2007-07-31: Dead Crikkits

Starring:

DFJack_icon.gif DFPeter_icon.gif

Summary: Jack stops by the Zoo with one of his delieveries and happens to run into a relic from the past in the form of time travelling Peter Petrelli.

Dark Future Date: July 31st, 2009

Dead Crikkits :(


Bronx Zoo

The medical area for the animals of the Zoo isn't nearly as crowded as it probably should be. There's a handful of animals who are crouched in cubby holes, whimpering at wounds or illness gained in this dark world. But they're tended to already— and while the young man given the assignment of making an inventory in the store room is tempted, he hasn't made any move yet to speed up the process of healing. Peter isn't sure how well it would even work on animals. Maybe he will soon, though. His job at the moment is writting down what they have on clipboards. Someone mentioned they might be getting more soon, so he might be pulling double duty here… But it's worth it. They've fed and housed him in this terrible future.

"SHIT!"

The hoarse, strangled cry comes from just outside the door to the storage area. A moment later the door cracks open and a much disheveled Jack backs inside. As yet he's unaware of any other presence in the store room. He's just here to make a drop. "Man. Almost lost my crickets," he muses under his breath. He's not kidding. He never jokes about deliveries. He's got three perforated cardboard boxes stacked precariously in his arms. All are labeled in his own barely legible handwriting. Two read 'CRIKKITS - ALIVE :)' The third has 'CRIKKITS - DEAD :(' written on the side.

Crikkits? Peter looks towards the door opening but doesn't put down his clipboard until he hears more than the curse. The curse had a familiar sound to it, but the more said, the more he can recognize the man— even before he fully turns to face him. That's when he puts down the clipboard, surprise visible on his face. There's a moment when he almost calls out— but the poor man almost lost his crikkits already, so he turns away a little in hopes he's not recognized, and waits for the boxes to get sat down somewhere. Before they all become 'CRIKKITS - DEAD :('. Once they ARE sat down, though— he'll definitely turn to face him. "Jack?"

Jack sets the crikkits down on the counter, thoughtfully seperating the ALIVE :) from the DEAD :(. He perks at the sound of his own name. He wasn't expecting to find anyone here at this hour, much less to find…

"… Peter?" The Irishman is slightly startled and confused, which is only accentuated by his ragged, grating voice. He hasn't stayed alive this long be being a complete fool, even if he can't spell. It takes him all of zero seconds to figure out that something's up. Still, his voice is as carefully neutral a tone as his ruined throat can produce. "Tryin' out a new look?"

"No, not— I guess you haven't seen Cass in the last day or so," Peter says softly, running a hand through his hair. Much shorter than he wears it now, and finally starting to hang into his forehead in a few locks, but nothing dramatic. He looks confused, but much more hopeful than he might have before. "I'm— I know this is going to sound crazy, but— I'm from the past. Two years a couple days ago… I teleported here." Wince. This never gets easier to explain. How did Future Hiro make it sound so easy in the subway?

"Wait. What?" Jack blinks blandly. It's not that he needs it repeated. His bomb-rattled brain just needs to do a bit of efforting. "P-P-Pete?" The bartender-turned-soldier-turned-terrorist stalks a step closer. His eyes narrow to dangerous slits. Another step. Now only a couple of feet from the smaller man, Jack reaches out and prods Peter in the chest. "What was the nickname you gave Elena after we rescued her from Carter?" It's more of a demand than a question, and it's clear that giving the wrong answer would be a potentially fatal error. For most people, anyway.

…Cass shot him. Lachlan hugged him. What's next? Peter actually backs up a step, before he stops himself and listens to the test question. It's better than those crazy codes they asked for back at Bat Country where he wasn't sure what language they were speaking… "Sunshine. And actually it was just before." It's far more recent for him, so he knows better when the conversation took place. "I'm— from just a little after that." There's a pause. "You're not going to shoot me too, are you? Cause… that really hurt." He'd never been shot in the leg like that.

Jack grins and shakes his head, making him look younger than his nearly thirty but lookin' like forty years. "Shit, man. You had me at Sunshine. C'mere and shake my hand. It's nice to see somebody with your face on wot's not a complete jerk off." He extends a hand clad in a slim, snug leather glove for shaking. "Wait. Wait. You got shot?"

Oh good. Peter steps forward and takes the handshake, smiling in that lopsided yet genuine way he always did back in the old days— before the war— before he single-handedly hunted down Sylar— before his brother became the worst President in history— and before he started getting multiple members of his teams killed. "I've heard I'm… scruffier but— no one said I was a jerk… But— McAlister mentioned that I punched you?" It's said in a confused manner, kind of like a person who doesn't believe it could ever happen, but was told it did. "Uh— yeah. Cass shot me in the leg. I tried to enter Bat Country without a code."

