2007-04-11: Kindred Souls

Starring:

Elena_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: After the lockdown in the hospital, Elena and Peter go to breakfast and exchange information and discover a rather soulful connection. Peter is the good Petrelli, so nothing un-friendlike occurs.

Date It Happened: April 11th, 2007

Kindred Souls


Diner + Cab + Peter Petrelli's Apartment

After the crazy lockdown from the night before, the tired, weary group was finally released from Mount Sinai. Despite the exhaustion, Elena looks to be in remarkably good spirits. After all, she tested negative for the Hantavirus that was going around in the facility. Tiredness and the fact that she had been trapped in a hospital for the night seems a little light in comparison to finding out you're infected and will probably die within forty-eight hours - something which, thankfully, didn't happen. She'd take Tired over Dead any day.

She is conscious of the fact that Peter is extremely tired, so she hails a cab, bringing her companion to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall breakfast place that she knew that was close to her favorite spots in the city. It is a very unobtrusive cafe, something a usual, rushing New Yorker would probably miss. It was one of those family-run businesses that operated on loyal clientele and good word of mouth.

"This place makes the best crepes in the city," she murmurs to Peter as she steps inside. "You wouldn't think it looking at the storefront, but I swear it's true."

And, of course, it's cheap. The breakfast rush has passed, the place is usually packed around eight or nine. Given it was around seven-thirty in the morning, the supplies delivery truck parked outside is indicative that the cafe just opened for business. Which meant their food was going to be fresh.

"But they make almost everything that's breakfast-y," she assures with a smile. She shucks off her coat and picks a corner table.

—-

By the next morning, Peter actually looks a little better, most of the redness gone from around his eyes. Skin remains pale, paler than normal, but that might have been due to the conditions he'd been forced to sleep in. Upright, as it were, and the weariness of what this disease might be, if it's the one in the paintings, or if it's just a coincidence. Believing in coincidence these days… is difficult.

Breaking from Elena's side for the first time the whole night, he sneaks off to find his brother before joining her for breakfast. Just needed to make sure the older man made it through the night in the other room, before going off to enjoy his food.

Smiling at her choice, he takes off his coat and slides into the seat in the corner, folding the discarded item against his side. There might be evidence of something solid inside his coat the way it folds, book-sized maybe. "That's good. Pretty hungry now, even if they brought us food last night. You're likely starving," he continues to smile faintly, most of the serious expression that he'd had the night faded, but still there in a way. "So what happened with you the last few weeks?" Part of his story might be better after they've eaten, so she doesn't lose her appetite, so…

—-

The menus are old fashioned, printed in laminated paper and folded up. She passes him one, Elena unflipping hers to take a look….it is a cursory glance. She has been here a few times and she knows what she wants. Looking up at Peter, she grins over at him. "Craziness. I met this guy…Jaden Cain. I don't know if Cass told you but…he'll be helping out with the project." She hopes he knows what it means, Cass did mention to her that she told Peter. "Anyway, he needed a bit of help navigating the Wall Street stuff so he offered me a job to work at EvoSoft's media relations department. I'm still trying to decide but…. it pays better than Starbucks, that's for sure."

And then, the waitress arrives, who takes down Elena's order, and waits for Peter to state his. Elena waits for the woman to pour them a couple of cold glasses of water - but whenever she leaves after taking Peter's order, she laughs, and proceeds to tell Peter what she promised. Stories. Crazy stories. Stories about embarassing herself putting on a Femme-Robin costume so Cass could get her two rooms in the new medical facility Jaden's company was funding. Jaden dressing up as a penguin in his own benefit. Her being a Bond Girl for the night. All sorts of wacky, crazy hijinks. She even tells Peter of Gene's Most Excellent T-Shirt ('Roses are <HTML Code for Red>, Violets are HTML Code for Blue>, All My Base, Are Belong to You') and the fact that his 'date' for the benefit was a lifesized, walking and beeping replica of R2-D2 from Star Wars.

"Overall it's just been nuts," she laughs, as food arrives. She ordered crepes, bacon, scrambled eggs it looks like. "But the good kind, I think…I mean all of that was embarassing, but I can laugh about them now."

—-

Also giving his menu a glance over, Peter pays more attention to what she says than what he might order. After all, he has a good idea what he likes already, and just skimmed to make sure they have the right kind of idea behind their menu. They did, so there's no worrying about the details when she has interesting stories to tell. The first bit isn't as funny, but he nods to the project, confirming that he does know, but has never heard of this Jaden Cain. If she mentioned the young man's mother he might recognize her, considering her heightened fame within the city. "Sounds like a good opportunity for a student," he replies about the job, smiling faintly.

Upon ordering, he sticks mostly to eggs, cheese and veggies, by the sound of things, an omelet with a few things, hashbrowns, and the like. Drinking on the water, he's lucky to not choose an inconvenant time to do so with some of the things that follow. All of it leaves him staring, then laughing, the hint of a smile turning to a full blown lopsided one after a time. Wow, that's… he's not sure he could really describe that.

"I can see that. You really wore a— and went to a— that is insane," but something he's finding quite amusing, by the looks of things. "Wish I could say my stories are as humorous. Mine might want to wait til after we eat… But… I did talk to Cass. She's going to be helping me out, teaching me how to do— what I do. Already been a big help so far. Her and… Lachlan… helped me out the other day."

—-

"It is, or I could just be signing up for more insanity." Elena props her chin on one hand, stabbing at her eggs with a fork. "But …at the same time I don't think I have it in me to say no. We could really use the money, and as much as I hate to admit it, ever since everything my life's been a little more…colorful." She looks up at Peter and grins. "Quoting Sophie Marceau from a James Bond film, what's the point of living if you can't feel alive? I kind of like the entire non-routineness of the last two weeks."

She chews a bit on her crepes, and she nods. "But you know the only reason why I'm telling you all the crazy stories is so you could laugh," she says. Indeed she does look incredibly cheerful after he laughs at her stories. "I mean…you looked like you could use a few. You looked so tired yesterday." She doesn't ask why, she doesn't want to pry.

But it looks like he'll press on. She gives him her attention, watching him and nudging his plate closer to him so he won't forget that it's there and he should eat. "I'm doing the same thing," she tells him. "I have been doing the same thing. For a while now. My best friend, my father, and Eric. Has she figured out your….'triggers' yet?" But when he mentions Lachlan, she furrows her brows. "Helped with what exactly?"

—-

"Thanks," Peter says plainly, the smile returning for a moment, with a honest gratitude in his eyes. Really did need that, and he does intend to explain, after they finish some of their food, at least. Getting to work on his plate at the reminding nudge. The later questions draw his eyes up, but he finishes a few fork fulls of omelet before he tries to respond to any of that, even if there's hesitation with parts. "Already sort of know some of my triggers. I figured that out last year with another person's help. I need to… think about the person I got the abilities from, and remember how they made me feel. Have to… match my feelings to how I felt with them, I guess?" There's still a lot he doesn't quite understand, from the sound of it.

Another pause for eating and drinking, he settles back down to try his best to explain, "Your best friend, I also… trained with him the other day. He wanted to show me how his ability worked, see if I could pick it up, then we… uh…" This part seems to cause hesitation, as his eyes slide away from her face and he reaches up to scratch lightly at his forehead, "We decided to spar. He— didn't think he could protect Claire if… if Sylar came after her. So… we did kind of a… simulation. Where I tried to fight like Sylar might." The hand lowers from his forehead, and he looks back at her, "He won, and… we'll just leave it at that— not much of a fighter." It's an over simplified version, but it works.

"But Cass and Lach… they… well— they helped with…" This shouldn't be so difficult. "Do you remember how I called to tell you Sylar got his abilities back? And how he was going after a Detective Damaris? I— uh— ran into him… a few nights ago."

—-

"…that's interesting," Elena says softly, contemplatively, keeping her voice down so only Peter can hear it. "The powers I've dealt with in terms of scientific assessment have been mostly mental-based. People willing things to come out and happen. A desired effect has to be brought about by desire, almost. But yours…it's emotional." She nibbles on a piece of crepe. "I don't think I've ever come across that before…"

At the last, she smiles. "It's okay. Its's….I guess you can say that's probably one of the things I like the best about you." She links her fingers together. "Every single other male in my acquaintance…save for Jaden and Gene anyway…they're all fighters. My father especially. You've met Jack and Lachlan, and Eric…he doesn't look it but believe me, he can probably snap a person's neck in three moves. It's kinda refreshing to know someone who's got a different point of view, you know?"

Drake's been training him? Elena furrows her brows a little bit. "I've seen Drake fight," she says simply. "He can hold his own. I think he's doubting himself now because he's more emotionally invested. I mean….this is Claire. His girlfriend. I know I'd question my ability to be able to protect someone I feel for, even if I was the greatest combat monkey in existence. It can't be helped to worry like that."

At the last, she stares at him. "….you met him….when he's got all his powers back…?" she asks faintly.

