2010-01-13: Liberation: Part Two



Date: January 13, 2010


At least one thing goes right.

"Liberation: Part Two"

Washington D.C.

No one should be alive in this building. The fire has spread to take up most of it, flooding the rooms with smoke and flame. Anyone who would still be alive would likely suffocate before making it back outside. Peter's just grateful that the place he landed didn't include anti-power gas canisters. Then he really would be one of those who shouldn't be alive. The flames lick his clothes, burning holes and leaving scortch marks behind as he pushes himself back up. The impact with the wall and heavy framework broke some bones and should have killed him, but he's a little more durable than that.

Blood stains through what's visible of the white on his clothes, on his socks and shoes. The rest is burned and black, for the most part, turned dark with the smoke, or already colored that way to begin with.

The sirens can already be heard, but he sees no sign of the three he came to the building with, or the man who tossed him away like a ragdoll into the fire. How they vanished so quickly, he doesn't know— At first the van isn't in sight, either, but he takes off into the air and flies, moving down the wide open street, looking for the very thing that he'd just seen.

Once the van comes into sight, there's a heavy thud on the roof, as he lands, hitting hard enough to dent the metal so his feet have a grip. Micah wanted to save his cousin, so he's going to try to do that— then he can try to save the boy after.

There is an immediate reaction in the van: it swerves suddenly with no rhyme or reason, swaying back and forth as it barrels down the road. It's taken a road less travelled on its route away from Building 26, but in the heart of D.C., it's still metro and it avoids hitting other vehicles as it's shaken. The heavy, armoured van gets back on track quickly, but inside…

…they know something's wrong. Around the lone prisoner they have shackled in the back, two armed guards shout back and forth between each other and the driver. After a moment, the van swerves hard to the right, down a side street.

Where his hands contact the metal roof of the van, the metal starts to glow, superheating with a nuclear reaction generated by his fingertips. This isn't an ability he uses lightly, but it's one of the few things he knows will get through the armor of the van. The burning red handprints show up on the roof first, before it spreads around in a circle. At the swirve, he loses his non-existant grip, and almost falls off, sliding over to the edge, hand no longer burning, as he grasps on tighter. The heat left behind would burn even him, since he's no longer fully channeling that power. But it also made the roof weaker.

And he can heal, anyway. His hand slams down against one of the circles, adding additional strength behind it. The heat burns his skin, but the first punches through the roof, leaving a hole in the top. One hole, which he'll have to make bigger.

A hole so voraciously forced through the roof does not go unnoticed. No. That's the kind of thing that draws attention. Peter is welcomed by the bewildered upward stare of an agent, who steps back — probably not far enough — as soon as he catches a glimpse. He positions his weapon, ready to fire.

One glance inside was all Peter needed. Once he can see what's inside the van, his eyes slide shut. The world stops moving. The bullet leaves the gun, fireing upwards, but it hits nothing, going through the empty hole, and a fist suddenly connects with the soldier's face. No longer is he on the roof of the van, but inside it, having shifted his position in space in a split second. A glance is cast around. How many people there are in the van will change his tactics.

He knows Monica. He's met her a few times. But if she's not alone, that means there's more to save.

There's only one person in the van who happens to be wearing bright orange. Looks like they learned their lesson: bulk transports can go even more wrong when somebody decides to be a hero. One prisoner escaping isn't as much of a loss as many… in some cases. Besides Monica, and the guard collapsed on the ground, there's one other man with his gun pointed an frozen in Peter's general direction and someone at the wheel.

Monica hears the gunfire…THAT's enough for her to perceive even through her drugged state. A muffled noise comes from under the hood, and the girl begins to thrash about some. Not that she's likely to be effective in her drugged state, but she's giving it her very best try anyway.

A flick of his wrist tosses the man not at the wheel against the van's sides, hoping to knock the gun out of his hand when he tosses him to avoid any of the shots getting off. It doesn't quite work. Just as he gets tossed, a shot is fired, a bullet slamming into Peter's shoulder and causing him to stumble back in the unsteady car. The hand stays up, but he stops holding the man still, gesturing instead at Monica. Pulling the tube out of her nose, weaking her restraints with the second gesture.

He already got hurt enough today, and he's not looking to get more than one bullet in his body— even if his body slowly pushes said bullet out and drops it on the floor of the van. "We're getting out of here," he says to the girl, hoping she hears him. He needs a second while his body regenerates. Teleportation requires at least some consentration.

