2007-11-25: Life Insurance Policy

Starring:

Erin_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif

Summary: Erin stops by the Petrelli house to see Nathan, but finds Elena, instead. She's not able to completely cure this one, but at least the actress is able to put the young Latina woman on the right track to recovery.

Date It Happened: 25 NOVEMBER 2007

Life Insurance Policy


Petrelli House, Hyde Park

There was nothing else to do.

"I still love you!"
"Then why?! With my own -brother-?!"

And that sounded familiar.

Elena is curled up with a blanket on the couch, absently watching One Life to Live. It seemed before that the show only had about five to six storylines that they constantly recycled…but now with that new writer, things seemed to be keeping up on a darker pace. She wondered why that was….maybe they were taking its cues from Villains (which, as much as she hated to admit it, was starting to become one of her favorite shows ever). She takes a sip of her orange juice, and almost coughs most of it back out into the glass. Otherwise, she continues watching the television, her heavy head resting on one of the pillows.

It was approaching mid-afternoon. She should eat something, but she's really not all that hungry.

—-

It's not hard getting onto the Petrelli property.

Given that Nathan is now a public official, it wasn't the least bit difficult to find his address, either. And it's absolutely amazing how many of the guards watch soap operas while they're also keeping an eye on the property; it worked to Erin's advantage, so she won't complain.

Her filming for One Life to Live is over. With the conclusion of the werewolf storyline, the entire genre bubble is skipping over to Afterlife, which won't start filming for another week, at least. Given how long she was out last time, well… It's essentially now or never, and she'd like to do a bit more good before something bad happens.

As Erin approaches the larch house, she can feel it, but only barely. She mumbles something to herself, hand pausing momentarily above the door before she knocks. Of course there was a little hesitation… this isn't exactly pleasant for her. The fact that it exists at all bothers her, though. Like she feels driven to eradicate it.

It's kind of scary.

—-

She thinks she's imagining it when she lifts her head to turn it towards the door. Who would be calling at this hour? Elena slowly moves off the couch, her foggy head struggling to tilt upwards and dragging the blanket with her as she moves. Shuffling to the door, her hand reaches down to the knob, twisting and opening it to reveal….

Morgan Starr.

Her feverish, dark gaze takes in the actress, who was actually prettier in person than she was in the TV screen. She's also pretty sure this was a hallucination. Her fever's been pretty bad the last few days - it only seemed to be getting worse instead of running its course as something consistent.

So she blinks her eyes several times, and rubs her fingers on them. Nope. The mirage was still there. "Sorry," she croaks. "For some reason you look like this actress on TV. Can I help you?"

—-

Dark circles under her eyes must be the newest fashion statement if that's prettier than she is on television. In a way, it definitely gives a more real, down-to-earth appearance; then again, they kind of cake makeup on the actors so it shows up well under lights. Erin never liked that much.

She smiles at first when Elena appears at the door, then frowns. Deeply. She can't see the individual details of the virus, but it's easy enough to tell that this woman also has it, and the infection is pretty damned severe. She actually came here for someone else, but—

Though momentarily distracted, she recovers, though the smile never actually returns. Pressing her lips together, glancing away for a moment, Erin finally decides on an answer. "…I am. I met Nathan awhile ago. And— I…" Can't really tell anyone else about the whole mutant thing she has going on. Because she is a mutant and a freak. But a freak who can help people! "…Is he here?"

—-

She looked more natural under the light of day outside. But the next words out of Erin's mouth surprises her…not because she was talking, but because her hallucination was talking. Maybe she was a donor to his campaign? Elena rubs her eyes again - and when the vision refuses to go away she has to accept the fact that the person standing outside could be real. "….are you really…?" She must get that a lot. But yes, she recognizes the soap star.

When Erin asks for Nathan, she looks over her shoulder, and hesitates. She looks over at the young woman by the door. "Um…he's taking a nap," she tells the actress simply. "We're all kinda sick. Is this really urgent? I can go wake him if it is…" Aw, look, she's trying to screen Nathan's visitors. Then again, they've pretty much made a pact to take care of each other so Peter wouldn't worry more.