—-

"Sometimes I don't even realize what's going on," Peter has to admit, smiling faintly as he tries to figure out how best to explain what it is that he does. "Can direct it some, but… most the time it just seems to happen. When I try too much— I usually don't get what I wanted, or I get a headache. Last night, for example… Trying to talk to you and Nathan really wore me out." Not as pleasant an experience, in comparison to some telepaths she's dealt with, either, though he doesn't know that. "Claude— a friend of mine— called me an empath." To stick with the emotional triggers, it makes sense, but…

"Yeah. I think even my brother could manage better in a fight than I can," he murmurs, paying some attention to his food before he takes a drink, trying to figure out the best way to explain. "Can fight if I have to, to protect someone. Just… not any good at it…" Which doesn't seem to be prefered by him, from the way his eyes downcast and look towards his plate. "Probably the same thing you mean with Drake. When he started pulling out those… martial arts moves… it was pretty much done. I can throw a punch, maybe. But… I've never taken martial arts classes. Understand wanting to protect people. That's why I wanted to help him. Show him that he could manage just as well, if not better, than I could. He's got this… idea in his head that I'm some kind of— that I'm just as strong as Sylar."

And from the way his eyes downcast, he doesn't believe he is.

"Sylar went after Detective Damaris three nights ago. She got a phone call to Nathan and we flew there as fast as we could— Nathan got her out and I— stayed behind— to delay him, to try and stop him." And he'd just got done saying he's not much of a fighter, didn't he? Glancing down, he ends up looking at his left hand, turning it palm up to examine it quietly, as if looking for some sign of what happened. "He can control cold. Never saw him use that before, but… he reached for my throat and the only way I could think to stop him was to grab his hand… and he— he froze my hand." His voice softens to a dull whisper, at the memory, "…and then he broke it off. Managed to fly away, call my brother, but— Cass and Lachlan helped me while… I regrew my hand the next morning. Couldn't exactly go to a hospital with that." Only now does he look away from his hand, back towards her.

—-

There is a bit of silence even as Peter glances down at his regrown hand. "…..you have the advantage there, at least. At least I hope you do. I'm not familiar with all of the abilities Sylar has managed to steal from others," Elena says simply, and one day she would have to be educated on them just in case. At least now she knows he can freeze things. "But right now it looks like if you hurt him, if you tear off a limb, he's done using that limb for good. Not like you. You can…heal. Even after blowing yourself up, you stayed alive. I think as long as Sylar -doesn't- have that….you'll always have an edge."

As long as Peter keeps his brain intact anyway. She knows the source of control was in the brain. You remove that and even his regenerative powers are done forever.

She extends a hand to touch his knuckles lightly. "I'm not going to lie, Peter," she says softly. "But I think the reason Sylar outclasses you is the fact that you just…-who- you are, a good person, a good soul, that's what holds you back in a fight between you and him. He kills people for sport. He doesn't care. The basis of his powers is rooted onto the fact that he has to destroy the body carrying the secrets he wants to get these abilities. You….what you can do, its roots are different. The way you 'learn' the abilities of other people requires them to be alive. Speaking with you. Sharing the same space as you. It's like you're fated to fight him because you're not just dissimilar. You're the exact opposite. In time, I think….you'll discover just how powerful that is. Being the antithesis of him."

She exhales a breath, releasing a tension she was unaware of in her shoulders. "I'm glad you're okay," she says softly. She gives him a small smile. "I'd cry if you died, you know."

—-

The light touch on his knuckles draws his eyes back down towards his hand, and then Peter shifts the hand to grasp more firmly on her own, rather than just letting her touch his knuckles. That might look different to other people, but for him it's a friendly, family-like gesture, and nothing that would be inappropriate in public. Also… he almost lost this hand. This would be something he couldn't have done without his niece's ability. "I'm glad I'm okay, too," he says softly, squeezing her hand for a moment, before loosening the hold. "I think you're right, but— there was something that happened when I fought with Drake. He— asked me to try to fight like Sylar, so… I used the ability I got off of him for most of the fight."

It makes him pause, glancing away again as if suddenly ashamed of what he needs to try and explain, even though he's happy to hear that /she/ believes in him… there's something he almost feels he needs to tell. In case that changes things. "At one point… I tried to crush his throat. Drake's. It felt… he broke out of it, kicked me in the face, and… that snapped me out of it. But for a few moments, while using his power— I feel like I could have killed him. Felt almost like… I wanted to."

Letting out a sigh, he glances down, frowning towards the plate. "Couldn't even admit this to him but it… it worried me. What if… Even with Ted's ability— exploding like that— I didn't want to hurt anyone, I just couldn't stop myself…"

—-

She understands that. Besides, when it came to those subtle if not unfamiliar gestures of affection from him, Elena could really scarcely care about what everyone else thinks so long as -she- knows the truth of it. When he reaches out to tighten his grip over her own, she squeezes back, and covers the grasping hand with her other one. She exhales a quiet breath, but her brows are drawn slightly over her forehead, indicative that she's thinking. The slight frown on her face would give that away to.

But even after he tells her that for a brief moment, he wanted to kill her best friend, she looks up at him. She doesn't draw back, or toss his hand away. Instead she smiles slightly. "Are you surprised?" she asks. "Your ability draws fragments…bits of others into yourself. If you absorbed any of his numerous abilities, some part of him would come out." She sighs and looks a little frustrated. "God this is why I was hoping Drake would stay put once in a while so I can try to explain to him what I've figured out so he wouldn't be this reckless to ask that of you. Nnngh."

But when he confesses his worries, she glances down at his hand. "Well," she begins. "You're worried about it. That's a good sign but I think…I think the reason that you're able to so far despite the urge is that you know who you are. You're Peter Petrelli. You'll always be Peter Petrelli. It's true that you take bits of people into yourself, but that's all. Bits. So long as you have your conscience, you'll be fine."

—-

"Yeah, I was surprised," Peter says softly, honestly, though he seems to be relieved by what she has to say on the matter. There's so much that he could have expected, could have thought she would say, but what she says… "I think you're right. People— everyone, not just me— are made up of those they've met, experiences they've had. With some people that's a good thing. Don't mind believing that a piece of my brother— or my niece— or Hiro. Or even you. Having a piece of them inside me all the time, giving me strength… that's good. But with some, like Sylar… it was more difficult to hold on to that with him." Hold on to who he is, who he wants to be.

"That's almost what I told Drake, though. He— killed me during the sparring. Think he broke my spine. It healed… but he— he was really upset. Know that he hesitated, that he didn't /want/ to kill me. Told him that's the important part. That if he stopped feeling bad, stopped worrying about it… that's when he'd need to worry about becoming like him."

Looking into her eyes again, he smiles faintly, "Just hope that you and Cass can figure out better ways to use my abilities, so I don't end up losing control in more than one area. Before I just worried about accidentally hurting someone… now…" It's a loss of control, but definitely a different one.

—-

"I know," Elena says. "But not everyone you meet is going to be a good person. And there doesn't seem to be a way to turn off this ability of yours. Once you're connected to the other person in some way…" Her voice trails off. Or is there? Was there really no way to turn it off for him? If the control center was in the brain, perhaps his brain would have the answer. The possibilities are endless.

But again, theories. She neither had the budget or even the education for it. Not yet. She was intelligent, people have said so. Innovative even, with everything else she's learning at such a rapid pace. But it's different when it involves something or someone she cares about. Like Eric, her father, Drake, or Peter. She can't just treat them like labrats even if it was for their own good. Hell right now she can't even -use- ordinary rats to test herself, she'd feel too guilty.

At the last, she laughs. "It sounds like Drake. He can get a little carried away with what he knows. He's so….he -revels- at what he can do. Something I wish I could share in, because I believe the more you love what you have, the easier it is to figure out how things work. Enthusiasm has been a driving factor in some of the most innovative discoveries in the last century. Why should it be different in this case?"

She pauses. "In truth though I'm a little worried," she confesses. "To be conscious of the fact that you're nearly indestructible…" She gives him a look. "It's so easy to be cavalier with one's life knowing that, you know. I know you're not the type, but with something like that, it's easy to fall into a martyr's mindset. Don't fall into the trap, Peter."

At the last, she nods, returning his smile and the stubborn determination etched on her face. "Mmhm. I'll do what it takes," she tells him.

—-

"You and Cass might be the only ones I'd let test me— to figure out how this is going on. That's why I went to Cass about the hand. Didn't even dare go home to Elle— she'd insist on taking me to the Company, and…" Peter might love his girlfriend, but the Company— there's more than enough worries there. "Don't want to owe them anything, you know?" He already owes them enough, it feels like. "Didn't even know for sure I could grow my hand back. But it worked. Painful… but it worked."

