2007-07-14: Katydid's Sting

Starring:

Mara_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Maybe katydid's don't sting, but their betrayal does.

Date It Happened: July 14, 2007

Katydid's Sting


Peter Petrelli's Apartment

In the aftermath of television set up, Peter's putting away things, specifically he dumped the taken apart radio into a box, along with the tools, and shoved it into the closet. Now, he's transplanting books and knickknacks back onto the newly moved shelves. The reason he'd never had a television in the front room before is because he didn't have enough space with all of his bookshelves. One of the chairs has been removed, now sitting in the bedroom, and everything has been shifted around to make room for it. It can now be viewed easily from the couch. This will work out well.

Needing to be in the city for a meeting anyway, Mara decides now is as good a time as any to stop by and talk to Peter about his request. She can't explain it, but it's as if she already knew he would be here. She shrugs off the feeling and knocks on the door to 1407. "It's Mara," she calls.

There's a frown, and Peter sets one more item back onto the bookshelf (a ship in a bottle) and moves to the door, unlocking it and opening it without even looking. He's too trusting sometimes. But if she's lying, he figures the person doing it would be able to get in anyway. "Hey, I wasn't expecting you— pity you didn't stop by a bit earlier, Nathan was here. Come on in." He gestures her inside, closing the door and relocking it behind her.

"It's okay. What I came here to talk about is really something probably best left between us anyway." Mara smiles faintly and leans against the door after Peter's shut it, hooking her thumbs through her belt loops. "I've given some thought to your request to pick up Molly Walker's ability."

"Not sure if that sounds good or not," Peter responds rather curiously, frowning a bit. She'd already seemed against it when he asked, but… Instead of heading back to work, he opens the fridge, "Something to drink?" Water, orange juice, V8 and even some left over Pepsis are available. And beer and whiskey too.

"Juice might be good. I swear, Mohinder's going to bleed me dry with blood samples one of these days. Test this, perfect that, I don't know about this, side effects that. It's a never-ending battle to control my ability, rather than let it control me." Mara pushes away from the door and strides toward the kitchen, leaning against the counter instead.

The orange juice is grabbed and handed over, and Peter opens a V8 for himself, before motioning deeper into the apartment, "It'll be good to figure it out so that you don't pass out every time, or lose the ability to see. That seemed pretty terrible for you at the time." There's some major changes in the living area, which she should notice right away. She'd just been here a few days ago. Big changes. A flat screen TV, for starters. "So what did you think about me trying to talk to Molly?"

"I like what you've done with it," she remarks of the living area, perching on the arm of the couch. It seems she has no intention of getting too comfortable. "Looks… Well, your place has always looked homey. Lived-in. Like you actually like it here. But this… It just makes it look like you really intend to keep your home. You know what I mean?" She glances about a bit more, a faint sadness in her expression.

"I always intended to live here a while, it's a nice apartment," Peter admits as he moves to sit on the chair next to the couch instead of the couch itself. She's already taller than him from her elevated perch, but at least he's sitting nearby. "I'm sure one day you'll find a place that you can make lived in too," he adds, trying to offer her a smile, though he knows it will require certain things… like a dead serial killer.

"I had a place, once…" Mara diverts her gaze, staring at her reflection in the dark television screen. "Not the one that burnt down, but… a nicer one. A house. Years ago. Seems like forever sometimes." Sometimes, I wonder if it ever happened. Shaking off her wool gathering, she turns her attention back to Peter. "I've been relocated," she informs him quietly.

It's good that she continues on that, because Peter had already started to grimace at the mention of her place. Covering that up with a drink from his V8, he just nods. looking a little saddened as his eyes return to her. "Found you a place to stay?"

"Yeah. I'll be in Hartsdale still for the next couple days, but then I'm off again." Mara takes a long drink from her orange juice, expression somber. "We need to talk," she says finally.

"Thought you might. It isn't exactly easy to get an apartment in the city," Peter says, glancing around his own. He knows there's very few free in this building alone, and the same is true throughout a lot of the city. "Alright, I'm listening."

"I can't let you become a liability to me by having Molly Walker's ability," Mara states almost coldly. She isn't trying to be, though. It's just… Well, for her, it's just a fact. And if she doesn't square her shoulders and clench her jaw between sentences, she may lose her nerve. She just can't say no to Peter some days. He's got one of those looks.

Whether she's meaning to be cold or not, she is, Peter flinches and then stands up rather quickly. "It's not a liability. I know how dangerous it is, but I also know how useful it is. Do you have any idea how many people I could help with that ability!?" He's definitely not happy about this. "What are you worried about? That Sylar will threaten someone until I tell him where you are? Why would I do that! Even if he threatened to kill someone I care about, Nathan for instance, I would be sending him to kill you. I would find another way."

