2009-12-06: Cold Shoulder



Date: December 6, 2009


Some questions are better left unanswered. And some answers are better left unattempted.

"Cold Shoulder"

Future Peter's Apartment

Without much in the way of decorations, there's only so much for a young man to do while he sits and waits. Lucky for him, a book he was thinking about from his other apartment decided to just appear in his hands just when he needed something else to do besides watch the sleeping blonde woman. Peter may dislike the randomness of his ability right now, but he does like it when it brings him something he needs. The book in hand, he read quietly for a time, before shifting his eyes back up to watch her. He's glad he was able to rescue her from what was happening to her, but the more he watches her, the more he wishes he could have protected her from it in the first place.

Tracy has been dead to the world. Her sleep has been so deep and necessary for her body (if not her mind) to recover that she's barely stirred for hours, not waking up once and showing no signs of doing so any time soon. She did move onto her side at some point, her head resting almost serenely on her hands. However, now, as Peter sits and reads his magically appearing book, the woman's features — previously so neutral in sleep — start to tense, her brow knitting, a frown marring her peace. She makes a soft sound of discontent and starts to stir before seeming to fall back into full sleep.

The momentary disturbance in her sleep is the only warning before a sheet of cold and ice begins to spread all around her: the sheets, the blankets, the pillows she lays on, freezing them. Frost even creeps up the wall behind her and a chill takes over the air. Even Tracy turns very faintly blue but she sleeps on, the freezing escaping her like it's on a mission of its own.

That's not good. Peter hears the crinkling of growing ice sheets before he looks up to see it. Nothing of the sort has any place in his short memory, but something flashes to mind, something said by others, about why Tracy was considered suspect. It didn't make much sense at the time, but it does now. Ice. She's freezing his apartment. In a way, it's the opposite of his own worries when he looks down at his hands. They could heat and burn and destroy the whole city with fire and explosive force. There's that poem about dying by ice and fire. The poem chose fire over ice, and for a moment, he thinks he'd have to agree.

Standing up quickly, he hesitates about getting close, after seeing what he's seen, but then he does anyway, stepping closer. Perhaps brave, perhaps foolhardy, he calls out. "Tracy? Wake up! You're— You need to wake up." At least he's not foolhardy enough to reach out and try to shake her, even if his hand hovers close by.

The shout wakes her up more than the ice; it's a good thing she does wake up, as she's not only freezing the bed and everything surrounding it but herself. Tracy comes to slowly, at first unaware of what's going on; realization hits fast, however, and with it comes alarm. "Ah!" Panic is counterproductive, given the surge of adrenaline it gives the icy takeover, ad for a second, the ice hardens even more. The pillow beside her splits like a rock. She sits up fast, half-trapped under a stiffened blanket at the waist, and stares at Peter in surprise — and fear. She holds her hands out, trying to calm down, her brow knitting together. Slowly, the cracks and groans of freezing stop and more colour comes to her skin, though she's still pale from the escapades the night before. It's going to take awhile for the rest to thaw out.

Of all the ways to wake up. Peter had no idea what she was capable of, but now he has an idea, slight as it may be. A dangerous idea. His hands pull back, out of self-concern for the moment. Probably a good thing to have right now, but he looks at the bed, and then back at the woman. "Um. Bad dreams?" he finally asks, giving her a sheepish look. "I— I didn't know you could do something like that. Are you okay? Do you— do you need a few minutes?" He'd not undressed her when he put her to bed, nor did he bathe her. But she likely froze the sticky off of her, by this point… "There's a shower if you need one, too."

Tracy tests the edge of the blanket and finds it a bit resistant, but shoves it back anyway with a crackling of half-frozen threads. "A bad dream. Yeah, my life," she answers bitterly as she swings her legs over the side of the bed, opposite Peter; soon, her back is to him. She does take a moment, resting her head in one hand. She gestures with that very same hand as she adds, "I'm fine, I just— God, now I don't even know if I can sleep without risking a frozen wasteland. What if there'd been someone there." Spectacular start to the day. She sits up straight to look around the room for the first time and leans down to scoop up the bag she brought with her. "A shower'd be great. The last thing I remember … is being in the sky."

