2007-04-06: Brainstorming


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Summary: Peter and Jane brainstorm about Sylar, while she works to boost his confidence.

Date It Happened: April 6th, 2007


It's early evening, and Peter called around dinner time, asking for directions to her apartment. He made it clear it isn't anything urgent, but that doesn't mean he's not downplaying something, right? An hour after the phone call, promptly at the time he said he would arrive, he's knocking on her door. Dressed warmly due to the cold weather of early April in New York City, his expression is serious, but not grave.

She gave the directions, Greenwich Village, High Rise building, number 108. And when his knock comes, she opens the door to admit the man. "Pete, good to see you," Jane greets as she stands aside so he can enter. "I'd been hoping to talk with you for days now, but I thought you'd be busy and left you to it. Can I get you anything to eat or drink?"

"You live in a really nice apartment," Peter comments almost as soon as she opens the door, the serious expression shifting towards a smile. Moving further inside, he nods, "I'd like something to drink, sure. Whatever you've got." He's not going to be picky, but he has to admit… "Since Sylar got his powers back, I've been pretty busy… trying to find him, trying to come up with a better plan. It's not working out too well, though. I haven't seen any signs of him— but that also means he hasn't killed anyone. At least not that's been in the news. Also been some family stuff. Made… things difficult. How have you been?"

"Fairly well," Jane answers as she goes into the kitchen and speaks a bit more loudly. She opens the refrigerator for a two liter of Pepsi and grabs two glasses from a cabinet, then makes her way back to place them on a table. "Make yourself comfortable, Pete. I'm glad you like the place. Maybe nicer than you expected, after seeing me play on the streets, but… I'm not too bad for money." She pauses, looking at him, before adding "But maybe that's not a surprise, knowing I'm a Yale grad lawyer too."

"Yeah, lawyers tend to get paid pretty well, I know," Peter says, moving towards the table, pulling out one of the chairs. He doesn't sit down right away, unbuttoning his coat and placing it on the back of the chair first, before he sits down. The couch in the living area might be more comfortable, but the chairs will do just fine. "Sorry I haven't contacted you. As far as I know, the contract isn't ready, and…" He trails off, shaking his head. "Are you sure this… keep your enemies close… is a good idea?"

A deep breath is taken, and released, as she ponders things. "It worries me, I won't lie. There's holes in my memory, I'm tagged like some sort of zoo animal, and they did it. Granted, I did cross them by trying to break you out, but it just shows they've got resources and aren't afraid to play hardball. Being tied to them… Is there really an option?" She pours two glasses of the cola and hands one to him before taking her own and settling into a chair. "The last time we spoke, you picked up a new power." The last bit is stated, not asked, in a quiet voice.

"I've been… having doubts. But at the same time… you're right. They have resources. I just… don't know if it matters anymore, if it'll be enough," Peter says, the seriousness showing before he takes the cola and spends much of his time just staring at it. Until she mentions his acquired power in the bookstore. "The one where I broke my phone? Yeah… I guess so. Not sure what it was exactly. But it hasn't happened since then, either."

"I know who it came from, Pete," Jane replies. "I won't tell you who it was, though. That's his thing. But I did catch up with him and give a warning to not draw attention to himself, showed the photo and told him if he saw the man to leave the area as best he can without being noticed and call the cops." She sighs. "Guy wants to meet others like us and do things with his art. I'm not so sure about drawing in other people, I recommended he not think like that, but… is there a choice, really?" She chuckles ruefully for a moment. "And we need to work on our codes. If something like that happens and I ask you to go with me, it's me looking out for you. I didn't really mean we'd do a guitar lesson."

"I do think people should get together, learn about what they can do… but not with us. I don't want anyone involved with the Company that doesn't need to be," Peter admits softly, looking down at his hands for a moment, before he glances up towards her again. He's not going to ask any questions she'd just said she didn't want to answer, and instead he nods. "Sorry. I was… a little freaked out… I hadn't lost control of an ability like that since I got out— it scared me a little. I'd thought I was doing better, you know? It… I understand," he concludes with a nod.

