2010-01-09: Confession is Good for the Soul



Date: January 9th, 2010


One of Peter's new roommates stumbles across him while he's trying to cope with what was done. Lena does what she can to help.

"Confession is Good for the Soul"

Petrelli Safehouse

This house is not small. It's actually pretty good sized. There's four bedrooms, four full baths, and no shortage of free space. But there is a shortage of furnature. Peter just started adding furnature to a third bedroom today, claimed it as his own for the few hours he needs to sleep. A sleeping back sits against the wall, there's a clock ticking away nearby. There's noise coming from the room, though. A soft, somewhat annoying sound that makes it out into the hallway through the cracked door. A beeping sound.

It's coming from the lone piece of actual furnature he's added so far. A table, shaped so that it could function as a desk, if he had a chair to match. Instead it just has a few newspapers, files, and books. And a cellphone. Which happens to be beeping. A little red light flashes as well in the darkness.

Peter's ignoring all this from where he sits against the wall. Eyes closed, plastic gloves on his hands. A few short moments play through his mind. And the clipshow isn't stopping with one set of moments, but another mixed in as well. This one he can't even blame on Sylar's ability.

Earlier, there'd been the sound of a guitar being played from the bedroom across the hall. That stopped for a little while, thankfully; Lena is all right but she's no virtuoso and there were more than a few slurred chords due to lack of practice. After about half an hour of silence, the bedroom door is cracked open and her shaggy head pokes out into the hall. A frown has creased her forehead.

Beeping is usually not a good sound to hear.

She eases out into the hall in search of the source and comes to Peter's new room, a still-too-skinny young woman in baggy sweats and an Electric Mayhem tee. Long gloves go up past her elbow, so her hands are safely covered when she nudges the door open. "Pete? Hey, Pete? You in here, man?"

It's dark in here, which means that she doesn't immediately see the man there against the wall. That may explain why Lena's actually bold enough to step inside, casting about for…ah. There. She crosses the room and reaches for the cellphone.

The voice draws him out and forces him to look up, blinking into the darkness. It's one of his house guests, and one that…

"No, wait," Peter says as he pushes himself up from the wall, reaching out with a hand and causing the cellphone to fly across the room and straight into his hand. What if Nathan called him? To ask him if he'd done that. What if… He doesn't know what the message says, but he doesn't want her to know what he did. Even in the dark, it's obvious that something's very wrong with him. His voice was shaky, his hand and shoulder shake slightly. And there's tears in his eyes and on his cheek.

And why is he wearing gloves?

It's going to take a little while for Lena and Jade to get used to the quirks of rooming with one Peter Petrelli. Lena herself is somewhat accustomed to others' powers. But not when they're used on her in a dark room that she'd assumed was empty. Her scream is a strangled and unattractive thing as she whirls, stumbling back to collide with the table desk thing.

"Oh jesus oh jesus…Pete? That's…oh god. I just dyed my hair, please don't turn it…grey…" Breathless and shaky of hand, Lena straightens up to squint at the man through the gloom. Something is wrong. She's a sharp girl, so far as instincts go. "Hey. What happened? Are you okay?"

What can make an indestructible hero cry? She steps closer, one hand lifted as if intending to reach for his arm although she remains just outside of his personal space. Lena's face is the very picture of deep concern, even shadowed as it is. "Peter, what happened? Why are you…is your brother okay?"

The phone is moved enough to turn it off completely. It takes a moment to shut down, making a new chime, but the constant beeping has stopped. Peter shoves it down into his coat pocket, not really in his right mind to start tossing apologies around. "Nathan's fine. It isn't— Don't worry about it," he says, finally pulling those gloves off so he can rub at his face. The girl being there makes it easier not to cry, to start steeling himself again so he doesn't lose it.

If only the clock on the wall didn't seem louder.

"I think I ran into someone from Alpha Protocol. Dressed as a mime in Central Park," he says, trying to find something to talk about that has less to do with why he's upset, but still the truth. "A woman. She didn't look like the one you showed me, but— she was wearing a lot of make up. So I'm not entirely sure what she would look like without it." But his plan worked once. Maybe he'll see a face he can remember next time.

"Don't…worry about it." Riiiight. The concern is going nowhere, nor is Lena. She remains standing there, though the offered hand does slowly sink back to her side. "You're…you're crying, 'cause you ran into someone from the Protocol who was dressed as a mime?"

Really, if Lena weren't worried, she might even be hurt that he'd think so little of her intelligence.

Standing her ground, the young woman lifts her chin and sets her jaw. It's the bulldog look she was prone to, pre-capture. Rebel's talk with her earlier, about strength and heroes, has had its effect. "You can do a lot of stuff, Pete, but you're shit at lying. If you don't want to tell me, just say so. But don't tell me not to worry, okay? It's like…only the power I was born with," she informs him. There's a pause, and then Lena adds, "Oh yeah, and you have to tell me anyway. So forget I said that part What's going on?"

