2007-03-05: His Secret Skills


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Summary: Elena tracks Eric down from his frat house to the NYU student gym to talk to him about a certain serial killer stealing other people's abilities, with further intentions to give him a choice to continue or quit his sessions with her. She finds Eric, and he surprises her with not just his willingness to continue, but also of something else he's been trying to keep under wraps. Hints of his secret life start to emerge.

Date It Happened: March 5th, 2007

His Secret Skills

New York University Campus, Greenwich Park

It was with great trepidation that on the onset of the early evening, Elena raps on the door of the Phi Kappa Beta house, just a few steps away from Washington Park. And when the door opens, she finds…

Carson Maximilian Applegate III, a buddy of Eric's, opens the door and blinks at the freshman standing at the doorstep, looking lost and looking -so not- allowed to be here. He grins a rakish grin, resting a hand on the doorframe and giving Elena the eye. "Weeeeeeeeeeell hello! What can I do for you today?" he asks. "You're a little early for the toga party, you know."

"I was….looking for Eric Walker actually," Elena says, somewhat timidly. Carson was Captain of the NYU Lacrosse team, and his reputation was….well. Some would say widespread. Especially with the womenfolk on campus. "I know he belongs to the frat. Is he around?"

"Eric Walker?" Carson looks at her blankly. "I don't know an Eric Wa—-oh! Yeah! Eric." He eyeshifts a little to the side. "And who might you be?"

….that was odd. Elena furrows her brows at Carson. He hung out with Eric all the time and he doesn't know his name? "Elena," she offers finally. "Elena Gomez. He's the Calc TA, and I'm—"

"— the lesbian!" Carson says with a tactless laugh. "Yeah he told me about you!" He looks at Elena again, and grins. Grins. And grins some more. And he's not telling Elena why he's grinning. She eyetwitches a little bit at the scrutiny. "Anyway…. he's not here. I think he's at the gym, in the student center."

"….thanks," Elena says, and -scoots- out of there fast. Jesus! What the hell? Were all the jock boys on campus on crack? She looks over her shoulder at Carson, who's still grinning at her. He'd be cute if he wasn't….himself. She shakes her head a little bit, and upon entering the student center across the street, she swipes her student ID through security and starts looking through the various studio rooms to try and look for him.

She wanders, she searches, and she finds several things. She surprises a couple making out in one of the studio rooms, someone practicing his dart technique, and in the last little room on the row, the last one she looks in, she would find just who she was trying to find. Eric Lanc—-Walker.

Practicing Aikido.

Didn't know he knew that did you?

Dressed in loose fitting judo pants, barefoot, and a wifebeater, he seems to be going though a swift kata against a target dummy. His hands moving along prescribed paths quickly to slam into the wooden spokes of the training pole. He moves surely and swiftly, and he's been at it for awhile judging from the sweat that plasters his hair to his head, and the shirt to his cut and well trained body.

Next to the door, on a bench, is a pair of water bottles, his backpack, and his nicely folded normal clothes.

Oh there he is! She spies his head through the little glass panel on the predominantly wooden door. Elena hesitates, and then turns the knob, opening it to step inside the studio. And then, she blinks, watching Eric go to town on a practice dummy. She knew the gym didn't usually carry this sort of equipment. So….she has to wonder how Eric brought his stuff here so he could have an entire room on his own to practice. Was it part of the fraternity perk package? She closes the door quietly behind her.

She had…absolutely no idea he knew an art. She can't help but watch. This wasn't the image of him that she had nursed. Eric was the strong, silent type - he never got into trouble that she knew. He was always mild-mannered, easygoing. It was like nothing in the world could ever faze him, or even get him angry.

She didn't think he had it in him to pummel anything into a pulp.

Her mouth goes dry for some reason. She was partly afraid that if she said something so suddenly, he'll whip around and throw the dummy at her in reflex. That and she can't help but watch. It was impressive. He knew what he was doing….at least he LOOKED like he knew what he was doing. She didn't know anything about martial arts. So she stands there, and gapes, eyes wide.

