2008-01-25: Coping Strategies

Starring:

Elle_icon.gif Gabriel_icon.gif

Summary: Returning to Peter's apartment after her phone call to Niel, Elle tries to cope with the possibility that her father's life is in danger. It doesn't go well.

Date It Happened: January 25th, 2008

Coping Strategies


Peter Petrelli's Apartment, NYC

With Elle out making her phone call, this has left Gabriel and Snowy to their own devices back at the apartment. He hasn't done much besides put some food and water out for the dog, and stare at the TV while she was eating. His concern for Elle has been growing by the minute, hoping and waiting for her to come back rather than dash off to do something drastic. He can't say he wouldn't do something similar were he in her position, but considering the Company and everything that has happened lately, who knows what could happen.

Snowy comes traipsing back into the living area, parking herself right in front of Gabriel. The man shifts his eyes from the TV down to her, but she doesn't do anything. For now, the two of them sit, staring at each other, neither of them making a move as they both wait for Elle to return. Hopefully she will soon.

When a key finally turns in the lock, it's likely been longer than Gabriel anticipated the call would make, maybe even long enough to make him think that Elle had run off to break her promise. She doesn't say a word as she steps inside, her keys and gloves dropped unceremoniously on the kitchen table. When her coat and scarf have been draped over the back of a chair, she pulls off her boots, leaving them by the door. Without a word - without even a glance in the direction of Gabriel or the dog - Elle drops into the armchair, pulling her feet up onto the cushion with her, wrapping her arms around her bent legs.

At the sound of the key in the lock, both Gabriel and Snowy turn their attention to the door, Gabriel picking himself up from the couch to head in that direction. He watches Elle in silence as she takes off her coat, scarf, and boots, and it's only when she finally settles in the chair that he speaks up. "What happened?" he says, moving to the back of the chair, looking down at the top of her head as he speaks.

"I don't know." Oh, she hates those words. She hates saying them even more than she hates hearing them - and she's had to say them all too many times lately. Elle doesn't tip her head back to meet his gaze as she speaks, at least not yet. She'll stay just like this, thank you. "Got a hold of someone in the building. He wasn't in his office."

As he speaks, Gabriel's hands find their way to her shoulders, gripping each one tightly, but not to a point where it's painful. "Was there any…" Blood? He doesn't want to use that word, not when she must be freaking out with her father gone, so he says something else. "… evidence that he had been hurt?"

When his hands settle onto her shoulders, Elle slowly closes her eyes, letting out a breath. She might seem more relaxed than when she left, but this calm came at the expense of several streetlamps along the way, and it's a thin facade that could crack at any moment. He's wise to walk on eggshells, at least for now. "No," she says, her voice betraying some of her frustration. "But the phone was off the hook." Meaning he left in a hurry - or was removed by force.

The news is unsettling to Gabriel, a frown taking over his features as he considers it. It could be good, it could be bad. He moves around the chair, removing his hands from Elle's shoulder so he can take one of her hands in his, giving it a soft squeeze as he sits on the end of the couch near the chair, trying to will her to look at him. "Then we don't know for sure that he's hurt," he says. Probably not the best thing to say, but he doesn't know what else he can. "It could be worse."

"I might know who took him," Elle says, her voice distant, as if she were speaking to herself rather than him. "The sound I heard, it— might not have been gunshots. There's a teleporter at the Company. Someone with a good reason to want to kidnap my father." Like, well, pretty much everyone else who's ever been on the wrong side of Bob Bishop. "Only I don't know if she'd be stupid enough to try taking him."

Leaning back into the couch, Gabriel watches Elle, the frown on his face seemingly permanent for the time being. He doesn't say anything at first, just watches her, but eventually he speaks. His voice is low, and there's concern for Elle in it. "Is there anyway you can contact her, anyone who knows her, find out where she's been lately?" He pauses before continuing, leaning forward slightly to watch Elle more closely. "Why would she take him?"

"They have her daughter." Not that Elle can claim to know all that much about the Ivanov situation, but she knows enough to think that Mariska might be desperate enough to pull some drastic moves to get Sasha back. "If it's her," she continues, finally opening her eyes and looking back to Gabriel, "I don't want to call her and make her nervous. I called a few agents, left some messages. Maybe one of them can look into her for me." So far, she's maintaining her composure quite well, but there's no telling how long this will last. "I don't know if she's really the traitor type."