"You're just— not quite yourself. A lot's happened and things are different suddenly. It'll take a while to get ahold of it, I think," Peter says, well aware of his own power fumbles in the past and present. Though he doesn't know just how many he's had in the past. Does he have to worry about freezing her now too? Maybe he does… but he'll hope not. "You're safe here. And don't worry about destroying anything…" There's a pause. She's been here before, hasn't she? How does he ask that… "You were asleep when I landed here. You must have been exhausted."

Tracy pulls the bag up on the bed, resting an arm on it while she looks over her shoulder at Peter. "This was happening before… last night," she admits, a particular heaviness weighing on the last words. Last night. "Just not while I was asleep." Her subconscious must really have it out for the world. The worry in her gaze belies the fact that she could explain more, but it doesn't happen. Instead, she gets to her feet, taking the bag of belongings with her while she drifts to the window to look out, realizing she has no idea where she is — confusion that Peter doesn't get to see, since her back is turned. The view clarifies their location some. "We're in New York," she announces her realization. Craning her neck to see more of the buildings, she guesses: "Upper West Side, right? Central Park West. This view— it looks familiar." For reasons other than what Peter thinks.

"I— it's an apartment in the Deveaux building, just off on Central Park," Peter explains after a moment of looking down. "I used to work here three years ago, I was the nurse for the man who owned the building and lived in the penthouse. I— guess I had an apartment in here for a while in the time I forgot," he says, still avoiding eye contact. The visions seem so much like memories, but the way she looks at him isn't the same… What if they're future visions instead of memories? Of course that very idea makes him turn away and avoid looking at her at all. "I found the key in my other apartment and… I found this place a bit after. I didn't find any paperwork on it, and it seems I paid in cash. So I figured it was a good place to stay. I don't think anyone knows about it." Except a select few.

"Hm," Tracy says thoughtfully — albeit distractedly in the same breath — as she nudges a curtain aside further and continues to look out on the city. "I lived here over a year ago, when I was going back and forth from Washington. I didn't stay though," she says distantly. Not helping, Tracy, not helping. She turns around, studying Peter for a second; there always seems to be something skeptical in the way she looks at him, guarded. There are things about his past she knows that he doesn't, despite barely knowing anything else about the guy. "…I'm gonna take a shower." Tracy has a lot on her mind, including a headache; she holds a hand to her head as she abandons the Deveaux building's view and whisks toward the bathroom. She hones in on it precisely because she could see it, it's so close-by.

"All right," Peter says, not looking at her still, and focusing his attention on the formerly frozen bed. It's going to need to be changed, at least, and he'll need to make sure it's not going to crumble when someone sits on it. "I'll… change the sheets. So you can stay here a while longer if you need to." There's not much in the apartment, but it has sheets, and some clothes. Clothes that fit him, but seem unfamiliar. He goes about the task of checking the bed and changing the sheets and pillows around, setting aside what needs to be thrown away, if anything.

Eventually — and it is an eventually, she takes her time — Tracy emerges looking much more like herself, a little more immaculate in a teal cashmere v-neck and a pair of white pants. The pearls she's normally wearing are missing. Her hair isn't even wet, blown dry and pulled back into a slender, elegant ponytail. She's running her hand through it when she steps back into the bedroom proper. The first thing she says is: "I broke your shower." He did say she didn't have to worry about destroying anything, but she winces through a small smile all the same. Besides which, a shower is kind of good to have. "Sorry. I've just been having… a hard time with my power ever since— "

By the time she gets back out, the bed has been made again, sheets and comforter and pillows replaced. With the only other color he had. Black. Apparently he liked black back when he lived here… "I went through that, too," Peter says, though honestly he doesn't know how he stopped having a hard time with it. "It's okay, about the shower. Though if you plan to stay here a few days that might be more of an inconvience for you." Considering she'd be the one using the shower. "Do you want to talk about it? What— what happened to make your power do that?"

