winces. It's in the files. She'll read them soon enough. "He was married to Mara Damaris. I don't know if it was me or Sylar or— but the betrayal couldn't have helped things— and even then… I was dead for almost two years."

At least they don't fall. Despite everything, Elena's never really seen Peter cry before. Then again, Nathan's always been an exception to plenty of his rules. She gives him a small smile. "No problem," she tells him simply, when he thanks her. He needs that sometimes, the proverbial, swift kick in the ass - as gentle as she can deliver the blows, that was still what it was. Otherwise, he'd just go through some twisted, kamikaze streak through life, and that honestly wasn't acceptable. Sure, he was probably immortal - that didn't give him carte blanche to take his own life so lightly.

She closes her eyes, feeling the warm weight of his forehead on hers. Her hands come up to stroke her thumbs against his cheeks. "Stick to what you're good at, Peter," she murmurs. "And it usually does. It's such a powerful thing when used right."

She doesn't really hear what he's saying at first. Elena doesn't really know what he's getting at. But when realization sinks in, she pulls away so she could look at him. "He what?" she says, surprised. Mara Damaris? After a pause, looking at his face, she shakes her head. "Don't know how that passed muster, if Nathan kept believing it was still you after that. You'd never do that to him. And Heidi." She seems so very sure and firm about that. "I mean….unless you had feelings for her that way before." She doesn't really know much about the Petrelli brothers' relationship with her. Only that Peter knew her, Nathan slept with her, and almost ended Heidi's marriage.

There's been crying in front of her, actually— but only when drunk and on the phone and then again in the future. That's different. Peter definitely needs some direction more often than not, a purpose, a goal, something to be accomplished. He wings most things a little too often, like the Evelyn situation, but he's working on it. He's trying to make it count. Not just fly into everything with no regard for himself.

"Just hope I can use it right," he says in response, a serious sound to his voice. Again. He often has a serious tone, and this would be another day for it. Not just love, but everything. He's very much concerned with using his powerful abilities— supernatural or otherwise— in a way that will actually help people. Great responsibility that it is.

"I don't— not… but I guess it could have happened. If you went to MIT— if she— we met once. She…" There's a pause, he grimaces. "She said that she came to me with a vision of the future, the one that I saw— that that future somehow brought us together." And he was going to change it, had long decided to— "I don't know how it happened, or why— but maybe… me being there for him… Maybe it can change things."

"Maybe." Elena pauses, and she gives him a small smile. "It can still happen. But that would probably mean we'd be in an incredible pile of shit if it did." Her views on relationships tended to be surprisingly pragmatic. Love exists, you can be with someone you love, but keeping them is usually harder than actually getting them. She danced around him for eight months, keeping things platonic, remained oblivious about his growing feelings for her when he had still been with Elle. Somehow missed the looks, the touching, the way he looked at her. Anything can happen. For all she knows they could break up after a month.

"You can," she tells him with a small smile, shaking her head a bit. "And you will. You just need to suck it up and just do it. Quit overthinking it so much and do the best you can. Honestly that's all people can really conceivably ask of you." She grins ruefully. "No matter what Sean Connery says." Because she wouldn't be her if she didn't insert an action movie reference: 'Loshersh alwaysh whine about their besht, winnersh go home and f— '

She can't help but grin, lifting her brows at him. "So are you saying if I stayed, I would've kept you from a moral dilemma?" she teases him, pushing back his hair, but slipping her hands away from his face gently. "I'm not saying I don't think it could have happened but….I don't know. I feel like it would take more than that to push you towards someone who's ruined something precious between the people you love."

"It won't happen," Peter says, shaking his head. There's a lot of reasons it won't happen— and quite honestly he can't understand how it did. The betrayal to his brother would be too great, the betrayal to Heidi, who means the world to him— and no matter what he feels towards the woman, how much he wants to protect her, it's nothing he wouldn't have given to just about anyone else who was in danger. "Could've been Sylar the whole time…" Or, the only other reason he could see it… is if he'd been so lonely and so in need of direction that the visions she gave him allowed him to cling to something, anything. If the world got as bad as it sounded, it could have happened. Maybe.

But right now. "It's you I want to be with." Her especially. And he wouldn't want it any other way.

"What do you think I've been doing this whole time? I don't have an instruction manual…" Even if he'd really like one. With his powers, with everything, he just gets an idea and goes with it, because that's what he does. Unfortunately.