Eric's smooth movements slow to a stop as the kata comes to a close. He sighs a moment, then comes to a stop, completely still. He takes a looooooong deep breath as he finally stills and his eyes open. His gaze swings towards the door and he blinks once. Then again, then a third time. As if not quite believing just who is standing there.

"E…Elena?" He asks as he glances around, as if to make sure that there isn't anyone else about. "…are you…what…how long have you been there?" He asks as his eyes take on a sheepish look and he reaches up to ruffle his damp hair, which does nothing but spike it in every direction. A slight grumble before he shrugs. He'll get it later.

"Nothing's…wrong is there?" He asks, watching her curiously. She has an odd look on her face after all. What the heck is she staring at…then he glances down at himself. "…er…" Pause. "…didn't expect anyone to be watching." He says lamely, looking slightly sheepish.

"….sorry, I didn't want to break your stride," Elena says with a sheepish grin, sliding her hands in her back pockets and taking a few hesitant steps closer. "I went by the frat house and Carson said you might be here." She pauses, and she gives him an odd look, remembering the encounter on the steps. "….did you tell him what my father said?" she asks with a laugh. "God, I suppose it's just as well. He's got a rep on campus." She shakes her head a little bit, and glances away, fingers tugging on her ponytail. In contrast to him, she was dressed in a frayed, well-worn black winter coat that's unzipped, a pair of hip-hugging jeans, and sneakers. A navy blue baby tee with the words 'Stewart/Colbert '08' emblazoned on the chest.

"Um….if you're busy I can come back at another time, I just wanted to tell you a few things." She pauses. "…..I found some things out in the last couple of days and it sort of….could affect what we're doing together because I feel like I definitely have to tell you this. Just…know though that whatever you decide, I'm totally cool with it."

She looks over at him and her smile turns rueful. "Ah….about the last week. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for things to get awkward the way they did."

Shaking his head, Eric grins towards her. "No no, it's no problem, just trying something a little bit new is all," He says with a shrug. "I usually use a softer style…" Then a blinks. "…well…not that anyone knows I do any of this." He grins sheepishly. "They would try to get me to try out for teams if they knew." He says with a wink. "No time for that what with work and school." He says with a slight shrug…though he just blinks at her and her outfit once before quickly turning back towards the target and starting to pull pegs out of it.

"…eh…what did you find out? I mean come on in, sit down…tell me, I'm sure what you have to say is more important than a bit of practice to keep in shape." He says as he waves one hand towards her.

At the rueful smile though, and the reminder of the last time they met. He turns ever so slightly red, the flush creeping down his neck as he scratches the back of his neck a moment. "…it was no problem…really…"

"I didn't know you knew…..what is it? Kung fu?" Elena ventures, moving in further to take a seat close to his stuff. She glances down at the things next to her, a couple of water bottles, his clothes. "Have you been doing it for a while? You look like ….well, you look really good at it. I mean — skill-speaking. To be honest I never thought you could do something like that. You were always so quiet, you know? Kind of pacifistic." She laughs, shaking her head. "And don't worry. I won't say anything."

She picks up a towel and a water bottle and stands up again, moving over to offer both items to him with a small smile. "You look like you could use both," she decides with a hint of her old grin. Whenever he takes the items, she rubs the back of her neck and sets the backpack down on the ground so she could pace around just a bit. Finally, she takes a deep breath.

"I found out a few things, but I'll go with the most important part first." She turns to look at him. "There's a serial killer out there who steals other people's abilities. He breaks their heads open and studies them, that's how he supposedly takes them. I wanted to let you know because….if he's been stealing other people's abilities all this time, he's probably very dangerous and I just wanted you to know so you could watch out. He goes by Sylar. But his name is Gabriel Gray."

She pauses. "…I wanted you to know because what we do…in our sessions. It requires you to use your powers. I mean I'll always take care that we do this in a place we know and control, but I can understand if….you wouldn't want to risk using your powers anywhere else away from your comfort zone with someone like him running around."

"Aikido, that’s what I know best," Eric answers quickly enough as he finishes breaking down the appendages of the dummy and sticking them in a bag for it that’s set against the wall. "I was just doing a few Karate katas though, trying something a bit different. it's easier to practice that alone." He adds after a moment. A slight grin breaks through though and he shrugs lightly. "…well, Aikido is mostly a defensive art, so I suppose I could still be pacifistic and know that right?" He asks with a wink towards her.

