2007-05-22: Being There

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

snowy_icon.gif

Summary: Elena stops by to visit Peter upon request. He wanted to explain to her the source of his nightmare a few nights ago. A few things are revealed.

Date It Happened: May 22nd, 2007

Being There


Peter Petrelli's Apartment

It has been a few days since the incident with Nathan and a crazy cab driver named Mavis, so Elena's harried expression has faded by this point. A little traumatized for accidentally shooting Jack, but that's nothing a few days of work, research, and Tia's butt-busting choreography can't fix. While she had kept in touch with Peter over the course of the week, she hadn't been expecting the phone call that brings her here today. It had been so late since she left the last time she actually saw him that she had forgotten about the fact that he wanted to show her something important. So after getting off work at EvoSoft at 6:00 pm, she starts off for the younger Petrelli brother's apartment.

She can't help but be curious. What was so important?

She was dressed for work, so it is obvious where she had been for the last few hours. Dressed in a fitted, button-down, short-sleeved shirt, a pair of gray, pin-striped slacks, and a pair of leather flats, it was a far cry from her usual, casual self. Her messenger bag is slung across her body diagonally, and her hair is pulled up by one of those claw-clips a busy girl always had in hand to keep herself neat-looking. Her security ID for Evolution Software is in plain view, clipped to one of her belthoops.

She knocks on the door, pulling out her cherry-red phone and checking her text messages. She groans. She had just left work and she's already had a dozen. Was it the weekend yet?

—-

Not quite the weekend yet. As she knocks, Peter's sitting at his desk, glancing through some paper work. Just like her, he worked today, and he's now trying to figure out just how much he needs to repay his mother and brother for them keeping his apartment up, and for all of the other donations they made towards his expenses. There's a few things that came directly out of his savings in the last few months, but that doesn't mean he's not far behind. What had been a savings before… is quickly becoming not much of one.

At the knock, he stuffs the paperwork back into a folder and into the drawer, standing just in time to see a flash of white run past him and to the door. Snowy knows when they have company, and she'd probably open the door for them, if she could. In fact, she's jumping at the doorknob, barking in the breathy and soft bark that she has.

He steps over, kneeling to snatch her up to keep her from attacking the feet of his guest, before he looks through the spyhole. That's who he figured it was. She has a key, but it'd do her no good with the security chain in place.

That goes away first, then the deadbolts, and then he turns the knob and opens it, cradling a tail-wagging puppy in one arm, "Sorry to ask you over on short notice. Come on in," he steps back to let her in, and will lock the door up behind her. "Do you want something to drink?"

—-

That and it would be rude to just use the key when she knows that Peter was there to actually let her in. She'd rather not use it unless absolutely necessary, still somewhat conscientious of boundaries when it comes to Peter (considering she almost got killed for it). She gives him a small smile as she steps inside. "Hey, Peter," she greets, stretching out a hand to ruffle Snowy's ears. "Snowy. How was your day?" She walks further inside, ditching the messenger bag and hanging it up neatly on one of the hooks, or coat things she sees when stepping inside. "And it's alright, I'd be assured that if anything this might be a calmer visit compared to the last one." Her profile shifts, looking somewhat exasperated. "This week's been a little crazy."

She looks over at him and throws him a mock-flat look. "Your family's exhausting," she tells him. "But your brother's not a bad guy." She grins somewhat cheekily. "He's got great taste in flowers." What? "I helped him find Heidi the other day."

She stretches her arms over her head, and then slides her hands in her pockets. "Anything cold would be great right now," she tells him simply, sweeping her eyes over his apartment and towards the balcony. Ugh. Never. EVER doing that again. Even if she did manage to score 'cool' points with Jack for what she did. "Everything okay?" she asks, glancing over at Peter, the pulled-up tendrils of her hair swinging a bit against the bind that kept it secure at the back of her head.

—-

"Not too crazy, I hope?" Peter asks, looking her over carefully for signs of physical injury. It's not that he doesn't trust her own response… it's more she's prone to getting hurt. And has the ability to hide her pain. Okay, he doesn't totally trust her not to downplay her situation. That just means he's worried. "You're not breaking in this time, so hopefully it will be calmer." Or not, considering what he wants to show her. Mmm. There's a pause before he puts Snowy down, and gives her backend a pat in the direction of the food bowl. Still some remaining food there, but she's not really interested, she'd rather wag her tail at Elena.

