2008-04-09: Learn And Live


Mikhail_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: Learning from something you haven't lived through is difficult. Especially when someone is vague. He means well, though.

Date It Happened: April 9th, 2008

Learn and Live

NYU Campus - Artist Studio

Lights. Red and blue. Constant, rhythmic, hypnotic. Broken glass and yellow tape. Sirens grow louder down the streets as an ambulance rolls in, slowing to a stop at the edge of the scene. Media mixes in with the bystanders, police officers holding up their hands in order to keep them away…

Red splotches. Brown, light brown and white, orange tinges, some black. Brush strokes are carefully placed on the large canvas, bristles dipping into another color to blend with the fresh markings. Mikhail works in time to the music, stepping back to stare at his half-finished work. Something still looks strange to him with this piece, but he manages to make do with what he has. "Maybe if I add something else over there," the artist muses to himself, washing out the brush in the cup of water sitting next to the messy palette. But would it help with the image? Seeing how he has no one else to go to for a second opinion, he's just going to have to resume painting.

"I think adding something there would be a good idea," a voice suddenly says off to the side. No one is standing there, at least there shouldn't be. No sounds of footsteps, the door didn't open. No one showed in the corner of Mikhail's eyes. At least until the words are spoken. The man who stands there looks strikingly like Peter Petrelli, with a few small exceptions. A deep scar across his face, like something out of an anime or video game, and his hair slicked back. He looks slightly more built as well, like he worked out a lot recently.

Peter'd been missing for some time, no more lessons on the other man's ability. It could be enough time to explain the sudden muscle increase. Maybe. But the scar looks years old, as opposed to a month. "Hello, Mikhail," he says, using the full first name, instead of a nickname, and even pronouncing it pretty much right.

Mikhail falters while picking up a new brush. Surely hearing a familiar voice when he's alone in the studio means he's going crazy. Then again, most artists were/are crazy. The artist doesn't turn around, staying in place to rework some of the finer details of whatever just happened. The voice. It is that voice, right? There is nothing saying it isn't. A few more seconds pass before Miki swivels, blue gray eyes widening at the man who looks like Peter Petrelli.

But…he isn't Peter. Is he?

This is definitely reminding him of the anime and video game styles he's perused during the course of his years, all right. This Peter is dark. Intense. Even when he says his full name, it sends a strange chill down his spine. The artist tries smiling, only to give the man a lopsided grin of sorts. "Yeah…I think I should go with that, then," he replies carefully, rolling the brush between his hands. A pause. "Uh…h-hey there."

If it looks like Peter Petrelli, it must be Peter Petrelli. With some differences, of course… The scar being the big one. The other one just being the way he holds himself, the way he talks. It's as if everything bad that ever could happen to one person got piled right on top of him and carried around everywhere. All the time. Whole world on his shoulders. And all of time, too. "How have you been doing? Did you continue practicing while I was gone?"

Gone and come back? Possibly. Or maybe not. "Using your ability?" Speaking so freely about it, his raspy voice is barely above a whisper. Despite the fact he was able to sneak in, they seem to be alone now.

This is not the Peter he knows. He's just…confused as to why things seem so different about the man before him. Eyelids flutter slightly at the tone of his voice, Mikhail's brow knitting as he studies him further. A distraction from what he's been doing, but it's one that catches his attention. Especially when Peter brings up the use and practice of his 'gift.' Bristles flick as his fingers pass over them. "I…yeah, I've been doing it. Practicing." Bleached bangs have an orange tinge to them as they fall over an eye. "…It's been sort of hard doing stuff alone, but…I can't get in contact with you." Couldn't? Can't. The tenses. They aren't helping him now.

He continues. "I'm not doing too much with it. It's been hard trying to concentrate with school work. That and keeping in touch with people in general," Mikhail shrugs. His head tilts back a little as he stays quiet for a couple of seconds, his own voice dropping in volume. "…What…happened? What's going on?"

The tense would be the correct one. "You won't be able to for a while, and I'm afraid that's no one's fault but my own," Peter says with a glance away, not quite outright admiting that he's not the man he knows, but close enough. "Your ability… it is dangerous. Most abilities have a dangerous side, but yours… You can control the actions of others. You can make them do nearly anything that you want them to do… physically." He's not sounding accusing. He takes a step closer to the work of art, eyes sliding over it.

