2007-09-29: Karmic Homeostasis

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Cleaning up the apartment a few days after messing it up, Peter and Elena stumble upon a game of Battleship.

Date It Happened: September 29th, 2007

Karmic Homeostasis


Peter Petrelli's Apartment

He hasn't come back from work yet - and after a couple of hours of study, Elena decides to do the unthinkable and that's to essentially clean up the damage from the night before. She has just finished hanging up a few of the paintings and prints that got knocked off the walls. And once that was done, she was working on the books. He's got a collection on his own, mostly with art, medicine - things he needed for nursing school. However she does pick up a carefully kept volume and lifts her brows when she sees the title. An analogy of poems by Emily Dickinson….no wonder he was able to identify the passage she was reading that one day at the mansion.

Curiously, she flips the cover open, and smiles a little bit at the notation scrawled on the cover page. She knows his handwriting by now.

P. Petrelli
Grade 10

He really DID hate throwing things away.

She shelves the book of poetry, and looks at the trail of damage leading from the front door to the living room, and towards the bedroom. The bedroom had it the worst. She could barely remember it all. Still, she exhales a breath, gathering up another armful of books and moving back to the bookshelf. She'll take care of the little knick-knacks later.

—-

The sound of someone approaching the room might not be heard by her, but the little white fuzzball does hear it and sits up from where she's resting and moves over to the door as someone unlocks it and opens it. Immediately she's trying to duck outside, but Peter bends down and snatches her up, holding her in one arm as he closes and locks the door behind him. "Good girl," he says affectionately to her, before setting her back down and glancing into the living room and seeing that there's another good girl present. Though he wouldn't just walk over and pick her up.

He does smile, ever so faintly, and begin to take off his coat to put on the coat rack near the door. "Hey— I guess we never did get around to cleaning all that up," he says rather sheepishly, knowing that a good portion of the mess had been his fault— things had gotten a little out of control.

If it hadn't been for other situations that night— a moment he doesn't recall at all— and things stemming from it— his smile might be wider and more genuine, but now it's just a hint of one. At least he hasn't run out to hunt down a serial killer yet.

—-

"I was thinking I'd get started a little bit." Elena looks over her shoulder and smiles at him. "I think we knocked down a few of your books from high school. You're just as bad of a pack rat as I am." Then again, the young woman doesn't really toss books away. It's a sacrilege. She stows away a few more, and then reaches down to pick up the others off the floor. "Well, I put aside the little…you know. Things you have on the shelves, I didn't know how you wanted them set up."

She looks around the area she's in, and groans. "I can't believe we made this big of a mess," she says with a laugh. There's a tinge of pink on her cheeks - but it's not too bad. After everything, there's really no room to be embarrassed now. She furrows her brows, crawling on her hands and knees so she could reach under his coffee table and pull out a sock. Just one sock.

"….well, slowly but surely we're finding the clothes we lost," she says, flashing him a sheepish grin and setting the sock aside. She might have to break this into piles. "How was your day?" she asks, looking up and blowing a lock of hair away from her eyes.

—-

"Most of my stuff from high school is still at the house," Peter adds, hanging up his coat and stepping further into the room, to get closer to her, kneelng down as she's surveying the mess. "I just kept the ones I'd actually read again here." Poetry books, a few history books as well, but most of his school books were left at home. There are law books, though, telling of his first year of law school… thick books, those… They weren't on the shelf they knocked things off of, though. "It happens," he adds, looking toward the small statettes and other things that'd been tossed to the ground with the books.

"You don't have to organize my books, you know," he adds, tilting his head at her quietly. Maybe he's noticing her desire to catalogue things. "I can fix that later— I work in a bookstore now." Subject, then author! It's how things work.

One sock— he reaches to pick it up, holding it for a moment, before he puts it down. "It was okay— haven't heard anything yet." From Elle— from Mr. Bennet. From Anyone really. Just… work. Normal day. When he really wants to do something not normal… like hunt down a serial killer, or at least find out for sure that his ex-girlfriend isn't dead. Does she need healing? Is she… no— she's not his responsibility anymore… but at the same time that doesn't change that he wants to help her if he can.

"Here— let me help you. We'll get this cleaned up in no time," he says, reaching for a few of the books and moving back to the shelf. He's not even bothering to put them in order right now.