Being a martyr seems to have touched a nerve, because he finally pulls his hand away for a moment, actually looking guilty. "In some situations… there's worse alternatives than me dying. When I nearly destroyed New York… I'd have rather died. If I start to lose control again… I hope someone will stop me any way that they need to, even if it means killing me." That might explain the guilt, because in a way he's already got what she's worried about. "My brother tried to do the same. Die with me. Kept me from hurting anyone except him. But that doesn't change that I'd rather… if there's no other way around it…"

With a long sigh, he leans back into the seat, shoulders slouching, eyes looking towards his hand, which pulls away to rest on the edge of the table. "Sorry."

—-

"You can trust Cass," Elena affirms with a small nod. "She's tied to the Company by way of her father, but she doesn't agree with them, their policies. In fact she's adamant about not doing things the -same- way the Company does. She worries about me, especially my involvement. I can't blame her, I'm young, and she's the type to ….you know. Feel things acutely, the way a really good friend should." She can't help but feel a slight frown quirk on her mouth though, but it's not directed at him. It's more inward, thoughtful. She knows Cass has had it rough in terms of the personal side of things lately, if her reaction to Lachlan the night of the benefit was of any indication.

About the painful regrowing, she winces. "I should've made more of an effort to see you more often just so I can teach you how to alleviate it," she says. "My powers affect a broad spectrum of things, you know this more than me. I can give pain, but I can take it away too. And I can keep someone alive so help can arrive on time. It's a useful thing to know, to have, when you're concentrating on the benign side of the spectrum….and as much as I hate to admit it, the not so benign side can be useful too…." She laughs. "I'm a wuss," she says with a hint of a grin. "I go down with just one punch, and I do live in a rough neighborhood, so…"

When he pulls away, she looks a little startled. "I didn't mean…" she says, looking somewhat guilty for having offended him, or have touched a sensitive topic. After a pause, she shakes her head. "We've had this discussion before, the first time we met," she reminds him. "I hope whoever you ask loves you enough to find another way, should it come to that." She spreads her fingers on the table. "I mean if I think about it long and hard enough it's probably unfair to ask someone who cares about you to do something like that for the good of the many. But at the same time, I think the natural propensity to resist doing such a thing would probably save your life. We're remarkable creatures, you know. Human beings, altered or evolved or normal or otherwise. Something that you wouldn't normally think of would suddenly come to light when introduced to the right circumstances, things like that. I know it's foolish of me to hope….or think that. It's not really a practical mindset to think that when you're in between killing someone but saving many, or standing aside and letting things happen because yuou feel you can't do it due to how you feel. I have to believe in miracles though."

—-

There's a blink of surprise at the mention of Cass' father, but Peter doesn't give much in the way of further comment. He'd not known, but it doesn't change that he trusts her, and possibly understands how she knows what they're capable of. "There's many things they've done that's… questionable," he admits softly, leaving it at that. They'd held him, but he allowed himself to be held, and he doesn't need to go into that again. What they've done to others, though, people he cares about. She knows good and well that's more what worries him, than what they might have done while he stayed there.

"Sorry," he apologizes again, as she returns some of the guilt that he felt, "It's not foolish to hope. Sometimes… hope is the only thing we have. Hope that people will be there, that we'll make it through, that… that love will be enough to save the world. And— I think my brother already proved once that it is…" Because what saved the world last year hadn't been death or sharp objects being stabbed through the stomach of a serial killer. To him it all boiled down to his brother's love for him, his daughter and the entire city.

Reaching up, he rubs his hand over his eyes and sits up again. "I don't think I could have used your ability even if I knew how, so don't feel guilty about that. It took all my energy just to get to Cass' apartment in the morning, felt like I would pass out right there every few minutes. Slept the whole day when I got back to my apartment. It's like… sometimes when I absorb too much or— do too much— my body just doesn't seem to handle it very well, I guess. Was running a fever up until my hand regenerated. Good thing I wasn't last night or they might have thought I had what they were looking for."

—-

"It's okay," Elena says with a small laugh. "I mean, plenty of guys could take a page or two from you in terms of apologies, but that isn't necessary in this case. I mean, the decisions you had to make…I'm pretty sure the circumstances surrounding them had been larger than life. In fact I kind of….my lack of experience kind of should be keeping me from expression any opinion on them because, well, what do I know, right? I've never been there. I guess I just can't help it." She taps her knuckle lightly on her temple. "I'm too much of a girl in that, I think," she says with an amused, self-deprecating tone.

At the last, she nods. "I gauged that," she says, propping her chin on one hand as she looks out at the window flanking them. The sun was rising higher, the days were getting longer and, thankfully, warmer. People were starting to move on their regular, routine paths. To work. To school. But what he says, she looks over at him, and she can't help but quirk a smile. "Yeah, I believe that. And see? He found another way. I mean, you both survived. It's such a powerful thing, and it's not Good or Evil either, though it could be used for both. Exhibit A you have Mother Theresa, Exhibit B you have the Trojan War. What's important is that there's always another way that doesn't involve you…you know. Going the way of the dodo."

"It's understandable," she tells him. "That's why…..I'm glad you're letting Cass and I help you. It's the reason why I started doing this a few months ago, with the people I care about who I know are…well. Like us. Papa gets overloaded too. Drake bleeds when he uses his powers too much. What drove me to this in the first place was that I believe that everyone's got a limit where their bodies just….shut down because the brain has to protect itself. And if people don't know what they are….the shut down if or when it happens might be permanent. It's another theory but I've seen it with Papa, and Drake, and now you're telling me you do it too."

A concerned expression falls on her features, and she sighs, closing her eyes for a moment. She thinks about the stack of books on her desk, her laptop and the encrypted disc. And just thinking about them makes her exhausted. Determined, but exhausted.

—-

"Nothing's wrong with /you/ being a girl," Peter replies with a hint of a smile tugging on one of the corners of his mouth. "If there's a way to stop what's coming without anyone having to die… you know I'd try to find it. I hope I saved Mara— Detective Damaris— earlier. Probably going to have to go into hiding since I couldn't stop Sylar… but she's alive. And that's one painting avoided." To him, the fact that they've changed even /one/ of them is very important to him. He'll just have to hope it was actually changed and not delayed… "That woman, Desiree, even she implied that she would die in her loft— there's a grandfather clock there. She was going to be killed by her clock. When it was clear I couldn't stop him, that I would lose… I set her loft on fire. Burned it down."

Drastic measures, but he had to make sure he stopped it from happening, when he hadn't been sure he could make it out of there alive at that point.

Glancing down at what's left on his plate, as he's been picking at it between answering, he decides he's pretty much done, and pushes it aside with his fingers. It's her growing expression, worry about abilities, that draws his eyes. "Don't think it's the same with everyone. I knew— a guy— that guy I've mentioned before. Claude. He uh— he spent the last half a decade at least— invisible. Never saw him get worn out or tired— I think he even slept invisible. So maybe it's not overuse so much as… strain. Think he'd been able to use his ability for twenty years at least before I met him. Could be the type of ability, how it works, or maybe his body just got used to it after so long. Maybe there's an… equilibrium that he found that the rest of us haven't had the time to, yet. Invisibility's actually one of the easiest abilities for me to use— maybe because /he/ was so good at it…"

—-

She laughs. "Yeah but you're a guy," she teases. "It's okay for -you- to think so." Elena winks at him, but then she draws the glass of water towards her to cradle it between her hands, needing something to toy with. It's a compulsive habit, something she had inherited from her deceased mother. She doesn't even realize she's doing it half the time. But when he tells her that they managed to prevent a painting from happening, her spirits lift. "So it can be changed…" she whispers softly. "What's been etched can be prevented. I suppose it takes some doing since you told me before all of Isaac Mendez's paintings came true but one, but this…" It gives her hope. She doesn't even blink when Peter tells her he set Mara's loft on fire. It had been necessary, and he didn't kill anyone. In fact, quite the opposite.

When he mentions Desiree, she stares at him. "Desiree?" she utters. "Desiree Russo? Tall? Curly dark hair? Southern? Sees things in random objects?" She pauses, and she cradles her water glass again. "I owe her too," she says softly. "In fact I've been planning to see her sometime soon before she leaves New York again. She's a friend of my father's. We met her at our parish… she saved his life, too." Wow. This was scary. "I wanted to talk to her about something she said to me one night. About the reason why she was here in New York."

She looks at Peter and she nods. "I know, maybe it's how the powers manifest that determine how badly the breakdown occurs. I see it happening more when the powers are mental. You're different, of course, but…" She exhales and rakes a hand through her hair. "I really ought to buckle down and read some more, see what I can parse out. It's just….it's so hard, you know? The only reputable academic that's done -any- work in this field is Dr. Chandra Suresh, and he's dead."

Oh well. No one said it was easy. She takes a thirsty drink of water, giving him a bemused expression, and then she laughs, hanging her head ruefully. "You know when we decided to meet up I was hoping to take your mind off things. You looked like you could use the distraction.

