2008-02-09: Checking Up

contains Season 3 material


Elle_icon.gif Gabriel_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Peter drops in on Elle and Gabriel. Discussions are had!

Date It Happened: February 09th, 2008

Checking Up

Peter Petrelli's Apartment, NYC

In the days since Elle's unfortunate incident with Meryl and subsequent release from the hospital, she has been doing very little. Truth be told, it's difficult to be mobile when one leg is immobilized in a cast due to a fractured tibia. That's her story, anyway. Slumped down on the sofa, she has the coffee table pulled all the way up, with a stack of cushions and pillows beneath her injured leg, propping it up. There's music playing softly in the room, and a book sits in her lap, open to about halfway.

Unable to focus her eyes on the page open before her, Elle throws her head back against the sofa with a loud sigh. "I give up," she announces, breaking the silence - and possibly even Gabriel's concentration. "I can't read any more." As if to prove her statement, she slams the book closed with a rustle of pages. Flicking her attention to Gabriel, she cranes her neck, leaning forward. "How's your work going?"

His concentration suddenly broken, Gabriel's tool slides slightly to the right— knocking a spring out at the same time. He manages to prevent it from popping out of the watch completely. ".. Slow," he says, setting the watch aside as he looks up at Elle. He pulls the multilens off, setting them on the table next to him and rubbing his eyes. "Very slow." Which isn't her fault, of course. "I've been working on this watch for a long time."

Unaware that she caused any setback in his work, Elle sets the book on the cushion beside her and turns at the waist, curling both hands over the arm of the sofa. Gabriel is levelled with a curious look, vague disbelief registering on her face. Watch repair is not a subject about which she considers herself an expert, nor would she call herself 'interested' in it - but there are very few options available to Elle for entertainment. "What's wrong with it?"

"The timing was off by a few seconds," Gabriel explains to Elle, turning in his chair to face her. "Instead of fixing it and simply putting it back together, I've been restoring it one small piece at a time." He glances over to the watch, the meaning of it to him something more than he could easily explain away. "One day I'll finish it." He looks back up to her, a small smirk on his face. "Exciting, I know."

The remark brings a warm, understated smile to Elle's face, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia falling over her. "You were working on that one when I knew you before," she says, without the inflection of a question. Keeping her leg as still as she can, she lowers her chin down to rest on her arms, watching him in silence for several seconds before speaking again. "What are you going to do now?" A quality to her tone suggests that she's using 'now' more figuratively than literally.

Pushing himself up from the chair, Gabriel moves to the kitchen table, where a tea kettle rests full of tea he had made earlier in the day. Pouring himself a glass, he gives Elle a small shrug before sipping at his tea. "I.. don't really know," he answers, looking at the ceiling as he muses. "It would be nice to get back to a.. 'normal' life. At least as much as I could. Maybe open another shop somewhere since my old one is useless now. I don't know where I'd get the money to do it, though, really."

The sound of a key in the door won't really be an answer to that question, but it might help. Peter could easily teleport right inside, but once again he uses the door, unlocking everything before pushing the door open and knocking heavily against the side. Of course with them in the kitchen, they'll see him right away, leaving him to step further inside and relock the door. "Hey…" he looks weary and emotionally exhausted once again, but at least he's shaved today and isn't completely rumpled like he'd been in past meetings. Very likely, despite the infrequent visits, he hasn't done anything too terrible. Though with the haunted look in his eyes, things haven't exactly gotten better, either.

Unable to rise from the sofa to greet him, Elle shifts her position as much as possible when she hears the key in the lock - enough that by the time the door opens, she's sitting up straighter on the couch. Her leg is still elevated, propped up on the table by several pillows. She leans forward, sliding the book (incidentally, the one she had given to Peter nearly a year ago) onto the table alongside a nondescript box he won't recognize. "Hey, Peter," she calls, casting him a quick smile, her expression tempered by concern.

At the sound of the key in the lock, Gabriel turns his attention in the direction of the door, still sipping at his tea. He only moves into the living room when Peter is fully in the apartment, and he comes to a stop near the TV, watching the other man. "Hey, Peter," he says, nodding at him. "There's some tea in the kitchen. Do you want a cup?"

