2008-05-17: Egging On The Cheerleader

Starring:

Claire_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif

Summary: Kory visits Claire in the dreamtime to bring her up to speed on both Peters and the List

Date It Happened: May 17, 2008

Egging On The Cheerleader


The Bennet Kitchen - Dreamtime

"But we always have waffles on Wednesday! That's why we call it Waffle Wednesday."

"Claire, just because it alliterates does not make it the unshakable, biblical truth. You're an adult now, and it's time you realized the harsh truth: there are not always waffles. Now, eat your eggs and get going. You don't want to be late for your first day at Freak University."

"But Mom..!"

"But nothing! Eat."

No one ever said dreams had to make sense, right? Well, here's to hoping, because right now, Claire Bennet has been left in front of a heaping pile of scrambled eggs that is roughly the size of Mount Everest. Dressed for school in a pair of jeans and a rust-colored tee shirt, she stares up at it mournfully as Sandra steps out. Hesitantly, looks down at the egg-pile's base and stabs it. When it sets the whole ceiling-high stack of eggs quivering, she looks up at it once more, dubiously. "Don't be late," she mutters. "Yeah, right."

Kory usually makes physical, waking-world connections to the people whose dreams she visits. She can get to dreams of people she hasn't met without it, but it's more difficult. Claire Bennet, however, is, as usual, the rare exception. Kory has never met the girl, but Peter knows her, and has visited her dreams. Through her connection with Peter, the dreamwalker reaches out to find the mind of one teenage girl in particular out of the millions and millions in the city.

Eventually, she finds a dreamscaped mind that resonates with a similarity to Peter's, and approaches. Carefully. And stops. She's seen some unusual dreams in the years she's had the ability, but this one startles her such that the first words she speaks in it are, "Wow. That is an awful lot of eggs."

From where Claire sits, now despairing with her fork stuck into the bottom of that terrible eggy mountain and her forehead planted upon the table, the blonde doesn't see when Kory slips into her dreams. When the unfamiliar voice cuts into the terrain of what is terribly familiar, her head shoots up with a start. Even in her dream, the teenager does not like being surprised, and her head shoots up with a gasp. She fixes her blue eyes on the other woman, and then narrows them suspiciously. "Who are you?" Then, "Where's Mom?"

"I'm the Muse," Kory says, shrugging. "I'm a friend of Peter's. He asked me to come see you. He asked specifically to see you this way because you're familiar with it. As for your mom? No clue. I haven't done anything to her or with her." Forthrightness is always best. No need to start with the dream-rearranging if a simple conversation in lucid dreamtime will suffice.

Claire sits and regards Kory with that same suspicion for a very, very long time. Finally, wordlessly, she gets up from her seat. Crossing the room, the opens one of the cabinets and stretches up to fetch a ceramic plate that matches her own and a glass. Then from a drawer, a fork. A paper napkin from its place in the holder on the counter. From the fridge, the jug of orange juice. "You get to help me eat eggs," she declares, setting things down and starting to make another place setting. It's not a request.

"Not why I'm here," is Kory's response to that. She doesn't move anywhere nearer to the table. "Besides, it's your dream. And you wanted waffles. Why are you going to eat a huge pile of eggs you didn't want in the first place in your own dream?" She smiles faintly, pointing this out to the young woman. She's not immediately going to offer any assistance — she wants to see how Claire handles this small adversity other than trying to make it out like her guest is helping whether she wants to or not.

"Because Mom made them," Claire explains, pointing a fork in Kory's direction. She's transitioned out of the random firing of neurons, sure, but she doesn't seem to be giving up. "It's not about the reality; it's a dream. It's about the fact that, even in my dream, my Mom loves me enough to get up before me to make sure that I have eggs to eat before my first day of college. Enough that she didn't know when to stop." After carefully arranging things in place, Claire moves to put the orange juice back. "And if you're here, that means you probably need my help." Then she sits back down at her place, taking up her own fork. "And if you want my help, you get to help me eat the eggs my mother made because she loves me."