—-

"Can be changed some. I mean— yeah, most of what he painted probably came true, but he painted the bomb a dozen times, at least," Peter explains, trying to think of the best way to describe this. "Wasn't just his painting, either. I had dreams about the bomb— about being the bomb. My dream, it even had a… Nathan was in them. Everyone else ran away from me, but he— he walked forward and said that he could help me, that he wouldn't leave me. It didn't happen exactly the same, but… Simone, before she died— she said something to Isaac. That being able to see the future meant we could do something about it." That's one thing that he hadn't predicted, but…

"I'm sure there's more than Dr. Suresh— just— well— most the others probably work with the Company. I could see them hunting down anyone who started to work on it. Since it would… jepordize their own goals," he shakes his head, seeming to find this to be rather on the disgusting side of things, but something he can't help but consider as a reason there's no other major research that they know of.

"You did take my mind off some things. And— knowing you believe in me helps." He smiles faintly again, eyes drifting lower. The paleness in his face has actually started to fade some the longer they talk, and now there might actually be some embarassed tinges of pink on his cheeks… With a mild throat cleaning, he adds on, "Guess I should let you get home, now— your father's probably worried sick, with you being stuck in a hospital all night." With a possible viral disease on the loose, no less. Moving, he stands out of the chair, offering his hand to her. "Eric's probably worried about you too. Some of those texts you sent off last night were to him, weren't they?"

—-

"I can believe that," Elena says simply, finishing her glass of water and setting it back down on the table. "I mean, humans can be unpredictable when you want it to be. I think my old math professor once postulated that Life is just one giant equation that evolves and changes over time with each unknown variable you introduce. I guess I can kind of see where he was going. Say someone predicts that Something is going to happen, and people know about it, and people actively try to stop it. There's always a possibility that their actions could eventually lead to that Something because….well, what if the equation already included the fact that the people who would set things in motion knew about it? But human actions have so many variables, so many permutations that chances are, just one, single, unpredictable circumstance caused by a person who was 'supposed' to do one thing, but does something else instead can throw the entire equation of so the desired result never comes about." In a sense, that's precisely what happened. Nathan took a different road, sacrificing himself instead of letting his daughter kill his brother.

About the scientists, she nods. "Yeah….the ones developing the virus. I really think they've managed to isolate the precise building block that starts this, Peter. To be able to even start crafting some…negation serum." She would almost give anything to get her hands on that research, but there was only one way to do that and that was a road she was sure she didn't want to take.

At what he says, her eyes soften when he tells her that her believing in him helps. "Why wouldn't I?" she asks, meeting his eyes and looking incredibly serious about it. Much like her religion, her Faith, when given freely was unshakeable. A simple question really, straightforward in its innocence. But she was glad that he was, visibly, looking better. "I always will."

When he offers his hand, she smiles and reaches up, grasping his fingers and standing up. "Yeah we should. I need to talk to Papa. We had an agreement, you see. I wasn't going to keep things from him anymore, he got really mad the last time." This time, it was her turn to look embarassed - simply because it had something to do with the man gently helping her out of her chair. "And yeah, he is. He texted me wondering why I didn't show up for study group and I had to tell him where I was. I even asked him if there was anything in the news about it because they wouldn't tell us anything but….I guess some will be on the papers today." She squeezes his hand and she smiles. "
What about you? You -are- getting some more sleep today, right?"

—-

"Hiro'd probably know more about this— I just… have to believe that while some things might be destiny, that we can still choose things on our own. That we can make a difference," Peter explains softly, looking to be on his idealistic phase as he squeezes her hand and helps her to her feet. Once she's there, he reaches for his coat and pulls money out of his wallet and drops it down on the table, covering both the bill and a substantal tip. The waitress didn't do much, sure, but they might have looked as if they were talking in private. "And that destiny isn't just there to— give us bad things. Like the bomb, Sylar, the virus… even the tornado."

He can't believe that destiny only exists to screw them all over. It'd be a bad outlook on things, in his opinion. And he has good reason to think well of 'destiny'. "Meeting you was destiny." It's kind of cheesy, considering, but how they met— really had been some kind of odd destiny. "You'd even heard of me before we met— tried to help me. Can't… help but to think there's a reason there. Maybe it's to stop what's coming, or to make something better. Or maybe we met so you can make me smile every so often." The free hand reaches up to idly touch her cheek, the smile tugging on one side of his mouth, before the hand drops away again.

"Not sure how much help I can give you on their virus research, but I might be able to get you the medicine cocktail that they cooked up to stop my abilities, maybe." It's not a promise, but it's something they could try. For the rest, he just nodded some, believeing strongly in honesty, especially with family members.

"I'll— probably get more sleep, yeah. I'm moving back into my apartment, and I need to get a new phone— again. Sylar broke mine. But— yeah, I'll get sleep. In an actual bed this time."

—-

"Well…." Elena says, tilting her head up and pursing her lips to think. "…..actually now that you put it that way if Destiny does play a part in all of this? I think Destiny really -isn't- there to screw us all over." Her smile brightens, and she grins at him, her free hand lifting to point one finger up. "I mean, if Destiny is so intrinsic in everything that's happened so far, think about it. Isaac Mendez was able to paint the future. Without what he painted, you guys wouldn't have known about…you know. The thing. And if you didn't even remotely hear about what he had to say, then we all wouldn't be here right now. We would've just been wandering around aimless and oblivious until in a flash of light, everything's gone. If Destiny was just out to screw us over, we wouldn't have known about this latest set of disasters before they happen. I think if it exists as some intangible force….it's on our side. I can breathe a little easier if it is. Don't you think?"

The postulation sounds optimistic but she does know the value of a good argument. Either way, it's something she could get behind on. When he reminds her as to what happened in Starbucks, she blinks at him slowly…and then she grins. "See? It's on our side," she teases, nudging his side slightly with the line of her shoulder. The touch on her cheek is warm, callused, but certainly not unwelcome, and she turns her head to plant a small, affectionate kiss on it. "Mwah. Well, if that's my only purpose in your life I'll do my best to get you laughing nonstop the next time I see you," she says with a grin.

At the last, she frowns. "Phone's broken? So how…" She pauses. "Well let me know when you get a new one. In the meanwhile though, I'll give you my e-mail address. I check it multiple times every day. Wired generation and all."

—-

"I think you're right," Peter says very softly, looking into her eyes for a moment, before they slide away, a hint of that embarassed look returning again, along with a tinge of insecurity, and nervousness. That's so much of a signature for him, she may not know exactly what triggered it this time, even when he adds, "Doubt that's all your purpose is, but I certainly wouldn't mind it if you make me laugh as often as you can." He could use a laugh. Still, she may notice something different in the way he's talking, before he takes a few slow breaths and finally looks back, smiling faintly again.

"I called from my apartment phone," to explain how they managed to get together yesterday. She would have notice his number hadn't been exactly the same. "Shouldn't take too long to get the phone replaced. I got my last one replaced in a few hours." The phone company may be giving him odd looks for being back for a new phone so soon after replacing the other one. "I'm not exactly internet savvy, but— could handle email at least. Or I can call you from my apartment again, so you'll have that number when I'm at my place."

For a moment, he's hesitating on the whole… leaving thing, before he starts to move towards the door, a mild touch on her shoulder to let her know they're heading out now. "Do you need me to… ride home with you?" He's torn on how he wants her to answer this particular question, honestly…

—-

What was that look for? Was it the Destiny thing? Elena was only agreeing with him. Maybe not a lot of people do. She tilts her head over to the taller young man next to her. "You okay?" she asks concernedly. She does notice, but she's confused about it. Maybe she wore him out with all her talking. Still, when he looks back at her to smile, she can't help but smile back. It was infectious. "Well speaking as a future doctor," she says in a lofty, airy tone. "I think it really is the best medicine. You know, in the figurative sense." She pauses, and she speaks softly. "You feel so much, Peter. I mean you can't help it, it's the way you are. With so much negativity lately, it can bog you down if you're not careful. Sooooooooooo whenever I'm around, I'll try to balance it out a bit. Maybe the next costume I'll wear, it'll be something wacky. Like……..I don't know. A giant rubber chicken suit. For all you know that COULD be my next part time job."

At the last, she nods. "Okay, just don't forget." That means she'll have to edit Peter's entry on her phone. She grins mischievously. "You know ever since everything I've assigned 'code names' to people in my cellphone list so whoever tries to snoop wouldn't know which belongs to who. Wanna know what yours is?"

She shows it to him. And sure enough, on the top of his old phone number reads 'Skywalker.'

She heads towards the doors with him. "Nope!" she says, stepping through the door and throwing a grin over her shoulder at him. "I decided that I'm walking -you- home. Or….seeing you home in whatever method you prefer. And next time? Food's on me."