"It's not her fault." Your, her— same difference, "I don't know what happened— but if he let her go to MIT, then it's his fault." Because he learned that sometimes, with her, kidnapping and being somewhat dominate at times actually helps quite a bit. "And it's not going to happen now. Just glad it didn't take dying for good to learn from that mistake."

"I know," Elena tells him simply with a small smile. "You're a better man than that. And you love Nate too much for that. I honestly don't think anyone with a conscience would do that to kin. Despite…you know. Nate trying to work things out with Heidi again." She can scarcely see Peter bringing Mara over for family dinner. Unless the Petrellis really were masochists. "And maybe. So many things could've happened to turn to that end. I'm just saying….it doesn't sound like you. From what I know of you now."

When he says what he does, about wanting to be with her, she gives him a small smile, turning to the side so she could pick up a paper towel and soaking it a bit in water so she can wipe down his counter top. "I know - I've never doubted that since you came back. It just….took me a while to realize it. Like I said, I didn't really know….I wasn't really aware you saw me that way."

She was too damned stubborn to be passive. She had way too much energy and pride to deal with a lot of things lying down, and she would only bowl over anyone who couldn't weather it. At first glance, Peter looked like the last person who could deal with that, but he could be surprisingly stubborn and intense whenever he wanted to be, whenever he felt like he had to. "I didn't know you weren't really you then, did I?" she asks, looking over at him. "I guess…after leaving, I was fooled like everyone else. I'd like to think I knew you well enough to be able to sense that….you weren't who you were. But…if I'd been gone and away from you for so long…." Two years could feel like a very long time.

That's the part of him that's a Capricorn and an Italian, surely. But Peter can stand up to just about anything when pushed hard enough— and when he wants it bad enough. His family probably would have broken him a long time ago, otherwise. "You're right— it doesn't sound at all like me. When Jack first told me who I was married to— what I was like in the future— I couldn't believe it. Even when other people explained to me how I got that way. Not until I found out I was Sylar did any of it make sense." It makes a ton of sense after that point. It'd been a major reveal. He just wishes he'd known if his brother had any idea— somehow it makes things worse if he thought his beloved younger brother had hated him enough to kill him.

As she wipes down his countertop, he watches from a short distance, wanting to touch her, but leaving her to her work. "Seems you're about the only one who didn't know. I tries to tell you— usually when I wasn't entirely in control of myself— but I did try to tell you." It just didn't work out that way. "You know now, though." And that's the important part to him.

Mmm. "Well… you said that the only times you ever saw me were on the news— in your newspapers. The seven or so that you read every morning." Yeah, even in the future she did that. "I think you recognized that I wasn't myself— but you thought it was because I killed Sylar. You thought it'd changed me— turned me into someone else. You were… more right than you knew." There's a pause, before he does reach for her again, touching her upper arms. "You don't need to clean up— you're tired. You probably need to sleep. You have classes tomorrow."

"Peter…you always try to do the right thing. It's so…intrinsically part of you that if that were ever reversed, it had to have been a really catastrophic catalyst." Elena pauses from her cleaning, turning sideways so she could look at him. "It's ….just the way you are. It's why people are so drawn to you. Or at least that's what I think anyway." She winks at him. "And that does make perfect sense…..you've mentioned before that Sylar had been going after Detective Damaris, yes? She had been targetted by him before? It was probably to keep her close by."

She laughs, her head tipping back a bit when he points out it seems she's the only one who didn't know. "Typical, right?" she says with a grin. Her eyes lower on the counter top. "I think though a large portion of it had been denial. I'm….usually never that dumb. I'd like to think I was very perceptive, it's just….you had Elle, and…." The age difference. The prestigious family. His almost messianic mission to save the world. The fact that their friendship meant so much to her that she was terrified of losing it. Because it gave her a sense of purpose, and showed her just how strong she really could be when pushed.

She is about to get back to work when she feels his hands touch her upper arms, feeling his chest on her back. "So are you," she points out. "The last couple of days couldn't have been easy on you." She wads up the paper towel and tosses it in the trash, turning around so she could look at him. There is silence, for a while, her dark eyes taking in his well-built features. Her fingertips lift to touch the side of his mouth where the birth defect is. "….hope it's okay I've been spending nights here. You know I feel bad mooching off everybody while I find a place."