"I'm glad you helped him. Need to find out how that went— but I assume they'll tell me when they're ready to." There's a hint of insecure reluctance. Heidi did backhand him and break his jaw, though he's not sure she knows just how bad she hit him. But it's not the fear she'll hit him again that causes the reluctance so much as… the worry that she's still mad over /why/ she hit him.

"I have orange juice, lemonade and V8— and Pepsi." The last being for his girlfriend, if she knew her preferences of soda. Walking over to the fridge, he'll grab any of the ones she wants and fills up a glass for her if it's needed, which it is for the first two, and hands them over. "Things aren't too bad. I mean, they've been better, but… they've been worse too."

—-

"Well…." Elena pauses, and she laughs, walking over to the kitchen and crossing her arms over her chest, leaning her hip against one of the counters as he fills up a glass with some lemonade for her. "…uh. My week involved accidental shootings and ninjas." She pauses. "The ninjas thing is…an -incredibly- long story but that does remind me of a few things I ought to tell you too. As for the accidental shooting…" She looks a little sheepish. "Jack had this -brilliant- idea of teaching me how to use a gun." Brilliant being, well, not really. And that ALONE ought to tell Peter how THAT little enterprise went. "But he's okay, I saw to him, it was just a flesh wound."

Snowy follows her, and she looks down when the puppy noses her ankle. "….even you want a piece of me this week, huh?" she asks the puppy, but she does smile, and reaches down to scoop the puppy up in her arms, accepting the nose licks. Turning to Peter again, she blinks at the insecure expression. "They will," she assures him. "It wasn't exactly a comfortable position on my part, believe me. But…" She pauses. "I think they're at the very least on their way to talking again. I'm sure they think of you too. Heidi felt incredibly bad about the…jaw…thing."

When the drink is handed over, Elena sets Snowy down gently and brushes off the white hairs, and reaches out to take the glass. "Thanks." She tilts her face up concernedly. "Look at it this way," she says, reaching up to brush a lock of hair from his forehead in an affectionate manner, and gives him an encouraging smile. "New York's still standing." She furrows her brows a touch. "Though….what did you need to show me?"

—-

"Sounds like /I/ should be the one teaching you to handle a gun." Peter says as a joke, but he's smiling at her. "You're really not— the type to use one, though." Neither is he, but at least he knows the basics of how to load and possibly shoot. He even learned to use the same man's ability to call a gun to his hand from the lockbox in the closet— which also contains a few items since her last visit, a backup disk for a file he added to a password protection folder in his computer. Neither of them /really/ need to use a gun to take someone out, though.

Yes, even Snowy wants a piece of her this week, and her tail's wagging happily at the attention, until she's forced to follow the young woman around the apartment again, looking up at her attentively with blue eyes that made her flawed in the eyes of her breeder.

Shaking his head, he seems to dismiss the idea of the jaw thing, "When they get around to it. Fixing their marriage is important." It really is, but— the family tension seems to have taken it's toll, even if he gives her a hint of a smile at the idea that the city's still standing, so it can't be that bad. "Yeah— still here." But— "I wanted to show you… the other painting I did recently. I can't really… tell you what I was dreaming about when you broke in… without showing it to you." Moving into the living area, he flips up the screen of his laptop and starts it up. It'll take a short time.

—-

"If I can escape this world when it's time without having to need to, I'll be a very happy mad scientist," Elena tells him simply with a hint of a smile, though that fades in favor of an exasperated expression. "I don't think it's the technique that's hampering me, I know -how- to do it, it's just….I think my problem is psychological. I don't want to have to kill someone." Thankfully she doesn't really need to use a gun. She just needs to be able to use her powers more effectively and refine her control.

As the dog follows her around, she reaches down to fluff her ears again, straightening up as her eyes follow Peter through the apartment. "Another painting?" she asks. "When did you do this one?" She can't help but ask…the last painting he did was of her…doing…things she would rather not.

