2007-03-31: Can You Be Anymore Vague?

Starring:

Alyssa_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Another chance meeting at the bookshop.

Date It Happened: March 31, 2007

Can You Be Any More Vague?


Enlightenment Books

Benjamin is taking a day off from work.. which in the middle of tax season isn't very advisable. But with the stress of external issues, well, it was probably a good move to take a mental health day. No need to fudge up someone's IRS filings, right? So he's in the bookstore, trying to get some quiet time, hanging out in the section with meditation and yoga books. He's not too sure about Cass receiving his presence in her shop, but he kinda likes it in here. It's different, but welcoming and less noisy than the Barnes and Noble or similar.

The bookstore has quickly become Alyssa's favorite place to be, although demands from elsewhere have kept her out of it for a couple of days. Back in her element, she sits behind the counter cross-legged such that she cannot be seen from the front of the store. She's quite absorbed in whatever it is she's doing; if someone were able to hear the quiet but speedy clicking of keyboard keys then you could probably make a fair guess as to her current activity.

To be honest, Peter hasn't actually had a job in months. In almost six months, to be exact! Stepping into the bookstore, with whatever bells they have to announce customers, he glances around, looking for a specific employee. When he doesn't see her dancing around and singing, he starts to look around the store. Unfortunately, he does not wander towards the counter first. Not always the brightest star in the sky, this one. As he moves, he glances around the the books, and finds himself in the yoga section, and even picks one off the shelf. Never hurts to meditate.

Benjamin doesn't look over as the door opens, he's a little engrossed in the current book in hand. Cass did give him some good advice on those books, so he's just taking his time going through them. When Peter walks over, that does get the man's attention. Having no clue who he's standing near, he smiles in a friendly manner. "That one there's good. The owner of the shop got me started with it," he says, helpfully pointing out the beginner's book he bought just a couple of months ago.

Without the same confused and panicked sound to the voice, Peter may not recognize it right away. He'd also been a little panicked himself at the time. "Thank you," he says, in his usual voice, a serious if whispered tone. "I've never met the owner, but I've heard I should someday soon," he says, tone friendly and personable as he glances towards the book, opening it up to the first few pages.

"You're welcome," Benjamin says as he tries to place where he might have heard Peter's voice. Something is familiar about it. "Cass? Oh she's nice. Opinionated, but very nice. She has some good staff members hired on here. Of course I think I'm biased, one being my daughter and the other a friend." As soon as the words come tumbling out, he thinks maybe he shouldn't have been that forthcoming with a stranger. He really needs to work on that.

"I've only met one of the employees." That he /knows of/ at least. Peter has no way of knowing how small New York really can be at times, right? Then again, he does, but he doesn't automatically assume that he'd know more employees than he actually does. "Alyssa." If the older man is being too forthcoming, it would seem that the younger man is taking this in stride, and supplying the same. "Actually planning to see if she's working today, but I use a book on meditation and yoga right now." Busy month and all, right?

"Alyssa.. oh.. I think I've met her." It's a small shop, so Benjamin should know her, at least on sight anyway. "Once, it wasn't a good circumstance, well it was, but wasn't." He looks up from his book to Peter, then to glance over at the counter. "I guess she should be in since I don't see Cass, Niki or my daughter around… oh you do? Which one? I'm surprised at how much it helps."

There's a lot of women in New York called Niki, right? Peter doesn't really blink, but the more the man talks, especially when he stumbles as he talks, the more he feels like he should be able to place it. He's heard this voice before. "Think I'll go with meditation this time," he admits, closing the book, which seems more focused on yoga, and puts it away, before grabbing one that's title speaks on clearing the mind and unleashing positive energy. He could definitely use that kind of book. "Have a recommendation on that?"

"Uhm, oh, just these titles here. They're the ones Cass suggested. So far I only have these two," Benjamin says as he closes up the book in hand to point out the others. "I never believed much in this stuff until a few months ago. It really helped when I thought I was going crazy.. sorry.. I sometimes don't know when to stop talking." He grins a little sheepishly at Peter. "But.. yeah.. those books here.."

"I know what that feels like," Peter says softly, now looking at the older man in a slightly different light. Putting the book he claimed off the shelf away, he picks out one that Benjamin pointed out instead, one of the recommended. Recommended to make him not feel crazy. Which— he really can understand. "I think everyone feels like they're going crazy every so often. Helps to know that you're not alone, though. Right?"