Hopefully, it doesn't take too long, because the van swerves again — sliding, screeching to a curbside — and comes to an abrupt halt. It's barely stopped rattling from the sudden stop when the driver, who is just as decked out in armoured gear as his comrades, has grabbed a weapon — this time a taser — and shoves open the heavy window between him and the back of the van.

With the tube out, she's starting to get her bearings back. But it's not instantaneous. She struggles against the restraints, but she hasn't mustered up the strength yet to get herself free. Perhaps she heard Peter, or perhaps she just REALLY wants out, but she's trying her best to break free, straining against the bonds for all she's worth.

The window slams open, and Peter curses softly under his breath, "Son of a bitch," is all that it really is. A tame curse in comparison. But from him, there's emphasis there. A stumble brings him closer to Monica and the hand he was gesturing around touches her as his eyes close. It's only just fast enough to avoid getting hit, as the two of them suddenly shift positioning. No longer in the van— with the restrains left behind, falling heavily where she was, as the taser blast hits the side wall, passing through where the two of them used to be.

The place they end up doesn't have a seat for Monica, which means they both end up falling to the hardwood floor of his bedroom back on Staten Island. Blood drips out of Peter's nose, showing signs of strain, but— it's warm, and the two of them seem to be safe and very far from black transport vans.

Anticlimactically, she finally manages to deal with her weakened bonds, getting her hands loose, and fumbling at the hood to try and get it off her head. She's not really aware where they are, and is understandably more than a little bit in a panic at the moment.

Peter's hand brushes away blood from his nose as he settles down on the floor, sitting upright, but looking rather surprised. Molly, Micah and Cam. None of those three are with them, and he has to hope that, somehow, they managed to escape on their own… Or that Gabriel was just really pissed at him over the situation with Zelda, and wouldn't actually take it out on the kids. He closes his eyes for a moment, trying to use the girl's ability, but his nose starts to bleed again, and he has someone to worry about right in front of him.

"Monica— you're okay," he says, eyes opening again, hand going back up to his nose. "You're safe."

She gets the hood off with that, hair tousled and in disarray, and only then starts to register where she is. Bedroom. Not cell. Peter. Peter? PETER. "Oh god, Peter!" She looks around still, wide-eyed. "We're out? They ain't chasing us?"

"Oh, they're chasing us, I'm sure," Peter says, even as he looks at the blood on his hands. It's not too much. The holes burnt into his clothes make up the majority of his visible injuries, and the hole where the bullet exited. "But we're in another city, now, so… we should be safe for a while." Teleporting from Washington DC to Staten Island should put enough distance between them. "Micah was helping me break you out, along with a couple friends of his, but…" he pulls out his cellphone and then hesitates. Would Micah clear all the numbers on his phone before getting taken?

He'll have to take the chance. A quick text message is put together, and then sent off. 'I have Monica. She's safe. Did you and the others make it out?'

She's getting more of a look at him now. The injuries, and she starts to worry for him, but then all that fades in the face of "Micah?! Is he all right? We can't just leave him!" She'd turn around and run back, but from another city? She's not Daphne. Her only chance for help right now is Peter, and she watches him, urgently.

"We're not going to leave them behind," Peter says firmly, but at the same time… he doesn't think he could manage to teleport back there, and he's not sure where they went exactly. "We don't know that they've been captured by Alpha Protocol. Micah's very resourceful. He's managed to avoid them on more than one occassion. But if he has been captured, we'll get them out of there…" But it's not something they can handle right now. He looks down at his cellphone. No response. Micah's the fastest texter he's ever known… But he can't text if his phone got broken, or taken away…

"Right now, you need to stay safe. Micah told me to get you out of there."

She's torn. Torn between the aftermath of months of trauma at the hands of Alpha Protocol, and the desire to keep her family safe. But she's in no condition to fight them…and they're not here to fight. Faced with the lack of an immediate path of options, she slumps back against the wall, before sliding down it till she's sitting on the ground. She pulls her knees up to her chest and begins to cry. She's tough enough…but being rescued after that is enough to get anyone to break down.

There's the sound of sobbing coming from Peter's bedroom, but it's not sounding like Peter, but a young woman. The door is slightly ajar, letting in some light, and also making the two people who are in the room visible to those in the hall. Dressed mostly in black, his clothes have been burnt and scortched in various places, leaving him looking as if he walked through a fire… and actually he flew through one. For the most part. The other person in the room has knees curled up against her chest, and she's crying, while Peter begins to hover closer (though not literally). "It's okay, Monica, you're safe now," he tries to assure again, loud enough to perhaps draw attention.