"Nathan take care of himself," Mara responds without skipping a beat. She stays seated, expression calm. She'll let Peter have the height advantage for now. "And what if he takes one of those precious nephews of yours? How are you going to explain it to them when they've been hurt? Do you think they're going to understand you had to find another way?" She shakes her head, "I hate to play the devil's advocate, Peter, but Gray doesn't play fair."

"I want this ability because of them," Peter responds, now raising his voice. "Because there's someone out there who's kidnapping the children of the women that this serial killer was after, which included Heidi! I needed that ability in case something happened to them. I was also going to use it to go after Sylar, but there was more to it than that." Getting him angry is pretty rare, but she's managed.

Deep down, Mara knows she should be unnerved. It isn't easy to rile the man up, but here they are. "What are you going to do, Peter Petrelli? Stalk yourself a killer or two and take them down in cold blood? The people like us that kill? They can't be contained." The look in her eyes is almost curious - a sparkle there. Is that the ghost of a smirk? "Or will you turn them over to the Company to be poked and prodded and tested and be made bereft of every human right you and I take for granted?"

"Weren't you the one who wanted me to kill him!?" Peter yells right back, turning away a bit and throwing his arms up at the wall. Luckily there's nothing flying around. He's not glowing. But things could get bad fast. The angrier he gets, the worse it might be. But he can't help this. "I want to use it to help people. I don't know how yet, but I can't help people I can't find. And I don't intend to turn anyone over to the Company. The Company is just as bad as he is."

"We aren't just talking about Gabriel Gray here anymore, Peter. And I've no qualms about killing him. I've no qualms about someone else doing the job for me. But can you live with that?" Mara leans back, tilting her head up to watch him. "I used to be like you. Think like you. I was an idealist. I thought there was good in everybody. Even the murderers I've tracked down as part of homicide." She takes another sip of juice and then smiles wryly, "I was wrong." After a beat, she continues. "You want to use that ability to help people, and I believe that. I believe that you will help people. But I also believe that there's more to it than simply helping people. You decide to start doing what I do - bringing people to justice - and I know you will, because you are like me in that way… It'll destroy you, Pete. That power. That knowing. It'll consume you."

That isn't making things any better. Jaw tight, Peter doesn't even bother to look at her. "Maybe you thought I was planning to use it to kill him, but I wasn't. There's other things I can do. If you think I'm that much of a liability, then why don't you just kill me. Because there's a hell of a lot more I can do than find people. I could make you tell me." And he knows he could, but it's not something he intends on using, even if it would prove a point of exactly what he could do if he managed to find Sylar. "But I get it." And he doesn't like what he gets at all. "Get out," he finally says with a wave towards the door.

"You could have made me tell you," Mara says casually as she stands up. "And you didn't. How easy would it be?" Is she daring him? "All this power, Peter. All this advantage." She doesn't go for the door, however. Instead, she takes her juice back to the kitchen to rinse out the empty container. "You passed the test. I'll phone up Mohinder once I'm back in Hartsdale."

The problem with this kind of test… now that it's over the anger has no where to go. Peter's still all tense as she moves into the kitchen, and then especially as she reveals it as a test, and that she'd still call him now. In part, the testing almost makes him more angry. "How easy it would have been would depend on you. How strong you are." Picking up his own bottle of V8, he puts it back into the fridge rather than finishing it, and looks back at her, knuckles still white, "I don't appreciate you testing me. I helped kill someone last week. Hadn't intended to, wished I hadn't had part in it— but I did. Even if— Gray— walked through that door right now, I don't know if I could kill him. But I do have options." The tension won't fade quickly, that's for sure. Shows in his eyes still.

"Do you want to find out how strong I am?" There's something… different about her now. She leans back against the sink and narrows her eyes faintly, curious. "Because I want to know if I'm strong enough to stand up to you." Mara tilts her head to one side, red hair brushing over her shoulders. "Come on. It'll give you a chance to blow off some steam."

"I don't…" Peter starts, then trails off. He looks up towards the ceiling. What she's asking of him is almost cruel, but at the same time… it isn't a bad idea. What if Sylar gets this ability someday? She should actually know exactly what he's doing. She's seen a vision of it. He doesn't know this. Only he got the ability from someone else entirely, "Get me a cookie." It's a simple command, pointing up at the owl cookie jar above his fridge.

Mara's shoulders droop and for a moment, her expression goes nearly blank. But then, she gives a small shudder and offers a quirky smile. "Naw. I don't think you need the sugar."

