2007-10-05: Heroic Tropes


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Peter drops by The Secret Lair to see the girl he remembers from a nightmare. They discuss, among other things, the meaning of heroism.

October 5, 2007

Heroic Tropes

The Secret Lair

It isn't quite the time that the Lair opens up. But inside, there's still activity. Through the front window, one may catch sight of someone dusting the shelves and straightening the comics that have been set askew by customer activity the previous day. Kory is tending to the store's two mascots. Panthro is preceding her to the back room in the regal manner befitting him as a feline. Chewbacca, on the other hand, is waiting by the door, leash in mouth, tail a-wagging with anticipation. The animal pecking order is established clearly here. Good thing the dog is laid back.

It's early, and Peter's awake. To be honest he's been awake all night— and besides a short nap, he hasn't slept at all since the incident at the cafe. By this point he'd pretty much decided it's an ability. Dressed in casual dark clothes, he approaches the store that Elena wrote down. She'd been paying far more attention to what other people were saying to them within the dream. He'd been pretty shocked by the sights and the going-ons. It made conversing and getting contact numbers difficult. The Secret Lair. East Village. Since he works at Enlightenment Books, he spends a moment wondering why he's never been here. It's the activity in the store, despite still being closed, that catches his eye. After a moments hesitation, he steps up and knocks on the door, shifting to get a better look into the window.

Kory glances up at the knock, over her shoulder. Wednesday was days ago, and who in the heck has to have comics, anime, or game gear at 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday? This question is written in the little crinkle between her frowning brows as she sets out Panthro's food. "Just a minute!" she calls, voice raised. She takes a minute to squirt some hand sanitizer into her hands before going to the door and seeing who it is. At which point, her eyes widen and her mouth drops open. She reaches for the knob, and misses the first try. The second try succeeds, and she manages "Um, good morning," in a soft, startled voice.

Someone who doesn't go to church, it would seem! There's no sign of the usual gamer or comic book geek in the way he's dressed, though. Peter doesn't give off that vibe— which she's probably used to. And… she probably has a good idea about why he's here, hence the fumbling at the door. Running fingers through his hair, he looks down for a moment, before meeting her eyes. "Lucky you were here— not sure how I would've explained stopping by so early to anyone else… You were in the… you were at the cafe a couple nights ago, right?"

"Um, yeah. That…that was me," Kory stammers. "You remembered. Somebody must've said the triggerword to you." She finally gets over her astonishment enough to remember her manners. She takes a step back to let him in. "Here, c'mon in and let me close the door behind you, Mr. Petrelli." Yep. She knows who he is. And she doesn't look afraid, precisely, but still uneasy. "If you have questions, I'm not sure I'm the answer lady."

"Not sure if anyone actually said a word— I woke up remembering it, could be because it was half one of my abilities working, too…" Peter rubs his hand through his hair, having pretty good recollection of what happened, but so did the others he'd spoken to since then. Maybe the additional prophetic dream made it easier to remember? He's not really sure. But he does move inside the store, letting her close the door behind me. "Well, I'm not really… I just— you know my name?" Mr. Petrelli. Then again he's been in the news. "You'd said you were a dreamwalker?"

"I …I guess," Kory admits, given Peter's explanation of prophetic dream. "I've never done that before. Walk multiple people into each other's dreams like that." She smiles. "Of course I do, I do read more than comic books." There's no barb on that; it's almost a conditioned reflex for her, that people think she only reads one type of media. "Um, yeah. That's what I call it. I've been able to do it for a while. Just, I'd never met anyone who could do anything weird like me until the other night. At least, not that I know of. It would've been great if I hadn't been scared out of my wits."

There's a sheepish smile at the reason he's recognized, and Peter nods. "I'm not used to people recognizing me— but I guess I've been in the papers a little more often now…" Since he punched a reporter and ruined his brother's ranks in the polls. "Really? You haven't met anyone?" he says with surprise, looking around the store, and at the shelves. Geek paradise. It does surprise him, though, from the look of things. "I've met— quite a few. Can imagine that would be pretty awkward. Stepping into a dream and… seeing all that going on. I first learned about what I might be able to do through the dreams— I had dreams of flying. All the time. Every time I closed my eyes— until I finally tried to prove it by jumping off a building."

It was actually the suicide thing that got Kory's attention, and she looks Peter over for a moment, considering his words before she replies. "Not until last week, honestly. I had no idea I wasn't some weird mutant freak. And, well, y'know how people react to mutant freaks." She gestures significantly at a framed, X-Men: Days of Future Past poster. "So, I kept it quiet, because if people didn't believe me, then I was just crazy." She looks from the poster to Peter. "And yeah. It was strange. Cool, though, once I got done with the panic." She blushes faintly. "For a comic geek, I'm not as heroic as I'd hoped I was." She then blinks up at him. "You jumped — oh! That explains why the news said suicide attempt. You didn't seem the type."

