2008-02-08: Journalistic Empathy


Peter_icon.gif Sierra_icon.gif

Summary: A chance (fate) encounter leads to an awkward empathic bond. Peter has a moment of extreme femininity. Literally.

Date It Happened: February 8, 2008

Journalistic Empathy

Battery Park

There's many benches that line the edge of Battery Park, where people can look out on the bay and admire the various sights. Or to just relax. In light of recent events, Peter Petrelli has a lot of reasons to need to relax and just breathe. The air's still crisp with winter, which accounts for the sparce population in the park itself, the empty benches. Wrapped in just a coat, he isn't quite as affected as the normal person. His cheeks are barely even reddened by the cold. The sun streams down through clouds, casting light on him.

Today has been a day for Sierra to just sit back and relax. She hasn't done any writing or investigatory journalism. She has quite enjoyed herself, in fact." She sighs lightly as she walks along one of the paths, bundled up in a warm coat, mittens and scarf. She's just finished talking with someone on her cell phone (and if anyone had heard her they would've heard her speaking interchangeably between French and English) and is in the process of shutting her phone and putting it away.

While he sits quietly, Peter reaches into the folds of his coat and pulls out a piece of folded paper. The young woman shutting her phone and putting it away is passing not too far from him when the cool wind catches the page and pulls it from his hand, sending it fluttering through the air straight to her. As soon as this happens, he starts to stand, to chase after it, turning to face the woman. There's many different ways he could stop the piece of paper, bring it back to his hand, but seeing someone else right in front of him means he'll have to do it the hard way— with his feet.

Sierra can't help but take notice of someone heading in her direction. Making sure he isn't flagging her down, she attempts to side-step, doing a little swirl. She catches sight of him and stops. He looks familiar. She's seen him somewhere before. He isn't that guy she was flirting with at the bar last night, is he? No. Not the same guy…but then who is he? And then it clicks! He's Nathan Petrelli's brother! That's who he is!

Yes, Nathan Petrelli's possibly deranged brother. According to some local tabloids. Peter hasn't quite managed to catch up to the piece of paper. Thank god there's no puddles for it to get soiled in, but he'd have to run to catch up to it— or use one of his many abilities. Instead, he speaks up, not realizing he's been recognized, "Um— excuse me— could you stop that for me?" He gestures at the still fluttering paper, a piece of paper with an address. Sometimes it's good to count on people, even strangers.

Sierra does a little hop with an outstretched hand and, with some luck, catches the piece of paper. "Oui. Here we are!" She grins and hands it to Peter. "Be careful, Mr. Petrelli. The wind is a bit strong out today!" She says softly. And yes, she did call him 'Mr. Petrelli'. She pauses and gazes over at Peter with a gleam glittering in her eyes. He's actually pretty cute in person.

The piece of paper is gratefully accepted with a hint of a smile tugging on one side of his mouth. "Thank you," Peter says gratefully. He's putting the folded sheet back into his inside coat pocket as she calls him Mr. Petrelli. Hand paused mid gesture, it seems to have caught him by surprise, though it shouldn't have. The newspapers printed his picture a few times, and even recently some might have mentioned him with Heidi's car accident. "Peter's fine, really," he says, letting the paper drop into his pocket before he straightens his coat. "And you are?"

Sierra smiles sweetly at Peter, shoving her mittened hands into her pockets and letting out a soft sigh. "Peter?" She says softly, her French accent accentuating the sounds. "Ah, like l'apotre." She grins widely. She didn't even realize that she'd just spoken French there. It's just one of those things that she does. She slips into French. "Je m'appelle…I am Sierra LeBlanc. It is a pleasure to meet you Peter." She takes her hands out of her pockets and takes off one of the mittens, holding out her right hand to shake Peter's.

"Nice to meet you, Sierra," Peter responds as he takes her hand to shake it. At the same time, there's a look in his eyes and he speaks softly, "You know, I never really learned French. I recognize that it's French, obviously. My mother speaks it— but I never learned." Somewhere in the middle of this conversation, his voice changes tones, becoming less deep, and more feminine— and the same thing happens to his physical appearance. It doesn't fully slip into it until the last few words. Clothes remain the same, but he loses a little height, gains different features, and looks older. Unknown to him, he now looks and sounds just like his mother. Except in men's clothes. Clothes that are a little too big for him now. The shift, somehow, goes unnoticed for about two seconds before "he" looks down, blinks and jumps back, looking down at his hands. Someone didn't expect this.

Sierra smiles and nods. "French is…." Pause. She obviously notices the changes a lot quicker then Peter. She thinks that this new look is Mrs. Petrelli. "Are you…" She's stunned. Having never seen anyone else change into someone else before, she doesn't know what to think. She doesn't know if this person is actually Peter Petrelli or Angela Petrelli, or someone else all together! She takes a few steps back. "Are…are you Mrs. Petrelli? Really? Or Peter?" She asks cautiously.

