2008-01-31: Look to the End


Elle_icon.gif Gabriel_icon.gif Arthur_icon.gif Bob_icon.gif

…and a special mystery guest!

Summary: Worried about her father, Elle tells Gabriel that she can't wait around any more - and they don't. What they find at Pinehearst isn't anything like what they expected.

Date It Happened: January 31st, 2008

Look to the End

Peter Petrelli's Apartment - New York City, NY

Lying on the couch in the living room of Peter Petrelli's apartment is Gabriel, his eyes closed and his head propped up on the arm of the couch. He appears to have fallen asleep while watching the television, which is playing an old movie in black and white, the volume turned down low, but it looks as if it's a restless sleep. He turns more often than he should, occasional murmurs escaping his lips as he mumbles about something. Eventually, however, he seems to calm down after a little bit, a final mumur escaping him before he takes a deep breath, letting it out as he falls into a more peaceful sleep.

There are some things which, in the face of your father being abducted for unknown reasons and your entire life falling to peices around you, seem entirely too mundane to have to worry about. Walking your ex-boyfriend's dog? Definitely one of those things. That's why Elle has hardly been gone for ten minutes before she turns the key in the lock and pushes the door open, the little white dog racing inside ahead of her, feet covered in show. "Snowy," she calls in a harsh whisper, trying to coax the dog back to the door to remove her leash. "Snowy, get back here!"

The key in the lock, the opening of the door, and the harsh whispering Elle directs at Snowy is enough to disturb Gabriel's slumber. He sits up rather suddenly, looking towards the door as he does. He intercepts Snowy just in time before she can get further into the apartment, scooping her up off of the floor and into his arms, managing to get the snow from her feet all over his shirt and pants in the process. "Hey," he says to her, still looking rather sleepy and confused, and he puts Snowy in one arm, wiping at his face as he heads towards the door to help take her leash off.

Unwinding her scarf from around her neck, Elle steps towards Gabriel as he approaches with the dog. "Hey," she replies, her voice decidedly lacking for warmth or cheer. It isn't that she's seeming particularly unhappy - but she is clearly distracted. With her coat unbuttoned and scarf hanging loosely on either side of her neck, she unhooks the leash from Snowy's collar. A fleeting glance darts to Gabriel. "How'd you sleep?"

Shrugging, Gabriel lets out a yawn before scrubbing his face with his hands, which seems to do some good on waking him up. "Fine, I guess," he replies, shaking his head. "Some… person in my dream… seemed familiar." He shakes his head again, shrugging it off. "Nevermind. How was your walk with Snowy? Everything okay?"

"Everything's fine." Canting her head to one side, Elle glances back over her shoulder as she brushes past Gabriel. Her expression is vaguely concerned, a slight frown marking her brow. She shrugs out of her coat, though she doesn't set it aside, instead clutching it to her chest with both arms. "What was your dream about?"

"Just… random things," Gabriel replies, moving back into the living room. "Nothing in particular." He stands in front of the couch, but he doesn't sit down; instead, he watches Elle, eyes falling to the coat she's clutching to her chest. He frowns slightly, but he seems to move past it. He sits down on the couch, crossing his arms over his chest as he looks back up to her.

When she reaches the chair, Elle doesn't sit down. Instead, she turns to lean back against the arm, turning her attention back to Gabriel. "This is killing me," she says in an exhale, her voice shaky. "Sitting around waiting." Patience has never been one of Elle Bishop's strengths, but this last week has been significantly worse. Her concern for her father, despite her sordid past, has been painfully obvious in the last few days - and never more so than these last few hours. "I hate it."

There's a brief, fleeting moment on Gabriel's face where he's full of concern and sadness for Elle, but then it passes, and he gives her a nod. He stands from the couch, heading over to his duffel bag, from which he extracts a black shirt. He slips his arms into it, turning around as he up the front of it, glancing out of the window. Once he's finished, he grabs his jacket off of a nearby chair, putting it on as he moves past Elle, turning back to look at her once he's near the door. "So let's go."

Elle doesn't move straight away, tipping her chin down to fix him with a level stare. "Don't mess with me," she says cautiously, her gaze attentive, waiting to catch some small indication that he doesn't mean what he's said. The longer she watches him, the more she begins to think that he just might be serious, but she resists it just the same. "Are you serious?" Pause. "You're serious." Half a second later, she's slipping her arms back into her coat.

