2007-06-26: Cheating Free Will

Starring:

Cass_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter and Cass meet up at Bat Country and train, followed by some serious conversation.

Date It Happened: June 26th, 2007

Cheating Free Will


Seville Medical Center — Bat Country Labs

Down in the basement of Seville Medical Center, a middle sized space has been reserved specifically for a certain kind of lab. A lab that Cass has been planning for awhile now. The main room as of the moment is mostly empty with large stacks of boxes piled up in the corner, a desk without anything on it near the back and nothing adorning the walls. It's a blank canvas that anything can be done with. However, at the moment, sitting on the floor with a large piece of poster board is Cass. She looks almost like she's a kid during arts and crafts time, with her colorful markers and her a few streaks of stray sharpie crossing her arms. But, she's grinning and adjusting a pair of thick black frames that she's sporting. The woman never wore glasses before, so maybe they're just a fashion statement.

Oddly enough, there's another person wearing glasses, though they're not quite the same. They're sunglasses. No longer protecting his eyes from the bright light of the sun outside, still might serve as a interesting look. Peter leaves them on even as he enters the reserved area, hand trailing against the door frame for a minute as he smiles down at her. "You know, this is the second time in a week I've seen someone wearing glasses that'd I'd never seen before." There's a amused tone to his voice, before he pulls off the sunglasses finally and hangs them from the neck of his shirt. "What're you working on?"

Unsurprised by Peter's appearance, Cass looks up from where she's filling in the lettering of a large capital Y. The last part of her sign. Then, with a happy grin, she holds it up for Peter to take in. It reads, 'Welcome to Bat Country' "What d'ya think? I figure this place is going to be as crazy as anywhere you could get in New York. Needed an equally crazy name." She grins and slowly picks herself up from the floor. "The glasses? They're not prescription. I just think they make me look smarter. Plus, should any nefarious people end up in here, they won't recognize me outside the building because I'm not wearing them. Very Clark Kent/Superman. What's with the sunglasses inside? They make you look very movie star chique, I must say."

"Considering some of the talk I've heard about Mr. Cain, I wouldn't be surprised if he nicknames it the Bat Cave," Peter says with a joke, moving closer as he reads the sign, and as she stands up herself. And maybe appropriate nickname too, considering her own cultural references. "It's a good thought. Who knows what kind of crazies you'll get in here." As for his sunglasses, he gives a small shrug. "Actually forgot I had them on til I mentioned your glasses." It happens, especially since they aren't totally blackening, really. If he wore them long enough, he tends to forget. "Can I help out with anything?"

With a groan and roll of her eyes, Cass nods. But, she smiles. "He can call it whatever he wants. He's the one who let me use the space. But, officially, it's Bat Country. At least to me." Bending over, she scoops up the stray markers and Sharpies and moves to drop them onto the desk, along with the sign. It will be hung later when someone taller is present (or possibly when she finds where she put the step ladder). "I'm bracing myself for anything. Trying, really. I forget I have sunglasses on inside all the time." Without the board and the markers, she starts toward one of the doors. "Actually, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to finally get a sample of your blood. Now that I've got the place to study it properly." Stepping into the other room, this is totally unpacked and looks exactly like a science lab. Orderly and brand new.

With being just about to same height, Peter isn't really much help when it comes to hanging things. That might be something her boyfriend would be better at assisting with. Still, he has to offer. It's polite, and he does work for her offically. Even if he's not on the books for this place in particular. "It's Bat Country to me too, then," he says with a hint of a smile on one corner of his mouth, before he follows towards the other room. He's already rolling up the loose sleeve of his shirt as he does, apparently consenting to the blood-taking. "I don't mind. They took my blood a few times while I was in the facility— mostly when I first got there." But he'd never found out why exactly. Knowing the Company, they probably still have records on file about it— but he hasn't tried to ask Elle what they might have revealed. He's already asked enough of her.