"Yeah— I think I know what you mean," Peter responds, looking up at the Days of Future Past poster rather quietly for a time. There's almost a hint of something in his eyes, until he looks back at her again. "There's different… kinds of heroic. And even I wasn't faced with that sort of thing right away— first introduction to powers you learn about people who can burn someone just by touching them?" And see the product of their ability. Even for a comic book geek, that dream had been a horror movie or a adult rated graphic novel more than anything else. "But yeah— that's the suicide attempt. Funny. You're one of the few people who didn't think I was the type. And you just met me," he can't help but have a hint of a smile, even as his eyes go back to the poster.

"You're a nurse, aren't you?" Kory asks, leading him to the gaming area. There are card tables and comfyish chairs where they can sit and talk instead of standing awkwardly where people will think they've opened early. "People like that aren't usually the sort to abandon their charges. People who need you. You wouldn't leave them without someone to take care of them." Of course, after a fashion, he has. But in the greater picture, he's taking care of the whole world. "I guess there's different kinds of heroic," she agrees after a moment. "But the question is — what now? What do we do to stop all that? Can we even stop it?" She turns imploring eyes on him. "Like Terminator, like Back to the Future? It's not locked in, right?"

"I used to be. I did quit my job, but that was because my dreams— and other visions of the future— from the future for that matter…" A time traveller to be exact… "They told me I needed to do bigger things, and I couldn't really do what I needed to do for my patients while I was… running around the country trying to save it," Peter explains softly, running his hand through his hair. He'd made sure his patient was in good hands for his final days, but… "It can be stopped— I've already changed two futures as it is," he explains, looking toward the poster. "The first one— if it hadn't changed— half the city would be in nuclear rubble, would've been for almost a year now. But that was stopped. Second one… well… I probably haven't changed all of it, but the dream showed things that never would have happened in that future. Didn't make it better, but different. I honestly don't know how we're going to change things— but I'm not going to sit around and do nothing and expect it to get better." There's a hint of a dangerous plan forming in his eyes— reckless. She's probably seen it in comic books many times, the hero planning to run off and do something foolish.

Kory immediately looks vastly relieved as Peter describes having changed the future twice. This, in turn, relaxes her so that the taut, edgy, nervous expression vanishes, and her normal soft features return. She listens attentively as he speaks of nuclear calamity. "Well, stopping multiple murders is always a good thing," she says, calmly, hands folded on the card table in front of her. "What did you have in mind? And are you assembling a team? I'm no U-Go-Girl, but I can consult. And if I can master that trick again, we could work out the details in pretty unbreakable privacy."

"I— actually I haven't actually planned to start up a team, but…" Peter pauses, looking back at the poster again. Almost as if he's thinking of something for a minute. "Might be a good idea— especially if there's a way to talk in private where no one could eavesdrop. There's been issues with that before in the past," he says, shaking his head a bit. Now he reaches into his pocket and pulling out his wallet. He wouldn't call them business cards, but he'd prepped them for this sort of thing. "I do have someone who's helping me out— she's a good person to contact about things. We actually work together, in a bookstore here in East Village. Enlightenment Books?"

"The lady had an acid touch like Vitriol!" Kory whispers urgently, since the other employee is still in earshot, though this conversation could easily be mistaken for geek talk. "Unless you've got a suit of armor like Tony Stark, I'd say a team is pretty much a must!" She gives him a moment of anxious silence to let the point drive home. "Oh, yes. Enlightenment. I know the place. It's across from here, up the block. Been there a few times, even." She pauses to think for a moment, prompting herself by saying, "Balducci's", before her own memory clicks in. "Wait, Elena? Is that her name?" The one who actually talked most to Kory, that she recalls.

It could be easily mistaken for geek talk in a place like this— kind of like how Peter can get away with talking about abilities in his own store because someone assumes it's crazyness. But his tone is whispered for a reason— soft, quieter than it probably needs to be. But easily taken for crazy RPG talk. Maybe he's running a tabletop game. "Yeah, it's pretty close, I was surprised— since I noticed this place." It's not… "Oh no, Elena's my girlfriend, she's not— the person I'm talking about is my boss at Enlightenment, Cass Aldric." He pulls out the card finally and holds it forward. "My number's on here, as well as the address for Enlightenment Books and another place— Bat Country. It's a… lab that Cass runs on her spare time. I help out with my nurse training."