"Jesus," Jack muses. A couple of years ago the idea of Cass shooting someone would've been laughable at best, terrible at worst. Now it's just another unfortunate occurance. He gives Peter's hand a hearty squeezes and shake. "We sort of had a falling out. Uhh. Me and the other you, that is. Speakin' of Jesus, if you ever need to get into my place, the code-in is 'Bless me Father, for I have sinned.' Remind me to… /Shit/. Shit, man. It's really you." The end of the sentence is a bit strained. It trails off into a coughing fit and he steps away to press one hand to his throat.

"It's okay, I healed," Peter assures, though they both knew that would have happened anyway. That's how Cass tested to make sure he wasn't a bad shapeshifter trying to infiltrate. "I'm sorry to hear that," he adds with a worried line to his mouth removing some of his smile. From the look on his face, the man's opinion matters. "At least your code is pretty easy to— hey…" He stops talking as the coughing fit starts, reaching out to put a hand on the still taller (and now older) man's arm. "Maybe you should sit down… I know it's a lot to swallow…" But from the way he's looking at him, he knows it's not just the 'from the future' causing the cough. There's a definite 'medical training' look going on.

Jack flaps his free hand akwardly in Peter's direction as he sags against the counter, jostling the DEAD CRIKKITS :( with an elbow. He keeps the other hand clasped at his neck as he hacks out several more wet coughs. It takes him a minute to compose himself and regain his breath. By the time he does there's a thin sheen of perspiration on his brow and his face is pinched into a slightly pained expression. He waves Peter off a final time and continues. "I'm good… I'm good. Surprised, is all. How much did Cass tell you?"

"Not too much— not yet— Just about the storms, the tornados and some of what happened afterwards," Peter's visibly looking worried at Jack, even as he answers the question in the same 'not totally sure what I'm doing, but here I am!' way. "Said that I killed Sylar…" Which sounds like he's not sure to believe anymore than punching the much taller, if physically less fit, man. "My brother's— I saw his speech and— I know that they're rounding up people who aren't like us." That makes him grimace. He doesn't like that either. Not at all. But he does add, "I did get to meet Abby. And I saw Lachlan and he mentioned you were still around. And Eric actually was in the Zoo too… They also said… Elena…?"

"Elena's out of town on a bit of business for me." Jack shifts his feet uncomfortably, and a faintly guilty look flits across his face. "She's as good as can be expected, considering the circumstances. She doesn't really like you anymore either, though. The other you, I mean." Already a little confused by the temporal conundrum, he scrubs his gloved fingertips along his stubbly jaw. "Whatcha starin' at, kiddo? M'fine," he rasps, smiling wryly. "A few souvenirs from your brother's people, is all."

Two things said make Peter visibly flinch. The first one makes him look guilty, while the second dissolves into the disappointment. "There's so much that needs fixing I'm not sure where to begin," he finally says, sighing a little and running a hand through his hair. "But that's why I'm here— to find out what went wrong so that— the paintings and the visions— they weren't enough. I have to believe this will be…" But from the sound, he's not at all sure how to do this. There's no simple thing like saving a cheerleader this time, is there? God— does he's so afraid to ask what happened to people— in a world like this there's bound to be many dead.

"Calm down, man. Maybe you should take a seat." The prematurely aged and partially disabled war veteran lays a surprisingly compassionate hand on Peter's shoulder. "Remember what I used to tell you? You can't save the world all by yourself. Trust me, I tried." His last sentence is somewhere between wistful and bitter. He slumps a bit and lets out a sigh. "If you ever make it back to your proper time, do me a favor? Tell the other me that I said he should marry Trina before something like this…" He pauses to touch his throat, then his chest and abdomen. Together, they account for only a small portion of his aquired injuries. "…happens to him."

"I'm not by myself," Peter says, but he doesn't shrug off or move away from the gesture at all. It's accepted fully. "Hiro's here too, but I— actually have no idea where he went off to. He hasn't responded to my messages yet." There's a worried sound, but there's always a chance the young man accidently teleported back, or went further to see if it would get worse. Who knows… "And it's not like I'll get anything done without help, anyway— someone has to tell me what happened to make things this bad." Because if it could all be fixed simply, he would try to do it… "I'll tell you that— and then I'll apologize a million times to Elena, and tell my brother to go back to being a lawyer…" That won't stop the tornados, though. "Is Trina still…?

Jack nods, obviously relieved that this is the case. "Short Round's with you? That cheeky fucker. Heh. Trina's fine. Better than fine, she's one of my best operatives." His chest heaves as he sucks in a deep breath through his nose and he gets a vacant, dreamy look in his eyes. "There's somethin' sexy about a girl who can attach a grenade launcher to a car, y'know?" For a moment he savors some undescribed mental image. "Ahhh. Yeah, man. Things sure as hell ain't good, but they could be worse. Relax. Lighten up. Stress can kill anybody, even you. We'll get you briefed and up to speed, then send you back to fix things. Wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. Better future. Uh… Right?"

