2007-08-08: DF: Definitely, Maybe


DFElena_icon.gif DFPeter_icon.gif

Summary: After his chat with Eric, Peter decides to follow some bluntly-dispensed advice and take advantage of the Saints' training facilities. Elena, working late at the base's war room, comes across him and lets him try out a new ability. And, of course, things are said in between.

Dark Future Date: August 8, 2009

Definitely, Maybe

Basement Levels, Phoenix Rising Penthouses

After dropping off his glass of water, Peter considered going towards the bedrooms and trying to sleep again— he only got a couple hours before the dreams woke him up again. Never can he quite remember them— he just knows they're bad. But instead— he moves down the hallway to one of the few areas he knows about— the training room. In loose jeans and a white undershirt, he's not quite dressed for training, but at least the jeans aren't tight. This is where she's going to put him, until he's useful to her—

Turning on the lights, he looks around. What they'd done the day before— he knows he can't do that. He'd probably break his neck trying, unless he managed to fly before smacking right into those pilars. But…

It doesn't take him too long to find the buttons. Numbered as they are, he figures that there's probably levels of difficulty in them. Or maybe they're all the same.

There's a deep breath, as if he's afraid to see something explode, but he reaches out and presses a button, the one with the smallest number. Hopefully they count like normal people, and not backwards.

When the room doesn't turn into the Matrix and suddenly look like a crazy place— fire pits and flying metal saws— he's relieved. Just an obstacle course. Some things to jump over and move around, a wall to climb, a board to walk across… nothing anywhere near as hard as American Gladiators.

He could probably manage.

Running a hand through his hair, he takes a slow breath, and then goes ahead and starts it out. Not trying to move quickly, he's taking his time. Learning the course, but— he's not doing too badly. This he can manage. No flying leaps or Jedi-like jumps required.

Elena runs on very little sleep.

The young woman was ensconsed in the designated War Room of the new base, pictures of Bat Country Labs and whatever Gene could manage to get from the NYDT's grid spread out in front of her. Blueprints from the surrounding buildings are inspected, and she's still waiting on some satellite images. She was exhausted, as always, there were very rare moments where she actually had a good night's sleep. The last time had been after her extraction, and that was only because her body couldn't go further in the state it was anymore.

She rubs her eyes, and with her other hand, she blindly gropes for her coffee mug…only to find it empty. Picking up a file and the empty mug, she turns around and starts for the door, exhaling softly. Busy was good, at least. And the fact that she was wearing comfortable clothes rather than her battle dregs made breathing easier. She had on a tanktop, and a pair of black gym shorts. Her feet are barefoot, maintenance kept the basement levels so clean she barely bothered with footwear while she was in it. Her hair is pulled upwards in a loose twist.

She passes by the gymnasium so she could reach the elevators to head up one floor for more coffee…..and she detects someone moving there. Curiosity gets the better of her, checking the time. Who was up this late? Even Jack went to bed before her. Turning on her heel, she moves towards the gymnasium, pressing the button so the double doors slide back to permit her to enter. The free exercise floor was activated. Who…? And then, she sees someone familiar running around the course. It was Peter. And he was training.

Surprise etches in her features.

Not only is he training— but Peter isn't doing badly. He'd made attempts to stay in shape, whether she knew it or not. True, it mostly included walking a lot, but he still did things to stay in shape. After all, she got a good look at what muscles he does have more than once in the past— even if that'd been a long time ago for her. The face that shows up on the cameras in the future, though… he's definitely a little more built. Continuing along the course, he's actually finishing up a run when she enters— and moving to start a second one. He's paying so much attention to what he's doing— that he doesn't hear the doors open, or see them. This second run, he no longer needs to take his time. He learned the area— he knows what's coming after what— now it's time to see if he can do it quickly.

Without anything to time himself, he just does it— he'll glance at his watch and take the time the next run through. But right now— he just wants to see how he does.

When he finishes, he takes a break, bending down to take a few slow breaths while his blood pumps, before he looks back. Okay— course 1 isn't that bad. He might actually be able to do 2 if he made his way back to the buttons. Maybe he won't be quite as useless as he thought he would be— but then there's no floor of pillars on this one.