A half-smirk, half-smile on his face, Gabriel opens the door for Elle to pass through. "I'm serious," he says, hitting the light switch. Most of the lights go out, but there's a few on in the kitchen to provide light for Snowy, and fortunately, there's food already put out for her. Not much to take care of before heading out.

Wrapping her scarf around her neck once more, the buttons of her coat already fastened, Elle is swift in passing through the open door into the hallway. It's there that she waits for Gabriel to follow after her, greeting him with a quick, light kiss. "Thank you," she whispers, her hands straightening the collar of his coat before she steps back. Her demeanor has shifted significantly even in the last minute.

Closing the door and inserting the key, Gabriel checks to make sure the door is locked, and then turns back to Elle. "You're welcome," Gabriel responds with a small smile, turning towards the hallway and moving down it. "How are we going to get there?" he says, glancing back to Elle and offering her his hand as he presses the button to the elevator, waiting for it to arrive.

"We're going to rent a car," Elle replies, slipping her hand into his when it's offered, leaning into his arm while they wait for the elevator. "I saw a place down the street when I took Snowy out. If they're really not coming for us - and they must not be, because we haven't exactly been covert the last week or two - then we can risk it." When the elevator arrives, she steps inside first, without pulling her hand away from him. "Unless you have a better idea."

Gabriel squeezes Elle's hand, following her into the elevator and turning to face the doors. He presses the lobby button, stepping back and waiting, looking at their muddy reflection on the inner doors. "That should work," he responds, turning his head to look down at her.

Pinehearst - Fort Lee, NJ

Their green rental car parked not too far off, Elle hugs her arms around herself as she approaches the tall building. There were a dozen ways to go about this in a more covert fashion, but at the end of the day, she had to think that they'd know she'd be coming. If Gabriel listens, her heart is racing as she approaches the building, her eyes alight with determination. She says nothing; she isn't even sure she could make a coherent sound, if she were to try. No, she simply casts one swift, sidelong glance to her companion, then reaches for the glass door.


Elle's heartbeat is indeed noticed, as Gabriel's ears are open to listen to everything around them. At this point, they can never be too careful. Especially considering they're strolling in to the place like they're nobody in particular, rather than trying to sneak in without raising suspicion. The man follows close behind her, glancing around once they near the doors.


Pinehearst Research does not look like the kind of place people would be held against their will for the benefit of nefarious purposes — "nefarious," of course, being entirely dependent on one's point of view in this realm of grey.

A fresh-faced employee wearing a lab coat beneath his winter jacket smiles politely and holds the door for Elle and Gabriel once he slips past them. Within the boldly designed building, the pristine lobby of the biotech firm welcomes them — or at least, it seems to welcome, in that there are no guns suddenly pointed at their heads, no one calling out their names and telling them to stop.

Employees with ID tags clipped to their person flit about inside the long, wide space the lobby lies in. Beyond that one friendly man at the door, no one even seems to notice the visitors.


As soon as Elle sets foot inside the building, she sucks in a breath, acutely aware of just how wrong this could go. She is instantly grateful that Gabriel caught her before she could take off on her own several nights before; if it gets ugly, he's about the only chance she has to get out of here alive. Glancing to him, she offers a quick smile, anxious and short-lived, before stepping up to the reception desk. "Hi," she exhales, flashing the receptionist a smile. "Maybe you can help me. I got this— " She procures a business card from the pocket of her jacket, holding it out. "— and the person who gave it to me said to come here."


Stepping through the door, Gabriel falls into step alongside Elle, eyes moving up to a security camera set high up on one of the walls. It swivels back and forth, and he nudges Elle discreetly, glancing up at it with his eyes to call her attention to it. Once they find themselves at the reception desk, Gabriel leans onto it with his arms, looking over at Elle as she speaks. Once she's finished, he turns his attention back to the receptionist, looking at her expectantly, even if he remains silent for now.


The woman at reception, perhaps a few years older than Elle, taller and wearing glasses, perks up. "Welcome to Pinehearst Research! Sure, what can I do for you? What was the name of the person who referred you, I can check to see if they're in," she offers, one hand already moving for the phone.