However, Cass doesn't seem too put out about not being able to hang her sign immediately. It will get put up and everything will come together. She's waited long enough for this lab, she can wait a day or two to put up a single sign. "Good to know," she grins. Opening a drawer, she pulls out a package with a needle inside of it as well as a rubber tie so that she can find the veins. When Peter allows her to, she ties it around his preferred arm, then expertly, sticks in the needle, finds a vein and fills a little test tube with Peter Blood. Not taking any longer than needed, or more blood than she should need to do preliminary tests, she quickly takes out the needle and presses a bit of cotton down over the puncture wound, folding his arm up over it to make the bleeding less severe. Peter taken care of, she stoppers the vial, writes a long number on a strip of tape, pastes it to the test tube and then quickly puts it into the fridge before it can congeal at all. "Yeah, but, I want it to be different here. I don't want to do anything that you object to, alright? You don't want to do something, you tell me and I won't do it. This is all consent based."

There's a small laugh when she actually gives him a cotton ball, but Peter doesn't say anything. The wound's already healed within seconds of the needle being removed, but the ball of cotton definitely helps with getting the blood off of his skin. It just means he takes it off and keeps her from taping it down, or anything. All sign he even had his arm poked is gone before she's done putting it in the fridge, and he's tossing the cottonball and rolling down his sleeve. "Technically they were too, back then. I'd been… pretty messed up when they took me in," he admits softly. "I wanted to be locked away," he explains, hoping that she understands that much. "And they said it would help them fix me, so I couldn't hurt anyone else ever again." So in a way… it had been his choice. It just wouldn't be his choice now. And he now knows if he hadn't chosen to do that on his own, they'd have found another way to get him to agree, even if it meant threatening his family. He'd never claim they're the best guys. Just that he made some bad choices. "I do trust you. Though, I wouldn't mind seeing whatever it is you find. Access to my records, I guess?" That should be more than enough for him.

It's when she's coming back from putting the vial in the fridge that Cass remembers. "Oh! Right. Healing. I forgot," she laughs sheepishly. "You have so many abilities, sometimes I forget. It was kind of reflex." At least the cotton ball wasn't entirely wasted. That would have been a tragedy. The mentioning of why Peter was locked up and how he turned himself in to them puts a bit of a frown on her face. She pushes up her decorative frames so that they rest on top of her head, acting almost like a headband. "But…you don't need to be fixed, Peter." Of course, she thinks he knows that now, but she feels the need to say it. "And I'm not here to do that. Just…helping with some explanations is all. Hopefully a way to keep you from losing control." And blowing up New York City again. "Of course you can see your records. You…you just might need me to explain them to you." She grins. "I code everything I find out so that no one else can try and steal what we've done or use it for…you know, evil." Even if that sounds so comic book villain.

"It's fine," Peter says with a brief smile, knowing that there's a bunch more he'll need to add to his own list of abilities since the last time they talked about them. But regeneration had been one of the first ones he knew he had, so he almost takes it for granted. It amuses him she forgot, though, considering the hand regeneration thing. The smile is short lived, because the topic starts to take a turn for the… less happy. "…Thought I did at the time," he explains in a softened voice. "These abilities— except for saving Claire, they'd done nothing except hurt people, or potentially hurt people, since I didn't actually blow up in the city." He doesn't really consider his powers as saving him— because his own safety always struck him as less important. "It came down to nearly killing my brother. He'd saved most of Manhattan, saved me, but…" Saved him from killing most of Manhattan. It would have destroyed him. "When they found me I just wanted to— stop hurting people. It's different now, but— that's why I stayed there as long as I did." He doesn't feel the same way anymore. But that doesn't mean he can't remember why he felt that way originally. "I don't code my stuff, but I have a few things under password protections. Paintings, mostly."