Not bad. But it was a Level One course. Elena sets her mug and her file to the side as she walks over, watching him finish up. She doesn't address him - not yet. He was focused, determined, and she wasn't about to interrupt him in that state. It was promising, after all, to see him take the initiative. Crossing her arms over her chest, she goes over to the observation area sectioned off from the free-exercise area, her feet astride and watching how he moves critically. Then, she unfolds her arms, and leans forward on the railing. She doesn't bother to hide the fact that she's observing him. After all - she had a right to be where she was. She recognizes the course level, glancing at the row of buttons. The urge to switch the course on him was tempting. See how he copes with something unfamiliar in the midpoint and time constraints. But she doesn't. It is late after all, and considering how serious he looks doing all of this, she's not about to do anything that might discourage him from trying something harder. And when he looks back at said buttons, she's there, with those dark eyes on him.

She speaks up. "I don't know how far along your training is with my abilities, but you can optimize your physical performance with them. Things will look like they move slower, you're faster, and stronger. You're more alert and you can see better. It's how I beat Jack the other day."

"El— Elena, hey," Peter says, surprised to see her with the buttons. If only he knew exactly what she'd been tempted to do— the sneaky woman. It might have discouraged him, and it also might have gotten him hurt depending on how high up she went— but he probably wouldn't have been angry about it. Only one thing ever made him angry with her… and neither of them can do anything about that right now. It's one of the many things he strived to fix before he even came here— and now he just wants to fix it more. Unless of course…

"I haven't yet, no," he says, straightening his shirt a little self consciously. He'll need some better clothes before he tries anything harder. Jeans don't make climbing over things as easy as he'd like— still managed, but it could have gone smoother.

"Cass and I only really got around to Jack's ability— and healing a little, and telepathy. Invisibility I didn't really need to practice, and regeneration just happens. But we hadn't gotten to practice most things— too busy unfortunately. Things kept happening. And I keep picking up new abilities, which can't help at all."

He's got a hint of a smile, before… "Maybe you could show me how."

"From what I remember," Elena says after a few moments of observing the course, and then the state he was in. He looks a little winded - but not much. Despite the comas and everything, physically she knew the Peter she remembered was in surprisingly good shape. "Invisibility and Telekinesis were your best abilities. Your regeneration is automatic, unless you get shrapnel into your brain. Telepathy gives you a bit of trouble…and everything else you need practice on." He had gotten pretty good with the abilities he had absorbed from her, but she knew why that is, and after everything she wasn't sure if that still held true. After all, she wasn't the same person he left behind.

When he gives her the slight, Petrelli smile and tells her she might be able to train him in that, she hesitates. And then, she braces her hands on the rails and hurdles over them, landing lightly on the ground and walking towards him in the free exercise area. She looks at the course, and then she looks at him. Her hand comes up, palm forward towards him.

"I don't know how to teach you how to call it up other than your usual - that you have to remember how it feels. With myself, when it first manifested…I don't even know how I did it, but I was in a tense situation where I had to act and fast. I can't exactly recreate those conditions here." She hesitates, and then she reaches over to press her fingertips gently over his eyes. Not on them, but around his brow, and the corners of his lids. For someone who was so used to running military-like operations, she still had a gentle touch - but her fingertips were callused now. A little rough.

"You have to remember what this feels like," she murmurs. "Ready?"

"And I have a bunch more abilities now, too," Peter says, watching her carefully as she jumps down and joins him in the lower levels. There's a hint he's tempted to step forward, as if not quite trusting her reflexes to help her land safely and wanting to have a little say in that. She does land safely, though, and he doesn't move forward. There's being overprotective, and then there's something else. She can take care of herself. She proved that when he saw her again for the first time. A soldier— not the young woman he'd known. Not entirely.

Eyes follow her hand as it's raised, nodding a little at the words that she speaks. "Recreating them for me probably wouldn't work anyway," he explains, watching her hand more than anything else. "The conditions might be different for me…" Especially since he has to think about her when he does things like this. The her he used to know… she brings good feelings with her memory, calming, safety. And oddly enough detox when it came to his bouts of alcoholism. This one… same person, different emotions in a way. Maybe…

Her hands are rough. Even then, he can't help but lean into the touch a little, eyes sliding shut for a moment. Maybe all he'll need to do is think of this Elena. Same ability— more or less the same person, but something else all together as well.

There's a pause and then he nods, "Ready."

