2007-11-05: Circle Of Friends

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: A rare argument between friends ensues.

Date It Happened: November 5th, 2007

Circle Of Friends


Outside of the Petrelli Mansion, New York

The phone call from Gene had been surprising, considering it's rare that Gene actually calls someone, even his own friends. But with Elena being as sick as she was, and that she hadn't seen him in a while, she tells him where she's staying - at the Petrelli mansion, a place that Gene has been to before. She also, after a pause, asks him to bring her some Starbucks hot chocolate and that she'd pay him back when she got there. She was craving, but it's not like she could go out and get some.

She's broken quarantine several times - but she had always been careful. Never without something to cover her mouth, and gloves, and the rest of her body. She preferred pants these days, boots, long-sleeved shirts and thick jackets that she tosses in the wash to clear the germs almost every day. She barely remembers how much detergent she's used already in the last few weeks, but them's the breaks.

Whenever Gene pulls up on the driveway, she's waiting for him at the front steps. She can't invite him in - the house was already contaminated. But they can roam around the yard, and take a walk. Autumn colors had overtaken the garden, and the sun was at just the right height outside, not quite sinking in the horizon yet and causing the colors to look more vibrant in their reds and oranges and golds. It's not all that cold, but she's bundled up as if she was.

Whenever she sees him, she smiles, and lifts a thick, gloved hand to wave.

Gene was not thrilled about the idea of coming to the Petrelli Manor. While he was more than willing to risk infection going to 'Bat Labs', only personal request by Elena was enough to cause Gene to come down. Within half an hour or so, the young inventor makes his way toward the manor, his passenger seat holding the requested offering: Elena's order from Starbucks.

Dressed in a simple black shirt with Vador's face on the front with the words 'Yessssss, give me your hate' underneath, Gene slips on his peacoat once he gets out of the car. While the car was nice and heated, the cool fall air is far less forgiving. Stretching out his legs from what must have been some time in the car, Gene moves his jean-clad legs toward Elena. He gives a small wave in return. "Hey, how's it going?" he asks with a weak smile.

She's paler than he had seen her last, her eyes perpetually bloodshot and the weight loss had made her cheekbones look all the more pronounced. It was as if Life had been draining away slowly, but surely. But her dark eyes are bright, and alert as always. Maybe the virus will hit that last. "Hey, Gene," Elena says, her voice a little low from the illness, a little hoarse. "I'd hug you but I don't want to risk it. And it's as well as can be expected," she tells him. "I…don't really want to invite you into Sick Space, but I figured it's a nice afternoon, we can take a walk around the gardens."

She gestures for him to join her, falling a companionable distance from him as she moves. Half her face is buried in a thick scarf, but little puffs of mist eminate from it while she breathes. "How are you doing these days? I haven't seen you since you dropped in on Evelyn in Bat Country."

"You know I really don't think it's a good idea for you to be out of the labs like this. Considering we don't know the nature of this virus, we don't know how quickly it could mutate." While Gene isn't exactly a master of viruses and all they do, he's watched enough movies to know what might be possible. "Either way, here is your drink."

With his offering given, Gene shoves his gloveless hands into the side pockets of the coat to seek escape from the cold. He's silent for a few seconds after Elena asks about him, but he shrugs with a weak smile. "Been thinking about a few things here and there, finishing up a few projects. Peter wanted me to help him fight Sylar, so I've been trying to work on a couple of inventions to help him. Sooner or later, I'll have to talk to him to check some things out." Gene always looks ahead as he speaks or to the side, never to Elena herself.

"We do," Elena says after a pause, looking off to the side. "It's not airborne. And I don't think it's passed readily by tactile contact either. All these layers are a precaution. I don't want to accidentally infect you." There is a pause, and she looks at him. "Gene…remember that incident I told you about? In Mount Sinai? The reason why I asked you to hack into their database and grab the infected woman's records off the grid? It's this. What she had. Well…sort of." She takes the hot chocolate from him. "Thanks," she murmurs softly, and takes a quiet sip. "The doctors tested us for a hantavirus, so they missed this. What we contracted back then…it's a dormant strain. Effects didn't manifest until a couple of months ago when Peter came back from the future. When people started examining the virus…Cass and her colleagues…they found that something made the dormant strain active. Somehow some…other contagion, something else was introduced to us…me, Peter, Nathan, Evelyn…that made it active. That made it mutate or something. But that's what we have now."