When he flips open the laptop, she moves over to sit next to him so she could peer at the screen. Paintings weren't exactly something to joke over, and those eyes turn into a more thoughtful focus.

—-

There's only one chair near the desk, and Peter certainly would rather she have it, especially considering what he's planning to show her. It just means he needs to lean over her shoulder a bit when it loads up to click on a folder. A folder that's apparently password protected. She's one of the few people who he probably wouldn't care watching his fingerstrokes as he enters the simple, all capital six-letter password. She might even catch on to what it is.

"The week you were gone upstate, before you came back to bail everyone out of trouble… I got impatient, and— I painted it at Lachlan's old apartment, when right before he moved. Went there to introduce him to Snowy, because— was going to get her trained. Never ended up doing that, but— Cass was there, too. I'd been carrying around some extra painting supplies to try and paint in random locations while you were gone— none worked until then."

The folder only has a couple things in it. Digital photographs with thumbnails. The little images aren't detailed enough to show what they are exactly, but one— she might recognize the splotches of colors in certain areas. Her painting. And the last thing in there are the video files from their day out. Something he must have figured was worth protecting in a passworded file.

With a sigh, he looks at her, almost as if he's hesitating now. "I actually promised I wouldn't show anyone this, but— my nightmare. The one you pulled me out of. It was of this painting, in more detail, obviously— but— you stopped by right then. Right when I was having it. Maybe I'm supposed to tell you." There's a lot of faith in the workings of destiny right now. But he has to believe there's a reason for it…

"We're going to keep this from happening, okay? Before I show you it— you have to know we'll find a way to stop it." Please believe him. opens up the one in question. Destroyed Times Square, bodies everywhere… and Cass Aldric's twisted corpse, blue eyes staring out.

—-

She tries not to invade his privacy - password-protected files aren't exactly foreign to her. Elena's got her own, locked up in her mp3 player that she carries with her at all times. But considering she's right in front of the laptop while he leans over her and taps his password in, the word, no, the name - it makes her somewhat sad, in a way. After all this time…. then again, Peter was always the sort who held onto his loss so he wouldn't forget what he had to do. At least, she hoped.

She sees numerous little images in it, and she recognizes the one that had her dancing in it. But she can't make out the other pictures, nor does she ask him to show them to her. Instead, she listens to him, turning her head to look at the side of his face. What he was saying, the way he was halting his words and hesitant in others, it was starting to scare her a little. Especially the last part. Whatever it was, it was really bad.

"Your nightmare…you had a nightmare about this painting?" she inquires, turning her eyes to the laptop's screen again, wondering what sort of monster lurked on the canvas.

And she freezes, her dark, gold-flecked gaze falling on Cass's dead eyes.

She doesn't process what she's seeing at first, and while Peter's assurances are normally reassuring, the shock blocks that out for the moment. Cass. Cass. Lachlan's Cass. -Her- Cass. The big sister she never had. The big sister she never had that she never wanted to lose. A rush of images follow in a passionate swell. Cass hugging her tightly after the incident with Elle's. Cass seeing to her injuries. Cass giving her a one-armed hug. Cass approaching her with the clinic idea with that determined spark in her eyes.

Cass.

She can't breathe. She shoves herself away from the computer, her back to Peter as she stands up, pacing around and her hand on her face, struggling to keep from losing it utterly. Only a smattering of Isaac Mendez's paintings didn't come true. The thought made her heart sink, and sick to her stomach. Without looking at the screen, she points a shaky finger towards it, as if denouncing it as false, though her words say otherwise. "That's…that's unacceptable, Peter," she says breathlessly. "That's…"

Mount Sinai. Drake's depature. What he said. Claudine Salonga. Orion Granger. He believed what she saw in Times Square and his encounter with them were connected. Sylar. The card she managed to retrieve from Drake before he left….left New York -forever-….the memory burns a hole in her head. She had to go. She had to confront them. Go face to face with them. Omega was going to do it, to protect her. She offered to come. Now he was gone, she had to pick up…had to…

She spins around sharply on her heel, striding quickly towards where she left her bag.