Having been raised within the walls of the Company, Elle doesn't need to look to know that there are security cameras in the room. In fact, she'd wager that there are cameras for every section of this building - many of which they'll never see. She settles her arms atop the desk, clasping her hands together, gazing at the receptionist with her oh-so-innocent blue eyes. "He said his name was Arthur," she croons in a saccharine voice, leaning forward as if this was some great secret. "I didn't catch his last name, but I think it started with a P."


The receptionist looks unsurely at the blonde girl, hesitating with her hand on the phone. " One minute, please." She lifts the receiver, bringing it to her ear — but then seems to reconsider, staring hard at Elle rather, off into space for a moment. "Actually," she hangs up the phone and opens a drawer and procures two visitor's IDs, "Why don't you clip these on and have a seat? Meeting room three is open, it's straight down on the left."


"But you didn't even call anyone," Elle observes, her voice airy and full of wonder. Her head tips to one side, her gaze flicking between the receptionist and Gabriel. "How do you know if he's here?" Pulling her hands apart, she tosses one of the visitor badges to Gabriel, taking the other for herself. When the badge is clipped onto her coat, she looks back to the receptionist, her smile more obviously feigned. "I don't think you understood," she says, her tone markedly different from before; a sense of warning, of suggested violence, lies behind her words now. She holds up one hand, a blue light glowing from her fingertips, seeping down to pool in her palm. "I want to see him now. Where is he?"


Showtime. With Elle's reaction to the receptionist eliciting a smirk from Gabriel, he takes the visitor's badge, clipping it to his jacket, and he too takes on a much more serious look as he gazes at the receptionist. "I know he's here. There's no sense in lying us— people are just going to get hurt if they do. So pick up your phone, call whoever it is you need to call, and tell him we're here." As if to emphasize this, he stretches his fingers out towards the phone, the receiver lifting off of the set on its own, slowly moving to press itself up against her ear.


On seeing the blue glow, the receptionist starts and brings a hand to her throat. "I-I'll call up right away," she says, eyes widening when the phone is brought to her ear for her. Slowly, she holds onto it, then presses a number, making a call. She flashes a tense smile at the dangerous pair. Seconds tick by. "There are two people down here to see— yes… yes, i-it's urgent." More seconds tick by. The receptionist's heartbeat is going a mile a minute.

Suddenly, from the corridor that leads further into the building— "I love visitors." Arthur Petrelli stands, holding out his hands in welcome, or at least a mockery of it. "No need to get upset. If you'll just follow me I'll explain everything. I was just in the middle of a business meeting with your father," the last is spoken directly to Elle. "Come in, come in." Said the spider to the fly. He steps out of sight almost immediately, through a door. Meeting room three.


A business meeting. Why does that suddenly make Elle's heart sink into the pit of her stomach? "Spare me the lies, grandpa," she murmurs beneath her breath as she moves away from the reception desk. The receptionist is given nothing more than a wicked little smile cast over her shoulder, and then Elle's attention swings back around to Arthur. Dropping back to fall in step with Gabriel, she speaks quietly, meaning for only him to hear. "Both of us going in screams 'trap' to me. Wait at the door?"


The receptionist's rapid heartbeat brings a dark smirk to Gabriel's face. At the sight of Arthur, however, Gabriel visibly tenses, his right hand flexing instinctively as he watches the other man. He seems far too casual considering who just walked through the door. He moves into step beside Elle, heading towards the meeting room behind Arthur, listening to her words. He gives her a nod in response, stopping at the door and leaning onto the inside of the frame— this way, he can see both into the meeting room and the hallway just outside of it.


The meeting room is small, but neat. Serviceable. It seems to contain one person, Arthur Petrelli, standing with folded arms beside the glossy wooden. The lights aren't on, however; instead, the room is lit dimly by a projector, facts and figures beneath the Pinehearst logo. It breeds shadows. A closer look might make out a shape in the far left corner — a shape that quietly calls out in the voice of Bob Bishop, "Elle?"


The voice is like a stab to the heart, and Elle restrains herself from making a quiet sound when she hears her father call her name. "I'll be okay," she assures Gabriel as she slips past. If he listens, however, her heart is every bit as fast as it was when they first arrived, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. Edging into the room slowly, Elle keeps her hands poised at her sides, prepared to strike. Still, her voice is shaky when she calls out in response. "Daddy?"