It's not that she really forgot, it was a lapse in memory. So, forgetting, but her minds on a lot of other things lately. Cass moves past her little gaffe, though and listens to Peter. "I can understand why you did it, Peter. Honestly, I can. I'm just…I hope that this'll make it so that people don't /have/ to make that choice. They can if they want to, but they can also come here to get help." It is decidedly a less happy topic that they're talking about now, so she decides that it's time to switch it. Or just glide onto other ones. Because she can see why Peter did what he did and why he stayed there for so long. So, paintings and codes it is. "Well, password protection is fine. I just…I'm bad at computers and wouldn't put it past myself to accidentally delete really important files that I need. And even when I do type everything up, it's not out of the realm of possibility for someone to hack into my computer or something and take what they want. So, the code. It's kind of like my version of Doctor-Patient privilege."

"I know. I'm glad that there's another choice," Peter says in the same softened tones, tugging a bit on the sleeve he just pulled down. The sunglasses still hang on the lower end of his shirt collar, but he makes no move to put it elsewhere right now, before he nods to the rest, "I have back ups, in case something happens to my computer. They're on a portable drive in my gun box, actually." The same lock box that he'd showed her before. It seems to be the safest place to keep things, especially since he started hiding it in better places, just in case. Locations he's not about to share with anyone. He doesn't need to even get the box out for anything unless it's to put something more inside, or back inside. That's what one of his abilities are for. "Code works. I'll figure it out, with your help." It's important to him to understand his abilities, after all. He'd started with looking for books, and then testing them, and seeking answers in a teacher, answers in destiny— but maybe it's time to get an opinion that actually tells him what they find, instead of just telling him that they're close and he'll have to stay a while longer. "I think it's helping— the lessons. Gotten better at some of them." That, or he's gotten lucky.

"Back ups are always good." Cass nods. "Who knows what anyone is capable of these days." Between the Company and super powers and government spies, it's possible that anyone can try to get everything. "The box for snatching things from?" It's more of a rhetorical question than anything else, because she's pretty sure that's the box he's talking about. The mention of telling him her code, though, well, that brings another frown to her face. "Would you mind if I just wrote the translation out for you?" She's a bit embarrassed about asking, and it shows on her face. "It's not that I don't trust you. I just…I don't want anyone to know the code. Or even to say it outloud to anyone. Just in case." After the incident with the store, she doesn't know what's right to say aloud any more. "But, I'll make a second copy in plain English for you. I promise." That way he can actually read his file. But the smile turns more genuine and happy at his last statement. "I'm glad. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just exhausting you without any payback. But I'm glad to hear that you're getting better. It helps."

"That wasn't what— Nevermind," Peter says, suddenly shaking his head. It sounds as if he's a little confused, or worried for a moment, suddenly glancing away towards the walls as if interested in what's going on there. Which happens to be just about nothing. "A translation is fine." There's a pause for a moment, as he seems to think about something, before he looks back over and says in a change of subjects, or at least a small change of subjects, "Have a new ability I picked up recently. If I see this person again, might recommend she come here. Better here than the Company, but— it's sort of like what that guy we're— trying to find can do. The one that— Mr. Gomez asked for help with." He'd meant to mention it before, but things got so busy… "I can… tell people to do something. Not sure the extent of it, or if I should even try it out."

When Peter's confused, Cass gets confused. "What? No, what were you going to say? Sorry…I must have gotten confused. Or a little paranoid." Or all of the above. "Sorry. After what happened at Enlightenment, I'm a little…" she already used the word paranoid, but that's all she can think of doesn't quite convey the right sentiment. "…okay a lot more careful about what I say and when. Or I'm trying to be." It's a work in progress. At the change in subjects, Cass blinks and then tilts her head slightly as she listens. "You mean persuasion?" She frowns. "That's a very powerful power to have." Straightening, she watches Peter. "Well, only one way to find out. Tell me to do something." She trusts him and knows he's not going to do something that would put her in harms way.