She sighs quietly. "We were told…this was a third version of a deadly virus this…this Company discovered a while back. The first version was deadly. The second version robs people of their abilities. The third strain…what we have…it's both, I guess. The doctors found another person who was part of the Sinai quarantine who got it…he's dead. But he's not like us. It looks like it affects us a little slower than it affects other normal human beings. With them it's faster."

With the explanation given, she looks over at Gene. There's a brief flash of something over her face when he mentions Peter, but it's unreadable. It's neither happy, nor sad. Just something. She pays attention to her drink. "That's…so what are you working on? …if…I can ask of course." She gives him a slight smile, albeit hidden behind her scarf. "I know you sometimes like to keep your projects under wraps."

"…So it affects humans quicker and with a higher fatality rate?" There is a long pause that Gene has before he sighs. "I didn't know the strain was lethal." There is a short pause as he continues on walk on, glancing about. He doesn't answer the question about his own work, perhaps distracted, or just evading the question in his own slightly dysfunction way. "…I take it you've been working on researching this thing, or has that mostly been Cass's work?"

"That was….what Cass's father told me. Cass's father is a doctor. He works for said company so he'd be more familiar with it. But even he doesn't know much about it. They're trying to research it further, see if they can develop a cure." She rubs her eyes, and Elena takes a quiet sip of her hot chocolate before she continues walking around the yard with him. "Potentially. We don't know yet." She's hopeful, but… "We're getting weaker. And it's starting to affect our abilities. It's not going away, not without help. I talked about a couple more theories with Dr. Applebaum….she's help Cass too. But that's all I have. Theories. I've…been pretty ineffectual regarding this whole thing save for that."

Another long pause. Gene's face twists into emotions as he looks away with his head slightly cocked to the side. Once he begins to speak though, he stops walking. He seems to be staring at a bush, but it's really not that interesting, so he clearly must be distracted. "I guess all that's left to do for you is just wait here with Peter and hope that Cass, her father and Dr. Applebaum for the cure."

"And another one. He's helping with this too, though I haven't heard from him yet. I've only talked to Cass, Dr. Aldric, and Sam…er. Doctor Applebaum about it." Elena finishes her hot chocolate, but she doesn't discard the cup in the yard. She sticks it in her pocket, and her hands follow. Watching Gene for a moment, she speaks up again. "…how are you?" she asks. "…I didn't really….I'm sorry I didn't want to dwell on this while you're here. I haven't seen you in so long."

"Been better," Gene states as he glances toward Elena's gaze. There seems something a little off in Gene's look, a defiance that wasn't there a couple moments ago. His tone has the tiniest hint of venom in it. "Puked up a bit, but I'm getting used to it from now. Seems like I'll be needing to get used it to for awhile longer," he says, the corner of his eyes watering just a bit.

Just because her body was weakening doesn't mean that her mind was. Elena watches him for a moment, and then she shakes her head. She leans against a tree. Part of her wants to hug him, much like she did when they were back at the Gomezes' country estate - but she can't. Gene has enough problems without her adding onto them further. "Gene….I promised you. There's gotta be a way for your condition too." She rubs her face. "I talked to Eric. See what experts he could find. Apparently his mom's in a lot of medical and biotech boards, so she has the contacts to find you a specialist. The best. You'll beat this. Gene."

"So, your big assist was getting Eric to tell people about my condition." Gene looks to the ground after giving his dead pan response to Elena, shaking his head in disbelief. He gives a broken chuckle, but it's the sort given at morbid irony or grim humor. Gene looks up, giving a grin while having truly saddened eyes. It's clear he has no idea how to take this, but it's clear he is not amused with the news.