Two years is enough for her to transform herself to the woman she is now. Elena was intelligent, and a fast learner. She had a way of thinking that always homed into how things work, how things should go. With all of that, her changes had been quicker, and more ingrained. While she is aware of the hesitance, part of her is approving that Peter didn't act on his instincts. There are times when he should, and times when he shouldn't. He's beginning to distinguish between the two, and that was very promising.

A quieter part of herself hissed at her. He wasn't an experiment, he was a person. Guilt assails her from a sudden angle. There was a time when she knew that off the bat. She didn't need to be reminded. Now…

"Don't misunderstand," she tells him simply. "I didn't mean remember what you felt or feel about me, past or present." As in now. "But this." She feels him lean into her hand, and her chest ached. The realization that she missed this, missed this Peter, was almost too much to bear. He had been dead to her for so long. She almost took her hand away. But she isn't going to run away. This needed to be done. So she closes her eyes, and concentrates. He would feel it then. Getting warmer, his heartbeat quickening. That jittery feeling that he has to move, and has to move QUICKLY. If he opens his eyes, he'd see better, clearer. Details stand out.

"I'll control this because I know how to fade it off…but you'll have to pay attention to that too. Let go of this quickly and you'll get the shakes. Does anything feel different?"

It's odd, she's chastizing herself for something he never really minded before. Peter never minded being a test subject when it came to her— at least he knew she cared and that what she would be testing would be for his own good, more or less. Maybe it'd been due to his medical background, but he couldn't really fault her on taking a scientific approach to things. He tests his own limits at times, just not to this extent.

"That's not what I meant either," he murmurs softly, eyes still closed even after she activates the feeling she wanted him to pay attention to. But— he's not sure he can explain what he meant by what he said. It is based a lot on wanting to seperate the two aspects of her ability in his head. He saw her cause pain before— nearly knocked herself out doing it. In a way, that feeling comes up when he thinks of trying that. Since it's a feeling he doesn't want to feel again— the worry of losing her especially— he doesn't call it up often. He might have used it against Carter if the feeling that he wanted to kill the man hadn't override and forced him to call on Sylar's ability instead.

His abilities are based more on other people, and less on himself. How it works in most ways, he doesn't even know. But far more dependant on how he feels than anything else. Which would be why— since she left for Spain— he hasn't been able to so much as get a hint of her ability to work.

"Feels different," he murmurs, at the sensations she's brought out. Taking a slow breath, he opens his eyes. There'd always been a slight touch of green— only really visible in bright lights, or close up— but now it's increased in clarity— enhanced color and depth, taking over most of the brown that usually shows. He can see clearer— "Taking it down slow is better— like cooling off after a work out?"

There's a pause. The greener eyes lower towards her mouth, then off to the side, and he notices something he hadn't really even thought of before. "You still cover your beauty mark…" He honestly hadn't seen that before. The tattoo has been marginally distracting, and her very presence as well, but that…

She doesn't answer him, Elena trying to concentrate on what she's doing even as she feels his temperature get elevated, and his heartrate quickening. Nothing different from competing in a tournament, or running to save someone. Not even different from being on the verge of making love with somebody. The human form had a way of preparing itself for what it had to do, her abilities just helps call it up at will. Even now she had no idea Peter manifested her ability while he was facing off against Carter, this aspect of it in particular.

When he opens his eyes, she can tell it had been done….his eyes were green. His always had a bit of green in them, but they were brighter, and more iridescent. As if someone hooked him up to a battery and now he was ready to go off charging into battle. "My eyes change color when I call it up. I guess it does to you too. It…was a family trait. I noticed it with Manny at first, whenever he uses his worst ability." The Death Touch, whatever he calls it these days. But when he equates what she's telling him to cooling down, she actually does smile at him a little bit. "That's right," she says with a quiet nod. "Same concept." He was using his knowledge as a nurse now as well. He was taking her past words seriously.

When his eyes lower, and when he says what he does after, she doesn't lift her hand to touch the side of her mouth. She hesitates, and she lowers her hand away from his face. "I take on a lot of disguises when I'm outside," she tells him. "No one knows Elena Gomez is back in New York, let alone 'Angel' or 'Joan of Arcadia' or 'Rose Payne.' It's a distinguishing trait, so I have to cover it up these days in case cameras are pointed at me." After a few moments of quiet, she adds, "I used to leave it visible. After you noticed it the first time and told me it was cute." The last night they spent any time together, two years ago for her.