"No, thank you— I'm not staying too long," Peter says, putting his keys into his pocket as he moves into the living room. Eyes fall on the still shot Elle, and he can't help but frown a little at her. While it's completely in his memories of her for her to do such a thing, he can still give her a look that she went out and got herself shot. The book catches his eye and it changes, though, the frown becoming something else. A touch of sadness and fondness at the same time, really. "I just wanted to check on you two… How is everything? Is the leg healing okay?" he asks, the first question directed at the both, while the second one brings his eyes back to the girl on the couch.

"Could be worse," Elle admits with a noncommital shrug, resting back against the sofa now that both of her companions have joined her in the living room. Her expression becomes almost sheepish as she looks away from both of them, her eyes falling upon the box on the table. "I went looking for this doctor at the hospital who can heal. She helped me out." Rolling her shoulders in a shrug, she looks back up to Peter with a slight smirk. "Still stuck in a cast, but it's a good excuse to have no idea where I'm going to live or what I'm going to do for money. She said I should be able to get the cast off early."

"Let me know if you do," Gabriel responds softly to Peter, so as not to interrupt Elle. She has more to tell Peter in regards to her leg, anyway, so for now he'll remain silent. Moving further into the living room, Gabriel takes a seat in one of the chairs, keeping his attention on the two of them. He glances back and forth as they speak, idly sipping at his mug of tea as he listens.

The mention of a healing doctor makes him look upward a bit. Peter must know who she's talking about, because he's not very good at hiding the recognition that flashes across his face. Despite this, he doesn't say anything, moving to sit down. "I've been checking out Pinehearst the last couple of days. I found out that… that someone I know is being held there…" he trails off faintly, looking between the two of them. Maybe they know this person too? "I haven't been able to find anything about your father, though."

The moment he mentions her father, a strange expression takes hold of Elle's face; if she had been hoping to pretend she has nothing to hide, she can now kiss that notion goodbye. "Peter…" Wincing, she flattens her hands on either side of her hips and pushes against the cushion, turning as he sits so that she might give him a more direct look. It's difficult to maintain eye contact now, her gaze troubled, and she finds herself looking to Gabriel as if he might do the hard work for her. Oh, she knows it won't happen, and all he's going to do is tell her that she ought to be the one to say it — but she looks to him for support just the same. Willing herself to look back to Peter, she says quietly, "You don't have to keep looking for my father. I know what happened to him."

The most Gabriel can do for Elle is give her a sad look and a nod of encouragement, even though there's so many other things he wishes he could do to help. Unfortunately, none of those are possible or feasible, and he shifts uncomfortably in his chair as he has no doubt what Elle is about to tell Peter. It's the one thing he didn't tell Peter about Pinehearst, and Elle would be right in assuming that he would say she should be the one to tell him.

That's not a good look. Peter's expression tenses when she gets that expression, and when she says what she does, and he too looks toward Gabriel. His is more in a question, than needing support. He knows what he was told, and how part of it was Elle's to tell him. She hasn't yet… and maybe now she's about to. Eyes drop down and he takes in a slow breath before looking at Elle. "What happened?" He knows something happened. Something big that made her blow the power in the building. He saw the damage in his snooping. And now he can draw some conclusions as to what it was.

No matter how many times she tells the story of what happened, it doesn't get any easier, nor are the images any less vivid in her mind. Conscientious of her injured leg, Elle leans forward to pull the box into her lap; she doesn't open it, instead settling both arms over it anxiously, as if she was a small child and this was a stuff animal to which she could turn for comfort. "He's dead," she says, finally turning her eyes back to Peter, meeting his gaze, so far winning her struggle to keep her emotions from running too high. "I was there when they killed him." It's all very vague, but Elle just can't quite bring herself to say that it was his father who killed hers, just yet.

"I'm sorry," Peter says, looking across at her. It's not an apology where he thinks he's at fault, and more a sympathetic situation than anything else. He knows how much she cared for her father, he knows how much learning his father was dead affected him. Though his father didn't turn out to be dead at all. They'd known that Arthur wanted Bob dead, and probably others in the Company, but knowing that it happened, right in front of her… He looks down. There's a long hesitation before he finally looks up at her again, "How did it happen?"