"Oh…okay, I've met her, too. She was there the night at the store," Kory says, once Peter clarifies who he's talking about. She glances over the card, and tucks it away in the front square pocket of her jeans. "Okay. I…" she pauses, closing her eyes. "Don't laugh. Even though I work here, I've got a psych degree. Mainly because it works with my ability. Helps me understand what people's waking minds are like so I can try to understand what they dream about. So if I can help that way, let me know, okay? I mean, my mother tells me things like this don't happen for no reason." She leans back in the chair. "This is all really a lot to take in at one time. You are awfully calm given what we saw."

"I wouldn't say I'm calm," Peter explains, looking back over. "I just need to stop this." Panic isn't going to help him stop it, but he really should be looking into a group effort instead of running off on his own… "I'm going somewhere later today— if this doesn't stop what's going to happen, then I'll probably be trying to contact you. Get help— see if we can't form a team of some sorts to counter all of… this. It's good that you have training like that." There's a lot that people don't know about things. "I know I could use advice at times." He's always looking for guidance.

Kory chuckles faintly, then apologizes. "I'm sorry; I'm not laughing at you. It's just nice to know that you're not as calm as you outwardly appear. I was a nervous wreck for the rest of that night, and most of the next day. I didn't even sleep my usual amount. Which isn't much, honestly, but still." She bites her lower lip thoughtfully, and nods at his words. "Well, be careful. If you know more people with abilities — let them know where you're going. Dreamwalking's no good in a scrap, or I'd offer to come with." At his mentioning of her training, she shrugs. "Helping people's what it's all about. I mean, we have to share the planet with each other. Helping each other is the most efficient way of making that something other than torment."

"Oh, I was a nervous wreck the whole night too— and the next day I had to go and find someone from the dreams and hug them," Peter says, serious and not as embarassed as he probably should be. Even then, he looks at her quietly, both at her warning and the fact that she can analyze him fairly well, and her words at the end. That actually makes him smile— or at least there's a tug on the corner of his mouth. "That's it exactly." It's pretty obvious that he's impressed, and there's something quiet in the way he's looking at her. "Only thing that matters is what good we've done— for each other— for the world…" But… he does start to back away after a moment, adding on, "I'll call someone before I do anything reckless." But probably not soon enough for them to actually help.

"I can't imagine anyone who was there had a good night's sleep without assistance from friends like Jack Daniels or Prince Valium," Kory murmurs, expression wry. His smile to her dreamy remark about helping people makes her smile wider. "Do call someone, Mr. Petrelli," she urges. "I'd hate to lose a new friend to a bad end. And that whole 'I must do this alone' thing is not all it's cracked up to be. It never works in the comics. Or the movies. The good guy always needs the support, love, and friendship of those around him to really beat the threat, doesn't he?" It's phrased as an innocent, you-read-the-same-books-I-read-don't-you sort of question, but there's a certainty threaded under her words.

"You can just call me Peter, I think— and actually, I'm not sure. Did I ever get your name?" Peter asks, looking at her for a moment and trying to think back on if her name had ever been mentioned— doesn't matter if it has and he doesn't remember it. But… he does nod slowly. "They'll be with me even if I'm alone, but I know that's not what you mean. Let's just say that… I'm tough to kill. Kind of like him," he pokes at a cover of a X-Men comic with Wolverine on it. She'd missed the aftermath of the dream, luckily, when he got struck with a bolt of lightning in the chest and his body repaired himself, not to mention all the other abilities he'd been tossing around.

She had missed the last little bit. A new application of her power, and so many dreams winding together. It had been too much for her. Thankfully her brother had showed up to get her out of there. The migraine had been worth it. "Like Wolverine, hmm? Good gift," Kory says, admiringly. She'd be astonished if she'd seen the rest. "Oh, and I'm Kory. Or Iah. People call me both. And no. That wasn't what I meant. Clever." And cute, too, but she stops herself from saying that.

"Nice to meet you, Kory," Peter says, putting everything up again and glancing around the store one last time. Not the type who would normally be in this place, but he's definitely not without geek knowledge. "I'll talk to you later." In some ways it's said as a promise, that he'll survive and come back to do it, as he starts towards the door.

"I look forward. Tell Cass to expect a call from me, so she's not wigged I called out of the blue?" Kory rises with him, to walk him to the door. "Thanks for coming by. I was starting to convince myself the whole thing had been in my head."

"Sometimes I wish it wasn't— but if I tried to convince myself it wasn't… wouldn't be able to help anyone, would I?" Peter says, stepping through the door with that hint of a smile again. Not full, not flashing teeth, but definitely pushing the corner of his mouth in one direction. "And I'll leave her a message to make sure she knows." With that, he's out the door and starting to pull his cellphone out. To leave a message or call for backup? Time will tell…

Kory takes a moment to watch him dial, then goes to the phone herself, to make a quick call. Then, once she's left a quick message, she's on to walk Chewie before the store opens.

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