"I— what…" Peter(?) doesn't seem to understand what's happening to him as he backs away a few more steps. The coat he'd been wearing before the transformation is too long for this form. Shoes are too big. It makes it difficult to step back very well. He trips and ends up sitting on the cold concrete. Luckily, there's no one else within viewing distance. And he looks enough like himself they may not notice… everyone used to say he looks like his mom. Eyes on his hands, he(?) glances up to the woman. "I don't— what's— " Eyes close. It takes a moment, but he starts to change again, small changes that don't make it all the way back.

Sierra slowly, ever so slowly, makes her way towards the Petrelli person. She kneels down before him (her?) and looks into the Petrelli person's eyes. "Cherie…you just changed into another person. And you mean to say that this has not happened before?" She holds out her hand for him (her?) to help him (her?) up. "It is a…unique skill to have, the ability to mimic another person. But I should tell you…you are not alone in this ability." Little does she know that her ability was just absorbed, and that she's the only possible reason it happened.

"This is from you?" Peter says, looking up at her. His (her?) appearance shifts again, actually becoming a not-quite mirror of the woman he (she?) is looking up at. Hair grows out longer rather quickly. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. Minus any hint of actual French in the French accent that slips out, "No, I'm not alone— but— this isn't. Sorry. It's going to take me a minute to figure out how— I've never done this before." He (she?) casts a quick glance around, wincing at the physical changes, but grateful that only one person plays witness. The hand tightens around hers and he does his best to stand. "I have an ability, but it doesn't— this is your ability. I absorbed it. Not the best way to meet…"

Sierra takes a deep breath in and lets it out slowly, trying her best to help Peter (?) up. "You are doing well for the first time this has happened…" She says smoothly. "But you do not seem to be able to control it. You seem to be changing against your will." She considers this for a moment before he (she?) mentions how he (she?) absorbed it. "You…took my ability?" She seems a little bit confused. "Then, do I not have my ability any more?" She actually seems concerned at this. She really did like her ability in all honesty. She'd never wanna lose it. "If you want to look as you did before," she says, momentarily realizing that he (she?) might want to look like himself (herself?) again, she decides to help. "Take deep breaths. Focus your mind on the task. Do not let yourself be distracted. Just focus on your original image."

"No, no, you still have your ability— it doesn't work like that," Peter says softly, even as he tries to hold on to who he is deep down. Physically he might be a woman, but he still thinks of himself as a man, so… "I don't usually have control over them when I first get them, it's… complicated." Slow breaths. Focus on the original image. There's a few seconds that tick by, the wind shifting much longer hair, before things start to change again. Slightly taller, shorter hair, more fitting into his clothes. Eyes open. "Thank you. Sorry— not the best way to meet someone new… Even if you already knew my name."

Sierra nods firmly. "Bon. Bon. I would hate to have lost it." She says with a little wink. She watches as he slowly tries to turn back into himself. When he's done, and he's finally himself, she claps. "Bon job! Very good. I'd say you got a whole of that pretty quickly." She says happily. "You may still make a fine shape-shifter yet!" She says with a firm nod. "I admit, I was not expecting that. But…as far as introductions go, I have had worse. Have you tried meeting people at press conferences? They are just horrible!"

"I kind of cheated," Peter admits with a hint of a smile pulling on the corner of his mouth. "Using two abilities at once is difficult, so I tried using another one and… it canceled yours out." At least he's admiting to it. Though the similarity to dream-scape shifting might have had something to do with how close he was able to get to people's appearances— even if he couldn't control it. Never perfect, but definitely big changes. The smile gets a little more genuine at the mention of press conferences. "I've been to a couple of them, and most the people are… is that how you knew me? You're a journalist?"

Sierra chuckles lightly. "Ah, Peter, there is nothing wrong with cheating once and awhile. As long as it does not hurt anyone, non?" She smiles sweetly. She has no idea of dreamscape shifting or any of that. She finds it hard enough to believe that there are others who are like her! "We share something in common, then, I have been to a couple of them too!" In regards to press conferences. "I am a journalist, oui. Most recently doing some work on your…sister-in-law's accident? Of which I was truly and deeply sorry to hear about. No one should have to deal with that." She shakes her head sadly. "But needless to say, you've come up once or twice."

As a consulation, he's never met anyone with her exact ability before. That he knows of. Peter straightens his clothes, now that he fills them out better. "Oh, right… Heidi's accident. She's better now— moved into private care." Thanks to healing hands. "She'll recover pretty well, the doctors said, but thank you for the concern." The doctors are baffled with how quickly she healed, but all seem to have dismissed it as having overestimated the damage that the accident had done. "I can't imagine all the news reports have been good. I know the press has had some… interesting stories involving me. Some of them completely my fault." Punching out a reporter for insulting his girlfriend, for one…

"I am glad to hear that. At one of the press conferences it sounded like it would be a long and difficult recover." Sierra says with still some concern in her voice. "But I am glad of that. I had spoken to a George…George Dawson, he'd said he might be able to get me an interview with someone to discuss Mrs. Petrelli, but this puts me at ease some. I had been worried. That is, perhaps, my biggest flaw when it comes to being a journalist. Sometimes I care too much for those I am writing about."