He takes the towel and the bottle, using the former to scrub at his face before letting it drape around his shoulders. The latter he takes a long pull of a drink from, sighing in satisfaction. "…thanks…" He murmurs towards her.

A pause then before he frowns slightly while listening. Then he blinks. "…serial killer? What…you mean he…eats their brains? Like a zombie or something?" Then a pause. "…or does he just…/take/ their brains, that would be really weird." He shakes his head though, his train of thought broken. "Wait, you mean there is some guy out there /killing/ all kinds of people like us?" He asks eyes wide. "…how did you find this out?"

He shakes his head slightly. "No…I think what you're trying to do is important…I mean it needs to be done and I'd like to keep helping out." He says earnestly. "…but…I mean…there has to be /someone/ that’s trying to do something about this guy, especially if he's a known murderer."

"….so you know more than one art?" Elena says, looking up at him inquisitively. "Wow, I never knew. I mean - I saw you had a box of trophies at you're place when I was cleaning it. I didn't touch them so….do you compete or something?" she asks, sliding her hands into her back pocket as she turns her eyes to the limbs stashed in his large duffel bag. "I don't mean to pry by the way, I'm just curious. I mean….we have the sessions but I don't really know much about you. Except from what I know from school anyway." She fingers the material of her pocket linings to have something to toy with as she chats with her much taller classmate.

"I don't know." She starts pacing again. "It's weird, right? I mean how can anyone just….-steal- someone's abilities just by examining the brain? I mean…the brain‘s definitely the control center. So I can see why you would examine the brain to expand one's understanding of it. But to -take- the abilities in? The only possibility I could think of is that he eats them and….well. That's kind of gross. But yeah. That's the word on the street. Literally. My source….she recognized me from the hostage situation a while back. She knew things. But not anymore."

She looks at Eric. "They got to her, Eric," she says softly. "And what's more…they torched the building of -her- source. She had one, someone who knew the operations of the people who kidnapped Mr. Winters. She runs a nonprofit organization in New York. After my source got wiped, the Foundation headquarters was burned. Anyway….there's a file or something. I don't know how my source's source knew about Sylar. She might have a copy of it, though that could be gone now if the fire got to it."

At the last, she nods. "Even if someone is trying to do something about it, I don't know who they are," she says quietly. "But….are you sure?" She looks up at Eric. "You want to keep going?" she asks quietly.

"Oh…well yeah, I used to compete in that and a few other things, fell behind after awhile though is all," Eric says with just a touch of evasiveness. "Naw though, you're not prying…I mean it's not like it's some big secret. I know Aikido really well, and Karate I'm just learning. Though it's funny, I managed to pick up a few words of Japanese just in class." He grins slightly before he wipes the sweat off his brow with the tip of the towel.

His face becomes more serious though as she keeps talking. "…well…whatever the hows and whys of it are, the fact is he's killing people. So how is he finding them for one?" He asks with a slight frown. "…hell…how is this boogieman group finding them too…and is anyone doing anything against them?" He hrmms before shaking his head before blinking. "…your friend alright though, besides the building and losing the info?" Info isn't worth your life, not usually anyway. "…and is there a picture or anything of this Sylar, or Gray or whatever?" He adds with a curious look.

At the last he blinks. "…well…of course I want to, it's the only way I'm getting practice really."

She laughs. "Is that why you knew what 'Kage Jin' meant? My lab partner is Japanese….but that's really all I know, save for the usual. Like…Sayonara and Konnichiwa. That's about all I know of Japanese." Elena grins over at him. "So still a novice, huh? Remind me never to get you mad," she teases, lifting a hand to scratch lightly on her cheek just a little bit. And then she starts walking around, examining the studio. She usually spent her dance practices in the park with Tia and the others in the group, or the auditorium with the stage. Not in the gym or its studio rooms.