"When we met the first time… my ability connects me to other people. Though their abilities, through their emotions, through how they make me feel about myself and about others. It let me know I wasn't alone. But at the same time I like to think it let's them know they're not alone. Since I go through all the things they go through. When they choose how to use their abilities."

"Wait…what…?" Mikhail tries to laugh, but it trails off as Peter started explaining. The ability to control people's movements. A dangerous gift, yes; he just never thought of it that way. The idea was to keep it that way, right? Using control in the right situations. Blue gray eyes look elsewhere as he thinks about it, leaning against the counter. He remains silent as the man, the future version of Peter, speaks more of the full capabilities of his own power does. A connection. The artist glances back up at him, not sure of what to make of this emotional level with the power absorbtion.

He raises a hand. "Whoa, hold up. Let me get this straight - you get a power, and you also…link to the original owner's emotions and…whatnot?" He doesn't sound incredulous about it. Some clarification is needed, and Mik's just getting this down for his own sake. Still, there is just something else he can sense. Something wrong. "…Which means a lot of stress," he says softly.

"Not completely. It doesn't take a piece of you and make it part of me… It just gives something visible to the emotional connection that all people form when they meet someone," Peter explains softly, voice serious, even if there's a sign of something lighter in his eyes. The tension remains along his forehead, across his mouth, in the set of his jaw, but that doesn't bite back all the idealism that he once felt about his ability and what it meant for him.

"It is pretty stressful… but that's not the point. It's stressful for you too, Mikhail. You can protect people. You can save them. You can keep them from being hurt." Or… he can go another way… But he doesn't say that part. "How do you view your ability?"

Figures everything comes with a certain amount of stress. The pros and cons of being 'gifted' and all that. The artist stares back with a look of concern mixing with the previous understanding. The way Peter looks, the way he sounds, and the poor amount of lighting the studio had on at the moment made him…surreal. The whole conversation they're having is surreal.

Mikhail blinks after a long pause, folding his arms loosely over his stomach. His own jaw sets, but it's subtle. He's sure he's been told this before. Saving people. Do good. Do what's right. But what is right? "…My ability…my gift," the artist replies, clearing his throat as he threads his response together, "it's something I can use. But I don't want to go overboard with it or anything. Maybe just a little control when something isn't going the way it should, you know? Nothing big. It'll be too much to handle if I tried it any other way."

"Eventually you'll be faced with decisions… Of when to use an ability, and when not to," Peter explains carefully, moving his hand up to touch the young artist on the shoulder. A puppetteer, who could have control over a situation. Situations that could very well need pushing in the right direction. "The important thing is deciding when to use it. And how to use it. You should use your gift to help people, to stop terrible things from happening. But…" He hesitates a moment, looking away. The hand stays on the Japanese boy's shoulder, though.

"I'm not exactly the Peter you know," he says, finally giving the situation words. "I've been travelling. Did Elena ever mention how I disappeared for an entire summer almost? And how when I finally came back… I'd been to the future. I'd walked in the future. I'd seen what can happen when people lose control of who they could be. What happens when people… don't do what they could be capable of. When they choose to do something that…"

There's another pause. "The future isn't written yet." Not for the boy. For the one speaking, yes. It has been written. "It hasn't happened." For him, it has happened. "What could be doesn't have to be." That's true, either way.

The hand upon his shoulder feels heavy, but seeing how wiry and lanky he was in comparison to Peter, it makes sense. Most of it is fabric layered over more fabric. The artist shakes his head. "It was one of those things we never really talked about," he answers plainly. The things before he even knew Elena herself was 'gifted;' most of their conversations revolved around college-related junk. The 'normal' things.

Again Mikhail falls silent. Time traveling? He's done it before? Whatever is said does get his attention. Choosing, not by force, but by will. Everyone has a will. Everyone has a choice. But he does wonder why they chose to do so. Still, Peter is someone he knows. Even if the man says otherwise, they're connected. His gaze drops, staring at the floor before going back onto Peter. Curiosity beckons. If it isn't written for him…

The puppeteer's voice is clear. "…But what did you see?"