—-

"Yeah?" Elena says, taking a step next to him, but taking a bit of a higher shelf as she tries to put things in order and help him out. Finishing her own stack, she retrieves more. "I don't even remember all of these falling off…" It looked like an earthquake went off on one shelf. She's amazed the ship-in-the-bottle is still standing unbroken. Did Peter superglue the thing to the wood? Passing by the other shelves when she picks up more wayward books, she runs a finger along the law books she finds. "….didn't like it?" she asks, withdrawing a first year text on Torts and leafing through it. Seeing the notes and highlighted pages she can't help but smile.

She shelves the thing back into the shelf and turning around so she could move over to the other side so she can put the last of the books she managed to pick up from the floor away.

"Mr. Bennet did tell you to lay low," she says. Now that the initial shock has passed when Noah revealed he knew who she was, she can talk about it a little more normally now. "Now that I'm thinking about it with a clearer head, he wasn't just telling you to stay out of it. If Sylar did attack the Company, its agents are going to be really antsy." But at least they know what the paintings are, and that Elle might still be alive. She still thinks Noah won't be saying that if they found Elle's body somewhere.

She hands him a couple of statuettes that had fallen off and onto the floor.

—-

Luck. It's so fragile that it had to stay where it was or it would've been broken— kind of like the lone teacup in a tornado— somehow managing to make it through without even a chip, while the whole house it'd been in lays in splinters… But tornado analogies are bad right now. But it sort of works, too. Peter lowers his eyes a bit as he slides a few books into place, smiling faintly. He remembers part of it— probably a little better than she does, even if he had been highly distracted as well.

"No— wasn't really me," he adds, catching sight of the law book that he's actually wondering why he kept, honestly. He'd been living in this apartment when he quit law school, though, so he never had to move it out— it'd been on the lowest shelf. But he had been studious, even if he'd never be top of his class, like his brother.

"You're probably right. Which means going to them about Evelyn probably isn't the best idea right now, either…" The only thing he could offer them in exchange would be helping with the Sylar incident— but even then… even then he's not sure how much he can do. He's not able to kill him— that much has been made pretty clear— and he couldn't do much else… other than distract him. And he really does hope Elle's all right— even if he can't bring himself to say that. Worrying about an ex-girlfriend seems too awkward— but she should know how much the painting rattled him.

The statuette is taken and placed near the edge of the shelf, in front of a stack of books laid on their side, and he'll continue doing this for a while. A lot to clean up…

He still doesn't know what to do… But… "After this there's a bunch of things that got knocked over in my closet— probably while I was grabbing the paints." How on earth he did all that in a trance, he has no idea…

—-

"I hear most people who go to law school are Type A personalities," Elena says with a small smile, looking over at Peter. "You're more of a Type-B, I think. But I think those are blanket statements that don't apply to the real world anymore anyway. There's always that unknown variable." She hands him another couple of knick-knacks. At least the living room looks like it's in order now. "I think thanks to all those notes you keep leaving me, I've gotten pretty good at identifying your handwriting. It hasn't changed much since you were in high school."

He's lived here for a very long time, so of course bits and pieces of him would be imprinted in almost every inch of the apartment. Maybe that was one of the reasons why she loved hanging out here even if he wasn't. But she doesn't really have the sort of eloquence to say those sorts of things out loud. When it came to Peter she tended to have a terrible foot-in-mouth disease.

She nods, but she refrains from discussing it further. To talk about it more would mean Peter will be thinking about it more, and the more he thinks about it, the more determined he'll be to do something - which was the OPPOSITE from the advice Mr. Bennet had given him the night before. That and she knows he's worried about Elle. She'd be a little more insecure about it if it wasn't for the fact that he's not that kind of person.

"I still don't get how you managed to grab your paint things while you were….Mendez'd," she says, tugging absently on her ponytail. "Have you ever done that before? Just woke up in the middle of the night and just painted?" She walks over to the closet and starts trying to get things in order there, righting up paint supplies and pushing back spare canvases. She knocks over a spare medical kit in the process, spilling its contents, and she starts putting things away then. Bandages, antiseptic, a small bottle of aspirin. "It's really weird. Whenever I saw you paint, you had to deliberately try…"

She pauses, rolling the aspirin bottle around her fingers. The pills in her hand.

"……….oh."