To prove she means it, she then folds her arms and resumes standing there.

It's not so much that he thought she'd buy it, Peter just hoped she would allow it to pass. Because the alternative would be forcing him to talk about something he doesn't want to talk about. He hadn't answered his phone for a reason. It was family on the other end. Either his brother, or his mom. And either one could easily have suspected it was him that caused…

He closes his eyes and backs away, moving toward the wall again. The shaking of his head would be a sign of denial. Telling her is the last thing he wants to do. If she's not going to move, he'll move, away.

"There's nothing- nothing that can be done about this. It's done and… I hope that everyone will be a little safer now."

Lena would be very, very confused but for that last statement. I hope that everyone will be a little safer right now. It's so…final. Peter doesn't need to explain to her that he'd done something. That statement, combined with the air of depression, tells her everything. And then she does move. This is deja vu all over again, a replaying of the moments following Tiago's confession of murder. She steps closer, and the hand that had hovered well clear of his arm now truly does reach to contact Peter's shoulder.

"Hey…hey, Pete. Shhh. I'm here," Lena says quietly, falling without conscious thought into a softer tone of voice. It's the tone her mother used, when she was a girl, although she wouldn't recognize it. "Don't go inside. Okay? Don't go inside, I did that…I did that and you got me out, remember?"

If the hand isn't shaken off, it continues over his shoulders to his back where, as moms would with a fussing baby, it begins a slow and reassuring circling. "You don't have to tell me. Just don't go away. Please?" The stress of her own abandonment issues comes through, thin and faint in her voice, more clearly in her anxious, concerned thoughts.

"I— I don't…" Peter trails off, shaking his head a bit, but not pulling away from the hand on his shoulder anymore, at the very least. It might be comforting. Either way it's good at stalling him. When the tears try to come back, he bites them back and moves closer instead of further away, arms coming up to hug her and pull her against him.

And him against her. This time, he's the one who needs someone to cling to. No, he doesn't want to say what happened. How he did it. Why he did it.

But he knows he doesn't have to.

And as soon as she sees the news, with the Secretary of Homeland Security dying unexpectedly at the age of fifty of a sudden stroke…

Well, it won't take much to put two and two together.

The Petrelli-style ambush hugging, Lena's getting used to that too. And, to her credit, she only stiffens a little before rearranging her own arms to complete the embrace. There isn't much to her right now but it's enough to cling to. When her chin hooks over his shoulder, he'd hear what she says next in both ear and mind.

"Shhh, Pete. If you need to cry, you just fuckin' do it. I'm not gonna tell anyone and I'm not gonna think bad of you," Lena goes on quietly. Her troubled eyes scrunch shut. "Not ever."

It's a shot in the dark but that's all she can think of that might cause this man, in particular, to hide in a dark room crying. He did something. He thinks he did something bad. Oh, Pete. It'll be okay.

"It'll be okay, I promise. Whatever happened, Pete. Whatever happened, I swear to God, the real one, I'm not gonna think bad of you."

Peter knows there's always more to do. Always more to fix, always more people to help. He wants to go off and do things, find some way to keep busy, to help until he just can't think of anything else. Especially not the thing he's trying to avoid thinking of. But there's a young woman standing there, who wants to help him the same way he helped her. And that seems to anchor him in place. "I did it to protect you— to protect people like us…" He says, rubbing at his face. He needed to do something.

Something bigger than just waiting for AP agents to find him and pop him with a needle. More than collecting people who needed a place to stay. Something that could help all of them.

"The— the Secretary of Homeland Security— she's dead. She was most likely… the current leader of Alpha Protocol. She was dangerous." He can't exactly explain why, how she was one of them, with an ability to erase memories, and possibly more. That possibly more wasn't enough to stop him from making her body turn against her.

"I killed her."

"You…" Lena is careful to move slowly, so it doesn't appear to be either withdrawal or rejection, but she does pull back just enough to allow her to study Peter's face. Her eyebrows are up, the eyes beneath them wide and surprised, hurting. But that's for him, not for her. "Oh god. Pete."

That sense of deja vu is only growing stronger.

An arm slips away from him, but only so Lena can turn and urge him towards the bed. "Sit down, okay? Sit. Just…just sit and take a deep breath. And…" And what? God, you suck. "If she was in charge of those assholes then…it's…oh jesus, Pete."