"I wasn't asking for your code is all," Peter explains, shrugging his shoulders a little. It's true he could probably get it without her having to say, but that's not something he would do. And he's just revealed he might be able to make her tell him whether she'd want to or not. Again, not something he would do. He's just not really that kind of person. However… "Yeah, persuasion, I guess— it's weird. I've heard about a lot of people who can make people do things lately." Four of them, if the possession could be counted, but— how to make her do something to try it out. Glancing around the room as if to think of something, he almost can't seem to decide, so he finally says in a hesitant voice, "Put your glasses down?"

"Right. Sorry. I didn't mean to suggest…" Cass sighs and shrugs. "Sorry." Then, the smile is back and she's trying to move on. Even if he's able to make her do things by merely suggesting them, she knows he won't do anything that she actually wouldn't want to do. he's not that kind of a person. "Yeah. Me too. Ramon's problem being the chief among them. It's scary. The ability to take away free will. It's like exactly what we're trying not to do here." However, then she's waiting to see what he's about to try and make her do against her will. And the question actually makes her chuckle, but not obey him. It's not that she finds the situation funny, but that his hesitation and the way he asks the question is amusing and just a little bit adorable. "Hm. Nope, I didn't feel anything."

Didn't feel a thing? Well— In a way Peter almost doesn't want her to. "I only did it in her presence," he admits. "I think it's… easier when I do it that way?" That hesitant and questioning tone hasn't left at all. In fact he sounds as if he's not completely sure he's using the right words. "Could be I didn't pick it up after all…" Insecure as always, he doesn't seem as if he would mind that idea too much, except— maybe there'd been a reason he brought it up. "Does go against everything you're trying to do. That's… why I didn't try to tell her what to do. Warned her what could happen if she keeps showing off— and that there's people who would want to use her, or kill her for what she does, but— I didn't make her do anything." And at that time, he might have been able to. It just struck him as the wrong thing to do. "Don't want to be like the Company," he says with a glance towards the floor, before he looks back up and says, still a little hesitant, "Walk over and touch the wall?"

While Cass doesn't like the idea of being controlled, she also /does/ want to know what's going on and if Peter really can do what he thinks he can. "No, if you think you picked it up, I think you did, too." She frowns. She doesn't want him to start doubting himself about his powers, not now that they've actually made progress. Doubt only hurts all of that. And all that they've done. "But, she can't help it if she was born with it. That's the difference. How it's used." Pushing her glasses back up further on top of her head, she sighs. "Maybe, if you see her again, you should tell her to come in. It's better to know who she is and if we can talk to her and tell her the deal, then it might help her. And keep her safe from people who wouldn't give her the choice." This time, even though Peter's hesitant, Cass /does/ feel something. There was a slight compulsion to go and touch the wall. However, she's able to keep the desire in check. "Woah. No, I think you have it. I felt something that time." She smiles and readjusts her glasses so that now they're properly over the bridge of her nose. "We're not the Company. That's for sure."

Okay… Let's try that again. Peter looks a little worried that she's so sure he has it, because— "If I do have it I definitely want to control it. Last thing I want is to get into a fight with someone and tell them something that… I dunno. I know I've told my brother to shut up a few times." And to tell the truth, and to stop doing things— but it's still the whole willpower thing. "Only time I think I'd use it… would be to stop someone from hurting people, or themselves." The opposite of what at least one person they know with the ability would use it for. And he has to nod. If he sees her again… he'll definitely try to get her to come in. If. For all he knows she may have left town. There's a pause before he finally tries again, with something also relatively harmless, since she claims to have felt something. "Take my hand." There's still hesitance, but less of a questioning sound.

"You'll control it. You have yet to blow up New York City or turn me into gold." Cass has complete confidence in Peter and his abilities. Sometimes things may be strained, but his heart is in the right place, so that makes her believe that he can control it and that there's no way he'd willingly hurt someone. "That's something that I think he needs at times," she smirks slightly, having talked to Nathan. "It's a good thing to have during hostage negotiations, I'm sure." 'Everyone come out with your hands up' and they'd actually have to listen. This time, the command is barely out of Peter's mouth before her hand moves to take Peter's. It takes place before she can even think about /not/ doing it. However, right before she does actually take a hold of him, she pauses. And then just looks at her hand. Even if she was willing him to be able to do this and knew that he was going to, the fact that she's not acting of her own volition is startling still. "Woah. That's. That's a scary power."