—-

"It's what was expected— that's why I went," Peter says, repeating something he knows he'd told her before. Lawyers ran in their family— his father ran a law firm, now taken over by the lawyer that's trying to make his third degree assault charges as light as possible. Up to a year in jail maximum— and he's really hoping to avoid the jail time all together. If possible. If not… Well— things will be very difficult for a while. He might have to use persuasion to get the Judge to lower the sentance. He's really hoping they can do it without that, but his abilities are about the only thing he can offer to keep him out of it…

"I don't think people's handwriting changes that much over the years— Yours will probably be about the same in ten years." There's an unspoken 'too' there. Since he graduated from high school about ten years ago now…

But… he doesn't notice her nostalgia, the fact that she sees pieces of him everywhere— but that's exactly why he likes his apartment too. It's him. And everyone he's ever met, all at the same time. The last of the books are settled into place, and he moves to join her at the closet. "It's never happened before, no. Not quite like that. It did when— the painting of your father and Desiree— I don't remember trying to paint that, either, but I came to after it was done." He realized he'd done it right away— this is different. He didn't even know he'd done it.

But… "Oh?" She's realized something, but he doesn't understand it, even as he reaches to pick up a board game that got knocked down. A grown man with no children who has board games. Yes.

—-

Snippets of memory, dialogue, come back to her as she rolls and rolls the pill bottle around her hand.

"He painted the future while he was high…"
"Make it come back! What you did before, make it come back…"
"I'm more like a walking drug than anything else…"
"Anyone ever tell you that you're addicting…?"

Elena sets the bottle back into the kit and flips the top back over, settling it in the place where she had originally knocked it down. "I think…when we were….my abilities…" She rakes her fingers through her hair. "I helped push Dezi in a state before so she'd be more susceptible to seeing the future. I never did it again because I was worried she'd grow dependent on…the sensation." She looks down at her hands. "I think while we were playing around with it, while we were…I…" That would explain why he had a blackout and why she felt so heavy the morning after. She groans, and rubs the side of her face.

There's a welcome distraction at least. She reaches down to pick up a rectangular box that's fallen on the ground and lifts it up. "Snakes and ladders?" She can't help but laugh. "I haven't played this since I was a kid." She hands it back over to him so he could set it….wherever it's supposed to go. But he had several, knocked down by the flurry of activity when he had been rummaging for his paint supplies.

—-

Oh. Right. Drugged.

"Yeah… that— it doesn't mean it's the same as… herione or anything. It just made me more open to the message, I guess…" Peter says, shoving a few things into place in the closet, before he looks rather concerned that she might actually be really bothered by this. It's really not the same as abusing a substance— well, it might be really. Some illegal substances do use natural chemical reactions, just like her abilities do. He'll still think it's not quite the same. "It's just as much my fault— I started it," he says, glancing down towards the floor when he kneels down to pick up one of the last of the boxes. Not Snakes and Ladders— that one she got— earning a glance up. "I don't know why I kept that one…" He has scrabble and pictionary and jenga— more adult type games, but he also has a Monopoly board, and the one he's holding now… Battleship. He doesn't put it away, though, watching her for a moment.

"I really hadn't intended for… it to happen like that," he starts, hinting towards an apology he's probably not going to actually make, even if he wants to. "And I'm sorry my powers messed things up the next day…" They're all he has to offer, but they do seem to have a habit of stepping in at inopportune times… And the paintings themselves… they were pretty serious. But…

He holds up the board game. "Care for a game?"

—-

She glances over at him, and she lowers her eyes so she can concentrate on what she's doing. "Actually after all of that I've been waiting for the inevitable wave of guilt to come," Elena tells him. "We Catholics are pretty good with the guilt thing, you know? Hell the morning after I was waiting for it….guilt. Regret. Shame." She looks over at him and smiles slightly. "Never did though." She leans in and presses her lips lightly on his cheek. "And you didn't ruin anything."

After all she was still there. She wasn't one to break promises either. Standing up, she exhales a breath. "Well. The living room and your closet are done, at least. I think we're all set once we finish the bedroom and the kitchen…"

She blinks when Peter shakes the box at her, and she can't help but laugh. "What." She reaches out to take the box from him to peer down at it. "Oh my god. I haven't played this game in ages. I think the last time I played it was with Luis."

She throws him a sidelong glance. "I'm starting to sense a trend with me, you, and boats," she teases. "It might as well be Battleship. I heard from Nate or Heidi you cheat at Monopoly."

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