For the most part, Gabriel keeps his eyes on Elle, occasionally glancing out into the hallway. At the voice of Bob in the corner, Gabriel turns his head back in suddenly, glancing at Arthur, and then— then, it suddenly hits him— Arthur is out of bed. "Elle, no!" Gabriel says, his voice suddenly edging on panic, even if his command is firm. He moves into the room, coming right up behind Elle, his gaze locked on Arthur. "Something isn't right. Last time I saw him, he was paralyzed in a bed."


Arthur remains strangely quiet, piercing eyes just watching Elle throughout this tenuous reunion.

The figure in the corner stands up and steps into the white glare of the projector, revealing itself to be, indeed, Bob Bishop. "Elle," he repeats. "Elle, everything is fine. Arthur and I, we had a bit of a misunderstanding, but we worked it out."

"Now now. We don't want to interrupt this nice little reunion here." It's only then that Arthur takes any action at all — to rush toward Gabriel, a powerful hand trying to touch his shoulder, to turn him away—

And for the ex-killer, the scene changes. Arthur is gone. Elle is gone. Bob is gone. The whole room is gone, replaced, instead, with a hallway identical to the one he just left … except that it goes on in both directions with no sign of the lobby.

To Elle, she's alone in the meeting room with her father, the projector humming quietly in the background, their figures making strange, giant shadows on the screen.

Meanwhile, outside of it all, a bulky figure moves out of shadow and against the rail up above the lobby, Maury Parkman smirks darkly as he watches the nearby corridor Gabriel and Elle left down from a bird's eye view.


Too many things happening at once. When Gabriel calls out in panic, Elle whirls around to face him, eletricity surging from her fingertips into a ball in her palm. Except Gabriel isn't there when she turns, his absence sparking a new wave of anxiety. She hisses out a curse, nearly calling out after him - she even opens her mouth to speak. But it's the presence of her father that ultimately silences her, driving her to turn around slowly. "Daddy," she says again, her voice relieved, a smile breaking across her face. "I'm so glad you're okay. I thought— when you disappeared— " Her hands fidgeting in front of her, the blue light dissipating, she moves towards him as if to seek an embrace.


When Arthur rushes at him, Gabriel brings up both of his arms to push him away, and he goes to do so— only to hit empty air, turning around to find himself in the endless hallway. "Elle?" he calls out, spinning in circles as he looks around for her. "ELLE!" he calls out again, louder, a hint of panic in his voice. He starts running down the hallway, opening doors along the way. All of them lead to more halls, each containing more doorways. He begins going through doors at random, trying to make sense of where he's at, what's going on, or where he's even going, which seems to be nowhere.


There's a small hesitation before Elle's father reacts — he looks to be in mild shock, but who wouldn't be, when two of the people in the room just disappeared? "I'm glad you got here safely," he says, stepping forward to receive his daughter in a firm embrace. "After speaking with Arthur about his plans here — I understand the flaws in the Company's design. I understand now why you left, Elle. I forgive you." Bob sounds sincere, heartfelt — and while it sounds too good to be true, it still sounds very much like him. His voice, his inflections. Bob.

The next door Gabriel opens in the maze of halls that he finds himself lost in leads not to another identical hall. No, it leads somewhere more familiar, seeming to transport him all the way to Brooklyn… to his mother's house, exactly the way it was the last time he saw it. Complete with her dead body on the floor beside a smeary, bloody painting of a mushroom cloud.


"I missed you." Some part of her must be aware that this is Very Wrong, but all that Elle allows herself to see or hear is her father, here in this room. She wraps her arms around him tightly, unwilling to let him go, resting her head against his chest. When she hears those three important words - I forgive you. - she holds him tighter still. "They're looking for you," she says, a frown marring her face for one fraction of a second, her eyes closing. "Everyone's worried about you, Daddy." Adopting a bright, affectionate smile, she releases him from the embrace and pulls back, turning her eyes back up to his face.


Bursting through another door, Gabriel comes to a dead stop, his eyes glued to the floor in front of him. his mom. Her blood. The painting. The blood drains frmo his face, and he slowly steps backwards, before turning and scrambling to open the door and get out. The door has somehow shut, which only serves to further his panic. He can't be in here. It's already suffocating, knowing what lies behind him, and the room isn't getting any smaller. He tries to turn the doorknob, not getting anywhere, and he begins to bang the door loudly with both hands. "Elle! ELLE! SOMEONE!" he yells, before slowly turning around, his back against the door. He continues to pound his hands, even though he knows in his mind it's useless.