While his tone is upset, he never stops looking at the ground. It's easier for him to be angry when he doesn't have to look the person in the eye. "Did you ask me if you could just give that information out to people I didn't have a clue about? I thought you and Cass were going to look into it. Cass is busy trying to save the world, I can respect that Needs of many out weigh the needs of few. I build stuff on that principal." What does he mean by that? Perhaps the world may never know. It would likely be better that way. "But what do you do? Pawn it off on a contact of a friend's family member while you go shack up at the Petrellis… I guess if I want to cure this, I'll have to do it on my own." With that, Gene turns to go, clearly prepared to try and figure out how the heck he can do this. Not like he can build an anti-tumor machine, as nice as that would be.

"Eric didn't tell anyone about your condition," Elena corrects after the sudden wave of anger fades off, at the very least vocally. "He just started asking around about specialists. Who was who. The best in their fields. He was going to get me a list of contacts, people we could talk to, so I could show them to you and we could talk about it more. He hasn't gotten it back to me yet." She rubs her face. "I'm 19, Gene. I'm still in school. I'm pre-med. Cass dropped out of medical school. We're both pretty smart but even you told me yourself you preferred to see a professional, and I thought that was a smart idea because we are going to need help on this and we'd need to figure out who we could trust with this first."

She sweeps a hand to the side. "I'm only here because I told you that Cass planned on leaving for Texas to look for Cara Hayes the last time we spoke, and she did. So we moved here so the afflicted could stay together so we would have enough space so we wouldn't kill each other given we were going to be stuck with one another for long periods of time. I did not pawn anything off, Gene."

She looks away after that. "I don't have the connections Eric does," she tells him stiffly. "If he could get me the names of the best because I didn't want anything less for you, I had to ask him. He's your friend too, Gene. He wants to help and he's frustrated that he can't do anything except use his money."

"We don't know how long I've had this thing. And here I am two months after you told me and I-dunno-how-many months after you found out with literally NOTHING other than you telling me you sent Eric looking for some people. We find out about this super virus a month or so ago and we already have people in Texas looking this up. So pardon me if seem a little unhappy about the progress," Gene's fists tighten within the coat, but he doesn't withdrawal them for the time being. As he goes on, Gene seems only to get madder with the proceedings. "I let it slide for awhile and it's gotten me the same thing I expected it would. Ignored."

"You're entitled to be unhappy, but I didn't want you thinking that I just broadcasted the fact that you're terminal to a bunch of people I don't know and that you've never met," Elena points out. Despite the legendary Gomez temper, there's no strength in her words. She was still arguing, of course, because that was the way she was. But there's no heat behind them. She's too weak for anything stronger than explaining herself. "If that's how you feel, I'm sorry. I should've looked at other avenues instead of just relying on one person to get me that list. I didn't want….I wanted to go to someone I trust and not just…call or approach random strangers about your problem. Gene…if you were getting mad about this, why didn't you call me before? I'd rather you tell me that the lack of progress was bothering you instead of bottling it all in and have it explode like this."

"If I got mad about it a month ago, it would have been unreasonable." As usual, logic and reasoning goes behind everything Gene tries to feel. "And I wanted to wait until the right time. Having this discussing right after you getting the virus or the death of Nadia wasn't fair. Part of me still didn't feel right in talking about it but if I didn't-" Gene shakes his head, deciding not to finish it his thought as he pulls his hands out in order to fold his arms as he looks toward Elena. "As for what to do, how about just telling me what you do when you do it. It's my sickness, yet I don't know what you're trying to do. I'll talk to Eric, see if he's gotten any leads," Gene decides, frustration still evident in his tone. What or who is directed toward? That's the harder question to determine.

"Maybe, but it would've also been understandable," Elena points out. "You're….you're not exactly in the best of shape. You're depending on your friends to get you the help you need. Even if you got mad I would've understood. Being in your position isn't easy." She shrugs. "Probably would've yelled back, but. Yeah." She shakes her head. "I'm not a wilting flower, Gene," she tells him firmly. "I'm….I'm glad you're being considerate. You're right in that the last couple of weeks have been difficult for me. But I made you a promise too, on top of everything else I'd feel worse if I didn't keep it or did my best to keep it. Sometimes I need a swift kick in the ass too, you know?" She looks away. "As much as it sucks to my pride, you're entitled to tell me to try harder. So alright. If I do something about your illness I'll tell you, so long as you don't pull back on me especially about this. No matter what state I'm in. I can deal, I promise you."

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