"Your father did something to him," Elle begins, nudging the top from the box now so that she might look over the objects inside while speaking, rather than watching his face. She passes her fingers lightly over the toys, though she takes none of them out. "My father had an ability. He could turn things into gold. I don't remember if you knew that." She might once have told him, but a year is a long time, particularly this one past. "It— backfired, I guess. Arthur touched him and he just started to… change… until there was nothing left." She'll keep Arthur's callous remarks to herself, she decides.

The box in Elle's hands garners a look from Gabriel, and he watches it for a few moments before shifting his attention back up to her, watching the conversation with the same sad look on his face from before. He doesn't say anything for now, choosing to let Elle finish the story and for Peter to absorb what happens. He quietly sips at his mug of tea, eyes falling to the floor.

Something caused her father's ability to backfire. Peter nods when she mentons her dad's power, looking a little confused that she doesn't think he knows about it, but realizing a moment later. Two Elles makes things difficult at times. His father killed her father. Hands rake through his hair. "He's a lot stronger than I thought he was, then… I'll have to be careful when I go to face him." If he can make abilities backfire.

Her eyes are on him instantaneously, and Elle can't help the faintly jealous look that crosses her face for a split second. Lying on a sofa with her leg in a cast is not the way she expected to mourn her father, though it is a significantly healthier way than the dark thoughts which have crossed her mind since his death. "Peter," she sighs, as if she wanted to dissuade him but knew how futile the endeavor would be. There are a thousand things she'd like to say, but none of them will be of any consequence. "There are people who would want to help you. Let them. Take back-up. Your dad has some powerful people working for him - like Maury Parkman. Ask your mother about him before you go. She knows a lot more than I do."

"I know," Peter says, though it may sound at first as if he's dismissing some of her advice, whether he actually is or not. Most likely he'll want to go in on his own, but she's right. "I'll figure things out. I'm not going to just jump in without a plan, or I would have already." Like they did. By themselves. But he does stand up and says, "I'm checking out my brother's new apartment soon. He might have some information there that I can use."

Whether he means to or not, the idea of her advice being dismissed does elicit a childish response from Elle, who slumps against the sofa somewhat and replaces the lid on the box of toys from her father, putting it onto the sofa beside her with a metallic clink. It's a reaction fueled by both envy and resentment, despite her struggle to keep them in check. "Let me know if I can help," is all she says, her voice torn between bitterness and resignation - because she knows she can't do anything, as much as she might like to. "And stay in touch so that we know you're okay."

"What's your plan going to be?" Gabriel says, finally speaking up as he looks at Peter. "Researching and gathering information is fine and all, Peter, but it's a lot different once you get there. The things Maury alone can make you see… no matter how much planning you do, you won't find what you expect to find. I certainly didn't expect to find myself in my mother's apartment, her dead body on the floor talking to me, calling me a monster." He pauses for a moment both to allow this to sink in, and to let the memory pass. It was too unsettling the first time, and he doesn't want to relive it. This is something even Elle doesn't know happened to him. "They didn't even know we were coming. Who knows what else they have?"

"You need to take care of yourself," Peter says, hearing the bitterness in her voice and withdrawing some. There's a lot more going on than they know, and it's having quite an affect on him. And the more Gabriel says, the worse it gets. He rubs his hands over his face. "I don't know. I'll figure something out." He can't stand by and do nothing, though. That's just not who he is. They killed Bob, they have Claire hostage, they're making his brother into a monster and who knows what they're doing to Niki. "You two are ones to talk. You didn't tell me before you went in." He says with a hint of frustration in his voice, before he shakes his head. He knows why they didn't. The same reason why he doesn't necessarily want anyone else in on it either. "Just get better, Elle," he says, moving to walk toward the door. He may not even make it that far, though.

He's tempting her temper with a remark like that, but the blonde manages to bite her tongue, instead remaining silent until his little command. Her eyes are on the box of toys, from which she draws a locket which doesn't belong with the other objects, toying with the chain in her palm. 'Get better' can mean a lot of things, particularly when laid up with a broken leg while mourning the death of your father, and Elle is going to venture a guess that Peter means both the physical and emotional kind of 'better.' While Gabriel's description of his encounter with Maury is weighing on her mind, her attention is on Peter. She makes no move to stop him, tracking his movement, driving most of the rueful intonation out of her voice before speaking again. Quietly, she says, "Working on it."