"Well that didn't work," Peter admits, looking up towards the cookie jar. But she's right. He probably doesn't need the sugar. However… "There's a bottle of whiskey in the cabinet. Why don't you take it down and pour me a drink?" Might as well try one last time. It it still doesn't work…

It's obvious that this command took more effort to ignore on Mara's part. But once she's shook off the nagging suggestion that she should do what she's told, she's grinning widely. "Again," she demands hungrily. "Come on, try it again." She's definitely pleased with herself for having not given in. It's sparked hope in her.

"All right," Peter says, looking around the kitchen for a minute. What else could he ask her to do that's harmless and not completely horrible on his part. It's in the next room, but what he finally decides on is still fairly simple, "Go turn on my television."

"You're barmy if you think I'm gonna-" Mara starts to protest, but then… she just kind of stares at the television. "Yeah. Maybe some TV would be good." She walks back to the living area to retrieve the remote and switch on the new television. Once done, she stares down at the remote in her hand in shock. "Damn."

As she gives in to the persuasion, Peter follows after her to the television and stands and watches, right up until she curses a little. "Sorry," he says gently, moving across to her and taking the remote out of her hand and turning the television off. "It's not something I'll use lightly… unless someone asked me to, there's only one time I've used it." And he's not about to tell her what that time is. "You resisted most of them, though…"

"Someone asked you to use it on them? Was the situation like this?" Mara relinquishes the remote and sinks heavily down onto the couch. "I guess I'm almost good, huh?"

"Sort of," Peter explains, glancing back towards the television and setting the remote down nearby. "The man who was after Heidi had a similar ability— could implant commands in people's heads. She wanted to know if she could resist something similar."

Mara nods numbly. "I thought I was doin' really well…" She stares down at the floor. "Bollocks. So… You need someone else found?"

"Not right this moment, no," Peter says with a grimace, glancing towards the bookshelf that still is only half put back up. "Wanted to meet Molly to get ready for could happen next— to be able to do more. You might be right, it might turn me into a liability. But I think I already am one. There's nothing saying I won't blow up tomorrow."

"I'm honestly less concerned about you blowing up. I mean… If I were you? I'd sell me out, too." Mara rests her elbows on her knees, burying her face in her hands.

"Then you're wrong, and we don't have much in common anymore," Peter says with a hint of a grimace. "Blowing up and betraying someone is about on the same level with me. But I'll understand if you feel the need to sell me out sometime in the future. There's some people who were right about that. I'm too dangerous to let live."

"Peter," Mara starts gently, "I'd never sell you out." She lifts her head again, eyes wide and innocent. She doesn't quite look scared, but… lost.

"You'd sell you out— but you won't tell people where to find a unstable nuclear warhead that just happens to be living in one of the most populated cities in the world?" Not the most, but definitely up there on the liste. Peter doesn't quite understand. "You haven't done anything wrong. You're a good person. Your power isn't threatening the lives of millions of people. I can't see for a second why you wouldn't sell me out— except maybe that it would upset Nathan."

"The sun doesn't rise and set in Nathan." Mara climbs to her feet again only to close the distance between herself and Peter to embrace him. "You've never done anything wrong that you could help." That's more than she can say for herself sometimes. "I'm sorry I made ya mad," she murmurs quietly, resting a hand on the back of his head.

As she holds him, Peter wraps his arms around her. "I know it doesn't, but he's important to you…" And it's almost said as if he genuinely thinks that he means a lot more to her than anything else might. He could be wrong, though. "I wish that were true… you have no idea how much. But I'm not perfect." And he won't ever claim to be. "I've done things I shouldn't have. And I'll probably do things I shouldn't have again."

"We've all done terrible things to each other, Pete." When Mara leans back, she looks almost frightened. "Perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway. Perfect means there's no room to experiment. To try different things until you find the right way. Perfection is boring."

"Peter," he says softly, almost a hint of a request in his voice. "Pete always makes me feel like a kid." There's a few people he allows to call him that, but sometimes… he wants the confidence of being called by his full name, like an adult. Though she looks frightened, he reaches forward and touches forehead, pushing hair out of the way. A forehead that he saved from being sliced open once, and one he hopes to save again. "If you won't turn me in, then believe in me." That's pretty simple a request. He lets his hand drop and starts to move away a bit. "It's okay you made me mad. Isn't the first time I've been mad."

"Peter," Mara repeats. Her voice is barely audible. His fingers brush her forehead and the word leaves her lips without realising, "Kaydence." Even after it's spoken, she doesn't seem to know she's said it. She seems to snap out of whatever reverie she found herself in when he steps away. "Still sorry."