"Yeah— it'd also be nice if I could… tell Sylar not to hurt anyone," Peter says with a hint of a laugh, even though he doubts it would work that well. And— he can't help but smirk a little. Yes, sometimes his big brother does need someone to tell him what to do, but that still doesn't mean he should be the one to do it. "If I can use it to stop someone from getting hurt— it'd be worth having," he admits. Even if he'd rather not use it for anything else. It goes against so many of his moral codes just thinking of using it for anything except that. When she almost takes his hand, he reaches up and finishes the motion, looking worried and almost as if he's trying to comfort her. "Sorry— she never actually used it on me, I don't think." Not successfully, at least. He's got a pretty strong defense against this kind of thing. "I— tried to pick easy things… I hope you're okay." It's… unnerving. Will she always be able to tell when he's trying to make her do something, or is it because he's not good at it that it's going poorly? He lets go of her hand at this point. "You can go sit down." Again, he's trying. But that doesn't mean it will work.

"That would /certainly/ be useful," Cass laughs slightly. Because, that would certainly be ironic. All it would take is words to make Sylar stop being a killer. It would be the ultimate win. Though, who knows how long the effects would work on him. "That's the way it is with any ability," she nods. Helping others, making sure they don't get hurt. When he takes her hand, she snaps out of her thoughtful reverie of the implications of this power, how it must have felt to others, but she smiles. "It's okay. I'm fine. It's just…you know, creepy. Thinking you're doing something of your own free will and then knowing that you're not." He knows that, it's why he's hesitant. The last suggestion gets a shake of her head, unaware that he's actually testing himself again. "No, I'm okay, thanks though."

It'd been a test, and a test that failed miserably. But at least Peter knows the chances of him successfully using it on purpose are low, which make the chances of him using it without meaning even lower. He hopes. When she refuses to sit down, he nods, smiling briefly for a moment, before his expression moves again towards seriousness. It's going to take a few moments, but then he suddenly says something, still sounding hesitant, but for a completely different reason, "I have a— question. It's pretty much… down to you and Heidi. I don't know who else I'd ask, but— both of you are involved in relationships, so… and I'm just worried about bringing it up to Heidi, considering…" He trails off. He's actually fidgetting again, and avoiding eye contact. This must be a very awkward question. "What exactly would you consider… cheating? I mean, obviously— sleeping with someone would be cheating, but… is it wrong to… have… feelings for someone else? Even if you don't… do anything about them?"

Unaware of any test or anything that went on, Cass just leans against one of the lab tables and crosses her arms comfortably. Something to keep her arms occupied instead of looking through microscopes or something. "Okay." Always open for questions and the like, she doesn't say anything until he actually asks his question. Or, really, her eyebrows raise significantly before she answers anything. And she actually coughs. "Uh, well. Um." Great. Ask a woman who's been cheated on what constitutes cheating. Not that Peter knows about Lachlan's previous indiscretions. "Yeah. Uh, not a good subject for Heidi." At least Cass has some distance on this. "Well, it's a tough question. I think it's mostly about feelings. If you /feel/ like you're cheating that's something you should think about. And then, of course, there's kissing and sleeping with someone else." She sighs. "I don't know. Having feelings for someone else does happen. It's a slippery slope, but it's also a huge gray area. You can love two people at the same time. I believe that. It's just…different loves. You know?"