"Actually I think it's an admirable trait," Peter says, seeming to have recognized the name George Dawson enough to nod briefly. "Most of the reporters I've had a misfortune of dealing with seem to care more about getting a scoop for their readers than the people they're talking to. But I've had some bad experiences in the past…" he says, looking down at his hand briefly. Shaking his head, he looks back up at her, "And you probably… realize that some things aren't something that should be reported— more than most journalists, I'm sure." It's her ability she saw him use, after all.

Sierra smiles and giggles lightly. "That's sweet of ya to say. It ain't something that a lot of reporters would agree with." She says with a light sigh. "Ce la vie, though, eh?" She nods. "Some of us, as you say, care more about the scoop than anything else. No one should have to deal with the pushy, do-anything-for-a-story journalists." She says with a frown. "Of course, there are some things that just shouldn't be reported, no." She says firmly. "Like certain talents people have. Or people's private matters."

'Certain talents'. Peter looks at her for a moment before reaching into his coat and pulling out a wallet. He'd made these cards months ago, because giving out his phone number seemed to become common place. The one he pulls out is handwritten in pen. It has his name and cellphone number. "I think you're one of the few reporters who I'll talk to, so if whatever paper you work with wants to interview me, you can do it." It helps that he knows she won't bring up things like… spontaneously turning into someone else.

Sierra tilts her head for a moment while Peter sticks a hand into one of his coat pockets. As he pulls out his wallet, and then the card, she reaches out and accepts the card. She smiles, looking the card over quickly, before nodding. "Oui? Oh, that is most magnificent. Merci." She brightens up ten-fold. "I am glad that you feel you can talk to me if I wish an interview." Patting down her own pockets, she finally finds her own wallet, pulling it out. From it, she pulls her own card, handing it to Peter. On it is her name, 'Sierra B. LeBlanc', the newspaper she works for, 'The Queens Gazette', and both work and cell numbers. "If you wish to get ahold of me, as well, this is how to do it!" She says brightly.

With her card in hand, Peter looks it over once and then tucks it away where he'd retrieved his own. "Well— with everything that's been going on…" He shakes his head. "You understand if you've got… an ability. And— that's not something most reporters probably do understand. In my life, that's important. There's a reason I tried to stay out of the press the last year and a half." And now she has a good idea. And possibly why he even vanished unexplained for months on in. Rehab was what people had assumed in the tabloids.

There's a pause before Sierra attempts to say anything. She just looks at Peter straight in the eyes, as if searching for something. "I…I can understand the need for secrecy. It is one of the big things when you're 'special' like us. We need to keep secrets." She nods slightly. "I just…there's so much! You're the only other I've met who is different. And you're a Petrelli non less! Not that that would make a difference, I suppose. But your family is quite well known."

"You've never met anyone else?" Peter asks, an eyebrow raising in surprise. It shouldn't, but… "You're not alone either, so you know— not everyone can do what you can, though, it's different, but… you're not alone. Just like you were telling me not too long ago." He can't help but smile at it, hand reaching out to touch her arm. A familiar gesture. "The fact that my family's well-known means I have to be even more careful. People can recognize me…" If he were a random person on the street it might just be dismissed as a hoax… and even with him it's often dismissed as a trick of light. So far. "If you ever need to talk about it— you can call for that too. I know a few people you could talk to as well."

Sierra smiles softly. "I've met only one other person that I know of. His name was….it was….Kensei." She isn't quite sure of the etiquette of all this. She places a hand over Peter's as his rests on her arm. "Well, now you can keep your identity a secret, non?" She smiles and speaks softly. "I…I think it would be nice to have one or two people to talk to about it. I might take you up on your offer." She says, nodding. "Thank you."

"Kensei…" Peter repeats softly, maybe recognizing it, maybe not. There's something about the way he says it that may hint he does recognize it. "My brother would kill me if I ended up in one of those 'aliens impregnanted me' magazines," he admits softly, thinking that'd be the only place someone of his 'talents' would end up. "I need to get going, though— It was really nice to meet you," he adds, squeezing her arm again before pulling back and starting to move away.

Sierra looks at Peter with furrowed eyebrow. "Mmm, oui. Kensei. Do you know him?" She asks curious. She shrugs it off, though. "Ah, the good Senator Petrelli seems like a good man…I hope he is, anyway. He seems like the kind who might be forgiving of your impersonation of an alien." She grins and winks. She nods when he explains he has to be off. "Ah, of course. I do hope I shall be seeing you again soon. I think we could benefit from one another. And please, do feel free to give me a call too, non?" She waves to him and heads off in her own direction.

The Kensei question wasn't answered with more than a small shake of his head, but after a few steps, Peter turns around to confirm, "My brother is a good man." It's said with some conviction, but there's a hint of saddness around his eyes, that tell of a longer and deeper— and likely personal— story. It doesn't last too long before he turns to leave again.

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