"I know, Elle. Let them look." Bob continues to hug Elle firmly before stepping back, hands on his shoulders. The projector light catches on his gold watch, making it seem more prominent than any other part of his otherwise drab visage. The humming of the projector becomes louder, a dreamlike buzzing that fills the background. "What's important is that you found me and now we can work together."

"Gaaabriel…?" In the old apartment, an airy, frail voice calls out from the floor, imploring. His mother's dead eyes are no less dead, no less glassy and empty, staring, but her mouth impossibly moves. "You're… a— a monster… why, Gabriel…"


The reflection from the watch draws her eye, and Elle smiles as she looks upon it, reaching out to take his hand. "You still wear it," she muses quietly, turning his hand over in hers to look at the watch from both sides. It's a strange thing to focus on, this one tiny detail, but to Elle it's everything. "I remember when I gave it to you. Didn't think you'd want to wear it after I left." She seems poised to say something further about the watch— until the voice in the back of her mind begins to nag at her louder. His hand still in hers, she starts to turn back to the door. "I have to find Gabriel."


No. No, no, no, no, no. Gabriel shakes his head in defiance at the sight before him, his dead mother speaking to him, calling him the one thing he's strived not to be these past months. "You're wrong," he says, his voice small, his eyes wide, still backing up against the door even though he can't get to the other side of it. "I'm not— you're— this isn't—" He seems to be losing it, but considering what he's looking at, this isn't a stretch. He shakes his head wildly from side to side, pounding on the door even louder now. "Stay away from me!"


"I know where he'll go." Bob, hand still in Elle's, takes the initiative to jog — inasmuch as a man like Bob jogs — to the door in order to reach it before his daughter. When it opens, nothing is amiss: everything seems perfectly normal out here; except for the sound. The buzzing persists, overtaking the halls, becoming more of an overwhelming ripping, sucking, rushing roar. Elle's father heads up the hallway, to a set of stairs, which he starts to ascend with mounting urgency. "Arthur's office. We have to hurry, before it's too late."


"You could've been such a good man," Gabriel's dead mother says. No, this is not right at all. Despite the perfect detail around him, plucked from his mind to create an immaculate picture, this can't be real. Her familiar voice, cinched tight by sadness and fear and zero understanding, rings out meekly all the same. "Oh Gabriel, wh-what've you done?"

Gabriel's persistent banging on the door rattles the shelf of snowglobes. One falls and rolls until it touches his shoe. It's New Jersey encapsulated in glass, a tiny snowstorm whirling about inside.


"Too late for what? What's going to happen?" Losing her grip on her father's hand, Elle is quick to follow him out into the hallway and up the staircase. "Tell me what's going on, Daddy!" But he's ahead of her, and the sound is terrible now. If she weren't holding onto the railing to keep from tripping, she just might cover her ears. "What is that?"


"I am a good man!" Gabriel responds in a shout, his voice pleading, pleading with himself as much as her to believe it. If there's ever one person he sought approval from— it's this woman right here. Can't she accept him for who he is? He looks down at the snow globe, looking at it in horror. He does the only thing he can think to do: he kicks the snowglobe right at his mother to distract, turning around to face the door and pound on it some more. "Let me out!" he screams, pounding, pounding— the doorknob turns, remarkably, and he rushes through the door, slamming it shut behind him as he turns around to see what's next. Please be somewhere sane. Better yet, let him run back into Elle.


"Run away! You never come back! Don't come back!" The distinct voice of the murdered woman follows Gabriel out the door, and is then abruptly cut off.

He's met with a rush of cooler air, the scent of metal, and the sight of what appears to be an empty room in a warehouse. Behind him is a door, but it's not the one he left through… or at least not the one he thought he left through.


"I don't know," Bob answers as his feet pound the stairs, the sound drowned out by the unsettling rush that fills the air. It only gets louder at they get higher, but Bob doesn't stop. He leads the way down a hallway of one of the building's upper levels. He grasps the handle of a door … and starts to get fuzzy around the edges — in tune with the buzzing sound, his outline twitches, becoming indistinct. "Sorry, Elle." He stops, turns around. "Your daddy wouldn't cooperate. Even if it meant saving you." Every object around, save for Elle herself, is subject to the same blur. Reality is falling apart at the seams.