Black hair rustles just a bit, as she shakes her head, dipping it down to touch her knees, as curled up as a person can get, really, and not be on their side. She's a little too busy crying to answer Peter with anything intelligible. While Lena and company enjoyed Alpha Protocol's hospitality for a few weeks, Monica's been there a few months. PTSD, anyone?

It doesn't seem that long ago that Peter had returned Lena from rooftop to house. It was a good thing that he'd said he had something to do; had he stayed, she might have been tempted to just break down completely and finally cry out everything that's been pushed to the back of mind and heart in the past two weeks. After Pete had departed, Lena puttered around downstairs with her beloved books before climbing again to the second floor to lay claim to that bathroom. The shower, specifically. In a house with four bathrooms, she's had ample opportunity to indulge her bizarre need for frequent showering. If it means a few extra dollars are kicked in every month for the hot water usage, well…it's worth it.

When Lena emerges from the bathroom, she is decked out in sweat pants and sweat shirt, both far too large but very comfortable. Her hair is still wet, combed back from her face, and she is in the process of drawing on her gloves when heart-wrenching sobs are heard from…Pete's bedroom? A woman crying? That's just not right. Therefore, gloves are dropped on the floor while she makes all haste towards that door.

"Pete? Pete, are you all…what the hell? What happened?" Lena pauses just within the doorway, staring first at the man in all of his singed glory, and then the woman on the floor.

There's only so much that can be done for someone suffering from that kind of emotional trauma. Peter seems to opt to just hover there, close by, until he glances up at the door at the voice. "Lena— I… I managed to break someone out of Alpha Protocol with Rebel and the help of a few others…" He's not sure where they are, and he wants to go and get them, but the smear of blood on his face under his nose, and the visible scars on his face that he's usually able to hide may mean he's just not able to handle another use of power for today. He has been doing a lot.

The kids may be on their own. With Gabriel. Or Sylar.

"They blew up Building 26. Right after they moved Monica out." Blew up a building. He survived a helicopter falling on top of him, and it appears part of a blowed up building now too. Was she right about Sylar? He hasn't quite decided yet. But the tossing him into a burning building…

"This is Monica."

There is only so much someone can do. And to some extent, she has to get it out of her system. She's been cooped up…physically and emotionally…for months. Tortured. And found out that her cousin might be in the hands of the very people who did all of that. So yes, she's having a little trip down the road of tears. It's dubious whether she's even aware Lena's there. Hell, it's dubious whether she's even aware Pete's there, at the moment. Though, like any emotion, one can only keep it at peak so long; the crying will play itself out.

Next time Peter says he's got something to do? Yeah, Lena intends to grill him on just what that something is. Right now, however…

The young woman stares and stares some more. Then she turns on her heel, appearing to flee back into the hallway. It's a short-lived disappearance. In just a moment or two, she's returned with a dampened hand towel in one hand, and a blanket dragging from the other. Peter is given the first item and Lena pauses to shake out the second before slowly approaching Monica.

It's a safe bet that she knows some of what the other girl is going through right now. So her approach is cautious and gentle. "Blew it up…jesus. Here…Monica? Ugh, yeah. She's not…we need to get her on the bed, Pete," Lena remarks as she gets the blanket around Monica's shoulders. "She's not gonna be able to…um. Process much right now."

"But now she's safe, and they won't be able to get her again," Peter says, even if there's always a chance that they might fail to keep her that way. She's safe for the moment. Moving to pick her up, he straightens and carries her over to the bed, that is actually a glorified matress on the floor, and settles her down on it. "Do you think you can stay with her? You know what she's gone through better than anyone…" It may take time to pass, but when it does… she'll need some understanding.

The feeling of being touched instinctively causes her to recoil, but being picked up, that gets more of a reaction. Probably a paniced one. Thankfully, she's on the mattress before she can freak out too much. Eyes open now, she blinks a few times, trying to get her bearings. Lena gets a stare, the other woman neither knowing her nor seeming easily able to process her presence.

Once the blanket is settled, with Peter there to move Monica, Lena steps back. It's safer that way, seeing as how her gloves are still out in the hallway. "I don't…um. I…" Don't know her. Is not the sharing type, nor is she particularly empathetic. Lena looks pained at the suggestion, although she does hesitate in her refusal after catching the look being sent up at her with those big unfocused eyes. "She needs sleep," she says after a moment of silence. "Maybe a little time alone, to…to freak out when she can think right. But I can be here when she's up again."