Still, she takes a step to the side. It seems rude to her to keep the actress outside. It was getting chilly. She could at the very least take a message if it wasn't too important in warmer confines than the November cold.

—-

Erin's used to it, and moreover, she likes the attention, so she doesn't mind it. "Erin McCarty," she says, holding out a hand to take Elena's. Whether the other girl is sick or not, Erin already knows she can't catch it. Or… she could, but she can also kill it with relative ease.

Her eyes wander, unfocusing, staring at something that she can see in her mind's eye, but no one else can see without a very powerful microscope. And they're everywhere.

A few seconds pass before the actress snaps out of it. "Yeah. Nathan mentioned that. The whole… sick thing." She's trying to draw a reasonable conclusion here, even though none of this is remotely reasonable, and Erin herself feels like she must be hallucinating her whole life half the time lately. "Do you live here? Are you— " …yeah, she's going to go here… "Do you work here?"

Doesn't seem like she means any disrespect.

Still, Erin steps inside, hearing familiar voices from the television. She'll miss those people, but she's sure the regulars on the show are glad to get back to the non-fantastical plot of good ol' One Life.

—-

Eyetwitch.

Yes. She works there. Only not really. Sadly this isn't the first time she's been mistaken for a maid of some sort. But at least Erin makes the inquiry sound legitimate. Not like Dezi's ex-husband. Elena's hand feels cold when Erin takes it, but she does shake it regardless.

"Elena Gomez," she says, trying not to sound miffed and offended - not like she could, she sounded hoarse, voice mangled by so many weeks of coughing. And, with a straight face, continues. "I'm Nate's babysitter. He gets cranky when he doesn't get the Depends changed at six in the morning sharp."

She almost pulls it off. Almost.

She closes the door, and tries a small smile. "In all seriousness, I'm a…I guess you can say I'm a friend of the family. I'm….seeing Nate's brother." She's still trying to get used to saying it, two months in. It was a hesitation born out of fear of Peter punching out reporters again and landing himself behind bars. "It's nice to meet you, Ms. McCarty."

But then, there's silence, Elena patiently waiting for Erin to state her business. But then something catches up to her belatedly. "….you know about the entire 'sick thing'?" she wonders, inclining her head to Erin.

—-

Erin would be embarrassed about the error if she were less distracted. However, the humour draws her back in, and she offers Elena an odd look - and gets it just before it's stated. She's Nathan's friend - it's the only reason she could get away with saying something like that. Friend… or mortal enemy. The poor guy.

"I'm sorry," she finally offers, rubbing her forehead. "I just— It wasn't meant to be— I'll stop digging myself deeper." Digging herself deeper is something Erin's very good at lately! That could have gone a lot worse, and she might have offended Nathan, if this girl is his brother's girlfriend— wait. Nathan's brother. "Peter?"

Really, does she need any more assurance? Still, she hesitates to allow her own secret out to more people, because Cass warned her of at least one jackass who she should avoid. Elena doesn't seem like the type of person to be a jackass, though, and besides, she's very sick. The decision is made there, and Erin's hand closes more tightly around Elena's. "Yeah, I know about the sick thing. You have it, Nathan has it… As far as I know, Peter doesn't anymore." Or, he shouldn't. Erin hasn't seen him in awhile.

—-

It was odd, how this entire ordeal had only fostered a better friendship between herself and the older Petrelli brother. A bright spot in the entire quarantine, Elena would be lying if she said she didn't have fun conning him into playing DDR, or watching soap operas with him or even just thumbing through books. Given she hasn't seen her own father and her family in ages, Nathan almost felt like a surrogate dad or, dare she think it, the older brother she never had. She'd already been carried by him once and threatened with a barrel roll on more than one occasion.

"It's okay," Elena tells Erin. "I mean who knows, I could've been babysitting, yeah?" She lifts her hand to shield a cough. However when Erin mentions Peter, she nods. "Mmhm. Peter."