Good thing this "reality" isn't real.

It slams back into effect, full-force. Bob has disappeared, replaced by none other than the glowering form of Maury. Before Elle can get any wise thoughts, he provides a distraction: not in the form of another mind trick, but a glimpse into what's really going on. He pushes the door open.

In the middle of Arthur Petrelli's well-lit, expansive, modern office, the man himself has Bob at arm's length. An indistinct blur feeds from Bob into Arthur, and the former is breathless. "E-Elle— ?"


The instant her hands are free of the railing, Elle clamps them down over each ear to block out the buzzing. The louder it gets, the more she feels as if something is very, very wrong about this, but she can't will herself to stop following her father down the hall. As the illusion blurs and tears apart, she pulls her hands from her ears when her father - or what looks like her father - speaks. Saving her? She steps forward, just barely opening her mouth to speak…

…and then reality comes crashing back down upon her like a tidal wave. Her eyes flit from one thing to the next, desperately trying to make sense of this new world she's found herself in, until they fall upon her father. "DADDY!"

In the next instant, her hand is raised before her as she storms towards the office, a blinding arc streaking through the air, meant for Arthur. Elle has never been the type of person to think before doing.


Leaning forward, hands on his knees, Gabriel takes deep, slow breaths, trying to calm himself as best ash e can. His mother's voice echoes in his ears, and he takes one last look at the door when he stands up. It doesn't match the door on the other side, which causes him to take a more calculated look around, trying to figure out where he is now. Some sort of warehouse. It's not the first one he's been in, but considering what he just came from, there's no telling what he's going to see next. "Hello?" he calls out, voice echoing back to him. He takes a step forward, trying to stay at the ready for anything that might come his way.


No answer for Gabriel. He's alone, for the time being. The warehouse isn't isolated. There is distant sound coming from another part of the building — of Pinehearst — voices, employees.

Arthur Petrelli is a man who is in control of his world. It is very likely that he knew Elle was on her way. It is certain that he has been watching her during the abrupt seconds it's taken her to shoot — literally — into the office. The last of Bob's power soaking into him, Arthur hauls the other man sharply in front of him. Elle's powerful lightning sears into her father's shoulder, but most of the arc nevertheless hits the target, sending him flying back with a zzzap and crackle followed by a THUD.

Bob, jolting, a sheen of sweat on his face, cries out in muffled alarm. "Run, Elle! Tell the Company— don't let him near you," he gestures not to come closer — a gesture that then turns to warning. "Behind you!"

Maury reaches around the petite blonde's neck. You don't want to zap anybody anymore. he tells her — tries, in fact, to command her, planting it directly in her mind.


Walking forward, looking all around him, it doesn't take long for Gabriel to hear the voices. He breaks into a run, crossing the warehouse as quick as he can.


The second she realizes that the arc is going to strike her father, both of Elle's hands fly to her mouth, muffling a cry of surprise. That wasn't what she meant to have happen, not at all. But he's breathing, he's moving. He's lucky, considering what she'd meant to do to Arthur. "I'm not leav— " That's about when Elle realizes that the big man she barrelled past en route to save her father is standing directly behind her. And it's about five seconds too late, Maury's arm around her neck long before she can even begin to turn around to face him. What little charge she'd built in her hands dissipates; though anger flares in her eyes, she lashes out with no new blast, not even for the man restraining her. Uncertain what state he's in by this point, all Elle can think to do is call out Gabriel's name, her voice loud and desperate. He can handle this, can't he? When she yells his name, it twists into a pained and frustrated sound, the last syllable of his name lost and incoherent.


Elle's twisted shout sounds from an upper floor of the research building — to anyone with sharp hearing, that is… not to mention everyone on the floor she's on, and who knows what kind of back-up Pinehearst has on staff?

With a harsh jerk of his arm, Maury tugs Elle tightly against him to hold her in place. He keeps squeezing, in fact. If he squeezes enough, maybe she'll pass out and stop screaming.

"Let go of her! Maury!" Bob's outstretched hand does nothing to stop anything, and his orders fall on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, Arthur rolls over on the floor, coughing. With jerky, but determined motions, he gets to his feet. Twitchy, frazzled, his suit seared and his face scorched and burned, he advances with heavy shuffles. (He's like a Terminator that way.) "Now, now. No need to cause a scene." He heavy-handedly claps his fellow Founder, Bob, on the shoulder. The newly gained King Midas touch, slowly, starts to encase its former owner. Bob's shoulder starts to turn to gold, spreading like liquid in all directions.