Good question. Tracy gives Peter another one of those cagey glances; maybe she shouldn't, after everything he went through to get her here, but…

She moves as far as the bed, sitting down on the very end on a corner atop the black sheets. "I… was captured, and they chained me up in a heated room so that I couldn't use it. Day and night, I kept trying to freeze my way out, but obviously, you can't make ice in an oven. Ever since I got out— " Tracy's expression hardens more than it already has throughout her explanation. Ever since Ivory got her out. She pauses, glaring coldly ahead before she continues. " --It's like my power is just waiting to … break out've me. To— be free."

"Maybe… maybe you need to let it," Peter says, understanding the sensation a little better than he thought he would. Not the torture part, but the power needing to explode out of him. It took everything to keep from blowing up, that when it finally did release… things felt better. "Not here— not in the city. But maybe outside of the city where there aren't people. Or on an island somewhere. That way you can just let your power do what it wants to do and… it might be better afterwards."

"Yeah," Tracy answers quietly. "Maybe. Besides, a vacation on a tropical island doesn't sound like the worst idea I've heard all week." A hint of a half-hearted smile is flashed to Peter. She plants her hands above her knees, leaning ahead a touch as she looks at him. It's almost as though she forces the skepticism to go away for the time being. "So. What made you change your mind about Ivory?" The question is certainly poised more casually than she feels about that particular subject, which is perhaps why is sounds strained, artificial. "It looked like you were one of his biggest fans over at Building 26."

"I— think I kinda was. I don't know if it was something they did to me while I was unconscious or… what. But a few weeks ago I accidentally teleported to New York. Right into the Library," Peter explains, moving to sit down. For a second it looks like he might sit on the bed, but then he steps away and sits on the chair again. "I met the girl that was with me. She has an ability like ours. She did something that… purged what was done to me out. Most of it. And suddenly I didn't remember why I liked Ivory as much as I did. I started questioning things. I didn't think he was doing something really wrong until she told me about a friend of hers, who she did the same thing to. And how… she'd been— how something terrible had been done to her."

Something terrible. Tracy looks at Peter like she doesn't want to ask. "It's all so hard to believe. Looking back now it's like I was under a spell for the last few months." Now it's hard to comprehend and a lot harder to rationalize. More clear-headed than she was last night, everything is that much sharper. "Every time I questioned him, or … second-guessed myself, he'd say it was alright and make a joke. I'd forget why I was worried in the first place." It was comforting. Tracy looks down past her knees too the floor. "I was warned that… someone working for the Protocol might be influencing people, that it might be Ivory, but I didn't believe it. I couldn't."

"And looking back now that everything is out of your system… you know that there was something there," Peter says, looking back up at her curiously, as if that statement really should have been a question. "As soon as I found out what was going on, even if I only know part of it, I knew I had to get you out of there. That… whatever was happening to you— as soon as I saw it might not be of your own free will…" He trails off. She can fill in the rest.

Tracy looks sharply at Peter once more, her gaze cold and angry besides all the other emotions involved. "I was obsessed with him. The way I acted— " She is — coolly, under the circumstances — fighting against tears just attempting to coming to terms with it all. It's a lot to reconcile, and it's not black and white. "Until last night, I would've done anything for him. The thing is," she says through a quiet laugh, shaking her head. "If it hadn't been for Ivory, I wouldn't even be here. I'd be… in jail, or in hell in under heat lamps or… dead, probably."

"So they really are locking people up? Why didn't they treat me like that? Why— why didn't they just leave me dead?" Peter asks, reaching up to touch the back of his head. That's the best way he can figure it. He had something in his head, and once removed he came back, just like he learned he could do one of the other times he died. And one of the few times he can remember. "Maybe Ivory was… trying to change what was happening, but that's no excuse to be making women like you and Lena's friend obsessed to the point of… No one should be treated like that, but no one should be locked up like that either… We'll find a way to avoid that. I'll— I'll help you." Now he does look up at her, and that expression is a little too telling.

"You were a blank slate," Tracy states frankly. She understood the Protocol's plan for Peter before being cleaned of Ivory's influence and simply didn't tell him. "I heard some what Ivory said to you. He lied to you. You have how many abilities, Peter? You can't die. We're all weapons to them, but you're one they could use." She sees that look in his eye and studies him for a moment with a very faintly furrowing brow. She stands up to pace instead. "Part of me hates him," she says with a low and none-too-warm chuckle throughout her words, bitter. "But I'm not sure that he knows he's even responsible."