As for the tattoo….it's not visible now, the one around her eye. That tattoo is temporary, she inscribes a different one when she's out on the field to invoke protection from the higher powers. If she does turn away though, he'd find an -actual- tattoo on her shoulder blade. A thorny, stylized rose etched on her skin.

"I remember— I saw your eyes turn gold a few times," Peter says, wondering briefly exactly how his might happen to look right now. He has no mirror to see for himself, but he hears his eyes changed color, so he'll just have to wonder about that, unless she mentions it. Her brother… he vaguely remembers the flash of red before the world went black. But that's also not something he's about to mention.

"I like the Angel codename," he says briefly, looking away towards the course. He knows he could run it easily like this— he could probably do a few steps higher right now too. But he's still caught up in what's in front of him as well as what he could do like this. Two years ago— it had been cute, really. And it's a shame she has to hide it. But she'd stopped hiding it because he told her it was cute— which is kind of the implication.

There's a slow breath before he looks back, "Elena— I— I'm sorry we didn't fix this the first time." It's a weird thing to apologize for— not doing something that he never even got to experience. He still doesn't know what went wrong yet. Just that something did. And that he has a chance to fix it now— if he ever finds out what it was.

The longer he looks at her… the more tempted he might be to throw it all away— and the more he knows that he can't. Can't stay— can't give her forever. Which is what he should be able to do— and he can't.

There's another slow breath, before he looks away, "Think I could go up a few levels with this? I was going to take them one at a time, but since we're trying something new out… might as well make it a challange." And the sooner he gets to work, the less he'll look at her… and be tempted to do something he can't follow up.

"They're green," Elena says, identifying the color. "Don't really have mirrors here so you can't see them, but they're green." She sees the red in her brother's eyes too often these days. And when he mentions how he likes the Angel codename, she can't help but laugh - though it's humorless. "It doesn't really fit me," she tells him. "Not anymore, anyway." Unless it's Angel of Death or something ridiculous like that. She knows how far she's fallen from grace.

And he probably could. Physically he had been stronger than she was. She didn't know what he did back when he was held by the Company, but maybe he got so bored he started working out while he was checked in voluntarily. But when he apologizes for it, she shakes her head, and slides her hands in the pockets of her shorts. She doesn't say anything for a while. She doesn't look away from him though.

"It wasn't like it was entirely your fault," she tells him. "I was stubborn, and I was really young. I can be a prideful creature when I want to be and you sort of….well." He knows what happened. "But that didn't mean….it wasn't like I cared for you any less, despite that. All those months apart, I missed you. When I came back and saw what you became, I missed it more. It couldn't be helped….I almost lost Jack, Prime, Eric, and my own father in a span of two weeks. But it had been my fault. I chose to go. No one else made that decision for me."

When he says what he does, she looks at him, surprised. And then, she smiles. A little more genuinely. "You got it," she says, turning around to head for the controls. "I'll bump you up to level two. As for making it a challenge further…just run it. Don't study the course." She looks over her shoulder at him after hitting the button. "Just go at it."

The first course folds back into the floor, to make room for the second. Much more challenging - there's an entire Gauntlet run in the middle of the free exercise floor now. With gaps, ropes, sandbags and the like.

"It still fits you," Peter says softly, rejecting her own rejection of the nickname. There's an important reason why, too. "You're an Angel in dark times is all— you're only doing what's necessary. Not the nickname I'd choose for you— but I'm not the one naming you." And their religious imagry is important to them. So it fits, just as when he heard Jack called a Shephard, he understood why— even if it made little sense to him. Considering the Jack he knows. And his nickname for her might even be less fitting in this day and age— though there's someone here who knows of it.

"I'm still sorry— it doesn't have to be my fault to be sorry all this happened to you." And he doesn't think it was his fault— or hers. He just thinks they failed. Failed to do what they needed to do to save the world— which is why they get a second chance. Speaking of which…

As she goes to the controls and pays attention to them, he sees another obstacle course coming up between them— only it's not really between them at all. Life is complicated.