If he'd known about Lachlan's indiscretions, he definitely wouldn't have brought it up to her. Peter doesn't have many people he could ask, and a man's point of view on cheating might be very different than a woman's. "I'm just… worried. That… I do care about Elle a lot, even if she's… not exactly the person I fell in love with anymore." Through no fault of her own. He's still avoiding eye contact for the most part, but he does glance up towards her briefly. "But this… started… before her memories were erased." There's almost a flinch as he says this, a look of guilt visible. "She's been through so much and… I don't want to hurt her. But there was… a reason… why I couldn't really blame her for what happened with— with Elena." His voice tightens for an instant, as he continues to look lower than her eyes, actually at the desk she's leaning on a foot from where she actually is. It allows him to see her in the corner of her eyes, without focusing on her. "She— thought I was cheating on her. And in a way… I am." If cheating is all in how he feels… He finally shifts his eyes up and over to look at her, but he's got a shamed look, as if he's afraid to see what she might think of him. "At least— part of me is."

It's not really that Cass minds talking to Peter about this. It's just bad memories that are brought up, even if they were far in the past. Lachlan's a different person now and she trusts him again. Once again, Cass let's Peter get what he needs to say out before she even tries to think of how to respond. It's no good to try and formulate an answer while he's still talking. Coming to know Peter, she knows how this is the sort of thing that would definitely eat away at him. And has been, obviously. "I…I don't know what to say, Peter." Not the right answer, but a truthful one. "But, you shouldn't stay with someone out of pity. That's not right for you /or/ for Elle." And while the two have had their differences in the past, they have tried to take a step forward. "I'm not saying that you /are/, just that you shouldn't." She sighs, knowing she's making a mess of this. "You can't stop love, Peter. And you can't help /who/ you fall in love with. Sometimes…you can love someone with all your heart and it just will never work out for one reason or another." Again, she pauses so that she can gather her thoughts. "You know how I feel about you and how I feel about Elena. I think you two mesh really well. But…you have to do what's right for /you/. If staying with Elle is what you /want/ and what you feel is right, that's what you should do. But I wouldn't break up with Elle /just/ because of Elena." Not only would Elle possibly go ballistic on their friend, it's not right. "You need to think about both relationships and both people completely separate of each other. Because it's not fair to either of them if you don't."

"I don't— I'm not planning to break up with her to be with— anyone else," Peter says softly, before he does look away again. There's something very difficult about this that he's not sure he can explain, and he's not sure he can look her in the eyes when he tries. He does agree with what she said, at least it seems so because he nodded a bunch of times, except for… "Don't really— the last relationship I was in— if you could even call it that…" He's not sure they can, because… so much happened. "I was in love with someone who— was involved with someone else. A lot happened and… she— she's not— she was shot. About the same places you were." His eyes close a moment. This had been one of the reasons he wanted so desperately to save her— besides the fact he cared a lot about the woman with him. It'd been something he couldn't do before, no matter how much he loved someone. "Even if I can… actually help people now… I wasn't able to help her." At this point, he glances towards the door. "I know it's not fair to either of them…" Does this make any sense at all? It might not. But whatever it is, it definitely is digging in deep and painful. "Thanks. I just needed to talk about it. Don't… forget I said anything." And this time he actually isn't meaning to do it, but since he'd done it so many times before…

"I…I didn't mean it like that." Cass replies in much the same volume. "Or, at least I don't think I did. I'm not sure. My relationships advice is not very good. I mean, Lachlan and I met because I seduced him back to my store and then attempted to pick pocket him before I made him give me more information." Pause. "Wow. That sounds…a lot worse than I realized. It was for Ramon. Wow, okay, this is not sounding any better. It was…about the person we're all helping him deal with. Anyway, this isn't about that. I know this may sound like common sense, but, your relationships with Elle isn't your relationship with your previous girlfriend. Every relationship is different. And each one has their on pitfalls." Then her face softens remarkably. "I'm sorry." For the woman she never met. "It's not your fault, Peter. You're one man. There's only so much you can do." Reaching forward, she puts a hand on his shoulder. "I'm always here if you need to talk about anything. And, remember. Doctor-Patient privilege."