In some ways, he'd like to believe the world could make it without him— in other ways… he already knows he won't stop trying to make things better until he's dead. That's just the way he is, as she's said. Peter nods, smiling a little lopsidedly, agreeing with her— and then again when she asks about Sylar's obsession. "I think he was waiting for something— the right time, the right place. Otherwise it makes no sense that he'd spend so much time at her side only to kill her almost two years later." He keeps saying two years— and he went forward exactly two years. How much longer does he have, really?

"You're not dumb— you just— relationships for yourself aren't on the top of your list of things to think about. You were like that in the future, too. That came last, even when you were older." And surrounded by men who would give up anything to be with her— and then him again. Only reason they had a moment or five was because he… winged it.

"Don't worry— I'm going to sleep with you. I won't be staying up much longer." Though from the ways his hands slide around her waist and touch her shirt and pants… there's a possibility of something before bed… though that may be dependant on her. "You're not mooching. You're spending the night— and I like having you close by." And not just because it means he can slide his fingers along her sides and tickle her, either. Though he's making an attempt to do that here.

"Well, if he's as obsessed with her as you paint him as," Elena says with a small frown. While she doesn't have the greatest opinion on the woman, that didn't mean she liked hearing that there was a crazy serial killer after her. It wouldn't be right, and the way Sylar dealt with his victims was a little scary. Just thinking about what she heard causes goosebumps to rise up in her arms, though they're tempered by the warmth of Peter's hands as they stay on them. She sighs quietly, but she does look up at him again as she talks.

"It never was," Elena says with a small smile. "Always had other things to do. I….guess I could've in high school but…" Catalina died, her father became unstable for a time, and her family tried to pick up the pieces she left behind. Romance had been extremely low in her list of priorities. Even when Peter became a possibility, she avoided it as long as she could. Until he made it impossible.

She smiles. "I'd like to think I wasn't banished to the couch," she quips, when he tells her that he was going to bed with her - said as his hands slide around her waist, fingertips nudging under the hem of her shirt. Surefire indicators that they probably wouldn't be going straight to bed… though they certainly haven't gone too far. At least, not beyond the point of no return anyway.

When he tickles her, she chokes back a shriek, laughing as she attempts to jerk away from him. "Stoppit!" she says playfully, swatting his shoulder with a laugh. "Your neighbors might think you're committing murder in here." …or something else entirely. BUT THAT'S TOTALLY NOT THE POINT. No tickling damn it!

"Does seem pretty obsessed with her— guess I never realized just how much," Peter says, keeping that memory under the surface for his own sake. There's so much he needs to do in the next few months, so much that he needs to make sure doesn't happen— and even if he has no intention of having a relationship with the woman, he still wants to save her before she's killed by him— save everyone. Even if that means doing something that might get him killed. Like hunt the man down.

"I figured— you had to grow up pretty fast— take responsibility for things that shouldn't have been yours until you were much older." A replacement mom for her younger siblings, for one. That's not something that anyone should need to be— though he knows his brother had been more of a paternal influence than his own father had been.

"Nope, I'd never banish you— I'd get cold sleeping alone now," he teases, noting her tendancy to cling to him in the night. Something he really likes, make no mistake about that. He's not complaining at all. But no— probably not straight to bed… not if he has anything to say about it.

But then she shrieks and he laughs, but his hands do stop, mostly because she's jerking away and swatting him. Instead of going back to her waist, his hands touch her face and he moves back in. They haven't really kissed much since he got home— and a nudge from his nose is her only warning. Not sleeping for a short time definitely seems to be a plan.

She shrugs, her eyes moving away a bit for a time when he points out she had to grow up pretty quickly. She doesn't talk about that part of her life much. The most she would say is that her mother died, and she had to help her father around the house. Elena doesn't talk about the alcoholism, or the rages, or how it had been hard to push Ramon to just go to work after that, or how the insurance money was never paid to them from her mother's policy because the police ruled her out as a suicide. "I'm not going to say I'm glad for it, considering the cost. But things happen for a reason," she says quietly.

She's all smiles again after a few though, grinning at him and inclining her head. "Sorry. But you'll be glad to know that my space-heating tendencies will work extremely well over the winter," she says with a sage nod. "And I'm pretty sure you're not complaining."

She would say more but his nose rubs against hers and his mouth claims her own. Her head is tilted up a bit thanks to his hands, her own coming up to curl over his wrists as she returns the kiss quietly. "Mhm….thought you were sleepy?" She's teasing him, nipping his bottom lip gently. She can tell by the way he kissed her that he'd make an exception. They didn't kiss much since his arrival, but only because they had a lot to talk about - and that isn't really helpful in terms of discussing anything.

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