"Elena," he asks, without looking to see what new course has been added in. He'll run it without looking, but he has a question. "Do you think it'd be too late? …If I went back and…" What is he asking. He hesitates suddenly, looking towards the course. How would she know for sure how she'll react in the past anyway? She already said that she wasn't ready yet, just a child— and because he's afraid of losing her, he might push her— just as he did that day. Even if he managed to do it without the anger and the yelling and the childish use of words.

One run, no learning it— dropping his line of questions, he turns towards the course, and then does just that. With the green in his eyes, it goes even more smoothly than the second run of the first course. And he's barely even winded when he climbs over the last wall and jumps down to get to the end. It goes so fast he's surprised it's over.

She doesn't respond to that, whether it fits her or not, but with her back turned, Elena closes her eyes. He always knew what to say, way to turn it around to put things into a different point of view, something more favorable and designed perhaps to offer some semblance of comfort while being honest. In a way, while his similarities with Nathan ended with their last name, they both had a gift of spin. Except Nathan usually did it out of ambition, and Peter did it out of…

"I know," is all she says, finally turning around so she could get back to work, crossing her arms over her chest and her eyes forward so she could monitor his progress through the course. She adjusts the analog timer in her watch, still the old Casio Gene had made for her two years ago. "But I've made peace with all my past regrets. I know I'm not perfect." Well, made peace with them until -one- of them resurfaced anyway when Peter decided it would be a good idea to pull a Marty McFly and end up here.

When he asks his question, she presses her lips together. "…Peter I…." She exhales a breath. "To be honest, I don't know. I was a different person then. I also didn't have a lot of experience with….being with anyone in that way." Not like that's changed, but she at least has the insights of a person who made many mistakes in that arena.

And then, he's off. She times him, watches him run it. And when it was over… she stops the timer in her watch, and lifts her brow. "Better than the first run. How do you feel?" she asks, looking up at him.

After an answer like that, he really needed a good run. Peter didn't mean to make her life harder— or to do what he's doing— but this was something he'd vowed to fix even before he travelled through time. He has no idea why he didn't go through with all this originally. He doesn't know how time travel works. Honestly not even sure Hiro knows as much as he half says he does. It's cimplicated… almost too much so.

But now that he's done with the run, he glances back at the course to remember what he did— it wasn't really registering as much as he did it. He began to react more than anything else— but that worked out— he didn't do badly. "I feel okay— could probably run it a few more times," he admits truthfully, but there's another obstacle course he's not feeling anywhere near as confident about. Running that one blind has greater consequences. Look at her now.

She's a different person. Giving up everything for the people she cares about, when they would easily do the same for her… Surviving, but barely living. So intent on keeping people alive that there's more to life than just staying alive.

There is one thing he can comment on. "Elena— I don't want to be a regret." There's a slow breath. "Past— yes, but not— we both messed up. And… other things happened. But I don't regret— the time we spent together. Well, except that one part— but that was more my fault." She left, but he pushed her away. He might regret it more if it really is too late when he gets back— if he gets back.

Despite that, she meant what she said - despite everything if there was a chance to fix this, she will do her best to help reverse the hellhole they found themselves in. Elena lifts her fingers from a distance once Peter is done with the course. It was getting late, and with his exercise, maybe he'll be able to get some sleep. She slows down the progress of endorphins and adrenaline in his body, letting his heart ease back to a normal pace gradually after pulling back his body's production of stress transmitters. It takes a bit, he'd feel himself …well, he'd still be warm, but his heart won't be pounding hard and he wouldn't feel so jittery.

She was a different person. She's taken lives, she rarely takes time out to herself - she doesn't even read anymore, at the very least, she doesn't read her books of poetry or literature anymore. She doesn't have the time. All she reads these days are intel and surveillance reports, the news, propaganda materials..

But with what he says, she closes her eyes. Her jaw sets. When she opens her eyes back up again, she looks at him steadily. "I know I've been harsh," she tells him. "But I'm sure even without telling you, you know my reasons for that. But that doesn't mean I…." She sighs, lifting her hand to rub her cheek absently. "It doesn't mean I regretted anything. You…." She hesitates, but only for a moment. "…you take up a good chunk of the things I want to see before I die, Peter."