—-

"Think you'll make a great doctor," Peter says, letting his hand linger on her shoulder, as he lets out a laugh at the sight of his nickname. "Skywalker… I'm just going to hope that's Luke and not the other one." The laugh continues to carry in his words, as his hand slides down towards her back between the shoulderblades, as they head towards the door. "Look forward to whatever it is you decide to do to make me laugh. Could use it a lot of the times." Especially with everything going on, Sylar out and about, the virus… there's so much that could happen.

"All right, you can take me home to my apartment," he says, giving in to any sense of argument he might have made against it. He really is looking forward to whatever she does to make him smile, even if he's not going to tell her what happened that she did notice. It's— really just not something he can talk about right now, due to circumstances. Some things are just not appropriate— and he couldn't bare to hurt anyone because, as she says, he feels too much.

"Next dinner's on you, got it."

—-

She laughs, looping her arm around his back when he rests a hand on the middle of her shoulderblades to lead her out. "You think so? Good. 'cause….you know. I'd hate to do all this just to reach the end of the rope and realize that I really sucked at it," Elena says with a smartassed grin on her mouth. "And you're the good one! Who else would you be?" she says with a laugh, echoing his own as they make it down the street. "Besides, you're not tall enough to be the other one, and you need to start dressing in all black. Which would suck because I think blue's your color," she says with a simple, certain nod.

She laughs. "Okay. And then you'll -sleep-, right?" she says. She can't help but press it. While he looks better now, Peter -lost a hand-. No matter how many times he could generate lost limbs, losing an appendage, especially for the first time, must be pretty damned traumatic. No wonder he keeps looking at it. She gives him a squeeze as they walk down, a reassuring one. "You know what they say about being careful what you wish for right?" she laughs. "It might be something your sanity can't handle— oh I know~! I know where to take you next!" She grins. "I better bring a camera though."

Oh oh.

But then she continues on, following him where he leads. And when he acquiesces to food and her buying next time, she beams at him. She didn't have a lot of money, but it was the least she can do for him paying for breakfast. Given their quarantine, she didn't have time to grab cash out of the ATM.

—-

Glancing down at his clothes, which at the moment happen to /be/ black— at least his coat is, Peter can't help but look up and add after a moment, "Are you calling me short?" It's said with a hint of a smile, before he reaches over and touches the top of her head. "Yeah, I'm short— and my voice isn't quite as cool as Vader. But if some guy in black with a really deep voice shows up and claims to be my father, I'm holding you personally responsible." It's a joke as well, at least he's joking again, even with the whole… left hand issue.

"I'll sleep, I'll sleep— but— what? Why do we need a camera? This isn't going to be something that my brother will hunt me down and kill us for, isn't it? Cause you'd be surprised what he'd do if he thought his public social life is in trouble." Half of that is a joke, the other have? Very much reality. If she read any of those news articles on him from last year, she probably saw a few of the spin angles his brother cooked up to hide his "delusions".

—-

"Noooooooooo," Elena corrects. "I'm calling you not-as-tall-as-Vader." She grins at him. "Besides, you're taller than me. If I was calling you short? I wouldn't be the one to talk." She taps her knuckle lightly on her shoulder. "The hypocrisy would be felt for miles." When he rests a hand on her head, she can't help but grin at him. "Oh god. Isn't that like every child's nightmare though? Some creepy guy in a facemask coming out of nowhere essentially telling you you've been living a lie all your life? It's kind of depressing. But I hope that never, ever happens to you."

At the last, she laughs. "No no, nothing like that. Definitely -not- scandalous blackmail material. It will not involve drugs, alcohol, nudity of any kind, or anything that would botch his chances should be ever decide to run for office again. You'll just have to see is all." Thankfully she hasn't researched that deeply into Peter's past. All she did the first time she met him was look him up on Google to see if he really WAS Peter Petrelli and not some impostor as Nathan didn't exactly circulate a picture of him when they were attempting to break him out.

"So we go this way?" she asks, and wherever he decides to go, she'll follow.

—-

"I dunno, you never met my father," Peter says softly, shrugging a bit as he glances around to get a baring on exactly what part of the city they're in, at leat while she assures him it won't involve anything like that. "Okay, I'll take your word for it. You did mention you're Catholic, and… I'd doubt you'd take me anywhere /that/ bad… Though if you make me dress up in a rubber chicken costume…" They might have some issues to discuss. That's almost as embarassing as things that would ruin his brother's chances at an election. Almost. A different kind of embarassing, though.

Moving along with her, he finally says, "Probably be faster if we take a cab. I live on Lower East Side." Stepping up to the street, he raises his hand to gesture towards an unoccupied cab, and then holds the door open for her when it stops. Means they'll have to keep on some subjects to a minimum, but at least they won't have to walk dozens and dozens of blocks just to get to his apartment.

—-

"What was he like?" she asks him, Elena looking over at him. "I mean….is he anything like you? Or your brother? I mean you don't have to tell me, I'm just curious. I mean, you're one of the few who've met my father, and know what he can do. I try to keep the last in particular at a downlow." Is, because she doesn't know Peter's father is dead. The gentlemanly gesture causes her to smile at him in appreciation, slipping into the cab and scooting over to make room for him. She hands her debit card over to the taxi driver. -She'll- pay for the cab. It was the least she can do. And then she can take the bus home after she drops Peter off. But at the last, she laughs. "I promise no costumes of any kind," she says, lifting her hand to press it over her heart in a solemn swear.

At the last, she nods. "I am," she says, pulling down the collar of the black scrubs she still has on just a touch so he could see the gleaming gold of the delicate looking crucifix resting at the dip of her collarbones. She lets the collar spring back up when released. "It belonged to my mother." She looks forward, probably so he would be spared the look in her dark eyes as she talks. "When we buried her….Papa gave it to me and said that Mama would've wanted me to have it. I still go to Church every Sunday. I still go to confession regularly. Most people my age think it's weird….the world's become more secular, you know?"

—-

Giving the cab driver directions to the nearest corner of to his apartment, Peter settles into the back beside the Catholic girl, not looking too upset that she's insisting on paying this time, even though he lowers his voice to answer her questions. "He was a lawyer, like Nathan," With the use of past tense that might hint that— well— no longer among them. "Defense, instead of prosecution. His biggest client was a man named Linderman. A mob boss who owned casinos in Las Vegas. He was very disappointed in me when I quit law school and went into nursing instead." It's all said pretty softly, almost at a whisper. "Nathan was his favorite. I was a disappointment," there's a hint of a smile, but he doesn't pust it there.

"Nothing wrong with being religous," he adds, even if it might not particularly be his thing. He doesn't wear a cross, and probably hasn't been to church in years, but… "It's faith. People need to have faith in something beyond themselves, right?"

—-

She murmurs back quietly, keeping their conversation the best she could out of the earshot of the driver. "I'm sorry to hear that," Elena says softly. About the fact that he was dead, having caught the implication with the use of past tense, and the fact that he had disappointed his father. It was something Elena probably couldn't bear if she was in Peter's position. Linderman, however, is a new name. By the expression on her face, Peter can tell that despite everything she's found out, she has no knowledge whatsoever of Linderman. "Nathan's cut out of the same cloth, then?" she inquires softly. But at the last, she shakes her head. "We have too many lawyers anyway," she jests, winking at him. "I think you did the world a favor, personally."

At the last, she looks relieved. "Thanks. I thought for a moment you'd think it weird, if not somewhat uncomfortable. I find it's the case these days….when I talk about God, I just get that…look, you know? The 'I don't want to go there' look. But I'm glad you think so. You're right, it's helpful for me to believe in something. Humans are fallible, after all. Like I told you the first time we met….it's comforting to believe that something greater than us is looking after us."

—-

"I agree. I would have made a terrible lawyer," Peter says, smiling faintly across at her, even if, with his people skills, he might have actually been a pretty good one. But… "I made a much better nurse. Going to need to get a job soon, though. I don't have much savings left, and I already borrowed a lot of money from my mom." Not having a job for six months can do that, after all… He's just not sure where he can work yet. "I have options, though. I'm still registered, could probably get a job at Sinai at this point, or go back into hospice care. Or maybe I can work with Cass. Just not at the bookstore."

There's options, and as she looks relieved, he reaches over and touches her arm gently, "I really do believe that faith is important. Not sure it matters /what/ you have faith in, as long as you do. God, destiny, humanity, love, even evolution. People can believe— have faith in— all kinds of things." And of those that he listed, there's three he definitely believes in, and they would be the middle ones. The other two to a point, but the middle ones certainly.

—-

"I don't know," Elena says, scrutinizing Peter's face closely, and she smiles. "You'd be good ringer for Matt Murdock if you ever decided to be a lawyer. You know, Daredevil? Only defended the innocent from the guilty? And you can figure it out easy, you can read minds." She grins cheekily at that, careful in keeping her voice low and quiet so the driver doesn't hear. "But I can see you being much more suited to be a nurse." She closes her eyes and smiles, leaning back against the seat. "Whenever I'm hanging out with you, I feel so at ease. I'm sure a lot of sick people need that, you know?" She pauses, and she looks over at Peter. "You know, there's actually a new facility that's opening up. A hospital for the poor in New York City. Jaden's company is setting it up and they probably need people. Plus that's the place where Cass is going to be doing her research. Maybe I can talk to Jaden for you if you want."