Whether Peter sits or not, Lena certainly will. She flops down on the edge of the mattress and briefly sets her face in her hands, rubbing briskly in an attempt to clear her thoughts. "Do you…do you think it will stop them? That's…it's what Chi wanted to do. Kill them. At the top. Stop them, that way. What if it…"

The bed that happens to be on the floor. But it functions much the same. It's where people can sleep. Peter moves after her, not really able to fight right now, and sinking onto the down feather stuffed comforter on top of the matress. It's warm. If only he had a real bed frame to go with it. It's the function, not the appearance at this moment. "It won't stop them… not completely," he admits, wincing. If it was easy to end it that way…

His voice is still unsteady, but he's trying his best to get the words out, to not cry, despite her assurances. "I made it look natural. Hopefully they won't tie it to abilities— they'll just assume she… died." Sudden anerism. Blood clot in the brain. A stroke. It happens, suddenly and without warning. It does happen…

"But- with her gone, it will make things safer for… for Nathan. She was a threat to him. Something that could keep him from taking them down from the inside." Which he wasn't supposed to tell anyone, but- he can't help it. Once he started talking…

Lena gets a handle on her own fear and paranoia long enough to slide her arm around his back again. Having more rest lately has helped with that. And Peter is the reason she's been able to enjoy the occasional nightmare-free night. The fussy-baby rubbing resumes as he speaks.

But when he's finished…

"Did Nathan ask you to do that for him?" Lena asks, mouth turning down at the corners. She's only met the Senator once and what she saw of him then certainly didn't strike her as impressive. Certainly not at the infiltrate and destroy level. "No…wait. Don't answer that. I'm sorry, Pete, it's just…god. You gotta feel…" Like a murderer.

Lena pulls herself together, breathing out slowly before turning her head to study Peter's profile. "You made it quick. Right? And you're…it's not like you're planning on…on running in there and…and killing everyone else. One person. So they can get taken down inside, without anyone else getting hurt. But…but you gotta live with doing it. Someone's gone 'cause of you. I…I know what that's like."

Did Nathan ask him to? Peter closes his eyes and leans against her a little more than before. That could be the answer to that question. He'd not specified murder, but he wanted his brother to take care of it. He decided the method. Kidnapping would provoke Alpha Protocol and put public attention on terrorist activities. Any kind of ability use to lock her down could have been discovered. A quick, sudden death from seemingly natural causes… that was the safest route.

It was the only route he could think of. He just hates that he saw it as such. And that he did it.

"I know… it's just one person. A person who knew what Alpha Protocol was doing— to her own kind. She had an ability, and she let this happen. She… helped cause this." A traitor to their kind. A traitor to herself. Exposing her was an option. Nathan mentioned it. But it would just make them more suspicious of Evolved in their midsts. For it to work… it would further tarnish them in their eyes.

"Will you- will you stay with me tonight? Just so I'm not…" Alone.

"You did what you thought you had to do. What you thought was right. If it turns out it was the right thing…" Well, Lena knows all too well that he's probably going to continue to struggle with that guilt anyway. And if it was the wrong thing?

That makes finding an answer to that question very, very easy. "Yeah. Yeah, of course, Pete."

The gloved arm tucked around him draws snug, holding the man against her side for a moment before Lena straightens up. She reaches back, pulling that fluffy comforter down so that Peter can crawl under. "Cmon, lay down. You…you need me to…to help you sleep, maybe? I can…I can do that too." Kind of. She can relax him, anyway. "I'm not gonna leave, okay? I'm like a vampire. You invited me in, you're kinda stuck with me. And the couch is kinda lumpy anyway."

"Even if it was the right thing, it still doesn't justify it," Peter says thickly, closing his eyes as he lowers down onto the comforter. He's still fully dressed, including shoes. At least he didn't wear a coat. He didn't plan on going outside. It was an in and out, touch and go mission. And he murdered someone with just that. A touch.

If anyone could understand, it might be the young woman he's laying down with. Just to rest. Sometimes having a warm body nearby makes sleeping easier. "Stuck with you- Well, you get to stay here tonight. I don't snore."

He just occassionally wakes up with fits of bad dreams of the future… but that's pretty rare. "I- if you can help, I wouldn't say no, but just being here is enough."

"No. It doesn't. But you wouldn't give a shit if you weren't still a good person, Pete."

If Lena were truly the maternal sort, she'd think to help him get those shoes off, or tuck the blanket neatly up under his chin. But she's not. She's careful at least about stretching out beside him but the comforter *whuffs* as it's flopped over both of them. And the shoes stay on.

Her hands fold under her cheek as she resumes studying Peter's expression. "I don't care if you snore and I wanna help," she promises. "Okay. Just take a deep breath, and…"

Lena pushes herself up and tips in to press her lips to Peter's forehead. It tingles, warm and soft, a wave of mellow relaxation moving through the man's body. Through his mind. And she holds there, long enough to be certain that he's received enough to allow for sleep, before sinking down to settle beneath the comforter again.

"Sleep, Pete. It's okay, now. Just sleep."

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