Kory remains calm. "Your mother made the eggs for you because she loves you," Kory points out. "That being said, it's not me, personally, who needs your help. Peter sent me, as I have already said. And it's a matter of …" Kory pauses, to try to find a certain way to phrase herself. She thinks better of it after a moment, though, and shrugs, contuinuing. "Well, what is it usually a matter of when Peter Petrelli needs the help of the people around him?" Did the mountain of eggs get a little smaller? Perhaps it did.

Claire doesn't seem to be listening, or maybe she's just growing more stubborn in reaction to the stubborness being hurled at her. "You know, you're kinda a guest in my dream. And you're being very rude. If you're so bent on it being just a dream, then what does it hurt? Make it taste like strawberries. Make it disappear in your mouth. I don't really care." Standing up on her stool after that with Kory's plate in hand, the Bennet girl scrapes down a giant portion. Then she carefully bends down to set the plate back on the island's counter before lowering herself back into her seat. "We're from Texas. We talk over food. So sit down, pretend you're comfortable, and tell me what he needs."

Kory raises an eyebrow at Claire. Peter did not tell her that Claire was so hard-headed. Given the stressors his list has placed on her, her nerves are a little frayed as it is. She could just wait until Claire's awake and have this conversation with her. Most people don't try to place conditions on her. But Kory swallows the annoyance that she feels, and sits down without further pushback on the dreamer. "You know from Pinehearst?" she asks, taking a forkful and turning it into whipped cream before it touches her lips. Claire will find each bite of egg turns into waffles right before Claire bites into it.

"Yeah," Claire replies after swallowing a bite of… waffle? That can't be right. She picks up another bite of egg. No, that egg definitely tasted like waffle. Whatever stubbornness was there dissipates in an amused grin. "It's okay that it tastes like egg, you know." She picks at it a little more, and then continues. "But anyway, yeah. I spent some time there. Why?"

Claire was headdesking when Kory showed up, over the idea of eating a colossal mountain of eggs, but the Muse doesn't bother saying much about that. "Peter says they're working on a formula that gives people powers. And that if they succeed in that goal, it's bad news for the world."

Another few bites, and then Claire looks back in Kory's direction. An eyebrow pricks upwards. "And what does he expect me to do?" If Kory doesn't already know about her regeneration ability, this teenager sure as heck ain't spilling it. The power of distrust is strong in this one.

"Couldn't tell you," is Kory's answer after she has another bite of egg-which-turns-into-whipped-cream. "All he asked me to do was get in touch with you, and other people he believes can help prevent Pinehearst from succeeding at reaching their goal." She is silent for a long moment, before she speaks again. "I trust Peter completely. So what he asks, if it's in my power to do it, I do it. Plus — you're asleep. I'm not. I don't need to sleep much, so I have the time to do all this mental legwork. What he said was I should make contact, and get all the people he suggested talking to each other. I'd suggest talking to Niki Sanders first off. She works for Pinehearst, and knows some of what's going on. I'm also arranging for some secure internet communications so we don't always have to have these discussions in dreamtime." Because sometimes the need for communication is more immediate, and she can't put anyone to sleep.

"Niki Sanders," Claire repeats, committing the name to memory. "Alright." Peter, you had better know what you're doing. Going within ten miles of Pinehearst is more than she really cares to think about. Another few bites are taken, and then she continues. "Anything else?"

Kory thinks about it for a moment. "Probably. Give me a moment." There's a lot of information being batted around. "There are already human guinea pigs in Pinehearst, so if you have to get within thirty nine and a half feet of the place, tread carefully. Did you see the news about the guy who got hit by a bus? One of theirs." If Claire hasn't seen the news, Kory has. There's an image of the victim.