"That's another thing I wanted to talk about, Pete," Jane softly adds. "Helping you build and keep control. I think the biggest part is believing in yourself, believing in what you can do. Confidence is the key." But she segues again, back to another topic. "You're having doubts about the deal with Mr. Bishop. You don't know if it matters, if it'll be enough?" A drink from her glass is taken, her eyes resting on him.

A hint of a flinch shows through, but Peter doesn't look back up, it seems he's not sure what to think about this. "I am learning. Just— I don't know if it'll be enough, either," he says, looking visibly upset. "It's all happening too fast. I don't have any time. I can't… I wanted to use the Company to find Sylar before he got healed— and that failed. I wanted to use the Company to protect people, but— if the contract isn't ready yet, it won't be ready in time to help the people he's going to go after. Do you really expect him to wait? I can't… I can't /learn/ enough in the time remaining. If either of the people I know he's after get killed and I can't do anything…"

"He scares me, Pete, just knowing he exists, and that I'm a target, people I know are also targets. But I can't let that paralyze me," Jane answers. "Neither can any of us. We're not at the top of his list, but we exist, so we're on it. You can't do it all alone, that's the reason for pulling others together, don't thrash yourself for what you can't personally pull off. Have you tried calling Mr. Bishop to ask where things stand, Pete?" Her eyes close, she uses the moments of silence to think before speaking again. "Don't think about failing, about people close to you dying, it'll eat you. Think positively. Think of success and how to make it happen. What are his weaknesses?"

"I can't," Peter says, shaking his head. Even if he knows that's just silly, he's not sure how he can possibly call Mr. Bishop right now, even to ask how things are going. "Part of me wants to tell him the whole thing is off… but I can't do that. I don't know what he'll do to the ones who know about the Company, the ones they /know/ know…" And… he shakes his head, still looking down. If anything, his expression is about as lost as it can get, like he's not sure what he's supposed to be doing anymore, but he's doing his best to hold it together. Right now… he's not doing quite as good a job. "I don't know, Jane. I've fought Sylar three times… really fought him. He killed me twice. The third time I lost control of my abilities and nearly destroyed New York. Everyone's… counting on me. And… I don't think I can do it." Telling him to think positively right now isn't seeming to be working.

Her eyes widen when he says he died, twice, and it clearly takes her a moment or six to wrap her head around that. But when she recovers, she's thinking again, applying some organizational skills to what she hears. "I'll be right back." Jane stands and walks down the hallway toward another room, calling out behind her "We need to make a chart of what he has and what you have. How… did he kill you and how did you make it back, Pete?" Key info in her mind, how to restore him if it happens again.

"First time… I killed myself," Peter explains softly, only glancing up to see where she went. His voice is soft, but loud enough to carry. "Threw us both off a building to try and stop him. Thought I could take him with me. I died— he didn't. But… I can regenerate. That's when I found out I could. It took a few minutes to put myself back together, but… I did." He takes a slow breath, then continues, "Second time was in Mohinder's apartment. I turned invisible… Sylar lifted broken glass off the floor with his mind and threw it at me. The piece of glass lodged in the back of my head. Came back when it got pulled out a few hours later." That's hwo he got brought back, but… charting what he has… "Only things I know for sure he can do… is telekinesis. He also stole Isaac's power, painting the future, and Ted's… which is what made me the bomb. Other than that… I don't know what he can do. He seems… damage resistant, but he might have used telekinesis to slow his fall. He also… has some kind of ability to hide in plain sight, maybe… blend with shadows. Not invisibility, but… we were standing in Kirby Plaza and didn't see him until he tapped Bennet on the shoulder."