The young brunette glances at the lone man in the room, expression somber. "You need it too. Your nose…I get that. If I push too hard. You can have the couch."

"I know— I'm just tired," Peter says, touching the blood smear, though it's mostly dried by this point. At least he's not bleeding anymore. "I don't need much sleep." And he needs to go and make sure the kids are all right. But he can't do that until he's rested, or he won't be of much use to anyone. "Monica, do you need to be alone for a while? You really are safe. No one's going to hurt you here."

With him directly addressing her, it helps to bring Monica out of it, at least a little bit. "I…" Her voice cracks, and she clears her throat once. "I'll be all right. Thank you, Peter." Her expression is grateful, and now that she's at least a little more aware of her surroundings, Monica finally seems to register Lena. "Hey there…" It's an attempt at amiable greetings, though her voice still trembles a little. "Must look a mess. Sorry for makin' a bad first impression." Her accent, light but noticeable, touches her words.

"Yeah, where I come from, tired usually equals sleep," Lena says, fixing Peter with a look that might manage to be stern, if he were to give her ten years or so. "Take the couch, I'll…" But then Monica trades tears for talking, and blue eyes swing back to almost nervously study the young woman. She tucks her fingers under her armpits, out of anxious habit, and awkwardly bobs her head in a greeting. At least she's able to pull together a small smile. "Hey…hey. You…you're okay. Don't worry about it. I looked like shit too and no one held it against me."

There's an urge to argue, but Peter finally shakes his head and starts to move toward the door, stopping to pick up a shirt and pair of pants to change into. "I think I'll need a shower first," he says, looking down at his clothes. There's burnt holes, blood, soot— yeah, he could use a shower first. He'll keep his cellphone with him in case Micah texts back, but— if it hasn't buzzed yet, he's got doubts. The door closes behind him as he goes to find the hallway bathroom to get clean and changed in. The couch will follow soon after.

Monica, by contrast, is still in that lovely orange prison jumpsuit. Cause flourescent neon orange is everyone's color. She wipes at the tears, and then rubs the back of her hand at her nose, trying to clean up a little. "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name…" she tells Lena. "You got somethin' I could maybe borrow to wear?" She wants out of the jumpsuit with a yearning that defies logic.

Lena's quiet until Peter has left, possessing the good sense to not add anything else to the winning argument, lest he change his mind. Her eyes remain solemn, though, and fixed on Monica. And she remains standing a good distance from the mattress masquerading as bed. "I'm…um. Niki." May as well get used to that, starting now. "Yeah…yeah, just a sec. You just stay there and rest, okay?" It doesn't take long to step across the hall and pillage her own small stock of clothing. A pair of yoga pants, a t-shirt, clean underwear, a roll of socks are all brought back, wrapped in a freshly washed hoodie. The bundle is set at bedside before she steps back again. "Um…you need anything else? Glass of water or…or something to eat, maybe?"

Except that the woman there knows that name. Her eyes widen a little at "Niki", and then she shakes her head. Just coincidence, Monica. "Thanks. I 'preciate it. An' I would love some water. Maybe somethin' light to eat, if it ain't too much a bother."

"Don't worry about it, like I said. Like Pete said too, you're safe now. I know it's…it's kinda weird. It gets better though." Lena is discovering that hugging is actually easier than verbal reassurance. She's awkward in her delivery, fidgeting on her feet. The opportunity to play gofer some more is actually a relief. In a flash, the girl's gone from the room, returning about five minutes later with a glass of water and a sandwich assembled in the kitchen. She knocks before entering, to repeat the placing the items beside the bed ritual. "I hope ham and cheese is okay…"

Monica takes the plate and glass, looking up. "Right now I think muddy water and stale bread'd taste fine. Anything as long as I ain't eatin' it in there." She looks off the way Peter vanished, then back to "Niki". "Where are we? He said we were in another city."

Lena follows Monica's glance, looking towards the door and chewing on her lower lip. When the questions are asked though, her focus returns. "Um. Staten Island. Pete got a house here for folks who're hiding. They had you somewhere else? I was…we were…they took us here, but they were moving us when we got busted out," she says, sinking to a crouch and letting her hands dangle between her knees. "How long were you in for?"