It's good to have connections, yes?

When he touches her arm, she smiles, dropping her hand to squeeze his. "Thanks," she says. "I mean, I'm glad you're open about it. It's just that…like I told you, whenever I say something about that, people tend to balk. It's so hardpressed these days to find people in a big city like this who takes their religion seriously anymore. But I'm glad you're not weirded out by it." She looks around as their surroundings change. "So you live around here? I pass by here often…." she tells him.

—-

"Anyone you and Cass trust to work with— and who sponsors events where people can bring R2D2 as a date… I think I could trust to work with myself," Peter mentions with a smile, glancing towards her and nods. "As long as you think I'm worth recommending," if she's going to put herself down, as she had a few times already, then she can expect him to do the same at times, like this. From the smile, though, he's not really taking it too seriously. He believes that she wouldn't have brought it up if she didn't think he could do the job.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. My brother thought I was crazy any time I'd try to talk about things I believed in. Can't totally blame him. A lot of it sounded pretty crazy." A lot crazier than talking about God would sound to most people, probably. Glancing out the window, he looks around and nods. "Yeah. I had a bit… falling out with my father even before I quit law school. First chance I had I moved out, to live on campus, and then here, when I quit law school and started to work my way through nursing school. Needed a lower rent apartment than the nicer areas could handle. Not that bad an area, though. You'd probably like my apartment. It's not huge, but— it's big enough."

—-

"Jaden's….eccentric but his heart's in the right place. Plus if you want to help Cass with her project, this is one way to make both accessible," Elena says, already pondering the ways to convince Jaden of this. She'll have to work extra hard, but this was Peter. If he needed help, she was going to try and give it to him. She looks over at him and she smiles. "Worth recommending?" she repeats. "You're wonderful with people, Peter. I saw you do your thing with Jack's friend, you'd be a shoo-in." She glances down at her hands. "I mean I'll have to act fast as they're probably still hiring to staff the facility right now. But I'll definitely get it for you for sure. Besides…" Her eyebrow twitches a bit. "After everything -else- he's made me do, he owes me."

When he looks out the window, she listens, an unreadable look in her face. While they were similar in many respects, kindred spirits, she's a little awed by the fact that their families were so different from one another. She could never visualize her father throwing her out of the house if she disappointed him, nor could she ever visualize herself moving out on him after a fight or even several. But at what he says about his apartment, she smiles and she nods. "Big houses make me nervous. I don't know…I like cozier places. I feel every time I'm in a huge, impressive structure, I'm so afraid that I'd break something if I wasn't careful, you know? Besides…I was never comfortable with high society types. It was rough for me, being a poor kid in a rich school. I got in by scholarship and…" She shrugs. Clearly they were years she didn't like talking about too much. "Anyway, I'm sorry you and your Dad didn't get along…" she says softly. "I wish I could say I understand but….Papa was always there for me. Even now I'm a little confused. As a nurse you still get to help people. So why…?"

—-

"Thanks," Peter says, glancing nodding to the help with the job, and even adding in, "I'll email you a copy of my resume, though you'll have to understand if my work experience cuts off abruptly." He had to quit his job to save the world, though he's not sure he can add /that/ to his resume. Other skills: telepathy, telekinesis, possibly healing… it'd be nice to be able to add that, but he's not sure he'd want all that on record with just anyway.

"I grew up rich, so I honestly wouldn't know— but I know that's half the reason I quit. Becoming a lawyer was what him and Nathan wanted, not me. And I didn't want to keep living off my of family name and money, especially with how we got most of our money," he says, glancing back out the window, and looking vaguely serious again. "The falling out was both out faults, probably… Father defended a criminal, a guilty man, and we all knew it. I knew it growing up. Nathan knew it… But our father used all of his money, connections and legal skills to protect that man. By protecting a criminal— that made him no better than one. I couldn't stand it after a while. If that's what being a lawyer meant…"

Shaking his head, there's so much he doesn't even know about those years, so much doubt, now. "Mom knew what was going to happen last November," he suddenly says, looking back. He's talking about the bomb, and hopes she catches on. "Maybe dad knew too. Maybe that's why he never liked me. In a dream— my mom said that was too weak. That it would happen no matter what… If she knew about— what was going to happen— then maybe he did too. I don't know. Probably never will now."

—-

"Okay, I'll pass it along once you send it," Elena says. "And I'll tell him…..some sort of story. I'll say you took a break to travel abroad," she says. The trick to bluffing is to keep things simple. Even if Jaden would be so excited to hear Peter's story about saving the world, she fears if she did tell Jaden the truth, the reckless, brash CEO would NEVER leave Peter alone, and Peter was rather attached to his space. But she would definitely, highly recommend not listing all of his powers in his resume.

She watches him as he looks out the window, and reaches out to rest her fingertips lightly on his knuckles. She doesn't say anything for a while, she just lets him talk. His story reminded her a lot of Eric's, both wanted to be self made men that didn't rely on their family's prestige to see them through life. She couldn't help but smile. She was proud of him, but the happiness is fleeting - some part of her knows that look, the slightest tinges of regret in the fringes of the younger Petrelli's profile. "But they were wrong. You helped stop it, Peter." He already knew that, but there was shock on her face when Peter confesses that his parents probably knew about the bomb…..and believed there was nothing they could do to stop it. "In retrospect if it weren't for you, and your brother, and Hiro, Papa, me, Eric…everyone. We'd be dead." She hesitates. She didn't know life in the Petrelli household was so complicated. "Still despite all of that, I think it's a good time you can still….I mean, that they're still a part of your life and you're part of theirs. Family is important, no matter what has transpired. There'll always be regrets but….that shouldn't stop you from reaching out, right?"

The cab slows down, squealing into a gradual stop in front of Peter's building. The cab driver swipes Elena's debit card through the slot of his machine, and hands the girl the slip. She stops talking, easing away from Peter so she could tip and sign, and then give the driver a polite and cheerful thanks for driving them.

—-

Travelling abroad might be the best possible excuse, as Peter just gives a small nod, agreeing with the idea, even if he doesn't know her reasons. This man, whoever he is, certainly sounds like the eccentric type… His mental image happens to be very different from what he probably is, but that's a road that will be crossed if or when he ever meets Mr. Cain.

"You're right— just… can't help but wonder, you know. If he had a good reason for looking at me the way he did," he shrugs, trying to think of the best way to explain his worries, why he's not sure if his past was the same as he always thought it'd been. In some cases finding out Vader is his father might actually be easier. At least then he'd understand why his father might have hated him. Opening the door, he steps outside to wait for her, offering a hand to assist her in getting out of the cab, since it's apparent she's paying now and not going to ride it back to her place after dropping him off.

"Anyone ever tell you that you're an amazing young woman, Elena?" he suddenly says out of the blue, when she gets out of the car. "If they haven't, then they should. Cause you are." His expression gains a hint of seriousness, making it obvious that he's not teasing or pulling her leg in any way with this. Glancing around, holding onto her hand a few moments longer if she'll allow it, he motions to the building that his apartment is in.

"I'm there. 1407. If you ever need anything… and you're down here, you should stop by. I owe you a lot, not just for the cab ride, either. You're welcome to come by any time you need to."

—-

And it was the simplest story she could think of. That and…well. It's also the closest to the truth. Peter had been gone a while, in some place. And he -had- been flown out of New York to get blown up. It was flimsy, but Elena knows it would hold up at least. Besides, she's doing this not just for her own sanity, but Peter's. She didn't relish lying - she had always been a truthful person. But when the door opens up, and Peter steps out, she shifts over to get out the same side he does, and she smiles when he assists her out of the cab, easing her hand into his and hopping out of the seat with that same, restless energy that marked her movements during the day.

"I know…." Elena says. "Who knows? Maybe your mother knows and one day maybe she'll tell you. Parents are like that….they can keep things from their own children for the longest time, but it always comes out, one way or another." She's being optimistic, but she also doesn't know Angela Petrelli, and how she is the master at keeping secrets. Still, she wants to sound hopeful, between the two of them, someone has to be. And if her enthusiasm is infectious, the least she can do is lift his spirits some about it. He worried a lot, after all.

When he says what he does, and seriously, she pauses, and she looks up at him, catching the serious expression and the look in his dark eyes that told her he wasn't just teasing her. She smiles at him, a quieter one, tugging up just slightly on the edges of her mouth as she rubs the back of her neck. "I….well, not too often," she says simply. "Most just know me as the coffeehouse girl that sneaks the occasional freebie over the counter now and then. I'm….glad you think so though, Peter. Your opinion means a lot to me. And you're no slouch yourself. I mean…..you do things for others without much thought to yourself. You're the type to jump in front of a bus just so you could yank a kid or an old lady out of the way of danger. That type of selflessness is so rare these days…." She squeezes his hand gently.