—-

It's true that most of Isaac's paintings came true to a point, but he also painted so many focused around the bomb. There were many aftermath bomb pictures, paintings of a broken New York in the aftermath. Based on the state of the city in the painting, this had to be after the tornado, if not a good time afterwards. The posters hanging from the buildings give call to something that's yet to happen. Even completely foreign. They aren't recognized. If they could be more thoroughly examined, perhaps they could have a better idea of the timeframe this is in. Whatever it is… Cass is certainly dead in this picture— and not alone. Hundreds lay on the streets around her.

Virus? Possibly, but he neck is broken, body twisted. She did not die of a virus.

Unintentionally, he catches her thoughts, hammering into his head with a force that nearly staggers him. Not that she means to, or that he had meant to peek in on her mind either— it seems to be happening more lately, catching thoughts without intending to.

"Elena…" he says, actually stepping back away from the chair and giving her the room she needs to stand up and move away towards her purse after pointing in accusation. He knows she's not like Lachlan. She's not blaming him for what he painted, but her thoughts are hurting him in ways that the other man didn't.

This is why she didn't want people to see it. While she paces on the verge of losing it, he can't help but stare at her rather helplessly. He shouldn't have placed this burden on her.

There's another set of thoughts that come after, when she's thinking of things he assumes she needs to do. "…Drake left?" he suddenly says as she starts towards her purse, letting that thought process, and then a moment later he's moving to intercept her. At least this time the mind reading hasn't knocked him entirely on his ass. "Wait— Elena— where are you going? What are you thinking of doing here? We don't even know when this happens, or what causes it— what would have caused it— yet. Hold on a minute. Agent Salonga…" That sounds like something to do with the tornado, and yes, stopping the tornado could stop this from happening, but… "What about Sylar?"

—-

She was used to burden. She was used to taking care of others, and she knew what it was like to put other people first. Elena's shaking fingers reach out to grab her bag, until Peter moves to intercept. She keeps shaking her head, and she can't help but feel her heart hammer in her chest, she was so afraid it would explode against her ribcage. Cass. Cass. She wasn't blaming Peter for anything, for painting it, even for showing it to her. She was glad he showed her. She needed direction, even if this piece of news didn't just give it to her, but rather backhanded her across the face and forced her into one side of a forked road.

"He left," she says, focusing on his words. She's not looking at him. She doesn't want him to see her expression at this moment. "He left after he and Elle had a showdown. He's not coming back. He called me to say goodbye and that he loved me the night I left your apartment. The night of the nightmare. I was in a cab. I didn't…I couldn't even…" But even thoughts about losing her best friend doesn't derail her. She keeps her eyes forward. Always.

She grits her teeth, forcing herself together, and she turns around to meet his eyes, the determined expression carved onto her face. "He visited me last week," she explains. "He said that Agent Salonga and another man, Agent Granger, came across him. He said the girl, Claudine, was a little agitated and she wanted more information on Sylar for some reason. Granted if she was Company, that shouldn't be weird. But she was asking Drake as Omega. As if he would know. It didn't make any sense. The man, Granger, he even gave Drake his card….I asked Drake if I could keep it so it's with me. After I told him that Cass saw the same person too, with the same guy, and another girl, during the day when that cyclone hit Times Square, he made this offhand comment about it maybe being connected. He wanted to go ask. He -was- going to ask. I offered to come with him, but he told me he didn't want to. He wanted to keep me safe. But he's -gone-, Peter. He didn't even tell me where he was going."

She pauses, and she gives her head another vehement shake. "I'm going to ask," she says, pulling the bag off the hook. "I'm going to ask why they approached him in the first place and why Drake thinks what I saw and what he talked about with them are connected. It's not like I haven't gone face-to-face with an agent before." She pauses, and forces herself back around so she could look at him. "….I tried to get your locket back."

—-

The timing of Drake's depature sounds off, but Peter can't really argue. The boy didn't call him, after all. He'd /told him/ to stop running around in a costume. That that sort of thing is exactly what the Company would go after him for. But this… he hadn't meant for the boy to up and leave town. He's going to need to call his niece… Make sure she's okay. "Elena, wait a minute, you can't do this— not by yourself," he says, reaching towards her to touch her arm, possibly even to wrap his fingers around it, stop her somehow. So much is running through his mind, and he can't even process completely what's happened to Drake. She might get herself hurt doing this— or worse.