"And we paid for that, too!" Gabriel says, standing from his chair so he can move after Peter. They may have not told Peter they were going to go, but it doesn't change anything now. "You can't always do everything by yourself, Peter. You should know that by now. There were two of us when Elle and I went to Pinehearst." He stops at the end of the couch near Elle, watching Peter as he crosses his arms. "What do you think will happen when it's just you?"

"I know that," Peter says, turning to look at Gabriel. Something about this conversation is, once again, really angering him. "I never said I was going to do it by myself." He's about to say more, when his eyes fall on the locket. It's something he honestly never expected to see again. No wonder Bob couldn't return it. The other Elle had it. Some of the anger drains away, and he looks at it for a long moment. A simple silver locket with a unicorn on it. Which he bought her because of the fact she drew unicorns in the margins of the book she gave him. A book from her childhood. His voice softens, "I didn't think you still…" he trails off, shaking his head. "Look, I'm not going to go by myself, okay? But I'm not taking anyone else in there until I know what's going on, either."

Gabriel's outburst warrants a warning look from Elle, though she says nothing to stop him. She tenses, however, and watches him with a frown as he trails after Peter. This isn't the way to send Peter off, particularly when he'll undoubtedly put his life at risk before they see him again. She'd rather not have another 'final memory' be as angry and resentful as the one she shared with her father on the phone. Ultimately, it's Peter's half-remark about the locket that pulls her back. "Took it to the Dominican with me," Elle replies, closing her hand over the locket and turning her eyes back to him. "I've had it the entire time." Venturing a slight smile, she says, "Just be safe. I know you're probably sick of hearing it, but I could use some good news, not more bad."

At Peter's outburst, Gabriel backs off, taking a step backwards and watching him. He shakes his head slightly, extending a hand in a peace offering, but he thinks better of it as he backs away further. "Just… be careful, Peter," he says, turning away from him to look at Elle. He then heads into the kitchen, staring at the tea kettle on the table as he thinks to himself.

The locket has a certain meaning to him, which maybe she alone knows of. "I— thought you lost it," Peter says softly, looking at it for a long moment before letting his eyes pull away again. That might be a better memory than anger, at least. "I'll be careful," he says, to the both of them. Instead of going out the door, though, he closes his eyes and moves to vanish.

In the instant before he vanishes, Elle looks to Peter with a smile; though there's a tinge of concern, there is far more warmth in it than otherwise. When he's gone, her eyes drop to the locket in her hands, and she turns it over several times, lost in thought. "I think I'm ready for 'normal' now," she admits, raising her voice just enough that Gabriel can hear, knowing that he would hear her anyway.

"Keep us updated," Gabriel calls from the kitchen, staring at the tea kettle. He doesn't say anything else, and there's nothing else he can say. Grabbing his cell phone from the kitchen counter, Gabriel slides it into his pocket, turning away from the kitchen and heading into the living room. With Peter gone, he sits down on the couch next to Elle, taking care not to disturb her carefully balanced leg. "How do you propose that?"

There isn't an easy way for Elle to answer that question. The truth is, she has no idea what normal even means. She's never had normal to know what it ought to be - she only knows that it's something that she's missing, and has been for her entire life. Though right about now, she'd even like to go back to the 'normal' life she was leading a year ago, sometimes.

When he's sitting beside her, Elle slips her arm beneath his and laces their fingers together, tipping her head against his shoulder. She isn't tired, her eyes downcast but open; her gaze is distant as she stares at the book on the table, lost in her thoughts. This is about as close to normal as it gets, for Elle Bishop.

After his question, Gabriel falls silent, and when Elle doesn't do anything but put her head on his shoulder he has no reason to say anything new. He sits for a long moment, before finally using telekinesis to lift his watch and tools over to him, setting them in his lap as he tinkers on the inner workings of the watch.


Later that night…

With Elle fast asleep, Gabriel sneaks into the kitchen in the middle of the night, sliding his cell phone from his pocket as he does. Being able to walk without footsteps, plus being invisible makes it easy for him to avoid waking her. Stepping further into the kitchen, he flips open the cover on the phone, the soft glow of the display reflecting off of the cabinets. He punches in a series of numbers, and holding the ear to his phone, he speaks when he hears a click on the other end. "We need to talk."

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