She looks over at the building, and she grins, tugging him over. "Deal," she says, throwing that same, impish grin over her shoulder as she goes. "I drift down here on occasion, but I'll call first before I do since…well. It's rude to just drop in on you, you might be busy, or worse, not there. You can give me a tour though, while I'm here."

—-

"Like you wouldn't do that if you had the opportunity," Peter says, squeezing her hand right back, and actually moving forward slowly, to lean down and kiss her on the forehead. That's about as close as he'll get to showing any kind of affection he might be tempted to. It's brotherly— family-like, and doesn't jeapordize their friendship… Still, he looks surprised when she mentions a tour, "Oh— sure. I'm not fully moved back in yet, but… yeah, come on." The fact that he keeps a hold of her hand might be a clue of something, but he could just be worried about her in the neighborhood. It's not the nicest part of Manhattan, after all.

Holding onto her hand until they get to the elevator, since… fourteenth floor is a long way to walk. "My fridge doesn't have much yet, but if you want something to drink I have a couple bottles of water and V8. Or coffee, though that'd take longer. Still need to shop for groceries before— I move in fully." He'd just been about to say 'we', but this is something he hasn't actually discussed with Elle, yet. Now that she's talking to her father, would she move in with him? And… this causes another hint of a guilty flinch as he glances towards the side of the elevator, as they ride up to the 14th floor.

—-

"Well….." Elena says. "I might, I might not. I would definitely -want- to. But -want- and -can- are two different things. If I tried, we'd probably -both- just get killed, me and the kid or old lady, unless I find some clever, ingenious and totally MacGyver way to yoink them out of danger before we end up being tomato paste on the pavement," she says to Peter with a sheepish grin. "I mean, you can still at least hold your own no matter what you think about your combat skills, but me? I'm a wuss." She looks down at herself. "The one time I tried to stop someone from killing someone else? I got nailed in the face, and I went down hard. I'm pitiful."

Like most of his gestures, the warm kiss on her forehead is welcome, Elena's eyes closing a bit. Indeed, it was familiar, brotherly, and safe - Jack and Drake have done the same thing to her before, and when he pulls away, she's smiling up at him. And then, he leads her away from the sidewalk and to the building. Even as they walk, she looks around curiously.

"You know, it's times like these where I wonder if I should make the Big Girl transition and move out of my father's place, especially now that I'm getting a new job. He could use a bed…" Elena purses her lips in thought. "When we moved out of our old house after Mama died and in the apartment we have now, it's only got three bedrooms, so Manny and Luis have to share, and 'Nita and I have our own rooms. Papa…sleeps on the living room couch." She looks a touch embarassed at revealing to Peter as to how poor her family really is, considering he had been born wealthy and probably couldn't relate. "If I moved out he could take my own room and maybe he wouldn't be so tired in the morning all the time… at the same time I know he'd rather sleep on the couch than make me feel like I need to go for his own comfort…"

When he mentions the V8, she looks at him, and then, she laughs. She can't help it. "Is that where you pulled that bottle from?" she asks. "From last night? I was wondering! I mean….I always pegged you more the Gatorade or the Mountain Dew type for some reason."

—-

There's a hint of a smile, but from the look of things, Peter doesn't seem to have lacking faith in her ability to throw a child or old lady out of the course of a moving bus. Maybe she couldn't, but the point is, "You would still try. Which as you said is more than most people these days would do." And that's why he's still smiling at her when she disses herself.

At the reveal of her family situation, he glances over and watches her, nodding slowly. It's a situation he couldn't understand, not having enough rooms for the whole family to sleep in. After all… the house they have in Hyde Park has more than enough rooms that lie empty. And they have maids and a cook… "It's your decision, really. If nothing else you know you can go home and visit anytime you want. You'll still be in town, and I'm sure your father would understand if you wanted to have some independance, live on your own… As long as you don't do something drastic like move in with a guy…" Most fathers might double take and tap a foot at that. "Not that you would. I know you're not the type to just move in with someone." She's a good Catholic girl. If she found a roommate he's sure it would be with a female, or a platonic relationship.

"Depending on the job that Mr. Cain has for you, you could probably afford rent down here, or I'm sure there's cheaper apartments. Or ones a little more expensive in a better neighborhood. Not that this one is /that/ bad…" There's always a worse place to live.

"I /hope/ it came from my fridge. I'd hate to think I stole something." It'd really bother him if that was the case. "But- you know, I didn't even think about it. I thought about it the second time, with the sport's drink, but not the first one." Stepping out of the elevator, he leads her down a hallway and to his door, 1407, as he said. The hallway isn't too bad, with a window that could be opened not far away. Unlocking the doorknob, and then the deadbolt, he opens his apartment to let her inside, closing the door behind him. "This is the kitchen, obviously… and… then the office and living area is right…" His apartment has a string of oddly cute items, including an owl cookie jar on top of the fridge, and a full umbrella rack. One person shouldn't need so many umbrellas. Leading the wa into the office/living area shows two major fixiations… pictures on the wall of all kinds, and bookshelves. Full bookshelves, with odd little nicknacks. A ship in a bootle, a leapard whos head comes off, a few small statuettes…

—-

"Probably," Elena affirms with a wide grin, the dimple showing up on her left cheek and tugging absently on a lock of hair that escaped the incredibly messy ponytail she's got her hair in. Thankfully she hasn't seen a mirror since leaving the hospital, she'd be mortified over her appearance. But when he uses her own argument against her, she laughs and points at him. "See? NOW I know you went to law school," she teases. Well, for a bit anyway, before he decided that his soul was worth saving and left before the profession could snare him like it did his brother.

"And yeah, I know…" Elena muses, when Peter expresses his own opinions about her moving out or not. "I mean I'd have to eventually but…it's like a cultural thing. Typically an unwedded young lady from my culture doesn't even leave her parents' house until they get married, barring other extenuating circumstances. But that's back in Mexico. I was born American, but….Papa and Mama were traditional. And they needed the help. I don't think I'd feel right leaving the apartment unless Manny learns some responsibility…" She frowns. There's a hidden story there, by the line of her mouth as she mentions her younger brother. "Or if Papa remarries and someone can help him around the house with the kids. He already works so much…" And lately his health hasn't been the best. She hasn't mentioned his heart attack, even though Peter knows about it, but if she's not talking about it, she's not talking about it for a reason.

At the last, she grins. "Us? Neighbors? Oh no. Now you'd NEVER be rid of me," she says with a laugh, nudging him by the elbow as he opens the door to 1407.

Yes, there were a lot of oddly cute stuff in his apartment. She, first, blinks at the umbrellas, and points to them. "Are you preparing for when a group of orphans get caught in the rain?" she teases. She can't help it. "You can shield a small army with how many you have." But when Peter shows her around, she does see….the cutest cookie jar ever. She walks up to it, and touches it, peering closely at it like it's the most amazing thing ever. "….oh my god. That's so…so….adorable!" she laughs. "Of ALL the things I was expecting to see I didn't expect this one! Do you actually -have- cookies to put in it?" she asks, looking over at him. And the books. She'll gravitate to those next once they move out of the kitchen, running her finger along the spines. She can't help it, she was a gigantic nerd. She finds a particular paperback on the shelf and smiles when she reads the spine, pulling it out and fingering the cover. "Frost. /Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by/And it has made all the difference,' " she quotes from memory. "You know I only found out recently that seven of his poems were handpicked to be converted into choral cantatas by this composer in Massachusetts, way back when. I've never heard the recordings, but…" She grins and looks over at him. "I've never really been artsy. If I played an instrument it'd probably just break before I even touched it. It'd be one of those Things That Must Not Happen."

—-

From the hint of a smile he flashes her direction… Peter wouldn't mind never getting rid of her. To him, that isn't even an issue. "I'd just have to suffer through it, I guess," he teases, reaching up to tap the end of her nose, before he glances around his apartment. "Oh— well— some of them are broken, I just didn't have the heart to throw them away. It rains so much, sometimes, so— I liked having back ups." It's a reasonable excuse, though, still, that's more umbrellas than one person needs.

The comment on his cookie jar makes his eyes fall, smiling faintly, "Oh, well, it's— it doesn't have anything in it right now, but probably will next time you stop by. I need to go shopping still…" But he doesn't seem to be as upset by the cookie jar as he could be. Apparently he has some predisposition for cute things, cause there's more than a few of these strange little animal items strun about among the bookshelves.

The second major feature she might see would be the bedroom. Double glass doors are wide open, allowing free view of the bed, and all the things within that room. Some clutter, the bed takes up most of it, along with a artistic sectioned mirror, and a dresser. The living room itself has space for more than a couple people to sit down, and a desk, with a large CD rack and CD player. Noticably… he has no visible television. It might be hidden among the clutter of the bedroom. Apparently when he invites people over, it's not to watch tv.