Ah, the sick thing. "They told me what worked for Peter might not work for us - he told me some person cured him. But yeah…I have it, Nate has it, and this other girl named Evelyn has it too. She's a little younger than me." When she feels the pressure added onto her hand, significant, and the expression on the actress's face, she looks at Erin.

"….are you…?"

—-

Erin just happened to stumble over the virus by accident, when she picked the perfect time to visit Cass in her lab. Maybe it was coincidence.

"It'll work," Erin says dryly. "I stopped by to see Cass, and Nathan was there. I came here because I was going to cure him. But you…" It's something she's not saying, but Erin can't let it just run out of control in people she meets. She always imagined herself to be a little selfish, but this bothers her. Maybe it's the presence of the virus that she just has to get rid of. Maybe it's another aspect of this abnormality that she has.

It starts subtly, though almost without thinking about it. Her eyes take on an inhuman metallic blue shine. "I really can't keep doing this," she mutters to herself. "Look, you might have to call Cass when I'm done. But after. That way I won't have to hear her yelling at me."

—-

"So you're— " Elena falls silent, feeling Erin's hand on hers still. However when the color of her eyes change, she almost jerks back on reflex. Almost. No matter how many of "her kind" she meets, it never ceases to surprise her. The novelty should be wearing off, but for some reason despite many months of meeting people just like her, she just…can't get over it. At least, not yet.

She takes a deep breath, though at what Erin says, she shakes her head. "Ms. McCarty, I don't want….if this is dangerous for you, you shouldn't…" She wants to be cured, but certainly not at the expense of someone else's health! "And Nate's a junior senator now, you should be…"

But she can feel it. It starts to work. Her breathing becomes less labored, the heaviness in her bones start to dissipate. The fog in her brain is slowly clearing and she could -feel- everything synch back up in her systems. The relief is almost overwhelming, but she reaches out, in case Erin starts to keel over, or worse. She said she might have to call Cass….oh god. Are the consequences severe?

—-

The expression of annoyance is pretty obvious. "Yeah, I know it's weird, just hold still." She can't automatically assume Elena has an ability, too. After all, Erin's only seen a few in action - ever - and she's not used to wondering whether or not everyone she meets is 'like her' or not. "I can fix it."

Taking a few measured breaths, Erin allows her eyes to partially close, the glow - bright by this point - highlighting her cheeks with pale blue. It's like a system of roads where she can see where the virus is; at first, that's all she does is look, but right about the time Elena starts to feel better is when Erin kills the first few dozen, then more, then hundreds, then thousands. She's learning their weaknesses, and it is, by far, so much easier than it was than the first time she did this. That doesn't mean she's showing no fatigue, though. Almost instantly, her colour drains from her face. "He'll get his turn," she says of Nathan. And Elena mentioned someone else, too. That won't do. Hey, if she can heal one house - just one house - maybe that'll make up for all the people she made sick earlier.

—-

She waits, and holds still just like Erin asks. Elena watches the strange shift of color, and the pallour of the actress's face turning somewhat ashen. Her hand grips hers a little tighter - if she keels over, she's going to have to carry her…but if this works, she'll be able to use her powers to at least be able to pull that off. She holds her tongue too, her desire to be healed warring with her conscience. If Erin starts….getting bad off, healed or not, she'll pull away and get the woman to Cass. She doesn't want anyone else going down over this stupid thing.

—-

As Erin starts to feel worse, Elena will feel quite a bit better. It's not perfect… The viruses die, but the damage they caused will have to heal itself over time. Those that haven't outright destroyed cells yet, though, will harmlessly disintegrate, leaving the illness significantly less severe than before. Her abilities will return.

But that's where it stops, unfortunately.

Like a candle suddenly extinguished, the light in Erin's eyes goes out. The hand that's been holding Elena's is abruptly grasping for support, while the other reaches for an arm, a sleeve, anything, but it's a little late to remain on her feet.