She may not even have to do this, if he goes through with what he's planning. But then again, asking might just get him shot in the head. Maybe it'd be best to go to the Agents in question instead of the man who runs the Company— even if he plans to ask about Sylar by that point anyway.

But then she drops that last phrase out of nowhere. "…What?" His locket? She tried to— what? "What do you mean? How?"

—-

His hand closes around her arm before Elena could even take a step to leave his apartment. The young woman herself was taking several deep breaths to try and not sound like she had just run a mile. The more Peter delays her, the cooler her head becomes - a blessing in disguise considering just how much of a hothead she was when her or her own are threatened. She looks at him then. "It's not like I -want- to, Peter," she says, her voice coming out in a rush of air. "But no one else is going to do this for me. Drake was going to, and with him gone, who else is left? What other choices do we have? We're in a dead end here."

She isn't aware that he's planning to talk to Bob. All she was aware of was that she had been left with her cards and she could either sit on them, which won't do a damned whit of a difference, or play them and take another risk. All she knows is that Cass is fated to die, unless they do something, and she already said it was unacceptable.

At the last, and the question, she pauses. She seems to have been stopped momentarily by it, before she flies off the handle and does something reckless. "I…." The Haitian told her not to tell anyone about the meeting. "…please don't ask me." She looks conflicted, an unreadable expression in her gaze. "I can't…I promised. It's a confidence I can't afford to lose. Not now."

—-

"We're not at a dead end, Elena," Peter says, looking back towards the painting still visible on the upraised screen. There's so much about that they don't know yet, but… he can't believe they're completely closed off on options. There's so much they can still do— like see the real painting and examine the posters later, or try again for more detail. Whatever they say, they could tell them /when/. Or what the context is. Anything that might be a clue. But one thing is sure… "You can't do everything on your own, Elena."

She's right about that, though. Cass dying is completely unacceptable. Half the reason he got himself killed by Jessica is because he was desperately trying to get to the woman on the floor. He could barely see her. What if the painting wasn't literal? He had to make sure she was okay, but the blonde woman got in his way. And tore out his insides. He might have been less reckless without that.

The Haitian. He doesn't even need to read her mind to figure that out. But he drops it and nods, allowing her to let that go— even if /again/ he doesn't like what she did there. The Haitian doesn't have the locket, that's information enough. He's actually given up on getting it back for her. It wouldn't have been for him— unless he wanted to try to use an ability to see how she felt about it, or maybe see what really happened to her…

He suddenly moves forward and wraps his arms around her, pulling her against his dark-clad chest and holding her there. "Stop— doing everything on your own. I showed you because I thought— maybe you could help. Not so you would— don't do this by yourself, please. I'll go invisible if you'd rather them think you're alone— I'll let you do the talking, but— don't do this by yourself, please."

—-

Cass. Cass. Cass. The little girl part of her brain is beating on a door crying. Not Cass. Elena was fooling herself if she tried to convince her own mind that she was thinking rationally. She wasn't. Some part of her knew that. She was usually so careful, but….Cass. Cass. -Cass-. She shakes her head again to clear her head, and she looks over at Peter. You can't do everything on your own. Be careful walking alone. For a brief moment she didn't see Peter, she saw the dark, french-accented man wearing the Symbol on his neck.

They were similar, in that regard. Thankfully she hadn't been there when Peter -had- been eviscerated, seeing the gore probably would've traumatized her. And Jessica was scary enough, at least by reputation. Eventually, those two will talk face to face, if Peter's painting with her in it is any indication. One day. But she can't bring herself to think about her -own- future when Cass's dead body is staring at her from a different canvas.

The implication sinks in as she watches him, even when he doesn't say it out loud. You can't do everything on your own. "Peter…no. No!" A flash of agitation crosses her features. "You're already in enough hot water with them as it is, you can't possibly be…you shouldn— !" She's pulled in, dragged towards him and cut off by the sudden motion and secured against his chest. In her state of mind, she didn't even have room in her heart to be embarassed. And then the plea. Please. -Please-. He knew she was stubborn. Perhaps that was why he was repeating it.