One thing also in the bedroom… is a table game. Like foose ball… with little hockey guys. If she glances into the closet, there's even a few hockey sticks, and a lacrosse stick, as well as a helmet. As well as a bike.

"So you're into poetry? Guess that shouldn't surprise me," he says with a smile. "Anything else of interest to you besides medicine and Robert Frost?" All that's left of the tour is pretty much visible now. His apartment couldn't ever be called huge, by his standards, but for New York… it still might be considered pretty nice.

—-

"You're a mean man, Mr. Petrelli," Elena says when he taps her nose, and sticks her tongue out at him playfully. But she does grin right after, to emphasize the fact that she's only teasing. If there was anything in this world Peter wasn't, it certainly wasn't -mean-. He was the antithesis of mean, but it had to be said. But she does replace the book to its proper place, and she also catches sight of the rows of art gallery books lining one shelf. But at the last, she grins. "It's reasonable enough, but I hope you actually have one that isn't broken," she says. "It's the spring so I suppose it's a good idea to have backups lying around…."

When he mentions the empty cookie jar, she laughs. "I'll make you some. Besides, it's been a while since I made cookies, and Jane is planning some kind of girl's night, so I think I'm going to make a giant batch, leave some for you, and have the girls eat the rest. I tend to cook or bake as a stress reliever….though I think the last time I actually baked something was last month. I made a carrot cake for Mr. Winters." Benjamin, Peter would recognize the name.

She takes in the rest of the place, though she knows her place and braves not the bedroom, simply because it's the most private place in one's abode, usually - but she does note the sports equipment. Someone liked the outdoors. She doesn't see the TV if there was any, but she does smile when she sees the CD player and the giant CD rack. "I read a lot of books really. Fiction, nonfiction. Science….mostly Genetics and Physics these days. I'm taking a Shakespeare class this semester, though it's more for English majors….it's not one of those hardcore theater ones. I think I'll never make it as an actor." She smiles at the titles of the CDs she could see. "The closest thing I can do to art is Dance. I'm part of the NYU Dance Corps, we compete all around the state. I've played team sports before back in high school, track and volleyball. But I danced then too. Did you play?" she asks, pointing to the hockey and lacrosse sticks.

—-

"Yeah, we'll probably get rained on any day now," Peter says with a nod, glancing towards his umbrella stack and lingering there for a moment. When he looks back, he's laughing at the idea of her baking cookies for him, "I'd like that. I had to get used to cooking for myself when I moved out. Taught myself everything I know— cookies are one thing I never really took the time to make, though. I could never eat all of them." He was a bachelor, after all. Only needed to cook for himself. While she avoids the bedroom, he sheds his coat and tosses it onto the bed, going to the mirror for a moment to look at his hair. It's grown out a bit since he escaped, and he half expects a pair of scissors to get taken to it one of these days, but for now… Stepping back out, he leaves the doors wide open, showing that while it's a private area, it doesn't actually have much privacy from the rest of the apartment, and the only bathroom is located in there.

Nodding at her interests, he smiles faintly, listening to what she has to say, before he shakes his head to her question, "Not in school. I mostly just played with friends, for fun. More of a spectator than a player, but I liked to join in and help out when my friends got together. Haven't played in months, honestly." But he'd spent months in a cell, so of course he didn't play. Looks as if he'd kept in shape, though, if the signs of muscles under his blue — yup, his color — shirt happens to give that away. "I'm not much of a dancer, myself. But I had to learn for social functions and all. I still stepped on more feet than Nathan," he says with a smile.

"And as you can see… there's not that much." His music selection is pretty large, though. Movie soundtracks, instrumental and classicals, even some popular modern rock and oldies, even some industrial and dance mixes. Noticably missing would be rap, gospel, country music, but not everyone is perfect, right? "Did you want something to drink?"

—-

"Well, first thing's first - you're not allergic to anything are you?" Elena says. "I mean, I know you're indestructible and all, but I'd rather I make something you like," she says simply. "I know the girls are going to insist on chocolate but I'm open minded to the idea that there are some heathens in the world that don't like the stuff," she says with a mischievous grin. But when he tells her he knows how to cook, she grins. "Really? Most of the guys I know are -worthless- in the kitchen. Eric burns water, I don't even want to KNOW what Drake attempts to make in his kitchen, and Papa can burn water. Jaden doesn't even count because he's probably got Emeril coming over every Friday or something to cook for him."

Rich people, honestly. But she grins. "A team player through and through, huh?" she laughs. "I think that's great actually. I mean, despite everything you can still have fun, and that you have a life outside of the entire…you know. Save the world business. It's great to be dedicated but…" She pauses. "You know…" She laughs. "Drake was actually concerned about going out on that date with Claire the first time." She slides her hands in her pockets. "He told me that now that he was helping save the world he wasn't sure if he had time for a girl. I had to beat him over the head with the Reality Stick and remind him that he's sixteen and he should be off getting his first kiss." And when he comments on the dancing, she laughs. "Well maybe you just need the right person to teach you how," she suggests. "Dancing with a partner is all about roles. Tango. Salsa. Rhumba. Samba. They're all about roles. And the guy should never be afraid to take the lead." She nods sagely at the last.

"I can tell you're more of a music guy though…" she says, wandering over to his collection to peer at it. She smiles, plucking out a case and looking at it. "I love classical, but I can never play it," she says with a laugh, slipping the case back in. "Opera helps me study." She pauses. "…though I'm also guilty of…" She pauses, and she bursts out laughing. "Listening to the Pussycat Dolls." She grins at him sheepishly.

When he asks for something to drink, she opens her mouth to say something…….but then her phone suddenly vibrates. She furrows her brows, and picks up. "Hello? Sam?" She pauses, and she GROANS, turning away a bit to plant a hand on her hip. "Oh dear, what did he do now?"

The loud wailing can be heard -all the way- at where Peter is standing, Elena wincing as she holds the phone away from her ear as it blares: 'LET ME TELL YOU WHAT HE *CHOKESOB* DID!!!!'

"…….do you need me to come over?" Pause. "….alright. I'll come over." She sighs and hangs up, giving Peter an apologetic glance. "….she's dating an actor," she tells Peter, in a tone that suggests that it explains everything.

—-

"Not allergic to anything you'd be putting in cookies, I swear. Unless they make really weird cookies down in Mexico," Peter responds with a smile, moving in closer to listen to what she has to say, smiling faintly at the talk of Drake and his dating, and the dancing. "See, that's something I'm not sure I'd be good at… taking the lead." Taking the lead tends to require confidence, and he's somewhat lacking in it, especially since… he's never done any of those dances. "I'd have to learn a lot more before I could lead, probably. I've never done any of those dances. Mostly just stuck to… standing there and shifting around on my legs." That's about the extent of his dancing ability…

But when he phone rings, his eyes drift to the phone, listening to her response, and then the wailing that he can hear from where he is. "Oh… it's okay. Here, I'll… Show you to the door." He moves past her, back towards the kitchen, and unlocks the front door and opens it for her. "Guess you won't get to make it home just yet, huh? …Be careful, Elena. And…" His eyes slide downward, almost self consiously as he glances off to the side. "Thank you. A lot of what you said today— it means a lot to me." That smile returns, and he looks reluctant to see her go, but… he does understand. If the course of a breakfast and a trip home, there's almost no sign of the palor that he'd had when they left the hospital.

—-

"What? You're a Petrelli! Aren't black tie functions a staple in your life growing up?" Elena says, staring at Peter slackjawed. Finally, she laughs and curls a knuckle, tapping him on the shoulder. "Well, you should at least be shown the basics. They make Tango look so complicated in movies when the basic steps are actually quite simple. And chaste. You're actually required to stand in a bit of a distance from your partner….that's where the stepping on feet problem comes in. Without enough space….legs just get tangled up. One day I'll show you how." She rubs her chin as she thinks. "I think you can get by with La Base, and then the Front Ocho and the Back Ocho. They sound really complicated, but believe me when I say they're incredibly simple."

"Oh I plan to stop by home first, really," she says, moving to the front door and escaping a sigh. "As much as I love Sam, my father comes first. He's probably worried. I told him about breakfast, but….I really ought to check on him first before I go to Sam's." She grins and gestures to herself exasperatedly. "Besides, I've been in Scrubs for over twelve hours, my hair's a mess, I'm deliberately NOT looking at any reflective surfaces because I know what I'll see will probably horrify me."

Though at the last, she smiles at him gently. She reaches out to lay a hand on his arm when he looks away, so he can turn his face back to her at the contact. "Hey," she tells him. "You -were- stuck in the hospital with me when I was being a moron and asked you to meet me there instead of a place that makes sense. And then you came rushing over during ….you know. When I was alone in the ER. You don't need to thank me for anything, Peter. You being alright and well is enough for thanks. Just take care of yourself, okay?"

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