She looks at Eric. "They're…..have you seen those Discovery Channel specials? Where biologists put trackers on animals and send them back running to the wild to live in their own habitat while they study the data coming back from it? That's what the Company is doing. I don't know what the entity's real name is, it's just the Company. Anyway I suspect that's how they find people they've -already- kidnapped, but I don't know how they find people like you….us…" A strange look enters her face. Looks like someone discovered something about herself recently. "…if they're not tagged. I think they follow police reports. Remember that time in Central Park with that guy who got stopped by the police? But who else knows how they do it."

At the last, she sighs and drops onto a seat. "I don't know. I asked her to meet me so I can tell her what she told me. But she didn't show. It was a bad time anyway, I had a scare. One of them visited Drake that day. He was texting me and suddenly he got cut off, and someone else texted me with 'Will u b my grrlfriend' - and Drake doesn't send messages like that. I thought the worst, but he's okay. As for the Foundation, I don't know. I was tempted to get in contact with the woman who runs it. But I don't even know what I'm gonna -do- with what I know. It's all so big, and I have so many things to worry about."

She sighs and links her fingers together. "I still need to figure out how to help Papa from getting overloaded. He was comatose for over a -day-, Eric. Imagine what would happen if it was really bad. It could kill him. And I…" She looks down at her hands. "I don't just…take pain away Eric." She slumps further on her seat and buries her face in her hands. "I give it back too. Severely. A woman died the other day because she hurt so much someone else shot her while she was distracted."

She exhales slowly and looks up. "As for Sylar. No…I don't have a picture," she says softly. "My source is wiped and the Foundation is torched. Even if there -was- a file….it's probably gone now."

"Yeah, something like that," Eric replies with a slight grin towards her. "Eh…novice enough," He adds with a slight shrug. He's not of course, but he's never really been one to brag on himself. He watches her walk around before he laughs. "…I'm not sure I could ever actually hurt anyone. So I think you of all people are safe."

"…so there tagging people," The young man murmurs and shakes his head slightly. "…well…as long as we stay under their radar for the most part, then we'll be alright still." He says slowly. "Off the police scanners, off the news. That sort of thing, try out best and all that…" He blinks though. "…he's alright though? I haven’t seen him since he slipped out of my apartment that day." He pauses a moment though before he nods. "…though…" He sighs. "…I don't know either Elena, I really would like to tell you I know something to do, but I don't. I think it's important though, and that you should keep it up to keep track of everything…then…you'll have it when we figure something out to do with it."

A blink then before his eyes widen, he walks over towards her as she sinks down like that, and puts one hand on her shoulder. "…don't blame yourself for that." He murmurs quietly towards her.

She laughs. "Thanks for the reassurance," Elena tells Eric, grinning up at him and her dark eyes dancing with mirth. "I'm glad to know you'll take pity on poor lil' me. I doubt I can even throw a punch to save my life, not to mention stand up against someone who practices with wood almost every day." She pauses. "Every day?" She didn't know if Eric jumped around with his practices or if it kept pretty consistent through and through. But at what he says next, she nods. "Yeah….no sense not to be aware of it, I suppose. I told two other people the other day. Maybe they'll know what to do with what I gave up," Elena says, tugging on a lock of her hair absently. "And if they do something about it, I can concentrate on Papa, keeping an eye on Drake and helping you improve your control on your abilities. And…" Her eyes glance to the far wall. She doesn't say it out loud, but there's her mother's case too.

When she rests his hand over her shoulder, she looks up at him. "I'm trying. I keep telling myself that the woman was trying to kill Jack. I didn't mean to do it but even if I did, I would've done the same thing to save him. But it's still a life. I didn't think….I didn't think." She pauses for a moment and reaches up to touch his hand lightly on her shoulder. "Thanks. I'm okay, really. I just can't help but be wigged about it. I wanted to become a doctor in the first place so I can help people. Not hurt them. Not like this. So it's kind of throwing me into this crazy teenaged existentialist funk."

She pauses, and she looks up at him. "Speaking of abilities… I'm working on a few new theories about what you can do. Your powers. I don't have a lot of proof yet, I'll need to run more tests. But I think I have an idea as to how you could improve your control out of line of sight. And…." She pauses. "The other one's a little heavy but I don't want to say anything until I make sure of it."

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