They're both saying this, so it may be funny. "That's not really what I meant," Peter says softly, still looking away from her. There's definitely a hurt expression on his face, something he's not even sure he can say outloud. It takes a few moments, a long pause, and with the Doctor-Patient priviledge (and hopefully confidentiallity) in place, he looks back as he says, voice tight and almost miserable. "It was my fault, Cass." Sounds like no one will ever make him think differently. "Isaac… the painter. He shot her— while trying to shoot me. Because of what I was— what I was going to do to New York— and I'd turned invisible…" And so he didn't actually shoot him. If it'd meant saving the person they both loved, though… "We both loved her, and we killed her." And he's the only one left to blame. There's moisture in his eyes, and he doesn't bother to push it away right now. This is when he says perhaps the most miserable thing of all. "Because of that and… because of what's happening now… I don't feel like… I deserve to be with anyone right now."

This time, Cass doesn't wait very long after Peter has stopped talking to say her piece. Because from the beginning, she knew a lot of what Peter was about to saw. Not the specifics, but the main gist. And she was right. "Peter. That is /not/ your fault. You weren't the one who decided to start shooting at an invisible person while the person he loved was still in the room. You were /defending/ yourself. There was no way you could have controlled that." The more she hears about Mendez, the more she dislikes him. Disturbing paintings, death prophecies, killing Peter's love, none of it seems good. "It's up to you to decide if you want to be with someone - anyone - but, you're an amazing man, Peter. And you deserve so many good things in your life because of it. Any woman would be lucky to have such a caring man as their boyfriend."

"She wasn't in the room when it started— she just… walked in at the wrong time," Peter explains, defending a man who's already dead, even if that puts the blame back on his own shoulders. Or the blame of fate, at least. Since so much trust is put into fate and destiny… it's hard not to still take most of the blame upon himself. Either that or blame the very thing that… it's hard to completely blame destiny. The rest of what she says should be touching, and maybe it is— but all he can really do is shake his head a little. "I know you're not… lying. I just— it doesn't feel like that." It's hard to explain, but right now he's kinda stuck on what he's doing to them both— and how he feels wrong in his own emotions right now. "I should go. I— don't like being away from the house too long these days— because of Heidi and the boys." They might need him. "I'll— see you at work— or here." He knows he's forgetting something he meant to tell her or ask her about, but he got distracted.

"Then, it's doubly not your fault. There is no way you could have known." Of course she could say this a million times and it just won't get through. "I know it doesn't feel like that, but…it's not your fault. Not the way you told it to me." Not having been in he room, she can't say for certain, but she doesn't think Peter would lie to her about something like this. "I'm /not/ lying, Peter." She's quite forceful about that. "It's something you have to work out on yourself. Just…know that you /are/ worth being in a relationship for. Emotional baggage, senator-hopeful brother and all." As for watching Heidi, she nods. It's not like she can say no stay when someone else's safety might be in danger. "Alright. I'll probably be either of those places for the next couple of…oh, years. So it should be easy to find me. Be safe, Peter."

"I hope so," Peter says softly, finally looking her in the eyes, even if his own are a little red around the lids. There's still moisture, and streaks on his cheeks, but they're not actively producing any of that anymore. Even if— he may not agree with her completely. "You're a… wonderful friend. Not sure what we'd do without you." We meaning all of the people he knows who know her. She seems to touch so many lives in such important ways. "I'll be okay— think I just need… time." He didn't just lose Simone, but he also blames himself for what happened to Elle and Elena both. Elle's memory wipe was because of him, entirely because of him. Elena had been hurt because of feelings he pretended he didn't have— but at least he could honestly say he hasn't done anything about them. "Time to be alone for a while, I guess." If that makes any sense? He gives a shake of his head. "See you later." He almost sounds as if he's apologizing as he says that, before he turns and heads out towards the hallway, and out of the building, fetching his sunglasses again.

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