"Great," Peter says, rubbing his hands over his face. Her own angst and trauma don't go unnoticed, but the idea that they'd wanted him for a weapon is touching some rather close points. "All I want to do is help people, and all I'm ever treated like is a weapon. That's what my mother wanted me to do— destroy the city so that it could be rebuilt under a powerful leader." He hesitates a moment. "I guess it's a good thing they may not have known I'm a walking nuclear bomb."

Tracy stops her pacing to stare at Peter. Nuclear bomb. No wonder he understands her power dilemma. "…Who's to say they didn't," she suggests somewhat dismally. "Also, remind me never to meet your mother." Sighing, she walks a few paces closer to Peter's chair and folds her arms. "I think there's something more going on here besides Ivory." Which is enough in and of itself. "You lost your memory of the past couple of years. I'm missing… pieces— certain things. I thought that's what my sources said by mind control in the Protocol but Ivory's… influence is gone and I still can't remember."

"You're missing pieces of your memory too?" Peter asks, looking up at her with some understanding. And then he can't help but look around the room, at pieces of things in here that he got… memories off of. "What is it you're missing? I mean— what about it makes you know it's missing? Do you… just feel like there's something that isn't there that used to be, or do you actually recognize a… hole in your memory? Lost time? Cause I— there was— you would tell me if we knew each other… Like… really knew each other. In the time that I'm missing, wouldn't you?"

"All I know about so far has to do with… the way I was captured. My nephew. I can't be sure how far it goes." That's kind of the thing with memory loss. "When I think back, I know there has to be more." Tracy, looking down at Peter with a critical, wondering look in her eye now, shifts her arms across her chest and tilts her head slightly to one side. "We knew each other," she concurs that much with a hint of reservation and question in her tone, because as far as really knowing each other? Not so much. She gives the man another of her skeptical eyeings. "We didn't exactly leave off on the best of notes."

"We— we didn't?" Peter asks, looking a little disappointed by her observation of their previous meeting, and perhaps even the critical nature. "I'm not sure— I mean you always felt familiar. Like I'd met you before, just… briefly. And then you… you felt more familiar when I got here. When I found the apartment. I don't know. It's probably just… my imagination." He shrugs, withdrawaling a bit and avoiding eye contact. After everything she's been through, there's only so much he can manage to say about this. "So you have a nephew? He had something to do with your… capture?"

Why Peter would think she's more familiar after coming here is beyond Tracy, but let the amnesiac have his amnesiac quirks. She shrugs vaguely. "Yeah, something like that. He was targeted along with another kid." It's time to sit down again — she may be well-rested, but she's still worn out. You'd think she'd feel lighter after a detox like hers, but if that's the case, she's yet to experience the feeling. She places herself on the end of the bed a second time, putting her forehead to her palms. "I don't suppose there's something to eat here— or is the fridge as undecorated as the rest of this place?"

"There's not much, no," Peter admits, moving toward the fridge and opening it to check. "There's… water," he ends up offering, a little sheepish sounding before he turns back around. "I can go get something, though. I travel around invisible enough I can put some distance between me and here before I go visible again. There's places to get food everywhere, too. Especially around here." There's a phone call he needs to make, to Lena, as well. To warn her that they might have her image now, thanks to him. Sigh. He feels bad about that, but… he closes the fridge door and looks back. "Sorry. I never did end up stocking this place. I guess going back to my old apartment is a bad idea, if they had your room bugged."

As she sits up, dropping her hands from her face, Tracy leans slightly to watch Peter beyond the bedroom, at the fridge and gives a laugh, though it's a rather defeated sound. An unstocked, sparse apartment of Peter Petrelli's with a broken shower wouldn't have been on her first choice of hideouts, but then, she'd rather not be hiding out at all. "No need to apologize." Pause. "I should be thanking you." Since she kind of forgot to do that despite several opportunities when she perhaps should have.

