2008-01-23: Before The Deadline

Starring:

Angela_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Just before the deadline where he was supposed to turn himself in, Peter calls his mother again to let her know personally that he's not coming in. Vague hints are dropped, but the fate of his girlfriend (and his own freedom) is still left up in the air.

Date It Happened: January 23rd, 2008

Before The Deadline


Phone

Nearing the deadline. It's not quite the time he said he would meet the car in the parking garage, but it's getting close. There's about an hour and a half left to turn himself in— an hour and a half left before someone precious loses a memory. An important memory— because they're all important. Standing on the roof of his building, leaning against the door that leads up there, Peter pulls out his phone— the phone he will soon abandon once again— and dials a number. His mother's.

"The minutes are ticking away," comes Angela Petrelli's voice on the other line almost immediately. One ring, perhaps one and a half. "I'm afraid you're going to disappoint me again." Her voice carries a certain amount of fact, not fear as she says.

"I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment," Peter replies after a long pause, possibly surprised by the lack of greeting and jumping straight to the point. Then again… He doesn't sound as apologetic as the words alone would imply, though, just as she doesn't sound afraid. "Did you ever think maybe you're wrong about this? That there's a reason I'm not turning myself in? How come you're so convinced that you're right?" The more questions he asks, the more tension that starts to creep up. She's god knows where rather than right in front of him. It's safe to ask questions.

For a moment or two, Angela does not answer. After those seconds of silence pass, however, her voice strikes the phone line with clarity. "I've seen what can happen and it wounds me." Emotion in her words, tense, sharp.

"I don't know what you've seen, or how you've seen it… But there's a lot more going on here than what's going on with me," Peter says, looking out toward the edge of the roof, where he once tried to jump off to prove he could fly. "I'm not turning myself in because someone important to me needs me— and I can't help him if I'm locked away." He's remaining vague for the moment, it would seem. As if he's trying to see how much she actually knows about. Someone more important than the woman he loves?

If this is the game they're playing, his mother, too, can be vague. "The bigger picture is precisely why this is important," Angela replies, so quick on the draw that it's very nearly a snap. "I'm impressed," she says a moment later, perhaps a strange turnaround to her disappointment a minute earlier. "Turning your back on someone you have such affections for, perhaps you do see the importance of sacrifice. But why now? "

"I'm not turning my back on her," Peter says softly, closing his eyes so that he can think back on past memories that might soon be taken away from her. That he can't stop— there's only so much he can do at once. "Because it's Nathan who needs me." It's stated fairly simply. No explainations, but the reason he would have to make a choice. "I can't help him if you lock me away, or if you take away my abilities just to get at one of them." There's a pause. "Also can't do much if I can't control myself." His voice is quiet whispers, the tension much less than it had been before.

"Promise me one thing," Angela demands but somewhere, under the stony veneer, lies an honest imploring, out of place here during this tense conversation between mother and son across the city. "Promise me you won't be fooled. I've been selfish; I wanted you here with me where you'd be safe— " Or dead? It's complicated. " —from what's to come."

There's something different enough about that voice that Peter's eyes open up again and he straightens off the door he's leaning on, giving a quick glance around. "You were trying to… keep me safe?" That doesn't make any sense. It does in one way, but considering everything… "You kidnapped my girlfriend— are threatening to take memories of our relationship away from her if I didn't turn myself in— and you tried to talk Sylar into killing me…" Course, he tried the same thing himself. But his determination has taken him in a different direction now. "What exactly am I not supposed to be fooled by, mom?"

"Ghosts." Fittingly, Angela's voice has taken on a haunted quality; distant and bitter. "Do me a favour and seek help from Gabriel, if you refuse to turn yourself in. You're two sides of the same coin, and both tarnished," she says with an elusive hint of regret. "By now you each know what must be done to one another when control is lost."

There's still confusion, though it's not so much heard now. If she could see him, Peter's eyes are narrowed in something very different from anger, eyebrows lowered. The tension in his jaw hasn't completely vanished, but it has new reasons to be there. "I— I will," he responds to her request without argument, or even much hesitation. Sounds like he fully agrees with that idea, at least. Maybe he'd already considered that as an option.

That, evidently, is enough. Saying nothing of the Company's plans now, of their plans for Elena, of any of the other dangerous dangling threads, Angela speaks with an air of finality. "Goodbye, Peter." The line goes dead.

In her office in the Company headquarters, Mrs. Petrelli sets down the cell phone, placing her palms firmly upon the desk in front of her. She sits straight, firm, her face a boldly unemotional mask although there's no one there to see it. She picks up the traditional desk phone, punching a button and lifting the receiver to her ear. "It's done," she says to someone other than Peter. "It's not worth your energy. I need you here."

"Wait— " Peter says as he realizes she's said goodbye. The line has already dropped. He hesitates a moment before turning his phone off and putting it away in his coat— rather than tossing it off the roof, as he'd planned to do if the conversation went bad. Opening the door to the roof, he moves in the direction of his apartment. It could have gone much worse, but he's not sure how much was solved. Or if he'll see his girlfriend again.

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