"There just seems to be a lot of that going around." Benjamin says as he holds onto the book. Sure his kid gives him grief, but whatever helps, right? He lets out a little laugh. "Oh yeah, although sometimes I gotta wonder if the people I'm in a boat with are.. I'm sorry.. I can't help but think I met you somewhere, but I don't recognize your face any." It's really bugging the man.

"Yeah, does seem a lot more common than it should be," Peter says softly, tucking the book under his arm. There might have been caution earlier in the month, after the initial week of freedom, but now— he doesn't have it quite as much. There's many ways this man could recognize him, after all. Company. The bookstore friends. The rescuees. Or even before that with the whole… brother of a Congressman to be. And really… "I have this feeling I should recognize you too," he admits. "I'm Peter Petrelli," he finally just says.

Benjamin blinks once, twice, his mouth opens then closes. Small freaking world after all. "Well fudge sundaes!" Once the immediate surprise wears off, he offers out a hand to shake, "Benjamin Winters. You called me last week. This.. wow. I'm glad I'm getting to meet you. I was just asking Niki about you, cause I gotta say I was kinda weirded out that a stranger was calling me out of the blue. Then what with the conversation we had and all."

Alyssa wins the 'oops someone totally could've stolen fifteen different things while you weren't listening' award- the oblivious streak which is ruined when her playlist starts rolling onto the next song. The obligatory space in-between is just enough dead silence to accommodate a very sudden, very strange exclamation. Bolting from her spot behind the counter, pieces of paper scattering everywhere, Alyssa manages to stand straight up and, despite taking several long seconds to compose herself, still busts out with, "/Who/ has sundaes?" to what, to her, appears to be an empty front of the store.

Well— that explains the recognition. The "50's style curse" might have triggered him in on who the man was, if he hadn't said his name a moment later. Peter shakes his head, reaching up to run his hand over his shortened hair, before accepting the hand in a shake. "Well, it's nice to meet you, finally. Considering how much coincidence there seems to be right now… Niki wouldn't happen to be a tall, beautiful blonde woman from Vegas who's stronger than she looks, by any chance?" There's a damn good chance of that right now. "Sorry I startled you." …Sundaes? Turning towards the voice, he can't help but smile. "No sundaes in the store, Alyssa. Don't worry!" They wouldn't bring meltable mushy sugar stuff into a book store.

Benjamin darn near jumps when Alyssa just appears. Seemingly. "What? Huh? Oh, no one, it was just an expression.." Where did the girl come from? Ah! He tears his attention back onto Peter, "Yeah, that's her. Niki Sanders. I keep forgetting how strong she is.. It's okay.. I just wasn't expecting that kind of phone call. Even if I should start expecting the unexpected. Anyway.. Niki said I could trust you, so it's all good."

Ohshi- it's customers! Patting down her hair and adjusting her shirt, Alyssa makes herself vaguely presentable as the two guys' location becomes more apparent. "Oh, right, no sundaes," she clears her throat, sounding somewhat more disappointed than a lover of clean, unspoiled books should. Though there seems to already be a conversation happening, Alyssa makes her way around the counter to sidle over to the others when they become more recognized. "Heey, it's Peter Pete. And that other dude that boss wanted to talk to…."

"Least now I know where to find her. I— kinda needed to talk to her again," Peter admits, shyly reaching up to scratch at his forehead, a nervous gesture more than anything else. "I honestly didn't expect to be making that kind of phone call myself," he admits, as Alyssa makes her way over. "The book I bought went over well. Thanks for the help, Alyssa." Peter Pete? That's a new one on him. He's been Peter, he's been Pete, but Peter Pete… "Almost thought I had the wrong store when you weren't dancing around and singing when I walked in." From the playful smile, it's a tease that's all in good fun, more than intended to be mean.

Benjamin uhms and shifts a little in place as he speaks to Alyssa. "It's alright. Cass already found me. We talked, and I got her upset, but I think that's all straightened out now." He gives Alyssa a weak smile that broadens as Peter teases her. The smile however fades as he turns to quietly say to Peter, ".. Uhm.. if you guys.. need my help.. I'm not sure what I could do.. but.. we're all kind of in trouble here.. As much as I just want to hole up and mind my own business.."

There's a sort of half-duck, eye-contact avoidance, sigh move that Alyssa does when she's reminded of her first meeting with the infamous other. "I thought I'd give you a break this time," she recovers, "So that when you come in to me belting 'My Heart Will Go On' it'll be a real shocker— oops ruined it. Sorry to hurry about the boss and you," she gives an acknowledging nod to Benjamin, "But she's cool, so I bet you're all cool and straight. Who are we helping and or definitely not leaving to their own business?" Blink blink smile.