Peter looks down again, smiling in a way that makes him look even younger than he acts sometimes. "You— you're welcome. I glad I was able to pull you out of there, I just wish I had somewhere better to bring you. I…" he trails off. After a few moments he looks up, directly into her eyes, to question her. It's something he's not exactly gung ho about asking, but he has to ask, "This place isn't at all familiar to you? Besides— having lived in the building, at least. Did— did you never stay here before?"

Tracy's gaze is less critical, this time, curiosity rising above. A sparse smile curves her lips, nearer to a smirk, and she stands up and strolls closer to figure out just what Peter is on about. After glancing around to snare a good look at the apartment as a whole — — almost overdramatically, to prove a point — she raises blonde brows at Peter. "Nooo…" A beat. "Seriously, why're you looking at me like that. I couldn't even tell you what floor we're on."

Either she's missing giant gaps in her own memory that she doesn't realize, or… Peter doesn't know what's really going on. "I had visions— I thought they were memories of things that happened here, but… I guess they weren't. Nevermind, it isn't important." Still, from his expression, he looks disappointed. He walks over to the closet and opens it, the one thing in the whole apartemnt with things. Apparently a lot of the same things. Coats that look just like the other. All black and long. He pulls one out and pulls it on. "I'll go get you some things to eat. Do you have anything you'd like? At least there's plenty of room in the fridge."

"Right about now, anything is fine. But hey," Tracy says in sharp demand, nearing Peter and his closet of look-a-like clothes, reaching out to grab for his upper arm before he decides to take off or literally disappear. That could happen. "Not so fast." The woman is downright suspicious, now, and she's not taking more vague allusions for an answer. This is more than an amnesia quirk. Peter can't just dangle a mysterious vision that she might be in and look disappointed and expect Tracy to drop it. …Or maybe he can, but that's not happening. Blue eyes fix on his. "Tell me what you saw."

Visions of the past, visions of the future, visions of— he's honestly not sure what. It's when she grabs his arm that he stops, the coat already on. Peter looks across at her, only slightly down at the sight of her disappointment. Vague as it may be, he's not sure he wants to tell her if she doesn't remember it. If he doesn't even understand what it is that… "I don't even know what the ability was that made me see this… and things were…" He trails off. How is he going to explain this best. He ends up reaching up with the arm she's not holding and touching her hair lightly, brushing it off her forhead. He doesn't even know if what he saw was real or not… It felt real. It still feels real. "I— I'm sorry," he adds on, before he's suddenly a lot closer, and moving in as if to kiss her.

Tracy is waiting for all of this to make sense as Peter makes the motions of touching her hair and getting closer— she stares at him wonderingly throughout. Peter has reached the point in his rambling where she's almost certain he's never going to be clear unless she forces it out of him when he apologizes. For what—

Oh. It was that kind of vision. Figured.

She's momentarily motionless, vaguely stunned, but leeeans backward before Peter makes good on all of that proximity. "Slow down, Boy Wonder." One hand stays on his arm, but it suddenly has more strength to it, as if she's more than ready to keep him at arm's length, as it were. "Look, either… that wasn't me, or…" Or the more awkward scenario of: "It hasn't happened yet."

It hasn't happened yet. Or it wasn't her. Peter closes his eyes, looking a little pained, perhaps upset with himself, and then he's suddenly pulling away, to turn and close the closet door. "I— I know there's not much in the way of entertainment. Only one book. I'll try to pick up some magazines, or a newspaper or something. Just stay safe until I get back." He's already turning invisible even before he finishes talking. He turned around so fast she wouldn't see the expression on his face for very long. The sound of footsteps can be heard heading for the door, which will unlock and open in a few moments. "Don't forget to lock this when I'm outside. I have the keys."

Shun and counter-shun. Tracy rolls her eyes once Peter turns away and shifts out of sight. She starts to say something further, maybe even to put him at ease, but stops herself short. Not only is there little to say (that wouldn't insult him), what's the point right now? If there is one, she gives up on it, simply giving her head a tired, dismissive shake and heads for the door herself. "Right." Click. Door, locked.

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