"Kaydence," Peter repeats the name he's given. He'd heard it before, but it still sounds… different. "Kaydee? You're so much of an adult all the time you might need to feel like you can smile sometimes. Kaydee— Kaydeedid." He says with a hint of a smile, hoping she's not insulted by this. If she obviously is, he'll probably stop. "Do you want me to walk me down to your car?"

The colour and the heat creep into Mara's face once he points out the name she murmured. "Kaydeedid." She smiles that gap-toothed smile of hers. "Peter, you… I…" She draws him into another tight hug. "Thanks." God, this is so much harder than she ever thought it would be.

There's something different about this hug. Peter holds her again, looking over her shoulder and then can't help but say, "Can go back to Mara if you prefer." He'd called her 'Detective' for so long, too. And he probably would have kept it up if she hadn't asked him to stop. "…what's wrong?" He finally asks, having sensed something different in this hug. "If you don't want to have me meet Molly, it's okay. Really…"

"It's… nothing to do with that." Mara's fingers tremble on his back where she presses him to her. "No. I like it. It's… cute." And so very you, Peter. "I…" What, Mara? …Kaydence? I can't tell you where I'm going because somebody might worm it out of you? "There's so much I wish I could tell you right now. But… It wouldn't be fair." She closes her eyes and sighs.

It's a good thing he'd already decided not to ask where she was going. Not to protect her so much as… it's not his business. "You don't have to tell me anything that you don't want to. It's okay," Peter explains, rubbing a hand up and down her back. "I won't even walk you to the car if you don't want. I'll stay right here and you can call me when you need me, or when you get settled down."

"Damn, Peter." Mara pats his cheek gently as she slowly steps back. Her hand keeps contact with him, sliding down the side of his face and to his shoulder. "I'm glad you don't pry into my head… And sometimes, I wish you did." She disengages the touch and steps back fully.

"Last time I purposely pried into someone's head uninvited, they broke my nose," Peter says with a laugh, reaching up to touch the bridge of his nose for a few moments. "Not something I look forward to, and I somehow doubt you'd let me get away with just a broken nose." She could probably kill him if she wanted to. "Any time you wish it, though, give me a cue." Of some kind. "Maybe tap your temple, or something." That's a cue! But for now…

Mara reaches up and taps her bruised temple once, eyes fixed on Peter's. He did offer, and so can she. She tips her head back and waits, apprehensive.

For a moment, Peter closes his eyes, taking in a slow breath, and then… there's obvious tension around his eyes, and his forehead, almost like he's suddenly experiencing quite a headache. His eyes open so that he can look at her, and he listens.

Mara's eyes get wide. She knows he's reading her thoughts, but she can't even feel it. It's always struck her as something she should be able to tell. It's unnerving. In a moment of panic, he can tell she's trying to shut him out. But then the thoughts ring loud and clear. I'm being watched, Peter. And not just by Gray. Be careful. And don't trust Mohinder. "I'm sorry," she murmurs, starting to move toward the door. Still, she allows him his chance to respond.

As soon as he senses the panic, Peter tries to pull back. Mostly because… there's a lot about this ability that he doesn't wish to abuse. It takes time, though, and he catches what she thinks. Being watched. Don't trust Mohinder. Be careful. As she moves away, he has to shake his head, trying to clear it out. Even then, he's got enough to ask one question, straight into her mind. ~You're working with the Company, aren't you?~

Mara stops dead in her tracks and stares at Peter like a deer trapped in the headlights. "When I disappeared before," she tells him, "it was with the help of a Company agent." She swallows and takes a step back, scared now. "They're using me for bait. To lure out Gray."

"In order for bait to work… you need a trap," Peter says outloud, letting the telepathy fade away as he steps towards the door. "Whatever they got planned… I hope it's better than whatever they had in mind last time." And from the sound of it, he's not intending to rely on that. "If you want me to contact Mohinder on my own so you don't get in trouble, I can."

"I'll put you in touch with Mohinder. I'm too valuable for them to lock up now." Mara smiles without any humour. "I'm sorry, Peter." She takes the cue and opens the door to head out into the hall. Damn.

"Thanks," Peter responds, though he looks a little worried as he follows her to the door and holds it open for a few moments as she walks down the hall. He opens his mouth as if to say something, a gesture she likely won't see, but then shakes his head and closes the door, flipping the locks back into place. Hopefully whatever trap they want to spring works, and doesn't kill the bait doing it.

Mara glances over her shoulder, giving Peter a curious look that asks, 'Did you say something?' But by the time she's turned back, he's already closed the door. "Story of my life," she muses to the empty corridor.

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