For all that Gabriel is concerned, anyone from the Company, or anyone in general, really, will try something if they're desperate enough. A mother being seperated from her daughter, most likely by force, given what the Company is, sounds like somebody who could be desperate enough. The man watches Elle, brow furrowing, and he moves forward, sitting on the edge of the couch as he watches Elle. "What about you?" he says, meeting her gaze. "How are you holding up?"

"Don't ask me that." Propping her elbows against her knees, Elle runs both hands back through her hair, pulling the elastic out, letting her blonde locks fall loose around her shoulders. "I blew out five streetlamps on my way back here." One hand pausing to hold her hair back from her face, she casts a sidelong look to Gabriel. "Maybe more. I might have gotten a little creative with my counting." Sliding her feet off the cushion, allowing them to hit the floor with a thud, Elle leans forward until her head is in her hands, her eyes fixed on the floor between her feet.

Once Elle's feet hit the floor and she leans forward, Gabriel moves from the couch to the arm of the chair, sitting precariously on the side. He moves his hand to her back, his other hand moving to her cheek in an attempt to get her to look up at him. "Hey," he says, leaning down slightly, "they'll find him. The Company… may not do good things all the time, but they are good at what they do. They'll find him. If they can't, we will. He'll get out of this okay, I'm sure."

"I'm not." Elle resists the hand on her cheek; she doesn't pull away, granted, but she doesn't allow him to turn her face, either. She much prefers it this way, where her hair can obscure part of her face, her head bowed. "Maybe she found out what they do to little kids," she says, her voice infused with bitterness. "Maybe they already did to her daughter what they did to me." They, they, they. Not he. She's resisting the association between her past and her father, clinging to some false memory of paternal love. "If they've done half of what they did to me to Ivanov's kid, she'd have enough of a reason to hurt him."

The ex-killer doesn't move from his spot, even if Elle won't look up at him. His hand remains her cheek, his other hand on her back, and he leans back slightly, glancing around the living room. He doesn't even know what to really say to her. After all, what she said is possible, and more than likely true. She's living proof how the Company could treat one of their own, and if Mariska's daughter is an evolved, too, there's no telling the things they could have done to her. "… Elle," Gabriel begins, turning his eyes back towards her, but he doesn't follow up with anything.

He doesn't need to; she wouldn't let him anyway. Living with a lifetime of bad memories, there are times when Elle would just as soon pretend nothing at all happened, even when she ought to be confronting them. There are a thousand other things she should be doing, saying, thinking about - but she doesn't care. Before Gabriel can say another word, Elle rises from the chair and takes his head in both hands, fingers splaying over the back of his neck, pressing her lips to his in a fierce kiss. The force with which she leans into him suddenly is considerable, a testament to just how desperate she is to distract herself. This is not a healthy response to emotional stress. …especially not in your ex-boyfriend's apartment.

Opening his mouth to finally say something, Gabriel is caught offguard when Elle suddenly attacks him, rising from the chair as well. This is not what he expected from her. He returns the kiss, closing his eyes as his hands moving up to wrap her around the shoulders, pulling her closer to him… but as soon as he does, his eyes suddenly open, and he pulls away suddenly, taking a step back. "No," he says, a little bit out of breath, "we can't. Not… not here." Granted, he didn't want to stop it, but one of them has to have a right mind in this situation, considering where they are.

Oh, but Elle isn't letting him get away that easily. Taking the rebuff in stride, she lets a frustrated sound rumble low in her throat, reaching out with both hands to take hold of his shirt. Her fingers digging into the fabric, she pulls him back towards her until there isn't even the tiniest space between them. One hand uncurls from his shirt, newly employed to pull his face down to hers for another kiss, gripping the back of his neck tightly. "Then shut up," she says breathlessly, breaking the kiss without pulling away, "and let's go somewhere else." And she pushes him back, a small charge passing from her fingers into his chest, shoving him towards the door.

That's all the convincing Gabriel needs. Once Elle kisses him again, he leans into it, his arms finding their way around her back and pulling her tightly against him. When the kiss breaks, he's breathless, but it's with a smirk that he backs away from her, the shock leaving a small, single singe mark on his shirt. He lowers his hand to take hers, pulling her towards the door, but not before grabbing both of their coats and keys to the apartment, pulling the door open and leading Elle through it hurriedly.

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