After a moment of contemplation, Kory also adds, expression going more somber, "Novak Garibaldi? Dangerous. Really dangerous. His daughter Elisabetha — even more so. She's got entropy powers. Stuff rots and decays around her." A shudder. Holograms of Novak and Elisabeta float above the eggs beside the Bus Stop Guy. "Oh — oh, yes. Sophie Petrov. She works at the Secret Lair. She's one of us. On Peter's List. Anything you find out? Walk up to her and shake her hand after telling her I asked you to. It'll all become clear after that. She's our Brain Trust, backing up the micah.net." Yes, she said Micah net. Which adds a Sophie hologram and a Micah hologram to the group now hovering over the eggs. "Jane Forrester is trying to get Bus Stop guy out of jail so we can try to get information from him." She pauses, here, to let Claire digest all of that, though Kory's already placed the appropriate neurons in place so recalling the dream won't be a problem for Claire.

Another nod, Claire acknowledging that she got that. Still shovelling food into her mouth, she pauses just long enough in the process to say, "Anything else?" It's really a wonder she's not choking, particularly since her wide blue eyes are focused on Kory.

It's not such a big deal. Kory wouldn't allow Claire's dream to become a choking nightmare even if she were familiar with Claire's special ability. It'd be traumatic, for one thing, and for another, it'd take her mind off their conversation. "Yes. The list was chosen by Peter himself. I'm just following his directions. So even if you run into a listmate who isn't somebody you'd ordinarily choose to work with? This is saving the world. So I'd take it as a kindness if you could see past any such stylistic difficulties. And I'm sure Peter would as well. If he were here."

Kory looks down at her own plate, and sighs sadly. "Peter's been captured by the Company. The Peter who has me doing this — making the list and putting people together? He's from the future. And he's not the Peter we know. Not in many of the ways that count." And the hologram of Future Peter joins the others — dark-visaged, unshaven, scarred, and a lost, hopeless look in his eyes. "He wants to make sure his future never comes true, and given some of what I'm seeing as I do what he's asked — I can say without exaggeration I agree with his plan."

Claire stabs a few times at a mountain of eggs that has become little more than a mole hill in her distraction. Her attention is on Kory. On the words coming out of her mouth. "I've already talked to him once," she states plainly over a mouthful of egg-that-tastes-like-egg, jabbing that fork in the holograms direction. "Now, just out of a not-so-idle curiosity, why hasn't anyone /else/ talked to Niki?"

Kory regards Claire for a moment in pensive silence before answering honestly. "I don't know. I didn't even know she was involved with this whole mess until Peter handed me the list, and I spoke to her. But everyone he's mentioned knows Pinehearst and thinks about as well of them as you do." Which is to say without saying it — not well at all. "But given that they've got powered people, the consensus among those I've spoken to so far? They feel like we gotta kinda get a wiggle on. Time is running out before they decide to get the formula out there. And once the genie's out of the bottle…" She trails off, pretty sure Claire knows enough to take it from there.

"Did you know that the word 'genie' comes from the word 'djinn'?" Claire asks, turning her eyes back down to her plate. Her fork stirs around the pitiful remains of a once-formidable mountain, pushing them around without eating them. "They weren't ever really nice. They were more like… like… tricksters and bullies. When people made wishes, they usually didn't get what they were actually asking for." When those darkly framed blue eyes lift to regard Kory once more, all joviality is gone from the teenager's face. There is only steely resolve. "I'll make contact and let you know if I get anything."

"I knew that, yeah. I don't sleep. So I have a lot of time to read." Kory confirms, with a smile. "That's why the saying exists 'be careful what you wish', because the djinn would bring it true in the way that you didn't think of. The way that would most likely make you regret it as bitterly as possible. Which is why if I ever do meet a wish-granting genie, my first wish is that the genie itself will have the nature of the big blue guy from Disney." But the cheerful moment passes. "Any suggestions on what we should do about current day Peter? Future Peter says to leave him there. With the Company. But I've seen what they're doing to him." And the face of the Muse fractures a little with hurt visible across her large features. "He's falling apart without his support system. He's afraid that he's a terrible person who can't do anything to help the people he loves."