She comes back moments later, a clipboard with a notepad in her hand and the other writing with a pen. When Jane sits, the top sheet is visible, divided into two columns: Gabriel and Pete. At the top of his is written Regeneration (brain injury). Gabriel's has Telekinesis, Hiding in plain sight, Artistic Precognition, and Damage Resistance (possible tk). It's placed on the table where both can see it clearly. Then she writes under the Pete column the other items with question marks, asking if he has those as well by exposure to Sylar without verbalizing the queries.

Giving a small sigh, Peter leans back against the hair as he watches the pad of paper and her columns. "The abilities I'm more confident with are… moving things with my mind— telekinesis. I can fly. Turn invisible and… throw lightning." He pauses for a moment before he continues, "Regeneration just seems to happen, but— I've died a few times besides Sylar killing me. So… it's not a one time thing. Also… can be stronger than normal. And read minds. Draw the future— though it might only be stick figures. Explode, like a nuclear bomb. I can read the past of things by touching them— but that makes me fall unconscious. I should be able to stop time, or slow time, step outside of time. I'm just… not any good at that. Think I can do what you do, too. Also think I can manipulate biochemistry of people."

She writes those down under the Pete column as he says them, and soon the list is far longer than Sylar's. To it Jane adds Ultrasound, Object calling, and Intense Vibrations. Once done Jane sits back and studies it quietly for some moments before she quietly asks "Pete, when you use your abilities and he uses his, what's the difference?" Her fingers tap the pen slowly, it seems she's thinking, working practicalities in her head. "How good is he at them?"

"I don't know," Peter says, though he sounds a little confused on this, as if he's not completely sure that's true. "Maybe we'd be about the same at telekinesis, but… He's used it more than I have. And when I… absorb something… I don't have any control over it. Couldn't access an ability at all outside the presence of the person who had them until later. And… when I absorbed Ted's ability— almost immediately I started to glow. Couldn't control it at all. But Sylar— he didn't seem to have the same problem."

"Why do you think he takes something on and has control, but you don't, Pete?" Jane asks softly. Her fingers make more notes under his column. Flight is written down with a question mark, wordlessly asking if he picked up Nathan's art. She settles back and drinks more of her soda, a thoughtful expression on her face.

"When we fought in the Plaza… he didn't lose control of Ted's power," Peter says, shaking his head a bit. "I went there thinking he was the bomb, that he would kill all those people, not me. But… it was me. I was the villian… Controlling that power isn't easy. I lost control of it three times in the hours after I got it. First two times I managed to stop it, third time… all I could do was delay it. Haven't lost control of it again, but… it still feels like I could…"

"It could be that he understands them better, having taken them intentionally," Jane muses, "or it could be that he believes in his ability to use them more than you do. Or both." She goes silent, letting what she said sink in for a time, and mulls over the list. Maybe a minute or so passes, how long is unclear, before the guitarist/lawyer remarks "When I first heard about him and thought some action might've been soon to happen, I thought of ways to go about it. My friend who passes through solid objects would probably be immune to fire. The trick Jack showed us would be good too, he could maybe have called a huge amount of fire retardant to him, dropped it right on top of her. That would hopefully have taken out his partner…

What she says just makes Peter look even more downcast, almost as if he's ashamed of the way things are going. What he comments on is near the end. "I doubt she's still working with him. If she were… he probably killed her and took her ability. I don't know. But I'm not counting on being able to use her against him in any way. We don't really know much of anything anymore. Anything except who he might go after first."

Her eyes close for a moment, her head shakes slowly. Her fingers add fire? to the Gabriel list as a possible holding of his when the eyes reopen, and Jane speaks quietly. "Pete. Of the reasons he has better control than you, which is the more likely to be true?" Her mind has already reached a conclusion, she's waiting and hoping for him to get there with her. Her glass is lifted again, more soda being imbibed.

"I'm not him, and… I'm not an expert on him, Jane," Peter says, letting his eyes close and stay that way. He's really not looking too good, but after a few moments… "He takes them. I… just— get them. Don't even know I have them sometimes. Went into a coma once— Think I absorbed too many abilities at once, or too close together. I was in a coma for two weeks." The other one doesn't get addressed right now.