"Things happen. Things always will happen," Peter says quietly, voice rasped and whispered as he glances away again. There's a narrowing of his eyes, his slicked back hair staying out of his face even as he moves. The coat he wears looks like something out of the Matrix, which is only helped along by his black jeans and his boots. Choice is always important. Being a hero or something else entirely… Everything happens because someone made a decision. Someone, somewhere… Even fate is caused by choices.

"The worse that things get, the worse that people can… become. The worse that they allow themselves to become. There are things that we can do, choices we can make… that keep those things from getting worse. Abilities add in another vehicle of abuse, but anyone can succum to bad choices. Science, religion, politics…" There's even a hint of a smile as he adds on, "Driving. All of it is a responsibility. Something we owe to others. And something we owe to ourselves."

It's like he was changing the subject, but…not. It all makes perfect sense. Weighing out the choices, judging between the options given - all is fair and unfair at the same time.

And why does it always seem so difficult?

Mikhail nods slowly, glancing back over at the half-painted canvas. "…It's all up to us in the end," the artist murmurs, feeling a bit more depressed now that he realizes there are so many things that can happen with one simple event. Still, he smirks.

Some things are difficult to talk about. Peter of the future has often been accused of being vague. That's the unfortunate side effect of witnessing things that he's trying to prevent. Referencing them directly makes them more real in the minds of those who haven't lived them yet. Too real. So real that he half wonders if his brother ever would have called himself Logan if he hadn't come back from the future and told him about the split personality.

"Exactly. It's all up to us, each of us. One step at a time," he says, beginning to move back, letting his hands fall away and stick into his pockets. "And it's all right to make mistakes. God knows there's things I wish I hadn't done, choiced I wish I could change… but as long as I remember who I am, who I want to be… as long as keep moving in that direction… maybe the choices I made were to prepare me. To make better ones."

Choosing not to say anything is probably for the better; the person being spoken to isn't really one for conversation, and he never pushed too hard for a straight answer unless he needed to do it. And the way it sounds just tells the college student say nothing more of it. No prodding. If the person feels like saying it, they will. It's the same for Mikhail. The weight of the hand relieves him of any physical stress, but along with the words spoken, it all somehow lingers within his conscience. Not a bad thing; and yet, not a good thing either.

"I…suppose so," Mikhail says with a weak laugh. Unfortunately he can't say the same. He hasn't experienced such things, and hopefully he doesn't have to. Arms unfold to place the brush down on the counter, blue gray eyes observing the drying globs of color on the surface of the palette.

.Red, deep red. Dried blood. Covered bodies. Part of the breaking news. Over fifteen causualties. Witnesses. Names. Questions.

Mikhail gives Peter a soft smile. "…Live and learn, right?"

There's always a chance to answer questions, to ask them. But Peter seems to take the moment to step back and watch the boy quietly, the gray in his eyes standing out for the moment. "Live, learn… and truly live. For those around you, for youself…" Those two sentiments he's mentioned before, but he'll say them again. For others. For himself. For everyone.

"As soon as I can contact you again, I promise I will. There's a lot that we can help each other with. We have a lot of similarities…" That most wouldn't notice. But Elena did. She noticed how similar they could be. While being completely different at the same time. For one… Peter's not an artist, or a dancer.

"If you need me, I have a new number. At for a time. If I don't answer it… I apologize." He pulls a card out of his pocket, holding it between two fingers. "I'll do my best to respond." If he's still here.

Lips press together in thought as Peter says all of this, taking it in. No, it was better to leave it alone. Who knows what affect it will have. However, he still does the eyebrow quirk at the mention of being similar to the man himself. Oh, the things a girlfriend can catch. "…Interesting," he muses.

Eyes blink as Mikhail takes the card, holding it between two fingers as well. He nods. "…It's fine. I understand if things aren't going as planned." He looks back at the man quietly. "Just…take care of yourself."

"I will," Peter assures, before he takes a step back and vanishes from the room, leaving the artist with his art. He'll take care of himself, because as far as he seems concerned, the whole world sits on his shoulders.

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