"I'll take care of it." It's as much as Claire can really say without giving away a lot of important information that she'd really rather not give away. That steel in her gaze doesn't waver, and her tone sounds just about as confident. She's not quite sure how she's going to take care of it, but everything in baby steps. "You do what you need to do. I got this."

"The point," Kory says, patiently and gently, "is that the people on the list are working together. This isn't solo action. We have to back each other up. I know you don't know me from Adam…Eve. Whatever. But Peter does, and he trusts me to do this. Which means I need you to trust me, Claire. The information has to disseminate so we don't get in each other's way or give each other away to the bad guys."

Claire's brow furrows, and her jaw juts out a little as she sets it. After heaving a small breath, she arches an eyebrow. "Do you even know who I am?"

"You're Claire Bennet, and your father is this man." Another hologram. It's The Man in the Horn Rimmed Glasses, though his features are a little blurry, because she's never met him and only seen Peter turn into him once. "That man is Company, and he's very dangerous." So Peter has told her something. He hasn't been entirely vague. "But that doesn't mean you have to do whatever you are planning to do by yourself. I don't think that was what Peter wanted of us by setting us all up to work together." Kory pushes away from the table, frustrated by Claire's obstinance as she is by only being a voice who passes information along. "I can't stop you from doing as you will, but I do hope you will at least keep me in the loop." The kitchen cabinets light up with numbers. "Text that phone number before you go to bed, and I'll be in your dreams to see what's up. Can you give me that much?"

Hahaha. Telling a Bennet about the benefit of teamwork. Can't say that the fates don't have a sense of humor.

Claire, if she were a lesser person, might be amused by the other female's frustration. Really, all she does is accept it and move on. "I can do that," she agrees after a scan of those cabinet faces, turning her blue eyes back to Kory to offer her a thin and fleeting smile.

"And as for people on the list…so you know allies when you see them?" Kory reaches up and opens one of the kitchen cabinets, and a long page unscrolls from within, showing the faces of the other people she has contacted and some whom she has yet to contact. The ones circled in blue indicate the latter condition. "Okay. Thank you. Anything you need me to pass on to the rest of the list?" Information has to go in all directions to be of any use. It results in Kory repeating herself a lot, but redundancy is definitely useful for backup here.

"Yeah," Claire offers with a little scoffing laugh. "First person on Peter's list to squeal that I can't die is on /my/ Crap List." Then, pulling a piece of paper and pen out of a nearby drawer, the Bennet girl scrawls something. "And this is my cell phone number." That piece of paper is pushed forward, towards Kory. "I'll let you know as soon as I get in touch with our Peter."

Kory sits on the countertop now, looking more comfortable. "You're immortal?" She takes the paper and nods, committing it to memory. "That's a really useful ability. More than mine. At this rate, I really better finish installing my Batpole." She had to hop back down to take the paper, and now she heads for the kitchen door. "That being said, I'm pretty sure everybody is on the same page about how quiet we have to keep this. I don't think any secrets are going to be exposed intentionally. Not with so much at stake."

She leaves the scroll of faces where Claire can see them, and begins to stroll toward the exit to Claire's dreamscape. "Thanks for at least hearing me out, Claire."

Claire turns her attention down to the scrolling page, starting to take in the information there. "'m not doing it for you," she makes sure to clarify without lifting her head from where her finger is starting to work down, committing details to memory. "But you're welcome."

"You're doing it for Peter," Kory's voice reaches Claire even though the Muse herself is no longer in evidence. "And Peter's doing it for the world." And then there is silence. Along with the original mountain of eggs returning to Claire's plate, restoring the dream to exactly where it was before she arrived.

"Why is Peter the only one who can do it for the world?" Claire muses aloud before staring back up at the mountain of eggs. "Maaaan," she whines, planting her forehead back on the countertop. "I am so going to be late."

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