Short Round? Peter can't help but smile a bit, and that continues as his friend talks about his own ray of sunshine. In a very strange light. Cars and rocket launchers aren't his thing. "I'm glad she's okay— far as I know she'd still been in a coma when I— teleported." Technically Hiro did the teleporting, he just hung on. But that's another story all together. If he has to, hopefully he can get back on his own. "Yeah— Better future. You'll have to tell me where to find you. Daphne was nice enough to give me a place to stay— I'd only met her once before. At a pet store." Probably buying things for his dog. …what happened to his dog? Man— so many things he's afraid to ask. "I try to travel carefully… flight and then invisibility— both if I'm lucky." He's still working on the both part.

"Right. Jesus. We gotta keep you under wraps. The less people wot know about you bein' here the better." Jack grows grimly detached, as he always does when he talks about the President. "Your brother's gotten bloody unpredictable. No knowin' what he'd do if he knew there were two of you now. Speakin' of, have you… Y'know… Met yourself yet?"

"I've been pretty careful," Peter explains, though he's already met a small amount of people already. There's no look like he wants to put himself into hiding, though— He won't argue it. He'll be careful. "Yeah— I heard his speech on the radio. A man who didn't even want to admit to his family that he could fly told the whole world? Before he got elected…" He shakes his head, trying desperately to figure out what would have happened to him. "…No, I haven't— when I first talked about doing this— Cass was worried about the timeline going…" He holds up his hands and makes a poof-like sound. Poof. "And from the way people look at me— I'm not sure I want to…"

Jack purses his lips thoughtfully. "Other You is kind of a dick, man. He's built himself quite the rep for getting the job done no matter the cost. I try to avoid him, and the only thing that goes poof when he walks into a room is my mood." He shrugs helplessly, then slaps Peter on the shoulder. "Don't sweat it. He's not really you. Just… Wot, like a reflection of how you might turn out, right? For you, none of this has happened yet." That's right. Jack's waxing philosophical.

Though the slap is strong enough to move Peter a little, he still looks worried— only until the rest is said. Not him. May never be him. "None of this has happened yet…" It's a reassurance, really. "Doesn't change how some people look at me until I tell them, though." Not to mention he's not sure how many will believe him without a test of some sort. He should start thinking of little antedotes for people— "I'm glad Elena's okay— and I— part of me wants to see her, but if she— if she doesn't like… Maybe it's better that she's off doing something for you." Maybe he can collect data and go back and see his Elena and make her not hate him… somehow.

"I could talk to her for you?" Jack offers helpfully. "Uh. 'Cuz I dunno if anybody told you, but Other You is also married. To Kay Damaris." He turns his head and coughs delicately into his fist, an obviously affected gesture. "So yeah, it might be better if I broke the news to her before you two come face to face. She might stab you or somethin', and I can tell you from experience, it sucks to get stabbed by a girl. Your call, though."

See, Peter made a mistake here. He moved to put his hand against a counter, to lean a little. He's listening, trying to understand what— but then Jack mentions married. To Kay Damaris. Kaydence. Katy. Mara. His hand suddenly slips and— much like a certain boss he has, he suddenly loses all semblance of balance. Gravity? It takes effect. He can't even catch himself. He'll sit on the floor a minute. And stare. And try to look like he just got smacked in the face with a two-by-four. "…I'm married? To— to— How?" What happened! "Not that Mara isn't nice and that— but she— I…"

"Whoa, kiddo." Jack holds both gloved hands up powerlessly. "Don't ask me, I just work here. I think most of that happened while I was in my little coma thingy." Sympathetic, he squats next to Peter with his bad leg stretched out ungracefully to one side. "Remember man, that's not you. Other You is a totally different guy. He's been through totally different stuff. Here, have a drink. It'll steady your stomach, if not your nerves." He digs his extremely battered silver flask from inside his coat and passes it over. It's a relic from a different time. One of few that's survived. "S'bourbon."

"You were in a coma?" Peter asks, still on the floor, still looking like he got smacked in the face. But at least he's not falling over anything. Already on the floor, so that helps. He takes the flask and takes a sip, grateful for some alcohol. "A lot happened…" It's something he almost can't imagine. And only two years later— and so much has changed. It's like suddenly waking up in a black and white film when you're used to color. "Thanks," he adds, passing the flask back before he downs too much of it. "Yeah— might be best you talk to Elena first, then."

Oddly enough, Jack puts the flask away without taking a drink. He hauls himself back to his feet and holds out a hand to help Peter up. "Up y'get, lad," he rumbles. "I know things seem bad an' confusing, but we're gonna get you sorted out. We'll figure out a way to get you back where you belong." He says this with the cool confidence of a man who's grown accustomed to long odds. "In the meantime, we'll do the best we can to keep the timeline from poofing or other similarly unfortunate shit."

"Right," Peter says as he's helped to his feet by the other man, putting his hand back on the counter and praying for no more surprises. He doesn't have a kid too, right? He somehow doubts it, if he's as much an ass as everyone seems to say. "No ripping apart the fabric of time— or any of that… Though I guess it might all disappear if I fix it… Or change, more than disappear." Change wouldn't be bad, but there's somethings people might miss… He doesn't get to think long on that, thankfully. "I'm glad you stopped by, Jack."

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