This would be exactly what 'the man upstairs' would want stopped. But Peter can't exactly talk to people about their options without… talking to people about their options. "This is actually what I needed to talk to you about, Alyssa— so might as well talk to you both about it." His expression grows more serious, and his tone becomes softer, whispered, but he does continue. "We're trying to help everyone," he explains to Alyssa. "Things are happening that are outside of our control, but it doesn't mean we can't do anything to stop it. We can try and hide and wait for it to pass, but— what'll be left to come back to when it does? This is probably the perfect store for inquiries about the end of the world, but— it's trying to happen. And we— all of us— will need to work together to stop it."

Benjamin blinks then shuts his mouth. Crud. He's really no good at being sneaky. He's not sure what to make of Alyssa, and the joking with Peter. Then the lack of joking has his attention. "Wh… Oh.." He nods his head, listening to what Petrelli has to say. Benji can't help but look scared and wary. It seems to be a natural state for him.

Alyssa jabs a surprised finger at her chest when it comes up about talking to her and then the hand awkwardly falls, hooking onto her belt as she listens. She leans in unconsciously when Peter's voice softens. "Help…" she echoes, but he continues so she refrains from commenting. "Wait, do what? It what? You're being really vague and ominous." In response to the situation, her own voice has lowered to a sort of conspiratorial whisper that she's enjoying a little bit, too. "This is the kind of thing cliffhangers are made of."

There's a possibly ominious inhale and Peter glances around the store once, as much of it as he can see, at least. "I'm forming a… group, you could say. You shouldn't mention this to anyone else. I— need to talk to everyone individually, so…" How to explain this without sounding crazy? "Don't expect everyone to want in, but… I spoke to… someone about funding a… group. Those within the group would have protection from… certain people." He glances towards Benjamin, almost trying to will the poor man to get who he's referring to. "I know I'm still being vague, Alyssa, and I'm sorry, but— there's just some things that are difficult to talk directly about, unless you think you'd be willing to help. We'll have money, information and resources, and be able to protect the world and each other from what's happening all around us."

Benjamin glances aside to Alyssa. He can only presume that she's in the know. Only she seems to be a little out of the loop in this conversation. "Oh please don't say that," he says pleadingly at Alyssa. He's got enough going on to make him nervous! Sorry, he's still feeling behind Petey, but he thinks he gets Peter's gist. "I.. this sounds kind of shady, but I trust Niki, she trusts you, so that's going to have to be good enough for me. I'm no hero, far from it, but I know I was given something and I should use it to protect others." He takes a deep breath, and looks like he's waiting for someone to jump out at him. "I.. I still want to help."

This just sounds so… well, in truth, as exciting as it is to lean in and whisper about protecting the /world/, Alyssa is beginning to get nervous as well. Shifting her weight, she glances away to the front of the store where, once upon a time… "Like those kidnappings?" She asks, turning again to the guys, "I did get the general low-down on how certain things can get certain people bad attention… but boss is helping, too! You've talked to her, right? Is this what she's doing, support groups and stuff?" That's reassuring, at least, and it shows on her as her emotions bauble.

"Not— exactly," Peter says, frowning faintly. "But I'm sure she's coming up with a good idea. Maybe I should call you both. Talk to you on a more individual basis. Fill you in on as much as I can so you're not— lost." Since they both happen to be that, and he's not sure how much more he wants to say until he knows if they'll really want on board. Well, besides Benjamin. He sounds as if he wants onboard. "I really do need to talk to your boss, it seems. Could you give her my number sometime? You still have it, right?"

"Wha.. Cass is involved? I know she was upset when.. nevermind.. I didn't know she was /that/ involved." Benjamin looks to Alyssa, surprise in his blue eyes. A nod is given to Peter, "I still have your number on my phone, and my cell's the best way to contact me."

"Yeah, PP, I've got your number, heeeyy, she's got your number," Alyssa makes a vague gesture of writing while trying to remember what she was going to say and then gestures to the desk, "All the ones people have been leaving for support and stuff. She's got 'em. So, uh, yer girl's too." Her nose wrinkles in some distress now when eyeing Benjamin, "Wait, what're you saying about the boss? God, I feel lame like this. I should know more, shouldn't I? You're all sayin' we can do stuff to help and, hey, I like helping, but kidnappings and dogs dying are shit scary and I can't even do— ehhh." Her trail off seems half that she realizes she's rambling (about herself) and half just forgetting where she was going with it. Her expression is an odd mixture of this lost, shielded feeling.