The way his body starts to settle down, the green disappearing from his eyes, Peter feels it. It does make him tired— but not to the point where he's going to collapse. Just means he might actually get back to sleep. Even if… he probably won't sleep long. Can't here— this place won't let him and he doesn't know why— could be the place itself. If only he could remember what happened in his dreams to make them so bad…

"No more tonight, I guess… maybe I can figure out how to do it on my own." Since they'll be leaving him behind on the operations. As they should, really. He's not going to kill anyone— he can't do it. Even if he could find a way to make himself useful without that, he'll respect her desire to have him stay here. And just pray she comes back. Because…

What she said makes him inhale slowly. Good chunk of memories. Well more than five seconds worth, he's sure. That's… important. Far more important than he's sure he can say. "I guess— I should let you get back to work— but you should some sleep too. You can't keep fighting everything on your own all the time. Everyone needs sleep." Even her. This coming from someone who might be doing the same thing? But… as he starts to move towards the exit, he has to add on. "Maybe— maybe we can have a few more— before I have to leave. If that wouldn't— be too…" Painful? Selfish? Both?

"No more tonight," Elena agrees. "You need your sleep, especially if you'll be doing this sort of thing regularly." She waves vaguely towards the exercise floor, which she deactivates. "I know it's difficult with all that's going on, but you have to try. You won't be much use in the…past…either if you're so tired you can't see straight." She reaches over to pick up her file and the mug of coffee, tucking the former under her arm so papers don't fall to the floor.

When he reluctantly says what he does, she nods. "I've a few more things to look over before I turn in for the night," she tells him. "I'm waiting for word whether satellite imaging would be plausible to acquire, see if there was anything moving over New York during the time Cass was taken. I doubt it, but it's worth a shot. Our intel as to what's actually happened is pretty nill. Most of the information we have came from you."

But she'll sleep. She rarely gets it these days, but she needs to be sharp and if she's tired all the time, she won't be able to think clearly. Maybe she'll sleep in tomorrow. But she takes his advice to heart since it's practical and worth listening to. She watches him quietly. It was a surprisingly bold statement to make given the circumstances. Maybe he was taking her advice on that too. "Maybe," she tells him. "In the times in between, we could." There had to be more than just talking about what happened that she couldn't fix.

"Looks like I have a power to reflect back all the advice you're giving me," Peter says with a hint of that lopsided smile. She's telling him to get more sleep, and how he'll be useless if he can't see straight, and she's downing coffee. But— at least she nodded, that's more than he could have hoped for, with her determined streak that seems to be prevelent in this timeline. Not that it wasn't before— just not quite over the same things. The advice will be listened to, for the both of them. At least there's that.

And… "Maybe's better than a no," he can't help but add, that smile just a little more genuine. Though he's not sure exactly what they could do in a world like this that they'd both find enjoyable and fun. That doesn't have so much to do with what went wrong between them, or what they need to fix, and hopefully that won't include kidnapping, death and other bad things. He'll try to think of something— if not they have training. Maybe she can teach him how to throw more than a punch. She certainly seemed to be kicking Jack around quite well.

Running a hand through his hair, which he just now notices has a little sweat building up, he adds, "Good night," before exiting out the door.

The joke causes the edges of her mouth to lift slightly. "Well, it couldn't have kicked in at a better time," she quips back. And well, she's taking HIS advice and going to bed at some point, so it's not like it's just her belting out little to-dos, but ignoring them herself. Baby steps, it was still a little strange for her interacting with Peter again. The Peter she knew, and the Peter she loved two years ago. It was like talking to a ghost, or some wispy snippet of a dream. Sometimes she still wasn't convinced every time she woke up in the morning.

Maybe was better than a no. Not like she would've said yes, because…what if she did, and they didn't have the time? It would've been a broken promise. Her maybe wasn't because she was reluctant, her maybe was because she wasn't sure there'll be chances like that cropping up. Training could be done, made time for, because it was necessary. But other things… "It is," she tells him, returning his smile with her own, faint one. And he DOES know how to throw a punch. He just needs to learn how to do it more often.

There is a pause, her lips parting. She had a question on her own, but seeing him rake a hand through his hair and look the way he does…she changes her mind. Even now, despite pushing him so hard, she couldn't just….she was a hardass because she had to be. That didn't mean she wanted to be one all the time. "Goodnight, Peter," she tells him quietly, and turns to shut the lights off the gymnasium, before moving out herself.

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