This is stupid, she thinks as she stumbles. The ability to do something halfway decent, and she can't weather it herself. She had second thoughts about putting herself through this again, and she'll have third thoughts about yet another repeat performance. Cass is right - it's costing her. Still dimly aware of the viruses that still survive in Elena's system, Erin attempts to finish the eradication, but can't. At least with the hold she has on Elena, she's able to (mostly) gently lower herself to her knees.

Her eyes are very bloodshot from the strain, she's pale, otherwise looking like she's had the flu for several weeks herself. Sweat is starting to soak through her clothes, and she looks completely disoriented. Is the room spinning? Confused, trying to follow it with her eyes, she finds everything suddenly falling sideways. No — it's just her falling over onto her side.

—-

This was costing her. Elena already had her misgivings, but her Good Samaritan is only proving her right. "Ms. McCarty," she gasps…or it would've been a gasp if it wasn't the sudden feeling of strength she hasn't felt in a while returning. Her grip tightens, her body moving faster than when it should be when she had been ravaged by the fullblown virus. While she feels better, she can tell she was still infected - the fluid was still in her lungs, and the urge to cough was still there. But compared to the last…month or so, she feels…well. Amazing.

She bodily grabs onto Erin and helps lower her to the ground. Getting on her knees, she reaches out to take the older woman's pulse, and checks her eyes again. "Are you alright? How are you feeling?" She doesn't look like she can be moved at the moment - but she will after she gets the house guest some water. Yanking the blanket off her shoulders, she bunches it up into a makeshift pillow - and if Erin will let her, she'll slowly ease her into a lying position.

She looks at the bloodshot eyes with some concern. She doesn't know how this power works. Does Erin take the sickness into herself and purge it? Is that why she looks sick herself? She didn't know, but she's not about to let the guest strain herself further. "I'll go get you some water, okay?"

—-

"Erin," she corrects, just as she corrected Cass - and a lot of other people. She has a first name for a reason. Her pulse is fast, she's feverish, but she's not sick. There's a lot she'd like to tell Elena - specifically what she did - but the energy isn't there. And so she just lays atop the blanket-pillow she's given, staring rather blankly ahead, as she tries to catch her breath.

She manages a slow "Owww."

Nodding when Elena offers water, she rolls over and presses her forehead against the floor, stretching, every joint aching like she's just run longer than she physically should have been able. Maybe Erin should call Taine, or something. Someone's going to need to help her get home.

Without that extra boost she got from Peter, she wasn't able to completely cure the virus. On the other hand, it hasn't pushed her to a point of near coma like it did last time - ironically enough. "You can't tell anyone about that," she says after she gets a few good (albeit raspy) breaths. "It's just something that some people can do."

—-

"Erin," Elena repeats, following the actress's wishes in how she's addressed. She's still checking her over, her face assessing her with a determined, quiet focus. She's not sick, just spent - still she doesn't want to risk moving her at the moment. "Orange juice. You'll need the carbs," she decides. However, when Erin tells her she can't say anything, she nods.

"I know," she says. "I won't tell anyone. I'm…like you. I just can't prove it at the moment." Not yet. But later, when her body heals up as it resists the virus from spreading. She'll stand up, and do just that…she returns a few minutes later with orange juice and helps her drink it should she need assistance. If not, she'll just hand it over.

"Is there anyone I can call for you? Get you someplace safe so you could rest up?" she asks. She must have a friend, otherwise she can call Peter. But moving around isn't killing her anymore, and she can actually breathe better. Most of her old strength is back…and compared to the last month, right now she feels like a million bucks.

—-

So tired. Every once in awhile while Elena's getting the orange juice, Erin blacks out. It's just quick, lasts seconds, and then she's back. That's disturbing - losing time like that, but when Elena returns, Erin forces her eyes open. She tries to take the glass at first, but can't hold it - and herself - up. She hates asking for help, but in the case, she kind of needs it.

Elena understands - that means a lot. It means Erin can sleep easier knowing that her secret is (more probably) safer that it would be with some random person.

When asked if there's someone who can be called on her behalf… Erin smiles. It's a weak expression, but it's there, and she asks… "How do you feel about talking to Taine Whitaker on the phone?"

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