Silence, for a while. Her rapidly beating heart starts slowing down a touch. Her lungs loosen up some. He would be able to feel the tense line of her shoulders slacking a touch, and for the first time since the unveiling of this latest revelation, she doesn't say anything. Finally, her arms slowly move up around him, against his back. He could feel her fingers grip the fabric of the back of his shirt, perhaps a little tighter than she intended. She was scared, she was deathly frightened for Cass, but she was determined not to show it.

"…..okay…." she says finally, closing her eyes and relenting. "Okay."

—-

After the initial firmness of the hold, Peter allows it to loosen, enough so that he begins rubbing her back in gentle motions, as if trying to push the tension out of her shoulders more quickly. He had his chance to react to what he'd seen, and she hasn't yet. Her brain immediately switched from the woman they both know and admire, to planning, with no break in between. She's stuck there in part— but he can't exactly feel that anymore. The brief moment of mind reading has ended, but that doesn't mean… "We'll stop it, Elena." There's a few moments where he almost hopes that she lets it go— but—

"We'll make sure it doesn't happen." We. "I'll let you do the talking, as I said— even hang in the background invisible if you're worried it might get me in trouble. Won't even show myself unless they try something funny…" One on one meeting with Claudine might be fairly safe, she seems relatively harmless most of the time, but… it's not her she's wanting to call.

At this point, he pulls back enough to look at her face, but keeps his hands on her arms so she can't slip away too far. "Just let me go with you when you do this… please." Yes, he knows she's stubborn and he might just keep repeating that until she agrees.

At the same time, he's not even considering telling her about the whole plan to talk to the head of the Company in private as soon as he can arrange a meeting…

—-

At the moment, her heart has stopped its singleminded desire to explode with fear. The ministrations on her back help, though the line at the back of her neck was still tense. It was as if the young woman was steeling her spine so she wouldn't sag onto him. Elena had her pride. She wasn't about to look helpless if she could help it. She was already a big enough wuss. She releases a breath slowly, letting her eyes open. She could hear his words. Compromise. A concession. We. He can be stubborn when he wants to be too.

She isn't aware of his plans to talk to Bob. Thank God she doesn't. Otherwise he'd be getting an earful without actually realizing how hypocritical it would be. But that was human nature. God decided to give mindreading powers to someone else, so she remains unaware - and perhaps it was for the best.

When he pulls away just a touch to look at her, her eyes are fixed somewhere below his chin, at the base of his throat. She remains where she is, and her grip on his shirt slackens. She just looks tired now. No less determined, but tired. Finally, she looks up at him, though she doesn't say anything.

He could be afraid that she'll go ahead and do it anyway no matter how much he pleads, but something in his face strikes her."….you're right," she says softly. "You're right."

She turns to the side, letting go of him and easing away from his grip. She had dropped the bag when she was pulled in, so she picks it up, and pulls out her wallet. Fumbling around it for a bit, she removes a slim, white card, and hands it to him. Orion Granger's contact information.

"I'm not in my right mind," she says simply, her jaw setting, and admitting it openly. "If you have it, I won't get tempted. Only when I…we're….ready."

—-

Notably visiting Bob would be even more dangerous than this— so perhaps he can hope that going alone will be safer than going with someone else. However… Peter does realize in a way that he's intentionally keeping that from her, now more than before. Because he's sure she'd do the same, insist he can't go alone. Not to a man who already threatened to shoot him through the head. It's because of this, that when she gives a relief-giving answer and hands over the card, he has a thought.

What if something happens to him?

Whatever this man could tell them might be very important. Could save Cass' life. That means… "I'll hold onto it," he says, stepping back to release her shoulders as he pulls out his wallet and finds a place to put the card in for safe keeping. "Just contact me when you're ready." And he'll have to make sure he's available, too. At least by terms of making it through the meeting with his skull intact, assuming that doesn't happen afterwards.