The sound of Elle calling out his name catching the man's attention, Gabriel strains himself to run faster, looking for a flight of stairs he can ascend. He heads up as soon as he finds one, and even though he has no idea which floor it was on, it was close— so he bursts through the first door he finds on the next story, looking around wildly for a sign of Elle.


The more Maury tightens his grip, the more frantic Elle becomes, her airway slowly becoming more and more constricted. She struggles against his hold, her hands scrabbling for purchase to pry his arm away from her, her feet kicking wildly. It isn't until Arthur approaches her father that the little blonde really starts to panic, however, and a strangled cry tears from her throat.

The first indication that Elle is beginning to lose control is the failing of the lights. With a static buzz, the lights in this room - and on the entire floor - flicker madly, never quite regaining their full strength. Computers and monitors switch off abruptly.

"No, no, stop!" Tears streaming down her face, Elle rakes her nails over whatever exposed skin she can find, reaching for Maury's arms, face — anything. But when her eyes fall upon her father once more and the gold spreading over his shoulder, she screams outright. If there are words in there, they're lost.


The power spreads quickly and efficiently, defying the pleas and screams and flickering lights. Up the side of Bob's face, down his arm, across, across, down, down — shining, glistening gold. He's becoming a statue in front of Elle's eyes. A choked croak is all that escapes before the man's face is alchemized, cast in a deep-lined, open-mouthed expression of worry — and agony.

Arthur steps around Bob, patting him on the shoulder and giving the grotesque gold statue a critical once-over. "Hm. Do you think I should keep him in my office?" Pause. "Nah. He clashes with the design. Too Old World." A glance to Maury. "Have him melted down later."

Maury, struggling to keep Elle from squirming, acknowledges by holding a thick forearm tighter around the young woman's neck.


In the end, it isn't the sight of her father's transformation that pushes Elle over the edge, nor is it the arm around her neck still growing tighter - it's Arthur's callous, dismissive words. Not that any of them will really know just what it was that stripped her final vestiges of control; it's as sudden and explosive as if someone had simply reached into her mind and flipped a switch.

The sound she makes is hardly even a scream any more, it's so far removed from any identifiable aspect of her voice. It's a cry of pain, despair, helplessness, rage - everything, all at once, too strong to hold back. Small charges course down her legs and arms, but they are nothing at all compared to what comes next.

It isn't clear where the burst comes from, exactly, but it starts with Elle. There is a blinding flash of light as electricity surges from her with no regard for who or what it strikes, bringing with it intense heat and a wave of pressure liable to make those nearest to her very, very uncomfortable.

And then? It's over. Lights out - for Elle, anyway, whose eyes close and muscles go slack all at once.


"Lights out" doesn't describe just the desperate electrokinetic: it describes Maury, it describes Arthur, it describes Pinehearst — and thousands of people in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Mr. Parkman, having let go of Elle when she started going haywire, is nevertheless thrown back full force, hitting the wall closest to the door. The glass bulbs of the office lights shatter with extreme overload, scattering on the floor. Arthur, lit up by a flash of blue, is thrown back by the sudden pressure, knocking a couch over and disappearing over the back. Flames shoot up here and there, clothes and furniture igniting from heat and sparks. No one moves.

The lights along the ceiling down the corridor outside of Arthur's office die one by one, bursting like tiny grenades going off. The whole building goes black.


Spotting Elle, Gabriel rushes forward to get whoever that is grabbing her off of her, but she does a good job of that herself. He's thrown backwards from the huge electrical surge from Elle, slamming right into the door he just came through. He seems to be out, but it isn't long before there's a small movement of his hand, and he suddenly leans forward, the sound of pain he lets out reflecting how badly that hurt.

He begins to crawl across the floor towards Elle, but regeneration begins to kick in, the burns on his skin healing over. Once he's about halfway, he manages to get up on two feet and quicken his pace, arriving at Elle's lifeless form. "Elle," he says, concern in his voice, and it's without hesitation that he scoops her up and throws her over his shoulder. It isn't romantic, it's not fancy, but if he can get her out, he will. He begins to feel his way through the blackness, hoping he can find a way out.

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