"You can beat him, Pete," Jane asserts, "I believe in you. Just like you believed in me when I thought I was an addict in recovery. You mostly need to believe in yourself. If you face someone who has command like you describe, and you have doubt, it's disaster. You gave me back belief in myself, that I hadn't really fallen where I thought I had, Pete. While yes, I still sometimes doubt, the memory of what I struggled through is powerful, I don't let that rule me. And I'll keep saying you can beat him until you believe it too."

There's a long pause, before Peter's hands reach up and rub at his face, as if trying to hide emotion, or forcing himself to wake up. When the hands drop, he's sitting up and opening his eyes again finally, and looking at her. "All right. I am getting some training soon… Did a bit with someone already. If it'll be enough…" he's not too sure about that, but at least he doesn't sound quite as down anymore. Still just as serious, but not as crestfallen as he had been. "If you have any suggestions…"

"Time may not be on our side," Jane answers, "you may be right about that. I'd recommend going to the desert, where there's no one around for miles, and practicing with the radiation until you have it on and off at will. There's one or two people you believe he wants more than anyone else, but there's no guarantee he'd make a move if this person were surrounded and made to appear vulnerable. Can't count on him making a move and not guessing things seem too easy, he could just as easily watch until we feel he isn't coming and meanwhile have seen the people around, then be able to take us out one by one. I think the trick is getting him to somehow expose himself. Give away his location."

"I don't have time to practice that, Jane," Peter says, shaking his head. There's a long pause, before he says, "I don't think any amount of people would stop him. One of them has guards around her all the time, I'm sure. The other… I wanted to get her into a Company facility, for her own protection, but I don't think she'll allow that. The only way I know for him to expose himself… is to put someone where he will go after them— but I could never ask someone to be the bait for that. Just like I'm not sure I can ask anyone to fight beside me on this."

Jane's eyes close again, her brow intensely furrowed. Thinking, thinking, thinking… looking for some kind of edge to use, a way to get the drop on Gabriel Gray, and then… it hits her. "Pete. The little girl, you said she can locate people, it didn't matter where they are. That's it, our key to seizing initiative. Turn the hunter into hunted, permanently."

There's something about that plan that Peter doesn't seem to like, but he does nod, slowly, and starts to stand up. The poor drink she poured for him barely even got touched. "I can try to ask her. Would rather not put her through that sort of thing, but… Who knows… maybe if she shows me the ability a few times I could do it myself. Would have to go talk to her. It could work." That sounds like a better idea than using someone as bait, that's for sure.

"Exactly, Pete," Jane answers. "I don't expect she'd want to find him after what she must've been through, and I wouldn't ask her to try, not a girl of ten, but… she doesn't have to. All that's needed is you meeting her, and when you do, this is the priority one thing to practice and master. Once we have that, then we can track him, line up a plan to deal with him, and make our move."

"I can try," Peter says, giving a nod. That's really all he can do. Try. Reaching to pick his coat off of the chair, he shrugs it back on. "I'll go try to see her now. Sooner we get started on this, the sooner we can hunt him down, right?" Doesn't sound as if he likes this idea, but… it's the best one they got. It's certainly better than waiting and hoping no one gets killed by him first.

"It'll work, Pete," Jane replies, her voice projecting confidence and hope. She believes it'll work, expects it to work… because it has to work. "I believe in you, and that evil doesn't win." Standing when he does, she walks toward the door and lets him out. "This is why I took that metaphoric bullet for you." Her voice is quiet. "I'll help you whatever way I can to master it. I move around the city quite a bit, focus on finding me several times a day while I play on the streets."

"I know you will, Jane," Peter says, buttoning up his coat and joining her towards the door. He doesn't really say much else until he steps outside, and looks back. "…Thank you. It's… somehow easier to believe when someone else believes in me too." It's hard to explain, but he has an easier time believeing in others belief in him, than he does at belief in himself. "I'll call you later."

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