"I'm sorry that— that this wasn't as pleasant a get together as you hoped…" The poor puppy who's been relatively ignored and forgotten about isn't at all sure what's going on, but the mood isn't at the top of her list of favorite things. Her tail's no longer wagging except on a few occassions, and she's sitting off to the side watching them with perked up ears. What's wrong here?

"Do you want me to ride with you back to your house?"

—-

"Okay." Elena lets go, letting Peter keep it, and she lowers her hand. Lifting a hand to rub her face, she closes her eyes for a moment. It passes, though - Peter delayed her long enough to think about it and not do something stupid. Part of her knows that given her crazy track record he was going to derail her no matter how much she raged or got mad at him. But she can't get mad at him for this. She wasn't lying when she said she doesn't like worrying anyone. When he releases her shoulders, they sag just a touch, tension leaving them entirely.

"It's okay," she says when he apologizes. "You….when you mentioned it there was….it was the way you said it. I knew it wasn't going to be something too…" She pauses, and she shakes her head. "Well, I knew it was serious."

When he offers to come with her, she shakes her head. "No, it's okay Peter. You're already at your place, why would you head over to mine just to come back here." She manages to give him a small smile. "I'll be okay. Like I said, you're right. I can't be hotheaded about this."

Her hand lifts, and she reaches out to touch his cheek gently. "I'm sorry," she says. And for a different reason this time. "I didn't mean to flip out on you." She meets his eyes. "I know I tend to bite off more than I can chew sometimes. I've already been warned about it. And I know you're not exactly happy with what I've been doing lately."

—-

"I can always— don't have to come back here right away," Peter says, though doesn't quite finish how he might want. He could always go over to see his girlfriend, or his girlfriend's father, or check on his niece and make sure she's okay with Drake up and leaving, or he could go shopping, or— there's all kinds of things he could do that don't include going immediately back home after taking her all the way to Queens. Maybe it's best he just lets her go— gives her time to be alone…

Then she reaches up and touches his cheek.

There's a moment of silence as his eyes slide back to hers, a hint of confusion at her apology— until she continues. There's more silence, the surprise softens away, and he reaches up to gently touch the hand on his cheek, just a light brush of his fingers against the back of her palm and her wrist. "You call that flipping out?" he says, a tug of a smile pulling on one side of his mouth.

"It's not that I'm not happy, Elena," he continues on, more serious. "Understand why you do it. Why you feel you have to. You've— been there— when I needed you— when my family needed you." At this point, he inhales slowly and looks away, the hand taking her wrist and lowering her hand away from his cheek, "Would like to— be there when you need me too… Like with your brother…" Even if she went to Jack and he just happened to be there, he was glad to be able to help out with that. It'd been a small return on all the times she's helped him. And then she helped him even more.

—-

"I was holding back," Elena says with a quip. She can't help it, when it got tense, she cracks one out. It was just the way she was. But she wasn't one to bother him when he was clearly well situated in his own home. That and she'll need the walk to clear her head anyway, and think rationally. Logically. The way she should be doing.

"I wasn't there…because you needed me," Elena says after a pause, and she gives him a more open smile. "I was there because I wanted to be. This….what I do for you, what we do for each other, for our friends, it's….not about debt. It was never about that. It's because…" She pauses, cut off slightly when he takes her hand and moves his eyes to drift away from her to look at the far wall.

In essence he was telling her the same thing she -just- told him. He wanted to. It really wasn't necessarily about need. Or was it? This was all new to her, no one's ever really -said that- to her before. So she just stares at him mutely as what he's trying to communicate settles in her clearing head. Her eyes focus on his face even as he tries his best to look away from her. Her lashes fall, as her eyes drift a little lower, over his cheek and to…

She glances away, rubbing absently on her cheek. "We're being idiots," she tells him with a laugh - it sounds a little nervous. She picks up her bag and slings it over her shoulder, giving him a glance. "Tell you what. We'll just wing it. And…if something's up. If something's…going on with me." She pauses, looking at him seriously as her features gentle. "I'll call you."

—-

At least his walls have interesting things to look at. Many pictures. Pictures… What he'd been saying had indeed been very close to what she said. In many ways need is important— but it certainly wasn't about paying back what she'd already done for him. Far more to this than returning favors… Peter certainly wants to be there for her, for his friends, for his brother… even if it would mean stretching himself thin.