PP? There's a surprised blink, and a lot of what the young woman says at least breaks the tension. Peter even gets a hint of a smirk on his mouth as she continues, before he gestures towards Benjamin. "Don't think 'Cass' is involved in what I'm working on. We might just be— both coming up with similar ideas at the same time. Hers might actually be safer." If it's focused on support. "I'm not expecting people to fight, or anything. Just— could use as many people as we can get. There's a lot of ways that people can help. For one… I need to buy this book," he passes the book over towards Alyssa, a book on meditation. Opening up the inner mind. All that jazz. "Could you ring it up for me?"

"Huh? A dog died? What? All I know is there's a psycho out there killing people and kidnapping them. He came after my daughter once and I don't want it happening again." Benjamin throws a very befuddled look at Alyssa, trying to make heads or tails of what she's saying, then just stops trying. He feels relief when Peter says he's not expecting people to fight. Phew. Clearly, the man's in no fighting shape. He's more of a cubicle resident. "Just.. let me know what I can do."

Oh, hey, look, something totally in Alyssa's realm. We can sort of ignore that part with the, gulp, psycho killer. What is she thinking clowns all of the sudden? With a renewed smile, she receives the offered book, squinting a moment at the cover before bringing it back to her counter. "Lookit me," she sort of teases herself as she dials in the numbers, "I'm a helper." She hums for a couple of seconds and then, "Sooooo what is it you're expecting to find in your inner whatever-this-for? Does it have to do with what you do? What /do/ you do— o, m, and g, am I allowed to ask that?"

Once Alyssa's a little bit away, Peter turns towards Benjamin to give a more detailed explaination, even if it's short. "I've made a deal with the boss of the Company to form a small satellite group. Those in it would have protection from them, and funding." That should get him a lot closer to the same page. "Whatever it is you do normally, we could probably use within the group." With that clarified, and a small pause for a quiet response, he'll makes his way towards the counter, so he can continue with the softer tones, "Actually— I— it's a little difficult to explain. Hoping this book'll help me with some of what I can do."

Benjamin's brows raise, and he's just not sure what to make of Alyssa. She's silly, a complete nutcase, but likeable at the same time. His contemplation of Alyssa is broken as he stares at Peter. Deer, headlights, yup. He raises a hand to rub at the back of his neck, against those marks hidden under his collar. ".. Are you sure? I mean.. they're kind of questionable, but helpful.."

"Cool, cool, cool…" Alyssa mutters as she finishes the price, sliding the book and stating the numbers for Peter. Despite the vaguer answer she remains quiet, letting Benjamin and Peter continue their part how they want. Instead, she shuffles around a couple of the papers she scattered earlier and tries to look less like she wants to bust in with some intrusive questions again. These are organized next to a book about disciplining children, no less. It looks obviously read, at least bookmarked, and she certainly didn't get it here.

"I know what they do is questionable, but— they also have resources and knowledge that we don't have," Peter sighs sofly. "Last year we saved the world by sheer coincidence. Everyone showing up at the same place at the same time. Destiny's both on our side and working against us at the same time. But that's why I have two lawyers who'll be going over the contracts, making sure we're not getting screwed over. You don't have to join, just— means I can't really talk to you about this anymore," he admits, sounding a little guilty. "They're big on secrets, as I'm sure you know…" Less privately, towards Alyssa, he finally stops being vague with her and explains, still toned so as not to carry if there's a straggler in the store— though it's pretty obvious they're alone, "I absorb the abilities of others. Like— if you could fly? I might be able to learn how to fly just by knowing you." It's not like the most important people don't already /know/ what he can do.

"Tell me about it," Benjamin says in a musing tone. He drops his hand back to his side and away from that permanent marker. "They helped me, I don't like how they did it, but they did. I'm grateful for that, so yeah, I'm still in. I was just a little surprised, that's all. It's not going to scare me off." It'll take more than that to scare him. Not much mind you. Quizzically, he looks at Peter, "That's a new one. I haven't heard of that before.. well I have, but it's more of a killing then taking deal."

"W-Whoa…." Alyssa pauses behind the desk, absently patting few more pages together without really thinking, "Peter Petrelli… suuuper sponge. That's even more… I mean… jeez, what are the rest of us doing here, then, huh?" Her raised eyebrows never really get any lower but she does do a small lip-nibble of consideration, which involves also eyeing Benjamin, before she leans in again and expresses, "My /wildest/ apologies should you ever, uh, smack yourself in the forehead with a Sprite can."