Monica replies "I ain't really sure where I was. They put those hoods on you, and hose in y' nose when they move you. Drug you all up till you ain't even sure who you are. When is it?" she asks, looking back to the other woman, as she hungrily digs into the sandwich.

"Yeah," Lena agrees softly, to indicate her familiarity with those techniques. "It's…the thirteenth of January, I think? Maybe the fourteenth now. It's late," she goes on. "And you're safe here. Maybe tomorrow you can meet Ja— Tracy and Isabelle." Pause. "You maybe wanna be careful around Isabelle, she's a little…strange." Touched in the head, she means, to the point of molesting innocent birthday cakes.

Monica closes her eyes tightly at that. "January." She's fighting to keep herself from having another emotional reaction, and when she finally opens her eyes again, she gives the rest. "Three and a half months. Y' lose track of time in there."

Three and a half months? Lena exhales a slow and carefully controlled breath. A couple of weeks felt like an eternity. "Yeah," she says again. "It's…I'm not gonna say it's okay. It's not. But you're out now. You can rest, get strong again. They don't know we're here at all, Pete's always real careful about that."

Monica nods. "I gotta do it, and quick. Peter said my cousin was involved in gettin' me broke out, and now he can't get ahold of him. I ain't gonna let them get hands on him, even if I gotta go through 'em to do it."

There's a wince from Lena. That's all too similar to something she's heard before. "Maybe…maybe just focus on getting strong right now? I mean…yeah. Rushing in…that's just asking to get hurt or grabbed again." Speaking of. The girl straightens up slowly, arms curling around her torso again. "You gonna be alright? I…can help you sleep if you think you maybe need it. But…but it's like a drug and…you maybe had enough of that."

Monica replies "I know. I gotta get ready before I go, or I ain't any use to anybody." She looks interested at Lena's offer. "Y' put people to sleep? You Peter's girlfriend now?" Peter seems to have a habit of taking up with girls who can do weird biological things.

"I…huh?" Lena's eyes go wide at the question that appears to come out of nowhere. "No! Jesus…I'm…no! I can't…" A month ago, she might've had a quick and sassy reply to that. Here, tonight, the best she can manage is a grimace. One of her hands is held up, turned, as if in demonstration. "I can't touch people without them getting drugged. Mostly the illegal stuff since…that's kinda what I knew when it started. I'm working on more, but…I could relax you so you can sleep." Pause. "I'm still having a little trouble with that so I maybe thought you would too, you know?"

Monica looks surprised as Lena explains her ability. She nods. "Yeah. That might be a good idea." Her voice is quiet. "I guess there ain't much I'm gonna be able to do this late anyhow."

Lena approaches and holds out her hand for Monica to take. "Yeah…just for tonight, okay? Don't want you getting hooked. Just the once is safe though, I promise. You're gonna get relaxed, maybe a little giggly and it'll be easier to sleep. Tomorrow we can figure out what you wanna do from here," she tells the other girl. "But right now just rest. Pete's not gonna let anything happen to your cousin."

She hesitates…after being drugged so long at Alpha Protocol, it's a natural reaction. But then she reaches out to take Lena's hand, turning it into a handshake while she does. "Nice to meet you, Niki. Knew somebody with that name before. Small world."

"Oh yeah? I guess maybe lots of folks are named Nicole." Lena's able to find a smile for Monica as she takes that hand and holds it firmly. This is an easy one, she hardly needs to concentrate at all for the other girl to feel the effects described. "I promise, this stuff's not like their stuff. You rest, and we'll be here in the morning."

It doesn't take long at all. Monica's power has absolutely nothing to do with keeping her un-drugged (or her stay might have been different), so the world gets very wobbly, very quickly. "Whoa…you ain't kiddin'. Get you a job as one of those aneshe…anestezi…those guys in hospitals." Her words are getting sort of slurry as the sedative takes hold.

Lena maintains the handshake only as long as is needed to be certain of the dose, then she extricates herself and steps quickly backwards. "Gotta be smart for that," she remarks with a faint, crooked smile. There's not much humor in it but seeing as how Monica is dopey now, she doesn't think it'll be taken the wrong way. "You need anything you just yell, Monica. Pete or me, we'll come running." Provided Pete isn't sleeping, and that's Lena's next stop. After waiting a moment to be sure the other is alright, she exits the bedroom (leaving the door open, and the hall light on) and heads downstairs. Other people need their rest too.

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