When she calls them both idiots, though, his eyes eyes leave the pictures on the wall and watch her prep to leave. There's a hint of hesitation, as if he's tempted to stop her, insist of going with her, or— maybe he's just trying to decide if he should correct himself on what he meant.

The rest of what she says causes his expression to lighten, a sudden exhale seeming to take some of the tension right out of his face, especially around his eyes. When he nods, there's even that tug of a smile on his lips, a different kind of lines creasing his skin in places, especially lopsidedly. "Thank you," he says after a moments, before— now that she's given that, he should give a compromise. "Do understand… if you have certain things— you need to do on your own. Just— not when it might be…" He takes a slow breath. Dangerous is what he wants to say… "Not when I might be able to help you out." That leaves things pretty open. The puppy at their feet seems to be getting a lot better. Most the tension has left. She gets up and goes to chew on one of her squeaky toys. Those are always fun. There's even a soft squeaking as she bites down on it.

That causes him to look away, and smile a bit more, before he looks back at Elena. At the very least— he can walk her to the door. He steps around her, towards the door with many locks, and gets to work on them as he adds on, "I'll call you when I need your help, too."

—-

"Dangerous. I know," Elena says, sliding her hands in her pockets. "You're….just being you. I get it." She quirks a small smile in his direction. Her eyes, as well, follow the puppy now that the mood has lightened, and she starts laughing. She can't help it. She rubs her face again and exhales a breath. "I forgot how sensitive dogs are to….you know. The moods of their owners. I'm sorry too, buddy," she says, crouching down to ruffle Snowy's ears affectionately. And it seems that she does mean it, and not just humoring the animal. Straightening up - well, at least exhaustion seems to leave her now too. Heavier moods tend to take a lot out of her, even if it had been rooted in her own hotheadedness.

She follows Peter to the door, stopping so he could have room to unlock the deadbolts, and once the door is open, she moves ot step outside. "Sounds good," she tells him with a faint grin. After a pause, she nods. "You….despite my reaction, I'm glad you told me, Peter. I really am. Otherwise…." She pauses. "Otherwise I wouldn't know what to do now, you know? And you know me…I get restless if I'm not proactive." If anything, the young woman had never been a passive person. She'd probably still be active even when she's sixty.

The edges of her mouth lifting upwards in a more cheerful smile, she steps further out the door. "I'll see you later, Peter," she says, looking over her shoulder as she does, turning to go down the hall. In a moment, she would vanish around the corner.

But something stops her in her tracks.

Exhaling a sigh, she turns around and gravitates back to his apartment, stopping at the doorframe. "I forgot." She pauses, and smiles at him winningly. "I haven't made you laugh yet today." She inclines her head. "Come on, let's get you out of the apartment, hm?"

—-

There's a hint of 'caught' in his expression when she calls him on what he would have said had she allowed him to continue. Peter knows deep down that she'd rather not be protected all the time, but it's difficult not to want to protect her sometimes. The puppy at least is forgiving, if the tail wag and glance up away from her toy is any indication. She's much more relaxed now that the tension has cleared out of the room. Mostly.

With the door open, he holds it out for her as she moves around to step out, continuing to hold onto it as she nods. "Yeah— I know. Though I bet Cass will kill me when she finds out I told you. She has the original, or maybe Lach does. I just took the digital images, so— so I'd know what was there. Maybe so I'd spot something I didn't the first time…" But all he can say he spotted was the posters, which he can't recognize at all. It's not like they're 'Vote Petrelli' posters or anything.

"Yeah— see you later too," he says towards her as she looks past her shoulder at him. He keeps holding the door, smiling faintly as she turns and moves down the hallway. There's a moment where he opens his mouth, hesitates and then starts to pull back out of the doorway and readying to close his door, when she turns around and moves back. And asks him to join her. For a moment he doesn't seem to quite understand. "I thought that…" he trails off, looking her in the eyes again before he backs up. "Just— let me grab my coat."

Grabbing his coat is the easy part, but before that he closes the digital image and the folder, puts the screen down to put the computer in sleep mode, and then he's ready to leave.

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