Working /with/ the Company isn't something to be taken lightly. But— they can't be all evil, considering some things he's seen. And better to fight a common enemy then have to work against /everyone/… Just nodding in response to the man on this business, Peter only adds a, "I'll call you as soon as I have the contract ironed out." Because it will be a contract. This is a business… But about his ability… "Super sponge?" He says with a smirk, before nodding, "Sylar does something similar, yeah— I just need to meet you. Don't— Just because I might be able to use your abilities doesn't mean I'm any good at them. I've fallen flat on my face more than a few times." With the flying analogy, and all. "Why would I smack my forehead with a Sprite can, though?"

"And… my apologies too.. if people start falling asleep around you," Benjamin supplies, sheepishly. "I don't envy you. I thought I was going crazy with just one ability. I can't imagine what it's like to walk around and just soak up what other people can do." He steps up to the counter with his own book to purchase. "I'll be waiting for your call," he says to Peter, acknowledging the contract information.

Really, finding out what other people do is the only true fun this experience has brought. Caught up in this excitement, Alyssa stops looking at Benjamin suspiciously for once and just laughs. People passing out in their soup is totally coming to mind. Peter's question has her shuffling a bit awkwardly, however, and she gives a vague shrug, "Well, sometimes it just happens when ya aren't expecting it." Since she's already rung him up, it's dependent on Peter paying for any further transactions to go forth and her employee duties thin out to just giving Benjamin a quick friendly smile for any approaching purchases. Huzzah for business, money makes the world go 'round.

Reaching into his wallet, Peter pays in cash once again, waiting for change to be given before he tucks the book under his arm for carting out. "Wouldn't say it's been easy…" He admits, glancing down as he tucks his change away. "But, I'll keep an eye out for either of those. And— try to call you both sometime." Though he's not sure he /has/ Alyssa's number. Could always just call the store, right? He definitely needs to call Benjamin. If he's still in after being held by them, then he's probably not going to back out if there's a contract that two lawyers okay. "I'll see you both later. Nice to meet you offically, Mr. Winters." And with that… he makes towards the door.

Benjamin shifts a little as he sets the book on the counter and produces his wallet. "I'm just glad I learned some control." He wishes his accidental instances with his power were as harmless as passing out in soup. He nods to Peter as he pays for his book and departs, "It was nice to finally meet you too, Peter Petrelli." He turns his attention back to Alyssa and hands over his debit card to pay.

"Bye, bye there, Petes," Hey, he hasn't said a word about the totally random nicknames so they're gonna keep coming. Alyssa is sorry to see the other go and she frowns a bit at his back as he walks out but nudges the smile back into place in order to take care of Benjamin's card and all that. "Miiiiister Winters," she mutters a moment before a glance at his card gives him the first name she was about to ask for anyway, "Benjamin Winters. Ben, Ja.. hey, you ever put other people to sleep during classes?"

Benjamin blinks at Alyssa's question, "Uhm, no. I haven't always been able to do this… just in the past year. So, no classes. But I think my daughter will save money on caffeine and energy drinks when she has to cram." He smiles just a little, to show that he's teasing. No playing with the abilities. Could cause brain damage to your kid, who needs hers functioning properly. Thanks. He takes his card back when Alyssa's done with it and puts it away.

Teasing or not, Alyssa is obviously seriously considering what he just said. "Maaan, that would've ruled. You know, if I had ever actually studied. Ha. See, this is crazy. Everyone can do these totally helpful things. Well, if you're not gonna go hook up with the Peter Petrelli Playpen then you should keep smoothing things with the boss. I don't know about the world, but— okay, I'm guilty. I just love to see people do cool stuff But, still, seriously, we like to talk things over with people. More her than me, probably, because I'm obviously this utter failure at articulating which is horrendous considering career choices, but I guess that's what editing is for. I don't edit.. talking? Uhh… sure.." Oh, she lost herself again.

Benjamin takes his book and receipt as he just.. stares at Alyssa. Clearly he's trying to comprehend just what the heck it is that she's saying. "I.. never really thought about it as cool.. except for when my daughter said it was the.. I forgot how she phrased it, but she approved." He backs away from the counter, trying to be polite about his exit. "Uhm.. I'll keep what you said in mind. Tell Cass hi for me please? It was nice to really meet you this time, instead of just laughing about the guy that sat on my mother." He can't help grinning at the memory, cause, it /was/ funny, as he turns and heads out the door.

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